Friday, October 24, 2014


The picture says it all.  I'm on vacation.

As always, no plans.  I hope to get out with the camera for a bit if it ever stops raining.

We've all been putting in a lot of hours due to a busy news cycle, so I can use a bit of a break.

Bill Wadell has the air chair, as we used to say in the radio business, this weekend.  The broadcast is in good hands.

I'll still be writing here, so I'll see you soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Teaching Moment

courtesy:  Washington Post
Former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee died Tuesday.  93.

He was running the paper during the Watergate era, and a passage in his Washington Post obituary, written by Robert G. Kaiser, jumped out at me.  It was a quote from Robert Woodward, one of the Post's two main Watergate writers.

“He was a presence, a force,” Woodward recalled of Mr. Bradlee’s role during the Watergate period, 1972 to 1974. “And he was a doubter, a skeptic — ‘Do we have it yet?’ ‘Have we proved it?’ ” Decades later, Woodward remembered the words that he most hated to hear from Mr. Bradlee then: “You don’t have it yet, kid.”

You see, it takes stones to run a story.  It takes even more to hold back until you are absolutely sure you are right.
I hope every journalism professor in America reads the Bradlee obit, prints it, and distributes it to students.  From what I've observed, students are being learned how to push buttons, plus social media.  They're lacking in hard driven fact based journalism.  I've even witnessed irresponsibility in those who have been drawing "professional" pay checks for years.

Ben Bradlee saw the media's role in maintaining a vibrant democracy, holding people's feet to the fire, and making sure they're accountable.  He also saw how important it was to make sure his own people had the i's dotted and t's crossed.  After all, they were taking on the President of the United States.

Let's get it right.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Scrapple

So many aspects of the Frein search continue to defy analysis.  Like everyone else around here, I cannot wait for it to end.

Fall is a great time of year.  Unfortunately, it passes far too quickly.  We've already seen our first snow flakes of the year.  It won't be long before the shovels are out.

It was nice to see the Steelers win.

ABC News released the results of a new poll Sunday morning.  Will we see a Romney/Clinton presidential contest in 2016?

CNN just laid off 300.  Talk about a newtork losing its way...

The Big Bang Theory, at one time one of the most clever on TV, seems to have become just another bickering couples sitcom.

Staples is the latest to report a possible credit card breach.  Will it ever end?  Some retail analysts believe companies hit by breaches will suffer during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Speaking of which, Macy's opens 6 pm Thanksgiving evening.  It's gradually getting earlier and earlier.  It's just a matter of time before everything is open all day on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

World Series 2014

Game one of the 2014 World Series is tonight in Kansas City.  The San Francisco Giants are in town to take on the Royals.

I'm a little tired of looking at the Giants in post season, but I respect what they've done.

It's nice to see Kansas City back in the Fall Classic, after a 29 year absence.  What a great story!  Eight straight post season wins, taking down two very good teams (and Oakland).

Prediction?  I'm usually wrong, but here goes.  Heart says Kansas City.  Head says San Francisco.  Las Vegas says SF, so I'm going with Giants in 6, possibly 5.

KC is built on the "small ball" concept, and teams like that are less susceptible to cold bats and hitting slumps at the worst possible time.

However, I like San Francisco's pitching and the ability to go long.

Bottom line:  I really don't care who wins.  I just want an entertaining, and long, World Series.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Ebola has been THE national and world story of the last few months.

Yes, there has been a lot of irresponsible and alarmist reporting.  Yes, it's prompted a lot of complaints.

Your chances of getting sick are microscopic.

It all comes down to a combination of factors.  Yes, people are afraid of Ebola, and rightfully so.  The even bigger fear factor stems from a lack of faith in the federal government and its agencies to do the right thing.  The Centers for Disease Control already admits to making mistakes.  Hey, you are paid to be on top of these things!   Lives are at stake here.

Dallas Presbyterian Hospital?  Monumental incompetence.

This isn't a Democratic or Republican issue.  It's a bureaucracy issue.

You know what it's like getting a doctors appointment.  It takes weeks.  Emergency room?  Hours of waiting, and good luck getting a bed in a timely manner.  The cost of health care is through the roof, and the mess the health care industry finds itself in was decades in the making.

It's possible Ebola is a wake up call and will lead to some much needed reform.  I like to think that, but I'm also a realist.  When Ebola ends, and it will end, we'll be back in the same position.

And if that isn't enough, the United States is expected to be the world policeman.  It's now expected to be the world doctor.  Nations where this whole thing started can't control it, and they're looking to US for help.  We'll be there.  It's what Americans do.  However, it appears a lot of countries aren't holding up their end of the deal.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Andy's Angles: Decker Court

"The Bronson Pinchot Project" was recorded in two homes in Harford-- the one I showed you yesterday, and this one.  It's just across the street, at the end of Decker Court.

It's a lot smaller than the primary house, but it has more character.  The copper roofed cupola was an addition.  It was purchased from an antique shop in Portland, Maine.  I had mixed feelings about the cupola when I saw the show.  It protruded too much, and it looked out of place.  In person, I get it.

Again, sorry for the fuzzy photo.  It was a foggy morning.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Andy's Angles: Bronson Pinchot

It's happened before.  I'll get hooked on a TV series after it goes out of production and no new episodes will be produced.

The latest case in point:  "The Bronson Pinchot Project."  He's the TV and movie actor who was in "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Perfect Strangers."  Pinchot bought some houses in Harford and was fixing them up by restoring them to their original look.

This wasn't your father's home improvement series.  It was odd, and quirky, and oddly entertaining.  Pinchot's designs were unique, and they didn't look comfortable to me, but that's the way things were done way back when, and that's what he wanted now.

There are only 24 episodes of "The Bronson Pinchot Project."  DIY Network sprinkles them throughout the schedule, so you never know when one will pop up.  It's too bad the series ended.  Pinchot told the Times~Tribune that DIY pulled the plug due to the lack of advertiser support.  That's unfortunate.  It was a good show.

By the way, I do know how to focus my camera.  The photos above look fuzzy because I was in Susquehanna County on a foggy morning.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tech Talk

It's worse than a visit to the doctor, dentist and proctologist.  Combined.  Times ten!

I'm talking about a visit to the cell phone store.

One of the phones on my account needed to be replaced, so I dragged myself to the store the other morning.

First all, I just needed a basic phone.  Have you seen the choices?  There are none.  I selected something decent and got ready to do the transaction to add it to my account.

But then, and it always happenes, there was the attempt to sell me something else.  It's usually a smart phone because, yes, I still don't own one.  But no!

This time, it was a magic box that replaces my copper phone line by feeding my home line through a box that connects with the wireless network.  Yes, I still have a land line.  I rarely use it, but I like the security.

To back up a little, the phone company wants to get rid of as much copper as it can.  The network is expensive to maintain.

The sales kid was nice enough, and he made a good pitch.  We ran the numbers, and on some levels it made sense.  There was a demonstration on how the magic box works, and how it includes features that I don't have on my rarely used land line.  I'll have to admit that I was intrigued, and I got the feeling the sales kid thought he had me.

I said no.  He asked why.  I said simply, "I'm an old man."  End of talk.

When it came down to it, I didn't want all my telephone communications to rely on the same wireless company and network, even though cell service where I live is decent.

There is a back up.  I can do voice calling through a thingy I have on my computer, so there is a way to communicate with the outside world in case cell service temporarily disappears.

I'll do some reading up on the magic box, and I might pull the trigger some day, but not soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Law & Order

The head of the PA State Police this week said resources are adequate as the search for accused cop killer Eric Frein ends its fifth week.  He still hasn't been caught, so one could argue that resources are not adequate.  Several news organizations report fewer officers involved in the search.  Can anyone official reconcile the numbers?

A ten year old boy is accused of killing a 90 year old woman.  He's charged as an adult because that's what the law calls for.  Don't blame the prosecutors here.  Clearly, laws need to be modified.  The child said he just wanted to hurt her, not kill her.  You have to wonder about what forces would turn a child so evil, so fast.

A state representative from Scranton fought off muggers in Harrisburg by firing his gun, a gun he was licensed to have.  My question is, was this loaded gun ever taken inside the capitol building and why?

Some really good questions are going unanswered.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Modem Family

I opened an email from my internet service provider a few weeks ago.  It said due to system upgrades, I really should acquire a new modem.

I will admit that my current modem was an old one, so old, I bought it at Circuit City.  I liked it and it was working fine.  My philosophy on things technical is that if it's working well, leave it alone.  I do have some skills around a computer, enough to get by, but If I don't have to mess with it, I won't.

As always, when faced with technical issues, I consulted the engineering and IT staff at the station.  Some were ambivalent on a new modem.  A couple thought it was a good idea, so I went for it.

There was some on-line modem research time, and a call to the cable company.  I could lease one for $ 8 a month.  The advantage is that I get a new one for free is something goes wrong.  On the other hand, a purchase would pay for itself in nine months.

I found the model I liked in a big box store.  Next thing I knew, it was in my cart.  I was through the check out and home.

Installation was rather easy.  Remove the old one.  Plug in the power cord, the ethernet cable, and the coax.  Boom!  Done!  There was an alleged way to activate it on-line.  It wasn't working.  It was then time to do what I despise most:  call customer service.

I don't like outsourcing, but it's a way of life and I just have to deal with it.  It was clear that the person I called was in a foreign land.  She might have been a smart woman, but her English language and communication skills were severely lacking.  She couldn't complete the process.  I was given another telephone number to call, at an office that opened after 7 AM, EDT.  I called, talked with another gentleman from another land, and got the thing hooked up, up and running in about ten minutes.

Note to companies that love outsourcing:  Please insist that the workers have adequate communication skills.  It was frustrating enough to almost prompt me to find another service provider, but show me one that's all USA, all the time.  Different company, same issues.  It was a hassle I didn't need.

By the way, my internet is indeed faster.

Having said all that, if an annoyance over hooking up a new modem is the most of my problems, I should consider myself very lucky.