Author: Norbert Rug

Norbert Rug

Norb is an independent journalist and blogger from Lockport. His work has been published in over 50 periodicals and websites including the Buffalo News, Lockport Union Sun and Journal, Niagara Falls Gazette, the East Niagara Post, The Lockport Star, The North Tonawanda Extra, the Niagara Reporter, and Artvoice. His work has been published on Press Reader, Good Cookery, the National association for Home Care and Hospice, and Konitono. , in over 7 countries and has been translated in at least 5 languages.

I remember growing up in Buffalo in the 50’s. We had the junkman who would drive down the street in his beat up truck. He would collect your scrap metal to sell at the junk yard. The local cobbler would repair your shoes if the soles wore out or heel broke off. On garbage day, they would send a man ahead of the truck to bring our can to the curb. Then after it was emptied another man would take it back into the yard. The milk man used to deliver to your house. I can still remember the rattle…

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Maybe it’s much too early in the game. Ah, but I thought I’d ask you just the same. What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s eve? -Ella Fitzgerald, 1960 New Year’s Day has always been the time of getting rid of the old and embracing the new. Traditionally, at our house, we take down the Christmas decorations on New Year’s Day. We take down the tree that has graced our living room since shortly after Thanksgiving. The glass snowmen, the Frank Lloyd Wright ornaments, the Swarovski Christmas Ornaments and the ornaments the kids made out of toilet paper rolls…

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I have written about family traditions before, this time I would like to share a few Christmas traditions from my past and a few that my children, grandchildren and I practice today. My memories of Christmas as a young boy took place at 496 Berkshire Avenue, Buffalo. About a week before Christmas, we would go shopping for a tree. It had to be a long needle fir tree and it had to be symmetrical without any bare spots, nothing else would do. We would sometimes have to go to several Christmas tree lots that popped up on every vacant piece…

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With all the thrilling things happening in Western New York all year, you will never run out of things to do. From the Taste of Buffalo which is the largest two-day food festival in the United States, Art Festivals, Garden Walks, and the National Buffalo Wing Festival, to free outdoor concerts and ethnic food celebrations, our night life and festivals bring visitors to our area from all over the world. Speaking of night life, last call in Buffalo bars is 4 a.m. and I’ve closed my share of bars over the years. Yes, Western New Yorkers know a thing or…

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“As close to home as your VCR”: Remote Control (Movie) (1988). As I sit here typing I look over at my end table and see four remotes. I also have a cordless phone there. It is not unusual for me to grab the wrong remote to try to change the station or even to grab a remote when the phone is ringing and try to answer it. I have on occasion pushed the buttons on the phone when I wanted to change channels, wondering why the damn thing isn’t working. This happens occasionally when I’m “resting my eyes” after lunch…

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My name is Norb and I’m a gambler. (Muted response, Hi Norb.) I don’t bet on the ponies or play poker. I don’t play the over/under on sports games but I gamble every day. When my alarm goes off, and, at seventy, when I swing my legs over the edge of my bed, I gamble on the fact that when I stand up, my legs won’t collapse. I’ve been to the hospital a few times when I “melted” as I call it. I don’t fall, just slowly collapse to the ground because my legs can’t support me. Once I am…

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It was a cold day in the 60’s that I started a 4 year journey that would change my life forever. I started out a boy and when I was done, I had become a man. I boarded a bus for Great Lakes, Michigan. There I would spend months learning to march, and how to handle a rifle. Yes, I was at Navy Boot Camp. This was the longest period of time I had ever spent away from my friends and family and it prepared me for even longer stretches I would have to spend away from them. I was…

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For ages, books, magazines and newspapers, were revered for the enormous amount of information they contained. I can remember looking things up in the Encyclopedia Britannica when I was young. One summer I set the goal of reading everything that was in the encyclopedia. I’m pretty sure I never got through the second volume. In 2012, the company announced that the 2010 edition would be the last printed version. However, they were being replaced by their electronic “copies”. Reference books of all types are feeling the pinch caused by technology and the internet, from atlases to dictionaries to thesauruses. I…

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They start early in the morning. A sound wakes me up from a sound sleep and I’m still in a fog. I don’t remember setting my alarm clock for this early in the morning and I slap the top of it several times. The ringing doesn’t stop though. At that point I realize it isn’t my alarm clock at all but the phone on my wife’s nightstand. I roll over and reach for it. In the process I knock her two lotions, her alarm clock and the television remote to the floor. I stare bleary eyed at the display and…

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Buffalo winters could destroy your budget, because as the temperature goes down, it becomes more costly to heat your home. The good news is that you can reduce the monetary effect of cold weather by making a number of comparatively trouble-free changes. Some small suggestions follow that could result in substantial savings. Turn your thermostat down if you can tolerate a lower temperature. Quite possibly this is the most important thing you can do. By reducing the difference between the inside and the outside temperature you decrease the load you place on your furnace. If you add a layer of…

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