Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where's Wonka?

   Somehow, we snuck into the Candy
Factory without a Golden Ticket!
   Of course a couple thousand other
people got in too! Maybe Security
was on break! Probably eating
    We were all looking forward to
doing that!
    Every other year the Willy Wonka
of northeastern Pennsylvania, David
Hawk, opens his factory to the general
public to show how Gertrude Hawk
candies are made and packaged.
   Every so often along the tour route
his Oompa Loompa's....I mean his
employees, whose work stations are
decorated with some sort of theme,
hand out samples of the popular
chocolate products!
    I've gone through before and always
enjoyed the treats! But this time I was
   Regulations require all visitors to
wear hair nets in a factory where food
products are manufactured. I expected
   What I didn't expect was the secondary
net that was required because of my
moustache! When I put it in place I
realized it also covered my mouth!
    You can't eat Smidgen's through a
net! Or chocolate covered raisins! Or
chocolate peanut butter treats!
    My grandson suggested I could
pull the elastic band just enough to
get some candy in! Kids know their
candy...and how to get it! The plan
worked and I was able to nibble
just enough to neutralize the calories
I burned walking through the factory!
    Hope I saved a couple pieces to
snack on today...and that all your
NEWS is good!



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ducks On The Pond!

   I know! I know.
   Ducks on the pond is a baseball term.
It means there's players on the  bases
waiting for a hit to bring them home!
   But I don't think real ducks play
   Still there they were. On the pond.
Well, just off the pond. Or, in this case
the Susquehanna River!
   I heard the unmistakable sound of
ducks or geese while I was on my walk
   I stopped and looked towards the sky,
fully expecting to see that traditional
"V" formation of birds making their
annual fall flight to warmed climates
somewhere down south.
   But the sky was empty.
   The sound, as it turns out, was coming
from the river bank in West Pittston.
    And there they were. Just sitting, or
squatting, whatever it is birds do when
they're not doing anything. Lots of them!
     It was certainly cold enough to encourage
birds, or even people, to head south. But
they didn't seem anxious to go anywhere.
    Maybe they heard about expected
warmer temperatures next week. Or maybe
this flock is from Buffalo and just needed
a rest stop.
    Maybe they're from Buffalo and thought
this was Florida!
    What a bunch of turkeys....I mean geese.
     Hope their presence means sunny days
and that all your NEWS is good!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Where There's Smoke!

     Just in case you missed it, yesterday
was "The Great American Smokeout."
     The American Cancer Society
began the annual Smokeout campaign
back in the 70's. The idea was to try to
encourage smokers to drop the habit
for a day in the hope they'd recognize
the health and financial benefits and
quit completely!
    A lot has happened since those
early smokeouts. Many smokers have
been "encouraged" to stop smoking
by paying high taxes on cigarettes and
by finding fewer and fewer places
where they're allowed to smoke.
    But despite death rates and other
 smoking related illnesses the latest
 studies show more than 42 million
 Americans are still lighting up.
    I have found myself standing all
too close to a few of them. Somehow
they always find a way to stand
upwind from me so the toxic fumes
from their exhaled smoke can quickly
find it's way towards my nose.
   I'm just thankful I'm not one
of their kids strapped into the back
seat of their cars while they are lighting
up...up front!
    I spotted  some young women
"observing"the Great American
Smokeout near the Wilkes-Barre
Career Technology Center yesterday.
I think they may have misunderstood
the whole thing though. "Smoke-Out"
does not mean to smoke "Outside."
    But these devoted addicts gave up
their warm school building to stand
in 20 degree temperatures so they could
burn tobacco and inhale the fumes.
   Maybe they didn't get the memo.
   Hope your air is clear and all your
NEWS is good!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thinking INSIDE The Box!

   We're all encouraged to think "Outside
the Box" these days.
   Last night the challenge was to think
"Inside the Box!"
   My wife, daughter, two grandsons, and
one of our grand daughters joined over 20
other volunteers at our church hall to pack
shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
   The idea is pretty simple. You fill a shoe
box with items for kids for Christmas. The
boxes go to an area distribution center and,
from there, eventually to a warehouse where
they're shipped off to kids in need somewhere
around the world.
    The church and many of its members have
been gathering things to put in the boxes.
But that's where the challenge comes in!
    You see the kids who will end up with
these boxes vary in age from 2 to 14 or so.
Then, of course, some will go to boys and
some to girls.
     A three year old girl somewhere might
love a little doll. But an eleven year old
boy might not be as impressed!
     Our challenge was to try to match the
items in the box with its possible recipient.
Well, there was one other challenge. That
was stopping those of us doing the packing
from playing with the balls, tops, and other
toys so readily available!
     Hey, you have to test things don't you?
     In spite of all that "testing" we managed
to get a lot of shoe boxes filled with goodies
for some kid who will have a better Christmas
thanks to those efforts.
     And they'll know those toys are in good
     Hope you're thinking in and outside the
box and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finding That Gettysburg Address!

    Seven score and 11 years ago today
President Abraham Lincoln delivered a
speech in Gettysburg Pennsylvania that,
according to his own words, would be
little noted nor long remembered by the
    Boy, did he get that wrong!
    Who hasn't heard or maybe even
been forced to memorize and recite those
272 words at one time or another?
    For kids today it may be one of the
few things they know about Lincoln.
Except that they named a car and a
tunnel after him!
    And "a score" to most is something
they hope their football team will do.
    This may be a good time to clear up a
big misconception about that famous
speech. It was not written in a train on the
way to Gettysburg!
    There are five know copies and each is
written in a steady even script which would
have been virtually impossible to do on a
train back in the Civil War era. Way too
   You kids might want to impress your
teacher with that bit of historic trivia.
   If that doesn't work you can wow
everyone in the class with some important
information I've come up with through my
extensive research.
   If you are ever asked if you know the
 Gettysburg address, the correct answer is
 97 Taneytown Road!
   That's the National Cemetery where
Lincoln made the speech. It's the
Gettysburg address address!
    Hope you're all impressed with my
historical knowledge and that all your
NEWS is good!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Great Turkey Hunt

  We paid a visit to Walmart last night to
get some photos developed. But wait,
there's more!
   My wife uttered those words that
frighten the best of men. "As long as we're
    I immediately feared the worse. I'd find
myself in one of those tiny changing rooms
trying on some jeans or shirts I didn't really
want but somehow needed.
   That fear proved premature!
   This time I found myself on a Turkey
    Thanksgiving, of course, is right around
the corner and we were in need of a bird
for the family feast.
     There was a good supply on hand. But
how do you pick the perfect bird?
      Well, in our case, we needed something
to feed more than a dozen people expected
to join us for the holiday. That meant
something fairly big.
      We dug into the first case looking for
the biggest bird we could find. Of course
you had to lift each one to read the tag.
      They all seemed big to me! They
were heavy! And turkeys don't come with
handles like milk jugs!
       We finally spotted one that looked
like it might be large enough for our
needs. But, after lugging it out of the
freezer compartment, we realized there
was no weight tag attached!
       A man from the Meat Department
just happened to be nearby stocking
steaks. My wife asked him if he'd be
kind enough to check our target bird.
       He must have heard her as he
carried it away, without comment,
probably asking himself why he has
to deal with turkeys...of all sorts.
       A couple minutes later he returned
and confirmed our suspicion that the bird
met our requirements.
       I grabbed a fork lift....all right...
it was really just a shopping cart..hauled
it to the check out, then loaded our quarry
into the car and brought it home where
it has displaced several pizzas and some
other stuff in our freezer.
     My wife tells me we may have to get
another "small bird" to supplement the
prize one from the market.
     I suppose I can skip the weights at the
Y this week!
     Hope the cranberries are light and that
all your NEWS is good!  

Monday, November 17, 2014


   We topped off a busy day yesterday by
taking a little off the top!
    My grandson and I were both in need
of a haircut. So, my wife got out the
haircut kit and set up shop at my daughter's
    You've got to hand it to her! Cutting my
grandson's hair is a little like trying to sheer
a sheep. Except, the sheep doesn't usually
offer an opinion on styling techniques!
    My grandson does!
    After every few passes with the scissors
he'd want to look in the mirror and offer
his "constructive criticism."
    "Cut this part here, see? Where I'm
holding." "Take some more off there."
     He apparently had a "look" or "style"
in mind before the process ever got started.
     He did offer to do it himself. But wiser
heads prevailed after visions of post Apache
massacres entered our minds!
     Those attacks were also brought to mind
as he reacted with yelps to what he insisted
was the intentional use of dull scissors in
the trimming process.
      My turn followed.
      I sat still and said nothing. An old saying
came to my mind. "A closed mouth gathers
no feet"....or bad hair cuts!
      Hope my neck doesn't itch too much and
that all your NEWS is good!