Friday, September 19, 2014

This Week

In a small way, I now know what members of the clergy go through.

All week long, at the mall, at the gym, at the drug store, at the office...  I'm asked to shed some light on what happened one week ago at the State Police barracks at Blooming Grove.  People want to make some sense out of a senseless act.

As you know by now, Cpl. Bryon Dickson was shot to death.  Tpr. Alex Douglass was wounded and left for dead.

Investigators believe a disgruntled and disturbed man from Canadensis pulled the trigger.  We may never know why, but that hasn't stopped us from trying to learn the truth.

I wish I had the answers.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I did something yesterday I hadn't done in a while-- wander through one of those big box office supply stores.  I really didn't need anything.  It's been an unusual week and I just needed to get out for a while.

The store has been updated since my last visit, and some things jumped out at me.

The store had just three desktop computers on display.  Three.  And, they were hard to find.  We now live in a laptop and tablet world.

The software area has shrunk considerably.  All the store had was some anti virus software and a few business productivity items.  No one buys dvd software any more.  It's all downloaded.

The hard wired telephone department is shrinking, again.  Copper land lines are on the way out.

It looks like the cell phone/smart phone case, charger and accessory area has a lot more room.

It was nice to see the store still sells a lot of pens and paper.  I hope pen to paper never goes away.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings makes me sick.

I'm sorry.  There's no other way to say it.

Peterson has been charged with child abuse.  It's alleged he whipped his four year old son with a stick until the child bled.  Four years old.  What could have a four year old have done to deserve that?  He bled.

What makes it worse is Peterson has admitted to and is defending his behavior.


Okay, I will admit that a lot of kids could benefit from a swat to the behind once in a while, but whipping a four year old until he bleeds is criminal behavior.

Once upon a time, there was a sadistic teacher at one of my elementary schools.  He used to paddle kids, on the hand, with a thick and massive board.  I saw it happen.  It wasn't pleasant.  The punishment was doled out in a public ritual of humiliation and tears.  This teacher appeared to derive some pleasure out of it.

He wasn't my teacher, and he never got me, but after witnessing one of his sick rituals I vowed that if he ever tried that with me, I'd make a grab for that paddle and crease his skull with it.

It wasn't discipline.  It was child abuse, and he should have been jailed for it.  But, it was a different time, and no one really seemed to care.  I did.

Watching this twisted individual inflict horrible punishment wasn't incentive for me to behave.  It was incentive to make sure no child of mine was ever treated that way.  I always said to myself that every teacher would get the same lecture from me.  If my child misbehaves, put him in a room and call me.  I'll deal with it.  You are to never, ever lay a hand on him.

The point is moot.  I never had kids.

Still, there's a lesson here.  Stop the hitting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Black and White

I feel good when I see people interested in news, even though tragedy often drives them there.

My Monday morning was spent in Pike County, doing updates on Friday night's shooting at Blooming Grove that killed one state trooper and badly injured another.

We were making the rounds when we stopped by a gas station/mini mart.  The truck needed gas and I needed to use the "porcelain conveniences" as radio DJ Doug "Greaseman" Tracht was fond of saying.  The newspaper rack was near the front door, and as I was exiting the store, I noticed a lot of people clustered around the rack and buying newspapers.

OK.  The problems of newspapers in the modern age are well documented.  Many have had massive problems transitioning to digital.  By the time the ink hits the paper, the news is old.  Many newspapers are printed miles and miles away from the cities in which they are distributed. It's a tough business.

But, on the other hand, newspapers can provide context and depth.  It's something we broadcasters, in this fast moving headline era, can't do.

I've known a lot of print people during my time in the business.  I've respected most.  Some were horribly incompetent.  Others were deceitful.  They were in the minority.  I guess the print people can say the same about broadcasters.

It hurts when I see newspapers struggle.  We're all brethren in the information business.  With any luck, the Pike County story will drive people back to print, they'll stick around for a while, and realize what they've been missing.

Monday, September 15, 2014


It makes you wonder.  What drives a person to kill one state police officer and seriously wound another?

To say the individual has no regard for human life is an understatement.  Cop killers hold a special place in society, and it's not a highly regarded one.

The theories are out there, but no one who really knows is talking, at least not right now.

We'll eventually learn why all of this happened.  Was it a random act, or did the shooter have a grudge against a specific officer?  Did the shooter hate everyone in uniform?

What will we learn here?  Do officers have to wear bullet proof vests constantly?  I've been in a lot State Police barracks over the years.  They all have features that separate the public from the secure areas.  Do we now need more protection, more security outside?

I'm sure all the answers will come, eventually.  I'm not sure we'll like what we hear.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Andy's Angles: Jan's Ride

I should have noted that it's possible to donate to the cause.  All the info is at JansRide.com

Family and friends took a horrible event, and used it to launch something positive for the community.  What a way to remember a soldier who died for his country.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Andy's Angles: Motorcycles

I waste most of my vacation time, and I'm okay with that.  I'm not one of those people who needs to go on trips and other adventures.  I'm happy to do nothing.

There was one worthwhile activity during my time off.  I stopped by the annual motorcycle ride in honor of SGT Jan Argonish.  He's the Lackawanna County man killed in Afghanistan seven years ago.

No, I don't ride.  I just watch, and marvel at the outpouring of support.  Money raised goes to veterans charities here in our area.  All the info is at JansRide.com

More than 500 motorcycles, and their riders and passengers, were here Sunday morning.  That translates into thousands of dollars for people who really need it.

I'll share another photo tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Scrapple

It's astounding how an organization as big, powerful, and as media savvy as the National Football League can royally mess up a player disciplinary situation.

McDonald's is considering something called "McBrunch."  Really?  Isn't the McD's menu large enough, and employees seem to struggle with the current slate of offerings.

Intrigued by the big iPhone, but not enough to pull the trigger.  I'll have to check it out when it's in stores and the crowds die down.

I hear a lot of people complaining about FaceBook lately, making me glad I never signed up.

More stores are opening along the 611 corridor in Bartonsville.  Shouldn't they get a handle on the traffic problems there first?

There aren't enough Ray Charles songs on the radio.

Radio Shack says it's considering bankruptcy.  As I noted before, RS used to be a fun place to explore and the yearly catalog release was eagerly anticipated.  Sad.

MSN.com had a list of 10 things dirtier than a toilet seat.  Sorry.  I didn't read it.

I take a September vacation because I like cooler weather.  It just didn't happen this year.  Another vacation week is set for late October.  I'm assuming it will be cooler then.

Back to work tonight after 11 days off.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

No Choice

Yesterday, we saw two leaders backed against the wall.

President Obama ordered air strikes in Syria.  Target:  ISIS.  It's the first time there will be U.S. military action in that middle eastern nation.  There is no option.  If the ISIS threat is to be neutralized, you have to hit them where they live, and that's Syria.

The president had to do something.  ISIS is a big threat.  Americans have been killed.  On top of that, the president's popularity is plunging.  The majority of people surveyed in an ABC News poll view the Obama presidency as a failure.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is the second on today's "no choice" list.  Late last night, he appointed a special investigator to look in to the way the league handled the Ray Rice video.  Goodell originally suspended Rice for two games for punching his fiance (now wife) unconscious in an Atlantic City hotel.  Rice was kicked out of the league and cut from the Baltimore Ravens after a second video surfaced, showing the actual punch.  There are allegations the league had the "punch" video months ago, but it did nothing.

A special, independent investigator is the only way to go. It's better than the dreaded "internal investigation."  As Larry King once said, only one question is asked at an "internal investigation," and that's "How are we going to cover this up?"

As many people are saying, including your blog author, why did they need the punch video to bounce Rice?  Wasn't an unconscious woman, being dragged from an elevator enough?

At least, the Rice story has ignited discussions aimed at ways to curb domestic violence and help its victims.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


There is considerable outrage over Ray Rice's actions, and rightfully so.

To get you up to speed, Rice hit his fiance (now his wife) in an Atlantic City hotel.  The Baltimore Ravens star was suspended for two games.

Earlier this week, TMZ got its hands on the video of the actual strike.  We had already seen Rice dragging the unconscious woman out of the elevator.

Rice was suspended for two games.  That switched to a ban, plus a release from contract, after video of the punch became public.

Two things:  There are allegations the NFL never made an effort to find the video of the punch.  Also, did we really need it?  We saw the video of Rice dragging a limp body out of the elevator.  We could all come to the conclusion that something really bad happened in there because she was UNCONSCIOUS!

Systemic failure:  from the punch itself, to the investigation, to the way the NFL and the Ravens handled the punishment.

And, the NCAA lifted some of the post Sandusky sanctions against Penn State.  Judging by the reaction, it looks like the "football first" mentality is still alive and well.