Friday, May 29, 2015


Saturday, September 8, 2012
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Giuseppe Puddu's wood-fired brick pizza oven on wheels is parked beside his L'antico Caffé Italian cafe in the Penn Forest Township suburb of Jim Thorpe.

A wood-fired brick pizza oven on wheels?

Why would anyone build a wood-fired brick pizza oven on wheels?

This was the question put to Giuseppe Puddu who built the wood-fired brick pizza oven on wheels that is parked besides his L'antico Caffé Italian cafe on Rt. 903 at 4 Danner Road in the Penn Forest Township suburb of Jim Thorpe.

Saturday, August 25, 2012
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Approaching Sand Island in Bethlehem. Larry Rafes completes the first half day of his 200-mile odyssey from Allentown to Cape May to raise organ donor awareness.

Larry Rafes is on the journey of a lifetime. A journey he never expected to make. An odyssey he hopes will serve as an inspiration to others.

Just 18 months ago, Rafes could hardly walk or even breathe. His kidneys were failing and every day that he waited for his name to be called for a transplant seemed longer than 24 hours.

Rafes received a kidney transplant at Allentown Hospital, and after several months of recovery, felt so healthy and hearty that he wanted to give something back.

Saturday, August 18, 2012
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS A soldier with the Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment marches past the Tomb of the Unknowns, located in the center of the cemetery. The soldiers, who guard the tomb 24 hours a day, routinely perform a Changing of the Guards ceremony at the Tomb.

Serving as the most hallowed burial ground of our Nation's fallen, the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia honors those men and woman who have served our nation and their families by providing a sense of beauty, patriotic respect and peace.

Arlington serves as a final resting place for over 300,000 American military servicemen or women. This total does not include veterans who've not been found. Those people are represented by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in the center of the cemetery.

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Brandon Taylor

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora.

When are we going to learn?

Reading about the recent tragedy in Colorado, the story of a man gone mad and a defenseless crowd of theater-goers forced to play witness to their own horror film, was saddening, depressing. But it wasn't surprising.

Saturday, July 21, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
PHOTOS BY BRANDON TAYLOR Built between 950 and 1050 A.D. by the Chandela, the ruling clan of much of the central jungles of India, the temples showcase some of the most intricate stone carvings and statues in the world.

(This is the sixth in a series of columns on Brandon Taylor's recent trip to India.)

Sex sells. It sells very well. For the relatively sleepy and secluded town of Khajuraho in central India, sex drives the tourist industry, just not in the same way that it lures many an individual to places like Las Vegas. In Khajuraho, it's the heavily advertised erotic statues and "sex temples" that draw in crowds. From across the globe, people come to ogle at, blush over and take photos of the busty carvings of bodacious, scantily clad sandstone babes and bros.

Saturday, May 26, 2012
The bell-shaped curve implies that there is a large normal toward the middle and a lesser amount toward the outliers. But normal is abnormal, according to The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Performance, a paper published in Personnel Psychology by Ernest O'Boyle Jr. and Herman Aguinis.

Twenty-five years ago, when my wife was studying for her secondary education certificate at Kutztown University, she was required to take a class on how to grade students using the bell-shaped curve.

She asked the instructor, "Why do we have to curve our grades? If the grades were so poor, wouldn't that imply either the students were not learning, the students were not working hard, the test was not testing what it should, or the teacher is not doing a good job. I did not get a satisfactory answer."

Saturday, April 28, 2012
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Judy Greig on the soprano ukulele and Sy Kipp on the baritone ukulele form the duet, SyanI. SyanI debuted last Saturday at the Groovy Uke benefit concert.

Something old, something new.

That just about sums up SyanI, a fledgling Lehighton-based ukulele duo, formed of something new two retired oldies-but-goodies who are reblooming their Flower Power 60's coming-of-age musical lifestyle and something old, a 60's came-of-age senior lifestyle that partners, Judy Greig and Sy Kipp, like to call "geezer love."

Judy coined the duet's name SyanI, pronounced Sy-an-I, to reflect their partnership of "Sy" (Kipp), "and "I" (Greig) cute, although a tricky play on words.

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Brandon Taylor/TIMES NEWS Examples of Chinglish are many on a typical Beijing restaurant menu. The chicken dish is really a stew made with free-range chinkens. "Explosive balls" are really just meat balls.

The life abroad is filled with its inconveniences. Language barriers, cultural differences and lack of proper sandwiches make day-to-day living a bit more arduous than it would be at home. But this lifestyle does have its little pleasures.

For me, it's that wonderful Chinese interpretation of the English language - what we expats call Chinglish. It's basically the result of literal translations of Chinese characters into English text.

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Brandon Taylor/TIMES NEWS An old tower and its surrounding older neighborhood are threatened by development in a Beijing gone mad for change. Note the smog caused by an over abundance of cars clogging city streets.

For the better part of those angst-filled teenage years and during summers spent at home in Pennsylvania's Coal Region, between college years, I found myself saying, "God, I can't wait to get out of Tamaqua."

Now, having lived in China for three years among Beijing's nearly 20 million people, three million autos and its domineering buildings and dirty streets, the hypocrite in me now says, "God, I can't wait to go home," not indefinitely, but certainly as a short respite from my busy city life.