Saturday, May 28, 2016


   SUNDAY, MAY 29TH., 2016

     My community is whole again!
The Giant is back. And in this case
the Giant is a Hot Dog!
      Most every town as its local
Hot Dog stand. In Hazleton it's
Jimmy's. In Sunbury it's the Squeeze
In. In Scranton it's Coney Island and
you've got two to choose from!
      Here in Plains Township the
name Torony's has been home of
the Giant hot dog for as long as
most people can remember.
      The family business began
with a small wooden stand next
to a gas station along Route 315.
I can remember people sitting on
the few stools out front or standing
around waiting for their "foot long"
topped with onions, chili, and
       Locals would talk politics,
gossip, or sports while visitors
would just take in the delightful
fragrance that filled the air as the
hot dogs and fries cooked on the
       A few years back the little
stand closed and the operation
was moved to a larger building
near the Mohegan Sun Casino.
The Giant hot dogs were still as
good as ever. But the crowds
        Seems casino goers weren't
the type to stop for a hot dog
along the way. Funny because I
always considered the dogs a good
bet! I stopped in whenever I got a
craving and there was never a wait.
        Then awhile back I was
surprised to find the place closed.
I thought it was some kind of a
seasonal move. But eventually it
became clear it was not to reopen.
         Thankfully the family was
using the down time to find a new
location a bit more fitting for hot
dog hungry customers. It's still
in our community and I found it
yesterday. I was happy to see the
Giant back even though the crowds
had returned as well and I waited
some 40 minutes for two "with
         Hope business is good, the
lines just a bit shorter, and that
all your NEWS is good!


Friday, May 27, 2016


  SATURDAY, MAY 28TH., 2016
            HAIL CAESAR!

     We heard a lot about history
during our visit to Italy this month.
And it's amazing how many historical
structures or, in some cases, the ruins
of historical structures still stand
      But one of the stories we heard
still leaves me astonished and, at the
same time, a bit bewildered!
       Some 55 years before Christ
walked this earth, Julius Caesar was
involved in the Gallic War. In order
to secure his eastern border against
marauding Germanic tribes Caesar
ordered his legions to build a bridge
over the Rhine River to show the
enemy his ability to go anywhere
and attack at will.
      Now here's the thing. They
built that bridge in ten days! Then
they crossed it and watched the
enemy flee. After that Caesar had
his men return and disassemble
the bridge as they did!
      A bridge build in ten days to
carry Roman legions over a river!
      I don't know who did the design
work. But I think it's safe to say
non of his descendants are working
for PennDot! Repair and replacement
work on several Interstate bridges
near our home have been going on
for months and I've seen no sign of
any of those projects being finished
anytime soon!
       We certainly seem to have
"legions" of state employees
"working" on the jobs! Of course
Caesar's men weren't paid by the
hour. Now I'm wondering if
Brutus might have been a union
       Hope they get done soon and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, May 26, 2016


   FRIDAY, MAY 27TH., 2016

   Let the record show we have been
back from Italy for well over a week!
True, while we were there we and
our group of fellow travelers were
pounding the streets of communities
like Rome, Pisa, and, yes, Florence!
    As we left the city where works
of classical art abound, we meandered
along the Arno river, stopping often
to take pictures of the beautiful
waterway that winds its way through
the ancient city.
    Ironically, in an area where Roman
built aqueducts survive after thousands
of years, water pipes under the streets
built much more recently have not
stranded the test of time.
     On Wednesday, not far from where
we walked, a sink hole opened up
along the river swallowing a mess of
parked cars! Had it happened while
we were there we might well have
been questioned as to just how much
these American tourists had eaten for
lunch! That thought "weighed" on my
mind today. (Get it? Weighed. Sink
hole. K, forget I said anything.)
       Hope they can find some ancient
Roman Engineers to fix the problem for
good....and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


  THURSDAY, MAY 26TH., 2016

    That trip to Italy really as us
spoiled! All those great Italian
foods. It just isn't practical to
fly back some 9 to 10 hours for
a meal.
     But when we can't get to Italy
we go to Tamaqua! That's where
our friend Alfie operates La Dolce
Casa, a great Italian restaurant on
the banks of the Little Schuylkill
     I took my wife there Wednesday
as a continued celebration of her
birthday and it was like being back in
Tuscany! Alfie even speaks Italian.
Of course, I don't so we had to order
in English!
      I brought him a couple photos
from our trip to Italy in the hope
it would remind him of home. They
did although, ironically, he never
actually visited some of the cities
we did.
      The meal, which always begins
with a serving of bread and knots
with a dipping sauce, was fantastic
as usual. And it's good to know we've
got a taste of Tuscany pretty darn
close to home!
       Hope we remembered the
canollies and that all your NEWS
is good!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


  WEDNESDAY, MAY 25TH., 2016

    Raise a glass everyone. It's National
Wine Day!
    The title suggests this is a U.S.
observance although there's no record
of any official government recognition
of this day. If the day is unique to our
country we've got to consider it a "new"
     Last week our Tuscany tour group
visited an Italian winery that's been in
the same family for eight generations!
We sampled wines made from the
grapes growing in the fields all around
us. And everybody was happy. Especially
after about their eighth sample!
      I knew there was something special
about those Italian wines. The top
vintage was selling for $500 a bottle!
I couldn't afford the cork!
      So perhaps on this "National
Wine Day" I'll search out something
from an area winery to celebrate.
      Hope it's under $500 bucks...and
that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, May 23, 2016


  TUESDAY, MAY 24TH., 2016

      My wife celebrates her
Birthday today! She does it every
year on this same date. I don't
think that's a coincidence.
      All the kids have already
asked what she'd like in the way
of a present. And she's responded
as she usually does by saying
she doesn't really need anything.
      She views our recent trip
to Italy as my gift although, in
reality, my job as a host probably
could not be done without her
      In fact most of the things I
do could not be done without
her support and assistance!
The blog may be an exception.
She sort of let's me alone to put
that together. So, today, I
thought I'd dedicate it to her.
      There are some roses as
well and tentative plans to
head to our favorite restaurant
late this afternoon to celebrate
       Thanks for all you do my
love! Hope you have a very
Happy Birthday and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, May 22, 2016


  MONDAY, MAY 23RD., 2016

     Seasons change. Winter to
Spring. Spring to Summer and
so on.
     Sports seasons change too.
You'll usually enjoy Football in
the Fall and Baseball in the
      But Soccer seems to have no
seasonal boundaries. So, when
you're a grandparent with grand
children in one of the many soccer
leagues chances are you'll find
yourself cheering throughout the
     So it is we found ourselves
out in the Sunday drizzle to cheer
on one of our grand daughters as
her team began its Summer season.
     Two other grand kids play to
be playing this year so there's a
chance I may begin to catch on
to some of the rules.
     The next trick will be getting
to as many games as possible,
especially when schedules conflict!
     Hope I'm cheering for the right
team.......and that all your NEWS
is good!