Thursday, December 31, 2015




    Well it's happened again. We've
added another year to our world
calendar and sung Auld Lang Syne
in tribute to the memories of the
year gone by.
    I hope you've had a little chance
to rest from you New Yea's Eve
celebration because January 1st is
a very busy day!
     You may already be aware of
the Rose Bowl parade and game.
Or Philadelphia's Mummer's
     But January 1st is also
Copyright Law Day, Ellis Island
Day, Global Family Day, and New
Year's Dishonor List Day.
     If that's not enough, News Year's
Day is also "First Foot Day!" In
Scottish and Northern English
folklore it's believed the first person
to enter your home will determine
whether you'll have good or bad
luck in the new year. A tall dark
haired male is suppose to mean
good luck. (Not for him if he's
coming to my place!)
      This is also Polar Bear Plunge
Day on which some either very
brave or very foolish individuals
jump into icy waters to celebrate
the new year.
      It's also Euro day and "Z Day",
whatever that is.
      I discussed all of these possibilities
with my Grandson who turns 5 months
old on the 2nd. We came up with an
option of our own. We call it a Nap!
      Hope you have a Happy New Year
and that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015



          BEAT THE CLOCK!

    I like holiday traditions!
I watch "A Christmas Carol" every many versions as
possible. "A Christmas Story" is a
"must see" every year too!
I read "Polar Express" to my grand
kids every Christmas Eve.
And, for the past few years, our
family welcomes the New Year 12
hours ahead of most of the rest of
     My daughter came up with the
idea after seeing the youngest and
oldest in our clan (I claim the latter
title) try to keep their eyes open to
watch the ball come down on Times
Square after a full day of talking,
playing, and eating.
      Of course that ball marks the
beginning of a new year......but not
everywhere! There are lots of midnights
around planet earth so we decided to
celebrate the one that equates with the
Noon hour at my daughter's house!
That, by the way, would be
Midnight in Jakarta, Indonesia!
So, we celebrate "New Year's Noon!"
You have all the fun, while everybody
is awake, and get a head start on the
New Year. 
       Another great thing....if you miss
Midnight Jakarta time, you've still got
11 more time zones to use to beat the
       By the way I'll probably catch
the New York celebration too. There
are enough firecrackers in our neighborhood
to wake the soundest sleeper when people
glued to "the tube" watch that ball drop!
       In any case, whatever time zone
you're using to mark the start of 2016, the
New Year will be well underway by the time
some of you read this Blog.
       With that in mind I'd like to wish you
all a very happy New Year with the hope
that, in it, all your NEWS will be good!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Day To Bring It Home!



  This is one unofficial holiday that
could rival Christmas for a couple of
my grandkids!
   December 30th is "National Bacon
Day!" As much as most any child
would like every day to be Christmas
I've got at least two grand children
who would love to have bacon served
for and with any meal. In fact bacon
alone would be just fine with them.
   According to the world wide web
some friends from different ethnic
backgrounds were looking for
something to celebrate in
December. Most already observed
either Christmas/Chanukah/Solstice/
or Kwanzaa. They wanted something
all could celebrate together.
After careful consideration
they decided they all liked The
Simpsons and Homer Simpson's love
for  bacon. Hence, National Bacon Day!
Especially ironic since at least one of
the founders of this day is Jewish.
    You're encouraged to hold a party,
watch Kevin Bacon movies, and
consume as much bacon or bacon
based products as possible. I'm sure
those grandkids I mentioned would
love to attend!
     Hope you bring home the bacon
and that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, December 28, 2015



              TICK TOCK!

       December is so great. So many special days
to celebrate.
   Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's
Eve, and Tick Tock Day!
    Yep! Tick Tock Day. It comes around every
29th of December. Two days before the end of
the year!
    The day is celebrated by completing tasks on
hand, like ensuring all holiday gifts are delivered.
Better make sure UPS and FEDEX are aware of
this "holiday!"
     It's a day to complete unfinished business so
nothing that should have been done is carried
over into the new year. In my case I may have
to apply for an extension. My unfinished
business may well take me into February!
      But back to Tick Tock Day.
      It's a perfect day to take stock of yourself
and your situation and to come up with those
New Year's Resolutions to improve your lot in
2016. Maybe I'll resolve to finish my unfinished
business. Well, some of it anyway.
      The "Tick tock" of course, is the sound of
this year's time running out. So get to it while
there's time to get things done!
      Hope your clock is on time and that all your
NEWS is good!

Sunday, December 27, 2015



         TRAIN-ING DAY!

   It was not the "Last Train To
Clarksville." It was the last 2015
excursion train for the Lehigh
Gorge run. And it was the First
train ride for my 4-month-old
grandson! His sister is already
an accomplished rider having
made this same run once before.
   Their Dad and Mom invited me
along for the ride, knowing that
I too love riding on the rails.
   I was older that my grandson
but younger than my grand
daughter when I took my first
train ride. Near as I can figure
I was about 4 when my brother
and I joined my Mom and Dad
aboard the Liberty Limited for
a trip to Chicago.
   Since then I've been on trains
every chance I get. From Auto
train to Florida to the California
Zephyr and  VIVA Rail through
Canada. I enjoy the little one at
Knoebels too! It basically goes
round in a circle. But I do that a
lot even when I'm not riding a
    Yesterday's excursion was
among my best because of my
traveling companions!
     I doubt my grandson will
have much of a memory of the
ride. But it's so great to know
that I went along, holding him
so he could see the world flying
by as fast as the years seem to be
passing for me.
     Hope we enjoy all the stops
along the way and that all their,
and your, NEWS is good!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

NUTTY AS A ________!


         NUTTY AS A _______

    Yep! It's December 27th. Know
in some circles as "National Fruitcake
     This sometimes maligned product
has, somehow, become associated
with Christmas. Giving a fruitcake is
a Christmas tradition for many. It is also
believed that some recipients will re-wrap
the fruitcake and give it to someone else.
I suppose, in that case, it's the gift that
keeps on giving!  Who knows how many
years, or decades, some fruitcakes have
been passed along?
      My wife and I both happen to like
fruitcake and she's always got one on
her Christmas gift list. The habit may
stem from the days when Sears used
to offer a butter batter fruitcake in its
stores during the Christmas holidays.
We haven't seen those around for many
years. But we can usually find one that
suits our tastes.
      If you haven't had one for awhile
you should consider giving it a try. It's
a "no lose" situation. If you like it, eat
it. If you don't like it, give it as a gift.
If, by any chance, the recipient gives
it to someone else, who re-gifts it to
back to'll find that they make
great door stops if kept around long
      Hope you like yours and that all
your NEWS is good!




   Imagine Christmas about 172 years ago!
   No block buster movies in theaters or on
TV! No Walmarts or Kmarts to shop for
gifts. Electric Christmas tree lights were
still 37 years off!
    But there was something new!
    And it showed up this week in 1843!
    It was a novella by a fellow named
Charles Dickens. It was titled....."A
Christmas Carol!"
     It's been one of my favorite stories for
many years! When I was just a kid my Mom,
Dad, and brother used to gather round our
combination radio/phonograph and listen
to the famous actor Lionel Barrymore read
Dickson's story on a set of 78rpm records
every Christmas Eve. That was our family
tradition. I always got a little scared at the
thought of ghosts showing up! Come to
think of it I'm still not big on ghosts!
      The story of Scrooge and his encounter
with four ghosts (don't forget his former
partner Jacob Marley) has been retold many
times. I've seen Alastair Sim, George C. Scott,
Jim Carey, and Mr. Magoo all play the part of
Ebenezer Scrooge. I'm not sure how Mr. Dickens
would have felt about that cast of leading men.
But there were plenty of others from whom to
       There have been at least 21 movies, 25
television adaptions, and more than a dozen
radio versions  of the story! And I've seen or
heard most of them. When you get to the
point where you can finish the line before
the actor you may have seen a few too many
        The term "Scrooge" has become
synonymous with a stingy, mean, uncaring
person. But that's actually unfair! If you
remember the whole story Ebenezer ends up
 "as good a friend, as good a master, and as
good a man as the good old city had ever
        Kind of suggests there's hope for all of
us! Of course there's a few people out there
who may have to spend some time with a few
ghosts before they get the message! You
probably know a couple of them!
       Hope your "spirits" are high and that
all your NEWS is good!



Friday, December 25, 2015




   If only it were now. If only
it were here! If only they were
coming to our house instead of
   The Living room in our mobile
home can seat about a half dozen
people comfortably. On Christmas
Eve 14 gathered there to celebrate
the occasion!
     We dined together, played games
together, and exchanged Christmas
presents with one another.
      Love was as thick as honey in
that small room. In fact the only
disagreement evident at our
gathering came as everyone vied
for his or he turn to hold my 4-
month-old grandson. But everyone
got a chance before the evening
came to an end.
        We topped things off with
my annual reading of The Polar
Express and a test to make sure
we could all hear the ringing of
the silver bell from Santa's
sleigh. Thankfully we all passed!
        Were it now and were it here
you can be sure we would have
made room at our Inn. I guess, in
a sense, that's exactly what we did.
         Hope there's plenty of room
for love in your Christmas and that
all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015




   Some of you may recall reading the
essence of this Blog before. But it's
about one of those "special" Christmas
traditions that really make the holiday
for me.
    And so, with just a few minor
alterations, I'd like to share it with you
again this Christmas season!
     There are all kinds of Christmas
traditions. Things like putting up the tree,
caroling, or decorating the house.
One that I really love is truly a "taste" of
     It takes place at a family owned
and operated garage not far from my
home. The family has deep Italian
roots. And Christmas is all about
     Every year in the week leading up
to Christmas Day the owners set out
a spread which includes all kinds of
    They bring most of the feast.
A few customers contribute too.
Yesterday I found all sorts of
cold cuts and cookies. There was
home made Italian pizza and bread.
      I came across this holiday spread
by accident a few years back when
I stopped in to have some minor
repairs to my car.
     It's a regular stop throughout the
year. They always have something
around the place for their lunch. And
they always share whatever it is with
anybody who comes it.
     Christmas week is a "must stop"
for those of us in the know. And
you don't have to have anything
wrong with your car to get an
     I brought some Kielbasa to the
table. One of the mechanics quickly
cut it into bite sized pieces then
heated the smoked meal in a toaster
oven. It was delicious!
     The setting reminds me of the
old days in the neighborhood
barber shop where folks gathered
to do business, relax, and chat at
the same time.
    With a background of wheel
alignments and vehicle inspections
there's a true feeling of Christmas
in the place. And everybody is like
      I didn't identify the establishment
when I initially published this Blog.
Theses guys sound car horns...not
their own.
     But I decided it's time they got some
well deserved recognition!
     It's Ledoretti's Auto Service along
Route 315 in Plains Township. I don't
think my Christmas would be complete
without a stop there just before Christmas
Eve. A few of the "regulars" were there,
yesterday enjoying Christmas by sharing
the food and each other's company!
      I topped off my visit with a cup of a
regional brew generally, though not
politically correctly, know as "Dago
Red," and a cordial "Buon Natale" to
these wonderful friends who gather
each year to share and celebrate
      May they, and you, have a Merry
Christmas and good NEWS always!  


Tuesday, December 22, 2015



          ALL IN THE FAMILY!      

        My wife and I attended a family
  reunion yesterday. Nothing unusual
  about that. Except we weren't
  related to anyone at the gathering!
  No! We weren't crashing! We were
  invited guests.
         You see everyone else at the
  reunion is related to my friend Bob.
  But I've know Bob longer than most
  of his blood relatives that attended.
  (A couple of his aunts have know
  him longer).
         They choose a local restaurant
  for the get together which was, I
  think, especially appropriate!
         Bob and I have been friends
  since we went to grade school
  together. He probably spent as much
  time at my house as his own when
  we growing up. I especially remember
  his appetite! If we had food left over
  after a meal and Bob stopped by we'd
  invite him to dig in and he never let
  us down. My Dad never needed a
  garbage disposal until Bob moved
        Bob and I were a lot alike in some
  ways. We even skipped the Prom
  together. Neither of us had a girlfriend
  at the time or especially liked dancing
  so we went to see a movie.
         We've continued to see each other
  whenever possible through the years
  and call or write in between meetings.
  Those "years" now number well over
  60! So it was just sort of "natural" to
  join his family members for their
  annual reunion. I did make sure to
  eat all the food on my plate before
  Bob could check it out!
          Hope our friendship has a lot
  more meals and years to go and that
  all his, and your, NEWS is good!


Monday, December 21, 2015

K Marks The Spot!



      I spent some time doing
  Christmas shopping yesterday. I've
  pretty much given up holding off
  till Christmas eve. The bargains
  may be better. But there's a little
  too much pressure when you're
  actually racing Santa!
       My travels took me, among
  other places, to the Mark Plaza
  in  Edwardsville. I stopped into
  Kmart to check the price on an
  item I've been searching for.
  Kmart was an easy choice. It's
  the only store in the once busy
  shopping plaza!
      Back in 2011 a storm turned
 the nearby Toby Creek into a
 river and the Mark Plaza into a
 lake! All of the stores were
 flooded. And with the exception
 of a Long John Silver's seafood
 restaurant in front of the plaza
 Kmart was the only one to
       It seemed strange to see
the Kmart flanked on both sides
by dark, empty storefronts. But,
since I found what I wanted, the
store turned into a real treasure.
I guess you could say K-mart
marked the spot!
       It was a little like seeing
 one brightly decorated house
 in the middle of an otherwise
 dark block. It just takes a little
 light to cut through the darkness!
        The great thing, shopping
 "early" like this, is that I've got
 a couple days to wrap things.
 I don't have much. But I'm not
 a very good wrapper so it make
 take a couple days.
        Still hoping I can beat
 Santa...and that all your NEWS
 is good!

Sunday, December 20, 2015




         Welcome to December 21st.
   The  Winter Solstice, which is the
   shortest day...and longest night....
   of the year.
          How appropriate that this is
   also National Flashlight Day! None
   of us wants to be left in the dark
   so a trusty flashlight can provide a
   bright spot on this mostly dark day!
          We've got a couple of
   flashlights sitting around our house.
   Two or three of them actually work,
   At least they did last time we tried
   them. But it's not enough to have
   a flashlight. You've also got to
   have good batteries.
         One of my Flashlights claims
   something like a million candle
   power. But its rechargeable battery
   doesn't recharge very well these
  days so, if I'm lucky, I may get about
  10 seconds of light from the unit.
         We also have one of those
   flashlights that you shake back and
   forth to create and store an electrical
   charge to make it light up. Problem
   is by the time you've built up a
   usable charge your arm may require
   Tommy John surgery!
          Ironically the smallest of our
    flashlights, the one with led lights,
    is the most dependable. And it
    doesn't take those huge "D"
    batteries to make it work.
           Most of us have flashlights
    of one sort or another and we've
    probably all had at least one
    experience in which we've been
    really glad to have one nearby.
            You can thank Joshua
    Lionel Cowen for that. He's the
    guy who invented the flashlight
    way back in 1898! He probably
    needed some extra light to work
    on his other invention.....the Lionel
    Electric Train!
            Hope you see you way through
    the day and that all your NEWS is

Saturday, December 19, 2015




       Yesterday was a day filled with
 parties and celebrations. It began with
 two of my grandkids and a breakfast visit
 Santa! Later we joined family and fiends
 at a combination Christmas party and
 celebration of my son's birthday.
      A lot of things can happen when
 people are at parties, And they did at
 our last get together of the day.
      We saw people attacking other
 people with knives, and guns, swords,
 and sticks! We saw people being
 socked and slammed to the floor!
       You probably thought the party
 was in Hazleton or near Sherman
 Hills in Wilkes-Barre. NOT!
        We joined several hundred people
 at the annual Huntzinger Karate
  Christmas Party!
         Students are awarded for their
 progress at the party. But they also
 put on a vey vivid demonstration of 
 the self defense skills they've been
 learning during their years of
         And they all enjoy breaking
 boards as pat of their performance.
 I can relate to that. I broke a board
 myself one time although, in my case,
 it was accidental!
        These young men and women
 work hard, physically and academically,
 to attain their rank and rewards! And
 among other things they learn and
 practice respect! A little more of that
 would go a long way to stopping the
 problems we've seen in those other
 places I've mentioned!
        Hope somebody can use all
 that firewood...and that all your NEWS
 is good!


Friday, December 18, 2015



            EARLY PRESENTS!

     Most of us enjoy the anticipation of
seeing that gift under the tree, appreciating
the colorful wrapping, and waiting for the
moment we can open it up to see what's
     Some folks, of course, do their best to
sneak a peak before the big day. And
sometimes it's just logical to present the
gift as soon as it arrives.
      That was the case this year when a
new all weather cover for my Miata
topped my wish list. The old one was
deteriorating at an alarming rate so the
new one was opened and pressed into
service as soon as the package arrived.
       There was another Christmas when
our package arrived early. But back then
we had to wait to see exactly what it was.
It was 1976 and my wife was expecting
our third child. Turns out the delivery
would come on December 19th. Both
UPS and the Postal Service made
deliveries back then. But we decided
to use our Doctor and a Hospital.
       Now back then we didn't have
"Revel Parties" and Ultra Sound, for the
most part, was used to make sure the
baby's heart would be healthy.
       So it wasn't until he actually showed
up that we knew we had a Son! Fortunately
we hadn't invested in more dresses (we
already had two daughters) or painted
the Nursery pink!
       D.J. came into the world at some
10lb, 10oz which may have lead to my
wife's announcement that he would be
our last.
      So while some of you celebrate
"Find An Evergreen Day" or "Oatmeal
Muffin Day," we are celebrating my
son's Birthday! The best early Christmas
present we ever received! 
      Hope his day is great and that all his,
and your, NEWS is good!


Thursday, December 17, 2015




      According to the weather
forecast it's suppose to get a little
cooler today. And that might
provide just the excuse you need.
You see December 18th is National
Ugly Christmas Sweater Day!
      This day is about proudly sporting
your favorite ugly Christmas sweater
for the entire day whether you're going
to school, to work, shopping or
anywhere else. You may want to give
it a second thought, however, if you're
headed for a job interview!
       Most of you probably have a
sweater that fits the bill. Probably,
like Ralphie's Bunny pajamas, a gift
from an aunt you seldom see. Of
course "ugly" like "beauty" is in
the eyes of the beholder so you can
wear your worse and let others decide
for themselves. A lot may also
depend on who's wearing the
       This is another one of those
"National" days for which there is
no legislation supporting the
designation. That's too bad for it seems
so worthy.
        Hope you get away with it and
that all your NEWS is good!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015



            A BOX LAUNCH!

       So, what would draw a bunch of
adults and some kids to a church hall
on a Wednesday night nine days before
Christmas? Well, a Box Launch of
        Not a lunch. A launch!
        Volunteers from the New Life
Community Church in Mountaintop
launched a project to pick out toys,
coloring books, and various trinkets to
fill shoe boxes that will become Christmas
presents for some kids who might
otherwise not receive anything on
Christmas morning.
        The church has always supported
Operation Christmas Child which
provides similar boxes to children in
third world nations. But this year
members decided to fill that same
need for kids in a low income area
in Philadelphia. A lot of kids from
that neighborhood have found their
way to northeastern Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately it is as inmates at our
Juvenile Detention Center. The hope
is that this effort will help catch some
youngsters there before they end up
in the legal system.
      Two long tables were covered
with the gifts which were hand
packed by the volunteers into shoe
boxes marked for a young boy or
      I lent a hand. But I did find it
difficult to pick out toys without
trying them out just a little bit. Those
Hot Wheels cars are really neat. Don't
worry. I did put them in the shoe box!
      In less than two hours some 200
boxes were packed and wrapped and
ready to be delivered on Tuesday
just in time for Christmas.
      Santa never had elves work
faster! Of course most of ours were
a bit taller than his!
      Hope it makes for a brighter
Christmas for some Pennsylvania
kids so that all their NEWS is good!

Looking For Christmas!



     Let's face it. The mild temperatures
around these parts recently have been
great. But they haven't made it seem
much like Christmas.    
     That's why my wife and I and two of
our good friends went looking for a little
Christmas yesterday. We found a lot of it
in the town of Lahaska in Bucks County
    That's where we found Peddler's Village!
It's an historic town with charming colonial
style buildings, gardens, and all kinds of
places for shopping, dining, and lodging.
     And at this time of year it is really
decked out for Christmas!
      Colorful lights cover trees and
buildings while Christmas carols echo
throughout the village.
      There's a gazebo filled with
Gingerbread sculptures hand made by
area students. There are gingerbread
tree houses, a gingerbread train, a
gingerbread stadium and monopoly
board, and lighthouse! They looked
good enough to eat. But I wasn't
allowed to! I may go back when they
close the display!
       We definitely found some Christmas
and I think it's heading our way!
        Hope it comes with Gingerbread
and that all your NEWS is good!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Out Back!


              OUT BACK!

       It was almost unbelievable! Mid
December and a lot of people saw the
temperature match the Interstate speed
      So my wife and I headed outside.
Usually, at this time of the year, we
do so to shovel snow and throw
some rock salt around to cover the
ice. Not this time!
      My wife elected to use her time
out back to string a couple sets of
Christmas lights around some flower
bushes. Ironically there dandelions
popping up on the ground around
      I was pressed into action when
her focus switched to our holiday
lights around the front porch. But
the "force" was with me. None of
the lights worked! We checked the
outlets and the connections. Still
no lights! Since that mission was
abandoned I was off the hook....
at least for the day!
      Still, with good weather like
that I had to figure out something
to do out back. "Out back!?" Yes!
That was the answer......I fired up
the grill and cooked a couple of
      Hope that opportunity comes
up a few more times before Spring
and that all your NEWS is good!