Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grandma’s Hat

Cathy says

Hi…Bob and I visited Maine this summer….a great time, although we missed Lillian.  The hat collage pic was done with Lillian’s hat.  So I thought I would take a pic of everybody at Coffee Pond wearing Grandma’s hat.  Molly asked if she could have her picture taken sitting on the dock with her feet in the water so she would look like Babcia (see pic of Lillian on dock)!!!  That was one of her favorite spots!  Cathy



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jesse & Steph on the trail at Audobon.

John finally had a whale watch experience... really delightful day with GREAT rewards.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Farewell Pickles


When we returned from vacation we were given the sad news that Pickles our elder feline warrior did not return from his nightly hunt of rodents and moles. It was impossible to keep this guy in the house for any length of time (and we tried). He loved the outdoors and and would complain loudly if we didn’t let him out. He was definitely a warrior, we found him as a stray many years ago. Over the years he lost a fang, managed to kill some big game (a rabbit) and gathered a few battle scars. He was gentle with us and the other cats but was not interested in typical cat distractions like boxes, bags and laser pointers. He couldn’t be bothered with such frivolities.

Paris and Buster are still with us. Paris is an indoor cat and Buster spends time outside only when he gets banished for tormenting Paris. He’d rather sleep on an amplifier than hunt. Paris concentrates on insects and moths. If vermin are in the house I know I can depend on her. Pickle’s got along with both of them. He will be missed

Monday, July 20, 2009

A tour of PoltrackNet

Every so often I’d like to explain what I have created with the myriad blogs and web locations. There is a method to my madness. All of this was came into existence in part as a reaction to mass email messages with lots of “reply to all”. It seemed more efficient to just post messages on a virtual bulletin board and let folks add their comments. Here is the “tour” (Web site with links to all the rest of the sites) (PUBLIC family blog) (PUBLIC blog for political and other hot topics) (PUBLIC family audio recordings, I needed this because I couldn’t figure how to embed audio into blog) (New site, happenings in and around the Monadnock region, and my home town of New Ipswich) (MEMBERS ONLY, family discussions, files, links and pictures). Updates are provided via email but the members can modify the frequency of the updates or opt out if it becomes burdensome.

In addition there are several photo sites. The majority of these sites are not publically accessible. Links to these pictures are provided via the private forum site or through direct email invitations. An example of this are the birthday mailings that family members receive.

Of course there is more, the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but they follow their own rules.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

North Carolina Wildlife

I always thought North Carolina might be a nice place to spend the retirement years. But apparently it is also attractive to other exotic life forms. If you visit it may be good idea to avoid storm drains and sewers. With all our rain it’s just a matter time till this “thing” migrates up to New Hampshire.

This weather is for the birds!


The only bright spot during this dreadful weather pattern is the constant appearance of hummingbirds around the feeders. The rain seems to have dampened the flowering of their native food sources so the feeders are quite attractive to them. It’s great being a teleworker, I can work while listening to Hank Williams and watching hummingbirds. Now if it would only … please… STOP RAINING!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

823rd Bomb Squad - “The Terrible Tigers”

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Ed Poltrack's Squadron

You just never know what you will learn about on the internet. I posted a blog entry for Memorial Day that featured some WWII photos of my father, aunt and uncles. A reader contacted me and told me that he knew of my uncle. The reader (Jeremy) maintains a website “The Heroes of WWII” which features a collection of WWII artifacts and archival material.
I’m learning some interesting stories about my uncle from the links that were provided on Jeremy’s site. One harrowing one was an account of Mission #48 that occurred on April 16, 1944. It is referred to as “Black Sunday” and may be found here. I find it amusing that they refer to Ed Poltrack as “Polecat”, a moniker that has been handed down to all of us with that last name.
My generation was born after the war and it is true that our fathers, uncles and aunts did not talk about the war. It is only in these times as we lose our “greatest generation” that we can take a look back and learn about the sacrifices and dangers of that time.
Ed is still with us and lives in North Carolina. Hopefully we can contact other members of the 823rd via this blog posting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Heat Wave!

Heat wave ! Houston is on the 3rd day of over 100 degrees! Whew. Significant difference from the Northeast. All is well here and I am having some local adventures while Pat rests. She is doing well and it is wonderful to have an extended visit~

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Pyroman in New Ipswich…not to be missed!

At Mary and Melissa’s graduation we were once again privileged to experience a performance by our very own “Pyroman” as well as great firework display.
Pyroman has spent many hours perfecting his craft. He wears a special Kevlar and Nomex outfit along with a motorcycle helmet affixed with pyrotechnic devices.
The pyrotechnics are electronically ignited, a process that consists of each device being attached electrically to a trigger box. This setup allows Pyroman to coordinate his performance to a musical score.
Pictures cannot adequately capture the essence of the performance but I tried to take a few.
I have been lucky enough to witness other Pyroman displays but this one was the best ever. The smoke did not obscure the stage and several new innovations were added. This year a pinwheel was added that produced a lovely dynamic spiral effect.
At the end of the performance, we were treated to several large mushroom shaped fireball effects that may have been generated using black powder and perhaps a type of organic fatty material. I questioned him about this but as all great artists, he is protective of his proprietary secrets.
Thanks for a great display!

Friday, June 05, 2009

CFR/Trilateral/New World Order and more!


Terry gave me a lead about research material that formed the basis of the article that I read online in the Pakistan Daily. Apparently this was lifted from a article posted by Rev Ted Pike and posted in June 2006. You can find it here.

It’s a bit sad that Reverend Ted doesn’t spend more time with his sculpting, painting and poetry, he seems to have talent with these pursuits. His skills as a preacher are a bit more questionable.

Of course once something is posted on the internet it get aggregated and rehashed in thousands of sites. I found one site that takes me back to the literature that Aunt Adeline sent us in the early sixties. All the old favorites are mentioned: The New World Order, Communists, Freemasons, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg Group,  Club of Rome, and the Illuminati. You can find that article here.

The internet is a smorgasbord for conspiracy fans. I am so sorry that Adeline did not have these resources when she was doing her research. I found another site for the “America as Babylon”  crowd which has some really cool images of occult symbols in Washington DC. These will be of interest to students of architecture. A link can be found here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

The latest combined casualty numbers for Iraq and Afghanistan is 4,962 dead.

As a child I remember at my grandmother house at the famed 4th street address seeing a picture of 3 smiling young men in the South Pacific.


This picture was shown in the local newspapers and is significant because it was a reunion of two brothers and their cousin. From left to right, Joe Kowaleski (cousin), Francis Poltrack (Marines) and Edward Poltrack (Pilot).

What is is extraordinary about this picture is the reunion part. The Pacific is a large place, it’s wartime, the only communication is sporadic letters. Ed writes about how he managed to arrange this meeting on Nov 22, 1943. He got Joe and tracked down Fran. He remarks about how thin and worn his brother looks. He writes how he asked about the fighting then regrets bringing it up.

About a year later the Commander of the 1st Marine Division predicted that the island of Peleliu could be taken in about 4 days. The battle lasted for 2 months. Peleliu had the the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War. The Japanese had entrenched themselves into the hillsides. It is arguable that the battle was not even necessary and a distraction from the more important goal – the Marianas.

Fran was killed at Peleiu on Sept 17th 1944, he was 25 years old. I’ve heard the stories about how my grandmother heard the doorbell in the middle of the night and went to an empty doorstep. My older cousins remember the relatives gathering at the family hotel in tears. I only know that there was an uncle I would never know.



It took me a while to understand what a “Gold Star Mother” was. My grandmother would ride with the other mothers in the parade. As a child I had no concept what they had lost.



I have a childhood friend on the wall in Washington. Fergus Connors Jr. was my buddy back in Stamford Ct when we lived in Veteran housing after the war.


Remember our war dead on this day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I’m ready to go back to Bimini

There is something to be said about floating in the warm Atlantic ocean which has a bit more salinity than is found up on our northern coast. Just drifting in nature’s amniotic fluid.


Bimini knows how to welcome it’s visitors. Bimini consists of 2 islands. We flew on Bimini Air on a very nice SAAB turbo prop to a small (and I mean small) airfield on one of the islands.

IMG_0006 - Copy

I knew that this was one friendly place when they handed me a rum punch on the ferry ride to the other island where we going to attend Tom & Danielle’s wedding at Bimini Bay.

IMG_0008 - Copy

Tom is the son of our long time friends the Dunfee’s. Our kids grew up together and we have had a few adventures over the years. I met them through my Navy roomate Frank Chupko at a party that we still talk about, probably because police were involved.


We arrived 2 days before the wedding and enjoyed the 2 pools and the ocean. This is a shot of the “infinity pool” which has the optical effect of appearing to blend with the ocean.


I did a bit of research before I left and found that I could take a snorkeling view of the Bimini Road leading to Atlantis (at least I believe it was).


The tour was lead by Bill Keefe of Bimini Underseas. They also offer dolphin encounters and Scuba diving. This was great fun because all the participants were wedding guests. Elaine was an experienced diver so she did some diving while we knocked back a few Kalik beers.


I found it interesting that the ocean level was 350 feet lower 12,000 years ago. This indicated that the entire Bahamas was probably Atlantis. Score one for Edgar Cayce.

Danielle did an nice job of giving us some nice activities. I joined the ladies to do some vigorous yoga to the sound of the surf. Danielle also taught the class!


She also arranged a very interesting tour of Bimini led by Ashley Saunders, a historian, author and artist. Ashley gave us a great tour of Hemingway’s cabin. I placed my hand into a cannon and received a bit of a surprise.


These lizards are everywhere but they seem to be harmless, still a surprise!

We ended up at Ashley’s residence/museum/boutique and he explained how he made up from materials found on the beach. Great place.



I purchased one of his books to read about medicinal plants and pirates. Pirates loved Bimini because it afforded a nice view of their prey along the gulf stream.

As we were taking this tour, I was dismayed to learn that I missed the opportunity to have a few with my former Navy roommate Frank and his brother John who were tending the bar in Alice town at the End of the World Bar.  This was a definite miss on my part. Frank and John know which bars to visit. Even more amazing is the fact that they picked the most famous one in Bimini. Here they are in all their splendor near the infinity pool with Ginny:


The ending of the tour led directly to the wedding. One culinary treat of the island is Conch Salad. You slice and dice  Conch, Onions, Tomatoes, Peppers, and liberal amounts of lime (to “cook” the still living conch). A nice hot sauce and a coconut rum and pineapple drink and you have yourself a wedding appetizer.



The wedding was great. Any wedding that allows you to wear a hawaiian shirt and be barefoot in the surf is a great wedding.





So Congratulations Tom and Danielle. We had a great time!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Congratulations Jesse & Stephanie


We attended Stephanie & Jesse’s graduation today. Both graduated as engineers, Jesse is a mechanical engineer and Stephanie is a chemical engineer. Stephanie is a member of the Society of Women Engineers.
This commencement was “Green”. Power for the ceremony was supplied by methane produced by a landfill. There were recycle and compost bins near the food area. Shuttle service was available and I noticed a train depot right on campus.
I was especially impressed with the commencement address given by Gary Hirshberg the CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm. I have a warm spot in my heart for the Stonyfield Yogurt folks because for a short time I lived next Samuel Kaymen one of the founders here in New Ipswich. When he came over to introduced himself I was actually cooking up some of my own yogurt in a Salton yogurt maker (this was in the wonderful 70’s when we were going to change the world and be self sufficient). I remember having a fine burrito supper with his family with plenty of wine… but I digress.
The conferring of degrees was accompanied by folk music plucked  right from the Peter, Paul and Mary songbook with a little Ian & Sylvia mixed in. The Graduates were puzzled by the musical choices but it took me back, way back.
Congrats again Jesse and Stephanie, you made your folks proud (and this uncle and aunt)


Monday, May 04, 2009

The Couch takes it’s final bow

Faithful readers of my blog may remember my travails on moving day with my friends and family. If you are new to these pages you may read about one experience by clicking here.

This last weekend I was spared another move because my daughter moved with the help of her brothers and her friend. I was spared the anguish. I spent the day managing to crush a chainsaw under a tree but that story may need it’s own post.

One issue with the initial move was the impossibility of moving a couch up a narrow and winding staircase.


This necessitated a dangerous external levitation of this ponderous loveseat


This process was reverse engineered when the time came to make the next move and the process was much quicker:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Music of Lost “The Variable”


The character Daniel Faraday played a lovely piano piece in the Lost Episode “The Variable”. I suspected the piece was composed by Chopin and a little research confirmed that. Daniel was playing the middle part when his mother informed him that he had no time for music. Definitely a poignant scene. Give a listen:

Monday, April 27, 2009

April Birthdays


April Birthdays: Bev, Linda, Abby, Cathy, Marcia, Lauren, Chris, Annie, Katie N, Jean and Betty.

If you are a member of Poltrack Forum you can revisit the albums by clicking here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Go Emily! – Boston Marathon 2009


Tomorrow, Emily will be running in her first Boston Marathon. She is very excited and we wish her well. Her Bib number is 24690. We will be down there cheering her on. Thanks to all who sponsored her.

The picture is from the Eastern States 20 miler that Emily ran on Mar 29. 2009.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Launching another blog


Why another blog? I’m experimenting with the idea of location aggregation websites. I live in an interesting town, I noticed that some of my postings were not really musings but observations about the daily occurrences in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. The sign, the ice storm and more. Not much content yet, but I’m sure something will happen soon.

Map picture