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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Strike!


I wonder how many blog entries I've made over the past 13.5 years on teachers' strikes.  The answer is too many.

Photographer Bonnie and I spent some time in Dallas Tuesday morning.  Teachers were staging a one day strike because the school board failed to vote on a proposed contract the night before.  Teachers in Dallas have been without a contract for more than three and a half years.  The teachers' union insists their demands are reasonable.  The school board says the district-- and the taxpayers still can't afford it.


Why does Pennsylvania continue to be such a backward state?  Good teachers should get good money.  Bad teachers should get bounced.  There has to be a fair and equitable way to pay teachers, get good ones in the classroom, get bad ones out, and not kill homeowners and taxpayers in the process.

We're better than this.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ed Rendell

I met Ed Rendell a few times.  I watched him for a long time.

The 74 year old former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor announced Monday he has Parkinson's disease.  He has undergone aggressive treatment and is holding his own.  Great!

I don't think I've ever agreed with any politician on everything, regardless of position and party.  Ed Rendell is no exception, but I will say this. There are few people in his class when it comes to a passion for government.  He really appeared to love what he did.  Rendell was up on everything.  He was able to answer every question you threw at him.  He knew the big picture, and he knew the little details.

I was very happy to learn Ed Rendell is successfully managing his illness.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday Scrapple

The Jerry Springer Show has been cancelled.  I never watched it, but I didn't have a problem with it, either.  It is what it is.

Sorry, but I'm really not in the mood for 90 degree temperatures.

While I was never a Tiger Woods fan, I had a huge amount of respect for his talent.  I know I've said it before, but it's difficult to watch him struggle on the golf course.  Woods didn't make the cut at the US Open over the weekend.

Phil Mickelson should have been thrown out of the US Open.

McDonald's is testing alternatives to plastic straws.  I've seen the numbers, but I still can't believe plastic straws are such a huge problem to the environment.  By the way, McDonald's has the best straws around-- nice and wide.

I'm seeing an increasing number of news people, internet people and public relations people tweeting their political views.  Is that really ethical and appropriate?  I know it's your personal view, but you also represent the organization.

Domino's pizza is paying for pothole filling.  Doesn't that embarrass anyone?

I remember the days when movie production companies weren't allowed to own theaters, and NBC wasn't allowed to own two radio networks.  The media and entertainment world has changed quite a bit.

We can put a man on the moon, but we can't invent grass that stops growing.

I feel sorry for baseball announcers who are stuck with losing teams.  I heard an Orioles' guy the other day lamenting how the team keeps finding "new ways to lose."

Antenna TV, on WNEP2 runs 90 minute Johnny Carson shows on weekends.  It's amazing how much of a difference that extra 30 minutes made.  The show was much more relaxed, and Carson's people booked writers who normally never would have been on TV.

I could not possibly care less about soccer and the World Cup, and I'm slightly weary of having it jammed down my throat by people trying to convince me I should be interested.




Monday, June 18, 2018

Breakfast Bites

Subway is no longer forcing its franchise holders to open at 7 am and serve breakfast.

While I have been in Subways early, I didn't experiment with the breakfast offerings of wraps and muffins.  I stuck with the subs.

One of the great joys in life is fasting for hours for blood work, having the blood drawn, then heading to Subway to inhale a foot long turkey and Swiss in thirty seconds.  I've done it twice.

As far as Subway breakfast goes, I've never had it.  A company spokesman says people just didn't think of Subway for breakfast.  The New York Post reports Subway is bringing in an outside consultant to professionalize operations, turn around slumping sales, and possible prime the company for a sale.

I don't think Subway is a bad place.  However, in a crowded industry, it just isn't special.  It seems to be a place you have to go for a quick bite, not a destination because you like the food.

Someone from Wendy's  tweeted snarky things about IHOP after the company announced a burger promotion, and a temporary name change to IHOB.  I was waiting for someone from IHOP to respond that Wendy's tried national breakfast roll outs twice-- and failed both times.

Burger King called itself Pancake King for a day.  This is the same chain that changes its french fries every few years because it still can't get it right.  BK still produces a good burger.

IHOP could have fired back.  It didn't.  I guess management was too busy watching all the free TV  it received for the name change hysteria.

Starbucks recently announced a price increase.  Moot point for me.  I never drink coffee.  At Starbucks and other high end coffee places, you're not paying for the beans.  You are paying for workers, rent, advertising, marketing, etc.  I am constantly amazed at the drive through lines at McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts on a weekday morning.  People love the stuff.

Bottom line:  food is a cutthroat business.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Twenty!

Today is my 20th anniversary at WNEP.

There are many days I walk in the door as terrified as I was on the first.

As I've noted here before, I still love news, and I'm having fun.  There is still a lot of gas left in the tank.

I'll see you tomorrow!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Andy's Angles: Perhaps I Should Explain

Clearly, I didn't take this one.  One of our editors and associate producers Brittany did.  Joe wanted a picture to remind us of the dead of winter, and how great it was to have a wonderful summer day.

It was taken Tuesday morning.  I had just finished filling in for Tom Williams on Newswatch 16 This Morning.  Joe wanted to be photographed in a winter coat, and He asked me to photo bomb.  Upon further reflection, I think photo bombing is spontaneous, and not planned.

Anyway...

There are some things I miss about winter.  The most important-- I sleep better.  Regular readers know I work all night and sleep all day, and I keep that schedule even on my days off.  I find it easier to sleep when it's dark and I'm under a heavy blanket layer.  Dark curtains and a big air conditioner help, but it can't replace those cold nights and 4:30 PM sunsets.

Yes, I do like having four seasons, although spring and fall don't last long enough.  Yes, it's nice walking out to the driveway and not scraping a windshield, not slipping and sliding to work.

Excuse me.  It's time for a nap.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Unfinished Friday

REVISITING SOME EARLIER TOPICS...

In yesterday's entry, I pointed out that the Trump/Kim Singapore Summit reminded me of President Nixon's trip to the USSR and China in 1972.  A loyal blog reader and old radio friend pointed out that the Wilkes-Barre Township and Bradford County tornadoes struck as we approach the anniversary of the Agnes flood, also in 1972.

The New York Times recently reported the YES Network is close to signing Yankees' announcer Michael Kay to a big, new contract.  Why?  I've always been amazed the most famous team in baseball, in the largest market in baseball, settles for such mediocrity in the radio and television broadcast booths.  And as far as the radio booth goes, "mediocrity" is being kind. 

Regardless if you're Republican of Democrat, regardless if you supported Trump or Clinton, you have to agree that the past few years have not been the best in the history of the Justice Department.  It seems the rank and file do a great job.  Leadership, on the other hand...

I don't think there is anything that could happen that could get me interested in the World Cup. 

I dipped in and out of the FOX coverage of the U.S. Open.  Golf isn't really my thing.  First, I think FOX, after a slow start a few years ago, does a nice job on golf.  Second, who are these people?  So many new faces on the tour. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dust: North Korea

It was deja vu.  Mindi Ramsey and I were on the set, getting ready for Newswatch 16 This Morning on Tuesday.  Images of President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea were on the giant monitors in front of us.

Suddenly, it was 1972.

I remembered President Nixon's trips to China and the USSR in 1972.  It was fascinating.  Television images of things we hadn't seen up close before-- the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, the Kremlin.

Even though the U.S./North Korea Summit was held in neutral territory, I remembered those presidential trips 46 years ago.  There was quite a bit in common.  An American president was talking with leaders of countries we feared engaging in a war.  Like North Korea, the Chinese and Soviets were not known for their human rights.

China is still around.  The USSR isn't.  There have been ups and downs in our relationships with China and Russia, but so far, the missiles are still in the silos.

By all accounts, North Korea, while a nuclear power, is a mess.  Electricity is spotty.  The economy is a disaster   There isn't enough food to go around,  Kim needs to be taken seriously on the world stage.  North Korea needs change to survive.  It began on a Tuesday in Singapore.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Homework

A school district in Nassau County, New York is eliminating homework for elementary school students.  The superintendent says studies show young children gain nothing from it.  Homework works best in junior high and high schools.  Instead, children will be encouraged to do some reading at home.

Really?

I remember getting slammed as a kid, many nights at the kitchen table doing the dreaded long division.

I'm a moderate here.  I always believed kids should get a little something, in all grades, especially the early ones.  Kids have to develop good study habits.  Those will come in handy in high school, and especially college, where it's all homework.

By the way, it never ends.

I've been in the business a long time, and I've worked with a lot of people.  One of the big differences between the professionals and the amateurs is homework.  The good producers, reporters and photographers have a curiosity about the world around them.  They watch TV news, they read books and newspapers, they talk with people about what's important to them.  I understand the need to unplug and recharge the battery, but the learning process, the homework, never ends.

Start young.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You Talk Too Much

A coworker and I were thinking about it the other day.  Now that Tom Snyder has retired and passed, now that Charlie Rose has self destructed, now that the Bob Costas hosted "Later" on NBC is a distant memory, now that "Nightline" is multi topic...  are there serious, yet entertaining interviews on TV?

I thought of including Larry King in that group, but he mailed in that show for years.  People went on it because they knew they'd have an easy ride.  It was something you watched because there was nothing else you liked at 9 PM.  Piers Morgan wasn't around long enough for me to figure out why that show was such a train wreck.

Yes, there are interviews on C-SPAN and a couple other places.  The hosts are competent, but nothing to make you want to turn a dial.  It seems like there's an opening here, a void that needs to be filled.

Yes, David Letterman has a well received interview show on Netflix.  I love Dave, but not enough to pay to watch him.

In a similar vein, when I was a kid, teen, and even a young man, there was a big number of local DJ's/radio personalities to look up to, to emulate, to admire.  Who do young people use for inspiration these days?  There are exceptions.  In the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, we have The Prospector, Frankie Warren, Doc Medek, Rocky and Lissa, Jeff and Amanda.  Gary Chrisman is THE brand in Williamsport.  I'm sure I'm leaving out a few others, and I apologize.  There is some great local talent out there.  I wish there was more.