Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Missing the show (NOT!)

   There are a whole lot of things I
don't miss about being on the 'news
    I don't miss getting up at 5 to do
live reports in freezing temperatures
to tell viewers (still in bed) how bad
the roads are.
    I don't miss having to approach
families who have just lost their home
to a fire.
    And I especially don't miss trying
to "cover" a Presidential visit to our
    I breathed a sigh of relief when I
heard that President Obama was
coming to Scranton and knew I
didn't have to be there!
    Would it be great to have an
opportunity to meet the President!
     The answer would be yes IF
you truly could meet him. The truth,
however, is that most members of the
media, certainly the "local media"
never get really close to him.
    The 'national crews' usually get
the best spots!
    The Secret Service does a fantastic
job limiting access to the Chief
Executive and one of its jobs is to
check every piece of broadcasting
equipment used in covering the
visit. That usually means a long line
and big hassle just to get a tape
recorder into the venue.
    I actually got to cover Mr. Obama
when he campaigned in Scranton. I
got a tip he'd be at the Glider Diner
and got there even before my
cameraman showed up. I had my
own home camcorder and captured
some video right away just in case.
    We happen to record the
moment when he signed an "excuse"
for two High School students who
had skipped class just to meet him!
One lost his office as President of the
Senior Class because of his decision.
    Heck, I even had a crack at
grabbing that unfinished breakfast
the President, then candidate, left
behind. I just didn't think of it fast
    But, even then, we were herded
into a corner  as far back as space
would allow.
    Don't get me wrong. I think it's
great the President, or any President,
acknowledges the people of our area
and pays us a visit.
    I'm just happy he's a visiting
President....not an assignment!
    Hope he won't take it
personally and that all your
NEWS is good!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can It!

     My story must begin with a confession.
     I don't drink coffee. I tried some when
I was just a little kid and thought it tasted
terrible. My taste bubs have probably
changed since then. But my memory
     Still, like most people these days, I
need caffeine.
     So, years ago, I started drinking soda.
     I didn't want too much sugar though so
I bought "diet soda."
     I started with "Tab." The very name
congers up a 'flat taste' in the minds of
many people. But I got used to it.
     Over the years my carbonated
beverage selections have grown.
    Pepsi and Coke were always in the
running. But lately I've found a slightly
'off brand' called 'Diet Dr. Thunder' that
satisfies my taste while saving me a few
pennies at the same time.
    I used to just toss the cans in the
trash after saving the pull-top. I don't
remember exactly why we saved them but
I think it was to cure some disease.
    I probably drank enough soda and saved
enough pull tabs to fund half the research!
    A friend told me he saved cans to make
money by turning them in to a Scrap Metal
    Since the movie I was in won't be out
for more than a year my 'new career' as an
actor remains uncertain.
    That got me to thinking that I better have
a back up plan for financial security!
    So......I gathered the cans I started
storing behind the house after talking to my
friend and hauled them off to the scrap guy!
    I was surprised to find I had accumulated
three garbage bags full of cans (mostly Diet
Dr. Thunder).
    I turned them in and came away with over
eight dollars in cool hard cash!
    Try that with a coffee cup!
    Hope you're happy, with whatever
beverage you're drinking, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lights, Camera, Skype!

      When I first heard the word
"Skype" I figured it was some
kind of fish. Probably salt water!
      Or maybe a new exclamation
phrase like Wow!
      Imagine my surprise when I
learned it was another evolution
in the world of personal
      First there were drums. Then
smoke signals. Then letters. Then
the telegraph. Then the telephone.
Then emails and Facebook. And
now, Skype!
      I don't remember who first told
me about Skype. But I'm glad they
     When you subscribe to Skype
you can use your computer and its
web camera to talk with and SEE friends
who are also members.
      And it's free!
      I often use it to contact an old friend
in upstate New York.
      But I don't think its impact really
hit me till I made a Skype call to his
daughter one day to see how he was
     Turns out she wasn't at his house.
     She was answering the call from
Italy! She was on a vacation
trip with her aunt!
      The picture, from across the
Atlantic, was  as clear as you would
see on any of the TV shows you
might be watching. Come to think of was better than some TV shows
I have watched!
      Of course, since there is a
picture, one has to make sure
they're 'decent' when the calls are
being made or received.
      I always make sure I comb my
      That's a given!
      TV News is using Skype more
and more as a way of getting video
interviews on the air without having
to wait to get a camera crew to some
very out of the way places.
      TV cameramen should pay
special attention to that as their days
may be numbered.
      On Saturday our Pastor conducted
a wedding ceremony in which Skype
played an important role. The bride
was from Ireland and her family was
unable to make the trip to the U.S.
      Thanks to Skype, however, her
family was able to watch the ceremony
from their own home and offer
congratulations through the computer
       Think I'll comb my hair and call my
        Hope you're keeping in touch with
old friends be it through letters, or phone
calls or Skype and that all the NEWS
you're sharing is good!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pins and Needles!

  Feeling a little nervous or
apprehensive today?
  As it turns out you are
suppose too!
  You see November 27th
is "Pins and Needles Day!"
   No kidding!
   You might think is has
something to do with the
fact the countdown to
Christmas is now underway
and most of us have a lot of
things we've got to do before
the big day arrives.
    Actually "Pins and Neddles
Day" dates back to 1937 when
a Pro-Labor play by that name
opened at the Labor Stage
Theater in New York City.
    It was produced by the
International Ladies Garment
Workers Union.
    The ILGWU had a lot of
members here in northeastern
Pennsylvania. Those members,
women for the most part, helped
the area survive at a time when the
Coal industry was declining.
     They were tough gals!
     I think we should observe the
day if only as a tribute to all they
     And most of us don't have to
look very hard to find a good
reason why we should be on pins
and needles! My untouched
Christmas shopping list is a good
      That will probably go from
Pins and Needles to DEFCON ONE
just before Christmas Eve!
       Hope whatever has got you on
Pins and Needles will soon be
       That way all your NEWS will
be good!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday..with Family & Friends!

      It was a "Black Friday" to
      I will admit to getting up
early to take advantage of one
"special."  But that was just a
quick stop at a speciality shop
and the few people who had
been waiting in line for the
opening were long gone.
      Then our day really began!
      Joined by our daughter,
two grand kids, and two close
friends, my wife and I headed
out for a real taste of rural
northeastern Pennsylvania.
       Every year on the Friday
after Thanksgiving the
Unityville Fire Department
holds an all you can eat
Buckwheat pancake and
sausage dinner.
       I know a lot or groups
hold similar fund raisers. But
this one is really unique!
       To begin with it runs from
6 that Friday morning till 9
Sunday night! They don't stop
at anytime during that time span!
       Go for breakfast. Go for
lunch. Stop by at one in the
morning if that's best for you.
        Whenever you show up a
group of dedicated volunteers
will be there frying the sausage,
making the pancakes, and serving
you with potatoes, beverages and
a few other 'extras' that go along
with the meal.
         People from all over the area
stop by to share the tables, enjoy the
vittles and talk with others who are
doing the same and passing the
        It's a real community event
that all of us can recommend!  One could put on a pound
or two!
       We worked ours off with a
visit to World's End State Park!
       There's an old pavilion there,
build by the Civilian Conservation
Corps back in the 1930's. It's got a
huge fireplace so we gathered some
wood are fired it up as though we
were settlers who had stopped in the
middle of no where to find shelter.
       The gals gathered greens to
place on the natural wood mantel.
        We added some small red
berries we found growing on the
ground and my wife fashioned a
make shift bow out of tissue paper.
         Whoever visits next will
surely believe that Father Christmas
made a stop here before making his
annual rounds!
           A stop for ice cream on the
return trip and this was a "Black
Friday" to relish and
least for us!
           Hope you have a few days
like this along the way. If you do
I'm sure all your NEWS will be good!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

  Looks like we're got a dilemma on our
hands today friends!
  It's the day after Thanksgiving.
  That makes it "Black Friday." It's one
of the two busiest shopping days of the
year! (The other, by the way, is the day
after Christmas.)
   The Christmas holiday shopping
season begins today and some
merchants do one half to three quarters
of their annual sales between Black
Friday and December 24th!
   Businessmen love Black Friday and,
to be fair, there's a lot of shoppers
that are actually anxious to spend
their time and money searching for
   But here's the thing!
   Did you know this is also "Buy
Nothing Day!"
   I'm serious!
   A guy named Ted David from
Vancouver, Canada came up with the
idea which is promoted by a group
called "Adbusters."
   "Buy Nothing Day" was first
observed in 1992 as a sort of
protest against the commercialism
of Christmas.
   Its supporters updated it this
season by giving it a contemporary
theme......."OCCUPY CHRISTMAS!"
   You can decide which one
you'll support OR, perhaps, you'll
just choose to observe the OTHER
November 25th "Holiday."
   You see this is also "National
Parfait Day."
   All you need to celebrate is
a nice fancy ice cream sundae!
   Sounds like a great alternative
to me!
   Hope you have a great day......
whichever you decide to celebrate
and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Setting The Table

   It happened again!
   And Thanksgiving is responsible!
   My wife took me shopping!
   Yea I drove. But the fact is my
wife took me shopping.
    Some items were needed for
Thanksgiving dinner. Others, I
was told, were needed to stock up
our own supplies.
    I thought that only happened
when a blizzard was predicted.
    Had that been the case, judging
from what we selected, I would
have assumed we were expecting
another Ice Age!
    I can't remember a shopping
cart being that hard to push
around corners!
    Now I understand why so many
people buy pickup trucks!
    But I must admit it wasn't all
hard labor.
    There was a huge meat counter.
    And.....right on top....a free sample
of some really great smoked Kielbasa! is still a chore.
    And I don't see why it's really
necessary to go up and down each
and every aisle.
    But, that said, I figured if I
planned my route just right I could
make my way past the meat counter
several times.
    And with just the right route I'd
get enough samples to have lunch!
    It took two shopping carts to
get our "stock up supplies" back to
the car. But at least by that time I
had decided it was worth buying a
ring of that smoked kielbasa.
     Maybe I'll have some more
today. I was kind of full after my
shopping trip.
      Hope your Thanksgiving
table was all stocked up and that
all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And they're off!

   So....are you all ready for the
"Big Day?
   No,,,,,,not Thanksgiving.....
   The day after Thanksgiving
is recognized at the busiest
shopping day of the year. It's
the unofficial start of the
Christmas shopping season.
     Shoppers race to find
bargains. And these days, the
stores seem to be racing too!
    A few years back some shops
would open as early as 5am to
offer those anxious shoppers
an extra 5 or 6 hours to spend
their money.
   Those merchants would be
late this year!
   A few stores will actually be
open on Thanksgiving. I'll bet
their employees are thrilled.
   But why wait till Thursday or
   This past Sunday's paper is
filled with ads promoting the
fact that their "Black Friday"
sales are already underway!
   I've seen a few interviews
with people who intend to 'camp
out' in front of their favorite
stores to try to be among the first
in the door when the "Black
Friday" sales officially begin.
   I don't mind seeing them on
TV. I just don't want to see them
in person.
   I'm not real big on openings
that take place between Midnight
and 9 in the morning. Truth be told
I'm not even real big on 9am!
   I'll probably miss some bargains
because of that attitude.
   I'll just have to live with it!
   Now, when it comes to
shopping on Christmas Eve, that's
a different thing!
   I've done a bit of that.....with
some surprising results!
   There's a race worth watching.
   The shopper trying to check off
his or her list while the shops
race to close their doors!
    Hope your shopping will be
more fun than it is hectic and that
all your NEWS is good! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remembering Camelot

     Sorry friends. I've got to be serious
     If you were alive in 1963 and older
than 10 you probably remember just
where you were and what you were doing
on this day that November.
    Thanksgiving was just a few days away.
    Then came the news flash..
     President Kennedy had been shot while
riding in a motorcade in Dallas Texas!
     I was working as a DJ/Newsman at
WNAK in Nanticoke and was on my way
home when I heard the first report.
     I turned around and headed back to the
station as fast as possible.
     We had no network. Just an Associated
Press teletype machine set up in a closet.
      I found an extra long microphone
cable and ran it into the closet where I read
every word as it was printed in front of me.
      That included the official announcement
that President Kennedy was dead.
       Much of the world as we knew it
changed on that day.
       A lot of us, around the so-called "Baby
Boomer Generation", saw our image of
"Camelot" come crashing down on November
22nd and in the immediate days and weeks
that followed. Many of the images will be
with us forever!
        We saw the alleged assassin shot down
on live TV as he was being escorted through
a Police Station.
         We saw a beautiful first lady standing
by her late husband's successor as he was
sworn into office. The blood stains were
still on her dress.
           And we saw a young boy, too little
to have any real understanding of what had
happened, stand at attention and salute as
the flag draped casket of his father came
by in the funeral procession.
            The country was not without its
problems in 1963.
             But we had a lot of hope for the
future! Many of us really believed we
were living in a sort of  "Camelot"
and that right would prevail!
             A lot of that hope was dashed on
November 22nd., 1963.
             A lot of younger people today
don't know much about that "Camelot"
             And that's too bad!
             I hope you're sharing your memories
 of that time with those that didn't live through
 it........and that all your NEWS is good.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Die Hard!

   One of our favorite movie
theaters has shut down after
last night's feature presentations.
    I'm not sad.
    I'm shocked!
    You see the theater in question
is a Drive In!
     I'm amazed it ran this long
into Fall!
     I've always had a soft spot in
my heart for drive ins!
     My Dad was the projectionist
for the first one that opened in the
Hazleton area. He worked at several
over the years.
     Way before my 16th birthday I
was learning to drive by steering
his 1950 Buick  in between the
rows of speakers. Speakers, for
those of you who don't remember,
used to be hung inside you car
window so you could hear the
sound from the movie.
     Every few nights a customer
would drive off before remembering
to  return the speaker to it's holder.
     That was bad for the speaker
and...sometimes....for the car
     Drive In Theaters have always
had a lot going against them.   
     Their 'prime time' is in the
summer. But since you can't start
the show till it gets dark that means
waiting till about 9 o'clock.
     By the time the sun sets early
kids are back in school and the
nights are getting cool.
     Many Drive Ins only run
movies on the weekends so
school nights are only an issue
on Sunday in the fall. Except,
around that time they're competing
with Friday night football and
Saturday night dances.
     Still, until last night, the
Bay Drive In at Alexandria Bay,
New York, has been running
double features on each of its
two screens since last spring!
    Of course, since it's
located about a mile from the
Saint Lawrence Seaway, night
time temperaturs over the past
few weekends have been hovering
around 39 degrees.
    The guy who runs the place
is a real 'Die Hard.'
    And, of course, the closing
is only temporary....till next
    I've been tempted to head
out to see a couple of shows
over the past few weeks. But the
five hour trip gave me second
    Now I'll have to wait till
vacation time!
    Hope you get out to a Drive In
when the season starts up again and,
as always, thatall your NEWS is

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting "The Chair!"

   I've had a lot of response to my blogs
about the careless way people leave their
shopping carts all over the parking lots
of malls and grocery stores!
  I guess some of you have run into the
problem....or the carts at one time or
another too.
   John Webster of WILK suggested the
stores come up with a sort of dye pack
like the banks use to nab robbers!
   The idea is for the pack to go off if
you don't put the cart back where it
   My wife reminded me of the shop
in California where you've got to
insert a quarter to get a cart. Return it
and you get your 25 cents back!
   But a friend of mine at one of the
popular stores reminds me that the
problem isn't limited to the standard
shopping carts.
   Sometime back many stores started
to offer powered chairs with an
attached basket so shoppers with
limited leg mobility could literally
drive around the store as they fill
their shopping list.
    Problem is, according to my
buddy, the powered chairs are not
designed to go outside the store!
    They're slow, making them
potentially dangerous in a busy
parking lot, and since they're
electric there's a chance they could
be damaged in the elements.
    I'm not sure I'd like to be sitting
in an Electric Chair when the rain
begins to fall!
    Maybe, since they're wired
anyway, they could be rigged to
give the driver a 'reminder shock'
as he or she heads out the door and
into the lot!
   I guess if you were British you
could call that "Capital punishment."
(You'I say old man,
that's Capital'...get it?) Oh well.
   I saw an employee at one store
trying to drive one of the units
back to the place (inside) where
it is recharged as it waits to be
    He'd have to start the Pocono
500 now if he planned to finish in
    Hope you don't need one, put it
back if you do, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


  I was tempted to pull out the old
CB Radio yesterday.
  I would have liked to have heard
what some of those 18-wheel
drivers had to say as they drove by
Walmart in Pittston Township and
saw the improvements outside the
store. But...on second thought....
maybe not. It was the language of
some of those truckers that finally
convinced me to take those old
Citizen's Band radios out of my
vehicles quite a few years ago.
   Many sounded like drunken
sailors on the old Channel 19!
    A bit "salty" if you know what
I mean!
  And I've got to believe the expletives
were flying when they spotted those
brand new "Headache Bars" set
up at every entrance to the Walmart
parking lot.
   Every since the store opened the
number of tractor trailer trucks
parked in the lot has been growing.
   It began to look like the drivers
were trying to "occupy Walmart!"
   One night, earlier this week, it
looked more like a Truck Stop or
Tractor Trailer Sales Lot than a
place where retail shoppers would
go to park and shop!
   I wasn't sure if I should stop in
for a gallon of milk or to buy a
   Walmart apparently though so
too! The new barriers prevent
vehicles over 12 feet tall from
pulling into the lot.
   I'm told the action came after
5 cars and a number of shopping
carts were  damaged by big trucks
entering or leaving the area.
   When we drove by yesterday
there were NO Big Rigs using
the parking lot.
    I'm pretty sure they're still
allowed behind the store..where
deliveries are made!
   The change is certainly one for
the better as far as shoppers are
    Will the truckers find somewhere
else to park their rigs?  If I had to
guess I'd say....that's a big 10-4
Good Buddy!
    Meanwhile I hope the rest of
you will all find a space and that
all your NEWS is good!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Day We Broke The Bank!!!!

   It all started when my daughter discovered that some
of her old unused jewelry truly was worth it's weight in
   The price of silver and gold may have bounced up and
down a bit over the past few weeks. But even with an
occasional decline it's generally worth a lot more than
it's original purchase price.
   That got my wife  to thinking about a few old silver coins
she  had collected a few years back.
    She decided to get them checked. But to do that
she had to retrieve them!
     The "Silver Dollars" had been carefully stored in.....
of all things....and old "Piggy Bank!"
     I though it should be preserved. That shouldn't
be a problem since there was a removable cap on
the bottom to get the coins out.
     But, there's always a "but" about here, the bank
was apparently designed to hold quarters.
     Silver Dollars and bigger than quarters!
     The slot on top was long enough to accept Silver
Dollars. But the hole let behind after the removable
cap was.....well.....removed....wasn't wide enough to
let the Silver Dollars out!
      I again expressed my desire to preserve the old
bank. But, at about that same time, I heard the tell
tell sounds of a crack.
     "It was already cracked" my wife volunteered.
     Then she showed me the pieces.
     She got out the coins. I got out the Super Glue!
     As it happens the few coins inside were
produced at a time when other metals replaced
most of the actual silver content. So, by in large,
the value was a lot lower than what you'd get
from older coins.
     I keep watching the Pickers and Pawn Shop
to see if I can find out what an old Piggy Bank,
with one very apparent crack, might be worth.
    Hope your Sterling is real silver and that
all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alley Cat

    Technology is definitely a step
ahead of least me!
    I think back to the days when
I used to set pins at the two lane
bowling alley in the Hazleton
    There was a foot peddle at the
end of each lane. You step on the
peddle and ten tiny spikes popped
up through the floor. Each of the
pins had a hole in the bottom.
And, as you might expect, you
placed the pins on the spikes, then
waited to clear away whatever
was left standing after the bowler
rolled the ball down the lane.
   A couple of the bowlers threw
the balls so hard a pin or two
sometimes flew up in our
direction. You developed good
reflexes to avoid being clobbered!
   The automatic pin setters
eventually replaced pin boys and
the technology just keep coming.
   It's been awhile since I
bowled. But now-a-days you
don't even have to keep your own
score! The computer does that and
it's probably just as well.
   I've seen a few clerks trying to
do the math when their computer
goes down. I can just imagine how
they'd handle the addition following
a Spare!
   And that brings me to yesterday.
   I'm on a sort of speaking tour as
I share some area connections to
the sinking of the Titanic.
    I was at a Senior Citizen's
Center in Scranton, getting ready
to give my speech when I walked
towards the microphone.
   Little did I know I was walking
across "the bowling alley!"
   There were no pin boys.
   There were no automatic pit
setters. In fact, there were no
real pins! But that's OK. There
were no real bowling balls
    The seniors at the center
had discovered the Wi....actually
a Wi-Fi.....the wireless electronic
device that lets players simulate
various games as they hold a
controller in their hand.
    A large screen TV nearby
displayed a bowling alley, the
pins, and the trajectory of the
ball as calculated by the
movement of the player's
    The players were standing,
just as if they were near the
foul line. But they could have
just as easily been sitting in an
easy chair playing the game.
    I'm told that one woman at
the center has bowled several
perfect 300 games!
    At least no pin boys were
in danger from a ball thrown
too hard!
    I'm told that "kids" are the
ones who use the Wi most of
all. I know the "kids" at that
Senior Center are sure enjoying
    Hope you're at the best of
your game, whatever it is, and
that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Returning to the scene of the crime!

   As the title implies, I've touched on this
subject before. But circumstances demand
I address it again!
   I am now convinced that people should
have to pass a test and get a license to
operate a shopping cart!
   Last week, while waiting in the car
as my wife shopped in Walmart, a
woman returned to the vehicle parked
next to mine and transferred bags of
groceries from her shopping cart into
the back seat of her car.
   When she was done she pushed the
cart forward a bit so she could get
in her front door and behind the wheel.
   Of course by doing so she pushed the
cart next to my door making it all but
impossible for me to exit without
hitting it!
    I shouted a reminder to her, or
something to that effect, as she drove
away. I doubt she heard me or would
have done anything if she had.
    I squeezed out my door, making as
little contact with the cart as
possible, then rolled it to the nearest
"Cart Return Stand" which was about
10 feet away!
    We were back at the same store
last night.
    The staff there is really good and
friendly and I like the place even
though your first impression might
have you thinking it's a Tractor
Trailer Sales Lot.
    We did our shopping, unloaded
our cart, then returned it to another
one of those cart return stands.
    We got it in. But only after
negotiating our way around about
7 to 9 other empty carts that
shoppers had left "in the
vicinity" .....but not actually IN
the cart return.
     Of course I guess that's a
little better than those who feel the
need to use the empty cart to
fill the parking space they've
just left!
     I can't quite understand why
shoppers can't or won't put the
carts where they belong and get
them out of the way of the rest
of us.
    If they're just going to leave
 them in the middle of the lot
they should at least let something
else a box of
     I could probably live with
     The unofficial start or the
Christmas shopping begins with
"Black Friday" next week.
      Let's hope there's a few
carts left in the store for that!
     Hope you get one, put it back
properly, and that all your
NEWS is good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sounds of the Season

   It was as certain as death and taxes.
   Every year since I can remember radio
station WLSH in Lansford would begin
playing all Christmas music on
Thanksgiving Day. It was the station's
way of getting everyone in the
Christmas spirit
   They'll probably do it again next week.
   But this time they'll be second.
   SiriusXM, the satellite radio service,
has already 'rung in' the Christmas
season with round the clock holiday
    In fact the 'elves' there are playing
Christmas music on five of their
   There's "Holiday Traditions", Holly",
"Holiday Pops","Country Christmas",
and "Navidad" which broadcasts
contemporary Latin holiday music.
   There's also a channel called
"Radio Hanukkah" which airs music
celebrating the Jewish Festival of
   I used to be among the many people
who complain that "Christmas starts
too early."
  But I've been rethinking that this
year and I've realized that Christmas
comes to a sudden crash on December
26th. And that's too bad!.
  I'm thinking it may be good to get an
early start on the season so I can enjoy
everything that goes with it....yes....even
the shopping....for a longer
period of time.
  I still separated Halloween from the
mix and will do the same for Thanksgiving.
  But I'm determined to try to enjoy the
Christmas season for as long as
possible! It is, after all, a really good time
of  year!
  In fact, I'll even be seeking out the old
WLSH am frequency after January 2nd
when satellite radio shuts off its
Christmas offerings.
  The guys in Lansford keep it going
till "Russian Christmas" on January 7th,
   Hope you've already got the spirit of the
season and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Too Good to be True!

   You've probably heard it a million
times. If it sounds too good to be true
it probably is!
   Thus was the case yesterday.
   In the time it took to get to church
and come back home...somebody had
hacked my Facebook page and
inserted a post suggesting that one of
my friends had a company that was
doing a promotion and offering free
Apple macbooks airs.
    I immediately noticed a couple
    First, I don't have any friend with
a company that gives away apples!
    Fruit or computers.
    Secondly I couldn't remember
writing anything like that. So I
figured it wasn't me.
    There was still another clue.
    A mess of my friends on Facebook
all posted the same exact message!
    We either all had the same
generous friend and a loss of
memory or this was a hacker's
    I thought about it for a couple of
minutes....then voted for "Gimmick!"
    After all, if it was true wouldn't
I get one of those free things too?!
    It's the second time someone has
invaded my web space!
    In 2009, just after returning from
a cruise, my daughter called my
attention to an email...sent out under
my name....which asked the recipient
to send money to help me get home
from England where I had been
robbed and left penny less.
     Since I hadn't gone to England
I suspected foul play! I'm really
quick on things like that!
     One of my sister-in-laws
actually responded to the request.
     She didn't send any money but
suggested, instead, that I should just
be left where I was!
     I was sort of sorry I wasn't in
England with money coming in from
all my friends and relatives.
     Anyhow, don't fall for any on-line
requests from me for money!
     I'll just give you a call if I need
any! (Please make sure I have all your
phone numbers!)
     Hope your site is secure and all
your NEWS is good!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

That's the way the cookie crumbles!

   It generally happens at least once a week.
   Various members of our family, and often
friends as well, gather after some sort of
activity or event and try to decide where we
should go to eat.
    This decision process is very similar to
the debates that take place at the United
Nations. That is, when there is a debate.
    Occasionally someone steps forward
with a suggestion. 
    It is reviewed by everyone present,
then dissected in terms of cuisine, prices,
geography and similar categories before
it is usually rejected for some other
   Yesterday we actually made a decision
and headed to an eatery only to find it a
bit too crowded for our entourage.
    After a bit more consultation we
collectively choose a Chinese Buffet!
    There are, of course, several in our area.
    That could have lead to additional
dialog so I made a unilateral decision, and
picked the restaurant where we would
    As it happens the choice was a good
one. In fact we ended up at one that
seemed like the Sardi's of Wyoming
Valley. Many of the stars were there!
   We saw Bob Reynolds of Ch 16 and
Paula Deignan of WILK.
   First I thought there was breaking
news. But they were just breaking
bread........or was it General Tso's
    There was a great selection of food
and no one hesitated to go back for
seconds.....and thirds!
     Then, of course, the crowning
touch.....the Fortune Cookies!
     Each of us read that one line of
wisdom magically implanted in
the specific cookie destined to be
our own. Since mine wasn't
especially impressive  I told my
grand daughter it read  "Help...
I'm trapped in this factory."
   It had her thinking for a minute or
   In fact, I don't even remember what
was written on my tiny sheet of paper.
   I was just happy I hadn't eaten
it with the rest of the cookie!
   Whatever my fortune, it's bound to
happen with or without the reminder.
   The real problem is.....I forgot the
lucky number on the other side!!!!!
   Here's hoping good fortune comes
your way and that all your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Play By Play

  Watch any sporting event on TV and
there's usually a team of play by play
announcers right there to make sure
you know and understand everything
that's happening on the field of play!
   Some events even feature a play by
play announcer on the arena's loud
speaker system. He leads the cheers
for each score and identifies all the
players as they come into the game.
    We had a team of play by play
announcers sitting right be us
    Here's the unique part......all three
were women!
    Here's the other unique part......we
were in a movie theater!
    I first heard the commentary from
the trio while the previews of
coming attractions were rolling on the
    Cross talk among the audience
isn't really unusual while you're
waiting for the movie. But it usually
fades away and ends completely when
the feature begins.
    But these gals must have been 'pros!'
    Since the movie was all about
famed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover
most everybody recognized
characters and events noted in the
   Still, during nearly all of the
dialog, I could hear the 'stage
whispers' of our talkers naming
names and predicting the next
move we were likely to see on the
silver screen.
   I glanced back from time to time
hoping, somehow, to telepathically
suggest we let the actors and
screenplay tell the story.
   It didn't work!
   In hind sight I'm thinking I
should have thrown popcorn.
   Then again, I like popcorn and
hate to see it wasted.
   Maybe it's my fault.
   I picked J. Edgar over Puss In
   Hope you'll enjoy your show
and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Back In the Saddle Again

  Although the bulk of my long
broadcasting career has been in
television I started out in radio.
  And I always loved it. Both as
a DJ and as a News Reporter.
   It's one of the reasons I call
the local talk shows occasionally.
  And it's why I was happy to go
back into a studio this week to
try to help our local Christian
station, WRGN, raise the
money it needs to broadcast
messages of faith and hope into
our community.
   I did some button pushing on
the way to my shift. I wasn't
surprised to find the airwaves filled
with news, talk, and comment about
the horrible controversy that's
tearing Penn State apart.
   We didn't get into that during
what WRGN calls it's "Share-A-
   We  heard from people
who were more interested in
supporting inspirational music
and uplifting messages than
who's running a football team
or the state of the economy.
   Some of that testimony came
from a woman who couldn't
afford to donate any money this
year but wanted to thank the
station for keeping up her spirits
after the recent loss of her son.
   In my mind her comments
were worth a million dollars!
   The atmosphere in the studio
was the same as I remembered
back when I played "oldies"
from "Double Dee's Dusty
Dungeon of Marvelous Melodies."
   But technology has replaced
my old 'turntables' (record
players) with digital musical
libraries and computer screens
are everywhere.
   Downstairs ladies brought
in all kinds of home made food
to support the on air staff as
well as the volunteers who
turned out to work the telephones.
   I felt it my civic duty to
sample some of their offerings.
   I wasn't disappointed.
   This 'family-like' effort
reminded me of the days when I
was a DJ and faithful listeners
would bring cookies and cakes
to the studio.
    Local radio was very
community oriented back then.
    It's still that way here.
    I hope their drive is successful.
    I know all their NEWS is good!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ups and Downs!

   Let's face it.
   Most of us live in a 'ground floor
   We shop at Malls and big box
stores that are usually laid out on
a single floor. If there is a second
story we probably use an
escalator to go up or down.
    My home is a one floor model
too. And those of you who have an
'upstairs' undoubtedly use stairs to
go there.
    One of the neat things about
shopping downtown in 'the old
days' was the thrill of riding an
   Back then, of course, a lot of
buildings even had elevator
operators who acted as your
chauffeur  from one floor to
   Somewhere along the line, or
between floors, automation took
over. Kids love it! They like to
push the buttons themselves
whether it's to send for the
car or to select the floor once
   A fellow broadcaster got me
into the habit of checking that
little compartment in most
elevators that is marked
"Telephone."  You'd be
surprised at the number we
found that were empty or,
in some cases, had two wires
sticking out where a phone used
to be.
   Maybe some passengers
started making long distance calls
so they ripped them out?
   Even if there isn't a phone there's
probably a button that rings a
   You just have to hope there's
somebody around someplace that's
listening for the bell just in case.
   I got suck in an elevator (the
British call them 'Lifts.') at a
hotel near Disneyworld one
time. It wasn't a big deal to most
of us. But one woman on board
was claustrophobic and it took a
bit of doing to force the doors
open and lift and pull her out
before she 'lost it' completely.
   I though about that a little
last night while waiting for
the elevator on the 5th floor
of the Scranton Electric Building.
  The dial above the elevator
door was shaped like an arch
with 'B' for basement at the
far left and '8 for the top floor
on the right.
  The pointer, which is
suppose to show you where
the elevator is...was pointed
   As the door opened I sort
of longed for those days                                                                          
when an operator might have
welcomed me inside and
assured me that the dial was                                                           
simply broken.
   Alas it was not to be so I,
and two other brave riders,
stepped inside, pressed the
button for the first floor, and
were relieved to find the
automation, if not the dial,
was working just fine.
   Of course a little
'Elevator Music' would have
been nice!
   Hope you're on the right
floor and that all your NEWS is

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Audience Participation!

    It happened while I was watching another
Live report on the current controversy at Penn
State University. What I saw brought back
memories of my reporting days.
    You find yourself "in the field" trying to
tell a story, usually serious in nature, and
every other driver going by your position
feels it necessary to blow the horn as they
whisk by.
    A lot of college kids have new cars with
really loud horns!  They should have spent
the money on books.
    And try doing a report anywhere near
a spot where young kids are nearby.
    Seconds after your camera has been
set up waving hands and a variety of
"funny" faces attempt to take over the
   They would be out of place in the
best of circumstances. But when they
appear while you're trying to report on
a death, or a fire, or something like
that they go beyond just being a
  We're probably all at fault.
  Get out a home camera and the
first thing we tell the kids is to
"Smile and say cheese." If it's video
somebody usually tells the gang to
"Wave to the camera" and "Say hi
to Mom!"
  The horn seems to have replaced
the wave for some folks. Both
annoy me!
  Then there's the "adult" audience
participation. Maybe you've been
listening to the commentary and
calls on "talk radio."
   I am amazed by the number of
people who hear a story, like the
one involving Penn State, and are
immediately ready to lynch everyone
even remotely connected.
   "Stories' and 'facts"
are not always the same.
   Seems some folks are not
inclined to wait a bit for "Due
   It brings to mind Salem around
the time 19 people were charged,
convicted, and executed for
   It's usually nice to get some
audience reaction....unless they're
waving, blowing horns, or
asking who's got the rope!!!!!
    Hope you're not part of the
mob...and that all your NEWS
is good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Going to the Polls...or the Corner?

  I'm not suggesting there's a direct
connection.......but you should know
that this is Election Day...and Dunce
  Most of us already know about
the election. Even though we
probably don't know much about
most of the names you see on the
  But very few people know much
about the "Dunce" except, perhaps,
for the image of a school kid from
years ago, sitting in the corner of a
classroom, wearing a cone-like hat
with a point at the top.
  The "Dunce" was always pictured
as the troublesome kid in the class
who wasn't especially smart!
   Lucky for me the day of the
"Dunce" and the "Dunce Hat" were
already long past when I did my
best to get through school!
   In reality, the term "Dunce" comes
from the name of a medieval scholar,
Duns Scotus of Scotland.
  He came up with that pointed hat
because he believed knowledge would
flow from the point into the head of
the person wearing it!
   Some might suggest there are
voters who have made their selection
in previous years while wearing a
"Dunce hat" in the voting booth.
   Dun's theory didn't work very well
and, over the years, students forced to
wear the caps became known as  a
"Dunce" and were usually thought of
as being....well....not very smart.
   And while I still maintain there's no
direct connection between Election
Dy and "Dunce Day" there has been
circumstantial evidence that the
previous selections made by some
voters during some elections.......well,
were not very smart.
    Hope you don't get sent to the corner....
 did some  studying before you went to
the polls, and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, November 7, 2011

For it's 1-2-3 strikes he's OUT!

    What do September 5th. through
 27th., 1994......May 21st.,and  October 21st.,
2011 have in common?
     Just in case you forgot, all of them were
predicted dates for the end of the world!
     On November 3rd the guy who made
those predictions issued an apology and
stepped down from his position as head
of  the religious radio network he helped
to create.
     Rev. Harold Camping announced he
was stepping down from "Family Radio"
effective immediately.
     Camping had originally predicted
the end of the world sometime in
September of 1994.
     But it was his May 21st revised
prediction that captured attention
across the nation as he and his followers
rented billboards in multiple
languages announcing the "end date",
and established a web site with a
countdown clock winding down to
zero on 5/21.
    I wonder if the Billboard companies
made him pay in advance?
     Many followers gave up their
homes and even retirement benefits
figuring......'you can't take it with
     When May 22nd came along Rev.
Camping concluded he had mis-
calculated and revised his end of
the world  prediction to October 21st.
     I'm not sure what sources the
Pastor used for his research. But I'm
wondering if he missed the spot in
the Bible where we're told that no man
will know when the end will come?
    Camping has apologized for
leading his followers astray.
    On behalf of all of us who are still
around I'm rather happy his predictions
proved to be in error!
   It's tough to make dinner reservations
when dates like those are hanging over
your head!
   Anyhow, now that Harold has some
free time maybe he'll be heading for
the movies to see "In Time", that new
feature where everybody wears a
countdown on their arm and you can buy
extra time to keep you alive past your
experation date.
   By the way, if he had predicted the
end yesterday, and it really was
coming, would we at least have had
an extra hour?
   Hope Camping didn't talk you into
selling the ranch and that all your NEWS
continues to be good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh Sign, sign, everywhere a sign!

    It's been 41 years since the Canadian Rock
Group " Five Man Electric Band" released
the song called "Signs."
    It may be time for a Re-release!
    We've all come to expect the placards
we see in front yards, vacant lots, and
tacked to utility poles around election time.
    But the politicians and their ad men have
now gone high tech. And it's getting to be
a bit much!
    At a time when we're all being cautioned
to keep our eyes on the road and off the cell
phone our attention is drawn to one of those
flashing yellow road side signs that usually
warn of lane closuers or a detours.
    We strain to view the caution alert only
to find an area judicial candidate has rented
the electronic billboard to solicite your vote!
     Now I've found another one just a few
miles away.
     Problem is you can't ignore them. The
next one could read...Bridge Out Ahead!
     Good marketing. But a real pain in the
driver's seat!
      And have you added a lot of Facebook
Friends lately then suddenly realized how
man of them just happen to be running for
     It will be interesting so see how many
of them will "Like" your posts come next
    Mostly I dislike the telephone calls.
    Candidates were, somehow, ommited
from the "Do Not Call List."
    How they manager to ring my number
just when I'm really involved with
something important I'll never know.
    I'm beginning to think I should listen
to their message just so I can vote against
the caller.
    I realize candidates have to try to get
their message to the public. But I still
prefer getting it in a 60 second commercial
in which he or she can tell me their name,
the office they're seeking and what they
plan to do once they're there if I support
them with my vote.
   They can enhance their campaign by
engaging in debates and participating
in editorial meetings with our local
   One of the first pledges I'll be
looking for is a promise to take down
all those signs after Tuesday's election.
    They can give the traffic signs to
PennDot and turn Facebook back over
to my regular Friends!
     Hope they'll take some good advice
and that all of your NEWS is good.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hot Diggity Dog!

    Every get hungry for hot dogs?
    We did after after a movie on Friday.
    And that got me to thinking.
   Our area offers some fantastic and unique
choices for frankfurter Fans!
    In the Wilkes-Barre area "Abes"
immediately comes to mind for many
hot dog hunters.
     But which Abes?
     There are two in the city. They're
not connected. There's one in
Kingston, which is connected to one
of the Wilkes-Barre locations. There's
another one in Mountaintop. I don't
know if it's connected to anybody!
     We picked the one on Barney
Street in Wilkes-Barre.
      That's usually a good choice
because if you get mixed up and go
to the wrong building next door you'll
find yourself at Barney Street Lunch
which also features what many have
come to call "Texas wieners!"
       And they're both good!
       These two places are even
closer that the two "Coney Island"
hot dog havens in Scranton!
        They're less than a block
        Word is that one part of the
founding family split off from the
other resulting in the two
operations. Both slice their hot dogs
in half as they're grilled and served.
         Another Wilkes-Barre area
favorite is Torony's in Plains Twp.,                                                        
which has been serving it's foot
Est. 1952long hot dogs since the family
opened it's original road side stand
in 1952. They moved a couple
hundred yards to a bigger place on
East Main Street a few years back.
But the hot dogs taste as good as ever!

        Speaking of taste, one of my
favorite hot dog eateries is Jimmy's
on Broad Street in Hazleton. The
dogs there are among the best
anywhere....except on Tuesday.
        (Jimmy's in closed on

Photo: ROB WHEARY/Staff Photo, License: N/A, Created: 2010:01:16 17:11:36        We could have been
adventurous and headed out to
Sunbury for our hot dogs. But, since
there was six of us, it's not likely
we all would have found a seat in
the "Squeeze In" on Market Street.
There are just a handful of                      
counter stools and just enough
space to stand behind them.
      Many of the hot dogs there
are served through a window that
opens to the sidewalk out front!
       I'm sure there are others, a
few I've forgotten and a few I've
still got to discover!
       But we'll keep looking.
      Some days there's just nothing
like a hot dog covered with mustard,
onions and some great chili sauce
to warm the heart (and fill the tummy!)
       Head out to your favorite and let
me know about it too!
       Hope you get yours "with everything"
and that all your news is good!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Curses! Foiled again!

  Boris Badenov would surely have
know about this day! you know what day this is?
  Yea. I know. It's Friday.
  That's not what I mean.
  You know how I like to find those
'unusual...special' days!
   Well this is one of them!
   This is "King Tut Day!"
   It is, in actuality,the anniversary of
the day the tomb of Egyptian king
Tutankhamen was discovered back
in 1922.
   No. I didn't cover that story!
   But that discovery rocked the world!
  They found all kinds of treasures
buried with the "Boy King."
    But I think their discovery is important
for another reason!
    It led to all the Mummy movies
we've seen over the years! There are over
50 movies with the word "mummy" in
their title!
    Most revolve around the idea there's a
curse attached to the disturbance of the
mummy's tomb.
   And, indeed, there was said to be a
curse on those who opened  King Tut's
resting place in the Valley of the Kings.
   Lord Carnarvon, the man who
discovered the tomb, died a shot time
later and, at the moment of his death,
all the lights in Cairo mysteriously
went out! A  lot of people said that
proved there was a curse!
   I've played softball with the WBRE
team over the past couple of years and
with WYOU before that.
   I always believed an ancestor of
one of my team mates must have been
involved in the discovery of King
Tut's tomb.
  It's the only 'logical' way to explain
all those loses!
  Anyhow I would hope you'll be
celebrating King Tut Day today even
though I don't have the slightest idea
how one would go about doing that.
   I would recommend, however, that
you keep any curses to yourself!
   Hope you can walk like an
Egyptian and that all your NEWS is

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Two Reasons To Celebrate Today!

   There are two big, yet generally unknown, "holidays"
scheduled for November 3rd.
   It is, first of all, "Housewife Day." A day to recognize
the importance of stay at home wives and moms.
  According to the holidayinsights web site it's a day
to celebrate and thank all of the ladies who stay home
to tend to the house and family.
  There's no information as to who came up with
"Housewife Day" although the website writers
suggest it probably came from a housewife somewhere
who choose to stay out of the spotlight.
  As if that's not reason enough to celebrate November
3rd is also recognized as "Sandwich Day!"
 This popular culinary attraction was developed by
an Englishman, John Montagu, the 4th.Earl of
 He was, of course, not a housewife!
 In 1762 he came up with the idea of placing a
portion of meat between two pieces of bread.
  Just under  two hundred and fifty years later we're
still enjoying the sandwich although, in my case,
mine usually favor a peanut butter and jelly
filling between the slices of bread.
  (A quick suggestion here. Always
put the peanut butter on the bread before the
  I'll try to recognize both "holidays" today.
  I'll ask my housewife to make me a sandwich!
  Then I'll say "Thank you!"
  Hope you'll be celebrating too and that all
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

OK Wise Guy...It's Curtains For You!

   So there we were. My wife. me, and two of
our good friends. We were headed home after
a movie.
   At least I though we were headed home.
   Earlier in the day my wife and I had visited
an Ollie's outlet.
   My wife told me the curtains in our bedroom
were showing their age and ought to be
    She spotted some she thought would do the
trick at Ollie's. But there was only one package
and we've got 5 windows to be covered.
    To be honest I never paid too much
attention to the ones we have in place. I think
they're either yellow or sort of white.
    Anyhow we're driving home from the
movies in our friend's vehicle when his
wife reminds my wife that Boscov's has a
wide selection in stock.
    So my buddy offers to drive us there.
    Now as some of you who read this blog
already know, I'm not big on shopping. And
that's "regular" shopping. You know, at the
grocery store where they've got bread and
milk and cereal and such.
     Now, suddenly, I find myself  "Curtain
     OK. I gave my wife five minutes to
look over the selections. Then I picked up
five packages of a style that I thought was
about right. Fat chance...right? Nope, they
were either too light or too dark, or too
something or the other.
     After ruling out the "Duck, duck,
goose pattern" the women folk began to
narrow their choice to shades and lengths.
     They finally picked one that seemed to
fit the criteria and I got the call to produce
my credit card.
     After getting home, and while I was
beginning to write this narrative, I got
called back to the bedroom to see the
new curtains in place and give my
opinion. "I love them" I said! "They're
just perfect." (I actually could have
expressed the same findings from the
living room). My wife wondered if they
might not be hanging just a bit to low.
    But the thought of a return visit to
any "Curtain Department"
quickly brought be to the conclusion
that there were just the right length!
    My wife tells me we'll live with them
for a week to see if "WE" like the
length. If not she'll alter them on her
sewing machine.
    I was worried for just a second that
an exchange possibility loomed in the
    And that truly would have been
"curtains for me!"
    Hope all your home decorating is
going well and that all your NEWS
is good!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You Better Read This!!!!!!!

  I called Steve Corbett on WILK Radio yesterday!
  It was the Halloween edition of his daily talk show
and I shared a personal story that fits the holiday.
  I call it "The Unseen Guest."
  As the story goes my Dad, a movie projectionist
in Hazleton and Business Agent for the theatrical
worker's union, brought a gentleman who was
making a stage appearance locally to our home
one day.
   His name was well know to movie goers and
who wouldn't want to meet a "movie star?"
   The answer to that question!
   I had no desire to meet this actor!
   In fact my intention was to hide so we
wouldn't meet!
   The performer's stage name was Bela Lugosi!
   He was best know for both his stage and film
 role as "Count Dracula" the Vampire!
   He played that role really well.
   In fact, as far as a little kid....was concerned,
Dad had invited Dracula into our house!
   I thought it best to keep my distance!
   And who says opportunity knocks just once?
   A couple of years later, and keep in mind I was
still very young, the Capital Theater in Hazleton
held a special stage show along with a feature
movie presentation for Halloween.
   The theater manager tried to talk me into
appearing on stage with another actor who,
according to the plan, would grab me and I
would swing  my legs back and forth as though
I was trying to run while being held.
   The actor was dressed as the Frankenstein
   I declined this kind invitation to begin my
stage career.
   I wasn't so sure this guy was an actor in
costume. He sure looked like Frankenstein
to me!
   As the Pennsylvania Dutch tell us...."We
grow too soon old, and too late smart!"
   Had I been a little braver as a kid maybe
I could have been working with Stephen
King instead of calling Steve Corbett.
  These days I never miss a chance to
watch the old Dracula or Frankenstein movies.
   They'll still the best 'monsters" I ever saw
even when I didn't see them!
   Hope you had a great Halloween and
that all your NEWS is good!