Saturday, April 22, 2006

Something Strange In Our Backyard

Today while working in the backyard we discovered this alien pod attached to the very tip of a lower oak tree branch.
A Goggle search of insect pupa and cocoons turn up nothing.
I think it's some type of dog eating creature that when hatched will eat our dogs. One can only hope!!!!
So we watch and wait!
04/23 After more research Beth and I have determined that this is a "Wool Sower Gall!" It is caused by secretions of the grubs of the small gall wasp, Callirhytis seminator. The wool sower gall is specific to white oak and only occurs in the spring. The galls contain seed-like structures. The gall wasps develop inside these structures.
Once hatched they do search out dogs and suck their brains out!!! The poor wasps will die of starvation if they try to do that to our three friends, lol!!!

Boston Tea Party

The British East India Company had controlled all tea trading between India and the British colonies. As a result of the tea tax, the colonies refused to buy the British tea. Instead, they smuggled tea in from Holland. This left the British East India Company with warehouses full of unsold tea, and the company was in danger of going out of business.
The British government was determined to prevent the British East India Company from going out of business. It was going to force the colonists to buy their tea. In May 1773, Prime Minister North and the British parliament passed the Tea Act. The Tea Act allowed the British East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonists, bypassing the colonial wholesale merchants. This allowed the company to sell their tea cheaper than the colonial merchants who were selling smuggled tea from Holland.
This act revived the colonial issue of taxation without representation. The colonies once again demanded that the British government remove the tax on tea. In addition, the dockworkers began refusing to unload the tea from ships.
The Governor of Massachusetts demanded that the tea be unloaded. He also demanded that the people pay the taxes and duty on tea.
On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of men calling themselves the "Sons of Liberty" went to the Boston Harbor. The men were dressed as Mohawk Indians. They boarded three British ships, the Beaver, the Eleanor and the Dartmouth, and dumped forty-five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor.

More on Boston visit:

Friday, April 21, 2006

Seaman Roberts

In the US Navy a short eleven months and enjoying his first duty assignment Seaman Roberts was our tour guide on the USS Constitution.
Seaman Roberts hails from Ohio and was well versed and wonderful with the scores of young children attending our tour.
The U.S. Navy runs free 30 to 40 minute guided tours of the USS Constitution daily. The tours, led by active-duty enlisted sailors, run continually during open hours and the time between tours varies depending on the size of the crowd waiting in line. Note that during the summer, the wait can be up to 1 1/2 hours, so Freedom Trail walkers intent on seeing Old Ironsides may want to consider starting the trail at the Charlestown end. By doing so, the USS Constitution will be their second stop rather than the 15th stop. You also should be sure to make it to Charlestown before 3:30 PM to be included in the last tour of the ship. Visitors not able to make the last tour, or satisfied with a self-guided visit, may board the USS Constitution until sunset each day. There is no admission charge.

For the current schedule, visit the official USS Constition web site

The Commandant of the 1st Naval District House.

The oldest building in the yard, this elegant mansion, completed in 1805, was the home of commandants of the navy yard and the First Naval District. It served as both a private home and a place for official entertainment. Dinners and receptions for dignitaries included 19th century galas for two presidents, emphasizing the high social status of the commandant.

The Shipyard on the Charles

The early morning sun of June 24, 1833 sparkled on the gold epaulets and braids of blue naval uniforms. The officers and men of Charlestown Navy Yard, joined by a distinguished company that included Vice President Martin Van Buren, Secretary of War Lewis Cass, Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury, and many Massachusetts officials, were present to witness one of the great events of American naval history: the United States frigate Constitution, "Old Ironsides" to millions of Americans, was inaugurating the first naval drydock in New England. One hundred and forty-two years later water again swirled in the same drydock, slowly covering the wooden blocks and shores on which Constitution rested. On March 14, 1975 the historic ship floated out of the dock--the last commissioned vessel to use the famous facility.
Operations in the navy yard itself began some 40 years before the drydock was first put to use. In 1799 the United States was engaged in a naval war with France, and Congress called for the building of six ships-of-the-line, the battleships of the day, to protect American commerce from French attacks. Two years later Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert bought sites in six cities in which the ships could be built. The one in Charlestown became the Boston Navy Yard. It was primarily used as a storage facility until the War of 1812, but during that war the yard completed the Navy's first ship-of-the-line, the 74 gun Independence.

For the whole story visit:

USS Cassin Young (DD793)

Destroyers in the U.S. Navy are generally named for Navy and Marine Corps personnel who have distinguished themselves in the service of their country. USS Cassin Young bears the name of a navy commander awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Commander Young was in command of the repair ship Vestal which was moored alongside battleship Arizona. When Arizona blew up, he was blown overboard along with many members of his crew. With Vestal taking on water from several hits and set afire from the blazing inferno that had been Arizona, the remaining crew began to abandon ship.
Just as the first of the crew began to flee "a figure, like some sea creature, rose from the water and stood athwart the gangway. It was Ted Young... 'Where the hell do you think you're going?' he asked the first sailor. 'We're abandoning ship,' the sailor replied. 'Get back aboard,' Young roared, 'You don't abandon ship on me!'" Commander Young got the fires under control, picked up survivors from Arizona and managed to move Vestal across the harbor where he beached her for later salvage.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cassin Young was promoted to captain and given command of the heavy cruiser San Francisco. On the night of November 12-13, 1942, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Captain Young died amidst an avalanche of shellfire from three Japanese warships. For his conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. USS Cassin Young (DD793) was commissioned in 1943, honoring this gallant officer.

Ready At My Gun Station!

Here I am on the gun deck of the USS Constitution.
My assigned gun is a 45 pound English forged cannon weighing 3700 pounds, about the same as a modern SUV!
My cannon named Brimstone with its firing recoil of 6 feet and a kill rate of 1400 yards was in its day a weapon of mass destruction.

USS Constitution (Boston)

Yesterday I realized a long awaited dream to walk the decks of the USS Constitution.
Sailors blood runs through my veins with sailing always being more of a passion than a recreation. I have owned four sailboats in my life all a bit more technically equipped and faster than past boats. The Beneteau, my last sailboat, was on the edge of everything fast in a boat. With its wing keel, destroyer bow and Mylar sails she was a creature of the wind.
Standing on the deck of the USS Constitution was a thrill. Her heart still beats strong throughout her planks and she is a Grand Lady of the wind and sea.
My thanks to the US Navy for keeping her ship shape, sea worthy and a commissioned ship of the line.

Listen!!! Can you hear her heart?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Isaiah's First Easter Egg Hunt!

Here’s my always good looking God son Isaiah preparing for his first Easter egg hunt. Equipped with new high traction running shoes and a grass filled daisy Easter basket Isaiah was prepared to do battle with other older egg hunters!
Coached by his Mom, Gram, Aunties Beth and Kristi he was able to gather several eggs and hold his own against other more aggressive egg hunters!

Easter Egg Hunters

Easter Sunday afternoon found us at the annual family Easter egg hunt. This year’s egg hunt was at Pete and Kristi Moresi’s house followed by a very delicious BBQ salmon dinner.
Here “from left to right” are three professional egg hunters Joseph, Madalen and Gabriel. As you can see everyone was able to collect their fare share of eggs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Sagamore Bridge Cape Cod Canel

Spanning the original Cape Cod Canal, constructed by New York financier August Belmont, were two twin cantilever draw type highway bridges and a draw type bascule railroad bridge with openings over the water of only 140 feet. These narrow passages, combined with the swift currents and winding approaches, made mariners leery of using the waterway. Going around the tip of the cape, however, added up to 165 miles to their trip through waters where many ships had already sunk. Since the drawbridges could only be crossed when there was no marine traffic, automobiles going to and from Cape Cod also experienced delays.
When the Corps of Engineers was assigned responsibility for the waterway in 1928, a series of improvements began, including the replacement of the three bridges.On September 6, 1933, the Public Works Administration (the agency responsible for managing Emergency Relief funds during the Great Depression) authorized construction of three bridges over the Canal. Contractors began laying the bridge foundations in December 1933. In accordance with Public Works Administration regulations, work was distributed widely; and, wherever practical, hand labor was used instead of machinery to provide as many jobs as possible.
The two highway bridges were designed and Fay, Spofford and Thorndike of Boston supervised construction. They retained the Boston architectural firm of Cram and Ferguson to advise upon architectural details and the appearance of the structures.The Sagamore Bridge was constructed about two and one half miles from the eastern end of the Canal land cut, and the Bourne Bridge about one and two thirds miles from the western end of the land cut. The bridges each have a main span measuring 616 feet between centers of support and a vertical clearance of 135 feet above high water. The structures differ in the number of approach spans. The roadway width of the bridges, designed for four lane traffic, is 40 feet between curbs. Built simultaneously, the bridges were dedicated on June 22, 1935, and opened to traffic.

Provincetown, MA

Summer resort and arts centerProvincetown is a town in Barnstable County, in the Barnstable Town metro area.
Site of the Pilgrims' landing in 1620 before continuing on to Plymouth
East Coast writers and artists began gathering here in the 1920s. The Provincetown Players opened in 1916, giving previously unknown writers an opportunity to experiment. The company introduced the work of Eugene O'Neill.

Quotes:"Much of the ancient flavor of Provincetown has been saved, especially in the old houses, the prim white cottages and staid Colonials that line its narrow streets, and in the bright gardens, the wharves, fish-sheds and vessels that still carry on with net and trawl."-- WPA Guide to Massachusetts, 1937

This was a great little town. It reminded my of Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast.

Herring Cove Beach

I bet you'll say, wow Ralph what a beautiful beach over looking the Atlantic Ocean. I would have to agree however back at the hotel today I was surfing the net for information about Herring Cove Beach and you'll never guess what I found!!!
Massachusetts' only active nude beach in the summer of 2001 was located in Herring Cove Beach. Some women go topless in the lesbian section just southeast (left) of the beach's parking lot. Full nudity is usually only found about 3/4 mile further down the beach at the end of the gay men section. Although illegal, a tenuous truce with the National Park Service (NPS) generally ignores nudity there during the day.

For years the Provincetown (Ptown) nude beach scene has been at odds with the federal government's National Park Service (NPS). In 1996 and 1997 the situation degraded to the point where open animosity existed between the NPS and the local community - official, straight and gay. A Provincetown Town Meeting voted that a remote part of Herring Cove Beach should be considered a clothing optional area. Although Herring Cove Beach is part of Ptown historically, unfortunately, it and most of that part of Cape Cod are now controlled by the NPS. In a rare and uncharacteristic attempt to defuse an increasingly volatile situation, the NPS quietly began to selectively ignore the nude beach section of Herring Cove Beach.

Just goes to show you that you can't judge a beach by its sand, lol!!!! Luckly it was cold today and no nudes were seen!!!

Pilgrim Monument

Tuesday 04/10/2006 in Plymouth MA for a high profile CVS store visit. We are re-seting CVS's 5th highest volume store in the nation. It is a 24 hour location and is so busy during the day that it is a night project 9 PM to 7 AM.
I arrived around noon so with a bit of time on my hands I decided to visit Provincetown MA and the Pilgrim Monument.

On August 21, 1909 two young girls, using ropes and a pulley, helped haul the last stone into place to complete the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. The town's Yankee residents had long been seeking funds to erect a monument to the Pilgrims, who landed on the tip of Cape Cod weeks before they ever laid eyes on Plymouth. It took until 1906 to raise enough money. The following year, President Theodore Roosevelt sailed to Provincetown in a yacht appropriately named the Mayflower to lay the cornerstone of the monument. Three years later, President William Howard Taft spoke at the dedication. 116 steps and 60 ramps lead to the top of the 252-foot tower, which is still the tallest all-granite structure in the United States.

If you would like to learn more about todays adventure visit

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Crab Tree In Bloom!

Spring is definitely here with the blooming of our flowering crab tree in the front yard. It's pink blossoms are spectacular this year!

New Garage Door!

Introducing our new garage door.
Sporting a new 16' x 6 3/4 four panel door our house is happy that the blue tarp is gone!
Both the Jeep and Acura are pleased to be sleeping indoors instead of out on the street!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

St Louis Gateway Arch

Guess were I was this week? St Louis MS was a 2 1/2 hour drive from the CVS in Paducah KY and a much shorter drive than the 4 hours from Louisville KY. So Tuesday morning I found myself driving by the Gateway Arch.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park was established on the banks of the Mississippi River, on December 21, 1935, to commemorate the westward growth of the United States between 1803 and 1890. Cost for the $30 million national monument was shared by the federal government and the City of St. Louis.
The park features the Gateway Arch, designed by architect Eero Saarinen who won the design competition in 1947. The stainless steel structure rises 630 feet high from a 60-foot foundation and spans 630 feet at ground level. Its classic weighted catenary curve sways 1/2" - 1" in 20 mph wind. Construction on the nation's tallest memorial began in 1961 with the "topping out" in 1965 and dedication in 1966.The floor plan of the Underground Visitor Center follows a circular pattern with galleries depicting a 100-year span of westward expansion and the Tucker Theatre. Additional attractions include two passenger trams to the observation room at the top and the Museum of Westward Expansion.Visitors to the Gateway Arch can step back in time and savor the past at Levee Mercantile. The 1870s style riverfront general store is located in the Visitor Center beneath the Arch. Many food products selected for Levee Mercantile feature Missouri artisans who use traditional recipes and time-honored production methods.

For more visit:

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I forgot I had a picture of the USS Alabama (BB60) taken while building a CVS in Mobile a few years ago.
The keel of the USS ALABAMA (BB-60) was laid at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 1 February 1940, the sixth vessel to bear the name of Alabama. At the outbreak of hostilities, her hull construction was nearing completion. Some two years later (16 February 1942), the new South Dakota Class battleship was launched in a colorful ceremony attended by many national figures. Sponsoring the vessel was Mrs. Lister Hill, wife of Alabama's Senator Hill. On 16 August 1942, in ceremonies at Portsmouth, Virginia, the new ship was placed in full commission and Captain George B. Wilson, USN, assumed command.
You can read more about the Alabama at

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pink Blooms!

As you all know six years ago there was a heart attack in our family.
At that time a certain beautiful wife bought her recovering husband a pink flowering plant for his bedside! Over the past six year a very greatful husband has cared for that plant and every year he is rewarded with hundreds of beautiful pink blooms. Those blooms also serve as a reminded to how lucky he is!

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty I'm free at last!

After it's accident Thursday the Jeep seem pleased that it was finally released from its prison. While driving to Home Depot to buy a tarp and enjoying it's long awaited freedom the Jeep was heard to say, "I'm soooo sorry, I promise I'll never do that again!"

It's so easy to love that Jeep!

Chris Comes To The Rescue!!!

Our good friend Chris, ever ready to help in emergencies, arrived this Saturday morning equipped with chains, come along and power tools and in ten minutes we had the old garage door dismantled and removed to the side yard however Chris was a bit saddened that the chains and come along were not needed!!!
Thanks Chris!

Jeep Verses Garage Door!

While away traveling this week our 1999 Jeep Wrangler decided to go for a quick trip to the store.
Being a Jeep it didn't realize that the garage door needed to be open before it pulled out!
The poor little Jeep, still stuck in the garage, was so upset and was heard crying for hours alone in the garage.
As we love the Jeep so very much we explained that accidents can happen and that we would call someone to replace the door on Tuesday allowing our beloved Jeep to leave the garage.
The Jeep remains embarrassed but we assured it that we still love it and all will be okay!

Office Staff Demands Nap Time!

The stress and demands of working in the office Friday finally took it's toll on the office staff.
They demanded a lunch break which included a four hour nap!!!!!!

Lehigh Tunnel

Traveling to Scranton PA took me through the Lehigh Tunnel. It remained me of the Windsor Detroit River Tunnel right down to the yellow tiles!
On April 1, 1957, 47 of the remaining 73 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension opened to traffic. Included in the new highway was the 4,461 foot Lehigh Tunnel, a two lane tube through the Blue Mountain. However by 1970, concerns over the levels of traffic through the 13 year old tunnel were growing. Throughout the 1960's the Turnpike either twinned or bypassed the seven tunnels on the mainline system. For over a decade, various proposals were introduced but tight economic times did not allow for proactive construction. Finally, in 1985, Act 61 authorized new funding for the Pennsylvania Turnpike System. The legislation approved funding for the twinning of the Lehigh Tunnels. Studies began soon and construction began early in 1989. Construction would last for nearly two and a half years, ending with the opening of the new facility on November 22, 1991.

PA Windmill Farm

This is the Mill Run Wind Project, recently built near the town of Mill Run in southwestern Pennsylvania. Wind farms like this have started popping up in greater numbers in the Mid-Atlantic, especially in Pennsylvania. In years past, western and Great Plains states garnered the lion's share of wind farms, but today, states east of the Mississippi account for the majority of new wind projects. Brent Alderfer, an electrical engineer and president of Community Energy, a partner in mid-Atlantic wind ventures, says, "In 1999, Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic had no wind energy at all, and we now have more than 100 megawatts coming online." That's enough to power 38,000 homes.

Scranton PA

This weeks store visits also took me to Scrantion PA.

Scranton's growth began in 1849 when the Scranton brothers formed the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad from a number of smaller lines, which created a hub for the transport of goods by steam engine. Today, the Steamtown National Historic Site occupies a 40-acre yard of this important railroad and preserves the history of early railway expansion. Industrial history fans will also enjoy visiting the Scranton Iron Furnaces and the Lackawanna Coal Mine. Lake Scranton provides water recreation and jogging trails. The Scranton Eagles are the most successful team in the 34-year history of the Empire Football League! This is a beautiful area and I enjoyed my visit. For more go to