Pennsylvania – The Road Kill State

Even though I have lived on the east coast my entire life, I’ve not spent much time in Pennsylvania.

There are no dead deer on the state flag. (image public domain)

When I was in first grade, I won the best reader award in my class. The prize was a bus trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country for the day. I remember people wore funny hats and I got to be up front to look at things because the other first grader and I were the smallest kids on the trip.

I returned a few years later, in my forties, on a work trip to Philadelphia. I remember a good Italian restaurant and a hotel bartender’s recommendation on where to get a cheese-steak.

So I haven’t seen a lot of Pennsylvania until recently. On Wednesday and Thursday I put the top down on my car and drove to and from Hershey, PA for a Bruce Springsteen concert. If you’re saying “a day trip to Hershey doesn’t move you into the “spent a lot of time in Pennsylvania” category, I agree.

But I’m going to say that I was able to draw some definite conclusions.

Some Conclusions

Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. I was convinced of that on my drive to Hershey, even at interstate speeds. On the way home I set Google Maps to avoid highways, threw the top back on the Miata and took the back roads. I was right, it’s even prettier between thirty-five and fifty m.p.h.. The back road drive, through small towns and forests was amazing. I’m so glad I took the time to take my time.

But I reached another, darker, conclusion about The Keystone State during my twenty-four hours there. Pennsylvania is a lousy place to be a deer.

What’s she pointing at? A dead deer. (image public domain)

I’ve said that I was at a Springsteen concert, so perhaps you’re wondering how I know how many deer are in Pennsylvania. It’s because there are so many of them dead on the side of the road. The shoulders of Pennsylvania roads – Interstates, secondary highways, twisting back roads – are carpeted with what used to be deer.

They Are Everywhere

As I was driving in to the state I saw my first deer along the interstate. It wasn’t pretty. It had been there a while. Compared to the next one, it really hadn’t. There was another and another and another. It just seems that cleaning that sort of thing up is not something the state or local government does.

How many dearly departed deer did I see along the highway in Pennsylvania? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it was far more than I’ve seen anywhere in my life. I can also tell you that I saw so many, in different states of decay, that I now qualify as an expert witness in court in determining the cause and time of death in deer murder cases.

You’re going to think I’m lying about this, but I’m not. I even saw a deer skeleton.

Maybe I Should Go Again

So now, after three visits to Pennsylvania I have three distinct impressions of the state:

First grade: People wear funny hats. I get to be up front. There sure are a lot of farms.

In my 40’s: Philly is a cool place where you can get great Italian food. Also, bartenders know where to get the best cheese-steak sandwich.

In my 50’s: Gorgeous scenery. A peaceful place. Great drive. Seriously, could they at least Febreze the deer?

Three trips to Pennsylvania, nine thoughts. Eight of them are valid. The only one that I realize is no longer true is that I get to be up front.  I did not get to be up front for the Bruce Springsteen concert like I did for the butter churning demonstration in first grade. Pity.

I’ll have to go back for more research.

Note to self – keep the top and the windows up.



Mentos Lessons: The Car Movers

A number of different Mentos flavors

A number of different Mentos flavors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We can all agree that when something needs to be made fresh, Mentos should be involved. Of course, if we can’t all agree, I can always use the power of those mints to convince any foolish naysayers.

I am a fan of the old Mentos commercials, the ones that showed how resourceful people who ate that candy could be. Mentos consumers were not only minty fresh, but capable of creatively resolving any situation while winning their tormentor’s admiration.

This is the first of a series of occasional posts I’ll be writing to discuss the lessons of, and the complete spectacularness of the old Mentos ads. Today’s lesson will be on the classic ad, The Car Movers.

Let’s watch: Read the rest of this entry »

My Parents Are Clowns: Do Your Friends Have Names?

The last part of a series that started here.

A bowl of pork and beans. Photo taken in the p...

A bowl of pork and beans. You'll understand why later. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So my clown parents moved out of state. I lived on in the house I grew up in until they sold it. I stayed in college, they stayed clowns.

In fact, when they got to their new city, they joined a local organization of clowns.

Yes, Clowns Organize

There are clown organizations. They have meetings, by-laws, officers and elections. My parents’ group even had a coup and deposed its leaders. I called it the coo coo coup.

Read the rest of this entry »

Five Routine Minutes: My AARP Card Arrives.

As I sorted through the mail the other day, I tossed an envelope that said “card enclosed” to the side and was about to shred it on the assumption that it was another credit card offer. On my way to the shredder, I realized that the envelope contained my AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) card. I am aware that I am aging, but it is quite another thing to have that fact confirmed by an organization whose business it is to know of such things.

(If they were alive, The Ramones would be in AARP now. Gabba Gabba, we accept you, one of us.)
Read the rest of this entry »

Hey NFL, I’ve Got Suggestions.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Image via Wikipedia

It is Super Bowl week. On Sunday, millions will watch the Packers and Steelers settle weeks of buildup when they play in Super Bowl XLV. Millions more will watch just for the ads. The NFL has built a great marketing machine.

Some might label it perfect.

Even the greatest can use improvement. So, if you’re paying attention in the National Football League offices, I’ve got some ideas to help you out. Some of these can be implemented for this week’s game, but you’re going to have to get moving. Read the rest of this entry »