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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Off Limits

Is there any privacy left in this country?

It has been established here that I have a work and sleep schedule that is the opposite of most people.  I was dozing the other day, when my phone's text alert went off.  It was an organization, working on behalf of a congressional candidate, asking for my vote.

I can't mute the phone due to family and work responsibilities.

I won't mention the candidate of the organization's name, and I'll sanitize what comes next. 

I texted back a few choice words and added the text would guarantee my vote for the candidate's opponent.  I'm serious.

It's a lesson for telemarketers, candidates and other political organizations.  Please, leave me alone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

On the Scent

I've been biking for more than six years now.   While I have expanded my route, there are parts I can travel blindfolded.  The reason?  The nose knows.

There is a section of my route where the stench from a landfill collects, especially on a hot and humid summer night.  After passing through that part of town, the next aroma is from a sewage treatment plant.  

There is one block in Scranton and another in Dickson City where people love to barbecue in the middle of the night.  

I know exactly where I am when the smell of dryer fabric softener sheets hits me, and when I pick up the stale and smoky air coming from a corner bar.

A business that makes concrete and iron products is on my route.  It's been closed for hours by the time I pedal by, but the smell of truck exhaust and diesel fuel hangs in the air.

This seems to have been a banner year for skunks.  They are everywhere.  I'm not complaining.  That's part of the joy of living in northeastern Pennsylvania.

As I think of it, it's a great idea for a travel based map site.  Instead of saying "turn left at the light" you can say "turn left when you smell burgers and dogs on the grill at 2 am."

Monday, September 17, 2018

Stormy Weather

This is probably too "inside baseball" for most people, and the rest will wonder why I care.

Let's establish a few things off the top.  I love radio and I especially love those big, beefy, substantial top of the hour network newscasts.  NBC and Mutual are out of business.  UPI is gone.  AP is greatly diminished.  No overnight of weekend newscasts.  CNN is also gone, but it does provide material to a company that produces radio news.  That leaves ABC and CBS.  Both are fine organizations.

Except...

I've been listening to hurricane Florence coverage-- and a lot of it.  It seems the radio networks "go to" stuff is audio snippets from TV news reports.  Really?  It makes me so sad.  Radio is a great medium.  Put boots on the ground.  Describe what's going on.  Don't rely on the audio from the TV people.

Westwood One has a radio news service.  In fact, the White House correspondent is former WNEP reporter Bob Costantini.  Outside of reporters on some of the key beats, the rest comes from CNN TV.

I get the whole corporate synergy thing and getting the biggest bang for the buck.

Name the biggest star in radio.  I'd say "Howard Stern."  But, he's on satellite.  Name another.  Maybe Ryan Seacrest.  Keep going.  It's tough.  Imus retired.  Paul Harvey died.  Casey Kasem left us long ago.  Are there any big radio news stars?

ABC has some fine people-- Cheri Preston, Aaron Katersky, Chuck Sivertsen (who once worked in Scranton), Jim Ryan...  The rest of the people on the ABC Radio web site are reporters and anchors who serve television first.

CBS Radio still has the rock solid Mark Knoller at the White House.

Here's my point.  The remaining big radio news networks still do an outstanding job, but radio, if it is to survive and prosper, it really needs to develop some stand out talent of its own.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Ride

It happened one week ago-- the 11th annual motorcycle run honoring SGT Jan Argonish.  He was killed in Afghanistan.  There is more information on Jan and the cause.here.

I've been stopping by for the past six years.  I never met Jan, but I do know his father.  Dad had a great quote in a story by Newswatch 16's Chase Senior-- Jan's name will live on long after we're gone.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Andy's Angles: Status Report

For some strange reason, this has become a yearly thing.  Above is a photo of the new power plant, just off the Casey Highway in Jessup.  I took it on Sunday.

Below is the view from the same week in 2017.


And the shot you see below is from October of 2016. 

Even though the power plant is functioning, it remains a controversial issue and a sore spot around here.  It will be that way long after I'm gone.






Friday, September 14, 2018

Let's Review

It's the last hours of another vacation week, so let's review.

I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary, other than squeezing in a little extra sleep-- which was badly needed.

Gym, bike, photography, reading, errands...  Grew a beard.  Shaved off a beard.

Highlights included losing my old glasses on the trip to get a new pair of glasses, and successfully backing up files from an old laptop computer.

One more vacation week to go, and I'll burn that off next month.  I still have some scattered single days off to take.  It's amazing how much of the year has disappeared.  It's almost time to start thinking about holiday schedules.

I'll see you at work.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dead Man Shopping

The news came in an official looking letter last week.  It was from the company that handles Sears/KMart credit cards.

The letter informed me that I hadn't used my card in 41 months, and if I don't use it by the end of October, it will be deactivated.  It's a common practice, and it's happened to me before.

It's safe to say our relationship has reached the end of the road.  The company has closed almost every store in my part of the state, and I'm not going to travel a long distance to shop there.

The Sears and KMart web sites are still options, but there are other companies that do it faster and better.  More merchandise.  Cheaper shipping.

Looks like I'll soon be dead to Sears and KMart.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

First Week

The first weekend of the NFL season is in the books, and a few thoughts...

When are people going to figure out Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is a fraud?  The playoff game versus Jacksonville last year was an embarrassment, and Sunday's tie with the lowly Cleveland Browns wasn't much better.

The networks have done some minor tinkering with their broadcast teams.  Former Arizona head coach Bruce Arians on CBS wasn't bad.  Buck/Aikman and Michaels/Collinsworth remain the cream of the crop.

I didn't catch the new ESPN team during the pre season, or Monday night.

There was a time where if you didn't catch one of the network pre game shows, you felt like you were missing something.  Those days are gone.  Has CBS used the same studio crew two years in a row since the network regained football rights 20 years ago?

The national anthem controversy didn't appear to be a big deal Sunday, and that's a good thing.

It's too early to really judge if the NFL's new contact rules are having an impact on the game, but week one wasn't as bad as I had feared.

A few teams have tweaked their uniforms and helmets.  Nothing jumped out at me as good or awful.

Ratings for the season opener in Philadelphia were down from last year.  It's too early to cry or celebrate.  It will be fascinating to see what the trends show.

Betting on the NFL is legal in more places this season.  It seems to have taken some of the steam out of the fantasy leagues.

15 more regular season games to go.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Falling

We just came through the first autumnal weekend of the season.

It was nice to sleep under a substantial blanket.  It was nice to root through the closet for a light jacket to wear outside.  It was nice to turn on the car heater for a quick blast of warmth.  It was nice to watch a leaf fall from the top of a tree and slowly drift to the ground.  It was nice to turn on the television and watch pennant chase baseball, and football.  It was nice to turn off the fans and air conditioners, and open the windows.  It was nice to look at fall clothes in the Land's End and L.L. Bean catalogs.   It was nice to be able to breathe.

I'm not "in" to "pumpkin spice" anything, but if that's your thing, enjoy it while you can.  

As I have said here many times before, there are two big problems with fall.  The first is it doesn't last long enough.  The second is, it's always followed by winter.


Monday, September 10, 2018

In Memoriam

In the movie "My Favorite Year," Alan Swann, played magnificently by Peter O'Toole says "I'm not an actor.  I'm a movie star."

I never thought Burt Reynolds, who died last week, was much of an actor.  However, he was an outstanding movie star.  The man was box office gold in the 70's.  There were television appearances before that.  There were few guests who were more entertaining while sitting next to Johnny Carson.

Burt Reynolds was 82.

Bill Daily died September 4th.  He was the perfect second banana to Larry Hagman on "I Dream of Jeannie."  Daily played airline navigator Howard Borden, the wacky neighbor on "The Bob Newhart Show."  Newhart Tweeted:   "He was our bullpen guy - you could always go to him." 

When the series work ended, Daily hit the game show circuit and was always funny-- even when he inherited the Richard Dawson chair on "Match Game."  It was a tough act to follow.

Bill Daily was 91.