Jon Crispin's Notebook


Posted in Art, Family, History by joncrispin on 30/01/2012

I started playing pinball at  Gabby Avenue News in Meadville when I was in junior high.  Almost every morning before school I would try to get in a few games before dashing off to homeroom.  After that, I played mostly at the College Pizza Villa on North Main Street.  When I got to Wittenberg, I was happy to see that there were 4 or 5 machines in the basement of the student union.  To say the least, I was a regular down there.  With the advent of video games, the popularity of pinball faded, and the machines that were being made were not so interesting to me.  They were way too complicated with multiple levels and lots of ramps and extra bells and whistles.  For me, the heyday of the pins was from the mid 60s to the mid 70s. /  Peter has always been interested in my  younger days and he loves to hear me tell stories about growing up in Meadville.  He especially liked the pinball related anecdotes.  /  Some time ago my brother got a machine for his basement.  It is made by Stern and is the Elvis model.  It is one of the later designs, and initially it didn’t interest me so much.  But whenever we would visit, Pete would head down and spend lots of time playing.  Eventually I became hooked and we now play quite a bit together.  Because of his CP, he plays both flippers with his right hand, and he is amazing good.  /  Union doesn’t regularly have any machines, but during special weekend events they bring in one or two that are set up to play for free.  Cristine and I were visiting him yesterday and he and I went over to Reamer and played this one.  Like the Elvis game, it is of the modern variety with way too much going on, but as you can see in the high score list, I totally killed it.  Score inflation has gotten out of hand though; over a billion points is just wrong.  At some point during my big game, Carlene Carter’s “Every Little Thing” started playing and after we were done, I was surprised to see in the credits that the female voice that pops up on occasion was hers.  Weird, but I went to iTunes today and bought the song.


Posted in Family by joncrispin on 21/09/2011

Today I was in the Schenectady area shooting Erie Canal damage from the recent storms, and got the chance to stop by Union to visit Peter.  Here he is talking to Cris.  It is lovely to see him smile.  /  I’ll post some of the canal photos tomorrow.

Lemon Tart

Posted in Family, Food, Friends by joncrispin on 01/01/2011



When I started this site, I vowed I would never take photos of food that I had cooked.  Since I lived alone in Ithaca in the “80s, I have taken pictures of my dinners from time to time, but lately with the whole food on tv thing, it seems kind of  self indulgent.  But, as Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”.  So, I will write about love and friendship while posting a picture of something I cooked.  John Wilson sent me a cookbook by Raymond Blanc a while back, and around holiday time, I use it alot.  My son Peter loves it when we have big meals planned, and so it is lots of fun to put energy into producing something really good.  Last night was French onion soup.   Tonight was coq au vin, potatoes Dauphinoise, and for dessert, a lemon tart, all from the Blanc book.  This picture of the lemon tart features the crust, of which I am particularly proud. /  Yesterday as 2010 was winding down, I spoke to three amazing people on the phone.  Alex Ross and I speak 4 or 5 days a week, Peter Carroll and I about the same, and John Wilson in the UK and I skype regularly. After our chats I just felt so blessed to have them as friends.  Later in the day Cris and I ran some errands and went to a movie, then she, Pete and I had a quiet New Year’s Eve. /  I was at my sister Karen’s just after Thanksgiving and got to see her entire family.  At Christmas, we went to Maine to see my brother Bob and his family and had a great time. And this past Wednesday, Brad Edmondson and Tania Werbizky spent the night while on their way to the White Mountains. /  As we were eating dinner tonight, after a long day of cooking, I fantasized about a huge long farmhouse table with all the people who give me so much love and support sitting around me.  What a meal that would be. / We take Peter back to Union tomorrow, and I always get a bit melancholy when he leaves.  In his words, I am “waxing a bit poetic” here, but if you can’t say how much your friends and family mean to you, something isn’t quite right. /  So, to all of you dear people in my life, best wishes for the new year.

Avon Meat Land

Posted in Buildings, Family, Food, History, Travel by joncrispin on 24/11/2010


I picked up Peter at Union yesterday.  Schenectady is interesting.  Initially it seemed a hopeless kind of place, but like all Northeastern post-industrial cities, there is much to be appreciated.  He and I have driven past Avon Meat Land on a few occasions, and I knew sooner or later we would check it out.  For the longest time we remembered it as Amos’ Meat Shack, and in fact this time we drove past thinking that this place and Amos’ just had similar names and were competitors.  So not finding the Meat Shack, we did a u-turn and went here.  Apparently it has been in business for 70 years.  I bought about a pound of Italian sausages (made in Schenectady) and was amazed when the guy at the counter rang me up and said it would be $3.00.  Cooked ’em up tonight with some peppers and onions.  Very tasty.

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