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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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NFL Fantasy Football Champion

My team, New Scotland Albatrosses, have won the championship this year in my NFL fantasy football league.  So hooray for me.  It was pretty close, but I squeaked thru, defeating the Karlsbad Krackers by a handful of points.... 145.2 to 138.7...

Iranian Arms Deal... news in 1986

30 years ago last month...  news of a secret Iranian arms deal came out...

Nov 17, 1986:  "In the news recently, there was a secret arms deal with Iran that has gotten a lot of people mad."

Nov 24, 1986:  "OK, this is what I know about the Iranian arms deal that's been in the news lately.  Time (Newsweek?) says on its cover that it's Reagan's biggest blunder.  Anyway, this is what I know (probably not much):  Some time ago (a few years) Reagan sent a secret group of diplomats, including former sec. of ?? MacFarlane to Iran.  The newspaper said that they were disguised as airline employees and had a cake and a Bible signed by Reagan with them.  This has been denied. Anyway, they supposedly met with moderates in the country and gave them a cargo-plane load of anti-tank missiles.  And there's an arms embargo going on with Iran.  I just know bits and pieces of this, but I watched Reagan on TV denying anything bad was done.  He said it was time to improve relations with moderates in Iran.  Some people have bveen saying Reagan used the weapons to get hostages in Lebanon released (Iran has ties to the groups holding the hostages).  This was denied too.  I don't know what's the truth, really.  That's all for now."

Nov 26, 1986:  ... "It looks like Reagan's going to ask for the resignations of a few people connected to the Iran arms thing.  This is Reagan's biggest scandal yet.  The latest news is that the money from the Iranians was given to the Contras.  And the thingis, congress didn't even know about it.  Only a few people in the administration did.  People would like to know how much the President was involved." ...

Dec 1, 1986:  ... "The BIG story lately is the Iranian arms deal.  It's a bit complex sometimes but this is what I know:  The U.S. (actually, a few people in the Reagan administration) sold some Iranians some arms and spare parts, despite the Iran arms embargo.  They didn't tell the public or the congress.  It's uncertain how much Reagan knew.  Some arms went to terrorists who reciprocated by releasing hostages.  I remember hearing Reagan deny in his first press conf. about it that the arms were being traded for hostages.  The money for the arms went to Switzerland,  The Pentagon was paid, and the remaining "profit" was sent to the Contras in Nicaragua.  The congress, at the time, said no aid to Contras.  This is all illegal.  Bad news for Reagan fans."


30 years ago in my journal:

"Last night F and Jackie came over.  We drank a little and played Risk.  That's my thing from time to time.  I like to play Risk.  Conquering the world is fun for me, I guess.  I really like geography and maps, etc., so Risk is a map, right?"

My meditations on money...

From my journal 30 years ago:

"You sort of think $145 is a lot of money to have someone tell you to close your eyes and think of a word.  I guess it is a lot of money, but it's just money.  Sometimes I don't value money as much as other times.  The less I think about the $145 the better." ....

"So anyway, if this improves my life, $145 isn't much considering the amount of money I'd get as an EE.  Money is all relative to me.  Sometimes $8 is too much." ...

How I got my mantra...

From my journal about 30 years ago:

"Saturday I went to the TM center in Amherst on Lincoln St. (sort of near Whitmore).  The place is just a house.  House-shaped.  It has a sign near the front door saying "Transcendental Meditation Program".  I park at the nearby Lincoln Apartments.

So I went Saturday at 3:00 with 6 daisies, two grapefruits and 1 handkerchief...  met my two teachers.  One, Tony I think, took me upstairs.  This was the scary / weird part.

Up there, there was incense burning on a table that had a portrait of Guru Dev, some rice, brown powder (cinnamon?).  Anyway, he gave me one of the flowers to hold and said I should just stand there and witness this little ceremony to give thanks to Guru Dev.  So he started speaking Hindi real softly.  I guess it was Hindi.  He put a little rice in a dish with the handerchief, put the fruit on, dipped a flower in water, sprinkled the water on, etc. etc. etc.  The whole bit.  Then, at the end, he got on his knees, and that's about it.

This whole thing made me a bit nervous.  It doesn't happen to me every day...

Then we sat down and he gave me my mantra.  I can't tell you what it is.  I'm not supposed to.  It's a two syllable sound.

Anyway... after that, he taught me how to meditate, which is basically just repeating the mantra silently in the mind with your eyes closed.  After we did that for a little while, we went downstairs and I meditated in a room alone or about 20 minutes.  Then we talked about it afterwards.

They give you a lot of questionnaires too, which I don't like.  They ask things like, were you relaxed, and did you become unaware of your body and your surroundings.  I never know what to write...

So anyway, they sent me home with a flower, an apple and my handkerchief."

Jim Morrison's grave, Summer of 1984

I included a pic of Jim Morrison's grave in my journal about 30 years ago...  I wrote:  "This is a picture of Jim Morrison's grave in Paris, France.  My brother and I went to see it two summers ago (1984) when we were in Europe with my parents.  There's a lot of graffiti around his grave.  It's really weird.  I think the cemetery is called Pere LaChaisse Cemitiere, or something like that.  I remember going up to a caretaker and trying to speak French, saying, "Ou' est Jim..." and before I could get the words out, he said, "Jim Morrison?"  "Oui, Oui."  So he told us how to get there (it's a big cemetery)...  but there were arrows people drew along the way, anyway, saying "Jim -->".  It was kind of funny.  A few other famous people were buried there.  Chopin, and Victor Hugo, I think.  It's a weird place.  They have buildings for graves, some of them."

Char Lee

From my journal about 30 years ago, I mentioned our family dog, Char Lee, and include a picture:

Tijuana, 1986

I want to share a few insignificant memories from a crossing into Tijuana with my friend Kevin way back in March 1986...  Had mentioned it in my journal 30 years ago, but didn't say very much about it...

We parked our rental car on the San Ysidro, CA side of the border and walked into Mexico in the afternoon.  As soon as you get across, there seemed to be a change, with young children asking for money, etc.

We walked around and had something to eat at a Denny's, which basically had mexican food on the menu, so I had some kind of mushy bean substance on a tortilla....

Went to a few bars, and there was one where a waitress sort of kept the change saying "You owe me tip anyway"...  which was a bit odd at the time, for her to assume we were going to tip her, but we were wary of getting on her (or anyone else's) wrong side so we just kind of laughed it off.... and to this day it's sort of a catch phrase with us... "You owe me tip anyway".

Bumped into some other guy from Massachusetts in one of the bars, which was surprising...  We were about 20 years old at the time, so didn't normally go to bars... this was all a bit of an adventure, but I think the drinking age in Mexico was only 18... whereas it was 21 back home in Massachusetts.

Anyway, by the time it was going home time, we had had several beverages and were probably lucky to find the border.  It was raining quite hard so we were running and barely slowed down at the actual border where they just sort of waved us through...  which I thought was very surprising.  We could've been smuggling anything, but they apparently saw that we looked non-Mexican so we weren't searched or even had our ID's or passports checked.  Weird.  Just ran right through, in the rain.

March 1986... California Trip

I scanned a few pages of my journal from 30 years ago that have a couple pictures and description of a trip with a friend, Kevin, to California during Spring Break March 1986....    The pictures nor the description are all that great...  we didn't take a lot of pictures in those days...  Maybe I'll try to write down my recollections of that trip to supplement this...  as it was a bit of an interesting trip with an adventure or two in Tijuana and in southern California...  Anyway, here are the journal pages...

November 1986

I've fallen behind in my look back at my journal entries of 30 years ago... Will attempt to catch up a bit...

Nov 1, 1986: Played tennis with my parents. Previous night, went to Michelle K's halloween party. Wrote a little about blood pressure, weight, transcendental meditation. "I'd like to see if TM really does lower my blood pressure. It's usually around 135/92 approximately. It varies a lot, tho. That's high-normal blodd pressure. Nothing really bad but it's good to catch something like that early before it really gets high..." Going to a Northeastern University hockey game with F and Michelle.

Wrote a bit about going to California the previous March (1986) with Kevin. Put in a few photos... Venice Beach, Hollywood Walk of Fame, etc. We went out to visit my Grandmother Dorothy in Cathedral City, near Palm Springs... took day trips to L.A. in a rented car.

Nov 2, 1986: Back in Sunderland. NU Huskies lost to the BC Eagles 7-1 previous night.

Nov 3, 1986: Homework. BP is 115/75, which is "real good. It must be my pills." Two exams next week. Brian, my brother, just got engaged to his girlfriend, Debbie.

Nov 4, 1986: BP = 119/85. "It seems to be pretty good. I used to consistently be up around 136/93." ... "I'm going to start receiving my transcendental meditation instruction Saturday at 3:00, plus the three following nights. They tell you to bring 6 fresh flowers, two or three sweet fruits, one new white handkerchief, and the course fee, $145.00. I guess there's some kind of ceremony to start out with."

Nov 5, 1986: "I'm not too keen on abortion. I guess I believe life begins at the moment of conception. I really find the thought of killing unborn babies distasteful. I'm glad I wasn't aborted."

Nov 6, 1986: BP = 117/81. "The pills I'm taking now are called Enalapril. The Cadillac of hypertension pills. 50 cents each."

Nov 7, 1986: Today is F's birthday. "She's 20 years old. We just got back from watching Yellow Submarine in downtown Amherst."

Nov 8, 1986: I went to my first TM lesson today. "The guy took my 6 flowers and fruit and handkerchief and performed a ceremony in front of a portrait of Guru Dev (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's teacher)." ... "The guy taught me how to meditate after giving me my mantra."

Nov 9, 1986: "I just got back from TM lessons. I had a REALLY NICE meditation there. It felt really good, and I'm really hyper now. I feel real good. This is the first time this has happened. I'm much more optimistic about TM now than I was after my first meeting. Before, I was thinking "Oh, this isn't working. It's not going to do what they say it will. Blah, Blah, Blah. They took my $145. Blah." But now, I'm really glad I did it.  I really had a good meditation, and I expect they'll get even better..."

It's Christmas

Bit of an odd Christmas this year. We all gathered at the maternity wing of the hospital to open presents... as that's where Jenny is. There's a common room there that we occupied. Ayla got a big castle and a lot of glittery things and dolls... Adam got some transformers, remote control cars and a kid's kindle.

This year I got some nice books about maps and music, and some Dylan CD's and Leonard Cohen's last CD before he died.

Fantasy Football

I wanted to mention that I'm doing pretty well this year in Fantasy NFL Football... My record is 12-3, and I just won my first playoff game... If I win the next two games, I'm the league champion. There's only one other team who has a better win-loss record, slightly.

October 1986 summary

A summary of October 1986:

- Exams...

- I drink too much Jolt cola...

- I start putting photos in my journal...

- I start trancendental meditation...

- Volume Two of my journal begins...

- The Red Sox lose to the Mets in the World Series...


Well, here's another couple pages from my journal about 30 years ago... Obviously, I was starting to put silly pictures in...

UMASS baseball riot

REPOSTED from 2007 in LJ, which quotes a journal entry from a bit over 30 years ago... about an incident at UMASS:

The '86 World Series Race Riot

Well, I'm not sure if it was really a "riot"... but when that ball went through Buckner's legs and the Red Sox lost to the Mets in the '86 World Series, the Southwest residential area at UMass erupted into alcohol-fuelled violence between white Red Sox fans and black Mets fans, leaving ten people injured. Here's some of what I wrote in my journal at the time:

Journal Entry, October 30, 1986: "...The big news around campus lately is that after the 7th game of the World Series a few days ago (in which the Red Sox lost), there was sort of a riot in Southwest. People were breaking windows, breaking bottles, and a few fights broke out. A mob of whites beat up a black kid so some people are saying it was a race riot. I wasn't there, so I don't know, but I don't think it was a "race riot." Just a few Red Sox fans getting violent toward a few Mets fans. I guess there were some campus police around, but they sort of "let things happen." That's bad. I don't like campus police, that much. From what I've heard, they're a bunch of jerks."...

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