Monday, October 31, 2011

"What A Difference A Day Makes."

  Wow! If only winter would come and go so
   Sunday morning dawned, cold and clear,
with the promise of actual sunshine for the
   Of course before those warm rays made
their way over the trees near my house I
found a coating of at least six inches of
snow on my vehicles and the doors on one
of them frozen shut.
   This was one of those times I really
appreciated the remote start my son
installed! I had left the heater control
turned on and up Saturday night so
when the engine fired up the heat
inside began to build making it a little
bit easier to sweep the snow off the car.
   Add about an hours worth of direct
sunlight and I finally had a car that was
pretty well cleaned off and ready to go!
   The roads were in good shape, except
for the usual pot holes,so we made our
way to church.
    I guess they weren't cleared everywhere
because turnout was pretty light.
    Afterwards we headed for another one
of those restaurants I shouldn't tell you
about. Once you've gone you'll want to go
back all the time for the bread and knots
served before the meal and the sensational
Italian dishes on the menu!
     If the guy gets too busy I may have to
wait in line!  Oh well, what the heck! It's
La Dolce Casa in Tamaqua and it is well
worth the drive! Mr. Dimaggio runs the place
(no relation to Joe or Dom).
     Then, with the sun still shinning, we
headed out to get a few "Good things cheap"
in Hazleton.
     You probably know the place. It's one of
those stores where you see things you figure
you need even though you didn't even know
they existed before you came in! I know my
Grand kids saw at least a dozen things they
just have to have!
     So there you have it.
     From a day 'maronned inside to a drive in
a car warmed by sunshine beaming through the
windows! It just goes to show you!
     There's no  snow storm so bad that a visit to
church, a sausage sandwich, and a new "cheap"
tarp for your boat can't overcome
      Hope you had a great day and that all your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The 'Imperfect' Storm!

  We'll hear and read a lot about the snow storm
that rolled through our area on Saturday!
   While individual forecasters will use the term
"as predicted" this snowfall wasn't quite "as
   It was suppose to hit "after Midnight."
   Well, 10am is "after midnight" so I guess
I'll have to give them that one.
    But since I expected to see snow covered
ground when I awoke, and didn't, I had no
problem accepting a morning mission.
    Some good friends (who apparently
had inside information) decided to use this
week for their trip to Disney World.
    But two of their family members were
left behind and we set out to check on their
   About that time the "after midnight"
snow began to fall.
    Our friend's home is in one of those
'higher elevations" you're always
hearing about in weather forecasts.
    In no time at all the roads became
slick and I had several second thoughts
about leaving my old faithful 4 wheel
drive  Suburban back at home.
   It's been resting all summer. At 226,000
miles in deserves a little down time.
   I managed to make it to our friend's
place OK. I was a little extra careful....
even putting my turn signal on about a
half mile before their driveway. That
was in the hope the guy trying to stay
two car lengths behind me would either
notice my intentions or, maybe, the snow
and slippery roads he seemed content to
ignore up to that point!
   He must have become aware of one or
the other. I'm pretty sure about that
since he didn't hit us.
   Last I saw he was speeding off into
the ever increasing flow of snow flakes.
  My tires left clear tracks in the
rapidly accumulating snow and we
made our way inside.
   Cans of cat food and a supply of
dry mix  was waiting near the kitchen
sink and we dished out generous
portions for the two felines who
call the place home.
   One is an "inside cat"......a sort of
"household guard" I guess.
   The other only patrols the outside
perimeter....except for an occasional
visit to the porch to partake of his
daily meal.
   We headed home, our mission
accomplished,, and glad the snow
hadn't come just "After Midnight"
as originally expected!
   For the remainder of the day we
acted the part of the "inside cat", content
to enjoy the beauty of the snow.
   It looks a lot better when you're
looking out at it!
   Hope you braved the storm and that
all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guess what is starting!

   Forget the calendar.......Winter has begun.
   Officially, of course, the season begins on
December 21st with the 'Winter Solstice when
the earth's axis points away from the sun.
    The few flakes of snow that felt Thursday
night provide circumstantial evidence for my
observation. So does the forecast that calls for
a substantial snowfall today!
     The news crews were sent as far out as
possible to snow us whatever flakes they
could find.
     But wait......there's more!
     My Miata has been moved behind
my wife's car for the first time since May.
     It's protective cover is already in place.
     It may be the 'winter sign' I mind most
of all!
     The Anti Freeze has been placed in
prominent positions in the Auto and Big
Box stores.  (I've placed it in my vehicles
      Our campground turned off the
water supply and closed the rest rooms for
the season. So if you do go........
you'll have to find a place 'to go.'
       Then there are the trees.
There's still color in the leaves that
remain. But the brightest are gone now.
        And enough of the leaves are gone so
you can now see things in the woods that
are all but invisible during the summer.
That's actually kind of neat!
         My heavy jackets have been moved to
the front of the closet. Any time now the
sneakers will give way to the Wolverines.
(The boots...not the animals.)
         There's also solid evidence
that  'Winter"  is here.
         Baseball has ended!
         The World Series (they still call it
that even though the Yankees were not there)
came to a close last night and "the boys of
Summer" have gone away until Spring.
          That, to me, is proof beyond a
reasonable doubt!
           Hope your skis are ready and that
all your NEWS is good!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Re-mem-mem....Re-mem-ma -member

   It's happening more and more lately.
   We're driving somewhere and somebody
thinks of something we've got to do, or
something we've got to get. Or something
we're got to ask of tell somebody.
   But...we're driving. We've got someplace
to go and we can't 'do', or 'get' or 'contact'
the person we want to question or inform
right at that very moment.
   That's when you're bound to hear the
'thinker' say........."Remind me to"  (do
what ever has to or should be done).
   It's sort of like a verbal version or
tying a string around your finger as a
reminder that you've got something to do.
   By asking others to do the remembering
you take the heat off yourself.
   It's a good system....IF....somebody
else remembers to remind you.
   I've found that, most of the time, I
remember that somebody has asked me
to remind them of something.
  It's the 'something'  I can't seem to
  So, the other day, when my buddy
asked me to remind him to get gas as
we headed out to a movie, I
employed a brand new system.
  I asked my wife to remind me to
remind him to get gas.
  Then  my wife asked my buddy's
wife to remind her to remind me, to
remind him to get gas.
   Sure enough, after the show, we
all remembered to remind him.......
that he had to do something!
   Luckily he guessed it was to get
   We've improved the system already.
   Now, when we get in the car, we
just remind each other that there's
probably something we should remember
to do.
  We're bound to think of something!
  Remind me to tell you how it all works
  Hope you've got a good memory and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lost In Space

    A bit of reflection today if I may!
    I was driving home after an early
morning trip to Philadelphia the
other day when the music from my
XM Oldies station not only took me
back a few years but started me to
    The song was "Telstar", a 1962
instrumental preformed by a British
band call  "The Tornados."
     It came out at a time when the Space
race was a reality. Our country was
in a 'catch up mode' after the
Russians beat us into space with
the first satellite and,later, the first man
in orbit!
     Back then we huddled around our
television sets, perhaps with fingers
crossed, and literally shouted "Go,go.
go" as Alan Shepard became the first
American to travel into space.
   The space program was a big deal
back then.
    About a week ago I watched as
the International Space Station
passed overhead across the night sky.
    I'm still impressed with that sort
of thing.
    But how many of us can name
any of the American Astronauts
who have been aboard that station
or who were part of the last
shuttle mission?
    It's far more likely we can name
the actor who played Captain Kirk
or can explain how Darth Vader was
related to Luke Skywalker!
    Seems our united "Go, go, go
attitude" is gone, gone, gone!
    I guess when what seemed like
the impossible became close to
routine we lost our collective
    That's too bad.
    I like Spock as well as the next
guy. But, as a symbol, he'd be
standing in front of a United
Federation of Planets banner
rather than the Stars and Stripes.
    And now-a-days, instead of
cheering on NASA missions,
we're just worried that a storm
might disrupt the satellites that
bring TV programs into our
living rooms each day.
   We've accomplished a lot
since the late Alan Shepard
took that first American flight
and we really ought to be proud
about it!
   Hope everything is A-OK with
you and that all your NEWS is


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tell me a story,tell me a story!

   Welcome "National
Tell Me A Story Day!"
    Now to be perfectly honest I missed
this observation here in the United States
on April 27th.
    But this unique "holiday" is celebrated
in England and Scotland on October 27th.
    I've elected to highlight it today for
several reasons.
    First, I love to tell stories!
    I liked putting facts together in story
form when I was an active reporter.
    I like telling true stories, usually strange
ones about history, to anyone willing to
listen. Like the one about Milton Hershey
who put $300 down on a ticket to sail on
the Titanic! Called back to the U.S. a few
days early he missed the doomed ship.
    Had he made it we might not have the
Hershey Bar today!
    And I love making up stories, sometime
related as being "true' to my grand kids.
     I love ending some with the line..."It's
a true story...I made it up!"
     I write about a character I call "Prince
Claude." He's not the sharpest "Royal" in
the deck.
    I once had him try to rescue a Princess
trapped in a well by throwing huge rocks
down to her. She did not "receive" them
very well!
   In another story I pictured him drilling
holes in the bottom of a boat to allow
water to drain out.
   I read several to my daughter's first
grade class a week or so ago and the
kids seemed to enjoy them.
   A couple people, mostly family,
have suggested I have them published.
   I guess it could happen.
   Meanwhile I'm content writing this
daily Blog which is usually based on
stories of things that I've seen or
    And they're all true....cause I
definitely made them up!
    Hope you're got a good story to
tell today..and that all your NEWS is

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Tip Of The Cap!

   Like most others who qualify for the
American Association of Retired Persons
I have become a familiar face at our
local pharmacy.
   There are all kinds of medicines that
are suppose to help us heal our ills or, at
least, relieve the pain.
   And that's can get the
bottle open!
   Safety caps were invented primarily
so that kids couldn't get into those pill
containers. That's great too.
   Problem is, the folks who designed
those safety lids have outdone themselves!
   Some evenings I've got to start early
to begin the opening process.
   There's only a couple of bottles.
   But the "opening code" varies from
one to the other.
   In one case you've got to press down
as hard as possible while your turn the
top at the same time. When you hear it
"click" just right you feel like you're
just cracked a safe at the bank.
   Another container as an arrow on
the cap and another on the edge of the
rim. The idea is to match the two then
use your thumb to flip the top open.
   That's usually easy except for those
few occasions when I try to get the
arrows lined up just the
dark. You're suppose to be able to
feel that spot too. But that doesn't
always work. It's possible to strain
your thumb while perfecting that
opening flip.
   In that case you reach for the aspirin.
  Hopefully you're got a bottle that was
opened some time ago!
   If you're got a brand new bottle you've
first got to get that lid open, remove a
layer of aluminum foil that's apparently
fastened with some kind of 'Super Glue',
then begin to dig out enough cotton
to knit a small shirt!  By that time you
really need the aspirin!
    Maybe you're OK with just some
    Hope your orange juice opens
easily and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Sugar Shack"

    After a great and fun filled Sunday my wife,
daughter, two grand kids, and two close friends
set out on a special mission.
    Awhile back we discovered a sensational
restaurant (we've actually found a few) where
the food is great and the portions so big that
boxes for left overs are pretty much standard
issue for most customers.
   But wait...there's more!
   To get to the dining area you've got to pass
two display cases filled with pastries!
   Getting by them poses a challenge for even
the most determined dieter.
   Order a dinner and you're get a warm
serving of cinnamon buns before your entry
arrives. They're so good you begin to
wonder if you really want any "real food."
   So, having had a dinner just after church,
and spending several hours watching my
son and grandson race their BMX Bikes
for a charity fund raising event, our
gang decided it would be a good idea to
head to this delightful eatery....just to
have dessert!
   The pastries were....well....let's say
   My wife's Chocolate cream filled
eclair, if served in a solid form, could
have been used in any of the day's
NFL games in place of the traditional
   My Peanut Butter "Tandy Cake"-like
serving was about the size of a power
puff. Not the kind in your typical purse!
The kind the three stooges used when
somebody yelled "Makeup!!!"
   As for the children......when kids
can't finish a serving of dessert you
know it had to be big!
   I now suspect the baker behind these
temptations has either got a deal with
the County Dentist's Society or the
Drug Company that produces
   You've all heard the old saying
about having dessert first...then the
   Don't do it!
   As I write it's  been over 7 hours since
we stopped and I'm still on a "Sugar
high" that will probably last most of
   Hope you're eating your 'greens'
and that all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"The wheels on the bus go round and round"

   I never road a school bus, at least not as
a student. My grade school was two blocks
from home. My Junior High School was
three blocks away. High School was about
a mile. But, back then, we walked. At least
till I got my driver's license and was able to
borrow the car for school.
    Lately though I've found myself on a bus
quite a few times! I was not, however,
headed for school!
    I've enjoyed a couple of nice excursions by
bus years including visits to New York City,
Niagara Falls, and Salem, Mass.
    Motor Coach Transportation has come a long
way. And I don't mean just in terms of miles
     I remember taking the bus to the 'Big Apple'
with my Mom when I was just a kid. I can still
catch a smell of diesel exhaust in my mind when
I remember those hard, bumpy, and usually
cold trips.
     These days the seats are a lot more comfortable,
although still designed for people a little smaller
than I. There are restrooms on board. We used
to stop once or twice at restaurants along the
way to use the facilities or buy a snack.
     Nearly all of today's excursion coaches have
TV monitors so you can watch a movie as you
head towards your destination.
     Of course it's usually a movie I've seen 5 or
6 times. But, then, you get a chance to sleep.
     Our latest coach even had seat belts!
     Using them is an option, unlike Switzerland
which has had them for years and requires you
to buckle up.
      If you've opted for sleeping rather than
watching the old movie the belts can actually
help you to stay in place while you nod off!
       I'm still a bit surprised school buses don't
come equipped with seat belts.
       Anyway there's something to be said for
letting somebody else worry about
directions and traffic while you just sit
back and enjoy the trip.
         Lately I've seen buses from all sorts
of places driving through our town on their
way to the local Casino.
         Hopefully all the passengers bought
round trip tickets so they're assured of
a ride home after they've lost their money.
          I'm planning to take a few more bus trips
including a major tour my wife and I will
be hosting to National Parks next July.
          I've just got to remember to bring along
a few good movies to share with our
fellow travelers.
          Hope you'll be riding along and that
all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Why does the sun go on shining, Why does the sea rush to shore?"

    Most of you will remember.....well some of
you may remember.....OK.....I'll just remind you!
    Back on May 22nd I wrote a blog I didn't
expect any of you to read.
    That's because we were told the world was
suppose to end on May 21st. The man who told
us that was 90-year-old Harold Camping, the
leader of Family Radio International.
    But, let's face it, we all make mistakes and,
after May 22nd dawned, Camping realized he
had miscalculated. The actual date for the end
of the world was October 21st.
    But wait...if you're reading this......yep......
missed again!
    I was glad Camping's first prediction was
wrong because I had a lot of vacation plans
for this past summer. I wanted to get them
all in before yesterday...just in case.
   Luckily I did not go quite as far as some of
his followers who quit their jobs and spent or
donated their retirement money!
   I can't believe so many people believed
this guy would have the exact date the
world would end.
   Heck, as I pointed out in that May 22nd
blog, everybody knows we're OK until
December 21st, 2012....the day the Mayan
Calender ends.
   I hope they're as accurate as Camping
and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Countdown to Halloween

      Halloween, like Christmas, is one of those
holidays that we begin to think about well
before the actual day!
      I mean, a lot of holidays, like Memorial
Day and President's Day don't get too much
of an advanced buildup.
     But when it comes to Halloween the
decorations, which have become quite
extensive, begin showing up right around
Labor Day.
     The campground we visit had a 'Trick
or Treat" evening for the kids two weeks
     All those "Haunted Houses" and
Hayrides have been up and running
since the beginning of the month too.
     Zombies and Ghosts are running
amok on a lot of the TV channels and
will be through October 31st.
      My wife even put up a scare crow
right outside our front porch. That move
has me really puzzled as she hung the
scare crow on our bird feeder!
      You've got to wonder what the
birds we've been trying to lure to
that perch are thinking right about now!
      My mom used to love Halloween.
      We would always have a party at
our house highlighted by a "lights out"
story about a murdered man whose
body was dismembered by the
killer. The guests, my friends. would
have to sit round the table and pass
the victim's eyes (grapes) and
brains (cauliflower) and other items
from person to person. Mom would
do the narration and really got into
     She was very effective! In fact I
can remember skipping a turn or two
even though I knew what she was
actually handing out!
     Guess I'm just a push over.
     In fact today I nearly questioned a
guy standing outside my house...till
I realized it was the scarecrow.
      Hope you're stocking up with
candy for the big night and that..
till then...all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

East Side,West Side, All Around The Town......

   As I write my wife and I have just returned from
a bus excursion with two very dear friends to NYC!
   We went to see a play. Which, by the way, was
    But we also had time to brave an all day rain as
we walked about town before and after the
     I've heard that New York City is very very safe
these days and it's easy to see why.
     During our evening visit to a Deli we're come
to enjoy we sat just about ten feet away from a
table where a half dozen of the city's  "finest" had
gathered to eat and chat. We were trying to kill
some time before our bus pick up so we had time
to waste. It would appear they did too!
      Outside the Deli window, three police cruisers
and a like number of officers looked like they
were guarding the curb. They must have been
doing a good job because nothing happened at
that curb during our stay.
       In fact we didn't "see" any crime at all. The
key word here is "see." New York has a noise
ordinance that prohibits drivers from sounding
their horns. It isn't working!!!!!!! You couldn't
walk a block without hearing the sound of
cabs and limos blasting their horns at the
slightest hint of any delay.
       We did learn, during a previous visit, that
you can't always count on getting directions from
at officer in the busy area between Times Square
and the shops along 5th Avenue.
      In order to show a police presence there the
city brings in officers from other parts of the
community on overtime pay. Many of them know
less about how to get to a particular store or
attraction than the tourists.
      Speaking of ought to see the
size of some of the securing people watching
the doors!
      And they do keep a sharp eye!
      One held the door for my wife and my buddy's
wife as they approached. Unfortunately he held
it shut!
      I guess their garb, a rain poncho on one, rain
boots on the other, didn't meet the "apparel code"
for the establishment.
     Ironically, they had no problem walking into
Tiffany's and were even invited upstairs!
    A live "Toy Soldier" greeted all of us at the
FAO Schwartz Toy Store. I even got a salute
as I wandered into the place where everybody
gets a chance to be a kid again!
    Another "unusual" observation.
    Have you even see a U.S. Mail Police Car
rolling down the streets with it's red lights
flashing?  It was a first for me!
    Initially I thought he might have been
chasing down somebody who tried to mail
a letter without a stamp. Then I noticed the
Mail Truck just ahead of him and realized it
as probably an official escort for some
very important mail....or payroll!?
    We could have used a security guard on are
bus or, perhaps, to accompany one older
gentleman  who just wasn't there when it was
time to leave.
    Our driver elected to wait longer than
usual and it paid least for the guy
who finally made his way back to the bus.
    Then...he almost missed getting off at
his stop in Scranton!
    What a day!!!! For all of us!
    An old TV story used to end with the
phrase..."There are Eight Million
Stories in the Naked City."
    Yesterday I saw at least eight of them!
    Hope you'll visit sometime and that all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Time Machine

   A quick glance at the newspaper
headlines over the past few days
had me thinking I had accidentally
picked up a tabloid from the 1960s!
   In case you haven't heard, there's
a movement afoot involving
people who have decided the best
way to change the world and get
what they believe is right is to get
out in public somewhere to hold
a demonstration.
   In the 60's they called it a protest
march or, in some cases, a "sit in."
   The 20-11 version began when
a group upset with the government
and financial community decided
to "Occupy" Wall Street.
    Now, billions of people.....well
millions....well at least thousands
(I think) have joined the crusade.
    Perhaps it would be more
accurate to say they've joined "a"
    One group 'occupied' Scranton
to complain about "Corporate greed."
    According to a television report,
"several people" attended.
    There was an event in Wilkes-
Barre too. An on-line story about
that  protest didn't mention any
     I can understand how it's
nearly impossible to count the
number of people in a football stadium.
    But it looked like the fingers
on both hands would have
covered all of those who showed
up for the regional "Occupy"
     I never participated in a protest
unless you count the time I was on
a picket line.
    We had neat signs and, we thought,
a good cause.
     We ultimately lost our battle.    
      But I guess it was good to have
our say even though, in our case, we
had to "occupy" city streets in the
snow and cold!
      I searched the Internet for
information on the "occupy
movement" and was a bit
surprised to see one group called
"Occupy Sesame Street."
     I'm not sure how Mr Hooper
would have reacted to that.
     I totally support any effort to
exercise our Freedom of
Speech! If you support a cause,
any cause, you should speak up!
    But if you're just there to be one
of the "several" or to make the
paper you might want to
remember that "A closed mouth
gathers no feet!"
     Either way I think it's great
the "protest trend" of the  60's
has still got life.
      I was afraid it would go
away completely after all those
draft cards were burned!
    Hope you're supporting a
good cause and that all your NEWS
is good!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back In The USSR!

    I hope we're not headed for another Cold War!
    Those were tense days!
    I remember a time when we had to get under our
school desks and cover our faces in case the
Soviets dropped an "A Bomb" on our community!
    I'm not sure why anybody thought the Russians
would target Hazleton.
    And I'm still not sure how much protection our
desks would offer if the building melted around
    Back then I figured there were so many strip
mine holes around any enemy would think we
had already been hit....numerous times!
    Then it got worse!
    They launched the first satellite! And we knew
it wasn't for Direct TV because we didn't have
that or 'The Dish Network' in those days.
     Then they put the first man in space.
     Those of us who were students suddenly got
a lot more math and science homework so we
would become brilliant minds! Guess I missed
a few of those classes.
      I know the old USSR is gone.
     But the Russians are doing it again!
     This time they've sent word  they have
indisputable proof of the existence of a Yeti,
a "Big-Foot" like creature, that lived (or lives)
in Siberia!  I remember somebody telling me
that nothing could live in Siberia!  Back then
I didn't know there were actual towns there.
     Anyhow....are we going to let the Russians
get away with this?
     They haven't actually recovered the body
of a Yeti. Just a few strands of hair and some
foot prints.
     We've already got some grainy old movie
film of what's suppose to be "Big Foot."
      I say it's high time we get out and capture
 one!  It's a great chance to make sure the
USA is Number One!
     And who knows, a good search of the woods,
especially in the Pacific Northwest, could even
turn up some more of D.B. Cooper's money!
(Young readers will have to do some research
at this point!)
      Maybe we could get some volunteers
to "Occupy' the woods!
      I had planned to start my own search
Sunday night till I remembered the huge bear
we saw across the street about two weeks ago and
the large skunk we saw in our neighbor's yard
the other night!
     Hope you'll help win the hunt and that all
your NEWS is good!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

  Years in Broadcasting, especially my early
ones as a DJ, have left me with a bit of a
hearing loss.
   I've mentioned it here before. I've pointed
out that between my reduced capacity to
hear and my wife's whispering voice the
word I speak most often at our house is.......
  I often use the Closed Caption option on
my TV to make sure I miss as little dialog
as possible.
   Word of this 'impairment' has apparently
reached every DJ who plays at weddings
and reunions I attend.
    We attended a beautiful wedding and
fantastic reception this weekend and, as
usual, the folks providing the music
managed to crank it up loud enough to
be sure I wouldn't miss a note or a lyric!
    Of course conversation with my wife,
sitting next to me, or our friends just
across the table was pretty much
impossible. But we all heard the music!
    Earlier this year we attended a group
picnic where, for whatever reason, the
band failed to show up.
    It was sort of amazing.....people were
talking with one another!
   Sometimes it's our own fault. We
might pick a table that's too close to
those new high tech and powerful
   Some times, though, we're no where
close to the woofers and tweeters....
they're just aimed at us.
   It must be something like that
acoustical weapon they aim at those
pirates trying to take over cargo ships.
   The inventor was probably at a
wedding when he got the idea.
   I think I'll hit up my son-in-law
for some of those ear plugs he has to
wear at work.
  I can set them aside for weddings and
reunions. As long as I remember to
take them out at home I'll be all right.
  I can't hear anything there anyway!
  Hope you're listening to what I have
to say and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sticker Price

   The 2012 model cars are now on the market
and every company is trying to come with
reasons why you've just got to buy their
    Yesterday I saw three TV commercials for
three different cars that ran back-to-back-to-
back during a break in a local program.
    Each promoted style, economy, and zero
percent financing for various periods of
time. One proclaimed it would actually
make your first month's payment for you.
     And, if you were able to read the fine
print on the screen, you'd note that those
monthly payments reached well into the
$300 range!
      I've bought a lot of cars since I began
driving. But the last brand new one was
purchased in 1976. I could not believe I
was paying $4,000 for a car!
       These days you can consider yourself
lucky to get a used one for that figure.
        I've got 4 used vehicles now.
        You've got to put some money into
them every now and then. But it's usually
a lot less than 12 months worth of $300
payments.  In fact I own all 4 and don't
have any monthly payments.
        My good friend has done me one
better though.
        His 'new car' is really used.
        He just bought a 1924 Studebaker!
        I'm not sure what the sticker price
was on that one.
        But it is a fact......older cars one day
reach the point where they become
"Classics" and their value can sore well
beyond their original price.
        If only one or two of mine could get
to that point!!!
        Of course if you can afford a brand
new car, more power to you! Enjoy it and
drive you don't bump into one
of my old ones!
        I think I'll just invest in one of those
air fresheners with a 'new car' smell.
       Hope you like whatever you drive
and that all your NEWS is good!



Friday, October 14, 2011

The Egg and I

   Regular readers of my daily Blog already
know how I enjoy seeking out little known
holidays. It gives us extra reasons to make
every day special.
   There were several possibilities for this
day....October 14th.
   This is, for instance, "Be Bald and Free
Day." I guess it's got possibilities. But it's
also "National Dessert Day" and, to me, that
takes the cake! (Get it, Dessert...Cake...
oh well.)
   This is the day you're suppose to forget
about the diet and enjoy a special treat even
if it comes with a lot of calories and high
fat content.
   Some will suggest it's the perfect day to
order dessert first....and for every meal!
   To be completely fair, it's also "World
Egg Day."  You can celebrate both with
any number of great desserts made from
eggs! That way you can sort of 'have your
cake and eat it!" (Sorry. I just couldn't
   I know I sort of put "Be Bald and Free
Day" on the back burner. But, let's face
it. A lot of people don't enjoy being
bald. But a lot of bald people do enjoy
a good dessert!
   Anyhow, there are three good reasons
to celebrate today.
   Hope you do and that all your NEWS
is good!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fill Her Up!

  "Remind me to get gas" was the comment
our friend made as we headed out to see a
movie the other day.
   He made the comment as we passed a
station not far from the theater which
advertised its 'Regular' at $3.45 a gallon.
   But in the time it took to eat our pop
corn, watch 6 or 7 previews, and see
the feature, the price had climbed to
   So we drove on to complete some
shopping errands and, hopefully, to find
a gas station that hadn't spent part of
the afternoon sending its attendants out
in the rain to climb a ladder to raise its
price for fuel.
   But the stations all seemed to be a step
ahead of us. Most that we spotted had
increased their prices, seemingly, within
the previous two to three hours!
   Had they all just received a new
supply that cost them more? Unlikely!
   In most cases it was the very same
gas that sat in their underground
storage tanks earlier in the day.
   Finding one that retained a lower
price was a little like looking for a
"Service", rather than a "Gas station"
as most have now become.
    Finally, our friend came across some
pumps at an outlet that limited its sales
to 'members." There, "Regular" was
selling for $3.31 a gallon.
   That's a full 18 cents a gallon UNDER
the first place we saw!
    When you've got a vehicle with a
30 to 40 gallon tank you'll quickly
notice the difference!
    I think we may join this club!
    It's amazing how fast these prices
go up and how very slow they go down!
    And, of course, we haven't even
mentioned that 'sneaky little 9' that's
attached to the price of each gallon.
     I remember a station that proudly
advertised it did not include that
nine/tenths of a penny on its
gasoline prices. What it did, however,
was to add an extra one/tenth cent to
its price rounding it off to
the next highest penny!
    It looked good on the sign though!
    Guess we should just be
thankful we're not in Connecticut
where the average  price per gallon
is nearly 30 cents above the rest of
the country!
    But, wherever you are, if you see
gas at a price that looks good...better
fill up fast.
   It you pass it and look in your rear
view mirror you're likely to see
the attendant climbing that ladder.
   And he won't be the only thing
that's going UP!
   Hope your tank is filled and all
 your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going In Circles!

  My wife and I accepted the invitation of
two very close friends this week and took
off for a trip to Peddler's Village in Bucks
   I probably should explain.....this is NOT
a town where everybody rides bicycles!
   This village, filled with colonial style
buildings, is a shopping mecca with 70
speciality shops, an inn, a half dozen
restaurants, and the "Giggleberry Fair
Family Entertainment Center."
    And that's where I found it!
    A 1922 vintage Antique Carousel
that was rescued from neglect,
restored to original condition, and
is up and running again.
    I couldn't resist buying tickets for
our gang and climbing aboard one of
the 46 animal figures hand carved as
part of the restoration.
    We all selected horses as opposed
to the giraffe, goat, rooster, rabbits,
lion, or spotted hog that were
available. I picked one in front of
the others and was able to maintain my
lead throughout the ride!
   The tune.."The Merry Go Round
Spun Round" was in my head. But
this was a Carousel!
   So what's the difference?
   Long ago I was told  a Carousel
went counter-clockwise while a Merry
Go Round turned right..... like a clock!
   Others insist Carousels have all
sorts of animals while a Merry Go
Round has only horses.
   There is also a theory regarding
size. Carousels are thought to be
bigger than Merry Go Rounds.
   Most sources, however, say there
is no difference and suggest the
terms are interchangeable.
   What do you think?
   And...whatever you call it...I think it's
great a treasure like this is in
it's glory and is being maintained for
the young.....and enjoy!
   And what's wrong with going around
in circles anyway?
   A lot of people are doing that without
a Carousel or Merry Go Round!
   At least the riders know where they're
    Hope you've got a ticket to ride
and that all of your NEWS is good!  


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apples and Cider, and Pears Oh My!

   Fall offers some season neat things we look
forward to every year.
   One of them is visiting any number of the
Apple Orchards in our area which have come
to realize that their produce, coupled with a
few simple attractions can bring out their
small farms into tourist destinations!
   We stopped by one on Sunday and were
lucky to find a place to park!
    You can stop any weekday at this time of
the year for apples, cider, pears, pies, pumpkins,
and donuts. I'm always tempted to get some
of each.
    But on weekends the place looks more
like an amusement park that an apple orchard.
    There are horse and pony rides, a sort of
petting zoo, hay stacked up in an outdoor
shed with tunnels for the kids to crawl
     There's a corn maze. These have become
a popular draw at a lot of farms over the
past ten years or so.
      As I've already mentioned in a previous
blog I generally stay out. They all remind me
of "The Shining"  and I'm convinced Jack
Nicholson is in there somewhere waiting
for me.
     And talk about innovations,....this
particular farm has set up a large
sling shot that's planted in the ground.
     For a couple of bucks the kids get
to take the smaller, un-salable apples
and launch them into a field (or take
out a crow or two!).
     There's an old song called "How
you going to keep them down on the
farm!?"  We found it hard to get the
grand kids away from this one.
    Fall can really be fun around
these long as you stay
out of the field right in front of the
sling shot!
    Hope all you apples are ripe
and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ah Columbus!

  In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
  Old Chris has taken some shots over the
   Scholars argue he wasn't the first person
to 'discover America.'
    The Indians...sorry....'Native Americans'
who lived here already knew that.
    I wondered if the years and controversy
have had any impact on what kids think
about the man. So I asked a few!
    Two of my grand kids, ages 8 and 10,
and two of their new friends, ages 6 and
8, were playing near our camper when
I interrupted their recreation with my
    "Do any of you kids know anything
about Christopher Columbus" I asked?
     Their answers came without hesitation!
     "He was the one who discovered
America" one offered. Another pointed
out that it was, specifically, "North
America." All agreed that he was
not necessarily the first person to
'discover' America. They gave those
'Native Americans' credit too.
      They knew and named the
Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria
as his ships! When I suggested there
was a forth..... that sailed on and fell
off the edge of the earth..they told me I
was wrong... because his voyage proved
the world is round. Not flat like some
thought (I know a few people who still
believe it......most are in the media)
      Anyhow I was impressed to think
these kids know so much about Mr.
       Even his critics now admit that
he shared his 'discovery' with all of
Europe unlike those who may have
landed before him but kept it a secret.
      They certainly know he's
important enough to have some
statues scattered here and there and
to give them an extra day off from
      Hope you discover a beautiful
holiday today and that all of your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No Fleas at the Flea Market!

     Technically the weekly sale that's held
in Hometown (near Tamaqua) every
Wednesday is a "Farmer's" rather than
a "Flea" Market.
     Fact is there's plenty of goods from the
farm community to be found there.
     But the market is also home to vendors
peddling everything from socks and cell
phone cases to bungee cords and baked
     Supported by a wide variety of snack
stands it's a great  place to look around
for bargains and, to some extent, to see
what the latest trends might be.
     Based on what we saw on our last
visit it would seem that hats shaped
like animal heads with long ears that
cover those of the wearer are likely
to be big sellers as the cold weather
     Imagine yourself with a penguin
or duck as your chapeau! Maybe a
     My buddy's wife tried a couple
on to get our reaction.
     My buddy suggested it wasn't
a good idea since we didn't know who else
might have been sampling the wears.
     He was concerned the term "Flea
Market" might be all too appropriate!
     So she stopped trying..and didn't
     You have to be a selective
shopper at markets like this. There
are some great bargains to be found.
     But there's a bit of junk here and
there too!
     Some day I've got to figure out why
so much of the stuff that looks good to
me turns out to be the junk!
     You've got to hand it to the vendors
who show up here....year all
kinds of weather.
     A lot of the older well established
stands are inside a large building.
     But some folks sell their wares
outside under make shift tents and
that can be pretty tough when the
temperatures begin  to drop or the
rain stays around throughout the
     But there's something about
this kind of shopping that keeps
drawing us back even though we've
seen most of the merchandise over
and over again!
    Maybe it's the thought that
sooner or later you're bound to see
that one unique item that you
absolutely have to have at  a
price you'll never see in your life
   Or maybe, like me, it's the
smell of the French fries and the
fun of watching people try on the
animal hats.
   Hope I'll see you there and that
all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Tale Of Two Cities

   My daily walk took me through
parts of Pittston and West Pittston on
   The city is building.
   The Borough is rebuilding.
   Both have a lot to do!
   It's not easy walking down Main
Street in Pittston.
   They're installing new sidewalks
and curbs and pedestrians have to
do a bit of weaving to get where
they're going.
    I saw a sign ahead of me that
said "Sidewalk Closed/Cross Here."
    There was an arrow that directed me
to the other side of the street.
     So I crossed....took about 27 steps
and walked right up to a sign that read
"Sidewalk Closed/Cross Here" with an
arrow directing me back to the other
side of the street."
     Even with the zigzagging I had to
do I have to say the downtown seems
to be shaping up.
    One of the first things you notice
could be summed up by the phrase
"Mum's the word!"  There are mums,
you know, the flowers, planted here
and there along North Main Street
and they give 'Center City' a nice
     When you cross the bridge into
West Pittston the picture quickly
changes. People and businesses
here are still in the midst of a
massive cleanup effort following
the September flooding.
     It there are any mums here I
may have missed them behind huge
piles of wood and debris lining the
     Sometimes you have to walk
around a few of those!
     I used to wave to the workers in
a corner cleaners shop there. But I
found the store closed with a home
made sign telling customers that all
clothing not picked up by a certain date
would be donated to charity.
    Most people are working hard to
get things cleaned and fixed up.
    There are a lot of differences in
these two 'cities' which are only
separated by two bridges and the
Susquehanna River.
    But both communities are doing their
best to make things better.
    One is building. The other is
    I wish them both the best.
    I like to walk there, even if I have
to zigzag a bit!
    I hope they both get the job done
and that all their and your NEWS is

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ghost Stories

   Have you seen all the horror shows on TV?
   TBS ran Frankenstein and The Thing from Outer
Space this past week.
   FX premiered a new series called "American
Horror Story."
   Ghost Adventures is on the Travel Channel. I'm
not sure how they book the cruise for a poltergeist!
   Supernatural can be seen on the CW Network.
   CW is also broadcasting The Vampire Diaries.
   There are many more. Some new. Some Reruns.
   But, for me, the scariest was on last night.
   It was the Detroit Tigers against the New York
Yankees! And I watched it all as my Bronx
Bombers got clawed by those cats.
   I've been a New York fan since my Dad and
brother took me to my first Professional Baseball
game when I was just a kid.
   Now some folks will tell you "You can't win
them all."  I always wondered...why not?
   And Yankee victories came to be so common
that it's like some sort of an evil omen when
they don't win. scared! Be very scared.
   Still, it's been a good season. They did have
the best record in the American League  and I
get some consolation knowing that Boston was
sitting at home watching the five game series
with the Tigers. (That's a New York/Boston
   I also think I know what went wrong. And,
if the right people agree, it could make a new
TV Horror series!
   You see the Yankees got a new stadium in
2009. The old one was filled with the ghosts
of players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey
Mantle, and Roger Maris to name just a few.
   Somebody has got to figure out a way to get
those ghosts moved from the original
stadium site, which is basically right across
the street, to the new stadium.
   Maybe the folks at the Travel Channel can
handle that one?
   Until they do I'll just have to be content
with the part of baseball's anthem that
admonishes...."If they don't win it's a shame."
   I hope your team still has a ghost of a chance
and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I've Been Framed!!!!!!

   Regular readers to this daily Blog will
remember last week's commentary on my
recent shopping trip to Home Depot.
   We went to pick up wood to make
frames for plastic that will cover the
screens on our porch for the winter.
    The key word here is "make."
    That means cutting the wood to size,
arranging the pieces into frames,
joining the pieces together, then putting
them in place.
     My wife, as many of your have
already learned, is a do-it-yourself fan.
     I'm still trying to figure out I became
part of that "do-it-yourself' equation!
     Isn't the term 'yourself' singular?
     Anyhow, I found myself  'volunteerd'
into the process.
     To be fair, she did all of the planning
and most of the work.
     I mainly held things when they needed
to be held and did some measuring that
only I could do. (That means I'm
taller and somewhat willing to climb
the ladder.)
     It wasn't especially hard except for
the fact  there are some muscles in my
back and neck that apparently object to
the kind of bending and stretching
necessary for this project. They were
quick to register their their objections
in the form of pain.
     For just a few moments I longed
to be back 'on the beat' covering
winter snow storms and government
corruption. All I had to do then was
get the facts, write, and tell the story.
     But the physical labor was soon
over and a dose of Ibuprofen (or two)
made some of the pain go away.
      So now I'm thinking of becoming
a consultant. My valuable "do-it-yourself"
experience has, I believe, put me in
great position to offer some advice.....
      Don't retire and...if you do....keep a
list of contractors handy at all times!
      For all of you more 'handy' than
I, hope your toolbox is filled and that
all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

   It seems it will be a little difficult to get out
to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee ballgames
next season.....even when they're playing  at
    Their stadium at the base of Montage Mountain
is scheduled to be renovated next year and the
team will be playing its  72 'home games' in
six different stadiums in three different states!
     I'm hoping the players will remember where
they're suppose to be......and when!
     But, even if they don't get lost somewhere
between Bativia, New York and Pawtucket, R.I.,
what happens to that so-called "Home field
     Fact each of those ballparks......even
the 'home team' will be visitors.
     I actually pitched at the PNC Stadium this
     Of course it was softball.
     I thought about giving the "Big Leagues"
a try. I don't believe anyone there can hit my
17-mile-per hour 'fastball.'
     I don't know how much impact the
'improved' stadium will have on baseball in
our area.
     I know I was disappointed when the last
big change involved the removal of
the bleacher seats.
     A few years back I was one of the
'regulars' who sat in that section to cheer
the team on. You could save a couple
of bucks by sitting there and that, I
believe, encouraged a lot of people to
come out to enjoy a few games each
    I would hope the new renovations
would include a few more 'cheap seats!'
    I still enjoy going to the ball games.
    I think, for a lot of us, it brings
back a lot of good memories.
    I remember the times my Dad and
brother took me to the old Yankee
Stadium. It was back in the days when
Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford were
among the big name players you could
    I don't remember who won those
games. I just remember being thrilled
to be there.
    I hope my grand kids will remember
the times we've gone to our local stadium.
    I'll bet they won't remember who
won or lost or if there was or was not
an upper deck!
    They're more likely to think about
an evening with grandpa, the peanuts
and Cracker Jack and, probably, the
great fireworks display. Well maybe
not Cracker Jack....we bought Churros!
     Our "Home Team" will face a
big challenge and it won't come
from opposing teams next year.
    When the stadium work is done
and the "Home Team" comes back
home it will have to make the
game and the atmosphere more
attractive and, I believe, more
affordable to the fans and potential
fans here in northeastern
       If they can do that after a year
away they'll win the big game
around here!
       I hope they're a Big Hit and
that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Rose by any other name.....

   Here's one of those unusual and generally
unknown  'holidays' we've all been waiting
   October 4th is National Frappe Day!
   OK....I had to look this one up!
   Frappe, which can be pronounced as
either FRAP, or FRA-PEY, has several
   One is "a fruit juice mixture frozen to a
   One is "an after dinner drink consisting
of a liqueur poured over cracked or
shaved ice."
   It's also a term that applies to ballet.
   But the most basic definition of this
French term is used to describe......
a Milkshake!
    Which ever you choose to use, except
for ballet, this is the day you're suppose
to pour one of these tasty beverages for
yourself....and enjoy it!
    But to avoid putting your foot, or
ballet slipper, in your mouth,  I think I'd
 just use the term "Milkshake"
if you're ordering at your local dairy bar.
    I just can't picture myself  asking for
a Vanilla Frapee with Malt.
    But it does sound like a day worth
   Hope your Frapee is extra thick and
that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Touch That Dial!

   I was heading home from Scranton after my
weekly talk show with Judge Tom Munley when
I glanced at my radio dial to check the time.
  What I saw in bright green numerals was 88.1.
   I immediately knew it wasn't one minute past
eighty eight. But I also knew I wasn't listening
to the FM station assigned to that frequency.
   That just happen to be the spot on my dial
which relays my XM Radio signal into my car's
speaker system.
    I'd have to do something else to get the dial
to display the time. But what?
    Several complicated factors come into play
at this point.
    First is the fact I have 4 vehicles. Each has a
    Second, each radio has its own set of controls.
    The unit I was looking at has 20 separate
controls! Some are dials. Some are 'toggle switches.'
    And a couple are 'slide type' controls.
    My late Dad's 1950 Buick suddenly came to
mind. It had a separate radio and a clock.
    The radio had a dial on the left that turned it on
and off and adjusted the level of the sound.
    The dial on the right allowed you to tune in
stations all across the dial.
    Buttons beneath the dial allowed you to pre
set some of your favorite stations. I think it had
five of them.
     To set the clock you pulled out a stem and
turned it till the hands on the face showed the
correct time. For those of you who are now lost
...there was a big hand, or pointer, that showed
minutes, and a little hand, or pointer, that showed
the hour. I know it sounds complicated. But, if you
saw it you might understand.
   Anyway the point is....what happened to those
'simple' radio and clocks?
    I know the Buick is either in some junk yard,
it's tarnished steel still fighting the elements, or
has been which case some of its
metal was probably reformed into military tanks.
    After a bit of exploration and experimentation
I was finally able to check the time. So the
'problem' is gone now. At least for the moment.
    But I'm sure I'll be thinking of that Buick
again in just a couple of weeks when I've got
to turn four combination radio/clock displays
back one hour to Eastern Standard Time!
    Hope you're got the time, are all tuned in,
and that all your NEWS is good!        

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Great Escape (s)

   I've been reading a lot over the past couple
of days about the recent prison escape in
Lackawanna County.
   A lot of people are saying the incident
has left a lot of unanswered questions. I agree!
   In fact some of the questions are mine!
   First there's the similarity between  Michael
Simonson's break out in Scranton and Hugo
Selenski's escape from the Luzerne County
Prison in 2003.
   Both used ropes made from bedsheets as
part of their plans.
   These are obviously well made sheets and
I'm wondering if they're available to the
general public?
    They'd probably last forever!
    Secondly...let me see if I have this right.
    We can keep a dog inside a yard with an
"invisible fence." But we can't keep convicts
inside a prison yard with a high wall topped
with razor wire! they make an "invisible fence"
for jails?  Maybe they should. Or, maybe
we can just tell the inmates there's one set
up. That should keep a lot of these guys
in place.
     Come to think of it I know some area
farmers who have no trouble keeping
livestock where they want with a little
bit of barbed wire with a low voltage charge
running through it.
     Here's another really radical idea.
     You know how the inmates are often in
cells? Maybe we could lock them in!
     And if they've got to be given time
outside for exercise, maybe somebody
could watch them.
      Let's hope you're just a "prisoner of
love" and that all of your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Look, up in the sky!!!!

   By now you know how we all 'lucked
out about a week ago when a huge piece
of space junk fell to earth.....but missed
   Near as they can figure URAS, a 20-
year-old climate research satellite, came
down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
   They don't know exactly where. But,
perhaps more importantly, they couldn't
predict where it would come down when
it was still falling!
   The odds of someone actually being
struck by a piece of falling debris were
very small. But you'd hate to be the
person who beat those odds!
   And our recent 'escape' isn't any
guarantee of safety!
    Another dead satellite is on its way
back to earth!
    The decommissioned German X-Ray
space observatory is expected to
tumble to earth sometime in early
November. It's 2.4 tons and, like
URAS, the experts can't predict
exactly where it will hit.
   NASA scientists say there has never
been a report of a fatality or serious
injury from someone hit by a piece
of falling space debris.
   I guess it's sort of like those
cowboys I used to see in the movies
every Saturday. They'd fire their
6 guns into the air after a big fight
at the local saloon. I always
wondered what happened to all those
bullets! Don't they have to come
down somewhere?
   But nobody ever got hit. Right?
   Or did they and we just don't
know about it?
   Anyhow they keep telling us we're
   Still, I wouldn't go around
looking up.
   It's not a matter of space debris
or bullets.
   There are a lot of birds up there know!
   Hope you're safe from Skylab
and all the other stuff and that all
your NEWS is good!