Sunday, September 30, 2012

You Win Some, You Lose Some.......

    I was back in the cheering section yesterday!
    First to support my grand daughter's soccer
team then, later, to root for my grandson's
football squad!
    It's amazing how similar and yet so different
those two games are!
    Both use a long playing field. And the object
of both is to get a ball either into a goal or across
a Goal line!
    If you do it in football you get 6 points.
    If you do it in soccer you only get 1!
    Of course if you kick the ball over the
Goal (Posts) in football you get the so-called
"extra point."
    You have to kick the ball into the goal in
soccer so in that respect I guess they're the
    In both sports one team kicks off to another
    But in football the receiving team catches
the ball and runs with it.
     In soccer you're not allowed to touch the ball
(unless you're the goalie which kind of makes
soccer like hockey I guess)!
      Both sports have referees and, as all of us in
the cheering section can tell you, all of those
officials miss important calls and make mistakes
on the calls they do make. Coincidentally, all of
those "mistakes" are to the detriment of the
team for which we're  cheering!
      Our cheering lead my grand daughter's
soccer team to it's 5th consecutive victory.
      It fell a little short at my grandson's
football game as it lost by just 37 points.
      That, of course, would not have looked
as bad had they been using soccer's scoring
system! It might have helped to have a
soccer goalie there too!
       Well, like they say, you win some, you
lose some and some get rained out.
       Where was that rain when we needed it?
       Hope you know the score and that all
your NEWS is good!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

At World's End!

  Any of you remember 1968?
  It was 44 years ago and things were a bit different
then! For instance, the  Yearly Inflation Rate in the
United States was   4.27%     
The average cost of a new house was $14,950.00.
The average annual income was  $7,850.00.
The average monthly rent was  $130.00. 
Gas cost 34 cents a gallon!
The average price for a new car was  $2,822.00.
 A movie ticket was $1.50 and the Federal Minimum
wage was $1.60 per hour!
  Any of you remember what you were doing on this
very date in 1968.....44 years ago?
    I do!
    I was getting engaged!
    I took my girl for a ride to see the changing leaves
and stopped at a romantic overlook in World's End
State Park!
     My cassette tape of our special music was hidden
just behind my seat and, as I slipped the diamond on
her finger with one hand I started the tape with my
other! (Older readers will probably have to explain
"cassette tapes" to any young folks who may be
reading this.)
     I don't want to say I was nervous. But I will admit
taking a wrong turn when leaving the place and
ended up in Towanda instead of heading home via
    Well.....both towns start with a "T" don't they!
    Some people are impressed when I remember
dates like our first date, the day I gave my future
wife my High School ring, our engagement, and.,
of course, our wedding anniversary.
    It's really a lot easier than you might imagine!
    You see all of those dates fall on the 29th!
    They're not all in the same month or in the
same year. But they've all on the 29th.
    Not only does that make them easy to
remember. I also get February "off."  Except,
of course in a Leap Year!
    I think I remember September 29th., 1968
best of all because that's the date she said "Yes!"
    Hope you have a great love like mine.....that
way all your NEWS is sure to be good!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Two Pair....that is.... Pear!


   Fall is upon us!
   Several flocks of geese have already
flown their formation over my home.
   The thermostat kicked the furnace
on the other night.
    And the leaves are beginning to
change colors.
    I noticed them on my neighbor's
tree this week.
    It's my favorite tree.....because he
lets me have the fruit it produces!
    It's a Pear tree.
    Interestingly enough, he didn't
know that when he bought it a few
years ago.
     I don't remember what he thought
it was. But I do remember how
surprised he was when, after just a
couple of years, it started to produce
loads of pears!  He hates pears!
     Over the last few years, when we
thought the time was right, we would take a
bag or two over and fill them with
     This year I've been kind of using
the tree like a sort of fruit convenience
store........just popping over every so
often to pick one for immediate
     They're not the perfectly formed
pears you usually find in the
produce aisle. They're much smaller
and the skin tends to be very hard.
     But they taste pretty good and the
price is right!
     I looked at the tree yesterday
morning and there, among the
newly colored leaves, were just two
      I found that kind of sad!
      We do have a lot of peppers
friends have given us. But I like pears
      You see, in my mind, two pear
beat a full house...of peppers!
       Hope next year's crop is huge and
that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A "Bundle" Of Joy?

  I've switched my "Bundle" provider!
  I didn't get a cake. Or a puppy.
  But I sure have a lot of "STUFF!"
  I don't remember even hearing the term
"Bundle" until recently. And I think I first
heard it in a TV commercial.
  When we first moved into our home, some
43 years ago, we had Cable television from
one company, our phone service from "the
Telephone Company" and Computer
service from............come to think of it......
we didn't have a computer!
   I did supplement my television selection
with a rotor  antenna that allowed me to
pick up a few stations from the Binghamton,
New York area.
   Years later  (many years) my cable still
worked fine, and I was still able to make and
receive telephone calls.
    But we got an old computer. For free. And
I wanted to "go on line."
    K-Mart offered disks from a company that
allowed you to do that, for free, through your
own telephone! It was OK. But very very slow.
    Then, the "for free" went away.
     I think I might have paid for the same slow
service for awhile before switching to a
Satellite service that worked with one of the
phone companies to give me TV, the phone,
and wireless computer service.
    It was our first "Bundle!"
    It was satisfactory for a couple of years.
    But a better offer came along and we decided
to grab it!
    My new "Bundle" gives me much higher
speed computer service, the same telephone
features and more television channels,
including High Definition stations, than I even
knew existed!
     We also got new controls and cables to
attach some of the other machines I have "in
     We've got to return some of the "old stuff"
which is really a good idea because, at this
moment, I seem to have more controls that
the Space Agency!
     The cables resemble an octopus!
     As for the TV channels, there are so many
that by the time I've scanned the on-screen
guide I've probably missed at least one
      I hope I keep the "STUFF" I need and send the
right "STUFF' back..........and.........that all your
NEWS is good!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting Hammered!

  When you hear someone say "they don't build them
like they used to" there's a chance they could be
talking about the small dock we just pulled out of
the water at the lake near our camper.
   I have no idea who built it. Or when.
   I suspect it was a lot easier to build than it was to
tear apart!
   Take the nails for instance.
   They have a head on one end and a point at the
other. You hit the head to drive the point into a
   But we had to get the nails OUT of the boards!
   Sometimes you can do that by reversing the
process. You know....hitting the point with a
hammer till the other end comes out far enough
to grab it with the claw end of the hammer.
    Most of these nails, however, must have become
tired after being put it place because we found
many of the points bent over as though at rest.
    Fortunately a huge crowbar was available to
help with the extraction. It worked so well I'm
surprised dentists don't add them to their
    After an hour of so you started to realize
why the old dock held up so well.
   There must have been enough nails in
the wood to melt down and make a small car!
    They're in the garbage now. At least most
of them are!
    As for the wood.....well it's been getting
a bit chilly these last few evenings.
    So we used them for another purpose.....
to hold off the night's chill!
     Hope you're not "nailed" and that all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Gear!

  A program on BBC TV last night brought back some neat
  The show is called "Top Gear" and, as the name suggests,
it's all about cars.
   There are two versions of this series. One American....and
one British. My wife and I prefer the British version. You
can't beat the English humor! And they drive on the "wrong
side of the road!"
    The episode we caught yesterday had the shows three
lead characters involved in a Sports Car Rally!
    And that's where my memories kicked in!  I used to
enter some of the rallies they used to run around here!
    They can be run several different ways.
    The kind I used to enter basically involved a driver and
a "navigator."
     You would get a set of instructions at the start that
included clues as to which way you should go. You, of
course, had to figure out those clues so you would end up
at the right place.
      Sometimes you were required to drive at a certain speed
(always within the legal limit) for a certain distance. There
would be Check Points here and there to check your speed.
      The only rally I actually won was in my 1963 Austin
Healey Sprite with my neighbor, Eric Moyer, as my
      I remember getting a ceramic mug as our prize.
      I'm not sure it was worth as much as we paid to enter
the event. But it was the prize and we did win.
      For a time it sat in the very center of the vehicle!
      I didn't break any records. But somewhere through the
years I did break the mug......or....somebody did!
      Years later my wife and I entered a rally in my MG
      It was a neat rally that required you to follow a set
of directions that took you to various locations where
you had to answer questions.
      One, for instance, asked us what a certain man did for
a living. If you looked around carefully at that spot you
would have seen a sign for a guy who drilled wells.
      There was a time limit for making the rounds and
looking for the hints that provided the answers you needed.
       We were a great team. We drove the proper route,
solved the clues and answered all the questions!
       We were sure winners! Until we read the last
instruction! It  required us to return to a particular bar
where the club always met.
       Unfortunately for us we were not club members and
had no idea where the place was!  And there were no clues!
       By the time we found it we were the last ones in the
parking lot!
       Well, you win some and your lose some!
        If only we drank more!
        Hope you've got a clue where you're going and that all
 your NEWS is good.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Danger Of Youth Sports!

 You've got to be careful!
 Yesterday I wrote a bit about how hard it is to be
a parent or grand parent sitting in the stands while
your child (or grand child) is out there on the
playing field!
   For many the "cheer leading" turns out to be a
shouting session with an occasional bit of opinion
and advice directed toward the officials on the
   But there's also the element of danger that
goes along with all of these sporting activities.
   Take my grand kid's situations as examples.
   One is a Gymnast. She runs along a mat
throwing her body into the air then twisting and
turning as she lands. One missed step...a bad
landing and injuries await! This week they were
trying to set a new record for number of people
doing hand stands. How would you like to try
   One is in Soccer. Since you can't touch the ball
with your hands you allow it to hit your head as
you try to direct it towards your team mates and
the goal. Legs and feet fly in all directions and
contact isn't always limited to the ball! Shins
are easily bruised in one of these contests!
    One grandson is on a Football team.Football
is a  "contact sport" and the players making
contact are often 200 pound plus individuals
who are coming at or after you like a freight
train! And that s' just in practice! Where you find
a football team you're likely to find a stretcher
nearby....just in case!
    My other grandson is a BMX Bicycle racer.
    In his sport you pedal around a track filled
with hills and turns as fast as possible. Usually
it's with two or more other racers just inches
away trying to jump the same hills and negotiate
the same turns without wrecking.
    Each of these sports has its own inherent
   This past weekend all four of my
grand kids were competing !
   And there was only one injury!
   I tripped over my grandson's bike!
  These youth sports are dangerous!
   Hope you're more careful than I.......and
that all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, September 23, 2012


   There were grunts. There were groans! The pressure was on!
   The clock was running. The Offense was running! The Defense
was running!
    It was tough for all of us. And none of us were on the field!
    No. The sounds I'm writing about were all coming from the
fans....not the players!
     And make no mistake about it! One of the most frustrating
"jobs" in sports is.....being a fan! This is especially true when
you are a parent of grand parent! 
     We watched on Saturday as one grand daughter took to the
Soccer field while a grandson joined his team on the gridiron!
      Another grand daughter was busy elsewhere trying to help
with a new "hand stand record."
      The 4th grandchild gave us a break by postponing his BMX
Bike racing till Sunday afternoon!
       You want to cheer your head off for your kid or grand kid
       Still, you don't want to hurt the feelings of kids on "the other
team" while they're standing right in front of you!
       Then there's the parents of those "other kids"....usually
sitting just a few feet away and trying to "outshout" you on
every single play!
        We did hear from a few "fans" whose voices were well
above the rest of us! They were undoubtedly former referees
as they were able to tell the on-field officials everything they
were doing wrong! In the case of the Football game they
did it for all 60minutes!
      The Soccer and football players all shook hands with their
 opponents as their respective games ended.
         I didn't catch any of thee parents or grand parents doing the
same thing!
         As I said, one grand daughter was away trying to set the new
"Handstand record."  We saved a little of our voices on that one!
        Hopefully we'll have some left for the BMX races!
        Win or loose....being a fan is rough!!!!!!!!!!
        Hope you're not all cheered out and that all your NEWS
is good!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Conflict Of Interests!

     This could be a very tough day for those of you
who like to observe those strange "Holidays" I like
to call to you attention!
      There are two on today's calendar.
      But, as they say, "you can't have your cake and
eat it too!"
      It's the 4th Saturday in September.
      As such it is "National Hunting and Fishing Day!" is also "Fish Amnesty Day!"
      PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals) came up with the latter about 15 years ago
and uses the observance as a way to promote fish
free diets.
      Believe it or not Congress established National
Hunting and Fishing Day in 1971. And, ironically,
it was created to recognize hunters and anglers for
their leadership in fish and wildlife conservation!
       I find myself "on the fence" in this dilemma! Or
maybe I should say "on the dock!"
      We have "rescued" a number of fish at our house!
      We have saved them from Walmart and other Pet
Stores, and have fed and cared for them in a
comfortable and clean tank set up in our game room.
       A few have died during our watch. Most from
old age and a couple we believe were the victims of
the "Big fish eat little fish syndrome."
       But while caring for a small school at home I
admit to searching for others with worms and an
occasional piece of hot dog attached to a hook on the
end of my fishing line!
        Although I usually practice a "catch and release
policy" I have also enjoyed a fish fry from time to
         Rather than allow my self to be torn in two by
these two observances I believe I'll allow my rod and
reel to sit, unused, throughout the day! That should
make the PETA folks happy!
         The Fishermen will have to be content knowing
I plan to celebrate the day with Tuna or Fish & Chips
for lunch!
         Hope your tackle box is ready, just in case, and
that all your NEWS is good!


Friday, September 21, 2012

The Karate Kid (s)!

   There were six of us in all! My wife, my
daughter, my son, two of our good friends
and me!
   The only person missing was Mr. Miyagi!
   You had to be thinking of him as, for hours
and all of us, it was "Wax on, Wax off."
    Of course, in reality, we were not learning
Karate (at least not intentionally).
    We were waxing our camper!
    And cleaning windows.
    And repairing and painting a water heater
    And ripping apart an old dock.
    Campers are, of course, like small houses.
    But they don't seem very small when you're
tyring to reach and coat every square inch with
a layer of Turtle Wax!
    It took all six of us, two ladders, a dozen
or so old rags and about four hours to cover the
whole unit.
   The cover for the water heater took another
40 minutes! Its hinges came apart easily
enough. But putting them back in place after
the cover was painted was a little like trying
to combine parts for an Erector Set with
   The old dock looked weathered and worn.
   But it was built a little like a Sherman Tank!
   Fortunately my son's part time experience as
a Bouncer has trained him how to deal with
tanks (or is that people who are tanked?).
   Any how he single- handedly drug it out of
the water and muck and ripped it apart board
by board. I think Mr. Miyagi could take a few
lessons from him!
    The camper now shines like new, the water
heater cover is ready to protect the water heater,
and the old dock has been turned into firewood.
    We might have stayed for a camp fire....but we
had to get home to see where we hurt!
     Hope your Dojo is neat and clean and that all
your NEWS is good!



Thursday, September 20, 2012

At The Car Wash!

    Trees are nice. But.........
    The Pine tree that grows both near and above
my wife's car likes to share its needles!
    They fall, ever so quietly, a few at a time day
and night and are attracted to the car like a magnet!
     They have the uncanny ability to land in places
that are irretrievable by human hands. They land
behind windshield wipers, in air vents, and between
door and window crevices.
      The heavy wind that blew through the area this
week expedited their fall so, before the vehicle was
completely camouflaged, I decided to take it to the
car wash.
       I pulled up to the vacuum cleaner first to clean
out the needles that had found their way onto the
floor mats.
       I was prepared this time. The vacuum takes 4
quarters, the car wash takes a minimum of 8.
       Usually my pockets would be filled with dimes,
nickles, and probably a few pennies. This time I
made sure I had enough quarters along!
        The hose on the vacuum is roughly the size of
the one that feeds air to the astronauts when they re
on a space walk. I guess they're not heavy when
you're in a weightless environment. But here on earth
they're heavy!
        They do have a powerful suction. But the nozzle
is just big enough so you can't fit it into half of the tiny
places where dust,dirt,tiny scraps of refuse and....yes...
pine to settle.
         With a bit of manipulation I managed to get
most of the interior cleaned up.
          Next on my target list were those needle filled
air vents right behind the wipers.
           I figured the high pressure water jet would
wash them away in no time. I did shoot some of them
right out of their resting places........about 20% of them!
           The rest just seemed to sit their as though they
were enjoying the shower! I retrieved most of the others
with a sweep of my "pointer" finger against my thumb.
            A few others will likely remain there till the car
either dies, is traded in, or begins to grow it's own tree!
            A prolonged spray might have eventually cleared
them out. But whoever designed those car washes seems
to have calculated the exact time it takes to wash a car
and cuts the water flow 3 minutes before that job can be
            Of course you can "buy" more water and time.
            But you'd better bring a lot of quarters if you
expect to get everything spic and span!
             It might be cheaper to chop down a tree!
             Hope you've got the correct change and that all
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ahoy Maties!

  Another one of those "Big Days" is here! It's one of
those "holidays" most people don't know about. And
they're missing all the fun!
   September 19th is "International Talk Like A Pirate
Day!" I kid you not!
   It's the brainchild of two guys,  John Baur and Mark Summers.
   Neither is a Pirate or, as far as I know, even a fan of
Pittsburgh's Baseball team.
   They were playing racquetball one day when they
suddenly had an inspiration like
a pirate! It's probably happened to you at one time or another.
   Anyhow they had so much fun they decided the world
needed a new holiday and "Talk Like A Pirate Day" was
    They picked September 19th because it was Summers'
ex-wife's birthday and because they couldn't think of any
other date that wasn't already being used for some other
     Through another friend the duo got an email address for
nationally syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning writer
Dave Barry who published a column about the day. And that's
all it took! Response began coming on from all over the
world (hence the idea that's it's an "International Day!)
      I've been a bit of a Pirate myself from time to time.
      I'm often in my own boat....although it is just an 8-foot-
      I even buried a "treasure" on a small island many years ago.
      It was a small tin containing a few coins.
      I'm wondering if any of them were old enough to be valuable.
      I'd like to check. But I'm not exactly sure where I buried
them! Guess I should have made a neat map with a big X to mark
the spot!
      Maybe I did.......but I can't remember. I should probably make
myself walk the plank!
      I've provided all this background information so......
after you've walked around your place of business using terms
like...."Arr" or "me hearties" or "shiver me timbers"......they
won't try to take you away in a white jacket that ties in the back!
      Hope you're Jolly (Roger) and that all of your NEWS is

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hush Children...What's That Sound.....

  I decided to spend a portion of my Birthday at the movies!
  Going to the movies is like coming home to me. When I was
a kid and my Dad was a projectionist it was not uncommon
for me to see several movies in a single day.
   My show on ECTV ends at 12:30 and my wife was
doing some volunteer work with a local hospital.
    What a great chance to escape to a "guy's movie."
     And on a Monday no less!
     That's usually the "slow" day for the movie business so there's
a fair chance you'll have the theater all to yourself.
     Add to those ideal circumstances the fact that Cinemark sent
a coupon for a free popcorn and medium soda as a Birthday
     I picked "Lawless", a feature that's already been out for
awhile, further guaranteeing sparse crowds.
     It was "based on a true story" so there's a good chance
there was something factual somewhere in its one hour and
fifty five minutes of shooting, car chases, and moonshine
making and distribution!
     I'm hoping none of the "true" parts were included in the
dialog as I missed a lot of that.
     The dialog I heard was coming from a man and a woman
sitting one row and four seats ahead of me.
     They were among the 7 people, including me, in the
     These were not "teen talkers!" The couple appeared to be
in their 60's or so and, for some reason, found it necessary to
comment on virtually everything in the movie!
     I coughed a little and eventually whispered "Please be
quiet." I guess my whisper was a bit too low because they
never stopped!
     I was really glad each time somebody on screen opened
fire or blew something up. It got your attention back to the
     I've complained, on several occasions, about people
who text or just check their cell phones during a feature.
     But I honestly think that would have been better! At least
those interruptions are usually brief and then end.
     I'm hoping this couple discovers one of the Drive In
Theaters still operating in our area. I wouldn't mind if they're
in a car while they talk to each other. As long as it's not mine!
     Hope you can "enjoy the show" and that all your NEWS
is good!

Monday, September 17, 2012

70 Orbits!

  Well it's come again! My Birthday!
  I don't know if this is "the big one."
  But it is "a big one!"
  As of today I've completed 70 orbits
around the sun!
  That's actually pretty impressive
when you consider the fact that I
grew up at a time when we didn't
have seat belts, batting helmets, or
play grounds with mulch on the ground
to cushion our falls!
   I still enjoy celebrating my
   This year we combined celebrations.
   My Grand daughter's Birthday is on
the 14th while mine is on the 17th.
   We're just 3 days (and 59 years)
    We each got great presents!
    One of mine truly pays tribute to
my multiple journeys around the sun!
     It's what my Grandson called
"an old person's gift bag."
     It includes a packet of Tylenol,
some Prilosec tablets for Heartburn,
nasal strips to prevent snoring,
multivitamins, a heat pad to relieve
pain along with a Heat wrap for deep
muscle relaxation, a box of band aids,
a First Aid Kit, and a package of
Day/Night cream called "Youth Code!"
    Do you think someone is trying to
tell me something?!
    Hey guys.... my Birthday may fall
on "Constitution Day." But I didn't
actually cover the signing!!!!!
    Think I'll have one of those
multivitamins, put that Heat wrap on
my back and get started on Orbit
number 71! Hey.....who's counting!?
    Hope you have a great day too and
that all your NEWS is good!



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pennies At The Pump!

   You don't hear people yelling "Fill
her up" quite as much as you used to!
    There's a couple good reasons for
    First, unless they're in New Jersey
or Oregon, there's nobody to yell to!
   There's no "Self Service" allowed
in those two states!
    Secondly a lot of folks have to be
content with a tank that's not fully
filled because they can't afford to
fill their tanks!
    The old Suburban I got rid of
earlier this year had a 40 gallon gas
    Filling that tank at most of the
Gas Stations we saw in upstate
New York this past week would have
cost anywhere from $161 to $164!
    They might have settled for our
"first born", but she left home years
    That's not to say you couldn't find
a bargain!
     The "Oneida Indian Nation", which
operates the Turning Stone Casino, also
runs a string of gas stations and mini
marts in New York. It can sell gasoline
without all the taxes most outlets have
to pay. So it was offering motorists
a gallon of regular for only $3.99& 9/10
while the others were 3 to 12 cents higher!
      It was probably to thank us for the
beads we gave them back when we
settled on their land!
      Of course, in that part of New York,
many of the motorists will be giving the
money back at Turning Stone!
      The "deals" are much better around
our region!
      As I write this Blog a gallon of
regular is selling from a high of $4
to a low of about $3.77 & 9/10!
      Of course the lowest prices may
involve a lower octane grade of gas!
      Or they may be so far away from
you that the drive will cancel any
       It's too bad the Shawanese
disappeared from Luzerne County!
       If that tribe were still around these
parts we might get a break at the pumps!
        I wonder if the folks at Mohegan
Sun would be interested in gambling on
a gas station? It's a good bet they'd get
a lot of customers!      
       Hope you're keeping your tank
filled and that all your NEWS is good!