Saturday, April 25, 2015

Andy's Angles: Construction Weekend

I've flip flopped on this building a few times.  It's the new University of Scranton center for rehabilitation education at Jefferson and Linden.

I wasn't opposed to the concept.  Colleges and universities, along with dollar stores seem to be driving the local economy lately.  New facilities make those colleges and universities more attractive to students.  They spend money here, and you know the rest.

It looked good on paper, but as all eight stories rose up toward the sky, I was concerned the building would dominate the neighborhood and dwarf what's already here, including and especially Elm Park United Methodist Church.
As you can see, Elm Park still has a height advantage, and it's still very noticeable, although not as much as before.

Workers were inside the U's building, even on a recent Sunday morning.  It's supposed to be ready this summer.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's Review

Including weekends, I've been off the last ten days.  Here, in a nutshell, is my vacation.

I had my car's tires rotated and oil changed.  I had my bicycle tuned up.  I went for a bicycle ride.  I took tons of photos.   I visited the gym several times. I listened to the radio and worked on my blog.  I had my first Taco Bell breakfast.  I had my last Taco Bell breakfast.    I shopped a little and slept a lot.

That's about it.  That's my vacation.  Average stuff, and I was more than happy.

Thanks to Newswatch 16's Jackie DeTore for filling in for me.  Those hours are tough if you're not used to them.

See you tomorrow morning.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TWIB Notes

I was wandering through a book store the other day, and I saw a new book on Billy Martin.  New York Times writer Bill Pennington authored it.  He was interviewed on Olbermann Tuesday afternoon.

I've read other books on Billy Martin, and I know all I care to know about the man.  He was a great manager for Detroit, Texas, Oakland, and the Yankees.  Unfortunately, he had his demons.  Namely, alcohol.  Martin won games and turned teams around.  He had a nasty habit of being difficult to deal with, and there are times he hurt more than he helped.

Here's what fascinates me.  Billy Martin died nearly 26 years ago.  Yet another book has been written about him, proving he's still a fascinating character nearly three decades after his death.

FOX Sports has hired Pete Rose.  Friends, that's why your TV remove has an "off" button.

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price went nuts on the media the other day.  During a tirade, he dropped the F bomb 77 times in five minutes and 34 seconds.  I support free speech, but here's what really gets me.  Price was angry at reporters for daring to ask questions and be critical of the team.  Price was way off base.

It happens far too often.  Beat writers turn into "homers."  There's fear and intimidation.  If you don't toe the line for the team, there will be consequences.  One of the reasons I have problems with Penn State, long before Sandusky, is a little incident in the early 90's.  I was covering a game for an independent production company.  A veteran warned me, knowing I have a reputation of being a hard butt, that those who ask critical questions get frozen out of future media opportunities.  I bit my tongue and couldn't wait to get out of there.

And, yes, it happens in news.  I've seen reporters get too cozy with those they cover, and they won't pull the trigger when it's time to hold feet to the fire.  Sorry for the cliches, but it's a quick and effective way to get a point across.

In case you're wondering, "TWIB" notes was the "round up" feature on the old This Week in Baseball TV show.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Little Late

I should have commented on a couple of events earlier, but the best laid plans...

Sunday was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.  For me, it was one of those "where were you when..." events.  For me, I was in the old channel 22 newsroom on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton.

It was the computer age.  Old teletypes had bells that went off for bulletins or urgents.  The old 22 computer system had a chirp.  I heard it go off, looked at the screen, and read about a massive explosion at the Oklahoma City federal building.  The Oklahoma City CBS affiliate was really on the ball, and had a live picture up quickly.  The image was stunning.  Half of a rather large building was gone.  The network turned it around fast, and put it on the closed circuit feed, before the network broke in with the bulletin.

Of course, we all gathered around the monitors and wondered what caused it.  Terrorism in Oklahoma City?  Really?  I was skeptical.  My first thought was a natural gas explosion.  That was ruled out rather quickly when witnesses mentioned an exploding truck.

Like the rest of America, foreign terrorists were suspected.  It turned out to be far from the truth.  An American did it.  We shared in the horror, the outrage, and the shame.

Spinning 180 degrees, pardon the pun, Saturday was National Record Store day.  I thought of it yesterday, while wandering through a book store.  The book store was disappointing.  Computers and e-readers killed the book stores.  Most of those that remain are underwhelming.

I haven't been in a record store in years.  First, there aren't many left.  Second, my internet radio fills my music needs.  Information, too.

I'm glad there are still some record stores left, and we celebrate their existence.

The last original episode of WKRP in Cincinnati aired 33 years ago yesterday.  Four seasons.  88 episodes.  I found the series to be rather uneven, but when it was on its game, nothing was funnier.  More hits than misses.  Antenna TV recently stopped airing it, but it will be back somewhere.  Some episodes are on the internet.  The DVD set has been improved.  Playing the original rock was out because securing the rights was too expensive.  I've read where most of the original rock hits have been restored.  The most expensive tracks are still out.  I'm really considering a purchase.  As some may remember, I spent about 11 years in radio.  WKRP characters, especially Herb the sales manager, were dead-on accurate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Season Four

I bought a bicycle four years ago, and it's one of the best decisions I ever made.  I really don't do much, just some short rides around town, when the weather gets nice.

Fresh from a tune up at the bicycle shop, I climbed aboard the Sunday morning for the first ride of the season.  I'm an early morning rider.  50 degrees is my cut off point.  I checked the thermometer.  51.  It was "go" time.

Thanks to some gym time, a bike ride wasn't a shock to my system, or my legs.  I completed a couple of loops around my little town, even taking some hills I usually avoid at the beginning of the season.  Riding a stationary bike in a nice warm gym is a lot different than sucking 51 degree air into your lungs.  That part was a tad uncomfortable.

My legs had that jelly like feeling at the end of my ride, but I really didn't mind.  The sense of accomplishment overcame that.

Unfortunately, some very chilly mornings are in the forecast, so I won't be on the bike for a while.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Drink Up

State Representative Jordan Harris of Philadelphia wants to extend alcohol sales until 4 am.  Part of his reasoning is as follows:

Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and cities in between are world-class cities of higher education, and we need to create an environment where the nightlife encourages young people who become educated here to stay in our Commonwealth to live, work and play.”

Do we think alcohol is the reason  young people will stay in Pennsylvania?

Really, Representative Harris?

How about affordable educations and jobs once they graduate?  How about a tax climate that encourages home ownership?  How about safe cities and towns, nice places to raise families?

I have no problem with the responsible use of alcohol, but this sounds like a simple, shallow, and possibly dangerous solution to a problem that needs a bigger fix.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Andy's Angles: More Demolition

Yesterday, sadness over the demolition of an old elementary school.  I doubt people feel sad about the old steam heat building on North Washington Avenue coming down.  It's been an eyesore for years.

There was practically no chance of it being turned in to something useful again.  I'm sure it could have been something cool, but no one has that much money.

It's easier to sell a vacant lot a than a brick and concrete monstrosity, so the chances of something nice here are going up dramatically.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Andy's Angles: Demolition Weekend

The old Audubon Elementary at Mulberry and Colfax in Scranton is coming down.

The school district pulled the kids out of there five years ago because of mold.  Geisinger bought the space two years ago.  No firm plans yet, but at the rate hospitals are expanding around here, it's safe to say you'll see something on the lot soon.

It's sad.  It looks like the students left just yesterday, and they could be back tomorrow.

I was lucky to be in a couple of decent neighborhood elementary schools (and an awful one), and it's too bad children today don't have that opportunity.
It really is a marvelous piece of architecture, unlike the prison like boxes we slam our children in to these days.

Every building has an expiration date.  The Audubon School has reached the end of its life, but you can't help but feel it had some good years left, if we cared about it a little sooner.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Sleeping Homer is making an appearance, and you know what that means.  It's vacation time-- my first of the year.

As always no plan-- maybe a photographic expedition or two, and a lot of sleep.  I already accomplished something-- an oil change and a tire rotation.

And there's more:  the bicycle was delivered to the shop for a spring tune-up, and I activated my new Subway rewards card.

I love my job, but it will be nice to avoid razors, neck ties, and make up for a week.

JackieDeTore is in the big chair this weekend.

I'll see you soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Vote '16

Even if you hate Hillary Clinton, there's no excuse for knocking over her father's tombstone at Washburn Street Cemetery in Scranton.

I thought Clinton's Sunday announcement was rather weak and too low key.  I can't say I'm a fan of social media based announcements.  There's no excitement generated, no buzz, no interest, no momentum generated.  Clinton then jumped in an unmarked black van and traveled from New York to Iowa.

There are a few Republicans in the race.  More to follow.  As for the guys currently in, I see people who can capture the nomination by appealing to the "right" of the party.  I have concerns about them being "middle" enough to win in November of next year.

I watched about 45 minutes of CNN's morning show while I was waiting for an oil change yesterday morning.  There was some political reporting.  I wasn't impressed.  Shallow.  Trivial.  It's going to be a long campaign.