Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them.  So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord.  That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime.  My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ.  So, thanks again for joining me.  Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.

Friday, January 31, 2014

How Cold Is It?

We have experienced very low temperatiures the last few weeks.  It must be part of that global warming we hear so much about.  But here is a guide to what happens at various temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit.

+50   New York tenants turn on the heat and Thunder Bayites plant gardens
+40  Californians shiver uncontrollably and Canadians sunbathe
+35  Italian cars don't start
+32  Distilled water freezes
+30  You can see your breath, You plan a vacation in Florida, Politicians begin to worry about the homeless, Thunder Bayites eat ice cream
+25  Boston water freezes, Californians weep pitiably, Cat insists on sleeping on your bed with you
+20  Cleveland water freezes, San Franciscans start thinking favourably of LA, Green Bay Packers fans put on T-shirts
+15  You plan a vacation in Acapulco, Cat insists on sleeping in your bed with you, Thunder Bayites go swimming
+10  Politicians begin to talk about the homeless, Too cold to snow, You need jumper cables to get the car going
New York landlords turn on the heat, Sheboygan brats grilled on the patio
-5  You can hear your breath, You plan a vacation in Hawaii
-10  American cars don't start, Too cold to skate
-15  You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo, Miamians cease to exist, Canadians lick flagpoles
-20  Cat insists on sleeping in your pyjamas with you, Politicians actually do something about the homeless, People in LaCrosse think about taking down screens
-25  Too cold to kiss, You need jumper cables to get the driver going, Japanese cars don't start, Milwaukee Brewers head for spring training
-30  You plan a two-week hot bath, Thunder Bayites shovel snow off roof
-38  Mercury freezes, Too cold to think, Canadians button top button
-40  Californians disappear, Car insists on sleeping in your bed with you, Thunder Bayites put on sweaters
-50  Congressional hot air freezes, Alaskans close the bathroom window, Green Bay Packers practice indoors
-60  Walruses abandon Aleutian, Sign on Mount St. Helens: "Closed for the Season", Thunder Bayites put gloves away and take out mittens, Boy Scouts in Eau Claire start Klondike Derby
-70  Glaciers in Central Park, Hudson residents replace diving boards with hockey nets, Green Bay snowmobilers organize trans-lake race to Sault Ste. Marie
-80  Polar bears abandon Baffin Island, Girl Scouts in Eau Claire start Klondike Derby
-90  Edge of Antarctica reaches Rio de Janeiro, Lawyers chase ambulances for no more than 10 miles, Minnesotans migrate to Wisconsin thinking it MUST be warmer
-100  Santa Claus abandons North Pole, Canadians pull down earflaps
-173  Ethyl alcohol freezes
-297  Oxygen precipitates out of atmosphere, Microbial life survives only on dairy products
-445  Superconductivity
-452  Helium becomes a liquid
-454  Hell freezes over
-456  Illinois drivers drop below 85 MPH on I-90
-458  Incumbent politician renounces a campaign contribution
-460  All atomic motion ceases, Canadians allow as to how it's getting a mite nippy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Driving In Snow

       I've reached the point in life where I really no longer enjoy driving in snow.  I've never liked driving on ice, but at one time I didn't mind the snow.  When I was in high school I delivered medical goods in a three county area for a local supply company and that often meant driving in snow.  So I did gain valuable experience as a young driver.  Later when our boys were reaching driving age we had an old, used VW Bug, the kind with the engine in the back.  I used to really enjoy driving that through the snow.  It was easy to handle and, since the body was not in great shape, you didn't need to worry about getting any new dents.
       But the main reason I no longer enjoy it is mainly because of the careless, inconsiderate drivers you must deal with in snowy conditions.  They are the ones that concern and scare me.  I think many of them fall into several categories:  (1)  Those who've never experienced an accident in snow; (2)  Those who think their four wheel drive will protect them;  (3)  Those who think their quick reaction skills will protect them;  (4)  Those who are just plain careless;  (5)  Those who are scared to be on the road and by their poor skills and extra slow driving make it bad for everyone else.
       During the snowstorm on January 21 we had three appointments scheduled.  While two of them were eventually rescheduled, we still had a morning doctor visit to make.  On the way, at the corner of King St. and Mulberry St. in Lancaster, I needed to make a left turn.  I pulled into the turning lane as the light changed to yellow and I stopped, as the law requires.  As I did, the truck behind me passed me on the right and made a left hand turn right in front of me, even though the light was now red.  So dangerous in any weather but worse with the snow falling and the roads becoming slippery.  On the way home, in Millersville, I needed to turn left off Route 999.  I turned on my turn signal half a block before the turn, but the young driver behind me decided to tailgate me, despite the fact that the roads now were very slippery.  Fortunately he didn't hit me as I turned, but even though I was barely moving, we went into a skid that turned our car 180 degrees.  I thank the Lord that nobody was coming the other way and that the guy behind me missed me.
       About a week earlier when the roads contained some black ice, another driver rode my bumper out 999 and then on to Donerville Road. I probably should have let him pass me. I was maintaining the speed limit, but suddenly on a stretch where passing was not permitted, he chose to pass me.  I guess that was better than having him hit me from behind if we hit a patch of ice.  But these are some of the reasons I now prefer to stay off the road when it snows.  Some people are just nuts.
       I did have two accidents in my early 20's that were caused by bad weather.  One was early in our married life when a truck pulled out in front of me outside of Sunbury.  I was unable to stop in time because of the snow and I hit him in the back.  I don't recall that he had any real damage but our car had to have some repairs.  The second time was earlier and happened at night when it was icy.  We were using my father-in-law's car to take me to my grandparents where I was staying overnight.  Approaching a stop sign , we slid when I applied the breaks.  We lightly tapped the car stopped in front of us.  The only damage to either car was that one of the radio buttons popped off .  We placed it back on without any problem.  But the worst part of that event was having to call my father-in-law and tell him what had happened.  The call went fine, but it was not fun making the call, not at all.
       I guess there are times that you just can't avoid having to travel, although I do recall once making a two-hour night trip to Sunbury, in a blinding snowstorm, all alone, to visit Dianne.  I can't imagine that my parents were too thrilled about that and I guess it was rather dangerous.  So maybe I should add a sixth category to the five I mentioned earlier.  (6)  Those who are young and either in love, or foolish, or both.   Drive carefully!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Political Waste

          The liberal left, made up of the ACLU and the Democratic Party, have used the courts to "win" another "victory" for the poor and down trodden who just can't seem to get a photo identification card to vote.  I mean why should we expect an American citizen to get a photo ID card even if it would improve the integrity of the voting process?  A liberal judge has now said that the law is not constitutional and can't be enforced.  I wonder how much money could have been saved in court costs if these two groups would have just used their funds to make sure everyone who needed an ID received one.  Incidentally, the photo ID's are free.  But more money will now be spent on more court costs as the decision is appealed.
          As a veteran judge of elections let me describe what often happens when a person comes to vote.  First we need to ask them their name.  Often they mumble it or the clerks have trouble hearing and understanding what they say.  Often it must be repeated.  So I'm Barry Kauffman.  Now is that Coughman, Coffman, Koughman, Kauffman, Kaufman or maybe even Kauffmann.  After learning how the last name is spelled the clerk must then search through about 2,000 names to find mine.  Then the clerk must ask my first name once again.  Is it Barry, Barrie, Berry, Jr. or Sr.  When that is straightened out the clerk must ask if I am the one on Charlotte St. or Prince St.  We're finally getting closer.
          When the correct Barry Kauffman on Charlotte St. is located in the book I must sign my name.  Then the clerk must compare what I have scribbled to my reproduced signature placed in the book 20+ years ago.  If it hasn't changed too much and the clerk thinks it is close, I am approved and can now get a ballot. Now I am not exaggerating when I say so many signatures are scribbled and it is impossible to really compare them.  But that is the final test to establish that I am a valid, registered voter in the correct precinct.  And this is how we guard against improper voting and voter fraud in this state.
          It is so much easier and safer when the prospective voter hands the clerk a photo ID.  The clerk immediately sees the correct spelling and the address and can immediately look up the name.  The photo verifies that the person is who he says he is and the clerk can approve the voter within seconds.  Fast, efficient, and as secure as you can get.
          As clerks and judges we want such a system. It makes it tremendously easier for us. We can process a voter in a few seconds rather than minutes.  And in those elections where you process up to 1,500 voters, wasted minutes make a major difference in waiting time for the voters.  And they appreciate that.  And we don't have to depend upon matching signatures to approve the prospective voter.
          Now the ACLU and the Democrats argue that the law keeps poor folks from voting.  I find that interesting since I need a photo ID to see a doctor, to cash a check, to buy some medicines, to board a plane, to drive a car and many other activities.  And the state provides them free of charge to those who don't drive.  Maybe the Democrats could even transport folks to get their free photo ID, if they don't have transportation.  And, incidentally, if they can't get to the location to get their free ID, how are they going to get to the polls to vote.  Nobody seems to ask that question.
          I admit that I just don't understand the argument against the ID's.  It just makes too much sense to require one.  But, unfortunately, like so much in this country today, it has become all political and the Democrats are playing it all to their political advantage.  So sad.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Math and Movies

          Welcome.  I've decided to go a different direction with this particular blog.  I'm going to combine a short math test with an interesting observation about favorite movies.  Now I've used this math test before when I was teaching, but this application is a new and interesting one that a friend recently sent sent to me.  Now don't quit just because you may not like mathematics.  This test is very simple and only will take a few seconds.  So hang in there, follow the directions carefully, and hopefully you'll enjoy the application.   So here we go:

1. Pick a number from 1 to 9.
2. Multiply that number by 3.
3. Add 3.
4. Multiply by 3 again.
5. Your total is a two digit number. Add the first and second digits together .
6. Now using your answer, find the movie in the list below that corresponds to your answer and hopefully you will enjoy the movie listed.

Movie List:
  1. Gone With the Wind
  2. E.T.
  3. Blazing Saddles
  4. Star Wars
  5. Forrest Gump
  6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  7. Jaws
  8. Grease
  9. The Obama Farewell Speech
10. Casablanca
11. Jurassic Park
12. Shrek
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
14. Titanic
15. Raiders of the Lost Ark
16. Home Alone
17. Mrs. Doubtfire

Try it again, with a different number from 1 to 9.
         Now, I'm sorry if you don't agree with the choice - we welcome everyone to this blog, no matter what your political opinions may be.  But for me, unfortunately, this movie has not yet been made and probably won't be until his term ends.  But I'd be thrilled to see it happen sooner.  In the meantime, I will continue to pray for him.  For some reason God allowed him to be elected.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Snow, Snow, Snow!

Now that winter is officially here, I want to share one of my favorite stories that has been sent through the internet over the years.  Maybe you can relate to it.

Diary of a Snow Shoveler~~

Day 1
6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow! 
Day 2
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life. 
Day 3
The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Valentine's day. No snow in February would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor. 
Day 4
Snow, lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to the teens. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. 
Day 5
20 forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all. 
Day 6
Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like heck. The wife laughed for on hour, which I think was very cruel. 
Day 7
Temperature is way below freezing. Roads too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room. 
Day 8
Electricity's back on, but another 14" of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Darn snowplow came back twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying. 
Day 9
Bob was right about winter's here because 13 more inched of the white crap fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to poop. By the time I got undressed, pooped, and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he's too busy. I think the jerk is lying. 
Day 10
Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 15. The wife wanted me to clean the porch furniture this morning. What, is she nuts! Why didn't she tell me to clean them months ago and cover them? She says she did but I think she's lying. 
Day 11
6" snow packed so hard by the snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the man who drives that snowplow I'll drag him through the snow by his nose and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to watch a romantic movie with her, but I was too busy watching for the snowplow. 
Day 12
Happy Valentine's Day! 20 more inches of the slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. I hate snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's a fricking idiot. If I have to watch "Sleepless In Seattle" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave. 
Day 13
Still snowed in. Why the heck did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves. 
Day 14
Temperature dropped to record low and the pipes froze. Plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him. He only charged me $1400 to replace all my pipes.
Day 15
Warmed up to above 18! Still snowed in. THE WITCH is driving me crazy!!! 
Day 16
Still more snow. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am? 
Day 17
Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver. He's now suing me for a million dollars not only for the beating I gave him but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up where the sun don't shine. The wife went home to her mother. More snow predicted. 
Day 18
I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling. 
Day 19
Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Time Marches On

        Lloyd and Alice Wise lived in the small river town of Herndon.  Most of their seven children - three sons and four daughters - were born and raised in that area.  Lloyd worked for a lumber company.  One year the company asked him to move to Port Trevorton, another small town on the opposite side of the Susquehanna River. So when the river was completely frozen they moved the entire family and their possessions over the ice, in a horse drawn sleigh.  The relocation didn't work out, so they later returned to Herndon, again over the river, this time on a river barge. 
          Later the lumber business took the family to Sunbury where Lloyd was eventually hired by a casket company.  For many years he built caskets as well as all sorts of furniture.  He was a skilled craftsman and we still have some of the things he built for my parents during those years.  Alice was a housewife who was known for her baking on their coal stove.  She is still remembered by the family for her wonderful pies (peach/raspberry was my favorite) and especially her big sugar cookies.  They never had much in the way of physical possessions, but their home was always open and there was always plenty of pastries available for anyone who stopped to visit. 
         All three of the sons were veterans serving around the world in wars.  But that was about the only time that any of the children ever left the Sunbury area.  The one exception was my mother, who after being married, moved to the Harrisburg area and eventually settled in Lancaster County.  The three sons  and the spouses of the other daughters were hard workers who labored in the Sunbury area and raised their children there.  None of them ever had much and several of them encountered very difficult situations, such as a son who drowned, one who suffered a stroke and a lengthy coma, and divorce. 
          They were all nice, hard working people who were kind and generous.  But only a few of them appeared to have a close relationship with the Lord.  However, later in life we were thrilled to see many of them come to know and serve the Lord.  And a couple of their children are now serving in key leadership church positions.  This is a real answer to the prayers of my parents.  
          Now I am sharing this in my blog because last week the last of the seven children passed away.  My Aunt Phyllis moved to heaven after living for five years in a small room, with two other ladies, in Manor Care in Sunbury. Her funeral service was a God honoring service that was well attended by family and friends. My aunt was a special person who was very close to my mother, as well as to our entire family. We visited them quite often over the years. In the days before laundromats, she actually did my wash for me each week while I attended nearby Susquehanna University.  Her late husband and I used to coach little league baseball together - the Mosquitos.  I have so many wonderful memories of times with them.  They were a gracious and warm family and I miss our many times together. 
          So her death means that all of the Wise children are now gone, although two of their spouses are still alive and living in the Sunbury area.  The generations that have followed this family have also encountered many challenges and several have already passed away.  And while there is still an annual Wise reunion - in Sunbury, of course - we really know few of those in the third and fourth generations.  
          So things are much different now.  Change happens. Time marches on.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolutions for 2014

It's time for resolutions for 2014.  Have you made yours?  Now I never make them.  If I did I would soon break them anyway.  But I am thinking that this year could be different, so maybe I should give it a try.  Now the buzz word today is tolerance and what that usually means is you are intolerant if you hold a viewpoint different than mine.  That's especially true if your viewpoints are based on the teachings of the Bible.  But maybe I should try to be more tolerant of some other things.  So let me try.

I will try to be tolerant (1) of those who suddenly stop in front of me or walk directly in front of me when I am taking my daily walk at Park City;  ... (2)  of those who are late for everything, while I am "patiently" waiting; ...  (3)  of those who say "how are you?" and don't really care or even want an answer; ... (4)  of those doctors who tell me to come 15 minutes early for an appointment to fill out papers and then make me wait 30 - 45 more minutes until they actually see me; ... (5)  of those drivers who turn left from the right hand lane, sometimes without even a signal; ...  (6)  of those drivers (especially women) who suddenly slow down in front of me to text or to talk on their cellphones; ...  (6)  of those drivers who tailgate me when I am going the speed limit; ...  (7)  of those who don't follow obvious instructions or meet deadlines; ... (8)  of those who don't answer my e-mails, at least in a reasonable time frame; ... (9)  of those grocery store  packers who put my bread or rolls on the bottom of the bag or won't pack my large items in my heavy cloth bags; ...  (10)  of those who throw their fast food containers and beer bottles on my front lawn; ....  (11)  of those who bother me at supper time trying to improve my credit or change my electric supplier, or sell me something else;  ...  (12)  of the Phillies who continually disappoint me; ....  (13)  of those speeding drivers who don't slow down when I am trying to get the mail out of our roadside mailbox; ... (14)  of drivers who take two parking spaces to park their car; ...  (15)  of sellers on ebay who sell me a jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing; ...  (16)  of "tolerant proponents" who are really intolerant; ...  (17)  ?????
That's enough for one year, I better quit.  I get exhausted just thinking about making all of those changes.  And the more I think about it, the more I realize that there is really no way I could keep all of them ... or for that matter, any of them.  And maybe I really don't want to.
So, instead, I will make just one resolution for the new year - one that I know I can keep.  Here it is - I resolve not to make any resolutions for 2014.