Saturday, March 24, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Snow, the Park, and Other Things

Today, it's another shot from the recent snowstorm in Honesdale.  This is the pre dawn view of the park across from the Wayne County Courthouse.

When you look at a scene like this, it's difficult to believe that in just a few weeks, the grass will be green and the park will be filled with people enjoying warm, sunny days.

Friday, March 23, 2018


It's something that's been happening for the past several years-- the company forces us to change our computer passwords every few months.  I'm not complaining.  The importance of computer security cannot be underestimated.

My current password is nearing its expiration date, and I really can't think of a new one that's memorable and means something to me.  I know. First world, modern problems.

If that's my biggest current issue, then it's going to be a good week.

I still have two more days to figure it out.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Shocking Behavior

A few of us were in the office the other day, talking about the approaching snow storm.  Remember, this was when snowfall amounts were much higher than what the storm actually delivered.  Everyone was complaining about the potential for ton of snow on the first day of spring.  When it was my turn, I said I didn't care.


Are you kidding me?

The guy who complains about snow, all the time?

I explained that I was lucky.  The storm was hitting on one of my days off, and for a change, I had nothing scheduled.  No broker, no accountant, no auto service, no family medical appointments, nothing I needed from the store, no veterinarian., no dry cleaner, no place to go, 

I had the luxury of reading, surfing the internet, watching TV, and napping... and watching it snow.

Plus, while spring snows can get you down, remember that warm weather will soon be here.  It melts quickly.  The grass will return.

I do understand the struggles of people in parts of our area.  They were hit with quite a bit of snow.  I also understand the issues involved in being reporters and photographers during a big storm.

As it turned out, my area received only a few snow showers.  It melted when it hit the road.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The New Normal?

It happened with amazing and delightful swiftness.  A major storm in the forecast, and the order came down from Harrisburg-- get the big trucks off the roads.

As has been established here, trucking is a tough business and our economy depends upon it.  I feel sorry for truckers and their families affected by any current or future ban.  Many drivers don't make money unless the wheels are rolling.

On the other hand, trucks are awful in heavy snow.  A stuck truck clogging an interstate or the Pennsylvania Turnpike doesn't help anyone.  The state had to learn this the hard way.  After repeated problems over the years, leaving drivers and passengers stranded for hours, state government is finally getting smart.

Truck bans in big storms appears to be the new normal.  Let's see how it works.  I'm already inclined to say it's a great idea.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Gamble

It's part of my weekend morning producing ritual-- go to the lottery web sites to check the payouts.They are usually updated around 2 AM, unless there is a big jackpot.  That usually slows things down a bit.

I had to look twice Sunday morning, when I saw that a Powerball ticket worth $ 457 million was sold here in Pennsylvania.  That's news!  I put lottery stories in the "local news" segments of the broadcast.  The lottery is huge here in our area.  There is usually a line at the mini mart machines, even when the jackpots aren't enormous.

So, where do I fall in this whole thing?  I'm thrilled a Pennsylvanian knocked off a big Powerball jackpot, but it's not going to change my view.  If you enjoy playing the lottery, outstanding!  I wish you all the luck in the world.  It's just not for me.  The odds aren't very good, and I'd rather spend my money on other things.

I've tried the casinos a few times over the years.  It's really not all that difficult to break even on the slots.  However, after just a few minutes of pushing buttons, I get bored.  I really don't know how people can do it hour after hour.  Again, if you enjoy it, keep doing it.

Table games?  While I'm a smart person and know the rules, I still find them rather intimidating.  They're not for me.

It's odd because I loved dice games as a kid-- studying potential rolls, odds and possibilities.  I'm still fascinated, in a way, but my money stays in my pocket.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Behind My Back

Of course, this blog has been very personal during its 13.5 years of existence, but it was never really intimate.  That's by design.  Don't be offended.  There are some things that are simply none of your business, and I'm sure you have some of the same feelings with your personal life.

However, I have to share a couple of fast stories, both of which took place last week.  One incident was to my face.  The other was behind my back.

I received a phone call from an old friend, who was touched by a blog entry several months ago.  She called to let me know.  I nearly cried, and I could sense she was holding back some tears.  It was great to hear her voice again, even though it was under awful circumstances.  The phone call meant a lot to me.

On a happier note, one broadcaster told a friend that she thought I was a very good news writer.  It made my day.  In fact, it made my week, and then some.

I was taught a long time ago, that the best question is the direct one.  The best sentence is the simple one.

I was so lucky, in that I trained under some great radio news people.  You learned to write basic and fast.  I'm sorry there isn't much radio news around these days.  It was a great place for young people to get a feel for the business.

My first television station had a message board that popped up on the screen when you fired up your computer.  Apologies for telling this story again, but it's been a while.  On the message board, it said "TIGHT WRITING = TOP CASTS."  It is true for producers.  It is true for reporters.  It is true for anyone who site behind the keyboard.  The news director responsible for that message board remains a good friend, nearly thirty years after he hired me.  I am forever grateful.

Two of my coworkers back in the day should be singled out.  David DeCosmo and Kevin Jordan had different styles, but both wrote some great copy.  You clearly understood the story when their pieces were over, and that is an exceptionally high compliment.  David is retired.  We lost Kevin a few years ago.

I later worked for an assistant news director, who really didn't like me.  He suggested that when I finish a script, I should walk away for a few minutes and return to take another look.  Chances are, I could find a few words that could be removed to tighten up the script and make it move along a little faster.  He was right.

Unfortunately, the clock is not our friend.  The faster I get the script in to the hands of a video editor, the better it will be.  I write, take a proofreading look, and ship it off to a manager for approval.  There isn't much time to tinker.

There are times I get what I call "lyrical."  The story demands it on occasion.  No one does it better than Mike Stevens.  He puts words to the pictures.  Yet, the whole comes out greater than the sum of the parts.  I envy that.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Andy's Angles: Trees

This is another pre dawn photo from Tuesday morning's snow in Honesdale.

It wasn't a windy morning, so the heavy, wet snow stuck to everything.  Yes, we're anxious for spring, but you can't deny the snow improved just about everything it touched.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Courthouse

It's been established here that Honesdale is one of my favorite places.

This is the Wayne County Courthouse Tuesday morning.  the borough was hit with about four inches of snow.  This photo was taken just before sunrise.

Friday, March 16, 2018


By now, you've heard the news.  Toys R Us is closing nearly 800 stores.  It's over.

I have no reason to buy toys, and I haven't been in a Toys R Us store in many years.  I think I made a total of three visits since the chain appeared here in our area.  I can't tell you if it was good or bad, but I've done some reading.

It seems like a case of too much debt, not enough sales, and bad decisions by management.  Someone else is doing it better.  In this case, it's Walmart and Amazon.

When I was growing up, Toys means The Globe in Scranton, Sears, Sugerman's and Mermelsteins.  As I grew a little older, I loved exploring a mall store called "Kids."  It had a great hobby and craft section.  My the time Kay Bee came in, I was out of the toy stage.

I do have to note something else.  An overnight network news anchor had a great deal of fun yesterday morning, wondering if Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey Giraffe was going to fit into an unemployment office.  What an insensitive idiot!  31,000 people are losing their jobs, and he tries to be funny.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fair Weather

It looks like Lackawanna County is getting a county fair next year.  An announcement comes today.  It will happen at Montage, so one can assume that's where the fair will be located.

Are there more pressing county issues?  Certainly!  Quality of life and entertainment are important.  Top of the list?  Not even close.

If it can be done at break even, or a slight profit-- wonderful.

There is already a long list of fairs from spring through fall.  People have a finite amount of disposable income.  I fear a county fair will take business away from fire department carnivals and church bazaars.  That remains to be seen.

Let's keep an open mind and see how this all plays out.  You never know.  It could be a rousing success.

While I'm on the subject, I was so happy to see a number of communities here in our area hold ice festivals and winterfests this year.  Winter goes by so much faster when there is something to do.