Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Wednesday's blog is early and short. That's because there's no
free wyfi here in the Grand Canyon......I would explain, but the
subject is "too deep!
 Basically, we finally ran into a rain storm (after much of our
tour eas complete) and there will be a separate blog and story
once we get back to civilization.
  I'll have photos too. Meanwhile...how about catching up on
the other blogs I've been sending!
 Hope all your NEWS is good!

ICEBERG...RIGHT AHEAD .....Or Something!

   Another full day in our western adventure including a
stop in Zion Canyon!
   You could probably get to the valley floor in about a
minute....if you jumped off the cliffs on top!
   By bus it's more like a half hour and all the while
you're praying the driver's sharp as a tack and the
breaks are brand new as you begin the descent!
   The red rocks twist and turn above you as does
the highway.
   Then it was off to Lake Powell in Arizona!
   Here we were booked for a dinner cruise.
   Lake Powell,for those who might not know,
would hold Harvey's lake, Wallenpaupack, and
a mess of other lakes and ponds within it's
1900 miles of shoreline!
   The Tour vessel was sleek and the crew very
    We were each invited to speak with the
captain as we cruised along.
    I was kidding him about icebergs in this
560 foot deep lake and he gave me a laugh!
   But, just a short time later, I glanced off
the bow and saw a Mountain dead ahead!!!!
   I was ready to jump into a lifeboat (strictly
to row of course) when we learned this
mammoth tower of rock is a regular
stop for the dinner cruises!
   Wow. What a view. And in the middle
of the lake!
    So, as it happens, we survived the
"obstacle" on our course, and set sail
back to the dock!
   There I worked off the beef and cheesecake
by walking the steep hill back to our
    In the end it was a successful cruise
for Jack and Rose......I mean Leona and
   Hope you're sailing through your day
and that all your NEWS is good!

More photos!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Danger On The Trail!

  I have, of course, faced danger before.
  Snow and ice storms, gunmen holed up in
a house just at the edge of our camera's
view, fires, and the like.
   Yesterday, however, a truly stood in the
face of danger directly tied to our visit out
   Our tour group was visiting Bryce Canyon
in Utah.
    This "Red Rock" canyon is another of our
country's great National Parks and it's filled
with wonders! This, after all, is where the
deer and the Antelope play!
     I learned about one as I watched my
sister-in-law and other members of our
group leaning over to "sniff" a tree!
     Who would have know these 100-
year-old plus Ponderosa Pines have a scent
much like vanilla as they age?
     But that's not where the danger came in.
     Our vantage points were on dangerously
high cliffs overlooking the trails and rock
formations a thousand feet below!
      A storm was brewing and you are
warned to leave the rim immediately if
you see lighting.
      I, along with some others, were
determined to stay till we were forced
back by the weather or our guide's
timing limitations.
     The wind picked up with several
strong gusts sweeping by our location!
      Still...I remained brave and got my
final few photographs even though, at
any moment, that wind could have
sent my brand new Cowboy Hat
spinning into the colorful abyss far
     Guess the "Code of the West" is in
my blood now!
     Hope you're sitting tall in the saddle
and that all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mor (mon) Or Less!

  Saturday's western adventure took us from
Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Salt Lake City
   In Jackson Hole everybody was either a
Cowboy or wished they were.
   In Salt Lake City most everybody is a
Mormon or wants you to be!
   Our tour included the Mormon Temple.
   At least it was suppose to!
   A group of young female "sisters"
lead us around the Temple complex with
their green flag, portable speaker system,
and pamphlets asking us if we wanted more
information about becoming Mormon.
   The Temple (actually two temples) were
closed at the time of our visit because each
was being used for a "family reunion."
  I suggested that, since we all came from
Adam, we had to be part of one of the
families. But my appeal fell, generally,
on deaf ears. One guide did admit that
we could "crash" one of the reunions at
our own risk and my wife managed to
sneak in for a quick look and photo.
   Almost everything is "Mormon"
around here.
   Even the Gideon provided hotel
Bible must share space with the Book
of Mormon.
   I half expected to hear the Mormon
Tabernacle Choir singing in our
hotel room!
   Instead we found our room overlooking
a sea of mostly young people and an
extremely loud band that has somehow
been left over from the "Occupy
Movement." It seems they're camped
out there!
   As I write I am longing for the street
corner gunfight back at Jackson Hole!
   Hope it's quiet where you are and
that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

HIGH NOON! (Let's make that 6PM)

    For the past two days we've been living in a hole!
    It's Jackson Hole, Wyoming! It's a little confusing.
    You see the area is Jackson Hole while the town is
just Jackson.
    The area is great! It's literally at the base of the
beautiful Teton Mountains.
    We actually got to take a cruise on Lake Jenny.
    Formed by glaciers its waters are over 400 feet
    The town seemed quite nice too.
    There are red flags at the major cross walks to
Broadway, the main street, so pedestrians have an
extra measure of protection as they go from one
side of the street to the other.
     But I guess there's "politics" here too.
     At precisely 6 o'clock the Mayor, or at least
a guy claiming to be the Mayor, came out on a
balcony, fired a shot in the air, cursed the
drunken sheriff, and.....before you knew it a
gunfight had broken out! There were bodies
all over the place!
    I figured I'd better save the day!
    So I decided to run for help.
    Then somebody explained the same
characters "shoot" each other every night just
off the town square as part of some kind of
tourist attraction.
    Darn! I already had the Eyewitness News
Hotline half dialed!!!!!
    But you know this daily event brings a lot
of tourists to town. And tourists bring money!!
    I wonder if Scranton ever thought of a
daily shoot out between the mayor and council?
    I'll bet a lot of people would like to watch!
    Even, maybe especially, "locals!"
    Anyway it was kind of neat to see how
things might have happened in the old west.
     Hope your mayor isn't armed and that all
your NEWS is good.

Friday, July 27, 2012


We drove into this place called Yellowstone
National Park on Thursday.
It's kind of like Pennsylvania only totally
different. Well, maybe not totally. There are
trees in both places.
And both have traffic jams!
In Pennsylvania they're usually caused by
Here traffic came to a halt because this big
animals (they call them Buffalo) think they
can walk across the highway anytime they
want and all the drivers seem to be afraid to
get out and give them a piece of their mind!
Of course they do weight as much as most
pick up trucks! (The buffalo that is!)
When we finally got moving they took us
to this hole in the ground that had smoke
coming out! I wanted to get really close
but there were warning signs prohibiting
Then, at a time everybody seemed to
know the clouds of smoke gave way to
spouts of steaming hot water rising a
hundred feet or so into the air. They tell
me it does it all day and night about every
90 minutes and they it "Old Faithful."
I guess it's some kind of leak that
nobody can fix. But it does look pretty
neat at it spouts off!
Speaking of spouting off, my most
frighting part of the trip so far was going
to dinner at some sort of "Cowboy Bar-B-
Q" in Jackson Hole Wyoming.
A woman appeared before our tour group
and others sitting and standing under a
shelter and proceeded to tell us what at
first seemed to be the entire history of the
old west.
To reduce it to this sentence it was the
story of a young man who was involved
with Indians (Native Americans that is),
loved Jackson Hole, and started what has
evolved into the Bar-B-Q."
It looked like the start of a doomed
evening. But things aren't always as
they appear.
About the time most of the guests had
their eyes turned into the sky hoping for
a miracle....it came!
It came in the form of a horse drawn
wagon train that carried us up a mountain
to a fantastic dinner complete with
wonderful entertainment.
I'm so thankful we didn't "spout off"
while listening to "How the West Was
Won" before we had the adventure of
a life time in true "Cowboy style."
Happy Trails everyone!
Hope all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

That's No BULL! (Oh, wait a minute!)

   I stepped into the past for awhile today. I could
almost hear the sounds of a Honky-Tonk Piano.
Well, maybe one was playing in one of the small
store-front casinos I was passing.
   Anyway, my mind drifted back to the 1800's
when a famous lawman sat playing poker. The
hand he had forever became know as the
"Dead Man's Hand"....Aces and 8's.
    The man was Wild Bill Hickock! The town
was Deadwood and that was one of the stops
in our National Parks Tour Wednesday.
    My wife went into one of those casinos and
came out a winner. That is, of course, if you
can call 6 cents a "win."  Hope the IRS doesn't
read this one!
    For there we were off for a long day's journey
into Wyoming. Unbelievable mountains and
scenery. And, at night, the Cody Rodeo!
    We've never been to a rodeo before and this
place bills itself as the rodeo capitol of the
    You've probably seen some of these events
in your lifetime, at least on television.
    These guys and girls try to ride and rope
horses and bulls that don't appreciate anyone
being on there back! And they're big animals!
    I was nervous enough being in the grand
stands,,,,,and then,,,,,,we saw the kids!
    12 years old and under taking on 700 pound
bulls! That IS a lot of bull!
    Pretty impressive this "Old West!"
    Hope you're enjoying my thoughts on the
trip and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why My Wife Left Me!

   Yes the title of this essay is true (sort of).
   You might have thought it had to do with those
four handsome guys she saw Tuesday, And I guess
there's some truth in that (sort of).
    Truth is we were at Mount Rushmore in South
    We had caught up with the other 36 people in
the group we're hosting on a tour of National
    Anybody would be impressed with the images
of those four American Statesmen.
    A guy 6 feet tall could stand in Lincoln's eye.
If, that is, your were allowed to stand in Lincoln's
eye and were so inclined.
    It was a hot  day, though less humid than back
at home in Pennsylvania.
    Thankfully our bus driver carries a cold supply
of water in his baggage compartment.
    He had just offered a bottle to one of our
fellow travelers when she looked back to ask
another if they wanted one.....then promptly fell,
head first, off the curb she didn't see!  
    The driver quickly pulled out his first aid kit
while my wife began to stop the bleeding. But
it was clear our friend needed additional
medical attention (just what anybody wants on
   Park EMT's arrived on the scene offering
additional first aid an strongly suggesting
that our fellow traveler go, by ambulance, to
the near by hospital in Rapid City to be
checked further.
   Everyone on our bus agreed and finally talked
her into doing so.
   My wife decided the woman needed someone
with her and gave up her scheduled visit to
the Crazy Horse monument to volunteer. That's
when she "left me."
    Fortunately after a few stitches and great
hospital attention our injured companion, and
my wife, returned.
    I think I managed to get a smile out of our
embarrassed, stitched, and bruised friend when
I told her I saw her fall and called her "Safe!"
    I'm glad my wife is back and is the kind of
person who really does put others first when
it counts.
    I've added a photo of the Crazy Horse
Monument in her honor!
   Hope your day goes smooth and that all your
NEWS is good!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Can't Get There From Here!

     Air travel is a great way to get where you're
going.....as long as you don't have to be there on
    We spent most of the hours of our first day of
vacation at the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton
International Airport.
    The first of our three scheduled flights spent
those hours undergoing some kind of "Maintenance
Service" in Detroit.
    That wasn't a big concern. In fact I personally
think it's kind of good to know that your
airplane is in good working order!
    Of course, as I mentioned, this was the first of
three flights designed to get us to Rapid City,
South Dakota. Flight number two was to take us
to Minneapolis. But in order to catch flight number
two, flight number one has to be on time.
   Actually....it never came!
   We were re-routed to Charlotte, N.C.
   That flight got us there just in time, with some
very fast walking, to catch another plane to
    Of course by the time we got there it was
about Midnight (our time/11pm Minneapolis).
   Since a "Maintenance problem" caused the
initial delay the airline was obligated to put
us up in a hotel (a beautiful one by the way!)
   We've got through Security three times so
far. We even went through that new "Full Body
Scanner." No big deal at all. And, since you're
required to lift your arms in there I looked a
lot thinner!
   As I write this I'm in the terminal in
Minneapolis, at our gate (which is at least a
mile from where we came in), watching the
rain and lighting and glancing at a flashing
board that insists our flight is "on time."
    IF everything works out as planned we'll
link up with the tour group we're suppose to
be hosting on the way to Mount Rushmore
in South Dakota.
   Here's hoping it works....and that all your
NEWS is good!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Every Thing Is Relative!

  It was another family day at Knoebel's Amusement
Park Sunday!
  Since the weather was good I decided to put the top
down on my Miata and meet up with the rest of the
gang at the park.
  I used portions of Interstates 80 and 81 for the trip
and probably hit speeds of 75 miles per hour as I
passed tractor trailer traffic going my way.
  That really didn't seem to be exceptionally fast.
  Why then does "The Twister" seem to roar by my
vantage point at nearly the speed of sound?!
   For those who may not know, "The Twister" is
Knoebel's recreation of a roller coaster known as
"Mr Twister" that was abandoned when the former
Elitch Gardens Amusement Park was relocated in
Denver, Colorado.
   The original plans were to move the coaster but
Knoebel's didn't have the space it needed. So,
Knoebel's  bought the blueprints for"Mister Twister",
did a little redesigning, and built their own version
which opened 13 years ago tomorrow!
    But back to the illusion of speed.
   "The Twister's" top speed is 51.5 miles per hour!
   Of course it attains that speed as it drops nearly
90 feet in about 1.5 seconds.
    A human stomach, of course, is not designed
for an altitude change in that span of time....hence
it's movement from it's normal space into one
throat.....they tell me.
   I admit my information comes second hand.
   My personal involvement with "The Twister"
is limited to riding the "Pioneer Train" which
runs directly under the giant roller coaster.
   As my title implies..."Every thing is Relative".
   So, I let my relatives, usually my wife, one
daughter, and several grand kids, "twist away"
all they want.
   I'll continue to take the train!
   Hope you enjoy all the rides....and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Building Boom?

    I'm sure, as we're all told, that economic times are
    But some folks just aren't getting the message!
    I've been telling you about the new improved look
in central city Pittston where a lot of buildings are
getting a face lift.
    Now there's a new building going up in that
    I'm told it's to be a bank.
    In nearby Plains Township Mohegan Sun just
broke ground for a 7-story, 238 room hotel and
convention center that's suppose to bring 350
construction jobs and 270 permanent positions to
the Casino's operation. Seems like a good bet for
the area.
    And while the Mohegan project is in the headlines
another enterprise, said to be a hotel, is going up
near the Fox studios along Route 315 just across
from the Casino!
    A new Dunkin' Donut is already open for
business just up the street. So tourists will be
able to get their Oreo Coolatta's on their way
to the slots, the track, the Convention Center,
or....the other hotel!
    Geisinger Medical Center has a new operation
near it's Medical Center in Plains Township and
there's another building going up right next door!
     I don't know what's going to be in that one
but it certainly isn't another donut shop!
     In fact, about the only thing coming down is
the old Bank in West Pittston that was
clobbered by last September's flooding.
    Even there......a demolition crew is happy to
be on the job!
    Yep, things are tough....but not necessarily
all over!
    Hope you've noticed the "bright side" here or
there and that all your NEWS is good!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

July's Third Saturday!!!!!!

  It has arrived dear friends!
  The third Saturday of July!
  The month is most famous, of course,
for Independence Day. If you live in a
neighborhood like mine there are still
idiots (I mean people) celebrating that
holiday with their seemingly unending
supply of fireworks.
   But it's not the only holiday this month!
   And you've got to be impressed with
some of the others,
    Today is a prime example!
    Today is National Hot Dog Day!
    Hot dogs are big around these parts!
    In 2011, for instance, Harrisburg and
Scranton were tied for 10th place in the
nation for the Top Hot Dog consuming
   Heck...the "Electric City" has two
Coney Island restaurants within a block
of one another and they're competitors!
   Of course Scranton isn't the only place
where hot dogs are being sold!
   According to the National Hot Dog and
Sausage Council  (By the way how do you'
get elected to that council?)  more that 700
million packages of hot dogs were sold in
retail stores in 2011. And that does not
include Walmart which does not report
sales date!
    Hot dogs have become part of American
culture! We even sing about them....."Hot
Dogs, Armor hot dogs, what kind of kid eats
Armor hot dogs?" Or..."Baseball, Hot Dogs,
Apple Pie, and Chevrolet."
   Two of my grand kids actually had a
chance to check out a Hot Dog Icon...
the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile!
    And back to Independence Day. It's a
good bet many of you enhanced your
celebration with a few dogs thrown on the
    So, today we celebrate the Hot Dog!
    Hope you've got the mustard ready and
that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, July 20, 2012


   I regret to say I have no "on scene" photo to
post with today's blog.
   The scene that captured my and my grandson's
attention was witnessed in just a few moments
as we waited for a traffic light to change at a
very busy intersection in Wilkes-Barre.
   Besides, we didn't have a camera!
   It was, I believe, a scene that reflected both
determination and confidence.
   Like so many people over the past couple of
weeks a young lady, probably about 5 or 6, was
seeking relief and some fund in a back yard
swimming pool.
   This particular pool was one of those round
plastic inflatable things that probably holds
about two inches of water....just enough to
cover some one's feet.
    The child was attempting to fill the pool
with a garden hose.
     I think it's safe to assume that, in her mind,
she pictured herself cooling off in the fresh
water and "swimming" the afternoon away,
     I don't think she ever noticed the problems
she was facing. She had too much confidence!
     But her aim lacked accuracy and half of
the water she was trying to direct into her
pool was missing the the plastic walls
     As if that wasn't enough I suspect she
never paid any attention to the two replicas
of "Old Faithful" we saw as leaks in her hose
shot water high into the air and nowhere near
the pool!
      She may still be there trying to fill it for
all we know.
      Hopefully someone, like a parent, noticed
her plight and came to her rescue with some
duct tape or another source of water.
      She deserves a happy ending to her
       Hope you're keeping your head above
water and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blacked out!

     I wanted to watch the Yankee game Tuesday
night.  But "YES" said  NO!
     So did my Direct TV!
     I enjoy watching baseball and I've been
a Yankee fan as long as I can remember.
    It was the first team my Dad and brother
took me to see in person many, many years
    I was delighted when the team came up
with its own network (the YES Network) and
happy to know it was one of he channels to
be included in my Direct TV subscription.
   But somewhere along the way the Yanks
made some other deals that would allow
their games to be seen elsewhere from time
to time. One was with what they call "My
9" which, of course, I don't get.
   MLB (Major League Baseball) carries a
few which, of course, I don't get.
   Every so often our local Fox affiliate has
a Yankee game. I get that one and will gladly
watch there....IF...I know it's on. I'll find it
only after I've searched the other alternatives.
   There was a time when I could pick up the
games on local radio. Those times are as far
gone as Mickey Mantle's homers!
    I do get every Yankee game on my SirusXM
Satellite radio. But it's out in the car and it was
about 88 degrees outside at game time. I
probably would have used up a quarter tank of
gas by the time the game was over!
   So, in the end, I found myself watching the
15th or so re-run of "The Patriot" on AMC
while glancing down to my computer from
time to time where  Major League Baseball
dot com was providing a simulated play by
play of the contest complete with
statistics and a pitch by pitch description
of the action.
    I guess it's the computer age version of the
days when announcers like Ronald Reagan
broadcast written reports of the games as though
they were actually there and could see the
    It's better than nothing and cheaper that
sitting in the van for three hours.
    Still, on this night at least, YES struck
    Hope you're safe at home watching what
you want and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shopping...The Advanced Course!

   My shopping skills have been developing
over the last couple of years!
   That said, Shopping, is still not on the top
of my list of "Favorite Things To do!"
   But, the other day I actually did my first "Solo
Shop"...... for clothes. My assignment......Blue
slacks and some white socks.
    Picking out slacks has always been a big
problem for me. First, I'm big. And, usually,
when I'm looking at the racks that hold slacks
and jeans the sizes always seem to end one
size before what I need!
    Then there's the color issue.
    I'm not color blind! But why is it when I
see blue my wife sees black and when I see
black she sees blue?
    This time I lucked out!
    The blue in question was a light color
and, since it was set out right next to pairs
of black the choice was easy.
    Next you've got to try them on.
    You've got to find the changing room.
    That's usually a closet that looks like it
could fall down or open in spite of the
lock at any time. They are not designed
to build confidence.
     Again, I lucked out! The slacks fit and
the room proved to be secure.
     The search for socks did have me a
bit perplexed.
     Several packages had a size range that
ended at my shoe size while other options
started at that level. I went with the larger
range (in case my feet get bigger!).
    So, like the pilot who flys for himself
for the first time and lands successfully,
I completed my shopping assignment with
flying colors. In this case blue and white!
     Hope you got everything on your list
and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Radio's Boot Drop!

   Regular readers of my Blog already know I
am not a big fan of those roadblocks where
everyone from fire companies to Mini
Football Cheer leading teams stand in the
middle of the street to beg drivers for coins
and dollars.
   They put people in danger and motorists
on the spot.
    I have a similar feeling about on air fund
raising drives!
    Public Radio stations do a lot of boasting
about how they don't run commercials. But
no block of commercials ever seemed to run
as long as the Pledge Drives I've listened to
time and time again over the years.
     To be fair, I understand that "public radio"
has to raise money to provide the programming
it provides. But if you've ever really listened
to the beginning and ending of many of the
programs you'll hear the announcement which
indicates..."Programming for this program is
provided by listeners like you AND."..........and
that's where these "non commercial stations"
slip in a short "commercial" for some area
business enterprise that do,in fact, provide
financing! And lately, some of those business
mentions seem to be getting a little longer!
    I do have two favorite programs that run on
Public Radio. But on the very day listeners
were being asked to pay up to support those
shows...the station was running re-runs! I
wasn't about to hear the same programs all
over again, let alone constant interruptions to
ask for money.
     Why don't we just LET THEM RUN
    At least some of them are clever.
    And, if "public programming" is as good as
we being told, advertisers will certainly be glad
to have their messages heard there.
      As for fund raising campaigns, I say "Give
them the boot!"

  Hope you like what you're listening to and
that all your NEWS is good!   

Monday, July 16, 2012


      We had a family gathering at one of Pennsylvania's
great State Parks yesterday.
       In our case the location was Hickory Run.
       It's a really impressive facility with all kinds of
       There are grills for your hot dogs, recycling
bins to preserve the environment and cut back on
       There's a beautiful lake with a roped off area
for swimming. There's a life preserver set out
right on the beach, in case of trouble. And an
emergency phone to call for help. The only thing
missing........is a lifeguard!
       I thought about that as I noticed the large
number of people in the water, the dark clouds
building up overhead and the sound of thunder
in the distance.
       I imagined a day when a lifeguard, or
lifeguards, would be blowing a whistle and
yelling..."Everybody out of the pool."
       My nephew tells me he's never heard of any
problems since the lifeguards were relieved of
their duties at State Parks. The idea, of course,
was to save money. I can "buy" that.
       But after a Frisbee and football ended up
on the roof of the rest room a Maintenance
man showed up to "rescue" the objects,
       And while most of the picnic goers were
wrapping up their table clothes and left over
marsh mellows, two DCNR Rangers stood
watch to make sure grill fires were extinguished
and everything was cleaned up.
        Call me "old fashion." But I'd kind of like
to have somebody watching over all those
        Since the State collects our recyclable cans
maybe someone could take them to the Scrap
Metal guys and make a few bucks to pay a
couple of lifeguards!
        Hope you're still afloat and that all your
NEWS is good!