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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Andy's Angles: Stadium

I'm fuzzy on the years, but for a lot of my early time at Mid Valley, the football team played at Valley View's stadium.  The district had nothing of its own (great planning), and Valley View offered a nice facility.

After Valley View, the team played at some park in Jessup and then Fern Hill in Olyphant.  At the latter stop, the home locker room was a fire house.  Visitors used their bus.  It was a horrible and embarrassing situation.  No wonder it took so long for athletics to get off the ground.

The team eventually moved in to a stadium behind the school complex in Throop.  Still no championship, but a much better atmosphere.

I haven't been to a high school game, any high school game, since I stopped covering them in the mid 90's.  I keep sayint hat will change during my fall vacations.  One of these years...


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Andy's Angles: Beer Me

I had been this building a few times over the years, but I never appreciated its history.

Luzerne County used to store its voting machines in this building along Water Street in Wilkes-Barre.  Any time there was a re-canvass, we'd all schlep over here as workers opened up the backs of those big old lever machines, and looked at the numbers once again.

This used to be the Reichard & Weaver bottling house.  A check of www.oldbreweries.com  shows Reichard & Weaver were in business for only four years, back in the 1890's, but Reichard was involved in other breweries around here for a long time.

I hope the new computerized machines are in a climate controlled environment.  The bottling house is still used for storage.  This is the view inside a first floor side window-- deed books stacked up.

For a very old building, this one seems neglected, but in decent shape.  There's a lot of history here, and I wonder if anyone appreciates its value.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Vacation

Sleeping Homer means only one thing on this blog.  I'm on vacation!

I hope it's better than the week I had off in April.  I came down with the nastiest of colds, and I spent much of my time off in bed.  At least, I didn't have to burn off sick days to recover.

Plans?  None.  Sleep.  Gym.  Bike.  Photography.  Maybe KMart if I'm up to it.  I've gotten to the stage where I really enjoy doing nothing.

While I'm no social butterfly, there are a few open invitations I've left hanging for quite a while.  I can be a better friend.  I admit that.  It's possible I'll get to some this week.  Don't bet on it.  By the time I get out of the "sleep during the day and work all night" body clock mode, it will be time to come back to work.  I don't anticipate any radical changes this week.

Stacy Lange is kind enough to fill in for me this weekend.  The weekend morning broadcasts are in great hands.

I'll see you soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday Scrapple

Even though I'm on vacation, I'd be okay with a 60 degree rainy day.

I had a Big Mac the other day, the first one in several months.  It wasn't as big as I'd remembered.

It's nice to be a battleground state again.

I know John Hinckley has paid his debt to society.  The experts say he is neither a danger to himself nor others.  Still, I'm not comfortable someone who tried to kill a president is out on the streets.

Unbelievable amount of storm damage Monday afternoon, and a certain city around here can't even sweep the debris off the streets.

Is there anything as sad and as moving as a law enforcement funeral?  Unfortunately, we've seen a lot lately.

My razor/and shaving blog entries kicked off a lot of comments.  It seems most people hate it as much as I do.  Scratchy beards are even worse.  Yet, I grow a scruffy beard on just about every vacation.

My school experiences also generate a lot of interest.  I didn't like school, but I did like to learn (still do).  There's a big difference.

I actually ventured in to a shopping mall yesterday, something I rarely do around back to school time.  It wasn't that bad.

The Democrats and Republicans did a nice job of designing their convention sets and podiums.  However, the DNC basket weave background isn't really working.

I thought I would have to go to the hospital after this morning's moonlight bicycle ride:  skunk inhalation.  It's been an exceptionally strong summer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Where Were You...


...When the Storm Hit?

I was in my bedroom, checking some news sites on my iPad.  The lights flickered.  All power went out for a few seconds, and this was before the storm really roared in to my neighborhood.

It was then a trip downstairs to the kitchen, to make sure all the windows were closed and everything was tied down.  It got dark and windy.  Heavy fain followed.   I could barely see to the end of the property line.

Hail came next.  It was the size of marbles, the largest I've seen in quite a while.  Usually, hail comes and goes rather quickly.  This episode seemed to last for a while.  I was sure there would be home window and car damage.  Much to my surprise, all my property came through the episode unscathed.

I live on a hill, so it drains rather well.  From what I saw on the news, others areas were not as lucky.  Inches of rain in minutes.  It was more than the ground and storm sewers could handle.  There was flooding and a lot of it.  I saw deep water in areas that rarely flood.

My Tuesday morning ride to work showed some of the damage.  The water had receded, but you could see leaves and branches all over the place.  There is a big clean up ahead.

I consider myself lucky.  Others were not as fortunate.  I'll be very happy when the heat wave ends and things are back to normal.





Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Razor's Edge

A few people have commented on a recent blog post about my razor situation.  To make a long story short, I wrote that I have a horrible habit of using a razor blade cartridge one day too many.  I leave home bleeding and irritated.

There have been suggestions I go with one of those internet/mail order businesses that ship you inexpensive cartridges on a regular basis.

I tried two:  Harry's and Pace.  Both were okay.  Not great.  I've found that they don't last as long as the big name brands.  So, there's a choice.  Use the cheaper blades and get fewer shaves, or stay with Schick and Gillette.  Pay more and have them last longer.

After trying them all, I'll keep using the more expensive blades.  They simply do a better job.

By the way, Unilever just bought Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion.  Yes, ONE BILLION DOLLARS.  They have to be doing something right.  From what I've read, Unilever needs help building customer loyalty, and Dollar Shave Club is apparently very good at that.

See you at the drug store, stocking up on blades and lotion to soothe my wounds.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tappan Zee

There was a crane accident last week on the Tappan Zee bridge.  It spans the Hudson River between Rockland County and Westchester County in New York.

It brought back awful memories.

As a kid, I was on the Tappan Zee all the time.  My mom's family had relatives in Bridgeport, CT.  The interstate highway system wasn't complete, so you had to take the Tappan Zee to get there.  It was three miles of terror.  I'd keep my eyes closed for the entire journey across the Hudson.

I don't have many phobias.  Long bridges over big water is one of them.  It's not paralyzing.  I've driven many Hudson crossings over the years.  I've been on those big bridges in Baltimore and Annapolis.   I'll do it, but I don't like it.

While I liked my Aunt Mary and Uncle Al, the trip to get there was always taxing.  In retrospect, it didn't take all that long to get there, but it always seems longer when you're a kid trapped in a car.  On top of that, Bridgeport was not a pretty place.  It wasn't a safe place.  I can still remember walking up all those steps in their Pembroke Street apartment building.  Grey paint.  Park in the back.

I read why the Tappan Zee was built at one of the widest points of the Hudson.  Governor Dewey wanted it far enough away from New York City so the state would keep all the tolls, not the Port Authority.  Thank you, Governor Dewey.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

School

This school opened a couple of years after I graduated.  It's about 35 years old, but people around here still refer to it as the "new school."

As has been noted here many times in the past, I attended class in horrible, old buildings.  A couple were even condemned by the state-- while they were in use!

Looking back, there were plusses.  There was no high school cafeteria.  We were allowed to wander about at lunch time.  That changed when what you see above was built.  I probably would have gone nuts being locked up for six hours a day.  I need air.

Design?  It looks to be a nondescript brick box.  In all fairness, it's what's inside that counts, and I've never been past the lobby here.  You don't have to be in a Taj Mahal to learn, and I think I proved that back in the decrepit old buildings I was sent to.  However, being comfortable and decent facilities does have its advantages.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Andy's Angles: Prison

Luzerne County, good luck handling this one.

Above is the Luzerne County jail, along Water Street in Wilkes-Barre.  An inmate and a guard died in what's described as a freak accident Monday evening.  They hit an elevator door during a fight.  It opened.  They plunged five floors to their deaths, and the same thing nearly happened to a second corrections officer.

It's triggered a new round of debate over building a new jail.  The one you see above, even though it has a relatively new tower, is more than 100 years old.  Yes, there have been renovations.  When you total up all the recent problems, it appears to be a series of Band Aids on a festering wound.

Off the record, corrections officers have said, in published reports, that the jail features unsafe and inefficient designs.  The new county manager wants to build a new one.

Here comes the tough part.  How do you pay for it?

A full report on the deadly fall still isn't in.  It could be staffing issues and just bad luck played a bigger role than design.

But, if fingers are pointed toward a severely flawed and badly outdated building, how can you not pony up the money to pay for a new building?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cycling Through

This is part bicycling, part life lessons blog entry.

My usual bike route takes me past the homes of two former teachers.  They were among my favorites.  It's an exceptionally short list.

It's the strange thing about the system.   In high school, you spend 45 minutes with a teacher, once a day, five times a week (maybe), for about eight months a year.  By the time you get to know them, it's time to move on to the next grade, or in the cases of the two I mentioned, graduate.

I think of them often, things they used to say, their way of doing things-- and not just when I pedal by their former homes.  Both passed a long time ago.  I sent notes to the families whey they left us.  Those two touched a lot of lives, in very positive ways.

There was something similar when I was in college.  I really didn't get to know my department head until just before I graduated.  Yes, I had him for a few classes.  There was always a little resentment among the radio and tv people.  This faculty member also oversaw the theater department.  We thought he liked them more.  Anyway, he and I had some meetings before and after I wrote my thesis.  Yes, I liked to write, even back then.  I discovered he was a really cool guy.  Unfortunately, the epiphany came just before cap and gown time.  Too late, and our paths never crossed after I received my diploma.  I've been gainfully employed in the biz for more than 35 years.  Some awards.  Good ratings.  I guess that's my way of saying "thank you."

On a lighter note, I recently whined that my wardrobe didn't include lighter clothing for cycling.  I have the warmer stuff, plus tee shirts and shorts.  Nothing in between.  Thanks to the world wide web, that changed recently.  It was neither hot nor cold during my last bike ride, so I donned a windshirt for my journey.  Yes, warmth without the weight.  Unfortunately, it doesn't breathe all that well.  Overall, more positives than negatives.  I also purchased a light weight nylon jacket.  I'll test that one on a future ride.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Unfinished Thursday

A new co-worker asked about the "Scrapple" title for potpourri blog entries.  I don't know how it came to me, but scrapple is a little bit of everything, much like a potpourri.  I can't say I've ever tried it.

I spent most of my Thursday in a hospital waiting room.  No worries.  Everything turned out OK.  Anyway, I was flipping around and watching convention coverage on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX.  I thought the daytime coverage would be fairly straightforward.   The opinion shows come on at night.  Uh uh.  There really is a difference in tone and slant.  I really should mention names, but a lot of what I was was not network caliber broadcasting and reporting.  It all looked great.  Content was a different story.

Many think too much is being made out of the Melania Trump speech plagiarism issue.  Maybe so.  It's so hard to believe such a dumb mistake can be made at such a high level.

James Corden on the CBS Late Late Show took plagiarism to a new level Wednesday morning.  He stole bits from other late night comics for his hour, including a Lettermanesque Top Ten List (including intro), Leno's Jaywalking, and Fallon's thank you notes, and Kimme3l's mean Tweets.  Corden isn't known for clever comedy, but he really hit this show out of the park.  I should Reggie Watts did a pretty good Paul Shaffer impression, and they did a good job of playing Letterman's Late Show theme rather than the usual Late Late Show theme.  I don't know if Corden got to all he teased.  I had to leave.

I recently said I was tired of summer.  Still goes.  On the other hand, I took a moonlight bike ride in the heat last week.  Shorts, tee shirt, and reflective fest.  Exquisite.  I don't wear those space age sweat wicking fabrics.  I like peeling a plain old cotton sweat soaked shirt off my body after a ride.  It smells like victory.  I will say again that heavily padded shorts have changed my life.

A vacation begins at the close of business July 26.  I look forward to more sweat.

The Roger Ailes/FOX thing bothers me.  If true, he should have known better.  He should be punished.  If not true, that's just sad.  Once a reputation is shot, rightly or wrongly, it's nearly impossible to get it back.

Cleveland looked really good this week.  I hope Philadelphia looks even better.  So much history here.  It was always one of my favorite places to visit. Turnpike toll hikes will put a dent in future trips to the land of liberty.

Family and I were hungry on the way home from the hospital, so I stopped at a near by supermarket, with a great reputation for hot and yummy take out entrees.  Maybe I caught them on a bad late afternoon.  Tolerable, but barely.  There are other chains that do it better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Disoriented

Marywood and Wilkes have done it, and I'm sure many other colleges do it as well.

Incoming freshmen are invited to campus around this time of year for a preorientation orientation.  It's a great idea.

I went to college a long time ago.  Orientation was on a Sunday at the end of August.  We were herded around campus, given packets and information and that was it.  Oh, I should add there were some efforts at forced socialization-- a picnic, a couple of volleyball games.  I blew those off.  It appeared those events were really geared toward the dorm girls.   We townies could fend for ourselves.   I was lucky in that a high school friend was attending the same college.  We did the bare minimum, then took off to Burger King.  Whopper.  No mayonnaise.  Large fries.  Diet soda.  I then went home for a nap.  I should have gone to the picnic and scored a free hot dog or two.

It was a rapid succession of events.  Sunday orientation.  Monday classes.  It was the equivalent of teaching someone to swim by kicking them off a pier and in to a lake.  It was a lot to digest in a short amount of time.  New location.  New people.  New way of doing things.

In retrospect, it wasn't that big of a deal.  We were 17 or 18 years old.  We were old enough to handle it.  So much was different, but that was part of the fun.

There is one trend that disturbs me a little.  Some colleges and universities send new students off on public service projects  to get them used to their new communities.  It appears forced rather than voluntary, and I'm not totally comfortable with that.  There is a difference between volunteering and work.

The bottom line is that the early orientation lessens some of the "entering college" shock a lot of freshmen experience.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Speed of Light

It never ceases to amaze me.  Things change.  Quickly.

Just a few weeks ago, it was coverage of the shootings in Orlando.  Then Dallas.  Those two horrible events have been pushed off the screen, pushed off the front pages by Nice, Turkey, Baton Rouge and the political conventions.

If you want to see writing and journalism at its best, do a YouTube search for David Brinkley's commentary on the night JFK was assassinated.  He talked about how quickly things had changed, in just a matter of hours, and how difficult it all was to comprehend.    And that was in 1963.

53 years later, the pace has apparently accelerated.  We go from tragedy to tragedy with blinding speed.

Sometimes though, I wonder.  Are more bad things happening, or are we just learning about them faster?

Looking back, we had the horror of Vietnam in our living rooms on a nightly basis.  RFK.  MLK.  Watergate.  Iran hostages.  Recessions.  Earthquakes.  Guyana.  Chernobyl.  Plane crashes.  Space shuttles.  Tsunami.  9/11.

 I know our attention span has lessened.  We do tend to lose interest in things quickly.  We still get the initial punch to the gut.  The tears flow.  We vow to look for solutions.  We argue over what those solutions might be.

And, we do it over and over again-- with little time to understand what happened and why.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Conventional Wisdom

I'm sure I've written about this before.  This isn't this blog's first presidential election cycle.  It turns 12 in November.

The Republican National Convention begins today in Cleveland.  The Democrats get their turn next week in Philadelphia.

I've always wanted to cover one.

I was a politics and news junkie as a kid.  It was a treat to see the way the networks had things set up--the anchor desks in the sky boxes, the headsets on the floor reporters, the bulky wireless gear, which was state of the art at the time..  In my house, it was Cronkite and there was no other.  CBS always brought out the big guns to roam the floor and sniff out news-- Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, Harry Reasoner...  I didn't understand much of I was seeing, but it was still fun to watch.

As the years passed, conventions became less and less newsworthy (although this year could be the exception).  Most things were settled by the time the convention started.  ABC's Ted Koppel left the 1996 Republican convention in San Diego because he claimed there was no news there.  He was right.  The Democratic convention that year was the same thing.  Bill Clinton cruised to a relatively easy win over Bob Dole in November.

Conventions have become television shows-- scripted, controlled, extremely limited access to the big names.  Watch the coverage this month.  You'll see more reporters interviewing reporters.  You'll see commentators yammering on.  That's about it.

We'll have ABC, CNN and our sister stations looking for Pennsylvania angles for the next two weeks.  The more interesting stories are here at home.  Polls show Pennsylvania is in play this cycle, and that should make the next 112 days in northeastern and central Pennsylvania far more interesting than anything in Cleveland or Philadelphia.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Andy's Angles: Lackawanna County Courthouse

This is the last of the "Independence Day Morning Travels with APAL" collection.

It's the Lackawanna County Courthouse, as seen from the Medallion Parking Garage on Adams Avenue.  That's the upper corner of the county administration building on the right.  The plan is to sell that building when the county moves its operation into the old Globe department store building on Wyoming Avenue.

The federal courthouse is at the left of the photo.

There are some great views from the Medallion, but there's a big wall to keep cars from rolling off, and a big fence to keep people from falling off.  I shot this with my camera phone, as I held it high over my head.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Andy's Angles: The Summit

This is another selection from My Independence Day morning travels...

It's Clarks Summit University, formerly Summit University, formerly Baptist Bible College in South Abington Township, Lackawanna County.

It's a small campus in a spectacular setting, with plenty of green space.  I can't say enough about the beauty here.

Friday, July 15, 2016

20 Years

CNN photo

Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island.  21 from the Montoursville area, including 16 high school students were on board.  All died.

That night was unforgettable.  I was working elsewhere, and my phone rang late that night.  The assignment editor explained what had happened.  I was asked to go to Montoursville because our central Pennsylvania reporter wasn't answering her phone.

I got to the office as quickly as I could.  A photographer and I jumped in a truck and headed west.  It was a foggy and misty night.  The ride on Route 118 was frightening.  We were going faster than we should have.  Visibility was awful.  Glowing deer eyes were along the road, and I expected one to jump out at us at any second.  We made it to Montoursville without incident.

This was the most striking moment for me.  Even though we rolled into town in the middle of the night, it was like late afternoon.  Every light was on.  Every television was on.  People were walking the streets.  News of the tragedy was spreading.  No one was asleep.  Big story.  Small town.  It hit hard.  Very hard.  21 people from central Pennsylvania lost their lives, including a lot of kids.  Words could not describe the hurt, and it was just beginning.

We got to the school and did some interviews.  We shot some video.  Schools have crisis protocols, but this was huge and I thought the school district was overwhelmed.  Local media.  National media.  Students.  Parents.  Residents.  In all fairness, there's no way you can prepare for something of this scale.

The photographer and I gathered some solid material.  Our central Pennsylvania reporter finally stopped pouting over an earlier issue she was having with management and showed up to relieve me.

The question now was how to get it on the air.  The microwave link that got video back from the Williamsport office was broken.  The station's satellite truck was leased out to a station from Washington to cover Redskins training camp in Carlisle.  So, it was back in the truck for a ride to Scranton.

Once we arrived, I banged out the story in record time.  I was blessed to be working with an incredibly fast video editor.  We went on the air with a special report a half hour before our scheduled news time, followed by more material at the top of our normal broadcast.  I was very proud of our efforts.  When you factor in all the handicaps thrown in our way, it was nothing short of astounding.  I'll spare you a lot of the "inside baseball" stuff.  The view is always better from the high road.

CBS used some of our interviews, and one of them made the Evening News with Dan Rather.  I popped up in a CNN documentary.

Investigators said a spark and exploding fuel tank vapor brought down TWA 800.  Twenty years later, the missile and conspiracy theories are still out there.

I think of that night and morning all the time.  It was all so sad, and those images are still seared in to my mind.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Please, Stop

The legendary radio DJ known as The Greaseman calls them "geezer moments."  It's when he sets aside a little time to talk about the way things used to be.  Here is one of mine.

When I was a kid, we rode bikes, played board games, gin rummy, darts, wiffle ball, football, went to the store for a soda even though there was a case at home in the refrigerator, hung out on front porches and the little grassy area under the corner streetlight.  It was a kick when an older sibling or parent gave us a ride to the mall, or to the mini golf course.  We walked to the bowling alley and played pinball there too.  On occasion, my friends and I took the Colts bus downtown to wander around Globe, Oppenheim's, and lunch at Kresge's cafeteria.

It's why I can't wrap my head around this whole Pokemon Go thing.  Watching kids (and adults) wander around, staring at phones, collecting balls and points and whatever all seems so sad.  So anti social.

Yes, I'm out of the target audience age range for Pokemon Go.

If it was around when I was a kid, I probably would have played.  I'd likely regret it later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Overdressed

I haven't prattled on about my bicycle adventures lately...

As has been noted here before, I usually ride in the dark.  My bike has a light and reflectors, but from the beginning, when I bought the bike four years ago, I have been wearing a reflective safety vest.

I thought I was over-doing it...  until I was driving home from the gym early in the morning last week, and I saw another bike rider wearing a vest.  It really makes a difference. To the guy on his bike along North Main Avenue in Scranton, bravo and kudos!

You can buy vests in stores like WalMart.  They're very inexpensive on-line.  If you're riding or jogging at night, GET ONE!

Up until recently, it's been rather cool at night.  A couple of weeks ago, I went pedaling in a fleece jacket, with my reflective vest over it.  Toward the end of my ride, I became really overheated, but I toughed out the last few miles.

I got on-line a few hours later and ordered a windshirt and nylon bicycle jacket.  It's bright blue with reflective piping and accents.  The stuff arrived in the mail recently, and what happens?  It turns hot!

I'm sure the new clothing will come in handy this fall.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday Scrapple

I thought America's fascination with salted caramel was too much to take, and then Pokemon Go came along.

Journalists have been arrested while covering anti police protests.  Something is wrong here.

It's All Star Game break time, and all people are talking about is NBA players switching team.  Baseball has lost its way.  No one cares until the World Series, and barely then.

Independence Day has come and gone.  Back to school sales are underway.  It's been too hot.  I'm ready for fall.

I'm really looking forward to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

The Viewmont Mall Sears is closed.  I'm sorry I didn't get there to say good bye.  It was a heckuva store at one time.  It's too bad the chain has been mismanaged into irrelevancy.

My 401K and I are happy Wall Street has bounced back after the Brexit vote crash.

The Twitter obituary has been written by many, but it still seems to attract a lot of attention.

LinkedIn still seems to be attracting a lot of FaceBook-like time wasters.

A USA Today column picked Lyndon Johnson as the best vice presidential pick in history.  Spiro Agnew was listed as the worst.  Yes, Agnew was forced to resign, but he was part of two winning tickets, including one that won in a landslide.  Johnson makes sense.  It helped JFK win Texas.

It's Amazon Prime Day, and while I'm a member, I really don't care.

I wonder how many athletes who have pulled out of the Rio olympics are genuinely afraid of zika, it it's just an excuse.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Media Notes: Special Edition

Some things jumped out at me as I watched the Dallas Police shootings coverage unfold.

I was impressed at how quickly Dallas officials briefed the media.  They get it.  A lot of governmental organizations don't.  Rumors and misinformation spread at the speed of light in this social media world.  It's important to get accurate information, from credible sources, out there as soon as possible.

Dan Rather always used to say that a lot of early information on "breaking news" turns out to be false, and we saw some of that here.  However, there was more right than wrong, and Dallas officials did a great job keeping the media, and therefore its citizens, up to date.  It was a solid crisis management plan.  I should add the same was true during the Orlando shootings last month.

Early impressions on the coverage?  I thought FOX led the pack.  Shepard Smith in the studio and Casey Steagall were out in front of the others.  Steagall had all the information and did an excellent job of describing the scene.  He did what a lot of reporters forget to do-- let people know where you are, and how its all related.  Smith is one of the smoothest anchors out there.

All the networks were fortunate in that they have outstanding affiliated stations in Dallas.  It showed.

MSNBC's Brian Williams is getting roasted, again, for yammering on way too much.  I get that.  There were far too many JFK references.  Other than that, I thought he was fine.  He kept the balls in the air, and made seamless transitions between elements in the early morning hours.  Yes, I probably would fired him after the incidents of 2015.  Having said that, it's time to stop beating up on Brian Williams.

The next morning, Scott Pelley of CBS showed his Texas roots and Dallas reporting background.  He knows the territory.

ABC News has several well sourced reporters.  It seemed to have a nugget or two the others didn't.

Much of my early morning viewing was done at a gym, with an array of television screens before me.  ABC, CNN and FOX were all live.  CBS started taping its overnight news in September of last year.  It got burned, and it's not the first time it happened.  CBS didn't get its act together until 4:30 AM.  Yes, there is CBSN on the internet.  It might have been great, but I didn't have access to it.

ABC's World News Now was apparently making changes on the fly.  There was a rough moment or two, but that's OK.  It's live TV.  The story was constantly changing.  It was compelling.

The thing I will remember the most...  I don't know who recorded the video, or his/her organization, but I did see it in a few different places.  Shots fired.  A stampede of people is coming down the street.  The photographer stands still and records it all as the wave comes toward him.  Gutsy stuff.  Well done.

Radio?  Red Eye Radio, based in Dallas was very good overnight, and you know this was a big story when the overnight guy who talks about Martians and the end of the world took calls on Dallas.

We have an excellent idea of what happened in Dallas Thursday night.  Learning "why" is a lot harder.




Sunday, July 10, 2016

Andy's Angles: Perfect Morning

I got to spend a few minutes, on Independence Day morning, at Lackawanna State Park.  It's one of my favorite places, for a variety of reasons.

It's a great place to play with your camera.

I caught this shot on a perfect sunny morning.  The water was perfectly still.  Brilliant sunshine.  You can see a little vapor coming off the water at the upper left.  Trees were a deep, mid summer green, and those fishermen seem to be having a great time.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Andy's Angles: Yoga

I don't mind working holidays.  When you take a job in broadcasting, you know it comes along with the territory.

On the other hand, holidays can be tough because there are a lot of clich├ęs and traditions-- the things that happen year after year.  There really is nothing new and you've run out of things to say.

There was a little breath of fresh air for me  Monday morning.   My task was to show how people spend Independence Day morning-- before the barbecues, before the fireworks.  We started at Lackawanna State Park.  It was then off to a kids' basketball camp at Summit University, now Clarks Summit University.

Above is how my morning ended, a yoga class on top of an Adams Avenue, Scranton parking garage.  Money raised went to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.  I didn't participate, but it looked like a lot of fun, and the weather was perfect.

It was the third year for Yoga on the Roof, but it was a new one for me, and it made for a really nice Independence Day morning.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Horrible Habit

I don't consider myself wealthy, but I do okay.  If there's something I want and need, I go out and get it.

There are only a few indulgences.  My pen collection is too big.  Thankfully, I've stopped adding to it.

I have too many tee shirts, even though the only place you see me wear them is at the gym.

Baseball caps are all over the place.

I can't resist a tie sale.

On the other hand, I can be very frugal.

I still have a tube TV.  It's working great, and dumping it for a flat HD model seems wasteful.  It's no big deal.

Sometimes, frugality gets me in to trouble.

I have tons of razor blades.  I buy them when they're on sale or I have a coupon.  There are always plenty of extras in the bathroom-- different makes and models.

I have this horrible habit of using a blade one day too many.  There have been many mornings I've left the house raw, irritated, and occasionally, a little bloody.  Thank heaven for Bactine and Aveeno lotion.

Baseball executive Branch Rickey once said that it's better to trade a player one year early rather than one year late.  I have to adopt that philosophy with razor blades.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Boss

courtesy:  York Daily Record
I never met Louis Appell, but I did work for him for nearly eleven years.

Appell died last week.  92.

For years, Appell ran Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff.  The York based company owned a lot of things-- cable TV systems, Pfaltzgraff pottery, tons of real estate, billboards, a singular television station, and a radio division.

Susquehanna started with a radio station in York.  WARM in Scranton was part of the chain.  I was there from 1981 to 1991.  The radio chain eventually grew to be rather large, with stations in San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Norfolk, Miami, Long Island, Akron...

I read a lot of Appell stories after his passing.  He did great things for the city of York.  He was big on redevelopment.  I was in the home office in York once-- a restored old building.  It was spectacular.  The thing I remember most was the carpeting.  It was the thickest, deepest carpeting I had ever set foot upon.  He went first class.

Mr. Appell was a conservative man.  I remember we all received commemorative Pfaltzgraff plates after George H. W. Bush was elected president in 1988.  I still have mine somewhere.

There were many times when WARM employees weren't treated particularly well.  Benefits were okay.  Money could have been better.  We worked six day weeks, and that wears you down after a while.  Some good people got burned out and left.  The facility was neglected.  It finally got an upgrade about mid way through my term.  Good management and solid direction were sorely lacking during big parts of my employment.  The station had to modernize, but they couldn't find anyone who knew how to do it.

I will give Appell credit for a sense of community.  His radio stations were heavily involved in the towns and cities they served.  You cannot put a price on that.  He apparently liked news because WARM had a big staff and a kick butt newsroom, and I was very proud to be a small part of that for a long time.

WARM was sold off shortly after I left.  From what I understand, the younger Appells didn't want all those businesses, so they were spun away.  It can be argued all those radio stations were never the same.  It was a big company, but also a family business.

My sympathy to the Appell family and those whose lives he touched.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Welcome to Autumn

A Snedeker rant triggered this blog entry.

Joe said he was in an Eddie Bauer store recently when he overheard a worker say they are in the "Fall I" mode.

It really isn't surprising.  Retailers, especially clothing retailers, often work a season ahead.

The big box office supply stores start back to school sales right after Independence Day.  It's a big time for them, almost like Christmas.

My LL Bean catalog that arrived last week was marked "late summer."

I really don't mind.  I work all night and sleep all day.  Sleep comes easier when it's dark and cold.  I have a good air conditioner and great black out curtains.  They help, but there's nothing like crawling under a blanket on a cold winter afternoon.

It's funny.  I don't hear any complaints when swimsuits and polo shirts arrive in stores just after the new year.  Flannel and corduroy in July is an entirely different story.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Good Day, Sunshine

My father craved a pizza last week, so I was waiting inside one of our favorite restaurants, whiling away the moments until my take out order was ready.

This particular restaurant is in a strip mall, with a tanning salon as a neighbor.  There wasn't much to look at inside.  The pizza prep area is hidden by a half wall and frosted glass.  Watching someone make a pizza is one of the great joys of life.

So, my gaze was turned out the big windows.  I watched young woman after young woman enter the tanning salon.  Remember, this was a perfectly sunny summer afternoon.

Hey, you're paying to tan in a booth.  THE SUN IS FREE!

I thought about for a moment.  I think I'm like many people.  We view tanning salons as a winter oriented business, but tanning in a booth, in the summer, does make some sense.  It's quick and efficient.  There are no creepy neighbors looking at you in your bikini.  And when you tan in a booth, you can avoid tan lines, if you know what I mean.

Waiting for that pizza gave me a new outlook on the business.

Of course, too much tanning can be dangerous.

Whether it's inside or outside, be careful.

Monday, July 4, 2016

About the Cover

I needed some photos the other day.  I didn't know what I wanted.  I didn't know where I was going.

I've been Scranton heavy lately, so I headed in the opposite direction.

A lot of photography is just dumb luck.  I saw a public works crew putting up flags in Jermyn.  I drove a few blocks ahead and waited for them to come to me.

Flags on small town utility poles never gets old.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Andy's Angles: ...You Rode In On


This is another of the Greenfield horses.  I was going to crop it, so you can get a better look at him, but then I decided against it.

The green grass, white fence, and pale blue sky are as much of the photo as the beautiful horse.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Andy's Angles: ...And the Horse...

I've never had a desire to ride them, own them, or bet on them...  But, I do enjoy looking at horses.

This beauty was having a little breakfast on a recent morning, at a farm in Lackawanna County's Greenfield Township.

He looked at me for a second when I arrived, but my camera wasn't ready.  It was then back to munching, and we failed to make eye contact.

Friday, July 1, 2016

First Person: Crash

Things started to pop around 6 AM Tuesday-- Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, e-mails, scanners...  Something big was happening on Interstate 80 at Tannersville in Monroe County.

Photographer Jason was sent to check it out.  I stayed behind because I had one more state budget story to deliver for Newswatch 16 This Morning.  Just as I was wrapping up, we learned of the scope of what happened-- a multi vehicle crash, one dead, Interstate 80 east would be closed for hours, right in time for the morning rush.

I jumped in another car and headed east to meet up with Jason.  Since 80 was closed, Jason directed me to a back road where you could see what happened.  It was a frightening sight.
A car was heading west.  The driver apparently fell asleep, crossed the center grassy median, and slammed in to three other vehicles.  There was a fire.  It wasn't pretty.

State Police were exceptionally cooperative.  We had access to the scene.  They told us what they know.  Jason and I interviewed some of the first truckers at the scene.  We then headed down to Route 611, which was packed with traffic and crawling because 80 was closed.

Photographer Bonnie arrived with a satellite truck.  We had a great parking spot on a back road, with full view of the crash scene.  As luck with have it, massive trees blocked our satellite signal.  We then headed down the road a few miles to an Interstate 80 overpass.  You couldn't see the crash, but you could see an empty 80 east, which never happens.  The video was fed back to the station.  Bonnie plugged in the camera, I was live at noon, with a solid report, even if I do say so myself.

It was then time for the three of us, in three separate vehicles, to head back to the office.  We handed off to another Monroe County crew for the follow up, which included details on how easy it is for vehicles to roll across the median and wind up in the opposite lane.

Monroe County traffic was an absolute nightmare for seven hours, showing how our transportation system is fragile and easily disrupted.