Saturday, January 28, 2006

NEPA ExPats: Bloggers formerly from NEPA

The "Scranton Insider" on the "Life In The Office" blog is Dave Caolo. Formerly from NEPA, now residing in Cape Cod, check out his Kermit the Blog.

Finding information about NEPA online is easy. Finding bloggers from NEPA is a little harder. Finding bloggers who were originally from NEPA but are now somewhere else is even harder! If you are or know of any NEPA expatriate bloggers, let me know!

Life In The Office

When I first heard that the U.S. version of the popular British TV series The Office was going to be set in Scranton, I was filled with trepidation. The original series was set in Slough, England, which is portrayed (or so I am told, I have never seen the original) as the most miserable, depressing place to live and work in all of England. Scranton has long had a similar reputation - mostly unjustified. Would the new series portray Scranton and all of NEPA as a miserable, depressing place?

Apparently not. While I have also never seen an episode of the U.S. version of The Office (who has time for TV, with all this blogging?), most of the people who work in my office who are regular viewers find the show a lot of fun, generously sprinklied with local references.

Life In The Office is a blog about the U.S. version of The Office. Check it out!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Speaking Sisyphus Stone

OK, one more NEPA Blog and I'm calling it a night. This is The Speaking Sisyphus Stone by the Seaslug Of Doom. Check out the photos!

It's a lot easier to find sites about NEPA than it is to find blogs by people from NEPA. And while I'm trying to be inclusive and non-judgmental, I'm reluctant to load up the sidebar with links to blogs of the "wOoT! U R teh BOM!" variety.

So, slogging through a Blog Search on the acronym "NEPA" and filtering out all those referring to the National Environmental Protection Act or the Nude Elbonian Penguin Admirers or other unrelated groups, as well as all those hits for this blog site or other sites that we've already linked, I finally came across a new one: Lee Ann's!

I'm thinking of posting a call for blogsites in the local record and book stores, and maybe even sending a letter to the local newspapers. I wonder if they'd print it?

Speaking of Physicists from NEPA...

Wilkes-Barre native William Daniel Phillips was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. I seemed to remember that - how could I forget such a thing - but completely forgot his name.

This tidbit of information is courtesy of the Wikipedia entry on the "Coal Region", which is a subsection of NEPA. (NEPA doesn't have its own Wikipedia entry, but instead redirects you to the Coal Region entry.)

Agnes in Norteastern Pennsylvania

I was thrashing around the internet looking for a blog site I came across by accident a few months ago that lists books and movies set in NEPA when I accidentally found Agnes in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a site about the 1972 tropical storm and the destruction it brought to Northeastern PA.

Agnes in Northeastern Pennsylvania has an extensive collection of links. Rather than copy them, I'm just providing a link to their links page!

Two famous scientists from NEPA

There are at least two world-famous scientists who were born in this area. One was Wlkes-Barre's David Bohm, a quantum physicist and one of Senator Joseph McCarthy's many victims. His career survived the McCarthy era, but only after he removed himself from the United States. He died in 1992 in London, leaving behind a huge body of work.

The other famous scientist is actually an actor playing the part of scientist - a scientist who could build a radio out of a coconut but couldn't figure out how to patch a two-foot hole on a boat. Russell Johnson, who achieved worldwide fame as The Professor on Gilligan's Island, was born in Ashley. Perhaps like James Doohan - Star Trek's Scotty - Russell Johnson's Professor was responsible for creating interest in his character's field of expertise among impressionable young kids - especially the ones who wouldn't mind being stranded on a desert island with the likes of Ginger and Mary Ann.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Two more local blogs

I think this guy is an area resident because he comments on the Wilkes- Barre crime wave. He has many observations on the absurdities of modern life at People Say Stupid Things.

Built like Delaware is written by a local college student who uses the handle Mayor McCool has a mix of his favorite babes, movie reviews, pop culture, politics and much more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Adding Beale's Bites

I am adding Beale's Bites: One Person's Uncensored Look at the News in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

This link was stolen from webster107.

I'm going to be doing a bit more blog harvesting - stealing links from local blogs to other local blogs, even seeing if I can follow local commenters on local blogs to their profiles and then on to any blogs they might have. But if anyone has any NEPA blogsites (or other NEPA sites) that they'd like linked, please drop me a line or post a comment!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Nanticoke is my hometown. I was going to write a post collecting all sorts of information on Nanticoke, but then I remembered that I already did that for Another Monkey. So I'm just stealing from myself and reprinting the post (with some trims and edits) here.

For a city as small as it is, there are quite a few websites about Nanticoke. Here's a sampling:

The Official City of Nanticoke web page.

The unofficial Home Page for Nanticoke Online. 9,082,000 square kilometers of land? I don't think so. If our city were a square, each side would be over 3000 kilometers long! I think they meant square meters. Maybe.

The Greater Nanticoke Area School District web site, complete with an interactive map of our schools. Kosciuszko Street used to be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only street where you could go from Kindergarten through the second year of college (at Luzerne County Community College, a.k.a. L.C.C.C., a.k.a. the University of Nanticoke) without ever having to leave the street.

Here's some general data on Nanticoke, here's some more detailed demographic data, and here's the equivalent of a "Mostly harmless" entry in an online encyclopedia.

Then there are tribute pages, like Capt'n Clint's Place, with antique photos of Nanticoke. The Nanticoke Historical Society has some more old photos here.
Here are even more old images. Here's a really nice page, with maps and a history. Middle Road is as old as the United States itself...? Wow!

In addition to Pete Gray, the One-Armed Wonder, Nanticoke has at least one other famous citizen: the actor Nick Adams.

k8, Rochelle, and Ben Folds Laundry

k8 (pronounced "Kate", not "Kay-Eight") is a local musician. Her music is reminiscent of Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls, but ultimately she sounds a lot like, well, k8. Her CD's are available at the Wilkes-Barre locations of local record store chain Joe Nardone's Gallery of Sound.

I first met k8 a few years ago at a now-closed local bar/restaurant where she was playing. I was delivering some posters that a graphic artist I know had printed up for an upcoming show in which they would both be playing. I stuck around for the show, and she was great. I've only heard her play a few times since then, but I always intend to see her more often.

Rochelle was k8's roommate at the time and was also at the show. I wound up hanging out with Rochelle, but spent a lot more time playing Scrabble with Rochelle's (very cute) mom while k8 played. (There was a Scrabble board varnished into the bar surface, and a big bowl of letters to play with.)

I only saw Ben Folds Laundry once while Rochelle was taking him for a walk. He died last year, but still somehow manages to maintain his blog from heaven. Go and check it out, and tell your friends that you were on the blogsite of a dead dog!

Warning: These are all MySpace sites, which means they are all resource hogs and will crash your computer if it isn't up to the task. I wouldn't recommend trying to open them all up at once!

Political blogs

We don't have many political bloggers in the area which is surprising as local politics is treated as a blood sport by many people. My inspiration to start a local political blog was Wilkes-Barre Online. Mark covers the politics of W-B and many other issues. Bill Fitz is a Kings College student who is active in the local Republican Party and gives his take at My Take. Another local Republican covers mostly national issues at The American Check-Up. From the Democratic side is hints, allegations and things left unsaid.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Two sites about NEPA

Anyone who has done some websearching about NEPA has probably come across Capt'n Clint's Place. The Capt'n has an extensive collection of links, as well as a huge collection of historical drawings and photographs.

While searching for the Capt'n's Place I came across, just one of many local websites focused on a specific community. It also has an extensive collection of links.

Some links to NEPA bloggers

So, may as well just dive in and start adding links to NEPA blog sites. We'll start with four. I'll be adding these to the sidebar in alphabetical order, showing regional affiliations where known.

Another Monkey: This is my blogsite. I'm based out of Nanticoke. I occasionally blog about the area, sometimes with photographic illustrations.

Gort42: This is run by Gort, out of Wilkes-Barre. It focuses a lot on local politics and regional issues.

Watermelon Punch: Chloe's website focuses a lot on the area. She also hosts and writes for the original NEPA Blog, as well as several other local sites. She is based in Scranton but ranges all over NEPA.

webster107: John Webster is half of the morning team of Daniels & Webster from Rock 107, a Scranton Classic Rock radio station. He is new to blogging, but hopefully he will persuade a few more folks from NEPA to start blogs!

Links to NEPA TV, radio, and newspapers

I was going to post links to all of the local newspapers and TV and radio stations. And then I accidentally discovered that the heavy lifting had already been done for my by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania! The "Virtual Newsstand" section of the site shows a map that divides Pennsylvania into seven sections of varying size. Their version of Northeastern PA extends West for nearly half the state! Clicking on this map brings up lists of links to newspapers and TV and radio stations for that section of the state. Rather than posting links to each individual newspaper and station, I am simply posting links to these list pages!

(I just noticed that the radio links are pretty spotty, missing stations like WEZX - Rock 107 - and WVIA, our local NPR affiliate. I will need to add these stations individually!)

The archives of the original NEPA Blog

The original NEPA Blog is a group blog by and about Northeastern Pennsylvania. (I was not a part of this group.) Unlike this site, it is a blog with content, not just links. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing it has not had any additions since May of 2005. I am posting a link to the complete NEPA Blog archives, which extend back to June 2002. If you're looking for street-level information about NEPA, this is a good place to start!

Welcome to NEPA Blogs!

Welcome to NEPA Blogs, a clearinghouse and link site for blogs and other websites about Northeastern Pennsylvania, or by folks from Northeastern Pennsylvania. This isn't an original concept, or even an original name. Hopefully, it will serve its function well.

First off, let's define where Northeastern Pennsylvania is. This seems like a pretty straightforward question, but definitions vary widely - I recently saw a "Map of Northeastern Pennsylvania" that treated Nanticoke as the southwestern boundary! For me, I define NEPA as being a region generally north of Interstate 80 and east of an imaginary line extending north from the point where I-80 crosses the Susquehanna. This definition would include Berwick, but would exclude Hazleton - so we'll modify it to include Hazleton and surrounding communities. It also excludes Bloomsburg, but I think Bloomsburg can be safely thought of as "East Central PA." Still, these are fuzzy boundaries, and are subject to change.

There. Technical definition out of the way. Now, what is the purpose of this blog?

The purpose of this blog is to provide a link site for as many blogs and websites as I can find that are about NEPA or by people from NEPA. This site won't be about content; it will point you to content on other sites. Not just blogs, either - radio and TV stations, newspapers, historical sites, city sites, and fansites for Miss Judy's Hatchy Milatchy and Uncle Ted's Ghoul School - whatever I can find!

It will take me some time to just insert all the links I already know about. I don't plan to do this alone - I intend to extend invitations to other local bloggers to help me build this. If you want to come on board, or want to submit some links, e-mail me or post a comment!