Friday, October 24, 2014
     

I just returned from an Old Broads Convention.

In reality, it was the 16th annual New England Traditions Convention for decorative painters, held in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

I said it was an Old Broads Convention because I swear, out of the almost 300 attendees, most were women, and one transvestite, with 90 percent of them over the age of 60. Half of them were probably over 70. Some walked with canes, others with walkers and there were even a couple with their Jazzy.

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...
With the overriding concerns about bullying in our schools in recent years, it is time for me to 'fess up to being a schoolyard bully when I was a kid. Quite frankly, if someone today did what I had done, he would probably be expelled from school,...
On a recent trip, my son, Paul, and I had just finished one of several of our long philosophical discussions when he turned to me and said, ``You know, Dad, for an old guy, you're pretty cool." I was startled, because I stopped worrying about...
When the European Parliament (EP) flouted the European Commission's (EC) proposed Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) by vetoing medicine regulation for electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) last October, American public health experts (myself included)...
Last week I was invited to appear on the local radio show "Coal Region Connections" with my longtime friend Mark Marek to discuss local folklore and legends, but a few callers had some questions about dream experiences they had. The subject...
As many of you probably know, I have lived in Summit Hill most of my life having been born and reared here in this hilltop community. I can remember my very first interest in ghosts was with my friend Rich who told me about a ghost in the basement...
Ghosts are always a subject that can instantly create controversy between skeptics and believers. Almost 45 percent of all people in America believe in the possibility of ghosts and that the dead can communicate with the living in the right...
I just returned from an Old Broads Convention. In reality, it was the 16th annual New England Traditions Convention for decorative painters, held in Marlborough, Massachusetts. I said it was an Old Broads Convention because I swear, out of the...
Our brain has over 100 billion brain cells, called neurons. Each one of those has between 10-50 glia cells. I'm no Einstein, but, that's a lot of brain cells. After about the age of 35, we begin to lose about 7,000 brain cells. A day. I tell you all...
I'm singing a song right now. Perhaps you'll remember it. The Coasters recorded it in 1959. It goes like this:
Nicknames and labels can be dangerous things. In 2008, a York man was killed by accident because he had a similar nickname as the attackers' intended target. The 29-year-old was known as "Big O," and apparently some thugs were looking for a man with...
Anything can be dipped in batter and deep-fried. Agricultural fairs exist to show us how it's done. In a way, I've always wondered about the dichotomy of good old country fairs. We go there to look at things all natural, such as cows, chickens,...
When I hear the Drifters sing "Under the Boardwalk," I think of the casinos because they're going under. New Jersey gambling houses are shutting down faster than Secretariat on steroids. The Revel, opened in 2012, never found profitability and...
By PATTIE MIHALIK newsgirl@comcast.net Every now and then I pick up a book that tries to define the stages of life in a new way. Richard Rohr talks about dividing adulthood into two periods accumulating (which lasts for years), then a search for...
By PATTIE MIHALIK newsgirl@comcast.net I'm sitting here in ecstasy. I'm eating a ripe peach. It's so deliciously ripe that juice dribbles down my chin. Every bite confirms my taste buds are being treated to an extraordinary experience. You may be...
By PATTIE MIHALIK newsgirl@comcast.net The birds are singing the sweetest song. It sounds like a big chorus with various kinds of birds singing different parts. What makes it incongruous for me is the rest of the scene the steady downpour that...
By MARY TOBIA tneditor@tnonline.com A recipe passed down through the generations fills a house with love. I just finished organizing my recipe box, which is filled with my favorite handwritten recipes. Throughout the years I have accumulated more...
By AMY MILLER amiller@tnonline.com Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love the colors of the trees as their leaves change to brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. I love the smells that float through the air. I can't describe them though,...
Some people say the newspaper industry is dying. Being in my early 30s I find my first choice for getting the news will always be a newspaper. How do you like to read your news? Online or the newspaper? I may be biased, but my first choice will...

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?

After being quite sick for the past week, I found that I could not put off making a trip to the store for household necessities any longer.

It took every ounce of strength I had just to get myself cleaned up and presentable enough to be seen in public when all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed where I had spent the past four days.

Shopping took longer than usual and walking up and down the aisles proved to be quite exhausting.

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to experience three firsts all in the same day: my first time to the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, my first real tailgate party and my first Notre Dame Football game.

My journey began on a bus in Tamaqua with everyone on the bus donning a Notre Dame T-shirt except for hubby, myself and one other woman. (Yay team!)

Up to two weeks ago, I have never seen a hummingbird in real life. Since that time, I have spotted them twice, and each time, they have left me standing on the pavement in awe.

I have marveled over those incredible creatures in books, magazines and even video, but for 47 years, they eluded me.

I belong to a Nikon camera enthusiasts group and often see the most amazing photographs of various hummingbirds.

I find that they have the most beautiful colors and I can't help but marvel over their flight abilities.

By SHERI RYAN

tneditor@tnonline.com

This past week I read the Facebook post of a former co-worker which described her excitement as she prepared to take her American citizenship test.

Originally from England, my friend Rita has very strong feelings toward the country she has called home for 20 years.

I found her excitement toward America and the prospect of becoming a U.S. citizen to be very refreshing in light of the many unpleasant social, economic and governmental issues that have caused many of us to question the status and integrity of our nation.

By SHERI RYAN

tneditor@tnonline.com

While engrossed in my work at the office the other day, I answered a rather frantic phone call from one of my kids.

"Where is my volleyball uniform shirt?" the panicked voice bellowed on the other end.

My daughter was waiting to be picked up by a teammate to go to an away game in Bangor, and of course, at the most possible last minute, proceeded to gather all of the necessary elements of her uniform so that she could play.

"I told you last night to get your uniform together," I chided.