Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I really felt sorry for this chunky kitty this morning, as her photo and video made it to every news media imaginable ... and now this blog.
After all, how would you like your weight and photo plastered everywhere?
But the "fluffy" feline seemed to take it all in stride
The kitty has been nicknamed "Princess Chunk" and, at 44 pounds, is a few pounds under the world record for fattest cat.
How's that for a distinction?
Anyway, she seems like such a sweet cat, and yes, she can walk despite her girth.
She was brought to the Camden County Animal Shelter in New Jersey as a stray, but is in a foster home right now because of her, well, generous size. The cages are a bit too snug for her.
If no one claims her, she'll be up for adoption. If that happens, maybe her new human can help her slim down.
And, in case you're wondering, the biggest cat came from Australia and weighed in at 46 pounds, 15 ounces.
Guess that defines the term, "fat cat."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


With the price of gasoline being what it is, I can understand that more people are looking for alternatives to driving gas-guzzling vehicles. And most people will attest that there has been an increase in motorcycle traffic.
That's fine, presuming the cyclists are willing to follow the rules of the road.
But this morning I encountered a biker who gives other bikers a bad name.
And creates safety problems, especially when traffic is heavy.
This joker first nearly created an accident at Old Skippack and Schwenksville roads in Upper Salford when he practically went through a stop sign without stopping. Then he pulled out onto Route 63 from Shelly Road in front of a fast-moving line of traffic.
But his best move before I lost sight of him?
He went through a dead red at Routes 63 and 113, making a left onto Route 113. I'm not talking about a yellow light or just as the light changed. No, he figured the red light didn't mean him.
Luckily he was the only moron at the light at that particular time.
But come on, people. There are signs all over the place asking other motorists to be on the lookout for motorcyles. Fine. No one wants anyone to get hurt.
But motorcyclists must do their part as well. Stop making our commutes even more dangerous.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Yes, Monday morning. Drivers always seem a little fuzzy after the weekend off.
But combine Monday morning and the pea-soup fog we had today -- and the idiocy of drivers who refuse to turn on their headlights and the commute is even more "interesting."
This isn't my photo, but it could have been. With so many cars driving without their lights on, it made the commute extremely dangerous.
I say it over and over and over again. Just wish these idiots would listen!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

oh, for rainy summer days

This beastly hot summer has set me reminiscing about those blissful childhoods of summer.
Of course my childhood was long before there were so many organized sports teams, actual play dates for kids, gymnastics, adventure camps...
Well, you get the idea.
Summer back then stretched out in front of you like an endless vista.
You pretty much knew that, aside from the chores that were inevitable, there weren’t going to be any rigid schedules to follow.
And if you were smart and mowed the lawn, pulled the weeds and helped pick whatever was ripe that week in the garden and got it all done in the morning, the afternoons were going to be your own.
In my case that might mean escaping for hours in the far reaches of one of our fields on my pony. My one sister and I loved to saddle up our trusty steeds and pretend to be the “Hawk Boys” or some other heroes or villains.
And our mom never had to worry that someone was going to appear out of nowhere and spirit us off.
Or perhaps we’d walk up the road to the little general store and buy a soda or some candy; and some days we’d be really fortunate and get dropped off at the pool in Harleysville for a few hours.
Of course there were books to read, animals to play with, coloring books to fill and the much-anticipated sleepovers.
Provided our work was done. And make no mistake, there was a good amount of that when you grew up on a small farm.
But I don’t remember feeling rushed or stressed out about some overwhelming schedule. Or fretting about how I was going to fit in all of my activities; after all, 4-H was basically the center of our extracurricular interests.
I imagine there were plenty of extremely hot days back then, too, just like this summer.
But when you lived in a farmhouse with those thick walls and could play outside under the trees, you didn’t seem to notice as much.
And my favorite of all were the days when you were blessed by gentle rainfall. I still savor rainy summer days, but they seem few and far between today.
But they were sweet, I know. The temperatures were cooler; perhaps you made indoor “forts” or played with paper dolls (do they even still make them?); and you just felt like you were given a vacation within a vacation.
Often we’d haul out our horses, cowboys and other small toys; create intricate towns and ranches; and, of course, convince our mom that they had to stay just where they were for days on end.
But the best part was hearing that rain, feeling those cool breezes through the old, big windows and letting your imagination transport you to some magical spot you created.
No DVDs, no Xbox games, no computers.
Those summers ran on dreams, imagination and, on lucky days, the soundtrack of summer rain.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

foxy... lady??

OK, I don't know if this is a "lady" or a guy, but I hope you all saw this great photo of a fox snapped by Reporter photographer Mark Psoras in Lower Salford.
I'm a sucker for just about any animal, but when I saw Mark's photo, I was hoping it would get as much exposure as possible... no pun intended.
And it can't hurt if it helps people to appreciate our wild friends just a bit more.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

oh, it's OK to run red lights...

This is a horrible case, but just consider what the mom's viewpoint is.
It's probably the same as a lot of local drivers, considering how they drive.
Red light? I don't have to slow down.
Stop signs? Hey, no one stops for them anymore.
Speeding? Those posted speed limits are a joke.

So read this, consider what an example you are setting, and see if you agree with the mom:

From the Associated Press:

PHILADELPHIA - A teen whose MySpace page boasts of exploits with drugs, booze and fast cars is charged with striking two teachers, one fatally, after they watched their beloved St. Louis Cardinals play in Philadelphia.
The Missouri women, friends Cindy Grassi, 43, and Sandra Wacker, 36, traveled to a different ballpark each summer to watch the Cardinals play.
They were crossing the street after a July 10 afternoon game at Citizens Bank Park when 19-year-old Joseph Genovese Jr. ran a red light and struck them, police said.
Grassi died of her injuries two days later, while Wacker remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition. She suffered permanent injuries including possible paralysis on one side, a police investigator said.
"She will be OK, but she's going to have this trauma with her the rest of her life," said Sgt. Larry Ritchie of the Accident Investigation Division.
Genovese is jailed on charges upgraded to include vehicular homicide and homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.
The teen's MySpace page brags of him driving just under 120 mph on Packer Avenue, a popular drag-racing strip blocks from the ballpark. He also writes of "BObBiN ND WeEzzZiN" in traffic and having a "NEeD 4 SPeEd????"
Police seized a computer from his bedroom on Wednesday, a day after Genovese was jailed on the charges.
"The mother thinks the whole thing is overkill," said Lt. Jim McCarrick, who served the search warrant. "She said he (Genovese) just ran a red light and got into a car accident."
Defense lawyer Louis Savino Jr. declined comment Friday on the Web postings and how they might affect the case, if at all. However, he said his client understands the gravity of the charges.

puppy mills DO exist

For all of those people who don't know why some people protest at pet stores and others work so hard to get people to adopt from shelters of buy from small, reputable breeders, here is just one example.
Read this Associated Press story, and TRY TO UNDERSTAND!!!

UPPER OXFORD - Authorities plan to file charges on Monday against an Amish kennel owner, after seizing 23 sick and disfigured dogs, which were reportedly crammed into cages Thursday inside a barn with roughly 300 others.
John Blank of Upper Oxford will be charged for lack of veterinary care and neglect in the Oxford district court, according to Pennsylvania SPCA program officer Elaine Skypala.
Officials learned about the alleged conditions at Limestone Kennel after Blank surrendered nine dogs to the Main Line Animal Rescue roughly three weeks ago.
The dogs, Skypala said, had numerous health issues, prompting the shelter to contact the PSPCA.
Next, officials sent an undercover officer into the kennel.
Blank sold the officer a 3-week-old puppy that was nearly dead for $300, Skypala said.
The puppy died a day later due to dehydration, emaciation and hypothermia, she said.
The sale was enough for authorities to obtain a search warrant, she said.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

those were the days

Yes, these are the boys who really rocked.... just wish they were all still here and they could have closed Shea Stadium!!

joel's not worthy

Thank goodness Paul McCartney showed up ... although even that wasn't enough, in my estimation.
But at least The Beatles were represented during what was advertised as the last concert at Shea Stadium in New York -- featuring Billy Joel.
Yuck. I know there are plenty of Billy Joel fans out there, but please.
At this hallowed place where The Beatles christened its use for concerts, it doesn't seem fitting that Joel would be the final act.
Even if he did give them a nod by performing a few Beatles songs.
But then Friday night, after nearly three hours of the concert, Sir Paul showed up on stage...
Of course, always the showman, we shouldn't be surprised that Paul would HAVE to be there.
Hey, Ringo is tour right now... where was he?
Anyway, the fans went crazy, by all reports, as Paul sang “I Saw Her Standing There.”
Before he began “Let It Be,” Paul referenced The Beatles’ first concert at Shea in 1965, the year after the stadium opened.
“It’s so cool to be back here on the last night,” he said, according to published reports. “Been here a long time ago — we had a blast that night, and we’re having another one tonight.”
Thanks, Paul, for at least representing...
Having seen the lads YEARS ago in Philly, I can only say that they'll never be topped.
So sad that two of them have left us.
And if you'd like to see what the AP had to say about the rest of the concert, here is that text:.

NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Joel bid a stirring farewell to Shea Stadium on Friday during a sold-out concert that marked the final show at the same ballpark where the Beatles famously ushered in new era in rock 'n' roll four decades ago.
"Good evening, Shea Stadium. Is this cool or what?" Joel told the crowd at the New York Mets' home field, which is to be razed after the baseball season to make way for a new stadium across the street.
"They're gonna be tearing this place down, but I wanna thank you ... for letting me do the best job in the world," he said.
The show paid homage to Shea's baseball glories, with Mets highlights playing on jumbo screens during "Zanzibar." But the concert also was a mark of the stadium's place in music history.
The show came 43 years after the Beatles' legendary show at Shea Stadium — the first concert at the ballpark. The concert came at the height of Beatlemania and demonstrated the sheer power of rock 'n' roll and the Beatles: 55,000 screaming fans at a U.S. ballpark was virtually unheard-of at the time, and the show gave the Fab Four even more cachet among the Beatle-crazed American public.
The "Last Play at Shea" kicked off Wednesday with the first of two Joel shows at the ballpark, and the Beatles and baseball were on full display. Joel played three Beatles songs ("A Hard Day's Night," "Please, Please Me" and "She Loves You") during Wednesday's set, and introduced his signature "Piano Man" with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." He also played the national anthem to start the show.
"I want to thank the Beatles for letting us use their room. Best band that ever was, best band that ever will be," Joel told fans Wednesday.
Diane Gentile saw the Beatles play at Shea in 1966 — their second visit to the stadium after the historic show a year earlier. Her recollection of that summer night 42 years ago: "Oh, my God, there are the Beatles on that stage, and here am I."
"It was unbelievable. It was exciting; you could feel the electricity. Right before the concert we were singing `Happy Anniversary' to John because his anniversary was that day," Gentile recalled.
On Friday, Gentile was back at Shea to watch Joel for what she predicted would be the best concert she'll ever see.
Joel has always strongly embraced his New York and Long Island roots, and that makes for memory-making concerts every time he plays in the city. Throngs of fans know his music so well they can pretty much take over any chorus they like.
Joel holds up his end of the bargain. He did a record 12 sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in 2006, and Wednesday's set lasted about three hours.
And as if the "Piano Man" playing the last concert at Shea wasn't thrilling enough, special on-stage guests have turned up the excitement level.
On Wednesday, Tony Bennett sang "New York State of Mind" with Joel. John Mellencamp came on stage to perform his hit "Pink Houses," and Don Henley kept with the baseball theme with his standard "Boys of Summer."
Fans were abuzz with speculation that Joel might bring on few more guests Friday — possibly one of the surviving Beatles or his old pals Paul Simon or Elton John.
"I would love it to be Paul McCartney or Ringo, for that matter," Gentile said. "A lot of people are predicting Elton John, but Paul McCartney, for me, would be just perfect."
At least one of Joel's famous fans was in the audience Friday: ex-wife Christie Brinkley. The model sat about 10 rows from the stage, and fans snapped cell-phone photos of her before the show.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's so hot...

OK, I admit it, I truly don't enjoy this nasty heat wave we've been sweltering through. In fact, the whole summer has been too hot for me.
And if you had an office like mine -- with huge windows, that don't open, on the side of the building where the afternoon sun beats down -- you might agree.
I was pleasantly surprised that we actually had a spring this year, instead of skidding from winter right into summer.
But the high temps and humidity have been hard to bear.
Sometimes in the evening when I'm watering our flowers and few veggie plants, I find myself daydreaming about crisp fall days and evenings ... and wishing we could have an extremely L-O-N-G autumn this year... say, starting NOW!
I hate the drone of air conditioners, but I'm having to put up with it just to live.
Hope you're all surviving as well!

Monday, July 14, 2008

scared yet??

These are more than scary times. The economy, the war, the environment...
You know it's bad when the only thing people can talk about is the price of gas, the price of groceries, the price of heating/cooling your home, the real estate market, the thought of losing their job, the thought of losing their savings, the thought of losing their retirement.
But it's more than just a thought. It's a reality.
I was never going to retire as a millionaire, but I did hope to retire some day. Now I'm not so sure.
The investments I have are plummeting. The cost of everything is skyrocketing. You can forget trying to sell your house if you'd like to downsize.
Scared? Yes, I admit I am.
As a widow, I don't have another income to fall back on. No, I'm not poor, but I'm far from wealthy. Middle class, at best.
I know there are many, many others who have it far, far worse.
Most of us never lived through a depression. But it may not be far off.
Can anyone help us? Can we help ourselves?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

saying goodbye ... and hello

They say when one door closes, another opens.
Our door always seems to be open, however, at least where cats are concerned.
But we have gone through a bit of a “close/open” situation recently, albeit a bit out of order.
About six weeks ago, we opened the door to a cat that was only going to stay until we could have him tested, neutered and inoculated — and find him a home.
He had been hanging around our house for a few weeks, sleeping under our cars and begging for food and attention incessantly.
He was almost becoming a hazard, because he loved rubbing around our legs — as we were trying to navigate the steps from the deck to the sidewalk.
Because we didn’t want any kittens being produced thanks to him, we decided we should at least do the basics.
So in he came, with a vet appointment made. That first appointment is nerve-wracking, as you wait for the test results for FIV and feline leukemia.
“Negative for both,” the vet proclaimed, much to our relief. “And since he’s a stray, we can fast track him and neuter him tomorrow.”
Great, the sooner the better — the sooner we can find him a home.
So after the thorough checkup, blood tests and first round of shots, the critter was treated to being neutered.
Hey, he’ll thank us eventually, we figured.
And of course by now he had a name: Farkus.
Any fan of “A Christmas Story” will recognize the moniker.
You know the lines: “Scut Farkus! There he stood, between us and the alley. Scut Farkus staring out at us with his yellow eyes. He had yellow eyes! So, help me, God! Yellow eyes!”
Yep, my daughter noticed immediately upon his arrival that he had yellow eyes, and dubbed him Farkus.
Not that he was staying, of course. But we had to call him something.
While all of this was going on, another story was playing out, however. A door was about to close.
My daughter’s cat, Meems, had been diagnosed with kidney failure around Christmas, and his downward spiral had accelerated in the past few months.
The huge weight loss, the listlessness, the various infections he couldn’t seem to shake.
Meems was 9, a “not old cat with very old kidneys,” as the vet had said.
He had been a barn cat, a “free” cat from a friend who owned a farm at the time. My daughter had gotten him when he was several months old, had his various ills treated and he grew into a “football player” cat: a bit bulky with no neck, I’d always say.
Now Meems weighed just over 5 pounds, down from his usual 13. When we took him into the vet at the end of June, we knew it would be the last visit. His breathing was labored because his lungs were filling with fluid; he was exhausted. The Meems we knew and loved had battled bravely, but was no match for this adversary.
Of course we stayed with him for that final shot. We petted him, we told him we loved him, we cried.
And as we said goodbye to one beloved member of our family, we knew we wouldn’t be saying goodbye to this new little “visitor,” Farkus.
No, the little gent who loves to follow you around, hopping up on his hind legs almost like a puppy, has found his home.
He’s about a year old, the vet estimates. He loves to play with cat toys. He’s a pale yellow, much lighter than our orange Meems.
He’ll never take the place of Meems. That’s not the way it works.
But he’s opened another door for us. And who could resist those yellow eyes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

if you can't say something nice...

Apparently Jesse Jackson doesn't listen to what his mom surely taught him.
You know, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
How else do you explain his nasty little aside that he thought wasn't going to be heard by the world.
Obviously you've heard the reports.
It revolves around the civil rights leader complaining that Barack Obama can seem to be "talking down to black people" at times and should broaden his message.
OK, that's not TOO bad; not kind, but not too bad.
But that wasn't the worst of it.
Over the weekend, when he was talking to another guest after a Fox News Channel interview -- first mistake... Fox News -- he thought the mic was off... Second big mistake.
That's when he told the other guest about his feelings about Obama and added: "I want to cut his nuts out."
Now Jackson has apologized, according to wire reports:
"And then I said something I felt regret for -- it was crude. It was very private, and very much a sound bite -- and a live mike. I find no comfort in it, I find no joy in it."
Yeah, we usually don't "find joy" when we've been found out.
Talk about "talking down."
Jesse, better harken back to those lessons of childhood.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Can't please everyone

It would basically be impossible to please everyone every day with our newspaper.
But we try to appeal to as many segments of our area population as possible.
Sometimes it's a hit, sometimes it's a miss. And people aren't afraid to tell us when they don't like something.
But I hope you will enjoy the changes we are making to our Web site and our daily paper.
We are offering more TV grids, both in the daily and Sunday papers.
We have made quite a few changes in the Sunday Lifestyle section.
And we are trying to add more diversity in our sports offerings ... including more NASCAR news.
Some people love A2, with the people and "odd" news; some people hate it.
But that's the beauty of a newspaper -- there are so many items to discover, that there is something for everything.
And sometimes when you give something a chance, you may just find you have begun to like it ... or even look forward to it or depend on it.
I hope you'll find plenty in those categories, both in our print edition and online.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


It's July, it's hot, no one can afford to go on vacation, road rage seems to be rising...
Discouraged yet?
I hope not. I hope everyone can think of at least a few things they like about summer, about their community, about their family ... you get the idea.
OK, I admit, many times it's easier just to feel angry and disappointed in far too many instances. Sometimes I'm able to catch myself when I'm doing this and think about what's great about this area. We have plenty of parks and trails; most people have jobs; friends are there to help you when you need it; your family never lets you down.
The summer means free concerts in area parks; picnics; growing some vegetables, even if it's just a tomato on a big plastic flower pot.
Fireworks, fireflies, campfires...
Gee, there are so many. Let's try to keep a few in mind, quell the road rage, and spread a little summer cheer.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July Fourth

It's July Fourth and what better way to start off the day than with a downhome parade?
The Upper Salford parade celebrated its 20th year today; can't believe it's been that long.
And although I can't say that I've seen everyone, I did get back into the habit today ... and it was fun.
Motorcycles, a few floats, kids on bikes, antique and classic cars, and, of course, fire engines ... all the typical stuff.
But sitting on the porch of the post office with friends and my daughter was truly a fun way to start off the holiday.
Even a little drizzle couldn't spoil anyone's fun.
Hope you had a great Fourth, too!