Oops, I did it again

No sense having a foot if you can’t stick it in your mouth once in a while. Case in point, I was visiting my daughter at her home in Austin, Texas, several months ago when the conversation turned to technology and I said, “I cannot figure out why anyone needs a voice activated device in a home to do things like put on the stereo or add an item to a grocery list. How lazy can people get?” Her response? “Hey Google, turn on the dining room light.” And the dining room light came on. “Okay,” I said, “it’s okay… Continue Reading

Dream job? Well, yes, but …

Classes start Monday at the community college and I’m a little concerned. I have yet to have my traditional back-to-school nightmare. It’s always the same. I am standing in the atrium of the Advanced Technology Center at Luzerne County Community College where I have taught for the past 27 years. On the wall is a clock at least 12 feet in diameter. It goes from floor to ceiling. According to the clock I have 45 minutes before my first class. I turn away for a second and then look back only to see I am now ten minutes late. Dreams… Continue Reading

Little sultan hats and bolognese sauce

For a day that started out with me ripping up my knee on a tennis court, Thursday turned out pretty spectacular. It was my “good” knee too. About six weeks ago I went to Ernie G’s bar in Avoca to hear my pals Tony Alu and Dave Grundman play their guitars and sing and when I slid up on the bar stool I felt this ripple across my knee. It didn’t hurt until I started to walk to my car about an hour later. The orthopedic guy figured it might be a torn meniscus. I’m not sure, but something tells… Continue Reading

Sorry, but “they” is not singular

State Rep. Michael Carroll and I have many things in common (wish a head of thick, wavy hair were one) but none may be greater than our mutual love of the English language, and mutual disgust at the abuse of it. Mike enjoys writing and occasionally asks me for an opinion on something he’s penned. He’s looking for my judgment on his writing style and grammar more than my view on the content. Rarely do I find anything to mention. Mike simply does not make grammatical errors. One time, however, I suggested he might try something to make his writing… Continue Reading

If this isn’t fun, we’re doing something wrong

A former student once described my teaching style as “playful.” “I’ll take that,” I said. Those two sentences are from a blog of two years ago. I wrote it the day before I was to call Bingo at the St. John the Evangelist Parish Bazaar in Pittston. That’s the same place I find myself again today, so I am liberally borrowing from that old blog. Of all the teachings of Christ, I wrote, one of my favorites is “be childlike.” To me that means don’t lose your innocence, don’t lose your sense of curiosity, expect good things to happen, approach… Continue Reading

Lucy paints Ray

I didn’t write about Ray McGraw when he died six weeks ago. I’m fixing that now. Thanks to Lucy Shemo. Lucy did write about Ray. In a rambling essay the likes of which she likes to churn out ever now and again and sometimes sends to me. Ray was part of her latest. Lucy had no idea Ray and I were friends. Had no idea the pain of his death still lingers. She was just assessing where she is in life now that she’s graduated from the community college and facing her upcoming 20th birthday along with the rest of… Continue Reading

Phyllis … finally

Finally caught the Phyllis Hopkins Electric Trio Wednesday night and now I know what I’ve been missing. She’s awesome. The scene was World of Brew on Laurel Street and part of the attraction was Gene Philbin’s “Peculiar Culinary” food truck parked outside. Sweet way to spend a summer evening. Shame on me for not becoming familiar with Phyllis Hopkins long ago. I kept hearing about her but just never had an opportunity to discover what the big fuss was all about. Now I know. I found out her dad is John Hopkins, legendary local high school basketball coach. Although I… Continue Reading

On line or in line?

When their mom took our kids to live in New Jersey following our divorce in 1995 my greatest regret was that they would soon be standing “on” line instead of “in” line. Okay, it wasn’t my greatest regret. But I did dread the first time I’d hear them say that ridiculous thing, which I knew they would. Everyone in New Jersey and New York stands “on” line, as though there were a line drawn on the ground and to be “in” that line you had to stand “on” that line. I never got it and I still don’t. What prompted… Continue Reading