Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Unfinished Tuesday



California senator Diane Feinstein died Friday.  90.  I respect her years of service to her country, but she was in such poor health in recent months.  Feinstein should have stepped aside.

The U.S. Senate reversed itself and the dress code is back.  It really seems the public wanted this.

What's with the recent rash of water main breaks?  We usually get them when the ground freezes in the winter and thaws in the summer.  We're early.  It's another sign of our aging infrastructure.

The Orioles signed a 30 year deal to stay in Baltimore.  Yes, the stadium is getting old and needs updating, but it would have been criminal if the team left town.

There is a great web site called 506Sports.com.  It lists network college and pro football games every week, what part of the country receives them, the network, and the announcers.  While I'm not a great sports viewer these days, I do enjoy the weekly updates.  Speaking of announcers, who are these people?

The writers' strike is over, and while I admire the craft, it really didn't affect my life.

I recently joined a Facebook group dedicated to the memory of the Mutual Broadcasting System.  At one time, it was among the greats.  However, it changed hands several times, lost its way, and went out of business.  The group is fascinating stuff, and yes, yours truly contributed to Mutual when there were big stories here in our area.

Bryce Harper's meltdown Thursday night certainly was entertaining, and he signed the helmet for the kid who caught the helmet he tossed in to the stands.  The umpire involved has a history of bad calls.  How is he still employed by MLB?

I always believed lobster is over-rated.  Yet, the hot versus cold lobster roll debate is fascinating.  Me?  Neither.  However, I can eat shrimp until the cows come home.

A re-boot of "The Office" is said to be in the works.  I wonder if it will be funny this time.  I genuinely tried to like it, but I couldn't stick around for more than ten minutes.

Monday, October 2, 2023



They are the unsung heroes of radio and television stations-- the engineers.  They navigate through a maze of technical issues every day to keep the words and the pictures flying through the air.

I worked with a great one at WARM in the 80's and in to the early 90's, Pat Castellani.  Pat took the the news department in to contemporary times.  He made sure we had good tape recorders, new pagers, the latest cell phones, and Pat is the one who had the station buy my extra long microphone.  It made my life so much easier.  Sound is all a radio news person has, and he recognized the value of getting that mic right in people's faces.   Before Pat, I was using a cassette recorder I bought at a drug store because the ones the station had were so unreliable.  I kid you not.

Pat helped the WARM news department in other ways.  I still remember that cold, rainy, icy January day when we inched an SUV to the top of Penobscot Knob in Hanover Township to see WBRE's collapsed tower.  Actually going up there gave WARM's reporting that added dimension.

I can still see Pat, working all those nights and crawling beneath cabinets, to wire up the new Magic 93 studio in Avoca, but still taking time to make sure whatever problems I had were remedied.  Great people do that.  Pat's engineering office was my hiding place on slow days.  He was always good for an interesting conversation and a wonderful laugh.  As far as the new studio wiring went, it was meticulous.  That was Pat.

I'm not sure many people knew this, but Pat did an outstanding impression of one of the many, many, many managers we cycled through during my 10.5 years working for WARM.  It was perfect.  I should name names.  Both Pat and the manager are now gone and I don't want to get Pat in trouble during his first week in Heaven.

After years of health problems, Pat , who I always called "Pasquale," died Thursday.  He was only 61.  A talented man, but more importantly, a nice man.  We just swapped messages a couple of months ago.   I knew he wasn't well. I had no idea he didn't have much time left.  I'm sorry he's gone.  I'm glad I knew him.

Pat Castellani made WARM's news department better.  I appreciated it, and I'm sure our listeners did, too, even if they didn't know about Pat's contributions.  He will be missed.

I'm fond of saying that I am made up of little pieces of every broadcaster and journalist I ever worked with.  I learned from the good ones.  I learned how "not" to do things from the bad ones.  It wasn't just the editorial stuff.  It was how to treat people.  As I reflected on Pat's life while writing this, I also realized I learned so much from the people who were never on the air.

Pat, I owe you.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Andy's Angles: More Flowers


As I said about my acting, I know one thing about gardening:  I can't do it.

It's the main reason why an early August visit to the Garden of Cedar in Scranton impressed me so much.  A lot of people apparently have the skill, and that blew me away.

If that wasn't enough, this is a community garden, and it's here for everyone to enjoy.

Count your blessings and count the days.  Welcome to October and snow is on the way.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Andy's Angles: Flowery Weekend


You can't get enough flowers and color in your life.  This weekend, it's a few more photos from my early August visit to the Garden of Cedar in Scranton.

I was born without the "green thumb" gene, so I don't even try.  However, I do appreciate the work of others.

There is a lot here to admire, and it was a great morning to exercise "depth of field" skills.  

Tomorrow, a little more color.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Free Speech


I am a firm believer in free speech.  I also believe "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

The New York Jets are struggling mightily this season under the leadership of backup quarterback Zach Wilson.  

The face of the franchise, Joe Willie Namath, who led the Jets to their one and only Super Bowl win, went on a radio show this week and savaged young Mr. Wilson.  It was brutal.  For the record, Wilson is an adult, and a well paid professional.  Slings and arrows come with the job.  The world knows the Jets are awful.  Namath was just piling on, and I didn't see a need for it.  He could have said the same things, but in a much more diplomatic fashion.  It's tough to have sympathy for a kid who makes more in a year than I'll make in a lifetime, but I did.  Joe Willie was just being mean.

On an unrelated note, Terry Kirkman died last week.  He was one of the founders of "The Association."  "Along Comes Mary" is one of pop's greatest songs-- ever.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Here We Go Again


There is a new bill in the state legislature to get rid of smoking just about everywhere.  As it stands now, you can still smoke in smoke shops, parts of casinos, and bars that make less than 20 per cent of their money from food.

There is a strong lobby to kill this bill, like similar bills in the past.  Watching this one die wouldn't surprise me.  As has been said many times, follow the money.  Some people and organizations with big bucks never want this bill to see the light of day.

A dead bill makes no sense on several levels.  It's been proven, time and again, that there is no safe level of second hand smoke.  Bill opponents say going in to an establishment that allows smoking is a personal choice.  The same goes with working there.  I do get that, but there is a long list of safe workplace regulations already on the books.  Why second hand smoke isn't on the list is a mystery.

I'm not as much of a fanatic about this issue these days.  It's really easy to avoid places that allow smoking, and I really don't go out as much, anywhere, these days.

Bill killers predict the economic collapse of the casino and bar industry.  Show me.  Places that have totally banned smoking are not boarded up.  Casinos are still making box car loads of money.  Bars adapt.  You might lose some smokers along the way.  You'll gain the people who don't like smoke, and probably wind up with more customers in the long run.

Call me skeptical, but it was a nice try.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023



One of the earliest television memories I have is sitting on the couch with my mom, and watching the TV game show "Concentration" in the 60's.

"Concentration" was an NBC mid morning staple for years, and I enjoyed it, even though as a tot, I wasn't very good at it.  It was visual, and fun, and the half hour flew by.

The show is tough to describe succinctly, but "Concentration" was a memory game, where you have to match prizes to uncover clues on a giant puzzle board.  Solve the rebus, and win the game.

While "Concentration" had several versions over the years, it's been off the air for a very long time.   I still play, and here's how.

The latest round was early Monday morning.  It was pouring, thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia.  In "Concentration," you had to remember the numbers that hid the matching prizes.  In my round, you had to remember the locations of the potholes on Scranton streets.  You couldn't see them because they were filled with Ophelia water.  Olyphant Avenue, Boulevard Avenue, and South Washington Avenue are especially bad.  I kept waiting for Hugh Downs to appear.

How did I do?  I didn't win a car, but I arrived at work with my car still in one piece.  I only hit one pothole, and it was a glancing strike, at best.

I managed to control my anger and take advantage of my "Concentration."

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tuesday Scrapple


Is there anyone who doesn't hit the "skip ad" button when they have the chance?

I'm still amazed at the number of people who ignore the "wipers on, headlights on" law.

A giant mine related sink hole opened up in Glen Lyon Sunday.  Considering this area's history and how mine owners skirted the rules for years, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.

Ophelia's slow movement was frustrating.  I've never been close to a hurricane or tropical storm.  One day, I'd like to be at the beach, safely, and watch the big waves.

Thanks to the people from Nicholson, who gave me a ton of blog hits over the weekend.

Even though I don't watch much television, other than the news, I'm happy the Hollywood writers union strike is over.

Amazon Prime Video is adding commercials.  How much more money does this company need?

It looks like NBC's "Tonight" show is taking on water because of allegations of Jimmy Fallon's misbehavior.  I've always said Fallon is a talented guy, but "Tonight" isn't the right vehicle for him.

The new iPhones are out.  I'll pass.

I don't find supermarket shopping as much fun these days.

There are dozens of Facebook pages dedicated to dead and dying malls.  I look at a few from time to time, remembering when malls used to be cool.

I watched a few "Quiz Show" clips over the weekend, just an outstanding movie.

I'm really looking forward to fall foliage season.

It's a good thing I don't gamble.  There were simply some bizarre football outcomes, pro and college, over the weekend.

The new "The Price is Right" studio made its debut yesterday.  The producers were smart not to screw around with a classic look.


Monday, September 25, 2023

Biting the Hand


The National Football  League wields considerable power over the media in this country.  That's why it's a little surprising, and refreshing, when someone who makes their living off the league issues criticism.

It came last week from former Bengal and Jet Boomer Esiason.  On his WFAN radio morning show, Esiason said the league has a real problem on its hands, in the form of violence at football games-- not on the field, but in the seats.

Fights and football go hand in hand, or fist in fist.  It's nothing new, but some fights this year have increased, and some were horribly violent.  By the way, fighting over sports teams might be one of the stupidest and saddest things ever.  Isn’t there anything more important in your life?  

Exposing the problem is the first step, and I'm glad Esiason did that.  It took guts to bite the hand, and it should be noted that Esiason is on the CBS TV pre game show Sunday afternoons.  The solution is elusive.  Increasing security is a no-brainer.  I don't think security can stop fights, but it can break them up quickly.

And, then there is alcohol.  Beer companies spend big money to advertise on television, on radio, and in stadiums.  Limiting in-stadium sales won't go over well, with breweries or fans.  Plus, there is no way you could have enough security to patrol tailgate parties in parking lots.

Yes, Boomer, the league does have a big problem.  It faces some difficult choices ahead.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Andy's Angles: Fogged In


It never fails.  It was a crystal clear summer morning where I live.  No haze.  No smoke.  Clear and wonderful.

While I have dozens of photos of the Nicholson Bridge, or the Tunkhannock Viaduct, I felt the urge to go up there and play with my wide angle lens, which I acquired a few years ago.

I knew I was in trouble as I approached from the east.  It was around 7:30 in the morning and a dense fog had settled over the valley.  It's happened before, and I should have known better.  Nicholson visits should be saved for afternoons.

I played with the shot in a couple of editing programs I have.  There was no saving it.

Enjoy!  It is what it is.