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London is where bustle got put into hustle.

Let’s start with the Crown Jewels( so easy to fancy) but, then again, don’t let the elevator doors hit you on the way to see them. Yes, it’s hard to imagine those jewels on anyone’s head but my own!( I claimed to be , Gerald the Great, as a kid, like two years ago.)

This is worth a few pounds that are  upgraded by 20% more in American dollars.

The crowns at Buckingham dazzle the eye. You pass a row of crowns thirty feet long as you stand on a conveyor belt. I went back three times.

Is it a perfect fit?

Trust me,,, you can’t imagine the size of this diamond and more. It is a minted life for sure.

The barney ace diamonds set between emeralds and ruby’s, crown after crown, but about those elevator doors.

No automatic door is going to retreat if you’re too slow shufflin’ in for the ride in London. There’s no safety bumper mechanics working in England; it’s either get in the elevator, stay out or get chopped in half by the closing door. Really, I saw my brother-in-law(a six-foot four guy) get body slammed by a closing elevator door so from then on it was run for your lives into the booth.  Tell ya, if you survive the weird wrong way traffic while crossing the streets as a pedestrian then the elevators are waiting to pounce.

About those elevator booths, they have phone booths too!

But this post isn’t only about London jewels, the everyday rain, the brown tones of London, the old tradition standing so firm it has a grip on every angle of the city.

On the bright side of the rain, the daily washing brought rainbows.

No, I’m not even gonna blather on about staying in Chelsea,  a quaint part of London offering everything you could want via location, low, cute building structures, convenient nearby shopping in local markets, wine, cheese, bakeries and more. And why mention the Airbnb we stayed in with the naked woman crucified upon a cross that hung over the master bedroom, or the  avant-garde plaster naked torso of a woman hanging by the only flight(s) of stairs or the Queen’s hologram portrait with eyes that followed you as you passed by. It would be stupid, the eclectic array of art in this walk up flat worked in an imaginative why to keep your mind wandering as you ate breakfast to start the new day or sipped wine at  night to end it.

 

RANDOM PHOTO alert

Here’s John and Robert Kennedy flippin’ thru law books with Marilyn Monroe. What else did they end up having in common?!?!?

This whole mess with Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy’s may be a load of cobbler-not sure anyone knows and I suspect it will be a donkey’s ear before anyone does..

London is a peddle to the metal. Unless, of course, you’re buried at Westminster Abbey. Then things slow down.

West Minister Abby is waiting to amaze you.

I’ve got to say, the cast of humanity buried in Westminster Abbey is a ton to take in: you could spend more than a life time researching the history of those buried in West Minister Abby, some in magnificent tombs while others are beneath your feet as you walk.

The most splendid experience is to the see the ceiling, Mary, Queen of Scots, beholds from her resting place. You can’t imagine the beauty of this architecture.  The burial room for Mary seems to scream, Queen Elizabeth 1, how could you? (She was  imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth 1 for twenty odd years before being decapitated for plotting against the queens life.)*

Mary, Queen of Scots has a beautiful view.

The ceiling speaks volumes about her rank with the society. Take a closer look:

Even closer…..

But this sordid part of history isn’t the first or last we’d come upon during our London visit. Who  could forget the Shakespearean-type guide telling us how Anne Boleyn had her head cut off at the Tower of London-that was all the rage back then- and how she  kept praying with her lips moving as her executioner held her head in the air for all those gathered to see. There was no TV back then so public executions got excellent ratings, still it wouldn’t be my cuppa tea.

In the end, London has its place. Kensington Palace is a bit dark even with the special celebration of Princess Diana taking place while we visited; Buckingham palace was certainly more,’Royal’. Big Ben was silent for our visit but the under current of London’s history still rings a bell even without its chime.

You can’t help but notice you’re standing in London, England, the very seat of power that once ruled so much of the world-America, too. The pavement here feels like accomplishment under the soles of you feet. And even today, the city seems to hum, We Have to Hurry.

One more thing, I’m from just outside the Big Apple, New York- I had the subway down pat when I was in high school. I knew the rush of New York City streets like the back of my hand and I’m telling you: Londoner’s will make the train. On guard; on time.

Here’s to knees up then in London. Cheerio.

Franque23

 

*Not to throw a spanner in the works,, but Mary’s first husband died a few days after her marriage, the next was found either strangled or buried-not sure- after several years of unhappy marriage…Then Queen Elizabeth thought Mary, Queen of Scots, might be plotting against her?-go figure Mate.

 

 

 

 

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The Crown Jewels stay in Buckingham Palace in England, but the Irish have the Emerald Isle. Forgotten by modern convenience, this diamond in the rough answers to no one’s price but stands apart as a land unto its truth. That truth grows from three million year old Cliffs of Moher to the west, a well seasoned Guinness to the east, the snows of the north and the continual blow of the south.  Within it all, Ireland remains on jealous guard of its secret, one you will come to know should you go.

3 million years old, the Cliffs of Moher are larger than you can imagine, but picturing the Grand Canyon, if you’ve seen that, helps.

Two views of part of the cliffs-one side wind swept clean for millions of years, the other grown over in moss.

There’s a stone tower on top of a high peak at the cliffs,,,,Dale and I got to go up.

Up to the top; wind or crowds of summer sometimes makes this impossible.

But we made it for this shot…. America lies 4 thousand miles away.

Ireland’s earth-bound honesty whispers as the morning dew drops sparkle upon the long bladed grass, races between the hedgerows and stony rock walls, up the hillsides and down into the valley of your heart. The truth cannot be denied: by taking on less, Ireland is so much more.

Of course, the matter is Ireland and there is so much to consider. But, diddly diddly this or diddleydee that, Ireland is waiting to collect your spirit, to open your heart so your eyes can see the beauty of Life once more. It’s up to you whether or not you answer the call, and it’s why I think those who can should visit Ireland while young enough to still have stars in their eyes, no matter how old.

Dublin is bubbling until late at night.

While traversing this Emerald we saw two hundred miles of land all dotted by small farms, no large factories, or conglomerate farming enterprises, no GMO fields and, btw, nary a stop light. In fact, the major crop of Ireland is grass-not the kind smoked- but green, flowing grass, field after field, and all raised to feed the sheep, cattle and pigs through the winter months. It’s a wonder to know that through Ireland, the country, the winter months dip about ten degrees below the summer temperatures which are mild.

Picture this: in most restaurants in Ireland the distance the food you order was grown, raised or harvested is listed next to the menu item. Imagine. Most often the food I ordered had come from less than fifty miles from my very seat! The greatest distance I remember food coming from the restaurant I was sitting in is one hundred and fifty miles. See? Ireland gives a whole new meaning to, ‘Fresh Market.’

Fresh food and space to dream

Yes, the men seem to drink a tad much very often but the women we spoke to mostly said, “I don’t drink at all.” It makes sense: someone in the household has to know what day it is right? Nah, really, there seemed no regret on either of the part of the Irish men or women when it came to drinking—the Isle is too beautiful for regrets. There’s too little space between the sunshine and the shadows of the hardworking people to waste time on fantasy.

One Barmaid, so kind to give me a free Guinness since she had the best in all of Ireland, told us, ” No, if you get drunk in our village there’s no taxi so a friend has to drive you home or I will. Oh, we have a taxi stand down the road, but good luck ever finding one there-it never happens.” Curious, my wife asked her what there was for us to see or do in the quaint little town. She thought in earnest and then answered with a broad smile, “Honest, I can’t think of a thing.”

If ever it’s been a struggle to live the salty life here you’d never know. The green fields, abundant sky and whipping wind weave together a different tune, the diddly diddly of Life. No wonder people have fought to preserve this land; it holds the touch that kisses back privately to any heart that will listen.

Go hear the music.

Franque23


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.

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

 


“I don’t stand behind anything.” Trump 2017 to newsman.*

Oh dear, what could the matter be?

The EPA is dead, news conferences are not really happening; most positions of much-needed government oversight are not filled, and ones that are have been filled with family, friends and business partners; Trump calls any news he doesn’t give us,”fake news.”; a private army should fight for us, (and against us?); Trump questions if the Constitution isn’t too old to be effective in today’s world and bad for America**; Trump demands loyalty; Trump encourages police to be violent; voting records are collected; voting rolls are purged; voting districts are arranged to produce desired voting outcome; women become more a kind of second class citizen again; education is put on the back burner for charter schools that have no oversight; public lands are taken away and used for government granted business profit; the government is led and run for the top 1 % earners of our society. Trump is pictured several times in suit jacket that is too long, exactly the kind Hitler wore as a evening jacket-odd.

“Both sides,” said Trump, “had valid points and equally bad people.”–those waving Nazi flags are mainstreamed as equal to those who demand equality, freedom of religion, and rights of all no matter their race or gender.

We’re a lot closer to losing America than most think.
Trump is trying to rewrite the Constitution to his liking while replacing judges and staff with like-minded folks who hold brand new backward visions of what America might become.
Still, the jokes keep coming:

“From Mindy Fischer’s post***….(When Trump is called out on outrageous lies or ideas he claims he is just being,’Sarcastic.”)

Sarcastic Obama wiretapping
Sarcastic nuke threats
Sarcastic Russian cyber war
Sarcastic suggestion about Hillary being a murderer
Sarcastic accusation that Obama founded ISIS
Sarcastic asking Russia to find Hillary emails
Sarcastic Obama obsession
Sarcastic Russia collusion
Sarcastic Racism
Sarcastic Xenophobia
Sarcastic Wall
Sarcastic Muslim ban
Sarcastic tax returns
Sarcastic campaign
Sarcastic hair
Sarcastic presidency
Sarcastic treason”

(I’d add….treasonous grand standing for Putin while back stabbing our trusted alleys in Europe.)

It’s not enough for Republican Representatives in mass complaining that they think Trump is wrong on this or that statement or policy idea. No, it’s not enough that GOP Representatives secretly say behind the scenes that Trump may not be fit for office. It’s time for the Republicans to demand a better leader, a better President, to move on and cast out this thorn in America’s side.

BTW–What American President has held campaign rallies nine months after winning the election? These so-called rallies are just Trump stroking his ego. Only Dictators of third world countries do this sort of ‘campaign rallies.’

America be forewarned….this man, Trump, would love to reduce the United States of America to a third world power, one he can rule over. It’s time to meet this menace as the cancer it is and stamp it out. No more time is left. Really for the good of America, no more time is left to debate the issue of Trump.

Mr. Trump-I stand behind America…sorry you don’t.

“I don’t stand behind anything.” Donald Trump. Hear it and weep.

Franque23

 

http://www.bet.com/news/national/2017/05/01/trump-says–i-don-t-stand-behind-anything–when-asked-if-he-stil.html

 

**http://www.care2.com/causes/trump-calls-constitution-archaic-and-bad-for-the-country.html

***https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=mindy%20fischer%20writer
(you really should follow this great writer.)
just for high steppin’ kicks- hey look!- Trump’s clothes…

(FILE) August 2nd will mark 80 Years since Adolf Hitler became the Fuhrer of Germany. His reign as Fuhrer was between August 2, 1934 – April 30, 1945. German dictator Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945), wearing evening dress, inspecting the guard of honour after receiving the new Polish ambassador in Lipski. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

***https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=mindy%20fischer%20writer

 


Isn’t that the question? Are those who have gone before us still here? Or, are those departed here some of the time, for a second, hour, day or week and then gone for a while? Could it be the dead are never, ever here at all, gone for good, silent, an empty place in our heart and mind only?

Sometimes I can hear my dad’s voice. “That a boy!”; “Keep your nose clean!”; ” Up an’ at em'”; “Mow today.” Wait, what???*

Really, sometimes I can hear Dad asking me to mow, and I mean asking. Dad was a sweet guy so he’d always asked, never demand, and added a “Hon.” to it. “How about mowing today, hon.” And when Dad did ask me to do something it was a done deal-that’s the way our family rolled.

I’d say dad’s patience and understanding could move mountains.

I’m thinkin’ Dad was successful at about everything he tried to do. The oldest of five siblings, we got it that Dad helped his brothers and sister go through college while he was in school as well. We have accounting books he kept during his younger days and every penny mattered and was tracked. He was on the Queen Elizabeth as it sailed to England loaded with troops during World War II and he was in charge of some of the troops on board. As a chief engineer, he helped in the restoration of Europe after the war, and here at home my family actually drove over a bridge out west that he had designed.

In the end, Dad became a Full Colonel, and upon his death Fort Drum sent an honor guard to play taps and present mom with an American flag on Dad’s behalf. An officer on the base researched Dad’s history of service and told me, “He deserves this.” Later that same day, Fort Drum  flew a missing man formation for him over Lake Bonaparte.  There, low, just above High Rocks, a line of helicopters flew but one was missing in the line formation. My eyes stared at the empty spot and saw my dad’s spirit there. It was quite a send off for a man I’ll never forget.

Thing is, just how, ‘off’, is Dad? Of course, he lives through me since I still hear his voice, remember things he said, still follow his advice when I can and think of him often. I imagine most who knew him remember his kind and gentle way. But, is Dad here, here, as in here.(This my most descriptive sentence ever:-)).

Dad is 72; Kelly one. He gave me so much. I was so happy to be able to give something back.(Thanks to my wife!) He loved his grand children.

If a person lives long enough, they learn that life’s a long road-the long and winding road. Life twists and turns at the drop of a hat, a gift, an accident, a brilliant idea or mistaken one, it tumbles along but always with effort. Perhaps, the best thing I ever read about life is that one lived full of good intention will become a beautiful memory.

The red single Hibiscus… Dad loved flowers and grew all kinds around our home.

To this day I think of Dad as I garden, check the flowers, pick the oranges and smile at the sky. Maybe the question is, How much more could my dad be here?

I was cleaning a spot off the bottom of our pool with a long brush when I noticed that I couldn’t see the spot once the water rippled. Then, as the water return to calm, I could see the spot once more. Is this it? Are the departed still within our medium but the substance is somehow rippled so we can’t see the other side of life? Wouldn’t we all like to know.

Dad shared our joys in life, and gave us so many…

Heck, Dad gave us the camp at Lake Bonaparte! How completely cool is that? The next time I gear up and climb in the boat, hear the engine kick up and head out to fish, Dad will be in the boat, but he won’t need a life jacket.

Bye Dad , for now.

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

Franque23.

  • Pictures: Dad,  David Morgan, Aunt Virginia(Dad’s sister)  and Uncle Moe Morgan. On the 1/2 way dock at our camp.

 


 

(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!

 

 


By most fishin’ rules ya never give up your secrets. Not your lures; not your places. You fishing spots could get fished out! But, to me, one old enough to know the hills, Lake Bonaparte was fished out about  75 years ago or better.

Old Man Priest could attest to the fact. In my earlier years, Priest’s was not only a great penny candy shop, soda fountain, but also a place where huge fish that hung upon the walls told of an era past even then, some 65 years ago as my wide child-eyes gazed at the mountings in wonder.

I was a boy then and learning how to fish from my dad and brother, Buz Franquemont. Some of my earliest memories are tugging at my Dad’s arm as he lay sleeping in camp way early in the morning, “Go fishing with you ,dad?”

 I never stopped asking.

Time moved on and I found I’d developed a good sense of where the fish might be in the summer time. I’ll tell you a secret, sometimes, I can hear the fish. I know that’s not believable, so let’s move on.

 To be clear, I’m only up during the summer months and for a week or two at a time between June and August. So yeah, ice fishing reels in the Northern’s, I know, but I’m fishing for small mouth and large mouth almost exclusively when up at the lake.

So when to fish?

During the day, I’m hunting for a still water with light wind.  Of course, if you don’t have this you can drift Bull Rush Bay (a name hardly descriptive now as it was in the sixties) and cast semi-mid bay to the western side and snap up Northern’s. Northern’s will eat anything when they’re hungry, even people if they could. But, the lure I have in mind is a off-set red-feathered hook and silver spinner bait. Drag it up thru the weeds and wait.

I’m not sure what bait mom was using in Porter’s bay in front of our camp when she landed this fish-a fish of her lifetime.

Mom never stopped encouraging my children when it came to fishing or learning just about anything!

I prefer June for fishing for bass-you’ve a much better chance basically at this time though all my records defy that rule? I like June cause the season has just opened and the evening sky lingers forever until 10 at night most often.

 

My cousin’s son, Lach, couldn’t have caught the time to go fishing off our dock any better. I might leave 15 minutes earlier, but wouldn’t need to.

 

Leaving my dock from Porter’s bay gets me to Mud lake in time to fish for about an hour or so. I fish until the May flies, mosquitoes and gnats are thicker than the night. I don’t always fish Mud lake, but these two pics are from there, about 5 years apart. 2012–Two of these are huge bass…way beyond normal.

This year I headed out just as late in June having been skunked on two previous trips I took earlier in the visit.2017—one fish is 17 inches, two are 16 and one is 14. All were caught within 1/2  before sun down.

 

I’ve caught some monsters in previous years. The two on the wall here are something like 8 pounds, and the smaller one, one my cousin Joe says is the largest small mouth he has ever seen, tops five pounds or more.

Then, in 2009, mid-day in a driving rain, around the bend of Mud lake, a white plastic worm wiggling, this baby snatched my lure. I let him go only to hear from my ex Brother-in-law, Paul Doherty,  that he was most likely caught again near Hammond’s point about two months later as he fished with a friend. 

 

 

Oh, he had to top 8 pounds by a bunch.

 

Fishing. There’s a great joy to it. A silence; a solitude. Catch and release only adds to the pleasure. I generally eat only a few. The large ones must get off to breed another day. In all, Lake Bonaparte still offers the unknown; anything might hit at any time. Case in point: fishing for perch and sunfish with my grandson with worms he snagged a 27 inch northern that nearly tipped the boat in the ruckus….what fun.

Cheers to all my fellow Lake lovers! We are a force.

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I still believe, because of the timing, Trump could be one of America’s greatest Presidents if he’d make a few radical changes to his personality and agendas…

Trump can give America a great future with a wave of his hand.

Trump’s so close and he’s been given so much, not just from his dad who left him a fortune but by fate. The hand this current President has been dealt is loaded with trump cards, and all because of the calendar’s date. The time for huge upheaval, a powerful surge of change is at hand in America and the World. Trump holds all the cards to win these times over if he makes the right play.

In nineteen twenty, no one could see the horse and buggy days vanishing by nineteen thirty-two. There were a few companies working on cars back then, even earlier—Studebaker developed an electric car in 1902

1902 electric car

and then a gasoline powered car in 1904—

1905 Studebaker gas powered car

but, basically  buggies made fortunes and most believed horses were here to stay. Oh my, how the world had changed nineteen years later.

But what about now? Proponents of renewable energies clamor on about climate change, pollution and the urgent need for change if we are to save our future. The old guard of gas, oil and coal remain dug in, entrenched and supported by fortunes earned in the past, and point to a need for newer technologies before renewable energies can provide the world’s need for power. Most say it will be thirty years or longer before the renewable industry can compete with fossil fuels and make a dent in the power market.

Think back to the Nineteen twenties…..

Here’s the key to now: http://safeshare.tv/w/ntjwDrwEwh

As you see in this short two minute clip, knowledge is not increasing in a linear, even pace that can be charted or tied to any speed. No, we live in exponentially growing times of size, number, knowledge and possibility. Our time, Trump’s time, can best be thought of as a rocket ship that zooms to an unknown place with ever-increasing speed.

Get ready for the ride of our lives!

Just now, Las Vegas has gone to 100% renewable energy for the entire city-the result of a ten-year long renewable energy project. Some trains now run virtually energy free while transporting six-hundred thousand workers per day! * Even smaller, individual renewables are making developmental leaps. **Today, more people work in renewable energy than those who work in coal, gas and oil production and exploration combined!

Trump looks to  fossil fuels as our answer but it’s not. And as President, Trump has the power, the gift, to be the one who moves America as if by a flip of a coin into a bright future, to jobs, huge prosperity, abundance, leadership and a brand new world. Drilling, mining, fracking, dirty pipe lines that bust, these are the horse and buggy of our day; Trump’s day,*** but he can change this.

The reins of huge change are in Trump’s hands if he’ll only take them. Come on Trump; you know what you should be grabbing. The chance to make history is before you but you have to step up.

Trump’s on the wrong side of so many things like the Paris Climate accord and a wall that won’t work unless we post large signs on it that read, “No ladders or tunnels allowed.” BTW, 70% of all illegals got into America by plane…he’s also completely off on ‘Clean Coal’, that the oxymoron of the ages.****

And then, there’s the problem of ISIL. Trump’s right that the world has to do better at vetting immigrants and protecting our populations from random violence. How to do it; that’s another tipping point of history now.

CNN said it best today: “So, the state visit will go ahead, and there will be protests. But if Trump could only get off Twitter for five minutes and focus on the essentials of the Western alliance, he’d discover that Europe is edging closer to his way of thinking on the most important issue of our time. (ISIL)There is, increasingly, more agreement between us than disagreement.”

There you have it. Trump has to cut his losses, time spent on bad ideas, and grab the future as it’s truly unfolding, not just the way he wants it to go. Trump sits on a gold mine of Time.
Someone should tell him.

Who will tell him?

Franque23

*https://www.facebook.com/DavidAvocadoWolfe/videos/10154211237456512/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

**https://www.smartflower.com/en

***America’s three largest producers of power from fossil fuels all sold their entire interests in Alberta’s shale fields back to Canada just this year…They see the renewable’s coming.

**** Just read that President Trump mused about lining his great wall with solar panels.

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