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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Follow Up Thursday

NBC's Olympic ratings haven't been the greatest, and it's not hard to figure out why.

Some really good events are on channels no one can find.  To a viewer like me, who dips in and out, NBC isn't doing a very good job of explaining the rules and scoring, and introducing us to the athletes.  You get interviews, but they appear to be filler and not because an athlete has something interesting to say.

ESPN and Mike Patrick are parting company.  Patrick has been there from nearly the beginning.  The guy is as solid as they come, but vanilla.

Rev. Billy Graham died yesterday.  99.  I heard a radio news report refer to Graham as "The Protestant Pope."  That report alleged Graham preached to more people than anyone in history.  When you think about it, it's plausible.  He filled football stadiums and arenas.  Millions watched his TV specials.  Plus, Rev. Billy Graham was around a long, long time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Morning Munch

Today's blog entry was prompted by a Newswatch 16 Tuesday morning story.  Lucky Charms cereal is dumping the hourglass marshmallow shape in favor of a unicorn.  There is also a chocolate Lucky Charms variety.   I can't remember the last time I had Lucky Charms, so I knew nothing about the chocolate and the marshmallows.

I usually have a few boxes of cereal around the house.  Most of the time, I grab a few handfulls because I'm always in a hurry.  Sitting down, pouring a bowl and adding milk is exceptionally rare.

Parents must have it tough.  Most of the offerings in the supermarket cereal aisle are sugar laden junk.  They're not cheap, either.  I guess something in the morning is better than nothing.  Time is a valued commodity in the morning.  Evidence is kids running to make the school bus and commuters speeding to work like maniacs.

Even the "adult" cereals are full of sugar.  Cheerios is my "go to" brand.  Cracklin' Oat Bran is another favorite, but it's also on the sweet side.  On those rare occasions when I do the bowl and milk thing, it's Weetabix.  Tough to find.  Tastes like Styrofoam, but it's really good for your insides.  It's essentially bran flakes pressed into a brick.  Eat it fast because it mushes up really quickly.

This entry might make it look like I'm a cereal fanatic.  Not true.  More often than not, it's cold pizza.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Follow the Money

"Follow the money" is an old phrase from the Watergate days, and following the money usually leads you to the answer, or the truth, or whatever you're looking for.

I thought it was an absolute.

Until now.

Rush Limbaught got me thinking.  His theory as to why a certain group has such a hold over Washington is not the money it funnels to candidates.  It's because the members of this organization and fiercely loyal.  Here is the big one.  THEY VOTE!

After last week's Florida event, there is a move to enact change.  I'm a journalist.  I'm not in the opinion business.  I'll leave it up to you as to whether it's right or wrong, whether it's the remedy that's needed.

No matter how you feel, the important thing is not the protests.  It's going to a polling place twice a year and making your feelings known.  

I've seen it happen so many times before.  People are motivated by a topic or event.  They vote in the next election or two, and then, they drift away.

It is unfortunate that so many affected by Florida are too young to vote, but they will be of legal age, and soon.

If you want change, or if you don't, please make the effort to participate in our democracy.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Usual Suspects

Today is Presidents Day, and that always gets me thinking.  Do I have a favorite president?  No.  Not really.  There is a list of chief executives I admire.

You really have to start with Washington, Adams, and Jefferson.  They got this whole thing started.

Lincoln makes everyone's list.

I can't say I was a fan of everything FDR did, but he did lead us out of the depression and through a world war while battling tremendous physical handicaps.

Harry Truman had guts.

JFK had an amazing ability to inspire, but he loses points in other areas.

LBJ was overshadowed by Vietnam, but he did fight for equality.

Nixon was a mess, but you can't overlook his foreign policy skills, especially when it came to China and the USSR.

Ford tried to heal a nation and battle inflation.

Jimmy Carter worked for Mideast peace, but his record on domestic affairs was dismal.  He will forever known as the "hostage" president.

Ronald Reagan changed America.

That's my short list.

Enjoy the holiday.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Andy's Angles: Country Church

I do have a weakness for small, quaint country churches.  This one is along Route 106 in Clifford.

Bad timing on my part-- I was passing through when the weather was horrid.  Grey, foggy, drizzly.

I promise to return when the weather is better.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Andy's Angles: The Mall

I suffered through just about every aspect of the downtown Scranton mall-- the announcement, the lawsuits, the endless wheeling and dealing to get it built, the implosion, the construction, the opening, the glory days, the decline...  So, the place has special fascination for me.

After some downtown business Wednesday morning, I drive across the street for a visit.  Boscov's was busy for a weekday morning.  The rest was business as usual-- a ghost town.
The mall's newest feature is the revamped food court.  A couple of the mall food court standards are still around.  The rest has been cubicled off.  Local business rent the stalls for locally made crafts and food.

Great idea!  Unfortunately, those businesses are here on weekends only, and show me any business that can exist on weekend only business.  If this was supposed to pump new life in to the place, it's off to a slow start.

Plus, the only reason to walk through the food court-- to get to the bridge over to Steamtown, was a disappointment.  The doors were locked!
New restaurants, a medical center, and an aquarium are allegedly on the way.

You just have to wonder how long an empty building can remain open.

Friday, February 16, 2018

In Awe

One of the things that has tickled me the most as I have matured in this business is the number of people I've worked with, and competed against, who have gone on to work at big city TV and radio stations, and networks.

It's a long list, and I'm thrilled for their success.  One gets singled out today:  Jason Knapp.

Jason had the desk next to mine at the old, old, old WYOU, back when it was on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton.  We got along well because we both liked to keep our work areas neat.  I was an occasional member of the sports department, having worked as high school football sideline reporter for parts of five seasons.  I also handled a Friday night assignment when we needed help.

Jason went on to do some great things-- including college football play-by-play.  His latest assignment has me stricken with awe.

NBC is using Jason for its Olympic coverage, as it has before.  Jason is calling curling.  I know a lot of people like the sport.  I can't figure it out, and I don't find it all that interesting.  Sorry.  However, I am glued to the TV when Jason is calling a contest.  He manages to make it interesting, knowing every nuance, rule, and strategy.  He also has that skill so many play-by-play people lack.  Jason knows how to get the best out of the expert commentators.

Jason Knapp, I'm proud to know you.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

First Person: IceWatch

Yesterday was one of my normal days off, and I've already established here that I keep the same "night owl" schedule as I do during my work week.

I headed out to the car around 1:45 AM to go to the gym a few miles away.  I heard rain pinging off the awning, and I thought to myself, "I didn't think rain was in the forecast."  After a short walk to the driveway, I found my car covered with a thin glaze of ice.  For a moment, I thought about cancelling my gym trip.  A foot scuff on the driveway produced the usual friction-- no ice, so I continued to the gym.

When I exited a couple of hours later, it was a different story.  It looked like plain rain.  When a step into the parking lot nearly landed me on my arse, I changed my opinion.  Main roads still appeared to have some left-over salt from a previous storm.  They were okay,  so I slowly drove to a mini mart a few miles away for an out of town newspaper and an egg salad sandwich.

It got worse by the mile.  The mini mart parking lot hadn't been treated.  It was like the rink at PyeongChang.  I grabbed my paper and had breakfast in the car.  I then pointed it toward home.  Scranton streets were horrendous, but the main arteries were at least passable.  Wyoming Avenue, to Green Ridge Street, to Blakely Street in Dunmore, to the O'Neill Highway and home.

While the freezing rain was a surprise, I will give road crews and dispatchers credit for springing into action reasonably fast.

The ice was accumulating on untreated surfaces, like my sidewalk, pictured above.  I took care of some of that.  Mother Nature and warmer temperatures took care of the rest.

That's one of my car's side view mirrors you see below.  It's difficult to tell because it was dark when I took the photo, but the ice is rather thick.
I did flip on Newswatch 16 This Morning after I made it home.  Kudos to the on air staff, the production staff, and the editorial staff who put together a broadcast on the fly.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day

I've ranted about Valentine's Day before, but not in the usual way.  I hate to hear people complain about it.  Be thankful you have someone special in your life.

Valentine's Day is also significant for a couple of other reasons.

It's when I usually finish gathering all my financial records, in preparation for turning them over to the tax guy to make some sense of them.  He always does, and that is a blog entry for another time.

There is also a weather aspect to all of this.  Valentine's Day is also when winter begins to wear on me, and I begin to look for signs of spring.  If the forecast is to be believed, this year will not disappoint.  You can already feel the sun growing stronger.  The days are getting longer.

While we have had some brutally cold days, along with a few snow storms, winter really hasn't been that bad.  I can live with the cold.  As has been established here before, snow troubles me.  It makes for dangerous travel and restricted mobility.

Winter is far from over, and some of our biggest storms have taken place in the tail end of winter.  However, it appears the worst is over.  Famous last words.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday Scrapple

Former NBC and CBS News correspondent Roger Mudd turned 90 last week.  I don't think anyone ever knew Washington better.  Mudd wrote a book several years ago.  If you can find it, read it.

I hate driving in it, but watching and walking in fog is one of life's great delights.

The Philadelphia Eagles are world champions.  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around that.  It's like when the New Orleans Saints won in 2010 and Tampa Bay in 2003.

There has to be a better way of drawing up congressional district maps.

That fun "spring training" baseball feeling has yet to arrive.  I suspect it will hit when I see the first video from Florida and Arizona.

More than 3,000 LinkedIn contacts, and yet no one can explain what that site is really good for.

Only three homicides in Lackawanna County last year?  Wow!

Can anyone make sense out of the stock market?  We all knew a correction was coming.  No one knew when, or how deep it would be.

Last week's National Pizza day was celebrated by throwing my favorite frozen variety in the oven.  Going out was impossible.  I had to be asleep by noon.

Why can't science get a handle on the flu?  I know it constantly morphs and changes.  It always seems that we can do better.

The long range forecast calls for above normal temperatures in the second half of February.  I'm okay with that.

Reynolds Wolf on The Weather Channel is one of broadcasting's underrated talents.