Thursday, July 29, 2021

Thursday Scrapple


I recently stumbled across some old "Frasier" reruns on overnight TV.  I had forgotten how funny that show could be.

People who live and work there really should have a say on renaming their street.

I've really tried.  I just can't get interested in the summer games.

Mixed feelings on billionaires in space.  Yes, that money could do a lot of good down here, but the private sector has to take the lead in space exploration.

30 years since Laura Ronning was murdered in Wayne County.  Unsolved homicide.  Tragedy upon tragedy.

I know it has to be done, but why is every road under construction at the same time?

It seems to be happening more often-- see something advertised.  Visit a store that doesn't have it.  Order it on-line.

Am I the only one who isn't comfortable with the Tunkhannock hospital closing its emergency room this fall?

I've seen too many blogs and web sites that review restaurants and food, without giving operating hours and directions.  It's just lazy.

Looks like the state will have one opening day of trout season again next year.  It eliminates confusion and increases fairness.

Jerome Jurenovich is retiring after 40 years in sports broadcasting.  He used to do a daily highlight reel on CNN Headline News, back when it actually did news.  Unmistakeable, high energy delivery and I always enjoyed his work.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

In Memoriam

 Former Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick died last week.  He was only 60 years old.  Skumanick served his county for five terms, and our paths crossed several times.  He was always accessible and available-- just what a journalist wants in a district attorney.  Oh, by the way, he also knew the law and knew it well.  I remember, after he left office, I picked his brain on the legal issues of the day when I ran in to him at the Lackawanna County Courthouse in Scranton.  It was a fascinating talk.  I'm sorry George left us so soon.  He made his county a better place.

Comedian Jackie Mason died Saturday.  93.  His voice and delivery were unmistakeable.  I could listen to that New York Jewish accent all day.  Plus, he was funny.  Really funny.  I enjoyed his routines and I am saddened at his passing.

There was a cartoon series in the late 60's, "The Ant and the Aardvark."  The supremely under-rated John Byner did the aardvark's voice, a perfect Jackie Mason impression.  You see, my friends, as an old radio guy, the voice means a lot.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Business Tuesday


I really should care about Texas and Oklahoma moving to the SEC.  I really should.  This could trigger an implosion in the college football world.  To me, it's just another episode in a story I've believed all along.  College sports, especially football, is a huge business.  The original intent and mission of collegiate sports died long ago.

The Cleveland Indians become the Cleveland Guardians at the end of the current baseball season.  I understand why "Indians" had to go.  Guardians?  I don't see this one as triggering a wave of new merchandise sales.

I'm running in to more businesses, especially bars and restaurants, altering their hours because they can't find enough help.  What's happening here?

Casinos here in Pennsylvania are reporting healthy profits.  With pandemic restrictions eased, people have apparently regained the urget o go out and lose their money.

The Wall Street roller coaster seems to be a bit bumpier these days.    I'm no expert.  I have people who watch my money for me.  However, watching the daily fluctuations is keeping the antacid people in business.

Gasoline proces seem to have backed off a bit, a tiny bit.  There is only one month left in peak summer driving season.  There is still plenty of hurricane season left to go, and a storm in the gulf has the potential to cause major problems.  I don't think anyone can predict the way things will go.

I haven't seen any TV ratings from the Tokyo Olympics just yet.  No major interesting stories from the games, so far, and that can'tg be good news for the TV people.

Monday, July 26, 2021



My county wants me.  My county needs me.  I have been summoned for jury duty.

It's really not a big deal.  I enjoy getting an inside look at the process.  It's not the first time.  There was a round of questioning during my last stint, and I got bounced.  I later learned the defense attorney wanted no part of me, something I never let him forget any time I ran in to him at the courthouse.

Here's the rub.  My service falls during a week I have scheduled for vacation.  I'm honest to a fault.  I have no plans, so I didn't try to delay my date with the county.  The questionnaire has been filled out and sent back.  I have to call the night before to see if they need me.  

Let's hope for pleas and settlements, and please do me a favor.  Don't commit any crimes between now and mid September. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Andy's Angles: 211


While many of the engines at the Von Storch shop in Scranton are here to be scrapped, their parts salavaged, many are here to be repaired.

It looks like 211 is on the list.  I'm happy to know this one will still be on the tracks of northeastern Pennsylvania.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Andy's Angles: 7222

 A yellow engine in the summer sun...

It's another photo from a visit to the Von Storch repair facility in Scranton.

Again, it's an engine that has seen better days.  The weeds and junk along the track add to that "abandoned" effect, but the engine hasn't been abandoned.  It's apparently here to give up its parts.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Touch Me


When the pandemic hit, WNEP management wisely and kindly made changes to our plumbing fixtures.

Traditional faucets were out.  Touchless fixtures were in.  Think about it.  It makes sense.  Less bad things are transmitted when you touch fewer things.  It's been that way at WNEP for several months.

I'm on vacation.

I was at home, in my kitchen the other afternoon, attempting to wash my hands.  I soaped up, using a high quality anti bacterial soap, and I placed my hands under the faucet.  I waited.  I waited some more.

And then I realized I was at home.  My kitchen faucet is relatively new, but it still requires you to flip a handle to turn it on.

You can take the man out of the office, but you can't take the office out of the man.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Section 24, Red Asterisk


A childhood friend died ten years ago.  53 years old.  Far too young.

I didn't go to the viewing.  I didn't go to the service, and that's always gnawed at me.  You know how it is.  You graduate from high school.  You go in different directions, even though you are just a small town block apart.  I took a crushing credit load in college, plus work at the college radio station, plus another part time radio job.  You stop calling.  The days become weeks.  The weeks become months.  The months become years, the years become a lifetime, and this story does not have a happy ending.

I did write a long letter to my friend's father a couple of weeks after he passed.  It was the right thing to do.  It helped assuage my guilt a little, but I still regretted not doing more right after my friend died.

Several months ago, I decided I'd find my friend's grave and visit for a few minutes.  I knew the cemetery, but the cemetery office was closed by the pandemic.  I struck out on three tries.   It recently reopened and I dropped in the other day.  The person at the desk was very helpful.  I gave her my friend's name and the year he died.  She went in to a back room and returned a few minutes later with an index card.  Yes, an index card!  Bishop Bambera, it's time to computerize the cemetery's records.  I also spied an IBM Wheelwriter typewriter in the office.  We had those during the tail end of my WARM run.  They were state of the art-- in 1986.

The woman at the desk gave me a copy of the cemetery map.  With a red pen, she made an asterisk to mark the location of my friend's grave.  I got back in my car and followed the directions.  After walking back and forth through the rows of headstones in section 24, I finally found it.  A simple, dark stone.  He's between his mom and dad, and near a favorite aunt.  I'm sure he would be happy if he knew that.

I lingered for a few minutes, thinking of those bike rides, wiffle ball games, Monopoly tournaments, dart competitions, and summer days on our front porches, wasting time and watching the world go by.

Yes, I'm happy I finally found my friend's grave.  It makes up for me not being there when it counted, but only a little.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

One Track Mind


A lot of people like to go on trips,

Others stay home and read the comic strips.

--Bobby Lewis, "One Track Mind,"  1961

Sleeping Homer is here and that means another vacation week is upon us.

No plans, other than sleep, reading, the gym, some bike rides, and a little photography.

It's just a little chance to recharge the battery and gear up for the last week of summer.

I'll still be around, staying at home and reading the comic strips.

The weekend morning broadcasts fall to the very capable hands of Marshall Keely.

I'll call you back later.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

If It Makes You Happy


As difficult as it is to believe, some things actually made me happy this week.

The first happened on the bridge you see above.  It closed for one last night week for a dinner party/  The bridge between Pittston and Pittston became one large dining room.  City officials say the bridge will likely be closed to traffic in the next several years, it might become a biking/pedestrian walkway.  Dinner on the bridge night showed it could work.

Downstream, it was the first "Rockin' the River" concert along the Susquehanna at Wilkes-Barre.  The improvements along the river are outstanding, and this was a great use.  It would be nice to see more.

The annual St. Ann's Novena opened in Scranton on the 17th.  While there are still anti virus precautions in place, the novena almost looked back to normal.  Nice crowds.  Nice people, and it was always something I enjoyed covering.

I saw the events from a distance, from the newsroom.  It still made me happy.  People are getting out, having fun, appreciating the area.  It would have put a smile on myself even in normal times.