My Dr. Cox

“A slip of a man, even if you could straighten the curve of aging in his spine,” is how the newspaper writer described Harold Cox and my immediate thought was, “That’s not the Dr. Cox I remember.” This one, today’s Dr. Harold Cox, was being honored by Wilkes University with a building named in his honor. The newspaper article said he is 84 years old. That explains it. My Dr. Cox is 36 years old. And no “slip of a man.” When he first strode into my history class in September of 1967 at then-Wilkes College, Dr. Cox looked seven… Continue Reading

This ‘Badlee’ is a goodie

There was a buzz at Tony’s Wine Cellar. A Bret Alexander buzz. “Bret Alexander’s here,” owner Victor Guiliano said the moment he saw me. “Bret Alexander’s here,” Eddie Appnel said a few minutes later. “Bret Alexander’s here,” said another. And another. The occasion a week ago was the first anniversary of a non-so-well-kept secret: the Wednesday night open mic jam sessions at the Wine Cellar. My friend Jack Smiles heard about it from Appnel and asked if I’d like to go along. Jack said he was going to write something for Pittston Progress, so watch for that this Sunday or… Continue Reading

Father’s Day tradition continues Sunday

It was such a simple thing, really, but still one of the most memorable days of my life as a small town newspaper guy. I tend to describe myself as a “newspaper guy” rather than a journalist, by the way, because the word journalism seems so lofty, so much more sophisticated, so much more, well, important, than the things I’ve written about for close to 50 years now. I consider myself a story teller, no more, no less. It was a summer afternoon ten years ago. An old associate, soon to become dear friend, reached out to me. Jan Lokuta,… Continue Reading

Never too old for sax

We were so clever following the Michael Bolton concert last Saturday at Mohegan Sun. Instead of battling a throng of people at the parking valet station, we sidled over to the charming little Elixir bar to unwind over a cocktail. By the time we stepped out of the hotel to wait for our car, the crowd had thinned considerably. Parked on the sidewalk was a Bentley. When you drive a Bentley you don’t hand the keys to the parking attendant, I suppose. Walking toward the Bentley was someone I recognized, the saxophone player in Michael Bolton’s band. He looked at… Continue Reading

Simple (?) math

I was a member of the first graduating class of Pittston Area High School. The year was 1967. Subtract 1967 from 2015 and you get 48. Simple enough. So why did the programs at Wednesday night’s graduation proclaim it as the 49th Commencement of Pittston Area High School? Was it a typo? At first blush, one might say yes. But it actually was the 49th Pittston Area Commencement. How so? Well, it comes down to mathematics, simple mathematics at that. And it points to a mistake most of us are prone to make. See, basic subtraction does not apply when… Continue Reading

98, and counting

If you’re going to be 98, be 98 the way John Markarian is 98. Alas, we have no control over that. But, oh, if we did. John Markarian turned 98 on June 7. He planned to play golf the next day but the weatherman did not cooperate. That’s okay, there’ll be other days of golf. Lots of ’em. One of his gifts at his party, despite the emphatic “no gifts” on the invitation, was a picture of John and a good friend posed atop Campbell’s Ledge, the Susquehanna River and a portion of Wyoming Valley visible far below them. It… Continue Reading

With vacation time here

My measure of a pizza is how the leftovers hold up cold next next morning. Some mighty fine pizzas hot out of the oven just don’t have it the next day. My measure of a book is how it makes time disappear. If I’m late for an appointment because I wound up reading for two hours when it only seemed like one, well, that’s a good read. My measure of a movie is am I thinking about it the day after. Is it on my mind the minute I open my eyes in the morning? And, crude as it may… Continue Reading

Ignore the critics, see San Andreas

Big, loud and dumb, one critic called the movie San Andreas. Nothing but a series of computer generated special effects, harped another. Don’t waste your money, said a third. Mary Kay and I went anyway. For one thing, it wasn’t our money. We had these Fandango cards my daughter sent us for Christmas. For another, we have history with the San Andreas Fault. We straddled it outside a desert zoo in Palm Springs in 1999. To get there we had to ignore a sign that warned of possible mountain lion encounters. “A 9.1 on the San Andreas is impossible,” U.S.… Continue Reading