Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Silence Is Golden!"

    Movies have come a long, long way over the
    My Dad showed the first movie with sound
in Hazleton. It was Al Jolson in "The Jazz
Singer" and Dad had to synchronize a 78rpm
record with the picture on the screen so the
sound of Jolson's voice matched his lips on
the screen.
    During my own lifetime I saw the switch
from a mix of black and white to the time
when nearly all movies were shot in some
version of  "Technicolor."
    Then came "Vista-Vision" and "CinemaScope."
    There was a bit of 3D thrown in there too.
 But with features like "Bwana Devil" it didn't
catch on very well in the 50's. If you ever get a
chance to see that one you should try to be busy
that night!
     Cinerama came along and wowed everyone
with the biggest screen they had even scene.
     Audio technology was improving all the
while too with "Stereophonic Sound" becoming
standard in most motion pictures.
     There were a couple of novelty gimmicks
tossed in along the way. Like vibrators attached
to a select number of theater seats to send
literal chills up your spine while watching "The
Tingler."  It, like "Bawna Devil" was well worth
      These days High Definition movies make
for great clarity as well as sound reproduction.
       IMAX theaters have redefined what a "big
screen" is now!
       Even 3D has finally come of age.
       So how is it my wife and I ,and everyone
else in the theater, were so fascinated with a
brand new black and white....Silent movie!?
       The movie, of course, was this year's
Academy Awards Best Picture winner, "The
       True, there was music. Of course there
would have been music back in the "silent era"
too.....provided by someone watching the
screen while they played the piano.
        I was impressed with both the movie and
the audience. Both were silent! That was
unusual. We usually end up in seats near some
        I think my Dad would have liked this
movie too.
        I think the thought of people enjoying
a Silent movie in 2012 would have made him
chuckle just a little bit.
        Seems like there are times when Silence
really is golden!
         Hope you enjoy some quiet time, and
that all your NEWS is good!
         (Today's blog is dedicated to my late
Dad ,Tony DeCosmo!)


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Signs Of Spring?

  February is about to leave us. In fact it
would have had its bags packed today were
it not for the need to synchronize the
calendar with the earth's orbit round the
sun every four years!
   There's still plenty of time for Old Man
Winter to come out of his unexpected
hibernation. But there are also plenty of
signs of Spring if you know where to look
for them.
    Like the geese! I spotted two more huge
flights yesterday. I could tell there were
two flights because they former a "W"
as they passed overhead. I'm pretty sure
they were headed north. At least I'm
hoping it was north.
    My wife keeps telling me there are
crocuses coming up all over. I'm not real
good at recognizing flowers. Especially
when they're just green stems.
     I know that gas prices usually go
up in the Spring. Judging from the
prices I've been seeing we must be
skipping spring entirely and going
right into summer!
      Pitchers and catchers have
reported for 'Spring Training" so I
guess that's a sure sign it's here...or
nearly here.
      But here's the thing.... I don't
know how far north the geese have to
go before it's spring.
      According to "Wikipedia" Crocuses
 can flower in the spring, autumn,
or winter.
     Gas prices.... well they seem to be
going up year round.
     And, let's face it, the ball players
aren't called "the boys of spring." They're
"the boys of summer."
      But don't despair. I did find one sign
that's proof beyond a reasonable doubt
that spring is about here.
     I spotted my first "Political campaign
sign" planted along a back road where
they seem to grow ever year. When you
see those smaller signs going up on road
sides, trees or poles you can be
certain it's just about time for the Spring
Primary! I think it's too soon for the
November General Election.
     Hope you're ready for spring and that
all your NEWS is good!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Greetings and Salutations

     Our Sunday adventure took eight of
us to Schuylkill and Berks Counties
      First to the "metropolis" of Port
Clinton where the restaurant in the
local hotel serves up delicious meals
in huge portions that assure no one
leaves hungry.
       I feel sorry for the thousands of
people who drive through this town,
which takes about 25 seconds, who
pass right by this small place and
probably don't even know it's there.
       Then it was on to the Port Clinton
Peanut Shop right across the street.
        It's like walking into a old fashion
candy shop that's stocked to the roof
with all kinds of goodies and fresh
roasted peanuts!  This place has more
candy than Willy Wonka's factory!
        Next stop.......Cabela's!
        This gigantic sporting goods
store has all kinds of things that
impress visitors.
         There's a mountain scape
covered with full sized bears, deer,
moose, elk, buffalo and all sorts of
other critters. I don't know who shot
them all. But he must have had an
awful lot of ammunition!
          There's a Piper Cub Seaplane
mounted from the roof hanging above
the dining area. I keep wondering how
they hung the thing! I mean it's not
like mounting a picture on your wall!
           There's an aquarium housing
all sorts of fresh water fish including
one tank filled with Muskie that will
eventually be stocked in Pennsylvania
waterways. And huge Catfish!
           I'll bet the guys from "Mudcats"
or "Hillbilly Handfishn'" would like
20 minutes in those tanks!
            And guess what else? Are you
listening Walmart?
              There was a team of greeters,
two to five at any one time, who made
sure everyone entering got a warm
"Hello" and an offer to help you find
whatever you were searching for!
               They, or their replacements,
were also there as people left the store
to say "Goodbye" and "Thank you for
shopping at our store."
                Since we were pretty much
"window shopping" we didn't buy
anything on this visit. Still, the staff
treated us as though we were "big
spenders" or, better yet, old friends.
               They say "first impressions"
are important and the group at
Cabela's presented a good one!
                Hope you're warmly
welcomed where ever you go and
that all your NEWS is good!



Sunday, February 26, 2012

The ________Is Blowing In The Wind!

   If you filled in the blank in the title line
with the word "answer" you'd be right.
  Of course had you walked with me
yesterday you also could have inserted
the words "branches", "trash," "paper,"
or just about anything else and you'd
be right!
  All the local stations, and "Weather
Bob" on Facebook , had issued High
Wind Warnings for the day. And they
were all right!
   I don't know how fast the wind was
blowing. But several communities
recorded gusts over 40 miles per hour!
    I thing I may have found one of those
   What seemed like a steady cool
breeze when I started my tract quickly
turned into a strong gale that had me
dodging twigs,globs of insulation, and
   Fortunately I carry enough ballast to
hold myself down during such gusts.
   My cap almost flew off a few times.
   That's kind of impressive seeing as
I had a set of headphones on top of
the chapeau!
    I half expected to see Dorothy
and Toto flying by as the wind got
stronger and stronger!
    The sound that accompanied the
high winds was the kind of
whistling shrill you'd expect to find
in the sound track from a horror movie
or the storm scene from "The Caine
    Little ribbons tied to trees as
property markers stood nearly
straight out like the wind socks
you'd find at any airport.
    But, like they say, "It's an ill
wind that doesn't blow some good."
    When I turned around to return
the wind was at my back. I guess
that's what they mean when they
say "May the force be with you."
     With a push like that the
return stroll was like a walk in the park.....
except for the need to dodge some
twigs and trash and such.
      Hope the wind is at your back
and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Cow At The Brick!

    I spotted a big cow in town yesterday!
    The large bovine was standing very near
a spot that all of us here in Plains Township
know as "The Brick."
    For years it's been a gathering place for
community events like Santa's arrival and
the annual Little League Parade.
    There were plenty of people gathering
around the big cow too!
    She's a mascot for Turkey Hill Mini
Marts and the company just opened it's
newest outlet....... literally right behind
"The Brick!"
    It replaces a Turkey Hill just a block
away that was so small they could never
have invited the big cow for a visit.
   But the old market lacked more than
just space. It didn't have any gas pumps!
   The new place has lots of space, several
islands with gas pumps and, for the moment
at least, the big cow.
    It also had lots of customers when I drove
    Considering the large number of both
mini marts and gas stations in the area I
wondered why this brand new place was
suddenly so attractive.
    I didn't think it was the big cow!
    Then I saw the sign where they post the
price of gas and that pretty much answered
my question.
    While most surrounding stations were
selling a gallon of regular gas for three
dollars and seventy five cents, the new
place was offering a gallon for three fifty
   At nearly 20 cents less than competitors
I immediately looked at my gas gauge. It
read "Full." I called my wife and some
good friends. Seems everybody had just
filled their tanks the previous day!
    There must be a little "Murphy's Law"
in that scenario!
    I'll have to use up some gas soon so
 I can fill up at the new place!
   Wonder how long the big cow, or that
"lower price per gallon" will stick around?
   By the way a gallon of milk was $4.19!
   Looks like the "oil guys" are trying to
catch up with the State Milk Marketing
    Hope your tank is filled with gas, you
fridge is stocked with milk, and that all
your NEWS is good!


Friday, February 24, 2012

When You're Smiling......

   I got free stuff today!
   I like free stuff.
   I was visiting my dentist for my
regular 10,000 mile.......I mean 6
month checkup.
   Something was different there.
It took me a couple of minutes to
figure out what it was.
   But it all came to me when I realized
I could hear the music playing through
the office sound system.
It wasn't that the music was so loud.
    It was the fact that the dental assistant
cleaning my teeth was so quiet!
   It was kind of neat in one sense.
   Usually when I'm in the dental chair
both the dental assistant and the dentist
are talking to me throughout the visit.
   In fact, most of the time, they put a
sharp scraping pick and some sort of
a suction hose into my mouth then
ask me things like ...."Where are you
going for vacation"...or...."What do
you think about all this warm weather?"
   I've always found it difficult to
answer questions of any sort while my
tongue is trying to steer clear of sharp
points or little mirrors at the end of
long handles!
   Ultimately the assistant and I did
exchange some pleasantries during
those few seconds after she told me
it was OK to rinse out my mouth.
   My dentist was more talkative.
I especially noted his comments
on the possibility of getting a crown
on a tooth that has a slight crack.
   I pretty much ended that
conversation after hearing the price
which seemed more in line with a
"crown" for royalty from a small
   Maybe I can just get some Super
Glue in there. I already have a tube
of that.
   But I did get free stuff!
   A new toothbrush, a little tube of
toothpaste, and a small container of
dental floss. I thought that was nice!
   Hope your smile is bright and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


  I can't drive my Chevy to the
levee anymore!
  My old Suburban is gone!
  After the clean out I described in
yesterday's blog I closed a deal to
sell the vehicle to a friend at a
nearby garage.
   I did get to keep some
   First, the battery! I just bought
it a couple of months ago and it's
got a guarantee that should keep
me in 12 volts for at least another
  Of course I had to get it out and no
matter how I adjusted my adjustable
wrench it always seemed just a little
too open or a little too closed.
   I finally got both cables off and
tried to lift it out. That's when I found
the other bolt that held the battery
holder that, well you know, holds the
batter down. Good thing I found it!
I was beginning to think I was too weak
to lift the darn thing out!
   Anyhow that piece of  my Suburban
will probably end up in my little Miata.
    I'm not sure where my front "license
plate" will end up. Every time someone in
my family asked what I wanted for my
birthday or Christmas I would always
answer...."Something Neat."  After I
bought the Suburban 9 years ago I
received an artistic "vanity plate"
inscribed with the words "Something
Neat."  I'll undoubtedly use it on another
   My son removed my police scanner
for me. We'll transfer that too. That
way I'll know who's chasing me!
   And, who knows, maybe I'll be
driving the Suburban again someday. In
another form of course!
   My late cameraman and great friend
Bob Dennis used to remind me that,
when it came to cars, "Sooner or later
the 'hook' gets them all."
   They're hauled away, parted out, and
crushed so the metal can be used, in
many cases, to make more cars!
    The way I figure it that's a kind of
    Hope you've got "something neat"
to remember and that all your NEWS
is good.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Secrets To Survival!

  Before I share today's strange but true
story'd like to express my most
sincere thanks to Harold Jenkins of NEPA
Blogs for selecting "No News Is Good
News?" as the Blog of the week! I am
truly honored!
   As I reported in an earlier blog the time
has come for me to part with my
treasured old Chevy Suburban. The car
has served me well carrying family,
friends and cargo through the worse
Mother Nature could throw as us.
   But with 226,000 miles and a 42 gallon
gas tank it has been relegated to a spot
in the back yard where it has been
parked for the better part of a year.
   I started to clean it out yesterday and,
hidden away in it's glove compartment,
I uncovered some secrets to survival.
   They were, in fact, so secret I forgot
they were there. Good thing I didn't
run into an emergency while driving
another car.
    Here  is a partial inventory of the
items one time or another......
felt necessary to carry.....just in case!
    6 to 9 ball point pens. 4 cassette
tapes, including "The Bickersons" and
the hits of Neil Sedaka!  A connector
that goes from the cigarette lighter to
a plug that goes into something (I
don't remember what). A pack of
5 mini cigars (they keep the bugs away
when you're fishing). Several packs of
automotive fuses that fit somewhere
in the vehicle. Two plastic spoons which,
I believe, came from Wendy's (both are
still sealed in their plastic wrappers).A
cigarette lighter that doesn't seem to work.
A little blue Christmas tree shaped air
freshener. Insurance cards (dating back
2 to 4 years). A magnifying glass. An
empty film container. One pair of
children's sized sunglasses. Two packs
of Saltteen crackers (also still sealed
in plastic) Two screwdrivers.  And,
last but not least, a "Survival Kit"
packed in a Sardine Can.
(I have no idea what's actually inside.)
    There were, by the way, no gloves
in the "glove compartment!"
    And, oh, I almost forgot the nose
clip that was in there...although I
know that wasn't mine!
    Still I think you can clearly see  I
was prepared for any eventuality!
   I hope you're prepared too and that
all of your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good To The Last Drop!

   I'm just a little uneasy using the
Maxwell House slogan for the title of
today's essay.
   According to the experts over 80%
of Americans drink coffee.
   I am one of the other "nearly" 20%!
   I remember tasting coffee when I
was a kid. I hated it!
   In fact I disliked it so much that,
to this day, I don't even like coffee
flavored candy.
   The only time I ever  "liked" coffee
was when they used to actually grind
the beans in the old A&P Supermarket.
   That process did spread an enjoyable
aroma throughout the store.
   Like most everybody I still need
a daily allowance of caffeine. Mine
usually come from a supply of Diet
Dr. Thunder......the Walmart version
of Diet Dr. Pepper. It's cheaper!
   But back to coffee.
   One of the business places in West
Pittston wrecked by flooding last September
was a Coffee Shop. The building was
actually picked up and tipped by the river
    You had to wonder how anybody could
come back from that kind of damage!
    But, yesterday, I saw some balloons
and a bright home made sign that
asked...."Can you smell the Coffee?"
    And, by gosh, you could!
    The shop, now righted and
sanitized, is back in business!
    Juan Valdez himself would have to
be impressed with such a "come back
     In fact a lot of flood victims are still
coming back and many are probably
counting on a couple cups of coffee
to help them keep coming!
     I hope they're all successful and
that all their, and your, NEWS is


Monday, February 20, 2012

Gone Fishing!

   I am a fisherman. That is to say,II
occasionally go fishing.
   Sometimes it's to catch, or try to
catch, fish.
   Sometimes it's just a drive to look
for neat places and things
   Fishing for fish got a lot easier when
I turned 65.  That's when I became
eligible for a "Lifetime Senior Fishing
License" that's good for.....well....your
    You should try to live at least two
years after buying your "Lifetime
License" because it costs a little
more than twice the usual yearly fee.
     If you're fishing for fish you'll need
a fishing license, a fishing rod, some
hooks, and something for bait.
     If you're just out "fishing" for neat
things and places you'll need a
vehicle, a driver's license, or someone
to drive you, and money for gas.
     We call it "fishing for adventure"
and it can be fun for the whole family!
     I didn't catch a lot of actual fish last
     But I did find a couple of neat places.
     Like a train excursion where you can
 ride in the caboose, or playgrounds
tucked away here and there where the
grand kids can get out and have some
fun just running around. I get to make
sure my car seat reclines and my radio
picks up some soft relaxing music. (That
does not apply however if the kids need
to be pushed on the swings.)
     Yesterday we visited one of the Flea
Markets we've come to enjoy. As the
result of that stop I've been assured a
fishing adventure for many days to come.
      My daughter's attempt to open a
bargain bag of Swedish Fish did not go
as planned and a large school of the
little red licorice creatures suddenly
became flying fish that have found
homes in places still undiscovered
throughout my van.
      Everyone pitched in to net as
many as possible and we did land a
     I am now hoping the rest will be
caught before my Lifetime License
     Whether it's fish or adventure
you're seeking, here's hoping you
"get the big one" and that all your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You Load 16 Tons......

   I was heading out for my daily walk yesterday
when I spotted another memory from my "old
days." Actually it wasn't just a case of "spotting
it." I had to drive around it.
  "It" was a coal truck with it's dump section
lifted as to dumped a load of "black gold" into
the basement of a house in Inkerman.
   There was a day when most every home in
the area had to depend on an occasional coal
delivery to make it through the cold days of
   One of my chores growing up in Hazleton
was to fill the hopper on the front of the
furnace every night. Of course the coal bin
was in another section of the basement.
   I shoveled the coal into buckets then
carried them over to the hopper....lifted them
and dumbed the coal.
   Between the shoveling and the dumping
the room, and very likely my lungs, quickly
filled with coal dust.
   As a teen I might have qualified for "Black
Lung Benefits!"
   One hopper, filled to capacity, probably
could have fired the furnace for two to three
days during the average winter temperatures.
   But you could never be sure exactly how
long the coal would last because the heating
system covered our house and an upstairs
   I remember a time when my Dad was
working a couple weeks at Madison Square Garden
in New York City. My Mom and I were visiting
with him but had to make sure the
hopper was filled with coal so the fire in the
furnace back home wouldn't  go out!
  We took a train from the old Penn Station,
arrived in Hazleton, took a cab home, filled
the hopper, took a cab downtown, and grabbed
a bus back to New York!
  Five hours or so just to make sure the house
stayed warm and we spent as much time as
possible with Dad!
   About the time I got married and moved
out my Dad replaced the old coal furnace
with an oil fired unit.
    A lot of people made similar switches
to oil or gas. Mostly because those fuels
were cheaper. And "were" is the key word!
    The way things are going old "King Coal"
may be lining up for a comeback! I wonder
where I put those old buckets?
     Hope, however you heat, you're cozy
and warm and that all your NEWS is good!



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stop, Children, What's That Sound?

   My wife an I
 attended some amazing
gymnastics competition last week.
   During the events spectators were
reminded to turn off the flash on their
cameras so it wouldn't distract the
   So, the flashes disappeared.
   They were replaced by Skeuomorph!
   Just in case any of you didn't know
that's the "click" you hear when you
take a picture with your digital camera.
    It is, literally, a sound effect that's
not at all necessary to get your photo!
    Back when everybody used film
cameras the "click" was the sound of
the shutter opening and closing.
    Many digital cameras don't have
shutters. But people have become so
accustomed to hearing the "click"
that manufactures include it to appease
the users.
    There's a visual Skeuomorph too!
    Digital camera mimic the illusion
of a shutter opening and closing by
turning off the screen for just an instant.
    Cameras aren't the only devices that
make use of Skeuomorphic sounds.
     There's a hydrogen powered motor
bike that is virtually silent. The
developers created an artificial "roar"
so people will know it's approaching.
     Then there's your car doors!
     After adhering to government
safety standards a typical car door closed
with  a tinny sound instead of a good
hefty "clunk!"  So the manufactures
put dampeners into the door cavities
to muffle the tinny effect.
     They also engineered the door locks
to make just the right "clicking" sound.
     Guess it's like they've always said.
     "Don't believe everything you hear!"
     Still......I hope you're listening and
that all your NEWS is good!


Friday, February 17, 2012

What's In A Name?

         Shakespeare tells us a rose would
smell the same no matter what you called
         I get the point. But would John Wayne
would have been a popular if he went by
Marion Morrison....his "given" name? Or
how about William Henry Pratt? Better
known as Boris Karloff!
         Amd when I was a DJ I used to just
call myself  "Double Dee."
         I've been doing some research on
Ham Fisher. He's the Wilkes-Barre native
who came up with the comic strip character
Joe Palooka.
        The Luzerne County Historical Society
will pay tribute to Fisher on the 29th of this
       Joe Palooka was always associated with
Wilkes-Barre. In fact the city was often
included in the story line of the comic
strip which, at it's peak, ran in more than
900 newspapers.
      There were movies about Joe Palooka.
      Jimmy Durante even played Palooka's
manager in one of the flicks.
      We've got Mount Joe Palooka along
Route 309 in Hanover Township.
      But when Fisher originally came up
with the character he was going to call
him Joe Dumbbell. He also considered
naming him Joe Dumbbelletski.
       It's bad enough to be called "a big
       Imagine living in the shadow of
Mount Dumbbell!
       By the way, Ham's real name was
Hammond Edward Fisher. Heck, he
could have been called Eddie Fisher!
       Well whatever the name he
painted a positive picture of the
hard working, honest people who
built this area from the days when
coal was king. And Joe Palooka was
one of the good guys!
       Hope you've got that name right
and that all of your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cleanup, Clutter & Classic

     My daily walk took me to West Pittston
yesterday. It's usually a quiet place to get
a couple miles in. But that wasn't the case
this time.
     There was a lot happening and a lot to
     First, the crew along the river!

    Contractors were busy pulling logs and debris from
 beneath the Fort Jenkins Bridge. It's been there since
 last September when homes and businesses were hit
 by flood waters. Let untouched the mess could have
 formed a dam that might have caused more damage
 any time the river rises.
      That's the last thing residents here need!
      Five months after the last flood a lot of people are
 still replacing floors, roofs, and walls wrecked by the
 high water!

       Most people are working hard to rebuild. But
they realize it's going to take time.
       I found something else sitting in a yard across
the river. With the weather being what it's been
this winter it looked about as useful as that flood
debris in West Pittston.
        It was an old "Ski Doo" with a "For Sale'
written on the windshield and the seat.                    

      The sellers can probably get a lot more use
out of the money than from the vehicle! I wish
them well. That said I'm hoping it won't get
used anywhere around here anytime soon!
       I'm as OK without snowmobile snow as the
folks in West Pittston will be with no more high
       Hope the snow and floods stay away and that
all your NEWS is good!

A Few Notes On Valentine's Day!

  My wife and I joined two close friends
for a day on the town yesterday!
  First stop, a nice romantic movie. We
were sure the women would appreciate
a flick staring Denzel Washington!
   It was tough to tell though. We couldn't
ask over the gun fire and squealing tires!
   OK. Maybe it did turn out to be more
of a "guy's movie." But I'm fairly sure
those dark chocolate Raisinettes I gave
her made it all worthwhile!
   Afterwards we headed out to our
favorite restaurant which happens to
be located in Schuylkill County!
   There was a time when a date might
wonder if her guy would claim to run
out of gas on a Valentine's road trip.
    Now we keep searching for the
lowest price per gallon to make sure
we've got a tank full at the lowest
possible cost!
     Our dining spot turned out to be
the hit of the day!
      Fully decorated for Valentine's
Day the place featured special menu
items and deserts, a heart shaped
balloon at each table and, my
favorite, an elderly gentleman
who wanders around the room
playing tunes, mostly Italian, on
his accordion!
     It's probably just a coincidence
but he always seems to play the
theme from the "Godfather" when
he gets near my table. He takes
requests and I can honestly
say I never made him an offer he
had to  refuse!
    In the spirit of the day I joined
him in a search for mutual harmony
as we serenaded my wife with an
old tune called "Let Me Call You
     Then just when I though I was
out of it. he drug me back in for
another golden oldie!
      It wasn't Italian. But
I knew all the words...if not the
     Good film, good food, good friends,
and a couple of good tunes make for a
pretty great day!
     Hope you had one too and that all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Trifecta!

    Every now and then a number of
"Special days" share the same date!
    My birthday, for instance, is also
"Constitution Day." Although,
admittedly, few people celebrate
either. Other than me of course.
    I tend to favor my birthday!
   There are three special observances
scheduled for February 14th.
   Most everyone knows it's
Valentine's Day
   In a sense the other two "celebrations"
fit right in!
   One is "Organ Donor Day/" And what
romantic hasn't "donated" his heart to
his Valentine?
   Fact is thanks to organ donors some
folks have been given a new lease on
life and have been able to go on sharing
their love.
   Then there are those who seem to go
from one Valentine to another. Over and
over again. Round and round as it were.
    That gang may well be noting "Ferris
Wheel Day" which also falls on February
    The day is, of course, a tribute to
George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.,
the creator of the Ferris Wheel! A lot
of people love those!  George did.
    The huge wheel he built for the
Chicago World's Fair of 1893 was a
big success.
    But after investing all of his money
trying unsuccessfully to sell his
invention to cities around the world
his Valentine....his wife....left him. 
    He died later that year, of a kidney
    Too bad he couldn't have gotten
an organ donation!
    But that was then and this is now.
    So enjoy the day!
    Give your Valentine your heart
and take them out for a spin!
     Hope you have a great day and
that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Look! Up In The Sky! It's......

     You can see the Blue Mountain range
long before you actually get to the Lehigh
Tunnel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
      It's uphill all the way from that tunnel
to Wilkes-Barre when you're heading
north. The sky above the mountains
looked like it was covered in a haze. It
wasn't. It was snow.
      Although the road seemed more wet
than slippery traffic slowed down to a
brisk 30 miles per hour which made the
last leg of our trip home seem like it
lasted for hours.
       After weeks of above average
temperatures and virtually no snow
a lot of us probably thought we wouldn't
get any winter this year.
      But, just eleven days ago,
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and
told us, at least he told the Groundhog
Club President,, we could expect six
more weeks of winter.
      Don't be discouraged!
      There was another "sign from above"
yesterday that should guarantee Spring
is on the way!
       Though temperatures hovered around
25 degrees flocks of geese circled
overhead, eventually falling into several
squads in V formations. They were all
headed NORTH! Take that Phil!
        That is a certain sign that Spring
is nearly here. The only thing is......I'm
not sure how far north they have to fly
till it arrives, or how fast they're flying!
        Now that I think of it...they could
take 4 more weeks!
         Let's hope they get there soon, and
that all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

The and Whte!

  It's comforting to know that while most of us
are frittering away our time on things like
Super Bowl, election campaigning, or the
like scientists around the world are working
hard to answer questions many of us have never
even asked.
  Their latest revelation, for instance, informs
us that a Zebra's alternating black and white
stripes protect the animal from bloodsucking
   As with many scientific breakthroughs this
finding was the result of an accident.
   The scientists were actually doing research
on horses and discovered that those painted
with black and white stripes attracted far
fewer flies than all black or all while animals.
   I'm not exactly sure who commissioned
the study, or why, or how somebody came
up with the idea to paint some of the horses.
   News releases on the subject do admit that
no one has done any research in Africa...
where Zebras live.
  Maybe it's really a project to see how
convicts can be protected from mosquitoes!
They still ware stripes don't they?
   The whole thing has me thinking about
a conversation I had many years ago with
my then 5-year-old niece.
   I asked if a Zebra was white with black
stripes or black with white stripes.
   She thought for just a moment, then said
"Well you see, he's brown, but has black and
white stripes!"
   Now it seems....she may have been right!
   Hope you've got all your facts in black
and white and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On The Right Track!

   I've been trying to get out for a walk
everyday. And I've seen some neat things
here and there as I go.
   Yesterday I saw something that made
me think I had stepped  into the Twilight
Zone and back in time!
   I was walking across the Water Street
Bridge crossing from West Pittston into
Pittston when I heard the whistle of an
oncoming train.
   It was running south on the tracks
that follow the Susquehanna towards
  And there, just behind the engine, was
a Caboose! Yep! A caboose!
   With the exception of a tourist train at
Kempton in Berks County I haven't seen
a train trailing a caboose for many years.
   Before technology improved in the
1980's trains had to carry additional
crew members. And they carried them in
the caboose.
   As a little kid you almost always got a
wave from one of those crewmen as the
freight passed by.
   I was glad to see one riding the rails
again..... even if it was a little different.
   You see the one I spotted was green
and it was right behind the engine.
    Cabooses should be red! You know
the song!  And they really belong at the
back of the train That's in the song too!.
    I know they're not actually needed.
   But there are a lot of things we don't
really need that are still nice to see or
think about! Take desert for example!
    If I were President I'd issue an
Executive order requiring cabooses
at the end of all freight trains.
   Heck, with an issue that good I could
probably beat some of those guys
already running! A few of them are
definitely on the wrong track!
   Hope you Stop, Look, and Listen and
that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The "Bear" Facts!

  The scary video of a TV Anchor woman
being bitten by a dog during a live program
in Denver on Wednesday brought back an
"interesting" memory for me! It also
reminded me of an old show business
adage..."Never work with children or
   KUSA's Kyle Dyer is recovering from
reconstructive surgery after being bitten
on the lip by a dog that had been rescued
from an icy lake on Tuesday.
   Of course we wish her well.
   I witnessed a similar, and potentially
worse,situation when I was just a "cub" in
local radio.
   My encounter, back in the 1960's, involved
"Rosie".........a trained BEAR!
    Rosie was one of two bears trained for
motion pictures. The bruins were scheduled
to be part of a show at the Hazleton Drive In
Theater that night. But, to promote that show,
the trainer brought Rosie to the studios of
WTHT radio which used to be located in
Hazleton Heights.
    I watched from a production studio while
Rosie, her trainer, the theater manager, the
station manager, and two of our DJs crowded
into our main control room which probably
was designed to fit three people comfortably.
    Ralph Lockwood was doing the interview
while Frank Murman ran the control board.
    I don't know if Rosie didn't like being
crowded or was just hungry. Either way
poor Frank suddenly found his leg in Rosie's
mouth and the interview was quickly ended!
    While Frank got the worst of it, I was the
one who had to explain to the nurse that I
was bringing in a friend who had just been
bitten by a bear.
     You didn't get many cases like that at the
old Hazleton State General Hospital!
     Frank was all right after being treated
for four  puncture wounds in his leg.
     And the show went on as scheduled that
night at the Hazleton Drive In Theater.
     I would have to admit, however, that the
MC, standing with the trainer, Rosie, and one
other bear that night  may have been just a little
    Yep! I was that MC!
    Hope you're always careful around animals
and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Peggy's" Cousin?

   Of course we can't be sure. But we think it
might have been "Peggy's" cousin who called
our house last evening.
   You all remember "Peggy." That's the
"Russian sounding" guy on the TV
commercials for............gee..........I wonder if
you even remember what "Peggy" was
   Was it Capital One Visa, Discover Card,
American Express, or MasterCard?
   We'll remind you of the answer in a
   First though, on to our call.
   My wife answered the phone. We don't know
this "Peggy's" name because very little of
what he said was intelligible!
   The dialect seemed to be "Indian" (New
Delhi as opposed to Comanche!). But a
check of the area code reveled the call was
coming from somewhere in Oregon!
    As far as we know that's still part of the
United States.
    Anyhow from the little my wife could
understand our caller was apparently
trying to interest us in a home security
    Unable to turn him down in either
Hindi or  the Comanche version of
Shoshone, my wife simply said "No
thank you" and hung up!
     Between our lock, our dead bolt, and
our trained cockatiel we actually feel
pretty secure.
     But we'll give it a little thought and,
if we decide we need more security, maybe
we'll call "Peggy" to see if we have enough
points on our Discover Card to get a Pit Bull!
    Hope you're safe and sound and that all
your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello."

  That line..."I don't know why you say
goodbye, I say hello" from a tune by
the Beatles titled  "Hello, Goodbye."
  It came to mind after I heard from a
friend of mine who works for Walmart.
  In case you haven't heard, Walmart is
saying "goodbye" to the people it hired
to say "hello!"  That, of course, would
be the chain's "Greeters."
   Now to be totally accurate the company
isn't actually getting rid of the greeters.The
plan is to make use of their talents in other
areas of the store.
    So the folks who have been welcoming
you to Walmart with a smile and "hello",
will now be somewhere behind the
registers advising which check out line
is shorter, if they know who'll check out
fastest, or somewhere among the aisles
stocking shelves.
    I've often heard of retired folks who
talk about supplementing their Social Security
by becoming a Walmart Greeter. The thought
even crossed my mind.
    I can say "Hi!"  But I don't know how long
I'd hold up setting out a supply of automobile
batteries!  I guess I could handle one of those
little stands where you hand out food samples.
But I'm not sure how many of the samples
would actually get to the customers!
    Anyhow, if you spot any of those former
greeters lugging boxes or filling the coolers
be nice.....stop and say "Hello!"
    Walmart's web site provides a stock
photo of an employee it identifies as a
"Greeter." She has a big smile and is
waving to us.
    Now we know, however, she's actually
waving "Goodbye!"
    Here's hoping you get a nice greeting
wherever you go and that all your NEWS
is good!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Send A Card To A Friend Day!

  This is "Send a card to a friend day!"
  But you probably already knew that
right? Sure you did!
  It always falls on February 7th.
 There's virtually no information about
how it got started. But it was, very
likely, the idea of some greeting card
  I found out about it on an unusual
web site that highlights bizarre and
unique holidays.
  But guess what!!!!!
  On "Send a card to a friend day Eve,"
I received a card from my oldest friend!
  Let's face it. With the possible
exception of Christmas time, most of
us don't get many cards in the mail
from anybody these days!
   My buddy is an exception. Not only
does he still send an occasional card.
He uses every available inch of writing
space on the greeting.
   He always picks a fitting photo
or image for the cover. We both love
cars, especially older ones, so that's
on the cover of his latest novel......I
   As usual there's a personal, and long,
message on the space Hallmark
provided. Then, at the bottom, there's
a little arrow that directs the
this case the back of the card
where he's even written over the company's
    I send a lot of greetings by email these
days. But I have to admit it was really
great to get an actual card that someone
took the time to pick out, hand write, stamp,
and take to the Post office to make sure it
got into my hands!
    And that doesn't even take into account
all the ink he used up!
    Hope you're got at least one good friend
like mine.
    I also hope you'll send him or her a card
sometime .......maybe today.....and that all
your NEWS is good!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl's Real Winners!

   Just in case you didn't notice yesterday was
Super Bowl Sunday!
   As has become our custom a group made up
of family and friends gathered at my daughter's
house for a Super Bowl Party.
    Of the 14 or so adults attending our
gathering I think it's safe to say that two are
actually football fans. It's not uncommon for
somebody to ask who's playing before the
game gets under way.
    The majority come more anxious to see
the commercials than the kickoff. Although
there is usually some interest in the Half
Time Show.
     So how come so many "indifferent" football
people are suddenly  heard shouting, cheering,
and questioning calls on the field as though
they've been die hard fans since birth?
    And why is it they're constantly
switching which team they're rooting for
throughout the game?
    Well it could, of course, have something
to do with a friendly game in which all the
players at home pick a number. Then, at
certain parts of the game like the end of
the first quarter, or halftime, or the like,
you add up the score. If the last number of
the score is the same as your number
you win...well....let's say... a prize.
    I'll say no more.
    This year both teams scored just enough
to make me happy. Again, I'll say no more.
    Everybody brings food too!
    The eating is timed to coincide with the
beginning of the network's pre game shows
and ends several days later when even the
left overs taken home are finally consumed.
     Most important of all it's a great time of
fun for family and friends!
     When you look at it that way there are
no Super Bowl least at our
     Hope you enjoyed the game with people
you love and that all your NEWS is good!



Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Big Day For Predictors!

   Yep! This is it! The Big Day For Predictors!
   No! I'm not talking about all those folks
picking the Super Bowl winner!
   I'm talking about  "National  Weatherman's
Day!" That's today!
  It's the day dedicated to honor all the men and
women who use all sorts of instruments, and
data, and technology to tell us if it MIGHT
be sunny, or rain, or snow or what ever.
   I have, on many occasions, been mistaken
for a weatherman.
   That erroneous image stems from those
very stormy days when I, and some poor
innocent photographer, was sent out into
blizzard like conditions early in the morning
to tell viewers that it was cold and snowing
and not a good day to drive.
   We usually did about two reports each
half hour for the morning show which
required us to stand outside for about ten
minutes at a time.
    Meantime, the station's actual weatherman
would have to stand inside under those
terribly hot lights to explain why we were
having snow and to predict how much we
field reporters would probably be standing
in. It can really get hot in there!
     In all fairness.....weathermen can't win!
     When they predict nice weather, nobody
ever remembers. When the bad weather
comes as they predict....they get blamed for
it. And when a storm shows up that they
didn't predict.......they're on every body's
"Ten most wanted list!"
      The weather folks I worked with were
all pretty darn good. Guys like Derry Bird,
Barry Finn, Paul  Heppner, Scott Stuccio,
Dave Kurharchik and Dave Skutnik to name
a few.
     If any one of them gave me a prediction
for Superbowl game time conditions I would
trust them 100% (as long as I know the
stadium's retractable roof is working
     Please keep in mind there's a big
difference between a weather forecast and
a weather report. If you want a forecast
turn on the TV or radio or check your local
    If you want a weather report...look out
your window!
    Here's hoping your team wins, your
weather is great, and that all your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Into The Wild Blue Yonder!

  There have been a lot of famous trios over
the years
   You've probably heard of the Kingston
Trio, the Three Musketeers, and  Moe,
Larry, and Curly.
    But how many of you remember the trio
of Gobla, DeCosmo, and Dennis?!
  All right...maybe we weren't so famous. But
we were a team!
  For several years Bob Gobla was our pilot
when WYOU had Chopper 22. And it's a
a good bet the late Bob Dennis was the
photographer and I was the reporter on most
of its missions!
   I used the helicopter when ever possible
and it really paid off! We'd go out on one
specific story/ But between our portable
police scanner and what we could see from
Chopper 22's glass cockpit we'd come back
with 3 to 5 extra reports!
    Gobla was a super pilot. And he wasn't
a guy to take any chances.
    Once, seconds after take off, we heard a
"rapping" sound on the outside of the
cabin. He immediately landed in the
nearest field to find out what was
happening. Gobla checked one side while
Bob Dennis looked at the other. I stayed
put which turned out to be a good thing.
    Had I joined the search they never would
had spotted the belt from my trench coat
hanging out side the door where, once
airborne, the wind rapped it against the
     On another occasion we had just
completed a story at Knoebels Amusement
Park and had started our flight back to
Wyoming Valley.
     Bob Gobla asked me if I had done any
of my story on the roller coaster.
     I explained that, while I loved flying,
I didn't like roller coasters.
     Bob said he understood. It was the "dips"
I didn't like. Then...he did the
     My stomach left it's usual spot while
 Bob Dennis, who was sitting in the back
 seat, suddenly looked a little white to me!
     I never mentioned roller coasters to
 either Bob again!
     Helicopters, of course, eventually got
too expensive for most Television
stations and WYOU's Chopper 22 and
WNEP'S Skycam 16 are both now just
      For me, at least, they're good ones.
      I live right below what has become
 the flight path for medical choppers
 coming and going from Geisinger
 Medical Center in Luzerne County.
       I often think of Chopper 22 and
 our News trio whenever I hear them
      Bob Gobla is celebrating his
 birthday today. I hope it's a great one
 and that all of his...and your
 NEWS is good!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh Say Can You See?

   Although I have been known to complain
about some of our communications technology
I am, none the less, impressed by some of it
   It pretty much depends on how and where
it's being used.
   My buddy can make and receive phone calls
in his truck without every taking his hands off
the steering wheel. That's impressive!
    But while he's driving we're passing people
in other cars who are obviously texting with
only one hand,on the wheel. And you're
wondering how many eyes they're got on the
    Digital technology has made movies look
better than ever, at least in terms of picture
quality. But the same technology lights up
those little cell phone screens that disrupt
some of those movies!
    (I wonder if they're texting the characters
in those cars?)
    Satellites will bring us the Super Bowl
this weekend.
    But, two weeks ago, they brought us
American Idol judge Steven Tyler
"singing" the National Anthem before
an NFL playoff game. If you saw it I
need say no more. (Where are those
'sun spots' when you need them?)
     Traffic cameras will soon be
showing up all over the place so those
who try to sneak through on that
amber light may find themselves on
law enforcement's version of "Candid
     I'm not sure we'll all appreciate
that digital technology!
    Last evening though I used my
laptop to look through the lens of
a web cam at a spot I visited a few
years ago in Victoria, British Columbia.
    It was trained on the Pacific ocean
and the sun was just setting.
    Hope you're using technology
to enjoy the beauty around you and
that all NEWS is good!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

They Just Don't Build Them Like They Used To!

  Remember those light bulbs I told you
about yesterday?
  You know. The Dollar store 60 watt
bulbs that lasted all of about two weeks!
  They got me to thinking about how
many things used to last a lot longer
than they do these days.
   Cars are a good example.
   My Dad's 1950 Buick, for instance,
was built like a tank. Everything on it
was metal. I mean actual steel!
   It's probably still sitting in a scrap
yard someplace. Or maybe it was
crushed and meted down to make a
couple KIAs with plastic fenders and
   That wouldn't be so bad if the price
went down because they substituted
plastic for metal. But that's not the case.
   A 4-door Buick Special sold for about
$2,000 in 1950.
  Buick says its 2012  Verano will range
from $21,000 to $26,000.
  But let's get back to those light bulbs.
  I got a couple packs at the Dollar store
in December because I didn't think I'd
be able to buy the old incandescent bulbs
this year.
   They're going to be banned by the
government in favor of the more
energy efficient compact florescent lamps.
   The ban was suppose to go into effect
this month. But Congress granted the
incandescents a stay of execution till
   I wanted to get mine  installed before
the FBI, or CIA, or whoever is going to
check your light bulbs, made me replace
them with those curly ones that probably
won't fit my old fixture.
   I figured they ended up in the Dollar
store because manufactures had stockpiles
they had to unload.
  Now I'm thinking  it's just because they
were cheap!
  But even "cheap" should give you more
that two weeks!
  My late brother bought a desk lamp with
a fluorescent bulb when he went to college.
  That was just a couple years after my
Dad bought his Buick.
  That lamp is set up my computer these
days. Same bulb's still working!
   And, like I said, it's fluorescent so it
should be OK with the Light Police!
  Hope you've got some good things that
have lasted and that all your NEWS is

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How many of me does it take to change a lightbulb?

  Ordinarily even I, with my admitted limited
handyman abilities, have no problem removing
a dead light bulb  from its socket and replacing
it with a new one.
   But the light fixture on our front porch
presents its own unique challenges.
   I keep it on all the time.
  Before our street light was repaired recently
my porch provided the only light on our end
of a very dark block.
   Several weeks ago the last of two bulbs in
the fixture burned out. The frame that covers
those bulbs also holds six pieces of glass.
   There's one on each side of the cover and a
big one on the bottom that broke who knows
how long ago and now actually sits in place
as two pieces.
   The whole fixture is held in place by two
very long screws that go through the frame
of the fixture and into a one and a half inch
piece of wood on the porch ceiling.
   I tried removing the screws with a hand
held screw driver. I think I would still be
trying to turn them had I not realized that
we have a drill that doubles as an electric
screw driver.
   The power tool made things a lot easier
even though you're literally working on
something right above your head.
   In that position you are apt to remind
yourself that once the screws are out
the fixture becomes the property of
gravity! That reality makes this all a
one hand on the drill, one hand on the
fixture project.
   I suspect this is what jugglers go through
in their basic training.
   Anyhow I took out both dead bulbs and
replaced them with two brand new 60 watt
beauties from the Dollar Store.
   It seems, however, that the channels for
those screws must branch off like subway
tunnels somewhere inside the wood because
they sure didn't want to go back in place.
   I refused to surrender, however, and
eventually had each as tight as I could.
   Everything seemed fine for nearly two
weeks. That's how long those Dollar Store
light bulbs lasted.
   So yesterday, armed with two new bulbs
and the electric screw driver, I tackled the
task again.
   The screws are now refusing to
acknowledge any pre-cut channels into
the wood. And I've learned that pushing
too hard on the electric screw driver
apparently has the effect of unscrewing
the light bulbs you've just installed!
    So I took my wife's advice and
pushed the broken bottom glass out
of place just long enough for me to
re tighten the light bulbs.
    So far, so good.
    Now I'm trying to remember where
I bought those two bulbs I just put it.
    I should know for sure in about two
    Hope you've seen the light and that
all of your NEWS is good!