time for de joy to de go

Things I was thinking about this morning before I saw the breaking news I am about to relay is my vote literally did NOT count in the recent election. I am on a mail in ballot and opted to stay that way one more election because I live immunocompromised and at that point hadn’t had my 2nd shot for that long. I also did not want to deal with the Trumpublican nut bags who were indeed at our polls like the psycho mommy who was seen yelling at those she thought were Democrats, but may or may not have been….and then telling people to vote for her daughter who is not only barely old enough to vote but who isn’t out of college, doesn’t live on her own, etc.

But guess what? Although I returned my ballot right away, I have to date never received notice that my ballot was counted or received by Chester County, so although I voted, my vote doesn’t count. And that was exactly WHY Louis De Joy was appointed Postmaster General: to disenfranchise the American people and ensure our votes didn’t count especially if we weren’t voting for his boy Donnie.

Our mail was already a mess around here before DeJoy. When Southeastern went bye bye, our mail went to Wilmington, Delaware before returning to Chester County, PA if we are lucky. Recently it was announce that first class stamps were going to like 58 cents each. Yep De Joy is going to possibly take down USPS faster than Washington DC can get off it’s ass and give him the boot. But today, a glimmer of hope:

Washington Post: National Security
FBI investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with past political fundraising

But will they act in time? That remains to be seen.

And for those who want to say I am “left wing”, I am not. I am a moderate who left the Republican party because I felt I had no other choice. And the politics of extremism is so bad for this country and among the things it is killing is USPS.

Also appearing today is this letter from some (to me) rando congressman. I think it’s time for less posturing and more actual governing. Democrat or Republican, you have to see Louis De Joy needs immediate removal.

swiss mess

Swiss Pines is a real Swiss Mess. I wrote about Swiss Pines a few years ago (see along charlestown road and swiss pines.)

Swiss Pines is still a magical place although totally beat up looking now from the road. Last news I heard was that Swiss Pines is saved but I hope to God something happens with it soon.

oh you are going to want to make reservations…

The Ship Inn in Exton on Lancaster Avenue or Lincoln Highway is beloved to so many. Recently they got a television show makeover courtesy of Chef Robert Irvine and Restaurant Impossible.

I have to say well done! It’s wonderful!

Yes they are essentially getting a rave from me. I loved every minute! But I also have some other observations before I get to that.

The owner is working the floor. He is wound way too tight and he was is charge of the hostess desk when we got there…only we were marooned there for more than five minutes with no one greeting us. He also corrects his staff close to the point of berating them right there on the floor. He wasn’t yelling but the intent was obvious and it’s not something patrons wish to see. Hopefully he finds a competent front of house.

There is new life breathed into main room and the awful little booths are gone. Those booths were super uncomfortable and for a big room it was dark, it wasn’t airy.

Dark room no more. Clean and light and a design that so appeals to me because of the simplicity and execution of the design.

You are greeted crisp white walls with touches of maritime inspired brass rails, white bead board, and “sails” and a singular and fabulous ship cut out. It is this simple ship that is carried through on the tops of the menus and on the wait staff shirts.

At one end is the exposed stone wall with what looks like a semi-gloss clear seal. I love that look anyway and I think it looks fabulous.

The chairs are mid century inspired and SUPER comfortable with great back support while not looking clunky. The tables are very different but I think they will be a lot easier to maintain and they have a very clean look to them. Everything is very well spaced in the dining room it is not cramped.

They have some new cocktails. I chose the cranberry mimosa, which had just the right balance of everything. I enjoyed it. And I don’t drink very much so that’s saying something.

Ordering off the special prix fix menu is slightly rigid but I think post makeover they are getting their sea legs.

I ordered the surf and turf and wanted to substitute shrimp cocktail to start and waitress told me it was too expensive to do that. However I never said I would NOT pay for the up charge substitute, I would expect it. So I ordered shrimp cocktail separately and split it with my family. I love a good shrimp cocktail and it didn’t disappoint. And the cocktail sauce itself was fresh and had just the right bite.

With my entrée, I had the beet salad. Great vinaigrette, lovely greens, and I love beets anyway. The beets were chopped and I would’ve preferred a very thin slice to a little square, but that’s not really a criticism that’s just a personal preference on my part because I love beets. And they were red and yellow beets which are so pretty on a plate.

One thing I found surprising about the show makeover was the ladies room. The ladies room was surprisingly not refreshed. I think it would lend to the cohesiveness of the room makeover. It’s not that the ladies room is bad because it never has been, but I would suggest for the future that they take the design of the redone room and translate it simply into the ladies room. White bead board and white paint with a couple brass accents in that ladies room will really make a difference.

Now let’s talk about the lighting fixtures in the makeover room. Totally TERRIFIC lighting fixtures!! So many places fall short when it comes to lighting fixtures and the lighting fixtures are clean with a classic design that works so well with the room. And the lighting fixtures make you feel like you are on an old-fashioned teak yacht don’t know how else to explain it and I know that might sound weird but they’re great fixtures. The devil is in the details and they are spot on.

All of our main courses were amazing. We had crabcakes, Dan Dan noodles, surf and turf, and the ribeye. Compliments to the chef and our waitress for getting the meat temperature literally perfect.

We had various things for dessert. I had the sticky toffee pudding which I couldn’t finish, so half of it is in my refrigerator. But it was amazing. And sticky toffee pudding as one of those things that if it’s done right it’s just the best.

I went out of my way to take photos when people really weren’t around because I wanted you to see the room versus the people. They had a good crowd inside and out.

The wait staff as always is really nice, and I loved our waitress. She is one of those waitresses that is just perfect giving you the right amount of attention and not being intrusive or overly solicitous. And she’s genuinely nice. And that’s the thing— I always found the wait staff there pleasant and you can’t say that about a lot of places. The staff all seem to be working really well together and things were well-timed coming out of the kitchen and in the beginning our drinks were gotten to us quickly and our water, etc.

It was a fabulous experience as a guest, and we weren’t left hanging —- I don’t know how else to describe it. But you know what I mean sometimes when you go into a restaurant, and you feel like you are almost abandoned. Not tonight at The Ship Inn. They went out of their way to make guests feel special and I appreciate that.

I am so happy to see the new life in the old girl known as The Ship Inn and I wish them continued success from the bottom of my heart and I can’t wait to go back!

Make a reservation and check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

A postscript: The Ship Inn is only open for lunch Friday and Saturday which I do find inconvenient.

no devon horse show for 2021 either….

The Inquirer headline screams the bad news. Devon Horse Show is 86’d for a second year. However, Savvy Main Line broke the news before the articles and blog posts started.

And this is devastating news. The Devon Horse Show isn’t just about a tradition that has survived two World Wars, it’s a beloved player in the equestrian world. (The equestrian world in my opinion is shrinking in this area due to development, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

See the screenshot just above? This is interesting blog post to read. I don’t know the author.

I will note that there is a lot of misinformation going around in local Facebook groups about The Devon Horse Show. And I think it is a horrible disservice to all parties involved to put forward false information. That’s why I haven’t blogged about this personally until today. I’m not a Devon insider so I don’t know why exactly the show was canceled other than I believe it is the Covid19 world in which we live that is the reason at the end of the day. Essentially I wanted to think about this for a few days.

But for some to take the knee jerk reaction and try to blame ongoing zoning and other issues around the horse show for the cancellation is patently false information. That has nothing to do with this decision and the Devon Horse Show in and of itself has not so much to do with the current zoning issues either in my opinion. And that’s not to say that there haven’t been zoning issues about the horse show itself because there have been.

The zoning kerfuffle has always been in part about about the residents who live around the horse show who don’t want everything around the horse show super sized and overly urbanized. They don’t want the horse show to go away they just don’t want development to overrun everything.

👉🏻See www.saveeasttown.org and http://www.preservedevon.org/. 👈🏻

I think that is perfectly reasonable and I have good friends who live within the shadow of the horse show and have for years. It’s a lovely area that is facing extinction because of development. Those people are trying to preserve what makes the area special including the horse show. And just because some of these people also have had issue with the head of the horse show over things like the ongoing BS with boxes, whisper down the lane wants to blame THEM for the horse show being cancelled? (Follow this LINK to an article where Devon was taken to court over the box issue…and LOST.)

Come on! I am not a fan of what some of the Devon Horse Show had evolved into in the past few years complete with the ridiculous women who don’t know one end of the horse from the other showing up in all their tacky glory for Ladies Hat Day which used to be truly lovely, but even I am concerned about Devon.

But even with my concern about Devon because of the past fond memories I actually have, I’m not going to run around and blame the neighbors. That’s crap.

No one could have predicted a global pandemic, but I think plenty could have predicted future problems with Devon Horse under current leadership.

Maybe, just maybe, the keyboard critics could get off their proverbial high horses and take a long hard look at Devon and it’s financial structure and current leadership and maybe decide from there how to save it. Because it’s going to need saving.

When I was growing up Devon to me meant summer was here. And my friends and I would go in our old school Lilly Pulitzer and Vested Gentress dresses and Eskil’s clogs or Pappagallo espadrilles and khakis or jeans and wander the then much smaller vendor area and midway.

We would stop and get Devon fudge to take home, check out the antique dealers booths, the hospital’s thrift shop booth in what seems like an old spring house across from the burgers, ride the Ferris wheel and then go to the stands and watch the horses go round and round from someone’s family box. One of my favorite things were when the carriages would enter the ring and the majestic Clydesdales. It was so exciting.

I used to love Devon Horse Show. I remember things like the person who used to have cool antique prints next door to the woman who would bring her Jack Russells who would hang out in her booth. Or all of the years getting a Devon burger and hanging out at the picnic tables watching the world go by. And Betty Moran there to greet you in that booth next to where you entered the show.

I stopped consistently going to Devon Horse Show in 2012. I actually went to the fall classic show a few times between then and Covid19. I liked that show. It was more chill then the see and be seen that May Devon had morphed into.

A great little history of the show can be found at:

A Look Back at “Old Devon”, An All-American Horse Show by Nina Fedrizzi

One of the Devon related events that I was honored to attend was October, 2015. It was the dedication of the Devon Horse Show historical marker. I still have never understood why the horse show seemingly found it so objectionable, but the sign actually had to be placed across Lancaster Avenue from the horse show. A few of my friends, including the late Michael Morrison, poured their hearts and souls into getting the marker erected. The dedication ceremony was October 2015.

I will note this is not the only time in its history that Devon has not had a horse show. There was no show between 1900 and 1910. In 1918, with the US in World War I the show was supposed to be cancelled, but apparently a much smaller show instead happened. The show that year benefited emergency aid and war relief. According to the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society it was the following year in which Bryn Mawr Hospital became the recipient charity for the first time. During the Second World War there was no show 1943, 1944, 1945.

The Devon Horse Show is a beloved tradition. If the show’s nouveau patrons and box holders continue to support the show even through these closures, I think the show will survive. But the thing is this: are the people today who pretend to be philanthropic really as philanthropic as those who came before us? Because that’s in my opinion one of the things that is going to have to happen for this show to survive and come back: philanthropy.

I also feel that for the Devon Horse Show to come back and thrive they need to make peace with their neighbors for real. There also needs to be more transparency on the part of the horse show on the financials. Break all of the costs down, and work out future scenarios, maybe go more back to basics? Go a little retro?

Devon can survive. But perhaps the decision to hold off another year will end up giving the horse show folks the gift of reflection? Maybe they need a new Chairman? I realize some people will think I’m being horrible by saying that, but I don’t see how the show has been well …..consistently thriving under his leadership. And I’m entitled to that opinion.

Here’s hoping Devon uses this cancellation to improve, and step forward to an even better future. Get back to the tradition.

Thanks for stopping by.

life pondering

This photo I am opening my post with. My friend Ashley took it. I just edited it and posted it.

This is one of those photos that just speaks to a person. Ashley says this man is always on a particular ramp of I-95 with his dog. The dog is loyal and faithful to this man. No leash, no collar. Wonder what their story is?

And this scene? Powerful. Poignant. Sad. Amazing. Speaks volumes without saying a word.

This past year of COVID19 has taught us all a lot if we take the time to listen, right? A friend of mine admitted to me today that she hasn’t completely minded the last year, even playing teacher to her kids. She made the point that we live in a constantly moving world, it was kind of nice to hit the pause button and have the gift of time with her family. I can’t disagree. This past year took a lot out of all of us, but it also gave us gifts.

This week I was reminded that life is precious and for all of the sad, crappy people we might meet, there are also good people out there. There are always those who would tear us down just because the pain of others makes them feel better. But those small minded angry, often mentally ill and toxic people will always exist. We can’t control their crazy, we can only live our own lives.

Ten years ago this month, I received my breast cancer diagnosis. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. Breast cancer was probably the worst thing to ever happen to me and in a weird way, one of the best things.

Why?

Simple. That diagnosis forced me to look at a lot of things. And breast cancer freed me to learn to become a better me. When you are staring at a potentially deadly thing, the minutia falls to the side and you value the gift life actually is. It’s pretty simple: do you want to live and how do you want life to be? Do you want to be happy and can you give yourself the permission to be happy? And don’t we all deserve to be happy even if sometimes happy seems like a lot of work?

Maybe we should look at the last year and realize how valuable the gift of life actually is? Look at all the people who have lost their lives to a global pandemic. And here we are.

Maybe now in our current world we need to value life more? Try a little harder to deal with the many things that tear our society apart?

Among the things I am pondering is has the last year happened to remind us all what is really important which is NOT the minutia and BS we need to filter out of our lives?

So should we all just pause and take a minute? Take a breath? Are we capable of doing that without crowdsourcing it on social media? I don’t know. There are good days and bad days in everyone’s life, but it’s what you do with them, right?

And I know this is a ramble without a real beginning, middle, or end. Sorry. It just flowed out that way.

A little life pondering is good for the soul.

Have a good evening all.

one year later: covid shot confusion

https://www.vaxxmax.com/

https://vaccinefinder.org/search/

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx

https://vaccinatepa.org/counties/Chester_County

https://www.chesco.org/covidvaccine

PHASE 1 A:

Phase 1A is the first vaccine distribution step. The vaccine is currently being distributed to:

Long-term care facility residents
Health care personnel including, but not limited to:
Emergency medical service personnel
Nurses
Nursing assistants
Physicians
Dentists
Dental hygienists
Chiropractors
Therapists
Phlebotomists
Pharmacists
Technicians
Pharmacy technicians
Health professions students and trainees
Direct support professionals
Clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities
Contractual HCP not directly employed by the health care facility
Persons not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease among or from health care personnel and patients
Persons ages 65 and older
Persons ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions:
Cancer
Chronic kidney disease
COPD
Down Syndrome
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
Pregnancy
Sickle cell disease
Smoking
Type 2 diabetes mellitus

PHASE 1 B:

People in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and persons receiving home and community-based services
First responders
Correctional officers and other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A
Food and agricultural workers
U.S. Postal Service workers
Manufacturing workers
Grocery store workers
Education workers
Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship
Public transit workers
Individuals caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs

PHASE 1 C:

Essential workers in these sectors:
Transportation and logistics
Water and wastewater
Food service
Housing construction
Finance, including bank tellers
Information technology
Communications
Energy, including nuclear reactors
Legal services
Federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff
Media
Public safety
Public health workers

PHASE 2:

All individuals not previously covered who are 16 and older and do not have a contraindication to the vaccine (note that at this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech product is approved for those age 16 and 17)

-All data from https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx
A shot in the arm - ND Cartoons

It is still about as clear as mud and somewhat contradictory depending upon where you register. I had my first shot a week ago as a 1A active cancer patient. It was a total fluke that I got it, but it happened. And that is the biggest problem I see here is the fact that getting a shot IS a total fluke it feels like most of the time.

We registered our son. He is in the food service worker category because he works while he is in college locally. His classes are online and he’s here with us as opposed to a dorm right now. As a college student, living with parental units during a global pandemic is not so much fun, but we are grateful he is here and safe. I know of people who have kids in other states whose college students are supposed to stay on campus and abide by the rules set by their schools yet all they do is sneak off campus. And if they get caught it’s buh byes college student, yet they persist so it begs the question why did they go to school in the first place? If they didn’t want to be there, on campus, why not stay home and take classes online? I also see photos of college kids on spring break which completely blows my mind.

Like many families, we have a full complement of elderly relatives, and I live immunocompromised so our son has to be extra careful, and is. But common sense would dictate that he since lives with at least one 1A category person and he is exposed to the public as a food service worker, that one would think people in food service categories would be getting shots by now. But they aren’t. So he is kind of registered and signed up for when his eligibility arrives, but not yet vaccinated.

And then there is my husband who is phase 2, or who is left over in the world at that time. I am 1A, we have elderly relatives whom he helps with all sorts of things. So while not a traditional caregiver, he is still a caregiver. Yet he is literally the bottom of the barrel.

And then there are the people who jump the line. Like the 22 year old non-medical worker who founded Philly Fighting COVID, go a City of Philadelphia contract, and gave shots away to equally young friends like party favors. So what exactly will happen to Andrei Doroshin who is just part of the belly of corruption in Philadelphia as far as I am concerned?

Philly Fighting COVID as a scandal is a perfect example of how messed up the COVID shot distribution is in Pennsylvania. The City of Philadelphia flat out seemed to ignore red flags with Philly Fighting COVID yet look how far they got? Where is the Philadelphia City Council accountability because do we really think they would have gotten shoved up the food chain without the ever problematic Philadelphia City Council?

Listen to Scam Goddess: The Crazy Covid Caper

SPOTIFY Home of Scam Goddess Podcast.

MARCH 13, 2021

‘Scam Goddess’ podcast lampoons city’s Philly Fighting COVID scandal

Allie Miller Headshot

BY ALLIE MILLER
PhillyVoice Staff

Philly Fighting COVID, the company’s CEO Andrei Doroshin, and the city’s leadership all become comedic fodder in a recent episode of the podcast “Scam Goddess.”

Philly’s vaccine distribution scandal, which received national attention and resulted in the resignation of the city’s deputy health commissioner, gets roasted for about 25 minutes in the episode released Tuesday, and it probably deserved more given the embarrassment of the situation at all levels.

“So Andrei (Doroshin) is a 22-year-old Drexel graduate. He has a degree in psychology from Drexel. Can I just say, psychology, great scam tool. If you really wanna get into the fine art of chicanery … psychology,” Laci Mosley, host of “Scam Goddess,” tells the co-host of the episode, Jason Concepcion…..

Mosley and Concepcion crack up recounting the details of Doroshin laying out his plan to vaccinate Philadelphian’s against the coronavirus, a pitch that was made to about a dozen people on the rooftop of an apartment building near Temple University. The hosts indulge in Doroshin’s use of Powerpoint to deliver a presentation laden with tech-focused, entrepreneurial language – he even invoked Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX – that the company had no chance of living up to.

“These are buzzwords. The only thing that he left out was the black turtleneck,” Mosley says, a reference to the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

And the very Philly-flavored icing Doroshin’s want to spread to coverup all the imperfections of his overdone cake: a marketing plan that enlisted Meek Mill to encourage people to get their shots.

PhillyVoice https://www.phillyvoice.com/scam-goddess-podcast-andrei-doroshin-philly-fighting-covid/

How the world's political artists are depicting the covid-19 pandemic - The  Washington Post

Pennsylvania is definitely FUBAR on COVID shots. My mother, who is in her 80s and was 1A got a shot on a fluke. As in they showed up at their local hospital and just walked in….after wondering how they were going to get an appointment because they hadn’t been able to get an appointment. Another senior I know got a shot because they drove someone else to get a shot.

People are driving hours to places like Altoona, Carlile and Jim Thorpe to get shots. I even pulled up Erie as a shot location. All eligible but because Southeastern PA is like the Bermuda Triangle of COVID shots you either eventually get lucky or have to drive hours to get a shot. Other people are going deep into Lancaster and Lehigh Counties. I know people who don’t live in states like Delaware, yet drove there or NJ for a shot. It’s ridiculous.

I guess you can say this is government bureaucracy at work? Or is Governor Tom Wolf punishing Southeastern PA for something? And John Fetterman sends out he’s running for US Senate junk mail and actually expects people to vote for him when the state can’t even get sufficient shots to our area, yet underpopulated by comparison areas get more shots than they need?

I mean OH COME ON ALREADY!.

Do not misunderstand me, I am grateful that I lucked into getting my shot, but it should NOT have been so difficult. And so many who are 1A like me can’t get one. Random act of cursing here but it’s utter bullshit.

And people who should be essential aren’t essential so they can serve us our food, bake our cakes, deliver our food, deliver our mail, repair things in our homes, and so on are still hanging out there? People I know who moved to other states got a shot where they moved to almost immediately. And then there are the people with vacation homes in other states who hopped planes to go get COVID shots there….and didn’t exactly wait before hopping a return flight back to primary state of residence, AKA Pennsylvania the Bermuda Triangle of COVID shots.

Sign me befuddled by our government at work. And oh yeah, if Trump had taken this more seriously a YEAR ago, would we all be better and more safely positioned in our global pandemic universe. Love how he got his almost secret shot and is now suddenly encouraging people to get their shots….

Life with COVID19 one year later is irritating, infuriating, and fascinating.

Be safe out there. Wear a mask. Living in the Bermuda Triangle of COVID19 shots is like a giant constant game of dodgeball meets Russian Roulette

ghost houses of swedesford road: more photos

The other day I wrote another post about the ghost houses Swedesford Road and how they continue to deteriorate .

A reader sent me photos. Looks like late fall or winter before snow. And I thought I should be clear that these USED to be owned by Church Farms School but now? Some developer or commercial real estate entity. No clue who.

Is this demolition by neglect? Well what do you think? Sure isn’t preservation is it? Wouldn’t you think West Whiteland would want these structures secured?

It is a shame that they’ve been allowed to rot. Now what?

tales of bacton hill: elwood michael

Elwood’s greenhouse and tool shed. (1970s?)
Claude Bernardin photo

Today I received an e-mail from former East Whiteland/Bacton Hill resident, Mark Lanser. Today he has generously shared his recollections of Elwood Michael who was one of the local and beloved characters once upon a time.

These oral histories of everyday, ordinary folks are just as important to the fabric of the history of an area as our Revolutionary war heroes and the famous who passed through. The photos are from artist and former resident Claude Bernardin.

Enjoy!

🔏📍As I have a few moments I’ll share with you a bit about Elwood Michael. You have a picture that Claude supplied of his cabin on one of your past blogs.

Elwood told me he came to Bacton with his brother from Phoenixville along with his brother in a covered wagon in 1910.

All I know of Elwood was that he was basically a tenant farmer.

When I first met him as a little kid he was employed by Mary Cain to take care of the farm at the corner of Spring Valley & Bacton Hill Rd. I think he may have lived on the farm for a while. He also was farming a piece of ground at the top of Bacton Hill where Valley Hill Rd. intersects. That was on the left side as you went up the hill.

Elwood had a old Fordson tractor one of the gray & red ones. He had a sister who gave him a few cars over the years. A black 1941 Ford 2 door sedan (my dad bought it from him) a black Plymouth 4 door (1950 I think) and a light blue 1955 Ford 2 door sedan. Elwood would end up ruining them by driving them through the fields he plowed.

His cabin had two rooms. One had a large cook stove which was a wood burner. Besides cooking it was his only source of heat.

The other room was his bedroom/living room. It had one light bulb in the ceiling. No other lights in the place. He had 3 dressers stacked on top of each other. You needed a ladder to get to the top one.

He had a rooster named Pete who was an ornery cuss. You always had to be on the look out as he would come after you on your blind side.

He had two dogs. One was an Airedale named Jackie. Another smaller one was a black & white dog. I don’t remember it’s name. Elwood would tell us he kept a rattlesnake there but it got out of its cage so we better keep a look out.

Elwood had half his teeth missing, a few days of beard and smelled like smoke. At times he would show up at our house and others conveniently at dinner time. We knew he needed a meal and always asked him to stay. Often he would end up falling asleep. We would go to bed and he would be gone in the morning.

The next evening we would find a gallon of apple cider on the porch as a thank you. Sometimes when he needed a ride he would get on our school bus and he would get dropped off along out bus route. Can you imagine doing that now?

To help our neighbors he once drug old logs out of the woods from alongside the field he plowed at Valley Hill road. He drug them down Bacton Hill with his tractor and lined the one side of Kirby’s driveway as it had a steep bank on the one side.

Another time he took an old wood stove from the now abandoned green house on the Mary Cain farm and took it over to the Mannigsmith’s who lived just below Bacton Hill Rd. On Rt.401. He installed it in their spring house complete with a stove pipe chimney which of course he cut a hole in the roof to install it. Mr Manningsmith while appreciative of his thoughtfulness would have rather been asked first.

My brothers and I had gotten rides with Elwood over to a Baptist church in Charlestown Twp. He would stop along Rt. 29 at Mrs. Markley’s (KD Markley Elementary School) to get his water from her spring along side the road.

Sunday morning Elwood would put on his top hat and blow his bugle to get everyone up on the hill to go to church. He continued to farm and died on his old Fordson tractor while plowing the field along Valley Hill Road. He had a heart attack. I think he was 76 years old. I don’t know the exact date. My brother at some point is going to check into that. It was around 1966.

He was quite a character and helped make our childhood growing up on Bacton Hill unique and memorable. Hope you enjoy some of my memories.

~Mark Lanser🔏📍

Elwood’s two room shack. Claude Bernardin submitted photo. All of these old photos in this post are from his personal collection.

a column too far

I will start by saying that quite honestly, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not my cup of tea most of the time. But I will be god damned and dead before I as a woman would judge a woman who was a victim of sexual assault and who also had a recent traumatic event trigger a past traumatic event. (See Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is a sexual assault survivor in The Guardian and other media sources like the New York Times.) It is quite possible. And to essentially read a column written by a regional female writing voice essentially mansplain as a woman in her column just doesn’t sit right.

Of course the local papers collective mansplainers on the editorial board have some ‘splaining to do too, don’t they? I mean what is this saying? Being a bitch about someone else’s sexual assault makes great click bait???

(CLICK FOR ARTICLE: Christine Flowers: Some sex-abuse claims don’t deserve to be heard Feb 4, 2021 Updated Feb 4, 2021 and also featured in Delco Times and Pottstown Mercury.)

I feel strongly enough about this that I screenshot the article above. The Daily Local and most of the papers under the control of whatever hedge fund has eviscerated them has a hair trigger paywall. I also looked online at the digital capture of the physical paper and for the life of me can’t find this article in print so did they publish it online and run another column in print?

I (generally speaking), don’t read most of what this columnist writes. Yes it’s all her First Amendment Right to express herself and all that, but I question local papers giving her a platform when the platform is so truly offensive at times. This is hardly the first time she has written something awful, but it’s definitely one of the most offensive pieces. Why doesn’t she just have her own website platform for things like this? Or there is always Twitter. She loves Twitter….and if you aren’t like her, you are against her, and that can be exhausting in a columnist can’t it just?

People, women especially, are outraged by this recent piece and I think rightfully so. It’s just nasty. Here are a smattering of comments:

Sadly (and again I must point out) I can’t say she doesn’t have the right to her opinion, even if I find it well, horrible. However, the flip side is I have my opinion right here and right now that she is truly despicable for doing this and I will go further to say maybe she wants to be more relevant and is just sounding desperate? See some of her Tweetabulous tweeting recently:

“White suburban mommies read it in print, and clutched many a pearl.” Gosh Christine, maybe you don’t know from pearls? Everyone who owns pearls knows you don’t clutch them because that is how you break them, even if they are individually knotted in between each pearl. Very different from pop beads….

“These are the empathetic ovary brigadiers.” Now, I am not going to say it’s acceptable behavior to send this woman (or any woman) emails saying they wish violence upon her. That accomplishes nothing, suborns violence, and just makes people part of the problem, not solution. But the bitterness of calling women “empathetic ovary brigadiers” also doesn’t escape me. I could never have my own children, as medically it was never possible. But I was never bitter about it or was fixated because I just figured God had another plan and he did. Now don’t get me wrong, I sat through many a comment from women over the years like “You don’t have children, so you couldn’t possibly understand” and I will admit sometimes I had the mental image of smacking the smugness off of someone’s face when they said something like that. Or when I was in Corporate America years ago and I always got last chance to pick on holiday time off because I was single and had no children. I called it the “single tax” (and worse) but whatever, there were bigger things in life to worry about. However, in this scenario not sure what women who have had kids has to do with them not liking an article that kind of mocks victims of sexual assault, so I will stick with bitter and non-related.

“#MirrorMirror” What does that even mean? How did she think women would react or perhaps that was the point? A file under all attention good, bad, or indifferent is good?

What she wrote was her opinion, but in MY opinion she was wrong. It is hideous to presume as a writer that you know exactly when and how a woman who has been a victim of a sexual assault will react or exactly when another traumatic event will trigger a memory of another traumatic event. And coming from a woman just makes this worse. Christine Flowers doesn’t get a fab virtual look here as being strong or witty, she gets a virtual look (in my opinion) of bitter and nasty postmenopausal mean girl.

At almost 57 I can honestly say that I know more women who were sexually assaulted in some form (as in not always rape) than those who have not been. And it isn’t a case of birds of a feather. Yes, I was a victim once upon a time. It didn’t define me, I worked hard to move past it. But did I ever forget it? Oh hell no. It happened in the dark ages when you didn’t tell after because somehow it was always a woman’s fault, like you stood with a sign on a street corner that said “Assault Me, Please.Somehow I thought we had moved past that whole blame the victim and victim shaming, but apparently not.

I can’t as a woman say that another woman doesn’t still have PTSD over her assault. I can’t say that she does definitively have PTSD, either. But as a female writer, I don’t think I would build a column shaming a woman who was a victim of sexual assault and I wouldn’t be able to so assertively say this woman was using it to make herself a center of attention in the midst of a national tragedy (assault on the Capitol.)

I can’t minimize or mock what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has revealed or said on this topic, because I believe being in the middle or adjacent to the riots and siege of the US Capitol, or in the same city and even country could indeed trigger victims. Just like the sound of the cannon a local school years ago to start off certain football games used to trigger a Vietnam vet who lived close by. Just like a simple email about celebrating someone retiring triggered women I knew because the person that others wanted to celebrate should be anything but celebrated and with good reason. When I read Flowers’ Op Ed it made me remember again, decades later, why I never told.

We can’t say it isn’t possible for certain traumatic events to trigger past traumatic events, and we shouldn’t mock it. Christine Flowers was not right to do so. But she has to live in her own headspace with it, and judging from what I have seen, again in my opinion, she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what any of us think and she is reveling in her negative spotlight. So bless her heart, she deserves people’s prayers for basically seeming just super hateful and uncaring.

But I do actually think it was a column too far. I do think the Daily Local was wrong publishing it.

Here is a rebuttal written by a woman in West Chester. I will share a large excerpt. Her name is Grace Nelson. Her words spoke to me:

Image result for thumbtack

Opening my local paper each morning, I am rarely without a sense of gratitude for the critical work news media does in upholding the basis of our democracy. Without exchange of ideals and ideas in this public square, our basis of governance would be rendered inert.

I consider the vulnerability and dedication of journalists and writers in these arenas to be acts of public service. It is in this context and with the above description of the heinous nature of sexual trauma in mind that I find myself so deeply disturbed by the disservice done by Christina. Flowers and the Daily Local News upon survivors of sexual assault and their allies…….Beyond this poorly disguised opportunity for political posturing conducted through a fallacy-laden line of argumentation, Ms. Flowers and those who allowed her words to be printed for mass consumption also finds themselves to be innately incorrect in their understanding of sexual abuse, the very subject matter at hand….survivors of sexual abuse know well that your identity as a survivor as well as the humanity you cling in your most difficult moments don’t only exist with convenience. You are always a survivor, regardless of who is watching and how that weight of trauma manifests itself in your moment to moment existence.

Whether Ms. Flowers finds it expedient that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s identity as a survivor manifested more strongly in the wake of the January 6th insurrection, the Congresswoman cannot and never will be able to peel away or compartmentalize her trauma….Neither was I able to shirk my reality as a survivor when I encountered this dangerous and hurtful column reading my morning paper over coffee.

I write to the Editor today not only in disgust of the words….but with an immense feeling of shame. I feel the familiar and occasional crush of shame of I carry in my life as survivor. I feel ashamed of the state of our national discourse surrounding sexual abuse knowing the pain words like Ms. Flower’s will carelessly inflict on a massive constituency of survivors.

I can’t imagine what The Daily Local, Delco Times, and Pottstown Mercury were thinking, and those people can live with their conscience on this. But if they thought they were being edgy and that would gain them additional readership, well I think all they have done is lose more readers, and possibly advertisers. And that in and of itself is a complete and utter disservice to local reporters who, in spite of the state of that paper, do their best to report the news.

When you read pure unadulterated bullshit like this, it just makes all of us no matter what our political or religious or racial persuasions to be better people. Last March she and the Philadelphia Inquirer went their different ways. (See Philadelphia Magazine article.) I didn’t actually know that until this all erupted, but her is her tweet from last year:

What Christine Flowers wrote is offensive but she also draws attention to the fact that sexual assault victims seem to be victim shamed still in 2021. It’s so last century….literally. And again, you just don’t expect the victim shaming of a woman to come from a woman.

Will she keep her job or just eventually go down with the sinking ship that is The Daily Local? Don’t know, and at the end of the day it is low on the scale of things that are important in life. Truthfully I suspect life will go on and Christine Flowers will continue to revel in negative attention.

The First Amendment comes in all shapes and sizes most sadly…..but newspapers don’t print all opinions and I am not sure why they printed this.

the billboard of it all: file under why governments don’t negotiate with terrorists?

I asked this question in 2018 when the billboard issue hit Tredyffrin.

I received a note today and like Alice down the Billboard hole I went, reading what is posted towards end of post which was sent with:

📌”East Whiteland Township is proposing to rezone the Township’s 19.45 acre open space and Ecology Park Land near Mill Lane and Route 401 to professional office. Also, the Township wants to adopt a new ordinance which would allow for the construction of large electronic billboards within the rezoned land. The Chester County Planning Commission has recommended that the township consider other areas that would be more appropriate for electronic billboards, such as the Route 29 corridor. ” 📌

Sigh….even the Chester County Planning Commission is saying BAD FREAKING IDEA to REZONE PARK SPACE and since East Whiteland shares the same solicitor as Upper Merion and didn’t Upper Merion just kill a similar plan there, why is it still alive in East Whiteland?

This is slated for February 1st when East Whiteland has two public hearings, both related to the community scourge of billboards/electronic signs.

Oh and this is more on 202, where in West Whiteland there is one of these suckers being proposed. Off Dunwoody Drive, a sign would go up on some boggy kind of weird space in an office park, right? Wasn’t that the gist of the continued West Whiteland hearing that appeared in the paper on January 8th? But the weird thing is there are two LLCs kind of close together in I guess West Whiteland? See what someone sent:

Now the West Whiteland hearing on January 27th was continued. Until February 10, 2021. The West Whiteland Township billboard hearing meeting was a complete technological cluster F. The video kept freezing but it was interesting in parts especially this lawyer who is representing West Whiteland as special counsel on this. He’s very bright. His name is Ryan Jennings. Amazing to watch. There was some discussion about whether or not a billboard application is actually land development. And then West Whiteland was referring to some other kind of litigation involving the signs and I didn’t really understand what was going on it was very unclear if it was actually related and how were the LLCs related to the parent company or something?

Of course because West Whiteland has issues with being sunshine friendly they said they don’t keep the zoom recordings and only their notes or something become the record and what kind of crap is that?

Back to East Whiteland. Just can’t help thinking about say West Whiteland signs get approved and East Whiteland is foolish enough to allow open space/park land to get rezoned, wow what will 202 end up looking like? I-95? Las Vegas? And you can’t say that residents won’t be affected because these townships all allow these developments to be built to the edge of these highways don’t they?

So one of the East Whiteland hearings February 1st is for a settlement agreement, the other is for the re-zoning. So if the billboard company deals in individual LLCs per site, are both public hearings under E. Whiteland Outdoor, LLC, or are other LLCs involved?

How many LLCs for billboards and electronic signs from these folks over the entirety of Chester County? How much litigation is going on over these signs in Chester County alone?

These public hearings are on East Whiteland’s website. They are slated for Monday, February 1, 2021 at 7 PM. It’s a public zoom hearing and the residents of East Whiteland need help, just like the residents of West Whiteland need help. These signs do not benefit residents. Residents will also be watching for residents and businesses who seem suddenly billboard supportive, won’t they?

Open space means parks and trails and preserving the area the way it used to be before development ran it over. Open space means trying to maintain an environment that will last for all of us and future generations. Do none of you remember the whole situation at Downingtown’s Kardon Park a few years ago that went to PA Supreme Court? It was all about open space, park land becoming something else…via zoning tweaks etc wasn’t it? It’s not the exact scenario but legal precedent would mean any municipality could face potential litigation that could be quite costly which would affect residents/taxpayers, right? That not so in the past case essentially told Downingtown Borough that they could not sell or lease park land, right? But it also possibly sets a precedent for all open space, doesn’t it? For open space that has been set aside as such and parks there are these pesky things in PA like the Donated and Dedicated Property Act, the Public Trust Doctrine, and our own Pa Constitution Article I, Section 27.

For reading about the Kardon Park case, just hit up Google and see these two links as well:

https://law.justia.com/cases/pennsylvania/supreme-court/2017/12-23-map-2016.html

https://www.philadelphiabar.org/WebObjects/PBAReadOnly.woa/Contents/WebServerResources/CMSResources/PhillyLawyerSpr10_depts.pdf

Back to what started this which was outreach by residents. This to follow in screen shots is what was sent to me by concerned residents. Their thoughts and a community call to action, as well as the letter from the Chester County Planning Commission. These are their words, no prompted by me, they asked me to share.

Pack the Zoom meeting February 1st.