Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
On other fronts, the Zuni Maritime Foundation, the organization dedicated to restoring the USS Zuni to her 1944 days is continuing, though at a slower pace than we would like. The economy is really putting a crimp in our ability to raise funds.
and last but not least we had a great Thanksgiving, my Daughter Angela, son Danny and Sister Judy showed up to a feast that as usual Regina outdid herself. Everything was delicious and the company was great.
Ange has recently moved back to the east coast from Oregon. Its good to have her back home again.
Friday, October 24, 2008
OK, now that Liam has been praised and oohed and aahed over, the point of this blog entry is thus: For nearly 4 decades, me and the wife have been married. We virtually have nothing in common except for the fact that we both love the state of Maine and our kids. In the early years of our marriage we lived in Virginia and I was a Confederate soldier reenactor. I'd drive off to a battle and sometimes drag her along, Regina was usually an unwilling spectator to these events.
Well the tables have turned the last few years, I wind up driving her to all kinds of stitching classes and seminars because she doesn't do turnpikes or bridges. Usually, I don't mind since I stay in the hotel room and relax watching the History Channel or Discovery Channel. Its nice because we don't have TV at home.
However, this past weekend, I think I should be awarded the Husband's version of the Medal of Honor. We drove to Rhinebeck, NY and attended a Sheep and Wool Festival. Yep, you read it correctly. Sheep, Alpaca, LLama's wool of all types, wine, cheese, apple cider, brownies tons of vendors and a very sore pair of legs.
Regina was all over the place. I parked on a bench for at least half the time. I did take the time to wander and witnessed a sheep judging event and visited several vendor tents, although nothing of interest (to me) was there. The wife bought me an interesting key ring (one of my goofier habits is to collect key rings of places I've been to). Then on the way back, our travel time was doubled by traffic heading back to the city.
At any rate, I woke up Monday morning with very tender legs since I did much more walking than I am used to of late. In November, I'm taking her to a Stitching retreat in Mystic, Connecticut. I need not tell you the ribbing I get from the guys at work; but hey, I guess that's a piece of a lifetime partnership.
Maybe I should start reenacting again and drive her nuts getting shot at and dying in every battle. The only thing is my girth would indicate I'm a rather well fed Confederate, so it wouldn't exactly be accurate.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Day 1 - Tuesday, well I made it. What a day! I will never ever forget it. Just 6 weeks ago, I worked on liberty street 5 blocks from the Trade Center. I was transferred up town to 299 Park Avenue. The entire episode is completely surreal. In the morning, I had crossed the Hudson on a ferry, Looked down river at the twin towers not giving them a second thought. On the way home 14 hours later, there were no twin towers and a huge plume of black smoke.
I called my colleagues in my old building. It was evacuated because they could not run any systems due to the dust and dirt in the air. They said visibility was only 3 feet and that several bodies were lying in the plaza. Uptown, my building is 4 miles away. We went into our highest alert stage and basically shut the building down; only allowing those who are regarded as essential into the building. Bottom line casualties (news reports) are 200 fire fighters, 35 cops, about 8 to 10,000 people in the trade center. Population was estimated to be 20,000 at the time of the attack. We should strike quick and hard, teach those b@stard$ that they can't take us down. I had to rally the staff and keep them going. They wanted to go home but I reminded them our tenants were looking to us as an example. Show those terrorists that your routine will go on inspite of their attacks. The Coast Guard did a great job. They commandeered all boats, tugs, barges and fireboats. Turned them into ferries to get people out of Manhattan. It was like Dunkirk all over again. I finally got across the river late in the evening. As I drove home, I passed a lit sign on the New Jersey Turnpike. It said "All bridges and tunnels into NYC closed until further notice due to terrorist attack. I was speechless, it felt like I was in the middle of a grade B horror movie.
I went to my refrigerant reclamation class last Tuesday at the Union hall. The week prior to the tragedy, jocularity abounded. Everyone came in this past Tuesday, not a word was spoken. Local 94 set up a widows and orphans fund for the 4 engineers killed; one was my friend that I told you about earlier. Our instructor had to go to a memorial service for his brother in law killed on the 104th floor. As of now 6,333 are missing, the total is still climbing. The President of France was here today and was stunned by what he saw. The other day, rescuers opened up a void and found several people arms linked in a circle, all dead. They say they are removing 4,000 body parts daily. They have two refrigerated tractor-trailers hauling them from the sites to morgues for ID purposes. A smoky haze hanging over lower Manhattan has replaced the once vigorous billowing smoke plume. But every day, we manage trudge back and forth to work. The stock exchange is up and running. Kudos to Con Edison for that. That in it was a victory, forget market performance. Heroics of all kinds happen daily here just to keep the city going. Those terrorists think they are tough? They have not felt the wrath of a pissed off New Yorker yet!!
USS NEW YORK LPH-21 Portions of this vessel were made from the beams of the Destroyed World Trade Center.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Personally, after I looked into her rise to the governorship of Alaska, I like what I see. Amongst the 4 candidates for Prez and Veep, she is the only one with executive experience. She also has demonstrated that she is a reform politician and will mow down a corrupt Republican as easily as a Democrat.
Those who decry her lack of international experience forget that her state lies within just a few miles of the waking Russian Bear. She lives with them over her shoulder every day.I'm glad to see she's on the ticket because we need someone with fiscal restraint and budget cutting experience. Something that Democrats and the current Republican administration seem to have forgotten about.
The one thing that bothers me is the emphasis on the hunting and the guns. I am not a believer in the second ammendment as the supreme court recently intrepreted it. I have problems with people having ready access to guns.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The constitution in my opinion was meant to be a concrete document against which the Supreme Court would apply their knowledge of the constitution to render a decision in a case. Yet most people seem to think it should be a "living" document and it should be changed at the whim of congress. That action would destroy the greatest democracy (constitutional republic) the world has ever seen.
I marvel at the terrible educational system in this country. I went to prep school in the 60's and college in the 70's. I loved the learning process. I talk to younger people today and I am horrified about how little they know about our government. It is difficult to hold a meaningful conversation with the younger crowd who think of the Viet Nam war as history when I lived through it. They don't know a unicameral body of legislators as opposed to a bicameral legislature. Separation of powers, three branches of the government. Very few young people get it these days.
Here's another one for you! Much is made over the concept of "A wall of separation between Church and state" in the constitution. But if you do your research, you'll discover that the phrase was first used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a Danbury congregation. The next reference is by Justice Hugo Black in 1947 when he wrote the dissenting opinion in a court case (Everson vs. Board of Education) in which he referred to Jefferesons letter.
It is this case that everyone refers to when they wax poetic about the Constitution being the source of the "wall of separation. In reality, all the constiution guarantees you is the right to worship whichever religion you choose, nothing else. The Ten Commandments are one of the oldest codes of law aside from Hammurabi's Code. They used to be in a lot of court rooms. Now, extremists say it is a violation of church and state when in reality it is simply showing respect for one of the earliest forms of codified law.
I'm also concerned about the recent Supreme Court decision in which they interpret the 2nd ammendment as each individual having the right to keep and bear arms irrespective of a "well regulated militia." I personally think that's wrong. Just what we need, more guns on the street; think Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.
I don't know really where I'm going with this except that I am upset at the direction the USA is going. We need to turn it around. The nation is polarized, no one cares about anything but themselves, we keep reducing the size of our Armed Forces but don't shrink our obligations in response, etc.
We need to drill for oil AND look for alternatives simultaneously. I can't stand the fact that certain elements of the society are holding us hostage and actually want us to be in debt to the OPEC nations. What kind of idiots are they?? Especially when ANWR has an area already set aside for drilling. All it is is congressional enmity and angst. They are playing stupid childish games with their country's future and it really bothers me.
OK rant turned off!!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Note: Obtained from Wikipedia. See below for fair use clause.
About two years ago, I discovered that HH was on Public Television and bought the series. It made me realize that there were a lot more books about him out there than I originally thought. So I went on a quest and bought all 11 novels by C.S. Forester and the Horatio Hornblower compendium also by the original author as well. I was doing very well reading the novels in their proper order until I recently went on Vacation to Rosehaven, Maryland. I had three novels to go and somehow picked the wrong one so I'm reading three Hornblowers simultaneously because they are scattered hither and yon. So right now, I'm reading Commodore Hornblower, Lord Hornblower and Admiral Hornblower depending on what section of the house I'm in at the time.
They really are great books. C.S. Forester is terrific at describing life at sea. He really knows his stuff. The nomenclature, navigational and sailing terms are right on. The photograph above is Gregory Peck as Horatio Hornblower in a 1951 Movie of the same name which I am using under the fair use doctrine as an aide in describing the film. It is primarily from the book "Beat To Quarters" but there are elements of two other books in the movie as well. I highly recommend it for a good yarn. This film most certainly can be credited with increasing my interest in this really great fictional character.
By the way, C.S. Forester wrote a book entitled "The Captain From Connecticut" which is also very good. Its from the American perspective during the same time period. The story revolves around a fictional 44 gun fast frigate; hint, hint....just like the USS Constitution that evades a Britsh Blockade squadron off the coast of Long Island. I found it very entertaining. Too bad, he only wrote one from the U.S. perspective.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
On Monday his parents wanted some time to themselves so we did our first babysitting stint for Liam. Boy can he talk........or at least verbalize might be a better world. He's a funny kid but he can wear you out. We took a bunch of photos of him with my new camera..
Tonight we'll be hosting a dinner for the close relatives because Liam and parents are flying back to Washington state tomorrow and our vacation will continue with a long weekend in Maryland on the western shore.
Should be fun.
Friday, July 25, 2008
We were grilled for two days about our energy policies, recycling, maintenance procedures, etc. I literally felt that I was being interrogated in a POW camp. The auditor wanted to put us in separate rooms and interview us over our garbage policies for goodness sake. I remarked to him that he forgot to bring his hi-intensity spot light.
I really really hate these things. Even after the audit is over, we have to wait a month to get the results then spend additional time correcting nonconformances or observations. I agree with the concept of 14001 about saving energy, making the world greener and safer and all that stuff. But doing it through the ISO 14001 organization is a terrific waste of time and money. We have real jobs too, and the auditors fail to understand that. At one point one of my coworkers actually said"You know these are really great ideas, are you going to supply us with the three extra people we need to perform these tasks?
I know it won't happen, but I really wish we could dump ISO 14001 and do it independently our own way. I'm confident we could make it work much better without those knuckleheads from Europe interfering with us. I don't know what they do there. They either have extra bodies to do ISO or they only have 40 hour work weeks. My work week usually averages about 55 plus 20 hours a week commuting on top of that.
I've vented enough, sheesh!!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
That plus the fact that the ridiculously high price of oil has serious eroded my disposable income has prompted me shift priorities. I tried taking the bus in for the last several months, but just cannot deal with it. I am much more comfortable in my own car and commuting with the ferry. If I sell any pens, I can use the proceeds to help fund the gas needed.
I will look for a local pen club where maybe I can pare down the collection.
I just completed one trade where I swapped a Delta Y2k Roller Ball and a Parker Sonnet Roller ball for a Mark Twain Conklin roller ball. My partner and I were equally happy with the exchange.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
She has a blog in which she wants to display her needlework so I'll be snapping some photos for her. I also had an after thought that I could use it to photograph some of my fountain pens. I hadn't thought of it before but when I post on one of my favorite boards, Pentrace.com.,some of the folks ask to see pictures of my pens. The older digital wasn't up to the task. This thing has a zoom lens on it. so now I can get some close-up shots of the nibs, clips, etc.
...........and to think a few years ago, I hated the thought of digital cameras.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I compare Morison to U.S. Nautical History as Bruce Catton is to U.S. Civil War History. They both wrote with an easy going style that made reading about history a pleasure instead of boring. I highly recommend his European discovery of America series to readers who may be curious about the age of discovery but are put off by their traditional concept of history as a boring series of dates to memorize. Morison will change your mind.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tyler's diary entries so intrigued me that I decided to pursue a history of his life which eventually was published in the Journal South of the Mountains. It was such a rewarding experience that I used Tyler as a basis for a presentation I did on tracing one's CivIl War ancestor. The lecture has been very well received over the years and is one of the highlights of my attempt to stay connected to the history of this country.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
We are close I'm told to getting a home port in NewPort News, Virginia. I've been disappointed too many times in the past though to get excited again. I'll wait and see. If it happens, no one will be happier than me; but, regarding the Z-T and a home port, I'm a real pessimist.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Oh the lap of luxury.
Its a little shorter than usual because the ship is in an inaccessible place at the moment. We hope to be sharing good news with you all in a couple of weeks.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
We try to split our summers between Boothbay and Lake George. I want to try a new shore resort I discovered by accident in Deale Maryland. Herrington Harbor. Beautiful place right on the Chesapeake Bay.
Those Koreans really know how to make good engines.Doesn't suprise me since they also make steamships. At any rate we had our first problem in 75K miles with it. The head gasket blew. They had to keep the car over night. The dealer was good enough to give me a loaner while the 99 Elantra was being repaired. I brought it home and gave it to Regina for use.
We had the car for an extra day. When we swapped cars ( it was a 2008 Elantra) she tells me, "I'm going to miss that car, it was really nice."Last year I put 25K in a special fund to purchase for her either an electric car or a hybrid, whichever car is more viable when the fund matures. We discussed it at length. I told her I can't liquidate the funds without taking a penalty. Now she's annoyed because she has to drive her once loved chariot for another three years before she can get a new car. (sigh).
Saturday, May 24, 2008
• Hurricane Katrina Search and rescue operations alone saved 24,135 lives from imminent danger, usually off the roofs of the victims’ homes as flood waters lapped at their feet. Coast Guardsmen “evacuated to safety” 9,409 patients from local hospitals. In total, 33,545 souls were saved. Seventy-six Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft took part in the rescues. They flew 1,817 sorties with a total flight time of 4,291.3 hours in the air. The air crews saved 12,535. A total of 42 cutters and 131 small boats also participated, with their crews rescuing 21,200. Over 5,000 Coast Guardsmen served in Katrina operations.
• Prinsendam Rescue A fire broke out on the Dutch cruise vessel Prinsendam off Ketchikan, Alaska on 4 October 1980. The Prinsendam was 130 miles from the nearest airstrip. The cruise ship’s captain ordered the ship abandoned and the passengers, many elderly, left the ship in the lifeboats. Coast Guard and Canadian helicopters and the cutters Boutwell, Mellon, and Woodrush responded in concert with other vessels in the area. The passenger vessel later capsized and sank. The rescue is particularly important because of the distance traveled by the rescuers, the coordination of independent organizations and the fact that all 520 passengers and crew and crew were rescued without loss of life or serious injury.
• Pendleton Rescue On 18 February 1952 during a severe "nor’easter" off the New England coast, the T-2 tankers SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton broke in half. BM1 Bernard C. Webber, coxswain of motor lifeboat CG-36500, from Station Chatham, Massachusetts, and his crew of three rescued the crew of the stricken tanker Pendleton, which had broken in half. Webber maneuvered the 36-footer under the Pendleton's stern with expert skill as the tanker's crew, trapped in the stern section, abandoned the remains of their ship on a Jacobs’s ladder. One by one, the men jumped into the water and then were pulled into the lifeboat. Webber and his crew saved 33 of the 34 Pendleton crewmen. Webber and entire crew were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroic actions. In all, U .S. Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and lifeboat stations, working under severe winter conditions, rescued and removed 62 persons from the foundering ships or from the water with a loss of only five lives. Five Coast Guardsmen earned the Gold Lifesaving Medal, four earned the Silver Lifesaving Medal, and 15 earned the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.
• Dorchester Rescue On 3 February 1943 the torpedoing of the transport Dorchester off the coast of Greenland saw cutters Comanche and Escanaba respond. The frigid water gave the survivors only minutes to live in the cold North Atlantic. With this in mind, the crew of Escanaba used a new rescue technique when pulling survivors from the water. This "retriever" technique used swimmers clad in wet suits to swim to victims in the water and secure a line to them so they could be hauled onto the ship. Escanaba saved 133 men (one died later) and Comanche saved 97.
• Joshua James and the Hull (MA) Life Saving Station (25-26 November 1888) Over the two day period Keeper Joshua James and his crew by their zealous and unswerving work rescued some twenty-eight people from five different vessels during a great storm. In addition to the number of individuals rescued, the number of vessels involved, the weather conditions, and the duration of their efforts, James and his crew conducted differing types of rescues which included the employment of the beach apparatus and rescue by boat. For their versatility, endurance, skill, and dedication, James and his crew were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
• The Priscilla Rescue On 18 August 1899, Surfman Rasmus S. Midgett, from the Gull Shoal Life-Saving Station (NC), was conducting a beach patrol on horseback and came upon the barkentine, Priscilla, which had run aground. Given his distance from the station, he determined to do what he could alone. Immediately, he ran as close to the wreck as he could and shouted instructions for the men to jump overboard one at a time as the waves receded. Obeying his instructions, the sailors leapt overboard. Midgett, seized each man and dragged him from the pursuing waves safely to the beach. In this manner, he rescued seven men. There were still three men on board who were too weak to get off the vessel. Midgett went into the water and carried each of them to the beach. For the ten lives he saved, Midgett was subsequently awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal.
• Keeper George N. Gray and the Charlotte (NY) Life Saving Station (14-15 December 1902) The crew received the Gold Lifesaving Medal in recognition of their rescue of 4 men and 1 woman from the wreck of the schooner John R. Noyes. They were engaged for more than a day and a night with little sleep, having been under oars from 11:30 PM of the 14th to 4:30 PM. of the 15th with the exception of about two hours. They pulled in a heavy seaway for nearly 60 miles and all were covered in ice and were frostbitten. In addition to the conditions and distances rowed, the keeper commandeered a train and sleds to move the beach cart and equipment through the deep snow drifts for the launching of the surfboat.
• Overland Rescue In 1897, eight whaling ships were trapped in the Arctic ice near Point Barrow, Alaska. Concerned that the 265 crewmen would starve during the winter, the whaling companies appealed to President William McKinley to send a relief expedition. USRC Bear sailed northward from Port Townsend, Washington in late November 1897. With no chance of the cutter pushing through the ice to Point Barrow, it was decided to put a party ashore and have them drive reindeer to Point Barrow. Lieutenant David H. Jarvis was placed in charge. He was joined by fellow officers Lieutenant Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Surgeon Samuel J. Call along with three other men. Using sleds pulled by dogs and reindeer, snowshoes, and skis, the men began the expedition on 16 December. They arrived at Point Barrow, 1,500 miles later, on 29 March 1898. The expedition managed to bring 382 reindeer to the whalers, having lost only 66. For their work, Bertholf, Call, and Jarvis received a gold medal from the United States Congress.
• Bermuda Sky Queen Rescue (14 October 1947) The American-owned flying boat Bermuda Sky Queen, carrying sixty-nine passengers was flying from Foynes, Ireland to Gander, Newfoundland. Gale force winds had slowed her progress and she was running low on fuel. Too far from Newfoundland and unable to make it back to Ireland, the captain decided to fly toward the cutter Bibb which was on Ocean Station Charlie in the North Atlantic. The plane’s captain decided to ditch and have his passengers and crew picked up by Bibb. In 30-foot seas, the transfer was both difficult and dangerous. Initially the Bibb’s captain tried to pass a line to the plane which taxied to the lee side of the cutter. A collision with the cutter ended this attempt to save the passengers. With worsening weather, a fifteen man rubber raft and a small boat were deployed from the ship. The raft was guided to the escape door of the aircraft. Passengers jumped into the raft which was then pulled to the boat. After rescuing 47 of the crew, worsening conditions and the approach of darkness forced the rescue’s suspension. By dawn, improved weather allowed the rescue to resume and the remaining passengers and crew were transferred to the Bibb. The rescue made headlines throughout the country and upon their arrival in Boston, Bibb and her crew received a hero’s welcome for having saved all those aboard the ditched Bermuda Sky Queen.
• 1937 Mississippi River Flood During the disastrous 1937 Mississippi River flood, the Coast Guard rescued a total of 43,853 persons who they “removed from perilous positions to places of safety". Additionally, they saved 11,313 head of livestock and furnished transportation for 72 persons in need of hospitalization. In all 674 Coast Guardsmen and 128 Coast Guard vessels and boats served in the relief operations. The immense scope of the operations actually eclipsed the number of persons that the Coast Guard rescued during the Hurricane Katrina operations.
• Chicamacomico (NC) Lifeboat Station (16 August 1918) On 16 August 1918 the British steamship SS Mirlo, proceeding northward along the Atlantic coast, struck a mine laid by U-117 about 1 mile off the Wimble Shoal buoy, abreast of the Chicamacomico Coast Guard Station. Her cargo of gasoline and refined oil spread over the sea and ignited. This converted the surface into a mass of flame and smoke. The matter of rescuing the crew was rendered extremely difficult owing to the heavy sea, quantities of wreckage everywhere, and the intense heat from the burning vessel and fuel. Despite these difficulties, Boatswain (L) John A. Midgett and the Chicamacomico Station crewmen forced their boat into this mass of fire and wreckage. After heroic efforts they rescued six men found clinging to a capsized boat. Midgett and his men then picked up two more boatloads (36 men) of the Mirlo’s crew and landed them through the heavy surf. The total count of those rescued was 42 persons. For their efforts, Midgett and his crew were each awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
• Carl von Paulsen Rescue LCDR Carl von Paulsen set the seaplane Arcturus in a heavy sea in January 1933 off Cape Canaveral and rescued a boy adrift in a skiff. The aircraft sustained so much damage during the open water landing that it could not take off. Ultimately, Arcturus washed onto the beach and all including the boy were saved. He was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for this rescue. The rescue made him famous and he appeared in the "Unsung Heroes" comic book in the mid-1930s.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Can you imagine a HILLBAMA debate with no moderator. Hillary's shrill voice will drown out Obama in a second!!
Teddy Roosevelt Where are you?
Sunday, April 13, 2008
What saddens me today is the fact that all the political idiots out there cannot or will not learn from the example set by those two extraordinary men. Picture this if you will, 4 years of bloody hand to hand combat between soldiers born in the same country. The fighting was so ferocious that only a week before at Sailor's Creek, the men were locked in combat so fierce that guns were not good enough to assuage their anger within. They fought so hard that the soldier bit each others throats, ears, noses. Rocks and stones were used in close quarter combat. By the end of the battle, 6,000 Confederate soldiers were captured along with 6 Confederate Generals.
Now go to April 9th, after a few days of notes passing between the lines, Lee sees the futility of continuing the struggle. His men though want to fight on. They think they found a way out to North Carolina where the Army of Northern Virginia can link up with Joe Johnston's Army of the South to continue the struggle. Realizing the end is at hand, Lee tells his men no, it is time to surrender and tell their sons to go home and become Americans. He stops an effort that would send Confederate soldiers in the hills to fight a guerilla war that would last for years to come.
When Lee meets Grant, they make small talk of the old days when they served in Mexico together. Grants terms are magnanimous. the men can go home they must remain until exchanged. They must lay down their arms and flags. Initally, Grant required the surrendered soldiers to turn in their horses with the rest of the equipment. However, Lee informed him that in the Confederate cavalry all mounts were personally supplied by the soldiers and the horses would be needed for farm work. Grant graciously allowed the horses to stay with their riders.
What I find so remarkable is that after this 4 year long titanic struggle and 620,000 deaths, we could end it all virtually in a few days with a handshake. Yet today, we have Democrats and Republicans at each others throats not willing to give an inch on anything, polarizing the entire country. What the heck is wrong with these idiots. Everyone of them should be thrown out of office with a "do-over" and we should start over again.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Reading them, I thought there were some pretty good stories in there. I've served in old buildings, and newer buildings. One building I helped take up out of the ground from scratch. I learned an awful lot in that building known locally as "The Green Granite Monster." At any rate, I've decided to put yet another project on my plate. I think I'll assemble all the interesting stories that have happened to me or around me over the years and put them in a collection. It might not be of interest to a lot of people. Maybe I'll do the vanity press thing and then sell it to fellow operating engineers.
It always bothered me that people as a general rule have no idea what it takes to make one of those big sky scrapers they work in, run. This narrative will give them a few hints.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Regina says, she's not worried about me retiring because I always keep myself busy. I do a lot of research for a variety of reasons. I'm always researching items since I am the Historian for the Zuni Maritime Foundation. We always need new material from former crew members. I'm also still interested in the American Civil War and have written and published some items related to that conflict as well.
I just need a break, I've commuted to NYC every work day for 30 years. Round trip commute is 4 hours a day, 3 and a half, if I make the connections right. I'm tired of it and need a break. I have a good job and a great boss which makes things easier to take for sure. But all my life, I've just wanted to concentrate on the study of U.S. History and never really had the chance to do it for an extended period of time. Sure I've done weekend conferences at libraries and hotels. I've presented on subjects such as the Confederate Battle Flag, Restoring local cemeteries, local Civil War units and even a Confederate unit or two. I've done presentations on tracing your Civil War ancestor using Casper Tyler of the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry as an example.
Lately, I've had to put my interest in the Civil War aside because the cause du jour, restoring the USS ZUNI is taking up a lot of my time. I don't mind because when the Zuni was the TAMAROA, I served on her in 1967-68. But truth to tell, if I was retired, I could get a lot more involved.
Retiring in New York presents a problem. It is extremely expensive to live in this state plus the fact that we have high taxes in our section of the country which will make the home hard to sell, I'm sure. Selling the house is part one of the problem. Part two is I don't know where to go. I love Maine and I love Virginia, very different places for sure. Maybe I'll split the difference and live in New Jersey or Delaware. At any rate, I need to start thinking about it more seriously. I want to enjoy whatever time is left.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
We both have an interest in the Emma C. Berry because she was berthed at Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach New Jersey for several years. Our Band master was a Great teacher by the name of Dayton Newton who was a skipper of a Maine charter boat called the Adventurer off the coast of Maine during the summer. Pete had a much closer relationship with him because Pete was actually in the school's band. I was in 2nd Company.
We are both irked at the fact that no matter what literature you read about the Emma C. Berry launched in 1866, there is never any mention of the Cadets who honed their nautical skills under Mr. Newton's Tutelage. I think its grossly unfair because who knows without our care under Mr. Newton she may have sunk to the bottom right there in New Jersey.
A few years after I was graduated from AFA, I was on vacation in Maine. I went into a Marine Antiques store and almost suffered cardiac arrest. There on a wall was the stern name plate of the Emma C. Berry. I wanted to purchase it in the worst way. As I was haggling with the guy behind the desk, I stopped for a moment and looked at him very carefully. He looked like a younger version of Mr. Newton. When I said that, a wide grin appeared and he said that he was Mr. Newton's son and was glad to make my acquaintance. Still wouldn't sell me the stern name plate though.
I have a small model of the ECB which I will build one of these days when I have the time. She means a lot to me because it was my first foray into ship preservation. I have since gone on and become the Historian for the Zuni Maritime Foundation. We are restoring the former USS ZUNI/USCGC TAMAROA to sailing condition so we can educate today's kids about America's role at sea and what may be available for them in the future.
At any rate, I hope more Farragut alumni see this and get aggravated enough to not be shy about the role the cadets played in helping the ECB survive into this century.
Friday, March 28, 2008
One summer we were fishing at Rockland Lake and Dad caught a Sunny ( a tiny one) He pulled it out of the water holding the line and gave the poor fish a "Oh Good Grief", kind of look. As he was getting ready to toss him back, a fellow from another boat asked us how the fishing was. Dad, held up the Sunny no bigger than the palm of his hand and said not a word. The guy just started laughing and said "Well, fish is fish!" I've never forgotten that. Another time, we went fishing with my daughter Angela. Her fishing outfit consisted of coveralls, sandals and a NY Yankees baseball cap. She caught a Sunny. I wanted to take a photo of her with the Sunny. She held the line with the poor fish dangling like a Christmas tree ornament. As I snapped the photo, the Sunny wiggled and Angela screamed, nearly jumping over the side. It really startled Dad whom I thought was going to have a heart attack.
Another fishing excursion I particularly remember was on a party boat with a bunch of guys from work at the IBM Building. We brought tons of food and cases upon cases of beer. I don't think we caught a thing but we sure had a blast.
The last time I went fishing was the summer my oldest son got married. He and I went on a party boat out of Captree. Now, I never win anything. I am usually very unlucky that way. When we shoved off, if you wanted to be elible to win a prize for the biggest fish, you contributed to a piece of the pot. I did for the heck of it thinking, "that's money I'll never see again." Some time later we cut engines and drifted. Everyone threw their lines overboard and within minutes I caught a huge, huge Fluke. It turned out to be the biggest fish of the day and I won the pot and a hat from the Fishing boat. That was another beautiful day; out with my son in the sun....And we were fishing pretty close to Fire Island Light House which was my last duty station in the Coast Guard.
So I love fshing but really I love the cammaradery that accompanies it and the outdoors, sea sir, sun ,etc. better.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Politicians are crazy, power mad individuals. My son had a great idea. He thinks we should all draw straws, Guy with the shortest straw is the next president for a year. That way you can do stuff and not care if people like you or not.
We held back 1,200.00 due them because the joints were terrible in some locations. Plus they scraped the daylights out of a new paint job that we had just done. Baseboard was loose, laminate joints in the bathroom weren't butted up together and on and on!! The other thing that really bothered me is that they had no idea how to miter a joint. So long story short they had to come back twice before I was satisfied and released the check.
The really odd thing about doing a home improvement project is the amount of trash it seems to generate. I don't mean the project itself, but the aftermath. We have no basement, nor do we have an attic. We have a lot of closet space and with all the kids gone, we have two extra rooms just crammed with stuff. We are throwing out bags and bags of trash every weekend. It seems to regenerate. Of course we have lived here for 30 years so we have accumulated a lot of items. Nevertheless, it is disturbing. The house seems to have taken on a mind of its own and continues to produce unwanted or unneeded trash at an alarming rate. I'm surprised the garbage men aren't getting hernias from lifting and dumping everything we throw out.
I looked up Wire Haired Terriers, Fox Terriers, Schnauzers, Pinschers,etc. No other dog could meet the quals that I want. The only bad part is that Rat Terriers easily shed. You can see the hair fly off when you just pet them. But that is just a minor annoyance.
We would try to find one at a shelter first. That's how we got Jack. He was due to be executed the day after we got him. Even though he passed on early, he still lived 6 years longer than he would have had we not found out about him.....
Friday, March 7, 2008
We should find out more today. The Doctor hasn't gone into details about treatment yet.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sometimes I wonder why I bought a house, but when the job is done, it seems worth it. We now have 6 full book cases of books in the living room and we still need more. We may wind up giving some books away. No room for them downstairs at least.
The one positive thing about doing projects like these is the little bonus' that you find while moving stuff around. The other day, I rediscovered an I-Pod wanna be that I lost a few years ago. Now that I'm stuck taking the bus to work every day again, it will come in handy.
We are also being courted by a trade school near Northrop-Grumman. They want to practice their skills on us.
And the beat goes on...................