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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Alvin - The Titannic Finder - Getting Better Batteries

Alvin - the submarine that found the Titannic - will be 50 years old next year. They are installing lithium-ion batteries that will give it even more range. It will be able to explore 98% of the ocean bottom then.

Harry - When I taught oceanography many of my lessons included information collected by Alvin. 

From PlugIn Cars Magazine -
No, it doesn't look much like an electric car, but there are some remarkable parallels. The famous deep-sea submarine Alvin, which explored deep-sea vents and the wreck of the Titanic, has made 4,600 dives and remains a state-of-the-art submersible despite its 1964 construction date. Alvin, owned by the Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), has just undergone a $41 million upgrade that will allow it to reach 6,500 meters and explore 98 percent of the ocean’s floor.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Outtakes From Our Trip To Athens - Jet Lag - Going To Bed At 8 PM - Raising At 4 AM

Whenever we see a "Library" sign - I take a picture of Lulu. 

I refuse to fight jet lag. The time difference between Greece and Florida is 7 hours. It is 5 AM here now which makes it noon there. Even after years of studying and teaching about time zones - it still amazes me that in some places while we are awake - people are sleeping and it is night. On Friday - at 4 AM I gazed up and saw the Parthenon lighted up at night - and then at 6 PM on the same day I landed in Tallahassee. All in one strange Friday. 

Now it is Monday - I wake up at 4 AM - wide awake - and at 7 PM I will be nodding off for bed. 


Greece is a relatively poor country. It is certainly not Africa nor India poor - but with 27% unemployment - they are very happy to wave the Common Market flag. We did not see a lot of beggars in the street - and we seldom explored out beyond the tourist area - but you got a feeling of the locals being very happy you were there. Maybe they were just happy for our Euros and Dollars.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Boy Scouts of America - A Big Part Of My Growing Up

I am proud that the Boy Scouts of America have opened their membership to openly gay boys. It is ONE step in the right direction. 

Scouting was a big part of my life growing up. My Dad organized Troop 161 in Snyders PA in 1952 - way before I was old enough to be a member. It was mostly made up of farm kids from West Penn Township. Even though I was not old enough to be a member - he usually took me along to the activities. They met in an old white one room schoolhouse near the Zions Stone Church just off Route 309 in Snyders. Dad used to drive around the countryside picking up the members for the Friday night meeting - then dropping them off again on the way home. 

Tamaqua Bridge Renovation Coming

This is the Broad Street bridge as photographed by Andrew Leibenguth from the Tamaqua Hi-Rise Apartments. 

The Broad Street Bridge in Tamaqua will close this week. For the next few months the people will have to find a way around it. That is the Schuylkill River passing under it. It starts a couple miles north of town and flows into the Delaware River in Philadelphia - near the airport.

My junior high school used to stand in the spot where this picture was taken. In the 1960s - we used to watch the toilet paper go down the river to Philadelphia. We used to put a sign in the bathroom - flush hard - it is a long way to Philly.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Friday Morning 4 AM - Leaving Athens For Home

We got up at 4AM - Athens time. Our hotel - the Royal Olympic - had a cab waiting for us. The Mercedes diesel whisked us to the airport thru the empty streets and expressways. At one time I noticed the speedometer reading 160 KMH - which is 100 miles per hour. The little 2200cc diesel purred along effortlessly at about 2000 RPMs.

We were at the airport at 5 AM. Air France invited us to breakfast at their VIP room - what a wonderful spread they have out - but the place is empty except for us and two other travelers.

Last Night In Athens

Harry and Lulu's Last Supper in Athens.

It is an early wakeup at 4 AM on Friday - we will spend the whole day traveling. From Athens to Paris to Atlanta to Tallahassee - getting home Friday night at 7 PM. 

In the above picture we were having supper at a sidewalk cafe - that is the Agora behind us - and up on the Acropolis you can see the Erecthium and the Parthenon. We have gotten used to eating supper at 7 PM and 8 PM. The temperatures have reached 90s - but the humidity is around 20% - making for a nice time touring. We hope our extensive walking has counteracted all the stuff we have eaten. 

Lulu had an excellent conference and I had a good relationship with the Parthenon - little did I know it meant temple of the virgin goddess. She has lived 2500 years - hope she lasts another 2500.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

If The Acropolis Is The Crown of Athens - The Crown Jewel Is The Parthenon

Lulu and I walked up the Acropolis this morning to see the Parthenon.

When the bombers flew from England to bomb Germany - the pilot would tell the crew on the way to the target - now we are working for  Uncle Sam. After the bombs were dropped - he would remind the crew that they were flying now for themselves. The first few days of our journey were to get Lulu to her conference to do her work for FSU - today her work is complete - and now our time is our own.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Athens By Foot - An Easy City to Fall For

Caryatid Women Porch on the Erecthium on the Acropolis.

Lulu had sandals made at Athenian Shop - Thebes model sandals.

As Lulu left for her conference after breakfast - Monday -  I decided to explore some of the historic ruins myself. I did not want to hit the big ones alone - I would wait until Lulu was done her conference to do that with her. Generally when we are at conferences - while Lulu works - I search out the good stuff for us to do together. I am like an editor - reviewing everything and cutting out the stuff that would not please the publisher. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Greece - Athens - Acropolis - Parthenon - A Boyhood Dream Comes True

Lulu ready for her Athens conference - the Parthenon ready for me. 

It was 1960 - in the old Tamaqua Junior High building along the Schuylkill River - where I first was fascinated by the Parthenon in Ancient History class. Mrs. Bonner required us to draw maps and pictures of historic places for extra credit. I choose the Parthenon because she said it was where Democracy was born. All my life I have wanted to hike up the Acropolis to find the "Cradle of Democracy."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Holland - Tulips - Windmills - Trolleys - Canal Boat Ride - Red Light District - Marijuana - Sex Museum

Lulu loved the Seminole Tulips.

Lulu and I spent the afternoon at Keukenhof - the largest gardens in the world.

After a busy Friday night along the red light district - we got home way too late. This led to a rise and shine at 11 AM Saturday.

We had breakfast/lunch on the train to our first stop.

We went to Keukenhof - the world famous tulip gardens about 20 miles outside of town. The garden is only open two months a year and tomorrow is the last day. There were endless beds of tulips and other flowers. It was an overcast day and the usual crowd was not there. After two hours of flower watching - I am officially a gray head. It was nice - Lulu really loved it - but soon every tulip was looking the same to me. Keukenhof is the world's largest flower gardens - who would have thought. A terrible place for kids.

Friday, May 17, 2013

First Day in Amsterdam Waiting For The Afterburners To Kick In

 We took the train from the airport to the central train station seen in the background. This is my favorite car so far. There is one door in the back. It opens - and the driver can drive his wheelchair right in - no need for help. It still has 4 wheels - 4 brakes - and is full enclosed. 

We landed into a fog of rain and 50 degrees - the sun was rising but we couldn't see it. The city was quiet. We walked a couple blocks to our hotel on the Dam - that is the main square where the palace is. 

Safely In Our Amsterdam Hotel - 1 AM Your Time - 7 AM Holland Time

We had a nice flight over on a Delta Airlines A330 Airbus. We lifted off at Atlanta at 3 PM and arrived here at 11 PM. It was a good ride - no rough air - only one crying baby. Lulu got some sleep on the plane. I read the whole way over. There was no Internet on the plane. Our two bags made it safely. They served supper and breakfast on the plane. Also - free wine and beer.

It is overcast - cool - and rainy here.

We are staying at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky - it is on the main square across from City Hall. You can google it - and see it on the map. Check-in time is 3 PM - but they could tell we were tired and let us in free at 7 AM. Lulu got this hotel on

The hotel has free internet - but it is not real fast.

I will do a better report after we get some sleep. :-)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Atlanta to Amsterdam By Midnight

On Jet to Amsterdam

No bump! The guy called me up to the counter at the last minute to tell me - no bump. They kept calling for an Eberhard - who had a baby and wanted special treatment.

We lift off at 3PM. Arriving Amsterdam 11:30 PM - your time. 5:30 AM Holland time.

We are flying an A330 airbus. 2-4-2 seating. About half way back on right. Lulu is at the window.

The flight here from Atlanta was good.

We will be back home next Friday.

Bon voyage.

Harry's iPhone

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We Are Going To Amsterdam and Athens

The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens - Greece

Lulu is doing a presentation in Athens - Greece. 

We will leave Tallahassee tomorrow at 11 AM on Delta Airlines - flying first to Atlanta - then Amsterdam. We'll spend two nights in the Netherlands before flying to Athens on Sunday. After 8 nights total we will return home. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seminole Softball Must Settle For Regular Season Championship As They Lose ACC Tournament 1 - 0

The Seminoles could not score on Emily Weiman - the ACC pitcher of the year.

Hawaiian Courtney Senas is a fan favorite playing the hot corner at 3rd base. She will be back for one more season.

The FSU Seminoles softball team must settle for the regular season championship as the visiting North Carolina State Wolfpack won the tournament and the automatic NCAA seed that goes with it. The Noles must wait to find out when and where they will be playing in the NCAA tournament. 

The Seminoles had beaten Emily Weiman in the first 3 games they met at Raleigh - but from there on she rolled up a 19-2 record. She was named ACC Pitcher of the Year. The Seminoles got her in trouble early placing runners in scoring position in the first 3 innings. A bases loaded situation was erased by a double play in the first.

NCSU outhit FSU 6 to 4. Weiman mowed down the last 13 batteries keeping the bases clean for the last 4 innings. Neither team had an error.

The game was televised by ESPN2 - a good crowd was there to support the Noles.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Tamaqua Marina

Click here for Tamaqua Marina

Direction to the Tamaqua Marina in Brooklyn NY- just across the Varrazano Bridge.

You Know You Are A Coal Cracker

I moved from Tamaqua PA to Tallahassee FL in 2004 when Lulu became a professor at FSU. When I was a kid - Tamaqua was a coal mining and railroad town in Eastern Pennsylvania. Both industries still continue there but at a much lower capacity. 

In the 1940s - Tamaqua had 12,000 people but it has dwindled to 7000 today. The town has expanded to include a larger area. Many of the residents commute to work long distances to keep their home in town. 

Tamaqua is the only community in the world with that name. There is a bar and boat marina in Brooklyn NY with the name Tamaqua. I plan to go there some day to find out how it was named. 

The name Coal Cracker is an honor back home.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Noles Beat Tar Heels in Softball - Advance To Championship Game

UNC fell to FSU by a score of 3-0 today in the ACC Softball semi-final. Tomorrow at 6 PM the Noles play NCSU for the championship - here in Tallahassee.

We were at today's game and will be sure to be in the crowd tomorrow night. The game will be carried live on ESPN2. Looks for us - we usually sit right behind home plate.

Let's Examine All The Embassy Attacks in the Bush/Cheney White House - Then Add Up the Number Dead

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al Qaeda attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of "Bali Bombings." No fatalities.
February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al Qaeda terrorists storm the diplomatic compound, killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name "David Foy." This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what's considered American soil.)
September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar" storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
March 18, 2008. Sana'a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
September 17, 2008. Sana'a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.

Florida State Beat Boston College In First Round of ACC Playoffs - 6-0

The last out of the FSU versus BC game was a strikeout.

It is the end of the regular ACC softball season. Now the girls play the ACC playoffs and then the NCAA tournament - if they qualify.

Thursday - Lulu and I attended the 5 PM game where FSU took a 5-0 lead in the first two innings and coasted to a 6-0 victory. FSU's two pitchers threw 7 innings of shutout ball and stuck out 12 batters.

Today FSU plays UNC in the semi-finals. We have tickets for today's 3:30 PM start. the winner of this game will play in the final tomorrow. 

8 teams qualified for this end of the year playoffs.

Tickets were $5 for one day - or $12 for 3 days. The optimists paid $12. The pessimists paid $5. We have ticket for all 3 days.

Citrus Disease With No Cure Is Ravaging Florida Groves

From the NYTimes -
Oranges Infected by Citrus Greening

AVON PARK, Fla. — Florida’s citrus industry is grappling with the most serious threat in its history: a bacterial disease with no cure that has infected all 32 of the state’s citrus-growing counties.
Although the disease, citrus greening, was first spotted in Florida in 2005, this year’s losses from it are by far the most extensive. While the bacteria, which causes fruit to turn bitter and drop from the trees when still unripe, affects all citrus fruits, it has been most devastating to oranges, the largest crop. So many have been affected that the United States Department of Agriculture has downgraded its crop estimates five months in a row, an extraordinary move, analysts said.

Valley Girls Visit 29 Degrees North

Linda - Lulu - Lori enjoyed several days together in Northwestern Florida. Note the sign - 29 degrees north latitude.

Ron Jon Surf Shop in Panama City Beach has everything these three surfer girls need - sun - sand - surf.

For the past 6 days - the Valley Girls - Lulu - Lori - Linda enjoyed their time together at 29 Degrees North Latitude. In case you are not sure what that means - Tallahassee and Panama City Beach sit roughly on the line 29 degrees north of the equator. To give you a bearing - Tamaqua is about 41 degrees north. - The Tropic of Cancer is 23..5 degrees north - and in the summer the sun is directly overhead there - no shadow.  Obviously - the closer you are to the equator - the higher the sun is in the sky and the dangers of sun exposure rise. 

The girls flew from Wilkes Barre to Philadelphia and then to Jacksonville. In Jacksonville they rented a car for the last leg of the trip. Yesterday - they drove to Saint Augustine to spend the day there - then as I type at 7 AM Friday - they are winging their way home.

Added later on Friday at 1 PM. The girls got bumped in Newark. They gave their tickets up for their flight to Wilkes-Barre for a $400 credit for each of them. They arrive arrive home a little later today.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Little Red Wagon

Ryan Air To Charge For Toilet Use In Jets

From ABC News -
Fly from London to Venice for as cheaply as $50.

Harry Note - We often fly Ryanair when in London every summer. We have flown as cheaply as $30 from one country to another. I have also argued with agents charging me extra when I missed a connecting flight due to delays that were their fault. They charge you extra if you do not print your own airline ticket - $100. Another thing - they do not assign seats - they just open the gate and everyone runs to get the best seats. I felt like Homer Simpson as I sat in Row 1 Seat 1.

Irish discount airline Ryanair's plans to charge to use the toilet might be a great cost-savings move, but it has been met by skepticism and outrage from critics who call it inhumane.

"It's one of the most absurd ideas I've ever heard," said Steven D. Soifer, an associate professor at the University of Maryland's School of Social Work.

The extra fee for the bathroom, plus the Ryanair's desire to remove two of the three restrooms to add more seats, causes problems -- especially for people with medical conditions, Soifer said. His studies include Paruresis, also known as shy bladder syndrome, where people are not able to urinate when in the presence of others. Soifer said, for instance, that a passenger might really struggle inside the sole airplane bathroom if they knew there was a long line of people waiting in the aisle.
The airline plans to charge either 1 euro or 1 British pound (about $1.30 to $1.55) to use the toilet for flights scheduled for one hour or less. By eliminating two of the three bathrooms on the plane, Ryanair plans to add six extra seats.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Panama City Florida - Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Linda - Lori - Lulu - enjoy a day at Panama City Beach. Water was 72 - air was 75 - but it was breezy. 

Spring Break 2013

While the girls enjoyed the sun and surf - I was scheduled to "see" a car.

Why Do I Like Scooters So Much?

This is our new 1986 Honda Helix we bought last week.

This is our 2007 Vespa LX150 - we bought new in 2006.

Many people ask me why I like scooters so much. Many things ad up to my hobby.

First - in 1965 - The Beach Boys introduced this cute little inexpensive piece of transportation.  $215 was all I could afford for a new vehicle. Honda sold the 50cc Cub that got a whopping 200 milers per gallon. For pennies - the world was mine for exploring. Young ladies back home in Tamaqua PA thought it was cool. We could cruise around town at up to 45 miles per hour - we could go mini-golfing at Heislers Dairy Bar about 7 miles from town - a blanket and the Honda were all that was needed for watching the submarine races at the lake. 

At college - on a campus where parking was limited and impossible to purchase - scooters slipped under the radar. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Can This House Be Saved?
This house is free to a good home - but it must be moved.

by The Trailing Spouse

It has been 9 years since we moved to Tallahassee when Lulu became a professor at Florida State. We bought a home on Seminole Drive in the Myers Park/Woodland Drives section of town because it was an easy two mile commute to campus. We also wanted to live near friends there. 

Floor plan of house to be torn down.

We bought the first house that came along - at that time houses were at a premium in the housing boom. We bought a house way too soon like 9 months before we needed it. Then we proceeded to spend way too much money renovating it. We always wanted a brand new home - but there were none in this old neighborhood. 

FSU In National Beach Volleyball Championship - Friday and Saturday - Gulf Shores - Alabama

FSU will play University of Louisiana Monroe - Pepperdine - and Long Beach State. Winner will be declared National Champion 2013.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Nissan Sold 1937 Leaves In March - Second Best Month So Far

The Nissan Leaf in garnet color.

I Like To Wash My Car But Would Not Want To Do It For A Living

Troy and Christina did a great job detailing Lulu's Dodge - 850-933-1253

No it is not for sale! Look at Lulu's Dodge shine. It is a 1986 with 15,000 miles on it. All original - top - interior - paint - new tires. She has put 6000 miles on it in 3 years.

Today I had Lulu's car detailed. 

One time Al Sword did a story about Lulu and I in The Times News. He quoted me as saying - "I like to wash my car but would not want to do it for a living." What I was saying is that it is fun to do every now and then - but hard tedious work to do it right. 

There used to be a commercial on TV that said foreigners thought the difference between a rich American and a poor American is that a poor American washes his own Cadillac. Well I don't have a Caddy - like my friends Marylou and Carl - but I had someone wash Lulu's Dodge.

Troy and Christina showed up as promised at 9 AM. For 90 straight minutes they did nothing but scrub - polish - brush - vacuum - wipe - and buff the old 1986 Dodge 600 Convertible. 

Titanium Motors - You Gotta Love Father and Son Dealers

You can shop at Titanium Motors on Crawfordville Highway or see their cars on Craigslist or Online

I like this 2000 Dodge 1500 - high miles - 318 V8 - way too loud - needs paint

Since the advent of Criaglist - I seldom shop for a car - truck - or scooter - a a dealer because - quite frankly - dealers do not give you deals. But sometimes dealers advertise on Craigslist - and since I was driving to Crawfordville on another Craigslist deal - I stopped by to see this truck.

JR Libby - the general manager - and son of the owner bounded out of the showroom - and did an excellent salesmanship job on me. I was interested in the truck shown here - a 2000 Dodge 1500 4 x 4. The young man showed me the truck - offered a quick ride - etc - etc.

Even Though Henry Ford Was Racist - He Was An Excellent Industrialist

While other cars were costing thousands - Henry Ford's Model T put the average American on the road for as low as $300. His workers - making $5 a day could afford one. 12 week's wages paid for the car.

On this day in 1926, Ford Motor Company becomes one of the first companies in America to adopt a five-day, 40-hour week for workers in its automotive factories. The policy would be extended to Ford's office workers the following August. 
Henry Ford's Detroit-based automobile company had broken ground in its labor policies before. In early 1914, against a backdrop of widespread unemployment and increasing labor unrest, Ford announced that it would pay its male factory workers a minimum wage of $5 per eight-hour day, upped from a previous rate of $2.34 for nine hours (the policy was adopted for female workers in 1916). The news shocked many in the industry--at the time, $5 per day was nearly double what the average auto worker made--but turned out to be a stroke of brilliance, immediately boosting productivity along the assembly line and building a sense of company loyalty and pride among Ford's workers.
The decision to reduce the workweek from six to five days had originally been made in 1922. According to an article published in The New York Times that March, Edsel Ford, Henry's son and the company's president, explained that "Every man needs more than one day a week for rest and recreation....The Ford Company always has sought to promote [an] ideal home life for its employees. We believe that in order to live properly every man should have more time to spend with his family."

From the History Channel