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Narrative/Journal

Jarrod May At The Tap Brewery, Bloomington, Indiana

If you live within a day’s drive of Bloomington or Indianapolis, go to The Tap and give this guy’s beer a whirl. While it is true that he is allegedly related to me, and while it also seems that he wears the same sweatshirt every day, he really knows his way around beer. And now I’m thirsty. Sigh. Luckily I have some of his stuff in my fridge. Check out his profile.

Source:Jarrod May: The Tap

20171009_192223.jpg

 

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Tunesday Uncategorized

Buy This Now: Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

This band is “holy shit good”.

https://wisc.bandcamp.com/album/wolves-in-sheeps-clothing

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Photo I Like summer photos

2015 Summer Wonders #72: Hey! Ice Cream!

Another summer wonder: ice cream trucks. Imagine a world where people with ice cream spontaneously appear on your street!  It’s beautiful.  I know the folks in the photo–they ran an immensely popular local restaurant for years before selling it and starting the ice cream gig as a semi-retirement thing.  The ice cream is outstanding.  The people selling it are too.

http://weeklypaper.blogspot.com/2014/05/indiana-pa.html
http://weeklypaper.blogspot.com/2014/05/indiana-pa.html

 

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Where's Chuck?

Where’s Chuck? Wednesday 7.29.15

I’m on vacation, but I planned ahead.  Presuming that we stay on track, we’ll be seeing a lot of cool things–here’s what I hope to see today.

Turkey Run State Park, Indiana.  Snuggled up against the Illinois border, some shocking beauty in the land of unending cornfields.
831-800 11222833-800

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Commentary Photo I Like Quote

Audra Burns Gubna Pence

Speaks for itself.

http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/audra_mcdonald_just_slammed_indiana_gov_mike_pence_with_the_most_amazing_tweets

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Commentary

Indiana State Codifies Hate

Indiana_no_gays_allowedIn a shocking (to civilized human beings) development, Indiana Governor Mike Pence flourished his burning cross ballpoint pen and signed Senate Bill 101, the ” Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a so-called “religious freedom” law which forbids state or local governments from “substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion–unless the government can show it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.”

Just what the hell does that mean?  In short, it means that as of July 1, any business in the state of Indiana can deny services, employment, or acknowledgement of anyone based on their religious beliefs.  Practically speaking, it is a license to practice bigotry.

Senate leaders say conerns just a "misunderstanding."
Senate leaders say conerns just a “misunderstanding.”

Governor Pence, denying that the law does any such thing, said “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”  Leaders of the Republican-controlled senate called concerns nothing more than a “misunderstanding.”

But Eric Miller, the Founder and Executive Director of Advance America stated, a leading supporter of the legislation, said  “It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana.  It’s the right thing to do.  It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!”

Because the 85% of people in the state of Indiana who identify as Christian suffer daily at the hands of the overbearing, rights-denying, freed0m-hating, gods-damning unwashed 15 who haven’t been bathed in the blood of the lamb, so to speak.

A press release from the ironically titled Advance America continued “Churches, Christian businesses and individuals deserve protection from those who support homosexual marriages and those who support government recognition and approval of gender identity (men who dress as women).  SB 101 will help provide the protection…Christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!”

The bill passed despite loud public outcry from citizen groups, celebrities (including Indianapolis Colts Punter Pat McAfee, who grew up about half an hour down the road from my home–good for you, Pat!), businesses, the NCAA and the sponsors of several major conventions that bring millions of dollars to the state have expressed serious concerns, not only for the economic impact of this bill but for the safety and welfare of conventioneers, business persons, employees, and others who might suffer the soon-to-be legal wrath of Christian extremists looking for payback after losing their struggle against equal marriage rights last year.

CBB7BK6UgAAFfXcIt is telling that Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony, which was barred to both public and press, in his Statehouse office just before 10 a.m. Thursday. He was joined by supportive lawmakers, Franciscan monks and nuns, orthodox Jews, and some of the state’s most powerful lobbyists on conservative social issues.

While this bill is aimed at punishing and denying civil rights to homosexuals, I’m curious what happens the first time, say, a Muslim store owner denies service to a Jewish patron, or perhaps a Hindi restaurant owner refuses to seat a Muslim–or, for that matter, a southern Baptist hotelier denies lodging to Catholic?  It is a slippery slope, once we step away from the ideal of equality–I mean, what are the Scientologists going to do with this law?  I shudder to think.

It’s going to suck to live in some corners of Indiana for a while, but supporters of equal rights should take comfort in the absolute surety that bigoted business owners in all but the most insular communities will quickly feel the financial effects of their discriminatory practices.  Indeed, the main reason that shameful laws like this pass is because it requires the average person to sit quietly by and let the professional hate-mongers who make careers of sewing discord do the dirty work.

I very much hope that a network is quickly formed to call out the hidden bullies who will pick and choose when to use religion as a cudgel to wield against their neighbors. In fact, I’d love to see someone call out businesses in the State of Indiana who intend to adopt discriminatory policies because–you know what?–most of them are going to be too cowardly to actually see it through, let alone admit it publicly.

And, once again, I offer this old rhetorical chestnut:  WWJD do, brothers and sisters?

And by the way, fellow Pennsylvanians–get off your high horses, we’ve got one of these laws too.

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Commentary Journal Photo I Like

Local Football Playoffs–An Update

Tsudy blasts a hole for Zilinskas. Awesome photo by Scoopbug (give them money) http://www.indianagazette.com/pages/site/scoopbug/

I’ve been talking about the local high school football team a lot over the past two months–it’s been an exciting year, watching kids I’ve known since preschool and kindergarten compete like the fine young men they’ve become, and I feel compelled to keep you informed.  Just in case.

There was a considerable supply of joy in Mudville on Friday night, and the local High School team fought it’s way through the opening round of the playoffs.  It is a big deal, considering this particular group of kids has never been wildly successful, but they pulled together at the right time, with a effort worthy of high praise.  We’re a small, rural college town on the periphery of the powerful, Pittsburgh-based WPIAL league, with just 38 guys on the roster.*  Usually, when it comes time for the playoffs, you hear a lot of “almosts” and “nearlys” around town, but this is a rare year.  We have a core of exceptional talents and a whole lot of kids who have worked hard year-round to learn the skills they need to do their part. It has been an honor watching them reach their potential after a rocky start.

J D Hilditch gets a sack. Awesome photo by Scoopbug (give them money) http://www.indianagazette.com/pages/site/scoopbug/
J D Hilditch gets a sack. Awesome photo by Scoopbug (give them money) http://www.indianagazette.com/pages/site/scoopbug/

On Friday night, the sky thick with a drizzling rain that verged on sleet, the guys took it to a talented team from West Mifflin, a team which, by statistics, seemed virtually identical to ours–with the difference being that we’ve been powered by an accomplished passing game, while West Mifflin brought in a 1700+ yard running back and a team know for it’s speeding ground game.  Our team responded with a slug to the jaw as West Mifflin clamped down on our star receivers, running the ball down their throats all evening.  When Old Road Apples favorite Connor Tshudy went down with an injury after pounding his way to 50 yards on 8 carries in the first half, the next guy up came in after halftime and got things done in a big way.

At the end of the night, the good guys won 42-12, and will move on next Friday to face Central Valley, a juggernaut of a team with D1 recruits, the number one seed in the league, and a #4 overall ranking in the state going into last weekend’s games.  On paper, it doesn’t seem like our guys have a chance, but I wouldn’t bet against the team I’ve been watching this season.

http://www.indianagazette.com/news/indiana-sports/indiana-advances-to-face-top-seed,20871635/

*Not that we’re complaining…some kids do more with a whole hell of a lot less.  (updated link to follow tonight)

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Commentary

And The Home Team Makes The Playoffs

Indiana vs Hollidaysburg Football Photo by: Scoopbug http://news.scoopbug.com/index.php
http://news.scoopbug.com/index.php

Friday night, the local high school team, which we follow more closely than usual of late, owing to our familiarity with many of the players, pulled out another big win, and I’d be remiss not to mention it.  We live in a small town–about 30,000 folks in the two municipalities that, together, form our community, a university town surrounded by rolling foothills, agricultural land, spent coal mines and natural gas wells.  We’ve known a lot of these young men since preschool and kindergarten, and have watched them grow from awkward kids into accomplished athletes, students, and gentlemen.

http://www.indianagazette.com/news/endzoneextra/unsung-players-usher-indiana-into-playoffs,20821395/

It’s a down year, numbers-wise, for a school that’s not the biggest in it’s class to begin with.  Our school district is fortunate to offer kids a lot of opportunities–and the number of participants is down in general, although this year’s success should help.  The quality of play is not down, however.  The quarterback and receivers are arguably the best group of skill players ever put together locally, all time, and while not just a small in number, but physically smaller than many other teams, these kids never stop putting up a fight.  Perhaps more importantly, the guys I know are good, polite, academically accomplished students who don’t fit the usual stereotypes of high school jocks, particularly football players. I’m sure they’ve got their secrets–I know I did–but I have to say I’ve been honored to have them represent our community.

Of course, the pair of them who date my daughters better not take this praise for granted, and would still be wise to fear me.

 

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Uncategorized

Weekend Report: Kennywood, Todd Snider, Football, Apples.

I worked a late day Friday, cleaning up leaves on a pleasant autumn afternoon, under bright clear skies, the hills around we alight with gold and fiery red leaves.  Fall is 50005524_20852slipping away quickly.  It always does.  Since my children were young I have counseled them to keep their heads up and their eyes open during these first two weeks of October, when the leaves catch fire and fall.  By Halloween the hills will be be gray, save for stubborn oaks which hold their leathery leaves, faded to brown, deep into the winter.

PHOTOS: Above and Below, The Indiana Gazette

Exhausted by the time I retreated indoors near dusk, my wife off on a “girls night out” dinner & wine binge with a group of friends, I shuttled my kids to the football field, having begged off myself.  I was tired, hungry, and flushed from a day spent Knoch vs. Indiana football INDY # 8 Knoch#outdoors–I returned home to have leftover spaghetti for dinner while I listened to the game on the radio.  Of course, it turned out to be one of the more exciting games in recent history: the home team triumphed at the very end of a hard-fought, back and forth battle in which numerous game, season, and career records were set by our talented quarterback and wide receiver duo.  I sure can pick the right time to be a lazy dog and stay home, can’t I?

Saturday was big event day–we herded up our friends Brian & Ann, our daughters, two of their friends, and all of their boyfriends into both the van and the Chuckwagon and drove the kids down to Kennywood, Pittsburgh’s legendary amusement park, for Kennywood’s Phatom Fright Night–an annual event in which ghouls haunt the creepy park (bringing all your Scooby Gang nightmares to bear and remember that Pittsburgh is pretty much the center of the Zombie Underground) and kids get to ride roller coasters and freeze their butts off on cold October nights.  We dumped the kids and left the Chuckwagon in the lot for them to use as emergency shelter–a smart move, as it turns out.

We old farts rolled down along the Monongahela river to Pittsburgh’s Southside, the historical working class district that’s gone and turned itself into a carnival-like nightspot.  It was predictably crowded with revelers, but we lucked into a parking space just a block from our destination, the funky old Rex Theater, where we met up with some more friends to take in a much-awaited Todd Snider concert.

We were a little disappointed at first–the show had originally been billed as having Elizabeth Cook as the opening act, and the talented and charismatic singer would have been a perfect match for Snider’s outgoing persona.  Alas, we got a guy named Jesse Aycock, who was as quiet and earnest and introspective as Snider is larger-than-life, even in the Rex’s super-intimate setting. We felt bad for Aycock, whose simple, maudlin, acoustic ballads and lack of interaction with the audience was poorly suited for a crowd that was already anxious to see the main attraction.

Snider didn’t disappoint, either.  He sauntered out on stage to the tunes of Booker T. & The MG’s “Green Onion” like he owned the place, in his stocking feet, an old sweater, sniderblue jeans and his trademark hat, and quickly announced that he’d be playing two sets and we’d hear everything we wanted to hear–all the “good stuff” he enthused, because he knew how folks hate to get to a show when the artist plays what “he” wants, and everyone is thinking, “not all that new shit, damn.”  And true to his word, he pounded through the next 2.5 hours hitting most of his most popular songs, drawing cheers and sing-a-longs, wild applause and deep satisfaction from the crowd.

The only downer was an obnoxious drunk woman who was making everyone around her miserable.  When she shouted a request in the midst of one song, Snider finally stopped, leaned forward, and said, “I’ll be glad to play whatever y’all want me to play, but it’d be great if you waited until the end of one song before yelling for the next one.”  Chastened, the woman relented for a few songs but eventually started yelling and blabbing loudly.  Snider stopped again and begged her “Please, for the love of god and all those people around you would you kindly shut up?  I mean, you’ve been talking all night what could you possibly have left to say?  I now know more about you than I know about some of my friends.”  She didn’t make it another song before, now clearly defiant, she was at it again.  The bouncers finally dragged her out, earning an enthusiastic round of applause, but Snider was clearly rattled and banged through about 8 songs without stopping, when it’s usually his style to tell hilarious stories and interact with the audience.  Not that 7 or 8 straight Todd Snider songs live in a small club is bad!  Jesse Aycock joined him for the encore–after a pair of 90 minute sets–that was as rousing as it was generous.  Aycock redeemed himself with some sweet slide guitar work as Snider’s side man, and the pair closed with a cool acoustic ballad version of “Freebird” that had the crowd laughing, at first (I always yell “Freebird!” at conerts) and holding up their lighters.  Old school.  Did I mention that this show cost $20?  Awesome, I know.

We grabbed some pizza down the s street, noting that the light rain had turned to sleet, then rolled back to Kennywood to retrieve 8 very cold, tired, and happy teenagers.  They all slept, while Brian and I kept up a steady conversation to stay awake, and made it back home around 230am.  Long day.  Good day.  (Set list at the end of the post)

On Sunday we slept in late and never did much of anything–replaced a brake light on the family van, did some grocery shopping, and picked up a peck of apples at a local orchard.  It’s been cool and bright all year, and the fresh apples are out of this world this year–perfect conditions, and the orchard expects to be open until Thanksgiving.  Lots of apple pie in my immediate future.

I spent the rest of the day nodding off, or shambling around the house in as stupor.  All in all, though, it was an outstanding weekend.

Todd Snider Live, October 18th, 2014
Pittsburgh, PA   Rex Theater

Set One:
Good Fortune
Is This Thing Working
Everything Else…Except For Nothing
Greencastle Blues
[The Frisbie Story]
Big Finish
Carla
Play A Train Song
[Skip Litz Story]
Good News Blues>
The Last Laugh> Good News Blues>
You Got To Take Sick And Die
If Tomorrow Never Comes
Ballad Of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern
Hey Hey
Mr. Bojangles
Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance

Set Two:
Statistician’s Blues
Easy Money
D.B. Cooper
[HWA Church]
Alright Guy
Stuck On The Corner
Beer Run>
Age Like Wine> Beer Run
Looking For A Job>
I’m Free
Lonely Girl
Doublewide Blues
Jaded Lover
[Mark Marchetti Story]
Somebody’s Coming
Enjoy Yourself
Can’t Complain
Better Than Ever Blues, Part 2
Free Bird

encore:
Sideshow Blues> *
Working Man’s Blues *
* w/ Jesse Aycock

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Commentary Journal sheer awesomeness video

Homecoming Football Game

So, the Homecoming football game turned out well.  It rained before and after the game, but not during, and the kids did pretty well.  A news team from KDKA-2 Pittsburgh showed up–cool for the kids.  Blows my mind to watch this video, though, despite being there in person: I’ve known at lot of these kids since elementary school, some longer–and now they’re so old.  Don’t I sound like a doddering fool?  And: hats over to “unstoppable” Connor.  Nice game.