Saturday, July 12, 2014

Under My Hat

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Somewhere at the Philadelphia Naval Yards and in the highest state government office, millions of dollars are being haggled in private negotiations.

But it's not the Department of Defense working on contracts for some sort of Stealth fighter jet.

Instead, it's the Pennsylvania governor's office trying for a potential bail out of donuts and lemon pies.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's surely not the biggest. And it might not be the prettiest. It's not the most historically accurate holiday tree, either.

It doesn't even have traditional Christmas colors. But it's bright, very bright.

To me, it seems brighter than ever because it's my first holiday tree in a decade.

My Christmas tree tradition came to a halt ten years ago. It happened when death came to visit during Christmas season 2000. Ever since, I've come to understand how Christmas can be a dark time for many who've lost the bright candles in their lives. I can relate.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

If you're a Boomer, you remember the phrase: "Let your fingers do the walking."

It simply meant that you could save time and energy by looking up shop numbers in the Yellow Pages. You could give stores a call instead of walking to each business to discuss your needs.

Today, the very existence of phone books is threatened now that phone companies are phasing out the white pages.

Phone companies say the white pages are unnecessary because people now use the Internet to look up phone numbers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The regular TIMES NEWS Saturday feature called "It's the Reader's Turn" is unpredictable from every angle.

Here's how it works.

Editor Bob Urban comes up with a timely question each week and a different writer goes out into the public to ask five people for a response. We never know what the question will be and we certainly never know how the responses will turn out.

The questions always provide insight into what the public is thinking. In a way, it's an easy question for people to answer because there are no wrong responses.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

People across America are talking about The Fix, or its official name, the Patriotic Retirement Plan.

It's not something I've heard much about in our area, but it's a hot topic of discussion in other places.

The Fix is a proposed answer to the big question of how to fix the American economy.

The answer didn't come from one of Obama's high priced economic advisors. And it didn't come from a professor of economics.

Instead, the answer came from a newspaper reader in Florida. I'm not sure, but he's probably a Baby Boomer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Someone once asked: "When it comes to doing newspaper work, what is the most difficult thing to write?"

The answer is easy, I said. "Quite often, the most difficult thing to write is the truth."

He gave me an odd look, as if to suggest that the truth should be the easiest thing to write.

I explained that writing the truth can be the most difficult for many reasons.

One reason is that the truth isn't necessarily clear; we don't always know what the truth is. The second reason is that people often don't want to know the truth.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nothing stands for BS better than biosolids, a made-up, friendly-sounding name for toxic mud.

Biosolids are the byproduct of sewage treatment. The legal term for this residue is sludge.

But sludge isn't a pleasant sounding name and so a government agency came up with the very pretty name biosolids.

It's lethal lipstick being put on a poison pig.

Sludge contains bacteria, viruses and heavy metals. And like any toxic waste, industry doesn't know where to dump it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I've been on a walking kick to lose weight.

It seems to be working. It'd work much better if I'd stay away from fruit pies, but treats are important. Walking is good for the health, but too much of a good thing becomes bad. When I tried walking 10 miles, I developed blisters on my feet. So I came to the conclusion that too much exercise isn't a good thing. Or course, too much pie isn't a good thing either.

And so I've learned to balance walking with eating pie. I've developed my own system of rewards. Each person needs to figure out what works best.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The 2010 U. S. Census likely will show that Pennsylvania has over two million more people than it did in 1950.

But you'd never know it by the attendance at public events.

Church festivals and civic celebrations don't draw the crowds they once did. In the 1950s, special events were packed. But that's not the case today.

The trend is seen nationally, too.

According to the folks at NASCAR, attendance has dropped in 14 of the first 19 races of the season. NASCAR figures to sell one million fewer tickets this year than in 2003.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Writers strive to find the most accurate way to tell stories and describe things. That's our job.

We use words as our basic tools, just like mechanics use wrenches.

We build sentences to convey thoughts, just like chemists concoct formulas.

We come up with words and phrases and string them together in ways we hope will work.

It's both an art and a science and not always easy. The art can be abstract and the science not exact.

Add to that our own limitations and you can see why mistakes happen.