Tuesday, May 31, 2016


            COUNTING DOWN!

     The countdown is on! Tonight
night at 7 our oldest grandson
will officially graduate from Holy
Redeemer High School.
     On Tuesday night he and his
fellow classmates took part in
Baccalaureate services at Saint
Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre.
     Funny. I spent part of the
morning with my 10-month-old
grandson crawling around the
floor with him as he played with
all his toys.
     Seems like just a couple years
ago I was doing the same thing
with the 18-year-old who graduates
tonight. There are 4 other grandkids
in between those two with whom I've
played and attended graduations which,
in some cases, started at the Pre school
      So as the countdown winds down
for the oldest it continues for each of
the others.
      But tonight is Jason's night. We're
proud of him and wish him the very
best. Congratulations buddy....may
all your NEWS be good!

Monday, May 30, 2016


  TUESDAY, MAY 31ST., 2016

   Monday's Memorial Day was truly
a day for making memories as family
and friends got together at my daughter
and son-in-law's home.
    There was, of course, plenty of grill
cooked hamburgers and hot dogs. There
was a three-leg-race. There were water
balloons! There were marshmallows to
toast over an open fire and Hershey bars
for those who wanted to make s'mores!
And yes....at three o'clock.....there was
silence as our crowd, which included
three veterans, paused to remember
those who sacrificed all so folks like
us could enjoy a family cook out under
a star spangled banner that still waves
over our free country!
       The showers held off as if to say
"get your day in folks." And so we
        Hope you remembered, made
some memories, and that all your
NEWS is good!


Sunday, May 29, 2016


    MONDAY, MAY 30TH., 2016
           SUNDAY DRIVER!

      Sunday was one of those perfect
top down days so, after church, my
wife and I headed out for to see where
the road might take us.
       Remembering the old adage that
one should live for today because
tomorrow is not guaranteed we decided
to go for ice cream first, then worry
about dinner.
        That brought us to our favorite
Ice Cream Shop, "Incredible Edibles"
in Nescopeck. I've never had so much
great ice cream for such a reasonable
price in all my life. But this stop was
even better because I realized I had
filled out one of the establishment's
punch cards on my last stop! That
made me eligible for one free serving
this time...bringing my total bill for
two treats to $1.50!
         The great day continued with a
cruise through Berwick, where I once
worked as a DJ, to the town of
Lightstreet, near Bloomsburg, where
we stopped at the Heritage House, a
restaurant that's been around for a
long time, all be it, under different
          We enjoyed a wonderful
dinner which included some great
values on their "Senior Menu." Good
thing I let this grey grow in my hair!
Of course I had to vouch for my
wife! No need for desert.....but we
had some anyway!
         After that a slow, enjoyable
drive back home so we could rest
up for our Memorial Day family
cook out!
          Hope you enjoy your day
and that all your NEWS is good!  

Saturday, May 28, 2016


   SUNDAY, MAY 29TH., 2016

     My community is whole again!
The Giant is back. And in this case
the Giant is a Hot Dog!
      Most every town as its local
Hot Dog stand. In Hazleton it's
Jimmy's. In Sunbury it's the Squeeze
In. In Scranton it's Coney Island and
you've got two to choose from!
      Here in Plains Township the
name Torony's has been home of
the Giant hot dog for as long as
most people can remember.
      The family business began
with a small wooden stand next
to a gas station along Route 315.
I can remember people sitting on
the few stools out front or standing
around waiting for their "foot long"
topped with onions, chili, and
       Locals would talk politics,
gossip, or sports while visitors
would just take in the delightful
fragrance that filled the air as the
hot dogs and fries cooked on the
       A few years back the little
stand closed and the operation
was moved to a larger building
near the Mohegan Sun Casino.
The Giant hot dogs were still as
good as ever. But the crowds
        Seems casino goers weren't
the type to stop for a hot dog
along the way. Funny because I
always considered the dogs a good
bet! I stopped in whenever I got a
craving and there was never a wait.
        Then awhile back I was
surprised to find the place closed.
I thought it was some kind of a
seasonal move. But eventually it
became clear it was not to reopen.
         Thankfully the family was
using the down time to find a new
location a bit more fitting for hot
dog hungry customers. It's still
in our community and I found it
yesterday. I was happy to see the
Giant back even though the crowds
had returned as well and I waited
some 40 minutes for two "with
         Hope business is good, the
lines just a bit shorter, and that
all your NEWS is good!


Friday, May 27, 2016


  SATURDAY, MAY 28TH., 2016
            HAIL CAESAR!

     We heard a lot about history
during our visit to Italy this month.
And it's amazing how many historical
structures or, in some cases, the ruins
of historical structures still stand
      But one of the stories we heard
still leaves me astonished and, at the
same time, a bit bewildered!
       Some 55 years before Christ
walked this earth, Julius Caesar was
involved in the Gallic War. In order
to secure his eastern border against
marauding Germanic tribes Caesar
ordered his legions to build a bridge
over the Rhine River to show the
enemy his ability to go anywhere
and attack at will.
      Now here's the thing. They
built that bridge in ten days! Then
they crossed it and watched the
enemy flee. After that Caesar had
his men return and disassemble
the bridge as they did!
      A bridge build in ten days to
carry Roman legions over a river!
      I don't know who did the design
work. But I think it's safe to say
non of his descendants are working
for PennDot! Repair and replacement
work on several Interstate bridges
near our home have been going on
for months and I've seen no sign of
any of those projects being finished
anytime soon!
       We certainly seem to have
"legions" of state employees
"working" on the jobs! Of course
Caesar's men weren't paid by the
hour. Now I'm wondering if
Brutus might have been a union
       Hope they get done soon and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, May 26, 2016


   FRIDAY, MAY 27TH., 2016

   Let the record show we have been
back from Italy for well over a week!
True, while we were there we and
our group of fellow travelers were
pounding the streets of communities
like Rome, Pisa, and, yes, Florence!
    As we left the city where works
of classical art abound, we meandered
along the Arno river, stopping often
to take pictures of the beautiful
waterway that winds its way through
the ancient city.
    Ironically, in an area where Roman
built aqueducts survive after thousands
of years, water pipes under the streets
built much more recently have not
stranded the test of time.
     On Wednesday, not far from where
we walked, a sink hole opened up
along the river swallowing a mess of
parked cars! Had it happened while
we were there we might well have
been questioned as to just how much
these American tourists had eaten for
lunch! That thought "weighed" on my
mind today. (Get it? Weighed. Sink
hole. K, forget I said anything.)
       Hope they can find some ancient
Roman Engineers to fix the problem for
good....and that all your NEWS is good!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


  THURSDAY, MAY 26TH., 2016

    That trip to Italy really as us
spoiled! All those great Italian
foods. It just isn't practical to
fly back some 9 to 10 hours for
a meal.
     But when we can't get to Italy
we go to Tamaqua! That's where
our friend Alfie operates La Dolce
Casa, a great Italian restaurant on
the banks of the Little Schuylkill
     I took my wife there Wednesday
as a continued celebration of her
birthday and it was like being back in
Tuscany! Alfie even speaks Italian.
Of course, I don't so we had to order
in English!
      I brought him a couple photos
from our trip to Italy in the hope
it would remind him of home. They
did although, ironically, he never
actually visited some of the cities
we did.
      The meal, which always begins
with a serving of bread and knots
with a dipping sauce, was fantastic
as usual. And it's good to know we've
got a taste of Tuscany pretty darn
close to home!
       Hope we remembered the
canollies and that all your NEWS
is good!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


  WEDNESDAY, MAY 25TH., 2016

    Raise a glass everyone. It's National
Wine Day!
    The title suggests this is a U.S.
observance although there's no record
of any official government recognition
of this day. If the day is unique to our
country we've got to consider it a "new"
     Last week our Tuscany tour group
visited an Italian winery that's been in
the same family for eight generations!
We sampled wines made from the
grapes growing in the fields all around
us. And everybody was happy. Especially
after about their eighth sample!
      I knew there was something special
about those Italian wines. The top
vintage was selling for $500 a bottle!
I couldn't afford the cork!
      So perhaps on this "National
Wine Day" I'll search out something
from an area winery to celebrate.
      Hope it's under $500 bucks...and
that all your NEWS is good!


Monday, May 23, 2016


  TUESDAY, MAY 24TH., 2016

      My wife celebrates her
Birthday today! She does it every
year on this same date. I don't
think that's a coincidence.
      All the kids have already
asked what she'd like in the way
of a present. And she's responded
as she usually does by saying
she doesn't really need anything.
      She views our recent trip
to Italy as my gift although, in
reality, my job as a host probably
could not be done without her
      In fact most of the things I
do could not be done without
her support and assistance!
The blog may be an exception.
She sort of let's me alone to put
that together. So, today, I
thought I'd dedicate it to her.
      There are some roses as
well and tentative plans to
head to our favorite restaurant
late this afternoon to celebrate
       Thanks for all you do my
love! Hope you have a very
Happy Birthday and that all
your NEWS is good!

Sunday, May 22, 2016


  MONDAY, MAY 23RD., 2016

     Seasons change. Winter to
Spring. Spring to Summer and
so on.
     Sports seasons change too.
You'll usually enjoy Football in
the Fall and Baseball in the
      But Soccer seems to have no
seasonal boundaries. So, when
you're a grandparent with grand
children in one of the many soccer
leagues chances are you'll find
yourself cheering throughout the
     So it is we found ourselves
out in the Sunday drizzle to cheer
on one of our grand daughters as
her team began its Summer season.
     Two other grand kids play to
be playing this year so there's a
chance I may begin to catch on
to some of the rules.
     The next trick will be getting
to as many games as possible,
especially when schedules conflict!
     Hope I'm cheering for the right
team.......and that all your NEWS
is good!


Saturday, May 21, 2016


  SUNDAY, MAY 22ND., 2016

   The signs are popping up on
utility poles and the tents are being
set up in neighborhoods throughout
the area. It's Yard Sale time!
    My daughter and her family got
in on the action quickly and I was
surprised by the number of people
who stopped by to browse while
I sat on her front porch.
     Our church held its own version
on Friday and Saturday. Here again,
I found a comfortable chair and
watched my wife and grandson as
they looked over all the items that
were once so important to people
but had now found their way to the
yard sale circuit.
      I could never get very involved
in these sales. Too many clothes and
dishes to suit my taste. I let it up to
others to find the bargains.
      Wait a minute! Is that a dvd player/
recorder on the back of that table just
within my view. I suppose it could be
worth a look. But only a look mind
you. It does look pretty clean and in
good shape. And the owner tells me
it works. I don't suppose it would hurt
to check the price. Ah there it is on a
piece of masking tape on the bottom
of the unit.
        Two dollars!!!!!!! Sold!
        Hope I can find some more
great deals as we check the yard sales!
And, of course, that all your NEWS is

Friday, May 20, 2016


  SATURDAY, MAY 21ST., 2016
           WHERE AM I?

    There were people crowded all
around, vendors selling food and
crafts, and music in the air. I though
I was still in Italy walking near Pisa,
or Florence. But it couldn't be! No
one was trying to sell me umbrellas
or drawings likely mass produced in
China. Besides.....everybody was
speaking English. Or as close to it
as many people around here get.
     No, this was not Italy. This was
the Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square
in Wilkes-Barre. There were similarities
to scenes in Italy. For one thing there
truly was some fine art to be seen! And
heard too!
      My grand daughter was part of a
select singing group from Holy
Redeemer School that entertained the
public on Friday. They did a fantastic
job with all of their numbers, including
the National Anthem. I suspect a few
of those in the audience were from other
countries since they had to be reminded
to stand. Even then a couple of the men
forgot it's traditional to remove one's
hat when the anthem is played or sung.
       Maybe if they had been with us in
Italy they'd appreciate our Star Spangled
Banner and what it stands for.
        In Italy immigrants sell their wares
illegally, since they don't collect local
taxes, and take off quickly when the
Police pull up! As they run they're likely
to pass in front of soldiers armed with
automatic weapons who guard the
squares against the possibility of a
terrorist attack.
        I realize we have to be watchful
here as well. But our freedom provides
a lot more confidence here than they
have there!
       Hope you enjoy the Fiesta and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, May 19, 2016


  FRIDAY, MAY 20TH., 2016

    It was, I believe, the last of an
annual tradition for me. I carefully
pulled apart the corner of my
envelope from the Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation and
removed the tiny square sticker to
attach it to my License plate.
    I have several vehicles and, with
the exception of my 1971 motorcycle
which has a Classic plate, each must
have a sticker to prove those vehicles
are registered.
     Each year I have paused for just
a moment to deliberate the question...
does the sticker go over the current
year's registration tag or over the
box on the other side of the license
plate. I seem to remember that it
mattered one time. But doesn't any
     Where ever it's placed there
always seems to be one edge sticking
      How do police officers see those
little stickers anyway? I'm not sure
too many actually look...unless you're
stopped for some other violation.
      In any case it will all be academic
next year. Pennsylvania is doing away
with the stickers in favor of some sort
of camera system that can simply "read"
your license plate to confirm your car
or truck is registered.
      I suppose with all the money they
save on the stickers and the mailings
we'll all see lower registration fees.
Right? If you answered "Yes" there's
a bridge in Brooklyn I'm selling and
I can give you a good deal!
       Hope my 2017 sticker is in the
right box and that all your NEWS is

Wednesday, May 18, 2016



    There are a whole lot of sights
to see in Italy. Most, like the Roman
ruins and classic sculptures, are
     Some others came as a surprise.
And many of those surprises came
in the country's "facilities."
      In some busy tourist areas, for
instance, you've got to pay to use them.
Wise visitors know it's good to keep
some Euro change in your pocket just
in case.
      Many commodes don't have what
we Americans call a seat. Gives new
meaning to the term "pit stop!"
       And then there was the Autogrill
where we stopped for a lunch break.
It's on a toll road similar to our
Turnpike. Imagine our surprise when
the men and women all found themselves
in the same line to use the rest room!
        It was one room with stalls on
both sides. The one's on the right
were for the gals while the one's on
the left were for the men. You shared
the sinks and dryers afterwards.
       My first thought was that we had
stopped at Target! A little unnerving.
But they did have seats!
       Hope the Turnpike sticks with its
present system.....and that all your NEWS
is good!  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


TUESDAY, MAY 17TH., 2016

    My wife and I and our
Travelworld Tour group said
Arrivederci to Italy today and
left on a jet plane heading
back to the USA!
    We saw so many beautiful
and historical sites on our
tour and our leaving didn't
change that!
     At some 35,000 feet we
were able to look down on
a range of the Alps that link
Italy and Switzerland!
     How long does it take to
get from Milan to Newark,
New Jersey? I'm glad you 
asked. The answer is a little
over three feature length
movies which I viewed on
the plane during our return
     My daughter and grandson
picked us up at the bus stop
and another grandchild had
gone out of her way to post
"Welcome Home signs" all
throughout our house!
      Like Dorothy said..there's
no place like home! Hope I
can reset my mind to EDST
and that all your NEWS is

Monday, May 16, 2016


   MONDAY, MAY 16TH., 2016

      We hit another Italian highlight
on the last day of our Travelworld
tour! A visit to Lago Maggiore the
second largest lake in the country.
This is where rich people go for
vacation! I came for the day anyway!
      Beautiful hotels line the main
street which overlooks the 65 mile
long lake which is partly in Italy
and partly in Switzerland. In the
distance, off to the northwest, I can
see the snow covered mountains of
the Alps.
      But there are attractions much
closer. Right on the lake! Fisherman's
Island, as the name implies, is still
home to families of fisherman who
make their livings fishing the lake
and operating shops and restaurants
that cater to the tourists. That's us!
      A second very ritzy island is
nearby, again welcoming tourists
from all over the world! Our tour
guide arranged a private boat to
shuttle us to both were we enjoyed
the view and grabbed a bite to eat
while watching our time so as not
to miss the shuttle. Now that I think
of it this wouldn't be a bad place to
get stuck if one did miss the boat!
     Hope I remember that next time
and that all your NEWS is good!