Since I’m reliving my childhood, I am going to make Ritty
Dum Ditty for dinner one night. There will be pics.
* * *
The only thing keeping me going is church
on Sunday. If I get to church, it gives me just enough juice to get me through
* * *
This Roy Moore fiasco: It’s not some political scheme by
Democrats/liberals. Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates. Allegations are
flying against everyone from politicians to media bigwigs …even Mr. Sulu. This
is just getting started.
* * *
Penn State and offensive line issues: why does this sound so
familiar? Patience. This is the piece that takes the longest to upgrade.
* * *
My dog is an idiot. He’s gifted in some regards (he can
smell beef jerky from 500 yards) but dumber than a box of rocks. Love him to
* * *
I didn’t think a damned foot could hurt so much for no
reason other than aging. I’m sure going up and down the cellar steps a couple of
hundred times a few weeks ago had nothing to do with it.
* * *
It may be possible one day to create an artificial universe.
An actual baby universe which will inflate and fill a cosmos and may one day
even have life like ours. I’m not sure if they’ll have their own Miracle Mets or
Boris Yeltsin, but it’s an amazing idea.
But it begs the question: is it possible God was someone in
a lab coat in an alternate universe? I think not. Only God could come up with
the Aardvark. Or those Mets.
* * *
I have rejected most of what I have done for the last twenty
years as a failed experiment. But I do not reject the people I’ve met and been
active with. Never the people. They are all that matter.
It’s Veteran’s Day. Please take a moment to say a prayer of
thanks to those who serve, now and in the past. If you’re not the praying type
simply be thankful and find a way to express it.
* * *
Well, there’s a first time for everything.
I posted what follows on my Facebook pages yesterday because
it was an uplifting experience in a time of great angst, both personally and
for many of us in the social and political climate that exists today:
...It's one thing,
and an important thing, when a candidate comes to your door and asks for
It's another when
one shows up after the election to thank you for supporting him.
It just doesn't
happen. They may call. They may write a note. That's terrific, truly. But they
don't knock after winning, in my experience. Until tonight, that is, when PJ Biscontini showed up at my door in the freezing cold to
thank me for supporting him in his run for Plains Township Commissioner.
We talked quite a
while and with each passing, freezing cold minute, I was more impressed.
still produce great young people? Well, this young man is your proof. There are
great things in store for him one day. I never voted for anyone other than a
Republican once I was elected to County Committee. I believe, as my good friend
Renita Fennick taught me, you either belong to something or you don't. I did,
and I did so passionately.
Now, I am
unaffiliated. An island of one. I take each person as I find them, and if they
measure up I will vote for them not because they do or don't belong to a
party... but because they are the best person for the job. PJ is the first
Democrat I have voted for in a long, long time.
Keep your eye on
PJ. He loves Plains, professes to have no higher ambitions, but fate has a
funny way of tapping the talents of the best of us. You've heard this before,
and it's a cliché, but it's also true: This guy's going places.
* * *
I am reading A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston, a birthday present by Popki. It is a surprisingly
good read (I am not one for celebrity books) and it has managed to stir a lot
of old memories of my childhood. Some good. Some probably forgotten for good
reason. He paints his life in a series of small snippets …scenes, if you will
…and I am enjoying it immensely.
* * *
The Harvey Weinstein story has opened the floodgates. Every
day another powerful person stands accused of anything from sexual harassment to
sexual assault. It’s become the shark attack story of 2017, with one critical
difference: The sharks aren’t along isolated stretches of beach here and there
being sensationalized by the media. No, not one bit.
These damned sharks are everywhere. It’s going to get worse,
because America is a gigantic beach for these particular predators.
Our sexuality is complicated because the drive to procreate
is deeply instilled within us. Keeping the species going is kind of important. Most
of us learn to master or at the very least control our sexuality. But for
others, especially when power …political, economic or career …is involved, a
beast is unleashed.
Yes, we all flirt, some just a little bit, and some quite a lot.
Most of the time it is harmless, and we pretty much stick to the rules. A man compliments
an attractive lady on her dress, and perhaps smiles just a few seconds longer than
usual. A woman leans in close and lightly touches a man’s arm during
conversation. But the game has rules, and most people instinctively adhere to
them. We don’t wag our genitals at the opposite sex as a display of power or
force ourselves on others.
Those transgressions are no problem for powerful sharks.
What they do is indefensible. The sharks aren’t just the rich, powerful and
famous we read about each day. There are probably some in every community.
Perhaps this will be a watershed moment when predatory behavior becomes
intolerable. One can hope. Our very nature, however, makes this a problem for
all generations. I don’t know what the solution is, but perhaps a start is
recognizing that we’ve lost our way. We are flirting with total hedonism, where
anything goes and personal responsibility no longer exists.We can hope that we’re turning a corner.
Again, one can hope. I’m not ready to give up on us. I hope you’re not, either.
* * *
The NFL kneeling thing.
I fully support the player’s rights to kneel during the
anthem. I also fully support the choice of those offended to boycott the NFL if
they see fit.It’s America. Have at it.
If I ran the NFL, I’d have seen this coming after last year.
I’d have simply reworked the pregame festivities a mite. The players would come
out after the anthem.
Simple solutions seem to escape the NFL Commissioner, but it
is his League to run as he sees fit. He’s stuck for the rest of this season,
but the damage has been done. Everyone is losing here.
I understand what the players involved are trying to do. But
you don’t build widespread support for a cause by alienating large chunks of
the population. You find a way to get everyone behind you. It’s a hell of a lot
harder. It’s not flashy. But it works.
I remember when drunk driving was something that was
accepted as part of the way things were. When we were kids, we used to shout “Happy
Jack! Happy Jack!” whenever our parents ended up behind a drunk driver.
remember driving home one night in the late 70’s/early 80's and coming around a bend in
Kingston Township to find a car blocking both lanes of the road. A man was passed
out behind the wheel and his car, still running, was resting, unscratched,
against the guard rail. I knocked on a nearby door and asked a man who opened
his second floor window to call the police. When they arrived, they thought it
was funny. (I think they knew the guy.)
As they put him in the cruiser (one officer to
drive him home, the other to drive his car) I realized my car battery had died.
I’d left the lights on so anyone coming around the curve had some warning that
there was an issue. When I asked for a jump, I got some grief from one of the
officers who grumbled while he helped me get my car going again. I never forgot
that. I was the pain in the ass and the guy bombed behind the wheel of his car
was a source of amusement (who got a ride home and a free car drop-off).
Hey, he was just a Happy Jack.
Things started to change when a
California mother, Cari Lightner, lost her daughter to a drunk driver who hit her
13-year old and left her dead at the scene. The driver was a repeat DUI hit and
This devastated mother started Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Over time, society’s views on
driving impaired shifted dramatically. The days of the police being the
designated driver for a DUI are, I believe, long, long behind us.
That’s how it’s done, folks. When you see something
drastically wrong, you work hard to bring everyone on board. Unify, don’t
divide. That’s the lesson that isn’t being heeded. That’s what the NFL players need
Pipe down. Don’t get all excited. I’m not talking politics
and I haven’t joined the anarchists.
I’m talking revolutions around the sun.
There have been untold billions of revolutions around the
sun by our little rock. I recently celebrated my 60th. Whoop-de-doo.
* * *
I’m going to work backwards here.
I woke up Sunday to
banners and balloons celebrating my official over-da-hillness. The big 6-0. I
haven’t been the happiest camper lately, but this stuff made me smile. When I
opened the car door on my way to work… well, see the photo at the top of this page. (My daughter
loves celebrating birthdays, and she always gets a smile from me despite my
* * *
Saturday was interesting. I put in my morning shift at work then
drove to Tunkhannock to get my driver’s license picture taken. My sister
recommended going to Tunkhannock because there is never a line. That wasn’t
what sealed the deal for me. I decided I’d do a little foliage tour while I was
From Wilkes-Barre to Tunkhannock, the logical route would be
up Route 309 to Route 29 and straight into town. This would be especially
sensible as I was leaving from Wilkes-Barre Township after making a bank
deposit. A normal person would hop onto I-81, drive north one exit and take the
Cross-Valley Expressway, which morphs into Route 309, for the jaunt to Tunkhannock.
I am not normal. I suspect you all know that already.
Instead I took 81 south a few miles and exited onto the
southern end of Route 29. I followed it across the river and up into the
mountains. I passed through the Pinchot State Forest, whizzed by Pikes Creek Reservoir,
then Lake Silkworth, and out into the official boonies.
It was a calming ride.
There was almost zero traffic.
There was a slight children-of-the-corn moment when I had to
swerve around a large carcass of something laying in my lane. No fur or
appendages …just a giant slab of something festering on the asphalt.
Could have been butchered deer meat that fell off a pickup
Possibly Jimmy Hoffa.
Except for the mystery cadaver, it was a hauntingly
beautiful ride. The only regret is that I was alone. I spend most of my time
with just me. I suppose I’m not bad company, and I’m getting used to it. It’s
my lot in life, so I make the best of it.
Once in Tunkhannock, I quickly found the Photo ID center at
the far end of a building that also houses a Weis Market. Across the parking
lot is Sky Haven Airport, and the runway lies over a rise and runs behind the
supermarket. You could probably leave the engine running on your Cessna, dart
in for groceries, and take right off again. I suppose one could do even better
“Honey, parachute out to the Weis parking lot and get the
groceries. I’ll land and pick you up in twenty minutes. There’s a slab of meat
on the road a little south of here with some kids hiding nearby in the corn. I
want to buzz’em a few times before I land.”
As my sister promised, there was virtually no wait for my
photo. The red “Take a Number” dispenser by the seating area was empty and
dust-covered. I suspect that is its usual state. No matter. It was prime time
on Saturday and there were a handful of people there for photos. The only other
day the Photo ID center is open is Friday, so I missed the end-of-week-harvest-happy-hour rush.
I was in and out in a jiffy. I will never go anyplace else
for a license. The two folks on duty were courteous, kind and cheerful. A quarter of the Boy Scout Oath. That's a rarity at such
facilities. If Harrisburg finds out, they’ll surely get
After I got the new license, I paused in the parking lot to
take a picture of the mountain across the river, which was wearing fall colors. I also got some type of utility pole, a windsock, and the roofs of
I never said I was Steve McCurry.
Oh, and when I was getting my license, this happened:
It wasn’t a rash decision.
People will draw all kinds of
conclusions, but in the end I decided I no longer belong in a party. Across the
course of my life both national parties have left me, or perhaps I’ve left
them. It was no one thing in either case.
Perhaps I’m just getting old and, as I mentioned
Maybe I just want to be left alone.
Maybe I fear I’ve done enough damage.
In any case, this fits a pattern for me. I mull major
decisions for a long, long, time. I ponder them quietly. Then, when I make a
decision, I move swiftly and irrevocably. More often than not, I make final
decisions near familiar calendar landmarks: changes in season, years, or
birthdays. If you know me well, you know when I am quiet near a calendar
landmark then something is in the wind.
Anyway, it’s done now.
A page is turned and I have moved on.
I will still vote, of course. But I am tied to no party.
I am no longer a part of the great, vast circus of American politics. I’ve been
a very good soldier for a long time, but the war is over for me, kids.
suppose I could write about it. Trust me, I have the material.
But that would,
again, pull me back in. I don’t want a Michael Corleone moment. I prefer
having it all in the rearview.
In closing: be good to each other. We’re all we’ve got.