Saturday, August 23, 2014
As promised, or threatened depending on how you look
at it, I am taking my daily Blog on vacation!
Writing each and every day is a challenge I accepted
when I began sharing silly and serious things in my life
with you in April of 2011.
Over the next two weeks, however, web service is
expected to be spotty and my wife and I have some
responsibilities that will cut into our available time.
Now if you absolutely can't live without your
daily dose of "Double Dee" may I respectfully
suggest that you begin to scroll down the page after
reading this "Gone Fishing" notice. You'll go back
to the last blog, then the blog before that and so on.
Near as I can tell there are some 1200 waiting for
your review! You'll be able to tell exactly what
I was thinking, or not thinking, during most any
given day during the past three plus years! An aspirin
or stiff drink may be needed if you plan extensive
As General MacArthur promised, "I Shall Return."
Or, in the words of the Terminator, "I'll be back!"
See you on or about September 6th and, till then,
hope all your NEWS is good!
I found myself shopping for a wrist watch
yesterday. But I wondered which wrist watch!
And how did I come to want a wrist watch,
whichever wrist watch I'd choose?
One of the first benefits I noticed when I
"retired" was the lack of the need to know
exactly what time it was all the time. It was
especially true in my case since I spent most
of my working life fighting the clock and
Like many others who stepped out of their
9 to 5 incarceration to freedom, my wrist watch
was one of the first things to go!
Of course there were still times when I had
to know the time. When we hosted a trip to
Switzerland, for instance, I actually wore two
wrist watches. One was set to Swiss time, the
other to the time back home.
In recent years if I had to check the time I
usually did so by getting out and opening up my
But Cell service won't be an option on my
next venture. And the two wrist watches I
retired..when I retired have both apparently
run out of time! Their faces are blank!
I suppose new batteries could bring them
back to life. But even if they did it could be
weeks before I remembered how to set them!
Thus is was I went to Walmart looking for a
wristwatch. But which wrist watch to wear?
My grandson suggested some colorful
models and quickly vetoed one I pointed out
with a pink strap. But colors weren't the
There were all sorts of sizes. There was
a decision to be made as to whether I wanted
a traditional clock face or a digital display.
After ruling out an array of watches
designed to measure one's running speed or
offering options such as pulse or heart beats
per minute, I settled on one with a large
digital read out and a small light which will
allow me to figure out what hour it is when
I'm wondering why I'm still awake.
Hope I haven't taken up too much of your
time and that all your NEWS is good!
Friday, August 22, 2014
According to the Urban Dictionary the phrase
"Painting the town red" relates to going to various
different parties in different parts of town.
Basically to party all night long!
That's why folks in Pittston bought out
Sherwin Williams! They are set to party!!!!!!!
It's time for the annual Pittston Tomato
Festival and "painting the town red" began with
the Main Street!
A long red line has replaced the traditional
white one that separates the street's two lanes.
The city's green trash cans now boast the image
of a bright red tomato. An entire wall of one
building has been turned into a giant tomato
City officials tell me the acidic soil linked to
the coal mining industry is also perfect for local
gardeners intent on growing the perfect tomato
plant. Their spirited competition for "the best"
tomatoes lead to the annual festival.
Of course not all tomatoes are perfect. Those
that are not may likely find themselves used in
the Festival's biggest attraction......the Tomato
Used as a fund raiser for area charities, people
from all walks of life hurl rotten tomatoes at one
another while onlookers cheer them on! I'd love
to participate some day......as a "Thrower"....not
a "receiver!" I like tomato sauce. But not on my
shirt! Besides, I usually get stains without anyone
throwing the fruit at me!
The 4 day festival draws tens on thousands of
people to the city which is currently involved in
a very impressive downtown renewal project.
Musical groups will be preforming throughout the
downtown while vendors peddle everything from
fresh tomatoes to ethnic foods.
You can tell it's a good festival if you put on
at least one pound after your visit! (Think I may
be stopping at too many festivals!)
If you're looking for all the activities just follow
the red line to the center of town. Pay attention
though if you happen to hear some one yell "Duck!"
Just in case there's a tomato heading your way!
Hope you get to check it out and that all your
NEWS is good.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
One of my grand daughters went back to school
yesterday. I'm wondering why?
I come from a different era. During all of my
years in the Public School system our summer
vacation ended after Labor Day!
Parents loved it. Especially those who incorporated
the Labor Day weekend as part of their vacation
plans. Business owners who employed high school
kids loved it because those kids stayed on staff
through Labor Day. And most kids loved it. I know
I did, because the longer the summer the better!
Some say an early start gives the schools a
better chance to meet the State requirement which
calls for 180 days of education. "Snow Days", they
say, makes it hard to meet that requirement.
Of course State Officials came up with that 180
day rule. And we all know how well State Officials
do on most of their decisions!
Ever visit a school during it's last week in session?
I'm not sure how handing in books or watching a
movie qualifies as "education." But that's what
My buddy, who has a much better memory
than mine, tells me we only missed one "Snow
Day" during our years in school. And that was in
Hazleton where there was never any shortage of
In point of fact more districts cancel school
because of cold temperatures rather than depth of
snowfall. Alaska doesn't cancel school for either!
As more and more people have and use the
Web you've got to wonder if you couldn't
conduct some classes "on line" during those few
days when travel to and from school could be an
Most schools in my area are still on vacation
although kids involved with special programs like
sports or bands have been practicing for a few
weeks already. And most will be back in the
classroom by August 25th.
But some will begin with half day sessions
then promptly get a day off....for Labor Day!
Guess I'm still just a kid at heart! Give me
those few extra days to enjoy what's left of
Hope your bell rings after the holiday and
that all your NEWS is good.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Today is "National Radio Day" and ever since I
can remember I was dazzled by the radio!
When I was a kid radio was the main form of
home entertainment. TV's in every home were
still a couple years off.
But radio was providing many of the shows
that would eventually find their way onto the
Dragnet, The Life of Riley, and even some of
the quiz shows got their start on radio. Other
programs like "Lights Out" and 'Suspense" were
really scary on radio. The actors provided the
dialog while the music, usually offered on an
organ, set the scene. But your imagination did
I was fascinated when I heard the local
announcers and DJ's, realizing their voices
belonged to people right in my own home
town. I wanted to join them!
One of my Facebook friends, and a fellow
High School graduate, pulled my photo and
write up out of our Year Book the other day
and posted it for all to see. The last line said
it all..."Plans to become a Radio announcer."
I started my quest by hanging out at the
local station and eventually was hired, as a
part time Errand Boy. The only time I ever
got on the air was during the company's
Christmas party when I was left behind to
run the control board and got to give the
station identification every hour.
A year or so later I moved on to a new
local station where I was hired as the
janitor. My wife still finds that hard to
believe. And try to get a kid to start that
The station operated from dawn to
dusk. So, after the place was cleaned and
everybody else when home I stayed and
learned how to work the control board.
Then, somebody got sick. I was the
only other person who knew how the
controls worked. That lead to my first
full time slot as a DJ!
There were a number of stations and
eventually a position as a newsman. That
led me to television. Even "retirement" didn't
get me off the air as I now volunteer with
Electric City Television, a Public Access
station based in Scranton.
I don't get paid these days. But I never got
paid very much anyway.
But there are times, like on this Radio Day,
when I think back to my personal "good old
days" when the biggest concern was
deciding which record to play next and
making sure you didn't miss any of the
Hope you'll tune in somebody for a little
while today and that all your NEWS is good!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
My morning walks often take me along
Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston. It's
a tranquil area with beautiful homes and,
from what I can tell during my brief
encounters, some very nice people.
They've got a great view of the
Susquehanna River! But every so often
it's far too good a view!
That was the case in 2011 when the
river spilled out of its banks and into
many homes on Susquehanna Avenue
and elsewhere in the Borough.
There is no levy system in West
Pittston and there's an old story which
suggests that many people would rather
have the view than protection against
flooding. I don't know whether that's
true or not. But I do know that there's
always a chance the river will flood
One local family has come up
with a way to keep its view without
the constant worry about high water.
It's raising its house!
I first saw the steel beams in front
of the house a few weeks ago. What I
didn't know, then, was the plan to slip
those beams under the house, then jack
them up, thus lifting the home high into
Of course there's no way to tell high
the water will get should there ever
be another flood. But if this place takes
water we may all be in trouble!
Looks to me like the only better
protection would be an Ark!
Of course the garage is still at ground
level so driving away could be a problem.
Then there's that first step out of the
house! Right now it's a whopper!
Hope there will soon be a staircase,
and that all your NEWS is good!
Monday, August 18, 2014
One of our grand daughters celebrated her
Birthday yesterday with a very special
She, like many other pre teen princesses
these days, has been captivated by the
Disney movie "Frozen" and its principal
character "Princess Elsa."
Mom and Dad turned the garage into a
set from the movie, complete with a cake
and favors while our newest addition to the
rank of 4-year-olds dressed in her Elsa gown
and greeted her "subjects', a crowd made up
of family and friends.
There was fun and food for all. Even a
"Bounce House" and slide for the kids to
But if this little Princess was keeping a
diary there no little doubt in my mind the
highlight of the day was the arrival of ELSA
You don't often find a Disney character
visiting your birthday party! But there she
was. Reading to the children. Playing games
with them, Even singing songs!
The kids, especially the Birthday girl, were
To her credit, Elsa spent all of her time
with the youngsters. She even signed
autographs before she left.
Since I've done a couple very small parts
in movies I thought I might meet with her for
a few minutes to see if I was needed for any
sequel that might be done.
Unfortunately I just got the "cold shoulder."
That's OK... Cold never bothered me anyway!
Hope you had a great day too and that all
your NEWS is good!
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Mention "the Rock" and Alcatraz comes to
most people's minds.
But there's another "Rock" that has its own
interesting story and we swung by to see it
It's actually one of the islands in the
"Thousand Island" region on the Saint
Lawrence Seaway. It's know as "Devil's
It's getting a lot of attention this weekend
as area residents and visitors celebrate
"Pirate Week." That's because of Bill Johnson!
Bill Johnston was a renegade after the Patriots
War, who blew up the British steamer, Sir Robert
Peel and, according to local legend, hid in a cave
at the base of the island while authorities from
America and Canada searched for him. It's said
his daughter rowed to the small cavern with the
supplies he needed to survive.
True or not boaters like my friends and I
like to check out the island which is just a short
distance off the town of Alexandria Bay.
On a previous visit a few years back my
buddy joined the elite group of sailors who
climbed out of their vessel and onto the top of
Bill Johnson wouldn't be able to hid out
there these days. Authorities have come up
with an idea that might have stopped him.
It stopped us!
It's called a "No Trespassing Sign!"
Guess they didn't have those back in 1838! .
I keep wondering though....did Johnson
leave any treasure inside the cave. And, is
"No Trespassing" the same as "Keep Out?"
Hope no one beats me to it.....and that all
your NEWS is good!
Saturday, August 16, 2014
They say "You've got to have heart."
George Boldt had heart. He had so much
love for his wife Louise he decided to
build her a castle!
He bought an island in the Saint
Lawrence Seaway. He renamed it Heart
Island. He had it shaped like a heart and
commissioned workers to build a castle
surrounded by gardens filled with flowers
set out in heart shaped patterns.
My wife and our friends set out to see
the castle yesterday....and that took heart!
For some strange reason "Mother Nature"
got its calendar goofed up and turned
August 15th into a Fall-like day, covered
with dark cloudy, and threatening skies!
She added some brisk and cold winds.
And that's what we faced as we made
the 17 mile journey from Clayton, New
York to Alexandria Bay.
You see we made it by boat!
Think of the Saint Lawrence Seaway as
an Interstate highway on water! Waves
caused by the stiff wind and wakes from
other vessels reminded us of home and
Pennsylvania's pot hole filled roadways.
Of course there are no Tractor Trailers
on the Seaway. What you do see, often
coming your way, are Ocean going
Freighters that usually range between 6
and 800 feet long and carry 10 and 40,000
tons of cargo.....and they don't have brakes!
We managed to avoid any collisions and
made our way to Heart Island.
It was worth the voyage!
Work on the castle was halted before
it could be completed when George's
beloved Louise died unexpectedly. It had
fallen into disrepair, becoming a victim of
weather and vandals when The Thousand
Island Bridge Authority assumed ownership
and began a restoration project.
Thanks to those efforts the castle is
gradually being returned to the state it was
in when the construction was stopped.
Many of those heart shaped flower beds
now greet visitors from the U.S. and Canada
who come to see the tribute a loving man
was building for his wife.
We found our visit worth braving wind,
waves,and even a freighter here or there!
Now if we only find where he left our "Land
Hope you've just half the heart George
did and that all your NEWS is good!
Friday, August 15, 2014
It happened yesterday afternoon. Eight of us had
just completed a boat tour of the Thousand Island
Region when we came under attack! By Pirates!!!!!!!!
My thoughts immediately turned to Captain
Phillips. Might I be held hostage by these
Buccaneers? Would I end up walking the plank?
My timbers were shivered!
They were, that is, until the truth be told!
It was the beginning of Pirate Weekend!
And its got nothing to do with Pittsburg. Boating is
big around these parts and Boating and pirates seem
to go hand in hand.
The stores are filled with Pirate themed shirts,
hats, eye patches, and just about every other kind of
novelty to lure the suckers....I mean tourists into their
Some people dress the part. And while you expect
to find some children looking like Captain Kidd we
were all a bit surprised to see members of one
family approaching us looking like they had just
stepped out of "Pirates of the Caribbean."
I thought for a second this crew could be the
real thing! Then I learned their female leader was
from Allentown while the third mate was headed
for Penn State!
We became fast friends and quickly earned
a few pieces of silver and gems for ourselves. I'm
not sure from whence they were plundered. But
nobody turns down a gift from someone who
looks like Jack Sparrow and carries a sword and
Our enthusiasm lead us to venture out into
the Seaway that evening on our own craft.....
looking to capture a prize. We'd have done it
too were in not for that small craft marked
United States Coast Guard that pulled us
over on that dark moonless night.
"Turn your headlights off until you're
in the dock area" they suggested.
Our Captain complied while the rest of
us hid our wine glasses and lowered the
Hope the wind's at your back and that
all your News is good....me hearties!
Thursday, August 14, 2014
We needed another get away fix! It's been
about three weeks since we invaded the beaches
of New Jersey. So we headed for the Thousand
Island area of New York!
The Empire State has a lot to offer, including
a crack down on Cell phone use behind the wheel!
While some communities debate a possible
ban on cell phone use by drivers New York State
Troopers have been enforcing a law that's been
in place for many years already.
You still see a motorist on the phone from
time to time. But that's you. If a trooper spots a
violator you can be sure a ticket and fine is on
Now New York has gone a step further!
Realizing that the biggest problem, and danger,
has become texting it has turned its Rest Stops into
Signs have been erected along the interstate
alerting drivers that Texting can wait and that the
next Text Stop is just so many miles ahead.
The Text Stop designation now actually
is placed above the Rest Stop sign at all of the
pullovers. And some of those stops also offer
It may not stop everybody. But if it stops
just one...who happens to be just in front, to the
side of, or behind me, I'm good with that!
Hope you'll wait till you visit one to Text
and that all your NEWS is good.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I spent many, many hours in the YMCA
when I was growing up in my hometown
I would swim there, bowl there, play
ping pong and pool. I was President of
the Model Railroad Club, the Rifle Club
(We used BB guns), and even served as
Chaplin of the High Y Club.
In later years, however, my YMCA
exercise was limited to the arm gestures
I preformed when they played that song
by the Village People!
Then came yesterday.
More than a month ago my wife and I
learned that our health insurance
endorsed the Silver Sneaker program
which provides memberships in places
like the YMCA to encourage your use
of their health and exercise programs.
When I realized yesterday's heavy
rain would prevent my daily morning
walk I decided to check out the Y in
I was truly amazed! Among other
things the Y offers a fully equipped
exercise workout room with more
equipment than I knew existed.
Since I'm basically a walker these
days my equipment of choice was the
I was just a bit taken aback when I
climbed aboard the unit and found
myself staring at a control panel that
looked, at first, like the instrument
panel in a jet plane!
It turned out to be a lot simpler
than that. You could adjust your time,
your speed, your distance and, all the
while, check on your progress and your
Of course it's a little different that
your morning constitutional. Pause to
say Hi to someone and you suddenly
notice your "sidewalk" is still moving!
I felt just a little conspicuous as most
of the older folks nearby seemed to be
moving a lot faster than I. But I
gradually increased my rate as I got used
to the machine.
All in all a good workout. And the
price was right!
Heck, after a few more visits I should
be able to do those Y M C A arm gestures
while I cruising along on the Treadmill!
Hope you're singing along and that
all your NEWS is good!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Anybody remember Paul Peterson? He was on
the Mickey Mouse Club and gained a lot of fame
for his roll as Jeff Stone on the Donna Reed Show.
But he also did some singing and that's probably
why he was on my mind over the past two days.
One of his hit songs was introduced on the TV
show. It was called "She Can't Find Her Keys." It
was a catchy tune about a girl who found everything
from lipstick to the kitchen sink in her purse, but
couldn't find her keys!
I don't even have a purse! But I found myself in
the same situation on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier that day I had moved two of our cars
to make room for my daughter to park. I remember,
or thought I remembered, bringing all of my keys
in the house and tossing them onto the kitchen
table. But, on Sunday evening, the keys for our
small sedan were no where to be found!
My wife initiated a search of the pockets on
my Bermuda shorts which have carrying space
equal to that of many women's purses. But, alas,
Our travels that day had taken us to Lake
Wallenaupack and my friend's boat which is
docked at a local Marina.
My buddy checked the boat and a call to the
Marina failed to produce any sign of the keys.
Have you ever lost something knowing, in
the back of your mind, that it's not really "lost"
but, rather, just misplaced? I had that feeling.
I knew the key wasn't in the car it
operated and my wife, usually as keen as a
Blood Hound in these cases, hadn't found it
in the car we drove that day or anywhere in the
house where I usually lose items.
She did find my grandson's I-Pod, an old
lottery ticket, and a catalog for Diamond rings
(Obviously left behind by the car's previous
That left my little Miata, the other car I
had moved. Even though we had been in it most
of Sunday I decided to take one more look.
And there it was, neatly tucked behind the
driver's seat, the center console and a water bottle!
Who would have believed the misplacement
of a key would have lead to such a religious exercise?"
"Seek and ye shall find!"
Hope there's no sink in your purse and that
all your NEWS is good!
Monday, August 11, 2014
My son was in position to acquire a leather
couch, a new dishwasher, and a new oven
yesterday. All he had to do was pick them up
and bring them home.
So, armed with a tool chest, a borrowed
SUV, a brother-in-law, and nephew, he set
out to gather the loot.
They tackled the sofa first. They were like
three Linemen going after the Quarterback.
Then they found out the Quarterback was the
Their first attempts to get it into his
basement could be compared with trying
to get an Elephant into a telephone booth!
In fact the sofa would never have seen the
basement if my son hadn't decided to
disassemble the unit, take it downstairs
piece by piece, then rebuild it!
Their next target was the oven.
No size problems here. They could
certainly get in on the hand truck and lift
it into their waiting vehicle. IF, that is, they
had the proper wrench to disconnect the gas
Since it was left at the other house I
suggested they take the dish washer out first
while I went back for the wrench.
When I stopped in to pick it up I was
informed the boys would also need a mop,
a bucket, and some rags. All signs that had
removed the dish washer!
With wrench, mop, bucket, and rags in
hand I headed back to the project area where
I found the washer gone and a small lake on
Seems the water line connection was
hand connected rather than screwed in place.
After cleaning the floor, a bonus for the
house, my son and son-in-law removed the
oven and carted them away.
Next job, of course, will be reinstalling
the appliances in their new home. I hope I'm
around to watch! I'm always looking for new
material for my Blog!
Hope my son is resting on hi sofa and that
all your NEWS is good!