Monday, March 31, 2014

Rembering Bobby Bunsen

  OK Class! Put on your lab coat and safety
glasses and get ready to celebrate!
  It's March 31st. It's Bunsen Burner Day!
  And today we mark the birthday of its
inventor, German chemist Robert Wilhelm
Eberhard von Bunsen!
   My Chemistry set didn't come with a
Bunsen Burner when I was a kid. I had to
use a candle to heat the chemicals I had
mixed together down in the basement.
   I heated it for about 15 minutes before
it blew up and wrecked my set. Fortunately
I didn't burn down the house!
   Years later I found myself in a High
School Chemistry Class.
   Our teacher, Mr. Scarcella, had a Bunsen
Burner to heat the test tube he was using
for the day's experiment.
   I was surprised when it, like mine, blew
up! But it only took him about 30 seconds!
  For years there was a small piece of
glass embedded in the ceiling of that
classroom. I often wondered if the students
that followed  noticed it or wondered
how it got there.
   I learned a lot from that lesson.
   First, Bunsen Burners can create
explosions far faster than candles.
   Second, I was not meant to be a Chemist!
   I'm sure, however, that many of today's
modern scientific advancements were
born in a basement or classroom somewhere
with the aid of a Bunsen Burner.
   I kind of wish I had one yesterday. It was
too rainy to toast marshmallows over a camp
   Hope you'll celebrate safely and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy Hour(s)!

    We had a chance to visit with my good
friend and his wife in Binghamton, NY
     He lives north of Syracuse. So they
drive south while we drive north and we
meet in the middle. Or pretty close too
     We always enjoy meeting and eating
at Cracker Barrel. The food is good and
the ceiling and walls are covered with
items probably found and gathered by
the "Pickers" or somebody just like them.
    Since my buddy and I are sort of antiques.
we remember a lot of the stuff hanging there!
But it doesn't mean there's no "kid" left
in you shall see.
    After our time together, my wife,
daughter, two of my grandchildren and
I headed for the "Discovery Center."
    I've mentioned this place before. It's a
sort of "hands on Children's Museum"
where youngsters and encouraged to
climb on and over, and play with all
the exhibits.
    The only problem was timing. The
Center closes at 5 on Fridays and by the
time our luncheon meeting and chat was
over we only had an hour to visit.
    It's amazing how much fun kids can
fit into 60 minutes!
    Before we left the grand kids had
befriended another young lad who
joined them tearing through the place!
    Not wanting to be left out my wife
found an artist's sketch stand and drew
a picture of a knight, while my daughter
spent time rearranging facial parts on
Salvador Dali like images set upon a
magnetic board.
    I used my time more efficiently....
fooling with a full size model of a bank
vault door! Hey! You never know when
learning how a bank vault works may
come in handy!
   Hope you've got the right combination
for a good "Happy Hour" or two and that
all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Water, Water, Everywhere...But Not Always!

   This is a very big day at Niagara Falls.
   But it's no Honeymoon!
   March 29th is "Niagara Falls Runs Dry
   Local residents, and tourists, will be
celebrating an event that took place on
March 29th of 1848!
   Ice blocked the river on that day and
literally shut off the falls!
   I saw the same thing! But it was in
1969! Yep! I saw Niagara Falls turned
   My wife and I were on our Honeymoon
at the time and Niagara Falls was on our
list of places we wanted to see.
   Imagine our surprise when we got there
and found the falls, at least the American
falls, dry!
    It wasn't some David Copperfield trick
or the biggest plumbing problem you
ever saw. It was science.
    A team of engineers was conducting a
survey to determine how quickly the edge
of the falls was deteriorating. To do that
that had to stop the flow of water. So they
built a earth dam upstream and diverted
all of the river water over to the Canadian
    Any would be dare devil, thinking of
that old "over the falls barrel trick," probably
had second thoughts if he or she saw what's
really under those thousands of tons of
water that pour over the brink every second!
    People riding aboard the popular "Maid
of the Mist" got an up close view of boulders
as big as the iceberg that sank the Titanic!
    It was probably the biggest thing at the
Falls since 1953 when Marilyn Monroe
filmed a movie there!
    Of course the water is flowing again
these days. But the community, on both sides
of the border, is always looking for a reason
to celebrate. And you can be sure that none
of the pubs there will be "dry" today!
    I'll toss an ice cube or two in my Diet
Dr. Pepper and raise a toast to the falls
    Hope you'll get there one of these days
and that all your NEWS is good!

             Niagara Falls 1969

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mr. Potato Head

    Ever get the feeling there's a target painted
on your back?
    That was me yesterday. And my wife was
Annie Oakley!
     But let me begin at the beginning.
     I felt like having a snack Wednesday night.
     Carrots or celery would have been nice.
     But we didn't have any. So, my next snack
of choice was a potato!
     Every now and then I enjoy a raw potato.
     I picked a small one then searched out the
potato peeler from our utensil drawer.
     I washed the spud, then carefully held it
over our waste can while I worked at
cleaning off the outer skin. Apparently
"carefully" is not the correct description!
     I was checking my morning email when
my wife asked how I had enjoyed my
     How did she know I had a potato? Had
she counted them and found one missing?
     Nope! As she explained, the peelings
which had missed the trash can were
awaiting her when she came out for a morning
coffee. (She also boasted of hearing me
"crunch away" at my snack even though we
were separated by several rooms!)
     I truly never saw any peelings fly outside
of the intended receptacle! Perhaps I had
simply been blinded by hunger?
     My wife should be happy there wasn't
any watermelon in the fridge! Who knows
where those seeds would have ended up?
     Anyhow I've asked by daughter to pick up
some celery. It doesn't leave as much
evidence behind!
     Hope all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brain Freeze!

     Most anyone who's enjoyed a ice cream
cone or sundae has, at one time or another,
experienced the phenomena of "Brain Freeze."
     I experienced a different form of this
paralyzing effect through most of my school
    Unlike the extreme cold generated by ice
cream, my early exposure was generally
the result of my lack of study and some
teacher's decision to either call on me even
though my hand wasn't raised or to have a
surprise test.
    Educational brain freeze can, as you might
imagine, be remedied by way of study, doing
home work, and other non attractive but
productive efforts like those.
     Brain freeze produced by the rapid
consumption of frozen products can, I'm told,
be countered by placing one's tongue on the
roof of one's mouth.
     But the Brain Freeze that hit me yesterday
was neither the result of a cold treat or an
unexpected scholastic examination.
     I was out for my usual daily walk.
     Yes, it was cold. About 27 degrees.
     I was able to handle that....until I walked
over the bridge from Pittston to West Pittston!
     The term "Wind Chill Factor" never really
impressed me quite so much before!!!!
      A gust of "Spring wind" straight out of
the movie "Frozen" instantly caused my
forehead to feel as though I had just swallowed
a pint of Italian Gelato from a snack bar in
      I suddenly wished I was in a warm
classroom taking an algebra exam! That
should give those who know me a good
idea of how bad it was!
      Fortunately the wind died down and the
sun was facing my face on the return walk!
      I got my full face ski mask out of the
closet for today's constitutional....just in case.
I'll just have to remember to take it off when
I stop by the bank!
     Hope Spring shows up soon and that all
your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's Your Move!

  My grandson paid one of his after
school visits to our house yesterday.
   Highlighted by cookies and milk
and an  all too familiar does of "Sponge
Bob," the visit eventually evolves
into some game time.
   Cards are not my favorite. Whatever
the game. And I've been defeated so
many times in the game called "Lier"
that I usually make excuses, lies if you
will, to avoid being drawn into the
    Yesterday the game of choice was
Chess. My grandson challenged my
wife who, in this particular contest,
has become his favorite opponent.
    Lucky for him!
    Although I have and still enjoy a
game of Softball other games and
sports have usually found me lacking!
    Basketball was too fast, Football
too tough and, as for cards, I'd likely
end up with Aces and 8's even if it
was a "winning hand."
     I have, however, have always done
well with Chess.
     My brother taught me how to play
many years ago. I dabbled with it from
time to time. But never thought much
about it until I had the occasion to
challenge my best friend one day.
     He is one of those guys who always
got A's while I was pretty much a C
student. He was in the Academic
Course. I was in the "General" one.
     But I won the chess game!
     And the next one. And the next
one and the rest of the few games I
could talk him into!
     In fact, shortly after my last
victory,  my buddy gave up playing
Chess! That was about 55 years ago!
     And after weeks of losing card
games to my grandson I admit I
grinned just a bit a couple weeks
ago when our chest game ended
when I spoke the words "Check Mate!"
     Guess I haven't lost it all just
yet! Of course I expect a rematch
will be coming up soon!
      Hope you make all the right
moves and that all of your NEWS
is good!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


    Look around. It's no wonder I'm
    According to the calendar it's
Spring. According to the thermometer
it's still Winter.
    The Green lines can still be seen on
the streets of Scranton and Pittston and
Saint Patrick's Parade marchers were
still strutting through Giradville on
Saturday and Stroudsburg on Sunday!
    So why should I be so surprised to
find out that today, March 25th., is
"Old New Year's Day?"
    Here's the story.
    Although the Gregorian calendar was
created in 1582, many countries chose to
ignore it for several hundred years.
   Instead, they used “Annunciation Style
dating,” which recognized the Feast of the
Annunciation (March 25) as New Year’s
Day! That's today!
    England didn’t adopt our modern-day
Gregorian calendar until 1751. Russia held
out until 1918! In fact, people in Russia,
Switzerland, Macedonia, Georgia, Belarus,
and Serbia still celebrate the Old New Year.
    I wonder if somebody dropped a ball
from the top of the Kremlin last Midnight?
    How come Dick Clark never told us
about this?
   We could have enjoyed one heck of a
party between December 31st and today!
    Anyway, whatever calendar you're
    Hope all your NEWS is good!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Climb Every....well...Everything!

     There are occasionally days when my slight
hearing loss actually comes in handy.
     Yesterday was one of those days!
     After a delightful meal shared with family
members at my favorite restaurant my wife
reminded everyone that she had spotted
a coupon for a Children's Play Center very
close to our location.
     Thus it was that I, four other adults, and
the three pre-teens in our party found
ourselves at the "Climb-A-Lot Clubhouse"
near Tamaqua in Schuylkill County.
      Some 40 or 50 kids had beaten us there!
     "Climb-A-Lot" reminded me of a Prison
block where the walls were made of nets rather
than brick and passage ways,  and slides allow
children to crawl and climb anywhere they
choose. It's a lot like visiting the primate
cages in a zoo.
      The yells, shouts, and screams of these
kids will probably be with me for days if not
the remainder of the week. Fun can be loud!
       Fortunately there are benches for those
of you "just visiting" the facility.
       Cries of "Daddy,  or Grandpa" had
every one's heads turning every few minutes
although none of the calls were directed to
us from anybody we knew!
        There's something else you'll notice
pretty quickly.  Although adults are not
permitted in the maze of netted passage ways,
they all sit there, like the kids, in their
stockings! Thankfully I had my Sunday
go to meeting socks on when I learned of
the rule!  No Shoes Allowed!
        In spite of the constant noise I had
just started to doze off when an
energetic 3 or 4 year old ran by swinging
her arms wildly and nicked two of my toes.
        It was an innocent though stinging
reminder that kids can be dangerous!
        They really ought to have a warning
label attached!
        It's amazing. The kids do all the
running and climbing yet I left feeling
I had just scaled Mt Everest!
        Now it's time for me to get a nap!
        Hope no one takes my sneakers and
that all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

What we've got here is..failure to communicate!

   That well know line from the classic
movie "Cool Hand Luke" ran through
my mind last night when I stopped by
my local DQ to pick up some ice cream.
   I should not have been surprised.
   It happens every time!
   The first words spoken by the clerk
are always......"Is this order eat here or
take out?"
   "Take out", I said. I usually say that.
   I then ordered two of the company's
famous "Blizzards." It's DQ's version
of various ice cream sundaes.
   20 feet away from the ordering
county another employee sees my order
on a TV monitor and goes to work
filling it.
    In just a few short minutes the
young lady who prepared my order
steps out holding two containers
filled to the brim with my colorful
    Maybe it's just me. But I had
hoped my "To Go" order would have
included lids. Ice cream is only semi
solid. It's been know to "jump out" of
unsecured containers!
    My request for them was immediately
    I did say I wouldn't need the plastic
spoons since I had real ones at home.
So, they have me lids....... and plastic
spoons. Are you sensing a trend here?
    Thinking it might still be difficult
to hold even a lid covered container
in each hand and steer the car I asked
if I might have a carry container too.
    Again, my request was instantly
    Maybe DQ should consider making
lids and carry out containers standard
issue with "Take Out" orders? Or,
perhaps, the person taking the order
could tell the preparer it's an order
"To Go."
    Anyway, we sure enjoyed the
treats! And I even heard what my
wife said and ordered the right kind!
     Hope you "hear" what I'm saying
and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Holiday We Should All Enjoy!

    Many of you reading this have
probably already observed this
Holiday well before this appointed
date! I have certainly done my part!
In fact it may be one of the things
I do best!
    This is "National Goof Off Day!"
    In fact, this is "International Goof
Off Day!"
    Admittedly there's no evidence of
either proclamation or legislation
recognizing this an official holiday.
But if we all participate, who's going
to stop the movement?
    The younger generation has
apparently already joined  A few years
ago, a survey was performed to identify
the most popular activity for goofing off.
   The top activity was playing video
   Of course the survey was conducted
by Ninetendo which, you might argue,
has a vested interest in this unique
   Since it falls on a Saturday there's
plenty of "Goof off" options
available to you. Many involve time
spent in front of your television!
   If you get good enough you might
consider getting into a profession where
you are expected to be goofing off most
of the time. Something like Politics!
   I, on the other hand, will be working
   I'm planning on doing some personal
lobbying to try to make "Goof Off Day"
an official holiday!
   Hope it works and that all your NEWS
is good!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reading The Chart

    I checked in with the Eye Doctor yesterday.
    It's been a month since I had minor surgery
on my eyelids. The check up was to make sure
everything was healed properly.
    Part of the process involved a look at the
Eye Chart. Every Optometrist and Eye Glass
Sales place has one.
    They gave me this hand held device with a
bunch of little hones in it. My instructions.....
close one eye, look through one of the little
holes with the other, then read the letters on
the chart.
    Each line of letters is a little smaller than
the one above it. You're suppose to read the
smallest ones you can make out.
    It's not really a very fair test!
    First, none of those letters actually spell
anything! They're just individual letters. I
think you should have to read words.
    Then they try to trick you!
     P's and F's look a lot alike from any
distance. There should be more Z's. They're
     Next they dilated my eyes. They put 3
kinds of drops in each then gave be 10
minutes while my vision blurred.
     I thought these places were suppose to
make you see better!
     The doctor then used some sort of
equipment to shine a very bright into each
eye while he looked inside my head. My
wife doesn't think he saw anything in there.
     After setting up an appointment with
still another doctor the receptionist handed
me a paper filled with information about
some new email system they're using to allow
patients to stay in touch with their offices.
     I thought it strange the writing on the
paper was totally out of focus! They ought
to get that printer fixed!
     Hope you see what I mean and that all
your NEWS is good! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pulled Over!

    Yep. We were stopped by the Pennsylvania
State Police on Monday evening! The very same
night the Vice President was in town!
     I didn't understand. We hadn't been speeding.
     My seat belt and those of all the passengers
were firmly in place.
     Since we were in my daughter's new car it
might have  had something to do with the
     But even if that were the case would they
really need 5 cruisers with lights flashing to
address the problem?
     I will admit we had all been drinking.
     My daughter, grandson, and I each had
Coke (the soft drink),  my wife had water, and
my grand daughter had her usual glass of milk.
No "controlled substances" here. Unless you
consider the fact the State sets the price of
the milk.
    So why were we being stopped? And not
only us! Cars all around us were brought to a
halt even though our traffic light was definitely
Green in our direction.
     I didn't have a lot of time to ponder the
possible answers.
     Some guy in a big limousine with Motorcycles
in front and back followed by big black Suburbans
rolled by in  front of us headed for the interstate.
     The cars that had been blocking us took off
after him with their lights still flashing. Guess he
was going too fast.
      Wait till they catch up with that fellow!
       Hope you're still moving along and that all
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How'd You Do That?

   The mystery began to unfold while visiting
family in Ocala, Florida.
    I needed my computer's external hard
drive so I reached into my computer bag to
pull it out. But I couldn't find it!
     I seldom take the unit out of my bag so
its disappearance was shocking! I looked
again. Still, no luck! I decided to empty the
bag, checking each item removed, one at a
time. I did......... but came up with nothing!
     Several possibilities crossed my mind
and none of them seemed very promising.
       It could have dropped out of the bag
on the Auto Train.
       It could have come out of the bag on
a tour bus we took.
       It could have fallen out of the bag at
my sister-in-laws!
       But it wasn't at the AutoTrain lost and
       It wasn't found on the tour bus
       And my sister-in-law's house cleaning
didn't turn it up either. had to be at home!
       The room by room search turned up
nothing. I repeated the sweep, just in case,
        I even checked the computer bag two
more times to make sure I just hadn't missed
it somehow. Still nothing!
          Accepting my defeat gracefully, I
decided to buy a new one. I knew just where
to look at Walmart.
           But there weren't any on the shelves!
           Had they lost their's too?
           I was all set to try another Walmart
today. But I won't have to!
           My wife found mine....IN MY
           It must be a wife thing!
           Hope all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Grass Is Always Greener?.....

       The grass always does seem to look
greener "on the other side of the hill."
        Our recent trip South was, primarily,
a chance to be with family there for a
week or so.
         The warmer weather was a bonus.
A chance for us to escape some of the
tough winter up this way.
         But it also provided a laugh or two
as the folks from Florida bundled up in
sweaters and such when the temperatures
dropped into the 60's. We were just fine
with wind breakers. Sometimes the
weather is as relative as the relatives!
         Then, the sun came out. The
temperatures went up. And we learned
that Florida has sunshine, green grass,
blossoms and...POLLEN!
         I had survived the snow and freezing
winds of our weather without a sign of a
cold only to find myself dealing with a
runny nose and watery eyes in the Sunshine
       We did find the "gas" was greener down
south. Cheaper that is!
        Although prices in Florida were about
the same as around here we found a gallon
of regular in the Carolinas and Virginia
ranging from about $3.17 to $3.29.
        One station in South Carolina was
selling a gallon for $3.05! I'd be filling up
there every day....but I suspect the drive might
prove counter productive!
       Still I suppose, as Dorothy reminded us,
"There's no place like home!"
       Hope your grass is soon green and that
all your NEWS is good!


Monday, March 17, 2014

The Homecoming (s)

    We had two Homecomings yesterday!
    We spent Friday night in the
mountains of Virginia. And we awoke
Sunday facing two challenges.
     The first was to go "back home" to
Walton's Mountain!
     The tiny hamlet of Schuyler, Virginia
was the boyhood home of Author Earl
Hamner and the inspiration for several
of his books that lead to the popular TV
Series, "The Waltons."
     We made our first trip there some 40
years ago where the real "Mrs. Walton,"
Earl's mother, welcomed us with open
arms as though we were family!
      Doris Hamner passed away in 1990
as have several of the siblings represented
by the Walton's cast.
     But the real homestead has been
preserved while the nearby Schuyler High
School has been turned into the Walton's
Mountain Museum!
     People from across the country seek out
this small back woods community to see
the vast collection of items from the TV
show and its real life counterparts! Most
visitors, by the way, hail from Pennsylvania!
    There are sets from the television series,
a replica of Ike Godsey's General Store,
and a still, confiscated locally, to represent
the one used by the fictional Baldwin
Sisters to make "the recipe!"
    Unfortunately "recipe" samples were not
available. I did ask!
    We could have spent the day there were
it not for our second challenge.
    A winter storm bearing down on the East
coast was suppose to hit south of the Wilkes-
Barre area. Of course.....that's exactly where
we were!
     So we made our way along the Rock Fish
River, through twists and turns, till we found
Interstate 81 and raced to our own homecoming
well ahead of the snow and icy rain!
     We'll probably head back again someday.
     Till then, Good night John-Boy. Hope all
your NEWS is good!


The real "Mrs. Walton"
Doris Hamner



Saturday, March 15, 2014

No Sign Of Mel.

         SUNDAY, MARCH 16TH

   We stepped back in history yesterday.
   Bacon was frying in a pan set up over
hot coals while corn beef and split pea
soup was being readied to be cooked in
a pot over an open hearth.
    We found a woman weaving in a
nearby cabin and baby lambs in the field.
    The slave quarters were empty. Very
empty. Just wood floors, a fireplace, and
brick walls.
    There was cotton in the Gin House.
    But where was Mel?
    I was sure I had seen him here. Perhaps
in the main house?
    It looked all so familiar. I remember
him being here.
   Oh wait....that was in a movie...wasn't it?
   How neat it was to visit the Bratton house
in historic Brattonsville, South Carolina
where many scenes from the Mel Gibson
movie "The Patriot" were filmed in 1999.
    I could almost hear the "Red Coats"
fighting the Militia somewhere off in the
woods beyond this plantation.
    I admire a place like this where our
history, some of it good, some of it not so
good, is preserved and taught by
costumed interpreters.
    We tried to sign up for part time jobs
when we learned the food prepared on site
is only served to staff. My wife knows how
to spin wool and I......well.....I can....that is,
my wife knows how to spin wool!
    Maybe if I can learn to pick cotton I'll
go back. Who knows,? Maybe Mel will be
back by then!
     Hope you're tending your fire and that
all your NEWS is good!

If You're Young At Heart!

   I think I should tell you that our exploration of
Florida has been a resounding success!
   While living with family for a week we found
an exotic animal rescue preserve, a Strawberry
Farm with strawberry Pizza, and a beach when
you can fish while the Manatee swim near your
   Yesterday, however, we hit the Jackpot when
we visited St. Augustine and discovered the
Fountain Of Youth! OK. Ponce de Leon was
there first. But we found it none the less!
    We know the waters that flow in this area have
wondrous powers because we saw the city's
oldest resident during our visit. That resident is
over 600 years old!  
     Admittedly it is a tree. But it's roots draw from
the same subterranean water that's coming through
the ground at the actual Fountain Of Youth.
     That's the good news.
     The bad news........I wasn't thirsty!
     But what the heck, everybody says I still act
like a kid anyway so why push my luck by going
back too far!
     Hope you're young at heart and that all your
NEWS is good.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Thread Of A Doubt!

    We begin our return trip from Florida with
a mystery left unsolved!
     My sister-in-law, like all the women in our
family, often looks for and finds bargains! One
is a small portable sewing machine.  
     My wife had occasion to put it to use during
our visit and her first effort proved very
successful. Since we had to leave for awhile,
however, the finishing stitches on her project
had to wait a few hours.
    What could have happened during the brief
absence? When we returned the machine no
longer functioned!
     My wife, who has worked with all kinds
of sewing machines and her brother, who once
labored in a Garment Shop repairing them,
could not find what caused the problem and
did not know how it could be fixed.
     Most of you would, logically, say "Read
the directions." But there were none to be found!
     That's when I decided to take a shot at being
the hero and got on my laptop. I explained that
we could not thread the bobbin on the machine
and asked anyone with information to send an
email. I also fired off a separate email to the
company listed on the box that distributed
the unit.
     Several consumers with similar problems
had already posted notes suggesting "timing"
was often a problem with this machine. I
included that information in my message to
the company.
     A gentleman named Ken wrote and asked
that I send a photo of the machine to help him
help me. Meanwhile, the company sent a 4-
page-instruction booklet.
     The directions, however, didn't tell us
anything we didn't already know. So I wrote
again asking about the timing.
     Ken got back in the debate and, although
he never saw this type of machine before,
offered some general steps for adjusting the
timing on sewing machines.
     The company that sold the product sent an
email which read..."What do you mean, timing?"
     I wrote back again typing..."You Tell Me!"
     The long and short of it is this. The machine
isn't designed to be dissected so Ken's helpful
advice, unfortunately, won't work.
     The company has been virtually no help at
     Perhaps I should mention....the company is
in Brooklyn. Ken lives in England!
     To Ken I say "Good show old chap." As far
as the company is concerned.....I think I know
why the Dodgers went west!
     Hope I've left you in stitches and that all
your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Ties That Bind


  Family members all gathered together for
our last day in Ruskin, Florida. We shared
spaghetti, meatballs, and family stories.
  We recalled a beautiful week spent
together and then worked together to solve
a family problem.
   My brother-in-law Bud and I have been
dealing with a frustrating situation that must
confront all men at one time or another.
   The shoe laces provided with our sneakers
are far too long for the foot ware! We now
realize why inmates have them taken away1
    Even when double knotted the ends stick
out far enough so that we eventually step on
them and untie our own sneakers while we
   The combined minds of three sisters, their
brother, and Bud concluded that the laces
should be shorter. Brilliant, right?
    So began a somewhat scientific process
which involved a scissors and the flame from
an ignitor. The laces were carefully....well
maybe not carefully.....but quickly trimmed
by several of the women and Bud while my
brother-in-law George burned the freshly
cut edges so they might be reinserted into
the empty eyelets.
    Minutes later, it did seem like a half hour,
Bud was able to place the sneakers back on
his feet and tie the lace with a much shorter
overhang of extra length.
   It seems to be working well. We'll call
later this week to see how many times he's
either fallen or had to retie the sneakers.
  The next step will be marketing the extra
lengths of shoelaces we trimmed away! 
  Hope everything fits for you and that all
your NEWS is good.

Together Again!

     It was good to see the couple together
again and back "home" when we visited
Sarasota, Florida yesterday.
     The two had been involved in a car
accident in 2012 and were rehabilitated
in New Jersey. Seems like a long way?
     Perhaps I should mention the two are
not real people. Although, they represent
real people.
     I refer to a statue that is entitled
"Unconditional Surrender."
     It depicts a sailor kissing a nurse and
was based on a photo taken on August
14th., 1945,,,,,,,the day Japan surrendered
to the United States, ending World War 2!
     This particular statue, there are four,
stands near a very busy intersection in
Sarasota. Some gal was either trying to
get a closer look or not looking at all
when she rammed the sculpture nearly
two years ago.
     The sailor's leg was damaged and cracks
in the structure had local officials worried
about additional problems should it collapse.
     So, the sailor and nurse, locked in a
perpetual embrace, were loaded onto a
tractor trailer and shipped to New Jersey
where the artist repaired the damage.
     So, the two are together again, posing
for thousands of tourists and their cameras!
     Hopefully we'll all remember what it
represents and that all our NEWS, like
that of August 14th., 1945, will be good!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One With Everything?

   We've been to Florida 4 times in as many
years. Each time we see something new.
    But there are some places that demand a
return visit!
    Goodson Farms is one such place!
    The strange thing is most every tourist we've
run into knows about the place. "Locals"
seem to find out about it from the tourists!
     Goodson is a Strawberry Farm!
     You can, of course, buy the berries
there. But it's the menu board that has long
lines of people waiting to order Strawberry
based goodies.
      There is Strawberry Shortcake. There
are Strawberry sundaes. There are Strawberry
Milk shakes.
       But wait.....there's more.
       This joint even offers a Strawberry Pizza!
Wait till Old Forge gets wind of this! It's so
special you have to place your order one
day in advance if you want an entire pie.
       Of course I'm not sure if it's available
with mushrooms and pepperoni! And I don't
expect you could get delivery in Pennsylvania!
       Since Strawberries are plentiful the dough
must be hard to get because a single slice sells
for 4 bucks! I wonder if they'll eventually offer
it in Sicilian?
      No matter. I just settled for a good old
fashion Strawberry Milk Shake!
      Hope the fresh Strawberries have made it
to your grocery by now and that all your NEWS
is good!


Monday, March 10, 2014


       OK. Let's talk about Saturday night!
       I was TAKEN!
       My sister-in-law suggested we all go
to the dance at her campground's clubhouse.
       Allow me to clarify my feelings about
these rituals. Yes I used to be a DJ and
played music for similar events. But except
for an occasional Twist, I was not big on
       I never even bothered with my High
School Prom choosing, instead to go to a
movie at the local Drive In. And that was
back in the days when the people dancing
to Rock & Roll were actually teenagers.
      The prospect of attending a dance
featuring my oldies and the teens who have
now, themselves, become oldies didn't
seem like my best deal of the day.
       Add to that the fact that my wife didn't
plan to dance and I was seconds away from
a decision to visit the local Drive In Theater!
        Counter arguments, from my sister-in-
law, rationalized that we weren't really
going to dance but, rather, to "socialize"
as we talked with one another. Then too,
she suggested, I did like that old time Rock
and Roll. Sensing support from my wife
for that argument I agreed to attend.
       I had been TAKEN!
       The "oldies" I expected did show up,
some dressed in period costume. As for the
"conversation", it was pretty much drown
out by the music which was provided, live, by
a man and woman team.
      The gal wasn't half bad. The gentleman
had a high pitched voice that didn't really
match some of those recording stars you might
remember from the 50's and 60's although he
undoubtedly had been around during and, very
likely, well prior to those years.
     It's the first time I've ever heard Johnny
Cash sound like Charlie McCarthy (Kids
will have to check that reference with their
parents!." We did join with him as he gave
us his version of "Pretty Woman." We all
called out for "Mercy" during the chorus!
    My brother-in-law, who had also been
TAKEN to this affair, was in the same boat
as me and if seemed to be sinking.
    With Daylight Savings Time just hours
away I suggested we move the clock ahead
an hour quickly so everyone might think it
was time to leave.
     Unfortunately we couldn't make it to the
      My brother- in- law and I have made a
pact. To those who would grab us again for
such an occasion...."We will find you, and
we will kill you!"
      Hope you spent a peaceful evening at
home and that all your NEWS is good.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sure Signs!

         SUNDAY, MARCH 9TH

    My sister-in-law set her clocks ahead
way before the appointed hour. So, the
way I figure it, my Sunday Blog is going
out according to those clocks!
    As I slept on Friday night my thoughts
were probably of home. I was cold!!!
    We had come south looking for warmth
if not summer. Some members of our
Florida family suggested we might have
left a door open in Pennsylvania which
allowed the cold air to seep south!
    Then came Saturday and, with it, some
sure signs things were about to improve.
    First, that bright sun up in the sky. It's
been a few days since we've seen it.
    And let's face it...we know from living
in the northeast a bright sunny day does
not, in and of itself, prove it will be a warm
    I needed more proof!
    I did spot flowers. There were growing
all by themselves in sandy soil of a local
park. These were not Greenhouse blooms!
They, and the warmth I was beginning to
feel on my back, were more positive signs
of a summer-like day!
    Then, the final sign. The clue on which
a good attorney would confidently say " I
rest my case."
     It came from some children who were
close by. They were shouting to each other,
"Marco--- Polo!" And YES they were swimming
in the waters rolling in from the Gulf of
     Hope some of this follows us home so
that all of our NEWS will be good!

Friday, March 7, 2014

See You Later Alligator!


   Our Florida visit included a tour of
a popular Fruit Farm on Thursday.
   With temperatures still hovering
around the 60 degree mark it was
easy to tell the northern "tourists"
from the local folks.
   My sister-in-laws, for instance,
looked like two Amish women as
they huddled in our tram car with
heads carefully covered against the
 "frigid" wind!
   Cold as they considered it to be
my trusty Wind Breaker suited me
just fine as we checked out all kinds
of Fruit trees and a very interesting
Animal Preserve located on the farm.
   Rescued animals are brought here,
rehabilitated in a local Animal
Hospital, then released  if feasible
or relocated to shelters where they
can be cared for during their remaining
   I was impressed.
   I actually though about adopting one
or two of these creatures.
   The pig, for instance, was raised as
 though he was a dog. So, he acted like
 one. He would be easy to care for and,
 if things didn't work out, you know how
 much I like bacon!
    I thought about the Tortoise too. But,
on second thought, you'd probably need
six weeks to take it for a walk around the
   I liked the Alligator best! It might be
the ultimate solution to all those cats
running loose around our place! Just
imagine their surprise! And his delight!
   I suppose in the end, however, I suppose
I'll just have to be satisfied to bring home a
few fresh oranges!
   Hope my relatives "warm up soon" and
that all your NEWS is good!