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Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer

A lot of people consider Labor Day to be the last day of summer, so a quick thought on this last Friday of the season...

I'm not sure it has a name, but a lot of us in the news biz call it the "summer doldrums."  It happens during the hottest time of the year.  Things slow down.  There's not much news.

2012 was strange.  It didn't happen this year.

We had a lot of things to keep us hopping-- Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, excessive heat, a nasty drought, some bad storms, deadly shootings, fatal fires, meth labs, strange crimes, a nearly bankrupt Scranton, trolley frogs, rampaging bulls, and yapping chihuahuas.  And, that's just the short list.

Fall looks to be just as busy, with hurricanes, the Lee flooding anniversary, a long list of trials, the Penn State season, and the presidential election.

I hope your summer was a good one.  Thanks for being part of the ride, and have a safe Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Media Notes

ABC is putting Jimmy Kimmel in Nightline's time slot, and vice versa in January.  I miss the golden age of Nightline in the 80's-- Ted Koppel, live, on the biggest story of the day, doing some great interviews.  Nightline eventually went to tape.  Koppel left in 2005.  The show went multi topic and light.  The ratings are good, but it's not the Nightline of old, and I'm not shedding tears over this.  Yes, I will always believe news comes first, but I'm not naive.  TV is a money business.  Maybe a later time slot will give the Nightline people the incentive to be edgy and take chances.

It looks like Michael Strahan gets Regis Philbin's old job on the LIVE! show.  I didn't watch when Reege was there.  The show isn't aimed at my demographic.  I read where Strahan works well with Kelly Ripa.  It could be his format.  I think Strahan doesn't bring much to the table on FOX NFL Sunday, a job he'll keep.

ESPN used Chris Berman on a preseason NFL game last week, and it will do it again on a Monday Night Game next month.  Why?  Chris Berman poisons everything he touches.

ESPN recently signed Brent Musberger to a contract extension.  Bravo!  I like Brent.  I met him once, in an elevator in Morgantown, WV, and he was very nice.

HBO's "The Newsroom" aired its season finale Sunday night.  There will be a season two.  Meh.  "The Newsroom" had its moments, but it was wildly uneven.

I'm sorry for the people of the gulf coast, but it was nice to see The Weather Channel actually doing weather this week.  Now, if we can only get certain meteorologists to curb the screaming hysterics.

I craved an information fix on the way to work, well before dawn, on a morning this week.  I looked down at my car radio dial and figured out there were just two place where I could get a top of the hour network newscast.  TWO!  I had choices in sports and tons of music, but only two places for network news, and neither really impresses me.  Given the current state of radio, I should be thankful I had two.

August 15 was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Julia Child, and one of the PBS digital channels recently played several of her old shows to celebrate.  Julia was far from a polished performer, but she had a charm and likability that you can't teach or bottle.   No TV chef on the air today even comes close.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Giving Up, or Not

The Harrisburg Patriot yesterday announced plans to publish only three days a week.  The "paper" promised an strong internet presence and a commitment to quality digital journalism.

Other papers have done this, and I have to say I'm rather surprised by the Patriot's move.  It's coming off a Pulitzer Prize winning year.  It's a quality newspaper.

It makes me sad.  Growing up, I loved the thump of the morning newspaper, The Tribune, hitting the front porch at dawn.  I lived for the clank of the mail box lid dropping, signaling the afternoon paper, The Times, had arrived.

When I started in the biz, Scranton still had two fiercely competitive papers.  The reporters were great guys, and as a pup in journalism, I looked up to them, and I was tickled when we got to be friends.

I was there when The Tribune closed, and it hurt to watch my colleagues clean out their desks.  Journalism in Scranton was never the same.

It's clear the Patriot's owners see no future in print.

KMart in Edwardsville's Mark Plaza re-opened Monday morning.  It was the fifth flood recovery, going back to 1972, when Arlan's occupied the space.

KMart sees a future in Edwardsville.

It's not hard to figure out.  Follow the money.

The owners of the Patriot don't see a viable economic future in print.  KMart's parent company makes a lot of money in Edwardsville.  The store is in the top ten per cent of the chain, so it rebuilds, flood, after flood, after flood, after flood, after flood.

The same cannot be said for the rest of Mark Plaza.  Ghost town.  Except for a fast food restaurant at the entrance and KMart, every other store that was here pulled out and has no plans to return-- Redner's, Payless Shoes, Dollar Tree, to name a few.  I can understand that.  Those stores likely didn't turn a profit as big as KMart's.  Insurance in a flood zone isn't cheap.

Harrisburg Patriot, I'll miss the glory days.  KMart, welcome back.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Customer Service

Where to begin?  Where to begin?

I recently phoned a local municipality to notify them of a burned out street light at a dangerous intersection.  The "public servant" (term used loosely) refused to help unless I gave her the number on the pole!  Are you kidding me?  Your light.  Your town.  I gave you the address.  Fix it!  True to her word, she did nothing, even though the light had been out for at least a month.  I finally became frustrated, and on my way to work, one morning at 1:30 AM, I got her the pole number.  The light was fixed.

I was going over a receipt from Walmart the other day.  Yes, I shop at Walmart, and I'm not afraid to admit it.  I can also be seen at KMart, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General and Big Lots.  I'd go to Woolworth's, but it went out of business.  I like saving a few cents.  Kill me.  Anyway, I noticed I was double charged for a $20 item.  I went back to the store and explained the problem.  The "customer service manager" (term used loosely again) explained they usually don't grant refunds unless they view the video from the camera above the cash register.  I said "OK, check the video."  Either I looked honest, or she didn't feel like going through the effort.  I got my $20, and she didn't even say "I'm sorry."

I was on the verge of purchasing a big ticket item.  Very close.  I liked the item, but the nonchalant attitude of the salesman rubbed me the wrong way.  After thinking about it, I said "no."  I also wrote a letter to the boss of the company, explaining how the salesman blew the deal.  The letter sat inside my computer for more than a week.  I try not to quickly speak or write out of anger.  After about a week and a half of contemplation, I printed the letter and sent it.  The boss ought to know.

I recently had to swap out a cell phone, and I had problems loading my contacts into the new device.  A service rep from Verizon talked me through it via telephone.  She was great, and I let the recording know it when I received an automated survey call a few hours later.  Then, the magic question came.  Rate Verizon overall.  I said it's overpriced, there are few options for non-smart phones, the plans leave a lot to be desired, and you can't get a better device unless you lock into another long term contract.  I've been a loyal customer for years, and I deserve better.  A human Verizon representative and I have been playing phone tag for a couple days.  At least, someone cared to call.

I'm sorry to be a cranky old man, but you forced my hand.

Let's talk about police for a second.  I respect them.  They do their best in a horribly difficult job.  There's always frustration on my end when the information doesn't flow fast enough.  I saw something the other day you need to know about.  On the way home Saturday morning, just after 9 AM, on Interstate 81 north, just past the Central Scranton Expressway entrance ramp, I spotted a Pennsylvania State Trooper helping a man change a tire.  The trooper was on his knees, and working the wrench.  That's customer service! 


Monday, August 27, 2012

Conventional Thinking

The Republican National Convention begins today in Tampa, but not much will happen, thanks to Isaac.

I always wanted to attend a major political party's convention.  Walter Cronkite and his team of floor reporters made it look so interesting-- and fun.

Then, things changed.  Security got tight.  The conventions became scripted television shows.  Journalists had little or no access to what was really going on.

It's not what it used to be.  There isn't a lot of news at the conventions these days.

Still, there are questions that need to be asked and answered.

I'd love to know how the Republicans will entice all factions of the party to come together for a win in November.

I really want to ask the Democrats how they can spin a horrible economy into enough November votes to keep the White House and the Senate.

While the conventions have changed since Cronkite's time, there's still enough here to keep my attention.  I'm looking forward to a very newsy week as I'm parked in front of the TV and computer.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: The Big One and Neil Armstrong

I've been yammering on about train stations recently, so one last building-- the mother of them all.  This is the Lackawanna train station in downtown Scranton-- built in 1908, and now a hotel.

It is one good thing Scranton has going for it, and we're lucky to still have it.

And, I cannot end the entry without saying something about Neil Armstrong.  The first man on the moon died yesterday at the age of 82.  I'll keep it simple.  Neil Armstrong was one of the bravest men who ever lived.  Period.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: Another Station

The pictures are mine.  The words below come from the Monroe County Historical Association

The Driebe Freight Station is the restored 1882 freight station of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad.

Owned by the Monroe County Historical Association, the Driebe Freight Station is leased by the
Jacob Stroud Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the vitality of downtown Stroudsburg, which uses the building for a visitors' center, office and meeting space, and as a venue for special events, such as the free concerts every Saturday night in summer in the adjacent park.
The MCHA hosts an exhibit of downtown Stroudsburg memorabilia and advertising artifacts in two display cases at the station.

The Driebe Freight Station is located next to McMichaels Park on Ann Street in downtown Stroudsburg, along McMichaels Creek.




Friday, August 24, 2012

My Favorite

It's the nature of the TV news business.  There are some stories we do at the same time every year.  I have to level with you.  Some are just pure tedium.  There are exceptions to the rule, and one is taking place this weekend.

It's "move in weekend" at colleges and universities all across our area.  You've seen it before.  Parents drop off their college freshmen at their new dorms.  Upper classmen help lug the furniture, clothes, and other belongings to the dorm rooms.

I love that story.  It has just abut every emotion imaginable.  The kids are anxious and nervous.  The parents are nervous as well, but happy their children are taking a big step toward adulthood.  The kids put on a brave front.  They look forward to the independence, but you can see the fear in their eyes when mom and dad drive away.

The upperclassmen do the heavy moving and lifting, but you can see they're happy because they've moved up a year and are that much closer to graduation.

It's a great atmosphere.

I'm tied to a desk on weekends, so I haven't had a chance to do the "move in" story in many years, and I miss it.  TV news is about facts, but it's also about people, and there are few better "people" stories than "move in day."

I wish I had a "move in" story of my own, but alas, I do not.  In fact, I lived closer to my college than I did to my high school.  My criteria for choosing a college consisted of two words:  close and affordable.  As many of you know, I went to Marywood.  The 'Wood and I have warred in this space in years past, but I will admit that I received a solid education there.

To all the college freshmen, enjoy the experience and savor every second of it.  Your college days will fly by.

 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

High Anxiety

Every late winter, I blog on the aroma of skunk.  The critters get active at that time of year-- looking for food and love.  I always found it to be a better sign of approaching spring than the robin.

Conversely, I've noticed an increase in skunk activity lately.  They're digging in lawns for grubs.  They're ripping open garbage bags in search of a snack.  They're fattening up for winter, and they seem to be doing it earlier this year, possibly signaling very cold and snowy days are ahead.

I think I said the same thing last year, and we had one of the mildest winters on record.  Maybe skunks aren't as smart as I thought.

Thankfully, it's been a quiet hurricane season so far, but that might change next week.  Some forecasts have a big storm moving toward Florida and the gulf coast.  It looks like it will happen.  The Weather Channel even blew off one of its horrible "reality" shows to talk about it Tuesday night.  That's big!

I was on the anchor desk for Irene, and I was on vacation for Lee.  I'm out of the flood plain.  Still, there's a nervous feeling in my stomach when a hurricane or tropical storm bears down on the U.S.

We'll be watching the storm track.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Staying and Leaving


I have to admit I'm a bit surprised on both counts...

Missouri Republican Representative Todd Akin says he's saying in the race for U.S. Senate, even though many in both parties want him to step aside.

Akin said something exceptionally stupid recently on rape and abortion.  He admitted his mistake and apologized.  Apparently, he thinks it's enough.  As of this writing, Akin leads his opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, in polls.  Either people love Akin and are willing to forgive, they dislike McCaskill, or a combination of both.

I thought Akin was in major trouble because people in his own party, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney want him off the ticket.  On the other hand, Akin appeals to the right of the Republican party, a group that's very effective in getting out the vote.  They are sticking by their man.

On the other hand, Akin's comments are uniting the opposition.

It's an understatment, but this is clearly one of the big races to watch in 76 days.

So much for the "staying" part of today's blog.  Now, the "leaving."

NBC says the upcoming ninth season of "The Office" will be the last.  I'm shocked it lasted this long.  I tried to like this show.  I really did.  I was never able to make it through an entire episode.  I used the words "stunningly unfunny" to describe "The Office" in the past, and the show hasn't improved with age.

Part of the longievity of "The Office" wasn't due to its quality.  It was because it came from NBC Productions.  The network owned the show and got to keep all the profits.  Money is more important than quality.

"The Office" never drew a huge audience.  It was middle of the pack, of years of weak NBC prime time schedules, at best.

Somehow, people around here felt "The Office" was funnier because it was set in Scranton.  They didn't realize Scranton was part of the joke.  As we've seen in reality and fiction, it's easy to laugh at Scranton, but it wasn't easy to laugh at "The Office."

Good riddance.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adjustment Period

The weather has cooled off a bit (yay!) and it's now possible to sleep, some nights, without a fan or air conditioner.

It happens every year.  After months of the whir and hum of fans and air conditioners, it's too quiet to sleep.

I usually have the radio on, regardless of the air temperature, but it's not enough.  I need a little more.


I'll get used to the quiet, but it takes an adjustment period.

It's strange.  When I was younger, I used to be able to sleep with the television on, but those days and nights disappeared long ago, and I could never figure out why.

The satellite radio works rather nicely.  Why satellite?  First of all, the programming is much better.  I'm hooked on a 70's channel and a couple sports talk networks.  Yes, I can get sports talk on traditional radio, but on satellite, it's not interrupted with play-by-play of teams I care nothing about.

So, while I'm thrilled fall is almost here, I'll miss the noise of summer.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Andy Goes to White Castle

Thursday's weather was perfect.  Warm, without being hot.  Low humidity.  Just a few cumulus clouds floating about.  It was a great day to grab the camera and have some new experiences.


A White Castle opened in Allentown several months ago.  People who've tried its food gave less than glowing reviews, but I had to taste for myself.

The parking lot was empty when I pulled in just after 11 AM Thursday.  I thought "Great!  No crowds.  I'll be having my first slider in seconds."

Then I noticed the sign on the door.  Closed.  Power problems.  Thank you, PPL.


Now, I know how Harold and Kumar felt.

I will return.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: In Its Place

So, when Dansbury Depot moved, what went up in its place.  You're looking at it.  It's a mixed use building-- retail on the first floor with living space above.

I'm never shy about expressing an opinion here.  There's both good and bad.

The good is the design fits in with the character of the neighborhood, but I think it's a bit large and overwhelming.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: A Success Story

Like most people, I feared the worst.  Dansbury Depot, a Civil War Era train station burned in October of 2009.  It was slated for demolition.

The community stepped in to save the building.  It was moved a year later, and here it is, looking great in its new home.  It didn't go far-- just to the other side of the tracks in East Stroudsburg.  Much of the original stuff was saved, including the doors and stained glass you see below.

The building is still empty.  It'll eventually become a community center, meeting space, and a couple other things.  By looking in the window, it appears a constructive use for Dansbury Depot is still down the road a bit.  At least the building has been buttoned up and preserved-- a fate I wish some other historic structures here in our area shared.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Web Notes + Breaking News





I was in the Pittston Walmart at 7 AM.  In front me-- a gentleman in a dark suit, tall, salt and pepper hair, very distinguished-- and with one of those cords that go up the back, plugged into an earpiece.  The guy had "security" written all over him, and he appeared to come from "Secret Service" central casting.

It could be he was State Police or private security, but my gut feeling is clearly "federal." 

We haven't had any big name political visits in a while.  President Obama shouldn't take Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for granted.  Yes, the valleys are heavily Democratic, but unemployment is high.  You can't turn on the news without seeing some company is cutting its work force.  Polls show the race tightening, and Mitt Romney has some new momentum following last week's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.

The Secret Service routinely has teams hop scotching the country in advance of Obama, Biden, Romney and Ryan-- checking out potential rally sites, hotels, etc.  They also meet with local law enforcement to learn what unfriendlys might be in town.

I get the feeling we're due for a high level visit.  You read it here first.

By the way, the "agent" I encountered in Walmart bought two of those little bottles of a 5 Hour Energy type product.  It's the Secret Service's busy season.




Today, the municipal edition of Web Notes.

The borough of Troy in Bradford County recently had a special council meeting to deal with some police department issues.  There was a discrepancy over the exact meeting time.  I needed an answer at 3:00 AM.  Yes, there are people to call, but I'm a considerate individual, so I consulted the internet.

It's 2012, almost 2013.  If Troy has a web page, I couldn't find it.  Not on Google, not on Bing, not on Yahoo!  There's no excuse for any municipality NOT to have a web page.  Your citizens deserve the information in a timely manner, and it has to be easy to find.

Domain names are cheap.  Finding a host is neither difficult, nor expensive.  Construction can be tricky.  High schools and colleges are filled with students who would help for free.

A blog is free and accessible to everyone.  FaceBook is a poor substitute because about half the population, including yours truly, hasn't signed up.  There are few things more frustrating than trying to research a restaurant or business, and being pointed to a FaceBook site.

I should note that once the meeting was over, a single phone call was all that was needed to get the necessary information.

And, that brings us to the borough of Dunmore in Lackawanna County.  I recently had a personal matter that needed attention.  Dunmore has a web site, but other than the web master, there are no e-mail addresses for individuals and departments.  Are you kidding me?  How can you design a web site without e-mail addresses?

I called to discuss the issue that took me to the web site in the first place, and encountered unprecedented rudeness.  With the horrendous people skills of some borough employees, it would be a good idea to get those e-mail addresses on the web site as soon as possible.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

PTF

It is one of our area's signature events.  The 29th annual Pittston Tomato Festival begins today.

Organizers like to say Pittston tomatoes are the best in the world because the unique acidity in our soil gives them a special taste.  I'll leave that up to the agriculture experts out there, but I do know they taste good.

It's four days of fun downtown, and while you're there, take a good look around.  A lot of old buildings that were in bad shape have been torn down.  Many of the ones remaining have new facades.  You can actually find a place to park.  Parts of Pittston are actually looking pretty good these days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's Not Just Me

I've always believed McDonald's Egg McMuffin is one of America's great sandwiches.

The muffin, egg, cheese and Canadian bacon provide the perfect balance.  An Egg McMuffin is light, yet filling at the same time.

Local McDonald's held a recent promotion-- two for $3, and I indulged during my recent vacation.

As I chowed down in my car, something didn't seem right.  I closely examined my sandwich, and it appears the slice of Canadian bacon is a lot thinner than it used to be.

I did a Google search when I got home.  A couple other mentions of the phenomenon popped up, but nothing official from McDonald's corporate HQ.

An Egg McMuffin, especially at two for $3 is a great value, but not if you're going to skimp on the ingredients that made you so popular in the first place.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mars Attacks

It's amazing how quickly and easily pop culture invades your thoughts.

NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena recently had a huge success with the landing of the "Curiosity" rover on Mars.

All I could think of was Howard Wolowitz from TV's "The Big Bang Theory."  There was a famous episode a few years ago, where Howard let a date drive the Mars rover in an effort to impress her.  She would up getting the rover stuck in a Martian ditch.   Howard called Leonard, Sheldon, and Raj to help get him out of the pickle.  They were unable to free the rover, but they were able to erase any traces of Howard and his date being at the controls.

I'm sure "Curiosity" will have a much better fate with someone other than Howard Wolowitz behind the wheel.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Final Six

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees will have a new name and a renovated ballpark in 2013.

The list of potential new names was released Friday, and here are some thoughts.

Trolley Frogs:  A trolley frog is the mechanical part of a trolley.  Cute name, but it loses it when you have to explain it to someone.  Plus, the trolleys, save one, stopped running decades ago.

Blast:  This one was chosen because we had to blast coal out of the mines.  Pass.  The mines closed decades ago.  The mining companies raped the earth and abused the workers.  Why can't we get over the mining fascination around here?

Porcupines:  Are you kidding me?  Naming the team after a tree chewing varmint that is frequently road kill? Hey, let's go to the stadium to see the Porcs play the Pigs tonight.  No.

Fireflies:  Not all that bad, but kind of girly.  It reminds me of Tinkerbell.  A lot of people would likely shorten it to "flies."  It doesn't work.

Rail Riders:  I like trains, and trains contributed a lot to our area.  Steamtown.  However, Rail Riders reminds me of bums and hobos.  I don't think so.  Plus, what would you use for a mascot.  It's not cute and cuddly.  A train?  An engineer?  A conductor?

Black Diamond Bears:  Loyal blog readers will remember that I submitted the name "Black Bears."  Someone added the "diamond."  Yes, another coal reference.   By the virtue of the best of a bad lot, this one has my endorsement.
There is another dimension to consider here.  Merchandising.  What will look good on the hats, and the tee shirts?  Can you get a cute and cuddly stuffed animal out of this?  Can you get a decent mascot, like Champ, running through the stands?  By the way, that's Champ on the left in the photo above.

I will assume that Champ will be retired once the new name arrives, and that's unfortunate.  It's a good costume.

I have a funny feeling we'll see a frog jumping through the stands once April of 2013 arrives.

By the way, I searched the internet for clues over the weekend.  The SWB Yankees has reserved domain names for each of the six potential new identities.  It was worth a shot.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: McMichaels Creek


I don't get to Stroudsburg nearly as much as I once did.  Even when I was visiting, it was typical TV.  Get in, slam a story together, get out.  I never had much time to explore the scenery.

That changed a few weeks ago, when I shot this picture, albeit a bit overexposed in the brilliant early morning sun, of McMichaels Creek.

There's a little park adjacent, and it's nice that something so picturesque is so close to the downtown.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Good Photography Saturday

It was a problem with no right answer.

I pulled an extra overnight shift last month.  It would have been very, very easy to go home and crash, but that would have loused up what's left of my internal body clock.  I had a normal, if you can call a 3 AM start normal, shift the next day, so I decided to stay up as long as possible.

If I stayed home, I surely would have fallen asleep, so I grabbed my camera, jumped in the car and went south.  It wasn't the primary reason for my visit, but I did spend a few minutes at WNEP's Pocono Newsroom on Main Street in Stroudsburg.  Reporter Raegan Medgie and photographer Dan Turansky were preparing for their day.

Dan worked the weekend overnight shift, with me for a while, but that was a long time ago.  You can never see enough of The Medge.  I hadn't been in the Pocono Newsroom since the construction phase, and that was more than a few years ago.  Outstanding facility.

Bottom line:  we had a nice visit.

By the way, why don't I have a cool chair like that?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quiet Morning

A little tranquility as we head in to the weekend...

Take a good look at the center of the photo.  It's the Susquehanna River, just as it begins to take a bend in south Wilkes-Barre.  It's not long after sunrise.  There's a lot of fog and humidity,  and there is a solitary fisherman in a boat.

I don't fish, and other than a shower, I'm not a water guy.  However, being alone on the water, on a quiet morning looked like a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Unfinished Business

I really don't know what to make of the deadly Pocono Raceway lightning strike Sunday afternoon.

The warning went out, but was it communicated effectively?  How many warnings do you need in the first place.  The forecast, beginning early in the morning, raised the possibility of dangerous conditions. It wasn't difficult to detect the approaching bad weather.  Just look up.  On top of that, just about everyone (not me) has a smart phone, and there are a lot of places where you can dial up a radar map.

What have we learned?  You can't prevent lightning, but you can tell people to get out of the way.  Should the race have been called sooner?  Probably.  Does the track need more giant message boards?  I don't know.

It will be interesting to see what comes from the investigation.

Moving on...

Penn State will, for the first time, have names on the backs of the football uniforms this season.  Bravo!  I always thought it was strange that Joe Paterno wouldn't allow names on uniforms, but he was okay with a nine foot statue of himself outside the stadium.  Paterno always said the statue wasn't his idea, but if he said he didn't want it, you know administration would have caved.

Nittany Lion uniforms will sport a blue ribbon, in support of child abuse awareness.

The season opener is September 1.

Many Penn State/Paterno backers have been questioning the Freeh Report, and I understand that.  Does it have flaws?  Certainly.  There is no such thing as a perfect investigation.

So, why was Penn State administration to quick to accept it?  Why did the administration go along with the NCAA sanctions based on what the Freeh Report discovered?  Why is the administration so quickly and willing to settle with the victims?  My conclusion is that the administration knows things the general public does not, and it feels there's enough truth in the Freeh Report to use it as the foundation for going forward.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Self Sufficient

I'll preface this blog by saying this is not a slam at my radio friends.  I've always loved good radio, and always will.

There have been several hot button topics in the news lately-- Penn State, the economy, the presidential election, gun control in the wake of the Colorado theater shootings, etc...

Back in the day, we'd send a camera and microphone into a local talk radio station to listen to see what people are saying.  I can't remember the last time we did that.

The reason?  Social media.  Talkback 16, both via telephone and on line was the first.  Facebook and Twitter followed.  All we need to do is punch a few keys on a computer, and we know what you're thinking.

While I do Tweet, and the blog is approaching its 8th birthday, I've so far avoided the social media revolution.  People put way too much information on the internet.  I still don't have a Facebook site, but I do have Google+ and I'll do something with it, as soon as I figure out how it works.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hanging Up

Have you shopped for a telephone lately?  95 per cent of what's available in stores is of the cordless variety.  After much trial and error, I found a model I can live with, but that's really not the topic of today's blog.


I needed a curly cord for another project-- you know the ones-- the cord that goes from the hand set to the main body of the appliance.

Now, because there are so few corded phones out there, there are few replacement cords available in stores.

My criteria for purchase:  cheap.  I checked a dollar store.  Nothing.  Big Lots!  Nothing.  Walmart had a few, but they were too long, and too expensive.  Home Depot?  Ditto.

I finally found one in the graveyard of old phones I keep in a closet at home.

I did keep looking.  Family Dollar had one under the RCA (remember them?) brand for $4.  I grabbed it.  You never know when you'll need one.

Stock up on curly cords while you can.  They're on their way to becoming extinct.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Jury's Still Out

I like Wilkes-Barre.  I really do.

There are problems, like government that seems to think people are there to serve it, rather than the other way around.  There are a lot of empty spaces downtown.  There are crime issues.

Be that as it may, Wilkes-Barre is a nice looking city.  You've seen the area along the river, on this blog, in the past.  There's some tremendous old architecture.  You have two active colleges downtown.

And, that brings us to the photo above, taken a little more than one week ago.  Wilkes University is constructing a $35 million science building.  Part of it will front on River Street, between two old buildings.

Below is an artist's rendering of the space.
Colleges and universities, along with Walmart and dollar stores, appear to be the only entities investing in our area and expanding.  I'm all for that.

My concern in this instance is aesthetic.  I simply believe the designers could have done a much better job blending the new Wilkes building into the old neighborhood.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: ...and the Old

Our visit to Bethlehem concludes with a shot of Martin Tower, the former headquarters of Bethlehem Steel.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was constructed in 1972.  The building is shaped like a cross to create more windows and corner offices.

The building is currently empty.  Plans to convert Martin Tower into condominiums have fallen through.

It's so sad.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: The New...

Not everything at Steel Stacks in Bethlehem is old.  There is new construction.  What you see above is an arts center, restaurant, and theater.  Designers have done a fantastic job of making the new construction blend in with the old.  It has that industrial look, without being harsh and ugly.
Next door to the arts center is the new headquarters of the Lehigh Valley's Public Television station, WLVT.

Yes, that's a giant video screen above the door on the right side of the picture.  It looks like a great place to work-- plenty of glass and light, a little green space, and just out of the picture is an outdoor plaza for shows and performances.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back to Work

My first vacation week of 2012 is in its final hours.

I wish I could relate tales of fantastic adventures, but alas, I cannot.  My week off was mundane, and I like it that way.  There was some mindless wandering, a few photographic expeditions, and a lot of sleep.

Thanks to Jim Hamill for filling in last weekend.

This is a shot of the new Newswatch 16 Wyoming Valley Newsroom.  It was taken Saturday morning.  A lot of work has been done since my last visit.  You can't see that the furniture is mostly in, but you can see the logo is up on the wall, and the outside signs will soon be in place.

Hope to see you tomorrow morning at 5 !

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fascinating Find

I must have walked through downtown Wilkes-Barre hundreds of times, and I'm amazed that I noticed it for the first time a few days ago.

Take a look at the plaque to the right of the door.  On the top is the old Civil Defense logo.  Beneath are the words "mass care center."  It's slightly humorous that a "mass" care center is in a church.

Remember when we really feared nuclear war?  Most public buildings had shelters in the basement, and the plaque is still here.

By the way, the location is First Presbyterian Church at South Franklin and Northampton Streets.

I noted this on the 40th anniversary of the Tropical Storm Agnes flood in June-- Civil Defense used to be in the sub basement of the Luzerne County Courthouse-- adjacent to the Susquehanna River.  Back then, being  roasted by the USSR's missiles was a bigger fear than a flooding river.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

About the Cover




I've wanted to photograph this building for a very long time, and I finally did it Monday morning.  It's a first for the blog-- the very first out of state header photo.

It's the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton, NY.

I couldn't find much information on-line, so what you see below comes from Wikipedia.  

If you're ever in the area, get off Interstate 81 and take a look around.  There's a great deal of revitalization underway in downtown Binghamton, especially around the courthouse, and you'll see that on some weekends in the near future.

Broome County Courthouse is a historic courthouse located at Binghamton in Broome County, New York. It is a massive 12-story structure, built on a raised foundation, in the form of a Latin Cross and topped with an elegant copper dome. Originally constructed in 1897-1898 in a "T" shape, the south wing was added in 1916-1917 to form the cross. It was designed by noted New York State architect Isaac G. Perry. The courthouse is located within the boundaries of the Court Street Historic District.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.