The Braden Files
Curiosities of mathematics, history, parachuting, etc……

Boardwalk and Park Place go to war

In September 1944 a hungry, cold, terrified airman hunched over what remained of a recently arrived Red Cross package. He had been a POW since his Lancaster was shot down over the Ruhr valley in 1943. His excitement grew as he saw the tiny red spot. He had been briefed about it just before his first mission. To identify a ‘special’ Monopoly set, a tiny red dot, designed to look like a simple printing glitch, was in the corner of the Free Parking square!

His hands trembled as he split the box cardboard in the dim light from the tiny barred window above his head. He had already ravenously eaten the food that was left in the Red Cross Package and now found the strength to consider another escape attempt. A previous attempt had led to failure and severe punishment. Getting through the barbed wire had been relatively easy but finding his way through the snow and forests of Eastern Germany was not, nor was finding help or purchasing food or train tickets. He simply got lost until the patrols with dogs ran him down.

As he gently spread the layers of cardboard of the package, he found two slivers of metal which screwed together to form a file. He broke the little wooden red hotel to find a tiny silk map of his region folded very tightly. Under the packaged Monopoly money was real German Reich marks ready to spend and, finally, inside the Scotty dog was a tiny compass. Here was what he needed to be among the estimated 35,000 Allied POWs who escaped from German and Italian camps during WWII. The contraband in the Monopoly games is credited with at least one third of them….

Click to read more

kilroywashere.org

Civics lesson
From a teacher in the Nashville area

We are worried about “the cow” when it is all about the “Ice Cream”. The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade this year. The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class president.

We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.

To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members. We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.

The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support. I had never seen Olivia’s mother.

The day arrived when they were to make their speeches. Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best. Every one applauded. He sat down and Olivia came to the podium.

Her speech was concise. She said, “If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream.” She sat down. The class went wild.

“Yes! Yes! We want ice cream.”

She surely would say more. She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn’t sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it. She didn’t know. The class really didn’t care. All they were thinking about was ice cream.

Jamie was forgotten. Olivia won by a landslide.

Every time Barack Obama opens his mouth he offers ice cream, fifty percent of the people react like nine year olds. They want ice cream.

The other fifty percent know they’re going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess.

Ancient wisdom
So, what have we learned in 2 millennia?

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

Cicero – 55 BC

Evidently nothing.

Math, Bunker style
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