Sunday, May 27, 2018

Andy's Angles: Science!

This tree shrouded structure is the science building at Marywood University..  It was much smaller in my day. 

I can't say I spent much time here.  During my years, you had a choice-- two science courses and one math, or two math courses and one science.  As noted here earlier, I'm not a numbers guy.  I went for the two sciences.

One was a course called Matter, Energy, and Technology.  I can't say I remember much about it, but I do recall it was a scatter shot approach, hitting several science disciplines.  My other science course was Astronomy.  Dr. Brennan, and I do remember enjoying that one a great deal.

B+ in both courses!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Andy's Angles: Green Space

Apology in advance for what I think will be a long and convoluted entry.

One of the things I always admired about Marywood was its commitment to trees and green space.  It's a beautiful campus.  It was in my day.  It still is.  Let's get oriented.  The new library is at the left.  The old library was in the center.  You can see the corner of a relatively new arts building is on the right.  Architecture is in the building in the background.  That was the gym and pool back in my day.  The field at center right was always there.  Much of today's entry deals with that field.

One of my biggest college adjustments was getting used to late afternoon and evening classes.  I hated them.  The hate lasted until the day I left.  Unfortunately, there was no way around it.  I took as many early morning classes as I could.  Yes, I was a morning person even way back then.  Some classes were only offered in the late afternoon and evening.  I didn't like it, but that's college life.  It was the high school advantage.  You were out the door at 2:45.

Freshman year at Marywood.  French. Mondays and Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 pm.  Not only was it a course that wasn't in my wheelhouse, I sat at my desk and watched night time arrive, and the sun sink.  As it turned out, the sun wasn't the only thing sinking.  My grade was along for the ride.

I made it through that first semester with a C, and it was a major accomplishment.

There is a phenomenon called "summer slide."  Students often forget what they learned during the summer, so there has to be a bit of a review in the fall.  Back in my freshman year, Marywood had something called "Winterim."  Christmas break was extra long, and the school offered courses during the break, like it did in the summer.  My first year at Marywood was the last for Winterim.  The school then shortened the post Christmas vacation.  Instead, there were two different summer sessions.  I didn't participate in Winterim, but I did take courses during my three Marywood summers.  Note to college kids, present and future:  take summer classes if you can!

Second semester of French was a monumental struggle, the biggest of my college years.  There was one afternoon, after a particularly grueling class, when I was cutting across the field, on my way back to my car in the parking lot.  It was still cold, but spring was in the air.  Darkness was arriving, but you could tell the days were getting longer.  I encountered a robin during my cross field short cut, my first of the season.  I started at the bird.  The bird stared back.  For a moment, my French worries disappeared.

The respite was short.  Another French class was just a couple of days away.  As hard as I tried, I just couldn't get it.  My grade for that second semester of French, spring 1980, was a D, and I considered it a gift.  I smiled in tremendous relief when the report card came in the mail.

I cannot visit, or even pass, that field without thinking of that robin who made a tough time just a little bit easier.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Back when I was at WARM, in the mid 80's, the station used to put out a mailer a few times a year.  It went to people who signed up for something called a CashCard, later a RadioCard.  It enabled you to get discounts at stores and other little freebies.  The card thing eventually petered out.  So did the mailer.  So did the station.

Below is the back cover from a March 1985 mailer.  Several Wyoming Valley Mall stores decided to play along.  How many do you remember?  How many are out of the mall?  How many are out of business?
Just for laughs, here's the front.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday Scrapple

On a scale from 1 to 10, my interest in the royal wedding was barely a 2.  I will admit they Harry and Meghan are a great looking pair.

Note to State Farm agents:  I'm sure you have a fine product, but I'm very happy with what I have now.  STOP SENDING ME THINGS IN THE MAIL!

Last Indianapolis 500 on ABC Sunday.  I know it's a business, but it's still sad.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who build LinkedIn pages, but never check them, never maintain them.  Delete and move on.  I will say that LionkedIn is one of the most useless sites-- ever.

Decorating the tops of mortarboards was cute for a while.  It's worn off.

I know I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  the number of overdoses you hear every weekend on the police radio is terrifying.

I've been out on my bike several times this spring, and the roads are still terrible.

It appears the investigation into financial monkey business in the Scranton School District is accelerating.  Bravo!  It's clear something is wrong, somewhere.

The U.S. Supreme court has given states the right to conduct sports betting.  Why do I see trouble with this?

I honestly don't care if it's yanny or laurel.  Please stop it.  Stop it now.

Worst.  Spring.  Ever.

The NFL is taking steps to make kick offs less dangerous.  Isn't danger part of the game?    Moot point.  The NFL will soon exist as just something on which to gamble.

It's another changing of the guard at my gym?  Why don't employees stay?

I was driving in a downpour early Wednesday morning.  Holy Cow!  It was worse than driving in a snow storm.

I know he's been gone a long time now, but Dick Clark made hosting Pyramid look so darned easy.  I know he won Emmys for it, but I don't think Clark ever received his due for being a game show host.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

First Person: Rescued

The day started benignly enough-- a simple story on gasoline prices as we approach Memorial Day weekend.  My phone rang a little after 6 am.  There was a crash, a bad one, along Interstate 81 north in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Photographer Jason broke down our live shot location in Pittston Township and we headed south.  We found the crash scene quickly enough, but there was a major problem.  The we couldn't access the crash scene safely.  There was plenty of interstate between the wrecked tractor trailer and us.

Jason and I brainstormed for a moment.  We remembered a road, off Route 309, that cuts under the interstate, then snakes along it.  By the way, traffic on 309 was crawling because of the vehicles that jumped off 81.  Thank you to the people who let us cut in front of them.

We found a pretty good spot.  Great view of the wrecked tractor trailer, with its wheels up.  We were out of everyone's way and it was possible to do live shots safely.

An aside:  highway crashes are our worst nightmare.  We have to get there and not get caught up in the traffic tangle.  We have to get video without putting ourselves in danger.  First responders already have their hands full.  We take great steps to avoid getting in their way.

Jason had the live shot up and running quickly and efficiently.  There was enough time left to do a quick hit in Newswatch 16 This Morning.  It was a real drama.  It took about two and a half hours to cut the driver out of the wreckage.  We followed the progress during Good Morning America.

If highway crashes are our worst nightmare, rain is a close second.  One drop of water in the wrong place can put you out of business.  Jason kept the gear covered.  We didn't have a problem.  I wish I updated social media a bit more.  The station took care of most of it.  I really tried to avoid taking my phone out of my raincoat pocket.  The phone did get wet during my phone calls to the station.  It kept working.

The driver was finally rescued around 8:30 am.  We wrapped it up during the 8:56 am update, and it was back to the station.  My first stop was the make up room, where I used someone's hair dryer to dry my shirt.  My two coats are on chairs near my desk, getting some air.  My ball cap is being dried by the fan I keep on my desk.

My problems were minuscule compared to the issues faced by first responders, and of course the truck driver.  A truck, upside down, facing down an embankment.  A man trapped inside.  A steep slope.  Driving rain.  Mud everywhere.

I've covered a lot of crashes over the years.  This had to be one of the most challenging.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Settling Dust

It's been one week since the primary.  A few additional thoughts...

I had the Lackawanna County turnout percentage the day after the election.  It was bad.  Luzerne County also reported some lousy turnout figures.  It's not difficult to see why.  Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey both ran for their nominations unopposed.  The bottom of the ballot races, while important, didn't excite people.

Only one in six voted in Philadelphia, according to the Inquirer.

If there's anyone who doesn't expect a bloody and bruising battle between Casey and Republican Lou Barletta, I'd like to meet them.  From what some insiders have said, Democrats think they will have an easy time against Barletta.  It remains to be seen.  As always, turnout will be key, especially in Philadelphia, where the Democrats have the registration edge.  Turnout there was weak two years ago, and it helped put Donald Trump in the White House.

According to PennLive.com, some big Republicans don't think Barletta can do it.  If there is no national money coming in, that race could be over fast.

Sen. Casey had a combination primary victory celebration and campaign kick off party Saturday night at a union hall in Dunmore.  Plusses:  Saturday night.  Plenty of people could attend.  Unions are important to the Democratic strategy.  Fun.  Informal.  Minus:  media exposure.  Not prime time.

The 112th was among the more fascinating races this year.  After a crowded primary, it's interesting to see if a party, usually Democrat, comes together to support the nominee.  After all, there are always bruised feelings, hurt egos, etc.  Kyle Mullins' vote total was so high, he might not need much help from the four people he defeated.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dr. Perry

We'll begin the week with another Marywood memory.  Relax.  The month is almost over.  I'll be done soon.

Someone recently mentioned the name of Dr. George F. Perry in the comment section of my Facebook page.  Dr. Perry was head of the communications department during my stay.  I promised a blog entry, and here it is.

Let me describe The Doctor.  Soft spoken, well mannered, always looked great.  I don't think I ever saw him with a loosened tie.  To a long haired rock and roll disc jockey, my initial impression was stuffy and more than a bit intimidating.  He was my adviser.  I think we met once in the advisory role at the beginning of my four years, and again a couple of years later when I added a minor in public relations.    I never needed his services other than that.  Nothing personal.  Scheduling and related matters really didn't require a lot of help.

I did see Dr. Perry aggravated and annoyed only a couple of times (never at me).  I never saw him lose his temper.

Below is a very old George Perry photo I lifted from Marywood's Instagram site.

I had several Dr. Perry courses.  While I can't say they were great fun, I will say, without a doubt, that I learned.  That's what it was all about.  Conventional wisdom was that Dr. Perry merely tolerated the radio and TV people.  He really favored the theater majors.  While he might have liked them more, radio and television were never neglected.  He was always there for us.

Now, the really good stuff.  You had to do a senior project in order to graduate.  In my day, that was a 60 minute radio program, a 30 minute TV program, or a long paper.  I chose the paper, the only one in my class to do so.  I believe I was the only one to do that in years.  Why?  Well, self confidence was never my strong point.  Undertaking those other productions required the help of several classmates.  While that wouldn't be a problem, I preferred working by myself.  It was the paper for me.

Dr. Perry approved the topic.  I wrote it and submitted it.  It was more than 50 pages.  Typed.  Remember, this was the day before computers and word processors.  We met toward the end of my very last semester to talk about it.  The grade:  "A"  The talk was open and honest.  I will never forget it.  I said "Dr. Perry, a lot of people here think I took the easy way out by writing the paper."  His response was that I didn't,  and he added, "Some people took the easy way out in their projects, and I nailed them."  I nearly fell out of my chair in Dr. Perry's little office in the Fine Arts Building.
While it was a major compliment and I appreciated it, something bothered me.  It still bothers me to this day.  You finally discover how nice someone is, how cool, upfront, and honest they are, just as they are about to leave your life.  It's happened before.  It never fails to frustrate me.

Dr. Perry retired in 1991, eight years after I graduated.  He passed away several years after that.  I think I've done some really good work over the years, especially in recent years.  Dr. Perry is partially responsible, and I'm sorry he's not here to see it.  I'm very sorry that I didn't say thank you.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Andy's Angles: My Least Favorite

This is supposed to be a celebration month, so I'm not going super negative on Marywood's new library.  It's only about two years old.  Long story short:  it's the wrong building in the wrong location, and it doesn't fit in with the rest of the campus.
This is a picture of the back side of the library.  The old library, which really needed to be replaced, was on the right.  One of my original criticisms was the new library sliced the campus in half.  The Great Wall of Marywood.  I suspected the "slice" effect would be lessened when the old library was torn down.

I was wrong.

Marywood needed a new library, and I'm sure there's  a "wow" factor when prospective students get a look, inside and out.   I realize what they were trying to do here.  Nudge the culture.  Go fresh and modern.  Show Marywood is a school of the future.  Totally understood.  Architecture is extremely subjective.  Traditionalists still have some issues, but that's all past tense.  The front photo was taken in May of last year.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Andy's Angles: My Favorite

My parade of Marywood University memories rolls along.  I've been showing campus photos this month to mark the 35th anniversary of my graduation.

This is my favorite building on campus, sort of.  This is Marywood's post office and printing center.  When I started in 1979, this building was much smaller and I loved it.  It looked like a building that would house Santa's elves at the North Pole.  It was a tiny brick building and it was adorable-- filled with charm.  Friend and classmate June Ann Greco dug up the photo you see below.  Thanks, Junie!

The building was expanded several years ago.  It appears the architects did their best to preserve some of the original flavor.  One of my most vivid memories of the place was burning out a printer here while making several copies of my thesis in 1983.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Swift One

There is a line from the theme to the incredibly forgettable, even though it was on for nine years, sitcom "Alice."  It goes "kicking myself for nothing was my favorite sport."

There was a recent epiphany while writing these, seemingly endless to you, blog entries about college.

After I graduated, I stopped at the college radio station to say good bye on my way back to my car in the parking lot.  I went home, took a nap, and went to work at midnight.  For years, decades even, I kicked myself for not going out and doing something fun to celebrate my new degree.  I'm sure my boss at WARM would have understood, and freed me from the midnight to 5:30 AM shift for once.

Then, I thought about it for a moment recently.  After four years of college, I had drifted away from my neighborhood and high school friends.  They're all great people, but you know how it is.  You go in different directions.  I envy those who are able to keep up friendships.  It wasn't easy for me.  I was usually working while my friends were sleeping and vice versa.  My best college friends were dorm girls, and they were gone-- some for the summer.  Some, forever.

I liked to work and I liked my job. Heading to WARM in Avoca made perfect sense.   Unfortunately, it took me 35 years to realize it.