Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Under My Hat

Saturday, October 18, 2014

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 the same moniker. They were caught and sentenced for murder, but justice can never be served.

Nicknames are popular, especially in our area. I did an informal, unscientific survey and asked people if they had a nickname. Virtually every person said yes. Some said they also were called names.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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, canned fruit and handmade quilts.

But while we're doing it, we eat things totally unnatural.

I just had my annual visit to the Bloomsburg Fair and a taste of deep-fried heaven and deep-fried Hades.

Deep-fried pickles? Yuk.

Another popular item this year was the deep-fried Oreo. Not bad at all.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

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 recently had a bankruptcy auction. It was the third casino to close this year. The Atlantic Club closed in January, and Showboat closed in August. Another, Trump Plaza, was set to close this week.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I had a chance to visit the hills of home and catch a glimpse of the family homestead.

The hills aren't far away. Yet it seems I rarely get the opportunity to see them.

But a few weeks ago, my hobby afforded me that chance. I was asked to ride my antique highwheel in Slatington's sesquicentennial parade. It was fun and led to a day of memories.

Slatington is just across the river from Palmerton and family roots.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Autumn begins one month from now and I can't wait.

For me, it's all about the "F" words foliage, football and flea markets.

Truth is, I really don't mind leaving summer behind. Summer isn't special to me.

But fall brings the weather, sports and activity I relish.

Years ago, there was a lighthearted tune that encouraged us to head for the hills or go swimming because "It's summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime."

People rush to the shore in droves. But leave me out of it.

I've never been into shore worship, suntans or ocean culture.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

You're never too old to serve your country, even if you were born between 1893 and 1897.

If you're in that age range, Uncle Sam wants you to register for the draft.


Here's how it happened.

In June, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation transferred nearly 400,000 records to the U.S. Selective Service.

Apparently, a clerk failed to select the correct century.

So instead of getting names and address of males born between 1993 and 1997, PennDOT came up with men born a century earlier.

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.