Thursday, March 11, 2010


Concerned by the lack of updates coming out of Penguin Hall lately, the editors quickly dispatched a furtive note to Mrs. Hall. She declared not only had she been posting regularly, but in fact, vigorously; and saving them to what she thought was the appropriate drive. Alas; her posts and ripostes were waylaid on their path- there was no connection to that aptly named terminal; all the wonderful stories conjured that month: her treatise revealing an enlightened approach to cold fusion, an elegant but simple solution to the Unified Theory, and several enticing new martini recipes, all written coincidentally during the Halls’ annual dedication to the Olympics “A Cocktail Tribute to the Winning Nations”, had gone, not to the Ethernet, but merely into the ether.
As Mrs. Hall noted with a sigh, this was not the first time her faculties had failed to meet her at the keyboard. Still, like other authors, she remains buoyed by words of inspiration she received early on in her career. It was perhaps a turning point when, she recalled the most sincere form of praise and commentary she’d ever heard. A three year old, after listening to Mrs. H. deliver a nearly twenty minute rant regarding a series of frustrating experiences with an inept and bumbling bank teller, looked up at her earnestly, and with clear, steady eyes declared, “You talk funny.”
Ever after, in those dark moments, when her literary muse had lost its way and remained under the sheets for days on end, those poignant stirring words poured the caffeine of confidence back into her soul and charging her onto action, helped her to carry on.
Photographic documentation allows us to bring you, Gentle Reader, up to speed on what has transpired only incidentally at the Hall, during that otherwise uneventful period.

Digger’s Superbowl Party: In what has become an annual pilgrimage, the Halls once again attended the stellar Superbowl party at Digger’s home and bar. While winter snows may have kept the attendance down a bit this year, the food was as always extraordinary. Shown below, hostess Karen Hajski with guests Katie, Henry “Shanghai” Sienkiewicz, and his daughter Sandy; all enjoying the homemade Manhattan clam chowder and good company. Master Ian came along for the ride this year; he got a kick out of the boards plastering the walls and cheered the winners (including Mrs. Hall, to the tune of twenty five simollians) on heartily.

Oh look, Honey; it’s snowing again. What Central New York lacked in snow earlier, they made up for in February. Coming down in bucketloads over the last few weeks, Syracuse in general and Penguin Hall in particular, have been inundated with several feet of the wet white stuff. A number of heavy downfalls made carrying on work through the downtown area much more time consuming than usual. The piles took a toll on parking lots everywhere, including the funeral home, where the square footage of actual parking space was down by as much as a third for a couple of weeks. Poor Wookie had to blaze a trail to the backyard for her daily constitutional; the snow blower shown here earning its keep and more, carving a path through the backyard, and a driveway out of the snow drifts.

It was officially announced just this week that Ian had been promoted from Squad Leader to Squad Guide by his sergeant. He had been previously just in charge of the poolies from his district; this promotion placed him in charge of all the poolies from several regions at his headquarters. This last vote of confidence just continues to make Ian ever more driven to pursue his career in the Marine Corps; he is so anxious to start he can barely contain himself! Shown at left: Cody and Jared, two young fellows whom Ian has been ferrying to PT with him, ready to begin their calisthenics.

Valentine’s Day at the Scotch and Sirloin. Low light photography more closely approximates the view after a couple of cocktails, shrimp or otherwise, or two! And of course, the steaks were amazing.

Penguin Hall has frequently been taken over by LAN parties, and Master Ian continues to keep the tradition alive. More than once last month, the entire family room floor was covered with wires, powerstrips and the perennial paraphernalia associated with and generally accompanying a gathering of geeks. Mrs. Hall is grateful that they are a thoughtful, neat and relatively clean (if not always quiet) group; the only residue remaining about the Hall after a get-together such as this are the sleeping dead, strewn about the floor of the Hall the next morning, looking a lot like that famous wounded crowd scene in Savannah from “Gone With The Wind”.

Saddest sight around town this month: “Doc” Good, owner of the Little Gem Diner, decides to throw in the towel and call it a day. To quote him directly: “All Good things must come to an end.” The Gentle Reader can only hope someone steps up to the plate and saves the diner from the scrap yard.

2010 Syracuse Auto Show: While it was slightly better than last year’s dreadful offering, the 2010 Auto Show was still a disappointment. No concept cars, only one Miata and a few token Porsches thrown in for the luxury cars. Still, it didn’t stop Master Ian from sliding up behind the wheel of every muscle car in the show. Mrs. Hall did manage to sit in the 2010 Miata, but remarked it was a horrible color. Mr. Hall remained unmoved by the auto industry’s showing, but perked up when he ran into some of his cronies from the Marcellus “Board of Directors”. Shown at left, undoubtedly up to no good: Bon vivant and man about town, Hugh Norris and his lovely wife Joyce, and Dr. Drew Merritt with Mr. Hall, planning all sorts of mischief.

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