Random Thoughts

Personal Memories from 9/11 ...

The day started out all wrong.

My PC was on the fritz. By the time I fixed it I was running late for work.

Driving to the office, my car radio stopped working. My old Ford had a loose radio wire, and I often had to jiggle it into just the right spot to make the radio work. About every third pothole, it would come loose, and I would have to fidget with it to find the "sweet spot." This particular morning, I couldn't find that sweet spot for the life of me, so I had no radio. I realized suddenly I also had no money for lunch.

I stopped at a mini-mart ATM machine. The ATM was broken. My mood, already foul, was growing worse by the second as I walked back to my car. These silly things really seemed like big deals to me at the time. Back in my car, I took a few seconds to fiddle with the radio and finally got it working just in time to hear a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

I looked at the sky…the Wyoming Valley is only about 130 miles from Manhattan. The day was gorgeous, the sky clear. I remember thinking, "…how on earth could this happen on such a perfect day?"

As I pulled into the parking lot at work, the news broke that the second tower had just been hit. When I walked into the office, my boss exclaimed, "Did you hear what happened? A plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers!"

"Another plane just hit the other one," I replied. I remember the shock on his face, likely mirroring my own.

"How is an accident like that possible?" he asked.

"It can't be an accident. It means we're at war." I answered.

"With who?" he asked.

"It doesn't really matter," I sighed. What an odd answer I gave to such a straightforward question! I've never forgotten what I said.


* * *

Not Dead...

I'm knee-deep in campaigning. It's an amazing experience, and it has top priority right now. Just letting you all know I still have a pulse...

--Jimbo

They call him... ROBO-COACH!

Say it ain't so, Robo-Joe...

JoePa's had eye surgery.

Apparently, reading was getting a wee bit difficult. His eyes were out of whack. So the 83 year-old coach made a trek to the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadelphia for some surgery. The procedure was a success, so much so that he can pace the sidelines without his trademark coke-bottle glasses.

You gotta love JoePa's moxie over the past few years.

Busted up hip? He sets his jaw, limps around all season, then pops in a new one.

Trouble reading the fine print in the NCAA rulebook? He gets his eyes done.

No wonder some folks in Nittany Land call him "Robo-coach."

But Joe, don't dump the glasses! Don't pace that sideline with a naked nose! Would Bear Bryant have worn a beret on the 'Bama sidelines? For that matter, would you coach a game without your pants rolled up?

It'd be like me giving up wings for tofu and bean sprouts.

Without those thick glasses, the most recognizable mug in sports is transformed into the mortal and ordinary. He looks like the guy next to me in that black Lincoln the other day, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and waiting for the light to change. He's a ringer for that gentleman I saw on Main Street in Pittston last week with his pants hitched half-way up his chest. Without the specs, he's not JoePa anymore. He's anybody.

No coke-bottle glasses? Say it ain't so, Robo-Joe!

Just plain wrong...
Some things are just plain WRONG!


* * *

So... how does a cochlear implant work??

I stole this from a post at Deaf Village, where it had been previously stolen from somewhere else. But it originated with Advanced Bionics, one of the major manufacturers of cochlear implant technology. It's a great, easy-to-follow explanation on how implants work.


The $88.28 Gas Cap

Boom! Whoosh!...

Boom! Whoosh! ...

Around the Dynamo homestead, my wife and I share most household duties. There are some clear divisions of labor: Pet care and laundry are in my wife's domain, chiefly because I'm horrible at both.

My realm: Lawn care, furnace-related stuff, and anything that has anything to do with cars. That includes keeping the gas tanks full, because my wife has sworn unto death she will never pump gas. In fact, she's never pumped gas in her life. Never.

She warned me about this before we were married.

"When we get hitched, you're pumping the gas," she told me.

"Why?"

"I read about a woman who blew up pumping her own gas," she replied. "I don't want to blow up."

"Well, maybe she was doing something stupid. Maybe she was smoking."

"I don't want to blow up."

"Maybe she was wearing a fuzzy sweater," I continued. "The ones that get all clingy in the dryer and eat people's socks. Maybe there was a huge arc of sweater-static-lightning between her chest and the gas pump. Boom! Whoosh!"

"I don't want to blow up."

"Just don't wear fuzzy sweaters."

"Listen, Romeo, you wanna marry me, fine. But I'm not blowing up. Got it?"

Well, I wanted to marry her, so pumping gas was my job starting on day one. Throughout our marriage, the first words out of my mouth after returning from a refueling expedition have always been: "Honey...you won't blow up!"

Now I know what you're thinking.

Surely there have been occasions when I wasn't able to pump gas. What about when I'm out of town? What about when I'm sick?

Confucius Say What?!?

Times are tough.

To the left and right of us, people are losing their jobs. Anyone who is still working can't help but wonder: Will I be next?

Now I don't know how everyone else handles these uncertain times, but I use my twisted sense of humor to keep myself from going wacky.

But today, something bizarro happened.

I was talking with someone in the office, and the subject came up of what we would do if we found ourselves unemployed. I forget what their new career choice was, but I said I'd try to become Luzerne County's first legal male call-boy.

Ladies, call 1-555-MYJIMBO

It just popped into my head, and I blurted it out.

This would not be a good career move for me. I would likely starve to death. (If you've seen me up close, you know what I'm talking about. Folks invite me to their picnics to keep flies off the food.)

So imagine my surprise an hour or so later when I opened the fortune cookie that came with my usual lunch (hot and sour soup with a side of white rice):

My fortune...

I dunno now. I'm reconsidering.

1-555-MYJIMBO

Does have a ring to it, doesn't it??

* * *

Busy, Busy, Busy...

...a marathon January has come to a close.

Over the past month, I've been neck deep in projects both at work and in politics. What little free time I've had was spent enjoying my first grandchild. There's nothing like a baby in your arms to help you remember what your priorities should be.

I've also had the chance to finally finish my first read of Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing. It's a magnificent, complex, and sprawling work. It makes me want to write. It makes me afraid to write.

Next... there might be some question among my core of readers as to whether I've ended The Greater Depression Chronicles. No. Emphatically, no. We are in the midst of a great struggle, the depths of which have not been tested fully, and great unknowns await us. I have seen with my own eyes the ravages of a failed economy and the hollow-eyed look of the jobless and soon to be jobless. Not over, friends, not by a long shot.

Keep checking in, folks. More to come. God Bless and keep the faith...

Jimbo

GEEZER BALL: Joe Really DOES Know Football...

JoePa's Penn State Nittany Lions finished the season 11-2 with an exciting 19-17 sodbusting victory over LSU in the Capital One Bowl.

The field was atrocious.

So was the officiating.

With Bobby Bowden also winning his last game, it was a statement day for college football's top two coaching leaders. Bowden retires with 389 wins. Paterno finished the season at 394 with more football to come. (In a day or so the predictions will surely begin on who JoePa will beat to bag win number 400.)

I was wrong about my Lions a lot this year. I figured they were good for just eight or nine wins. When they ended the season 10-2, I thought they'd leapfrog Iowa for a BCS spot. (The BCS for once got it right and didn't slight the Hawkeyes.) I also thought LSU would lick the Lions in a high-scoring contest.

But in the end, it was classic Penn State smash-mouth football that kept me on the edge of my seat until time expired and another 'W' was in the books.

Geezer Ball.

Say what you want, but it wins. 394 times.

And now, the dark, cold winter begins. But April is coming, and with it the 2010 Blue White Game. And, God willing, a lot more Geezer Ball will follow.

Another Big Bowl Win for Joepa...

...and Abe Lincoln said I couldn't coach!

2010: Fire Up Those Deep Fryers!

See you at the cardiac cath lab...

Are Grammy and Dynamo Terrorists?

Terrorist?

Terrorist?

I don't fly often, but when I do my shoes usually generate a lot of interest from the TSA. Their airport screeners wave those little wands warily around my shoes and regard them …and me …with deep suspicion.

Obviously, middle aged fat-round-the-middle chicken-wing addicted males with worn-out cheapo shoes fit some type of terror profile.

As do old folks in wheelchairs.

As do well-built college-age women who simply have to be patted down very carefully in case their bras are lined with Semtex.

As do all kinds of folks who probably look nothing like terrorists to heathen untrained folks like you and me.

The Department of Homeland (In)security (our latest massive Gubbermint bureaucracy), has virtually assured that Grandma, Dynamo or the Olsen twins will not be blowing up any airliners.

Sure, there's been the occasional tiny misstep, like Senator Ted Kennedy appearing on a no-fly list as a possible terrorist.

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