Return of The Blob

The Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, PA

All this talk about turkey this week has reminded me of something.  A memory long buried, (or should I say frozen?) – and perhaps best left so, but alas, here follows the story!

Mrs. Working Stiff is visiting her parents in the Detroit are for this Thanksgiving weekend.  I was with my own family in Cape May for a few days but returned home for the bulk of the weekend and am trying to make the most of my time.  (See prior blog entry re: Operation Fireside.)

After breakfast this morning I drove out to the historic town of Phoenixville, PA, about 20 miles away and roughly to the west, just a few miles from Valley Forge National Park.   Phoenixville has a charming downtown area with lots of shops and restaurants to check out and sample.  The area where I parked and strolled around, the eastern part of Bridge Street, was somewhat bohemian and seemed to be favored by a young-ish crowd who enjoyed the Steel City Coffee house and the incense-burning gift shops.  It looked like a great place to have a meal, a stroll, and some holiday shopping.  I have personally made a mental note to take the wife there for an evening of seasonal merry-making next month! read more

Operation Fireside

My stepmother Meryl with, from left, Joanna, Kristin, and Victoria

I was not even a gleam in my daddy’s eye back in 1944 when the D-Day landings took place on the north coast of France –  Operation Overlord – so fortunately I had no part in that hard day!  I have always wished that I had in fact taken part in Operation Thunderball back in 1965 – but unfortunately I have had to accept the fact that Operation Thunderball is just a fictional secret mission in a James Bond book and movie!

No, for better or worse, the only military mission The Working Stiff has ever been involved with is the great “Operation Fireside” which has been ongoing in Cape May since being launched in 1981, and he is very proud of it! read more

Sculpture in the Grass

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A visit to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey

Rest assured that I have not been sneaking about the woods spying on romantic young couples!  Pictured above is an amazingly life-like metallic sculpture by painter, sculptor, and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson II.  (As in Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids.)

Johnson first conceived the idea in 1984 of a public sculpture garden where people could experience contemporary art in a relaxed and informal setting.  Construction began in 1989 on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton, New Jersey, and Grounds for Sculpture opened to the public in 1992.  There are over 270 works, with many by Johnson himself but also many by other well-known artists.  It is a not-for-profit public corporation that is supported by visitor’s fees, donations, and grants. read more

Morning Coffee

The pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon;

The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.”

(I’ll get to that.)

Being working stiffs, we aren’t always able to jet off to exotic islands whenever we like.  This year, as it happens, was a year devoid of a tropical island vacation.  I’m not trying to garner sympathy by saying that – just saying.

It is fair to mention that we did in fact have a fantastic week vacation on Block Island just this past September, which is not shabby by any stretch, so again – not complaining!  I fully recognize that the fact that we didn’t get to have a week or more on a sunny Caribbean island this year, soaked in sunlight, rum, and coconuts will not rise to the level of tragedy by most reasonable standards, but oh well – when life is good sometimes we must find our own hardships to anchor us! read more

Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA

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Today has been a beautiful fall day and a perfect day for a trip about 15 miles up the road to Peddler’s Village.

We first discovered Peddler’s Village, in Lahaska, PA, as a pleasant stopover on our way to or from the historic town of New Hope, which is perhaps 5 miles farther to the east on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, opposite Lambertville, New Jersey.  New Hope is a historic town full of cafes, art galleries, and all sorts of interesting and unusual shops.  Mr. and Mrs. Working Stiff, along with friends and family have many times taken the 30-minute drive there for lunch, dinner, shopping, or just a pleasant stroll with an ice cream cone.  We are overdue for a trip to New Hope along the river and I’ll plan to write about that soon. read more

Halloween in Cape May, New Jersey

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I had the pleasure to be in Cape May for a few days just recently, right before Halloween. As it is the habit of the town to get all done up for holidays, so it was for that special spooky October date!  Public areas, such as the famous Washington Street Mall and the new Convention Hall area up on the promenade were festively decorated with cornstalks, pumpkins and other squash, and a fall rainbow of mums and similar flowering plants. Many home and shop owners had done the same, with some adding a skeleton or a witch hat here, a mummy there, all to help visitors get in the spooky mood. read more

A Cape May Boat Launch


My late father was a bit of a renaissance man. A WWII veteran, a casual race-car driver, a corporate executive, a published author, and an accomplished skier, surfer, swimmer, carpenter, plumber, electrician, sailor, and boat builder. Whew!  That list wears me out!  He was also a music lover and enjoyed his collection of jazz records, including what he thought might be the largest Django Reinhardt collection in the state.

He served on the school board for the regional high school for many years and was an active and respected member of that organization. He really liked helping the students however he could.  He was instrumental in starting up the school sailing club, which met regularly and taught interested high school students the art and skills of sailing small boats. read more