Short Stories at Your Fingertips

February 26, 2018 – In the mood to read a short story by a classic American writer? Or perhaps discovering new short story authors is more your style.

Thanks to the vast resources on the Internet, you can have both 24/7. allows you to revisit many of the classics by Stephen Crane, Virginia Woolf, O. Henry, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Louisa May Alcott, James Joyce, and many more. You can even sign up and have the story of the day sent to your email box. What could be easier than that?

If discovering new stories is your thing, features short stories by authors trying to break into the business. The site publishes a new short story each day, with a catalog index if you want to peruse previously featured short stories. It feels good to support new writers and the huge range of topics the site features is fascinating.

If you’re a short story lover, you can’t lose.

How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop?

February 20, 2018 – If you’re a kid of a certain age, you probably remember the classic commercial from 1970 that dared to ask this important question. Most likely, you tried to figure out the answer yourself. I know I did, and I still think about it whenever I pop one of those suckers into my mouth. Unfortunately, I fail every time because the temptation to bite is too strong.

So, why I am reveling in my Tootsie Pop past? It just so happens that the Tootsie Roll is celebrating its 122nd birthday this week. America’s iconic sweet treat was first introduced in New York on February 23, 1896.

Since then, Tootsie Roll Industries has built an entire of a family of products around the Tootsie philosophy, including Andes mints, Charleston Chews, Double Bubble, Junior Mints, Razzles, Sugar Babies, and those luscious wax lips that turned into a strange sort of chewing gum. Just reviewing the content on their website is like a trip down memory lane.

And if you still want to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop and have failed at the experiment, check out this well-researched statistical data.

Do This Don’t Do That, Can’t You Read the Sign?

February 12, 2018 – Several years ago, I drove from the Atlanta airport to the Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia to attend a communications conference. During that dark, two-hour drive, I couldn’t see much around me, but the lack of traffic assured me I was driving along roads less traveled.

Along the way, I spotted a sign by the side of the road advertising “Ruby’s Beauty Shop and Prayer Chapel.” I chucked for a moment, then realized that in the middle of nowhere, it was probably convenient to bundle services like that. And I had to hand it to Ruby. She certainly got my attention. Where else in America could you get your haircut and then kneel for a quick prayer?

Four days later, on the way back to the airport in daylight, I noticed more signs. Driving through rural Georgia, it’s not uncommon to pass a Baptist Church every few miles, but the signs outside the churches advertising their services messages a little amusing and bit horrifying:

Forgive your enemies – it messes with their heads.

Honk if you love Jesus; text while driving if you want to meet him.

Staying in bed shouting, Oh God! does not constitute going to church. (Still can’t believe this one!)

We’re Baptist. No Protestant. (I thought churches were supposed to welcome everyone.)

Christmas: Easier to spell than Hanukkah.

If evolution is true, why help the poor? (I’m not even sure I get this one.)

Don’t let your worries kill you. Let the church help.

Read the Bible – it will scare the hell out of you.

Google can’t satisfy every search.

God answers knee-mail.

Since that day, I’ve noticed that this practice isn’t restricted to Southern Baptists Churches on the back roads of Georgia. Churches in Philadelphia and it surrounding suburbs use clever messaging techniques to garner attention, as well. I saw one last week outside of a Catholic Church that read:

I will raise you up on Eagles wings… Go Eagles! (They played in the Super Bowl that weekend).

Since church attendance his dropping, I suppose these clever signs are an attempt to draw people back, and it may be working. A recent Gallup poll actually recorded small upticks in attendance over the past two years. Who knew?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

February 2, 2018 — This week’s photo challenge is “Beloved“.

When I think of what is beloved in my life, my son comes to mind. However, he doesn’t care for getting his photo taken, so it’s rare that I capture him with the camera.

But I also love Philadelphia. This is especially true now since the Eagles are playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, and there are many stories circulating the media — mostly exaggerated — that Philly is a trashy city filled with subhuman fans. That’s not the city that I know and love…

Philadelphia’s majestic City Hall.
The top of Independence Hall on a clear day.
Downtown’s skyline.
Philly’s Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in the country.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art.