Saturday, July 13, 2024

About the Cover: Imperfection


Once again, I wanted a shot that said "summer" to sit atop the blog for the month.  These flowers were in a planter along Linden Street in Scranton.   The sun was shining brilliantly.   The colors popped.  I had to take a photo.  It is a classic example of the "frame in thirds" philosophy, so the edge of the planter is meant to be here.

As I looked at the photo, my first reaction was to trash it because the yellow flower I chose to focus on is partially wilted.  On second thought, it's not perfect, and that's okay too.  There is no problem with imperfect.

It's more beautiful than you think.

Friday, July 12, 2024

In a Pickle


I've used this space to whine about ketchup before.  Bottom line,  it seems like most brands have been reformulated lately to increase the sweetness, and I hate that.

One solution was to just buy a habanero laced ketchup, where the heat cuts through the sweetness.

Imagine my curiosity when Heinz announced it came out with pickle flavored ketchup.  Disgusting as it might sound, I had to find a bottle.

Here's a shocker:  it's not bad!

It seems like there are limited applications, like burgers and fries.  It really works.  It probably wouldn't be great for everything.

Heinz says it's a permanent addition to the condiment line up, so there is no need to go out and buy every bottle in the store.

I went in to this experiment with low expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

I Know, I Know, I Know


Pennsylvania is out with a redesigned license plate, and it's fine.

But you know me.  There is always quibble material.

The plate is to note America's 250th birthday, in 2026.  The Liberty Bell is a great choice.  No matter how many times I've seen it in person, it remains a stirring site.  It is "THE" symbol of 1776.

My point of contention is...  there is more to Philadelphia than the bell,  and more to Pennsylvania than Philadelphia.

It reminds of me of people in the northeast keep constantly bringing up coal mining.  Yes, it's an important part of our past, but we clearly have moved on from that.

For the first redesigned plate in twenty years, it's nice.  The simplicity should be admired, but I'm not giving up my old plate, unless I'm forced.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Blank Check


I shouldn't be surprised, but it does make me sad, a little.

Target will no longer accept personal checks, in store, as of July 15.  Aldi has the same policy, but I rarely go there.

I can't remember the last time I paid with a check in a store, but yes, I'm still a check writer.  Utilities, mostly.  Credit card bills come right out of my bank account.

One of the reasons I rarely used checks in stores is because it holds up the check out line.  I became frustrated when other people did it, and I wasn't going to spread the misery.

One thing in this modern era of commerce did take some adjustment-- and that is paying for little things with a credit card.  A huge fountain soda accompanies me to work most mornings.  $ 1.90.  I swipe my card at the self serve machine because the mini mart staff is in the kitchen, usually frying up onion rings with boom boom sauce and chicken fingers for another customer.

Another reason to reach for the card is because I don't need a pocketful of change.  A recent purchase at a drug store rang up as $7.27.  I was ready to hand the cashier a $10 bill, but then I decided I didn't need all that change.  I whipped out the card.

We really are headed toward a cash-less society.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Scrapple Tuesday


We're in to the second half of 2024.  It seems like Christmas was yesterday.

Today's entry in "you know the lyrics, even if you haven't heard the song in a long time" is Grand Funk's "Bad Time to be in Love."

1:30 am, Friday July 5, and I was the only one in my gym.

The "back to school" sales are underway.

WEJL just switched its affiliation from ESPN Radio to FOX Sports Radio, which I always thought was a better product.

Speaking of radio, WTOP in Washington sounds better in the middle of the night than most stations sound during the daytime.

Published reports say Big Lots is flirting with bankruptcy, and that's unfortunate.  I don't visit often, but I usually walk out of there with something.

Happiness is seeing a refrigerator filled with cold cans of diet soda.

The legislature really needs to do something about fireworks.

I remember when baseball's All Star Game was a big deal.

As I write this, a major hurricane is headed for the United States, and The Weather Channel is running something on deep sea salvage.

Luck has smiled on me, for a change.  I actually got in a few good camera days.

I'm very sorry Heart's Ann Wilson is battling cancer...  such a great voice.

Don't ask me why, but "chapter and verse" has become one of my go to phrases.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Expired License


The recent money problems at, and the closing of Clarks Summit University started me thinking about how times have changed, and the economy has changed.

Colleges and universities appeared to have licenses to print money-- always expanding, always building, always doing something bigger and better than the day before.  Sorry.  Those days are over.  A handful of colleges in Pennsylvania have gone out of business in recent months.  Others, including Penn State, are watching expenses (except for a football stadium expansion).

Higher education is not alone.  Media is taking a hit.  Newspapers have to pivot to digital, and look for a way to monetize the internet.  I read the radio industry trades.  It seems like every major company is shedding payroll, and some have gone Chapter 11.  TV?  Only the strong survive.

Food?  Cracker Barrell is striving for relevance.  Perkins is going through a re-brand.  Fast food sales are down because prices are up.  Red Lobster is in Chapter 11.

Rite Aid is another in Chapter 11 and Walgreens is closing stores.

The New York Post says Big Lots could join the Chapter 11 parade.  It lost more than $ 200 million in the first quarter of the year.

Have you been to a mall lately?

You can't blame purely the economy for the bankruptcies and money problems you see above.  I'm sure there was corporate mismanagement and incompetence in some businesses.

The bottom line is what once were sure fire hits are now gambles, at best.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Andy's Angles: Streetlife Seranade


Not much of a raison d'etre for today's photos, and I felt like taking some street photos.  This is the intersection of Lackawanna and Washington in downtown Scranton.  The view is to the north.  The tall building is now mostly apartments.  Useless trivia:  one of the upper floor offices was where I anchored coverage of the Great Implosion of 1992.

By the way, Streetlife Seranade is the name of a Billy Joel album.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Andy's Angles: Olyphant's New Fountain


A short time ago, I promised to post a photo of the new fountain in the middle of downtown Olyphant, and it really is nice.

My only objection is the location.  Pedestrians brave traffic to get an up close look.

By the way, the skeleton you see in the distance is on the roof of a bar.  The Queen City has everything!

Friday, July 5, 2024

This Week


This is one of the least productive work weeks on the calendar.  It seems like everyone takes vacation time in and around the Independence Day window.  Web traffic drops.  Restaurant, bar and retail business jumps because everyone has the time away from work.  Travel spikes.  The government and AAA says we could have record road and air travel this year.  

The only week that tops this one for lack of productivity is the week between Christmas and the New Year's Day.

I'm working my normal schedule this week.  I tend to go against the flow.  If people have time off, I'm at the office and vice versa.  I do have a week off at the end of July-- a tradition.  There is no compelling reason to take that week, other than it is statistically one of the hottest weeks of the year, and I'd rather have the week off.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Independence Day


Independence Day is my least favorite holiday.  It's too loud, too hot, too crowded...

But, I do revere the significance of the day.

Looking on the bright side, the holiday falls on one of my days off, so I won't have to fight a barrage of fireworks to get to sleep for the morning news.

Whatever you do today, be safe, and please remember what the day is all about.

This is the flag over the Everhart Museum, at Nay Aug Park, in Scranton.