Sunday, December 31, 2017

LOOKING BACK!


    MONDAY,  JANUARY 1ST., 2018
            LOOKING BACK!

     I watched (on television mind you) as
the ball prepared to drop in Times Square
to welcome 2018 right on schedule!
      There's something magic about a
new year! It's a blank slate waiting for
us to write our stories.
       As it begins we're all thinking about
time. There's the countdown to midnight
which then welcomes the new year. Then
there's the singing of Auld Lang Syne which
gets us thinking about people and things now
in our past.
        When my kids still lived at home I used
to enjoy taking them for some Time Travel
every New Year's!
         After our initial family celebration I
used to pick up the phone and call my
brother-in-law in California! He'd say
hello to everyone and verify that I had just
called into the previous year! Too bad I
didn't know anyone in England to call
just before Midnight. That would have
connected us with the future!
           My most "magical" memory took
place on another New Year's Eve/Day
some years back.
           My Dad often had to work on
New Year's Eve as movie theaters
generally drew pretty good crowds
that holiday evening. Just after Midnight
Dad would call to wish us a Happy New
Year.
         The year he passed away the
telephone rang just after Midnight! I
picked up the phone immediately but
heard no one on the other end. Our
called ID read "Caller Unknown"
but I knew who it was! And I knew
it was a sign that all was well!
        May all be well with you this
2018 and may all your NEWS be
good!
       
       

     

Saturday, December 30, 2017

OLD NEW YEARS!


   SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31ST., 2017
              OLD NEW YEARS!

      Monday will mark the 76th New Year's
Day I've celebrated! I can honestly say I
don't remember a lot of them! It's not
because I celebrated too much.  It's because
there's not a lot of difference between one year
and another when you're just a little kid.
      As I grew older the beginning of a
new year became a much bigger event
for me. I think it's because I was allowed
to stay up late.
       Our family celebration usually
consisted of a big dinner and, as Midnight
approached, listening to Guy Lombardo
and his Royal Canadians on the radio.
As the new year officially began his
orchestra struck up "Auld lang syne!"
Everybody started kissing, a tradition
which didn't much appeal to me until
I got a little older!
       Guy Lombardo was still doing his
New Year's Eve thing when we finally
got television. To millions of Americans
he was Mr. New Year.
       In the mid 1970's the Royal Canadians
began to face some stiff New Year's
competition from a fellow named Dick
Clark. The younger crowd, including me
back then, favored the television DJ who
championed rock and roll over ballroom
dance music.
       Whoever you watched the strains of
Auld lang syne were still heard as the
ball fell at Times Square signaling the
beginning of the new year.
        The melody still takes me back
to the days when my Mom, Dad, my
brother and I stayed up late listening to the
radio as the new year showed up.
         Each new year carried with it the
possibility of better days ahead. Each
still does. But each also causes us to
look back as well......for Auld lanf syne!
May your memories be pleasant!
         And as 2017 comes to a close I wish
all of your a very Happy New Year filled
with love, health. happiness, and good
NEWS!      

Friday, December 29, 2017

BACON DAY!


 
  SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30TH
             BACON DAY!

  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!
    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!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

TIME'S UP, ALMOST!


  FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29TH., 2017
          TIME'S UP, ALMOST!

       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
2018. 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!




Wednesday, December 27, 2017

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED!


  THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28TH., 2017
      SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED!

    That alert, often found on Christmas
presents that have just been unwrapped,
has been known to strike fear into the
hearts of parents.
      That bicycle that looked so good on
the showroom floor seems to look a lot
different  as its pulled, one part at a time,
out of a large box!
        I thought I was through with that
problem when the last of my kids moved
out on there own.
        Then I opened the box with my new
TV set!
         Keep in mind I go back to a time
when you plugged your television set
into an electrical outlet and your
antenna into the TV.
          The new sets have all kinds
of connection terminals! They come
with initials that mean nothing to me
so it can be confusing.
           Then there's the stand. That has
to be secured on the base of the television
with screws which, I might add, were
well hidden within the multiple packages
that came with the unit.
            In my case I do have two cables
that allow me to play videos from a
DVD player through my TV. Unfortunately
the new set has inputs placed in an area
that makes those cables about 5 inches
too short!
            No problem. The set in my
bedroom is very old so I reinstalled
the living room TV and put the new
one in the bedroom. That's when I
realized TV sets have lost weight over
the years! It took five minutes to lug
the old set out to the porch! Now I
need to find a place to get rid of it!
             I think, next time, I'd rather
assemble a bike!
             Hope you've got everything
put together (with no "extra" parts)
and that all your NEWS is good!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

INTO THE WOODS!


   WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26TH., 2017
                   INTO THE WOODS!

    Many of you have already seen the Facebook
photo album I posted on our trip "into the woods"
Tuesday!
     Anybody can have a picnic in the middle of
July. We decided to have one the day after
Christmas when temperatures hovered around
17 degrees!
      A few years back my wife and I discovered
a couple covered pavilions in State forest lands
just beyond World's End State Park. They were
built by the Civilian Conservation Corps sometime
in the 1930's. They feature store walls, a slanted
roof, picnic tables and  a large fireplace!
      We've taken most of our grandkids there at
one time or another and usually find them empty
and generally unused.
       Since our grandson Ryan got a survival kit
for Christmas he more than welcomed a chance
to put it to use at a winter picnic in the woods!
He packed up his equipment and joined his Mom,
sister, cousin, and Grannie and Grandpa for our
adventure.
        It's about an hour and a half away from home
and some of the roads were still a bit slick here
and there. Still we made it only to find the
pavilion area closed. What a disappointment.
         We figured it wouldn't hurt to talk with
the Park rangers to see if they might make an
exception and allow us to use the facilities. That
proved to be a good decision because the workers
we spoke with told us the area was suppose to
be open because work on rebuilding the pavilions
was now complete!
           Not only were we allowed in, the workers
followed us and removed the barriers that had
been in place. And we got to be the first to use
one of the renovated pavilions!
           The grandson quickly proved  he
could start a fire with flint and the wood the
others gathered around the forest. In no time
he had a roaring fire going. We broke out the
hot dogs and wire forks to cook up dinner!
            We had a great time together, warm
enough in our sweaters, coats, and hats and
gathered round the fireplace.
             But we made more than a campfire
and hot dogs. We made memories that will
last a very long time!
              Hope you've made some too this
Christmas season and that all your NEWS
is good.


PRESENTS AND PAPER!


   TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26TH., 2017
           PRESENTS AND PAPER
     Christmas morning at our house has
changed a lot over the years. When the
kids were little we were usually pulled
out of bed at some ridiculously early
hour. More asleep than awake we'd
watch as they opened their presents from
Santa.
       My wife and I desperately tried to
keep ahead of the mountain of ripped
wrapping paper that quickly built up
on the floor. It was a losing battle!
         The kids are all gone now and
each of them has kids of their own.
We all get together at one of their
houses on Christmas eve these days.
Santa still supplies a lot of gifts and
we still try to stay ahead of the
wrapping wastes!
         Meanwhile, back in our home,
Christmas day has changed. A little
anyway.
          We still gather at one of our
kid's homes to enjoy food and fun
together. But that's Christmas
afternoon!
          The morning no longer begins
at 6 or 7am! We get to sleep in! We
figured the later we got up the more
time Santa would have to make his
delivery to our place. And it worked!
           When we finally got up there
was a pile of presents waiting for us.
Just the two of us!
             We haven't quite licked the
paper pile problem. We still generate
a ton of waste paper but, heck, we're
just big kids ripping up the wrappings!
               Hope you had a Merry
Christmas Day and will continue to
celebrate so that all your NEWS is
good!




Sunday, December 24, 2017

CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS!


   MONDAY, DECEMBER 25TH., 2017
         CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS!

    Merry Christmas everybody! After the
presents are open and the feast has been
consumed perhaps you can relax and take
a moment or two to help me answer some
questions about the holiday that have been
bothering me. I wonder if you ever wondered
too?
    Remember after all those ghosts set
Scrooge straight about Christmas? He ran
into the same two gentlemen he had turned
away the day before when they were looking
for donations for the poor.
    We whispered in their ears as he made
a pledge to donate. It was to be large since
it included "a lot of back payments.:
      But what did he tell them? How much
did he come up with? I've always wondered
about that!
       What about all that money Uncle Billy
left on the counter in "It's a Wonderful Life?"
Potter's guy stole it away but even with that
big happy ending we never know it Potter
was prosecuted for the theft!
        And even after everything turned out all
right we are never told if George and his wife
and kids ever got a vacation out of town!
        Then there's "A Christmas Story."  The
"Old Man" did eat a chunk of that turkey just
out of the oven. Did he get worms?
        I'm sure there are other questions if I'd
give it more thought. But I'm writing this
on Christmas Eve and I've been told Santa
doesn't come until you're asleep. I'm not
taking any chances asking about this one.
I'm going to bed!
        Merry Christmas! Hope all your NEWS
is good!

Friday, December 22, 2017

THERE AROSE SUCH A CLATTER!


    SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23RD., 2017
      THERE AROSE SUCH A CLATTER!

     There's something about the roar of those
jet engines when you're taking off. It's the sound
of brute power. Of course you expect it while
sitting in a 747.
      It was a little more disconcerting when I
heard it coming from somewhere just west of
my front door at about 8:50 Friday night.
      Were it Christmas Eve I might have
imagined that Santa had traded in his 8
reindeer (9 counting Rudolph) for an F-16!
       I ran outside with my camera to see if
it was anything I could capture with a photo
but I only heard the roar. I half expected to
see some new type helicopter taking off
from Geisinger's Heliport but there was
nothing to be seen,
       Someone else in the area called one
of our Township Commissioners to report
what he described as a jet flying low over
one area.
        Next complaints began to come in
from other neighborhoods some distance
away.
        The Township dispatched someone
to the area to give a listen but by the time
I got word of the dispatch the roar had
dwindled down to a soft purr around our
neighborhood.
         Upon further checking it seems
the likely source of the disturbance was
a Gas main break near Home Depot.
That's about two miles from my place
but less as the crow flies (or is blown
through the air).
         I'm sorry about the break but
happy it's a logical explanation. I'd
hate to think Santa went down testing
a new delivery system!
         Hope the noise is gone and
that all your NEWS is good!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

OUT WITH THE CROWDS!


   FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22ND., 2017
         OUT WITH THE CROWDS!

   I've been meaning to get a little bit of
Christmas shopping done so I headed out
on Thursday. I know, it's early for me but
Christmas Eve is on a Sunday and I didn't
want to take a chance that some stores
might close early that day.
    I didn't have a long list. One of my
daughters already helped fill it with
items that required a better eye than mine
for color and style.
    There must have been a lot of people
who missed Black Friday and Cyber
Monday because I found the stores I
visited packed with customers!
      One of the clerks at a Check out
stand  even ran out of large bags!
Fortunately I had a small item!
       I stopped, for the first time in a
long time, at the Laurel Mall and was
surprised to find it filled with both
customers and shops! Given the
status of many malls these days the
success of this place is pretty impressive!
        Downton Hazleton wasn't nearly
as busy....except at Jimmy's Hot Dogs
where I had to wait in line to get two
to go! It was worth the wait! And I
even got a bag filled with extra
napkins. I'm guessing my "spill
reputation" preceded me!
          All in all a pretty successful
day. I guess it pays to shop early!
           Hope I can get the wrapping
done and that all your NEWS is good!        

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

HUMBUG!


    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21ST., 2017
                      HUMBUG!

      If you're feeling just a little bit like
Scrooge before the ghosts came to visit
there may be a very good reason!
      It may have something to do with
the fact this is the shortest day of the
year. So much darkness may have you
in the dumps.
       Or it may simply be the fact that
December 21st is "Bah Humbug Day!"
I kid you not!
        The folks at Wellcat.com actually
copyrighted the "holiday!" According
to those folks Humbug Day "Allows
everyone preparing for Christmas to
vent their frustrations."
         And let's face it, preparing
for Christmas can be a bit strenuous.
Take if from a guy who still have
Christmas shopping to do!
         This day offers any of you
feeling the stress of the season an
opportunity, just for one day, to
shout out "Bah Humbug!"
          Hope you don't find it necessary
to "celebrate: and that all your NEWS
is good!
       

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

PHONE FUN!


   WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20TH., 2017
                         PHONE FUN!

     Christmas came early at our house this
year. It was a matter of necessity!
      We still have a "land line" telephone
at our place which is supplemented by
two wireless phones.
       One of those portable phones is near
our bed. That make's it easy to get those
telemarketing calls that come in before
we get up or after we're retired for the
night. And just in case it's a legitimate
call from family, friends or physicians
we don't have to jump out of bed and
run to the kitchen to answer our one
telephone with a cord.
         Unfortunately the wireless phone
in the bedroom passed away last week.
We thought it might be a case of
rechargeable batteries that weren't
recharging anymore but the problem
went beyond that.
          Since our system was purchased
so long ago even getting batteries was
a problem we used my cell phone
to call Santa and ask him to expedite
the delivery of a new wireless system
and Old Saint Nick came through!
          Technology has changed a lot
since we got our last portable phone.
But that's true with all telephones I
guess.
          I used to pick up my phone
and dial the number I was calling.
The dial, push buttons actually,
were the only accessary on the telephone.
          This new wireless system comes
with on/off switches, a caller ID, complete
with a speaker that announces the identity
of the caller and a lot of other buttons
that are suppose to do other things I
haven't yet learned about!
            I've seen aircraft cockpits with
fewer controls than the master wireless
unit! In fact I'm now wondering if I
need a license to run this telephone
system!
            In any case at least we won't
have to jump out of bed and run to the
kitchen when the speaker system
wakes us up by announcing the
company that's calling to give us a
better interest rate on our credit cards!
            Hope they aren't offened when
I hang up and I hope all your NEWS
is good!

Monday, December 18, 2017

PRE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!


  TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19TH., 2017
      PRE CHRISTMAS 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
inside!
     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! Happy Birthday
D.J.
      Hope his day is great and that all his,
and your, NEWS is good!


Sunday, December 17, 2017

I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!


  MONDAY, DECEMBER 18TH., 2017
      I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!

  OK. Today I'm challenging you to
participate in this unusual "holiday."
  December 18th is "International
Answer The Phone Like Buddy The
Elf Day!"
   Look! I don't make them up! But
somebody does!
    So here's the deal. Today you are
asked to answer at least one telephone
call as Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) did
in the scene in Walter's office. Here's
how it goes. "Hello. Buddy the Elf.
What's your favorite color?"
     Now this will probably be a lot
easier if done from your home rather
than your business place. And it
could be a heck of a lot of fun! Just
imagine the look on the face of the
telemarketer who hears you answer!
     I'd love to hear his or her response!
As a matter of fact I'd like to hear the
response of anyone who hears you
answer the phone like Buddy the
Elf.
     So if you plan to participate
please make a note of that response
or responses and send them to me
in a Facebook message, If the
language is acceptable I'll report
them in my Facebook page or
maybe even in a blog!
      Go on, do it! I double dog
dare you!
      Hope you have some fun (don't
get fired, and that all your NEWS
is good!






Saturday, December 16, 2017

EBENEZER. THE WHOLE STORY!


  SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17TH., 2017
  EBENEZER. THE WHOLE STORY!

   Imagine Christmas about 169 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 already caught three versions over
the past week!
       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
versions!
        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
known."
        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 15, 2017

WINDOWS TO CHRISTMAS PAST!


   SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16TH., 2017
      WINDOWS TO CHRISTMAS PAST!

       That opening scene from "A Christmas Story"
could just as easily be a scene from my days as
a kid. The area's big Department Stores always
had fancy Christmas displays with animated
characters and some of the merchandise we'd
be seeking from Santa!
   In my case that was usually a Lionel train!
   The days of those elaborate window displays
are long gone for the most part. So are most of
those Department stores!
    You can still find a few in places like New
York and Chicago. Or, you can go to the town
of Newfoundland in Wayne County!
     Newfoundland doesn't have a Macy's. But
it does have Joe Spinelli!
     A native of Brooklyn, New York, Joe's
Dad used to take him to see a big Department
Store window display every Christmas. He
loved it.
    Years later his wife, whose birthday falls
on Christmas, bought the whole display for
Joe! I have no idea how she wrapped all that!
Anyway, now, he's sharing it with the rest of
us!
     Joe told his story to me and Rusty Fender
on a weekly show I do for Electric City
Television. It's his "labor of love!"
     His display is back in windows again.
But now those windows are set up in trailers
parked in his front yard!
      Every year he invites visitors to drive up
to view the colors the animated characters and
the music. He adds a little each year and is constantly
searching for more of the classic display
equipment you used to see in every major
community.
     There's no charge. Joe just wants others,
especially the kids, to enjoy the sights he
used to love in Brooklyn back in the day!
      All the fun and nostalgia without New
York traffic and tolls!
      If you're in the mood to take a trip to
"Christmas Past" just head for Newfoundland
and look for Joe Spinelli's place at 391
Crestmont Drive. He keeps it up through the
end of December..
      Hope you'll make it a point to visit and that
all your NEWS is good!



Thursday, December 14, 2017

HOUSE LIGHTS!


     FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15TH., 2017
                 HOUSE LIGHTS!

    In a theater the term "house lights" refers
to the main lighting system which is turned
on before a show and again as the show has
ended.
     In December it's more likely we think of
all the fantastic Christmas lights strung over
your or your neighbor's house! Decorating
has come a long way over the years!
      A few years back we paid a Christmas
time visit to historic Williamsburg, Virginia.
The homes there were decorated just as they
were in the 1700's. That meant candles in all
the windows and, usually, a wreath on the
front door made of natural items like berries
and flowers.
        I'm partial to wreaths because I once
sold them! A family friend ran a summer
camp and raised money for would-be
campers by selling Christmas wreaths. I
became one of his salesmen. At least for a
couple years. As a kid you were highly
dependent on neighbors for your customer
base. Problem is, once you bought a
Christmas wreath you weren't likely to need
another for the next few years. So my first
career as a salesman pretty much ended
after a year or two.
          These days there's a lot of competition
when it comes to home Christmas decorating.
There's ever a TV program that shells out big
bucks for the best decorated home. That
usually means thousands and thousands of
colorful flashing lights fancy trim.
          An early American effort like that
probably would have burned down
Williamsburg!
           Some folks have given up candles in
the windows and wreaths on their doors and
opted for huge inflatable balloons shaped
like Santa or other Christmas related
characters. And some go way beyond
Frosty the Snowman!
             Whatever your choice I hope you
have some "house lights" for the season
and that all your NEWS is good!



Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.


       THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14TH., 2017
 CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE.

       It's more than just a line from a popular
Christmas song friends. December 14th is now
"Roast Chestnuts Day!" It's the perfect time to
do the roasting!
       Holiday Insights.com created this new and
very special day in 2015. The date  was selected
to coincide with the beginning of the "Twelve
Days of Christmas".
       My daughter was in the mood for some
roasted chestnuts a couple weeks ago and I
found some at a popular market in Scranton.
I delivered them myself but not before tossing
a few into a bag for my wife and I.
       We don't roast them, at least not in the
traditional way, We've found it a lot easier
just to put a couple slices in the shells then
toss them in the microwave! Melt a little
butter on the side and you've got a delicious
treat!
       Admittedly the best we ever had were
roasted the old fashion way. They were
purchased from a vendor near the Chapel
Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland. I suppose
the venue added a bit to that enjoyment as
we sat on the span, a pedestrian covered
bridge that dates back to at least 1367!
        Most of us are surrounded by a fresh
coating of snow today. It's a perfect time
to take a break and enjoy some chestnuts,
however you choose to roast them.
         Hope you get to have some and that
all your NEWS is good!













Tuesday, December 12, 2017

MEMORIES IN BITS AND PIECES!


  WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13TH., 2017
     MEMORIES IN BITS AND PIECES!

   I'm intrigued with "Used To Be's." Places
and buildings out of my past that are gone now
or changed in their use from their vision in my
memory.
    Thomas Wolfe wrote "You Can't Go Home
Again" but that's not really true. Memories
and phots can take you there anytime you'd
like to go.
     A Facebook friend took me back to my
old neighborhood through a couple of
pictures she turned up from her family's
collection.
      Just a block away from the home in which
I was born stood a small Shoemaker's shop. I
was sent there often.
      Back "in the day" you had shoes repaired
rather than replaced. And you did it until they
couldn't be repaired anymore!
      I can still remember the wonderful aroma
of leather in that shop and the "German accent"
of the man whose craftsmanship preserved
much of the DeCosmo footwear in those days.
      But I was just a kid and never really knew
very much about the Craftsman himself!
      That's where my Facebook friend comes
in! One of my previous blogs referred to
places in my old neighborhood. After reading
it Sharon Kadler Montone  asked if I remembered
her Grandfather's shoe repair shop!
        And so it is, after all these years, I learn
that Charles Schiel was born in Vienna, Austria
in 1894. He learned his trade there and was
eventually brought to America through an
effort of the church I attended in my home
town of Hazleton.
         Charles and his wife Myra were
friends with my Mom and Dad. They lived
just a few blocks away.
         Mr. Schiel worked in his little shop
for 55 years finally retiring at age 80. He
passed away in 1985 at age 91.
          The shop is gone now. There's an
empty lot in its place. I don't pass that way
very often these days but when I do I look
at that spot and remember the machines and
the smell of the leather as if it were yesterday.
           How ironic my wife and I were
in Vienna earlier this year and now I'm
learning about its native son who kept me
in my Buster Brows for so many years!
            There are ways to "go home again."
Hope you do occasionally and that all your
NEWS is good.




Monday, December 11, 2017

CALL OF THE WILD!


   TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12TH., 2017
                CALL OF THE WILD!

       I had just completed some grocery
shopping at Walmart when I heard the
call of the wild!
        To be perfectly honest it was the
first "bang" that caught my attention. Had
I been thinking properly I probably should
have ducked for cover. The second followed
less than ten seconds later. I didn't bother to
hit the floor because I realized the "bangs"
I heard were exactly that.....something
hitting the floor.
        The foul language that followed
immediately suggested it was items being
thrown to the floor!
         The guy who did the tossing dashed
for the door and his limited assortment of
curses continued.
          I, and a couple other stunned customers
began to wonder what caused the tirade.
          My assumption leads me to believe the
"gentleman" didn't realize the store has
rest rooms and was in such need that he
threw down his would be purchases and
ran as quickly as he could to find facilities
somewhere.
          There's no question he was in a
hurry! He pushed out of the automatic
glass doors with such force he knocked
them off their track. Then he stormed
right pass the Salvation Army Bell
ringer. He did not leave a donation!
He did, however, share his colorful
commentary with the man.
          Fortunately the "Greeter" (now
they're actually receipt checkers) was
able to put the door back in its track and
I left a small donation so the Army's
volunteer wouldn't be too disappointed.
          I, and a lady leaving the store
at the same time, decided to wait on the
sidewalk for a couple minutes just to
make sure we weren't stepping onto the
roadway and into the path of the upset
shopper. We both assumed he'd be
driving away even faster than he
walked out!
         Again, I'm not sure what caused
the commotion. Maybe he forgot his
wallet. Maybe his coupons had expired.
Or maybe he was trying to use the
automatic "Self Check Out system."
          I think he needs to calm down
and, maybe, suck on a bar of Lifebuoy
soap for awhile!
          Hope he has a Merry Christmas
and that all your NEWS is good!
         
       


Sunday, December 10, 2017

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PARTIES PAST!


        MONDAY, DECEMBER 11TH., 2017
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PARTIES PAST.

    As regular readers are aware my wife and I
spent Saturday night at the annual WYOU/WBRE
Christmas Party which featured an "Ugly Sweater
Contest."
     As I reflected on the night my mind wandered
back to days of yore and other memorable
Christmas parties I've enjoyed.
     The first, as I recently reported, was one I
didn't attend! It was 1959 and while most of
the WAZL staff went to their annual party I
got to run the control board and offer the
station identifications. My first time on the
air.
      The WDAU holiday party was always
a major occasion. Held at the old Mount
Airy Lodge it featured a day long use of all
the facilities, Hors d'oeuvres, a three-course
dinner, prizes, a show at the night club, and
available rooms for those who may have
enjoyed a few too many drinks.
      It was also held in January so as not to
interfere with everyone's busy professional
and family Christmas responsibilities.
      The party  I remember best, however,
was the WILK radio Christmas party of 1972.
       In addition to being the News Director
I wrote a daily comedy skit about a nutty
inventor I called "Mr. Chemistry."
    My buddy Bill Dennis acted the part of the
accident prone professor  while I provided the
voice of his inquisitive next door neighbor kid
Bobby.
    That same year Chuck Berry released the
popular novelty record "My Ding-A-Ling."
    The song tells of how the singer received a toy
consisting of "silver bells hanging on a string" from
his grandmother, who calls them his "ding-a-ling."
    You didn't hear it much on WILK (which
was a Top 40 music station back then.)  One of
our owners, Leon Schwartz, ordered it
pulled from the air as being "objectionable."
     That year, at the Christmas Party, Bill,
dressed as Mr. Chemistry, and I, dressed as
Bobby, unveiled the professor's newest
invention. It was an Automatic Gift Selector
Machine!
     When Mr. Schwartz's name was fed into our
apparatus it produced a gold copy of Berry's
recording! With our hearts in our throats we
presented it to our boss!
      Fortunately for us,  though he hated the song,
he loved the joke!
      Isn't Christmas Spirit wonderful!?
     Coincidentally it was our last Christmas at
the station. We both left for "greener pastures"
by 1973. No! It had nothing to do with our gift
presentation!
     But one of my favorite "Ghosts of Christmas
Past" will always feature a little gold record by
Chuck Berry, a DJ in a Lab coat, and a usually
dignified newscaster in short pants and a Beanie
hat with a propeller on top!
     Regrettably I don't have a photo of the affair.
You'll just have to use your imagination!
      Hope you've got some great Christmas
memories, and that all your NEWS is good!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR!


   SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10TH., 2017
           CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR!

   I should probably be happy about this
but last night I lost the contest in which
I was competing. Normally losing isn't
the outcome one would wish for. But
this was an "Ugly Sweater Contest!"
   It was also the annual WYOU/WBRE
Christmas Party.
   Everyone was encouraged to wear an
ugly Christmas sweater but I didn't have
one. Ugly or not!
   My wife suggested a visit to the local
Goodwill  store to see if anything was
available there to fit the bill....and me.
    As luck would have it, good or bad
depending on your outlook, we found
one garment we thought might qualify.
     My wife added a bit of trim and a
few jingle bells to enhance  my entry.
In hindsight that may have been a bad
move.
     I was definitely considered to be
in the running but in the end I lost out
to a couple others, one of which was
almost exactly like mine!
     Technically I probably would have
been disqualified had there been a tie
because mine is actually a sweatshirt
not a sweater!
      Still the evening was a big success
as we got to spend time with some
old friends at the "Retired Table" and
meet some of the kids coming along
in our footprints! I don't know if they'll
be great reporters and photographers
and such but I do know they sure own
some very ugly sweaters!
      Since mine was not the ugliest perhaps
I'll get a little more use out of it before
Santa stops by to check it out!
       Hope he brings a new sweater, and
that all your NEWS is good!







Friday, December 8, 2017

IT'S IN THE CARDS!


     SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9TH., 2017
               IT'S IN THE CARDS!

  I'm not sure in the mailman is
celebrating. But this is "Christmas
Card Day!"
  It's observed every December
9th., in honor of Sir Henry Cole of
England. Cole created the first commercial
  Christmas Card in 1843.
Christmas cards are as much a part
of the holiday's traditions as Santa and
the Christmas tree.
  For many years those cards were
the most popular way for people in
one area of the country to exchange
their greetings with folks who lived
in another. More recently a lot of
those Hallmark cards have been
replaced with email and Facebook
offerings.
  My wife and I still fashion our
annual Christmas card based on
scenes from the movie "A Christmas
Story." If you haven't seen the film
(although I find that hard to believe)
you'll probably think we're just crazy.
For some, whether they've see the
movie or not, we prove we are!
  The hardest part is trying to
reconstruct a scene. Thus far I think
we've been fairly successful.
That said, here's our card to you
this season. Hope you like it, remember
it from the movie, and that all your
NEWS is good!



Thursday, December 7, 2017

WHICH WAY WOULD YOU GO?


  FRIDAY. DECEMBER 8TH., 2017
  WHICH WAY WOULD YOU GO?

    If you've ever been told you're
living in the past, or are ahead of
your time, this day may be for
you.
     This is "Pretend You're A
Time Traveler Day!" It was created
in 2007 by the Koala Wallop online
community.
     A lot of people fantasize about
the possibility and it's nothing new.
Charles Dickens envisioned it. In
his story  “A Christmas Carol”
Ebenezer Scrooge, is  transported
back and forth through time to witness
various events, leading to his eventual
change of heart towards Christmas.
     I'm not sure I want to envision the
future. I could look ahead and find I'm
not there! That could be a bit
unsettling! It would probably be better
to go back and relive some of my
better days. Or buy some stocks like
Amazon or Macintosh!
     Of course this is just "Pretend
You're A Time Traveler Day." I, as
I've reported before, have actually
done some Time Traveling. Several
times just after the New Year's ball
fell at Times Square I've called
family members in California
allowing me to speak to people in
the previous year!
     Since I haven't reset my car
clock since we switched to Standard
Time, I'm an hour into the future
every time I go for a ride!
     So enjoy the day. Perhaps you
can pretend it's next weekend...and
take the day off!
      Hope you get away with it and
that all you NEWS is good!
     


    

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A FORK IN THE ROAD.


 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7TH., 2017
           A FORK IN THE ROAD!

   On Wednesday we followed Yogi
Berra's advice! We came to a fork in the
road, so we took it!
   Well, actually, it wasn't so much a
fork as a T in the road. Sort of.
    Whenever we walk the Lehigh Gorge
Trail starting in White Haven he head
south. On Tuesday we realized there's
another section of the trail that goes to
the north. So we decided to give it a try.
      As far as I know this stretch of trail
runs up to Mountaintop. The keep word
here is "up!"
       It's not like the Giant's Despair
Hill Climb but it is uphill. Most old
rail lines that have been turned into
walking trails are basically level. It's
amazing how a slight grade, perhaps 2%
or so, can make a difference!
        Fortunately we brought our walking
sticks along for this short hike and they
came in very handy!
        And what goes up must come down
so the walk back was very easy! It's also
kind of neat to see areas we haven't seen
before. We'll have to look for a few more
folks. Or a spoon or something!
         Have a great day! Hope all your
NEWS is good!






Tuesday, December 5, 2017

YOU LOAD 16 TON

   WEDNESDAY, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6TH,
                 YOU LOAD 16 TON    

         I'll bet the term "Happy Holidays"
doesn't include this one!
         December 6th., is National Miner's
Day. And, by the way, it's  official! A
resolution designating the day was passed
by the U.S. Senate in 2009.
      Other than occasional visits to the
Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour my only
experience with mining came as a reporter
a few years back. It was in Schuylkill County
where a team of brothers operated a coal
mine some 500 feet below the surface.
      My photographer and I were invited
inside so, after putting a set of coveralls
over my business suit, I joined my cameraman
and one of the brothers on a ride straight
down into the mine standing on a ladder
inside a giant coal bucket!
     There was a long tunnel at the bottom
with a set of tracks and a small engine used
to haul a sting of coal cars. We road in one of
the cars and had to duck every few feet
so our head didn't smack a timber or one of
the light bulbs that provided the only glow
inside that long cave.
     Water dripped everywhere and I couldn't
help but notice the way we came in seemed
to be the only way out. That's when I stated
to wonder if I really needed to be there.
      That thought hit me again when the miner
said he was about to set off a charge! That's
dynamite to us lay people!
      I made it back out with a good story and a
much deeper appreciation to those men who
spent the better part of their lives laboring in
tunnels like that to provide for their families
and our communities.
      Up till then I figured a "Beaker Boy" was
the kid that flipped the switch to get the lights
back on!
       I'd like to see today's minors learn more
about the miners we're suppose to be honoring!
       Hope we all remember them and that all
your NEWS is good!

    


















      
 

Monday, December 4, 2017

OLD MAN RIVER!


   TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5TH., 2017
                OLD MAN RIVER!

     Several of the trails my wife and I have
found for our walks (whenever we get them
in) follow old railroad lines. And many of
those old rail lines run right along side a
river.
      The Lehigh Gorge trail is one of our
favorites. As the name suggests it runs
along the Lehigh River. Many years ago
I traveled on the train that rode the rails
that used to be there.
       Though not former rail lines the
trails built along the levee system in
Wyoming Valley are also attractive. They,
of course, follow the Susquehanna River.
        On Monday we decided to try another
of the Rails to Trails system for a mile or
two. Since we're just sort of getting back
into our hikes we didn't want to press our
luck by going too far.
         We remembered noticing the trail
that follows the Susquehanna right along
Route 11 in the West Nanticoke area.
We pulled into "Canal Park" and walked
up to the trail then headed south.
          It was neat to see the river off to
our left but the "glamor" of this trail
faded quickly as the traffic on Route
11 flew by off to our right! A lot of
noise and a fair amount of carbon
monoxide floating through the air.
. Trails are better suited to a more tranquil
environment!
          Of course, from a practical point
of view, I felt good knowing if I got
too tired I could send my wife back for
the car and she'd be able to pull up right
next to the trail to pick me up!
           I decided not to share that thought
with her!
           We made it back then recovered
our calories with some good pork Bar-B-
Q!  That made it all worthwhile!
            Hope all your NEWS is good!





         

Sunday, December 3, 2017

STOP THE PRESSES!


  MONDAY, DECEMBER 4TH., 2017
           STOP THE PRESSES!

    Imagine my surprise when a good
Facebook friend wrote to tell me he
enjoyed seeing a photo of my wife and
me in the Sunday paper!
     I honestly didn't remember having
my picture taken. Could he have confused
us with robbery suspects on surveillance
video?
     Perhaps it was an ad for our June
Travelworld cruise to Halifax and Bar
Harbor.
     Nope! Turns out the Scranton Times
published a photo of Leona and I holding
one of their papers while on our September
Travelworld tour to Cape Cod.
     It was our second appearance in that
gallery. We were included once before
in a photo from our tour to the Grand
Canyon. This time, however, it was some
of our guests that suggested the
photo shoot. We actually took several
photos for submission to the paper. Ours
just happen to come up for Sunday's
publication.
       I'm not sure how old the paper was
that we held.  They don't sell many Scranton
Times in Cape Cod so somebody brought
this one along.
       In any case thanks to the Times for
the publicity. It's not easy getting into the
paper without shooting somebody or
being a politician!
       I'm including our group's other
photos so you can see a few of the folks
in our entourage. Hope you enjoy
seeing them and that all your NEWS is
good!




   

 

WINDOW WONDERLANDS!


  SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3RD., 2017
     WINDOW WONDERLANDS!

   The holiday lighting display set up by
Lackawanna County at the former Globe
Store in Scranton brings back a lot of
memories from the days when most
every downtown had at least one
Department store with windows filled
with merchandise surrounded by
Christmas lights and animated figures.
      It's straight out of the movie "A
Christmas Story" as little Ralphie
stares past the electric trains and toy
tank in sight of the Red Ryder BB Gun
he so desperately wants.
      We had a couple stores like that in
the downtown Hazleton I once knew.
The Leader and Deisroth's were the
big ones but there were others as well.
      I usually headed to either the
American Auto Store or Jerry Woodring's
Hardware store as soon as I knew the
annual Lionel Train Catalog was available.
That was my equivalent of Ralphie's Red
Rider prize. And I put several under the
tree over a number of Christmas days!
      Santa may be everywhere but I best
remember him hanging out at the Leader
store. You got a bonus when you went to
see him there. The Leader was the first
store in which I remember seeing an
escalator! I think some kids went into the
place just to ride those moving stairs.
        The stores and area home owners
used to compete with each other for the
most elaborate Christmas displays.
        For the stores it helped get customers
in the doors. And back in the day many
communities held contests which offered
prizes, sometimes cash, to the best
decorated homes.
        Of course over the years the
downtown Department stores began to
vanish. In the 70's, during the energy
crisis, most communities dropped the
lighting contests.
        Scranton's Globe Store is long gone
and the lighting display that's set up this
year will be gone in 2018 as the County
converts the old store into government
offices.
         Fortunately, contests or not, a lot
of home owners are going all out to
brighten the Christmas season with some
spectacular lighting displays.
          Right now I'm remembering those
window wonderlands and treasuring the
memories.
          Hope you've got some good ones
too and that all your NEWS is good!

Friday, December 1, 2017

AN EARFUL OF HISTORY!


   SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2ND., 2017
           AN EARFUL OF HISTORY!

  I suppose many of you are thinking about
Chester Greenwood today! And rightfully
so!
  Old Chester's invention came in pretty
handy for some of us over the years and
many a mom will be celebrating this
special "holiday" created in his honor!
   What holiday? You mean you didn't
know? Why it's "Earmuff" or "Chester
Greenwood Day."
   Maybe you just didn't hear about it
because your ears were covered?
   December 5th is Chester's Birthday but
the 1st Saturday of the month is the
designated day to celebrate!
   Chester Greenwood patented the
"Champion Ear Protector." According
to the Holiday insights web site they
became know as ear mufflers and, later,
ear muffs."
    I've know my wife to carry and
wear a par in mid summer when I've
got the Miata top down and there's a
cool breeze towards dark. Or when I
set the car's air conditioning system
to a level that's comfortable for me
but too cold for her!
    If you see anyone wearing ear
muffs today you should probably
congratulate them for their knowledge
of history and the importance of this
anniversary.
    I think Chester would be glad to
know his invention has survived and
prospered over the years....at least in
some climates!
    Hope you won't be needing your
ear muffs too much this winter and
that all your NEWS is good!