Friday, January 31, 2014

Did You Hear That?

  The purr of car engines warming up
in the frigid morning air has replaced
the squeal of cats in our neighborhood
over the past few weeks.
   You kind of get used to it. Like the
roar of the occasional helicopter
landing at the near by hospital.
    Of course the choppers come in at
all hours so I wasn't surprised to hear
what I thought was a Life Flight
heading our way just about the time
the sun was rising yesterday.
    Minutes later, however, I realized
this particular "roar" didn't seem to
be getting any closer.
     Well, as it turned out, it wasn't
a helicopter after all.
      The sound was that of a Diesel
Truck. You know...the big ones
like those that haul those huge
trailers up and down our Interstate
Highways every day.
      You see one of our neighbors
is a trucker and his big rig is parked
next to his house when he's not on
the road.
      I'm told those diesels can be tough
to start in the cold weather so I
figured he was warming it up for a
morning run to some far off Walmart
Warehouse or whatever.
      But morning came and went and
the truck just sat there.....running and
       Another neighbor stopped in for
a brief chat. He wondered whether the
trucker had started the rig then dropped
over with a heart attack or something.
Since we knew there were other family
members at home we ruled out death
or sudden disease.
      My son-in-law came by around
mid afternoon. He too questioned the
constant sound of the diesel and the
apparent disregard for neighborhood
tranquility, air quality, or fuel
     About an hour later the engine roar
peaked as the driver set out on the
road. The day long idle was suddenly
    Minutes later the it was replaced by
the monotonous pounding of a Bass beat
blasting from some high tech speaker
equipment as the kids in the place took
over!  Not sure how long this "concert"
will last.
    I'm anxiously awaiting the return of
the truck!
    Hope you'll enjoy some quiet time
today and that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Great Escape!

   It's January 30th friends and that, for those
who may not know, is "National Escape Day!"
I'm sure there's more than one person in local
lockups hoping to celebrate the occasion!
   You won't find it listed in the Congressional
Record and it's probably not marked in red on
your calendar. But it's an important day!
    You're suppose to celebrate by getting away
from our everyday chores and activities.
     Between work, school, family, friends, partners
and errands, we all get into a routine. This is a
day to "escape" from the routine.
     Of course it's a lot easier to talk about
getting away than actually doing it!
    I'm thinking of all those people escaping south
who ended up in Atlanta just about the time
the state got shut down by the first ice storm its
seen in years!
    And, let's face it, how many bosses out there
will forgive you for not showing up to work because
it's "National Escape Day?"
     I opened both doors on our Cockatiel's cage
to let him observe the "holiday." He didn't seem
to think escape was a great idea!
     I guess it's the thought that counts!
     So, I'm thinking about not taking the garbage
out today. That would be a good way to celebrate!
     Wait a minute! Seems my wife is not observing
this "holiday!"
     I'll be right back...........after I take the garbage
out! So much for honoring great days around here!
     Hope you get away with.....I mean escape from....
something today and that all your NEWS is good!

(Atlanta escape!)

(I'm staying put)

(Can't escape this chore!)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I C U ?

   Excuse me. That title should read
I See You.
   I was video taping my grand kids
in concert awhile back and wondering
if it was finally time to get a new
   The eyepiece just wouldn't give me
the kind of share focus I wanted although
the picture turned out crystal clear.
   But the problem wasn't the eyepiece!
   Had I looked through it with my left
eye  .....everything would have looked
    So, after 20 years or so, I found
myself in this office to get checked for
glasses. It was a good deal!
    Something like $69.95 for two pair, Exam
included! I figured I needed them.
    First they gave me a "pre-exam test."
    This must have been important because
they charged extra and I had to sign a
paper before being allowed to look into
three different machines.
    I had hoped at least one would have
had a movie or something. Nope.
    One had me searching for little
flashes on the screen. One had be
searching for little black boxes. And
one blew air into my eyes!
    I had to do all the work! I should
have charged them!
    After that I got to see an Eye Doctor.
    She put another machine in front of
my eyes and made me read these tiny
little letters as she changed settings on
the lenses.
     I thought I did pretty good.  But my
wife said I identified b's as 3's and d's
as something else.
    So the Doc came up with a
prescription that, she said, would help me
and we went back to the outer office to
pick out the frames.
    Even without the glasses, however, I
was able to see a bill that was hovering
around the $300 mark! That darn near
sent me to the ICU!
   What ever happened to that 69.95 dollar
thing?! There must have been some very
"small print." Maybe they figure...if you
need probably can't read it!
    I ended up settling for one pair with
the frame of my choice and got things
closer to the two hundred dollar mark.
    There is definitely some improvement
although, next time, I think I'll just hold
my camera up to the other eye!
     Hope you "see" what I mean and that
all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Seeing Red!

   I know. It's still Winter. In fact, judging
from those early morning sub freezing
temperatures, it's still very much Winter.
   But, in the midst of these Polar Vortex
events, or whatever you want to call them,
window wreaths and cut out snowflakes
have been replaced by Valentines!
   No sooner had Christmas decorations
come down then Red Hearts, Cupids,
and such began showing up on homes
throughout our area.
   I remember a time, not that very
long ago, when homes were pretty much
just decked out for Christmas and
Halloween. Seems we decorate
for every "holiday" these days. And some
folks really go all out!
   Cupid, of course, was not know to be
dressed in ear muffs and thermal gloves
so seeing his image seems strange when
it's clouded by your breath in the frigid
temperatures. I guess he's expected to
warm your heart!
  Ironically my morning walk took me
past what struck me as the scene of a
broken heart near some of those new
Valentines decorations!
   I spotted a lonely Snowman who
seemed to be gazing at a recently discarded
Christmas Tree! I suspect someone will
pin a heart to the guy pretty soon.
   Unless we see some Global Warming
soon this "Frosty" is likely to be around
well past Saint Patrick's Day!
   If you're sporting red for Valentine's
Day I hope it's flannel....and that all your
NEWS is good!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't WASTE This Special Day!

   We usually honor heroes and other special
people by celebration their birthdays.
   Today, however, we remember a man who
has influenced all of our lives on the date of
the day he PASSED away!
    I guess, in a sense, that's appropriate.
    He was important and we wouldn't want
to WASTE his memory.
    He died on January 27th., 1910.
    And today is "Thomas Crapper Day."
    For those of you who never heard of him
old Tommy is the man credited with
inventing the flush toilet!
    Actually, he didn't! But he did increase the
popularity of "the Throne" and came up with
improvements to make it more efficient.
    I found the day listed on a web site
dedicated to Bizarre and Wacky Holidays!
And this one certainly fits!
    Think about it! How does one "celebrate"
Crapper Day? There's one I'm  not going to
    Still, I thought I ought to tell you about
it so you wouldn't get caught with your....
well you know the rest!
     Enjoy the day.......maybe with a good
book. Maybe you can find a good place
to sit and read. And remember Thomas
     Hope it all works out in the end and
that all your NEWS is good.

Thomas Crapper

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gambling on Gas?

   We were kind of excited some years back
when a new Sheetz Service...let's make that
Gas....station opened up a mile down the hill
from our house.
    I remember how low gas prices were
when the place started up. And it was so
convenient for us!
    Of course, as we all know, gas prices
have been climbing everywhere over the
past few years.
    When I headed down the hill to fill up
my wife's car yesterday I was a little surprised
to see a gallon of regular selling $3.55/.9.
    As I said, gas prices have been rising
faster than hot air from a Politician.
    But just the day before, I stopped in
Pittston to buy fuel for my van. It was
$3.33/.9 a gallon! Had prices gone up more
than 20 cents a gallon overnight? Maybe
our Governor had added another tax,,,excuse
me...I mean "fee" that I hadn't heard about.
    So, just for the heck of it, I drove back to
Pittston where the gas was still selling for
22cents under the Sheetz price.
    Now the station in Pittston, a Turkey
Hill, has a "Rewards Card" program that
cuts 3 cents a gallon off the advertised
price. But Sheetz does as well.
    Both stations operate convenience stores.
    The biggest difference may be the Sheetz
proximity to the Mohegan Sun Casino.
    And I've been told, it's a good bet,somebody
is taking advantage of the gamblers who need
gas to get home and head to the closest
station whatever the price may be.
    I prefer not to be a "high roller" in terms
of filling my car's gas tank!
    If it is greed at work here the company
should at least change the name to Sheets
and wear them while they're holding me
    Hope you tank is wallet isn't
empty...and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Letter

    It came just in time. Just when I thought I
was lost!
    My wife had left for some volunteer work
at the hospital. TV was filled with re-runs
and I had seen most all of the new movies I
cared to see.
     It was far too cold, and "salty" to bring
my Miata out of hibernation. So, what was
I to do?
     My life long friend saved the day!
     I was delighted to open my mail box and
find his annual "Christmas Letter" waiting to
be read!
     It came a bit late this year because he was
away from home during the holiday. But the
tardiness had no effect of the quality or
quantity data contained in his annual
"missive"...or should I say "dissertation."
    I have written about my buddy before.
He is one of the friendliest people you will
ever meet. And he's truly interested in
people! He'll ask you questions and take
your picture.
    I believe, were he ever confronted by
a robber, he would have the thief's life history
by the time they parted along with his
home address to which he'd send a copy of
the photo he snapped of the guy!
    He sent two of a dozen he took of me
recently along with his letter and the
promise to provide me with the rest when
next we meet!
     I know I've had a successful year if
I've made his annual letter. And I did!
Again! It's like making Time Magazine!
     My friend also has a habit of not
wasting space!
     In addition to the two pages of family
2013 history his letter contains a full page
of photos and a hand written message to
cover any unused portion of the page.
    There's even a hand written note on the
back side of the envelope. Were it not for
the need to have a destination and return
address I suspect he'd use the front as well!
     I don't know how many letters he sends
out each year. I can only tell you that stock
in the Postal service, Bic pens, and printing
paper goes through the roof when he's
spotted in January!
     So, my day was filled, enjoying the
memories provided by a gentleman who
has been my best friend since Grade School!
     Laugh if you will. But anyone would be
lucky to have a lifelong friend who shares
that life in any way possible with you!
     I hope you have one too and that all your
NEWS is good!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Sensible Shopping!

    I nearly got the OK to handle a shopping
trip by myself the other day. But my wife
hesitated and we ended up heading out
together yesterday.
    She likes to remind me that various food
items are offered in different quantities and
at different prices. If you pick the best
buy you'll save money!
    I have probably cost us a dollar or two
on my personal shopping excursions by
picking up items that simply look good.
    On the other hand, if time is money, my
trips have saved us a fortune! I could have
been in and out of the place in 20 minutes!
Women shop differently!
   Our joint venture may have saved us a
quarter here or there. But it seems to me
that's lost when your careful scrutiny of
what's on the shelves results in buying
additional items that weren't on your
original shopping list.
    Then there's the "adjustment stops."
    Yesterday, for instance, my wife was
looking for a plastic container for small
items. She found one. But the lid didn't
seem to close properly.
     Most shoppers, certainly me, would
either pick up another one or forget the
whole thing.
     My wife, on the other hand, began
rearranging the plastic slots inside the
container. She insisted some of them
were upside down.
      I wondered how much of our
frozen food might begin to melt while
she repaired their product. She assured
me all would be well.
    After a few minutes of rearranging, the
lid did closed as designed.
    Still I was struck by a fear she might
begin checking other items on all the shelves
that stood between us and the exit!
    We'd be stuck in Walmart till
sometime in late March!!!
    This time though I lucked out. We even
got past the Yarn with just a brief glance!
     Hope those Sweet Peas haven't
thawed and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Right Stuff!

    My wife's car was one of the hundreds
around these parts that raised a white flag
when the temperature dropped below zero
and refused to start.
    It was around Noon, and sunny, when I
asked if she wanted me to jump start it.
    "No" she said. She had no plans to use it
yesterday anyway.
    It was closer to 6, and dark, when we
returned from a movie and found out my
son-in-law was in need of a "loaner vehicle"
while his car was getting some repairs.
    No problem, I thought, I'll jump start the
other car and he can pick it up when needed.
    Jump starting a car is not really all that
hard. You connect the jumper cables from
a running car onto the battery of the dead
vehicle, turn the key, and the dead car
jumps back to life! You just need to have
the right stuff!
    Of course the first thing you have to do
is open the hood on the "powerless" car.
You just pull the little lever inside the car.
    Unless, of course, you can't get into the
car! The door was frozen shut!
     I wonder if the  neighbors wondered why
I was drying my hair outside in the darkness?
The hair dryer was my best bet to try to break
into this car that had become an igloo!
     And it worked....after about 15 minutes!
     Next the hood.
     Unless, of course, the hood is frozen shut!
      Ultimately the dryer helped again. Sort
of! I was able to "pop" the hood which
released it for it's locked position. But it
didn't actually raise enough to pull the
release that's under the hood!
       That's where the ice scrapper came in.
        No, there was no ice to scrape. But it
was just the right size to slip into the hood
and allow me to it high enough to find the
         Finally in position to use those jumper
cables I had to search out the positive and
negative terminals.
        Do you have any idea how black a black
battery under a dark hood at night looks?
         My flashlight, which could have used
some jumper cables too, cast just enough of
a faint glow to allow me to see the small line
indicating a "negative  terminal.:
           Success was mine.
           Of course I could have waited for and
taken a bus in the time it took.
            Oh well, the car got started and, as far
as I can tell, my hair is dry!
             Hope you're positive I'm not too
negative and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Bachelor!

    My wife and I gave in Monday night and
watched "The Bachelor" on ABC TV.
    We did so in the wake of all the talk about
a local woman who is a participant on the
    We didn't know anything about it until a
story broke about how the Wilkes-Barre
School District had given the woman an
unpaid leave from her teaching job which,
in effect, gives her the time to be on the program.
     Producers of the show couldn't pay for
all the controversial publicity that generated!
     For those of you lucky enough to have
missed this program (I have apparently
missed it for 14 seasons!) a dozen young
women compete for the affection of the
man known as "the Bachelor."
     This year it's a former Professional
soccer player named Juan Pablo.
     He's very much like me except young,
handsome, has a Spanish accent, and seems
to be wealthy!
      It's suppose to be a "Reality Show."
      But on Monday Mr. Pablo took his
date to the middle of a very high bridge
then jumped off, together, attached to a
Bungee Cord!
       When my wife and I were dating we
just went to the movies or plays. We
sometimes looked for Covered Bridges
but never gave any thought to jumping.
       Each week old Juan gives a rose to
each woman he picks to continue on the
show. Those who don't get a rose have
to leave. But, at least, they avoid having
to jump off a bridge!
       I like my reality a lot more than
       And, coincidentally, seven hours
before we decided to watch "the Bachelor"
I walked in with a dozen red roses for the
gal who became my winner!
       Hope you've got a winner too and
that all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where There's Smoke!

     It was totally unexpected!
     The smoke alarm suddenly sounded
its piercing shrill tone throughout the
     Under normal circumstances that
would mean my wife had finished
making the pizza.
      But wait a minute! We had just
eaten less than an hour before!
       I heard my wife shout which, in
itself is pretty amazing. Not the shout.
The fact that I heard her.
       "It's Me" she said!
        Was she on fire? Should I grab an
extinguisher or call that emergency
number....whatever it is?
         No. You could tell from her tone
this wasn't a call for help. Just an
acknowledgement that she had triggered
the alarm. Even without pizza!
          The alarm had detected the smoke
from melting wax which my wife was
using to decorate some empty wine
          The exercise was prompted by an
upcoming dinner at our church at which
the wine bottles may serve as decorations.
            I must say they do look good. At
least I think so. It's tough to see through all
the smoke!
             Just another example of the craft
talents possessed by my wife.
             Of course I get a little of the credit!
             Who do you think helped empty the
              Hope when the smoke clears all your
NEWS is good!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cupcakes Pop Corn and Karaoke!

     We have taken holiday feasts to a new level!
      It began, innocently enough, with Thanksgiving.
Then came Christmas holiday parties. Then
Christmas itself. Then New Year's Eve and Day
      Ordinarily that would have ended things. I
mean, who has a feast for the Martin Luther King
      Well the answer is...We do! And by "we" I
mean the extended members of the DeCosmo
       Realizing that the Thanksgiving through
Christmas holiday season was just too hectic for
a family get together my niece and her husband
decided that the Sunday before the MLK holiday
might  be the perfect time to get family members
together. Most have a day off from work today
and, usually, the kids have a day off from school.
(That part didn't work quite as planned this year
because of a Teacher's strike and class days lost
to bad weather.)
        We all brought a dish or two to fill the table
which our hosts had pretty much filled up without
our help. And, of course, we all filled up ourselves!
         The eating and conversation were augmented
by some rather interesting activities.
          Most everyone joined in the Karaoke at one
time or another. I even got roped into one line, I
couldn't handle much more since I don't believe
I've ever heard any of the songs offered on the
         Then there was the "Popcorn experiment!"
         Someone read someplace that popcorn
placed on a table and surrounded by cell phones
would actually pop when those phones were
         So it was that 8 cell phones were placed
into service. Four around a few kernels of pop
corn, and 4 making the call to the 4 on the table.
         And to think, some people play cards at
         Perhaps I should point out that while most
of the soup, beef, chicken, Deviled eggs, brownies,
and cupcakes were devoured....there was no pop
corn to be found! Wrong number?
         Hope you're singing along and that all your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh Baby!

  Through the years I've been following
my grand kids as they show off their
talents in so many ways.
   When they do I'm usually there with
my video recorder preserving the
memories they themselves may want to
review in years to come.
   They'll see themselves singing in
school plays or concerts. They'll hear
the applause from the audience.
    And, chances are, somewhere in the
recording, they'll hear a baby!
    I'm beginning to think it's some kind
of strange curse!
    I've taken seats close to the stage, to
both sides, even in the balcony if there
is one.
    And in virtually every case, someone
with a baby takes a place just a few seats
    Baby's don't seem to like concerts or
plays. I know this because they seem sad.
I know that because they cry!
    The problem is my camcorder microphone
doesn't know it's only suppose to record
the sound coming from the stage.
    That's why I was so apprehensive last
night when my grand daughter was on stage
with a singing and acting roll in her school's
Winter Follies.
    I was seated well in advance, picking a
seat I felt would give me a great view when
she came on stage.
    Sure enough, a woman carrying a babe in
arms picked a seat just across the aisle and
a row ahead.
     After hearing what sounded like a young
child hitting High C during the previous
play, on and off through 3 acts,I was afraid I
might be in for the same.
     Fortunately this infant was more like the
Gerber Baby and only tried to join in the
singing once or twice. It's considerate
mother carried the child away to do its solo
out of the auditorium!
      For this I, and future generations who
view my video, are forever grateful!
      Hope your baby is seen but not heard
in the audience....and that all your NEWS
is good!


Saturday, January 18, 2014


   WHAT?   You hear that word a lot in our
house these days. It usually comes from
  You see my wife is very soft spoken.
  And I, after many years in the media,
have some hearing loss.
  That combination makes for some
interesting situations.
   For instance, as quiet as my wife is,
she sometimes verbally expresses
her thoughts herself....out loud.
Except, of course, not very loud. Just
loud enough so that I can often detect
the faint sound of words. What words
I do not know!
  My response......WHAT did you say?
  Her reply. "I was just thinking out
   I hear something again. But, assuming
she's just thinking out loud...a say nothing.
   That is followed by......"Aren't you
hearing me?"
   Last night we were watching "Undercover
    I was leaving the living room for a bowl
of Cheerios. I vaguely heard the announcer
say something like ..."When we come back we'll
see what" .........but I didn't hear the rest.
    So Cheerios in hand I walked back into
the room and asked my wife...." he'll do WHAT?".
    "WHAT" she replied.
    "He'll do WHAT I answered."
    "WHAT are you talking about" she said.
     Unfortunately that comment came as I
attempted to deal with my mouth full of
Cheerios and milk."
     Laughter is an exercise in exhaling.
     So it was that a dozen pieces of half
chewed Cheerios and a spot or two of
milk were projected into the air and onto
the floor.
    "WHAT was that" she said.
    Continued laughter and my desperate
attempt to breath prohibited an immediate
    Then I explained "WHAT" I had been
     Ironically, she hadn't heard the
     "WHAT"  a night! 
      Hope you know "WHAT" I'm talking about
and that all your news is good!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Put On A Pedestal!

   We often put people and things on
a pedestal!
    Statues of prominent historical
figures and our country's heroes.
    Husbands often put their wives
there. Yes dear. I do.
    The Liberty Bell, the Statue of
Liberty, and other similar icons are
set upon pedestals.
    Today I'm wondering what my
neighbors think.....about what I think
of our garbage?!
     Yesterday it was, in effect, set out
on a pedestal! Of course in my case the
pedestal was my Recycling container
placed upside down.
      And, so that you and those neighbors
all know, I was not honoring my trash!
       I was keeping it away from the
       Regular readers will know we have
a herd of cats around my neighborhood.
I say herd because the term seems to fit
the number of felines running loose
around here.
        Our Township Trash crew comes
around fairly early. The cats come
        If those garbage bags aren't out
of their reach the cats come checking for
breakfast. And their left overs are...left....
all over the place!
        At least one other resident has seen
the wisdom of my plan. After my garbage
was picked up I saw another bag perched
on top of a trash bin!
        But animal lovers should not fret.
There are plenty of other bags at ground
level where one man's trash is another
cat's feast!
         High or low, hope you remember
to take out the trash and that all your
NEWS is good!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Say Cheese?

   There's a game we often played with
our kids and now our Grand kids while
we're on the road.
    It's called "Order In The Court" and
it comes with it's own rhyme.
   "Order in the Court. The Monkey
wants to speak. No laughing, no
talking, no showing your teeth."
    And now I'm wondering when the
U.S. State Department started playing?
    My wife's Passport expires next year.
    Since we're hosting trips for Thompson
Tours these days we felt we ought to get
the renewal process started.
    The forms are all available on line
and Uncle Sam is very willing to accept
a check to handle all the paperwork.
    You must, of course, have a current
photo. And it's got to be printed in a
certain size.
    We headed to a local Pharmacy that
will take your Passport photo.
    My wife was told she could smile if
she choose to do so. But, smile or not,
she was not allowed to show her teeth!
     The clerk told her the photo would
be rejected if her teeth were showing!
     That's especially unfortunate because
my wife has perfect teeth. A closed
mouth smirk would just have to do!
     No wonder so many people seem
grouchy when they're going through
Customs! They're afraid to smile!
      If they do the Customs Agents
will check their Passport and think
they're somebody else!
      I would hope you're allowed to
smile if that leads to a pat down
search! I'm very ticklish!
      Hope this policy has you grinning
and that all of your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In A Fog!

   I'm not sure what prompted it. But I
headed out a little earlier than usual for
my morning walk yesterday.
   The route I choose was in an area
that's usually pretty quiet. But this time
the quiet was deafening!
   I found my self walking in a eerie fog
that enveloped all of my surroundings.
It was kind of creepy!
    My imagine started to work overtime!
   A glance towards the river gave me
the impression I was strolling somewhere
in England. It looked like the kind of
setting where one might expect to find
Jack the Ripper! Or, looking ahead to
the trees, perhaps the Hound of the
   I passed an aging Railroad bridge
and could almost imagine a Steam
locomotive coming out of he mist and
and down the tracks towards where I
stood. It couldn't possibly happen.
These rails haven't been used for years.
Still.....I moved!
   The cemetery was a whole other
story. The fog wasn't quite as dense
there. Just enough to make me pick
up my pace a bit on that part of my
    I think I've got  cut back on the
horror movies a little bit! Or walk
a little later in the morning!
    Hope you can see through this
Blog and that all your NEWS is