What Just Happened Here?

Browsing through today’s PennLive, counted not one, not two, not three, but seven (and a half) crime stories pertaining to Harrisburg from the past 24 hours:

A woman was mugged in the River Street Garage (the one on Second; no idea why they chose to name it after the small alley that runs behind it rather than the major thoroughfare that runs in front of it, but I digress), a c-store clerk was robbed, a guy was mugged with a brick, a dude was assaulted in a park near Italian Lake, a teen’s laptop was stolen while he was using it, some dude kicked a woman in the face and stole her purse, and a guy was stabbed while walking around.  The “and a half” comes from a Harrisburg guy who was charged with breaking into an apartment in Carlisle.  And again, this was all reported in a 24-hour period.

Naturally, the PennLive West Shore Trolls did not hesitate to blame this on Linda Thompson / Barack Obama / the Democrats / the Liberals / “those people” / people who don’t listen to Glenn Beck.  But the real question remains unanswered — what just happened?

Continue reading What Just Happened Here?

Tea-Turfing 2010

I normally don’t get into national politics on here, but this was so laughably bad it just had to be pointed out.  So without making this about any one particular youth-, tech-, or idea-challenged political party, I’m going to make this a tale of caution to social media marketers everywhere.  When you want to create the illusion of mass support for your cause, you have to put at least several seconds’ worth of effort into the execution.  Otherwise, your propaganda gets lost in the cacophony of Internet laughter.

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Centralia + Concrete City = 9/25

The Triple-C one-day all-day road trip to Centralia and Concrete City is set for Saturday, September 25, with an alternate weather date of of Saturday, October 2.  You can see all the details on the event page.  If you plan on attending, please RSVP via Facebook so we know how many to expect for the carpool.  Hope to see you there!

Fake Linda Thompson, Mayor of Twitter (Mayor)

Have you seen the Fake Linda Thompson account over on Twitter?  There’s been a bit of an uproar in the media in the past 24 hours, with at least one outlet reporting that Mayor Thompson’s Twitter account has been hacked — inadvertently comically, of course.

It definitely wasn’t hacked.

Continue reading Fake Linda Thompson, Mayor of Twitter (Mayor)

Centralia + Concrete City Road Trip

As promised during the group outing to the Abandoned Turnpike this past spring, I’m putting together a group road trip to Centralia and Concrete City this coming fall.  I really wanted to do something sooner, but there’s no way I wanted to risk having anyone succumb to heatstroke.  Besides, both places look 38% cooler in the fall anyway.

If you don’t already know, Centralia is a tiny town about an hour north of Harrisburg.  In the 1960s, a trash fire ignited a coal vein and started an underground mine fire that has been burning ever since.  During the winter months, the ground can be hot to the touch.  Smoke escapes from vents and cracks in the ground year-round.  Trees are bleached white and the entire valley reeks of sulfur.  A four-lane highway — PA Route 61 — was abandoned in the mid-90s after a land subsidence destroyed the road.  Several years ago I flew a Cessna 172 up there, and from the air the “town” is an eerie patchwork of long-abandoned paved streets.

Concrete City is, in a word, depressing.  It is a series of concrete homes built in 1911 for use by management of a Nanticoke coal mine.  And when I say “concrete homes”, I mean that they used poured-in-place concrete.  Not cinderblocks, not just concrete foundations, not just concrete shells, but the entire house — literally every square inch of every wall, floor, and ceiling — is cast-in-place concrete.  Local lore states that the city of Nanticoke tried to demolish the buildings for safety reasons, but generous use of TNT only succeeded in lightly damaging one building.  As such, they were deemed too expensive to demolish and left alone for nearly a century.

Both of these locations provide ample, unique photo opportunities for documenting severe urban decay and a tiny fragment of some of the more unusual history of Pennsylvania.  If nothing else, they both just look cool.

I don’t have an exact date yet, but I’m thinking it will be a Saturday in late September with an alternate date in early October.  As with the Turnpike Hike, both of these locations carry some risk of serious injury.  Concrete City itself is especially dangerous; those buildings haven’t seen maintenance in well over half a century, and a number of them are leaning badly.  Because of the nature of both of these places, this probably isn’t a good trip on which to bring small children.

Centralia is about an hour up I-81.  Concrete City is about another hour past that.  And the return trip is just over 90 minutes.  Driving will be about 85% Interstate, and we’ll obviously be carpooling.  The plan is to leave Harrisburg early in the morning, spend some time in Centralia, stop in Hazleton or Wilkes-Barre somewhere for lunch, visit Concrete City, and then head home.  This will be an all-day, 8-to-5-ish trip.

Further details as events warrant…