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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Seminoles Retired Bobby Sura's Jersey

Being a trailing retired spouse can be mundane and lonely - or it can be a busy whirlwind like yesterday. It all started out around 11 AM. It was such a beautiful sunny Saturday with temperatures in the 70s - I just had to wear my shorts and t-shirt and ride my Vespa scooter to Little League practice. All the time I am thinking about all the snow and ice they were having back home North. I kept thinking - this can't be February.

When I got to Winthrop Field - it was time to be a Little League coach. Let me explain. In my 33 years as a teacher - I performed many tasks - yearbook advisor - newspaper advisor - dance deejay - field trip guide - school bus driver - but I never coached a Little League team. I guess after being with 7th graders all day - my summers were free to travel. Yeah - I umpired a few games when my boys were playing - but never was I a coach.

How did I get into coaching? Bob Gabordi made a plea in the Democrat looking for an assistant. His plea did not ask for expertise - simply someone that knew how to work with kids and someone who did not get caught up in the "win at any cost philosophy." So Bob is the coach and I play one on TV.

On Saturday - Bob decided we would have an in-squad scrimmage game. Since we were short a few players - and I was the only coach with "knees" - Bob asked me to be the catcher for both sides. Yikes - I had not worn the "tools of ignorance" for 30 years - and the only size equipment was "extra small" - but I squeezed in - shorts and all. The mask was so tight I had to remove my glasses. So there I was - behind the plate - all strapped up - shorts and all - pretty blind - with my trusty 50 year old Del Crandell left-handed catcher's mitt. But the best thing of all - I was catching the fast ball of Bob Gabordi - executive editor of the Tallahassee Democrat.

I dropped more balls than I caught - and the kids were stealing on me like crazy - but it was worth the price of admission when I caught a guy rounding third base - and I tried to run him back. As I was running toward third base - my foot got caught in the shin protector and I rolled head over heels about two times. I popped back up quickly - to avoid embarrassment - but after eating all that dirt - I finally felt like part of the team - and the town. The red clay soils of the hills of Tallahassee - are now literally running thru my veins.

Practice was over at 1 PM - and I wanted to attend the NCSU at FSU basketball game - but I needed to shower now - and lick my wounds. Lulu called to say she went to the game with friends - Wayne and Shirley - and Wayne landed some great tickets outside. So I washed up and hopped on the scooter to go to the game - about 1 mile from home. The best part of having a scooter in Tallahassee - is the free parking. At the Civic Center - they let me park at the bike rack - free of charge.

I parked the scooter - tied it up - and walked to the ticket area of the arena. I was holding up 1 finger - when a nice fella who was late for the game - gave me an extra ticket - free - and I went inside. Lulu called and I found them - sitting two rows behind the official scorer. What great seats! Wayne bought them outside - and his trailing spouse Shirley did not realize what a coup they were. She is going to expect seats like that all the time :-)

The Noles were winning by 20 at half. But the real show for me was to see them retire Bobby Sura's jersey. Bobby Sura is probably our favorite Seminole basketball player. Bobby comes from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania - close to our old hometown. We took many special trips just to see him play as a Seminole. Wherever he played - a steady stream of busses from the coal regions followed. He had a great 4 years for the Noles - and 10 years later - he is still an NBA player. The Seminoles are stingy when it comes to retiring jerseys - so it made this one special.

You can see by the pictures - we had great seats for the game and the half time show. I included a picture of the scorekeeper working on his computer using "gametracker." If you are a computer junky - you know that you can follow all of the Seminole sports over the Internet using "gametracker." Here I was looking over his shoulder - helping him type the plays - in my world anyway :-)

The game was over - the Noles won by 20 - there was still a glimmer of hope for an NCAA bid. We will be going to Tampa for the ACC Tournament - hoping for miracles - but on Saturday - the planets lined up - a local boy from my hometown in the hills of Appalachia - was having his jersey hung in the Civic Center - and the Trailing Spouse was able to be there - because he followed Lulu to Tallahassee.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Apple Computer Club

In my past life – I was never a club joiner. Quite frankly – I never wanted to belong to a club that had such low scruples that they would accept me as a member. But being new in town – and not being able to meet new folks at work because I don’t work – I decided to try a club or “special interest group.” Since I spend way too much time on my computer and the Internet – and even though I knew everything about computers in the world – I decided to find a computer geek club.

I cheated a little here – 19 years ago when Lulu went to Florida State for her degree – folks from the Apple Computer Club helped us out. At the time I think they met at Maclay School. They had one of the first networks in town – I wondered if the club still existed. With a little inquiry – I found out that they met at Hartsfield Elementary School in the Library – not once – but twice a month. That school is directly behind Pier One Imports on Apalachee.

Did you ever experience déjà vu? You walk into a room and you’d swear that you were there before – the faces look familiar – just good vibes. That is exactly how I felt when I entered the library. I am not kidding you – the same Irishman with a beard – Bob Olary – was leading the pack. There must have been 70 folks there – most of them with ibooks under their arms or connected wirelessly to the net or to each other. The faces were the same – just 20 years older.

The meeting was divided into three parts. First part – there was a big spread of food – and an open soft drink bar. Folks were snacking over their computers in small groups – doing “show and tell” with their latest toys. Didn’t they hear of the rule – no food and drinks around the computer? After a short business session – Bob would review “this month in Apple” – a most entertaining informative session that rivals some standup comedy routines. Finally – a member gives an in-depth presentation using big screen projections – flat screen monitors – circles and arrows – and computer jargon at “proper modulation.”

A couple local computer vendors would hype their latest specials – and everyone would rack up their name tags and go home for two weeks.

The club also sponsors its own server – and of course a web page -

With a bit of arm twisting – I signed up to give a presentation about “Using Ebay” at a future meeting.

Everyone is invited - guests - visitors - no need to join.

So now I am a card carrying member of a computer club – which gives me discounts at a local computer store on Monroe Street. Maybe this club stuff isn’t that bad after all.

So being a club member is not all that bad. It took me 55 years to find that out. But sometimes a trailing spouse in a new town must resort to desperate measures.

Picture Credits - The pictures of club members were donated by Mona Lisa Abbott.

The bottom picture was taken by Robin Vroegop - Aging Hipster and Tapple member since 1/05

Friday, February 16, 2007

Homer Hickam - The Son of a Coal Miner - "October Sky" was His Life Story

Editor's Note - A few years ago there was a movie called "October Sky" about a boy growing up in the 50s in a coal mining town. His father was a coal miner but he wanted to launch rockets for NASA. He achieved his dream and worked at Cape Canaveral. He retired at 55 to become a famous author.

I was able to relate to him because my dad was a coal miner - I lived in a coal town - and I retired at 55 after teaching Earth and Space Science for 33 years. I had written to Homer hoping for a reply. On my 55th birthday - I retired from teaching. That morning at 6:00 AM - I received an email from Homer. He told me that he retired on his 55th birthday and the next 5 years were the greatest of his life. What a nice thing for him to do.

When they honored the coal miners that were killed in that West Virginia mine - they asked Homer to speak - here is what he said -

Sago Miners Memorial Remarks
Homer Hickam
January 15, 2006

Families of the Sago miners, Governor Manchin, Mrs. Manchin, Senator Byrd, Senator Rockefeller, West Virginians, friends, neighbors, all who have come here today to remember those brave men who have gone on before us, who ventured into the darkness but instead showed us the light, a light that shines on all West Virginians and the nation today:

It is a great honor to be here. I am accompanied by three men I grew up with, the rocket boys of Coalwood: Roy Lee Cooke, Jimmie O'Dell Carroll, and Billy Rose. My wife Linda, an Alabama girl, is here with me as well.

As this tragedy unfolded, the national media kept asking me: Who are these men? And why are they coal miners? And what kind of men would still mine the deep coal?

One answer came early after the miners were recovered. It was revealed that, as his life dwindled, Martin Toler had written this: It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep. Tell all I'll see them on the other side. I love you.

In all the books I have written, I have never captured in so few words a message so powerful or eloquent: It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep. Tell all I'll see them on the other side. I love you.

I believe Mr. Toler was writing for all of the men who were with him that day. These were obviously not ordinary men.

But what made these men so extraordinary? And how did they become the men they were? Men of honor. Men you could trust. Men who practiced a dangerous profession. Men who dug coal from beneath a jealous mountain.

Part of the answer is where they lived. Look around you. This is a place where many lessons are learned, of true things that shape people as surely as rivers carve valleys, or rain melts mountains, or currents push apart the sea. Here, miners still walk with a trudging grace to and from vast, deep mines. And in the schools, the children still learn and the teachers teach, and, in snowy white churches built on hillside cuts, the preachers still preach, and God, who we have no doubt is also a West Virginian, still does his work, too. The people endure here as they always have for they understand that God has determined that there is no joy greater than hard work, and that there is no water holier than the sweat off a man's brow.

In such a place as this, a dozen men may die, but death can never destroy how they lived their lives, or why.

As I watched the events of this tragedy unfold, I kept being reminded of Coalwood, the mining town where I grew up. Back then, I thought life in that little town was pretty ordinary, even though nearly all the men who lived there worked in the mine and, all too often, some of them died or were hurt. My grandfather lost both his legs in the Coalwood mine and lived in pain until the day he died. My father lost the sight in an eye while trying to rescue trapped miners. After that he worked in the mine for fifteen more years. He died of black lung.

When I began to write my books about growing up in West Virginia, I was surprised to discover, upon reflection, that maybe it wasn't such an ordinary place at all. I realized that in a place where maybe everybody should be afraid-after all, every day the men went off to work in a deep, dark, and dangerous coal mine- instead they had adopted a philosophy of life that consisted of these basic attitudes:

We are proud of who we are. We stand up for what we believe. We keep our families together. We trust in God but rely on ourselves.

By adhering to these simple approaches to life, they became a people who were not afraid to do what had to be done, to mine the deep coal, and to do it with integrity and honor.

The first time my dad ever took me in the mine was when I was in high school. He wanted to show me where he worked, what he did for a living. I have to confess I was pretty impressed. But what I recall most of all was what he said to me while we were down there. He put his spot of light in my face and explained to me what mining meant to him. He said, "Every day, I ride the mantrip down the main line, get out and walk back into the gob and feel the air pressure on my face. I know the mine like I know a man, can sense things about it that aren't right even when everything on paper says it is. Every day there's something that needs to be done, because men will be hurt if it isn't done, or the coal the company's promised to load won't get loaded. Coal is the life blood of this country. If we fail, the country fails."

And then he said, "There's no men in the world like miners, Sonny. They're good men, strong men. The best there is. I think no matter what you do with your life, no matter where you go or who you know, you will never know such good and strong men."

Over time, though I would meet many famous people from astronauts to actors to Presidents, I came to realize my father was right. There are no better men than coal miners. And he was right about something else, too:

If coal fails, our country fails.

The American economy rests on the back of the coal miner. We could not prosper without him. God in His wisdom provided this country with an abundance of coal, and he also gave us the American coal miner who glories in his work. A television interviewer asked me to describe work in a coal mine and I called it "beautiful." He was astonished that I would say such a thing so I went on to explain that, yes, it's hard work but, when it all comes together, it's like watching and listening to a great symphony: the continuous mining machines, the shuttle cars, the roof bolters, the ventilation brattices, the conveyor belts, all in concert, all accomplishing their great task. Yes, it is a beautiful thing to see.

There is a beauty in anything well done, and that goes for a life well lived.

How and why these men died will be studied now and in the future. Many lessons will be learned. And many other miners will live because of what is learned. This is right and proper.

But how and why these men lived, that is perhaps the more important thing to be studied. We know this much for certain: They were men who loved their families. They were men who worked hard. They were men of integrity, and honor. And they were also men who laughed and knew how to tell a good story. Of course they could. They were West Virginians!

And so we come together on this day to recall these men, and to glory in their presence among us, if only for a little while. We also come in hope that this service will help the families with their great loss and to know the honor we wish to accord them.

No matter what else might be said or done concerning these events, let us forever be reminded of who these men really were and what they believed, and who their families are, and who West Virginians are, and what we believe, too.

There are those now in the world who would turn our nation into a land of fear and the frightened. It's laughable, really. How little they understand who we are, that we are still the home of the brave. They need look no further than right here in this state for proof.

For in this place, this old place, this ancient place, this glorious and beautiful and sometimes fearsome place of mountains and mines, there still lives a people like the miners of Sago and their families, people who yet believe in the old ways, the old virtues, the old truths; who still lift their heads from the darkness to the light, and say for the nation and all the world to hear:

We are proud of who we are.
We stand up for what we believe.
We keep our families together.
We trust in God.

We do what needs to be done.

We are not afraid.

I Am Selling a Digital Camera on eBay

I just bought a new Canon G7 digital camera. Nancy wants my old Sony Camera - so I am selling Nancy's Sony Cybershot Camera on ebay.

Click on the title above to see the sale on ebay.

Tamaqua Snow Makes NY Times

Click on the title above to see the Tamaqua snow and ice in the New York Times.

Basketball Player's Nightmare - TWO Joe Ligenza Officials

There is a strong connection between the Everharts and the Ligenzas. First off - Joe The Father used to teach with me at Panther Valley Middle School. Joe and I used to ride the 5 miles to school together for a few years until Joe was transferred. Then - Joe The Son was Drew's best buddy in high school. Keith - Drew - and Joe played on the same championship basketball team together. Joe holds the Tamaqua record of 1722 points in a career.

After a stint as coach at Tamaqua High School - Joe Junior fell into the family's true profession. He became a basketball official and last month officiated his first game with his dad. This picture was taken right before the game.

Joe recently earned his master's degree at Wilkes University. He and his wife - Adrienne - just had their first son - Mason - last month. Not bad for a bunch of "Coal Crackers."

Joe's brother Walter was my gym teacher and coach when I attended Tamaqua Junior High - the old school along the Schuylkill River - that was torn down to build the Hi-Rise. Walter was also one of Nancy's favorite "teacher mates" when she taught at Tamaqua High.

Joe Junior and I have another common bond - we counseled each other through a fight with cancer.

These are the kind of folks I miss - since leaving the Valley.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We Lost to National Champion Maryland Tonight by 12 - Girls' Basketball

Florida State was beating Maryland by 1 at the half - and then the game just got away. We lost by 12.

4700 fans came to the game - one of our biggest crowds for a girls' game. The game was our first game ever on ESPN. All seats were $2 for the event. Our team is 18-8 now - and they have a good chance to get an NCAA bid.

I bought a Canon G7 camera over the Internet. It arrived today. It has a 6x optical zoom - also image stabilization - which prevents blurry pictures caused by shakey hands when you hold the camera in low light.

Here is a picture taken with no flash - in fully automatic mode. Not too bad for a first picture - it did stop the ball in motion without any blur.

Going to Ben's at the End of the Month in the Florida Keys

Our buddy Ben spends a month at his place in the Keys. Ben's daughter - Jen - also has helped design a program called "" It is a lot like YouTube - but you have much more control of it. Click on the title of this article and see Ben and daughter Steph - fishing in the Keys - and you also get a glimpse of his "winter home."

Ben is currently in New Zealand - but he usually spends March in the Keys. Ben loves to fish and take pictures of his family fishing.

After you check out the video - set up a free account at and send us some videos.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Florida State Plays The Philadelphia Phillies

On February 28th the Florida State Seminoles will be playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Clearwater. It is the first time the two teams will meet. Click on the headline for the full story

Tale of Two Basketball Games - Boston College at FSU and Georgia Tech at FSU - Just 48 Hours Apart

Florida played Boston College on Sunday and Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Both ended in last second losses for FSU virtually ruining any chances for an NCAA Tournament bid. We have lost 5 games by a total of about 15 points.

On Sunday - Nancy and I bought tickets outside for an older man with white hair. On Tuesday - Nancy was given 3 tickets by another faculty member. So we took Wayne along last night to see Georgia Tech.

The Tallahassee Democrat has started to take pictures of the crowd and post them on their web page. Study the two pictures of the crowd. The first picture was taken on Sunday - you can see me in the picture. The second picture was taken Tuesday - the man in red is Chuck Amato - the Seminoles new Associate Coach.

What is even stranger - both men are from Pennsylvania - Harry from Tamaqua - and Chuck from Easton. And now the rest of the story..........both Pennsylvania men are sitting in the EXACT same seat - just 48 hours apart. A coincidence? I think not.

Drew and Robin in Syracuse got 12 Inches of Snow Last Night

After living for 5 years in sunny Miami - Robin and Drew moved to Syracuse and bought a house. Their home is very close to the University where they study and work. So far - they have been lucky with the weather - but last night they got a foot of snow. They got a chance to use their snow blower for the their first big snow.

That is Robin's Rav 4 covered with snow.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Jimmy Buffet Played Tallahassee Last Night to End World Tour

The Civic Center was rocking last night with a sold out crowd and Jimmy Buffet. Liverpool had the Beatles - Hawthorne California had The Beach Boys - Chicago had Chicago - and Florida has Jimmy Buffet. Our neighbors George and Joel went to the event. Nancy and I stopped by on the way home from the softball game on our scooter. There were quite a few tickets for sale outside - but the folks were asking more than we wanted to spend. After hearing about what a good time they had - maybe we should have paid the price. We live about 1 mile from the Civic Center.

Click Here to See iBlinds

Gary Miller's Daughter Morgan Hits the Bigtime

You all re-call Gary Miller. Gary was my classmate and good friend at Tamaqua High School. He lived on Broad Street where the Subway Subs now is. After high school - Gary went to Penn State - then hit it big in the fashion industry in New York City. He retired to Miami at age 50 - and nearly went nuts so he started up another business supplying hospitals.

But this story is about his sweet daughter Morgan Miller. Morgan has come up with a great idea - namely custom sandals made on the spot. Not only do they fit your feet - they fit your personality. She has opened up a shop on South Beach in Miami Beach.

During the Super Bowl - her sandals were featured at a fashion bazaar special on South Beach - where all the pretty people and celebrities got a chance to see her wares.

Click on the title for a video of her hot sandals.

Here are some pictures of Gary - Morgan - and some customers.

Buying Our First Home

Not many people wait until they are 55 years old to buy their first house. But I have done just that. You would think that since we had so many years to plan for the purchase that we would have done our homework and had everything just right.

Let me backtrack – when Lulu and I got married – we were pretty young. I had a freshly milled teaching degree – she was still commuting to college from our apartment. Since we had met at the community swimming pool – I was a life guard – she was the pretty girl in a bikini – we jumped at the chance to buy a building lot within sight of the spot where we met. My parents thought we were nuts for paying $3000 for a building lot – $3000 we did not have - but they were willing to put their car title up as collateral – and so we bought the land. Man we were proud. We saw a Lindal Cedar Home kit advertised in Popular Science Magazine – the home of our dreams. You only had to send one dollar to them and they would send you a plan book. Then we took the plan book to the local bank and asked for a mortgage – and after a personal presentation in front of the board of directors – we were given a mortgage! We were too young and naïve to realize what a wonderful coup we just pulled. The reluctant rebels hit the big time.

That summer – a tractor trailer pulled up our dirt driveway and deposited the “house kit” on our lot. Lulu and I started to build it with help from my shop teacher – Paul. I would say that Paul did the majority of the building – but as he said then, “Harry – as the years pass by – you will have built more and more – and I will have built less and less.” I was not sure what he meant then – but now I am.

We lived in that 1000 square foot chalet for over 30 years – raised two kids there – and could not have been prouder. And to anyone that would listen – we would stand on the porch and point to the pool and say, “That’s where we met.”

Fast forward to buying our first home in Tallahassee. After Lulu signed the job contract we had 8 months to search for a new home in Tallahassee. We figured we could do a methodical search for just the right home. The only restriction we put on our search was that it had to be close enough for Lulu to walk to work if she wanted. We did not want the long commute from Killearn because after 10 years of commuting 150 miles each way to New York City – Lulu had wasted enough of her life in a car. Myers Park seemed perfect.

With 8 months before Lulu’s first day of work – we would take our time – find a bargain house – in the perfect place – not rush things. After 30 years of marriage we would finally be buying a house.

Our first local friends lived in Myers Park and we told them about our desire to buy a home near there. They took this as a personal challenge to find the perfect home for Lulu and me. They had taken a liking to us – maybe they saw themselves in us – they were both retired science teachers like me. The next day – Friday – on their daily walk around the neighborhood – they spied a new realty sign just 3 doors away from their house. The house seemed perfect – 3 bedrooms – carport – pool – on a little lake – not too old.

Our friends called and told us the news. I asked them to call the realtor – take a tour of the house – take lots of pictures and email them to us. So Saturday – they took the tour and sent the pictures. Sunday – we called the realtor and Lulu said, “we’ll take it.” When she got off the phone I asked her how much was it. She said, “I don’t know.”

So Monday – we flew to Jacksonville (cheaper flight on Southwest Airlines) – and drove over to Tallahassee. Our realtor Rae showed us the house and told us the price. Without even a consultation Lulu said, “We’ll take it.”

After all our plans to take 8 months to find the perfect house – with the perfect mortgage – in the perfect neighborhood – we bought a pig in a poke in a record 15 minute visit. Just like newlyweds – I carried Lulu across the threshold of our freshly purchase house.

After 55 years in mountains of Appalachia – the Trailing Spouse had an instant home in the hills of Apalachee.

Welcome to Tallahassee

Reprint from my blog in Tallahassee Democrat. Click on title to see it there.

Man – I am too old for this. After spending my first 55 years in the same town and the last 33 years teaching in the same classroom – I moved to Tallahassee. Now if some of you might think – here comes another “snowbird” story – you would be wrong. After years of my wife marking time while I waited out my pension – I followed my wife when she was recruited for a job here in Tallahassee.

I was convinced that I would be the exception to the rule. This old dog was going to be able to learn new tricks. Now after experiencing all the pressures of being a trailing spouse – I intended to become a chameleon in Leon County.

My destiny in Tallahassee started back in 1988 when we decided to pull the kids out of school up north 1000 miles away and spend a one year sabbatical here in town. Lulu – my wife – would earn her degree at Florida State University. We loved that year in town – going to FSU games – enjoying all the neat things that Tallahassee had to offer. When the year was over – we vowed to one day return to this bright and shining city in the hills.

Fast forward several years of attending as many Seminole sporting events as we could (thank goodness for joining the ACC so we could catch Maryland or Virginia each year) – to my 55th birthday and retirement from the classroom. The hangovers from the retirement party had not even gone away – when I promised my wife that now was her chance – I would follow her wherever she wanted to go. In less time than it takes to say Apalachee – I found out where my new home would be.

I am not sure of the exact timing or how it came about – but in a few days – Lulu was invited to be a guest speaker in the capital city. When we got here – to my surprise – just like in the cartoons – a contract and a pen were offered to her and she signed on the dotted line - and my life changed forever.

At age 55 – I was going to lose all my friends – retire from my job – leave my boyhood hometown neighborhood – sell the cedar chalet (pictured) we built from a kit 30 years before – and embark to a town we knew very little about.

The kids were long gone – their college days were already past. They had spread throughout the country. Unlike their old man – who spent his entire life within walking distance of his childhood playground and Alma Mater – we now all spend our evenings in zip codes with different first digits.

So I had no excuses – but to become “the trailing spouse” for the last quarter of my life.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Panther Valley Middle School Will Cost Way Too Much for the Locals

I started teaching in the Panther Valley Middle School in 1970 - then it was the Panther Valley High School - and before that the Lansford High School. I spent my entire teaching career - 33 years - in that building. Quite frankly - it needed to be replaced in 1970 - before I started there.

The students in the Panther Valley Middle School were great kids - and the teachers were saints to put up with the conditions of that building. The building was a dump. I remember calling the Department of Labor and Industry in one time to condemn that building. I remember walls falling down and roofs leaking - while the kids toiled on their lessons.

Back when the Panther Valley Jointure started - they made one school system out of 4 smaller town systems - the new board of education spent a ton of money on plans for a new K-12 building. When they tried to get money for that school - they could not float the bonds. I am sure those plans are tucked away in some school closet - a reminder of some of the great decisions made by this board of education. So a few years later - they chose to built a new high school - and trap the middle schoolers in pergatory :-)

Now - they have finally started to build a new Middle School - hooray - where have they been all these years. Now we find out that they made a big mistake on financing. Instead of the state picking the tab for 35% of the yearly payments - Harrisburg will only pay 17% of the tab. That is a mistake that rivals going into Iraq because a few terrorists attacked New York City.

Back in the "good old days" in 1970 - the state's share of any building project for a school district like Panther Valley was around 55%. Many of the more savvy school boards lined up at that time and let the state pay a fair share.

Christ West - the present superintendent - and one of my better former students - was not the leader that let this state reimbursement factor fall through the cracks. It is the job of the school directors to make sure that things like this do not happen. The citizens of Panther Valley should consider having the school directors surcharged so that they would have to personally pay for this mistake.

Instead - the school directors are trying to appease some of the citizenry by keeping the old middle school open as their own "personal nostalgic country club" while they consider closing down the school libraries to save a few pennies.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

While the World Watched Prince in the Super Bowl - Tallahassee Was Watching the Band

Prince was the headliner at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. But the people of Tallahassee were watching the pride of our town. The Florida A&M Marching 100 may be the world's most famous band. They were the only American Band invited to France's world party. They appeared on the Emmy Awards Show last year with Kanye West - whoever he is. And now in their second Super Bowl - Prince was chosen to be the warm up act for them.

The FAMU Rattler Band practices less than 1 mile from my bedroom window - and on a clear night I can hear them better than the TV. They are known for their jazzy sound and dance steps. They are the most poplar band that wears orange in Florida. Some folks mistake that big orange F on their hat. It does not stand for the Florida Gators - no they are not the Miami Hurricanes. Many bands wear the orange here in Florida - but if you live in South Tallahassee - you know there is only one "Marching 100."

In the old days - Florida girls went to Florida State - the boys went to Florida - the top black students of the world went to Florida A&M - and the rich kids went to Miami. And the best college band practices right outside my window. :-)

Walmart is Selling Movies Over the Internet Starting Today

Say it isn't so Sam. Were you aware that Walmart sells 40% of all DVD's? It looks like Walmart intends to take over a larger share of the movie business. Starting today - Walmart is selling movies from all the studios on their website. For a fee - you download a movie that can be played on your computer screen.

Since Apple Computer was the first to offer such a service at their iTunes site - it seems that Walmart has slighted the Apple users. Their downloaded movies will not play on Apple iPods.

Also - the Walmart movies will only play on computers - not on your big screen television. Of course - you wil not be able to copy the movies onto DVD's.

Click on the story title to go to Walmart's movie page.

Do You Like Macs? Check Out This Basement

I have been using Apple Macintosh Computers for about 20 years now. And before that we had Apple Computers. Usually I upgrade my Mac every year or so - and sell the old one on eBay - kind of like trading in your car every year. Computers are evolving so fast - that sometimes they are obsolete before you open up that shiny white Apple package.

Do you remember when you would store you files and programs using a cassette tape recorder? Do you remember when you would plug your computer into a television to use it as a monitor? Do you remember when you only had 64K of memory? How about a 5 megabyte hard drive the size a spare tire? Do you remember life before a mouse?

If you have gone through those phases and if you just couldn't throw away your old Mac - even though its only useful task is now as a doorstop - check out what this guy has done with his old Macs.

Click on the title above to see "The Mac Basement from Hell."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Everyone Was Watching the Super Bowl - But We Watched the Everhart Bowl

Back in 1996 - when Drew was at Duke and Keith was at FSU - Tim Havel the shop teacher at my school - called the football game that year between Florida State and Duke - "The Everhart Bowl." For the past 10 years - we have had mixed emotions when these teams played each other. Football has been lopsided toward the Noles - but in basketball - Duke is still king.

Now that Nancy works at FSU - we love cheering for the Noles - even against Duke. We figure that Duke has had so much success - 6 straight ACC championships - we feel the luck should be spread around a little. Drew loves FSU football - but he bleeds Duke blue for Coach K and his Cameron Crazies.

Yesterday - the worm turned a bit. FSU went into Cameron Arena and beat Duke - 68-67. Since FSU has lost 15 games there - never winning - few folks predicted an upset. Then Duke jumped out to a lead 7-0 and when the smoke cleared FSU was down 27-10 after about a quarter. It looked like another miserable Sunday afternoon in Cameron. The Crazies were not showing any mercy on this national television matinee day.

Ironically - Drew was on the way home from San Francisco and Keith was stuck in JFK Airport after a weekend in New York City following his Hoyas to the Garden. So both boys were calling us to get the play by play over the telephone. With 2 minutes left Drew was sitting on the plane getting ready for takeoff. He was hoping they would not close the door making him turn off his cell phone. With 7 seconds to go he said "it looks like I will not know the end for 5 hours." Luckily or unluckily - in those 7 seconds - Duke had 3 tries at the basket - and all missed. The Seminoles had their first victory in Duke's famed Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke's team is really young - they have a lot of victories ahead of them. FSU has All-American Al Thornton playing his last season. So their future is not now.

So after this exciting game - the real Super Bowl was a rainy encore for us. Go Duke! Go Noles!