A nice story was published in The Villages Daily Sun today. I wish my parents were alive to see it (my Dad would be proud and my Mom would believe it!).
THANKS to the excellent reporter, Frank Ross, and to Greggory Cieslak of the Science and Technology Club who recommended my story to Frank. Also to my good friends David Dingee (a fellow Parkinsonian, resident of Freedom Pointe, and Philosophy Club leader) and Jay Kaplan (of the Humanists and Philosophy Clubs) for their kind words. Thanks also to the other friends whose names I provided to Frank, but who were not quoted in the final story.
Special thanks to my good bicycling buddies who trike with me, Jerry Bauer, Lorin Slauson, and Charlie Coelho (who took the photo).
The newspaper story mentions that I have some Blogs. Click the ">>>" for each item below to access some of my online activities:
>>>The Virtual Philosophy Club - Courteous Discussion of Serious Topics
>>>Visual Ira - Visualize Science and Technology With Ira
>>>"2052 - The Hawking Plan" (Free online Novel) Amore, amorality and Stephanie Goldenrod's mission to save civilization for an infinite future.
>>>Life, Liberty, and Technology - My predictions for the next several decades (companion site to my novel)
I knew a sergeant at The Artillery School who’d served from before WWII when
horse drawn artillery still existed. He’d served in a mountain battery that used
mules to carry the small howitzers in two pieces. The tube was placed on the
back of one mule and the carriage with wheels on another mule. The ammunition
and other battery equipment were also carried by mules. Mules were chosen over
horses because they were stronger, had staying power and were sure-footed on
On the negative side, some mules are downright stubborn
and unwilling to do their jobs if doing so doesn’t suit their fancy at the
moment. In Sgt. Clancy’s battery, one of the mules, Max, was noted for being
most stubborn of all. His habit was to rear up on his hind legs when the job or
situation wasn’t to his liking.
On or around Fort Sill there are no mountains
but there is rolling terrain. One fairly big hill, called Signal Mountain, rises 1200 feet or
so over its base at an increasingly higher slope near its top. A punishment
hike or two up the hill was a regular Saturday event for me when I attended
OCS. (Actually performed at a “paratroop shuffle”.)
For the mountain artillery,
Signal Mountain was the only way to keep its mules in shape. On one fateful
day, Sgt. Clancy’s battery was on its way up the mountain. Max was having one
of his more ornery days and had been kicking and rearing from the moment he’d
been led from the corral. His handlers couldn’t let him get away with bad
behavior on this occasion or he’d be worse the next time.
settled down sufficiently so a carriage could be loaded on and he fell in the
line of mules heading out on the trail. As I know from personal experience, the
trail up Signal Mountain is narrow and falls off sharply to one side. There’s
not much room for error, which mules seem to know instinctively. With the
exception of Max, all the mules settled into the climb at a steady pace,
placing their hoofs with practiced care.
Max knew better but he continued to
show his dissatisfaction by skittering around and tossing his head. Finally he
reared up on his hind quarters, a tremendous feat considering the load he was
carrying. Unfortunately, he rose past the point where he exceeded the center of
gravity (his and his load), fell backward and rolled down the mountain upside
down atop the carriage wheels accompanied by the cheers of his handlers. Max
was stubborn to his end.
PERSEVERING VS BEING STUBBORN
There’s a difference between persevering and being
stubborn. When one keeps trying to attain a goal using other than previously
failed actions, one’s persistence is considered to be strength. When one keeps
trying the same failing action, it’s called stubbornness and stupidity.
brings me to my subject which is current historic levels of stubbornness and
stupidity in Congress, as opposed to the usual stubbornness and stupidity
that’s a hallmark of those hallowed chambers.
It might have been better if the Republican-led House had practiced
with a few easier initiatives before introducing a bill that began changing
Obamacare. I use the word “began” because the plan of the Speaker and his
associates was to effect a change in three stages. It was quite certain
Democrats in the Senate would vote 100% against any Republican sponsored health
bill out of the House because Democrats in Congress and those not yet removed
from Executive Branch departments have been waging a fierce war against all
Republican initiatives since the election.
It makes no difference that the
country needs adult leadership right now desperately; the main goal for
Democratic officeholders is to let their constituents know they are bent on revenge
for having lost the White House and the sweetest revenges for most Democrats
are preventing any changes to Obamacare and preventing the appointment of Neil
Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Last week the Democrats succeeded in the first of
these and next week they hope to succeed in the second.
Actually, it wasn’t
Democrats who defeated Obamacare replacement. It was 25+/- Republican
congressmen who call themselves the “Freedom Caucus.” They consider themselves
to be “true” Conservatives and, therefore, are “real” Republicans who take
Party principles seriously.
As far as I can figure out, I share all the major
beliefs of these guys but I want you to know I think they were stubborn and
stupid on this occasion as they were back when the previous Speaker gave up and
retired rather than fight them as well as a President (Obama) out to destroy
the Republican Party.
In my view, Ryan had a correct strategic plan that
addressed the Senate process and the bare majority held by Republicans in that
house. It was Freedom Caucus Republicans who would not follow the leadership
again because they didn’t think their plan went far enough.
I had the opportunity to talk to my
Congressman just after the fiasco. I told him he was wrong and needed to change
his ways. He has a great name, an impressive appearance and a pat answer, as I
had expected. He is a stereotypical politician: 18 years in the Florida House,
10 years in the Florida Senate, 6 years (so far) in the U.S. House. In each of
these offices he ran from two different districts because of redistricting; he
likes the job. I rated his reason for blocking Ryan’s bill as unadulterated BS,
although he argued well. He denied he’s a member of the “Freedom Caucus”. (That
caucus ran him as a candidate for speaker against Boehner.) He argued the Ryan
bill didn’t go far enough and denied Freedom Caucus changes would prevent
He was wrong or betting I wouldn’t know. He said maybe it was
good Obamacare would continue since it would fail and that would force Americans
to embrace a truly great replacement. When I mentioned “party loyalty”, he
denied that was important. He was wrong again. I know some really smart Conservatives who think like my (new)
Congressman. I just don’t get why they like what I think is all bad.
improvement in Obamacare would be better but still bad because any federal
government involvement in health care will cause it to be ineffective. To let
Obamacare fail (as it will) is just plain irresponsible and Republicans will
get the blame.
Democrats in the Senate are as bad as the wrong-headed
Republicans in the House. They have acted like idiots in their questioning Neil
Gorsuch, who has been rated as an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court by
legal organizations ranging from Liberal to Conservative. His extensive service
as a federal judge provides unwavering testimony to his fairness in upholding
the law and not making the law, as Liberals expect of them. Senate Democratic
leaders rant and rave in their frenzied attempt to defeat him. (Or anyone Trump
might name.) The basis of every argument against Gorsuch is that Democrats
expect judges to make decisions on ideological grounds not on the law as
written. They are too stupid to realize that would bite them in the ass in due
The problem of the Freedom Caucus is the same as that of the Democratic
Caucus in the Senate. Although they are directly opposed on all political
issues they share a monumental stubbornness and lack even the barest smidgen
of modesty in their belief they are 100% right and any opposition is 100%
wrong. I wonder if there’s a steep hill near Washington DC on which we could
gather these folks together and tie wheels on their backs.
After many years, and thousands of miles of BI-cycling, I have switched to TRI-cycling! As the image below indicates, I've changed my T-shirt message from "Got Bike?" to "Got Trike!"
MY "CATRIKE" 27-SPEED "VILLAGER" RECUMBENT TRICYCLE
I purchased a used 27-speed recumbent trike from a nice couple in The Villages, had the local Village Cycle shop install a luggage rack, and mounted my laundry basket (for my water aerobics stuff) to the trike with bungee cords. The brand name is Catrike, and, quite fittingly, the model name is Villager.
MY BALANCE PROBLEM DUE TO PARKINSONS DISEASE
I made the decision to quit Bicycling due to a tumble in January (from which my right knee is still a bit stiff) and a second fall in February. Actually, my Bicycle falls started back in 2011, when I fell four times, twice during an otherwise wonderful bike-barge trip in Belgium from Brussels to Bruges.
The following year, 2012, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, which is due to insufficient production of Dopamine in the brain. My symptoms include poor balance, tremors, and loss of the sense of smell. I've been taking a medication (Carbidopa/Levodopa) that helps with the tremors, but my balance has declined a bit year by year. Indeed, from 2012 through 2016, I've fallen from my bike once or twice a year, usually when making slow right turns. This despite taking extraordinary care, such as walking intersections and not cycling with large groups. Nevertheless, until this year, I have continued to Bicycle 30-40 miles per week, accompanied by close friends who put up with my antics.
In my younger years, I just hopped aboard and off I went. However, after my second fall this year, I found it increasingly hard to get the bike going. I'd adjust myself on the bike seat, keeping the bike upright with my left foot. Then, I'd put my foot on the right pedal, push it hard to get the bike moving forward, balancing as I tried to raise my left to it's proper place on the left pedal. However, my left foot seemingly "did not want" to leave the ground, and that foot had a heck of a time "finding it's position on the left pedal". It usually took me two or more tries to get going. Very frustrating!
Much easier with the trike!
And, perhaps best of all, my Catrike is MADE IN THE USA (actually right here in Florida!)
SOME BICYCLES I HAVE OWNED AND RIDDEN IN YEARS PAST
My Girl's Bike
Us "Old Dogs" can't raise our legs as high as we used to, so, a few years ago, I switched to a GIRL'S BIKE (images above and below), which is much easier to mount! I purchased it new from WalMart for around $150. Read about it here. Notice the laundry basket for my water aerobics stuff on both my Girl's bike and its predecessor, my fold-up Bike Friday.
I had the great pleasure of riding on my Girl's bike with our granddaughters Samantha and Michaela when they visited in 2015 (image below).
And my bicycling is memorialized for my 70th birthday, in 2009.
Bike Friday Fold-Up
Here is me doing a bit of "surfing" on my Bike Friday on the hard-packed sand at Daytona Beach, back in 2008. Read more about it here.
By the way, Bike Friday is also MADE IN THE USA (Oregon).
Rental Bicycling Adventure in Egypt
Back in 1997, Vi and I visited Egypt, which was quite an adventure. Read about it here.
In Luxor, after our morning escorted tour that included the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut where several dozen tourists were to be mowed down two weeks later, I rented a bike for $5. For an hour I rode around Luxor, all by myself (image below).
At one point, to get off the heavily traveled main street, I strayed into a lower-class residential area with dirt streets. I was wearing a hat that had "NY" on it and children called out to me, in English, and said "hello" and "welcome".
One boy grabbed hold of the rear of the bike and I shouted "La-a" which is "no" in Arabic, but he held on until I shouted "don't touch!" in English. The dirt streets were winding in and out like a rabbit warren with many dead ends. I had trouble finding my way out and back to the main street, but, eventually I did, with no harm done. I felt quite comfortable during that ride.
Two-Wheel LONG Wheelbase Recumbent
Carpal tunnel effects caused my fingers to become numb, so, in 1990, I purchased a LONG-wheelbase Recumbent bicycle. The steering is under the seat, with a multi-link connection to the front wheel, which makes for a a bit of a lag between moving the bar and the wheel actually turning.
(I had Carpal Tunnel surgery on both wrists which is how I was able to go back to an upright bicycle, my Bike Friday, see above.)
Here I am in Ireland riding my Recumbent.
The story of my trip to Ireland was featured in our local Binghamton newspaper in 1991.
My Mountain Bike
In 1987 I purchased this mountain bike. I joined the wonderful Southern Tier Bicycle Club (THANK YOU AUGIE MUELLER!) and rode with them most Saturdays. I also rode it to and from work a few days a week.
The First Bike I Owned
As a child, my Dad taught me to ride on a bike we rented. He, my Mom, and I would occasionally go out riding on rental bikes. We lived in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, NY and sometimes rode along the Boardwalk between Brighton Beach and Coney Island (allowed early on Sunday mornings when there were few people). Other times, we rode to Sheepshead Bay and along a bike trail to Canarsie.
In 1956, when I was in high school, my Uncle Harry, who worked at Macy's, arranged the purchase of an Raleigh "English Racer". We took it home on the subway because my Dad did not have a car.
I rode that bicycle all around our Brighton Beach neighborhood and along the Boardwalk and the Sheepshead bay trail during my high school and college days. (I lived with my parents and younger brother in Brighton Beach and commuted to Brooklyn Technical High School and the City College of New York by subway.)
I took it with me when I moved out of the house in 1961 to take my first professional job in Norwalk, CT. In 1963 I took my second professional job in North Plainfield, NJ, Although I had a car, I sometimes used that bicycle to go to and from work.
While working in Connecticut and New Jersey, I pursued my social life in Brooklyn, spending most weekends at my parent's house. I met Violet Stark, my wife-to-be, and taught her to ride a bicycle and drive a car (and we still got married in 1964 :^)
In 1965, when I got my job at IBM Federal Systems in upstate Owego, NY, we bought a farm in Newark Valley, about 12 miles from work. I gave up bicycling and my ancient Raleigh was left to molder in a corner of a barn.
In 1978, we moved to Apalachin, which was only 6 miles from work, but I still did not take up cycling. It was not until 1987 when I resurrected my ancient Raleigh (image below) and thought about using it to commute to work. However, it had only three speeds and our house was up a steep hill, so that old bike was not right for the task. Which is why I purchased the mountain bike described above.
I presented this talk to the Philosophy Club of The Villages, FL this past Friday afternoon (10 March 2017) to an enthusiastic audience, followed by a great cross-discussion in which my wife, Vi, and grandchild Alex (a first-year student at Bryn Mawr) participated.
Jobs was born in 1955 and died in 2011, at the comparatively young age of 56, of pancreatic cancer. Despite his relatively short life, he had an inordinate effect on computer-related technology. From the original 1977 Apple II to the 2010 iPad, Steve Jobs’ design
philosophy of obsessive focus, extreme simplicity, and products that just work,
has enriched my life and the lives of my wife and family. Even if you never
used an Apple product, he has changed your life as well.
Much of the information in my talk is from the excellent biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
In 2004, a year after he was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Jobs asked Isaacson to write his biography, but Isaacson didn't start the job until 2009, when Jobs' wife, Laurene Powell told him of the extent of Jobs' illness, and thus the urgency of the task. The book was published in 2011, shortly after Jobs' death.
According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs revolutionized six industries: Personal Computers, Digital Publishing, Animated Movies, Music, Cell-Phones, and Tablet Computers.
OUR PURCHASE OF AN APPLE II
In 1977, when the Apple II was first marketed, I was working for IBM's Federal Systems Division which specializes in computer and computer-based systems for military aircraft and spacecraft. In 1978, with the enthusiastic support of my wife, we purchased Apple II serial number 14,102. The purchase price was about $15,000 in 2017 dollars, including disk drives and a floating-point card we purchased later. (When we first took it home, our Apple II was limited to a tape drive and integer arithmetic.) Eventually over 5,000,000 Apple II's were sold, so we were definitely "early adopters".
Our Apple II (photo above) is over 38 years old and has been in storage for 25 years. I recently removed it from the plastic tub in which it has spent over two decades.
Today, of course, $15,000 will buy you more than a dozen top-end laptops or tablet computers. Indeed, for a few hundred bucks you can have a wonderful Windows 10 laptop that is nearly infinitely faster, more capable, and better than our original Apple II. Also, a heck of a lot smaller and lighter, AND with a better display.
HOW OUR APPLE II BENEFITED OUR FAMILY
However, I credit that $15,000 investment in 1978 for helping me in my career with IBM, for motivating my wife into going back to college and adding a Masters Degree in Computer Science to her previous Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She taught Computer Science at Binghamton University and then became a Software Engineer at the IBM Federal Systems facility in Owego, NY, where I was employed as a System Engineer. Prior to IBM introducing the first Windows Personal Computer (PC), I used my Apple II to learn programming. I also lugged it to work and demonstrated the capabilities of the Apple II personal computer while teaching system engineering classes at IBM.
Due to my experience with the Apple II, when IBM Owego obtained its first IBM PC in 1981, I was chosen to be the first employee to get one in his office! That helped build my reputation at work as being something of an expert on how a PC best fits into an engineer's office.
Our children also benefited! In May 1980, when computers were first introduced into the local school system, our oldest daughter, Lisa, was selected to demonstrate the Apple II. Her photo was published in our local newspaper (Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin) along with the story. [See Photo below]
A month later, in June 1980, our middle daughter, Rena, and our youngest, Sara, were shown using our Apple II at home in the same newspaper. [See Photo above. NOTE: The "Computers 'R' Us" images in this posting are from: http://tvpclub.blogspot.com/2014/08/50th-3-computers-r-us-ira-and-vis.html one of our 2014 50th Anniversary postings on this Blog. Click the link for more information.]
All three of our daughters went on to earn advanced degrees (two PhD's and a Masters) and they married wonderful young men who are also highly computer-literate and well-educated leaders in exploiting computer power to enrich our lives.
I also went on to add a 1990 Masters Degree in System Science to my 1961 Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. My PhD in System Science was added in 1996.
WE WERE READY TO EXPLOIT THE IBM PC WHEN IT WAS INTRODUCED
Vi and I also purchased an IBM PC for home use as soon as they became available under an employee purchase plan in 1982.
At that time, I was leading an Independent Research and Development project at IBM Owego in preparation for submitting a bid for a Helicopter Avionics System. My "Rational Cockpit" design concept featured a dual-redundant data bus, two Mission Computers (MC) and four Multi-Purpose Displays (MPD). I used our home PC, along with my office PC, to develop a demonstration of display formats for the MPDs, which, at that time, were a complete departure from traditional dedicated display devices for each subsystem and function.
When we wrote the proposal, I was the Lead Engineer for the Technical Proposal volume. We provided a PC-based working demonstration of the MPDs to our customer as part of a mock-up of the cockpit. That helped us win the contract, which resulted in a nice award for me, as well as membership in IBM's 1983 Golden Circle, celebrated by us in Hawaii! [Photo below]
Vi later became the Lead Software Engineer for the Avionics System for two different Special Forces helicopters. The dual-redundant, two MC system architecture and four MPD display concept I pioneered, and the software that Vi built and perfected, were utilized, in a later version, for the helicopters that captured Osama Bin Laden! [Photos below]
WHAT MADE STEVE JOBS SPECIAL?
Steve Jobs had a very peculiar upbringing and youth. As depicted in the graphic below, he dabbled in a stew of COUNTER-CULTURE, FLOWER-POWER, ZEN BUDDHISM, and MARIJUANA, among other questionable pursuits. He was also interested in ARTS and the HUMANITIES. Given that combination of youthful pursuits, you might think he'd end up with a job where all you have to say is "You want fries with that?"
However, partially due to his early friendship with Steve Wozniak, Jobs combined all that stuff with TECHNOLOGY, Steve Jobs was AT THE NEXUS - a UNIQUE FUSION of FLOWER-POWER and COMPUTER POWER.
Jobs and Wozniak ("Woz") were best friends. Around 1971 they built and sold “BLUE BOXES”
to hack Into Phone System.
Summary of Jobs' early life:
Born 1955: Birth Father: AbdulfattahJandali,
Muslim, Syria; Birth Mother:
Joanne Schieble, Catholic of Swiss and German descent, Wisconsin. He referred to them as merely: “My
sperm and egg bank.”
He was adopted in 1955 by Paul and Clara Jobs. He calls them “My parents 1,000%”
Father - Paul Jobs: From
a Calvinist household, Wisconsin. HS dropout, mechanic, WWII Coast Guard
machinist. Later, a “repo man”, car repairman. Mother - Clara Hagopian: Daughter of Armenian immigrants in San Francisco, widow.
In 1972 he took up with his girlfriend Chrisann
Brennan. She has said he was enlightened but could be cruel. In 1977 they had a baby (Lisa Brennan) who was raised by Chrisann, but later accepted into the Jobs' household.
Jobs was powerfully affected by the Vietnam Era Meme of “turn on, tune
in, drop out”, LSD, marijuana, … and Buddhism. He said he believed that “Intuitive
understanding and consciousness more significant than abstract thinking and
intellectual logical analysis.”
In fits and starts he was a vegetarian, fruitarian, went on extreme
diets and purges, ... Jobs spent time in a commune, noticed that members were
secretly stealing each other’s food, and their leader was selfishly running it
as a business.
In 1972 he was admitted to expensive Reed
College (Portland OR). Woz (then a student at Berkeley) visited Jobs at Reed
College. Jobs complained about required courses and said he only attended
courses he liked. Bored, he dropped out, did not pay
tuition. But Reed College allowed him to attend classes he desired and live in
dorms with friends.
Jobs visited India in mid 1970’s. Worked at Atari 1974-75. He was arrogant, brash, had b.o. and was banished to the night shift. Woz (then at HP) did the arcade game Breakout for Jobs in record time and with a minimum number of computer chips. This is an early example of REALITY DISTORTION, Jobs' ability to get other people to believe and do unreasonable things and achieve unexpectedly good results!
The image below includes photos of some of the unique products and services brought to fruition via Jobs' incredibleREALITY DISTORTION powers. Note that Jobs was forced out of his company (Apple) in 1985 and did not return until 1997. During that time, he developed the NeXT computer (not a financial success, but with some innovative software features) and lead Pixar into major advances in Computer Animation, used for Toy Story and other classics that grossed hundreds of millions. When he returned to then-struggling Apple, he helped them get back into their innovative mode by introducing the iMac Personal Computer, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, as well as the Macbook Air laptop.
I was an early adopter of only two Apple products, each purchased within a year ot their introduction: Our Apple II (1978) and iPad (2011). Due to our employment at IBM, Vi and I did then, and still do, all our serious work on IBM/Windows PCs and laptops. Our cellphones are Androids! However, we credit Steve Jobs for introducing similar products, later copied and further innovated and produced by other corporations, that make all our lives richer.
The above images are what I call "mirror selfies". Using an iPad to take a photo of myself using an iPad to take a photo of myself and the iPad! At the left, my iPad in 2011 (the year after the first iPad was introduced), and, at the right, my iPad in 2017 taking a photo of our ancient Apple II (which we purchased in 1978, a year after it was introduced).
I use my iPad almost every day for my "fun" computer tasks because it is light, convenient, and turns on instantly. However, almost all my "serious" computer tasks, such as PowerPoint presentations and Blog posts, are done with Windows laptops. My Android cell-phone is my ultra-portable camera as well as my multi-purpose alarm clock and Web Surfer. Oh, and I sometimes use it to make phone calls are send and receive texts!
STEVE JOBS Product
Philosophy: Technology must be joined with great
design, elegance, human touches, … quality. Graphical user interfaces, varied
fonts, stark simplicity ...
“The people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world are the ones who do.”
is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design
is how it works.”
"It just works."
a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where
excellence is expected.“Quality
is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
“When you’re a carpenter making a
beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the
back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so
you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep
well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way
been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple
can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to
make it simple.But
it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
all the inventions of humans, the computer is going to rank near or at the top
as history unfolds and we look back. It is the most awesome tool that we have
ever invented. I feel incredibly lucky to be at exactly the right place in Silicon Valley, at
exactly the right time, historically, where this invention has taken form.”
turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have
ever happened to me. "The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the
lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. "It freed me to
enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Steve JOBS' ILLNESS AND DEATH IN 2011 AT AGE 56
In 2003 he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and he chose
alternative treatment for 9 months
In 2006 he was “thin, almost gaunt” presenting at Apple Conference
Up until and including 2008 misleading health statements were circulated
In 2009 Jobs received a Liver transplant
In 2011, on October 5th, Jobs died at his Palo Alto home due to
relapse of pancreatic cancer.
Our daughter Lisa, and son-in-law Jerry Hagler, are visiting us in The Villages, FL. Today we toured our Eisenhower Recreation Center, which celebrates the brave American heroes who served in World War II and other conflicts.
One of the exhibits of special interest to us honors the late Al King, an Original Tuskegee Airman (Class of 1943) who we met personally several years ago. The exhibit includes a photo of Al with his airplane and wartime buddies as well as his image on the cover of a local magazine. It was especially appropriate to pay special attention to these photos since February is Black History Month.
The material was contributed by Al King's wife, Brigitte, who was our first water aerobics instructor when Vi and I came to The Villages in 2003. Brigitte led the group, called "Brigitte's Critters" at the Savannah Recreation Center Sports Pool. The name comes from the animal noises we make during part of the exercises.
A few years later she married Al, and he would come to classes and observe from his seat on the pool deck, sometimes shaking his cane at Brigitte in playful anger when she purposefully said or did anything even slightly risqué!
Brigitte gave up leadership of the class several years ago, but it still meets for an hour six mornings a week under the leadership of a few women volunteers who follow almost the same sequence of exercise moves that Brigitte originated. We "Critters" still make animal noises! (Although the printed schedule says the class starts at 9AM it actually begins five to ten minutes early, a tradition for pool activities in The Villages. I'm usually there on Thursday mornings.)