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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sorry, but in good conscience, I must contribute a politically oriented post.

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" Past behavior is the truest indicator of future behavior"  Dr. Phil
When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over an attempt to health care reform. Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn't get a vote in a Democrat controlled US Congress. This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million for studies, promotion, and other efforts.

Then, President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood - both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration.
Next, she chose Janet Reno - husband Bill described her selection as "my worst mistake."
Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.

Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. Lani Guanier was her selection. When a little probing led to the discovery of Ms. Guanier's radical views, her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.

Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department.
Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

Many younger voters will have no knowledge of "Travelgate." Hillary wanted to award unfettered travel contracts to Clinton friend Harry Thompson - and the White House Travel Office refused to comply. She managed to have them reported to the FBI and fired. This ruined their reputations, cost them their jobs, and caused a thirty-six month investigation. Only one employee, Billy Dale was charged with a crime, and that of the enormous crime of mixing personal and White House funds. A jury acquitted him of any crime in less than two hours.

Still not convinced of her ineptness, Hillary was allowed to recommend a close Clinton friend, Craig Livingstone, for the position of Director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of about 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, suddenly Hillary and the President denied even knowing Livingstone, and of course, denied knowledge of drug use in the White House.

Following this debacle, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office after more than thirty years of service to seven presidents.

Next, when women started coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape by Bill Clinton, Hillary was put in charge of the "bimbo eruption" and scandal defense. Some of her more notable decisions in the debacle were:

She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit. After the Starr investigation they settled with Ms. Jones.

She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor.

After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr's investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affairs. Hillary's devious game plan resulted in Bill losing his license to practice law for 'lying under oath' to a grand jury and then his subsequent impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Hillary avoided indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice during the Starr investigation by repeating, "I do not recall," "I have no recollection," and "I don't know" a total of 56 times while under oath.

After leaving the White House, Hillary was forced to return an estimated $200,000 in White House furniture, China, and artwork 
that she had stolen.

What a swell person - ready for another four or eight years of this low-life fool?
Now we are exposed to the unsecure keeping and attempted destruction of beyond Top Secret emails while Hillary was US Secretary of State and the "pay to play" schemes of the Clinton Foundation. What "shoe will fall" next?

But to her loyal fans: "What difference does it make?"

Electing Hillary Clinton president would be like granting Satan absolution and giving him the keys to heaven!

Please tell others. Our way of life depends upon it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The number 73 is also prime!

In under an hour, on August 25th, 2016, I shall turn 73.

I am grateful to God for my life, for my health, for my family, for my friends, and for my many and varied experiences, many of which you, gentle reader of my blogs, have learned of herein.

Yesterday, I loaded our 1990 Honda 4518 lawn tractor onto my trailer, and started toward Manchester down Interstate 93.  This loyal old workhorse is in need of a new mower-deck drive belt, so I decided to take him down to Nault's Powersports, where I bought him some 26 years ago, and have him serviced professionally.  I have done that only once before in the 26 years that he has been in the family, and Shirl offered to pay for it as her birthday present to me.

Climbing up the Ashland Hill, just a mile south of the Plymouth-Holderness exit (No. 25), a car passed me, and its driver waved, and pointed back at my trailer.  Oh my God!  It was vibrating wildly, at 65 miles-per-hour, with a blown-out right tire.

I pulled off to the side of the highway, and considered my options.  There was a guard rail where I stopped, so I couldn't really get far off the road, only to a narrow breakdown lane.  I decided to creep on the flat tire down to Ashland, and deal with the problem there.

A state trooper came up behind me as I limped the Santa Fe and its wounded trailer down the breakdown lane.  His lights were flashing, so I stopped.  The Trooper came to my driver's side window, which I had opened for him.  He could not have been nicer.  He looked to be a rookie, perhaps 23 or 24 years old.  He checked to make sure that the tractor was well-secured on the trailer, then followed me to the top of Ashland Hill, passing on as it became obvious that I would make it safely to the Ashland exit.

As it happened, I was able to unhitch the tralier and leave it in the parking lot at Ashland Lumber, while I went to find a replacement for a shredded 155/80R13 tire.  I removed the damaged tire on its wheel, and found a replacement tire in stock at WalMart in Plymouth.  The automotive guys there again proved most helpful, as was Gayle, the clerk at Ashland Lumber, a blonde lady of almost my age, who got me permission to leave the trailer there while going after the tire.  When I told her thanks, and that today would be my 73rd birthday, she said, "Happy Birthday! 73? You sure don't look it!"  I wanted to give her a kiss...

In fact, I feel younger today than I did back in 2008, when a case of plantar fasciitis made the walk from the parking lot at the UBB Faculty of Letters in Cluj to my apartment on Pta. Mihai Viteazul a serious challenge...not to mention the 62 steps up to my second floor (third floor as we Americans count them) apartment.

Thank God for such days as 24 August, 2016.  Little challenges in the overall scheme of things, but real physical challenges, the overcoming of which rebuilds our confidence!

It is now about 1:08 AM on the 25th.  I am 73!

Tomorrow, I shall have a morning coffee with the family Morrison, of whom William is my former student in management accounting (and, as he reported at our meeting, three other courses!) from the 1970s, and whose lovely daughter Rachel is the girlfriend of Șuteu Valer (din Satu Mare), one of the UBB grads who came to Plymouth State University for his MBA, and who lived with us for two academic years.  We shall meet at 9:00 at the Mad River Coffee House, then I shall complete the trip to Manchester with the tractor!

It will be a full and fun birthday!

Thanks be to God for this life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beloved Romania: Why am I not Visiting her in 2016?

As readers of this blog, and its predecessor blog ("A Fulbright Year in Romania"), may have noticed, I managed to spend time in Romania in every year from 2008 through 2015.  This year, I was invited by my dear colleague and friend, Prof. Dr. Monica Zaharie, to a conference at UBB-Cluj that occurred in June.  I did not attend it.  I post today to explain my absence.

On Our Wedding Day, 6 October 1973!
Shirl is not well.  Shirley Kimball and I were married on 6 October 1973, almost 43 years ago.  She has been an amazingly giving and tolerant wife, who bore us four wonderful children, who put up with my many job changes, who moved with me from Westborough, Massachusetts, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Campton, New Hampshire, then back to Westborough, then back to Campton.  Shirl has proved a brilliant mother and teacher of our children, all of whom love her dearly.  And, when the time came that I was offered a chance to spend an academic year teaching in Transylvania, Shirl encouraged me to accept the Fulbright Commission's and UBB-FSEGA's offer.  Moreover, she supported my teaching in Finland for a week, rather than my coming home for that Christmas.  And, she supported my taking a third semester in Cluj in 2010, and my going twice to Bangalore, India, the second time to teach for seven weeks at the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME).  A more generous wife I find hard to imagine.

S & D, Campton, NH, in 2015
So, with Shirl now suffering from a gastrointestinal ailment not yet diagnosed, but which has her in pain almost constantly, I feel it the least I can do to stay by her side, and to be her helper, and her driver, as we pursue the cause of her misery, and try to find a cure.  This pursuit has not been easy, as Shirl is a stubborn patient, and quite picky as to which doctor(s) she trusts.  But, we have made some progress this summer, so are hoping to learn the cause soon, and to find an effective treatment.

It is not that I love my friends in Romania any less, but that at present, I owe my wife Shirley more!  Dear friends, I am sure that you understand!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"We with More Yesterdays than Tomorrows"*

They say that we lose things as we age.  It is true, and in my case I have been blessed in that my losses thus far have been of little things like physical strength, a bit of hearing and eyesight, a "tinch" of sexual prowess, and my ability to remember the names of old friends and former coworkers at Beebe River, or at Rochester Shoe Tree Company, or even at Plymouth State University, when I bump into them at Walmart, Annie's Overflow, or Rand's Hardware.  I also find my motorcycle rides more interesting this summer, because roads I knew well in the 1970s have changed so much that I feel like a newly arrived tourist when I cruise them.

Today I made a run to the Campton-Thornton town Dump, a thoroughly familiar trip made weekly, but detoured on my way home to explore Pond Road in Campton, and found to my surprise that it leads to a steep and sharply winding road up Campton Mountain to the ski area there, and its surrounding development, Waterville Estates.  Back in the 1970s, when I was plant manager at the Beebe River Bobbin Plant of the Draper Division of North American Rockwell, Waterville Estates was a booming second-home development catering to Massachusetts ski enthusiasts.  Until I made that left turn just over the dam bridge on Route 175 in Campton, I had not even thought of Waterville Estates in decades.

 Last night, I took my white BMW R27, built in 1966 and newly repaired so that its battery would charge, out on a ride at dusk.  I had just given it a fresh oil change to SAE 40w summer oil, and wanted to give the engine a chance to squish it around a bit.  So, I rode north on NH 175 for about ten or 15 miles to Woodstock, then came south down U.S. 3 back into Campton.  When I reached Chesley's Market, and the intersection with NH 49, I saw that a right turn would take me up Ellsworth Hill Road.  I knew that a PSU Business Department colleague and her husband lived up there, and decided to explore it.  Again, I may have ridden that road before, but if so it was when I was about 30, and today I am a month shy of 73.  Ellsworth Hill Rd. is a Campton byway that I saw last night as if for the first time, just at sunset.  It is a beautiful rural road that climbs to the west through a forest, past a number of widespread homes and farms, and where the forest wanes, reveals views across a valley to the north of what I took to be the Franconia Range of The White Mountains.  In the twilight it was magnificent.

From these two experiences, and from several others of late, I find my fading memory to be a blessing.  I am seeing old turf as if for the first time, and finding it fascinating.

In closing, I am thankful to God, and to Romania and Microsoft, and Blogspot, and The Internet, etc., for having kept my two blogs for the past 8 years.  The memories stored herein are proving to be personal treasures.
*Source of quotation: Former President Bill Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, 26 July 2016

Saturday, June 11, 2016

In Memoriam: John J. Crummey, U.S. Army Air Corps, POW, WWII

Given my respect for my father's generation of Americans, those who fought in World War II, today I rode further than my normal radius to stand a flag line at the church in Northwood, then at graveside in Deefield, with the New Hampshire Patriot Guard Riders.

Given my connections with, respect for, and love of Romania, this was a doubly-moving mission for me. You see, Mr. Crummey served as a flight engineer and turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator for the U. S. Army Air Corps, and his plane was shot down, he was wounded, and then captured on a mission from a base in Italy to bomb oil installations in Ploesti, Romania, on 6 May, 1944.

Here is a link to his Mr. Crummey's obituary:

15th Air Force B-24 Liberator, WWII
At the church in Northwood this morning, before the flag line was posted, John Crummey's youngest daughter (appearing to be a woman of fifty-something) came over to the car where our flags were waiting, and thanked the NHPGR for our presence at the funeral.  In the conversation that ensued, she told us a little more about her father's experience when his plane was shot down by a German fighter.  She said her Dad had told her that the plane was burning when the order was given to bail out. Being a top turret gunner, John had to descend through flames to get to the parachutes, and suffered burns that resulted in his receiving the Purple Heart.  In the fuselage he found a parachute, but when he jumped from the plane, he could not locate the rip cord.  Luckily, he discovered in time that he had the chute on upside-down, and found the rip cord on the opposite side from where he had expected it.  When he landed in a Bulgarian mud flat, he became stuck, and stayed there until pulled out by a German patrol.  He spent the next four months in a German P.O.W. camp.

The mission they were flying had been to bomb the oil industry in Ploesti, Romania, a primary source of fuel to the German forces.  

There was a large turnout today for Mr. Crummey's funeral.  Along with multitudes of grandchildren and great grandchildren were many of my age and older.  Obviously, Mr. Crummey had been a well-loved man in his community.

Here are a few pictures taken at the rural cemetery in Deerfield, New Hampshire, where the late John J. Crummey was laid to rest.

Representatives of today's U.S. Army provided full military honors. The sergeant who played taps gave the finest rendition of that tune that I have ever heard. There were few dry eyes in the flag line, if any.



For more history of the Ploesti campaign, please see:

Quoting from that website:  
   About 300 B-17s and B-24s, escorted by P-51s and P-38s, hit targets in Romania; the B-17s attack an aircraft factory at
 Brasov and marshalling yard at Turnu Severin; the B-24s bomb Ploiesti/Campina marshalling yard and an aircraft factory at Brasov."

Without apologizing for what had to be done at the time to defeat Hitler's forces, I hereby express my heartfelt sympathy to any of my Romanian friends whose relatives may have been killed of wounded in this campaign, some 71 years ago. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ears Too? Ya!

A couple of weeks ago I received an invitation to an open house at the local Miracle Ear center in Plymouth, NH.  It had been at least three years since I last had my hearing checked, so I accepted the invitation, and today went in for the exam.

My younger brother wears hearing aids, and recommends them highly.

Thus, I met the local Miracle Ear salesman/licensed hearing technician, Mr. Jay Marsden.  Jay is a former professional golfer.  He is, perhaps, forty-five years of age, and both handsome and intelligent.  He and his assistant, also a certified technician, devoted a full hour to my hearing status, not only testing me, but also educating me about the anatomy of the ear, and how our ears receive and convert pressure waves in the atmosphere (sounds) into nerve signals that the brain can understand and interpret.

Nadia Comaneci on Balance Beam
We also talked about golf, about Jordan Spieth, and what a terrific performance he has had in three consecutive Masters tournaments.  Then, we talked about life in general, and I mentioned my recent career as a Romanophile, having visited Romania for eight consecutive years.  At that, his eyes lit up, and he said, "Nadia Comaneci is from Romania.  I have met her."

That led me to tell about my affinity for gymnasts and gymnastics, as I was myself a champion springboard diver in my youth, and about my perception that Romanian womanhood tends to be the most beautiful, smartest, and most charming of that from any nation I have ever visited.

Jay concurred, recalling several other Romanian women he has known, even though I have not yet committed to spending a few thousand dollars for a hearing aid at Miracle Ear. ;-)

A perfect 10!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Merlin's Family War Story

Funny thing about war stories, the name of the war, the name of the country or army may change and the years are different like BC or AD but the stories and certain truths remain strikingly similar.
During one summer of the early1970’s three generations of veterans were in a back yard telling ‘war stories’. They had served in different wars, Granddad served in the U. S. Army in WWI, my father was WWII U. S. Navy and we sons late of the U. S. Army during Viet Nam. All had been Enlisted men and/or NCO’s. This particular story was told by Granddad Joe Bianco in his still heavy Italian accent.
It was spring of 1918 at Camp Dodge, Iowa, during the First War to end all wars. Italian born Private Joe Bianco was a tailor in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, but this day he and three more of Uncle Sam’s ‘doughboys’ were repairing a roadside ditch.
The job had been progressing well, even though all four of them were in the 4-foot deep ditch and had to throw the dirt and weeds up and out, the young men were almost enjoying the work in the warm sun. They had managed to find a comfortable rhythm and were deeply engrossed in the process.
He continued his story with thick Italian accent and a great sense of timing.
“There’s a four of us workin’ in a ditch, we shovel all the weeds and stuff up an out a da ditch, we in the ditch along the road and the sunshine is a nice and soon itsa like a summer day an we no notice noting but da ditch.”
“Then suddenly there is a ‘tenente, a lootenente and he’sa say. ‘Don’a you men saloota an officer?’ We stopa workin’ an look up ona da road. “
“I said, Don’t you men salute an officer?”
“So now we all a know hesa no happy so we snappa to attenzione and throw a fine saloota at the lootenente. An we think maybe he go away an leave us alone. But no he a brand new tenente and in a fine new uniform all sharply pressed and hesa maybe gotta different idea.”
“If you men can’t salute an officer when you see him, maybe you need some more training. Put down those shovels and stand at attention and give me a good proper salute.”
“So we alla four put down the tools an we stand in da mud. We gotta no shirts an our hats they are off but we come at a full attenzione and all saloota dis tenente.”
“That’s better, now when I say ‘salute’ you all do it again.” He said.
“Saloota.” He commanda.
So we plays along an we all saloota.
“Saloota.” He repeata.
“Again we performe like a circus. Now we all know the drill. We gonna saloota till he gets a tired. Again and again he say saloota and we’d saloota. This a go on for a few minute and the sun she’sa now become hot and the day it’sa a no more fun.”
“Then a Colonel, who’sa commandante of Camp Dodge, he’s on his horse, he come down da road to see what’sa happenin’. He look on from aways and then he rides’a close up. One of the boys he sing out. “Atten-hut.”
“The Lootenente he spin aroun’ an spot’a the Colonel. He snappe to attention ana bring his a hand up to his hat brim in a nice saloota.”
“Lieutenant, what are we doing here? How come these men have stopped working on the ditch?”
“Sir, the men didn’t salute when I came upon them and I was having them practice.”
The Colonel he look at us four in a ditch an he saw shovels no being used and tired dirty soldiers no doin whata need to be done. He took it all in and then asked. “Lootenente show me how you teacha these men the proper Army saloota.”
“The tenente he turn to face us and he say “Saloota.”
“All four of us, we give a him a nicea sharp saloota. Now we tink maybe dis gonna stoppa the sillynessa.”
The Colonel thought for a bit and then said. “I see what the problem is, these men are saluting well but your lesson is missing the mark.”
“I looka at da boys an we alla little confused.”
The Colonel continued “Lieutenant, what you need to do is demonstrate a complete proper salute. When they salute, you must return that salute. I want you to try again only now one of you privates will salute the lieutenant and he will return that salute then the next private and the next. Do you understand?”
“All of us we answer “A Yes sir.”
“So now I watcha da boy at the other end of the line saloota the Tenente and then, as the young officer returned that salute with a salute, I begin ta git it. “
“The seconda soldier he now saloota and da officer he returna that saloota.”
“The third soldier saloota and the officer returna that saloota.”
“Now I gotta full take on the Colonelos plan. Before, the tenente he would order a saloota and alla four us we performe, now one private saloota and the officer he gotta saloota back. Thata young officer wita da new shiney bars he gotta return a saloota four for my one.”
“I saloota and the Tenente, he saloota back but only I gotta small smile.”
“Backa da first soldier who again saloota and the Lt. again he return ‘at salute. “
“So now itsa change, all four of us privates we stand a little taller and we gotta twinkles in our eyes even the Colonelo, he gotta twinkle & a smile.”
“Better still, ‘dat young tenente he seems ta age and tire as he returna salootas four to one.”
“Thisa circus, she goes ona few more time and then the Colonelo he bring it to a halt.”
“Men, I hope a you gain from this. You take a few minutes rest and then go on with your work. Lieutenant you may continue with your inspection tour.”
The tenente he saloota and we four saloota and da Colonelo, he returna da fine saloota.