Wednesday, April 1, 2015
     

By PATTIE MIHALIK

newsgirlcomcast.net

Thomas Wolfe immortalized the phrase, "You can't go home again."

I don't know about you, but I've had the experience of trying to go back to my beloved hometown, hoping to see the happy place of my youth.

Instead, the town had changed so much, and not for the better. The people were still extraordinarily warm and friendly, making even a trip to Dunkin' Donuts a nice adventure. I think coal region people are some of the friendliest people anyone could hope to encounter.

By BOB URBAN rurban@tnonline.com Memorial Day. It's my favorite holiday weekend of the year. Everybody feels patriotic. The weather has finally warmed up. School's almost out and summer has unofficially begun. Enjoy it everyone. It only comes around...
Here's some mind twisters to help you keep aging gray cells active on a spring Saturday. Don't peek at the answers below until you're finished taking the quiz. 1. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child...
By BRUCE FRASSINELLI tneditor@tnonline.com (Editor's Note: Bob Urban, whose column normally runs in this space, is out looking for a Mother's Day gift for his wife, Mary. Substituting today is Bruce Frassinelli, a Summt Hill native and life-long...
By JIM ZBICK jzbick@tnonline.com Although there was no 24/7 news coverage and no social media outlets for people to offer their personal commentary, the 1912 presidential election offered some cutting edge technology for its day. The race featured a...
By jim zbick jzbick@tnonline.com In depressed times, sports can be a good tonic for lifting the spirits of a community. A good example is in Detroit where the baseball Tigers have been able to lift the morale of a city devastated by the collapse of...
By jim zbick jzbick@tnonline.com Tourism is the second leading industry in Pennsylvania, which is the fourth most visited state in the nation. Groups and officials have long used the natural beauty of our surroundings to promote the area. In an...
An old show business saying states that "It's not over until the fat lady sings." There can be a few different interpretations of that statement, but the one I choose to use is this: This fat lady is singing. My time as a newspaper columnist is over...
Dear Dr. Smith, Our daughter is going steady with a young man. They are both juniors in college, get good grades, and plan to spend the rest of their life together. My husband and I have a few concerns about the relationship. Some of the concerns...
A dear childhood friend of mine reminded me of all the fun we used to have together. We were blessed with a childhood that was full of exciting playtimes, imaginative experiences and creative games. Looking back on those days, it is obvious that our...
Football saved my life. At a time when many parents are evaluating whether the health risks of playing football are worth the societal rewards, I reflect on the fateful decision I made 60 years ago to go out for football in my junior year of high...
As my wife, Marie, and I were cruising down the superhighway of a picture-perfect retirement, our lives slammed into a brick wall and were turned upside down and inside out. It was Valentine's Day 2012 a day synonymous with romance, flowers and an...
When you have three-quarters of a century in the book of life, it's not unusual to survey those 75 years for some improbable, zany moments where you slap the side of your head. You don't necessarily proclaim: "I should have had a V-8," but you smile...
I heard a story recently on Coast to Coast AM about the famous World War I flying ace, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. The Red Baron has maintained a legendary reputation one hundred years later as one of the greatest pilots of World...
There is a video making the rounds on the Internet in the past week or so regarding a so-called haunted house. It is about 90 seconds long and depicts a single camera point of view of poltergeist activity in a haunted house. The narrator sounds like...
Last Sunday, we performed the annual switch of our clocks back to daylight saving time. That requires us to sacrifice an hour of well-needed slumber in order to move our clocks ahead one hour so that we can gain an extra hour of sunlight in the...
One of my most favorite writing assignments was when I wrote the cooking column, "Country Cupboard" for the weekly Pocono Post. Each week it featured a local person who liked to cook, or bake, and willing to share their story along with a few of...
Well, I can check one item off my Bucket List. Operation Wallpaper Removal has been accomplished. I have some advice for those of you considering wallpapering a room … DON'T DO IT! Because sooner or later, you're going to want to take it down. Back...
I had asked if anyone had any retirement advice or observations to send them to me. I heard from Kathryn Kroboth. She said, "One thing you have to remember is, if you want to do something, do it. If you don't want to do it, don't. Go out and enjoy...
I watched as young kids tossed something into the street. I couldn't see what it was because they were walking a half block ahead of me. But I was certain I saw them throw something with disrespect. When I'd reached the intersection, I looked down...
It's hard not to notice the "For Sale" signs on former church buildings these days. They're everywhere. Churches of all denominations are on the auction block. It's happening in Pennsylvania and across the country. It's not necessarily a humorous...
Someone mentioned the other day that we're fortunate to have good police protection in our communities. It's true. We have some very good police. Still, I sometimes think they're underappreciated. Journalists see the great job they do on a frequent...
By PATTIE MIHALIK newsgirlcomcast.net Thomas Wolfe immortalized the phrase, "You can't go home again." I don't know about you, but I've had the experience of trying to go back to my beloved hometown, hoping to see the happy place of my youth....
I was excited last night because a very dear friend of mine was giving a talk at a church organization. The last time she gave a talk, I was in the hospital so I had to miss it. I told my husband I would camp on the church steps if I had to because...
I don't like when I read articles that tell us all the negative things that affect us as we get older. I'm a positive person and I insist on staying that way, thank you very much. But one day last week just about did me in. It's hard to stay...
At every stop light, other motorists beeped their horn and shouted at me, but I'd already coached myself not to look at them. I already knew there was an arrow embedded in my passenger side door. I just didn't feel like explaining it, not to...
It's a cool, bright March Monday, and I'm giving our library an early spring cleaning. I pull a dusty old book off a shelf, intending to run a lemon-oil scented rag over its cover and page edges before putting it back onto a cleaned bookcase. But I...
They say you can never have too much of a good thing. One of the hardest things children, and some adults, learn is restraint when it comes to sweets. I finally learned that one in my 30s when I ate too many jelly beans. Yes, the only thing the late...

Claire:

Once upon a time, watching television was for Philistines. The uncultured masses would tune in to watch the latest sitcom every night, blissfully ignorant, while the intellectuals would sit in their ivory towers reading books, or at the very least saving their money for a subscription to a network like HBO or Showtime, where all the "artsy" television supposedly dwelled.

That's how the joke goes, anyway. These days, though, a few shows have me questioning the old adage that television is just for dummies and couch potatoes.

Jim:

Our most faithful fan does not live in Lehighton or Jim Thorpe or Tamaqua, or anywhere in the hard coal region.

No, he lives on the other side of the world. Dan Bloom is a freelance writer and ex-patriot, who resides in Taiwan where, he says, he is "buffeted around by Pacific typhoons every summer." Maybe that's why he worries a lot about climate change.

Jim:

There's an old saying: "They treat me like a mushroom. They keep me in the dark and feed me B.S." I know I'm a mushroom and hope that, at least, I may be a Portobello.

First off, there's the cosmic mystery. Where did the universe come from? If it's expanding, what is it expanding into? These questions give me butterflies in my stomach. I try hard never to think about them. I have butterflies right now. Let's change the subject.

Claire:

Writing down one's dirty secrets and posting them all over the web is de rigueur these days. It's hardly edgy or shocking to read the intimate details of a person's sex life, mental issues, or weight problems.

Heck, not too long ago a woman live-tweeted her miscarriage yup, that means she was writing about it on the Internet literally while it was happening.

JIM:

So Bradley Manning wants to be called Chelsea. I wonder how Chelsea Clinton feels about that.

Fort Leavenworth prison officials say he'll get no hormones and no surgery. Manning's lawyer calls this cruel and unusual punishment and vows to sue.

Advocates of transgender convicts claim (per recent news reports), "Self-castration, suicide and waves of desperation are byproducts of the denial of sex hormones to inmates yearning to switch genders." Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it?

I remember the first time I used a computer.

I was quite intimidated by the thing and thought for sure I would break it.

The woman who was instructing me on its use assured me that there was no way, aside from hitting it with a hammer, that I could break this wonderful and mysterious piece of office equipment.

I don't remember much of what I was taught that first day, except for one thing she said decades ago: "Garbage in, garbage out" or GIGO.

GIGO is an acronym used in computer science that means that bad input will result in bad output.

I have noticed that there are certain things that people just don't talk about; things that are perfectly natural and perfectly human; and perfectly taboo for some reason.

One of those topics is, umm, bathroom habits.

Now, I know this subject may be a little uncomfortable for some of you, so I will try to ease you into it by addressing some non-taboo but relevant bathroom dilemmas.

First, there is the ongoing debate over the toilet paper roll being hung in either an over or under fashion.

Some people can become quite distressed if it is not hung correctly.

Due to the wonders of technology, we live in a society that loves to take photographs, and takes plenty of them.

We are the most photographed generation ever.

Whether it is cellphone "selfies" or images captured on a tablet, a point and shoot or a DSLR, everyone has become a "photographer."

People have acquired hundreds, if not thousands of images and store them on their phones, computers or even in "the cloud" and enjoy the ease of sharing those images with their friends and even the world through the various forms of socialmedia.

From the very first moment you behold the precious miracle that is your newborn child, there's a chain that instantly connects from your heart to that child.

You marvel in their beauty and perfection and you wonder how something so magnificent could have come from inside you.

The love you feel for that tiny life is so strong that it makes you weep with joy and pride.

As they grow, they become the thread that holds you together and the reason you get up in the morning (and multiple times throughout the night.)

When they smile, you beam.

As a young, single mother, I prided myself in being able to "do it all."

I could multitask like it was nobody's business.

My "Spidey-sense" was top-notch and I could chase after small children with the speed of "The Flash" and the fluidity and stealth of a Ninja.

But that was then, and this is now.

After a busy day at work and more work screaming for my attention at home, I decided to make the one-hour trip down to see my daughter and granddaughter, as I was missing her so.