Tag Archives: Manassas

Trash and Treasure


I don’t know if there’s a contest for the most trash and recycling created by two people and a cat, but if there were, we’d walk away with it.

I think of this every Wednesday evening when I set out our bins. The most trash we’ve ever put out was four cans when we were remodeling a room, but four happens every week with recycling. The City of Manassas provided cheerful green bins for our cast off paper, metal, glass and plastic, and we generally filled one of those and a couple of paper grocery bags. This morning I walked out to see what I thought was another recycling bin at the curb. That’s good, I thought. I need another container. But it wasn’t the answer to my first world recycling woes: it was a huge trash can that came to my shoulder (and I’m six feet tall, although I have been shrinking half an inch every decade. If I live long enough, I can be a part of a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz. Wait for it).

The new trash container, in which a family of four small people could make their home for months, is a wonder of blow-molded plastic and chromed steel, with sturdy wheels to make my job of bringing it from its lair beside the house to the curb for pickup the next morning. That occurs in the early afternoon: recycling is on the early shift, plucked from its station about 7 AM when the noise ordinance allows loud noises. And it is loud—now, it’s not dozens of metal trash cans being tossed around at 6 AM loud as happens in large cities, but I hear it every week and know that all’s right with the world.

So, we have added capacity for our recycling needs. I have a feeling that even a gargantuan bin is not going to measure up to the mounds of recyclables we generate each week. If we were illiterate and didn’t eat or use cleaning supplies or buy things that come in packages, we wouldn’t have this problem. I supposed it’s a self-inflicted wound and the reason we cut such a wide path is that we receive a lot of “bulk mail” (AKA “junk mail.” A friend recently retired from the Direct Mail Association, and he is an upstanding and outstanding person, so I don’t intend to disparage his former métier. “Direct mail” might be the only mail some people receive, and who doesn’t want to find out all about the Pillow Pet or the XHOSE? (I am not shouting: that’s how they write the name of their product) We also write a lot and go through paper by the ream for ideas and pieces that didn’t work out.

I’m glad we have recycling in Manassas, and even gladder, perhaps, that we have trash pickup. If you’ve ever been in a city during a garbage strike, you know what I mean. The situation just stinks. Give a cheer for the people whose business is picking up!

Thank you for listening to a little trash (and recycling) talk.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree

I’ve always loved Christmas decorations ever since I can remember. Back in the day, trees had those big hot lights, the kind that the whole string stopped working when one burned out and icicles made of a lead-like substance that probably killed a whole bunch of brain cells every time we used them. That would have explained a lot about kids of that era. The whole town looked like the burg in A Christmas Story because, well, it was from that same decade.

It seemed to me that homes were decorated, as well as churches and businesses, so I was somewhat taken aback when one of my favorite television doctor shows, Dr. Kildare, had a Christmas episode, and the doctors, nurses and staff decorated the hospital and had a Christmas party! I don’t know why this surprised me so much, other than I was one dumb kid, but it made perfect sense after I thought about it for a while that hospitals would do this since they are, after all, filled with compassionate, caring people.

I was thinking about Christmas decorations in hospitals and the like the other day as I was walking into the Caton Merchant House in Manassas, where my dad lives. The staff there is a wonderful, compassionate and caring group of people, and this year they have overcome some of the excesses of decorations from Christmases Past and put up ornaments, garlands, trees, posters, banner and even some tasteful outdoor inflatables that really class up the place. Not that it isn’t classy all the time.

So, one could do worse than decorate for Christmas. Just keep it tasteful, because I’ll be by to check on it. Yes, Christmas Decoration policing is just another service I gladly offer. Just have some cookies and milk for me, and everything will work out fine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We’re Baaaack!

Keep Calm We're Back

Actually, truth be known, we didn’t go much of anywhere. I can’t speak for the entire Biscuit City staff: I don’t know what they did or where they went, and I don’t want to. Becky and I were close to home most of the time. I did some painting and fixup work at the church and helped out with the annual (26th year) summer music camp that Becky and some very talented people stage at the church. We both taught at the State Summer Music and Worship Arts Camp at Eagle Eyrie, outside Lynchburg, VA, and attended a “destination wedding ” in Charlottesville late in the month. All in all, it was a somewhat busy month, but a gratifying one as well.

In other news, which I’ve shared on my novel blog, Wings of the Morning: A Novel Series about an American Hero, I finished the first draft of the second novel, On Eagle Wings Upborne, and am working on having the beta version out to my readers this week. I’d also like to start on the third novel, which has the working title of On Wings of the Wind.

I still don’t have a publisher, but I’m continuing to work on that. Thanks to all those who have been encouraging and complimentary about my foray into the world of extended fiction. Hang on: something’s comin’!

In the meantime, I plan to blog on Biscuit City Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and on my devotional blog, Preaching to the Choir (http://choirdevotionals.com/)on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a post on the novel blog  (http://huckfinn47.wordpress.com/)about once a week.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Kids Are All Right, Part 3

Students in a Robotic Competition, Somewhere. They look like middle school kids.

Students in a robotic competition, somewhere. They look like middle school kids.

I heard on the radio this weekend that ten middle school teams from Prince William County (where the City of Manassas and the Biscuit City studios are located) are traveling to California to compete in the VEX World Tournament of robotics.

I don’t know if you know anything about the world of student robotics, but basically students build robots to tackle a predetermined challenge and try to score as many points as possible. They learn problem-solving and teamwork in a hands-on manner.

Last week, 64 teams competed at “Roboticon” in Prince William County in which VEX teams from Prince William, the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, as well as private schools and home school students competed against each other.

“Roboticon is a middle school competition almost like the superbowl of robotics,” says Denyse Carroll, the regional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education coordinator for Prince William and Manassas.

Two teams from Rippon Middle School, three teams from Bull Run Middle and one team from Stonewall Middle School, two from Manassas Christian School, one from Manassas Park Middle School and one from Marsteller Middle School will compete in California.

And get this–according to Carrol, there are are 250 middle school teams in the entire state of Virginia of which 168 are from the Prince William County area.

I think about our crude efforts to get all electronic in middle school, in a world of tubes and clumsily joined wires. We got about as far as crystal sets and that was about it. I still want to learn to solder (my daughter gave me a how-to-solder kit for Christmas a couple of years ago. I need to bust it out and figure out how to do it. I also would like to learn how to weld, which my nephew has offered to teach me.)

Radio was the big deal when I was a lad, and I actually had a show on our five-watt campus radio station my freshman year. But that’s another story for another time.

Who knows what we would have done if we had had computers and the internet. Harmed ourselves and others, I suppose.

But the tremendous involvement and achievements of local kids in robotics goes to show that they’re not out stealing hubcaps (if kids still do that). They’re learning something that will make the future better for all of us. And for that reason, the kids are all right.

(Facts and quotes liberally borrowed from a WTOP-FM account.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized