Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
|January 2012||Winter Issue||Volume 11 - Number 4|
Welcome to the latest issue of the newsletter dedicated to the CANDOERs (Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement). This newsletter will be distributed quarterly. New issues will be posted on the Web for viewing on or about, January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15.
The CANDOER Web site and newsletter may be viewed by going to the following URL: www.candoer.org
The success of this newsletter depends on you. I need contributors. Do you have an interesting article, a nostalgia item, a real life story, or a picture you would like to share with others? Do you have a snail-mail or an e-mail address of one of our former colleagues? If you do, send it to me at the following e-mail address:
Please, NO handwritten submissions.
This newsletter is available free on the Web to any and all who worked with or for members of DC, OC, IRM, IM, or LM.
This publication is available on the Web only.
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The CANDOER News will be available in three formats: the first format will be as a Web Page; the second format will be as a PDF file; the third as a Microsoft Word document.
The PDF file (Adobe Acrobat) and Microsoft Word document will allow you to print the newsletter.
If you are unable to read the PDF formatted newsletter, you can go to www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html and download the FREE reader. When installed on your computer, it will allow the automatic opening of the PDF file.
The following was received from Dick Kalla:
Would you please post this to CANDOERs?
I would like to announce that I have recently written and self-published a new novel. It is entitled: BELIZE BLUES, and is my first work of fiction. As the title suggests, a lot of the novel is set in Belize, a country that I have never visited by the way, so my apologies to those who have served there and have difficulties with some of the settings. Remember, however, that it is a work of fiction and, as such, the author is entitled to write things the way he or she perceives them. I suppose BELIZE BLUES would best be categorized as an action/mystery, if that's a genre that interests you. My hero is a retired RSO and Navy Seal who decides to relocate to Belize when his wife dies unexpectedly of a brain tumor. In Belize he discovers that a terrorist group is planning to carry a briefcase nuclear device into the U.S. His race to foil the plot, as the scene shifts to Washington D.C., is the main crux of the tale. BELIZE BLUES is available at Amazon.com. The price listed is set by Amazon, not me. If anyone is unwilling to pay the Amazon price, but would like to read the novel, I can purchase it at a reduced price and have it sent directly to your address. The price would be dependent on shipping costs, etc., but would almost assuredly be cheaper than ordering directly from Amazon.
The following was received from Eric Hughes. I worked with Eric for many years at State.
Born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Eric Hughes was raised by immigrant parents from the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Fulfilling his dream to explore the world, he served in the U.S. Air Force and was trained in cryptography and teletype. Hughes then embarked on his distinguished 35 year civilian government career in Washington, D.C. as a cryptographer with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Communications. As part of his duties, he encoded, decoded, and processed highly classified telegrams related to Vietnam, apartheid in South Africa, the Berlin Wall, the Congo, Cuba, and the Cold War. He rose to the position of supervisor.
In 1974, he was assigned to Yalta, Russia to assist White House communicators with providing communications support to Summit talks involving President Nixon, Secretary of State Kissinger, and Soviet Leader Brezhnev.
Despite his numerous commendations and stellar job performance, Hughes was denied career advancement opportunities. Hughes took on the case himself and sued the department for racial discrimination. In 1986 - twelve years after he challenged the agency for its illegal actions - Hughes won and was awarded a cash settlement.
In 1980, Hughes was selected for the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Post Graduate Intern Program. During his career at NOAA, he received the Special Act Award for exemplary performance in managing a heavy workload resulting in a $10,000 savings to the federal government. He was also awarded the Certificate of Recognition for outstanding individual and collective contributions in furthering NOAA's mission.
Yet again, Hughes experienced racial discrimination and sued NOAA in 1988. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heard his case and ruled that NOAA denied Hughes employment advancement opportunities based on racial discrimination. Hughes won the case and was promoted to the position of regional manager.
His careers at the U.S. Department of State and NOAA enabled Hughes to work at the international, national, regional, state, and local levels of government in two disparate careers. He retired in 1995 after 39 years of federal government service. Hughes earned a B.S. degree in Community Planning and Development from University of the District of Columbia, and a Master's degree in Public Administration from American University
Hughes decided that his long battles were too important not to share, and he was inspired to write his memoir, The Third Burden: My True Story of Defeating Discrimination in the Workplace - a candid story that chronicles his racial discrimination victories over the U.S. Department of State and NOAA.
Hughes recently completed his first novel, Our Time - Another Bond which gives readers a glimpse into the turbulent 1960s and weaves the influence of its music and culture throughout the story. The book also explores the subject of love and racial relations as seen through the eyes of his characters. For more information about Eric Hughes and his books, please visit www.richughes.com and www.discrimrelief.com.
My friend Nancy LaTurner, wife of retired communicator friend Fred, has just published a book that might be of interest to our crowd. Would you be so kind to send this out to the CANDOERs?
Nancy Pogue LaTurner, wife of retired communicator Fred LaTurner, announces the release of her new book Voluntary Nomads: A Mother's Memories of Foreign Service Family Life.
Nancy's engaging memoir begins in 1974 as her young family struggles without a livelihood in rural New Mexico. When a welcome stroke of luck lands her husband Fred a job with the State Department, Nancy eagerly packs their few belongings and bundles up their 20-month-old son and 12-month-old daughter for the journey from Los Lunas, New Mexico to Washington, DC and onward to any of 200 U.S. Embassies around the world.
Empowered by Nancy's enthusiasm and Fred's optimism, the naďve little family embraces their first assignment in Tehran during the final days of the Shah's regime. Dropped straight into a different culture and language in a country suffering the turmoil of revolutionary unrest, the LaTurner's learn how important adaptability is to their new way of life.
Throughout Voluntary Nomads, Nancy's recollection of raising two children in extraordinary conditions demonstrates that the triumphs and heartaches of family life go on, no matter how exotic the locations or unique the experiences. Nancy's stories of Foreign Service family adventures in Iran, Cameroon, New Zealand, Somalia, Dominican Republic, Austria, and Bolivia, told with warmth, insight, and candor, celebrate the resilience and resourcefulness of a spirited American family.
The paperback edition is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble . Digital versions can be downloaded at Smashwords and Outskirts Press.
This issue of the Newsletter is being posted to the web site early. Nancy and I, along with my sister Barbara, have rented a condo in New Port Richey, Florida for the months of January, February, and March.
I will have a laptop with me and an AT&T hotspot device to allow access to the internet but I am not sure how much time I will have to work on the Newsletter or other CANDOER activities. The hotspot device costs $20 a month for 2 gigs of data, so my on-line time will be limited.
While in Florida, we plan on doing some travelling around the state to places we have never visited before, such as South Beach, the Keys, and the Okeechobee Lake.
Also while in Florida I hope to get together with several of the retirees and former high school classmates who reside in the area.
Fishing season ended for me, this year, on the 8th of December. It finally got to cold for me to tolerate anymore so I put the boat in moth balls and packed my fishing gear up so I could take it to Florida with me. I plan on getting in a few hours of fishing while in Florida.
Thanks to Rush Lantz for the one-liners used in this issue.
By John Lemandri
I had just run 14 miles in the searing heat of Kuwait. My smelly shorts, shirt, socks and sneakers were soaking wet. I rang them out as best I could and hastily put them in my luggage. I had planned to remain in Kuwait another day but had received an urgent call that I was needed at home.
On the airport tarmac I physically identified my luggage as it was loaded onto the plane, a direct flight to Baghdad. I arrived two hours later - my luggage didn't. This is one of those strange phenomena similar to the pair of socks you put in the washer, only to find one missing at the end of the spin cycle.
I notified the airlines, who assured me my luggage would arrive on the next flight, even though I insisted I saw it put on "that flight." I waited three days and then filed a lost luggage claim for reimbursement.
Six months later I returned to the states a few days before Christmas. I had nearly forgotten about my missing luggage, which no doubt by now was festering with mildew and mold, when I received a call from the airlines. Expecting to be notified I would receive $400 dollars for my luggage, I excitedly answered the phone.
"Mr. Lemandri," exclaimed a voice at the other end, "we have great news for you."
I felt a warm glow in my heart, especially since it would soon be Christmas and I could use the extra money. "Yes, yes," I said in anticipation of the presents I would buy, "you have my $400 dollars?"
"No, even better," said the voice at the other end.
Even better? My thoughts soared from $400 to $600, or maybe even a thousand dollars reimbursement. "Yes, yes," I excitedly exclaimed.
To which the voice answered, "We found your missing luggage."
By Charles Christian
One of the perks of the Foreign Service is having opportunities to enjoy some pleasures in your off time that you probably would not have during a stateside tour. This was what we experienced when first married and my wife's first time overseas. It turned out to be a fantastic three year tour in Athens.
We were social minded and mixed as much as we could in our foreign tours. My wife usually taught school and this added to opportunities to meet people. She was teaching in the American Community School with diplomatic and Greek children besides those from the U.S. Mission. There she met an American-Greek lady who eventually asked us to join their social circle. She was a former airline stewardess in the states, as was my wife. Her husband was a wealthy Greek who owned a former fishing boat converted to pleasure use. Often they would invite two other couples to join them on long weekend cruises to various islands in the area. We were invited twice.
The boat had two big diesel engines, a sail, and a three man crew. The Captain in the wheel house had a bunk and the two other crew members bunked in the aft cabin below. We would all chip in to cover crew wages and cheap diesel fuel with no charge for the boat itself. Fuel and $10.50 a day for the wages of all three crew members came to about $50 a couple, plus food and drink. My wife and I would buy booze and food items from our military commissary and Class 6 store. (There was a large U.S. military assistance group plus the USAF air base.) We would be reimbursed by the other two couples for their share of the costs. We would get blocks of ice for the ice chests and a bag of charcoal near the marina in Piraeus. When under way we would just stop and jump in the ocean for a swim when we needed cooling off. We did Hydra, Spetsia, and Nauphion to the south one summer and the next year we went east to the islands of Kea and Kithnos.
On the south cruise we anchored one night off Spetsia next to Stavros Niarchos on his famous black and white sailing vessel. He was a well known Greek shipping magnate. He failed to invite us to row over and have happy hour with him; a great disappointment.
On the east cruise the two islands had lovely coves that had narrow inlets that gave the water the calm of a still lake. In the coves we would anchor for the night and one of the crew would go ashore in the dingy and start the BBQ on the sandy beach while we would sit around on the two hatches under a large canvas tarp for happy hour. Usually we would take a cold watermelon and fill it with a bottle of vodka and take turns drinking from it with straws. Cold beer was available at all times. Good wine, steaks, Greek salad and chewy bread would follow and then to bed early. While there we would take our snorkel gear and explore the clear water where you could see the 20-30 foot bottom from the surface. We looked for marine life and once we found ancient marbles with figures on them in the yellow sand near the shore. We never did figure out from what era or what the marbles depicted due to their weight not allowing them to be moved. It just added to the allure of the weekend. After nightfall we put sleeping bags on the two hatches instead of using the hot berths below in the main cabin. It also had a stove and a head with toilet and shower which had a holding tank.
The crew did all the cooking and cleaning up. We had nothing to do but swim, eat, drink, and smooze with each other. As this was before big time tourism in Greece, we usually had these coves to ourselves. No one lived near them except one had a small stone house that belonged to a shepherd and his family. We would also visit little ports which would have a village with a church, taverns, and some shops. There also might be ruins. We saw no other tourists usually back then.
One summer a FSO, who was a member of the Royal Greek Yacht Club, had borrowed a large yawl. He and his wife invited two other couples and we went for a long weekend to the Peloponnese. We anchored at the port of Epidaurus and took a taxi that evening to the ancient amphitheater at Epidaurus to see Maria Callas do Medea. Anyone who has been there knows that anywhere in the amphitheater you can hear what someone quietly says on the stage due to the unique acoustics. Callas was, as usual, outstanding and we knew we were having a great treat to see her perform an ancient play in one of the original venues. As we expected Medea took the kids to the seashore to drown them.
Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin, stars of the then recent film “Never on Sunday”, were sitting in front of us and did not invite us to come down and sit with them; another great disappointment.
We three men were the whole crew. The two men guests worked under the close supervision and direction of the host who was an expert sailor. On the way south we had a strong wind from the north and using a full reach of sail moved at a speed that was thrilling. The boat was equipped with an engine and depth sounder for use in sailing in narrow channels, shallow bays, or in a calm. We also towed a large dingy.
Once we passed through a narrow and shallow channel between two islands that were close together. I was below in the cabin monitoring the depth sounder and yelling out the depths to the helmsman (the host) topside. It made me think of Mark Twain and how he got that name working on the Mississippi River steamers of old. “Mark Twain”, was one of the soundings yelled up to the pilot house by a crewman with a lead weight on a rope and it denoted 2 fathoms (12 feet).
It was a tour to never forget, and when asked about it, we always break into a smile remembering the great times we often had including those three sailing experiences.
By John Lemandri
I once borrowed $946,000 dollars on margin and even thought about adding another $60,000 just to say I borrowed a million. My broker loved me, treated me to dinner and trips. I even had a special number to a girl on the trading floor at T. Rowe Price. They wanted to write a story about me, the smuck from Brooklyn who turned money into gold. I had a $3.6 million dollar portfolio, with my largest single holding (CMGI) at $1.4 million and my next around $600 thousand. I had about a dozen or so stocks. My best day I made $333,000 and my worse was a loss of around $450,000. An average day was up or down around 30 to 40 thousand. With no stops anything was possible, but I had a nervous breakdown when I began losing and didn't know how to get out. I had placed my trust in companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Cisco, Dell, Sun, Oracle and EMC. I considered them sanctimonious, almost like living family members who helped get me to the pinnacle of financial success and who would never desert me, so why would I ever desert them. If I could go from $450 thousand to $2.6 million in less than a half year, then why not ride the market a full year and get another $2 million, then pull out.
Made logical sense to me - except that greed kills. Belief in a company kills. The stock market kills. Never place your trust in anything. Diversify, go in slowly in increments, and add to positions on their way up, not down. Look for companies that are at the height of their success, and use moving averages and stop losses on the way up and down. Treat your investment as soldiers, each dollar one soldier, but if you have to cut and run, then cut and run. Reduce your exposure by liquidating your laggards first. Occasionally pull out and sit back for a few days when the markets are tough and you begin taking a beating. Give your mind a rest and the market a chance to settle down and see which way it is heading and start over, in small increments.
One week I dropped nearly a half million, then pulled out before going back in, all the time saying to myself, shit, if I had only gotten out yesterday I would have saved another $100 k. Hindsight is nice, it allows you to evaluate your mistakes and decide if you really are stupid. The market is a vicious monster that will eat you if you let it. Never let the market control you. You must always be in control of the market (at least to the best of your ability). And don't get sloppy with those stops. Adhere to strict discipline else you will be like all the rest - mediocre at best.
A few months prior to making all that money I went from $400 thousand to $1.5 million, only to drop around $450 thousand in one day while on vacation in Mauritius. I did nothing but drink, nearly emptied the island of rum. Within a week the market regained 90 percent of my loss while I had one hell of a headache. Those were the days in 1999 when throwing darts at a dartboard covered with random tech names would 9 times out of 10 get you a winner, and I was pretty good at darts, although I did get up at 3 am each morning, review the tech news on the internet, print reams of paper and read everything prior to going to work, and I mean everything about tech stocks. Then after work I would call my broker and place my trades.
Now I average around $1,750 dollars per week, only because as a retiree I am more cautious and do not invest a whole lot. If I make it, I also at age 63 take some off the table and use it - and you really need to keep it in to compound your winnings. It won't do me much good if I drop dead, especially will all my ailments. And heck, an extra 75 to 100 k a year for 3 hours work per day is plenty to supplement my income plus the rents I receive from my properties. People use to tell me, John, you can't take it with you when you go. To which I would respond, "Oh yes I can, I'm going to build a 6 ft x 6 ft x 6 ft coffin to accommodate $2.6 million in 20s in addition to my body." I know my friends will be digging me up soon after burial - if only because they missed me - and the twenties.
Take care and be safe!