Thursday, February 26, 2009

If we can spend $1.7 billion...

...dollars to study swine odor, in a senseless bailout that will do nothing but pave the road toward socialism, why can't we send more money to all national parks for repairs, upkeep and maintenance? Boggles the mind. Have you looked at all the 'pork' that the bailout money will be spent on?

Trillion dollar debt, high unemployment, schools that are literally falling apart, and yet we can have a $767 bailout package for economic stimulus? Does any else see a problem here?

In the below post about the kids climbing the rocks at Devil's Den, one thing I forgot to mention was that the ranger who arrived on the scene possibly could have came sooner, but the first car he went to had a dead battery. It has been and issue, he said, but they couldn't afford a new battery? Need I say more?

The park service is criticized for 'allowing' vandalism, such as that the the Peace Light, to occur, yet they don't have enough money budgeted to use their vehicles to prevent it. Maybe I am living wrong, or something, because I think our world is going crazy, and nothing makes sense to me anymore.

"Change you can believe in!" Believe you have change in your pocket, because pretty soon, you'll have nothing else!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NPS at its finest...

...The newspapers, the radio and the local coomunity tv station advertised this past Monday (President's Day) as community day at the GNMP Visitor Center, promising free admission to all Adams County residents until 6pm. Lori and I went around 5pm, after our ill-fated trip to the Wills House (described previously). We got into the building and went to the information desk, where we were rudely told by an EN employee that "The place is closed. It closed at 5pm."

Lori asked about the 6pm that was mentioned in all the advertising, and the woman said, "Oh, yes. That's a mistake. We don't know how that happened. You'll have to talk to the park service."

"We will!" Lori told her. We will talk to Dr. Latschar.

"Oh, yeah, sure. You do that!" the employee said smugly.

Guess what? We will! Lori and I both have come to know Dr. Latschar over the past few months, so we definitely will be asking him what happened?

I do truly hate to sound negative all the time, though when the GNMP, the Gettysburg Foundation or even the town of Gettysburg is concerned these days, it truly seems hard not to. They have so many opportunities to do so much good, and they seem to miss it. Sometimes they don't miss by much, while others they are way off target! I don't get it.

As we were leaving the VC, we passed several other people on their way in who were headed for the same disappointment we had just experienced. Because it wasannounced as being that way, I think something should have been done.

They should have bit the bullet and stayed open until 6pm as advertised. Ok, so the presentations and movies in the VC may be on timers operated by computers and it may have been a major effort to change this. Fine! There are other things that could have been done.

Knowing ahead about the advertising, and thinking about the fact that people may have been expecting the place to stay open until 6pm, they should have had 'free coupons' for Adams County residents who arrived at 6. I don't expect them to have been good forever, and I don't even expect them to have been good on weekends. They could have had a coupon for free weekday admission until the middle or end of March.

That way, community residents would have been happy because we can easily come back, weekend traffic wouldn't have been overburdened, and it would have been done and over with before peak season would have started.

I don't think it would be asking much, and I don't want a 'free lunch'! I did expect more than a simple, "Oh yes,well talk to the Park Service!", however!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Busted!...Well, almost!...

...The 102nd PA regiment from the western PA area had a male bull terrier they called Union Jack for their regimental mascot. Part of the regiment was at Gettysburg, and there is a monument to this regiment on the field north of the Valley of Death.

Lori and I had some time to kill earleir today, so we went looking for their monument. Now, for those who do not know, Lori has two female bull terriers, Fannie and Maybelline. Besides being pampered pets, they both are show dogs. Lori has great interest in the breed, so we wanted to see if there was any mention of Union Jack on the regimental monument. We, were unsure of its exact location, though. I thought it was along Crawford Ave. It turns out, I wasn't that far off. It is near the Weikert (Alsop) Farm along the lane. As we passed by the Devil's Den, however, we saw something a bit more interesting than any monument.

A group of college age kids had ropes strung across the rocks on the face of Devil's Den and were rock-climbing. We pulled into a parking spot. Lori took a few pictures, and we made a few phone calls,and were told a ranger was on the way. The kids overheard my loud mouth (must've been talking louder than I thought I was! My bad!)on the phone and skedaddled before the ranger got there, but we did show the ranger our pictures and gave him the license numbers of the vehicles of those involved. We were told that the matter would be taken care of.

I might mention that as the group was leaving, they made a few rude comments to me, calling me "A dick!" among other things. I informed them that the battlefield was an historic park, not a jungle gym, but they left in a hurry! Guess they figured that nothing good could come from them sticking around.

Sad part is that this type of ignorance and disrespect occurs all too frequently. I blame it on a total lack of education and a total lack of any common sense. How thrilling is it anyway to climb the Devil's Den? It isn't much of a challenge because it's not really that high! Go figure.

If the people involved read this, or if they tell teir friends what jerks Lori and I are, oh, well! I'd rather be a jerk who cares than to go through life with no respect for the past or with no understanding of what the Gettysburg battlefield really is about!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Long-Awaited Wills House Opening...

...We've seen the construction taking place for years now. We've waited 3 months since the first scheduled opening was postponed. Through it all, we've thought, "Well, they're taking their sweet old time about it and spending enough money! Bet it will be awesome when it is done!"

Guess what? It's not! Today was the last of four days of free admission, The place had been jammed full, with lines all the way around the corner all weekend, so Lori and I waited until this afternoon. I'm glad we went, but I will never go again! It is that bad!

Upon entering the foyer at around 4:15pm, we were pushed into a small area with about 20 other people. We were impolitely instructed by a rude employee to move against the walls and not to block the door. They should be thankful there that no one was a fire marshall, because I don't think they were conforming to codes. She was taking groups of ten on the self-guided tour thatbegan upstairs.I know she may have been tired of dealing with crowds all weekend, but let's say tact was not her strong point! Deal with it, Honey! It will be a popular attraction for awhile this year.

We went upstairs to view the exhibits. My question...Hey! Where's the beef? A bed, a nightstand and a dresser were all that was in the 'furnished bedroom'. A few display with some photos and captions, and the saddle that Lincoln used were the bulk of the exhibits. Some propaganda displays telling the story of Lincoln's stay and the Gettysburg Address, and little else.

Downstairs was another 'furnished room' with a chair a table and a light. A few more displays, and some swivel sconces (that were hung too low. Let's take bets on how long it will take til a globe gets broken!) cap off the educational experienceof the lower level. Really sounds like you are there, doesn't it? You can see more in most antique stores.

Oh, and let's not forget the glass-encased diorama (that hopefully is a work in has the major buildings in the town, but only about 12 of them, with no houses or anything else.)

On a positive note, the restoration of the house was well done. The color scheme of the wallpaper and such was nice, and the hardwood floors were exquisite.Well done, there!

Let's just say that I wasn't favorably impressed. I'm sure some of my friends who are even more in-the-know than me will be very sadly disappointed. The highlight of this particular trip was walking out the door. I'm glad it was a free day, as I would not have wanted to pay even $6 to see this thing (though I gladly would have paid to get out of it!).

$7.2 million and a few years waiting for this? Another Gettysburg project that showed so much potential, and another Gettysburg project that ended in total disaster!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Home-brewing is awesome!...

I recently took up home beer brewing as a new hobby. It is fun and rewarding. If you are interested, check out my new blog, here to see what I'm up to and how it is going!