Record-breaking heat here in NEPA and, of course, my central air is on the fritz. I turned it on Saturday, and noticed that things really weren't cooling off. I turned it on Sunday, just to make sure that Saturday wasn't some kind of fluke. It wasn't. Yesterday, I called the AC people. They didn't call me back. This morning, I called them again. They did call me back, so now I'm on their list. Hopefully, everything will be fixed by Friday.
Blog posts May 2006
or How to get from Moosic to Wilkes-Barre in 60 minutes.
I know. It's a long story - and it was a long ride - but here's how a trip that should take maybe 25 minutes turned into an hour.
A friend and I were at Cinemark on Saturday night to see "X-Men: The Last Stand" (the review is on the website). We walked out of the theater at approximately 9:50 p.m. We got in the car and got in the relatively long line of cars waiting to get out of the parking lot.
Well, everyone in the line was waiting to turn left, which would take them down the mountain to Montage Mountain Road and, in most cases, to I-81. So, I decided to turn right, and take the back way down the mountain. I mean, NO ONE was in that line! As it turns out, there's a reason for that. The back way is no longer accessible due to the construction of the Shoppes at Montage. So, I had to go back into the movie theater parking lot and get in the long line of traffic - again.
This time, I turned left and went down the mountain. At the bottom of the hill, you can turn right and head toward 81. Or, you can turn left and take the back way, which leads to Route 11 in Moosic. Since the line was longer for right turns, I went left.
We made it to Route 11 without much problem and headed south. Once we got into Avoca, we saw the lights of an ambulance up ahead. It was still moving, though. Then, we saw another one coming up from behind. So, I pulled over to let it pass and then continued on.
But, then a fire truck was coming up from behind! I figured it was probably going to the same place the ambulances were, and they seem to have headed straight, toward Route 315. So, rather than pull over for the fire truck, I turned right to continue on Route 11. Guess what? So did the fire truck. So, I pulled over to let it pass.
No more emergency vehicles were in sight, so we continued on the Pittston bypass, turned right into Pittston, then went over the bridge into West Pittston. Well, I was behind some minivan, and the next thing I know, I'm on Route 92! I knew I didn't want to be on that road, so, I turned around and backtracked. I had to go almost all the way back to the bridge to get on Route 11 again. Seems instead of following the minivan to the right, I should have stayed straight. Oh, well.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, but Wyoming Avenue is not exactly built for speed. With lights and traffic, it just takes a while - about an hour, to be exact.
You may have heard by now that Rolling Rock is about to roll right out of its home in Latrobe, PA. Anheuser-Busch bought the recipe and the name for $82 million. As of August 1, Rolling Rock will be brewed in New Jersey. As I've said, it's not right! In fact, I read today that some bars in western PA are so upset, that as of August 1st, they'll no longer sell Rolling Rock. Good! Anheuser-Busch will probably ruin the beer anyway.
What's still up in the air is what will happen to the brewery in Latrobe. It's up for sale but, so far, no buyers. The same article that mentioned the bars also mentioned that the folks from Samuel Adams might be interested. Apparently, they have a brewery in Ohio, and may want to expand. But, nothing definite yet.
I probably shouldn't be so worked up about this. I mean, it's been years since I've actually had any Rolling Rock to drink. Somehow, I have survived. But, I remember Rolling Rock from college when you could go to one of the taverns in town and buy a pitcher of it for $2.50. At least, that's what I heard.
I guess I'm just disappointed because it's another Pennsylvania tradition - gone. First, Pennsylvania House got sold to La-Z-Boy, which promptly moved production to China. Now, Rolling Rock is going to be made in New Jersey. What's next?
OK, that's one show I don't watch - not usually, though I did see one episode. It was ehhhh. Anyway, stay tuned for the final Sweeps Death Toll update.
First, how about the Phillies, losing to the Mets in 16 innings. I put the dog out in the middle of the 16th and got back just in time to hear Scott Graham talk about a walk-off homerun. Whatever. The Phillies should have won that one. Leading 8-5 in the 8th, then Ryan Franklin gives up the game-tying runs. When's the last time he didn't give up any runs? Now the Phillies are 4 games back. Time for another winning streak, I think.
Now, about Sweeps. Here's the final, bloody tally.
Alias: 6 - Nadia, Renee, Fake Sydney, Tom, Jack, and Irina. Arvin Sloane is not dead, but he probably wishes he were now that he's damned to spend eternity lying under a pile of rocks in Rimbaldi's tomb. Immortality wasn't supposed to be like this.
Lost: 2 - Libby and Ana Lucia. Long may they live in flashbacks. Eko, Locke, and Desmond are in peril onacounna the hatch blew up.
24: 2 - Henderson and Bierko; Kiefer's been kidnapped!
OTH: 3? - Nathan, Cooper, and Rachel are STILL waiting for Haley to call for help.
NCIS: 0 - Gibbs survives, but says hasta la vista to the team.
L&O SVU: 0 - Olivia has recovered from having her throat slashed.
CSI: 0 - Brass takes a couple bullets but lives.
ER: 1 - Gallant gives his life for the series.
DH: 2 - Matthew Applewhite takes a bullet from a police sniper; Noah gets his life support shut off. Mike gets run down by Kyle MacLachlan, but Mike may still have some life left in him.
Crossing Jordan: 1 - JD. and Jordan is the prime suspect!
Bird Flu: I'm guessing about 150,000,000 by now. And, if you managed to survive that, there's a pretty good chance the 10.5 earthquake on another network finished you off. Afterall, that was a genuine mini-series, not just a one-and-done made-for-TV movie.
Will anyone be left when November rolls around?
The race in the 118th State House District is still too close to call on the GOP side. On election night, just 20 votes separated the top two candidates. But, the Times Leader reports that after a recount on Friday, just 11 votes separate the two, and the one who was second is now first. So, Maureen Tatu (from Monroe County) is now leading Art Bobbouine (from Luzerne County). I doubt this one is over yet. Count on another recount.
"One Tree Hill" got renewed for a fourth season! So, I guess we'll get to find out what happens to Nathan and Rachel and Cooper and Haley and everyone in Tree Hill, NC. It'll air Wednesdays at 9PM on the new CW Network.
While I'm here, here's a very unofficial sweeps death toll update.
Alias - 3: Nadia, Renee, Anna (fake Sydney)
Lost - 2: Libby, Ana-Lucia
CSI - 0: Brass lives!
NCIS - 0: Gibbs lives!
ER - 1?: Gallant is definitely dead and buried; Abby and her unborn baby are in danger, Luka is strapped to a gurney and he can't get up, Sam and her son have been taken hostage by her ex. It can't all end well, can it?
One Tree Hill - ?: As previously mentioned, Nathan, Cooper and Rachel are in a car that went off a bridge into a river. Now that there's going to be a fourth season, Haley needs to stop screaming and GET HELP!
Bird Flu: Fatal Contact - ?: This It's been almost two-weeks since the movie aired, so I'm guessing that about 75 million have died by now. Or, maybe we should say 100 million, just to be on the safe side. You don't want to underestimate bird flu.
The day after elections, and I'm hoping I'll be able to stay awake for "Alias" and "Lost" tonight. I was at the station until about 2:15 a.m, waiting for late returns. Finally got to bed around 3:00. Then, the dog decided that 6:45 was a pretty good time to get up and go out. I went back to sleep for a while, but was at work by 11:00 a.m. to finish up.
So, let's see where we are:
In the 112th State House District, Fred Belardi will likely join the ranks of several soon-to-be unemployed lawmakers. (How about Jubelirer and Brightbill losing! Who's gonna be running things over at the state Senate???) Ken Smith beat Belardi by several hundred votes, and we were all over the story on our late newscasts. No Republicans were on the ballot, and I haven't heard anything definite about any kind of write-in campaign.
In the 113th, Frank Andrews Shimkus came out on top in a crowded Democratic primary. Matt Burke won the GOP nomination. Since Janet Evans kept it close on the Democratic side, I'm wondering if she might not have another go and run as an Independent. As someone pointed out, Frank got about 29% of the vote. That means 71% voted for someone else. November will be very interesting.
In the 118th, Mike Carroll got the Democratic nomination, but the GOP side is too close to call. Art Bobbouine was leading Maureen Tatu by about 20 votes. We'll have to see if that slim lead holds up. If Tatu pulls it out, it could be a sign of a shift in power from Luzerne County to the Poconos.
Another close one in the 117th, but Dr. Karen Bobabck appears to have risen to the top of the very crowded GOP ticket. Tim Carroll did well, finishing about 200 votes behind despite being allowed back on the ballot just about one-week before the election. I think it will be tough for a write-in campaign to surpass Boback.
In the 20th State Senate, Lisa Baker got the Republican nomination in a race that was not as close as I expected. I thought Haggerty would do better. I wonder if his negative ads had a negative effect.
Rep. Don Sherwood survived a very respectable challenge from Kathy Scott. I don't think Sherwood managed 60%, so he could have a tough time in November against Democrat Chris Carney. He seems like a guy who might appeal to a decent-sized number of GOP voters.
Casey vs. Santorum. This will be a big one.
Rendell vs. Swann. Another big one, but not as big as Casey/Santorum, I don't think.
We'll find out for sure is about 6-months.
I've finally fixed the wooden fence in the backyard. I'm pretty sure it's my neighbor's fence, but when a board fell off a few months ago (yes, a few months ago!), it fell into my yard. So, I just went ahead and fixed it.
The repair job only took about 15 minutes. The majority of that time was actually taken up with getting the extension cord, geting the drill, and getting the screwdrivier. Total labor time was maybe 5 minutes.
So, why did it take so long for me to get around to fixing it? Well, as I said, the board fell off a few months ago - during the winter. Cold, snow on the ground - I worried that the age of the board might make it likely to break or crack if someone tried to drive a nail into it. So, I decided to wait for some warmer weather.
Warmer weather finally arrived a few weeks ago. Still worried that the chances of breaking the board were dramatically greater if I attempted to do the work myself, I called my handyman guy. (Yes, I have a handyman guy). He was busy, but said he would stop in about a week. Well, the appointed day came and went, and he never showed. I guess he took me at my word when I told him it was nothing urgent.
Anyway, since the board had now been lying in the yard for months, I finally decided that enough is enough, and rather than bug my handyman guy again, I would just do it myself. So, I got my dad to hand over some appropriately-sized screws (thanks, Dad!) and went to work. No problems, except for when I put in the second screw. I didn't exactly line it up with the first one. I kind of missed by one board to the right. But, that board was loose anyway. I also (on purpose) put a screw in another loose board. So, all told, I fixed one board and hopefully prevented two others from falling. Of course, the fence contains lots of other boards...
That describes the Philadelphia Phillies right now. Following tonight's game, the team is 9-1 in their last 10, maybe 12-1 in their last 13 or something. Anyway, they've been playing pretty well and are now 5 games over .500 and just two games out of first (assuming the Mets lose).
Cole Hamels made his Major League debut tonight against the Reds and did pretty well. 5 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, and 7 K's (I think). He did walk 5, but managed to leave the game with a 2-0 lead. Reliever Ryan Madson took care of that in the next innings, giving up 2 solo home runs. So, Hamels did not get the win. In the kind of ironic twist that only happens in baseball, Madson actually turned out to be the winning pitcher!
Anyway, it's good to see the Phillies playing well. Let's hope they can keep it going for the rest of the season!
After another week of network television sweeps, the death toll stands as follows:
Lost: 2 - Ana Lucia last week; Libby hung on for another week, but Sawyer gave up some of his heroin so Jack could put her out of her misery.
Alias: 3 - Fake Sydney got killed by Real Sydney just as Fake Sydney was about to kill Real Vaughn; last week, we said good-bye to Nadia and Renee.
CSI: 1? - We'll have to wait til the season finale to find out what Brass is made of.
ER: 1 - Gallant got killed in Iraq; watch for more life-thretening drama in next week's season finale.
Crossing Jordan: 1 - JD got murdered.
Bird Flu: Fatal Contact: 25,958,301 and counting (well, they DID say that millions would die!)
Survivor: Exile Island: 0; Bruce had a close call, but he survived and so has everyone else.
Yesterday was not a good day to be a character on a network television ensemble drama. If you were in an episode that aired yesterday, your chances of dying - or of, at the very least, being put in harm's way - were pretty good. I watched three shows last night. By the end, the total body count was as follows: 3 definitely dead, 1 very likely dead, and 3 dead unless they are rescued very quickly at the start of next season. Here's the breakdown:
Alias: Nadia - dead; throat cut by glass from a table that her Rimbaldi-obsessed father pushed her into. Renee - dead; throat cut by a knife-wielding Sydney replica.
Lost: Ana-Lucia - dead; shot by Michael, who appears to have gone to the "Other" side. Libby - very likely dead; shot several times by Michael, but she managed to hold up some sort of pouch to kind of cushion the blow. So, I suppose that, if her fall pilot fails on another network, Libby could still be alive.
One Tree Hill: Nathan, Cooper, and Rachel - in danger of drowning. Cooper and Rachel were in a limo that plunged off a bridge into a river. Renewed newlywed Nathan jumped in to try to save them. Nathan seems to have found an air pocket, but things don't look too good for Cooper and Rachel. And, if Nathan's wife doesn't stop screaming and call 911 on a cell phone, they're all gonna be dead.
It looks as though the bloodshed will continue through the rest of sweeps. The previews for CSI imply that a main character will get killed off, and I think there's supposed to be a gun battle in the ER. Yikes!
Let the hype begin. Bird Flu is coming to a television near you! Today, the Bush administration gave some kind of dire warning about what could happen in a worst-case, bird flu in America scenario. I generally don't believe anything this administration says, so I wasn't paying too much attention to the story, but I think the gist of it was that millions of people will die and the rest of us will start making fashion statements with the hospital-type masks that we'll all be forced to wear if we want to live.
Never mind that, AFIK, bird flu has not hit the US yet. But, when it does, a lot of people sure are going to be good and scared. And, just in case the government hasn't done enough in that department, ABC is more than happy to reinforce the terror. On Tuesday at 8pm/7 central, the network will air a sure-to-be terrifying made-for-TV movie called "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America." I think it's pretty much a dramatization of the worst-case-scenario, just in case you were having trouble imagining the awfulness of a bird flu pandemic.
(BTW, just so you know, if something is "fatal", it WILL kill you. If it were merely "deadly", you might have a chance at survival. But, judging by the title of the movie, if you get bird flu, you're toast.)
7:00 a.m. Again, with the wood chipper. You know, that area of brush behind my house isn't that big. How much wood can there be back there?
Right now, the buzz is right outside my window. And, it's been going on almost constantly since approximately 6:55 this morning. How do I know? Because that's what time was on the clock when the buzz woke me up. (OK. The actual time on the clock was 6:57, but the clock is two-minutes fast, so it was actually 6:55. Either way, it's way to early to be getting up.) There was some silence around 9:45. But, then I had to go pick up KT at the groomer. When I came back, so did the buzz and it's still going on.
As far as I can tell, the buzz is being caused by a wood chipper. There must be a lot of wood to chip! All of it apparently piled up in the area of brush that lies beyond my backyard. Let's hope this job is one and done.
The big buzz in TV this past week was Rosie O'Donnell joining The View. As if that show is not annoying enough already. I can't stand to watch it because the women are constantly shouting over each other. Whoever the poor guest happens to be can barely get a word in edgewise. Do they think Rosie is going to help the situation? Not likely. But, the buzz over Rosie is creating more buzz that maybe Star Jones will leave the show. So, there may be some hope for The View after all.
My own view will look a little different in about six-weeks. That's when my new windows should arrive! I am replacing the large front window in the living room and the large, but slightly smaller, back window in the dining room. The new windows will be triple-paned and filled with krypton gas. Super!