Sunday, April 27, 2008

HillBama and Lincoln Douglas Debates???

You've got to be kidding me! Today Hillary issued a challenge to Obama asking for a Lincoln Douglas style of debate (no moderator). What a joke! This entire campaign on all sides has been nothing but a farce to date. What are they going to do about energy, the dollar, immigration, Iraq??? So far none of the candidates has really taken a position on any of these issues. Its all been a popularity contest to drive polls one way or another. There is no meat to any of these knuckleheads, Democratic or Republican.

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

Appomattox Court House

Reading has always been a passion for me. It started early with books about the American Civil War. The earliest book I can recall reading was the book Jeb Stuart, The Last Cavalier by Burke Davis. It started me on a hobby that continues unabated through today. I am fascinated by the stories told by the soldiers themselves. Its better than any fiction out there. 143 years ago yesterday, Lee formally surrender his Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia ending a 4 year struggle that nearly tore this nation apart.

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.

Several years ago, when I started the quest to save the Tamaroa, I crossed paths with another group of maritime nuts. These folks were from the Fireboat John J. Harvey. The Harvey is based in New York City. Together we broadcast the plight of the Tamaroa. They were an early part of the effort to save the Tamaroa and consequently have earned a permant place in my heart for helping to save her.
Three folks in particular have helped us over the years. Huntley Gill, Tim Ivory and Jessica Dulong. The photo is of Jessica at the throttles of the Harvey in the bowels of the engine room. When we get the Zuni-Tamaroa in sailing condition, I want to invite these folks on board and help us sail the Zuni-Tam into New York harbor for fleet week some time in the future.
At any rate, the Harvey's website is Please visit it. Its a boat with a great history and a great crew. Try to get on board for one of their cruises on the Hudson (North) River. The display of their water cannon can only be described as awesome.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Looking Forward to August

The first week of August should be a fun one. My grandson Liam (and his parents) is coming back east to visit. He was born on Agust 11th so it will be fun to celebrate his first birthday. Here he is happily negotiating an attempt at eating Pea Soup. Cute kid!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Craziest Thing you ever ate was.............?

I thought about this when the other day, I was eating lunch with a friend in Manhattan. I had ordered a Tuna steak figuring I'd eat healthy. There was this green gunk on the top that I couldn't identify so I just took it to be a garnish of some sort. I put a spoonful of it in my mouth and immediately ceased to breathe. The Pain was instant and horrible, my breathing passages all swelled up, sweat literally popped out of the top of my head. I downed a nearby glass of wine in one swallow.

After I recovered, I asked the waiter what the heck it was. He had a good laugh and told me it was Wasabe Mustard.....and people actually like this stuff? You've got to be kidding. But then again you're talking to a guy who thinks Nick Tahou's garbage plate is an epicurean delight :-)

When my son, Sean, went to Rochester Institute of Technology, he invited me to try one. And yes it was quite a dish. A Garbage plate consists of a large bed of macaroni salad and homefries upon which is laid either hamburgers, cheeseburgers or hotdogs. On top of that there resides onions, ketchup, hot sauce or A-1 sauce. You can also have refried beans as a side. I know, I know...It does sound awful, but it actually did taste pretty good. The one I had was topped with two cheese burgers. So if you are in the Rochester area starve yourself for the day and go there in the evening. You will have a meal you'll never forget. They even have a website I've attached a photo for you curious folk.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Another Project For Me To Do!!

I've been in the building management industry for 30 years. 10 of those years was as an operating engineer in local 94 before I became a manager. During my time in Local 94, I kept diaries of what happened on my shifts. For years I didn't read them. then a few weeks ago, I started to page through them and found a lot of material. Some was funny, some was down right scary and yes..........some was pretty boring too.

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

Retirement, when should I do it?

I've been thinking a lot lately about retirement. I will be 60 in June. I'm toying with the idea of retiring at 62. I'm not interested in whether or not I get full benefits. I'm more interested in getting out of the rat race and and enjoying my last few years, how ever long that is.

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

Spring 08 Zuni Newsletter is out and away!!!

One of my illustrious duties with the Zuni Maritime Foundation is publishing the quarterly newsletter detailing the history and restoration of the Zuni-Tamaroa formerly the USS ZUNI and USCGC TAMAROA. The spring issue is out and has a couple of nice stories in it. Unfortunately, we were unable to report much done in the restoration part of the job because the ship is berthed about 6 boats out from a pier and is dangerous for old coots like us to get to. So this issue has no project news in it. Its all historical based on stories that the crew told me based on their personal experiences.

Its neat little newsletter and is called the "MIGHTY Z" Tribune. Mighty Z was her Navy nickname and it stuck through her Coast Guard career as well. If you would like to see them you can check the archives at