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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Out of the Blue - An Old High School Friend Just Called

Jim's matching numbers 1966 Corvette
The view from Jim's home overlooking some
Pennsylvania farmland. In the background
is the Blue Ridge Mountains

I was watching television tonight - and all of a sudden I got a call from back home in Schuylkill County. It was a strange number but it said Pottsville PA. The minute I heard the voice - I just knew it was Dr Jim Fogarty. Jim sat behind me in most of our classes at Tamaqua Junior and Senior High Schools. We had so many common interests - cars - music - science - electronics - and friends. We could harmonize almost every Beach Boys surfing and auto song. Jim's voice was literally music to my ears. 

Jim and I both went into education. Although I started and ended my teaching career in the same science classroom - Jim climbed the ladder quickly to end up being the director of the county school system. 

On September 25

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I Sold My Friend's Camper

My friend Joan asked me to sell her camper. It was a 2012 Ford Coachmen. It took 2 months to sell - mainly because we were away from home so often.

The final price was $46,400. It is in excellent shape - it only has 15000 miles on it. It sleeps 4 and has seats belts for 6 people. It has a full bathroom - full kitchen - flat screen TV - and many more options. It can tow 5000 pounds.

To speed up the sale we had the upholstery redone because it was faded.

The new list price on it new was $82,000,

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Harry's James Bond Glasses A Bit Of A Flop

Harry as Steven King in The Wonder Eyes
People love candid pictures and video. Folks just behave differently when they know they are being photographed. So before our London trip - I bought a pair of glasses on Amazon with a video camera in them for $70. I had visions of going into museums and theaters - and just recording what I saw.

On our second day in town - we went to see Rebel Wilson in Guys and Dolls. Rebel Wilson is a very funny lady from Australia. We have seen her in many movies and also in a few comedy performances on Netflix. So I tried to capture here with my glasses at the theatre. We got great seats for $30.

The glasses could not keep up with the lighting in the theatre. You can only shoot video - and later you can pick out single frames to make photos. There is not viewfinder on the glasses - so you are not sure where to point your head. Also - you not even sure the camera is on. It is not dependable.

The glasses are a little goofy looking - they make you look like Steven King. But I do not think anyone knew I was recording. I do like the idea of video glasses - just not this pair. I am still hunting for a better pair.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 13 - London - The Last Night in Town at Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall is beautiful and special

We were there for a concert.

It is our last night in London - we fly home in the morning. Lulu always wanted to see a concert in the Royal Albert Hall - and tonight she got her wish. In the summer - they hold a concert series called The Proms. I do not get the name but ticket can be had for as little as 5 pounds to see world class acts. 

Tonight we saw The Welsh Symphony Orchestra. We bought nice close tickets on line for 9 pounds. 

Royal Albert Hall is 150 years old. They have 400 shows a year there. Of course it is famous for hosting Beatles and Rolling Stones concerts. You may recall the line on the Beatles - Sargent Pepper Album - "now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall." the hall seats 5200 people. 

The concert hall is on the Imperial College campus in the Kensington section of London. In that complex is a series of museums - including the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

We took the subway home - we must get a good night's rest because tomorrow we fly from 11:30 AM  London time to 8:00 PM Tallahassee time. We go from London to Atlanta to Tallahassee. It is a total of 13 hours  in the air and lay over in Atlanta. 

We were very close to the Welsh Orchestra

The people on the floor had to stand

Day 13 - London - The British Museum

Seminole Indian Jacket


It is Friday afternoon - we are trying to fit in everything we can. The British Museum is just around the corner from our apartment. We walked over and spent an hour looking at some of our favorite artifacts. Admission is free - and sometimes we take it for granted. Just down the street is the FSU Study Centre.

We have a special feeling for what the British call The Elgin Marbles. They are the famous marble sections of the Greek Parthenon. The Parthenon is the symbol of the world's first Democracy. We visited the building in Athens Greece on the Acropolis in the middle of the city. When we designed our home - we used several of the perspectives of this fine temple - the symbol of civilization. 

Saturday - tomorrow - we will head home. We are flying from 11:30 AM here to 8 PM in Tallahassee.

Centaur and Lapith from the Parthenon 

This room contains the Parthenon Marbles
stolen in the 1800s

This room is very controversial

The Rosetta Stone - has 3 languages on it -
it cracked the translation code

The famous British Museum Atrium


Roman Vase from 200 AD

Seminole Explanation 

Day 13 - London - Snorkel Masks

The Masks

The Store

Tami and Jackie told us about these snorkel masks. They are only available in England. We found a sports store that had them along the Thames River - out by the Olympic Park.

The masks cover the whole face and water does not come down the snorkel tube. They seem pretty neat.

Lulu is at the post office now sending them to Virginia.

Day 12 - London - Ben Franklin's Home

The only remaining home of
Ben Franklin.

From this desk - Ben would write to his
wife Deborah

Ironically this Rolls Royce was parked out
front. I imagined that Ben would ride in
one of these

Buckingham Palace is not very far from
Ben's home - same with Parliament

They give tours and multi media
presentations in the house. Someone
dresses up as Polly Stevenson

Many people do not realize that Ben Franklin lived in London 16 years from 1758 to 1774. He represented Pennsylvania and several other colonies to the Crown. In essence - his home here in London was the first American Embassy.  His house - 36 Craven Street - is just off the Thames River - between Parliament and Buckingham Palace. At one time it fell into disrepair - but it still has the original floors and woodwork. 

To the people in Europe - Ben Franklin was the greatest American. He was such a Renaissance man - he was a master in science - literature - government - art. He had more influence on the formation of America than any other man. He signed the Declaration of Independence - the Treaty of Paris - and the American Constitution. He invented - the Franklin Stove - bifocals - lightning rod - and glass harmonica. He founded the University of Pennsylvania - the first insurance company - the American postal system - and the first fire company. He convinced France to support the USA in the American Revolution. After the war - he served many years in France as our ambassador.

Lulu just reminded me that Franklin started the first lending library.

He spent almost the last 30 years of his life in Europe. His wife in Philadelphia - Deborah - feared travel and stayed home. She died while he was in England. Ben was very much a lady's man and several historians say he had an affair with both his landlady and her daughter in England. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tamaqua PA From The Air - 8/10/2016

I love Andy Leibenguth's videos. He does a spectacular job.

This is my hometown - August 10 - 2016.

Day 11 - London - Windsor Castle - Eton College

Main entrance protected by machine gun guards

Overhead view of Windsor Castle and Thames River

The changing of the guard every half hour with machine guns

Lulu always finds these cute little libraries
Wednesday afternoon in England was a beautiful one. The temperature barely reached 70 - the breezes were strong - and the sky usually sunny - with a few bouts of overcast - that looked like rain but didn't fall. Our two week stay at 11 Bedford Place is winding down. We are getting a bit of melancholy with having to leave.

Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. It is the largest continuously occupied castle in the world - almost 1000 years old. It is Queen Elizabeth's favorite home - she spends weekends and summers here. It is about 25 miles from our apartment downtown - it took us about 45 minutes by train - the Queen can do it in a few minutes in the Royal Chopper.

The castle extends from right in the middle of Windsor town - out thru the countryside along the Thames River. It was originally designed as a stronghold to protect the river and as a refuge for royalty. During WWII - King George spent much of his time here away from the Nazi bombing. 

When we got there - there was a line about 2 hours long to pay the 20 pound fee to enter- I took my pictures and was ready to walk away. But Lulu went online to buy tickets for 18 pounds (pensioner rate) and we passed the line and went right in with our iPhone tickets. We spent about 2 hours touring the various rooms - full of furniture. About 500 people live and work in the castle. There are plenty of apartments of guests. The flag was up - so the queen was there while we were - she did not greet us with tea and cookies. 

You were allowed to take pictures of the outside area - but they did not want you to photograph inside. I did not see the "do not photo" signs for a while and no one stopped me until Lulu pointed it out.

I liked Windsor Castle much better than Hampton Court and Buckingham Palace. I particularly like St George Chapel - which is a giant cathedral. Many of the recent kings and queens are buried there - Queen Mary - Jane Seymour (Henry VIII's wife) - King George (the stuttering king) - and many more. I expect Queen Elizabeth will be tombed there. 

An interesting note - your 20 pound ticket can be stamped to be a year pass for free. You can come back again and again without paying for a year. 

After the castle tour - we walked the streets of Windsor - a very nice place to shop. We also walked to Eton College - about a mile away. 

Eton College - is an exclusive boys boarding school - ages 13 to 18. It costs about $50,000 a year if you can get in. Prince Harry - Prince William - Boris Johnson - David Cameron - are some of the recent grads. After Eton - a usual stop would be Oxford or Cambridge - in the educational chain - a few steps up form Tamaqua High and Kutztown State Teachers College.

The college has beautiful old grounds along the Thames River. After that we had a nice Italian supper with a full view of the Castle and the street full of tourists. After a few glasses of wine and a delightful meal - we slept the way home. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Day 10 - London - The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism - Cable Car Over The Thames

The Rolling Stone tongue logo
welcomes you to the exhibit

Duke of York Headquarters - now the museum where the
exhibit is displayed

Riding the cable cars over The Thames - the O2 Arena -
downtown London in the background -
the cable cars held 10 people
In the 60s - everyone loved The Beatles. They wrote the sound track of our generation. But they only existed as a touring group from 1961 to 1966. Some say the greatest rock and roll band was the Rolling Stones. They have stayed together to the present day. In 1964 - at the height of Beatlemania - the Rolling Stones were voted the top group in England. Mick Jagger - the lead singer of the Stones was a symbol of the counter culture. Even today - at age 73 - and worth hundred of millions - he is famous for being an expectant father. He has maintained his youthful skinny body - and can rock with  the best of them. 

The Rolling Stones started by playing American Rhythm and Blues songs of Southern USA black musicians - like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. Later - they moved to Southern France to avoid paying Britain's heavy income taxes. 

The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism is a collection of multi-media to cover the history of the band from the 1960's to the present - up to an including the massive USA tour this summer. The members of the band are in their 70s now. Three of the originals - Mick Jagger - Keith Richards - and Charlie Watts - still tour together. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Day 9 - London - Monday - Eva Schloss at Royal Albert Hall - Then Kinky Boots

Drag Queens in Kinky Boots

Eva Schloss - half sister of Ann Frank - reads a
portion of her book about Auschwitz

A quick free talk at Royal Albert Hall

How is this for a roller coaster ride. First we went to Royal Albert Hall to listen to Eva Schloss - holocaust survivor and step sister to Anne Frank. Eva was taken to Auschwitz by the Nazis as a young girl of 15. She had the horror to be paraded in front of Dr Josef Mengele and be passed over for several of his experiments. She experienced the women "playing for time" forming an orchestra in the prison camp and survive by playing for the pleasure of the Nazis. After the war was over - her mother married Ann Frank's father. 

The lady next to me asked Eva Schloss a question.

After just being in Germany for 3 months - and seeing the new Ann Frank movie in downtown Berlin - it was fantastic seeing someone who live through the action. 

Eva said while they were in the concentration camp - they were well aware of the killings. They could smell the burning flesh in the air all the time. They did anything an everything they could to survive. The Russians freed Eva from her prison camp. 

Ann Frank and her sister Margo died from Typhus just two months before their camp - Bergan-Belson was liberated. 

The talk went on for an hour - in the Royal Albert Hall complex on the Imperial College campus. Then we caught a cab and rushed to the Adelphi Theatre to see Kinky Boots - a very popular play in both London and New York right now. 

Darlene Horton

Darlene Horton, a long-time resident of Tallahassee, passed away Wednesday the 3rd of August. Born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, she received education degrees from the University of Akron and Southern Connecticut State University.
After stays in Las Vegas, Nevada and in New Haven, Connecticut, she moved to Tallahassee in 1984 and became a special education teacher in the Thomasville City Schools. After working for 20 years, she retired to spend more time with her family.
Darlene loved doing things with her family, regular morning jogs with her husband, playing tennis with her friends, cooking, gardening, and travel.
She is survived by her two daughters, Elizabeth Wagner of Tallahassee and Shannon Wagner of Boca Raton, and by her husband of 37 years, Richard Wagner of Tallahassee.
A memorial service will be held for her at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, 211 N. Monroe Street - Tallahassee, on Thursday, August 11th, at 3pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to either the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an organization that specializes in advocacy and services for individuals with mental illness, or the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, a foundation that supports research on mental illnesses.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Day 8 - London - Victoria and Albert Museum - Supper At The Crown - More Shopping

Victoria and Albert

We walk by these flowers every day -
in honor of the FSU lady that got killed
Mozart played at this pub site in 1791 - we ate there
Sunday was a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is the largest decorative arts museum in the world. It is also free of charge. Paintings - statues - jewelry - from all over the world. Next we had supper at The Crown. The Crown sits on the site of a former concert house. In 1791 - Mozart - at the age of 9 - played there. We ate there and had a great time. 

Day 7 - London - Imperial War Museum - Carol King Musical

Lulu and Jodi at the
theatre - Carol King Show

Nazi Eagle taken from German Reichstag on surrender

German flak gun used to shoot down allied planes

Saturday - while Lulu and Jodi went shopping - my job was to land 3 great tickets to the show - Beautiful - The Carol King Musical. It was a 12 minute walk form our apartment to the box office. When I got there - the lady said tickets were 70 pounds each - yikes. I told her that was too much - that I was hard of hearing - and needed to be closer. After a few minutes and a talk with the manager - we got 3 tickets in row 2 - middle for 40 pounds each! We were set.

I had an afternoon to relax and decided to tour The Imperial War Museum alone. This museum is in an old hospital that was bombed by German Zeppelin's during World War I. It is a hodge podge of war relics captured during all of England's wars. It also houses their holocaust museum. The best part - it is free and just a short bus ride away. It is just so much of what you would expect a British museum to be - old - dusty - antiqued - creaky.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Day 6 - London - Strolling Around Town - Then Jodi Arrives

Jodi and Lulu - 2 Florida graduates -
at the Marlborough Arms last night
Starting a life together at
St Pauls Cathedral

When you think of London you think of cold - dark - misty days. But this time of the year - the world's capital city is just beautiful. It is 70s - sunny - and breezy. We have been walking for miles enjoying the breeze in the hair we have left.

We started with a walk to the Borough Market on the south side of the Thames River. After lunch - we walked across the Millennial Bridge to Saint Pauls Cathedral.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Using Your iPhone In London

If you are like me - you feel lost without your cellphone. So this time we vowed we would get SIM chips for our phones and use them.

Simply - we stopped by one of the many electronics stores offering iPhone service. We were offered a service called Lebara. There is a little drawer on your iPhone - they slide the drawer out - take out your old SIM chip - and put a new one in.

In America - our iPhones are with ATT. For unlimited service for 2 people we pay $150 a month.

Our England package is in the picture above. We get 2 GB of Internet - 200 text messages - and 1000 minutes of calls here. Call between our Labara accounts are free. There was a sale on - for that we paid 13 pounds each - about $17 for one - $34 for two.

Now we can use all the Internet services - including Sirius radio - Netflix - Google Maps - and other surfing stuff. It is just like being at home. For an additional 2 cents a minute - we could have bought a package to call back to America. Of course we can use Skype at any time to make calls anywhere.

Comparing our service - $34 a month in London - $150 a month in the USA.

Harvard Republican Club Will Not Endorse Trump

Dear Members and Alumni,
In every presidential election since 1888, the members and Executive Board of the Harvard Republican Club have gathered to discuss, debate, and eventually endorse the standard-bearer of our party. But for the first time in 128 years, we, the oldest College Republicans chapter in the nation, will not be endorsing the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump holds views that are antithetical to our values not only as Republicans, but as Americans. The rhetoric he espouses –from racist slander to misogynistic taunts– is not consistent with our conservative principles, and his repeated mocking of the disabled and belittling of the sacrifices made by prisoners of war, Gold Star families, and Purple Heart recipients is not only bad politics, but absurdly cruel.
If enacted, Donald Trump’s platform would endanger our security both at home and abroad. Domestically, his protectionist trade policies and draconian immigration restrictions would enlarge our federal deficit, raise prices for consumers, and throw our economy back into recession. Trump’s global outlook, steeped in isolationism, is considerably out-of-step with the traditional Republican stance as well. The flippancy with which he is willing to abdicate the United States’ responsibility to lead is alarming. Calling for the US’ withdrawal from NATO and actively endorsing nuclear proliferation, Donald Trump’s foreign policy would wreak havoc on the established world order which has held aggressive foreign powers in check since World War II.
Perhaps most importantly, however, Donald Trump simply does not possess the temperament and character necessary to lead the United States through an increasingly perilous world. The last week should have made obvious to all what has been obvious to most for more than a year. In response to any slight –perceived or real– Donald Trump lashes out viciously and irresponsibly. In Trump’s eyes, disagreement with his actions or his policies warrants incessant name calling and derision: stupid, lying, fat, ugly, weak, failing, idiot –and that’s just his “fellow” Republicans.
He isn’t eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency.
Donald Trump, despite spending more than a year on the campaign trail, has either refused or been unable to educate himself on issues that matter most to Americans like us. He speaks only in platitudes, about greatness, success, and winning. Time and time again, Trump has demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge on critical matters, meandering from position to position over the course of the election. When confronted about these frequent reversals, Trump lies in a manner more brazen and shameless than anything politics has ever seen.
Millions of people across the country are feeling despondent. Their hours have been cut, wages slashed, jobs even shipped overseas. But Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan to fix that. He has a plan to exploit that.
Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of the Republic. His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy. He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House. He is looking to to pit neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, American against American. We will not stand for this vitriolic rhetoric that is poisoning our country and our children. 
President Reagan called on us to maintain this, our shining city on a hill. He called on us to maintain freedom abroad by keeping a strong presence in the world. He called on us to maintain liberty at home by upholding the democratic process and respecting our opponents. He called on us to maintain decency in our hearts by loving our neighbor.
He would be ashamed of Donald Trump. We are too. 
This fall, we will instead focus our efforts on reclaiming the Republican Party from those who have done it considerable harm, campaigning for candidates who will uphold the conservative principles that have defined the Republican Party for generations. We will work to ensure both chambers of Congress remain in Republican hands, continuing to protect against executive overreach regardless of who wins the election this November.
We call on our party’s elected leaders to renounce their support of Donald Trump, and urge our fellow College Republicans to join us in condemning and withholding their endorsement from this dangerous man. The conservative movement in America should not and will not go quietly into the night.
A longtime student of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” 
De Tocqueville believed in the United States. Americans are a decent people. We work hard, protect our own, and look out for one another in times of need, regardless of the color of our skin, the God we worship, or our party registration. Donald Trump may not believe in that America, but we do. And that America will never cease to be great.
The Harvard Republican Club

85% of American Men Have Hands Bigger Than Trump

Five months after Donald Trump used his time on the national debate stage to tell America that his hands – and therefore a certain other body part – were properly sized, the controversy has finally been resolved.
Trump does, in fact, have unusually small hands. 15th percentile small.
After numerous attempts to measure Trump’s hands – including one in the Post that analyzed photographs of the candidate – a journalist from The Hollywood Reportercracked the case.
Near the exit of Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York hangs a bronze cast of Trump’s hand. It’s been there since 1997, after the museum’s artists took impressions of Trump’s body parts to create a wax figure of him for their collection.
The Hollywood Reporter measured his hand to be 7.25 inches from his wrist to the tip of his middle finger. (You can print out a life-sized outline of Trump’s hand here, and see how you stack up.)
According to data from Ergonomics Center of North Carolina, the average American male’s hand is 7.61 inches long. Trump’s hand sits at the 15th percentile mark. That is, 85 percent of American men have larger hands than Trump. As do a third of women.
But bear in mind, that is the 15th percentile among all American men. Trump is tall – about 6-foot-3, half a foot taller than the 5-foot-9 average among American men, according to the Center for Disease Control. If Trump were compared to men of his stature rather than the public at large, his hands would comparatively be even smaller.
This whole controversy started at the end of February when Marco Rubio, at a rally for his presidential campaign in Virginia, said of Trump: “He’s like 6-2, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who’s 5-2”. He added, “And you know what they say about men with small hands.” The audience roared.
Three days later, at one of the final Republican presidential debates, Trump shot back: “Nobody has ever hit my hands. I’ve never heard of this.” And of course, he defended the size of his penis as well: “I guarantee you, there’s no problem. I guarantee you.”
While the media will likely never be able to determine the veracity of Trump’s claim about his penis, at least the issue of the hands is settled. The Americans Against Insecure Billionaires With Tiny Hands PAC, which originally filed with the FEC in March as the Trump Has Tiny Hands PAC, can rest easy. Its “Release the Measurements” petition is now moot.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Day 5 - London - The Crime - A Show - And Home for the Night

Todays newspaper 
The crime scene - see flowers by the fence
We have been sleeping well over here - windows open - temps down to 50s at night - up to 70s in the day. Jet lag did not bother us - we just slept. We went to bed at 10 PM - and got up at 8 AM to the news that there was a stabbing in London. Then the talking heads said it was in Russell Square. That is about 100 yards from our apartment. There was a large contingent of police in the neighborhood - they stayed here all day. We stayed in a couple hours to watch the coverage.

Then - we decided that this was not going to stop us from having a good time. We walked to the theatre district and bought a couple tickets to a 2:30 matinee of Guys and Dolls featuring Rebel Wilson. We got two seats in the middle - 7 rows out - for 24 pounds each - about $30. We had time to kill so we walked the streets in perfect weather - sunny - breezy - 70. WE had some lunch and watch a few street performers.