Sunday, February 7, 2016

Andy's Angles: Big Boy

I've had better trips to Steamtown.  It was no one's fault.

A camera itch struck me last week.  It was a grey morning.  Not much was going on at the park.

Big Boy is perhaps Steamtown's signature piece-- one of the largest, if not the largest, ever to pull duty here in the USA.  It's an amazing piece of machinery, and you really should stop by to see it in person some day.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Andy's Angles: The Courthouse

It is one of our area's signature buildings, especially if you're in the news business.  This is an early morning shot of the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.

If you've spent any time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton media, chances are, this building has been home for weeks, months, years.

There is always something going on here-- trials, warring commissioners, Kids for Cash, budget problems, personnel issues, a new county council, costly renovations...

The building, while spectacular from the outside, needs some attention to the inside.  Water's leaked.  Murals need restoration.  a top to bottom cleaning wouldn't hurt.

Friday, February 5, 2016


It's time for my annual Super Bowl pick.

I preface this by saying I'm the guy who predicted a New England/Arizona Super Bowl a few weeks ago.

Offense is sexy.  Defense wins games.

I've looked at several sites.  Most have installed Carolina as roughly a 5 point favorite.  That's a lot.

I'm not sold on Peyton Manning.  He's not the QB he used to be.

Cam Newton is exceptionally talented.  His excessive celebrations trouble me.  It shows a lack of discipline.  Plus, those who celebrate wildly often struggle greatly when things don't go their way.

I like the way Denver shut down New England in the AFC championship game.

Carolina demolished Arizona in the NFC game, and that was impressive as well.

Statistics rank Denver as the stronger defense.

I'm taking Denver and the points.    Carolina is clearly capable of winning this game, but if they do, they will squeak by.

As always, my Super Bowl disclaimer:

The game is after my bed time.  I won't watch.  I don't care.  I'll probably watch a replay on the NFL Network.  CBS Sports is changing its logo and graphics.  I'd like to see that, although I'm not impressed with the logo that's leaked out.  CBS is using 62 cameras, and it will be interesting to see what the network does with that arsenal at its disposal.   Nothing bores me more than a discussion of Super Bowl commercials.  If you see me coming, change the subject, or advise me to keep moving.  The only funny spot from the last 50 years was the Letterman/Leno/Oprah thing several years ago.  I can watch Cindy Crawford drink a Diet Pepsi all day.  That's it.  That's the list.

Enjoy the game.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

About the Cover

My photography queue was running low.  There are a few "go to" areas when that happens:  Lackawanna State Park, the Pittston riverfront, Blakely Park, and of course, Steamtown.

It was a grey morning, and I really had the goal of shooting a colorful train.  The yellow and maroon Lackawanna Railroad engine was on my list, but it was nowhere to be found.

So, I walked over to the Trolley Museum, to get a shot of the red and blue SEPTA trolley.
The trolley has been on the blog before, but never in the prized header area.

According to Frank Dutton's blog, the trolley was built in 1931, and retired in 1995.

Scranton area trolleys were long gone by the time I came around.  They must have been great fun.  I wonder if people will say the same thing about COLTS buses fifty years from now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Unfinished Wednesday

Scranton is having some parking garage structural issues.  As the city sees it, the mostly likely solution is cutting off the top decks and reducing capacity.  Isn't that typical Scranton?  Think small.

The man accused of robbing several businesses in the Pittston area admits he's a drug addict.  Heroin.  Cocaine.  Raise your hand if you're surprised.

I knew people outside of New England don't like Tom Brady, but the depth of the hatred is amazing.  He's an exceptionally talented man, but also a cheater and a whiner.

It is so nice to go through major stretches of winter without pre storm anxiety.

Presidential candidates have already debated several times, and there are more to come. Bravo!  Everyone benefits from an exchange of ideas   But, does anything new really come out of all those debates?

Pot Hole Season has arrived early.

An OJ Simpson mini series/movie is in the works.  It's dredging up memories of one of the sorriest episodes in American justice history.  Inept prosecutors.  A judge who lost control of his courtroom, and defense attorneys who took full advantage of it.

MSNBC apparently thinks Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams will made a good political anchor team.  NBC is trying to rehabilitate Williams into a trusted and impartial anchor.  Why saddle him with someone so opinionated and biased?

It's 2016, and some Iowa caucus results were decided by the flip of a coin.  Are you kidding me?  There has to be a better way.  I've been reading a lot of stuff that already anoints Ted Cruz as the Republican presidential nominee, based on one state.    Marco Rubio, who finished in third place, could be the big winner here.

It's strange to drive down on Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton and not see COLTS buses.  The hub is now at the new station, way out of the way, on Lackawanna Avenue.

We lost former state representative Tom Tigue the other day. Always nice to me.  Very professional.  Tigue served his country and his district.  My sympathy to family and friends. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hot Potato

The supermarket is full of impulse buy temptations.  If you want to avoid issues, maneuver your way around the sugary cereals, the ice cream, the frozen pizzas, and just about everything in the bakery.

You never associate the produce section with an impulse buy.  "Hey, there's some juicy looking kiwis." SAID NO ONE EVER!

There is a first time for everything.

I was making the pre dawn rounds at near by expansive supermarket last week when I saw baking potatoes that were the size of Buicks.  I couldn't resist.

Even though it was well before sunrise, I popped one in the microwave as soon as I got home.  And, yes, purists, I know they're better in a conventional oven, but I didn't have the time.  There are times when microwaving a giant potato is a challenge.  The ends cook before the middle.  I found you should take it out of the oven a few minutes early, and let it sit for a few.  The internal steam finishes it off quite nicely.

A little butter.  A little salt.  A lot of fresh ground black pepper.  Heaven.

If I was going to buy something on impulse, I'm glad it was something moderately healthy, even with a little butter.  It was filling.  Guilt free.  I could have made a worse choice.

The potato thing is out of my system for a while.  I can go through the produce section without fear of impulse.

I wonder what my next choice will be.

Monday, February 1, 2016


And so it begins...

Iowa caucuses tonight.  Presidential campaigns will be on the road to success or ruin, based on one small state, on one cold winter night.

Fates will be sealed in eight days, when New Hampshire goes to the polls.

It's a refrain we hear every four years.  Two tiny states have far too much influence over the process, and it's a valid argument.

A national primary, or even a series of regional primaries every four years seems to make more sense, be more fair.

However, this country was built on states' rights, and this is clearly an example of that.

Regardless, that's our current system.  It's not a surprise.  Candidates have to work in that framework, and the rest of us will deal with the fallout.

The Pennsylvania primary is April 26.  Ed Rendell, when he was governor, wanted to move it up so Pennsylvanians would have a louder voice in the process.  Tell someone in Potter County they could be voting in a snow storm in February or March.  It wasn't feasible, and the proposal went nowhere.

Perhaps the solution is for an end to the super early voting and get everyone on the same page, a later page.

Surprises so far?

Donald Trump.

Ted Cruz is stronger than I thought.

Marco Rubio is on the "almost breaking through" list.  I still think he'll be the vice presidential nominee.  John Kasich would also be a solid second.

Even though they are very different people, I thought Rand Paul would inherit some good will from his father's followers.

Rick Santorum won Iowa four years ago.  Now, he's barely a blip.

I always felt Bush would struggle, but I didn't think he's be so far back in the pack.

Chris Christie:  ditto.

Hillary Clinton can't knock off a 74 year old Socialist.

A 74 year socialist has such a strong following.

John Kasich can't get noticed.

I do enjoy watching the networks go whole hog on Iowa coverage-- building sets, dragging out the big anchors, tons of graphics, interviewing every candidate and citizen who moves.

It will be a fascinating day and night-- and it will all be picked apart tomorrow.

On to New Hampshire February 8.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Andy's Angles: Buttermilk Falls

Today, another January 1 photo of Buttermilk Falls in Falls Township, Wyoming County.  This is the view looking downstream, toward the Susquehanna River.

A web search shows several sites in Pennsylvania with the name Buttermilk Falls.  However, I was unable to find the reason.

Perhaps one of our area's many historians can enlighten me.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Andy's Angles: Falls

This weekend, the final photos from my New Year's Day photo expedition.

This is the falls at Falls in Wyoming County.  Buttermilk Falls to be exact.  As you can see, we were coming off a very warm December.  I'm sure the area has iced over due to some recent cold temperatures.

January 1 was very cloudy, but even on a grey day, this was an impressive sight.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Abe Vigoda

I have a meager DVD collection.  There are only two TV series, in their entirety in my stack.  One is Scrubs.  Barney Miller is the other.

By now, you know Abe Vigoda passed away earlier this week.  94.  For three years, he was Sgt. Phillip K. Fish in Barney's Miller squad room.

Barney Miller was an ensemble comedy, with several criminals entering and exiting every week.  It meant no one actor had a lot of lines.  Abe Vigoda made every word work, but it was more than that.  It was the walk, the expressions.  That face.  The delivery.

There is one scene that always comes to mind.  Vigoda's Fish was the "old cop," the one nearing retirement, the one with the old person medical issues.  In police work (and journalism), experience means a lot.  Most days, Fish was the smartest one in the room.  A woman brought in on prostitution charges was trying to make small talk with Fish.  She asks "How long have you been a cop?"  Fish, wanting to be left alone, snaps back "I was the first."  I've seen it a dozen times.  It never fails to make me laugh.

Vigoda left for a spin off series, and, unfortunately, it didn't work.  There were a few Barney Miller guest appearances in later years.  It was always a kick to see Fish walk through that door one more time.

Bloody dramas are not my thing, so I can't really write about Vigoda's Tessio character in Godfather I and II.  I've read the reviews in the obituaries and have seen the clips.  Excellent work.

Abe Vigoda made me laugh.  Thank you.