Go ahead and have your laughs on me…

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Anyone who knows me knows my relationship with cars. And that relationship is that I have no relationship with cars.

There was a time when I loved to have a hot rod, a smoking car that would make people “ooh” and “ahh.”

When my died passed away I inherited his 1971 Ford LTD convertible. Even back then that was a pretty awesome vehicle, convertible and all. Then while partying on Long Beach Island way back when the water pump went.

That was the day I learned to hate cars – to the tune of like around $400. A mechanic – I think he was wearing a black mask and had a gun – told me that was how much it was going to cost to fix it.

Done. I was done, done, done.

I have owned so many cars over the years that I honestly couldn’t tell you how many. It’s less than 50 but not by much. My boys at Kennedy Ford in Pottstown say I am onto a third computer screen when they punch up my name.

I don’t care. I buy them, run them and never fix them. Over the past several years I have had the good luck to purchase trades from a certain order of Catholic nuns. Go figure. Hey, you would hope the cars would be in great shape and they have been. I did wonder about the one car that had this rocking sound system – and it was one of the nun cars. Some progressive nun, huh?

I have owned Saturns, VWs, Chevrolets, Fords, Chryslers, Mercurys. I have owned a truck, five VW bugs from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. I had a Dodge Charger I admit to running to 117 mph on the Pa. Turnpike when some punk thought he could outrace me. Not proud of that one.

And in total honesty I am almost 58 years old and have been driving since I was 16. I have had maybe three accidents ever and three moving violations ever. Of course one of those was a total miscarriage of justice at the hands of the West Chester Police Department and a certain district justice but I digress.

But never in my wildest dreams would I have figured I’d get stopped with the heap I am currently driving in what I can my transition car, that is, needing something to drive while waiting for something better.

In the last 12 days I have been stopped not once, but twice by local police. Now Upper Providence Police probably don’t count because they would cite Santa for driving an overloaded sleigh on Christmas Eve but hell yeh, they stopped me. Why? No clue. Still don’t know. The cop said he ran my plate. Why was that officer? Yeh, um, still waiting for an answer.

And on Route 252 a very polite Tredyffrin Township Police officer stopped me for what he said was a broken brake light.

The offending vehicle you want to know? A white, 1998 Buick LaSabre Custom. For real. Name me the last criminal you saw driving a white, 1998 Buick LaSabre Custom. I’ve become the joke of the house – probably the neighborhood. My kids snicker, my wife shakes her head and asks, “Can’t you find anything better to drive than that?”

I can’t say I disagree. And then I get caught up in the comfort of the plush, blue seats that wrap around me giving my tush something other than cold, slippery Ford Focus plastic to sit on. That Dynaride suspension only rivaled by its nearly-new tires and window stickers reminding me of its ever-present oil changes. Yup, that old man or old lady from Pottstown who owned this piece kept her in good shape.

And the trunk? Yes, the trunk. I actually can fit the ice hockey bags of me AND both of my sons in it. Hell, I could probably fit the both of them in there as well.

And before I forget, there is a retractable cup holder from the middle console that holds two cups of coffee – one for me and one for the missus – although she refuses to get into the car.

My sister said she is considering buying my chrome rims for it and my wife said she would throw in fuzzy dice. A real bunch of comedians.

But the real killer is that this car is the last one I’d ever thought would get me stopped by the police.

So go ahead and laugh Matt, Tom, Michael and John Armstrong of Kennedy Ford. Have your fun. I still counted as a sale for you and another line on the computer screen.

In a few months I will be back with my rod looking for the next in a long line of vehicles and I expect to be given in trade what a white 1998 Buick LaSabre Custom with Dynaride deserves. And a belly chuckle ain’t what I was thinking of.

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Thugs of Ferguson, thanks a lot for nothing

Ferguson Nationwide Protests

There are people in Ferguson, Missouri who are angry. A grand jury on Tuesday chose not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the August fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18.

The good people of Ferguson have a right to be angry, they have a right to question the police force of Ferguson, they have a right to challenge the grand jury’s decision and they are within their rights to demand change to police department policies.

I have always stood up for the underdog, the little guy, for those whose voices need to be heard over the bullying tactics of those in charge, those with the power. I stand behind anyone who demands to be heard within the laws of our land.

However, I have a really hard time feeling anything but disgust when a television network shows the smiling faces, the laughing faces of a crowd of thugs who feel it is right and just to loot a store in the midst of Ferguson’s worst day in its history.

Within minutes it seemed, crowds of thugs and criminals took to the streets, burning buildings, smashing cars, throwing rocks, bottles or anything else they could find to hurl at anyone and no one in particular.

My question: why? I’m certain that the crowds of people out in the streets of Ferguson were demanding justice, demanding that Wilson be held accountable for the shooting death of Brown. However, a grand jury comprised of 9 white jurors and 3 black jurors heard months of testimony and chose not to indict.

That is our system of justice – right or wrong. Witnesses told their versions of the incident and even Wilson was questioned. And whether or not you care to buy it, forensics and other evidence supported the cop’s version of the fatal night.

The grand jury said no indictment.

But that wasn’t good enough for those people who decided that they would make things “right” all on their own. And to be honest and as some people on social media pointed out, many of those looting and burning and causing mayhem likely have no clue about the incident itself, the details or the real issues.

This was just a good opportunity to take to the streets and raise hell, steal, burn and destroy.

I get the anger toward the police. And destroying the police vehicles on the streets is nothing new. Those who clash with the “establishment” and “authority” often take it out on the police cars, smashing and burning.

In the end the good people of Ferguson will be paying for those new police cars since the town’s insurance company will replace them and pass on the costs to the city which in turn will raise taxes. Dumb move. But in any event, I get it.

However, please explain the logic of burning down the business of a guy who has been in Ferguson for decades, supported his town and its citizens by maybe sponsoring a baseball team, contributing to charities and the like? Exactly what is to be gained by that? If I was that businessman I’d close up shop and move to a town where I am respected and not made an irrational target of someone’s stupidity.

Stealing liquor, shoes, cash or even cakes for heaven’s sake from shop owners accomplishes exactly what? Please tell me. All this did Tuesday night was reinforce the notion that groups who protest are nothing more than animals taking advantage of a situation to their personal gain. And who can argue? Not I.

President Obama, religious leaders, even the parents of Michael Brown pleaded for people to protest peacefully, to engage in debate within the law.

But alas, it was not to be. And so Ferguson – the good people of Ferguson – you will now suffer for the ills of the idiots. There was a great opportunity to show the country – the world – that you had a point to make and that you could make it responsibly, peacefully and with meaning.

But no. And now the world sees Ferguson for unfortunately what it is – a city run by potentially overzealous cops and even more overzealous rebels who have no cause other than creating havoc.

Have at it folks and good luck with that.

 

 

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Every hockey parent — as well as others — needs to read this…

This is excellent work and something every parent of a youth athlete should read…

http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/a-plea-to-hockey-parents-dont-be-your-kids-worst-enemy/

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Two years ago seems like just yesterday for Fox friends, relatives

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Shock. Disbelief. Uncontrollable sobbing. Crying. More crying. Silence. Red eyes. Single tear. Half-smile. Smile…

It’s been more than two years since Plymouth Township Officer Brad Fox was gunned down, ambushed by a man whose name rarely gets mentioned in the stories that have followed the incident. Fox died the day before his 35th birthday. Sept. 13, 2012.

Andrew Thomas was a convicted felon already on probation and according to reports was the prime suspect in the disappearance of his fiancée. This truly was a bad guy.

Officer Fox, meanwhile, was a U.S. Marine veteran and a seven-year veteran of the force. He and his K-9 partner Nick were investigating an accident in Plymouth Township in which the suspect had fled on foot leaving behind the wreck that included a stolen vehicle.

That’s when Thomas opened fire killing Fox and wounding his K-9 partner. Thomas shot himself at the scene.

I didn’t know Brad Fox very well. I knew him as a member of the Blueliners men’s ice hockey team that plays out of Center Ice in Oaks. I didn’t know his wife Lynsay either. I have talked to her a couple of times at other fundraisers.

The couple has two children – daughter Kadence and son Brad Fox Jr. It’s not likely I will ever know them very well either.

However, after two years and a few fundraising events I feel like I know them very well; I see Fox’ surviving teammates just about every week at the rink.

Tragedy is a strange phenomenon. Sometimes it brings people together who under normal conditions would never have known each other.

Like the teammates of Brad Fox; DeSantis. Jackson.

I have officiated their games and up until the murder of Fox they were just another team of guys I got to know on the ice. They were fun and funny at times and could be a nuisance at times. Gerry DeSantis was one of Fox’ closest friends.

On the ice, DeSantis at times would drive me crazy with his antics. Loud and boisterous I think I even tossed him out of a couple of games. Hey, just another night at the rink with the players. No big deal.

For the last two years, though, I see the difference the loss of one man has on many others. I see DeSantis and the rest of the boys. There is a pain that is obvious, a loss that shows through as they walk through the rink, sometimes with their own kids.

Their faces don’t hide it very well. You can see it. You can feel it. We say hello, high-five each other, a slap on the back here and there. But deep down you know it was the cruelest of events that created this odd new bond. It’s not the kind of bond any of us ever wanted. We all would have preferred that they were the players and I was the ref.

Fate didn’t see it that way so this year we gather again at the rink to play the game we love in the hope of raising some money for Fox’ widow and his two children. The Blueliners took on the Flyers alumni in the game held Saturday night before hundreds of adoring fans. The Flyers know all too well about loss of their own team members: Pelle Lindbergh. Barry Ashbee.

It’s sad but uplifting at the same time. We know Brad Fox is gone but we know his friends, family and teammates are there for him day after day, year after year.

So what started out with tears and sobs has moved to smiles. Not happy smiles but smiles of acknowledgement of support and love. And if that’s the best we can all do then I’m sure the Fox family will take it.

Andy Hachadorian is the editor of the Daily Local News in West Chester and is both an on-ice and off-ice hockey official. Contact him at andyh@dailylocal.com, @DLNEditor on Twitter.

 

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I do believe in ghosts, I do believe in ghosts, I do, I do, I do…

All about summer storms, power outages, PECO and haunted houses…

So yes, I must admit to believing (sort of) in ghosts. Call me crazy but there have been times in my life when things happen – weird things – without any explanation at all. And trust me I have looked for the explanations.

Most recently I was sitting in my kitchen on a chair when I felt what I would call a “whisping” feeling – if there is such a word. I felt something or someone sort of brush by me. It was a strange sensation. And of course I generally don’t talk about stuff like this because people like you folks are now thinking I am nuts. Well maybe so but not due to this stuff. But there was no one else in the room, no fans or AC blowing at the time. I looked around and … nothing.

But this stuff has happened — and more than once. So I can relate to all those people who have these experiences but never dare mention them.

When I lived in Havertown I lived in a house where the owner had recently died – in the house. Bob Shugg was the former owner and we came to affectionately call him “the Shuggster.” Again, call me crazy but the more we laughed about it and his name the more strange things would happen.

For example, numerous sets of lost keys, other lost items including a gold cross where the chain was found but not the cross. A bit unusual? Me thinks so.

Then there was the time when we went away for a couple of days and came back to find Ryan’s hamsters in his room but out of their tank. Now there was nothing for them to climb on to get out and the screened top was in place. But no hamsters. We found them and plopped them back inside their safe home. But the question remains: how the heck did they get out?

And of course there was the recent disappearing wallet incident. There is absolutely no reason or explanation for that. And I just don’t make it a habit of losing wallets. Anyone in my family will tell you that I am such a cheapie that my wallet NEVER gets lost. Not ever. I have never lost a wallet in my life. Keys? Maybe – and probably because of the Shuggster.

Which brings me to the other night – a night of more summer storms.

There was no thunder, no lightning but a lot of rain. I got home late of course – around 8-ish – and popped a plate of food into the microwave. Switch on and … nothing. The plate barely turned so I took it out and found myself staring at cold ravioli. Then the stove lights and clock went out, followed by the dishwasher.

Meanwhile, the kitchen lights remained on. I walked into the laundry room and flicked on the lights. They went on and then immediately went off. Then the TV. Then the kitchen appliances came BACK on only to go off a moment later. And of course the kitchen lights, well, they were still on.

I walked down the basement to the fuse box. Every breaker was on. Hmm. I went back upstairs and voila, the kitchen appliances were on again. Oops. Nevermind, they are off again.

So at this point I am thinking to myself, “OK, I know I have had crappy luck this year with ‘stuff’ going bad. Washers, dryers, cars, etc. But is it really possible that all this stuff is blowing up all at once?” Of course, how else could you explain basically a partial power outage in your house? How can lights be on in one room and off in another?

Well then there’s PECO’s website to the rescue. I went onto the site and found that indeed there was an outage at my house. Sort of. The power was certainly on, but it was also certainly off as well. There were PECO trucks in front of the house so I went out and flagged one of the guys down and asked him what was going on.

Naturally he asked where I lived and I turned and pointed back to the Amityville Horror house and he explained in PECO-speak what the issue was. There you go. No ghosts, no haunting, just something about a 120 this or that line and that they were working on it.

Now, if I could only find that darn wallet…

— Andy Hachadorian

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It’s a time just feeling a bit older…

 

It’s an interesting time of life these days. I suppose that’s the best way to put it. Things are changing, lives are entering new phases. And it’s not just me. My pal and Delco Times Editor Phil Heron just had a daughter marry. I saw his photos on Facebook. Other friends whose kids were just babies not so long ago are whisking them off to middle schools and high school come fall.

Yes, time is marching on.

In my own house my youngest son just turned 16. My only daughter turns 21 on Monday. The other two are (almost) 25 and 28. Whoa, where did all the time go? Funny thing is I remember me turning 16 and 21, 25 AND 28. Seems like just yesterday – but it’s not.

Soon my youngest will be learning to drive — amazing since I can remember him flying up and down our street in a motorized little truck. It had forward and reverse and he would spend forever out there in the driveway going back and forth, back and forth.

I remember when he started playing sports. Soccer was his sport in his younger days. He was actually pretty good at it and he also playing T-ball and Little League. But he decided baseball wasn’t his game and he stuck to soccer – until a couple of years ago when he turned to ice hockey. I swear I had nothing to do with it although I have enjoyed watching him learn how to skate and then learn how to play the game.

This year – his junior year – will be his second full season at the JV level. I helped coach his team last year and it was definitely cool seeing him find the back of the net for the first time. Anyone who plays the game knows what a feeling it is to score a goal.

As for my daughter, she’s learning the skills to work in a hospital in the medical records field. She enjoys it and decided that college wasn’t her thing. No matter. I wouldn’t mind her getting a license soon though. Being the family taxi driver does get a bit old.

The older two are more on their own although they seem to drift back home as those their age tend to do these days. Heck, why not sponge off mom and dad? Some free food and lodging…

And yes, getting a bit older is starting to hit home a bit; a step slower on the ice – not that there was a ton of speed to begin with – along with the waking up in the middle of the night. Throw in some habits like watching Andy Griffith and Hogan’s Heroes reruns and boom! I officially sort of feel old.

But like everything else I don’t plan on going quietly. I will continue to overdo it skating and taking on more “stuff” in my life. I believe that when you start to slow down is when things go kaput. And I can’t let that happen. I see what happens to older people who they start to ratchet it back a bit – it gets darn near impossible to turn the gears back up.

Maybe I am just tired and getting used to the warm summer weather. It would be nice to lie down under a big old tree and take a nap. Wow, does that sound pathetic or what? No time for naps. Gotta get back out on the ice and get that personal plate full of things to do again.

— Andy Hachadorian

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Really missing my missing wallet

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Lately I will have to admit that I am a bit scatterbrained. I think it’s a matter of trying to take on too much. Whether it’s dealing with typical home stuff – new washer, car inspections, taking the dog to the vet – or work issues, I have found myself allowing stuff to fall through the cracks. And most of the time I have noticed and filled those cracks before they became caverns.

Not this time.

Over the weekend, I lost my wallet. This was the first time in my adult lifetime that I lost a wallet. Misplaced a few times? Sure, but easily found with some step tracing. This time, though, it may be gone. Notice I hedge.

Losing (even temporarily) a wallet for me is a killer. It was never about the money although I am not that rich to lose a couple hundred bucks and not be upset. No, it was more about the stuff – or junk as some tell me – that I carry in my wallet.

I have always been the kind of person who made my wallet my personal history book. From a wedding photo from 1981 including a silver leaf from the cake to a $2 bill given to me by my dad a long, long time ago, losing that wallet was like taking a valuable history book and lighting it on fire. Gone. Forever.

Also in that wallet were two tiny pieces of paper – one from my oldest son wishing me Happy Easter to another from my youngest wishing me a Happy Birthday. Those are two things that may have also been vaporized by my loss of focus.

Funny thing – I retraced all my steps and I have narrowed it down to an ill-advised stop on a New Jersey highway shoulder – it should not have happened and wouldn’t if I had just kept the darned thing in my pants pocket.

I stopped at a local BJ’s gas station and got gas in my car. The nice folks at BJ’s even checked the video of me pumping gas (a little creepy I would say but helpful now) and they figured I put my wallet back into the pocket of my pants. So I didn’t lose it there.

I tore my house and car apart and nothing so my highway “drop” is the likely place. And I plan to retrace the trip as I know pretty much where I stopped.

When you lose something like a wallet, there are the pain in the neck chores like calling banks, credit card companies, etc., to alert them to your irresponsible behavior. I can see the eye rolling on the other end of the phone and it is embarrassing.

But it’s that feeling of not knowing where it is. It’s like when the family pet takes off and you don’t know where the dog or cat is. It’s unsettling and not knowing kills you. And of course my wallet loss means the finality of the loss of that wedding cake leaf. And that hurts the most.

So I am in the process of reassembling my wallet. New pictures, new cards. It won’t be the same but I guess I will get over it. I do plan one more trek down that New Jersey highway this weekend to scope out the shoulder looking for my friend the wallet. Maybe I find it, maybe not. But I wouldn’t feel right without giving it one last shot.

— Andy Hachadorian

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