Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tora, Tora, Tora!

    I still find it difficult to believe! I heard
my wife, who does not use a computer,
who almost never turns her cell phone on,
speaking in code yesterday.
    Being a trained observer I knew, deep
down, what was in the works.
    She was planning an attack!
    She tipped her hand when I heard her
use the code LAX on the telephone with
whoever was on the other end.
     I will admit that KOA threw me for
just a second. I thought that was a
chain of campgrounds!
    But when the code AVP was added to
the mix I knew the attack plan was
beginning to take shape. And I knew
it would be by air!
     AVP is the airport code for Wilkes-
Barre/Scranton. LAX is Los Angeles.
     Combining those codes the target
became clear. It is her brother!
      My wife has three brothers.
      But only one lives in Hawaii!
      KOA is the airport code for Kona.
And Kona, like that brother, is in Hawaii!
      Our attack will be launched in a
couple months!
      In this case we are likely to be the
ones surprised. Her brother is always
doing something surprising! I'm going
along anyway!
      Hope I've got one of those flowered
shirts somewhere in the back of my
closet.....and that all your NEWS is good.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Look Who's On TV!

   My wife, two good friends, and I were
on TV yesterday.
   That's nothing new for me. After 29
years with WDAU/WYOU I'm still
doing programs on Electric City TV,
The Public Access station carried on
the Comcast cable system.
    But my wife and friends don't do those
shows with me so this was their big
     Channel 22 reaches viewers
throughout northeastern and central
Pennsylvania. ECTV is offered to
80,000 cable subscribers in Scranton
and communities in Wyoming Valley.
     Our audience for yesterday's show
was, admittedly, a little smaller. As
far as we know there were only 2
     We were returning from an
afternoon luncheon when the TV
opportunity came to mind.
     Two of our good friends leave
town for a couple months each winter
to escape the snow. But their house is
equipped with a sophisticated security
system that includes cameras which
can be monitored from their laptop
or cellphones wherever they happen
to be!
     We decided to test it!
     Who could pass up a chance to be
on TV?
     We drove to their home, got outside
and looked up, straight into the lens of
one of their cameras. My buddy
waived. Our wives did a quick
Rockettes routine and I just stood there
trying to look innocent.
    Sure enough, our friends were
watching our "act" from their winter
retreat. I'm told we were in living color!
They were even able to tape us so they
can replay the segment on one of those
cold chilly nights when they're.....oh...
wait a minute......they're in Florida.
     Had we been burglars we would have
had additional pictures taken pretty
quickly. Each with a number held just
below our chins!
     Hope they erase the tape...and that
all your NEWS is good.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Called On The Carpet!!!!

       I got called on the carpet last night!
       It's OK. It was a Red carpet and a
great event!
       A couple months ago a few of you
Blog readers were kind enough to enter
my name in a newspaper contest. The
publication, Diamond City, was looking
for the "Best Of 2014" in all sorts of
categories. Electric City, Diamond
City's sister entertainment publication
in Scranton, was doing the same thing.
      Under the category "Best Local
Blogger" I won the Diamond City
      I didn't even know there was a
contest! When the call came from the
paper I thought they wanted to sell me
a subscription!
      I assumed it was a mistake.
But the newspaper guy assured me it was
     I don't know whether I only got one
vote and there were no other entries,
or whether all of my regular readers (both
of you) voted several times. Either way I
am grateful to you and Diamond City for
the honor.
    Last night all of the winners gathered
at Breakers at Mohegan Sun Casino. It
was like the Academy Awards  with
beer and pizza! There were a lot of
people in the crowd and many old
friends among them! I even had a
beer. That's the first one this year.
    It was especially neat to share the
honors with great folks like Frankie in
the Morning, Robert May, the film
maker who produced "Kids For Cash",
Paige Balitski for the Best Theater
Production, "A Behanding In Spokane.",
and Margo Azzarelli who won Best
Local Author. Those just to name a
    They can call me back on this carpet
     Hope you'll vote early and often later
this year....and that all your NEWS is

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Track!

   I've been working on the railroad! Well, I've
started working on the railroad.
   My collection of Lionel Trains and the
Plasticville buildings that go with them have
been stored away in a closet for the past 15
years or so.
    I used to keep them up year round in the
house where I was born. But after my Dad
passed away and we sold the house I lost
the only space I had to display them.
    My daughter recently moved into a new
home and has invited me to invade the
basement there to reestablish my personal
railroad empire. That will make me a
railroad magnate because my Lionels
have "Magnetration!"
    The project began yesterday. First my
wife dug out the boxes. Then we hauled
them to my daughters.
     The first items to be unwrapped were
the sections of track. The rails are a bit
weathered now, just as the real ones would
be after so many years.
      I've set up a few just to get an idea
where the line will run. But there's some
serious cleaning and, perhaps, a bit of
platform expansion needed before my
rolling stock is actually rolling again.
      An advertising tune from the past
is ringing through my head..."That's real
smoke a puffin, that's a whistle you hear.
I'm a Lionel (toot, toot) Engineer!
     In a couple weeks or so we should be
up and running. I suspect my grandson
and grand daughter will be at the controls
after they learn the ropes.
     It's likely I'll be back at the throttle too!
There's still a kid in me longing to ride
the rails.
    Hope I remember where all the wires
go...and that all your NEWS is good!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Three Quarter Time

   Who would have believe my daily
exercise would end up as a opera. And
not a three penny opera at that!
   I did a Blog about the parking meters
in Pittston a couple years ago. I loved
them! From a distance they looked like
your ordinary parking meters.
    But not up close!
    The meters I remember had no guts!
That this, there were no inner workings.
There was no need to put any money in
because you coin would just fall into an
empty space.
     Awhile back the city installed new
meters. Meters that actually worked.
     There's even an elaborate system that
allows you to buy meter time by cell
      Yesterday I braved the one inch
snow "storm" that hit our area and drove
to the Pittston YMCA for a brief workout.
      I parked in front and inserted a quarter
in my parking meter only to notice no time
registered on the dial.
      Not wanting to risk a ticket I moved
to another spot nearby and pulled out a
second quarter. Once again the meter
gave me no time for my coin.
      Unfortunately parking meters, unlike
vending machines, have no "Coin Return"
       Another spot opened up where someone
else had been parked when I arrived. I
moved in and checked the meter which did
have a reading. It read..."FAIL."
        Not wanting to take my opera to three
quarter time I simply parked the car and
went inside.
        I'm happy to report there was no ticket
on my car when came back outside!
        Hope the city can use the two quarters
I left behind and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Weather's For The Birds!

     I've been checking all the weather
forecasts are everyone agrees....there
will be more snow!
     Amounts depend on two things.
Where you live and who you believe!
I've heard everything from 1 to 2 inches
to 1 to two feet! That's a wide range!
     Forecasters differ on their estimates
because they differ on the sources of
their information.
     I think they rely on various models.
     I know one is a European model.
There's probably also a Hollywood
model and, of course, the Woolly
     Unfortunately it's just a bit too
soon to check with the Groundhog.
     Weather remains a mystery to me.
     I remember when I was growing up
I was told that birds fly south for the
     But, even with 4 or 5 inches of fresh
snow on my van, there was been a steady
flow of birds feeding on the bread set
out by my wife! Why haven't these birds
gone south?
     Have they adapted to our winter? Or
has their flight, like ours, just become too
expensive? Heck, they don't even have a
baggage charge!
     Well, whatever happens, we'll set out
more bread. And I'll bet the birds will
show up!
      Hope you survive the Blizzard, or
light coating, or whatever comes, and that
all your NEWS is good!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The State of My Union!

    I didn't watch the President's State of the
Union address last week.
    I haven't watched one of those for a few
years....even when I was a full time news
reporter. I never had to!
    By the time the President, any President,
was beginning his speech most everything
to be said was already previewed on every
network and major publication available.
    Then news analysts and spokespersons
for the opposing party, and every talk show
host and caller was either applauding or,
more likely, ripping apart everything that
was said.
   I always disliked the title too!
   When I was born there were 48  "States
of the Union."   I've heard they have
added two since then. But I'll only believe
it when I see them.
    My own State of the Union isn't too bad.
    My wife and I are coming up on 46 years
of marriage and are, for the most part,
enjoying everyday.
    Of course I don't hear too well and she
speaks very softly. But that can make for
a very agreeable conversation.
    Maybe the President and the Congress
should think about that!
     I hope those of you who did watch the
"State of the Union"speech enjoyed it.
    There was a time when you had no
choice but to watch it if your TV was
turned on.
     Fortunately the "State of the Union" in
the television industry is such that we've
got all kinds of other channels to watch!
     I picked the one showing that action
movie "Taken." 
    Of course I know what happens and
how it ends.
     But after seeing other"State of the
Union" addresses of the past......I
pretty much know what happens in
those and, generally, how they end.
     Hope your personal "State of the
Union" is OK and that all your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Be Prepared

  I never made it into Boy Scouts. But
I was a Cub Scout. And the motto is the
same! Be prepared.
  By the time some of you are reading
this snow will have enveloped our area.
The forecasters told us about it all day
   Today, I am prepared!
   I took a tip from other car owners in
my neighborhood and raised the
windshield wipers on my van. It will
make it much easier to clear away the
snow. Although I'm not planning any
trips. A cover has been draped over
the windshield of our other car to keep
the snow off.
    There's plenty of rock salt in a box
on the porch. I didn't like it on my
popcorn anyway!
     We also made the pre storm
obligatory trip to the market yesterday.
We're all expected to do this whether we
need anything or not. The TV stations
are counting on us so they can do
their traditional story on "Shoppers
stocking up."
     There's bread, eggs, and milk in
the refrigerator. And Oreos too!
 We've got enough food to keep us for
a week. Unless, of course, I've very
hungry. In that case it's about a 48
hour supply.
     So, let it snow! It's Saturday and
I told my wife where she can find the
snow shovels on the porch.
     (Just kidding on that one!)
     Hope the Oreos hold up and that
all your NEWS is good!   


Friday, January 23, 2015

The WRITE Stuff!

    Are you celebrating? After all, this is
"National Handwriting Day!"
    I would have sent you a formal notice
but, chances are, you wouldn't be able to
make out handwriting!
    Seems sort be
typing this blog to tell you about it. But
if you've ever seen my handwriting you
know it's better I use my keyboard!
    It's not just that others can't read my
writing. After a couple of hours, when
I begin to forget the original message,
I can't read it either!
    According to the website "Holiday
Insights", National Handwriting Day
was established in 1977 by the Writing
Instruments Manufactures Association.
    The idea was to promote the consumption
of pencils, pens, and writing paper.
    I've never eaten any of them!
    But I still use all of them!
    I think I try to write too fast when
I'm taking notes and, unless I print or type
the message over right away, I forget
what I've written!
     I've been making an effort to improve
my handwriting.
     But you try to be neat.....even with your
own signature.....when you're signing you
name on a Walmart check out screen!
     The "pencils" or whatever they call
those things don't have points. You see
your signature as you sign the screen.
    But you're lucky if two or three letters
are actually recognizable.
     Maybe it's because the little
signature screen is on an angle and
you're trying to keep one hand on your
cart while you're holding your credit
card and wallet in the same hand you're
using to sign.
      It doesn't seem to make much
difference. I suspect your card would be
approved even if you scribbled John Wilkes
    And you'd still get the bill!
    Hopefully you're signing for your
purchase of new socks or shoes because
January 23rd is also "Measure Your
Feet Day!"
     I'm also hoping this "holiday" survives!
     Some schools have stopped teaching
Cursive all together! I've got to wonder
how those students will react when they
see something like the Declaration
of Independence. Will they even be able
to sign their own name? Or will the old
fashion "X" come back into style?
     I believe we should all be trying to
encourage the continued teaching of
Cursive and trying to improve our own
    Hope you're doing just that and that

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Joining The Party!

    I just started out for my regular morning
walk yesterday. Nothing special in mind.
    All of a sudden there I was in the midst
of a big party! Since I hadn't actually been
invited I just thought I'd take in all the
festivities and take a photo or two.
    Initially I wondered what the celebration
was all about. I got the answer when I
returned home and checked by "Bizarre
Holiday File."
    Turns out yesterday was "Squirrel
Appreciation Day!" Most of you probably
knew that already.
    We're reminded to enjoy these nut-burying,
scampering animals respectfully and with
     I usually see a few on my morning walk.
But yesterday they really seemed to be out
in force and celebrating! Several were
jumping from tree to tree as if playing tag
with one another.
     Had I known in advance I would have
brought some peanuts to the party!
     Hope you're not Squirrelly and that all
your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hazleton "Sniper."

    I went to see the movie American
Sniper yesterday. It's a tough, true
story about war and its effects in and
away from combat!
    But it also brought back some
memories of the days when I was a
crack shot!
     In my case the weapon of choice
was an Air Rifle. OK. BB gun if you
want to get technical.
     Let me head off the obvious snide
comments! It was not an official Red
Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot
range model with a compass in the
    And I never came close to shooting
my eye out! Quite the contrary! I think
Chris Kyle would have been proud of
    I was about 15 when I was elected
President of the Air Rifle Club at the
Hazleton YMCA. I don't even remember
joining the NRA. But last night I found
the patch along with a mess of articles
about the success of our Rifle team.
    I even found one of my old targets
with a couple well placed holes right
in the Bulls eye area!
    I think the confidence I got helped
me as a newsman when I found myself
taking aim at crooked politicians and
    These days I pretty much just aim
a camera at my grand kids and shoot
all I can! Hope I'm still on target and
that all of your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Holiday On Ice!

   Yesterday was a holiday. I spent it,
well some of it, on ice!
    I often walk in Pittston and West
Pittston. One of my regular routes
takes me over the Fort Jenkins Bridge.
That's the big stone span linking the
two communities.
    Forecasters were warning drivers
about the danger of "Black Ice." But
PennDot, or whoever cares for the
bridge, must have had the salt trucks
out early because the road surface was
perfectly clear.
    Somebody, however, must have
forgotten to tell those caretakers that
vehicles aren't the only things that
cross the Susquehanna on that bridge!
    There's a walkway on the south
side of the span.
    Yesterday it could have been used
by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Penguins for ice hockey practice!
The sheet of ice on that walkway was
up to an inch thick in some spots.
     And the field of ice reached all the
way across!
      With one hand on my walking
stick and the other on a short concrete
wall I managed to slid across. Another
set of footprints atop the glaze suggested
that some other brave soul had survived
the trip as well.
     I didn't spot any bodies on the river
ice below so it appeared the crossing
had not yet proved fatal to anyone.
     Still, I'm tempted to describe it as a
lawsuit waiting to happen. Too bad
Attorney Cefalo's office is closer
to the other bridge. He could have had
claim forms waiting for walkers!
      Hope PennDot gets some Quick Joe
and that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Pop Quiz!

  A lot of schools and businesses are closed
today! It's a holiday! What holiday? I'm glad
you asked!
   This is National Popcorn Day!
   I know. Many of you have the day off to
celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday.
But Dr. King was born on January 15th.,
1929! The Fed's changed it to the third
Monday in January. So, this year, it falls
on National Popcorn Day.
    Popcorn is probably my favorite snack!
    I keep a supply of microwave popcorn
on hand at home. And there's no way I can
sit down in a movie theater without a bag
of fresh popped popcorn to help me through
the previews of coming attractions!
     Of course these days there's so many
previews my popcorn is usually gone well
before thefeature begins.
     The theaters have also successfully
tempted me with a reusable bucket that
allows me to save more than a buck each
time I get it filled.
     Dr, King used to campaign to try to
bring people together. I can't think of a
better way to do that than to get together
for a movie and share some popcorn! I
think he'd like National Popcorn Day!
    Hope you'll have a bowl to celebrate
and that all your NEWS is good!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

If The Shoe Fits......

   I got swept up in a Fairy Tale last night!
   I've heard or seen the story of Cinderella
a hundred times over the years. But, last
night, I had to go to the ball once again.
   The students at Wilkes-Barre Academy
are well know for their success in the
preforming arts. Each year they work on
a series of plays which are offered to the
public free of charge at College Misercordia.
     This year students in the 7th and 8th
grades offered their version of Cinderella.
      Without the benefits of animation or
Hollywood special effects they transformed
the stage into the Kingdom where the
Prince was seeking a bride and Cinderella's
wicked step mother was determined to have
one of her two daughters win his hand!
      There's a lot of great magic in this story!
      I admit I'm bias on this one because part
of the magic was delivered by my grand daughter
who played Cinderella's Fairy God Mother!
      I've watched this young lady and her
classmates in every play they've been in for
the past 8 or so years. And I've yet to see
them in color!
      You see, every year I video tape the plays
so the family can enjoy them for years to come.
But the viewfinder on my camcorder (I don't
have a Smartphone) is black and white!
      Most people sit back and take in the acting,
singing, and dancing in live 3D. I am glued to
the action with one eye on the viewfinder and
the other eye shut!
       When I got home I transferred the tape to
a DVD! And suddenly, just like magic, everything
was in color.
       The students looked fantastic! And....WOW...
that Fairy Godmother!
        I think I'll ask her Dad if he wants to go with
me to the Gun shop!
        Hope your slipper fits and that all your NEWS
is good!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I Left ____In San Francisco!

   "I Left  _____ In San Francisco."  
   Most people will fill in the blank with
the words "my heart." 
   But, today, the correct answer is "Cable
Cars!"  It's "Cable Car Day!"
    A guy named Andrew Smith Hallidie
got tired seeing horses falling over, sometimes
dying, while trying to pull trolleys up the
steep streets of the City by the Bay!
    So he got a patent for a moving cable to
pull the cars along. And, by the way, for a
number of years the cables that did the job
were manufactured in Sunbury, Pennsylvania!
    I got a chance to ride the Cable Cars back
in 2007 when my wife and I hosted a train
trip out to San Francisco.
     A guy directing the cars at a turn around
point pulled one aside especially for our tour
group and off we went!
     I got to stand at the right front of the car
which allowed me to get some great video...
but also had me ducking out of the way of
trucks parked along the tracks. Their mirrors
were at just the right height to knock any
inattentive passenger half way to the stars!
     Since we don't have any Cable Cars
around here maybe you can head out to
one of the ski slopes and ride the lift all
day. It's just another version of Hallidie's
idea and no horses are at risk!
     Hopefully that "Golden Sun" will shine
on you and all your NEWS will be good!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Give That Man A Cigar!

   There was a time when cigars were given
as prizes to the winners of carnival games.
Hence the cry "Give that man a cigar."
    My Dad was a cigar smoker. I was at one
time and my son still is. I even have a good
friend who manufactures cigars!
    I dropped the habit after a very shot time
having learned that soar throats and radio
announcing didn't go well together.
    Relaxation to my Dad would be sitting in
a rocking chair at the seashore with the sun
shining and a cigar in his hand. He would
have been satisfied with a White Owl. That
was his brand of choice. They were cheap.
And, of course, they smelled that way!
     My son has picked up where my Dad left
off. He enjoys relaxing with a cigar when he
ever finds the time. He's courteous with
those around him and asks if anyone objects
to his lighting up. If they do he tells them
they're welcome to leave.
     He doesn't buy White Owls!
     These days a so-called "good cigar"isn't
cheap! Maybe that's why smokers don't
want to part with them until they're just a
very short butt!
      At the movies the other day I found one
partially smoked stogie carefully preserved
in the door handle of an SUV. It's owner
was undoubtedly waiting for the end of his
feature so he could return and relight his
      Hope he remembers where he left it.....
and that all your NEWS is good!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sticking It To Me!

   Some things just don't make sense!
   I can get a cut just by opening a door
or bumping into something as I'm
passing by. Within seconds I'm looking
for a band aid to stop the bleeding. I've
got spots where one band aid has been
placed over another to make sure I don't
"bleed out."
    Then....... I go for a Blood test!
    Somehow my doctors use my blood
to find out if I'm eating too many French
fries or having too much ice cream.
     To get that information they send me
to a Clinic where an orderly, or whatever
you call them, wraps a big rubber band
around my arm then searches for a vein
from which to get their sample.
      If Dracula had to depend on the blood
I provide he would die! Or live. Or whatever
happens to starving vampires!
      Fracking or oil speculators would
consider my arms dry wells. The Clinic
people sometimes have to sink the needle
in numerous times to come up with the
blood they need, Why can't they just take
it from one of my cuts?
       I must tell you I have no problem with
the needle. It doesn't hurt at all.
       However, after getting what I've come
for they place a piece of gauze over their
bore hole and hold it in place with a piece
of tape. It is impossible to remove that
tape without ripping out every arm hair
in it's path! They do not leave easily!
      Hope they got enough to test for ice
cream and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dog Days

   Those Dog Days of Summer are very
well know. But I look forward to the
Dog Days of Winter!
    Last week one of my Facebook
friends brought up the subject of local
Hot Dog joints. Most every community
has at least one. Many have more than
      There are four Abe's Hot Dogs
grills in the Wilkes-Barre phone
directory! There are two Coney Island
restaurants in Scranton. They are less
then a block apart!
     A few years back I actually did a
weekly TV series featuring some of
northeastern Pennsylvania's popular
hot dog stands. I learned a couple
interesting things.
     First, I never met a hot dog I didn't
like. All of the places I visited had a
good product.
      Secondly, people tend to favor the
hot dog restaurants in their own home
town. The place their Dad's took them
to when they were kids. For me it was
Jimmy's in Hazleton.
       All that thought about hot dogs
left an impact on me. So, yesterday,
after my wife and I took in a movie,
then ran some errands, the subject
turned to dinner.
       I suggested hot dogs!
       I knew all of the places and all
of their features. I also knew which one
was closest and, in our case, that made
it the winner!
       One phone call and 20 minutes
later we were enjoying the Dog Days
of Winter with our "Foot Longs" from
Torony's Giant Hot Dogs!
        Hope I get to the rest of the places
before Spring and that all your NEWS
is good!