Year in Review 2002
This has been a banner year for being photographed with famous people. It will be very difficult to match this distinguished group: former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Trade Representative Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, former Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, financial commentator/TV host Louis Rukeyser, and New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. What do these famous people have in common? Answer: they are all taller than I am. To view these photos with contextual comments, go to my Photos with Famous People page. I also met movie maker Ken Burns famous for his TV series on such topics as the Civil War, Baseball and Jazz. I urged Mr. Burns to make a series on King Philip's War, which he knew is the bloodiest war in American history. He explained that since there are no photos from that period his whole technique of animating still photos wouldn't work. By the way, he uses a Macintosh computer.
This year I continued my conversion to a digital world. My major activity has been to build my web site. I also continue to develop basic skills like scanning and burning CDs and DVDs. This year I moved 85% of my Christmas cards recipients to electronic distribution. I did miss one key goal: conversion to Apple's wonderful new operating system OS X. That will be my goal for 2003. If you are unhappy with your PC, check out how to switch to Macintosh!
2002 marked the passing of my distant cousin and one of the patriarchs of the family in Sweden, Per Otto Klevenmark. I met Per Otto and his family in 1977 during my first visit to Sweden and have remained in annual contact with them. We are all descendants of Halfward Bryngelsson from Klefmarken who was rewarded for his pivotal efforts against the Norwegians by a grateful Charles XII, the famous warrior-king of Sweden.
One of my major accomplishments this year was uploading all of the names of my known ancestors to the Family Tree section of my web site. This information represents more than 20 years of extensive research in the US, Sweden, Norway and Scotland. There are over 700 ancestors! I hope all of my cousins and other relatives are as thrilled as I am to have this treasure trove of information available to the whole family. I still have a lot of additional information on these ancestors that is not yet in electronic form. The depth of the Parrish roots in American history continue to amaze me. This year I discovered that Ariaentje Cuvilje Vigne, my 11 x great grandmother was the second owner of the land on which the World Trade Center stood. I even gave a copy of the map to Rudy Giuliani. I have also updated the list of proven distant famous cousins and Presidential cousins. It is wonderful to find these connections. Recently I have met via e-mail Sheila Scott, a second cousin from Boston and Roger Kelley, a third cousin, who is a genealogist who lives in Scotland. More on the Scotland branch of the family next year!
This was the 5th year that the Anderson Scholarship, set up to honor my mother, was awarded to the salutatorian of the senior class of Sioux Rapids Community School. This year's winner is Nathan Wittmaack who is now studying at University of Northern Iowa. I attended the Texas Ex-Students Association's annual banquet in Austin in September and met David Yu, this year's winner of the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship. I also visited with Eleanor Moore and Laura Luthy who helped me set up the scholarship. I took Megan Beck, last year's winner, to lunch and heard about her adventures working at the Smithsonian Institute this summer. Megan is very much into swing dancing.
Following my pattern for the past 5 or 6 years, I attended Louis Rukeyser's Investment Conference in Las Vegas in March and the New Orleans Investment Conference in November. These two conferences represent the full range of thinking on investments. The Rukeyser conference represents the long term optimists who are still cheerleaders for the bull market. This year attendance was down to about 6,000 from the 10,000 peak in 2000. The New Orleans conference which was started by "gold bugs" was up from a low of 400 last year to 800 this year. In New Orleans, we listened to Sir John Templeton via a video connection. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton, gave the main speech. My written question was selected by the moderator as the first question from the audience presented to General Shelton. It was: "Why was the U.S. Military unable to defend the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. Please be frank." I got a polished answer, but not a frank one.
My big picture conclusion from listening to the experts is that by the end of January 2003, we will know which way the market is going to go for the rest of the year. While in Las Vegas, I took a helicopter trip over to the Grand Canyon for a picnic lunch. As we flew over it, I noticed what a classic target that Hoover Dam would be for terrorists. It took 7 years to fill the lake behind it and this dam supplies most of the electricity for Las Vegas. I also saw the Lord of the Dance and George Carlin. Carlin is very funny and gets you laughing at some outrageous things. It takes real skill to deliver his clever, fast paced monologue.
In January, the Republican party tried some legal maneuvering to prevent the Libertarian Party in Illinois from conducting primary elections in areas where is was established. We took them to court and prevailed. I was one of 14 people elected as a Precinct Committeeman for the Libertarian Party in March. This is an unpaid position. I knew that as a Precinct Committeeman, that I would receive voter lists, but I was surprised to discover that they contain the birthdate of each voter. In July, the Republicans tried even more dirty tricks to keep the Libertarian Party off the statewide ballot, but were forced to withdraw their suit and apologize to the Libertarian Party. In July I attended the Libertarian Party's national convention in Indianapolis, a very clean and modern city. This year the Libertarian Party got between 2% and 4% of the vote for each statewide office in Illinois. In Wisconsin, Ed Thompson got 10.4% of the vote for Governor. Michael Cloud got 19% of the vote for U.S. Senator in Massachusetts. The highlight of the year was the Libertarian initiative to ELIMINATE the state income tax in Massachusetts. Every elected politician opposed it. The media wrote editorials against it, yet it narrowly lost getting an amazing 45.4%. Nationwide 40 Libertarians were elected to office on November 5th. Take the quiz to see if you are a Libertarian.
This is the 100th anniversary of the Circumnavigators Club and I will be attending a series of events in New York in early December to celebrate this occasion. Our local chapter selected Dan Hoyle from Northwestern University and sent him on an around the world trip to study the effects of Globalization. He will be giving a presentation on his trip at our annual December party. You can read Dan's very descriptive and insightful 29 dispatches on the places he visited. If you have made a trip around the world and might be interested in joining our club, please contact me.
High School reunions are really special occasions. As usual Pat Davis Hardi organized our 40th reunion. It was a special treat to see old friends that you haven't seen in 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. Linda Cartledge Squire, who has lived in Australia for the past 20 years, and I were the two seniors voted as "Most Likely to Succeed" by our class of 540 in 1962. Over 100 classmates attended the reunion. In a subsequent trip to Texas, I had dinner with fellow classmates Glenda Parks who is the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood in Austin and lunch with Mike Smith who raises quarter horses. For the 40th reunion of W.W. Samuell High School, I prepared a special web page for a shirt which 78 fellow seniors and 7 teachers signed back in 1962 that includes photos of all of their signatures. I was shocked to see that 10% of these friends are already dead including two of my college roommates.
If you have lived long enough you will recognize the situation. Your life is sailing along and everything is fine, then the phone rings. It was a Friday night and I learned that my brother had terminal liver cancer. I flew to Houston the next morning and met with his former wife, Brenda Bearden at the hospital. My brother was conscious and in pain. On Sunday I was able to have an extensive discussion with his doctor asking about 50 questions. There was no doubt about the diagnosis. My brother had an unknown cancer which had spread to his liver. There were two dozen large cancerous lesions. There was nothing that could be done. Transplants are out of the question if you have cancer. He had 6 times too many lesions to attempt removing the cancerous part of his liver. Phil was terminal. The only question was how long would he live. The doctor was waiting for a battery of additional tests due on Monday afternoon, but ventured that he had several weeks to a month or so. The next morning Phil's liver started to fail. This is a sad, pitiful and painful event. With the current state of medicine, the only thing they can do is ease your pain. My brother died a peaceful death on Monday afternoon, May 13th. He was buried in Dallas next to his mother in the family plot. His obituary and guest book are on line. There is also a photo of my father at graveside. If you have about 10 minutes, please view the 1983 Family Photo Album Show. I converted a photo album that Brenda originally put together in 1983 for the web. Two of the photos are below: one of my brother and myself and the other my brother and his son, PJ. Phil, we all miss you.
After my brother's death in May, I returned to Dallas in July, bought my father a new flat-screen iMac and transferred his files from his two older Macs to his new one. In September I was back in Dallas for my father's 88th birthday along with my nephew PJ, his wife Amy and son Cortlan. Amy took this remarkable four-generation photograph. Click to enlarge. For his birthday, I gave my father a DVD of two short iMovies that I made in 2001 of him, my brother and my cousins. In October, my father had a pacemaker implanted and I went to Dallas to help him. PJ, Amy and Cortlan are due to move into their newly built home by the end of 2002.
I became VP of the Fox Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution on April 28, 2002. Chuck Sener, State Chair, administered the oath of office. This year in August I attended "Club Dave" for the 6th year in a row. Dave Wahlstedt invites friends up to his parent's cabin on a lake in Wisconsin for an extended weekend of water sports and animated discussions around the campfire. This year I presented David with a DVD of the 12 minute well-received iMovie that I made last year featuring typical conversations and water-skiing wipeouts. On September 20, I heard a radio ad for the opening night of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, put on my tuxedo and rushed down to hear familiar and wonderful dance music from Mozart, Bach, Dvorak, Brahms, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, etc. I learned that even the "cheap" seats in the upper balcony are excellent places to hear the orchestra.
All the best to you in 2003!