Friday, February 1, 2013

Does Chocolate Make Your Tail Wag?

Thought for the day:  I've been told it's actually easier to drive in Pennsylvania in the winter. Know why? The potholes are filled with snow.


If  you can give directions to towns named Blue Ball, Intercourse, and Climax with a straight face, you must live in the state of              Pennsylvania.

No kidding. Those are actual town names, along with Lover, Virginville, Bird-in-Hand, and Mount Joy. Nothing boring about those names, huh? (Think they have a town named Two-in-Bush, too?)

Like many other states, Pennsylvania is a patchwork of industrialized areas, rich farmland, mountains, and a whole wealth of colorful history. Know the origin of the Keystone State nickname? In an arch, a keystone is the vital central stone that holds all the other stones in place, right? Well, Pennsylvania was the vital centerpiece of the thirteen original colonies, both geographically, as well as in the economic, social, and political development of the country. Pretty cool, huh? Didja know Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 until 1800? And what's more important, it's also the birthplace of Philly cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and TastyKakes, too. Oh, and let's not forget Hershey, the chocolate capital of the country. Ya gotta love a state with that tasty claim to fame.

                                                              Ready to look around?



The Liberty Bell is one of the things most of us associate with Pennsylvania. Did you know the first one was actually forged in England? Rather ironic, eh? That first bell, commissioned in 1751 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of William Penn's Charter of Privileges, the state's original constitution, had a crack in it when it arrived, so it was melted down in America and recast. (Of course, the second bell also developed a crack.) The bell, originally known as the State house bell, bears these words from Leviticus 25:10— Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. And on July 8, 1776, the bell did, indeed, proclaim liberty, as it rang from the tower of Independence Hall to summon all citizens to come hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Later on, abolitionists adopted the bell as their symbol, and they're credited with renaming it the Liberty Bell. Following the Civil War, the bell was taken on a tour around the country as a symbol of unity, and a replica of the bell later toured to promote women's suffrage. The replica's clapper was chained to its side during that time, keeping it silent until women won the right to vote. When the nineteenth amendment was ratified, the replica bell was brought to Independence Hall, and rung in celebration.


This is Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the birthplace of the 1776  Declaration of Independence. For safekeeping, the Liberty Bell was removed from the tower and stored in a church basement in Allentown from 1777 until 1778.


This is the historical site of Drake's oil well, the first oil well in the United States, drilled in Titusville in 1859.


Practically any schoolchild can tell you Betsy Ross sewed the first U.S. flag. That's what most of us were taught, right? This is her home, celebrated as an historical site, but the thing is, there's  no definitive proof she ever made that flag. Guess that makes the story a folk legend.


Pennsylvania's Laurel Caverns is one of only two known catacomb-type caves in the world.

During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington's Continental Army Camp was located at Valley Forge from 1777-78. We visited this camp some years ago, and even our kids were shocked at how incredibly small the soldier's beds were.

Gettysburg Civil War battlefield-- the site of Abraham Lincoln's well-known Gettysburg Address. Four score and seven years ago...


In 1849, with the assistance of a white shopkeeper, Virginia slave Henry "Box" Brown made his way to freedom by having himself sealed inside a crate and shipped to Philadelphia abolitionists. There, he became a renown spokesman for abolition, as well as a published author.


The strict religious community of Ephrata Cloister, forerunner of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, was founded in 1732, and the last surviving resident died in 2008. The sprawling property is now owned and maintained by the state.

No pictorial of Pennsylvania would be complete without at least one picture of a horse-drawn Amish carriage.

So, here it is.






Okay, ready to move on and check out some of the laws still languishing on the books in the fine Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

  • It's against the law to discharge a gun, cannon, revolver, or any other explosive weapon at a wedding. (Shotgun weddings aren't nearly as stressful there.)
  • It's illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator.  (Oops. Better stick to the stove.)
  • Any motorist driving on a country road at night must stop every mile to send up a rocket signal, and then wait ten minutes for the road to be cleared of any livestock before proceeding. (Every mile? Whew! That'll make for a long trip home.) 
  • A special cleaning ordinance bans housewives from hiding dirt and dust under a rug. (Just push it over in the corner of the room there behind the door...)
  • It's against the law to sing in the bathtub. (But you can tap dance.)
  • Fireworks stores may not sell fireworks to Pennsylvania residents.
  • Sorry, but if you've ever participated in a duel, you're ineligible to serve as governor.
  • Any motorist who sees a team of horses approaching must pull off the road, cover his vehicle with a camouflage blanket or canvas, and allow the horses to pass.
  • It's against the law for a minister to perform a marriage ceremony if the bride or groom is drunk. (It's okay if the minister has a nip or two, though.)
  • It's illegal to catch a fish with your hands, with dynamite, or with any other body part ... except the mouth. (Yum, fresh sushi.)
  • In Allentown, it's against the law for any man to become aroused in public. (Saltpeter in the water supply maybe?)
  • In Danville,  fire hydrants must be checked ... one hour before any fire. (How do dey know?)
  • In Hazelton, it's against the law for anyone to sip a carbonated drink while lecturing students in a school auditorium. 
  • In Morristown, a woman must have a permit to wear cosmetics. (Men, however, do not.)
  • Sorry, but in Pittsburgh, it's illegal to bring a donkey or mule onto a trolley car. (So keep yer ass outta there.)
  • In Ridley Park, it's against the law to walk backwards eating peanuts in front of the Barnstormers Auditorium during a performance.
  • And finally, in Tarentum, you aren't allowed to tie your horse to a parking meter. (But officer, it's a Mustang!)
***

Okeydoke, it's once again time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week



***  It's only fitting that this week's first story took place in Pennsylvania. Eighty-eight year old WWII vet David Kime was such a lover of fast food burgers, his idea of eating healthy meant having lettuce on his burger. So, when he passed away this week, his family decided he should have it his way one last time. On the way to the cemetery, the entire funeral procession went through the Burger King drive-thru, and left with Whopper Juniors all around. Even one for Kine, whose final burger was placed atop his coffin along with the flowers.

Weird? Maybe a little, but I think it was kinda sweet.


***  Have you ever watched your favorite pooch dancing the mamba around your living room and clearing all the knickknacks off your end table with a couple well-placed swishes of his tail, and thought... Boy! I sure wish I had a tail like that?

If so, lucky you! Thanks to Japanese inventor Ishiwatari, you may soon be able to buy a robotic tail of your very own. His purported communications device attaches to a belt, and has sensors which monitor heart rate. So, just think! You wouldn't have to actually tell anyone how excited you are... your new tail can say it for you! You think it'll be the next best thing since Casual Fridays? I dunno. Maybe it'd be fun once in a while... like maybe every other Furs-day?


***  This one isn't new news, but it's news to me. You're all probably familiar with ultimate sports, but have you ever heard of a sport that entails the use of a stun gun??? (Hmm, I seem to have tails on my mind.) Yep, the sport of Tak Ball involves a player (with over-sized balls) trying to throw an over-sized game ball into a net while other players try to stop him by  hitting him with a stun gun. No tackling allowed in this game, but there's no limit to how many times a player can be zapped. Yipes. Gives a whole new meaning to shock jock, doesn't it?  Tsk, tsk. Utterly shocking.


                                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

81 comments:

  1. hahaha - such an informative, fun-filled and jam packed post! Thank you!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Come on back sometime, y'heah? (Not all of the posts are this long!)

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  2. Love Pa.

    You can not sell fireworks to a Pa. resident, you can not ignite fireworks in the state, and it is illegal to cross the border with fireworks to any state that does not allow fireworks which is every state that borders Pa. So fireworks are legal in Pa. as long as you are a non-resident and don't take them out of the state or light them in state.

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    1. HA! One can only surmise exactly what one is supposed to do with those fireworks once one has them.

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  3. "I Think; Therefore, I Yam" has been included in the Sites To See for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2013/02/sites-to-see_1.html

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    1. Thanks, Jerry! I dunno how you found this blog, but I sure do appreciate you giving it a shout-out, dear sir. Much obliged.

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  4. Terrific post, Susan. In 1964 I camped for 2 weeks at Valley Forge, which looks unchanged. I remember Betsy Ross's house and Independence Square but not Blue Ball, Intercourse, or Climax. I was a Boy Scout, after all.

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    1. Yeah. I don't suppose any scoutmaster wants to put up with all the smirking, elbow poking, and rude laughter from his boys if he took them to any of those towns.

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  5. Hi Susan .. love the stories around Pennsylvania - very interesting .. the keystone state, the slave escaping, and those names - well ... we have a few here - just for now I can't remember them - thankfully .. !!

    The caves look interesting .. I'd seen an article on them before I think - but certainly a visit to PA has lots of history attached to ... we're still good at making bells - travelling the ocean is another matter .. and you got your Independence ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya. There was an article in today's newspaper about the bell England gave to Philadelphia in 1976, in honor of our bicentennial. Queen Elizabeth was there for the presentation, and here's the really neat thing: that bell was made by the same foundry that cast the original one in 1751! Neat, huh?

      Cheers!

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  6. So I guess it's okay to sing in the shower?
    I like all the little history bits and had a giggle at those town names.

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    1. Sure, it's too much to ask anyone to give up singing in the shower. I mean, the acoustics are so good, right?

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  7. I really enjoyed the post. I've never been to Pennsylvania, but it's now being added to my 'places to go' list. Enjoyed the strange tales, and I'm going to make sure NOT to tell my kids about that tail.

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    1. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. Oh, I can imagine kids would have a lot of fun with those tails. But the tails could really be problematic for romantic relationships. ("Honest, honey! I wasn't looking at her..." "Yeah, well your tail says otherwise!")

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  8. Of course Hershey, PA tops my list! My favorite story was about the funeral procession that went to the Burger King drive-thru!
    Julie

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    1. I went to Hershey once as a kid, but the only thing I can remember is being eaten alive there by mosquitoes as big as hummingbirds. (Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration.) I'm a fan of Whopper, Juniors, too, but if it were my last, I think I'd spring for the full-sized one. I mean, what would I have to lose?

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  9. In Allentown, it's against the law for any man to become aroused in public.

    There is just so much there I could say but I best leave it alone.

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    1. Ah, so that one got a rise out of you, huh? (Sorry... couldn't resist.)

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  10. I'm looking out for my nearest Tak Ball Club; it sounds electrifying!

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    1. Better watch out... they probably charge quite handsomely.

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  11. Lover? Virginville? Bird-in-Hand, Climax? Mount Joy?
    I think these are a list of porno films from my Hollywood days.

    (Okay, it was tacky - but I couldn't resist.....)

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    1. Tacky? Only a little. More funny than tacky, cowboy.

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  12. I have been to Blue Ball, Intercourse, and Mount Joy, but I have never been to Climax.

    I live a few miles from Valley Forge Park and as a matter of fact, my son will be getting married in the chapel in the park in March. The huts, which are mostly recreations, were indeed small. The house where George, Martha, and their slaves lived was (and is) a lovely home, not large, but definitely more comfortable. The park is one of my favorite places to walk.

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    1. Oh, how cool! I LOVE that your son's wedding will be in that chapel. I hope you're blessed with beautiful weather.

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  13. I visited many of those places as a child. The historical sites, not the interestingly named towns. And have you ever wondered what happened that made people think those laws were logical?

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    1. Yeah, I've wondered about a LOT of the laws I've come across. (I mean, no singing in the bathtub???)

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  14. I've always wished I had a tail to wag. Just imagine how good that must feel. Even better than chocolate.

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    1. Well then, Mr. C, go ahead and order yourself one, and then you can wag it to your heart's content. (But ain't no WAY it'll be better than chocolate!)

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  15. There's a plethora of information there...shocking really lol.

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  16. I've never been to Pennsylvania, but I'm a history nut, so I think I'd really love seeing all those historic sites from the Revolutionary war. Gotta go to Philly one of these days.

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    1. I didn't even mention one of my favorite places in Philly, because I'm not sure it's still there, or if it is, if it even resembles what it was like when I visited it in the early '60s. The Franklin Institute. A reeeeeally neat museum with a planetarium. I loved all the historic sites, of course, but as I mentioned in a post last year, I'm a museum slut.

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    2. It is still there but quite a bit has been done to it to bring it up to date. Kids and adults love it. My son actually thought of having his wedding and reception there.

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    3. That's good. I'm glad to hear that. Wow, that would have been a neat place to hold a wedding and reception. My hubby made some of his first "moves" on me in that planetarium... (Good memories!)

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  17. Another good post, my dear. When driving in your car in PA to get your permit to wear make-up...... "What's that in the back seat?" It's my camouflage blanket for when I meet a horse."
    "Oh." Ha ha

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    1. I forgot to mention your new header. Come on, spring. Rah, rah, rah.

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    2. Glad ya liked it, my dear. Yes, I'm more than ready for spring, too. It's pretty darn chilly today, but it IS starting to look like spring around here. Daffodils in bloom, some trees in bloom, tulips and hyacinths poking through the soil... even some dandelions in bloom.

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  18. I have always been interested in PA. I would love to visit the Hershey factory someday. I've also always had a fascination with the Amish. SO interesting! As a Bengal fan thoough, I could so without the Steelers being there :)

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    1. I grew up in Baltimore, so as Colts fans, we weren't big fans of the Steelers, either.

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  19. I grew up in NYC but never visited Philadelphia. Now I think I need to.
    Karen

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    1. You'd love it! Lots of wonderful things there to see.

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  20. Thanks for the report on PA. I've driven through there on the way home and let me tell you, it's a heckuva drive.

    Love the tail idea. Of course it could be a detriment if you were a man, say, in a bar, on a Friday night and several good looking women walked in. Which would wag first -- the back tail -- or the "front"? lol

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    1. Driving through Pennsylvania isn't any worse than driving through North Carolina! The drive through there on the way to Baltimore seems endless.

      Yeah, I know whatcha mean about the detrimental "contest" between wagging tails. 'Course, men have been dealing with that one in front forever...

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  21. SUSAN ~
    Interesting post, my friend! I did not know the (cool) reason that Pennsylvania is called "The Keystone State". I guess I always assumed it was because the outline of the state's borders makes it look like a key and a stone. (Wha'?!)

    Hokey-Smoke! Somebody needs to file a lawsuit about a verse from The Bible being on our Liberty Bell in transgression against "the separation of church and state". I think I'll get a lawyer and initiate that lawsuit, along with a demand that the offending verse from that religious book be removed from the bell. (They should melt the bell down if they have to, but "the mixing of church and state" CANNOT be tolerated!)

    Anyone wanna join my Class Action suit? C'mon, we'll get the ACLU to defend our cause and we'll get 15 minutes of fame. Plus, we'll get The Bible removed from The Liberty Bell so that it can then truly represent us all.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Woo HOO! I'm thrilled to have been able to tell ya something you didn't already know, smartie. (Um, I didn't know it, either, until I looked it up.)

      Nah, I think I'll skip that lawsuit, but I'll betcha if you try hard enough, you might find a couple of wackos who'd sign on.

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    2. SUSAN ~
      Ha! There's a ton o' stuffs I don't know. Mention ANYTHING to do with math and it's a given that I don't know it. (If math was the only food, I'd starve to death.)

      Just wanted to let you know that I (finally) found the time to reply to your comment on my blog. Sorry it took so long, but I hope you'll return to read it.

      Also, I was very serious about wanting you to post the URLs regarding Garrow's "questionable" claims. I watch NO TV, so I have some time to look up stuffs and study da facts.

      (I just sent my friend DiscConnected here to check out yer blog. I think and hope you'll have a new 'Follower' soon.)

      Yak Later, my friend . . .

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Cool. I'll pop over to your blog again as soon as I catch up with the other comments here.

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  22. Great photos of Pennsylvania! I think the Eastern states are fascinating-- so different in history and culture than the Western U.S.

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    1. Interesting perspective... because I've always lived and traveled on the east coast, I find the WEST coast to be especially fascinating.

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  23. Thanks for the informative and amusing PA post!

    Guess I'm just a scofflaw at heart, because these posts always give me the urge to visit the state and break the laws you list. ;)

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  24. haha love the strange laws
    And the town names tickle the cats paws
    Info sure does abound
    With such fun today at your ground

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    1. Sorry, no time for rhyme;
      My brain's too fried.
      Oh well... it's not a crime;
      At least the ol' gal tried.

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  25. I didn't need a sign to tell me I'd left Maryland and entered PA because the road told me where I was. Pennsylvania's roads are horrible. I worked in PA for a while and The Hurricane is a graduate of The Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, PA, which had the log cabin in which James Buchanan was born moved to the school's grounds. Or maybe it's a replica. I can't remember. James Buchanan is not one of our more interesting presidents. Jimmy Stewart went to Mercersburg (the first place he acted), as did a number of other well-known folks, but none can top the fame of my little Hurricane. I'm still trying to recover from the flu, but I had to comment because I knew you'd be wondering if I'd been to Pennsylvania.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Wow, I'm honored that you crawled out of your sickbed to leave a comment. And nope, I'm not at all surprised that you've been to PA. (It's more of a surprise when you say you HAVEN'T been to a state!) Now, get back to bed, young lady, and get well soon.

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  26. That was like a cross-country tour but from the comfort of my living room.
    I love learning about the history and laws of other countries and this kept me well entertained throughout.
    Also, love the pictures. :)

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    1. Cool! Glad you were entertained. Take care, and have a super weekend.

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  27. What a great post! Being a neighbor of PA (I'm in DC currently but only 9-5, I'm in MD otherwise), I knew some of those facts, but what really made me LOL were all the laws. I'm going to pass your blog on to some co-workers from PA. They'll get a kick out of it.

    Thanks for the smile on a snowy Friday!

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    1. Thanks. Glad ya liked it. When I was in school, D.C and Georgetown were my stomping grounds. That was back in the dark ages, mind you, but there was a funky little coffee house in Georgetown where we used to hang around drinking coffee and listening to "cool people" recite their poetry. If we approved, we'd tap our spoons on our coffee cups.

      Oooh, sorry ya got snow. As a former B'more gal, I guess we'll be pulling for your Ravens this Sunday.

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  28. As someone who used to live in New York, just a few miles from the border to Pennsylvania, I was familiar with a lot if your facts. I've even been to the oil well in Titusville.

    And I can testify to the horrible roads in PA. As a matter of fact, whenever New Yorkers complain about their high taxes compared to the much lower taxes in PA, it is ALWAYS followed by, "...but at least we have good roads!"

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    1. Oh, how neat that you even visited that oil well site. I've been to a lot of places in Pennsylvania, but not that one. And ya know, compared to some of the roads in Maryland, Pennsylvania roads aren't all that bad.

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  29. Ha, I'm still laughing! Don't you wish you could go back in time and be a witness to the city council members sitting around a table, tossing out possible names for those towns?!?! Crap, how in the heck did they come up with those? And for Lawd's sake don't sleep on top of the refrigerator! I've been to Pennsylvania a few times, but only to board or exit flights, but now, I want to go back an explore. Thanks for such an informative post! :)

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    1. Uhhhh... yeah! (What WERE they thinking?) There's lots of wonderful things to see in Pennsylvania, a lot more than I mentioned here. Like the Pocono Mountains. And some really great museums in Philadelphia.

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  30. Deeply disturbed by the stun gun sporting event, but I love that the entire funeral went through the DRIVE THRU!

    And thanks for the PA info... we're headed there in May!

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    1. Yeah, it's definitely neat that the funeral procession went through the drive-through, but can you imagine how the person working the window reacted? And the other people there to grab a burger?

      Oh, neat that you're going to PA in May. Maybe you'll get to see some of this stuff...

      Happy weekend!

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  31. Great information on PA. I would love to visit Climax and check in on Facebook. That is hilarious! Great story about the people going through the drive through too. Gotta love it. Have an awesome weekend!

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    1. Gee, do ya think authors who live in Climax write better thrillers?

      You have an awesome weekend, too.

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  32. Replies
    1. 'Cause you're a happy, happy dude, and it's the weekend!

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  33. Hooray for Yammy Fridays! Now I can expect the world to settle down and be normal again! And man, I knew Pennsylvania was weird, but I didn't know how weird...

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    1. HA! Happy to bring the Yammies back. And I'm glad you're feeling well enough to be online to read it, kiddo.

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  34. Susan-

    Stopping by at Stephen T. McCarthy's suggestion, and I gotta tell ya, your post and all the photos of my old Philly and western suburbs stompin' grounds makes me homesick.

    I went to school in West Chester, and we made lots of fun of the town names you visited ("You go to Intercourse, Pa with your Bird-In-Hand").

    As much as I like my adoped state of Arizona, I will always have fond memories of Pa.

    So thanks for the free trip home!

    Larry

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    1. Hi-ya, Larry.

      Thanks for stopping by. Sorry to make you homesick, but it's good to know you guys made fun of the town names, too. (Hard to imagine any schoolboy NOT making fun of them.)

      We grew up in Baltimore, and as much as I love Atlanta, there's no place quite like B'more, so I know whatcha mean about those homesick twinges and fond memories.

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  35. What a brilliantly written, informative and funny article you have here. I am sending this to my bro-in-law in Mansfield, Penna.

    Well done Susan, Thanks for the laughs.

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  36. My goodness - you have a week's worth of blog posts all rolled into one. All great stuff, too :)

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    1. Yeah, a bit long, isn't it? That's why I don't do these state posts every Friday anymore. It takes too much time to research and write these things!

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  37. Intercourse Pa is very close to my house...and my son goes to Gettysburg college..and my daughter goes to Lafayette..near easton...yep..Pa is all what you say it is.

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    1. Oh, very cool. One of my cousins went to divinity school in Gettysburg, but that was almost fifty years ago. Yipes. I didn't realize it was that long ago until I thought about it.

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  38. I don't think I can play that sport.

    I read about the Burger King procession. That man sure loved his whoppers.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think I'd get much of a charge out of playing that sport, either. With all the free publicity Burger King has gotten from this story, I hope they at least gave the folks in the funeral procession a senior discount...

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