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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Craigslist Camera - Super Deal on This Canon A470 - $60

My weakness is small cameras. Although my regular Canon G7 has a wonderful lens on it - it is a bit bulky - so I do not carry it as much as I used to.

I wanted something lighter for London this summer - but many pocket camera have a great size but they sacrifice a quality lens.

I saw this Canon A470 on Craigslist. The seller wanted $80 for it. She claimed it was in the factory sealed box. I offered $60 and she said ok. The camera retailed for $199 - but now they can be bought on Amazon for $129.

I met the lady in the mall parking lot. The camera was in its sealed box. Before I gave her the money - I opened the box to make sure everything was there. The batteries even had the blister wrap on them.

It is a very simple camera - the controls match my other Canon camera. It takes 7 megapixel size pictures - has a 3x optical zoom lens. The screen is 2.5 inches across. The controls are simple and straight forward. It uses AA batteries and SD-RAM storage cards. The best part is that it takes both pictures and videos - although the videos are not HD like the ones from my Canon G7.

Imagine just a few years ago saying you could buy a video camera for $60!

Friday, April 29, 2011

BANG "Stop - or I'll Shoot" Burglar Gets Shot in Face in Tallahassee Last Night

Florida passed a new law two years ago saying you can shoot anyone on your property if you feel threatened. A guy tried it out last night. Here is the story from the police log -

Burglary Suspect Shot by Resident - Then Arrested by TPD

Last night, April 28th, at approximately 10:21 PM, Tallahassee Police Officers responded to the 2400 block of King Street. The resident called 911 to report he confronted a burglar in his home and shot the intruder. While officers were making contact with the victim, another call was received from a resident in the 800 block of Putnam Drive, reporting a man was on the front porch with a gunshot wound. Officers responded to Putnam Drive and contacted the injured person, who had a gunshot wound to the face. He was subsequently identified as Demetry Fain. Officers provided medical treatment until EMS arrived, who then transported Fain to the hospital.

The on-scene investigation determined Fain broke into the victim's home through a window. The resident heard Fain inside the home and retrieved a firearm to protect himself. The victim came face to face with Fain in the hallway of the home, and fearing for his safety, the victim shot Fain. Fain fled the residence and the victim called 911.

Fain has been charged with Burglary of an Occupied Structure. His injuries are not life threatening. He is currently at the hospital, but will be transported to the Leon County Jail upon his discharge. The victim was not injured during this incident.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lulu is in Minneapolis on Her Way Home From Nebraska - This is the Famous Larry Craig "Wide Stance" Bathroom

You may re-call Senator Larry Craig was caught "looking for love in all the wrong places" here. He pled guilty but refused to resign as Senator. Lulu will be home tonight at 9 PM. That was definitely a safe place for her to hang around without getting picked up.

Weather Report From Downtown Tallahassee

Radar at noon after storm passed.

We are having thunderstorms in downtown Tallahassee. I do not see a lot of wind - but it is very dark outside with lots of thunder - not much lightning.

We have a tornado warning in Leon County - but no funnel clouds sighted.

The storm is moving east through the area at 35 MPH.

Satellite television signal has been off and on - it is back on right now. The sky seems to be brightening up.

The storm has torn the roof off the Marianna Airport about 40 miles west of town.

So far - just a lot of rain in our yard - no damage. It should be good for the new sod around the garage.

It is 9:27 AM - Thursday.

At 9:40 - rain stopped - sun coming out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sink Hole Opens By Tamaqua Elementary School

From The Times News -

Officials with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local emergency management agencies are investigating numerous mine subsidence troughs and a deep six-foot wide sink hole that was spotted by a walker just after 6 o'clock Tuesday evening behind the Tamaqua elementary school.

The area affected is located about 250 feet northeast of the back of the elementary school and covers a perimeter area of about 3,000 square feet. The area, which is owned by the Tamaqua Area School District, is also located about 350 feet west of the elementary school's basketball court and about 70 feet adjacent to a small road that leads up to the school's sport's field.

Mine subsidence is defined as movement of the ground surface caused from readjustments of the overburden due to collapse or failure of underground mine workings.

Surface subsidence features usually take the form of a sinkhole or trough.

Sinkholes are typically associated with abandoned mine workings, since most active underground mines operate at depths sufficient to preclude the development of sinkhole subsidence. In accordance with regulations, the DEP will not authorize underground mining beneath structures where the depth of overburden is less than 100 feet unless the subsidence control plan demonstrates that proposed mine workings will be stable and that overlying structures will not suffer irreparable damage.

In abandoned mines, troughs usually occur when the overburden sags downward due to the failure of remnant mine pillars.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict if or when failure in abandoned mines might occur, since they may collapse many years after the mining is completed.

Officials pointed out the area affected didn't have a high history of underground mining and that strip mining was the popular method used in the area.

Subsidence could also be the result of illegal mining done many years ago by residents digging for free coal.

The affected area was taped off and a plastic fence barrier was placed around the area to keep people away.

A generator and bright spotlights were also set up to provide constant lighting.

Tamaqua Fire Police also stayed on scene all night preventing access to the area.

The depth of the sink hole was unknown as of press time, as the bottom could not be seen with a flashlight.

Tamaqua police and borough officials also responded.

"It is unknown how long the subsidence has been there," said Tamaqua Public Works director and Tamaqua Emergency Management director Rob Jones.

Officials also pointed out that the sink hole could have formed very recently, possibly as a result of weeks of heavy rain.

Officials were on scene today further investigating the affected area.

From Harry -

When I was a kid - there was a dump in that location. We used to go up there and shoot rats for target practice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saint Augustine Sod Around New Garage

It is not a story about watching paint dry - but it is close. It took the guys from Tony's Garden Patch about an hour to throw down 1000 square feet of sod.

Now I want a couple of rain showers. On to the next project. From my iphone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Old Tucson Movie Studio

Lighting and sound were great for Lulu to capture Thespian Harry.

A trip to Tucson Arizona is not complete without a ride out to Old Tucson - the movie studio. It is about 10 miles west of town - out in the Sonoran Desert next to Saguaro National Park.

In the 1930's - the little wooden town in the desert was built as a set for the movie Rio Bravo. It was a perfect setting with all the cacti and the Tucson Mountains surrounding the town. The dry air and endless sunshine make it a perfect place for photography.

Admission is about $15 a day with a coupon or you can buy a yearly pass for $45. They also offer an after 3 PM ticket good for the next day too. Back when Lulu was teaching at the University of Arizona - we bought passes and spent quite a few evenings there. There are plenty of wild west shows - rides - and entertainment. Think of it as Disneyworld without a lot of people.

Hundreds of movies have been filmed here including one of my favorites - "The Three Amigos" - featuring Steve Martin and Martin Short.

In 1995 - a wild fire ravaged the place - high winds fueled the flames. Most of the wooden buildings were leveled and have been replaced.

Lulu and I spent our last night in town at Old Tucson. Our hotel was a couple miles away in the foothills.

Note the moon in this picture above the train station. The giant cacti are real.

Lulu was freaked out by the coffin. It was a perfect fit.

Note the gallows and the court house. This street was in the TV show Tombstone.

The water wheel is fake but it sure looked real in this picture.

Just on the other side of that mountain is downtown Tucson.

It was a real locomotive from the 1850's - but now it has a diesel engine. Wyatt Earp rode this train in "Shootout at OK Corral."

You may remember "The Three Amigos" swinging from this Mexican church.

On a weekday at about 4 PM - there may have been 100 tourists there.

The old dry wood is a perfect place for a fire. Someone set the place on fire in 1995 - while people were there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Neat Little 1953 MG Replicar For Sale

Note the telltale double VW exhausts.

The body is fiberglass - the paint is a little faded.

The wood dashboard is cool - but the speedometer does not work. No idea how many miles are on it.

The VW engine is under the spare tire.

The doors open backward - they were called suicide doors. It comes with a full top - tonneau cover - side curtains - and wire wheel covers.

Every day I review the Craigslist ads on my computer. This neat 1953 MG Replicar caught my eye. A replicar is a plastic bodied model made to look like a classic car. I called the owner - Connery - and drove out to see it and take it for a drive.

It is a kit car - a fiberglass MG body - sitting on a VW Beetle frame. It has a an air-cooled engine in the rear - a 4 speed transmission - wooden dashboard - a plastic top and tonneau cover. The assembly was done sometime in the 1980s - it is really vague how old the engine and body are. It has a little difficulty starting up - the choke seemed to be struck - but once it warmed up it ran nicely. Due to the light plastic body - it handled well. There is no air conditioning and it has side curtains instead of windows.

I made an offer for the car - but it was not accepted.

Connery has driven it for a year - but needs something more practical for his family and work. You can see the car on Tallahassee Craigslist.

It could use new paint - upholstery - engine rebuild - maybe brakes - and some wiring. It would be a nice package when done - but would be expensive to finish.

The asking price is $6000.

Pima Air Museum in Tucson Arizona - My Favorite Air Musuem

This was a really neat little ultralight you could climb in and control

The is the SR-71 Blackbird - the fastest spy plane in the world - capable of 2000 MPH. It once flew from Los Angeles to Washington DC in 90 minutes

Harry always wanted to fly in a little Mercury capsule - around the world

Lulu is going to Germany in June - but not in this German plane

This is a Russian Mig - 19 - I think a commie pilot stole it and flew it to Japan

This is what the Blue Angels looked like in 1957 when I first saw them at Willow Grove PA

This 10-engine B-36 was the second plane to carry an atomic bomb. It had 6 backward propellers and 4 forward jets

This pregnant guppy was used to carry NASA rockets to Cape Canaveral in the 60s

This plane was used to John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to campaign in 1960

This is the world's smallest flying people carrying plane. Wing is 6 feet wide total

Because of its desert climate - Tucson is the place where US warplanes go to die. Thousand are stored on the desert in mothballs - others are cut up and melted down.

Pima Air Museum is a non profit company run by a bunch of ex-military pilots. When the plane are being cut up in the boneyard at David-Monthan Air Base - they save one of each for the museum. they have over 300 different aircraft there - most of them in outstanding condition.

When Nancy worked at the University of Arizona in 1992 and 1993 - we used to be members of this museum. It cost $15 per visit per person. For $45 you got a yearly pass that allowed you to bring guests along to see the planes. The boys and I used to hang out there in the 100 degree desert air - and read about the planes. Since the humidity was below 10% - it was a really neat place to be. Sometimes we had the 300 planes to ourselves.

Last week Lulu and I visited the museum. It was a bittersweet place - enjoying the plane but wishing for the times when our little family would go there to spend time together.

Most of the planes were outside - but a few of the most historic ones were in air conditioned pole buildings.

Blowout of Gas Well in Pennsylvania


ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water on Wednesday, contaminating a stream and forcing the evacuation of seven families who live nearby as crews struggled to stop the gusher.

The Chesapeake Energy Corporation lost control of the well site near Canton, in Bradford County, around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water continued to flow Wednesday afternoon, though workers finally managed to prevent any more of it from reaching the stream.

No injuries were reported, and there was no explosion or fire.

Chesapeake said a piece of equipment failed late Tuesday while the well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked. In the fracking process, millions of gallons of water, along with chemical additives and sand, are injected at high pressure down the well bore to break up the shale and release the gas.

State environmental regulators were taking water samples from the tributary of Towanda Creek, which is stocked with trout.

The blowout comes amid a natural gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale formation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Just Did It - I Bought The New York Times Online - $15

Yes - I can no longer get the milk for free - so I bought the cow. For the last 20 years - I have enjoyed reading the New York Times online - every morning I would get up - and it was one of the first web pages I visited. I could read any article I wanted for free.

A couple of weeks ago - they said no more. They still offer readers a total of 20 free articles a month - but I used those articles up quickly. After those 20 articles - the black box would open in the middle of my screen - and it said I must pay now - or not read anymore until the first of May.

They offer one month trial for $1. After that it is $15 a month - about 50 cents a day. I am not sure what the paper copy of the Times - but I am sure it is more than 50 cents.

If you do order the paper copy - they offer the online version for free.

This is the second newspaper that I have purchased a subscription. The Tallahassee Democrat decided about 6 months ago to stop online freeloading. Local online readers screamed and cried - but the Democrat did not relent. I pay $20 a month for the pleasure of that paper.

Just like we went from FREE over the air TV to PAY cable TV in the 1950s - we are now paying to play. Just like we went from Cable TV to satellite TV - we agree to pay more to get more entertainment.

So with two newspaper subscriptions - add $35 a month more to my nut to cover.

I will keep you informed on how long I maintain the subscriptions.

Tastykakes Come to Florida - Local Thomasville Company Buys the Pennsylvania Treat

Harry Note - Thomasville Georgia is just 20 miles north of Tallahassee Florida. Living most of our lives in Pennsylvania - we love Tastykakes. Lulu's daddy was a Tastykake route salesman for 35 years. Tasyykake was also one of the biggest sponsors of the Philadelphia Phillies

THOMASVILLE, Ga. - It was the moment of truth Thursday morning. Managers at the Flowers Foods bakery in Thomasville were about to have their first Tastykakes.

Tastykakes, beloved in Philadelphia, were mostly unknown in Thomasville before Flowers announced last week that it planned to buy Tasty Baking Co.

Given a choice of Butterscotch Krimpets or Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, the managers - Mickey Miller, Roger Lane, and George Elmore - opted for the Krimpets. They were clearly curious about the snack cakes that are going to be part of their future.

"It's actually got a rich taste to it. It's good, really good," said Elmore, food safety and quality assurance director, after his first bite.

All three described the Krimpet as "not too sweet" and soft, which they liked.

"It's really to me more like homemade," said Miller, president of Flowers Baking Co. of Thomasville L.L.C.

Flowers Foods Inc. has received a crash course in Tastykake fanaticism since the announcement of the deal.

Through Thursday, Flowers had heard from 39 Tastykake fans, urging Flowers to take care of the brand, thanking them for buying Tasty Baking to keep the brand alive, or to ask if they might soon be available in some part of the country where Tasty Baking does not distribute.

In Thomasville, snack-cake sales are dominated by Little Debbie, Hostess, and Blue Bird, a Flowers brand.

Melody K. Porter's eyes lit up when she heard that a sampling of Tastykakes was in town. She had eaten them as a child, when her father brought Tastykakes home to Texas whenever management-consulting assignments took him to Philadelphia.

"You've made my day," she said after eating a Peanut Butter Kandy Kake.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just Got Back from Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is just west of our villa. Thousands of giant cacti are holding a convention there and they all have their hands up.

Nearby is Old Tucson - an old desert village that is used as a movie set for many pictures. John Wayne worked here. Also The Three Amigos was filmed here.

The last time we visited this national park was 1994. It reminds me of some of the good times we had with our boys on our travels. We bought matching desert hats here to hike down into the Grand Canyon. We seldom agreed on what was cool clothing - but on that trip we seemed to be on the same page. Funny - but some of the most memorable times we had were on trips when Lulu was teaching summer school - Arizona - North Carolina - Georgia - Hawaii - Florida - London. These are things that go through your mind when you are staring into the sunset in Arizona.

Old Tucson Movie Studio

Springtime in the Sonoran Desert

Usually the desert is pretty dull - but springtime brings some green and many blossoms.

Cactus at night are a little scary - especially when you see one out of the corner of your eye with it "hands" up. Some get 40 feet tall.

Our villa (shown in white) is in the foothills west of Tucson.

During the summer - walking in the desert really dries you out with temperatures in the 100s. But in the springtime it is 70s with a nice breeze. Both times - it is bone dry. In some places - they must drill over 1000 feet down to hit water.

George and Joel Dawson Are Leading a Tour in Morocco

We are in the desert in Arizona - but George and Joel have been leading a group through Morocco. They actually spent several nights in a tent in the desert - miles away from any other humans. They are coming home tomorrow - but they sent a few pictures ahead.

Ice Cream Burglar - Heislers Dairy Bar

Someone broke into Heislers Dairy Bar Tuesday morning and took ice cream. They also left a video of their crime.

Morris Heisler ran a dairy and dairy bar in Lewistown Valley - just a few miles outside Tamaqua PA. It was a very successful operation that later added a miniature golf course. Many folks in Tamaqua spent a first date golfing at Heislers and having ice cream.

My first job was delivering milk for Heislers Dairy. While in high school - very morning I would work from 5 AM to 7 AM carrying milk door to door in downtown Tamaqua. In the summer - I also worked at night scrubbing the white tile floors shown in this video.

In the picture you see the crooks coming through counter window. Lulu worked at that exact window as an ice cream girl while in high school. It was the last paying job she had before she got married.

Although Morris died maybe 15 years ago - the dairy bar is still a resounding success. The milk processing business has been closed a long time - but it is still the source of the best ice cream in the Coal Regions.

I Don't Know How Lulu Find These Hotels - Marriot's Starr Pass Golf Suites - 5 Miles West of Tucson - $50 a Night

Lulu is busy visiting a school library in Tucson and going on PBS-TV supporting school libraries. I am left to lounge around this beautiful Starr Pass Golf Suites with temperature in the 70s and about 15% humidity. Lulu has a series of web pages she visits for bargains - including This place normally costs about $300 a night - but she got it for $50.

This must be what heaven is like. We are in the foothills overlooking the city. The place is covered with gigantic cacti (cactuses). It probably would not be nearly as nice if there were a lot of people here - but right now it is perfect.

Lulu will be done her school library visit in a couple of hours - then we have 3 days to enjoy Tucson. You may recall that Lulu taught at the University of Arizona during the summers of 1993 and 1994. While she was busy teaching those classes and making a name for herself - the boys and I toured all over the Southwest. We would rent a car and make these giant circle tours. We visited - Tombstone - Bisbee - Alamogordo - Albuquerque - Gallup - Colorado Springs - Denver - Boulder - Mesa Verde - Bryce Canyon - Zion National Park - Phoenix - Mexico - White Sands - Grand Canyon - Los Angeles and San Diego. Now it is Lulu's turn to see some of that.

This is the 25th school library award Lulu is presenting out of a total of 35. By the end of May - she will have visited all 35 schools in 35 different states. She will do at that while performing a list of duties as a professor at Florida State. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Now to enjoy Tucson. We don't golf.

What Three Things Do These Three Have in Common?

Meet Lulu - Lyn Berner - and Me. Yesterday we had lunch together in Albuquerque NM. They have three things in common. Number 1 - they are all Tamaqua High grads - 1972 - 1964 - 1966. Number 2 - they all graduated from Kutztown State Teachers College - 1975 - 1969 (January) - 1970. Finally - they all lived on Broad Street in Tamaqua for a time - 111 E Broad - 326 W Broad - 111 E Broad.

Lyn's face looks very familiar to many folks in Tamaqua. She bears a strong resemblance to Ethel Berner - her mom - who was the high school office secretary at Tamaqua High School for 30 years. Ethel is still alive and living in New Mexico.