a real or false sense of community?

When you look up “community” or a “sense of community” you find:

A sense of community is the feeling that members have of belonging, the feeling that the members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that their needs will be met through their commitment to be together.”

So when you join social media groups in your community, you go there hopeful there is an actual sense of community. A lot of times you find that, but other times you find groups that make you shake your head.

Some local groups that have made me shake my head in the past about what they allow to be posted. So given what we have seen unfold in this country lately, especially the assault on the United States Capitol, do admins of said groups have a greater responsibility to say keep the peace? And will platforms like Facebook take greater steps to address preexisting issues like stalking, bullying, and harassment?

Recent events have opened up conversations about First Amendment Rights in groups on social media platforms run by private companies. It’s not so difficult to comprehend the nuances unless you are being deliberately argumentative or obtuse.

Yes we have First Amendment rights, but we are on platforms hosted by others. If these others have rules, it’s their platform, not ours. We do not have inalienable rights to disregard their parameters. It’s their site, they just allow us to be on it.

Same thing for say closed groups on Facebook. They almost all have rules and they are governed by the rules Facebook tells folks setting up closed groups.

To me the whole argument of “well I can say whatever I want in Joe Schmoe’s group” is as ludicrous as the billboard company owner who used to say they had a First Amendment right to erect giant billboards which always begged the mental visual of them up there with a giant sharpie scribbling away, didn’t it?

I think social media groups have to be cognizant of what gets posted and keep an eye on it. And not just violence, undue profanity, and crazy political. Let’s not forget fake medical advice posts. One of my favorites came from a mom group advocating for bleach baths for kids with skin issues and doesn’t that actually constitute child abuse?

Being an admin to social media groups is like adult babysitting and you learn quickly that there are keyboard tigers who will argue about anything and everything. And then there is the online mob mentality which in my opinion since the onset of COVID19 has also spilled over more and more into the real world. Because social media and living online is not and will never be the real world.

The longer people spend solely on social media and online in general, the less their grip on acceptable social boundaries. You see that with professional and personal relationships.

Fostering a sense of community is a wonderful thing, but we need to keep it real. And we have an obligation to not tolerate sheer ugliness. We have an obligation to shut down online bullying as well, and that has not gotten better, it has gotten worse.

We can do a lot of genuine good. We can pay it forward for positive change in communities. We all just have to try.

Have a peaceful Sunday.

rotting in west whiteland…and completely derelict in appearance….

Two simple photos that speak volumes. They came with a message:

📌It is 2021 and this structure is also still standing and now falling into the local fresh water creek. West Whiteland Township shame on you. Route 100 and Township Line Road.📌

My posting of the (IMHO) dangerous and derelict structure in East Whiteland behind Osman’s Pizza on Route 30 in Frazer and adjacent to the Wawa at 30 and Planebrook has sparked an interesting community conversation. Simply put it is why can these municipalities take such care to approve all of the crazy unwanted development communities do NOT want, yet they seemingly ignore situations like this? I don’t have the answer and I know the process of getting derelict buildings down can be complicated, but maybe people have a point?

if mr. costello wants to go to washington, he needs to get out of his nappies first.


A preface: This post is a week old. WordPress has this oddity and flaw in its app of sometimes making you republish things although you already did. Such is the case here.

📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝

So former Chester County Commissioner and U.S. Congressman Ryan Costello blocked me on Twitter. I don’t really care but he behaved today in a manner so purely childish that I can’t believe he seriously wants people to take him seriously that he wants to run for Pat Toomey’s seat in the United States Senate.

I used to think he was a nice enough guy. I liked dealing with his congressional staff because he quite frankly inherited a lot of them from Jim Gerlach. I had dealt with them for years.

So today comes this Philadelphia Inquirer article on how he wants to run for U.S Senate. (And so does Lt. Gov. John Fetterman so please for the love of God, who else is running?)

Philadelphia Inquirer: Former Pennsylvania Republican congressman Ryan Costello is taking steps to run for Senate in 2022
by Jonathan Tamari and Andrew Seidman, Posted: January 8, 2021 – 4:50 PM

So that is the article if you want to read it. Anyway the PA and Chesco Twitterverse started discussing this. One because of the shall we say haphazard way he decided not to run for re-election and then bailed on the Chester County GOP. Because truthfully he did. Not that I actually blamed him back then because they were rattlesnake material circa 2016 in my humble opinion. And 2016 was a Republican epiphany back then for many of us, myself included. The day Trump became the nominee was my last day as a Republican.

My initial comment when I saw the article was ummm no, we have already been to this movie.

Then there was the commentary regarding what Costello said this week when he gave a sound byte to local media over the events in Washington:

📌Ryan Costello, a critic of President Trump who held the 6th District House seat before Houlahan, said “watching these protestors invade the Capitol reminded me of the left-wing protestors who would storm in and occupy my congressional office and harass my staff on a weekly basis. Politics has become an invitation for extremist behavior; to be rude, dangerous and disrespectful to our institutions and policy-makers.”📌

Ummm…leftist fringe? Some of these people are my friends.

I did say the following:

So Ryan Costello wants to run for US Senate? Here’s hoping he is out of his diapers before then, because this response out of him is better suited for sucking a binky and living on Parler.

Honestly, I am disappointed because I used to like him. And to color outside the lines in such a manner BEFORE he announces a legit run for office? He’s not exhibiting strength, he’s demonstrating immaturity at a minimum. There already are enough hate spewing windbags like this in Washington D.C.

They didn’t threaten anyone. They are hardworking people and he seemed to forget he worked for the people not the Chesco GOP or whatever. They did not feel they were being heard. And that is the worst feeling and one we as regular people feel all too often at the hands of our elected officials.

Not that Fetterman is a better choice for US Senate….I wouldn’t vote for him either at this point either and I have never liked Political Lurch.

Here is the letter he referred to BY LINK.

Here is the letter by text as I obtained it:

📌The Daily Local News should stop promoting former Congressman Ryan Costello’s false comparisons between our area and dangerous events on national news. The violent, seditious terrorists we witnessed at the nation’s Capitol bear absolutely no resemblance, whatsoever, to the peaceful demonstrators exercising their democratic rights outside his district offices in 2017 and 2018.

The former Representative should consult the Daily Local’s own accounts of what transpired before leveling dangerously false comparisons. Costello claims that protestors “stormed his office and harassed staff weekly,” but most of the constituent rallies took place outdoors and far away from Costello’s office and staff.

The one occasion constituents entered Costello’s district office to stage a sit-in, the Daily Local’s own account describes them as “unobtrusive” to the staffers. When asked to move to another room, they complied. They ate pizza and sang Christmas carols, then left. That was it. No guns, violence, broken windows, Confederate flags, Nazi flags, or threats of any kind.

Ultimately, Costello’s commentary once again proves himself disconnected from reality and from the community he was once elected to serve. There was nothing remotely similar between the peaceful gatherings at/near Costello’s office and the riotous mob in DC. Peaceful assembly and requesting redress are protected rights of our citizenry.

Responsible journalism would not treat Costello’s conflation of the two as fact. Clarity is critical at this moment for our body politic, and readers deserve to be informed about what relevance an opinion has to the truth. The Daily Local does a disservice to its readers by reporting such egregious claims without basis of truth.

Luke Bauerlein, Exton; Phil Dague, Downingtown; Jane Palmer, Wyomissing; Beth Sweet, West Chester and Claire Witzleben, Wayne📌

These folks have a right to be upset. I guess so does Ryan Costello that we were discussing it. And what happened next wasn’t very “senatorial.”

Ryan Costello started addressing me on Twitter. He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and did I remember when he stuck up for me once upon a time. And I did remember that, and part of the topic was his wife had gotten upset when people startled her on their street. I believe she was a pretty young mom at this point and probably not used to the public eye. Politicians sign up for this life, and their families really have little choice in the matter. And I felt at the time and probably would still today that people could have been nicer to her and more understanding. I took a walloping on social media for my opinion, and he stood up for me and I will always appreciate that.

However, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak my truth about how I feel about certain things. And calling people I know some thing akin to domestic terrorists for staging a sit in with pizza it’s not some thing that sits right with me. And it is a gross miss characterization of what I believe happened.

We went back-and-forth a while and then he sent me a private message and basically said that he thought I was talking to him in good faith and then he saw the comment about calling him Baby Ryan. And then he blocked me. I guess he just wanted the last word.

He did however say in one Tweet he didn’t care if screenshots were taken and shown that he stands by what he said. So Ryan? I do think you are acting like a baby or a toddler. I was also however communicating in good faith. I wish you could see how you are hurting yourself. Pennsylvania is a much different political climate than when you pulled your exit with drama, stage right. You need to get to know people all over again and their issues then, and issues now.

Here are the screenshots. Hopefully in some semblance of order. 2021 is certainly quite the year so far:

the old hershey’s mill continues to come back to life!

In June of 2020 much to my delight, I discovered the old Hershey’s Mill at Hershey’s Mill Road and Green Hill Road was getting a new lease on life.

We passed by today and the restoration continues! This is so refreshing and lovely to see!

Restoration is possible with unique old buildings. We can’t wait to see it completely restored!

it’s 2021 and this structure is still rotting…in east whiteland

Christmas 2016 there was a nasty fire adjacent to the Wawa on Planebrook Rd and Lancaster Avenue in Frazer. Here we are now in January, 2020 and ramshackle as a description doesn’t even cover what visibly appears to be a seriously deteriorating structure now does it?

What is going on with this structure? Everyone said that it would come down but it hasn’t so what’s up? We all of course also thought about it again when the human trafficking story broke in East Whiteland in 2020.

Does this structure look safe? Does it look properly secured? Does it give a whole new je ne sais quois to the term slumlord still?

Again, it’s 2021. The fire was 2016. I know these things take time. But it’s clearly a hazard is it not?

blips on the radar of life

Our COVID19 existence in 2020 and now 2021 has been odd, strange, and different on so many levels. Interpersonal relationships especially.

We as human beings for the most part are social creatures , unless we were already self-avowed loners and hermits, or had taken a vow of silence. COVID19 has limited and removed and changed our ability to socialize. And redefined it strangely and some people have very odd boundary definitions too.

I am more of a homebody than not. So the staying home most of the time has only gotten to me intermittently. Or has it? I keep finding house projects. This week for example, I decided I had to oil and wax polish all the old wooden chairs. I like old wood chairs, so that was a bunch…before 8:30 AM one morning.

But one thing I have noticed is I have retreated in the communication of it all. I do miss seeing people and I get tired of talking on the phone. Video chatting helps, because it provides that visual connection humans need I think in interaction. We all texted a lot before COVID19, aren’t you tired of it now some days?

Another thing I have noticed is something I first noticed after 9/11: people looking up people they hadn’t been connected to for years and in some cases, never really were connected to – they were just blips on the radar of life. I had that happen to me a couple of times just after 9/11 happened, and I even looked a couple of people up I hadn’t talked to since way before I was no longer working in NYC. I figure there must be some human psychological response to either tragedy or widespread hardship or something- that literal need to check in.

That same thing seems to be happening now during the COVID19 of it all.

I was talking to one of my essentially life long besties last night. She called to tell me about someone who had reached out to her. Literally a name I had not heard since we were 19 years old. The older guy that tested a friendship decades ago, decided to message my friend.

A long rambling message about his life, family, what his wife did for a living. And he literally lives thousands of miles away. And no one has been in touch with him since he called her in college to say he was moving and leaving that day. At the time it was kind of like “Ok bye” and no one thought of him again.

I had to laugh. As a teenager, he was one of the first older guys that I met. Again, we were 19, and he wasn’t just older he was like almost out of his 20s. So in retrospect his attention was creepy, only I don’t think this guy made the radar of our mothers because he was such a short term blip.

I met him, thought he was cute. Like any other teenage girl time in memoriam, I wanted a good friend to check him out.

I introduced them at an outside summer event. It was a club lacrosse game. There used to be lots of those back then. College age and older. Kind of like league ice hockey which still went on, at least until COVID19 hit.

I could tell this guy thought my friend was cute. I didn’t think much of it. He used to call once in a while and we would hang out, but it wasn’t so much a “summer romance”. But while he was cultivating me as a mostly occasional hang out buddy, he was also cultivating my friend. I don’t think either of us knew at first because there was no social media and well, he wasn’t that important. He was more like a cute curiosity.

Then one day I went over to the house he was renting with a bunch of guys. To hang out. It was literally the afternoon, and I had been invited. When I got there, my girlfriend was there too. And the body language was unmistakable. I remember that I pretty much had nothing to say. I literally just left the house.

That feeling from that day I never forgot, although eventually we did forget about him. It was awful, like a punch in the stomach. The adult me knows he was a random sleazy older guy who shouldn’t have been hanging out with teenage girls. The adult me knows he was just playing us both, he probably thought he was something to be doing this at the time. My friend and I got past it because well, he wasn’t important and our friendship was. But it was not a pleasant teenage experience at the time.

So we had forgotten about him until he essentially went Facebook trolling to seek out my friend. I will admit that although I am certainly no beauty queen we checked him out, laughed, and said “ewww” and put him back in the tales of teenage years past where he belongs.

But these things are happening all over. People connecting or trying to connect with people from other lifetimes, who weren’t important back then, so other than way too idle curiosity, why?

I will also note that the time of COVID19 has in general made me reflect some on who I actually want on my Facebook and Instagram. I have quietly jettisoned some people. Mostly people who I realized were drowning in the deep end of the angry crazy posting of drivel and fake news. It’s not that their opinions were different than mine, it was truthfully the anger and vitriol of what they were posting had reached the point that it was stressful and uncomfortable. So it was buh byes time.

Perhaps when we look back on these years many years hence we will laugh at these people who were blips on the radar of life. At the end of the day it’s the whole reason, season, and lifetime as far as who is in our lives. Sometimes it makes for great stories, however.

Thanks for stopping by.

just a good dinner.

I love Mexican food and the flavors of the American Southwest. And sometimes I just crave this one particular no name meal I make.

My cousin asked me what I called what I made for dinner, and I couldn’t exactly tell her because I don’t know anybody else that makes it. It’s kind of pork carne asada inspired burritos meets enchiladas. Those are the things that inspire this yummy winter dinner.

So this is my attempt to write it down. I always remember how to make it but so many people keep asking me I figured I would try to get it written down.

I sautéed pork (six small boneless pork chops sliced as if I was making fajitas) with 1 sweet onion, cilantro, 1 red onion, a couple jalapeños (not seeded), bell peppers, Mexican spices (Tajin seasoning and Hatch chili powder, garlic powder, Goya Adobo, oregano, basil) , 2 limes grated for zest, juice of two limes and 1/4 cup water.

Then I make a little Mexican inspired tomato sauce with chili powder, red onion, jalapeños, cilantro, grated lime zest, juice of one lime, small can diced tomatoes, 1 6 oz can tomato paste.

Next I lined a 9” x 12” pan with non stick foil and rolled up in large tortillas one at a time the pork mixture, shredded Mexican cheese and fat free refried beans. Line up side by side – you can fit six. Layer on tomato sauce, top with shredded Mexican cheese blend, a little more sauce. Cover pan with foil and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with Mexican inspired rice, sour cream, pickled jalapeños if you choose, more cilantro, etc.

bread quest 2021

White bread recipe from the Amish Baking Cookbook

So in 2020 I learned how to make sourdough bread thanks to my friend Tracey Deschaine at Dixie Picnic in Malvern. But I don’t want to be a one trick pony and by year end I had made German Christmas Stollen and no knead bread as well.

I heard this Amish Baking cookbook was a good one, so I decided to order myself a copy. Why? Because some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted has been Amish baked. And I had a Pennsylvania German grandmother who was an amazing baker, so I was curious.

As much as I like to cook, baking bread from scratch was very intimidating to me. So I just keep trying new recipes, and today it is the “white bread” recipe from this cookbook.

I was going to mess with it and split it in half but I just decided to make the recipe as written the first time to see how I did.

Here is the recipe:

1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

1 tsp. sugar

2 1/2 cups of lukewarm water, divided

1 1/4 tsp. salt (I would increase this a smidge next time.)

1/3 cup sugar (white or organic white)

1 3/4 Tbsp. shortening (I used butter)

7-8 cups flour (I used a scant 8)

1. Dissolve the yeast and teaspoon of sugar in half cup lukewarm water. Do this in a little bowl and put to the side.

2. In a large bowl mix 2 cups of water, salt, sugar, and shortening. Then add the yeast mixture and, gradually, the flour.

3. Knead the bread until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and sit in a warm place to rise until double. For me, this took about 45 or 50 minutes and I greased the bowl with canola oil.

4. When the bread has done its first rise, punch it down again. Let rise until double again.

5. Split into two loaf pans lined with parchment and let rise until double again.

6. Bake at 350°F for 1/2 hour

Super puffy and fun bread to make. Two nice loaves. I will add more salt next time, however.

Try the recipe and buy the cookbook! I bought my copy used off of eBay.

there is a big difference between peaceful protesting and what happened 1.6.21 in washington d.c.

I love stick people because often they can explain what most people can’t comprehend. It’s very basic and very elementary school, and I think now we need to go back to basics in this country.

We need more stick man explanations as given how politicians former and present wish to define protests. As in comparing peaceful protests to suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism. If you want to increase your relevance (well Ryan Costello it has been a few years, right?), and a reporter gives you a sound byte, maybe this was ummm really coloring outside the lines??? See:

Area political leaders react with shock to attack of U.S. Capitol
Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-centurymedia.com @PottstownNews on Twitter Jan 7, 2021

📌”Ryan Costello, a critic of President Trump who held the 6th District House seat before Houlahan, said “watching these protestors invade the Capitol reminded me of the left-wing protestors who would storm in and occupy my congressional office and harass my staff on a weekly basis. Politics has become an invitation for extremist behavior; to be rude, dangerous and disrespectful to our institutions and policy-makers.”📌

Say what?

And then a couple of days later you announce to other reporters/news outlets you are exploring becoming Pat Tooomey Jr in the United States Senate? Gee, that whole sound byte post Assault on the Capitol wasn’t too obvious was it now? Even Captain Obvious is shaking his head at that one, right?

(And look, if dude wants to run, he can run. However, if he wants to run as the type of politician he used to kinda sorta criticize ummm????)

Let’s talk about the sit in which occurred in Former Congressman Costello’s former West Chester Office once upon a time, OK? Start with this video [click here]. Below is a photo array that are public photos I found posted on the Internet and social media. Please explain the violent fringe intent?

Sorry not sorry, I do not get it. So does that mean these protests had bad people:

Or the Womens’ Marches? Pink hats are super threatening I suppose?

And this past summer? The Black Lives Matter marches? Some protests were peaceful. Like around suburban Philadelphia. In the city, not so much. And I found the violence and destruction in major cities including Philadelphia abhorrent, but were those really the people who organized protests? I still don’t think so. And with those protests, yes I wasn’t in favor of them especially after the destruction of center city Philadelphia which did things like terrorize lots of elderly city dwellers like my own parents. You don’t know from fear when you can’t get your parents out of a city because it’s locked down yet crap is still happening. So after that point I was yes, in favor of getting the word out other than by protest. But people continued to protest and along the Main Line it looked like:

Was it a sea of humanity during a global pandemic? Yes. Would I have been in that crowd, even with a mask on? No. But these were neighbors, friends, kids of people I know, and local police to keep them safe. So are they to be mischaracterized by a broad politically motivated brush as well? I did not agree, but these were peaceful and powerful.

So now we come to this past week. A date that will literally live in infamy: 1/6/2021. Not since the British stormed the Capitol in 1814 had such violence been seen. This was an angry mob. And violent. And destructive. Suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism. We all watched it unfold. There was zero peaceful intent. You had a crowd whipped up to a fever pitch by a sore loser malignant narcissist (Donald Trump) and his attorney Rudy Giuliani using an incendiary phrase “trial by combat“.

Embedded are two videos from the U.K. and two from US — Watch them.

I have had people write to me saying how wrong I am to be so disgusted, appalled, terrified by what took place in the US Capitol. They told me it was “no different” than the Black Lives Matter Marches or Women’s Marches. That I was smarter than that and being taken in by political hype.

Ummm oh hell to the no. See these images from Washington from the Internet (random sampling):

That is not peaceful. That is not peaceful intent. That is wrong.

It’s time for all of this to stop. It’s time for us to stop being a country ruled by extremism from either side. The majority of Americans, who are never heard, lie in the middle. They can’t be heard over the din of extremism.

It’s also time for people seeking political relevance and various and assorted politicians to stop trying to compare peaceful demonstrations outside local places like the old West Chester Courthouse and elsewhere to what happened in Washington DC as a direct result of the culmination of years of Donald Trump’s abominable and unPresidential behavior.

Give peace a chance. Now more than ever. Be safe out there and pray for our country.

Image found on Pinterest

pennridge (bucks county) school board vp sure had fun down there at that january 6th ummm… “gathering” in d.c. didn’t she?

Occasionally you just trip over things on Twitter that are stunning. One such thing is this (apparently) controversial Pennridge School Board VP. Pennridge is in Bucks County, PA. The school district seems to be tone deaf to her. Somewhat surprising as well the future of kids is well…the future good or bad, right? So is it good or bad to have this woman in a position of school board power? Mind you I am freely sarcastic about many school boards because they can be fascinating studies in observing the power hungry and the petty, right?

I don’t know if it is a do as I say, not as I do, but she is no stranger to controversy. She also apparently was (or is??) on the Bucks County Planning Commission?

Now I am not being unfair, and here are some articles:

Pennridge school board VP under fire
Chris English cenglish@couriertimes.com June 18, 2020

Saucon Source: Pennridge School Board Vice President Under Fire for Tweets
By Chris Haring | June 18, 2020

Levittown Now: Social Media Postings Lead To Commissioner Asking Planning Commission Member To Resign
Tom Sofield June 26, 2020

Bucks Local News: Marseglia seeks resignation of Bucks County Planning Board member, citing online posts
Jun 20, 2020 Updated Jun 22, 2020 Comments

The Intelligencer: Joan Cullen fighting back on county news release, request for resignation
Chris English cenglish@couriertimes.com

So this woman, elected to help the best interest of kids in her district went to DC and participated in a rally that wasn’t a rally, it was more like a failed coup attempt to overthrow our halls of government (The US Capitol). Anarchy and violence and this woman represents a school district as VP of the school board and there she was in the middle of it all, tweeting, taking selfies, and oh yeah maskless as a super spreader?

(And this is a video of the shooting etc yesterday [CLICK HERE] and here is how a female PA Congressman Susan Wild retells yesterday [CLICK HERE])

This school board member, who is also an elected therefor public official, is not exactly beloved in her community or respected, although she was elected to this position, but then again Bucks County still is quite Republican. Have a look at this public Facebook Video: [CLICK HERE].

Anyway, Mrs. Cullen went to Washington on January 6th, 2021. Pennridge School District why so silent? Obviously she won’t go on her own, but how can you find her fit to serve? Is the Pennridge School District in Bucks County that tone deaf?

JoaneyBaloney Indeed….