Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm Hip Man!

  Technology is really amazing. But it's at
least 20 steps ahead of me.
   I know how to use my laptop to write my
Blog, check my email, and even edit some
video. But that's about it.
   My grand kids have devices like IPods,
the Wii, and a Cell phone that does all
the things I used to see on Star Trek except
to "Beam them up." They even have a
Nook which, until recently, I thought was
an obscure corner where some people have
    Now, however, I'm catching up. One
step at a time!
    My son-in-law got me a pedometer for
    I try to walk two miles 6 days a week.
    I know the exact distance in two or three
locations because I've measured it by
driving the route.
    But I often vary from those routes and
sometimes walk where you can't drive to
double check the distance.
    Today I removed the pedometer from
my pile of Christmas gifts. (A couple are
still setting in the corner waiting to be put
to use). I opened the package and got out
the instructions which I'll probably read
in their entirety one of these days. At the
moment all I really needed was the "On/
Off switch."
   I took it with me on one of my pre-
measured routes and guess what? This
little device knew exactly how far I
   I still don't understand how it knew.
It's hooked onto my belt........ on my HIP!
 I mean, it's not strapped to my leg or my
foot, so how did it know my belt, and I,
walked exactly two miles? 
    Since I forgot to turn it off a check later
in the afternoon reveled I had walked more
than another mile since my stroll! It was
still keeping track. It was even smarter than
I thought! It knew I had walked 7,002 steps!
    Next time I'll try to count those too to
verify the findings.
     So more over kids. Grandpa is coming
into the technology age. But.....I'm walking
there so it may still take some time!
      Hope  you're keeping step and that all
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting The Boot!

    Regular readers of my daily Blog will
undoubtedly remember my essay on the
demise of my Wolverines. The boots I
wore for "bad weather walking."
     Like the tire carcass you occasionally
spot along the Interstate, the rubber
tread on my usually dependable foot ware
has been disintegrating leaving a trail
of small black dots throughout the house.
     My wife suggested, encouraged, then
finally instructed me to go and buy a new
pair. So, off I went on my mission.
      Now boots, like any other bit of
wearing apparel, come in various sizes.
So the first thing you've got to do is find
a pair in a style you like and find your
      Of course when you only buy
once a decade there is a chance that you
particular size has changed.
      I've found, in my extensive experience,
that the style you like will either not be
available in your size or the box with the
appropriate size will be hidden somewhere
among the hundred or so available boxes
staring you right in the face.
     Eventually I was able to locate several
variations of style and size that might fit
my needs. And, of course, my feet!
     I began the process of trying them on
and learned several things.
     First, there was a small hole in the sock
on my right foot.
     I then learned that some manufactures
find it necessary, for some unknown reason,
to put tightly rolled rolls of paper inside
their boots. You will discover which as you
attempt to insert your foot inside to see if the
size is correct.
     You are next introduced to the reality that
once removed from their box the boots
cannot be reinserted in the same exact way in
which they were packed! I really tried!
      Anyway, in the end, I was successful and
am the proud new owner of a spiffy pair of
Herman Survivor Boots! The brand "Survivor"
seemed especially appropriate to me after
this venture into the Men's Foot ware Department!
      And, by the way, my wife informs me my
Wolverines will "live again" as some sort of
Planters in our yard. Hey, she won't even need
top soil!
      Hope I can find my shoehorn, and that all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Slip Sliding Away!

  I, and probably a lot of other people, started
checking out the weather predictions for Monday
as early as Sunday morning. By late Sunday night
several area schools had posted delays or even
   Small amounts of snow don't raise many
eyebrows around these parts. But mention Sleet,
Freezing Rain, or Ice and you get a lot of
attention. You certainly get mine! Although
I'm not sure I could tell which of those three
are falling when I try to go up a slippery hill!
I just know the hill is slippery!
   Monday is the day I head to Scranton to do
my weekly TV program with Judge Tom Munley
on Electric City Television. I had forewarned
his honor that slick roads might keep me out of
the picture (TV picture that is) if things got too
bad out there.
   But forecasts are a little like sports predictions.
All the data shows what should happen in a
particular game. But there's no guarantee it will
happen or, even if it does, when it will happen!
    That's why I decided to let technology go to
work to see if I should!
     Minutes before I was scheduled to leave I
called up the State Department of Transportation
on my laptop and clicked on "Traffic Cameras."
The state has a mess of these candid cameras set
up along major highways so you can tell if there's
a "mess" in your area. Those along my route
showed traffic on the move. So I did, Move that is.
     Thankfully the images I saw were "Live", not
re-runs, and the going was truly good!
      Penndot also had it's fleet on the move and my
journey proved to be an easy one. At least going.
      The predicted Sleet (or Freezing Rain, or Ice)
started showing up on the roads I use as I headed
home. Of course the Traffic Cams wouldn't have
helped very much then because, what ever they
showed, I had to come back. There were a couple
spots where I felt my car wanted to go in a
direction other than the one I was steering. A bit
of that "slip sliding away" as the title implies!
       I made it of course, as the publication of today's
blog suggests. And I have to admit the cameras were
a help. Maybe I can get them to put one on the road
to my house so I can decide if it's worth even going
outside. On the other hand....maybe I can just look
out the window and make that decision!
      Hope you got where you had to go and back and
that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, January 28, 2013

You Load 16 Ton...And What Do You Get?

   I'm sure you all know Coal used to be "King" here in
northeastern Pennsylvania. It was "dethroned" many
years ago. But the "King" hasn't left the building!
   He's left black dust all over the place!
   Our Sunday drive after church, after dinner, took us
into Carbon County yesterday.
   Small towns like Coaldale and Lansford along our
way are still literally surrounded by coal mining
operations. They're "Strip" or "Open Pit Mines"
these days.
    My grand kids are way too young to remember the
days when miners were working right under our
feet in tunnels hundreds of feet underground. But
there are a few underground mines around. These
days.....they're Tourist Attractions!
     I've been in the Lackawanna County Coal Mine
and another in Ashland. Yesterday we found another
one in Lansford! There's a Museum there that's open
now. Tours inside the mine begin in May.
     It's really neat to go into these mines without
having to work there! You can get a little idea what
life was like back then.
      It's also neat that these dark tunnels are still
contributing to the economy of our area. Now it's
through admissions, concessions, and the sale of
souvenirs. You don't even have to load 16 ton of
Number 9 Coal to get a Miner's Hat with a built on
flashlight. But you do have o buy them!
      I've always wondered why the State, or
individual Counties or communities haven't done
more to capitalize on "Old King Coal."
      The ghost town of Centralia may have a mine                     
fire underneath. But why not bring in tourists to
see the place and tell the story?
       The old Blue Coal Breaker in Ashley still
sits, run down and idle, waiting for development
money that, some believe, could make in Wyoming
Valley's Empire State Building!
        And who know how many other mines might
possible be used to scare the whits out of visitors
when you bring them inside and turn out all the
lights? It's DARK down there!
        I know we'll be heading back to Lansford in
a month or two to have a look at the mine tour
there. Maybe Ill even invest in a Miner's hat with a
built in flashlight. I could use it Wednesday nights
when I take out the garbage!
         Hope you're not deeper in debt and that all
your NEWS is good!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

There's No Business Like Snow Business!

  I've harped a couple of times about the lack of
kids out playing out in the snow this year!
  Yesterday my daughter and two grand kids
joined my wife and me for a rise to pass some
time. I suggested the kids put their snow boards
in the back of our van....."just in case."
   My grand son brought along some snow pants
for the same reason, "just in case" although my
grand daughter seemed very content to read her
latest book as we headed out for places unknown.
   With outside temperatures still below the
freezing mark the sun's rays inside the car made
it seem especially cozy. I love the "Greenhouse
effect" on days like that.
    To test my "just in case theory" I drove to
Francis Slocum Park. A few months, and 50
or so degrees ago, I brought the kids here to
play on the playground equipment and toss a
baseball around a bit. You might be able to
throw a baseball now...but there's a fair
chance you'd never find it in the blanket of
snow that covers everything.
    In less than a minute the tail gate was open
and the snow boards were out and ready for
action. The grand kids did what I believe a lot
more kids show be doing in the snow.....playing!
    We do not have the same expectations for
adults so my wife and daughter elected to remain
in our "vehicle greenhouse."
     I, on the other had, felt compelled to document
these winter activities with my camera. Within
minutes my grand kids had made a dozen or
more runs, I had gathered plenty of pictures,
and my fingers were near frost bitten!
     Theory results: Kids should play in the snow!
     Adults should find a warm greenhouse!
     Hope you're watching the kids from a warm
place and that all your NEWS is good!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our Cinema Search For Osoma!

    "Zero Dark Thirty" is the new movie dealing with the
CIA's search for Osoma bin Laden. It's beennnominated for:
Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing,
and Best Original Screenplay! It should also be nominated
for "Longest Movie!"
    My wife and I and two good friends went to see the flick
    The actual search for bin Laden took about a decade. The
movie, while good, seemed about that long! The actual
length was two hours and thirty seven minutes.
     There was a lot of CIA "intelligence stuff" in the script.
     Fortunately there was an older couple sitting just a few
feet away who must have been in the "Firm" at one time as
I heard them explaining everything to each other as the movie
played on. I thought about asking them to cut their volume a
little but decided against it thinking if I heard too much they'd
probably have to kill me.
       Thinking back on their chatter I now realize these two
could not possibly be with an agency that's suppose to keep
secrets. It was very apparent these two could not keep
anything quiet!
        I suspect bi Laden would still be around somewhere
if these two folks were part of the team trying to capture
him! He sure would have heard them coming!!!!!
        Ironically there was one section of the movie when I
didn't hear too much from them! There wasn't much happening
on the screen in that part of the script. I actually started to
relax. I nearly dozed, That's when the explosion shook the
auditorium! I jumped a bit, then gazed at our neighboring
couple to make sure they hadn't blown something up!  I was
glad to realize the blast was actually part of the movie!
        I certainly don't know how much of the film was fact
and how much was fiction. There was lots of action,
separated by lots of "spy stuff." It is, at least, a "Medium
Pop Corn Movie.
     Hope you get to see it without supporting narration,
and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Sticker and Steak!

   As I brushed the snow from my van the other
day I noticed its inspection was coming due. Most
people probably wouldn't get excited over that. But
I did because it meant a visit to my favorite garage!
   I've talked about Ledoretti's before.
   The family that runs the place will fix your car,
show off some art, teach local history, talk politics
(if you want), and, if you time things just right,
they'll feed you too! I timed things just right!
    The "Lunch Break" here just sort of happens
in between wheel alignments, inspections, and oil
changes. You never know what's on their menu.
But, whatever it is, they're likely to share it with
any customers who happen to be hanging around
at that time!
    Yesterday somebody brought in venison and
a sausage made from Bear meat! They cooked it
over the hot coals in their furnace. You piled it
on a fresh roll and added a few fresh potato chips.
It was fantastic! It doesn't get much better than
Bear and potatoes!
      Joe Ledoretti can fix just about any problem
with your car. But if there's a break in the brake
work he'll entertain you with poems, his
harmonica, or maybe his woodworking skills.
     His latest effort is a model Service Station.
All hand built in his basement workshop. I wasn't
surprised by the precision work. Only by the fact
his model is a Texaco station. He must have
forgotten he and his family sell Gulf!
      What a great morning! Arts and crafts, good
company, great conversation, and a "man's meal!"
       And, oh yes, new inspection stickers on my
       I can't wait till the next oil change!
       Hope you're running on all cylinders
and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trash To Treasure!

    They say "one man's trash is another man's
    Unfortunately, over the years, some of my
"trash" disappeared.  Similar "trash" is now
regarded by some to be "treasure."
    I came to this conclusion after my wife
and her friend talked me and my buddy into
visiting an area Antique Shop.
    I should be surprised at the women's
interest here. After all...aren't they the ones
who usually want to "clean house" and toss
things out?
    You know you're going to see a lot of old
things in a shop like this. But you may be
surprised when you look around and realize
you probably used to have half of the things
you're looking at!
     Like the Comic books!
     I used to buy at least one comic book a
week when I was a kid. Each cost a dime.
Now I find myself looking at copies of
"Archie" selling for two dollars each! And
some are more expensive! Guess that's why
some call them "Funny Books!"
     Who hasn't owned a version of the game
"Battleship" at one time or another? Hey, half
the people my age claim to have invented the
game years ago. Anyhow...there it is...selling
for way more than  the original price! Especially
if it's in an original box!
      And talk about going from trash to treasure.
      Back when I was a kid Lionel Trains were
the favorite. Admittedly there were a few who
favored the American Flyer Line.
      But nobody, at least nobody I knew, longed
for a Marx Train. They were made of tin and
didn't have all the features of the more popular
brands. I got one anyway, somewhere along the
line, and parked it on a siding near my "main
     Now the Marx is very rare so, all of a sudden
it's the valuable train. And mine is still lost somewhere
on that siding!
      There's a lesson in all this! Are you listening
ladies? Never throw anything out! Keep it long enough
and it gets valuable. Guess that's why my wife hasn't
tossed me........yet.
      Hope your trash turns into treasure and that all
your NEWS is good!                    



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Breath In...Breath Out!

   I was wired last night! No. I don't mean
hyper! I mean wired!
   I've been trying to deal with a cough,
sometimes serious, that showed up right
before Christmas.
   Yesterday, on orders from one of my
doctors, a guy showed up with a little
machine and told me I was suppose to
use it through the night....while I slept.
    Somehow it's suppose to measure my
oxygen levels.
    Now, I don't know about you, but
when I think "oxygen" I think about those
little plastic face masks that are suppose
to fall onto your  lap from the ceiling of
your airplane to help you breath right
before a disaster!
    But this guy brought a little device,
about the size of an IPhone, that attaches
to my finger. I didn't know I got air through
my finger. I always thought it came in
through my nose and/or mouth!
    This is interesting!
     I'm wondering, for future reference, if,
while swimming, I can just hold my finger
up out of the water?
     Anyway, the overnight test proved to be
challenging. That's partly because I roll
around from side to side throughout the night
and partly because I usually get up two or
three times a night. Neither of these
movements are quite as easy when you're
"attached" to something.
     The clinic guy suggested I just put the
unit in my pocket. But I don't usually have
any pockets while I'm sleeping.
     I found a shirt with a pocket and wore
it through the night. I kept thinking I ought
to have a pen in there too or a stick of gum.
     I'm hoping the results show I got
oxygen throughout the night. If I didn't.....
you'd probably know without a machine!
      Didn't Mr. Miyagi use that "Breath in,
breath out" thing to teach the Karate Kid?
       Hope you're breathing too and that all
your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weather Or Not!

    Everybody talks about the weather. But does
anybody know what they're talking about?
    Yesterday's forecast, depending on where you
read it, heard it, or saw it, generally called for
cloudy sky's with a chance of snow flurries.
     The little icon I saw on the forecast I checked
showed a dark little cloud with the sun just
peaking out behind. Kind of neat. You figure
a few dark clouds and, at any minute, rays of
sunshine busting through! And, yes, maybe a
couple of flurries here or there. In fact there
was a 10% chance of precipitation.
      I saw a couple of the flurries mentioned as
I drove home from Scranton. I wondered if they
were the 10% in the forecast! I thought that little
bit of sunshine was just waiting for the right
moment to make an appearance. But it never
      That little slice of sunshine must have seen
the flurries too and decided to stay hidden
behind the cloud. Maybe it saw what was
coming! I would have stayed hidden too!
I think whoever drew the icon would want to
       Two to three hours later the "flurries" had
piled up about an inch or two and radio reports
were laundry listing accidents all over the area!
        It's not easy to predict the weather around
these parts. And I'm always surprised at how
predictions vary from one news outlet to the
other. That's because the basic information comes
from the National Weather Service and it gives
everybody the same information!
         Ironically one of the most accurate forecasts
I see comes from a friend on Passbook who calls
himself "Weather Bob." He has been pretty much
right on so far this season. And he doesn't draw
little black clouds!
         I'll be checking his forecast next time I'm
thinking of heading out when there's a 10% chance
of precipitation!
         Hope the sun peaks out for you and that all
your NEWS is good!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Sticking Together!

    It's hard to keep families together. Everybody
has things to do and places to go.
    That's why I was so pleased when, a couple of
months ago, my niece decided to it was time for
a family reunion and took it upon herself to get
the ball rolling! It's a big, big project!
     Last evening it happened!
     I can't remember ever making any special
effort to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's
Birthday. But it provided the perfect rational
for our party! You school today,
a day off for most of those who are still working
and, as a bonus, we had the football playoff
games as additional entertainment!
     Thanks Dr. King!
     Then there was the food!
      In addition to the entries offered by our
hosts everybody brought something. That
equates to enough food to supply all the kids
and staff in one typical elementary school for
at least one full day!
      We spent hours talking, reminiscing, catching
up, snacking, and, occasionally, checking on
the games. What a great family time!
       Being exceptionally prepared and very
realistic my niece actually provided take out
boxes to everyone so they could enjoy the
leftovers for one or two more meals.
        And then came the Sticky Buns!
        My niece and her daughter, a culinary arts
student, have perfected their own receipt for
Sticky Buns,,,,,,,a baked delight that's been a
sought after commodity among family members
dating to our annual vacations at the Jersey
Shore! The typical morning quest was a search
for a good bakery offering sticky buns,
         The two of them stayed up till the early
morning hours on Sunday, preparing some 7
trays of the goodies to be divided among all the
guests. Talk about a great way to remind us of
the importance of "sticking together!"
          Hope you're making time to get your
family together, as often as possible, and that
all your NEWS s good!



Sunday, January 20, 2013

l Scream For Ice Cream! (More that is!)

    I've told you before. I was never very good at math!
    My late brother was a math professor. He got all the
brains for math in our family.
    I was so bad in the subject that one teacher made me
retake a test because I got a good mark! For some still
unknown reason I had studied for that particular test!
    Now there's the "new math." I don't understand it
either. But I'm wondering if it is responsible for my
ice cream mystery?!
    My wife and I bought some ice cream the other day
and we each had a little. Tonight we had a little more.
And now, the package is empty!
    The container we bought looked pretty much like
the half gallon we used to buy. Same brand. Same
flavor. Same colored photo on the container.
    But something was different.
    And, apparently, it's the math!
    Since I didn't trust myself I checked the web. According
to the figures there are 4 quarts in a gallon. I'm pretty
sure that would mean there are 2 quarts in a half gallon.
     But, according to the figures on my package there
were only 1.5 quarts in my container and, unless I'm
failing another math quiz, that's less than a half gallon!
     I'm guessing the company made the container
smaller so the price would look about the same as it
did when you were buying the old half gallon
container!  It still looks close enough to the old half gallon
package to fool most of us. Especially if we're looking
at  the pictured scoops of ice cream instead of reading the
    My search also uncovered one company that's
advertising the fact it still sells it's ice cream in full
half gallon containers. Unfortunately the company is
in Texas and that's a long way to go for an extra half
    Guess I could buy two of the 1.5 quart containers which,
let's see....would give me 3 quarts. Then I'd have my half
gallon and some left over. Hey...this math stuff isn't as
hard as I thought!
     Hope you've got some ice cream in the freezer and
that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

These Boots Are Made For Walking!

   I don't know exactly when the small black
particles started to show up. But there they
were, scattered around our living room floor.
   A closer examination reveled they were
tiny bits of rubber.
   And, as usual, my wife tracked the source!
   They were bits and pieces of my
    Chances are you probably never saw my
Wolverines, even though I wore them on
television for several years!
     You see, the "uniform of the day" for
your average male TV News reporter is a
suit and tie. That's because much of your
daily work routine takes you to public
meetings or Court rooms.
      Of course just about the time you're
getting set to cover that County Commissioners'
meeting or a big court decision, you suddenly
find yourself assigned to traffic reports in the
middle of a snow storm or you're dispatched
to a muddy strip mine to report on a Labor
     That's why, years back, I decided to change
my footwear from fall through spring. Though
they didn't match my suits very well, I put on
a warm, water-proof pair of Wolverines to
keep me comfortable during those inclement
assignments. I simply told the photographer
not to show my boots!
     If, by chance, I remained in "civilization"
then, as anyone who has seen the Shawshank
Redemption can tell you,.........most people
never pay any attention to your shoes!
     The same pair has continued to protect
me during my winter walks in my post
retirement years. At least, up till recently.
     It seems I have worn out a lot of that
rubber that's suppose to be meeting the
road. What once was tread has now become
evidence that I didn't remove my boots
when entering the house! My wife is easily
able to track my steps from one room to
another. This is noit a good thing! At the
current rate of deterioration I expect my heels
will be sticking out the bottoms in about three
      I may not be quick to buy clothes.....but I
don't quit on those I have very easily!
    Sill to please my "soul" mate (get the play
on footwear words?) I'll probably start looking
for a new pair of boots sometime soon.
     Hope you know when it's time to give something
"the boot" and that all your NEWS is good!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Red Rover, Red Rover, Let _____Cross Over!

   My mind is drifting back to some of those old
neighborhood games we used to play. Games like
"Red Rover" or "Stop and Go." You know. Those
games where someone got to control your
movement forward or backward.
    They came to mind Monday while I was heading
to the studio to do my weekly program on ECTV.
    You see, to get there, you've got to cross a very
busy street.
     Back in "the day" crossing the street was
relatively easy. There were some simple rules.
Basically, you looked both ways. If no cars were
coming, you crossed!
     It doesn't work that way anymore. At least not
at the major intersections in most communities.
    Take Scranton for instance.
    The city has just installed a whole new system
that's suppose to allow pedestrians to press a button
which, in turn, is suppose to give them a fighting
chance to get across the street....alive!
    A white silhouettes depicting a person lights up
to signal you can begin your attempt. But, almost
immediately thereafter, a count down begins indicating
how many seconds are left for your to complete your
journey! It's a little frighting. Especially for those
little old ladies trying to "beat the clock!"
    There are audio "beeps" as well.
    They are probably there to aid the blind. But
they also remind the others that their crossing
time begins to run out the moment it begins!
    Ironically, even when the system gives you the
"Go" signal, it does noting to stop traffic turning
into your path for the adjoining street!
     You could be watching the countdown and
get clobbered by a bus!
     I'm thinking it might just be easier to have
someone standing on the other side shouting
"Red Rover, Red Rover, Try to cross over!"
     Hope you still look both ways and that all your
NEWS is good!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are!

   The setting was perfect!
   The predicted snow had fallen.
   The Schools were closed and the buses sat,
empty, waiting for a better.....a safer
    Penn Dot plows were making the rounds
clearing the one to four inches that caused
all the morning cancellations.
    And individual home owners were busy
with apparatus ranging from shovels to
snow blowers trying to clean their sidewalks
and drive ways.
     But, once again, there was something
missing! It was the kids!
      My search through one neighborhood
turned up exactly one snowman, a modified
"snow fort", and an abandoned, or at least
temporarily forgotten tricycle, left out in
a yard to collect the snow that fell.
      I know I've harped about this before
(during the last snow fall) but what ever
happened to playing outside in the snow?
      Last time I checked Walmart was filled
with toys specifically designed to be used in
the snow. You know...sleds, saucers, forms
to make "snow bricks." not to mention things
like skis and ice skates. Is no one buying?
     There's been a lot of talk lately about
violent video games and how bad they are
for the kids. Maybe it's just me but I think
it would do most kids a world of good if
they'd trade the video machine guns for
a good healthy snow ball fight!
    Talk about realism!
    Hope your kids know how to make a
snowman and that all your NEWS is good!