New Idea to Fix PA Highways

If we cut out all the paperwork and man hours needed to handle 4 year driver’s licenses and we quit checking vehicles every year and instead check them once every 2 years and we stop worrying about stickers on license plates- then we’ll save millions of dollars annually and that money can go into fixing PA’s crumbling roads!

That is the idea being put forth to Governor Tom Corbett and he’ll be looking at the final ideas at the beginning of August.

The only negative about this plan is things change in 8 years.  Especially if you are getting your first license at 18.  We can expect potential changes in height, weight, hair color, whether a driver needs glasses, health status.  It’s a great idea for cutting out paperwork but I don’t know if it’s a great idea when we are suddenly considering using licenses for voting purposes. 

People will change in 8 years time.  What is the point of creating a personal license anyhow?  We don’t need the ID anymore!  Not when a thumbprint can give anyone all the information they need about us.

But heck, no one asked me!




Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Purple Tree Traps!

I’ve been seeing purple box kite like objects hanging in the trees around here and I wondered what they were.

Well, they are “traps” for Emerald Ash Borers or EAB’s.  This is an insect that came over in shipping from the Orient where these insects live in harmony with their Ash trees, but here the bugs are infesting and killing our Ash trees.

The boxes have no pheremones inside.  They do not attract insects the way we normally think of traps attracting them.  These are just purple boxes with sticky stuff inside that bugs stick to.  If researchers find one EAB then there is a good chance that they’ve been in the canopy for a couple of years at least, and that that county will now be considered an EAB area and there will be rules for handling wood in that community.

Here is a very long video that explains everything you’d ever want to know about EAB’s.


Pentagon Plans Ice Games in Arctic

The Pentagon is planning Search and Rescue Mission “Games” in the Arctic with 7 other nations because of the changing nature of the Arctic.  There will be more shipping and flights in that area and thus there will need to be help in saving people who are at risk in this largely unpopulated and empty area. 

I’m just finding it strange that we can sink so much money into helping with resources and funding in an area that has no one in it, and yet, when we need aid from the military in our own country we can’t get it because of rules that make it impossible for the military to act within our own  borders unless they have been requested to do so and unless they’ll be paid for doing so.

So it’s okay to work for civilian groups as long as they are foreign?  Check out bits of this story from Defense Weekly-

“The extreme distances, limited infrastructure, and paucity of assets will make a timely SAR response challenging in the best of conditions,” a May 2011 DoD Arctic report states.

“As human activity increases in the region, this gap is expected to increase. SAR, however, is not a force sizing or shaping mission for DoD; the Department contributes assets when needed and as available.”

In May, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden signed the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic.

The agreement is designed to coordinate “life-saving international maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage and response among the Arctic States across an area of about 13 million square miles,” according to a State Department fact sheet.

While the agreement was signed in May, it will not be enforced several more months, according to Balton, who spoke at a June 29 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“There are envisioned search-and-rescue exercises to begin to work on implementation of the agreement,” Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said during the same event.

While the multinational SAR agreement facilitates communication and cooperation, it does not translate into more assets and resources for the critical mission, Balton said.

“I am hoping each of the eight governments, including the United States, can use it to that effect,” he said.


Fireworks About To Fizzle in Pottstown?!

It costs 60,000 dollars to put on the annual show over at Memorial Park in Pottstown.  It’s been a wonderful celebration in years past.  We have had a parade and races and hot air balloons and musicians and we’ve had fireworks!

If everyone who came to see any of the events just paid one dollar then the cost of the events would be covered, but no one wants to pay for the excitement. 

Businesses aren’t lining up to finance the event.  Private dollars aren’t pouring in.

Pottstown needs a quick infusion of cash in order to not go into debt with this celebration!

Strangely, despite the doom and gloom with the money- the plan is to go forward and try to make the money up at the event and afterward!

Honestly when you think about it, that makes sense because it’s very likely that all the downpayments have already been made.  The July 4th committee would probably be out of pocket an awful lot of money whether there was an event or not!

So, how can we help?  The Mercury always advertises sponsors names…That doesn’t seem like enough of a perk to get folks to help.

How do we help people get a bang for their buck? 🙂

Great minds?  Think on it and report back to the rest of us!  Stat!




Poor Baby Enzo

When I first read about poor baby Enzo, a 3 month old who had suffered blunt trauma and died, apparently at the hands of his father I was shocked and angered and saddened like I’m sure most people would be.  Afterall, this man allegedly killed an infant!

Then coincidentally I found this article over at Metafilter.  It advertised a propublica story about people being accused of murdering children when in fact the evidence on further review showed that there were either other injuries or illnesses that led to the trauma and death, or that there were other people responsible for the murders than the alleged perps.

The issue seems to be that all dead people aren’t alike.  Dead babies, which we hate to even think about, are literally a breed apart.  They need specialized autopsies done by certified experts in infant trauma and death.  Since it is generally true that no one sees babies die- and all we have is medical evidence and the evidence handed in by officers that are often dealing with an upset and frightened adult- the allegations are sometimes all that is required to lay blame solely on that individual.  The Medical Examiners then may seem to work for the police rather than for the “decedent”.

It is horrific to imagine a poor sick little baby being knocked around because he was sick…but take a second and think about it- in the article we were told the baby vomitted,  those of us who have been around babies aren’t shocked to hear that a tiny baby tosses the last of their bottle..but .that isn’t exactly the story that the father is telling.  He has to go into the bathroom to clean up after the babies vomitting. The police have gathered the story, the police are building a case.  They are saying that while the father was in the bathroom he struck the child against the counter because he was angry.  But can we be sure that is what the father said? 

 It may not have been a simple spit up.  This baby may have already been traumatized, or may have already been seriously sick.  After reading the article over at propublica I worry that that might be an important bit of evidence!http://www.propublica.org/article/the-hardest-cases-when-children-die-justice-can-be-elusive

I’m not an apologist for baby killers!  If a person is heinous enough to kill an infant then I say they deserve a life in prison-but let’s make sure we get the right person and let’s not blame and jail  just  last person who was with the baby because it’s convenient and let’s be honest… how much time and money do you want to spend on finding out what really happened to that baby?!  I don’t think we mean to be callous or cold. I think we just have learned to make what we think are natural assumptions.

What if we are wrong?




Lightning Dangers!

Locally we have a story of 11 sheep being killed in an apparent lightning strike but there are serious cases the world over where multiple people are killed during lightning storms.  I’d like to point to a news piece I got from Uganda where 18 children in a school for youngsters were killed.  50 were injured.  Government officials are asking their own government why this is happening- is it just that construction is not requiring the proper equipment to diffuse and protect people from the strikes? Or is it that the lightning is in fact becoming even more dangerous due to ( gasp) climate change???

Here is a bit from the Uganda News-

Ultimate Media

The office of the Prime Minister has promised support to the Kiryandongo victims of lightning admitted at Mulago Hospital.

Lightning struck Runyanya Primary School in Kiryandongo district yesterday afternoon leaving 18 people dead and a number of others injured.

The assistant commissioner in charge of disaster management Rose Nakabugo says they have already provided transport facilitation to those already discharged.

Nakabugo says the government is still studying the cause of the wide spread lightening though she says it could be a result of climate change.

Other cases of lightning have been reported in the districts of Mayuge, Namayingo, Kamwenge, Kabarole, Jinja Alebtong and Kayunga with several deaths and serious injuries registered.

So in our area it was simply sheep, which as you can see if you read the article upset the farmer quite enough!  But please be aware that lightning is a very dangerous thing and if you are outdoors you need to find shelter and if you are indoors you need to be somewhere that has been grounded and you don’t want to be using any electrical equipment during a severe lightning storm!



Tasty Beer and Loose Women!

Listening to the Terry Gross show on WHYY’s 91 FM I heard one of her guests whose name escapes me  talking about some  online dating services.  He had mentioned one that had some original questions that seemed a little strange and he said that this service had noticed through their studies that people that liked the taste of beer were more likely to have sex with someone on the first date.

Go figure! 

Ms. Gross said that seemed odd to her because she knew lots of people who would say that they enjoy the taste of beer who weren’t the kind of people who’d agree to sex on the first date- I agree with her.

As for me?  I don’t like the taste of beer, appropos of nothing!   But since a cold beer is part of summer holidays for so many folks I’m going to suggest you these coconut shrimp with your favorite frosty beverage!

Coconut Shrimp –

Buy the pre-cooked shrimp in vacuum sealed packs.  They are cheap and easy for this recipe. ( I know you don’t have to cook the shrimp, but they are deveined and the only thing you have to do is brown the coconut!)

Now you need a little corn starch, and a couple of egg whites and some fresh or dried shredded coconut.

Take the shrimp out of the bag, drop it into the cornstarch, dip it in the egg white and then roll it in coconut.

I popped it into the oven that was already heated to 425 for biscuits and I let it cook till the coconut browned.  12 minutes or so for me.

Then when I turned the oven off I popped in some cherry tomatoes that I had rolled in olive oil so I’d have roasted tomatoes.

I heated corn in the microwave and I just had to toss some  roasted tomatoes in with the corn to make it a little more exciting than the same old corn.

Pop open a cold one and you have a nice light summer meal.



And, in case you were wondering I’m too old fashioned to sleep with anyone! 🙂


Bikini Car Wash

Hah, this post is not going to be about me advertising for a car wash!  Everyone can relax!  Instead I’m going to write about seeing a young lady washing her car this morning in Pottstown. She was detailing her car while wearing a very pretty swim suit. And I pointed her out to my daughter and I said ” This is yet another proof that Pottstown has a serious self-image problem!”

I wasn’t upset at all about the young girl washing her car, what bothers me is that she felt perfectly comfortable doing that, and yet, it isn’t going to be on the regular news, or there won’t be any articles in the paper, no one called the police!  It was just a gorgeous day and a young lady wanted to wash her car and detail it while getting some rays.  Pottstown is exactly the kind of place that a kid can do this kind of thing without having it be much of an issue.  No cars were honking at her, she wasn’t being harassed.  It was just a snapshot of a hot summer day in Pottstown.

People were out riding motorcycles today and giving each other their upside down waves.  A truck full of hot landscapers were at a local sandwich shop getting sodas and a couple of slices.  Big pots of purple blossoms were hanging  along High Street. American flags fly all over town.  Pottstown is a pretty little place with so much going for it. 

Happy Summer!