Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I'm boarding right now at 5:30 a.m. and it's already a delight! I'm headed out to Conneticut, but I'm flying into Laguardia (as in New York). My first pleasurable experience was when I checked in last night and, because I had booked so last minute, all the seats were taken and the only one open was 22E, as in 22Eeeek! A delightful middle seat at the back of the plane. I suppose it's good for me as 1K to experience this every once in a while so I'm able to stay in touch with my roots where I came from. When I got to the gate, the upgrade board listed me as number 10 in a line of 86 people waiting for an upgrade!
Everyone at the gate was in business attire and talking business mumbo jumbo. They board first class and 1k at the same time and everyone had crammed into the queue, piled on top of each other. And then, in case I wondered where I was headed, that lovely east coast disposition began to flow like love through the snaking, unidentifiable line... "excuse me - where do you think you're going?". "I'm 1k so I'm trying to board" "well get in line buddy, we're all 1 k!".(that conversation was not me as I like to just stand back when it gets like that and watch in amusement.)
Oh- and in case you wonder, there's nothing like being snug in a seat between Indian guy and the smell of old Yiddish coffee breath guy at 6am! It screams - NEW YORK - talk about melting pot.
Sigh - I can't wait to breath the clean ocean air in Waterbury, after I fight through wonderful morning traffic in NYC.
It doesn't get any better than this! Ok - think all the happy thoughts about the last four days!:).
Hope everyone at a happy happy thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
And last, but not least - here's a little clip (albeit sideways :)) of Terence talking about working in the mines -- it reminded me so much of grandpa when he talked, it was kind of eerie....
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Overall - two thumbs up....
And you can't beat our "hot" cousin, Debbie -- she cleans up good!
That was the question that was put to us in a low, muted voice as our waitress stooped to deliver our coffees.
Kim had picked me up at the airport and, in turn, I took her to dinner at Wildfire on Willow Road. We sat and had a wonderful meal and then went for dessert as a group of men filed in and seated themselves at the table directly behind us.
As the waitress came to bring our coffees, she casually asked us this question and then cocked her head towards the group seated behind us and lowly informed us that there was a group of Bears players at the table directly behind us.
Of course, Kim and I looked at her blankly but then, once we knew they were Bears, I immediately became the gawker as I figured that SOMEONE in my life would be impressed if I could discretely snap a shot of them.... unfortunately, this is all I got (sorry Kim....).
If you actually recognize anyone - let us know - I wouldn't know any of those players from proverbial Adam....
Thursday, November 11, 2010
And here's another version from my cuz...:). The funny one...
Pennsylvania is a big mining state. It was also one of the leading producers of anthracite. One the biggest mines for anthracite was in a town called Centralia, which was founded in the 1800s. There were a lot of open pit and closed mines (in and out of the ground). If you drive around the area, the towns are almost nonexistent and so Centralia was actually a "bustling" city with a main downtown filled with banks, a post office, grocery store, gas station and other stores.
In 1962, there was a garbage dump right on the outskirts of town that was getting a little excessive and so the town sent some workers out to get rid of some of the trash. After gathering piles of it together they promptly lit it on fire. However, not thinking, the dump was located in an old open pit mine which had some open veins running into an underground anthracite mine. You guessed it - poof - the well-doers indirectly sparked a fire which lept into the closed mine. The thing about anthracite is that its a great fuel - which is extremely hard to light. But - once its lit - its near impossible to put out. Unbeknownst to these garabage men walked away from a spark that lit one of the underground mines on fire.
The fire department poured tons of water and thought that the fire was out, but - poof - it just lit up again. Pits were dug, other methods were used to try to extinguish the fire, but the ground continued to smoke.
In 1979, a gas station owner in the town went to check his tanks and found them to be hot. After checking his underground tanks and finding they were showing a temperatire of 172F, the government came in and put sensors in the ground, discovering that the temperature under the tanks was registering almost over 1000F!
There were smoke and toxic fumes always in the city and finally in 1981, a 12 year old boy was playing out in his grandma's yard and a sink hole popped open under him. He grabbed onto tree roots and was pulled out by a friend. He just missed death as if he had fallen just a few inches farther he would have fallen into temperatures over 300F. The sinkhole measure 80 feet deep.
At this point there were continually sink holes appearing around the town as the fire underground continued to catch and burn. There was sickness, there was continual danger. The federal government now stepped in and, with 42 million dollars bought the town of Centralia.... All of the homes were taken by eminent domain and homeowners were given money to leave their homes - and as they left, the town was bulldozed behind them leaving empty streets, driveways and vacant stores and lots. Within time, most of the remaining stores, churches, post office and other buildings either caught fire and burned or fell down in sinkholes.
Today, the town of Centralia has no more post code, has been bulldozed and now is merely an occassional name on a town marker, with a grid of streets that go nowhere except leading into wisps of smoke coming out of the ground as the anthracite continues to burn under the ground. With the amount of anthracite that is below the surface, experts estimate that it could still burn for another 1000 years.
Here's a video of some of the smoke coming up from the ground. If you didn't know any better, it could just be a forest fire slowly extinguishing itself. They say that there are some days that the smoke is so bad that you can't even see.
Enjoy some other pictures from the town that used to be Centralia, PA.
This is right on the outskirts - a time capsule and a veterans memorial (incidentally - Happy Veterans Day!). There are still 3 cemeteries that are full and are visited by locals on occassion.
A drive way that leads to - no house....
Another road that leads nowhere with a church in the far distance.
One of the few houses that remain.
If you want it -- here's a link to more info on Centralia....