Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The US Postal Service Says Goodbye to "The Gap"

The US Postal Service has announced the possible closings of the following post offices in the country including Locust Gap and Aristes in our immediate area.  Close to 3700 offices are marked for possible closure. Other some notable places in PA include: Rebuck, Shunk, Lopez, Troxelville, and Weikert.

Here is the full list of closings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alpe d'Huez, the Mecca of World Cycling!!!

Today's 19th Stage of the Le Tour will be the legendary Alpe d'Huez stage. Twenty-one hair pin turns highlight the last 9 miles going up an 11% grade. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since Lance Armstrong through down the gauntlet to rival Jan Ulrich.

In 2004, Armstrong passes Ivan "The Terrible" Basso in the time trial!!!!

Here is some video of Lance Armstrong's ride in 2001 and 2004:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

End of an Era Today

The space shuttle is coming home for the final time today.  This marks the end of the shuttle program plus it will be the last manned mission sponsored by NASA in the near and maybe far future.  Thinking back to when I started kindergarten in 1971, the space program was all the rage and you were taught to think big and have an interest in science and the cosmos.

Simply Left Behind has a great post that I will reprint:

Enjoy and Godspeed

It is with deep sadness that I take note of this:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A space shuttle left the International Space Station for the very last time Tuesday, heading home to end the 30-year run of a vessel that kept U.S. astronauts flying to and from orbit longer than any other rocketship.
Atlantis slipped away after performing a partial lap around the space station. Ten pairs of eyes pressed against the windows, four in the shuttle and six in the station.
All that remains of NASA's final shuttle voyage is the touchdown, targeted for the pre-dawn hours of Thursday back home in Florida.
The last NASA manned mission, possibly ever. Since my childhood, with the launch of Alan Shepard, American men & women have been in space or preparing to go. Now, no, at least sponsored by the government.
Many would point out that space has become a boondoggle of cost overruns and incremental returns for massive investments.
Perhaps that's true. It's also true of war, unless you want to fight a war for survival or to acquire an empire, none of which is exactly a concern right now, yet here we are in three different theatres, bankrupting the nation and for what? Oil?
The promise the space program held for me as a child is the same promise it holds today: enormous knowledge, the most precious, priceless thing man has invented. 
Think of what has come out of the space program: from TANG to transistor radios to computers to GPS to the Internet, all of these come from the space program. Technologies unheard of prior to figuring out how to protect a man in space, from dry suits developed out of space suits to the metal ends of thermometers that more efficiently transfer body heat for more accurate readings. Hell, baby foods have become better because of trying to work out how to feed an astronaut. MRIs, folding walkers, titanium eyeglass frames, pacemakers, all these can trace their roots to figuring out how to help an astronaut in space.
The many triumphs and too many tragedies of the space program have led up to the world we have now, and that program has had a far greater impact on your life than anything, ANYTHING, else of the past fifty years.
We should go back to space. We NEED to go back to space. There are too many problems down here that require us to find solutions out there.

Tom Marino Marches to Johah Goldberg

Pot Meet Kettle

Both Congressman Tom Marino and syndicated comlumnist Jonah Goldberg talk about "Ideology."  When will the new regime begin to talk about jobs?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Selinsgrove Hops and Vines

I plan on attending the Festival located in Selinsgrove on Saturday. I can't  wait to try the Blue Ball Porter by the Intercourse Brewing Co. I promise to enjoy Intercourse responsibly.

I should have time to begin ramping up blogging and post some interesting pictures.......I'm slowly coming out of pit road.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So Long Lynn Marie 1958-2011

I remember the call I received around three years ago in August of 2008.  My cousin Lynn Marie Fracalossi and my uncle had been searching for a home outside of Dearborn Heights, Michigan since the passing of my aunt in 2003.  The call that I thought I was going to get regarding selling of the home and impending move was nothing of the sort.  "Hi Eddie, it's Lynn and now we have something else in common.  I have been diagnosed with cancer and start treatment soon."  The diagnosis came one week after they closed on a home in Monroe, Michigan.

It was only a month earlier that Lynn and I spent the 4th of July holiday golfing together at Indian Hills Country Club.  Lynn showed no signs of impending illness when she easily shot in the low 80's that day.  "I have been through all this was my reply over the phone. I will try to get you through this cancer too."

In life, Lynn Marie was one of the most simple yet one of the most complex people I have ever known.  Each one not in a bad way.  She was simple in the fact that she could visit Pennsylvania and find some unique place to visit or market to explore while I never knew they existed.  She was complex in the way she talked about her illness.  She would tell me about every intricate detail of her treatment, but would not tell anyone at what stage was her cancer.  Intimate while remaining private.  Sometimes it was hard for a person to understand.

Lynn was the happiest in the midst of nature whether it was at the shoreline of an ocean or in the garden right outside her kitchen window.  She saw beauty among nature and never lost her appreciation for all things living.  At the hospital less than 9 days away from her passing, she was giving out instructions on how to care for some of her favorite plants. 

Lynn spent her adult life single and never really dated.  She had the best features that Tyrolean and Ukrainian genetics could offer and would not have a problem attracting someone.  Through a lifetime of phone calls, emails and personal visits, I never asked the question of her choosing to remain single.  I figured that I have witnessed many couple split over the years, the question itself became less important over the years. In the end the question would never be asked and I'm sure Lynn would have never wanted to share an answer.

I went to visit Lynn Marie on June 9th in the hospital in downtown Detroit.  I cried immediately when I entered the hospital room. Instead of seeing the eternally young 52-year old, I saw the eyes of my 76-year old grandmother who had passed nearly 35 years earlier.  The cancer had taken it's toll.  She still had the same voice and told me that she put up a great fight and is at peace with what was happening. At that moment, I was composed enough to have a normal conversation.  We talked about the past and somethings about present. 

The conversation even got light-hearted.  My father and Lynn's mother were brother and sister and took "worrying about everything" to new heights in modern human history.  My father who was the youngest of three siblings passed in December of 2001 while Lynn's mother passed in June of 2003.  I told Lynn that she will see them soon and then I asked, "I wonder if they stopped worrying by now?"  Lynn laughed as hard as her physically limitations would allow.  I thought we were going to have to call a nurse for assistance.

We left Michigan on Saturday June 11th before Lynn came home to hospice.  In my last conversation over the phone (which she sounded great) I told her that we are still 2-0 against cancer.  You didn't let it get you down and it brought our family together.  Before my voice started to crack the last thing I simply said was, "Lynn, I love you."

I knew there was going to be an impending phone call coming from Michigan in the near future.  I attended my local Relay for Life, but couldn't escape the thought that Lynn was in her last hours.  I was hurting inside inside wondering if anything really if it was worth any effort.  I had to find a way to heal myself and started to think of all the people who would travel down this path once again.  As the sunset, I left the Relay in better spirits.

The call I knew I had coming shortly after I left Michigan came Sunday afternoon.  Lynn passed away 8 days later on Sunday, June 19th.  It was 8 years and 12 hours since her mother's passing on June 18th, 2003.  We never know how much time we have on this earth.  We just need to make every moment count.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th, 1776

235 years and counting.............

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Dog Louie

My dog Louie and my neighbor's dog Murphy having some summertime fun!!!! Enjoy!!!