See books written by Paul Pakusch at https://www.amazon.com/author/paulpakusch



Monday, April 5, 2021

Comics

 A couple days ago, I posted a blog about my family's old station wagon.  I wrote about how my mother used to buy comic books for my sisters and me to read in the back of the car while travelling.  It got me thinking about the characters in the comics I read.  I was never into the super-hero comics, such as Superman, Batman or Spiderman.  I enjoyed a lot of the Harvey Comics, such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Audrey, Little Lotta, Little Dot and Richie Rich.  The Disney series was a favorite, with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey & Louie, and April, May & June.  I also loved the Archie comic series.



I'd have to say my all-time favorite comic when I was younger was Dennis the Menace.  I just got a kick out of all the shenanigans he pulled, often involving his friends Margaret and pal Joey.  Poor Mr. Wilson, and the ever-loving Mrs. Wilson.


While I accumulated a nice collection of comic magazines and books, I also read the comic section in the daily newspapers and especially looked forward to the color Sunday section.  I was a voracious reader of comics.  I have no doubt that it helped me with developing my reading skills as a youngster.  My dad called me a bookworm.

We usually got up early on Christmas morning to open the gifts that Santa Claus had brought us.  I remember one Christmas where, because we were up early, my parents wanted the whole family to take a nap in the early afternoon.  Once I got into bed, instead of sleeping, I read an entire Disney children's novel about Mickey Mouse.  I just couldn't put the book down.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Joy

Happy Easter! I thought I would start the day with some positive thoughts this Spring of 2021 and hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel for this Covid crisis. Most of my family is healthy and doing well. My daughter Melissa is a burn survivor after a horrible car fire on January 27, but she is healing well now. Stacey and I were able to get to Florida for a few days earlier this week, enjoy some sunshine, and be in Disney with some relatives.

I am mindful of the fact that holidays mean different things to different people. Some people celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter, other people celebrate its more secular traditions, such as chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. I feel that neither is wrong. Easter, just like any other holiday, means what you want it to mean to you. 

I always enjoyed my family's Easter traditions, which included a church service and family get-togethers and activities. I took this photo of my mother, father, and two sisters on Easter Sunday, 1973, not long after receiving my first Polaroid camera.

Today Stacey and I will be visiting one of my daughters, her husband, and my two grandchildren.

Happy Easter! Enjoy your day!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Scatterbrained Thoughts #1

John F. Kennedy never knew the name Lee Harvey Oswald.

Ben Franklin flew a kite but never flew an airplane.

Somebody had to be the first person to die in an airplane crash.  It was Thomas Etholen Selfridge, who was a passenger in a plane piloted by Orville Wright on September 17, 1908.

Clothing stores don't have an "intimate apparel" section for men.

When you walk into a Walmart store, most of what you see will be in a landfill in 10 years.

A porn weather forecast:  5-6 inches here, 8-10 inches there.

That god-awful sound of us from behind closed doors is not what you think it is.  It's the two of us trying to sing a song together.

People cough, burp, fart, and have other bodily functions, for which they say, "Excuse me."  But why is it up to someone else to say "Bless you" after you've sneezed and got spit all over them?

In the movie, The Parent Trap, starring Hayley Mills, how is it that an American couple has two daughters with British accents?

On expressways, I don't believe there is any such thing as a "passing lane."  The left lane should be called the "tailgating lane" because everyone in it is tailgating the person in front of him or her.


To subscribe to a daily e-mail of this blog, enter your e-mail address in the upper right



Friday, April 2, 2021

The Old Family Station Wagon

We weren't exactly The Brady Bunch but we fit the stereotype of a 1960's and 1970's family with a station wagon. I think it was in the mid-60s when my parents purchased a Dodge Dart. We certainly made use of the cargo space in the back to carry things around, and the back seat was always down on family trips. That would never go today, of course. This was back in the days when we would lay out the blanket across the whole back section. My sisters and I could lounge around with books, comic books, snacks, and sugary drinks to while the hours away while traveling.  The one thing it didn't have was the third row of seats in the back, which faced rear-ward.  My cousin's family had a station wagon like that and I was actually jealous.

This is my sister, Nancy and me in the back of our station wagon on a trip to Lake Placid around 1964.

Our trips were frequently to the Adirondack Mountains to places such as Lake Placid and Lake George. My mother would purchase new comic books for us to read, but we were not allowed to start reading them until we got to the New York State Thruway, which was a forever-drive to me.  My dad called me a bookworm. I could not wait to get through the toll booths so I could indulge myself in the new comic books. My father sometimes pointed out sights along the way, which was boring to me as a little kid; I appreciated the sights later as I got older. We visited places such as Santa's Village, North Pole on the side of Whiteface Mountain, Enchanted Forest, the Land of Make Believe, and Gaslight Village. Many of these places are gone now. That Dodge Dart held many memories for me. It was definitely a our family vehicle.  It came to an end in the early 1970's when my dad a car in front of him. Sadly to say, it was his alcoholism that was at fault.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

My Out of World Experience

Not many people know about the time I was invaded by aliens. Well, it really wasn't quite so much an invasion as it was an opportunity to see the world from outer space. Last summer, I took a trip out west in my van just to see the scenery. One of the places I stopped at was Devil's Tower, which is well-known for being featured in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Well, I discovered in the middle of the night that some of what you see in the movie might actually be true. It must have been about 2 or 3 in the morning I got up to use the restroom. After I came back out, an odd-looking male figure approached me in the darkness and motioned for me to follow him. I did. 

We walked along a rock wall that shines very red during the day. Just around the corner in the very dimly lit night, there was a saucer-shaped craft with a few other similar looking characters hanging around the outside. One of them spoke to me in a very broken English and asked me if I would like to go for a ride. I said yes, so we boarded the craft. He told me he was from the planet Doonvomorzey. They had been watching TV signals from Earth for a long time and were perplexed as to why so many of our movies on Earth showed aliens as wanting to "invade" us. They are just as curious about us as we are of lifeforms beyond our planet. Their technology is more advanced than ours, so that's why they were able to travel here. They had seen "Close Encounters." They thought landing at Devil's Tower would be a fun way to visit Earth.

They were afraid that humans on Earth would freak out if they saw them. This is the reason they were hiding. When they saw me walking around by myself in the middle of the night, they felt safe enough to ask me if I would like to go for a quick ride with them. So I boarded the craft, and sat by a window. There were no noisy engines, fiery rockets or anything like that, the liftoff was just quiet and gentle. Some amazing technology! We quickly headed straight up and broke through the Earth's atmosphere. We took one orbit around the Earth and I was able to see much of what astronauts normally see from the International Space Station. Once around the world, we descended right back to the point were they had landed before and let me out. We waved goodbye to each other and I went back to my campsite to go back to bed.

Nothing dramatic, but that was my alien experience. Now you know.

Paul Pakusch, Respectfully Submitted, April 1, 2021


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Disney During Covid

After deciding to spend five nights on an impromptu trip to Florida, Stacey and I chose to spend three of those nights at Disney World. Some of our family members were booked at the Art of Animation Resort, and we ended up with reservations at the Pop Century Resort. They are connected to each other by a bridge and sidewalks along the parking lot. 

Because of Covid, Disney is limiting the number of people in each park through a reservation system. My relatives already had reservations for Monday and Tuesday of this week, but reservations were full by the time Stacey and I started looking. We did find some openings at Epcot and Animal Kingdom for last Saturday and Sunday, so we chose to go to Animal Kingdom on Saturday. We would spend Sunday just relaxing at the resort with family. This would also be our first time flying since Covid hit.


Friday, March 26

We left Rochester for a flight from Buffalo to Baltimore. There were high wind warnings in effect. We saw a beautiful double rainbow ahead of a storm, just before reaching a rest stop. Sadly we did not get a picture of it. At the Buffalo airport gate, every other seat was taped off for social distancing. We found this ironic since the flight was completely sold out and as crowded as ever. Masks were required for the entire time on board the plane. As a private pilot, I was gratified that the wind was blowing straight down runway 23, per the windsock. The flight wasn't bad considering, bumpy mostly below the cloud tops. In Baltimore, all of the seats at the gate were available to sit in.

Once we arrived at Orlando Airport, we needed to retrieve our luggage as Disney Magical Express does not do luggage service anymore. Our wait for a bus to Pop Century Resort was about a half hour. Other people going to other resorts were in longer lines with longer waits. Seating capacity on the buses is reduced due to social distancing. They staggered the seats by assigning them to your group.

Checking in to Pop Century was done online through the My Disney Experience app. We were instructed to go straight to our room and unlock the door via the app. It worked. We later went to the front desk to pick up Magic Bands. Hungry after a day of travel, we were instructed to order food through the app, and received a text message when it was ready. We had the choice of taking it elsewhere or eating in the food court dining room, which had tables spaced out. Although we purchased resort mugs with unlimited refills, the drinks were actually handed to us in disposable paper cups.

Saturday, May 27

After having a light breakfast in our hotel room, we took a Disney bus to Animal Kingdom. For social distancing, the driver assigned us to seats.  There were plastic dividers between seats. Upon arriving at Animal Kingdom, they did a quick temperature scan, we breezed through security, and walked right in, as our wrist bands had our tickets and park reservations on them. We were in the park 5 minutes before the scheduled opening time of 8:00 AM. We headed straight for Avatar, Flight of Passage, which already had a long line. Wait time 60 minutes when we arrived. The length was actually deceptive because everyone was spaced 6 feet apart by marks on the ground. For the  most part, the line kept moving.

Once on the ride, I was concerned that having my mask on would steam up my glasses, thus preventing me from fully enjoying the view. But air blowing from the console in front of me helped keep my glasses clear. This was our second time on Avatar and we both enjoyed it more than the first time a year ago. 

We then waited 25 minutes for the Na'vi River Journey and got in line for the Kilimanjaro Safari. The Festival of the Lion King show was not running, so with the Safari line being stretched for social distancing, they used part of the Lion King waiting area for the Safari line.

We spent the rest of the day with similar social distancing procedures as we made a big circle around the entire park. In Africa, we walked the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, and attempted drawing a cartoon at Rafiki's Planet Watch. In Asia, we saw Feathered Friends in Flight, walked the Maharaja Jungle Trek, and rode Expedition Everest. Yikes! In Dinoland, we went back in time on the Dinosaur ride. On Discovery Island, we watched It's Tough to Be a Bug. 


Throughout the day, we took frequent breaks just to sit down, relax, and enjoy people-watching. The park was limited to 35% capacity so it made for an extremely enjoyable uncrowded experience. Stacey had made the right choice by choosing this park on a hot day because all of the trees provided plenty of shade.

After completing the circuit, we had enough time left to go back and visit Avatar again and the Na'vi River Journey.

After we got back to our hotel, we visited with family that had arrived.

Sunday, March 28

On Sunday, we slept in late, had breakfast, visited with family for a little bit, and then spent a few hours at Disney Springs. There was much social distancing required at Disney Springs as well as the parks. Some of the more popular stores had lines outside with people waiting to get in. The Disney Store itself had a wait of about a half hour when we went.

We had dinner with family, then spent a quiet evening at the hotel. On Monday morning, we had breakfast with my sister, checked out, and headed for the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area.

Disney is very strict about wearing masks and social distancing. There are markers on the ground everywhere showing where to stand. They even review photos taken for Photopass and will not release them unless the people in the photos have a mask on.

Although this was all instigated by Covid,  I have to say that this was actually a very pleasant trip to Disney World. It was wonderful to be able to walk around Animal Kingdom without horrendous crowds and no Fastpasses. In my opinion, I think it would be fine if they got rid of the Fastpass system altogether. When you have the Fastpass line, what it's really doing is holding up the regular standby line. Sure, it's nice to be able to get in and use a FastPass for one or two rides, but then you pay back by waiting in long lines for everything else.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Keeping My Photos Safe

Years ago, I made the decision to disassemble all of my photo albums and scan them to digital. I did that when digital photography became the standard. Once I felt confident that all of my photos could be secure in digital format and reasonably easy to view, I didn't feel the need to have a couple dozen photo albums around taking up space. There are times when I see friends and family trying to decide what to do with their photos once the storage space on their phones becomes filled up. Obviously, in one way or another they need to be taken off a phone. The phone is only going to last so long anyways.

Some years ago, I created a website to sell my photography to the general public. I also created a folder on the website for my family's pictures. I uploaded all my scanned personal photos to this folder. I have made it a regular habit to upload pictures that I take on my phone and with my big fancy camera to the family folder. While my photography pictures are available for the general public to see and purchase, the family folder on it has a password which I share only with family. In my opinion, having a paid website or storage like this is a lot safer than relying on free sites like Facebook to keep your pictures on. You don't really own your site on Facebook and they can make changes that you don't like or even delete your account. I host my site on smugmug.com. My photo site is tallphotos.com.

So my kids, my sisters, their significant others, and my nieces and nephews are all excited to have access to all the photos that I've taken of them through the years. I invite them to upload their pictures to this family folder as well. I am committed to keeping it for the rest of my life, my children will have to decide how to handle it after I'm gone.