The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Columnists

December 8, 2013

MICHELE M. BENDER | Shop until you drop

NANTY GLO — Is it my imagination, or have advertisers dialed back the Christmas hype this season?

Shaq’s peddling pain meds, Gold Bond everything and Buicks, while Brooke pitches milk, Foster Grants, Lazy Boys and Latisse (“Miracle Gro” for eyelashes), but that’s pretty routine.

K-Mart shows a couple suffering uncontrollable spasms. Neighbors explain they’re “gifting out.” They’re also insulting everybody’s intelligence.

The Miley Cyrus Obscenity Prize goes to “Joe Boxer Underwear.” Six young men sporting tuxedo tops, Santa hats and boxer underwear equipped with bells, gyrate to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

Advertisers drag out the old reliable stuff when shoppers approach desperation. Only folks in late stages of agitation and frenzy would purchase Clappers, Snuggies (blankets with sleeves and hoods, ideal for cult members), chia pets or the singing fish mounted on his wooden plaque.

Have you seen the ad for the colorful, motion-sensitive talking plastic parrot on his gold perch? The “voice-over” points out his “advantages” too enthusiastically ... actually scary. “No food to buy,” says the voice. “No water, no mess, no cage to clean. Enjoy your pet effortlessly.”

A STEPFORD PARROT!!  Have mercy!

Readers, do you have a senior on your list? Let me, for once, seriously, help with gift ideas!

1. Gripper sox. Readily available, low-priced grips keep seniors snug and safe.

2. Old Brooklyn Lantern. Rarely costing more than $15, this battery-operated gizmo requires no oil, wick, or flame. (I have two!)

3. A copier. We don’t need a multi-tasking unit that scans, faxes, prints and makes breakfast. A simple copier will help us geezers preserve documents, receipts, instructions, RXs and more. An actual copy of something is awesome to prove YOU are not some senile wingnut.

4. A Trac Fone. I have a “landline” and a cell, but my Trac Fone is strictly for emergencies. The phone itself is usually under $20. And, yes, you have to purchase time cards three or four times a year to keep it active.

Consider the alternative: a pricey “life-saver” system. A Trac hour is $20. Three or four times a year adds up to maybe $80. And you only buy the phone once. My gal pal Denice gave me mine eight years ago. It’s always in my walker bag, or in one of those inconspicuous “wristlets” that are popping up everywhere. Men can easily hook one to a belt or pocket.

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Local Columnists
  • Local Columnists

    Robin L. Quillon
    Chip Minemyer
    Tom Lavis
    Mike Mastovich
    Cory Isenberg
    Eric Knopsnyder
    Ralph Couey
    Zachary Hubbard
    Michele Bender
    Bill Eggert
    David Knepper

    William Lloyd

    July 6, 2010

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Curtis, Shawn SHAWN CURTIS | Pirates win has familiar feel

    As much as all the fuzzy feelings of the 2013 season came to an end when Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano fired a first-pitch strike to Emilio Bonifacio at 1:14 p.m. on Monday afternoon at PNC Park, the 1-0 win took the shape that many Pittsburgh wins did a season ago.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eric Knopsnyder ERIC KNOPSNYDER | A fresh take on funnies

    Did you notice some funny business in our comics pages recently?
    Many of you did and contacted the newsroom to ask why “Doonesbury” and “For Better or For Worse” were no longer appearing in our publication.
    There’s a simple explanation: They are no longer being produced.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Basketball officials never win

    Today’s column bounces from local politics to basketball after two previous articles concentrated on Jesse Topper’s successful launch into a new career as a state representative.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Michele Mikesic Bender | Playing the name game

    So, did you decide on the ‘popcorn dress’  for the church dinner?” asked Judi, my Communion Lady.
    “No, I think the ‘hydrangea dress’ might be better,’’ I answered.
    “You name your clothes?” Denise’s jaw dropped.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Bill Eggert | A heartfelt message of thanks

    February is the month the medical community sets aside for matters related to heart health. That makes sense, given that Valentine’s Day is right in the middle of the month. So it was ironic that I found myself dealing with the matter of the heart in a serious way this month.
    This column is a valentine to the staff of the Conemaugh Health System.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Answering the call, wherever it leads

    My last column dwelled extensively on the qualifications of Jesse Topper, the multitalented, highly-respected and popular former executive minister at Bedford Methodist Church.
    Left unanswered was the question “why” – why did the newly-elected state representive choose to turn away from what many believed was his destiny to be an ordained pastor?

    February 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL: Election win a loss for church

    Folks at Bedford United Methodist Church had a difficult decision to make at Tuesday’s special election to determine the successor to the late state Rep. Dick Hess.
    It was all about wanting the best for Republican candidate Jesse Topper but not wanting to deal with the likelihood of his leaving his church position for an opportunity that is far different from what he is so ably doing.

    January 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Bill Eggert: Elvis remains the King

    Last week we marked the birthday of an American original: the late Elvis Presley.
    Jan. 8, 2015, will mark his 80th birthday.
    This is hard to wrap our minds around given Elvis always seems to remain forever young, frozen in time.

    January 11, 2014 1 Photo


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