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Friday, July 31, 2015

Vacation's End

You know I had to sneak in a train photo before my vacation comes to an end.  I took this one Saturday morning.  The sun and weather are taking their toll on the colors.  The green and gold aren't quite as vivid.  This combo is in need of some TLC.

As for my vacation, it was average stuff...  some minor wandering, a few photos, a lot of sleep, I cleaned a ceiling light fixture,  KMart, the gym, I ate my body weight in sweet corn from the Scranton Farmers Market, a few bike rides, and I fixed my eyeglasses with one of those kits from the dollar store.  All in all, not bad.

It's back to work this weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

About the Cover

The August blog header appeared a little early this month.

There are a few reasons.  I wasn't thrilled with the July offering.  I have a topic planned for tomorrow, and I want to do an advancer on Andy's Angles for Saturdays in the month of August.

We're doing a theme month.  Merv Griffin would be proud.  I know only those over 50 got the reference.  Merv had an afternoon talk show, and many shows were "theme" days.  Johnny Carson made fun of it on a regular basis.  He could.  Johnny's brother, Dick, was Merv's director for many years.  Dick Carson was the director on the original Wheel of Fortune.

Enjoy the shot of the Radisson at Lackawanna Station, formerly the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western  station.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

24/7

My heart nearly stopped when I read the news.  Walmart is closing some of its stores between midnight and 6 AM.  The company says it needs the time to make sure the stores are ready, and present a great experience for shoppers.

Regular blog readers know I live in an alternate universe-- sleep all day, work all night.  I keep the same schedule on my days off.  I've found that one schedule is easier to handle than trying to live normally for a couple of days, then going back on the all-nighter.  Needless to say, 24 hour stores help me get by.

So far, two stores in my territory will be closed all night-- Wilkes-Barre and Mount Pocono.  I suspect they're problem properties for the company.

I quizzed my spies at a couple of other stores in my orbit.  They're not on the closing list, but they could be if the Mount Pocono and Wilkes-Barre experiments are a success.  The added that the stores see a fair amount of business overnights, and closing for six hours would cost the company a lot of money.

Look, I can live without a 24 hour Walmart.  There are a couple of other 24 hour options near by, but they cost more and they don't have everything Walmart has.

#ModernProblems.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Supply and Demand

Last week, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders announced a cut in season ticket prices.

Many in the media reacted if something miraculous occurred.  Maybe.  In a small way.  After all, it is rare to see prices go down.

On the other hand, do the math.  This is simply the law of supply and demand.  Attendance isn't great, so cut the prices.  As has been noted here, Scranton Wilkes-Barre is languishing near the bottom of the list in the International League.  Yes, marketing can be better.  More on that in a moment.  A big part of the lousy attendance is this is one of the smallest, if not THE smallest in the International League.

The stadium is a nice place to watch a game.  I think the team would be better off cutting food and drink prices, along with single game ticket prices.  If you can afford season tickets, trimming a couple of bucks won't matter much.  The team also intends to give season ticket holders goodies not available to the average fan.  We'll see if it works.

The RailRiders also intend to tweak the logo, embracing the local teams of the past, including the Phillies years in Moosic.  Again, a nice idea.  The skeptic in me says this is an effort to kickstart merchandise sales.  Walk around Courthouse Square on a summer day.  You don't see many RailRider caps and tee shirts.  A mall store or two would help.  Visibility.  We'll see the new logo after the season.  Is the porcupine on the way out?

All in all, I think the owners do an okay job of marketing the team.  There's always something going on at the ballpark.  The atmosphere is fan friendly, even if the prices are not.  However, there's always room for improvement.  The numbers are proof.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Flop Card

I had forgotten about it until I saw a recent internet post.  We've been talking a lot about Donald Trump in recent weeks, but few remember a game show, with his name on it, back in the fall of 1990.

It was taped at a Trump hotel in Atlantic City, and it was called Trump Card.  Jimmy Cefalo was the host.

I was part time at the station that carried it, not WNEP, and here's what I remember at the time.

Cefalo was from Pittston, so the station thought Trump Card would be ratings gold.  It scheduled the show at 5 PM, replacing the very popular People's Court.

As I said, I was doing part time TV work back in 1990, and I don't know why I dropped by the station that afternoon.  I might have been working.  It might have been to say hello and talk with the news director.

There was a huge build up to Trump Card.  The station hosted a reception with Cefalo, advertisers, station employees and contest winners, if I recall correctly.  I do remember that I wasn't invited.  Jimmy cut customized promos for the station.  Management was pumped.

And then, Trump Card premiered.

I was in the office when 5 PM rolled around on that early September afternoon.  People's Court wasn't on.  Trump Card was.  The phones went nuts.  Viewers wanted Judge Wapner, and his black robe, not the tuxedo wearing Cefalo.

Several of us watched the premiere episode in the newsroom.  It wasn't awful.  It was far from great, sort of a Jeopardy rip-off, where you had to answer questions to fill spaces on a bingo type card.  There were a couple of twists, and the final two rounds were actually decent.  You can check it out for yourself.  Do a search on YouTube.

We smelled a loser.  Some staffers started calling it Flop Card.  The syndicator pulled the plug after one season.  I don't think my TV station carried Trump Card for the full year.

As for Jimmy Cefalo, I thought he was very smooth, very good.  He did football games for NBC, plus local radio and TV in Miami, where he starred with the Dolphins.  He wasn't on the national stage long.  I think that was his choice.  Cefalo was better than most of the football broadcasting talent out there.  He's still at it.

Even though Trump Card was a flop, I can see why the station dumped People's Court to carry it.  People's Court was still hot, and probably expensive.  Trump Card had the local connection.  It looked like a good lead-in to local news at 5:30 PM, but even Jimmy Cefalo couldn't save a mediocre product.

I don't remember what replaced it.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Andy's Angles: Another View

A good photo doesn't need to be cluttered with a lot of stuff.

Today, another view of the lake at Tobyhanna State Park.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Andy's Angles: The Lake

I'm on vacation, and I set out to do a little wandering the other morning.

This scene, at the lake at Tobyhanna State Park, caught my eye.  Blue sky, blue water, green trees, and colorful boats lining the shore.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vacation

By now, you likely know what sleeping, drooling Homer means:  I'm on vacation.

I haven't had a weekend off since April.  It's time.  I'm a little tired.  The battery needs to be recharged.

As always, there are no vacation plans.  Some photography, some wandering, a lot of sleep.

I always say I'm going to do a fun summertime thing while I'm off, like a fireman's carnival, a church picnic.  I'll try.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Jackie DeTore is anchoring this weekend.  The broadcast is in great hands.

I'll see you again next weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vote 2016

Well, it's time I weighed in on the whole Donald Trump thing.

He's made some outrageous statements since getting in to the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and he's climbing in the polls.

Whether or not you agree with Trump's positions and statements, he has succeeded in tapping in to the anger a lot of people feel.

He says the things out loud I know candidates and their advisers say behind closed doors.

Donald Trump is bold and he's brash, and he knows how to generate headlines.  Plus, he has $10 billion dollars and he doesn't need your campaign contributions.

Analysis of his candidacy is simple.  Donald Trump is many things, but he is never boring.  Face it, a lot of politics is a bore fest.  If it was exciting, voter turnout would be a lot higher.

Was it wise to generalize immigrants?  No.  Was it smart to attack John McCain?  Again, no.

Other candidates should thank Trump for bringing early interest to the race, and giving them a target, beside President Obama.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Still

Dan Rather still doesn't get it.

He exited from CBS after a faulty report on George W. Bush's National Guard service record.

A movie on the debacle comes out this fall.  Robert Redford plays Rather, the anchor who lost his job after 24 years.

Rather told the New York Post this week that the movie script makes it clear his report was true.  Rather added "facts cannot be denied."

Assuming Rather is right and his report was true.  Bush skirted regulations and got away with doing less for the National Guard than was expected.

However, something else is true.  Very true.  Rather's report was based on flawed, forged, and faked documents.  He may have been right, but he couldn't prove it.  In journalism, proof is everything and Dan Rather had none.

Even after all these years, a man who was supposed to be one of the finest television journalists in history doesn't understand that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Under Appreciated

I really love broadcasting history, and because of that, the documentary series currently running on CNN, The Seventies, is a real kick.  The producers use news clips from the time to illustrate the events of the decade.  It's an effective, and rather entertaining way to narrate the timeline.

Regular blog readers know I was a huge David Brinkley fan.  There was no better writer on TV, and I point to his commentaries on the night of the Kennedy assassination, and a piece done at the end of a Vietnam documentary as proof.  His closing pieces were one of the highlights of This Week on ABC.

Today, two guys I feel never received their due as America's great news anchors.  Both have been popping up regularly on The Seventies, especially the hour devoted to The State of the Union.
The first is Frank Reynolds.  He was an ABC correspondent and anchor in the 60's.  He delivered one of the best lines ever, on his last night, before being replaced by Harry Reasoner in 1970.  Reynolds did a nightly commentary.  He said, at one time, he hoped his commentaries had not offended anyone.  Reynolds added he then gave it more thought and backed away because "there are people who ought to be bothered."  It was a great line.  So true.

It was once said the role of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  We need to get back to that.

Frank Reynolds became one of three World News Tonight anchors in the late 70's.  The president of the news division, Roone Arledge, always wanted a star anchor.  He tried hard to get Dan Rather, but the lure of Cronkite's chair was too much.  Arledge also made a push to get Tom Brokaw.  He settled on Reynolds because he couldn't land that major star.  All Frank Reynolds did was lead a solid report, night after night, until his death in 1983.
The other is John Chancellor over at NBC.  I didn't fully appreciate him until looking back at old videos, in recent years.  We were a Cronkite household growing up.

Anyway, look at Chancellor's resume.  It's impressive.  The man paid his dues, especially in Europe.  It showed on international coverage.  People often fawn over Peter Jennings' command of world affairs, and rightfully so.  John Chancellor was just as good, if not better.

Chancellor could be dry at times, and a little too college professorial for some.  I get that.  But, he was also a very smart man.  Watch him on election night archives.  Politics was his game, too.  One other thing also jumped out at me.  John Chancellor was great at setting up NBC correspondents, and he always made sure he was never bigger than the story.

John Chancellor died in 1996.

YouTube is a great resource.  News junkies and even non news junkies should go back from time to tome and see the way things used to be, when we were informed by some great people.  Some, were very underrated.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kodak Moment

I minored in public relations and advertising.  The business world fascinates me, and a story that ran in Newswatch 16 Sunday Morning got me thinking.

Kodak had one of its old film factories in Rochester imploded Saturday morning.

Is/was there a company more American than Kodak?  I'm sure every home in the country contained at least one Kodak product.  We bought film in those little yellow boxes for decades.  I can still see shelf after shelf, type after type on display in film shops and camera stores.  Hess's in the Viewmont Mall had a great display.  Its shelves were at an angle, in a diamond pattern.  It was impressive.

When I was young, you'd take pictures, take the film to the mom and pop variety store up the street, and if you were lucky, you got the pictures back in a week.  Good or bad, you paid.  It wasn't cheap.  No wonder digital took off.  I can take a picture and get it on the internet, or on tv in seconds.

Kodak lost its way.  It filed for bankruptcy protection.  The company was late getting in to the digital game, and its products were said to be sub par.  Still, it had the name and the stuff was easy to use.

Watching that film factory go down in a cloud of dust made me sad.  That's my childhood.  That's your childhood, if you're over 30.

The world is a scary place.  You can be at the top of the business world one minute, and a Kodak memory the next.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Andy's Angles: Passenger Car

This old passenger car happened to be at the South Washington Avenue side of the Steamtown lot when I was there on a recent morning.

The rich burgundy stood out on a rather grey day.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Andy's Angles: Thank You

So much has been written by so many, and most of it is better than what I can produce here.

It's been a long and sad week.

Scranton Patrolman's John Wilding's family is to be thanked for their sacrifice.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Unfinished Friday

A lot of people are really missing the point on the Stephen Reed thing.  Reed served 28 years as Harrisburg's mayor.  He was charged with hundreds of counts this week, for misappropriating taxpayer's money.

Yes, he did some good things for the city, but fellow elected officials and city residents stood idly by as this guy was allowed to amass so much power, he could do whatever he wanted.  It was an incinerator project blowing up in his face, and finally getting wise to his artifact collecting that finally led to Reed getting bounced out of office five years ago.

Yes again, innocent until proven guilty, but even before the criminal charges were announced, it was clear Stephen Reed was a shady character.

The state has been without a budget for nearly three weeks, and it's business as usual.  There is no sense of urgency to get it done.  There are no signals a compromise is in the works.  It's your money.  You deserve better.

It's getting to be "that time."  We should soon know who bought the mostly empty Mall at Steamtown.  It's one of many ongoing dramas in the city.   One can only hope it has a happy ending.

Half empty stadium or half full?  The SWR RailRiders are averaging about 5,000 in attendance, with roughly 20 home games left in the season.  They are in the bottom half of the pack in the International League.

FOX says the ratings for Tuesday night's MLB All Star Game hit a record low.  As I said the other day, the game just isn't special any more.  Having said that, baseball's all star game draws a bigger crowd than similar NBA, NFL, or NHL contests.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sold Out

The New York Post reported yesterday A&P is getting ready to file for bankruptcy and it will likely be the end of the chain.

No warm fuzzies for me.  A&P was well into its decline by the time I came on the scene, but I do remember there were several around the area when I was growing up.  At least in my territory, Acme seemed to be the dominant chain.   Giant (not the Giant of today) always seemed to do well in the Scranton area.  There were mom and pops on just about every corner.

The A&P problem is simply a matter of other chains doing it bigger and better.  Stores, big or small, grow, mature and decline.  You can't go to a business site and not a story about Sears and KMart on the edge.  Macy's is closing a store in downtown Pittsburgh.  The Globe and Scranton Dry are long gone.  Kresge's, Woolworth's, King's, Jamesway, Hill's, Ames, Zayre, Montgomery Ward, Sugerman's, Jean King, Powers, Towers, Pomeroy's...  It's an endless list.

I was telling a much younger co-worker the other day about the original Viewmont Mall configuration.  Grant's was an anchor with movies, a Giant, and Roma Pizza out the back.  There was also an arcade and an ice cream shop.

Times change, but it's still sad when an American institution like A&P loses its way.  It had a huge warehouse along the old Route 17 near Elmira, NY.  33 acres under one roof, the world's largest food processing plant.  I was never inside, but it was amazing from the outside.  Enormous.

A&P has been in bankruptcy before, but it really looks like this is it.

A&P was 156 years old.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Down South

Courtesy:  WHTM
I never could understand the people of Harrisburg.  They kept electing Stephen Reed as their mayor.  He served 28 years.  He ran the city into debt, to the tune of $ 300 million.  He spent the city's money collecting items for a wild west museum that never opened.  Problems with the city's incinerator cost taxpayers millions.

Yet, the voters of Harrisburg kept sending Stephen Reed back to city hall.   Again and again and again.

Not only did voters kept electing this guy, they stood idly by as Reed was allowed to amass unprecedented power.

I heard my fellow reporters claim Reed kept a tight lid on information.  Everything, every aspect of city government, had to go through him, even if it was police department business.

Stephen Reed was no cop.  Now, he's an accused criminal.  Reed was hit with dozens of criminal counts yesterday-- including bribery and corruption.

There are lessons to be learned here:  a guy, in office far too long, with no checks and balances, with too many people looking the other way.  I like Harrisburg.  It's one of my favorite cities.  The people deserve better, but they also should have seen the red flags going up.  Residents are the victims, but they also played a role in allowing Stephen Reed to drag the city down.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mid Summer Classic

When I was a kid, I loved Major League Baseball's All Star Game.  There was no FOX or ESPN.  It was THE chance to see players and teams you rarely got an opportunity to view.  If you missed the All Star Game, you had to wait until the playoffs and World Series to see the guys from the west.

Times change.  A dozen games are piped into my home every week, and I don't even get the super game package offered by my cable company.

Some additional thoughts...  Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees didn't make the team, even though his stats were in the All Star ballpark, pardon the pun.  Yes, he was suspended last year for using performance enhancing drugs.  He apologized.  He paid the penalty.  I would have no problem with his selection.  The Hall of Fame is another story.  Absolutely not.

This year's game is in Cincinnati, the city where Pete Rose spent most of his career.  The league will let him on the field.  That's too bad.  Rose committed the greatest baseball sin of all.  He bet on the game, and then lied for years about it.  Rose only came clean when he had a book to sell.  Pete Rose is the worst of the worst.

As has been the rule for the past several years, the league that wins the All Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series.  Stop it.  Stop it now.  Home field advantage should go to the team with the best regular season record.  I know MLB was trying to spice up the All Star Game and entice the players to do their very best, but this is just stupid.

The game is past my bed time, but I'll check out the highlights the next morning.

Monday, July 13, 2015

About the Cover

I was really late with a new blog header this month, and I apologize.  When I had the time and energy to go out and shoot one, it was raining.

This month is actually the first blog header shot with a camera phone.

This month, we feature the Blakely anchor.  Below is a paragraph from the Blakely Borough web site.

Blakely Borough was created in 1867. It was one of
the first subdivisions carved out of Blakely Township - a
large land area which once encompassed all of the
Lackawanna Valley north of Scranton up to and
including Carbondale. Blakely was named after Captain
Jonathon Blakely, who commanded the American
sloop “Wasp” against the British sloop “Avon” in 1814
on Lake Erie. The anchor from “Wasp” is on display at
Blakely Corners.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Andy's Angles: New Monument

You could see this one off to the right of the Dunmore tank photo that was posted one week ago.

A new monument to those who fought in the Korean War was dedicated a couple of months ago.

I thought it deserved a blog entry all its own.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Andy's Angles: Central

I always enjoying seeing old buildings get tender, loving care...  and Lackawanna College has taken care of the old Scranton Central High School rather nicely.

In the early 90's, Scranton closed Central, and merged with Scranton Tech.  A new school, near Memorial Stadium was built a few years later.  The Republic did not fall, and the arrangement works rather nicely.

Are you listening, Wilkes-Barre?


Friday, July 10, 2015

Missing

Wednesday was a dark day in sports broadcasting.  I'll begin with radio.

Tony Bruno announced his retirement.  I became a fan during his first tour of duty with FOX Sports Radio.  In recent years, he was doing a local show in Philadelphia, first with WPEN FM, and then with WIP FM.

The latter show lasted only a few months.  Bruno was paired with Josh Innes, a talented young man, but a bit of flame thrower.  You know the type.  He loves to say outrageous things and wait for enraged fans to light up the phones.

It wasn't a good fit, even though the show was entertaining.  Most of that was due to Tony Bruno.  In quitting, Bruno said modern radio and social media sucked the fun out of it.

Tony Bruno is an established and well liked broadcaster.  WIP made a serious mistake when it stuck him with a co-host.  By the way, the show was number one in its time period.

Tony Bruno was a frequent guest on Keith Olbermann's ESPN show.  Olbermann called Bruno the most talented broadcaster to ever work at ESPN Radio.

ESPN announced Wednesday that Olbermann's show ends when his contract expires at the end of the month.  ESPN called it a "business decision."  More on that in a moment.

I really hated Keith Olbermann when he was doing politics on MSNB and Current.  Overly mean.  Overly snarky.  But, something happened when he went back to doing sports.  It looked like he was having fun again, and it really was a good show.  Commentary off the top.  The Worst in the Sports World.  An interview, and finally some highlights.

It was the commentary that apparently got Olbermann into hot water.  He's been very critical of the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.  With good reason.  ESPN was just handed a rather weak Monday Night Football schedule, and many feel it's no coincidence.

Let me tell you about business decisions.  ESPN is reportedly trying to spend less money.  That's all well and good.  "Business decision" gives management the wiggle room to do what it wanted to do all along, and hide behind the economics.

It's a shame that a decent program gets the axe, while ESPN continues to employ the clownish Chris Berman, plus produce dreck like Around the Horn, SportsNation, His and Hers, and Highly Questionable.

Radio and TV just became a lot less interesting, and a lot less fun.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Ear Hears

It's been established that I like to ride my bicycle in the pre dawn hours.  I like having the roads to myself.

But, this isn't a blog entry about the bike.  It's an entry about the noise.

It's rather quiet when I'm riding and I like that.  I don't wear an audio device.  I'm listening to the crickets.

There are other noises that jump out at me, and I'll point out some examples.

There are some instances where I frighten some of the neighborhood bunnies.  You can hear their nails scratching on the pavement as they scamper to get away.

For weeks, there was an Interstate 81 paving project a few miles away.  I rode nowhere near the interstate, but you could hear the back up warning beeps of the trucks as if we were on the same block.

A train moves through north Scranton in the pre dawn darkness.  That one is most startling of all.  The sound carries, and I can clearly hear the rumble of the engine as it chugs north.

Voices carry.  Every other sound does, too.

The middle of the night is a great time to simply listen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

4th in Review

I was half asleep when I heard it, so I can't tell you if it was on WIP from Philadelphia or the internet feed of FOX Sports Radio, but one of the hosts called Independence Day the "holiday of bad choices."

Bingo!  It's the perfect description.

Submitted for your approval:  a deadly early morning ATV crash, a drowning where the victim bragged about all the drinking he was going to do over the holiday weekend, assorted fights, crashes, stabbings, and fireworks problems.

That's not to mention the guy in Texas who jumped in a pond, in spite of an alligator warning.  He died.  Then there's the guy in Maine who died while trying to launch fireworks from the top of his head.

You could search the internet and come up with a dozen more needless deaths and injuries.  At least a dozen.

Bad choices, indeed.

And the sad thing is, it happens every year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Not Yet

The U.S. women's soccer team captured the World Cup Sunday night, which is beyond fantastic.

I set out to do a reaction story Sunday morning, and met up with the nice kids at Old Forge High School.  20 on the team.  Five girls.

All saw what happened in Vancouver Sunday night as an inspiration.  Many plan to continue playing when they get to college.  Again, fantastic.

What about the rest of us?  I remember hearing of the impending soccer revolution in the 70's.  It never happened and I doubt it ever will.

Parts of it make sense, especially for schools.  Fewer injuries.  Equipment doesn't cost as much.  Even smaller kids can do well.

The time appears to be right.  Cable stations are dedicated to soccer.  The sport is getting a lot of attention.

But, remember where you are-- the U.S. of A.  Gridiron football is part of the culture.  It will be awfully hard to displace.  Soccer has low scoring games, and Americans seem to like a lot of offense-- be it football, baseball, or hockey.

There might not ever be a soccer revolution, but it could win a battle or two.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I Came, I Saw, I Circled

I just had to see for myself.

Penndot just had a contractor install a traffic roundabout at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.  Penndot stresses it's a roundabout, not a traffic circle.

Opening reviews are absolutely horrible, so I decided to leave for work extra early, on a morning last week, and check it out.

They were right.

It's counter intuitive and it just doesn't make sense.  On top of that, it's not going to be the only roundabout at that interchange.

As I noted earlier, it was a fine interchange.  The only issues were short acceleration and deceleration ramps at Interstate 81.  They were fixable without throwing the driving public into a tizzy. 

Credit where credit is due:  part of the project involves extending Navy Way into the industrial park, a great idea that should have been done years ago.

It's unfortunate that the powers that be took something that was working just fine, and turned it into something people hate.

Like anything else, it takes getting used to.  It would be nice to see a quick and easy learning curve, pardon the pun.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Andy's Angles: The Tank

This one has been on the blog before, but never the view in the darkness.

Dunmore has a big, old tank at the intersection of South Blakely and Short Streets.

Like Providence Square yesterday, this area is well maintained.  It might not be the most scenic location, but it is one that gets a lot of traffic, and therefore, your attention.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

I was driving around yesterday morning, and I thought it would be a good fit for today, Independence Day.

There's a nice display of flags, inserted in the planter at Main and Market in Scranton-- Providence Square.

I like communities that have a center piece, a focal point-- like Providence Square.  It;'s always nicely maintained.  I'm told PennDOT regulations forbid a Christmas tree here because of traffic visibility issues, they do decorate one in a parking lot just to the left of where this photo was taken.

Have a happy and safe weekend as we celebrate our independence.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hot Dog!

I was looking for something All American as we approach Independence Day, and the hot dog came to mind.  Yes, I know it has its roots in Germany, but America has adopted it and adapted it to serve our needs.

I know there are healthier choices out there, but I like them.

Today's entry is not about the frank, but rather, the bread.

I have no problems with folding over a plain slice of sandwich white and fashioning a bun out of it.  It tastes just fine.

However, a hot dog tastes so much better when it's on a hot dog bun.  Don't ask me why.  It's essentially the same thing as a slice of white bread, only in a different form.

Just something to ponder this weekend as you celebrate our independence.

Have a happy and safe weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First Person: CabbageWatch

It never fails.

I was in the WNEP newsroom early Tuesday morning, working on state budget stories.  I just finished the second and hit the "save" button.   In spite of the time consuming task of trying to make the complex understandable, I was done early.  Most of that was thanks to coming in to work a little early.

After finishing the second budget story, I made another check of my e-mail before packing up my stuff to head to that day's live shot location, the state office building on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton.  Something caught my eye.  Interstate 81 South at Lenox was closed due to 42,000 pounds of cargo on the road.  The email did not list the cargo or the circumstances that put it there.

Producer Thomas started working the phones.   He wasn't able to get much information from the people who should know such things.  Behavior like that always baffles me.  If we know, the public knows.  If the public knows, they can choose other routes.  It lessens aggravation for drivers and it increases safety for first responders.

In spits of the roadblocks, we knew it was big.  Photographer Jason and I jumped in a satellite truck and headed north.

The crash was in the south bound lanes.  As we passed it going north, we couldn't tell what it was.  It look like softballs all over the highway.  We turned around and started coming south.  Jason negotiated a good parking spot.  Thank you, fire department.  As Jason took the video, I approached State Police for the information.  The investigation was in the early stages, but they told me what they knew.

It was an explosion of cabbage and tomatoes.  The stuff was everywhere.  The point the truck first impacted the guide rail to its final resting place was about a half mile, and the route was covered in produce.  I'd never seen anything like it.  Luckily, the driver wasn't seriously hurt.  He gets a speeding citation.

The smell of cabbage was thick in the air, but the morning was on the cool side and the stuff was fresh.  It wasn't a bad aroma.

We got off the highway, and parked the satellite truck in the back parking lot of Bingham's Restaurant parking lot.  We were close to the highway, but still safely out of everyone's way.  11 live shots all morning long kept our audience involved.  I also managed to feed most of the mosquitoes in that part of Susquehanna County.

Interstate 81 reopened around 8:15 AM, about seven hours after the crash.

Thanks to Bingham's for the parking space.  Your breakfast smelled incredible, especially the bacon.  We didn't have time to stay and have something.  It's now on my priority list.

Photographer Jason was succeeded by photographer Corey.  He and I put together a story for our noon broadcast, and the day was done.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NewsNight

I'm always saddened when a news program gets canceled.

The latest victim, "Up to the Minute."  It airs on CBS overnights.

It's good broadcast-- serious, interesting.  It's a different approach than ABC News uses.  I like them both.  CBS is good at the hard news.   ABC's features are always entertaining and attention getting.  ABC has a strong presentation, while CBS is considerable more laid back.

The CBS broadcast began 30 years ago, when it was called "Nightwatch."  Tradition and heritage seem to mean so much at CBS.  I guess money won this time.  I understand.  After all, television is a business.

CBS promises to have another news product in place when "Up to the Minute" goes away in mid September.  There's speculation CBS will just put its internet news service, CBSN, up on the network for local stations to use.

I note the passing of Jay Daniels today.  Jay passed away Sunday at a hospice in Kingston.  He had been ill for some time.  Jay spent many years at KRZ and Rock 107.  There was at least one station in Massachusetts before that.  Jay had a long career in a business that chews up people and spits them out.  He was half of a morning duo for quite a while-- the straight man.  It's harder to be the straight man than the jokester.  I'm not going to pretend I knew him.  We met a few times over the years.  Always cordial and professional.  My sympathy to his family, friends, and fans.