Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Black (and Blue) Belt!

  Karate can be dangerous! I learned this
fact first hand a few years back when my
daughter was taking Karate.
   I teased her by taking a fake poke towards
her face.
   She reacted automatically and I had to wear
some heavy makeup on TV for the next two
weeks to hide my black eye!
    Last night my grandson completed the
last of three test sessions for his Black Belt!
    I thought math and science tests were
    At least nobody was breaking a board
over my shoulder during those exams, or
coming at me with a chain or a knife!
    Of course before he ever got to show
his skills against would-be attackers my
grandson had to do calisthenics that would
have tired a few Navy Seal candidates!
    I know I got tired just watching!
    After that "warm up" he defended
himself against attacks from other Brown
and Black Belt students carrying mock
guns, knives, and very real chains.
    I wouldn't be surprised to find that
some of those helpers went home with
some "Black Belt bruises!"
    It seems so real at times I wanted to
jump in and help.
    Then I remembered my fear of death!
    Seconds later I also remembered this
was a test...and I was never too good with
     Some two hours into the exercise he
got to break several boards and then a few
blocks of concrete.
     A good contractor could probably use
all that material now that it's been "hand
cut" to size!
     In the end my grandson's instructor
recognized his ability and dedication and
awarded him the coveted Black Belt.
     It was well deserved.
     After seeing just a bit of what he went
through to earn it I'll continue to get my
black belts from Walmart!
     Hope you're rewarded for all of your
efforts and that all your NEWS is good!


Friday, March 30, 2012

There's No Place Like Home!

  Dorothy was right! There's no place like home
and it's good to be back after spending the past
eleven days "down south."
   Our last day below the Mason/Dixon Line
found us in Luray, Virginia where we stopped
to tour the Luray Caverns.
    It was there, somewhere between the stalactites
and stalagmites, that I thought about the
similarities between that area and ours!
    For instance, while I was standing 160 feet
below the surface walking about a mile through
the rock formations it was likely that somebody
who spoke with a "southern twang" was walking
underneath Scranton  at the Lackawanna Coal
Mine Tour.
    By the way the caverns and the coal mine
share similar constant temperates in the 50s.
    While some of you were taking in "The Hunger
Games" at Cinemark or Wilkes-Barre's Movies
14, a similar crowd was gathered at the Page
Theaters 4 in Luray to see the same flick or one
of the other six selections. (Seems the theater
was named before the extra two screens were
    In Atlanta we got to see penguins at the
Georgia Aquarium.
    You can see Penguins in Wilkes-Barre
although they're the kind that play hockey!
    Back to Luray...... you can pick up  Interstate
81 which runs which runs through that area and ours.
    People driving here and there get to dodge
heavy truck traffic and all sorts of never
ending road repair projects.
      Of course there are differences too!
      It was warm in both areas. About 75 degrees.
      That was the outside temperature in Luray
and the inside the car temperature as we
crossed the Maryland State Line back into
       Bottom line.....there's a lot to enjoy in
both places!
       I hope you do or will and that all your
NEWS is good!



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fill Her Up!

   It's been interesting to check out the gas
stations from Florida to Virgina as we drive
back to northeastern Pennsylvania from the
"Sunshine State!"
   This 80 degrees plus all the time gets a
little more credit than it deserves! And it's
really funny to see all these "tan folks" look
for a sweater or jacket when the temps hit
60 or below. And don't let them kid you....
they do from time to time.
   I know you know the price of gasoline has
been going up steadily for the past week or
more. But we never knew exactly what he
price of a gallon would be until we pulled
into the stations to check them out.
    In Florida, for instance, we routinely
found a gallon of regular selling for about
    When you saw a station offering a gallon
for around $3.69 you'd probably pull in as
quickly as possible.
    But then you found out the lower price
was only offered if you also bought a Car
Wash ticket for about six bucks!
    Sometimes you could save a dime or so
a gallon IF you were willing and able to
pay cash!
     The prices fell a bit as we headed north,
especially in South Carolina. Even there
though a few stations just off the Interstate
made you pay a higher rate for the
convenience of  "Easy off/Easy On" travel!
     A few stations carried warning signs
that people caught leaving without paying
for their gas ran the risk of being prosecuted
and losing their Driver's License!
     I could see why the theft of gas would be
a concern. But how about the Rest Room Keys!?
     We found one station with the nicest
"Outhouse" you'd ever want to see! Clean and
neat. But outside the physical station and locked.
      You had to ask for a key which was
strapped to a large block of wood. Each block
had a separate identification hand written on
one side....MEN....or WOMEN.
       I guess the block of wood assured the
return of the key so they wouldn't have to
have the Highway Patrol hunt you down!
       Wonder what the penalty is for "Theft
Of Keys?!"
       Hope you've got the right key, a full
tank, and that all your NEWS is good!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Would My Mamie Say?

  We hear all kinds of complaints about driver distraction
these days!
  Cell phone use and texting seem to be the biggest
  But try to keep your eye on the road in Florida and
Georgia when there's an endless line of billboards
trying to attract your attention!
   50 years ago First Ladies Mamie Eisenhower and Lady
Bird Johnson lead a national movement known as the
Highway Beautification Crusade. The idea was to
encourage the development of "scenic highways" by
discouraging "distractions" such as billboards along
those roads.
    I guess it's worked in some areas.
    But not along the southern interstates we were
traveling yesterday!
    There were billboards everywhere.
    And what a selection of messages!
    Some were for tourist attractions. Many were for
motels. We saw a lot for gas stations, often with the
price included! And that price varied a lot from
county to county and state to state!
    There were a few I've chosen not to mention
here because of their "delicate" subject matter. But
there they super large and bright letters
for all to see along the Interstate.
    There were some other interesting signs too.
    Like the ones CUTTING the speed limit down
to 60 miles an hour IN A WORK ZONE!
    I'm not so sure Mamie or Lady Bird would be
happy with all that advertising. But at least they'd
be able to pick a place to sleep or eat or know where
to buy tires and such!
    And they wouldn't have to text through a work
zone to get their information.
    Hope you're enjoying the scenery and that all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Florida Flea and A Facelif!

  Even on vacation we somehow found ourselves
at a Flea Market!
  So, what's the difference between a Florida Flea
Market and those back home?
   Well the answer is.......practically nothing!
   Were it not for the 85 degree temperature
outside the complex near Sarasota we might just
as well have been at Hometown any Wednesday
or at the Circle Drive In most Summer Sundays.
    All of them are big draws!
    Parking was an immediate challenge. But that's
the same at most markets we've visited.
    You pull into a lane...wait for someone to back
out of a space....then race the driver coming in
from the other direction to get that spot!
    Once inside the merchandise was pretty
similar to what's available anywhere else.
    The aisles are crowded with shoppers
looking for bargains and with merchants trying
to persuade those shoppers that they couldn't
or shouldn't live without the products they
were peddling!
     In one booth a lady was offering "half a
face lift"...for free!
     She even had little cards of women who
had tried her products. The first thing you
noticed was the well above
the other.
      Speaking of "other" you could get the
second half of your face "lifted" just by
buying her products.......for $200!
      If you just got the free treatment I
suppose you walked around looking like
a "before" and "after" example for a couple
of weeks! And......who's to know which was
"before" and which was "after?"
       There was a booth where you could
get your teeth whitened too....but I had
just brushed before my visit so I passed
that one by.
        We also walked by the young man who
had shoe or flip-flop inserts that would make
you feel like a new person for just $80.
         We were OK with the old persons we
already are. And the rate was better!
          In the end my wife and sister-in-law
each spend a dollar. One for a mini
scissors, another for a glitter stick on
         I saved my buck for another day!
         Hope you find whatever you're
shopping for and that all your NEWS is


Monday, March 26, 2012

Let There Be Drums!

  We have seen many interesting things since
we rolled into Florida a week ago.
   But the sights we witnessed just before the
sun set yesterday will undoubtedly remain in
our memory for a long time to come!
   It was suggested, by someone, that we spend
the last part of our Sunday at Siesta Beach
Community Drum Circle!
   No one will admit to it today!
   Every Sunday, about an hour before sunset,
people gather just south of the main pavilion
between lifeguard stands 3 and 4 on Siesta Beach
in Sarasota, Florida to witness or participate in
this unique phenomenon.
    Drummers of all sorts set up on the beach
and begin a steady rhythm to which people
dance, display their hula hoop skills, play
other non percussion instruments, or do anything
else they want to that they believe "fits" the
    I'm sure there's a lot of talent out there.
    But some, I think, may be rejects from
American Idol!
    There was a "full sized" woman waving
some sort of feathers as she did some kind of
"walk" around the circle. I think she thinks
it was a dance.
     Another woman slowly rotated a Hula
Hoop around her arm. I always thought
they went around the tummy.
     Some of the spectators were concerned
because a guy  tried to match the drum beats
with his base guitar.
     I actually think he was better than the
lady with the feathers!
      In time the line between participants
and spectators disappeared as one group
seemed to merge into the other.
      We left then with the sound of the
drums still echoing in our ears.
      In fact we're 30 miles away now and
I can still hear them!.
     Hope you're marching to a different
drummer and that all of your NEWS is

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Everything's "Relative."

   My Sister-In-Law has been our host during our
visit to the Sunshine State over the past week.
   She is a fantastic person!
   She makes a great breakfast! She is friends
with virtually every person we see! She knows
where all the area attractions are! She's good at
just about everything she does!
    Then.....there's her driving!
    She's not a bad driver. But she is, in most
cases, a lucky one!
    The other day we drove into Sarasota to
see a well know statue called "Unconditional
Surrender."  It's based on the photo that
appeared on the cover of Life Magazine when
World War Two came to an end. It shows a
Navy sailor kissing a nurse.
     We joined the ranks of thousands of other
tourists who have viewed and photographed
the statue then left for some additional
     My sister-in-law choose the nearest Exit
Lane. Unfortunately it turned out to be an
Entrance Lane and we suddenly found more
people looking at us than at the statue!
     But she was lucky! Nobody clobbered
     Yesterday our travels took us to an area
Car Wash. Truth be told it was the possibility
of buying gas 20 cents under everybody
else's price that brought us there. My sister-
in-law's car needed a cleaning!
     Here's the way it works......or is suppose
to work. If you agree to get a six dollar car
wash you can get your gasoline for the
discounted price.
     We filled the tank then drove over to the
car wash. A recorded voice told us to enter
a code the gas station had issued.
     She punched in the code then followed
the lighted sign which read "Drive Forward."
     When your car gets to the proper spot a
second light marked "Stop" is suppose to go
on so those high speed water jets can begin
taking the dirt and grime off you vehicle.
      But the "Stop" light didn't go on!
      So, after a minute and a half or so, my
sister-in-law drove through and back to the
entrance!The same "Drive Forward" light
greeted us did. Nothing!
      My sister-in-law tried one more orbit
before driving back to the clerk at the
gas station/ store.
       He gave her a second code.
       She drove back to the car wash entrance
and punched in the new set of secret numbers.
       The "Drive Forward" light was illuminated.
       But I'm not sure if the new code triggered
the light or if it was still on from our previous
       Whichever, she drove forward, but the
"Stop" light and washing machinery failed to
come to life.
       After one more time around she decided
we weren't getting a car wash!
       But. like I said, she's lucky!
       She got her money back and got the gas
 for the discounted price! it's suppose to rain!
       Hope your car is clean  you're in the right
lane and that all your NEWS is good!                     

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just Horsing Around!

   I was back on a farm yesterday as my vacation continued!
   No strawberries this time though.
   Somebody in the family happen to see a newspaper ad for
the "Royal Lipizzan Stallions!"  Seems you could go and
watch them train at their "Winter quarters."
   It didn't seem very much like "winter" when we showed
up!  95 degrees does not qualify as "winter" in my book!
   There's an outside arena set up at a sort of ranch in a
town called Myakka City, Florida.
    I guess you'd say it's on the "outskirts" of town.
    But, truth be told, this "city" has very short skirts.
    "Downtown" consists of a grocery store/gas station. It's
all one place. I kind of expected to see some characters
from "My Cousin Vinny" when we drove through.
    But the drive didn't take long enough to see anybody!
    Anyhow, back to the stallions!
    This is the same breed of horses probably saved from
death at the end of World War Two when General
Patton rescued the animals from behind enemy lines
before the Russian Army could get to them!
    The story was the theme of the Disney movie
"Miracle of the White Stallions."
     The Herrmann family,descendants of the man who
helped General Patton save the horses, rehearse their
annual road show in the arena here.
     "Dancing with the Stars" has nothing on the
choreography demonstrated by these Lipizzans as
they glide through the ring with precision and
     And, since it is a reversal, if the horses don't get
it right they have to start over and try it again.
     They're beautiful animals. But they can get your
hand a little sloppy if you feed them carrots after
the show. You need not ask how I know this!
      I had given the bag of carrots to my wife before
I realized it came with a small bottle of hand
sanitizer! Oh well....I guess there are all kinds of
      Hope you got a "kick" out of this and that all
your NEWS is good!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

  It's Major League ballgame in a Minor League
Atmosphere! It's called the "Grapefruit League!"
  The boys of summer are playing each other in
Spring Training games and we were in the stands
when they threw out the first ball....actually a
grapefruit...for a game yesterday.
   There was another Hazleton native at the game.
   In fact he was the manager of one of the teams
as the Tampa Bay Rays took on the Pittsburgh
Pirates. I didn't get a chance to say hello. He
was kind of busy.
    Spring training games give the players a chance
to prepare for the regular season.
    They give the fans a chance to get ready too.
    If you have any doubts just check out the
prices at the concession stands!
    I had a cup filled with crushed ice and a bit
of cherry flavor. That was five bucks! It must
have been ice from the Titanic incident!
    Game time temperatures were in the mid
80's.  That said I got to feeling just a little
self conscious about my blue jeans.
     I'm so susceptible to insect bites and
sunburn that I almost never wear shorts. I
wondered if anyone else in the ballpark
had the nerve to wear jeans or slacks.
     I looked up and down nearby rows of
spectators and spotted three other
gentlemen who were not wearing shorts.
     I might have felt out of place for just
a moment. Then I realized there were at
least 18 other guys in long pants,,,,,,,,and
they were all players!!!!! So there!
     But whatever they wore, and whatever
the price of the ice, this nearly sold out
stadium demonstrated there are still
plenty of people ready to root, root, root
for the home team and enjoy a little boy's
game played by grown men!
     Hope you're knocking the ball out of
the park and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

From Farm To Safari!

     Things can change fast when you're on the road!
     On Tuesday I found myself in the middle of
hundreds of acres of strawberries bending over like
a migrant worker.
     Yesterday our vacation party joined a "safari"
into one of Florida's State Parks.
      Warning signs remind visitors that animals in
this environment can be dangerous! And there
were plenty of animals.
      Huge alligators can be seen in the waters of
the park lake as well as along the shore line.
      There are snakes, including rattlers.
      There are wild pigs although we didn't see
any on this visit.
       In the end, two of the species here struck
terror into the heart of my buddy Bill.
       The first was a handout included with the
pamphlet you get when you enter the park.
       It told of a breed of Vultures  that frequent
one area early in the morning and late in the
afternoon. They are "Black Vultures" and they
are known to feast on the  rubber and vinyl of
cars and trucks parked at the end of the parking
lot by the lake shore! They'll eat your windshield
       My buddy noticed the warning just after
he had pulled into one of those picturesque spots.
       His new pickup has large black tires and
a rear bed completely covered in vinyl!
       You never saw anyone give up a parking
place so quickly!
        It would have been pretty hard to explain
to folks back home that a bird had eaten his car!
        But while he escaped the vicious vultures
and was never attacked by any of the many
alligators we saw......he fell victim to another
        His open faced sandals were no match
for the ant hill he disrupted! These tiny
creatures saw his sun burned feet as a
slightly rare piece of meat and immediately
began their feast!
       In minutes he was doing a sort of
"Irish Gig!"
       Thankfully he had not stepped on an
       Hope you're watching your step and that
all your NEWS is good!                                          


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Life As A Migrant Worker

   I know. I'm supposed to be on vacation. We're
staying with my sister-in-law in Florida.
   She asked if I liked strawberries. I said "Yes."
   Next thing I knew I was bending over in a field
 of strawberries.
    I was picking them!
    They were huge! At least the size of chestnuts
back home!
     Technically, since I'm from Pennsylvania, I
figure I'm a migrant worker while in Florida.
     You can get a sore back laboring over
      There I was in the hot sun, filling my little
basket with these sweet, red, ripe strawberries.
      My wife and sister-in-law were working in
rows nearby. That, I suppose, makes us a migrant
     As soon as we filled our buckets we headed
back out to get some more.
     There must have been a gazillion strawberries
in that field! And not many pickers!
      I just had to wonder what's going to happen
to all those berries that aren't being picked.
      Within a half hour we had picked 37 pounds!
      The plantation (or farm) owner offered
reasonable rates. They charge by the pound.
      I thought maybe I'd get paid as a picket
but it doesn't work that way.
      So we paid for 37 pounds.
      Fortunately they didn't think to weigh me
before and after I went into the fields!
      I had to taste a couple. OK, maybe a few!
      Hey, who's counting?
      Hope you're harvesting something tasty
and that all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Diifferent Downtown!

   Disney World is, of course, the big attraction in
the Orlando, Florida area. But it's not the only one.
   Friends and family told us about a place called
"Downtown Disney" so we decided to give it a
try on our latest vacation trip.
   It has all kinds of shops and "neat things."
   When we came in, for instance, a band of young,
that is a musical band literally, people was about
to offer a fee concert.
    They sounded great. But they may have been
just a little loud. I heard someone say
something about being "on the air."
    As a veteran broadcaster I thought that would
be neat.
    But the phrase was actually...."in the air."
    Next thing I knew I was boarding a huge
balloon with a half dozen other people to
begin our assent some 100 feet over this unique
    This wasn't one of those units with a gas
burner creating lift by heating the air inside
the balloon!
    This "aircraft" was filled with helium. They
told us is was just like those balloons you get
for a kid's birthday party.....but a heck of a lot
bigger!  It was tethered by a thick steel cable
which could hold it, to an extent, and by which
it could be reeled back to earth.
    Since the winds were pretty strong I was
very pleased to have the cable attached!
    We wondered, should it break, where and
how we might come down.
     The answer wasn't encouraging. We were
told it would not be the lake under the
     And, even if it was, I spotted a "creature"
there ....and I wasn't sure it was friendly!
     In the end our flight was successful
and I'm, once again, on earth!
     Hope your feet are on the ground and
that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Riding the Rails,Watching The Sights!

    I love trains. I have for as long
as I can remember.
  I remember watching the old steam
engines roar through my home town.
  I remember my Dad and Mom taking my
brother and me on the "Liberty Limited
to a convention in Chicago.
  This year two of our best friends
joined my wife and me for a trip to
Florida aboard the "Auto Train."
  You drive to Lorton, Virgina, just
outside Washington, where they load
your car onto an auto carrier while
you and your party get onto an Amtrack
coach for the 17 and a half hour trip
to the Orlando area.
  You save 900 miles of driving, and
the gas that goes along with it.
  You get a great evening meal, breakfast,
and snacks along the way.
  You don't need a motel. The coach seats
recline for sleeping.
  All in all it's a great journey.
  That said, our latest rail adventure was
not without some challenges.
  When we boarded, for instance, we were a
bit surprised to see a family of four already
sitting in the seats to which we had been
assigned. They were pleasant folks. But the
thought of sitting on each other's laps for
the overnight seemed a little too much of a
challenge for us.
  Turns out some Amtrack clerk had put us in
the right row but the wrong church. Or, in this
case, the wrong car.
  We lugged the few but well packed bags, cameras,
and computer we had brought along for the trip
off car 2012 and onto car 2011 down then up the
narrow stairs that lead you to the upper level
of seats and found our rightful spots.
  You get a great view from a train as it rolls
along the rails. You see some neat an interesting
things. Like gas prices 40 cents lower than our
   Of course it's a little hard to rationalize
driving four states south to fill your tank.
   Speaking of "filling your tank" the meals on
board the train were fantastic! Great service too.
   Those reclining seats I mentioned are comfortable
for sitting. But sleeping in them overnight is a
bit of a challenge for me.
    Either they're a little too small, even
reclined, or I'm a little too big. Maybe it's a
combination of the two.
    Since my sleep was on again, off again, I
got a couple of chances to stare off into the night.
    That's how I happen to see a church that made
me do a double take. I thought I might have misread
the sign until I saw a nearby fire station which
also bore the name of the community.
     The town is called "Coward!"
     The church was the "Community Church of
Coward." The fire company was the "Coward Fire
      I'm not sure how I'd feel knowing that
a "coward" was preaching to me or coming to save
       I'm sure there's a great story somewhere
behind that name.
        And I guess, when you stop to think about
it, it's a brave community that calls itself
        Well it's morning now and we're nearing
our destination. The railroad has carried us to
the palm trees I can see out the coach window.
        All in all it's been good trip!
        Hope you get a chance to ride the rails and
that all of your NEWS is good!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Before The Parade Passes By!

  A bit of reflection on Saint Patrick's Day if I
   The streets in Pittston were strangely quiet
yesterday as I tool my stroll.
   Pittston, of course, is know for its strong
connection to the Italian culture.
   Still there were tributes to Saint Patrick's
day here and there.
    A craft shop that makes and sells ceramic
items had one window filled with Irish bowls
and clovers. That was kind of impressive
because the owner is conducting a "Retirement
Sale" and its windows will soon be empty.
   Another place had cut outs of four leaf
clovers pasted here and there while a music
store on North Main Street had placed
colorful Irish hats of busts of Chopin and
Bach! I had no idea those guys were Irish!
   The "highlight", however, was the full
sized statue of a mule with an Irish
chapeau set atop its head! That one you
couldn't miss!
    The gentleman I saw walking towards
me was apparently Irish too.
    He sported a tall green hat, solid green
shirt and spoke with what seemed to be
a real Irish accent.
    He wondered why the city wasn't doing
more for Saint Patrick's Day. The mule
didn't seem to make too much of an
impression. He noted the fact that
Scranton and Wilkes-Barre had held their
parades a week before the actual holiday.
    He wished something had been
planned for Pittston as well.
    I agreed but suggested, since nothing
was planned, that he might well stage
his own parade by just walking up and
down the sidewalks along Main Street.
    The thought cheered him and, as I
walked away, I thought I heard him
humming an Irish tune. I believe he's
still marching!
    It may have been the start of the only
Saint Patrick's Day March ever held in
    I didn't get a chance to snap his
picture. But I did get the mule!
    Hope you had a good Saint Patrick's
Day....parade or not....and that all your
NEWS is good!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I've Half A Notion To Celebrate!

    Guess you think you know why this is a
day for celebration!
    Well, chances are, you're HALF right!
    Yes, it is Saint Patrick's Day.
    You don't have to look very far to see
Irish flags or green banners hung out to
mark the occasion.
      There are 4 leaf clovers and images
of leprechauns posted on the windows of
houses and stores wherever you go.
       The Big Saint Patrick's Parade in
Scranton has already marched into history.
But the green lines still mark the route
through the city. Other parades  are
scheduled for today.
        But how many people have noticed
that today is my HALF Birthday!
       See, here's how it works. My actual
birthday is on September 17th.  So, six
months after that is March 17th, which
happens to be Saint Patrick's Day.
       Ask a little kid how old he or she is
and you'll often get an answer like..."I'm
4 and a half."
       So I'm thinking....why should the kids
have all the fun?  And what's a half year
among friends?
       So while a majority of celebrants
will be "wearing the green" today maybe
I'll have a slice of cake. Or, maybe, a half
a slice!
        After all, I'm 69 and a half today!!!!!!
        Hope you're always looking for a
reason to celebrate.....and that all of your
NEWS is good!                         

(Half a Birthday Cake)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Turning the other cheek!

  You're suppose to "turn the other cheek."
   So, yesterday, I did.
   I had some skin cancer surgery on my right
cheek about six weeks ago. But while I was
undergoing the treatment I mentioned another
questionable spot on the left side of my face
that I thought should be checked.
   The doctor agreed... although he suggested
the new spot was on the right side while the
one he was treating was on the left.
   I guess it all depends on how you look at
it. Or, in this case, how you look at me.
   It takes time to check these things out
properly. But I really don't mind!
   This doctor has the most comfortable
chair in the world!
   I've actually volunteered to become a
night watchman in his office if I could use
the chair.
   Of course, as he pointed out, I probably
wouldn't do much actual watching once
I got into the chair.
   He says I've the first patient he's ever
had that complained about having to leave
the chair. I think I told you that in an
earlier blog. But (A) it's true. And (B) I'm
still probably under the effect on my
latest anesthesia as I write today's message.
   I'm not hoping for anymore treatments.
   But I would like some excuse to get a
nice nap in his chair!
   Hope you're resting well and that all your
NEWS is good!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Plants or...the Pods?

   Have you heard about all that strange
activity on the sun?
   Big solar flares that can disrupt
communications. Some people even
claim it's the beginning of the end as
indicated by the sudden end to the Mayan
calendar this December!
    But while some of you have been
looking up....I've been looking down!
    Green things are shooting up out of
the ground!
     It all began when the temperatures started a
steady climb above the 45 degree mark.
     Just about the time all that solar stuff
     Kind of reminded me of that 1956 movie
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
     Remember that one. Those "pods"
started showing up everywhere. They
took over people's bodies and
     I've noticed a couple strange
personalities've got to
wonder! A few of them are in or running
for public office!
    My wife has suggested the green things
are tulips and daffodils.
    But I thought the leaves
I left on the ground in the fall would delay
any growth .....especially grass which would,
eventually, have to be mowed over and
over again.
    But green things keep  coming up everywhere.
    And wife has raked up many of
those protective leaves!
    I wonder if I'll have to try to stay awake....
like in the movie? They couldn't get you
unless you fell asleep!
    Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of
people out there who are falling asleep!
    I've seen a couple of drivers who may have
already been replaced by bodies grown in those
    But don't worry. If I don't see flowers soon
I'll start yelling...."They're here!!!"
   Hope the green things popping up in
your yard are just plants...and that all your
NEWS is good!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hy-Yo Dinosawruh!

    The title line is a lyric from the 1960 hit
"Alley Opp" by the Hollywood Argyles.
    It came to mind as I started thinking
about dinosaurs!
    And why, you may ask, was I thinking
about dinosaurs?
    It's actually a logical thought..... sort of.
   But you'll have to try to follow my logic
   It all started when my son mentioned
seeing a movie about Polka King Jan
   In case you don't remember, or never
heard the name, Lewan is a Grammy
nominated showman who went to prison
for his part in a securities scheme.
   Now you may be wondering what Lewan
has to do with dinosaurs.
   I'm glad you asked!
   Before the "Polka King" went to the
pokey he operated a gift shop in Hazleton
where he sold souvenirs from his native
Poland. He gave me something from that
shop many years ago.
   It was a piece of amber with a
mosquito inside!
   Now think back to the movie Jurassic Park!
   Remember how they cloned dinosaurs
from the blood  they took from mosquito's
trapped in amber? See, the mosquito's had
bitten dinosaurs before they got trapped in
the tree sap that became amber.
   So they took the dinosaur's DNA from
the mosquito and implanted it in a frog's
egg to make a dinosaur.
   If modern science would just take a hint
from the movie we could be making
   And maybe my piece of amber would
be valuable!
   I guess that's why dinosaurs have
been on my mind....what else could prompt
those thoughts?
   Hope I've got you thinking about them
too and that all your NEWS is good

Get an Ear full of this!

  I suppose many of you are thinking about
Chester Greenwood today! And rightfully
  Old Chester's invention came in pretty
handy for some of us over the years and
many a mom will be celebrating this
special "holiday" created in his honor!
   What holiday? You mean you didn't
   I thought everybody was aware March
13th is  "Ear Muff Day!"
   Maybe you just didn't hear about it
because your ears were covered?
   It's always observed on March 13th.
   That's the day, in 1877, when Chester
Greenwood patented the "Champion Ear
Protector."  No, I didn't cover that story!
   According to the Holiday insights web
site they became know as ear mufflers and,
later, ear muffs."
   With temperatures predicted near 70
today there's a chance we may not see
too many ear muffs today.
   Yet I've know my wife to carry and
wear a par in mid summer when I've
got the Miata top down and there's a
cool breeze towards dark. Or when I
set the van's air conditioning system
to a level that's comfortable for me
but too cold for her!
    If you see anyone wearing ear
muffs today you should probably
congratulate them for their knowledge
of history and the importance of this
anniversary. You should then see if
you can get them help!
    I think Chester would be glad to
know his invention has survived and
prospered over the least in
some climates!
    Hope you won't be needing your
ear muffs for awhile and that all your
NEWS is good!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's About Time!

   OK. If you followed the instructions you
got up at 2am yesterday morning and set all
of your clocks one hour ahead!
   That's 2am Sunday!
   So, today, you should be trying to figure
out why your body clock hasn't made the
   We've got about 5 clocks in our house.
    Two of them are built into DVD units.
    I used to spend a lot of time trying to
remember what buttons I had to hold and
push to reset those clocks.
     Then, somewhere along the line, I
figured out they were programmed to
reset themselves!
     How do they do that? I mean, we've
even changed the start and finish dates
for daylight savings time. But the units
still know when to change.
     Hold on.....One of my units dosen't
know how to do that! I'll have to find
the instructions.
     Then there's those clocks in your
car! I've got three vehicles and none
of the clocks reset the same way.
      By the time I get them adjusted
they're at least two minutes behind!
     Guess I shouldn't complain.
     I spotted some workers in
Pittston trying to get their street
corner clock back in place.
    It's the size of a commercial washing
    After 12 years it needed some
maintenance and a paint job.
     They had to lift it with a crane,
reconnect the power, then bolt it
in place.
      After all that work I pointed out
that all for of the clock's faces were
displaying the wrong time! (Unless
you're reading this at 6 o'clock!)
      I was told the clock will adjust
itself automatically!
      I'll be checking to make sure it's
right. Of course I can't check it against
any of my car clocks because each of
those is about 3 minutes off!
     Hope you got a nap to make up
for that missing hour and that all your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Beep=Beep!" I'm "Cruising" again!

   I can go cruising again! And, if you pull
out in front of me, I can blow my horn!
   Yep! I ordered the part my son told me
to get a couple days ago. On Friday he
came up, installed the part, and put my
dash board back together.
    The part in question controls, among
other things, the horn and my cruise control.
    It turned out to be an exciting
    See, here's the thing.....the guy who
had the car before me put in these neat
little red lights under the dash and under
the front seats.
    When you turn on the headlights, these
little red lights cast their soft glow on the
floor. It's kind of like those red lights they
turn on in all the submarine movies when
they're under water.
    Anyhow, the wires for those little red
lights were kind of hidden here and there.
     And, as my son pointed out, none of the
wires were connected to any fuses!
     So, as he replaced the screws that hold
the dash in place one of them apparently
cut into one of the wires for the little red
    My son could tell there was something
wrong. He's had extensive training on
12 volt electrical systems.  Besides, it was
hard not to notice the smoke that was
filling the cabin!
    So.......he took the dash apart.......again
and either detached (or ripped out)  the
troublesome wire before it could burn
down my van!
    That's pretty good work when you're
jammed between the dash, the seats, and
the floor and fumes are filling your lungs!
    Knowing that I kind of liked the little
red lights he's decided to wire them
    And, until he gets the wires and fuses,
I'll be able to use my cruise control and
"beep" my horn anytime I want!
   I may just have to keep the windows
down awhile to clear the air inside.
   Little red light wires make lots of smoke
when they're melting!
   Maybe we should have told him they
were hidden in there?
   Hope you're "wired right" and that all
your NEWS is good!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your.......W2s?"

   A funny thing happened to me during my walk
in West Pittston yesterday!
   I spotted the Statue of Liberty!
   It threw me for just a minute because I was
pretty sure the statue was in New York Harbor.
   In fact, I remember sailing around it during a
visit to the Big Apple two years ago.
   Besides everybody knows the Statue of Liberty
is big! 151feet 1 inch tall as I recall! (I didn't
really "recall" that. I looked it up.)
   The one in West Pittston was more like 5'10.
   And it was alive!
   Wow! Just imagine. A chance to meet and
talk with the Statue of Liberty. Or a reasonable
facsimile anyway.
   This one was welcoming huddled masses
yearning to get their income taxes done at
the Liberty Tax preparation office.
   And guess what! This was no "Lady Liberty."
   It was a guy in sheep's, or in this case Statue
of Liberty's, clothing!
   He seemed pretty friendly as he waved to all
the cars that were passing by.
   I asked if people waved back. He said some
did while others acknowledged him in a not so
friendly fashion. He just took those in stride.
   The real Statue of Liberty has always stood
for opportunity. And this young man saw the
chance to wear the costume as an opportunity
too. It's part time work...just four hours a day.
Only till mid April and in all kinds of weather!
    But he says he's happy to have the work while
he searches for something more permanent.
    This guy may be wearing a costume and
dancing near the street....but I think his outlook
is as "American" as they come!
    I hope he's successful and that all his, and
your, NEWS is good!