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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Obligatory 9/11 post September 11, 2014 9:35 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Medford
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My brother, my mother, and myself (yellow shirt), on the World Trade Center (WTC) observation deck circa 1985.


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Flashback to the Arcade July 8, 2007 11:51 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Games/Puzzles, History, Medford
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Thanks to Instapundit, I just had a little flash back to hard earned quarters being sucked into the video game vacuum cleaner Dragon’s Lair with its exceptional graphics and somewhat kludgey game play. I spent a lot of time and a lot of money on that game!


Action Park! June 27, 2007 11:20 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Medford
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Action Park NJ Water Slide Loop

I want to know if JayMonster remembers Action Park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. Although I lived in Medford, NJ (1983-1986) while it was open, I never ventured that far north. Instead I played at Great Adventure (saw the Monkies anniversary tour there). Here’s a fantastic description of Action Park. And here are pictures of the abandonedout of season park. These comments are very interesting too!

I was a lifeguard at Action Park for a summer. We called it Traction Park, and man could I tell stories about that place. Let me just say, it is very, very difficult to rescue an obese, panicked man who just dropped acid. The scratches were incredible. Can’t wait to read the Wiki — I’d never have thought to look.

Edit: A few funny things the wiki omits (although there’s obviously nothing funny about the serious injuries and deaths).

First, a large Hassidic community was located not far from the park. For those who aren’t familiar with the sect, females are required by religious edict to wear heavy ankle-length skirts. Always. As you might imagine, this sucked for swimming, but the non-lifeguard staff, who were often fourteen, were generally responsible for letting visitors go from the tops of various cliffs and slides. They were easily bullied, and every damn time I saw a Hassidic woman at the top of the cliff jump, I knew I was going in. It was outrageous. On the speed slides, which did not have lifeguards because they lacked deep water, it was enormously entertaining to watch our insistent patrons arrive with their ankle-length skirts over their heads.

Second, the wiki forgets a “cannonball” slide that went underground, completely enclosed, and dumped patrons in a very deep pool beyond sight of the launching point. Many non-swimmers launched with no idea they’d hit deep water. Trouble is, a fourteen-year-old non-lifeguard was responsible for letting people go, and the lifeguard at the bottom was all alone. This was, by far, the most terrifying lifeguard assignment. You’d go in for one drowner (or two, as there were parallel chutes) and the nitwit up top, if he wasn’t paying attention, would drop new drowners on you. If you got in trouble, you could whistle and hope guards at the nearby Tarzan Swing would save your ass, but nearby concerts often made this improbable. I was pulled under by people on drugs (they break all the rules you’re taught about water rescue — in particular, they don’t reflexively let go if you swim down); had to pull out an entire family simultaneously; and did, of course, have to pull out the odd Hassidic woman entangled in her own skirt. The scariest thing I saw occurred in my very first week. A large man on drugs (again, you can tell b/c they don’t let go if you swim down), headlocked a female lifeguard who probably weighed 100 pounds. Three guards piled on and had to beat him repeatedly about the head with rescue rings (about the firmness of a baseball) until he let go, by which time he was unconscious and the girl he headlocked had two lungs full of water. It’s something of a miracle that the place stayed in business as long as it did.

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Your Happy Meal Just Got More Expensive January 11, 2007 7:02 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Germantown, History, Medford, News, Of Interest
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Minimum wage has been increased from $5.85 to $7.25!

The vote was 315-116, with more than 80 Republicans joining Democrats to pass it.

The bill would raise the wage floor in three steps. It would go to $5.85 an hour 60 days after signed into law by the president, to $6.55 a year later and to $7.25 a year after that.


That means someone working a minimum wage job for 40 hours will get $290 instead of $234 or a week’s worth of work. Of course federal and state taxes must be removed as well as social security and medicare.

Do you remember your first minimum wage job? I think mine was $2.35 an hour. I seem to also remember a $2.85 per hour figure. One of my early jobs paid $3 per hour under the table and I remember being thrilled with it because it was over minimum wage.

Jobs I did prior to college included baby sitting and yard work of course. I also worked for a construction guy. He would have his high cost labor just leave debris all over the job site and then on the weekends I would come in and move trash to the dumpster. He (Steve Garvy) would also pay me for odd jobs like once he paid $85 for me to take a machette to a quarter acre of over grown land. The weeds were 12 feet tall. I washed buses (the small shuttles although there was one about 3 feet shy of a city bus). Too young to drive, my friend and I drove them anyway. Our duties expanded to include maintenance including repairing a defective car phone (yes it was wired in), checking fluids, and changing tires (yes, I bent the frame on a bus with the jack). I also slid one sideways in a snowy parking lot for fun. I worked at a Wendy’s for 2 months. I also worked at a K-Mart as a cashier, cashier supervisor, toys department, electronics department, floor supervisor, and night stockman (nothing more fun than playing dodgeball in a Kmart at 2am!). My favorite pre-college job was selling flowers outside of an Amish market in New Jersey.


400 meter relay February 28, 2006 8:01 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Medford
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When I was a freshman in high school I participated in track. I loved the thrill of the pole vault, and the challenge of the hurdles. Although the high jump was interesting, I just didn’t do well. I would have continued the track team throughout high school but in my sophomore year I was offered my first regular job and had to choose between practices and money; money, the great evil, won and took me down the wrong path.

One small winter track meet has so few competitors that for the 400 meter relay we raced 4 boys teams on the inner lanes and 2 girls teams on the outer lanes but officially the girls weren’t racing the boys. I was set as the anchor which meant I could bring the race home! Our first runner did well as did our second runner. As I watched him hand off to our third runner I was certain that we’d win the race. Then it happened. Our third runner set off in a hard jog. He seemed to be thrilled but we were all horrified. All 3 boys teams easily passed him and moments later the girls who had lagged have a track behind passed him. My dreams of winning had been crushed to a paniced desire to simply pass the girls and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that. I set off in the hardest sprint of my life and I beat the girls and brought our team in last.

Never would I have thought that race would become the metaphor for my life. I’ve been running that race for so long and I’m so fatigued. My race is different. I feel like I also have spectators throwing things under my feet trying to trip me. Can I even beat the girls at this point?

I have 11 minutes before the first team crosses the finish line;The first team just crossed the finish line. I have probably 2 hours if I’m lucky and not tripped before I’ll cross the first finish line. I’m not even on the track right now.

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Pounded January 24, 2006 1:54 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Medford
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I don’t feel like living anymore.

Now that’s not a cry for help and no need to put me on a suicide watch. It means “the they” have won. I’m beat. Beat down.

I used to suck the marrow out of life. There was no challenge I wouldn’t accept and very little I didn’t want to do. Early on I set my eyes on hang gliding. Haven’t done that one yet and I have yet to “jump from a perfectly good airplane” either. But I was fearless and I have done much!

In the 9th or 10th grade I was at a school dance taking a break from the noise of the gym and talking with friends in the hallway. Something landed in my hair and I turned around and mouthed off at some muscle bound nimrod that had obviously thrown whatever it was. The first punched landed before I had fully turned my attention back to my friends and I momentarily blacked out as I slammed up against the lockers. Just as my vision returned I took another punch to the face and discovered blackness again. I received about five consecutive hits just under the left eye. Blackness returned to light just in time to see the fist, blackness, repeat.

I could not get a punch off and could not get my arms up to block the punches. I could hear a voice, “just walk away.” Is that where I am in my life? I am definitely taking repeated blows. Am I to “just walk away?” And for the literal readers, no, not family. I would never abandon family. I mean dreams. I mean desires. I mean Willy Loman. I mean Sam Lowry.

One week later, my blackened eye was traveling to Virginia to embarassingly visit relatives.

I don’t feel like living. I don’t want to hang glide or parachute anymore. I don’t even want to leave the ground. And I am tired of having to explain my blackened eye.

(Of course this post is a result of exhaustion, stress and economics. Let’s see how my tune changes if I ever get back on top.)