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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Andy's Angles: Patchy Valley Fog

We caught a very cool morning back on May 19th.  It felt like fall.  Take cool air and warm river water, and you get patchy valley and river fog.

The fog you see above is over the Susquehanna River, as viewed from Bentley's parking lot, along Route 309 in Ashley, near the Hanover Township line.

Friday, May 30, 2014

PS Friday

Revisiting a few earlier topics...

Last week, I predicted a subpoena of the Aazis Richardson arraignment video would be coming.  Well, it did.  The alleged killer's age will keep him off the death penalty gurney.  It's been a week since the homicide.  The shock of this kid's cruelty remains.

Looks like the cargo in that tractor trailer, where the police officer shot the driver in Columbia County was not stolen, but the rig had a ton of safety violations.  Plus, the driver allegedly fudged his log books.  He's charged with attempted homicide.  I still haven't heard a good reason as to how a truck in such poor condition nearly made it from coast to coast without being pulled off the road.

NBC's fog of hype has made it difficult to see if there's any real news in the Edward Snowdon interview.

I know the search area is vast, and the ocean in that part of the world is extremely deep, but I still can't believe the Malaysian jet still hasn't been found.

It looks like the VA scandal/mess gets bigger every day.  The problems look system wide.  How does the VA head keep his job?

Tough call on Afghanistan.  President Obama will have just about all US troops out of there by the end of the year.  There's no doubt Afghanistan will slide back in to some of its old ways.  Former vice president Cheney has slammed Obama for being weak.  Do we have the obligation to babysit Afghanistan in perpetuity?  Is there a middle ground?  I don't have the answers.  I'm just throwing it out there for your consideration and debate.

Our friends at the Times~Tribune report Scranton is spending, and owes more money than it takes in.  Any guesses as to how this movie ends?

Apparently, no one from Penndot ever drives the inbound lanes of the North Scranton Expressway, and no one from the city of Scranton ever drives on Woodlawn Street.  Both are pothole riddled, and are an embarrassment.  The North Scranton Expressway is one of the main arteries in to the city.  First impressions mean a lot, and this road speaks poorly of our area.

$2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers?  Looks like someone over-paid.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

First Person: Shooting

I saw it on WNEP.com, when I got up, and I knew I'd be heading to Columbia County very early Tuesday morning.  I even hit the door early to factor in travel time.

To get you up to speed, a Hemlock Township Police corporal and a trucker fought on an exit ramp near Buckhorn Monday night.  The trucker was allegedly angry police took his safety violation filled truck out of service.  State Police took over the investigation, and they say the trucker, a man from Oklahoma, hit the officer with pepper spray and a hammer.  The officer fought back with a stun gun and finally a Glock.  The trucker took two bullets.

The truck was gone and the ramp was open by the time photographer Jason and I arrived, but that really wasn't a concern.  Our night crew had excellent video of the truck, the scene, the hammer, the stun gun, etc.

We found a nice location for our "live shots."  It was a shopping center parking lot, overlooking the interchange.  We deployed the dish, lit up the area, and went live five times.  Walmart, thank you for the bathroom facilities.

After our morning broadcast, Jason's shift ended.  He was replaced by photographer Corey, and we set out to get answers to our questions.  It wasn't easy.  When one police department investigates another, things can move glacially.  I was concerned State Police wouldn't be ready talk on my watch.  We made stops at the "mother barracks" near Hazleton, the barracks just outside of Bloomsburg, the Columbia County district attorney's office, and the Hemlock Township Police Department.  I handed out so many business cards, I felt like I was running for office.  Note to management:  I'm going to need a new box.  We'll talk next week.

Finally, an investigator working out of the Columbia County barracks told us a briefing was on the way.  I checked my watch.  Newswatch 16 at Noon was fast approaching.  There was no guarantee I'd get the necessary information before deadline.  We were finally briefed at 11:40.  I got the basics and a little more, and jumped in the truck to scribble out some notes on a legal pad.  After all these computer years, I can still do breaking news faster with pad and pen than I can with a laptop.  I think it comes from my early radio years.

We learned that local officers can work the interstates and assist with Motor Carrier Enforcement.  State Police felt the Hemlock officer was justified in firing.  A trooper was there at the start of the traffic stop, but he was sent on another call, leaving the local officer all alone, and that's when the situation deteriorated.

The trucker was hit twice in the torso.  Surgery.  Survived.  To be charged.

My colleague, Kristina Papa, took over for our afternoon broadcasts.  Corey and I went northeast while Kristina and photographer Tom went west to continue getting video and gathering facts.

Here's what gets me.  This first truck was first spotted as a safety hazard in Arizona!  The trucker lives in Oklahoma.  Somehow, an allegedly dangerous truck nearly made it coast-to-coast without it being yanked off the road.  If the police allegations are true, the trucker put his own life in jeopardy, plus the lives of the thousands of people on the roads during the long holiday weekend.  If this truck can travel thousands of miles, without a front bumper-- among other things, it makes you wonder about enforcement in other states.

It's a cliche.  It's trite, but a lot of people are lucky to be alive today.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and that means "summer" is unofficially here.

The summer solstice doesn't take place for another few weeks, but for all intents and purposes it's summer.

Summer might be delayed a bit for some.  All those snow days means an extended school year.  Cool weather has robbed us of that summer feel.

The blackout curtains are up.  Actually, they're a 24/7/365 thing, but that's another story for another time.  The air conditioner was installed a few weeks ago.  I've stocked up on cases of diet cola.  Bring on summer!

My first vacation week of the summer season, and the second of the year doesn't hit until late July.  No plans.  I'll go where the summer breeze takes me, and that's usually not far from the front porch.

Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.  We'll be shoveling snow before you know it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Defies Analysis

A big part of me wants to believe there's good in every man and woman.

And then, there's Aazis Richardson.

He was charged Friday night with shooting a cab driver in the head and stealing $ 500.

Richardson is innocent until proven guilty, but, on camera, he admitted to the charges, expressed no remorse, and even threw a four letter word at the victim's family.

I'd never seen anything like it.  You hate to give publicity to a person like that, but you need to see it.    It was that unbelievable.

Our newsroom got calls from ABC and stations across the country.  They asked for our video.  It was national news.

There's a chance his confession to police could get kicked out of court.  There's a lot of evidence without it.  I'm sure our video will be subpoenaed.  If it ever gets to trial, it's likely a jury will get a look.  You have to wonder what the defense will be.  Mental problems?  Drugs?  Family issues?

We can't forget about the victim.  Two children lost their father, a man relatives say was just trying to earn a living.

Remember when you were 16?  Your dreams.  The life you wanted to live.  I could not imagine being 16, and facing the strong possibility of a tiny prison cell for the rest of my life.  I guess there's always the possibility of being found guilty of, or pleading guilty to a lesser degree.  Plus robbery.

At best, Richardson is looking at 40 years in prison.

He enters jail as a kid.  He leaves an old man, if he ever leaves at all.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

The message today is simple:  remember what the day is all about.

There is a secondary message:  be patient.

As I've noted in this space in year's past, Memorial Day is one of the toughest in the news business.  Every city and town has some sort of ceremony.  We get to as many as we can. but we can't visit them all.  That often leaves some bruised feelings, and we acknowledge that.  Just because a camera isn't there doesn't mean your event is less important.  You should be applauded for taking some time out of the day to remember.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Square

I miss the big trees that used to be on Courthouse Square in Scranton.  We've been stuck with a lot of concrete and granite.  I wonder if I'll be around long enough to watch the little trees grow big enough to replicate the look of the past.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Andy's Angles: Scranton in Bloom

As we get ready to say good bye to May, and hello to summer-- a celebration of spring time.  This is a shot of some flowering trees on Courthouse Square in Scranton.  That's the Mears building on the right, and the shot looks south, on North Washington Avenue.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mr. Hovey

I was lucky.  I got to work with Tom Hovey.

Tom retires at the close of business today, after about 40 years at WNEP.

When you worked with Tom, you always knew you'd come back with a good story.  It would be nicely edited, and done on time.  For a photographer, there is no higher compliment.

If that wasn't enough, Tom knows the Coal Region like the back of his hand, and he can find the short cut to anywhere.  In a business where minutes count, it's a valuable skill.

And there's more...  Working the overnight shift, I've had to wake up Tom countless times to cover "breaking news."  He always went.  Apologies to Mrs. Hovey.  I'm sure she won't miss my calls.

Tom handled my noon Tuesday live shot from Taylor, pictured above.  I'm off the rest of the week, so when I come back, Tom will have packed up his stuff, turned off his camera, and departed.

Tom Hovey was a big part of local TV history.

Thank you, Tom.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

...And Nobody Came

I should have gotten to this sooner, but the election took a big bite out of my week.

Scranton held its annual Amerd Forces parade Saturday morning.  As you can see from this shot on Courthouse Square, few people were there to watch.  Weather was no excuse.  There was just a slight chill in the air, but it was mostly sunny.  Just a few big puffy clouds drifted over downtown.

What does the poor turnout, something that happens year after year, tell us?

A parade is great, and it's wonderful that we honor the men and women of the military, past and present, but perhaps, there's a better way to do it.

Block off a couple streets.  Display military equipment.  Have concerts.  Ice cream.  Hot dogs.  Flags.  Make it an all day affair, rather than just an hour long celebration.  Do it near the Veterans home on Penn Avenue, so they can enjoy the show, and we can drop by to say "thank you."

The bottom line is that a poorly attended parade is better than none at all.  However, when I look at the crowd, I have a nagging feeling that we can do something different and better.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vote 2014: The Results

From now on, getting in early and spending fast will be called the Wolf plan.
It will be studied by political science students, and be discussed in the media and by political consultants.

Tom Wolf used the "the plan" to cruse to the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  It wasn't even close. Wolf had a huge advantage-- a personal fortune.  Campaign contributions, early in the race, were not an issue.

I expected more out of Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord.  Schwartz couldn't build on her strong Philadelphia area base.  McCord was a proven "all Pennsylvania" vote getter.  He never gained traction.

When the best Katie McGinty could do is "endorsed by Al Gore," you knew she was in trouble.

By the time the other three got their campaigns together, Wolf was way out front and never looked back.  This is as much a victory for money as it is for Wolf.

The defeat of the Lackawanna County change in government question was really no surprise.  I thought there would be a comfortable margin, and I was actually right about something.  People around here don't like change.  Those who favored the county council and elected manager system couldn't show why is was demonstrably better and more efficient.  The ad with the quote from the US Attorney, saying the current system is ripe for corruption, was the best of the lot.  Those who wanted the status quo simply said the new system would be bigger and more expensive.  It was a simple, elegant, and effective argument.

The solution seems to be "elect better people."  Look at some of what we've chosen here in our area-- a football player with no government experience who went to jail.  Another commissioner who couldn't push through "Arena Yes" and really hasn't talked about his role in steering his county toward a private juvenile detention facility.  One party rule, with the other so disorganized, it can't even field a slate of candidates.  Two party switchers who are now sitting in federal prisons.  The list goes on and on.  Maybe the system is OK, but the people we choose to run it are severely flawed.

The proposed Lackawanna County changes had some merit, but it wasn't perfect.

I don't buy the "voters saw the Luzerne County disaster" argument as to why the Lackawanna County question lost.  Do you have any idea how many people I run in to (and who call the station) who don't know the identity of their own council members and representatives?  How do you expect them to know what's going on in a neighboring county.

Perhaps more of an "educational" effort on the part of the "Yes" people would have lessened the impact of the argument that "Yes" was all about a political vendetta.

Conventional wisdom in the 112th had Bob Munley and Frank Farina splitting the upvalley vote with Kevin Haggerty sailing to victory on the strength of his solid Dunmore base.  That appeared to be what happened, early in the evening, when the Scranton and Dunmore votes came in first.  Farina, who many underestimated, pulled out a late win.   Haggerty's radio talk show melt down last week didn't help.  Frank Farina has taken down some big names in his short political life, and people have to be taking notice of that.

When all the numbers are in, look for anemic turnout totals.  I'm not defending it, but I can understand it.  The Wolf win was a foregone conclusion.  Many of the candidates, especially in the state house were running unopposed.  No one really got riled up over the Lackawanna County question.

Below, one of our cameras pointed at an empty polling place in Taylor.


I have to expand on something I noted yesterday.  As I was leaving my polling place, I saw one of the big names behind the "No" effort.  I told him I was the first one in my district to vote as an independent, and this was six hours after the polls opened.  I said both sides did a poor job of informing independents and third partiers they could vote.  The reply was that the "No" people didn't have the money to do that.  Perhaps they were afraid the indies would break for the "Yes" side.  Maybe the county needs to do a better job of getting the word out.  An independent colleague said the election workers at his polling place told him he couldn't vote, and it took a call to the Voter Registration office to straighten it out.  In my polling place, the stack of independent ballots were still in the box.  They weren't on the table for ready access.  I said it before, and I'll say it again, shame on you.





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Election Day

Primary Election Day 2014 is finally here.  We'll be following a few hot races for state representative in this cycle.  District boundaries have been redrawn, and that's set up some interesting contests.

Two other things jump out today, and the main one is at the top of the ballot-- the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Tom Wolf was the third one in the race, entering on April 2nd of last year.  He spent early and big.   His campaign got started with millions of his own money while the other candidates had to get their fund raising machines up and running.  Every pollster is ready to hand Wolf the nomination.  Incumbent Tom Corbett also seems resigned to the fact he'll face Wolf in November.  The Republican is already running anti Wolf ads.

I'm sure Corbett has a sizable campaign fund.  I wonder if Corbett intended to spend some of it this early, or if it was by design.  Corbett has some low poll numbers to deal with.  It's a matter of trying to take down Wolf while boosting his own profile.

There's another expensive race out there.  It affects only one county, but I'm sure others are watching.  Lackawanna County voters have to decide whether they want to replace three commissioners with a seven member county council, and an elected manager.

Those who favor the council say it's actually smaller and more responsive government.  Those pushing the status quo say things are OK, and more people doesn't not equal a better way to run the county.

Ads on both sides are very good, especially the direct mail.  I think I know how this one ends.  I'll tell you tomorrow if I was right.

As usual, the election day plan for me goes like this-- a hearty breakfast, followed by preview stories live from a polling place for Newswatch 16 This Morning.  I'll check the big races and turnout for out noon broadcast.  Breaking news forces a change in direction.

After our noon broadcast, I'll stop at my polling place on the way home, have lunch, take a nap, and watch the votes come in tonight on WNEP, WNEP2 and WNEP.com.

Look for a recap here tomorrow morning, plus Tweets and blog updates this morning and afternoon.

As I always preach, every election is important, so get out and vote today.

>>> 2:45 AM UPDATE   One of the things that makes our democracy great is the ability to get a fast food spicy chicken sandwich and fries at 2:00 AM.  Chicken and fries has become an election morning tradition for me.  Don't ask me why.  After dining, I headed to the office.  Most of my pre-election work was already done.  It was just a matter of tweaking scripts and going over plans with Producer Thomas and Photographer Jason.  We'll be heading out the door in just a bit.

>>> 6:15 AM UPDATE  We went to the Y in Dunmore this morning because we never visited on an election morning.  Off to talk with movers and shakers after our next update.  Busy early morning ahead.

>>> 9:30 AM UPDATE  Visited a few polling places in Lackawanna County.  Light turnout.  We're hearing light is the norm so far today.  Conducted interviews on the Lackawanna County government question, writing our noon story now.

>>> 11:00 AM UPDATE  Writing, script approval, and video editing went well.  The Lackawanna County referendum is a tough story to tell in a minute and a half.  We hit the major points, and other staffers will have more later on in the day.  Soon, it's out the door for a live shot, and my day is nearly complete.

>>> 1:30 PM UPDATE  The noon live shot wrapped up smoothly in Taylor.  We ended with less than stellar numbers from several communities.  It wasn't unexpected.  It was still sad.  I voted on the way home.  I was voter # 107 in my little town.  Not bad, but we do have a hotly contested state representative race here.  I've discussed this in the past.  It's no secret I'm not a member of any political party.  Independents can't vote for candidates in the primaries, but we can vote on questions.  Guess what?  I was independent voter # 0001 in my ward.  Are you kidding me?  Both sides in the Lackawanna County referendum debate did a poor job of letting third party members, and independent voters know they can vote.  This goes not just for today, but ANY primary.  You can vote on the questions.  Shame on those involved.  It's time to hand things off to my colleagues, take a nap, and watch the votes come in tonight.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Time Is On My Side

The New York Post reported Saturday that President Obama stays on time by setting his watch ten minutes fast.

I never understood that.

I have family members who regularly set clocks and watches fast.  They say it "tricks" them into getting moving faster and staying on schedule.

What good is setting a clock or watch fast, if you know it's fast and you're the one who set it?

Maybe it's because I've spent so much time in broadcasting that I've become a slave to the clock.  After all, the broadcast has to be ready to go on time, or there's going to be trouble.

The news waits for no one.

Most of my watches and clocks are atomic.  They synchronize themselves with a government master clock-- accurate to the second.  I freak when a store says it's open at 10:00 AM, and the doors are still locked at 10:01.  If the sign says 10:00 AM, you open at 10:00 AM.  I get just as frustrated at delayed doctor and dentist's appointments.  I've walked over being kept waiting, and I never returned.

As comedian George Carlin once said, "You don't tell time.  Time tells you."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Andy's Angles: Roaring Brook

I caught Roaring Brook in Dunmore on a recent morning, when it was less than roaring.  A pretty sight, nonetheless, and it doesn't take much to get this creek running high and fast.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Andy's Angles: Danville

Unfortunately, my latest trip to Danville involved a nasty fire, but I did take a moment to look up and snap a photo.

Mill Street is filled with architectural delights.  It's a unique little town, and I always enjoy my time there-- railroad on one side, Susquehanna River on the other.

On a sad note, I see former Luzerne County District Attorney Bernard Podcasy has passed away.  His appointment and term can be described as "unsettled."  There were some very tough days.  In spite of it all, Atty. Podcasy was an honorable man who tried his best.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bike Season

I do the vast majority of my bicycle riding during the very early morning hours.  While I love my two wheel time, I'm not a fan of freezing while pedaling, so I wait until the ride time temperature is at least in the mid 50's.  It makes for a shorter riding season, and I'll take what I can get.

Yesterday was magic time.  It was a balmy 64 when I climbed aboard for the first time this season.  I intended to start slowly, but I found the first trip ridiculously easy.  Some hills that I usually avoid early in the biking season were climbed with ease, and my first trip was a lot longer than I anticipated.

Remember that I've been hitting the gym a few times a week for more than a year and a half.  Still, the bike was a concern-- different muscles used in different ways, and I thought I'd be a bit pokey on the first trip.

Yay, me.

It worked out much better than expected.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why?

A couple of forecasting services are out with their summer hurricane season forecasts.  Both predict a below normal season.

You have a better chance of making a more accurate prediction by throwing at a dartboard.

Some of my best friends are meteorologists, and I apologize in advance.

Weather patterns change quickly.  While we can look at long term trends, jet streams, ocean water temperatures, polar ice caps, etc., saying above or below normal hurricane activity seems like a guess, at best.

Some recent predictions called for active hurricane seasons.  Thankfully, the US hasn't received a good slam in two years.

That swings us in to climate change.  The Obama administration came out with a report recently that said the planet is warming, and steps have to be taken to reverse the trend.  Greenhouse gas emissions is apparently to blame.

I don't think that anyone will disagree that the climate is changing.

There is room for debate, however, as to the cause, and if it's just a natural thing the planet goes through.

I don't have the answers.

I wish the quiet hurricane season predication is accurate.

Prepare for the worst.  Hope for the best.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Unfinished Wednesday

There was a deadly crash involving a police car Monday evening in Carbon County, and time seemed to stand still.  I wonder why.

Donald Sterling really needs to stop talking.  He really does.  Apparently, Mr. Sterling never heard the phrase "You are your own worst enemy."

"The Blacklist" season finale aired Monday night.  This series is overly gruesome, bloody, violent, and complicated.  Having said that, it's thoroughly entertaining.

CBS cancelled Robin Williams sitcom "The Crazy Ones."  Meh.  I watched a couple of times.  Cute.  Not outstanding.

A lackluster election cycle is still exciting.  It might not seem like it, but there's a lot at stake Tuesday.

If the expected Corbett vs Wolf race for governor materializes, look for one of the most expensive and nastiest contests in Pennsylvania history.  The venom is flowing between the two, and we're still six days from the primary.

Do we really need another Godzilla remake?

The United States Postal service lost nearly $ 2 billion in the first quarter.  Letter carriers do a fine job, but times have changed, and the system is broken.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Take Two Tuesday

Revisiting some recent topics...

Yesterday, I wrote about how thrilled I was to see Burger King offering "burgers for breakfast."  Well, I prematurely squeezed my ketchup.  A reliable source in the industry says most BK's in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area will not take part in the program.  BK was already missing the boat by not opening early and staying open late.  Add this to the list of missed opportunities.

It's one week until the "Pennsylvania Primary."  Candidates for governor are spending plenty on the media.  We'll see if anyone gains the traction to take down the guy leading in the polls in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Tom Wolf.

I expected more fireworks out of the Lackawanna County form of government referendum.  Are the "pro commissioner" people broke, or do they simply feel county voters will resist change?

The racists and the homophobes seem to be working overtime recently.  Radio talk show hosts and cable tv anchors send a big "thank you" for giving them hot button topics.

I've been enjoying air conditioning for the sound muffling quality as much as the coolness.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Heaven Exists

My prayers have been answered.

Let me back up a little.

I work while you're sleeping, and vice versa.  I maintain the same schedule on my off days.

When you're deciding what to have for breakfast, I'm pondering lunch.

Burger King announced last week that it will be offering burgers and fries, beginning at 6 AM, at 5,000 of its restaurants.  It did not say when the program starts.  BK also did not say if the move would be temporary or permanent.  I'm just guessing, but if "Burgers for breakfast" flops, you won't see it around for long.

I'm trying to eat a little healthier, but there is still the occasional fast food adventure.  While McDonald's and Burger King do have some nice eggy AM offerings, it all tastes the same after a while.  A burger and fries will be a welcome departure.

It appears the fast food world is beginning to realize what the rest of us have known for a quite a while.  We're no longer a 9 to 5 society.   Traditional times and food offerings are out the window.    Your breakfast is my lunch, and probably someone else's dinner.

Whopper.  Hold the mayonnaise. Medium fries.  Large Diet Coke.  I'll see you there.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Underside

The undersides of bridges are generally not pretty places.  However, the Interstate 81 bridges, and the Mill Street bridge in Dunmore had a nice mix of architectural styles and shapes.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Andy's Angles: Angles and Curves

I try to avoid over analyzing photographs, but here's what I was trying to accomplish here...

New and old forms of transportation:  The top bridge is Interstate 81 at Dunmore.  Below is the Mill Street bridge.  Finally, railroad tracks.

Plus, the bridges have sharp angles, while the tracks have a gentle curve.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Blurred Lines

I spend a fair amount of time listening to sports talk radio.  I'm not a sports nut.  It's just a nice diversion, and a break from every day death and destruction.  Modern sports talk radio has morphed in to something more.  It's movies, tv, food, drink, entertainment, etc.  I can handle that.

These days, sports talk radio is more like news talk radio.  Runs, hits and errors take a back seat to cheating, racism, drugs, criminal athletes and sexual orientation discussions.

That brings me to Ron Allen, my first boss in the business.  For years, Ron did a sports talk show on WARM AM 590.  He even dabbled in news talk for a while, with a noon time slot, as WARM was desperately bungling the search for a contemporary identity.  That was after my departure.


Above is a shot of Ron at Lackawanna County Stadium's opening night in 1989, doing what he does best.  Holding court.  The venue this time was the dugout.


I occasionally wonder how Ron would handle the current sports climate, with all those blurred lines that have taken sports into the realm of news.  I'm sure he would have had a field day.  I always got the feeling Ron wanted to be known as more than a sports guy. 


On the other hand, part of me feels Ron would be disgusted by the loss of purity and innocence in the sports world.  Yeah, there wasn't a whole lot of that to begin with.


Ron seemed to be tiring of the grind toward the end.  He lost a bit of that nastiness and arrogance that made him the man you love to hate.  You might not have adored the guy, but when Ron brought his "A" game, there was none better.


Still, I'd love to hear what he'd have to say.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Week That Was...

...And it's not over yet.

Consider the things that have crossed my desk this week.

Five people, including three children, die from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Investigators say it was due to an improperly vented propane heater.  Preventable?  We'll never know, but it certainly looks that way.

Police say an 11 year old was shot to death by his uncle.  The uncle told police he didn't know the gun was loaded.  Wow.  This one leaves you shaking your head.  No one can make sense out of it.

50 elderly had to be taken from their personal care home, in the middle of the night.  This is the same personal care home cited for a number of things, including alleged inadequate staffing.  They're lucky there was enough staff and first responders to get everyone out safely.  This one could have been a major tragedy.

I learned a long time ago that "when the play is cast in hell, don't expect angels for actors."  Think of that when you read about, or see stories on a homicide trial currently underway in our area.

An alleged thrill killer says police violated her rights.

The Monica Lewinsky story is back, even though there's nothing new.

Donald Sterling seems worse than first believed.

We still can't find the Malaysian jet.

Ukraine seems to be on the verge of civil war.

If you believe the climate change report, major coastal cities will eventually be under water.

Buckle up.  We're in for a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Business Wednesday

Money losing Office Depot has announced a plan to close 400 stores.  That's about 25 per cent of what it has.

I admit, I'm a geek, and I used to drive to Allentown to shop at Office Depot.  It had a store in Wilkes-Barre that didn't last long.  Office Depot always seemed to be pricey, but it had the newest stuff first.  Color me disappointed.

In making the closing announcement, Office Depot said consumers are buying their supplies in other places, especially the internet.  I'm not doubting that, but If I'm going to make a major purchase, like a computer, I want to see it in person first.

ABC News is naming its New York headquarters building after the soon to be retired Barbara Walters.  Nice idea.  It took me a while to warm up to her, especially after the Harry Reasoner debacle of 1976.  If you want to see a tense set, go to YouTube, and look up ABC's 1976 election night coverage.  Walters, Reasoner, and Howard K. Smith.  No one looked like they wanted to be there, and the Jimmy Carter victory call was made, it fell to Walters.  ABC News president Roone Arledge was smart enough to let Reasoner go back to CBS.  Walters was relieved of anchor duties.  She was made special correspondent.  Brilliant.  Walters got the big interviews then, and she kept it up for 40 years.

The New York Times reports old fashioned board games are making a comeback, as families try to spend non high tech quality time together.  I'll pass.  I had my fill of those games as a kid.  I do like the concept though.  Anything that promotes family time.

ABC has extended Jimmy Kimmel's contract for another two years.  Funny show.  Stability is always good.  I'm still a Dave guy.

Target's president quit, said to be more fallout from last year's botched credit card data breach.  The company's chief information officer is already out.  I know people who are still wary of shopping at Target.  Understatement of the year:  it will take a long, long time to recover from this one.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Two Weeks

Every election is different and strange in its own way.  This year's Pennsylvania Primary might take the cake.

Tom Wolf came out of nowhere.  He spent early and he spent big.  Polls have him sailing toward the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in two weeks.

Incumbent Republican Tom Corbett has only token opposition.

Corbett is already running commercials, comparing his record to Wolf's.

Hey, we haven't had the primary yet!

Most incumbent governors have breezed in to a second term here in Pennsylvania.  Another four years of Tom Corbett is far from a done deal.  He has a lot of ground to make up, and the stakes are high.

I know why he's doing it, but can Corbett's actions be taken as a sign he thinks the primary is meaningless?

Regardless of how you feel, make sure you hit the polls May 20.  Every election is important.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Gullible

Do re really have to go through this again?

Time magazine recently came up with a list of the 100 most influential people.  Beyonce made the list, and made the cover.

Some people were outraged.

Give me a break.

Time is in the business of selling magazines.  Controversy sells magazines.  Just about every magazine does a list once in a while.  They're meant for you to talk about and argue over.  And if you're talking and arguing about Time, it's money in the company's bank.

By the way, remember the days when Time and Newsweek were "must reads?"  Time is striving for relevance, and if putting Beyonce in the cover helps keep it alive, it has my blessing.

As for Beyonce on the list..  Yes, pop stars are influential.  If you think otherwise, you apparently never walked through a shopping mall when Britney Spears was at her peak.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Andy's Angles: Passenger Cars

It's too bad passenger rail service in this country went to heck, but I understand it.  New roads, cheap gas.  Do the math.

Times have changed, and rail could play a huge role in our economy, but I can't see it happening.
A lot of the old track is gone.  Land is expensive, and replacing all that old track is nearly impossible.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Andy's Angles: Riding the Rails

I love the diesels, but I also have a fondness for passenger cars.

This bunch is parked in an out of the way place in south Scranton.
An Erie Lackawanna dining car is being restored and there are a lot more that need some TLC.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Scrapple

Craig Ferguson's departure from the CBS Late Late Show in December bothers me a great deal.  He was different, and occasionally outrageously funny.  Lost in all of that is he really knows how to do an interview, and Like Letterman, he's not afraid to go serious.

I have yet to hear anyone say "Gee, I miss Jay Leno."

Summer is here.  I got my first bug bite the other day, and Benadryl has become one of my basic food groups.

We really need to take a look at big time sports in this country.  A guy can lose his NBA team because he said something stupid, and the NFL gets away with quite a bit because it skirts the anti trust laws.

It seems like the problems at General Motors have fallen off the radar.

Next week's NFL draft could be one of the most interesting in a long time.

Sorry to learn of Bob Hoskins' passing.  He co-starred with Roger Rabbit, and he made it work, even though he couldn't see his partner.

Delta brings big jets back to AVP today.  While I have no plans to fly anywhere, I do like to look at them.

I wish MSNBC and FOX News would spend less time sniping at each other, and more time producing interesting programming.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

About the Cover

There's an interesting spot in Dunmore where several forms of transportation come together.

Above is Interstate 81, and the massive columns that hold up two of its bridges.

I'm standing on the Mill Street bridge over Roaring Brook.

There's a set of railroad tracks off to the upper left.

At the center of the photo is the bridge that takes the tracks over Roaring Brook.

The view looks to the west.