Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

Highway Patrol Officers in Ontario Target Americans December 13, 2007

How One Officer Profiles Americans and Violates Their Rights

During the first week of August this past summer, I was sadly returning to New York from a wonderful vacation in Northern Ontario. I had become quite fond of the people in Northern Ontario because they were friendly, warm and caring.

After spending the summer traveling across the United States and Ontario, I came to the sad conclusion that New York State may well be the worst state in America. Forget the taxes, traffic, dirt, Hillary Clinton and the cost of living … New York simply leads the country in blatant stupidity and greed. My next article will explain that in more detail, so stayed tuned!

However, this article is all about a dumpy little town called Pembroke, Ontario, and its own version of Dudley Do-Right … well, actually, he was more of a combination of Inspector Clouseau and Sheriff Buford T. Justice.

It is highly suggested that all travelers, but especially Americans, should avoid the Trans-Canada Highway (17) between North Bay and Ottawa. If you must travel this horrid stretch of road, go BELOW the speed limit, block traffic and do not stop in any of the towns. You should not stop in Pembroke or spend a single cent within its town limits.

Here is the story of an early afternoon on the first Saturday in August. Some family, straight from The Grapes of Wrath, is driving a truck eastbound on Highway 17 approaching the stink-hole called Pembroke. The truck looks like something from The Little Rascals. Stuff is hanging off the sides and the back, the truck is bouncing up and down, and it is wobbling like it has different sizes of tires on each wheel. It is a menace to itself and other vehicles.

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The Waterfalls Lodge is Paradise! August 15, 2007

The Waterfalls Lodge is a Fabulous Northern Ontario Fishing Experience for All!

As part of my plan to spend my summer vacation from teaching out of the house, I gave myself a fishing trip as a combination birthday and Christmas gift. That may sound a little “fishy” to some of you, but I have always wanted to learn to do some serious lake fishing after years of deep sea and trout fishing.

Although I can make some claims as an accomplished trout fisherman, my last foray was eight years and a triple by-pass ago. Trout fishing is also a lot of work. I didn’t want to spend a week on the Great Lakes or deep sea fishing. I always wanted to be a better lake fisherman, and I heard that Northern Ontario is a spectacular place to fish. I’d never been to Northern Ontario, but it sounded like a plan.

As I began my research, I came across some fly-in options that sounded wonderful until I calculated the outlay for against my teacher salary. I don’t have a boat, so I needed a lodge that provided everything. Also, I wanted to be able to drive there and have electricity, a refrigerator, plenty of space, a meal plan and a good atmosphere. I also needed a place suitable for a novice like me. After many dead ends, I was beginning to give up hope when I discovered The Waterfalls Lodge.

The end result was that I booked for one week and stayed for an extra week because I was having so much fun. The Lodge and the lakes cannot be described in words, and pictures barely do justice to its beauty. I caught more fish than I could have imagined and learned a great deal. I became friends with Rob and Kathy (the owners), the staff and many of the guests who plan to be back next year. Let me tell you why everyone loved The Waterfalls Lodge so much.

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Just Call Me Bob August 5, 2007

Unsinkable Bluboo

The Wreck of the S.S. Bluboo

The Northern Ontario fishing expedition reached a sad conclusion on Saturday, August 4, as I made it home from Spanish, Ontario, to Cross River, NY, in under 14 hours. I originally headed to Spanish for one week but I didn’t want to leave, so I stayed for an extra week.

I hope you will read my glowing review of of The Waterfalls Lodge and look at all the pictures on my Waterfalls Lodge page. Right now, it is time for me to expose the most embarassing moment of my fishing career.

Since mid-May, when I planned for this wonderful trip, I looked forward to a chance to go to Northern Ontario for a spectacular wilderness adventure and good living.

I had never really driven a boat before, but had watched others do it with envy. I looked forward to a chance to be captain of my own vessel.

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The Day the Music Died July 14, 2007

Clear Lake, IA

The site of the Plane Crash on February 3, 1959

On the Road, Day Eleven

I left Albert Lea later than I hoped, but the drive to Clear Lake, Iowa, was quick. As I drove along, I thought about the events of the early morning hours of February 3, 1959. My eyes welled-up often as I thought of that awful crash in a corn field that took the life of Buddy Holly (one of my heroes), J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), Ritchie Valens and Roger Peterson (the pilot). I could not help but think of the many ironies connected with my visit to Clear Lake.

First, as a former on-air deejay at Oldies 97 (WCZX-FM, Poughkeepsie, NY) and producer/intern/deejay for “Super 70’s Saturday Night” on WDAQ-FM (Danbury, CT), I have a certain expertise when it comes to the music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I also was a student in “The History of Rock and Roll” at SUNY Oneonta in 1978 … the first time such a course was offered in New York State. Without sounding too old, I have a very vivid recollection of Rock and Roll from 1963 forward; I’ve read and studied music from 1954 to 1980 and the roots of rock. IMHO, Buddy has always been the single greatest influence on rock, not only through his music but also as an inspiration to other major artists (The Beatles, for example).

Another connection between Buddy Holly and me goes to Don McLean, the singer/songwriter of “American Pie” … a tribute to Buddy Holly. McLean and I attended the same high school (Iona Prep, a few years apart), so many of the references in the song make perfect sense to me. I hope to set up a Buddy Holly page next week with an interpretation of the lyrics to “American Pie” and some great photos for you to download.

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