Year in Review 2007


I hope you had a good year in 2007, as I did, and are looking forward to 2008. Have some fun reading my Year in Review. There is massive hyperlinking to aid your surfing.

                                Best wishes, Don.

Here is the table of contents for my Year in Review:
This Year's Card Bell Labs
Sons of the American Revolution Libertarian Party
Western African Trip Digital World
Pacific WWII Sites - Iwo Jima Trip Home
Central Asian & European Trip Family
U.S. Travel Scholarships
Eastern Canada Trip Theater
Unusual East African Trip Books
Objectivism Exercise
Circumnavigators Other
Washington Painting

This Year's Card

This year's e-card is the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. The painting captures the drama of Washington's daring crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day 1776 to stage a surprise attack on the Hessians at Trenton. Our army used the password Victory or Death. The attack was a success -- one of the few in the early stages of the Revolution, which was to last another 7 years. It was in the nick of time because morale was at its lowest point and enlistments were due to expire on December 31, 1776. Washington's victory saved the American army from a potential dissolution.

Without George Washington, there is no United States. He was pivotal to winning the Revolution, saving the Revolution from an unpaid army, chairing the work of the Constitution, serving as our first President, and establishing the tradition of term limits. Please read Thomas Jefferson's brief evaluation of him. There is an anecdote, reprinted many times during our Civil War, of Washington personally paying off the mortgage of the Seth Warner family. Colonel Warner was a hero, who led the famous Green Mountain boys, and died just after the Revolution of multiple wounds. This anecdote illustrates the points of Washington's character and personality described in Jefferson's evaluation.

This year I discovered the grave of Israel Warner, son of Seth Warner. This historical find is described in the next section. There are direct quotes of the dialog between Israel Warner and George Washington in the anecdote.

Sons of the American Revolution

The Sons of the American Revolution, one of our oldest patriotic organizations, requires proof that an ancestor fought in the American Revolution for membership. This is my final full year as President of the Fox Valley chapter. Our chapter, because of its great Board of Managers and full range of activities, is often praised as the best chapter in Illinois.

Warner Graves Restored Grave The highlight was my discovery of Israel Warner's grave, the 15th grave in the greater Chicago area of a Revolutionary War soldier. The Daily Herald's headline called it a Historic Finding. Israel is buried with his daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, both were named for soldiers who fought in the Revolution and both died due to their service in the Civil War.

Those 5 graves are a piece of American history linking the American Revolution and the Civil War. Israel Warner lived to be 93 and died in 1862 during the Civil War, one of the last surviving soldiers of the Revolution.

In the photo (left), the grave of Israel Warner is in the foreground with his daughter and grandsons, one named for him, in the background. The photo (right) shows Israel's restored gravestone. The discolored portion was discovered buried under the top piece. In both photos, his son-in-law, Daniel Kenyon's gravestone has not yet been restored.

Mark your calendar. The commemoration of Israel Warner's 240th birthday will be on May 31, 2008 at 3pm at the Big Woods cemetery in Aurora, Illinois This event is being planned by the Israel Warner Commemoration Committee a group of 7 organizations, chaired by Mike Johnston VP of the Fox Valley chapter. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Israel Warner (Read more information) went into the army at age 9, served for 6 years, and was honorably discharged as a Private at the end of the Revolution when he was 15. Israel Warner spoke to George Washington and we have some of the direct quotes. Read the amazing anecdote.

Israel and his father, Colonel Seth Warner, fought in the Battle of Bennington. Colonel Warner, who was greatly admired by George Washington, was considered a hero of this battle. His statue is next to the 306 foot monument to celebrate the victory. August 16th is still a legal holiday in Vermont.

At our Chapter dinner meeting in April, I gave my well received talk on North Korea.

I was one of 6 people interviewed for an article and photo in the Daily Herald in July on patriotism.

I also serve as webmaster for the Fox Valley chapter. Our activities are listed on the home page:

Western Africa Trip

Africa Map I spent all of February in central Western Africa visiting 13 countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, the Republic of the Congo, Angola (Cabinda), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.

Slave Door There is a wide variation between these countries. They are all poor and developing. Some countries have their act together. Some of the highlights of this complex and physically demanding trip include: (1) Seeing the "Doors of No Return" in the two fortresses built by the Europeans to process millions of slaves in wretched conditions. Blacks enslaved other blacks and sold them to the Europeans. Some slaves were transported over 1000 miles to be sold. All of the routes passed thru Kumasi in the center of Ghana, seat of the Ashanti Kings. (2) Attending the court of the Ashanti King and being impressed with the procedure used to determine who was telling the truth in the case he was adjudicating. I could tell who was winning the case even though I could not understand a single word by the reaction of the very well and traditionally dressed audience. Later, I realized that his ancestors could have stopped the slave trade if they had wanted.

Benin Bronze (3) Visiting the Museum in Togo and seeing the beautiful and impressive 500-year-old Benin bronzes. (4) Experiencing the repeated power failures in the Ivory Coast and the Central African Republic. (5) Seeing the disaster that is Nigeria. It has a vast oil wealth, but the quality of life has been declining for decades. It is the most populous country in Africa.

Pygmies Dancing (6) Seeing how hard the poor people work, and how difficult it is to get ahead in a poor country. (7) Realizing that there is no concept of labor productivity which is essential to increase the real wealth of people. (8) Visiting real pygmies (Yes, I was taller than all of them) in the forest hundreds of miles from tourists and seeing that their living conditions haven't changed in thousands of years.

Miss Europe (9) Crossing and re-crossing the mighty Congo River. (10) Meeting Miss Europe 2007, who was Miss France of 2006, in the Congo. She is very beautiful, charming and sweet. Meeting her, celebrating the 250th birthday of Lafayette and basking in the glow of Prime Minister Sarkozy's stirring pro-American speech to Congress, has put me in a pro-French mood.

Pacific WWI Sites - Iwo Jima

In March, I spent 3 weeks visiting WWII sites in the Pacific. I visited Peleliu, Guam, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Tinian, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Hawaii. My trip was arranged by Military Historical tours. They were founded by former Marines. They are the company to use if you want to visit Iwo Jima, which is open only one day a year.

Tank Cave Peleliu is part of Palau, famous for its scuba diving. The boat ride thru the Rock Islands is enchanting. I spent 5 days on Peleliu, the site of a bloody Marine amphibious landing in WWII, tramping thru jungles, climbing on top of tanks, hiking up hills, crouching in small caves, etc. I tripled my understanding of WWII in the Pacific from smallest details to historic strategies.

DMP in B52 Guam is where America's day starts. Guamanians are intensely proud to be US Citizens even though they cannot vote for President. When you realize how they suffered during WWII at the hands of the Japanese and how they were liberated by the U.S. Marines, their record enlistment rate makes sense. I visited Andersen Air Force base and got a tour of a B-52. I joked with crew members telling them that unlike them I was older than the B-52. I was photographed in the pilot's seat.

Marines Iwo Jima The highlight of the trip was the visit to Iwo Jima. I created a slideshow video so you can better appreciate this special place. There were almost 300 Americans including 14 veterans who fought there who took the Continental charter flight from Guam to Iwo Jima for the Reunion of Honor. The young marines who drove us around the island took every opportunity to show their respect to the veterans. It was a high privilege and a special honor to visit Iwo Jima.

Mary, the pilot There are a lot of Russian tourists in Saipan because no visa is required. They are easy to spot since they are so white. The flight to Tinian takes 10 minutes in a tiny airplane. At the end of the flight, I couldn't help myself and asked the pilot: "Mary, how old are you?" Mary: "80 (eighty)" Me: "When did you learn to fly?" Mary: "When I was 60." She then lit up a cigarette.

Marines Iwo Jima On Tinian, I visited the runway where the Enola Gay took off to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The same field was used 3 days later, when the Bockscar took off for the atomic bombing run on Nagasaki, dropping the bomb named Fat Man. The photo in a photo above was taken of the bomb loading pit. Hardy anyone visits this forgotton field.

Arizona Memorial I stopped in Micronesia and the Marshall Islands on my way back to Hawaii. On this brief visit my mission was the U.S.S. Missouri, the site of the surrender by Japanese officials to General Douglas McArthur, a distant cousin. The Missouri is anchored next to the U.S.S. Arizona memorial. There in one glance, one can see the beginning and end of America's involvement in WWII. The wooden deck is marked where the surrender took place.

Central Asia and Europe

Asia Map In May, I spent an incredible 3 weeks in the "stans" in storied central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. I also visited Europe: Belarus, Kaliningrad, Finland, the Aland Islands, Market Reef and Denmark. This was my second visit to Afghanistan, Finland and Denmark. Only ham radio operators and extreme travelers know about Market Reef.

With the exception of Afghanistan, the other 5 stans were part of the old Soviet Union. The only language that they have in common is Russian, and there is still a surprising amount of old Soviet-style thinking in their governments. The map shows how strategic central Asia is lying between Russia, China, Iran and the subcontinent.

Minaret Ismoil Samoniy Central Asia is a fantastic tourist spot steeped in history. Here Genghis Khan and Tamerlane both slaughtered and civilized. Genghis ordered Bukhara razed, but spared this minaret for its beauty. It and the wonderous Ismoil Samoniy Mausoleum are over 1000 years old. The land is flat and dry; armies have swept over these lands for centuries. Much to see in the ancient mosques, the buzzing markets, and the new-found oil wealth in some countries.

Ashgabat Ashgabat The surprise was Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan. There a megalomaniac dictator who called himself Turkmenbashi, the father of the Turkmen, used oil wealth to transform the city. He liked golden statues of himself. In his tiny hometown, he built a mosque for 20,000 people. Instead of using quotes from the Koran, he used quotes from his own book to decorate the mosque.

One of the common denominators of these former Soviet Muslim countries is they are moderate Muslims. No extremists here. In the 1920s, the Russian communists destroyed mosques & radical Muslims with a fervor, transforming the future. The result is that the north of Afghanistan bordering Uzbekistan is the peaceful part while the problem areas are located in the south along the border with Pakistan.

Belarus Women In Belarus, I saw the apartment where Lee Harvey Oswald lived with his wife. Photo: local women strolling the streets in Minsk. In Kaliningrad (a Russian enclave surrounded by Poland and Lithuania), I saw the Cathedral, the nearby grave of Immanuel Kant, the childhood home of Putin's wife, motorcycle dirt racing, etc. Some officials have a Soviet mentality and others are very friendly.

Market Reef In Helsinki, I took the harbor boat tour. The Aland Islands are an autonomous Swedish-speaking part of Finland. From there I took a chartered helicopter to visit Market Reef. This is a tiny (less than 500 feet by 1000 feet) stony island, the smallest sea island owned by two countries. It has a crumbling lighthouse. Two volunteers took me & the pilot on the full tour. It was a delightful visit.

Per Hansen In Denmark, I visited an Objectivist friend, Per Hansen. I had already shown him Chicago; he was eager to return the favor in wonderful Copenhagen. We hiked 15 miles at a brisk pace seeing things the average tourist would miss. Per, who could get a part in a movie as a Viking, would frequently ask me if I was OK, then smile and pick up the pace. See why I was to keep up.

US Travel

Flight 93 Memorial Mount Vernon This section covers US Travel not discussed in other sections. This year I made two trips to Washington, D.C. including Maryland & Virginia, two to Texas, one to Wisconsin, and one to New Orleans. My philosophy is to see as many new and favorite attractions in the USA as possible. I work at it.

In July, on my visit to HT Chen (photo right) and his wife, I stopped near Shanksville, Pennsylvania to see the Flight 93 memorial. This is where the passengers died preventing the terrorists from destroying the White House or the Capitol. Like the brave passengers who took the initiative, this memorial has grown from the heartfelt contributions of visitors (photo left). It is very touching and emotional. More than 30,000 items have been donated so far! The site is lovely, quiet and solemn. Private funds are being raised for a final memorial targeted for a 2011 opening.

I saw some new and memorable sites in Washington, D.C.: the WWII memorial, the FDR memorial, (FDR and 10 other Presidents are distant cousins). the weekly Marine Barracks Evening Parade, the memorial plaque to the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the Marine Corps War Memorial, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

HT, his wife and I visited old favorites: Ford's Theater, the room where Lincoln died and Mount Vernon (photo right).

In Virginia we visited the magnificent new Marine Corps Museum in Triangle. Later by myself I toured Harper's Ferry, site of John Brown's raid in 1859 which helped trigger the Civil War, and the National D-day memorial. In Virginia, I visited another former employee Steve Cuppy. Steve took me flying in his new plane. Read about our flight during Y2K. Since Steve lives in Lynchburg, we saw the newest site: the grave of Jerry Falwell, who had supporters and critics.

In Maryland, I visited the Antietam Battlefield. This remains the bloodiest day in American history worse than D-Day, worse than any single day on Iwo Jima. The ranger who gave the tour was a former Army officer and a West Point graduate. He did an exceptional job of explaining, at various places on the battlefield, was it was like for the soldiers and the officers, who were making the best decisions that they could based on limited and conflicting information. Of the five people at Antietam who became famous later, two Clara Barton and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., are my distant cousins. Captain Holmes suffered a serious wound to the neck.

Latimer Home In August, I drove to Wisconsin to visit the Latimers, see their new home and attend their mini-reunion. After over 40 years in Illinois, they have moved to Verona, a small town close to Madison to be near two of their children, and two of their grandchildren. I miss them. On this website are reports on some of their past reunions in August 2006 and January 2003.

Fouad Ajami Gator In October, I attended the New Orleans Financial conference like I do most years. The audience includes many hard money and natural resource investors. There are always some new prominent speakers. This year it was Gary Kasparov, Art Laffer, Ann Coulter and Fouad Ajami as well as investment experts from all points of view. This is an exciting, intellectually stimulating event in one of America's famous cities. New Orleans continues to recover. The French Quarter is now basically fully restored. Something new this year: I experienced a cajun-style swamp tour by air boat. Fun!!

Classmates In October, I attended the 45th reunion of my high school, W. W. Samuell in Dallas. I've attended all of the reunions and enjoy seeing my old classmates. Here Sue Jennings, myself and Margaret Dasch pose for the camera. We met each other in Miss Pigg's private school in first grade in 1950. We were too young to start in public school. Here are 47 more photos taken by Pat Haynes.

Eastern Canada Trip

Canada Map In August, I traveled to Eastern Canada. My goals were: complete my visits to all Canadian provinces (I started 40 years ago), visit St. Pierre and Miquelon (the only French territory in North America), travel to difficult to reach places on St. Paul Island and Sable Island. I'm currently ranked #65 on this website of extreme travelers.

My base of operations was Halifax in scenic Nova Scotia where in 1996 I visited the estate of Alexander Graham Bell. Once again, I visited the delightful Bell Museum in Baddeck. I flew to Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island and saw where Canada was born in 1864. I also visited St. John's in Newfoundland and the flat Goose Bay in Labrador.

Houses Smoke Break St. Pierre and Miquelon is fun. People are friendly like these guys on a smoke break, and houses are brightly painted. This is an overseas territory of France using the Euro and 220 volts. The Prohibition era was the heyday here with liquor imported from Europe and illegally transshipped to the US. Hotel Robert has walls plastered with photos of the liquor trade and Al Capone.

St Paul Island For the adventurous part of the trip, I teamed up with Bob Bonifas. We chartered a boat to get to St. Paul Island. There we climbed a 50 foot makeshift ladder and trudged across the terrain to reach the abandoned governor's home with its interesting graffiti. Back in Nova Scotia we saw live crabs sorted dockside and a home being built using ICF construction.

Sable Island To reach Sable Island, we had to charter a special plane authorized to land on the beach by the Canadian government. Note the windsock. Sable Island is unique. We got a full explanation from its director on its meteorological and research experiments. We toured the island to see the wild horses. Only about 150 people each year are licensed to make this worthwhile visit.

Unusual East African Trip

Africa Map In November, I spent most of the month visiting the Horn of Africa region. I visited Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Sudan. This was another incredible trip and Ethiopia was the highlight. Ethiopia is one of the first countries to convert to Christianity and I was fascinated to see how proud they are of their Jewish heritage. We visited the source of the Blue Nile and I poured some water to flow to the Mediterranean.

The northern part of this area (Eritrea, Djibouti, Somali, Somaliland and Sudan are mainly Muslim. While Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda are mainly Christian. A lot of this trip was above 6,000 feet.

In Eritrea, Asmara, built by the Italians, is an attractive city. The thin people seemed quiet and even gentle, which was surprising given almost 50 years of warfare. It was All Saints day, and Coptic Christians were kissing the walls of the church. On the drive to Keren, the thousands of miles of rock terraces, built by students to prevent soil erosion, are the noticeable feature. Boys and young men are tending goats and other animals. People are thin. British and Italian military cemeteries are well cared for. In Massawa, apartments are being built by the Koreans. I stuck my finger in the Red Sea.

Khat Seller In Djibouti, the Hotel Kempinski is a jewel with an exceptional staff. It was built in just 10 months. In the old town with its dilapidated charm, you see many men with a wad of khat in their cheek. Khat addiction is a problem in the Horn of Africa although it is legal. Here a typical seller sits on the ground on a piece of cloth. The port of Djibouti is packed with shipping containers.

Math Class In Hargeisa, Somaliland, our small group visited a school unannounced and talked to many classes. Here boys, who are separated from the girls, are eager to answer questions posed by one of our group members. This class demonstrated a very good grasp of basic algebra. We flew to Mogadishu in Somalia and back on an old Russian prop plane. What an experience!! Many interesting conversations, e.g., a unemployed young father attempted to recruit me to Islam.

Axum Stele Ark of the Convenant Ethiopia was a revelation with its ancient history and monuments. In Axum, the stelae still stand. Axum was a contemporary of ancient Rome, and ancient commentators rated its civilization highly. Also in Axum is the guarded Chapel which the Coptic Church fervently believes contains the Ark of the Covenant. You are not allowed to get near and the guards chase you away.

Castle Gondar is famous for its 17th century castles. The Europeans were stunned when they saw this beautiful building. Inside it has some Stars of David in the wall left by the Jewish builders. Ethiopia has a strong tradition that their Queen of Sheba had a child with King Solomon, named Menelik I. Later King Solomon sent one tribe of 12,000 to Ethiopia with the Ark of the Covenant. In 1984 and 1991, Israel staged two massive airlifts to bring 90,000 black Jews back to Israel.

Is the Ark really in Ethiopia? This is a mystery. The Ethiopians believe it. Every Coptic church in Ethiopia has a Holy of Holies with a copy of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ethiopians are proud of their Jewish heritage. I believe the evidence suggests that it is by conversion in ancient times instead of by blood.

Crane Stanley Rock In Burundi, one of the poorest countries on the planet, the national bird is the magnificent Crown Crested Crane. Burundi is the site of the meeting in 1871 when Stanley uttered "Doctor Livingston, I presume". Here Alan Grayson and I clown a modern version. You can see Lake Tanganyika in the background.

Rwanda was a pleasant surprise. It is a country with its act together and is improving. Its President joins average citizens in spending one Saturday a month on cleaning or trimming to make Rwanda beautiful. In 1994 it was the site of the infamous genocide. In 100 days, in a country of 6 or 7 million, one million people were slaughtered. The Rwanda Genocide Museum is very tastefully done. It has a powerful impact because of its genuineness. Rwanda's President Paul Kagame wants to join the Commonwealth. It is amazing to see that a former French colony wants to join the British Commonwealth. I stayed at the Hotel made famous as Hotel Rwanda.

Axum Stele In Uganda, I stayed at the Paraa Safari Lodge and spent an exciting time on safari seeing the animals on both land & water. Here is an elephant beside the Nile. Uganda is the source of the White Nile. I also poured water which will take 3 months to reach the Mediterranean. I was in Uganda when the Commonwealth had its meeting of 53 countries. Queen Elizabeth arrived and was given a royal welcome. For the past 41 years, she has been one of the 10 most admired women on the planet.

Muhairwe Family On my last day in Kampala, I had lunch with Vicky Muhairwe, her husband and family. Vicky is the aunt of Joy Twesigye, who married Shawn Smyth, the son of my best friend from college. It was a delightful lunch with wide-ranging discussions. I learned that her husband got a PhD in Germany. She also studied German. So we three spent a couple of minutes speaking German.


Vadim Perelman John Stossel I attended the 18th annual summer seminar of the Atlas Society: The Center for Objectivism. This year it was held in July at Towson University in Maryland in the Washington, D.C. area. I always look forward to these intellectually stimulating week-long conferences on philosophy and its application to today's world. They attract interesting, thoughtful people: new friends and old friends.

This year I presented a participant sponsored session for the second time. The title of my presentation was Five Islamic Hot Spots (Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir) that I had visited in 2006 and/or 2007. The goal was to give people a feel for these countries by presenting some of the headline conclusions from my travels and some representative photos. By using iPhoto with its pan and zoom feature, set at 3 seconds per picture, I was able to share over 500 photos. The recent assassination of Mrs. Bhutto in Pakistan sadly demonstrated the timeliness and usefulness of my presentation.

The special event of the year was the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged. This was a gala event with discussion panels on the impact of Ayn Rand's masterpiece in various areas of American life. I've spoken to John Stossel (right photo) of ABC News several times before. It is always a pleasure to listen to his comments because he understands Objectivism, the Media and current trends. The plans for the movie of Atlas Shrugged was the hot topic. It was a thrill to meet the newly chosen director, Vadim Perelman (left photo). He is a maverick who was raised in the Soviet Union. He has definite ideas about how Atlas should be produced. This is a complex work and I have wondered for decades whether it would ever be made into a movie. Current plans project a release in 2009.

I frequently attend the monthly discussions of the New Intellectual Forum on Objectivism or current topics. These are great discussions conducted in a salon type of atmosphere. Marsha Enright, who heads the NIF, is working on a project to create the College of the United States thru the Reason Individualism Freedom Institute.


Robins Parrish AhernThe Circumnavigators Club is an organization for people who have already made a trip around the world. I'm a life member and remain active in our local Circumnavigators chapter. I have served on the Board for 10 years, and am the Webmaster. I also have served on the subcommittee that selects our Foundation Scholar each year. We send a Junior from Northwestern University on a 3 month round the world trip to pursue research of their choosing. This is a magnificent opportunity which has had positive life-changing results for these students. Many have gone on to win Fulbright Scholarships or other awards.

Here I'm pictured with Alex Robins, our 2006 Scholar and Chris Ahern, our 2007 Scholar. The photo was taken on September 11, 2007 (yes September 11th) just before my talk to our Circumnavigator chapter on Five Islamic Hot Spots (Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir) that I had visited in 2006 and/or 2007. By using iPhoto slideshows, PowerPoint and careful editing, I was able to show 25 slides and an incredible total of 532 photos in just 70 minutes.

Bell Labs

the HostsI continue to have lunches or dinners every year with many former Bells Labs colleagues. In a career of 35 years, you develop many friendships that you cherish. Here is a photo of myself, Jim Weichel and Bob Estvander, the founding supervisors, taken on September 16, 2007 as we hosted a reunion of the pioneers of International Switching on its 30th anniversary.

Some 51 pioneers and spouses came for dinner including 7 who flew in. People had a grand time catching up with old friends, and praised us for the reunion. Bob Estvander MCed. After a my 10 minute iPhoto slideshow of old photographs, Jim Weichel circulated a microphone to each International Pioneer to share their observations. They were a wonderful range of vintage Bell Labs comments. Two slideshows show the old photos and pictures taken at the reunion.

On a sad note, we mourn the passing of Jerry W. Johnson who died on December 15, 2007. His obituary is on-line.

Libertarian Party

Don Parrish Ron PaulIn 2007, My distant cousin Fran Holt (our common ancestor is Richard Warren on the Mayflower) shared a photo of me with Ron Paul in 1988 when he was the Libertarian Party candidate for President. Dr. Paul has been elected and re-elected many times to Congress where he is known as "Dr No" for his perfect record of voting against tax increases and laws that violate our rights. Dr. Paul is a sincere, intelligent, experienced and honest politician. How few politicians meet that standard! How rare it is in a world of posturing politicians to find someone who walks the talk. Someone who respects our individual political rights and understands the purpose of the Constitution was to restrain Government power. Although I disagree with Dr. Paul on some foreign policy questions, he is the best person running for President. I hope he becomes the Libertarian Party candidate for President in 2008.

In April, I gave my talk on North Korea to the DuPage Libertarians. In July, I helped at the Libertarian Party booth at the DuPage County Fair where we handed out the world's smallest political quiz. Answer 10 questions and see your position graphed. Regardless of your political views, you'll be amazed at how fast and accurate this quiz is.

Digital World

iMac iPodThis year I upgraded, my desktop Macintosh and my iPod. This photo shows my redesigned website on my stunning and totally quiet new 20 inch iMac and my revolutionary iPod Touch. What the photo doesn't show is that both the iMac and the iPod run on the same OS X operating system. This keeps things simple and intuitive.

I added a new favorites page for music slideshows. Please send me some links to your favorite music slideshows. My contribution to the discussion on global warming is this simple page that gives perspectives on the solar system.

In 2007, I converted from the old Microsoft e-mail, calendar and address book applications I had been using because of inertia to the Apple products to take full advantage of the automatic syncing from the iMac to the iPod Touch. What is revolutionary about the iPod Touch and its big brother the iPhone -- other than the technology! -- is that you do not need to read a manual to use all of the features. All you need is to get the sales person to give you a brief demo.

Windows users are moving to Macintosh. Here is a place to get started. You owe it to yourself to visit an Apple store. The latest version of OS X, called Leopard, can also run Windows application programs at their native speed.

This year (like last year when I bought a new MacBook Pro laptop) I brought in my 6 year old desktop Mac and the Apple people moved all of my application programs, data files, preferences, etc over to my new iMac. That's a very nice free service! It's wonderful to switch from a 6 year old computer to a new computer the same day with no hassles.

The other enhancement was to add two new network printers. I selected the HP C6180 Photosmart All-in-One and its big brother HP C7180 Photosmart All-in-One. They communicate with my Macs via my original Airport -- which has been powered up continuously for 6 years -- using WiFi. I was impressed with the scanning abilities of these HP All-in-Ones. In addition to scanning photos to jpg files and documents to pdf files, they have excellent OCR capabilities.

Finally, I got the Bose On-Ear headphones for my iPod Touch so I can listen while I walk.


CicadasEvery 17 years in the Chicago area we experience the return of the Cicadas. For a month or two those of us who live in areas with mature trees are treated to the spectacle. I borrowed a photo from the Internet to show the typical density of the critters as they emerge from the ground and climb up on trees to shed their skin and dry their wings. Then they fly around and start eating on trees and bushes. The noise is incredible. In some areas, the estimates are 1,000,000 per acre. The good news is these red-eyed critters (See a close-up) do not bite, nor sting. But they are annoying.

This year I had the roof of the garden shed in the backyard replaced and had my shower redone. As homeowners know, grout is an on-going struggle. It's hard to clean. It cracks. So when I had the shower redone, I decided to go for a grout-free solution. I called Bathfitters whose installer molded one piece of acrylic to cover all four walls. I'm pleased with the final result; the key to a good outcome is the installer.

This was the 175th anniversary of Downers Grove. After 28 years of living here, I finally walked the two miles to the grave of Pierce Downer and paid my respects.


Cortlan Cortlan In September, per my usual pattern, I drove down to Texas. In Burleson (south of Fort Worth), I visited my nephew PJ (Philip C. Parrish, Jr.), his wife Amy and their son, Cortlan. Cortlan is a computer-literate 8 year old, who is learning like a sponge. Here he is with his father looking thru a book I gave him on the 50 U.S. States. I'm amazed how many toys this boy has.

In Austin, I had a mini-reunion with some of my Parrish cousins, their husbands and some of their children on the occasion of Jonthan Cowen's 30th birthday. I created a slideshow of the convivial dinner.

On March 17, 2007 my mother's brother, my uncle, Warren Anderson, passed away. He was 85. His obituary gives a sense of the man. He was the last of my aunts and uncles. Uncle Warren had a great sense of humor. I remember when my father and I visited him back in 1988, that Warren had us laughing until we cried.


My Father in 1937In 2007, I established a permanent endowment to fund the Donald M. Parrish Scholarship in Electrical Engineering at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa to honor my father. He looks handsome and serious as a new Electrical Engineering graduate in this March 20, 1937 photo.

The scholarship fund is managed by the Iowa State University Foundation and the winner is selected each year by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The winner will be a freshman who is a U.S. citizen who has demonstrated both academic merit and financial need.

Steven Postolka Steven Postolka is the 10th winner of the Anderson Scholarship established to honor my mother. At Sioux Central, Steven was a member of the National Honor Society and attended the National Young Leaders Conference. Steven was an all state speech contestant and the Quiz Bowl Team captain for 2006-2007. He was also the American Legion Oratory Champion for Iowa. Steven is interested in music: he plays the guitar, piano, saxophone (Sioux Central band as well as the Community Band), and also sings in the Sioux Central choir. In his spare time, he enjoys model railroading and golf. Steven will attend Morningside College where he will major in journalism.

Chris Renard Christopher Renard is the 7th winner of the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship. This photo was taken on September 6, 2007 at the University of Texas before the banquet for 450 scholarship recipients and donors sponsored by the Texas Ex-Students' Association. After the banquet, Chris and I were photographed with William C. Powers, Jr., President of the University of Texas.

Chris was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Both his parents are physicians. His mother stayed home so she could home school Chris and his two brothers. Chris graduated from the prestigious School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, ranked #1 in the nation by Newsweek again in 2007. He has exceptional SAT scores: 780 in English and 790 in Math.

During the summers of 2006 and 2007, Chris worked full time at the UT Southwestern Medical School on eTBlast, a full-text similarity search for medical journal articles. Chris' successful participation in the UIL CS Competitions brought him to UT during his junior and senior years. Chris is both an Eagle Scout and National Merit Finalist.


Lil Abner Lil Abner In August with the Sons of the American Revolution, I attended a fun production of Lil Abner at the outdoor Theater in the Park in New Salem, Illinois, where Lincoln grew to manhood. It's a restored historic site. These photos, however, are from the 1961 production of Lil Abner at W.W. Samuell high school. If you look very closely, you'll notice that I'm playing Pappy Yokum. I dug the old photos out for my 45th high school reunion.

In April, I saw Julia Sweeney's very personal, insightful and hilarious monologue: Letting Go of God. You have probably seen Julia Sweeney before without realizing it since she played the androgynous Pat on Saturday Night Live.

In May along with Delta Greene and Don & Mary Brown, I saw Trollius and Cressida in the delightful Shakespeare theater in Chicago. In September, we were back to see Cymbeline. The Shakespeare theater on Navy Pier is a gem. The productions are both high quality and fun. This is classic theater.

In August in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, I saw another Cirque du Soliel production: Saltimbaco. This production, like the other Cirque du Soliel productions, is an inventive mixture of dramatic circus productions, offbeat costumes, and a special sense of humor. I'm a big fan.


It is a pleasure to share some of the books that have enriched my life in 2007. The book titles are linked to Amazon.

  • Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley This gives a snapshot of American values during WWII. While the movie version is a terrible disappointment with its misplaced emphases and confusing flashbacks, the book is genuine, real and educational. You will understand what that photo - the most reproduced photo in world history - meant. This book is almost mandatory to understand WWII and America.
  • Kite Runner by Klaled Hosseini An intense emotional journey of personal discovery that at the same time explains modern Afghanistan. It is a profound experience to read this memorable book. A tour de force.
  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn Is mankind violating natural laws of the animal kingdom leading us to destruction? Although I disagree with its arguments, I recommend this book for its stimulating approach and the brilliant roll out of its case.
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner This is a clever book that gets the reader to see beyond conventional wisdom and approach problems analytically to sort out real solutions from plausible ones. It explains in a convincing, reasoned way topics like "Why the crime rate started dropping in the 1990s" It's fun to read.

Exercise Program

Pedometer New Year's Resolution Idea: 39 months ago, I got an Omron HJ-112 pedometer and my (achieved) goal is to average 10,000 steps a day (almost 5 miles or 8 kilometers). In 2007, I had another perfect year averaging over 10,000 steps a day each month. You can click the spreadsheet to enlarge it. It's never easy to develop a good habit. I'm proud of myself for getting regular exercise. Some people have followed my example. Walking is an easy way to get more exercise.

The beauty of a pedometer is that it converts all exercise to a common unit. The Omron pedometer is a handy device that I clip on my belt in the morning and take off at night. It stores 7 days worth of step counts. You can buy it on the Internet or in your local drugstore. It is an easy way to motivate yourself to exercise.

While I'm walking, I frequently listen on my iPod Touch to courses from the Teaching Company or to books from For example, I really enjoyed listening to the Kite Runner recommended in the Books section because it was read by the author adding an extra dimension to the experience of enjoying this outstanding book.


In April, friend of mine, John Lewin had cataract surgery. It is an outpatient procedure, the most common surgery in America. A friend drives you to the eye clinic, you are operated on, and less than two hours later you are on your way home. Two weeks later the other eye is operated on. What a great country we live in. How much we take for granted.

Dawn Cloyd arranged a two month tour of many Libertarian & Objectivist think tanks for Daniel Orufheng from Botswana. In July, I met Daniel at Chicago O'Hara's International terminal and drove him to Chicago to meet his local host John Enright. Later we enjoyed an excellent dinner and conversation. It was one of the most fascinating discussions that I had in 2007. Daniel is interested in Libertarianism and Objectivism, yet his grandfather is a witch doctor.

I have continued improving my Sudoku skills. In the Fall of 2006, I started on the series of Sudoku books by Michael Rios: White Belt (Easy). This year, I finished that book, completed the Green Belt (Not so Easy) and am over half way thru the Brown Belt (Hard). These are great time wasters. Perhaps they are good for brain exercise.

I enjoyed the Tudors on Showtime. Sex, politics, religion and history plus lots of costumes make for good viewing.

It was great that Brett Farve decided to play another season. By returning, he has broken many football records.

All the best to you in 2008!