Tuesday, June 28, 2016
     

Most parents would do almost anything for their kids. Few of us would quibble with that.

But maybe the real question should be: Do parents do too much for their kids by giving them too much?

I interviewed a fascinating father this week who believes some parents who think they are giving their kids everything are actually holding back on the two things kids need.

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....
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...
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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...
A bride of two weeks sends a group email thanking all who attended her wedding and for giving her and her new husband gifts that averaged $200 each. A high school student flips a "thanks a lot" to her teacher who just wrote her a two-page letter of...
The year is 1945. We lived at 202 E. Hazard St., Summit Hill: At age 6, I quietly picked up our home phone and listened to the party-line conversation between my teenage neighbor and her boyfriend. When she made some gooey, sappy and lovesick...
Imagine this. A runaway train is hurtling down the track. If it is not stopped, it will kill five people who are tied down to the track just ahead. You can save the five people and stop the train by pushing a man standing next to you onto the track...
Twelve and a half years to be exact, I was working in my office on a project for my full-time job as a business consultant when the phone rang. On the other end was a familiar voice with whom I spoke occasionally, Times News editor Bob Urban. While...
We are bombarded by so many events in our lives that it is a wonder we are able to function. Because of all this continual stimulation that is magnified by the frenetic pace of today's society, one wonders how we cope with this never-ending stream...
Sometimes it is interesting how two random events could intersect with each other at just the right moment to make one think, even if it's just a few minutes. I will begin with a question: What does the Garden of Eden and a research paper from the...
I have a problem overthinking everything that leaves me with the words. “I just don’t get it,” stuck in my head. Let’s start with former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson. Years ago he was convicted of raping a beauty...
SPOILER ALERT: If you’re not a “Star Wars” fan, you might not “get” this column. So, good luck and may the Force be with you.) In a galaxy far far away, lived a lovely princess named SilliLInda. (OK This is my fairy...
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You’re in a room full of people and someone tells a joke. Everyone laughs at the punch line. You don’t think the joke is funny at all, so what do you do? You laugh anyway. You don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t laugh....
Soft-spoken Marie Hill grew up in the tiny hamlet of Reynolds where she attended a primitive country school. She told me what it was like and offered common-sense words of advice, something she learned early in life. “There are good and bad in...
We did it. We bit the bullet and we did it. After years of careful financial planning, waiting for everyone to be completely potty trained, and implementing a training regimen to make sure everyone was up for days and days of walking and waiting in...
Most parents would do almost anything for their kids. Few of us would quibble with that. But maybe the real question should be: Do parents do too much for their kids by giving them too much? I interviewed a fascinating father this week who believes...
A conversation that occurred a long time ago still stays in my head. At a banquet for one of my professional groups, I sat with a woman I had gotten to know over the years. She usually came with her husband and they appeared to be a great couple....
Some time ago, HGTV had a program showing a husband and wife team building multilevel pressure-treated decks that they said would take anyone just a weekend to do. To the viewer’s eyes, this couple never made a wrong measurement or a bad cut....
There’s something about monotonous work with power equipment that sets my mind free. Let me run the brush hog for a couple hours, and I’ll come back to my desk with an article already written in my mind; send me out to plow snow on the...
Sam Barnes passed away in 2001. Although his daughter, Sheri Baity, thinks of him every day, it is when she hunts from one of their “Cabins on the Green” that she feels the strongest connection. The two tiny cabins are about 200 yards...
It’s a mild October evening in 2014, and I’m sitting on a wooden bench at Rosemount campgrounds in the Lewistown Valley, tapping my feet as I listen to the Good Times Variety Band. True to its name, the band plays a variety of songs,...

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?

As I pulled into my parking space after being at work on Monday, all I wanted to do was take a nap in front of the air conditioner.

I had not really slept all that well over the weekend and my body cried out for some solid sleep time.

After getting out of my car, I was informed by a family member of one of my neighbors that the power was out and wouldn't be back on until 5:30.

Considering that it was 4:50, I didn't think anything of it and went upstairs to claim my nap regardless.

I was sitting outside on my porch trying to decompress after a very long and stressful day when I noticed a bird land on one of the telephone wires in front of my house.

It was a very drab brown and black and looked kind of dirty to me.

Its feathers were a little ruffled and I thought to myself, "that is one ugly bird."

As if that bird read my mind, it scooted itself about a foot and a half further across the line and promptly pooped on my car window.

Ugly, telepathic AND mean-spirited.

I had to do a bit of a double take when I first read the headline. Surely this had to be some satirical piece disguised as actual news.

Nope. It's real.

"Pentagon deploys 'May I kiss you?' training."

I read it again and shook my head in disbelief.

It would seem that last week, the United States Air Force awarded a $10,000 contract to a company known as The Date Safe Project to provide three training sessions to servicemen and women to instruct them on consent and the prevention of sexual assault including bystander intervention. Each session lasts 60-90 minutes.

I love to be able to get away every now and again, even if only for a couple of days.

I enjoy the change of scenery and waking up someplace different, whether at the home of a friend or family member or even on an air mattress in my tent.

I am, however, really leery about staying in hotels and motels.

Over the years I have had some rather unpleasant experiences that make me cringe to even think about.

As a kid, my mom and I always spent a week "down the shore."

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.