Category Archive 'Pennsylvania'
27 Sep 2023

Not Just on Your Lawn!


Early this month….(Pennsylvania Outdoor News):

[The above] two flamingos showed up at a pond, north of St. Thomas, in Franklin County, early September. Birders from various states headed to see these first-ever-reported wild flamingos in Pennsylvania. Birders from all over the eastern United States have been flocking to see the first-ever-reported wild flamingos in Pennsylvania. Avid birder John Carter, of Chambersburg, was the first person to spot them Sept. 7. “I am beyond words right now, on my lunch break I decided to check some local ponds for shorebirds, and wouldn’t you know I would find the first reported American Flamingos in the state of Pennsylvania,” he wrote on his Facebook page. Carter also reported his find on Cornell University’s eBird.

12 Nov 2022

PA: National Capital of Stupid

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Stephen Helgeson shares my total astonishment that even the idiots in the major cities would vote to place in the United States Senate a candidate so grotesque and manifestly unqualified for the office of local dogcatcher as John Ftterman.

Pennsylvania is a very diverse place, and it is a state with a bifurcated political landscape. Most of rural PA is conservative, but hardcore liberals populate its cities. The state is an energy state with abundant resources, and it is home to a prestigious private ivy league research university, the University of Pennsylvania (located in Philadelphia) along with Carnegie Mellon, Swarthmore, and Villanova. It’s proud of its working class and its historical intellectual prowess, but the recent mid-term victory of a bumbling, oafish hipster politician John Fetterman, over a medical doctor of national repute is puzzling and reflects the rampant spread of stupid.

This week, the citizens of Pennsylvania stole the loving cup of stupid from the citizens of another politically calcified state, New Mexico — one that has consistently voted for Democrats in over nine decades of its political life. The distinction and trophy for ‘Capital of Stupid’ now rests with the citizens of William Penn’s home with the election of Democrat John Fetterman to the U.S. Senate. Why stupid you say? What is wrong with John Fetterman? It’s simple. Fetterman has never held a real private sector job in his life (he is currently lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania). He has enjoyed financial support from his parents most of his adult life. He prefers hooded sweatshirts and arm tattoos to conventional business suits and claims to be for ‘the little guy.’ Prior to becoming the lieutenant governor, his only other job was Mayor of Braddock, PA where he did nothing to improve the town’s condition. (It is thought that the town actually improved after he left office.)

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May of 2022 which left him with an auditory processing disorder which affected how he handled information and how he spoke. His opponent, a well-known television personality and respected medical doctor, Republican Mehmet Oz, was at a distinct disadvantage. He couldn’t point out the obvious about Fetterman’s inability to understand and speak (and how that would disqualify him from being a senator), but had to tread carefully lest he stimulate a ‘sympathy vote’ for the man. To compound Oz’s problems, Fetterman refused to debate the doctor until the eleventh hour on October 25th, only two weeks before the election after thousands of mail-in ballots had already been cast. Had many of those early voters seen the debate they would have viewed a severely, physically-compromised man struggle to string together a coherent sentence and stay on message.

Does that make Pennsylvania voters stupid? In a word, yes. Stupid because they chose political ideology and a deeply flawed candidate over a good one. They chose to perpetuate a status quo that will cost their state hundreds of thousands of jobs, do nothing to stop the millions that are crashing our southern border, ignore the mounting crime rates in Pennsylvania, not to mention the entire country, and insure that America becomes dependent on foreign oil producers.


02 Aug 2021

Best GOP Political Ad

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Teddy Daniels is running for Congress from Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District.

28 Mar 2021

Many Without Power In Central PA

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It was windy. Trees came down, and we’ve been sitting with no power for a couple of days. You don’t realize how dependent on electrical power you are until you don’t have any.

Down in Virginia, we had a back-up generator. Our PA farm was always just a vacation place and, besides, power is usually very reliable and service restoration quick here in PA. Not so much this time.

06 Nov 2020

Why Trump Ought to Win Pennsylvania

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The democrats are busily harvesting ballots and the MSM has awarded Pennsylvania to Biden, but it’s not actually over, ’til it’s over.

Alexander Macris explains that there is a very major problem here: the democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court went ahead and blithely violated the US Constitution, and when Donald Trump appeals and that appeal goes to the US Supreme Court, he’s got a winning argument.

In 2019, the PA legislature passed a law called Act 77 that permitted all voters to cast their ballots by mail but (in Justice Alito’s words) “unambiguously required that all mailed ballots be received by 8 p.m. on election day.” The exact text is 2019 Pa. Leg. Serv. Act 2019-77, which stated: “No absentee ballot under this subsection shall be counted which is received in the office of the county board of elections later than eight o’clock P.M. on the day of the primary or election.” I agree with Justice Alito: That is unambiguous.

Act 77 also provided that if this portion of the law was invalidated, that much of the rest of Act 77, including its liberalization of mail-in voting, would also be void. The exact text is: “Sections 1, 2, 3, 3.2, 4, 5, 5.1, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 of this act are nonseverable. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions or applications of this act are void.”

To again put this into common English, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law that said mail-in ballots had to arrive by 8PM on election day to be counted, and then said that if the Court over-ruled that law, the entire law that permitted mail-in ballots was invalid.

In the face of this clear text, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, by a vote of four to three, made the following decrees, summarized here by SCOTUS:

    Mailed ballots don’t need to be received by a election day. Instead, ballots can be accepted if they are postmarked on or before election day and are received within three days thereafter. Note that this is directly contravenes the text above.

    A mailed ballot with no postmark, or an illegible postmark, must be regarded as timely if it is received by that same date.

In doing so, PAs’ high court expressly acknowledged that “the statutory provision mandating receipt by election day was unambiguous” and conceded the law was “constitutional,” but still re-wrote the law because it thought it needed to do so in the face of a “natural disaster.” It justified its right to do so under the Free and Equal Elections Cause of the PA State Constitution. …

There is a strong likelihood that the State Supreme Court decision violates the Federal Constitution. Justice Alito writes: “The provisions of the Federal Constitution conferring on state legislatures, not state courts, the authority to make rules governing federal elections would be meaningless if a state court could override the rules adopted by the legislature simply by claiming that a state constitutional provision gave the courts the authority to make whatever rules it thought appropriate for the conduct of a fair election.”

Justice Alito is referring to the following clauses of the US Constitution:

    Art. I, §4, cl. 1, which states “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”

    Art. II, §1, cl. 2, which states “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

Again, translating this into common English, the US Constitution grants state legislators the exclusive right to prescribe the time, place, and manner of holding elections, and to direct the appointment of the electors.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court didn’t just say “Act 77 is unconstitutional.” It re-wrote Act 77 itself, by judicial fiat, creating new rules for time, place, and manner, of holding elections. In doing so, the State Supreme Court violated the US Federal Constitution.

And that’s the real case here. The US Supreme Court is going to rule that the State Supreme Court violated the US Constitution, the State Supreme Court’s ruling is going to be overturned, and the votes that arrived after 8 PM on election day will be discarded. On that basis, Trump will win Pennsylvania.


29 Sep 2020


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St. Michael, Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City, Mexico.

Chambers Book of Days:


Michaelmas Day, the 29th of September, properly named the day of St. Michael and All Angels, is a great festival of the Church of Rome, and also observed as a feast by the Church of England. In England, it is one of the four quarterly terms, or quarter-days, on which rents are paid, and in that and other divisions of the United Kingdom, as well as perhaps in other countries, it is the day on which burgal magistracies and councils are re-elected. The only other remarkable thing connected with the day is a widely prevalent custom of marking it with a goose at dinner.

Michael is regarded in the Christian world as the chief of angels, or archangel. His history is obscure. In Scripture, he is mentioned five times, and always in a warlike character; namely, thrice by Daniel as fighting for the Jewish church against Persia; once by St. Jude as fighting With the devil about the body of Moses; and once by St. John as fighting at the head of his angelic troops against the dragon and his host. Probably, on the hint thus given by St. John the Romish church taught at an early period that Michael was employed, in command of the loyal angels of God, to overthrow and consign to the pit of perdition Lucifer and his rebellious associates—a legend which was at length embalmed in the sublimest poetry by Milton.

Sometimes Michael is represented as the sole arch-angel, sometimes as only the head of a fraternity of archangels, which includes likewise Gabriel, Raphael, and some others. He is usually represented in coat-armour, with a glory round his head, and a dart in his hand, trampling on the fallen Lucifer. He has even been furnished, like the human warriors of the middle ages, with a heraldic ensign—namely, a banner hanging from a cross. We obtain a curious idea of the religious notions of those ages, when we learn that the red velvet-covered buckler worn by Michael in his war with Lucifer used to be shewn in a church in Normandy down to 1607, when the bishop of Avranches at length forbade its being any longer exhibited.

Angels are held by the Church of Rome as capable of interceding for men; wherefore it is that prayers are addressed to them and a festival appointed in their honour. Wheatley, an expositor of the Book of Common Prayer, probably expresses the limited view of the subject which is entertained in the Church of England, when he says, that ‘I the feast of St. Michael and All Angels is observed that the people may know what blessings are derived from the ministry of angels.’

Amongst Catholics, Michael, or, as he has been named, St. Michael, is invoked as ‘a most glorious and warlike prince,’ chief officer of paradise,’ I captain of God’s hosts,’ receiver of souls,’ ‘the vanquisher of evil spirits,’ and ‘the admirable general.’ It may also be remarked, that in the Sarum missal, there is a mass to St. Raphael, as the protector of pilgrims and travellers, and a skilful worker with medicine; likewise an office for the continual intercession of St. Gabriel and all the heavenly militia. Protestant writers trace a connection between the ancient notion of tutelar genii and the Catholic doctrine respecting angels, the one being, they say, ingrafted on the other. …

It will be learned, with some surprise, that these notions of presiding angels and saints are what have led to the custom of choosing magistracies on the 29th of September. The history of the middle ages is full of curious illogical relations, and this is one of them. Local rulers were esteemed as in some respects analogous to tutelar angels, in as far as they presided over and protected the people. It was therefore thought proper to choose them on the day of St. Michael and All Angels. The idea must have been extensively prevalent, for the custom of electing magistrates on this day is very extensive,

    ‘September, when by custom (right divine)
    Geese are ordained to bleed at Michael’s shrine’

says Churchill. This is also an ancient practice, and still generally kept up, as the appearance of the stage-coaches on their way to large towns at this season of the year amply testifies. In Blount’s Tenures, it is noted in the tenth year of Edward IV, that John de la Hay was bound to pay to William Barnaby, Lord of Lastres, in the county of Hereford, for a parcel of the demesne lands, one goose fit for the lord’s dinner, on the feast of St. Michael the archangel. Queen Elizabeth is said to have been eating her Michaelmas goose when she received the joyful tidings of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The custom appears to have originated in a practice among the rural tenantry of bringing a good stubble goose at Michaelmas to the landlord, when paying their rent, with a view to making him lenient. In the poems of George Gascoigne, 1575, is the following passage:

    And when the tenants come to pay their quarter’s rent,
    They bring some fowl at Midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent,
    At Christmas a capon, at Michaelmas a goose,
    And somewhat else at New-year’s tide, for fear their lease fly loose.’

We may suppose that the selection of a goose for a present to the landlord at Michaelmas would be ruled by the bird being then at its perfection, in consequence of the benefit derived from stubble-feeding. It is easy to see how a general custom of having a goose for dinner on Michaelmas Day might arise from the multitude of these presents, as land-lords would of course, in most cases, have a few to spare for their friends. It seems at length to have become a superstition, that eating of goose at Michaelmas insured easy circumstances for the ensuing year. In the British Apollo, 1709, the following piece of dialogue occurs:

    ‘Q: Yet my wife would persuade me (as I am a sinner)
    To have a fat goose on St. Michael for dinner:
    And then all the year round, I pray you would mind it,
    I shall not want money—oh, grant I may find it!
    Now several there are that believe this is true,
    Yet the reason of this is desired from you.

    A: We think you’re so far from the having of more,
    That the price of the goose you have less than before:
    The custom came up from the tenants presenting
    Their landlords with geese, to incline their relenting
    On following payments, &c


In contemporary Pennsylvania:

Goose Day was unofficially started in 1786 in Pennsylvania in the Juniata River Valley, and has officially been celebrated in Mifflin County since 1973, and Juniata County since 1976. It stemmed from Michaelmas, a Christian holiday celebrating the archangel Michael, and a day when geese are often eaten. In 1786 a Dutchman named Andrew Pontius hired an Englishman named Archibald Hunter. In their contract it said that accounts would be settled each year on September 29. When the day came, Hunter showed up at Pontius’ door with not only his accounts, but with a goose under his arm. As Pontius was confused, Hunter explained to him how the goose signified good luck for the following year, and how in England he had celebrated Michaelmas. Goose Day became popular in the Juniata River Valley and eventually became an established day in the two aforementioned counties. Festivals take place in those counties on the day, and events happen on the week surrounding it.

Many restaurants out here will serve goose on September 29th.

11 Aug 2020

No Kneeling For the National Anthem Here

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Pennsylvanians all tend to be addicted to the high quality pastry products of Philadelphia’s Tastycake Baking Company. Tastycake pies are, in particular, renowned for their long keeping and their role as the perfect universal iron ration. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Now, what do you know? the Inquirer reports that Tastycake Pies are the mascot of a blaseball team.

While pro sports are getting back underway (Go Flyers!), Philadelphia already has a team that’s won two championships this year — and they did it with a three-headed dog for a catcher, a third baseman who’s actually seven gnomes in a single uniform, and a starting pitcher who “was cloned from a Cretaceous Period trombone preserved in amber found in a Peruvian mine.”

The Pies — who play for their “flans” in Tastykake Stadium (aka “The Oven”) under the direction of Coach Hoagie Schuylkill — are the first back-to-back champions of Internet League Blaseball, which is a weeks-old “absurdist, player-driven, corruptible, online game of baseball,” according to creators Sam Rosenthal, Joel Clark, and Stephen Bell of The Game Band, a Los Angeles-based video game studio. The team answered questions via email from The Inquirer.

Games among the 20 teams in the league, like the Canada Moist Talkers and the Breckenridge Jazz Hands, are simulated on the hour every hour by a program that writes out every play as it happens on a game log on the score board (”Kennedy Cena hits a Single!”).

Each regular season starts on Monday and ends Friday, with the postseason on Saturday. The Pies won the first two seasons, making them not only the first team to win Blaseball but also the first team to win back-to-back championships. But last season (i.e., last week) the Pies just couldn’t slice it and they were beaten out in the semifinals by the Hades Tigers.

In a Dungeons & Dragons-like twist to the game, it’s the Blaseball fans who choose a team to support and then create the lore surrounding that team and its players using Discord (a group-chatting platform), Blaseball Wikipedia fan pages, and social media.

“The key difference between Blaseball and baseball is player participation. Gambling is allowed and encouraged. Players will earn and lose virtual Blaseball currency by placing bets on games, and they’ll cash in earnings to make changes to the league,” Rosenthal said. “The teams, the players on the team, the rosters, and even the rules of the game can be changed by the community.”



10 Feb 2020

1700s Log Cabin Found Beneath Exterior of Abandoned Bar Building

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Formerly, an old bar known as KCs Corner.
Washingtonville, Pennsylvania, a small village in Montour County, was founded around the time of the Revolutionary War.

The former bar’s building was abandoned and condemned and the town council hired a contractor to take it down. However, demolition work revealed that, underneath the shabby modern exterior, there was a 1700s log cabin constructed of hand-hewn hickory logs.

There is some speculation that this cabin may actually be the colonial Fort Bosley, built to defend settlers against Indian raids, whose precise location has long been disputed, and which some people believe was destroyed by fire in 1826.

They are now planning to somehow preserve the cabin.

Cleveland 19 News story

Valley Girl Views feature

08 Feb 2020

Pokeweed Salad

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When we were litle kids, back in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, we found this plant abundantly present on waste ground. We referred to its fruit as “Inkberries.” They were believed to be deadly poison. Childhood folklore held that you only needed to eat a single berry to die. So we picked lots of the fascinating berries, crushed them in containers and dared each other to try eating “Inkberry soup.” No one did.

It never occurred to us to do anything with the plant’s ordinary, boring green leaves, but Abby Carney, in Saveur, tells us that Poke salad is really a long-time staple of Appalachian-cum-Afro-American rural cuisine, valued for its flavor as well as regarded as having medicinal properties.

All we did was pick the berries, make poison with them, and throw them at each other.

Despite the fact that the kudzu-like Phytolacca americana sprouts up all across North America, poke sallet, a dish made from the plant’s slightly-less-toxic leaves, is a regional thing, popular only to Appalachia and the American South. The leaves must be boiled in water three times to cook out their toxins, and, as aficionados will tell you, it’s well worth the extra effort.

But if pokeweed is so toxic, why did people start eating it in the first place? In a word, poke sallet is survival food.

According to Michael Twitty, historian, Southern food expert, and author of The Cooking Gene, poke sallet was originally eaten for pure practicality—its toxins made it an allegedly potent tonic. “Back in the old days, you had a lot of people who walked around barefoot,” Twitty said. “They walked around barefoot in animal feces all the time. Most of our ancestors from the Depression backwards were full of worms.” So then, poke sallet acted as a vermifuge, a worm purger.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center cites research showing that raw pokeweed has medicinal properties that can help cure herpes and HIV. That said, there are no clinical trials that support the use of the cooked dish as such, or as any kind of medicine, but its devotees swear by its curative qualities. Pokeweed remains a popular folk medicine, but it hasn’t been widely studied, so its healing properties remain, officially, purported.


21 Dec 2019

Civil War Veteran, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1935

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The Civil War veteran above wears the cap of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—the largest Union veterans’ organization—founded in 1866. The number on his cap signals that his post was 139, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

This prize-winning amateur photograph from the 1935 Newspaper National Snapshot Awards was taken by Mrs. Nathan Klein of Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The note on the back reads: “Old soldier talking to bootblacks.”

Source : Picture Archive: American Soldiers, National Geographic.

via: Anthony DeCrescenzo.

01 Nov 2019

“We Took Our DNA, and Left Town”

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A view of my hometown, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, from the southwest, in the vicinity of the West Shenandoah Colliery, overlooking the culm banks, circa 1910. The writing says in Lithuanian: “Ar ne grazios apylenkis?” (sarcastically) “Are not the surroundings beautiful?” The location of the Lithuanian church is also marked by hand.

The Economist quotes a British DNA study contending that it wasn’t brains or character or superior family culture that caused the lucky ones who got out to leave. No, it was deterministic genes.

To establish baselines for their work, Dr Abdellaoui, Dr Visscher and their colleagues turned first to 33 published studies that used a technique called genome-wide association study. This is intended to discern the contributions to a trait of large numbers of genetic differences that each have a small effect. It concentrates on so-called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—places in the DNA where an individual genetic “letter” routinely varies from person to person. There are, for example, about 100,000 SNPs that affect height. On average, each makes a contribution, either positive or negative, of 0.14mm to someone’s adult stature. This is in contrast to Mendelian variations, where a single difference between individuals has a pronounced effect—such as the difference between brown and blue eyes.

Each of the 33 baseline studies identified large numbers of SNPs that had positive or negative effects on a particular trait: extroversion, heart disease, height, body fat, age at menopause, recreational drug use and so on. The researchers then applied these SNP patterns to the records of 450,000 UK Biobank participants, and asked various questions. One thing they looked for was geographical clustering of SNPS related to individual traits. This, they discovered in abundance. Of the 33 traits under consideration, 21 showed evidence of SNP-related geographical clustering.

The most strongly clustered of all, they found were SNPS for educational attainment (ie, how many years an individual had spent at school and college). SNPs lowering educational attainment were particularly clustered in former coal-mining areas. These are places that have seen a lot of internal migration, both inward, when the mines were developed during the late 18th and 19th centuries, and outward, after the second world war, as mining shrank from being one of Britain’s biggest employers to its current state of near non-existence.

Dr Abdellaoui and Dr Visscher were able, from their studies of the biobank’s records, to chart the effects of the more recent, outward migration. They divided participants into four groups: those born in mining areas who had subsequently left; those born in mining areas who had stayed; those born outside mining areas who had moved into one; and those who had never lived in a mining area. The results were stark. People in the first group, outward migrants from mining areas, had significantly more educational-attainment-promoting SNPS, and fewer damaging ones, than any of the other groups, while people in the second group, stay-at-homes in mining areas, had the opposite.

Though not quite so sharply as with educational achievement, this pattern was also reflected in all but one of the other 20 SNP-related traits the researchers looked at. With the exception of bipolar disorder, the best outcomes were found in outward migrants from coalfields and the worst in stay-at-homes. The healthy, in other words, depart. The less healthy remain.

The upshot is a vicious spiral. That young, ambitious, healthy people tend to leave economically deprived areas is hardly news. But to see that written clearly in their DNA, which they take with them when they leave, while the converse is written in the DNA of those who stay behind, raises questions of nature and nurture that society is ill-equipped to answer, and possibly unwilling to confront.


27 Jun 2019

Baby Alligator Found in Little Juniata at Tipton, Blair County, Pennsylvania Last Monday

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PA Home Page:

A possible alligator is captured near Altoona.

Blair County crews were busy trying to capture the elusive reptile. Crews tried to snag the scaly creature for about an hour before finally wrangling it.

They’re not sure yet if the three-foot reptile is an alligator or caiman. It was taken to a Wildlife Care Facility while they work to determine who let it go in the wild.

Officials suspect the animal was dropped near the river by an owner.


Centre Daily Times:

Adding to the recent string of alligator sightings throughout Pennsylvania, Blair County law enforcement captured a 3-foot-long baby alligator in a creek near Tipton Township Monday night. The reptile was transported to Centre Wildlife Care in Port Matilda, where it will stay until it can be transferred elsewhere.

Centre Wildlife founder and Executive Director Robyn Graboski said law enforcement called late Monday night and asked if they could bring the gator to the wildlife rehab center.

“We will work with law enforcement to find an appropriate placement for it,” Graboski said. “We don’t know yet whether or not there will be charges filed.” …

Graboski said the alligator cannot remain at Centre Wildlife because its facility is not equipped with the housing needed in order to sustain a proper habitat during the winter. She added that just because it is legal to keep an alligator as a pet in Pennsylvania does not mean everyone should.

Reflecting on the series of sightings — including three in the Pittsburgh area in a month — Graboski said alligators are not just showing up on their own.

“They’d never survive our winters,” she said.

Instead, people are buying them as pets and releasing them when they become too big to care for.

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