Tuesday, December 11, 2018


                   PARTY MEMORIES!

    Every now and then, on special
occasions, I pull out a classic Blog
from "Double Dee's Dusty Dungeon."
    December 12th is one of those days!
    It is "National My Ding-A-Ling Day!"
    According to the web site Holiday Insights
it's a day you "should brace yourself for bizarre
and crazy behavior, from all of the people you
encounter. Even normally conservative people
have been known to go a little crazy on this day."
    The title brings to mind one of the most
memorable Christmas parties I ever attended
when I and my radio partner went a little
     It was 1972. In addition to being the News
Director of WILK 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!

Monday, December 10, 2018


                     MALLED IN!

    A funny thing happened to me as I was
leaving the Marketplace at Steamtown (formally
the Steamtown Mall) Monday. I couldn't!
    Much to the delight (not) of holiday
shoppers the parking garage at and under
the mall, which used to be free, began
charging earlier this year.
     Now to be fair, shoppers do have access
to several hours of free parking. In order to
take advantage of the free time you simply
ask any clerk for a ticket. You then take
that ticket to the exit gate where you insert
the ticket you got when you entered, then
follow that with the ticket you got from the
clerk. I'm not sure what happens if you put
the second ticket in first! Perhaps I just
don't what to know!
      There are two exit ramps on the east
side of the mall. Those are the ones most
heavily used.
      On Monday, however, one of those
ramps was closed for repairs. By the time
the usual two lanes merged into one and
each driver inserted his or her pair of
tickets the basement of the mall began
to look like the Holland tunnel at rush
      I've got to believe some holiday
shoppers were wondering why they had
come in the first place. Especially when
many area downtowns bag their parking
meters during the Christmas shopping
period and allow people to park for free!
No wonder so many people are buying
on line!
      A frustrated attendant, the person
who usually tutors visitors on how the
ticket system works, finally gave up,
raised the gate  and waved drivers out
as quickly as she could given the fact
there's a traffic light about 5 car lengths
from her stand!
        I can't help hoping one of the
people who came up with that charge
for parking and ticket system got caught
in that traffic jam! Hope they'll just
raise the gate through December 24th
and that all your NEWS is good!


    MONDAY, DECEMBER 10TH., 2018
                      TEE TIME!

    I was just a bit confused when my son told
me our Tee Time at the Stone Hedge Country
Club near Tunkhannock.
    I gave up golf many years ago when my
terrible slice had me chasing my ball into the
woods while the other three in our foursome
walked on towards the green.
    Secondly winter, or cold weather, golf never
really appealed to me and a 6pm start in
December seemed to be a bit dark to begin a
game. My son assured me there would be
plenty of light! Talk about an understatement!
     You see the invitation wasn't for a game
of golf but, rather, to see Stone Hedge's 2nd
annual Festival of Lights!
      The entire acreage of the course has been
decked out in thousands and thousands of
beautifully colored Christmas lights and
Holiday displays. Many of the lights feature
seemingly moving characters that enhance
the displays even more.
      Add to that fire pits where visitors can
toast marshmallows, a "train ride" through
a separate trail of lights, the availability of
refreshments, and Santa himself, all ready
to pose with the kids for your own camera
      I saw a lot of friendly people there
including an old friend from the Lackawanna
County Sheriff's Office who brought his
family for a round of....well....lights!
      It's the best drive through Christmas
lighting display I've ever seen!
      There is a charge, probably to help pay
the electric bill. It's $25 but that's for a whole
car load so I'd suggest filling every seat which
should break it down to $5 or less per person!
       Hope you'll give it a try and that all your
NEWS is good!

Saturday, December 8, 2018


              COUNTING CARDS!

     It's December 9th. It's "Christmas
Card Day!" This day honors Sir Henry
Cole (1818 - 1874) of England. Cole
created the first commercial Christmas
Card in 1843.
     I'm not so sure you local mailman
(or woman) is celebrating. Every year
about this time their mail sacks get a
little bit heavier!
     Of course there's not as much
Christmas mail, at least in the form
of cards, as there used to be. The cost
of stamps and the time involved
writing and addressing cards has seen
many people switch to email versions
of the traditional Christmas greetings.
     We still enjoy receiving and
sending Christmas cards. We started
our own tradition back in 2009 after
visiting the house used in the movie
"A Christmas Story." You know, the
one where little Ralphie wants a 200
shot Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas!
We had our picture taken in the front
window by the famous "Leg Lamp"
and turned it into a Christmas card!
Each year we come up with our own
version of a scene from that movie.
It's a challenge. But it's fun!
     Family and some close family
friends should be getting this year's
version this week. Blog, or Facebook
followers will get to see it much
closer to Christmas right here on
     Since we produce our own we
haven't officially participated in
this "Hallmark Holiday." But we
still welcome the Hallmarks we
find in our mailbox!
      If you're still a card sender you
probably ought to be working on
yours about now. As of today there
are just two weeks of mail delivery
days until Christmas!
     Hope the mailman (or woman)
holds up....and that all your NEWS
is good!
    (Our 2009 Christmas Card)

Friday, December 7, 2018



    Holiday season. Many of your regular
weekly TV shows are on vacation. Many
have been replaced by re-runs of older
episodes or Christmas shows that reappear
each and every December.
     Most of my broadcasting work over
the years involved news. Once it was on
the air you never saw it again.
      I've been on the air somewhere since
1959 and have covered some of the biggest
stories in our area.
      But it seems it's a re-run that's drawing
a lot of attention!
       On Friday I took my grandson into a
popular hardware store to watch the electric
train displays speeding around the tracks.
The owner actually interrupted two
customers who were checking out to show
them, and me, a picture he took on his
cellphone the night before.
        It was a photo of his television
screen. And I was on it!
        He had been watching an episode of
Forensic Files involving the murder of
19-year-old Lori Auker in Northumberland
County in 1989. Her husband Robert was
eventually convicted as the killer.
          Forensic Files documented the story
in a segment titled "Cats, Flies, and Snapshots"
and, since I covered the case, I was asked to
appear in their production. Several of my
comments were used towards the very end
of the episode so I am "on camera" for
about two minutes.
            That episode was filmed in 2001!
             On Friday night a Facebook friend
sent me a message telling me he had just
seen me on Forensic Files!
              I've received similar notes from
friends in the area and as far away as
California and Chicago. And that's over
several years.
               When I first heard the old program
was being re-run I used to notify friends who
might never have seen it. Then I realized the
series was being run on several networks, some
independent stations, and even on YouTube!
                 Every now and then it comes back,
somewhere! Who knows? Perhaps years from
now some of my great, great grandkids will
get to see me on their TV's (or whatever
people will be watching then!).
                  I wish I could say I got residuals
but I never got paid in the first place! Hope
you get to see it sometime and that all your
NEWS is good.        

Thursday, December 6, 2018



   Sure. Everybody knows December 7th is
Pearl Harbor Day.
   But did you also know the date has been
set aside to celebrate one of your kids
favorite treats? It's true!
    Welcome to National Cotton Candy Day!
    Cotton Candy was originally called fairy
 floss. It is made from Floss (or Flossine) sugar.
    I have to admit I seldom buy Cotton Candy.
It's not that I dislike the stuff, although it's not
my favorite treat. I usually see it carried into
the stands at ballgames and the circus where
vendors push it to the kids at prices that would
cover a full dinner at some establishments!
     But to hear the folks who support this
concoction, adding it to your diet is not only
a taste treat....it's downright "healthy!"
     First, they point out that Floss is not actually
a sugar and is therefore safe for diabetics!
    The Cotton Candy machine was patented in
1899 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton.
They brought it to the St. Louis World's Fair in
1904, where is was quite popular.
     But even though the date is called a "National"
observance" there is no record of any
Congressional legislation honoring Cotton Candy
in any way. Wonder how they missed taking a
vote on that one?
     There's also no explanation as to why a
traditional summer time treat would or should be
recognized in December. But.....it is!
     So if you can find any Cotton Candy today, and
can afford it, you may want to enjoy some just to
join in the celebration!
     Hope you'll clean those sticky fingers and that
all of your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


              A MINER HOLIDAY!

    No, the title of this essay is not misspelled.
Today is a Miner Holiday that should be a
major thing! But I'll bet very few of you are
observing it. Even if you did know it existed!
     December 6th., is National Miner's
Day. A resolution designating the day was
passed by the U.S. Senate in 2009.
      You'd think such a holiday here in
northeastern Pennsylvania would be a 
pretty big deal. 
       All of the Senior citizens know our
communities were built on and because 
of Anthracite coal. There are State Historical
Markers all around the region relating to our
coal heritage. Of course most of them recall
mining disasters that were all too frequent
back in the days when coal was king. I 
remember when local radio stations
broadcast the Mine Working schedules
each day!
         It's ancient history to the area's school
age kids today but it shouldn't be! Just as we
remember the gallant men and women who
fought for this country in our military we should
be remembering our grandfathers and great
grandfathers who built our communities with
their toil underground providing fuel for the
country in times or war and peace.
          They lived in coal patch towns and
often did, in fact, owe their souls to the
Company Stores which drained most of the
money they made working 10 and 12 hours
a day in the dark tunnels that still lie beneath
many of our streets and homes.
           And many died in places like the 
Avondale,  Baltimore, Twin Shaft, and Knox
Mine disasters! 
            I wonder how many area students
recognize those names?
            I'd like to see our schools take some
time, if only every December 6th, to tell today
minors about why this Miner Holiday is so
            Hope they do and that all your NEWS
is good!