Sunday, March 31, 2013

Remember The Days Of Home Deliveries?

Remember the 50's when home deliveries were the norm?

To list a few of the 'hucksters': Charlie Chips, Bond Bread, Fuller Brush, Jewel Tea (Hellicks), Ice Cream (Good Humor/Mr. Frostie), Produce (Grim's), Milk (Freeman/LV Dairy), Egg, etc.

Why even in those days, the insurance man would come for your monthly payments. Doctors made home visits. And the paper boy would put the paper inside your door!

Some cynical types point out that today you can now buy drugs outside your front door. :)

I question myself whether this was actually somewhat more fuel efficient in the fact that these 'hucksters' would go only a few feet at a time and shut off their engines. Today we pop in the car and drive a couple of miles for these same items. At any rate, it did provide a decent independent job as a means to make a living for what many may now consider undereducated individuals who lacked other skills. Hey we can't all sing or play sports!

I wonder if someone could provide these kind of services today whether it might work out for them?


Ever hear of it? Neither did I

Currently there are 1,151,288 active geocaches going on around the world.

Did you know they play this in Allentown?
Here are the listings for Allentown

Cedar Beach (Aug. 2010)

Geocaching- The Official Site

Yosemite Time Lapse VIDEO

2 Years For Him... Less then 5 Minutes for You
Yosemite Time Lapse
Huffington Post

"Shawn Reeder, a Bishop, Calif.-based photographer and musician, spent two years working on this time lapse video of Yosemite National Park. The nearly five-minute video is composed of almost 7,000 individual photographs."

Phone # From Hell

Reposted From May 26, 2010

In the U.K. every single person assigned the mobile phone number 0888 888 888 died in the last 10 years!

What sounds like something straight out of a Steven King novel was not fiction for the three who wound up dead.

According to the article, one guy died of cancer at just 48 year old. The next guy was a 31 year old mafia boss. No surprise there I guess. The third was a drug dealing crooked real estate agent who was gunned down.

Either way that number sounds like a direct connection to the grim reaper to me.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Local Radio Of Yesteryear

A quick look back on the 60's though the 70's. These are some of the radio stations I'd tune in and listen to here in Allentown, Pa.

Began operations in 1949. They were sold to Rust Broadcasting in 1957, employed a Top 40 format, and was known as Music Radio 79 WAEB.

Began operation in 1923 with the call letters WCBA on 1470 kc

Began operation on 1320 AM in 1948. It was owned by Rahall Communications.

WEEX AM 1230
Signed on in may of 1956. It was owned locally by Easton Express Broadcasting

Began broadcasting as a full-time station at 1230 AM in 1948. Founded by the Allentown Broadcasting Corporation. A suit was immediately brought by a competing applicant, Easton Publishing Co., owner of the Easton Express newspaper, charging that the FCC erred in granting a fourth license to Allentown while Easton had only one radio frequency.

The FCC reversed its decision in favor of the Easton Express. The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1955 ruled the FCC had acted properly. The Easton Express was subsequently awarded the 1230 AM frequency for a new full-time station, WEEX. WHOL was then moved to 1600 AM and it's power was reduced to almost 1/2. Even far less then that after sunset, Hence WHOL lost its prominence as one of Lehigh Valley's leading AM stations.

They played rough in those days. In fact the Morning Call drove Allentown's 1st TV station under. It was located at Grape & McArthur Road. The Original Channel 39.

WGPA "Sunny 1100"
Was formerly owned by Chadwick Broadcasting. Originally, it was a part of the Bethlehem Globe Publishing Company. The station, along with sister WGPA-FM 95.1 began February 16, 1946 and was headquartered in studios and offices on Brodhead Avenue, next to the Globe-Times daily newspaper building.

Began operations in 1936. In 1973- 96.1 became WLEV and began offering a Soft Rock/Adult Contemporary format that was very automated.

Today WEST (1400 AM) and WHOL (1600 AM) are radio stations broadcasting a Spanish Tropical format, emphasizing Tropical music from the Tropics and Spain. They are owned by Matthew P. Braccili., who operates the radio station from Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

WIBG (formerly 990 AM)
It used to be a powerhouse broadcasting at 50,000 watts in Conshohocken, Pa.! The call sign was changed to WIBG in 1978. The some of the original DJs have been reincarnated into WOGL (98.1 FM)

The former WIBG AM is now known as Life Radio 1020, a news talk radio station with Christian programming from Ocean City, New Jersey.

WIBG-FM (94.3) Is licensed in Avalon, New Jersey, USA. The station is currently owned by WIBG Limited Liability Company broadcasting an Oldies music format.

Why They're Coming Here

Reposted From June 21, 2010

..wouldn't you?

For years I like many other question why so many new arrivals to our Lehigh Valley.

The negative nannies lay blame at the foot of easy welfare, cheap rentals along with questionable landlords, drug sales, etc. Still for others they wag their fingers blaming our local governmental leaders decisions.

Whenever I'm perplexed by deductive reasoning's that seem to fail, I fall back on a far simpler point of reference. Follow The Money Trail.

What follows I think explains the growth phenomena we are experiencing throughout the Lehigh Valley. It comes to one simple thing.. "economics".

Please bear with me as lay a few facts out along with some comments that tend to deviate a bit from the subject at hand. I will pull this all together at the bottom of this post.

(1) CIGARETTES & LIQUOR: New York Post (June 19, 2010): ALBANY -- Gov. Paterson said he would force lawmakers to approve a $1.60-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes. That's on top of the $1.50 city tax and the $1.01 federal tax already on each pack of cigarettes. It would hike the state's total tax on smokes to $4.35. 2000 $5
2002 $7.50
2008 $8.50
2009 $10
2010 $11.60
COMMENTARY: I can think of no finer way to create organized crime. Why peddle illegal drugs? Those kind of crimes can get you lots of jail time or shot by rival gangs.

How does this involve Allentown ? Think about this. In Allentown (as well as other towns in Pa.), our less then stellar citizens can buy cartons of cigarettes for about $25 here in town. They then can commute back up to NYC where legitimate retailers charge $116 a carton. These "commuters" then can pawn them for about $75. Thusly making about $50 a carton and saving an average New Yorker about $35.60 a carton.

Same goes for liquor in NYC. $1.00 per gallon is the city of NY tax. Then there's the state taxses of $2.54 + $6.44 excise tax + 7% sales tax per gallon.

So even if "commuters" weren't dealing in this black market (Cigs & Liquor), the costs to consume them here is Allentown is far less expensive.

(2) RENT
In March the average rent for a 1 Bedroom New York apartment cost $3,176. A 3 bedroom is $7,750.

Average rent in Allentown? Let's take on of your above average complexes, say Trexler Park Apartments for example. A one bedroom costs $1,1,90 a month. A three bedroom $1,405. Just makes sense that if I as a New Yorker found out I could pay from 18% to 38% of what I'm now paying in NYC for rent, I'd sure as hell would run (not walk) too!

NYC Rental - Greenwich Village - Studio $1900

(3) SCHOOLS Arts- New York City (April 8, 2008)
* 32 percent of parents surveyed by the NYC DOE indicate that their children receive zero arts education. Only 29 percent of all middle school students are provided with the minimum state requirements.

* Only 4% of all elementary schools surveyed are even in a position to provide the minimum state requirement by offering all four art forms in each grade. 20% of the nearly 1,500 elementary schools have no arts specialists whatsoever.

* The ratio of arts teachers to students, which gives us a blunt gauge of access, contains statistics such as one theater teacher in the system for every 13,000 students. And each theater teacher on average has to work with a school population of 929 students.

Safety & Academics: "In New York State, schools are designated Persistently Dangerous if they have two successive years of serious incidents that meet or exceed criteria established by the State Education Department. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), all students enrolled at schools designated persistently dangerous have the opportunity to request a transfer to a school that is NOT persistently dangerous."

The Office of Student Enrollment implements three transfer programs, available to eligible parents who wish to transfer their child through the Public School Choice program.
Here's a no brainer.. Would you rather have your kids going to New York's public schools or one of Lehigh Valley's?

(4) Arrivals From New Jersey:If You Tax Them They Will Leave (April 26, 2010):
* New Jersey residents are the most over-taxed in the country. We have one of the highest top marginal in-come tax rates, the second highest sales tax rate, the sixth highest corporate tax rate, and the highest property taxes in the nation. Add it all up, and the sad fact is that we are number one with more state and local taxes taken as a percentage of income than any other state in America.

* Unemployment is the highest (9.8 percent) in the region, having doubled since 2007. The state lost 121,000 private sector jobs last year while local governments added 11,300 new employees. There are “two classes of citizens in New Jersey,” Christie said, “those who enjoy rich public benefits and those who pay for them.”


I could cite additional reasons why the Lehigh Valley is experiencing overwhelming overgrowth, much too fast. But you get the idea.

As James Carville once said, "It's the economy stupid!"

Now we can go on for days, weeks and months faulting landlords, politicians, developers, even each another for all the problems resulting from too rapid an overgrowth. May I suggest instead that we stop the blame game and turn the rhetoric down a notch?

Just as sure as a moth is driven to a flame, people will continue to pour into the valley seeking a higher standard of life with a whole lot less in expenses.

Question is how do get a handle on this? How can we slow it down so we can reasonably manage and be able to afford the required schools, highways, zoning etc,?

I'm not sure you can. I suppose like water, the flow will only stop when it cost no less to live here then Jersey or New York. Yeah I know, that sucks. Let's only hope our town fares better then the old gold rush towns of yesteryear.

Right now it is very lucrative to commute back and forth to work in the big city where pays are triple of here. It's almost like gaming the system, isn't it? Work there.. live here.

How about a graduated municipality income tax scheme? Let's say for over a certain income that goes well beyond the median wages of the average worker within the Lehigh Valley.

Ah.. I'm feeling the love already :-)

Nov. 2009

Where do you think some of these will end up when they are forced out of NYC?

Lehigh Valley Parks

Video Courtesy....
Discover Lehigh Valley:
"The official tourist promotion agency for Lehigh and Northampton counties in Eastern Pennsylvania."

Pennsylvania's Alert System

FYI: For those who like to be in the loop and stay on top of things, Pa. offers "AlertPA"

Below are some brief quotes from the AlertPA site..
Pennsylvania uses AlertPA to provide our citizens and partners with timely information to assist them in making informed decisions. AlertPA delivers emergency and weather alerts, health notifications and updates to steer, guide and warn you on all your devices:

Email account (work, home, other)
Cell phone (via SMS)

-Emergency Alerts
-PA Statewide Health
-SCI Alerts (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections)
-Airport Alerts (delays for airports)
-Nationwide Notifications (health and safety, product safety)

When an incident or emergency occurs, authorized senders will instantly notify you using "AlertPA". With real-time updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to report to and other important information.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Where All The Jobs Go?

Reposted From May 25, 2010

Once upon a time America had a super abundant number of jobs for middle class of workers.

Model T Ford (1908)

Where'd All Those Jobs Go?
Well here's a clue...

I'm not even going to pretend I have answers, but the fact is once upon a time this nation became the richest nation on earth because the majority of us were hard working middle class Americans. Our current economic woes will never be resolved unless we can figure out some sort of solution to restore at least a semblance of this once again.

Failing that, government revenues will continue to plummet w/o resolution.

Over my 33 years in production (since 1973) I saw first hand the vanishing middle class..

Where once there were over 30 workers employed throughout the plant
across three shifts hand stacking pallets, they were replaced with this..

I ran up to 6 of these palletizers at a time in the department where I worked
We put out about 300 pallets a shift.
Prior 10 workers were required to hand stack.

On the other end, the "De-Palletizing" equipment
replaced about 10 other workers.

Think about that. 20 workers were replaced by one single operator (me) and this took place over 10 years ago!

Where there was once dozens upon dozens of workers hand packing..

Some companies' warehouses are even automated!

The worst part about all of this, most of our automated equipment was bought overseas. This in turn also reduced our maintaince personnel requirements since the company bought long term service contracts from the machine manufacturers. I recall servicemen flying in from Italy, Germany and elsewhere.

Machines require no benefits, sick days and can not become injured. They most certainly don't have labor complaints either.

No one's faulting these company's for utilizing what becomes available. The fact does remain however, that the middle class American worker has now become nearly extinct.

The argument that these machines require engineers and assembly which provides employment is offset by the dozens of workers replaced by them.

Like I stated earlier, I have no resolutions. Until someone figures out how to get the majority of it's less skilled blue collar middle workforce back into play, this nation will continue to suffer it's current economic woes far as one can perceive into the future.

That's Just The Situation We're In!

UPDATED 05/26/2010

USA TODAY:"Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year..

The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes"

Food Safety Suggestions When There's A Loss Of Power

Links to after the storm food safety suggestions from the U.S. government• Refrigerated food: Fridge will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if unopened.

• Discard perishable items that have been above 40 degrees F for 2 hours or more. When in doubt, throw it out.

• Frozen food: A full freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours. Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at or below 40 degrees F.

• Throw away all food that may have come in contact with flood/storm water

All About Daylight Saving Time

All About Daylight Saving Time Around the World 2013

A Cable Modem Tip

Reposted From January 11, 2010

A few days ago was the second time I ranted and raved around the house about my lousy cable internet modem and telephone service.

When a bit more sanity set in I looked at the blinking lights on the modem. Apparently it was having trouble connecting to an UP channel as well as a DOWN channel.


Isn't that what those lights are for!

Could it be me?

Well.. YEAH!

I went outside to the grey cable connector box that the cable company installs on the side of your house. I removed all the connectors. Sprayed the male connector's threads with WD-40. Then reattached. el' magnifico!

I should have known. This past summer I went outside and just wiggled the connectors and poof, the problem disappeared.

So if your cable telephone modem seems to wink in and out or the cable internet modem drops out, try that before you vilify your provider.

Today Is Good Friday

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Either We Believe In Capitalism Or We Don't

Capitalism Has Become A Dirty Word

"Mayor Ed Pawlowski confirmed plans have been submitted by Salisbury Township developer Bruce Loch for a 33-story high rise at Ninth and Walnut streets in the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone."Will you be able to see the former Martin Tower from the top floors?

Just seems to me that NIZ is the 'redistribution of wealth on steroids?

I entitled this post for a reason. Here's Why...
Under 'capitalism' (private investment) the Empire State Building was originally financed by John J. Raskob and Pierre S. du Pont. Other iconic buildings in New York like the Chrysler, Woolworth, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, GE, Met Life and dozens more too numerous to name were all built by private developers with their own money or through the sale of stocks.

Here in Lehigh Valley the Lehigh Valley Transit Company, Lehigh Valley Railroad, the 8th street bridge (built by the 'Allentown Bridge Company'), the three former anchor department stores on Hamilton Street were all built by private investors.

Private investment is the bedrock of what has made the United States like no other nation for nearly two centuries. Investors saw an opportunity to supply a demand. Developers using investors' money are near certain they can bring a 'return on investment' for the stakeholders. This is how 'capitalism' is supposed to work.

Lo these many years later taxpayers are picking up the tab for the former transit company buses, new office, business and sports centers. In short taxpayer money is being used to go where developers fear to tread. Which brings us to the biggest reason of all why 'capitalism' has served us well. When someone uses their own money they are 100% vested in the outcome. On the other hand when taxpayers foot the risks not one dime of any board member or politician is risking their own capital. It just goes against everything we ever learned from past history.

Anyone ever question why sports teams don't build their own venues?
Ever question why no investor today would even consider buying shares of stock to form a railroad?

Could it be they know, with almost complete certainty, there's little to no possibility for a return on their investment? Why then is this acceptable use via forced investment through our taxes at no risk to those who make those decisions for us?

Plain and simple: either we believe and trust in capitalism or we don't.

A couple of other thoughts
If Pennsylvania can give up what will most likely end up being $1 billion (over 30 years of Allentown's NIZ) in tax revenue, it seems to me it could have came up with less then a fraction of that amount to solve Allentown's pension dilemma. Keep in mind much of that would have produced an economic return from pensioners as well. It also would come back to them in the form of various taxes. Perhaps then Allentown wouldn't privatize our water for the next 30 years.

In the United States it always amazes me how we are always too broke to afford money for the average Joe Citizen, but we're never too broke to...* Afford rail, oil and the like subsidies.

* Provide for Hundreds of 'Foreign Trade Zones' that shelter billions of dollars to go untaxed for various companies. There are 7 in Pennsylvania including 1 right here in the Lehigh Valley. Many of which oil companies use to export American oil & gas from in Alaska and in the Gulf states.

* Spend more on defense than the next 13 nations combined.

* Spend over $56 billion on foreign aid.
Think about that next time the U.S. government talks about cutting Social Security, Medicare and the pensions most of us have already paid into.

I think of it this way. Allentown represents a microcosm of a this nation's underlying problem. That being, politicians at all levels spend money they themselves would not otherwise if it were coming out of their own pockets. I tend to think of this as a disease that eating away at our core economic principles based on sound investments with a reasonable expectation to see some sort of return. If indeed these taxpayer investments over these many years are of any value, why are we still seeing our taxes raised and our federal, state and local budgets spinning out of control?

I think the answer is obvious.

Speaking Of "Urban Sprawl"...

Some theorists would have you believe this is a new phenomena. One that has just been around for the last few decades. Not true!

The Truth About "Urban Sprawl"
Let's begin right in our own backyard with Allentown. William Allen way back in the early 1700's was credited with the development of Allentown. You might even say he was the town's first outside developer.

William Allen was both the former mayor of Philadelphia and a one of the powerful & richest men from Philadelphia. To make a long story short, Allentown's very existence came about as a result of Philadelphia's urban sprawl.

Now let's take a look at the nation as a whole. From the very beginning of the United States people began leaving Eastern cities heading West. Cities started being born everywhere to the West. Small towns grew into ever expanding cities. As railroads began connecting Eastern cities together in the early 1800's. They too then began to expand ever Westward. By 1869 the first transcontinental links were made. Talk about urban sprawl!

Railroads were the modern means of transportation at the time. Railroads allowed people living in the outskirts to receive supplies and transportation to and from the bigger cities. You might even say they were forerunners to what this nation's modern high speed highways are to us today.

As some urban theorists get all bent out of shape complaining about today's ever expanding highway network and the cars on them, the railroads had their own nimby's detractors. I'm sure the Wells Fargo Stagecoach aficionados were just as nimby with the encroaching railroads as today's mass transit enthusiasts are with the cars and highways of today. Therefore, those who opine for urban density and mass transit have been losing the battle for over 300 years.

Hess's isn't coming back. The railroads aren't coming back and neither are the urban economic centers the way they once were. I may be accused of being old fashioned and stubborn, but even I can see the nose in front of my face. No one can change historical facts.

Proponents who argue for urban density and mass transit should reevaluate their positions given the history of the United States. Americans love urban sprawl since the early 1700's. No amount of subsidies or grants are ever going to change the historically based behavior of Americans.

These philosophers tell us that we've been wrongly subsidizing the suburban areas. Could it just be the other way around?

If you took every one of the surrounding townships and small municipalities. Added up every dime of state and federal grants and subsidies. Combine them all together, they still wouldn't equal what just any one of the three major cities alone received in Lehigh County last year.

We've built taxpayer subsidized arts centers, offices, gambling casinos, sports complexes, transit systems, restaurants and dozens of other ventures in attempt to lure suburbanites back into town. When is it time to review the outcome of these many failed attempts over the last decade?

Like it or not, cities everywhere in the U.S. are withering on the vine. If it were not for the heavy burden of tax supported subsides, would cities even exist?

I used the term wither on the vine" as a metaphor for what I'm about to say. Had cities been left on their own, they would have withered. No matter how much fertilizer or water is applied, once a plant has come to the end of it's cycle they're usefulness has come to an end. Much the same with large cities no matter how disagreeable that may sound to some. Crumbling pipes, buildings and infrastructure should be heeded as a sure sign that they too have come to the end of their useful life.

Not All Is Doom & Gloom
We see examples all around us of vacated properties where manufacturing and empty homes now stand. Had the land been cleared, planted with grass, trees and left empty, we'd not only have a greener environment, but one less dense. The very thing that draws more affluent suburban dwellers throughout America's history. Instead we heavily subsidize these to re-urbanize them once again. This is the very thing that caused problems in the first place. Had we instead exercised patience through time to allow the natural order of things, these urban areas would eventually become suburbanized much like the sought after areas by the middle and wealthy.

We can continue to channel mass amounts of taxpayers' money into bus and train transportation. Funnel unspeakable amounts of taxpayers' money chasing after some social urban idealistic venture. Or we can acknowledge historically Americans always had preferences that run counter to this.

Allentown's citizens, who lived here all their lives, lament subsidized housing has led to this city's woes. How much more so the problem has now been compounded when we do the very same thing yet again. This time with millions taxpayer dollars used to subsidize wealthy commercial developers instead. Have we learned nothing from history?

Everyone needs to step back and take a deep breath. The time is long overdue to revaluate what works and what doesn't?

Paul Harvey: "Letter From God"

Today's corporate owned radio is full of trash talking gas bags. Where are the professional well spoken radio legends like Paul Harvey was in his day?

Where are the rational voices that so once inspired us in TV, movies & radio?

Kennedy-Healthcare Déjà vu

JFK Madison Square Garden (May 1962)
"A Rally of 3 Generations"
Part 1

Part 2

The same song they're singing against "Healthcare" today.

President John F. Kennedy wanted Medicare, but Dr. Edward Annis opposed single payer health care for the elderly.

The night after JFK held the Medicare rally in Madison Square Garden, the AMA rented the empty Garden for Dr. Annis to deliver his rebuttal, opposing "socialized" medicine for the elderly.

"What we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history."
~George Bernard Shaw~

The Way It Was

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery.If you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor"

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot. They "didnt have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.

Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell . .. . brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat.

They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old..

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

Even if only 1/2 of this is true, makes for good reading

You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop

JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO.

DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded, "Does that include those who are buried here?"

DeGaulle did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.

During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

You could have heard a pin drop.

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.

At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, 'Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically...

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."

The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."

"Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France !"

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.."

You could have heard a pin drop.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Light Rail Used To Be In The Lehigh Valley

From the 'been there, done that' department...

Wikipedia: "Lehigh Valley Transit Company"
Service ended in June 1953

The Easton Line from Allentown to Easton via Bethlehem

Video Courtesy of "LVT812"


The videos are available at The Rockhill Trolley Museum

The old Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Car 1030 is still alive and
running at The Seashore Trolley Museum (Kennebunkport, Maine)

Video Courtesy "1711and14"

Also Visit:
"The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum"
Washington, Pa. (30 miles Southwest of Pittsburgh)
They have about 50 trolleys


Overpopulation- Trouble Ahead

Reposted from October 23, 2011

Crowded Earth: World Population set to hit seven billion, "On October 31, the world’s population is officially scheduled to hit seven billion — a rise of two billion in less than a quarter century."The problem is not so much the extraordinary number of humans, but rather how we're managing our Earth's resources.

Naysayers label people who warn of the dire consequences of ignoring nature's warning signs as a bunch of "environmental wackos" who are attempting to subversively "social engineer" some form of political extremism. The facts are however that Earth does not have unlimited capacity.

Think of Earth as a "fish tank" for human life. Because that's what it is. The air we breath is contained by the upper layers of atmosphere. Air can be mucked up faster then Earth can filter pollutants out. Same with water, the land and just about anything else we need to live. We can extract too many minerals and fossil fuels at too fast a rate. It takes Earth millions of years to replenish.

Imagine what happens when you put too many fish in a tank w/o having the proper filtering equipment or enough untarnished healthy fish food. That pretty much is what this Earth is all about when it comes to the fate of us humans on this blue marble container in space we call home. Fish can't survive outside the tank and neither can we.

Another way to think about this is to compare the Earth to a living being. This is the way many ancient cultures did. Inside all of us bacteria thrive. They need our bodies to sustain themselves as much as we need them. W/O a healthy balance between the two, both become sick and die. Ergo the Earth along with it's humans as well.

The problem facing us is NOT so much regarding the number of humans. It is how we use our skills in order to sustain ourselves as our Earthly population grows.

For instance by avoiding building our McMansions & warehouses on once fertile croplands and orchards for the much needed growing of food stuffs in the future.

Another would be by restraining our use of nature's limited energy resources through more efficient equipment design or alternative means or better yet by the combination of the two.

Still others are * Avoid over fishing via less consumption

* Over packaging generates needless garbage
For one, think plastic bottles

* Eat less meat products.
Meat requires 16 lbs of grain just to produce 1 pound of meat.

* Energy efficient lighting
LED's use 1/10th the power a incandescent bulb consumes
I could list countless other ways, but those are a few of the top ways we each can reduce our own personal consumption of Earth's resources.

Many will continue to say this is all BS. Call me a 'greenie', but I can not understand how anyone could not apply common logic to all of this. The Earth's ability to refresh itself in order to sustain life is limited. Our ability to repopulate, over use resources and mucky up the air, water and dirt is not. Something has to give.

Whether anyone wants to agree or not, the future will come.. with or without us being part of the equation. One need look no further then the millions of stars where life does not and cannot exist. In the big scheme of things we humans are just not that important to the universe. If we humans don't give a hoot about our own future existence, why should it?

You can argue with me, but you can't argue with scientific fact. We humans and our planet are an abnormality surrounded by a inhospitable 14 billion old universe.

North Dakota's Oil Boom (The Good/The Bad)

Reposted From November 28, 2010

A look at drilling and it's impact on North Dakota--
"Ghost Town to Boom Town"

This covers regular drilling as well as "fracking" and how it affects residents in local communities plus their views about it. Both the good and the bad.

Posted: Nov. 28, 2010- 23:16 Minutes

(Video Courtesy Al Jeezera)

Broadway A Look Back: 'Minnie's Boys'

According to the Internet Broadway Database this On-Broadway musical played at the Imperial Theatre, (3/26/1970 - 5/30/1970)

There were a total of 64 previews and only 80 performances.

"Minnie's Boys" starring Shelly Winters was considered a Broadway flop because it lasted liitle more then two months on Broadway. It opened on March 26, 1970 and ended it run May 30, 1970.

The musical was based on a behind-the-scenes look at the early days of the Marx Brothers and their mother's strong determination for her boys.

None the less I think the musical score was outstanding and put together a musical compilation video I hope you will enjoy.

The album is now considered a collector's item that sells for up to $50

Samuel French still rents the script for this musical

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pirated Music

Reposted From June 11, 2011
Updated On March 26, 2013

Pirated Music.. It's as old as I am

In 2006 the headlines shouted,
"RIAA seeks to shut down entire internet by criminalizing all file sharing"

Then in March of this year hackers retaliated against the RIAA,
"Hackers Shut Down Music Industry Website Over $75 Trillion Lawsuit"

What many of my younger readers may not realize this battle has been raging since Friday, March 27, 1964 when 'Radio Caroline' first signed on the air 50,000 watts strong. The largest transmission power allowed in U.S. on the AM band.

The studio & transmitters were installed on a ship 3 miles off the coast of England. It was just out of range of legal authorities (or so they believed).

Before then Britain's kids had nearly no exposure to Rock & Roll like we here in America since the early 50's. They were hungry for this. Therefore the ship broadcasts of 'Radio Caroline' thrived on and off for 25 years.

The ship you see above is the MV Ross Revenge. It played host to 'Radio Caroline' starting in 1983. It was a converted fishing trawler. They used this ship after it's original ship, the Mi Amigo, sank in 1980 nearly drowning all those aboard. It was the last ship they broadcasted from.

The ships of 'Radio Caroline' were around from 1964 until the second ship was boarded. The equipment was either smashed or confiscated in 1989 by authorities.

'Radio Caroline' has been off the air and back on several times since that time. Currently they can be no longer found on the satellite SKY CHANNEL 0199. However according to their current website, they are still on the air on the 'Eurobird' satellite.

Will there ever be an end of 'Radio Caroline'?

Maybe, maybe not. They are like the mythical bird of the Greeks, 'the phoenix' ever returning.

Now here's a few clips that showcase this legendary radio station.

A Sad Tribute Song To The Orginal Ship That 'Radio Caroline' Broadcasted From

The 'Radio Caroline' Story

The Johnnie Walker Show- Radio Caroline 1968

Radio Caroline is Silenced - August 1989

See Wikipedia: "Radio Caroline"
Pictures of 'Radio Caroline' (1983-1989)

So you see music piracy is not something new. The legal battle between the recording industry and those who pirate musical recordings rages on to this very day.

But there never will be a battle the likes of the legendary 'Radio Caroline'.

Grand Rapids, The City That Refuses To Die

"This Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed Sunday, May 22, 2011 with 5,000 people, and involved a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take offs. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date.

This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a "dying city." We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city.

We felt Don McLean's "American Pie," a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope." - Rob Bliss, Director & Executive Producer

This $40,000 production was entirely financed by the generosity of local sponsors"

A 'One Take' video with no edits

Video Courtesy SEF video (Grand Rapids)

This video cost the city $0.
The $40,000 video was privately financed and has been seen by 5,140,204 and still counting.

Attention Allentown:
This is how you sell a city. You create a video that goes viral!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Entitlement Propaganda

I wasn't sure how to title this post nor how in depth I should go. For those with a short attention span I will begin by summarizing.

Currently there is an enormous effort being made to confuse the difference between what citizens are entitled to versus what could be considered discretionary spending. First of all entitlements are just that. It means you pay into something, therefore your entitled to it.

I will highlight this discussion to Social Security versus defense spending since they are the largest two budget items although the two are separate. Defense spending comes from a completely different budget. The budget for the defense department is not entitlement spending. While there is still an argument for spending on our defense needs being necessary, it still doesn't make it an entitlement. No one has a separate tax deduction on their paycheck to pay for it. Therefore I consider the Defense Department budget something entirely separate and consider it discretionary spending.

Social Security expenses in 2012 were $773.247 Billion . Social Security took in $837.827 Billion. In other words S.S. took in $64.58 Billion more then it spent. S.S. assets for 2011 were $ 2.653336 trillion. In 2012 it's assets were $2.717916 Billion. In short S.S. currently has almost $3 trillion more it took in from taxpayers then what is has spent thus far. I do realize this scenario will change in the coming years, but let's confine this discussion to the current moment.


In short, people are making payments to Social Security which has a current surplus of nearly $3 trillion. The defense department on the other hand is draining the general budget of the United States nearly $600 billion this year. Why are we even talking about two separate budget items? One which Social Security produced a multi trillion dollar surplus. The other, the general budget which has nearly a trillion dollar deficit for 2013?

If one is looking to make cuts shouldn't it be on the budget that's dragging taxpayers down and not the one that pays for itself and even generates a surplus? How on God's green Earth can anyone call entitlements such as Social Security something that folks should feel guilt about receiving? Hence why I named this post 'Entitlement Propaganda'.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now for the unabridged details....

How much do we spend on defense?
It depends who you ask. The annual budget requests for defense was:US$530.1 billion (2010)
US$549.1 billion (2011)
US$553.0 billion (2012)
However there were additional funding requests made to Congress that totaled a near $672 billion after all was said and done. Granted sequestration will require cutting $50 billion a year from the Pentagon budget for the next 10 years. However Congress can enacted special funding requests that could offset that for many years to come.

Here are a few items to consider. We currently have 10 Nimitz class aircraft carriers. We're supposed to have 11. In 2015 a new class of carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class will be added to bring the fleet up to the level of 11. It and each of the Nimitz class cost about $13.5 billion each. It costs about $6.5 million per day to operate each carrier strike group. Which consists of five surface combatants, and one fast-attack submarine, plus the nearly 6,700 men and women to crew them.

Each carrier has about 90 aircraft which consist of helicopters and primarily F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and F/A-18C Hornets. Introduced in 1999 the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets cost $66.9 million apiece (about 500 were built). Introduced in 1983 the F/A-18C Hornets: cost $29–57 million (2006 figures). About 1,480 of them were built.

Each carrier is expected to be in service for 50 years. However they need to dock in port for maintenance every 6 to 11 months. They also require a complex overhaul about every 25 years which can last up to 44 months. This cost between $750 to $900 million. Recently some Congressional members have questioned, considering today's satellite and missile technology, that they may vulnerable.

Lest you think I'm singling out carriers alone when it comes to defense spending...* At Least $8 Billion in Iraq Rehab Funds Lost To Waste, Fraud

* Pentagon Watchdog Doubts Army Needs New M4 Carbine that comes with price tag of $1.8 billion

* Department of Defense Plans to Order 650,000 iOS Devices.. According to the DOD, it will have 8 million smartphones in service over the next three years.. Department of Defense for classified data handling are modified for enhanced security with components that can quadruple their final cost.

* $1.5 million on a new type of beef jerky

25 More Things The Government Waste Money On

SEE ALSO this article which says, "In 2012, the GAO produced a 428-page study that outlines inconceivable duplication, overlap, and fragmentation which can be cut back to save over $360 billion every single year!"


Everyone should clearly see, before we even consider cuts to entitlements (things we already paid for with a surplus in advance), there are a ton of other things that could be reduced. I find it unconscionable that these items should not be considered long before we even think about reductions to our 'paid for' safety net to spend on what I consider discretionary items. While Social Security will need to be adjusted to make it work, it shouldn't be slashed to pay for things it was never intended. If someone can't see that, there's little else that can be said.

Elvis Drafted Today

March 25th, 1958

Freestyle Musicians

With emphasis on FREE

One of the mistakes Musikfest and other festivals make is when they bring in "brand-named" musicians. "Brand-Named" are those that are more costly because they are signed to large record labels.

Artists who are commercialized tend to create their music within marketable confines. They are those who measure their success based in how much money is at stake.

When festivals start looking at the bottom line, they tend to forget why a festival of music was created in the first place. Bigger isn't always better.

How refreshing to visit a place like ccMixter. "ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.

Remixers If you’re into sampling, remixing and mash-ups grab the sample packs and a cappellas for download and you can upload your version back into ccMixter, for others to enjoy and re-sample. All legal."
Isn't that what artistry is supposed to be all about?
The free flow of creativity.

I understand it's always nice to make a living off one's music. However, when does the marketable product overshadow the artist's creative inspirations?

Cruise around ccMixter if your really into musical discovery of all genre of musical writers and performers.

All of them FREE!

Many of which are more talented then some artists people pay big buck$ to see. These folks are performing for the love of music.

Sometimes with a performer's success comes the label requirements to produce compositions. Even when artists feel little inspiration for doing so.

Here is no finer example of (that not being the case) then when a amateur video maker like kathmandau creates a video. Then uses a tune composed by a ccMixter member Alex Beroza, that then AdmiralBob creates lyrics and solos on.

Super professional sounding, no?

For anyone who just loves to explore: Here are a few to get you started.

Sometimes a singer has to sing his song,
even if no one is listening.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

'Playing For Change'

Playing For Change Foundation
Dedicated to creating positive change through music & arts education
"From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe."
"Stand By Me"

"A decade ago a small group of documentary filmmakers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has blossomed into a global sensation called Playing For Change, a project including musicians of every level of renown, that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

...Out of these discoveries, the Playing For Change Foundation was born and made its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so. The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to the fundamental idea that peace and change are possible through the universal language of music."
SEE ALSO: Playing For


2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner (VIDEOS)

Saturday Night, April 28, 2012
President Obama's Remarks

Jimmy Kimmel's Remarks

Both Videos Courtesy of "C-Span"

Chief Jay Strongbow Dead

Reposted From April 9, 2012

by Murph the Surf | NATIONAL ENQUIRER

"Joe Scarpa, who became one of the best-known professional wrestlers of the 1970s and ’80s after he took on the persona of Chief Jay Strongbow, an American Indian whose war dance foretold the downfall of many opponents, died last Tuesday (04/03/2012)"

Video Courtesy "WWE"

Marshall Amp Inventor Died

Reposted From April 9, 2012

"We once built 80 dummy cabinets for Bon Jovi. They all do it -- it's just backdrop. It would be stupid to use more than three 100-watt amps, wherever and whoever you are."

Wikipedia: Jim Marshall

FCC Allows New Community Radio Stations

Repostd From March 21, 2012:
UPDATED on March 24, 2013

"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision issued clears the runway for hundreds of new community radio stations that broadcast on low-power FM signals, bringing progressive, community voices to urban areas that have for decades only known what’s being broadcast by major corporations and America’s political right...

These [new, low power] stations can only be licensed to non-profit organizations, and you can only have one per customer...

Instead of slowly grinding down thousands of repeater station applications that leave no room for community radio, the FCC essentially threw most of those applications away by limiting who can apply."

Here's a list of 72 radio stations in the Lehigh Valley listening area (along with links to them)

Another list of currently 'vacant' channels in the Lehigh Valley area.

A list of Community radio stations in the United States (by call letters)