Jennifer D. Wade Journal

Welcome to my online diary, enjoy your stay!

Blog posts July 2008

Name That Tune

I'm sitting here listening via the Internet to my favorite local college radio station.  I'm hoping to hear a certain song so that I can see what it's called and who sings it.  I have no idea because, over the summer, the station seems to mostly just play songs without any DJ interruption.  Not that that's a bad thing, but it does make it difficult to determine who's who and what's what.  For example, it took watching my least favorite show,"The View," to learn who sings THIS song.  The sacrifices I make for music!

Anyway, the song I'm interested in is, I'm pretty sure, about somebody's funeral.  The funeral of someone who committed suicide or otherwise died young.  The lyrics mention something about a photo hanging over the ocean and not having seen you in ages.  Then, everyone's in church, I think.  The song has a sound and vibe rather like this one from Cousteau.  But, it's not them.  I don't think.

***UPDATE:  Right after I posted this - seriously, right after - I went back to the internet station and the song was playing!  It's called "Gather to the Chapel" by Liam Finn.  And, yes, it has to do with suicide - the drummer from Crowded House.  The connection is Liam's dad, Neil Finn, who formed Split Enz and then Crowded House.  It seems like the song has actually been out for a year or so ... 

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It's About Damn Time

The Phillies finally made the move they should have made weeks ago.  Adam Eaton goes to the minors.  Read about it HERE.  I guess those two home runs he gave up during the one inning that he pitched on Sunday were the final straw.

So, let's see.  That gives us a rotation - in no specific order - of:  Hamels, Moyer, Meyers, Kendrick, Blanton.  J.A. Happ did pretty well in the two starts he had during his earlier call up.  The article mentions that he could go to the bullpen this time.  Or, do you throw him in the rotation and send Meyers back to the pen?  Hmmm.

At least the Phillies seem like they might be starting to hit again.


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Two Months til Dexter!

Watch the Season 3 preview here.  WARNING:  This preview is most definitely NOT approved for audiences of all ages.

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Back to School

I am now officially a part-time student at Luzerne County Community College.

Friday's meeting with my academic advisor was, as I suspected it would be, brief.  I told her that I already had a four-year degree and that I only wanted to take one course.  She asked why they had me take the PLACEMENT TEST.  I said I didn't know (although I later wondered if maybe it was because I didn't bother to send them a transcript from Juniata.  Whatever.  It was either waste my time taking the test or waste my money sending for a transcript).  My advisor promptly filled out the appropriate form and sent me to the registrar's office.  That's where the whole back to school experience became a reality.  When they print out the course schedule and the bill - which includes tuition and assorted fees - it's real.

Anyway, now all that's left is to buy some books, get my student ID, and go to class.  Starting right after Labor Day.

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Rappin' Duke

Today I have a meeting with my LCCC academic counselor.  I suppose we'll go over the RESULTS from the placement test I took last month.  Then, I suppose we'll talk about my future at LCCC.  There won't be much to talk about since, as I indicated BEFORE, I only plan to take one course!

At any rate, in honor of my going back to college, here's a little ditty that was popular during my first go 'round back in the 80s.  I have it on a cassette somewhere!  Giddyup!

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As the Turnpike Turns

When last we left, THIS was the status of the epic public relations struggle between the PA Turnpike Commission, which wants to put tolls on Interstate 80, and Pennsylvania Transportation Partners, the international consortium which thinks it can run the Turnpike better than the Turnpike Commission.

To recap, in early July, state lawmakers decided not to vote on PTP's proposal to lease the Turnpike, almost - but not quite - killing the plan.  A week or so later, the Turnpike Commission followed with an update on its plan to turn I-80 into a toll road.  Basically, there will be toll plazas, but no one will actually be there to take tolls.  You will either pay by EZ Pass, or they will send you the bill in the mail.

Now comes word that the PTC has submitted this revised plan to the feds for their consideration.  The submission happened Tuesday.  I'm not entirely sure it's worth an update because this is a soap opera and you can't expect major plot points to happen on Tuesdays.  But, you can't just skip Tuesday, either, or you might be lost when Wednesday rolls around.

Anyway, what happened Tuesday was that the PTC sent in a revamped proposal asking for permission to turn a federal highway into a state toll road.  HERE'S a link.  Read it at your own risk.  Basically, it seems to indicate that this revised proposal is much more detailed than the first one.  But, the detail that everyone wants to know - exactly where the toll plazas will be - is still being worked out.  They'll file an amendment sometime in August.  If - and that's a big if - the feds give the OK, we could be on the road to seeing tolls on 80 sometime in 2010.

Now, back to the other plan - the one to lease the turnpike to foreigners.  As I implied earlier, it's not dead yet.  In fact, as of Wednesday, it had new life!  PTP, as they like to be called, put out THIS news release which alleges increasing public support for leasing the turnpike and which graciously gives the state until the end of September to agree to the deal or risk falling into a giant pothole.

I'm not a big fan of either one of these ideas.  But, so far, I'd have to say that PTP is winning the PR war.  Their news releases have a friendlier tone and a more positive spin.  Compare that to the PTC, which fills its news releases with mysteriously obtuse phrases such as "planning organization consultation" and "in-depth physical condition assessment."  I'm also not convinced that two toll roads are better than one.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow ...

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Multiple Choice

Read the following then make your rhetorical choice from the options that follow:

You know how Budweiser, the once and former "King of Beers," has recently re-branded itself as "The Great American Lager?"  (If you don't know, you can see the logo HERE)  And, you know how Bud's parents, Anheuser and Busch, recently sold out to the foreigners at InBev? (If you don't know, you can read a little bit about it HERE)  Now that you know, does the whole matter constitute:

     a)  Irony
     b)  False advertising
     c)  A joke
     d)  All of the above
     e)  None of the above


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Gimme Some Sugar

After what can only be described in the proper politically-correct terms as a particularly challenging week, and with only slim prospects of next week being any less challenging, there's only one thing to do:

Crank up the Def Leppard!

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Our friends at the PA Turnpike Commission have come up with a revised plan to convert Interstate 80 into a toll road.  Now that the plan to LEASE the Turnpike to foreigners has stalled, the plan to put tolls on I-80 is once again picking up speed.

Of course, the federal government still has to give the OK, and it's scheduled to get a look at the new and theoretically improved plan sometime next month.  You can read about it HERE and HERE (the official news release).  If you go to the website for the PTC you can also read plenty of news releases about how the Turnpike peeps feel that leasing the Turnpike is a bad, bad idea.  In their humble opinion, it's a much better idea to let the Turnpike lease I-80 and turn it into the Turnpike II. 

Here are the highlights of the PTC's plan:

  • Build up to ten toll booths about 30 or 40 miles apart;
  • Put lots of exits in between the toll booths so that local drivers will not have to pay;
  • There will be no one actually collecting tolls along the highway;
  • Tolls will be paid through EZ Pass;
  • For drivers who don't have EZ Pass, well, the Turnpike knows where you live; the bill is in the mail;
  • All that toll money will be used to make I-80 the best road ever, the kind of road that toll-paying drivers deserve (like the current Turnpike???  Hey, I'm just askin').

If all goes as planned, I-80 through Pennsylvania will be a toll road by the summer of 2010.  But, that road goes through Washington, and we all know what traffic is like on Capitol Hill.

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Window Treatment

To celebrate my new replacement windows and the new window treatments (good-bye, temporary shades) to go with them, I give you U2.

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JonBenet Update

It happened again.  Just when you had totally forgotten about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, Boom!  Along comes an AP News Alert to remind you.

It has been almost two years since another AP News Alert delivered the stunning news that, at long last, a suspect had been arrested.  I blogged about it HERE.  Well, never mind.  The guy was either delusional or desperate for attention.  He should probably be locked up somewhere for something.  Just not for killing JonBenet.

Now, the latest developments.  We still don't know who did kill the little beauty queen.  But, finally, we know who didn't.  Wednesday afternoon, an AP News Alert alerted us to the fact that DNA tests have cleared JonBenet's parents (and, presumably, her brother) of any involvement in the crime.  Read THIS article for the complete story.  The gist of it is that new DNA technology has confirmed what the family has said all along:  They didn't do it.

What I don't get is why it took these new DNA tests to clear the family.  Weren't the dozens of DNA tests done previously conclusive enough?  If not, why not?  And, what evidence was there that the family might have been involved?  I suspect that they were suspected simply because police had no real suspects to focus on.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what the next AP News Alert reveals about the case.  Remember to expect it when you least expect it.

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Separated at Birth?

I'm just sayin'.

2008 Wimbledon champ Rafael Nadal

Red Hot Chili Peppers' frontman Anthony Kiedis

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Turnpike Rebellion

While you were eating hot dogs or drinking beer or setting off illegal fireworks or doing whatever it was you were doing to celebrate the Fourth of July, I was at work.  Working holidays comes with the territory of being in the news biz and, quite honestly, it's not as bad as it sounds.  There's usually not that much going on (because it's a holiday), so you do your requisite holiday-related stories and be done with it.

But, this Fourth of July was a little different.  The state lawmakers were in session, hurriedly giving the budget the final OK and still have time left for fireworks.  This flurry of holiday activity spurred a ridiculous number of emails and satellite feeds.  Seriously, in mid-afternoon, there were, like, three budget-related satellite feeds from various legislative factions within 90 minutes.  Then, there was a live feed of Rendell signing the budget.  Then, in case you missed the live event, there was a later feed of I guess you would call it highlights from the signing ceremony.  There was also a feed featuring one of the state reps from our area talking about the progress of his bill to ban spot assessments.  After all those feeds, I'm full!  We don't get fed that well on a regular non-holiday day.

Interestingly - and this brings me to the point, finally - the one thing there didn't seem to be a feed on was the new development in the Turnpike Lease Saga.  Yes.  Squeezed in between the budget  finale and the fireworks finale was THIS missive from the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, one JOSEPH MARKOSEK, (D) Allegheny.  You can read the release if you want but, to sum it up, Markosek believes that the current proposal to lease the Turnpike to a Spanish consortium is muy malo.  He says the deal, as it stands now, is bad business and the legislation will not be put to a vote by his committee no way, no how.  If I may mix my languages here, it's pretty much kaput.

Of course, politics is a big soap opera.  Sometimes "dead" doesn't really mean dead.  There may still be light at the end of the Lehigh Tunnel.

I say that because, better late than never, PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION PARTNERS (that's English for the Spanish consortium) put out THIS news release.  It basically says that PTP is glad that the lawmakers shot down the current proposal, thus proving that they, the lawmakers, have the mettle to stand up to the big, bad TURNPIKE COMMISSION and not be bullied into a hasty (read negative) vote against the lease.   In other words, PTP's point seems to be that a "no" vote now would be worse than no vote.

The gov. kept quiet about the whole thing, choosing instead to limit his holiday TALKING POINTS to the new budget.

What does it all mean?  Tune in this fall to find out.

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The U.S. of Bruce

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Hot Wheels

Never mind Speed Racer.  The most revved-up movie of the summer could very well be DEATH RACE.  It's due out in August.  As you might guess from its working title of Death Race 3000, it's a remake - perhaps reimagination is a better word - of the 1975 camp classic DEATH RACE 2000.  That movie starred a post-Kung Fu David Carradine and a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone.  If you read farther down in the credits, you'll see that a pre-"Gopher" Fred Grandy also has a role.

Death Race 2000 provides yet another link to my time in Leeds back in 1986-87.  A couple nights a week, some committee or other at the residence hall showed movies down in the JCR, the junior common room.  I was a frequent member of the audience and happened to be there in late November '86 when Death Race 2000 was the featured attraction.  After seeing it, here's what I wrote in my journal:

 ... (the movie) was set in the year 2000 and concerned a transcontinental car race from New York to New Los Angeles.  The object was not only to get to New L.A. first, but to score as many points on the way as you could.  And how did they score these points you might ask?  By running over people, of course.  Old people were worth 100, babies 70, women 40, etc.  The race was complete with TV coverage and obnoxious commentators, an evil president, and a resistance.  The movie was generally pretty corny, but I suppose that in some way it made a statement of some kind.  It could be taken as a statement about the role of violence in society, esp. in sport, and how it could be carried to extremes.

Will the new Death Race provide that same kind of biting satire and social commentary?  I doubt it.  But, hopefully, it will be just as much fun to watch.

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On the Dial

The Q has changed.  The Q is WQFM 92.1 in Nanticoke.  As of some recent time - I don't know exactly when - the Q is now "your official Beatles station."  That's right.  No longer will the Q play "music from the 80's, 90's and today."  No.  Now, it's all Beatles, all the time.

Nothing against John, Paul, George and Ringo.  I like the Beatles just fine.  Just not 24 hours a day.

The Q was about the only commercial radio station around here that I could tolerate.  Now what am I going to do?  Let's hope that my favorite college station, VMFM, doesn't change.  If it does, I won't have any alternative at all. 

*** UPDATE on 7/5:  The 24/7 Beatles bit was apparently just a transition to a new format featuring music from the 60's and 70's.  I can't say I'm much interested in that, either***

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