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Stratton Schaeffer

    Wed, December 31, 2014

    Making Steam

    It was 1983 and I found myself in the most unusual of places: squatting in the bowels of a large deactivated institutional boiler. Beside me was a gifted mechanic named Tom Gross who had probably ...

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    Tue, July 01, 2014

    Reincarnation of Louis XV

    In 1943 the brilliant aircraft design engineer Barnes Wallis submitted a plan to the Royal Air Force(RAF) that outlined the destruction of Germany's major hydro dams in the Ruhr industrial area of ...

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    Mon, June 16, 2014

    Cat's in the Cradle

    Harry Chapin was a folk music icon of the 70's whose songs had limited air time on pop radio because most of his ballads were over five minutes in length, a no-no in the disc jockey industry. One ...

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    Tue, June 03, 2014

    VA Scandal Unconscionable

    In the last column I named the EPA as today's Frankenstein monster. My vote for the bride of Frankenstein is the current Veterans Administration (VA). How could a federal agency with the most noble ...

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    Mon, June 02, 2014

    Frankenstein: Alive ~Well

    Mary Shelly's 1818 novel, "Frankenstein", was forever woven into American culture as a tale of horror when Hollywood cast British actor Boris Karloff as the creature in 1931.
    In ...

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    Fri, March 21, 2014

    March Madness

    It's that time of year again when nearly everyone's attention is focused on basketball courts throughout the country. Half the nation is riveted to their TV sets at home or in their favorite ...

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    Mon, March 10, 2014

    Military Cutbacks

    Many of us who wore the uniform in years gone by consider the announced military
    cutbacks to troop strength and technology development to be Draconian in nature and an unwise national ...

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    Fri, February 07, 2014

    The Big Inch vs. Keystone

    A bipartisan effort during WWII resulted in the approval and construction of the Big Inch pipeline in less than two years. This is a study in contrast to the prolonged debate over the Keystone ...

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    Fri, January 10, 2014

    Monty Python and Global Warming

    Am I the only one who finds the current saga of an icebound global warming research ship in Antarctica, comically similar to Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail? As I watched a line of volunteer ...

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    Fri, December 27, 2013

    Empirical Evidence

    One of the most intelligent journalists of our time was not formally trained in
    journalism. Dr Charles Krauthammer was a practicing psychiatrist until his circuitous trail through life led him ...

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    Mon, December 16, 2013

    Celestial Masterpiece

    When we purchased the Schaeffer farm on Joe Hill twenty plus years ago, there was a deactivated dusk to dawn light next to the barn. I made a mental note toward the end of the first workday on the ...

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    Wed, November 13, 2013


    Any reader who wore the uniform knows exactly what SNAFU and FUBAR represent.
    For the benefit of other family members we'll slightly modify a word in these acronyms to explain. SNAFU is ...

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    Thu, October 17, 2013

    Predictable GOP Collapse

    Yogi Nailed It!

    The latest Washington vaudeville act ended during the night of October 16th with a predictable conclusion. The can was kicked down the road with ...

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    Fri, October 11, 2013

    Do Gooders Run Amuck

    About twenty years ago my friend Tom Nickeson was raising prize-winning sheep on his farm along Stoney Fork Road outside Wellsboro in Tioga County. On a clear but bitter cold day an impatient series ...

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    Fri, August 09, 2013

    A Summer Rembrance

    Back during my elementary school days I usually spent each summer vacation with my Reichert grandparents in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It was during this period that my grandmother Reichert's younger ...

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    Thu, June 27, 2013

    Freedom or Security?

    W.C. Fields was not a fan of Philadelphia. In his will the rambunctious but brilliant comedian instructed his executor to have inscribed on his tombstone: " All in all, I'd rather be in ...

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    Thu, October 04, 2012

    We Have Met the Enemy

    For several decades we watched national public school test score averages continue to plummet despite throwing larger amounts of our treasury at the problem. What's gone wrong? This is a question I ...

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    Tue, September 04, 2012

    Can't Blame Me for Trying

    This past week on T.V. I listened to a collage of responses from representatives attending the opening of the Democratic National Convention. A question posed to each career Pol being interviewed ...

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    Tue, August 28, 2012

    From Compassion to Dependence

    Eighty years ago during The Great Depression an all too familiar sight throughout the country was long lines of unemployed men patiently waiting for a monthly government issued food allotment. My ...

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    Fri, August 10, 2012

    Neither Rain, Nor Sleet . . .

    Stopped by the Roaring Branch post office the other day to check my PO box. In
    addition to the mail there was a notice from the Postal Service that outlined the possibility of that small but ...

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    Thu, August 09, 2012

    The First VJ Day Celebration

    On August 14th 1945, jubilation and relief broke out all over the United States. The Japanese Imperial government finally threw in the towel and agreed to unconditional surrender. The West ...

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    Sun, July 15, 2012

    Renewable Resources: Myth and Reality

    There are a few good things associated with growing older and one of them is gaining insight from life's experiences. You don't need the intellect of Albert Einstein to possess wisdom. Normal ...

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    Fri, May 04, 2012

    It was 1961 and President Jack Kennedy was the new resident of the White House. In April of that year he gave approval to a CIA plan to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba. History books today refer ...

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    Tue, April 17, 2012


    Most ranchers raising cattle in the South West are familiar with Locoism, a term that goes back to the 1870's cattle drives. Pioneer trail drivers began to notice cattle straggling from their herds ...

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