Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: Struck Out

Normally, this is the time of year we're thinking about the new Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees season at Lackawanna County Stadium.

Not this year.

The SWB Yankees are now the Empire State Yankees.  The stadium is undergoing massive renovations and there was no way they could play here during the reconstruction.

Still, it will be sad to see an empty ballpark down the street this season.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Welcome Back

Today's blog is a lot of "inside baseball."  Forgive me.

ABC, CBS, and NBC used to have big radio divisions.  CBS is still in the game, owning several stations, and providing a lot of programming-- including news.

There is ABC Radio News, but it's owned by a company that called Cumulus.  ABC sold off most of its radio holdings years ago.  ABC/Disney still owns ESPN Radio, the big dog in sports radio, and a scattering of local stations.  By the way, FOX doesn't own FOX Sports Radio. It just licenses the name to another company.

One of the radio pioneers, NBC, was the first to bail out.  It sold off its radio stations in the 80's.  The company got out of the radio news biz by selling its name to another company that produced newscasts under the NBC banner.  Most of those newscasts eventually went away.

NBC News Radio came back, a little.  A company called Dial Global distributes a few NBC titled newscasts each day.  That all changes April 1.  Dial Global will produce two newscasts per hour, some voiced by NBC/MSNBC anchors.  It won't be the same as it was, but it will still be nice to hear NBC have a strong presence on the radio.

To make room for NBC, Dial Global says it will no longer distribute radio news from CNN.  CNN says it's looking for a new partner.  It only makes sense for one of the country's TV news leaders to have a radio companion.

I should note that WNEP alumnus Bob Costantini is a Washington correspondent for CNN Radio.  Bob told me the other day that he will be staying on with the new company, and that's certainly good news.

The bottom line here is a famous name in radio news is returning, and even though the network news glory days are long gone, it will be nice to hear "NBC" on the radio.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gas Land

It is the life of a morning reporter.  I rarely get to stray far from home.  First, I'm live in our 5-9 AM morning broadcast, and, usually, again at noon.  I can't travel as far as I would like.   The clock is not my friend.

Back in February, I did get to Susquehanna for a little while.  It was for a story with the aunt of Chris Snee of the Super Bowl winning New York Giants.  It was hit and run journalism.  Get there.  Get the story.  Get out. I saw a lot of things I wanted to photograph, but there was no time.

I vowed to get to Susquehanna County, camera in hand.  Mission accomplished Tuesday morning.  I had an extra day off this week.  It was cold, but clear.  I wanted to get a good look at the gas drilling rigs that now dot the area.

The photo above was taken in Dimock.  Impressions?  The rigs are bigger than they look on TV, and there weren't as many of them as I expected.  It's all relative.  If you feel drilling and fracking is ruining the environment, one is too many.  If you work in the industry, or if you make money from gas drilling, you likely think there should be more.
There was an unusual sight near Montrose-- a mass of flames shooting from the top of something, and it sounded like a jet engine.  I couldn't get close without trespassing, so this was the best I could do.  The photo doesn't do it justice.

Fracking is here, and it's now a fact of life.  We need the gas, and we need the boost to the economy.  We also need to make sure it's done without wrecking the environment in the process.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dress Code

A clothing discussion came up on the air Monday morning, and it required more time than I could devote.  Thankfully, I have the blog so I can expand upon it.

Reporters have to over dress rather than under dress.  We never know if we'll spend hours outside at a fire, waiting on the steps of the courthouse for an alleged criminal, on the streets during a stand-off...

It's tough to concentrate on what you're saying and thinking when you're cold and uncomfortable.  It's as simple as that.

Monday was an unusual day.  Usually the temperature inches up during our 5-9 AM broadcast.  On Monday, it was the other way around.  The wind kicked up and the temperature went down.  Plus, I was in a parking lot, on top of a hill.  In spite of my choice of coats-- a glorified hooded sweatshirt with a nylon outer shell, it was cold.

You have to put things in perspective.  I wasn't in a hole, digging around a broken water main.  I wasn't on top of a utility pole, stringing wires.  I wasn't on a roof, replacing shingles.

Still, cold isn't fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

That's Why I'm Here

I was listening to the radio when I got home from work Sunday morning.  One of the songs, "All I Want To Do" by Sheryl Crow. I really like the song, and I was nice to give it a listen.  It's been a while since I heard it.

Then, I got to thinking.  What goes through Crow's head when she's in concert?  Is it "Boy, I'm so glad I found this song.  It made me a star."


"Wow.  I'm so sick of this song.  I want people to know I can do other things."

Joe Snedeker and I got in to a James Taylor discussion a few weeks ago.  Big fan.  One of my favorite songs is a minor JT hit called "That's Why I'm Here."  It seems to be autobiographical.  Taylor knows people attend his concerts to hear the comfortable old hits, and he's okay with that.  Below are a few lines from the song.

Oh, fortune and fame's such a curious game
Perfect strangers can call you by name
Pay good money to hear fire and rain
Again and again and again.

Some are like summer coming back every year
Got your baby got your blanket got your bucket of beer
I break into a grin from ear to ear
And suddenly it's perfectly clear.

That's why I'm here
Singin tonight, tomorrow, everyday
That's why I'm standing here
That's why I'm here.

We're all here for a reason.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey, Where Did You Go?

Here we go again. is about to undergo another redesign.  I've seen it, and I like it.  It's a much cleaner, more modern look-- and I like how we keep it fresh.

Now, the bad news.  Any time we undergo a redesign, blog hits drop because people have a hard time finding it.  Here's a little advance advice.  Go to my biography, once the new appears.  There's a link for the blog there.

You can always hit it directly by going to

The fine people at have been kind enough to have a link to my blog, and many others, on their web site, and I think them for that.

Of course, the preferred method is to jump to the blog after visiting

Enjoy the new when it arrives later this week, and once you get used to where everything is, you'll love it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: More Steamtown

Even though this old steam locomotive at Steamtown has seen better days, it's still interesting to look at.  I hope, one day, it gets the tender, loving care it deserves.

You can see the charm through the rust and corrosion.  It reminds me of one of the engines that chugged through Hooterville and made stops at the Shady Rest Hotel.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: Steamtown

It's been a long time since I've inflicted some train photos on you.  I wandered around the Steamtown National Historic Site on a recent afternoon.  This caboose begged for a photo.

While Steamtown has some wonderfully restored locomotives, it also has some rusting, rotting pieces-- including this one.

Every car has a story, and I wonder how and why this one got here.  I also wonder if it's too far gone to fix.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow Up File

The blog gets results!  Earlier this week, I whined about two commercials running at the same time, every morning at 2:05 AM on a local radio station.  A representative of the radio station figured out I was writing about his operation, and the problem has been fixed.  Unfortunately, the other radio problem remains, and it pains me to see that station dying of neglect.

The New Orleans Saints got whacked hard for its "bounty" scandal.  The head coach has been suspended for a year.  The team has been fined and will lose draft picks.  Boo hoo!  The Saints should the thankful it wasn't worse.  Offering for money for hits that cause injury is disgusting behavior.

Tim Tebow is now a New York Jet.  He might not be the most talented QB in the NFL, but he does seem like a really nice guy.  On top of that, I keep hearing how Tebow can't throw, and he can't get the job done.  Even though I'm not a fan of the Jets and their loudmouthed coach, I'd love to see Tebow prove the naysayers wrong.

There's been a mini spike in my Twitter followers, and a larger spike in the number of LinkedIn contacts.  Thank you.  WNEP's Twitter account has added more than 1,300 followers since the start of 2012.  That's an impressive number.  We've started doing more with Twitter, and there will be some additional tweaks in the weeks to come.

Speaking of tweaks, look for improvements to in the very near future.  I saw the proposed redesign the other day.  It's much bolder, cleaner, and easier to use.

Most people call the beef filler that's in the news lately "pink slime."  Supermarket chains give it the sanitized name of "finely textured beef."  Several supermarket chains are giving up on selling ground beef with the "pink slime" filler.  There's one reason.  The public found out about it.  Personally, I'm disappointed.  My doctor told me I'm not getting enough slime in my diet.  Yes, I stole the line from Steve Martin.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Worse for Wear

Before chasing ATV riding monkeys through Ashley Monday morning, I had a little time to play with my camera along the Susquehanna River.

As you can see, this photo was taken near Millennium Circle and the Luzerne County Courthouse.  It was my first time, on the river's edge, on the east side, since the September flooding.

The things you see here were designed to be under water from time to time.  Still, I was amazed by the lack of damage.  There is a lot of mud to be hosed away, and a few stones to be re-set.  Otherwise, the area is in remarkable shape.  A gallon of water weighs more than eight pounds.  Multiply that by trillions, and that's what you had flowing through here back in September.

It looks like a trouble free spring, summer, and fall, in the park are ahead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MonkeyWatch 16

People are asking me about it all the time, so I might as well put it in to writing here.

I was working on a story on a big water line replacement project in Wilkes-Barre when I was sent to check reports of a monkey on the loose in Ashley.  Really?  I've been in the biz more than thirty years.  This was my first monkey hunt.

I met up with a photographer, who was already in Ashley.  He informed that the monkey had been captured, and was inside a home with the owner.  I stood watch outside, as members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission waited to take the critter away.

I expected to see a little spider monkey, the kind organ grinders have.  I was mildly surprised when the owner walked out with a rather large monkey sitting on his shoulder.  He looked harmless enough, until the monkey opened his mouth, exposing a frighteningly large set of teeth.

I've read enough monkey stories over the years to know they can be vicious little beasts.  I had to get close enough to get the story, but far away enough for some degree of safety.  Game Commission officers were armed.  The monkey, Tyler, was on a leash and a chain.  It seemed safe enough, but I was still concerned.  You had to see those teeth.

I should back up a bit.  Earlier in the morning, while Tyler was still on the run, police put out an advisory about a potentially dangerous monkey on the loose.  Clearly, people were worried here.  Tyler might have been a pet, but he is still a wild animal.

Tyler got loose when the owner's son decided to take him, leash-less, on a pre dawn ATV excursion.  Big mistake.  Only in Northeastern Pennsylvania can someone get caught taking a monkey on a moonlight ATV ride.

The monkey was spotted on a porch a few blocks away.  The owner came to claim him, and what could have been a dangerous situation was diffused.  Keeping a monkey as a pet is illegal, and the Game Commission reminded the owner of that.  The animal was surrendered to the state, and the owner faces a fine.

Tyler was taken to a facility for wild animals in Snyder County, where he will hopefully have a happy, safe and long life.

The Game Commission put Tyler in a dog cage.  The owner told the officers the cage might not be strong enough to hold the monkey.  The cage was reinforced with wire and tie wraps.  Tyler was given a stuffed bunny to play with.  He still seemed agitated, and I too felt the cage might not be strong enough.

I talked with Tyler's owner-- who said the monkey was great pet.  He was upset over that happened.  He had Tyler for 15 years.  Neighbors didn't object to a wild animal in the neighborhood.

Here's what I really want to know.  It's widely known that you can't own wild animals.  Tyler the monkey was one of the neighborhood's best known residents.  Ashley is a small town.  There are no secrets.  Tyler lived in Ashley for 15 years.  Word of a monkey in town had to make its way to the police department.  Why was nothing done?

Even if Tyler was a model citizen, and there's nothing to indicate he wasn't, I'd still be uncomfortable with a monkey on the block.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It's now official.  Winter is over.  Meteorologists believe March 1 to be the start of spring, but I've always been a vernal equinox guy myself.

I knew it was going to be a mild winter when I bought a new pair of boots in the late fall.  They're still in the box. I have yet to wear them, and I'm okay with that.

So, what have we learned here?

Mild winters happen from time to time.

It's much too early, in my view, to chalk this one up to global warming.  If there is global warming, it's gradual-- not a five degree jump like we had this year.

And, we've learned all those long term forecasts were dead wrong.  Don't believe anything more than seven days in advance.

Maybe, next year, I'll guarantee a warm winter by buying a new coat.

Monday, March 19, 2012


This one has been sticking in my craw for a while, and it's time I vented.

I'm usually awake at 2 AM, even on my days off.  I frequently tune in a radio station that features a top of the hour network newscast.  Some people grab a smoke or something to drink first thing in the morning.  I grab information.

Anyway, after the network newscast airs, this radio station plays two commercials.  No big deal, right?  Well, this station plays these two commercials AT THE SAME TIME!  It's not just once in a while.  It happens every morning!  It's clear workers aren't listening to their own station, or they just don't care.  Apparently, the advertisers aren't listening, either.  If a radio station wasted my money that way, I'd be screaming bloody murder.

Then, there is the radio station that plays a network newscast at about ten minutes before the hour, followed (only in the morning) by a minute of taped local headlines-- most taken from the newspapers and TV stations.

Here's the way this outfit is run-- the local taped segment frequently cuts off the end of the network newscast, and the local segment ends in the middle of a song from the satellite delivered format.

Isn't anyone listening?  Does anyone care?

I'm a realist.  Radio isn't what it used to be.  The stations I referred to above are computer controlled.  Computers have problems from time to time.  We've experienced some of that where I work, but there's a difference.   We fix our problems.  We don't let them continue day, after day, after day.

It's already been established that I got my start in radio, and it is my first love.  That's why I get so angry when I hear careless mistakes.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Expo Sunday

More WNEP Home & Backyard Expo pictures today.

Above, Tom, Joe, and Jackie.  Ryan Leckey is speaking with our friends from Creekside Gardens at the upper left of the photo.

Below, Ryan, Tom and Andy.
It sounds odd, but there are people I work with, who I never see.  We have opposite schedules.

And, there are people I see all the time, but we're always running in opposite directions, and we never have a chance to talk.

My visit to the Expo Friday morning provided my yearly co-worker re-union.

The Expo wraps up this afternoon at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township.  Stop by and say hello.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Expo Saturday

The WNEP Home & Backyard Expo is underway at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township.

There are so many people to thank, who made my Friday morning visit a pleasant one.

First, so many nice people came up to say hello.

Our art department put together some really cool signs.

The people at Creekside Gardens provided a great space at center court, where I spent the majority of my time.

So many vendors and exhibitors showed tons of creativity in designing their displays.

And, it's free.

My weekend work schedule is an odd one, so my visit was limited to Friday morning.  The Expo, however, goes all weekend long.

All the information you need is at

Friday, March 16, 2012

Unfinished Business

We'e back on Daylight Saving Time, and I didn't write my usual pre time change rant this year.  Here's the abridged version.  Time changes are an archaic concept, and they should be abolished.

It looks like the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees saga is the never ending story of 2012.  The latest item made me laugh and cry at the same time.  One of the Lackawanna County commissioners is asking the team's management company, Mandalay to "begin building confidence."  Hey, last time I checked, Lackawanna County still owns the team.  Mandalay works for us, not the other way around.  Have we forgotten that?

Former State Senator Bob Mellow was once one of the most powerful people in the state of Pennsylvania.  Now, he's an admitted thief.

Who was minding the store in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District?  The former solicitor, a man civilally accused of stealing thousands, maybe millions of dollars, billed the district more than $ 300,000.  For what?

Those who allowed Mellow and the solicitor to get away with it for so long are just as guilty.

Wow, am I sick of Peyton Manning!  He showed a lot of class in the news conference last week, where he separated from the Indianapolis Colts.  If I ran an NFL team, would I sign him?  No.  It's an easy call.  He's a 36 year old with four neck surgeries, and there's still plenty of recovery time ahead.  I'd rather take my chances drafting a quarterback out of college, and it's a lot less expensive.

I took some new photographs for the blog last week, and I also spent a little time going through the archives.  You'll see all that stuff in the weeks to come.  Also, the 20th anniversary of "The Great Implosion" in Scranton is approaching, and I have a few days of photographs and stories dedicated to that event in the queue.

March Madness is here.  I'll get interested in the NCAA tournament if an underdog team makes it in to the final rounds.  Please, I don't want to hear about your brackets.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In Touch

I will never understand the cell phone/text/Twitter culture.

Case in point:  last week.  I developed a massive afternoon headache. It's happened before.  My brain was sending me a sign that I was spending too much time reading, and too much time in front of a computer monitor.  I had to get out for a while, so I decided to stroll around a local mall.

It was a nice trip.  I saw a few people I know, and a found a couple decent sales.

As I walked around the mall and its stores, I was struck by the number people looking down at a smart phone, or holding a phone up to their ear.

It wasn't just kids.  People my age, and older, had phones clutched in their hands.

I'm sure a few of those calls were important.  The rest?  The conversation could have waited.

I went to the mall to escape for a little while.  The cell phone junkies were happy to remain captive.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Six Months

The actual Tropical Storm Lee flood lasted only a couple days.  It was six months ago, and we'll feel the effects for years.

There is one place where the recovery is moving along nicely.  Below is a photo of Holy Rosary school and church I took in September of last year.  Stephenson Street, and the rest of the neighborhood was a mess because the Lackawanna River spilled over its banks.
The sidewalk was covered with items ruined by the flooding.  Volunteers and clean up crews were saving what they could.

As for the school itself, it needed a lot of work to get it back to normal, and it would take time.  The Diocese of Scranton moved the 280 students into the old Saint Mary's School in Avoca, just a few miles away.

Yesterday, the clean up was officially complete.
I took the photo you see above about 8 AM yesterday.  Some parents brought their children to school, in Duryea, for the first time in six months.  School buses brought the rest.

I had a chance to look around inside the building.  The basement cafeteria and a classroom were re-done, and they look great.  Upstairs areas looked the way they did before the flood, and everyone seemed happy.

The flood cleanup is taking longer in other parts of our area, and I realize that not everyone has the resources of the Catholic Diocese of Scranton.  There is a long and difficult road ahead.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I've become fond of one of those local indoor flea markets here in our area.  I don't visit often, and I rarely buy anything.  So why do I go?  It's like a museum of my childhood.  I often see books I read as a kid, toys and games I had, records, old radios and tv's, appliances, etc.  So many memories...

During a visit last week, I spent some time looking at a couple old Coke vending machines.  The one on the left looks like the one we had in my junior high school.  Yes, we were allowed to drink soda in school back then.  Imagine the horror!  Are schools that much better now because kids can't have a Coke between classes?

I apologize for the quality of the photos.  They are from my camera phone.

It was the machine on the right that really caught my eye, and not for the Coke.

Take a look at the bumper sticker on the side.  As you know, I'm a sucker for old radio stuff.
Someone slapped a WBQW bumper sticker on the side.  It has to be at least 30 years old.  It was a sticker promoting the station's Notre Dame football games.  It was a nice move.  I'm not sure if WARM or WILK had the Penn State games back in those days.  Notre Dame was the consolation prize-- the games you carried if you couldn't get Penn State.

WBQW is the old WSCR-AM 1320, a station licensed to Scranton.  The studios and towers were on North Keyser Avenue.  Both are long gone.  AM 1320 is off the air, never to return.  The call letters now belong to an all sports station in Chicago.  WSCR was a top 40 type station for a long time.  It had a string of different owners and formats before going off the air, for good.

WSCR was a nice little station for a long time, and it had a loyal audience in the Scranton area.  It was hampered by a less than stellar signal-- 1,000 watts during the day, dropping to 250 at night.  The great Tim Karlson worked there before moving to WARM, WBRE, and WNEP.  My good friend and Mid Valley classmate Jerry Padden is also an alumnus.

Management dropped the heritage WSCR call letters in an attempt to reach out beyond Scranton-- a more regional approach.  It wasn't a bad idea, at least on paper.  Unfortunately, the station didn't have the signal strength to be a regional powerhouse.  It didn't work.

I guess that's why there are so many flea markets locally.  It's the adventure.  You never know what you're going to find.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mr. Lucky

I've always said I've been luckier than I deserved.  You'll hear that phrase a lot in a couple weeks, when I have a few blogs dedicated to the 20th anniversary of "The Great Implosion" in downtown Scranton.

Today, a little more history.

I lucked on to a part time job at WARM in April 1981.  It wasn't much-- just keeping an eye on the controls while the religion and public affairs shows ran on the weekend overnight shift.  A friend who already worked there reccommended me for the job.  I passed the interview.  It appeared the number one requirement was a willingness to work weekend overnights for very little money.  Nonetheless, it was a foot in the door, and I was thrilled to have the job.

WARM was number one when I arrived, but it was slipping badly.  FM was coming on strong.  The station was tired and stale.  A couple years after I started, WARM changed program directors.  In came Bill Kimble, a Sunbury native, who last worked at the legendary WHAM in Rochester, NY.

Bill saw the talk radio revolution coming to AM radio, and he added some talk to the station's line up.  He took some of the jocks and paired them up to take phone calls, and read newsy little features.  Some of the pairings worked.  Most didn't.  There was a mix and match thing going on for a while.  The audience never knew who they would hear and when, outside of Harry West in the morning.   It was talk for the sake of talk, not talk because you had something important to say.   It was all wrong.  A few of the guys left for other stations, and I don't blame them.  It was a difficult atmosphere.  I will give Kimble credit for NOT cleaning house.  He could have fired everyone and started over.

Bill loved Larry King.  At the time, King was doing an overnight call in show, and it was the "hot" property of the time.  Another station in town had the rights to the show, which was distributed by a network called the Mutual Broadcasting System.

Let me divert a bit.  At one time, Mutual was THE radio network.  It had a strong line up of shows and newscasts.  By the early 80's, Mutual was owned by Amway and it was a wreck, bordering on unlistenable.  Larry King was the only thing Mutual had going for it.

To pry Larry King away from the other station in town, WARM and Kimble agreed to air a lot of Mutual's features, plus network newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour.  Part of WARM's legendary strength was its news department.  The audience tuned in for live and local.  When they got non local and network, they started tuning out.  Eventually, a lot of the Mutual stuff was dropped, but the damage was done.

Kimble was right in instituting some changes at WARM.  Change should be evolutionary, not revolutionary.  Kimble pushed for too much, too fast.  Listenership wasn't the only thing that declined.  The station lost some good employees.  Morale was shot.  Kimble was replaced after two years.  Two long years.  There was a decent revovery in the late 80's, under a program director named John Hancock, but the glory days were never to return.

After leaving WARM, Kimble had a very successful 14 year run at WPEN in Philadelphia.

Bill Kimble died last week.  He was 81. 

Bill Kimble was a nice man, and was blessed with a great voice.  We disagreed on  lot of things, but he was always willing to listen to opposing viewpoints.  That's rare in a boss.   Bill Kimble had the onions to come and make changes to a legendary, albeit sleepy radio station.   He made many positive contributions to broadcasting, and my sympathy to his family and friends.

I thought about Bill a lot after his passing.  It came down to this barometer.  If we ran in to each other, would I offer a handshake of friendship?  Would I enjoy bumping in to him?  Yes. Yes, I would.  There are some former bosses who wouldn't receive the privilege, and I'm sure the feeling is mutual.

One of my favorite Bill Kimble stories goes like this--a Phillies game was rained out one evening, and I re-scheduled all the commercials that were supposed to run in Phillies game into regular programming.  I saved the station a few bucks that night.  Bill left me a nice note.  The next night, I was walking in to the building in Avoca as Bill was leaving.  I thanked him for the nice note.  Bill replied "Any time, Brian."  I let it go, not getting angry or upset.  It was just Bill being Bill.

As for WARM, it had a succession of programmers.  I left in 1991, and after I departed, there was a sad parade of formats and owners.  You now need a microscope to find it in the ratings.  WARM was never going to pull the numbers it had in the 60's and 70's, but I will always believe there's a lot of wasted potential here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: The River

I know I've been sticking a lot of river shots on the blog this year, but fear not, there are different things in the queue in the coming weeks.

This is a late winter shot of an ice-less and snow-less Lackawanna River in Scranton.  The Albright Avenue Bridge is downstream and at the far left of the photo.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: Morning

It's one of my favorite places to play with my camera-- Nesbitt Park, looking back over the Susquehanna River toward downtown Wilkes-Barre.

I took this one on a recent morning-- when the late winter sun was hitting the Citizens Bank building and the Market Street Bridge.

It's always been my goal to get here in the afternoon, when the sun would be at my back, and giving Wilkes-Barre's downtown a golden glow.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Broadcasting can be a dangerous activity.

During a recent birth control discussion, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called a woman a "slut."

Rush has apologized.  Still, he's lost advertisers and stations.  Is the apology enough?  I'm not so sure.

I'm not defending the comments of Mr. Limbaugh, but he has three hours of air time every day.  That's a lot of opportunity to say something regrettable.

Rush's comment angered a lot of people, and rightfully so.   You can forgive a momentary slip.  The man has a history of saying awful things.

I used to be a big fan.  Whether or not you agree with his politics, Rush Limbaugh is a skilled broadcaster who produces entertaining radio.  Limbaugh changed several years ago.  He used to playfully poke fun at his opponents.  Now, he's just downright mean and nasty.

Don Imus knows a lot about trouble.  He lost a couple of jobs when he called a college women's basketball team "nappy headed hos."  He should have been fired.  I can forgive an isolated mistake.  Like Limbaugh, Imus has a history of saying mean and hurtful things.  Imus had the brass ones to criticize Limbaugh on a recent morning.

I've seen people get in major trouble over Twitter.  While Twitter can be a valuable tool, it is the internet equivalent of an open microphone, without the benefit of a delay system.

You've heard me use this line before, but these days, it's not what you say that's important.  It's what you don't say that really matters.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

For an organization constantly denying it plans to move the team out of town permanently, it's a bizarre, and some say, insulting move.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees will be the "Empire State Yankees" for the 2012 season.  The team will play most of its games in Rochester while the stadium in Moosic is being renovated.

By the way, I dropped by the stadium yesterday to take a look around.  Other than boulders blocking the driveways, there is zero activity.  If this place is going to be ready for the 2013 season, they'd better get on their horse.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees have been struggling at the gate.  Attendance was awful, so now, insult is added to injury by changing the name of the team.  It's not the way to keep fans.  This is just another public relations blunder by Mandalay, the organization that manages the team.  This is the same bunch criticized by the past county commissioners for a lousy promotions schedule.

On top of that, there's the arrogance of this bunch.  Newswatch 16 reported that Mandalay never bothered to inform the Lackawanna County commissioners and the stadium authority of the "temporary" name change.

This is clearly an attempt to get the fine people of Rochester, NY to come to the games and buy merchandise.  I get that.

What about fans and taxpayers down here-- the ones who paid for the stadium, the ones who will pay for renovations, and the ones who supported the team?  That team is still ours.

I can't wait for that big "welcome home" party, if it ever happens.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I was not a fan of "The Sopranos."  In my view, it was one big, long, Italian cliche. However, there is one line from the show that's occasionally played on a radio show I like: "We're trying to run a business here."

The National Football League isn't a sport.  It's a business.

The New Orleans Saints have been caught running a bounty program.  Saints defensive players were financially rewarded for hurting opponents.  There is no way that can be rationalized or justified.

The league is trying to reduce injuries, and it's expected the commissioner will drop the hammer, big time, on the people involved.  It's as it should be.

Aggressive players are usually financially rewarded at contract time.  Big stars get big money, so, the NFL has had an unofficial bounty program for eons.  This is bigger than just the Saints.

The moral of the story:  don't get caught.

On a related note, ESPN reported last night that the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning will part company.  Manning sat out the 2011 season with a neck injury.  There's evidence to indicate that his recovery is slow, and the Colts are reluctant to shell out big money for a player who might not be able to get the job done.

The Colts owe Peyton Manning a lot.  He was their signature star for years, and Manning led the team to a Super Bowl.  However, remember the words of Tony Soprano:  "We're trying to run a business here."  You'll see Peyton Manning in a different uniform this year.  I don't like the Irsay family, the bunch that snuck the Colts out of Baltimore in the middle of the night.  Here, it sounds like a sound business decision.  I'd be reluctant to spend big money to keep  Peyton Manning.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday

We live in a great country.

A couple months ago, the pundits were ready to hand the Republican presidential nomination to Mitt Romney.  While he remains the front runner, and is the likely nominee, Rick Santorum has made things interesting.  What fascinates me about the process is no one, and I mean no one, gave Santorum a realistic chance a few months ago.

This is the way it's supposed to be.  I was concerned the early voting states, like New Hampshire and Iowa, would have far too much influence.  More people now have a voice and a vote, and we should all be happy about that.

Here we are, on Super Tuesday, when ten states vote, and there is still  possibility no candidate will reach the convention with the required number of candidates to capture the nomination.  A lot of that speculation is from the media, hoping for something interesting to happen this summer.  Other than the selection of the vice presidential nominee, political conventions have been less than spectacular events.  A wide open convention, with plenty of fighting, will be like Christmas morning.

Howard Fineman, formerly of "Newsweek" and currently with "The Huffington Post" believes there's a forty per cent chance of a brokered convention.  Personally, I believe that number is way too high.

Democracy in action is a wonderful thing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Un Tweet

It almost prompted me to pull the plug on Twitter.

The accounts of several people I know were hacked last weekend.  No, it wasn't Anthony Weiner style stuff-- just some spam and an attempt to spread a virus or two.

Still, it was enough to make me angry.  Twitter is a big outfit, and the hack attack showed appalling lack of security.  Passwords were stolen, and there was junk flying throughout cyber space.

Even though I was lucky, and wasn't hacked, I have enough problems.  I don't need unauthorized Tweets going out under my name.

 Twitter puts a lot of great information at my fingertips.  However, it's not worth the security risk.  The plug gets pulled if it happens again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: The Debris

It's been six months since the flooding triggered by Tropical Storm Lee.   The scars remain up and down the Susquehanna River.  Case in point:  this shot from along the river at Nesbitt Park, across from downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Some kind of plastic remains tangled in the trees, and it's a frequent sight where the river hit record highs last year.

I guess it will take a good wind to knock it all out of there.  Let's hope there's not another flood to wash it all away.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: The Pond

Today, it's one last winter time shot from McDade Park in Scranton, before we move on to other things.

Usually, at this time of year, the pond is mostly ice covered.  Clearly, that's not the case this year.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Davy Jones

I was trying to think of an adjective to describe The Monkees music.

Of course, all of this was prompted by Wednesday's death of Davy Jones.  He suffered a heart attack in Florida.  Jones was 66, and spent part of his time at his horse farm in Snyder County.

After listening to a lot of Monkees music, and doing some thinking, the adjective I setled on was "pleasant."  Most Monkees songs gave you a good feeling.  It was the mid-late 60's, before music took an angry turn.  The music was light and airy, and much of it stuck in your head long after the song ended.

Listening to Monkees music now takes you back to a more "pleasant" time-- being a kid, Sunday afternoon rides with the family, not having a worry in the world...

As I Tweeted Wednesday afternoon, Noreen Clark often has the radio on while she's preparing the weekend morning forecasts.  "Daydream Believer" played early Sunday morning, and I was singing it all week.  It's my favorite Monkees song.

I have to say I liked the music better than the TV show.  It was way out there and I was perhaps too young to appreciate much of the humor.

The Monkees will never be known as great musicians.  People in the studio did much of the "heavy lifting" as they say.  Still, The Monkees were pretty darn entertaining, and their music stands the test of time.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

About the Cover

This month's blog header features one of our area's great tragedies, and it is a representation of one of our country's biggest problems:  Manufacturing is dead.

Scranton Lace operated here for more than one hundred years, gong back to the 1890's.

Now, it's just a big, empty rotting building, and it's sad.

There are plans to rip down sections and re-develop what's left, but as we all know, money is tight and the project is on the back burner-- the far back burner.

I took a few other photos during a recent visit, and I'll share some on an upcoming weekend.