Looking back through my files…

NASCAR always makes my redneck/good ol’ boy side shine.  In that spirit, here are two emails/letters I’ve written concerning Tony Stewart:


The Home Depot
Attention: Consumer Affairs
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339

6 September, 2002

To Whom It May Concern:

Enough is enough! After hearing about Tony Stewart’s shenanigans with the reporter earlier this year, I was ready to return some stuff I bought at Home Depot. After reading that Tony Stewart assaulted a woman in Bristol, TN, I am no longer shopping at Home Depot and will ask all my friends and family to refrain from shopping at your stores, too.

I received gift certificates for Home Depot for my birthday. I will be going to the local store to cash them out rather than buy another item at Home Depot.

I am also sending this note in a letter to the corporate office in Atlanta, GA.


Richard L Hill, II

Attachment: Yahoo! Sports story: Stewart accused of shoving Tennessee fan (see article at bottom of this blog entry)



PO Box 2875
Daytona Beach, FL 32120

18 February 2008

NASCAR Executives/Marketing:

One word to describe the Daytona 500 (and possibly the rest of this season) – boring. It used to be that my family would watch the Daytona 500 and call each other after the game to discuss it. Not this time. I don’t think anyone watched more than two or three minutes of the race.

There were no compelling stories. All the same old stories are there – the rough-and-tumble Tony Stewart types versus the corporate clean-boy Ryan Newman types – and the racing itself is completely uninteresting. I’d rather go watch the IndyCar race in Charlotte where a bunch of buzzing bees spin around in a bowl than watch another NASCAR race with the cars of yesterday…oops, I mean the marketing-hyped CoT.

Lately, my family has become interested in the races at venues like Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta and Barber Motorsports Park. At least there you can see modern cars/bikes and real race drivers up close. Maybe you folks in NASCAR can learn a thing or two from them – the days of watching billboards go round-and-round in a circle are over. Time for mixed series racing, where fast cars (or bikes) have to dodge slow cars on the track, just like in real life where the Corvettes have to dodge Chevettes, taking left and righthand turns in the process.

Best of luck with the new Sprint and Nationwide series – the names of the series are as uninspiring as the drivers and racing on the track.


Rick Hill


Stewart accused of shoving Tennessee fan

Posted: September 07, 2002

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart has been accused of shoving a female fan following a race in Tennessee last month.

The unidentified woman was in the pit area at Bristol Motor Speedway watching the Sharpie 500 Winston Cup race when she claims she was pushed by Stewart, who finished 24th.

“We had one officer witness it,” Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson said yesterday.

Stewart, who was in Richmond, Va., for tonight’s Monte Carlo 400, declined to comment through a spokesman.

Mike Arning, a spokesman for Stewart’s Home Depot-sponsored race team, said team owner Joe Gibbs was expected to arrive at Richmond International Raceway today and would meet with reporters then.

Arning said the sheriff’s department interviewed him and five others at the track yesterday, but declined to give any more details.

The woman was authorized to be in the pits, Anderson said. He added that he would “rather not say at this point” whether she was injured.

Stewart, 31, is on probation with both NASCAR and the Home Depot, the sponsor of his No. 20 Pontiac, for punching a photographer who tried to take his picture following the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis on Aug 4.


* Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman added a little bit of history to their impressive debut seasons last night, becoming the first rookie drivers to sweep a Winston Cup front row in the modern era.

Johnson earned his fourth pole of the season with a lap of 126.145 mph around the three-quarter-mile oval at Richmond International Raceway. He’ll start the Monte Carlo 400 with Newman on his outside. Newman and Johnson are the first rookie front row in the series since 1972.

* Bobby Hamilton will be out at least 3 weeks after breaking his left wrist and right shoulder in a crash Thursday night at Richmond. Greg Biffle will drive the Andy Petree-owned Chevrolet in Hamilton’s place. *

Literal vs. literacy

Are illiterate and less well-read/educated people more susceptible to superstition or do they “naturally” accept fairy tales for their standard set of beliefs rather than pursue myth-busting knowledge for their own sake?

How many myths about the current conditions of your contemporary society/culture do you accept for granted?

For instance, I still believe that the achievements of the U.S. government during the Nixon administration overshadow the actions and events that eventually led to Nixon committing ritual political suicide and resigning from office. If it weren’t for Jimmy Carter, we wouldn’t have Billy Beer.

However, despite the artists’ international achievements, the alleged pedophilia of Michael Jackson and Woody Allen I can’t justify in the same understanding that great art requires personal self-sacrifice, not the destruction of others (e.g., Van Gogh cut off his own ear, not somebody else’s); otherwise, it degrades into war, military and/or cultural, creating a different set of myths than I want to read about.

What about lives lost, families torn apart and/or ecosystems destroyed for the sake of a bridge, building or industry?

On that last thought I will meditate the rest of the day…

Tick Tock

I found yet another box from my days at university, including yearbooks!

All while looking for a [Black Forest] cuckoo clock my wife thought we owned and discovering, instead, that we have THREE of them (including one of these)…but more on that later.


…can’t seem to get photos posted on this blog post tonight…

Hand in hand

A shriveled-up, rubber balloon, silvery-red, like the dead carcass of a strange alien creature, sits atop the moss growing on our roof shingles.

Where the balloon originated, I know not.

Or, rather, I do, if I think about it enough.

I see a parent shopping in a gift store, buying a bag of rubber sheaths ready to be filled with helium, bagged at a factory, made from a mix of petroleum products, as ancient a form as goat bladders used to hold water by prehistoric ancestors.

Who was the first person to realise bladders could also serve as air-filled flotation devices?

Who first put helium in a balloon for a party decoration?

Shall I risk my life to climb a ladder and retrieve the remnants of a child’s birthday bash, perhaps not even remembered by the child, who could have been one or two years old this time around the Sun?

Leaves swept off the roof a few weeks ago still pile across the glass tabletop of outdoor furniture on the back deck next to the lichen-covered gas grill cover, spilling over onto the moldy lumber of the deck itself.

Raindrops from a small summer storm form islets and peninsulas of wet refuges for airborne bacteria, evaporating too fast for tree frogs to alight on the skylights and lay love’s eggs in the dance of life.

Densely-packed water droplets reflect white light to my eyes, triggering my thoughts to distinguish the whiteness from the rest of the blue sky and think “clouds.”

If only my days of dancing were ahead of me, not behind me, but the sacrifice of gentle peace in my thoughts to rearrange my thought-body coordination to adjust from a nearly sedentary lifestyle to one of freestyle dancing and its associated whirlwind destruction of old habits with the only reward being the ending for my collected group of words called the next book…

Not to mention the difficulty I have dropping my guard in the presence of others.

I do not hate other people.

I am merely uncomfortable letting the real me out on the loose while feeding the people-pleasing personality in me at the same time, along with all the other personalities I feed who give me characters to write about.

I store my thoughts here, unhindered by personal security measures, no reason to hide them from others, because here is the only place I know how to be myself without having to react to others in realtime.

Here I can say phrases like I wish I was dead because I have nothing more to accomplish personally.

When I recently hung out with young people, I felt like maybe I did want to live longer because maybe I did have something more to accomplish personally, what with the sped-up treadmill effect of being in their high-energy presence.

But when I stepped off the treadmill, I returned to my base/real self.

Their joie de vivre about what they loved to do, especially making music and dancing, but also robots and other interests, infected me and made me want the same for myself.

Then I concluded I wanted the same for my self when I was 25 years old, half a lifetime ago, not 50+ years old today.

Sure, age is just a number.  Ninety-year olds are completing marathons and jumping out of aeroplanes but they were always energetic (or so I lead myself to believe).

I was never that much of an athletic type.  Sure, I sang in high school musicals, participated in high school/college marching bands and belonged to a church choir when I was 30 but only because I was pursuing a girl or bowing to peer pressure.

As I get older, I see that who I am is this person here, the way I’ve been for a long time, talking to myself in the form of diary entries, poems and short stories.

I may never finish another book.

In the past, my books, short stories and poems have been fancy, written forms of excuses for not seeking physical contact with the women I thought society had taught me to say I loved.

The more intense the understanding that I was in love, the more I dedicated thought cycles to formal groups of words like these.

I have grown older, if not wiser.

The return on my investment in writing book-length love letters…well, only once did I get anything for it — I have been married to my childhood penpal for over 27 years now.

Otherwise, the law of diminishing returns tells me that I probably don’t have another book to finish, even if that book was about the very fate/future of Earth-based lifeforms on extraterrestrial celestial bodies.


Because to complete the book, I’d need to be around people again.

To be around people again, I’d need something to calm my nerves.

To calm my nerves, I have, for the most part, consumed alcoholic beverages.

I no longer like the effect that alcoholic beverages have on my body, regardless of whether I’ll live another day or another century, effects like dizziness, depression and [imagined] swelling of the kidneys.

I generally withdrew from online social media sites because I was no longer interested in the like/plus/chat/comment format of social engagement.

To be honest, online social media was always only an ego-boosting game to me.

I have been ready to die for a long time now, going on almost 45 years, and, in preparation, I want to concentrate on what my last thought will be as I lose consciousness.

Here and now, I focus on what I want to think, not on what I am reacting to in polite conversations.

I have had enough social media validation to last a lifetime.

I am at peace with myself when I’m standing alone, looking up into the treetops, listening to the wind, birds and insects in a spontaneous, extemporaneous, symphony of sets of states of energy in the most natural form of dancing that exists.

As Earth turns away from the light of the Sun and darkness indicates less UV radiation and photons in the space around me, I pause to think of anything else to write today before I post this blog entry and go outside to turn off the water spigot which, through a rubber hose, hydrated the plants at the front of the yard because not enough rain fell to moisten the soil for our curbside flower garden.

If I had my druthers, I’d fall asleep tonight and never wake up again, today being a good day and no days in the future promising more than the peace and quiet I’ve enjoyed during the ten hours I’ve been up and about.

However, I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and have to figure out something to do because I posted my weekly meditation blog entry on a Saturday, not a Sunday.

Such is life.


I’ve decided to try an experiment on myself.

I do not read or listen to conservative/Republican news/commentaries and I dropped Facebook so I don’t know the latest trends in those who lead/follow/believe that viewpoint.

As an experiment, anything negative said about conservative/Republican people/lifestyles on the website salon.com will help me understand which conservative/Republican beliefs/actions are important enough for a mass media outlet to present, good or bad, to readers for consideration.

After considering for a while, I’ll decide which conservative/Republican actions highlighted by salon.com to emulate.

My parents always told me when they said, “we do not want you to do that,” I never heard the word “not” and did what I thought they told me to do.

Wish me luck!

The family torch

On my mother’s side of the family, my uncles were the resident genealogists, including Uncle Ralph, and Uncle Gordon, B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., book author and former Dean of the Department of History at Valdosta State University.  Uncle Ralph died and Uncle Gordon is in an assisted living facility so the family genealogist position fell to my cousin Janet.  Then, Janet became a grandmother and decided to pass the torch to me.  I wanted to complete the research on the family name, Teffeteller, which had sort of ended with this:

From “The history of Blount County, Tennessee and its people, 1795-1995,” pg. 352, article 1023 “Pioneer family fromDEFFITAHL toTEFFETELLER”   In 1748, a young man named Johannes DEFFITHAL left southern Germany. He traveled to Rotterdam, Holland where he boarded a ship to America. The ship was the “Hampshire” and it docked in Philadelphia,PA. Due to “Americanization”, the immigrant’s name was translated into ” John DEVENDALL”. John later moved to MD and his name was changed again, this time to TIEFENTELLER. He died in 1775. That same year, his son Michael was married.

This year 1813 was very important for our family. This was the year Michael TIEFENTELLER moved to Blount Co. from Lincoln Co. NC. Michael was between 55 and 60 years old when he settled on the land along side Crooked Creek in the Hubbard Community. He had 13 children, but we only have record of three sons. Joseph, Jacob and Daniel, who came to TN with him.

Then I found more recent information online:

Posted By:          Karen Vogt


Subject:               Origins of the Diffendall’s/Deffendall’s

Post Date:           January 30, 2005 at 12:03:39

Message URL:   http://genforum.genealogy.com/diffendall/messages/7.html

Forum: Diffendall Family Genealogy Forum

Forum URL:        http://genforum.genealogy.com/diffendall/

I recently ran across a Rotterdam, Netherlands record, unfortunately I was unable to copy it, that mentioned a Johann Tiefenthaler leaving for the U.S. at the same time and same ship and arriving in the same location as Johannes Divendall (other different spellings have been used for this last name.)

I believe these two to be the same person. I then checked for a Tiefenthaler in the southern part of Germany, particularly close to or on the Rhein River. Sure enough, I found one Johann Tieffenthaler, christened 25 Aug. 1718 in Bickensohl, Freiburg, Baden, Germany, father: Christoph Tiefenthaler who married Susanna Rieffler/Riessler on 9 Aug. 1707 in Bickensohl. This Johann has an older sister named Anna Barbara Tieffenthaler, christened 9 Dec. 1711 in Bickensohl. There are more Tieffenthaler’s in this region. Next, I checked for a Barbara Weise in Freiburg, Baden, Germany region. I found Barbara Wiss, christened 19 Feb. 1725 in Katholisch, Elzach, Baden, Germany. Her father is Joseph Wiss and mother is Agatha Maier b. 5 Feb. 1706 in Elzach. This I believe to be a very strong lead to our common ancestor, while I have found nothing on Hans Jorg Dievedal except that he was deported back to the Netherlands from England as a reject for American colonization in 1709 due to belonging to the wrong religion.

If anyone can help with this it would be greatly appreciated, you too Eric.

Karen Deffendall Vogt

Which led me here:

(from http://ethnicelebs.com/megan-fox):

Megan’s paternal grandparents were Euel Massie Fox (the son of James Earl Fox and Nila Dell Warf) and Vivian Vier (the daughter of Shellie V. Vier and Maud F. Simerly). One of Euel’s ancestors, born in the 1700s, Capt. Peter Thompson, was born in Scotland. Megan has German ancestry through Vivian’s ancestor, Joseph Teffeteller (making Megan of at least 1/64th German descent). Megan also has very distant German ancestry from another of Vivian’s lines (through her Rainbolt and Grindstaff / Crantzdorf ancestors).

We humans are connected in more ways than one!

Correction to a previous post

Wanted to correct a previous post, which reflected my poor memory about the founder of ADS Environmental Services.

Here, forewith, is Peter Petroff’s proper CV (source):

Peter Dimitroff Petroff, a NASA engineer and later an inventor whose enterprises developed heart-monitoring equipment and originated the digital wristwatch 30 years ago, died Feb. 27 at his home in Huntsville, Ala. He was 83. . .

He went into business on his own in 1968, founding Care Electrics, a high-technology company that developed a wireless heart monitor for hospital use. The venture evolved into Electro/Data, which created the prototype of the digital watch.

Marketed by the Hamilton Watch Company as the Pulsar, the odd-looking device sold for $2,100 in 1971.

Of course, there had been mechanical digital watches long before, but the Pulsar was electronic with a red LED readout.


THERE is a widespread belief in Bulgaria that the country has never been able to keep its best offspring because they always leave to find a better place to make a living. Unfortunately, one can easily share this view, as most of the Bulgarians that have introduced anything of importance to the world have been from among those that left their homeland. Perhaps this is not such a problem, as long as Bulgarians do not forget those that brought the fame.

Following this line of thought, one name that was long ago forgotten in Bulgaria was that of Peter Petroff (Petar Petrov), and only the news of his death brought his name back to the minds of Bulgarians.

Peter Dimitroff Petroff, 83, an engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and an inventor whose enterprises developed a heart monitor and the digital wristwatch 30 years ago, died on February 27 at his home in Huntsville, Alabama. He was a native of Bulgaria who moved to Canada and then to the US after World War 2, and in 1968 founded Care Electrics, a high-tech company that developed a wireless heart monitor for hospitals. The company became Electro/Data, which created the prototype of the digital watch. Marketed by the Hamilton Watch Company as the Pulsar, it sold for $2100 in 1971.

Petroff was born in the Bulgarian village of Brestovitsa, and, while almost nothing is known of his life in Bulgaria, his later existence was marked with the name of a great inventor. He was born on October 21, 1919 to the family of Dimitar Petrov, a priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and his wife Vasillia. After attending a religious seminary, Petroff enlisted in the French Foreign legion in October 1939.

He was captured by the Germans while defending the French Maginot Line in 1940, and sent to a German Prisoner Of War camp in Poland. He returned to Bulgaria in March 1941 and became an officer in the Bulgarian Army. His duties included being a palace guard to King Boris III of Bulgaria and participating in the Honour Guard for the funeral of Turkey’s President, Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

In 1944, he moved to Germany to study engineering at the University of Munich.

He graduated from Darmstadt and Stuttgart universities with a master’s degree in electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering. While in Germany he also studied his life long passion, naval architecture, and designed and built the first of over 60 boats in 1947.

Petroff arrived in Toronto in 1951 via wartime France and Germany. He worked on arctic engineering and construction projects for the US Air Force at Goose Bay, Labrador, and Thule, Greenland.

He went to Indochina in 1956 for assignments in bridge and power plant construction. Three years later, he sailed a 65-foot catamaran of his own design to Melbourne, Florida, where he joined the space projects carried out by a precursor of the Harris Corporation. He helped design systems for early weather and communications satellites and organised the company’s semiconductor division.

Moving to Huntsville in 1963, Petroff was recruited by Wernher von Braun to work on the new Saturn rocket for the Apollo space programme. During that period, his employers were NASA, and Boeing and Northrop, its contractors.

In 1975, Petroff and his sons founded ADS Environmental Services, a maker of computerised pollution monitoring equipment for the world market. He sold his interest in the company in 1995 but rejoined his sons as a consultant for Time Domain.

Petroff received numerous honours and awards throughout his professional career. His most unique distinction was to be officially declared an Enemy of the People by the communist regime in Bulgaria, for which he received a death sentence in absentia. The sentence was later lifted.

He continued his lifelong interest in boat design and naval architecture by renovating the Gemini II. The boat also served as the base of operation for Lee Taylor’s successful assault on the world water speed record on Lake Guntersville in 1967. In 1991, he moved the Gemini II to the US Virgin Islands. It was donated to charity two years ago and now serves as a floating orphanage in Central America.

In its obituary for Peter Petroff, The New York Times quoted Ralph Petroff, one of his sons, who said it was ironic that his father had died a peaceful death.

“He always laughed at danger and he laughed at death. He should have never made it to his 83rd birthday, let alone his 20th,” Ralph Petroff said. “I guess if you were to combine Indiana Jones with Thomas Edison, the result would be Peter Petroff.”

And his wikipedia entry:

Peter Petroff (Born in Brestovitsa, Bulgaria, October 21, 1919 – Died in Huntsville, Alabama, United States, February 27, 2003[1]) was a Bulgarian American inventor, engineer, NASA scientist, and adventurer. He was instrumental in the evolution of the NASA space program. Among his many accomplishments, Petroff developed the world’s first computerized pollution monitoring system and telemetry devices for the world’s first weather and communications satellites. Petroff helped develop the world’s first digital watch[1] and the world’s first wireless heart monitor, and many other important devices and methods. Petroff founded Care Electronics, Inc. which was acquired by Electro-Data, Inc. of Garland, Texas in the fall of 1971.

Petroff Point on Brabant Island in Antarctica is named for Petroff.[2]


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/09/obituaries/09PETR.html The New York Times: Peter D. Petroff Dies at 83.
  2. Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica: Petrov Point.


And his NY Times obit, if you’re interested.

A Writer’s Secret

Thought to self: do not fixate on any one idea or image that bobs to the surface of one’s pool of consciousness before spinning out of the eddy and disappearing into the mainstream.

Which person will connect the dots between Chinese senior citizens collecting recyclable trash, Central American children escaping unstable societies, Carlos Slim suggesting part-time work is good for you, Bill Gates suggesting an old collection of New Yorker short stories to read, Elon Musk selling a “people’s car” version of the Tesla and Erin Kennedy organising a robot party?

What about the algae that gives the atmosphere the oxygen we need to breathe?  How much water and algae do we need off-planet to terraform our new digs?

I saw the first USPS vehicle making deliveries on Sunday driving down our street just now — what Amazon purchase was so important that it had to arrive before Monday morning?

I essentially quit hanging out in the virtual community known as Facebook, having checked in a couple of times since I quit because I didn’t have contact information for people outside of Facebook.  Once that was completed, my time spent on Facebook is over.  Although I enjoyed communicating with people in that social media space, I lost track of me, spending more time managing my Facebook personality than spending with the flesh-and-blood body that has to eat and breathe.

Primarily, since I was a young child, I have lived in and with my thoughts.  I learned to convert thinking into writing, and then examined the labels of “thinking” and “writing” to discover for myself why I am the center of my own universe.

I never stop eating and breathing but I sometimes stop being me in order to please the person in me who thinks he has to please other people enough so they don’t see the real me who’d rather sit in a nest of his thoughts than listen to others’ opinions that I have to pick through to find something in common that minimises controversy, lessening the chance that I have to stay connected to a person for longer than I have to.

I am not unique.  I compromise like many people.  Even these sentences are a form of compromise, walking the minefield of libel, slander and inflammatory comments I could make were I less civilised.

I write because it’s the quickest form of communication for me to scan when I want to return to previously-recorded thought trails of mine.

Time to close my eyes and remove myself from words, experiencing the living minideath of meditation that sometimes becomes sleep, the temporary suicide of self that rejuvenates me enough that I can stand to be around people again for a while.