Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

You might be a redneck in Pennsylvania if . . . .

You go to the bathroom and see . . .


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Beer Advertisement

Your beer advertisement also has a handy fishing season schedule, since those two things (drinkin’ and fishin’) go together like peanut butter and jelly.  And last (but certainly NOT LEAST!) your:


Condom Dispenser

You got your guns, beer and sex.  It’s like a farmersonly commercial.  What more could you need?

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I was travelling to New York with my mom to see my sister.  I had been to her house once before, but I had printed MapQuest directions that took me through a roller coaster of back roads that made no sense.

This time, I was going to use my Garmin GPS.

I hardly use it.  I am a man.  I KNOW where I am going.  I also don’t travel much.  I can find my office, the surgical center, and McDonald’s without the help of 21st century technology.


Now my mom has made this trip multiple times–even having driven it herself for years before ministrokes and poor reflexes led to her losing her license.

As we passed Tyrone, she points.

“Isn’t that where you should have turned off to go to Philipsburg?”

First of all, even if it was, pointing to it after we have passed the exit isn’t helpful.  And secondly, it was not the exit we wanted.  She was off by one.  Close but no cigar.

Now because I don’t use my GPS very often, I actually had to spend a fair amount of time to find it.  The charge was dead so I recharged it.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the car charger that plugs into the lighter so I would have to depend on a fully charged unit lasting me 3 hours.  I didn’t look all that hard figuring it would last a three hour tour with Gilligan, mom and the doctor too, and I had more important things to do before I left like watching Penn State lose to Temple for the first time in 74 years.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

The GPS died just as we entered Bradford, PA.  My sister lives across the border.  We are probably twenty minutes or less from her house.  But this is the most critical 20 minutes of the whole trip–it is the final set of turns and roads that I am not familiar with.

If I had known the battery wouldn’t last, I would have waited till I got here to turn it on.

If I knew Penn State was going to play like crap, I would have left three hours earlier.  The damned GPS would still have died, but at least it wouldn’t be dark out.

I pulled off to the side of the road.  I was going to throw a Hail Mary.  I was hoping the cord to connect it to the cigarette lighter was in the glove box.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t but I was desperate.  I didn’t even have the bad directions from MapQuest.

“I know how to get there,” my mom insists.

This from the woman who would have had me get off the wrong exit two and a half hours ago if she had pointed sooner and I was an idiot that didn’t know where I was going.

I don’t know where I am going right now, and I can’t find the car charger.  Kettle meet pot.  I am an idiot.

So at 10:30 at night, on a remote stretch of highway, I am going to let my 78 year old mom guide me.

What’s below idiot?

So I cautiously get back on the road thinking we are never going to get there.  Maybe I should just call my sister and have her give directions.  With my luck, the phone would die.  And that option would entail me having to give her meaningful landmarks of where we were (um, it’s a dark road, with some dark trees, does that help?) and hoping that she could guide us in for a safe landing.  She’s had benign brain tumors–three craniotomies, two gamma knives and a radiation treatment in a pear tree.

I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.

So down the road of perdition I go.  As I come up to an exit, marked with a flashing light, I stop.  I have the yellow flashes; I don’t need to stop.  Fortunately there is no traffic behind me.  I am pretty sure this was the next target destination according to the GPS before it died.  It’s final words so to speak.

Rosebud.  Or I-86/Rte. 17.  Something like that.

I look at my mom.

She looks at me.

Abbot and Costello have nothing on us.  I almost want to ask her “Who’s on first?”

Instead I ask, “Are we supposed to turn here?”

She looks around.  This is quite an ordeal, because of arthritis in her neck.

“Yes,” she finally replies.

“And when were you going to tell me that?  If I didn’t stop here, we’d be past it before you told me.”

So this is how it went.  Every intersection, I had to come to a stop and ask if we were supposed to turn here or not.

At one point, we come to an intersection with only three roads.  You can go straight or right.

“Go left,” she says.

There isn’t a road to the left.  There is someone’s house.  I’m sure they don’t want me to drive through their lawn.

“You mean right?”  I am so optimistic she will correct herself.  I also thought Penn State would win.

“No left,” she insists.  (She knows where she is going!  She has insisted this to me several times now, probably because I am questioning her choices and my sanity. I am beginning to have my doubts.)

I point out that I can’t turn left.  She looks.  Another ordeal.  It looks painful.

Then, she looks the other way and points (to the right,) “go left.”


We did eventually make it to my sister’s house.  God only knows how this was accomplished.  But score a victory for the Geriatric Pointing System.

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Had me a blast.

Summer Runnin’

Happened so fast.

I recently read a blog entry that discussed some of the downsides of running in summer weather, among which were complaints like it’s hot and humid, you have to wear less clothes (not sure why this is an issue,) chafing (which would be reduced if you wore less clothes,) salt encrusted selfies, and mosquitoes.

Of all the things on their list, I have to agree with the mosquitoes.  especially bugs in the mouth.

As someone who has run in -9 degree F weather in Pennsylvania and the 120 degree dry heat of Phoenix, I have experienced quite a spectrum of seasonal running and temperatures.  Without a doubt, I would pick 120 degrees in Phoenix over sub zero temps in Pennsylvania–any day.  No questions.  End of discussion.  And no mosquitoes at 120 degrees.  Maybe a gecko.  Or a scorpion.   And they won’t end up in your mouth unless you collapse from dehydration or heat stroke.

But if I had to pick one thing that bothers me the most about warmer weather running, it has to be the spider webs.


Run into my parlor said the spider to the guy !

There is a trail that I traverse along the course of my run.  As the temperatures rise, so do the number of spider webs crossing the rather narrow path.

I have visions of being caught like extras in Stephen King’s The Mist, or ending up like Frodo in a spidery cocoon.


I was just out for a run with Samwise and Smeagol . . .

You can’t always see the wispy strands, but you can feel them on your legs and face.  I end up running this trail most summer mornings with one hand held up in front of my face as though I am trying to elude the Phantom of the Opera’s punjab lasso.

At least I don’t need a machete.  Yet.

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Where were you when you first heard the news of the assassination?  Sipping coffee at work, or curled up on the sofa splitting time between The Ladies’ Home Journal and The View on the TV?  Or, were you in your car, hearing the ghastly report after your favorite song was interrupted on the Classic Rock station.

You haven’t heard about this heinous crime?  You heard it (or rather read it) here first?!

Well, you just know it had to happen sooner or later.  The victim never had a chance.

Bill Murray reports in "Groundhog Day"

It was a cold, blustery day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, when our hero rose from his bed to cast his annual prediction (“spring will come, sooner or later.”)  Little did he know the fate that awaited his beady little varmint eyes.

After all, he lived in a state with one of the highest ratios of hunters to residents.  NRA members outnumber Mensa members nearly six to one.  (It’s probably much higher than that, but a non-Mensa hunter generated the statistics.)  Phil had made a few enemies over the years, predicting six more weeks of cold weather instead of an early thaw.  This all added up to several million armed, mentally challenged suspects with a motive.  Poor, scurvy little rat.

Authorities now believe that Phil was actually struck down with two separate gunshots.  Instant replays of the massacre distinctly show his little fur-ball head being thrown in two different directions.  Over and back.  Over and back.  Over and back.  The replay is currently being shown on CNN continuously.  Over and back.

Two shots.  Definitely two assassins.

Dead rodents see no shadows.

Ballistic experts (not the weather experts that went ballistic when their best source of meteorological information went down in a pool of blood and shredded silk top hat) have determined that one of the bullets came from a snowy knoll, just south of Gobbler’s Knob.  This was probably the fatal wound.

A second rifle was allegedly fired from the second floor of the adult bookstore across the street.  L. Harvey Osmond was captured fleeing the scene.  Actually, he stopped to check out the new selection of sex toys, and was caught in the act.  Investigators have sealed the crime scene and are working long hours into the night examining evidence at the store.

Osmond’s .22 rifle has been confiscated, and he is currently out on bail.  Ironically, it turns out that he has a valid hunting license and ground hogs are currently in season.  He has been charged with firing a rifle in a public place and his license to kill has been suspended.  (He will retain his muzzle-loader, bow and arrow, and slingshot licenses.)  Members of the Inner Circle have filed charges against Osmond claiming that although Phil was just a rodent-in-season, he was still “one of the guys” and deserved better than that.  They are demanding compensation for pain and suffering, not to exceed fifty million dollars.  Several Inner Circle members have also submitted cleaning bills for the blood spattered on their tuxedos, and the cost of replacing Phil has been estimated at about twenty dollars.

In a quirky twist of fate, Osmond was run-down and killed outside the courthouse by an unknown taxi driver.  Punxsutawney only has one taxi, so authorities are searching tonight for one Jack Diamond, the only taxi driver in the greater downtown area.

Anyone who has information regarding the mysterious assassin on the snowy knoll will be hunted down and meet their maker in a most painful manner.

And in good news, the Third Church of the Most Virgin Lady has announced that the potluck supper for this Saturday will be held after all.  A “meaty” stew has been donated for the cause.


Editor’s Note:  No groundhogs, taxi drivers or adult stores were injured in the writing of this fiction.  This tale has been reprinted from my archives and was originally written by me in 2003.

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Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania!  Rock Me, Pennsylvania.

I felt the earth . . . move . . . under my feet.

So far this year, I have survived a haboob and an earthquake.  And with Irene making its way up the coast, I may be able to add a hurricane to my weather world bucket list.  The storms of the year trifecta.  WooHoo!

I was in my office. I had just finished examining a patient, when things started to shake, rattle and roll.  (Thank God I wasn’t in the middle of surgery!)  It was like a locomotive roaring by outside–only you couldn’t hear a locomotive . . . and there are no train tracks near my office!

I look at the patient.  He looks at me.  We both look at his wife, sitting in the corner behind us.

“Is that what I think it was?”

Yes.  We felt an earthquake.  In Pennsylvania.  I have lived, um, well at least 39 years in either Pennsylvania or Ohio, and I have never felt an earthquake.  Not even a tremor.  Unless there’s a train lumbering past.  Maybe an occasional charley horse.

So I called my wife.

“Did the earth move for you?”

Apparently, it did not. She was cleaning.  The vacuum was running.  The washer was running.  She thought she heard the wall shaking–our vinyl siding shakes in the winter time when the wind gusts–and while she thought that was odd since it wasn’t winter, she hadn’t realized what was happening.  That’s probably a good thing.  Weather disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes and snow freak her out.  It was better this way.

I surveyed the damage when I got home.

What a mess it made of my desk!  Here’s what it looked like before . . .

In case you are wondering, the quake knocked over the bag of candy on the edge of the desk.  Look again:

Oh, the inhumanity!

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