Joe Biden, Manti Te'o: good liars
A week ago the Scribbler called for entries in the fourth annual Lancaster Liars Contest -- a contest that in previous years has prompted literally millions of Lancastrians to compose outrageous fabrications.
This year, so far, the Scribbler has received two entries.
The deadline is Monday.
What is going on here?
Whatever it is, it's not going on elsewhere. Elsewhere, folks are making up stories left and right.
Vice President Joe Biden says he was playing golf within earshot of the 2006 Amish school shooting at Nickel Mines, Bart Township, even though the closest golf course is in Chester County.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o says he really did fall in love with an online girlfriend, mourned her apparent death and then lied about his lost love even after he learned she had never really existed.
If the vice president of the United States and a Heisman Trophy runner-up can tell whoppers like that, why can't Scribbler readers?
Perhaps the fibbing function of our brains has been frozen by the first cold snap of winter.
Here's what we're going to do. We're going to extend the deadline.
Instead of Monday, all submissions must reach the Scribbler's desk by Friday, Feb. 1. That gives everyone another full week to fabricate.
Feb. 1 is also close enough to Groundhog Day so that contest entrants might be inspired by the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge of Quarryville, which annually predicts the weather based on the behavior of a stuffed whistlepig.
The winner will be announced Friday, Feb. 8.
That will give the Scribbler a few extra days to play the links in Bart Township.
The second honorary Pirate
The Lancaster Pirates have inducted the club's second honorary member.
Willis W. Shenk, retired chairman of the board of Steinman Enterprises, owner of Lancaster Newspapers, was inducted along with eight regular members earlier this month.
The Pirates, a social organization founded by city merchant and entrepreneur Harry Williamson in 1910, maintains a membership of 100.
The Pirates said the honorary membership was bestowed upon "one of Lancaster's most distinguished gentlemen, and one who shares the attributes of the club's founder.''
The club's first honorary member was President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The club's archives tell how that happened.
The Pirates were the first group invited to Eisenhower's home in Gettysburg.
"General Eisenhower was a gracious host,'' the archives relate. "He met the crew in his garden, greeted each person individually and then sojourned with us. As a result of his hospitality and the honor he accorded us, he was made a Pirate....''
Water in the attic: old news
The Jan. 8 Scribbler item about smothering an incoming bomb with sand stored in the attic during World War II prompted Lancastrian Paul Ripple to discuss similar fire prevention measures in Colonial days.
"Many homes had steps in the attic to a trap door at the top of the roof near the chimney,'' he writes. "Homeowners could douse water on a roof fire started by a spark from the chimney.''
When fire insurance was created, he adds, these homes received a discount.
"Also in those days almost every home had a bucket and a canvas bag,'' he says. "The bucket was to form a bucket brigade to fight a fire and the bag was to carry out the family silverware or other valuable items.''
A bucket and bag to bail.
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If the vice president of the United States and a Heisman Trophy runner-up can tell whoppers, why can't Scribbler readers?