Monthly Archives: September 2017

I can’t be here today so I am sharing an older blog post with you

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I am at my job today, so Rebecca picked out a blog post from my second full year of blogging to re-post. She looked for one that has not showed up in our stats since the year it was written and that she thinks is good enough to be seen again. She chose one that she said was heartfelt and might appeal to many readers. When she mentioned it to me yesterday, I thought it was a good choice, too. So here it is, I hope you like it. I will be back with a new entry next Wednesday.

R.I.P to legendary sportscaster Pat Summerall

April 17, 2013

Greetings, readers. Yesterday word went out that Pat Summerall died at age 82. I loved listening to him broadcast games, with Tom Brookshier, and later with John Madden. I will miss his voice.

Pat Summerall was a sports broadcaster from 1962, when CBS hired him, to 2011 when he did pre-game coverage for the Cotton Bowl.

He played football from 1952 until 1961 for the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Cardinals, and the New York Giants. The following year CBS picked him up and he began his broadcast career including a record 16 Superbowl broadcasts.

Personally, even though I knew that he was a football player in the 50s and 60s, my earliest recollection was watching a weekly show called This Week in Pro Football. He and his partner Tom Brookshier would recap the games from the previous week. I enjoyed their narration style, the slow motion instant replay, and certainly that NFL films soundtrack playing while they showed the clips. That show ran from the late 60s through the 70s, according to Wikipedia. Pat and Mr. Brookshier also played themselves in the famous 1977 movie Black Sunday, in which terrorists plotted to crash the Goodyear blimp into the Orange Bowl stadium during Superbowl X.

After that, I would watch Pat and Tom broadcast a couple more seasons of NFL games before new partner John Madden came in. Summerall and Madden were the team to beat as broadcasters go for many, many years.

Pat Summerall also broadcast golf tournaments. As I am not a golf fan, I did not partake.

On a side note, as with many famous people, he did voice overs for shows. He did an episode of the Simpsons with his partner John Madden.

I would put Mr. Summerall’s voice right up there with my all time favorites: Dick Enberg, who still broadcasts San Diego Padres baseball games, and the late Curt Gowdy.

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

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It’s going to be a hectic few weeks

Greetings, readers. Until further notice, Rebecca and I are going to have a different work schedule. She will come in on Wednesdays as usual, and we will write the blog entry, check the mail, and have the weekly meeting with my accountant. For the next two to three weeks, quite possibly, I will have work shifts at my job on Thursdays, in addition to my regular shifts on Fridays and Saturdays. My poor aching feet! This means that Rebecca will be working from home and doing that day’s blog entry. It’s not an ideal situation for my creative writing, but we can make do.

I’m kind of in a dark place right now emotionally, but that never lasts very long. I feel myself slipping into a rut, then every other Friday I see my pay come into my bank account and all is right with the world again. In the next few days I am going to sit down, re-prioritize a few things, and get back to my happy place.

Today is the last day of our Indian Summer, thank goodness. Today’s high is 86 degrees fahrenheit and tomorrow might not even reach 70. Yes, I will admit it, it is going to feel so good. I know I tend to talk about the weather too much here in the blog, but 86 degrees in late September is a bit much. President Trump, are you sure you don’t want to change your mind about climate change?

After work hours today, I have to do a quick load of laundry and go visit my friend Traci at the hospital. The poor dear broke her ankle yesterday. It was not exactly the birthday present she was hoping for. After that is home to bed to get ready for job work shifts Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I enjoyed the football games this past weekend, with one notable exception. I want to speak briefly about the trend in sports with players failing to show respect for our National Anthem. Before I get to that, let me mention my biggest pet peeve about the whole thing. I’m going to say it once and once only: Black players talk about their race; are we not all of the human race? I do believe they are referring to their ethnicity. I am the same race as all other people: Black, Asian, Latino, etc., but a different ethnic background. There I have now scratched the chalkboard with my nails. I hope in the future people will learn not to mix up these two terms. Now back to the games this weekend. For a couple of hundred years or so at sporting events there had never been a problem that I know of with putting your hand over your heart for the National Anthem, why should there be a problem now?

After I dictated the paragraph above, Rebecca and I got into a discussion to answer my question. She talked about the reason that the original player, Colin Kaepernick, began to take a knee during the National Anthem, to protest black people getting killed by the police and not getting justice in the courts for it. I didn’t know that. She acknowledged that this weekend many of the people on the fields taking a knee or linking arms were protesting being told to give up first amendment rights by the President, or having him tell the NFL who to fire. Which she knows is also a worthy cause. Though she also hoped that the linked arms were also a message to black people that the NFL supports their rights, too. It was a good discussion. Here is my take on it.

Although I agree with the right to protest, I am just afraid that this might mushroom into something where people putting their hands over their hearts will be the exception rather than the norm. Personally, I’ve not gone to many live games, but the few I have, I’ve either placed my hand over my heart or saluted the flag. The flag of the United States means a lot to me. Even though I never lost a family member to war, I know that the military protects those freedoms that sometimes I take for granted. The flag represents those freedoms.

Okay, I’m done ranting now. For tomorrow’s blog post, Rebecca is going to go back into the archives to pick a good entry that hasn’t been viewed much and share it again. I will be back next Wednesday with a new post. We will get back to our regular two-day work week as soon as possible.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to the people in Puerto Rico and the other Caribbean islands who have been so devastated by Hurricane Maria. Also to the folks in the Everglades and all the victims of the recent storm activity. This also includes the people in Mexico still recovering from the earthquake and aftershocks.

Until tomorrow for Rebecca and next week for me, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Sharing another story from my second book with you

Greetings, readers. I am sharing a story, “Going Down the Runway,” from my second camp book, published in 2012 from CreateSpace.com. I have written three books that I published using CreateSpace, a publish-on-demand site which I have had good experiences using. I am proud of all of them and the hard work I put into them. All three books are available through CreateSpace, or through Amazon. The first two, about Bear Spring Camps, are also available on Kindle (I haven’t put the third one on that platform yet.) In case you are interested in looking them up, here is the information to find them. You can find most of same information on the Books for Sale page.

My first book, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3625476, Amazon.com, and Amazon Kindle. I have shared two stories from this book in the blog before, about a tribute to my mother the year she passed away, and about when I fell asleep fishing.

My second book, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, is the one I am sharing a story from today. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3674407, and Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle. I shared one story from this book already, about a run-away boat.

My third book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, has entries from my first year of doing this blog. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3678800, and Amazon.com.

Without further ado, here is the story. I certainly hope you enjoy it.

Going Down the Runway – The worst mishap the Galileo ever
endured was due to lack of planning. It was a hot breezy afternoon.
David, Pop, and I decided to cool ourselves down with a long boat
ride. Mom decided to stay behind on the porch with a cool drink. We
were going to go to the other side of Great Pond where any breeze
might be stronger. It was an area that none of us went to very often.
After we got back, I wished that I had, the night before, asked Mr.
Mosher for a lake map that I could study before we left. But I didn’t.

The ride started out in North Bay as usual. We then started
making our way through Chutes Channel to the other side. We were
enjoying our ride with the Galileo’s throttle open to full. She was
getting a good workout. On this rare occasion, I was not at the helm.
Dave had taken a turn driving and then Pop took his turn; a rarity for
Dad. I should have been paying attention to his driving so that I
could assist him as needed, but I didn’t think of it.

It was during Pop’s turn at the wheel when the minor tragedy
occurred. We were on our way back to North Bay (where we knew
what the markers meant) but we were unsure of the markers on the
other side. He had to navigate the Galileo in an area where rocks
were abundant. On one side was a row of green markers and on the
other side, approximately ten yards away on the left, was a row of
red markers. Pop must have thought that in between the rows of
markers was the danger zone. As it turns out, it was the safe passage.
Just like landing an aircraft, we should have aimed right down the
middle of the runway. Pop veered to the right toward the rocks.

By this point in the ride, I was sitting in the front passenger area
half asleep. I got a rude awakening. As the propeller smacked
against a boulder just underneath the water surface, the Galileo came
out of the water for a fraction of a second. Pop immediately brought
the boat to a halt. As he lifted the engine up with the automatic
lifting device, he asked, “Davey, do you see any damage?”

Dave, though not really wanting to be the bearer of bad news,
replied, “Um, yes, sir, there is.”

I quickly walked back to where the engine was. Luckily the boat
itself was undamaged. To this day, I don’t know how the propeller
was the only thing that hit the rock, but it happened. With the
propeller in the mangled shape it was in, we weren’t getting out of
that spot on our own. I reached into the glove box, got the air horn, and blew it to call for help. After several minutes, someone came to
our aid and carefully got us out of the rocky situation we were in.

Once back in deep water, the ride home was slow but
uneventful. The propeller was just useable enough for us to drive our
boat back to our dock at the slowest possible speed, although the
engine put out a rough quiver. I kept thinking to myself, now how
am I going to explain this to Mother? Pop assured me that he would
take full responsibility. I felt guilty, yet relieved.

That evening, Mother went up to supper early to place a call to
the marina right before it closed. A mechanic was up the next
morning to not only install the new propeller but to inspect the
engine for any other damage. To my relief, when the new propeller
was put on, everything else checked out ok. Mom told all of us that
she would greatly appreciate it if we would stay on our side of the
lake.

The next morning, Uncle Cy, David, and I planned and partook
of a fishing trip. The engine started up as usual and ran smoothly. I
purposely opened her up to full throttle to check for any vibration.
Thankfully, it was as though the entire incident never happened.

A month or so later, when the marina bill was sent to our home
in Pennsylvania, Mom showed me how much the new propeller cost.
I felt like crawling under the rock that we had hit.

My feet and legs are still on the mend

Greetings, readers. Although I have a little bit of walking to do in town today, which can’t be helped, I plan to spend the majority of the day off my ailing feet. I am still recovering from my fall the other week, where apparently I twisted my left knee badly. After yesterday’s work shift, I sat down to my crew meal and when I got up my legs almost couldn’t support me. This is when it is time to throw the bottle of pain reliever in the tote bag. Tomorrow before my extra work shift, I’ll go ahead and take two Aleve.

I’m filling in for someone tomorrow and it will only be the second time I’ve worked three days straight. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I am a part-timer. As I believe with most people, once you are on the job and working, you don’t have time to complain or think about discomfort. For me, getting up at 5:00 to do the few things I need to do on my computer as I have my morning coffee, means that I go to bed around 9:00pm. Under normal circumstances, that would be a wee bit early for me, but when I am tired, I sleep.

Speaking of sleep, when I get those extra hours, I’ve noticed that I have pretty vivid dreams. Recently I’ve been dreaming about my parents, and Bear Spring Camps in an altered form. Just a couple of nights ago, I somehow took a chainsaw and destroyed my mom’s car. Then I wanted to drive it. She told me, no you can’t drive anymore. This, I am sure my therapist would say, is me telling myself that I should not own a car for a multitude of personal reasons.

I’m still having tons of fun with Out of the Park Baseball 18, but if any of you, my readers, know the answer to the upcoming question, please chime in here or on Facebook: All my players’ injuries seem to be season-ending. Does anyone know a way to adjust injure severity mid-season? Or do I have to wait until the next season rolls around to make adjustments? I am losing so many players on my Pittsburgh Steel Hounds, and the entire league is as well. I’ve searched through the manual and screen pages to see if I can adjust the severity of said injuries. So far, no such luck. I even went so far as to go on Twitter and tweet Out of the Park Baseball 18 directly and so far they have not replied. I still feel it’s the best baseball simulation ever made, with MLB The Show a close second.

Finally, I get a chuckle when Rebecca and I go through our stat numbers and the blog entry about my restful summer comes up. I met none of these goals, nor am I going to any time soon. I work four days a week and quite literally need to be off my feet as much as possible on my days off. With me having my job, this summer and now early fall has been way more hectic, but also fulfilling, than I ever thought it would be. I actually enjoy hopping on the bus early, getting my breakfast there, and clocking in. So far, so good, except for some construction woes. It seems like State College goes through a multitude of construction every summer. On this particular project going through the main artery of town, a problem arose and they had to redo all of it. One time I sat on the bus for 20 minutes and moved half a block. My job has a policy that if you call in and let them know that you on a bus delayed by traffic, it is an excused lateness.

So much for my hodgepodge couple of days. Until next time, I bid you a good day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Yes, another one from me

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has a follow-up doctor’s appointment for the foot he hurt in a fall last week, so I am bringing you today’s blog post. It seems like I have been doing this a lot in the last couple of months, for one reason or another, starting with Joe’s annual trip to Bear Spring Camps in Maine and then both of us have had some personal appointments on Thursdays. I like writing here, but I am aware that regular readers probably come for Joe’s unique voice and what he shares on this blog page.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that this is not our normal pattern, we usually go a month or so between From Rebecca posts, and Joe does both the entries each week. Life is hectic for us right now, and Joe’s job at a fast food restaurant has pulled a lot of his energy and time, but I do expect us to go back to the normal writing schedule soon.

I first met Joe in high school and we remained friends since then. I became his writing assistant in 2010, mainly to type for him as his cerebral palsy makes it slow and difficult for him to do that task for his writing work. He started this blog in December of 2011, with him dictating, me typing, and both of us editing. We have a good system down that we have used to put at least one new blog entry on this site every week for almost six years. I am very proud of that, and I know that Joe is too. When I post this entry, if will be the 654th one on this blog site.

We see from this site’s statistics that daily views are steadily getting higher. Joe has big spikes in views once in a while, usually when he writes something about Bear Spring Camps and links it to their Facebook page, but it looks like some people are staying around after the surges. To all of you who are long-term readers, thank you so much, we really appreciate you coming here so long. To all of you who are newer readers, welcome, and we hope you enjoy the voice and topics so much that you stick around.

Joe will be back next week, and as far as we know now, he will do the blog entry for both Wednesday and Thursday. As he would say, until then, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Out of the Park Baseball 18 is a hoot

Greetings, readers. About a month ago I purchased from Steam a really good-looking baseball video game. I watched the trailer, and thought to myself, that’s for me. The price was right, and I love sports games, so I clicked purchase and downloaded it. My fun was just beginning.

Obviously I was going to take a good look around the game to see what it had to offer. I quickly learned that the graphics when playing a game are something from the 1990s. That, my readers, is this game’s only downfall. OOTPB18 more than makes up for the bad graphics with every conceivable statistic you could want and several game modes you can choose from. You can be the manager of the team or the general manager and hire and fire as you see fit. You can play a season from any year 2017 all the way back to the beginnings of baseball, including the Negro leagues. I’m not certain if all the correct players are there since the Negro leagues were before my time, but I imagine that they have as many correct names as they could find, with all appropriate statistics. There is an on-line mode which someday I will try out and all major league teams have their own appropriate farm systems in place. lt is such fun to watch the Portland Sea Dogs – the Boston Red Sox AA team – play a season.

Now, for my favorite part. You can create your own league. When I saw this, I went bananas. I spent an entire evening putting together my new league. The NABL, or North American Baseball League. I have two teams in Mexico, one in Cuba, and yes, Montreal has a team again, the Montreal Mounties. With me being from Pittsburgh, you just know I had to have a team representing my home city. The Pittsburgh Steel Hounds got off to an 8-2 start and have fallen on hard times since. I tried to renegotiate a new contract with my best player and when he didn’t respond, I withdrew the offer, intending to make it better, but to my surprise and utter disappointment, he, “will no longer negotiate with this team.” Now I know how George Steinbrenner felt.

Another cool feature is the daily news page, complete with newspaper, all the leagues’ activities, team injuries, and standings. It’s your whole league in a nutshell. This is what I do when I get up in the morning; I check my team’s page as I sip my morning coffee.

Also, there is a fantastic feature called real-time simulation. When activated, the games will be played at true-to-life speed. You see just the box scores in this mode, which in itself is intriguing. If there is a pitching change needed in any of the games, there will be a pause of a few minutes. That is how real this game is. If you choose to view the game, it will speed up again.

This is one of those games that I am going to discover something new about a month from now. It is never going to get old to me. Me and my North American Baseball League will be very happy I’m sure for many seasons to come.

Here is my final score, no pun intended. Graphics: 4 out of 10. On-line mode: bravo, lets give that a 10. Statistics: 10. Ease of Operation: 9. Features: 9.5. Bringing the final score to a 8.5.

A side note for you. Because of my fall last week I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning. I didn’t want to take another personal day, but I also don’t want to damage the foot if there is something wrong that can be taken care of now. Rebecca will have another blog up tomorrow, and I will be back next week, hopefully for both blog days.

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

From Rebecca: Top something list of businesses no longer in State College

This is not the typical top ten list that you are used to reading here. I had the idea of a list of businesses that used to be in State College, but aren’t any more, but when I talked it over with Joe and my husband Darren the three of us came up with more than ten. I tried to write the post in prose form instead of a list, but that version was soooo dry and boring. So I went back to list form, but the list is not an even ten, and is in categories, so it is a top something list. They are in no particular order and I will start with #1 and go down to #6, the number of categories I reached.

State College is a busy, thriving place. It is the main campus for the Pennsylvania State University, it has a steady local community, and is surrounded by a lot of small towns with people who drive in for various reasons. We have had a lot of businesses come and stand for decades, some have come and lasted for many years, and some have come and gone so fast that they barely made a ripple. The reasons these businesses left State College are many, from the owner(s) retiring, to the money running out, to the rents rising too high, to the lease not being renewed, to society moving on to another form of entertainment, etc. All three of us grew up in this area and remember a lot of changes over the years.

#1. Businesses in downtown State College a long time ago, that left a long time ago: Danks department store; a five and dime store that I think was G. C. Murphy; four or five movie theaters, including The Garden and The Movies; Svoboda’s Books; and video game arcades, including Playland and Campus Casino.

#2. Businesses outside downtown a long time ago that left a long time ago: A&P grocery store; Riverside grocery store; A&W Root Beer stand; Hills (the Hills Plaza is still there with other businesses in it, but the main building is sadly sitting empty after all these years); K-Mart (I sometimes give directions to people using the phrase, “Past where K-Mart used to be, even though it left State College a few decades ago;) and Hardee’s.

#3. Businesses in the Nittany Mall (I haven’t been there for a while, alas, so this is an old list): Sun Coast Video; Gee Bee department store; KB Toys; and B-Dalton.

#4. Businesses that Darren, Joe, or I have worked that are no longer here: CiCi’s Pizza; Kentucky Fried Chicken; BiLo Foods and then Jubilee grocery stores; Ponderosa Steakhouse (I still miss their food so much); Shoney’s restaurant; and (I worked at B-Dalton too, but I decided to put that in the Nittany Mall entry.)

#5. Businesses we lost in the last 1 or 2 years (many of these were sudden and unexpected): Denny’s; Eat’n Park; Don Patron (our favorite Mexican restaurant;) Mario & Luigi’s; and Chili’s Grill & Bar.

#6. Businesses we lost in the last 15 to 20 years (assuming my memory for time is correct): Arby’s; Nittany Line Hobbies & Toys; Starlite Drive-In theater;O.W. Houts & Sons; Blockbuster Video; and Hollywood Video.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Most of these places are on my list because they meant something to me, I used to go there a lot, or they were part of the landscape of State College. Are there businesses you can think of that I didn’t mention, from State College or from where you live, that you would like to share with us? Please feel free to share in our comments. We love hearing from you.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Yesterday’s injury could have been a lot worse

Greetings, readers. After a successful work shift, I met Traci at Panera, as I normally do. While I was there, I realized I needed a jug of milk. There is small market down the block from where we were. Traci and I finished eating and visiting around 5:00. I started on the down slope for what was going to be a quick trip for my grocery. Our area had a strong rain storm in the morning, and the sidewalk was still slick. I walked halfway to my destination when I felt my left foot start to slid on wet leaves, and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. I kind of twisted on the way down, leading me to believe that I had either sprained my knee or leg, or the worst case scenario, broken my hip. Young college kids came running to my aid and told me to stay down, stay down. I was gladly willing to comply.

After I got over the initial embarrassment of the whole situation, I gently tried moving things, to see what might work and what might not. I was overjoyed when I could lift my left leg without screaming; no broken hip. One of the college kids called an ambulance for me, which I knew had to happen, but I also knew that the rest of my evening was going to be lost.

In the emergency room, I was given warm blankets and made as comfy as possible. Nurses and doctors came in, asked me for my name, rank and serial number and all the mundane things that happen at the ER.

Then it was off to X-ray. I could actually walk from the gurney to the X-ray table. I gave the technician a thumbs up. After all the pictures were taken, I was wheeled back to my ER room where I laid, and laid, and laid. After what seemed like forever, the doctor came in with the good news that nothing was broken and I was going to be discharged.

I began to walk very slowly to the ER entrance where my cab was waiting and I started to shake. I thought to myself, “This is not good, folks.” I asked for a wheelchair, and I was whisked away to the front door. I asked the cab driver to take me to a convenience store so I could finally get the jug of milk that the was the beginning of this whole fiasco. I asked him to wait for me, which he did, then he finally drove me back home.

I turned on the heater so I wouldn’t shiver, if I was still indeed in shock from the pain I was experiencing. After taking two Advil, I was able to get to sleep, then the alarm went off at 5:00 this morning, and I asked God just let me be able to walk on the foot. After hobbling on it a few steps, it seemed to loosen up and I could walk better on it. I consider myself lucky that I really don’t think I broke any bones. I truly believe all I have is a twisted knee and a pulled muscle or tendon in my foot, though I have some swelling on the top of my foot that I wonder about. I can rest my leg today and tomorrow, as I have days off from my fast food job anyway. Work will need me this weekend because of the Penn State home football game this Saturday. I can’t let them down. I will admit, I might have to ask for a chair before my shift is over.

As is becoming a weekly message, I once again send my prayers and good wishes to all those effected by extreme weather this week; the flooding in Asia, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the fires out west in the United States, and Hurricane Irma, which is in the Caribbean today and heading for Florida.

Well, there you have the grim news. As I said last week, I am taking a personal day tomorrow and Rebecca’s blog topic is a great one; I’m sure you will enjoy it. Until I write again next week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.