Thursday, May 28, 2015

Under My Hat

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It was the perfect weekend for a Civil War-themed salute, and the town of Danville knows how to do it right.

Their annual Iron Heritage Festival emphasizes authenticity.

The four-day showcase last week brought to town some of the big names in living history.

Both sides of the Civil War were represented.

There was General and Mrs. Robert E. Lee, portrayed by distinguished Frank and Bonnie Orlando of Gettysburg.

"Listen to what I tell you because you'll learn the truth about the war," said Gen. Lee, before Friday's gala parade.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS She did it! Linda Ruth-Tosetti, granddaughter of Babe Ruth, used a chair to hop into the seat of an 1880s highwheel, proudly displaying traits of courage and confidence that run in the Ruth family. Assisting were John Poponiak, right, and Dan Horengic.

About 15 years ago, I grew interested in something I saw in old-time photos.

While looking through Victorian picture albums, I was intrigued by the sight of a bicyclelike contraption with a front wheel almost five feet high.

So I decided to pursue my fascination with the 1880s Victorian highwheel. I located one for sale in Illinois and bought it, a $4,000 gamble.

I figured it'd be difficult to master, but I'd sell it if things didn't work out.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Reporters try to be objective when covering news.

But that doesn't mean they're devoid of feelings. It's easy to feel passion about a topic.

News can be emotionally draining. It can be powerful, unsettling. And journalists aren't robots.

That said, the past few weeks have been a roller coaster.

Capt. Jason Jones was killed in service to our country. There's no good way to report that kind of news or to soften the impact.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dear Hon. John E. Jones,

Just some feedback from a conservative Pennsylvania Dutchman up in the mountains.

I heard what you said, that "we're a better people than what these laws represent." Then, with the stroke of a pen, you extended civil rights and helped to pull Pennsylvania out of the Dark Ages. Our state now has a clearer vision of equality.

But let's face it, in a perfect world, marriage equality would've been a given.

But, you see, some influential politicians in Pennsylvania are, perhaps, not a better people.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Supreme Court screwed up, and almost half of the justices know it.

In Galloway versus Greece, the Court upheld state-sponsored prayer, such as religious readings held before public or government meetings.

The vote two weeks ago showed their indecision, 5-4.

Essentially, the court decided that sectarian prayers led by a town councilman, for example, do not violate the Constitution.

On the surface, that doesn't sound too bad. It actually sounds nice. But here's the key.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

One of the worst epidemics facing schools today is bullying.

Of course, it's nothing new.

Most children say they've experienced bullying at some point while inside or around school, maybe before class, or after class or at recess or lunch, or in the hallways.

In a given year, nearly a third of all students aged 12 to 18 reported having been bullied, some almost daily, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

An amazing 90 percent of elementary students reported being bullied.

Locally, we don't need statistics to tell us about bullying.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brisk walking is my favorite form of exercise.

It probably doesn't use all of the required muscle groups to constitute a total workout. But walking and antique highwheel riding are the only modes of exercise I enjoy.

The best form of exercise, I figure, is the one you like to do. That's the one you'll stay with.

But I tend to have an open mind. So I once tried joining a gym.

Unless you're a jock or ex-jock, joining a gym can be quite an experience, especially for those of us semi-elderly.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The calendar says spring is here. It's time to leave behind the winter of my discontent.

And what a long one it's been.

This is the first time I've seen winter span five months. It began in November with bitter cold air and lasted until now.

Homes sustained roof damage from ice buildup. Some homeowners complained of interior water damage. On top of that, home heating costs have skyrocketed.

Plus, there were more icy roads and chain-reaction traffic accidents this winter than any time in recent memory.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lately I've been involved in discussions about the truth.

And that's a good thing, because it's one of my favorite topics.

The truth isn't always clear. And truth can be different things to different people. What is deemed an absolute to one might be false to another.

Issues and facts can be open to interpretation. Even the skinniest pancake has two sides.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My best friend since grade school passed away.

Tom Shea and I hadn't seen much of each other in a long time. But we'd been friends for 53 years.

We met at North Ward Elementary. We were part of the boomer generation. Class sizes were so large that our small town school district had no place to put some of us.

Because of that fact, Tom and I, and others, experienced a patchwork of educational obstacles. Within five years, we were bounced around to five different buildings and environments, some with no space for us.