Thursday, August 31, 2017

Comfort Zone Hurricane Harvey Status Update

For those awaiting latest news on Comfort Zone Hurricane Harvey first responder efforts please stand by.

As reported on August 27 Comfort Zone was to establish base camps in Beaumont, Katy & Refugio Texas. Installation at Refugio is well underway. Beaumont flooding is tentatively too severe to identify any site for a base. Suburban Katy was tabled in favor of downtown Houston, where site evaluation continues.

Comfort Zone's first priority is to aid those in greatest need. With infrastructure and communication channel disruptions updates here may be suspended indefinitely.

All Comfort Zone employees are reported to be safe despite obviously severe conditions.

More on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts as information becomes available.


Comfort Zone Portables
Shirlee Industrial Way
Alpharetta GA

Selling Abe an iPhone

President Lincoln I have something cool here that’s going to dramatically change your life. It’s called an iPhone.

The iPhone is made mostly out of plastic. Plastic was invented in the 1860s in Europe so you may not have seen it yet. It’s like a cross between glass & rubber but not really. It’s made from oil. All you probably know that comes from oil is kerosene. That’s gonna change. A lot.

OK. Rubber you know. Glass is what windows are made of right? We iPhone people don’t like to talk about windows because we think Bill Gates is a goober.

Not Google Mr President. Goober. Where did you come up with Google?

No not goober as in a peanut. A goober in a different way. Nerd. Dweeb. Geek. No? Let me think. Aha. A bookworm!

No offense intended Mr President. I know you like to read. Don’t get testy. A dill weed! That’s what we’ll call Bill Gates. Let’s move on.

You know how you communicate back & forth with your generals via telegraph? And how their commanders signal to troops on the battlefield with bugles & flags?

Put this iPhone in a few peoples’ hands & this little war will wrap up in no time. If it gets too loud to talk because of cannons & muskets & stuff your generals can always text or do FaceTime. Or Snapchat. But then you’d have to teach them emojis. Scratch Snapchat.

You can even set your own ring tone. Battle Hymn of the Republic usually costs extra but I could throw it in.

OK. You know how you dictate letters & speeches to secretaries?

You don’t do that? You write stuff by hand?! Wow Mr President. You’ll never be remembered for much unless you get with the times & become more efficient. Every lawyer in your day dictates.

Let’s assume you DID dictate all your stuff to secretaries. They have to scribble notes as fast as you can talk. Then someone courier has to rush it to a printer. They have to pretty it up for you to sign.

With this iPhone even that would be a thing of the past. You talk to it & it shows you what you just said. And you can send that straight to your BFFs. Bypass the middleman.

You know how it took so long for Americans to learn about your Gettysburg address? With the iPhone you could text it to everyone instantly. You could do an Emancipation Proclamation blog or podcast & those folks would be freed in a New York minute.

The IPhone also has a great camera. This thing will put Mathew Brady out of business. He’s a nice guy I know but his pictures take so f-r-i-g-g-i-n l-o-n-g to develop. I know you hate to sit still for him. Then there’s Facebook & Instagram but let’s not get into the weeds. 

There’s a future president who really likes to Tweet & it drives his staff nuts. Never mind. I said I’d only take up about 15 minutes of your time so let’s stay on track.

Now. About maps. I used to argue with my wife all the time about directions & maps. But that was before Siri came along to get us everywhere. If you’re way out in the country she might still steer you the wrong way down a one way road but she’s getting better. My wife never did get any better at maps. 

Siri can be a nuisance kinda like my wife but not nearly as bad. I understand Mrs Lincoln can be quite the handful am I right?

Sorry. Let’s not get into that.

You can even get an iPhone compass but that’s an app you gotta download. If you buy today I’ll throw in a bootleg copy of the compass.

The iPhone is also an alarm clock. You can wake up to Inna Gada Da Vida. Or Battle Hymn of the Republic. Iron Butterfly or Julia Ward Howe. Your choice.

With iTunes you can listen to all of your favorite songs anytime anywhere. But you’ll want to get some ear buds. Those require Bluetooth. Before you ask - no that has nothing to do with whatever ailed poor George Washington.

With iBooks you can also read your favorite books anywhere. Why would anyone want to read a book on this little thing? I can’t figure that out either. Ask some 12 year old but not Tad.

This iPhone runs only $600.

No wait. Calm down Mr President. That’s only about 35 bucks in your money. It’s about $600,000 in Confederate notes & the price of everything is going up mighty fast for them don’t ya know.

Glad you enjoy my little joke at the expense of those rebel rascals.

I’m just glad you’ll be around to make sure they can recover with dignity once this skirmish is over.

I am going to offer you & General Grant an exclusive on this iPhone but only if you buy today. Otherwise I’ll take this south to see if Jefferson Davis & Robert E Lee might find the gadget useful.

You say I resemble General Lee? I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or not.

I get more Ernest Hemingway. He was involved in a Civil War too. That was a Spanish thing but I digress.

One thing about the iPhone is you can’t use it in a theater.

Ya like Ford’s. It really pisses off Mr Ford & the cast if you get a call when folks are trying to focus on a play. They hate interruptions. 

I hear that play Our American Cousin coming to town in April is overrated. If I were you I’d stay home with the Mrs & curl up with some Ken Burns series on the DVR.

What’s a DVR? Sorry Mr President no time to get into that. I have another urgent appointment across town.

So how many iPhones should I put you down for? Excellent. Thank you for the order Mr. President!

Do not contact:

Tim Cook
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino CA 95014
408 996–1010

Abraham Lincoln
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500

Apple & Abraham Lincoln did not approve of this message.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stoddard Family ~ The Great American Dynasty No One Has Ever Heard Of

~ an unrefined work in perpetual progress ~

Anthony Stoddard, my 8th great-grandfather:

- Arrived in Boston 1638 as a simple linen merchant. In London was a member of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, but not known to have vast resources or connections.

- In 1639 married Mary Downing, daughter of Massachusetts Bay Company attorney Emanuel Downing & niece of Governor John Winthrop, immediately improving his connections. Downing is my 9th great-grandfather.

- Mary's 1/2 brother was Sir George Downing, infamous rogue & scoundrel who built 10 Downing Street in 1682 as a cheaply constructed investment property. Prime Ministers as recent as Winston Churchill had unflattering words for Sir George.

- Sir George Downing's portrait has hung in the Prime Minister's residence entry foyer for centuries.

- Emanuel, father of Mary & George, built a Salem home that in 1650 was the largest in Massachusetts. That would likely make it the largest house in America.

- Mary lived in Salem; how she met Anthony is unknown. She wrote to her father resisting “arranged” suitors, expressing her desire to marry for love. Anthony was that guy.

- Went on to serve Boston as constable, town recorder, selectman & representative to the Massachusetts General Court. All while importing linens, exporting fur & hides.

- As constable resisted an order to arrest Frances Hutchinson, son of Anne, for heresy. Contested to uncle-in-law Winthrop that civil arrest was improper for a church offense. Winthrop fined & threatened to arrest Anthony, who then acquiesced & arrested Hutchinson.

- Site of Anthony’s 1630s home & linen shop was across street from current Old State House. Boston Massacre took place in his front yard 140 years later.

- When he died in 1687 Anthony was the wealthiest man in Boston.

Solomon Stoddard, 7th great-grandfather:

- 1662 Harvard graduate & its first librarian – likely making him first librarian in America.

- Pastor in Northampton for 60 years. Advocated the controversial Half-Way Covenant.

- While walking a favorite path to meditate a Frenchman & Indian lurked. The Frenchman raised his musket to fire, The Indian stopped him, saying "That is the white man's god".

- Etching now available by special order as a shower curtain. Sales reported to be sluggish.

- Gave the annual commencement sermon at Harvard for 30+ years. What became the Mass Turnpike was cleared to facilitate his journeys.

- Engaged in career long debates with Increase & Cotton Mather over Puritan doctrine.

- Became known as the “Pope of the Connecticut Valley”.

- The Manse, built and expanded by Stoddard ancestors on the site of Solomon's home.

- Before his death brought on grandson Jonathan Edwards to succeed him in the pulpit. Church soon dismissed Edwards for reversing stand on the Half-Way Covenant.

Anthony Stoddard, 6th great-grandfather:

- 1697 Harvard graduate, where he was known for “breaking school rules & windows”.

- Served as Woodbury CT pastor for 60 years, also town doctor, lawyer and a farmer. Was a Trustee at Yale for 22 years until his death.

- In 1735 built what is now The Curtis House, Connecticut’s oldest Inn.

Gideon Stoddard, 5th great-grandfather:

- Church Deacon & farmer, no apparent college education.

- Captain in CT Militia, French & Indian War.

- Captured at Fort William Henry, Lake George NY. Fictionalized “Last of the Mohicans” was based upon Indian attacks on defenseless soldiers during their march home.  Gideon survived but wrote nothing about the experience that is known.

Nathan Stoddard, 4th great-grandfather:

- Captain in Woodbury CT Militia, Revolutionary War.

- At Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 with Benedict Arnold & Ethan Allen.

- Captured at Ticonderoga & taken to Quebec. Before ordered to jail was concealed by a French landlady. He later escaped via swimming the St Lawrence River.

- Killed Nov 15, 1777 at Philadelphia’s Fort Mifflin, “the Fort that Saved America”. Greatest 18th century naval bombardment in the world, largest ever in America. Without heroic efforts at Fort Mifflin British would have seized Philadelphia and won the war. No one would know the name Valley Forge.

- As he rose up to sight his firearm he was struck by cannon shot, severing his head from his body. A lieutenant Strong, also from Woodbury, recounted for years that, “For a moment he stood there, erect, as in life, without a head, before falling”.

- All Mifflin casualties were evacuated, burial places unknown. During excavation for the New Jersey Turnpike colonial military artifacts and remains were discovered in a logical burial area, but construction resumed without investigation.

Nathan Ashbel Stoddard, 3rd great-grandfather:

- Raised by his grandfather Gideon; a musician, Vermont settler & devout Christian.

Rodman Stoddard, 2nd great-grandfather:

- Early settler & real estate developer in Detroit. Built the City Hotel in 1850.

Henry Clay Stoddard, great-grandfather:

- Private, 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Iron Brigade, Army of the Potomac.

- Iron Brigade suffered the greatest proportion of casualties in all the Union Army at Gettysburg - and of any corps in the entire Civil War.

- Henry survived but wrote nothing about his experience that is known.

Stoddard affluence declined over generations, but historic contributions did not.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Comfort Zone Mobilizes Equipment & Staff to Assist Hurricane Harvey First Responders

Atlanta GA

Second report in a series.

The storm surge & windstorm toll following Hurricane Harvey's Friday landfall on the Texas coast is well documented. Damages will likely total $40 billion. While wind & storm surge damage were significant, the majority of devastation will likely be caused by torrential rains & flooding. Harvey dumped 24" of water on Houston Saturday. He is moving slowly & shows no signs of running dry.

Mark Slade has focused on Harvey for the better part of the past week. He has deployed his Comfort Zone Portables in emergency relief efforts dating prior to Katrina. Their products & services routinely go to assist short notice military maneuvers, which in turn often come back to disaster relief. Common elements throughout are preparation, readiness & adaptability.

As of Friday night Slade was waiting simply to find out who his client would be. It was briefly an electric utility, but he knew that could & would likely change with the next phone call. Actually a series of calls came, and indeed his client changed. Due to the escalation of damage, the breadth of affected areas & displaced population, Slade is now taking direction from the federal government.

With that determination comes at least a little greater certainty of where Slade and Comfort Zone will serve. Unless another call comes changing everything yet again, Slade will send his resources to establish initial base camps in hopefully high & relatively dry vicinities of Beaumont, Katy & Refugio Texas. 250 miles of mostly submerged roadways separate Beaumont & Refugio, and it's Slade's job to dispatch his crews safely throughout.

Here, on Sunday night, Slade finally knows enough to get himself to Texas. He has awaited definitive word while remaining at his Atlanta office and home. He can now schedule a flight west, most likely to San Antonio, but perhaps not until Tuesday. Slade knows that at this point he can better direct his people while he has access to all communication channels. Once he hits Texas that all changes.

Priority one is to get help to first responders, who for the last 48 hours have had nothing but what they could carry to wherever they are. They have been without shelter, food, clean water etc, and those provisions will soon be depleted if they are not already.

Once Comfort Zone gets first responders their bare survival essentials they will mobilize to the next phase. After disasters of this magnitude any number of relief groups converge to assist. Those groups too will need shelter, water, showers, toilets & other survival essentials for a duration of weeks or longer. For those longer terms needs Comfort Zone unites with other contractors to erect base camps to accommodate up to 800 people.

But that will be the next phase. Right now Comfort Zone's mission is to deliver immediate relief to the people who are risking their lives to save lives.

More on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts as information becomes available.


Comfort Zone Portables
Shirlee Industrial Way
Alpharetta GA