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Friday, May 31, 2019

I Wanted to Be With You Alone, and Talk About the Weather

Okay, everyone is weighing in on the weather.  It's my turn.

I lost a window to a hail stone this week.  It could have been worse.  I was watching WNEP coverage, when the director punched up the downtown Scranton camera looking to the east.  I saw a huge, big, dark, low cloud, and I thought, "this is it."  Turned out, it wasn't, and I'm counting my lucky stars.

Clearly, something is happening.  Whether it's a blip on the radar, or part of a long term trend, the jury is still out.  I'm sorry it's become politicized, and I'm not going down that road.

Technology has improved and it appears the National Weather Service is quicker to pull the trigger on watches and warnings these days.  It's a good thing.  You can't warn people early enough.

Keep an eye on the sky, and with any luck, we'll be here to talk tomorrow.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

It's Not Fair

Former major leaguer Bill Buckner died the other day.  69.

He had a solid career-- 22 years, .289 average, more than 2,700 hits.

Unfortunately, Buckner will always be remembered for one horrible moment--  an error that helped give the New York Mets the 1986 World Series.

Buckner confronted the issues.  He didn't hide.  Bill Buckner threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game in 2008.  He was cheered and forgiven, as he should be.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Vacation Season

A coworker and I were talking about vacations the other day.  This was the first time we worked together out on the road, and she was curious about my likes and dislikes.

I will admit, she nailed it when she said I appear to be a person who doesn't like people and crowds.  Yes, I'm not a beach guy.

I did say that I was fond of Baltimore for a long time, but it's gone down hill.  the Inner Harbor has become far too touristy, with a lot of things you can find in other places.  It lost its uniqueness.  The thing that really turned me against it had nothing to do with the city itself.  That's where I was on 9/11/01.  I went back the next year, and it was just too creepy, and that was my last visit to Baltimore.

My other favorite vacation thing to do was travel across Route 6 to Erie, stare at the lake for a few days and return.  If you haven't done it, Route 6 is one of America's great roads, with beautiful small towns along the way.  Fantastic scenery.  I'd take Routes 86 and 17 across the southern tier of new York on the way home.  It wasn't quite as scenic, but it does have its charm.  There would always be a visit with friends in Corning along the way.

As the years passed, I've become happy with venturing out as far as my back porch.  It's good enough for me.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Media Tuesday

"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?!" is coming to an end.  The company that produces it made the call.  Mixed feelings.  It was a fine show, and great fun to play along.  Unfortunately, in 17 years, only two people won the $1 million, and it's no fun to watch a game that no one wins.  I will give the producers credit.  Unlike "Deal or No Deal," they didn't junk it up with a bunch of stunts and gimmicks.

"The Big Bang Theory" ended its run this month.  I enjoyed the early years.  I pulled out when it became another bickering couples comedy.

Never saw "Game of Thrones."  Never will.  If you were a fan, I'm sorry.  The rest of us are thrilled the endless discussions have come to an end.

I looked at the networks' fall schedules.  Once again, nothing jumped out at me as "must see."  I'm sure something will be a surprise hit.

I missed the live and updated "All in the Family" and "Jeffersons" special that recently ran on ABC.  It was well reviewed, and I give Jimmy Kimmel credit for getting it done.

CBS canceled "Murphy Brown."  I really wanted it to succeed, but the producers were intent on making it a one joke broadcast, and look what happens.

I am seriously looking forward to the ABC reboots of "Press Your Luck," and especially "Card Sharks."

Unless I missed it, Marywood University's student newspaper didn't do its end of spring semester university report card this year.  What happened?

"Brockmire" on IFC wrapped up its third season, eight episodes, last week.  The series went in a slightly different direction this time around, still insanely funny.

Scott Pelley dropped a bombshell on CNN over the weekend.  It was shocking there wasn't a decent line of follow up questions.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

I'll spare the sermons, but there are a few things I want to touch on today.

First, please take a moment to remember what the day is all about.  A co worker and I were talking the other day about how Memorial Day has morphed into a second Veterans Day.  I'm sort of okay with that.  It's another opportunity to honor those who have served, but I can understand how some people want to keep the original intent-- remember those who have died while serving.

I usually say this every year.  Memorial Day is a tough day in the television news business.  Every community has an observance, as it should be.  We get to as many as we can, but it is impossible to get to them all, and people become offended.  I understand.  Please keep in mind that your town's observance is significant and special, whether or not a television camera is present.

Thank you to those who served, and continue to serve.

To families who have lost loved ones, your sacrifice is remembered.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Andy's Angles: Not As It Appears

On the surface, this looks like a really cool thing-- people lined up to vote.  Democracy in action.  People interested in the process.  Civic duty.  Responsibility.  Pride.

It's not as it appears.  The line formed because people were having problems signing in.  It looked to be a combination of factors including human error and machine error.  The problems were eventually solved.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Andy's Angles: I Need to Get Out More

This a shot of Coal Street Complex in Wilkes-Barre.  Clearly, it was taken election day.

Photographer Jason and I chose this as our election morning location because there is plenty of parking and we can stay out of everyone's way.

Oddly enough, the only times I've been here have been on election days, and my last visit was in November of 2015.

It really looks like a nice place, and I'm intrigued by the Penguins store.  A non-work visit is on my agenda.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Election PS

Just a few more thoughts on Tuesday's election...

Voter turnout in Luzerne county was around 20 per cent.  I will spare you the lecture.

Please take note, that even though it slips through once in a while, I try to avoid the word "loser."  Politics is tough.  Anyone who gets involved, even if they don't get enough votes, is not a loser.

Tuesday's election did not discriminate.  Candidates who were strong in their convictions were not returned to office.  Candidates who based every decision on the direction of the wind at that particular moment also were not returned to office.

It happens every time.  Some candidates blamed the media for their problems.  Once again, I will spare you the lecture.   I did notice some name calling in opinion pieces.  I can't endorse that.  It's borderline bullying.

All my evidence is anecdotal, but I did detect an uptick in problems at polling places on Tuesday.  Some were equipment issues.  The rest was human error.  I say it all the time:  This is (insert year here) and this shouldn't be happening.

In a non election note, former neighborhood activist and Scranton Public Works director Ed Pisano died this week.  He really had the DPW humming during the Wenzel administration.   If I remember correctly, one of his incentives was for workers to get the job done, and go home.  Assigned tasks were performed quickly and efficiently.  When the job was done, the workers could leave.  It worked!  Eddie was always accessible and a very nice man.  My sympathy to his family and friends.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Farewell

I know I should have written this entry sooner, but the election got in the way.

Martin Tower in Bethlehem was imploded Sunday morning.  What you see above is a screen grab from video shot by WNEP's Dan Turansky.  You saw the implosion live on Newswatch 16 Sunday Morning.

So many people were happy to see the building go, and I get that.  It had been empty for years.  No one was interested in redeveloping it.  New stores, offices and apartments will go up in its place.

Me?  I was horrified.

Martin Tower was a landmark.  It stood there majestically, coming in to view as you swung off Route 22 and on to Route 378.  More importantly, it stood for something.  It was a monument to the days when America made things.  In this case, it was steel.  At one time, Bethlehem Steel was the second largest steel producer in the United States.  Those days are long gone.

It is a little strange when you think about this.  The Bethlehem Steel mill, just a few miles away, has been redeveloped into a casino, shopping mall, concert venue and arts space.  The Lehigh Valley's public television station has a first class facility here.

We saved the rusting and rotting mill.  We couldn't save the headquarters.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Vote 19: The Numbers

Fred Keller goes to the United States Congress in the 12th district.  No surprise.  He ran a well funded campaign, and a Republican wins in a heavily Republican district.  Having President Trump on your side in central Pennsylvania is a huge plus.  As I repeatedly said in the 2016 primaries, underestimate Donald Trump at your own risk.

Not only did Tony George lose in his bid for reelection as Wilkes-Barre mayor, it wasn't even close.  As Rush Limbaugh said after the 1992 presidential election, the American people fired George Bush.  Tony George got fired last night. Wilkes-Barre still has a perceived crime problem.  The Solomon Creek flood wall should have been built by now.  Many believed Mayor George was not receptive to the complaints and concerns of city residents.  Challenger George Brown promised to show up and listen at council meetings, which was the right thing to say.  The George administration was filled by problems in the police department, which he once headed as chief.  It was just too much for the mayor to overcome.

One other Wilkes-Barre note, and that's the nice total councilwoman Beth Gilbert finished with.  Her personal financial issues made it in to the paper.  She won anyway, based on her reputation as someone willing to go against the tide.  Keep an eye on Gilbert.  She has a future.

Now, the big surprise.  The power of incumbency and the power of a large campaign war chest was not enough for Pat O'Malley to win a third term as Lackawanna County Commissioner.  A lot of things finally caught up with him.  O'Malley was a Democrat, who switched to Republican and back to Democrat.  He was viewed as an opportunist.  There are many who feel converting the old Globe department store into county offices was an expensive mistake.  O'Malley was not in favor of reassessment, a procedure many viewed would restore fairness to the system.  Some of his commercials were viscous and just plain false.  I won't get in to the production values.  Members of county administration came under fire for not playing taxes and garbage fees, and that reflected on their boss.  Some were tired of O'Malley's constant  quest for free publicity.  O'Malley finishes third in a four person race.

Jerry Notarianni came out on top on the Democratic side in Lackawanna County.  Newcomer, and O'Malley running made, Debi Domenick came in second.  It will be interesting to see if fences can be mended and if these two can run as a team in November.

On the Republican side, Chermak and Gianetta cruise to a win.  Incumbent Laureen Cummings finishes third.  It was a bit surprising.  Cummings has a solid Tea Party base.  It just wasn't enough.  Lackawanna County's first female commissioner will not have a second term.  Perhaps Republicans were upset Cummings was aligned with O'Malley for much of her term.

There will be new faces on the Scranton school board and Scranton city council.  People want change.  It's clear the city isn't run as well as it should be, and the dysfunction in the Scranton School District is now legendary.

Turnout looked light yesterday, and turnout is always a factor in every election.  It will be interesting to see the final numbers.  Lackawanna County's turnout was about 30 per cent, higher than I expected.  I saw a lot of quiet polling places on my Tuesday travels.

Now, on to November.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Election Day!

It's primary election day, and as I write this, my assignments today are still in a state of flux.

I know I yammer on about this before every off-year election.  Turnout will be down and that's sad.  There is no reason for that.  You are electing supervisors, mayors, council members, commissioners, school board members, etc...  These are the people who have an impact on your taxes, your police, your municipal services and your kids' education.  This election will likely have more of an influence on your life than the presidential election.  Go out and vote.

I'll be watching this one from the sidelines.  Independents can't vote today.  There is a move afoot to change that.  I don't see it happening.  That is another story for another time.

Look for updates here today.  Facebook and Twitter, too.

I'll go home after my shift ends today, take a nap, and watch the Newswatch 16 team get you the latest numbers and the reaction tonight.

I have some ideas on how things will end tonight.  Look for a little analysis in this space tomorrow.

VOTE!  Please!

>>>2:30 AM UPDATE:   Breaking news!  I skipped my traditional election morning breakfast of a fast food spicy chicken sandwich and fries.  I wasn't feeling it, and yesterday was a very long day.  I'll tell that story one of these days.  I did hit the office a half hour early.  Some election preview stories were banged out yesterday.  I came in to tweak, record the audio, and hand them over to editor Jason.  Hang on.  It's just beginning.

>>>4:15 AM UPDATE:   Skipping the traditional spicy chicken sandwich was a mistake.  The Pop Tarts at the office just didn't get it done, and I'm hungry.  Be that as it may, this update comes to you from WNEP truck 26, my home for the next several hours.  Photographer Jason is setting up a camera and lights outside a polling place in Wilkes-Barre.  See you on Newswatch 16 This Morning, beginning at 4:30 AM

>>>9:00 AM UPDATE:    Sorry for the gap.  It got busy there for a while.  Polling places opened at 7.  Wilkes-Barre looked active.  I interviewed both candidates for the Democratic nomination for mayor.  Look for the story on Newswatch 16 at Noon.  Writing and editing momentarily.

>>>9:48 AM UPDATE:   There are times when a story isn't focused in your head, but it flows when your fingers hit the keyboard.  This one was a breeze, and I have to admit that I surprised myself.  Editor Bonnie takes it from here.  Below is a screen grab from our noon story.  Tony George on the left, and George Brown, campaigning in the same place at the same time this morning.


>>>10:30 AM UPDATE:    Bonnie has finished editing and has moved on to other tasks.  Time to monitor social media and talk with crews in the field to learn what's going on out there.

>>>11:45 AM UPDATE:  It's almost time to call it a day.  I usually vote on the way home, but independents are on the sidelines today.  If you are eligible, please go out and vote.  From what I understand, most turnout is on the light side today, so it shouldn't take long.  I'll watch the returns tonight, and look for a little analysis in this space tomorrow.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Saturday Night

Last week's passing of comedy legend started me thinking about the 1970's CBS Saturday night line up.

It started with "All in the Family" at 8, followed by "MASH," "Mary Tyler Moore," "Bob Newhart" and finally "Carol Burnett."  It might have been the best night of TV, start to finish, in history.  If not, it's on the very short list.

Times change.  Saturday nights are now sports, news magazines, and "repurposed" shows.  We will never see a line up, like the one CBS offered, ever again.

Speaking of Tim Conway, a TV critic offered a conspiracy theory the other day.  Like a lot of people, I watched Carol Burnett just to see if Harvey Korman would keep a straight face during sketches with Conway.  He rarely did, and that was part of the fun.  The critic theorized that because Korman knew what lines and moves were coming through rehearsals, his break ups were staged.

It's possible.  I like to think Korman's reactions were sincere.  Korman and Conway are both gone.  I doubt remaining living members of the cast will spill the beans, and I hope they never do.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Andy's Angles: Providence





Way back when...

I like to say Scranton is not a city.  It is a collection of small neighborhoods.  Back in the day, they were cities unto themselves.  Home, apartments, stores and other businesses, services like barber shops, pharmacies, movie theaters, bakeries, and banks...  Green Ridge, Bull's Head, South Side, West Side, Petersburg...

Sadly, those days are gone.

I passed through the Providence section of Scranton the other day.  It's not what it once was.  The bank closed long ago.  There are plenty of empty storefronts and run down buildings  Some restaurants and bars remain, and that's a good thing.  There is at least a little life here.

It doesn't seem like it's that far from a resurgence.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Andy's Angles: The Castle




The Sunday morning shootings at the Castle after hours club in Scranton were sad in and of themselves.  A young man lost his life.  A child will be born without a father.  Tragedy at every turn.

It was even more sad for those of us who remember the Castle as a really nice restaurant with good food.

I know times change.  Restaurants come and go.  The Castle grew old and tired.  It was nothing really special any more toward the end.  I remember hideous and slow service during my last visit.  It really was too bad.  The "Castle" name had value.  It had meaning.  It stood for something.  It was squandered.

All it stands for now is a place where you don't want to be late at night.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Father Time

I think most people are aware of their own aging.  At my stage, you start looking at those retirement savings accounts a little more carefully.  You live and die with every stock market fluctuation.

I've always had a hard time wrapping my head around other people getting older.  Howard Stern has a new book, and the King of All Media has been on an interview blitz.

Stern is 65.

I remember sneaking out to my news car in the early 80's, while covering a homicide trial in Milford, to catch Stern on WNBC during court breaks.  That's a long time ago.

By the way, Stern is positioning himself as a kinder and gentler individual.  I hope he is sincere.  While the racier elements of his radio shows receive the vast majority of the attention, Stern is one of the best interviewers out there.  Fearless.

The other person's age that snuck up on me is Britney Spears.  She will be 38 in December!  38!  Now, 38 is not old, but it seems like yesterday that I was trying to get the attention of the control room crew at the old TV 22, 30 years ago,  while a Britney video was on one of the monitors.  It was a losing battle, and I understand why.  The woman lights up a screen.

Spears has had more than her share of problems over the years.  I hope her late 30's and beyond are kind to her.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mr. Blue Sky

It doesn't take much these days.

We have been on such a string of rainy and chilly days, even a little bit of blue sky and sunshine sends people in to euphoria.

Yesterday, I had a busy morning.  There were several errands and a little shopping on the agenda, plus a dental check up.  All people wanted to talk about was the fact we were actually experiencing a partly sunny morning-- and it wasn't raining!

It has been an odd month.  Here it is, the middle of May, and I was walking around in a jacket, with the heat on in the car and in the house.  I usually have an air conditioner or two stuffed in to windows by now.

I just hope it's not a rapid trip in to summer.  Spring is a great time of year-- warm, but not hot.  Clear, with none of that summer haze and humidity.

Regardless, just be happy we had a dry day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Six Days

The Pennsylvania Primary is six days away, and I have to admit, I expected a little more out of this year's campaigns.

There have been flashes of contention, like the Lackawanna County Commissioners race and Wayne County District Attorney.  The Wilkes-Barre mayor's contest has been surprisingly quiet.  The same goes for most others.

My fear is a quiet campaign will translate in to low turnout Tuesday.  I hope that is not the case, but off year elections usually mean most people stay home.

Prove me wrong.  Vote Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I Nearly Cried

The planet is out of balance this morning and spinning wildly in an odd direction.

Above is the logo KYW radio in Philadelphia used for a very long time, and there was nothing wrong with it.  It was bold and strong.  The font is called "anklepants."  It was a hold over from the Westinghouse days, when just about all its radio and TV properties used the same font.

There is something you have to understand.  If you were a radio news guy, like I was for many years, KYW was THE radio station.  It had a great sound and covered the Delaware Valley like a blanket.  I remember looking, in awe, at one of its news vans while I was covering an election night in Philadelphia in the 80's.

Imagine my horror when I discovered last week that KYW changed its logo to what you see below.
I wept.

My beloved anklepants font is gone, replaced by a bland and lower case font.  I despise lower case fonts.  It says "weak."

KYW also updated its legendary jingle, and it's actually pretty good.

I will fully admit the following:  I'm a geek and I'm probably the only person in America who cares about this.  Also, all that counts is what comes out of the speaker, and KYW continues to put out an outstanding product, day after day.

I'm not arguing with the need to modernize.  Freshening up is not a bad thing.  Radio stations are de-emphasizing their frequencies these days because so many people listen on smart phones and smart speakers, like amazon's Echo.

I want my anklepants.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Learning

Last week's Teacher Appreciation Day started a long and bizarre thought process.  It brought me back to perhaps the best question ever on the old TV game show "TattleTales."  It was "Have you learned more from your successes or your failures?"

Of course, a few good teachers popped in to my head.  More bad ones came to mind.  Unmotivated.  Bitter.  They seemed to hate their jobs.  Maybe, in a way, those bad teachers helped me more than I realized.  I pushed myself to learn, in spite of having to drag myself in to their classrooms every day.  They might have been failures as teachers, but I learned anyway.

I really do feel sorry for teachers today.  Schools can be joy-less places with paranoia and all that security.  Yes, we do need it, and I get that.  We live in frightening times.  It's a challenge to keep kids happy and engaged when there are armed officers at the doors.

Of course, a good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold, and I do realize it's a brutal profession.  To the good ones, thank you.  You know who you are.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Andy's Angles: The Square

There have been many Wilkes-Barre Public Square photos in this space over the years.  After all, it is one of my favorite places.

This one was taken Monday morning.  What inspired me for another shot?  There was actually blue sky and sunshine, things that have been in short supply in recent days.

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Andy's Angles: the Miners

King's College has a Miners' Memorial tucked in to a little space between what used to be the Sheraton Crossgates and what used to be the Pomeroy's department store building.  It's easy to miss, but it's worth checking out.
I have no problems with memorials to the men who worked in the mine, and the women who ran the households while the men were working long hours in horrible conditions.  In fact, there should be more memorials.

It drives me insane when people are in favor of naming local sports teams "The Miners."  It reinforces every negative stereotype about the area.  NewsFlash:  The mines are closed.   The coal barons abused the environment and the people.   There is a way, time and place to honor the sacrifice the miners made, and this is a great example of how it should be done.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Horse Sense

I've been sitting on this one for nearly a week, watching the video over and over, listening to the experts on the radio.

Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in last week's Kentucky Derby, but it was disqualified.  Maximum Security, it was determined, drifted out of its lane and interfered with other horses.  Country House was given the win.

After looking at the video, yes, Maximum Security did appear to drift a bit.  Did it rise to the point of interference?  I didn't think so, and I would not have disqualified the horse.

It did take stones to DQ Maximum Security, and it was the first in the 145 year history of the Kentucky Derby.

In my view, you really needed a convincing case to make the change, and I just didn't see it.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Eye

I grew up in a Cronkite household.  My first TV job was at a CBS affiliate.  Even though my loyalty is elsewhere these days, I do keep an eye, pardon the pun, on CBS News.

The announcement came Monday morning.  Gayle King will be the centerpiece of the morning broadcast.  John Dickerson moves to "60 Minutes."  Norah O'Donnell will be the new anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

King has proven herself in the morning.

Dickerson stepped in to the mornings after Charlie Rose self destructed.  Dickerson was solid, but he never seemed to fit on a morning broadcast.

Anthony Mason comes to weekday mornings.  Not flashy.  Very watchable and comfortable.

O'Donnell takes over a last place evening news broadcast.  The ratings woes are not entirely the fault of current anchor Jeff Glor.  He's really good, but CBS local news broadcasts in a lot of big cities get hammered in the ratings, and Glor was getting bad lead-ins.  You can look it up.  Glor has been in the anchor chair for a year and a half.  CBS never gave him a chance to make the broadcast succeed.  CBS seems to want to keep him, and I hope that happens.

O'Donnell is a big talent, and I'm sure there will be a ratings boost.  How big remains to be determined.  There is always sampling when there's an anchor change.

We'll see if the new cast can offer a spark in the morning.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Ritzy

Looking back, what they did to that building was criminal, but it seemed to be the right idea at the time.

Once upon a time, it was the Comerford Theater on Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton.  Those shoe box style multiplexes were becoming popular, so someone had the right idea to cut the Comerford in half, horizontally. 

The bottom half became shops and offices.  The top, the balcony, remained a theater, complete with bad seats, a lack of leg room, an uncomfortable slope and bad sight lines.  No wonder it failed.  It played first run movies.  It played dollar movies.  It closed.  It's now a theater and performing arts center.

I do have fond memories of the place.  In the pre renovation days, my mom took me to see plenty of movies here, and watching from the Comerford balcony, which was comfortable back then, was always a treat.  In the post renovation days, this is where I saw my favorite movie of all time, "My Favorite Year."

When I became of legal age, there was a wonderful, quiet and dark piano bar in the basement.  I loved that place.  Emphasis on the dark and quiet.  Too many night spots these days have management that thinks they need to be filled with noise and televisions.  Stop it!  Stop it now!


I want to get there to see it and photograph it for myself.  The above photo is a screen grab from a Stacy Lange Newswatch 16 story last week.  The elaborate proscenium arch, hidden behind walls for years, was uncovered.  It will likely stay out of public view.  The current design doesn't allow for it to be visible during shows and productions.  They say it's fragile.  The theater operators promise public tours, and I'd like to tag along one day.

And so it goes...  what seemed like a good idea at the time turned out to be a disaster.  The Comerford/Ritz went through an unfortunate and mind boggling renovation.  We liked those shoe box, shopping mall theaters, too.  There were advantages.  Choice and easy parking were the top two.

You just have to wonder what architectural treasures were damaged, hidden...  or destroyed in the name of progress.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Independence Day




Two weeks until the primary election...

It won't happen in time for the primary, but there is a move afoot to open up the primary voting to independents, like myself.

Let's look at both sides of this.

Independents help pay for the election.  They should have a voice.

On the other hand, primary elections are set up for political parties to choose candidates for the general election.  Not a member of a party?  You shouldn't help pick a party's nominee.

As someone who has a hard time watching an election from the sidelines, I see the wisdom in both arguments.

As a life long Pennsylvanian, I see the state as resistant to change, especially in government, and those in office are quite content with the status quo.  It's why Pennsylvania has one of the biggest and one of the most expensive legislatures in the country.

No matter how you feel about the independent vote, it will change the primary dynamic and it's worth a look.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Hey, Where Did You Go?

Several Major League Baseball teams are reporting steep declines in attendance during the first couple of months of the 2019 season.

The reasons are right in front of their noses.

The weather has been lousy this spring, and the season starts way too early.

It will never happen, but the league needs to cut the number of games and chop the number of teams.  Oakland can't get a decent stadium.  No one goes to the one in Miami.  Toronto had to bring up the son of a hall of famer, before he was ready, just to generate some excitement.

I love the MLB Network, but overexposure can be a factor.

The playoffs were expanded a few years ago, that devalues the post season.

Stadiums are smaller.  The ball is lively.  Too many home runs,and they have been devalued as well.

Even an average ticket to a Phillies game is around $50.  Add parking, food and souvenirs, and baseball is out of the reach of a lot of families.

Baseball's problems can be fixed.  I just don't sense the determination to do it.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Andy's Angles: Artsy

In spite of taking photographs for eons, and in spite of having a pretty good camera, I still consider myself an average photographer-- at best.

There are other demands on my time these days, and I don't get out to shoot as often as I once did.  It's almost a moot point because it seems just about every day is cloudy and rainy.

The planets aligned on the last Thursday of April.  I had free time and it was actually sunny!

This is one of my ill fated attempts to be artsy.  It's another view of the Forest City doughboy statue that is this month's blog header.  The sun is directly in the face of the statue.  The only color comes from the flags and the pale blue sky.  I didn't center up because I wanted more sky and the approaching cirrus clouds from the west.

Hey, I tried!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Andy's Angles/About the Cover: Doughboy


I must have passed this doughboy statue in Forest City dozens of times over the years and never gave it much thought.  Newswatch 16 recently did a story on a drive for money to repair and restore the statue, so getting there for a closer look rose to the top of my agenda.

I finally found a free, sunny day just before before April came to an end.

I always had a soft spot for doughboy statues, and I think that came from passing Duffy Park in Scranton so many times as a kid.


Below are a few paragraphs lifted from the statue's web site.

DEDICATED BYPOST NO. 524, AMERICAN LEGIONFOREST CITY, PA.IN MEMORY OF THEIRCOMRADES OF FOREST CITYAND VICINITY WHO OFFERED
THEIR LIVES IN DEFENSE
OF HUMANITY IN THEWORLD WAR 1914 – 1918---------------THOSE WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE(About 20 names, including 2 women)
A “ROLL OF HONOR,” with names of those who lost their lives in World War II is on the side below the Doughboy’s right foot and a plaque naming those who lost their lives in Korea and Vietnam is on the other side.
Picture
The Doughboy was dedicated July 7, 1927, when Public School #2 was at the location. The school burned in 1936 and was replaced by William Penn School.  After the schools were consolidated, the Doughboy was moved about 25 feet to the current location when the William Penn Apartments were built in the 1970s. It was extensively refurbished on site in 1997 by McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Labs of Oberlin, Ohio.

The area is sometimes called “Memorial Park.”

Friday, May 3, 2019

Unfinished Friday

The Harrisburg Patriot says, on average,  more than one race horse dies every week here in Pennsylvania.  Why aren't red flags going up?

It's 2019.  Why is measles still a thing?

Episode 5 of the third season of "Brockmire" aired the other night.  The outrageousness factor is way down this year, but the heart is way up.  I wasn't sure I'd like this season, but it's really good.

Staying with TV, I caught the second episode of the new "Restaurant Impossible" run.  New producer, but it's the same show and it's still very entertaining.

People are questioning whether the lieutenant governor's legalized marijuana listening tour is stacking the deck by having many of the forums on college campuses.

Even though many people are sick of them at this time of year, I still enjoy hard boiled eggs.

CBS News blew up its morning show, again.  Revolving doors never get ratings.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Against the Tide

Being "up" on pop culture is part of my job, but I have to admit, I'd get creamed if it was a category on "Jeopardy!"

I'm sorry, but I'm just not interested in "Game of Thrones" or anything with a zombie in it.  I didn't watch "Breaking Bad."  I tried to watch "The Sopranos," but I just thought it was a parade of every bad Italian stereotype out there.

The first time I heard about Jussie Smollett was when he reported an assault to police.

I know enough about the Kardashians to know I don't like them.

Most "reality" TV bores me, especially if there is the word "real" in the title.

I have no interest in any superhero movie.  I was in a theater for one of the original "Star Wars" trilogy and the Michael Keaton "Batman" movie.  I couldn't wait to get out of there.  For me, "Star Trek" ended when NBC cancelled it in 1969.

None of the above things can really be classified as “awful.”  They are simply not for me.

I will fully admit that most of my pursuits, old game shows, TV news history, biking, photographing inanimate objects, bores people to tears.

I just get the feeling that I'm swimming against the pop culture tide.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Sights, Sounds, and Aromas

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I love old game shows.  there has been many an afternoon watching some classics on YouTube.  While the current $100,000 Pyramid on ABC is fairly true to the original, there is something I really miss.

Here it is.  I loved the way the category boxes would have a hard snap on the reveal.  There were people doing the movement behind the giant game board because there was no machine sound, as there was on the old Concentration.  The way those boxes would spin fast added so much excitement to the moment.  By the way, I read a book written the original Concentration producer.  He said they tried and tried to conceal the noise of the machines that spun the prize and puzzle pieces.  They just couldn't do it.  The producer and production staff later learned the audience grew to like and appreciate the noise.

Apologies to the younger people out there, who have no idea what I'm writing about.

The aroma part deals with a recent to trip to a supermarket in a rather large shopping plaza.  A crew was hard at work, with hot asphalt, patching a myriad of potholes.  There is something about the smell of hot asphalt that says "summer."

And finally, Tom Ellis died this week.  He anchored the news for all three major Boston TV stations, plus new England Cable News.  Look up "anchor" in the dictionary, and you will see a picture of Tom Ellis.  He had the look, the presence, and especially the voice.  I remember always seeking him out on TV when I would vacation up north.  Tom Ellis was 86.