Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Track!

   I've been working on the railroad! Well, I've
started working on the railroad.
   My collection of Lionel Trains and the
Plasticville buildings that go with them have
been stored away in a closet for the past 15
years or so.
    I used to keep them up year round in the
house where I was born. But after my Dad
passed away and we sold the house I lost
the only space I had to display them.
    My daughter recently moved into a new
home and has invited me to invade the
basement there to reestablish my personal
railroad empire. That will make me a
railroad magnate because my Lionels
have "Magnetration!"
    The project began yesterday. First my
wife dug out the boxes. Then we hauled
them to my daughters.
     The first items to be unwrapped were
the sections of track. The rails are a bit
weathered now, just as the real ones would
be after so many years.
      I've set up a few just to get an idea
where the line will run. But there's some
serious cleaning and, perhaps, a bit of
platform expansion needed before my
rolling stock is actually rolling again.
      An advertising tune from the past
is ringing through my head..."That's real
smoke a puffin, that's a whistle you hear.
I'm a Lionel (toot, toot) Engineer!
     In a couple weeks or so we should be
up and running. I suspect my grandson
and grand daughter will be at the controls
after they learn the ropes.
     It's likely I'll be back at the throttle too!
There's still a kid in me longing to ride
the rails.
    Hope I remember where all the wires
go...and that all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Three Quarter Time

   Who would have believe my daily
exercise would end up as a opera. And
not a three penny opera at that!
   I did a Blog about the parking meters
in Pittston a couple years ago. I loved
them! From a distance they looked like
your ordinary parking meters.
    But not up close!
    The meters I remember had no guts!
That this, there were no inner workings.
There was no need to put any money in
because you coin would just fall into an
empty space.
     Awhile back the city installed new
meters. Meters that actually worked.
     There's even an elaborate system that
allows you to buy meter time by cell
      Yesterday I braved the one inch
snow "storm" that hit our area and drove
to the Pittston YMCA for a brief workout.
      I parked in front and inserted a quarter
in my parking meter only to notice no time
registered on the dial.
      Not wanting to risk a ticket I moved
to another spot nearby and pulled out a
second quarter. Once again the meter
gave me no time for my coin.
      Unfortunately parking meters, unlike
vending machines, have no "Coin Return"
       Another spot opened up where someone
else had been parked when I arrived. I
moved in and checked the meter which did
have a reading. It read..."FAIL."
        Not wanting to take my opera to three
quarter time I simply parked the car and
went inside.
        I'm happy to report there was no ticket
on my car when came back outside!
        Hope the city can use the two quarters
I left behind and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Weather's For The Birds!

     I've been checking all the weather
forecasts are everyone agrees....there
will be more snow!
     Amounts depend on two things.
Where you live and who you believe!
I've heard everything from 1 to 2 inches
to 1 to two feet! That's a wide range!
     Forecasters differ on their estimates
because they differ on the sources of
their information.
     I think they rely on various models.
     I know one is a European model.
There's probably also a Hollywood
model and, of course, the Woolly
     Unfortunately it's just a bit too
soon to check with the Groundhog.
     Weather remains a mystery to me.
     I remember when I was growing up
I was told that birds fly south for the
     But, even with 4 or 5 inches of fresh
snow on my van, there was been a steady
flow of birds feeding on the bread set
out by my wife! Why haven't these birds
gone south?
     Have they adapted to our winter? Or
has their flight, like ours, just become too
expensive? Heck, they don't even have a
baggage charge!
     Well, whatever happens, we'll set out
more bread. And I'll bet the birds will
show up!
      Hope you survive the Blizzard, or
light coating, or whatever comes, and that
all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The State of My Union!

    I didn't watch the President's State of the
Union address last week.
    I haven't watched one of those for a few
years....even when I was a full time news
reporter. I never had to!
    By the time the President, any President,
was beginning his speech most everything
to be said was already previewed on every
network and major publication available.
    Then news analysts and spokespersons
for the opposing party, and every talk show
host and caller was either applauding or,
more likely, ripping apart everything that
was said.
   I always disliked the title too!
   When I was born there were 48  "States
of the Union."   I've heard they have
added two since then. But I'll only believe
it when I see them.
    My own State of the Union isn't too bad.
    My wife and I are coming up on 46 years
of marriage and are, for the most part,
enjoying everyday.
    Of course I don't hear too well and she
speaks very softly. But that can make for
a very agreeable conversation.
    Maybe the President and the Congress
should think about that!
     I hope those of you who did watch the
"State of the Union"speech enjoyed it.
    There was a time when you had no
choice but to watch it if your TV was
turned on.
     Fortunately the "State of the Union" in
the television industry is such that we've
got all kinds of other channels to watch!
     I picked the one showing that action
movie "Taken." 
    Of course I know what happens and
how it ends.
     But after seeing other"State of the
Union" addresses of the past......I
pretty much know what happens in
those and, generally, how they end.
     Hope your personal "State of the
Union" is OK and that all your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Be Prepared

  I never made it into Boy Scouts. But
I was a Cub Scout. And the motto is the
same! Be prepared.
  By the time some of you are reading
this snow will have enveloped our area.
The forecasters told us about it all day
   Today, I am prepared!
   I took a tip from other car owners in
my neighborhood and raised the
windshield wipers on my van. It will
make it much easier to clear away the
snow. Although I'm not planning any
trips. A cover has been draped over
the windshield of our other car to keep
the snow off.
    There's plenty of rock salt in a box
on the porch. I didn't like it on my
popcorn anyway!
     We also made the pre storm
obligatory trip to the market yesterday.
We're all expected to do this whether we
need anything or not. The TV stations
are counting on us so they can do
their traditional story on "Shoppers
stocking up."
     There's bread, eggs, and milk in
the refrigerator. And Oreos too!
 We've got enough food to keep us for
a week. Unless, of course, I've very
hungry. In that case it's about a 48
hour supply.
     So, let it snow! It's Saturday and
I told my wife where she can find the
snow shovels on the porch.
     (Just kidding on that one!)
     Hope the Oreos hold up and that
all your NEWS is good!   


Friday, January 23, 2015

The WRITE Stuff!

    Are you celebrating? After all, this is
"National Handwriting Day!"
    I would have sent you a formal notice
but, chances are, you wouldn't be able to
make out handwriting!
    Seems sort be
typing this blog to tell you about it. But
if you've ever seen my handwriting you
know it's better I use my keyboard!
    It's not just that others can't read my
writing. After a couple of hours, when
I begin to forget the original message,
I can't read it either!
    According to the website "Holiday
Insights", National Handwriting Day
was established in 1977 by the Writing
Instruments Manufactures Association.
    The idea was to promote the consumption
of pencils, pens, and writing paper.
    I've never eaten any of them!
    But I still use all of them!
    I think I try to write too fast when
I'm taking notes and, unless I print or type
the message over right away, I forget
what I've written!
     I've been making an effort to improve
my handwriting.
     But you try to be neat.....even with your
own signature.....when you're signing you
name on a Walmart check out screen!
     The "pencils" or whatever they call
those things don't have points. You see
your signature as you sign the screen.
    But you're lucky if two or three letters
are actually recognizable.
     Maybe it's because the little
signature screen is on an angle and
you're trying to keep one hand on your
cart while you're holding your credit
card and wallet in the same hand you're
using to sign.
      It doesn't seem to make much
difference. I suspect your card would be
approved even if you scribbled John Wilkes
    And you'd still get the bill!
    Hopefully you're signing for your
purchase of new socks or shoes because
January 23rd is also "Measure Your
Feet Day!"
     I'm also hoping this "holiday" survives!
     Some schools have stopped teaching
Cursive all together! I've got to wonder
how those students will react when they
see something like the Declaration
of Independence. Will they even be able
to sign their own name? Or will the old
fashion "X" come back into style?
     I believe we should all be trying to
encourage the continued teaching of
Cursive and trying to improve our own
    Hope you're doing just that and that

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Joining The Party!

    I just started out for my regular morning
walk yesterday. Nothing special in mind.
    All of a sudden there I was in the midst
of a big party! Since I hadn't actually been
invited I just thought I'd take in all the
festivities and take a photo or two.
    Initially I wondered what the celebration
was all about. I got the answer when I
returned home and checked by "Bizarre
Holiday File."
    Turns out yesterday was "Squirrel
Appreciation Day!" Most of you probably
knew that already.
    We're reminded to enjoy these nut-burying,
scampering animals respectfully and with
     I usually see a few on my morning walk.
But yesterday they really seemed to be out
in force and celebrating! Several were
jumping from tree to tree as if playing tag
with one another.
     Had I known in advance I would have
brought some peanuts to the party!
     Hope you're not Squirrelly and that all
your NEWS is good!