Thursday, November 6, 2014

Electionitis!!!!

Thank God, the election 2014 is over. If I received one more robo call, one more visitor at the door or heard one more commercial, I would go postal. Personally, I'm happy the Democrats lost big time. Problem is I'm not all that thrilled with the Republicans either. I think it will be more of the same with Obama vetoing everything and writing Executive orders up the Wazoo because the Republicans won't have the stones to stop him. We shall see, but the Republicans are politicians as well which still leaves them as bottom dwellers, unworthy of my trust not as bad as Democrats but still I have issues with them.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween, 2014 Musing

We don't do any exterior decorations but my wife has this ornamental iron tree that she uses for holiday purposes. The ornaments on the tree above are all hand stitched by her. the tree is at the entrance door on an antique Washstand.

This was a weird Halloween. Normally, hardly any kids showed up so we always had a ton of candy left over, bad for me if you have a sweet tooth. This time around instead of being in the house, I put a chair out front and sat there with a bowl brimming with assorted sweets.... so the kids could see me and voila, almost all the candy was distributed by 7 PM. Which was good, because I was getting a bit chilled and it started to rain.

One of the things that bothered me this year was the fact that kids or their parents depending on your point of view hardly made an effort with costumes. I brought my Ipod with me to pass the time and maybe take a photo or to of the best costumes, but their was none to be had. When our kids were little my wife made great costumes for the kids. One year they were Ewoks from Star Wars, once my daughter was Rainbow Bright and once my youngest son wanted to be a penny, we accomplished that with two hula hoops and some cloth.

At least they were polite, even a few shy smiles every now and then, nearly all said thank you and Happy Halloween, etc. Not one rude kid at the door this year.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Good to be home again!!!

I used to love driving. I guess I'm getting old. We spent the last three weekends on the road and I must admit its good to just stop and do nothing. First we went to a stitching retreat in Mystic, Conn. then we drove to Boston to be at my nephew Kevin's wedding then this past weekend we went to our regular decompression chamber known as the Bavarian Manor Inn. Only we didn't spend enough time there. I'm looking forward to an extended weekend at the Bavarian Manor in the spring :)

But no long distance driving for a while!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Minnie Torkler Chapter coming to a close!! And here they are!!!

I've been working with the publisher of South of the Mountains on doing a story about Minnie Torkler and 1926 Rockland County. Almost done; I spent 3 hours at the library today squinting at unbelievably badly transposed microfiche looking up some final information. It gave me a headache it was so hard to read. I read through the final draft after the editor got to it and I must say I like the final result. I hope our readership enjoys the article.

But we have a priceless piece of history to go along with the story. I found a photo of the two of them (husband Fred and Minnie as well) on a 1924 Passport application courtesy of Ancestry.com

Ancestry .com is such a great site. I use it not only for my own family research but in the capacity of a research volunteer at the Historical Society of Rockland County. It really has become a valuable tool.



....and here is the Steamer Berlin that Fred and Minnie toured the Caribbean with in 1931. Courtesy of the HAPAG Lloyd Lines successor to the North German Lloyd Lines when they took the cruise.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Familiarity Breeds Contempt! Not quite but close!

This past weekend we went to Mystic for the umpteenth time. We go every year in October because there is a stitching seminar there  my wife participates in. While the people I meet at the seminar are very nice and we are fed well; I am getting quite bored. How often can you see the Seaport or the Aquarium?

I am the driver for the trip because Regina does not like to drive long distance on interstates. So this time I brought along a new toy. I bought a used IPOD and filled it up with music. Also since it is wifi, I could check out Twitter, Instagram, my email, etc. The hotel is nice and had free wifi so I was able to enjoy myself with my new ( to me) toy. After all how many Law and Order, Bones or NCIS reruns can you stand before you go nuts.

Television is a vast wasteland these days. There was virtually nothing interesting on while I waited for the wife to meet between sessions. Also I would have thought that there would be a movie or two that would interest me. Again, nothing! Its all garbage out there. What is the demographic they are looking for? I am college educated and retired with a love of history. So I guess it wasn't me.

Thank god for the Ipod!  :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Technology Dependent @$#%^&%&#%^%!!!

For the last 20 years or so, we have not watched a TV program in the house. If we wanted to see something, we rented it from Netflix. Then I got this bright idea about streaming video. well to do that you need a router attached the modem and a device (we use a Roku box) to accept wireless internet signals. Last Wednesday September 11th my computer got all wonky after around 9:30 AM. It cleared up about 9:30 PM. I took it as a sign that sites were crashing due to increased traffic, etc. during the (9/11 anniversary)

Well things did not get any better, they got worse. I asked my son the AV wizard in the family to come over and help me figure it out. Long story short somehow we blew the old modem. We installed the new one did all the tests, etc. now we are back up and running.

5 days with a wonky internet made me realize how dependent we have become on computers. No ordering, no banking no watching streaming videos. No email! Yuch!

Well its back up and running and we are once again happy. My wife can post on her blog and I can watch Rizzoli & Isles streaming through Amazon. Yay!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11/01 from Midtown...............

As a reminder, the figures are not accurate. They were taken from radio broadcasts and papers as things were happening. I did not edit this piece as they were log entries into a now defunct message board to which I once belonged. I had a lot of friends on the board and posted regularly to let them know I was alright.

Day 1, 
7 weeks ago, I worked on liberty street 4 blocks from the Trade Center. Then, I was transferred up town to 299 Park Avenue. Worried, I called my colleagues in my old building. It was evacuated because they could not run any systems due to the dust & dirt in the air. Visibility was only 3 feet & several bodies were lying in the plaza. Uptown, we went into our highest alert stage & basically shut the building down, only allowing those who are regarded as essential into the building.
The entire episode is surreal. In the morning, crossing the Hudson on a ferry, the twin towers were in full view. On the way home 14 hours later, there were no twin towers & a huge plume of black smoke. I walked all the way across Manhattan to the 34th street piers stopping at Madison Avenue where I looked south and got a good view of the huge smoke plume. I turned and plodded on. We got to the ferry terminal and I hopped on board a Circle Line boat headed to Weehawken where I had parked my car. On the way home, I experienced something that seemed like it came straight out of a horror movie. There was a huge illuminated sign on the Turnpike that said.”All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan closed until further notice due to terrorist activity.” This morning on the way in smoke was still billowing from the site. Last night a third building 7 World Trade collapsed. Bottom line casualties 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 & hard, teach those b@stard$ that they can't take us down. Yesterday I had to rally the troops & keep them going. They wanted to go home. Kept them working, & show those terrorists that your routine will go on inspite of their attacks.
Coast Guard did a great job. They commandeered all boats, tugs, barges & fireboats. Turned them into ferries to get people out of Manhattan. It was literally a second Dunkirk, except for the Outbound upper level of the GW bridge, all other bridges & tunnels were closed.

Day 2
..... has come & gone. The last piece of the twin towers collapsed about 5:30 today. Earlier in the day, about 1 O'clock the wind shifted. It had been blowing out to sea. Smoke is now coming out of the south covering Manhattan with a brownish haze & awful stench. We had to close our outside air dampers the smell was so bad.
The city is  quiet, some bridges & tunnels will reopen tomorrow. Last night it was so quiet we heard a cricket on Park Avenue. I am in because I am considered essential to run the business. If you are not essential they don't want you here. Parked the car in Weehawken & took the ferry across. The city is like a ghost town; a lot of people are traumatized by what happened. I continue to push the staff. I don't want them to think about it. Cut back on the  radios or TV. Dwelling on the matter won't help them.
The city is closed down on the East side from 34th street to the battery & on the west side from 42nd Street to the battery. 7th avenue is reserved for ambulances. I see NYC police cars, State Troopers, the Army National Guard &  Coasties all around me. We have left over free food & juice from lunch. The cafeteria gave meals to those of us who are staying in the city, seeing it through these terrible hours. We called the police & asked them if they wanted the food. They came with a van bringing the food downtown for the rescuers/searchers.


Day 3
 .....As I crossed the Hudson this morning, I looked at where the twin towers once were, smoke still billowing upwards from fires still burning. It was an odd feeling but as the smoke rose & was penetrated by the sunlight, it turned into a beautiful rose-colored layer underneath a sky blue as can be with no clouds.
The GW Bridge & the Lincoln tunnel are now open. The NY Waterway Ferries are running, but the Staten Island Ferry is still being used to carry supplies & rescuers to the site. People are coming back into the city in an attempt to show the terrorists that life will go on. Walking down the street toward my building I was struck by the silence & watched people for a moment. Everyone had a grim look on their face, no smiles, & no chatter, just set jaws.
I queued up at the steps to get in the building showing my ID card & presenting my brief case for a search. After that the day went all to hell. A friend told me that a mutual friend of ours was missing. He had just been promoted to Chief Engineer in the Twin towers. His office was on the 86th floor. Nothing was heard of him.
I went to my office dumbstruck. Shortly thereafter  the 29th floor was evacuating! A strobe light from the Class E (Fire Alarm) had turned on. They all panicked & self evacuated. We got them back in the building. Later, I received another call that the entire building was evacuating. No announcements had been made, we received no bomb threats. Everyone was so on edge. A rumor was started  that in a building south of us there was  a bomb. Before you knew it there were thousands of people in the streets from 4 buildings all evacuated by rumor & fear.

We called up corp. hdqrtrs & asked for direction. The reply was let everybody go home. Then we found out that we have to have a vacant floor ready by Monday for a firm that lost all of its office space in the Trade Center.
The people in this country are really generous. There were fire engines here from Chicago & Flint Michigan; these guys were here on their own time to help with the rescue efforts. There are over 300 police, firemen & EMS techs missing. People are already donating to widows & orphan's funds for each group. So many people are donating blood that they are being turned away. They have enough for now. It is going to be this kind of spirit & teamwork that will eventually bring those murdering cowards down on their knees. All day I was too busy to think about my dead friend. I went home and spent a sleepless night thinking about Charlie.

Day 4
....Once more I cross the Hudson River. Today is different, It is raining hard, the sky line has been erased by low lying fog, but you can still see that unmistakable plume of white smoke rising from the ashes of the World Trade Center. The sky is gray the river choppy. Somehow I feel like I'm crossing the River Styx into a land of death & destruction, not knowing what will happen today.

We will be working all weekend to have a space ready for folks who were in the WTC. Havoc reigns, we don't let any vendor in the building unless previously approved by the tenant. We canceled some preventive maintenance on electrical switches over the weekend, again because all resources are directed toward providing a new home for these homeless firms.

As of today, the official count of missing is 4,717. The city has ordered 30,000 body bags for anticipated 10,000 deaths, the remaining bags being for body parts. The search is hampered by the wet weather. Incredibly two of the searchers are building engineers that survived the collapse & have now gone back to search for their colleagues. People in this city just will not give up. New Yorkers are an incredibly resilient group of people as are the hundreds of rescuers that have come from out of state. We will not surrender to terrorist activity, that much is certain.

As I waited for the Ferry, I noted three Coast Guard Cutters in the river. The river is closed because the President was at Jacob Javits Center. The dispatcher finally made an announcement “There will be no ferries, buses or traffic until further notice, what else can I say.” As aggravated as everyone was, we all had a good laugh. Then everyone sobered up because the biggest hospital ship I ever saw slowly guided by, the Comfort was a majestic sight, pure white with three red crosses painted on her immense hull. Of course everyone knew what she was here for & we all fell silent watching her glide past us to her berth further up river.  Every so often a group of rescue workers would show up to take the Ferry home. As we were stuck there so were they. It gave us a chance to show our appreciation & whenever a group of them passed through, we stood up & just clapped. What else could you do? Then finally the President left & we caught the ferry to Lincoln Harbor to be on our way home.

Day 5
......  We are all set to move in one of the survivor companies tomorrow & the other two on Tuesday. We have to keep pushing on but it’s hard. The Fire Department gave battlefield promotions to 168 men to insure that things keep going. Con Edison has had 1900 men going around the clock to make sure everyone's work place is habitable tomorrow. They tested the stock market systems & they all worked.
Right now the missing total keeps rising. At last count it was 5,097. No one has been found alive since Wednesday. I had to turn off the radio after awhile. How many memorial services, funerals & updates do you have to absorb before you go nuts.



It’s been a couple of days since I had a chance to jot down anything. We have been very busy setting up a couple of floors for former tenants of the trade center. I have made frequent trips to the floors handing out my business cards telling them to call facilities if they need the slightest thing etc. They are supposed to finish moving in next week after which we will conduct fire safety drills, bomb scare lectures, evacuation drills, etc.
The mood of the city is somber but determined. People are  subdued. Not much honking of horns or cursing at wayward cabdrivers is happening. People seem to be extraordinarily polite to one another. 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 & 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 other day, rescuers opened up a void & 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 billowing smoke plume. Every day, we manage to trudge back & forth to work. The stock exchange is up & 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!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Reading---

What will you be interested in reading this summer? Rather than title, I'm going by subject. I just finished reading a book about the Tudor Dynasty in England. I think my next subject will be the War of 1812. A fellow poster on Linkedin piqued my interest in that subject. I'' have to throw a mystery in there as well either by Alafair or James Burke both of whom I like. Moreover a Canadian TV series named "Copper" has peaked my interest in New York City of the 1860's, specifically the Draft Riots and their aftermath and the Five Points region of lower Manhattan.

That should keep me busy for a little while.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Bavarian Inn Long Weekend

Just came back from a long weekend at the Bavarian Manor Inn in Purling, NY. Very restful, charged up the batteries. Will be heading back for another weekend sometime this summer. Great food, great service, great folks running the place.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Redskins always and forever



Lately politics and political correctness which I abhor have really started to bother me. Now the government wants to get into the act by attempting to force the Washington Redskins my favorite sports team of all time to change their name.

50 senators mostly Democrats have written a letter whining about how the Redskins name is derogatory etc. Well as a history major here is something to chew on. Democrats were proslavery, Republicans against! Democrats founded and supported the KKK, every Civil Rights act that the Republicans proposed in the 19th century was opposed by the Democrats. Even the epic 1964 Civil Rights act which passed had a greater percentage of Republicans voting for it than Democrats. Democrats supported the Jim Crow laws. Democrats were for poll taxes, Democrats attempted to block schools  so that Black students couldn't enter them. It took a Republican President  Eisenhower authorizing federal troops to guard the students as they went to school.

Now these 50 senators want to make you all forget the transgressions of their Democratic ancestors by playing on the heartstrings of an uneducated public by pretending they really care about the downtrodden by attempting to force a name change on a private company. This is really disgusting.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Filling up Space

I just noticed I haven't posted anything for awhile. I've been rather busy doing some research for the Lincoln exhibit at the local historical society and also still working on Minnie Torkler's 1926 diary.

I recently purchased a Roku box and have a Netflix streaming plan so I've wandered around their site looking for stuff that appeals. We tried looking at some of the older series like Quincy , Moonlighting and Remington Steele. We both remembered them fondly back in the day but they haven't held up well. They're just dated!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tamaroa Rumors

I've been hearing a rumor about my old cutter, the USCGC Tamaroa. Her present owner intends to sink her as part of an artifical reef off the coast of Delaware. I was asked if there was anything on board that I would like as a keep sake. A couple years ago, I donated a Flag showing the Great Seal of the Zuni Nation to the ship since she was originally commissioned as the USS ZUNI. If the flag can be recovered, I'd like it back. But that's about it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Minnie Torkler Update

I've been transcribing Minnie's diary for a few weeks now. Initially I thought it might be hard to get into it; however, I found that not doing it for a week because of the snow storms made me restless. I started looking up her and her family on the internet and found her in two Federal Census, two state census and a steam ship roster in 1925. So I have a bit of information of her and her family from 1900 to 1926 so far.

Her husband Fred has no occupation listed, she is listed as a House Wife and their son Fredy (sic) works for Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Co. She has an affiliation with a real estate company collecting rent and paying bills on a building in Manhattan.She makes frequennt trips to Manhattan via ferry and train. Minnie is also a social butterfly. Her memberships in various clubs are numerous. Also there are two adopted children living in the house hold.

The diary is getting interesting showing life in Rockland County in 1926. Will continue my internet search tomorrow.

ADDENDUM
 5:25 AM  February 22, 2014. I can't sleep so here is more Torkler family info. Fred Sr. Registered for the draft in September of 1918. Fred senior was stocky, blue eyes and brown hair. Fred jr. died in Haverstraw in 1967. Minnie's maiden name was Wortz they were married on January 26, 1896.............

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow, More Snow and Birds!

We've had about 6 snow storms in 6 weeks, the last three pretty close together. I'm a bit nervous because there is about 2 feet of snow in the back yard so I am wondering about the pressure/stress on the flat roof of my house. Well, almost flat, it is about a 4 inch pitch. The roof is fairly new. We stripped down to the rafters (air) about 6 years ago and put new plywood and roofing membrane down. 

In the course of worrying about all this snow, I discovered something fun and interesting. We put a bird feeder up. I'm not an expert but we have identified Juncos, a female Cardinal, a Mourning Dove, sparrows, Chick-a-dees and a Tufted Titmouse. They are hilarious to watch. The drained the seed from the feeder pretty quick. At one point we had 40-50- birds flitting about. When it got low, a few of them actually perched on the Feeder arm as if to say "It's time for a refill."  The snow was so deep, I could barely get the back door open, but finally managed it and we refilled the feeder, they waited a bit then came back to feast some more. We have a bird book in the house somewhere, I'll have to find it and put it by the back window.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Teddy Roosevelt on Immigration

1919 Quote


"We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birth-place or origin.

But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Miscellaneous Stuff!!

Well. let's see. Me and my lovely wife Regina celebrated our 43rd Wedding anniversary on January 10th, also we are also going through a second round of empty nest syndrome because my youngest son was in an awkward position. He was the lone renter in a house as its lease expired. Since his other roomies moved on, he didn't want to assume the whole burden on his own, so he stayed with us while looking for a studio apartment. He was with us for about two months until he found an apartment to his liking. It was a real pleasure to have him back in the house again. I think we miss him now more than we did the first time he left.

Retirement agrees with me more and more, I  volunteer at the local Historical Society once a week and attend Civil War Round Table meetings monthly. It keeps the cobwebs out of my brain. For now, I don't think I want to add any more activities. Have to ease into all this fun you know, i don't know if I can stand it?  :-)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Who Is Minnie Torkler?

I've started off my stint as a volunteer at the Historical Society of Rockland County by transcribing the 1926 diary of Minnie Torkler. I've done two weeks so far. It's pretty interesting, a New Years Eve Dinner plate at the Hotel St. George in Nyack went for a whopping $4.00,

It appears that she and her husband Fred are landlords for several buildings in Manhattan since she makes references to several people not having hot water and she mentions bookkeeping a lot. I think this might be an interesting slice of life in 1926 as I delve deeper into the transcribing.