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Friday, June 30, 2006

Rachel Enjoys Her First ALA Convention

All of the bags - boxes - luggage - books - belong to Rachel. She is Nancy's grad assistant and she is working on her Masters in Library Science. The van was nearly empty going to New Orleans - but as you can see - Rachel "caught the limit" at the convention.

Rachels's Dad - like my Dad and Nancy's Grandad - is a coal miner. He mines bituminous coal in Missouri. Rachel's husband - Tiglet - is a doctoral student in the Physics Department at FSU.

Tamaqua Hit Hard by Rain - Dodged Bullet

Joe Plasko - Tamaqua Bureau Chief of the Times News wrote to me -

We were a lot luckier than some areas. Thank goodness they drained the lower Owl Creek dam a few years ago, so it worked out as a spillway and prevented further flooding. Tuscarora and Still Creek held fine, we had some flooding from the Wabash Tuesday night. But they did evacuate downtown Tamaqua for a couple of hours on Wednesday morning when Tuscarora was iffy.

Here are pictures of the Schuylkill River in Tamaqua. It starts in Tamaqua and runs 130 miles to Philadelphia. Tamaqua Sewer System empties into the Schuylkill and Philadelphia Water System draws out of the same.

These pictures were taken by my old church - Bethany EC Church. Paul Dodson took the pictures.

FSU Library Grant Made the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper

Nancy's grant made the news here in Tallahassee. Nancy and Eliza spent almost a year writing this proposal. Only 35 grants were awarded in the entire nation. This is the only one in Florida. Read the story here -
  • See the story in the Tallahassee Democrat
  • Thursday, June 29, 2006

    FSU Sport Season One of Best Ever

    The 2005-06 athletic season was arguably one of the best in Florida State University history, headlined by a National Championship for the men's track and field team, an inaugural ACC Championship title for football, a College Cup appearance for soccer and perhaps the most impressive - a Seminole athlete was named a Rhodes Scholar. In total, a spectacular 16-of-19 Florida State sports made NCAA post-season appearances, there were six individual national champions and 55 All-American honors were awarded to Seminole athletes.

    And so, another athletic season comes to an end at Florida State and the list of achievements, quite literally, could go on and on like any other year in Seminole athletics history. However, what makes this year's Florida State athletics group so unique is the undeniable success of many different sports across the board, whether male or female.

    "I think it's the best year we've ever had comprehensively," Florida State Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. "Now, when I say that, that's exactly what I mean. When I looked at what our 19 teams did, competitively, what they did in the classroom, in the community, etc....we've had the best year we've ever had.

    "Academically it was a terrific year, highlighted by Garrett Johnson being a Rhodes Scholar, and we set a record again with the number of student-athletes on the ACC honor roll. And in community service, over 5,000 hours were recorded by our student-athletes. We're recognized and rightfully so. Our student-athlete population won some individual and team awards for their community service efforts, for their efforts in the classroom, and for their efforts competitively.

    "So, comprehensively speaking, though some of our teams have had what they would have considered a disappointing year, we had 16 of 19 teams in post-season play. Overall, when you look at the three areas we prioritize...we've had the best year we've ever had."

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Bridge is Out in Pennsylvania

    My niece - Suzie Fritz - is a school library media specialist in the Honesdale Schools in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. She lives in a log home on a hill in the country. A river goes around the hill where she lives. The river decided to cross the road and take out the bridge. They have had 15 inches of rain in 3 days.

    Laura Bush Awards Nancy and Eliza's Proposal a $1,300,000 Grant to Board Certify Librarians

    Today Nancy officially found out that her proposal to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has been awarded $943,000 according to the First Lady Laura Bush's announcement. This award which will be matched with $373,000. Nancy and fellow library professor Eliza Dresang spent months designing the project which will fund 30 full three year scholarships to prepare school library media specialists. They will complete the program with school library media certification and also be prepared for National Board Certification.

    It is called Project LEAD.
  • Laura Bush Press Release

  • Nancy and Eliza's Official Award

  • FSU School Library Media Program

  • Pictures
    1 - Official Logo of the $1,300,000 project
    2 - Nancy's first day in the office in January 2005.
    3 - Eliza and Nancy with Dr. Dan Callison - of the University of Indiana

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Anderson Cooper Delivers Keynote Speech at ALA Convention

    1 - Laura Bush spoke earlier in the day to a sparse crowd. Many librarians boycotted the speech because of the Bush stance on the "Patriot Act" - the war in Iraq - and spying on US citizens. But at 6:00 - a much larger crowd listened as Anderson Cooper talked about saving and rebuilding New Orleans.

    2 - Someone in New Orleans likes Keith's Arsenal team.

    3 - This duo was so good at playing the blues that even Harry let moths out of his wallet to put money in the hat. They even did a Robert Johnson favorite of Harry's for Harry - Chicago.

    4 - This bumper sticker says it all. Our country has wasted $500 billion on the Iraq Oil War. Meanwhile - less than $20 billion could build levees that would withstand any storm. New Orleans was not destroyed by a storm - it was doomed by our government that knew this could happen - and did nothing.

    5 - Harry opened up his own store in the French Quarter called Hurricane Harry's.

    Flood at Bungalow Pool in Tamaqua

    Our good friend and neighbor - Dian Fudge - sent us these pictures of the flood in the Bungalow Park in Tamaqua. Some of you know this is the pool across the street from our old home. Others know that this is the place where Nancy and I met when I was the lifeguard up in the chair and Nancy was the pretty girl in the bikini that lured me out of bachelorhood.

    Tamaqua sits in a long valley - and when they get 4 inches of rain at one time - there is no where for it to go except down into the valley and the Schuylkill River. It takes the easiest path.

    Streetcar Named Desire

    I just biked the route of the famous "Streetcar Named Desire." It used to run right by our hotel - The Royal Sonesta Hotel - on Bourbon Street. I biked it east all the way to Saint Bernard Parish.

    This picture is a streetcar named "Desire". It’s also named "Jackson". And "Canal". Oh, and "Napoleon" too. You see, unlike San Francisco, New Orleans has never numbered or lettered its streetcar lines. Instead, they’ve been known by the names of key streets on their routes. Thus, instead of "F" in its route box sign, this car would have said "Desire", "Canal", or whatever route it was assigned to that day.
    In New Orleans, "Desire" was no different than Jackson, Freret, or a score of other New Orleans car line names, until Tennessee Williams immortalized it in 1947 (just a year before its streetcars gave way to buses). Desire’s only operating distinction was running its entire length in mixed street traffic. (Most other lines ran in exclusive medians known in New Orleans as "neutral ground.") The route went through the famed French Quarter on Royal and Bourbon Streets, as well as Desire Street.

    There is a restaurant in our hotel called "Desire" directly on the route at 300 Bourbon Street.

    Click Here - My Computer For Sale on eBay

    Father's Day brought a new Mac Book for Harry. It arrived today. This is the first Apple Macintosh laptop that has the Intel chip in it - that allows it to run both Apple and PC software - at lightning speed.

    In the picture - we are performing a transfusion - transferring all of my files from the iBook to the Mac Book.

    Therefore I am selling my iBook G4 on eBay. It is less than one year old and still under warranty. You can follow along on the eBay sale - by clicking the title of this article.

    Editor's Note - This computer sold on ebay for $710 to a person in Texas. They paid for it right away using Paypal - a banking service where money is electronically transferred to your account. The computer will be shipped Wednesday morning - as soon as we get back home form New Orleans.

    Make Levees - Not War

    I saw this Democratic bumper sticker in New Orleans yesterday.

    Stop gay flag-burning illegal immigrants from getting abortions – Vote Republican

    I saw this Republican bumper sticker today.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    We were Swimming with an Award Winning Author - Amada Irma Perez

    After a hard day of "conventioning" and eating rubber chicken - Nancy and I went to the pool for an evening swim. We met a very interesting lady from Ventura, California - Amada Irma Perez.

    Amada writes childrens' books about Latino kids.

  • See Amada's Page Here
  • Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Tour the New Orleans Disaster with Me

    Click picture to enlarge.

    Today I spent 5 hours walking around Saint Bernard Parish east of New Orleans.

    Buses were free - so I caught one and took it as far east as I could. Then I got off and just walked around. You could tell that it was a pretty neighborhood. It was working class but 80% of the folks owned their own home.

    James Williams looked about 70. He lived alone with his wheelchair bound son. He was working hard renovating his home. He bought it in 1970 and owned it free and clear. It is all he has in life. During the hurricane he stayed in the home with his son because they had no way out. During the night when the hurricane hit - the wind "came and gone." He said they went to bed pretty smug that they survived the storm. And then in the morning the levee broke just about 4 blocks away. His son told him that water was coming up the steps. By the time he came to look - it was coming in the door. In 10 minutes - they were in the attic - breaking a hole in the roof and praying for help. He said a Fish and Game Boat came along and took them to the bridge to spend the next couple of days above the flood.

    The saddest part of this disaster is that it could have been prevented. We knew that the levees could not stand such a hurricane and storm surge - but no one wanted to spend the money to help these people. Most of them are black - poor - and Democrats. So we decided to spend the money on more important things - like invading Iraq to help the oil companies.

    I visited 3 little girls that were just as friendly as could be. They all had big smiles on their faces. Everyone I met was willing to talk about the flood. One fella who had almost nothing insisted I have a coke with him. The people here have a strong spirit. I admire them.

    As I was walking back - the bus driver saw me - stopped the bus - and asked me if I had enough. I nodded and hopped on. I was the lightest one on the bus in many ways. In a few minutes I was back in the French Quarter swimming in the fancy pool in my 4 star hotel on Bourbon Street. A little later I would attend a really nice party sponsored by Florida State University - and Nancy and I would celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.

    Tuesday we will drive back to our home in Tallahassee. The day before the hurricane hit New Orleans - it was heading straight for Tallahassee. I remember joking on the net that I prayed to God to steer the hurricane away from Tallahassee and send it to New Orleans. I wish I did not have that much pull upstairs. Somehow - the joke isn't very funny anymore.

  • More New Orleans Disaster Pictures
  • Bill and Louise Are Enjoying Our Old Camper

    Hello Harry,

    Thought you might like to know what the camper has been up to......We left here in late April & put on over 2,000 miles & $660 worth of gas...but oh what a wonderful trip.

    Our first night was spent in Tallulah Gorge State Park in Ga. It was perfect & of course at that time of the year not many people were there. We went to the visitors center & also saw where Karl Wallenda walked the tightrope across the gorge. We spent 3 nights in Cherokee, NC,(right in the middle of Bike Weekend, but they were good), then on to Gatlinburg, TN for 2 nights. Bill had his Army reunion in Pigeon Forge, TN, so it was 4 days there. From there we went to WV to visit Bill's family & then back to NC to visit with friends there in their new home (mansion is more like it). It is just beautiful.

    While we were motoring around we were also looking around for a place in the mountains so we could be reverse snowbirds. We were concentrating on NC or TN. On our last day of looking we found a dream log cabin in NC. It was a turn key sale & what a lucky find it was. Beautiful furniture & everything else one could need. It is in Rutherfordton which is southeast of Asheville in the isothermal zone. The Isothermal College is located there. It is also very near Lake Lure & Chimmey Rock.

    Bill along with our son & the cat went up to the cabin last Saturday in the camper & pulling a small trailer. I had to tie up some loose ends here, but will be leaving to go up on Monday.

    Well that is it in a nutshell for now....I am sure there will be more adventures to follow.

    Take care.....Bill & Louise Keenan

    Editor's Note - I am so happy that Bill and Louise took the time to send us such a nice letter. It means they are happy with our camper and it is performing well. We took great pride in that camper and kept up the service on it. Also - in the short time we met with them - they seemed like such kind and interesting folks.

    Day 2 in New Orleans

    Pictures -
    1 - Day 2 started with a swim at the pool of our Royal Sonesta Hotel. In the picture - Bourbon Street is behind Nancy. The pool is made of steel and is on the third floor.
    2 - The pink house was in the Garden District - an area that did not get flooded but the houses were destroyed just the same. We were riding our bikes through that area when I took the picture.
    3 - Harry's restaurant is around the corner from our hotel - we did not eat there yet.
    4 - We had dinner with Vi and Wayne Hirada - our friends from Hawaii. Vi is a professor at the University of Hawaii and Nancy loves working with her there. Nancy has worked 7 summers with Vi at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Valley in Honolulu.

    We had a very full day - starting with a bike ride to deliver Wayne Wiegand's bag and ending with a street car ride to nowhere and sitting at the end of the line in the "bombed out" hinterland for a half hour at 10 pm. This is not the first time Nancy stranded us on a train platform in the middle of nowhere at night.

    New Orleans is indescribable. The destruction is so total and the scope so immense.

    What is so unusual - usually the area along the river is the lowest area. But in place where a river is depositing - like delta - the soil builts up near the river during flood and the farther back you are from the river - the lower it gets. From the sediments - the river bottom tends to rise above the surrounding land.

    The French Quarter with Bourbon Street and the Garden District did not get much of the flooding from the broken levee. This area has been built up from years of the river deposits. Out hotel is in this area. So the farther away from downtown you get - the worse the destruction is.

    The buses and the street cars are free to ride right now. Today - Keith and I had a discussion on the difference between a street car and a trolley - I still do not know the difference. At any rate - today I am riding a bus 20 miles east - and if I am brave I will get off the bus and walk around and take pictures.

    Sidelight - Vi's husband Wayne Hirada writes a column for the Honolulu Advertiser - the daily paper. You can see it here -

  • Wayne Hirada's Column
  • Friday, June 23, 2006

    Biking New Orleans at 6 AM - This City Needs Help

    4 giant beignets after 10 pm - he will pay for that later.

    Our buddy Wayne spent the last 2 weeks in Europe with his wife - daughter - and granddaughter. But he flew home early because he did not want to miss the ALA convention. So Wayne flew in at midnight. We brought his suitcase from Tallahassee - so i figured I would deliver it by bike at 6am.

    Believe it or not - with one strap around my neck and the suitcase on the handlebars - I could have gone for miles - much farther than the 1.5 mile distance between our hotels. At 6 am - there was very little traffic - mostly construction workers going to their sites. I saw a few of the 20,000 librarians floating around.

    The streets around our Bourbon Street hotel were strewn with garbage from the night before - not as bad as we saw on previous visits - but the crowds are no longer here. The buildings in the French Quarter seem pretty nice - but it is an oasis in a desert of disaster.

    Last night - Nancy and I ate at a barbacue ribs joint on Bourbon Street. Food was great - but the place was maybe 1/3 full. It may have been 7 pm when we ate. Then we went to Cafe du Monde for Beingets - again - the place was half full. At about 10 pm - I took a picture of Fat Tuesdays - a bar famous for their mixed frozen drinks. You can see that every bar seat was empty.

    Pictures -
    1 - Ears - nose - glasses - hair - this picture makes me realize that I have turned into my dad.
    2 - Nancy in front of our Royal Sonesta Hotel at 7 pm - note the sparse crowd on Bourbon Street.
    3 - My folding bike in front of the Super Dome around sunrise.
    4 - Fat Tuesday at 10 pm - every bar stool was empty - usually lines waiting

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    We are Safely at Home in Our Hotel in New Orleans

    Click on the title to see the hotel's web page.

    We left Tallahassee about 10am in a green Pontiac Montana four wheel drive van. It was 400 miles to New Orleans and we got here by 5 pm.

    Our hotel is very nice - the Royal Sonesta Hotel - at 300 Bourbon Street. It has parking in the basement - and a court yard with a pretty pool. We are right in the center of all the action.

    Rachel and Tiglet drove over with us. They are in a hotel a couple blocks away.

    Our hotel is very close to St. Charles Square.

    The properties and trees coming in on I-10 was breathtaking - the mess they are in. Just blocks and blocks of destroyed homes and apartment - personal stuff still littered all over.

    I brought the folding bikes along to tour around and take pictures.

    It is going to be an interesting 6 days.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Tomorrow We Go To New Orleans for 6 Days

    Nancy and I will drive a van to New Orleans tomorrow for the 6 day long American Library Association convention. This is the first big convention in the crescent city since Hurricane Katrina. Imagine sharing the French Quarter with 20,000 librarians. Nancy got us a wonderful hotel right on Bourbon Street.

    Nancy will be doing a presentation at the convention while I will be touring around the city on my folding bike - sending pictures back to you.

    It is about 500 miles from Tallahassee to New Orleans. We will be using our new GPS to navigate our trip. I have a feeling it will say - get on I-10 here - then 7 hours later - get off I-10 here - there is your hotel.

    Keith will stay in the house while we are gone.

    Looks Like Snow in Sunny Florida - Spray Foam Insulation in the Barn

    Today they insulated our barn with Icynene - better known as spray foam. It started out when they masked off the windows - doors - and floors. Then a guy in a hazmat suit used a double hose spray gun that mixes 2 chemicals to make instant foam. The foam temperature rises to 170 degrees during the process. This foam looks like snow and expands to fill all the cracks. We put 8 inches in the roof and 6 inches in the walls. After it was over - they used a saw to remove the excess. The reduction in heat level and sound level is dramatic. The city inspector came during the application and remarked what a splendid job this is.

    Next - the drywall - bathroom - floor - and we are done.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Barn Outside is Done

    Click on the headline to see more pictures.

    Today - we did the walk through of the barn. We paid Bill Gwynn - the Builder - the final payment. We are very happy with the quality of the work and the professionalism of Bill and his carpenters. We had a good time and finished on time and on budget.

    We will continue with the inside work now.

    We have a contract for the external painting with Wesley Head - the man that painted our house last year. He is on vacation now in Alaska - but will return soon. Wesley comes to the job with two tools - a brush and a ladder - and proceeds to do the whole job without masking tape - he has an excellent eye and hand.

    Next comes "spray foam" insulation - then drywalling the upstairs - finishing the bathroom and bar - wood floors - air conditioning and heat - then moving all our tools and bins into the workshop. The downstairs walls will be plywood and paint.

    Today - the electrical inspector came - and gave his approval to my wiring job. He also complimented the nice work. Nancy was here - that is what she told me.

    All in all - this has been a fun project. I will give a step by step report later.

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    My Student Chuck Going Back to Iraq for Third Time

    Hello Mr E -
    This me and my SSD Partner Gabe...........SSD stands for Specialized Search Dog and this is a pretty new program that the Army and other services has right now........the schooling is over 4 months long and you get to train 2 the end of the course if both your dogs certify, you then can choose which dog you want to take with you..........Right now it's still up in the air when I will leave for Iraq, but I am sure it is the very near future after graduation on July 28th.........Gabe's job is to go out and find explosives and things of that nature........He is also trained in basic obedience to listen to my commands........he can work on leash or off leash depending on what sort of mission we are doing.........He is the best partner any handler can ever ask for......Most of the time he will walk about 3 to 4 steps and then look back to see if I am still with him.......Gabe is a Labrador and will be 4 years old on Dec 26th.........The German sheppard in the other picture is Doki and he is my German sheppard........he just turned 2 in May and is a great dog also......He works great and has had one handler prior to me, but my instructors tell me he has changed 100% since we have become partners......thanks and take care Mr E