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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Away for the Holidays

Our woodshed in Campton Hollow.
Away for the Holidays, holy indeed!
Away from my children, fruit of my seed.
Away from my home, away from our hearth.
Away from my Shirl-Girl, best wife on Earth.

Why go away at this one time of year?
Why eat solo dinners of ciorba and beer?
Why go to Romania's Cluj-Napoca?
Why not stay at home, playing computer poker?

If you have been to this handsome old town,
If you have friends here, and love that abounds,
If you have taught here, and come back for more,
If you have lived here, then you know the score.

Râul Someș Mic, the Little Somesh River, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Cluj is an old Transylvanian town,
Cluj is at Christmas in high spirits found,
Cluj on the Someș Mic, lighted in white.
Cluj's piațas shine, happy, and bright!

You see, although seventy-one, I'm still glad,
You see, I've been given the best gift I've had,
You see I thank God, and thank Shirley, as well,
You see, I've been made free to travel and dwell,

In places away from my dear Campton Hollow,
In pursuit of learning, and new friends to follow,
In cultures far different, and countries far distant,
In grateful joy, until no more existent.

Merry Christmas! / Craciun Fericit!
by Duncan C. McDougall, 
21 December, 2014.  All rights reserved. 
Quotation permitted with proper citation
 of the author and of this blog.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Three Generations

Three generations of McDougall Men, Dadiu (71), Jesse (36) and Angus (1)
Jesse and Cally came over from Vermont last Sunday, bringing their son Angus, soon to turn one. They also brought an organically grown turkey, raised on their farm, to cook on Monday for our four-day-late Thanksgiving celebration, Still further, they brought us a good-sized sample of just about every kind of meat recently harvested from this year's four pigs, also raised on the farm.  The pigs and the turkeys were their first since their taking over as managers of The Pullman Farm.

With Jesse and Cally of The Pullman Farm
If the turkey is an indicator of the farm's quality, the pork will be sensational!

The star of the celebration was Angus, a solid little fellow who weighs more than he looks like he weighs (a characteristic that he comes by honestly).

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Budapest Contrast

I have just come upon an old file of photographs that I doubt ever made it into my blogs.  Here are a couple that illustrate how interesting is the capital city of Hungary!
On my first trip from Fellbach  to Romania, in 2008, after sleeping at a roadside hotel in Tatabanya, I had breakfast at Budapest's Hotel New York.  It was here that I garnered encouragement from a young waitress with perfect English.  I did not know what I would find in Cluj, but when I told her that was my destination, she immediately smiled, and said, "Oh! I love Transilvania!"

As I drove Klaus (the lower one here, in red) out from downtown Budapest toward the direct road to Oradea, where I would enter Romania that evening, I had my lunch at this less elegant restaurant.  But what a Playplace it had!
(Dear Alina, your comment on the AN-2 will fit nicely, below!)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Season's Speculations

Air tickets are booked,
The first flight is nearing.
I'm heading abroad,
Thus I am preparing.

Feeling the season,
Heeding the call.
Of Craciun, fast coming,
To us, one and all.

First, visit Romania,
Cluj in decembrie
Welcoming winter,
In camaraderie.

Then, off to India,
Eastward I'll fly,
New students to meet,
And new fish to fry.

Come February,
(God willing, of course),
A new baby grandson,
Will be joining the force.

So, home from the East,
Old granddad, in joy,
Will drive to Orlando,
To see the new boy.

Retirement? Me?
I think not. You'll see!
I am just starting,
New activity!

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Belated Veterans Day Post for 2014: 70 Years Ago, in Holland.... (Please do not miss the video!)

In Budapest, Hungary, in 2012, I met by chance a man from Norway on a Danube dinner-cruise. He was about 5 years younger than I.  When he learned I was an American, he said to me, "In my opinion, every European should get down on his knees and say a prayer of thanks to America."  In that spirit, I offer this story, whose author I do not know, received today from my friend Bill Benoit (Col. William R. Benoit, U.S. Army Aviator. Retired), a distinguished colleague now retired from Plymouth State University, and a veteran of the Vietnam War:
My father lies here in Bushnell, Florida, with his fellow veterans. R.I.P.


About six miles from Maastricht, in the Netherlands, lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall and winter of 1944.
Every one of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate it, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted.   It is even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" American soldier in a place of honor in their home.    Annually, on "Liberation Day," memorial services are held for "the men who died to liberate Holland." The day concludes with a concert.  The final piece is always "Il Silenzio," a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since.

This year the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands). This beautiful concert piece is based upon the original version of taps and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi.

After you watch the above web site, check out the below.
Our European arrogance, in alphabetical order
1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne, France... A total of 2289

2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium... A total of 5329

3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France... A total of 4410 

4. Brookwood, England - American Cemetery... A total of 468

5. Cambridge, England... A total of 3812 

6. Epinal, France - American Cemetery... A total of 5525 

7. Flanders Field, Belgium... A total of 368

8. Florence, Italy... A total of 4402 

9. Henri-Chapelle, Belgium... A total of 7992

10. Lorraine , France... A total of 10,489 

11. Luxembourg, Luxembourg... A total of 5076 

12. Meuse-Argonne... A total of 14246

13. Netherlands, Netherlands... A total of 8301

14. Normandy, France... A total of 9387

15. Oise-Aisne, France... A total of 6012 

16. Rhone, France... A total of 861

17. Sicily, Italy... A total of 7861

18. Somme, France... A total of 1844 

19. St. Mihiel, France... A total of 4153 

20. Suresnes, France... A total of 1541  

Remind those of our sacrifice and don't confuse arrogance with leadership.
The count is 104,366 dead , brave Americans.

And we have to watch an American elected leader who apologizes to Europe and the Middle East that our country is "arrogant"!
Americans, forward it!
Non-patriotic, delete it!
Most of the protected don't understand it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Presidential Runoff in Romania

Dear Romanian Friends,
I cannot know how it will go tomorrow in your presidential election, nor have I followed closely the issues in the campaign.  But, I have seen enough to be mightily impressed with the degree to which the youth of Romania has engaged in this year's election campaign.  Clearly, you care a great deal for your country.  I am proud to say, so do I.  I wish you success in your efforts to use the democratic process to bring about positive change in the way that your government serves the people of Romania.
-Duncan C. McDougall
Dear Romanian Friends,

I cannot know how it will go tomorrow in your presidential election, nor have I followed closely the issues in the campaign. But, I have seen enough to be mightily impressed with the degree to which the youth of Romania has engaged in this year's election campaign.

Clearly, you care a great deal for your country. I am proud to say, so do I.

I wish you success in your efforts to use the democratic process to bring about positive change in the way that your government serves the people of Romania.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Changing Times

Klaus in Bucharest
Klaus and I are parting this fall.  Klaus will hopefully go to a family somewhere in Europe that needs an amazingly capable 21 year-old BMW 520i.  He is not able to pass the German TÜV inspection without an investment in exhaust system parts and body rust repair equal to at least what I paid to buy him in 2008, but he runs very well, and for the right family, that 2000-odd Euros could provide a very good, very cheap car.

PSU campus, as seen from the roof of Boyd Hall on Highland Street
(Plymouth State University Photo)
Still greater a milestone was passed tonight. I have just finished leading my final class session as a professor at PSU.  It was the close of my MBA course in International Business.  I have a great group of 14 students.  I will miss our Monday night classes.  Their term projects are due next Monday, so I am not quite through as a teacher!

Still, I am feeling change in my life.  A complex set of feelings.

Da, da, da, da.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mănăstirea Voroneţ

Voroneţ blue, famous in the world of fine art, is the distinctive background color of the exterior walls of the church (biserica) in the middle of the monastery.

I find today that I have omitted from this blog all pictures of the monastery called Voronets (Voroneţ), in the village of Gura Humorului in Bucovina, Judeţ Suceava, Romania.  I visited there in November of 2010, in the company of two American students, Rachel and Tessa, from Bates College in Maine. These photos were provided by Rachel.

Poet's Plea

'Tis half-past time, 
To pen a rhyme,
So cliché ridden, 
Its sense well-hidden,
That Will Shakespeare, 
Would reach for a beer.

Do I have time,
To write that rhyme?
Muse, you are bidden.
I am not kiddin'!
(You inspire my pen,
As no one else can.)

By Duncan McDougall, 28 October 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Seeking Subtle Subtitle

Da, da, dear readers, as Life Goes On, it does so in phases.  The next phase will be my retirement.

Having taught for 34 years, 26 of them at PSU, I have declared the end date of this career as the December close of the fall term.  Thereafter I can no longer call myself a "Professor of Plymouth State University" in the subtitle above.

What would be an appropriate new subtitle for this varied series of experiences, ideas, poems, non-coincidences and expressions of wonderment that I call my blog?

Please offer your suggestions in the comment function.  All ideas will be given due consideration. The one having the subtlest set of multiple entendres will take that place of honor, on the masthead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diana Does America!

At the Grand Teton National Park, WY. (Diana Cristea Photo)
Over the last two days, I have learned a new value of the Internet.  Here is a post that went up today:

iLove USA: 

A Romanian Girl's Solo Sojourn.

The subject young lady, Diana Stephania Cristea, is from Baia Mare, Maramureş, Romania. 

I have known Diana for several years, and she has appeared in this blog on a number of occasions.  When Monica Z. was visiting at Plymouth State University, we went to New York for a day's sightseeing, and then "crashed" at Diana's apartment in Stamford, CT, rather than face a midnight drive all the way home. Moreover, I have even sat at the kitchen table of Diana's parents in Baia Mare, and enjoyed an afternoon snack!  Hers is a kind and friendly heart, and she comes from a most hospitable family.

Hence, when I heard that Diana is presently stranded, and down to her last $80, in Grand Canyon Village, Arizona, I was happy to help her out.  That is one of the most expensive towns I have ever been in.  (I remember our shock back in 1977, when Shirl, six-month old Jamie, and I discovered that a McDonald's hamburger in Grand Canyon cost three times its price in the civilized world!)

For over six years now, I have been contributing my blogs to the Internet without advertising, simply to share ideas, beauty, Romania, Europe, Turkey, India, and myriad non-coincidences with you, my dear readers. 

Now, without any pressure or expectation, I am offering you a chance to join me in helping my friend Diana to complete her dream.  You may, if you wish, make a contribution at the link above.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Beat Goes On

Theme: There are no coincidences.
Plymouth, New Hampshire, 18 October, 2014

On Saturday, while hunting for a hard copy of the New Hampshire Magazine for October (linked in the previous post), our new Romanian friend Flavius S. (din Târgu Mureş, in Transilvania) and I stopped at Plymouth's Chase Street Market. Scott Biederman, the store's proprietor (and my longtime friend) was there, so I introduced him to Flavius. Scott asked, "Has he met Marina, our Romanian employee who is working downstairs?"

I have known Marina P., a student at Plymouth State, for some time. She and her boyfriend and fellow student, Mihai E., have attended some of our gatherings at "Hotel New Hampshire."  I thanked Scott for his suggestion.

Downstairs from Chase Street Market in Plymouth is Biederman's Deli, the town's premier pub and sandwich shop.  Flavius and I went around the corner, and walked down the hill on Chase Street to the Deli.  We sat at the bar, and asked for two beers, some popcorn, and Marina.

Marina, who had been working in the kitchen, came out and was clearly delighted to meet another Romanian. She and Flavius struck up a conversation in Romanian, and soon were far beyond my ability to keep up.  But, after awhile the fact came out that Marina hails from Braila, on the Danube in southeastern Romania, and Flavius asked her if she knew a certain girl of the same age from that town.

"Yes!" replied Marina.  "We were best friends throughout high school!"

"Well, she was my girlfriend for a year-and-a-half when I was at University in Cluj," said Flavius. "She was living in Bucharest, but I would commute by train every two or three weeks [an eight-hour train ride, each way] to see her."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October Surprise

The October issue of New Hampshire Magazine has brought me a most pleasant surprise.  (Please click the link below, and read the section headed, "Shifting Gears.")

Friday, October 17, 2014

More Haiku


The epidemics afoot on Earth?
Ebola, ISIS.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Roman Wisdom?

"Vir mulierem in vita indiget, sed est satis superque."
(Ascribed to Julius Caesar)
Translation: A man needs a woman in his life, but one is more than enough.

"Vir mulierem indiget, sed una non est satis fere."
(Ascribed to Marcus Antonius)
Translation: A man needs a woman in his life, but one is not nearly enough.

(Please do not ask who did the ascribing.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Why is it I think my last poem,

Was for me,

The poem to end all poems?