Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taste Test

Apologies to friend and co-worker Kerry Brazen, who does the Taste Test on Newswatch 16 Tuesday evenings.

I saw this on the supermarket shelf, and I had to have it.

I like hot and spicy, but not the insane stuff

This salsa is hot and the heat stays with you for a while.  You can also taste the other ingredients.  There are times when the heat can overwhelm everything else, but not here.

The main plus was the texture.  Tostitos salsa can be watery, but this stuff was thick and chunky.

It's not the freshest tasting stuff,.  However, it's good enough.

Thumbs up!

Monday, September 25, 2017


A Newswatch 16 story by Carolyn Blackburne a few weeks ago got me interested.

Wilkes University just moved its communications program into a new building along South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, and I had to see it.  An e-mail to the radio station manager made it happen, and I thank Kristen Rock for her hospitality.

I didn't want to appear to be the wide eyed tourist that I was, so I didn't take any photos during my visit.  I lifted this one from the WCLH Facebook page.  This is the radio station.  The windows on then left look onto South Main.  The one on the right has a view of a very nice courtyard that connects the newer sections of the campus to what was already there.  There's a speaker outside to people outside can hear what's going on.  It's light and bright and airy, and being so visible affords the chance to build a connection to the community.

A television operation is down the hall, along with the student newspaper, The Beacon.

They have all the technology, and they have all the toys.  More importantly, I had the chance to talk with a few students-- and they're all thrilled with the opportunities presented in the new building.

Thanks to the Wilkes faculty I met during the tour.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Andy's Angles: Another View

Yesterday, it was the Wyoming Valley.  Today, the Lackawanna Valley gets its turn.

This is the view from the office/business park on top of the mountain in Jessup.  That's the Casey Highway in the foreground.  Jessup is on the left.  The shot looks to the south and west.  Scranton is off to the left.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Andy's Angles: Up High

Admittedly, this weekend's photos are far from great, but I hope you look past the shortcomings to see the nice parts.

This is the view from the 8th floor of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Plains Township.  The day will come when I will write about my adventures here, and believe me, I have a lot to say.

This is the view to the north and west.  The Kidder Street commercial corridor is on the left.  Downtown Wilkes-Barre is just out of frame, to the left.

Friday, September 22, 2017


I've written about this before, but it's been a while.

WalMart founder Sam Walton had a concept.  If you looked carefully, you could see an MBWA sign near the office area in his stores.  It stood for Management By Walking Around.  Walton didn't want his managers in the office.  He wanted them out on the floor, looking around, seeing what worked, what didn't, talking to customers, talking to employees...

I don't manage anything, but I do walk around, ride my bike, and observe...

Some recent mental notes include the following:

We love pizza.  It seems there's a constant stream of pizza delivery cars patrolling the streets, and the big boxes in the trash afterward.

An internet pet supply company appears to be exploding.  The package companies are always dropping off those boxes with the blue logo.  They are a frequent sight on area porches.

All my evidence is anecdotal, but it appears there's an uptick in homes for sale.

And if you're selling a house, off street parking is surely a plus.  Parking is at a premium in most neighborhoods.

We still haven't gotten a handle on the pothole problem.  There are some really rough streets out there.

Is fracking on the upswing?  A local hotel used to be filled with gas industry workers.  It was quiet for a long time.  Now, the parking lot is filled again.

I never get tired of seeing skunks and bunnies.  I can do without possums.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pleasant Surprise

I landed a fun assignment Tuesday morning-- preview the Triple A Championship Game at Lackawanna County Stadium.  Yes, I know it has a "paid for" name.

Photographer Jason and I pulled in at 4:00 AM.  The overnight clean up crew was on duty.  They had no problem with out presence.  The lights were on.  So were the sprinklers.

I was back for another report at noon, and for the first time, I had the time and the opportunity to wander up to the club level.  Impressive.  In fact, the stadium appears to be holding up well.  It's clean and well maintained.  From what I understand, the finances are being to hit that danger zone, putting it out of reach of some families.  That's another story for another time.

I'll level with you.  I didn't expect much of a crowd for the game Tuesday night, and that's where the "Pleasant Surprise" title for today's blog entry comes in.  9000+ to watch the Durham Bulls defeat the Memphis Redbirds for the AAA championship.  They did it right-- especially the Fan Fest before the game.

It tickles me to see our area support big events, and that means more down the road.

Enjoy the off season.  Baseball's back in April.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Scrapple

I saw 2018 calendars in the dollar store last week, and I understand Christmas decorations are going up in some stores.  I know that's not unusual, but the year really has flown by.

Why can't I keep the inside of my car windshield clean?

A business in Luzerne County is having a Middleswarth potato chip eating contest in November.  Big fan.

The only time I don't like above normal temperatures is in the summer.

Fall is a great time of year, but it does make me sad to see trees drop their leaves.

Sunday night's Emmy awards broadcast was full of political stuff.  Ratings were awful.  Connection?

One teachers' strike underway.  More to follow.  Not taking sides, but there has to be a better way.

Circle of Life:  Toys R US put the mom and pop stores out of business.  Now, WalMart and Amazon are crushing Toys R Us.  The company has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and it will remain in business, at least for a while.

Walgreens is swallowing up half the Rite Aid chain.  Can someone explain how life will be better?

Apple's new product announcements fail to excite me.

Major League Baseball set a home run record this season.  It's not hard to see why.  Stronger players, smaller ballparks, and there are those who swear the baseballs are wound tighter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Food Fads

As I wandered through the supermarket, looking at pumpkin spice everything, I started thinking about food fads.  Before I move along, pumpkin spice does absolutely nothing for me.  I guess it triggers warm fall thoughts, and it's a nice comfort flavor.  Personally, I think it's overdone.

Then, a coworker and I were having an on-line conversation about bagel sandwiches.  We were both in agreement.  Bagels make every sandwich better.  Yes, a bagel is calorie laden and not necessarily the most nutritious thing-- especially when you throw in a fried egg, a slice of cheese, and a few pieces of bacon.  You can't deny the delicious.
There used to be a bagel shop in Kingston, near the site of the old Price Chopper.  I don't remember the name, but I do remember what I always ordered there-- chicken salad on an onion bagel.  The bagel, in and of itself, was awesome.  The chicken salad contained the standard ingredients, but the chicken was diced rather than shredded.  I had never seen anything like it before, and I have yet to find it anywhere else.  It was a tremendous combination.

Speaking of sandwiches and breads, whatever happened to the pretzel bun fad?  That one came and went quickly.  I remember having a ham and cheese with spicy mustard on a pretzel bun from a mini mart.  Words could not express my glee.  The ingredients worked so well with the pretzel bun.  I don't even know if the option is available these days.  I do know the advertising has stopped, and that's sad.  It was nice for a change.

Again, bread isn't the best thing for you, but I always believed the best part of the pizza is the crust and the most important part of the sandwich-- especially a submarine, is the bread or roll.

Food fads come and go.  That's why they call them fads, and once in a while, it gives me material for a blog entry.

Monday, September 18, 2017


One of the local newspapers that's having trouble getting its issues out on the streets has a new circulation manager.  I sincerely hope things improve.

While I envy young people, and all the technology they have available to them, I'm sorry they missed out on the newspaper glory days.  It was such a thrill to hear the thump on the front porch, signaling the arrival of the morning paper, or the one that used to publish in the afternoon.  The world was on your doorstep, plus the comics!

On a similar note, ABC's overnight broadcast, during Hurricane Harvey, played clips of its broadcasts from Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago.  Peter Jennings anchored World News Tonight.  Ted Koppel was the face of Nightline.  Pardon the pun, it blew me away.

First, the theme music.  Heavy on horns, and that signature four note opening that let you know ABC was on the air.  I'm so sorry the network has drifted away from that.  WNT and Nightline were big on solid story telling and light on theatrics.

How I miss those days.

I also miss going to the big box office supply stores and wandering through the software aisle.  Graphics programs, games, assorted other utilities...  Most of that, except for anti virus software is gone.  No more dvd's.  Everything is a download.  Much more efficient.  Much less fun.

By the way, Reminiscing has always been one of my favorite songs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Andy's Angles: Boots

I'll give the organizers of the annual SGT Jan Argonish Memorial Ride credit for trying to do something a little different every year.  It takes it from a three hour event on a Sunday afternoon to a weekend filled with tributes and memories.

This year, it was this-- a memorial boot garden.  The boots came from veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The names on the boots represent men who served in Korea, and never made it home.

And, there was more-- a life sized tribute to those who served in Korea, called the forgotten war.

Admittedly, it's tough to be objective here.  My dad is a Korean War veteran and I know the Argonish family.  Even without the connections, it was a powerful weekend.