|Issue 38||February 1999||Volume 4 - Number 3|
Welcome to the CANDOER News. Suggestions as to what you would like to see in the CANDOER are welcome. Letters to the editor, articles consisting of general information, feature articles, G-rated jokes, or poems, written/submitted by retirees or OC/IM employees, past or present, will be published, unedited. Material may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (disk will be returned) using WordPerfect Version 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics), on a plain sheet of paper (if it has no graphics) or via e-mail. The deadline for submitting material is no later than the 25th of each month. Material received after that date will be published in the next issue of the CANDOER, space allowing. Please, restrict articles/submissions to two single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.
The snail-mail address for submissions or letters to the editor is:
Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
Publisher/Editor CANDOER News
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
There is always a danger in writing an article like this that some major contributor may be overlooked. This is particularly so when you are composing from memory. I am sure that this has happened. I apologize if this is so and would welcome any corrections or any memory refresh. If you will let me know of this, I will issue a corrected version so that the CANDOER ATS article may be as accurate as possible.
Many people were involved both in the Department and in the commercial companies in the development of the ATS. Some events and people that come to mind are listed below:
ITT Personnel Team
Herb Dimmick - Vice President of Marketing. Herb came into the ATS late in the program, after cut over. I guess his role was to placate and upset customer. At that time, the system had many cogent deficiencies and other areas of non-responsiveness to the contract. As the Technical Representative for the Contracting Officer, it was my responsibility to ensure contract responsiveness and insist that the system complied with the specification in every respect.
As time went on, we would negotiate change orders to correct an oversight in the system design. These change orders were negotiated with the understanding that they would have no affect on the cut over or system acceptance. A date was mutually agreed upon as to the system cut over and what the liquidated damages were, in the event of late delivery of the system. At this time, these damages were at about $250,000. Herb tried to negotiate this. At one meeting, Herb stated that ITT did not want anymore of the Department's business until the system was accepted. I called Jerry Jacaruso, chief of the circuit procurement section and, in Herb's presence, I told Jerry to cancel all the circuits leased from ITT WorldCom and transfer them to RCA. Jerry asked if I was kidding and I said yes. Herb did know this, of course. After reasonable heads prevailed, we agreed that negotiated change orders would continue. Later Herb and I became very close friends.
Ernie Field - Supervisor of Maintenance. Ernie was a skilled supervisor and ran a very close shop. Normally, in computer situations, it is difficult to determine whether the problem is hardware or software. Ernie was respected by the programmers and was skilled at locating the problem. He later left ITT and went to work for CDC. This company subsequently received a contract from the Department to install an automated switching system in Bonn, Germany (BAX). After Ernie left the ATS, Howie Simmons, who was one of the maintenance staff, replaced him.
Herb Chalmers - Chief of the ITT on-site team. Herb left to start his own company to build computers. Herb died later from a brain tumor.
Carl Townsend was Chief of Maintenance when I retired. Carl is now retired and lives in St Augustine, FL.
Bill Norton - An excellent maintenance man. He left ITT and went to work with XEROX Corporation where he contributed to the success of the ARCS.
Ron Nivella - Manager of Product Support. He visited the site regularly, after cut over. He later became Vice President of ITT Field Services and moved to Brussels.
Denis Combs - An ITT computer engineer. Before the ATS, Denis was a maintenance supervisor. Denis was assigned to Paris when ITT got the contract to put in a computerized switch. As I understand it, the Department contracted with a British subsidiary of ITT to install a switch in the relay station at the Paris Embassy. This switch was connected to a number of the U.S. Embassies in the former French Colonies in Africa. The British company defaulted and ITT of N.J. took over the project. It was a very small switch, using and ADX 7300 (Automated Data eXchange) similar to the ADX 7300 used in the ATS. Subsequently, the maintenance contract for this switch was put out for competition and some of the on-site maintenance men submitted a bid and won the contract. The problem was, they did not have a source of parts and other support infrastructure, so the equipment was neglected and eventually shut down. Denis was not one of those who bid on the contract, so he returned to ITT in N.J. His knowledge of the diplomatic switching problems stood him in good stead. He made a major contribution to the ATS development.
ITT Programming Team
The team was comprised of programmers who had worked on the SACDIN programs. They were experienced in ACP protocol programming. There were a number of them, but the ones who come to mind as being prominent in the development of the ATS were:
Bernie Weinstein - He was a very intense guy and was serious about his work. When he had a problem he stayed with it for many hours, until it was solved. He had his own company that maintained other switches for ITT. He was under contract by ITT to support the ATS. Bernie was a major contributor to the ATS success.
Marvin Frishman - Marv was dedicated to the ATS and was impressed with the importance of that Center working properly. Marv did an outstanding job in training the State programmers.
John Bordi and Howie Shu were also members of the ITT team. There were others who worked on a particular problem and then left for other systems. The ITT programmers were required by contract specifications to train the Department personnel in at least two programs. In this, they also did an excellent job.
Member of the Department's programming team were:
Jim Hawk - who died in a tragic auto accident in rural Pennsylvania, shortly after system cut-over.
John Garland- who was proselyted by ITT shortly after cut-over.
Ray Wolf who became the Programming Section Chief. Ray was a very intense and private guy. He was extremely competent and alert. On one occasion, while Ray was working a Sunday to try to find out what a problem was with the PDP 15 computers that ITT installed to replace the ADX, he noted that he was feeling a little warm and got a floor puller to pull up one of the sections of the raised floor. A rush of cold air came out. It was then he realized that the computer equipment had fans installed to bring the air downward through the equipment. ITT had forgotten that the cold air was in a plenum under the floor, not in the ceiling. The fans were reversed and the problem Ray was chasing for several weeks disappeared. After a long illness, he retired from State. He was sorely missed.
Jim Meador worked the off-line, Journaling and RACE sub-system programs.
Bob Berger, Barry Aiken, Edna Gonsky, and Jim Beard completed the excellent team, whose intelligence, work ethics, and technical skills contributed to the success of the ATS, and subsequent replacement systems, for years to come.
One of the requirements was that the ATS hardware comply with the TEMPEST Standards on space radiation as promulgated by NSA. Dick Rapier, a State Department communicator, was an expert in this field. He worked with the ITT engineers in running exhaustive tests at the plant. When something was discovered that radiated, Dick helped to eliminate the source. As a result, the ATS was very clean, radiation wise. Even so, the system was installed in a shielded enclosure.
Tom Husky and Dale De Vaughn were Communications Engineers and maintenance men. Dale was skilled in the design of technical controls. Tom was cryptographic equipment expert. Both were members of the Department's contractor evaluations team and were involved in the development of the final specification.
Jack Hulbert - Jack came from GSA, after a period of time with NSA. He was a Communications Security expert. He had been a Communications Officer in the Navy. When he came to the State Department, he was assigned to Operations. He was involved in the various states of the development of the proposals. He was a member of the proposal evaluation and negotiation team. After the contract was awarded, Jack became the Contracting Officers Representative for the Site Construction Contract. This involved many intricate security features such as power and signal line isolation and the design of a very large TEMPEST proof shielded enclosure.
Will Naeher - Came to the Department from CIA, via GSA, where he worked with Jack Hulbert. His experience was in Communications Center Operations and Communications Security. He was ultimately assigned as Chief of the Department's Communications Center. Will participated in the development of the various proposals. He was a member of the proposal evaluation and contract negotiation teams. He was assigned as the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for the System contract. After cut-over, Will continued as Chief of the Communications Center.
Bob McConahy - Bob was in COMSEC and contributed to many of the features in the proposal to meet COMSEC standards. Bob later became the Planning Officer for the Office of Communications.
As time went on, representatives of the Department and ITT met in an off-site staff meeting to discuss how the system could be improved to take advantage of the latest technology, which may not have been available at the time the system was designed. This proved to be very useful and was an example of cooperation between industry and government in the development of what was essentially a research and development system.
As I stated at the outset, there may be others who may have overlooked and have faded from my memory. If so, please write to the Editor of the CANDOER, or me, and fill in the blanks.
FEDweek publishes a FREE Weekly E-mail Newsletter for Federal Employees and Retirees. If you wish to subscribe to it, you may do so by visiting their web site at: http://www.fedweek.com. I have been subscribing to it for several months and found a lot of useful information for retirees, as well as those currently still working.
The following e-mail was received from Paul Del Giudice:
To My CANDOER friends and Colleagues:
Thoughts I wanted to share.
On December 16, 1998, my mother passed away at the age of 99. She had a very good life, with the exception of the past couple of years; she then started to experience discomfort and pain. My mother's birthday was December 4th and my father and brothers had a birthday party for her, which she really enjoyed. She enjoyed it because she was surrounded by the family she loved, husband, sons and grandchildren, and then shortly after was invited to another birthday party. We believe she received an invitation from God to join her brothers, sisters and parents to attend His Son's birthday party.
My father, who is in fair health and has a sense of humor, will celebrate his 100th birthday January 27, 1999. His primary pleasure is enjoying the drives my brothers and I take him on. We drive out into the country, ending up at an Italian restaurant, that has become his favorite; and have a good lunch accompanied by a wine he enjoys.
The passing of a loved one need not be a sad event; it can also be a joyous celebration based on the life lived, the beliefs believed and the circumstances surrounding the event.
I wrote the foregoing to get my thoughts in order for myself, then decided that it was something that I wanted to share.
Thanks for listening.
On January 14, the following E-mail letter to the editor was received from Larry Ward:
I would like to thank everyone who sent cards or called during my recent illness. I'm doing just fine now, and it was good to hear from you, expecially those I haven't seen or heard from for so long.
/s/ Larry Ward
We had a VERY light turnout for the January CANDOER Luncheon. The following people were in attendance:
Bob Catlin, Paul Del Giudice, Jim Gansel, and Will Naeher.
The Foreign Service turns 75 this year. There will be various commemorative events throughout 1999. This year's Foreign Serbvice Day is scheduled for Friday, May 7 and will pay special tribute to the 75th anniversary. An evening reception on May 6, will be hosted by the Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired.
The following was received from Tim Taylor:
Don't you wish when life is bad
and things just don't compute
that all we really had to do
was stop and hit reboot?
Things would all turn out okay,
life could be so sweet,
if we had those special keys
ctrl, alt, and delete.
Your boss is mad, your bills not paid,
your wife, well she's just mute.
Just stop and hit those wonderful keys
that make it all reboot.
You'd like to have another job
you fear living in the street?
You solve it all and start anew
with ctrl, alt, and delete.
On December 27, I received an E-mail message from Jay Johnson. Starting January 4, 1999, Jay is going to be off the air for two months. He is traveling to Turkey and Florida. He expects to be back on the air the first week of March.
On December 29, I received an E-mail message from Vic and Harriet Maffei asking that I change their E-mail address. That change is noted in the Pen and Ink section of this issue and will be found on the last page of this and future issues.
On January 12, I received a letter and a check from Ivan Kern. Ivan heard about our group from Rey Grammo. Welcome aboard Ivan. Ivan's bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section and his E-mail address on the last page of this and future issues.
On January 14, I received an E-mail message from Larry Ward. Larry's bio and E-mail address may be found in the Pen and Ink section of this issue.
On January 19, I received and E-mail message from Dick Hoffer. Dick is now on-line. His E-mail address is in the Pen and Ink section and will appear on the last page of this and future issues.
Senator Smith asked Bride if he communicated the message to the officer on watch who had charge of the ship at the time. Mr, Bride replied, "Yes, sir."
Senator Smith: "Where you in bed when the collision occurred?"
Mr. Bride: "Yes, sir. I then took over the watch from Mr. Phillips. The Captain came by and said, "You better get assistance."
Mr. Phillips responded and turned the apparatus over to me.
Senator Smith: "Do you know what the message was?"
Mr. Bride: "C.Q.D., about a dozen times."
NOTE: C.Q.D. was the distress signal used on British ships, but the new International distress signal of S.O.S. had been agreed upon by most maritime nations at the time.
Mr. Bride added, "It was the code call of the Titanic."
Senator Smith: "Is C.Q.D. in itself composed of the first letters of three works, or merely a code?"
Mr. Bride: "Merely a code call, Sir."
Senator Smith: "How long after that call was sent out was it before you got a reply?"
Mr. Bride: "As far as I know immediately, at this point."
The inventor, G. Marconi, was asked by Senator Smith: "I am going to ask Mr. Marconi if he will tell us what C.Q.D. means, literally."
Marconi: "It is a conventional signal, introduced originally by my company to express a state of danger or peril of a ship that sends it. Everyone understands it. C.Q.D. means all stations stand attention and reply."
Marconi added, "I should add that the international danger signal, introduced or decided by the Berlin convention is S.O.S."
Senator Smith: "Was the signal S.O.S. also sent from the Titanic?"
"I do not know," replied Marconi, and added, "It denotes danger or distress. I believe that was sent too, from the Titanic, but of course, Mr. Bride will tell you if it is the fact."
Senator Smith: "But the danger signal C.Q.D. is the recognized signal for a ship in distress?"
Mr. Marconi: "Yes!"
Mr. Bride: "He (Phillips) told me to go to the Captain and report the Frankfurt replied."
Senator Smith: "Was the Frankfurt the first ship that picked up the C.Q.D.?"
Bride delivered the information to the Captain then on the boat deck, not the bridge.
I returned to Mr. Phillips, who was waiting for the position of the Frankfurt.
Senator Smith: "What was the next message received by Mr. Phillips?"
Mr. Bride: "A reply from the Carpathia. The Carpathia was coming along as quickly as possible. She turned around and was coming as quickly as possible."
NOTE: The Carpathia had left New York for Europe and was heading in the North Atlantic when the iceberg hit the Titanic.
Mr. Bride: "The message was taken to the Captain in the wheel house on the bridge. The Captain returned to Mr. Phillips."
Mr. Bride: "Mr. Phillips called C.Q.D. The Frankfurt answered. We gave the Frankfurt our position." He said, "Come at once." The Frankfurt said, "Stand by. Not Hearing." Mr. Phillips told the Frankfurt operator he was a fool.
We told him to keep out and not interfere with our communications.
Senator Smith: "Last thing you said to the Frankfurt."
Mr. Bride: "Yes, sir. The only ship I saw was the Carpathia."
NOTE: The Frankfurt was North German Lloyd.
Mr. Marconi: "I am not familiar with the wireless equipment on that particular ship. The call of the Berlin Convention which has only recently been introduced is the S.O.S. call, but the Marconi companies have used and still use C.Q.D.
Marconi thought the C.Q.D. was understood.
Mr. Bride: "We put on our life belts."
The Captain came by and told Phillips and Bride to look out for themselves. Phillips died on the way from the Titanic to the Carpathia. His body was taken aboard the Carpathia and he was buried from the Carpathia.
SIXTH DAY OF HEARINGS
Thursday, April 25, 1912, Washington, D.C.
Witness: Guglielmo Marconi then in his late thirties, a wireless-radio pioneer, and head of an international communications monopoly.
Senator Smith confronted him, about agreeing to the sale of poorly paid operator exclusive stories to the New York Times, when they arrived at port aboard the Carpathia.
Senator Smith asked about Harold Bride and Jack Phillips.
Smith: "Where were you when the Carpathia landed?"
Marconi: "I went aboard the wireless operating room and asked about Bride and Phillips. Operator Cottam of the Carpathia not there. Commanding Officer of Florida intercepted messages from Marconi Co. "(KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.) "It is fixed for you so you will get big money." To Marconi Officer Carpathia and Titanic: "Arranged for your exclusive story for dollars in four figures. Say nothing until you see me."
Marconi: "I was in favor of it, or at least, I approved or consented to his getting something out of this story."
"Bride had behaved in such a brave and gallant manner ... they would be ready to pay him for a story."
Smith: "Do you know whether Cottam, Carpathia's wireless operator or Bride sold their story?"
Bride got $500 from The New York Times.
The committee does not believe that the wireless operator on the Carpathia showed proper vigilance in handling the important work confided to his care after the accident, information concerning an accident at sea had been used by a wireless operator prior to the accident for his own advantage. That such procedure had been permitted by the Marconi Co., may have had its effect in this occasion. The disposition of the officials of the Marconi Co., to permit this practice and the fact that the company's representative made the arrangements for sale of the experience of the operators of the Titanic and Carpathia subjects its participants to criticism, and the practice should be prohibited. The committee is pleased to note that Mr. Marconi approves of such prohibition.
The U.S. Senate's sub-committee final report on the Titanic disaster issued May 28, 1912:
"Including the crew, the Titanic sailed with 2,223 persons aboard, of whom 1,517 were lost and 706 were saved."
The sea was calm, weather clear.
On the third day out, ice warnings were received by wireless operators on the Titanic.
A second message reported ice northward of the track which the Titanic followed.
A third message reported two large icebergs.
A fourth message was received one hour before the accident.
It revealed the speed was not relaxed, the lookout was not increased.
When planning an overseas vacation, there is a relatively unknown mode of travel available which allows the voyager to do something very pleasant and different from previous trips. It is a sea journey by freighter. Passengers on a freighter experience the kind of voyage most people only dream about - relaxed, quiet, informal and friendly - the way travel should be.
Traveling leisurely to a virtually unlimited choice of destinations, passengers make new friendships with each other and the crew, while watching the endlessly changing sea, sky, aquatic, and bird life, or reading, playing cards, etc. They take freighter trips for a variety of reasons, the main ones being complete leisure for many days in uninterrupted tranquility, comfortable staterooms and surroundings.
Freighters travel the world's main trading routes to ports usually not visited by the large luxury cruise ships. Getting there is the real adventure. Not surprisingly, sometimes ports of call are added or deleted from the voyage at the last moment. It is an excellent way to visit and enjoy those out of the way places you typically read about only in the National Geographic.
FLEXIBILITY is the key word when planning a freighter voyage. Their itineraries are determined by the destination of the cargo they carry. CHANGES IN SAILING AND ARRIVAL DATES AND TIMES ARE COMMON.
Duration of voyages vary widely. Freighters carrying bulk or general cargo remain a few days in port, while fully containerized freighters unload and load in about 12 hours thereby reducing sightseeing on land. Round trip trans-Atlantic trips on a freighter carrying containers would be about 21 days. Other round trips from U.S. ports are approximately: around the world 115 days, New Zealand/Australia 65-70 days, trans-Pacific and the orient 35-40 days, South America 30-50 days, and Africa 60-90 days. Shipping companies do sell one-way passages, but only if a round trip cannot be sold.
Round-trips which include an extended break at a distant end to catch another vessel of the same shipping company for the return voyage are also available.
Passenger accommodations on freighters are spacious, usually with windows facing out to sea, and equate in size and comfort to those of a good motel. A ship steward is responsible for passengers' rooms and probably is the same person serving their meals. Laundry facilities are available.
Passengers dine with the ship's officers. Meals are invariably of excellent quality and variety, if not equal to the over-feeding that takes place on luxury cruise ships. As the freighter is a working ship, meal times are fixed according to the crew work schedule. Nevertheless, there is almost always a generous supply of food available in the galley for those passengers who wish to fix a meal or snack to eat at another time.
Freighters, especially container ships, have plenty of outdoor deck space for passenger use. Once at sea, passengers have freedom to roam about and socialize with the crew. Deck chairs are provided and occasionally some ships have a small swimming pool. On board or ashore, there are no planned activities. This is one of the main reasons people love to travel by freighter. A lounge for use of passengers and officers is usually furnished with a good supply of books, and often a television with a sizeable VCR tape library.
The ship's "slop chest" or store opens occasionally to sell basic toiletry items, candy, snacks, beverages, etc. Sale of alcoholic beverages depends on the shipping company, country law if in port, and the Captain's policy. Inquire when booking passage.
When visiting foreign ports, passengers use the ship as their hotel room. Some countries require visas before landing, so passengers are responsible for all passport/visa details. The shipping company or ship's crew are not responsible for arranging transportation or sightseeing trips on shore.
Most shipping companies have age limits for passengers (varying up to 72-80 years), require a medical statement from a doctor certifying good health and generally don't allow children under 12 years. Freighters carry 12 or fewer passengers and no doctor, although some ship personnel are trained in advanced first aid. Passengers must be able to move up and down several flights of stairs easily as elevators are not always available.
Perhaps the most difficult part of a freighter trip is the actual arranging of it. Of those travel agencies which may have heard of this type of vacation, none are willing to assist in the booking of passage as considerable advance time and effort are essential. One organization which does specialize in freighter passenger travel is: Freighter World Cruises, Inc., 180 South Lake Avenue, Suite 335, Pasadena, California 91101, Tel. (818) 449-3106 or (800) 531-7774:
Once you have booked a voyage, it is absolutely essential to maintain contact with the shipping company or agent, especially within the last two weeks prior to departure. Remember, changes in sailing dates and schedules are common.
Editor's note: The writer and his wife, Mary, are residents of Green Bay, Wisconsin and veterans of several freighter voyages. They have indicated they would be happy to assist any CANDOER to get started on a freighter trip.
A true story out of San Francisco:
It seems a man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the branch and wrote, "This iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag." While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to Wells Fargo. After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller.
She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he was not the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stick up note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said "OK" and left. The Wells Fargo teller then called the police who arrested the man a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.
And Seattle ... When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying it was the best laugh he'd ever had.
San Antonio ... 45 year old Amy Brasher was arrested in San Antonio, Texas after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had brought to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, Brasher later said that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.
Pontiac, Mich ... Drug possession defendant Christopher Jansen, on trial in March in Pontiac, Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said the officer didn't need a warrant because a "bulge" in Christopher's jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five-minute recess to compose himself.
Detroit ... R.C. Gaitlin, 21, walked up to two patrol officers who were showing their squad car computer equipment to children in a Detroit neighborhood. When he asked how the system worked, the officer's asked him for a piece of identification. Gaitlin gave them his driver's license, they entered it into the computer, and moments later they arrested Gaitlin because information on the screen showed Gaitlin was wanted for a two year old armed robbery in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mega Moron Awards
Tennessee: A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole the bank's video camera, while the camera was remotely recording. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of himself stealing the camera).
Louisiana: A man walked into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, was a crime committed?)
Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. Seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.
New York: As a female shopper exited a convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police had apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes Officer ... that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."
Ann Arbor: The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 12:50 a.m., flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.
Kentucky: Two men tried to pull the front off a cash machine by running a chain from the machine to the bumper of their pickup truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off the machine, though, they pulled the bumper off their truck. Scared, they left the scene and drove home. With the chain still attached to the machine. With their bumper still attached to the chain. With their vehicle's license plate still attached to the bumper.
And the funniest one of all times.....
Florida: A thief burst into the bank one day wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun. Aiming his gun at the guard, the thief yelled, "FREEZE, MOTHER-STICKERS, THIS IS A F----UP!" For a moment, everyone was silent. Then the snickers started. The guard completely lost it and doubled over laughing. It probably saved his life, because he'd been about to draw his gun. He couldn't have drawn and fired before the thief got him. The thief ran away and is still at large. In memory of the event, the bank later put a plaque on the wall engraved "Freeze, mother-stickers, this is a f----up!"
Bonn had been operating as the second State Department on-line establishment for some months when Congress reportedly slashed funds from many government agencies. There was a certain pot of gold in one budget which was planned to fund the major upgrade of a communications facility in Europe (not Bonn) but Congressional budget slashing took it all away. The State Department, however, somehow survived Congressional cutting in relatively good condition that year and thus both the money and the will for upgrading State Department communications apparently fell into place. In any event, major changes took place in Bonn at about the same time that Jack Coffee became involved with overall State Department communications. (It is my understanding that he had also been involved with the plan that died on the vine at that other location in Europe.)
I was, of course, not privy to the reason for which Bonn received funding for an upgrade but I do know that the crew assigned to Bonn was led by some pretty sharp people. There was a dynamic atmosphere, generated by the communications center supervisor, Len Buflo, who encouraged discussions regarding the improvement in our procedures both in-house and in country. There were five or six consulates plus the mission in Berlin all subordinate to the Embassy, plus our responsibility for serving the eastern European posts through the unclassified wire room which was really a relay station. Len Buflo, and shift supervisors John Fuerlinger, Jim Holmes, and myself gathered often for discussions about how to improve what we were doing. It was an exciting time as we began to see outdated equipment give way to newer stuff while we took on more work, i.e., the DAO office closed it's communications section and sent more than a dozen communicators to other military assignments. We picked up all of their traffic with no difficulty. Some of us had been apprehensive about that development as the date for cut over approach but, afterwards, we wondered why they had so many people. Anyway, we neither got any more people or needed them to handle DAO traffic.
The renovation of a portion of the fifth floor began. The plan was to move communications operations from the second floor and to install new equipment on the fifth floor. Much of the new equipment was relay station gear consisting of banks of torn-tape TDs and racks of crypto equipment. By the time we actually moved in to the new facility, work had become so heavy and personnel so few that many people regularly worked well beyond their eight-hour shift. There was all the overtime anyone could ever want.
Another major change that had taken place in the early sixties was that communicators no longer had to be single to be hired by the Department into the Foreign Service! That requirement was in place when I came on board in October of 1959. The upshot of this change was that the type of person assigned to Bonn communications changed from, well a lot of party-going bachelors and gals to a lot of brown-baggers who had to rush home after work to wives and children. My two year initial assignment had changed from two years to three years with subsequent extensions of six months and then three months so I got to see this change of people. By October of 1964 when I left for my next post, the party was long over and it was just work 'till you dropped. Good riddance.
The on-line circuits which were installed in Bonn when I left ran to Berlin, Brussels, London, the Department, I think Frankfurt, Pirmasens, CINCUSAREUR in Heidelberg, and CINCEUR in France. There may have been a few more circuits but my memory fails.
This upgrade happened in the season before shielded enclosures thus four or five years later another one was going to take place in Bonn (still pre-BAX) in which newer equipment, more circuits and a shielded enclosure were installed.
In the years to come, BAX was to be installed in the housing area in Plittersdorf. And now, as I write this, BAX has gone and the space once occupied by it is part of warehouse space which is scheduled to be sold as the Embassy prepares to move to Berlin.
Note: I hope the reader will understand that the foregoing story may contain some inaccuracies though it constitutes my understanding of the events which took place while I was in Bonn. I believe it is all pretty close to fact.
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
1-20 ounce can pineapple slices
1/4 cup butter (or margarine)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
A few maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
A pinch salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg beater)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peal
Drain pineapple. Save 2 tablespoons of the drained syrup. Melt butter in a 10 inch skillet. Stir in light brown sugar until blended. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple slices in the sugar mixture in skillet. Put a cherry in middle of each slice. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk and shortening. Beat for about 2 minutes. Add egg (or egg beater). Beat again. Stir in 2 taplespoons of the saved pineapple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon peal. Pour over pineapple in skillet. Spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Cool on wire rack 5 to 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Serve while warm
SERVES: 6-8 people
The Hungarian participant in the plot to get us a dog was amused when I told her that he, just after being weaned, was already paper-trained. She explained that the breeder kept all the pups in one room of her apartment, where the entire floor was covered with newspapers. The pups HAD to piddle on paper. After a few days, she removed a few sheets and a few days later, a few more. The pups kept going to whatever paper was left. When they were down to one sheet they were paper-trained.
This paper-training was so effective that it became a problem later when it was time for him to go outside. We lived in a fairly wooded area, high in the hills to the north of Budapest. We had a large, fenced-in, back yard so there was plenty of room for a pup to do his business outside. I thought that was even more of a built-in instinct than being trained to go on paper. I was almost right. He wouldn't tinkle on the grass or near a bush. We resorted to setting the alarm in the morning so one of us (namely me) would rise around 5 a.m., quietly go to his box downstairs and quickly rush him outside, knowing he'd have to go right away. It was apparent that he was in agony, needing to go desperately but he wouldn't do it unless he was on paper. I actually lifted his leg for him once but he was too young to do that whether on paper or elsewhere. Such was his discomfort that I couldn't bear it so I'd rush him back to the house. We wondered how we were going to train him to do his business outside without being cruel. In retrospect, I suppose we could all have gone for a long walk without paper until he did his business but it was a very cold winter and, following three and a half years in South Africa, we were unaccustomed to the cold. We left it to nature to handle it.
During this period we made a trip to visit friends in Vienna. Along the snow covered countryside near to the Austrian border, we stopped at a clearing and got Gypsy out to romp around in the snow and maybe take a piddle. The poor little thing frantically searched for paper. We did all everything thing we could think of to get him to go but he would not. My wife couldn't stand it; she went to the trunk, got some newspaper and spread it on the snow and little Gypsy went right to it. Other cars were also stopped so many people observed our efforts to get him to piddle, realizing that something was cockeyed. Then they saw him squat on the newspaper, on the snow. There was laugher all around. That Gypsy didn't give a hoot. Now what do you do with newspaper that has been piddled on and there are no trash containers around?
Over the course of the next several weeks, Gypsy discovered another dog, which belonged to some people who were building a new house next door. It was a scruffy beast that barked constantly and several times enticed Gypsy through yet another hole in the fence. He must have taken notes while visiting with his buddy next door because by the time I located and plugged the last hole through the fence, that Gypsy had learned his lesson.
I grew up in a world of Desotos and slide rules, Fitch Shampoo and the Katzenjammer Kids.
I was raised on cereal that was "shot from guns" and soup that was "Mmm, mmm, good!" I knew what to use to "look sharp, feel sharp and be sharp"; and that a "little dab would do me." I also knew what went "push, pull, click, click"; and all the characters in Li'l Abner.
But I never could tell which twin had the Toni. And when the radio announcer said, "Ah, ah, ah -- don't touch that dial!", I didn't.
Grown-ups saved Raleigh coupons and kids sold White Cloverine Salve. Penny postcards were still around, and so was Randolph Scott. There were no jet airplanes and locomotives ran on coal.
At the store, no one ever asked, "Paper of plastic?" But they did actually count back your change and always said, "Thank you." And if we couldn't get what we wanted at the store, we could send an order to Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Aldens, or National Bellas Hess.
There were no computers to play with, but there were card games like Rook and Flinch and Pit. If cards weren't the thing, then maybe a board game would do; something like Parcheesi - sorry - and, of course, Monopoly. Instead of Legos, we had Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs, Erector sets and just plain blocks.
No one I ever knew had a back yard swimming pool back then. Movie stars out in Hollywood had pools, and no one in my hometown was a movie star. We had some creeks and a lake instead. They weren't as handy as a pool, but they were more fun!
I knew the Dodgers lived in Brooklyn, and I was fairly well acquainted with the folks at 79 Wistful Vista.
Nabisco's Skyflake crackers were the best, and so were Philco appliances. And folks used to ask, "Is that a Kaiser or a Frazer?"
There were no VCRs for a very good reason: We didn't have television. And because recording tape wasn't around yet, home recordings were rare and were made on disk records or wire. Wire recorders were a lot like tape recorders except they used--uh--wire.
Disk records spun at 78 rpms. And 45s, LPs, and hi-fi made it into my world just before I retired from childhood.
My photographic world was mostly black and white. Easy-to-use color film didn't come along until I was a teenager. Indoor photos required the use of flash bulbs, usually number 5s or 25s. Most folks called all cameras Kodaks.
Door-to-door salesmen sold vacuum cleaners, encyclopedias, and Fuller brushes. Others brought milk, bakery goods, and Jewel Tea products.
When we kids were short on cash (which was most of the time), we'd search every nook and cranny for pop bottles to take to the store. Little ones were worth two cents, and the giant quart size bottles were worth five cents. A nickel would buy a Hershey bar or an ice cream cone. Two nickels would get us a comic book.
One might wonder how we ever repaired anything since we didn't have pop rivets, duct tape, or WD-40. Well, we had baling wire and penetrating oil!
Way back then, the words "said" and "goes" were not synonyms, and "card" and "key" were never verbs. CD meant Civil Defense , and APR meant April. VCR and ATM didn't mean anything.
Kids' action figures were called dolls!
These are some of the things of my good old days, although there may be some young folks who say those days weren't all that good. They say the newer, modern thing make today a whole lot better.
Well, I don't know. Maybe so. But I'll tell you what, kids can have their BMWs and IBMs. As for me, I'll take a Desoto and a slide rule (no Y2K problem!) And get along just fine.