Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kilroy was here

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I’ve been doodling Kilroy for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know where I saw him first or why I drew him but he’s been a subject of my scribbling repertoire for a really long time.

The other day I was listening to the radio when Mr. Roboto by Styx came into the mix.  If you’re familiar with the lyrics of the song Mr. Roboto’s human name was Kilroy.

It got me to thinking . . . yep, it happens from time to time . . . thinking, that is.

Anyhoo . . . I started to wonder who is this Kilroy and why is he here and there and everywhere.

First off, let me clarify that the Styx Kilroy isn’t the same bald-headed Kilroy that is depicted with his nose hanging over a wall with the fingers of each hand on either side of his head.  That Kilroy is a fictitious character featured in the rock opera “Kilroy was Here”.  The gist is that he, Kilroy,  is a famous Rock Star who is sent to prison because of his music.  The jailhouse guards are all robots and he escapes from the detention center inside a robot costume . . . becoming Mr. Roboto.

But I digress . . . the Kilroy I am so curious about  . . .

There are many different theories as to who this hairless fellow with a prominent proboscis is.  He first appeared on the battle fronts of WWII but he was also spotted later in the Korean and Vietnam wars. 

The prevailing line of thought is that Kilroy was a shipyard worker from Halifax, Massachusetts.  During the war, his job was a rivet inspector.  Once he had counted a block of rivets he would put his check mark on each job he inspected, but he added "Kilroy Was Here" in king-size letters next to the check.

Normally, the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint.   But, because of the raging war, ships were leaving shipyards so fast that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of servicemen who boarded the troopships.

Those troops headed off to war didn’t know who this Kilroy person was, but what they did know is that he had "been there first."

Servicemen picked it up and soon the “Kilroy was here” (along with the drawing of the fellow with the long nose peering over the fence) message could be found on every front of the war . . . from Berlin to Tokyo.  As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti everywhere they landed, claiming it was already there when they arrived.

The little fellow that was there before anyone else had such an impact that he has been immortalized on the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.  It’s not obvious and you have to look for it.  It is tucked away in the background.  I saw it when my husband and I visited our nation's capital.  We both thought it was a very cool wau to commemorate the  . . . er, man . . . who had inspired so many.

Easy Tomato-Sausage Sauce

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Spicy Italian Sausages, Pierced Several Times with Toothpick
1 Large Onion, Finely Chopped
4 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 1/2 28-Ounce Cans Crushed Tomatoes with Added Puree
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
2 Teaspoons Dried Basil
2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausages, onion, and garlic. Sauté until onion begins to color, about 10 minutes. 

Add crushed tomatoes and herbs and bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until flavors blend and sausages are cooked through, stirring often, about 30 minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper. Slice sausages thinly, if desired.

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