Monday, December 28, 2009


We had a great Christmas with the family together except Angela was not able to make it. Liam has grown quite a bit and we saw our first granddaughter Piper for the first time. She is a very placid child. Liam proceeded to play train wreck with a set of Brio Trains we have passed down to him from our kids. We gave our customary annual wood stove donation to an Indian reservation out west and I received a nice Pilot 823 Fountain Pen from Regina.

Above is a family shot of the clan during Christmas and below is a shot of some Christmas decorations. The stars were made by my 2nd Cousin Renata Clausenitzer. Thle last shot is of me and my granddaughter Piper. Its the first time we saw her in person.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


As you can see by the date, its been a long time since I have posted. Aside from being very busy, I haven't felt all that well. Had a bad Gout attack followed by a hospital stay followed by yet another Gout attack. Needless to say I haven't been in the greatest frame of mind recently. However, I have been to see a Rheumatology specialist and if he is right. my troubles may be subsiding ( pun intended for you fellow gout sufferers) a bit down the road.One thing that has bouyed my spirits recently (though dimmed my wife's) is the latest cap I received in the mail. She hates my cap collection but take a gander at this baby:

It is the cap of the USS NEW YORK, recently commissioned right here in NYC. She was docked on the west side up a couple of slips from the Intrepid. Since I was one of those deemed essential I had to stay throughout the week after the attack and do whatever was necessary to keep my building up and running. The USS NEW YORK has about 7.5 tons of steel in her from the Trade Center so every time I wear the hat it is a tribute to the victims, first responders, Navy and my fellow building managers, engineers and service employees who stayed behind to do what must be done.
This old Coastie now has three Navy caps. One from the USS LOUISIANA my oldest son's boat, USS EARLE my Dad's ship and now USS NEW YORK.
It's been a rough couple of weeks, I can't wait to get back to work and get the year overwith to start the new one off on a different foot :-).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The law of Averages is..............

catching up with me.
I am a fountain pen freak and for years I have been one of the lucky ones. I never spilt any ink nor did I get any on my clothes. I seemed to be able to do everything perfect relative to filling up fountain pens. All I got was the occasional ink stain on my hands or fingers. THEN it happened. Within the last week, I have managed to ruin two T shirts, two dress shirts and a bed spread as well as get some ink one a wooden floor. I'm sure my poor wife is ready to kill me. I can't understand it. Although I suspect I'm just not as careful as I usually am. Its been an exhausting couple of weeks span, between long hours at work and doing not for profit stuff on the weekends 4 hour RT commutes, I can hardly see straight. Plus I've been hit with gout and arthritis attacks of late so my concentration is a little off. In fact, I have one of those Fisher Mars Space Pens. I've started using it for the last couple of days to stay away from Fountain pens. Tomorrow I have to take the car to the shop, after that the rest of the weekend I will relax and nap and start getting some semblance of normalcy back to my life.......I hope! :-)
No longer ink free, I am...........

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Four Legs Good Tag Sale

A Not For profit started by my sister and daughter, Four Legs Good, is having a tag sale today at Immaculate Conception Church on South Main Street in Stony Point, NY. The NFP's purpose is to do a TNR program (Trap, Neuter, Release) to help control the population of Feral cats in Rockland County in a humane way. So if you want to help, stop by from 10AM to 3 PM today and help contribute. Their website is listed under my favorites.


PS We did really well. We took in over 1,000.00 which means we can TNR 22 cats. :-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Everything's Happening at once!!!!!

A lot of things are happening all at once. We’re very busy on the job getting ready for an ISO audit, I resigned my position as newsletter editor for the NFP I’m on because I do not have the time to do it justice, though I intend to stay peripherally involved. Its my grandson Liam’s 2 year old birthday tomorrow and I started donating to my sister’s and daughters NFP called four Legs Good in which they raise money to trap, neuter and return feral cats to the wild.

Also we’re taking my sister out on the 22nd for her birthday, let’s see what else is going on? I signed over my Mom’s old Toyota to Daniel. Now he’s paying the insurance, yippee……….

I am already looking forward to next years vacation in Maryland; Judi and Janet will be coming down with us. We have a two bedroom suite this time in the same place; Herrington Harbour Inn.

No wonder I’m exhausted on the weekends, in between all this other stuff I work 55 hours a week and commute 4 hours a day. Such is life!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Simple Pleasures - - Observing a Pigeon

The other day, I had a really bad work day. I work in the facilities department of a New York midtown office tower. My assistant is on vacation and my boss spent most of her time across town so I was essentially alone. Oh, and also the Chief Engineer was on vacation so suffice it to say, I was wearing a lot of hats. People were hot or cold, or water fountains were leaking, the Fire Department shows up for a surprise inspection, leasing agents wanted to tour vacant floors………..on top of all that I had around three meetings that day.

When quitting time came, I was out of the building like a shot. I caught the cross town bus then the ferry to Weehawken. Here is where simple pleasures come in. The seats on the ferry are aligned fore and aft not athwart ships. I was sitting on the port side looking aft when I see a pigeon strutting down the aisle purposefully heading for the bow. As he came toward me, I pulled my feet back and he continued his trek only to come across people who had legs crossed and extended in the aisles. The pigeon tried numerous paths to get around them but was not successful.

Finally, he turned around and walked back toward the stern. He looked up at me; whereupon I responded, “Don’t look at me like that, I moved my feet” People around me looked up and started smiling at the absurdness of it all. Then the bird headed to the stern. Not satisfied, he now took flight toward the bow (within the passenger compartment.) He had to beat those wings a little harder to get there since the Ferry was already moving at 8 or 10 knots.

Then, when he reached the bow, our gray pigeon, suddenly turned, landed near me and walked to the stern again where he took flight out of the rear door. The whole episode was pretty entertaining. It was good to see complete strangers laughing over the antics of the bird.

He came back the next day. But I think his comic days are over. He did a strut down one side of the boat then flew out the stern door again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Walmart wants to Pave over the Wilderness Battlefield

I wrote a letter to Walmart today. Short and sweet. It goes like this: " It has been brought to my attention that Walmart intends to build a super store on the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. As a former National Park Ranger, as a Veteran and as a student of history, I find this action to be absolutely incredible. Please move elsewhere, you are utterly destroying American history with such a sensless act. I urge you to reconsider and move your plans to build to another location. Those battlefields have already suffered way too much, their presence destroyed by America's corporate greed."

I am stunned that something like this could happen. I once had a lot of respect for Virginians and their love of their state. I lived there for seven years. In fact for some of those years I worked as an Interpretive Specialist for the National Park Service at Fredricksburg.The Wilderness was the first time that Grant met Lee in May of 1864. He soon would discover what a fighter Lee was. The battle pretty much represents the beginning of the sweep known as the Overland campaign to Petersburg where 60,000 soldiers fell in about 6 weeks of horrific fighting. And Walmart wants you to trod concrete aisles on this sacred ground.

This much I know, if they win the fight to build there, #1 I will not visit Virginia anymore and #2 I will not purchase any more items at Walmart.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Press Release Zuni Tam found a home

N E W S F L A S H !
The City Council of Portsmouth, VA authorized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zuni Maritime Foundation, Inc., concerning a Berthing Agreement for the former United States Navy-United States Coast Guard Vessel "ZUNI-TAMAROA" at the City’s North Landing. The City will provide berthing space to the ZUNI-TAMAROA at no cost and has welcomed her to become a part of their historic waterfront on the Elizabeth River.
This is the news and the situation that we have been working toward for these past seven years! Having this official, permanent, physical location to call our own will finally give us the ability to apply for the gifts and grants that we are eligible to apply for from federal and state governments. We will also be sending out letters to possible corporate sponsors requesting their support.
It is anticipated that the ship will arrive at her new home port within the next 12 months, after improvements are made to the North Landing seawall and the ship completes her ship yard period.
The location of the ship’s berth will be 0 Water Street, Portsmouth, VA 23705.
The ZUNI-TAMAROA is currently berthed at Pier 12N, Naval Amphibious Base, Little, Creek, VA. Please have a look at the photos showing some of the great work that has been going on!
NOW MORE THAN EVER, things are rolling very well in the right direction and we need your financial and volunteer support!!
Please contact us at 804-273-0247 or if you are able to volunteer your time and talent.
Please send your tax exempt gift to: The Zuni Maritime Foundation, P. O. Box 28042, Richmond, VA 23228, OR you can now donate directly via the ZMF website at
Thank you!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Point Lookout Maryland

While on vacation, I went to Point Lookout in Maryland. It was the location of a Confederate POW camp. Took a very sobering walk around the prison. It is hard to picture 50,000 souls living in a tent city. There were over 3,000 deaths at the prison. The top photo is of monument commerating all those who died at Point Lookout. Next is the cooking pot that fed the prisoners. The third one is of the monument showing all those who died by state. The one immediately below is of memorial bricks placed at the monument and the last one is of the dead line. If a prisoner walked past that white stake, he was shot, no questions asked.

Some day, If it is possible, I would also like to visit Andersonville in Georgia, where Union Civil War soldiers were kept. I've already visited the graves of those in the prison at Elmira, NY.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ZUNI TAMAROA has a new home!!!!

At a meeting last night in Portsmouth, Virginia, a vote was taken and a memorandum of understanding was accepted between the Zuni Maritime Foundation and the City of Portsmouth. In other words, we have our own home port now. Restoring her can begin in earnest. More to follow.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Piper Ann Doherty

What a crew?

Piper Ann looks adorable here. Just wait 17 years. :-)

Welcome to the world. My first granddaughter, second grandchild. Born on June 20, 2009 - 19.75 inches long and 7 lbs.11 oz. Hope to have photos soon to post for everyone to see.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

North Beach, Maryland

A view of the bay (up)

The breakwater leading into the Marina (up)

We are thoroughly enjoying our stay at Herrington harbour. Reading on the beach and watching the sailboats glide by. Thankfully the weather is much better than predicted. Food is good, they have a great coffee bar down here. It serves healthy meals except for the desert coffees.
Our rooms (up)

We went antiquing and I found a nice @arker 61 capillary fountain pen. Regina found some nice silverware. We're still searching for the one of a kind odd ball piece of furniture she is always on the prowl for. I like it here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

NEW PC>>>>>>>>>>>YAY!!!!!

We bought a new PC. Its a custom built job and is terrific. I have a couple of issues with it; but I suppose I'll get used to it. First it takes a little longer to boot up then I would like. Second it was loaded with a new version of windows 2007 I believe. It is a real pain to navigate around in. The name of the place that built it for me is EagleTech. Nice people good price. Its smart looking all black tower with a flat screen monitor 250 gig hard drive.
When you check the property tab its hilarious, we imported our 20 gigs worth of data onto the new computer. The pie chart shows a very thin sliver of space being used. We'll probably have this one for 10 years too!!
I just have to check the boot up issue, otherwise all is right with the world again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quick Note About the Zuni Tam

Received a call from my old shipmate Rich Cunningham yesterday. We're all on pins and needles waiting to see if a certain city in Virginia is interested in negotiating with us for docking space. A group of city employees visited the ship yesterday and so far we haven't heard anything. Right now I'm full of angst!!! Arrrggghhh!!

My home PC committed suicide so I can't keep up with what's going on from home. We'll purchase a new one this weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

MEMORIAL DAY, John Haring and the 6th New York Heavy Artillery

Around Memorial Day each year, I think of a few people, veterans all who have had an impact on my life. They are my father William Doherty a Navy Vet, Vin Accardi my father- in- law an Army vet and a close friend Roger Carey, also an Army vet. But there is one other who is in my thoughts. A young soldier named John Haring who died as a result of wounds sustained in the Spotsylvania campaign during our Civil War.

Like most people, certain things define one’s attitudes; for me, I am both a Veteran and a Civil War freak. On Memorial Day, 1996, an event occurred which motivated both of those elements within me. My oldest son and I will be setting it right. Sean was at the time a member of the North Rockland Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. The week before Memorial Day, he and his fellow cadets set about placing American flags on the graves of all Veterans at Mount Repose in Haverstraw, N.Y.

On Memorial day, we arrived at the Cemetery a little early for the ceremony so I meandered among the graves, my curiosity aroused. After a couple of minutes, I noticed a well-worn marker, around the top of which read “He died for his Country." Beneath that was a worn carving of an American Flag under which was the name John H. Haring. The date of death was June 19, 1864. I looked for but did not see a G.A.R. marker. Moreover, there was no American flag placed on the grave. A transgression that Sean will not soon forget. I was upset that his grave was overlooked.

Immediately, we searched for an additional flag. With none to be found, we came upon a grave with two flags on it. I hope the veteran didn’t mind, but the spare flag made its way to Haring’s grave. After all, it was to the memory of Union soldiers killed in the Civil War that we owe the existence of Memorial Day.

My depth of feeling for the Civil War soldier (North and South) is well known by my family and friends. As the saying goes, I “Still hear the guns." Forgetting John Haring, while insignificant on the surface, started me on a quest to learn all I could about the man. It was not just overlooking Haring that bothered me, but what about the thousands of soldiers like him.?

Sean and I set out for the library on June 8, 1996 and started scanning the 1860 Census for Rockland County. We went through about sixty pages with no results. Later on that day, I continued the quest by reading through four years worth of the Rockland County Messenger. I found a few references to Harings, including one of a John Haring being assigned to Grand Jury duty in May of 1861. Was this our man? I thought so, except for the fact that this Haring was listed from Orangetown. If he was my Haring at Mount Repose, why was he buried in Haverstraw?

June 15th ---- the search continues. I went to the Historical Society of Rockland County to see if they could help. Deep in my heart, I knew he was a Union soldier, but I had no definite proof. Within minutes of my arrival, I found it. John Haring was listed as a member of the 6th Heavy Artillery in Cole’s 1884 History of Rockland County. He enlisted in August of 1862 and is listed as having died from wounds June 22, 1864 (his grave says June 19, 1864).

Persistence has its rewards. We went back to the New City Library and continued looking through the 1860 census records. About 160 pages later, we found the Haring family. John H. Haring was the second eldest of seven children. Son of Luke and Mary Haring, he is listed at the age of 17 with the occupation of mason.

We wrote the National Archives to get a copy of John Haring’s Army record’s. In the meantime we will pour through all the local resources including the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. It should be fascinating to learn about some of the engagements the 6th Heavies and our John Haring (yes, I adopted him, whether he likes it or not) participated in.

It is a shame that the epitaph on his grave is worn off. It may have given me some clues to go by. His headstone is made of marble ( a soft stone and is on a hill facing westerly winds). Even the top inscription “He died for his country” is difficult to read. There is only one other tombstone in the cemetery like it. The Civil War gravestone of John Doyle was identical (he died on June 15, 1864). Doyle’s headstone is sheltered so the flag and top inscription are easily discernable on his. I suppose restoring or replacing it is out of the question ( are any of Haring’s ancestors reading this?) Perhaps we can at least see to it that a G.A.R. marker be placed there. Coincidentally, in my most recent issue of the North-South Civil War Trader there was a letter from a Jim Leavenworth who has one and would like to see it properly used. I immediately placed a phone call to him but he was on vacation. I started lobbying with my local Rockland County Civil War Round Table to help as well.

Below are the facts I have as of June 15, 1996, 1860 Census:
Haring, John H.
Age: 17
Occupation: Mason
Family of 9: 6 brothers and sisters:
Father Luke, age 45
Mother Mary, age 40
Sister Emallie?( hard to read), age 19
Sister Caroline, age 15
Sister Catherine, age 12
Brother James, age 11
Brother William, age 7
Brother Charles, age 6

Buried at Mount Repose Cemetery:
Headstone inscribed “He died for his country”
“Son of Luke and Mary Haring”
“Aged 21 Years”
Can’t read epitaph
“Died June 19, 1864”

There is no mention on the stone of the 6th Heavies, which to me is curious, considering that he died while a member of the unit.

During my search for John Haring’s past, a series of eerie events began to unfold. While searching the census for information on Haring, I ran across the household of John Coleman, a future Sergeant in the 95th New York Infantry. I wrote an article about the 95th in our local Historical Society’s Journal and I recalled the name. How quaint, I thought, as Coleman’s and Haring’s pasts brushed together ever so slightly.

June 17, 1996, We called the National Archives for the procedure to obtain Haring’s army record. They will send us forms to fill out and for ten dollars we will have Haring’s record. We received the form NATF 80 on June 24th.

While we were awaiting the results from the National Archives, it was decided to start looking into the history of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery, John Haring’s unit. I called the Assistant Director of Special Collections at West Point, Mr. Alan Aimone and made an appointment with him.

Approximately seven hours was spent pouring through the O.R. gleaning every little known fact about the 6th Heavies. Initially they were mustered in as the 135th New York Volunteers of Infantry and were stationed at Baltimore then Harper’s Ferry as garrison troops. Eventually they were redesignated the 6th New York Heavy Artillery. The Heavies had a relatively easy time of it until July, 1863 when they were ordered to Gettysburg to help bury the dead. The 6th Heavies joined the army of the Potomac in time for the Bristoe and Mine Run campaigns in the fall, 1863. In May, 1864 when the slumbering armies awoke to begin another spring campaign, the 6th Heavies were designated as foot artillery (a fancy name for conversion to infantryman). They engaged into some horrific fighting, losing over 400 members of the regiment, including my John Haring,(he was wounded in the thigh on May 19, 1864 and died over a month later in late June of complications) by the war’s end.

Waiting for the records made me crazy. I had to keep looking for something but I didn’t know what to do. Finally, I went back to the Mount Repose Cemetery for another look. You see I thought I’d just sit down by Haring’s plot, meditate and...... Within a few minutes, I found the graves of Luke and Mary Haring, John’s parents.

What happened next? My mind and my gaze began to wander. Suddenly, shivers ran down my spine and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up; for two plots to the right was the grave of John Coleman, my friend from the 95th. It scared the hell out of me! Not only because of my previous encounters with Coleman while searching for Haring’s past, but because I only have one item from the 95th Regiment in my collection. It happens to be John Coleman’s Certificate of Promotion to First Sergeant before Petersburg on August 12, 1864.

Finally on August 10, 1996 I received his records. But that was not enough! I had to find out what if any relationship there was between Coleman and Haring. Again, I wrote to the Archives, this time for Coleman’s pension records. September 16, 1996, John Coleman’s pension file arrives! And, good grief, it’s not a coincidence! His wife is Catherine Haring, John’s sister. I have a connection! John Coleman is an in-law to the Harings. I wonder if Haring knew John Coleman before he was killed? All this time, I knew somehow, there was a connection between those two “soldiers of the Union.” Who would have ever thought that the head stone of a soldier in the 6th New York Heavy Artillery could be linked with a certificate of promotion for a soldier in the 95th Infantry?

We are close to the end. Today the G.A.R. marker is now by Haring’s headstone forever identifying him as a Civil War Veteran. Sean’s NJROTC instructor, Commander Ross gave a nice presentation and a local re-enactor group, the 40th New York attended firing a volley over John’s grave.. I suppose their souls are at rest now, John Haring has his marker and with any luck, John Coleman will continue to turn up in my life. This bit of research has whetted the appetite. I have already started a paper on Rockland County in the Civil War. With some luck it may amount to something in the future.

Thanks to the North South Civil War Trader and fellow NSCWT subscriber Jim Leavenworth, Haring’s grave will be decorated as it deserves. I had no idea who John Haring was. This was not a grandiose scheme of any kind. It was simply one veteran making sure that the deeds of a soldier who was not even fortunate enough to become a veteran, ( in other words, stay alive) would be remembered by future generations.

Closing this brief chapter on Haring is an encapsulation of his army career:

Haring, John H. Age 21; Enrolled at Haverstraw, August 25, 1862; Mustered in at Fort McHenry, December 11, 1862 for three years. Listed as present for duty from January, 1863 to June, 1864. In Sept./Oct., 1863 he was charged 20 cents for a cartridge box belt and plate. In December, 1863 he was charged 44 cents for a canteen. January/February, 1864 on detached service then recalled to the regiment; wounded in the thigh near Spotsylvania on May 19, 1864. Died June 22, 1864 at Carver U.S. General Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Personal effects listed were: 1 cap, 1 Uniform coat, 1 pair flannel drawers, 1 flannel shirt, 1 pair socks, 1 portfolio and a handkerchief. His personal effects were signed for by his father Luke Haring and his body transported home for burial at Mt. Repose.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Engravably Yours........

Yestersay I had some extra cash burning a hole in my pockets so I decided to browse my favorite pen store, Engravably Yours, in Spring Valley, NY. I saw and tried out as new Cross Fountain Pen which was really nice. Its called the C series and has a 14K gold rhodium plated nib on it. The section is rubberized so its easy to hold on to and the cap can be posted easily because it snaps on the rear of the barrel.

If you're a fountain pen nut and live in the area, I would strongly suggest that you visit these guys. They have a terrific selection of pens in all price ranges and they're just darn nice folks too. Norman and Marilyn Stillman own the shop. They are ably assisted by a gang they simply call the "Girls". They're not just pens either. They carry several lines of jewelry (Norman has an uncanny knack of picking out pins and pendants that my daughter adores) and watches as well. You might even get a discount if you mention my name, or you might get hit too :-).

At any rate, if you're stuck trying to give a gift for someone, they should be on your list. Engravably Yours is the corner store in the Spring Valley Market Place in Spring Valley, NY. They are right off of exit 14, New York State Thruway. Bear right and you're there. They have a website:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Every once in a while......................

Along comes a photo that knocks your socks off. Such is the case with this one. I love photography and I take pictures wherever we go on vacation. I have photographed Maine vacation spots, Pennsylvania, Maryland, upstate New York, Cape Cod, Civil War battlefields, Islands in Vermont and the western shore of Maryland. I've got a photo record of my 4 years in the Coast Guard and we have numerous volumes of photos of the kids as they grew up. There are some great photos in that collection, but this one out does them all.

Initially I resisted the digital camera but have come to really appreciate it. This photo is priceless. It shows the obvious love and affection between my grandson Liam, and his father Sean. Many thanks to Christina for catching this moment on film. It is also our desktop on our computer at home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Moh's Surgery Done!

I had an interesting procedure done to me the other day. A few weeks ago, I noticed a red spot on my skin that would not go away or diminish with the usual assortment of oils & creams. I went to the dermatologist who diagnosed it as Squamous Cell Carcinoma. It was not a surprise considering that my Mom had various bouts with skin cancer during her life. But hearing the Big "C" associated with you is nonetheless startling.
At any rate, the biopsy confirmed it and they froze it which got the top layer off. The surgeon said that they still needed to cut it out and that the Moh's procedure was the best. It was kind of interesting to say the least. They first numbed the area then took a layer off and put it under the microscope. It took about an hour to confirm yea or nay if they got all the cancer. If they did find. If not you went in for another slice taken, and so on. I was lucky, the got all mine on the first try. I have to go back to remove the stitches and do a six month check up. If everything is fine, I have to do an annual check up. She (the surgeon) said it was caused by exposure to the sun. That's odd to me since I hate the sun and stay away from it as often as possible, not to mention the fact that I've had an office job for the last 33 years. The most sun exposure I ever had was during my time in the Coast Guard when I worked outdoors all the time. But that was almost 50 years ago.
Well now I will look devilishly hansome with a 2 inch scar on my left cheek. Will just need an eye patch to complete the look. :-)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day

We celebrated Mother's Day a day early this year. My oldest and youngest kids chipped in to purchase tickets to watch an acrobatic/dance/comedy team called Galumpha up at SUNY New Paltz where my daughter lives. It was really a lot of fun and the campus at New Paltz looked very nice. Galumpha reminded me a lot of the old show on Broadway, Mummenchantz. If you ever see them slated for an area near you, I highly recommend them.

Before the show, we went to a restaurant in New Paltz called La Stazion. It was an Italian restaurant that was housed in an old rail road station depot. Nice decor and great food. Definitely a repeat adventure when we need to celebrate something else. Especially because due to time restraints we couldn't hold one of our 3 hour marathon gabby feasts which we have been known to do on many occasions.

Mom is anxiously awaiting her Mother's Day present from the West Coast Doherty's. Its going to be a drawing for her from Liam our grandchild. She'll probably have a 300.00 frame constructed for a crayon drawing :-)
On a side note, I like the area enough to consider retiring there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Washington Redskins

My favorite sports team of all time is the Washington Redskins. My affection for the team was a gradual affair. As a college student in Virginia, they were the only local pro team so if you watched football, they were “THE” team. The more I watched them compete, the more I liked them. This was the “future is now era” with George Allen. He traded away a ton of first round draft choices to get some veterans who knew how to win and play hard on the field. The names that I recall are now legendary there was Ron McDole, Chris Hanberger, Sonny Jurgenson, Bill Brundige, Billy Kilmer, Kenny Houston Charlie Taylor, Larry Brown and on and on. What a team. Even if they lost, they fought like furies til the bitter end. You couldn’t help but love these guys.

Then of course there was the rivalries that grew out of the NFC Eastern Division. All the team seemed to play harder when they played amongst their own division and great rivalries developed. There pretty much was the Redskins vs. everyone else. But within that, you had the Redskins vs. the Giants, Giants vs. Philly, Giants Vs. Dallas, Dallas vs. the Redskins. The Cardinals never had a smash mouth rival in the NFC East which may explain why they are now on the west coast.

As the years went by, the rivalries stayed much the same, but the ‘Skins got a new coach in 81 by the name of Joe Gibbs who made the Redskins a house hold word. He won the Super Bowl three times with three separate quarterbacks; Joe Theisman, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien. Those were great years; then Joe Gibbs retired and the team tanked for quite a while. They continued to try hard, but they had issues with several head coaching changes then a new owner who is not exactly Mr. Popularity.

I particularly didn’t like the way he handled the quarterback situation this off season. Jason Campbell has been the starter for 4 years. Last year the new coach installed the West Coast offense and Jason was getting used to it and did well the first half of the season. Trouble is that the offensive line did not protect him very well and the long and short of it was that they lost 4 out of their last 5 games. In the off season the owner decided to pursue The Denver quarterback and when that didn’t pan out he went after the number one draft pick in this year’s draft. That didn’t work either so Campbell is still the starter. Personally, if I was Campbell, I’d be really p.o.ed but he has shown composure. He’s working harder so maybe this year things will get better?? Maybe because the ‘Skins didn’t do anything this off season to improve their offensive line.
Over the years, my kids also became Redskin's fans and occasionally when I was able to scarf up some tickets to Giants Stadium years ago, I would bring one of them to the game. Usually, it was a night game and cold as heck, but they were the Redskins and we got to see them play in person so it was worth it to me.

But one of the big reasons why, I will never ever stop being a Redskin’s fan is because rooting for them is quite literally the last tenuous connection I have with the Commonwealth of Virginia. I really loved it there and miss it a lot. Still rooting for the Redskins keeps a little bit of that Virginia soul within me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


.......or so I'd like to think. I have my own opinion but let's just say things are getting very depressing around work. We are losing dozens of employees every day being laid off by the vagaries of the Economy or Bush or Obama, choose your Devil! I ride the cross town bus every morning with a half dozen or so fellow employees. Every day we do a quick survey to see if anyone got let go the previous day. So far our little bunch is intact.
I'll bet none of the idiots that caused this crisis in the first place feel this kind of angst. They probably all got golden parachutes and are lazing about. The rest of us wonder each day what's coming around the bend.
I wanted to retire early. Now it looks like I'll have to wait a couple more years and hope I make some money back that I lost. One day at a time...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In the Electric Mist Film based on a book by James Lee Burke

Well finally at long last the movie was released and I caught it at Blockbusters. I don't know how it will do. But what I'm thinking is that he is such a great writer that the average JLB fan would be seriously miffed if they cut out too much of the book for a film. Therefore his work would translate better to a miniseries. James Lee Burke fans are a fierce lot and don't like their characters messed with. On the other hand the way the movie was edited, there were a couple of gaps that if you hadn't read the book would have been hard to follow.

Tommy Lee Jones did a great job as Dave Robicheaux. The bait shop, Alafair, Tripod, Batiste everybody was there except Clete who wasn't in the book anyway.

For my part I loved the movie. My favorite scenes were when Dave spoke to the ghost of John Bell Hood. They did use some of JLB's prose as an overlay, but they should have used more in my opinion. That would have really set the mood.
P.S. One thing I find amusing is that I purchased a Dave Robicheaux Bait Shop baseball cap which I wear fairly regularly. You can get one at I can tell that there are a fair number of James Lee Burke readers out there by the chuckles and smiles I get as people approach me and read what is embroidered on the cap.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I HATE COMPUTERS @$%^^&*^#%^

Of course it it doesn't help that mine is almost 10 years old. I can't wait til we scrounge up enough money for a new one. A simple normal act this weekend turned my wife into not a nice person. Everything I did was wrong because, god forbid, I got a note that my firewall protection expired. I use CA products. They've been good to me for the last couple of versions. So I downloaded it again. Almost immediately I had problems. I went nuts trouble shooting both our Optimum on line account and connection. Did the pings and the pings were returned. I called them up to make sure I did everything right. They assured me I did.
They also told me to hang on and they would connect me to CA. Good service here I will add. I spoke to CA, we went through a bunch of scenarios. We finally decided to uninstall it. The wife in the mean time was frothing at the mouth because she couldn't get her blogging fix satiated. She didn't even think that I was also inconvenienced mightily because I couldn't get my Zuni Newsletter out with no internet service.
At any rate the CA folks were very helpful. They told me to go back to Optimum because they have a free downloadable version of CA virus scanning firewall etc. I did get it downloaded and finally got everything up and running with CA's help. Now the youngest son won't have to come over and try his magic. He told me he probably couldn't help but would see what he could do and bring the PC to a computer nerd friend of his. Long story short, everything is back to normal until the next time we have connectivity problems..... then of course it will be my fault again!!! sheesh!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chugging right along...............

It appears that our project to restore the USS Zuni is picking up steam. We've had several inquiries since we had a presentation in Virginia and 4 more people have joined the message board. Right now, she's docked at Little Creek. We picked up a webmaster which we sorely needed to freshen up the site.

Within the last several days, we have received 4 more memberships at the Yahoo Message Board and one fellow will be sending me photos from the 80's to scan to our Photobucket site.

Perhaps the best news is that we finally arrived at a decision about selling adoption certificates for the old girl. That should help bring some money in for maintenance.

I've collected over 200 photos of the ship for our photobucket site spanning 6 decades. A lot of interesting photos are there. check out http:/


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


We had a nice weekend, Ange celebrated her birthday with Friends on Friday and Saturday, we got to babysit Angela's dog - everyone's favorite Beagle, Shenny. She's great to babysit for because mostly she sleeps interrupted by an occasional ROOOOO!!! I also rented the last half of the 6th season of 24, a TV show to which I am hopelessly addicted. That's not a good thing when your TV's not hooked up. I have to wait until season 7 comes out now on DVD.
Then to complete the weekend we celebrated Angela's birthday by going out to dinner at the Lemongrass Thai Restaurant. The usual suspects were there Regina, me, Danny, Sasha, Angela.
We're still looking for a car for Regina. She want's a Sonata. I like them but I'd also like her to try out a Ford Fusion before we commit.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Zuni-Tam, Turning the Corner, maybe???

Recently, things have started to fall into place regarding the Zuni-Tam. The photo of her is at Little Creek, Virginia, the Marines have started to voice an interest in her, civic groups in the area are taking note of us. We still need to figure out ways to generate more money. But at least publicity is beginning to spread around about her. She is the last surviving ship that fought at Iwo Jima so that in itself deserves some mention.

Anyone interested in our progress please visit


Friday, January 2, 2009

Holiday Blahs..................

Except for two days, Christmas Day and New Years Day, when I spent time with the family, the rest has been pretty much a bore and a bummer. Normally, I have the week between Christmas and New Years off. However, this year I switched with my assistant so he could do the reunion thing in Chicago with his family.
Jorge told me he likes this time off usually. Well he can have it. The phones rang off the off the first three days before Christmas Day, then everything fell silent. I aggravated a lot of people, because even though it was dead, I still needed to staff the place, just in case people came in and asked for the normal services. So as quiet as it has been, I've still had a nearly full crew. People were begging for things to do it was so dead.
I want to get home and finish watching the 4th season of 24. I got hooked on that show something fierce. It's not the greatest Television in the world but as Regina says, it sure is "addictive". I went to bed at 12:30 last night and woke up for work at 4:30. Got through the first 8 hours of the day. Poor Jack, that guy has the worst luck.
Excitement is also building regarding our USS Zuni project. Now that we are docked at a great pier and have access to the ship, we can start working on it again. In the worst way, I want to sail her back to New York and dock next to the Intrepid during a Fleet Week not to distant in the future.