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Basically, keep it in mind when you sign-up for jet lag that Europe’s a spider’s web of death traps for Americans. Flat out simple, if you do survive being squashed alive in your seat or poisoned by the-this is not food- on your plane, London is waiting for you. There you’ll encounter a million cars ready to run you over as you step off the curb and look left for on-coming traffic as you might in America*…..Thing is, somehow, someway, the English still insist on driving on the wrong side of the road. It all makes sense if you accept that this wrong-side-of-the-road custom dates back to the 1700’s and therefore should be continued. It seems horsemen busy dueling for any reason they might conjure up were mostly right-handed so they needed to pass their foe with swords drawn and their enemies on the right side of their horse for better body piercing.  Today, the English continue to charge ahead the wrong way.

Another warm greeting awaiting you in London is the plethora of pelting rain drops that will anoint your sun-searching eyes should you look up from the puddled streets.

In truth, it doesn’t rain everyday in England once, but many, many times per day. But don’t worry if you leave your umbrella in that last cab you took-you’ll find someone else’s umbrella in about the exact same location on the back seat of the next cab you get.

Be forewarned: those four dollar umbrellas offered for sale in London last about as long as it takes to buy them…

Moving on, bypassing the flood gates of England, you may find yourself swilling in Ireland, Dublin, to be exact. This country has a completely different slant on how to undo the American. It’s called Guinness. You may have tried what you thought was Guinness here in the States and that would be all wrong. No, in Dublin where Guinness has submerged an entire country it’d be wrong to think of the drink as anything but a prelude to another and then ten more. Not that I had so many-I don’t think, maybe.

Typical roadside stop in Ireland**.

So, you missed Ireland completely but for unloading a bunch of money between random trips to the loo. Now it’s on to France with low expectations of seeing lots of underpants. The Follies were not showing during my visit and it was Fall so the sexy part of France was underwhelming- a minimalist’s expose’ of very little, a slip-up with regard to this undertaking. And if you’re hoping to make friends in any of these countries or amends for two hundred years of American warfare forget it. The fact is most people I almost saw as we passed one another along the street had their faces glued to whatever electronic device they held in hand. Those sparkling eyes of all those I’d hoped to meet in foreign countries had converted to bent down heads…

France, or what I imagined to be the land of lingerie, turns out to have its own angle on killing Americans that doesn’t involve deploying undergarments. Yep, it’s the French in Paris with the baguettes-mystery solved. You can’t imagine unless you’ve been, but there’s a quality to French pastries, breads, heck even hamburger buns that will drive even the most savvy American palate crazy. Figure on gaining weight and ordering a larger coffin as you decide what desert to devour next while in France.

I’d once heard the Eiffel tower was erected to reflect the state of most men while in Paris, and that it was fittingly a temporary construction to boot. Now, I don’t know.

History records that the Mongols invaded Paris and ate the baguettes which caused them to run to Ireland and jump off the Cliffs of Moher.*** Those Cliffs are renowned to this day for this reason-I heard this while in Ireland but only truly understood the history once I’d eaten various breads in Paris. I didn’t even care about the missing underwear after that.

Random idea:

The Cliffs of Moher have very little in common with the sunflower fields of Tuscany

Mind you, I loved Ireland so much there’s at least an entire glob coming on that country-and London and Paris and Germany as well.

It’s time to move on to Germany but first I have to end this glob….see you next time through a vat of beer and what about those Oktoberfest outfits!?!?!? New Orleans’s Mardi  Gras has nothing on German’s celebration– honest.

I found the size of the Oktoberfest beers distracting.

cheers

Franque23

  • Sadly, this has happened.
  • A cab driver explained that ten was the magic number of Guinness-just enough to make you forget the night before as you awake the next morning so you have to investigate Guinness all over again the following night. See? It’s the circle of life.
  • This matter is still debated in pubs.
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My friend and first reader, Barbara, sent me this a few days ago. This week with so many extremely bad things happening around the globe I think it’s best to step back and see who’s on second, or what might have come next if Abbott and Costello were alive today!

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this. For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on…

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’ might have turned out something like this:

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don’t know.. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: For my office?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT: Word.

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue ‘W’.

COSTELLO: I’m going to click your blue ‘w’ if you don’t start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on ‘START’….. ……..

Thanks again to Barbara for this. laughter can help.

Here’s to all of us.

Franque23


September fourth ends the party of a huge, and odd, festival held in the US of A. It all happens on the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. The Burning Man festival, one where this year a man was truly burned alive as he ran into the flames,  is now a long-standing tradition here in the States.  But, before we get into this, I have to reveal a secret.

About ten years ago I thought I’d heard of the most bizarre festival held anywhere world-wide when my daughter who lived in Japan at the time told me about Japan’s Penis Festival. I admit, I was a bit puffed-up to know of this weirdness personified event; I gleefully went around America secretly thinking, ” Oh yeah? I know something you don’t know.”

I mean really, once per year an entire town marches large Penises down the avenue, wearing penises for noses, or hats. arms, worse for their, well, member. And all of this happens while massive crowds watch from the curb sides and chant something akin to, “We love the penis….” It’s different from Woodstock-see? 

Reality goes a bit wonkie for the day * And, it all makes sense according to the link below **, but I don’t see these pops going mainstream in America. Some of it is hard to handle…

Anyway, yep, I figured I had the corner on the market when it came to knowing about the strangest festival going until today, like right now. I flipped through a feature of many photos from this year’s, Burning Man Festival, and now, well, I’m not sure what this is?

Maybe, it’s a ladies clothing fashion show?

Maybe, the aliens have landed?

Maybe, it’s just super hot out there and people have gone a bit south of normal?

Who has time to build these monuments guided by, err, I guess their imagination?

Whatever this is, it’s fun to scan the photos in this link and glimpse what ‘other’ people than me do with their time. And, the 70 thousand who participated in this years’ showings seem to have had a heck of a time. It’s actually amazing to see…

Cheers-

It’s all a bit wacky in the best sorta way. The Burning Man photos of 2017:

https://designyoutrust.com/2017/08/burning-man-2017-stunning-photos-from-the-worlds-biggest-and-craziest-festival/

 

Franque23

*Extentions from the penis festival….. http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/weird-and-wacky/inside-the-festival-of-the-steel-phallus-in-kawasaki-japan/news-story/1e70c04df0268d3184c7baa68dc2c919

** For those who want an in-depth look and reach a better understanding of the cultural forces behind the Penis Festival, this is really good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HMwASzcdIU

 


(click on the pic for a larger view.)

So it’s not just about growing vegetables. I guess Dale and I grow about everything we can—the birds(we get to know generations of Cardinals), the flowers(this Old Man Beard’s tree is a wonder every spring)*, the grass-why-oh-why?, 17 citrus trees, several orange varieties, two types lemons, figs, and we’ve one pineapple ripening now and four more forming with 32 planted. Of course, our pears only yield as squirrel food.  Oh yes, we grow squirrels, like it or not.

Bunch of lemons last year.

Feeding the Gold Finch who fly through in the Spring.

Right now, late August-early September, it’s time here in Gainesville to plant the fall garden. I’ll be hoping for green beans, potatoes, squashes, lettuce, the yellow squash, dark green zucchinis and tomatoes to come in for Thanksgiving and to freeze to use during the winter months.

The crops of spring or fall vary from year to year. Two years ago I picked 32 pounds of green beans, but this year’s spring garden with the same planting produced about 5 pounds?!?! Ya just never know with gardening.

The Gardenia is wonderful, and huge—it’s near our front door—but another more unusual planting is directly next to the front door. This indigenous Jasmine is not the kind you so often see growing in clumps around mail boxes or on fence lines. No, this Jasmine grows more like bamboo and even sometimes 12 feet high while dying off to the ground after cold weather. Located in front of our living room  bay window, this plant provides cover from the summer’s sun while letting the winter daylight in. I often use the heavier stalks left leafless after a freeze for tomato stakes the next spring.

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The night blooms fill the yard with a splendid aroma.

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Oh, right, we’re helping grow Grandchildren as well…

There is nothing like a yard ripened Pineapple.

Let’s put two and two together and come with an answer that’s good ‘four’ all of us!

The start of a pineapple garden.(I got the tops from a grocer.)

Life on the planet is truly amazing.

The oldest known Baobab tree in Limpopo Province, South Africa, is thought to be 1700 years old. Catch this link if you have time **

 

And although there’s nothing like seeing works of man, like a magnificent Greek statue, some of them make me lose my appetite.

As with gardens, ya never know what might or might not pop up now-a-days.

Anyway—-back to appetites.

 

I’m hoping everything comes up roses this Fall for all of you who plant anything. There’s nothing like taking time out to work your butt off beneath the sound of the birds, the wind through the trees and with the sweet smells of Life tickling your nose.

Cheers.

Franque23

*

photo 2

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The Old Man’s Beard tree is coming out again.

 

**https://www.bigbaobab.co.za/


Subtitled: Weird for Good Reason.)

It’s true, I’ve forgotten the one thing I’m certain of. Still, it’s time to run along.

So here it is, a real toy soldier that’s sold. It depicts a soldier of the Von Franquemont regiment, my ancient relatives.(1760ish)..The best I get it, five Von Franquemont sons of Karl Eugen, once ruler of most of Germany, were all the heads of fighting Regiments who fought throughout Indonesia, throughout Europe—most notably against Napoleon around Paris—Germany and as far away as Cape Town , South Africa.

We have a reproduction of the Regiment’s flag. What fun and, of course, the ruler had the largest castle in Stuttgart. The second largest in Germany today.

It’s a bit large…160 rooms, and kept up by Germany as a come look-see attraction.

Home sweet home.

Anyway, finally, my wife and I along with my sister will be going to the castle this September. I intend to claim the castle and grounds as mine as long as my sister promises to post bail.

It’s a small place with its own theater and library for the public to use…,

Thing is, this same  pauper of a guy built this castle in Stuttgart….

Every man needed a hunting camp-

And, sadly , there stands in another nearby location the rubble the Von Franquemont Castle, over run in 1660, but it turns out Karl Eugen is one of us.  All Franquemont’s today are the last lines of this man.

But of it all, the trip, the stays and the transfers and planning for our European trip,  how to care for our doggie, Shadow, who’d be left home loomed most predominately…After thinking of neighbors, friends, maybe dog stay places we found a woman and daughter my wife has known for a while. They are perfect and love dogs. They met us and Shadow yesterday for hours and hours at our home but here’s the deal— it turns out the woman was born in Stuttgart!!?!?! Is that a kick?

There’s a lot to plan with a 22 day trip to London, Dublin—cliffs of Moher—then a stay at an inland castle at, RosCommon, where my sister-in-law’s relatives made their home. The castle is a modernized spa where we plan to rough it out on horseback and in spas…( I hope they don’t make me sit in a castle and gorge on delicious food). Then, we have time in Paris before the Germany stop.  That’s when I’ll  see the castle.

So yeah, maybe I could’ve been a king but I’m not, so I fish Lake Bonaparte instead. Sob…..

Bonaparte was rocking several years ago. Bass dying to get caught–err, sorry. Them’s large planks, honest.

I went out with relatives almost every night during this family reunion and we came back with keepers each time.

Keepers of what is the question…

We all gathered to fish—or drink stuff, anyway…. BTW.. the Morgan store in Natural Bridge ( owned by my relatives) had a stand up walk in cooler stuffed full of beer…I never tried any more than a thousand, but I heard it was very good super cold. I mean, really, you could walk around in this cooler, as I hear it.

We caught all of this one night in mud lake fishing, just before sundown….I know, it’s a bit odd—artificial worms were working best…*

Do you realize how hard it is to catch green peppers on plastic worms in Mud Lake? About as hard as getting Mexico to pay for the wall…anyway…..

we all fished that year–it was a sight to see, people diving off the boat to catch em’ bare handed.

In fact, the entire thing was a sight to report, you know, to the police..

There was a rogue ship launched,, and who could stop her?

Delirious people thought they’d might have the way with our Von Franquemont Kingdom….NOTish.

Never gonna happen…

But still, there was more, or something…

We gathered aboard the vessel and stood in line while out to sea,, not knowing what we’d catch…

We had the best line’s women and guard doggie,,,sounding the bottom as we neared the shore.

No, it’s not too shallow yet, mate.

Still, the fishing went on into the night…

Or maybe it was the next day, not sure….. but we bellied up.

Life was good once again in the Kingdom I never owned…and I could rest, relax, tomorrow was another day….

Maybe a big one would come along

Or not, and none of that mattered….we were at the Lake….Lake Bonaparte. Three cheers to Kingdoms of a kind; three cheers to the Lake.

Fun times as the summer ends.

Then again, for the times they are a-changin’.. to what? Gotta ask with our nutty political scene. Is it all ,’Fake news?’

Our doggie , Shadow, water skiing-he’s the best at it. Bigly, huge.

My brother and me in the Caribbean….We used lot’s of sun tan lotion

Actually, anything goes now…..get the drift…Cheers.

Franque23

melons for sale-somewhere.

*thinking this might be part of last year’s crop…..not sure. I think they’re keepers.

 


(Click the pic for a larger view…)

There’s nothing like untangling fishing line between twelve wrapped together poles. Snaggin’ a finger with treble hooks while organizing the tackle box or sitting on a lure as you get into the boat all make the top ten of fishin’ moments as well. Basically, these memorable times mean one thing: you’re going fishing so what’s not to like?! Maybe, that thunder in the distance isn’t perfect, but it could be Fort Drum?—anything’s possible.

Where, when, how and what to use to catch fish is the question few sane people ask on a daily basis. Me? Yeah, I think about this about non-stop while up at Lake Bonaparte, that and where is the bottle opener. Of course the wind, cloud cover, angle of the sun, water temp and where I put the bottle opener plays big in the exact answers, but that’s all too much for now.

Where to fish: I have to vibe it out.

Anyway, before you go skinny dipping thinking a Northern can bite your butt cause you didn’t catch one that day, it might be better to switch to bass when it comes to this retort. Thing is, kid you not, years ago a fellow* was actually bit on the leg by a bass so large that he had to go to the hospital!??!?! Where? The fishermen ask?…..near the Sherman’s dock in Porter’s bay…daylight hours with the lake temps good for swimming.( That’s the drop on that Bass attack.)

It’s August and maybe the dog days of fishing at Lake Bonaparte.

With nothin’ to do, it’s time to fish.

The water temps go high for bass so most big fish go low. BTW, when I was a kid a century ago, my Dad and Uncle Moe Morgan used to fish high Rocks with three colored lead line to troll deep for Walleye and Northern. I thought, back then, the line ran fifty feet per color but it must have been about 25 feet…Anyway, the color would help them know how much line was out and how deep they were running those ten inch long, wooden lures-much like an un-jointed Rapala.

There’s so much to say about them days……sigh.

Dave Morgan with his parents; me with mine-only one left, now.

Okay, back to task. While it does matter if you’re fishing for numbers, size or with children who need to catch one when it comes to where and when to fish, I’ve a few basic tips to share some may not know.

I’ve fished the Lake for more than 60 years that I can remember.

The early morning is a sight to see; a miraculous glorious sun rise while mist rises above the water as a cloak of rainbows that usher forth the call of the loon.

We got close to beating the light.

It’s super quiet, but for your motor noise most are cursing as they turn in their sleep. A heavy mist veils the sky and might give one the opportunity of nailing a bass near shore—I’d be using a white Texas rigged worm through the grass in the shallow Hotel Weed bed or in the stumps in mud lake. But, tellin’ ya, once the mist lifts(which is always too soon) the deals about done til nine through noon that AM. The first light shoots the fish for cover as birds take flight over head.

This light won’t do you much good; time to go kayaking.

Wanna fish the early morning so you have bass for breakfast? Go the night before.

The night before.

There might be a way to have a good time…

There’s a curious thing about the lake that doesn’t entail the fact that you can drop a spinner bait in the middle of Bull Rush bay for a 14 to 17 inch Northern whenever you like.

You can skip dinner if steaks aren’t on the grill and head out. You might try elephant Island, Hammond’s point, the shoal off Beer Island or cast the bays west of Round Island if you need practice casting. But, catching fish at 6ish to 7:30 PM? Drag those lures through the stumps on the south side of Hotel Weed bed. And, I’m sorry about the big foot print fancy boats that ride high on the water with the convenient foot pedal troller–you might as well be marching a band into the area announcing your arrival.

They call it, “Old School.” But for now, something like this will catch the bigger fish. Cane pole in with your oar. Bring drinking water.

Nope, the noise, boat size and motor all matter. Can and will you catch fish using big boats? Absolutely…but, mostly, not the one you’re after; not on Lake Bonaparte.

not a bad night

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Caught em large

9-21-2009 Bonaparte and fish-1

Larger…..!

And small(that’s me on the right with Joe Morgan.)

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Me catching a first fish with big Joe Morgan

Give up the zillion dollar boats and get a flat-bottomed John Boat or V-hulled 10  to 14 footer, two sturdy oars and cut the engine at least twenty yards out. Use your oars to get closer and cane pole with one of them as you get inside the stumps. I usually stay seated unless one is on. If you make a wake you’re moving too fast. The key is watch the water, the drift, the pads and for the movement of fins. Good luck. Use a Texas rig for everything big that hits, they inhale the lure, but for plenty of action use a double hook, most like a Herring set-up, on your single worm.

This best pictures the idea-but I use a plastic worm not live bait. Pre-tie on several sets so if you get snagged you have another double-hook set to use.

This way you catch the tail nibblers, but unhooking small fish or snags can be a pain.

Used to be after 7:30 PM you could back out of the weed bed and head to Hammond’s shoal between Porter’s Bay and Bull Rush Bay to plug around the southeastern shoreline until night fall and catch the limit-not anymore.

44960017

Hammond’s Point east side of Potter’s Bay

Thing is, David Morgan’s friend from the west shore line dumped years(like 20 of them) of bass off at these locations in a catch and release as a favor for David. Dave’s been dead for thirteen years now, and the fish drop off ended years ago. Small mouth still frequent the shoal, but mostly the large ones are gone.**

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“A friend’s been dropping fish off at the point for years.” Dave Morgan 2000.

Nope, if it’s near eight PM you might head out to Mud Lake and know you’ll have the best luck in the last rays of daylight, up tight by the shore.***  The split Rapala can’t rake the lily pads but you won’t miss seven out of ten hits, either. It’s a choice: action or a high percentage of catches per strike. I like the plastic worms unless I know their hitting and the light-of-day is about gone.

There’s more to write from experience and from the histories I’ve heard. Can’t wait to share that, and Lake Bonaparte Fishin’-3 is coming soon.  See ya on the water, at the counters while snagged by those lure sales or at the docs getting hooks removed!

Cheers

Franque23

*Ask Joey Heukrath about this…..or, Mary Sherman may know.

**If you slide around Hammond’s point and cast the shore on down to the huge rock by a camp, you might get action. Lately, I mostly caught the over-hanging cedars here. Paul Doherty and a friend got a big one off the point a few years back, but I swear it was the same fish I’d released from my dock a few months earlier.

***They say a dark worm in light and a light worm for the dark. Mostly, I don’t think so unless you’re fishin’ that nifty shoal off Birch Island.

OH, one more thing,,,, the newer heavy-headed plastic worms imitate the Carolina rigged plastic worms and work best over the open shoals…..


And we thought Fukushima was bad-actually it is, and maybe worse than anyone can write about- but for the US it’s about America. Right now, America is steaming from every side of the aisle, from every corner in the hood and from every classroom that can’t supply pencils to students.

It’s time for me to thank my first reader in everything I do, Barbara, for pulling me up above the cesspool of our politics and giving me a much-needed laugh.

My question is: what’s happened to the missing parts of our constitution? Now, protesting certain governmental policies are illegal? Say what?

It’s hard to say who started the mess we are in…

Or, when you start to think that America is on the brink of being torn apart by political agendas and led away from common sense leadership.

Internet privacy certainly is on the table. But so much more as well…

No, none of us are irrelevant; every side counts in the battle America is now facing. How will we shape the coming years so our children live in freedom and prosperity?

I read today-

“As House Republicans frantically seek support for legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, the biggest sticking point is whether the bill fulfills one of the GOP’s central pledges: preserving protections for people with pre-existing health problems.

More than a quarter of adult Americans under 65 have a pre-existing health issue, which includes everything from asthma and diabetes to heart disease and cancer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.”*

See, the trouble, or devil in this detail, is that the Republican plan will cover pre-existing conditions but in ‘special high-risk’ pools which will be charged more than most people who have these conditions can pay. So, is coverage at a cost few can afford to pay actually coverage? Who foots the bill for those who can’t pay?= US.

Case in point: me. I have adult onset asthma. Right now, Medicare would cost me about 320 per month for complete coverage. The estimates I’ve seen extrapolated from the Republican so-called health care/tax cut for the rich plan now puts my year’s cost at $7,465.00 more for me and those who will be  put in , ‘high-risk’ pools….or a total yearly cost for those(me) who have asthma at  $ 11,305.00 dollars per year for Medicare…How many retirees with asthma can pay that?

Oh, and there’s this..”The number of people with asthma continues to grow. One in 12 people (about 25 million, or 8% of the population) had asthma in 2009, compared with 1 in 14 (about 20 million, or 7%) in 2001. More than half (53%) of people with asthma had an asthma attack in 2008. More children (57%) than adults (51%) had an attack.May 3, 2011″

We all need to breathe a sigh of relief if this bill is drastically altered or defeated in Congress…call your Senator today.

Franque23

*http://www.consumerreports.org/health-insurance/got-a-pre-existing-condition-your-premium-could-rise-sharply-under-new-gop-plan/


 

(Some of the pics enlarge with a click.)

Two hundred feet. That’s all that separated my dad’s life from death…

Never were three children so happy over two hundred feet!My brother, Ed, sister, Sharon and my thirteen year-old self owe the distance our lives, too.

Thing is, as miraculous as this story from 1928 truly is, I may have never told my Morgan cousins and extended family the tale?!?!

 come gather around  the Indian and listen up!**

It was long before mom and dad were living on base.

. 

Long before dad was stationed and posed with friends in uniform.

This is the tale I first heard in my house on Pinetree Lane, South Park, as the snow fell and mounted outside. (Yikes! Did I help shovel that?)

 

*****

The Tailspin Story
A True Story by Max R. Franquemont*

Background: ( As my sister, Sharon Franquemont writes:)

One year after Charles Lindberg’s first flight across the Atlantic, my 17 year-old Dad, Colonel Max R. Franquemont, took flying lessons from Sept. 11, 1928 to Oct. 19, 1928. He still had the receipts when he died the fall of 2001 at a little over 90 years old. His 1928 lessons cost $8.75 per 30 minutes. Later, he flew for the US Post Office between Des Moines, IA and Moline, IL. We discovered this story and other young man philosophical and romantic musings in a bottom drawer the night he died. It felt to all of us as if his spirit was reaching back to us as if to say, “Take a risk. Life is an adventure.”

Story: (As my dad recorded it…circa 1928)

We were spiraling in wide curves already above the first layer of clouds with the nose of our speedy scout pointed every upward. The powerful Wasp was running smoothly and evenly, and outwardly everything seemed just the same as it did on any of my many flights the last three months. Inwardly though, my mind was a seething maelstrom. Stunts! Today I was to stunt. At last the day had come that I was longing for and yet feared most. I was to maneuver the plane into the deadly tailspin and out again…if possible! Wing-overs and Immelmans (a flying term) I had mastered before, but now…

I came back to reality with a shock. The motor was laboring and I felt my instructor, fearless fellow, wobble the “Stick.: We were almost in a stalled position, so I edged the stick forward and instantly the motor resumed the reverberating motion which brings victory to an intrepid airplane. My instructor’s voice came through the tube calm, encouraging, “Take it easy! This won’t be so bad.”

Dad’s plane-of any color- would have looked like this one.

I leveled the ship off, gave her a little right rudder, and decided to look about a bit. My eyes sought the distant horizon where etched against the sky I could pick out the spires and water tower of a distant town. I relaxed and watched the ground. Twelve towns were within my vision as my eyes moved from the horizon. I could see a train moving like a caterpillar slowly across the ground; a white ribbon stretching endlessly, crowded with hundreds of black dots, automobiles; and a silver streak, winding between the green and black checkerboard farm land, which I knew to be a mighty river. At last, ten thousand feet below me, appeared the airport dotted with planes looking like dragonflies at rest with smaller mite-like specks—men. Then I spoke into the tube, “Are we high enough yet?”

“No,” said Rip, “better go up to fifteen thousand. About 10,000 now, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I said, “just ten thousand,” and marveled at this judgment of height. He had on instruments in the forward cockpit.

I eased the stick back and held a gentle climb. The ship did not climb so fast now because of the rarer atmosphere, but we gained gradually. Try as I would, I could think of nothing, but the coming spin. Why, of why, had I not insisted on a parachute? On the ground my fears seemed silly and I had not the courage to ask for one. No one in the field ever wore one unless testing a plane so there was only one chute available and it would have seemed funny had I asked for one and left my instructor without. I had my first doubts as to my ability to fly through any situation. Heretofore, I had been unafraid, in fact over-daring, but suddenly I found myself afraid. Only last week a man had been killed before my eyes. Would I be the next? I glanced at the altimeter and my heart jumped. Fourteen thousand! Only a few minutes more and…but what had I to fear? A veteran of a thousand tailspins and crises sat in front of me. I wondered what he was thinking about. What if I should freeze on the controls? What could he do? Well, I just wouldn’t freeze on the controls. I certainly wouldn’t get rattled! I’d let go at the slightest touch on the stick or rudder bar. My instructor’s voice brought me back from my reverie. “This’ll do now” I glanced at the meter—14,500 feet!

“Better do a Immelman or so to get the feel of the ship, “ said Rip.

I put the nose down and gathered speed and then pulled the stick back. Up we went in a zoom and just before the stall I kicked over the rudder as she fell over the wing into a steep dive. I quickly revered rudder and shoved the stick forward. The plane leveled off traveling in the opposite direction.

“Fine,” said Rip. “All right, you keep your hand on the stick and your feet lightly on the rudder bar and I’ll take you through a spin. Safety belt fastened?”

“Yes, let’s go!” I replied affecting bravery I was far from feeling.

Forward went the throttle and back came the stick. The nose went almost straight up and then as he kicked over the rudder and closed the throttle, the ground changed places with the sky, and we were falling. I felt a jerk and knew we were spinning. I closed my eyes because looking at the ground made me dizzy. Suddenly, the controls reversed and the mad whirling ceased. The stick went forward and came gradually back as we flattened out. Then Rip gave her the gun and zoomed within a hundred feet of our altitude.

“Now, you try it,” he said, “and let her spin longer than I did.”

“All right!” I shouted.

The ease with which we came out of the spin had bolstered my courage considerably. I gave her the gun and zoomed. As we approached a stall, I cut the throttle and kicked over full right rudder. The ship fell over on the right wing like a crippled bird and plunged downward. Again I felt that huge jerk and knew we were spinning. I tried to keep my eyes open and watch the ground, but I could not see much from there. I looked at the altimeter and watched the needle swing back 13,500—13,400—13,300—13,200—13,200—13,100—13,00 feet. A thousand feet in less than a minute!

“Well, I guess that’s enough,” came through the ear phones.

I was more than ready to pull her out, so I kicked over the rudder and pushed the stick forward. Almost instantly the spinning stopped, but I was anxious to level off so I pulled the stick back too quickly. For an instant everything went black! I had pulled up so sharply that gravity had drained the blood from our heads.

When I regained my senses, the ship seemed to be hanging in the air, and before I could move it whipped madly over on the left-wing and we were plunging downward in a reverse spin! I kicked over the rudder. No result! The whirling continued. I shouted through the tube.

“Hey! You take her.” No answer.

I looked into the cockpit! I could see nothing! Down we went whirling faster and faster! I fought the controls wildly. Why, oh why did I ever do this! What happened to Rip? How could I stop this d… thing anyway I half sobbed to myself. The wind in the wings and struts rose to a weird scream. Going down. Ten thousand feet read the meter and the needle was racing backward. What should I do? I grabbed the stick savagely and jerked it around. I tried the rudder at all angles, but it seemed to be spinning faster.

I glanced down through the wing and saw the airport directly below me. I could almost imagine the spot where we going to hit. Again I looked at the needle. Nine thousand feet! Only seconds to live. I looked back to see if the rudder or elevator was broken. They were working smoothly, but nothing touched that mad spinning. I tore savagely at the stick. It broke!! It was snapped off at the socket. I threw it furiously over the side and then leaned forward, sobbing hysterically. I threw the goggles off and prayed for a tree. What had I done to deserve this? Why hadn’t I known better than to pull the stick back so soon? Here I’d killed us both!! I could see tomorrow’s paper. Student pilot freezes at the controls, but I hadn’t frozen on the controls. No one would know that though. What would mother think? If we crashed at this speed there would nothing left of me to bury. I looked at the instrument board—only three thousand feet to live. Was I to die this way so soon? Would I never see my folks again? I leaned forward against the dashboard and sobbed, heartbroken.

Suddenly the rudder bar moved magically beneath my feet. Was I dreaming? No! There was Rip’s head! Suddenly the motor broke into a deep roar. We hurtled down fast and faster, but gradually the spinning ceased. The ground came up. Would we make it? Now the plane was in a screaming nose dive, but gradually it flattened out, and at least we leveled off with a scant two hundred feet to spare. I collapsed weakly in the seat and, while I was still trying to comprehend the miracle, Rip spoke weakly into the tube, “You take her now!”

“I can’t!” I gasped. “My stick is broken.”

“All right, “ he replied, “I’ll do the best I can. I bumped my head against the cockpit and it knocked me out. I’m still dizzy.”

We were in a long glide now heading into the field and, as I watched the ground gradually come up to meet us, I wondered if anyone on the field knew that anything was amiss. I thanked God that Rip had not allowed me to stop at ten thousand feet as I had wanted to do. Now we were over the field in a shallow glide. The wheels hit, we bounced, and then settled gently to the earth and rolled roughly over the field until we stopped. Rip climbed out and smiled at me. He face was white and there was a bump the size of an egg over his left temple.

He said, “Why all the tears on your cheeks?”

I hastily wiped my cheeks, and said, “Nothing, only the wind in my eyes since I threw away my goggles.”

Rip shook his head wisely, and turned to the excited crowd coming across the field.

Now, with my dad long gone and me an older man, I still recall dad telling me how he followed the road ways below as he flew from town to town delivering mail as a young man of seventeen. One time, as he told it, he hit a storm that left him back where he’d started from an hour earlier that day! His cockpit was open-we’ve all seen those pictures-and his guts were on display!

Cheers! I’m so glad dad’s plane leveled off and rose.

This camellia is for you, dad.

Dad singing, Sweet Ivory Soap, for about his last time, some 74 years after his fateful flight.

Dad, you are my co-pilot.

Franque23

*Max Franquemont, July 18th, 1911-October 31st, 2001.

**This is the old Morgan store in Natural Bridge, New York. My uncle Mo owned this and the Natural Bridge caverns that were located right next store. We all so loved that Indian!

 

 


(Pics enlarge with a click….)

I’m not going to saw on and on about the $3200.00 dollars’ worth of dead pine we had to cut down at our home in Gainesville, Florida the very day we left to vaca at Lake Bonaparte-that would muck up everything.  Nope, why think about money flying out of my wallet when it’s time to vacation up at Bonaparte?

Every trip up to Lake Bonaparte starts this way; there’s a long car trip to plan or plane tickets to buy and a car to rent as well. The 1900 hundred mile trip to Bonaparte takes time and money no matter how you go. This year’s journey was no different.

The vision was planted in my brain, and no amount of fishing tackle on sale could stop me.

The plane ride up landed me in Syracuse New York a quick five hours after my 5:30 AM departure time from Gainesville, Florida. That airport isn’t the cheapest ticket, about $450.00, but it’s by far the most convenient one for me to use. Syracuse landings always require a car rental and I chose to hook up with an off airport site to save money ( Whaaahahhaa-as if: still over 400 bucks). Roughly, this whole-I can’t believe I got up at 4 AM- procedure lands me up in Watertown around 2 PM when I get into Dicks(the store mind you; I can’t believe you thought that!) where I buy my fishing license. Thing is, try as I might, the lures for sale always snag my wallet and won’t give it back until my spending makes it considerably lighter to carry. Worse, a nearby Gander Mountain store had a going out of business sale which meant I was going out of mind buying stuff. A three-year supply of hooks, all sizes, sinkers, leaders, fishing line, reels, boat whistles, flares, twenty-five pounds of worm scent, too many bags of plastic worms of all colors, shapes and sizes, did I mention hooks, and I left the store with $298.00 less to my name. Whew…..

The trip tally, plane, car and Gander Mountain just rang up to $1150.00 and change-er, so far.

Thing is, even a fisher man thinks he might have to eat once in a while. That’s where $57.00 dollars at the dollar tree condiments, etc., and another $300.00 of food from Price Choppers came in. Bingo, if I add in the fishing license, gas for boats, oh yes, the boats-that storage and prep fee rang a gentle $900.00 or more for the year along with dock delivery—-

Hmmmm, did my trip just clear 2 grand and I’m not even up at the lake yet?

No worries!!! Home sweet home up at the Bonaparte Lake camp still hasn’t cost what one day of cutting trees tallied back at our southern home! What’s not to like? Well, maybe the weather could be a problem. The forecast has it raining every day during my 11 day stay, but weather men don’t know you can fish between the rain drops and risk your life if you’re a fisherman/woman.

My first night up at the camp always finds me diving in the freezing water (to see if I’ll survive) and then taking out fishing tackle and gearing it up for the next day. Right on deck I had over seven strung poles for my kids to use and my other six open face reels of mine lined up. A quick inventory of my surplus stock reeled in eight unopened new reels; ten other opened but new unused reels, many more  hardly used reels and rod combos, twenty packs of plastic worms, over thirty-three lures(not counting most of them), along with one hundred pounds of lights, hooks- stuff.

Nana tried to explain the rules: no diving in after fish, lost lures or rods and reels.Plus hooks hurt….

We were about set to fish. Why a frog -type thingy on the head was in order is still a mystery.

Tension mounted that first night. Were forty-one reels and rods enough for an 11 day stay?

Thing is, there would be at least three of us fishing so you had to divided the 75 poles and reels by three to truly understand the balance.

Worry clouded my mind. What if one reel should break? I’d be left with only 79 rods and reels for the next ten days-horrors. Doubt, apprehension, beers, all clouded my head. What to do? Shop more? Risk a mere eighty-five plus over carriage of rods and reels?!?!? Decisions had to be made. While watching the fire flames lick the stacked hard woods in the fire-place, the question quickly became: what was the question?

We raced out between the white caps and caught our limit of endurance; blue gills and perch were on the line. We still had about ninety rods and reels left.

But that first night,  now so long ago, I’d searched high and low among line, lures, reels and my hope to find the answer to the question I was looking for. Tellin’ ya, by midnight the questions were gone; work was gone; worry was gone as I relaxed before a northern fireplace at Lake Bonaparte. Then, in a flash of brilliance-sorta- I realized what my question was. Here’s the deal,  I had some doubts after swimming that evening…

Had the winter ice on the lake really gone out?

My always optimistic 8-year-old grandson, Isaiah, would answer that question nine days later.

We’d been swimming in and out of rain for nine days, sometimes four times per day, when Isaiah mentioned as we toweled off on the dock, “Bapa? This really isn’t as bad as swimming in ice cubes.”

That was the good news.

There’s a pride in this. We had worked; we had won. We’d gone out and had fun. Me? I’m so glad the perch are back. It turns out 150 rod and reel combos was enough after all!

 

I’d put our perch catch in a bucket of water on the dock to await cleaning when a brown mother duck who we’d been giving bread came up on the dock and stood by the bucket. “No!” I said, firmly. “I’m not giving you our fish! Period, end of story!” I did, however, release the two smallest of our eleven off at our dock…..Pals for life!

Cheers…I loved every second.  Lake Bonaparte can make a second last forever. What’s not to love?

Franque23


My wife and I will never have to worry about plane fair to China, our dog has dug a way there in our back yard.

I have the best dog. He’s smarter than your dog; he went to Harvard. Thing is, he pretends to not get it about snakes. Lately, we have one or twenty snakes, not sure, slithering around our house, front and back. They’re the black friendly kind that scare the bejesus out of me cause as much as I think they’re cool to see I never expect to.  Shadow is forever leaping in the air with his paws straight forward to land on a snake as if it were a tennis ball. All I see happening are vet bills so I scold Shadow, “No! Snake!” as I wiggle my arm in the air. Shadow gives me that concerned look every time: “Pleeease! Hey dumb butt, I’m having fun and you’re a coward.”

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Ever notice everyone was young back in the good ol’ days.

The Republican healthcare plan focus is that ‘Death Panel’ everyone was worried about…

Today, Hersey makes an astonishing announcement: starting this month, their products will have fewer calories! They note the change in calories is due to a change in product formula and, er, size. So I looked up what the change in formula is for their chocolate that might reduce calories and it is, oddly, the switch from using artificial vanilla to real vanilla extract . Turns out, artificial vanilla has no calories whatsoever! What’s left to reduce calories?!?!?! Oh, wait-the SIZE of their chocolate bars…. So Hersey’s big announcement really is that they are making smaller chocolate bars…..nice.

The weather world-wide is showing a troubling flair for heating up. Everyone’s watching the forecasts.

The cost to produce the one-cent coin increased to 1.5 cents during 2016. Why is the government losing money, again?

In 2017, America has an Attorney General—Sessions—who doesn’t understand State’s rights. Just ask Hawaii. ”

“Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences- including my own. Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous”

If a person looses their mind, how would they know?

In a way, Trump getting schooled about the relationship between China and North Korea by China’s President, Xi Junping, is like asking a robber to help you install locks in your home.

I read yesterday that saying, “Hello,” extends life. What if we just text it? Does that work?

Mom say’s hello….

News CNN: “Trump has at least nine times claimed to have spoken to, met, or made contact with Putin.”( prior to his election.) But in 2016 Trump said, “I never met Putin.”

I liked the flapper Era look, when will that come back?

Showing your knees was huge back then.

Fun times,,, the guys wore stupid looking suits like we do today.

I actually went to college when there were no cell phones and no one had computers! It’s like even I can’t believe it!

Funny how everyone knows not to step on a snake but nuclear power is considered the greatest thing.

Crazy is as crazy does.

right twice a day…..

Word on the street, ocean and atmosphere is that we’d better duck and cover. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has been spewing radioactive particles for six years and now, in what is being herald as unprecedented, the core has melted through its containment wall and is burrowing through the earth. Great, huh? Meanwhile, there are currently 60 more new nuclear plants being built world-wide.

This isn’t a fraction of the nutty stuff going on in the world today, but it’s enough for now….See you next time. Got any more info to share-please do. Cheers.

Franque23

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