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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lulu Will Be Inaugurated Tonight as the President of the AASL

Click on article title for more information.

Lulu's reign begins tonight as president of the American Association of School Librarians. For the next year - she will represent her profession at conventions - meetings - and on a grand tour of the USA. During that tour - she plan to visit an exemplary school library in each state. The libraries were picked by members of AASL from each state.

Lulu's sons Drew and Keith will be at the "coronation" tonight - along with other friends. The Trailing Spouse will be there - with camera.

Atlantic Was a Slaughter House in 1942





Yesterday I visited the Washington Navy Yard Museum. It is down along the Potomac off the beaten path near the new baseball stadium. I had the entire museum to myself - a fascinating collecting of navy articles and history.

The most interesting to me was the story about the carnage in the Atlantic in 1942. 432 Merchant Marine ships were sunk by 12 German Submarines. Only 2 subs were destroyed during this one-sided segment of the war.

American ships were carrying troops and supplies to Europe to be used against Hitler and his Nazis. They had virtually no defense against the underwater prowlers. Sonar and radar were not yet developed.

My grandfather - Roy Everhart - was killed off sailing from Puerto Rico to Cuba on the USS Norlandia. A torpedo pierced the engine room where he was stationed. The sub was less than 300 feet away. After his ship was sunk and the survivors were in lifeboats - the German sub surfaced - gave the lucky ones brandy - and pointed them toward the Dominican Republic - just 12 miles away.

On the map I am pointing to the exact location where Everhart and the Norlandia went down. In March - Lulu and I visited that spot on a cruise ship sailing form Haiti to Jamaica. Note all the explosions along the coast of Florida - even near New Orleans and Tallahassee.

During this Jan-June 1942 Disaster - German subs often sunk ships coming out of American ports - terrorizing civilians on shore. Ernest Hemingway writes about this in "Islands in the Stream." This was just months after PEarl Harbor.

Much of the information we have about this era was gleaned from meticulous records kept by German submarine captains. Germans kept records of virtually every bullet fired - that can be searched on the Internet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Navy Yard Museum

All to myself - about three miles south of Capitol along the Potomac.

Martin Luther King Library - My Coverage Headquarters of The ALA Convention in Washington

We are staying at the Grand Hyatt in Washington Center - the complex directly above the Metro Subway Center Station. It is a grand hotel with rooms starting at $212 a night - but I just couldn't stand to part with $20 a day for Internet service - when the Martin Luther King Library is next store and it offer free wifi access. The library doesn't open until noon - but the wifi is fine sitting on the sidewalk bench right near the employees entrance. Whenever the garage door opens - I get a nice blast of cool air. A librarian coming to work just drove by in her new navy blue Cadillac.

Just a block north of me is the Convention Center where 20,000 librarians are meeting to plan the future of library services in our schools and towns on an ever dwindling share of your tax dollars. Few of the librarians from the convention will get to see the inside of Martin Luther King Library - and I am guessing an equal amount of the librarians in the trenches here will get to the convention.

Inside the library are two gigantic murals showing scenes from King's life in the civil rights movement. The patrons are generally minorities and it seems the three top library services they are seeking are: rest rooms - a cool place to rest - and access to a row of computers connected to the Internet.

Someone should be running a bus tour from the Convention Hall to this library. Excuse me - it is almost noon - and I need to use the bathroom.

Lulu Just Called Gushing Over Her Meeting with Arne Duncan


I am not too good at remembering names - when Lulu said she was meeting with Arne Duncan - I had no idea he was the Secretary of Education. Yes - a member of Barack Obama's Cabinet.

He is very interested in Lulu's Vision Tour that she will be making across the USA in the next year. She has vowed to visit the top school library in every state in the union. This is a Herculean task - but if anyone can pull it off - she can. Duncan said he might join her on a few of the visits - we will see

Zero Mile Marker - On the Ellipse - South of the White House



Third grade was a very formative time for me. I can remember my reading and geography books better than I can re-call my last trip to Washington. In my reading book - there was a continuing story of a family traveling around the USA pulling a "house trailer." The adventure seemed so remarkable that much of my own travels have been spent duplicating travels to places they visited.

In 1977 - Lulu - Drew - my Dad - and I spent a month circling the USA. We were pulling a small travel trailer with a Chevy Chevette. We spent 30 nights in that trailer - the four of us. We navigated the Great Plains - climbed the Rocky Mountains - roasted over the Mohave Desert - and crossed the mighty Mississippi . My Dad got his wish to fished in the frigid Pacific waters - a couple years later he died.

One thing I forgot about was the zero mile maker. Just south of the White House is a granite market. All highway and train distances were calculated form this point. In all of my trips to Washington - I had forgotten to find this marker. Sunday morning - while looking for a bathroom - I stumbled on it. If you ever find it - there is a bathroom at the visitor center just east of the marker.

This Kills Me - Tip Hint


Lulu and I ate at a chinese restaurant the other night. Why - because it was there. It was not particularly remarkable except for the bill. I never got a "tip hint" before.

Jacinta Monroe's Washington Mystics Played Last Night



For the last four years - we watched Jacinta Monroe lead the FSU Lady Noles to be a perennial NCAA basketball power. Just 3 months ago she was playing center for the top ten ranked team from Tallahassee. She was drafted by the Mystic of the WNBA. They play in the arena just two blocks down the street from our hotel. We were all set to see her play last night.

Just before game time - Lulu read on the net that Cin broke her hand and would be out for 6 to 8 weeks. That stinks.

Cin was drafted in the first round by the Mystics. In the NBA - men are guaranteed about $4 million if selected in the first round. But in the WNBA - I think the top draft choice received a $35,000 signing salary.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Merchant Marine Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue




On the north side of the National Archives - along Pennsylvania Avenue - there is a series of bronze plaques honoring World War II heroes. This one honors those that died serving as Merchant Marines.

The Merchant Marines lost a larger percentage of troops than all of the service branches. Their main job was to ferry troops - supplies - and equipment across the Atlantic from the USA to England - France - and other overrun countries.

You may recall that it was just a couple years ago when I discovered the war record of my grandfather Roy Everhart here in Washington. His name can be found at the World War II Memorial along with his date and location of death. He was on a supply ship off the coast of the Dominican Republic - returning from a trip to Europe. It happened 2 July 42. They took a torpedo to his engine room - he worked there.

The Beat of a Different Drummer



Henry David Thoreau said it best. Some march to the beat of a different drummer.

Coaldale Man's Painting in Smithsonian Museum



Jack Savitsky mine coal in Coaldale for 35 years. He worked until 1959 when the Number 8 Mine closed. Many of the miners - including my Dad - chose to remain living in the Coal Regions while they commuted to work in Philadelphia. Dad did this for 15 years.

Jack Savitsky took up painting. Here is one of his paintings hanging in the American Art Museum in Washington at the corner of F and 8th Sts. It shows the patch town of Coaldale - Number 8 Breaker - and the train to Philadelphia.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

7 Days in Washington DC


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Lulu's busy year as president of AASL starts - - - right now. We are in Washington DC for the AASL and ALA Conventions. For the next 7 days - it will be nothing but buns and bifocals. Over 10,000 librarians will be here.

The boys and I will be here on June 29th in our tuxedos to witness Lulu's coronation as the new president. All rise - hail to the chief!

We are staying in the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the corner of H and 10th Sts. Our room on the 9th floor overlooks a large park area that is between us and the Conventional Hall. There is a tennis stadium set up outside our room window - it appears there is going to be an match here.

We flew up this morning on Delta Airlines - typically through Atlanta to Washington National. It is very hot here but nothing like the last two weeks we had back home in Tallahassee.

We will return to Florida on June 30th - then in two weeks we are off to London - where Lulu teaches a course at the FSU London Campus.

Internet access in our hotel is expensive - $15 a day. So - I am in the atrium of the National Portrait Gallery where there is free wi-fi. The gallery is a Classic Greek structure that had a open courtyard in the center. It has been glassed over and air conditioned - and is a perfect place to relax.

Also - 39 years ago today - Lulu and I passed through this town on our elopement and honeymoon in Miami. It is hard to live a life where you made your best decision 39 years ago and your spouse made her worst. On that month long trip to Miami we vowed that one day we would be residents of the Sunshine State - be careful what you wish for.

Videos - First video is the inside hotel atrium. Second video is from our hotel room looking north from the 9th floor. Our family stayed here once before when we came to town to attend a Duke at Georgetown basketball game.




Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Run Like The Wind - Jack is 2


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Jack was two years old this weekend. We had a gala party in South Carolina at Dr. Bob's. Two years have flown by.








30 folks gathered to celebrate "Jack Fest." Everyone wanted a little special face time with Jack. Cakes - parties - games - presents filled the weekend. Everyone appeared magically on Friday evening - and just like that - on Sunday they were gone.


Jack flew home to Providence RI - next time we see him will be London in July. And for one magical week - we will have him to ourselves.










Friday, June 18, 2010

We Have Arrived at Jackfest Deux

Grandson Jack will be two on Sunday. The family has gathered at Dr. Bob's house in South Carolina for the event. Jack was born on the Summer Solstice - June 20th 2008.

Lulu and I left Tallahassee at 7 AM. With several stops for shopping - bathroom - gasoline - and lunch - we got here in 6 hours at 2 PM. It was 270 miles total. This time we avoided the interstate highways as much as we could - taking mostly Georgia state routes 84 and 82. We went through the towns of  Thomasville - Waycross - Quitman - Valdosta -  Hobokon - Brunswick - and Savannah.

When we got here - the birthday boy was napping - finally waking up at 4 PM.

At total of 29 people are coming to the big event. Keith and Liz are here from Washington. Robin's family is coming from Augusta - Baltimore - and Washington.

We have the honor of staying in the guest house here. Most of the kids are staying in "the big house." Some of the guests are at a local hotel.

On Sunday - we will take Robin - Drew - and Jack to the Savannah Airport - then we will drive home. We will be home Sunday night.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brandon Taylor Has Been in China for One Year

by Brandon Taylor


I hit a major milestone today: 365 days ago I arrived in China (I'll call it my China-versary). It's been one year since I said "zai jian" (see you later) to America, boarded a plane, and headed overseas. And what a year it has been. 

I've learned more and experienced more than some people do in their entire lives. Engulfed in a culture vastly different and foreign to my roots in Pennsylvania's Coal Region, I've established myself as an expat and not a tourist. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tallahassee Non-Stop to Washington DC Starts in October


US Airways to begin service between TLH and DCA in October - Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH) announced today that US Airways will begin non-stop service between TLH and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on October 3, 2010. The flights will be operated by US Airways Express partner Air Wisconsin, using their 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft.

"This is very exciting news as service to Washington D.C. has been a top priority for many years," said Mayor John Marks. "This new direct service will provide a boost to the local economy by making it easier and more convenient for both business and leisure travelers to fly between these capital cities."
"This service has been long anticipated and has been realized through the hard work and dedication of City and Airport staff," said Kenneth M. Austin, Director of Aviation.
The schedule is as follows:

TLH to DCA
Flight 3986
Departure - 7:15 a.m.
Arrival - 9:15 a.m.
*Service begins on October 4 for Flight 3986

DCA to TLH
Flight 3985
Departure 6:59 p.m.
Arrival 9:12 p.m.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Horizontal Boring of Gas Line

Today the city installed a new gas line into our brick house. I was sure they would have to dig a ditch to put the gas line in. To my surprise - they didn't.
The gas line runs 36 inches deep. It has to go more than 100 feet from the street to the house.

The city used a horizontal drill - very similar to the way they dig oil wells today. Simply - the drill sections are 10 feet long. Using water as a lubricant - they push the drill into the ground on an angle. They can steer the drill - left - right - up - down - by controlling a rudder type device on the drill bit end. The rudder causes the drill bit to slip into any direction you want it to go. While one man operates the drill - the other man uses a meter to gauge where the drill head is. He directed the operator as the drill bit snaked through the trees. Finally - the bit popped out of the ground like a gopher - just a few feet from the house.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Keith Witnesses Stephen Strasburg Debut

Sent directly from stadium with the Keith's iPhone

Copied from the Washington Post -
Pitcher Stephen Strasburg makes his major league debut for Washington Nationals

They drove to work with baseball talk on the radio, tweeted breathlessly from their office cubicles, checked their favorite blogs for updates, sneaked glances at the handy countdown ticker that ran all day on ESPN, wished each other "Merry Strasmas." And finally, at 7:06 p.m., they rose as one from every corner of

Sunday, June 06, 2010

There is A Mac For That

It's hard to believe that I have been using Apple Computers for 30 years. I first put my hands on an Apple IIe in 1980 - then in 1988 I got my first Mac. Since then - it seems that I am buying a new Mac every year.

I currently own 4 Apples - a MacBook - a MacBook Air - an iPhone - and the new iPad. Each machine has its own personality - each machine has some talents that are excellent and some skills that are just redundant. I obviously do not need 4 computers - but as a retired teacher for 7 years I do not "need " much of anything. Computers have become a very useful hobby for me. They enhance my purchasing skills - and help me in travel - both planning ahead and doing research while on the road.
MacBook







My MacBook is my desktop computer. Yes - it is really a laptop - but since it is the largest and heaviest computer I have - most of the time I use it at home. It is connected to the Internet via a wireless router made by Apple called the Time Capsule. While online I can do computer banking - read a variety of newspapers - watch television using a SlingBox - listen to radio - write stories on my web page - keep financial records - listen to my music collection - view my photo collection - read and write email. Using the program Skype I can make phone calls. Using the iChat program I can video chat with my grandson Jack for free. If I want to operate it without plugging it into an AC outlet - it will run about 3 hours on its battery. I bought this computer on CraigsList for $1000 used a year ago - and it still is under full AppleCare warranty

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Our Neighborhood - Woodland Drives - Selected Top in Leon County - Two Years Running

Click on the title to see Woodland Drives web page.

For the second year in a row, Woodland Drives has been selected as the BEST neighborhood in Leon County! We received this great honor at the CONA awards reception in early May and your Board of Directors want to share this great news with the world. (You can view the Democrat’s article by clicking here.) We won this award because of the volunteerism that’s thrives in our neighborhood—and as a result, the strong community we’re building. Government leaders recognize that a vibrant neighborhood relies on the people who make the area better and better!

Installing New Windows at 1816 Seminole Drive




I bought this place mainly to get the 1.2 acre lot to build our future home. The brick house was a bonus. Our present home is up three doors.

The house was not upgraded since new in 1957. We mainly did three things - we painted it completely - inside and out. We had insulation blown into the attic. Then today - we started putting new windows in it. 


The window project is half done. Five front windows were replaced today. Tomorrow - six more windows will go in. It is a big improvement both in appearance and energy efficiency. 

The house has an old gas furnace/ac unit for hot and cold air. What is different about this system is that everything is outside. The only thing that goes into the house is the hot and cold air through a network of ducts and six floor vents. This provides perfectly quiet  ventilation with all motors being outside away from the house.

Next installation will be a Rennai tankless gas water heater. It will also be located outside the house near the bathroom wall. This will provide an endless supply of instant hot water. It will also free up a large space in the kitchen where the old electric hot water sits in a metal cabinet next to the stove.

Pictures -  Jim McKay installing the windows in the living room - Front of house showing new windows and the new wooden columns.