Sunday, March 29, 2015

90 Years of Pere

Yesterday, we celebrated Pere's 90th birthday at Bolete, a new restaurant located in the old Seidersville Inn. It had been a stagecoach stop two hundred years ago.

This photo of Bolete Restaurant and Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It is found by going up and over South Mountain in Bethlehem, then west along Seidersville Road to what TOF can only assume is Seidersville. The chef is nationally rated and he changes the menu daily depending on what he has on hand. If you don't see what you want on the menu, you can ask and he will whomp it up for you, if he can.
Pere at 90, with girlfriend Jo

 The prices are correspondingly expensive, but hey, you're only 90 once, right? So TOF and the Incomparable Marge split the bill with Sean and his wife, Dana. Pere offered to chip in, but we told him to keep it in his pants, meaning his wallet. The food was excellent and we toasted the birthday boy with a variety of beverages. Other bros were unable to make it from Colorado, and so they will try to come out on Pere's 100th birthday.

His favorite birthday was 70 years ago, for on that day he boarded a troopship to leave Iwo Jima.
Young Joe -- Now 90.

Now, Pere had been saying all year past that he was "in my 90th year," but as he did so, the conviction grew on him that he would not live to meet the actual date. Not that he was poorly. His doctor tells him that he is the "poster boy" for the nonagenarian set. But he thought he would get in a car accident or something. So he has been very careful of late. He must have been sore disappointed to reach the appointed date unscathed. Now he can cut loose, TOF supposes, and Let It All Hang Out.

He recalls being told that on his birthday the snow was freshly drifted halfway up the windows, for those who think there is something unusual about the weather these days. The doctor had a tough time getting to the house -- and that is different today. Doctors long ago stopped making house calls. This was before home births became fashionable. Back then, it was pretty much the standard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TOF on the Air -- UPDATED

According to TOF's calendar, he will be interviewed on the radio show/podcast "Catholic and Enjoying It" with Mark Shea tomorrow from 6-7 PM. The topic is expected to wander whither it will.

If he has understood things correctly, it will show up here:

Keep your fingers crossed. TOF will be phoning in and he is not the greatest phone presence in the world.


Here is a link to the radio interview. TOF only hopes he does not sound too much like a fool.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mission Tomorrow

The cover by Stephan Martiniere for an anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt which made room for a scribbling by TOF; viz., "In Panic Town on the Backward Moon," although it may appear simply as "Panic Town."

Mission Tomorrow "explores space exploration in a post-NASA-dominated age." Stories are included from Ben Bova, Robert Silverberg, James Gunn, Mike Resnick, Sarah A. Hoyt, Michael Capobianco, Jack McDevitt, Jack Skillingstead, Brenda Cooper, Robin Wayne Bailey, and more. The book "drops" as they say in November 2015.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

TOF and the Pothole

Good-bye winter wonderland
The fingers of a gentle rain have begun to massage the delightful piles of snow with which the South Side has been so lately graced. To these we bid a hearty adieu. Even Mount Mattersnow, a/k/a the neighbor's front yard has sensibly diminished. Along the motor roads, the snow and ice have receded, leaving behind as memento a bumper crop of potholes with which to ambush the Axles of Evil. Proceeding out Line St. (which does not actually mark the city line) and turning onto High St. (which actually does climb a promontory before descending precipitously into the Borough of Glendon) the Incomparable Marge wove adroitly among these snares for the unwary. Every puddle concealed a potential pitfall (or should that be "potentially concealed"?) Some of these potholes had names and appear on maps.

But TOF recalled another pothole in another place, one which needed no freezing and melting to call it forth from the vasty deep. This was a divot in a street in Chennai, T.N., India, that truly deserved to be called "Mr. Pothole". and this with the utmost respect.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Surely You Remember the Wave of Outrage...

...that swept the country. A major investigative report by the Associated Press about ten years ago has been found webward. It is linked here for Faithful Reader's edification. TOF remembers brief mention at the time, but it was picked up by only a few major newspapers and (ITRRC) by no networks.

Which may be why you don't remember the wave of outrage.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

News from the Fronts


  • Chadian troops crossed the border into Nigeria and ejected Boko Haram from the town of Gamboru, which the group has held for several months. The Nigerian military claimed the country’s sovereignty remains intact. 
  • Nigerian and Chadian warplanes have bombed the jihadist group “out of a slew of northeastern Nigerian towns.” 
  • Boko Haram’s pressure on Maiduguri has “put a stranglehold on one of Nigeria’s key cities.” 
  • The UN condemned the jihadist group’s recent attacks.
  • A suicide bomber killed at least 13 people and injured more than 30 at a bus station in Potiskum in northeastern Nigeria. 
  • The Nigerian military claimed to have retaken the town of Baga from Boko Haram on Feb. 21
  • On Feb. 22, a young girl estimated to be 8-10 years old detonated a bomb at a market in Potiskum, killing five people and wounding dozens. 
  • A Christian missionary from Seattle, Washington was abducted in Emiworo in Kogi state on Feb. 23. 
  • The Nigerian military has increased airstrikes on Gwoza and Bama in Borno state prior to a ground offensive to retake the area.
    Boko Haram killed scores of civilians when it invaded the village of Njaba and drove through 13 villages along the border with Cameroon as it retreated from a Nigerian Army offensive. 
  • Nigerian troops drove the jihadist group from Mafa town in Borno state, Bara in Yobe state and Gulak in Adamawa state during recent operations.


  • French forces killed about a dozen jihadists “in the region of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains” in northern Mali. 
  • The UN’s peacekeeping mission is struggling with persistent insecurity and tensions with the civilian populace.


  • Nigerien forces repelled attacks by Boko Haram on the border towns of Bosso and Diffa; 109 jihadists and four soldiers were killed, and 17 soldiers were wounded. 
  • Shortly afterward, a young boy blew himself up in Diffa’s market, killing five.


  • Boko Haram conducted its first attack on Chadian territory, killing one soldier and wounding four others before being driven back from the village of Ngouboua. The jihadist group has pushed into Chad, Niger and Cameroon recently in its bid to expand its “caliphate.”


  • Algeria announced the founding of a “national monitoring board” to combat religious extremism. 
  • Algeria reportedly declined to join the US-led coalition against the Islamic State after requests from the US and France.


  • Tunisian security forces arrested roughly 100 suspected jihadists in the past three days, some of whom were planning attacks, according to officials. The government also presented video evidence linking some suspects to the Islamic State.


  • Libya's Western-backed elected parliament has withdrawn from UN-sponsored peace talks. 
  • Amnesty International claimed that seven civilians were killed by Egyptian airstrikes in Derna on Feb. 16. 
  • Libya has resumed oil production from Sarir field and oil exportation from the port of Zueitina. 
  • Nearly 15,000 Egyptians have fled Libya after the murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by the Islamic State.


  • An IED prematurely detonated, killing two men who were attempting to place the bomb in Samalut, Minya governorate. 
  • Egypt has banned Islamic State videos from the internet. 
  • Qatar recalled its ambassador to Egypt after the latter's airstrikes in Libya. 
  • Pro-army nationalism has increased in the wake of Egypt's airstrikes in Libya. 
  • Egypt called on the UN to lift the arms embargo on Libya to pave the way for security intervention in the war-torn country. 
  • The West has declined to support Egypt's intervention in Libya.
    Four bombs exploded in Cairo, killing one person and wounding at least seven. 
  • The Egyptian military killed dozens of suspected jihadists during operations in the Sinai. 
  • Egyptian President Sisi and visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan urged international cooperation in counterterrorism efforts.


  • The US is sending 20 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles to African Union forces combating terrorism in Somalia. 
  • Turkish special forces arrived in Mogadishu prior to a visit by President Raccip Tayyip Erdogan.
  • Three mortar rounds landed inside the presidential palace compound in Mogadishu; Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. 
  • Fifteen people were killed when government forces clashed with the "moderate Islamist group" Ahlusunah Wal Jamaa in Guricel Town in central Somalia.


  • An Iranian diplomat who has been held hostage since July 2013 has been freed and has returned to Iran. Iranian officials claimed he was freed in a military operation, but Yemeni officials claimed he was released as part of a prisoner swap. 
  • Houthis seized control of the National Dialogue headquarters in Sana'a and demanded former president Hadi leave the country.

Saudi Arabia

  • King Salman awarded Indian cleric Zakir Naik, who runs "Peace TV," with the King Faisal International Prize and gave him $200,000. Naik has called 9/11 an "inside job" and called the US the "biggest terrorist."


  • French lawmakers made an unauthorized trip to Syria to hold talks with President Bashar al Assad. 
  • The Assyrian Human Rights Network claims that the Islamic State now holds 262 Christians hostage after an offensive that took over nearly a dozen Assyrian villages. 
  • The Islamic State's masked British executioner of Westerners has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi from west London. 
  • Syrian Kurdish forces cut off one of the Islamic State's supply lines from Iraq in northeastern Syria. 
  • The US-led coalition conducted nine airstrikes in Syria on Feb. 24-25; three destroyed an islamic State vehicle near Al Hasakah and six destroyed "three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions" near Kobani.


  • The military claimed that it killed 80 Islamic State fighters as it advances on Tikrit. 
  • The military has also launched an operation to retake Karma. 
  • The US launched 12 airstrikes against the Islamic State near Al Qaim, Fallujah, Haditha, Mosul, Samarra, Taji, and Tal Afar. 
  • The Islamic State torched oil wells in Ajil, and destroyed religious sites in Mosul and Nimrod.
    Massive columns of Shiite militas, including some groups that are listed by the US as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, have been leading the fight in Tikrit. 
  • Several photos have been released by the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars showing [Iranian general] Qassem Soleimani on the battlefield near Tikrit. Other photos circulating on social media show the leader of the Qods Force with various Shiite militias taking part in the current offensive in central Iraq.


  • The Taliban killed nine policemen in separate attacks in Uruzgan and Helmand. 
  • A Taliban suicide bomber killed seven people in Helmand. 
  • "Gunmen" killed the executive director for Sayyedabad district in Wardak province.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TOF has been interviewed

by the Sandusky Register of all unlikely venues. The headline refers to TOF as a "master" of science fiction. This may be a bit too much, but who is he to disagree?

Read it here:

Then add a comment!

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