Monthly Archives: July 2012

Update 7/27/12

Greetings, readers. A number of good things have happened to me in the last few days. First, my head cold is now officially gone. Yay. Number two, thanks to Facebook, I have re-connected with two family members. And finally, number three, I have contacted a friend of mine who played a role in a staged reading of my play, Kimberly, a while back and asked her if she would like to reprise her role. Reply is still pending.

With the prospect of my play having a second staged reading, or more, my thoughts now turn to where I will get the other three participants. One man who shall play the father character lives in my building. The husband, Lyle, and his mother, Alice, are still up for grabs. For a split second on this blog post I was actually considering saying something like, “Hey readers. Anyone interested?” However, knowing my luck, I would have 500 responses.

As I will be on the road to Maine in less than a week, as always happens with me, there is too much to do and my time is dwindling. I’m sure by Thursday morning I will be ready. This morning Rebecca and I had a pre-work meeting at our local bakery and of course my alarm did not go off. Upon awakening, I said a few choice words, got ready and dashed over.

On to local news in my world. State College, Pennsylvania is getting ready for a relatively quiet weekend. The biggest thing I can see is that there is some kind of young people’s volleyball camp in town. More times than not Penn State will book events for the weekends during the summer months. As Rebecca pointed out to me today, why not? They have the room and the staff to get the job done.

Next week Wednesday there will not be a blog post, my friends, for I will be busy packing. But Rebecca will put at least one or two new ones up while I’m gone. My return date is August 12th and our first day back to work is August 15th. Until very soon, take care, happy reading, and I’ll take lots of pictures to put up in the gallery section : )

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Was the Freeh report really free?

Greetings, readers. I have been thinking long and hard about whether or not I am going to amend in any way my blog entry titled “Tribute to Joseph Vincent Paterno.” Since this blog entry was posted, much has transpired, such as the guilty verdict of his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, and the Freeh report which implicated Coach Paterno himself.

To my family and me, Joe Paterno, I must admit, was three notches below a deity. Yes, I always knew deep down that he was a man, and fallible as all men are, but I still found it difficult to accept that Coach Paterno might have known about all this and did as little as he did.

The NCAA sanctions, I believe, are a wee bit strong, however justified. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, let me explain. All of the players on all those teams since 1998 whose victories got erased must know deep in their hearts that they were indeed victorious. What is being punished is the institution of Penn State, as well as Coach Paterno and Jerry Sandusky. With that said, here is my personal opinion on the four major points of the NCAA ruling.

Loss of scholarships: Absolutely. To me that is standard for any school who commits major offenses in any capacity, and it will allow PSU the opportunity to put academics and athletics on even ground.

The $60 million fine: I agree with it completely. Yes it is a lot of money, but I am glad it is going to programs for abused children. Most appropriate.

No bowl appearances for four years: I agree in principle but have no clue where they got the number of years they chose.

And finally, the loss of 112 victories: This number, I’ve learned, was determined by the first time that Mr. Sandusky was caught in any wrong doings. Lord only knows if there were more before that. When I first heard this I was outraged, but the more I’ve read and studied, the more I agree with it. As I’ve said before, those kids from the past know they won those games.

Was the Freeh report really free? No. It has come with a humongous price tag. Not only to the creditability and the reputation of this university, but also to the possible and probably crunch on the local economy. Instead of doing their own investigation, the NCAA based their sanctions on this report. And it will cost money to implement the recommendations that Freeh laid out. I have not heard whether or not people have sold back their season tickets or not. As I understand it, the big 10 football network has not dropped their TV coverage. It will take years to know the full extent of the damage. Both Rebecca and I are proud of the new administration of the University for accepting the consequences with such grace.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

Finally, cool air!

Greetings, readers. The second heat wave of the season has abated. Thank goodness. This comes from a warm weather lover. According to my computer, however, in a couple of days we should be hitting the upper 80s once again. I suppose that’s ok, but please just don’t give us mid-90s with high humidity. My poor apartment’s air conditioning unit can’t handle it.

Today has the feel of a mid-September day. Cool breeze, overcast and misty, and it reminds me of what my mother used to call a good land day, when we would be at the lake in Maine. Good day for shopping, she would say.

Speaking of Maine, I will be gone the first half of August. Within the week, writing assistant, Rebecca, and I will be making a decision on whether or not to either re-post past entries, or to have her post a few new ones with her choice of topic. Rebecca is up on current events and no doubt will come up with interesting things to say.

To finish off today’s shorter blog post, I am keeping my ear open for any news on the Penn State scandal/Freeh report/NCAA penalty decision. I, being a Penn State football fan all my life, am extremely interested in what the final decision will be. I have a sneaking suspicion that the NCAA will come down on us rather hard; as they should. This university and this town will be reeling from these events for years to come. Until Wednesday, take care and happy reading.

Technology … Grrr 3

Greetings, readers. OMG! It took Rebecca and I about an hour to download one photo from my cell phone to my computer so that it could be sent via email to my dear Godmother. This technological task probably would have taken a ten year-old two minutes. After several trials and errors, we were able to successfully complete the task.

For my dear Godmother’s birthday

This prompted today’s blog entry. Today, technology did not win but it came damn close. I was literally five seconds away from throwing phone and computer against the office wall. Do I need anger management??? Perhaps just a deep breath.

After the photo was sent and the cord was unplugged from the computer, my phone began talking to me as it does so often when I hit a button by accident. This slim-line Verizon has buttons on three sides which makes it difficult for someone with bad dexterity to avoid hitting a button at the wrong time. My contract, I do believe, will be over either this August or next for this particular phone. When it is time for an upgrade, I will definitely get a more Joe-friendly model.

On a lighter note, but also dealing with today’s topic, last week I went to take a cute picture of Keekee the kitty cat, but hit the button too early and took a picture of my shoe. Ok, ok, that actually gave me a chuckle. Now that I have vented a few paragraphs, I feel better.

As a p.s., not relating to this topic, I do hope that more readers will chime in from time to time with comments and questions about past blog posts. Rebecca and I will do our best to reply. Until next time, take care and happy reading.

Are we about to lose the happy in Happy Valley?

Greetings, readers. Although I do not follow the news as in-depth as some people do, I have been keeping up with the goings on as far as the Penn State scandal. Although I will not say much about who I think should be punished other than Jerry Sandusky, one of the questions which has many people on edge here in State College is the possible cancellation of the football season due to the death penalty from NCAA; in other words the NCAA would tell Penn State that they forfeit all the games of a season.

Very briefly before I get too worked up and scream, here are a few points in my mind. Point #1. Yes this was a complete tragedy, however, the football players ready to hit the gridiron in about a month were in elementary school or junior high when the unfortunate events took place. These college athletes had nothing to do with it. Why punish them?

Point #2. State College, Pennsylvania lives for the Central Festival of the Arts every July and eight home football games a year. Besides what little Christmas shopping rush we have, folks, you’re looking at the majority of our economy. State College, in my opinion, would be economically crippled without one, definitely two, seasons of football.

To wrap up this short blog post today. Yes, justice must be done to those guilty. I just don’t think that we would be punishing the right people by putting Penn State football for 2012 or beyond on death row. Until very soon, take care and happy reading.

A year in my early life

Greetings, readers. I’m glad to see that WordPress is back up and running at full force. And I have a blog topic to share with you that I was thinking about last night. So here goes.

Usually my year begins in September. Now I know that sounds odd and is completely incorrect. However, let me explain. You see, as some of you might know, I have vacationed in the state of Maine since I was five years old – that was 1970. My two weeks at camp to me felt more like Christmas. It had that special feeling to it. Like when little children come downstairs and see that lit up Christmas tree.

Anyway. Come September the new school year would begin. New classmates, new friends, new teachers and books. And for the first couple of days everything would be wonderful. Then, of course, came the homework assignments and that first dreaded test. September still had that new feeling to it. But by the third week, friendships had been formed, cliques had been made and you were either accepted or you weren’t.

October. Leaves began changing colors. The temperature began to get a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. Looking back on it now, October was one of my favorite months. I love Halloween. The last time I went trick or treating, I was fairly old for such an event and no costume you could buy from a store fit me. So I took my dad’s old grey raincoat, an old hat, and a toy machine gun that clearly did not look real, and I went as Al Capone. I still remember scaring the poor old lady in the house up the street. She screamed, slammed the door, and turned off the porch light. When I told my mother what had happened, she made me go apologize the next morning, which of course I did.

November. The trees are now either bare, or the few leaves that are still on the trees are mostly brown. It is cold, dreary, and the whole landscape begins to appear dead. Though football season was still in full swing, the first two weeks of November for me were usually depressing, because I enjoy warm weather, green grass, and trees in full foliage. I could not wait for Thanksgiving. Every year, my parents and I would sit in front of the television and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Having Cerebral Palsy, I had a devilishly hard time controlling my emotions, and even into my early teens, when Santa Claus passed by the Macy’s store on 34th street, signifying the beginning of the Christmas season, I got emotional. Am I embarrassed to say that now? No, because now I know what it was; it was simply what I mentioned – a weakness caused by a brain injury. Thanksgiving would be topped off with two great football games and a scrumptious dinner with turkey and all the trimmings made at home. Nothing like the holiday meals. : )

December brings Christmas. Yes, snow and cold is now fully entrenched and there shall be many months of it to come. More times than not I would stay inside warm and snug. Can you all say, “Joe is not a cold weather person.”? To get ready for my favorite holiday of the year, my folks and I would always choose one day to drive to K-Mart and allow me to push my own cart while they walked behind me, pretending not to see what I was buying them. Most years I actually saved up enough allowance money to get everybody something half-decent. One year I remember buying Pop a lighted replica of the Old Main building. I don’t think he know that it lit up. When I showed him, he smiled and kept it lit in his office for weeks – I guess until the bulb burned out.

Christmas music is especially important to me. When I would go to Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad as a child, I would always delight in singing “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” When the Christmas service was almost over the very last hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.” One of my most cherished childhood memories was of the lights dimming in the church, everyone taking their candles and lighting them and singing that beautiful song. I was always afraid that I was going to drip wax on myself, scream, drop the candle, and set the church on fire. Luckily that never happened. When the song was over and the lights would come up again, it would be midnight and Christmas morning. *

December 31st going into New Year’s morning is truly my favorite time of year, folks. I remember sitting in the living room watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s show, sipping either Champagne or sparkling grape juice, while ringing in the new year with hugs, kisses, and my mother’s un-patented, traditional, Happy New Year’s shout on the front porch, followed by a whooping yell.

Then came the down time. After all the college bowl games were over in January came the long winter. Complete with cold, snow, and ice. Today it doesn’t seem to snow as much here in central Pennsylvania as it did in the 70s and 80s. Throughout the rest of the winter my friend David and I would either listen to records or play a short game of Nerf football outside. I certainly didn’t like being cold and I don’t think he did either. Now let’s jump to early Spring.

April. Hooray, hooray. It’s the beginning of baseball season. That truly is my favorite sport. With the boys of summer back, this time of year also brings the Crocuses, the fresh green buds on the trees, and the smell of spring. To me winter has no smell. It smells dead. Also the Easter holiday rolls around. All the men, women, and children would arrive at the church that we would go to in their Easter best. Little boys in suits and ties, looking miserable, and little girls in dresses, white stockings, black shoes, and ribbons in their hair. I must admit somehow I think the little girls liked to dress up for Easter.

May and June. The last couple months of school had finally arrived. Projects were beginning to wind down and everyone was excited about the summer to come. Kids started talking about where they would go on vacation. Some teachers eased up on homework just a bit and during my elementary years, we could all finally go back outside for recess. My favorite game was kickball. I was fairly good at it and only once did I hit someone with the ball so hard that it hurt him. I felt terrible. I remember he said something like, “Am I bleeding?” I answered, “No.” And he told me to forget it; no harm, no foul. The last day of school was always more or less of a joke. A formality. There was not going to be any homework, there would be no tests. In my early years of schooling, we actually had parties. In junior high and high school, we might watch a film or all hang out in the auditorium and reminisce about the year that was.

July brought my birthday. Some years, Mom would take me swimming to the local pool. If there was a carnival in town, we might attend that. But most years it was steaks on the grill, Hires root beer, and lots of happy memories with the neighborhood kids, playing Wiffle ball, lawn darts, and Nerf football.

And then, lo and behold, August would roll around once more. It would be my second New Year, as it would be time to go back to camp and recharge my batteries for another year. I would count down the days until we packed up the car and left for Maine.

Hopefully this longer than usual post has made up for a few days that I did not post anything. If any of you want to share your memories of childhood, religious celebrations, school, or anything else, please feel free to do so in the comments. As always, take care and happy reading.

*The paragraph on Christmas music came from the earlier blog post The importance of music in my life, from May 10, 2012. It said what I wanted to say for this piece so well that I copied and pasted it.

A short note for today

Greetings, readers. Rebecca, Keekee, and I say hello to you all. I have much to tell you but unfortunately WordPress is having a few issues, which makes it clunky for editing. I can write the post alright, but the preview button, which shows me what it would look like on the site to let me review and edit, is not working. The function that lets me see my stats – how many views and which entries have been viewed – is also out. This happened some weeks ago and took almost two weeks to be fixed. I have much good news to share with you and shall either tomorrow or Friday, regardless of WordPress’s status.

The reason we are not fighting through it today, is because quite frankly we got a little behind in our work schedule. So until very soon, enjoy the rest of my blog posts from weeks and months past and take care.

Phew…, hot-hot-hot!!

Greetings, readers. State College, PA. is in the midst of a heat wave, as is much of the country. 92 degrees today, 98 degrees tomorrow. After that I think we get a break. Thank goodness. Now, this is coming from a summer loving person, but yes, even I have my limits. I shall be very happy to see the 80s again.

Even Keekee is finding cool places to hang out, such as the linoleum floor in the kitchen, or in front of the fan in the living room. She’s been doing a lot of sleeping the last couple of days as have I.

About next week: I hope to put up a new blog entry on Wednesday and Friday. Probably another top ten list and the other one will be a surprise. With me, I usually just make them up as I go along. Posts like the top ten lists or anything religious or political of course requires more thought.

The last 48 hours were extremely good for book sales here in State College. I could not be more pleased. We were off to a slow start. Yesterday my bank account said thank you. : )  Speaking of my books, Rebecca and I began the first book of the summer-fall project yesterday. As it turns out, I am required to do a slight re-think on the audience age group that I am aiming for. We got off to a wonderful start and before I knew it, I had almost finished telling my story. It was a rough, bare bones, first draft. On the computer screen it was approximately three pages. Now granted, when this is published in a children’s book with illustrations and a larger type font, I am sure that we will have quite a few more pages.

I shall keep you up to date on all goings-on on Wednesday, sooner if any earth-shattering news takes place. Have a great weekend, try to stay cool, and as always, happy reading.