Sunday, December 4, 2022

Andy's Angles: Trees on the Square


I have no desire to decorate.  I don't have the skills to do it.  I do enjoy looking at the work of others.

Here are five of the trees that are part of the Festival of Trees on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.  There will be 25 trees here, each decorated by a different organization.  It's part of a Toys for Tots fundraiser.

It's a nice glow on a dark night.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

About the Cover


The December blog header is always a challenge.  The goal is to present something Christmassy, but many of the big displays don't get rolling until after December 1.  By the way, I have no problem with that.  An extended Christmas season makes the time less special, at least to me.

The borough of Throop has upped its holiday game in recent years.  This is a photo of the municipal building.  Santa, and the snow man at the far right wave.  I used a long exposure to capture the hands in different positions.  There was a bonus in the header photo, as an SUV passed by and created some light trails for me.  The building at the far left is the police station.

In retrospect, I tried to do a little too much here.  The shot is wide.  My sin is trying to capture the entire property.

A special shout out to the police officer who stopped to ask me what I was doing when I was taking this photo, a little after 2 AM on Black Friday morning.  I thought a giant camera on a tripod in front of me was a dead giveaway.  Hey, she was just doing her job.  I'm glad, and secure in the fact that she cared enough to stop to ask.

Happy holidays, and please have a safe month!

Friday, December 2, 2022

In Appreciation


I don't watch a lot of television, and most of what I do watch (except the news) is old.  Some things jumped out at me while doing a little channel surfing in recent weeks.

There was a "Soap" marathon on Antenna TV just before Thanksgiving.  The first two years were great.  The last two were a little too "out there" for me.  One thing, or one person, is constant, Katherine Helmond.  She played Jessica Tate and hit every scene in which she appeared out of the park.  There were light moments.  There was some downright daffiness.  She could do the sad and dramatic scenes, too.  Helmond never received her due for her work on "Soap."

I loved "Barney Miller" from the pilot to the finale, and I do manage to catch an episode or two most days.  The performances, all of them, were great.  What strikes me when I watch again is the quality of the writing and the timing of the delivery.  Jack Soo didn't have many lines, but he added so much to that show.

Two of the main "Scrubs" characters are now in a cell phone commercial, leading to even more speculation there will be a reunion show, a limited series, or a movie.  The talk has been out there for years.  It's seemed to increase in intensity lately.  Even though "Scrubs" is one of my favorite shows of all time, I wish they would just leave it alone.  You can't go back.  You can't improve it.  Just sit back and marvel at some great episodes.

GSN recently put the original "Card Sharks" and "Family Feud" back on the schedule.

"Card Sharks" was one of those shows where everything worked.  It was a simple and fun game, easy to play along at home.  Great set.  Great theme.  Great host, Jim Perry.  He moves the game along and appears to have fantastic fun doing so.  I always believed Jim Perry's hosting skills were underrated.

Richard Dawson WAS "Family Feud.  The producer in me timed it out the other day.  Dawson is introduced.  He plays kissy touchy feely with the contestants, and it's a whopping six minutes before they actually start to play the game.  I know Dawson's charm was part of the attraction, but SIX MINUTES before the first question!?!?  Unreal.  Drew Carey is taking bids on "The Price is Right" less than one minute after appearing on stage.

But the big story is GSN greenlighting a new version of "Split Second."  The show first appeared in the early 70's with Tom Kennedy.  It was tough for a contestant because you had to be smart and fast.  It must have been a bear to host because the game moved so quickly.  I want to have high hopes here, but most GSN original productions are rather cheesy.  There are some exceptions.  Years ago, "Inquisition" was fantastic.  "America Says" is a fun way to spend a half hour.  "The Chase" is very good, and I really don't like what ABC did with it.  "Master Minds" is a good quiz.  The Chuck Woolery version of "Lingo" was great.   On the other hand, "People Puzzler" is exceptionally stupid.  "Chain Reaction" is a good game with poor execution and they seem to seek out the dumbest contestants to play. "Catch 21" and "Common Knowledge" needed better hosts.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Counting the Days


It's time for my annual thing that helps me trudge through a long, dark, cold winter.

Do the math.  The three coldest months of the year are December, January, and February.  It's roughly 100 days, so that makes every day during those three months one per cent of the roughest season of the year.

It's similar to the "one foot in front of the other" principle.  One day at a time.  It eventually ends.

I saw some long range forecasts.  They generally call for a slightly warmer and slightly milder winter.  You know how I feel about those things.  With apologies to my meteorologist friends, it's, at best, a guess.  Any forecast period of anything longer than one week just doesn't work for me.  How about that viscous hurricane season they predicted in the spring?  How many hit the USA?  Two?  Granted, Ian was a biggie, but the atmospheric Armageddon never really materialized.

It's strange to say, but I don't dread winter as much as I once did.  You will find the days move faster as you age.  When you're a kid, the school year seems like an eternity.  It takes forever to get that drivers license.  The time crawls before you can get into a bar to have a drink.  After that, ZOOM!

The cold can be dealt with.  Grab that puffy coat and a hat.  Snow, well, not so much.  Stay home if you can.  Drive carefully if you can't and make sure your vehicle is in good shape.

I'll be counting the days.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022



As someone who works the overnight shift on weekends, there are certain times of the year you really dread.  One of them is the period right after high school and college graduations.  Crashes spike.  Injuries.  Many of the victims are young people who are out celebrating.  Alcohol is often involved.  Many times, it's just youthful carelessness.

It appears the other dreaded time of the year began early.  Early and mid December weekends is Christmas party time.  It's the same as the summer danger period.  Crashes spike.  People get hurt.  Or worse.  We seemed to have more than the usual number of crashes over Thanksgiving weekend.  Anomaly?  Perhaps.  Party season beginning early?  Could be.

I have nothing against the responsible use of alcohol, but do us all a favor and stay off the roads.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Out of Touch


I consider myself your average American, but there are times when I find myself out of the mainstream.  Cases in point:

Sorry, World Cup fans.  Soccer bores me.

People enjoy the big wheel on "The Price is Right."  I find it tedious.  Use the time to play another game and simply take the show's top two winners for the showcase round.

In a similar vein, I've never warmed to "Wheel of Fortune."  It must be something about wheels.

I love hamburgers and I adore a good meatloaf.  I'm a big cheesesteak fan.  I do make an occasional Arby's expedition.  However, a big hunk of steak or a bloody prime rib nauseates me.  I can't remember the last time I've had a steak.  Prime rib?  Never.

I also can't remember the last time I had a cup of coffee, and I marvel at how people wait in long lines for overpriced brews.

You can line up the country's leading light beers.  I can't tell the difference. 

You can line up the country's leading seltzers.  I can't tell the difference.

I loved those Thanksgiving morning parades as a kid.  Now?  You could run video of a parade from twenty years ago and I couldn't tell the difference.

I've covered oodles of football and baseball games over the years.  The last time I watched a football game, recreationally and in person, was the Scranton Eagles and that must have been thirty years ago.  Games attended since the Red Barons became the Yankees/Railriders:  1

I've never seen any of those zombie TV shows and I don't stream anything.  I never found "Seinfeld" funny and you know how I detest "The Office."

I can identify Taylor Swift in a photo.  I don't know any of her music.

I cannot seriously think about Christmas until the middle of December.

I actually drive the speed limit!

Out of touch, and proud of it.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Cyber Monday

 It's the less complicated version of Black Friday, which I railed against last week.

Today is Cyber Monday, a day when millions of people will spend billions of dollars shopping on-line.  The big retailers are said to be offering discounts.  It's usually on things I don't need.

While I support buying local as much as possible, Cyber Monday has become a must in my book.  Stores don't have the variety they once did.  They aren't open as long as they were in the old days.  When you work odd hours, you have to shop during even more odd hours.  By the way, I will be very happy if stores and fast food joints went back to 24/7.  However, and sadly, I believe those days are gone for good.

Keep a close eye on those credit cards and the sites you choose to visit.

I only need a few things and I have them scoped out.  It's just a matter of finding, clicking, and praying it all arrives before Christmas.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Andy's Angles: Farewell


It's become an unofficial tradition of mine-- head to the Scranton Farmer's Market off BarringAve. and pick up a couple of Thanksgiving pies.

I was there around 11:30 AM Wednesday, a half hour before the official opening, and the crowd was already starting to build.  People were grabbing fall vegetables, plus plus plenty of apples and baked goods.  It was a beautiful morning-- sunny and not too cold.

I picked up my pies, chatted with a few people and took off before it got crowded.

The market closed for the season Wednesday evening.

I'll see you in July!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Andy's Angles: Another Bridge


Okay, one last Pittston area bridge shot before I move on to other things.

I had another angle of this one a few weeks ago.  This is that railroad bridge over the Susquehanna, just north of Pittston.  This is a late October shot, hence the greenery.  Twig season had yet to arrive.

I'm on the west side, getting a surprisingly good sun angle for the early morning hours.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Black Friday


It's not what it used to be, but Black Friday is still one of my least favorite days of the year.  

Even though the internet has reduced the traditional shopping frenzy,  a big part of it is still there.

I do realize money is tight, especially this year.  If hanging out on a cold sidewalk for hours helps you keep family and friends happy, and if it helps you make your holiday budget, go for it.  I also know that some families view Black Friday shopping expeditions as a bonding experience.  Once again, go for it.

I'm lucky.  My Christmas list is very short.  I'll spend the day organizing photos and putting together this year's Top Ten list.  It's one of my traditional Black Friday activities.  I'll also turn in around noon so I can be at the office late tonight.

Please, Be safe and patient today.  Remember the retail workers, one of the toughest jobs out there, especially at this time of the year.

Take a little time to get caught up on the news, and that's my job tomorrow morning.