On The OHI Day V

November 1, 2019

 It’s been 9 years since I penned my first article on the OHI Day (some of which is reported below). This is a special day in Greek history as it regards Greece’s heroic involvement in WWII. Our family’s recent visit to Greece was yet two reminders of this day.

 

As noted in earlier articles, I was baptized Elias Theodorakos since it is the Greek custom to name the first son after the paternal Papou (grandfather). Within a few years, the name Elias (our first grandson is also named Elias) was displaced by Louis, its American counterpart. I know our children and grandchildren would have preferred that our last name had not been changed. They are also disappointed – along with Mary (who is not Greek) – that I did not insist that they go to Greek school. Although I am an American first, I still remain proud of my Hellenic roots.

 

On to one of the themes of this article. My ancestors have a long history of battling and suffering with evil elements and opponents. Unfortunately, history repeated itself in 1939, as documented below. The 80th anniversary of the resistance of fascist forces by the Greek Armed Forces was recently celebrated several days ago on October 28. (The day came and went without a whimper here in the United States.) OHI (an emphatic no!) was Prime Minister Metaxas’s response to Hitler’s order to peacefully surrender. What followed Metaxas’s response was 219 days of fierce battles. That in turn was followed by intense guerrilla warfare that resulted in a brutal occupational that included executions, sufferings, famine, and severe inflation. The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks. Here are some comments immediately following the war.

 

Winston Churchill: “The word heroism, I’m afraid, does not reflect in the least the Hellenes’ acts of self-sacrifice that were the defining factor of the victorious ending of all the nations’ common struggle during the 2nd WW for human freedom and dignity. If it were not for the bravery of the Hellenes and their courageous hearts, the ending of the 2nd WW would not have been clear.”

 

Franklin Roosevelt: “When the entire world had lost all hope, the Hellenic people dared to doubt the German monster’s invincibility fighting back with the proud spirit of freedom. The heroic struggle of the Hellenic people against the German hurricane filled the American hearts with enthusiasm and won their sympathy.”

 

The second reminder of this special day was a recent paper submitted by our 13-year old grandson for his English class. It was titled VACHOS 1,5. VACHOS is a essentially small deserted town built on a rocky terrain half way up a mountain with no apparent means of sustenance itself. Vachos is a located in Mani – the middle member of the Peloponnese peninsula – surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Messenian Gulf on the west,  and the Laconian Gulf  on the east. Elias’s passage follows:

 

“I opened the car door and the blazing sun came right at me, forcing me to quickly cover my eyes. It was pushing 100 degrees late that afternoon, a dry, windy, burning heat. We had started our journey in Athens, and we were now in Mani, the region of the Peloponnese my great grandfather emigrated from. We were staying in Limeni, a small town on the Mediterranean Sea, with turquoise and emerald blue water and vibrantly colored fish that eluded my grasp. Limeni was five minutes away from Vachos, my great grandfather’s hilltop town. Excited and curious, my whole family had all been waiting for this part of the trip. As we drove into the hills, the sea disappeared from our sight. A sign ‘Vachos 1,5’ told us to turn right and drive 1.5 kilometers to Vachos. In our little stick-shift Toyota, we started along a bumpy road with tall grass that surrounded us. Ascending the steep hill, the car rolled back every time we began again after a stop. Houses that had looked like dots from afar came into view, and we pulled into what looked like the town square.

 

The square was a flat expanse among the hills, empty except for an older man in a run-down pickup truck. He got out to introduce himself as the mayor. He was a third cousin of my grandfathers, and an important person who lived in the town. Much to my surprise, this otherwise bleak town square had a basketball hoop that hung from the patio of a shuttered restaurant. It amazed me that my ancestors left this town for more opportunities in America, but a basketball hoop had traveled in the opposite direction.

 

Our cousin, Kiriakos Theodorakos, who could only speak Greek, and a dialect at that, toured us around the town. We walked up a curving path and around abandoned stone houses in search of my great-grandfather’s house. My grandfather stopped in front of an old house “This is the one,” he said, pointing. We all started toward it. Nestled into a steep hill, the house was made of stone, most of it still intact, with a dilapidated clay roof. Trees obscured the view of the house so we walked down the hill to see it from another angle. Long, prickly brush scratched against my legs as I surveyed the place my Spartan family had lived in a century before. We could see the door where this family entered and the dirt floor they walked. The sound of cicadas and the smell of oregano overwhelmed me. I wonder what it would have been like to live in these remote Greek hills.

 

The town’s population is about sixty and probably wasn’t much more in the early 1900s. How different would New York City have seemed to my Great Papou when he sailed into the harbor? I asked my grandfather if we could go inside and he translated the question. Our cousin kept saying “fidia,” but my grandfather either couldn’t understand his accent or didn’t know the word. Finally, our cousin wiggled his hand and we understood that the house was now filled with snakes.

 

On our way back to the town square, we wandered into the town cemetery, where we were greeted by marble stones with engravings, vibrant flowers, and food and drinks placed on graves. I share blood with all of these people. The mountains surrounded us, but we could not see any water nearby. Why did people build a town here? As we were leaving the town square, our cousin went to his truck and brought us a jar of oregano. As we drove away I opened the jar and crumbled the leaves between my fingers, the smell of oregano filling the air.”

 

Thank you Elias for keeping the memories alive.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS:

 

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Upcoming Basketball 2019-20 Season

JANUARY 1:              One the Ultimate Quiz II

FEBRUARY 1:           On Four Issues I: NYRA

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIX

APRIL 1:                     On the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: Climate Change

 


ON PURELY, CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVIII

October 1, 2019

Hard to believe. The 28th! Here’s another 25 thoughts of yours truly.

  • It’s a new football season, but I still maintain that Eli Manning is the most overrated and luckiest individual to play the game of football…ever! The football Giants are toast if they don’t go with another quarterback.
  • Had contact with a recently graduated college basketball player who confirmed that two players on his team were paid. Now get this…he attended a mid-major
  • The Mets failed us once again. I thought nobody could be worse than Terry Collins. I was wrong.
  • I maintain that the bulk of the media continues to peddle lies and distortions.
  • Mets reliever Diaz doesn’t deserve the bad press. I believe he has the highest swinging strike ratio in the league – and that is an excellent measure of how good a pitcher is.
  • Just returned from a 3-day visit to Saratoga Springs. It was my 63rd year in a row. Lost some money but had a great time with the family. Finally had dinner at 15 Church Street; it was a unique experience.
  • Recently met democrat Judy Bosworth, Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, and was impressed…so much so that I might vote for her next time around. Ditto with Councilman Pete Zuckerman.
  • It’s World Series time. The Mets are dead but I’m still alive with the Yankees (ugh!) and the Braves.
  • My new book on “Water Management” will be out before the end of the year.
  • Mary still gets mad at me when I ask the maître d’ at an upscale restaurant: “Are franks and beans on the menu?”
  • Winter is just around the corner, and I’m not looking forward to it.
  • Lost Richie Dreyer (St. Francis), one of my players, last month. He brought a toughness that was lacking on my Killeen’s Tavern basketball team. He mellowed in his old age and did some wonderful things for AA.
  • I believe that one of our nation’s biggest problems is that family life has been displaced by government subsidies for far too many people.
  • Travel by any mode is terrible in Manhattan. Ditto Brooklyn.
  • Visited Quebec City in late June to attend the annual Air & Waste Management conference and presented two papers. Loved the Canadians and what a great city.
  • When are baseball pitchers going to wake up and figure out that the key to success is to not walk anyone and batters realize to go the other way when the shift is on?
  • Only got to Lot #6 at Jones Beach twice this year. I still maintain it is the most beautiful beach in the world.
  • The New York Racing Association seems hell-bent on destroying thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park. I paid for a season pass but won’t be going back this year; it simply isn’t an enjoyable day anymore. The level of incompetence of this organization is beyond belief. Hello Nassau OTB. I’ll have more to say about this in January.
  • The level of hatred for de Blasio continues to mount; it is almost as bad as that for Trump.
  • Still involved with developing potable (drinking) water processes via the desalination route, but have recently extended my work to include non-desalination methods. This has really been exciting work.
  • Traveled to Monmouth Racetrack (twice!) with several of my players. We visited my dear friend Steve “The Greek” Panos, the toughest Greek since Alexander the Great.  I am forever indebted to Steve for probably saving my life during a riot at one of our basketball games in 1963.
  • It’s all Greek to me. I still love lamb and pastitsio.
  • Recently attended a Kourtakis (maternal) family reunion in New Jersey, and it was just great. Some of us reminisced about life growing up in New York City.
  • Dear friend and noted sports historian Arthur Lovely keeps hitting the nail on the head with his “every day is a blessing”
  • My new quote to those close to me? “I hope misfortune follows you but never catches up.”

 

Tata!

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

JANUARY 1:              On Four Key Issues

FEBRUARY 1:           On the Ultimate Quiz II

 


ON GREAT EATS IV: DINERS

September 1, 2019

Food has been defined as anything eaten to satisfy an appetite and to meet needs for growth. It maintains all body processes and supplies energy to maintain body temperature and activity. So food is important. But the questions that remains is – where should the food be consumed? At home? In a restaurant? This fourth article on Great Eats is concerned with diners and servers as a follow-up to an excellent May 25, 2019 New York Times (NYT) diner article titled “A Last Cup of Coffee, to Go.”

 

As one might suppose, the word diner has come to mean different things to different people. Webster defines diner as “a small restaurant built to look like a dining car and equipped to serve meals” while the NYT offered “factory-made lunch cars, often with stainless-steel finishes and neon signs.” Others might describe it as something between a step above a simple eatery with a limited menu to a restaurant with an extensive menu, fancy booths, full bar, take-out menu, etc. The former would probably best describe my father’s “9 stool – 3 table business at the North end of Hell’s Kitchen prior to being evicted by Robert Moses, while the latter would best describe the first two of the diners to be described shortly.

 

But, then again, why a follow-up article? The NYT article keyed on diner history and diners located in New York City. This article expands the diner story to include not only those in Queens but also Long Island. What follows is a short writing on a diner in Queens and five diners on Long Island. I asked each diner owner to comment on their background, their business, the present state of the diner business, and the future of diners. Here is some of how these six individuals responded.

 

  1. The Old Westbury Diner (formerly Seacrest), 4 Glen Cove Road, Old Westbury.

The premier upscale diner on the Island. Owned by Stavros Dimas, who emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1980. He has expressed major concerns with rising labor costs and believes only the large diners will survive in the future. My Take? One of my favorites. Great breakfast, full bar, expansive menu, excellent food, easy parking, very pleasant owner who is concerned with the community, and excellent service. This place is also the closest thing to a classy restaurant.

 

  1. The Apollo, 630 Merrick Avenue, East Meadow.

The Apollo is owned by Jimmy (son) and Harry (father) Constantotos. Harry emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1963 and has owned the Apollo since 1976. Perhaps my favorite. As Jimmy put it to me, they “provide basic services, good food and a clean environment.” It features an expansive menu, full bar, ample parking, large portions, very reasonable prices, and excellent service (ask for Nicoletta to be your server). They appear optimistic about the future but expressed concerns with existing competition, labor costs, and the real estate market.

 

  1. Uncle Bills, 307 Stratton Place, Linden Place, Whitestone.

This one is owned by “Aki” (little one in Greek), a big brute by my standards. This lovable Greek emigrated (legally) from Cyprus in 1973 and has owned Bill’s for 16 years. Aki claims it is the cheapest diner in Queens (I think he is right). He is concerned about the future because of rising salaries, rent, and competitors. My Take? The place is a local gem with lots of good dishes, easy parking, and the price is definitely right.

 

On to the next two. Both are Mary’s favorites.

 

  1. Thomas’s Diner is located at 325 Old Country Road, Carle Place.

This place is Mary’s favorite. The diner opened in 1946 and has been owned by the (Thomas) Koukoulas family since 1973. Tom indicated that diners will have difficulty surviving in the future because of “chain restaurants where the quality continues to improve. The old school diner will not be around long as many families are not passing the business along.” The place has a limited menu with great food at very reasonable prices. Despite limited parking, this landmark joint is always (and I mean always) jammed. Mary’s favorite (not mine) and an absolute must for diner lovers.

 

  1. The Mineola Diner, 138 Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue, Mineola.

This is one that has survived the relentless passage of time. Michael Alpert purchased the diner (from a Greek) approximately 10 years ago. One of Mary’s favorites, it features excellent food at reasonable prices. The place is small, parking is a problem, and is only open for breakfast and lunch. The menu is limited but there are nearly 100 items to choose from. Not my favorite, but another landmark that has survived the times and one of the better ones that belongs on everyone’s go-to-place list.

On to the sixth one.

  1. Station Plaza Coffee Shop and Diner (breakfast and lunch) at 206 Station Plaza, North Mineola (facing South at the train station).

A newcomer and a relatively unknown, it is usually packed. Probably the cheapest diner to eat at. And, the good news is that the food is excellent and plentiful. Lots to like here even though it doesn’t look like a diner. But as the old saying goes – try it and you’ll be sure to like it. Only negative: metered parking is a problem. New owners, George Arniotis (and father) and Pete Vatakis – Greeks, of course – are there for 2 months and are optimistic about the future of diners. “Give them good food and they’ll keep coming back.”

 

I would be remiss if I did not comment on three other diners. Presently, the diner of all diners is The Neptune (Astoria Blvd. and 31st Street). It was my favorite 65 years ago while growing up in Astoria, and it still is, and is the diner by which all others should be compared. Unfortunately, its days are numbered; it opened its doors for the last time TODAY.   (Update:  Interestingly, the media had reported that the diner was closing but apparently, the lease was extended.)  Another is Mykonos (not the one in Great Neck) – a hole-in-the-wall, semi-diner; it is named after an island in Greece and located in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a community overrun by Greeks and Greek-Americans. Finally, one of my early (pre-teen years) memories that has yet to leave me was dining out on Sundays approximately once a month. It was a Greek eatery – The Acropolis, located on 60th Street, just west of Central Park. I wish it were still around. I can still taste the roast lamb and pastitsio, your author’s two favorite Greek dishes.

 

Finally, diners remain near the top of my list of restaurants to frequent. Why? Six reasons.

 

  1. The food is always fresh
  2. The price is right
  3. Expansive menu
  4. Generous portions
  5. The ambiance is usually casual
  6. Rarely a wait

 

In addition, I still think diners have a bright future despite concerns with dwindling customers, rising rents, lost leases, shrinking profit margins, etc. Some of this is true, but most of the new restaurants reviewed in the literature are hellaciously priced. I make every effort to stay away from these joints; they simply are not worth it. The diners have been hurt by credit cards and a more strict enforcement of the tax codes, i.e., they can no longer rely on patron tax charges that often served as the margin of profit. Two options that can help diners survive is to modestly increase prices and provide a more compact, rather than expansive, menu.

 

A closeout? I need to mention my current favorite of favorites. It is the Triangle Diner located in Saratoga Springs, home of summer thoroughbred racing in August; my recent visit to SS was the 64th year in a row (see pics below).  The diner is a “garage,” similar to an old-fashioned diner located in the middle of nowhere during the depression era.  It is surrounded by some really great 4-star restaurants, including 15 Church and Pennell’s. Yet, it is the 3rd highest rated restaurant in SS. Fantastic breakfast and lunch at extremely reasonable prices. A local gem and a must for all SS lovers.

 

 

 

Below are three pics.  One at our hotel, another at the racetrack and the third at the Triangle Diner.

 

Please drop me a note about your favorite diner.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

OCTOBER 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON ENGINEERING AS A CAREER

August 1, 2019

August 1, 2019

 

We are approaching back-to-school time and many youngsters attending college in their freshman/sophomore years will be asked to select a major to study. This month’s article provides my pitch on why some should consider engineering as a career.

 

In a very broad sense, engineering is a term applied to the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied to the efficient use of the materials and forces of nature. The term engineer denotes an individual who has received professional training in both pure and applied science, but was often used in the past to describe the operator of an engine, as in the term locomotive engineer. In modern times, these occupations became known as crafts or trades.

 

There are five major branches of engineering, listed below in alphabetical order.

 

  1. Chemical Engineering
  2. Civil Engineering
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Environmental Engineering
  5. Mechanical Engineering

 

One could also add to this engineering list the following fields: aeronautical, astronautical, geological, industrial, marine, military, managerial, mining, naval, petroleum, structural, and the recent addition of nanotechnology. However, since I am a chemical engineer working in both the chemical and environmental fields, chemical and environmental engineering are primarily addressed in the sections to follow.

 

PROBLEM SOLVING

The engineer (and to a lesser degree the scientist) is known for his problem-solving ability. It is probably this ability more than any other that has enabled many engineers to rise to positions of leadership and top management within their companies. In problem-solving, considerable importance is attached to a proper analysis of the problem, to a logical recording of the problem solution, and to the overall professional appearance of the finished product of the calculations.

 

The value of an engineer is usually determined by his/her ability to apply basic principles, facts, and methods in order to accomplish some useful purpose. In this modem age of industrial competition, the ultimate definition of a useful purpose is usually based on a tangible profit of monetary value. It is not sufficient, therefore, to have a knowledge and understanding of physics, chemistry, mathematics, mechanics, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, the unit operations, chemical technology, and other related engineering and scientific subjects; he/she must also have the ability to apply this knowledge to practical situations, and, in making these applications, recognize the importance of the dollar sign.

 

Certain methods of logic and techniques of calculation are fundamental to the solution of many problems, and there is a near infinite number of methods. Words such as creative, ingenuity, original, etc., appear in all these approaches. What do they all have in common? They provide a systematic, logical approach to solving problems, and what follows is this author’s definition of a generic approach.

 

The methodology of solving problems has been discussed by most mathematicians and logicians since the days of Aristotle. Heuristic (“serving to discover”) is the term often given to this study of the methods and rules of solving problems. Nearly always, a stepwise approach to the solution is desirable. The broad steps are:

 

  1. Understanding the problem
  2. Devising a plan
  3. Carrying out the plan
  4. Looking back

 

HISTORY OF ENGINEERING

In terms of history, the engineering profession as defined today is usually considered to have originated shortly after 1800. However, many of the “processes” associated with this discipline were developed in antiquity. For example, filtration operations were carried out 5000 years ago by the Egyptians. Operations such as crystallization, precipitation, and distillation soon followed. Others evolved from a mixture of craft, mysticism, incorrect theories, and empirical guesses during this period.

 

In a very real sense, the chemical industry dates back to prehistoric times when people first attempted to control and modify their environment, and it developed as did any other trade or craft. With little knowledge of science and no means of chemical analysis, the earliest “engineers” had to rely on previous art and superstition. As one would imagine, progress was slow. This changed with time.

 

Industry in the world today is a sprawling complex of raw-material sources, manufacturing plants, and distribution facilities which supply society with thousands of products, most of which were unknown over a century ago. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, an increased demand arose for individuals trained in the fundamentals of these processes. This demand was ultimately met by engineers.

 

The technical advances of the 19th century greatly broadened the field of engineering and introduced a large number of the aforementioned engineering specialties. The rapidly changing demands of the socioeconomic environment in the 20th and 21st centuries have widened the scope even further. One need only review the various branches of engineering listed earlier.

 

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

Chemical engineering is one of the basic tenets of engineering, and contains many practical concepts that are utilized in countless real-world industrial applications. A discussion centered on the field of chemical engineering is therefore warranted before proceeding to some specific details regarding this discipline. A reasonable question to ask is: What is chemical engineering? An outdated, but once official definition provided by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is:

 

Chemical engineering is that branch of engineering concerned with the development and application of manufacturing processes in which chemical or certain physical changes are involved. These processes may usually be resolved into a coordinated series of unit physical “operations.” The work of the chemical engineer is primarily concerned with the design, construction, and operation of equipment and plants in which these unit operations and processes are applied. Chemistry, physics, and mathematics are the underlying sciences of chemical engineering, and economics is its guide in practice.

 

This definition was appropriate until a few decades ago when the profession branched out from the chemical industry. Today, that definition has changed. Although it is still based on chemical fundamentals and physical principles, these have been de-emphasized in order to allow for the expansion of the profession to other areas. These areas include environmental management, health and safety, computer applications, project management, probability and statistics, ethics, and economics and finance, plus several other “new” topics. This has led to many new definitions of chemical engineering, several of which are either too specific or too vague. A definition proposed by your author, is simply that “chemical engineers solve problems.” Today, this engineering discipline offers the student the largest number of professional options to pursue on graduation, including medicine, law, education, the environment, etc. This would be my first choice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in engineering.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING

Traditionally, the scope of environmental engineering (originally termed sanitary engineering) was confined primarily to water supply, sewerage, and general environmental sanitation. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, the profession has expanded – due in part to the author – to include increased responsibilities in municipal and industrial waste treatment, air pollution, solid waste management, radiological health, safety, etc. It was originally viewed as a branch of civil engineering, but because of its importance, especially in dense urban-population areas, it acquired the importance of a specialized field. As noted, it now primarily deals with problems involving water supply, treatment, and distribution; disposal of community wastes and reclamation of useful components of such wastes; control of pollution of surface waterways, groundwaters, and soils; air pollution; control of atmospheric pollution; meteorology; housing and institutional management; rural and recreational-site management; insect and vermin control; industrial hygiene, including control of light, noise, vibration, and toxic materials in work areas; and, other fields concerned with the control of environmental factors affecting health. The field of accident and emergency management/health and hazard risk assessment has as its object the prevention of accidents. In recent years, “safety” engineering has become a specialty adopted by individuals trained in other branches of engineering.

 

With the expanding effort to provide a healthier environment for the industrial worker, environmental engineering techniques are employed to rid the air of noxious dusts and gases in plants and other working areas. The problem of atmospheric pollution resulting from discharging waste into the atmosphere in large industrial settings became a major concern soon after 1970, a time when I entered the field.

 

 

MORE ON ENGINEERING

 

Other Engineering Disciplines

Civil Engineering is the oldest and broadest of all engineering branches. It is in turn subdivided to include specialization in such fields as structural, sanitary, public health, hydraulic, transportation and other established engineering disciplines. They design bridges and tunnels, construct roads, install water-supply and sewage-disposal systems, erect dams, lay out railroads and other transportation systems and plan buildings of all types and sizes for public, private, and industrial uses.

 

Electrical Engineering, another important branch of the profession, deals comprehensively with power generation and its transmission and distribution, electronics and its many applications, transportation, illumination, and all types of electrical machinery. The electrical engineer designs, directs and supervises the construction of electrical systems for the production and utilization of power for the multitudinous purposes of business, industry, and the community.

 

Mechanical Engineering is one of the largest branches in the engineering field. This branch of the engineering profession is subdivided into heat, power, and machine design options with electives in aeronautical, metallurgical and industrial engineering. Devices for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, engines and other mechanisms for the propulsion of vehicles and missiles on, under, or over land, sea, and air. tools, motors, and machines for all types of industrial production or research are just a few examples of the mechanical engineer’s contributions to the world.

 

Salaries and Rewards

Beginning salaries for inexperienced engineering graduates vary according to the type of agency seeking their services, geographical area in which the individual is employed, level of responsibility and nature of duties for particular positions, and the competition for engineering positions at any given time. Due to the shortage of engineers in recent years, graduates with no experience have commanded salaries ranging from an average low of $70,000 to an average high of $100,000 per year. Possessors of the Master’s degree begin at higher levels; those with a Doctorate in Engineering receive considerably higher starting salaries.

 

Aside from financial rewards, the successful engineer enjoys unlimited opportunity for creative achievement, the satisfaction of contributing significantly to the improvement of standards of living, and a distinctive position of trust and respect in the community.

 

It should be noted that college engineering programs are very difficult. The student cannot expect to succeed without devoting himself entirely to his work in school and to related home assignments. Unless the student is willing to curtail or even forego a great many of the social activities generally associated with attendance at college or with young people of his age, academic problems will probably arise. Although the road to success in engineering is not an easy one, a career in the profession can be realized by a student willing to accept the obligations for required adequate preparation.

 

With Women

Finally, careers in engineering are projected to expand rapidly in the next decade. In this technologically advanced world, the discoveries and solutions being made affect the lives of everyone. Historically, women have been underrepresented in the industries that drive these advances in engineering technology. This mindset, however has been quickly changing. It is exciting to live at such a pivotal moment in history when women have such an incredible opportunity to change the face of industries, not only in engineering but across a variety of fields. Thankfully, our nation draws its intellectual power from 100% of the population, not 47.9%, as with many other nations.

 

When I retired some years ago, 50% of my students were women. And, more often than not, they outperformed the men. Maybe they felt they had something to prove.

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              Great Eats IV; Diners

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON MEMORIAL DAY VIII

June 1, 2019

June 1, 2019

Once again, it’s Memorial Day. Another holiday. A day off for most. How easy it is to think of this as just another day of the year. It comes. We barbecue and party. Some give thoughts to our fallen heroes. Others may pray for peace. Others could care less. And then the day is gone.

 

This year’s Memorial Day article will introduce the readers to a very special organization whose mission is to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. Honor Flight Network (HFN) is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. It transports our heroes to Washington, DC to visit and reflect at their Memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Obviously, time to express thanks to these brave men and women is running out.

 

As fate would have it, I have a first cousin (by marriage) who was one of the few remaining veterans of World War II. His name is Ted Lekas. Nearly 30 years have passed since  I wrote an article titled – AS I SEE IT: ON THE SEABEES that detailed Ted’s experiences in the Pacific during the war.  I continue to visit Ted (and my cousin Nora) every time I’m on the east coast of Florida. Unfortunately, Ted passed away last year at the age of 93. Low and behold, I found out that Ted had been earlier honored by the aforementioned HFN. Here is an edited version of Ted’s description of that truly exciting event.

 

“My long time friend and Westinghouse associate, Roger Ray, asked me if I would like to go on the Honor Flight to visit the World War II Monument. He would be my Guardian and put up the required funds. He would be with me for the entire trip, overseeing my needs and comfort. It was a dream that I thought would never come true and there it was. So after checking with my doctor, I was told to go ahead and enjoy the trip. Roger and I were both excited in anticipation of the trip.

 

At the Miami International Airport, the general public was thanking me for my service along the passage way to the plane. We were given breakfast and prepared to board the plane. I would guess about 50% or more of the Veterans (including me) were in Honor chairs (wheel chairs). We were wheeled through the plane ramp to the door of the plane by our Guardians. On the plane the Guardian sat next to the assigned Veteran – in my case, Roger. In my row on the plane was the oldest Veteran on the tour, 100 years old and in perfect health. On takeoff, firetrucks on either side of the lane, with flashing lights and water cannons, fired an arc of water over the airplane as a salute to the veterans.

 

The time passed quickly and we reached Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) Washington, DC in two and a half hours. We boarded deluxe tour buses and headed for the World War II memorial. Our four bus convoy had police car escorts front and rear with sirens and flashing red lights. Any car that cut in front of one of the buses was pulled over and probably issued a summons.

 

The WWII Memorial was a wonder sight. At one end, off in the distance, stood the Lincoln Memorial and at the other end stood the Washington Memorial. It was explained that the WWII Memorial is not only dedicated to the veterans but to the entire population of the United States of America for their contribution of tireless labor to produce the arms and equipment to support our fighting men.

 

There was so much to see as we toured. The bronze portrayals along the walls of the walkways of the Memorial of every day life in America was depicted as well as some historical events.

 

Then we chose to see the Korean War memorial. All this time Roger was doing all the navigating of my Honor chair. It was a long walk from the WWII memorial to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then about 100 yards to the Korean Memorial. There were (19) life sized stainless steel figures (each covered with a tan substance) that appear to be on patrol in Korea in what could be enemy territory. You could read their facial expression of alertness, fear, and readiness in a hostile climate. There is great detail in every item down to the weapons they carried. There is a black polished granite wall along one side of the soldiers displayed that had etched faces and scenes into the surface. These were copied from actual unidentified photos of soldiers, marines, sailors and air men.

 

Next we boarded our buses and headed for the Women’s Memorial. It was explained to us that if we wanted to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown we must make the stop at the Woman’s Memorial a brief rest stop. All agreed. In the building and walking to the rest room, there were a number of displays depicting all the services women performed during the U.S. military experiences. Overall, the Women’s Memorial seemed to occupy a large area, and deservedly so.

 

Back on the buses, we started on our way to Arlington Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard. The trip there was a sightseeing tour of various Washington buildings and Memorials. Among those included the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, the African American Memorial (still under construction), the Air Force Memorial (not open at the time), the Lincoln Memorial, and the older section of the cemetery at the Regimental Building where the changing of the guard takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown.

 

There was an area for the Veterans and their Guardians who .were provided reserved front row advantage. I cannot begin to describe the ceremony and precision that took place but can say it was perfection to the last detail.

 

We boarded the busses for the trip back to the airport. During the flight we were served dinner, followed by a ‘Mail Call.’ Each person’s name was called and an 8” x 10” bulging envelope was given to each veteran. There must have been over 100 pieces of mail in the envelope from relatives, friends and unknown citizens wishing us well and thanking us for our military services in WWII.

 

On landing at Miami we were again saluted with the airport fire engines and the arch of water from their water cannons and flashing lights. We were home at last. Inside the airport we passed through security and passed the longest line of welcoming citizens, politicians, military personnel of every rank. Most surprising was the number of young children present. They stood in a double line which we passed through the center. The cheers and handshakes made us all proud to be respected in this manner by those who thanked us so openly. As we exited the building, the final salute was from a group of men and women playing the bagpipes. The emotions were high at times within each veteran. I’m sure we all had the remembrances of the men we left behind and how proud they would have been of our America and its citizens who cared.”

 

Closeout thoughts on Memorial Day follow. For me, I often get a feeling of elation when I hear the national anthem. I give thanks to being an American. Although our nation is experiencing hard times due to earlier incompetent and misguided leadership, it is important that we lovers of the American way of life not give up. George Washington, my man of the 18th century, facing unsurmountable odds, did not give up. Nor did the men and women who led the expansion out West in the 19th century. Nor did Churchill, my man of the 20th century. Bottom line: Nor will our nation; we will return to greatness.

 

God bless America and those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JULY 1:                      On the Ultimate Quiz

AUGUST 1:                On Engineering as a Career

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              On Barack Hussein Obama Update VI

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON THE 2019 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

East Williston School District (EWSD) residents are annually requested to vote on a school budget and this year is no exception. Each voting member of the community will have an opportunity to either vote for or against the budget. Every parent, every senior, every taxpayer, and every youngster of voting age should consider voting NO on the budget. Why? The same two reasons I mention every year at this time: waste and senior citizen exploitation. From my perspective, this District does not care about the seniors, but for goodness sake, you would think they would do something about the waste.

 

The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment.

 

It is important for both parents and educators to understand from an educational perspective that the landscape has changed. My experience suggests that today’s students leave high school more aware of what they want to do and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Nobody I know feels the EWSD is doing enough to adjust to this change. The mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. The recently approved 5-year STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) Program were only words in a written document. Today’s educators need to guide students to develop into lifelong learners. Students must acquire the knowledge and critical-thinking capabilities that prepare them to continually learn new skills for a future few, if any, can predict. In effect, educators must respond to a changing world, implementing creative, student-centered solutions. It’s all about teaching kids to use their minds so that they will have imagination to respond to many changing circumstances in the world. This approach can expand the world for students beyond the classroom, giving them access to resources, ideas and glimpses into cultures that they may not have opportunities to explore. Technology is a bit part of that. It’s not about whether or not to include technology in education anymore; it’s about how to do it in the best, most engaging and inspiring ways to support the desired learning outcomes. Anyone really believe the EWSD is capable to accomplishing this? Most have come to realize that the District is very slow to change.

 

Taxpayers are also concerned about the rising cost of education. If there are things that can be done differently to provide the quality necessary, this should be figured out. Unfortunately I really don’t think they are capable.

 

And where does the PTO fit into all of this? Forgive me, but it would be more appropriate to refer to them as TO since they do not represent the parents and their children. As I’ve said in the past, this is unfortunately an organization whose members are just uninformed, or lacking intelligence, or educator/teacher ideologs, or some combination of the three. Not a healthy situation. Many of the uniformed parents refuse to accept that the self-serving EWSD board, the teachers, the PTA, etc., have failed and betrayed both the students and the community. The turnaround will come when the community comes to realize that Board members – in almost every instance – are there for self-serving purposes. If they really cared about all the kids – not only their own, they would not move on once they have graduated. Board Trustees generally stay as long as they have children in schools…and the silently scoot out. They really aren’t that much different than the parents involved in the recent college admission bribery scam — parents looking to gain an advantage for their children at the expense of others. Think about past Board members who were so vociferous and outspoken about defending the status quo … a status quo that has resulted in higher taxes and decrease in the quality of education.

 

Finally, and as noted above, our taxes are too high because of excess spending that is educationally unnecessary. This waste is harming real estate values. Simple actions, which can positively affect our community, are opposed by the teachers, the administrators, the present illegitimate Board, the self-serving PTO officers, and many of the misinformed (thanks to the PTO leadership) PTO members.

 

The bottom line: It’s OK to vote NO on the budget. Don’t be a glutton for punishment. Stop being taken for a fool. Stop being an enabler for the EXPLOITERS on the Board and some PTO officers.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day VIII

JULY 1:                      On the Ultimate Quiz

AUGUST 1:                On Engineering as a Career

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              On Barack Hussein Obama Update VI

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE HOFSTRA 2018-19 BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

Here is part of what I wrote at the start of the Hofstra Men’s 2018-19 basketball season. “The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away ‘HOFSTRA TARGETS NCAA: WRIGHT-FOREMAN KEY TO MAKING MARCH MADNESS.’ I disagree. Wright-Foreman and defense will send Hofstra to the Promised Land. The backcourt, led by superstar all-American candidate JWF, may be able to carry the club and overcome any deficiencies upfront…and this will be determined as the season goes forward.”

 

Well, what about the players this year? Superman (Justin Wright-Foreman) emerged as a star. My discussions with 7 NBA scouts suggest that he has a 25% chance of making it. His major drawback: physical size and body strength. I like his chances for two reason: backcourt drafts are preferred and JWF has continued to improve with each season. The rest of the team? Buie and Ray also continued to improve and Coburn was the most pleasant of all surprises. To top it all off, Taylor, the center transfer from Purdue, improved significantly as the season progressed; he proved a more than adequate replacement for Rokas with his shot blocking and stellar defensive play, as well as his ability to make layups and foul shots. The team appeared unbeatable midway through the season.

 

And, what about the team’s performance this year? I’ll make this short. The club had what I would consider a turn-around year. They won the CAA Championship but failed to win the tournament, losing to Northeastern in the finals following a lackluster performance in their previous 5 CAA games. They closed the season out with a loss to a quality opponent in the first round of the NIT…an ultra-solid game in which they played great and could have won with a couple of breaks.

 

It is fair to conclude that the personnel was there for the team to go further. Here’s my analysis of reasons on why they didn’t.

 

  1. How many teams that made the Sweet 16 played zone defense? If you answered hardly any, you’d be right. And, there is a reason why the better teams do NOT play zone defense. Over the years, only Syracuse’s zone has withstood the test of time, but they too have fallen by the wayside in recent years as more well-coached teams have figured out how to destroy this defense. Hofstra, once again, committed to a zone defense this season and that, more than anything else, lead to their limited success. Case in point: During the CAA championship game between Hofstra and Northeastern, Mary (my wife) kept questioning why Northeastern was getting so many easy open shots while Hofstra struggled to get a good shot. I explained what happens when a team plays zone defense. Accept it – nothing can replace the intensity of an in-your-face man-to-man defense. NOTHING!!!
  2. I keep repeating this after each season. You are inviting trouble when you commit to a 7-man rotation, with 5 players rotating around 4 positions. A successful team needs season-tested layers not only when players are in foul trouble but also at tournament time when confronting either a 3-game/3-day or 4-game/4-day schedule.
  3. Coach Mikalich and his staff have done a superb job in recruiting — when it comes to offensive players. But defense is as important as offense, right? All coaches agree with this irrefutable statement, but few do anything about it. Bottom line: Recruit for defense as well as offense.
  4. The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. Iona College, with essentially mediocre seasons, has won the MAAC tournament the last 4 years in a row. Does Tim Cluess know something that other coaches don’t know? I believe he has figured out that the corrupt NCAA has stacked the deck against mid-major teams, and the only way to survive and prosper is to win their tournament. Bottom line: Play to win the tournament, NOT conference games during the season. How does a team do this? I discussed this very topic in the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.

 

I also noted earlier that this might be a do-or-die season for Hofstra since the club is top-heavy with seniors and only one freshman along with two sophs. But things have changed. My spies have informed me that Buie has been granted another year of stay (eligibility) and Jalen Ray – who continues to grow (physically) – has become as a quality guard/small forward with some defensive skills. Add to this that Pemberton, although short at times on defensive output, will emerge next season as a scoring machine. Also add to this the performance of Coburn this past season. I’m good at math and it seems that they will have an excellent starting 4 that may be devoid of a center. Hopefully, one of the transfers or one of the freshmen or a new recruit will fill this void. Bottom line 1: a quality center could bring another CAA championship next year. Bottom line 2: playing man-to-man may insure 1. In any event, I’ve changed my mind and now believe that 2019-20 will be another good year.

 

I return at the start of next season.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

MAY 1:           On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:          On the Theodore Healthcare Plan

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVIII