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Reese Palley’s Last Hoo-Ha!



A life celebration for Reese Palley took place June 14, 2015 at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square.

The video here was generously shared by his wife, Marilyn Arnold Palley.

New book release.    THE ANSWER: Why Only Inherently Safe Mini Nuclear Power Plants Can Save The World

New book release.    Concrete: A Seven-Thousand-Year History

Magazine interview.    Philly Magazine August, 2011 with Richard Rys

New invention.    Reese receives federal patent on new energy-efficient toaster design, offers design royalty-free to potential manufacturers.


We now have a permanent pool of unemployed that presently number 40 million and growing. This group has no voice in the political process. Early this year I founded a national organization to give them some say in their lives. The American Association of Unemployed People, AAUP, is being pulled together by a group of volunteer activists and we are always seeking folk who want to join in building this most important new project. Call Reese if you want to be involved.


Some stuff that happened to me here and there.
(click on the images on right for details)

1) Atlantic City......Merchant to the Rich     How "rich," a four letter word to most Americans, allowed me to get rich.

2) Paris.    A "Millionaire's" Gift. How I flew 750 of my "closest" friends on two chartered 747s for a weekend in Paris and how, much to the chagrin of the IRS, I made money on the trip, and how my "friends" to a person, lied to the media who, accepting the fiction, made me out to be an heroic "eccentric millionaire". I still have a print of me on the Life Magazine cover which, at the eleventh hour, was bumped for a literary lie sensation.

3) Raphael painting.    How I bought a large painting for $3000 from Paris experts who missed its importance. It turned out to be one of five Raphael paintings lost since the 17th Century. It is a portrait of Lorenzo deMedici, ultimately valued at $20.000.000.

4) Atlantic City, Marlboro Blenheim     I bought 27 acres at Park Place and Boardwalk (See Monopoly) one year after gambling was voted in New Jersey. Not having any money I bought a 16 million dollar property from eager sellers with $100,000 down and an enormous mortgage due in nine months. Ten days after the papers were signed I sold the property to Bally, took some of the money, bought a sailboat and sailed around the world for the next twenty years.

5) Three sailing firsts: China, Russia, Romania     First private sailing yacht ever into Communist China in 1982. First into the Black Sea port of Odessa in 1989. First into Romania in 1990. All entries coincided with the beginning of the end of strict authoritarianism in these countries of communism.

6) Odessa Sunken Subs.     How I was swindled into buying four surplus Russian Subs from the Russian Mafia which turned out to be sunk in 150 feet under water.

7) Odessa, Mushroom Farm     How I discovered the unused since WWII, hundred miles long caverns under Odessa and converted part into a mushroom farm.

8) Odessa, Tall Ship     How we organized and paid for an historic joint passage of a Russian Tall ship, the Druzhba, in 1990 between Odessa and the US manned, for the first time, by half Russian and half US crew.

9) Antonio Samoza     The dictator tries to hitch a ride out of Nicaragua.

10) Shanghai, Scammed Back     I wanted UNLIKELY to be the first sailing vessel into China. In 1982. I concocted an offer to help the Mainland build fiberglass sailboats in competition with Taiwan. The scam turned real when I became enamored of the Chinese, stayed two years, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in building two factories for them.

11) Shanghai, Guns, Food and Books     How I discovered what really motivates the Chinese. Communists. When we landed in Shanghai the customs people were disinterested in our guns and our books, both of which we felt would be considered counter revolutionary. Instead, they required that we lock up our food. Food being the most dangerous counter revolutionary weapon of which they could conceive.

12) Oman, Mossad     Finding our selves with broken standing rigging we ran for the forbidden port on the westernmost coast of the Indian Ocean of Oman. Finding a strong military presence there, unknown to the Israelis, how I became involved for the next year with the Mossad.

13) Ethiopia, Escape     How we escaped at night from five Communist Ethiopian gunboats after being dismasted in the Red Sea.

14) Red Sea The Nativity     With a pregnant crew aboard we relived the story of the Nativity along the unfriendly shores of the Gulf of Suez on Christmas Eve. We were the Magi, the lady was Mary and we watched the Star rise over Bethlehem as we were denied refuge by soldiers along shore.

15) Odessa, Rescue of a Torah     How I helped a penniless but very lucky Rabbi smuggle a precious Torah out of Odessa. Lucky because I, as a sailor, Jewish and American were the only possible mode of escape as I had attracted the attention of Gorbachev and were deemed untouchable. Part of the rescue was a remarkable document issued to me by the Mayor of Odessa declaring that I had free, unrestricted access to any of the streets of Odessa except that I was forbidden to drive up a one way street the wrong way

16) Odessa, The First Seder     I officiated at the first Seder of a Jewish family in Odessa. They had, during the bad years purposely tried to hide their heritage. The Seder brought them back to their history. I remembered the order and the tunes as best I could. It was for the family an emotional, tear laden act of redemption. The family subsequently, and as a result of my intervention, escaped to Israel.

17) Cuba The little Synagogue     The Miracle of the Sierra Madres wherein a small band of poor Jews, forbidden their religion but led by an indomitable woman, fought Castro for 30 years and finally won back their synagogue. I was with them on their first Yom Kippur when, knowing neither prayers or songs, but knowing themselves as Jews, they sat quietly the entire day observing, in their silence and in their ignorance, a day barely remembered. I was able to get them a Canadian Rabbi to reteach them all they had forgotten and interested a number of US congregations (reached via the Internet) to support the synagogue with material aid.

18) San Francisco, Saving the Wright Building     How I rescued and reconstructed the Morris Building on Maiden Lane in San Franciso which had been built by Frank Lloyd Wright as a foretaste of the Guggenheim. I left the building as Wright had conceived it through the incredible coincidence of the appearance of an aged Cost Rican cabinet maker who had worked with Wright on the original project. Whatever the cabinet maker had forgotten was filled in by the wonderful old ladies of San Francisco who had preserved the details of the building in their mindsŐ eyes.

19) Romania, Advertising in eastern Europe     How we organized the largest, and the first in Romania, ad agency just months after the down fall of the mad dictator Caucescu. In this activity we trained an entire generation of eager Romanian entrepreneurs in the ins and outs of Capitalism. Some today are millionaires (in dollars) and most operate their own businesses.

20) Romania, First "Elle" type magazine     We introduced Western publishing to Romania in the form of an ELLE type and a NEW YORK type magazine.

21) Romania, First Media Research Company     To support our ad agency we set up the first Market Research firm in Eastern Europe and the first Employment agency.

22) Romania, Escape by sail     How we assisted five brave young non-sailors to secretly build and transport a 22 foot sailboat from Bucharest to the Black Sea. The trip was through military exercises of thousands of Communist troops along the shores of the Black Sea. The five made it out and most have made good life for themselves in the US and in Australia.

23) Odessa, A foretaste of the Russian/Jewish Mafia     How, in 1989, we came face to face with the newborn Jewish Mafia in Russia.

24) Odessa, NKVD vs Perestroikans     When we arrived as the first sailing yacht ever to come into the Soviet Union, we came without a visa which would have anyway been impossible to get. A monumental struggle ensued between the NKVD and the new Peristroikans which eventually landed on Gorbachev's desk. He wired back, "Let them in."

25) Bucharest, Traffic lights     How we convinced the City of Bucharest to allow our ad agency to paint the Camel Cigarette Camel on all of the yellow lights in the city.

26) New Jersey, Lottery     How, as Chairman of the NJ State Lottery, I took the gross income from 100m to one billion in two years.

27) Maldives, The Khadaffi Airline     The story of the airline, Atoll Air, which, with the connivance of the Minister of State of the Republic of the Maldives, was designed to be the first useful airline in the archipelago.

28) Pacific, Salvation in the Pacific     How I survived a fire and stove explosion 2000 miles from anywhere in the mid Pacific by the intervention of the world wide network of Amateur Radio Operators and the luck of having a son who was an Emergency Room Physician in far away Philadelphia.

29) Caribbean, Caught in a Revolution     We were only months out of Miami when our sails were riddled with bullets from one, or both factions, of an uprising on a small island

30) Suez, American Haters     Sailing through the Gulf of Suez and flying the US flag we were continuously shot at until I substituted for the US flag a Confederate flag. It confused everybody and we were never shot at again.

31) Red Sea, The Innocent lighthouse     How we survived an attack by three military jets involved in target practice. We survived only because there was a lighthouse on a small island in the vicinity which offered a more interesting target on which they expended their ammunition.

32) New York, Opening Soho     I opened and operated the largest art gallery in Soho, thus hastening the development of that area as a vibrant art center. The least artistically important artists that I represented were John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

33) Cuba, Sub Rosa     How I changed my name and became an unpaid advisor to the first American businessman to set up in Cuba

34) Aleutians, Hammett and Kalb     My army experience was in the Aleutian Island of Adak, where I worked on a newspaper edited by Dashiell (Sam) Hammett with a reporter Bernard Kalb and an editor, Bill Glackin. Adak was the place to which the Army sent folk such as homosexuals and trouble makers and that wonderfully interesting group the Army labeled as being, "Premature Anti-Fascists."

35) Magazines, Articles     A long list of magazine articles written over the past 20 years including Cruising World, Sail Magazine, Acquire, and the Nautical Quarterly.. Fiction included, Fiddlers Green, The Dinghy and The Struggle

36) Books     The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm, Abrahms ,Unlikely Passages, Seven Seas Press distributed by Simon and Schuster, Unlikely Passages reissue in Paperback, Sheridan House, There Be No Dragons published by Sheridan House, (Unlikey People and Unlikely Places are in preparation for Sheridan House.)

37) Philippines, Pirates or Police?     How we survived attacks from Philippine pirates inside the Bay of Manila and how difficult it was to determine whether the attackers were pirates in police clothing or police in pirates clothing.

38) India, Bombay and Goa     Adventures of the spirit in a two years sojourn in these magic places. A book is in preparation on my stay in India. in general and the underside of Bombay in particular.

39) Romania, First in the Danube Delta     Unlikely was the first sailing vessel of any size ever to sail in the huge and mysterious delta as the Danube exits into the Black Sea. How we discovered the lake named after Vlad The Impaler, later to be identified as the Vampire Dracula, and the ancient an inexplicable burial of some thousands along the shore of the lake in which all the corpses were laid head to head and piled four deep in what was a ritual burial about which nothing is known..

40) Faial, The making of a Myth     How an innocent fictional tale I wrote, changed forever the actions of sailors leaving the port of Faial in the Azores.

41) Odessa, Arizona...a naming     I was the godfather of a small sailing vessel in Odessa being given the curious, most unRussian name "Arizona." Arizona was the warmest place the new skipper, having been raised in Siberia, could think of.

42) Columbia, How little Willie saved my ass     How a puny, sick, black man, claiming to be American, protected us from the illegal and legal pirates of the port of Buenaventura by spreading the rumor that we had an American "bomba atomica" aboard.

43) Ziggy, A Nifty Murderer     The tales of Ziggy, the nicest, most loyal murderer one could ever want as crew and who no one would ever want as an enemy or even as owning something that Ziggy might want.

44) Istanbul, Agatha Christie and Paramount Pictures     How I became involved in an abortive attempt by the owners of the Pera Palas Hotel in Istanbul to extort millions from Paramount to regain a mysterious key left by Christie. The key was purported to hold the papers that would describe her still unexplained temporary disappearance.

45) Bermuda Triangle....Debunked!!     How a friends sailboat was abandoned in the Triangle and how it was found two years later in mid Atlantic still afloat. How this event revealed to me that the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle was no mystery at all.

46) Godsmile...Appointment in New Jersey     The true tale of surviving 80 knot winds just a 1/4 of a mile off my own South Jersey coast in a 23 footer and how the little boat received her name.

47) Pacific, Adopted by the Porpoises     Becalmed in mid Pacific we were adopted by a lovely school of Dolphins and how they welcomed us into their world.

48) Odessa, Racing the Russians with Teddy Turner     The first Black Sea Regatta in which a team of US sailors were entered was headed by young Teddy Turner. How, in spite of all mendacious attempts of the Russian officials to rig the race against them, Turners team triumphed

49) Rome, The Heart of Christianity     My descent, before all visits were forbidden, 65 feet down under the great alter of St Peters to the Red Wall where the Church believes Peter was interred after his martyrdom. How I was allowed, unheard of since, to stir my hand around in Peter's dust in the burial niche.

50) Key West, Home after 20 Years     How, on return after 20 years of my circumnavigation (possibly the longest and slowest on record,) Unlikely came home to Key West. How I sought a lot to buy at which to dock Unlikely and how, after buying it, I was told that, in order to dock her, I would have to build a house on the lot. Thus came we to our serendipitous, hurricane proof concrete house with the empty Atlantic on one side and wherein Unlikely is safely docked in a canal on the other.

© 2020 Reese Palley All Rights Reserved