Daily Archives: 06/19/2004

Tibbets In Saipan – Part I

The Wednesday, June 16th edition of the Marianas Variety has a couple interesting articles about Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay. I thought I would reproduce them here.

Tibbets says he didn’t want to return to CNMI
by Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff

RETIRED U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets endured almost two days of flying hours to reach the CNMI, 60 years after he first set foot on the islands. But he says he doesn’t regret the long flight at all.

“It turned out to be somewhat like a homecoming,” he said in an interview yesterday at the Penthouse of the Dai-Ichi Hotel where he is billeted.

Locals and foreigners alike treated Tibbets like a celebrity the past two days on occasion of the 60th commemoration of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian. The 89-year-old former pilot was bombarded with request for autographs and photo opportunities.

But Tibbets admitted he hesitated at first returning to the islands which made him famous and which he made famous as well when he dropped atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, from Tinian, the second largest island in the CNMI.

The bombing claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians but also led to the surrender of the Japanese government which ended World War II.

“I have read things about the Marianas chain, particularly Guam, Saipan and Tinian… I really didn’t know what was expected of me so I said, ‘I don’t really want to go to the Marianas, this trip’ But then I thought, that’s the wrong attitude. I owe those people something. They helped secure the land that we could use to have their place fly to Japan and so forth and so I said ‘I’m going to go out there,'” said Tibbets.

“I want all the native people to see who I am and what I am. In that way, they could make their opinion of whether (what) they have been given credit to is a myth or not,” he added.

With so many books written about WWII, Tibbets said the flying hours is nothing compared to his mission: “To set the record straight” of what really happened during the bombing missions.

“I wanted to come here and set the record straight, because when I die there’s no way I could make that record straight,” Tibbets said.

The former pilot and his manager arrived on Saipan, the capital of the now U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, on Monday from Ohio via Hawaii.

Their total flight hours could sum up to about two days including the brief stopover in Hawaii.

Tibbets said in his younger years, he could fly straight to a destination in fewer hours.

“It took us two days to get here. We stopped in Hawaii. Of course, when I had my own airplanes I could fly from Utah out here in an average of 35 to 36 hours which I did… I made one trip with four pilots on the airplane. Three besides myself. We did it in 72 hours, round-trip. I mean you got to depend on the speed of the airplane,” Tibbets said.

“In those days too, we didn’t have the comfort that you got in the airline today. The B-29 was the first one to be pressurized and to have heat. It was extremely well,” he added.

Former U.S. president George Bush Sr. also fought in the Pacific during WWII for the U.S. Air Force.

On his 80th birthday, the former president went skydiving.

When Tibbets learned about it, he said, “Good for him. But I couldn’t do that (anymore).”

One Final Post On Bloomsday

James JoyceBefore I consign it to the dustbin of my memory, one final post on Ulysses and Bloomsday. Well actually a few links to various thoughts on James Joyce’s immortal classic. And yes, I have read it – twice now – and I enjoyed it immensely.

I was happy to hear about Ulysses being available as a page a day via RSS, that’s very cool. And the Guardian’s Bloomsday Blog was funny. But I found the NY Times article particularly interesting, especially John Banvilles’ reminisces about Jorge Luis Borges and the centenary celebration in 1982:

Among the many notable artists who came was — yes — Borges, who by then was in his 80’s and totally blind. He was collected from the airport by a couple of volunteer meeters-and-greeters, who deposited him in his suite at the Shelbourne Hotel and went off to do more meeting and greeting. When they returned, late in the day, Borges was still in his room, and in fact had not left during the intervening hours. What was he to have done, Borges asked, since he did not know the city or anyone in it? Ever since, when I hear talk of Bloomsday celebrations, that, I am afraid, is the image that springs immediately to mind: an old, blind writer, one of the greatest of his age, sitting alone in a hotel room overlooking an unseen St. Stephen’s Green.

Bears Wanders Into Hospital Without Insurance, Police Shoot Him Dead

Photo &copy API’d hate to be wandering the halls of a hospital and come across a
bear wandering the hallways. The bear walked in front of the sliding doors to the ER and when they opened, he set off on his grand adventure. He wandered the halls of the hospital, freaking out patients and employees, until he ended up in an office. He was probably looking for drugs, hillbilly heroin probably. The cops decided to prove their machismo by shooting the animal dead instead of drugging the bear and hauling him off to a shelter or something. I guess they thought that would be a lesson for other bears or something.

Apparently some people at the hospital thought this was a gag of some sort, and refused to believe it was really a bear. Reminds me of a great Chuck Jones cartoon based on a children’s story with the great quote: “You’re not a bear. You’re a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat.”

The Bear That Wasn’t

Once upon a time, in fact it was on a Tuesday, the Bear saw that it was time to go into a cave and hibernate. And that was just what he did. Not long afterward, in fact it was on a Wednesday, lots of workers arrived near that cave. While the Bear slept, they built a great, huge factory.

As winter turned to spring, the Bear awoke and stepped out of his cave. His eyes popped.

Where was the forest?

Where was the grass?

Where were the trees?

Where were the flowers?

WHAT HAD HAPPENED?

“I must be dreaming,” he said. “Of course, I’m dreaming.” But it wasn’t a dream. It was real. Just then the Foreman came out of the factory.

“Hey, you get back to work,” he said.

The Bear replied, “I don’t work here. I’m a Bear.”

The Foreman laughed, “That’s a fine excuse for a man to keep from doing any work. Saying he’s a Bear.”

The Bear said, “But, I am a Bear.”

The Foreman stopped laughing. He was very mad. “Don’t try to fool me,” he said. “You’re not a Bear. You’re a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat. I’m going to take you to the General Manager.”

The General Manager also insisted the Bear was a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat.

The Bear said, “No, you’re mistaken. I am a Bear.”

The General Manager was very mad, too.

The Bear said, “I’m sorry to hear you say that. You see, I am a Bear.”

The Third Vice President was even madder. The Second Vice President was more than mad or madder. He was furious. The First Vice President yelled in rage. He said, “You’re not a Bear. You’re a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat. I’m going to take you to the
President.”

The Bear pleaded, “This is a dreadful error, you know, because ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a Bear.”

And that is exactly what the Bear told the President. “Thank you for telling me,” the President said. “You can’t be a Bear. Bears are only in a zoo or a circus. They’re never inside a factory and that’s where you are; inside a factory. So how can you be a Bear?”

The Bear said, “But I am a Bear.”

The President said, “Not only are you a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat, but you are also very stubborn. So I’m going to prove it to you, once and for all, that you are not a Bear.”

The Bear said, “But I am a Bear.”

The President packed his vice presidents and the Bear into a car and drove to the zoo. The Bears in the zoo said the Bear was not a Bear, because if he were a Bear, he would be inside a cage.

The Bear said, “But I am a Bear.”

So they all left the zoo and drove to the nearest circus. “Is he a Bear?” the President asked the circus Bears.

The Bears said no. If he were a Bear he would be wearing a little hat with a striped ribbon holding onto a balloon and riding a bicycle.

The Bear said, “But I am a Bear.”

When the President and his vice presidents returned to the factory, they put the Bear to work on a big machine with a lot of other men. The Bear worked on the big machine for many, many months.

After a long, long time, the factory closed and all the workers went away. The Bear was the last one left. As he left the shut-down factory, he saw geese flying south and the leaves falling from the trees. Winter was coming, he thought. It was time to hibernate.

He found a cave and was about to enter when he stopped. “I can’t
go in a cave. I’m NOT a Bear. I’m a silly man who needs a shave and
wears a fur coat.”

As the days grew colder and the snow fell, the Bear sat shivering with cold. “I wish I were a Bear,” he thought.

Then suddenly he got up and walked through the deep snow toward the cave. Inside it was cozy and snug. The icy wind and cold, cold snow
couldn’t reach him here. He felt warm all over. He sank down on a bed of pine boughs and soon he was happily asleep and dreaming sweet dreams, just like all bears do, when they hibernate. So even though the FOREMAN and the GENERAL MANAGER and the THIRD VICE PRESIDENT and the SECOND VICE PRESIDENT and the FIRST VICE PRESIDENT and the PRESIDENT and the ZOO BEARS and the CIRCUS BEARS had said, he was a silly man who needed a shave and wore a fur coat, I don’t think he really believed it. Do you? No indeed, he knew he wasn’t a silly man, and he wasn’t a silly Bear either.