Most of my friends know that I once was a “printer’s devil,” which is a term identifying an apprentice during the “hot type” era.Dean at press.JPG

In short, I set metal type by hand and on a Linotype and fed sheets of paper into the jaws of a snapping metal press in a print shop.

Today, I operate a computer in a near-noiseless world with a cup of coffee close at hand.

I now live in what is called the “cold type” era, which means that we no longer have to melt lead to create type for use in printing.

I love both eras.

My printing career began while I was in junior high school. I learned about the “hell box” where cast-off metal was trashed and about “type lice,” which dirtied my Sunday-go-to-church white shirt. All for ten cents an hour, which was BIG money seven decades ago.

Granted, I could have injured or lost a hand in a press or been overcome by fumes while casting long slugs of metal called “pigs” for use on the Linotype and Intertype. Later, I spent a summer in Maumee, Ohio, learning how to operate those machines.

Meanwhile, in 1942 I joined a national organization of amateur journalists who wrote stories, essays and editorials and printed them in hobby journals that were circulated monthly to a couple hundred American Amateur Press Association members.

This was great stuff for a boy who had his eye on a journalism career and who eventually became a newspaper reporter and editor. During the “hot” type era, I took photographs with a Speed Graphic, which was a bit larger than a lunch bucket. Of course, Continue reading HOBBYIST DOESN’T REGRET ‘HOT’ TO ‘COLD’ ERA MOVE


The problem with retirement is that you no longer enjoy a vacation and often seldom get a day off.

My wife and I encountered that problem after each of my three retirements and eventually solved the problem by what we call “My Day.”

First the problem:

Most of us become too busy. Happens whether we’re pushing a career, rearing a family or
thretiring. We often find we don’t have enough time to accomplish the things on our calendars.

If you are rearing a family, you have no “time off” because you’re feeding children, taking them to doctors and dentists, taking them to and from school, to music lessons, to athletic practices and games, etc., etc., etc.

Eventually, the nest is empty, but you have careers to tend and all types of personal,social and often community commitments to keep. But you can look forward to a vacation, which often really isn’t a vacation because it turns out to be stressful and exhausting.

Ah, but retirement is just around the corner. Nothing to do. Time for fun and games.



An inquiry from one of my former journalism students:

OK, Professor Rea, let’s put us in a classroom that’s studying the role of the media in man-pumping-fistthis current election. As one of your students, I’d like to know what you think of the media’s coverage of Trump. Do you think he’s being treated unfairly. Is media bias real or just in Trump’s imagination?

*            *            *

First, we should define what is meant by the media.

It no longer is limited to the only newspaper published in our town.

It no longer is the only radio or television station whose signal reaches our homes.

Today, the press encompasses the first two media forms. It also is joined by what is called “the new media,” which includes such tools as the web, Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, TV stations CNN and Fox News devote much of their broadcast time to the presidential election.

So, as you know, the media landscape has changed during the past few years. Continue reading QUESTION: IS TRUMP BEING TREATED FAIRLY BY MEDIA?


The “last person” assignment was one of the most popular among home-school writing students I taught a dozen or so years ago.

You probably are acquainted with the introductory line that goes like this: I thought I was the last person on earth, and then I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door (complete the sentence and the assignment).th-2

Most students were anxious to write the story because I placed no limits on era, place, character, etc. As you might guess, many of them wrote science fiction stories.

As I reflected on this topic recently, I wondered how I might introduce and develop the story? How would readers of this blog introduce their stories?

So, I invited several people to complete the introductory paragraph to a story they might write. Their submissions follow: Continue reading HOW WOULD YOU BEGIN YOUR ‘LAST PERSON’ STORY?



Coal stands as one of the most important issues facing voters who cast ballots in the November presidential election.

This fuel source may drive industry, heat homes and make significant contributions to the world’s economy.

It also kills and is one of the leading causes of what many in the scientific community refer to as climate change.

That is why the landmark Paris agreement on climate change is important to the world.

That agreement will become effective on Nov. 4, after being pushed past a key threshold Wednesday by a coalition of the world’s largest polluters and small island nations threatened by rising seas.

Burning coal has the worst health impact of any source of air pollution in China and caused more than 300,000 premature deaths there in 2013, according to Chinese and American researchers. Continue reading WATCH WHO’S BLOWING SMOKE WHEN YOU VOTE