Tuesday, May 31, 2011

American Idle!

  A long weekend. And a day off for
a national holiday.
 It's a combination that should
give all of us a chance to be
"American Idle." A chance to take it
easy and do absolutely nothing.
 That's a great kind of 'Idle!"
 It all started out that way for
me on Memorial Day.
 Maybe it was the generally
sleepless night before. Or, perhaps,
the high humidity that discouraged
my wife and me from much activity.
 Whichever we figured this Memorial
Day would be spent lounging around
somewhere near the air conditioner.
 That feeling lasted just long
enough to realize that this was
the kind of day my Miata was made
for. It called out to me from
under its winter cover and within
a half hour we had the top down
and the car on the road.
 No watch. No place we had to
be. This kind of 'idleness' could
become a habit!
 But our homecoming was greeted
by that ever growing grass I
hadn't been able to cut for the
past month. My conscience got the
best of me and I pulled out the
duct taped electric lawnmower
(see my 'Green Acres Blog from
May 26th.) to trim the back
yard and scatter a few rocks
around the neighborhood.
 I had originally planned to include
a photo of the infamous mower
with this blog but decided against it
when I couldn't remember if
OHSA was one of my Facebook
 Meanwhile my wife, an unsung
mechanical wizard, managed to 
restring both of our aging and
troublesome weed whackers.
 After what seemed like an
hour in the 95 degree airless
atmosphere the back yard was
done! I collapsed into the
air conditioned living room knowing
the weed whackers and front
yard were not about to let this
American remain idle!
 I 'took five' then headed back
out to meet the foe!
 The new cutting cord tore it's
way through the grass and weeds
with only an occasional rip at
my sneakers and ankles.
Exhausted, I packed up all the
equipment and headed back
inside only to realize that
tiny bits of grass  had
attached themselves to my favorite
pair of light blue jeans.
 My wife again came to the
rescue pointing out that the
laundry was scheduled for
 I was relieved for just a
moment. Then I remembered...
 Looks like this long
weekend is a lot longer
than I expected!
 Hope yours was 'ideal'
and that all your NEWS is


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Great Race!

     Our holiday weekend began with a visit
to a Car Show on Saturday!
 There were all kinds of cars and trucks
competing for your attention and, of
course, trophies.
 One of the categories is for "Classics.'
 Some of those cars I traded in back in the
60's and 70's are now 'classics'and
generally worth two to three times
what I paid for them brand new!
 I had a 56 Ford Fairlaine convertible.
 I bought it used in 1961 for $750.
 The closest one I could find on line
is selling for $29,500 and its a hardtop!
 If I knew then what I know now!
 Of course back then all you noticed
were the problems.
 I once had a 1958 Corvette.
 It kept flying out of 4th gear while
I was driving! And it's the only car
I ever owned where you could physically
see the gas gauge moving! Down of course!
 The car show included classics,trucks,
low riders, and cars with better, or at
least louder,sound systems than some of
your local movie theaters!
 Then we heard that there was to be a
big race!
 Well, actually, we heard it wrong.
 It was a 'Big Wheel Race.'
 Visitors were encouraged to enter
any contraption on wheels to race down
a steep hill.
 Two of the 'vehicles' looked
suspiciously like modified shopping
 I encouraged my wife to enter her
new wheeled 'walker' but she declined
saying something about 'sanity' and
 Actually only one of the four brave
drivers wrecked. Somehow he lost control
of his child's pedal car and managed to
crash into the only sign post on the side
of the hill. We was able to walk away.
  Impressed as we were the second race
was even 'stickier.'
  A half dozen contestants entered
the contest to see who could drink the
most maple syrup in the quickest
 Each was armed with an unlimited
supply of the liquid sugar and a 5
gallon can which organizers had put in
place. They weren't there to catch
spilled syrup! Fortunately none of
the contestants needed to use them!
 It's hard to beat excitement like
 What a great way to start a great
Holiday Weekend!
 Hope you have a great one and that
all of your NEWS is good.     

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Price Is Right?

    Ever since Bill Cullen premiered the
original 'The Price Is Right' TV show
contestants have been trying to win
cash and prizes by trying to guess the
actual cost of merchandise.
 I've got a version in mind that might
be both challenging and surprising.
 We're beginning to get some of the
first bills connected with my
wife's recent foot surgery and three
Emergency Room visits at
two separate hospitals over the
past several weeks.
 Guessing the the right price for
medical expenses is a real task.
 Especially when you're not really
sure what's being done.
 One Emergency  Room invoice,
for instance, is billing $152 for a
'Breathing Test.'
  We can't remember any specific test
or action involving her breathing.
 As a matter of fact I was pretty
certain, after speaking with her
during her two hour visit, that she
had been breathing during that entire
  Of course I'm not a
professional. But I think I would
have noticed any lack of breathing.
 The Emergency Room itself was
very nice. But for $931 I think
a candlelight dinner should have been
 There were three separate charges
for 'Laboratory Services' and one
for 'Pharmacy Services' too.
 They don't spell out what was done
but I'm sure they were important.
 Any contestant want to guess the
overall price?
 Whoever came closest to
$1294 wins the round!
 OK let's try another one.
 A close friend is dealing with
some heart concerns. They've given
him an electronic vest that will
literally 'zap' his heart into a
normal beat should it show signs
of stopping.
 You could get fooled on this one
because he's not actually
buying the vest. He's only 'renting'
 That worries me a bit.
 I can visualize the scene if he
falls behind on his payments"
 (Doctor: "You must pay the rent!"
 (Patient: "I can't pay the rent!'
 (Doctor: "Then I'll taking my batteries
  I know that probably wouldn't
happen. In fact both my wife and
our friend are getting excellent
medical care.
  And thanks to good health care
insurance things don't seem as
expensive as they really are.
  Still, we didn't actually get
to see our surgeon during our
last appointment. We were told
he was 'out of town'. Possibly
even out of the country.
 Guess he probably got our first
 Stay healthy and may all of your
NEWS be good! 


Saturday, May 28, 2011


  I got to thinking about an old
kid's TV show the other day.
 The program was called
 The producers, Sid and Marty
Krofft,featured characters
made up like various kinds of
hats that talked and walked and
got in to all kinds of funny
 Over the past few days I've
seen some 'characters' in
hats that attracted my attention.
 The first was a gentleman in
a newspaper photo. He was one of
many people taking an oath of
office at the County Courthouse
to join a volunteer program
to mentor young people.
 I can remember a time when
Sheriff's deputies would help
you remove your hat when
entering the 'halls of justice.'
 I don't remember any judges
allowing you to wear one during
an official ceremony.
 And didn't this guy see the
 Then there was the cast of
characters who showed up at
the Driver's License Photo
 Again, inside a public
 Here we saw a wide range of
chapeaus ranging from baseball
caps with team logos
to a couple of bandannas
carefully draped over layers of hair.
 To be fair a couple of the
baseball hats were worn with
the peak facing forward.
 I got the feeling some of
them thought they were just
showing up for a routine
'Mug Shot.'
 Anybody can get caught on
camera anywhere these days.
 But when you know you're going
to have a picture taken you
might consider the possibility
of taking off your hat and
trying to look a little bit
 On the other hand 'Lidsville'
could make a comeback and, if
so, there's a ready made
audience who will probably
assume it's 'Reality TV!'
 So a tip of the hat to all
and may all your NEWS be good!

Friday, May 27, 2011

On The Road Again!

  A couple of recent road trips have
me thinking we could come up with
an interesting new reality show 
by setting up cameras along local
streets and highways.
 The resulting video could keep
us up to date with the newest
trends in driving!
 Some of them are really fun.
 Take the 'Lane Closed Ahead
 Drivers are asked to guess, at
the first sign of work somewhere
up ahead, which of the two lanes
is the one they'll find shut
 Eventually the signs wll become
more specific. Perhaps 'Right
Lane Closed Ahead.' You will, of
course, be driving in the right
lane when that sign appears.
 Then you've got a choice. You
can slowly merge into the left
lane (which would tend to keep
things moving) or, like so many
others, speed along in the right
lane as long as you possibly
can until you can squeeze into
the left lane virtually at the
point where the work begins.
 That technique has proved very
successful in turing sections
of the Interstate into
temporary parking lots while
testing the temper of
drivers who changed lanes
earlier and watch as you speed
by to claim your rightful spot
at the head of the line.
 Maybe they're just embarsed
because their turn signals
don't work!
 It's amazing how many of those
units seem to be broken!
 We have two lanes turning onto
a busy road near our shopping
 There were five cars ahead of
me at a light near that turn
the other evening.
 Only two of those had flashing
red signals indicating their
intention to turn.
 Back in 'the day' you could
open your window and use a
hand signal to show you
were going to turn.
 But even if the drivers
remembered how to give those
signals it's likely they'ed
drop their cell phones or
 I've seen a few who are able
to use one hand for their
cell phone and the other for
their smoke. I'm not sure
who's steering but their cars
keep moving!
 They're actualy giving us a
lot of credit! They believe
we have ESP and already know
which way they plan to turn.
 Anyway don't let them know you're
upset or you're likely to see
the one hand signal they seem
to remember.
 Maybe new technology will soon
solve all those problems.
 We now have a car that
parks itself.
 If they can come up with one
that makes calls, smokes,combs,
and automatically applys
makeup for the driver we'll
all be a lot safer.
 See you in the parking lot!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Green Acres!

  It's rained a lot this Spring.
 Maybe you already noticed.
 When the skies finally
cleared for a couple hours you
could see all the beautiful
flowers that had bloomed over
the last few weeks.
 Mixed in among the buds were
other growths.
 Some have undoubtedly
contributed to the watery eyes
sore throat and coughing that
marked the arrival of Spring
for me and everybody else
who's trying to deal with
 The other noticeable 'growth'
was grass. It's getting high.
 I was tired but thought I'd
try to give it a quick trim!
 You know how the guy challenged
to a duel hes the choice of
 Grass cutting for me is a lot
like that.
 We've got two lawn mowers and
two weed whackers.
 Our newest is a gas powered
mower. But I had no gas. And,even
if I did, it's been my experience
that a mower unused
for a year, and in my hands, will
refuse to start until there's
actually blood between my pointer
and index finger.
 Scratch the gas mower.
 We also own an old electric
lawn mower. It's very dependable
when it comes to starting and
I've only run over the power cord
 Unfortunately the cowling over
the cutting blade is bent, rusted,
and broken a bit.
 That, coupled with scattered rocks
from our parking area, can turn
the unit into a potentially lethal
and damaging catapult.
 That's why I turned to the weed
whackers. One is red. One is Gray.
 Neither have any cutting cord.
 The assembly on the red one
wouldn't come apart.
 The assembly on the gray one
fell apart and won't go back
 It's not really a problem
because I don't have any
replacement line.
 Refusing to admit defeat I
have thus decided to allow
the grass to continue to grow and
have officially declared it to be
 a  'crop.'
 I can now sit back, take my
Benadryl and enjoy life here on
'the farm.'
 Hope all your NEWS is good!     

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quiet On The Set!

  I'm waiting to see if my
short-lived movie career is
getting back on track!
 For those of you who don't
remember (or never knew) I
did a part in a made for
Internet motion picture
called 'Hillers.'
 I shot one scene with
just a few lines as a
'shrink' telling the male
lead that his problem was
the fact he couldn't
accept the fact he was
normal like everbody else.
 My dialog and two closeups
made it to the initial
preview. But I eventually
lost the part to another
guy who expressed interest in
the script.
 His name is Henry Winkler.
 Yep! I lost my role to
"The Fonz!"
 There was talk of additional
shooting in the area and the
writer promised he'd find
another spot for me.
 But I'm still waiting to hear
about production or the fate of
the movie itself.
 Meanwhile I auditioned
(that means 'showed up') for
work as an 'extra' in a new
movie about the Recording
 In this case the extras don't
get paid so it's a lot like
the TV business.
 "Trust Me" expects to be filming
in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre,
Hazleton area this June.
  Reporters have to be good at
'acting.' You know. Like trying
to look cool and relaxed when
the Fire Police tell you you're
not allowed down the public
road to get to the blaze that's
still a mile and a half ahead.
 Or maintaining a serious
expression when the guy who
just crashed his car into a house,
after leaving a bar, tries to
explain that he swerved to avoid
running over 'Big Foot.'
 Heck I've seen enough politicians
over the past 50 some years to
know what acting is all about.
  Of course in "Trust Me' we
extras' already know we
might end up walking in the
background of a scene or, perhaps,
not even being seen at all.
  I also have a conflict with
three of their shooting dates so
that could rule me out.
  But, Since Winkler ended up
taking my last role, maybe the
producers of 'Trust Me' will want
to give me something
important just on the off chance
some other big star will suddenly
show up to takeover.  
 I can see it now.
 I get three line in the movie
and De Niro ends up with the part!
 Well,that's 'Show Biz!'
 Lights...camera....and hope all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top Gear-Pennsylvania

  Heading out on the
Interstate today? Better take a
  I remember when the
Interstate Highway system in
our area was just taking shape.
  In fact I remember covering
the groundbreaking ceremonies
for the junction of I-81 &
I-80 just outside of Hazleton
back in the mid 19
  Back then they were know as
The Anthracite Expressway (81)
and The Keystone Shortway (80).
  Don't you just love those
terms? "Shortway." "Expressway."
  They actually sound fast.
  Yesterday I used Interstate
81 to go from the Bear Creek
Exit on Route 115 to the
Central Scranton Expressway.
  The trip took three times
longer than Governor Scranton's
speech at the dedication!
  The delay, this time, was for
pot hole patching.
  I'm beginning to think we might
be better off to let the pot holes
form until the entire road has
found it's natural level.
  When Interstate conditions
are just right you can zip along
from one state to another.
 But those ideal conditions
only seem to come along about as
often as a solar eclipse.
 In my opinion there are
times when you should do
everything possible to avoid
any highway with the name
'Interstate' attached!
 The first is Winter!
 During my active on the road
reporting days there were two
occasions when I literally
spent the night in a car on
one of these 'Expressways.'
 Both involved a simple
mathematical formula. 
  Slippery roads plus one jack knifed
tractor trailer equals two
Interstate highway lanes closed for
12 hours!
  Summer, on the other hand, is
when maintenance and repair
work stalls traffic.
  Of course they do warn you.
  You'll see a State Police
Car with flashing lights
parked on the side of the road.
  They're usually set up
a couple hundred feet before
the traffic jam and about a
half mile past the last exit
you could have taken.
   So, with the travel season
just ahead, may I respectfully
recommend that you enjoy the
scenery and slow but steady
pace offered along Pennsylvania's
back country roads.
  The pot holes are just as good
as any you'll find on the
  Happy motoring. And may all
your NEWS be good!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Smile! You're On ___________

 I couldn't help but notice
all the cameras we saw during
our recent visits to the
Hershey Medical Center.
 But let's face it.  Or them.
 They're everywhere these
 Security is a big deal.
 The late Alan Funk made a
fortune putting people on
TV with his 'Candid Camera'
 Now you can get on TV just'
by walking down the street in
Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, or
 Of course the audience will
be a little smaller. Usually
just one officer to scan the
monitors in between phone
calls and walk in complaints.
 If you'd like to get more
air time, or at least be recorded,
just visit most any store.
  Most have camera
systems now that routinely
scan the business.
 That's a good reason to remember 
an old broadcasting rule!
 Always assume the camera is
turned on and pointed at
 It's a policy we really should
share with baseball players!
 Every stadium is loaded with
 I've always wondered how they're
able to focus on one particular
player at the very moment he
ejects the shell of the sunflower
seed he's been chewing.
 But let's face it. Those cameras
we see all over the place aren't
in place to search for new talent!
 Usually they're there to catch
the 'bad guys.'
 That's why I'd like to see them
improve the quality.
 There's a bank drive through I
visit where the teller and I can
see each other in high
definition color.
 But every time I see a robbery
suspect from a convenience store
surveillance system on TV it
seems to be a grainy black and
white picture.
 I have learned, from watching
several,that robbers apparently
wear uniforms. They are dark
colored hoodies. Guess they look
good on camera,
 Anyway as you go about you day
remember that, like it or not, you're
likely to be a 'star' on
someone's screen.
 So comb your hair. Walk Tall.
 And smile!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

One Life To Live!

 So what happened?
 I'm still here.
 I just took a look around and
I don't think this is heaven.
 In fact, this isn't even
 It's a good thing I didn't
spend all my money before May
21st like one guy did in
anticipation of 'the end.'
 Guess we'll all probably wind
up supporting him. In that
sense I guess he did find
 The rest of us? Well we'll
probably have to pay those
bills we tore up last week
and, for those of you still
working, you'll have to be
on the job again tomorrow.
 But don't worry.
 I've been doing some research
myself and note that the
Mayan Calendar ends on
December 21, 2012.
 Obviously life as we know it
will have to end on that date.
 Or so some believe.
 I never actually saw a
Mayan Calendar. I assume it
would have the traditional
days, months, and years noted
on some sort of leaf or fabric
with sketches of attractive
Mayan princesses or maybe
their "Sacrifice Of The Month'
pictured on top.
 I'm disappointed it would
end, in any year, on
December 21st. You would
think even the Mayans would
try to get one last
Christmas in.
 Anyhow you have been
forewarned so there's no
excuse not to be ready
next time.
 Hope all your NEWS is good! 

(* If you don't understand this
reference you owe it to yourself
to see "Field Of Dreams" before
the world ends!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

That's A Wrap!?

  I wasn't sure I should write a
blog today since the world was
scheduled to end.
 But I never heard an exact time.
 So I figured I'd better get one in
while you still have time to read
 And what should I say or do with
so little time left?
 I wanted to call everyone to say
farewell but what if I run out of
minutes on my cell phone?
 Do I have time to go out and
buy another card?
 And, if so, how many minutes
should I buy?
 Some people plan a lot better
than I.
 A guy in New Hampshire  started
a business months ago to take care
of pets left behind when their owners are
caught up in the Rapture.
 Another guy in Idaho has been selling
bomb shelters.
 I wonder, in the unlikely event
we're still here tomorrow, if they'll
have to give refunds?
 The thought the world would end
today has really had me discouraged.
 I really wanted to see the last
episodes of The Office to see who
takes over for Michael Scott.
 But before any of us get too
discouraged  I'd remind you that this
particular 'Dooms Day prediction'
came from 89-year-old Harold
Camping who is know as the
founder of Family Radio Worldwide.
 If you believe everything you hear on
the radio you are most certainly
 Hope to 'Blog' you tomorrow and
that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, May 20, 2011

All In The Family

   We found ourselves back in the
Emergency Room at Hershey
 It's not the place where
rejected Hershey Kisses are
remelted to be reformed.
 It is, rather, the Hospital
Emergency Room at the Penn
State Hershey Medical
 Our journey began with a
regularly scheduled
appointment for my wife six
weeks after her foot surgery
to remove a very large bunion
on her left foot.
 That foot has been healing
fairly well....EXCEPT...for
as egg-like hematoma that
appeared not long after her
surgical bandages were
 I just thought the doctors
moved her bunion from
the side of her foot to the top!
 The nurses and doctors
didn't agree. And some 4 weeks
after it was discovered
several arrived at a consensus
that something had to be done
about it.
 This all stems from 'Elective
 I had voted 'No.'
 My wife and daughter voted 'Yes.'
 Archie had Edith and Gloria.
 I have Leona and Missy.
 Back to the Emergency Room.
 Hours come and go.
 So do doctors.
  One had me worried when he said
he was bring in the 'Dopplar Unit.'
 I couldn't see why the weather
would have any affect on our
 Actually the unit turned out
to be a device that detects
the beat of your blood through
your system. They use it to
hear a baby's heartbeat inside
the womb.  
 Since there was little to no
chance that the lump in my wife's
foot was caused by a misplaced
infant they came to the conclusion
her problem had to do with an
artery inside the appendage.
 Around Midnight we were taken
to a Hospital room to await surgery
either early in the morning, during
the day, or some other day.
 Leona got a bed.
 Missy and I got reclining chairs
that didn't work very well. We all
got about 3 hours of a near sleep like
condition that was broken by
occasional nurse and
physician visits.
 Between last Friday and today we
spent as estimated 27 hours waiting
until I decided to get a hotel room
to shower and change and then head
back for the next saga in our
 Whatever happens we have
learned that everyone at the hospital
is like family.
 They don't seem to be talking
to each other and no one seems to
want to make a decision.
 No wonder Archie bought the tavern!
 Get some rest and here's hoping all
your NEWS is good!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Missing My Deadline!

 Broadcasters hate to miss deadlines!
 But sometimes it just happens.
 Yesterday turned out to be very busy!
 Those who have been following this
blog may remember that I somehow
misplaced the registration sticker
that was suppose to go on the license
plate of my Miata.
 I had to go to one of those 'Tag Service
places' to get a replacement.
 The tag turned out to be
free. The service turned out o be $15.
 Not bad though to make sure I'm
 I had to get gas for the car. Then
there was some shopping to be done.
 Garbage had to be gathered at the
house and put out for collection.
 But with all these chores to do
I simply failed to notice the
important observations that had
been scheduled for May 18th.
 As most of you probably knew the
18th is, among other things,
'International Museum Day.' It's
a day set aside to encourage people
to visit or volunteer at museums
 Since time constraints made that
impossible I opened one of my
dresser drawers that hadn't been
checked in a while and looked over
some of the 'treasures' inside.
 That's kind of like a museum.
 The highlight, if I had to pick
one, is an autographed baseball!
 If the green ink used to sign it
hadn't faded so much I could
probably tell you the name of the
player who signed it some 30 or more
years ago.
 Since the 18th was also "Visit Your
Relatives Day" I made it a point to
go back to the bedroom where my wife
is recuperating to pay my regards.
 Those efforts, I think, represented
my sincerity in observing such
important events.
 Alas, however, I really missed the
'big one!'
 I'm sure that all of you observed
"No Dirty Dishes Day!'
 I was suppose to use disposable
plates, cups, and silverware (I
guess that's plastic ware) to avoid
the daily sink full of dirty
dishes! That's the one I hate missing
most of all!
 How come none of you guys called me!
 Now here I am, a day late and a dollar
short, standing over the kitchen
sink with only drops of Palmolive
left in the container.
 I would use the dish washer but
somewhere, sometime ago, it became
our 'museum' for seldom used pots
and pans! I wonder if that  counts?
 I trust you're all set for 'Boy's Club
Day!' That's today!
 Hope all your NEWS is good! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Silver Screen!

 I went to the movies the other day.
 I know you can catch the big shows a
lot of places these days. But I don't think
you can beat the thrill of looking at a movie
the way it was designed to be seen.....on
the big 'Silver Screen.'
 Lately though the big 'Silver Screen' has
had to compete with a lot of little silver
 They are the face of cell phones that
light up the otherwise darkened
theater so their owners can keep
touch, by voice or by text, with the
outside world.
 I just paid $6.25 to get away from that
place! (That's  'Senior/First Show Rate)
 I assume they're talking or texting.
 It seems a strange place to search for
 Now maybe it's just me. But when my
eyes catch any light in the darkness
they're immediately drawn to that light.
 That, of course, draws my attention
away from movie....usually just in
time to miss something in the plot or
dialog the film makers wanted me to
 My first impulse is to throw popcorn
at the offender. But at over three dollars
a bag an Orville Redenbacher missile
could quickly become an expensive
 There's also the possibility I might
miss. And even if I'm on target the
cell phone junkie would probably just
make another call to tell a friend the
theater is giving out free concessions!
 Movies, of course, are not the only
 Now that cell phones have become
video cameras you'll see the light from
their screens glowing in everything from
concerts to church services.
 I still take a lot of video myself.
 But I'm old fashion. I use a tiny
viewfinder to center my subject.
 Problem is those viewfinders have
disappeared from most cameras. I
think it's because the manufactures
discovered the power drain from
the screens allows them to sell more
 So....back to the theaters.
 I've come up with an idea that could
discourage the use of those cell phones
once the feature has started.
  Admittedly it involves the use of
another light.......at the end of a
flashlight....in the hands of an
 Enjoy the show and......May all
your NEWS be good!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Longest Day!

 I miss a lot of things from my radio and television reporting
career. Election Day coverage is NOT one of them!
 It is usually a difficult day for both the reporter and the
 The political commercials we're already heard and seen
for the past month or so now dominate the airwaves as
candidates buy every second available to try to get in
the 'last word' over their opponents. A couple of them
might be surprised to hear their spots running after the
polling places have closed for the day!
 And while candidates spend their last day trying to win
your vote,  news outlets spend it trying to convince
you to watch or listen to them to get the results.
  Coverage usually begins early in the morning well
before the polls open. You can't talk about results
because nobody has even voted yet. You can't talk
about turnout because there isn't any. So, if things
go as they usually do, morning reports will remind
you about what should be the biggest race or races
of the day.
 There will also be a lot of talk about the
weather and speculation as to what that will or will
not  mean to turnout!
 By Noon 'turnout' and/or trouble at any polling
places will be the topics of choice! There
will also be speculation as to how that turnout will or
will not impact results for one party or the other.
 By 5 o'clock all three subjects..Big races, turnout and
problems are likely to make up the first 5 minutes
of every newscast!
  Each will likely to end with a reminder that ...
"You can hear or see all of the election results
 right here!"  Only the call letters are likely
to change!
 Many of the field reporters who produced those
morning, Noon, or 6 o'clock reports will stay on
duty to provide those election results.
  That coverage is likely to begin at 8pm.
  Now the trick is to say something before you
know anything!
 Electronic or not it can take a very long time to get
any numbers to report.
 We use to try to watch one particular polling
place as election workers filled out their forms
so we could actually call in those results to our
news desk.
 Any resemblance to those numbers and the
final count were purely coincidental!
 The stations themselves have some big
decisions to make!
 If you cut into regular programming with election
returns you'll probably get a lot of calls from angry
viewers who didn't want  'Dancing With The Stars'
 or 'NCIS Los Angeles interrupted!
 NBC, however, could get clever and tie election results
into the evening's 'Biggest Losers' show!
  Of course, judging from registration figures, there's
a fair chance most  listeners and viewers
didn't even vote!
 But let the competition cut in and you're
likely to face a day- after-
 election promo boasting
that you 'saw or heard it first' on their station!
   Here's the real irony. The people who care most
about the results, the candidates, are likely to have them
well before any listeners or viewers. Most of
them have representatives at the polling
places doing their own count.
  Still you do the best you can and the day is
not without benefits!
  Since nobody knows who's going to win or lose
all of the major candidates schedule  'Victory Parties"
where there's usually a lot of  free food.
  And that 12 to 14 hour day starts looking a lot
better when you see the overtime in that next
 Don't forget to vote!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The World Of Communications!

 We have come a long, long way since that guy
invented the telephone in 1876!
 It was either Alexander Graham Bell or Don
Ameche. No. It was Bell. Ameche was the guy
who played Bell in the movies.
 Anyway, like I said, we've come a long way.
 And how appropriate that it all began as
an accident when Bell spoke the words "Mr.
Watson. Come here. I need you."
 In 2009 an estimated 995 people were killed
as they spoke on their phones while driving
their cars!
 But I digress!
 Telephones have undoubtedly saved more lives
then they've claimed. And they've always
brought people together.
 When I was a kid I had a battery powered
Remco telephone. One end was in my
bedroom. It was attached to a wire that
ran some 60 feet through the air to the
bedroom of my buddy's house. We could have
yelled to each other at that distance.
 But the fun was in the phone.
 These days my grandson,like most teens,
has a small phone that will not only
call his friends, but allow him to play
games and access the Internet....if
 Devices like that have taken the place
my old Remco! And today's realities
make them an essential part of life.
 The phenomenon in my home is a great
 Here are the basic facts.
 My wife speaks at a level just above
a whisper. I have some hearing loss.
 The word most often used in our
house is..."What?!"
 It's bad enough when we're in the
same room. But lately, with my wife
recuperating from surgery,she is in the
bedroom and I'm either in the kitchen or
the living room.
 My cell phone rang one day last week
while I was watching TV with the air
conditioner running. It was my wife.
 She was calling, on her cell phone, from
the bathroom!
 The noise of the two appliances had
blotted out her yells to me from the
47 feet or so that separated us.
 Since then we have relearned that our
portable household telephones have an
intercom system that allows us to call
from one end of the house to the other
anytime we want. And it works well! 
 Guess it just goes to show you that
communications are...........wait a
minute....my intercom is beeping again.
 I've got to go!
 Thanks heaps Mr Bell!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In Living Color!

   I've been overwhelmed by the sudden burst
of Spring colors that have filled our view
during the past few weeks!
 Patches of yellow, blue,red, green, and
white have popped up everywhere.
 I've seen a couple of flowers too!
 But most of the colors are those that
highlight the political campaign signs
I'm talking about.
 The candidate's name is, of course, the
center point of each sign. And if you
look close enough as you drive by you
can usually catch a glimpse of the
office they're trying to win.
 I guess those colors must be pretty
important because there is certainly
not enough space spell out things like
qualifications or specific reasons why
the particular candidate would be your
best choice.
 But, if you're lucky like us, the
colors, coupled with the candidate's
message, will show up in your mail box
 It's a good thing we haven't lost
Saturday deliveries yet!
 Our mail box was filled with
colorful flyers from hopeful
candidates anxious to plant the
seeds of their ideas to court our votes.
 Five were specifically addressed to my
wife. Three were sent to our 'Family.'
 Two came to our 'Household.'
 One was actually addressed to me.
 Two of them thanked our family, by
name, for 'helping to reform our
county government." I don't remember
doing anything. But this came through
the U.S. Mail so it must be accurate.
 We'll have to be sure to say 'You're
welcome' if we see him on Election Day.
 I don't know if we'll vote for him.
 But surely a 'You're welcome' is
 Most of the same candidates have been
on local 'Talk Radio' everyday too.
 They're pretty colorful there too!
 I heard one the other day explaining
that he didn't have time to attend any meetings
of the county's 'Home Rule Charter
Committee' because of his extensive
commitment of time to various public service
agencies, scouting activities, and the like.
  I had wished the interviewer would
have asked which of those activities
he planned to dump to have time to
serve in the office he was seeking. But,
alas,the inquiry was never made.
 Two others were on the air at various
times engaged in a passionate debate.
 It wasn't specifically about
qualifications but, rather, about
what one had allegedly said in a local
bar one night.
 Elections are important. There's no
doubt of that.
 But I'm already longing for patches
free of signs and filled with
colorful flowers.
 So, to all the candidates, and everyone
else as well....I hope all your NEWS
is good!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Names Have Been Changed To Protect.......Everybody!

 It looked like a crime scene out of most any police or
detective show you would see on TV these days!
 Blood on the wall. Blood on the floor. Blood in the
bath tub! But Tony Soprano wasn't involved in this
story. And  'Jack The Ripper' didn't have any part of
this script.
 No. This was my bathroom after a vein in my wife's
foot suddenly opened up shooting a stream of blood
around like a kid with one of those rifle like water
 But that was only the start of this adventure story!
 We called an ambulance to get us to a hospital
that's only 5 minutes away from our house.
 A doctor there asked us what happened, checked
my wife's list of medications and quickly stopped the
bleeding with some fancy named medical material
that is probably very similar to the 'Super Glue' I had
suggested using.
 Since the 'wound' was on the same foot on which
my wife recently had surgery our attending physician
suggested that we  go to the Emergency
Room in the hospital where the operation was done
to see if anything under the skin surface had to be
'repaired.'  The Doc did say, in all honesty, that it
would probably be a wasted trip since there was no
sign of any serious damage. (That Doc, of course,
had not seen our bathroom!)
 So we left the Emergency Room 5 minutes from our
house and began our two hour ride to the other
Emergency Room  all the while hoping that
'Old Faithful" wouldn't  begin to spout again in our
 The second hospital offers what I'll call 'multipal
step admission' to its Emergency Room.
 There's a check in spot where you explain what
happened and list your medications.
 Then there's an actual sign in desk where you
relate what happened and why you are there.
 Next there is a waiting room where you wait
for your turn. We were told there were 4 ahead
of us and the last person waited about 40 minutes.
 Our wait was a bit longer. But there was a TV
and we were able to catch an episode of  'The
Simpsons' we hadn't seen before.
 Eventually we were called into a hallway in the
actual emergency treatment area. They have
rooms there too. We were just too far back
in line to get one of those.
 A very nice nurse asked for all the details of
our 'bloodletting story' and, again, checked our
list of medications. She was also kind enough
to offer to get chairs for my daughter and me.
 We saw her again about an hour later. We
thought she might be bringing the chairs but
she just wanted to say goodbye.
 Her shift had ended. I think she
told us about her replacement. But  don't think
we ever got to meet her.
 Next, about 20 minutes later, a female physician
stopped at our "station' She asked for details of
our story and reviewed our list of medications.
 She also checked the job done by the folks
at the hospital 5 minutes from our house and
said it was 'well done!'
 An hour or so later a male physician came to
check our situation. He asked for our story and,
I think, may have checked my wife's medications.
 He, like his female colleague, didn't believe
the problem had any direct connection to the
recent surgery. But he said he'd like to have a
'Senior Resident' from the Bone and Joint
Department have a look and verify that opinion.
 I guess the 'Senior' they were looking for had
gone to the prom or something because he
never showed up. The other Doc (I'm now
calling him Junior) eventually came back and
said a telephone call from the Surgeon's Office
indicated that everyone was satisfied the
broken vein was not a big problem and we
would be allowed to go home.
 Still facing a two hour ride back home I
was thrilled to know that the people at the
hospital 5 minutes away from our home had
done a great job.
  And we have a pretty good idea where
they came up with the word  'Patient.'
 It is, of course, someone in need of
medical attention who can describe
his or her symptoms at least a half
dozen times and has 12 or more hours
to spare!
 It was a tough day but I think you'll agree
we may have come up with a good pilot for
a new TV Medical series.
 The only question is...will it be a drama
or a comedy?
 Hope you are feeling well and that all
your NEWS is good!


 That's the order to stop rolling
your film or video tape in most
every studio. Directors usually
give the order.  But, in my case,
my wife was making a suggestion.
 You see my hair was starting
to look a bit too long.
 Well maybe 'long' is the wrong
adjective. I've still got plenty
of hair (lucky for that anyway).
 But now it just gets unruly after
a couple of weeks. And I must be
getting way too much sun because
it's starting to get very light!
 I look at it as kind of a
very light blond.' OK! Very very
light. Silver? Yea I guess.
 Anyhow my wife is pretty good
at styling my hair. But since
she's off her feet for awhile
I found myself looking for a
 It's actually been many years
since I had to use one.
 I use to go to a really good
Italian guy who did the whole
'Barber bit.' You know, razor
cut, vibrator on my shoulders,
even a hot towel over my face.
 That part always bothered me
just a little bit. I kept
thinking about the old movies
where the guy with the towel
over his face always got mowed
down by machine gun fire from
some mobster.
 There was even an older
gentleman who offered to shine
your shoes while you got your
haircut. I don't think he liked
me because I usually came in wearing
 That barber, Frank was his name,
was top notch! I spent the last
few hours before my wedding in
his chair. I remember he kept
asking if I really wanted to go
through with it or might consider
just getting out of town.
 Little did he know that, in the
long run, my bride would be his
 As far as I know Frank retired
a few years back.
 Anyway I found a nice man whose
shop I often passed during one of
my morning walks and, as it
happens, he had an open chair.  
 In fact it was his only chair.
 Frank's shop use to have three!
 The new guy did a good job.
 Of course he'll have to
understand that he's just filling
 Once my wife is up to snuff I'll
sit back on a kitchen chair and
let her do the styling.
 Maybe I can even talk her into
a hot towel if I'm really good!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Name Game

  Naming Names!

 Ever watch those movies where
the 'Feds' or the gangsters are
confronting someone, usually
sitting in a chair, with bright
lights in his or her face?
 They demand that their suspect,
or hostage, name names.
 The suspect, or hostage, begins
by claiming they don't know
 At that point the going gets
tough and the subject starts
 I wouldn't be a good suspect or
 I remember dislocating my left
little finger playing softball
one time. Somebody drove me to
the hospital where a doctor, at
least I think he was a doctor,
took hold of the end of that
finger. I knew what was coming
and promptly let him know I'd
tell him anything we wanted to know.
 He pulled it anyway to put it
back in place.
 I guess his only question had
already been answered when I gave
the nurse my insurance card.
 All of this leads me to the fact
that I had somebody ask for my
telephone number the other day.
 I explained that it was, and has
always been listed.
 That surprised the gentleman!
 He was under the impression that
most people in radio and TV didn't
use their real names on the air.
 I think that use to be true in
the 'old days. But not so much
 There's usually a good
reason for a broadcaster to use
a pseudonym (or alias). In most
cases it's because the person's
given name is difficult to
pronounce or hard to remember.
 Sometimes the reasons are just
unknown or, at least, unsaid.
 That said here are a couple,
past and present, who you may
know or remember.
 WDAU's John Perry was born
John Persico. Don Bruce, the
former WILK DJ is really Bruce
 The late George Gilbert of WARM
fame was actually George Schumacher.
 Then there are some who kept their
name even though it might have
sounded unusual on the air. The
best example may have been my late
friend and one time WDAU reporter
Jim Mustard!
 Of course many of you tune in to
area talk radio every day to check
out those traffic reports offered
by 'Rusty Fender.' Or perhaps you
listen to that very popular 'Oldies'
DJ Shadoe Steele on Saturday nights.
 Both of them, of course, are
Dale Mikolaczyk.
 Although I also went by
'Double D' during my DJ career I
always also used David DeCosmo.
 If anyone every asked why I simply
explained...'"It came with the set!"
 Hope all your NEWS, whatever your
name, is good!     

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sticker Shock!

 I seem to be suffering from
Sticker Shock' this week!
 No. I'm not looking at buying
a new car. I've got four old
ones I'm trying to keep on the
 My 'Sticker Shock' comes in
several forms.
 First, there's the morning
 One of the newest trends in
advertising appears to be the
placement of a message
bearing sticker ( a little
less than 3 by 3 inches)
directly over part of the
front page headline or
 In most cases they're used
to endorse a product or a
political candidate.
 This week though we
received one opposing an
area candidate for City
Council. Ironically we can't
vote for or against the guy
because we don't live in his
city. (Maybe we can do a
sticker campaign for him in
our Township?)
 Next, while getting one of
my cars inspected, I found that
I had misplaced the sticker that
goes on my license plate! My
mechanic says it's not too big a
deal as long as I have my valid
registration card in hand.
 I'll probably spend the rest
of the week searching for a
little colored sticker bearing
the numbers 4/12. It's got to be
around here someplace.
 But even if it takes a year to
find it the odds are it will be
in better shape than the
'Official Inspection Stickers'
placed on my car windshield!
 There are two stickers in
each car. One for the safety
inspection. One for the
emissions check.
 All eight of those stickers
in my vehicles began pealing
from the right side within a
week of their application.
 Maybe the council candidate
could run for state office on
a platform calling for
stronger glue!
 Meanwhile I'll just stick with
my usual sign off and hope that
all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ghosts on the screen!

  Back in the day seeing 'Ghosts' on
your TV screen had nothing to do with
the supernatural. It simply meant you
had terrible reception! It meant your
signal was so bad it made one
image look like two or more.
 I remember being stranded overnight
on Interstate 81 with my cameraman,
the late Bob Dennis, during a really
bad March snowstorm!
 We had a portable TV set along which
was usually used as a monitor during
our live reports.
 While we sat we watched one of those
'March Madness' playoff games.
 We had plenty of ghosts that night.
 Ten players were on the court.
 It looked more like 20 on our
 These days there's a growing number
of groups looking for real ghosts
on TV!
 Judge Tom Munley and I interviewed
two members of a group called
'NEPA Paranormal' on our weekly
'ECTV Live' program on Comcast Channel
 They actually go into people's
homes or other buildings to
investigate instances of strange or
'paranormal activity.'
 They use cameras with 'night vision'
to try to capture unusual images.
 They have sound recorders which,
they say, have picked up voices from people
who weren't in the room when the
recordings were made. (Actually, I hear
a lot of those things all the time
without benefit of any special
  Heck they've got more, and in some
cases better, equipment then Bob and I
had when we were out looking for live
  These 'Ghost Hunters' claim to have
had several successes during their
investigations. In layman's terms I
suppose that means they've found what
they consider to be solid evidence of
paranormal activity....or....ghosts!
 They'll be showing some of their results
on a program that will run both on ECTV
and on Fox locally.
 I don't profess to know if their ghosts
are as real as the double images Bob
and I saw on that black and white 5 inch
screen so many years ago. So I won't try
to judge their so-called "success stories."
 I'd just like to hope I can avoid
becoming a 'Paranormal Guest' on their
program for as long as possible!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Changing Channels!

   Some of us actually remember when
changing channels on your television
set required you to get up from you
seat, walk across the room, and
manually turn a dial.
  Admittedly manual labor was
involved. But it was, at least,
limited to a few steps and no
more than three twists of the wrist
unless you were surfing.
  After all were were only three
networks to check!
 And, oh yes, the TV was black and white.
 Over time things have gotten so much
easier. Or have they?
 The remote control allowed us to
switch between those three channels
without ever moving from the couch.
 But then the number of channels
grew. If you subscribed to the first
cable available you suddenly had
12 channels to choose from.
 Then cable expanded even more. And
Satellite TV became available!
 That's about the time the TV remote
changed too!
 Many of us wound up with two remote
controls. One worked the TV set
itself. The other controlled
options from the cable or satellite
 The so called 'Universial Remote'
was suppose to combine all functions
on one controller. I think it
actually worked....for a while.
 But now, with the addition of DVD
players, recorders, and all kinds of other
accessories, some of us have
three or more separate controllers to work
to get what we want on one television
 My satellite remote, for instance,
will turn on the TV, change channels,
tell me what's on and what's coming
on,and even allow me to switch back
and forth between any three channels
I'm trying to watch all at the same
time. Doesn't everyone do that?
 But it won't start, fast forward,
or rewind my DVD Player. And since
I've got two of those, the remote for
one controls some of the functions
on the other even though I'm not
using the second machine!
 Then there's the controller that came
with the TV which is needed to switch
'Input source' on the set in case I'm using
the DVD control to play a disk.
 Are you following all of this?
 I point it all out to show you how far
technology has come and to issue two
very important warnings. I can tell you
that both apply in my home.
 First, don't accidentally take one
remote pre-set for a unit in the
bedroom into the living room. It can
totally mess up your TV as well as
your mind.
 Second, don't ever let your wife
try to work the remotes!
 They are the best example of 'a guy
thing' and that, dear friends, is a
"Universal Control truth!"
 Hope all your NEWS is good.    

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"The Rest Of The Story"

  I hope those of you lucky enough to have
'Mom' still around will make sure you honor
her and show your love with the 'present'
she wants most. That, of course, is your
  Visit and talk. If you can't visit call.
And if you're calling don't count the
  This kind of individual attention is, I
believe, what Anna Reeves had in mind when
she came up with 'Mother's Day" in 1858.
  What followed was a drama which would
seemed to have been designed for the late
Paul Harvey's 'Rest Of The Story.'
  I researched it for a speech two years
ago and though I'd share it with you in
today's Blog. 
  Anna Reeves passed away in 1905. Her
daughter, Anna Jarvis, swore on her
mother's grave that she would carry on
Anna's quest to have a National Holiday
dedicated to 'Mother.'
  She worked hard to promote the idea and,
in 1912 her home state of West Virginia
officially adopted 'Mother's Day' as a
  The whole country followed in 1914.
  But, as Mr. Harvey would have said,
here is the rest of the story.
 Nine years after 'Mother's Day' was
officially recognized Anna Jarvis
became a major opponent of what the
day had become! She resented the
commercialization that developed across
the country and fought as hard against
that as she had originally fought for
the holiday! In 1948 she was arrested
for disturbing the peace during one of
her demonstrations! Speaking about
'Mother's Day' Anna told a reporter
"I wanted it to be a day of sentiment,
not profit."
   The cards,and flowers, and candy are
nice. But give yourself...while you still
   Hope all you NEWS is good!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Big Brother (or Somebody) Is Watching!

      Writing news stories for radio was
  easier than writing the same stories
  for television! At least that was
  always true for me. But that was
  because I am a very poor speller!
    I have a pretty good vocabulary.
    I could always recognize words
  from sources like the Associated Press.
    But faced with  writing the very same
  words myself I'd often make spelling errors.
    That really didn't use to be such
  a big deal. You see, I read my own
  copy and knew exactly what I wanted
  to say even if the printed word
  turned out to be misspelled.
    But things changed in Television!
    Somewhere along the line the FCC
  decided to require the use of 'Closed
  Captioning.' It wasn't enough to
  write a script for myself. Now, each
  word used in the story, either by me
  or the comments offered by people I
  interviewed had to literally
  be spelled out to appear on the
    A lot of reporters don't take that
 too seriously. Many believe the
 audience can't or won't read what
 comes up anyway.
   I never see it used in weather
 reports and it's often missing in
   Then there are the folks who
 actually run the scripts on the
 screen. Some of them are either
 speed readers or are trying to get
 out of work early!
   Ironically, since my hearing has
 reached the stage where a lot of
 conversation seems to fall into
 the 'dog whistle category',
 I find myself setting my TV on the
 Closed Caption Mode for nearly
 every program!
   Although a challenge I always
 tried to do my best knowing that
 'Big Brother' and some viewers
 would be watching in addition to
    I'm still trying to be careful
 now that I've started this Blog.
    But I'm still making mistakes!
    'Spell Check' doesn't always
 help. Sometimes I mistakenly use
 the wrong form of a word. Spell
 Check doesn't pick that up so, when
 that happens I'm sort of out there
 all alone.
   Well, not quite!
   'Big Brother' may be gone. But
  my daughter is a teacher who reads
  the Blog and is better than any
  'Spell Check' or 'Word Guide'
  you'll ever find!
   She spotted a mistake I
  made earlier this week. You won't
  see it because she told me and I
  made a correction. 
   She's really good!
  Guess she must get it from
   Write?    I mean...right?
   Hope all your NEWS is good!

Friday, May 6, 2011

General Hospital vs. Top Chef!

  I guess you could say I trained for both
of those popular TV shows yesterday. And what
an interesting day it was!
  It began with a trip to the Penn State
Hershey Medical Center where my wife was
scheduled for her four week checkup after
foot surgery.
  She's making real progress. She seemed
very upbeat! This was the day when they
were to remove a metal pin which had been
inserted into the bone of her big toe the
day of her operation.
  I was excited too. What a surprise when,
among the sterile gauze pads and bandages
I saw them place a pair of pliers! They
looked like something you might have brought
in from a trip to Harbor Freight! Wow! We're
surrounded with all this high tech medical
science and the instrument in the spotlight
is a pair of pliers! Maybe I could get
into this business! I could even get a
screwdriver and maybe become a
 I've already learned how you judge someone's
 level of pain. You ask them!
 Just use a scale from one to ten and let
them pick the one that fits. If the number
is high enough they'll give you stuff that's
illegal on the street to make the pain go
away And who wants pain!?
 See. It's easy!
 Now the 'Chef thing.' That may be a little
bit harder. You see when we got home I got
the task of making dinner. Of course my
wife was sitting just a few feet away
offering instructions and suggestions.
 The menu...sausage, rice, and peas.
 I liked making the peas! I got them out
of the freezer and put them in the
microwave for about 3 minutes. My wife
told me to add a 'teeny, tiny', bit of
water. I couldn't find any measuring
cups that offered 'teeny, tiny' as a
selection so I just ran what I would
call 'a little bit' from the faucet
into the pan.
 The rice was a little harder. My
measurements were accurate since
two actual cups of water were involved.
 But the 'little bit of butter' could
have been trouble. I decided to cut
off a slab and show it to my wife before
adding it to the pot. I lucked out and
got just the right amount! As for the
'pinch of salt', I faked my way
through that and shook the shaker twice
over the mixture. It came out good and
the little bit left in the pan after
serving will probably break loose and
fall out someday soon.
 As for the sausage...no problem. Except,
perhaps,a little too much water in the
pan. That seemed to slow down the
cooking process a bit so I just dumped
some out and watched till in browned.
 It tasted great!
 I had feared that the matching brown
'gook' left in the bottom of the pan could
 be trouble.
 Luckily we've got one of those pans
where that stuff just wipes right out.
 So there you have it.
 Eat your heart out Doctor House.
 Move over Gordon Ramsey.
 Double D is coming!
 Hope all your NEWS is good! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Disclaimer! .

  I'm  labeling today's Blog  'Disclaimer' because I can't, and won't, claim credit for
this astonishing bit of historical information.
 I'm off for another hospital visit this morning. But my sister-in-law, knowing
of my fascination about the Titanic, passed along an email I thought I'd share
with you while I rush off. It's always nice to learn something new!
  Here it is...........

Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England . In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico , which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York .
This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico . But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York . The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost. The people of Mexico , who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day. The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as - Sinko De Mayo!
 Have a great day and, as always, may all of your NEWS be good!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The 'Pickers' Are Coming!

   The "Pickers" are coming to my neighborhood! No, they're not the guys who tear through the old barns on the History Channel. These 'pickers' are from our Township Department Of Public Works who will be doing a community cleanup.
   But, alas, they won't find much at my place.
   That's because of another cleanup that happened nearly a year ago.
   Here's the story as I remember it!

   You should have seen the gleam in my wife's eyes! It's the kind of look you see in a child's face when they run into the living room on Christmas morning and see the tree,the lights, and the pile of presents! It's the reaction you might expect when three cherries all come up on the same line on the slot machine. (So I'm told.)
   But this was June,not December. And Mohegan Sun was more than a mile away.
   So what, you might ask,made my wife so very very happy?
   The owner of our mobile home park moved a huge dumpster onto a pad and invited all of the residents to fill it with whatever they wanted!
   Now one man's (or woman's) passion is another man's plague!
   My wife envisioned tons of items from our home flying through the air and into the dumpster.She saw a clean yard and clean sheds.
   I, on the other hand, envisioned safe and hidden treasures
being flung into history.Forever gone!
   But one doesn't mess with Christmas or ignore sudden yet unexpected winnings. And so out I went with the wheelbarrow.
   Some selections were easier than I thought. There was a computer screen that no longer worked and a tire from some long gone automobile.
   But then things got tougher. I had to think long and hard before discarding a half dozen old baseball bats. Admittedly I hadn't used any of them since I played pick up games with the other teens on an old make shift field between two elevated railroad tracks in Hazleton. The fishing rods were rough too even though several were really just parts of what had been two piece rods when they were new 30 some years ago. Nearly a dozen rods went out in all.
   Then there was the grill! It seemed to me it should stay there ready to cook up a steak or some hot dogs for the next holiday that might come along. My wife pointed out that it hadn't seen a steak or a hot dog since my son got his own place about 8 years ago.
   I guess you would also have to consider the fact that the gas tank used to feed its flames was not only empty for years but obsolete!
   It did survive for one more day as, by the time I got to the grill, I found the dumpster filled and closed. Even without tank and gas one doesn't easily toss an outdoor grill over the top and into an industrial dumpster!
   I rolled it into a newly delivered and empty dumpster early the next morning though I seemed to have a hankering for a hamburger as I did so.
   The electric snow blower didn't cause quite as much soul searching. It worked OK. But the duct tape that held it together was showing its age and I always felt a little uneasy as my wife pulled the electric cord connection behind her in the heavy snow! (She says she likes to shovel!)
   Anyhow, two days, a few cuts and minor bruises later, I had done my share to make more room in our yard and sheds.
   And except for the items I've already described I must admit I would be hard pressed to itemize the loads and loads of items now bound for some unknown landfill.
   I would suggest, however,that it would be interesting to watch as some archaeologist, as yet unborn, discovers that landfill some day in the future and finds the remains of an old family grill,an electric snow blower and four sticks of wood bearing the markings "Louisville Slugger." If only he knew of their impressive history!
   Hope all your news is good!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My New Reality Show!

  Now that I've ventured into the
world of the Quiz Show (please see
my blogs from Friday and Saturday)
I think I may be ready
to unveil my sensational idea for
a new 'Reality Show Series.'
 It came to me one afternoon while
my wife and I and two dear friends
were out for a drive.
 Somebody, and it could have been
anyone of us, started complaining about
their back pain and how it was
causing so much discomfort.
 Another echoed the sentiments and
added some specifics about neck
pain that had been causing him
 I think that's where I cut in
with details about the aches in my
left knee!
 Everybody in the car claimed
that something was hurting!
 And that's when the idea hit me!
 How about a new 'Reality show'
especially designed for anyone
over 50?
 I'd call it..."Where Does It
Hurt Today!?"
 I haven't worked out all the
specifics yet. But you could
pick members of the audience
to come up on stage to complain
about their aches and pains.
 We could have a panel of
retired physicians to help with
the judging and then, perhaps,
a vote by the audience. The one
with the most convincing list of ailments
would be the winner.
 Prizes could range from immediate
hospitalization (for a clear winner),
to a year's supply of aspirin and
rubbing alcohol when we can't decide
if they're really hurting or just
setting their table for a day off of
 Anyhow, that's my basic idea.
 Let me know if you feel you're qualified
to enter.
 Otherwise  I hope
this finds you well and that all your
NEWS is good!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Certificates In The News!

  As a reporter your job is to ask
questions. But sometimes people
asked questions of you too!
 And some would ask...'What's the
best part of working in news?
 In my case my first answer involved
getting to meet and interact with
so many people.
 But the next best thing was the
fact that no day was ever the
same. Stories might be similar.
But the specifics were always
different making each story unique.
 And one's day's 'lead' story
may quickly lose it's importance
as new events take over the
 That came to my mind very
quickly as I watched the special
reports presented by all of the
networks last night.
 Just days ago we were all asked
to pay attention to news about a
Birth Certificate.
 Now it's a Death Certificate that
dominates the headlines.
 In the end all things are
relative...aren't they?
 Hope all your NEWS is goo

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final Jeopardy!


 Well my fears and doubts were all
for nothing! In case you missed
yesterday's Blog, I was invited to
be a contestant for a Quiz Show
staged before a live audience at
the Scranton Cultural Center last
 The game show is called 
'You Live Here So You Should Know
This.' High School students
designed the 'Jeporady-like' quiz
for the Lackawanna Historical
Society to promote an interest in
the area's heritage.
 I'm from Luzerne County so I was
a bit concerned about my ability
to handle Lackawanna County
 But a couple of the questions
involved identifying photographs
of area landmarks. I'm OK with
pictures! When my first turn came
up I picked Photos for
10  and correctly identified
the former Jermyn Hotel!  On the
next round I took 'Photos for 30'
and identified a picture of a classic
light fixturere as coming from the
Cultural Center. Right again!
(That, however, was a lucky guess!)
 My final challenge came
under the category of  'Industry.'
 I had to explain what each of the
letters in  'COLTS' represented.
 My answer...."County Of
Lackawanna Transit System."
 Another correct answer...and 30
 Even if I hadn't known
the other multiple choice selections,
which included
 'County Of Love Transit System',
got  more laughs than votes. 
 But our team wasn't so lucky.
 A couple of wrong answers fielded
correctly by our opponents gave
them the victory!
 Steve Corbett of WILK was on the
winning team. He asked in advance
if I had offered to pay off any of
the judges. I explained my
position which has always been..
I can't be bought ( I can be
 All kidding aside, it was a great
night for a good cause and you have
to credit the students for their
research of local history to come
up with the questions.
 To them, and you, here's hoping
all your NEWS is good!