The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 26th, 2022

supposed son

with 3 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another trip out to Pittsburgh began for a humble narrator on the 27th of August. This time around, getting there was accomplished by automobile, specifically in my pal Max’s late model Mercedes. We traded off the driving, and this was officially the first time I’ve ever driven a vehicle manufactured by the German automaker. Nice drive, have to admit. It was a 4 door sedan, and kind of a “dad car,” but being a fairly heavy vehicle it sat into the curves on the highway neatly and was pretty fun to drive.

There are two routes from “here” to “there,” a northern route which we took on the way to Pittsburgh and a southern one that uses the Pennsylvania Turnpike which we used to return to NYC. I found the latter route a tedious and annoying drive devoid of the sort of epic scenery that the northern route offers. Also, the northern route carried us through Altoona, which is a whole other story that I’ll tell once I’m living in Pennsylvania next year and I have time to get photos of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Somewhere in New Jersey, we made a stop to gas up the vehicle and grab some supplies for the road – Gatorade and gum, basically. As it happens, this is probably one of the last “Sinclair” branded gas stations in the northeast that I’m aware of.

Sinclair is the oil company that created the popular image and concept of dinosaurs somehow being related to the formation of petroleum with a 1960’s-70’s branding effort. The “Dino” has long been their corporate icon. They sell branded gear, everything from Covid masks and water bottles to Dino toys.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The gas station still had one of the Sinclair Dino statues installed on its property. I was god damned bemused by this fact.

The actual geologic deposition of hydrocarbons in the ground isn’t dinosaur related, incidentally. Petroleum and gas are largely found in the dried up basins of prehistoric seabeds (organic matter deposited during several geologic periods that was compressed by the weight of water and agglutination of stone), and coal is found in areas that were heavily forested and flooded out during the Carboniferous. Of course, this is my understanding of the matter as a layman – if you are screaming out “He’s wrong” about the above statement, please share your knowledge with me.

We got back into the car, and zoomed off to the west. Highway speed limits in this section of the country are 70 mph. Saying that, while doing 70 in the right lane, cars and trucks were punching past us like we were standing still – and they were easily doing a 100 miles an hour in the passing lane. A semi tractor trailer doing 100 mph would likely need something close to a half mile of braking in order to come to a complete stop, using the tried and true formula of one vehicle length per every ten miles of speed for maintaining safe following distances on high speed roads, which is terrifying when you consider it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described last week, the camera was set up with a high ISO speed normally reserved for low light work, a narrow aperture (f8 or f11) and shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000th of a second in order to freeze the action and subject as we shot past it. The photos you get along the way are fairly random, just like the ones gathered from an Amtrak window that I’ve offered in the past, and are “snap shots” rather than photographs.

The middle section of Pennsylvania is quite rural. Farm country, essentially. While my pal Max was driving, and I was randomly shooting photos of things we were passing at 70 mph, one was bending his ear about the folk tales of cryptid creatures that have been reported as dwelling in these woods. Pennsylvania’s got a lot of lore, as it turns out. There’s meant to ghosts of Civil War soldiers wandering about, Sasquatch, goblins who live in abandoned mines, Dogmen, and my personal favorite – the Squonk,

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lovely countryside though. When I talk to people about the middle of the state, the word “Pennsyltucky” often arises, followed by Trump and then I’m warned that “Trump Supporters will shoot me on sight.” Propaganda, much? Really?

Just like there’s a New York State based socioeconomic and cultural difference between the urban quarters of NYC (and its surrounding suburbs) and Albany (and the immediate Capital region around it), versus the rest of New York State, so too is Pennsylvania divided along political and social fault lines which are geographically and economically distinct from each other.

My basic understanding of the matter is that whereas Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Pittsburgh dominate most of the population, politics, governance, and finances of the State, there’s a considerably different point of view and way of doing things at work in the rural areas. To use the political parlance of the current day, the Cities are bright blue counties, and the rural ones are scarlet red. To use an older metaphor, there’s City Mice and Country Mice.

Luckily, there’s a whole lot of purple in the borders between these theoretical polarities. I actually like a divided government. Keeps them honest. Look at what happened in NYC when De Blasio came in and everybody was member of the same club. That’s where corruption gets bred, amongst bedfellows. Say it out loud – TAMMANY.

There’s so much to learn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also, no comment on that “Obey” sign spotted in the middle of a farmer’s field somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania, other than that I hope the farmer is making good money for hosting an advertising bill board on their property. The group who’s signage this is also buy signage in LIC along the Sunnyside Yards, but their ads in Queens are either anti-abortion or attestations of either the Christ’s omnipotence or his continued existence – one of their signs is seen in this shot, for instance. It seems that there are several religious groups who purchase and fill these billboards with such messaging, as explored in this piece at priceonomics.

Again – there is so much to learn…

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: