Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"There Ain't No Cure For Those Summer Time Blues."


   What do you's August!?
    Didn't we just celebrate the 4th of July a week
or so ago? July should be arrested for speeding!
    Maybe I've just been so busy I didn't notice
it slipping by. There have been Birthdays, days
at the lake (all too few), Family reunions, Wine
Country, and our annual vacation at the shore!
    How could July be gone already?
    But before I, or you, get "down" look
what you're got to look forward to now that
August is here!
    August is:
    Admit You're Happy Month
  • Family Fun Month
  • National Catfish Month
  • National Eye Exam Month
  • National Golf Month
  • Peach Month
  • Romance Awareness Month
  • Water Quality Month AND
  • National Picnic Month.

  •       Take your pick or which or how
    you plan to celebrate. And, whatever
    your choice, here's hoping all your
    NEWS is good!


    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Weather Or Not!


         Low humidity, pleasant temperatures, and
    a "Mostly Sunny" forecast prompted our
    decision to head for the picnic grounds
         In fact the humidity was low, and the
    temperatures were pleasant!
         But Peter Pan would have had a really
    tough time finding his shadow under those
    "Mostly Sunny" skies! Maybe the forecasters
    were looking above the clouds.
         Or course terms like "Mostly Sunny"
    er "Partly Cloudy" may all be relative.
          You know, like those steak choices you
    make. How often has your "Medium Well"
    T Bone actually come back Medium Well
          How often has your "On Time" flight
    really taken off when you expected?
          At least they were right when they said
    it wouldn't rain. That was Sunday's
    prediction. Remember? And it poured on
    us a Knoebel's....for about a half hour. The
    rest of the day was as sunny as they come.
        Bottom line.......check the forecast anytime
    you're making plans......then look out the
    window and make your decision based on
    what you see! You can always bring an
    umbrella just in case.
         Hope your days are filled with sunshine
    and all your NEWS is good!




    Monday, July 29, 2013

    Our Free Lunch!

              BLOG FOR TUESDAY, JULY 30TH.

              They say there's no such thing as a Free Lunch.
              But, once upon a time, there was.
              I was thinking about it this week because it is
    one of my memories of the Hotel Sterling!
              Just in case you've been in a Bomb Shelter, wait
    they don't have those any more, or Tornado Shelter for
    the past week or so they're tearing down the old hotel in
              There was a day when the Sterling was "The" place
    to be in that city. Every service club met there. WILK
    radio had a direct line into the Ballroom so we could
    record the speakers at all the meetings and use bits and
    pieces for our newscasts.
               The old WBRE Radio had glass enclosed studios
    in the place and some very talented people worked there!
               I was with one of the smaller stations in my long
    list of former employers when I really learned to
    appreciate the Sterling.
               This will probably come as a shock to many of
    you but Radio never paid very well!
                My boss at the station, which I will not identify,
    couldn't or wouldn't give me any more money so, instead,
    he did what we in the industry called a "Trade agreement"
    with the restaurant at the hotel. The restaurant got
    commercials on our station. But instead of paying for
    them we were allowed to get free meals at the place.
             At the time the Sterling was offering a Sunday
    Smorgasbord....a sort of all you can eat luncheon.
              We couldn't eat enough to equal the cost of all
    the commercials. They really should have kept the
    place up and running for another year or so. That way
    maybe we could have balanced the books!
              Like many others I hate to see the place go.
             But, let's face it, the Sterling they're taking down
    isn't the Sterling we remember. That died many years
             Maybe they'll put a nice restaurant on the lot!
             But I'll bet there won't be any free lunch!
            The Sterling's history is worth remembering
    so even if you never checked in, check it out!
             Hope all your NEWS is good!

    Sunday, July 28, 2013

    Rain, Rain, Go Away!


         Yesterday's weather forecast was dismal at
    best! It was with some trepidation, then, that we
    set out after church for my grand daughter's
    Tumbling Team picnic at Knoebel's!
          There's something not very amusing about
    rain at an Amusement Park!
           We arrived at the appointed pavilion a little
    early. The pizza arrived a little late.
            That gave us a chance to eat it and the 40
    or so extra sweet treats parents brought along
    to make sure the kids would have enough energy
    to handle all the rides.
             It also gave us a chance to be under cover
    when the downpour hit! As I watched the deluge
    I thought about that old rhyme, "Rain, Rain, Go
    Away." I'm sure it was in the mind of all the
    children who have heard or recited it.
            And what do you know? Just about the time
    the last piece of fudge or spoonful of "Pink Fluff"
    was being consumed.....the sun came out! And
    there, in spite of the weather forecasts, it stayed
    throughout the entire afternoon!
             Now since most people read or listened to
    those "day long rain" reports, or saw some of the
    30 minute downpour, they stayed away. That made
    for much shorter lines so the kids could quickly
    board those terrifying rides that, God willing, I
    shall never have to endure! They tell me they're
    so much fun. But the riders continue to scream!
           I did eventually share the front seat to a
    small power boat with my grandson at the wheel.
    I did not scream (though I was tempted as our
    bow and stern alternately whacked the channel
          In the end I do not believe it was mistaken
    weathermen, or a childhood chant that made for
    a sunny afternoon. It was, undoubtedly, my foresight
    in bringing two large "golf" umbrellas to carry
    all day. When you're that prepared, rain doesn't
    stand a chance!
          Hope you had a sunny day and that all your
    NEWS is good!



    Saturday, July 27, 2013

    Home Again, Home Again.....


       Well our annual vacation to the Jersey shore, like
    all good things, has come to an end.
        It's so much fun going there, It's so much fun
    being there. It's so much....of a pain...coming back!
        We usually leave late at night. That's because
    between there and here we've got Philadelphia.
         Philly, as you've probably heard, is "the city of
    Brotherly Love." Apparently no one has told that
    to the people driving through it. (Of course in all
    fairness, most of the license plates I saw swerving
    in front of me were an off white and bore the
    initials N.J.)
          Leaving late gives us a fighting chance to avoid
    about a thousand of the ten thousand cars speeding
    through the city to get where ever they're going.
    When there are that many cars in front, behind, and
    to both sides of you even 45 miles per hour seems
    very, very fast! Darkness and the glow of oncoming
    lights add to the adventure!
          Of course the folks working on the northeast
    extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike seem to
    appreciate the late hour too! Their work lights
    provide plenty of illumination for the crew and
    another bank of bright beams to make you squint
    as you try to negotiate between the workers and
    the huge concrete barriers about 6 inches away
    from your vehicle!
           Thank you Allentown! Never has a Rest Area
    looked so good!
            I'm back now and it's quiet around here. In
    fact it's so quiet that we didn't even have any
    would be burglars to notice all the newspapers
    we cancelled but were delivered anyway during
    our absence!
            Hope you avoid the Schuylkill and
    Turnpike and that all your NEWS is good!




    Friday, July 26, 2013

    Out To Sea!


         After spending a week at the shore with an
    occasional dip in the water we decided it was
    about time we actually went out to sea!
        We chose a Dolphin watching cruise for
    our adventure.
         After arranging for the tickets, and making
    sure my son-in-law purchased his supply of
    Dramamine, we boarded a popular sight
    seeing vessel that makes three trips a day into
    the open ocean just off Wildwood and Cape
        I immediately noticed some very pleasant
        There was a life saving ring right in front
    of me and more than enough life jackets to
    handle all of our passengers. In fact, there
    were less than two dozen people on board
    a boat that can probably handle a hundred
    or so! It was like a Charter cruise!
         As we passed the breakwater boulders
    near Cape May and hit the actual ocean
    two things became very apparent.
         First, there were plenty of Dolphins
    to be seen if you looked quickly as they
    rose for air then suddenly dove under
         Second, it was good my son-in-law
    took his Dramamine!
         As the boat slowed to allow a better
    view of the Dolphins you either got your
    "sea legs" fast, or grabbed for anything
    that wasn't moving to stay upright!
         By the time we returned we were
    "old salts" eager to have other boats pass
    so we could rock in their wakes!
         Then, as if from a scene in "The Birds"
    the Captain allowed those who wished to
    throw bread out over the stern! Hitchcock
    would have loved the Seagulls waiting to
    come after the crumbs!
          Soon we'll set our compass for home
    and sail back to northeastern Pennsylvania.
          I'm wondering if the Schuylkill
    Expressway and/or Pennsylvania Turnpike
    will be smooth sailing? Perhaps I can
    borrow some of my son-in-law's Dramamine!
         Hope you've kept things ship shape while
    I've been away and that all of your NEWS
    is good!

    Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Under (On & Around) The Boardwalk!


        Don't let those old song lyrics fool you!
        There's nothing happening "Under The
    Boardwalk!" In fact there are places where
    you've got to have a permit to go under
    those boards!
         It's certainly a different story on top!
         There....they see you coming!
         It's like a three month long carnival.
         The flashing lights, loud music, and
    barkers are all trying to attract your
    attention AND get your money!
          Take the squirt gun games! I clearly
    remember when my wife, an ace shot with
    a water pistol, used to put her quarter down
    and either break a balloon or push a monkey
    to the top of a tower in order to win some
    "fantastic prize", probably worth a nickel
    or so.
         The guns are pretty much the same today.
         The targets may or may not have changed.
         But these days it takes three bucks to win
    the prize! Must be the higher water bills!
          There are other "new" things on the
    Boardwalk too. Polish Water Ice is a big
    seller these days. I'm not sure how different it
    is from Italian Ice.
           Speaking of Italian, you can still find
    Bocce Courts just off the Boardwalk. Players
    of varying ages roll the big balls as close as
    possible to the little one (called a Jack
    or Pallino) while tunes like "That's Amore"
    or "Al Di La" play through a loud speaker
    system. You won't find much Polish Water
    Ice here!
          There's a Fudge shop every few blocks.
    Each offers the best fudge on the Boardwalk
    and a "Buy one pound, get a free box of Salt
    Water Taffy" Special. Not wanting to blindly
    accept their claim we have been forced to
    take their free samples each time we pass the
             Smart visitors. realizing that no clerk
    can possibly remember the thousands of faces
    passing by, can simply walk back and forth
    enough to gather a pound or two for free!
               Meanwhile, under the Boardwalk,
    there's a general peace and quiet. Perhaps
    some of the muffled sounds from up above
    and an occasional Quarter that falls through
    the cracks.
              The extra money might be nice but,
    as I've already pointed out, a quarter won't
    even get you a seat in the Water Gun games
    these days!
              Better just settle for a nice game of
    Bocce Ball!
              Hope you'll play "above boards" and
    that all your NEWS is good!

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    Now You See It...Soon...You Won't!


          I guess my grand kids hear a lot from me
    about how things were "back in the day."
          That's why I like to take them to Sunset
    Beach during our visit to the shore each year.
           There's so much to see there. And, in one
    case, so little!
           I remember when my Dad and Mom first
    took me there many, many years ago and told
    me about the Atlantis.
          During World War I somebody came up
    with the idea of making cargo ships out of
    concrete. Sounds like something I might
    think up. But I wasn't around then!
          They actually floated. But they were very
    slow! Gee,,,Pendot works with concrete too
    doesn't it!?
           Any how, years later they were taking one
    of these ships to Cape May with the intention
    of sinking it to make a breakwater for the Cape
    May Ferry Boat. It was the Atlantis.
          Well as luck would have it, bad luck at the
    time, the vessel broke loose during a storm and
    floated to the nearby Sunset Beach where it
    was grounded. They tried to move it. But that
    was like trying to move a New York City
    Hotel with a John Deer!
          When I first saw the wreck it still had the
    form of a ship. But years of sea and storm
    gradually ate away at the concrete and it's
    been deteriorating more and more every season.
          I guess I realized just how much yesterday
    when we visited and my grandson observed...
    "I guess there will be nothing left when I bring
    my grand kids here."
          I suppose he's right. But I hope he brings
    them just the same....shows them the old photos,
    and tells them the story of the Atlantis.
         I hope he remembers to tell them the concrete
    ship wasn't my idea! I actually had the idea
    for the concrete airplane. But that idea never
    got off the ground. Sorry.
        Hope you're giving the younger generation
    information about the "good old days" and that
    all of your NEWS is good!





    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Love Letters In The Sand!


        There are songs I always associate with my
    visits to the shore.
        Around these parts Bobby Rydell's "Wild,
    Wild, Wildwood Days" can still be heard on
    the PA system at the Convention Center as
    a recorded announcement lists the week's
    activities and coming attractions.
         But another of my favorites is Pat Boone's
    classic "Love Letters In The Sand."
         I never realized it was originally published
    in 1931. I only remember Pat's version from
    1957. It came out in June or July that year,
    just about the time I would have been with my
    family on our annual vacation to the beaches
    here in Wildwood.
          I wasn't in a love letter phase of my life
    back then. And the song was actually a sad
    one about a love that didn't work out. Still,
    I liked the tune and it made me think of the
    beach and the ocean.
          You don't find many letters, let alone
    love letters, in the sand these days. Most of
    the letters you find are on signs planted in the
    sand or on banners towed by airplanes flying
    over the sand.
           The aerial letters are sometimes hard to
    read. And they're usually not real important.
    Just advertisements for various business
    places trying to lure the tourists in.
          Some of the letters posted in the sand
    and a lot more important. Especially the ones
    that read "Caution, Sharks." Admittedly
    I haven't seen any sharks. And if I did, I'm
    not sure how I would caution them about
          Yesterday though, I was thinking about
    Pat Boone's song.
          I was on my morning walk along the
    Boardwalk when I noticed a small crowd
    gathered off to my left. They had cameras
    and cell phones aimed ahead at what I first
    thought was an injured man.
          As it turns out it was a young man, on
    one knee, proposing to his girlfriend!
          I only wished I had my camera along.
          I did bring it back to the spot though.
          For just off the Boardwalk, carefully
    carved in the sand, was the young man's
    written proposal to his love within the
    outline of a large heart! They were his
    "Love letters in the Sand!"
         They read "Marry Me Steph?"
         You should know, by the way, that
    Steph said "Yes" and everyone applauded!
          I met the young man's sister and told
    her of a similar sand carving containing
    my wife and my initials, drawn on a beach
    in California just a few years ago. I told
    her to wish her brother and his girl at
    least the same 44 plus years my wife and
    I have enjoyed.
         Sometimes the real Love letters in the
    sand work out a lot better than those in
    the lyrics of an old song!
         Hope that's the case for that young
    man and Steph....and that all your NEWS
    is good!


    Monday, July 22, 2013

    The Claw!


            It sits there silently waiting for its prey!
            I know it's there. And I know it's just
    waiting to get its hooks grandson!
            I call it "The Claw." It is, perhaps, more
    commonly known as "The Crane."
             It is a game found in all of the Boardwalk
    attractions remembered by some of us as the
    Penny Arcade.
             Of course the last time pennies were used
    here Harry Truman was President and Trolley
    Cars still carried people to and from the
             The 'House" fills these machines with
    merchandise like Pro team sports shirts, popular
    stuffed animals, even knock off IPhones.
             The "Mark", that's the customer, one of
    whom is my grandson, places money in the
    machine and manually moves a three arm claw
    over the item he is trying to grab. A countdown
    clock activates, limiting the time he has to
    position the arms just where he wants them to
    be. If he's set before the clock hits zero he
    pushes a red button and the claw descends
    usually grabbing the item, then begins to lift
    it out. In most cases the treasured item slips
    from the grip of the claw within two seconds,
    prompting the player to utter those all too
    famous words...." I almost had it."
            One can't of course, surrender after
    coming so very close to success. The usual
    procedure then is to insert some additional
    cash so you can try again.
             After witnessing this time after time
    I can safely say your odds of retrieving the
    prize in question are far less than at any
    casino slot machine!
             And remember the "penny thought?"
             You pay a buck a shot to work the
    Claw. Or you can lose six times for five
              Now don't get me wrong. People
    have been successful at getting the prize
    now and then. And, when you stop to think
    about it, the Claw has a 100% success rate grabbing my grandson!
           Hope you win your prize and that all
    your NEWS is good!

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Watch The Tramcar Please!

        BLOG FOR MONDAY, JULY 22nd    

         We watch for three separate and distinct signs
    that verify we're in Wildwood every summer!
          The first is the sent of salt in the air. Next, an
    airplane towing a banner of some sort. Finally
    there's the sound of an announcement recorded
    Lord knows how many years ago...."Watch the
    Tramcar please!"
          The Tramcar is an electric powered "train"
    that carries people back and forth on the
    Boardwalk. It's recorded warning, activated like
    the horn on a car, is an attempt to get people
    out of the way so the "people mover" can keep
         Yesterday I took my morning walk to the
    Boardwalk. I had no worries about watching
    the Tramcar because it doesn't run until later
    in the day.
         I am thinking, however, that's its caution
    might somehow be transplanted onto the
    million or some bicycles that compete with
    joggers and walkers, like me, for a little bit
    of Boardwalk space!
        The two, three, and now four wheelers
    heading at you at least give you a chance.
    You can see them!
         It's the ones going in the same direction
    that are most frightening! They're faster. And
    for some reason I don't quite understand,
    you seem to become invisible when you're
    just ahead.
         The problem may stem from the fact
    that most of the riders are either kids who
    have no idea they're sharing the place, or
    adults who haven't been on a bicycle for
    years and are more concerned with balance
    that looking at the road, and people, ahead!
          It's a great challenge though!
         I not only get exercise from the walk. I
    get some lateral movements as I attempt to
    dodge the Schwinns!
         Tonight I plan to hit the Boardwalk to
    get some practice in! I'll walk along the
    Tramcar patch and  try listening as it
    approaches and before it can sound its
    warning. Then, tomorrow, I'll be ready
    to take on those bikes!
         Hope you look both ways before
    crossing and that all your NEWS is good!

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    If You Can't Beat Them.....


           Every year most of the members of my
    family get together for a summer vacation
    in Wildwood, New Jersey. It's the place
    Bobby Rydell sang about a fear years back.
          I've been going there long before the
    song. In fact me earliest memory of the
    Jersey shore is of my Dad allowing me to
    blow the car horn as often as I wanted and
    going to a restaurant where they literally
    piled food in front of me. Far more than I
    could ever consume!
         I know know that I was 3-years-old and
    that was VJ Day!
         I've been coming back almost every year
    since then. I don't think I'm allowed to blow
    the horn anymore. Certainly not as much.
    And I haven't seen that much food set in front
    of me since that day in 1945!
        A lot of other things have changed over
    those years. There is, for instance, 50 times
    more traffic these days. At least it seems like
    50 times more!
        The worst area, as you might imagine,
    begins with the Schuylkill Expressway.
         This is the not so super highway that
    runs through Philadelphia and was obsolete
    about a year before construction was completed.
         The traffic jam, especially on weekends,
    extends onto the Atlantic City Expressway
    and the Garden State Parkway.
         A few years back we can up with a plan
    to beat the traffic. It involved me crawling
    out of bed at about 5am and leaving home by
    6. It did allow us to avoid most of the very
    heavy traffic.
         Yesterday I followed the plan and was on
    my way before the sun could totally fill the
         The 4 hour trip, given one rest stop, went
    fairly smoothly with only an ocassional
    slow down here or there.
          We had called the folks at our vacation
    house to let them know about our plans to
    beat the traffic. We requested an early check in
    and they said they'd do their best.
          There "best" turned out to be 2 o'clock.
          So we equaled out! 4 house on the road
    and 4 more parked in front of our home away
    from home until we could actually unpack
    bags of luggage and coolers full of food for
    the week.
          I guess next time I'll have to join them,
    the traffic that is, and, at least, get 4 more hours
    sleep! I'll need the first two days here to catch
    up on mine! I'll start with a nap in the pool!
          Hope all your roads are clear and all your
    NEWS is good!


    Friday, July 19, 2013

    By The Light, Of The Silvery Moon!


       Welcome to July 20th everybody.
        It's "MOON Day!"
        Now before you make the kids look away
    this unusual "holiday" has nothing to so with
    the display of a body area better left covered!
        Nor is it connected with any of the songs
    with "Moon" in the title. By the way there
    are about 43!
        July 20th has been labeled "Moon Day"
    because it is the date, in 1969, when the
    first man, specifically Neil Armstrong, set foot
    on the lunar surface! I hope he wiped his feet!
        I remember watching that "One small step
    for giant leap for mankind." live on
    television. That's 44 years ago!
        I always wondered why they brought back
        We already have so many rocks! I've got
    plenty around my place I would have been
    glad to lend or give to them.
         I thought for sure they'd bring back some
    of that green cheese! I was always told the moon
    was made of green cheese.
        Of course I didn't really believe that. Anybody
    can tell the moon is usually either white or
    yellow. It's more likely made up of either
    American or Mozzarella!
        And what ever happen to "Tranquility Base?"
        Most of our Bases are fully manned with
    barracks, training facilities, and even a PX.
        I know we left a U.S. Flag there. I suppose
    that Star Spangled Banner still waves. I think
    there's still a Golf ball up there somewhere
       And they never found that man who, I
    was told, was somewhere in the moon. I
    remember hearing about him when I was a kid
    too. Of course, if he was there, that would have
    made Armstrong the 2nd to set foot there!
        Maybe on this "Moon Day" we should
    start thinking about going back. Or at least
    take a moment to appreciate the amazing
    feat our country was able to accomplish
    all those many years ago!
         Think about that a bit today and, perhaps,
    hum a few bars of one of those  43 or so
    "Moon" songs!
         Hope you have some cheese on hand too
    and that all your NEWS is good!


    If They Come Here..They Will Come!

          There is a rumor......well to be perfectly honest.....
    I have started a rumor.....that the Scranton and Wilkes-
    Barre Chambers of Commerce are involved with
           I believe those organizations, perhaps in concert
    with the Visitor's Bureau, have been sticking pins in
    little dolls, each resembling players on the New
    York Yankee Baseball team!
           I have come to this conclusion based on two
    simple facts.
           First, the boys from the Bronx have been
    dropping like flies since last year.
           Second, as they work their way back to the
    Big Leagues they do some time as players on
    the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders
    Team. And when they come our local stadium
    fills up like a kitchen sink with a plug in the drain
    and the spigot wide open.
          Derek Jeter was in for a few days a week or
    so ago to rave reviews and sellout crowds.
          Last night Alex Rodriguez began a
    rehabilitation assignment with the local team.
          Rodriguez doesn't enjoy as much umblemished
    support as Jeter. Indeed he actually got a few Boos
    as he ran onto the field. That's undoubtedly because
    of allegations that he had used performance
    enhancing drugs in the past. Charges, by the way,
    which he denies.
          The Boos disappeared pretty quickly when he
    came to bat and hit a long fly to deep right
    center field. It was an out. But a long out!
          There were no Boos, just wild cheers during
    his next at bat when he hit a home run !
           I was happy to see that homer!
           I used to hit home runs in my earlier
    Softball days. And consider this....I AM on
    medicines that are suppose to enhance my
    performance these know..."Water
    and Blood Pressure pills...and I haven't hit a
    homer in years! How do you explain that?
           I don't know how long ARod will be
    around or which Yankee the Chamber will
    be pin-sticking next. But it's great to see
    all the people showing up in our area to
    check out the sites, have some dinner, and
    take in the Old Ballgame!
          Hope you're swinging for the seats and
    that all your NEWS is good!