Sunday, June 30, 2013

Coming Or Going?

    My wife and I took in a Drive In Movie the
other night. Our area is lucky to have several
Drive Ins still operating and going brings back
a lot of nice memories for me.
    My Dad was a projectionist and I used to
hang out at the theater while he got the movies
ready and, of course, stayed for many Double
    I even learned to drive in our 1950 Buick
as I weaved around the speaker posts and
practiced parking there.
    Of course Drive Ins have changed a bit
since then!
    Most of the speaker poles are gone now
except for theaters that have kept them to
manager the spacing between cars.
    There was plenty of space between
vehicles the other evening. But their
placement was a lot different than it used to
be "back in the day."
    There were 16 in the row in front of us.
    Six were facing the screen. Ten were
facing me! I didn't know if they were coming
or going! Seems like most Drive In movie
goers these days give up the comfort of their
automobile seats for a ledge on an open tail
gate, or folding chairs they set up in back of
their cars.
    The mosquitoes love that option too!
    It was good to see so many families at the
show! Kids were running all over the place
before the movie got started. There's a freedom
at the Drive Ins not offered in an indoor
cinema. And the kids love the place. I heard
one ask his parents...."What movie did we
come to see?" I suppose it really didn't matter.
He was just happy to be there.
    So was I. Except for those few occasional
moments when a few people felt it necessary
to step in front of the projection booth to
cast their shadow on the big screen.
    The speakers have been replaced by you
own car radio. That's fine unless of course,
you accidentally hit the wrong button and
forget what frequency you're suppose to tune
in! At least you window won't break as you
pull out since there's no speaker to forget to
      And let's face it. You can't beat Movie
Pop Corn!
       Hope you'll hit the road for a Drive In
this summer , no matter which way you park,
and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Feel Free To Chime In!

     Some of you may recall my recent Blog on
the absence of people from front porches these
days. Since I wrote it I've been trying to spend
more time on my own.
     I took the paper with me when I sat there
     While the porch was perfectly dry Thursday
night's rain left everything else wet. That meant
there would be no distractions from crews working
on nearby sites or lawn mowers buzzing away.
It would be quiet.......I thought!
     But just about the time I tried to focus my
attention on what looked like an interesting story
the wind picked up a bit. And suddenly the silence
was broken by a series of various notes. There
was no song. Just many unrelated sharps and flats
emanating from several sets of chimes hanging
from the porch ceiling.
     I should not have been surprised. They've been
hanging around for as long as I can remember. In
fact the loudest was provided by a set that my wife
retained from the house where she grew up.
    Another was a home made chine constructed by
my grand daughter with a very Indian...I mean
Native American theme.
     I suppose each has its own story as well as its
own notes. I can't say I remember all the stories
and it's rare to hear all the notes sounding at the
same time. Especially those made by the knife and
forks chime. Wonder where we picked up all that
     It was kind of neat. I can't help but wonder if
it's the kind of thing Simon & Garfunkel had
in mind when they wrote 'The Sounds Of Silence?"
     And while they provided no particular song
their combined sounds did make for a lot of sweet
      They sure beat the sound of lawn mowers!
       Especially mine with me pushing it!
       Hope you're listening for music where ever
you find it and that all of your NEWS is good!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Singing In The Rain!

    It was hazy, hot, and humid as we joined members
of our church family for a picnic last evening.
    Our hosts were also celebrating their anniversary
which made the gathering very special for them and
all of the guests. Everybody sang "Happy Anniversary!"
     Everyone brought food to supplement the hot dogs
and hamburgers cooked to perfection on the grill.
     I suspect this happy couple can trace their roots
all the way back to Noah because sometime long
before this outing was planned they built a pavilion
in their back yard!
     Shortly after most of us had sampled virtually
all of the food available those rains that had been
scheduled some 7 hours earlier finally showed up.
      We were singing "Rain, rain, Go Away." But it
      Still we, like the animals aboard Noah's vessel,
were safe, well fed, and huddled close together in the
    We became even closer when the modest rain
turned into the monsoon that roared through the
area last night and the wind carried some of that
moisture into corners of our covered sanctuary. By
now the tune was "Raindrops Keep Falling On My
     We probably should have stayed the night.
     By the time we decided to say good night
our walk to the car (running was far too dangerous)
the stroll was akin to the last voyage we took
on the Maid of The Mist at Niagara Falls!
      Still a great time was had by all, especially
some of the younger folks who simply surrendered
to the storm and danced outside the pavilion as if
taunting the rain to do its worst. They were, in
effect, "Singing In The Rain."
     Hope they're dry by now and that all your
NEWS is good!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

That's A Lot Of Bologna!

        I drove my wife to our church yesterday
 morning. But there weren't any services.
        She and nearly a dozen members of the
Women's Fellowship group showed up to help
with one of their most popular fund raising
projects. They make Hoagies!
         Our church, like most others, has
discovered that any project that involves food
is nearly always a success.
          So the ladies gathered and, borrowing
a concept made famous by Henry Ford, set up
a production line to assemble their product.
           Raw materials like tomatoes and onions
are sliced then set aside in individual containers
while fresh rolls are lined up to receive the main
ingredients of meat and cheese.
           I'm probably reveling a trade secret by
telling you this but sometime back the women
discovered that customers like their hoagies
prepared in different ways.
           Some like lots of lettuce but no onions.
Some want extra dressing but no tomatoes.
           Like Ford, you can't customize every
product that comes off the assembly line.
          So our ingenious gals came up with a
system that allows them to make the basic
hoagie and put the other items in a baggie
that's included in the package so they can load
them in whatever amount and whatever order
they like.
           It's still a lot of work for them. But they
seem to enjoy it and put out a very tasty treat!
           I was the only male in attendance and
I'm sure the women will tell you I was a very
big help as I fulfilled my one and only duty.
           I stayed completely out of their way!
           Hope they sold as well as Fords and
that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Day At The Park!

      I have covered this general subject before.
But wise advice bears repeating! 
      We joined two of the grandkids, and some
family friends at Knoebels Amusement Park
         I can remember just a couple of years ago
when I'd hold on to them as they rode the
Carousel or have them sit next to me as we rode
the train. It was always a treat to try to catch
the brass ring or ride the rails right under the
roller coaster!
         But, suddenly, they've turned into pint
sized versions of Evel Knievel! Now they want
to go on instead of under the coaster!
         They by passed the painted horses and
miniature railroad in favor of "attractions" like
the "Downdraft," the "Looper," which is a little
bit like sitting inside a huge truck tire as it spins,
or the "StratosFear," which gently carries you
up a 148 foot tower, only to drop you back to
the bottom in about 3 seconds!
          They say a good scream will actually
help you to enjoy these thrill rides.
           Luckily I didn't have to find out!
           I pointed out several signs which
clearly indicated you had to be 48 inches tall
to board many of attractions. I, of course, exceed
those limitations.
           Several people tried telling me those were
minimum height requirements. You read it your
way...I'll read it mine!
           I don't see them posted on the Carousel
or Train Ride so I'll just stick with those to be
on the safe side. And I'm really talking the safe
side here!
           Hope you'll catch one of the horses that
goes up and down and that all your NEWS is

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Walking The Grand Canyon!

       Everybody seems to be talking about the
guy who walked the Grand Canyon Sunday
       My visit, last year, didn't get near as much
       I realize that Nick Wallenda did walk on
a two inch tight rope between two sections of
canyon walls. But I leaned against a metal
railing right in front of a spot where the cliff
abruptly ended in a one mile drop! That's
practically the same....isn't it?
        All kidding aside I was glued to the TV
as Wallenda made his walk. And, as if that
wasn't enough, I had my laptop set to the
camera apparently mounted on his belt that
looked straight down at the wire and the
Empire State Building's worth of air between
that and the river far below.
       I got a similar photo with my camera
last year. In my case I got as close to the rail
as good sense would allow then stretched my
arm out as far as I could and snapped the
       It's a long way from the Grand Canyon
to my house. But I was silent and nervous as
I watched him make his walk. Maybe that's
because I remember seeing his grandfather
fall to his death attempting a walk between
two buildings in Puerto Rico years back.
       Heck, I fell while walking along a
sidewalk in West Pittston the other day!
Thankfully, I survived the 3 foot drop to
a grassy yard along side the pavement!
       Now some folks  are trying to make a
big deal out of the fact Wallenda's walk
was not actually in the Grand Canyon
National Park. It sure looked close enough
to me!
      Last I heard Wallenda was asking people
to suggest sites for his next walk. Personally
I'd like him to wait awhile till my nerves
settle down and I can catch my breath.
      After that maybe I'll write and suggest
he try that sidewalk in West Pittston!
      Hope you've still got your balance and
that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Graduate (Now & Then)

          It was all there. Family, friends, food, and fun!
          A perfect receipt for a Culinary Arts student's
Graduation Party! What a place to find good eats!
          The graduate, in this case, was my Great Niece.
          To be honest she and her Mom, and Dad, have
been cooking up tasty treats long before she ever
went to college for an official course in the art!
           One look at the buffet suggested this gal
passed with flying colors! Of course Mom gets an
assist for the party meal!
           I got to thinking about how much has
changed in graduations since the time I, somehow,
made it through school. To be fair, in my case, it
was just High School. I never went to college. But
I did teach in two of them!
           The celebration at my niece's house included
the afore mentioned food, some appropriate "cap and
gown" decorations, and a swimming pool that
attracted most of the well wishers in the blazing
heat of the day.
            My Graduation was, appropriately, on "D-Day".
June 6th., 1960. That seemed just right since I had
to battle my way through school.
            We had specific instructions to follow at the
ceremonies. Most of them were designed to encourage
(in fact insist) on good behavior!
             They didn't have to worry about me! I was
not taking any chances they'd change their minds!
So I followed all the rules, wore my tassel on the
left as required and marched, in order, until they
called my name. It was a long ceremony because
there were over 400 students in my class.
             All that pomp and circumstance and I
didn't even get my diploma! Those were handed out 
back at the school. But only after we gave our cap
and gowns back! Guess somebody thought we
would be wearing them to dinner or on dates!
              After that most students probably headed
to parties similar to that held for my great niece.
              Me? I breathed a sigh of relief and headed
straight for the movies. Conquering the world
would have to wait at least one more day!
              Hope you'll "remember always, Graduation
Day,.....and that all of your NEWS is good!



Me, June 1960

Sunday, June 23, 2013

For Love Of The Game!

          I started playing Softball when I was about 16.
          I didn't make the Teeners League. I wanted to
be Mickey Mantle. But they wanted me to throw the
baseball from Center Field to Home Plate on one
bounce. I don't think I could reach the infield on one
         So I had to be satisfied playing with friends in
"Sandlot games." Except, in our case, their were coal
waste field games.
         Then somebody talked me into playing with a
Church Fast Pitch Softball team. I hit a homer in the
first game and I've been playing Softball in one form
or another ever since.
          Last evening I was invited to join my friends
on the WBRE team to play in a fun game at the
Robbie Davis Tournament in Plains Township.
         It makes me feel good to be invited to play
because I don't hit home runs anymore. I don't run
very well anymore either. My best quality, probably,
is that I show up whenever I can.
        I surprised myself a bit last night. I had two
hits for my three times at bat. And I made a pretty
darn good catch off the Pitcher's mound if I do say
so myself. My wife was not surprised, however,
when she learned I hurt my knee making the catch.
She had asked if I was limping even before I got
out of the car and limped into the house. My wife
has replaced the traditional "Have a good time" with
"Try not to get hurt." And I really do try. I'm just
not very successful!
        I guess injuries come with age! And speaking
of age, Satchel  Paige was 59 when he pitched
his last game. I'll be 71 in September!
        There are some leagues in Florida where I'd
be considered a Rookie! Maybe I'll get traded
         The "kids", that is everybody else I play
with and against, keep me feeling pretty young.
Except, of course, for my left knee which is
feeling pretty old about now.
         But our team leader, Dave Kuharchik
keeps putting me in the lineup and that's
better than being picked by a witness in one!
         There's a scene in the movie "Damn
Yankees" in which Joe Hardy, who has gone
back on his deal with the Devil, is changed
from a strong young ballplayer to the old man
he really is as he's running back to catch a
long fly ball that could cost his team the
Pennant. Unable to run, he stumbles  and
falls......BUT catches the ball!
          Every time I take the mound or get
to swing the bat I feel a little like that
character.....and pretty darn good!
          Hope you get to feel like that sometime
too and that all your NEWS is good!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's SUPERMAN!

          The Daily Planet has published a lot of
editions since I first saw Superman on the big
screen about 64 years ago!
          The Man of Steel had been around in
comic books since 1938. But seeing him
portrayed in the movies really made him seem
larger than life.
          The story was produced in Serial form
so you had to come back to the theater every
week to see how Superman or one of the other
good guys survived the last scene from the week
before .Each chapter ended with somebody
facing what looked like certain death.
        The special effects were not very special
back then. In fact when Superman shot "Up, up,
and away" the actor's form was turned into a
cartoon animation so the character could "fly."
        Kirk Alyn was the first actor to take on
the roles of Clark Kent and Superman. And
back then all of the characters were shown in
black and white.
        A few years later Superman showed up
on television.  George Reeves took over the
role. His series ran from 1952 to 1958 and
the last 5 years were presented in color. The
special effects were actually pretty advanced
for the period. But still nothing like those
offered in the movies that were to follow.
       Christopher Reeves wore the cape in a
series of movies that began in 1978. There was
color, some great flying scenes , and, now and
then, a fair story line.
       Another guy, Dean Crain, looked for a
phone booth in which to change in the TV series
"Lois and Clark."
       I give you all this background after going
to see the latest Superman movie, "Man Of
Steel," yesterday.
       There's a new Superman, Henry Cavill,
a new story, very loosely based on the
original, and even a new custom for our
hero. In fact most of the talk I had heard
about the flick before buying my ticket,
concerned the fact that Superman no longer
wears those red shorts we've all been used to
       There are tremendous special effects!
       To be honest, after seeing it and them, I
longed for the days when Kirk Alyn flew
down into the path of the speeding
locomotive and stopped the train with his
bear hands. As unreal as that scene might
appear I prefer it over the aliens and space
ships that threaten earth in this latest
installment of the Superman legacy.
       Maybe it's because the movie was
designed for 3D (although we ,thankfully,
saw the 2D version.).
      Hollywood, or where ever the movies
come from these days, seems determined
to cloud story lines with at least 30 minutes
worth of crashing buildings, car wrecks, or
a combination of both.
      The Superman I knew and loved was
the only alien I needed and the space ship
that brought him to earth was the only one
I needed to see.
     I liked my Superman to deal with criminals
and catastrophes that mankind has to deal
with every day.
     I suppose it seems unfair to object to
unrealistic villains when you're  talking
about a character that isn't real in the first
place. Guess I can only accept so much
    To be fair, I didn't hate Man Of Steel.
    But I sure didn't love it either.
    Maybe I'm just bias. After all I was "a
mild mannered reporter for", well in my
case, "a great metropolitan television
    Or maybe I've just been exposed to too
much Kryptonite over all these years!
     Hope you're in favor of truth, justice,
and the American way and that all your
NEWS is good!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Longest Mile!

       Our trip home from Wine Country included
an impromptu visit to Watkins Glen State Park.
        The centerpiece of the park is a 400-foot-deep
gorge cut through rock by Glen Creek left behind
by glaciers from the Ice Age!
        Thousands of tourists visit each year to enjoy
the beauty of the gorge and the waterfalls that
run through it.
        The Ranger who greeted us assured our
party that most of the falls could be seen within
the first mile of a trail  that winds through the
gorge. She neglected to mention the fact that
mile is all uphill!
      I managed about 400 of the 800 stone steps
that lead to the top of the trail! While the walk
took a lot out of me I think it was the peoples who
seemed to run by that took the wind out of
my sails.
      One of my friends asked  how long I
thought it took the creek to cut through the
rock and form the deep gorge.
       I knew the place was there when I visited
back in 1965 so it had to be over 48 years!
       As it turned out I was slightly off.
According to signs along the trail the water
erosion started about 12,000 years ago.
        While I didn't make it to the top I did
take advantage of my Zoom lens to check
out the areas ahead....and up!
         It's easy to see why the rock trail,
bridges, and tunnels are a big attraction
in these parts. Maybe they'll put in an
escalator before the next 12,000 years go
        Hope you get to check out the Glen
someday and that all your NEWS is good!