The story of a boy, who enlisted in the Navy, who became a man, who still retained the emotional maturity of that boy, yet convinced a woman to marry him.

Monday, December 5, 2011

You'd Think

That, of all places, Home Depot would be able to keep its toilet seats repaired.

It's all good.  We either put the seat up or we pee on it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Colonial Commute




    Route 422 turns into a parking lot every weekday afternoon.  Starting from the point where the Schuykill Expressway and on-ramps from King of Prussia converge, the road to Pottstown chokes off into a line of angry brake lights which stretches like a crimson snake into the distance.
    Foolishly loitering at the mall one afternoon, I found myself staring into the abyss of this concrete logjam.  I was distressed I wouldn’t reach my house in Upper Bucks County until well after dark.
    Convinced I was cleverer than the throng of frustrated commuters before me, I decided to cheat my way around the congestion using local roads.  Even though I didn’t have a map or a GPS, I figured that, as long as I kept the setting sun to my left, I’d be heading north toward home.
    Smugly winding my way through several neighborhoods, I almost threw my arm out of joint patting myself on the back.  Sure, the speed limit at times dropped to 15 mph and there were a couple speed bumps to negotiate, but, every time I glanced at the knot of cars on the freeway, I knew I’d chosen wisely.
    My first sign of trouble came when I emerged from one such neighborhood.  Stopped at a traffic light was a substantial snarl of cars, moving every bit as fast as the gridlock on the highway.  Meaning not very.
    Despairing of making up any lost time, I was waved into the mass by a weary-looking motorist who figured she may as well let me in front of her.  She wasn’t going anywhere fast.  Besides, misery loves company.
    Eventually, we inched across the intersection after several cycles of green-yellow-red.  My hopes for a speedy getaway were dashed as I joined a procession of vehicles every bit as imposing as that which I had avoided.  Only this time, I was crawling on one lane, instead of three.
    Since I had ample time to gaze at my surroundings, I marveled at the rolling beauty which lay on either side of me.  A wide expanse of what I’m sure is a deep carpet of green in the spring stretched from the edge of the road to a dense line of trees.  A jogging path paralleled the road and a series of charming rail fences criss-crossed the property.
    Just as I began to wonder where I was, I was greeted by a brown wooden sign with “Welcome to the Valley Forge National Historical Park” etched on it.
    I knew Valley Forge was close to the mall, but I hadn’t realized just how close.  What’s more, I never thought I would blunder into it in an attempt to dodge the afternoon commute.
    Aggravated as I was by the turtle line in which I now found myself, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the panorama of early American history which unfolded around me.
    Faced with the occupation of Philadelphia by the British army in December, 1777, General George Washington’s Continental Army took up winter quarters on the plateau of Valley Forge, near where the Schuylkill River and Valley Creek meet.
    Barely twenty miles away from each other, the two armies could hardly have lived in more different conditions.  Where the troops under General Sir William Howe lived in the metropolitan cradle of liberty, the colonials had to undergo many hardships brought on by scant food, lack of provisions, and wretched living conditions.
    Eventually, Washington’s men built approximately 2,000 wooden huts laid out in parallel lines, emulating some sort of order.  As miserable as conditions were in those drafty, windowless structures, they were a substantial improvement over canvas tents.
    But, that didn’t help with the continual struggle to find enough food to feed thousands of poorly-equipped soldiers who had to endure the harsh winter, many of them in rags.
    Inexorably inching towards the traffic light on the far side of the park, I took in the several cabins which remain for tourists’ (and motorists!) inspection.  I was struck at how small they were; surely, the American soldiers weren’t living at the Holiday Inn Express!  Even though each log was sealed with cement, I realized that was a relatively modern innovation to make sure they didn’t fall apart like a child’s Lincoln Logs set. 
    There was no doubt in my mind that bags of Kwik Krete weren’t available to the bedraggled Continentals.  I’m sure all they had on hand was river mud to plug any holes in an attempt to staunch the biting wintry winds.
    Even though I spotted a pretty sizeable herd of deer loping through the field, I bet what few were left after foraging parties scoured the woods gave the encampment a wide berth.  Since there were no Papa Johns or Dominos in 1777, the Americans were forced to find what food they could from the surrounding forest or from locals who many times weren’t that keen to get involved.
    Congress, holed up in York, either couldn’t or wouldn’t help the men who did the hard slogging against the greatest military power on the planet.
    Funny, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
    As I edged closer to the exit, I understood that any bellyaches I had about being stuck in traffic were meaningless compared to what these men had to face.
    I realized our complaints about life in general are pitiful when stacked up against how these patriots suffered.  Without their sacrifices, I wonder how many two-car garages, 401Ks, and trips to Disney World there would be.
    They bequeathed to us a nation where we have the freedom to yammer at each other about how wrong the other one is about this, that, or whether it should be against the law to own a chimpanzee.
    And complain about how bad traffic is.         

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fat, Dumb, and Happy

Sorry for the picture quality.  I took it with my cell phone from my car.


Seen outside Bolton's Turkey Farm in Silverdale as dozens of cars tried to squeeze into the parking lot (NOTE:  If you've never been to Bolton's, there's a very good reason why hordes of people were descending on it.  Boltons is that good):
Swans-Punks of the Bird World
Secure in the knowledge that tomorrow is Turkey Day, these swans couldn't be safer if they were a group of hamburgers. 


Actually, come to think of it, does anyone crave a good ole piece of swan during the holidays?  Or ever?


Now, as far as those obnoxious poop machines, the Canadian Geese, there is such a thing as a Christmas Goose.  


They better not turn their backs on me.






Saturday, November 19, 2011

Local Dry Cleaner

If you live near Dublin, Hilltown, Perkasie, or Bedminster (there, I hope I kept this pretty vague.  Or not), I'm sure you've seen this before at a dry cleaners.  If you have, take another look at it and see if you see what I see.



I hadn't known the Swedish were that especially dirty.  If not, I'll bet the Danes, Finns, and Norwegians are pretty hacked off over this bit of Scandinavian preferential treatment.

Seriously, imagine being the owner of this store.  You order a sign made for your establishment, you receive this sign, you affix it to the outside of your store, you stand back, beaming with pride.

Then, some wiseacre notices it and blogs about it.  You go outside your store, look at the sign and scream, "Ohhhhhhhhhh, GD it!!!"

Somebody shoulda used a dictionary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Find It a Tad Ironic

and not a little bit funny.....


That a Home-Improvement Superstore can't scrape up enough light bulbs to keep its sign lit.

Just an Observation...the Montgomeryville Home Depot

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Funny Is Where You Find It

  And always have clothes on when dispensing gasoline.




  Makes sense to me.  Plus, it probably wouldn't hurt to have a neck.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Widener University



    If Widener University wants its graduates to be pompous, obnoxious know-it-alls, this commercial is spot-on.
  
  If not, then they may want to think about firing their public relations guy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wish I Could Write Headlines

  Seen on the front page of this morning's Intelligencer.

 
  Take an 'n' away from 'Bonner' and you have one frikkin' funny headline.


  Just An Observation:  There is NO WAY you can convince me that the guy (it would have to be a dude) who put this together didn't know what he was doing.


  Oh, how I wish I had that job.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Bumper Sticker

  Just an observation....


  I spotted this vehicle yesterday parked at the Wawa at the intersection of routes 313 and 113 in Hilltown (the specific location is not germane-or any of the other surviving Jackson brothers-to this story.  I just wanted to give it some local flavor.  And I love Wawa pretzels.):




  Since we live in a "rural" area, kinda (there are llamas down the street, after all), our local post office quite often needs to use the services of part-time folks to deliver the mail.  When they're not raising the price of stamps, that is.


  These people slap a sign such as the above on their cars and go off on their merry way, misplacing the mail.  Sometimes, they plop a flashy yellow light on the roofs of their vehicles to alert other motorists that they make frequent stops.  And are sitting in the right-side passenger seat while leaning over to grab the steering wheel on the left.


  If they stay with the Postal Service long enough, they may even be able to eventually wear those cool short pants to work.  Or a pith helmet.


  In any case, they mostly do a great job and I'm grateful for their service.  Those Chase credit card applications, Oriental Trading Company fliers, and Rubber Dog Crap brochures won't deliver themselves, ya know.


  But, after looking at the car above, I took a look at what she had plastered to her rear passenger door:
   
  Okay, I'm all for freedom of expression.  But, I've never understood the penchant some folks have for displaying this cause or that on their vehicles.  And they don't have to be political either.  We've all seen an abundance of "My son is an honor student at...", "Save the Whales," "I [Heart] My Poodle," or the Calvin cartoon character peeing on a Chevy/Ford signs.


  Hey, if you want to "F" up your car's paintjob by plastering crap all over it, knock yourself out, be my guest.  After all, it's your vehicle.


  But, if you're going to be driving a vehicle with a "U.S. Mail" sign on one side and an "Obama '08" on the other, I think you've given up your right to express a partisan opinion.  As a representative of the United States government, you ostensibly are a representative of the entire United States, not of just the Democratic Party.  


  It makes me think you could be inclined to "lose" my membership renewal notification for the National Rifle Association.


  Either scrape Barack from your bumper or stop driving a car which says you're working for the U.S. Mail.


  You may not get that pith helmet, though.


FULL DISCLOSURE:  I'd feel the exact same way if she had affixed a "McCain/Palin" sticker to her car.  I just don't think it would be an issue.  Because, crayon would wash off in the rain.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gotta Admit, I'm a Little Nervous

Go ahead and laugh it up, funny man.
She was someone's baby once.
    Even though I get depressed about no comments on my blog, I take solace in reviewing just how many people have at least looked at "Just An Observation."  The fact that they probably thought it was a porn site-and that "Observation" meant more than what it really means-is beside the point.


    Since this is primarily a local opinion piece, I pretty much figured that most of the people who took a peek here were from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Or confused people from Nebraska.


  But, lo and behold (a phrase normally used in the Bible.  Along with "Thou Shalt Not Remove Under Penalty of Law." All right.  I made that one up.  But, it should be there.), most of the folks who've visited aren't even from the United States, let alone Southeastern Pennsylvania.


  No, coming in at #1 is-I'm still amazed-Russia!  Yeah, the former Evil Empire, the current trailer park of Europe.  You liked them as the Soviet Union, you love them as the country so frikkin' huge it needs two continents, multiple time zones, and 1,000 ways to boil beets.


  Why do you suppose this is?  Is it because my blog is also part of the Montgomery News organization (the part which doesn't pay)?  Maybe.  But, that just can't be.  I don't think Vladmir Putin looks to the Perkasie News-Herald for his news when the New York Times-or People magazine-are available.


Please don't let it be this guy.
And not just because he's dead.
  Maybe it's because my humor transcends international borders?  Maybe I'm just so frikkin' hilarious in any language that I keep world peace intact (except for that pain in the behind Middle East).
  
  Nah.  I've looked at the crap I write.  Al Gore gets more laughs at a "Limericks Reading and Pull-My-Finger" recital.
  
    So, why DO you Russians visit me?  Are you looking for some sort of intelligence which would give you a leg up as to how to infiltrate what Iran calls the "Great Satan" (I just know they say it with love, though)?  If that's your motivation, you're too late.  If you've ever seen any electronics department in Walmart, you'll know another country has beat you to it.  And, I don't mean Finland. 
Is lady? No, is man.
Have penis?  Nyet.
 

  Trust me, if you're looking for some sort of insight into what makes Americans tick, you've come to the wrong place.  You'd be better off checking out Dancing With the Stars.


  On second thought, never mind.  Chaz Bono would just confuse the hell out of you.


  I don't know.  Maybe you do find me hilarious.  


  After all, any country which would stand in line for twelve hours just to get toilet paper has to have a great sense of humor.
Please to tell, where to find moose and squirrel?
  But, would it kill you to toss in a comment or two?  I'm working here.
  
  And not getting paid.

Monday, October 10, 2011

No, I Didn't Have It Off, Either


Thank God I had this goofy hat.
I wish we had Hair Cuttery, though.  I have a coupon.
    I love October.  The air is redolent with the sweet aroma of burning leaves, high school gridirons thunder with the sound of fiercely-waged contests to push that pigskin across the goal line, Christmas lights-incredibly-start going up, and early-morning frosts warn of the coming winter.
    October also lets us celebrate the exploits of an intrepid band of explorers who set sail from Barcelona in search of a western route to the fabulous wealth of the East (yeah, going west to get east doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, either).
I said 'Everybody sit down! I'm getting sick!'
    In other words, the tenth month gives us a chance to bemoan the rape and pillage of a pristine wilderness by evil European males who wouldn’t know a bar of soap if it smacked them in the heads.
    So, in recognition of their accomplishments, mailmen get the day off and Bed, Bath, and Beyond trots out its very best Columbus Day displays of sheets and pillowcases (“Just imagine how comfy the Santa Maria would have been if Chris and the boys only had these sheets!!”).
    As a holiday, though, Columbus Day really doesn’t rank up there with the Big Four of Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and Canadian Thanksgiving.  It doesn’t draw in the romantics like Valentines Day, the psychopaths like the Wing Bowl, or even the corned beef and Guinness crowd like St. Patrick’s Day.
    More times than not, we hardly know it’s happened until Channel 10's 6 o'clock news greets us with, “Happy Columbus Day!  Too bad you hadda go to work!  The Schuykill's bumper to bumper, though. That's strange.”
    My family has for many years celebrated each holiday, no matter how innocuous.  For example, on Presidents’ Day, we used to dress up as our favorite Commanders in Chief until my brother spoiled it for everyone a few years ago when, dressed as Bill Clinton, he got arrested for having his pants down in front of a convent.
    For some reason, though, we never did much to celebrate the day in 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella’s favorite Genoan set foot in the New World and proclaimed, “What the frik you mean this isn’t China!?"
    In order to make it easier for everyone to properly observe one of the most significant accomplishments in world history (right behind statues of the Amish made of Scrapple), might I offer the following ways to celebrate Columbus Day:
Apparently, Northern Indians were tougher
than the ones down south
10.  Slash the tires of those obnoxious, know-it-all “Vikings were here first!” punks at the Leif Eiriksson Community Center.
9.   Try to convince anyone that parrots, monkeys, and coconuts are just as valuable as jewels, gold, and silk.
8.   Go to the one of those tribal casinos in Connecticut, extend a heartfelt apology, drop a bundle at the craps table.
7.   Put on a wrinkled raincoat, chew on a cigar, try to figure out who put the poison in Miss Van Dyver’s highball...oh, I’m sorry, that’s how to celebrate COLUMBO Day.
6.   Grab some library books, cross out all references to ‘America’ and replace them with ‘Chrisville.’  Draw moustaches on pictures of Amerigo Vespucci.
5.   Bring Christianity to your neighbors at the point of a gun before selling them into slavery, claim Fairmont Park for your family, pass out blankets riddled with smallpox to the homeless, and shake down passers-by, insisting they tell you where their gold is.
4.   Go to a Chinese restaurant dressed as Columbus, walk in, and shout, “So, HERE’s where you people were all hiding!”
3.   Forward a petition to the city council demanding equal time with Labor Day.
2.   With your friends, build a scaled-down replica of Columbus’s fleet, drift aimlessly on the Delaware River, claim New Hope for Spain.
1.   Once more dressed as Columbus, visit a deforested national park (or strip mine), issue “Ooops, my bad!” statement to the press.
    There now, I hope this list inspires you to do something other than complain when you can’t use the drive-up window at Wells Fargo. 
    But, if it’ll make you feel better, go get yourself a cannoli.
    Chris would’ve wanted it that way.

Inside the Pennridge School District October 10th

Parents Invited to
Visit Schools This Week
 
Administrators, teachers and staff members in the Pennridge School District invite parents to personally see the exciting learning that is happening in our classrooms during Parent Visitation Week, October 11-13.
 
“We are proud of the programs and activities provided by our schools and hope that our parents feel that same sense of pride,” said Dr. Robert Kish, superintendent of Pennridge School District.  “This is an opportunity for them to experience that which their children enjoy each day.”
 
Here are the individual school schedules for Parent Visitation Week:
  • Elementary Schools: parents are welcomed to attend on Tuesday or Thursday in the morning, or Wednesday in the afternoon. Check with individual school for exact times.
     
  • Middle Schools: will be open to parents Tuesday through Thursday during the student day. Each principal is also hosting a Coffee Klatch with parents; check with individual schools for exact times.
     
  • Pennridge High School: will be open to parents on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • (Bold and italics mine)

  Even though the high school's instructional day ends at 2:15 pm, I admire their community awareness.
  Maybe one of the custodians can toss in a tour of the building for late-arriving parents.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Target-It's More Than Stuff Made in China

 

    Well, not a lot more.  But, more.

    I love going to the Target in Richland Township (or is that Quakertown?  Who knows?  But, who am I to judge?  I live in Hilltown.  With a Perkasie mailing address.  Talk about screwing up your average GPS).
    Like Walmart, it offers a vast array of quality products at bargain prices.  Unlike Walmart, it’s remarkably mullet-free and you don’t have near the same chance of blundering into a stray fart cloud.
    Whether it’s the latest in books, video equipment, sporting goods, Gorilla Glue, or household appliance, Target is my family’s number one destination.  Plus, a week before Columbus Day, they already have Christmas decorations up.  Now, that’s efficiency!
    As I discovered this week, after wandering past the frozen foods section (yes, Target also sells food which doesn’t come in “Fun-Sizes”), I noticed they also offer a huge selection of bathroom tissue (a euphemism if there ever was one).
Please excuse the poor quality.
 I had to use my cell phone camera.
Can you imagine if I used my regular camera?  People would think I was a freak.  Or a congressman.
    One of our most basic needs, toilet paper has been around for centuries.  Or at least since I was born.  Frankly, I couldn’t care less what other people used before 1958.  Or 1960, if we’re being honest.
    Still, imagine what life was like before its invention:
    “Zook, me need drop big load. Bring head over here. And bring something read. Like painting on rock.”  
    NOTE:  For Entertainment Use only.  Cavemen clearly did not speak English.
    And even when the tribal butt wipers quit their jobs to work on the pyramids, all we had to use was the available leaf, corn cob, or serf.  Not a lot of fun.  It was only when the last page of the last Sears catalog was used did it become crucial to take the same material we used to blow our nose a little further south. 
    I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not opposable thumbs and televisions above urinals which sets us apart from the beasts of nature.
    It’s potty paper.
    As I further pondered Target’s enormous display of bathroom tissue, I noticed a dizzying variety from which to choose.  Specifically, Charmin’ offers “Ultra-Soft” and “Ultra-Strong.”

    NOTE:  I am not being financially remunerated by the paper giant for this ad placement.  It’s a freebie.  But, if they want to throw a few bucks my way....
    You tell me, which would you prefer?  "Ultra-Soft" so you don't scrape hard enough to expose colon?  Or "Ultra-Strong" so you don't run the risk of giving yourself a prostate exam?  I don't know about you, but I'm thinking Charmin' could easily combine the two.  As long as it's perfumed.
     Which is something that corn cobs and those fancy-pants serfs with their Bubonic Plague never were.

Epilogue:  In case you were wondering, our toilet paper is American made.  Apparently, there’s still some national pride left.

USA!  USA!  USA!   

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Going Out of Business


Never heard of them.


Ohhhhhhhhh, maybe that was their problem all along.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One September Morning


    It was just before one o’clock in the afternoon on September 11th (a sad commentary: we don’t even need to identify the year anymore) when my maintenance supervisor stuck his head into my room to wake me.
    “Sir, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center.”
    Minutes later, I watched, horrified, as a second plane struck the South tower.  And then, as both of the monstrously huge structures tumbled to the ground as if kicked by a petulant child.
    My Willow Grove unit and I were participating in a multi-nation exercise at the Naval Air Station in Keflavik, Iceland (this explains why it was the afternoon).  A round-the-clock operation, the Keflavik Tactical Exchange gave us a unique chance to evaluate each other’s capabilities should we ever needed to flex our respective militaries.  Little did we know that we were preparing for a type of war which belonged to the past.
    Because the 21st Century came roaring into each of our lives on that late summer day.
    Naturally, the exercise was immediately cancelled.  Foreign aircrews (funny that I call them “foreign’” since we were actually foreigners, too) beat hasty returns to their home bases.  We were told that American airspace was closed for an indefinite time.
    Station security forces went into their highest readiness posture.  Watch teams at the main gate beefed up, rings of barbed wire cordoned off perceived sensitive areas, and armed patrols roamed the perimeter.
    My watch teams and I, on the other hand, remained at our billeting.  Only in Iceland for the exercise, we were considered non-essential personnel who’d only get in the way.
    And so we spent the next few days.
    I received a worried phone call from my wife during this time.  She fretted over my safety.  I assured her that I was fine, but omitted the fact that I was more concerned for her and the kids.
    You see, my family lives in Hilltown.  Which is only a couple hours from New York and only a few from Washington.
    The ensuing few days was a frantic search for whatever updates we could glean from the news and how in the world we’d get ourselves and thousands of pounds of equipment back home.
    Most importantly, we desperately wanted to know how we could get into the fight.  Whatever the fight was.
    Four days later, U.S. airspace was opened to military traffic.  As I glanced through the window of the Navy P-3 patrol plane which took us home, I was struck at how empty the sky was-with the exception of the one plane which approached us as we crossed into the United States.  It came no closer than a few miles before it disappeared.
    I think it was a fighter aircraft.
    What’s more, the radio circuits, normally full of the cacophony of countless air traffic controllers, were eerily silent.  The only ones “on the air” were the handful which guided us home.  All else were hushed into silence.
    Our route of flight took us just south of Manhattan, well out of sight of land.  At that distance, even at the altitude at which we were flying, it was impossible to see any of the city skyline.
    But, we did see a huge pall of gray-brown smoke lingering in the air like the death shroud that it was.
    As we touched down at NAS-JRB Willow Grove, there was nobody to greet us.  There was really not much of anything by way of an acknowledgment that we were back.  Somehow, it seemed fitting.
    After all, we all had something much more important to do.
    Go home to our families.

In memory of:
Commander Bill Donovan, USN
AW2 (NAC/AW) Joseph Pycior, USN
and the thousands whose only crime was going to work that day. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame


    The Delaware Valley freaked out this week after an earthquake sent a few tremors its way.  Despite all the hysteria, it packed about as much destructive force as a fart in a gym sock.
    In other words, don’t expect any sympathy cards from Southern California or anyone in Japan.
    Hurricane Irene came barreling through this weekend, toppling trees, swelling rivers, and adding even more rain to an already record amount for August.  It was a much more significant natural event than the ground-shaking “cataclysm” earlier this week.
    So, even though I heard more than a couple hand-wringers speak ominously of the coming apocalypse, I refused to get caught up in the hype.  Instead of fretting about the quake or heading for the hills before Irene hit, I did what, to me, seemed logical:
    I went to a ballgame.
    Sensing that all was right with the world if I could watch some baseball, I took my daughter along with one of her friends to a Trenton Thunder game on Friday night.
    I’ve been a baseball fan since the Nixon Administration and took in quite a few games growing up.  Most of the time I went to either Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium (whenever I couldn’t watch a good team). 
    Munching hot dogs and drinking soda under a crystal blue sky while watching eighteen guys chase a little white ball around an emerald field was heaven (in my adolescence I discovered girls, which opened up my definition of heaven somewhat).
    Once I moved here, I made a point to go to Veterans Stadium (later, Citizens Bank Park) to watch the Phillies get mauled and then eventually do the mauling.  It was every bit as exciting as going to watch the Yankees (with the added benefit of not being shot at two blocks from the stadium).
    As time went on, I began to realize that feeding my baseball “jones” was an expensive proposition. 
    Between decent seats, concessions, parking, and assorted fan paraphernalia for me and my kids, I could easily drop $500.  Add to that the frustration of getting there and dealing with the omnipresent drunks (to say nothing of relentless chants of “Yankees suck!”-even when the Phillies were playing the Braves), and I began to feel that my days of going to the “bigs” were nearing their close.
    Refusing to succumb to weekends spent doing chores, I decided to give our abundant minor league teams a shot.  Scoffing that I would be watching something like Little League, I wasn’t expecting much.
    From my first game watching the Reading Phillies, though, I was hooked.  Instead of considering myself lucky that I grabbed high-priced, nosebleed tickets which placed my head in peril from a jet’s landing gear, I paid a whopping $18.00 for two seats.
    Two rows behind homeplate!
    Add to that the price of lunch, and I still paid less than one ticket at Yankee Stadium (which, by the way, now sells a bottle of water-water!-for $5.00).
    Oh, yeah, did I mention parking?  Parking was free.
    In the years since, I’ve also gone to an Iron Pigs game in Allentown and, like I’ve already said, a Trenton Thunder game.  Each experience has been as pleasant as my first time in Reading. Imagine that.  Watching ballplayers who are playing to impress, not for million dollar sneaker deals.
    I can only assume the teams in Camden and Wilmington are just as worthwhile.
    I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the likes of Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, and Camden Yards.  Still, I don’t want to subsidize Alex Rodriguez’s and Cliff Lee’s salaries anymore.
    So, the next time you have a few dollars to spend and want to enjoy a great time for a reasonable price, by all means take in a minor league game.
    Oh, the game?  The Trenton Thunder lost, 4-2, when they couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead in the 9th inning.
    My daughter and I won, though. 
    And even got a couple of bobbleheads.            

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sign On the Ladies Room Door

Boy, when 'Borders' says "Everything Must Go"....


They're not kidding around.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Welcome Back to School

  Soon, school bells will be ringing (do they even have those anymore?) and summer-weary parents will once again not have to endure whines of "I'm bored!!" from kids who don't want to walk 15 feet away from their X-Box 360 to jump in the pool.
  As I've driven past some of the District's schools, I've noticed a growing sense of manic preparation in eager anticipation of newly-arriving students next week.
  I've also noticed the following sign and have to wonder:


  Is there any other kind?


Enjoy that readin', writin', and 'rithmatic.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dare To Compare??


  I'm thinking The Home Depot is overstating the perils of comparison shopping for wood flooring just a tad.
  
  If, on the other hand, this is your version of "daring," you lead a pretty sweet life.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Urkel Goes For a Bike Ride


While Putin goes hunting.....




"Comrade, please to tell us how we lost Cold War."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why?



    I’m a conservative.  Have been for quite some time.
    I debated the merits of Richard Nixon versus George McGovern at 14 years old.  As it happens, that didn’t turn out so well (both the Nixon Administration and my adolescence).
    When first able to vote, I did so in favor of Gerald Ford.  And promptly fell down the stairs of the polling place (thank you, Chevy Chase, for giving me, and countless others, a punch line).
    In every election since, I pulled the lever in favor of the Republican candidate.  Even after George W. Bush’s shenanigans drove me away from the GOP, I still held views more closely aligned with the Right Wing than anything the party of the donkey had to offer.
    I even held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils in the 2008 presidential election.  I felt-still do-that Barack Obama was the greater of two evils.  Since that time, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that weasels from both political persuasions infest the halls of Congress.
    So, it probably comes as no surprise that I supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks (during which I lost two very good friends), I knew that Al-Qaeda must surely be destroyed.  Also, I refused to believe Bush lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.  Like Clinton, he held to the opinion that Saddam Hussein presented a “clear and present danger” (to quote Tom Clancy) to the United States.
    Fast forward nearly ten years.  Hussein is dead and Al-Qaeda has been largely driven from Afghanistan.
    Yet, thousands of American men and women are in harm’s way in those cesspools.
    This past weekend, my family and I went to Virginia Beach (for those who didn’t pass Middle School Geography, it’s in Virginia) to see family, go to the beach, and escape the monsoons which struck the Lehigh Valley.
    Like many other like-minded tourists, we sought a brief respite from our day-to-day lives.  Time grows short because, before you know it, school will start again and 2011 will slide inexorably toward the Twelve Days of Christmas.
    Somewhere between dolphin watching and shopping for frogs-smoking-cigars figurines, I noticed a whole lot of American flags flying half-mast.  When I wondered why, I was told that they were in memory of the 30 Americans who were killed after their Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taliban.
    That 22 of them were from SEAL Team Six, based in Virginia Beach, made it even more poignant.
    It was made clear to me that the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia has shouldered more than their fair share of a conflict which now includes playing “whack-a-mole” with the lunatics in Libya.
    To them, the wars are deadly real and not just something to glance over in the local paper before dinner.  Before wondering whether Bert and Ernie are gay or if Two and a Half Men can survive without Charlie Sheen.
    My companion offered her opinion that the United States should reinstitute the draft.  When she caught the “are you crazy?” look on my face, she explained.  If the sons and daughters of families who didn’t live in high military concentration areas were fighting and dying in two wars, you “could bet your bottom dollar” (it was a little harsher than that), we’d be out of those quagmires lickety-split (well, it was a little harsher than that, too).
    I had to admit.  She had a point.
    According to the New York Times (a publication whose editorial stance on most issues makes my skin crawl), as of August 9th, 4,200 Americans have been killed in Iraq and 1,685 in Afghanistan.
    Like I said, I’m a conservative, but my sympathy for the women and children of the Middle East stops when it comes to the women and children of the United States.  So, I have to ask:
    Why are we still there?