Monthly Archives: May 2010

Thank A Vet

A thank you to our veterans on Memorial Day and everyday. I have some mixed feeling about Memorial Day. That is because I don’t think anyone should glorify war.  On the other hand we need to respect those who have fought for our country. I’m not explaining that well so I’ll defer to an article by John Cory that says it better than I can.

The best way we can thank our vets is to never have a war. Let’s all pray and work towards that day.

If you are having a picnic this holiday with family or friends enjoy. While there thank anyone who is a veteran and ask them about their service time. I think that is a good way to honor them and learn from them.

I have a sure-fire side dish recipe for your picnics. I always get compliments and asked for this recipe when I bring it. Be sure to double or triple the recipe if taking to a sizable gathering.

Lemon Rice Salad with Peanuts

1 box Long grain and wild rice

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts

3 scallions, sliced thinly, including green tops

½ cup minced fresh parsley


¾ tsp. Lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons olive oil

½ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Pepper

Cook rice according to box directions then  allow to  cool. Combine rice with peanuts, scallions and parsley. Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss rice mixture with lemon dressing.

Enjoy from the Elecpencil!

Bob Seeger: 2+2

The Doors: Unknown Soldier

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”  ~Eve Merriam


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Talking About Hardware on the Software

I want to mention some great businesses in our valley. Mrs. Elecpencil and I have been picking up hardware, for the workmen who  are remodeling our bathroom. While doing this we have interacted with many of  our fine area businesses.

If you’re remodeling your bathroom the first thing you need is some ideas. That means you need to stop at Trumbull Industries showroom. It is located at 1040 North Meridian Road Youngstown, Ohio.  Your next stop should be at a place to find bargains on tubs, faucets, toilets, vanities etc. That would be at Trumbull Industries outlet store. It is located at 300 Dietz Road NE Warren, Ohio. They have limited hours but we got some very good buys there.

I purchased a tub surround and a few other items at Carter Lumber at St. Rt. 5 in Cortland, OH. The employees were most helpful and made sure I got all of the things we needed for proper installation. I was wondering how in the world I was going to get these large boxes of shower walls home. The salesman came to my rescue and said, “We’ll drop it off at your house.” You’re not going to get that kind of service at the big box stores.

I had a hard time getting an odd size door for my bathroom. The folks at Ace Lumber Co. 1039 Poland Ave. Youngstown, OH came to the rescue.  They ordered me a door that arrived within days.  A really nice store with some very helpful workers. I joined them in a conversation about some of the fine eateries in our valley. A union carpenter friend tells me this is one of only two stores he shops at for hardware. The other one is Banner Supply E. Indianola Ave. Youngstown, OH. They also have a store in Warren at 1415 North  Park Ave.  The shingles for my roof came from Banner. They are a knowledgeable bunch with decent prices.

Before you head to the big box stores check out these stores where the contractors buy. They’re all fine businesses that have been in our valley for years and have earned your support.

Quicksilver Messenger Service (QMS): What About Me (Still relevant 40 years later)

QMS: Fresh Air

“For community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.” ~ Millard Fuller


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The answer is? Traficant

President Obama is coming to our valley! Other good news is that our congressman, Tim Ryan has been appointed to the Defense committee. The Defense committee holds the purse strings for the nation’s military. The Teabaggers have been busy calling the local radio talk shows with their comments on these two issues.

They offer a two-word answer why these two things have happened. The answer, Jim Traficant. They say, the president is visiting to show he backs Tim Ryan in the November election.  Traficant has filed as an independent to run against Ryan. Teabaggers claim Ryan is so afraid of Traficant winning he has brought in no less than the president for support. The “baggers” claim Rep. Ryan was put on the Defense committee to show Ryan has clout. Being on such a committee might mean jobs for our area. The Teabaggers just see it as a way to keep Traficant from being elected. Of course these Teabagger comments are B.S. since Traficant is a joke. The sad part is that his supporters don’t realize they are part of the joke.

You’ve heard area talk show callers attack Ryan for years now. Their favorite line is, Ryan has his nose up Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s ass. These comments come from would be macho men who prefer to have women at home baking cookies. The same callers have never claimed that former Youngstown Mayor McKelvey had his nose up President Bushes ass. They never said former “CONgressman” Traficant had his nose up Speaker of the House Denny Hastert’s ass.

The local Tea Party talks about wanting a government that is answerable to the people. They then talk about supporting convicts like Traficant for office. Don’t they get that acts like that show they have no credibility. Not to mention that they had no problem with President GW Bush running up our debt for eight years.

Is Jim Traficant the answer to our problems or the root of our problems? I had a bad week and I am going to used the name Jim Traficant as my answer for it. I had a squirrel come down my chimney and run around my house. He now seems to be in the basement where I have placed a trap. Why did the squirrel come in my house? I’ll go with the teabagger’s answer to that. It’s because of Jim Traficant. The squirrel was looking for a big nut and thought he was at Traficant’s house.

While parked in our driveway a huge tree branch fell on Mrs. Elecpencil’s beloved Ford Taurus. It broke out the back window, dented the roof and quarter panel.  Why did the branch fall? The answer is Traficant. Hundreds of squirrels were on the branch fighting and it fell from their weight. How is that Traficant’s fault? The squirrel were fighting over a nest that resembled Jimbo’s toupee.

Heard about the BP Gulf oil spill? It’s because of Traficant. Remember when Traficant would enter labor disputes? The ones where after Jimbos HELP, the workers always ended up taking more and more concessions. Jimbo threatened to lock everyone in a room and have everyone eat only beans until the negotiations were over. Well, rumor has it the other day Felon Jimbo was at a AYCE beans buffet. Soon after he passed gas blowing up the BP oil rig. Jimbo has plenty of hot air on a normal day let alone eating bottomless plates of beans.

Kids, the next time your parents ask you, who is responsible for some misdeed you did, answer Jim Traficant.

When Traficant is a featured speaker at a Tea party let’s call it what it really is, ” A Mad Hatter Tea Party.”

Mumford and Sons: Awake My Soul

Hold Onto What You Believe

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?  ~Maurice Freehill


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Myth Busting On Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day! It’s a day to celebrate the women who gave us birth. We should also remember Earth, the First Mother. With disasters like the recent Gulf oil spill we really need to take a look at what we are doing to Mother Earth, who has given us all life.

We have people who don’t want to believe in Global Warming or any climate change. They want to believe that humans are not responsible. This is of course also the corporate view as they don’t want to spend any money to clean up the damage they do.  We need first to realize we have a problem and to look at some facts. There is no debate between climate scientists.  Even if you are a global Warming denier, we have to err on the side of making a better planet. What can we as individuals do to help Mother Nature? Here is a list of things everyone can do.

Most of the problems we have on Mother Earth stem from myths. Overcoming these myths would go a long way to making for a better planet. The issue of illegal aliens is something our country needs to look at. Passing racist laws as Arizona has recently done is not the answer. We need to dispell myths about the, “Immigration Crisis.”  Immigration legal or illegal is about providing a better life for your family. I wish people could find that in their homeland. We need to get people to fight to make their own countries a place where their children have the opportunities they come to our country seeking.

We hear too much about how we have deadbeats in our society, who are content to live generation after generation on welfare. It’s time to bust the welfare myths. With welfare only amounting to 1% of the federal budget it is hard to believe political candidates get so much mileage out of the issue. We spend four times as much on corporate welfare. The rich are the ones who need to be thrown off welfare.

We keep hearing from the Teabaggers how President Obama is turning the U.S. into a socialist nation. Let’s just look at that myth. Here are some of the myths about the U.S. Here are myths about the U.S. economy and deficit. Twenty historical myths.  Five myths about the U. S. education system. We need to bust the myths. We need to use the truth as oral ammunition against the mythologist that would keep us down with lies. We don’t need a Tea Party we need a Myth Busters Party. Party on.

Grace Slick: Earth Mother

Culcha Candela: Mother Earth

“Myths are a waste of time. They prevent progression.” ~ Barbara Streisand

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Felon Radio and Enjoying the Valley

I wonder if the comment section on my site is hard to use for people. I tend to get e-mails instead of comments. That’s fine as I do appreciate your feedback and suggestions. One recent e-mail said I was wasting my time with the, “Armchair Activist” or what is called, “Slacktivism” section because such e-mail actions don’t work. Having current actions you can make a difference on was my main goal in setting up a blog. So I was stunned to have someone tell me the “Armchair Activist” section was a waste of my time. He sent me info from to prove his point. I know that many people take as gospel but I offer this to show they got it wrong. If you want to have even more influence than “Slacktivism” consider writing and phoning your elected officials. To make a big impact use ethical consumerism and learn about the products and companies you are doing business with. Purchase locally whenever you can.

I don’t know how many of you have heard about the terrible toxic spill that is causing so much damage. No, I’m not talking about the Gulf Coast oil slick; I’m talking about something closer to us here in Ohio. I’m talking about the brain cell killing gas slick that is being emitted in Cleveland every Saturday. Though the pollution happens every Saturday between 1pm-4pm Cleveland’s Hazmat crews have not responded to the emergency. Knowing the polluter involved, you know the pile of bull shit is getting deep and needs FEMA’s attention. I’m talking about, 1100 AM radio’s, Jim 10 Felony Counts Traficant Show. Most of the callers are Tea baggers who think Jimbo should be president. From prison to the White House, now there’s a Horatio Alger story.

When I need a pick me up on the work days I watch, “FOX and Friends” before work. Think the ” Daily Show” with John Stewart but with a cast who doesn’t realize they are doing very funny satire. The three FOX hosts are the lamest idiots on TV and that is saying something given the  rest of  the FOX News show hosts. It’s so scripted it makes WWF wrestling seem like an improv event. After a few minutes of “FOX and Friends” I know that any bizarre event that happens to me the rest of the day, will seem tame compared to the nut bags on FOX I watched that morning. So, on the weekends if I need a fix of listening to fruitcakes I now have the, “Jim Traficant show.”

The other point of blogging is to point out the many great things we have in our valley. I took the wife’s Ford Taurus into Crown Ford to get the oil changed. I had no appointment but was in and out pretty quick. They always call my house within a few days of any service I have. They want to know if I liked their service and have any suggestions. We got our Taurus used from Crown and it now is four years old and has near 70,000 miles. The car has been one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. It still has the original brakes, tires and battery and has required no service other than oil changes and tire rotations. The Taurus gets good gas mileage, has a very comfortable seat and a huge trunk. That is all I really need in transportation. I don’t consider huge car payments on a BMW (Big Money Wasted) a status symbol.  I have owned GM, Chrysler, AMC, VW, Honda and Toyotas and I’d put this Ford at the top in reliability of any of them. Crown Ford is also the best dealership I have had experience with.

Mrs. Elecpencil and I enjoyed a meal the other day at Trax Lounge located at 4250 New Rd Austintown, OH. It’s one of our favorite restaurants as it has an extensive menu. We tend to get one of their salads with chicken or steak on it. These are as they would say on, “Seinfeld” big salads. Always great food and service and try a Honey Brown on draft and you’ll thank me.

Because the Elecpencil went from the industrial sector to the service sector a decade ago, I have had to seek out bargains when I shop. Buying retail is for schmucks and shopping on a budget can be a treasure hunt. I have been shopping for a new entry door for our house. Our old door is the original and is hollow wood and not very energy efficient in winter. On the bright side it is summer and I have all summer to find a bargain door. My search took me to Bernard Daniels in Canfield. It’s a hardware store that has been serving our valley for 90 years.  I especially liked their side room that had a large amount of windows and doors at close out prices. I didn’t find the size I needed but I will stop back a few more times this summer to see what else ends up in the sales room. A great place that even has appliances.

I stopped into a small store in Boardman I really liked. It’s called S&J Merchandise. It’s located at West Blvd. (off 224, next to A&W). A very congenial young guy told me to ask for something I wanted if I didn’t see it. He had a little bit of everything packed in the store. He buys closeouts etc. by the pallet and offers great prices on items. I saw; beach chairs, electronics, computer keyboards, car seat covers, picture frames, pharmacy products, mag wheels for a car, etc. I bought a TV universal remote with big numbers for my mother-in-law and Mrs. Elecpencil bought some cooking tools. A place that deserves the support of all of us for proving affordable goods.

Mrs. Elecpencil and I stopped by Fellows Riverside Gardens for a walk among the lovely gardens. If you haven’t checked out the gift shop at the Davis Education & Visitor Center next to the gardens you need to. We  attended the open house for the Artist of the Mahoning Commons in the old Ward Bakery on Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown. The artists have studios in the building and it is great to go and be able to buy some of the wonderful things they have for sale. There was: photography, paintings, pottery, jewelry, mirrors, furniture, birdbaths etc. Always a nice open house you shouldn’t miss.

We also stopped right down the street at the new Calvin Center Idea Incubator. The center will house the new Rust Belt Theater Company, which will stage its first production in June and will have a full season beginning in the fall. The theater will be run by local talented producer/singer Robert Joki. It’s a nice facility that Mrs. And Mr. Elecpencil look forward to visiting for plays.

Put that damn mower away (you don’t need to mow three times a week) and get out and enjoy our valley!

Capitol Steps:  Buy, Buy American Pie

God Bless My SUV

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.  ~John Kenneth Galbraith


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