Saturday, June 30, 2012

History.... in the Movies!

    I know I've mentioned it before. But I'm
really impressed with the number of movies
that are  "Based on a true story" or "actual
    That's why I'm somewhat surprised that
the latest flick we took in DID NOT lay
claim to its historical connections!
     Personally I think they missed the boat!
    Yesterday two of our friends, my wife
and I walked into a theater showing
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
    Well, to be honest, we sort of made a
"mistake" and went through that theater's
door instead of the exit after having seen
another feature in a nearby auditorium!
    After get a double feature at
the Drive Ins don't you?
    Anyhow there we were. And there
were all kinds of historical ties in the
    There was Lincoln and Douglas.
    Although the writers may have taken
a little license by suggesting that Mary
Todd went with Stephen before teaming
up with Abe.
     There was the slavery issue that showed
up over and over in the story line.
     And there was the battle of Gettsburg!
     And who's to say if any of those
rebels were actually vampires killed by
the silver bullets Lincoln himself provided?
     Of course, admittedly, that stretches
history a bit because, as we all know, you
use wooden stakes against vampires...not
silver bullets! (Those are for werewolves!)
     I guess I can't honestly reccomend this
one to history buffs  since they had Abe
weilding an ax. As we all know it was
George Washington who used the ax to
chop down the Cherry tree.
     But if you can forgive a slight miscue
like that I can tell you the air conditioning
was working very well in that auditorium
so it was an effective place to stay cool
while outside temperatures hit 90 degrees!
     Too bad we missed the 3D version!!!!
     Hope you've got some garlic salt for
your popcorn and that all your NEWS is

Friday, June 29, 2012

"SMILE"...You know what today is!

  It's June 29th and that means it's "Camera Day!"
  After all my years in television I've seen my share
of cameras. Actually, I was a camera buff well before
my TV days. I got that from my Dad who was always
taking pictures. He and I used to develope our own
film! (You'll have to explain the term "film" to any
younger readers!)
   Cameras have changed a lot over the years!
   In television the poor photographers used to have
to lug around big heavy units and battery belts to
supply power to the light they needed when
shooting inside.
    One of our stringer photographers back at the
old WDAU made quite an impression when his
battery belt shorted out and caught on fire while
he was wearing it! It's the only time I remember
a fire coming to a cameraman instead of a
cameraman going to a fire! He wasn't
injured....just embarrased.
     I carry a very cheap (and that term seems
appropriate in many ways) camera when I go
walking. I have it just in case I see something
interesting for the blog!
    I got some great shots during one stroll
only to drop the camera and have the
batteries fall out when I got home. Of course as
soon at those batteries hit the deck all of the
photos were lost.
    They used a real neat camera on me while I
was in the hospital. It was an "Ultrasound"
device with which they could actually see
inside my chest.
     I got a little excited when I saw the immage.
     It looked like I might be having  Quadruplets!
     Turns out it was my heart and there are 4
separate chambers! Each was kicking away....and
that's a good thing!
      They said they needed that video so it's a
good thing their batteries didn't fall out!
       These days there are cameras everywhere.
       I can actually go to my computer and
switch on a so-called Web Cam to look in on
the city of Lucerne in Switzerland!
        I can punch up any one of a number of
PennDot cameras and check traffic on the
Interstate (I think I saw you going a little
fast the other day!).
        You can even go to Goggle or some other
sites and get a satellite photo of your house!
        So make sure you're dressed properly!
        Hope you get the picture, enjoy your
photo memories, and that all your NEWS is

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free At Last...Free At Last!

   Well dear friends my hospital sentence...that
hospital stay is over!
    I "danced" in Monday to get some potential heart
problems checked out and "crawled" out today with
a clean bill of heart health...but feeling like I've been
run over by a truck!
    Some additional tests will be coming up in the near
future to try to improve mt breathing a bit. But, for
now, I'll just try to get some rest.
    That may be easier now that I'm now awaken every
few hours to take blood pressure and samples.
    But I can't say my stay was all negative.
    The hospital had an  eccellent nursing staff that really
seemed to care about the patients! At least that was
true in my case! And I met some great doctors and
medical technicians too!
    Of course the best part is all the stuff I got to take
    In addition to the bandages and tape I used up I
got to keep tooth paste, a tooth brush, mouth wash,
body lotion, a neat plastic ontainer, and some little
socks with special pads so you don't slip on the
floor! You'd think I had won prizes on a game
    They even validated our ticket at the Hospital
parking garage!
    How can you beat a deal like that?
    Now for the hardest part! I'm going to start
trying to rip the bandages off my arms and
hands! If you hear a short scream it will probably
just be me! Just ignor it!
    Hope all your bandaids are still in your medician
cabnit and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


  Talk about a challenge!
  I'm writing this blog flat on my back, the
laptop balanced in a straight up and down
position, an IV in my left hand, and a 10
pound sandbag on my leg!
  For those of you who just tune in
occasionally, I' was admitted to the
hospital after having three breathing
problem incidents that suggested the
possibility of a heart blockage.
   I waited all day Tuesday for my turn
to get a heart catheterization test. You
can't eat before that so you can
imagine how hungry I was by the time
I was wheeled in at about 4:30!
   The good news is I have no
   But after the test you've got to lay
flat on you back for at least 4 hours
without movin the leg used for the
   I can't sleep on my back for more
than about 10 minutes usually so
this was a tough task.
   Then there's the matter of going
to the bathroom. Hospitals do
provide special equipment for
this necessity but I preferred to
hold out for the more formal (and
private) facility.
    So after 4 hours in my prison
camp like position I pressed the
call button. summoned my nurse.
and announced that I had served my
   She helped me to my feet and
I made my way to the sanctuary.
   Minutes later I began this blog
and, at the same time, noticed the
pain in my leg!
   Seems 4 hours didn't quite do it
so here I am..flat on my back.
an IV in my left hand, the laptop
balanced on my belly, and with a
10 pound sandbag on my leg.
    Looks like I'm "on hold" again
for a few hours.
   Well at least the wind is at my
back (you know these hospital
    Hope you're comfortable and
that all your NEWS is good!

(Not mine!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

At The Resort!

   That's me you folks....right here in the "Lap
Of Luxury!"
   I'm relaxed. I just had a fantastic lunch (of
course it was 18 hours since my last bite),
there's a color TV close at hand, my cell
phone and a "land line" are inches away and
I've got people waiting on me!
  Great resort right?
  Well, almost. Actually, I'm in the hospital!
  "The Last Resort!"
  I was suppose to be in all weekend but I
escaped in spite of doctor's recommendations.
(And,I suppose, those stemmed in part from
their attorney's recommendations).
  I'm not big on hospitals. I wasn't even born
in one.
   But I've had a couple of problems over the
past couple of weeks that require a
50,000 mile check up. OK. So, in
my case it's more of a ten million mile check
up. They're already tested my oil a couple of
times and are planning to check out my engine
sometime Tuesday..
   Unfortunately my warranty expired a long
time ago. We'll have to see if I can get an
   I'll keep you posted as long as they allow me
to keep my laptop close by.
   Meanwhile, be well, and here's hoping
all our NEWS is good!

National Catfish Day!

  June  25th is National Catfish Day!
  I'll bet you almost missed this one! But there's
still time. Call in sick, get the rod and reel and
head out to hook your dinner! can just go to a place like Cracker
Barrel and order your Catfish right from the
  And before you start thinking this is just some
kind of "Fish Story" let me fill you in.
   Just check the Federal records for
Proclamation 5672 fro 1987! 
   On June 25th of that year President Ronald
Reagan began his Presidential Proclamation
with the words...."More and more Americans
are discovering a uniquely American food raised catfish." A later
portion of that proclamation called upon the
people of this country to observe the day....
"with appropriate ceremonies and  activities."
    I'm not exactly sure what kind of
ceremonies or activities you......or anybody
else.....has scheduled for today.
   I still think fishing might qualify as an
appropriate observance. Although I don't
think you'd be allowed to do that at a
"Catfish Farm."
   But we're always told  "it's the thought that
counts." So maybe a catfish from a lake or
river would be acceptable?
   I just saw some in Lake Seneca the other
day but I didn't realize the "holiday" was
coming up so soon!
   Who says the government never gets anything
   Hoe you've got your "Gone Fishing Sign"
ready and that all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's Not Just For Lincoln!

   This, being the last Sunday in June, is National
Log Cabin Day! But you probably already knew
   It was created by the Log Cabin Society and the
"Bad Ax Historical Society" in Michigan back in
   Now when most folks thing about log cabins
they usually think about President Abe Lincoln
who, we are told, was born in one.
   Interestingly, in 1883 they disassembled
Lincoln's family cabin and shipped it to
Chicago to be put on display for the World's
Colombian Exposition. Turns out it was lost
after the Exposition closed! It it wasn't used for
firewood somebody may still be living in it
   There's a log cabin in our family history too.
   My great Uncle Charley Goyne, my Mom's
Uncle, was a gold miner in Alaska!
   Modern records of his claim indicate the
"remains of a cabin" can still be found at the
site. We're lucky enough to have a photo of
him, standing in front of the cabin.
    He mined the site for several years, also
worked on the docks, and finally settled
in the small community of Saint John's, just
outside Hazleton.
   He choose to live a small cabin!
   Surprise, surprise!
   That one wasn't log. But it was close enough
to suit him!
    I'll be thinking about Uncle Charlie on this
National Log Cabin Day.
   I'll remember how he used to tell me there was
a million dollars worth of gold in his mine...but
it would have cost two million to get it out! Of
course gold is worth a lot more today than it was
   Some of me would like to go to his old claim,
rebuild the cabin and get he rest of that gold out.
   The other part of me remembers how Uncle
Charlie would always say he was "Smart enough
to know how dumb I am."
    So, knowing nothing about building log cabins
and little more about mining for gold I guess I'll
just stay put, enjoy this "unusual Holiday," and with my grand kid's Lincoln
    Hope your home is solid, whatever it's made
from, and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"AGNES" and ME

   Today marks the 40th anniversary of the 1972
Tropical Storm Agnes Flood that caused an
estimated Billion dollars damage in northeastern
    I "cut my teeth" as a newsman during that
disaster while serving as both a reporter and the
Public Information Officer for Luzerne County
Civil Defense.
    Now I'm getting to relive the experiences!
    It's much better as "history!"
    My old friend Brian Hughes called the other
day to ask if I would recount my memories of
"Agnes" in an interview for his "Sunday
Magazine" program. for Cumulus media.
     The Hoyt Library invited me to discuss the
flood before a live audience.
     And WBRE/WYOU took me back to the
Luzerne County Courthouse to talk about what
I did and saw during the days before, during, and
after the Wyoming Valley was covered by the
muddy waters of the Susquehanna.
     There are millions of stories that could be
told about the "Agnes" disaster.
     Like the time our Flood Emergency Radio
Network missed one of its broadcasts because
two kids saw the Army Field Telephone line
that carried our signal between the CD headquarters
and WYZZ Radio and used it as a Jump Rope!
    Or the time Mike Stevens had to talk his way
passed an armed Army Reservist so he could
do his volunteer shift with that Emergency Network!
    Some have been told and retold.
    A few are probably still secret...and that may be
a good thing!
    As for my recollections, you've already missed
the library presentation. But WBRE's "Agnes
Anniversary Special" airs at 7:30 tonight.
    You can catch my radio interview on "Sunday
Magazine" on, as you might expect, Sunday
morning at 5am on Great Country 93.7,
 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:30am
 on magic 93 and 7am on WARM 590 AM.
    Hope you'll catch one of those specials and
that all of your NEWS is good!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Trying To Beat The Heat!

  Just in case you didn't was very hot
yesterday! Unless, of course, you were in Siberia!
  I checked the National Weather Service site on
line. According to their figures your best bet to
cool off would have been a drive to Binghampton
where temperatures were recorded at a "cool" 87
  The thermometer on my front porch isn't as
sophisticated as the equipment used by those
weather guys. But it read over 100 degrees by
mid afternoon.
   We decided it was an ideal time to sit in
Cinemark's air conditioning system and take
in a movie. So we put the top down in the Miata
and headed out to see a show.
   Usually the wind blowing through you hair in
a convertible offers a pleasant cooling effect.
   Yesterday, however, it was a bit more like
driving through a blast furnace!
    We enjoyed the movie and the air conditioning
then headed back outside for the ride home.
    I had put the top up just in case one of those
"stray" thunderstorms hit while we were in the
theater. I immediately put it down again as he
got in to head home.
    The heat trapped inside the car was nearly
visible as the top went down.
    Then....I touched the steering wheel!
    I was reminded of a scientific fact I had heard
about somewhere....I think......probably in Junior
High School. White reflects heat. Black absorbers
    Though my car is a convertible, it's steering
wheel, shifter control, and seats are all black!
    Fortunately we had some water in the vehicle.
   Applying some to our hands and, hence, to the
wheel and shifter, we were able to lower their
temperatures to a manageable 75 degrees or so.
    I'm so glad I don't have leather!
    Oh well, like they say..."It's not the heat,
it's the humanity....or is that humidity? Maybe
   Hope you're playing it "cool" and that all your
NEWS is good!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Mysterious Island!

   I picked this1961 movie as the title for today's Blog.
   It came to mind while sailing in my friend's boat on
Lake Seneca yesterday.
   I wondered if Captain Nemo might have a secret
base there!
   As I mentioned in my last blog Lake Seneca is about
40 miles long and a couple or three miles across.
   But with all that water we were told there was an
area where boats are not welcome. That, of course,
made us want to go there!
    Word was there were markers warning vessels to stay
some 500 yards away. Someone told us if you ignored
the warnings a "bull horn" would be used to chase you,
or, you'd be "taken into custody." But by whom? And why?
     As luck would have it our boat was stuck on a low
speed. It would have taken a day to sail to the mysterious
spot in question. So......we went by car!
     We drove to a road in the small town of Dresden
and turned right heading towards the shore of the lake.
     That's where we came to the sign marked "Dead
End" and a building, surrounded by fence, with
little symbols of submarines painted on another sign
that read...."Naval Undersea Warfare Center!"
      Off shore was a huge island complex of buildings
with large cranes obviously used to lower something into
the lake!
     I was ever so glad we didn't sail there!
     I could just imagine going past the warning signs
and suddenly seeing two torpedo's coming at our
small craft!
     But why a Naval "Warfare Center" in the middle of
a lake in the middle of New York?
     Well, as it turns out, the deep, deep waters of Lake
Seneca are an ideal place for the Navy to test sonar
and underwater communications gear.
      Guess they would have heard us coming by boat!
      It's good to know the Navy is on top of things
even when those "things" are several hundred feet on
the bottom!
      And, since we don't want to end up there, ...we're
likely to steer a course around the area next time
we're sailing Seneca!
      Hope you're on the right course and that all your
NEWS is good!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Don't Give Up The Ship!

  My buddy brought is boat along for our mini vacation
at a small resort along Seneca Lake.
   There are some things you should know about his
vessel and that lake just in case you're even thinking
about a cruise of your own.
    The boat is about 18 feet long.
    The lake is 40 miles long.
    The boat is about 5 to 6 feet wide.
    The lake is about 2 miles across.
    The boat holds up to 7 people.
    The lake is up to 800 feet deep and can hold as many
boats as you can sink there!
     These thoughts crossed my mind as we launched
his boat on that lake with winds of between 10 and 14
miles per hour blowing across the surface.
     We figured his 4 cylinder engine would enable us
to shoot right through the waves that waited for us to
begin our sailing venture.
     We had not planned for the engine to stall out
just as those winds and waves began to carry us out
into those deep, deep waters!
     A true friend nursed the engine back to
life several times until, at last, it seemed ready to take
on the lake.
     Now let's talk about "white caps!"
     They are signs that waves have formed in the lake
such as you might expect to see in the ocean. But this
was not the ocean. This was a lake and it's waters, no
matter how deep, are suppose to be smooth and calm!
     Plowing through them proved to be a task something
like riding a roller coaster whose tracks had just been
ripped apart by an earthquake.
     For just a moment I pictured myself on most any
Pennsylvania highway with pot holes separated by
speed bumps!
     Heading away from our launch point put the wind
and river at our back which, of course, took us away
from our vehicle and trailer. It did, however, sail us
to some friends waiting for a ride at the dock in front
of our resort.
     As we staggered onto that dock we suggested that
a wait might be in order before be tackled Seneca
      As fortune would have it the wind and waves died
down later that afternoon and we enjoyed the cruise we
had been hoping for all day.
     We found another launching dock and were able to
steer our sturdy craft there until we could bring our
truck and trailer to it to be retrieved.
      It wasn't till after the boat was safely out of the
water and onto its trailer that I fell out!
      Seems the boat is a lot higher when it's up on
its trailer they say.....that first step is
a whopper!'s better than going over in 800
feet of water....right!? I was able to land on
my feet so all was well with the world and the
     Hope you're keeping your head above water
and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tang and Biscuits!

    To some , the title of today's essay might suggest
some sort of breakfast featuring an orange juice
substitute made popular by NASA and a tasty flour
based baked product enhanced by the application of
    Sorry Charlie.
    There's no breakfast tale here.
    It is, rather, a commentary on a heated athletic
competition I witnessed yesterday! You're not
likely to see anything like it on ESPN!
    My wife and 4 of our best friends alternated on
teams locked in combat for several exciting rounds
    I, wisely I thought, choose to document the play
through photography.
    The "Tang" I referred to in the title of this
narrative is the name of the long stick that's used
to push the "Biscuit", a small weighted disk,into
a triangular scoring zone at the far end of the
shuffleboard court!
     The history of the game is pretty much unknown
although there are records of it being played by King
Henry VIII in 1532!
     After hearing my friends exchange comments
and "looks" to one another as the game continued
I began to wonder if King Henry had played
shuffleboard with any of his wives prior to their
departure from the throne?
     But, win or lose, all of the players came away
from the game just as they had old
    Given the fact that Shuffleboard has extremely
low physical requirements and is usually played
on cruise ships and in retirement homes the
term "old" seems especially appropriate!
     I'm not confident any of them will make the
"Shuffleboard Hall Of Fame which, by the way,
opened in 1995.  But I'm thinking......Friends
that play together....stay together!"
     Hope your biscuit slides just where you want
it and that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, June 18, 2012

How......and What.....To Celebrate?

  What a dilemma You know how I like those "unusual"
holidays that fill my calender!
  Well June 18th is one of those days. But there's more
than one event listed for the date!
  This, for example, is the 21st International Motorcycle
and Scooter "Ride To Work Day!"
   You're suppose to be putting on your helmet, although
Pennsylvania gives you an option in that regard, and
getting on your "Cycle" or Motor scooter to drive to
    I did that a few times and it wasn't easy!
    That's probably because my cycle is a 1971 Honda
Street/Trail bike. Between its power and my weight
my maximum speed was about 45 miles per hour IF
I was heading downhill!
     I had to take as many "back roads" as I could
find so I could stay out of every body's way!
     It's been out of service for about a year. I took
the battery out and haven't put it back yet.
    But that's OK because I don't "work" anymore!
    At least not in the "getting paid for what you do"
sense. I guess I could "celebrate" by driving it to
my "volunteer work" at Electric City Television.
    Riding was fun and the gas mileage was
    But June 18th is also "Go Fishing Day!"
    I enjoy that too!
    A couple of years back I ever qualified for a
"Lifetime Fishing License" here in Pennsylvania.
    All you have to do is pay a little extra and
get old enough and you don't have to keep
applying and paying for a new license year after
     They have come out with a National "Fishing
Registration" now. You don't have to pay for it.....
at least....not yet. I think it's suppose to be sort
of an official OK for fishing in Salt Water areas.
    I'm sort of torn between both of these great
unique "holidays."
   But that could work out just fine because....
June 18th is also "International Panic Day!"
   In any case, whether you're on your "Chopper,"
bating your hook, or just worried and concerned,
here's hoping all of your NEWS turns out good!


Sunday, June 17, 2012


   Now there's something we all long for....Security!
   It's a big subject these days.
   There's a whole set of TV commercials that are
running these days dealing with the issue of home
security.They depict a young family whose
neighbo's had to deal with a break in then tell you
which company you should call to have peace of
mind by way of a new monitored security system
    Our neighbors, I've mentioned them before, have
a non electric "security system" monitored by three
very loud beagles and one small mixed breed animal
that seems ready to attack anyone who comes any
where near their house.
    I have a much smaller system which I've placed
in the hands.....let's make that "feathers" of our
Cockatiel  Of course it's not
likely his alarm will sound since our possessions
aren't really worth an effort.
    But I mention the subject because of two
business places I saw yesterday that have what
seems to be extremely good security!
    One is an Auto Electronics company the other
a Drug Store.
    Surely buildings of that nature would want and
need the best in security..........BUT........did I mention
that both of the companies are closed!
    The Auto shop has moved to another location.
    The Pharmacy may have relocated or, perhaps,
just shut its doors.
    But both buildings have every possible entry
point, doors and windows, covered with huge
panels that insure no one is getting in!
    Of course .....why anyone would want to get
in now that the businesses are a bit beyond
    If sort of reminds me of that old saying about
locking the barn doors after the horses are already
    Maybe I should have knocked! Maybe the system
was designed to keep somebody in! No, probably
    Hope you're safe, whether you're in or out, and
that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Walk In The Park (NOT!!!!!)

   I wasn't quite sure what all the fuss was about.
   Somebody said a guy named Nik Wallenda was
going to take a walk from the U.S. into Canada at
Niagara Falls.
   They said it was like walking the length of four
football fields.
   I didn't think the "Rainbow Bridge" was that long.
  And, after all, I walk about 2 miles most mornings!
  Then I remember the name "Wallenda" and
realized he wasn't using a bridge!
   He was walking a tightrope right OVER Niagara
   My wife and I have visited the falls several times.
   But in 1969 we were there when the American
Falls was "turned off!" The water had been diverted
to the Canadian falls while a survey team was doing
research into the erosion the water is causing to the
river bed at the drop off.
     Usually you see tons of water. What we saw was
bounders the size of huge buildings. They're the kind
of obstacles anything going over the falls would hit!
      The Wallenda family has a long history of
"circus" high wire acts. And that history has its
share of tragedy and deaths!
       I guess that's why we were glued to the TV as
this 33-year-old Wallenda pulled off the stunt and
amazed us with his confidence and constant
prayers along the way!
      We couldn't  resist snapping some photos of
our television as he made the walk!
       Now, to be clear, I usually use the sidewalk
for my walks. But I have no safety harness
what-so-ever! No applause please....I'm too modest!
       Hope you're watching your step and that all
your NEWS is good!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Right Turn Into The Twilight Zone!

  It was a great day for a top down ride in the Miata!
  Back roads are our favorite so we zipped around
on a few eventually taking a right turn that lead to
Lake Carey in Wyoming County.
  You don't hear a lot about Lake Carey although it
did make the top of the newscasts back in 1998
when a deadly tornado ripped through the small
   We almost thought we had driven back into 1998
when we made our turn towards the lake. Yet, what
we saw, could be viewed by those of the "younger
generation" as a revolution in communications!
   It stood there, just a few feet from the Fire
   A Glass chamber with a couple of blue panels
that served as walls. Inside, a telephone with
push buttons with which to dial and a slot where
coins could be inserted to activate the device!
   But wait! There's more!
   Attached to a small shelf in the chamber I
found a hard cover binder attached to the
structure in a way which allowed it to be
open but not removed!
   And inside the binder was a thick book
filled with people's names, listed
alphabetically and including telephone
numbers where they might be reached!
   Of course some of you might recognize
what I've described as a "Telephone Booth."
A relic from a day when, I know you young
folks won't believe this, no one carried
phones in their pockets.
   The trick back then was to make sure you
carried a couple of quarters so you could
use one of these when you found one.
   No texting of course, but no monthly
fees either!. Just enough quarters to get
your message across. Unless, of course, you
could "reverse the charges."
   You used to find them in a lot more places.
   Now when you do find one chances are it's
just a shelf with a phone and some Plexiglas
on either side. No roof. And that's important
because those booths used to save a lot of
people in rain storms even if they didn't
have to make a phone call.
    There are plenty of times, especially when
I'm trying to watch a feature in a theater, when
I wish we had phone booths instead of cell
     Hope you got some more change for
"another three minutes"  and that all your
and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Agnes" and Me

   Every year around this time I get requests for
interviews. But unlike the days when I was an
active reporter doing the interviews.....these are
requests from people who want to interview me!
   And I know just what they'll be asking about.
   It's the 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes Flood!
   Back in '72 I was the News Director of WILK
   When the waters of the Susquehanna River
began to rise rapidly because of the "Agnes"
storm I went to the Luzerne County to call
updates back to my station.
    But Civil Defense, the agency that
preceded the Emergency Management
Agency, didn't have a Public Information
Officer. So, when I walked in, I got drafted!
   I didn't make the decisions for Civil Defense.
   But, most of the time, I was the one who
announced them.
   The one I'm often remembered for was the
one I made on June 23rd as the sirens sounded
and I told area residents it was time to....
"Get out. Get out now!"
   A little while later I was sending a report
on our two way radio in the sub basement of
the Courthouse when water started coming
into the room from a drain in the floor.
   I always thought water was suppose to go
out drains!
   So when the water came in.....I got out!
  Eventually all of us on the Civil Defense
staff had to evacuate the Courthouse and move
to higher ground.
   We ended up in the Wilkes-Barre School
Administration building sending hourly
news updates to 13 area radio stations.
   Initially we used an Army Field Telephone
which was wired, literally, through the streets
to the old WYZZ FM.  The other 12 stations
re-broadcast our reports at 15 minutes past
each hour and throughout the emergency
we only missed one report.
   That's because a couple of kids found our
wire and decided it would make a good
jump rope!
    It's been 40 years since "Agnes" paid
her visit and I suspect I'll be telling a few
more stories about those days.
   A lot has changed in those 40 years
including, as my photo will illustrate,
   Hope you're high and dry and that all
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Disaster Movie

  Yesterday's rain and wind prompted me to
visit a nearby Redbox machine so I could
sit out part of the day with a good movie!
   Redbox is a company that sets out movie
vending machines at high traffic spots like
Walmart and Turkey Hill stores. It used to
rent its movies for about a dollar a night.
The rate is over a dollar twenty now. I guess
that had to increase the price since they
can't sell you popcorn!  
   We've seen enough "name" features
lately. So I'm at the stage where I'm
looking for a movie we either missed in
the theaters or has a title that attracts my
    Always interested in adventure, action,
and aviation, the "tease" for the movie
"Air Collision" immediately attracted my
      If you're thinking of watching this movie
you may not want to read any further. I hope,
however, that you stay with me.
     The premise involves a faulty high tech
air control system and its impact on a
commercial airliner and Air Force One!
    Unless drastic measures are taken, and
on time, a collision seems inevitable!
     Most would label it a "Disaster
     And, after watching all 90 minutes I
completely agree.
     This movie is a DISASTER!
     In fact it is a complete disaster!
     I can accept stretching things a little
for the sake of "Artistic License."
     But in terms of "'stretching" this movie
is like a taffy pulling contest!
     Imagine being on an aircraft that
survives a missile strike (in fact even after
tearing a hole in the fuselage this missile
is whole enough to be tossed out through
the hole it created!), having bits of its
roof ripped off as it scrapes another
airplane (in mid air), then hits its wing
and other parts on several buildings
before successfully landing on a field,
then waiting till everyone gets off before
blowing up!
      Boeing may want to use this one as
a commercial for quality construction!
      And that doesn't even hint at the
story line involving the people on board
Air Force One!
      It's not the worst movie I've ever seen.
      (That would probably be Apollo 18)
      But if you're facing a rainy day and
looking for some entertainment you
might want to choose reading a cereal box
before renting "Air Collision!"
      Hope you're doing your best to avoid
disaster and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Downtown Sound!

   I usually have a set of headphones on during
my morning walk. I listen to "Talk Radio" for
as long as I can take it. Lately that's been about
ten minutes. The I start looking for entertainment.
   Yesterday I took the headphones off when
someone asked me a question.
    That's when I started listening to see if the
downtown offered any sounds of its own. It did!
     The first, and most obvious, thing you hear
is the traffic. It comes in loud, but short bursts,
that rise and fall in tune, or time, with the traffic
signal lights.
      There's the occasional sound of a bird or
birds. You can only catch them in between
the cars and trucks.
      But the sound that dominated my walk was
the sound of a very loud drill!  It was wielded
by a worker in a truck lift who was renovating
the facade of an office building. Patrons were
asked to use the side door while the work was in
     I couldn't help but wonder what those
patrons were thinking as they waited inside.
     It was a Dentist's Office!
    Imagine sitting inside waiting for your turn
in the chair and hearing the repetitive sounds
of a drill bit chiseling its way into concrete!
     Then there was the "Mystery music!"
     Even with my headphone on I've heard it
from time to time as I walk near an Italian
Grocery Market.
     It's usually the unmistakable voice of the
late Dean Martin crooning one of his many
tunes.......many Italian.
     But while I've heard the music...I've never
spotted the speaker! I thought, perhaps, it was
being played, at full volume, inside the store.
     Not so. I stopped to listen and the music
definitely originated somewhere on the
exterior of the building.
     Since I had devoted this walk to the "sounds
of the city" I was determined to find the source.
     And though it took awhile......I found it!
     I don't know who hid the small speaker
behind the ice machine. Or why! Maybe it's the
only place it fit. More likely the owners
realized a crook would have to risk breaking his
back to get at an old speaker bolted to a brick
     But I'm glad it fit somewhere. It's among the
"downtown sounds" that really made my day!
     Hope you stop, look, and LISTEN now and
then and that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Around Another Corner!

   Any regular reader to this blog already knows we
like to hit the road to look for neat places.
   We've found a lot over the years! But there's still
plenty out there to be discovered! And yesterday we
found one!
    A whole gang of us had invaded our favorite
restaurant in Tamaqua when my grand son asked
about the possibility of a mini golf game after dinner.
    Somebody mentioned a Dairy nearby with two
mini golf courses and Ice Cream Bar!
    I had never heard of the place.
    We were guided to a road I've never traveled
before (and there aren't too many of them around
here!)  After 50 plus years of covering news I've
been to places many northeastern Pennsylvania
residents never heard of! Have you ever been to
"Rough and Ready?"
    Anyhow we found ourselves on a country
road driving by corn fields and a farm here and
there. People who live in the area share their
property with a lot of the big
Black Bear we spotted watching us! He stuck
around long enough for us to snap some
pictures before we resumed our quest.
     And find it we did, just a few miles later!
     Judging from the size of the crowd a
substantial number of other folks already
knew it was there. I'll have to give them credit
for that......but maybe they don't know about
Rough and Ready!
     We tried out the course and, with temps
around 95, decided we'd better check out
a few scopes of ice cream and a milkshake
or two! Just to make sure it was all right of
     To sum it up, the golf was good and the
ice cream was great!
     I think I'll be able to find it again as long
as I don't depend on the bear as a landmark!
     Just when you think you know about
everything that's out find something
     Hope you're on the lookout for
adventure and that all your NEWS is good!