Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Farewell II

Quinnipiac University owns AM 1220 in Connecticut.  The university operates it as a commercial radio station.  The news came down last week.  Quinnipiac is shutting down the station at the end of May.  The reason?  "A steep decline in students considering a career in radio or wishing to intern at the station."


It's part of a self fulfilling prophecy for the industry.  Pull in programming from satellites, voice track, automate, kill local news and community involvement.  When you take the human element out, fewer humans will want to get in to the business.

I can see more college radio stations going off the air.  I can see some colleges and universities dropping broadcasting programs.  I am thankful there are still some vital college programs in this part of the state.  I pray it stays that way.

WQUN was 1,000 watts during the day, 305 at night.  I doubt it had a huge audience.  That's irrelevant.  A voice goes silent, a place to learn what can be a wonderful occupation will disappear.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


The remnants of the Tappan Zee Bridge were blown up last week.  Good riddance!

It crosses the Hudson River at one of its widest points, about 25 miles north of New York City.  It was replaced last year by a new and wider bridge.

I hated the Tappan Zee Bridge.  Long before Interstate 84, this was the way you got to Connecticut.  Aunt Mary and Uncle Al lived in Bridgeport, and there were occasional visits in the 60's and 70's.

I do not like big bridges over water.  It hasn't risen to the phobia level, because I have crossed the Hudson in other places, like the Newburgh and Poughkeepsie areas.  I've driven the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Key Bridge in Maryland.  I'll do it.  I don't like it.

I'm sure my dislike for the Tappan Zee has something to do with Bridgeport.  It was an awful place way back when.  Dirty.  Crime ridden.  Scary.  I associate the bridge with Sundays in Bridgeport.  I hear the city has improved.  I'll take their word for it.  Uncle Al and Aunt Mary left us many years ago, so there is no reason to ever go back.

Watching those big bridge pieces hit the Hudson last week made me smile.

Monday, January 21, 2019


January 21, 1994

21 degrees below zero.

It was the coldest ever in the Scranton area.

I remember it well.

I was working the morning shift, "down the street" as we say in the business.  I was filling in for the usual morning reporter.  I had a 9 AM start back in those days.

Photographer Joe and I had a busy morning.  We talked to pro lifers before dawn, who were headed to Washington for their annual March for Life.  We talked to trash haulers.  They like it cold because garbage smells less in the cold.  We recorded Scranton mayor Jimmy Connors' appearance on "Imus in the Morning.  the big story of the day was a water main break on Penn Avenue, near the veterans' home in downtown Scranton.

We had several technical problems that day.  TV cables tend to get brittle when it hits 21 below zero, and the ends kept breaking off.  We had one cable left, but it was short.  In order to get the angle with the flowing water behind me, in my live shot, I had to stand in a snow bank up to my knees.

The morning broadcast ended.  Joe and I went back to the station to warm up for a few minutes, and it was time to figure out a story for our noon broadcast.  We just jumped in a truck and headed north to see what we could see.

We ran in to a farmer in a field, and plenty of cows.  Farming is a tough business when the weather is nice.  Imagine the difficulty when it's brutally cold.  The farmer told us that yes, cows can get frost bite, and they actually give more milk in the cold.  Cows eat more to keep their body temperature up, and that translates into increased milk output.

I was here at WNEP for the 10th anniversary of that frigid day.  I went back in to the archives to look at the stories from that day, and I retraced the steps of the WNEP reporters from 1994.  I found the heating oil salesman, who was busy beyond belief.  I also found the Honesdale letter carrier who suffered a frost bitten finger that day.

One of the major kicks of being in this business is having a front row seat to history.  It was a great view on January 21st of 1994, as long as you were bundled up.


It was a gutsy and stellar weekend for me.  I picked both road teams, both underdogs, and both won.

It will be a New England versus Los Angeles Super Bowl, and my thoughts on that will be in this space in the days to come.

So far-- 10 playoff games, and I nailed 7 of them.  Not bad.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Andy's Angles: Nathan

It's a while since I've posted a Nathan picture here.

Nathan is doing well, pictured here in one of his favorite activities-- napping.

Not a bad idea.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Andy's Angles: Caught!

You might have to expand the photo.  It's tough to see.  It was taken at 3 AM on a morning this week.

Yes, that is a Turkey Hill tractor trailer, on the far right, parked outside a Sheetz in Dunmore.

The AndyPalumbo.com investigative unit, the "P Team" was called in to take a closer look.  The driver, wearing a Turkey Hill cap,  was at the register, purchasing a coffee and one of those cellophane wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

No harm, no foul.  I assume the guy was hungry and it never hurts to see what the competition is doing.  It reminded me of the time I was in a Wendy's in Owego, NY-- and there was a woman in a McDonald's uniform in line in front of me.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Coat II

I resisted for a long time, but I've finally become a convert.  I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I've grown to like puffy coats.

My reluctance stemmed from the look.  They can be bulky and not very flattering.  Some of the shiny ones make you look like you're wearing a trash bag.  There are times that Michelin Man look are unavoidable.

Useless trivia:  The Michelin Man has a name.  It's "Bibendum."

Back to the coat...  even though the look isn't the greatest, they are warm.  The big plus, in my book, is the weight.  They are light as a feather, pardon the pun.  I like that.

I do save puffy coat appearances for the really cold weather and it looks like we'll have some of that this week.

As regular readers know, I feel the movie "A Christmas Story" is hugely over-rated.  Yes, it's cute and amusing.  Once.  The part that I do like is watching everyone in their heavy wool winter wear.  That's what we had when we were kids.  It was heavy, uncomfortable, and itchy.  If you encounter a winter hater, chances are they had to wear that stuff when they were kids.  Thank heaven for down, fiberfill, and Thinsulate.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


I know I do a similar blog entry every year, but bear with me.  It helps me cope.

The three coldest months of the year are December, January, and February.  Check the calendar.  Winter is now half over!

I can't really complain.  It hasn't been that bad, so far.  No below zero cold.  Only one major storm, and I was lucky to have the day off for that one.  You remember that one-- the week before Thanksgiving.  It was the storm forecasters didn't see coming and Penndot botched, again.

As I write this, there is the potential for a weekend filled with snow and ice.

Let's look forward.  The last two weeks of January are traditionally the coldest of the year, but as of February 1, the daily high and low averages start to inch up, ever so slowly.  This is also the time of year you can feel those later sunsets, and notice the sun getting a little stronger.

We're not out of the woods yet.  We have had cold snaps and monster storms in the tail end of winter, but least a huge section of the season is now behind us.


I'm 5 for 8 in the playoffs so far.  Let's see if I can improve this weekend.

Kansas City is a three point home favorite versus New England.  If KC wins, it will be a close one, so I'm expecting a New England win.  Take the Patriots and the points.  As I've said earlier, I won't become a KC believer until they win a big game.  I'm not there yet.  I will become a KC believer if New England goes home, and that will make me very happy.

New Orleans is giving up 3.5 to the Los Angeles Rams.  I thought the Rams looked good last week.  Take the Rams and the points.  I get the feeling the Rams will win.

I haven't watched a Super Bowl since 1999, so I don't care who plays and who wins.  Even though the Rams and Chiefs are Super Bowl veterans, it's been a while and it seems like and interesting match up.

Anyone but New England, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing the Patriots February 3rd.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Blue Streak 2

Sorry the update's delay has been slow.  There were more pertinent matters.

To get you up to speed, last week, I asked why the first edition of newspapers used to be called the "blue streak."  Researcher extraordinaire Joe Klapatch and a couple of Facebook buddies came to my rescue.

Joe found a book called "Coming of Age in Scranton" by Terry Carden.  The author sold the blue streak editions of the Scranton tribune, and they actually had a blue line up the left margin.

My Facebook friends said it appears blue streak had its origins in lightning.  Those old first editions were put out fast, like lightning, which causes a blue streak across the sky.  Joe also found a column from a newspaper in Michigan, which said basically said the same thing.

I did learn a new newspaper term:  "red ball."  It refers to a story rushed in to print, like a hot red ball shot out of a cannon.

To say the least, newspapers are one of our more colorful industries. 

Thanks to the internet, there are no deadlines.  As soon as a story is good to go, it's thrust out to the masses.  There are advantages.  It's not nearly as much fun.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Coat, Again

I said I wasn't going to do it this year, that it was time to move on.

I fell victim to tradition.

Every January, I pull an old blue winter coat out of the closet and wear it for a few weeks.  I bought the coat in January of 1997, while I was unemployed.  It wasn't an impulse buy.  I saw it in a store, liked it, left it there, went back a few days later and made the purchase.

I hope you never experience unemployment.  It isn't fun.  I had safety nets, but you are still filled with worry and anxiety.  I was watching every penny.  Then, there was that one day, when I saw the coat.  I just needed to be nice to myself for a moment.

The coat was at an outlet.  It wasn't all that expensive.  There were pangs of guilt nonetheless.  After wearing it several times, for 22 years, I would say that I've gotten my money's worth out of it, and it's held up well.

Are there morals to the story?  Of course.  Always remember where you came from.  There is no guarantee that what's here today will still be here tomorrow.  It's okay to splurge once in a while.  Let yourself off the hook when something doesn't go your way.  I know that isn't easy.  Take care of your coats.  You might need them for a while-- for the warmth and the memories.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Law & Order

I have to admit, the intrigue is delicious.

The FBI raided Scranton City Hall and Mayor Bill Courtright's home last week.  As of this writing, the FBI will not say what it is looking for.  The mayor has refused to comment, not returning repeated overtures.

Let's start off that everyone involved is innocent until proven guilty.  No one has been charged.  We don't know if anyone ever will be charged, and just because there's smoke doesn't mean there's fire.

Having established all of that, the people of the city really deserve to know what's going on, at least a little.  This isn't the best crisis management.  I remember when Rep. Joe McDade announced his own indictment.  He got out in front of it, and put his personal spin on the story.  It helped get McDade reelected to congress again and again, in spite of the cloud over him.  At least, Mr. Courtright, issue a statement.  You have to get this story under control.  Rumors are flying and that is never good.  The mayor did tell the Times~Tribune that resignation speculation is false.

Speaking of public disclosure, Wilkes-Barre Police put out a Facebook post last week, warning of a rash of strong armed robberies in the city's east and north ends.  Senior citizens are the targets.  The thieves grab wallets and cell phones.

It's horrible.  A city can't move forward if residents don't feel safe in their own neighborhoods.  It's nice the city issued the warning.  It will be even nicer when those who prey on the elderly are behind bars.

And, then, there was a shooting in a Scranton bar early Saturday morning.  An officer at the scene told us to call back later in the morning for information.  I guess people don't need to know if there's someone with a gun in their neighborhood until several hours after the fact.

And, we can't forget about the continued shenanigans in the Scranton School district, including repeated raids by members of the state attorney general's office.

In both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre stories, doesn't it do wonders for our area's image?   It reinforces a reputation for corruption and crime.


I was partially right on the Kansas City/Indianapolis game.  I predicted KC would win, but not cover.  Well, KC did win AND cover.  It's still a loss for me.  I'm starting to become a Kansas City believer.  I won't be in their corner until they win a big game.  A victory over New England this weekend will do it.

I said to take Dallas and 7 points in the Los Angeles game.  Dallas lost by eight, and another one in the loss column for me.  I will never be a Dallas fan, and I have to admit there is tons of potential on this team.

Sunday was a much better day for me.  New England beat Los Angeles easily, and covered the spread-- as I predicted.  I wouldn't have complained about a Los Angeles win

I predicted New Orleans would win and not cover the nine point spread.  New Orleans won by 6.  Again, I will never be an Eagles fan.  I will give the team credit for a good run at repeating their title.

Overall, 2 for 4 for the weekend.  5 for 8 on the playoffs.