Old journal entries - June 2002
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FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2002 - Heading north for the weekend

Photo of Canadian penny I was so bored Tuesday that I began to roll the coins in my piggy bank (which is actually an old milk bottle). I had counted about $5.50 worth of pennies when I found a Canadian cent mixed in with the bunch. Can't take that to the bank. Indeed, there's only one place I can take it: Canada. With a holiday weekend coming up, I couldn't resist. This afternoon, I hit the road for Ontario, with a tent, an armful of AAA guidebooks and no particular plan. I hope to find a great lakeside campground where I can put my feet in some cold water and pass the time reading. It's unlikely there will be any updates on this home page on Saturday or Sunday; I'm leaving my computer at home to avoid computer-left-in-hot-car syndrome. Watch for a full report, with photos, on Monday. If you need to reach me this weekend, I'll have my cell phone, assuming my service carries into Canada. (Gotta watch the phone for the news alert on who wins the World Cup.) Right now is a great time for a road trip, since gas is so cheap -- $1.19 a gallon at the Sheetz in Carlisle. With the $47 worth of coins I cashed in at the bank, I can buy enough gas to go 1,100 miles. Hello Canada! - Daryl



THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2002 - Putting the "harm" in "harmony"

Photo of me with the autoharp, looking goofy Go ahead and laugh. I'm probably the only person who can play an autoharp and screw it up. Yes, that's me on assignment today at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering in Newport. When I got there, I expected to find a bunch of people making fun of the autoharp, like what you'd expect if you went to a kazoo convention. But instead, they were doing something totally surprising with their autoharps -- using them to make beautiful music. It was fitting to have this gathering in rural Perry County, the kind of place where the autoharp took root as a low-cost front-porch family-sing-along instrument. If you've never held one (and if you haven't, what are you waiting for?), the amazing thing about the autoharp is that you control the chords by pushing buttons. There's no way to strike a wrong chord unless you fail to push a button, or push more than one at once. How about that. This simplicity may be part of the reason why no classically trained musician will touch an autoharp with a ten-foot finger pick. On the other hand, it also means you need a real good ear and extremely fast fingers to rise to the cream of the auto-harp playing crop. These players make gorgeous music, and I enjoyed meeting them. (Thanks -- or no thanks -- to photographer Doug Cain for taking this ridiculous snapshot.) - Daryl


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2002 - I wanna go back to Philmont

Photo of a 1996 BAC Philmont badge My mom leaves tomorrow for a two-week hiking trip at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico; she's filling in as a last-minute sub scout leader. Lucky her. With that in mind, I thought it would be cool to publish an excerpt from the journal I kept when I hiked Philmont with my scout troup in 1996. After a brief search, I now think my journal must be in a closet back at my dad's place in Maryland, burried among the old Halloween costumes, shoe boxes and model rockets. Bummer. So. I started to write my hasty, angry opinion about the pledge of allegiance (based on the federal court ruling today, and the toxic waste analysis on cable TV tonight). Then I quickly grew tired of the topic. - Daryl



TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002 - Potpourri

I have seen the final Ann Landers column -- scheduled to run July 27 in some papers. The column is a short note by Ann's daughter, Margo Howard, conveying her mother's farewell wishes to readers. Howard also asks the editors to run blank space for last part of the column, as a memory to her mom. Esther "Ann Landers" Lederer died Saturday at age 83. Her sister continues to write "Dear Abby."

You may remember Saturday's journal entry, in which I mentioned the case of Steven Crawford, the Harrisburg man in prison 28 years for a murder he says he did not commit. Well, yesterday, a Dauphin County judge set Crawford free, saying that new evidence is material enough that it could have affected Crawford's verdict.

Do you have E-ZPass yet? I got it for my car a few months ago and it works flawlessly.

Germany's in the finals.

Mmmrmp. Musn't eat cantaloupe and type at the same time. Mmm.

- Daryl



MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2002 - Feeling hot hot hot

Here is a short list of good things about summer, to take my mind off the fact that my apartment is a furnace.

Freshly cut grass. Love that smell, especially since I don't have to do the mowing.

Cantaloupe. It's real sweet this year.

Soft-serve ice cream. I could go on about foods...

Thunderstorms. Beautiful, and a little bit dangerous just to keep things interesting.

The Carlisle Borough Shade Tree Commission. All those nasty things I say about local government being absurd and inefficient? I take them back.

- Daryl



SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2002 - Warren peace

Maybe you've seen this guy around. He has the coolest monument in all of Gettysburg (which I visited yesterday with my Dad and Joanne). His statue stands on Little Roundtop, perched on a rock that overlooks Devil's Den and the whole darn battlefield. He's holding his binoculars in one hand and a sword in the other, and his face makes him look like one serious surveyor. Try to guess who he is. Lee? Grant? Meade? Custer? Good guesses. He's actually Gen. Gouverneur Kemble Warren, chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac, who realized the strategic significance of Little Roundtop and quickly put union soldiers in place to guard it. By keeping the confederates off the hill, our man Warren was a key part of the Union's victory at Gettysburg, and thus the eventual end of the Civil War, abolishment of slavery and security of the union. "Major General Warren needs no eulogy," says the marker at he statue. "His name is enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen." This guy was a real hero. I wonder if anybody ever named so much as a high school after him.

(Click on his picture above to download a wallpaper-sized photo.) - Daryl



SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2002 - Here comes the story of the Hurricane

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter came to Harrisburg yesterday and spoke at a rally in support for man accused of murder -- but who still says he's innocent after 24 years behind bars. I was there reporting, though I'm not really sure why they sent me. In case you haven't seen the movie, heard the song, or read the books, you should know Hurricane was a boxer convicted of murder, jailed, then exonerated years later. Like most people with amazing stories, Hurricane was a great speaker, and I enjoyed listening to him. He arrived with an entourage of Canadian bikers called The Illegals, who are defense attorneys, and not the least bit scary. I don't know the real story behind Steven Crawford, the man Hurricane was supporting. But I've begun to learn that truth is a murky thing, sometimes not absolute, seen differently by each pair of eyes, and growing murkier as time passes. Here's what I do know. Crawford is in jail for a murder that happened in 1970, when he was 15. The victim was 14. Both were black. Charges weren't filed until two years later, and there wasn't a trial until 1974. That's a long time for the truth to cloud up. To me, whether Crawford is innocent or guilty isn't the biggest issue here -- No one should spend his life in prison for something that happened when he was 15. Set this man free.

Today I'm in sunny Gettysburg. Watch for pictures tomorrow. - Daryl



FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2002 - Yet another brilliant idea

For a fee, the state will sell you a vanity plate for your car. I doubt I'll ever want one -- What the heck would it say? However, I'd gladly pay extra for a custom license plate painted to match the color of my car. See, in Pennsylvania, lots of people with black cars buy the special registration plate that supports the D.A.R.E. program. Do they buy it because they want their money going to a dubious drug prevention class? No, they buy it because it's a solid black license plate and it looks wicked cool on a black sports car. What if you could order a special plate in a custom color to match the paint on your vehicle? I'd gladly pay an extra 35 bucks for a red plate to match my car. Can it be done?

- Daryl



THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2002 - Elvis in the sky with diamonds

I knew a guy in high school who used to say everyone was either an Elvis person or a Beatles person. I don't know quite what he was talking about, but I'm pretty sure I'm an Elvis person. Which are you? Be careful -- It's not about whether you like Elvis more than the Beatles. It's more about whether you identify with the transparent, honest, rock-n-roll of Elvis or the translucent, layered, wizardry of the Beatles. Confused? Maybe I'm not explaining this well. See, I bring this up because in England, Elvis just charted another no. 1 hit, nearly 25 years after his death. The song is "A Little Less Conversation." If you recognize it, it's probably because it was in the recent "Ocean's Eleven" movie and a Nike commercial. The chart-topping version is a remix by some outfit called Junkie XL. It sounds pretty tight. The Presley estate would only give the song their blessing if Junkie XL released it under the name JXL. See, Elvis people didn't like the drug reference. By the way, with this hit, Elvis has now tied the record of 17 no. 1 songs in England -- a record set by the Beatles.

Today: Another story added to my "Clips" page.

- Daryl



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2002 - The incredible hawk

Photo of the hawk I spent Father's Day visiting family, including my dad in Ellicott City. At his house, I was shocked to find he no longer has claim over his own back yard. It is now under the watchful eyes of three gigantic red-shouldered hawks. They roost atop the phone pole, on the branches of the shade trees or up on the roof top. All day, they cry to one another with a shriek like a squeaky hinge. When the big birds swoop by the house, the cats dash away from the windows. At one point Sunday, one of the hawks buzzed the picnic table where we were sitting, screaming madly. Dad says he's noticed fewer rabbits this summer.

My friend Renée just started her own web site. Please visit it and welcome her to the neighborhood.

Quote: "It's difficult to do these public service jobs when you know your family could be assassinated by the media at any point, deservedly or undeservedly." - Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, announcing yesterday he won't seek a second term.

- Daryl



Photo of East North Street

TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2002 - Sofa so good

It's bulk collection week in my town. This means people have piled massive heaps of trash on the sidewalks -- all the garbage they've accumulated over the past year that's too big for the borough's weekly pay-by-the-bag collection. Sometime this week, the trash service will come around and haul this incredible bulk to the landfill. But until then, Carlisle looks like a shantytown. Moreover, the scavengers are out. ("Say, why would anyone throw out a perfectly good armchair?") Thus far, I've resisted my inborn instincts to claim free junk. Broken water heater? No thanks. Bed frame? Don't need it. Old 13-inch TV with woodgrain on the sides? Already have one. Child car seat? Nope. Exercise machine? My apartment is already crammed. Must... resist... Old toaster? No! - Daryl



MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2002 - For a song

Audiogalaxy has finally released a Mac version of their music software, and I'm delighted with it. Now it's not quite what Napster once was, but it gets the job done better than anything else available at the moment. Audiogalaxy's new program is surprisingly forgiving for us cheapskate 56K modem users. I've always enjoyed seeking obscure songs I've heard on the radio or in other places. Usually, they're songs I want to hear a few more times, but that aren't worth $16 to me. Copyrights? We'll discuss that another time. Meanwhile, here's some of the contraband I've downloaded since Wednesday: "The Littlest Birds" by the Feel Good Tanyas. "Addictive" by Truth Hurts. "Tones of Home (live)" by Blind Melon. "Long Time Gone" by the Dixie Chicks. "When I Get You Alone" by Thicke. "Heather's All Bummed Out" by Lonesome Bob. If you don't know these songs, try them. You'll probably love some and hate some.

World Cup: Another USA win!!

- Daryl



Anybody who was in Shippensburg Saturday night should e-mail me for access to the pictures. Gus, that includes you.
SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2002 - Must be a sign

Every high school around here has one of those movable-letter signs in front of it. They use them to announce in-service days, school plays, gr duation schedules and so on. The danger with these signs is that studen s will rearrange the let ers to spell something too funny for public display  So they're all c vered with locked glass covers. But... When the wind bl ws through the signs, some of t e loose letters f ll to the bottom. A   so you get all kinds of w  rd scrambled me sages. So   ne suggested an electronic sign as part of a school construction project near h re, but I don't k  w if th y' e willin   o spe d that ki d of money. Til t    day, alphab t so p rei ns!
  a,  tt a nd   ei osh ro g  o nm. e  oe  o w  e n hat  e up  g

- Daryl



SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2002 - Free to walk

I spent two hours in prison last night. Nothing serious... I was working on a story about the parenting skills class at the maximum-security State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill. (This is for tomorrow's paper, Father's Day.) I tried to blend into the wall as a group of 11 convicted criminals sat in a circle and poured out their feelings about their children. It was moving, and very sad. There was a guy, 22, who looked a lot like me, except with a frizzy goatee. He's serving 1 to 2 for ag assault and has a five-month-old daughter. He told the group he didn't have much of a family, left home at ten and lived on the streets. He sounded very sad. There was another guy, big, scruffy, hair pulled back, who kept silent and stared me right in the eyes during most of the session. I ignored him. Most of these guys were open about their problems, but I sometimes got the feeling they just repeat the same sad explanations over and over until they sound true. A prison warden once told me that guys who end up behind bars tend to blame their problems on the world around them, and part of the challenge is getting them to take responsibility. Few of them will say they want to hurt people -- just that life dealt them a bad hand. Sometimes that's true. It sure sounds true when you hear them say it. But lots of these same guys, when released, will get arrested and sent to prison for making the same mistakes again. There's a lot about criminal behavior I don't understand. Two hours in prison didn't give me many answers. - Daryl



FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2002 - Mister Ed

It's exciting when a celebrity visits Carlisle. Of course, when he's Ed Rendell, the Democrat running for governor, you can't expect the whole town to turn out. He spoke to about 100 members of the county Democratic committee last night. Being a Democrat in central Pennsylvania is like being, um, a penguin at the north pole. (Sorry, that was best I could come up with.) Ed Rendell used to be the mayor of Philadelphia. Attorney general Mike Fisher is the Republican candidate. (I went to see Fisher speak in the fall.) There's no incumbent running. Close race. Big national attention. Rendell wore an orange tie last night and sounded like a slick politician, which is what the people wanted. I like Rendell because he's gay-friendly, though you won't hear him mention that in Carlisle. Generally, he seems gubernatorial enough, but he's not a guy who will inspire me to get active in politics. And why should he try? Young people don't vote, right? - Daryl



THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2002 - I keep on thinking it's a time to fly

A little over a year ago, my roommates and I had a party at our apartment at Penn State. Playing DJ, I hooked my PowerMac to the stereo and put on the standard fare -- Puffy, Biggy, Britney. After a few hours, I put on "Graduation (Friends Forever)" by Vitamin C and a cheer of applause went up. People rushed in to dance. They hugged the DJ. I was a hero. For all those cynics who claim this song is a overproduced piece of saccharine pop shamlessly manufactured to be played once a year for graduating students, I say... right on. Keep it spinning. You can read more about graduation songs in this Washington Post article.

Tonight I meet Ed Rendell. If you're in Pennsylvania, you know why he's important. If you aren't and don't, watch this space tomorrow. - Daryl



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2002 - Keep out of children

Here's an entertaining web site that's been around a while, but that I just found today: Japanese Engrish. Is it insensitive to make fun of Japanese products that butcher the English language? Ask me again when I'm not laughing so hard. - Daryl



TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2002 - Check. Check. Is this recording?

The sweet melody of Beethoven's Ninth, played by a class of third graders on their recorders, was the truest piece of live music I've heard in a while. I was at an elementary school assembly this morning to mark the nine-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks (and, incidentally, the last day of school). It was a typical quick-hit assignment for work. For the first part of the assembly, two WWII veterans (one an elected official) told the students how important veterans are. One actually introduced himself as a member of the Greatest Generation. The other invoked President Bush in calling for community service and volunteerism. The VFW color guard marched in with a rifle that would have gotten any student who carried it on school property expelled. I was pretty grumpy about all this until the students began to perform. Dressed in red, white and blue, they sang songs like "This Land is Your Land" and "You're A Grand Old Flag." And, with no real explanation, they played a few bars of Beethoven on their beige, indestructible-plastic recorders just like the one I played in elementary school. Scores of them in unison. The sound echoed off the hard concrete walls of the gymnasium and sounded really cool. It cheered me up, and made me wish I were a radio reporter. - Daryl



MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2002 - It's about time

When you move to a new place, you feel a demand to make everything perfect. You follow all the rules for the sake of security. But when you've been in a place a few months, you learn the shortcuts. Here in Carlisle, I don't feed the parking meters anymore. I used to, because I was afraid of breaking the law. But now I see it as more of a joke. For one thing, 25 cents buys you a full hour. A meter will only accept 50 cents at a time. This is so cheap, there's hardly any point to it, and odds are good that there's still time on the meter when you pull up. Secondly, the meters are only valid weekdays until 4. Finally, there's more than enough parking downtown these days, much of it free, and practically none of it enforced by meter maids. When I moved here, I fed every meter I parked at, even if it was with a nickel for six minutes. I was trying to be vigilant, while actually being naive and overcautious. By now I've adopted the bad habit shared by everybody else who frequents downtown Carlisle. Risk it. Save your quarters for laundry.

Can you circle the misplaced participial phrase in this actual quote from today's news? -- "We have disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive dirty bomb," Ashcroft said.

- Daryl



SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2002 - Twin cities?

I'd post a nifty picture here today, except I didn't take my camera to the top of Baltimore's Washington Monument Saturday. Quite honestly, I didn't even know it was possible to climb to the top of the monument until we got there. Yet there we went, through the door, donating a dollar, and up 238 well-worn steps for a great sunny-day panorama of Charm City. (I was with a bunch of friends from Penn State who also found it impressive.) Okay, so maybe it wasn't as significant as that other Washington Monument, but then, we didn't have to wait in line.

Equal time. Our group also spent some time Saturday in D.C. Two instant opinions about 18th Street NW around Adams Morgan... Go to a bar called Madam's Organ -- fun, interesting, but not freakish. Avoid a restaurant called Lauriol Plaza -- crowded, slow, boring. - Daryl



SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2002 - Weekend

I'm in Maryland this weekend visiting friends and family.

I wish I could link to an article I wrote for yesterday afternoon's Sentinel about a workplace discrimination lawsuit -- against The Sentinel. My company lost. Now it's been ordered to pay $185,000. It's an interesting case and it was a challenging story to write. But, as is often the case, The Sentinel didn't post the article on its web site. Oh well. - Daryl



FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2002 - And also with you

It took me a few weeks, but I recently realized I went to the same church as Suzanne and David. They'd bring their kids to the 10:45 service on Sundays. The family usually sat in the pew directly in front of me. I remember this clearly because I was uncomfortable sitting behind them. David did a lot of rubbing -- not just hugging, but this slimy, overaffectionate cuddling of his wife and kids. During the sharing of the peace, we'd all turn and mingle. As is the tradition, we'd shake hands and say "Peace be with you." Since I'm not a regular churchgoer here, I didn't pay much attention when they stopped showing up at services. I didn't even know their names. Wednesday afternoon, someone finally connected the dots for me. Suzanne is dead. David is in a military prison, charged with beating and strangling her to death (and presumed innocent until proven guilty, I should add). Me? I'm covering their case for the newspaper.

This makes two alleged murders in Carlisle to which I'm somehow connected... The other is a baby who was killed in 1996 in what is now my apartment. The moment you find out is always spooky. - Daryl



THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2002 - Better. Stronger. Slower.

The most interesting building site anywhere is the former the World Trade Center property on lower Manhattan. If you were in charge of this job, how would you run it? As you can read on the devlopment corporation's web site, the organizers are running the project with a lot of public input. I'm not sure I could be that generous. Designing a building by democratic compromise could prove really ugly. You've heard this before, but no committee has ever created a great work of art. In my opinion, this space needs another skyscraper, the most beautiful one ever designed. It shouldn't be rushed. This process will get very interesting, I think.

There's a great story about reporters in The Onion this week. - Daryl



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2002 - Viewers like you

Public radio stations survive by begging for donations. Several times a year, their announcers break into the regular programs and plead for listeners to send in money. This actually works. What a business plan! Could something similar work with this web site? (*ahem*) Daryl's Home Page announces that all updates will be suspended until I receive enough money to pay for a copy of Adobe Photoshop 7. Phone lines are open. For a membership pledge of just $75, you'll receive an exclusive tote bag, or stainless-steel coffee mug... Nah, forget about it.

In case you didn't see it in your morning newspaper, America won its first World Cup match last night. Start getting excited. - Daryl



TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2002 - Not that you asked, but...

I overheard two prominent members of the community talking loudly at a recent school board meeting. Actually, I was sitting between them. "Every kid who's ever made a touchdown remembers it for the rest of his life," one of them said. "Any kid who's gotten an A isn't going to remember it next year. Couldn't care less." Hmm. To put this in context, the school board was discussing a renovation to their track and football field, as well as a much less costly renovation to their high school art and science rooms. The guy's point was that they shouldn't worry so much about the classrooms and should get the stadium project done ASAP. As someone who never played an organized sport, I think it's sad that sports are so often the showcase programs at schools. That true everywhere, at high schools as well as colleges, but I think it's particularly strong in rural Pennsylvania. I enjoy watching high school football games here and I feel good about the students who play in them. But in my opinion, schools should invest in their classrooms first and their stadiums second.

On another note, the item I posted in this space Sunday, regarding the real author of a long mis-attributed poem, turns out to have been false. It has been taken down from this site. I've been had. Daryl's Home Page regrets the error. - Daryl



MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2002 - Choose your beach

I saw two movies yesterday, "Y Tu Mamá También" and "The Beach." I didn't plan it this way, but both films, incredibly, tell the story of people traveling in search of a secret beach. Perfect for a compare-and-contrast!

"Y Tu Mamá También" (which means "And your momma, too") is a Mexican comedy with English subtitles and lots of frontal nudity. I watched it at the Carlisle Theatre (which shows art films) with a free ticket I got at work. "The Beach" is a slick Hollywood production in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays an immensely unlikeable American backpacker, Lonely-Planeting his way through Thailand. I rented it at the two-for-99-cents video store. What's to like about these movies? "Mamá" feeds your mind with a study of modern-day Mexico's social structure and sexuality, plus a few good fart gags. "Beach" is great escape fare, with beautiful scenery, stunts, sharks, needless gun violence, and lots of Leo.

I enjoyed them both, but I would have liked "The Beach" better without the guns. And with that, we have the biggest difference between artsy foreign films and popular American films: sex vs. violence. Be honest -- Which would you rather watch? - Daryl



SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2002 - Hey June

One program note about the home page. Starting today, what I used to call "Welcome messsages" are now called "Journal entries," and have been slightly reorganized. As before, all the content I post on the site remains archived forever, and you can navigate it by clicking on the "Old journals" link on the left-hand column. (Some of the file names have changed, so if you have any links or bookmarks to old parts of this site, please change them.) - Daryl



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Looking for the snapshots from Lori and Dave's wedding in Pittsburgh? Click here for some wholesome and pleasant pictures from Saturday and Sunday. Click here for the embarassing stuff from Friday.