Friday, September 30, 2011

This Old House

   I'll never learn!
   My wife talked me into going shopping
again. But this was different.
   I'm actually kind of getting use to the
grocery, cleaning, and assorted things
shopping trips. Sort of.
   But this was "Big time!"
   This time our target was Home Depot!
   The calender still showed September.
   But the Christmas displays grabbed
my attention as soon as we went in.
   Trees, Snowmen, and other colorful
holiday items were all set out with
their lights flashing...ready to welcome
the season. Or, at least, the seasonal
shoppers. And this place wasn't wasting
any time, They skipped right over
Columbus Day, Halloween and
Thanksgiving and are heading right
for Christmas!
   But we didn't come for Christmas!
   My wife had another, more pressing,
project in mind.
   Years ago she designed, built, and
painted frames to cover our screened
porch with plastic sheets to enclose
it for the winter.
   They've worked well for years. But
those same years have also taken a toll
and they've got to be redone.
    My wife is great at projects like that.
    If they did a newspaper article on
the work my name would appear as....
"also attending."
    Anyhow, there I was. I came along
to help (actually I thought I was just
driving her there.)
    First I had to get a cart. But remember,
this was a "Do-it-yourself" home supply
outlet as opposed to your neighborhood
grocery store.
    So now I'm pushing a cart about the
size of a "Smart Car"  through aisles
filled with tools and materials....most of
which I don't recognize and can't pronounce!
    And the first thing we buy is some sort of
bracket that comes in a package about 2 inches
by 2 inches. We didn't put it in the cart.
    It did come in handy for the tall pieces
of wood we bought. In fact they were too
tall. They had to be cut. So, my wife found
a 'station' with a brace and several saws.
    The idea was to measure then cut the
wood ourselves.
     I wondered if that wasn't a bit like
going to a meat department then slicing
your own ham.
    My wife assured me it was not and
proceeded to pull a tape measure out of
her purse. She marked the wood,
grabbed a saw and went to work.
    I took a couple of turns too and, in no
time, we had a stack of wood cut just too
the sizes we....make that 'she', needs. At
least I think they're the right size.
    We'll know when phase two of the
project,including assembly, hanging,
and painting of the new frames gets
started. I'm told I'll be "helping."
    Where is Bob Vila when you need
    Hope your chores are all done and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sterling 'Silver?'

   I remember hearing my daughters and
grand daughters singing a song at their
Brownie and Girl Scout meetings.
   It went something like this...."Make new
friends but keep the old, one is silver
and the other is gold."
   I met a lot of gold and silver friends at the
Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre over my many
years as a news reporter.
   It was a 'Hub' of activity in the city.
   Nearly every Service club met there
each week. WILK Radio, where I was
New Director, actually had the microphone
in the main meeting room wired into the
station so we could record the various
speakers who gave speeches each week.
   WBRE Radio had studios inside the
Sterling and, for a time, the Citizen's
Voice Newspaper was published out of
offices just above the huge and ornate
   My family and I were 'regulars' for a
few years at the wonderful Sunday
Smorgasbord offered in the Dining Room
during my days at another local station.
   The guy I worked for at the time didn't
pay very much so he traded some
commercials for a few dinners.
   That, by the way, was AFTER the
Agnes Flood in 1972.
    Still, the Sterling was beginning to
head downhill.
    One reason was competition.
    Federal funds helped one nearby
hotel rebuild and expand after the Agnes
Flood. Additional money helped to
build a bread new hotel just a block
away. Somehow the Sterling got lost
in the mix!
    Wilkes build its own dormitories so
students who used to stay at the hotel
now had newer, modern accommodations
at their disposal.
    Meanwhile, the Sterling continued to
     Some people want to see it restored
to its days of 'glory.'
     Some people insist it be demolished.
     Some people just want to assign blame.
     I've got mixed emotions on the issue.
     But, as it now stands, (which some
say is just barley), the Sterling
seems to be a Memorial to 'better days.'
     Like the old Hotel Casey in  Scranton
restoration may now be an impossible
dream. The Casey site is now a parking
garage. When they took the old hotel
down they gave Mayor Jimmy Connors
a 'time capsule' from the building.
     It turned out to be a fake! The real one
had been set aside for 'safe keeping.'
     But nobody told the least
not for awhile!
     I wonder if there's a time capsule in
the Sterling?
     It's memories may be 'golden' but
this "Sterling's silver" is now very, very
     Hope you don't have any immediate
plans for reservations.....and that all
your NEWS is good!



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Truth or Consequences

   I wrote recently about the trend in movies
to remake old films.
   But there's another trend that's really big
in the theaters these days.
   It involves movies that are "Based on a
true story." Or, this is another popular
one.."Based on actual events."
   The problem, of course, is that we usually
don't know exactly what part of the story
actually happened.
   Movies about the Alamo have been around
since at least 1953. I remember seeing that
version at a theater in Freeland.
   In every version the battle essentially
ends the same way...and it's based on actual
events. Still there's plenty of "artistic
license" involved!
   As long as we're enjoying the
presentation as 'entertainment' rather than
accepting what we see as actual 'history'
it's no big deal.
   I am a little concerned, however, about
the younger audience that may accept
everything it sees as fact.
  That could lead to some misinformation
and unintended consequences!
   We visited the cemetery in Halifax
last year where many victims of the
Titanic are buried!
   One of the two most visited grave
sites is a stone marked "J. Dawson."
   Jack Dawson was the handsome
 lead character in the 1997 movie
"Titanic."  Cemetery visitors have
left flowers and movie ticket stubs on
what they believe is his final resting
   But the grave belongs to Joseph
Dawson who was actually a laborer
on the staff of the ill fated ship.
   "Jack Dawson" , Leonardo DiCaprio,
is alive and well and waiting for the
release of his newest feature in which
he plays famed FBI Director J. Edgar
Hoover! It is, of course, "Based on a
true story!"
   I guess it's  a little like the stories I tell my
grand kids. I end each by saying..."It's
a true story. I made it up!" And, in most
cases, it's true that I did make it up!
   And remember the old saying ...
"Truth can be stranger than fiction."
   Even if it isn't it sure beats an old
movie that's being remade for the third
or forth time!
   The truth is I hope you enjoy the
show and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Animal Kingdom

  With temperatures  nearing 80, and a mostly sunny
sky, I put the top down in the Miata and headed
out along a rural mountain road just east of my
   But as I left I finally stopped to take a close look
at a home made memorial that's been placed at the
entrance to our development.
   I'm not a big fan of roadside memorials!
   They do draw attention. And that can make them
dangerous in an area where, obviously, there's
already been an accident.
    In this case I found a couple of flowers
attached to a small cross with the photo of a family
pet. I'm sorry someone lost their dog. But, at the
same time, I'm wondering how any household
pet could have been run down (if that's what
happened) in this location.....unless..... the
animal was running loose!
    Animals of all sorts have some 'smarts!'
    Our cockatiel can say a couple things.
    Bears and squirrels gather food for the
    Deer know where to find the corn and apples.
    But animals are NOT GOOD at crossing
    You'll see squirrels all over the place....make
that all over the road these days! They see a car
coming, stand up and, apparently 'think' about
the situation for a second or two before
choosing their escape route. Many have made
the wrong choice!
    Ground Hogs aren't much better!  I've seen
a lot of their remains over the past few weeks
along with those of raccoons and porcupines.
    Skunks don't seem to be able to get out of
the way either. But at least they'll let you know
they've been  there...even after they're gone!
    But those 'road kills' all have something in
common besides their lack of speed when
taking on cars and trucks.
    They're all wild and have to care for
    And people should be caring for their pets
instead of taking our attention away from
the road!
    Hope your chickens don't cross the road
and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Have Some Questions!

     I'm getting a jump on a little known
holiday that comes up this Wednesday.
     September 28th is "Ask A Stupid
Question Day. But I just can't wait!!!!!
     I've noticed a couple of things over the
past few days that have prompted some
questions. Nothing earth shattering or
extremely complex. Just things that have
me wondering.
     Maybe you've wondered about the same
or similar things. Maybe you know the
      maybe you know why.............
      They build a new WalMart directly
across the street from a Truck Center and
there's 22 tractor trailers parked overnight
in the WalMart lot. Is the truck place
      There are TV ads and weekly letters
trying to get you to sign up for a new
Credit card. Just sign the application and
it's yours.  But you've got to shell out
three bucks for a Pre-Paid Credit Card can't use a credit card to buy
     How about the local bank that wants
to make sure you use a certain lane to
exit onto a very busy highway. The
'Exit' sign is so big you can't miss the
lane. But it also blocks your view of
on coming traffic on that same very
busy highway!
     Then there's the sign at one area
shop that reads "Parking 15 Minutes."
     My wife wondered why I wasn't
moving when she came out after only
five! I told her I had to say for another
ten or risk whatever penalty comes
from leaving too early!
     And I there job?
     Does somebody get paid to
enforce that rule?
     And who designs these signs???
     Hope you've got questions too,
or the answers, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Save a Tree!

   Wow! I am impressed!
   Did you know that your napkin
may have been my old coke cup?
   The family had a chance to tour
the Cascades Paper Products Plants
yesterday. My son-in-law works at
the one in Luzerne County where
they make napkins, toilet tissue, and
    The company wanted to share its
story with the families who support
its workers.
     There was a tent filled with
great food!  My grand kids put a
little of just about everything on their
plates. But they favored the hot dogs
and hamburgers and left a lot of the
roast pork just sitting there.
     Knowing how the company tries
to eliminate waste.....I finished the
pork for the kids! Good Grandpa's
have to sacrifice!
    We were very impressed with
the product production plant.
     Few people think about all the
work that goes into making that
box of tissues most everyone has
set out somewhere around their
    We also got a chance to walk
through the plant in Lackawanna
County which was still cleaning up
after damage from the floods two
weeks ago.
    When it comes to "going green"
this company is way ahead of the
game! Talk about saving a tree....
these folks are saving entire forests!
    It takes recycled materials, like
that soda cup I mentioned, strips
off and saves the plastic coating,
then uses the rest to make huge
rolls of paper that are turned into
the tissues, toilet paper, and
  The plastic is sold to companies
that make thinks like decks that
don't rot away like wood.
   A lot of high tech machines are
used in the paper making process.
   But there's a large work force
too and, let's face it, you may or
may not need a new car or a
television set. But I'd be
willing to bet toilet paper will
not disappear from your weekly
shopping list!
   So the next me you're tempted
to simply toss that burger box or
soda cup out the car window....
remember that, if recycled, you
could be reusing that same paper
in a different form in a month or
so to wipe you lips, blow your
nose, know the rest!
   Hope you're recycling and that
all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's Up Doc!?

    If you happen upon Bugs Bunny in your
travels today be sure to wish him well!
    Since this is the forth Saturday in
September it is being observed, apparently
around the world, as "International Rabbit
    Yep. This day is so important it's been
given "International" status!
    Supporters tell us it's a day to protect
rabbits as pets and in the wild!
    Don't tell Elmer Fudd!!!!!
    But seriously folks, Animal Rights
groups and humane societies are active
promoters of this special day. That's
partly because rabbits are the third most
popular pet species behind dogs and cats!
    International Rabbit Day appears to have
started in England. Its popularity quickly
multiplied (like rabbits according to the
website for unusual holidays) to Australia,
then throughout the world.
    Animal Rights activists can be pretty
tough customers!
    I used to see a lot of them every year
when I covered the annual Labor Day
Pigeon Shoot in Higgins, Pa.
    The event brought sharp shooters
from all over to the small Schuylkill
County community where they
competed for prize money by shooting
at Pigeons. The town raised money for
it's community park. The protesters
who found out about it raised cain and
staged protests that became so big the
State Police turned out in force to try
to prevent clashes.
    Since it was always on Labor Day when,
generally, there was little other news to cover
the media turned out in force too to report
both sides of the controversy.
     I don't know of anything similar that
would call attention to International Rabbit
Day. Maybe that's why so few people
around these parts know anything about
    It does remind me of an old joke though.
    Do you know what a walk is?
    It's something you tro at wabbits!
    (But don't do it today!!!!!)
    Hope your rabbits haven't multiplied too
quickly and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Line or Two!

   I waited in the car while my wife looked for
an item on her shopping list.
   I was parked in the kind of lot you'll find at
most any Shopping Center or Big Box store.
   There are so many things to see...if you just
look a little.
    There are, for instance, white lines painted
all over those acres and acres of parking. I think
the intent is to get you to park your car or truck
in between two of those lines.
    Some drivers, however, don't seem to have
grasped the concept. A few seem to believe the
idea is to have your tires on top of the white
line. Others believe it should be directly under
the center of their car. Still others are under
the impression they're OK as long as their
front wheels are between two of the white matter where their car's tail end
ends up!
   I get the feeling they are the same people
who couldn't stay within the lines when they
colored in kindergarten!
   And many of the same people
manager to leave their shopping carts
within those very same parking spaces!
    The markets have special cart return
lanes set up throughout their parking lots.
    But you'll find most of the empty carts
abandoned in parking spaces.....usually
making the space unusable for shoppers
looking for a spot to pull in!
    One woman, who finished her shopping
shortly after I arrived, negotiated her cart
carefully between our two cars till she
could unload her bounty in the rear seat
of her vehicle. We had to be within 20
yards of the store. But she elected to let
the cart right where she unloaded it.
    I felt bad for the next shopper who
pulled into the space. His turn put him
on what could have been a collision course
for the now empty cart.....but he stopped
in time.....still half way in and half way
out of the spot.
   He got out and pushed the cart ahead
a little so he could use the space. Then
the cart would be right there for his
   Nope. Instead of using it or taking
it back since he was headed in the store
anyway he pushed it on top of a small
island that separated the front of his car
from the rear of those parked in the
next row.
    The guy with the pick up truck
just ahead had to move the cart again
if he intended to put his packages in
the bed of his truck.
     I don't know if that cart ever did
make it back to the store or if it's
still out there somewhere lost in
between an endless supply of
Honda's, SUV's, and Mini Vans.
 I didn't stay to see the end of the
    My wife returned, without a cart
by the way, and we negotiated our
way into what appeared to be a
driving lane. The arrow painted on
the pavement was facing 'out' and
that's exactly where I wanted to
    If you shop where I do here's
hoping you're reading...and
parking.... between the lines and that
all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Very BIG Day!

   This is a very BIG day!
   September 22nd is "Elephant Appreciation Day!"
   It was created in 1996 by Mission Media.
   It's founder, Wayne Hepburn, received a paperweight
of elephants on parade from his daughter as a gift. He,
according to holidayinsights,com, became fascinated by
them and started to collect books and trinkets featuring
   I have seen a lot of animals this past week.
   Many make good pets.
   I like seeing long as they belong to somebody
   I have enough trouble taking care of myself although
we, that is my wife and I, do have a few fish and a
small Cockatiel with a limited vocabulary.
    Other critters have tried to come into my life this least in passing. And I'm OK with that as
long as they keep passing.
     I've already blogged about the huge bear that
hauled our trash bag into some nearby woods.
     We saw both a Blue Heron and an eagle at a local
     And my buddy brought his dog along when
visiting our camper the other day.
     But I haven't seen any elephants this week.
     In fact, I don't think I spotted any last week
     I guess you would have to say they are
     They come during "Circus season" when
Ringling Brothers or one of the other big shows
come to town.
       I like seeing long as they
belong to somebody else.
       My friend had to take a break from his
otherwise relaxing visit to clean up a mess his
dog left behind. Imagine if he had an
        Anyhow supporters of "Elephant
Appreciation Day" suggest you pay a visit to
your local zoo to show your appreciation.
        The 'local zoo' in Scranton is long gone
as is "Rosey" the elephant that was once its star
         The next closest animal preserve lists
50 species....but no elephants!
          So, unless you're willing to travel to
find an elephant to appreciate, I can only think
of one alternative.
         Perhaps hugging a Republican will do?
         Hope you don't work for peanuts and
that all your news is good!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Food Network

  I have seen the warnings on national
  I have heard the warnings from people
who share their knowledge on radio
'Talk Shows.'
  I have come to a conclusion.
  The latest alerts came last week.
  Apple juice has arsenic.
  Some cantaloupes have been linked
to a potentially deadly bacteria.
  French fries and steak can clog you
  Lettuce can be toxic to your Thyroid.
  Go to Goggle or whatever search
site you've got on your computer. Type
in... 'The dangers of'.....then type in any
kind of food.
  There's an excellent chance you'll
find a long list of items explaining
how whatever food you've chosen
can be dangerous to your health!
   I tested it by naming foods such as
broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach,
and bread! Everything I named,
according to Internet reports, can
be associated with health dangers.
   Of course I'm no health expert. But
I've got to believe any attempt to
avoid the diseases and dangers by
refusing to eat could prove to be
counter productive!
  Just remember I warned you!
  As for me, If I'm going anyway,
I think I'll go by way of the steak!
  And, maybe, some ice cream for
  Hope you have a good dinner
and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Talking Trash!

      Our Township has a very efficent Trash
pickup crew. You can practically set you
clock by their arrival.
      But they usually come to our house on
Thursdays. And I can never recall a time
when they came at night.
      That's why we were surprised to hear
our garbage can being hauled away around
11 last night.
       We were ever more surprised to see
the can sitting, upside down, in the very
center of the street.
       What surprised us most, however,
was the size of the bear we saw just off
that street in the woods, apparently
sorting through our culinary left overs,
enjoying an evening snack!
       The bright beam of my large
flashlight captured a huge black body
and two eyes that reflected the light
right back at us like some monster in
a horror movie. Those were 'scary eyes!'
       For a second or two we wondered
if might be thinking of running back
over to see if we had more food.
       I gave him some time to digest his
food before checking the area...from a
       He or wandered off
somewhere in the darkness....perhaps
looking for desert!
       I whistled a happy tune ....and made
some other noises.... as I retrieved our
garbage can before some unsuspecting
motorist  could drive into the woods or
our house by trying to avoid it.
       The plastic can seemed completely
undamaged. A metal lid, originally held
on tight by a bungee cord, was still
attached to one of the handles.
       Our garbage bag, however, is
undoubtedly somewhere just over the
bank on the side of the street in those
woods. It's worth fifty cents. But I
don't miss the money enough to go
after the bag just yet.
       The Township spent about
$117,000 in refuse disposal fees two
years ago.
       If the bear could make its rounds
Wednesday nights we could probably
save a lot of money on landfill
tipping fees! Then again, if the bear
doesn't eat everything on its plate.....
that our bags....we'll still have
a mess left to clean up.
       I'd rather stick with our regular
collection crew. They haul it away and
don't leave the can in the middle of the
street. And I never recall any of that
crew starring back with 'scary eyes!"
       Hope that bear finds better 'digs'
and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Wait A minute, Wait A Minute, Mr. Postman."

  As much as I like using the computer I still really
enjoy getting a card or a letter in the mail!
  One of my good buddies not only prefers the old
"snail mail" system. He really makes the most of
it by writing on every available bit of space the
card has to offer! We check all of his
correspondence with a magnifying glass to make
sure we haven't missed anything.
  But the Postal Service has some cuts in the works
that could affect when or how often we hear from
my friend.
  Faced with the loss of some $20 billion over the
past five years Postal officials want to cut
120,000 job by 2015. They have also targeted
some 3700 Post Offices to be closed.
  A couple of big ones are in our area!
  I'm not totally surprised by the prospect of
losing some local post offices. I've covered
stories in some small towns where the Post Office
seemed to be one of about 20 buildings in the
whole community.
  But I hate to think about all those lost jobs.
  It raises a lot of questions!
  As things now stand one of our neighbors brings
us our mail that was accidentally placed in his
box instead of ours. Will we be getting a new
part-time carrier who will put our mail in
somebody else's box? Someone who might not
be good enough to bring it to us?
  Will we lost that Saturday service and have to
plan a week ahead so that Birthday cards can
arrive a day or two before the birthday instead
of a day or two after?
  And the cuts won't save quite as much money
as predicted!
  If all the affected workers demand to get
unemployment checks BY MAIL it will cost
over $633,000 a year in postage to have them
  If you're going to make that many cuts something
has to give!
  With less people the mail make not make it
through in the rain, or snow, or sleet, or dark of
night! (Come to think of it I've never received
any mail at night.)
  Think of all the dogs that won't get any
exercise chasing the guy with the mailbag!
   There must be a way to save the day. Where's
Ben Franklin when we need him!
   If you have any ideas why not mail them to the
Postal Service! Just make sure to include
sufficient postage cause I don't think they can
handle any "Postage Due Notices" just now.
   Hope your check is in the mail and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It Dosen't Add Up!

   My wife and I joined some friends for an
evening snack at a popular 'fast food'
restaurant a couple of days ago.
   We encountered a pleasant young lady,
at least she was probably pleasant, who has
us wondering about the status of our
educational system. I think she did smile
one time....or...maybe it was pain.
   We used some coupons to save a buck or
two. My wife had a 'Buy One, Get One Free'
coupon for hot dogs. The clerk looked a bit
confused and called one of her colleagues
over to help her write up the purchase.
    She didn't understand why her
computer wasn't reading the cost of a hot
dog based on that coupon. Her colleague
explained it was the "Buy One/Get One"
deal at which point she asked my wife if
she wanted two hot dogs.
    Let's see one then get one...
Yes! That does add up to two and my wife
explained that's why she used the coupon!
    After surviving that ordeal I threw the
real 'Monkey wrench' into the purchase.
    Our bill came to eight dollars and five
     I had a twenty dollar bill (once I had
three at one time!)
     In an honest attempt to try to make
the exchange easier I gave the clerk my
twenty (that was to cover the eight dollars)
and a quarter (that was to cover the five
     One would think I had asked her to
explain Einstein's theory of relativity!
     I wonder how HE was at subtraction?
     She must have punched the computer
for twenty dollars, looked at the reading
and handed me the change that came up on
the screen.
     My wife took a pen and did the
math on our bill so the clerk would
understand...but it was clear she did not.
     After a three or four minute discussion
she apparently decided it was easier to give
me my twelve dollars and twenty cents
change rather that to understand the
     I had to go back for my ice cream.
     It was on the bill....but not on our
     I don't think the problem is unique
to that restaurant or that clerk.
     That's why some places simply close
down when they loose power and their
computers don't work.
     I remember a grocery store in the
Poconos that handled a power failure
by giving customers flash lights and
having the clerks use hand calculators.
     Guess they didn't trust them with
pencils and paper.
      How I long for the days when the
owner of the small grocery store would
simply write all the amounts on the very
brown bag in which my purchases were
stored. He would add up each column
and give me the total owed. I'd give him
money and he would give me change....
the right change.
      Of course I'd like to go back to the
days when I had those three twenties too!
      Hope you get the correct change
and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

   Wow! What happened over night?
    When I went to bed I was 68. But I wake
up and I'm 69! Then's good to wake
   If you read my blog even occasionally you
already know I like to point out little know
'special' days that come along each month.
   But today is my Special Day! It's my
Birthday. I've had a whole mess of them
over the years and I have to tell you.....I still
enjoy them!
   But in my search for those 'special days' I
like to write about I was stunned to find out
how many compete with my birthday
   I've know for a long time that September
17th was "Constitution" or "Citizenship Day."
   It's the anniversary of the signing of the
United States Constitution in 1778. I didn't
cover that one. I must have been on another
assignment!  It's also the day we're suppose
to appreciate being American Citizens..hence
"Citizenship Day."
   I don't mind sharing my birthday with those
important days. Besides...they came first so
they should have some priority.
   But must we also divide my celebration
with some other observances?
   September 17th is also the beginning of
Oktoberfest...the massive two-week German
festival that has spread all over our country
too.'s only half past September!
   I only get my one day. How come the
beer drinkers get two weeks!?
   Of course the 17th makes still another
'special' observation. It is National
Apple Dumpling Day!"
   I kind of like that one so maybe I'll
celebrate it along with my birthday.
   Maybe I can start a new tradition and have
an Apple Dumpling Cake  with candles
for my birthday!?
   On second many candles
can you get on an apple dumpling?
   Hope you've read the constitution,are
good citizens, go easy on the beer with
you apple dumpling, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's No Fair!

   Word that the annual Bloomsburg Fair has
been cancelled got me to thinking about some
interesting times I had there over the years.
    Pennsylvania never had an official "State
Fair" so, for most of us in northeastern and
central Pennsylvania, the Bloomsburg Fair
was it!
    As teens some of the guys would get
together to go there to enjoy the midway,
have some great food and, maybe, meet some
girls. I, of course, just went along to be with
my friends.
    In the early 60's however, my work in
Broadcasting took me to the fair where I
got a look behind the scenes and got to meet
some interesting people.
    I was part of a two-man morning comedy
show on WNAK when my boss and I
decided to get some celebrity interviews at
the fair. That's where we met the Lennon
Sisters (less one...Janet was sick) and Bob
Lido of  the Lawrence Welk Band. As part of
our routine I got to 'sing' with the girls for
our radio show in my 'Jerry Lewis-like'
character voice. Hopefully the tape is lost
and the sound vibrations have long since
got into some Black Hole in outer space!
  I met Brenda Lee at another Bloomsburg
Fair. I had worked for weeks to arrange an
interview. When we met it seemed like she
had no time for anyone, let alone a local
radio DJ. I did get a brief interview but
was very disappointed. That's when I ran
into Dale Robertson, the actor who stared
in the television series "Tales of Wells
Fargo." We was the MC for the Fair's stage
show that night. I had no prior arrangement
to meet or interview him. But he not only
took the time to record with me...he also
would ask me to wait while he did his bit
on stage...then came back each time and
resumed our conversation. Talk about a
nice guy! And, by the way, he's still around
although retired from his acting career that
included 63 films!
   The fair became a real challenge during
my TV reporting days. You had to work
your way through some huge crowds, find
different and interesting subjects for many
reports and get them edited on time
without the use of your usual writing and
editing equipment.
   Then...there was always some rain. At
least it always seemed that way. Local
people would say you could expect rain
because it was time for the Bloomsburg
   I was always dressed to go on TV. That
meant suit and tie and shoes...all of which
usually got either wet or muddy..or both!
   I don't know if next year's event will be
bigger than ever. I know this year's rain
  Anyhow you'll have to wait for rides,
the races, and the roast beef. Even the
best 'Mudders' would have a tough time
pulling sulkies around the track his year.
   We'll just have to go with the
memories this time around. You'll forgive
me if I omit 'Brenda!'
   Hope you'll find your Blue Ribbon
somewhere else this year and that all
your NEWS is good! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Out!

   There's something in the air...and they'll soon
call it Fall!
   This is not based on a date on your calendar.
   All you have to do is look at the signs.
   I've had my first taste of what I like to call
"September air" over the past couple of mornings.
   It's that cool, clean, air with just a hint of a
chill that's followed by decent afternoon
temperatures and, hopefully, a lot of sunshine!
   It's the kind of day that makes me want to put
the top down in the Miata and go out searching
for cider and donuts.
   We actually made the search this week but
left the Miata at home because we had the
chance to go with friends.
    We found an area orchard all set for the
season with apple and pear cider, all kinds of
apples, apple cider donuts, and pies.
    Not wanting to miss any of the thrill we
did our part to welcome the season and
walked out with a box full of supplies.
    The place also has a small corn maze
set up for the expected weekend crowd.
    I'm not real big on those maze things.
    I keep thinking about "The Shinning!"
    I know I'm not likely to see Jack
Nicholson  in there.
    There were pumpkins all over the
place too. They're a sure sign of Fall
cause they're so associated with
    Which reminds me....the Halloween
costumes are out and they're just about
everywhere. They've been out, along
with the candy, for a few weeks now.
     In fact it won't be long before
they're pushed aside for Christmas
decorations! Wow.....and it was just
80 degrees out there.
    Of course one sure sign of Fall won't
be around this year.
    Last week's flooding damage forced
officials to call off the Bloomsburg Fair.
   That's too bad. But understandable.
   There are still a lot of other
seasonal attractions that
orchard we found.
   So...Fall Out...find and enjoy them!
   Hope your mornings are crisp, the
sunshine is warm, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A "THING" or two!

    I settled down with my popcorn at the movies
last week knowing full well half the bag would be
gone by the time the feature actually got started.
    The trend in theaters these days is to dim the
lights well before the main attraction and to tease
the audience with previews of movies coming at
a later date.
     If you see enough of those previews you'll
come to realize there are two trends movie
makers seem to be following which seem to
assure them of success.
     The first is the sequel!
     Batman. Batman Returns. Batman Forever.
Batman and Robin. You get the picture (and
they get your dough!)
     That's nothing new. Years ago a lot of
popular movie characters showed up
again and again in sequels that capitalized
on the success of their original movie.
      'Old timers' will remember a series
of movies involving 'The Thin Man', Sherlock
Holmes, even comedies like "Ma and Pa
Kettle, or Abbot and Costello.
      The other trend involves the "Remake,"
      One of the previews I saw last week was
for a movie called "The Thing."
      It will be the third version of that
science fiction classic!
      The first, which came out in 1951, was
done in black and white. James Arness, TV's
Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke, played the
monster, It scared the heck out of me!
      They did a remake In 1982. Kirk Russel
played the lead but he wasn't the monster. At
least not when the movie ended.
      Lately it seems we're seeing more and more
      A remake of  the 1969 movie  "True Grit"
was just released last year.
      It almost seems like movie makers are
running out of ideas!
      "King Kong" has been shot off the
Empire State Building twice and the
former World Trade Center once.
       In each of the remakes I've mentioned
I liked the original versions best. I'll admit
the newer ones have a lot more special
effects. It most cases that means more gore!
They're certainly louder!
       Maybe it's like the first baseball
team you ever saw or the first hot dog
you enjoyed from some local shop. You
usually pick your favorite then and all
the rest fail to top it!
        Maybe we could help the producers
with some new ideas based on more
comtenporary figures.
       How's this?
       "The Geico vs. Free Credit Report
dot com."
       Maybe an 'action feature" based on
"It's my Money and I need it now!"
       There are endless possibilities and
you wouldn't have to remake any of them
       Maybe just some sequels!?
       Let me know if you've got some ideas!
       Hope you're ready for all the 'new
oldies', and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

With A Little Bit Of Luck!

      September 13th marks another one of those
unusual 'holidays' that don't get a lot of public
attention. And this one is likely to test your
       This is "Defy Superstition Day!"
        Bet you didn't know it!
        I like the fact that a day set aside for you
to challenge traditional superstitions falls on the
13th of the month!
         Nobody seems to know how this 'holiday'
got started. But it has been around since 1999.
         The concept is simple. You're expected
to ignore cautions usually associated with
superstitions. For instance, if you see a black
cat let it walk right in front of you. Laugh at the
threat that something bad will happen.
          Forget crossing your fingers or
knocking on wood.
          I think I might still think twice about
walking under a ladder. Seems there's as much
common sense as superstition connected with that
          Break a mirror, as long as it's yours and
you can afford to either do without it or buy a
new one. You don't really believe it means seven
years bad you?
          And spill some salt just to prove the
Devil won't get you just because you didn't
throw some over your left shoulder!
          Spend the day challenging all the
superstitions you can think of.
          It should be fun.
          Afterwards you can enjoy the other
'holiday' observed on September 13th.
          It's "Fortune Cookie Day."
          Let your future be decided by the
fortune you find in your cookie instead of by
all those silly superstitions!
           Hope your fortune is a good one, that
your wish on a star comes true, and that all
your NEWS is good!       

Monday, September 12, 2011

True Confessions!

   It's not very often you hear a confession from
a man of 'the cloth.'
   But that's what our congregation got Sunday
as our Pastor reflected on the needs and concerns
of area people who are trying to deal with the
problems they face in the wake of last week's
   Dave Elick was a Civil Air Patrol Cadet during
the Tropical Storm Agnes Flood of 1972.
   Yesterday he told us about the 'rescue' he
preformed during that disaster.
   He had spotted a figure floating in the water
near his post. He reached out to grab a hand
not knowing if he was actually pulling someone
to safety or...recovering a body!
   As it turned out it was a little bit of both!
   He had 'rescued' or 'recovered' a
mannequin that had floated away from a city
store when the waters rose.
    The laugh we got from his story provided
some much needed relief from the tension that
has filled many of our minds over the past
few days.
     It has also inspired me!
     And so I will now confess that we recently
joined some friends for a Double Feature.
     Not impressed?
     Well consider this. The theater wasn't
offering any double features.
     It just so happened that one movie was
beginning just as another had ended so we
decided to see both!
     I have 'rationalized' this action as being
acceptable in part because of the money
we spent to see "Apollo 18" which, as I've
written before, has to be one of the worst
movies made during the past few years.
    In fact if I knew then what I know now
they would have had to pay me to see the
    So much for confessions.
    Now if we can only find out why our
pastor was trying on a pair of Cowboy
riding chaps as he was leaving church.
   We can't wait to hear that story!
   Hope you're no 'dummy', have your
tickets ready, and that all your NEWS
is good!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Treasure Hunt

     Howard Carter worked in Egypt for 31 years before
he discovered King Tut's tomb!
     My own great uncle Charley spent years hand digging
a mine on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula in a search for gold!
     If only my wife, daughter, and grand kids could have
been with them. They can find 'treasures' in minutes!
     We had just left one of my favorite restaurants in
the town of Tamaqua when someone in our group
spotted the nearby "General Store."  It wasn't the kind
of market that would have supplied my uncle's need for
picks and shovels or flower and bacon. But it did have
a wide variety of merchandise.
     A few 'choice' items were actually on display right
outside the entrance in the hope customers would
check those then move inside to find more. And it
     The coloring books, five for a dollar, immediately
caught my wife's attention. Lest you think living with
me for 42 years requires coloring as therapy...the books
will actually be used as part of our church project to
fill shoe boxes with goodies for kids in third world
countries at Christmas.
      It was my grandson who first saw the real
'treasure' though. It was a 'mouthpiece.' No, I'm
not talking about a do-it-yourself lawyer kit. This
was a genuine mouth guard. The kind of thing you
might use if you're playing football. My grandson
doesn't play football....yet. But he is involved with
BMX Bike racing. So, he now has a 'mouthpiece'
for whatever protection it affords.
    Foolishly believing our shopping exploration
had ended I started for home.
    I might have made it had the rest of the
entourage not pointed out that the people running
the yard sale we passed on the way to dinner
were still there and seemed to be packing up
their remaining goods. That, they observed, was
the best time to find bargains!
     In no time at all the sellers slowed their
packing so my crew could dig in and see what
there was to be had.
     My daughter found clothes, including some
that were brand new and never worn for a buck
or two.
    My grand daughter discovered a toy duck
that quacks when you touch its tongue.
    My wife found a colorful bird house for
just fifty cents and, since we only have a
half dozen or so already ,I came up with the
    My grandson, with newly acquired mouth
guard still held tight between his teeth came up
with a small electronic keyboard which, he
tells me, only needs batteries.
    Me? I didn't get anything this time around.
    Why buy for myself when my birthday
is just a week away?
    I'm only hoping I don't get a mouthpiece
this year!
    Hope you've all found your treasures
and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Old Man River...He Just keeps Rolling Along!

   Circumstances seem to suggest some
commentary a little more serious than I usually
offer so I hope you'll bear with me this one
    Hundreds and hundreds of years ago...before
the immigrants migrated to Wyoming Valley to
mine its 'Black gold'...native Americans hunted,
fished, and traveled along the only highway
running through the area.
    That 'highway' was the Susquehanna River.
    Cities throughout our country were often
built along rivers. They were the 'highways' of
the past!
     At one time you could board a Steam Boat
near the Market Street Bridge in Wilkes-Barre
for a trip on the river.
    Some of you may be surprised to learn that
it is still, technically, a 'navigatable waterway.'
    I guess, at its  recent depths, you could have
sailed all the way to the Delaware Bay..IF your
vessel wasn't sunk by the trees and debris floating
along in the swift current!
    The Susquehanna helped bring prosperity to
our area.
     But it has also brought destruction! And lots of
     There's been a lot of talk over the past few days
as to which was worse.....Tropical Storm Agnes in
1972 or what has now become 'The Flood of 11.'
      As one well respected judge once told me......
"The answer depends on whose ox is being gored!"
      If you're one of the 80,000 people in the
'Anthracite region' left homeless or the 24,000 who
had damaged homes and businesses in '72 then Agnes
is your answer.
      If you're someone who didn't have any damage
then.... but have lost your home or property to this
week's raging river...the Flood of 11 is the worst!
     I don't believe this should be an issue of
"My flood's bigger than your your flood!'
     There are lessons to be learned from the Agnes
disaster that can be applied to the current emergency.
     And there are lessons we should be learning from
the present struggle to help people affected now and
in future emergencies.
     And they will come!
     The Susquehanna will never be limited by the
boundaries man imposes! It's been 39 years since Agnes,
a so-called "100 year flood," ravaged Wilkes-Barre
and virtually all the West side communities in
Wyoming Valley.
     Man build higher levees which protected the city.
     But the river found a new path up and downstream
from the city.
     The area came back after Agnes. It will again.
     We'll make changes and try to correct the problems
we find.
     But Old Man River, the Susquehanna, will just keep
rolling along as nature, not man, dictates.
     Hope you're safe and well and that all your NEWS
is good."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Daja Vu! All over again?

     Yogi Berra said it best. "It's Daja Vu all over again!"
      After escaping rising flood waters in Hershey on
Wednesday, Thursday greeted us with the news that
Luzerne County was in for the possibility of a flood
that could equal the one caused by Tropical Storm
Agnes in 1972!
       Whenever that Agnes flood comes up I usually
hear from somebody who wants me to talk about it.
        I was a radio reporter when it hit and was
literally drafted to be the Public Information Officer
for what was Luzerne County Civil Defense at the
time. I worked along side the public servants who
were trying to save life and property during that
disaster. And I was the one who got to pass their
messages along to the people in the storm's path.
       That included one of my more famous
announcements...."Get out. Get out now!" That,
of course, came as 60,000 or so people were
evacuated from their homes when the
Susquehanna poured over its banks and into the
streets of Wyoming Valley.
        I'm told I'm picked for the interviews about
Agnes because I was so involved with the
flood coverage and its aftermath.
        I think the real reason is that I'm one of the
few people who worked in that Civil Defense Office
who is still alive!
         I remember water shooting up out of a
drain in the tiny room where my two way radio was
set up. That was in the Sub basement of the Luzerne
County Courthouse. Civil Defense across our
country was set up to deal with Cold War threats
more than attacks by "Mother Nature."
         I remember helping the late Luzerne County
Commissioner Ethel Price moving boxes of Public
Records from the basement of the Courthouse
to the first floor so as many could be saved as
          A lot has changed from the days of Agnes!
          Emergency Management has taken over
the duties that had belonged to Civil Defense and
it does so from a modern building well above the
          The levee system that protects Wyoming
Valley is higher and flood forecasting is much
           There are new, higher, bridges that span
the river.
            But two things haven't changed in all those
years. The river and streams still seek their own
path when the ground is saturated and the rains
keep coming! 
            And there's still an awful lot of people
willing to give their time and talents to try to keep
the rest of us as safe as possible under the
             We own them all our thanks!
              And, as for when we'll see the light at
the end of the tunnel for this latest threat...Yogi
also reminded us that "It ain't over til it's over."
              Hope all's well that ends well and that
all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"The Hershey Curse!"

    The Fog hung thick over Interstate 81 beginning
just to the south of Hazleton. It's the kind of a damp
fog you expect to see in most every horror movie.
   And from my previous experiences in Hershey
this year I should have realized I was driving straight 
into the plot of this thriller!
      I call it 'The Hershey Curse."
      I'm not sure how it fell upon me..or us.
      I have always been a big supporter of
Hershey....or at least.....of its main industry!
      To briefly recap the story line we made one
trip to Hershey Medical Center's Emergency
Room after an artery in my wife's foot started
spraying enough blood to satisfy the needs of
about three Hack Saw Murder Movies. Although
the wound had been sealed in Wilkes-Barre we
were sent to Hershey because she had undergone
foot surgery there earlier in the year. After 9
hours and three specialists we were told the folks
in Wilkes-Barre had done a good job and were
sent home.
      Permanent repairs to that artery came after
another visit to the same Emergency Room weeks
later. That time doctors from two departments
debated who should handle the surgery. Their
consultations resulted in a visit that lasted two
days  and had me sleeping on a hospital recliner
that refused to fully recline on a night when I
myself was sick and probably should have been
admitted as a patient!
      Yesterday we left for two separate
appointments at the Medical Center. Besides
the fog a heavy and steady rain was soaking
northeastern Pennsylvania causing some
flooding in parts of the area.
      Although covered in fog Interstate 81 was
clear of flooding. BUT  the story was different
in and around Hershey! One stream just off the
Interstate was already well over its banks as we
headed for the hospital. By the time both of my
wife's appointments were over a State Of
Emergency had been declared in the County.
   We were told that all roads were closed and that
no one was being allowed to leave the medical
    Envisioning another night in a hospital
recliner...or worse.....we checked with a hotel
literally across the street and found there were
vacancies. A worker told us cars were being
allowed to go to the hotel, so we got the
van and cut into a bumper to bumper line that
stretched for miles.
    That's when we realized that cars were
actually moving, though at a crawl, and decided
to find a way to get back to the Interstate.
     Knowing the way we came was definitely
flooded we actually went in the 'wrong' direction,
towards Harrisburg. Although traffic didn't thin
out for an hour or more we eventually reached
I81 and completed our 'escape' from
Pennsylvania's 'Candy Capital.'
   One more battle with the fog...then...we
finally made it home!
    My wife has at least one more appointment
coming up in Hershey. I'm thinking about
checking the bus schedule and buying her a ticket.
    I'm also searching for something else I must
absolutely do on that day here at home!
    If not.......let's hope I've finally out run the
Curse...and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Midas Touch!

     Some people have the 'Midas touch!'
     Everything they touch works out right!
     Some people have a 'Green Thumb.'
     All of the plants they grow prosper.
     Then there's me!
     The only way 'Midas' and 'Green
  Thumb' could be linked with me is if my
  muffler fell off my car and landed on my
       For the past several weeks I've been
  trying to get a problem on my computer
  fixed. I haven't been able to burn a DVD.
       But the problem only surfaced after a
  gentleman who is skilled in fixing laptops
  repaired my unit from the previous
  problem I caused.
       Every time I try to fix something by
 myself I only seem to dig a deeper hole!
       Part of the problem is language.
       I speak English. Computers do not!
       I know....there's even a language
 selection box in most programs on your
 computer. But whatever you select the
 computer...or at least all of the
 instructions for the computer....come in
 a form I find almost impossible to read!
       I decided to simply dub the video I
 wanted directly from my camcorder to
 a DVD Player/Recorder I bought some
 time ago. The first video transfer worked
 fine. But before I could do the next one
 someone stopped by the house and I got
 up to greet our visitor. Unfortunately
 the little drawer that holds the DVDs in
 the machine was still open when I
 bumped it with my arm!
      I thought I finally got it back in
place but the last two recordings I tried
captured only some of the video I dubbed
       My 'Computer Guy' decided it was
 safer to try to repair my laptop at his
 home where I couldn't do anything to it
 for at least a few hours.
       He was nice enough to lend me his
 so I could do some work for the evening.
       Except....I can't get his on line!
       And he'll be pleased to know I didn't
 try to 'fix' anything.
      I just turned on my old computer in
 the spare room so I could get my daily
 blog delivered on time.
      I remember taking some 'Shop Classes'
 when I was in Junior High School.
       Now I'm wondering how I got out of
 any of them alive or uninjured!
       I've been called a lot of things over the
 years...but "Mr Fix It" wasn't...and still
 isn't on that list!
       On the bright side,,,,,September 7th
 is "Salami Day!" 
       A web site promoting the holiday has
offered a list of celebration suggestions
which include "Pin the tail on the Salami,
Bobbing for Salami, and Salami party hats!"
       Think I'll just have a sandwich.
      Hope my laptop comes back all
better, that you're enjoying some Salami and
than all of your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

  I saw a lot of things on Labor Day that
got me to thinking about that old movie
'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!"
 Seems there's plenty of each around
these parts.
  And I got a taste of each!
  Our friends had been raving about a
place called "Five Guys Burgers" since
they stopped at one in Florida earlier
this year. Little did I know we've had
one in Dickson City since 2005!
   We found it Monday and now
understand why our friends were
so enthusiastic about the franchise!
    It was really GOOD!
    Then there's the BAD! That came
in the form of the Labor Day rain
that dampened so many holiday
gatherings in our area.
    We had hoped to get family and
friends together at our camper for
the day. But while two is company
ten or more is a lot more than
just a crowd when they're all
trying to get inside to hide from the
 We, like many others, decided it
would be better to get out of the
rain by going inside a movie
   And that's where the  'UGLY'
comes in!
   I don't like movie reviews. Many
give away too much of the plot. And
many reviewers just look at things a
lot different than I.
  That said I must tell you that those
of us who went to see 'Apollo 18'
believe it may be one of the worst
movies we've ever seen!
  I was more sympathetic that my wife
and our friends. I believe it could
have been a good movie.....if......most
of what we saw was photographed in
a studio with actual movie cameras.
   One customer, who admitted to
blowing sixty dollars for his family's
tickets, popcorn, candy, and sodas,
suggested it might have been
filmed in some body's garage.
   We tried to warn another couple
who had just arrived for the next
screening. But they went in anyway.
    Hopefully they enjoyed the
previews and the warning to turn
off their cell phones. That's the best
they could hope for!
    Here's hoping you dodge the rain,
have some good food, stay away from
Apollo 18, and that all your NEWS
is good!

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Labor Day...AND...

   OK. Here the scoop!
   This is Labor Day. It always falls on
the first Monday in September. It's the
unofficial end to summer. It used to be
the day after which schools reopened
for the Fall semester.
    Somewhere along the way that began
to change.
    The fear of having less than the
required 180 days of school prompted
many districts to begin their year before
Labor Day. So those students return.....
study for 2 or 3 days, then take 3 or 4
days off to observe Labor Day! Go
    Anyhow...while the first Monday in
September is always Labor Day....Labor
Day is not always observed on
September 5th.
    That date is set aside for two other
'special' observances.
    The 5th. of September is, for instance,
"Cheese Pizza Day!"  While some have
referred to it as a 'National Holiday' there
is no evidence of any congressional records
or Presidential proclamations supporting
that claim.
   What have they been doing?
   It seems a safe assumption to celebrate
the day by ordering or making a Cheese
   But if you're ordering ....don't count on
it coming on time!
   You see September 5th is also "Be Late
For Something Day!"
   According to the website ''
it's a great day to be a procrastinator!
   Nobody seems to know who came up with
this special day. We're still waiting to hear
from the person or persons responsible. They're
just running a little late!
   Maybe they stopped for a Cheese Pizza!
   Anyway here's hoping your Cheese Pizza-Be
Late For Something-Labor Day is happy and that
all your NEWS is good! 

schools now reopen before Labor Day.
    That, of course, makes it tough for
resorts and amusement parks to get
the labor they need to finish their

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bazaars, Buckets, and Bargains!

    The Labor Day Holiday is the last
big travel weekend in summer.
    And that makes it the last chance
for some to cash in on tourist traffic.
    Isn't that why the price of gas
always seems to go up just before
the holiday?
    I guess it's one of those annoying
things you just come to expect.
    There's another that has always
bothered me.
     It's those fund raising coin drops
set up at busy intersections!
     I've always supported the
organizations looking for a handout.
     Fire Departments, Ambulance
Squads, and Little League teams all
deserve our support.
     But I've got to believe there are
better ways to ask for donations then
by having people, sometimes children,
standing out in the middle of a
highway when traffic is at a peak holding
a bucket up to your car window!
    I usually give in...and give.
    But the term 'Highway robbery' has popped
into my head as I go back through the same
intersection later in the day and have
a new group of collectors look at me as
though I'm a bad guy because I didn't
open the window this time!
    Of course there are other holiday 'Fund
raisers' that offer either fun or some great
   Church bazaars, for instance, are big
at this time of year. Many serve as kind
of community reunions where old
friends and neighbors get together for
some music, games, and...often....a brew
or two...or....well you get the picture!
    Then there's the Yard Sales! One of
my daughters, and her kids, seem to
believe the real economy of the United
States is based on the sale of pre-owned
toys, clothes, appliances, and nick knacks
set out at what seems to be every third
house along most streets and highways
during the holiday. Judging from the
deals she's found and the money she's
saved all of the evidence seems to support
her theory. Of course they pick up a few
items that aren't really as needed as they
seem to be when they first caught their
eye. But those items seem to end up at
HER Yard Sale.......and somebody else
usually buys them!
  So keep your eyes open and your
wallet handy as you're making the
rounds this weekend. Watch out for
a good bazaar, a great bargain, and
anybody standing in the middle of the
road holding a bucket up to your car
   Hope your long weekend is fun and
that all your NEWS is good!     

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Look! Up in the sky! It's...."

   Every try to walk by somebody who's
standing on the corner...staring up at....
something? It's tough to do....without
sneaking in a glance of your own!
   Well, chances are, if they're looking
up today they're not scanning the sky
for a bird, or a plane, or even
   They're probably just celebrating!
   September 3rd is "Skyscraper Day!"
   It's the birthday of Lewis Sullivan
the architect credited with designing
the first skyscrapers.
   It's undoubtedly a very BIG day in
cities like Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and
   Taipei's 101 Building is 1,671 feet
tall! Kuala Lumpur has a building
with two towers at 1,483 feet each.
And the Sear's Tower in Chicago
measures up at 1,451 feet!
   Of course the classic Empire
State Building in New York still
makes the list. But it's about 9th
tallest these days.
   They say you can tell the tourists
in most major cities because they're
the people I mentioned in the
beginning of this commentary. They're
the ones staring up at all the big
   In can, of course, be an expensive
preoccupation because, while they're
looking up, the pick pockets are
lifting their wallets!
   Maybe that's why our 'smaller
communities' are considered to be
much safer places!
   An 'Artful Dodger' doesn't get much
time to work on a guy who's looking
at the roof of a Walmart.
   And think of all the lives that
could have been saved after the stock
market crash if all the investors lived
in places like Berwick. It's only one
story down from the top of a Dollar
    Still, let's give credit where credit
is due! Sky Scrapers are very
impressive even if many aren't quite
as big as they seem! Just try to find
the 13th floor in the 'Big Apple!'
     Hope you'll take a few
moments today to appreciate any
'Skyscrapers' in your neighborhood.
     If you're determined to get to the
top please take a moment to salute
Otis Tufts too! He patented the first
true passenger elevator!
      Hope you're getting up in the
world and that all your NEWS is

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lost At Sea(way)!

    We spent the final day of our mini
vacation in New York's 'Thousand Islands'
    Although we spend a few days there most
every year we are still, technically, 'tourists.'
    So we made sure we did the obligatory stop
in most of the stores along Main Street in
downtown Clayton. Since the street only
covers about three blocks it doesn't take long
to make the rounds!
    And there are interesting things to see!
    One store, a self proclaimed art gallery,
did have plenty of artistic treasures. And it
would have taken a treasure to purchase
most of them! We did find a 500 piece
puzzle of a Lake Freighter sailing along the
Seaway. It was only $26.  I figured it
would be more cost effective to get a
postcard with a similar photo and cut it
into pieces for reassembly at a later date!
     Another store, which featured hardware,
did tempt my buddy and I with a novelty
fishing lure about the size of a sofa! The
$400 price tag prompted us to give up
our shopping tour in favor of one last
cruise on the river.
     We headed in the general direction of
Lake Ontario which is basically west of
the Village of Clayton.
      Channel markers serve as a road map
for sailors. The secret is to keep the red
ones to your right when you're returning
from the sea. If the green ones are on your
left..... you'll in the middle of the
      We wondered why all the markers
were so far off to our Starboard...that's
the right side for you land lubbers...when
we could clearly see the shortest route
to  our Cape Vincent destination was
to simply follow the shoreline. That's
where the highway is that takes you
     Our question was answered a
couple of miles downstream when we
noticed the boat's depth finder dropping
from 60 and 70 feet to about 3feet.
     The bottom was coming up to
meet us! Seems, in this case, the 'shortest
distance between (our) two points was not
a straight line!
     We decided to trade our 'logical
thinking' for deeper water. We turned
      Though we didn't reach our intended
destination the cruise, under a sunny sky
and in calm waters, was a delightful way
to end our visit to New York State's
"North Country."
      I'm still not exactly sure how many
islands there really are.
      But I do know where the life
preservers and flares are stored!
      Hope you're ready to set sail for
the Labor Day Weekend and that all
your NEWS is good!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Cast Of Thousands!

    Well....actually.....the title should read
'A thousand casts.'
    You see after a delightful day spent with
my wife and four of our closest friends
boating along the Saint Lawrence Seaway
I decided to spend the evening fishing that
very same waterway!
   It was an experience that must be shared
with you!
   To begin I should explain that fishing the
Saint Lawrence River alone at night can be
a relaxing and near spiritual event.
   The dock where I sit has a few
comfortable chairs and a street light nearby
provides just enough light to see what
you're doing.
    You're alone with your thoughts...and
a few thousand gnats that seem to like to
keep company with fishermen.
    It's dark enough to see all the stars and
quiet enough to hear your own heart beat.
   UNLESS....a teenager is celebrating her
birthday with an outdoor party just one
block away!
   The beat that reverberated through the
night was not that or my heart. Hearts do
not beat that fast or that loud! I wondered
if the sound of the drum might be
echoing, like sonar, shaking any fish that
might be swimming by.
   But then, at exactly ten minutes past
eleven, absolute quiet suddenly
returned. I surmised the party had
either ended....or the drummer had died!
    Not long afterwards I saw my bobber
duck beneath the surface and the fight
began! Within a few minutes I had
hauled up a 14 and one half inch small
mouth bass! My wife is convinced
that bass, like some people, are either
'Small Mouth'...or...'Big Mouth."
    While it was not the million dollar
fish promoted by Cabela's Sporting
Goods stores it did represent a
substantial value!
    My 'non-resident', 7-day, New York
State Fishing License had cost $35.
   Two dozen minnows described as
'Pike Bait' came in at a total of
$13. The small plastic bail bucket
purchased to keep the minnows
alive until I could feed them to the
bigger fish was a bargain at just
$4. The total then was $52!
   Near as I can figure that makes my
fish worth approximately three dollars
and fifty eight cents an inch!
   And...after braving the noise and
the gnat's...that made him my
'Deadliest Catch' for the night.
   In fact...he was my only catch for
the night!
   Still the Bait store, the gnats, and
the 'Birthday girl' all seemed to make
out pretty well.
  So, by the way, did
my Bass as I returned him to the
Seaway to tell his brethern about
the 'big fisherman who got away!'
   Hope you catch whatever you're
after and than all your NEWS  is