Friday, May 30, 2008


The General Jerome O'Malley monument was dedicated yesterday in Carbondale. He's the Carbondale native who became a four star general in the Air Force. O'Malley was killed in a 1985 plane crash at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

The statue is in Memorial Park, across from City Hall. I wasn't there for the dedication, but I did wander around in the mid afternoon. People were still stopping by to take a look, and all reviews were positive. The O'Malley statue is in the foreground. The Gettysburg monument is in the middle, and the Columbus monument is the one toward the back of the park.

It's more than a statue. It's more than a city honoring a famous son. It's a source of pride for people who have heard the "coal town/rust belt" thing too many times.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Too Old to Cut the Mustard

Look what came in the mail yesterday from my friends at Price Chopper-- a copy of "Senior Lifestyles" magazine.

Inside, valuable coupons for hearing aid batteries and mature adult undergarments.

Are the people at Price Chopper trying to tell me something?

Look, I know I'm not as young as I used to be, but I think I have a little way to go before I can be considered a senior citizen. I don't think anyone wants to get old. However, I am looking forward to scoring the senior citizen's discount at Long John Silver's.

I have all my teeth and some of my hair. Everything's still "functioning," if you know what I mean.

The kindness from Price Chopper is appreciated, but a tad premature.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

E Mail of the Week

I swear this is true. This e-mail landed in my "in" box Memorial Day.


Jarred Richmond []
Monday, May 26, 2008 11:44 AM
Palumbo, Andy

your life is crap


I wonder what I'll get on Independence Day.

Christa Miller is 44 today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Random Thoughts

I've never had any desire to go camping.

It's the end of May, and I still haven't turned on my home or car air conditioners.
Why aren't there more Dairy Queens?

The NFL says its investigation into the cheating New England Patriots is over, but I still think we haven't been told the entire truth.

Go Penguins!

I'm enjoying watching the Tampa Bay Rays win more games than they lose.

I've tried, but I just can't get interested in "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars," and I'm thrilled this year's competitions have come to an end.

Does the NBA season ever end?

What did TV fill the overnight hours with before poker tournaments?

I passed by Courthouse Square in Scranton yesterday. How long is that project going to take? The designer seems very fond of massive pieces of granite.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On To The Calder Cup

Congratulations to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins! Saturday night's game was one of the best ever. The Penguins scored with 30 seconds left in the game to defeat the Portland Pirates, 3 to 2. The Penguins take the best of seven series, four games to three.

Now, it's on to Chicago and the Wolves.

This is the third trip to the Calder Cup finals in Penguins history. Let's hope they come home with the big trophy this time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend !!!

I was looking for an excuse to use this picture, and the start of a holiday weekend is as good a reason as any. I snapped this last week at Marywood University in Scranton.

Enjoy the three day weekend. Be safe, and please don't forget what Memorial Day is all about.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Rest of the Story

OK, the joke concerning yesterday's "A Day in the Life" blog is over. It's time to come clean. Here is "The Rest of the Story."

Yes, that is my desk. I'm a neat freak.

To tell the truth, that isn't my make up kit, but it does belong to someone else on the morning crew.

Even though I drink a ton of diet soda every day, I don't spend that much time in the men's room.

I don't have an agent, but I do have an attorney look over contracts before I sign them.

Ryan Leckey is not my spiritual advisor, but he does know a lot about sushi. Alas, I have no interest in eating raw fish, so I've never called on Ryan's wealth of knowledge.

Phil Yacuboski is no longer my legal advisor. WBAL-TV outbid me for his services. Phil is now doing quite well in Baltimore, and he's a good sport.
And now you know, the rest of the story.

While I'm throwing around radio references this morning, I have to note the passing of Keeve Berman. There are only a dozen or so radio freaks will know who and what I'm talking about, but I'll do it anyway.

Berman was a native of Greensburg in western Pennsylvania, and he is a radio legend in that part of the state. For ten years, in the seventies and eighties, Berman was an anchor for ABC Radio News. Fantastic voice. Outstanding delivery. A huge talent.

Keeve Berman had a variety of ailments. He was 71.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Day In The Life

"A Day in the Life of Newswatch 16" airs this evening on WNEP.

It was taped and put together on one of my days off. You know me. Team player. I don't want to be left out, so I put together my own personal "A Day in the Life." Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Call Me Gomez

It seems everyone has been complaining about the weather lately-- except me.

As many of you know, I work all night and sleep most of the day. Weekends included. I'm okay with that. The recent chilly, rainy spell makes daytime sleeping, which is always a challenge, much easier.

I feel like a member of the Aadams family. Gloomy rules!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blame it on Rockwell

Just a couple more notes on the 25th college reunion that I blew off, and then I promise to move on.

The whole thing was bothering me, and I sat down for a while to try to figure it out.

The first part is the mere fact I'm old. I now work with people who were embryos when I graduated. Others were just a twinkle in their daddy's eye when I was handed my diploma.

I blame the rest on Norman Rockwell. I have a great family, but it's small. I never had those huge "Rockwellian" Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations famed in song and story. It used to get me down once in a while, but I realized I have to be happy for what I have, not unhappy because of what isn't there. There's not much I can do about having a small family, and I chose a line of work that has me in the office on most holidays.

The same goes for college... I went to a nice, little, liberal arts school. It wasn't one of those massive, ivy covered, fraternity and sorority filled, sweater wearing, football crazed institutions we see in movies-- the ones that seem to jump out from a Norman Rockwell work of art. I never developed a real bond with the school, and there are times I feel I missed something. That's the choice I made. My life is far from perfect, but I think I've done okay in some areas. Again, it's time to be happy for what I have, rather than wondering what might have been.
I did attempt a little re-union. There was an e-mail swap with a couple old friends, and that was nice. A phone call was made to a third. No answer. Maybe I'll try again.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Wonder If It Will Work

The Tampa Bay Rays want a new stadium. Even though the Rays have a winning record this year, attendance is dismal.

The team is proposing a 34,000 seat waterfront ballpark. Here's what makes it unique. It will have a fabric, retractable, sail-like roof. The sail would protect fans from the rain and the blazing Florida sun. It could be extended in less than ten minutes.

This is the view without the sail.
And, this is the view with the sail extended over the stadium.

At first, I was concerned players wouldn't be able to pick up fly balls under the white sail, but a little more research showed the sail would only cover the stands-- not the field. Total price tag for the project is $450 million. Voters still have to give their approval. If everything goes according to plan, the stadium in Tampa could be open for the 2012 season.

The design intrigues me. If it works, and if could be done within a reasonable cost, I can see sail topped stadiums in a lot of other places.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Naked Coffee

It's what makes America great. There is never a shortage of controversial items.

Today's entry deals with Starbucks.

The coffee store chain is changing its logo.

Here is the old one.

Here is the new one, which is actually the look the company used back in the 70's.

Here's the problem. Some complain the "two tailed mermaid" shows too much skin. At least one group is calling for a Starbucks boycott.

I don't drink coffee, and I could not possibly care less what logo the company places on its overpriced cups of brew.

You be the judge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Armed Forces Day

Tomorrow is the third Saturday in May, and that means it's Armed Forces Day.

If you see someone who is in uniform, or who was in uniform, please remember to say "thank you."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time Flies

It was May 15, 1983...

We were wondering what we'd do without MASH on television. The series finale aired a few months prior. The Philadelphia 76ers were NBA champions. "Blue Thunder," "Breathless," "Flashpoint," and "Doctor Detroit" were the four biggest movies at the box office that day. Sally Ride was training to become the first U.S. woman in space. Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president. A stamp cost 20 cents. Unemployment was at 9.6 per cent. We saw our first compact discs. The FCC okayed the testing of something called cellular telephones. "Toto" was on the radio. Crack cocaine had just started to appear in the United States... and I graduated from college!

My 25th reunion is this weekend. Guess who won't be there. It's nothing against the school. I envy those people who developed a strong connection to their college or university. It's not something you can turn on like a faucet. It never happened for me. C'est la vie.

I do go back, for one hour, once for a year. I attend the annual Christmas tree lighting, as has been noted here many times. That's more than enough for me.

So, looking back 25 years, what do I remember? The answer is simple. Not much. I do recall it was a rainy day. The graduation ceremony was moved inside, to the Fine Arts Auditorium. It has another name now. The graduation speaker was someone who told us about world hunger. I don't remember a word she said. I do note that the graduation speaker was ahead of the curve. The world hunger issue had yet to explode in Africa and other troubled places on our little planet.

After the ceremony, I posed for a few pictures, said good bye to a few friends, got the hug of a lifetime from fellow graduate Anne Marie Dugan, dropped by the college radio station for one last time, and that was it. Al Piela, one year younger, was at the radio station. He now sells real estate in Ocean City, MD. Great guy. After a last look around, I said something like "Well, I have to go now." I was serenaded out the door by Al singing "Go Now" by the Moody Blues.

My first moments as a college graduate were spent sleeping. I took a nap when I got home so I could be at work at WARM Radio at midnight. Yes, I didn't even take the day off from work. Note to future graduates: stop and smell the roses.

Life didn't change much. I had been working in radio since I was a sophomore, so I didn't have to look for a job. Thanks to taking a lot of credits in my freshman and sophomore years, and attending class every summer, my course load in my junior and senior years was exceptionally light. I was actually classified as a part time student for the second half of my senior year. The post college transition was a breeze.

One of our assignment editors at WNEP graduates from college this month. She said "It's the end of an era." I reminded her that it's not the end. It's the beginning.

I was lucky. My parents helped me get a good education.

My first "real" job was working weekend overnights at a radio station. 27 years later, I'm still working weekend overnights.

I may be out of college for a quarter of a century, but some things never change.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just Do It

Another attempt at a smoking ban has fallen apart in the state legislature.

A lobbyist for the American Lung Association said "It's getting to the point of embarrassment for the state of Pennsylvania."

She's right.

A study came out a few weeks ago stating there is no safe level of second hand smoke.

The house and senate have looked at the issue for years. Every survey done here in Pennsylvania shows the majority of state residents favor a smoking ban, but the special interests count more than you do. Fear rules. Our elected representatives are afraid to do the right thing.

Smoking bans have worked in other states and other countries. Bars and restaurants have survived. There is no wave of bankrupcties.

It's time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So Long, Ringtown

Say "so long" to another neighborhood school. Ringtown Elementary in Schuylkill County is closing at the end of the current school year.

The 140 students will attend class about 14 miles away, at North Schuylkill Elementary, in Fountain Springs.

I've been in both buildings. North Schuylkill is less than a year old. It's still shiny and new. It's big and bright. It's air conditioned.

Ringtown is old and smaller. It received a technology upgrade to coincide with the North Schuylkill opening. It's adequate. I got a quick "look around" yesterday.

Here's what makes Ringtown different. It's a neighborhood school. There aren't many of those left.

I was lucky. I attended neighborhood schools until the 6th grade. Are there any left?

I'm sure the children will receive a good education, regardless of whether they attend class in Ringtown or Fountain Springs, but if I had the choice, I'd take the neighborhood school every time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You Do What You Can

Such a sad weekend...

More tornadoes in the midwest... As I type this, 23 are confirmed dead and the death toll is expected to grow.

On top of that, Myanmar struggles to recover from a cyclone. The confirmed death toll has topped 28,000 and it will be higher.

The National Association of Letter Carriers held its annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive Saturday. We're told donations were down a bit due to a tough economy. More people in need. Fewer prople in a position to give. Still, it was a tremendous effort. The letter carriers and all the donors ought to be congratulated.

The Luzerne County SPCA is running low on canned cat food. Please, give what you can.

So many people and organizations need help these days. It breaks your heart.

Try to remember it like this... a friend has suggested I volunteer at an animal shelter because I like cats and dogs. I replied that I don't think I could do it. I'd go home in tears every day, and with a car full of cats. My friend said that he and others make it work by focusing on the animals and people they can help. They do a lot of good, and that can't be ignored.

As you go through your day, remember you can't help everyone, but at least you can help someone. Even a little bit is worth something.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just What I Needed

The area's fast food landscape is getting a little more crowded. Sonic is scouting for locations in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Sonic isn't much different from the others-- burgers, fries, sandwiches, drinks, milk shakes, etc., but here's what really appeals to me. Sonic offers it's entire menu, all day. As you know, I'm an extreme early riser. Now, I can get that 6:00 AM chili dog.

While I'm on the subject of fast food, what is the new fascination with chicken breakfast sandwiches? Parts of the country have had them for years. This week, both Arby's and McDonald's introduced chicken biscuits here in our area. Good idea. Long overdue.

CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace is 90 today. It's also the 47th anniversary of the day FCC Commissioner Newton Minnow called television a "vast wasteland." Not much has changed. Mike Wallace still does an occasional report for "60 Minutes" and you know the rest.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reba and the Zoo

Reba, the tiger who lived at the Nay Aug Park Zoo in Scranton, has passed away. The people at the zoo say a blood clot caused her death, at the age of 15.

We all know that "zoo" isn't the greatest. So far, no one has been able to draw a connection between Reba's death and the zoo's inadequacies. Having said that, it's time to level that building and either do nothing, or build a real zoo there. In spite of the best intentions of the people involved, it's no place for animals, especially big ones.

Nay Aug Park has come a long way in recent years. Adults and kids seem to really like the tree house. The bridge over the gorge is fantastic, and that part of the park is now much more accessible.

On the other hand, there are consistent litter issues, and it's time for some hard, difficult, and potentially costly decisions when it comes to that zoo.

Harry Truman was born on this day in 1884. There's a guy who knew a lot about making hard decisions.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Your Money

The state is spending $3.6 million of your money to find a way to increase sales at its wine and spirits stores. It's hired a consultant to come up with answers.

How hard is this? Fix up the stores. I've been in jail cells with more charm. Open earlier. Stay open later. Have a better selection. Put the stores in better locations. Bigger. Lower prices. Put more mini "state stores" in supermarkets.

I just saved the state millions of dollars.

Isn't there a better place we could put our money?

I'm not debating the wisdom of getting more alcohol into people's hands (and mouths), but the people have in Harrisburg have apparently decided it's the right thing to do. It's a legal product and should be used in a responsible manner.

Like most things, you're going to pay for it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Library

Monday was a nice day. I spent part of my morning at the new North Branch of the Osterhout Free Library on North Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre. The old location burned in July of last year.

A man donated the new space, rent-free. Volunteers helped move the books and turn the donated space into a library. People care.

Thanks to the internet, we have a world of information in our homes. Still, libraries are important.

I'll always have a soft spot for books and libraries. This was long before the internet age. Thanks to bad luck, miscalculations, cheapness and downright ineptitude, I would up going to half day sessions for half of my sophomore year in high school and all of my junior year. My afternoons were free, and I used the opportunity to do a lot of my school work at Penn State's Dunmore library. It was a big help.

I love the internet, but nothing will ever replace a book and a library.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Where's the Fun?

I hate to admit it, but I'm suffering from post-election depression.

Two weeks ago, I couldn't wait for the Pennsylvania primary to get here. Now, I'm watching video from North Carolina and Indiana, sites of primary elections tomorrow. I'm envious. No one is paying attention to Pennsylvania. The party's over.

No more getting candidate schedules in my e-mail. No more checking to see who's coming to our area. No appearances. Not a rally in sight. No interviews. No Bob Casey and Ed Rendell on Sunday morning television. No giant satellite trucks in the hotel parking lot next door. No nothing.

We're back to advertising home pregnancy test kits and the ballet. The viscious attack ads are on hold until the fall. It's all so, so, so routine. So boring.

I'll see you at the ballet.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lackawana Avenue, Scranton

It reminds me of the implosion on the lower part of Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton, back in April of 1992. The difference is these buildings are being gutted and renovated, not blown up.

It’s tough to compare the projects. No one was stepping up with a viable renovation plan 16 years ago. No one had the money. No one had the interest. Some say the buildings were just too far gone to repair. Destruction was the only option.

A developer is trying to do something with the buildings in the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue– shops, restaurants, apartments, a little park in the back. If it’s everything that’s promised, it will be fantastic. I’m concerned that the plans are a little too upscale for the Scranton market, but then again, I’m not the one putting up the money to get it done.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Something New Every Day

Roger Clemens and Luzerne County government have a lot in common. Every morning, when I sit in front of my computer and search for the latest news, Clemens and Luzerne County dominate the headlines.

Clemens has now been accused of two inappropriate relationships outside of his marriage. This comes a couple months after he was accused of using steroids and human growth hormone. Do you see a pattern here? Cheating at baseball, cheating on the wife.

And then, there is the Luzerne County courthouse... There are daily stories about no-bid contracts, preferential treatment for friends and relatives, investigations, policy breakers moved from one job to another, and assorted other events that just shouldn't be happening.

Here's something else Clemens and the county have in common-- no one wants to take responsibility for what's happened.