Monday, April 30, 2012

You've Got To Accentuate The Positive!

   I saw faces on the Mountain yesterday.
   Before you get ahead of me it wasn't
Mt. Rushmore! I expect to see those
faces a little later this year.
    No, this wasn't Mt. Rushmore. In fact
it wasn't even a mountain in the traditional
    It was a mountain of coal waste just
outside of Hazleton.
    And it's interesting to see that some
people have found a way to turn this
huge pile of "dirt" into a recreational
     Without questioning the legality of
their activity I must say the group of
All Terrain Vehicle riders I saw have
found a way to use this environmental
eyesore as entertainment.
     It brought to mind a family I came
across years ago while covering the
underground mine fire that has turned
the Columbia County community of
Centralia into a ghost town.
     With travel trailer in tow the family
was traveling along Route 61 working
it's way to Lancaster. The driver stopped
to ask me if he was heading in the right
direction. I explained that he was....but
then asked if he knew where he was at that
      When he said he did not I told him
the story about Centralia and the
evacuation of nearly every citizen who
used to live there.
       For the next hour I watched as the
family drove up and down the remaining
streets looking at what was left of the
homes there and searching for signs of
the smoke from the mine fire.
       My point is simply this. There are
a lot of "negative" things around us. But
viewed from a different perspective you've
got to wonder if some of those things
could be turned into assets rather than
        Suppose, for instance, the state
offered tours of Centralia with trained
guides, perhaps area natives, that could
tell the dramatic story of that town.
        Maybe "King Coal" could make a
comeback that won't leave us all
burned up?
        Hope you're looking for the
"positives" and that all your NEWS is

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wide World of Sports!

  ABC's Wide World of Sports set a lot of
standards for sports over the years! If you
recall it "spanned the globe" to bring you
all kinds of sports activities.
  Well...they could have just followed our
family around yesterday and put a whole
program together!
   While we didn't span the globe we did
manage to show up in two counties and
one other state as my wife and I, my son,
and all four grand kids spent a typical
"family Saturday" engaged in all kinds
of competition!
    One grand daughter made her first
official team appearance on the soccer
    Another took her gymnastic and
tumbling skills to West Virginia to
   My son and grand son completed a
BMX race postponed by rain last week
then signed on for a second round as
this week's motos got started.
   My wife, grandson and I were back
on a challenging miniature golf course
and threw in a game of pool for good
   Like ABC's Wide World we got a
chance to witness the "Thrill of
Victory" and the "Agony of Defeat."
   My grand daughter took a second
place in "Sinc" competition in West
Virginia and my grandson took a
second in his first BMX race of the
   That said, he and my son had close
races....but "no cigar" in the evening's
final motos while my grand daughter's
soccer team got shut out in its first
game of the season.
    I won't tell you who won
the mini golf game because it might
seem like I'm boasting. I will tell
you that my grandson hit a shot from
off the "fairway" that hit a rock and
bounced into the hole. I have to
tell you or he will!
   Of course, like they always say,
it isn't if you win or's how
you played the game. In that respect
we all came out winners.....especially
me because I took the pool game one ball!
   Hope you're in the game and that
all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

If You Open...They Will Come!

   The tiny town of Lattimer is known,
if you know it at all, for two things!
   The Lattimer Massacre and Fierro's
   You can see the monument to the
19 striking coal miners shot down by
Sheriff's deputies in 1897 any time you
   But if you want any of the meats or
baked goods prepared in house at
Fierro's Market you've got a five hour
window one day a week!
    We showed up an hour before
opening yesterday and had our pick
of parking spots in the empty lot.
    35 minutes later the lot was
filled as was the small store the minute
the shades went up and the door was
   A list of the day's offerings was
hand drawn on a board set out on the
small porch.
   It included hot dogs, But that was
probably erased after 20 pounds were
sold in the first 5 minutes!
   Other "goodies" included Pennsylvania
Dutch Chicken Soup, Sausage &
Mushrooms, Stuffed Shells, Rice
Pudding, Spinach Quiche, and Cooked
Bacon to name just a few.
   And that list did not include the
huge Cream Puffs or assorted cookies
and pies on the shelves inside!
    With no offense intended to the
fine people of Lattimer, this shop is
in the middle of nowhere but fills
its narrow aisle with customers who
pile in for a chance to buy products
between Noon and 5 every Friday!
    You've got to take a number!
    I think we came for hot dogs but
the last thing I remember was
lugging a cardboard box filled with
samples of several products advertised
on that board outside the shop!
    I managed to get a couple of Cream
Puffs in there too! They did not make
it home!
    I'm sure it takes a day or two to
prepare all those items. But with
only five hours to sell them they must
have a heck of a good weekend!
    Hope your fridge is full and that all
your NEWS is good!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Please pass the biscuits!

  You see a lot of things when you're
walking! New things are always
impressive.....especially when those
"new things" are improvements to
"old things!"
  It's been about 61 years since workers
reported to the Hitchner Biscuit Company
in West Pittston. But there seemed to be
a full crew on the job when I walked by
the old building yesterday!
   Of course the guys I saw weren't
bakers although I did get the feeling
there's a lot of "dough" involved in their
efforts! And I was right!
    United Neighborhood Centers is
investing nearly six million dollars to
convert the old factory into an apartment
complex! That's a lot of biscuits!
    While the building is being
transformed, I'm kind of hoping some
effort might be made to maintain it's
history by reviving some of the
lettering that's been left behind on
the brick facade outside.
    It's faded a lot since the days when
the odor of fresh baked biscuits spread
throughout the neighborhood. But you
can still make out the company name
and logo.
     It was kind of neat to see some of
the construction workers on the job.
Especially those with their lunch box.
    You just had to wonder if any of them
brought biscuits to go with their bologna!
    Hope you're into preservation........
pickles or properties......and that all you
NEWS is good!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Forgetting my Anniversary!

  Where did the last year go!
  If somebody were to ask me that question
I would answer "West."
  Anyhow April 22nd came and went and
I completely forget it was my anniversary!
  No..........not my wedding anniversary!
  My Blog anniversary!
  April 22, 2011 was the date when I
decided to give blogging a try. In that
first attempt I wrote....."I do find myself with
an opinion I'd like to share from time to time
even if it's some of the nonsense that's entered
my world since I retired."
   In keeping with that philosophy I think I
should point out that we do have a couple
of important dates to celebrate today!
   First....this is National Pretzel Day!
  According to the web Pretzel's date back
to 610AD. I'm not sure I'd want to eat one
quite that old.
   It's easy to celebrate! a pretzel!
   Of course April 26th is also "Richter Scale
Day."  It's the day we mark the birth of
Charles Richter the seismologist who came
up with the scale by which we measure the
strength of earthquakes!
   I'm not exactly sure how we're suppose
to celebrate that one!
   It's also "Hug an Australian Day!"
   The "hug" should be easy. The problem
is finding an Australian! Good luck.
   Finally the forth Thursday in April is
"Take Your Daughter To Work Day."
   This could be tricky...especially if you
don't have a daughter. Many you can borrow
one for the day!
   In my case I'm "retired" and it's my
daughters who are at work so I'm not sure
how that's suppose to work out.
   Now that wealth of knowledge and
information should take me off the hook
for missing my anniversary!
   Of course there's another one coming
up this Sunday and if I miss that one I
WILL be in trouble!!!!!! Just ask my
   Hope you remember all the important
dates and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Larry, Curly and Moe!

  We went to see Three Stooges yesterday.
  We really liked the movie!
  The new Larry, Curly, and Moe did all
the nutty things you expected from that
famous trio!
   But there were the other two trios we
came across!
   They were at our polling place!
   The first three were waiting to greet all
of the people who showed up to vote.
    A lot of people say the economy is
a big issue for candidates this year.
   I guess they're right. Even though
there were three guys we only got one
of those hand out cards asking for our vote.
   Ironically it wasn't for the party
with which I'm registered.
   Three more folks awaited us at
the table where we sign in.
    They all knew me from television.
    One even discussed the special
show I put together on area
connections to the Titanic. We
discussed the program a bit.......then
they asked for my photo ID!
     Fortunately I had one that
showed my picture so they were
able to match it.... to my face... and
the image of the "me" they had
recently watched on TV.
    Good thing I had it!
    I don't mind the idea of a photo
   But if the "officials" know who you
are..... how does a picture help?
   Guess it was a good thing I didn't
have a photo of somebody else.....
like Larry, Curly, or Moe!
   Hope you have a picture of
yourself so you can prove you're
you....and that all your NEWS
is good! (Yuck, yuck, yuck!)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Muddy Out There!

  The Governor called me yesterday.
  I haven't talked with Tom Corbett since he
was the State Attorney General and I was a
reporter for WYOU TV.
   I thought he might be calling to tell me
why he missed our lecture on Titanic at
the State Museum on Sunday. I know
his wife had planned to be there.
   But that wasn't the case. Seems they
had to be out on the "campaign trail."
   Tom's call, which turned out to be a
recording (surprise, surprise). was made
to convince me that I ought to vote
for a particular candidate during
today's primary election. I heard from
a couple actual candidates in similar
fashion. It's the only time I've
actually heard from them.....and that
includes the incumbents.
    I'm not sure who convinced the
Governor,or any of the candidates or
their supporters, that calling my home
was a good idea.  It's NOT!
Especially when the
calls always seem to come at a time
when I'm busy doing something.
     I will give the Governor credit
for simply stating his support of the
candidate in question as opposed to
slinging mud at the "opposition."
    Generally speaking this Primary
campaign has been so dirty I'm not even
sure I can use the ads in the newspaper
to line the bottom of our bird cage! 
    Maybe I can substitute those hand
outs from our polling place!
    Our bird talks a bit....but I don't
think he can read!
    Hope your vote counts and that all
your NEWS is good!


Monday, April 23, 2012

My Night At The Museum! (One Day)

  Actually my "night" at the museum was really
during the day! But, since I and my friends
were there to talk about Pennsylvania
connections of the sinking of the Titanic I
suppose you could call it a "Night to Remember"
during a daytime presentation!
   Bill Lewis, who authored a book on
Wilkes-Barre bound Titanic passengers, Mae
Thomas, and Dolores Elias, who had
relatives on the doomed ship, and I were
invited to the State Museum of Pennsylvania
in Harrisburg yesterday to tell our stories to
an audience of about 200 people.
  But we also got some time to look around
the place.What we saw was pretty
amazing. And if you live in Pennsylvania
it all belongs to you!
  There's the full skeleton of a Mastodon
which was unearthed in the Poconos a few
years ago.
   There's a Piper Cub. The small airplane
produced in Lycoming County for  many years.
    Think electric cars are new? The State
Museum has a huge all electric delivery
truck  that drove the streets many many
years ago. And a drum from the battle of
Gettysburg complete with bullet holes from
the battle!
     If, like in the movie, exhibits here came
to life after hours...this would be an
exciting place to be.
     In is anyway!
     And I know.  After all, I was an
"exhibit" if only for a couple of hours!
     Hope you  get a chance to visit and that
all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mauled! (make that Malled!)

  I was lured to the Mall yesterday!
  My visits there are usually confined to
Christmas season when the certainty of
finding a Hickory Farm kiosk mandates
an annual stop.
   This time I was double teamed by my
wife and daughter who managed to find
a newspaper article about an exhibit of
remote control aircraft which was set
up in the midst of all the shops.
    It was, in fact, a delightful display
with many very impressive models and
a group of RC  Pilots most willing to
share information about the sport.
    I would have been most content to
stay on that landing strip for awhile.
   But all too soon, as I feared, I found
myself wandering through shops checking
on non flying machines like crock pots
and the like.
   We found ourselves with some sort of
discount coupon we got from some ladies
who were giving them out in return for a
donation  to  their Dog Training Club.
   They had a poodle that can catch a ball!
   I can do that too. But not in my mouth.
   Window shopping or "just looking"
is not my thing. So, with grand son in
hand  we searched for a place to
escape the rush of people heading in and
out of stores and up and down the isles.
   We found it, as I'm sure many other
men have who have been dragged to the
Mall  over the years.
    We found it in the form of a bench
right smack dab in the middle of those
isles. Some wonderful person, very
likely a man, has set them up throughout
the place. And when you see them
occupied ...they are usually occupied by
men! And I know how they feel!
    Hope you find a bench when you
need it and that all your NEWS is

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Cat In The.....Nope, not Hat!

 (With apologies to Dr Seuss!)

 You should be alert when you're walking
the street.
  You may hear or see something that's
often quite neat!
   Like the dog I heard barking very near
where I stood. 
   I thought I might see him.
   But I just never could.
   Instead as I looked at a building
   I saw something else that, there, caught
my eye!
   It wasn't a dog.  I'm sure about that!
   Upstairs in a window
   there sat a black cat!
   He's a bit hard to spot.
   I'll admit that is true.
   But don't look at the ground floor.
   You'll find him on two.
    Search the photo I'm sending
    to see if you see.......
    that cat staring out......
    perhaps right at me!
    But why look out that window
    on the old second floor?
    That's easy my friends......
    He can't see out the door!
    Hope your cat has a good view
   and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Perfect Pizza!

  There are all kinds of Pizza places around
our area. And everyone claims to have the
best pizza.
   It reminds me of a cartoon I saw in the
old MAD Magazine a whole lot of years
   It showed a fairly nice Pizza place with
a sign that read something like..."Joe's
Pizza, Best Pizza in the Country!" The
building right next door was a bit more
modern and two stories high. The sign in
that establishment's window read..."Sam's
Pizza, Best Pizza in the world!"
   Immediately next door was a beautiful
just built multi story building with
flashing lights and colors and an
illuminated sign that read..."Bills Pizza,
Best Pizza in the Universe!"
   And right next door was a run down
shack with broken windows, a lot of
dust and a hand made sign that read....
"Tony's Pizza..Best Pizza on the Block!"
   I never met a pizza that I didn't like.
   And usually we like to eat it at one
of the many Pizza Parlors around town or,
in our case, as far away as Port Jervis,
New York or Mystic, Conn!
   That said, my wife and I have been
enjoying one brand that we pick up
at the local grocery store and heat in
our oven. That "store bought" pizza
can be just as good as anything we've
had on the road...IF it's baked just
   After much experimentation I now
know exactly when our pizza is
ready. And it's simple. My wife puts
it in the over....sets it to some
recommended temperature. Then I
wait....till I hear the call....of the
smoke detectors! When they go off
I know it's ready. It never fails.
  A little pepperoni, some tasty
red sauce, and a bit of smoke!
  How can you beat that receipt?
  Hope you're trying all the
toppings and that all your NEWS
is good!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

High Five Guys!

  Give yourself a big fact two
big hands..... if you know what we're
celebrating today!
   Today, my friends, is "National High
Five Day!"  And I just found out about
it. You probably already knew didn't
   According to
the "High Five" is a celebratory slapping of
hands atop raised arms. It's been a standard
for celebration of sporting victories, special
event, competitions and many other activities
for decades.
   Basketball players are said to have started
the "High Five celebration" which may be
why I never used it very much. I wasn't
very good at the game and probably
couldn't reach high enough to meet the other
guy's hand.
    High Fives date back to 1977. But three
University of Virgina college students are
credited with creating "National High Five
Day." Congress had nothing to do with it.
But, then again,  when have you every seen
your Congressman giving High Fives anyway?
Most don't even talk to each other!
    So make sure you run up to some folks
today with your right arm high in the
air and your palm open! You might also
consider yelling "High Five" as you do so
they don't think you're just crazy.
   That way they'll also know you're not
a member of Congress.
    Hope you get some High Fives today and
that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wild Blue Yonder!

  I like airplanes and flying!
  Over my many years as a reporter
I've had the chance to hit the "Wild
Blue Yonder" a whole lot of times!
   I said "Yes" to an invitation to
take the controls of the Met Life
Blimp for a few minutes.
   It may have been the same one
that crashed in Georgia in 2002.
   Snoppy must have been at the
controls that time! I didn't have
any problems.

  I joined the only Sea Plane
Instructor in our part of Pennsylvania
for a flight in a rare Piper Cub Seaplane.
I remember him telling me what to do
with the controls if he happen to fall
into the water while hand spinning the
propeller to start the engine! I'm so glad he

  I was so much of a "regular" in
Chopper 22 that our "Captain", Bob
Globa, considered me his Co-Pilot.

   I actually took a  training flight
in an aircraft belonging to the Aircraft
Owners and Pilot's Association for a
story I was doing. I even got my own
Log Book with credit for an hour
instruction recorded there for all to see!

    All that said I found it a bit
disconcerting to watch as a small
"fighter plane" seemed to be diving
at me yesterday afternoon!  I suppose
I could have defended myself with a
well placed rock.
    But, as I quickly discovered, his
actual target was a rather large brush
fire burning in the woods about a mile
from my place. And, in this case, the
airplane was specially designed to
drop large quantities of water on

  I'm extremely happy his drop was
on target!  I had the top down in the
Miata and I don't think my portable
umbrella would have been of much
  Hope you're high and dry...and that all your
NEWS is good!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Doggone Traffic!

  The photo included with today's Blog isn't
mine. But it's a reasonable facsimile of what I
saw while driving into Kingston yesterday
   I did have a camera. But getting to it fast
enough was virtually impossible. Besides that
using it while driving would have been both
dangerous and, in this case, hypocritical!
   I couldn't see the driver operating the car
just in front of
it couldn't be!
   The head protruding from the driver's side
window was that of a small white dog!
    It was large enough, however, to completely
block the rear view mirror on that side of the
car. The dog seemed to be looking to the far
left anyway so maybe he didn't need the
   I've heard some dog lovers claim their pet
is like one of the family. But, personally, I
think allowing one to borrow the car is going
just a little too far!
    It's bad enough to be slowed down by traffic
lights! Who needs the distraction of fire
hydrants too?!
    The more I think of it I suppose there was
a licensed (Driver's license that is) driver
inside the car somewhere. I just couldn't
see him or her. And I had to wonder if he
or she could see me with "Old Shep"
perched on his or her lap! Somehow I
doubted it! Of course there's the possibility
this K9 was a "Seeing Eye Dog."
   Even if that was the case I don't really
like the idea of a dog, or any other pet for
that matter, sharing the pilot's seat in an
   I guess I should just be happy it wasn't
Texting during the trip!
   Hope you're dog has a license and that
all of your NEWS is good!

Monday, April 16, 2012


      I and friends and family took advantage
of the good weather and played some golf
yesterday! We figured we'd mark the
Titanic anniversary by sinking a few putts!
      Two of my grand kids joined my wife,
me, and two close friends for the round. I
know foursomes are more common. But
it's early in the season and the course we
choose wasn't crowded at all.
       It's been quite a while since I picked
up a club and I noticed some changes.
       The holes, for instance, must be
deeper now! I noticed it was much
harder than it used to be to reach down
to retrieve the ball! It hurts my back!
        It took quite awhile to walk the course.
That's partly because there were six of us
and partly because my grand daughter
would occasionally stop to play with the
sand in the sand traps!
        Golf can be a dangerous game. That's
especially true when your grandson tries
a chip shot over an obstruction and you're
standing anywhere ahead of his shot!
         I didn't do too terribly bad
considering my long absence from the
game. I believe I finished with a 76 after
18 holes.
         There are, however, two other things
you should probably know. First, I came in
5th. was miniature golf!
         Hope you're feeling up to Parr and
that all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic Tib Bits!

   The 100th anniversary of the TITANIC
disaster is getting a lot of attention and I've
been smack dab in the middle of some of
    As reported in this blog yesterday I
joined author Bill Lewis, and relatives
of two Titanic survivors at a book signing
on Friday.
    Last night I told the stories of area
Titanic passengers to about two dozen
people at the New Life Community Church
in Mountaintop.
    We'll tell those stories again this week
as the Luzerne County Historical Society
remembers the "Night To Remember!"
    All this interest is...well...interesting!
    Some one on Facebook asked how many
other ships sank over the last hundred years.
And why, they asked, was the Titanic the
one that gets all the attention?
     There were plenty of other ships that
went down, some with a far worse loss of
     Maybe Titanic is remembered because
we all know the story of the ship and the
stories of many of its passengers! That
almost makes it personal!
     Books about Titanic have been selling
for the past 100 years and still more are
being published. The first movie about
the disaster came out within weeks of the
sinking and starred Dorothy Gibson, a part
time actress who was rescued from the
the ship!
     James Cameron's 1997 "Titanic"
has been re-released in 3D.  It's so
popular that people are still leaving flowers
and movie ticket stubs at the "Titanic" grave
of J. Dawson in Halifax, Nova Scotia!  People
think it's the grave of Jack Dawson from the
movie. But he doesn't exist! The grave is
that of Joseph Dawson, a Titanic crew
    I've seen dozens of Titanic TV specials
and Titanic movies. I'm watching another
new one on ABC as I write this blog while
TCM runs "A Night To Remember from
    We keep watching even though we all
know the specials and the movies all end
the same way!!! If you haven't see any of
them don't read this.............(THE  TITANIC
    They did try to bring it back up once!
    The 1980 movie"Raise the Titanic" was
filmed before Robert Ballard discovered
the two pieces!
     I'm glad to see all the interest. Titanic
is a part of our history It and its passengers
deserve to be remembered.
    I hope you do and that all of your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Surviving the signing of Titanic!

   Nope...I don't mean the "sinking" of Titanic!
   I mean the "signing!"
   A good friend of mine, Bill Lewis, has just
published a book about all of the passengers on
the RMS Titanic who were headed to Wilkes-
Barre, Pennsylvania!
    In fact 15 of the ship's passengers listed
Wilkes-Barre as their final destination.
    Bill's book included the stories of Mae
Thomas' mother and Dolores Elias' grand
mother and two uncles, all of whom escaped
the sinking ship.
    And I made the book too! My involvement
involved some reporter-type detective work
that reunited Mae Thomas' mother with
another Titanic survivor who saved her
child the night of the sinking.
    So, Bill invited Mae, and Dolores, and me
to a "book signing" at the Luzerne County
Historical Society Museum last night.
    Now as a broadcaster for over 50 years
I've signed a few autographs from time to
time. Little did I know what we were in for!
    The line began to form at 5 o'clock!
    Within minutes that line was down one
flight of stairs and out the front door!
     We finally stopped signing right around
    My thumb and fingers are still frozen as
though holding a pen!
    After 90 or so books I found my
signature becoming less
least to me. I'm sure Bill, Mae, and Dolores
are .....if you'll excuse the expression......
"in the same boat!"
     It's nice to know so many people are
interested in local people who have
connections to the Titanic saga. I'm just
hoping they don't think I was there
because I covered the event!
    Hope you'll get a chance to read the
book, meet Mae and Dolores, and that
all your NEWS is good!

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Big Brother" IS Watching!

     I choose a nearby back country road
for my walk yesterday.
     There's very little traffic. At least in
the morning. You can literally walk
along on the side of the road. In fact
you have to!
      There's too much liter along the
berm to have sure footing.
      Either there's a lot more traffic later
in the day or there's a hole in a garbage
truck that uses this route!
      So there I am, the empty roadway
the litter and me and then I see........a
      It's set up on a curve where the berm
is wide enough to park a tractor trailer.
But it's still in the middle of the woods.
      The sign warns those who take the
time to read it that the area is being
monitored by video cameras 24 hours
a day!
       I spotted what looked like a video
camera box across the road mid way up
a utility pole.
       I guess it's one of those "Big
Brother" things?
       I'm not quite sure why anybody
would want to watch this particular
spot. It's not particularly attractive.
       I suppose it could have been set
up as a deterrent to dumping. But if that's
the case it's not working because there's
trash on the site.
       Anyhow I didn't want to disappoint
somebody who might be sitting in a
monitoring booth somewhere or who has
to come and check the video recording
every so often.
       So I waved at the camera.......and took
my own picture of the site and it!
       If you're the person working the camera
I hope you like the picture.
       If you're just reading the blog I hope you'll
feel like you've been there and that all your
NEWS is good!