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Friday, March 27, 2009

Jerry Knowles Nominated to Take Over Dave Argall's House Seat

It is a case of musical chairs back home in Schuylkill County Pennsylvania.

First - our state senator James Rhodes died in a car crash.

Then - our state representative Dave Argall got that Senate seat.

Now good friend and brother of our recent house guest Jerry Knowles has been nominated to take over that State House seat.

Jerry has a long list of accomplishments. He owned a grocery store in Tamaqua - then became a Tamaqua cop. Next he was elected mayor. Then he was a county commissioner.

Now at age 60 - he is running to be a state legislator. The election will be held this May.

Jerry's older brother Jimmy just spent a week in our guest house with his wife Georgeann. They drove here from Tamaqua - spending a few nights on the road

Friday Morning and Harry Was Offered a Bump Again - and He Made the Wrong Choice

I am sitting in my plane on the tarmac in Tallahassee "headed" for Syracuse.

While sitting in the airport I was offered a bump ticket - but decided to turn it down and get to Syracuse to help drew stage his house for sale. So I turned down another $400 Delta coupon.

I am seated in first class - row 3.

Now the bad part - as soon as we got on the plane and they closed the door - they announced that we are on hold here for 45 minutes - due to a storm problem in Atlanta. We have been sitting here for a while. After 45 minutes - they will unload the plane and I will be stuck here anyway.

So - right now I am wishing that I took the bump and went home. They offered me a flight form 3PM to 8 PM today along with the $400 coupon.

So - sometimes you gamble and win - and other times you lose.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sitting at Tallahassee Airport with $400 Coupon in Hand

First - my flight to Atlanta and Syracuse was delayed. Then - as I was about to board my plane I asked if they needed volunteers to be bumped. The gate person said yes and the plane left without me. He gave me a $400 coupon to any Delta flight I wanted - plus a ticket for tomorrow morning at 7:30 to Syracuse.

Ironically - I am flying using a $400 coupon from my last trip up to see Robin - Drew - and Jack.

I tried to reach Lulu with phone calls - emails - and text messages - but no luck. She must be out celebrating my departure and 6 days of freedom. Now I am too tight to spring for the $20 cab ride home.

Such is the life of the Trailing Spouse - life on the road.

Just got in contact with buddy Wayne - he is coming to get me.

I just got an email - Delta bumped me up to first class for my flight tomorrow.

Chuck Shuck Gets Promotion - Must Part With Gabe for Now

This is an announcement from one of my favorite students - Chuck Shuck.

Hello Everyone........I guess I will begin with the good news..........Awhile back I mentioned to you all that I was being considered for a promotion. Yesterday morning at 0730 when the results came out, The Department of the Army decided I was ready to move to the next level and become a Senior Non Commissioned Officer. Here in the upcoming months, out of over 1,000 Soldiers, I will be the 173rd one to be promoted to Sergeant First Class which is E7. The highest you can go in the Army is E9. All you military guys on here know this, but this is for my 500 civilian friends ha ha.
Now for the bad bad news. I have also been selected to go to Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, SC from Sept 9th to Nov 12th. Just in case you don't know what that is, f you watch full meteal jacket, it's the guy with the round hat that screams and hates everyone. I today's Army though, we teach and respect Soldiers, but are still firm. I will then come back to Fort Hood, pack my things and either be stationed in South Carolina or Missouri. GABE WILL NOT be coming with me and the Chuck and Gabe era are pretty much over. Gabe most likely will go to his new dad as soon as May to be trained again. I cannot tell you how I feel right now because it has not hit me yet because I still get to see him everyday as usual. I know when that awful day  in May comes when I have to say goodbye to him for the final time, my heart is going to break into two. I don't even know if I would have took the job if I had known it was going to be this painful.  Gabe's new daddy is a good guy though and will take care of OUR boy. My goal is to keep him at Fort Hood so when he is up for retirement that I will still get to keep him. I also told the new guy that I will require weekly updates on Gabe.
I guess I will end for now and I will keep you in the loop of my adventures........Chuck

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Digital Wall Switch Timer - Turns Porch Light On and Off

We travel a lot. One of the problems with traveling is that you are not around to protect your castle. We do every thing we can to make the house lived in - have the lawn mowed - stop the newspaper and mail - set the alarm - and leave the lights on.

The other day when talking to Fred my neighbor - he asked me where we were on our last trip. I asked how did he know we were gone - he said easy - the lights are on all the time and the plantation shutters are closed. One of the first things that crooks look for are porch lights on during the day - a dead giveaway.

Maybe this little item will help. It is a digital wall switch timer. It replaces the regular on and off switch. You can program the switch to turn the light on and off whatever time your want. It also can be set to come on at sunset and go off at sunrise. It has a calendar built into it that remembers the times of sunrise and sunset for every day.

You can also have it turn on the light at different times on different days. You can really get carried away with this thing. You also can override it by pressing the regular button to turn it off and on.

The switch is made by Intermatic. It costs around $15 to $20. It is easy to hook up - just two wires. If you want it to work with a three way switch it has three wires. The installation direction are pretty simple.

I have ours set to come on at sunset and go off at sunrise. I love neat gadgets.

Springtime Means Visits from Coal Country

Jimmy and Georgeann Knowles drove down from Tamaqua to spend a week with us. Georgeann is Lulu's cousin. Jimmy is retired after working at Air Products just north of town. On the way down I-95 - they spent nights in Virginia - Myrtle Beach - and Jacksonville. They plan to spend a few more nights at Myrtle Beach on the way home.

Our friends are the 85th and 86th visitors that have spent time in our guest house out back. We all toured around town - going to the Capitol - many of the museums - and Wakulla Springs. Lulu and Georgeann had fun shopping and yard sailing. Jim and I enjoyed shopping for cars and attending a pep rally in the President's Box at the stadium. We all basked in a week of temperatures in the 70s and no rain. We have had the nicest spring since we were here - there was very little rain to "knock down" all the beautiful blossoms. Best part - we have not had the heat or AC on in weeks.

It is 1000 miles from Tamaqua to Tallahassee. We have made the drive many times - including last Christmas. One can take the "front way" down I-95 or the "back way" down I-81- both about the same miles. With gasoline at $2.00 a gallon and getting 20 miles per gallon - it costs about $100 each way for fuel. Back in the old days of cheap fuel - Lulu and I once drove from Tamaqua to Miami in a 2 cylinder Honda getting 50 miles per gallon. It costs less than $8 each way.

Our next visitors will be Jane Robbins and her husband Peter arriving next week. Jane was the dean that hired Lulu at FSU. Before we arrived - Jane retired and moved to Buffalo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Small Town - Tamaqua PA 18252 - Sweet Video of Memories from Back Home

One of my readers - BlueRaider66 - sent this video to me. If you are from Tamaqua - it is a must see. It was produced by and is published on

I spent 55 years in this small town - met my lovely wife there - and raised two great sons there. We all went to THS. Even though I have lived in Tallahassee FL for 5 years - where my wife is a professor at FSU - Tamaqua will always be home.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunday, March 08, 2009

FSU Last Home Game - Playing Va Tech

We are here 40 minutes bafore game time. Lulu got two tickets for free.

This is Toney Douglas's last home game.

It is 72 and sunny - we rode the Scooter in.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Unemployment Map

Click map to enlarge.

Nazis Open Holocaust Archives

This incredible video of the German government opening up a gigantic storage trove of holocaust records was made by CBS 60 Minutes. Over 16 miles of filled shelf space documents the killings. Records of such things as the number of lice each prisoner had are documented in long hand records. Individual executions were timed to the minute to prove to Hitler that they were doing an excellent job. Click on the headline above to see the video. Even though my German ancestors left Germany long before the holocaust and I was born years after the holocaust - I feel the guilt and shame of such horrible actions.