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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Uncertainty, Anxiety, Hope, and Joy

On Uncertainty

Uncertainty breeds excitement.
The excitement can be anxious anticipation of joys to come,
Or it can be anxious fear of difficulty, illness, or pain.
Either way, uncertainty breeds anxiety. 

My anxiety stems from this uncertainty:
Will I be returning to Romania in the fall?
Shirley feels it, too.  Last night she said, in bed,
"So much depends on the Fulbright."   

Have I just completed my last course,
As a professor of business at Plymouth?
Will I be retiring in June from a beloved job,
One I have worked at for 34 years? 

If the Fulbright grant comes through for us,
Romania will again be our home for a year.
I pray for that, for I love it there,
But what if it does not come?  

I believe in Divine Providence,
So either way, I will adjust, and serve.
Perhaps God wants me here in Plymouth,
To teach once more my course. 

My International Business course is,
The first in the sequence of our new degree, "MBA in I.B."
My ego says that if my Fulbright fails, it is God's will,
That I be here to help launch that degree. 

But my spirit's hope is to launch instead,
What may turn out to be a more important program:
The writing of cases on Romanian businesses, and
Teaching by the case method there.  

At Faculties in Timișoara and Cluj,
Whose programs cry out for such challenging grist,
For their students to ponder, to savor, to think on,
To practice the decision-maker's art. 

For all of the theories of writers before, 
Cannot help a young manager cast onto the floor, 
When a union official comes to his door, 
And says,"We will strike, if you don't pay us more." 

The facts of the cases, the contexts, the plans, 
All the uncertainties that surround the young manager, 
Presented in summary, in six-to-ten pages, 
Engender more learning than tomes writ by sages. 

So in my uncertainty, I have quite a case, 
Of uncertainty-founded anxiety, but no disgrace, 
For with His Grace, I shall live and do well, 
Whatever it is that I find is God's will.
By Duncan C. McDougall, 2-27-2014
Copyright by the author, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daniel "Teddy Bear" Rusu, MBA, Begins His Career

Teddy Bear and Shirl have become great friends.

Today Alex McDougall and I escorted Dani Rusu of Cluj-Napoca, Romania to Boston's Logan Airport to catch his flight home to Cluj.  Last night we had a dinner at The Common Man in Ashland, and a good time was had by us all, with Shirley McD,, Valer Şuteu,  Alex McD., Dani, and me at the table.

Dani has lived with us since last May, and has been as helpful and considerate as have all our Romanian student house guests since Alex Mican arrived at Plymouth State University to pursue his MBA back in 2009. Dani was the fifth to live here at Hotel New Hampshire, as we have come to call our home since the string of guests began.  Siblings of a sort (in being our "nephews and nieces") now, the list includes MICAN Alexandru (din Bistriţa), TARCEA Raluca (din Cluj), SUTEU Valer Olimpiu (din Satu Mare), FERA Roxana (din Sibiu), and RUSU Daniel (din Cluj).  Also completing her MBA at Plymouth State and joining our "Romanian family" was CHIORALIA Sandra (din Târgu Mureş), though Sandra never lived here in our home.

As had the Romanians who preceded him here, Daniel Rusu distinguished himself as a student, and as a graduate assistant in the College of Business Administration (CoBA).  The CoBA faculty had a farewell party yesterday for Dani, complete with a cake!

So well respected was Dani here at PSU that he has been hired by one of his adjunct professors to work for a marketing consultancy in Krakow, Poland.  Shirley and I have become very fond of "Teddy Bear" over the past nine months.  We'll miss him, of course, but we wish him a great time and a successful start to his career in International Marketing.

Who knows, maybe we'll catch up to him, in Cluj or in Krakow, before too long!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

RIP, "Double-D." The Passing of a Patriot

Today, I found this message in my Yahoo Mail inbox:
Dan "Double D" Dowling
4-Jan-1959 - 22-Feb-2014
NHPGR patch final draft 3-28-13U.S. Marine Corps emblem

Heaven's Gate has a new Marine guard. Danny "Double D" Dowling passed this afternoon surrounded by family. Now we as a group need to stand by Diane and help her get through this trying time.  Danny's last words to me were "See you on the other side." As always, he was upbeat and always the "Marine" with a very positive attitude. Everything was just another "bump in the road". We can all take that lesson from him.  I'm sure that's what has gotten him this far in life. He was always proud to be a member of the PGR. He used to say that he could count his friends on one hand with several fingers left over until he joined the NH PGR. Now he has been blessed with innumerable friends. He will be greatly missed!
Semper Fi Marine,
Paul Baptiste (Cageman63)
Our NHPRG Ride Captain Dan Dowling had been suffering for the past months with terminal cancer.  The NHPGR organized a number of visits to him, both at the hospital, and at his home.  When all hope of recovery was lost, Dan was released to die at home, as he had wished.  Here was his last message to his comrades in the NHPGR:
To All My Brothahs and Sistahs of the Patriot Guard
A heartfelt thank you to all. It was truly an amazing surprise to see everybody. I can’t thank you enough for the overwhelming support you have shown me and my family. Just like the Grinch, my heart grew ten times bigger that day.
It is a very humbling experience to be on this side of the mission. You all know, I am not a fan of individual recognition because we are a group, a team, and a family, and we do it all together. That’s what makes it work.
Words cannot describe how grateful I am to be able to surround myself with people like you. We don’t always get the chance to say goodbye individually.
It was an honor and a privilege to have stood beside each and every one of you.
God Bless,
Double D
I pray for such courage and grace, when it becomes time to come to "the other side of the mission."

Rest in Peace, Double-D. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hotbed of Culture (& More Education-Rant)

Titiana Morariu, the brilliant Ph.D. student at Babeş-Bolyai University presently on leave to work in Boston, Massachusetts, has created a new Facebook page dedicated to culture.  Last weekend she asked me to be interviewed on Skype for possible inclusion in its content.

Titiana must be a wonderful interviewer, for she got some frank statements from me, which are all quite off-the-cuff, but which I will own up to.

Here is the link to this new page, which is presented in both Romanian and English.

(My prior "education rant" can be found here.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Beach Time for Moses

My eldest son Brian has moved with his family from Boulder, Colorado, back to Miami, Florida, for the winter season.  He and his wife own an apartment there, and have winter jobs as well.  But those jobs
did not get in the way of some beach time for my grandson, Moses!  As Brian wrote,
Hi everybody!
Here's a fun pic of Moses at the beach today –
In the winter we get these westerlies every now and then, which invariably bring in cool dry air.
Today was one of those days that make you happy to just walk out the door!
Love you all!!!
We hope to get to down south to see Brian, Nika, and Moses within the next month or so! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Boeing Clipper Story

Back in the early 1990s, an older Campton resident, Mr. Bisson, used to swim with us in the Plymouth State College pool, early in the mornings.   (This was years before we became Plymouth State University.)

One morning after the swim, I got to talking with Mr. Bisson.  I learned that he was a retired Pan American Airways pilot. Obviously, he was quite old, so I asked him when he had started with Pan Am.  He told me that it was in the Mid-Thirties.  

I knew a bit about aviation history, and wanted to display the fact, in order to learn more.  So, I asked him, "What were you flying in those days, Boeing Clippers?"  No, Mr. Bisson said, "I started in Sikorsky flying boats.  The Clippers came along later." 

Pan Am's Sikorsky S-42 seaplane, Courtesy of

I followed up with, "What were you flying when you retired?"  Mr. Bisson replied, "747s."
(Photo courtesy of Bing Images.)
I next asked this man of such long experience a question that had crossed my mind on several occasions over the years.  "What did you and those flying boats do during World War II?'

Captain Bisson, whose first name escapes me, told me, "We were impressed into the U.S. Navy, and given commissions.  I then spent the rest of the war flying from Miami to Brazil, from Brazil to Africa, and back.  On the return trips we were loaded with barrels of some sticky black stuff.  We had no idea what it was.  I learned after the war that it was 'pitchblende,' a uranium ore.  It was taken by rail from Miami to Oak Ridge Tennesee for refinement as part of the Manhattan Project."

Why am I posting this today?  Well, you can thank my good friend Col. William R. (Bill) Benoit, U. S. Army Aviator (Retired).  A couple of days ago, Bill forwarded to me the following story.  I do not know who wrote the piece, but I am thankful to him or her, as well as to Bill Benoit.  

From: William Benoit
To: Duncan McDougall ;
Sent: Saturday, February 1, 2014 5:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: FW: Boeing Flying Clipper

 The Boeing Flying Clipper
Those were the days!

If You Thought Air Travel Was Luxurious In The 1970s, Check Out What It Was Like Aboard The WW2-Era Boeing Clipper

The Boeing Company
Clipper passengers took their meals at real tables, not their seats.
For most travelers in the 21st century, flying is a dreary experience, full of inconvenience, indignity, and discomfort.
That wasn ' t the case in the late 1930s, when those with the money to afford Trans-oceanic flight got to take the Boeing Model 314, better known as the Clipper.
Even Franklin Roosevelt used the plane, celebrating his 61st birthday on board.
Between 1938 and 1941, Boeing built 12 of the jumbo planes for Pan American World Airways.
The 314 offered a range of 3,500 miles — enough to cross either the Atlantic or Pacific —and room for 74 passengers onboard.
Of course, modern aviation offers an amazing first class experience (and it ' s a whole lot safer), but nothing in the air today matches the romanticism of crossing the ocean in the famed Clipper.
Thanks to the Pan Am Historical Foundation for sharing its photos. The foundation is currently working on a documentary about Pan American World Airways and the adventure of the flying boat age. Find out more here.

The Model 314 ' s nickname Clipper came from an especially fast type of sailing ship, used in the 19th century.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
The ship analogy was appropriate, as the Clipper landed on the water, not runways.

The Boeing Company
Here's a diagram of the different areas of the plane.

The Boeing Company
[Source: Boeing]
On Pan Am flights, passengers had access to dressing rooms and a dining salon that could be converted into a lounge or bridal suite.

The Boeing Company
The galley served up meals catered from four-star hotels.

The Boeing Company
If you want to sit at a table to eat with other people these days, you have to fly in a private jet.

The Boeing Company
There was room for a crew of 10 to serve as many as 74 passengers.

The Boeing Company
On overnight flights, the 74 seats could be turned into 40 bunks for comfortable sleeping.

The Boeing Company
The bunk beds came with curtains for privacy.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
On the 24-hour flights across the Atlantic, crew members could conk out on these less luxurious cots.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
Unlike some modern jets that come with joysticks, the Clipper had controls that resembled car steering wheels.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
Navigating across the ocean used to require more manpower in the air.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
The lavatory wasn ' t too fancy, but it did have a urinal — something you never see in today ' s commercial jets, where space is at a premium.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
The ladies lounge had stools where female passengers could sit and do their makeup.

Pan Am Historical Foundation
The Clipper made its maiden Trans-Atlantic voyage on June 28, 1939.

The Boeing Company
But once the US entered World War II, the Clipper was pressed into service to transport materials and personnel. In 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt celebrated his 61st birthday on board.

Pan Am Historical Foundation [Source: Boeing]     

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Remembering the Alaska Ride

Denali, highest peak in North America. at 20,322' (6,194 m)
This image looks like a Bob Ross painting, but it is not. I stood there and pressed the shutter on my little Canon.