The things we do…

31 03 2014

The morning of March 31, 2009 was little different from every Tuesday morning, although there was slightly more tension in the air.  The staff meeting seemed to drag on even more slowly than usual.  There were a few less fires to put out.  After checking the clock one thousand plus times, it finally proclaimed the noon hour in bright, bold, throbbing red numerals that somehow knew the significance of that moment.

The first tone of my cell phone signaled the beginning of a new and unique adventure.  While fumbling to dig the phone from a pocket too filled with useless detritus, anxious strides propelled me down the corridor to the front door.  My wife’s voice on the phone confirmed what I could, by then, see.  She was behind the wheel of her Solstice with the engine running.  Our parking lot departure could have impressed professional bank robbers as her anticipation for what was about to occur rivalled mine.

The short drive to Carl’s Pontiac – Buick – GMC in Stuart, Florida required “the patience of Job” as every one of the six traffic lights somehow managed to create confusion and backups for the entire population of snowbirds that infiltrate our community each winter.  Once we arrived at the dealership, my wife left to complete her busy schedule, and the transaction that ended with me accepting delivery of a brand new Pontiac G8 GXP was efficiently completed.  If only the dealership staff was also in charge of Stuart automobile traffic flow!  The whirlwind process ended with the exchange of a $40,000 financial commitment (spread over 60 months at 0% interest!!) for the 1,388th vehicle off the G8 GXP assembly line at the Holden Australia manufacturing facility.

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2009 Pontiac G8 GXP – Panther Black Metallic

When my eyes opened, I was sitting in the Onyx/Red Interior of my Panther Black Metallic, sunroof-equipped car.  My right hand rested comfortably on the shifter for the 6-speed manual transmission.  Of the 1,829 built, mine was 1 (actually #58 off the assembly line) of 70 with that configuration.  The dream of owning a full-sized sedan with a manual transmission had been with me since 1965, and suddenly it was fulfilled!  Bill Hayden, the general manager of the dealership, at that moment told me, “Walter, you’re never going to sell this car!” On the 5th anniversary of that momentous occasion, I might agree.

The experience has not been a love affair.  More like a marriage, the past 5 years have been filled with ups and downs, like my first speeding ticket (85 in a 50).  I was heartsick when I burned through brand new rear tires during a 10 day vacation in Lake Lure, NC, that included a spirited drive through Deal’s Gap – The Tail of the Dragon (truly a high).  Trips to attend my son’s wedding in the Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square, PA, and 16 months later to attend the baptism, in Herndon, VA, of my granddaughter, proved the G8 GXP’s prowess as a people mover.  78,000 miles later, the car is still a head turner.  Its rarity raises a lot of comments and questions.  I particularly appreciate its understated elegance.  Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a tuxedo, reserves of power lurk below the surface.  Most importantly, every time I slip behind the wheel, ignite the engine, and shift into 1st gear with that authoritative “snick,” I am transported to another time – another place.  My dream has come true.

 

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“Loyalty to country ALWAYS, loyalty to government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

14 10 2013

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When Mark Twain expressed that thought, was it in response to a Congressional legislative conflict of a magnitude that caused the government offices and services to shut down; that led the US Treasury to the brink of default on its debt?  Was he possibly reacting to out-of-control egos that were blinded by visions of supreme authority?

The current state of affairs in Washington, DC is an embarrassment.  The world watches incredulously as Senator Reid puffs and poses.  This conflict shines a bright light on one man whose obstinacy cannot be justified by either moral principle or patriotic obligation. At three score and 13 years, Reid’s vision is clouded by an elitist mentality that drove Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity to utter, “What a twisted old – I’m sorry.”  That was after learning that a CNN congressional correspondent asked Reid, “If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?”

“Why would we want to do that?” Reid shot back.  Hannity went on, “What a sick, twisted old man to say, why would we — why would we want to do that? And help a kid with cancer? Pretty heartless. I got to tell you. Pretty sick.”1

Harry Reid stopped serving our country long ago.  Harry Reid stopped serving the Democratic Party long ago.  Harry Reid has stopped serving the people who elected him long ago.  Harry Reid is not worthy of our loyalty.

1 http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/03/hannity-harry-reid-a-sick-twisted-old-man-video/





Advancement

24 07 2013
Google AdWords Certification for Walter R. Franklin

Awarded July 23, 2013





12 04 2013

buoy





Captain Mike Daniel

8 02 2013
Captain Mike Daniel holding a ship's bell from Queen Anne's Revenge

Captain Mike Daniel holding a ship’s bell from Queen Anne’s Revenge

We first met more than 15 years ago when he made a historical presentation to the Jupiter Tequesta Juno Beach Chamber of Commerce on the exploits of Jonathan Dickinson.  In an area where the oldest existing structure was built in 1860, Dickinson’s 1696 shipwreck, subsequent capture by Jaega Indians, escape, and return to civilization is particularly significant.  Captain Mike Daniel’s attention to detail and relaxed style made a profound impact upon the entire audience.

Subsequent contacts with Mike have revealed a diverse background filled with achievements of historic proportion.  From Mike’s South Florida home, Mike has discovered a number of historically significant sites in the Caribbean, Florida, the Bahamas and the Carolinas.  Mike and author Robert F. Marx discovered the wreck of Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas in 1972.  This treasure laden Spanish galleon sank in the Bahamas in 1656. The gold, silver and emeralds contained in the wreckage are extraordinary in their quality.

More recently, Mike discovered the wreckage of the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s flagship off the coast of North Carolina.  Concorde, a French slaveship, was captured by Blackbeard in 1717. After renaming her Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard made her his flagship.  Within less than one year, Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground, broke up, and sank but not before Blackbeard had successfully blockaded the port of Charleston, SC for nearly a week.  More than 275 years later, extensive research enabled Mike to pinpoint the wreckage and recover numerous artifacts.

Throughout his years of historical maritime research and undersea exploration, Mike has maintained a unique focus.  The significance of the Golden Age of Piracy has always outweighed any interest in treasure.  It is his profound belief that no one ever “owns” treasure.  Instead, treasure falls into the custody of “caretakers” for brief periods of time; quite often with painful consequences.

In between his various treasure-hunting exploits, Mike has worked extensively in the television and film industry.  Most recently, he created and served as the first curator of the Burt Reynolds Museum in Jupiter, FL. Mike and his wife, Nancy, also owned and operated a successful marine parts business known as Sea Chest for more than 30 years.

You can follow Captain Mike Daniel’s exploits on Facebook.





Can Palm Beach County ERM learn from its mistakes?

27 11 2012

According to a Palm Beach Post article dated June 19, 2012 (“Jupiter’s DuBois Park earns national design award”), Palm Beach County spent $6.2 million  to restore, redevelop, and add new features to DuBois Park.  One of those features is a “1-acre snorkeling area and artificial reef.”

Less than 6 months later the Post, reporting on damage from Superstorm Sandy noted, “At Dubois Park in Jupiter, erosion along the shoreline exposed irrigation lines.  The damage totaled at least $200,000, officials said.”

There is an explanation for this damage.  An engineering solution called a “perched beach,” was improperly applied.  Unless the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management Department (ERM) reexamines its plans for beach stabilization at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (JILONA), Cato’s Bridge Beach is destined to endure a similar fate.

A limestone breakwater, was built parallel to the beach to provide a snorkeling area and stabilize the beach at DuBois Park. Work was completed in March 2012.

An aerial image taken from an April 2012 ERM document depicts steps taken in Phase II (Shoreline Stabilization & Recreational Amenities).  A wall of stone with small openings was installed to protect the beach area and provide a snorkel lagoon. This design is so closely similar to the JILONA design plan that ERM made the comparison in a presentation to the Jupiter Town Council in 2011.

Proposed breakwater design for the eastern JILONA boundary extending south from Cato’s Bridge.

Recent storm damage at DuBois Park will require $200,000 to repair

Look at pictures of DuBois Park taken 2 weeks after Superstorm Sandy.  Note the severe erosion to the beach area.  Clearly, ERM’s beach stabilization is a dismal failure with a $200,000 price tag to repair.  If a similar situation occurs at JILONA, the damages could include destruction of the historic lighthouse.  We cannot allow this to happen.





A Nation Grieves

11 09 2012

10 years ago today my close friend, Lee, and I were driving from Wisconsin where we had taken ownership of an old Chris-Craft Holiday, to our homes in Florida.  The radio stations saturated the airwaves with patriotic music as we sliced through our nation’s heartland.  Every overpass on I-65 had an American Flag suspended from it’s railing.  On some, people proudly waved flags back and forth for everyone to see.  Cars and trucks passing below saluted their support with enthusiastic hand and arm gestures and sharp horn blasts.

Tears came to our eyes as we reflected on the tragedy of a year earlier – tragedy that touched the lives of every American in the most horrific way.  Our country came together on that day to honor and glorify the memory of those who paid the supreme sacrifice for being Americans.  Our chests swelled with pride as we saw that we were surrounded with people we didn’t know, people we would never encounter again, people who joined together in defiance of terrorism,

The fervor has cooled. The expressions of patriotism are more controlled.  While that exuberance has passed, the deep sense of loss remains.  We all lost something dear to us on that day eleven years ago.  Perhaps it was our innocence… our naïveté.  Had we put up a psychological wall to shield ourselves from the pain, no one would have been surprised.  No one would have criticized us for compensating by turning cold-hearted.

That’s not what Americans do!  We cried.  We beat our chests in sorrow.  Then, our nation buckled down and faced the task at hand with intensity and conviction. Individually, we rose to the occasion.  We mustered a drive from deep inside that enabled us to push through the pain and move forward in a positive direction.  The struggle has been long and hard.  The human sacrifices continue to mount, but progress can be found every day.

Will our world return to a pre-9/11 blindness?  Never!  We stand prepared to join together to defend our homeland, to prove to the world once again that we will protect the American way of life!