Between 2009 and 2020, Josh published more than 10,000 blog posts. Here, you can access his blog archives.


Martial Law in Johnstown

May 25th, 2011

An interesting article in the Times from June 3, 1889, 3 days after the Johnstown Flood, about the state of martial law imposed.

A temporary martial government has been established over the ruined city of Johnstown, under the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, assisted by military companies from Pittsburg and by volunteer officers. Attempts at disorder and violence by small gangs of tramps have been vigorously suppressed, and several marauders have been lynched and shot to death, for the people in the solemn earnestness of their work of succor and rescue have not the patience to wait the tedious process of law.

The tedious process of law, indeed.

H/T Militza

“It was not an election which the country has just undergone but a political Johnstown flood.”

April 21st, 2011

That is how the New York Times described President Roosevelt’s 1937 landslide victory. I find it quite fitting that this resounding win, a crucial historical milestone in the Supreme Court’s ultimate confrontation with FDR, is compared to the Johnstown flood.

H/T Barry Friedman’s The Will of the People

Johnstown Shrugged

March 10th, 2011

I have now lived in Johnstown, PA for 1.5 years. Last year I asked why people still lived in this depressed area.

But why do people still choose to live here despite all of the risks? By all reasonable measures, this city should have no population. Furthermore, the city has been economically distressed for decades, and poverty is rampant.

Looks like people are leaving, in droves. From the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat (the only paper in town):

Cambria County [the County Johnstown is in] lost nearly 6 percent of its population in the last decade, the fifth-biggest such decline among all counties statewide, new census data shows.

And of the county’s 8,919 lost residents, Johnstown played a big part: The city’s population dropped by 2,928, or more than 12 percent.

But Johnstown again stands out because of the sheer size of its decline. The once-bustling city, which could boast of more than 60,000 people in 1950, now is in danger of dropping below 20,000 in the next census.

I guess former-Johnstowners took the hint and voted with their feet.

Chanukah Miracle in Johnstown?

December 1st, 2010

I was about to light the Menorah when realized that I only had one candle left from last year, and there was nowhere in Johnstown to purchase Chanukah candles. I needed two candles to fulfill the mitzvah. Like my ancestors in the second century B.C., I was confronted with a lack of light! What to do? Resourcefully, I split the candle in half to create two candles. Miracle? I’ll let you know if the flame lasts for 8 days. 🙂

Happy Chanukah everyone.

(and yes, that is Chana on the couch in the background. and yes, I know you are supposed to light from right to left. I took this picture of the back of the menorah so Chana was in the pic.)

My Experience at the John Murtha Johnstown Airport: All this pork definitely isn’t kosher

October 21st, 2009

Last week I flew through the notorious John Murtha Johnstown Airport. For some interesting background material, see here and here and here. Like the bridge to nowhere, this is the airport for no one.

In a nutshell, the Johnstown Aiport named after Rep. Jack Murtha (most things in Johnstown are named after him), provides three daily flights to Washington Dulles Airport. The flight is about 75 minutes. The drive woudl be about four hours. The airport is usually deserted, and most flights have fewer than 10 people on them. It is widely viewed as the crown jewel of Jack Murtha’s pork and ear marks. Yet, becuase I frequently travel to Washington, D.C. from Johnstown, it is pretty cool for me.

Here are my experiences navigating through this airport for no one.

Sign welcoming you to the Johnstown Airport, And Sassy's!

Sign welcoming you to the Johnstown Airport, And Sassy's!

Believe it or not, locals actually frequent Sassy’s restaurant. Parking at the airport is easy and free, and two scrambled eggs and a cup of tea will only run you $1.75 at Sassy’s!

The Huge Watchtower that Watches 3 Flights a Day

The Huge Watchtower that Watches 3 Flights a Day

The picture really doesn’t convey how huge this watchtower is. There is absolutely nothing for miles surrounding this airport, and nothing larger than dual propeller planes ever take off.

Long Term Parking, which was free, consisted of a few spots at the back of the parking lot.

Long Term Parking

As someone who grew up dreading the Long Term Parking lots at JFK and Newark, long term parking at Johnstown is a breeze. First, it is free. Second, it is always available. Third, the spots are in the same parking lot as all of the other parking. It’s just kinda funny they have to put up this sign.

Arrivals and Departures

Arrivals and Departures.

Kinda redundant because only one flight operates at a time, and only one airline operates at this airport. But just make sure you don’t get lost in this complicated terminal.

I arrived at the airport 15 minutes before my flight. No problem, as there are never any security lines. In fact, the security line only opens up about an hour before the flight takes off.

More after the jump.