Monthly Archives: October 2013

Just a quick note today

Greetings, readers. Happy Halloween to you all. Writing assistant Rebecca suggested today that we take thirty minutes of our workday, and watch the special features section off a Netflix disc for the show Girls. The disc contained an episode rehearsal read-through, which was quite fascinating to watch. It reminded me very much of when my play Kimberly was read at the Cresson Lake Playhouse Theater a number of years back.

I had not seen this show before but if it ever becomes available on Netflix streaming, I shall definitely give it a go. Good suggestion, Rebecca!

Until tomorrow, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

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Such a pretty day…. & more

Greetings, readers. Happy Wednesday to you all. I find myself in a very good mood today because, as I look out my window, I am not seeing any clouds in the sky. Recently it seems to me as though central Pennsylvania has been experiencing more than its share of sunny days. I read once in an online article that the State College/Bellefonte area has the third most cloudy days per year, behind Seattle Washington and Portland Oregon. I say I’ll gladly accept every sunny day I can get.

Being subject to depression, I enjoy walking to the bus stop or to where ever I am going downtown in sunny weather. Also a natural source of vitamin D is said to come from the sun, and with my horrendous diet I need all the help I can get. Now I’ve not studied the factors contributing to the wonderful weather; nor am I going to. I am simply going to enjoy it.

On my computer’s calendar I see that it is October 30th and I should not expect any real warmth from the sun anymore until next April. However, I can look out my window and just imagine how warm it would be if this was a late June or early July day.

On to a couple of other topics, Rebecca and my workday has been thrown into reverse because the Wednesday meeting with my account is not at its usual time of 12:30. Rebecca and I have a pretty standard Wednesday routine of having the meeting and then coming up to work around 1PM. We must now get all work finished by our meeting time of 2:30. No problems.

Lastly, I am training … or should I say retraining, Keekee into accepting a new dinner time. Months ago I made a quite horrible mistake in training her to have her meal time right smack dab in the middle of our work hours. Little did I know that she could tell time and would start meowing like a hyena until fed. All that training did was to get daddy securely wrapped around Keekee’s little paw. LOL. Now it is time to edit this piece, publish, and then get onto other writing exercises for the day.

Until very soon, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things we take for granted

Greetings, readers. Unlike the list of modern conveniences, this top ten list will be on a more personal note. Although, I’m sure it will apply to many of my readers. So here we go.

#10. Our home. [Whether it be from childhood or at the present moment, be thankful if you have a roof over your head. Home is where the heart is.]

#9. A working vehicle. [I, like many in State College, rely on our bus system. Although it is a good one, I do miss the convenience of my old car.]

#8. Family pets. [Over the years I have lost dogs and a cat and I know I shall be devastated when it is Keekee’s turn to go.]

#7. Good health. [As we tend to get older, health problems usually arise; that is normal for life. Be thankful for your health while you have it.]

#6. A good mind. [I am witnessing first-hand, probably due to lack of stimulation, what I call the oatmeal brain syndrome. Like the old TV commercial said, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t forget to use yours.]

#5. Mother Earth. [There’s one we take for granted. One of these days, hopefully not in our lifetime, I think this poor planet is just going to explode.]

#4. For me, Bear Spring Camps. [A lifetime of happy memories, certainly not to be forgotten.]

#3. Numerous trips around the country, some voyages to other parts of the world. [Yes, I was a lucky lad.]

#2. Friends. [I have had more than my share of good friends over my lifetime. I was reminded of that so sweetly this past Wednesday when a dear friend of mine left a wonderful comment on my entry called Parallels.]

#1. Family. [Love them while you have them, you only have them for so long.]

Ok, there you have them; chime in with yours if you wish to. As always, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Parallels

Greetings, readers. Have you ever felt like your favorite TV character? The last two evenings I sure have. And what transpired in those two evenings of viewing made me quite depressed.

I was watching the original Upstairs, Downstairs and parts of my life through the eyes of James Bellamy.

I concentrated on this character, since he reminded me of myself. He is the son of a rich family who wanted for nothing and was taught to do what was expected of him. He gallantly serves his country in World War One to preserve the British Empire. Not that he agrees with it all, but it is his duty and he must do his duty. I thought to myself, that is me. James is a character who apparently went to the best schools and in the eyes of his parents was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a successful political figure. I think my parents wanted me to finish college and perhaps go into teaching like my father did.

But for me the biggest eye-opening moment was when James, who had really botched his life more or less, struck it rich in America but lost it all in the stock market crash of ’29, along with the money of one of the servants. It happened in the next to last episode of the series, “All the KIng’s Horses”. There was a marvelous final scene between James and his father Richard, as his father tries to make a final appeal to get his son to shape up. In the next scene, you see James in his bedroom, packing, destroying letters as well as writing a mysterious note to someone. He tells Hudson, the butler, that he is going to the countryside for a while and says goodbye without batting an eyelash. By nightfall the constables are at the door with the grim news of the suicide of their son. He couldn’t take the failure anymore. If any one single episode sums up my life it is that episode.

Now, I’m not saying my life has been a total flop, mind you. I have had more than my share of fun and good fortune. Yet it seems as though, since my parents have died, I have been muddling through life, just barely making my way. I have been complimented by people on how well they think I’m doing. I smile and say thank you, but the constant reminder of who I was then and who I am now will nag at me until my dying day.

As I have told people, my friends here at Addison Court apartments, I do suffer from depression and have thought about suicide, though not seriously, on more than one occasion. There is still something in me, however, that refuses to give up. I feel that it is time, perhaps, at the beginning of the year, to seek counseling. Perhaps a professional can help me make sense of things that have happened in the last fifteen or so years.

On a lighter side of this topic, thinking back over my youth, the parallel theme seems to hold true. No matter what my favorite show was at any given time, I could find bits and pieces of any character and say, boy, that character is just like me. In the 70s I associated with Alan Alda’s character Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H. Just like James Bellamy, that character was a person who did what was expected of him but did not want to be there; who hated his situation.

This raises a big question. Has there every really been a me? Have I really defined myself? Or are we all just bits and pieces of TV characters, parallels of people we have seen in films or read about in books? I’m quite certain that there are folks that have known from a very early age precisely what they wanted in life and went out and got it. I am not one of those folks. Looking back on it, I have always struggled with identity, with self-esteem and self-worth. There are a few things that I can tell you for certain: I am a generous fellow, to a fault in fact, I am an old-fashioned man and proud of it, I enjoy being friendly, and have loved my animals throughout my life, especially my kitty cat KeeKee.

I’m sure that in a few days things will once again seem brighter to me. I must be thankful for what I have and who I am, and not worry about who I could have been. If I don’t, my yet to be found therapist will have even more work to do.

On Friday, a new top ten list will be added and soon a From Rebecca will be added. Until Friday, have a good day, take care, and happy reading.

My view on the possible Redskins name change

Greetings, readers. Dominating the sports news the last few days has been the discussion about whether the Washington Redskins should change their nickname, as some view Redskins as offensive to Native Americans. Rebecca and I have just finished doing research on other people’s views on this topic and on other team names; such as the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Blackhawks. So, we will tiptoe through this blog entry and hopefully not offend anyone.

Our main source of information today was from an article on CNN.com from October 8, 2013 by Alison Harding titled “Tribe seeks to force NFL Redskins name change”. The article, and videos on the same page, use interviews and quotes from people attending recent events in Washington, as well as older interviews. Included are statements from the Washington Redskins team owner Dan Snyder, from President Barack Obama, and from the Oneida Indian Nation representative Roy Halbritter. Other views: One gentleman made the point that a lot of pee-wee and high school teams across the county use the name Redskins. If they were forced to change the name as well, imagine how much money that would cost. Another person said that many fans don’t mind the name, and continue to purchase tickets and merchandise with the Redskins logo on it. Until that stops, the name change probably won’t happen.

In my research I have learned that the Washington Redskins have been an NFL franchise since 1933 and before that they were in Boston. According to this article, the franchise began in Boston and if I understand the article correctly, the team was already called the Redskins. If this is not correct, I apologize.

An easy fix would be this. In the early 80s, Washington had a United States Football League team called the Washington Federals. Why don’t the Redskins just buy the rights and call themselves the Federals? I’m sure something could be worked out. Even though that team was only in existence for two seasons in the failed USFL I never heard anyone complain about the name or the logo.

Over the years the Redskins name change has bubbled to the surface only to dissipate. Recently, President Barack Obama said that if he owned the team, he would consider changing the name if it offended other people. However, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he would never change the name and in an interview last spring he told a reporter that you can put ‘never’ in CAPS. Roy Halbritter, representing the Oneida Indian Nation, said that Redskins is a racial slur that hurts the self-image of Native American children.

My personal view is this; Being the wishy-washy person I am, I can see both sides of the coin. The Redskins name has been around since at least 1933, if not longer. But that is really no excuse for continuing to offend Native Americans. Sure it would be easy to change the name to the Federals or the Congressmen, or even the Deficits (haha), but just like the Indianapolis Colts, formerly of Baltimore, and the St. Louis Rams, formerly of L.A., it would take generations of fans to get used to the new name. The bottom line, however, is this: The name is offensive. In a video clip to the above linked article, the name Redskin is a racial slur according to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

Ok, now that I have Washington off my chest, let’s talk about other teams. Names like Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks, and Seminoles do not seem to have any racial slur attached to them. This is why I think that the Redskins are being singled out. I’ve learned that the Florida State College Football team actually got permission from the Seminole tribe to use their name. Kudos to them.

The other big question then becomes, should all sports franchises using Native American nicknames, be forced to change their nickname? I say no. With the Redskins nickname being an obvious racial slur, that is the one to go if any should.

Until next week, enjoy your day, take care and happy reading.

What is new in Joe’s world

Greetings, readers. I have a few things to discuss today. None of overwhelming importance, but I did want to put up the usual Wednesday post. Last night my buddy and I were discussing the National Football League’s Washington Redskins team, and the ever-increasing pressure to change the team name. I’m going to be putting a separate blog post up later this week or the next about sports franchises whose team names deal with Native Americans. I’m going to wait a few days so that I can do adequate research. But unlike Obama vs. Romney, this blog entry will come out.

So, let’s see. What’s on my mind. Apparently we still have no government to speak of. Republicans fighting with Democrats and vise versa. Who gets kicked in the teeth you ask? We do, that’s who. The American public. I say it is time for a bona fide strong third party. It would wake up the status quo and shake it to its core. If I had the money and experience I would start it myself.

This past Saturday night one of the most exciting Penn State football games in recent years took place, as the Nittany Lions upset the Michigan Wolverines. It was our homecoming game, and in recent years our luck at winning homecoming games has not been that stellar. I got home just in time to watch three of the four overtime periods. That game is sure to be an ESPN instant classic.

Darling kitty cat Keekee is sitting next to us as we are typing, saying Feed Me Now, Daddy. Yes, Keekee has me very well-trained. We get to work and it is d-i-n-n-e-r time. I suppose that was my fault, because a number of weeks back, I tried to train her to wait until a certain time of day for her moist food. I think I am going to re-train her to wait until the end of the day, or at the very least not during work hours.

With last week’s more-hectic-than-usual week out of the way, I can once again get down to my normal routine. I’ll be taking a look at a friend of mine’s work later this afternoon, and if I understand him correctly, he wants me to edit it. As long as the work isn’t too technical, I might be up to the task. However, around 5:00, I must get along with my own note-taking for the upcoming writing project.

Lastly, I met up with an old friend of mine at Panera. It was good to get caught up. We sat at Panera for a couple of hours rehashing old times and finding out what was news. She was showing me her new tablet complete with touchscreen, and boy was that a sharp-looking machine. She took such pride in showing me the drawings she had done. My friend Becky is an amazing artist.

Well, I’m off to feed Keekee now. I swear this cat understands English. Until soonest, take care, have a good day and happy reading.

A dreary Friday

Greetings, readers. This will be a short one today because our note-taking for a new writing project took longer than I expected; I needed to do more research for it than I thought. Both Rebecca and I think that the idea has much promise. I still have details to iron out and to get that all important first chapter going. Once I get into a work routine, i.e. number of pages per day, I intend to stick to it. For me, it’s just getting started that is the big bugaboo.

Yes, it’s a dreary, rainy Friday. There was heavy rain this morning in State College, which made my leaky ceiling – I am on the top floor of my apartment building – start to drip. It’s looking a bit brighter now and the rain has ended. Hopefully the storm front will be out by tonight. I’m just glad it all wasn’t snow. As we approach mid-October, it’s only a month or so until those rain showers could be snow showers. Oh, how disgusting.

As for next week, I plan on working on my new project parts of Monday and Tuesday, Rebecca and I will put a new blog post up on Wednesday, and then probably back to work on the new project Thursday and Friday. I shall try to get up a second blog post toward the end of Friday afternoon, if I can.

Today I will fighting the bus schedule, because the Penn State football team’s homecoming parade will be taking place just when I need to get on a bus. But that is okay, I’ve got a flight sim I need to do for research and for fun, so I will go to Denny’s early and wait for my friend, who will arrive around 8:00. Plus I have my video of the show I did for my friend Erin, and I can watch that too if I get bored with the flight sim.

One last football note. I didn’t realize that last Saturday PSU lost to Indiana. My friend Dave said that Indiana is an up-and-coming team and that’s good for them. However, if we lost to Indiana, I’m not certain at all we will beat Michigan, our homecoming opponent. But as they say, on any given day any team can beat any other team.

Until next week, take care and happy reading.

Stop the world, I want to get off

Greetings, readers. Oh what a start to the work week. This has been one of those stop the world I want to get off mornings. I was up late with a sick computer, trying to de-bug what appears to be a Yahoo! email problem or a virus in my computer. My anti-virus system has been finding viruses but I thought once caught they were out of play. I got a call from a friend of mine warning me about something he sent me and I’m not certain if the acting-up email account is due to that or just coincidence. Until this point my anti-virus has caught everything and kept my computer free from harm.

Topic of the day number two. Minor mouth agitation continues to exist from my dental surgical procedure. I was a big boy and only took the higher powered pain meds one time. Since then it has been Advil to the rescue. Today I see another dentist for my semi-annual cleaning. I will, of course, ask the hygienist to go around the hurting area quite gingerly. Next week, I have another doctor’s appointment yet to be rescheduled and a visit to my massage therapist. Again, stop the world I want to get off. Too much, too fast.

On to good news. A couple of book sales here and there on the blog book, Greetings, Readers. Yay us. Rebecca and I worked so hard on that book and had fun putting it together. I’m happy to see that we have engines started and are headed for the runway. Take off will be soon I hope.

Now on to what is coming in the near future. With all these blessed appointments I have to go to, the next couple of work weeks (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) will be hard to iron out plans for. Blog entries will be catch-as-catch-can and note taking for new projects just as slow. I’m going to promise myself that when these next two weeks are over, no doctor’s appointments for the foreseeable future. I must get back to that steady work schedule that was so beneficial to our writing production.

Lastly, Rebecca’s last post hit big with the views-per-day statistic, thanks to her reaching out to Schlow Centre Region Library by Twitter. I checked the stats that night and was happy to see a spike for the day of 36 views. I of course texted her immediately. To any of you who are here because you followed the link from Schlow and are still reading me: Welcome. I am glad to have you. And to the staff member that got the word out about the blog post: Thank you.

Well, I’m off to feed Kitty and then I’m off to the dentist. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Libraries and Schlow Library

Joe is having dental work today, so you are hearing from me. He may be in some pain today and tomorrow, so the next blog post might be next week.

Libraries have been on my mind lately. I visit my local library, Schlow Centre Region Library, three times a week, and I love it. I use their public computers to be on the internet. I borrow two or three books, and three to four DVDs, from the library every week. I am a regular user. I know a lot of the staff by sight, and they are all nice, patient, and helpful. Someday I hope to have enough extra money to donate to the library that gives me so much.

Libraries have been in my thoughts lately because of two recent news items. The Centre Daily Times issue on September 27, 2013 reported that the East Penn Valley Branch Library in Millheim, Pennsylvania would close the following week, due to budget cuts in the county library system of which they were a part. I feel bad about any library closing, although in this case it is possible there will be a good ending. The community might open it up again on their own after the materials and resources from the library were donated to the Friends of the East Penn Valley Branch Library. And on September 17, 2013, the CDT reported that Schlow Centre Region Library may have to close for a week next year, to off-set money lost from state aid.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

I remember going to Schlow library when I was a kid in the 1970s. It was called the Schlow Memorial Library then, in honor of the library’s founder, Charles Schlow and his wife Bella S. Schlow. It was, and still is, at the corner of Allen Street and Beaver Avenue. I loved being able to take out any of the books in the children’s section. At that time, there must have been a certain kind of cover for children’s library books, with a textured cover, a certain font, and muted colors, because whenever I hold a book like that now it takes me back to happy memories of books in my childhood. The children’s books were in the room downstairs, and stairs and an elevator led up to the room upstairs with the adult collection. I think there was a check out counter on each floor, or the checkout was downstairs in the lobby outside the children’s collection room. I am just not sure now.

When I was older, I became familiar with the adult collection too. The adult section had the reference books that no one could take out, photocopiers, (computers in the 80s and 90s), maps, records (later with tapes and CDs), and, in the back of the room, the fiction books. The non-fiction section was in a loft area over the fiction section, reached by climbing stairs. If you couldn’t get up the stairs, a librarian was available to get your selection for you. The children section and the adult section each had their own card catalogue, with cards for each book in long trays; a patron would write down the location information on paper provided. Now, of course, the catalogue is on computers.

Schlow went through a couple of renovations in the 70s and 80s. Then sometime before 2004, it was decided to rebuild the building from scratch. As I recall, a long fundraising project raised the funds they needed before they put the plans in motion. In 2004 the library materials and operations were moved to the old borough municipal building while the library building was torn down and the new building built. In 2005 the new library building opened, with the name Schlow Centre Region Library. The children’s collection in still downstairs, with a room with computers and a collection of video games, as well as the books and puzzles. The first floor also holds the circulation desk. The upstairs is the adult collection, non-fiction on the same floor as the fiction section and other resources. If you want to read more about the history of Schlow library go their website at schlowlibrary.org or click this link to their history page on their website. [Oops. The history page link doesn’t go there anymore. It does go to the website, if you want to click it anyway. – 4/24/15]

It all looks different from when I was a kid, but I still get the same warm feeling of home inside the walls.

It is a hodgepodge day

Greetings, readers. I have a few things to talk about today. First up is the government shutdown. I know I don’t go for political opinions much, but I just have to put my two cents in on this topic. As far as I know, things like banks and the post office are still up and running. Hopefully they are deemed too important to be without. When I stop to think that we actually have a government that thinks it is perfectly okay to come to a screeching halt, leaving millions of people temporarily unemployed, not to mention leaving the Americans they serve high and dry, I wonder how these people slept at night. Do they have any sense of obligation and morals? Rebecca just told me that the FDA is all but shut down and I can only hope that there is some measure in place which will prevent dangerous drugs and unsafe food from being purchased.

On to another topic. I am still completely hung up on Madden25 football. I’m still tinkering with what they call sliders. When my running back gains nearly 3,200 yards in a season, I know it is way too easy. Somehow I will need to made an adjustment. But so far it is without a doubt the best sports simulation I’ve ever played. I know I said that about MLB13 baseball last March, but of course that’s the point, isn’t it? That every year these games and sports simulations just get better and more realistic. After I was done with Madden football last night, I turned on my Netflix streaming and to my happy amazement one of my favorite shows is back. It is Masterpiece Theater Classic’s Upstairs, Downstairs. I think I shall start at the beginning and watch one a night until I’ve seen them all.

On a personal note, the writer who doesn’t read very much actually found an author he loves. His name is Garry Disher, from Australia. I’m currently reading book one in the Hal Challis series, called The Dragon Man. I often found it ironic that I was a non-reader who wanted other people to read his writing. Well, if I can find a few more authors like Mr. Disher, I might become a reader after all.

Lastly, tomorrow is a big ouchy day for me. I’m having dental surgery, which is going to include the cutting of some gum tissue, to expose more of a damaged tooth so it can be worked on by another dentist. I was given a prescription for a rather powerful pain-killer and I’m not too happy about that. As I have told many of my friends, I am, “quite allergic to pain.” That is what is on my agenda tomorrow. I might ask Rebecca to come into the office at least for a little while, and if she wanted to put up a From Rebecca blog post, she will be more than welcome to do so.

So until soonest, hopefully I can speak normally on Friday without pain to dictate to Rebecca, take care, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.