Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 New Year's Songs

  1. Auld Lang Syne 1972 Interview with Guy Lombardo and his trademark sound.
  1. Auld Lang Syne 2010 Millenium Mix Kenny G
  1. It’s Just Another New Years Eve Barry Manilow
  1. What Are You Doing New Years Eve? Ella Fitzgerald
  1. New Years Day U2
  1. 100 Years Five for Fighting
  1. Same Auld Lang Syne Dan Fogelberg
  1. Dona Nobis Pacem (songs of Joy and Peace) Happy New Year!Yo Yo Ma
  1. Brand New Day Sting with Stevie Wonder on harmonica.
  1. New Years Resolution Otis Redding and Carla Thomas
All songs have been shared from YouTube. Support musicians they have supported us through the years.
Happy New Year to All!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Good Luck Traditions and Symbols for the New Year

1. Old Father Time passing on the duties to Baby New Year.

2. Ringing in the New Year is celebrated in Austria with friends and family. At exactly midnight, all radio and television programs operated by ORF broadcast the sound of the Pummerin (bell of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna), and right after that the "Donauwalzer" (The Blue Danube) by Johann Strauss II is played.

3. Fireworks, banging of the pans, all noisemakers are popular traditions from olden times that are still carried out to dispel evils spirits and bring good luck all around the world.

4. In Demark it is a tradition to throw old dishes at friend’s and neighbors doors on New Year’s Eve. More broken dishes are a testament that you have many friends.

5. England symbolizes the transition of the New Year with the chiming of Big Ben.

6. Kiritimati is the first place in the world to see the sun rise in the country of The Republic of Kiribati It is the first country to receive the New Year.

7. In the Philippines, it is tradition to wear clothes with circular patterns on them, like polka dots. This symbolizes the belief that circles attract money and fortune. The throwing of coins at midnight is said to increase wealth for the year.

8. In Russia, there is an old superstition that if the first visitor (especially unexpected one) on the 1st of January is a man, the year will be good.

9. In Spain, it is believed that wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck.

10. In the United States, New York City’s Times Square has the traditional “dropping of the ball” and just about everyone in the US at one time or another has watched Mr. Dick Clark emcee the event and count down to midnight with him. Mr. Clark was the host from 1972 -2007 with the exception of 1999. Ryan Seacrest now hosts the event.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10 Person of the Year Richard A Fiebert

1. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1925. It is family lore that his father Arthur designed the symbol that Sherwin Williams Paint Company still uses today the world covered in paint. His father was an employee in the marketing department and has never received recognition for it. His father a recovering alcoholic was one of the first members of AA.

2. Richard joined the U S Air Force which was part of the U S Army at that time. He was a navigator. He was so proud on his first mission guiding the plane out on a rendezvous and back. It later came over the radio, great job Richard but you are headed the wrong way.

3. He graduated from Ohio State University which was rather rare for anyone to attend college back in those days. He married a college sweetheart and had two sons, David and Mark.

4. He suffered depression throughout his life. He was institutionalized when he moved his family to Denver. His wife maintained the family at that time, his boys were very young.

5. His family fell apart due to incompatibility after 20 years of marriage. It may have been too difficult for his wife to maintain a family all on her own, as she may have felt.

6. His best friend took him in at that time and gave him a place to stay until he was back on his feet. They remained very close friends the rest of his life. He recognized the true value in a man and a friend.

7. His passion, where he found solace was the sea. He eventually purchased his own sailboat which he kept in Rockhall, Maryland where he spent most of his weekends during the spring, summer and fall. He chartered several trips with friends and one in particular that I will share later was to Bermuda. He sailed through the Bermuda triangle.

8. He had a son who was an accomplished carpenter who learned his trade while attending college in Hawaii. His lost his youngest son at the age of 33. I never asked how that made him feel to lose a child. I hear it is the most devastating experience for a parent.

9. Ten years ago, Richard was retired and had travel many places. His sister was a frequent companion after she lost her husband. They did sail together but they also traveled all across the United States. It was a goal to visit every state in the United States. Betty passed before her brother and he began to show signs of Alzheimer’s and was no longer able to live alone. He then moved to an assisted living facility, Chestnut Ridge in Chester. He loved it there and was very much a part of the socialization. Something he was not used to on a daily basis living alone for so many years. He even met a special lady friend named Ilsa. Eventually he was moved to the 4th floor, the Alzheimer’s wing and although the activities continued, he dropped out of the mainstream. Most days he didn’t have any idea where he was or who anyone was. He knew his name was Richard and he did recognize his one remaining son, David who was diligent in visiting his father. Richard came from a time when pensions were paid accumulated by his hard work, but like everyone else lost almost half of his money during the stock market crash. Luckily he didn’t know it. He would have had a fit. The rest of his money was absorbed into medical costs, long term medical care. Alzheimer’s just steals your mind and you just linger in a lost world. It is sad to watch and almost a crime the amount of drugs that were prescribed to him and the list of doctors who he had regular routine maintenance visits scheduled with him. He had a psychiatrist who would evaluate him and prescribed Aricept which was to try and delay the disease. It did seem to help because for the most part Richard was a happy guy, he didn’t go into the combative mean stages ever. He was a happy pappy, as he called himself. He was also able to repeat back, I love you when prompted at the end of every visit by his son, David.

10. I wasn’t that close to Richard. I only know stories I have been told and I spent the last two weeks going through his photographs and putting together a DVD for the memorial service to be held on December 29th that would describe a celebration of his life. He passed away in his sleep December 6th, 2010. It is interesting to look at someone’s life through pictures. He had a good life and many great times with friends. Something you would never know if you weren’t there to see all he had as keepsakes in pictures. He was proud to be Pop Pop Dick. He lived to be 85 years old.

One thing I learned from this story is you keep on cruising. Full speed ahead!
It is a long story and something that may not hold anyone else’s interest but here is a retelling of an amazing journey, in his words, Boaters may find the trip very adventurous. Dick took this journey with his friends and his only remaining son.

The full story is available in the blog,

New Horizons
Rock Hall to Bermuda
June to July 1986

Left rock Hall Harbor Friday, June 20, 1986 at 10:30 A. M. Good bit of motoring, all in all, from Rock Hall to the Potomac River. Hit by both heavy squall and thunderstorms in mid Bay south of Annapolis. Dave, Stan on watch; very heavy rain, later turned white, eventually hail. First night motoring under full moon, beautiful! Started sailing at midnight and all the way into Little Creek, VA about 14 hours. We arrived at Little Creek about 1:30 Saturday afternoon. Chuck Gidel suffered a head injury in the cabin last night. On arrival, we sent him to Catholic Hospital where he received very good treatment and Chuck was ready to make the trip.

Weather very clear, but reported winds and seas detrimental to our trip (out of Northeast 20-25 strong). Final weather checks by 10 P. M. Saturday looked better and so we departed Little Creek at 4 A.M. Sunday. Motored all the way to Chesapeake Light. Tried sailing 3-1 not. Motored 2 more hours put up sail and never needed boat engine all the way to Bermuda!! Remarkable.

By sailing time, we were in the Gulfstream. Wind blowing hard, rather heavy seas. Almost drained one battery using the Autohelm. Decided we had to hand steer and did so almost all the way to Bermuda out of fear of draining 1 of our 2 batteries. Given all these conditions, sailing was hard and tiring on all of us for 36-40 hours out of Norfolk. Crew very weary. Next day or two, sailing still somewhat strenuous, but all of us getting rest and better “tuned” into the voyage. Also, boat going great, in the 5 and 6 knot category—really super—and this lifted all of our spirits. Trip really going great and great sailing. Cooking extremely difficult because of sea conditions. Only 1 hot meal (and this at risk) from Norfolk to Bermuda.
LANDFALL. Came on to Bermuda after dark on Thursday June 26. Looking for Gibbs Hill Light for orientation, but never sighted it as (in hindsight) we were a tad too far north and also visibility was not very good, dull, dark horizon. Loran excellent to within 75 miles of the island. Before daylight on Friday, had to plot by D.R., the last 75 miles. Stanley and RAF realized by plot and radio bearings that we were close by and left cabin for cockpit. Stan saw the island and I saw North Rock Light at the same time, 7:04 A. M. on Friday June 27. Everyone elated, high and shouting at one another. We had come in within one mile of our planned landfall! If I must say, really remarkable for an amateur navigator.

Took 3 ½ hours to sail around Bermuda to St. George’s entrance. Peril at one point where northeast wind, strong, northeast sea and east to west current combined to push us on northeast shoals. Had to sail and full power engine to get away from them. Judge we were ¼ mile from big trouble. From there on to Harbor entrance we were fine, and once we were in the shipping channel, we had a lovely, relaxing downwind sail for several hours into Hamilton Harbor. These hours were precious to us, as the setting is so beautiful, coasting down the island and mulling over our trip, the landfall, seeing Judy and Helen soon, looking forward to enjoying Bermuda for several days.

Docked at the Dinghy Club at about 2 P.M., cleared customs and everyone excited to relate to Judy and Helen over dark beer at the Dinghy Club, some of our separate and joint experiences on the voyage. Myself and crew extremely tired and elation could carry us so far. Fred and Judy off to Glencoe Hotel. Chuck and Helen stayed, along with Stanley, Dave and myself; raided the meatball hors d’oeuvres and dark beer at the Club. Chuck and Helen off to Glencoe. Showers, some clean up and marvelous on-board dinner of Stan’s cold frozen lobster tail pieces, salad, wine and conversation in the evening. Early to bed.

One really bad problem on the voyage: early on, in tough winds and seas, boat “opened up” and developed 3-4 bad leaks. Boat extremely wet and cabin uncomfortable, 2 wet bunks, wet clothing. Nights were bad in cabin. On Saturday, we discovered all windows, ports and chain plates needed re-caulking. Stan, Fred, Chuck and Tim all came over on Sunday A. M. to help get all this taken care of. Spent equivalent of 1 day on caulking, drying out boat cushions and airing out cabin. Once done, though, Bermuda was there for us to enjoy.

For sailboat arriving on Bermuda, there are always two initial jobs; One: The Laundry. Two: Whether the boat is in need of repair. David graciously volunteered to do his and my laundry, which really added up to be quite a lot. We got into Hamilton by cab, dropped Dave and the laundry, and Stan English and I stopped at the nearest marina store to buy some equipment, materials, etc for the boat. Since the boat opened up like a sieve initially on the trip out to Bermuda, and had developed many leaks, I had quite a job in store for me to make repair and maintenance in respect. True to form, all of my crew who were then ensconced in hotels in Bermuda showed up at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning ready, willing and able to do whatever was necessary to rectify the problem. Fred, Stanley, Chuck Gidel and Tim Bemis and myself all spent 4 hours on the boat scraping, cleaning, caulking, and whatever it took to get the boat sealed up properly for the trip home. Even in that time we did not quite finish the job, and I did the remainder the next morning, wanting to keep my afternoons free for whatever Bermuda had to offer. Although it was a mile on foot, David on each day, found his way to the beach to do some swimming, beaching, reading and sleeping etc. For myself, I spent two afternoons with Stan and Sandy English at the location of their hotel, The Elbow Beach Club, which is indeed a lovely place. During the rest of the time, I toured Hamilton itself a bit. I also took one bus ride with David out to Gibbs Hill Light, and climbed up into the light which is 300 and some feet above the ocean. The stairs comprised 8 flights so this was quite a climb but well worth it when we got to the top. The View from there was indeed spectacular, as you could see almost all of Bermuda, and of course miles and miles of ocean all about it.

With Tim and Jill having arrived on the island on the past Saturday, we chose Saturday night for everyone to get together for our celebration dinner over the trip out. This was certainly a real fine occasion; everyone was happy and enjoyed themselves very much.
For part of the time on Bermuda, David and I split from the others and had some tie to ourselves. One evening we ate on the boat. On another evening, we went into my favorite restaurant in Hamilton, The Hog Penny Inn. This is a genuine English Pub with all the atmosphere that goes along with it. We had to wait quite a while for dinner, but this was most enjoyable, and we had a grand time, not getting back to the boat till 12:30.
Dave had a couple of days pretty much to himself while on Bermuda, and free lanced touring Hamilton, some shopping, and additional bus rides to other parts of the island.

On Wednesday, July 2nd was Ladies Day on the boat. Both Jill Bemis and Judy Knight helped me to sail the boat from Hamilton harbor over to St. George’s and took about 4 hours in the process. We all had a delightful time and Tim and Fred met us on arrival sat St. Georges. This was just prior to our departure from Bermuda and enabled us to get out the next day into the ocean and on our way.

On Thursday morning, July 3rd, I took a cab over to the U.S. Navy base and picked up a weather packet which they were good enough to do for me. This proved on our trip home to be very valuable information. Additionally, I took a cab up to the top of the hill on St. Georges where Bermuda Harbor radio is located. They are the equivalent of Bermuda’s Coast Guard and offered a lot of information which was helpful to me in the way the weather forecasts, seas, etc. for our trip home. That morning, Fred and David did all our shopping as well as getting about 125 pounds of ice to put on the boat for our journey. Early that afternoon, George Creighton arrived from Philadelphia and came over to the boat with Tim Bemis. I had to call the Bermuda Customs office 3 times before they would come over and check us put. This delayed our departure by 2 hours. In the mean time, Judy Knight who was the only woman left on Bermuda at that time, spent time with us in order to wish us bon voyage on our journey. We finally departed at about 3:30 U.S. time for the trip in very good weather, and the immediate forecast we h had good weather over many miles proved correct.

As usual David got seasick, once again, but this does not seem to bother him at all. He really kept at it and the seasickness only lasted for about 8 hours; for the rest of the trip he was just perfect.

Generally, the seas were a little flatter, and the winds a little gentler on our trip home which made for some real fine sailing on our way back to the states on the initial part of our voyage except for the first night out on the water, which was a little bit wild. Our wind direction, however, was such that we had to sail very close to the wind. This made things slower and difficult to hold a straight line course from Bermuda to Norfolk. After about 3 days out and on a very calm late afternoon, while the boat was under sail, David sighted a group of whales about a half mile from us. Initially, it appeared they would go way ahead of the boat and cross us, but they began to veer and come in a grand circle toward the boat, while we were under sail. Eventually they came within 100 yards of the boat, past the stern, and then one by one, took their dive with their flukes coming out of the water going down into the ocean. There were 4 or 5 large whales, and they were carrying 2 young in between them. I have to say that this is somewhat of an awesome and perhaps one of the more magnificent sights that I have ever seen. The whales were not going fast at all, but seemed to be “lazing” and sunning themselves as they gently cruised by. We certainly had a very good view of them, and all the boat regretted that we had no telescopic lens to get really good pictures of them. Their sight however, will be a fond memory for a long time.

About 100 miles away from Norfolk, the wind treated us poorly, and began to push us well north of our straight line course into Norfolk. We eventually ended up about 40-50 miles north of Norfolk, and approximately 50 miles off the coast. We had a rather bad time of it for a while as we began to realize through the Loran set that we were being set to the east out into the ocean once again by very fast current going east in to the Gulf Stream. Having plotted this, I could find our shortest way out and begin to sail northwest, both with the sails and the engine. At that it took us about 3 hours to get out of the worst part of the current, and again began to make our way down to Norfolk.

We really were blessed with a change in the wind direction as it went into the northwest. For us, this was ideal to make our way for the last 75 miles or so into Norfolk. The wind however, didn’t last, and we eventually had to motor and sail to make our way into the Chesapeake Bay. At this juncture, for some reason, my Loran set went completely blotto. I was not concerned about navigation as we were near enough to get in by dead reckoning and the radio direction finder to Chesapeake Light.

Early morning on our last day at sea, we heard a tremendously loud boom and everyone guessed it was a Navy jet breaking the sound barrier. There were however two or three more such crescendos and they were very loud. At this point, one of the crew sighted a Navy ship of some size coming into view. After a short while, we realized that it was a battle ship. With the Loran out, Tim Bemis decided he would use the VHF radio on the boat and call the battle ship for a position report etc. To Tim’s and all our complete surprise, it turned out to be the U.S.S. Iowa on its way back from the 4th of July celebration in New York to Norfolk. After getting the battle ship in sight, incidentally, one of my crew noticed a flash coming from one of the big guns and shortly thereafter, another big boom. After the trip Ws over, we learned that the Iowa had planned to shoot off these 16 inch gun blanks in New York Harbor, but decided against it for fear of damage to windows, property, people, etc. Apparently they had instructions to shoot off the blanks before they put into Norfolk, and New Horizons was around to see this. In any event, the bridge of the Iowa answered Tim’s call, and only then did we realize what ship we were talking to. The person on the radio on the ship indicated that he needed permission to give us coordinates. He was back shortly and gave us his latitude, longitude and also the distance and compass heading into Chesapeake Light at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. All f of us on the boat were of course very excited to have my little 30’ New Horizons in radio contact with one of the biggest ships in the U.S. Navy. This was quite an occasion and we wrote the log up accordingly.

From there on, we had almost an uneventful sail coming into the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. We were approximately a mile and a half away from the Bay bridge Tunnel for our entrance when all of us got concerned at a very blackening sky up ahead of us approximately over Norfolk. Upon turning on the marine weather forecast, we learned that there were rather violent thunderstorms with it carrying up to 50 and 60 knot winds. The marine weather forecaster warned of taking all possible precautions, and we knew we were in for it. One thunderstorm passed directly over us with lightening crashing down all around the boat, extremely heavy rain, the heaviest I have ever seen and the winds were indeed fierce. It was just a matter of hanging on for 15 or 20 minutes while all this was going on. We could not see land, we had no idea what direction the boat was going, and we couldn’t see anything. At one point the boat was turned 90Âșon the keel while this tremendous wind changed direction as it passed over the boat. This was pretty scary - - and we were almost pushed on to the beach just north of the opening of the Chesapeake Bay on Cape Charles. With both a triple reef main and engine however, we managed to stay away from the shallows just barely and made our way gradually out to sea once again. The whole thing lasted about thirty minutes and all of us were rather shaken by the experience. None of us however, were hurt and the boat, except for one small tear in the main sail, came through in good shape. I must write Roger Henson about this since he built such a fine sailboat. Having run quite short of fuel, we decided to put into Cape Charles which was on Cape Henry and about 15 mikes north of Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We had to come in a rather narrow channel at night, but managed OK and docked the boat at a slip at the public dock in Cape Charles at 11 P.M. All of us, of course were very tired at this point. There was a beautiful 60” British sailboat in the slip next to us. As we were tying up our lines, this lovely gal comes out and asks where we had come in from. Upon learning that we were just arriving from Bermuda, she asked if we had any ice; No. Did we have any liquor? I said Yes. She said she would get us some ice and then fixed up a great big bucket and brought it over to us. At that point, we all sat in the cabin, talked over the trip and our day’s experience, which was quite a lot. After two drinks, all of us collapsed for about seven hours.
The next day, we had a fair amount to do to get the boat in shape to go up the Chesapeake. Dave and Fred, again, went to the local grocery store for produce etc. Tim, George and myself concentrated on several things on the boat which needed attention.
Additionally, Fred Knight took the time to sew a patch on the torn main sail, and we left Cape Charles for Rock Hall at about 12 noon, Thursday, July 10th. Of all the things, there was no wind and the Chesapeake Bay was completely flat. It ended up that we actually motored all the way from Cape Charles to Rock Hall. In one way this was so welcome as everyone was comfortable; got some much needed rest, and we arrived at Rock Hall in pretty good shape.
One last piece of frosting on the cake, at dawn of the following Friday, we sighted a tall ship in the ship channel coming up behind us in the Chesapeake. By this time, we were coming near Annapolis. After oohing and ahhing, and hoping that the ship would catch us, (we had slowed our progress down quote a bit) the ship dropped its anchor just off Annapolis and we guess, probably in preparation to come into Baltimore inner harbor at a certain time over the weekend. It was only about half a mile south of us, so we immediately turned New Horizons around in order to go and visit the ship. It turned out to be the Amerigo Vespucci, which I believe is the largest of the tall ships in New York Harbor on the 4th of July. The thing is absolutely, mammoth and a beautiful ship indeed. Quite a few pictures were taken.
We arrived at the gas dock at the Sailing Emporium at noon on Friday, July 11th. Fred, Tim, and George were quote keen on packing up and getting up to Philadelphia that afternoon. This left Dave and I to spend the rest of the day with all the work that had to be done to sort things put, clean up and what all. Dave and I did take time to go into town and have some lunch. Chuck and Helen Gidel suspected that we might come in from our trip on this particular day. Sure enough, they showed up from Jersey at about 4 o’clock on Friday and were disappointed to learn that they were not quote there in time to welcome us back from this voyage. Nevertheless, they were delighted and happy to see us and we had a fine reunion. As usual, chuck pitched right in right away to help Dave and I with the many things that had to be done with sails, etc.

For myself, and after talking to various crew members, I think I can speak for them all as well, all of us had not only a wonderful time, but realized that we had a marvelous experience and learned so much in how to sail together and sail the boat on a voyage like this. It will be remembered by all of us for a long, long time.

This is just a story of a regular guy that I thought was worth sharing after he was gone. He was a simple and complex man who survived a journey of 85 years.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 10 What a Difference a Year Makes

1. People were born.
2. People passed away.
3. New Marriages were formed.
4. Old marriages were dissolved.
5. People lost jobs.
6. People found jobs.
7. People got lost.
8. People were found.
9. People still have more.
10. People still go hungry.

And the beat goes on………..
Inspired by the birth of a neighbor’s child Nathan James born in 2010.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 10 If You Don't Ask, How Can You Tell?

1. Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) is the common term for the policy restricting the United States military from efforts to discover or reveal closeted gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members or applicants, while barring those who are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual from military service. This act has been repealed.

2. Are you dating anyone? An important question, I would think on the first encounter upon meeting someone you are attracted to regardless of your sexual preference. It could save a lot of trouble and heartache down the road before you engage further.

3. Are you married? At times this is a tricky question which if you are truly interested could be followed up with are you happily married? Probably not a future there though.

4. How you ever been convicted of a serious crime? You might want to know that one. There should be a forgiveness factor but maybe you would be a little leery depending on the crime. Everybody makes mistakes.

5. Does my butt look big in these jeans? Unless you are in possession of one of those unflattering triple mirrors found in department stores or are a contortionist and can bend you neck around, how would you know?

6. Do you like children? This would be a bad question on a first date but eventually if things are moving in the right directions, you might want to query that one.

7. What happened in your first marriage? This is assuming of course they are no longer married and not a bad idea to ask especially if you are interested. You don’t want to make or be part of that mistake again.

8. What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies? I think these are good questions because it can tell a lot. It certainly could reveal incompatibilities or also spark a more intense interest in maybe trying something new with someone.

9. What time are you leaving? This one could go either way, so if you ask or are being asked be prepared for the answer. It could mean I am really going to miss you, let’s use our time wisely. You should also pay close attention to the delivery. It could blatantly be expressed in another way. Are you ever going to leave soon? That is probably not good.

10. The questioners are people at times that seem to be busy bodies and I myself find some questions intrusive but the truth of the matter is if you don’t ask, how can you tell?

Doesn’t the saying go there are no stupid questions?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Top 10 Christmas Around the World "The Nutcracker"

  1. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a Russian composed the music for Nutcracker in 1892. Originally it was a flop and he never saw what a success it was to become. He died in 1893 at the age of 53.
  1. The story is based on the book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffman.
  1. There are many interpretations and The Nutcracker is performed in many places around the world this time of year.
  1. The very first performance took place at the Imperial Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 18th, 1892.
  1. The San Francisco Ballet performed the first American production in December 1944.
  1. Some notable productions include those by Rudolf Nureyev for the Royal Ballet, Yuri Grigorovich for the Bolshoi Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov for the American Ballet Theatre, and Peter Wright for the Royal Ballet and the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
  1. The music is often used in television commercials during the Christmas season.
  1. The Trepak, or Russian dance, is one of the most recognizable pieces in the ballet, along with the famous Waltz of the Flowers and March, as well as the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. I also like Tea, the Chinese Dance, Chocolate, the Arabian Dance, Dance of the Mirlitons, Coffee, the Spanish Dance and Waltz of the Snowflakes.
  1. After viewing several performances on YouTube and with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I attempted to contact several ballet companies around the world to get permission to use them in my blog and only the Pennsylvania Ballet replied to me so they get my nod this year and my gratitude.
  1. Not only is the Pennsylvania Ballet full of talented dancers performing on stage. You will also see some movie stars. Members of the Pennsylvania Ballet also performed in the movie Black Swan which is now out in theaters. I was in line last week to see a free preview of the movie at the Ritz in Philadelphia last week and did not get in because so many performers were also in attendance and received the first available seats. I didn’t mind so much not getting in because they deserved the seats and I will see the movie over the holiday. I hear the movie is intense. Natalie Portman stars in it. After viewing so many performances of The Nutcracker around the world on websites and YouTube, the world famous ballet is also on my bucket list.

Watch the Intro to The Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker.

Links to Nutcracker around the World

Royal Ballet

Czech Republic

Hong Kong Ballet

Royal New Zealand Ballet

National Ballet of Canada

Again I find it so interesting that we focus so much on our differences around the world and fail to stop and listen to the music something we all seem to have in common.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top 10 Classic Christmas Albums in the United States

1. Bing Crosby Merry Christmas best selling Christmas Album from 1945-1950.

2. Mitch Miller & the gang Christmas Sing A Long with Mitch best selling album 1958-1960 and then Holiday Sing A Long with Mitch 1961

3. Andy Williams The Andy Williams Christmas Album best selling album in 1963 and 1964. Merry Christmas by Andy Williams was 1966 best.

4. Elvis Presley Elvis Christmas Album best selling album in 1957 and again 1973 was Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas.

5. Barbara Streisand A Christmas Album, best selling album1967

6. Jackson 5 The Jackson 5 Christmas Album best selling album 1970 and again in 1972

7. Kenny Rogers Christmas 1981 and again in 1983. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Once Upon a Christmas 1984 best.

8. Kenny G Miracles: The Holiday Album, best selling album in 1994. Faith: A Holiday Album was 1999 best.

9. Josh Groban Noel best selling album 2007-2008

10. Andrea Bocelli best selling album 2009

There is a complete list at Wikipedia.

I can’t believe this one didn’t make the list.
Vince Guaraldi “ A Charlie Brown Christmas”
It makes my list.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 10 Children’s Stories to Share this Time of Year

The night before Christmas timing is everything with books. Every one is an insomniac on the eve. Here is a free tip that has worked every year for me. After you are finished reading, have the kids look out the window for Santa Claus and try to spot an airplane flying by. The red lights on the plane are Rudolph leading the sleigh. No doubt in my mind. Tell them he is in the area and they better get to sleep. You should too!

1. Santa Mouse by Michael Brown Illustrator, Elfrieda De Witt

2. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

3. The Grinch that Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

4. Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

6. The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer, Lisa Mccue, Lisa McCue Illustrator

7. Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

8. Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins, Steve Nelson

9. The Night Before Christmas Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston Jr. (originally poem published anonymously)

10. The Christmas Story with Ruth J. Morehead’s Holly Babes

Share a story with someone or tell one of you own.

Here’s mine: There once was a little girl, about 8 years old who declared, “I know Santa isn’t real anymore”. Her parents insisted she was wrong and to prove she was right, she decided she was going to sleep under the Christmas tree and catch him. Much to the parents dismay they had to allow this child to proceed with her quest. They gave her a sleeping bag and a pillow and she hunkered down for the night. The parents continued to periodically check on her. As they tip toed down the steps, she would open one eye and say, “not yet”. Eventually about 2 in the morning, her eyes were sealed shut and she wasn’t stirring at all. The presents magically appeared all around her and she awoke amongst them all and woke the entire house around 6am, proclaiming that Santa did indeed arrive. She has been a believer ever since, and so have I.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 10 Things you seem to run out of during the holiday season

1. Tape
2. Wrapping paper
3. Tags
4. Bows
5. Christmas Cards
6. Vanilla
7. Sugar
8. Money
9. Time
10. Patience

Stock up now it is nearly upon us, who wants to be caught short.
Make a list, check it twice. What do you really need?
Have patience and take the time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Top 10 What do you want for Christmas?

1. I always wanted an easy bake oven and never got one. I was told it wasn’t worth it. I did however purchase one at a garage sale many years later for my daughter. It made very small cakes. We didn’t use it very often.

2. My girlfriend and I used to sign our Christmas cards, peace love and happiness, we saw each other every day and it became a joke between us. Just this year she asked, “how come we don’t do that anymore”? I didn’t have a good answer so we did it again for a few emails. I do not see her every day anymore she moved to Texas too many years ago. We do have a constant flow of emails though.

3. Do you still send out Christmas cards? It seems to be a dying tradition. I don’t mind the electronic greeting but I do still put all the Christmas cards I still receive inside the manger when I pack it up. I was told about this tradition many years ago by a friend. It is suppose to keep all those inside safe for the year.

4. Every one also has what is perceived as a Scrooge or a Grinch in their family or friend circle and some years it has probably been me. You can’t be merry all the time.

5. Giving gifts is a joy to the giver and there are times when you have to conceal the confusion when you open a gift. What is it? I don’t often use something that confuses me unless once I get the knack it makes my life easier. I am not that much of a gadgets person. I don’t read directions either, those are the days when I feel like a hard headed man. I hung around with my father a lot when I was little. I think a little rubbed off.

6. Christmas is not a holiday that is celebrated by every one and it is often shoved down your throat. Not that the “true” meaning behind it isn’t one of the greatest stories ever told. No room at the inn? You have to wonder how that innkeeper felt after he found out just who was looking for a room. Was he proud he offered the stable? How many today would offer at all?

7. Do you go all out and spend your life savings on just one day? Does it hold that much significance to you? Is it worth credit card debt? Exchanging of gifts is a wonderful gesture but must they all hold a price tag?

8. Maybe it is just me but some big international disaster always seems to happen around this time of year or on a smaller scale to an innocent family. When you hear about it, isn’t your first reaction, no, not at Christmas?

9. Many people struggle this time of year seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, a loss of a loved one is felt much heavier this time of year, family troubles surface at gatherings. It can be a tough time of year and not so merry to those spending it alone.

10. There are a lot of expectations that have been put on this one day of the year and the true meaning of love, peace and happiness has been so lost over the years and I still don’t have an answer as to why.

I did receive coal one year. Uncle Bert warned me over and over again, I was going to get it. Luckily, I learned a lesson from that at a very young age and I still remember Uncle Bert for that, he is one of my ghosts from Christmas pasts and he gets a visit from me every year. He is buried right next to my father.

I am still not carrying that disappointment of not receiving an easy bake oven but I can’t help but feel a twinge of, I will not get exactly what I want for Christmas. I would like to see every one have just one small moment over the holidays to just experience the quiet and peacefulness that was meant to be celebrated on this very special day of the year.

There was no big fanfare.
That is all I want for Christmas. How about you?
I welcome the exchange of ideas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Top 10 Bosslady a cover band

Krissy Johnson is the lead singer of Bosslady with a great band to back her up. More information about the band can be obtained at their website along with upcoming shows.

The Youtube videos were shot by Amanda Nelson.

  1. Favorite Mistake Krissy Johnson
  2. Mystery Achievement Krissy Johnson
  3. Faith and Crazy Krissy Johnson
  4. Centerfold and Psycho Killer Krissy Johnson
  5. Hurt So Good Joanne Joella
  6. Bad Case of Loving You Joanne Joella
  7. One Way or Another Krissy Johnson
  8. Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love Krissy Johnson
  9. Message in a Bottle Krissy Johnson
  10. Funky Music Joanne and Krissy

Keep in mind it is live music no fancy recording studio here. They are a kickin party band. I was there for this show. Their next show is in Havertown at Peabody’s, January 8th at 9pm a fun time.

Krissy “Krash” Johnson is a classically trained operatic singer and can also be seen playing in various stage productions throughout the area. I recently saw her in Molumby’s Millions at Iron Age Theater in which she played multiple roles. One was a ditzy blonde, more information and pictures can be found in my previous Molumby’s Millions blog or at the Iron Age website. She is anything but a ditzy blonde that was pure acting. She is a fiery, racy redhead who is full of talent.

Joanne Joella is not slouch either; she is a well known voice over artist, teacher and singer. The rest of the band compliments each other in every performance.

Amanda Nelson was the stage manager for the Molumby production and has done a fine job of videoing the concert and I thank her for allowing me to display her work.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top 10 Tis the Season Movies

  1. A Christmas Story
  2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (animation)
  3. The Snowman (animation)
  4. Miracle on 34th Street
  5. It’s A Wonderful Life
  6. Babes in Toyland
  7. A Christmas Carol
  8. The Polar Express
  9. Scrooge
  10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I am sure everyone has a favorite. Am I missing any really good ones?

Holiday Inn I am told is a tear jerker

Most would be approved for all audiences. So you probably won’t find them on HBO. Try the classic stations.

I highly recommend The Snowman, I tried to find it to tell you where you could see it but I was unsuccessful. The version I saw and have was seen on PBS with David Bowie as the narrator. There are snippets on youtube as well but you need to see the full version. “Walking In The Air” is one of the songs from it. I have it on VHS and your are welcome to view it at my house but bring popcorn and your own box of tissues there just isn’t enough to go around. I am sure it is available on DVD at Blockbuster and Netflicks

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top 10 Companies that offer a discount to the military

  1. Sears Portrait Studio
  2. A T & T
  3. Amtrak
  4. Geico
  6. deals
  8. Google Voice
  10. offers a much more comprehensive list.

I do not personally endorse any of these offers and feel everyone should use caution when dealing with an offer that is just too good to be true, please read all fine print.

If anyone knows of a company that I did not mention who does a specific good deed (no company is too small) for our military please comment here or in the blog I will be able to add them to my list. I have not limits on numbers and I have editing ability in the blog.

I do, however endorse the men and women of our military that put their lives on the line for us everyday. Nobody wants war. I salute, for their offer to put these families together as close as it can be for now and I wish those families much happier times to come.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 10 Best Toys Back in the Day, the 60's

  1. Thumbelina Doll I had the 20in model with a wooden round knob that you turned to make her move like in the video link.

  1. Miniature Army Men One of my brothers was obsessed with these. He would have wars on our living room floor all the time. No one else was allowed to touch them. Little sisters can be irritating if they walked by with heavy footsteps.

  1. Patty Play Pal This girl has obviously had a haircut, a popular thing for girls to do was to give their dolls a haircut. I was awestruck when I first laid eyes on her Christmas morning. She was the same size as me at 5 years old. Patty is in my attic now maybe I’ll share a photo but she does need a haircut.

  1. Barbie Dolls If you saw my collection at the time, you would say I was spoiled. I had over 20 Barbie dolls. The bubble head was my first. I had plenty of outfits as well and tiny little shoes were all over the place. My grandmother made many custom outfits for my dolls including a wedding dress. It was beautiful, sparkling with sequins.

  1. Aurora AFX Racing Cars Boy toy. My brothers had one of these, I am not sure if this was the model. I was only allowed to help in the set up, putting the track and side rails together, woman’s work I suppose.

  1. Robot Commando This guy never lived in my house but another little boy that I know had one. Looks like a cool toy.

  1. Chatty Cathy I had one of these dolls and I blame her for my reputation on emails and during sports games on television. I like to talk.

  1. Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots Never had one of these either but I wanted one. I was lucky enough to play it at a friend’s house though.

  1. G I Joe Had one. Barbie got tired of Ken and who can resist a man in uniform.

  1. Slinky I had to have one but was never able to master it walking all the way down the steps. I had the same trouble with yo-yo’s. I was never the talented kid in the commercial.




What were some of your favorites?


More toys to come over the next 12 days of Christmas.


If you click on the links you can get a glimpse of what these toys looked like

Back in the day.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Top 10 “Made in Dagenham” Equal Pay

(A preview of this movie inspired my research and my curiosity.)

1. Dagenham? Where is it? Dagenham is located in the United Kingdom. It is the home of Ford of Europe, subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. In 1968, the Ford sewing machinist’s strike of 1968 was a landmark labor-relations dispute in the United Kingdom. It ultimately led to the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, the first legislation in the UK aimed at ending pay discrimination between men and women.

2. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, in the United States to "prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers." It was signed into law by President John Kennedy on June 10th, 1963.

3. The Equal Pay Act, Section 206(d)(1), prohibits "employers from discriminating on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions."

4. The Equal Pay Act was "the first step towards an adjustment of balance in pay for women.”.

5. First, the same 88th Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By including sex as an element protected from discrimination, Title VII expanded the protection of women from employment discrimination, to include almost all employees working for employers with fifteen or more employees.

6. Second, Congress expanded the EPA’s coverage to professionals and other white collar employees. For the first nine years of the EPA, the requirement of equal pay for equal work did not extend to persons employed in an executive, administrative or professional capacity, or as an outside salesman. Therefore, the EPA exempted white collar women from the protection of equal pay for equal work.

7. The Equal Pay Act is part of the same legislative structure that houses the federal minimum wage laws. The EPA acts as a wage equalizer between men and women for equal jobs, and has the potential of acting as a price floor on the salaries of men or women for particular jobs.

8. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s salaries compared with men’s have risen dramatically since the EPA’s enactment, from 62% of men’s earnings in 1970 to 80% in 2009. Nonetheless, the Equal Pay Act’s equal pay for equal work goals has not been completely achieved, as demonstrated by the BLS data.

9. .Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton first introduced the “Paycheck Fairness Act” on April 20, 2005, which, among other provisions, proposes to amend the Equal Pay Act’s fourth affirmative defense to permit only bona fide factors other than sex that are job-related or serve a legitimate business interest. Representative Rosa DeLauro first introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives on the same day.

10. On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the holding of a Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear, regarding the applicable statute of limitations. This bill, providing that each gender-unequal paycheck is a new violation of the law. It was the first signing of the Obama Presidency and came almost forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act.

Although many women hold high executive positions, the majority of women’s roles are in support positions; perhaps the full financial benefit will come soon.

Go see the movie “Made in Dagenham”. My favorite line in the movie was when a reporter asked the lead speaker for the women’s sewing machinist’s, How will you deal with it, if the decision does not go in your favor?, she responded, Deal with it? We are women. Contrary to popular belief, women can cope and lead. The movie may not receive any Academy Award nominations but it should. The women’s roles were excellently portrayed and it’s a great story.

Information found at Wikipedia and the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics websites.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top 10 Christmas Song Picks

  1. Little Drummer Boy Bing Crosby/David Bowie
  2. Happy Xmas (War is Over) John Lennon
  3. O Holy Night Nat King Cole
  4. Snoopy's Christmas The Royal Guardsmen
  5. Do They Know It’s Christmas? Band Aid
  6. Merry Christmas Darling Karen Carpenter
  7. Toyland Johnny Mathis
  8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Frank Sinatra
  9. Rockin Around the Christmas Tree Brenda Lee
  10. I Believe in Father Christmas WS64 performing Greg Lake’s song

(I chose this one because it is a guy from Germany that entered a World Ukulele contest in 2008, it’s nice. I hope he did well.)

an addition a gift from Jim

11. Father Christmas The Kinks

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Top 10 Hospice Care

  1. Hospice is one of those terms, if you never had any experience with it you know very little about it.
  1. Hospice is not a death sentence or an end of life choice.
  1. Hospice focuses on quality of life rather then quantity.
  1. Hospice can be such an aid to the patient and the family if you are faced with a catastrophic, terminal illness.
  1. Hospice assigns you and your family to a team of professionals.
  1. I am not downing our health care system but many times you are left on your own with end of life choices, not so with Hospice.
  1. You would be surprised who qualifies. It is covered by Medicare. Typically if your are assessed by your doctor of having 6 months or less to live, you qualify but are not kicked out of the program if you live longer. I am sure when that happens they would applaud their work and the comfort and care they provide.
  1. My family has had two experiences with Hospice. The first was my own father who died from stomach cancer. When someone suggested Hospice we, at first said “no” we are not there yet. It was a bit of a denial. My father passed within a week but he received top notch care within that week and so did our family. Support at that time can not alleviate the suffering but it can sure lessen the burden.
  1. Our second experience has just come to an end. My father in law had Alzheimer’s disease and was in an assisted living facility for the last 7 years. He loved living at Chestnut Ridge. At one time he had an apartment with a beautiful view overlooking Chester Park. The season changes were breathtaking. Yes Chester Park can be beautiful. He was later moved to the Alzheimer’s floor. Hospice became involved this last year and a half. They are an amazing group of people with endless resources to help in your time of need.
  1. I would never wish a terrible terminal illness on any family but I would hope if you or anyone in your family is struggling that you look into the special work that is done by this organization. We are eternally grateful, especially to Taylor Hospice and all those involved.

Here are a few websites you can look at.

AARP facts about hospice

Mayoclinc on hospice care

Find a local Hospice

American Cancer Society

American Hospice Foundation on Alzheimer’s Disease

Hospice Statistics & Research

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 10 Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Top panorama is driving across the Ford Island bridge. The golf ball (ballistic missile defense) ship, USS ARIZONA memorial, and the USS MISSOURI are visible. This was taken in 2008 by Dave Grehawick.

  1. Sunday, December 7th 1941, Japan launched a surprise aerial attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. “A date which will live in infamy”.

  1. Aircraft and midget submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy began an attack on the U.S. The Americans had deciphered Japan's code earlier and knew about a planned attack before it actually occurred. However, due to difficulty in deciphering intercepted messages, the Americans failed to discover Japan's target location before the attack occurred.

  1. At 06:05 on December 7, the six Japanese carriers launched a first wave of 183 aircraft composed mainly of dive bombers, horizontal bombers and fighters. The Japanese hit American ships and military installations at 07:51. The first wave attacked military airfields of Ford Island. At 08:30, a second wave of 170 Japanese aircraft, mostly torpedo bombers, attacked the fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor.

  1. The next day the United States declared war on Japan.

  1. Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and all of the four other battleships present were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarine lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

This is the USS ARIZONA Memorial taken from the shore of Ford Island. This view is not normally seen by many folks. It was taken in 2005 by Dave Grehawik.

6. Airfields, port facilities, and warships were attacked and severely damaged. Of the nine Pacific Fleet battleships at Pearl that day, Utah and Arizona were completely destroyed and the Oklahoma was salvaged but considered obsolete and designated for scrap. All other battleships were returned to service.

  1. Imperial Admiral Yamamoto conceived, designed and promoted the Pearl Harbor attack. After the attack he is quoted as saying “"We have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve”.

  1. The expected result of the attack was to cripple the U. S. Pacific Fleet for a period of up to eighteen months, preventing aggressive action against imperial forces, with the fleet to later be drawn out into a final battle and destroyed. This goal eluded the Japanese as U. S. forces were acting aggressively in the South Pacific within 60 days and the fleet was fully effective within a year. There was never the kind of massive fleet battle that the Japanese hoped for.

  1. The attack was almost a complete tactical success. By a matter of chance, of the three of the Pacific Fleet carriers that would normally be at Pearl that morning, two were at sea on exercises and one was on the U. S. west coast undergoing maintenance. Not knowing the location of these ships that could attack his strike force would cause the tactical commander Admiral Nagumo to withdraw before a planned third strike, sparing the Pacific Fleet submarine force, important maintenance facilities and critical fuel supplies. The survival of the repair shops would enable rapid restoration of the fighting capability of the fleet. The carriers would enable the first blow to be struck against the Japanese homeland in the Doolittle raid, would prove to be decisive in the Battle of the Coral Sea, where the Japanese forces were turned back in their thrust toward Australia, and would prove essential to U. S. success in the Battle of Midway Island, where naval aviation forces from U.S. carriers sank four Imperial carriers.

  1. Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific Coast of the United States were relocated and interred in “War Relocation Camps”. The interment was applied unequally throughout the US. In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized on behalf of the US government. The legislation said that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership". The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.

Websites of interest: The Pearl Harbor Day Page, Facts on Pearl Harbor, Wikipedia Japanese American Internment, National Park Service, National Archives and Records

Photos in the blog taken by Dave Grehawick who served in the US Navy from 1976-1998 and now resides in Oahu, Hawaii.

On Veterans Day I listed Top 10 Military Stories given to me. Ed Kane was at Pearl Harbor on that day and his story bears repeating.

Mr. Kane began by telling me that on March 11th, 1940 he and six buddies were sitting around in South Philly drinking a gallon of Mission Bell wine, there were no jobs so they decided the next day to go to the Federal Building at 4th and Market and enlist in the Navy. The country was not yet at war and the military was selective. Only 2 out of 27 were accepted and he was one of them. Another friend, Jimmy Crystal was not accepted because his bite was uneven. Two weeks later Ed had to go through the same physical and he failed. He was told he had a perforated ear drum. He went to a medical facility at 18th and Lombard in Philadelphia and they discovered it was just a build up of ear wax and he was given a clean bill of health and now accepted by the military. On March 26th he headed to Newport, Rhode Island for 3 months of training and was then sent to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to board his first ship, the USS Doran 185. Ed could readily recall each and every ship he had been on and the call numbers that preceded the name. While aboard the Doran, their ship was to sail to Massachusetts to be part of a procession of ships that were passed by President Roosevelt’s yacht. While the President was passing the command went out “man to rail”. He was a new sailor and he got nervous and started running around, he thought it meant, man overboard. In actuality it meant to stand along the rail at attention. After that he sailed to Nova Scotia to turn the ship over to England which was a common practice to do when we were not at war. His next assignment took him to Long Beach, California, his next ship was named the USS Worden, and not long after he was there word got around that they were headed to Honolulu. He was very excited to go to this exotic island until he got there and saw there was a Sear and Roebuck store. Then it didn’t seem so special. The routine of the ships during peace time was to go out to sea during the day and return the same day. The exercises began to increase and they would sometimes stay out to sea 4-5 days, then the port holes were welded up so they wouldn’t sink. On Pearl Harbor Day the USS Worden was parked along with the Macdonough, Phelps and the Hull. His ship was in for repair the boilers were being worked on. He worked in the boiler area. He had just come back from liberty at 2am and they thought they were watching a circus it was just not sinking in. A Japanese plane dropped a bomb 30 yards from the four destroyers that were parked together. They had no idea how they would have missed those ships. One of the gunners on the Worden shot down one of the Japanese planes with a 50 caliber machine gun. He laughs at recalling the Pearl Harbor movie Pacific and the artillery they used to depict the story. He said “we didn’t have anything fancy like that”. His story does not end there and to hear him tell it is fascinating. The Worden and he as a crewman were part of the Midway, Guadal Canal, Coral Sea, and the New Hebrides battles in 1942. In January of 1943 while the ship was part of an advanced security detail off Amchitka Island in the Aleutians in Alaska in unchartered waters they become stuck on some rocks. The USS Dewey tried to pull them out but they were unsuccessful and the next thing he recalls is that they were given the command to abandon ship. He jumped into the 34 degree water and lost the sight of the ship from the height of the waves. He survived and had a desire to live when he heard the voice from another crew member saying to him “Eddie I have your blues”. Apparently the blues were an expensive part of a sailor’s uniform that they didn’t used every day. He was inspired and soon was retrieved out of the water. Ed received a 30 day leave after that. The Worden broke in two and 14 men lost their lives that day. His naval stories do not end there. He was then sent to Orange, Texas, his next ship was the USS Murray, it was while aboard this ship that he met a fellow South Philly kid and they became very good friends and later became brother-in-laws. This is how Ed met Angelina, they all grew up in South Philly but prior to military service and the war they did not know one another. On September 11th, 1943 his brother, Tom was killed while serving on the USS Rowan. It was attacked by German eboats off the coast of Salerno, Italy. Ed was out to sea and heard the news about his brother from a letter his mother sent to him. His brother was only 20 years old. Mr. Kane recalls vividly that while he was on the USS Murray they had an assignment called “pick a duty”. After the Battle of Tarawa they were to pick up nine marines bodies for a military burial at sea. He said the bodies were all bloated from lying in the water and he will never forget the smell of the bodies. Mr. Kane loved his time serving his country and would have enlisted again after six years of service had it not been for his father-in-law. He gave him an ultimatum pick the Navy or pick my daughter. As he calls her, he chose the angel of his life, Angelina. She is a delightful woman, I enjoyed meeting and talking with them both. I believe he made the correct choice. I asked him, what he thought about the dropping of the bomb and he said, “Listen if the President hadn’t made that decision and we invaded Japan, millions of American lives would have been lost. The Japanese never would have given up”. I also asked if harbored any ill feelings against the Japanese and he said “no”. He purchased a Toyota years later and had a Pearl Harbor survivor sticker attached to the bumper and someone remarked to him, “that’s funny a Pearl Harbor sticker on a Toyota” and his response, “it was a great car.” He also wanted it mentioned that a few years ago while he was in Media for a Memorial Day Parade dressed in the custom Pearl Harbor survivor uniform, a flowered Hawaiian shirt, white pants, white shoes and a commemorative cap, two young men about 13 years old said, “Hey Pearl Harbor survivor, I know where that is, it is a fishing town in Florida”. It makes him sad that they do not teach geography and history in this country in our schools anymore. ---Told by Mr. Ed Kane himself, a true survivor.

This shot is the USS MISSOURI. My coworker and I were walking from our workplace to the old USS ARIZONA memorial placard on Ford Island. Dave Grehawick

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Top 10 Wreaths Across America Project

I first learned of this wreath laying tradition from an email I received last year from a friend supporting the troops. It amazed me, but I did not believe it so I looked into it further. "It is true". I attended the event last year. It was relatively obscure until 2005 when a photo of the stones adorned with wreaths and covered in snow circulated around the internet. The project received National attention.

"Wreaths Across America" was the brain child of Morrill Worcester, President of Worcester Wreath Company based in Harrington, Maine. He began this annual event in 1992 to honor those who have fought for our freedom.

Arlington in itself is an amazing site to visit anytime of year but to see all these wreaths placed by volunteers and family members is quite a moving experience. It brings it all home.

The project began when Mr. Worcester had an excess supply of wreaths left over. Along with the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe arrangements were made to place these wreaths on the graves at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which received fewer visitors with each passing year.

This incredible sentiment has taken on far greater span then originated in 1992. By 2008 over 300 locations held wreath laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 over seas cemeteries. Over 100,000 wreaths were placed on veterans graves. Over 60,000 volunteers participated.

Several Trucking Companies also donate their time and resources. You can view a list of those involved.

The Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle and motor vehicle group with over 65,000 members nationally, dedicated to patriotic events, are in charge of the escort of the tractor-trailer loads with donated wreaths from Maine to Arlington. They are joined by other patriotic motorcycle and motor vehicle groups along the way.

Plans are in the works to make the 2010 escort an even bigger event. With anywhere between 50-300 vehicles joining in the procession (dependent on weather), the escort will begin in Harrington, Maine. Travelling US Route 1 for most of the journey, the escort will arrive in the D.C. area.

If you can make it to Arlington this year to show your support you will not be sorry but there are other events that now take place in other states. Click on the locations link to find one near you. Here are the Pennsylvania sites. Philadelphia National Cemetery and Washington’s Crossing would be the closest to us.

The wreath laying ceremony to be held the 2nd Saturday in December was unanimously voted by Congress in 2008 as “Wreaths Across America Day”. It will be held at noon, Saturday, December 11th 2010. It is an amazing event that takes place just outside our "Nation's Capital".

Naturally, the Worcester Wreath Company could not supply all these wreaths alone any more. Follow the link to Wreaths Across America if you would like to be involved. In 2006, Mr. Worcester conceived the idea of sending 7 wreaths (one for each branch of the military as well as POW/MIA) with the help of the CAP and other civic organizations to over 150 locations.

I have included photos of Arlington 2009 in the blog. It is solemn but quite a sight to behold.

The Mission Remember, Honor and Teach.