22 March 2015

70 Years Since Iwo Jima

Category: Genealogy,Interesting Links — Posted by Michael at 1520

Bill Gatti 70 yrs ago today, my uncle Bill, my father’s brother, was at Iwo Jima. I wish he had lived long enough for me to know him and thank him for his service. Tragically, while he survived his time in the Pacific Theater, he was killed in a car crash in his early 20s after returning home. 

Return to Iwo Jima: Vets remember on 70th anniversary of bloody battle Iwo Jima

29 May 2014

Reading Rainbow’s Amazing Resurgence

Category: Interesting Links — Posted by Michael at 2050

I’ve never used or even looked at Kickstarter before but last night I signed up and made a donation to a great project. If you were a kid anytime in the 80’s or 90’s, chances are you grew up watching Reading Rainbow with LeVar Burton. (If you’re my age you probably also moved on to watching him as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and therefore greatly appreciate the cameo by Brent Spiner at the end of the Kickstarter video.)

LeVar carried Reading Rainbow into the digital age by turning it into an iPad app. Now he’s looking to take it to the web and bring it into schools. He’s funding it the same way the show was funded on PBS… “by viewers like you.”

He was seeking a million dollars over a period of 35 days. The goal was exceeded in the first day and more than doubled by the second day (today)! This is a testament to how many lives have been touched by Reading Rainbow.

Even though the goal was already exceeded by the time I donated, I’m proud to be a small part of bringing this great show and it’s mission of encouraging a passion for reading in a new generation of kids.

If you wish to donate too, just click this link or watch the video below for more info.

28 November 2013

The Thanksgiving Letter

Category: Interesting Links — Posted by Michael at 1006

Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you’ve never read The Thanksgiving Letter by Marney, you’re missing out! It’s worth rereading each and every year.

Enjoy the holiday and be thankful you’re not related to Marney.

11 November 2013

Veteran’s Day

Category: Interesting Links,Life — Posted by Michael at 1412

Veteran’s Day means a day off for some of us. For others it is a day just like any other. It should be, first and foremost, a day to say thank you to those who have served or are still serving in our nation’s armed forces. Their service and sacrifices are what make our nation great.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure sitting with one my my favorite veterans, my grandfather, and working to document his service. A member of what Tom Brokaw called “the greatest generation,” he served in the Navy during World War 2 both on land and sea. The part we focused on was his time at Fort Miles in Delaware. You can read the entire story and view photos here, but the end result of this endeavor was visiting my grandfather’s old duty station with him about 70 years after he detached from the post. Hearing his stories and memories while standing with him at the site brought me a new appreciation of his experiences during the war while he still sees them as just what he had to do at that time.

So, for those currently serving in the military, you never know… 70 years from now a historian might be contacting your grandson to document the invaluable service you are currently providing to our nation. Thank you.

19 October 2013

An Impressive Achievement

Category: Genealogy,Interesting Links — Posted by Michael at 2103

Back in April, I mentioned my cousin Kris was embarking on a hike of the entire Appalachian Trail. This week she finished her journey. Throughout the entire adventure she documented it with daily posts on her website. You can still relive her journey on her website, wayfarer.me. It makes for a fun and interesting read. Perhaps one day she’ll turn it into a book.

Congrats Kris!

21 May 2013

SS United States

Category: Interesting Links,Randomness — Posted by Michael at 0029

This is a great article from TIME magazine about the SS United States. I’d love to see the ship turned into a museum/hotel/dining/shopping complex like the Queen Mary out in Long Beach. Marianne and I had a blast visiting the QM. (Photos of that trip are here.)

The United States could be such a cool attraction at Penns Landing instead just sitting there rusting. It’s a piece of history that needs to be preserved.

More info can be found at www.ssusc.org.

05 April 2013

My Adventurous Cousin

Category: Genealogy,Interesting Links — Posted by Michael at 0954

My cousin Kris is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. (For my fellow genealogy buffs out there, she’s technically my 3rd cousin on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family… the Paulls) A simple post can’t begin to describe the journey she has embarked on. Luckily, she’s documenting the entire thing on her site at wayfarer.me. It’s definitely worth a read. Just be warned that you’ll quickly be hooked on following her daily posts.

31 March 2013

Worth a read… The Broken Hamburger

Category: Interesting Links,Randomness — Posted by Michael at 1600

When you think of casual dining chain restaurants, you don’t usually think of heartwarming stories that make you feel good about humanity. However, this story is worth a read. It’s a little sad that a waitress at Chili’s treating an autistic child with care and compassion is front page news but on the other hand it makes you feel good to know that there are people out there who do care about brightening the day of a child just because they can. You can read the article on CNN.

28 October 2012

RIP Newsweek

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 1723

NewsweekLast week Newsweek announced that they would no longer be publishing a print version of their magazine. They are trying to spin this as just entering a new era of an online only version of Newsweek. I personally see it as the end of an era and the end of the line for Newsweek. Now, I fully understand that I’m a big part of why print media is fading from existence. I seldom pick up a magazine and I never pick up a newspaper or news magazine. By the time a print version of the news, whether it is daily or weekly, hits the newsstand I’ve already read all about it on one of many online news outlets. If its breaking news, I’ve probably also already recieved e-mail, text message and push notifications.

So, will I miss Newsweek or any other weekly news magazine? Probably not. However, I feel a lot of weird nostalgia for this particular casualty of the online news revolution. Besides the fact that the magazine has been in publication for just about 80 years, it was a staple in our house when I was growing up. My father had a subscription and it was his favorite source of national and world news analysis. Every school project that my sister and I ever had which involved clipping pictures of things and gluing them to something included items clipped from Newsweek (and perhaps the Sears catalog). In the pre-desktop publishing world nothing spruced up a report like pictures of world leaders clipped from the pages of Newsweek. As we grew older, Newsweek became the source of topics for current events assignments and history reports.

And that is why I feel a bit of nostalgia for a magazine that I haven’t bought or read for around a decade.

Read more about it from the AP at http://bit.ly/RiV9q4.

01 September 2012

See who has permission to your accounts

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2207

We all have accounts on various web-based social media services and we all use various apps to access them. This means that at some point we’ve given each of those apps permission to access our accounts for the purpose of reading our data or posting on our behalf. What most of us have never done is go through and prune off the apps that we no longer use or that we didn’t mean to authorize. Every service has a page where you can manage those links, but finding them can take some searching. That’s where mypermissions.org comes in. It provides a direct link to each of these. It’s a simple page of links, but it’s useful. You’ll be surprised how many apps you’ve given permission to!

One word of advice… If you’re someone who has already deleted their Facebook account, do not try to access the settings of your former account as I’ve read that Facebook will automatically reactivate your account. They’re… umm… “helpful” that way.

28 July 2012

The Online Olympics

Category: Interesting Links,Randomness — Posted by Michael at 2331

I usually write many more posts in my blog during the Olympics than I do in the intervening years. The Olympics are also the only time (other than the occassional Phillies World Series appearance) that you’ll ever see sports of any kind mentioned on my website. However, usually I’m writing them as I watch the Games on television. This year that’s changing some. The more widely popular events are on the primetime broadcast and (my favorite) the late night broadcast. But what if you want to watch the women’s badminton preliminaries or for some odd reason, any fencing match. Then you’ll be glad (as I am) that NBC is live streaming every round of every sport at which they have a camera. While you can view it on their website, the best way is to download the NBC Olympics Live Extra app.  (Fair warning: You must be a cable or satellite subscriber to view NBC’s online content.)

01 July 2012

My Cousin Theresa’s Book

Category: Interesting Links,Life — Posted by Michael at 1831

A Long Way From RunnemedeAlmost everyone’s career has some interesting moments, but how many people can say that their career has had enough interesting moments to fill a book, nonetheless a book that people would actually want to read?  My cousin (first  cousin, twice removed on my maternal grandmother’s side for you genealogy buffs out there), Theresa, can say exactly that. She spent her career as a member of the US Foreign Service. She was in Saigon, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and again at fall of Vietnam. She was Consul in Cebu, the Philippines, chargé d’affaires in Laos, Ambassador to Guyana (appointed by Ronald Reagan) and Ambassador to Brunei (appointed by Bill Clinton) among many other fascinating positions and places.

I strongly encourage you to take a look at her newly published book, A Long Way from Runnemede: One Woman’s Foreign Service Journey. I’ve known Theresa forever and have always loved hearing her stories but reading them all in one place made this a book even I couldn’t put down. Besides, the fact that the cover features a picture of her standing in the Oval Office with Ronald Reagan has got to tell you the book is going to be interesting!

Check it out on Amazon.

06 May 2012

How many people watched my video?!

Category: Interesting Links,Life — Posted by Michael at 1335

I don’t shoot many videos, but since my DSLR camera can shoot HD video, I occasionally shoot a few short clips while on vacation or of my 2 year old niece on special occasions. I’m not crazy enough to try and host my own videos so I use YouTube to host them and embed them on my site. I know they’ll get viewed on YouTube as well, but never expect many views.

Most of my videos have at most a hundred or so views and most have much less. Then there’s the 30 second video I took at Jeff King’s Husky Homestead in Denali, Alaska. it was getting a view or 2 per week until few months ago. I started seeing comments on the video. I never get comments on any of my videos. They started out as hate mail from misguided animal rights folks who don’t understand dog sledding. But then it turned into normal comments.

The part that I find astonishing is that while my other videos still have at most a hundred or so views, this video is now at nearly 33,000 views. I can’t explain it, but it’s fascinating to watch as people from over 129 countries have watched it. Besides in the United States, it appears to be most popular in Hungary, Germany and Poland.

So, feel free to check out what apparently 33,000 other people have already seen!

28 March 2012

Political correctness taken to scary new heights

Category: Interesting Links,Randomness — Posted by Michael at 2203

This article leaves me a almost speechless. I’m not a fan of political correctness to begin with, and even less so when it’s forced upon kids. I’m a firm believer that religion has no place in schools. However, trying to remove everyday words from kids’ vocabulary in a misguided attempt to avoid offending anyone who has ever believed in any religion is deranged.

The words that the school is banning are not words like Jesus Christ or god. I’d get 100% behind that. The words they are banning are things like dinosaur and birthday. My personal favorite is however, the horribly controversial word… wait for it… pepperoni. If you are offended by any of these words, you need to wrap yourself i bubble wrap, lock yourself in a room and turn out the lights so that you can’t be offended by the color of the paint on the walls.

If I had a kid in NYC schools I would immediately throw him/her a big dinosaur themed birthday party. And yes, you guessed it, I’d serve pepperoni pizza.

Read the whole disturbing article here.

28 January 2011

A quarter century since the Challenger disaster

Category: Interesting Links,Life — Posted by Michael at 2214

Time really flies. I mean that in more ways than one tonight. I noticed this video of the Challenger disaster on CNN.com because today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. It s the exact video that I watched live at my Grandparents’ house in 1986. It hardly seems possible that it happened 25 years ago. after watching the video, I thought about writing a blog post, but I felt like I’d written something about it already. I couldn’t figure out what would have prompted me to write about it in recent months. When I looked back, I realized that previous post was from 28 January 2006 on the 20th anniversary! Like I said, time clearly does fly by.

You can check out my previous post here.

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