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Monday, December 31, 2018

Top Ten: Flash Flooding


As the tenth year of Top Ten photographs comes to a close, remember the criteria.  The photos you see here are not necessarily the most pretty, but rather the ones that are have some significance to me.  I hate to end the year with a sad situation, but here it is.
The photo above is Swatara Creek invading Pine Grove Township in late July.

Below is the damage left behind when the Lackawanna River swamped Lonesome Road in Old Forge in Mid August.  Photographer Jason is walking the center line.
It was a horrible summer.  Some places received inches of water in a single day.  There were more cloudy and rainy days than sunny ones.  Humidity was oppressive.  It was great weather for mosquitoes, and I had the bites to prove it.

I have mixed feelings on this next part.  One one hand, the government has failed its citizens, especially in Pine Grove.  Those poor people have been flooded again, and again, and again.  The governor showed up to shake some hands in an election year.  Solutions?  Nope.  Nothing.

On the other hand, what can you do if you live relatively close to water, and you get inches of rain in hours?

It's nearly the end of the year, so I hope the recovery has made tremendous progress by now.  2018 was yet another year when we learned nature always wins.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Top Ten: Lutherwood

This photo was taken the morning of April 16th.

WNEP photographer Erich and I were on our way to another story, when assignment editor Mary diverted  us here.  We didn't expect much.  It was a shocking surprise when we turned the corner.

It was a chilly, windy, and rainy morning.  A pre dawn gust of wind ripped the roof off Lutherwood apartments on Lake Scranton Road in Scranton.  120 people inside.  None were hurt.

It was an amazing sight.  Not only was the roof dangling off the six story building, the parking lot was littered with insulation and particle board.  You can even see debris stuck in the tree at the center of the photo.

Residents went with friends and relatives.  Some stayed in a shelter for days.

It's a miracle this wasn't worse.

By the way, you might have noticed there are no June Wilkes-Barre Township tornado photos here.  It's the downside of having a large and exceptionally capable staff.  The tornado hit on one of my days off, and the people we had on duty at the time covered it in a spectacular fashion.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Top Ten: Pottsville



OK.  This one is cheating a tiny bit.  It was taken in the last minutes of 2017.

My New Year's Eve assignment was in Pottsville, where a giant Yuengling Lager bottle was hoisted to the top of a flag pole in Garfield Square.  The bottle is at the top of the pole in this photo.  That blast of light at the bottom is an LED sign that ticked down the seconds until midnight.

If you remember, temperatures were in the single digits as the area was in the middle of a prolonged cold snap.  Many communities canceled outdoor events on New Year's Eve.  Not Pottsville!  People arrived late and left early-- but they still came out to watch the bottle raising.

This was my first time working with WNEP photographer Faye, and it was great fun.

I had a great time, and it was a wonderful way to start 2018.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Top Ten: Trio

It is not a coincidence that this photo appears on my birthday.  It's special for a few reasons, and here it goes.

Mindi Ramsey took this one back in November.  Mindi on one side, Joe on the other, annoying me as I was helping run the WNEP assignment desk.  Joe is holding Eggenezer Scrooge and Christmas Piggy.  The rubber chicken was purchased at Green Ridge News in Scranton, and yes, Joe really did pay me back.  Christmas Piggy was an anonymous gift.  Thank you, to that person, wherever you are.  I've been in broadcasting for a long, long time, and I am still touched by the kindness of strangers.

Someone was recently asking me about my closest friends at the office.  I am flanked by two of them, and I am lucky to have them as part of the "inner circle."  Mindi has been great from day one.  Joe and I took a little time to get on the same page.  The woman you see just over my head is Teresa the producer, one of the sharpest I've ever been associated with.  It's a pleasure to anchor one of her broadcasts.  There are a few others in that inner circle, and I am thankful for all of them.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Top Ten: Demolition

Parts of the old Scranton Scranton Lace complex were torn down, in a project that began in late June.  This is the exposed guts in one of the buildings.  Some buildings will go.  There will be a very expensive effort to save the rest.  The goal is to turn it into artists' space and apartments.

I hope it works.

This is an enormous part of our area's history.  It deserves to be saved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Top Ten: Snowy George

It's a statue at North Washington and Linden in Scranton that you sort of take for granted.

An early February dusting of snow gave it a new dimension.

I don't like snow.  It kills your mobility and it can be very dangerous.

On the other hand, it sure does make things look nice, especially just before sunrise.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Standard procedure:  The Top Ten countdown takes a one day break for Christmas.

Expectations are so high.  People work so hard.  Please, just take a moment to breathe, reflect, and remember what the day is all about.

I hope you, your family, and friends have a great holiday.  Thank you reading the blog.

 Above is the nativity scene at the University of Scranton.

The Top Ten Photos of 2018 countdown returns tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Top Ten: Marywood

This year, in May, marked the 35th anniversary of my Marywood College, now Marywood University, graduation.

I wandered around campus during my April vacation.  The place has changed quite a bit, but the essential elements remain-- and it's a very nice campus.

I do have the opportunity to walk around on occasion.  35 years have passed in the blink of an eye.

There is so much emphasis these days on STEM, science, technology, engineering and math.  I get that.  You do need those skills to get a job.  On the other hand, and it took me a while to get there, I'm proud to have attended a liberal arts college.  All those STEM skills are worthless unless you have the ability to write and communicate.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Top Ten: JFK

Last month was the 55th anniversary of the JFK assassination.  I was 23 months old at the time, so clearly, I do not remember it.

It still fascinates me.  Cable documentaries turn up all the time, not just around the murder anniversary.  I have a hard time turning away.  I see that even though a big part of me wishes the Kennedys would just be left alone and not be constantly bothered.

Conspiracy theory?  I doubt it.  Something should have leaked by know.  I do believe there are still many unanswered questions.

Above is a picture of the Pittston Kennedy statue, shot in mid January.  They did a nice job with this one.  My only tiff, and it's a minor one, is the location.  I know it's meant to greet people traveling over the Water Street Bridge from West Pittston, but the statue is at the corner of a rather unattractive parking lot.  A little landscaping would go a long way.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Top Ten: Joe

This picture, obviously, was taken by someone else.  In this case, it was photographer Dave Jones.

Meteorologist Joe Snedeker and I were sharing a lighter moment in the WNEP weather office just before a nor'easter was due to hit back in early March.

Joe and I did not share an instant chemistry.  It developed over time.  My desk is fairly close to the weather office, so when I need a break or a laugh, relief is just steps away.  As I write this, I think of how lucky I have been over the years.  The broadcasting business attracts some great people (and some horrible ones, too).  Many of them are close by to brighten my day.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Top Ten: Milestone

This one really isn't a picture.  It's a screen grab.

Regular blog readers have seen my endless entries on biking.  I bought my bike six years ago, and have been having a great time ever since-- as long as it's over 50 degrees.

This year was a little different.  I treated myself to a smart watch last Christmas, and I used it several times.  The watch was the inspiration for varying my routes and staying in the saddle a little longer.  I was surprised at how much I liked it.

The weather was lousy this year, so I rode fewer times, but for longer distances.  Above, you see the record-- 31.3 miles in July.

My legs are still sore.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018 Top Ten

It's that time of year, a look back at my favorite photos of the year.  This is the Top Ten's 10th anniversary.   It's a great opportunity to review, reflect, and reminisce.  It also provides me a bit of a holiday season break.  I'll load up the list, and take a little time off to enjoy the season and get some rest.

The feature has evolved a bit over the years.  There are some photos here taken by others, and many are come from smart phone cameras.

I always enjoy doing it.  I hope you enjoy taking a look.  The list starts at midnight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Valerie

My top ten blog photo countdown, the tenth annual, gets rolling in a couple of days, but there is one photo that really needs a little attention of its own.

My partner on the weekend morning broadcasts for nearly twenty years, Noreen Clark retired in April.  I miss her enthusiasm and her ability to wake up a room.  I do hope she is having a fun and leisurely life away from TV.

This is a screen grab from Valerie Smock's first day at WNEP.  It's been a good fit. Valerie is easy to work with and has a nice informative style.  Plus, she was very patient with me, as I called her "Noreen" for our first month together.

Thank you for twenty years, Noreen.  Thank you for a smooth transition, Valerie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fruitcake

I was going to do a holiday themed Scrapple, but Scrapple doesn't seem Christmassy.  For one day only, welcome to "Fruitcake."

By the way, I do like fruitcake.  I admit that freely.

I can watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" endlessly.

"A Christmas Story" was cute.  Once.

Those stop motion animation Christmas specials always creeped me out.

I still enjoy listening to Bob and Doug McKenzie's "!2 Days of Christmas."

I don't care if I never hear "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" again.  It came on the car radio yesterday morning and my finger couldn't hit the dial fast enough.

David Letterman did an outstanding Christmas show every year, and I am thankful clips exist on YouTube-- especially Darlene Love's music.

I marvel at the efficiency of the US Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, Amazon and Chewy.

I've never finished an entire candy cane, even though I like peppermint.

I don't send any, and I receive very few, but Christmas cards are still a treat.

My first TV boss, the guy who hired me, the guy who gave me a chance, sent a card and a letter this year.  I have been blessed by finding people who believed in me throughout my career.

I had to do a little shopping yesterday.  It was a crash and burn expedition, and I'm sorry I didn't have time to savor the season.  Maybe this week, I can relax and walk around because my tasks are complete.

"Wings" did some fine Christmas editions.  "Barney Miller" also had a few good ones.  The first "Scrubs" Christmas was excellent.

I am contractually spoken for, but I wouldn't mind doing a few hours around Christmas, on the radio somewhere.

It's not Christmas unless I eat my body weight in pepper cookies.

One cup of egg nog is enough to last me for the rest of the season.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Unfinished Monday

Last week's blog entry on working on Christmas seems to have generated a lot of interest and some comments.  As I learned in TV a long time ago, any story worth doing is worth over-doing, so here is a little more.

I consider myself exceptionally lucky because I always knew what I wanted to do.  I jumped at the request to work my first Christmas at WARM in 1981, even though a chimp could have done it.  It was a reel of Handel's Messiah at midnight followed by reel after reel after reel of taped Christmas music and religious program.  Yes, this was the time before hard drives and whiz bang automation.  Someone had to physically put the tapes on the machines, push "play" every half hour, and run a legal station identification at the top of the hour.  That someone was me.  It wasn't that different from what I was doing on weekend overnights, but it was a different day, more hours, and a little boost in the pay check.

I was all alone in the building in Avoca.  Little projects helped me pass the time-- reading the newspapers, keeping the newsroom neat and orderly, talking with other radio friends who were working at the time.  It wasn't all that bad.

I wasn't alone.  First responders, hospital workers, the people at the nearby airport, and a bunch of other people were also working.

I have long gone on record as saying that when you take a job in broadcasting, you have to know that holidays and some lousy hours are part of the package.  You don't have to like it.  You have the right to be miserable.

There will be people working next week who really didn't sign on for the holiday thing-- people working retail, food service, etc.  I hope your shifts are short and you don't have to spend a long time away from friends and family.

Radio was pretty much a solitary occupation, and as I noted, I had the building to myself.  Television is a little different.  There is usually someone else around.  Staffers bring in snacks and treats.  There is an occasional phone call from a viewer who just wants to wish a Merry Christmas to whoever answers the phone.  We might be strangers, but believe me, it does mean something.  Thank you.

The late Christmas Eve drive to work is one of my favorite parts of the holiday.  The roads are mostly empty.  It's eerily quiet.  Maybe I'll keep the car radio off to savor the silence.  I might twist in a Christmas song.  It is blessed desolation.

There has been a change in recent years.  The quiet would stretch in to the overnight hours.  Now, it's just another night-- accidents, assorted violence and domestics, people who have been doing too much drinking.   It makes me sad.  Thinking of the Linus speech from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" helps get me through the night.

By the way, I'm experimenting with a new "Unfinished Business" graphic.  First of all, as you might have noticed, I've finally discovered how to make a trapezoid with my old graphics maker program.  A construction worker builds things, and assembles things that aren't complete.  I think that makes it appropriate for "Unfinished Business."  Humor me, and have a Marry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Andy's Angles: Providence Square

Scranton is like most cities.  It's a collection of neighborhoods rather than one big place.

This is the Christmas tree on Providence Square-- Market St. and Main Ave.  It used to be a big commercial area.  There are still some businesses here, but not as many as there used to be.

The tree used to be in the triangle, near the yield sign in the center of the photo.  That changed when a clock was installed and the government had some issues with the tree blocking visibility.  For the last several years, the tree as been at the edge of a parking lot, just up West Market Street.

It's a great touch in one of Scranton's well known neighborhoods.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Andy's Angles: Tree Time

A shout out for the hometown crowd today...

This is the Christmas tree outside the Volunteer Hose Company on Dunmore Street in Throop.  Once again, It's another beautiful tree that hundreds can see on their drive up Dunmore Street.

Throop has come a long way in recent years.  The people at the fire hall do a first class job of dressing the place up for the holidays.  The same goes for the Sanderson St. and Charles St.-- site of the borough hall and the civic center.  Throop always lacked that town square, focal point thing.  It's no one's fault.  That's just the way the borough was laid out.  It doesn't have the train station like neighboring Olyphant, or that pretty park across from Carbondale city hall, or the train station, park and fountain in Jessup.

Efforts like the Volunteer Hose Company tree help cement that home town, small town feel.

Above is a screen grab of one of my favorite images from "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  Charlie Brown and Linus are walking across a snow covered and very quiet little town.  It always reminds me of how my friends and I would walk around town on evenings, just to look at everyone's lights.
Thanks for the tree, and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Christmas Letter

We've been down this road before, and it might be my toughest task of the holiday season.  It's a yearly thing that I write about here.  My college friend now living in California always sends me a Christmas card.  Inside is one of those family newsletters and a photo.  Many people hate those things.  I don't.  Seriously.  I love hearing what old friends are doing.

Here is the challenge.  My friend leads a fantastic life-- great family, great job, great vacations.  It's always a struggle to craft a response.  Submitted for your approval is the first draft.

Dear Sue:

Thank you for the card, letter and photo.  I can't believe it's been 35 years since we graduated from college.  I took a long walk around the campus in the spring.  While much if it has changed physically, the memories are still there and still very much alive.

I enjoyed hearing of the adventures of you and your family.  You guys get around quite a bit, and I envy that.

There are a few things new on my end.  I found a web site that has fantastic quality ties at a reasonable price.  I have a new favorite blanket.  I helped nurse a kitten found in our driveway, apparently mauled by a dog, back to health and she's quite the active little critter.

We installed a new phone system at work and my blog celebrated its 14th anniversary last month.

I haven't used a sick day in two years.

I've been increasing the distance of my bike rides, setting a record of 31.3 miles, on a humid summer morning.  I surprised myself with that one.

My camera still gives me great joy, but our weather this year has been awful-- very rainy.  That severely cut back on photographic expeditions.

The major purchase of the year was a new chair for my computer desk at home.  I even assembled it myself.

I reconnected with a few old friends, and it's been wonderful.  One relationship in particular has brought me more joy than anyone could imagine.

I hope the holiday season and 2019 bring you exceptional joy, health and happiness.

Your friend in Pennsylvania,

Andy.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday Scrapple


True to form, December is flying by, and I'm sure January will be its usual draggy month.

USA Today ran a story the other day about yogurt manufacturers want us to eat it all times of day-- not just breakfast.  Two problems.  It's reasonably priced at the supermarket, but mini marts, with the exception of one, gouge you for it.  Second, it takes four of those little cups to satisfy me.

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed one of my favorite players, Andrew McCutcheon.  Objectively, he's 32 and you have to wonder how much is left in the tank.

One advantage of Christmas approaching:  Pumpkin spice is out.  Peppermint is in.

Why did Crest stop making that vanilla toothpaste?  I liked it.  Apparently, it wasn't selling.  Options these days are limited to the mint family and cinnamon.  I do like cinnamon.

Note to US house members and senators:  At least you can pretend to be interested when you are emailed about an issue.

The Oakland Athletics are getting a new stadium, finally, in a few years.  It can't find a radio home.  The A's could follow some hockey teams and go right to streaming.

By the way, I've been reading about some big time body chopping in major radio markets.  It makes me sad.  All the owners are doing are pushing more people to satellite and streaming services.

Fascinating story out of the Poconos this week-- how can someone steal from a Toys for Tots bin?  Simply awful.

Bob Barker turned 95 yesterday.  He is one of the all time greats.

I've had Uber and Lyft loaded on my phone for months, and have never used either.

More Grinch references crept into radio and TV news this week.  It stopped being cute a long time ago.

I really get a kick out of seeing live Christmas trees tied to the tops of cars.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Enough!

It happens every year.  You would think I'd be able to deal with it by now.  I've tried.  I've really tried.  I can't.

I've written about it before, and it's time for a refresher course.

It deals with those who write radio and TV news.  Any time someone does something bad at this time of year, they are referred to as a "Grinch."  I've seen it a few times in recent days, in stories dealing with the theft of Christmas trees, holiday decorations, and packages left on front porches.

Stop!  Please!  It's trite and it's become a cliche.

Come on brethren.  We're better than this.

And before your fingers hit the keyboards to type G R I N C H one more time, think of this.  The Grinch was transformed into a nice guy at the end.  Porch pirates and decoration thieves, in real life, don't seem to be on the road to redemption.

Seasons Greetings!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

First Person: The Process



It's that time of year-- when people are getting in the last of their vacation and personal days before 2018 leaves us forever.  I wound up producing Newswatch 16 yesterday morning.

The broadcast was essentially done when I heard about a fire in Hanover Township.  It seems like they had the flames knocked down pretty quickly at 2:40 AM, but it was close and overnight photographer/editor Nora had most of her tasks finished.  I asked Nora to drive down and take a look.

Just as Nora made it to Hanover Township, morning reporter Sarah and photographer Dave arrived at the office.  Nora texted me that she saw ambulances with fire victims leave the scene.  Sarah already had another story in the planning stages, but when you hear about people hurt, the scales are tipped toward the fire.  Dave and Sarah were in the truck, heading south, minutes later.

Sarah saw the coroner at the scene.  We later learned three had died.  Awful.  We reported what we knew and showed the video.  Sarah is just the person you want on the scene of early morning breaking news.  She calmly and factually built on Nora's foundation  It's how good journalism works.

There really is no major moral to the story.  I know people like having an inside look at how television news works.  You should also know you have some really good people, like Nora, Sarah, and Dave working hard to get you the information you need.

Monday, December 10, 2018

U G L Y

The Scranton Times ~ Tribune beat me to it.

Last week, I noticed how ugly the Penn Avenue side of the old Globe store, soon to be county office building has become.  I meant to take some pictures and do a blog entry in the near future.  A newspaper editorial Wednesday morning beat me to the punch.  Pardon the pun, the newspaper people and I are on the same page.  We hate this.

The Globe had huge windows looking in to the store and its restaurant on the Penn Avenue side back in the day.  I realize eliminating the huge windows increases security and maximizes internal space, but this is simply hideous.

The goal is to mimic the corrugated metal look of the neighboring Iron Horse Movie Bistro, but that's ugly and uninviting, too.

The Times ~ Tribune editorial compared the look to a warehouse or a jail and the editorial board is absolutely right.  This does nothing for the neighborhood.  The blocks of Penn Avenue closest to Mulberry Street and Linden Street have been redeveloped nicely.  It's almost Scranton's version of restaurant row.  I understand there are some nice bars and there is a ramen shop that's getting plenty of attention.  Let's hope this block of Penn is next to get fixed up.
We can do better.  We should do better.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Andy's Angles: Across the Street

The Lackawanna County Courthouse Square holiday decorations aren't limited to the tree.  There are some snowflakey looking things dotting the lawn-- where there is no concrete or granite to fill it up.
That's the federal building, along North Washington Avenue in the background.
Not much color, but a lot of light, and it's a good thing.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Square

Today, it's the Christmas tree on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.

As has been noted here many, many, many times in the past, I'm not a fan of the soulless sea of cement and granite that is Courthouse Square, but now that retail is just about gone, the Square is a nice downtown focal point.

It's also nice to see the square all lit up.  It can be rather dark and uninviting.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Elves at Work

A little self analysis here, and a little advice...

Yesterday, I wrote that I wasn't much of a Christmas person, and I'm done apologizing for it.  As the great philosopher Popeye once said, "I am what I am."  Plato said "an unexamined life is not worth living," so let's take a look.

I had great holidays as a kid.  When did it get off the tracks?  I think the light started to flicker as a teen, and I really don't have a good reason for it.

I should establish right now that I truly do appreciate the significance of the day, and I have much for which to be thankful, especially this year.

I've been on the air somewhere since 1979, counting college radio.  I'm guessing that in those 40 years, I must have worked Christmas 30 times, probably more.  No complaints.  As I always say, when you take a job in news and broadcasting, you have to know that working holidays is part of the package.  If you can't accept that, it might be time to think about doing something else.  And, yes, I do realize that some people absolutely hate working holidays.

I am blessed in that I am local and the family is local.  There are no long hours on the road, no frustration of being stuck in an airport.  I could pull a Christmas shift, even if it was an overnighter, get a little sleep, and still have some family time.  And, if my working Christmas gives a Christmas lover an opportunity to have the day off, great!  It's my gift to the universe.

Here is the advice part, and it's for the younger people-- not just in broadcasting, but any business that needs people to work holidays.  Do it.  You might get a chance to attempt something you ordinarily wouldn't do.  Case in point, the first WNEP newscast I ever anchored was on Christmas morning 1998.  It wasn't a great performance, but it wasn't awful either.  It was a foot in the door, a chance to enter the anchor rotation at the top station in town, the station I grew up watching.    It was a dream come true.  I gave up a little time on a Christmas morning and received quite a bit in return.  It was like a gift to myself.

My first Christmas at WARM was 1981.  This was the time before mega conglomerates.  One station.  One building.  One guy working Christmas Eve in to Christmas morning.  Me.  All I did, for hours and hours, was put reels of religious programs and Christmas music on the tape machines, and hit "play" every half hour.  It wounds horrible, and looking back, it probably was.  On the other hand, I had a job at a good station and I was happy to have it.   Working Christmas, I hope, proved to management I had a good attitude and a strong work ethic.

And in case you're wondering, yes, I am working Christmas this year.  I hope it won't be the last.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Tree





I will admit that I'm not a Christmas person.  It is simply a skill set I do not possess, and I've given up kicking myself over it.  I'm just not good at Christmas, and I've learned to deal with it.

There is one tradition that I do keep up.  I visit my alma mater, Marywood University, for the annual Christmas tree lighting in the Liberal Arts Building.

They started decorating a giant tree in here in 1982, which would have been half way through my senior year.  I took a crushing credit load my first two years, and I took classes every summer, so I was barely on campus for my senior year.  In fact, I was no longer considered a full time student.  I just didn't need the credits and I cruised toward graduation.

I am building the foundation for saying that, for the life of me, I don't remember that first tree, and I should have.  I also don't remember when I started going back for the tree lighting.  It's been quite a while.

My routine is always the same-- walk around campus, remember my time here, drop by the radio station, visit with a friend who works there, see a few more old friends who also come back to watch the tree lighting.  The music and atmosphere are difficult to describe.  Well, it's Christmas and let's just leave it at that.  It does give me that warm feeling and I enjoy every second of it.

The rotunda is always packed, so I didn't have the best angle to shoot video.  Enjoy, nonetheless, and an early Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Media Notes

Once again, people are asking a lot of questions I just cannot answer at this time.  In fact, very few have the answers.  The broadcast industry is undergoing a series of huge changes.  It will all play out in the weeks to come.

NBC Sports Radio is giving up 24/7 programming at the end of the year.  It will keep a few hours each day, plus two little updates each hour.  NBC Sports Radio had an affiliate in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area a few years ago.  It didn't last long.  My overall impressions of the network?  It wasn't bad, but no reason to turn a dial.  ESPN Radio is a little too hard core for me.  Other than 2 to 6 am and Dan Patrick's morning show, FOX Sports Radio doesn't have much to offer.  Rich Eisen in the afternoon isn't bad.  CBS Sports Radio is really good on the weekends.  Since FOX Sports Radio dropped JT the Brick in the evenings, I've been spending more time with the New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago all news stations.

I've been looking at the latest batch of radio ratings from across the country, and it warms my heart when I see news stations doing well.  In fact, an all news station is at the top of the heap in Washington, DC.

Speaking of ratings, NFL ratings are recovering from their dip last year.  Some say it's because that whole Star Spangled Banner kneeling controversy has died down.  It might be part of it, but not the whole thing.

I find myself mildly interested in the Deal or No Deal reboot.

I say it every year because it is worth repeating.  Kudos to the agency that produced the Toys for Tots public service announcements.

I'm sorry he was there to discuss the death of an ex president, but it was great to see former ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson Sunday.  Donaldson was interviewed on CNN.  There are those who will argue, but "This Week with David Brinkley," when Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will were on the panel might have been the best show ever of its type.

The Bob Dole salute and Sully the dog are the two unforgettable video moments from the Bush funeral.  I’m sure there’ll be others as Americans say farewell to their 41st president.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tuesday Scrapple

Why is Rutgers in the Big 10?  I know it's to add league interest in the big metropolitan areas, but Rutgers doesn't belong there.   Penn State has a great deal of success in the conference,  I still think the ACC would be a better fit.

November weather wasn't the greatest.  Plenty of us are waiting for a big turnaround.  I have a feeling it's not going to happen.

The cable news channels have really become the cable talk channels, and it's just the same people, saying the same things over and over and over again.

No one will argue that the Green Ridge Street Bridge in Scranton needs to be replaced.  No one will argue that there is no painless way to do it.  Everyone will agree that it will wind up costing twice as much as first expected, and take twice as long.

December is school board and municipality budget season.  Some places are in big trouble, with no relief in sight.

I hate when a famous politician, like George H.W. Bush dies, but I have to admit I love looking at all that historical video.

The Lackawanna Trail Lions is one of the better "feel good" stories of 2018.  Best of luck in Hershey.

Black Christmas trees seem to be the "in" thing this year.  Pass.

Amazing post-earthquake video out of Alaska over the weekend.  Truly frightening.

I said it before:  The Pittsburgh Steelers are a poorly coached, and poorly disciplined team.

Monday, December 3, 2018

41

I met George H.W. Bush twice, both while he was vice president.  Once was at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.  The other was at a downtown Wilkes-Barre hotel.  Both times, he was campaigning for Republican congressional candidates.  It was a quick handshake and a hello as he worked his way down a media line.  Bush, both times, asked my name and who I worked for.  I was a radio pup at the time, but even I could realize that Bush was a little different than most politicians.  He seemed interested in who you were.

The tributes have been flowing in since the 41st president's death Friday night.  They all have the same tone.  You might not have agreed with his politics, but there were no arguments about his decency.  His humanity.

The thing that strikes me about George H. W. Bush is his public service-- military, congress, the Republican party, the CIA, United Nations, China, vice president, president...  He helped raise millions for charities after he left the White House.  There are few resumes like that left.

I will quote Sen. Bob Dole's line during the Richard Nixon eulogy:  "How American."

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Andy's Angles: Tree at the Corners

Another Christmas tree to make your spirit bright...

This one is at Dunmore Corners, on the sidewalk in front of a bank.

It's a great looking tree.  Unfortunately, Dunmore, like most communities in our area, has utility wires all over the place, marring most photographic opportunities.

I know.  No wires means no phone, internet, cable tv...

It's a beautiful tree.  Let's concentrate on that.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

About the Cover: Christmas Tree

I got lucky this year.  The December header goal is something with a Christmas theme, but some of the big Christmas displays aren't up until after December 1.  I'm okay with that.  If I had my way, you wouldn't see a Christmas decoration until December 15th.

Imagine my surprise when I drove past my alma mater, Marywood in Scranton this week, and a saw a tree up near the main entrance on Adams Avenue.  Marywood holds off on most Christmas things until a few days into the month.  In fact, the giant tree inside the Liberal Arts Building rotunda will be lit December 5th.

Let's establish that I love Christmas trees, even though I have no decorating skill and no interest in having one of my own.

I really like this tree, lit in Marywood's colors of green and white.

I won't mind looking at this one all month.