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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Harry Everhart Implicated in Oklahoma Truck Bombing

When the Murrah Building was blown up in Oklahoma City - Harry Everhart was on the scene and a survivor. The building was blown up by a U-Haul Truck full of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. Ammonium nitrate is a harmless fertilizer used on the farms of Pennsylvania to raise crops. But when mixed with common fuel oil or diesel fuel - it becomes a deadly explosive and is used in the mines of Pennsylvania to remove overburden rock.

Harry Everhart in 1974 - then a science teacher in the public schools of Pennsylvania - wrote a story in a weekly newspaper concerning the dangers of an ammonium nitrate silo near the mining towns where he lived and taught - Tamaqua, Coaldale and Lansford PA. Is this just a strange coincidence?
  • Full Story of Everhart and Blast
  • Friday, January 27, 2006

    Six Seminoles in Super Bowl XL

    When Super Bowl XL kicks off, a total of six former Seminoles will be participating in the action. Florida State has the most players of any college in the Super Bowl this year, followed by Georgia (five) and BYU (four). Offensive tackle Walter Jones, safety Michael Boulware, wide receiver Peter Warrick and offensive tackle Ray Willis will suit up for the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. On the other sideline, safety Chris Hope and cornerback Bryant McFadden will represent FSU as members of the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

    See Our Buddies - Ben and Carol Houser in New Zealand

    Ben and Carol are spending some time in New Zealand. They have a few pictures on their blog of what they are doing besides fishing. Here is the web address -

  • Ben and Carol Pictures in New Zealand
  • Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Changing of the Guard at Tallahassee Apple Club

    Past president Leewood Shaw receives an award from Flora Bennett - the new president. Leewood served Tapple for two years.

    Wayne and Shirley's House - 5 Minutes Ago

    I just drove by Wayne and Shirley's House. It is just a block or two away from ours. It looks like it is going to be done for their March move in. The house was designed to be a 1920's cottage - but with all the modern mechanics. It has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. It is truly beautiful. Wayne is a library science professor that is in the office next to Nancy's. They claim to have bought this house just to be close to us - I think they wanted to be close to campus and the golf course. The picture is fresher than the bread on tonight's supper table.

    Ken Walsh - US News and World Report Writer - Spoke on Campus Tuesday - I Was There

    Ken Walsh has covered the White House since Ronald Reagan was president. Last week - he had a cover article that he wrote from interviews with Dick Cheney. About 200 students and faculty attended his talk. Here are some pictures I took - also the address of the article.

  • Ken's Article
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    We Saw Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan Tonight

    Cathy Rigby is 54 and Nancy and I watched her fly around stage at the Tallahassee Civic Center from the front row. She is truly amazing - I was dazzled. I got the tickets about 3 months ago - waiting in line as the box office opened - thus the front row for all of the shows - King and I - Will Rogers Revue - and Peter Pan.

    When I told Nancy that Cathy Rigby has been doing Peter Pan for 33 years - as long as I was teaching - Nancy said, "Talk about having the same lesson plan." End of my Review.

    Review in USA Today in 2004 - Cathy Rigby begins last hurrah as Peter Pan

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — He's the boy who won't grow up — but the actress who has played Peter Pan for 30 years finally has.

    Cathy Rigby was barely out of her teens the first time she strapped on a sword and flew off a stage to do battle with the evil Capt. Hook in James Barrie's enduring children's classic, Peter Pan.
    She's 51 now, and although the trim, youthful Rigby can soar across a stage better than ever, she has decided the time is right to hang up her sword, say goodbye to the Lost Boys and leave Neverland behind.

    Not that the ending will come quickly.

    Cathy Rigby Is Peter Pan just opened at Southern California's La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. It is scheduled to visit more than two dozen other cities before arriving on Broadway in time for the Christmas 2005 season.

    Florida State Football Schedule 2006

    Sept. 4 at Miami Miami, FL
    Oct. 5 at NC State Raleigh, NC
    Oct. 14 at Duke Durham, NC
    Oct. 28 at Maryland College Park, MD
    Dec. 2 ACC Championship Jacksonville, FL
    8 home games - 4 away games
    We really lined up the powerhouses this year - Troy - Rice - Western Michigan.

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Three Amigos Do Washington

    Yesterday Drew - Harry - Keith spent the day visiting museums in Washington DC. The above picture was taken on the porch of the new American Indian Museum looking east toward the Capitol. It was clear and sunny - about 40 degrees - not bad for January 22nd in DC. They also visited the Air and Space Museum and the Architecture Museum. After the museums- they had supper at Clyde's - a really neat sports pub next to the MCI Arena. After supper - they returned to their Grand Hyatt Hotel where they watched the UNC at FSU basketball game on TV. The Seminoles lost 81-80. This morning the party broke up when Harry flew back to Tallahassee and Drew flew back to Syracuse. Keith took the Metro to College Park.

    The day reminded me of January 20, 1973 - 33 years almost to the day - when Nancy and I visited the Capitol for the swearing in of Richard Nixon as president. It was bitter cold that day and our Congressman Gus Yatron provided us tickets and entertained us in his office. Gus was a good representative and he is gone now. One year later Nixon became the first president to resign - caused by the Watergate Scandal. George Patton once said, "All glory is fleeting." You can be a hero one day and gone the next.

    Lee Corso is in Tallahassee for Funeral of Tom Nugent

    Lee Corso flew in to Tallahassee on my plane this morning at 10 AM. I did not pester him or ask for a picture. He carried his own bags - got a rental car - and drove in to town alone. Lee is here for the funeral of Tom Nugent - his former football coach at Florida State.

    Good News - Sharon is Pregnant

    Who is Sharon? Sharon is my sister Judy's daughter. She will be as big as a house when she graduates from the University of Florida in May with her doctorate in Audiology. We are all very happy. We plan to make it to her graduation in Gainesville. We love that Gator - but we hope the little one will be a Seminole. We hope that husband Vaughn is doing fine too.

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    Time to Reflect - Being Hoya and Dookie Parents

    Frequent Flyer Ticket to DC - $60
    Grand Hyatt Hotel Room - $99
    Hoya Game Ticket - $30
    13 Bagels - $6
    The Look on Keith's after the Game of the Ages - PRICELESS

    Well the partying is over. We went to a brewery across the street from our hotel. It was packed to the rafters with happy Hoya fans. After the game - some fans were holding up signs saying the Exorcism is over and the devil is gone. You could sense the relief on the happy faces - and Keith could have been the poster boy.

    Keith wanted to go to Georgetown as long as I can remember - note the shirt picture above. When he finally got there after a year at FSU - John Thompson the Father - resigned as the coach which started a long period of dark ages. Now - John Thompson the Son has brought back the Hoya Spirit from the grave - and the DC Grind Faithful couldn't be happier. Everything seems possible now.

    The party returned to our hotel room for a late pizza - and to watch all the other unbeatens fall. My Alma Mater put undefeated Pittsburgh on its back. I wish Nancy were here to enjoy this - but she is here in spirit. Here is a picture of Nancy and Keith walking on the Washington Mall about five years ago. Keith always wanted to be a Georgetown Hoya - after a strong year at FSU prepared him - he got his wish - he made it happen - and today - all of the Everharts are Hoyas.

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    "Hoya! Saxa!" - The Worm has Turned - Georgetown Knocks Duke Off - Makes Them 17-1

    Click pictures to enlarge.
    1. Storming of the court
    2. Dancing in the street
    3. Nate - Kate - Keith - Steve - Drew
    4. Redick hits many 3's
    5. Father and Son

    If you are a Hoya - it was a game for the ages. If you are a Dookie it was just a speed bump - but the Georgetown led from bell to bell (except when Duke led 22-20) and beat a very good Duke team - 87-84. If you are Dad Everhart - it is one of the great moments of fatherhood - sitting at the game with your two alumni sons knowing you can't lose. Drew was as magnanimous in defeat as Keith was jubilant and courteous in victory. With about four minutes to go though - I think both of them thought that Duke was going to snatch another victory. At four minutes to go - I wanted to go down and get ready to storm the court - but I think Keith was afraid of some jinx.

    JJ Redick of Duke is an inspiring young man to watch - he never gives up. But John Thompson prepared his team well. The Hoyas had a plan - something Georgetown hasn't had in years - and they followed through with it. They were able to break the Duke press with full court passes that ended up in easy dunks. Around the basket - they were able to hit the man taking the back door. I thought back to when I met John Thompson the father at the airport yesterday when he was on the way to the game. You could tell that in his heart he wanted this one badly. Well at least two fathers are having a great day today.

    Our seats were in third deck behind the west basket. There is not a bad seat in the MCI Center - soon to be the Verizon Center. It is about 3 miles to campus from the arena - but the bus ride back for the team and students must have been spectacular - traffic was stopped in the streets. It is funny how an event like this makes a big city seem like a small town. The folks in DC will be rocking all night.

    I sneaked back to the hotel room to turn in this report for my wonderful wife Nancy who planned this whole event. We wish she were here - but she enjoyed the game from a bar in Texas. Go Duke - Go Georgetown - Go ALA!

    Keith was able to get six seats together - so we sat with Keith's work friend Steve - Nate (one of Keith's college roommates) and his girlfriend Kate - and the three amigos (Keith - Drew - Harry). Does it get any better for a Dad? Now it is off to the bar across the street before the party gets too far ahead of me.

    Georgetown Hoyas Expect an Upset Over Duke

    We are sitting in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in DC waiting for the 1:30 game between Duke and Georgetown - watching all the hype on TV. Supposedly the game is sold out - over 20,000 folks. The MCI Arena is two blocks away. It is sunny - blue skies - and about 60 degrees outside. We had bagels and orange juice for breakfast. Funny story - I went to a local breakfast shop that wanted $2 a bagel. I asked if there is a discount for 6 - they said that 6 would cost $12. Then I asked for the price of a dozen - they said $6! So I bought a dozen - the guy said pick one more because you get an extra bagel when you buy a dozen. Only in DC is one bagel $2 - and 13 bagels is $6. Just one of things that makes a Florida Coal Cracker smile. And us hillbillies are supposed to be dumb :-)

    I predict the Hoyas win a close one. I plan to wear my Hoya sweatshirt.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Arrived Safely in DC - Grand Hyatt Hotel

    I left the house this morning at 6:45. Buddy George took me to the airport. Tallahassee Airport is pretty nice - they have free internet there - making it convenient for "blog world." Several celebrities were getting on my plane. First - the women's softball coach was flying to Nashville for a clinic. Her name is Louie Brandt - she is the nice lady that walked up to me at Syracuse last year when I was looking for tickets and gave me free ones. Second - the track and field team was going to Lobos Invitational Meet in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The plane out of Tallahassee was full.

    In Atlanta - I got to my gate and there was John Thompson - the former Georgetown Hoya coach - sitting there. I introduced myself and told him about Keith going to Georgetown and Drew going to Duke. I also told him we saw him in Hawaii at one of the basketball tournaments there in 1991. He did not remember me :-) But he was very cordial. When I got on the plane - he was in Row 1 Seat 1.

    The plane from Atlanta was only half filled - we arrived 15 minutes early. In DC - the Metro comes right to the airport. For $1.35 on the blue line - I got right to Metro Center. Our Grand Hyatt Hotel has an entrance from the Metro Center - no need to go outide - the temperature is a frigid 48 here - but sunny.

    We are in room 1167 - with a nice atrium view. We will be here for 3 nights. We are just a couple blocks from the Verizon Center - where the Duke/Georgetown game will be. Keith got six tickets together through his alumni thing - se we won't be ticket hunting. It will be Keith - Drew - Steve - Nate - Nate's girl - and me at the game.

    Nancy got this hotel on and did a great job - it is really nice. She also got the plane ride free using frequent flyer miles. Thanks Nancy - this is a great birthday gift.

    Keith just called and said he is on the way. Drew is probably in the air from Syracuse.

    I am looking forward to a neat weekend - no driving - lots of nice meals - watching games - a few drinks - and just a good time. Just do it.

    Who do I root for? Georgetown? Duke? Half and half? Nobody? I did bring one sweatshirt with a name on.

    I wonder if I see John Thompson at the game - will he remember me? John Thompson's son is the current coach at Georgetown.

    Harry Going to DC to see "Everhart Bowl" with the Boys

    Drew's Duke plays Keith's Georgetown tomorrow and I am sitting in the Tallahasee Airport with plane tickets and Keith has game tickets. We will be staying at the Hyatt in DC thanks to Nancy's planning. Drew is flying down from Syracuse and the three amigos will have a neat 4 days in DC. Got to go now - plane is boarding.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Nancy Flies to San Antonio for ALISE/ALA Convention

    My lovely wife Nancy flew to San Antonio yesterday and will be there for a week. She will attend two conventions - ALISE and ALA. First - she will attend the Association of Library and Information Science Educators - where she will make a presentation about her new grant project. Then - the rest of the library world comes to town for the American Library Association convention. I do not know much more about what the conventions are about - it took all my effort to match names to those initials above. All I know is that I was invited to attend and after attending ALA conventions in Orlando, San Diego, and Chicago - I declined. The only way I plan to attend another ALA convention is if I have the exclusive rights to the "bun and bifocal" concessions. Nancy will return Monday.

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    Scamp Trailer Factory Burns Down - Fond Everhart Memories

    I just read where the Scamp Trailer Factory burned down last night. It brings back fond memories for the Everhart Family.

    In 1978 - we bought a Scamp new directly from the factory for $2200 cash. It weighed 950 pounds - and slept four - tightly.

    It was delivered directly from Minnesota to Pennsylvania in March by a young man with a pickup truck - pulling a flat bed trailer with three Scamps on it.

    The driver said we have a nice trailer with a good furnace because he spent that night in it and the temperature went down to 15 degrees outside - but it stayed toasty inside.

    After a few local trips our first long range trip was a 30 day trip from Pennsylvania to the West Coast and back. We pulled that trailer roughly 7000 miles with a 1977 Chevy Chevette - with automatic transmission and no AC. My son was only six months old - my wife 24 - and my Dad was 62. Dad always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean and I was glad we took him because he died 4 years later - too young - with the dreaded Miner's disease - Black Lung.

    The Chevette and the Scamp both performed flawlessly. We went to South Bend - Chicago - Mount Rushmore - Yellowstone - Salt Lake - Elko - Reno - SF - Morro Bay - LA - Disney - Vegas - Grand Canyon - Amarillo - St Louis - Indy - Pittsburgh - home to Tamaqua.

    30 straight nights of four folks in that little fiberglass egg was a real test. On the second night of the trip in South Bend in July - we bought a little "carry cool" AC for the trailer window.

    We have some absolutely fabulous pictures of my six month old son (now a doctor) - my 24 year old wife (now a professor type doctor) and my 62 year old Dad - now gone 28 years. Man RV's are great.

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    We Are Going on a Cruise

    Nancy just booked a cruise. We are going to sail out of Tampa on Grandeur of the Seas - a Royal Caribbean Ship that we sailed on three years ago. You may re-call my "retirement cruise" in February 2003.

    We will sail from Tampa to Mexico - then on to Grand Cayman Island - then Aruba - then Puerto Rico. Our boat cruise ends in San Juan where we will stay a couple of nights - then we will fly to Philadelphia - then spend a week in Pennsylvania visiting our friends and family - finally flying from Philadelphia back to Tallahassee.

    If anyone is interested in going along - you can sign up here -

  • Our Cruise
  • More From Jim at the Alaska Volcano Site

    In the 80s one of the other volcanoes blew and a KLM flight ran into the stuff at about 30K ft and flamed out all 4 engines. They coasted for 12 min before they got one engine started and then another and was able to make a safe landing at international.

    Seems that the "Glass" stuff melted in the engines, coated some of the sensors and made it think the engines were over heating and shut them down. Most airlines just cancel their flights if a mountain is belching stuff over 10,000 ft anymore. Took $25 Mil to get that plane to fly again.

    We had some visitors after the 1986 St. Augustine blow, and they were "Volcano Chasers". They bought gas for me to fly to St. Augustine. I was a little afraid of it, so I traveled at 10,000 ft so I could see it from a long way off. It is 180 miles from Anchorage, so it is a 3 hour round trip in my airplane.

    The couple kept trying to see the mountain, and I kept trying to point it out to them. What I discovered was they were looking for the mountain to be at our level. Finally, when I told them to look down they saw it. It is only about 4500 ft, and it has made it's own island about 5 miles off shore. It is a classic cone with it's own island. Anyway, they were disappointed that it was so small.

    I circled over it at 10,000 ft, and it looked pretty calm - just a few puffs of steam about every 3 or 4 min - so I decended until I flew around the top. We could even smell the sulfer at that level.

    Bonus was we saw several bears on the shore just west of the mountain.

    That is my "Visit the Volcano" story.


    Jim Walton - My Bush Pilot in Anchorage - Reports on the Hot Volcano There


    Good Morning on Saturday. I guess I wasn't keeping up with the news yesterday. The volcano blew 5 times during the day including one about 7pm and the wind was more out of the North West. The Kenia was ashed! All night flights into Anchorage were canceled, because they can't see the ash cloud. Emma Lu was lucky to be on a flight that came in just at dusk or she might have been stranded in Seattle.

    We will turn on the news at 5am here and see what it has done. Maybe Anchorage got sprinkled??

    Volcanos can effect your life, it seems.


    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Augustine Volcano near Anchorage Alaska

    Augustine is a young, active volcano in Alaska's Cook Inlet, where it poses a hazard to the city of Anchorage and the busy trans-Pacific air traffic around it. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has a special page reporting Augustine's current activity.

    What a Great Day for Stump Grinding

    Here is the master stump grinder at work. We have been having a string of beautiful January days here in Tallahassee - 75 and sunny - that has been perfect for yard work. It is hard to believe it is the dead of winter. This picture was taken at 8 AM on Thursday After teaching kids for 33 years and not ever "officially" seeing if I did any work - it is very gratifying seeing the physical results of my toils. I bought the stump grinder from the Praxis Corporation in Illinois. It is a very strong commercial quality piece of equipment. It has a Honda 9HP engine - starts up first pull every time. It is very quiet - and user friendly. At no time does the operator feel threatened. It produces mounds and mounds of sawdust. No big chips are thrown out like other stump grinders I rented in the past. It is also a "chick magnet." :-) People passing by love to stop and watch it work. I am guessing I have "stumpground" 100 stumps and roots on our back lot. Getting the area smooth allows me to run my rototiller and lawnmower through the former wooded area.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Letter from Chuck Shuck - My Former Student in the Army

    Dear friends,
    Hope this email finds you all in good health and spirits.........Today is a great day! Today myself and 4 of my soldiers volunteered to work a ceremony honoring the late Dr Matin Lurther King Jr.......what an experience for both myself and my soldiers......America truly has come a long way and for the better......We are all one no matter what color our skin is and we find that out each and everyday in Iraq when all races of soldiers give their lives so all races in America can live free...So the next time you are walking down the street or doing anything and you see someone of the opposite skin color, go up to that person and shake their hand because that is the kind of society we live in today and we should appreciate each and everyday we have on this earth.............I will be driving out to school next Tuesday so this might be the last note you receive from me till sometime around March 16th or so..............I will be at Fort Leonardwood, Missouri for 9 weeks of school, but will return to Fort Hood and as soon as June 2006 I can come down on orders to PCS to some other duty station............I am planning a trip to both PA and Maine once again for sometime around the June time frame..........The project with the postcards are going great, 2 days ago, I sent the kids Kansas, Hawaii, Iowa, North Carolina and in the shoot are Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC.................Thanks to everyone for supporting this project......Those 15 second graders are really enjoying this project....I know I asked for 16, but I send that extra postcard to another special class from the Jim Thorpe Area Elem schoo in PA and that teacher (Mrs DePuy) shares that card with Mrs Havel's class so you guys are helping teach all these kids something special about the awesome country we live in...............My friend Mr Keith Tillis was promoted to Captain this past week and he is a Department of the Army police officer in our section and my soldiers truly are lucky to have him in that position as well as I am...............The weather here in Texas was warm in the day and cold at night......I guess I will end this email, but not without first asking you all once again to keep all the soldiers over in Iraq and other countries safe from harm's way, but espceially those close to me, SGM Wally "DAD" Murrell, SPC Ross, 1LT Horak and 2 special young men SPC Lovejoy and SPC Peck (these 2 soldiers were my 2 soldiers last year in Iraq).........God bless America and may God bless you and all your families!
    Talk to you in March!

    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    More Thoughts on Orange Bowl Trip

    We just got home from our trip to the Orange Bowl.

    We stopped at Disneyworld for three days to break up the trip from Miami to Tallahassee - thus the late post.

    I want to compliment both the PSU fans and the FSU fans - I saw very little rude or boring behavior at the game. I think FSU fans were happy that they were not embarrassed by a romp - and PSU fans were just happy to get away with a win - any win.

    The point I want to address is how many folks seem to think their school "travels better" than others and that when "their team" goes to a bowl - tickets are going to dry up and no one will get into the game below face value.

    I have gone to almost every FSU bowl game in the last 20 years - I have gone to 3 PSU bowl games when I happened to be in the in the area where they were playing - Holiday Bowl - Blockbuster Bowl - Carquest Bowl - etc.

    This year's Orange Bowl is a prime example of how anyone can go to any bowl game - and buy tickets for pennies on the dollar - even an hour before game time.

    PSU fans thought -
    1. We travel better than any other team.
    2. We haven't been in a big bowl in years - so our fans will travel
    3. Pennsylvania folks need some sunshine.
    4. The Paterno/Bowden thing would goose ticket sales.
    5. Playing Number 22 would insure a victory.

    FSU fans thought-
    1. We are going to get pounded.
    2. Why travel to Miami in the middle of the work week.
    3. Tickets will be priced high because PSU "travels well."
    4. Ticket prices on ebay are very high - so game tickets will be high.

    My observations from the game -
    1. Since all bowl games are on TV and made for TV - fans fail to show up to pay the $100 plus price for tickets.
    2. Thanks to moving the games away from Jan 1st - fans can't miss the many work days needed to attend the game.
    3. Most public school students are already back to classes in both Florida and Pennsylvania.
    4. Many PSU fans panicked and bought extra tickets and had to sell them because some of their friends decided not to come to the game.
    5. I turned down over 500 tickets in the 400 upper deck level. Most of them were owned by PSU fans thinking they were going to recoup the $85.00 face value because they were convinced this would be a hot ticket.
    6. We bought two tickets on the front row at the goal line - $125.00 tickets - for $30 each - about half hour before game time. When we got to our seats - there was almost a whole row of seats empty right by us.
    7. The official attendance was 77,000 - but I am guessing there were 10,000 "no shows."
    8. Most of the tickets sold directly to the fans via the schools - are the worst seats in the house.
    9. The best seats are kept for sponsors - and are given out as "party favors."
    10. Many of the tickets given out by the sponsors end up being sold outside the stadium to make a quick profit.
    11. We walked around with a stadium map before the game - and only negotiated with people that had tickets along the sideline in the the first 20 rows. Many folks were insulted when we would not even offer them $10 for their "prized tickets."

    The point I am trying to make - after attending the 20 bowl games - and not getting shut out once - I would not encourage anyone going to a bowl game (except maybe the number 1 and 2 game) not to buy ahead of time for the list price.

    My Conclusion - Fans that follow a team that is known to "travel well" pay way too much for their tour packages - plane tickets - hotel rooms - and game tickets. In short - they are victims of their own illusions.

    PSU fans outnumbered FSU fans easily by 2 to 1. Generally - PSU fans paid a lot of money for a travel package that many only bought because the package included a coveted game ticket.

    FSU fans have been at 20 or so bowls in a row. They are jaded - they have been at many BCS bowls - and if their team is not in the running for the crown - they stay at home and watch on the HDTV. FSU fans are spoiled - getting the automatic ACC/BCS bid has led FSU fans to believe they are entitled to national champions.

    Generally speaking - I think the PSU fans were more polite.

    There were plenty of tickets outside the Orange Bowl for sale by fans - not just scalpers - all one had to do was hold up two fingers.


    Our Orange Bowl Host - Gary Miller - Tamaqua High School Classmate

  • More Pictures of Gary's Place

  • Many of you "older" Tamaqua folks will remember Miller's Dress Shop in downtown Tamaqua. It was right next to the building where Lutz's news agency is today. In the 50s and 60s - Gary Miller used to live in a second floor apartment above his parents' store there.

    After graduating from Tamaqua High School in 1966 - Gary graduated from Penn State and went to New York City to try his hand in the apparel industry. For 30 years - Gary established an importing business of exclusive clothing. Then he retired to Miami at age 50.

    Retirement was fine for a few years - but now Gary is back marketing cleaning products to hospitals. He does it all - has the product produced in Minnesota - warehouses it in Florida - offers the product to hospitals - and trains the hospital employees on its proper use.

    Gary and I lost touch after graduation. We all heard rumors of him making the big time in New York City - but we weren't sure. About two years ago - Gary and I met over the internet - and we have been calling - writing - and visiting each other ever since. When Gary found out that we were visiting Miami and the Orange Bowl Game - he offered his home to us.

    Gary's home is in a walled community in Plantation, Florida. There are 500 homes - each one has lake frontage. The real estate sign out front said that homes were available for $1,125,000 to $5,000,000. Be sure to press the link above to see the rest of the pictures of Gary's home.

    Also - while in Fort Lauderdale we visited the King Tut Artifacts Exhibit. On display were hundreds of artifacts found in the tomb in 1922. This exhibit is only going to visit four museums - and we were lucky enough to be in Fort Lauderdale during its visit.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Nearly Catching The Triple Overtime Field Goal - Priceless

    Many folks told us that showing up for an Orange Bowl game between two of the country's historic football powers with the top two coaches in the nation without tickets - was downright foolish. If you would like to read the story of three foolish dreamers - read on.

    We arrived in Fort Lauderdale in our rental car at about noon gameday. While lunching at Hooters we noticed Penn State blue shirts outnumbered FSU garnet and gold ones by about forty to one. Folks wearing shorts with white pasty thighs sticking out overwehlmed the bronze tight FSU bellies at least by 100 to one.

    After lunch - we drove to Gary's mansion - which is another story to follow tomorrow. We felt like Saddam Hussein entering his walled city of stately dream homes.

    Around 4PM - Harry - Nancy - Sally - drove to the stadium. Sally had a VIP parking pass because she volunteered to work for the Orange Bowl Committee. One of Sally's jobs was to polish the Orange Bowl trophy including each orange in it.

    Sally Bair is one of my fellow teacher buddies from back in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. There is not a more loyal PSU fan. Sally rode a bus in an ice storm to Newark, NJ - caught a jet to Fort Myers - then drove almost three hours to Fort Lauderdale - just to see us and the game.

    Even at 4PM - there were tickets for sale around the stadium - most of the folks that were selling tickets were blue clad FSU fans holding and extra one or two tickets from the 400 level nose bleed section. They were expecting to get the face value $85 for those single tickets in hypoxia heaven - you could tell they haven't been at a bowl game in a while. Closer to the game - ticket prices dropped but not as fast as usual. You could see Sally - Harry - and even Nancy walking around holding up two fingers with one hand and a folded tattered stadium map in the other.

    The three of us agreed we would only buy lower level tickets and not pay more than $50 each - a big concession for cheapskate Harry. Many folks were highly insulted when we offered such a low amount for tickets that they paid top dollar for on ebay. Finally - like magic - about 25 minutes before game time - a guy walked up with his wife - and offered me two great tickets for $50 each. They were impatient to get inside the stadium. I offered $30 each - using my usual line that I am a retired teacher onf a fixed income. He balked - but his wife grabbed them and handed them to me. $30 each. When Nancy came back and saw them - she was upper happy. I gave the good tickets to Nancy and Sally and took Sally's 400 level seat for myself. I figured I could follow them to the good seats and sit nearby. To our surprise there was a whole empty row of seats in front of us. We were in the front.

    The game was great - the PSU fans were really nice - even the FSU didn't have too much bravado expecting to get pasted. The game was lots of fun. I was proud of both my friends from my old life of 55 years and my new buddies from Tallahassee - the Seminoles.

    You know the rest of the story - the game played to a tie after 4 quarters - and they played three extra overtime periods. FSU kicked a field goal that hit the goal post right by us. PSU kicked a field goal that didn't hit in our laps but came close enough for us to call the play. PSU 26 - FSU 23. It was a game for the ages.

    We have seen FSU play Nebraska - Notre Dame - Miami - Oklahoma in the "orange bowl." We saw FSU play the Gators and Auburn in the Sugar Bowl This was the game that was for me - one foot firmly planted in "Pennsylvania Coal Cracker Country" and my other foot and my future in "Florida Cracker Country."

  • More game pictures
  • Monday, January 02, 2006

    Seminole Warpath Goes down I-75 to Miami

    Our trip to the Orange Bowl started out at the Tallahassee Airport at 8 AM this morning - not to fly - but to pick up our internet discounted rental car. The rental bill said $42.24 for the week. To my surprise - the coupon was accepted without hassle. We were expecting a Chevy Cobalt - but in parking spot 12 they left us a Buick LaCrosse with 8000 miles on it. So we loaded our bags - installed the Sirius radio - and headed east over I-10 - then down I-75. After five hours of driving - we were in our hotel in Fort Pierce. Doing the math it means we averaged 72 miles per hour.

    In the 360 miles of driving from 9AM to 2PM - we saw just one FSU magnetic sign and one flag. Hopefully the rest of the tribe will follow tomorrow.

    It was warm and sunny in Fort Pierce - so we went to the beach - and then spent the rest of the day watching bowl games on the TV while using the wireless internet to send back this report.

    Tomorrow morning we will drive to Gary's house in Plantation near the stadium. We will drive over to the hotel in Fort Lauderdale to see Sally - the number one Penn State fan in the world. She flew in alone - just to go to the bowl game with Nancy and me. Sally also is in possession of a VIP parking pass for the game. Of course we will take her.

    The weather report for tomorrow and game time is good - good luck to our Penn State buddies - Go Noles!

    Pictures tomorrow.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    Harry and Nancy Orange Bowl Bound - A Boy Scout is Thrifty

    I enjoy listening to sports pundits putting down Seminole fans saying that we are spoiled with all the success and are jaded when it comes to post season bowl games. I tend to agree that bowls that select FSU as one of their participants usually do not do as well financially as they would do if they chose other schools like Notre Dame or Michigan.

    Since my family and I have attended 16 FSU bowl games and numerous road games with the Noles - we have learned many tricks that have allowed us to go to bowls on a shoe string.

    One guy on a call-in radio show - obviously a Play Station All-American said, "Seminole fans can go to the Orange Bowl with a $10 bill and a copy of the Ten Commandments - and not break either one."

    I intend to prove that guy correct. I would like to chronicle how we intend to get down and back to Miami and the Orange Bowl without having my wallet break a sweat.

    Rule Number One - Never buy bowl tickets up front ahead of time. Have you seen the prices on bowl tickets these days? Over $100 each - and regular fans end up sitting closer to the flight path of Miami International Airport than the playing field. It never fails that 30 minutes before game time - there are plenty of good seats outside the stadium for $5 - $10 - $15. My wife and I walk around with our little seating charts expecting to sit between the 30 yard lines within 20 rows of the field for under $10. At the ACC Championship Game - we sat on the 20 yard line, row 15 for $10 a piece. We paid more money to park and tailgate than we did for the game.

    Rule Number Two - Stay with someone that lives near the stadium. My friend Gary graduated from my old high school class of 1966 - made his fortune in the garment industry - and retired to Plantation FL - a couple miles from the stadium. He insisted we come to visit him - and he did not have to ask us twice.

    Rule Number Three - Why put 1000 miles on your family car when there are fantastic deals for rental cars on the internet? Do not ask me how - but my son found a coupon on the net that got us a rental car for a week for $43 - yes $43 the whole week - not per day - and that includes taxes. The internet is an amazing place to find deals - and all you need to do is look.

    Rule Number Four - Take advantage of places like for hotels on the way down and back. My wife landed hotel rooms in Disney Village for $60 a night to break up the long 500 miles to Miami.

    Rule Number Five - Get your money's worth out of those Florida Resident Yearly Disney Passes. Since Disney is half way to Miami - it is a great time to notch some time on the Adventures after the tourists leave on January 5th. We bought yearly passes for $200 each and intend to get $2000 of use out of them.

    Yes - Florida State has been in 20 straight bowls or something like that. Seminole fans are spoiled. Yes - they are jaded. They think it is their birthright to be playing in the top BCS bowl every year. Even in a "down" year like 2005 - an ACC Championship over Miami and Virginia Tech - $17,000,000 of BCS money - many of the Seminole faithful will ho hum the game in front of their HDTV.

    But Seminole fans are also astute. They have learned how to party like the big boys using very little of their allowance. Follow along on our visit to the Orange Bowl. See if Harry and Nancy get good seats - good times - for next to nothing..