Thursday, May 5, 2016
     

Under My Hat

Saturday, May 16, 2015
There was a time when cars had style, including tires and hubcaps.

May is a great month because it brings us Mother's Day, Memorial Day and the emergence of those grand old motorcars of days gone by.

That's because May brings warm weather.

Garages are opened and out come the works of art that once graced America's highways.

Yes, if there's one thing I like just as much as 1880s bicycles, it's lead sleds from great days of automotive design.

How can anyone not enjoy those magnificent cars of our youth?

Let's face it, today's cars all look the same.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

About 60 years from now, the last of the Panther Valley Deep Coal Miners will speak to people of a different era.

That's because in 1976, the coal miners buried a time capsule inside the monument wall at Lansford Kennedy Park.

I'm not sure what they put inside, but it'll be revealed in 2076.

I won't be around to find out, so I'll never know what kind of messages the miners had for the future.

But it got me thinking about time capsules.

They're a special way for people of one era to speak directly to another.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sitting in the booth and waiting for a waitress, I couldn't help overhearing a conversation between two senior citizens enjoying coffee at the counter of a small, local diner.

They were reminiscing about grade school days.

"It was a rough time," said one old man, a gent with a loud, crackling voice, his furrowed brow emphasizing the word rough.

"My mom didn't have much, but always scraped things together. She had to pack my school lunch by seeing what she could come up with," the man recalled.

"But one thing I always had was bread," he went on.

Saturday, April 4, 2015
Thirty years ago I had a chance to spend a day one-on-one with Jack LaLanne, America's first fitness guru, and pick his brain about tips for healthy living.

It was exactly 30 years ago. But I'll never forget.

I was working in Wilkes-Barre and was given a chance to spend a day with fitness guru Jack LaLanne.

Younger folks might not recognize that name. But we boomers grew up watching him on television.

His real name was Francois Henri LaLanne and he was called the godfather of fitness.

He was the first fitness superhero, a pioneer in healthy lifestyles who opened the first fitness club in America.

Our day began early when I met him for a breakfast interview at a brookside table at the Woodlands Inn and Resort.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

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 and scanned the area. I spotted it right away. Pennies. They had tossed a fistful of pennies into the gutter, as if the coins were worthless. It's happening more and more. I'm sure you've noticed it. Pennies are everywhere. Kids are discarding copper cents, and that's why the rest of us are finding so many "lost" pennies.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

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 topic, but one sale generated chuckles.

In Florida, the Full Deliverance Church of Jesus posted a sign that indicated: For Sale by Owner.

Local residents picked up on the wording, saying "Jesus is selling a church."

The sale of so many former church buildings makes me pause and reflect.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

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 basis.

We see police at work at crash scenes, drug raids, arraignments and arrests. We see them when we pick up daily police logs. We interact with them quite a bit.

If you spend time with an on-duty cop, you'll gain renewed respect instantly. Police have one of the toughest jobs around.

Saturday, February 7, 2015
Thirty-five years ago this month during the Three Mile Island nuclear tragedy, I met Gov. Richard Thornburgh while working on statewide publicity related to health care issues. Afterward, I traveled to Canada to study their system of national health insurance, an issue being addressed today in the U.S.

National health insurance, for some, is a dream come true.

Many baby boomers, for instance, are using the Affordable Care Act to find their way to early retirement.

After federal subsidies for those who qualify, the monthly cost might be $100 to $300 a month, as opposed to $700 or more.

It's making a difference for some workers in their late 50s and early 60s who want to retire early, the pre-Medicare years.

Still, I think ACA provisions are too intrusive and far-reaching and hopefully will be toned down.

Saturday, January 24, 2015
Linda Koehler

Sometimes I think retirement should be illegal.

It forces us say goodbye to people who've become family to us.

Like everyone else, I've grown to know Linda Koehler through her interesting news stories, fascinating features and hilarious columns.

Oh, those columns!

If anyone knows how to entertain in a way that touches the heart, it's Linda.

She's the Erma Bombeck of the Times News.

And that's important because daily news is often dismal and heavy. Writers like Linda know how to make us laugh, and they're precious for doing so.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

When the end of the year arrives, it's natural for us to pause and take stock in the previous 12 months.

Well, I did just that, and from what I saw, the end of 2014 can't come soon enough.

For me, the past year has been one of the most difficult times in terms of tragedy and sorrow.

I lost lifelong friends and classmates Tom Shea and Bonnie Schuetrumpf.

We first met at school, where we were thrown together by the alphabet, last names starting with sc, se and sh. But we quickly became close friends.

At times, the Three Musketeers.