Thursday, December 14, 2017
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14TH., 2017
CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE.
It's more than just a line from a popular
Christmas song friends. December 14th is now
"Roast Chestnuts Day!" It's the perfect time to
do the roasting!
Holiday Insights.com created this new and
very special day in 2015. The date was selected
to coincide with the beginning of the "Twelve
Days of Christmas".
My daughter was in the mood for some
roasted chestnuts a couple weeks ago and I
found some at a popular market in Scranton.
I delivered them myself but not before tossing
a few into a bag for my wife and I.
We don't roast them, at least not in the
traditional way, We've found it a lot easier
just to put a couple slices in the shells then
toss them in the microwave! Melt a little
butter on the side and you've got a delicious
Admittedly the best we ever had were
roasted the old fashion way. They were
purchased from a vendor near the Chapel
Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland. I suppose
the venue added a bit to that enjoyment as
we sat on the span, a pedestrian covered
bridge that dates back to at least 1367!
Most of us are surrounded by a fresh
coating of snow today. It's a perfect time
to take a break and enjoy some chestnuts,
however you choose to roast them.
Hope you get to have some and that
all your NEWS is good!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13TH., 2017
MEMORIES IN BITS AND PIECES!
I'm intrigued with "Used To Be's." Places
and buildings out of my past that are gone now
or changed in their use from their vision in my
Thomas Wolfe wrote "You Can't Go Home
Again" but that's not really true. Memories
and phots can take you there anytime you'd
like to go.
A Facebook friend took me back to my
old neighborhood through a couple of
pictures she turned up from her family's
Just a block away from the home in which
I was born stood a small Shoemaker's shop. I
was sent there often.
Back "in the day" you had shoes repaired
rather than replaced. And you did it until they
couldn't be repaired anymore!
I can still remember the wonderful aroma
of leather in that shop and the "German accent"
of the man whose craftsmanship preserved
much of the DeCosmo footwear in those days.
But I was just a kid and never really knew
very much about the Craftsman himself!
That's where my Facebook friend comes
in! One of my previous blogs referred to
places in my old neighborhood. After reading
it Sharon Kadler Montone asked if I remembered
her Grandfather's shoe repair shop!
And so it is, after all these years, I learn
that Charles Schiel was born in Vienna, Austria
in 1894. He learned his trade there and was
eventually brought to America through an
effort of the church I attended in my home
town of Hazleton.
Charles and his wife Myra were
friends with my Mom and Dad. They lived
just a few blocks away.
Mr. Schiel worked in his little shop
for 55 years finally retiring at age 80. He
passed away in 1985 at age 91.
The shop is gone now. There's an
empty lot in its place. I don't pass that way
very often these days but when I do I look
at that spot and remember the machines and
the smell of the leather as if it were yesterday.
How ironic my wife and I were
in Vienna earlier this year and now I'm
learning about its native son who kept me
in my Buster Brows for so many years!
There are ways to "go home again."
Hope you do occasionally and that all your
NEWS is good.
Monday, December 11, 2017
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12TH., 2017
CALL OF THE WILD!
I had just completed some grocery
shopping at Walmart when I heard the
call of the wild!
To be perfectly honest it was the
first "bang" that caught my attention. Had
I been thinking properly I probably should
have ducked for cover. The second followed
less than ten seconds later. I didn't bother to
hit the floor because I realized the "bangs"
I heard were exactly that.....something
hitting the floor.
The foul language that followed
immediately suggested it was items being
thrown to the floor!
The guy who did the tossing dashed
for the door and his limited assortment of
I, and a couple other stunned customers
began to wonder what caused the tirade.
My assumption leads me to believe the
"gentleman" didn't realize the store has
rest rooms and was in such need that he
threw down his would be purchases and
ran as quickly as he could to find facilities
There's no question he was in a
hurry! He pushed out of the automatic
glass doors with such force he knocked
them off their track. Then he stormed
right pass the Salvation Army Bell
ringer. He did not leave a donation!
He did, however, share his colorful
commentary with the man.
Fortunately the "Greeter" (now
they're actually receipt checkers) was
able to put the door back in its track and
I left a small donation so the Army's
volunteer wouldn't be too disappointed.
I, and a lady leaving the store
at the same time, decided to wait on the
sidewalk for a couple minutes just to
make sure we weren't stepping onto the
roadway and into the path of the upset
shopper. We both assumed he'd be
driving away even faster than he
Again, I'm not sure what caused
the commotion. Maybe he forgot his
wallet. Maybe his coupons had expired.
Or maybe he was trying to use the
automatic "Self Check Out system."
I think he needs to calm down
and, maybe, suck on a bar of Lifebuoy
soap for awhile!
Hope he has a Merry Christmas
and that all your NEWS is good!
Sunday, December 10, 2017
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11TH., 2017
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PARTIES PAST.
As regular readers are aware my wife and I
spent Saturday night at the annual WYOU/WBRE
Christmas Party which featured an "Ugly Sweater
As I reflected on the night my mind wandered
back to days of yore and other memorable
Christmas parties I've enjoyed.
The first, as I recently reported, was one I
didn't attend! It was 1959 and while most of
the WAZL staff went to their annual party I
got to run the control board and offer the
station identifications. My first time on the
The WDAU holiday party was always
a major occasion. Held at the old Mount
Airy Lodge it featured a day long use of all
the facilities, Hors d'oeuvres, a three-course
dinner, prizes, a show at the night club, and
available rooms for those who may have
enjoyed a few too many drinks.
It was also held in January so as not to
interfere with everyone's busy professional
and family Christmas responsibilities.
The party I remember best, however,
was the WILK radio Christmas party of 1972.
In addition to being the News Director
I wrote a daily comedy skit about a nutty
inventor I called "Mr. Chemistry."
My buddy Bill Dennis acted the part of the
accident prone professor while I provided the
voice of his inquisitive next door neighbor kid
That same year Chuck Berry released the
popular novelty record "My Ding-A-Ling."
The song tells of how the singer received a toy
consisting of "silver bells hanging on a string" from
his grandmother, who calls them his "ding-a-ling."
You didn't hear it much on WILK (which
was a Top 40 music station back then.) One of
our owners, Leon Schwartz, ordered it
pulled from the air as being "objectionable."
That year, at the Christmas Party, Bill,
dressed as Mr. Chemistry, and I, dressed as
Bobby, unveiled the professor's newest
invention. It was an Automatic Gift Selector
When Mr. Schwartz's name was fed into our
apparatus it produced a gold copy of Berry's
recording! With our hearts in our throats we
presented it to our boss!
Fortunately for us, though he hated the song,
he loved the joke!
Isn't Christmas Spirit wonderful!?
Coincidentally it was our last Christmas at
the station. We both left for "greener pastures"
by 1973. No! It had nothing to do with our gift
But one of my favorite "Ghosts of Christmas
Past" will always feature a little gold record by
Chuck Berry, a DJ in a Lab coat, and a usually
dignified newscaster in short pants and a Beanie
hat with a propeller on top!
Regrettably I don't have a photo of the affair.
You'll just have to use your imagination!
Hope you've got some great Christmas
memories, and that all your NEWS is good!
Saturday, December 9, 2017
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10TH., 2017
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR!
I should probably be happy about this
but last night I lost the contest in which
I was competing. Normally losing isn't
the outcome one would wish for. But
this was an "Ugly Sweater Contest!"
It was also the annual WYOU/WBRE
Everyone was encouraged to wear an
ugly Christmas sweater but I didn't have
one. Ugly or not!
My wife suggested a visit to the local
Goodwill store to see if anything was
available there to fit the bill....and me.
As luck would have it, good or bad
depending on your outlook, we found
one garment we thought might qualify.
My wife added a bit of trim and a
few jingle bells to enhance my entry.
In hindsight that may have been a bad
I was definitely considered to be
in the running but in the end I lost out
to a couple others, one of which was
almost exactly like mine!
Technically I probably would have
been disqualified had there been a tie
because mine is actually a sweatshirt
not a sweater!
Still the evening was a big success
as we got to spend time with some
old friends at the "Retired Table" and
meet some of the kids coming along
in our footprints! I don't know if they'll
be great reporters and photographers
and such but I do know they sure own
some very ugly sweaters!
Since mine was not the ugliest perhaps
I'll get a little more use out of it before
Santa stops by to check it out!
Hope he brings a new sweater, and
that all your NEWS is good!
Friday, December 8, 2017
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9TH., 2017
IT'S IN THE CARDS!
I'm not sure in the mailman is
celebrating. But this is "Christmas
It's observed every December
9th., in honor of Sir Henry Cole of
England. Cole created the first commercial
Christmas Card in 1843.
Christmas cards are as much a part
of the holiday's traditions as Santa and
the Christmas tree.
For many years those cards were
the most popular way for people in
one area of the country to exchange
their greetings with folks who lived
in another. More recently a lot of
those Hallmark cards have been
replaced with email and Facebook
My wife and I still fashion our
annual Christmas card based on
scenes from the movie "A Christmas
Story." If you haven't seen the film
(although I find that hard to believe)
you'll probably think we're just crazy.
For some, whether they've see the
movie or not, we prove we are!
The hardest part is trying to
reconstruct a scene. Thus far I think
we've been fairly successful.
That said, here's our card to you
this season. Hope you like it, remember
it from the movie, and that all your
NEWS is good!
Thursday, December 7, 2017
FRIDAY. DECEMBER 8TH., 2017
WHICH WAY WOULD YOU GO?
If you've ever been told you're
living in the past, or are ahead of
your time, this day may be for
This is "Pretend You're A
Time Traveler Day!" It was created
in 2007 by the Koala Wallop online
A lot of people fantasize about
the possibility and it's nothing new.
Charles Dickens envisioned it. In
his story “A Christmas Carol”
Ebenezer Scrooge, is transported
back and forth through time to witness
various events, leading to his eventual
change of heart towards Christmas.
I'm not sure I want to envision the
future. I could look ahead and find I'm
not there! That could be a bit
unsettling! It would probably be better
to go back and relive some of my
better days. Or buy some stocks like
Amazon or Macintosh!
Of course this is just "Pretend
You're A Time Traveler Day." I, as
I've reported before, have actually
done some Time Traveling. Several
times just after the New Year's ball
fell at Times Square I've called
family members in California
allowing me to speak to people in
the previous year!
Since I haven't reset my car
clock since we switched to Standard
Time, I'm an hour into the future
every time I go for a ride!
So enjoy the day. Perhaps you
can pretend it's next weekend...and
take the day off!
Hope you get away with it and
that all you NEWS is good!