Wednesday, December 6, 2023

From One, Many


It's that time of year.  The Top Ten of 2023 is rapidly approaching, and this year's countdown is larger than ever, thanks to several "honorable mentions."

I do have several photographs I need to squeeze in between now and then, so here we go.  It was a cold November morning when I took this one at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

On one hand, some sunshine and blue sky would have been nice, but I do like the "little color on a colorless day" theme.

By the way, the tree you see above is the source of the inspiration.  One tree.  Many ornaments.  Many photos.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Dog Days


It's time for another one of those rants.

Therapy dogs are frequently showing up on college campuses to help students get over the stress of finals.

Let's establish something.  I love dogs, and if I had the time and my schedule allowed, I'd rescue another in a heartbeat.  Unconditional love.  Walks.  Fresh air.  Exercise.  I really miss not having a dog.  As I've said before, no matter how miserable things were going, it was wonderful to see a friendly face when you walked in the door.

I will also admit that college life can be extremely stressful.  Please refer to one of my entries from a couple of weeks ago for a story on that.

Be that as it may, the easiest way to a stress-free finals week is to go to class and pay attention, and then study, study hard,  before the final arrives.  Walk into that testing classroom with confidence.

I will note that, as I showed in that earlier blog entry, that while there are some things that will be over your head, at least studying hard gives you a fighting chance.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Wink and Radio


Happy birthday, Wink Martindale!

The DJ and game show host is 90 today.

While I was never a huge fan of the shows Martindale hosted, I do appreciate his talent.  I've heard Martindale's radio work and its outstanding.  The man has the voice and the patter.

Here is why I love the guy.  Wink has a You Tube channel featuring old game show clips, including unsold pilots.  Those pilots are fascinating.  There are some great concepts that should have sold.  Most of the others were pretty bad, and you can see why networks and syndicators ran away.  I can't believe producers/creators thought there would be a market for the shows they were trying to sell.  Convoluted, complicated concepts.  Mark Goodson had it right.  The famed game show producer said a good game is simple, and you have to be able to play along at home.  Goodson's "Match Game" and "The Price is Right" are perfect examples.  Non Goodson shows like "Jeopardy!,"  "Pyramid," and "Wheel of Fortune" are further proof of how important the simplicity/play at home concept is.  Just look at the decades they've been on the air, just about unchanged from day one.

Wink, happy birthday, and thank you for celebrating the game show genre.

There are a couple of items on today's agenda, and both deal with radio. 

KNBR is a legendary station in San Francisco.  NBC/General Electric owned it for years.  There was a short time it was part of the company that also owned the station where I worked, WARM.

Be that as it may, the current owners gutted KNBR last week, firing long time employees and getting rid of the digital division.  A nightly sports call-in show, that had been on the air for 51 years, is gone and replaced by network radio.

The highways are littered the the carcasses of companies that thought they could cut their way to increased profitability.  Investing in the product is a foreign concept.  How about increasing listenership by making it better?  It just makes me sad.

On a much happier note, our friends at Froggy 101 are raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Thursday and Friday.  Several people you might know are dropping by for short shifts to lend a hand, and I'll be there Thursday morning at 9.  Happy to be asked.  Happy to help.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Andy's Angles: Fall Wrap


I know I'm not the first and only person to say this, but I didn't think the fall colors were all that great this year.

This is another shot from the Lackawanna River, from late October.  There were plenty of yellows and browns, and not much else.  Even though this year was weak, fall here in our area is still a delight.

Now, it's time for winter.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Andy's Angles: Leftover


It is that time of the year again-- getting rid of fall leftovers before Christmas pictures and the yearly Top Ten countdown take over this space.

Before the Christmas lights really explode, this can be a grey period on the calendar.  Let's change that with this shot from along the Lackawanna River.  It was taken back in late October.  The red really popped in the morning sun, and with the other fall colors in the background.

Friday, December 1, 2023



My only surprise is the swiftness.

The Scranton Times-Tribune and its sister newspapers were sold a couple of months ago.  Its buildings in Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre are up for sale.

It was recently revealed that the new owners have as many people working from home as possible.  The rest will be moved into an office building about a block away.  The family that once owned the paper keeps the building at Penn and Spruce, sorry, Biden,  and the radio stations on the top floor.

There is old saying in broadcasting.  All that counts is what gets on the air.  The audience doesn't care if you're working in a shack or the Taj Mahal.  It's the same with newspapers.  The only thing that really matters is what gets in print, or now, on the web site.

It's still sad.  You can't help thinking about all the words and photographs that came out of here-- the good stories, the bad, the ads, the obituaries, the births, life, death...  It wasn't really Christmas Eve until the afternoon paper arrived, with that bulletin saying surveillance photos and radar spotted something that appeared to be a sleigh, piloted by a fat man in red, and led by nine reindeer.

It's just a building.  The only difference now is the mail goes to a different address.  This is prime real estate.  The owners won't have any problems repurposing the place.

Even though the radio studios up top are landmarks, maybe they'll get moved down a bit, to a floor with windows.  I don't know how the staff spends all day without daylight.  Bless them!

I wonder if the lighted "Times" sign up top comes down.  I wonder if the first floor lettering comes off.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Second Guessing, and Henry Kissinger


There have been times I've written blog entries just before midnight, but most of the time, they are done days in advance.  This program allows me to choose when they appear here.

Something has changed.

In the past, I'd write and go.  Now, it's different.

I'll go back and look at entries that are in the queue.  Change.  Adjust.  Tinker.  Tweak.  I'm not sure if it's just a phase, or if things will be different until this blog comes to an end.

It has been said that good books are edited, not written.  I'll go along with that, somewhat.  While this is not a book, it is a little chapter, with one appearing daily.  I've never seen a news story, even my own, that I wouldn't change-- at least a wee bit.

When I read, watch movies, tv shows, or documentaries, I am keen to things that would have improved the product by being deleted.

Yes, less is more.

And before I pad this entry with more useless words, it's time to hit the "publish" button.

We'll talk tomorrow.

But a late add...

Has an unelected official in this country ever wielded more power and influence than Henry Kissinger?  The former Secretary of State died yesterday at the age of 100.  And, yes, I know President Ford was unelected.  There is a very short list in that power category,  The Soviet Union, the Middle East, China, Vietnam.  The world would have been a very different place.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wednesday Scrapple


Heinz is coming out with pickle flavored ketchup next year.  Color me intrigued.  I'm a fan of the Heinz habanero ketchup.  The heat cuts through the sickening sweetness of the regular stuff.

Every once in a while, I mention a song where you remember the lyrics, even if you haven't heard it in several years.  Today's entry:  Steve Martin's "King Tut."

I don't cook or bake, but I really love all the seasonal things that pop up in supermarkets at this time of year.

It is the yearly ritual in Pittsburgh. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is losing control of the team.  Nothing new here.  Move along.

Why do we bother to have speed limits?

Microsoft is really dropping the ball when it comes to catching phishing emails.

I am thankful for many things in life.  One of the big ones:  shots and needles never bothered me.

Presidential election polls, a year before the vote, really don't mean much, but they are fascinating.

The Grammy awards will be handed out in February.  Save the time.  Just give everything to Taylor Swift.

I do like cooler weather.  Still, the first time putting on a winter coat can be depressing.  The same goes for the first frosty windshield scrape of fall.

It sounds funny, but there is only one hair cut left for me before the start of the new year.

Even though it came out way back in 1986, I am shocked at the number of broadcasters who have not read Linda Ellerbee's first book, "And So It Goes."  It should be required reading for every college media student.

"Elf on the Shelf" was entertaining for about 14 seconds.

The Major League Baseball owners approved the Athletics moving from Oakland to Las Vegas.  That city never supported the team, but the weasel owner never gave them anything to support.

Les Nessman's "The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement" line always puts me on the floor.

Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the Academy Awards next year, his fourth time.  Is the talent pool in America really that shallow?

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Fat Cat Christmas


It made me smile.

Most of morning meteorologist Joe Snedeker's pointing themes come and go without much interest from me.  They're amusing, and I enjoy most, but they really don't have much of an impact on my life and work flow.

I will admit to having some input into the recent "Babushkat" pointer theme.

I like cats.  Every one is different.

That's why I was thrilled Joe is bringing back "Fat Cat Christmas."  It was one of the most successful pointing themes of all time.  It is just what the name says.  People send in photos of their overweight cats celebrating the holiday season.  This is the 10th anniversary of "Fat Cat Christmas," so this seemed like an opportune time for a return.

I had no suggestion into the selection, but this cat was chosen as the winner in 2013.  It is Mr. Bynx and Ashley.  Bynx wasn't really fat.  He had a really thick coat, and Ashley is a delightful owner.  Our news director at the time is also a cat lover.  He arranged for a gift pack from a pet store, so Bynx didn't leave that morning empty handed, or empty pawed.

So, get your photos ready.  Maybe I'll be around on the morning 2023's winner comes in for a visit, and there will be another photo to add to my collection.

Merry Fat Cat Christmas!

Monday, November 27, 2023



courtesy:  NY Times

I was a David Letterman fan even before the groundbreaking, but ill fated 1980 NBC morning show.  His appearances on the "Tonight" show were great, and Dave was hitting the game show circuit for a while.  It was young, but vintage Letterman-- wise and snarky, but he took the games, like Password and Pyramid seriously, trying to win money for the contestants.

Letterman left "Late Show" on CBS in 2015.  He's made sporadic appearances on talk shows and I've enjoyed every shot.  When Letterman retired, he said he was never coming back to The Ed Sullivan Theater because he didn't want to see other people living his life.  I can understand that.  I've made visits to old work places, with mixed feelings.

Letterman went back to his old show last week, and I'm sorry he did.  The NY Times speculates a recent podcast cleared the air between new host Stephen Colbert and Letterman.  There might have been some hard feelings in the past because CBS was talking to Colbert well before Letterman announced his retirement.

Be that as it may, Letterman lifted his embargo in a show that aired the night of November 20.

While I'm a huge Letterman fan, I hate the direction of Colbert's "Late Show."  He had a great start, attempting a nice, down the middle talk show.  He seemed Carson-esque to me.  It turns out, Colbert didn't have the chops for that, so it was back to his old "Colbert Report" schtick, but with a new name.  Regardless of how you feel about the 45th president of the United States, a nightly 60 minutes of "Trump sucks" gets old, fast, and it's lowest common denominator television.  

I hasten to add that Colbert's ratings went up when he went back to all politics, all the time.

It was a solid appearance.  Colbert and Letterman avoided politics.  There was plenty of talk about the old days, which I enjoyed beyond belief.  Watching Dave sit behind the desk again brought a tear to my eye.  He is one of the greats.  Letterman had nothing to plug or promote.  He was just there to chat and share some memories.

Appearing on Colbert's "Late Show" meant Letterman gave it his blessing, which is undeserved.