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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Outsourced

I wrote earlier how much I like the NBC sitcom "Outsourced."  It's about an employee of a Kansas City based novelty company who's sent to India to run a call center.  Well written.  Good characters.  Funny.  Clever.  Witty.  An unusual a look at our culture as well as that of India.

Living the nightmare isn't funny.

I had a minor issue with the XM/Sirius satellite radio people.  I called the "listener care" center Saturday, and it was abundantly clear that I reached a foreign land.

Outsourcing jobs is bad in and of itself.  It's even worse when the person on the other end of the telephone has no idea what you're talking about.  If you're going to outsource customer service, at least make sure your call takers know how to service the customer.  After going around in circles for a while, I asked for a manager.  "Bob" informed me that none were available.  I gave up and decided to call another day.

A second try came Monday afternoon.  The two people I got on the phone were a little more helpful, but not by much.  I was ready to cancel the service, but I do like it so much, so I mustered up every ounce of patience I had.

It appears my problem was resolved.  I can't say for sure because I have zero confidence in the XM/Sirius "listener care" people.

Why do I have this horrible feeling I'll be dealing with that outsourced call center again in the not-too-distant future?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mysterious Ways


It is said the Lord works in mysterous ways, and, if you believe in such things, there was some evidence of that last week

As noted earlier, I covered the four alarm fire on South Franklin Street Tuesday morning.  The nice people across the street, at Central United Methodist Church were kind enough to open their doors to the fire victims and the firefighters.  It gave them a chance to get out of the morning chill, a place to sit down, and clean bathrooms.

Regular blog readers know I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi, and church personnel didn't turn me away from their porcelean facilities, even though I was neither firefighter nor fire victim.  Thank you.

That was "mysterious way" number one.

"Mysterous way" number two appeared when I walked into the church, and saw this sign on one of the doors.  It provided a much needed smile on an awful morning, and let me tell you why.

I had the pleasure of working with and learning from the legendary Kevin Jordan at the old WYOU.  He was a friend long before that, during my radio days.  Even though Kevin had a unique way of pushing your buttons back in the day, I'm glad I know him.

One of Kevin's favorite phrases was "walk with Jesus."  Seeing the sign in the church Tuesday morning brought back some pleasant memories.  When you're covering a morning of misery, every bright moment counts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bad Photography Sunday

You can spend hours wandering around Wilkes-Barre, and marveling at the architecture.  This is Ohav Zedek synagogue on South Franklin Street, another of the city's spectacular buildings.

Once again, the web site has all the information.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bad Photography Saturday


I had a few spare moments to do a little wandering in Wilkes-barre the other day.  This is the Stegmaier Mansion, a bed and breakfast on South Franklin Street.  The porch looks a little cluttered due to renovations currently in progress.

There is so much to say that I'll just let their web site do the heavy lifting.  Below, the mansion's fantastic gate.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

I have many things for which to be thankful.  Let's bring a couple front and center.

I'm thankful that on this holiday weekend and on Christmas, I don't have to travel farther than the office.  I don't think I could handle that airport madness, as well as all the traffic on the highways.

I'm also thankful that I will not play a role in the lunacy known as Black Friday.  My family is small.  My friends are few.  Christmas shopping isn't much of a challenge, and I've been nibbling away at it, via internet, the past couple weeks.

Yes, some people find Black Friday enjoyable  Others have to shop on Black Friday to save some money and stretch their budgets.  I respect that.  Getting up super early and fighting crowds just isn't my idea of fun.

If you're going to be out today, and this weekend, please be careful.

I did find a moment this morning to engage in one of my favorite post-Thanksgiving activities:  a trip to the supermarket.  I didn't need much, just a few items, including some soda for the overnight hours at work.  The supermarket was empty, and I blew in and out at around 7 AM.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not sure where he picked it up, but my first boss in broadcasting, the great Ron Allen, always used to say "You can't win them all, but you sure can lose them all."

My Thanksgiving adaptation is "Things can be better, but they sure can be worse."

I have a lot for which to be thankful, and if you give it just a little thought, I'm sure you can feel the same way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Disappointing Day

Big fires are always sad, and even more so just before a holiday.  I was at the fire that wrecked a couple buildings on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre yesterday morning.  Six people lost their homes, and it appears these people didn't have a lot to begin with.

There are some things for which to be thankful.  No one was hurt, and firefighters stopped the flames before they reached a rather large apartment building rented by college students.  There was a significant chance half a block could have gone up in flames.

Continuing today's "disappointing" theme, I have to mention yesterday's indictment of State Senator Ray Musto.  I preface this by noting that Musto is innocent until proven guilty.  Federal prosecutors say Musto took thousands in bribes, and this is no nickel and dime stuff.  Some significant money is involved.  Musto is one of this area's more popular political figures.  He's been around for a long time, and is well liked.  You're always disappointed to learn a person like that has allegedly traveled the wrong path.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Already There

You often hear us refer to something called "Holiday Mode."  Businesses and offices kick in to it around major holidays, all year round.  It's tough to describe.  It essentially involves a lighter, more casual atmosphere.

Holiday Mode arrived early this year, and it was easy to tell.  I got home from work yesterday, had lunch, and took the beagle for a walk.  When I arrived home after my leisurely stroll, I checked my work e-mail.

We have different categories of e-mail at the station.  There are designations for producers, anchors, assignment editors, reporters, and  morning team members.  Because I'm all of those, I get tons of e-mail.  I was shocked when my e-mail box had only a few submissions.  It seems like a lot of businesses and government offices have already begun coasting toward Thanksgiving.

I'm not complaining.  Have a good week.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The War for Late Night

I finished reading "The War for Late Night" last week.

Every story usually has a hero and a villain.  There are no heroes here.  It seems NBC executives made some boneheaded decisions, and Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien played huge roles in creating their own problems.

Where do I start?  The NBC execs tried to keep Jay and Conan happy.  They went 0-for-2.  Leno took a job, the 10 PM show, he never wanted.  It bombed.  Conan resisted attempts to make his "Tonight" show unacceptable to a broader audience at 11:35 PM.  It bombed.  The NBC execs revealed their ineptitude once again when they tried to fix things.

Leno got his old show back, but he also picked up a damaged reputation.  O'Brien wound up on basic cable.  He too is damaged goods for failing to hold on to Leno's "Tonight" audience.

I'm neither a Leno nor Conan fan.  I'm not a Seinfield fan, either, but he had the best lines in the book.  Seinfield was quoted as saying comics debated, for years, who would take over the "Tonight" show when Johnny Carson left, but no one realized that when Carson left, he took "Tonight" with him.

Conan, Leno, and Letterman just do nightly comedy shows.  They're all trying to achieve that Carson standard, to sit in his chair, but there was only one Johnny Carson.  Yes, I'm having a geezer moment.  Times change.  Tastes in comedy change.  The point is you have a bunch of people trying to fill shoes that cannot be filled.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bad Photography Sunday

One more Susquehanna River picture won't hurt.  I'm standing in the same place as I was when yesterday's photo was taken.  The only difference is I'm looking upstream.

That's the Firefighters Memorial Bridge, formerly the Water Street Bridge, on the upper left.  The twin steeples in the center belong to St. John the Evangelist Church.

We had a dry spell several days ago, and that's "reflected" in the stillness of the water.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bad Photography Saturday

I have a database of the photos I take, and while checking it the other day, I realized I took an awful lot of pictures in and around Pittston this year.  It wasn't a conscious effort.  It just hapened.

This one was snapped late Monday morning.  I'm in West Pittston, looking downstream.  That's the old Pittston Hospital on the upper left.

Even on a grey November day, the river still has its beauty.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Same Time, Next Year

It was my yearly experience with mass transit.

My car was due for an oil change, tire rotation, inspection, and 30,000 mile maintenance-- and Wednesday was the day.

I dropped it off at the dealer at 8:00 AM, and got a ride home from the courtesy shuttle.  The dealer offer a ride back to the shop when my car was ready, but I declined.

I got the call, at home, that my car was ready, and walked a few blocks to the Colts bus stop.  Not much has changed since my last ride, on car inspection day last year.  The ride to Scranton was still $1.25.  The bus was still crowded.  It was still clean and was a smooth ride.

My schedule rules out mass transit for work.  People who have the opportunity to ride the bus to and from their places of employment are fortunate.  I'm sure waiting for a bus in the cold, snow and rain isn't fun, but it is a pleasant experience once you climb aboard.

See you next year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Cheer

It is one of our area's holiday gems-- the annual Christmas light show at Nay Aug Park.  I bombarded you with photos last year.  I'll try not to do that again in 2010.  I just got caught up in the moment.  Last year was the first I managed to stay up past sunset to walk through the park and take a good look.

I needed some tree shots one week ago, when I stumbled across some city workers getting the park ready for this year's show.  It's an extensive operation.

The workers/decorators had already completed the office and storage building when I arrived.  If you take in the show, and if it's the same as last year, don't miss this building.  It's set up so the lights flash in time with holiday music.  Spectacular, especially when they play the music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

The Nay Aug park show starts soon.  It's free to drive and walk through.  They'll take donations to cover expenses.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Defense of... November

I hate to say it, but I've really been enjoying November.

If I remember a high school class science class correctly, when you factor in early sunsets and the average number of cloudy days, November is the month with the least amount of sunshine.

We hit the jackpot last week with a few extremely sunny and warmer than average days.  I took this picture Thursday morning at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  That's the pavilion surrounded by trees that still have some colorful leaves.

Even if you exclude last week's exceptional weather, November's can be a nice month.  There's a nice bite in the air.  No snow.  I had some great times just going for a walk amidst the blowing leaves.

November isn't perfect.  Thanksgiving is book-ended by two potentially miserable days.  The day before is the biggest travel day of the year.  Highways are a nightmare.  I'll save my anti Black Friday rant for another time.

Holiday related stress and or depression is still a few weeks away from kicking in.

Get out and enjoy November.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

6

This blog is six years old today.

As is tradition on the blog anniversary, here's a a quick telling of how the blog came to be.  Our news director at the time, Dennis Fisher, was looking for ideas on how to get more fresh content on to WNEP.com.  I'd seen columns written by anchors and reporters on other TV station web sites, and suggested it to Dennis.  He asked for a sample.  Before I could provide one, then-webmaster Mark Sowers saw the blog thing taking off across the country.  He pitched the idea to me one November morning, and I was blogging that afternoon.

I became addicted pretty fast.  For years, I had to stick to the script.  The blog allows for some "rest of the story" stuff.

I don't know if it was ever envisioned as a daily thing, but that's the way it's turned out.  The first years were text only.  Graphics and photos gradually entered the picture.

Many blogs have come and gone over the years.  I think Facebook and Twitter have taken some wind out of blogs' sails.  The way I look at it, I'd prefer one long poorly expressed thought a day rather than several smaller ones. 

I still don't get Facebook.  People have suggested it to me as a way to get back in touch with old friends.  There are reasons people are in my past, and I'd prefer, with a few exceptions, to leave them there.  I'm not that hard to find.  Check the dollar store or the stool in the darkest corner.

As for Twitter, my life really isn't that fascinating.  There's no need for regular little updates.  The blog is more than enough, thank you very much.

Your daily visits are greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Merry Christmas, Aunt Mary


I know the Christmas season is officially here when I see the Hickory Farms kiosk pop up in malls throughout our area.  I took the above photo, with my camera phone, Wednesday afternoon, at Viewmont Mall in Dickson City.

Hickory Farms and Christmas are forever linked in my mind, and if you can excuse a long story, I'll tell you why.

Many members of my mom's family moved to Connecticut after the Big War because really good manufacturing jobs weren't available around here.  Not much has changed in 65 years, has it?  Anyway, one of my mother's brothers, my Uncle Al married a woman who became my Aunt Mary.  She was also my godmother.

Uncle Al passed away while I was very young, and I really don't remember much about him.  Aunt Mary remained in Bridgeport, CT.  While I liked my Aunt Mary, I hated those Bridgeport trips.  It was the days before Interstate 84, and getting to Bridgeport meant spending a lot more time in a car than I liked.  Bridgeport in and of itself was a completely different issue.  If you've ever been there, you know what I'm talking about.

Hickory Farms used to have a store at Viewmont Mall year-round.  It was great.  You never knew when you'd need a ball of cheddar rolled in nuts.  As I got a little older, but still a kid, I'd always make sure to set aside a few dollars at Christmas, get to the mall somehow, and send a Hickory Farms gift pack to Aunt Mary.  It was allowance money, and there wasn't a lot of it.  I could never afford the top of the line Hickory Farms assortment.  I don't think the small size of the gift mattered to Aunt Mary.

You have to remember, this was the time before Al Gore invented the internet.  I don't think Gore was even born yet.  Christmas catalogs were from Sears and Penney's, and that was it.  Having someone like Hickory Farms do the packing and shipping for you was an amazing convenience at the time, especially if you were too young to drive to the post office.

How can I describe Aunt Mary?  I thought she resembled Florence Halop, the woman who played Mrs. Hufnagel on St. Elsewhere and Flo the bailiff on Night Court, only a little taller.

Aunt Mary is in a better place now.  She must be gone close to thirty years, and I still can't walk past a Hickory Farms kiosk without thinking of her.

Merry Christmas, Aunt Mary.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bad Photography Sunday

It's the Lackawanna Valley and Scranton on a sunny November morning.  I took this one Wednesday, a little before 8 AM, when the sun was still rather low in the sky.  It's the view from the Route 307 overlook.

The big building in the middle of the photo is Community Medical Center.

Last week's sunny and warm days was the best spell of November weather in recent memory.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad Photography Saturday

I showed you this scene back in August.  It's the lake, just south of Lake Scranton, along Route 307 in Roaring Brook Township.  Clearly, this is the mid-November version-- no leaves on the trees.  The evergreens and the sky provide the only color.  It's still a pretty picture.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moving Along

We're staying with a military theme on this day after Veterans Day.

I showed you this in the spring, when it was barely out of the ground.  As you now can see, it's grown in to a massive complex.  It's the new Army Reserve Center, between Olyphant Avenue and Boulevard Avenue in Scranton, near the Throop line.

This land had been vacant for years, and it's great to see it being put to a fantastic use.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

It's Veterans Day.  You know why it's important.

This is the big flag that flies above Marywood University's new athletic field, near Interstate 81 in Scranton.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unfinished Business

I'm not comfortable with the sale of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, and I really don't like the proposed stadium re-design, but I will say that it seems to make the best of a bad situation.  Mandalay could do a much better job in fan and media relations.   The new/old stadium looks like something you'd find behind a junior high school in Nebraska.  No offense to the fine people of Nebraska.

Why do newspapers insist on interviewing college professors for political analysis?  All it proves is the professors teaching our kids are hopelessly out of touch with reality.

Keith Olbermann still doesn't get it.  He made a stupid mistake, and he blames his bosses.

I watched "Conan" Monday night on TBS.  The first show was really nothing special, and I do admit that I'm not in Conan's target demographic.

ESPN dumped Jon Miller and Joe Morgan from Sunday Night Baseball after 21 years.  Morgan brought nothing to the table.  Miller is one of the best in the business.  He's been offered a job doing Sunday Night Baseball and the post-season on ESPN Radio.

Why won't the Pennsylvania House of Representatives go back to work?

Most school districts wouldn't have permitted us to go beyond the parking lot.  Mid Valley administration allowed our camera inside the elementary center Monday morning to see the repairs made after a Friday morning fire.  I'm sure seeing the progress helped put parents' minds at ease.

The Dallas Cowboys' problems go far beyond Wade Phillips.

Best resignation line-- ever, was uttered by Gene Shalit.  He's leaving NBC's "Today" after 40 years:  "It's enough already."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The System

It happens every year at this time.  The call goes out for donations for people in need.  Those calls come from a variety of sources and organizations:  the Christmas Holiday Bureau, Feed a Friend, Red Cross, Salvation Army , Toys for Tots, church groups...  The list goes on and on.

Right after the initial call comes the complaints that there are people out there scamming the system-- people who can afford food and toys, but who would rather take things for free.

You know what?  The complaints are true.  There are people out there taking advantage of the kindness of others.  It always happens.  Other than careful screening, there's not much you can do about it.

I'm grateful that I have the ability to make donations.

I look at it like this:  I'd rather have a few scammers infiltrate the system than deny help to the people who really need it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Democracy in Action

I couldn't believe what I was reading.

In one of Saturday's newspapers, a political consultant put part of the blame for his guy's loss on the fact that he had opposition in the primary.

Huh?

Really?

I learned a long time ago that you miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.  The challenger had every right to run.  Voters deserved a choice, and if he thought he could do a better job than the person currently in the post, he had the duty and responsibility to run.  Since when are party nominations handed out on a silver platter?  Primary elections are for voters to choose a party's nominee.  They shouldn't have that done for them.  Incumbency is not a free pass.  Competition and choice make everyone stronger.

While a primary challenge can be expensive, it does give a candidate time and opportunity to hone his message, to sharpen up.

The political consultant went on to list several other factors for his candidate's loss.  There was plenty of blame to go around.  By the way, that candidate was criticized, in many other circles,  for being inaccessible to the public and making unpopular votes.

I should also point out this candidate nearly lost the vote in his home town, and you can't blame that on a primary challenge.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.  Thank you, William Shakespeare.

Then, there is the case of Mr. Keith Olbermann.  MSNBC suspended him last week for making contributions to political candidates.  It opens up an interesting can of worms.

Olbermann is an employee of NBC, and the company has a policy of frowning on political contributions by employees of the news division.  There can be exceptions, but you have to ask first.  MSNBC's Joe Scarborough donated to a candidate, after receiving permission from management.  Olbermann apparently skipped that step.

While Olbermann is on a "news" network, he hosts a clearly opinion based program.  Should he be held to the same standards as, for example, the anchor of the NBC Nightly News?  I really don't know, but I do know this whole mess could have been avoided if Olbermann went to his bosses first and made a full disclosure to the people who view his program.

It has nothing to do with his political slant, but Olbermann often comes off as mean.  Having said that, we all make mistakes, and Olbermann should keep his job-- after NBC lays down the rules.

Keith Olbermann hosts the highest rated program in MSNBC's line up.  I assume management will go on easy on him to protect those numbers.  Other employees wouldn't be as lucky.

>>>UPDATE:  NBC announced Sunday that Olbermann will have a two day suspension, and he'll return tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bad Photography Sunday

I've shot this scene several times before, and I never get tired of it.  It's the reflection of the Nicholson Bridge, in the still water of Tunkhannock Creek.

Welcome back to standard time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bad Photography Saturday

Regular blog readers know that I have a fascination with the Tunkhannock Viaduct, a.k.a., the Nicholson Bridge.

I had a little time to kill a couple weeks ago, and that meant some wandering, camera in hand.

Let me explain what you're looking at.  The bridge here is in the glow of a late October sunrise.  The corn in the field is long gone, but the frost covered stalks remain.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Standard Time

Standard time returns at 2 AM Sunday, and it's an event I look forward to more every year.  It's simple.  I go to sleep early, and get up even earlier.  In my warped life, having the sun around in the morning is better than having it shine in the evening.

I know I'm in the minority, and I respect the views of all those who love late sunsets.

There are people who argue the switches between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time are archaic, and I agree with that.  Big parts of the planet function on one clock, and we should be no different.

There is one drawback, albeit slight.  While you get an extra hour of sleep Sunday morning, I have the pleasure of working an extra hour.  Things will even out in the spring, and that will be here soon enough.

I will say that working the overnight shift speeds my adjustment to Standard Time, and then back to Daylight Saving Time.

No matter how you feel, please remember to set your clocks back one hour Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reasonable Expectation

I can take your picture, without asking, in a public place because the law says you have no "reasonable expectation" of privacy.

Monday morning found me in the Scranton State Office Building, a public building.  You own it.  We were there do do a story on people applying for the LIHEAP program, something that helps people in need pay their home heating bills.  It was an important story.  People need to know there's help out there, and I'm glad a couple individuals agreed to share their stories with me.  It's better to hear it from people going through the process, rather than listening to me pontificate.

All the people you saw were asked if we could show their faces.  If the answer was no, you saw them from the back, or from the waist down.  While they had no reasonable expectation of privacy, they did have a reasonable expectation of dignity.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Feast Day Follow Up



First, it was nice to see pockets of heavy voter turnout, and people taking their responsibility seriously.
Below is a picture of people lined up to vote, just after 7 AM, in Fairview Twp., Luzerne County.



I covered the 11th Congressional District race yesterday, so let's start there.  I took the pictures you see here-- Mr. and Mrs. Kanjorski arriving at their polling place in Nanticoke, and Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta voting at one of his city's fire houses.  I talked to Kanjorski on the day of the primary,an election he won with less than fifty per cent of the vote, and I think he knew then it would be an up hill battle to be re-elected.  Mid term elections usually go against the party in power and it was destined to be a Republican year.  Kanjorski is a smart man, but he really made some mistakes here.  Kanjorski avoided town meetings and meeting people face to face.  It hurt.  He gave a good and insightful interview yesterday morning, and if people had seen that Kanjorski during the campaign, the outcome might have been different.   I don't think people really dislike Paul Kanjorski, but they felt 26 years in office is long enough.  Lou Barletta admitted to me that  learned from past mistakes and missteps during the campaign two years ago.  He didn't have to swim against the Obama wave this time around.  The outcome is clear-- Mr. Barletta goes to Washington.

In the 10th, Tom Marino defeated incumbent Chris Carney.  Carney was the accidental congressman.  In his first election, be heat an incumbent who allegedly assaulted his mistress.    In his second, he defeated a candidate who was the result of a bruising and divisive Republican primary.  There were mistakes in the third campaign, and it cost him.  The Carney people chose to attack Marino on one issue.  Apparently, people don't care who Marino worked for in the past.  Carney didn't do enough "here's who I am and what I stand for" ads.  The mix was all wrong.

Tara Toohill beat state house majority leader Todd Eachus last night.  Eachus has some fingerprints on the Bonusgate scandal, although he hasn't been charged.  We repeatedly pressed him for answers, and never got them.  Eachus also has an association with some of the individuals involved in the Luzerne County corruption scandal, and it cost him his job.  Money should have been a clue.  The vast majority of Eachus' campaign money came from out of the district while Toohill raised her money in the area.  If the locals weren't donating, you knew you were in trouble.

Staying in Luzerne County, the home rule charter question passed easily.  Three commissioners out, in favor of a county council and an appointed manager.  Blame this one on Greg Skrepenak the crooked judges, and the dead wood at the courthouse.  People lost their faith in county government.  It's as simple as that.  The commissioners got fired last night.  While there are many good, decent, and hard working people in county government, the referendum's victory shows people want the current courthouse crowd swept out.

What happened to Dan Onorato?  He had tremendous momentum coming out of the primary, and quickly lost it.  Tom Corbett, who ran a solid campaign, is the next governor.  He inherits a lot of problems in January.  The state has no money.  I looked at the numbers from the northern tier, Marcellus Shale country.  Corbett opposes a severance tax on the drillers.  Republicans normally do well up north, and Corbett was no exception.  With 98 per cent of the vote in, it was close, but Onorato lost his home county-- Allegheny.  That says a lot.  If you're not popular at home, and you can't bank all those votes, it's trouble.
 
 Republican Pat Toomey narrowly defeated Democrat Joe Sestak in the race for senate.  It was a typical Pennsylvania night-- the Democrat pulls out to an early lead because the first votes come from the big cities-- Democratic strongholds.  When the rest of Pennsylvania returns are in, the Republican usually gets close, or goes ahead.  Purely anecdotal evidence, but this was a tough race for a lot of people I spoke with.  Toomey was too far right.  Sestak was too far left.  Toomey squeaked by.

The Toomey and Corbett wins are even more impressive after you look at the vote from Philadelphia.  Both got CRUSHED!  It meant they had to make up a ton of votes in the rest of the state, and they did it.

I will close by saying this was the nastiest election cycle in history, and this year's record will likely be broken two years from now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Feast Day

I'm not sure if he was the first to utter the phrase, but CBS News legend Charles Kuralt once called election day the "feast day of freedom."

Regular blog leaders smell it coming-- the twice yearly lecture to get out and vote.  I'll never understand people who wave the flag on holidays, who support the troops, who say they love their country, who faithfully pay their taxes, but who stay home on election day.  It's all part of the same package.

This election is important.  They all are.  I hope to see you at the polls.  You have a voice.  It would be a shame to waste it.

If I have the opportunity, I'll post some of my Election Day 2010 experiences here later today.  If not, look for a little anlysis tomorrow morning.

>>>11:45 AM... Our noon report on Kanjorski and Barletta has been written, edited, and microwaved back to the station.  We've chosen Wright Township as the location for the noon live shot.  After that, it's back to the office for a little house keeping, home to vote, lunch, walk the beagle, and a long nap.  It should be a fascinating night, and remember, the 2012 campaign starts tomorrow!  By the way, voter turnout today looks to be busy, but not super heavy.  As always, it will pick up between 5 and 8 pm.

>>>9:45 AM... In Hazleton to talk with Kanjorski's opponent, Mayor Lou Barletta.  He's much more optimistic than he was two years ago, learning from past campaign shortcomings, trying to tap into that voter frustration, happy with ticket strength involving Corbett and Toomey.  Campaign aides told me we might not know the outcome until very late tonight.  It's time to start working on a piece for the noon broadcast.  By the way, we're hearing turn out has been on the heavy side this morning.

>>>8:45 AM...  Leaving Nanticoke after talking with Rep. Paul Kanjorski and getting video of him voting.  Kanjorski says he knows voters are frustrated.  I asked if they'll take out that frustration on him.  Kanjorski replied that he doesn't make predictions.  I get the feeling Kanjorski knows this will be a difficult day and night for Democrats.

>>>7:00 AM... Polls open.  Voters are already here.  It's impossible to judge from the first minutes because there are vote spurts at the beginning and and of the day.  However, with many contested races and the home rule question in Luzerne County, it could be a big day.  We're shooting some video here, then chasing a couple candidates for a story for our noon broadcast.  I'm still drinking way too much soda.

>>>4:45 AM... We arrived at our live location for Newswatch 16 This Morning-- Mountain Top Hose Company #1 in Fairview Township.  It's one of the larger polling places in Luzerne County.  It's cold up here, but the view is great.

>>>4:20 AM... I apologive for being too Twitter-esque today.  It won't happen again.  I think I drank too much soda.

>>>4:10 AM...  I've climbed into my home for the next eight and a half hours, Newswatch 16 live unit # 20.

>>>2:30 AM... I was thinking about my drive two years ago, on my drive to work this morning.  In 2008, most people were sure Barack Obama would be elected president.  The polls had him clearly in front.  Whether or not you liked him, you knew change was coming.  This morning, all I could think about was how it all fell apart in less than two years.  The overwhelming emotion today is anger.  Voters want change-- again.  We'll see how much change when the numbers come in.

When I got to the office, I tweaked a couple election morning scripts I prepared over the weekend, sat down with the anchors and producers to decide on a live location and mapped out my day.  Politics can be frustrating, but it can also be great fun.

Monday, November 1, 2010

About the Cover

This month's blog header features the East Stroudsburg Municipal Building.  It's a good looking brick building that fits into its neighborhood.

The clock on top also serves as a reminder that Standard Time returns at 2 AM Sunday, November 7.  Clocks go back one hour.