Friday, September 30, 2016
Yesterday was the day.
Let me back up. I've only had three dentists in my long life. The first was the one who put in those filings when I was a lad. He didn't believe in Novocaine. Every visit was an experience in terror. You went to this guy only when you had a big problem because he put you through such misery. Why go? Well, he was the small town dentist, within walking distance, and everyone in town went to him.
The experience there was such a turn off that I avoided dentists altogether. I finally found a really good guy who, after several visits, corrected all the problems of the past. Competent. Painless. Great preventative care. Unfortunately, we had a falling out over a failure to get me in the chair at the appointed hour.
Dentist number three has a very gentle touch. He knows I don't mind needles, but I do dislike pain. A drill and fill session yesterday morning was a piece of cake. There is one more to go, and I'll return in a couple of weeks.
Having said all that, I'm an old radio guy. Audio is a big part of what I do in television. The noise of the drill still gets to me. I can't stand it. I've considered headphones. But, the drill noise would make it in to my head anyway. Solid substances conduct sound rather well, and tooth, to jawbone, to skull to inner ear is a short path.
It could be a lot worse.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Delta Medix has announced plans to move in to the Marketplace at Steamtown next year. it has to be better than some of its current set ups-- long walks, bad parking, cramped spaces...
I'd really like to know some of what led up to the sale of The Commonwealth Medical College.
Mold... crumbling sports facilities... falling cement... It seems we're putting our kids into some lousy buildings and stadiums these days.
Arnold Palmer had a great run, and I am saddened at his passing.
I don't want to be mean, but it seems the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was preventable. Speeding boats in the middle of the night doesn't make any sense, and I can't get that picture of his pregnant girlfriend out of my mind. This store is tragic on so many levels.
The post presidential debate spin and polling has become tedious. I'm thrilled that more than 84 million people are concerned enough about their government to have tuned in.
Please, no more Brad and Angelina.
Wells Fargo was really quite the enterprise. There are some industries that really have to be held to the higher "trust" standard. Banks and financial services have to be at or near the top of the list.
The Chicago Cubs story this season has been amazing.
Who expected the New England Patriots to be 3-0 ?
My schedule keeps me away from the Bloomsburg Fair. I really have to return one of these years.
I've tried watching some of the new fall shows, and I've yet to make it through an entire episode of any of them.
My former coworker, Lara Greenberg, won a regional Emmy over the weekend. It couldn't have happened to a nicer person.
I'm dipping my toe into the "videos on Facebook" water. Patience, please.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
It was installed when Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States. It performed day and night. Flawlessly. Trouble free for 126 years. Delivering drinking water, bath water, toilet water...
It was the 20 inch main that supplied water to a big section of the west side of the Wyoming Valley.
It was going so well until Monday afternoon. That's when a contractor installing a sewer line dug in the wrong place and cracked it open. Water spewed everywhere for more than 24 hours. According to Pennsylvania American Water, it took the turning of 60 valves to shut off the flow here.
Some homes and businesses had no water. Others had discolored water and low pressure. It was a noisy, chlorine scented mess right in the middle of the borough.
How did it happen? According to the water company, it is "under investigation." That's code for "We're trying to come up with a plausible explanation while still leaving the door open for possible litigation and avoiding responsibility."
It simply could have been a careless contractor. Maybe the maps of buried water lines were old, outdated and faulty. I'm sure there will be finger pointing eventually. I'm a little less sure we'll ever get to the bottom of this, pardon the pun.
Thanks to Antonio's Pizza, who let us use a parking space for our mobile newsroom all morning long. Thanks to the man who runs the BBQ restaurant just off the Fort Jenkins Bridge. I offered to buy a soda in exchange for a bathroom visit. He said it wasn't necessary. We compromised on a discount for the bottle of soda. West Pittston is full of nice people. May your taps always be flowing and your old mains always be undisturbed.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
This intersection forbids right turns on red. Great idea. Visibility isn't the greatest. There's a school and businesses in the neighborhood. That means there's a lot of pedestrian traffic.
So where is the "no right turns on red" sign? Is it near the traffic light, where it should be?
It's on a pole, off to the right, hidden behind a tree.
The intersection is about to become safer. It's fall. Leaves will be falling off the tree, exposing the sign.
Let's not wait for a disaster. Move the sign to next to the traffic light, where it should be.
Monday, September 26, 2016
I had been part time, down the street, for a year and a half prior, so I knew my way around the operation. Still, there was a lot to learn. The learning continues. That's the big thing about broadcasting and journalism. The basics are constant, but there is always a new situation, and of course, the ever evolving technology.
There was a little vacation time between the end of radio and the beginning of full time TV. I worked a scattering of days in there, but there was still an opportunity to get out of town for a few days.
I remember the days leading to the jump. I debated the move for quite a while, and I still wasn't sure it was the right thing to do.
The full time newbie was dispatched to the Bloomsburg Fair on that first day. Photographer John, who moved to WNEP with me several years ago, and I did two stories and we headed back to the office. I don't remember what else was happening that day, but we weren't "live." I didn't complain. It was a nice way to get my feet wet.
The big adjustment was having some free time. Full time on the radio, plus part time on television meant I worked every day of the week for a year and a half. Of course, there was some vacation time, so I did get a break once in a while. Moving to only one job meant weekends off. I didn't know what to do with myself. The adjustment didn't take long. A little mall on Saturday mornings, a little wandering on Saturday night. Newspapers and a big jug of iced tea took up Sunday mornings.
Things eventually changed. Again, no complaints.
It's been a great ride.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016
An addendum to yesterday's podcast blog: A couple of coworkers and I have kicked around doing one. It's still a long way from reality. While I love what I'm doing now, the radio bug never really left me. It would be a nice way to dip a toe back in the water. Yes, I wrote yesterday that a podcast is not radio.
FOX Business used to get hammered by CNBC. FOX is now squeaking out some wins. It took a long time. CNBC lost its way. We'll see if it can get back on track.
There was an interesting discussion of media bias on Brit Hume's FOX News Channel show Tuesday night. That's a topic for an entire blog entry soon.
A local company, Bold Gold, has picked up three more radio stations. They're in the Catskills. It's nice to see stations in local hands.
I listened to WBT 1110 in Charlotte during an outbreak of protests following a police involved shooting. Well done.
I still can't warm up to some of the things CNN does, but a recent special, "Almost President," was outstanding.
The Weather Channel crew still seems so disappointed the U.S. hasn't been slammed with a category 5 hurricane.
SB Nation Radio, formerly Yahoo Sports Radio, formerly Sporting News Radio, has dumped Steve Czaban's morning show. Mistake.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
I get that.
The podcast made its debut the day after Labor Day. I've listened most days.
Kornheiser and company give you a little more than an hour of content. The old radio show was two hours. But, if you factor in a smaller commercial load and no sports news updates, you are getting just about the same amount of program time.
Kornheiser hasn't fallen in to the trap of a lot of podcasters. No FCC restrictions, so he can say anything he wants. The content is still PG rated. He hasn't gone dirty, and that's always nice. The show has the same cast of characters, the same contributors. They haven't missed a beat.
Having said all that, there's something missing. It's not live. I'm old school. A podcast is audio, not radio. Entertaining? Yes. Special? No. Not really.
A former coworker tried to get me interested in the myriad of podcasts out there. I'm sure there's some great stuff. I passed.
Yes, I'll still download Kornheiser's show when I get the chance, which is quite often. And, I'll still spend a lot of my time listening to real radio.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
I'm leaning toward the conventional wisdom that the popular vote will be close, but Hillary Clinton has an easier path to 270 electoral votes than Donald Trump. Even with a solid south and Texas, it's tough to overcome Clinton having California and New York in her pocket.
While 48 days might not seem like a lot, we still have the debates ahead... as well as lingering issues about Mrs. Clinton's health.
As far as Pennsylvania goes, it appears Clinton will do extremely well in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. It will be tough for Trump to make up those votes in the rest of the state. 67 counties. I'm sure Trump will win most. The problem for Trump is he is popular in rural counties, not the big cities.
I should note that I'm seeing signs for Republican candidates in areas where I hadn't seen them before. This one could get very interesting.
Right now, it appears the Toomey vs McGinty will be a nail biter. In Monday column, George Will called in "this year's most consequential senate race." You can look it up. The reasoning is solid. A lot of money is being spent, and I'm betting even more mud (on both sides) will fly before November 8. The Republicans hold 54 seats. The Democrats have 44. There are two Independents, but they caucus with the Democrats. It's very easy to see how control can flip. The senate thing might hold more intrigue than the presidential race as we head toward the finish line.
Still, there is a wild card. Terrorism. It was a frightening weekend. There is a perception that Trump is the stronger anti terrorism candidate. On the other hand, a lot of people see Clinton's secretary of state experience as a big plus. I can see how the whole terrorism issue can sway some voters. Some independents are up for grabs, as well as the undecideds.
48 days leaves plenty of room for change.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
You know what? She's right.
I still make my living as a news reporter, and that puts limits on what I can write here.
Many years ago, I used to fill in as host of a radio talk show. I was OK. Just OK. Not great, but I was making progress. I was solid at interviews. Generating phone calls needed some work.
Anyway, before my first time in the host's chair, program director Nick Senaca took me aside and said the words I will never forget. Nick told me "Remember, there's a difference between opinion and analysis."
Nick clearly wasn't comfortable with a news reporter going on the air and spouting off opinions.
I've tried to dance around that line here. It's okay for me to write that I don't like pumpkin spice and reality television. It's not okay to endorse political candidates. Opinion, but within boundaries.
This blog can be a lot spicier. Lord knows, I really have the material. It would be a "must read" every day. On the other hand, it would kill my credibility, and I'd be looking for work.
The blog turns 12 in November. I'm very proud that not one entry, not one sentence, not one word has ever been called back by management. There was one mild warning. It was over a picture of a bikini clad beauty pageant contestant. It was several years ago, and as I recall, the contestant was fighting with Donald Trump over something. The boss at the time didn't order the picture's removal, but he did say that I was at my skin limit. By the way, you could probably see more revealing outfits at the public pool on a summer afternoon.
If you need some spice, it will have to come out of the jar.
Monday, September 19, 2016
...the airport roundabouts. I traveled them a couple of times last week. There is such flawed logic here. The Navy Way extension is fantastic. Lengthened acceleration and deceleration ramps on Interstate 81 were sorely needed. I shudder to think about what would happen if there was a major incident in that area, and a lot of vehicles had to me moved in a short amount of time.
...reality television. I don't care who gets the disco trophy. I have no interest in who gets kicked off the island or out of the house. It looks like this genre is here to stay for a while.
...pumpkin spiced anything. 'Nuff said.
...tiny houses. There are a couple of networks that have shows dedicated to the concept. In a way, I can understand the charm and simplicity. I would feel claustrophobic.
...selfies. Nothing else needs to be said.
...chain restaurants. I admit to being an occasional customer. Still, I look at all those packed parking lots and shake my head. There is better stuff out there.
...Joan Rivers. I know she has passed. I watched a Johnny Carson appearance last week. It was 15 minutes of saying horrible things about people. Why was she so popular?
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
You know what? The new building is overwhelming, but not as bad as I expected. You can still admire the history of the old church while appreciating the lines of the big building across the street.
One side of the block has old buildings. You can find the newer structures on the other side of Jefferson Avenue. New and old can coexist.
Friday, September 16, 2016
We'll ease back in to the routine by featuring a recent photo of Nathan. The little scamp turned one last month.
In case you're new here, Nathan was captured on the mean streets of Wilkes-Barre. He was part of a program where strays are grabbed, neutered, and released . I couldn't bear to see that little face back out on the street, so I took him in.
Nathan has grown fond of looking out the window and watching the birds that hang out in a rhododendron. I foresee a big winter bird seed bill as I try to keep Nathan occupied and happy throughout the long winter.
As for my vacation, it wasn't bad. A little photography, a couple of adventures, a little shopping, a beard, new tires, and a lot of sleep. The first few days were unbearable hot, but there's nothing you can do about that.
I'll see you tomorrow.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
My 2017 calendar has already been purchased at the dollar store. Cats and kittens. Don't judge me.
I thought most of the schools around here were of the newer and air conditioned variety. That was before early and heat related dismissals last week. I wasn't in an air conditioned classroom until I hit college.
It was nice to see Penn State and Pitt play again. It will never happen, but Penn State is more of an ACC team than a Big Ten team.
The new NFL season really doesn't excite me. I think a lot of it has to do with national anthem related protests.
How could Samsung put such a flawed product out on the market? Don't they test those things?
It's nice to be able to breathe again. I'm so happy the exceptionally hot weather has moved out. However, it is striking how my bicycle ride attire went from shorts and tee shirts to sweats and a wind shirt in the space of just a few days.
Why did ESPN allow Chris Berman to call an NFL game Monday night?
The concept of a self driving car is interesting. I wonder if I'd feel comfortable as a passenger.
What ever happened to that KFC boneless fried chicken that was supposed to revolutionize the industry?
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I was an adult, but back in high school. I had a reading assignment, but the book I needed was in my locker. I couldn't find my locker. It was row after row of identical lockers with identical locks.
I ventured in to the school office to retrieve my locker number. Three people were walking out. I didn't recognize two. The third was a former co-worker who wants nothing to do with me. By the way, the list of estranged former co-workers is rather long.
Anyway, I got my number. 215. I wrote it everywhere. Notes, tags, a slip of paper that went in to my wallet... I then decided I didn't want that book in my locker, after all, and I left.
The school and locker thing is one issue, but I can't get 215 out of my head. Am I going to die at 2:15. Is something good or bad going to happen to me on February 15th? Should I play 215 in the lottery?
With minor exceptions, my dreams are usually triggered by something that happened earlier in the day, or an event coming up in the near future.
This one came out of the blue.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
This photo is one from the archives. It was taken on the morning of September 8, 2011-- as the river was still rising. I'm on the Pittston side of the Water Street Bridge. West Pittston, a community that got hit hard, is in the distance.
Monday, September 12, 2016
However, 9/11 was more than one day. The world changed. Wars started. It appears they will never end.
SGT Jan Argonish from Peckville was killed in Afghanistan in 2007. I met his father at a park dedication several months later. Our paths started crossing again about four years ago when I discovered we went to the same gym, at the same time of day.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Actually, there were a few creatures stirring. La Festa Italiana organizers hired security guards to keep an eye on Courthouse Square during the overnight hours. They really lucked out this year. It was chilly, but dry, and they seemed to be having a great time.
Plus, they let us park our van wherever we wanted. No worries. We would be long gone, and out of the way by the time the party started rolling.
I always get questions on the odd hours I work. Most of the time, it really isn't all that bad. It does have its charm-- and no traffic.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
The levee system along the Susquehanna River protected much of the Wyoming Valley, except West Pittston, which is off to the left of this photo. 800 homes and businesses took on water.
Many in West Pittston didn't want the levee because it would obstruct their view of the river. I get that. There are some beautiful homes along the Susquehanna, and the view, most of the time is spectacular. On the other hand, you run the risk of having the Susquehanna in your living room.
Most of the borough has recovered nicely.
We can't forget about other parts of our area that were flooded, especially Bloomsburg.
Me? I was on vacation during the flood. I did volunteer to come in, but the staff had it covered nicely.
I've always been amazed at how the Susquehanna can go from beautiful and tranquil, to river on a rampage, in the space of a few days.
There's another reason for this photo. Tom Williams always expects some Susquehanna shots when I'm on vacation. Tommy, enjoy.
Friday, September 9, 2016
You've heard it before. No plans. Possibly some photography, gym visits, bike rides, KMart and a vacation beard.
I'll still yammer on with a thought or two here every day.
The weekend morning broadcasts are in the very capable hands of Stacy Lange.
I've been taking September vacations, ever since I went full time on the radio, back in the early 80's. This is a great time of year.
We'll talk later.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
I haven't used 5 Hour Energy in months, and I recently exhausted my supply of Berocca. In case you're not familiar with the latter, it's a fizzy tablet that you put in water. It's leaded with caffeine and vitamins. I don't miss either product. My diet soda intake is still rather high, so I'm not totally going without caffeine. I'm just getting rid of the mega doses, which did very little for me.
Tony Kornheiser gave up his Washington DC radio show a few months ago. His new podcast made its debut Tuesday. Even though the podcast is similar to the radio broadcast, it's not live and it loses something.
I can take hot days, as long as it cools off at night, and that's what September is all about.
I got to play with my camera a bit the other day, first time in about a month. Loved itl Look for the photos here on weekends.
FOX News Channel dumped Greta Van Susteren this week. Yes, she had the FNC lean, but it was a solid show. Brit Hume is the replacement until after the election.
I pass on anything pumpkin or pumpkin spiced. Enough already.
I was offered a flu shot at the drug store the other day. I passed. Too early. Soon, though.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
As many of you know, I love things like cupolas, clock towers, bell towers, steeples, etc.
Plus, I try to do a header with an educational theme in September. I still consider September as THE back to school month, even though most schools and universities pick up in August.
This is the cupola atop Fleck Hall, at the Kingston campus of Wyoming Seminary. The building dates back to 1853, according to Sem's web site.
It's a beautiful campus. Unfortunately, my visit hit at the start of the new school year. The campus was crowded with confused children and parents. I'll drop by again when things settle down.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Chelsea Clinton is coming to Scranton on Thursday. She'll be at mom's campaign office on North Washington Avenue in Scranton.
We put together a piece for the morning news on how Pennsylvania, and our area, are big prizes for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both candidates have been here, and now the surrogates are on the way. Son Eric Trump visited Clarks Summit last week, and now it's Chelsea's turn.
It's been done before, but there's always a way to but a new twist to it-- people laboring on Labor Day.
The first interview was one of the people who works La Festa Italiana security on the overnight shift. He makes sure nothing gets stolen or vandalized. After that interview, the square was quiet, so photographer Erich and I walked over to the Marketplace at Steamtown. This is the first Labor Day the Crunch gym is open for business. We found some people working out, and a personal trainer who was helping customers get in shape. It was a different element, and it worked.
Erich and I were walking back to our truck on the square, when we spied a man cleaning out the portable toilets. It's a job no one wants, but the man we spoke with was happy to have it, and he was also happy La Festa Italiana visitors would have a clean place to take care of business. The guy was TV gold, and he made our piece.
Even though it was closed when I was there, I enjoyed being on the square during the Italian festival. I was a regular when I worked in downtown Scranton, but that was a long time ago. My work and sleep schedule makes visiting now difficult.
I had forgotten how big it is, and how great everything looks and smells. TV really doesn't do it justice. La Festa Italiana is one of our area's signature events, and I'm happy it's still going strong after 41 years.
Monday, September 5, 2016
Labor Day wasn't much of a favorite as a kid. Take a look at the reasons above, and just flip them.
I really despised going back to school as a kid. I liked better as I aged because I could finally see the light at the end of the educational tunnel. As I noted here before, I like learning. I didn't like school.
The bottom line is to remember what they day is all about.
Strangely enough, Labor Day is my last day of work for almost two weeks. Vacation!
Sunday, September 4, 2016
My schedule keeps me from getting there, but above is one of my favorites from the collection. I took the shot a few weeks ago.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Friday, September 2, 2016
I have this blog, which I love dearly. Plus, I'm on Twitter and LinkedIn. I gave up on SnapChat and Instagram, through I may return one day.
I thought I could get away without Facebook.
During a meeting with a manager this week, it was suggested I climb on board with Facebook. I relented. My boss made a strong case. It's a way to connect with the audience, get story ideas, promote the product, have a little fun, etc. If that wasn't enough, he is the boss.
The internet in general and Facebook in particular can be places where anonymous trolls spew hate. I really didn't want to be a part of that. However, you do have to take the good with the bad, and people have been overwhelmingly nice, so far.
I'm not one of those people who constantly looks to see if I'm trending, or what stories are getting "hits." That type of validation doesn't interest me. We have research and web people who take care of that. I simply come to work every day and do the very best job I can. The rest takes care of itself. It's a philosophy that works amazingly well.
I will admit that nearly 1,000 "likes" in less than a week was rather nice. Joe Snedeker and Mindi Ramsey are responsible for that.
If you have a question or a comment, look me up. Remember, civility rules. The blog will remain, and we'll see how it goes.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
I've told the story here before. I'll give you the short version. A kitchen remodeling project meant a lot of fast food and take out. I needed to get some exercise. A bike had been on my radar for years, and I finally took the plunge.
After looking in a lot of places, most with lousy customer service, I settled on a small shop in south Scranton. I told the salesman I just wanted something to ride around town, nothing hard core. He wheeled out a model. Sold.
I stopped for a sandwich and fries on the way home. Mistake.
I took the bike out of my SUV as soon as I got home. I attempted to pedal around the neighborhood. I didn't realize how out of shape I was. It was a broiling hot and humid day. I stuck my head in the toilet when I got home and lost my flame broiled sandwich.
Working up to a nice route was a gradual process. There's now a ten mile circuit, going through three times, that I pedal once or twice a week, as long as its above 50 degrees.
It's one of the best purchases I ever made, and if you're considering getting in to bicycling, go for it.
After the initial purchase, and some occasional maintenance, it's a low cost activity. I do recommend a light if you're riding in the dark, and a reflective vest, too. A pair of padded cycling shorts is also worth the investment.
It's been a great four years.
I do have to take note of something that happened Sunday morning in West Scranton. A man was riding his bike, out of the lane of traffic, minding his own business. Some say he was actually on the sidewalk. He got slammed by a big SUV. Police say the driver was full of heroin, cocaine, and weed. The impaired driver left the scene, but he was found the next day.
This never should have happened.