Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How high's the water Momma?

     I have begun a difficult task!
     I am currently in the process of counting
the "Thousands Islands" to make sure they're
all there!
    We got an early start as my wife and I and
two wonderful friends set out for Clayton,
New York along the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
    The seaway is one of those rivers that
tends to surprise people from our area because
it flows East!
     It's a kind of "Super Highway" for ships!
     You can be quietly sitting in your boat
fishing or enjoying a leisurely cruise when you
suddenly see a Freighter filled with oar just
a  couple hundred yards away! It's best you're
not in his path! They can be quiet. But they're a
a lot larger and faster than you might think!
    The Seaway connects with rivers, lakes, and
canals which can take you from Florida up the
east coast through the great lakes and down the
    Of course you'll need a big yacht and
wallet to afford a trip like that!
    We settled for a ride of just a few miles on
the river in my buddy's 18 foot open bow
   The term "open bow" is important to explain
the fact that my wife and my friend's wife
returned looking as though that had been
swimming in the Seaway!
   With waves I'll estimate at 2 to 4 feet and a
strong  headwind as we headed in the general
direction of Lake Ontario there was more
than just an occasional burst of water
greeting our two front 'lookouts.'
  I know they were 'lookouts' as I heard my
buddy shout that term to them just before
each wave it!
   You have to wonder if the melody or
lyrics of  "The Wreck Of Edmund Fitzgerald"
were ringing in their heads as they faced the
misty wet spray!
   I myself, safe in a dry passenger seat
protected by a windshield, was thinking
of the tune..."How high's the water Mamma?"
as I spotted the vessel's depth gauge hit
the hundred and two foot mark.
   A careful 180 degree turn put the wind
and the current at our back as we safely
sailed back to our dock space.
   That made the voyage 'successful' though
I only managed to account for four islands.
    We'll have to search out the other 996
    Till then here's hoping you're on a
even keel and that all your NEWS is

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hurricane Hunter!

   The rain was falling hard early Sunday
morning. High winds were already
scattering leaves all over the roads and
taking a tree down here or there.
   Hurricane Irene was all around us!
   Eight days earlier a large Air Force
plane, equipped with all sorts of
instruments and a team of meteorologists,
flew right into he storm to gather
information about its strength and path.
   They're called  "Hurricane Hunters!"
    Now, facing the storm and the day,
it was my turn to hunt the hurricane!
    I needed information about it's
strength and path. I needed to know if
the roads I planned to travel were open
or blocked by trees, or wires, or water.
    I turned on the radio and got all kinds
of information. Unfortunately none of
it had anything to do with the storm!
    A scan of the dial, FM in my case,
produced an infomercial on a health
care product, several country western
tunes, some rap, and plenty of the
same commercials I've been
listening to everyday for the past few
    To be fair, an old friend and colleague,
Brian Hughes, was calling in regular
reports to Magic 93, and I certainly
could have missed other reports on other
   I guess sticking to the
regular Sunday morning programming
could have been a
comforting thing for people who
worry too much when they hear
things about possible flooding or
possible evacuations.
     While most of the TV coverage
was national local information was
crossing the screen on a continuous
      Of course I still don't have a
TV in the car so I pretty much had
to judge conditions by the way the
wind pushed us around and the
emergency volunteers we came across
who steered us around a leaning tree
on our way to church.
     Since my health seemed pretty good
given the heavy wind, since neither
country or rap seemed to match the
beat of the rain , and since
I wasn't especially interested in those
commercials, I just
switched on the satellite radio and
listened to the 'oldies.'
     It seemed sure that the storm,
like all those local stations that
used to keep us informed, would
just go away!
     Hope you got the information
you needed, survived the hurricane,
and that all your NEWS is good.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Family Matters

   Second cousins, second cousins once removed,
second cousins twice removed! Cousins of all
sorts were everywhere as the Singley Family
celebrated it's 100th reunion in Zion Grove on
   Of course there were many, many faces I
didn't recognize. I thought, at first, that evacuees
from New York and New Jersey had just showed
up to find some food!
   It's not often that family reunions survive for an
entire century but the Singley family has done it!
   Now there's a couple of things I should point
out. First, nobody who attended the first Singley
Family Reunion showed up at this one! That
said we did have one 90-year-old attend....and...
No....that wasn't me!
    But I was there! For those who don't already
know my middle name is Singley. It was my
mother's maiden name.
    The family history goes back a lot further that
the first reunion and includes at least two
soldiers from the Revolutionary War!
     I was always told that one of the Singleys
made rifles for the troops. That's George
Washington's troops by the way!
     I know that one 'distant' second or third
cousin, I don't know how many 'removed',
played on the winning team in what was
actually the first Little League World
Series....although it wasn't called that at the
     This family reunion has evolved a lot over
the last few years. And in a good way!
     It used to be tough to get the kids to
come to a meeting that involved lots of
'old folks' who spent at least part of their
annual get together discussing who died,
who got married, and how much was in
the treasury for next year.
     We still keep the records. But these
days the family moves from a shortened
'business meeting' to a huge family picnic
at the old family farm!
     The corn is picked from a field on the
property and cooked on medal grates that
look like somebody borrowed them from
the streets above New York's subway
system! There's burgers, hot dogs, brockwrust,
Wimpies,baked beans,and all kinds of home
made pies,cakes, ice cream, and fudge!
     If the Singleys have learned anything
over a  couple hundred years it's how to eat!
     And then there's "The Gator!"
     With acres and acres of corn fields and
forest at hand there's nothing that has the kids
more excited than a bumpy ride in, or on,
this four wheel drive vehicle!
     I know because I did most of the
driving. I now know how the first Singleys
must have felt as they traversed the mountains
of northeastern Pennsylvania on horseback or
     But the sore back and stiff legs with be well
worth it if some of those smiling kids show
up at the 150th Singley Reunion to take over
for those who have worked so hard over the
first hundred years to keep one family's
history, memories, and tradition alive!
     Have a good life cousins, however far
'removed', and may all of your NEWS be

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Night Irene, good night!

   Seems I'm returning to my roots in radio! At least
long enough to do an interview.
   Dave Williams who runs the Pennsylvania Farm
County Radio Network called Thursday night
to talk with me about Hurricanes!
    Now let's be clear. I'm no expert on either
tropical storms or agriculture although some have
linked me with 'hot air' and I have been know to
chomp down a few ears of corn from time to time.
     But Dave remembered my involvement with
Hurricane..later....Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972
and wondered if my experience might prove
useful as Hurricane Irene heads our way.
     I was the News Director of WILK Radio in
Wilkes-Barre when Agnes hit.
     I had gone to the Luzerne County Courthouse
to call back reports to the station. Once there though
I was 'drafted' as Public Information Officer for
Civil Defense. I called my wife to say I'd be home
a little late. It was two and a half days before she
saw me again for a few hours.
     Over those days the Susquehanna left thousands
of tons of mud in local homes! A few fish ended
in basements too!
      It was the worst natural disaster to hit the
United States up until that time!
      Farmers will be glad to know that sales of
bread and milk were really big before the storm
hit. But the smart folks took their bread and milk
with them as they moved out of flood prone
areas to higher ground.
       The most important thing is to know
what's happening ,where, and when.
      Back in 1972 volunteers from 13 area
radio stations worked with each other to set up
a Flood Emergency Network which I directed for
about two weeks. But each of those stations
had News Reporters on staff.
      Today....most do not!
      That is a tragedy in its own right.
      Local forcasters are saying we'll be on the
western edge of Irene and probably won't have
to face its full fury.
      TV will surely offer continues coverage.
      But it's tough to keep your eye on the tube when
the water is nearing your back door!
      Newspapers will cover the storm from every
aspect..after it's moved through!
      During the 'Agnes' flood local radio was
described as "the Hero of the hour."  We can only
hope it rises to the occassion again if the streams do.
      I hope it's not, that we can all sing "Goodnight
Irene, goodnight", that you stay safe and dry, and
that all your NEWS is REALLY GOOD!


Friday, August 26, 2011

"If I Knew Then, What I Know Now..."

   I remember playing a tune by the Ray Coniff
Singers back in my DJ days called "If I Knew
   It came to mind this week while waiting for
a doctor's appointment scheduled for 9:50am.
   I was also wondering why I had scheduled
an appointment for such a specific yet unusual
   Anyway...the title and melody of the song
came back to me while I was reading to pass
the time until the doctor actually saw me since
that was no where near 9:50!
   I passed up all the magazines scattered on
tables around the waiting room. Most of them
seemed to deal with health issues or fashions,
child rearing, or cooking. The only part of any
of them that fascinates me is the little corner of
the cover where someone has torn or cut away
the little address label.That always has me
wondering where they were originally sent.
   I started to glance at the classified section
of the newspaper and that's when the song came
to mind!
   I found, in the automobile section, an add for
a 1956 two tone Ford Convertible! The first
car I ever owned was a 1956 two tone Ford
convertible and,  except for the fact that this
was red and white instead of black and white,
the two cars were nearly identical!
   What memories! How proud I was to have a
car of my own. That was true even after I saw
the thick clouds of white smoke pouring out of
the exhaust pipe! Seems there was some kind of
problem with the oil system that year. But a
kit was available and the problem was easily fixed.
    I  had the car for several years before the
floor on the passenger's side rusted through and
I developed a love for 'Sports cars.'
    After reading the classified add, however, I
wondered if it might have been wiser to fix the
floor and keep the car polished.
    You see I bought the Ford, used, for $750.
    The one for sale in the paper is a lot more
'used' than mine was and it's owner is asking
    (Insert music and lyrics here.."If I Knew
Then, What I Know Now,")
     This is an example of why men don't like
to throw things out!
     How many mothers have tossed away piles
of old baseball cards never thinking about the
fact than one prize 'Mickey Mantle card' might
be buried in the mix!
    Some of those cards, which have sold for as
high as $72,000, were probably used by kids
in the spokes of their bicycles to make them
sound like motorcycles!
    Maybe there is a Mantle card hidden
somewhere inside the 56 Ford! That would
explain the price!
     If you should buy it please stop by so I
can check the passenger side floor and see
if there's any smoke coming from the exhaust!
    Hope you're holding on to your
'valuables'...and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Slip Sliding Away!

   Our travels took my wife, two of our grand kids,
and I to South Williamsport on Wednesday! Just in
case you haven't heard...the Little League World
Series is in full swing and South Williamsport
is where it's at!
   My old friend and colleague Derry Bird
posted a Facebook note last week lamenting
the fact that most news coverage of the event
seems to ignore the actual site of the games. I
thought I'd better get it right so he'd be happy!
   This is baseball in its purest form.
    Kids from all over the world are
gathered for the competition.
    In fact it seemed a little unusual to stand
for the "Anthem" and hear the ballads that
honor The Republic of Mexico and Venezuela!
   The tunes are different as are the languages
 spoken by the players.
    But except for the fact they play only 6
 innings the 'language of baseball', 4 balls
you walk, 3 strikes you're out, is the same!
    It's a great place to enjoy baseball and all
the excitement that goes along with this
    If you've ever watched any of the games
you know part of that excitement is
displayed by young spectators who use
cardboard and carpets to slide down the
steep hill that over looks the outfield at
Lamade Stadium. Did I mention it's a
steep hill!?
    After straining our necks to watch a game
from the left field bleachers the grand kids
talked us into moving to that hill! We now
know why it's so easy to slide there!
     In fact, the real trick seems to be walking
    We folded the seats we brought to support
our backs in the bleachers and sat on them
rather than on the grass. But those seats,
in their folded state, must be a lot like
cardboard because they immediately
started to slide!  Trouble is we were still
on them!
    My wife, grandson and I were eventually
able to stabilize ourselves so we could watch
the game without sliding into the hedge that
separates the hill from the outfield .
    Our grand daughter, however, spent her
time learning to "surf" the hill!
    She actually got pretty good and will
probably bring waxed cardboard next time!
     Where else could a family go to watch
a championship baseball game, free of
charge I might add, enjoy some great food,
and have fun without a computer, Ipod, or
such by sliding or trying not to slide down
a hill! Ah the simple joys of life!
     I was even able to buy something that
is synonymous with baseball, but seldom
found at the games.....Cracker Jack!!!
     By the time we got up, and that did
take some time, cleaned off the grass,
and headed back to the refreshment
stands, Mexico had won the 9 inning game
over Venezuela 2 to 1. And as we left
the winners and losers were congratulating
each other on a 'good game.'
    It was a 'good game'....for everyone!
    Hope you're on level ground, your eye is
on the ball, the count is in your favor, and
that all your NEWS is good!    

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"All Shook Up!"

  So. Here's my question.
  Were you "all shook up" yesterday?
  And if you were was it because of an earthquake
in Virginia.....or......the reaction to that earthquake
here in Pennsylvania?  
  We were watching my favorite movie.
   It's a science fiction thriller called "Frequency." The
exciting climax was less than five minutes away when
we noticed the room begin to shake! It wasn't
dramatic. Nothing fell from the walls. But there was
a definite shutter of our house that lasted for about
20 seconds or so.
    Since I didn't remember that happening in the movie
before ,and since I am, or was, a 'trained observer', I
came to  the conclusion that something unusual had
    At first I thought it was caused by some sort of
heavy equipment driving by. Or maybe dynamite
blasting at a nearby construction site. But, since we
didn't hear anything we ruled that out.
   I mentioned "earthquake" then confirmed it by a   
call to my former News Assignment Desk.
   It wasn't the first to be felt in our area. But this one
seemed to have been felt by a lot more people than
others in the past.
  The reaction was....well....let's call it interesting.
  A lot of people reported feeling 'something.'
  But many had no idea anything had happened!
  Either way it was the topic of conversation...and
a lot more than that!
    Luzerne County, like the nation's capital, ordered
public buildings evacuated until those buildings could
be inspected...just in case!
   Wilkes-Barre suggested that people leave their
buildings for 15 minutes before going back inside. I'm
not exactly sure who came up with the quarter hour
figure or how they could be sure you'd be safe by
going back in 16 minutes later.
    Maybe there's a rule of thumb for how long it
takes for the walls to come down after an earthquake!
    TV reports confirmed there had been a quake,
noted the place where it was centered, talked
about local 'shaking' then repeated the story over, and
over and over and...well you get the picture!
    But give the folks credit. It's hard to fill 60 minutes
with three to six 'facts.
    I am not a big fan of the Rush Limbaugh radio
program. But I must admit I welcomed the
comments of the gentleman filling in for Rush who
questioned the interruption of life as we know it
in places like New York City because of the
    Apparently the network showing my movie
is located in an area that was not affected. For
that I any very thankful! Even though I know how
it ends I'd hate to miss the finale because of
the vibrations!
    Five hours later Yahoo's News Page
headlined the capture of a murder suspect
after 36 years, the latest on Hurricane
Irene, and the fact that the Stock Market closed
with its biggest gain in two weeks!
    It would seem, for most of us, that we had
faced a slight tremor rather that Armageddon!
    I'm wondering what my niece thinks about
our reactions.
   She lives about 30 miles away from the
epicenter in Virginia!
   Hope you've shaken the shakes and that
all your NEWS is good!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"A Rose, by any other name..."

    I now have an idea how the people in
New Amsterdam must have felt when the
decision was made to change the name of
their community to New York City!
    I haven't why do I have a
new address?!
    I have lived in the same house in the
same development for more than 42
    But this year the new owner decided to
change the name of the development. I
know his intentions were good. In his mind
it was like putting up a sign reading.....
"Now Under New Management." I know
that because that's exactly what the sign he
put up reads! It's a message that wants people
to read between the lines. What it really says
is....'Things are better here now cause there's
a new guy running things.'
    He's putting his money where his sign is
too! He's already made a number of
    The name change, however, has caused a
lot of work for those who live here and more
than just a little confusion!
    All of our 'official documents' have to be
changed to reflect a new address even though
nobody has moved anywhere!
    And anybody who has delt with PennDot in
the past knows that changing anything on its
documents involves both time and prayers!
    For a while at least my wife and I will
have different addresses. That could raise a
few eyebrows!
    I only wish I had an opportunity to talk to
the new owner before he made the change.
    I would have told him about all the people
I see who ask me about my work on TV with
   But it's been 25 years since WDAU
became WYOU and it's been two years since
I was on the air there on a regular basis!
    Old habits DO die hard!
    And who knows? This change could work
out really well. Maybe some of those bills
won't get re-addressed! I know the Post
Office doesn't forward  'Junk mail.' Maybe
all those requests for donations or notices
of special sales and 'deals' will end up at the
old address....where ever that is now.
    As long as somebody tells the pizza
delivery guy I think we'll be OK.
    Drop us a line sometime....if you can find
our new old home of 42 years!
    Hope you know where you live and that
all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Senior Class

   Most of you reading this will NOT appreciate it.
   Not YET!
   August 21st is 'National Senior Citizens Day!'
   Unlike some of the special days I've blogged about
in the past this day is 'Official!'  President Ronald
Reagan made it so in a proclamation issued in 1998!
    It's a day when people are encouraged to spend
some time with senior citizens.
    But it's also a day when people are asked to do
volunteer work in support of the 'elderly.' 
    Of course while all  'elderly people' are
Senior Citizens, not all Senior Citizen's are
    As a matter of fact the qualifications for
'Senior status' vary quite a bit.  If you use
eligibility for Social Security as the
guideline then age 62 had been the determining
factor for many years.  But there are baseball
leagues in places like Florida where you aren't
eligible to play until you're 70!
    The status, whatever the age, becomes
important when it starts counting for discounts!
    And that's the great part!
    There are discounts for restaurants, park
admissions, movie tickets and a whole host
of other things. Some are offered to folks as
young as 55 although you usually start
getting them around 62.
     You'll know when you're getting close.
     You'll begin hearing from AARP. It signs
up members once they're 50!
      Of course the first requirement for
attaining 'Senior Status' is to stay alive!
      I recommend it whether you're just going
for 'Senior' or  all the way to 'Elderly' status.
      It also applies for those of you still working on
'Freshmen,Sophomore, or Junior Status.'
      You've also got to learn a lot and work
hard to become a 'Senior Citizen.' That way
you can get a career which enables you to afford
to eat before you qualify for the discounts.
      But you'll only have to work for 30 to
40 or 50 years.
      Fortunately  younger
folks will come along who already know
everything and they'll take over and make
everything all right.
      They'll probably be calling to wish you a
'Happy Senior Citizen Day!'
     I hope all of you 'Seniors', those who are
'elderly and the rest of you who wish you
were getting discounts, have a great day and
that all of your NEWS is good!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We pause for station identification.

   This one of those 'special days' I just have to
    August 20th is 'National Radio Day!'
    Radio has been around since the late 1800's!
    But contrary to the opinion of many I was not
involved in the very beginning!
    I really loved listening to the radio while I was
growing up and decided, sometime in my teens,
I wanted to become an announcer. That
ambition was included in my write up in our
High School Yearbook. And just about the
time it was being published I got my chance.
    I had been 'hired', if you can call it that, as
an erand boy with WAZL in Hazleton. Some
people would call me a "Go for."  I carried
equipment, helped set up for live broadcasts.
and was generally available to go for anything
anybody needed.
    The first time I actually got 'on the air' came
around Christmas time.
     Most of the employes were headed to the
station's Christmas party. All of the evening's
musical programs had been taped in advance.
     But somebody had to run the tapes AND
give the station identification at the top and
bottom of the hour. So my 50 year plus
broadcasting career officially began with...
"This is WAZL and WAZL-FM, Hazleton
     By the time I got into television on a full
time basis I had given station identifications
     What experiences! I remember taping
high school basketball games to be played
back the day after the game because the
station had to sign off the air at night!
    I remember broadcasting from a closet
the day President Kennedy was killed because
that's where the Associated Press machine
was set up and it was the only source of
information available to us.
    I left one station because of a dispute on
whether we should or should not play
"They're Coming To Take Me Away,Ha Ha."
    I though we should. Then they came to
take me away!
    And, yes, I did barricade the door of the
control room where I played "Summer Time
Blues" over and over to see how many people
would call the station. A lot did before the
Chief Engineer managed to get the door
    You just don't get things like that on the
radio anymore!
     You probably don't recognize all of the
station call letters I mentioned.
     Some are gone now, most merged into
giant broadcasting corporations whose only
real 'local' connection is a tower with red or
white lights somewhere on the outskirts of
    I still listen a lot. I like some 'talk shows',
and all the 'oldie programs.'  Those songs
were all new when I played them!
    I still believe radio can be the biggest
public service provider to a local
community. But it only will be when
the public DEMANDS it!
    Unfortunately most people just listen
and never speak up.
    Hope you're hearing what you want and
deserve and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, August 19, 2011

To Market, to Market, to buy.......

   Say 'hometown' to most people and they'll
think about the community where they were
born and grew up.
   Say 'Hometown' to most people in our area
and they'll think about the "Hometown Farmer's
Market" in the community of Hometown not
far from Hazleton!
   We paid a visit to the Hometown Farmer's
Market this past Wednesday. You have to go
Wednesdays because that's the only time
it's open. But it is open every Wednesday, 52
weeks a year! I usually think about it on a
    The term 'Farmer's Market' may be a bit
misleading when it comes to the operation at
Hometown. There are plenty of farmers
represented on the 12 acre site. But there are
many vendors who will probably have you
thinking "Flea Market' as you shop.
    And here, just like everywhere else, you
have to be a smart shopper!
    My buddy bought a tarp there a couple of
weeks ago from a guy set up under a tent.
     Several days later he saw the
same tarp in a local discount store selling at
about half the price!
     There are some real quality items and
services to be found.
      But there are also a few things like
small toys that look like they have a life
expectancy of about 12 hours.
     Still there are bargains to be found.
     And the food there is be pretty
hard to beat!
     The French Fries are so popular there's
usually a line waiting to get an order or two!
     I'm always in that line!
     That's cause I love fries, which are made
from potatos and, after all, this is 'National
Potato Day!'
     There are baked goods that can probably
add a couple of pounds just by looking!
      Meats and cheese of all kinds!
      A gourmet Coffee stand.
      Did I mention the French Fries!?
      There are Coin, Card, and Collectible
     There's all kinds of clothing for sale. If you're
looking for some particular logo chances are
you'll find it at some body's stand.
      There's not a lot in my size except maybe
the socks. I saw sock stands everywhere!
      Many of the vendors travel a long way to
get to Hometown each week. For many
English is a second language. But they all
speak dollars! And they speak that fluently!
       According to the Market's website 200 to
300 vendors set up shop during the peak
season. 6,000 to 10,000 customers visit during
that same period!
       It's a fun place to shop, or at least to
look around and get some good food!
       Hope you get to check it out sometime,
get to try the French Fries, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Roses are red, Violets are blue..."

   This is another one of those 'Special Days'
that don't get much recognition. And, in this
case I can understand why!
   August 18th is "Bad Poetry Day!"
   It was created by the folks at  ''
   The idea was to get some former High School
friends together to intentionally write some bad
poetry which they would then send to their old
High School teacher. Presumably their old
English teacher!
    I take issue with the day because I've been
writing poetry for many years! Long before I
became a DJ and then a news reporter I was
writing poetry for school newspapers or just
for fun.
    In later life I wrote some stuff designed to
get a laugh or two. I guess some people would
consider that  'bad poetry.'  But might not 'bad',
like 'beauty', be in the eye or, in this case, ear
of the beholder?
    For instance....can't you just picture the
scene when you take in this verse?
    "I shot an arrow
     into the air.
     It came to earth
     I know not   (swish!..Ah...thud!)

    The last part, of course, is done as a sound
     OK. How about this one?
     "Little birdy
      In the cage.
      How I wonder
      What your

       I call that 'blank verse.'
       So what do you think?
       Do I have it or do I have it?
        I can't send them to any of my
old English teachers!
        They're all dead!
        I actually wrote one aboard a train
 traveling through British Columbia as
 part of a poetry competition and took
 first place! One of these days, if I feel
 it fits a more serious Blog, I'll share it
 with you.
        But, since this is 'Bad Poetry Day'
 I'll close with this one written just for
 the occasion.
        'They're looking for bad poetry
         with words set down in verse.
         I'm sure they'll get some terrible ones.
         But I think this is worse!
         I started with my mind all blank.
         Like being in a fog.
         I should have kept them to myself.
         But now they're in my Blog!
         So my advice to others
         is to write the way you should!
         Enjoy the day, May it go your way.
         And may all your NEWS be good!'

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"It's Fun To Stay At The YMCA"

    There was no song or fancy hand
movements for the YMCA went I was
a kid back in my hometown.
     Back then at lot of my friends and I
WERE  'the Village People' and the
'village' was Hazleton.
     You might have thought we stayed
at the 'Y' for all the hours we spent
     You could play ping pong or pool.
     You could go swimming in the
indoor pool or bowl on one of the
two lanes set up in the basement. I
actually set pins on those alleys. Yep.
No machine! Just a foot pedal that
raised 10 small spikes on which you
placed each pin. When you released
the pedal the pins stood there on their
own till the bowler knocked them
down..and sometimes shot one at you
as well!
      There was a workout room. And all
sorts of clubs and activities.
      And that 'Y', like most of the early
ones, did have rooms available on the
upper floors for those looking for
inexpensive accommodations.
     Back then, in Hazleton, there was
a separate, but equal, YWCA for young
ladies. It was next door to the old
Grand Movie Theater. My Dad met my
Mom by speaking from window to
window between the two buildings.
   I sent hours and hours growing
up at the 'Y' and my Mom helped raise
money for memberships for kids who
couldn't afford them on their own.
  But the  days of the 'Y' as a 'Boarding
House' disappeared for the most part
over the years.
   Most new YMCA buildings concentrate
on physical fitness and recreation rather
than housing.
  That's why I was surprised when my
nephew posted  Facebook comments
reveling the the 'Y' in Wilkes-Barre
was getting rid of it's Racquetball ,
Handball, and Squash Courts to make
room for 'apartments!'
   My late brother Jim was an ardent,
and good, handball player! He and
some of his friends looked forward to
an occasional break from work and
a good 'workout' at the 'Y.'
    I don't think Ping Pong or Pool
would cut it for them.
    They were a bit too old for 'clubs'
    It was a great place for them to
get together for meaningful
activities, recreation, and exercise!
    I'm not exactly sure why the 'Y' is
expanding it's 'Motel 6' status.
    Who knows? Maybe all the available
housing in Wilkes-Barre is taken!
    Seems ironic  those workout rooms
will make way for space that will
probably include a comfortable couch
and a TV set!
    And it seems a shame that all those
loyal members may  have to limit their
exercise to arm movements spelling the letters
Y M C A.
    Hope you've got a locker and that
all your NEWS is good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Who Was That Masked Man?"

   Wow! There's a headline I never expected
to see or write!
   "Disney kills the Lone Ranger!"
   Of course it wasn't Walt.
   Walt Disney Studios suddenly announced
it was shutting down production of its new
movie about the daring masked man because
of  "budget issues."
    Maybe the cost of silver is too high to
make enough bullets. Maybe they just need
to borrow money to complete the
project. Maybe they just need a
'loan arranger.' (I'm sorry about that one
but this is 'National Tell A Joke Day.')
    There's a local TV weatherman who
usually likes to boast about his knowledge
of just about everything. I was a bit
surprised to hear him say he knew
nothing about 'The Lone Ranger!"
     The story of this fictional Texas Ranger
who 'fought for law and justice in the early
west' has been around since the early days
of radio in 1933. Reruns of the television
show are still on the air and the story has
spawned several movies not including the
one the Disney folks had been working on.
    Most of the male children from the
'Baby Boomer generation' probably
played the part in their back yard at one
time or another during their growing up
years. Or maybe they would occasionally
play the part of Tonto. We won't ask the
weather guy if he knows him!
   The stories were, admittedly, out of a
very different time. Back then you could
usually tell the 'good guys' by their white
hats. The 'bad guys' wore black ones and
the 'good guys' ALWAYS won!
   The lesson they offered was
simple. Do the right thing and you'll
always come out ahead!  Not bad don't
you think?
    Chances are, whether Disney resumes
production or not, the Lone Ranger will
still be heard shouting "Hi Yo Silver"
long after the forecaster and the rest of us
are in our own version of  'Boot Hill.'
   Hope you and your faithful companion,
Indian or otherwise, are ready for another
adventure and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, August 15, 2011

For It's 1,2,3 strikes.....

  For a guy who loves to find 'Special
Days' each month I have to admit to
missing a big one yesterday!
  I was watching 'Sunday Morning' on
CBS when I saw a piece celebrating
the anniversary of the invention of the
'Wiffle Ball!'
  Talk about a history making event!
  When I was a kid I had the biggest
back yard in the neighborhood. The
made it the 'stadium' for kids from
blocks around. And one of the most
popular games we played there was
Wiffel Ball!
  We had one-man teams (in one case
one-woman since our neighbor Linda
was as good a player as any of the guys!)
and played a regular schedule of games
we came up with ourselves.
  Of course you had to come up with
ground rules that fit the terrain!
  While my backyard was long it was
not especially wide.
   There were three neighboring yards
to the left of our home plate. Access to
each meant jumping a fence. That was
a nuisance so...over one
out! Over two fences..two outs!
   The real trouble spot, however, was
a ball hit over the fence to our right!
   That was Mrs ......well we'll just
call her 'Mrs W.' That was Mrs W's
yard! She didn't like kids coming into
her yard for any reason! And if she
grabbed your Wiffle was
   So the rule was...a ball hit into
Mrs W's yard was an automatic 3
outs! And the batter was the one
responsible for recovering the ball if
possible! That meant jumping the
fence, avoiding splinters, and Mrs
W's dog, as well as Mrs W if she
happen to be out.
  If she wasn't that darn dog acted
like a burglar alarm and let her know
an 11 or 12-year-old had stepped into
'no man's land!'
   Mrs W was concerned about
possible damage to her garden. She
also wasn't very big on kids!
    One of my proudest moments had
nothing to do with a homer or a
pitched strikeout. It involved a
confrontation between Mrs W and
my Mom!
   During one of her tirades over our
attempt to get our Wiffle Ball back
Mrs W proclaimed that she was
raising flowers. My Mom, who
didn't play Wiffle Ball responded
by saying..."And we are raising
kids!"  Mrs W looked like an
umpire had just tossed  her out of a
game as she retreated to her dugout...I
mean..her house. Score Mom 1..Mrs
W zero!
   David Mullany of Fairfield,Conn.,
invented the Wiffle Ball in 1953 so
his 12-year-old son could throw a
curve ball.
   A lot of flowers have come and
gone since then. But a lot of kids
have grown up, hopefully made a
difference in this country,or the world,
and..maybe...played a game or two of
Wiffle Ball with their kids or grand
kids during those years.
   Hope you've played too, haven't
'Whiffed', and that all your NEWS
is good!    

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let's Go To The Hop!

   It's been a heck of a long time since I
was at a 'Record Hop.' And when I was
there it was probably because I was the
D.J. playing the records.
   Last week my wife and I were invited
to a 'Sock Hop.'  Somewhere between
my radio days and television news I
had missed that term.
   'Record Hops', of course, are not
likely to draw a crowd of teens these
days since few of them actually know
what a record is...or was.
  My wife explained a 'Sock Hop' as a dance
where folks dance in their socks. That does
sound logical. But it made me a little
apprehensive. I'm not sure how many
socks I have that don't have a hole in them
  And I haven't really danced a lot
since the 'Twist' was big...and new.
  The fear was unfounded, however, as
the evening turned into a performance of
kids dressed in "Bobby Sox style" (Some
of you will have to turn to Google at this
point). All the girls wore 'Poddle Skirts!"
   The "Keystone Kids/Starmakers"
entertained with singing and dance
routines featuring music from the 50's
and 60's. They were GREAT!
    I wonder how they got all that music
without using 45's?  (Another Google
assignment for some of you!)
    Anyhow I hope there are no holes
in your socks and that all your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Big Bad John!

  Big bad John is probably rolling
over at the bottom of that
'worthless pit! That's where, in the
tune,  his selfless efforts saved 20 miners
from a 'would-be grave.'
 Yes. I know it's only a song.
 But if he were real I'll bet he
would be unhappy about the Federal
government's decision to close the
Office of the Surface Mining in
  Many of you may never have heard
of the Office of Surface Mining,
 OSM just doesn't sound as glamorous
as FBI. But the tasks the agency
faced around our area made its
investigator 'G-Men' every bit as
important as the ones who got
Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson!
 Every time some body's back yard
suddenly disappeared it was OSM
that stepped in to see if it was
mine subsidence was responsible.
 If so OSM filled the void!
 Ever see what's under much of
our area?
 Years ago I went into a
'bootleg mine' in Schuylkill
County. I learned a lot!
 First, don't come in your
business suit!
 Good thing they had coveralls
my size!
 I saw a big hole in the ground
that looked like an elevator
shaft! Using cables they pulled
a huge bucket out of that hole.
 Then they put a ladder in the
bucket and had my cameraman and
me climb above each other on
the ladder. A miner got in above
us and we took a ride. 500 feet
straight down!
 My first mistake was not
realizing I could have just sent
the cameraman down to get the video.
 At the bottom of the shaft we
got into little train cars meant
to hold coal. It looked a little
bigger than the train at Knoebel's
Park. But you couldn't sit upright!
First there were no seats.
Next there were wooden chutes
over the track that could
have taken off your head if you were
concerned about your posture.
 That tunnel, like thousands of
others beneath the state, ran
under a lot of properties 500
feet above.
 It bothered me when the miners
said they were going to set off
a dynamite charge to free up some
coal. I'm not a big fan of exploding
dynamite. Especially when they
yell "Fire in the hole" and I
realize...I'm in that hole!
 I wondered if the blast might
bring some body's house down into
the mine!
  Actually all I saw after the huge
"BAM!" was the thick black dust
that filled the air as well as my lungs!
 Anyhow I made it back to the
surface in one piece as did my
 But we both learned to respect
the work of the miners and the
potential danger to them, their
mine, and the property that
stood above!
 Maps of all those mines, accurate
as they can be, are available at
the Office of Surface Mining.
 Before they move out of town
you might want to visit and have
them show you one from your
neighborhood. You might be
surprised to see what's under you
basement! Or...what isn't there!
  Hope you're on solid ground and
that all your NEWS is good!   


Friday, August 12, 2011

Are You Smarter Than.....George?

 You could almost feel the tension in the
air as the players huddled.
  But the playing field was quiet!
  Not a sound from either the players
or the spectators!
  Right up until the buzzer sounded!
  Golf! Right?
  Nope! This was not a scene from
Pebble Beach!
  This was Hickory Run State Park
where we gathered for a family
   After the hamburgers, hot dogs,
potato salad, chips, grapes, cookies,
and cheese cake it was time for some
   But, to paraphrase the old Neil
Sedaka song...'Standing Up is Hard
To do.'  So a board game called
 "Scattergories" was chosen to,
at least, exercise the mind!
  Everybody gets a paper on which
are written various categories such
as  'States', Foods, Football'..things
like that.  Someone rolls a die
containing various letters. The idea
is write words starting with the letter
that match the categories. For instance
if he letter were "A" you might write
Alabama on the line for 'States.'
 The buzzer sounds when your time
is up!
  It prompts the players to be
creative. Or to be a good
  That's why there was a lot of
controversy when my brother-in-law
George identified 'The Bayonets'
as a Musical Group beginning with
the letter "B."
  We've all heard of the 'Bayonets'
right? No?
   As a one time DJ I was asked to
be the arbitrator on this one. But I
had to admit I never heard of such
a group!
   But maybe that's because I was
never a DJ in Novi Sad, Serbia, or
Montenegro....that's the former
Yugoslavia! Turns out 'The
Bayonets' are a 'Street Punk Band'
that have recorded 5 songs on a
promo CD!
  The family has now launched an
internal investigation to find out how
George, an Air Force veteran who is
50 years out of High School,  knows
anything about a Street Punk Band
from Yugoslavia!
  Guess we'll have to give him that
point after all!
   Competition is sure tough in this
family. Good thing we weren't
playing Football!
    Hope you're searching for that
record "Our Flight" by the Bayonets
and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Easy Money

   "Easy Money" is the name of a TV program
 involving the management or mismanagement
 of a family's short term loan business.
   It's called a "Comedy/ Drama!"
   Speaking of comedy and drama, have you
been watching the stock market?
   I thought about leaping from an upstairs window
the other day when the Dow Jones average took a
big plunge!
   I didn't though. I just couldn't do it.
   First of all I don't have an upstairs window.
   And to get on the roof I'd have to go up a
ladder. I'm not real big on climbing ladders. And
even if I made's only a one story drop. I'd
probably just injure my ankle and I already did
that playing softball in the rain last Saturday.
   So, as my 401k slowly turned into a 201z I
did what a lot of other people did..namely nothing!
   I did the same thing the last time the stock
market was near panic. And by the time this
latest sell off happened I had made money!
   And it wasn't all bad news anyway.
   Gas prices dropped a few pennies! Three
cents less a gallon over the course of a year
could actually equal my 401 loss! I drive a lot
and don't have a very big 401 to start!
   I also noticed that the sun came up again
this morning in spite of all the gloomy
financial news and.....just like it the anthem.....
our flag was still there!
   Who knows? Maybe the people who manage
my account will buy something while the stock
price is really low and I'll come out a
millionaire when things get back to normal!
    If not I can always get a part time job....
maybe selling ladders!
    Hope you buy low, sell high, and that all
your NEWS is good! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Roll Out Those Lazy, Hazy,Crazy Days Of Summer."

   This is it everybody! 'It' is here! Not 'they' or
'those.' But "It!" According to 'Holiday Insights'
August 10th is "LAZY DAY!"
   That would make August 10 that LAZY, hazy
crazy, DAY of summer!
   According to the web site this is your chance
to goof off and definitely not to work!
   How has this day gone unnoticed by so many
of us for so long?
    I have often celebrated this occasion
without knowing a specific day had been set
aside to observe it. In fact I did so little
yesterday you would have thought the
'holiday' had already come.
    Abe's and Jimmy's Hot Dog stands must
have got the date wrong too. They were both
closed Tuesday.
    Supporters of 'Lazy Day' (how could you
oppose it?) suggest the hot, humid weather
we've been dealing with make this a perfect
time to kick back, put off any chores, and
think about spending the day in a hammock!
   Some of us might suggest this observance
actually deserves a week, or two, perhaps
even an entire month to celebrate
   For now though...this is what we've got.
   August 10th.
   I expect each of you will try to do his or
her part nothing...on this very
special day.
   If circumstances ,perhaps a boss or spouse,
prevent you from celebrating 'Lazy Day' please,
at least, do as little as possible, try to sneak in
a nap, and mark your calendar for August 15th.
  That's "Relaxation Day" and you'll all be
expected to participate!
   Hope your 'Lazy Day' is filled with soda, and
pretzels, and beer and that all your NEWS is

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buy Me Some Peanuts and......

  It was 'boys night out' at PNC Field last week
as my grandsons and I took in a Scranton/Wilkes-
Barre Yankees game!
  Baseball is still one of the best ways to bring
generations together. So much of the game is
steeped in tradition.
  We all stand for the National Anthem before
the first pitch. And to sing 'Take Me Out To The
Ballgame" in the middle of the 7th inning when
we also get to stretch!
  But baseball evolves too. There's the
"Designated Hitter" who bats in place of the least on teams affiliated with the
American League.
  But the change I noticed most wasn't on the
playing field. It was in the Concession stands!
  First of all while there might have been
peanuts around somewhere I didn't see any.
And there were no Cracker Jack to be found!
   When I asked my grandsons what they'd like
for a snack before the game began, both agreed
on 'Churros.'  This was the spot where the
'generation gap' really looked deep.
   I had never heard of 'Churros' even though
the kids insisted they had bought them several
times when we all vacationed in Wildwood
a couple of weeks ago.
  Intrigued with their enthusiasm and
curious about this treat I told them to "go for
  They came back with two bags. Each
contained two long sticks that looked a little
like thin, straight pretzels. These, I was told,
were Churros!
   And, after trying one, I had to agree with
the kids. These fried dough pastries, covered
with a cinnamon sugar, were delicious!
  According to Wickipedia the snack
originated in Spain! How they got to
the boardwalk and the baseball stadium I'll
never know!
   I will, undoubtedly, order them again.
   Next there was a need for ice cream.
   But instead of a cones  the guys
came back with a small bowl filled with
"Dippin Dots!" These tiny balls of frozen
cream and sugar pack all the punch of a
Banana Split...and at about the same
   I can see why both of these concoctions have
become hits at the ball park.
   But I'm not sure how they'll fit into baseball's
long range traditions.
   I mean..think of it....."Buy me some Churros
and Dippin Dots...hope our hitters will
get a few shots!" Well...maybe it could work.
   Anyhow, hope you're taking the kids and
grand kids to the old ballgame and that all
your NEWS is good!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yogi's Pic-ah-nick Basket!

 Actually Yogi Bear would have loved all
the goodies at our church outing yesterday!
  Our 'pick-ah-nick' baskets were filled
with a lot of treats...most of them home
  For the last couple of years we've moved
one Sunday service in August to Moyer's
Grove to combine a day of worship with
a day of fellowship..... surrounded by the
natural beauty God provides.
  We begin with a service and, thanks
to the quick thinking of our pastor, we
were able to get it in in spite of a minor
  They say 'where there's smoke, there's
fire!'  But one of the two grills fired up for
the day's cookout showed no signs of
fire. It did produce plenty of smoke
which immediately drifted into the
covered pavilion where our service was
being held.
  The pastor put an 'Amen on his own
back burner for a moment as he helped
answer our prayers that the grill be
moved somewhere down wind!
  We all had plenty of reason to give
   It's fun to watch our church family at
play or, in many cases, at rest!
   Some of the men took to the Horse shoe
Court. Unfortunately because of Saturday's
heavy rain a 'ringer' netted more than just
a few points. You didn't need a score
card to tell the players. They were
easily identified by the mud splattered
on their shirts and shorts!
   I've never been big on horseshoes.
   I don't think I could lift the horse!
   Folks generally kept the kids away
from the mud. They didn't need it. They
had water balloons! And what better
way to show 'brotherly love' than by
soaking your buddy with a direct hit!
   There was swimming, games that
involved the immersion of young faces
into marshmallows, and other activities
like miniature golf. No 'Tiger Woods'
here! Just kids enjoying a form of the
game that is truly all about having
   Some folks just enjoyed the day
by simply sitting down and spending
time with people they usually only
see for two to three minutes coming
to or going from church each week.
   And, after all, if you're going to
'love thy neighbor' it helps to know
him...or her!
   Hope you're spending time with
your family, friends, and neighbors
and that all your NEWS is good!



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Instant Replay!

   There is a name for horses that
 run well in the rain. They are
 called "Mudders."
  There should be a name for
 Softball players who play in the
 mud! I can think of a couple of
 possibilities. But I believe some
 children may have access to this
 blog so I'll let those possibilities
 up to you imagination!
  The WBRE team took to the lake...
 I mean field yesterday right around
 Noon. The rain began to fall, ever
 so lightly at first, at about 11:58.
   We looked pretty good if I do
 say so myself quickly building a
 lead of a couple of runs.
   The rain did pretty well too!
   By the 4th inning the umpires
 could have started sailing little
 paper boats between first base and
 home plate if they wanted.
   Now there are some clubs that
 would have rolled out the tarp at
 that point. Some others would have
 simply acknowledge the downpour and
 called the game.
   We and our opponents did the next
 most logical thing. We moved home
 plate and the bases deeper into the
 field so the batter wouldn't have
 to stand in a pool of water and mud.
   We also agreed to end he contest at
 the end of the 5th inning. We still
 held our lead.
   But, by the end of the 5th the rain
 had slowed a bit. So several members
 of our team suggested that we just
 keep on playing in the rain.
   It has become apparent to me that
 someone on our team must have blood
 ties to the guys who opened King Tut's
 Tomb! The curse has survived all
 these years!
   I don't believe I've ever played on
 a team that had the lead,  suggested
 playing longer than  anticipated, and
 gone on to actually  win the game!
    Not only did it happen again but, in
 the process, one of the opposing team's
 batters hit a line drive off of my right
   For those who may be wondering, a
 softball leaves the face of an
 aluminium bat at approximately 92.5mph
 (I looked it up). The pitcher's mound
 is 46 feet from the plate, assuming it
 hasn't been moved forward because of
  The resulting impact on an ankle is
 something like trying to stop a Buick
 with your foot!
  This is not a good thing.
  So, I've limped off for another day
 wondering where that guy on the other
 team came from who socked that
 winning hit into the outfield.
  I think is name was Roy Hobbs!
  (Anyone who doesn't recognize
that name should immediately go
out and rent the movie "The Natural."
   Our team is hiring the psychologist
from the same film who will meet
with us every week to explain why
"losing is a disease."
   Hope you're staying dry,watching
 baseball on TV, and that all your
 NEWS is good.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Return To Sender

   The old Elvis song 'Return To Sender'
came to mind yesterday as I emailed, for
the second time, some folks I helped with
some projects over the past few years.
    The original email was sent nearly a
month ago.
    Here's the thing. The message I sent
contained a question. Maybe it's my
background as a reporter. Maybe it's
just curiosity. But when you ask a
question...shouldn't you expect to get an
     I understand you can't expect to get
the response you'd like to get. Lots of
times on the news beat your inquiry
would prompt the reply..."No comment!"
     Sometimes you'd even run into
someone, usually in handcuffs, who might
respond with a couple of words you
weren't allowed to use on the air.
     But at least you got some sort of
     Heck the people I've been trying to
reach have always been friendly in the
past. At least all the while I was helping
     Maybe they don't need any help right
now. And that's all problem.
    But I'd like to think I've earned a
response telling me that!
    Maybe the email got lost in cyber
space. Maybe, somewhere, there's an
email Dead Letter Office. Maybe the
'Reply' connection on their computer
is shot.
    So I'll send another message. Maybe
if I attach one of those 'smiley faces' to
the note it will make a difference?
    Maybe they'll read this blog and, at
least, send an email saying "No Comment!"
    Or maybe the day will come when they
need my help again. I'll bet they'll reach
me then!
    Hope your email is working, your
questions are answered, and that all your
NEWS is good! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Back To The Future!

  One of our local TV stations is using
the latest technology to take us back to
the future!
   The station which, on the one hand, has
just begun telecasting its newscasts in
high definition is, at the same time,
promoting what it calls "Antenna TV"
for its  digital secondary channel!
   For those of you who may not
remember, antennas could be found on
every home with a television set back
in the early 1950s. Initially that's the
only way the station's signal could be
received in your house.
  Most of those antennas came down when
cable and satellites became available
to bring hundreds of stations to your
TV screen.
  Junkyards suddenly were filled with
little aluminum rods!
  Now, thanks to digital technology,
stations have the ability to actually
broadcast two separate signals.
   In our area an antenna will allow
you to get the second channel right
out of the air!
   Ironically the programming offered
on that channel comes straight out of
the old antenna days!
   You'll be able to see programs like
"The Three Stooges" and "The Flying Nun!"
   You've got to wonder how much of
our future could come from our past?
   I can almost see the advertisements!
   "Imagine, a telephone right in your
home that does not need batteries and
has no 'dead spots' in it's coverage!
    Wires strung from pole to pole
allow you to call anywhere on earth!"
    How about this one......"Need to
make a call from your car? Watch for
our new Telephone Booths set up
along all major routes in your area!"
    Or....."Is your GPS misleading
you? Now available for use right in
your car......Maps....showing all roads
in your and surrounding states!"
    Think of all the possibilities!
    Here's hoping your antenna is on
the roof, your signal is clear, and that
all your NEWS, no matter how you
get it, is good!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


   It was a horrible sight! And I was,
admittedly, looking in a mirror. But
it wasn't my reflection that frightened
me. I'm used to that. I see it everyday
when I shave.
   No, this image was in my rear view
mirror as I pulled up to a stop sign
waiting for my turn to make a right
onto the highway.
   We've all heard about and probably
seen those drivers with a cell phone
or cigarette in one hand while they
cling to their steering wheel with
the other......generally oblivious to
the rest of us sharing the road.
    The woman behind me did have
something in one hand. But I'm not
really sure what it was. I only know
her car was still slowly creeping
forward towards my rear bumper
while both of her hands were busy
fixing, adjusting, or styling the top
of her hair! Both hands!
    She had a lot left to do because,
forgive me, she looked terrible! I
mean she could have been a
vampire! No...wait a minute...
if that were the case I couldn't
see her in my mirror! Right?
   Besides it was daytime.
   Maybe I'm being unreasonable.
   Maybe somebody was in her
back seat trying to pull off a
robbery. Maybe he had just
yelled.."Hands Up!"
   Maybe her roof had just
started to collapse and she was
getting ready to hold it up till
help arrived.
   I'll never know the truth. The
driver in front of me moved on and,
with no sign of approaching traffic
other than the Honda behind me,
I pulled away too.
   I don't know where she was
headed and really didn't care as
long as she wasn't coming my way.
   I hope, wherever she was headed,
that she made it safely and that her
hair was neat by the time she
    I'd be just as happy if she stays
out of my rear view mirror during
our future travels.
    Hope your "6 o'clock" is clear
and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Check This Out!

  One of my 1063 Facebook friends posted some
comments that got me thinking...and
I visited my area Big Box store today.
  I wish I remembered his comments specifically.
  But, generally, they involved someone who
began shouting at a fellow shopper for having
too many items in the 'Quick Checkout Lane.'
   I believe the argument centered on a 6 pack
of soda and whether it should count as one, or
six separate items.
   I had three items as I headed for the lane
marked '15 items or less.'  I was safe
even though one of my items was a 12 pack
of my favorite soft drink.
   But I must admit not only looking at the
shopper in front of me......but counting, at
least in my mind, the number of items being
placed on the counter! And I don't think it
was because of the Facebook comments.
   I think just about everybody does it!
   Unlike my Facebood friend I've never been
around when anyone actually questioned
another shopper!
   But I'm willing to bet their are a lot of
people who would LOVE to speak their
    The boiling point gets close in two
    The first is the shopper with a
legitimate number of items who manages to
step in line just a second before the guy holding
a gallon of milk. Then the guy stands there
watching as the person checking out searches
for either money or a credit card. If it's
money they're searching for that dime
buried somewhere in the purse or wallet.
     Or the credit card won't take!
     The poor guy with the milk
figures he'll see his product reach its
expiration date before he gets to pay for
     Then there's the shopper who truly
does have trouble counting! The guy
with the milk, who switched lanes
midway through the credit card comedy,
now realizes the shopper he's now
behind has 22 separate items waiting to
be scanned in the "15 Item Limit Lane."
      We wants to speak out. In fact he
probably wants to scream! But, in most
cases, he just slowly burns inside.....probably
primed for some road rage if anybody
slows him down during the ride home!'s a suggestion for our
friends at all the Super stores and
markets that offer Quick Check Out
    Either have the clerks enforce the
limits as politely as possible or
consider checking out the old "Get
Smart" television show from the mid
1960's.  The secret agents in that
show had a "Cone Of Silence" where
no one could hear one another while
   Buy one and give those guys with
the single gallon of milk a minute
or two inside when they finally get
through the line! 
    Hope you've limited your purchase
to 15 items and that all your NEWS is\

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Now Hear This!

   Cars these days come with a lot
of bells and whistles.
   I guess when you read about them
in the owner's manual....we all read
that...right? Well, I guess they all
seem kind of neat.
    But reading about them is one
thing. Hearing them is quite another!
    I'm dealing with some of those
bells right now.
    Every time I start my Miata I get a
series of 5 'bell sounding' rings that
go off five times!  That's like...ding,ding,
ding, ding, ding....five of those....five
    It's a bit of an embarrassment...unless
you know how to handle it!
    I've come up with a couple of
options.  One is to let my door open
until the concert of chimes ends. This
way people who walk by assume it's
an alarm that will shut off as soon as
I shut the door.
    The second, I think, is pretty clever.
    I try to park in a spot where I have to
back out as soon as I start the car. That
way everybody thinks that my little
sports car has a back up alarm like all
those big municipal trucks!
    We all know all those bells, whistles,
and warning lights are suppose to go
off when you first turn the key just to
show you they're working.
    But the 'bong' and accomping
warning light for Air Bags in my van
has a mind of its own. They go off every
now and then whenever they feel like
it. Since the bell sounds essentially
like the one that goes off when the gas
tank gets low I'm never sure if I'm
about to run out of gas or get slapped
in the face with a super big baggie!
    Then there's the Car Theft Alarm!
    These are the clever devices
designed to blare your car horn over
and over if someone tries to get into
your car without a key!
     I was leaving the parkade at the
Steam Town Mall yesterday when I
saw the gentleman lock his car and
walk away. I was waiting a minute or
so till my 5-beep concert ended.
     But as mine stopped...his
started. The combination of his horn,
low ceiling, and concrete walls of
the garage made it sound as if
someone had just made a break from
the Federal Prison at Waymart.
   But it wasn't the same. Guards
would have noticed at the prison.
   Nobody noticed ....or at least
nobody did anything about the car
alarm as it went through its cycle.
   Since nobody was breaking into
his car and nobody was around to
appreciate my 'Open Door Alarm'
I just decided to drive off with the
sounds of his car alarm blaring, and
echoing in the distance.
    If they're going to have car alarms
I think they should be wired to set
off a loud horn on the owner's key
chain! That way he or she, who
probably care, can check it out to
see if their vehicle is still there!
    I think I have one of those theft
alarms too. It just hasn't gone off
    So...wave to me if we meet at
the Dairy Queen parking lot (it's
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day).
    You'll probably hear me as I'm
backing out!
    Hope all your bells and whistles
are tuned and that all your NEWS
is good!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

    By the time you read this I probably won't be
able to walk!  It's not a new disease. It's an old
one. It's called "Softball!"
    OK. Maybe it's more of an addiction than a
     Somebody talked me into coming out for a
Church League game when I was about 16. I
wasn't sure I'd like it...until I came to bat and
hit a home run! I was hooked!
     I turned to pitching back then and threw a
three hit shutout in a playoff game. I've been
a pitcher ever since even though my 'Fast Pitch
Days' are long gone.
     Dave Kuharchik invited me to play with his
WBRE team in a tournament at PNC Field
    Of course we weren't allowed to use the
regular field. That had two make shift fields
set up on the outfield grass. Guess they didn't
want any of our star players tearing up the
    It was 'Double elimination.' That means you
get to lose twice!   I guess nobody told us we
weren't suppose to.
    We should have seen the writing on the wall
(or scoreboard) when we saw some of the guys
on the first team we played. How they got the
day off from their Major League spots I'll
never know.
   The guys on the second team weren't quite as
big and our 12 to 1 lead in the second inning
had us feeling pretty confident. When the
game ended, however, we still had the 12
and they had 13. We had been doubly
   That's not to say we didn't make an
impression! Kuharchik had a mammoth home run!
Joe Garrison shined at the plate and in the
field as did 28's Jeremy Deebel!
   Jason Cohen swung a mighty bat and was
able to catch all of my pitches that managed to
get by the opposing batters. (Guess he wasn't
all that busy behind the plate!)
   I can't mention everybody's name...I don't
know them!  Seems we bought...ah..brought...
a couple extra players too!
   Since the games were limited to a half hour
and we had extra players I only got up to bat once.
But I made the most of it and....well...I...that is.. see..I walked. (Told you I had a "good eye!")
   OK. So we weren't the Yankees. Maybe
more like the "Bad News Bears."
   And yes.....they did hit me an my alternate
pretty hard.
    But consider the year when
Derek Jeter got his 3,000 hit....I continued a
pitching streak that included at least one
Softball game every year for the past 52
   Take that Roger Clemens!
   Now...where's that liniment?
   Hope your batting average is high, your
ERA low, and that all your NEWS is good!