Friday, May 29, 2009

For Our Grandfathers

Out of four grandfathers between me and Goody Two Shoes, three of them were coal miners. Both of Goody Two Shoes grandfathers mined coal in western Maryland and both died from the black lung. My grandfather mined coal up in Gray, Pennsylvania. He also mined clay when there was no work in the coal mine. He got out of the mines and became a farmer.

Henry Johnson(on the left) in the 1940's

Lawrence McKenzie as a dashing young man in 1904

Earl Smith, my Pappy, in 1967, a year before the cancer took him.

I swear, all the years they walked this earth all they did was work.

I recently became aware of a cd by Kathy Mattea called Coal. Giving a listen for ourselves, my wife and I were hooked. Music like this doesn't mean much to some folks. But to people from Appalachia, with coal mining or railroading in their blood, these simple songs speak volumes, because each one comes from the heart and tells a story of a time gone by, and loved ones that have gone on before us.

Here's a video of one of her songs from that cd.

Like the song's dark as a dungeon down in the mine. This is the Seldom Seen Mine in St. Boniface, PA. We're 500 feet below the surface. It was cold, damp, and we were all a little uneasy. It's also the only place I ever felt tall.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Doin' Things My Way

I love to go cycling. And I know I'm supposed to wear a helmet. Problem I don't like the looks of most bike helmets. What to do? The answer is easy...make my own. But what to come up with that is practical, functional, and expresses my personality. It's easier than you think.

Start with a basic black skateboarding helmet. Okay, so it has the manufacturers logo smeared all over it. No problem...

A couple of coats of gloss black paint and those logos are long gone.

Add a little striping, some numbers, and a new logo, and new my bike helmet is ready for the trail.

My new helmet got broke in yesterday. Rode from Ohiopyle to Confluence and back. Yeah, I got more than just a few looks.

Steelers Black n' it, love it, breathe it, bleed it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Sort Of

A man's flower planter. Arrrgh...arrgh...arrgh!

For more WW madness, click here

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek 2009

Goody Two Shoes, The Wild Child, n' Me went and saw the latest enstallment in the Star Trek franchise. Loved it! With the exception of First Contact in 1996, the last few voyages of the Enterprise were getting a little lame...and predictable. I'm sure my next comment will offend some people, but it's how I feel. Star Trek 2009 has balls! It's gritty, edgy, funny, touching...not stiff, overacted, hammy, cheesy, and predictable. We loved it!

Oh, and just for laughs I thought I'd throw in this little video from about 15 years ago. Enjoy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

64 Years Ago Today

They'd had it so rough for so long. And it wasn't just our fathers and grandfathers... was our mothers and grandmothers as well.

But on May 8, 1945 everything changed.

The headline said it all. It was over. Then it was time to celebrate.

In New York...

...and London...

...and Toronto. And a thousand other places as well.

Then it was time to bring the boys home. Here's my Uncle Willy and My Uncle Russ, home from the ETO.

Then there's this fella. He looks like he's been celebrating a little bit already.

Hiya, John!

Sadly, not all came home and got on with life.

My mother's cousin, Sgt. Howard Lepley, U.S. Army Air Corps. 448th Bomb Group, 714th Bomb Squadron. KIA 6-10-1944 at Evreux, France. He was only 20.

Bing Crosby once sang,

Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long, and the short, and the tall,
Bless all the sergeants, and the top kickers too
Bless all the corporals...bless you,
For we're saying goodbye to them all,
As up the gangway we crawl,
No ice cream or cookies for stout-hearted rookies,
So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all.

Today is VE-DAY. Don't forget, thank a Vet!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guess What Came in the Mail?

The only bummer is that the concert is three months away.