Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Shout Out to Firewarrior

I got a comment. No, I got my first REAL comment. And it's from Poland, no less. Firewarrior, these fireworks are for you, my dear. Enjoy. I'm sure I will see more this week, it is July 4th week. And it just couldn't be July 4th without fireworks. Which brings up the age old question, do they have July 4th in Poland? Absolutely, they also have a July 5th, and an August 12th and a... Anyways.... these are from a Harrisburg Senator's game last August. And thank you Firewarrior for being my first real commenter. Yes, thanks to everyone who take time from their busy day to read my pointless stories and dry humor, what would I do without both of you.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Making Wishes Come True

In support of the Make A Wish Foundation, Cressler's Trucking of Shippensburg, PA help to organize the Franklin County Truck Convoy. The Convoy is for seriously ill children and their families and gives these children an opportunity to ride in one of the big rigs. Following a picnic with the families, the children can ride in a semi truck or a cement truck or an antique tractor trailer truck or a dump truck or a fire truck, there are nearly 40 trucks involved. The ride goes for a 20 to 25 mile loop and is quite a thrill for these kids. Each truck must make a donation to be in the parade, many go above and beyond with these donations. These pictures are from last year and show the Vigilant Hose Company No. 1 of Shippensburg leading the parade just as they did this year. Just goes to show that there doesn't need to be an emergency for firefighters to help their community. Nice job guys.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

East Brady Bridge, Rest In Pieces

I took this picture of the bridge over the Allegheny River between Brady's Bend and East Brady, PA in the fall of 2001. This view is from the campgrounds in Brady's Bend (aka the Armstrong County side) looking towards East Brady Borough (aka the Clarion County side). East Brady, as everyone knows, is the home of Pro Football Hall-of-Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills. There use to be a big sign proclaiming this as you crossed the bridge into town on the wall by the grocery store. I haven't been up lately and I'm sure all of that has changed along with all the other changes. There is now a new bridge, probably crossing about where I stood to take this picture and as of a couple weeks ago this magnificent bridge was loaded with 66 pounds of explosives and dropped right where it stood. This bridge has served its purpose since 1899, but it wasn't built to withstand the truck traffic that Route 68 carries these days. Progress.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

B+O Ruins, Inner Harbor, Baltimore (PG XII)

Painted Gentleman Number 12. This old building was seen when we took a water taxi ride from Inner Harbor to Fells Point in Baltimore. The year was 1998 and the camera was the infamous point and shoot 35mm. It was late afternoon and the sun was low behind the ruins but this shows a cool building. It would be really cool if I could get closer for a picture. It looks like a big pile of bricks behind here so maybe the past 9 years haven't been nice to this beautiful building. Maybe sometime soon I can get back down to get some better digitals and maybe go to a ballgame. Let's Go O's!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blue. Moon.

Blue Sky. Full Moon. White River National Forest, Colorado. November 2006.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Yes, it is fireworks time. These are from Saturday night in Walnut Bottom, PA. You have not seen a Saturday night until you've seen a Saturday night in Walnut Bottom. Seriously though, Walnut Bottom is just a wide spot along Route 174, but this one weekend before July 4th it is carnival time, followed by the Saturday night fireworks. Hosted by the South Newton Township Volunteer Fire Company the fireworks out do alot of other community fireworks. Situated along Interstate 81, every year the State Police have to patrol this section of I-81 to keep people from stopping on the shoulder to watch. This year we had pretty good seats and nice weather. Even though they only lasted 20 to 25 minutes, and the finale was almost 2 minutes, getting that close makes for a good time and some really cool pictures.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Destiny's March

Every year, since 2002, Shippensburg, PA has celebrated, or rather honored it's role in the American Civil War. Besides the hundreds of men from the local area who went off to fight and sacrifice their lives, Shippensburg is just across the South Mountain, north of Gettysburg, and from June 23rd through the 30th of 1863 was occupied by 20,000 Confederate troops as they prepared for the coming battle. This weekend, the last full weekend of June, Shippensburg hosts the March To Destiny. This weekend is full of activities such as encampments, a Victorian Ball, music and reenactments. Yesterday I attended the street skirmish which involved probably 80 soldiers and cavalrymen. They fought back and forth showing how battles were fought close up and disciplined. They fired cannons, rifles and shotguns and on more than one occasion you could hear the famed rebel yell. when it was over they marched back to their encampments, the southern troops singing Dixie. There were speeches by "Abe Lincoln" and "Gen. James Longstreet", portrayed by a local man who has posed as Longstreet from painters and sculptors.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's a Guy Thing... You May Not Understand

I'm, sort of, kinda like, you know a car guy. Not a grease monkey-car guy, I can change the oil and check the fluids, but much more than that and I need help. I'm definitely not a NASCAR guy, watching cars drive around in circles just doesn't do anything for me, besides, I can find better reasons to drink beer and prettier woman to look at. No, I'm just an enthusiast, I love the sight of an old muscle car, a classic, even an antique. If I see one going down the road I can say, "That's a Chevelle, 1968, maybe 1969." These kids these days tricking out a Dodge Neon baffle me. Why? Why would do that? A polished turd is still a turd. My dream car was always the Corvette, 1963, split rear-window, laker pipes, oh yea. But realistically, how many 16 year-olds can afford that? My high school dream car was the 1979 Chevy Camaro Berlinetta, blue, chrome headers (Why chrome?, I don't know, it's a dream remember) and wide Cragar rims, because any car worth anything had Cragars.

Now, my son has started to notice cars, his car would be a Mustang. I've never been much of a Ford man and in the late 70's and early 80's Mustangs were junk. They started out OK, especially with the Mach 1, and they are coming back around recently, so his Mustang thing is all right with me.

These pictures are from a "Cruise In" at the local Chevy dealer, yesterday evening.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Home of the Brave

Charleston, South Carolina. Today they held a memorial at the site of the furniture warehouse where earlier this week 9 firefighters died while fighting a fire. Apparently they had rescued one store employee and returned to see if there were anymore inside when the roof collapsed.
I remember in March of 1989 responding to a furniture showroom/warehouse fire. It was well off until we arrived. Four or five guys and I took a 3" handline into the front door but with the heat and smoke reducing visibility to near nothing we only advanced maybe 15 to 20 feet. One by one guys backed out, low air, too hot, too dark, I can't blame them, all I was trying to do was get some water under the roof. But when the nozzle hit the floor I knew that meant one thing; no more water. I yelled for everyone to get out (OK, I may have added some additional colorful adjectives to my command) we all kinda helped the man in front of us towards the door. I was the last out, I remember lunging for the door and hitting the jamb between them then lunging again and rolling out into the parking lot. I must have scared someone, other than myself, I remember yelling, asking where my water got to, as 2 or 3 guys were stripping my pack and coat off, I must have been smoking pretty bad. Later, once a better water supply was found a half mile or so away by our engine, we made another weak attempt at entering the front door. They realized it was futile and we backed out. At this point operations became "surround and drown". My guys and I made our way up the hill to were our engine was pumping from a pond and waited until morning when we were able to start packing hose, cleaning up and going home.

Last Monday marked the worst loss of firefighters since 9-11-2001. God bless you brothers and thank you for your service

Capt. William "Billy" Hutchinson

Capt. Mike Benke

Capt. Louis Mulkey

Mark Kelsey

Bradford "Brad" Baity

Michael French

James "Earl" Drayton

Brandon Thompson

Melvin Champaign

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shea Stadium, Flushing, Queens, NYC

Here's another ballpark. Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets. We saw the O's play here last Father's Day during interleague play. The Orioles lost this day, but they did take the series though. Adam Loewen pitched for the Orioles against Tom Glavine, part of the record setting stretch where Loewen, a rookie, faced 4 Cy Young winners in his first 4 starts. He also gave up a grand slam, ouch. Nice stadium, built in the "Bowl" era, like the Vet in Philly and RFK in DC, but with an open outfield. We tried to get down to field level before the game but being in NYC security wasn't letting that happen. The Mets had already broken ground for the new Met's Ballpark (notice the vacant lot with the blue fencing behind straightaway centerfield) so we'll be back to see the new park. Interesting quirk about Shea is its proximity to the flight pattern for LaGuardia International Airport. Jets were occasionally flying right over your head.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dice's Tire, Chambersburg, PA (PG XI)

Painted Gentleman No. 11 is Dice's Tire along Route 30 East of Chambersburg, PA. It looks like it is closed now, maybe they sold out or moved. This area is a growing shopping strip since Rt 30 has been repaved and widened. Another one destined for the wrecking ball. Gotta take those pictures when you see 'em.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yuengling Brewery, Again

Just some more evidence supporting Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, PA as a Painted Gentleman (see Painted Gentleman III, May 4, 2007 ). This building is beside the main brewery. The other picture is of the old Yuengling Dairy, across Mahantongo Street from the brewery. During prohibition Yuengling turned to making near beer and running a dairy, the near beer lasted until prohibition was repealed and a truck load of Winner Beer was sent to FDR in Washington D.C., the dairy lasted until 1981.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fire Tower Memories

This fire tower sits on top of the mountain near where I grew up. It was a part of my growing up. We used to drive up here and climb the tower when I was a teen (just to the top of the steps though, the building itself was always locked). Just because. Just because when you are a teen you need to get away. Just get away. The tower was rickety then and I wasn't sure it was being used. Now, twenty odd years later, it looks the same. I mean the same: rickety. I did notice there is now a antenna on top so I can assume it has been updated since way back when. I could only guess how tall it is. 9 flights of steps, maybe 8 feet each string, 72 feet, give or take. No, I didn't go up yesterday, its been most of 20 years since my last trip to the top, but I can still remember the view looking back towards town, I can only imagine now with how town has grown over time. Ya know, some days the rearview mirror is a little clearer than others and it's things like this that help keep it in focus.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day

I took these pictures at my Dad's house, he is a train buff. The rails don't really go anywhere but the sign is authentic. Later in the summer this area is polluted with lilies. I did see a hummingbird there a few weeks ago. The second picture is some of Dad's martin houses, but the problem is Dad must have built these in the slum section of his yard cause the only thing living there are some sparrows and a bunch of grackles. And what's up with that cloud? It looks like one of those ghosts on Casper the Friendly Ghost. Strange.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Quickie, Post No. 50

This is post number 50! Woo Hoo! But it's late and it's time for bed, so I'll make this short. Christmas in Chincoteague, Sunset Beyond the Drawbridge. Have a nice night.

Friday, June 15, 2007

New York Yankees Do Good, Post 9-11

OK, some positive now. While touring Yankee Stadium last summer the tour concluded in Monument Park, out beyond left field. In Monument Park are plaques dedicated to the greats, both Baseball Greats and Yankee Greats. There amongst the retired numbers was this memorial plaque to the "eternal spirit of the innocent victims" and the "selfless courage shown by both public servants and private citizens" on 9-11-2001. It reads:

We Remember
On September 11, 2001, despicable acts of terrorism were
perpetrated on our country.
In tribute to the eternal spirit of the innocent victims of these
crimes and to the selfless courage shown by both public
servants and private citizens, we dedicate this plaque.
These valiant souls, with unfettered resolve, exemplify the true
character of this great nation. Their unity and resilience during
this time of distress defined American heroism for
future generations.
Dedicated by the New York Yankees
September 11, 2002

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Evil Empire, Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium. As an Oriole fan this is the home of the Evil Empire. We toured it last summer, but have never seen a game here. I told my son, "You don't have to like the team, but you still have to respect the stadium." The greats who came from this place Ruth, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Berra and Maris, not the overpriced under-achievers they have today. Proof positive that talent can only get you so far. Everywhere you saw the "26 World Championships", like they were gonna forget it. They haven't won since 2000, that's 6 years without a ring, 6 years of $200 million salary, that's $1.2 billion (with a B) without a ring. During the tour you were strictly forbidden to take photographs (put your camera away) or video (take the battery out) when you went into the locker room. I guess it was because with the open lockers they have you could easily see they were all full of gallon jugs of supplements. You think maybe that's it? Jason? Are you there?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The World of Pigeons (Painted Gentleman X)

Who needs Wally World and Marty, the stupid talking moose out front, to know when you're having fun. The World of Pigeons is all a kid needs. The WOP is located along Route 75 in Fannettsburg, PA or is better seen, as this picture was taken, from the Pennsylvania Turnpike near mile marker 189. Inside this barn was probably 150 to 200 pigeons, not your average barn pigeons or your standard pooping-on-the-statue-in-the-park variety, no we're talking Tumblers, Homers, Tipplers and racers. And the man behind the dream is an old German fella who loved what he did, he once told me "Dare are two tings I love, viman and pee-jons". He also explained the difference between the German woman and English woman "Ingleesh vimon have da small ah-sses" This old guy was a riot, he could tell you stories for hours if you let him. It's been years since I've stopped by and he had to be in his eighties then, the last time I was out the turnpike past here it didn't look so lively. And if he's no longer around "Auf Wiedersehen mein Freund."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ladies in Waiting

These Ladies were docked on Chincoteague Bay last summer, just up from the drawbridge. Their bright colors and inspired names make you think who is Lady Susie, Cheryl Lynn or Miss Reba Grace? Are they merely just a name on a fishing boat or are they a loved one remembered back home, a child, a wife or a girlfriend who is missed? Things that make you go hmmmm? When I went back down at Christmas Miss Reba Grace was the only one of these three still hanging out.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Roberto Clemente Bridge, Pittsburgh

The Roberto Clemente Bridge (aka the 6th Street Bridge) over the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh is one of three nearly identical bridges, the only trio in the U.S.A. [along with the Andy Warhol Bridge (7th Street) and the Rachel Carson Bridge (9th Street)] it leads from the city over to ball parks. On Pirate and Steeler home game days the bridge is closed to traffic and is used by fans who park at one of the many downtown parking garages to cross over to the stadiums. Named for Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, the Pirates right fielder, who died in a plane crash in Puerto Rico on New Years Eve 1972 taking supplies and food to earthquake survivors. We came to PNC Park for a game on Father's Day 2004 and even though there was parking on the west side of the river we parked downtown so that we could experience the Bridge. We toured the park that day, met Craig Wilson but missed the Parrot, who was walking around somewhere and enjoyed the game. They lost to the Mariners in interleague play, oh well, more on PNC Park another day. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Penn State Life Lion, Going, Going, Gone

These pictures are from this morning. The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Life Lion helicopter was on display, for Child's Dream Weekend, sponsored by West End Fire and Rescue in Shippensburg, PA. The kids listened to the pilot, nurse and paramedic talk about what it is they do and how, inside these cramped quarters, they do that. They explained that they can do anything an ambulance can do, they just can't stand up. They showed the children inside the helicopter and answered all their questions. The boys were especially impressed that with the proper tailwind the normal 180 mph can get to 230 mph. Near the end of the program the phone rang, they cleared the kids and they were gone. But not before thrilling everyone with a flyover.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Nothing But Flowers, Again

Another Saturday night and I ain't got a thing to say. Here are some old standby pictures, flowers. When in doubt... These are from Colorado, the first was out in Meeker, the second and third are from Dinosaur Ridge, in Morrison, just west of Denver, near Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I don't know what they are, I just know they are beautiful. I'll do better tomorrow.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Storm King Mountain, 1994

On July 6th 1994 a wildfire, on Storm King Mountain, outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, took the lives of 14 firefighters. I was in Glenwood that fall and remember seeing the charred remains of the mountain. There now stands, in Two Rivers Park, a monument to the brave men and woman who lost their lives in what was known as the South Canyon Fire. Many were part of a Hot-Shot crew out of Prineville, Oregon, three were Smokejumpers and two were helitack firefighters, each is memorialized on stones surrounding the statue that now overlooks Storm King Mountain. The statue, as you may see, shows each group, Hot-Shot, Smokejumper and Helitack. There is a memorial trail that leads up past markers for the fallen firefighters, but every time I've been to Glenwood I've never had the time to hike it. Someday I'll make time. A good book was written to help explain what happened, by John N. Maclean, called Fire on the Mountain, it's a good read. John's father, Norman, studied and wrote a book about the Mann Gulch fire in Montana that killed 13 firefighters in 1949.

Prineville, Oregon Hot-Shot crewmembers: Scott Blecha, Kathi Beck, Tami Bickett, Levi Brinkley, Doug Dunbar, Terri Hagan, Bonnie Holtby, Rob Johnson and Jon Kelso. Smokejumpers: Don Mackey, Roger Roth and James Thrash. Helitack firefighters: Robert Browning and Richard Tyler.

These pictures are from July 2005.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Be Alert, Avoid Injury, Harrisburg

Tonight I have two more signs of baseball. These come to you from Harrisburg, PA, Commerce Bank Park on City Island, home of the Harrisburg Senators, AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals. One time minor league home of Vladimir Guerrero, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Grudzielanek, Orlando Cabrera, Uggie Urbina, Brandon Phillips and Manager Jim Tracy. Lately though Harrisburg just isn't what they used to be, after years of MLB ownership of the Expos and the Nats, the farm system has been bottom of the barrel. Hopefully with new ownership in Washington the Senators can get back to their old winning ways (League champs 1993, 96, 97, 98 & 99). I'll go either way, sit up high, cheer them on and swap the mayflies. Root, root, root for the home team, it just fells like the right thing to do.

The top sign is posted along the field lines, the bottom is more than a sign, it is my son's game plan and outlook on baseball itself. Even if he never has a steak at the Ritz, he has never failed to indulge in a hot dog at every ballpark.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Painted Gentlemen VIII & IX)

These two Gentleman live in the same neighborhood. That neighborhood would be old Route 220 between Port Matilda, PA and Bald Eagle, PA. These pictures were taken 5 or 6 years ago and the last time I rode through here they were showing their age more and more. A few less letters pointing you towards Indian Caverns and a few more junk cars and weeds around the Mail Pouch barn. I've found some more Painted Gentlemen that need me and my camera to take a ride to and I found an album in the basement with a Mail Pouch barn in from the late 80's. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beach, Beach, Beach

Here's a couple of beach pictures, the first is what my daughter and I call a "shell bed" (I think I've mentioned this before). It's a place along the oceanfront that seems to always have a lot of seashells. I don't know if it's because of the beach itself or some underwater phenomenon that causes all these shells to get funneled up through here. I just don't know. Now, most of what we find here are broken but you just have to look for some good ones. This picture is from July of 2006.
The second is from our Christmas mini-vacation last year. These are raccoon tracks. We also saw fox and deer tracks, very cool. They must visit overnight because we never saw them, I'd guess the raccoons are looking for sand crabs, there are plenty there.