Tag Archives: allentown

Hurricane Irene Update: Attack of the Shadow Puppets

28 Aug

Photo by Russ & Reyn Photography

Just wanted to give y’all a quick update on how Hurricane Irene affected my area here in the lovely outskirts of Allentown, Pennsylvania.  The governor is asking the President to declare several counties, including Lehigh County where I live, Federal Disaster areas, which means FEMA can move in to help us out.  Apparently, there is a lot of flooding, downed trees, and power lines with high winds expected to continue until this evening as the back end of Irene moves out of our area.

From what I can tell from inside my cozy apartment, there is no flooding in my immediate vicinity, just a few tree parts here and there in the backyard, and my vehicle appears to be OK (despite some neighbors ignoring the apartment mandate to remove items from their porches).

Still, BFF Sarah and I have a cooler full of ice (and drinks.  You don’t want to see me go through a power outage without Diet Coke) and a tub full of water in case our electricity does go out, which is still a possibility.  I mean, how will we watch “Dr Quinn” if that happens?  My mom and my friend, Shari, both lost power, but it has been restored.

No one is SUPPOSED to be out on the roadways, but apparently people are driving around all over the place.  I’m not going to risk my life or my vehicle just because I’m stir-crazy and curious.  Why put the rescue crews in additional danger because I’m an idiot?

So, we didn’t even need to use the flashlights I bought (see “Friday Faves: Hurricane Irene’s A’Coming Edition“).  Well, except for the shadow puppet show I performed on the ceiling last night, which was met from a low growl from Cassie the Peekapoo, who thought the shadow puppets were an imminent threat.

Update 8.2811,  7 PM-ish:  Hurricane Irene has now passed into New England.  It’s a bit blustery out, but the sun is shining and our garden is ruined (see photo essay tomorrow.)  Please continue to pray for people in the area affected by storm damage and flooding (rivers are expected to crest tomorrow afternoon.) 

Let me know how you’re faring, share any prayer requests, or tell me what you’re up to on this Sunday afternoon while I am trapped in my apartment.

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The President is in Town (and traffic isn’t moving)

4 Dec

Photo Credit: Monica Cabrera/The Morning Call / December 4, 2009

President Obama is in town hobnobbing with elected officials and a few [successful] business owners, who are more than happy to bolster Obama’s image to Pennsylvanians.  The same Pennsylvanians he accused of clinging to guns and religion during his campaign.  The local (and national) press is all over the story while our police are out in full force blocking off roads to make sure the President can safely make it to Allentown MetalWorks and Lehigh Carbon Community College. (Incidentally, if that’s where all the cops are, then who is arresting the criminals?  It’s a heyday for the gangs in downtown Allentown I guess.) Being a staunch Independent voter with conservative sympathies, the President’s visit means little to me.  That is, until it screws up my plans.

Weeks ago, I made a very important appointment with a medical professional, who is responsible for monitoring several serious, chronic conditions from which I suffer.  When I made my appointment, I had no idea President Obama was going to visit the Lehigh Valley (and I’m pretty sure he didn’t know either).  I checked road conditions (all clear), left early, and still found myself stuck in traffic so bad that it took me 25 minutes to move 1/10 of a mile.  Needless to say, I missed my appointment and called the office crying with frustration to cancel.  Being the kind dears that they are, they rescheduled my appointment grumbling about how all their patients are having difficulty making it into the office due to traffic conditions.  Great.  People with chronic conditions unable to get medical care—could this be a sign of things to come under Obama care?

Fortunately, I was able to vent about all this to my out-of-work, yet college-degreed friend Shari as she sat home applying for jobs online.  (In fact, visit her Examiner site to throw a few extra cents her way, and while you’re at it, order a beautifully decorated cake from her at Sweets & S’Morsels Cakery)  She complained about traffic, too, and wanted to know why she wasn’t invited to meet the President since she is the unemployed.  I have no idea, since that is who he is to address.

While this visit is supposed to be a great honor for Allentown and the surrounding areas (and I suppose it is), it is also costing our area a lot of money—overtime hours for police, money and time wasted for people trying to get to appointments, small business owners who won’t have customers due to our frozen roadways, and of course, the fee for events.  In fact, I’d like to send President Obama a bill for $100—for gas used, time wasted, and the cost of the missed appointment—though I’d doubt I’ll ever see the money.  The truth is no one is going to flock to Allentown when President Obama leaves, just because he’s been here.  He isn’t helping our economy; he’s just getting in our way as we try to go about our normal lives—far removed from those of elected officials.

If the President really wants to know what it’s like for those of us living day-to-day, maybe he should talk to my friend, Shari, explain to a receptionist why he can’t make an important appointment as he tries to hold in the tears, or drive in the traffic jam of his own making.  Perhaps instead of meeting with Allentown’s mayor, he should try slumming it with the folks—that is, if we have time to take off work in this harsh economic climate.

The only upside to this–at least I don’t have to hear about Tiger Woods and his alleged extra-marital affairs for a few hours.

WANTED:: Reformed Bad Girls

3 Jun

If you’re in the Allentown, PA area and female, you can come to a new Bible study starting on July 6 and led by yours truly.  We’ll be meeting at my mom’s pad on the West End.  E-mail me if you’d like to join us!  Here’s my nifty flyer.  Feel free to pass it around to all your female pals.

Transformers 2 in the Valley

5 Jun

A scene from the set taken by Michael Kubel of The Morning Call.

Welp, there’s been a lot of excitement in the city of Bethlehem and the greater Lehigh Valley over the past week or so. Movie crews rolled in late last week to begin assembling sets at the old Bethlehem Steel Plant to prepare for the filming of Transformers 2. Yup, the opening scene to the Transformers sequel features Bethlehem, which has been transformed to look like a Chinese city. Still, it’s pretty cool (full Morning Call story).

Filming was scheduled Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 4 PM-7AM. Unwilling to fight rush hour traffic or burn the midnight oil to see the spectacular pyrotechnic explosions, I stayed home and read about it in the paper. I mean, maybe if I could have pushed a few buttons to actually blow stuff up or share an Egg McMuffin with Michael Bay…yeah, I would have show up for that.

Filming was a bit hindered by rain and thunderstorms. Despite the weather, Bay and his crew got all the footage needed and are now moving on to their next location. Still, it was an exciting event for the Lehigh Valley and a bit more positive than Billy Joel’s song, “Allentown” and Alexis Cohen’s “American Idol” audition.

Mayfair Fun

25 May

Every year in one of the beautiful Allentown parks for as long as I can remember, there’s an outdoor festival called Mayfair with overpriced fair food (so good!), artisans, music, and kids’ events.  Today Sarah was playing at Mayfair with her Christian big band, Grace Notes, so my friend and I tagged along to take part in the festivities.  When we checked out Sarah’s set, there was some guy on stage talking about the Vietcong and God’s grace.  It was really weird.  We walked around, ate, and I realized that my sandals are way too narrow for my feet, and after three hours my feet went numb.  Actually, it was a blessing because they were hurting like heck before that.  Without further ado, I present you pictures from Mayfair 2008…

It was a beautiful day to stand under a magnificent willow tree!

And to contemplate why on earth Allentown has weird sculptures like this all over the city.  They probably cost a bunch, too.

We also checked out the local wildlife.  Here’s a snake my friend, Shari, spotted in the water just off the shore.

Of course, there were costumed characters.  This is a Coast Guard inflatable costume, with a guy or gal walking around inside.  Seriously, this is the freakiest costume character I have ever encountered.  Watching the cute photographer take his picture helped me to be brave enough to take a picture, too.

There was also this weird colonial mouse.

And this ghetto pink panther!  I don’t know why that girl jumped in the photo…but her outfit matches his pinkness.

Being Pennsylvania Dutch (German), we always have plenty of strudel on-hand (as well as beer, but I’m not interested in *that*!)

Funnel Cake…yum!  Who knew there were paper plates just for funnel cake?

There was a world dancer troupe.  I got some video, but YOUTUBE is being finicky AS USUAL.  Grr…  When she was done performing, she started talking about drum circles and the spiritual energy that they produce.  Strange. 

Another world dancer…

Welcome to Hoop Village, where little children are forced to hula their hoops all day long.

This is what happens when you spent too much time at Hoop Village.  Seriously, I have no idea what’s going on with this mannequin.  She looks like a hooker with no arms.

Threat 229

28 Feb

February 29 only comes around once every four years. To celebrate the day, McDonald’s is offering small fries for only 29 cents and at Dunkin’ Donuts you can get a Leap Year Donut for 29 cents (of course, both establishments require a coupon offered in the Sunday paper weeks before).

Other plans for this Friday aren’t so sweet, including rumors of school violence in the Lehigh Valley area. School officials and police in both Allentown and Bethlehem are beefing up security on Friday, while concerned parents are keeping their kids home (full story). According to the Morning Call, the threats originated on two MySpace sites–the 229 Brigade and the Pink Army P.A. Yet both groups also claim in the article to be peace-loving in nature. Although, in my opinion, their MySpace sites are a bit obnoxious, especially the pepto-bismal pink backgrounds. Yet they seem mostly harmless. I think we have more to fear from presidential debates.

After doing a quick Google search, it seems that the threats of violence go no further than the Lehigh Valley, and only appear to be unsubstantiated rumors. Unfortunately, we live in a world where rumors must be taken very seriously. While I don’t condone skipping school (even though I did it a few times), if I had a kid in high school, I’d keep ’em home on Friday and take ’em out for 29 cent fries at Mccy D’s.

Pornography Raping Minds of Parkland Students

27 Jan

Imagine my surprise seeing one of the local high schools being “featured” on major news networks–for spreading student porn via their cell phones. Yes, Parkland High School (PHS), a proud and robust establishment with an excellent academic, athletic, and arts program is the scene of a scandal (full story).

The pornographic material includes one female student engaging in sex with an unidentified male and the other image is one a girl sent of herself exposing her breasts. Officials say that the images had only been transmitted to about 40 students, but they’ve got to be kidding. The pictures were sent a few months ago, so I can only imagine all the places in the world they’ve been by now. Students have until Tuesday to have the images deleted off their phones or they could face prosecution.

By the way, did you know the school’s mascot is “the Trojan”? Yup, the Parkland Trojans. I’m sure that causes a few giggles because of a similarly named brand of condoms.

Having worked with kids who have graduated from or attended the high school, I have been to the campus of PHS many times. It’s a nice, clean school with normal high school kids from affluent neighborhoods. People are balking at the teens and shaking their heads in disbelief that something so heinous could happen at PHS.

First, if this is what the students are sending each other via pics messages, what do they send each other online? I mean, maybe PHS should start taking a look into their students’ MySpace accounts. Oh, wait, they probably don’t care unless it happens on their campus. Believe me, what parents could find on their own computers is much worse (and on the computers of some of Parkland’s teachers).

Second, this is what some high school kids do and they think it’s funny. While I believe the behavior is unacceptable and should not be tolerated, what do we expect in a culture that bears all on television and movies? And what do we expect when parents allow their kids to watch all that crap without explaining that type of behavior is scandalous? Plus, we’re a culture of sex, and this is one more example of how teens are products of their culture (read my post “It’s a Sexually Explicit Day in the Neighborhood” for more of my thoughts on this topic.).

Third, I hope this helps Parkland and other high schools to start educating teens about pornography and sexuality. I used to volunteer for a pro-life organization and part of my job was selling merchandise. I had these bumper stickers that read, “Pornography rapes the mind.” At one concert event, I sold out of these stickers, which was awesome because it raised money for the organization. Then I realized the kids bought them so they could rip out the words “pornography” and “rape” to stick on each other. It made me puke…literally.

Let’s get serious in teaching teens about pornography and sexuality (even abstinence). Stop putting off that important talk and start tackling these issues with the teens in your life today…or we’re going to have much bigger scandals than this in the high schools throughout our nation.

Local Reaction to Alexis Cohen on “American Idol”

17 Jan

Type “Alexis Cohen” into search engine like Google and thousands of websites will pop up, most of which call Alexis “bizarre, crazy, insane” and so on. Even Allentown’s local paper, The Morning Call, published an article yesterday talking about Alexis titled, “Bizarre Rage on ‘American Idol'”. Today the paper published another article, “Televised ‘Idol’ rants makes singer somebody to love”.

According to the second article, when the “American Idol” camera crew came to Alexis’ apartment for filming, she was under the impression that she would probably get a golden ticket to Hollywood. I mean, they drove the 50 miles to Allentown, right? I would assume the same thing. Out of the thousands of people who show up at venues for a shot on AI, only 300 actually appear before Simon, Paula, and Randy. Alexis was one of the 300.

Here’s a quote from the article on Mindy Cohen’s account of the incident, “She said the pair believed Alexis had a chance to go further in the competition after she became one of 300 contestants, culled from the 17,000 hopefuls, who would stand before the three judges. And that being singled out by the producers for a day of filming before her appearance in front of Cowell, Abdul and Jackson was a hopeful sign.”

It didn’t guarantee a golden ticket, but sure seemed to indicate that one would be given. After Alexis exited the audition room, she was immediately ushered away by producers who “egged on” her outrage, according to Mindy Cohen. Alexis was asked questions like, “What would you say to Simon Cowell?” Ironically, it was Alexis who said one of the greatest things I have ever heard uttered on “American Idol” or anywhere else for that matter. She said, “If I could legally moon you, I would.” I love that!

One person mentioned that Alexis appeared on some T.V. shows yesterday, and yes, she has, but she was given a makeover before appearing on “Regis & Kelly”, “Extra”, and “The View”. She actually gets a complete makeover on “Extra”.

Apparently, talent agencies, media outlets, and others have been hounding Alexis with promises of stardom. I really hope it works out for Alexis Cohen, I really do. I guess she can sort of thank AI for making her a star, but at the same time, my heart breaks that she was portrayed in such an unflattering way–bizarre, crazy, enraged, nuts. Poor girl. But, hey, maybe she can use that to her advantage. I wish the best for Alexis and pray that people will not take advantage of her, but help her, love her, and help her accomplish her dreams.

Rock on, Alexis, rock on!

Armored Robbery & My Old Apartment

7 Dec

This story (read article here) is still developing.  But at first glance, it looks like the suspects in the attempted armored car robbery fled right to my old apartment complex, White Stone Village.  I indicated in the picture about where our old apartment is located.  Details are still sketchy, but I would have really been angry if I had to evacuate my apartment because of this nonsense.   Do you see what we moved?

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