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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top Ten: President Trump

Every year is a year of change, and 2016 turned out to be exceptional in the change category in the world of politics.

This is a camera phone photo from the morning of April 25.

I was on the floor of the arena in Luzerne County, watching the set up for that night's Trump for President rally.  The podium is center left.  The photographer's stand is off to the right.  A loop of Trump interviews was playing on the video screens above.

To refresh your memory, Trump filled every seat in the arena that night, and he went on to win the Pennsylvania primary the next day.


The photo above was taken the day before the general election last month.  This was the set up for the Trump rally inside the Student Union building at Lackawanna College in Scranton.

At the time, the so-called experts were wondering why Trump was spending the night before the election in an un-winnable state.  Guess again.  Trump took Pennsylvania and the White House.

As I've noted here before, one of the reasons I love my job is the opportunity to see things and go places before anyone else.  Watching the campaign people do their thing, and the media set up was fascinating.

2016 was amazing.

See you next year.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top Ten: 9/11 and Flags

Today, it's two events near and dear to me, and they've become fixtures in the Top 10.  This year, I've joined them together.

So much of 9/11 is looking back, and viewing at those horrible images again and again.

9/11 should also be a day of looking forward, and hoping we make the planet a safer place for our kids.

This photo was taken around noon on 9/11/16, in Jessup, at the SGT Jan Argonish Motorcycle Run.  SGT Argonish was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.

Below is a shot from the set up of Marywood University's annual flag field.  Each flag represents a man or woman who lost their life in service to our country in recent wars.  Marywood has been doing it for several years.  It never loses its impact.  It makes me proud of my alma mater.

Tomorrow, the top photos of 2016.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top Ten: Jermyn Flags

To outsiders, we are the cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, Hazleton, Pottsville...

But we are actually a series of small towns and neighborhoods.  It's always a kick to see how we put our best feet forward on summer holidays.

Every town around here has at least one Memorial Day observance.

Flags are everywhere on Independence Day.

The crew from Jermyn was decorating on the morning of July 1, when I took this photo.  It's great to see the pride, and people who care.

You will see more flags here tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Top Ten: Horses

I've been blogging for more than 12 years, and the Top Ten is nearly that old.  This year, a first.  It is the first time a photo shot on New Year's Day winds up in the Top 10.

On top of that, today is my birthday, and I always look for something a little special.

If you remember, the first part of winter was exceptionally mild and nearly snow-less.  I spied these two in a field in North Abington Township while I was on my way to Lackawanna State Park.  It was a great way to begin 2016.

An All American summer is on tap for tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten: Country Stream

This is a late October shot from the Varden area of Wayne County.

I intended to shoot the stream, but it was the barn and orange tree that really caught my eye.

As I said in the original post, this shot reminds me of a New England scene.

If you're a regular here, most of my shots are rivers and streams, buildings and bridges.  It can get routine.  This one, however, jumps out.

Tomorrow:  ...and the one you rode in on.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Top Ten: The Steam in Steamtown

Even though it had been in Scranton since 1990, a restored Baldwin made its debut in May.

Strange to say, Steamtown is mostly a diesel operation, but the powers that be put a lot of time and effort into restoring this one, and I'm glad they did.
They checked, and olive green was the original color when it rolled out of the factory in Delaware County in 1929.

Serenity invades the blog tomorrow.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

The Top Ten and other issues take a break for the day.  It's Christmas.

This tree has been gracing a sidewalk in front of a bank at Dunmore Corners.

If you're working today, I hope your time on the job passes quickly.

If you're traveling, I hope you arrive at your destination safely.

If you're with family and friends, I hope it's the best holiday ever.

If you find yourself with some emptiness in your life, I hope you find something, no matter how small, to provide a little comfort.

We'll talk tomorrow.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Top Ten: Chain Saws

This one was taken the morning of March 1st.  At the top of the photos, trees were being chain sawed to make way for a natural gas pipeline.  Protesters are at the bottom of the photo.  Heavily armed U.S. Marshals are in the middle.

The property owner fought the eminent domain process.  Eminent domain always wins.  the people here vow to keep up the fight.  It was fascinating to watch.

The Top Ten countdown begins after Christmas with a little track action.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Top Ten: Moon Over Scranton

It was a chilly late May morning.  I was playing with my camera phone between live shots on a court case.

Partly cloudy skies and a full moon added up to what you see here.  It's shortly before daybreak, looking south, down North Washington Avenue, near the Lackawanna County Courthouse.

It wasn't the "super moon" we saw in November, but it was close.

A quiet city, with the full moon offering even more light to the silent streets below.

The roar of controversy fills this space tomorrow.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top Ten: Navy Plane

You stumble across a gem once in a while.

I was driving along Route 11 in Forty Fort the morning of September 6 when I spied this sitting at Wyoming Valley Airport.

A manager gave me permission to wander over to shoot it.  It gleamed in the late summer sun.

I wish I could tell you more.  There has to be a good story here, but I am woefully short on details.

Most of the time, when I'm out playing with my camera, I have specific targets in mind.  This one was serendipitous, and I'm glad I found it.

Things are looking up tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top Ten: Rock 107

This year's Top 10 begins with something different.  I checked the by laws.  It doesn't say anything about me taking or not taking the photo.

This is actually a frame from video shot by WNEP photographer Jason Wolf the morning of January 19.  Jason and I dropped by WEZX Rock 107 in downtown Scranton.  We wanted to hear what morning DJ "The Prospector" had to say about the passing of Eagles co founder Glenn Frey.

Looking back, I can't believe this was in January, and the year has really flown by.

I left radio in 1991, but I still love the medium and I still get a kick out of being in a radio studio.  Hanging with The Prospector is great fun, too.

Tomorrow:  in the air, and on the sea.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top Ten of 2016


A yearly blog tradition begins tomorrow.  It's my Top Ten Photos of 2016.

I usually stew over these endlessly, but I recently looked at the list I compiled, and it just fell in to place.

As always, these are not necessarily the best examples of photographic skill and composure, but they do mean a lot to me, and I thought they were deserving of another look.

As always, there will be a one day break for Christmas, and I'll add a word or two on the news of the day, if so inspired.

Thanks for being along for the ride.  The 8th annual Top Ten begins at midnight with a return to my roots.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Courthouse Lawn and a Rant

This is a very early morning scene of some of the decorations on the Lackawanna County Courthouse lawn.  This is the North Washington Avenue side, and that's the federal courthouse across the street.

Kudos for keeping them lit all night.  I wish the same was done with the Globe building a block away.  If you grew up in a bright and colorful downtown Scranton at Christmas, it's sad to see it so dark now.

White/clear lights has been the bulb of choice here for the last several years.  it's nice, but I'm old school.  Go multi color.  It adds warmth.

I usually go "photo heavy" toward the end of the year because things traditionally slow down in the news business at about this time.  We have a phrase at the office:  "Holiday Mode."  It reminds me of another mode the great Craig Ferguson often used on the CBS "Late Late Show."  Anyway, this doesn't appear to be a big Holiday Mode year.  There is a lot going on

Speaking of the "Late Late Show," do yourself a favor and check out James Corden's Christmas karaoke with Mariah Carey.  The editor deserves an Emmy.  Having said that, no one did a pre Christmas show like David Letterman.

I've been going through the archives.  This will be the 8th year for the "Top Ten" photo blog entries.  I know.  It seemed longer.  The countdown starts later this week.

It's now official.  The Electoral College has voted.  Donald Trump wins.  He is now officially the president-elect.  I'm a stickler for a lot of things.  This has nothing to do with politics or preference.  I never call someone a president-elect until after the Electoral College votes.  I've been writing stories that way since Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Stay warm.  We'll talk later.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Andy's Angles: Lackawanna County Courthouse

This is the tree near the front entrance to the Lackawanna County Courthouse in downtown Scranton.

There's not much to say.  The decorators did a great job, and the tree really lights up the plaza.  downtown really needs something like this.  since the majority of downtown retail dried up and went away, the area has been very dark.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Andy's Angles: A Little Christmas, and a Big Christmas

This tree in a pavilion, in a park, next to a senior citizens' high rise in Carbondale isn't massive.  It doesn't have to be.  It's the perfect touch to brighten up a heavily traveled corner.  Some new snow added to the atmosphere.

The big displays usually get most of the attention, but if you open your eyes and take a little time, you can find so many special things at this time of year.

Sorry for the schmaltz, but it's Christmas!


Marywood University held its annual Christmas tree lighting December 7th.  Another commitment kept me away, but I dropped by the other day to take a look, and take a few pictures.

Christmas spirit eludes me most years.  Dropping by my alma mater infuses some pleasantries, and I really missed it this year.

Back in my day, we used to decorate a tree outside, sing a few carols and be done with it.  The rotunda tree tradition began in 1982, which would have been half way through my senior year.  By then, I wasn't around campus much.  A big course load my first two years, plus taking courses every summer meant an easy senior year.  I didn't attend an indoor tree lighting until many years after I graduated.

I really do like how Marywood never lights the tree until after Thanksgiving.  On the other hand, once the tree is lit, it's a few days of finals and everyone heads for the exits.  There really isn't a lot of time to enjoy the sights.

The campus was deserted during my visit last week.  Finals had just ended.  Not a creature was stirring.  It reminded my of Christmas breaks during years past.  A bunch of us townies kept the radio station on the air until the dorm girls returned and the new semester began.  Now, they just flip a switch and walk away for a month.

Above is something that didn't happen during my time here.  The arch is decorated, including a nativity scene.  It's a really nice touch.  I cropped out the construction equipment on the right.    The scene adds to the campus, and it's almost like a gift to Marywood's Green Ridge neighborhood.


Friday, December 16, 2016

North Star

I'll be sneaking in some Christmas more photos here and there.  The end of the year is reserved for the Top Ten, and Christmas photos go stale after the first of the year.

This was one of the nicer scenes I spied this season.  It's the front steps of the former North Scranton Junior High School.  The building is now apartments run by Goodwill.

The star on the top is a north Scranton tradition.  The tree adds color to the front lawn.

Any time I see a school decorated for Christmas, even a former school, it reminds me of that wonderful feeling on the last day of class before Christmas break.  You slam the books, and you don't have to look at or think about that place for about two weeks.  The joys of being a kid at Christmas...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Snow Tree

I spied this one on my way to work during Monday morning's snow storm.

It's the Christmas tree in front of Volunteer Hose Company, along Dunmore Street in Throop.  The men and women of the hose company have been decorating a big tree for the last several years, and it's always a pleasant sight as you pass.  The new snow added to the look.  If this doesn't say "Christmas," I don't know what does!

The Top Ten photos of 2016 is coming up next week, so I thought I'd sneak in a Christmas photo or two before then.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Now Hiring!

The government puts out employment and unemployment numbers every month, and I always view them with a skeptical eyebrow.  Often, the numbers don't seem to jive with what I'm seeing out in the real world.

I'm recognized from time to time on my days off, and a lot of people attempt to strike up conversations.  I don't mind.  After all, I'm in your home several times a week.  If I'm not in a hurry, feel free to chat away.

A couple of months ago, in a big box store, an employee was lamenting that management was cheaping out and not hiring enough help.  Even more troublesome was the fact that the people who were applying had no interest in working overnights.  As someone who's done it for a long, long time, it's not that bad.

Fast forward to another big box store in the same chain.  It happened the other morning.  There was a trainee behind the register.

Let me back up a moment.  I'm convinced most employee problems are really management problems, especially in retail.  If you have a bad experience in a store, chances are, it's because the employee was poorly trained, or there aren't enough employees on the floor.  I will admit that you do occasionally encounter simple incompetence and bad attitudes.

Okay, back to the other morning.

I wheeled my cart up to the register.  A young woman trainee was on the other side.  There wasn't much.  I put a few odds and ends on the belt, and left two cases of water in the cart.  I asked the trainee if she wanted me to put my cases of water on the belt, or if she'd prefer scanning them with a little handheld scanning gun.  She said I should leave the water cases in the cart.  Okay.  No problem.

As all of this was happening, the woman's boss was parked right over her shoulder.  I could tell he was a boss because he had a different colored smock.  He couldn't get any closer, and I had the feeling he was making her really nervous.  I should add this woman was a stunner, but that really has nothing to do with the story.

It was time to finish the transaction, and she told me the amount.  It was very low.  I then pointed to the water cases in the cart, which she had forgotten to scan.  Oops.  The water was scanned, I paid, and I was on my way.  For a flash, I thought about just leaving without paying for the water.  The boss didn't notice it, either.  It would have saved the trainee from embarrassment in front of the boss, and I'm sure she heard about her negligence to double check the cart after I left.

However, I'm an honest chap and just couldn't do it.

I did feel sorry for the young lady.  It was a rough night.  I watched her struggle with the man in line before me.  She couldn't get his package of hamburger buns to scan properly.

There are two other short stories for you...

One deals with a chain of mini marts.  Let's call them "Fowl Mountain."  It happens at more than one store, and it happens on a regular basis.  I'm there at odd times, frequently when the store isn't busy.  It's not uncommon to encounter workers on smoke breaks.  No problems.  If it's not busy, sneaking outside to light up is no big deal.  Unfortunately and unfailingly, they smoke directly in front of the entrance, so I have to wade through a stinky cloud to get inside.  It's disgusting.  I know they have to keep an eye on the store, but smoke somewhere else, or quit smoking.

And finally, I've been keeping you updated on the morning newspaper that has problems getting its papers out on the street in a timely basis.  It was awful for a long time.  It improved.  I don't know if my letter to management had anything to do with it.  It's back to awful.  Stores get their copies late.  There are fewer racks (machines/boxes) on the streets, and they are rarely filled.  One yesterday still had a Sunday paper from two weeks ago in the window.  It's sad.  When the place goes "internet only" or out of business, I'll be the first to say "I told you so."


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

First Person: Snow

Like most things in the news business, it started with a phone call.  Actually, it was a text.  It came from the boss just before I finished Newswatch 16 Sunday Morning.  He asked if I wanted a hotel room Sunday night/Monday morning so I wouldn't have to worry about driving to work.  I declined.  I don't live far from the office.  I have all wheel drive and new tires.  Driving was a breeze.  I took my time and even stopped at an all night drug store because they had soda on sale.

I should back up a bit.  When Noreen Clark had snow and ice, especially ice, in the forecast, I knew I'd be along a road somewhere.
I got to work at my usual time, and conferred with producer Kim, who had earlier conferred with Tom Clark.  The subject was areas that would get the worst of the storm.  We settled on Tunkhannock, and we really got lucky with that one.
Tunkhannock didn't get snowed in or crippled with ice, but the pictures were outstanding.  A small town Christmas.  I don't get gushy over a lot of things, but it was really beautiful, and the snow added to the images.

We did five live reports during Newswatch 16 This Morning, and sent some video back for use during the Good Morning America updates.

We sort of shift gears after the news end.  It's always a start of pictures and current conditions, and a transition into people's stories for later broadcasts.  We found some good ones, and it was a trip back to the office for writing and editing.

Tunkhannock, you have a pretty town.  Thank you for the hospitality.  Glad we all made it through the snow OK.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Christmas Letter

The Christmas season is all about tradition, and one of the traditions here deals with something I call "The Christmas Letter."

There are some people who include a family newsletter with their Christmas cards.  Many dread the receipt, and even make fun of it.  I don't.  I'm not a heavy Facebook user and there are actually some people I care enough about to want to learn what their year was like.

I'm guaranteed to receive one Christmas newsletter a year.  It's from my college friend, Sue.  As I've blogged here in the past, one of my major regrets in life was avoiding this woman for the first three and a half of my college years.  My initial impression was that she was "too nice" and we had nothing in common.  I got to know her at the very end, and discovered she was one of the coolest women on campus.  I was flattered when she asked me to work on her senior project.

My problem isn't with her letter.  It's with my response.  I just don't measure up.  She and the husband have great jobs, great kids, great families, great vacations...

Here is the first draft of my return letter to her.

Dear Sue:

As always, it was great to hear from you and it tickles me to no end that you and the family are doing so well.

Last winter was great here, with above normal temperatures and below normal snow.  I was riding my bike up until the week before Christmas.  This winter looks to be a 180 degree opposite, but it's just beginning and there's still plenty of time to turn it around.  I have a haunting feeling, however, that the underused puffy coat I purchased last winter will see a real workout this year.  I'm not thrilled with the look, but it's so light and very warm.

It's been a good year...  still working at WNEP, still visiting the gym two or three mornings a week, still riding my bike, still playing with my camera, still blogging.  At management's suggestion, there is now a Facebook page, @AndyPalumboWNEP.  I still tweet:  @AndyPalumbo_.  Looking for a better Twitter handle.

Work is still fun.  I still enjoy getting up in the morning, or late at night, and learning something I didn't know the day before.  The presidential election kept be busy and fascinated.  Plenty of candidates and their surrogates made stops here in our area.

I won Blog of the Year at a blogging conference for the second straight year.  I'll likely take myself out of the running in 2017.  While it's an honor, it's someone else's turn.

I've resisted the temptation to get back on SnapChat and Instagram.  I have enough to feed and maintain as it is.

Highlights include paying off my car loan and finding a disposable pen I really like-- the Uni Ball with the "ultra micro" point.  If that isn't enough, the Atomic Beam flashlight is one of the best inventions ever, and I converted most of my lighting over to led's.

Last winter was dry and mild.  I don't think we'll be as lucky this year.  Summer was warmer than normal.  I didn't like that.  I think I wore long underwear only twice last year.  I constantly have it at the ready.

I installed the Uber app on my phone and I have yet to use it.  The same with Pango.

I gave a station tour to a college student, which apparently inspired her to change her broadcasting major to something else.  I'm still amazed that alleged professors don't warn kids that it's a 24/7 job and you will be working nights, overnights, and holidays.  They're so out of touch.  Well, it's best to learn that TV isn't for you too early rather than too late.

I did make a few trips back to the alma mater.  One was to meet the new president, who attempted to teach me French way back in our freshman year.  She is a good person who faces an enormous challenge.  I've tried real;y hard to like the new library, but I'm not there yet.  My initial assessment remains-- wrong look in wrong location.  It splits the campus in half and is inappropriate to the site.  It's disappointing that the radio operation is buried deep underground, rather than being a visible and vital part of the college community.

Well, Sue...  that's the best and the worst of 2016.  I hope you and the family have a great holiday season and an even better 2017.

Your Pennsylvania friend,

Andy

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Andy's Angles: Jimmie

This is another one of Nathan's play date buddies, Jimmie.

Like Nathan, Jimmie is a rescue cat, although they came from different locations.

Jimmie doesn't go out, but he's still wearing a winter coat.  Furriest critter I've ever seen.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Andy's Angles: Waymart

I found myself on snow duty Monday morning.

As snows go, this wasn't a bad one, more of a nuisance than anything else.

Heavy, wet, slushy...  You scraped more than shoveled.  A plow pass, a little salt, and roads were clear.

The snow does have its positive aspects.  I love small town parks, like Wayside Park in Waymart.  It's so Mayberry.  You can imagine Andy and Opie strolling through.  It was a nice winter scene, and I hope it provides you a little serenity during one of the potentially hectic days leading up to Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Scrapple, Sports, and Broadcasting

Hosting the Academy Awards has to be the toughest job in all of show business.  Jimmy Kimmel will do a good job.

The Indiana Carrier deal is far from perfect, but I learned a long time ago that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.

I actually heard a network news anchor talk about Carrier jobs moving "overseas" to Mexico.  Really?  What sea?

I'm not a Penn State fan, but the Nittany Lions did win the Big 10 Conference, and they did beat Ohio State.  A case can be made for putting Penn State in the four team playoff.

Why to some at Penn State feel the need to destroy things?

Post Its and Sharpies have made my life manageable.

Verne Lundquist is calling his last college football game tomorrow, Army/Navy.  Verne got it.  He never made himself bigger than the game.  Great voice.  Great delivery.  He will be missed.

By the way, it's always a treat to catch a Keith Jackson announced game on ESPN Classic.

Brent Musberger calls the January 2 Sugar Bowl on ESPN.  I don't watch much TV sports these days, but it's really nice to see one of the greats get a top assignment.

The CBS Evening News is now sharing a studio with the network's morning broadcast.  I like it.  Light, airy, brick, wood.  Yes, there is some plexiglass, but it's not as overwhelming as the other networks-- broadcast and cable.

I grew up in a Cronkite household, so I've always kept an eye, pardon the pun, on what CBS is doing.  The New York Post reported CBS is looking to move Scott Pelley off the Evening News.  Yes, he's slow placed, but solid.  Good content.  The Post says CBS wants someone with a faster pace.

Time magazine chose Donald Trump as its Person of the Year.  Was there any other choice?  It took editors about three seconds to decide on that one.

John Glenn:   American hero.  When he orbited the earth, there was no guarantee he was coming back.  That's brave.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Fives

I say it here most years.  I could never figure out why D-Day isn't a bigger deal in this country.  It was an amazing military operation.  Everyone who went in to it did it with the knowledge there was a very strong chance they weren't coming back.

Maybe it was big in the years immediately following the event.  I don't know.  Contrary to popular belief, I wasn't there.

The same goes for Pearl Harbor.  Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Hawaii.

D-Day and Pearl Harbor have become what I call "5" holidays.  We usually sit up and take notice only when the anniversary is divisible by 5.

Pearl Harbor will get a passing mention, at best, in the years to come, until we hit the 80th anniversary in 2021.  There might be an exception.  There are still a few survivors left.  Pearl Harbor might get a significant notice again when that last survivor leaves us.

What I'm saying is...  the people who were at Pearl Harbor and Normandy, including those who are no longer with us, deserve more.  Equally as important...  our kids need a yearly strong reminder of the meanings of service and sacrifice.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I Smelled It

It was in the air.

It was the unmistakable aroma of snow anxiety.

Let me back up a moment.  I had a few moments to kill, so I blew through one of the malls.  I really didn't need anything, but I can't resist a shirt and tie sale, so I had to check out one of the department stores.  Miracle of miracles, I walked out empty handed.  Those who check my Facebook page, @AndyPalumboWNEP, (words I never thought I'd say) know I've been trying to add a little variety to the dress shirt area of my closet.  The store had some really nice things, and lot prices, but a little too wild for me.

Here's where it got really interesting.  I had to stop by two supermarkets.  Keep in mind, I'm not one of those people who will drive ten miles out of my way to save a nickel on a pound of butter, but one store had a special on a few things I needed.  The other has really good take out dinners.  Luckily, they are fairly close.

Both stores were more crowded than usual.  Of course, Tuesday Senior Citizens Day had something to do with it.  The other part of the equation is snow in the forecast.  It's not a crippling storm.  The snow looks just enough to be a nuisance, and just enough to crowd the aisles and parking lots a little more

I'm one of those people who believes the media reflects trends, not influences them.  I don't know how this whole "snow storm anxiety" thing started.  I will admit that I do fall victim to it, on occasion.  This wasn't one of those times.  I got what I needed, at both stores, and blew through the express check outs.  Two for two.  I should have played the lottery.

I got home.  Unpacked my stuff.  Exhaled.  And I'll watch the snow fall.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Media Notes

A wile back, I praised the radio show "Overnight America."  Well, it's been canceled and goes off the air at the end of the year.

I've been a huge Craig Ferguson fan since his days on "The Drew Carey Show."  His "Late Late Show" on CBS was so refreshingly different.  Ferguson went on to hist "Celebrity Name Game."  It was announced last week that the show will not be back for a fourth season.  Pity.  Ferguson took game shows to a new level, as he did with late night talk.

To the radio stations that have gone all Christmas music, I'll be back next year.

There is a lot of speculation as to what President Donald Trump's FCC will do to the industry.  Speculation says the FCC will lift ownership caps, allowing big companies to get even bigger.  The ban on newspapers owning radio and TV stations in the same city could go as well.  Not sure how I feel about the former.  The latter seems like a good idea.  At one time, the cross ownership ban made sense.  Not any more.

The NFL is said to re-thinking Thursday Night Football.  Other than the NFL Network, will anyone cry if it goes away?

Why can't so many on cable television news get their heads around the fact that their candidate didn't win the election?

Don Calfa died December 1.  You might not know the name, but you'd know the face.  He played various scoundrels and ne'er do well's during the run of "Barney Miller."  Always funny.  76.

Kelsey Grammer has shut the door on a "Frasier" reunion show.  Good!  Those shows always come up short.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Big Bite

My alma mater, Marywood, recently announced a series of program cuts, shifts,  layoffs, and adjustments.  We all knew it was coming.  An asset study was started about a year ago.  I attended a question and answer session with the incoming president back in the spring.  She warned of some difficult times ahead.

My only surprise was the cuts weren't deeper.

I've seen and read a lot about the restructuring.  I'm wondering about the size of Marywood's financial issues.  As a former boss was fond of saying, "We're not asking the right questions."

Just follow the money.  Transparency was never one of Marywood's strong points, but even a sleepy school on a hill, run by the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is a business.

There's a saying in the business world:  "If it don't pay, it don't stay."

I've seen it happen many, many, many times.  Colleges are not immune, and it's clear Marywood made several missteps over the years.  As I've said here before, if the university wants some suggestions on where to find the dead wood, give me a call.

Jim Delligati died last week.  98.  He invented the Big Mac for McDonalds.  His creation paid.  Over and over again.

It's funny.  I was out very early Black Friday morning.  I wasn't shopping.  The car needed gas, and I felt like grabbing an out of town newspaper at 3 AM.  There was a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving food at home, but I wasnh't in the mood for unwrapping and reheating, so I stopped in to an all night McDonalds.  This was a store where you could go inside during the overnight shift.  You weren't limited to the drive-thru.  My choice was a Big Mac and fries.  Because it was close to breakfast switch over time, my sandwich and fries were made to order.  I dined inside, rather than in my car.

The Big Mac was hot and fresh, but McDonald's seems to have lost its way with this one.  Under beefed.  Over sauced.  Perhaps it should be renamed Big Bun.

For some odd reason, the staff didn't salt my fries, and that's a good thing.  I think they over salt.  I was given a few packets, without asking, and it really made a difference.

Big Mac remains one of America's signature sandwiches.  It's a classic.  It can be done better.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Andy's Angles: First Look

One of the many reasons I love my job...

You get to see things before anyone else.  While people were freezing out on the sidewalk, I had a chance to go inside the student union building at Lackawanna College and see the set up for the November 7 Donald Trump rally.

The set up people, who have done this dozens of times in recent months, were fascinating to watch.  Such efficiency.  They had it down to a science.

Empty building, but still impressive.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Andy's Angles: Election Leftovers

"Mass" media events, like political rallies can be difficult.  There can be parking issues, space issues, running endless lengths of cables, deadlines, etc...

They can also be great fun.

This photo was taken outside Lackawanna College's student union building the morning of the November 7 Donald Trump rally.  We got there early and got a close parking space that reduced, a little, the amount of cable we had to string to the inside of the building.

We parked near NBC.  The satellite truck operator was a great guy, filled with stories about covering the campaign, covering overseas conflicts, living and working in New York.

It's another part of the "mass event" fun.  You see some old friends, who are now working in other cities.  You also get to swap war stories with new ones.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Scrapple

I mean no disrespect to the late Florence Henderson, but I really hated "The Brady Bunch."  When I come across it now, my hand can't grab the remote fast enough.  Apology for being unAmerican.

I went in to exactly one store Black Friday.  It was a 3:15 AM mini mart visit, and I even scored a free 12 ounce soda.

Thanksgiving morning is usually devoted to a photographic expedition, but I was rained out.  I did snap off a few shots on the way home from the gym, before the rain started.  You might seem them here in the days to come.

It might be winter, but I still love my peach iced tea.

CNN reran the 60's and 70's documentaries over the holiday weekend.  Outstanding stuff!

My dollar store "lighthouse" calendar is almost finished.  It will soon to be replaced by a dollar store "cat and kitten" calendar.

I'm waist deep in catalogs.

I'm not a Thanksgiving parade aficionado, and they look the same to me every year.

One of the happier things you can receive in the mail:  the notice that you've made your last car payment.

Grant Tinker died the other day.  90.  Take a look at the shows his company produced.  It's an amazing list.  Comedy.  Drama.  All quality stuff.

I caught some of the Steelers game replay on the NFL Network.  Who thought the Steelers were a Super Bowl contender?  No discipline.  No defense.  At this point, it looks like New England and Dallas in Houston February 5.  Watch the Raiders.  Maybe Seahawks.  Dark horses.

Ron Glass, who played Sgt. Ron Harris on Barney Miller died over the weekend.  71.  A great character on a great show.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

About the Cover

Every year, the December blog header presents the greatest challenge.  I want to do something Christmassy, but the major decorating still hasn't happened.  I'm not complaining.  If I had my way, you wouldn't see a Christmas decoration until December 10th.

I got lucky this year.  There was a pretty scene in a small park at Electric St. and North Washington Ave. in Scranton.  It's not a big park.  It's not a big tree, but it's a lovely scene in a very nice neighborhood in the city's Green Ridge section.

The photo was taken in the middle of the night, when I was the only creature stirring.

Enjoy your Christmas month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Higher

You really have to wonder what's going on in higher education.

First of all, some schools brought in counselors and cancelled classes because professors and students weren't happy with the outcome of the presidential election.  Students walked out of class, and professors appeared to condone the action.

Then, there is West Chester University.  It's developing a course in media literacy, with the goal of teaching students how to spot fake news stories and media bias.

Really?

If students had a solid foundation in politics, history, geography, english, literature and civics-- beginning in elementary school, there would be no need for that media literacy course.  If you're in college, and you still need help in spotting a fake news story, you're in a lot of trouble.

And there's more.  I've seen schools bring in dogs for the students to cuddle as a way to reduce exam taking related stress.  Want an easy way to reduce stress?  Study.  Study hard.  You walk into that exam room with confidence, and you can't wait to crack into that blue book.

A little advice-- turn off social media.  Read a book.  Learn about your world.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

90 Miles

I've always had mixed feelings about Cuba.

For 50 years, it was led by a brutal dictator.  Fidel Castro nearly triggered a nuclear war.  His citizens were willing to risk their lives to sail the 90 miles to freedom in the United States.

On the other hand, the missile crisis was a long time ago, and we are cooperative with other terrible regimes.

You can make solid arguments on both sides of the friends/enemies debate.

Fidel Castro is gone.  Raul Castro still runs the country.  You have to wonder if he'll make changes now that big brother isn't looking over his shoulder.  Plus, Raul is no kid.  It's possible his successor will moderate things a bit, but you never really know.

Fidel Castro's death was announced on my watch, early Saturday morning.  Being in a newsroom when something big breaks is always fascinating.  Closed circuit alarms with the networks start going off.  Email and social media begin to pop.  There was an upcoming broadcast to rip apart and reassemble with the latest information.  To say the least, this was not your usual Thanksgiving weekend.

Speaking of the holiday, I hope you and your family had a good one.  Thank you for all the nice comments over on Facebook.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Scrapple

Last winter spoiled me.  It hurt to put my bike away for the season, and the Saturday night snow last week was depressing.

I know their relationship was occasionally strained, but it's a joy to watch Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon work together.

Holiday food items are rarely on my list, but it's fun to wander around the supermarket at this time of year.

You get into the most bizarre conversations at work.  last week's major topic was Snoopy's siblings.  I knew he had a few.  I didn't realize he was part of a big litter.

The recent of rash of teachers of having sex with students is disturbing, to say the least.  Can someone come up with a solid way to prevent it?  Tougher penalties?

Efforts to toughen Pennsylvania's animal abuse laws have stalled in the state legislature.  In Harrisburg, if it doesn't deal with beer, it doesn't happen.

Bad Santa 2 is getting some bad reviews, and I'm troubled.  I really looked forward to that one.

Why do smoke alarms always begin their "low battery" chirp in the middle of the night?

It was strange to see the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Santa parades take place in shirt sleeve weather.

Favorite Thanksgiving dish:  stuffing.

I always laugh when i read of hear that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year.  Far from it.  It's just lazy reporting by people who didn't do their research.

The NY Post reports ABC News is exploring adding a 24 hour digital news channel.  Good move.  I was disappointed it gave up on ABC News Now several years ago.  The CBS news channel, CBSN, is actually very good.  CBS apparently invested heavily in it.

The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will wear home uniforms with reflective patches and logos this season, their 10th anniversary.  I've seen still photos, and I'm greatly looking forward to seeing the uniforms in action this season.

I understand the economic reasons Maryland and Rutgers are in the Big 10 conference, but competitively, they don't have much business being there.  I always thought it would be more fun if Penn State was in the ACC.

Kudos to the NBC Sports Radio Network.  It had live shows Thanksgiving and the day after, while the others gave you "best of" broadcasts.  In sports talk and news talk radio, there are few things worse than "best of."  There's a lot of talent out there.  Give them a shot at the holidays.

This could be a "double scrapple" week.

I topped 1,000 Facebook likes November 20.  It mostly to the promotion by Joe Snedeker and Mindi Ramsey.  Thank you, all.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Andy's Angles: More Snow

When I'm out reporting in it, I usually refer to this as "sticky snow."  It's that heavy, wet snow that clings to everything.

There is a major down side.  The snow weighs down trees and power lines.  Hundreds of homes and businesses in our area were in the dark during Sunday morning's storm.

Now that it's over, you can look at the beautiful side.  This is another Sunday morning photo from the WNEP parking lot in Moosic.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Andy's Angles: Snow Scene

I've worked in nondescript buildings along interstate highways.  I've worked downtowns.

Working along an interstate interchange had its advantages.  The biggest was ease in getting anywhere-- fast.

Downtowns are nice with ready access to government offices, banks and shopping.  Parking, however, was a bear.

I have it pretty good at WNEP.  Plenty of free parking, close to the interstate, and a nice atmosphere.

I took this photo early Sunday morning, as a tree near the employee entrance was covered in fresh snow.

It was a scene even a winter hater could appreciate.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

If I have a "least favorite" day, this is it.  Black Friday.  It's a day dedicated to crowds and excess.

Having laid that foundation, I do realize money is tight.  Standing in line and fighting crowds could be the only avenue to affording items on the gift lists of friends and family.

There were some positive signs this year.  Several stores decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving.  I like that.  You can do without the mall for a day.  There were a few smaller stories, drug stores and mini marts around for last minute emergencies.

It also gives retail workers a little time off.  Underpaid.  Overworked.  However, you do have to understand that when you take a job in retail, working holidays is part of the package.

Be careful, and be patient if you'll be out today.  I plan on sticking close to home.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you and your family have an absolutely perfect Thanksgiving.

Usually, in this space, I say something like "We all have something for which to be thankful."

Well, I know too many people who have had simply awful years, and I will be thinking of them today.  I pray they find something that brings a little happiness, a little warmth, maybe a smile.

Me?  No major plans.  If the weather cooperates, I'll do my usual thing of playing with my camera in the morning, dinner in the afternoon.  Maybe some TV football.  This is also the time of the year when I start pondering the Top Ten photos of 2016.  A lot of that preliminary work has already been done.  I'll take another look at my files, jot some notes, think of order and placement.

I had a chance to do a nice and positive story Tuesday. If you didn't catch it on Newswatch 16, please take a look.



No big issues here today.  Enjoy the day.  We'll talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

First Snow

I'm not really a snow fan.  A lot of it comes from driving in it.  Timing was on my side Saturday night.  I drove to work just after the change over from rain and sleet.  By the time I drove home, the snow had stopped and the temperature crept back above freezing.

I took this picture in WNEP's parking lot early Sunday morning.  In spring, summer, and fall, this is a perfectly lovely tree.  It took on a tilt under the weight of the heavy wet snow.  It reminded me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, minus the lights and ornaments-- appropriate at this time of year.

I captured a couple of other snowy shots Sunday, and I hope to share them this weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Snow Danger




It's been a pet peeve of mine for some time.

The law says you have to clear your car of snow and ice before you get on the road. Somehow, trucks have been allowed to skate for years. We've seen cases of snow and ice chunks blowing off and causing damage to vehicles behind. There was even a fatality here in our area a few years back.

I'm pragmatic. Shoveling the top of a huge trailer must be a bear, but what is the cost of safety? What is the cost of a human life?

Can someone invent a drive under scraper?  A heater?  I wonder how other states handle it.

The truck you see above scattered snow for several miles, and there is still a big pile on the top, waiting to blow off and land in someone's path-- or in their windshield.

Winter is just beginning. I know there have been efforts in the state legislature to correct the practice.

Below is a PennLive.com story from last year.




By Christian Alexandersen | calexandersen@pennlive.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 26, 2015 at 8:45 AM, updated February 26, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Don't feel like cleaning off the snow and ice from your car? That would end up in fine if one Pennsylvania senator gets her way.

Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh County, has reintroduced a bill that would require drivers to make "all reasonable efforts" to remove all ice or snow from their vehicles. Drivers would face fines of between $25 and $75 for not clearing off snow from their vehicles, including the roof, hood and trunk.

Currently, drivers can only be fined when dislodged snow or ice falls from their vehicles and causes death or serious bodily injury. Boscola also upped the maximum fines for when those incidents occur from $1,000 to $1,500 in the new bill.

Recently, Boscola reintroduced a similar bill that would fine truck drivers for not clearing the snow and ice from their rigs.
"Many times while driving on our roadways, we have all been the victim of falling snow and ice coming from vehicles in front of us," Boscola said in a memo about her bill. "This is not only extremely dangerous, but can lead to injuries and fatalities."

Boscola has said that she first proposed the bills after one of her constituents was killed in 2005 when an "ice missile" fell off a tractor-trailer and struck her vehicle.

Both bills have been sent to the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee for review. Previously, the bills have died in the same committee.


It seems like we do a good job of making beer available everywhere, but saving a life is another story.
























Monday, November 21, 2016

10

I was there at the beginning.

The casino at Mohegan Sun Pocono celebrated its 10th anniversary back on November 14th.

I remember standing in a chilly drizzle, with thousands of other people, as Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll's grand opening remarks went on way too long.  I was working.  The others were waiting to gamble.

There have been several visits over the years.  Some for stories.   Some has been to spend a few dollars and do a little people watching.  My visits are usually the same-- a few dollars in a slot machine.  I cash out when I break even or come close enough.  I've never won big.  I've never participated in the table games.  They intimidate me.

The casino is a fascinating place.  Management seems to have it running like a well oiled machine.  there is always someone watching you, either in person or on camera.

Our friends at the Times~Tribune did a good story on the casino's impact on the Plains Township area.  Some whined.  Some said it's a good thing.   Some people quoted had credibility.  Others did not.

The casino has succeeded in making itself an island.  Food, entertainment, hotel, a little shopping.  Other than gasoline, there's not much reason to venture off property.  Who didn't see that coming?

Those who complain about the competition likely need to up their games a bit.

The casino does have some advantages.  Scale.  Legally getting away with smoking because the general assembly didn't have the onions to ban it.  I'm really surprised Mohegan Sun and the other Pennsylvania casinos didn't go for those pricey 24 hour liquor licenses.  Perhaps it is waiting for the cost to come down.

So, would I give Pennsylvania gambling a Siskel & Eber-esque thumbs up or thumbs down?  Hard one to decide.  A Newswatch 16 Investigation by my friend Matt Petrillo showed casino tax money really doesn't go where intended.  The smoking thing bothers me.  I wish Mohegan Sun had more overnight and early morning food options.

My thumb points sideways.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Andy's Angles: The Other Side

This is the view looking downstream from the view I showed you here yesterday.

As I have pointed out here before, there is beauty, even on a blustery, grey day.  The red barns in the distance really pop, and I love the tree reflection in the quiet stream.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Andy's Angles: Country Stream

This reminds me of New England, maybe from the opening title sequence of
Newhart."

It's actually in the Varden area of Wayne County. just off the Easton Turnpike.

I first saw this stream when I was covering a fire in the area several months ago, and I vowed to get back with my good camera.  Unfortunately, I found the time on a bleak day, and after the leaves had peaked.

As I snapped away, I expected the stream to be the focal point of the photo.  When I examined the photos in my computer, my eye was drawn to the barn and the brightly colored leaves on the left.

I anticipate being back on an icy morning.