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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tuesday Scrapple

Aretha Franklin really was "THE Queen."  I'm sorry she's gone.

That first cool, clear day will feel so great.  I can't wait for it to get here.

Thank you, New York, for dumping untreated sewage into the Susquehanna River.

There are several great stories in Major League Baseball this year, including the success of the Oakland Athletics.  Hey, get the team a new stadium already!

While I'm ready for fall, I'm really not ready for football.

JCPenney had a horrible second quarter.  Why do we no longer like department stores?  It seems like they trimmed employees in recent years.  Customer service suffered.  And, they wonder why people shop on-line.

I really don't understand the shark fascination.

Whoever came up with the idea of playing a major league baseball game in Williamsport during the Little League World Series is a genius.  The pictures were outstanding.

Isn't it sad that many parents are insisting they have bullet proof backpacks for children?

We were bombarded by complaints over a Montage Mountain concert and a RailRiders game at the same time Friday night.  It looks like the concert was over-sold.  Be that as it may, that interchange and those roads simply can't handle a lot of traffic.  It's that way on a daily basis.  Because of the terrain, I can't see how it can be reconfigured-- again.

It's great to see how many businesses and individuals have stepped up to help after the recent rund of flash flooding.

I'm not if it shows the wisdom of diversification, or the fact they no longer have confidence in broadcasting, but several big radio companies are branching out in to podcasting.




Monday, August 20, 2018

One More Thing...

One last thing before I leave the Williamsport Area Millionaires midnight practice, and it was about me.

Some were surprised to me in Williamsport at midnight.  A couple of people joked that the assignment was some sort of punishment.

Hey, I volunteered!

Nikki Krize and Kristina Papa, along with photographer Tom Durant  have central Pennsylvania covered like a blanket for Newswatch 16, so there is rarely a need for me to head west from the home office.  The Williamsport area is lovely, even in the middle of the night, and I jumped at the opportunity to visit an area I hadn't seen in a while.  It changed quite a bit from the last time I parachuted in.

Above and beyond, it was a great story-- a midnight high school football practice, a first for our area.  I loved the opportunity to get my teeth into something new and different.

As long as I've been in the business, I'm always amazed that so many people really don't have an understanding of how it works.  That's okay.  Put me in another type of work, and it would take me a while to get up to speed.  We are a 24/7 operation.  Yes, it's still mysterious to some, but getting a story on the air can be a long process-- travel, photographing, interviewing, writing, editing, adding graphics...  There are times I still don't get how the magic happens.

Thanks for tuning in.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Andy's Angles: Moonlight Feels Right

I just have to take another look at this one, mainly because I let some Talkback callers get to me.

To get you up to speed, the Williamsport Area Millionaires held a midnight practice Monday morning, the first possible second the team was allowed to practice in full pads.  Some Talkback callers thought it was absurd.

Yes, the players are kids-- but they're not babies.  Staying up late is nothing new.

A midnight practice was a novelty, and the players appeared to be having a great time.  I didn't hear one complaint from the kids, or the parents and fans in the stands.  Practicing anything can be repetitive and boring.  This was a novelty, and the TV cameras were there.  No one had issues with the publicity.

As much as he said he wasn't sending a message to opponents, I think that's what Charles Crews had in mind when he arranged the midnight practice.  The Millionaires are ready for the new season, and they will fight to improve last year's 7 and 4 record.  There is nothing wrong with that.

As I write this, the Little League World Series is getting underway in South Williamsport.  Organizers take great lengths to make sure the kids are happy, healthy, safe and cared for.  I don't hear anyone complaining about the long and grueling season these tykes endure.
So where do we go from here?  Williamsport Area was one of two school district holding a midnight practice.  West Middlesex in Mercer County was the other.  I can see other school districts doing this, and I also see the PIAA stepping into halt the fun, probably limiting practices to the hours from 7 am to 10 pm, or something like that.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Andy's Angles: After the Flood

We are coming off yet another round of flooding in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.  Above is a Wednesday morning shot of the Susquehanna River at Pittston, looking downstream toward Wilkes-Barre.  Thankfully, only minor issues reported with the Susquehanna.  The big problems were at creeks and streams.

Parts of our area got hammered and that is an understatement.

We heard victims clamoring for help, and I totally understand.  One suggested solution is dredging.  Forget that.  The concept is passe.  It's expensive and it sends mud downstream, negatively affecting fish and other creatures in the water.  The environmentalists would be up in arms, and I understand that, too.

Flood walls?  Possibly.  Buying out home and business owners in the flood plains?  That's possible, too.  Building along waterways was the way to go, a long time ago.  It's no longer necessary, and it hasn't been so for a hundred years, maybe more.

There is one thought I cannot get out of my mind.  There isn't much you can do to protect yourself when it rains 7, 8, 9 inches-- or more, on top of saturated ground.

Friday, August 17, 2018

PBJ

It was great seeing Rock 107's Prospector on the air with Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey yesterday morning.  Rock 107, along with Gerrity's Supermarkets is collecting donations for local food pantries  The drive continues today.  Please, help if you can.  Prospector is a great guy, and this is an exceptionally worthy cause.

It reminds me of something similar in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I wish someone around here would try it.  Every summer, WBT radio does something called "Peanut Butter and July."  July sounds like jelly, get it?  By the way, the afternoon guy on WBT is John Hancock, who I worked with at WARM back in the mid 80's.

It works like this.  WBT teams with a supermarket chain to encourage people to buy jars of peanut butter, and drop them off in a bin before you leave the store.  The peanut butter goes to Charlotte area food pantries.

Why peanut butter?  It's a good source of protein and kids love it.  It's not a perfect food, but the plusses outweigh the minuses.  It keeps fed during the summer.  It's also good for breakfast and lunches when classes resume.

I'm a fan of the product, crunchy, please-- and the concept.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Summer Doldrums

It didn't happen this year.

There's a phenomenon in the news business.  Different people call it different things.  I refer to it as the "Summer Doldrums."  Things slow down quite a bit.  The kids are out of school.  No high school sports.  Politics doesn't pick up until after Labor Day.  Government and the courts slow down.  Vacations...  You get the idea.

This year, and this summer have been non stop activity, including some horrible weather, a presidential visit, the Catholic Church grand jury report, an up tick in crime, an assortment of fires, construction, the Little League World Series is starting,  the incredible journey of the Tunkhannock girls softball team, and so on.

I never complain about the Summer Doldrums.  There is always more than enough to keep us busy.  This year, the news cycle has been kicked up a notch, and not just on the local level.

Ronald Reagan spent most of his quiet  summers at his ranch in Santa Barbara.  Bush 41 went to Kennebunkport, Clinton summered in Massachusetts.  Bush 43 headed to the ranch in Texas.  Obama was another who loved New England.  Even though President Trump is hanging out at his resorts in Florida and New Jersey, he is still making plenty of news.  That is probably the new normal. 

If that wasn't enough...  Hawaiians are running from lava.  California is burning up.  The Thailand cave rescue, Genoa bridge collapse...

It will only get busier as we head in to the fall.  High school football is back.  Schools, colleges and universities start fall semesters, the Bloomsburg fair, the election, courts and government become more active.  While September and October are known as dry months, we have been hit by some nasty hurricanes and tropical storms during those months.

We didn't get a breather in the summer of 2018, and that's okay.  My heart goes out to those who have suffered losses during the flash flooding, and I'll write more about that in the days to come.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

First Person: Another FloodWatch

My fate was decided before I hit the door yesterday morning.  Sarah Buynovsky would handle the flood reports from the west.  Ryan Leckey described the issues to the south.  I had Lackawanna County.

That's photographer Jason you see above-- getting video of the rain swollen Lackawanna River and a broken up Lonesome Road in Old Forge.
We were live during Newswatch 16 This Morning, and then we set out to see what we could see.  Jason and I visited a few different locations.  We went back to the office so I could write, but a story like this essentially writes itself.  Show me the flooding and don't get in the way.  Editor Brittany matched pictures to words, and we were off and running.

We've all been through flooding before.  This area suffered through a succession of hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years.  However, I cannot remember a summer filled with such awful weather.

We are half way to a new month.  Maybe there will be better luck in September.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It Bites!

Most of my Monday morning was spent in Williamsport, where the Millionaires football team held a midnight practice.  I'll write more about that in the days to come.

Photographer Jason and I had to make one stop on the way back.  As Jason was shooting video of a Fire Police roadblock near Montoursville, I got out of the car to look around.  The word quickly spread around the neighborhood.  Fresh meat.  My welcoming committee was comprised of some of the nastiest mosquitoes around.  At least six bites in just a few minutes!

I've read that, thanks to the wet weather, this is a banner year for mosquitoes.  Believe me, I have first hand knowledge.  I grabbed an antihistamine out of my work bag, and popped a couple on the way back to the office.  There is some bite relief wipes in the newsroom medicine cabinet, so I made it through my shift without massive red bumps showing on television.

We need mosquitoes.  They're bird food.  But, either the birds are slacking off at the bug buffet this year, or there are simply too many mosquitoes to handle.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Unfinished Business



REVISITING EARLIER TOPICS...

I'm really tired over this NFL protest stuff.  I get what the players are trying to do and I respect that.  I think there's a better way to do it.  The league is coming off as confused and impotent.  the regular season begins in less than a month.  Fix this!

I could take the daytime heat and humidity if it cooled off at night.  It's not happening.  There is no time to rest, cool down and refresh.  It's only a few more weeks.  Fall is rapidly approaching.

I used to cover high school football on a regular basis, so it was nice to check in at a high school football practice and do a story.  Valley View's organization impressed me.

A while back, I complained about a local newspaper's lousy circulation.  It has improved in recent days.  It could be the paper is easier to cart around because it seems smaller every day.

14 teams in the International League, and the SWB Railriders are 10th in attendance.  Still, an average of 5,900 per game is nothing to sneeze at, and the weather has been awful this summer.  On top of that, the team has hovered around the .500 mark all season.

Political ads are starting earlier this year.  Less than 90 days until the midterms.  Understatement of the year:  It should be interesting.

More attempts at humorous obituaries have been popping up in local newspapers.  I'm sorry.  I just find those things in bad taste.

Tiger Woods had a good weekend, but I don't think he'll ever win another major tournament.  While Tiger is improving, there are simply too many great golfers, ones better than Tiger,  out there.




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Andy's Angles: Flag

Who doesn't love a giant flag, waving in the breeze?

There is a new flag, in a shopping center, at the Scranton/Dickson City line.

There is one drawback.  With an enormous flag, it takes quite a breeze to get it unfurled.  I was lucky on a recent morning.
While traveling the other day, I realized you get a great view as you're on Interstate 81, between the Main Avenue and Business Route 6/North Scranton Expressway exits.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Andy's Angles: First Impression

I remember department store chain owner Al Boscov said one of the things that attracted him to Scranton was how easy it was to get downtown.  The North Scranton Expressway connects to Interstate 81 on one end, and the Central Scranton Expressway is at the other.

The shot you see above is along the Central Scranton Expressway, looking "outbound" toward the interstate.  It's a weedy, sloppy mess.  I don't know if the city or state, or both is responsible for the upkeep.

You get only one shot at a first impression, and this is it.  I do realize the expressway is under construction, but it really should be better than this.
And, on the other side, let's trim back the trees, just a little, so you can see the new buildings and the expansion at the University of Scranton.  The campus really looks great, and it will help us shed the old coal town image.

Looking on the bright side...  at least, the weeds hide the litter.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cowardice

I am a coward.

Let me back up several months.  One of my high school teachers and I were having our cars serviced.  As we hung out in the waiting room, the talk turned to teachers I liked, respected, and influenced me.  By the way, the teacher I was speaking with handled a course called "consumer economics."  It was one of the most valuable high school courses ever, and I understand my high school no longer offers it.

The talk turned to a pair of junior high school English teachers.  One has passed away.  The other is still with us, long since retired.  A friend knew I was thinking of calling this teacher to say "thank you."  A telephone number dropped in to my lap, and that led to a cell phone number.  The number sat on my desk for several days, as I tried to screw up the courage to make the call.

I finally dialed him up, while I was on vacation last week.  The cell phone was apparently turned off because the call went right to voice mail.  I rambled on for about a minute, explaining who I was and the reason for the call.

It would have been nice to chat for a moment, and perhaps I will try again, if I ever get another burst of courage.

At least, he was finally given a well deserved "thank you."  I'm sorry it was more than 40 years late.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

I Gave In

Now that they are no longer a fad, fidget spinners have really come down in price.  I've seen them for as cheap as $1, so I bought one to see what the big deal was all about.  As much as I hate to admit it, they are addictive, and my new little toy is a constant companion at my computer desk.


I've been reading tons about how plastic drinking straws are destroying the planet.  Once again, I gave in.  I went on-line and found a nice set of stainless steel drinking straws, complete with little bendy scrub brushes for cleaning the inside.  One straw is kept in my car.  The rest are in the house.  I should have gone with the reusable plastic.  The stainless steel will last forever, but I just don't like the feel.

Am I doing anything to save the planet?  Maybe.  Some dispute the research that purports to show the dangers of disposable plastic straws.

It can't hurt.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Finished!

I was very happy to turn the calendar page to August last week.  Average daily highs peaked back on August 3.  We're now dropping a degree every few days. Days are getting shorter.

I was actually done with summer weeks ago.  July hasn't been a good month for me in recent years.  If you really think about it, very few months have been consistently happy occasions.

It's just a case of growing weary of being in air conditioning all day and sweating profusely when I go outside.  I sleep better when it's dark and cold.  There are few better feelings than burrowing under heavy blankets on a chilly night.

I'm not looking forward to scraping windshields, sliding to work and standing in snow storms, but you take the good with the bad.

It's unfortunate that Mays and Septembers cannot last forever.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ScrappleWatch

The video of the damage from the western wildfires is sickening.  Entire neighborhoods destroyed.  It makes you feel so powerless.

Apple is now worth more than $1 trillion.  Are Apple products really that good?

President Trump packed 11,000 people in to the Wilkes-Barre Township arena last week.  As I said during the 2016 primaries, underestimate Mr. Trump's popularity at your own risk.

I don't get iced coffee.

I don't get hot coffee.

Less than one month left in the minor league baseball regular season, and less than two months left in the major league baseball regular season.  The summer has dragged.  Yet, it seems the baseball season, as always, has flown by.

Brookstone has filed for bankruptcy and is closing all of its stores.  There was one here, for a short time, inside the casino in Plains Township.  Visiting a mall store was always fun, and I still have a few products, including a great alarm clock, from the catalog.

Warner Brothers is considering making new "Alf" episodes.  Alf is one of tv's all time great characters.

Joe Buck has signed a three year extension with FOX Sports.  It's a good thing.

I've had a recent spike in Twitter followers and I can't figure out why.

It looks like there will be a tone of bridge repairs along Interstate 81 in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties next year.  The news is cringe worthy,  but 81 is a mess.  It needs the work.


It's amazing how much New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sounds just like his father.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Lou

Chances are, you didn't know Lou DeSantis, but I'm sure you knew his work.

Lou retired last week, after 36 years as a photographer at WBRE.  Lou was on the Scranton beat for many of those years, a great guy for the job.  He knew inch of the city, and I think he knew every Lackwanna County resident, including every police officer, firefighter, and public official.

Let me tell you a "Lou" thing.  He possesses a great curiosity and loves to ask questions.  He'll speak up during news conferences and during one-on-ones with reporters.  Here's an "inside TV" thing.  A photographer asking questions used to bother a lot of reporters.  They thought Lou was infringing on their territory, possibly showing them up.

Me?  I loved it!  I can't think of everything, and Lou's valuable experience helped put stories in context.  I appreciated it, way back when, and I encourage young photographers to ask away.  On top of that, it shows the photographer is "in" to the story and that always makes for a better piece.  Lou never needed motivation.  It was always there.

I spoke with Lou on the phone last week.  He sounded great, in spite of a recent health scare.

Lou, enjoy your retirement, and thank you for everything.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Andy's Angles: A Mount Carmel Thing

I'm sure it happens in other places, but Mount Carmel has made it famous.  Dozens of homes have rain gutters that go over the sidewalk and empty over the curb.

Don't ask me how it got started.  A Google search didn't turn up anything.  I'm sure it helps keep basements dry by channeling rain water far away from the foundations.  As you can see, most homes are right on the sidewalk and without front yards.

It also prevents melting snow from turning in to sidewalk ice.

While it makes sense on some levels, it really is a bizarre sight.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

About the Cover: Jessup Fountain

I've always liked fountains, and I understand why there aren't more of them.  They can be expensive and require a lot of maintenance.  I remember the days when the Wyoming Valley and Viewmont malls had fountains at center court.  At Viewmont, they rarely worked.  Wyoming Valley's always seemed to be in good shape.  Then, there came a day when mall management realized they could lease the space for kiosks and carts.  Yes, there was a time when businesses clamored to get in to malls.

Anyway, this is the Fountain of the Immigrants along Church Street in Jessup.  The fountain resembles one in Gubbio, Italy-- the only other place in the world where St. Ubaldo Day is celebrated.

The fountain cost $6,000 and community donations helped make it happen.  At nearly ten years old, the fountain still looks and sounds great.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Let's Review

My second vacation week of the year is just about in the books, so let's review the highlights.

It was the usual fare of bike rides, gym visits, a little photography, some reading and a lot of sleeping.

I managed to annoy a couple of people who didn't deserve it, and I am exceptionally sorry about that.

In other words, it was nothing out of the ordinary.

It's time to go back to work, and I'm ready.  Thanks to Stacy Lange for filling in last weekend.  A 10 hour overnight shift can be tough if you're not used to it.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Book Review

It's been well established here that I love game shows from the 60's and 70's, so reading the book you see above was a natural.  The author was the producer of the original NBC version of "Concentration," Norm Blumenthal.

The first half of the book was great, with tales of the early days of live TV-- the sets, the lights, the props, the big mechanical (and often malfunctioning) game board.

The book then delves into the changes the industry weathered-- going to videotape, competition from big prize and flashier shows, etc.  Blumenthal peters out toward the end, with lengthy paragraphs on how to be a good contestant and what producers look for.

He does name names, but only in a good way.  Blumenthal does talk about bad shows, bad producers, and bad hosts-- but he leaves their names out.  I didn't have a major problem with that.  Many aren't around to defend themselves, and his descriptions give readers a solid idea of what was happening.

A big thumbs up-- but only if you like the genre.  The rest of you might be a little bored.

While I'm yammering about game shows again, please let me note the recent passing of Howard Felsher.   He helped fix the 50's version of "Tic Tac Dough."  Felsher went on to produce several other game shows, including the Richard Dawson hosted "Family Feud."  Howard Felsher was 90 years old.





Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In Memoriam

There were two passings last month I should note, and I'm sorry it's taken so long.

One is Adrian Cronauer.  Robin Williams based his character on Cronauer in "Good Morning Vietnam."  There was nothing anyone could do to make the war in Vietnam tolerable, but it's apparent Cronauer's morning disc jockey work, based in Saigon, helped a little.

An old public television documentary about WARM had a segment about a family sending tapes of the radio station to a soldier stationed in the far east, during the Vietnam War.  Cronauer's work filled a similar void for thousands of others.

Ann Cullen died last month in California at the age of 90.  She was married to game show great Bill Cullen from 1954, until his death in 1990.  Mrs. Cullen appeared with Bill on "Tattletales" during the 70's and 80's.  She was as witty as her husband.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Smoke Free

 It's now illegal to smoke in federal public housing.  Don't ask me how this will be enforced, but that's another story for another time.

Mixed feelings.

You should do as you please in your own home, as long as you're not hurting anyone, but in this case, you're only renting.  Smoking is not only dangerous, it increases maintenance costs, and we all pay for the upkeep of public housing.

Once again, the USA and Pennsylvania are a study in inconsistencies.  You can't smoke in your own home, but you can smoke in casinos, certain bars and private clubs-- where others are exposed to second hand smoke, a proven danger.  You have to wear a seat belt in a car, but you can ride without a helmet on a motorcycle.

You can now get your hands on larger fireworks, because the state needs the tax money.  More and more states are legalizing recreational marijuana, as states drop the legal blood alcohol limit.

I don't get it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Road Rage

I thank heaven...

a.  my ride to work is a short one

b.  I do most of my driving in the middle of the night, when the roads are empty

A return from a story last week involved a nearly two hour drive.

Holy cow!

In spite of patching and repaving, Interstate 81 through Schuylkill, Luzerne and Lackawanna counties is generally a pothole and rut filled mess.  It's an embarrassment, and I really wonder what visitors/travelers think of us.  We spend a lot of time and effort trying to attract new business to the area.  What kind of impression do bad roads make?

Many drivers don't realize there is two lanes.  They jump in the passing lane and stay there.  Move over!

Turn signals?  What are those?

Cut drivers off.  I guess they never learned that margin of safety rule when weaving in and out of traffic.

Now that warehousing is our area's big industry, Interstate 81 really needs a third lane, a truck lane, especially climbing some hills on 81 North in Schuylkill County.

Many of the people driving campers and trailers have no business doing so.  They can't handle it and were weaving all over the road.

Some nitwits still don't follow the "wipers on, lights on" rule.

And don't get me started on the price of gasoline.

I really used to enjoy getting behind the wheel and doing aimless wandering.  Forget that!.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Another View

Yesterday, I showed you the front of the Anthracite Steam Fire Company on North Market Street in Mount Carmel.  This is the back of the building.  A porch looking out onto a park, with amazing details on the building.

I just could imagine what happened here when Mount Carmel had a larger population, and all the uses for the building and the park.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fire Hall

My travels this week took me to Mount Carmel in Northumberland County, and that means I got a chance to see one of the neatest fire company buildings ever-- the Anthracite Steam Fire Company on North Market Street.

I really should have snapped a photo when the neon sign was lit, but I waited until daylight, so you could see the historic detail.  Driving past is always a highlight during my rare visits to this part of our area.

A little more tomorrow.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Vacation

Sleeping Homer is back, and that always means another vacation week.

Strangely, I'm really not all that tired, but if someone is going to pay me to do nothing, I'm not going to refuse the offer.

As always, vacation plans include a little biking, a little gym, a few errands, maybe some photography and a lot of rest.

The weekend morning broadcasts are in the very capable hands of Stacy Lange and Scott Stuccio.  Valerie Smock is also off this weekend.  Coincidence.

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

First Person: FloodWatch

I was just finishing up some duties in the WNEP newsroom early Monday morning when the phones, e-mails, and social media started blowing up.  Hours of steady rain was causing flooding in the Tremont and Pine Grove areas.

Photographer Lou was called in early.  He arrived at the station in minutes, and we were soon on our way south on Interstate 81.  Scenes like you see above were not uncommon.  Half of Pine grove was under water because of an overflowing Swatara Creek.  The rest was swamped by water running down from the mountains.

We drove as far as we could, and then it was a long walk to where the real action was.  Thankfully, a Newswatch 16 fan in a high clearance pick up truck spotted Lou and I.  He drove us to where we needed to go.  He also waited until we had done some interviews and gathered additional video-- and he drove us back to our car.
I had most of the story written in my head during the drive back.  It was then time to bang out a script on my laptop and transmit it back to the station.  It didn't take long.  Let the pictures tell the story, and what a story it was.  After writing and approval from producer Teresa, I recorded what they call the voice track and handed everything over to photographer Lou, who edited on a laptop in the back seat of the car.  Lou finished, and the video was transmitted back to the station for airing on Newswatch 16 at Noon.  By the way, it was amazing to watch Lou squish himself in to the back seat of the car to edit on the laptop.  When you factor in his photographer gear, my equipment bags, assorted rain gear and other stuff, there wasn't much room.  I should also point out that I'm thrilled management has invested in the equipment that makes shoots like this ridiculously easy.  In the old days, you'd need an extra truck and the person to run it.  Now, it's a laptop and internet access.

While Lou edited, I exited the car for a cold bottle of diet cola.  I really wasn't all that thirsty.  I just wanted something cold to put on my numerous mosquito bites.  The critters love heat and humidity, and I was a tasty target.  Considering people were losing their homes, a few bug bites, in the greater scheme of things, were incredibly minor.

By now, the water was receding a bit.  Roads that were impassable were now open.  We found a place to do our noon live shot.
I introduced the taped piece, and right in the middle, it started to rain.  Actually, rain is an understatement.  It poured.  It was like standing in the shower at home.  The water was warm, and it wasn't stopping.

After the noon report, I was replaced by Newswatch 16's Jessica Albert, and I headed north on Interstate 81.  More on that journey in a future blog entry.

Part of what we do is finding problems.  The other part is looking at solutions.  Pine Grove has been flooded many times before.  It's a pretty little town.  Dredge the creek?  Move people away from the water?  I'm not sure.  The state has allocated $3 million to try to fix the problem, but I don't know what you can do to prevent days and days of rain.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Strike

I think I was in Stanton lanes twice in my life.  Yet, I was saddened to hear the bowling lanes in Wilkes-Barre closed last week.

I grew up a couple of miles away from a place called MBC Lanes, and there were frequent visits during my junior and senior high school years.  MBC closed years ago.  It was a great place.  Bowling, pool tables, pinball machines...  I can still smell the lane dressing, can still hear the ding of the pinball machines, the crash of ball into pins.  It was a fun and cheap way to spend an afternoon or evening.

Was I any good?  No, not really.  I think I topped out at 165.  Not bad.  I was usually a little under that.  The key was finding a good house ball, and that was difficult.  I should have invested in one of my own.

Comedian Robert Klein had the best line on renting shoes.  He said it was "like renting a Kleenex."

I hesitate to say this, but I was a regular viewer of the old Professional Bowlers Tour on ABC.  It was there, every early Saturday afternoon.  Chris Schenkel and Nelson Burton, Jr. took the sport so seriously, and it was the same big names on the screen every weekend-- usually including the great Earl Anthony.   I can't say it was enjoyable.  Too many strikes.  Those guys were too good.  it was monotonous. 

I tried my hand on a morning a few years ago.  Considering it had been the first time I picked up a ball in years, it was respectable.  Some guy was watching, and he asked if I wanted to join a morning league.  I was flattered, but I declined.  It was still fun, and even though it was a different bowling center, some of those familiar aromas remained.  Nostalgia.  One big thing had changed.  The price had really gone up, but the house balls were better.

The bug has been planted.  Luckily, there is some choice when it comes to bowling centers around me-- Dickson City, Carbondale, South Scranton, Exeter.  I might have to give it another shot, for old times sake.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Media Notes

First up, a lot of people have been asking me about a situation I really know nothing about.  Management has kept us in the loop, but much of that information has been posted in trade publications.  You can look it up on your own.  Anyway, I'll keep doing what I've always done-- show up for work every day and do my best.  The signature at the bottom of my check is almost irrelevant.

FOX gets a lot of heat for the way it does golf, but its graphics are outstanding.  You're  never left wondering about anything.  NBC/Golf Channel could take a lesson from them.

The British Open was an ABC property for many years, and I really miss the way Jim McKay and company could set a scene.

One of the Scranton AM all sports stations now has an FM translator.  It improves the signal north of the city.  It's not bad in the city and the mid valley.

Several competitors to Netflix are popping up.  Sorry, not interested in the original or the newbies.

Published reports say ESPN is trying to fix its morning show.  I don't know.  I've never found any reason to watch, and that's the problem.

It looks like the early part of the NFL season will be overshadowed by national anthem protests and penalties.  Enough, already.

Remember what a big deal it used to be, to see a local radio DJ broadcasting live from store or festival?  What happened to that?

CNN has been running its "decades" documentaries during overnights.  Great stuff!

Sara Haines and Michael Strahan will host the new third Good Morning America (or Good Afternoon America) this fall.

The New York Daily News fired half of its editorial staff yesterday.  I'm not a fan of cutting your way to profitability.  How is that working for Sears/KMart?  But, when you are losing $ 30 million a year, your options are severely limited.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Up In Smoke

Legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in Pennsylvania could generate more than $580 million in tax revenue for the state, said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in a report issued Thursday morning.
“Pennsylvania’s budget challenges are now a consistent factor in all state policy decisions,” said DePasquale, a Democrat. “Taxing marijuana offers a rare glimmer of fiscal hope, providing a way to refocus the state budget process away from filling its own gaps.”
Next year, the state could face a shortfall of close to $1 billion, he said in an interview.
The paragraphs above are from a Philadelphia Inquirer story last week.  I'm not getting into an opinion here, but here is what bothers me.  It seems the push to legalize recreational marijuana is not based on whether it's a good idea.  It's because the state is broke.  There is a problem here.

We saw similar philosophies in the liquor, gambling, lottery and firworks expansions.  The first question isn't "Is this good government?"  It's "How much can we make from this?"

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Fountain

I know they can be expensive and high maintenance, but doesn't a fountain make everything better?

This is one is in the park across from the Wayne County Courthouse in Honesdale.

No matter how awful you feel, a few minutes staring at a fountain helps put you in a better mood.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Andy's Angles: Time Flies

This is the beautiful park across from the Wayne County Courthouse in Honesdale.  The shot you see above was taken in late June.

Below, the same park, from a snowy morning in late March.  It seems like yesterday.





Friday, July 20, 2018

I Promise This Time, I Think

Apologies in advance.  Here comes another tedious blog entry on bicycle riding.

I've said it before.  I'll set a record, and then say "I proved my point.  I will settle back to a comfortable mileage, but still get a good work out."

Last week, I hit 23 and said "That's it."

I just can't help myself.  I pedaled for three hours and 31 miles yesterday morning.  Part of the key was finding a way to make it from my home to downtown Scranton without tackling any major hills.  Mission accomplished.  After tooling around downtown Scranton, I swung onto Main and up in to the mid valley, and then back home.

I was in pain when I finished but as many say, it was a good kind of pain.

Organized sports were never my thing.  Never ever.  Biking is a great way to get some exercise, and if you go early enough, it provides for some alone time.  Quiet time.  Think time.  I have a better understanding for the athlete's mentality-- always pushing for a little more.  By the way, I am NOT a serious athlete.  No Tour de France.  Maybe Tour de Olyphant.

The 31.28 record will stand for a while, I think.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

I'm Tired of It

A new study came out.  Vitamin pills, tablets, capsules, etc. really don't do anything for you.

A former doctor, who passed away several years ago, once told me to take a daily multi and advised to buy the cheapest one, because they were all the same.  This is the same doctor, who I really liked, that diagnosed me with a severe vitamin D deficiency.  I was on prescription supplements for a while, and I eventually stopped taking them.

I should add that a recent check up gave me a clean bill of health.  Results of my blood work showed everything is generally where it is supposed to be.

I do pop a zinc once in a while.  Read up on it.  It's supposed to do a lot of good, and I haven't used a sick day in nearly two years.  I do a Berocca most mornings.  It's a fizzy tablet you drop in to water.  Vitamins, minerals, and some caffeine.  It's a nice little pick me up.  I don't drink coffee.

I do carry around those little 5 Hour Energy bottles, but those are for special occasions.

I guess the key to it all is to eat a balanced diet, but seriously, who has the time for that?  I assume I'm not alone because of the way the vitamin supplement industry has taken off in recent decades.

Maybe, one of these days, the science and nutrition people will get it right.  Take eggs, for example.  At one time, they were great for you, then they were poison.  Now, it's something in the middle.  The great Julia Child had it right.  She preached the philosophy of "everything in moderation."

I hope science will come up with a vitamin supplement that actually works.  But, really, why bother?  Americans are already gladly spelling billions on things that are just a waste of money.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Does It Really Work?: Shaving Pods

I'm a sucker for anything new, especially when it comes to shaving, because I hate it so much.

I stumbled upon this on Amazon.com

Shaving cream pods.  It's like those laundry detergent pods, only with shaving cream inside.
You wet your hand, and the plastic bag dissolves, leaving you with plenty of shaving cream.  Yes, they do work-- but not significantly better or worse than any of the gels that come out of a can.  Not much of a fragrance.  That can be good or bad.
 Most Amazon reviews were very positive.

The manufacturer touts it as good for travelers.  I'm not so sure.  The pods seem rather delicate, and a gentle squeeze could create a mess.

$ 12.89 for 40 pods.  I guess they make sense for some people.  I don't think will be a re-order.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

All Star Night

The Major League Baseball All Star Game was one of my summer highlights.

It hasn't been that way in years.

The reason:  TV.

The All Star Game used to be the place to see players from west coast teams, guys we rarely saw.  This is Phillies and Yankees territory.  Seeing a Royal, Astro, Giant, Padre or Angel was a treat.

Now, if you pay for it, you can see every game, every night.  I don't, but I regularly watch the MLB Network morning highlight program, which is one of the better sports TV shows.

All Star ratings have dwindled over the years.  I get that.  More stations, more choice, more competition.  We've become an NFL nation.

Thankfully, that gimmick of winning league getting World Series home field advantage is over.  bad move to start it.  Better move in getting rid of it.

There is a yearly situation and I will use Washington's Bryce Harper as an example.  Big name.  Great hitter.  Fans want to see him.  Unfortunately, Harper is having an awful 2018.  I'm inclined to say Harper is a fan favorite, it's the fans' game, so he should be on the team.  On the other hand, if a weak hitting Harper is on the All Star team, it denies someone else a shot.

Will I watch tonight?  Maybe.  If I'm up and around a television.  If not, I'll catch the highlights tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Scrapple

I had the oddest craving for Cheetos last week-- the crunchy kind, not the puffy variety, and that never happens  The urge hit while I was at work.  Fate smiled on me, and there was one bag left in the WNEP vending machine.

Sometimes, I really wonder if some radio programmers listen to their own stations.  I've been hearing a rash of sloppy execution lately, especially during the top of the hour network newscasts.

Advances in LED lighting technology are great, but I still think they make lousy street lights-- unless your town invests in the really big ones.

I've been using my smart watch on my little bike trips for a few months now.  I'm still fascinated by how it works-- and my model isn't even high end.

This is kind of "inside baseball," but remember that old saying that "money goes to money?"  It has been especially true in recent days.

Why does the first half of the month go by more quickly than the second half?

Any list of underrated sings needs to include "Vienna" by Billy Joel.

Why is Camp Bisco tolerated?

I was watching a professional golf tournament on TV the other day, and I had no idea who those people were.

Is the World Cup over yet?

Scranton City Hall needs $ 8 million in repairs.  The building is a gem.  There are no other options.

If you get a chance, go to YouTube and watch some of the interviews with David Brinkley.  He talks about the Nixon years.  Nixon didn't like the media, and reporters really didn't like Nixon.  Brinkley said the media's job is not to love or hate.  It's to report what happens.  We've lost sight of that.

I'm about done with summer.

My weekend highlight was ordering shredder lubricating sheets.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Cathedral

It is the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Scranton.  This is a recent pre dawn shot of St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton.  The church is closed for renovations.  It's scheduled to reopen in the fall.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Andy's Angles: Stained

I try to avoid things religious here, but occasionally something catches my eye.  I was doing a story in front of St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton on a recent morning, and I really liked the way the light came through the huge stained glass window in the front.

Friday, July 13, 2018

I Want One!

This was unveiled this week at a trade show in Germany called Eurobike.  It is a chainless bicycle that uses 21 ceramic bearings to transfer power.  The bike is said to be so efficient that 99 per cent of the pedaling effort goes to moving the bike forward.

It's only a prototype.  No one knows if it will ever make it to market.  If it does, I'm guessing it will be enormously expensive and I'll be dead before the price comes down.

It was a good week for me and my six year old bike.  Two rides.  41 miles total, including moving in to some new territory.  Sore leg muscles, but a great feeling overall.