Tag Archives: Mystic

Forget Rob Porter’s Security Clearance, Takis Veliotis Who Was In Charge Of Building U.S. Nuclear Submarines Was Not Even A U.S. Citizen!

by Anura Guruge


P. Takis Veliotis, EVP, General Dynamics & General Manager, Electric Boat Division.


I kid you not.

P. Takis Veliotis was appointed General Manager of General Dynamics’Electric Boat Division” on October 24, 1977.

Electric Boat Division, which had built USS Nautilus, World’s 1st Nuclear Submarine, had an ongoing contract with the U.S. Navy to build a slew of nuclear submarines.

At the time Veliotis took over as GM he, originally from Greece, had Canadian citizenship.

He was also taking huge kickbacks and bribes from contractors in his prior jobs.

There was NO WAY he could have passed a proper FBI background check, let alone get the necessary clearance!

But, nonetheless, he headed up “Electric Boat” for quite a FEW YEARS prior to becoming naturalized.

He spoke with the legendary Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, “Father Of the U.S. Nuclear Navy”, multiple times a day. Rickover, famed for his attention to detail, never spotted this.

Check this out. It is pretty amazing.

I discovered this while reading the book “Running Critical” early last year. We had visited the OUTSTANDING “Submarine Force Library & Museum” in Groton, Connecticut — a few miles from Mystic during our stay at ‘Mohegan Sun’ for New Year 2017. I had become intrigued about finding out more about the history of submarines. The author of this book, a veteran journalist, just mentions the citizenship in PASSING! To this day I do not understand why he did not talk about it. This has to have been one of the biggest security lapses in U.S. history and there must have been a few. {Smile}

So, Rob Porter is by no means an isolated incident.


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by Anura Guruge


Woods Hole Aquarium — FREE & Well Worth It!

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

Woods Hole MA turtle aquarium Anura Guruge Sony a7II






Click image to access the official Website.


It is FREE (i.e., U.S. taxpayer funded), it is intimate and it is impressive. We (i.e., Teischan & I) enjoyed thoroughly — and Teischan is a connoisseur of aquariums.

Exactly 15-days earlier we had visited the ‘Maine State Aquarium’ in Boothbay Harbor. That too was a small aquarium — albeit with a nominal admission fee (e.g., $7 for adults). Woods Hole was better with a more extensive array of tanks and an interesting ‘backstage’ area. They are both set by the ocean, with the Boothbay facility better situated on a much larger area. That said, the Woods Hole aquarium is right in the middle of the town just to the side of one of the main parks.

An Heads Up: The seal display is NOT in service right now. Appears the last seal died in July. Appears that they want to refurbish the outside seal tank before they even think about getting any new seals.

This aquarium is part of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — the National Marine Fisheries Service to be precise. They claim that it, established in Woods Hole in 1885, is the oldest aquarium in the U.S. It is NOT Mystic nor Boston but it is well worth a visit and the price is just right. {SMILE}


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by Anura Guruge

The Beatles “Magical History Tour” Exhibition At Foxwoods, CT — Impressive & Educational.

by Anura Guruge


magicalhistory

Click to access the “Foxwood” Webpage for this exhibition.


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.







We went to ‘Foxwoods‘ (just 25 minutes away) on the second day of our 5-day stay at ‘Mohegan Sun’ post-Christmas. The main goal was to check out the ‘new’ Indian Museum, but that was closed. So we got to explore the ‘resort’ earlier than we had hoped. We had stayed there a few years ago and wanted to see how it was no vis-à-vis Mohegan Sun. [Teischan and I had had gone to the buffet there in August during our trip to Mystic, but we hadn’t spent much time there because it was late.]

I saw the signs to this Beatles exhibition as soon as we left the parking garage. It looked interesting. I also was planning to get tickets for the ‘Legends in Concert‘, at Foxwoods, for New Year’s Eve while we were there. So we proceeded to the ‘Theater District’. There was no problem getting the tickets. And they had a combo deal that included the Beatles exhibition for something like $10/ticket extra. So that was a no brainer.

We went to the exhibition as soon as we got the tickets. It wasn’t crowded.

Very well done. Some amazing exhibits. Well presented. Very slick.

Though I am a great (lifelong) fan, I, alas, am not an expert on the Beatles. I was in Ceylon during their meteoric early days, e.g., 1964. Ceylon did not get TV till 1985 so I never got to see the beatles on TV during the 60s. So, there was a lot I did not know. Like the market for the hotel bedsheets, carpets and ashtrays when the Beatles visited the U.S.

The grey album cover, autographed, on John kissing Yoko was fascinating. It was the actual album that John had autographed for David Chapman — his assassin! They had found it at the murder site and had served as police evidence. You can see the police markings on it.

I could have spent much more time there. But, the kids wanted to check out the shops.

I was very impressed. Highly recommended. If you get a chance to see this exhibit, do NOT hesitate. It will be well worth paying $25 or $30. Very good.


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by Anura Guruge

6 Nikon P900 Images Of The Day — December 30, 2016.

by Anura Guruge


NO post-processing whatsoever.

With my Nikon P900.
Check here for resolution details.

Ocean Beach Park, New London 
& MysticConnecticut.

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.





dscn7379


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by Anura Guruge

Have You Heard Of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, “Father Of the U.S. Nuclear Navy”?

by Anura Guruge


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No. I had never heard of him — but then again I am not an aficionado of any navy or for that matter armed forces in general.

I came across Admiral Hyman G. Rickover at the EXCELLENT “Submarine Force Library & Museum” in Groton, Connecticut — a few miles from Mystic during our stay at ‘Mohegan Sun‘ for the New Year.

The whole area around Mystic is famous for its submarines. That I knew.

Finding and visiting this Museum, which has the original nuclear-powered ‘Nautilus‘, SSN 571, was serendipitous.

On Saturday, December 31, 2016, New Year’s Eve, we were driving around Mystic taking in the sights when the sign to the museum caught my eye. I knew that they would, at a minimum, have a few submarines on display outside. I was not disappointed. PLUS, IT IS FREE. Our tax money at work — in the best possible way.

Great, WONDERFUL museum. Very well done. Kudos. Bravo. Yes, I will do a post on it — with more pictures.

I have been inside at least two submarines — at museums, of course. So, I am not a total stranger to submarines and what it is like to be inside one. So, for I, the MOST interesting this I learned at this museum was about Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. What a guy. Intriguing and inspirational.

Reminded me of General Leslie Groves & Robert Oppenheimer who together made the U.S. atomic bomb a reality. Exceptional men.

rickoverI ordered a book on Rickover that same day. I probably will get a couple more books. Folks like that truly inspire me.

Check him out. Wikipedia has a decent write-up. He is the only person who has ever been awarded two Congressional Gold Medals! Wow. 63-years of ACTIVE duty. They forced him to retire when he was 80. Wow. Wow. Wow.


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by Anura Guruge

I Am Buying A Nikon D500.

by Anura Guruge


I have to confess with a modicum of embarrassment and, of course, some amusement, that deciding to buy a Nikon D500 was probably the HARDEST decision I have ever made in my life!

I appreciate that I have entered into marriage, filed for divorce and even refused to have kids because I felt I was ‘too young’ with considerably less thought and deliberation. Yes, two keywords that clearly defined much of my life have been ‘impulsive’ and ‘impetuous’. I am sure that getting older, and I will be 63 soon, had to have played a role — but I don’t think that that was all of it.

And, fortunately, it hasn’t to do with the cost either. Despite what some of you may think I am very careful and conservative when it comes to matters fiscal. I live within my means and budget. Way back, nine months ago, I had budgeted for the Fuji X-T1 successor (i.e., the X-T2) and had been forced to be somewhat generous as I had no idea as to whether Fuji planned to mark it up well above that of the X-T1. So budget wise I am OK. SMILE. So the agonizing, over the last 2 weeks, was not about the costs either.

As some of you know I rented a Nikon D500, with a Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens, from LensRental, for 8 days (one week rental + one day complimentary). I would like to say that I fell in love with the D500 during that week. Not so.

I did not, at any stage, come anywhere close to loving the Nikon D500.

And hence the real horns of the dilemma.

I do NOT even LIKE the Nikon D500!

Yep, you read that right. So, I am going to buy an expensive camera that I do not like. Yes, that is it. And hence the soul-searching. Like an arranged marriage.

Why would I, even given my propensity for ‘craziness’, do something as crazy, if NOT outright stupid, as that.

Because during the last 3 days with the Nikon D500 I came to RESPECT it.

Over the decades I have come to realize that respecting someone or something is more important than liking that someone or something.

Let me show you.

I was lucky enough to be able to take pictures of Mystic Aquarium (in Connecticut), on consecutive days, first with the D500 (on August 17, 2016) and the next day with my now erstwhile Fuji X-E2s. I made sure I took the same subjects from the same vantage points. So have a look.

Nikon D500 on the left, Fuji X-E2s with the kit 18-55 lens on the right.

Yes, a more proficient photographer than I probably could have got better pictures from the X-E2s. I probably could have too, if I took more time. That is not my style. I like to shoot quick.

Yes, many will complain that the D500/Tamron is over 2.5x times the cost of the Fuji X-E2s. That is true. But my D500 is NOT a replacement for the X-E2s. I am getting a Nikon P900 to replace the X-E2s. The D500 is instead of the new Fuji X-T2.

And then there were these three pictures — all taken in and around Mystic.

DSC_2253

Click to ENLARGE.

The first picture, taken at “Foxwoods“, when Teischan and I went there for dinner was the clincher.

I, as you know, take a LOT of concert pictures. I took this one, point-and-shoot using 300mm. I already had ISO at 8,000. So didn’t touch that. Cranked up exposure compensation ‘plus tow notches’ and shot — handheld. And I had so much more ISO left. I then realized that this was a camera to contend with.

Very personal. My camera. A LOT has to do with lenses and my shooting style. The 18-55mm was the ONLY Fuji lens that I liked — and 55mm, top end, was way too short for me. 300mm, like above, suits me. And then there is my style. I am basically a ‘point-and-shoot’ photographer who likes sophisticated cameras that give me lots of bells and whistles. Yes, I play around with ISO, exposure and White Balance. But once set for a ‘location’ I will shoot away without stopping to fiddle too much — bar checking exposure. Hence why the D500, in the end, came through.

All this said, I am not getting the D500 right now. Probably not in September. First need to get my “Brain Meditation” book published. I then want to spend at least two weeks reading up the D500 documentation and boning up on it. So, most likely order it in early October. Till then I will have the Nikon P900 to keep me amused and to provide you, with a a minimum, the “6 Images of the Day”.

OK? Yes, of course, I will keep you posted.


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by Anura Guruge

NO 6 Images Of The Day — August 26, 2016. I Don’t Have A Camera!

by Anura Guruge


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Taken in Mystic, Connecticut, on August 17, 2016 with my rented Nikon D500.


No, no. This is not like the April 2016 meltdown. I sent in my Fuji X-E2s to Amazon, as a trade-in, today. So I no longer have a camera.

Yes, I know there are at least 3 working digital cameras in the house NOT counting all the pads and phones. But none of those cameras are mine.

Yes, of course, I could have avoided this. But it was intentional. I wanted 4-5 days WITHOUT a camera. A kind of decompression, reset mindset time.

The current plan is to order a Nikon P900, as my ‘compact’, early next week.


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by Anura Guruge

Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut — The Best In New England?

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Taken with a rented Nikon D500.

These pictures taken on August 17, 2016.
We visited the aquarium 3 days running!

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Teischan (now 10) was really captivated by the ‘New England Aquarium‘, in Boston, when we visited in May 2016 (though that, by a long chalk, was not her first time). She had however never been to the one in Mystic — we having gone there prior to her birth. Given that Mystic Aquarium was now been hailed as the best in New England I decided to take her there while her memories of Boston were still fresh.

She loved the Mystic Aquarium. Said it was better than Boston — which is true. Mystic is larger and has more variety (and exhibits) with the two Beluga whales and the alligators making all the difference.

Nearly all of the online reviews I saw for this aquarium, in one way or another, mentioned that the prices were high. Well, that is NOT really the case. As a Senior I paid just $3 more than what I would have paid in Boston albeit with Teischan’s ticket $8 more expensive. BUT, here is the rub. While standing in line to buy the tickets I noticed on the HUGE ‘ticket option’ board that the STANDARD tickets (which we were buying) were valid for 3 days! Yes, I appreciate that this enticing offer will not work for everybody — BUT it did for us. We were staying just around the corner and were scheduled to be in Mystic for 3-days. BINGO. So we did visit 3 times, once each day and that was NEAT. That made it extra special. So please NOTE — tickets valid for 3 days.

Yes, Boston has a BIGGER central tank, larger jellyfish displays and a much more expansive penguin display. Plus its location right on the harbor is cool.

But Mystic has a huge outdoor area with the Belugas, sea lions, seals, penguins and turtles. They even have an aviary. And then the ALLIGATORS.

The prices for the shows, ‘feedings’ and refreshments aren’t that bad either. Nearly all the shows — and we saw “Angry Birds 4D” (and it is indeed 4D) and “Wonders of the Arctic” (in the “National Geographic” Theater). At $6/seat that was a good deal. $3 to feed the stingrays and (I think) $3 to feed the birds.

No questions. No hesitation. I wholeheartedly recommend this experience. IF you can make sure that you can at least go twice since you will definitely see more and savor things differently on the second visit.


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by Anura Guruge

Sunset Cruise On Schooner “Argia” Off Mystic, Connecticut.

by Anura Guruge


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Taken with a rented Nikon D500.

Evening of Wednesday, August 17, 2016.

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Teischan and I both like being out on the water, and doing so on boats. So doing a cruise or ferry crossing of some sort was definitely on the agenda for our 3-day jaunt to Mystic, Connecticut — primarily to visit the famed aquarium.

I had seen ads for the ‘Argia‘ schooner, online, even before we left. So I had made a mental note that it could be a possibility. On our first time into Mystic per se, as opposed to the aquarium which is situated just outside (right on I-95 (to speak)), we saw a sign for the ‘Argia Cruises’, pointing down a side road, just before we got into town. I turned in — and it was easy enough to find since they have their own wharf. The schooner (along with a couple of others) was at dock getting ready for its 10am morning cruise. It looked fun. Teischan liked it. It was a perfect day. The forecast was great for the whole day. So I got two tickets for the Sunset Cruise which departed Mystic at 5:30pm.

It worked out well. Very pleasant and educational. Though we had taken the Amtrak from Boston to New York many times I had not realized that when crossing the Mystic River the train goes over a ROTATING (beige colored) bridge. [See pictures above.] This is just beyond the Route 1 drawbridge in Mystic — more or less the first thing we had to negotiate on the cruise.

The name refers to a water nymph on the Tiber River in Rome.

100hp diesel engine is used while going through the river and Mystic harbor. It is only under sail, for about 30 minutes, when it is in the ‘Sound’.

You go past “Mason’s Island”, “Sixpenny Island” (famous for its clams) and “Noank“. Lots of other islands. The crew does a great job mingling with the passengers, doing running commentaries and answering questions. There is a complimentary platter of cheese, grapes and crackers as well as an endless supply of sharp lemonade. You can also bring your own tipple of board — though we didn’t.

Very relaxing. Just over 2 hours. We had a great time. We would gladly do it again. I recommend it, highly.


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by Anura Guruge

Where Amelia Earhart (The ‘Missing Pilot’) Got Married — In Noank, Connecticut.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Taken during our Wednesday, August 17, 2016
sunset cruise on the schooner ‘Argia‘,
off Mystic, Connecticut
with my rented Nikon D500.

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The white building, on the waterfront in Noank, in February 1931, was the house of Amelia’s new mother-in-law. Her husband was George Putnam a (divorced) book publisher and publicist who had helped her during the start of her aviation career.


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by Anura Guruge