Thursday, July 31, 2014

Saying Good Bye To Sam

    By now all regular readers of my Facebook posts and
daily Blog know that my wife and I lost our family pet
    Sam was a Cockatiel we rescued when his previous owner
was unable to take him to her new apartment a few years ago.
Sam could speak when he choose to, delighting us with
 "How you doing Sam?" and "Sam's a pretty bird." He would
occasionally close the "Sam's a pretty bird" line with a wolf's
whistle! You know, the one associated with guys watching
a pretty girl walk by.
   Of course if you tried to get him to speak when someone
was visiting he'd likely clam up!
   There was the usual chirping too. Usually in the morning
when he heard me getting out of bed.
    We'd cover his cage at about 8 each night and he'd be
quiet after that.......except when he heard the slight tear of
a bag and the beeps that came from setting the microwave.
He started chirping a lot then because he knew I was
making pop corn. He didn't really have to sound off. He
knew I'd share the bounty with him. He loved pop corn!
     Sam was a pretty bird and a pleasant companion.
We don't know how old he was. All signs indicated he had
been around for quite awhile. Cockatiels generally have a
life span of between 16 and 25 years. He certainly made
the few years he spent with us more pleasant!
   We laid him to rest in a spot in our garden with a small
stone on which is written the words " Grow in God's Garden."
   I've read a lot on line from people who have lost pets. They
often refer to "the Rainbow Bridge."
   According to the story, when a pet dies, it goes to a meadow,
having been restored to perfect health and free of any injuries.
There is always fresh food and water, and the sun is always
   Then, when the pet's owner dies, they cross the "Rainbow
Bridge" into Heaven together. I'd like to believe there's
something to that story. In the hope there may be,  I'll repeat
the words we said every time we left the house ..................
"See you later Sam!"   


Wednesday, July 30, 2014


  I use my version of that well know line from the classic
movie Casablanca as a way of saying good bye to our
treasured family pet "Sam."
 Sam was a Cockatiel we rescued when his previous owner
was unable to take him to her new apartment a few years ago.
Sam could talk when he choose to, delighting us with
 "How you doing Sam?" and "Sam's a pretty bird."
  Indeed he was a pretty bird and a pleasant companion.
We don't know how old he was. All signs indicated he had
been around for quite a few years.
   I've read a lot on line from people who have lost pets. They
often refer to "the Rainbow Bridge."
   According to the story, when a pet dies, it goes to a meadow,
having been restored to perfect health and free of any injuries.
There is always fresh food and water, and the sun is always
   Then, when the pet's owner dies, they cross the "Rainbow
Bridge" into Heaven together.
   I'm not in any hurry to cross that bridge. But, when the time
comes, I'd like to think I'd hear..."Sam's a pretty bird" and have
him with me again!


A Cinematic First!

  The movies have come a long way over
the years!
   Silent movies were replace by sound.
Black and White gave way to color.
There was Vista Vision, Cinemascope,
Cinerama, and some 3D thrown in here
and there from time to time.
   But yesterday, during our visit to
Cinemark we saw something totally new!
   We walked into our theater during that
pre preview, pre movie feature called
"First Look."
    For those of you who don't get out
much, "First Look" is a combination
of features about upcoming movies, public
service announcements, and a mess of
commercials, usually about Coke and
Diet Coke.
    It's something you usually view in
the background while you're getting
comfortable in your seat, sending out that
last text message, or deciding which hand
you'll use for your pop corn and which will
grab for the soda when needed.
     But yesterday...there was nothing to
view! The sound was coming through loud
and clear. But there was nothing on the
     Being a trained observer, not to mention
a guy who grew up in movie theaters, I
realized something was wrong.
     I made my way down the steps and
through the hall to the young lady who
had taken our tickets and let her know the
screen was dark!
     But I really didn't have too. She already
knew! The problem, she explained, was
limited to a technical glitch with "First
Look." She assured me we'd see plenty of
action on the screen as soon as the previews
    A woman who saw me returning to my
seat asked if I had left to report the problem.
She was about to do so when she saw me leave
and assumed I had gone to report the problem.
    But I'm wondering how many other patrons
made the same effort as I over the course of
the day.....or for as many days as the problem
     The folks who collect your ticket stubs
tell you in which theater your feature is
playing. Might it be a good idea to let the
people know they'll be walking into a theater
with voices...but invisible people....up on the
     As promised, the picture appeared as soon
as the previews were started. It even lasted
through the main feature! Unfortunately my
pop corn only lasted through "First Look."
      Hope you "get the picture" and that all
your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bargain Basement

   I'm happy to say there are still some
bargains out there. But they're not in
the basement!
   I was thinking about that yesterday
afternoon as my wife, our friends, and
I stopped by our favorite ice cream
stand in Nescopeck.
   On each of our previous visits I
had my card punched every time I bought
a small sized cup or cone. So.....this time
I got a free ice cream.....and a brand new
card with one spot already punched!
   A couple of weeks ago we went to the
movies on a Tuesday. Tuesday is Bargain
Day at the Cinema. It's $5 all day. We
saved 50 cents apiece! That's a dollar
towards my popcorn which I usually
purchase with a coupon that gives me
another discount!
    One of the best bargains you'll ever
find actually comes from Uncle Sam!
You can buy a pass that allows you and
three other adults into any Federal Park
for free. The pass is only $10 and there's
no expiration date! The only catch is.....
you have to be a Senior Citizen.
     Of course in my case the investment
was $20 since I misplaced my original
pass and had to buy another one.
     Now that I've done that I'll probably
find the one I lost!
      A lot of the bargains available tome
these days are offered because of my
Senior status. I guess they figure they
won't have to honor them too very long
so....what the heck!
      I even got on at the shore last week
where bargains are definitely an exception
to the rule!
      The grand kids wanted to go to the
Water Park for the afternoon special.
Seniors get the best special though. They
get in for free!
      Like I said, there are plenty of bargains
out there if you'll just look for them.......and
get old!
      Hope I find some more and that all your
NEWS is good!


Monday, July 28, 2014


   Disney  made a lot of money with
those two animated features about little
talking cars.
   We stopped by the American Legion
in Mountaintop yesterday to see some
real cars. They didn't talk. But, oh, if they
only could!
    They certainly have a lot of us,
especially the guys, talking to themselves!
"I had one like that! Why did I ever get
rid of it?"
     I've had those thoughts many times!
     I think back to some of the vehicles
I've owned. A 1956 two tone Ford.  A
1963 Austin Healey Sprite. A 1961
Corvette. And a 1962 Chevy Impala.
     They were all convertibles!
     There were many other cars over the
years. But I was never in a position to
preserve them for the future! I had to
use them to go to work.
     Ironically, now that I don't have to
go to work I can't afford those cars
     I bought the Corvette for under
$4,000. I saw a virtually identical one
a few years back. It was worth $30,000
then! I understand "inflation".....but,
come on!
    Those old cars had some unique
features! My Dad had a Plymouth
Fury with swivel seats. The seats swung
out for easy access. It also had push
button shifting! 
    My Corvette had a gas gauge you
could actually see move. It was always
moving! Down! And rapidly!
    Well at least I get to look at the cars
again. There are numerous Car Shows
in our area pretty much every week.
Most of them are free and that's a good
deal in any one's book.
     There's usually music from the 50's
and 60's era playing in the background.
That takes me back to the days too,
especially since I used to play most of
those songs when I was a DJ.
     And since I can't afford to pick up
one of those Classic Cars I guess I'll
just try to hold on to what I have. Maybe
it will become one......if I can live long
     Hope I do.....and that all your NEWS
is good!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bringing Down The House!

  There was no shortage of entertainment
during our vacation trip to Wildwood last
week. There was music everywhere. On
the beach, the boardwalk, in the shops, even
a live entertainer at the Water Park.
   But it was the artists we heard when we
got back home that raised the roof and
brought down the house!
   We left the shore late Friday night in an
effort to avoid traffic and finally got home
and into bed sometime between 3 and 4am.
   We were first heard the duo at about 8 in
the morning. Their instruments echoed
through the morning air.
    But they aren't Rock stars! They are
WRECK stars!
    These two guys are in our park to tear down
several old, abandoned, and generally
dilapidated mobile homes so the lots can be
landscaped and new units can be moved in.
   Yesterday morning they took on the one
right behind us!
   While the sound of cracking wood, and
bending metal was a little loud given our
brief rest it was, never the less, most welcome!
 At least for us.
    Their work will beautify the area and,
hopefully, attract some nice neighbors.
    Of course they have left a mess of cats
and, probably, a skunk or two very unhappy
since they'll be losing their hiding places.
    If only we could have stayed away one
more day. We could have returned, rested,
and enjoyed the fruits of their labor...without
the sound!
     Hope it's a quiet Sunday and that all of
your NEWS is good!


Friday, July 25, 2014

What A Blast !


   All of you regular readers have spent
the fast week with my family and me in
Wildwood, New Jersey!
   I hope you got some sense as to just how
great a week it was!
   The weather was great! One day started
out dark and threatening and, by mid
afternoon, turned into another sunny and
enjoyable day!
   So, how do you finish a week like that?
   In our case we started with Sticky Buns!
My son-in-law sought them out (he's become
very good at that) and surprise everyone
with two boxes for breakfast! Given the
size of our crew the buns, as cut, would not
have divided evenly. In order to avoid any
conflict I sacrificed myself and ate two.
    Next we paid our last visit to the
Atlantic for the season (At least on this
side. We're due in Ireland in August).
     While no icebergs were seen our
initial im
mersion suggested there are
still some out there somewhere!
      After just a few minutes we became
used to the water temperature and
enjoyed some time in the water. You
don't really "swim" in the ocean. You
just take on the waves and hope to stay
on top of them.
     We did get some actual swimming in
too. But that was done in the pool at our
apartment complex. It's a small pool. But
when the others tenants saw our group
come they gradually got out and went
away. Sometimes its good to have loud
kids around!
     Some of us took a final walk along
the Boardwalk where the kids bought
some shirts. They tell me they negotiated
and got "bargain" prices. I hope they're
      My main purpose, other than bidding
farewell to the two and a half mile stretch
of T Shirt outlets, ice cream stands,
amusement rides, and games of chance
(little chance at hat), was to indulge in
a container of Curley Fries! Maybe it's
the Boardwalk, or the salt air, but no other
French fries can satisfy me quite as much
as these over priced fried potatoes!
     The week, enjoyed by our whole
family, really was a blast. And so, to
cap it off we stayed in town long enough to
see the Friday night Fireworks show!
      Hope you've enjoyed the week with
us, through the Blog, and that all your
NEWS is good!



All Before Sun Down!

  We had a busy day on vacation yesterday
and ended it with our annual trip to Sunset
Beach just off Cape May.
   The folks there have a moving ceremony
at day's end. They lower a U.S. Flag as the
National Anthem and Taps are played, then
present it to the family members of a service
man or woman in honor of the service.
   It's worth the trip.
   But it's not the only reason to some to
Sunset Beach.
   I enjoy viewing the remains of a concrete
ship that got loose in a storm many years
ago and beached itself here. It doesn't look
like a ship anymore. Time and tides have
taken their toll.
    But it's kind of neat to see the wreckage.
    Think of it! A ship made out of cement!
It's the kind of idea I would have come up
with! They actually floated! But they
couldn't outrun a snail, much less a torpedo!
     We had a brief run in with JAWS while
we were there! A man fishing in the surf
just out a bit from where kids (including my
grandson) stick their feet in the water, pulled
in a shark!
      Well, it wasn't exactly JAWS. But it was
a shark! A Sand shark. Nobody called for a
"bigger boat" this time and a little kid tossed
it back into the waves. I'm just hoping the
fisherman took a moment to tell the kid those
tiny teeth are just a sharp as the ones in the
"big guy" in the movie!
      Sunset Beach is also know by some people
as "Diamond Beach." The stones, rather than
sand, that make up the shore line here are round
and smooth from the constant massage they get
in the rolling surf! And some take the form of
tiny diamonds which are treasured by many
visitors. I find it handy to keep my sneakers
on so the rocks don't hurt my feet!
     Of course the biggest treasure here is the
Sun set itself! The beach faces due west and
the view is fantastic. Sort of the day's last
chance at a good sun burn!
     Hope you've got a good spot like that and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

La Famiglia

   You can't use a GPS to find the
coordinates for heaven. But, last night,
we found a little bit of heaven right
here in Wildwood!
    Our family trips, and I stress the
word family, began here in the 1940's.
    Back then it was my Dad, my Mom,
my brother and I.
    When my brother went away to
college I was allowed to bring a friend.
So the "family group" remained at 4.
     My wife and I joined my Mom and
Dad in Wildwood after our first daughter
was born. We were up to five!
     After my Mom passed away we
wanted to give my Dad something to
look forward to and suggested renewing
our family trips to the shore. My brother
and his family joined me and mine and,
within a few years, "the family vacation"
had grown to include at least a dozen
people if you include a sister-in-law,,
nieces or a friend here or there.
     Time and busy schedules changed
all that although I, and my growing
family, kept coming year after year.
      This year one of my brother's
daughters and her family happen to
scheduled their Wildwood visit the
same week as me.
       Last night all the gang got together
and it was like old times!!
       We gave the Pizza guy the biggest
order he's had in a while and enjoyed
each other's company and family
       The kids got to renew relationships
with cousins they see all too infrequently.
And my son got to entertain the young
ones my lifting them into the air with
his hands. He declined, however, to try
the feet with me. I can only assume he
had counted the number of pizza slices
I had consumed.
      The conversation and laughter
probably echoed through the neighborhood
not to mention our building. We did become
slightly concerned it would wake our
youngest family member (soon to be 4).
      But when we found her asleep under
a table in the middle of the commotion we
realized there was no need for alarm.
     A GPS will not guide you to heaven.
     But all of us are convinced my late
Dad , Mom, and Brother were in our
midst as we celebrated life, tradition, and
"La Famiglia"(the family).
     Hope you're making memories with
yours so that all of your NEWS will be

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Listen My Children and You Shall Hear!

   There are a million sounds to be heard
along the visit the famous Boardwalk in
North Wildwood and Wildwood, New Jersey.
   You may or may not pay attention to
the vendors trying to lure you to their
water gun games or dinner specials.
   You will almost certainly be annoyed
by the constant repetition of the Mister
Softy jingle.  But only as you pass the
two stands located on the Boardwalk.
   But you can bet your lucky dollar
you will hear Floss Stingel when her
voice calls out to you!
   Who is Floss Stingel you may ask?
   Well, she's the local resident who
recorded the line "Watch The Tram Car
Please!" It's been replayed thousands of
times each day since 1971!
     I don't know what they did without
her? The Tram Cars have been driving
the Boardwalk and dodging preoccupied
tourists since 1949!
    You wouldn't want to get bumped by
this yellow and blue beauty! The
trackless train runs on 36 volt DC battery
that weighs 2,000 pounds!
    It hasn't changed much through the
years. Although the original price of a
dime a ride has crawled up to three bucks
these days.
    I was actually thinking of home when
I rode it this week. I heard the attendant
push a buzzer every time a passenger
got on board and, sure enough, there was
one passenger for each buzz! No "Ghost
riders" here at the shore!
     Hope you get to take a ride, know when
to step aside, and that all of your NEWS is




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Golden Oldies!

   Cleveland Ohio hosts the Rock & Roll
Hall of Fame. There are a lot of reasons
why I believe it should be located here in
Wildwood, New Jersey!
    This popular resort has all the history
to qualify for the honor.
    Unfortunately, most people probably
don't even realize its here!
     Pacific Avenue is just two blocks away
from the Boardwalk and beach. But while
some people drive on it, very few people
walk along this musically historical
street these days. Many of the old
nightclubs that featured live artists "back
in the day" are gone now. But the street
should be a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame!
     There's a plaque on the side of one
building marking the place where Chubby
Checker first did "The Twist!
     The Wildwoods (North Wildwood,
Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest) try to
capitalize on their ties to the 50's. But
my walk along Pacific Avenue yesterday
had me humming "The Day The Music Died!"
     If you look at the sidewalk, instead of
the empty store fronts, you'll see a string
of blocks dedicated to various stars from
the heart of the rock era.
     Dion, The Beach Boys, The Grass Roots,
The Duprees, The Crystals, and each of
"The Monkeys" just to name a few!
     It's like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
     But it looks like somebody forgot it's
     If they can't revitalize the street they
should consider moving the tribute blocks
to the Boardwalk and, perhaps, add some
informational plaques here and there as
     The music's till playing from several
Oldie stations in the area. And the people,
a lot of them anyway (me included) are
still tuning in. Heck, I played these oldies
when they were new!
     "Wild, Wild, Wildwood Days" is heard
more here than the National Anthem!
     Hope they find a way to show off their
history and hope all of your NEWS is good.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sea Sights and Scents!

       MONDAY, JULY 21ST
  I headed out for my usual two mile
constitutional yesterday morning. But
this time my walk took me to the famous
Wildwood Boardwalk!
  For those who have never experienced
this two and a half mile wooden wonder
it's a lot like a giant Bloomsburg Fair
that runs all summer long!
  I was greeted with the strong scent of'
salt in the air, magnified by the 20 plus
mile per hour breeze roaring in from
the northwest. The Atlantic, of course,
furnished the salt air.
   But as I neared the long string of
shops that make of the western side of
the Boardwalk the salt aroma was
overtaken by the scent of fresh fried
   You see, in the morning, the
Boardwalk is filled with people
walking, jogging, riding bicycles
(of every unique description) or
otherwise using the attraction for
exercise. That, of course, makes them
prime targets for the restaurants which
cook up breakfast "specials" to cash in
on the crowds!
    And if breakfast isn't your thing, no
need to worry! There's more pizza
places on the Boardwalk than bars
in your town. And there's as many
Fudge shops as pizza places!
    I allowed the strong wind to blow
me away from the temptations and
back to our apartment.
    Of course that was yesterday and,
as the song title reminds us , "Yesterdays
    Hope I can hold out today, and that
all your NEWS is good!

Getting Up In The World!

   Our family is on vacation!
   For more years than anybody can
remember the DeCosmo's extended
clan have come to Wildwood, New
Jersey for a week in he Summer.
    I don't want to sat how long I've
come here. But my first "remembered"
visit coincided with some ceremonies
aboard the USS Missouri!
    The specific locations have varied
from year to year, especially as the
size of our group has grown.
     This year features a brand new
condo complex.
      I was so anxious to see it I got
up at 4am and was in the car before
5:30 to beat all that Philadelphia
      Unfortunately we couldn't get
in the place till 2pm so, rather than
sitting in traffic on the Schuylkill
Expressway, we sat in front of the
new place for several hours waiting
for "Check In" time.
      The place is beautiful. is on the third floor!
      That requires hauling a weeks
supply a
long flight of steps.
       The task was made a little
easier by virtue of an elevator
that goes from the garage to our
       Of course it's not the kind of
elevator you would find in the
Hilton. One person and a good load
of bags fill it pretty quickly. And
one would have to admit you can
probably climb that steep flight of
stairs faster than you can go up in
the "lift."
       Still, we made good use of
the unit and I was happy to arrive
on our floor.
       I did a double take, however,
when I saw the spiral staircase climbing
up still higher in the unit. Another
flight, without any assistance would
be, to me, like climbing Everest.
       Fortunately I was informed that
a couple other family members would
be stationed at the summit.
       I understand it leads to a beautiful
room. Hopefully someone will bring
me a photo so I can see it!
      Hope it's all downhill from here
and that all your NEWS is good.