Saturday, February 24, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Black Alps of Dickson City


Someone is finally coming up with the money to remove a huge culm pile from the middle of Dickson City.

It's about dang time!  This has been an eyesore for years.

I went to a horrid junior high school in this neighborhood.  Well, it wasn't totally horrid.  I did meet two dynamite English teachers there, and I'm sad to say they are both no longer with this.

The culm bank was our lunch time playground.  There was actually an easy and well worn path to the top, and those trees weren't around during my time here.  Now that the statute of limitations has expired, we would occasionally roll an old tire down from the top, laughing hysterically as it smashed into a garage door or front porch.  Rest assured, there was never any serious damage.

Homes will replace the culm bank and while there were some fun times here, I look forward to the improvements.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Insomnia Advantage


I couldn't sleep very early Thursday morning.  My usual remedy is to sample some things on the radio and check email on my iPad.   Something made me turn on the television, which I rarely do.

I stumbled upon an episode of "Frasier" from 2000.  It was the final show of season seven, and it was called "Something Borrowed, Someone Blue."  Long story short, Daphne and Niles finally confront their feelings for each other.  Daphne runs away from her wedding to Donnie, and Niles whisks her way in an RV.


I hadn't seen that particular episode in several years, maybe since the original aired, and I was blown away at how everything worked-- the visuals, the acting, the writing...

Watching Niles, played by David Hyde Pierce, go from the depths of depression to absolute euphoria was stunning.  Rare are the sitcoms that can make you cry and make you laugh in the same half hour.  "Scrubs" had that ability.  The list is extremely short. 

There really is no moral to the story today, other than this.  We all spend a lot of time complaining about television, especially me.  It was refreshing to see something that touched me, even if it's 24 years old.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Thursday Scrapple


Today's entry in the "you know the lyrics, even though you haven't heard the song in a long time" category is Rod Stewarts's "You're In My Heart."  On top of that, it's just one great song.

It's been cold and snowy, but you can really feel the sun getting a little stronger.

I've always felt Presidents Day should be a bigger observance here in the U.S.A.  After all, president is the most important job in the free world.

Can someone make a good muffin that doesn't crumble?  All too often, the remedy is loading it with butter and putting it in the microwave.

The power of the NFL:  The Super Bowl was two weeks ago, and the game still dominates sports talk radio.

The CW is working on revivals of "Scrabble" and "Trivial Pursuit."  I loved "Scrabble" on NBC from 1984 to 1990.  I hope they don't stray from the original.  "Trivial Pursuit" should be right up my alley, but I never cared for it.

Capitol One and Discover want to merge.  If it does happen, it will not be an easy road getting there.

For some reason, I'm experiencing a major uptick in LinkedIn activity this week.

Christie Brinkley turned 70 this week.  Think about that.

I know air travel is safe, but doesn't it seem like a jet is falling apart, in mid air, every other day?

Jimmy Kimmel told the Los Angeles Times, "I think this is my last contract."  Where will we get our tired political jokes?

Happiness is a good dental check up.

The man who helped develop the Pop Tart recently died.  Sir, I am forever in your debt.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

When the Dust Settles...


I've been thinking about this one since the February 11th Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

During the game, KC tight end Travis Kelce, better known as Taylor Swift's boyfriend, flipped out on head coach Andy Reid.  Kelce bumped Reid.  He nearly went down.  There are two ways you can look at this.

Kelce is a warrior.  He wanted the ball.  He wanted to get his team moving.  He has passion.  He wanted to step up.  I admire that.  I want fighters on my team.

On the other hand, Kelce committed a bush league maneuver.  He showed up his head coach. Have I ever fought with a boss?  Yeah!  Oh yeah!  The difference is I've never done it in front of 150 million people.

Reid handled the post game news conference questions about Kelce with class and dignity.  I would not have been as kind.  It has been said that winning helps forgive all sins.  Plus, Kelce admitted he was wrong.

After thinking about this one for more than a week, Kansas City needs to find a way to drop the hammer on Travis Kelce.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

My Best Friend: A Man and His Microphone


Covering a snow storm might look like fun and games, but it can be serious business.  There is the danger associated with the travel.  Slips and falls are always a concern.  I remember an ice storm in February of 2013.  My feet went out from under me, and I landed flat on by back, like in the cartoons.

Then, there are the technical problems.  Much of our gear is weather resistant.  A drop of water in the wrong place can still put you out of business.

It happened during the February 13th snow storm in Hazleton.  Photographer Tim and I were having major microphone problems.  We were dead in the water, or the snow.

It was the DO 56 L to the rescue.

Don't ask me why, but I carry my own microphone in my bag.  Personal property.  It's an Electro Voice, model DO 56 L.  The L stands for long, a few inches longer than the standard DO 56.  I used the exact same model when I was on the radio in the 80's.  Below is an old picture of channel 22's Bill Mecca and I clowning around at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

I found the same model on EBay several years ago, and I grabbed it.  Nostalgia.  A reminder of simpler times.

This is a great microphone!  First, the sound quality is amazing.  Second, but more importantly, the length gives you a little advantage in reaching in to get those interviews everyone wants to grab at the same time.

When my Hazleton snow story aired, our executive producer walked over to my desk.  One of our web people was already there.  "Hey, what's the story with the microphone?"  Yes, it wasn't standard WNEP Newswatch 16 issue.  I explained what I told you above, and all is well.

I was never a Boy Scout, but I do travel well prepared.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Unfinished Monday



Last week's blog on cheese prompted a discussion in the newsroom.  There are a lot of savory dishes that use cream cheese, or as it was called on "Scrubs," "cow fudge."  Those applications are nothing new.  However, they are not for me.  I like cheesecake, and I love a schmear on a bagel.  A good cheese danish is one of my major weaknesses.  I have a hang up about cream cheese for "non sweet" things.  It's like cinnamon.  Many cultures use it in savory dishes.  Yuck!  I associate cinnamon, which I like, in sweet things and it ends there.

ABC News apparently liked photographer Tim's video of the snow in Hazleton because some of it wound up on "World News Tonight."  Someone I interviewed also popped up on the network.  The network stuff doesn't put any more money in my pocket, but it's cool nonetheless.  I'll have a little more to say about that storm coverage, in this space tomorrow.

I recently used this space to pan Billy Joel's new song, "Turn the Lights Back On."  That hasn't changed.  I love Billy Joel.  He got me through high school and college.  The new song does nothing for me.  Joel recently appeared on Howard Stern's satellite radio show.  The Stern channel is not part of my Sirius/XM package, but several snippets have turned up on You Tube.  Listening to Bill Joel play the old stuff, and hearing him describe those songs was an absolute delight.  "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" is a masterpiece.

Nailing a Final Jeopardy! question when all three contestants blow it makes me happy beyond belief.  It happened again Thursday and the category was "landmarks."   I won't spoil it for you.  The clip is available on-line.

Enjoy your Presidents Day!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Andy's Angles: Treed In


I like showing you my best work here.  I don't mind showing you the mediocre stuff, too.

This is a treed in shot of the old railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River.  I'm standing just north of the Fort Jenkins bridge in Pittston.

Yes, there are places to get a clear shot of the bridge, but I wasn't going to risk getting run over by a bus for the sake of my hobby.

Be that as it may, enjoy the mountains and the blue sky in what has been a rather grey winter.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Andy's Angles: Where's Winter?


I know we had some snow and cooler weather this week, but for the most part, it's been a mild winter.

This would normally be the time of year that I'd take the camera to the banks of the Susquehanna River and take pictures of the giant hunks of ice floating downstream.

Not this year!

This is the view from one of my favorite spots to visit, a parking lot adjacent to the Water Street Bridge in Pittston.  I deliberately kept the shot wide to show the blue sky.  While it's been a mild winter, the sun has been severely lacking.

Friday, February 16, 2024

First Person: Snow Day


The storm that moved though our area Tuesday will be a memorable one, for a few reasons.

It started when I arrived at work Saturday night.  Meteorologist Valerie Smock was going over all the possibilities, and there were several.  Meteorologist Ally Gallo did the same thing on Sunday and Monday morning.  Every computer run said something different.  There was no agreement and it really was one of those "two inches to a foot" storms.

I considered the station's offer of a hotel room Monday night.  I declined.  The forecast was becoming more clearly defined, and I would be driving in to work Tuesday morning just as the storm was starting.  the roads would be passable.  As it turns out, during my eight mile journey, I didn't see a flake until I turned on to Montage Mountain Road in Moosic.

Let me back up for a moment.  Late Monday morning, the executive producer, the news director and I had a quick huddle, in an effort to have me report like a champion.  Colleague Amanda Eustice would be live in Mount Pocono Tuesday morning.  As an aside, Amanda has become a really good snow reporter.  I would take Hazleton, which looked likely to be a trouble spot.  We were right.

Photographer Tim and I piled in one of our better snow trucks around 3 am Tuesday.  All Monday afternoon and early Tuesday, all I could think about was what I would talk about if the storm was a bust.

It wasn't.

We hit snow in Avoca, and it became worse with every mile.  It was snowing hard when we hit Broad and Church in downtown Hazleton, and it didn't slow down until late morning.  I've been in several snow storms over the years.  This was among the worst.  Plow trucks made passes, but they just couldn't keep up with the snow.  It was an interesting morning forecast, including cars sliding and stuck.  A hero police officer helped push one car out of the intersection to keep traffic moving.

After the morning broadcast, Tim and I worked on a story for our noon broadcast.  The ride back to home base in Moosic turned out to be an adventure.  We crawled.  Parts of 81 were closed by crashes, so we took the back roads and side streets.  Luckily, we know them.

Our report aired in its scheduled slot.  It was time to go home and dump the wet clothes.

I still have the feeling there will be a couple more repeat episodes before winter ends.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Follow Up Thursday


I'm still waiting for the reply to my email to the organization that runs Scranton's parking.  I want to know why meters are enforced on Martin Luther King Day, but it's free parking on Juneteenth.  Guys, you know where to find me.

Earlier this week, I gave those new flavored cellophane wrapped "cheese" slices a lousy review.  I've been tooling around on the internet, and I've discovered I'm in the minority.  Other reviewers love them, especially in a grilled cheese application, which I did not do.

A company in Canada is selling 45 of its radio stations because it feels the radio business is no longer viable.  I'm typing through the tears.

The other day, I whined that the newspaper industry is its own worst enemy.  Here is more proof.  Beginning March 18, the Erie Times-News is getting rid of all of its carriers.  The U.S. Postal service will now deliver the paper, so if you are a traditionalist, and you like your news on your front porch the first thing in the morning, forget it.  The paper's management says it's discovered digital delivery is now the first choice for its customers.  The print newspaper will switch to more background and context type of reporting, and you'll get it a day late-- at the very least.

I'm sure I'll catch a replay on the NFL Network, but CBS's Tony Romo is being savaged by the critics.  There is blood in the water.  And by the way, Jim Nantz, you're 64 years old.  It's OK to have a little grey hair.

And this last one is going back a long time.  Several years ago, I raved about Bob's Red Mill products.  It's a line of  grains, cereals, etc.  If you pop your own corn, there is none better.  And, you should be popping your own.  It's not that difficult.  Be that as it may, the founder, Bob Moore died.  It was announced Saturday.  Bob Moore was 94.