Monday, June 29, 2009

Personal Dateline: Tehran, Iran 1966

Iran has been in the news a lot lately. It means more to me than some, as I have friends with family connections there AND I lived there for 3 years or so in late 1960s. My father was a radar tech in the Air Force. We lived in the Tehran Hilton for months and then lived in several houses. This wasn't base housing, but large, mud & camel-hair walled houses with large yards protected by high walls and dry moats (ditches along outside of wall). Each house sat seperately sorrounded by its own walls. I don't know if the houses were loaned or given to use by USAF or what. 

The Shah was in power and Iran was a US Ally, more or less. As a young boy, most of my impressions are of places and experiences, not politics. I remember hot, dry summers, the noise camels make when they don't want to move (one day we heard a god-awful noise and we finally had to go up on the roof and peek over the wall to see - it came from a kneeling camel being prodded by a frustrated camel driver), an Irianian merchant hawking "strawberries - strawberries" outside the wall, the baji who used to help around the house, the un-americanized bathroom that was just a hole in the floor (fortunately "real" toilets had been installeed), a dead mule left to lie where it fell, fly-covered meat hanging in stalls, unleavened bread stacked and tied to the rear fender of the delivery boy's bicycle, roadside ditches in Tehran that ran like open sewers (saw someone brushing his teeth crouched at the ditch while nearby another man was taking a  leak), the taste of chlorine on any fresh produce (mom would soak veg & fruit in bleach solution), the taste of long-frozen hamburger patties from the BX, Easter parties at the officer's club (?), image of giant scorpion in tile on the bottom of the club swimming pool, swimming in a small, rectangular goldfish pond in our first home, riding into Tehran with my Dad when he had to go meet with locals (and being left to wait inside locked brown stationwagon - and how scared I was when two uniformed Iranians asked me to open the door so I could move the car from blocking a driveway), learning farsi from our schoolbus driver (some of which I can still speak today, enough to say "hi, how are you" anyway), throwing cookies off the 28th (or was it 38th) floor balcony of the Tehran Hilton, lots of three-wheeled vehicles on the road, seeing snow on the mountain peaks while we roasted down below, a HUGE HUGE wolf that got  into our compound (what the walled-in yards were called) when the solid metal gate was accidently left open, occassional sightings of hyenas and wild boar and things that came down out of the mountains in winter, large vultures sitting by the side of the road, giant spiders, TAS - Tehran Amerian School - with all grades from K - 12 plus more - a long bus ride.

These are the impressions of a young boy uncluttered by the facts or politics and why Americans were there. I have loads more of these little snapshot impressions that seem to have been indelibly imprinted in my memory banks. There is also much richer detail than I've gone into here, where I've just used the memory montage as my tool of expression. I only have to pause and picture one thing and it all comes flooding back. It was a truly fascinating experience.

We never learned what my father was really doing in Iran. The cover story was working on (secret?) radar installations, and maybe that is all it was. Later in life, he wouldn't say. It was either a real secret or he just wanted to portray a little drama in our lives. We left in 1968 or 1969, when internal unrest made being an American in Iran an unwise arrangement. I believe the Shaw was overthrown or exhiled or something. I do remember the grownups talking about how American families were being asked to leave. My father stayed on longer. 

A June of Endless Gray

A June of endless gray
A sky ever heavy, laden with moisture
A forest dark. green. growing
A river, late, high-flowing

The sun, when seen, surprises
When low clouds lift, endless patterns
More pacific coastal than mountain clear
All life adjusts, to rain, this year

Monday, June 15, 2009

Riding Truena Rollos Home to NH for Bike Week

Riding a motorcycle is so much more experiential than driving a car. You are aware of every mile. Your senses take in all through which you travel. You feel every minute change in temperature and humidity as you ride in and out of hollows. You smell every scent wafting in the air through which you pass. You smell the damp forest litter, the tannic irony odor of wetlands, and every growing, blooming plant. It can't be compared to driving, even with the widows down. And though riding feels a bit like flying, it is so much better simply by the involvement of your senses.

Today I traveled to NH to visit friends and family, and to participate in Laconia's Bike Week. I drove through three thunderstorms east of Keene Valley, along Route 73 and Tracy Road, an otherwise very bike-friendly curvy road.

The Adirondack High Peaks were shrouded in rain. Heading towards them from a distance, I saw the wispy, twisting gray columns of rain as it was blown down from the clouds along the mountain slopes and ridges.

Crossing southern Lake Champlain at the Crown Point Bridge, the panoramic vista and distant horizons yielded a spectacular view of myriad cloud formations - white lumpy cumulo-nimbus, dark-bottomed banks, silver-gray streaked clouds, shafts of rain.

As I approached each storm, I could feel the temperature drop by at least 10 degrees, the air held a definite chill, and within a mile or so I was slowing down, pelted by large-dropped thundercloud rain. Jagged flashes of lightning streaked across distant peaks. Ahead I could see blue sky and billowy white, towering storm clouds brightly lit by sun shine that couldn't penetrate the dark storm through which I was riding.

I scared up two moose wallowing in a small roadside wetland as I was going up the mountain in East Middlebury, Vermont. I scared up a third moose on the back side of the mountain, past the Snow Bowl.

At last I arrived in NH, back home, if but for a few days.


Trueno Rollos, Thunder Rolls, is my Titanium Gray Honda VTX 1300C

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wow, what a spam/phishing story • Fw: FBI Seattle Division

------Original Message------
From: FBI Director
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: FBI Seattle Division
Sent: Jun 14, 2009 5:20 PM

Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Seattle Division
1110 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101-2904
Payment Code: R5109176K
Reg No: 132731593

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has discovered through our
intelligence Monitoring Network that you are eligible to receive the sum
of $7,500,000.00 USD regarding to an over-due Inheritance/Award payment
which was fully endorsed to be paid in your favour.therefore,the FBI
Seattle Division in conjunction with the United States Department of
Homeland Security (DHS), Has screened through our various Monitoring
Networks and has been confirmed and notified that the transaction you
have with the Financial Institution is Legal and you have the Lawful Right
to claim your due fund.

The President His Excellency Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar Adua President of the
Federal republic of Nigeria has given us the final approval to pay your
fund to you within the next 48hrs, Your fund valued $7,500,000.00 USD has
been deposited into a Gold smart Card number: 5179 1234 5678
personal identification is ATM- 7997 this card will enable you buy and
withdrawal cash anywhere around the world this is done for your own
security, with this card you will not have to take the risk of sending us
your personal banking details online as you have been strongly advise by
your local bank not to send your banking details to anyone online.

What you are required to do now to Pay the fees of $210.00 USD for the
shipment of your Gold Smart
card to your choice location, $210.00 USD is the only fees that has been
approved by both the FBI and the Bank that you are to pay as cost of
Delivery of your Card to you by the courier company.Once the fees is been
paid your ATM CARD
will get to you in the next 2-3 working day.

Note: Your funds are protected by a hardcover insurance policy, which
makes it Impossible to deduct any amount from the money before it can be
remitted to you.this means that the above charges cannot be deducted from
the Funds and hence must be provided by you before your fund is
transferred to you.the payment for any of the above options should be sent
via Western Union Money Transfer in the name of the Head of accounts Mr.
Julius Azuka.
Find below the payment information.

Name of receiver: JULIUS AZUKA
Office Address: Plot 143, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos 23401
Text Question: In God
Answer: We Trust
Name of Sender:.....................
Address of Sender:..................

As soon as we receive your payment, he shall proceed with your fund
transfer immediately.
We anticipate your prompt response. If you need to contact me at any stage
please do not hesitate to call (+1-206-203-4190)

Steven M. Dean (Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge)
cc Robert Mueller (FBI Director)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Meanwhile . . .

When you are sick, when you are not well, you'd think that friends and family - loved ones - would rally 'round. But they all turned away, shut doors, and moved on.

everyone's lives went on without me.

Friday, June 05, 2009

SLHS Class of 2009 Senior Tea

The Class of 2009 attended a Senior Tea at Nonna Fina Italian Restaurant (151 River Street) in Saranac Lake on June 1 2009. Below is a short video.