Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's In The Cards!

   Wow! My wife and I would like to thank all
of you who took the time to wish us a Happy
Anniversary yesterday!
    Nearly 200 people sent their thoughts and
well wishes. Most came on line. Some folks
called. And a few sent cards through the mail.
    One of those greetings was, we admit, very
expected! It was one of the greeting cards!
    Thirteen years ago my daughter and son-in-law
picked out an anniversary card to send to my
wife and me.
     The cover wished a Happy Anniversary
to "a perfect couple" while the inside
suggested it was OK to send it back on their
special day! So.....we did!
     Little did we know what was getting
     That daughter sent the card to her sister
and her husband on their anniversary! And
they sent it back to us on ours!
      Not to be outdone we sent it back to the
original senders the next year.
      It's been circulating ever since!
      Except for the fact that a few pages have
had to be added we've probably saved a small
forest over all these years! Of course we've
probably cut Hallmark's profits a bit too!
       The card has become a family tradition
       Its text and handwritten comments reflect
a lot of love over a lot of years.
       It was great to see it again and to see all
your "likes", comments, emails, and to get your
phone calls!
       In the spirit of our card we'd like to pass
along our good thoughts to you! Thank you
and here's hoping all your NEWS is good!


Monday, April 29, 2013

44 Years And Counting!

   I wonder how many people know exactly what
they were doing 44 years ago today? I do!
   I woke up at my home in Hazleton, drove to
Wilkes-Barre to get my haircut, then on to
Mountaintop where.......I got married!
  Yep, today is our anniversary.
   The humorist writer in me would like to say
we've had 42 wonderful years together.
    The old reporter in me, striving for accuracy,
would have to admit it's been great for more
than the 44 years we're been man and wife. The
count would have to start as of our first date!
    So what do you get for the love of your life
to mark 44 years?
     There's a whole set of recommended gifts
that somebody came up with to mark various
milestones in your married life.
     To be honest I never really checked it out.
      For our first anniversary I commissioned a
young high school aged artist to paint a picture
of a bench we came to call our own overlooking
the Niagara River as it flowed over Niagara
Falls. I provided a photo of the spot.
     But there were two problems. It was a movie
photo so he had to freeze frame the scene in order
to watch it. Secondly, there was no water in the
      The American falls had been "turned off"
that year, by-passed so experts could study the
erosion at the edge of the falls.
       My artist had to add the water on his own.
       My wife loved it!
       Technically I guess I was following the
rules as the suggested First year anniversary
gift is paper. I suppose a painting on a "canvas"
could be considered paper.
        I must have lost track after that because I
know I missed Crystal at 15 years, Silver on
our 25th, or a Rudy at 40.
        Well this year I'm ready!
         I found one of those anniversary gift
suggestion charts and was surprised to find a
"Bag of Groceries" marked on the line noting
44 years! I'm sure that will be a very big hit
with my wife!
        Still there is one lingering question on
my mind......paper or plastic?
        Hope you'll help me celebrate with a
kind thought for my patient, loving wife.....and
that all your NEWS is good!

44 Years And Counting!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Wild World Of Sports!

  The season for sports is now officially underway!
   My grand daughter's Soccer team took to the field
this morning.
   I never used to be a big soccer fan. But now I
find myself sitting on the side lines yelling and
cheering for a team of young ladies who are running
back and forth on a very long field swinging their
legs at this little ball, hitting both it and opponents
in an attempt to get it to fly into a very large net-like
   One of my grandsons is back on his bicycle
whizzing around a BMX track, making jumps, and
sharp turns as he heads towards the finish line.
   The other just took a second place in Karate
competition last weekend as he took on other
Black Belts in Forms.
    Another grand daughter continues her
gymnastics competition and has just returned
after getting some impressive scores and
qualifying for National competition in several
   Not wanting to be outdone by these youngsters
I accepted an invitation to go to softball practice
   I was on the "disabled list" last season because
of some breathing problems that popped up right
before the games began. You have to breath while
you're playing. It's a rule!
  So I took to the mound yesterday to pitch
batting practice....after my year of doing nothing.
  Today I understand that part of of the old ABC
Wild World of Sports opening that spoke of....
"the agony of "de-feet." Only, in my case,it's
de feet, the back,and de legs!
   Hope you're in shape to play and that all your
NEWS is good!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Story Time!

Welcome everyone...to "National
Tell Me A Story Day!"
It's observed here in the U.S. every
April 27th.
They celebrate this unique "holiday"
in England and Scotland too. But they
wait till October 27th. I'm sure there's
a story behind that!
I've elected to highlight it today for
several reasons.
First, I love to tell stories!
I liked putting facts together in story
form when I was an active reporter.
I like telling true stories, usually strange
ones about history, to anyone willing to
listen. Like the one about Milton Hershey
who put $300 down on a ticket to sail on
the Titanic! Called back to the U.S. a few
days early he missed the doomed ship.
Had he made it we might not have the
Hershey Bar today!
And I love making up stories, sometimes
related as being "true' to my grand kids.
I love ending some with the line..."It's
a true story...I made it up!"
I write about a character I call "Prince
Claude." He's not the sharpest "Royal" in
the deck.
I once had him try to rescue a Princess
trapped in a well by throwing huge rocks
down to her. She did not "receive" them
very well!
In another story I pictured him drilling
holes in the bottom of a boat to allow
water to drain out.
He may, or may not, be based on people
I know. You'll never know!
I read several to my daughter's first
grade class a week or so ago and the
kids seemed to enjoy them.
A couple people, mostly family,
have suggested I have them published.
I guess it could happen.
Meanwhile I'm content writing this
daily Blog which is usually based on
stories of things that I've seen or
And they're all true....cause I
definitely made them up!
Hope you're got a good story to
tell today..and that all your NEWS is

Friday, April 26, 2013

Going Up!

  I spotted some men at work during my
morning walk in Pittston yesterday.
  I think the part that caught my attention
was "their office." Well, their workplace
  They were one, two, or three stories up
above the street!
   There's a new building going up
downtown and these "Steel Men" are
putting the pieces together.
    It's impressive to see them casually
walking the steel beams that form the
skeleton of the new structure!
    I'm not fond of heights, without an
airplane, but I've had a touch of their
experience a couple of times.
    My Dad used to visit a friend of his
in one of the projection booths on the
old Steel Pier years ago. I went along a
couple of times.
   But to get to that booth you had to
negotiate a "Cat Walk" on the very
top of the pier! It was a long way up.
Hence, a long way down!
   I was just a kid then. Probably too
little to realize what I was doing!
   Now I'm old enough to know how
scared I should have been!
    I try to make up for it by staying
off our ladder as much as possible.
     Upstairs are no problem.We don't
have one!
     But it's good to see others that
don't mind climbing to new heights
to build new places!
    Keep up the good work guys! I'll
just watch from down here!
    Hope you've got both feet on the
ground and that all your NEWS is



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fall In For Inspection!

  It's not the troops lining up for inspection this
month! It's my cars!
  Two of our family vehicles are due for their
annual inspection by the end of May.
   You can tell by looking at your inspection
stickers IF you look at them from the outside!
The inspection dates are suppose to be marked
on the inside of those window stickers too. You
know, the side that actually faces you while
you're driving.
   But just try reading it!
   After a few months the numbers are usually
illegible. Or, and this is far more common,
half the sticker itself has detached itself from
the windshield and curled up in place! Penndot
needs better glue!
    Of course it's important to know that your
breaks, lights, turn signals, and horn work
properly. Most people test the horn themselves
when the driver ahead of them doesn't speed
ahead the second the traffic light changes from
red to green. I've heard a couple behind me
testing their over the past couple of weeks.
     As for turn signals, most of them must be
broken since they don't seem to flash while
most drivers are turning. Or they keep flashing
for miles after a driver has made a turn.
     Then there's the Emission inspection.
     We all want to make sure our air is clean
and pure. How they check that by taking off
my gas cap I'm not sure.
     I thought I'd save money on that one this
year since my car was driven less than the
5,000 miles required for inspection.
    Unfortunately, they've got to put a second
sticker on my windshield explaining that my
vehicle is exempt. And , apparently, there's
a charge for that sticker! Maybe it's to pay
for better glue?
     Anyhow I'm Street legal again....except
for my wife's car which will have to stand
for attention for its inspection next week!
     Hope you, at least, are At Ease. and that
all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Silver Screen!

    April 23rd marks another one of those unusual
"holidays" few people know about and it may
be my favorite!
    It's Movie Theater Day!
    I love to go to the movies!
    I know you can watch many of the latest hits
from the comfort of your own home these days.
But, to me, nothing beats the experience of
watching these attractions on a big screen with
theater surround sound and a box of fresh hot
popcorn on your lap! And, by the way, popcorn
taste better in a movie theater too!
    I, of course, am bias on this issue!
    I practically grew up in a movie theater....well
a couple of them....as my Dad was a projectionist.
    My main hang out was the Capitol Theater in
Hazleton. I used to sit with Dad in the projection
booth or in the balcony (these days they call
that Stadium seating) right outside the booth.
    If you ever tried sneaking in through the
Fire Exits upstairs there in the late 50's I may
have been the guy who kept you out!
    Double features were common back then.
    Between the Capitol and one of our local
Drive Ins there were times when I saw four
movies in one day (and night).
     My record was "Where The Boys Are" which
I saw, in a theater, 11 times as I recall.
     I think I was in love with the female lead,
Dolores Hart. Wouldn't you know it...she became
a Nun! I suppose she realized she would never
actually meet me.
      That movie came out in 1960, just about the
time the old single screen movie palaces were
beginning to disappear. The Capitol closed in
      I miss it and the other Classic theaters I
used to frequent. But I'm happy the Multiplex
Theaters are around to keep the tradition alive
and the pop corn popping.
     Of course I also miss getting in for free now
that Dad and the Capitol are gone.
     Maybe I'll have to start checking those Fire
Exits myself!
     Hope you've turned off your cellphone ,
remembered to ask for extra butter, and that
all your NEWS is good!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sure Signs Of Spring!

     Spring has sprung.
    The grass has .....well you know how that
one goes. And we all know there are sure
and certain "signs" of Spring even when the
cooler morning temperatures suggest other
    Some people look for flower blossoms.
    Some people watch for the geese flying
    Some people swear by the sight of the
first Robin.
    Me. I watch for the other signs that
sprout up every spring. The Political
campaign signs! And they're here!
    They almost seem to pop up out of the
ground overnight! One day there's
nothing. The next day they seem to be
    Now to be fair there are one or two,
here or there, that seen to be Perennials.
Those candidates are either always
running or haven't got any volunteers to
take their old signs down.
    But most are "new blooms" planted
specifically for the Primary election
that's scheduled for May 21st.
    A few of the candidates either have
a green thumb or a lot of money because
they're got a lot of signs sprouting up
along local roads.
    I've finally figured out why these
"signs of spring" grow so darn well
around here. I think there's plenty of
"fertilizer" behind their "growth!"
    Hope you're looking for geese or
Robins and that all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hippity Hop To The Barber Shop!

   I usually depend on my wife for my haircuts.
But since she's been a little under the weather
I decided I'd find a Barbershop at the end of my
afternoon walk yesterday and get a trim.
    I used to have a regular appointment every
two weeks with a great hair stylist. I began to
drift a way from that routine when the kids
came along and I used the money for food
instead of a razor cut.
    One of the shops along my walking route
was open when I went by so I decided to give
it a try.
    Things have changed a bit since those
regular visits years ago!
     Back then the Italian Barbers talked
sports with most of the customers while a
radio somewhere in the background provided
a steady flow of easy listening music that
always included a few tunes by Dean Martin,
Al Martino, and Jerry Vale.
    There was always a hot towel and a guy
who offered shoe shines for those who
wanted them.
     I'm not sure if there was any specific
ethnic background shared by the barbers
in the shop I found yesterday.  Other than
to say the owner bragged about leaving New
York behind in his rear view mirror when he
pulled out of Manhattan.
     There was a radio and it was playing
something. I couldn't understand any of the
lyrics but the beat was well above that offered
by an easy listening format.
     It reminded me of another home town shop
I stopped in once a few years back.
    The pace in that one was provided by the
on going argument between the barber and
his wife. They were trading was seemed to be
curses in another language which became
just a little upsetting as the barber shaved my
neck with a straight razor. It was my first and
last visit to that place!
    No one was arguing in the shop I picked
yesterday. But everybody, and there were at
least 4 visitors plus a child besides the barbers,
seemed to be trading barbs throughout my
visit. I could only hope the guy holding the
trimmer was concentrating on me!
     There was another big difference between
this "new" place and my regular shop from
years ago. Back then the trimmed hair on
my protective apron was dark. Somehow
the trimmings looked pretty gray yesterday.
Must be the equipment they're using these
days. Right!?
      Hope you've still got a little on the top
to be trimmed and that all your NEWS is


Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is...........

      The words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
echoed through my mind as I face still another
shopping assignment yesterday.
       I was on my own, armed with a short list of
necessities my wife had provided.
       I tried to stick with that list as close as possible.
But even that small chore can present challenges.
      Do you, for instance, stick with the named
brand products. Or do you chance buying the
less expensive store brand that may or may not be
as good or effective.
      I was OK with that. I made a couple of decisions
which I hoped would be approved and just crossed
my fingers.
      Then, of course, there were the "discoveries."
You know, the things you just happen to see which
seem to cry out "Buy me. You need me!" It's funny
hot many of those things fall into the "Dessert"
       I picked up a couple of those too then headed
for the Check Out. And that's when the fear really
kicked in!
       As I started to transfer the items from my
shopping cart to the check out counter I realized
I was in an aisle designated for "20 Items Or Less!"
       I am, by nature, a law abiding, rule following
citizen. Was I about to violate that status!? I had
never actually counted all those individual items
as I took them from the shelves. Was I in for
immanent trouble?
       It could depend, I suspected, on whether those
three boxes of Raisinets would be counted as three
items or a single purchase.
       The tension mounted. But somebody up there
likes me! There were 17 items in all. I had cleared
the limit with room to spare! The friendly clerk
assured me she would have gladly handled by
purchases anyway. She said I was far short of the
44 items some guy pushed through her quick
check out aisle a few days earlier.
        So, in the end, the only thing I really had
to fear was, in fact, fear itself.
        Of course I had forgotten a book of stamps.
I made that purchase separately.
       Hope you've checked off everything on your
list and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, April 19, 2013

There's Something In The Air!

   Forgive me if I do not join you in celebrating
this somewhat unusual "holiday." I just haven't
got a taste for it.
   What "holiday" you may ask?
   Well April 19th has been designated as
National Garlic Day! I thought you knew!
  It's also Hanging Out Day, Oklahoma
City Bombing Commemoration Day,
National Day of Silence, John Parker Day,
and DNA Day!
  You've got to wonder who comes up with
some of these gems.
    Anyway, back to National Garlic Day!
    Garlic was never my favor vegetable.
    That said, the experts will tell you it does
have a lot of value in terms of medicinal
benefits. They say chemicals in garlic are
believed to provide protection against heart
disease and cancer.
     It also is said to help fight off colds and
flu, lowers cholesterol, treats acne and warts,
and can be used to ease toothaches.
     I'm surprised nobody mentioned it's best
know benefit as a repellent against vampires!
      Supporters of National Garlic Day suggest
you add some of it to all of your meals today....
unless, of course, you have a date scheduled for
this evening. Apparently its "after effects"
are not limited to repelling the other
"children of the night."
     Although promoted as a National Day
there is no record of any Congressional or
Presidential action officially recognizing
      Guess they just  didn't want  to make a big
stink about it!
      Hope you're not an Alliumaphobic* and
that all your NEWS is good.
     (*Alliumphobia is the fear of garlic)


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Monster In The Lake

  I suppose he was there all the time. Just
lurking in the depths among the weeds.
  So, yesterday, there I was just minding
my own business as we checked our
camper to see if everything was intact
for the coming season.
   My fishing rods were there too. Still
in the rack, perhaps a bit dusty, and
looking as if I ought to give at least
one of them a workout.
   Now you should probably know I'm
not a very serious fisherman. I'm a lot
like my Dad in that respect.
   I can remember sitting in a boat, or
on a dock, or a pier with him. He'd
put some bait on his hook, let the line
fall to the bottom, then light up his
cigar, sit back, and relax.
   Every so often some fish would
make the mistake of nipping at his
   I imagine a lot of fishermen would
get very excited at that point. But my
Dad would get annoyed. He'd wind in
the line and, as he carefully removed
the hook, would chastise the fish for
being greedy and disturbing him.
   I haven't reach that extent just yet.
   I like the idea of actually landing a
fish from time to time.
   But I never expect to!
   That's why I was more than just a bit
surprised when, on my third cast, a
hungry Pickerel went after my spinning
lure like a starving man to a pizza.
    I was only trying the rod. I wasn't
expecting the monster of the lake to
accept my challenge.
    But, let's face it. He hooked himself.
He was, as my Dad used to say, greedy.
If he had stayed with his regular diet of
lake bugs and such he would not have
found himself on the end of my line.
    So, what could I do? I had little
choice. I rescued him....sharp teeth and
    I thought of my Dad, scolded the
guy, then threw him back in the lake
to grow into the huge monster he will
undoubtedly become.......IF......he has
learned his lesson!
    Hope you're watching what your
eat and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"42" It's a Winner!

     You didn't need a scorecard to tell the
players as the Yankees took on the Arizona
Diamond Backs. In fact a scorecard would
not have helped!
     That's because every player, on both
teams, wore the same number on their
uniform. In fact yesterday every player in
Major League Baseball wore that same
     It was the number 42 and it was being
worn to honor the memory of Jackie
Robinson, the great Brooklyn Dodger
player who broke the color barrier by
becoming the first black player in the
Major Leagues.
     My wife and I went to see the movie
"42" yesterday. We agreed it was an
excellent film that offers some lessons
in life as well as great entertainment!
    I like baseball movies! I guess that's
because I love baseball.
    We used to have a Wiffle Ball "League"
in my back yard when I was a kid.
     There were challenges back then guys
like Jackie Robinson never had to deal
with. The biggest was the neighbor lady
who would yell at us if the ball went into
her yard. She'd keep it if she got to it before
we could jump the fence to grab it!
      We didn't wear numbers on our uniforms
back then. Of course, we didn't have uniforms!
Probably just T shirts, jeans, and a pair of
       I might have had a number in Teener
League. But I never made the team.
       The coach wanted me to throw a ball
from Center Field to the catcher on one hop.
I couldn't make the infield without a bounce
or two!
       I finally got some numbers when I
started pitching for the old WDAU Softball
team. I never had "42" but I think I got close
with a "44" one year. Of course by that time
it might have been my age! I'd need a "70"
        There's a WBRE game next week and
I've been invited. Maybe it's just to throw out
the first pitch. If my schedule, back, and legs
allow, I may just give it a try.
        If I do watch for the results. They'll either
be on the Sports Page or in the Obituaries!
        Hope you're still safe at home and that all
your NEWS is good!

That's me 4th from left standing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Titanic...It's Still Sunk!

   It has been 101 years since the RMS Titanic sunk
to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. But interest in
that dramatic sea disaster is as intense as ever. And
some of you still believe I covered the sinking! No!
Well, not exactly!
   I "reunited" two Titanic survivors in 1972 and,
since then, have been invited to speak at programs
about the ship every year.
   Yesterday I appeared before an enthusiastic
gathering at the Hoyt Library in Kingston to tell
my story and share some others I've learned about
people bound for northeastern Pennsylvania aboard
the ill fated liner.
    The participants really got into the theme of the
day, many dressed in period garb for the event! Each
received a passport and a Boarding Pass and,before
leaving, each learned whether their "character"
died or survived the actual event.
    Since I had to leave before the gathering
adjourned I'm still on pins and needles waiting to
see if my character was saved or not! I suppose,
with my luck, my character is still on board the
ship after all these years!
     We're still learning about the disaster. I'm
currently trying to find out about a young lady
named Viola Wells who was adopted by a Scranton
man after, according to newspaper accounts, "losing
her parents on the Titanic." But there was no "Viola
Wells" on the Titanic passenger list and the only
Wells family on board survived the sinking. Who
then were her parents? How did she come to be in
an orphanage in New York?
    It's a little hard to find these answers 4 years after
the last Titanic survivor passed away. But I'll keep
    I was impressed to see young people who still
care about the Titanic story. Three of them offered
a short skit about an area woman who survived with
her infant son but lost her brother-in-law when the
ship went down. It was the woman I reunited with
another....... who saved her baby back...... in 1972!
    There are a thousand stories about the Titanic.
    Of course they all end the same way when it
comes to the ship! It sinks!
    Hope you're still treading water and that all of
your NEWS is good!