Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Write Stuff

 

There are weeks when I can come up with several blog topics at the same time, and there are weeks like this one.  I come up with one idea per day, and they haven't been all that great.

I've always envied and admired writers.  During my courthouse reporter days, watching the print people bang out complicated stories with looming deadlines was simply amazing.

I have a carefully selected old sitcom addiction, especially "Barney Miller."  I loved how the writers were able to craft such great characters and give them awesome lines.  The early days of "MASH" were like that, too.  "Drew Carey" will not go down in history as one of the great shows, but it delivered dependable laughs every week.  I will never forget how Drew's friend, Tony, referred to the public transit bus he was driving as a "rolling box of nasty smells and busted dreams."

News requires a different skill set.  Simple.  Direct.  Accurate.  Speed.  News was once described as "history caught on the fly."  Oh, how I wish I said that first!

I might not produce any memorable lines, but I walk out the door at the end of the shift very happy if you learned something new.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

#Sad


We have had sad periods in our area many times before, and August 2022 has to be among the worst.

I spent my Monday morning at the scene of Saturday evening's horrible incident in Berwick.  I thought of the suffering at that moment Saturday evening, and the suffering that prompted the good people of the area that inspired the fundraiser at the bar.

Please do not lose sight of all the people who tried to help-- first responders, bystanders, hospital personnel, and those offering donations.

I always try this space to offer a little wisdom and perspective.  This is a tough situation to process.

Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.  I can't say I was a huge fan, but I did like some of his work.  Of course, I have immense respect for Elvis' popularity.

I remember where I was when I heard the news-- watching a "Hogan's Hero's" rerun on television.  At 6:30 pm, I turned to Cronkite.  You can see the clip of the "NBC Nightly News" on You Tube.  Watch it and experience the majesty of the great David Brinkley.  He opened the broadcast by simply saying "Elvis Presley died today."  Simple.  Direct.  Hype-less, because the story was so huge, it didn't need to be hyped.  You wouldn't get anything close to that today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The D List

 

A few weeks ago, during one of our weekend morning broadcasts, I joked with meteorologist Valerie Smock that because I work all night and sleep all day, I haven't had a tan since 1982.  

That is not far from the truth.

During a routine medical check up several years ago, my blood work showed I had no vitamin D in my body.  That's the sunshine vitamin and apparently, I wasn't seeing enough daylight.  My doctor put me on prescription supplements that were the size of a horse's rump.  I took them for a while, failed to feel any different, and gave up.

An internet search at the time showed diagnosing vitamin D deficiencies was the in vogue thing to do.  My doctor explained that most people north of the equator were deficient.  I was very fond of my doctor, now deceased,  so I took the supplements for a while.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I was listening to a Philadelphia all news radio station in my kitchen.  They did a news report on a new study that shows vitamin D supplements do nothing for bone health, and the supplements do not lessen the chance of a fracture.

So there!

I don't feel so bad about avoiding the sun.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Broadcast Monday

 

Uma Pemmaraju died last week.  Only 64.  She was one of the FOX News Channel originals, and she often did the updates on FOX News Sunday back in the early Tony Snow days.  I always enjoyed her work.  Pemmaraju didn't get in the way of the news.

Speaking of FOX News Sunday, the network decided chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream will be the permanent replacement for Chris Wallace.  Good choice.  Bream is solid without the "it's all about me" attitude that has hurt the business.  The ratings went up when she filled in, so obviously, the audience realizes something is there.

Jon Batiste stepped aside as band leader for the CBS "Late Show."  The man has been showered with awards.  I recognize the talent, even though his style of music is not my thing.  It appeared the "Late Show" producers tried to mold Batiste in to the sidekick role, in addition to band leader.  It wasn't working.

A couple of old radio chums and I were messaging and emailing about the days when radio stations actually had live DJ's on the overnight shift.  I can write a book on that, and that is another blog entry, for another time.

FOX used a hologram of the late Harry Caray at last week's Field of Dreams game.  Harry sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."  While many enjoyed it, I thought it was just plain creepy.  Even though I didn't get a chance to see it live, I do love the baseball corn field concept.  The same goes for the major league game in Williamsport.  MLB really needs to do different things to attract new fans.  I'm sorry construction will keep the cornfield game from happening next season.

I expected very little from the new "Password."  I wasn't disappointed.

You know fall is coming when all the top shelf sports talk radio hosts are taking time off before the busy NFL and baseball playoff season begins.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Andy's Angles: Frozen Water

 

When you shoot moving water, you can go in one of two directions.

You can slow down the shutter and get a nice, milky effect.

Or

You can do what I did here.  Speed up the shutter.  This photo was taken at 1/2500 of a second.

Overkill, perhaps.

What it does is freezes the motion of every water droplet, and I always think that's cool.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

About the Cover

 

It's August, the last month of meteorological summer.  For this month's header, I wanted a shot that said "summer."  

I took this one in late June, and I stuck it in my back pocket for the August header.  This is a shot of the fountains in front of the Everhart Museum at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  That's Community Medical Center at the upper left.

This isn't an award winning shot, but here is what draws me to it-- the deep rich green on the trees, the crystal clear blue sky, and the water droplets forming a rainbow.

The photo really screams "summer."


Friday, August 12, 2022

Days of Our Streaming

 

NBC dropped the bomb last week.  It's taking "Days of Our Lives" off the network and moving it to its streaming service known as Peacock.

Many feel this is the first step toward cancellation.  The producer hopes this gives the show new life and new freedom.  Yes, you will have to pay to watch it, but you will also have access to all of the previous episodes.

I really don't know.  I'm not a serial guy, but I do admit to being hooked on "The Edge of Night" several years ago.

Serials have fallen out of favor in recent years.  Big casts.  Expensive to produce.  The skew toward an older audience, and that is a tough sell to advertisers.  Networks have cancelled the serials and have replaced them with talk, or have given the time back to affiliates.  In the case of "Days of Our Lives," NBC will replace it with a news hour.

News makes sense.  It's less expensive than a daytime drama, and because it's topical, people watch it NOW.  There is no time shifting.

There are just three soaps left on network daytime TV, two on CBS and one on ABC.  The networks are just about out of the game show business, too.  There is just a pair on CBS in the morning.

That's the glory of television.  It's always changing.  I'm sorry some loyal serial fans are being left behind.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Vin

 

I've really held off writing a blog entry dedicated to Vin Scully because I'm considerably out of the mainstream here.

I respect Scully's longevity and popularity.  Unmatched in American broadcasting and I seriously doubt anyone else will ever come close.  He knew how to spin a yarn, describe a game, and get out of the way at a critical moment.  Scully had a keen sense of when to let the crowd noise tell the story.  Bravo!  People loved him.  Everything I read indicates Vin Scully was a professional, friendly, and gracious to fans and fellow broadcasters.

On the other hand...

Scully insisted on working alone, even though fans enjoy the banter between a quality play-by-play announcer and a color commentator.   In a PBS interview, Scully said his solo act wasn't ego driven.  He likened it to going to buy a car and having the salesman talk to someone else, with the customer just overhearing the conversation.  Scully said he wanted to talk directly to the listener.  OK, I get some of that, but I still like two voices.  I remember all those wonderful summer nights with Whitey and Harry doing the Phillies games, and Phil and Bill on the Yankees broadcasts.

Vin Scully was on his way to becoming the top NFL broadcaster at CBS.  The network realized it had a huge potential star in John Madden.  The network tested Madden with Scully and with Pat Summerall.  Scully kept Madden on a short leash.  Summerall let Madden run, and was better at setting up the former coach.  CBS went with Summerall, and they became one of the most successful broadcast teams in TV history.  For my money, they were better than the Monday Night Football booth with Gifford, Meredith, and Cosell.  Bottom line:  Scully need to talk less and be more of a team player.

It seems to be a pattern.  Let's take you back to the last year of NBC's baseball contract in 1989.  Joe Garagiola stepped aside and Tom Seaver followed him in to the "Game of the Week" booth on Saturday afternoons.  Seaver, at the same time, was also working Yankees' broadcasts on WPIX.  Night and day.  On WPIX, Seaver was informative, charming, funny, and engaging.  Seaver, working with Scully at NBC,  reminded me of a "speak only when you're spoken to" arrangement.  It wasn't a good listen.

When all is said and done, there are far more positives than negatives.  Vin Scully left his mark on baseball, and on America.  I doubt there will ever be another like him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

ONJ


The great thing about music is it takes you back to a time and place.  Sometimes, it's sad.  Sometimes, it's happy.

Olivia Newton John died Monday.  Cancer.  73.

To me, ONJ will always be the woman you see above.  Sweet.  Pretty.  Early 70's pop with almost a country feel.  It was a time of  dominant AM radio.  My biggest worries were studying for that junior high school history test and getting my Frisbee out of the neighbor's tree.

Dick Clark played her early pop hits on Saturday afternoons.  They were always in Casey Kasem's American Top 40 on Sundays.

Olivia Newton John's image shifted in the late 70's and early 80's.  "Grease."  "Physical."  "Xanadu."  I really didn't care for the sexed up Olivia Newton John.  It had nothing to do with her appearance.  Music from "Grease" was all over the radio, and it simply wore me out.  It was an okay movie, not a great movie.  "Physical" came around at a time when I was rocking on the radio.

Hearing her songs now, especially the early ones,  will make me sad, but I will think of when they were new, and I'll smile.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday Scrapple

 

Over the weekend, Pete Rose proved he is still Pete Rose, a hopeless boor.  Baseball is better off without him.

It's amazing that with so many problems in the world, we are all extremely concerned about the fate of the Choco Taco.

There was a huge discussion of the snack known as Bugles in the office the other day.  Love them or hate them.

I usually start generating a little interest in the new NFL season around this time of year.  I just can't muster up the excitement.

No, I don't want a blizzard.  But, I don't want any more intense heat and humidity, either.  As long as they aren't severe, summer thunderstorms can be a thing of beauty.

In a recent blog rant concerning a lack of courtesy on the road, I neglected to mention the needless high beam issue is getting worse.

A pleasant bank teller or store clerk can make your day.

Vin Scully wasn't my cup of tea, but I did enjoy listening to Al Michaels and Bob Costas talk about him last week.  There is also a delicious You Tube clip of Scully and Dick Enberg reminiscing about the old days.  Enberg died in 2017, and I always felt he was vastly under rated.

I am not one for crowds and noise, and you won't catch me at a county fair.  However, I do enjoy the news stories and watching the video.

A local volunteer fire company recently held a chicken barbecue, and the town smelled great.

FOX Sports released a list of its NFL announcing teams.  Some familiar names.  Most unfamiliar.  Thje next generation has arrived.

I can't believe we're already talking about the Pittston Tomato Festival and the Little League World Series.