Saturday, March 29, 2008

Internet Surely Does Shrink the world..........

A while back I posted a note about a project I worked on as a youngster, restoring the fishing smack Emma C. Berry. Recently, I received an email from Pete Smith who was a Cadet at Admiral Farragut Academy in the 50's. I attended in the 60's. Pete found me by doing a search for the Emma C. Berry ,and he stumbled across my short blog about her.

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


I love to go on fishing trips, but I do not necessarily think its a waste of time nor do I get upset if I catch nothing. I view fishing as a chance to get outdoors on the water for a few hours of respite. Its a great way to relax and just talk with your partner. I never go fishing alone. When Dad was alive, we would take out our licenses and fish every summer at Round Lake in Orange County. We rarely caught anything except maybe a Brown Trout or Sunnys and maybe a Perch or two. It was great just to sit back and relax and catch up with him.

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


Here we go again. More BS from the journalists. Its amazing, another poll has come out giving Obama the edge on likeability. Hillary is sliding down into oblivion. I don't have a horse in this race since I don't like anyone who is left but just the same I'm getting sick of all the mudslinging. I think the Democrats are going to be in a heap of trouble. Too much acrimony there. I was sure the Republicans were going to lose. Now I think they have a chance. But I don't like McCain either.

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've done a lot of work on the house lately. One thing we have discovered is that the quality of the home improvement industry out there is pretty bad. The last project involved putting down a carpet in the living room and dining room and a floating laminate floor in the kitchen, bathroom and vestibule-hallway.

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.


Though we are not ready for another dog, curiosity got me to looking on the Internet for choices down the road. We need a dog good with kids, cheerful disposition, easily trained, small (12 to 18 pounds) and doesn't shed. I looked at a variety of sites and pretty much concluded that I would want another Minature Rat Terrier.

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

Our Dog Jack

We have a 7 year old Rat Terrier named Jack. He's a very good natured dog, tail always wagging, a little goofy, but he loved people and would cuddle you at the drop of a hat, etc. Lately we noticed he hasn't been very hungry, so we brought him to the vet. Turns out that he is in the beginning stages of Renal failure. Jack spent overnight at the Vet's and was given some nutrients through an IV. This morning the vet told us that prognosis was guarded, that the renal failure was caused by Lyme Disease. I hope he pulls through. As much as a pain that he is, he is a very lovable dog and is always doing something to make us smile.

We should find out more today. The Doctor hasn't gone into details about treatment yet.