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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

La Mulți Ani, România!

1 December 2011, Campton, New Hampshire (Photo by Tarcea)

"At Alba Iulia on December 1, 1918, the treaty was signed creating the union of Transilvania, Wallachia and Moldavia that forms modern-day Romania."

I hereby wish all Romanians, everywhere, a

  Happy    National      Day!     

Last year I spent 1 December in Alba Iulia with friends Valer and Leonina  from UBB-Cluj, and with Leonina's good friend Andreea, who lives there in "Alba."

Today Valer is an MBA candidate at Plymouth State University and works as a graduate assistant here in New Hampshire.  He and I will "celebrate" tomorrow by driving to Boston University's Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where I shall have three surgical implants installed where three of my front teeth used to be.  Afterwards, we shall go to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Valer has an appointment to meet a Bentley University business professor to discuss Vali's interest in their Ph.D. program.  Please wish us both, "Noroc!"

Life goes on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Gift / "Romania Primer"

I am reading a first-edition of the newly-published book, The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom , by Diana Doroftei (din Bârlad) and Matthew Cross (of Connecticut).  It is a beautiful work, and I think that if you are a very good boy or girl, and if you spend the holiday at Hotel New Hampshire, you just might find a copy if it under the tree on Christmas.

Before seeing this book, I never would have guessed that Johnny Weismuller and Edward G. Robinson (among many other notables) were Romanian-born!  And who cannot love a saying such as, "Ceea ce viaţa te invaţa este mai important decat ceea ce te invaţa şcoala." (Emy, rrom)

All the entries in the book appear in both Romanian and English... but I'll let you translate that gem on your own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Has Elfster Killed the Economy?

For about 30 years, as father of six, I had to buy myriad Christmas presents.  Thousands of dollars that we could ill-afford to spend went out each Christmas season in order to ensure a big pile of colorful presents under the tree on Christmas morning.  Much went for plastic crap with heavy price tags:  Star Wars toys, My Little Ponies, etc.  Then came all the electronic toys, Ataris, Nintendos, Playstations, etc., and God knows how much software for them all.  Sure, there were some sweaters, shirts and socks included, but the vast majority of the money went for toys that soon were gathering dust in corners of the kids' rooms, or in the "bunk room closet."   Moreover, all the kids, as they grew to be teenagers, felt equally compelled to give gifts to each other, and to us parents.  So the pile under the tree got to be a small mountain.  It was too much.  And then, along came Elfster!

Now, thanks to Elfster, we all have one family member to whom to give a Secret Santa gift!  It makes all the sense in the world!  Christmas is still about giving, and it is far less stressful for us all.

Christmas is no longer the time of year that my credit cards get tapped out, and for which I have to be paying all year long, at 18% interest.  Thank you, Elfster!

And the economy is tanking, and unemployment is at 9 to 16 % (depending on how one measures).

I am but one Dad among millions and millions of Dads in this consumerist country called America.  So, who's still doing the forced consuming that gave us those boom years?  Far fewer of us, thanks to Elfster!  Yep, thanks, Elfster.  (Thanks a bunch!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

La Mulți Ani, Jamie, and Felicitari, JJ & Amy!

Yesterday our strong, handsome, hardworking son Jamie turned 35, and a year ago today we celebrated the wedding of Jamie to the lovely, smart, kind and caring Amy Larkin in Orlando, Florida.  We love you, JJ & Amy!  Keep up the good work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More from that Tuscan Classic Motorcycle Rally of May, 2010

Triumph Trident 750
 It occurs to me tonight that my fellow aficionados of motorcycling may have been shortchanged by my most-read post, so tonight I shall share more of the photos I took at Piazza Michelangelo that morning late in May of 2010.  Consider this a gallery.  I shall caption all which I can identify.  I encourage all who can to comment with the precise identity of any of these classics.
Moto Perugina 175

Honda CB500 Four (Circa 1970)

Pre-unit construction Triumph Twin (500cc or 650c, Circa 1958, I believe)

Honda CBX1000 Six, Circa 1982
Benelli 250

Suzuki 750cc Two-stroke Triple.  "The water buffalo."

Moto Guzzi Le Mans

Another view of the Le Mans

Ducati Single (Circa 1965?)

Honda CB350 Four  (A jewel)

Ducati Scrambler?

They all felt this way about their mounts.

Pre-V Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi engine detail shot.

Suzuki GSX550ES Circa 1985

MV Agusta 350

MV Sticker

Triumph Engine detail

Triumph gearbox (note right side shifter)

Triumph rear end detail.  Hard tail!

And we close with a lovely Laverda 750

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Trier and Wilmette Recollections Shared by an Old Friend

Message from a classmate:

      I'm still enjoying the reunion.  And I'm very grateful you brought Joseph McCloskey with you.  Also, I enjoyed learning that you dwell in the environs of my alma mater - a wonderful part of our country. 
      We survived Sonnenfeld
[our excellent, demanding, fifth grade teacher in Wilmette] together.  You likely may not remember me, as I spent a considerable amount of time in the silent "conference" room working independently with serenity - efforts to manage my behavior.  My solitude was commonly interrupted when Skip Dunham was sent in; he would educate me on the sexuality of the world. 
      Glad you convinced me that nobody was cut from the swimming or diving team.  I was self-centered enough back then to interpret not being "chosen" as a premier as being cut.  At least now I can begin my recovery.
      Anyway it was great to see you and identify that the spirit of your youth still prevails.

  George Brannen


Dear George,

It was good to see you, my friend.  I know what you mean by "still enjoying the reunion."  Me, too.

Interesting to read your story about your interpretation of being put on the "C Squad."  I had the identical reaction when, as an eight year-old, I was told that I was being put on a "farm team" in the Wilmette Little League.  Proud of my ability as a sandlot/Cub Scout League softball player, I was so hurt not to be put in the "majors" that I quit, and never played competitive baseball again. 

As for the "C Squad," it had a few remarkable successes.  Mike Doscher was a C-Squad member for three years, then made the State Meet Team as a senior.  He had skipped a grade, and was a year younger than we were.  Once he matured a bit, he got really fast.  I do not remember his event in the State Meet, but I think he may have been our second man in the 200 free, as Dave Robertson had moved David Lyons into the 50 and 100 for the state meet, letting Terry "T-bone" Townsend handle the 200 and the 400, events they had shared all season long in the dual meets.  This left a second slot open in the distance events.  As it happened, Lyons and T-bone brought us four first places in the solo freestyle events.  The last time I saw Mike Doscher, he was swimming in the finals of the NCAA meet at N. C. State in 1963, as a member of Stanford's 400-yard Freestyle Relay team.   ...

Our meeting and conversation were part of the Plan.  There are no coincidences.  That realization has come to me only in the last three years.