Thursday, January 31, 2013
Once again, it really hasn't been that bad. Other than a few nuisance snows, and a few very cold days, January 2013 has been tolerable. The month is going out on a nasty note. As I update this, it's pouring. Flood watches and warnings have been posted.
January is always a tough month for me. The holidays are over. The lights come down, and even though the days are getting longer, there's still a lot of darkness. Cabin fever sets in.
February has its difficult moments. There's a lull between the end of the Super Bowl and the start of spring training baseball. I'm not a basketball guy.
On the bright side, we're adding a couple minutes of daylight every day. Average daily highs and lows are slowly creeping up.
I'll be complaining about the heat before you know it.
Keep an eye on rivers, creeks, and streams today and tomorrow. We're lucky in that the snow pack in our area wasn't that deep. It's a different story upstream.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I haven't seen a Super Bowl since the late 90's and I fully expect to sleep through this one as well. I can still write about it.
I don't have a sentimental favorite. San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is an unlikeable character. If San Francisco wins, they tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins, and I don't like that.
As noted earlier, the Baltimore Ravens are a team of thugs, led by chief thug Ray Lewis. A Steelers fan can never pull for the Ravens.
Now that emotion is out of the way, it's time to announce a selection. I preface this by saying I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.
San Francisco is a 3.5 point favorite as of this writing. This could be one of the best Super Bowls ever. The teams look evenly matched.
I expect the Baltimore Ravens to win, so take Baltimore and the points. If San Francisco wins, I don't think they'll cover the 3.5.
As usual, I'll be asleep around 4 Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the game.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The city will soon raise parking meter rates to $1.50 an hour, the highest in the state.
Yes, it will increase the curbside churn, and theoretically, it will increase your chance of finding a parking space.
On the other hand, people will spend less time at meters. For example, if you need something at the drug store, you're less likely to spend a few extra minutes and grab a slice of pizza next door.
There's an old saying about "knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing." Scranton thinks is can make some extra money at the meters, but it will hurt business in the long run. Any meter increase will be offset by fewer jobs and fewer tax paying businesses.
Congratulations! Spend your new meter money wisely.
If that isn't enough, visit downtown Scranton after a snow storm. They city still hasn't grasped the concept of curb to curb snow plowing. You'll pay more for that snow and ice encrusted space.
And, they can't figure out why they're in trouble
Monday, January 28, 2013
Twitter followers and Linked In contacts have taken a jump recently, and I don't know why. I use "The Twitter" like an instant messenger for people I know, so if you choose to follow me, don't expect much. Thank you nonetheless.
Not only are people requesting to be part of my Linked In network, I'm being endorsed for skills and expertise. I'm flattered, and another thank you.
I'm glad the cold snap is over. I've run out of things to say about it.
While local radio leaves a lot to be desired, there is something good out there. Live and local is better, but there is a station that carries a 5 AM news hour produced by the Wall Street Journal. It's more than business and it's very well done.
I still can't believe Manti Teo can be that stupid. Many of us have led with our hearts rather than our heads, and there's nothing wrong with that. Teo has taken it to a new extreme.
The NBA's New Orleans Hornets become the New Orleans Pelicans in the fall. At least, it wasn't the Porcupines.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Yesterday, the photos were from Mayfield. The water there is in channels as part of a flood control project. It appeared the current was too swift for ice to form. I thought I'd have better luck a little downstream, in Jermyn.
Warmer temperatures are in the forecast, so it looks like I won't be finding ice any time soon.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Yes, the hours can wear you down, and you see a lot of sadness and tragedy. You get a front row seat to the inefficiencies and incompetence of government, at all levels.
Having said all that, we had two days of promo shoots this week. One was for our new 4:30 AM broadcast. One day was devoted to publicity stills and some generic video of the anchor team in action.
Two words: sheer torture.
I've been on the radio since 1979 and on TV since 1990. I've always hated the way I've looked and sounded. Posing for pictures never fails to make me uncomfortable, even after all these years. Yes, I know it comes along with the territory.
The photo you see above was taken just as we were wrapping up Wednesday morning. As you can see by my smile, I was happy it was over.
See you tomorrow morning at 5 and Monday morning at 4:30.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
To get you up to speed, she lip synced the national anthem at President Obama's inauguration Monday afternoon. I'm actually okay with that.
When it comes right down to it, Beyonce is a spectacularly beautiful woman who is nothing without major studio enhancements and a lot of help during her stage shows. When you give her something as simple and barren as a microphone, she's lost.
It's 2013, where style rules over substance. It's all that counts these days. Face reality.
I should note that Aretha Franklin sang the national anthem, without help, at Obama's 2009 inauguration, and James Taylor didn't lip sync America the Beautiful Monday afternoon. As we've seen time and again-- in many facets of life, the veterans can blow away the lightweights that pass for "talent" these days.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
It's not as easy as it sounds. There were plenty of meetings. Schedules had to be adjusted. Responsibilities are modified. A lot of people are trying hard to figure it out and make it work. We'll be ready to go.
As someone who's up and out early all the time, I believe it's a good move. There are always people in the gym, the mini marts, Walmarts, supermarkets, etc long prior to sunrise. Commuters are on the road before the rooster crows. Delivery trucks are making the rounds. We stopped being a 9 to 5 society a long time ago. There's a need for an early look at the headlines and the forecast. Initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many stations in bigger cities have bade the move successfully, and I'm glad we're the first station around here to do it.
We hope to see you Monday morning at 4:30.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Time of incident: 3:58 AM
Location of incident Cypress St., Throop
Nature of incident: the arrival of spring
If you're a regular blog reader, you know I write about it every year, but this has to be the earliest.
Skunks are a better harbinger of spring than robins. Skunks get active in the spring, looking for food and love, and not necessarily in that order.
I was out doing some things early Friday morning when I observed that skunk. Unfortunately, the skunk was in a contest with a car (not mine) and the skunk lost. Road kill is never appealing, especially when you can smell it three towns away. However, a slight smile crossed my mouth. Spring is here.
It could be that we just have a rogue skunk here. We're currently experiencing the coldest weather of the season. We'll see what the ground hog has to say February 2.
Monday, January 21, 2013
The same goes for Manti Teo. Stupidity is not a crime, so too many have wasted too much time on this-- unless the sanctimonious Golden Domers knew what was going on. Didn't the problems of the "football above all else" schools teach Notre Dame anything?
Once again, when elected officials can't provide real answers, they resort to the old "these were not random acts" line. Three people were shot within twelve hours in Wilkes-Barre Thursday. Two died. Nice try, but knowing these were not random acts doesn't make me feel any better. There are creeps out there with no regard for human life. Innocent people can get killed. Residents deserve some peace of mind. "Not random acts" doesn't cut it.
Regardless of how you feel about President Obama, watching any presidential inauguration helps you feel good about your country. We do democracy right.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
A few weeks ago, I showed you the very nice Stroudsburg Post Office. Today, it's Carbondale's turn. While Stroudsburg's building is still in use, The U.S. Postal service moved out of this building along Main Street in Carbondale several years ago.
As you can see, it's now home to a cab company and a day care center.
It's safe to say they don't build them like this any more.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
It has it all. Carbondale never really recovered from the end of deep coal mining. It's a city in transition, with new residents, poverty, and some fine middle class neighborhoods. Marcellus shale is on Carbondale's doorstep, so I'm sure that will eventually have a big impact here. There are dozens of aspects to the Carbondale story.
It's nice to see some new construction.
Friday, January 18, 2013
My replacement for the Steelers as the sentimental favorite, the Houston Texans, got knocked out last week. Let's break down Sunday's games.
The second game first-- Baltimore at New England. I wish both teams could lose, but it doesn't work that way. Baltimore has a bunch of showboating thugs. New England has been caught cheating. The Patriots are a nine point favorite. I think New England wins, but I'd take Baltimore and the points.
The first game Sunday is San Francisco at Atlanta. I underestimated both teams last weekend. Atlanta gets four points. I think San Francisco is stronger than that, so look for a 49'ers/Patriots Super Bowl with New England winning in a walk.
As noted last week, as far as sentimentality goes, Atlanta doesn't have any major negatives in my book. I'll be rooting for the Falcons Sunday, and it's likely I'll be disappointed again.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
That still means there's a lot of winter left. The last two weeks of January are historically the coldest of the year. After glancing at next week's forecast, 2013 will be no different. It won't get out of the teens Tuesday, with overnight lows in the single digits.
Average daily highs and lows start creeping up after February 1. The Super Bowl is the 3rd, and then it's time to wait for when pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
A trip through the mall and big box stores shows winter clothing and jackets are at big discounts. The spring merchandise is slowly rolling in. It was nice to see swimsuits and short sleeved shirts on the racks.
This winter and last have really been nothing to complain about, but it's far from over.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Of course, there are exceptions. Taking advantage of children, old people, and animals disqualifies you. See Ciavarella, Mark and Vick, Michael. Arrogant, thieving, unrepentant politicians have problems winning their way back in to my good graces. See Mellow, Robert.
The Lance Armstrong case is fascinating. The cyclist is finally admitting to using performance enhancing drugs. It's nice to see the truth come out. You have to wonder about a motive, and I'm very interested in hearing that. Pete Rose admitted to betting on baseball to sell his book. What are Armstrong's plans? I have problems believing that it's merely the right thing to do.
Forgiveness? That one's tough. Lance Armstrong told so many lies, and for so long, it's tough to cut the man some slack. He's in pretty deep. He hurt a lot of people.
A second chance is clearly a possibility here, but it's a long shot.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
It's a touchy topic with police and the administration. They don't like to talk about it. The district attorney defended the city's operation.
I've seen some of the images from city cameras on prior incidents, and I can't say I'm impressed. We live in a high tech, high definition, digital age. There has to be a better product out there.
Wilkes-Barre is not alone. Surveillance images from Walmart shoplifters and mini mart robberies are frequently on the news. Some are good. Most are awful. I fear the poor quality of some of the pictures encourages robberies because the thieves know the cameras won't get a good look at them.
Plus, there's something not spoken about in the surveillance world. A lot of mini mart cameras have the best angles saved for pictures of the clerks, so they won't steal. Ownership is okay with losing $ 50 in an armed robbery. A shifty clerk can do a lot more damage over a longer period of time.
You also have to ask if streetside cameras really are a deterrent to crime. There's evidence to suggest the answer is "no." There are places in Wilkes-Barre one does not dare venture after dark, even with cameras around.
Here's looking at you!
Monday, January 14, 2013
Is "Family Feud" the only show on GSN? It's on any time I flip through.
I shed no tears over Notre Dame's loss in last week's national chanpionship game, but I do wish it was a better contest.
I'm not complaining about the "January Thaw."
This year's Academy Awards look interesting because movies people actually saw have been nominated.
I once rode in an elevator in Morgantown, WV with the great Brent Musberger. He was exceptionally nice. I was a fan before. I was a fan then. I'm a fan now. No one has ever anchored an NFL pre game/half time show better, and he has that "big game" voice that's perfect for college football.
NBC's Matt Lauer interviewed Katherine Webb last week. He tried to push Webb into blasting Musberger. She wasn't offended by his BCS title game comment, and she was too smart to fall for Lauer's tricks. Good for her. Lauer's slimey, smarmy performance was shameful. No wonder the "Today" show is hemorrhaging viewers.
I topped 500 Twitter followers last week. Thank you!
While wandering through a shopping mall Thursday afternoon, I noticed how empty it was. I'm not sure if it was the flu or the January doldrums. It was likely a combination of the two.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Saw what you want about natural gas drilling, but it has given a boost to our area's rail industry.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
The Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton is filled with shiny trains, but I like them beat up, especially the diesels.
I've been meaning to photograph the locomotives in a yard off Main Street in Pittston, near the Duryea border for some time. However, the "no trespassing" signs kept me away. I was passing through the other day, when I spotted some trains near the street. I could get some pictures without getting arrested.
Even ugly trains are still pretty.
Friday, January 11, 2013
There are eight left, and making a choice is difficult. The Washington Redskins were a sentimental favorite. Washington hadn't been in the playoffs in a long time, and quarterback Robert Griffin III has a lot of talent. He seems like a nice kid. Just my luck. Washington got knocked out Sunday evening. RGIII has a severe knee injury and underwent surgery this week. Doctors say the prognosis is good, but with something as severe as a knee injury, you never know. As of this writing, the '13 season is in jeopardy.
The Baltimore Ravens are one of Pittsburgh's biggest enemies, if not THE biggest, so they're out. A Steelers fan can never, ever, ever root for the Ravens.
Denver beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs last season. Gone.
New England is a team with a head coach caught cheating. Never.
Seattle's head coach had to flee the University of Southern California before the NCAA caught up with his rule breaking program.
San Francisco's head coach also appears to be a grandstanding piece of work.
Green Bay beat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl a few years ago. Disqualification.
That leaves me with Atlanta and Houston.
Atlanta made it to one Super Bowl and lost. There are no glaring black marks.
Houston has been in the league since 2002. It's achieved a fair amount of success for an expansion team only ten years old. It has never appeared in a Super Bowl. Like Atlanta, there are major negatives in my book.
Texans, it is. Go Houston! Unfortunately, the Texans are in New England this weekend-- a team that pasted the Texans earlier in the season. I wonder who I'll be rooting for next weekend.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
The big names on the ballot this time around were performance enhancing drug users. Simply put, they cheated.
Always remember, it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Numbers. Behavior counts, which is why I'm happy Pete Rose is not enshrined in Cooperstown.
Tom Cheek of the Toronto Blue Jays wins the Ford Frick Award, something for broadcasters. I won't comment on that because I'm not familiar with Cheek's work.
However, I'm happy the baseball writers who vote exhibited a great deal of common sense. Sosa, Bonds and Clements should always be on the outside looking in.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The average high for this time of year is 34, so I consider anything above freezing to be a bonus. Dry and above freezing is a gift from heaven. Sorry skiers, but last year was a fantastic winter. Snow is dangerous. I won't complain if we have another below normal precipitation season. Yes, I realize I live in northeastern Pennsylvania. Moving is not an option.
This week will see a warming trend. I didn't do research. My evidence is anecdotal. After chatting with people at the gym, Walmart and a drug store, most people are happy with this little taste of spring time.
Now, on to the flu. I received my shot in September. I take my vitamins and wash my hands all the time. There's always a bottle of hand sanitizer close by. It seems to be a reasonable course of prevention.. Several people at the office are down with the illness. I can't shutter myself in the house. I have to be out. There is a disgusting thought at the back of my head that somewhere out there is bacteria with my name on it.
There's an old saying-- expect the worst, hope for the best.
Former Wilkes-Barre councilman and bar owner Jim McCarthy has passed away. He was on council while I was on the radio. McCarthy was in radio for a long time, most notably CBS in Washington, DC. He always had an interest in it, so he unfailingly managed to find a few minutes to answer my questions, and he liked to talk. Let me correct that. Jim McCarthy LOVED to talk. McCarthy answered the questions on Wilkes-Barre government, and he'd always toss in a tale or two about his time covering Washington. It was tough to get a short answer out of him on anything, but you really didn't mind because it was an opportunity to hear his wonderful voice. Jim McCarthy was 77.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
For years, I thought it was a scam, an effort by the gym industry to get some free TV time. There was no way to authenticate the story without looking at the gym's books, and that wasn't going to happen.
Well, I joined a gym three months ago. I'm there a few times a week, and I really enjoy it. I don't do much-- just some calorie burning time on the bike and the treadmill. I'm not what what you would call a "gym rat." Perhaps, I'm more of a "gym mouse." It's enough. I've noticed some subtle results.
Anyway, the point of today's blog-- I did detect several new faces at the gym last week and this. They all have the same newbie look-- the one I had last year: "How does this work?"... "What does this setting do?"... "Hey, that machine looks easy."
To those who made new year's resolutions to hit the gym: congratulations, and keep it up. I will quote one of my co-workers, who really is a gym rat. "The hardest part is getting in the car." Once you've made the commitment to go to the gym, and the drive is underway, the rest is a piece of sugar free, gluten free cake.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Since I have no children of my own, and society frowns upon middle aged men running out to hug random children, I found a fantastic substitute. A good college friend works in a school about 20 miles from Newtown, CT. I knew she was safe, and I knew her children were beyond elementary school age. Still, I had to give her a call.
We played phone tag for a little while. We finally connected on the 27th. She was OK. The kids are fine. Like every parent, and everyone in that area, she was rattled by the events of December 14th. How could you not be affected by such horror? The thing I noticed during the last few weeks was that parents felt the pain more than single people, and that was true with my friend. Understandable.
We talked for more than an hour. After a long discussion of what happened, we remembered simpler times-- when the most important things in our lives were grades, and school projects, and having something to do on Friday nights.
You may remember, this was the same person I called on the 25th anniversary of our graduation. We hadn't spoken in four and a half years. It's a cliche, but time really does fly. I'm sorry it took a tragedy for me to pick up the phone.
Connecticut showed how life can change in an instant. I promise to be a better friend.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
According to the Monroe County Historical Association web site, the building opened to the public in July of 1934, and it once housed a variety of federal offices, in addition to the post office.
There's a lot of wood and brick in Stroudsburg. The limestone here sticks out, but it a good way.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The sun was hitting it right, and I just had to snap off a photo.
A picture from the front of the building almost became a blog header during the summer, but there were a few others I liked a little better.
It's a spectacular building, but it's empty now. I hope someone finds the money to restore it, and a good use for it next year.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Corbett, who is up for reelection next year, is upset taxpayer money will go to pay the $60 million dollar fine.
Suddenly, judging by the governor's actions, this has become a public issue.
Perhaps, if the public had greater knowledge of what was happening inside PSU, we wouldn't be at this point. Sara Ganim, who wrote Pulitzer Prize winning stories on the scandal for the Harrisburg Patriot, referred to Penn State as the "Kremlin" during a CBS "Face the Nation" appearance last year. The reason? The state sanctioned shields keeping the inner working of Penn State from public scrutiny.
If Corbett was really serious about fixing things, he'll open access to PSU. He was silent about it during his time as attorney general, and again as governor.
The lawsuit appears to be more about political capital rather than protecting the capital of the taxpayers. Bill O'Reilly and a couple legal experts discussed the lawsuit on FOX News Channel Wednesday night. If any organization was going to cut the conservative Corbett some slack, it would be FNC. They all pegged it as a political "Hail Mary," an effort to increase popularity as an election approaches. They see victory over the NCAA as a long shot.
I'm not predicting the outcome of the suit. My degree is in broadcasting, not the law.
I will predict an increase in Corbett's approval ratings. Even if he loses this, he can say "Hey, I'm the guy who fought for the reputation of Penn State, and I tried to keep your tax dollars from going out of state."
I have read plenty of opinion from people who feel the NCAA will bargain its way out of this by lessening the sanctions against PSU. I would not be surprised.
A big part of the lawsuit is the collateral damage suffered by students and businesses. Show me a punishment where the only one affected is the offender. It just doesn't happen.
Below is a paragraph from a NY Times editorial.
It would be hard to imagine a more shortsighted misunderstanding of the scandal that continues to shake Penn State. The university is wise to accept the sanctions, whatever the governor hopes to accomplish. The penalties have caused considerable resentment among the more avid Penn State fans, but Mr. Corbett denied politics underlies his complaint. He pictured Penn State caught in the “eye of a media storm” and left to “clean up this tragedy that was created by the few.” The governor should know better than anyone that the tragedy is all about the outrageous abuse of children at Penn State, not continuing the business of football for Penn State fans.
Corbett's lawsuit just shows Penn State puts football above all else.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
What drew my eye to this shot is the old and the new in the same shot. You can see the Market Street Bridge between Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, in the dike opening, below the pedestrian bridge.
I took this shot Thanksgiving morning. As you can tell by the sunlight/shadow, it was rather early.
It's not a bad way to start the year.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Note to parents and students: NOT EVERYTHING YOU READ ON FACEBOOK IS TRUE! Out of control and irresponsible rumor spreading adds to the school problems.
The "fiscal cliff" problem of 2012 was an embarrassment to everyone in Washington, regardless of party.
I haven't heard any flat tax discussion in quite a while. The tax code really needs to be overhauled. I doubt anyone in Washington has the courage to tackle it.
I hope CNN's theft of ABC' Jake Tapper shows CNN is serious about doing real news.
The Pittsburgh Steelers came apart at the end of the season. Injuries? Yes, but the dissension and mistakes are directly attributable to bad management. If the next season is mediocre, it might be time to think about a change.
Andy Reid is a good football coach, not a great football coach. The Arizona Cardinals will learn that.
If someone does something naughty around the holidays, or if someone isn't in the spirit, they are referred to as a "grinch." Enough already. Can't news writers and everyone else be a little more creative?
The Houston Astros, as they move in to the American League, have gone back to a logo like they had in the 60's. Yay! It's a good look.
I've been listening to the new CBS Sports Radio network. Meh. There isn't much break out talent on any of the sports networks-- ESPN, FOX, NBC, Yahoo, and now CBS.
I pulled the overnighter at the TV station New Year's Eve in to New Year's morning. I volunteered. Brutal. I did t he same thing Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Criminals don't have holidays. In fact, many see it as an opportunity to do more awful things.
So far, this year's college bowl games have been underwhelming.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
I was trying to think about the challenges ahead, and who we are likely to see in the news this year.
Mayors and councils in cities in our area have to be in the hot seat. Expenses are going up. Taxation has reached critical mass. We saw some cities lay off employees last year. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of the same in 2013.
Good luck to the fine citizens of Hazleton. I spoke with two council members yesterday. Newswatch 16's Lara Greenberg spoke with the mayor. All three had different takes on the 2013 budget. Such confusion doesn't give you confidence in the city's future.
It will be interesting to see if Penn State's Bill O'Brien can repeat the unexpected success of 2012.
The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot to do to get back on track. The same goes for some other local favorites, including the Giants and the Steelers.
Speaking of tracks, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders make their debut in a few month. Go, Porcupines!
We have a new U.S. Congressman and a few new state representatives starting work this year. They have two years to prove themselves, but as we've seen before, it takes a lot for voters in our area to bounce incumbents.
This is the year "The Office" goes away-- finally.
The days are getting longer. We're getting a little more sunshine, and temperatures start to rise in a few weeks.
Happy 2013 !!!