Thursday, August 31, 2023

LV Environment Bad Now.. You think?


The good ole' days!

I've been reading the local negative concerns regarding the quality of our parks, air and water. In my mind the glass is much more full then empty.

I certainly am aware with the huge growth in our neighboring suburbs there are environmental concerns that need be addressed. However, let use take a look back into just 62 years or so (over my lifetime) and see if we are less or more environmental sound.

Back when I was growing up, Allentown had a central city coal fired steam heat plant installed which heated many buildings downtown. As far as efficiency, well efficiency wasn't exactly something high on the scale of priorities. In the winter many streets didn't need plowing. The heat emanating from those steam pipes beneath melted a great number of blocks around Hamilton Street.

The way a city heating customer adjusted their heat was by raising or lowering a window. What's a thermostat?

The central steam plant was installed in 1888 and was in use till 1968. It was located at 23 South Hall Street. It was "coal" fired and had no pollution equipment what-so-ever.

Those who were not served by city heat mainly relied on coal. Trains delivering coal from up North would arrive at various coal storage yards throughout the city to unload. From there coal trucks plied the streets delivering coal down the chutes into 1,000's of basement coal bins.

The remaining cinders (coal ash) after the city burnt them were stored to later be spread on city streets in the winter. Just about every homeowner as well saved buckets of coal to put on their sidewalks. Before the snow throwers, shovelers used coal ash to finish the job on driveways.

I grew up on SW 27th street at the foot of S. Mtn. What we had out in front of our house was a dirt road. All of them were over there were at one time. In the winter coal cinders (ash) was used on them.

In the summer the city would come once or twice and spray oil on the roadways to keep the dust down. That's right, good old black petroleum muck with a good dose of used crankcase oil mixed in.

We open burned the trash and the leaves too!

Let's talk about water & sewer. We had a cistern where rainwater from the roof would flow into it from our downspouts. Now we chose to boil all our drinking water and were just fine. The neighbor in back didn't. As a result they wound up with a case of worms and on another occasion boils on their skin. Rather then boil water their solution was bleach. Gallons and gallons monthly they added to their water.

Then there's the sewer side. What sewer? Before septic tanks many of these homes just dug a big hole. In it they would throw rocks and then trench it out at the top as an overflow. You knew when it was full when the overflow trench leached up and emerged from below. Some would call honeydippers to come scoop them out. Others just hand dug a new hole somewhere else on their property. Few had concrete septic tanks.

In some other outlying areas those fortunate enough to live closer to the creeks and streams just ran a waste pipe from their toilets into them. Never mind farmer Joe downstream probably tapped into this same creek for his family's water supply. Still there were others who had wells were not too far down from someone else's septic field.

Oh by the way we too had a coal furnace.

Allentown, just like many other communities used to own the city garbage trucks. Allentown's trucks ended up on Allentown's Basin Street where the city incinerator would then burn the garbage they collected. Many cities around here had them as well. These trucks would back up to a hole in the second floor and dump into the flames below. As a kid, when I looked into the roaring fire below I thought it was hell. Nope, no chimney pollution equipment here either.

Now let's focus on the burgs. Just North of Allentown in areas like Bath, Whitehall, Cementon, etc. we had lots and lots of cement plants. You knew where they were because entire towns were coated in cement dust. Further North Coal dust was the order of the day.

Lest we forget good old New Jersey zinc down in Center Valley or it's smelting operations up in Palmerton. All of the above which either blew in the wind or were washed downstream.

The steel plant in Bethlehem used 100,000's gallons a water a day. Think about the three or four thousand workers that used the toilet facilities etc. Then perhaps one of you local historians out there may be able to find where Bethlehem's Steels' water treatment facility was located.

I say this in jest because I don't think they had one. But one thing I am certain, if you ask anyone who lived in Hellertown down by the old coke plant, the air wasn't sweet!

Also in the burgs at one time we had tons of farms. As a kid we'd swim in a creek in Macungie. It didn't even occur to us just upstream there was a cow pasture until our feet sank in cow poop two feet deep at the bottom. Talk about your nitrogen levels, but the sunnies (fish) just seemed to thrive in it.

Art (my friend) doubted that it was poop. He insisted rather optimistically that it was mud. It took Dave to scoop up a couple of handfuls from the bottom and heave them at us to make us conclude.. yep that's poop alright!

The area also had a number of pig farms as well that sold to the former A&B meats. Things weren't too sweet down wind from the numerous chicken & turkey farms either! Especially in Spring when farmers used to "spread" their fields.

Then there were the many area orchards that were spraying DDT into the air. Thusly the runoff from them into area creeks.

The state highway department for years used "agent orange" to kill the weeds alongside the local highways. Hey who knew!

Fortunately for us we had far fewer people then today. If we hadn't made the environmental progress we did, one can only imagine. Because of water lines and sewers, pollution equipment and the de-industrialization we fare much better then just 60 short years ago.

Can we use some more tweaking? Absolutely.

But if today's generation thinks this area was pristine and needs to be restored to what it once was, they are quite misinformed. While all is not perfect, it's certainly not an immediate crises.

Sometimes this valley just needs us old farts around to explain things.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Mitch McConnell Freezes Again Today (08/30/2023) During Kentucky Press Conference

This is his second time.

Several congress members have stayed around beyond their expiration dates.
90 year old confused Sen. Feinstein also comes to mind. She and Biden as well.

A longer less edited version

Kid Shows I Watched Growing Up


I was in my single digit years old when some of these shows aired. I was weaned on the likes of these.

It was called quality programming. Something we no longer see on Saturday mornings for today's kids. They weren't juiced up cartoons featuring cartoon characters doing amazing feats of unrealistic fantasy. Unbeknownst to us, at the time, they we not only entertaining but educating us at the same time.

Like Gene London

Wee Willie Webber

Sally Starr

My Uncle used to play in Sally's band when she did personal appearances

Chief Halftown

One of my favorites on Saturday afternoons was Dr. Shock Theatre

Happy The Clown
June 1955

Pinky Lee

Soupy Sales

And so, so many more. There was Rin Tin Tin, Fury, Sky King, Howdy Doody Time, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie and others.

I suppose the point to made here is that kids today have unrealistic expectations because of the current crop of Saturday mornings shows. Shows which feature super heroes doing fantastic out-of-this-world unrealistic things. Whereas these programs back then featured real people. Real kids. Doing simplistic real things in the real world in which they live.

Corny as they were, there's just something about them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Immigration: Yesterday-Today


It seems no matter what we are taught, history is constantly being rewritten.

We've been told in history class how the "lady in NY harbor" stood as a welcoming beacon for the poor, tired, hungry and those oppressed in their home country. We are told of how these were embraced by Americans when they arrived on our shores. We are lead to believe God blessed this country because of our high ideals and values for all humanity.

Overlooking and disregarding the American Indian and the African slaves thing for the moment... According to an Associated Press article published on August 16, 2010: "A Mass grave in Pa., unearthed bones that show the murder of Irish immigrant rail workers.

57 Irish immigrants began grueling work in the summer of 1832 on the Philadelphia and Columbia railroad. Within weeks, all were dead of cholera.

Or were they murdered?"
I already understood how well the railroad building to the West worked out for black slaves and the Asians, but now we apparently have this thing right in our own backyard.

Many of us already knew the Irish didn't make out too well in the coal mines. It now appears, laboring to build the railroads wasn't a hoot either!
(Left click on pix to enlarge)

I already knew the Italians and the Jewish didn't make out so hot when they got off the boat either.

Say.. who the hell do we like!

What's the point of all this?
History is supposed to teach us something.

By reviewing what has gone before, we should be able to deal with today's problems more effectively. This concerning both how we treat people and those peoples who provide their labors to this country.

We should be able to build our nation on a stronger more solid foundation. Become a nation more compassionate. More united, stronger. To evolve as a race of human beings, who you would think be, steeped in knowledge acquired by failed transgressions from earlier periods in our American history.

Now here we are in 2013 holding the same animosity against Muslims, Mexicans and other Hispanics as we once did with the Irish, Jews & Italians. Satirically speaking, it's nice to see America's made so much progress.

(video courtesy duhong831)

Monday, August 28, 2023

Ernest Hemmingway


Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ernest Hemmingway was quite a character. He had four wives. He was an avid fisherman and went on a safari in Africa which nearly killed him when his plane crashed. He had permanent residences in Cuba and Key West, Florida.

My interest in Hemmingway was aroused when we toured his home in Key West. The tour guides weren't stuffy and seemed to share pretty much the ironic stories that made this man unique.

As you tour his house in Key West you will come across a garden with a beautiful china basin filled with water in which many dozens of cats drink from. Well it turns out it actually is the urinal from the first 'Sloppy Joe's Bar'. He took it home for his garden.

The other story involves the pool. His second wife Pauline, whom he married in 1927, had it built as a surprise for him when he returned home. None the too pleased he admonished her spending habits. He declared that she might as well take every cent he has. Supposedly Ernest took a penny from his pocket and handed to her.

If you tour the home today you will see that very penny now embedded in the concrete around the pool. Pauline had put it there as a bit of spiteful humor for his lack of gratefulness.

If you ever get down to Key West, a tour of his home is a must.

Video Courtesy mkayreagan

In 1959 he moved to Ketchum, Idaho where he committed suicide less then two years later in 1961.

Taking note of this date Marty Beckerman, author of "The Heming Way", wrote a piece for entitled, "What Hemingway Would Think of the Internet?"

It's a satirical short read you might enjoy.

Annualy in July Key West holds their Hemmingway look-alike contest


Sunday, August 27, 2023

Doctor Legends (Humor)


1. A man comes into the ER and yells, "My wife's going to have her baby in the cab." I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's dress and began to take off her underwear. Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs and I was in the wrong one.

2. At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall. 'Big breaths, I instructed. "Yes, they used to be", replied the patient.

3. One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a "massive internal fart."

4. During a patient's two week follow-up appointment with his cardiologist, he informed me, his doctor, that he was having trouble with one of his medications. Which one I asked. "The patch?" The Nurse told me to put on a new one every six hours and now I'm running out of places to put it. I had him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn't see. Yes, the man had over fifty patches on his body! Now, the instructions include removal of the old patch before applying a new one.

5. While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient I asked, "How long have you been bedridden?" After a look of complete confusion she answered, "Why, not for about twenty years - when my husband was still alive."

6. I was performing rounds at the hospital one morning and while checking up on a man I asked, "So how's your breakfast this morning?" “It's very good except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste,” Bob replied. I then asked to see the jelly and Bob produced a foil packet labeled 'KY Jelly.'

7. A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room when a young woman with purple hair styled into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing, entered. It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for immediate surgery. When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green and above it there was a tattoo that read, "Keep off the grass." Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's dressing, which said, "Sorry had to mow the lawn."

8. As a new, young MD doing his residency in OB. I was quite embarrassed when performing female pelvic exams. To cover my embarrassment I had unconsciously formed a habit of whistling softly. The middle-aged lady upon whom I was performing this exam suddenly burst out laughing and further embarrassing me. I looked up from my work and sheepishly said, "I'm sorry. Was I tickling you?" She replied with tears running down her cheeks from laughing so hard, " No doctor but the song you were whistling was "I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener."


Baby's First Doctor Visit
A woman and a baby were in the doctor's examining room, waiting for the doctor to come in for the baby's first exam. The doctor arrived, and examined the baby, checked his weight, and being a little concerned, asked if the baby was breast-fed or bottle-fed. "Breast-fed", she replied. "Well, strip down to your waist", the doctor ordered. She did. He pinched her nipples, pressed, kneaded, and rubbed both breasts for a while in a very professional and detailed examination. Motioning to her to get dressed, the doctor said, "No wonder this baby is underweight. You don't have any milk. "I know",' she said, "I'm his Grandma, But I'm glad I came."

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Bethlehem: Steel A Look Back


Anyone ever experience the blast furnace at the Bethlehem Steel?

The tapping of blast furnace 'C' at Bethlehem Steel taken in the 1990s

Notice in the video, what little protection men wore?

While I never worked the blast furnace, my brother used to for a short while. He took part in the tapping of it. He hated it. However during the best month he ever had, he received a $1,000 bonus one month. Even though he wore an asbestos-like suit he still had burn marks from time to time. HOT AS HELL ITSELF!

Later my brother considered it to be both a blessing and relief when he was able to transfer down to the coke fields in Hellertown. It paid less, but the job conditions better suited him.

A PBNE switcher takes slag cars to the slag dump where they are dumped by a crane

Interesting story is if the guys took a cup of water and dumped it into a ingot before steel was pouring into it.. that water would explode! So they had to make sure ingot cars were completely dry after a rain.

Taken in 1992, it shows the filling of hot metal cars with iron at the blast furnace at Bethlehem Steel

As for my days at shop #413 (alloy roller mills & soaking pit) at the steel.. I only lasted 30 days and I quit. I'm such a PUSSY !!

All videos courtesy "Steel Man Jules"

* Bethlehem Steel, with its fleet of 26 ships, was the Panama Canal's second-best customer in 1940, having paid more than $1 million in tolls.

* The company was employing more than 100,000 and earning profits of more than $100 million annually

* The company had a police force larger than the city of Bethlehem's.

* Up until the 1940s wages and working conditions in the plant had been oppressive. When workers walked out, the company would call in billy-club-swinging mounted state police troopers to quash picketers. There were brutal working hours, bribery and favoritism in the 1930s. Work was six days a week, double shifts and they had no vacations

* During WWII as much as 70% of all airplane cylinder forgings, one-quarter of the armor plate for warships, and one-third of the big cannon forgings for the U.S armed forces were turned out by Bethlehem Steel. The company built nearly one-fifth of the U.S. Navy's two-ocean fleet.
Source For The Information Above: Bethlehem Pa Online

Thursday, August 24, 2023

A Silly Intelligence Test


There are 4 questions.

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
Stop and think about it and decide on your answer before you scroll down.

The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door.
This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2 How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?
Wrong Answer.
Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant, and close the door.
This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals
Attend .... Except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct Answer: The Elephant.
The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there.
This tests your memory.
Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly,
you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.

4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and
You do not have a boat. How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across.
Have you not been listening?
All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting.
This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

If all this weren't frustrating enough !

Talk About Making A Monkey Out Of Oneself..

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Past, Present And Future Allentown


Excerpts from the book "Past, Present And Future of the City of Allentown" published under the Auspices of the "Board Of Trade" in 1886. The book is housed at 'Columbia University's School of Business NY, NY.

Drawing some parallels from history
In Chapter 1, on the very first page, I found it interesting to note that in 1886, "All new industries are exempted from taxation for ten years." About all I can say the more things change, the more the stay the same. Today's city planners aren't doing anything more orginal then what Allentown was doing 125 years ago. Not exactly cutting edge is it?

Difference is, Allentown wasn't cutting NIZ checks to them !

Chapter 2 began with addressing urban sprawl. Course they were seeking farms back then rather then McMansions. "Every human tide, since the first human wave, began flowing westward, has followed the course of streams in search of fertile acres."

Originally in 1761 James Allen (son of William Allen) laid out plans for the town, "He laid it out from Fourth to Tenth streets, but concentrated nearly all his architectural efforts around the present Lehigh Street."

Chapter 3 discusses, amongst other things, the naming of the streets. "Hamilton Street was called after Governor Andrew Hamilton whose daughter you will remember, was James Allen's mother."

"The road from Easton to Reading.. Union and Jackson streets"

"The other ran from Bake-Oven Knob out through the present Seventh street past Helfrich's Springs."
The rest of the chapter describes the calamities that befell Allentown, devastating fires and floods around 1848. The fires woke Allentown up for a need for a fire department as contributions poured in from as far a way as New Orleans to help Allentown rebuild.

Chapter 4 Begins by talking about Allentown's 'inns" (bars).. "the father crowding in a tavern in every nook and corner where one would fit. Indeed , in the morning of our civic existence tavern-keeping was the chief local industry.... six taverns of the early village with it's 350 inhabitants in 1776..."

The book spoke nothing of 'nuisance bars'. :-)

~~ At this point I'm going to just skip a whole lot ~~.

The first store traded in "miscellaneous wares" in 1794. By trade, I mean "trade". "It wasn't considered the correct thing to pay cash... The transaction usually was a ridged exchange."

The first Mayor of Allentown was elected May 1, 1867, a Republican candidate Samuel McHose. Chapter 6 goes into detail describing each of the first several Mayors.

Chapter 8 goes into length discussing the ethic makeup of Allentown in the 1800's.

"Prior to 1802 we used to be obliged to journey to Bethlehem for our mail." It turns out an enterprising tavern owner saw an opportunity. People would then come to his tavern (bar) to pick up their mail

It can be argued that Allentown's first newspaper was the "Unabhaengiger Republikaner" ("Adjudicator Republican") published July 1810. Chapter 14 details Allentown numerous early press journalists and other papers.

Chapter 16 says The city of Allentown owed on it's debt $385,990.04 on Jan. 1, 1886. In 1886 Lehigh County was 100% debt free. Allentown's tax rates on homes was 6.5 mills. Today Allentown's is 50.38 on the land your house sits on and 10.72 mills on your house.

The richest ward in 1886 was the 5th ward and the poorest was the 8th ward. Kind of like a flip flop over what it is today.

Today's 5th ward is around the 6th street area between Hamilton and Liberty streets. Today's 8th ward is one of the biggest. It's in the area to the West of Mauch Chunk Road to 17th street. Downward past Highland Cemetery to Gordon Street. Then East to 7th Street bordered by Sumner Ave.

Rent was about $7.50 a month for a two story 5 room house. Most residents paid rent no higher then $18 a month.Good for today's landlords that Allentown, unlike today's New York, didn't put rent control in at that time. :-)The homes themselves were worth between $2,000 and $4,000.

The Allentown Bank came into existence on August 27, 1855. It had $100,000 of capital on hand. By 1886 it had $500,000 with a contingency fund of $100,000. The 'Lehigh Valley Trust And Safe Deposit Company' opened for business on Sept. 20, 1886. It started out with a capital of $250,000.

It was from that point forward, because of these banks, that Allentown headed into it's glory years of manufacturing. This was a departure from depending entirely on farming and mining up until that time.

Chapter 14 begins the many manufacturing companies that followed after 1855 (establishment of the Allentown Bank) till Chapter 56 (the end of the book ). It extensively names them with a great many details up until 1886 (the date of the book's publication).

All 168 pages can be read here on Google books
(The book itself was published by the "Daily Chronicle And News", 638 Hamilton Street.

Trump Is Skipping GOP Debate For Good Reason

Why is it no one seems to see the obvious?

It's very obvious to me the debate would be a setup. Any one of his opponents under wise legal council would throw Trump a legal jeopardizing curve ball. Thus placing him in further legal jeopardy with his upcoming trials. One slip of the tongue and POW, another legal charge against him from prosecutors. Well that's one way of them trying to eliminate their political opponent

In short the others running would serve as several prosecutors grilling him as if on a witness stand. Each trying to get him to incriminate himself.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Feb. 07, 2013- Mississippi Officially Abolishes Slavery


Official State Flag Until 2020

Mississippi finally got around to "officially" filing their state's ratification of the 13th Amendment.

The 13th Amendment took effect on December 6th 1865 (148 years ago) for most everyone else. Mississippi claimed there was some sort of legal snafu since 1995 when the Mississippi legislators first approved the measure.

The question is why did it take Mississippi 130 years to first pass this measure in 1995?

This is also comes 205 years after Thomas Jefferson signed a law against the importation of slaves on March 2, 1807.

(Two other late comers were the states of Delaware in 1901 and Kentucky in 1976)

Sunday, August 20, 2023

The U.S. Was First In Technological Advancement: FALSE!


American pride leads us to believe we have become the most scientifically advanced nation solely in every way via our superior educational system and intellectual prowess. Really?

Here's a few things to ponder. While our space program is bar none the tops, it didn't come out of thin air. After the war many German rocket scientist fled/recruited/forced to join The United States space program. Giving us a leg up over the Russians.

Wernher von Braun although best known, was not the only one who became part of what became known as 'Operation Paperclip'. So without the boost by German scientists we would not be where we are today.

Many of us are aware of this. However, few are aware that our current "stealth fighters" came about as a direct result of 1944 German ingenuity. The picture you see above is actually a 1944 Horten Ho 2-29 designed by the Nazis some 30+ years before we Americans developed flying wing type of radar-invisible stealth technology!

Fortunately for us the carbon fiber composites, required by today's F-117A Nighthawk stealth aircraft, were not yet invented. However it was able to fly almost undetected by radar from Berlin to NYC and back without refueling. The Ho 2-29 was to be powered by BMW 003 jet engines invented by Hans Von Ohain of Germany.

Hey if it makes you feel better Sir Frank Whittle was an English aviation engineer who was credited with co-inventing the jet engine even though he wasn't aware of Hans's work. Course on the other hand neither of those were Americans either!

So it's quite apparent today's stealth evolved as a result of German engineering. Here's a brief video excerpt from National Geographic's Special- "Hitler's Stealth Fighter"

A few more technological items we may have perfected but did not invent..
The Steam Engine- Thomas Savery was an English military engineer and inventor who in 1698, patented the first crude steam engine. Thomas Newcomen was an English blacksmith who made an improvement over Thomas Slavery's.

In 1765 James Watt,
Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, improved the steam engine.(A unit of power called the Watt was named after James Watt. The Watt symbol is W, and it is equal to 1/746 of a horsepower, or one Volt times one Amp.)

Electricity- English scientist William Gilbert in 1600.

Nuclear Energy- Enrico Fermi is considered a major figure in the discovery of nuclear energy. Born in Rome, he was the first scientist to split the atom and his research later led to nuclear power generation. Leo Szilard & Fermi discovered the first nuclear reactor that caused nuclear chain reactions.

Then there was Einstein .. enough said!

You get the idea. We Americans have many wonders based on great minds from all over the globe, but we certainly don't have a monopoly on superior technology. The challenge going forward is, will we remain on top of the scientific technology game? He who has the most toys wins.

Kind of knocks ya down a couple of blocks doesn't it?

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Bad American Engineering

I've often felt recently the United States is falling behind in many areas. Neil explains just one more. Quite alarming I'd say. We better get with it!

More about this historically speaking in tomorrow's post.

How 2 Build A Time Machine


Stephen Hawking On time Travel- "How To Build A Time Machine"

This is the kind of stuff that blows my mind.

Paradoxes: One point in the article mentions if you were able to go back in time from your own present time and shoot yourself. Then who shot you?

Since you would have not existed in this present time (because of the shooting) how could you have been around to go back into that time prior to do so?

Quantum Physics comes along and blows even these theories to shreds. One fellow I was acquainted with explained it this way. You spend four years learning all about physics. When one pursues a higher level of education in quantum physics, it will undo all the prior knowledge you've learned to be as fact.

MATTER DOES NOT EXIST. Matter is nothing more then compressed energy controlled by the conscious thought/observance of it.

So in essence all we are is energy and our awareness of it. All else is of our own perceptions and judgments.

I won't even get into the "TONAL" - "NAGAL" precepts of Carlos Castaneda's books OR Baird T. Spalding's- Masters of the Far East both of which have become more creditable as one digs deeper into quantum theory.<

Friday, August 18, 2023

Johnny FD Visits Lviv Russian Missile Attack 6 Hours After

This has got to be the most insane invasion ever on a country that was of no threat. What the hell was Putin thinking?

So I ask Myself...


Why.... drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the Store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy their junk at the front? people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke? we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put Our useless junk in the garage. we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in Packages of eight.. they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

...the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin? don 't ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery '? 'abbreviated 'such a long word? it that Doctors call what they do 'practice '? lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons? the man who invests all your money called a broker? the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

...isn 't there Mouse-flavored cat food?

...didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes? they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes?
Why don 't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

...don 't sheep shrink when it rains?

...are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

...if con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

...if flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Thursday, August 17, 2023

7th & Allen: Sears Roebuck & Company


Dad used to work for a Dick Whitehouse who was the chief maintenance engineer at Sears & Roebuck.

Mom was confused one day when someone named Whitehouse for the first time called the house. She thought what does the Whitehouse want with dad?

At any rate, since dad worked there he used to take me occasionally to the store. My greatest thrill was when he used to let me pull the lever back and forth on the old cargo elevator. The elevator connected the loading dock to the upper floors where they had a warehouse area.

Also on the upper floor were advertising offices where workers, surrounded in clippings on artists boards would be assembling the ads to be submitted to the Morning Call for S&R's advertisements.

Sears also had a rather large cafeteria for it's workers and a meeting room. Also unseen by the public was a telephone switchboard room were two operators took phone calls and patched them to the phone extensions. The operators would do the announcements for the store.

Later a small portion was renovated where folks could apply for "revolving credit". As far as I remember Sears & Roebuck was the first and only store to offer credit at the time. Up until then customers would have go to a bank and apply for a loan. The bank would then issue a check and you would take it to Sears to buy your big ticket items like wringer washers, furniture, etc. By offering 'Revolving Credit' S&R gained a large advantage over the other local department stores at the time.

On the roof lay about 5 inches of water. There was no air conditioning at the time. The water on the roof evaporating would help cool down the store. There'd always be at least a few ducks who called it home in the spring & summer. The water was drained off in the winter to prevent freezing.

The only other thing up there was the elevator shanty. I was fascinated by the sparking relays that clanked when they engaged the electric motor that drove the cable spool for the cargo elevator.

Just South of the main store, on 7th, Sears had another building that housed their 'farm store'. This is where S&R would sell farm supplies, tractors, etc.

What Sears & Roebuck was best known for was their huge catalogue.

If someone manufactured it, Sears sold it. Clothes, musical instruments, pens, guns, horse carriages, cars, house & barn building kits... you name it, they had it!

Yes, the old Sears & Roebuck was quite the store in it's day.

Wikipedia: Sears & Roebuck

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Select Headline Links 08/16/2023

Judge blocks Idaho AG from prosecuting doctors for alleged 'abortion trafficking'

CYS workers charged after putting baby back with mom who killed her: DA

$4.3M state grant for St. Luke's expansion gets approval from Northampton County Council

Insurers now routinely require doctors to kick back as much as 5% if they want to be paid electronically.

Roller Skating Nostalgia


Back in the 60's when I was a teenager there used to be a roller skating rink in Allentown on South 4th Street near Dixon Street. It was called "Skateland."

They did not have an organ player like many of the skating rinks did in those days. So many funny stories and so many happy hours I spent skating there. If I wasn't there most likely I could be found at LaRose's up in Lehighton.

As the years rolled on times changed and a number of teenagers had moved on to teen clubs. The Mod Mill, The Zoo, The Mad Hatter, to name a few. Business slowly faded for "Skateland" but my memories of it did not.

With this nostalgia on my mind I decided to piece this video together from clips I've found on YouTube. I used a midi soundtrack from my Roland SC55 in place of the ones on these videos. What I found interesting even though the music changed entirely at the skating rinks, the skating rhythm remains the same.

(The bathroom dude at the end of this clip is comedian Brian Gattas)

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Don't connect your phone to the car

Allentown's Rialto Theatre


...the grand ole' theatre of Allentown that once housed many live acts & vaudeville shows.

Was a damn shame to let the Rialto Theatre go to the wrecking ball. Imagine.. we could have had the same kind of grandeur as that of Easton's State Theatre! In the 60's I saw a magazine that described the Rialto Theatre's design was based on the world's acoustically best design. Because of it's band shell like stage, you could speak a normal voice & be heard in the balcony. In fact they only used a 40 watt monaural vacuum tube amp that created enough sound to rattle the chairs. No expense was spared in it's construction.

The 2 projectors were carbon arc 'RCA Vitaphones' with 4 channel magnetic stereo heads they only used once for 'Ben Hur'. They seldom ever used it again because the film in those days were coated with magnetic pickup which tended to get erased by static electricity & proved unreliable. Each projector held a 15 minute 35 mm film which you flipped back and forth undetectably for showing the entire movie. They tried 3d by chaining the 2 projectors to one another. That was a really bad idea since one projector lagged behind the other putting a drag on the other projector's motor resulting in it to burn up. The theatre went dark for almost 30 minutes to replace the bad motor with a spare.

Wednesday's were Marquee night.. the new films arrived weekly (unless held over). 'Modern Trucking' would deliver the film in numerous 40lb 'cans' out of a Philadelphia distribution warehouse that had to be lugged 3 stories up to the projection booth suspended from the ceiling.

Nightly a 2 manned Allentown Police cruiser would pick us ushers up and drive us down to Merchant's Bank (7th & Hamilton) where we would make the nightly box office deposits. This was at their shift change, so we'd walk back up to the Rialto after making the deposit drop. We 3 ushers were paid 50 cents an hour. That's how I bought my first car. A 1953 Plymouth for $50!

Each of the cameo lights in the ceiling amongst the audience had 3 separate dimmer controlled lighting circuits. We replaced bulbs and lit them all green for St Patrick's day (orange for Halloween). I remember one St. Patrick's Day parade when 'The Allentown Hobo Marching Band' left the parade to march through the Rialto Lobby into the theatre and back out onto the parade route all the time playing loudly. CLOWNS! ha ha

The front stage lightening had 3 dimmer controlled circuits as well as 4 zones around and above the alcove stage area. Granted they were the old sparking/crackling rheostat dimmer controls that could heat a home. Wiring was shot, but what a grand old lady she was. The biggest and best. The interior design was far more lavish then the Colonial Theatre's was. The Rialto like the Colonial, had a long Marble hallway plastered with posters (teasers) for upcoming movies.

The old carpet store was located later on inside the former stage area on 10th Street since the large stage area was not needed for nothing more then a silver movie screen.

Nate Silver managed it in the 60's. Prior to that he managed the Earle Theatre. Max Korr the owner of Allentown Plumbing and Heating owned the Rialto up until his death. His wife took over and ran adult movies to deal with the declining revenues.

It even once had an elevator to the left side of the stage up to the huge 4th floor attic. Where the magnificent dimmer controlled lighted cameo/chandelier plaster ceiling was suspended from to the remaining 3 stories below.

Patrons would park at the 'Park & Shop' deck behind Benioff's Fur at 10th & Hamilton. Perhaps even stop at the smoke Shop on the corner or Sweetland for some soda fountain drinks alongside their ice cream dish. Or take a short walk up Hamilton Street to the Dolly Madison ice cream shop.

Imagine if we had the theatre restored and was thriving today! Imagine if you could bring back 'Sweetland', etc. to that area.

Again Allentown being the way it is.. blew it!

Monday, August 14, 2023

No Need For College


Students will have 4 or 5 working years less in lifetime earnings while they are attending school.

'Return On Investment': Some courses that cost $100,000 upwards for degrees in certain professions will likely see less then $40,000 a year in earnings. Many trade schools offer a much higher R.O.I.
Times are tough to get the money together for many wanting to attend collge. Therefore I Submit For your consideration..

Here are a few of my non college career
suggestions that offer a good R.O.I.

Lehigh Career & Technical Institute
(Video Uploaded: November 2009)

MTI is the only school in the nation to offer a
two-year Associate degree Satellite Communications

West Side Technical Institute CNC Machine Tool Training (Chicago)

(Aug 4, 2010) Then there's this.. :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Allentown- Old Newspaper Clippings


Left Click To Enlargen

December 15, 1958

October 20, 1959

Dec 6, 1947

November 1, 1959


August 19, 1941

March 14, 1992
Revitalizing downtown
The 1st Special Taxing District in Pennsylvania

March 16, 1968

Saturday, August 12, 2023

One Lawyer's View On Philanthropy


The United Way realized that it had never received a donation from the city's most successful lawyer. So a United Way volunteer paid the lawyer a visit in his lavish office.

The volunteer opened the meeting by saying, 'Our research shows that even though your annual income is over two million dollars, you don't give a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give something back to your community through the United Way ?'

The lawyer thinks for a minute and says, 'First, did your research also show you that my mother is dying after a long, painful illness and she has huge medical bills that are far beyond her ability to pay?'

Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbles, 'Uh... no, I didn't know that.'

'Secondly,' says the lawyer, ' did it show that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair and is unable to support his wife and six children?

The stricken United Way rep begins to stammer an apology, but is cut off again. 'Thirdly, did your research also show you that my sister's husband died in a dreadful car accident, leaving Her penniless with a mortgage and three children, one of whom is disabled and another that has learning disabilities requiring an array of private tutors?'

The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, says, 'I'm so sorry. I had no idea.'

And the lawyer says, 'So, if I didn't give a dime to any of them, what makes you think I'd even give a penny to you?