Say what?

I was chatting with someone the other day about a possible interview for a column. “I’ll give you a call,” I said. “Are you in the book?” Her college-aged daughter cracked up. “You say that too?” she exclaimed. “My mom always says that.” At first I was going to ask her “Say what?” but then it hit me. The book, as in the phone book, only means something to people my age. Not only do young people not have phone books, most of them don’t have phones. Well, not “land lines” anyway, as they refer to the contraptions sitting in… Continue Reading

I’m a leg man, but …

If you live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and even if you don’t, you probably have heard something in recent days about Wyoming Area High School, the Wyoming Area 2017 commencement, and the 2017 class president, Peter Butera. If not, here’s a brief synopsis. During his remarks at the WA commencement, Butera went “off script” and made some suggestions at how the administrators at Wyoming Area can better relate to the students. Well, he tried to. Once the principal, seated next to the podium, realized what Butera was up to, he had the mic turned off and told Butera to sit down.… Continue Reading

Agnes changed everything

The 45th anniversary today of the flood of 1972 caused by Tropical Storm Agnes brings scores of memories. I was 22 years old and working in the newspaper field then. A highlight for me was when President Richard Nixon visited the flood damage a week or so later and I was following his motorcade on Wyoming Avenue in Forty Fort when he spotted a bride and groom coming out of a church and ordered his driver to stop. “Holy (you know what), he’s going to kiss the bride,” I said aloud to myself while grabbing my Leica, jumping out of… Continue Reading

This ‘Force’ is definitely with me

It’s a moment my nephew Joey and I have been waiting for for almost a year. Turns out we weren’t alone. The moment is the release of the new Don Winslow book “The Force.” It hit bookstores Wednesday morning, June 20. Joey was at the register at the Barnes & Noble at Arena Hub in Wilkes-Barre with two copies (one for him, one for me) at 9 a.m. and the clerk says, “I’ve sold nine copies of this book already today.” We’re weren’t surprised. Joey, who is 35 and would much prefer we call him Joe but old habits die… Continue Reading

Rich is as rich does

It had the makings of idle chit-chat, the kind of small talk you may or may not engage in at the gym when you make eye contact with a total stranger. Y’know, one of those “how ya doin’?” things. Or perhaps “wazzup” for those under 30. Sometimes a simple nod is sufficient. But not this day. No, this day my “how ya doin’?” was met with, “Lousy, I didn’t win the lottery last night.” “Oh,” I said, wishing as the word came out of my mouth I had opted for the nod. “I don’t even buy tickets.” “Almost 500 million,”… Continue Reading

An old memory of Old Glory

(Note: Most of this blog appeared as a a column in Greater Pittston Progress on June 14, 2015.) I don’t recall how I knew of the John Greenleaf Whittier poem Barbara Frietchie in June of 1967, after all there was no such thing as Google then, but I do recall using its two most memorable lines in my graduation speech: “Shoot if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country’s flag,” she said. My speech, titled “Let Freedom Ring,” was about Patriotism. I delivered it at the Masonic Temple (now Scranton Cultural Center) in Scranton 50 years ago… Continue Reading

The foremost proponent of posnology

No, John Markarian said, he did not want to say a few words at his 100th birthday party. Not that he is incapable. He still has a strong, clear voice and a very sharp mind. He just thought it unnecessary. Until the guests started shouting, “Speech! Speech!” That was right after we sang Happy Birthday. John acquiesced and soon had the gathering laughing with his boyish (yes, even at 100) charm and self-deprecating humor. But most of his remarks centered on an explanation of the term “posnology.” That was my fault, or perhaps my wife’s. She had suggested I make… Continue Reading

June 6 defines me

A few years ago I read a book called “Not Quite What I Was Planning.” It was based on asking people, both famous and not, to write their autobiographies, their life stories, in just six words. The title was one of the responses. I’ve often wondered what six words I would pick to define my life. I keep coming up with these: My kids made all the difference. It’s true. Having children has influenced every decision I have made for the past 34 years. It began on June 6, 1983. That’s when my daughter Greta came into my world. Of… Continue Reading

The best things in life are free?

The term “corporate world” usually conjures up images of executives spending all morning examining spread sheets for ways to make more money and then treating themselves to a three-martini lunch. Deserved or not, the label “empty suit” springs to mind. But these days I do not think of the corporate world as a bunch of empty suits as much as a bunch of empty seats. See, I am watching quite a bit of the French Open tennis tournament on TV and, during the early rounds at least, there are so many empty seats in the stands one might think no… Continue Reading