Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Scrapple

I hated them at first, but the Miami Marlins uniforms have really grown on me.

I'm still not digging the return of the Baltimore Orioles' cartoon bird.

While traveling around the other afternoon, I noticed a lot of cars in the parking lot of that new book store outside the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City.  Yes, I know it's a chain, and not a mom and pop operation.  Still, watching a book store draw a crowd warms my heart.

Plenty of early high school commencement exercises this year.  I think I graduated June 13th.  I would have loved to be free of that horror a couple weeks sooner.

The Pocono Record recently speculated on the return of Indy cars to Pocono Raceway.  I'd love to see that.

I'm sorry if you own some, but I'm really enjoying watching FaceBook stock drop like a rock.  It was overvalued, and I'm shocked most people didn't see that.

Time is flying by.  We just had Memorial Day.  Independence Day is in sight, and that means Labor Day is right around the corner.  I have to start my Christmas shopping.

I live near a bank with one of those TV screen type flashing LED screens.  It advertises many things, including the 24 hour ATM in its drive through.  Aren't all ATM's 24 hours, unless they're inside locked buildings?

Note to people living and working along the Route 611/Interstate 80 corridor in Monroe County:  I don't know how you do it.  Traffic there is a never ending nightmare.

Is there a burger chain around here that actually knows how to put the "fast" in to "fast food?"

While I was watching the latest "Restaurant Impossible" episode, I got the feeling the owner of that barbecue restaurant in Memphis didn't appreciate what was being done for him.  After reading the update on the Food Network web site, I was right.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I don't know if it made the air, but someone called Talkback over the weekend to complain I don't smile enough.

Well, maybe.

At times like this, I'm reminded of something the late, great CBS journalist Eric Sevareid once said.  Sevareid remarked he could never smile for a "gadget," meaning a television camera.

It's not an oral thing.  I have a great dentist who keeps my teeth in top shape.

I do have a nice sense of humor.  I enjoy a good laugh.  People who know me understand that I take my job seriously, but I don't take myself seriously.

I'm simply not a smiler.

If I appeared on the air as Guy Smiley one morning, it would be fake-- an act, and the audience would see right through it.  There are too many of those types already on the air.

I am what I am, and what I am is not a smiler.

Being honest, and true to who I am brings a smile to my face.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It Makes You Wonder

See if you can follow me here.

We had a horrendous round of flash flooding in Luzerne County back in early July.

Storms Irene and Lee followed.  There was record flooding on the Susquehanna and many of its tributaries.

In between, parts of the country were hit by drought and wildfires.

We didn't have a winter.  Early spring was hot.  Late spring was chilly and rainy.

Wildfires burn in Michigan and New Mexico right now.

Parts of Schuylkill County got hit with five inches of rain Saturday.  The same thing happened in Northumberland and Columbia Counties on Sunday.  More flash flooding.

It was hot yesterday, with temperatures about 15 degrees above normal.

We've already had two named Atlantic storms.

I'm sure there have been pockets of bad weather I've forgotten about.

What's going on here?

I can't believe all that pollution we're pumping into the atmosphere isn't changing things, but if there is global warming, it's gradual-- not sudden.  We are not to confuse short term weather with long term climate.

Clearly something's happening.

Are 2011 and 2012 a little blip on the radar map of history, or should we get used to wild swings and a lot of bad weather?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

I know Memorial Day is a day dedicated to honoring our war dead, but on this Memorial Day, I have a story about the living.

As noted earlier, because I have an unusual schedule, I live at 24 hour mini marts.  I'm not one for small talk.  I'm not being snotty.  I just have nothing to say and I'm not that interesting.  My store visits are fairly standard.  Pick my items, pay, exchange a pleasantry or two, and I'm on my way.

However, something happened on my May 18 visit to Sheetz in Dunmore that you should know about.

There was a woman in uniform in line, in front of me.  I couldn't make out the branch or the rank, but she was in camo fatigues, if that's the proper terminology.

As the soldier paid, the clerk said "Thank you for your service."  It was so simple, and touching. After I paid for my newspaper, I said to the cashier "That was a very nice thing you did."  She explained that she had two sons in the military, so she's sensitive to the plight of soldiers.  Regardless of the reason, it was still a very nice thing to do.

Thank a soldier today, and every day, and please remember those who are no longer around.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Classic Bad Photography Sunday: Albany 2

Another Albany photo from 2003...

Remember when I wrote I didn't like the mix of old and new architecture in Albany?  Submitted here, exhibit B.

This is the Cultural Educational Center, which also houses the State Museum of New York.

I don't know what they were thinking when they built some of this stuff.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Classic Bad Photography Saturday: Albany 1

See if you can follow my cockeyed reasoning here.  It's Memorial Day weekend, the start of summer vacation season, and I thought I'd share a couple vacation photos I took before the blog started eight years ago.

Believe it or not, I went to Albany for a vacation in 2003.  Yes.  Really.  Albany.

The reason?  There was a new World Trade Center exhibit at the State Museum of New York.  I saw it, and in a way, I'm sorry I did.  It was chilling.  The exhibit featured photos, videos, pieces of twisted metal, and the remains of a fire truck crushed beneath the debris.  There was a small mound of personal effects, things like key chains and stuffed animals that were found in the rubble-- items that were never matched with their owners.  My visit was unforgettable.

Moving on.  This is a shot of the capitol complex-- an area that underwent massive renovations during the Rockefeller administration.  I can't say I liked it.  It's possible to mix new buildings with the old successfully.  Here, I didn't think it worked.

I will say that I  really enjoyed the scenery of upstate NY.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season officially begins June 1, but we've already had two named Atlantic storms.

The federal government came out with its annual Hurricane Season prediction yesterday.  Based on ocean water temperatures, winds and other factors, scientists believe there's a 70 per cent chance that we'll have nine to 15 named storms, with four to eight blossoming into hurricanes.

Predictions of this nature don't work for me.  At best, it's an educated guess.  Weather patterns change frequently.  Who predicted that mild and snow free winter we just had?  Let me answer that for you.  No one.

Here's what to do.  Go to the internet.  Watch WNEP.  Watch the Weather Channel between horrible "reality" shows and before screaming drama king Jim Cantore sends America in to a panic.  Get the information on approaching storms, and take appropriate action.   It never hurts to have extra batteries and non perishable food around just in case.

That's all you have to do.  It's all very simple.

You don't need long term and often inaccurate predictions.

We'll take it one storm at a time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Business and Industry II

I will never cease to be amazed at the lengths American corporations will go to get consumers the products they want.

It's widely known that incandescent light bulbs are major energy wasters.  Most of  your electricity dollar goes in to producing heat, not light.  The government wants us to stop using these things, in favor of the more expensive, but more efficient compact florescent bulbs.

100 watt bulbs are the first to be phased out, followed by lower wattage bulbs with each passing year.

It's General Electric to the rescue!

My folks have a basement/laundry area where they love the 100 watters.  Their last big bulb burned out over the weekend, and I was dispatched to find another.

Let me back up a moment.  They dislike CFL's because they take a while to reach full brightness, and they hate the shade of light most CFL's offer.

I was walking through Walmart yesterday, when I spied GE's new offering-- a 90 watt incandescent bulb.  No 100 watters in sight, but plenty of 90's.  That should keep the government happy.  I had never seen a 90, and against my better judgement, I bought a 4 pack.

By the way, all of this happened as PPL announced a rate increase.

Thomas Edison would have been proud.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Business and Industry

I'm not sure what it represents, but I do know it's a bad sign.

A suspected meth lab was raided in a south Wilkes-Barre neighborhood yesterday.  It follows an explosion at a Berwick meth lab a couple weeks ago.

A meth lab was uncovered in Throop several months ago.

There have been others.

Do you see a pattern here?

We used to find meth labs way out in the woods, away from neighbors, and in places that (allegedly) lessened the likelihood of detection by law enforcement.

Meth labs are now small town America.

Are the proprietors more brazen these days?  More stupid?  Is the high price of gasoline forcing meth labs into populated areas, to reduce transportation costs?  Has the demand for drugs increased that much?

It really is a disturbing trend.

Have you tried to buy over-the-counter cold/allergy medication recently?  You practically have to undergo a body cavity search to get the stuff, because it's one of the ingredients in home made meth.

So, not only are law abiding citizens putting up with an annoyance on the retail level, they have to deal with the frightening possibility of the meth lab next door.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's easy to see why Jeopardy has been on television so long, 1964-1975, 1978-79, and 1984-present.  While the questions are tough, it's possible to play along, and it's easy to second guess the wagering of the contestants.  Answers and questions.  It's all so simple.

The weekday version is on after my bed time, but I do catch weekend reruns on GSN.

Something that always amazes me is how people can whiz through difficult categories, but botch the easy questions.  For example, on recent shows, two out of the three contestants didn't know Abraham Lincoln was the inspiration for Uncle Sam's whiskers, and New York was the most populated state in the country, for at least 100 years, beginning in 1776.

Someone asked me, if I'm so smart, why don't I give it a shot?  I can handle history, politics, government, the United States, business and some sports.  If the categories include religion, philosophy, literature, and art, I might as well go home.

By the way, the question to today's answer is "What do the neighbors hear when Andy is watching Jeopardy?"

Monday, May 21, 2012

Unfinished Business

The Old Forge investigation gets more unbelievable by the day.  While those involved are innocent until proven guilty, it still makes me sad and angry.

I never thought I'd see the day school districts in the Poconos close schools due to declining enrollment.  We all saw the budget problems coming.  The enrollment decline is a surprise to many.  I remembering doing stories in Monroe and Pike counties in the early 90's.  In some districts, a new construction program would begin as soon as one ended.  Those days are over.

Is there anything, on any network's fall schedule, that even looks remotely interesting?

There was an excellent documentary on Johnny Carson last week on PBS, which the local station nearly ruined by pop up "auction" ads.  Stop the pretense.  You stopped being a "non commercial" station long ago.

It's been a bad week for 70's music lovers.  We lost Donna Summer and Robin Gibb.

A new study is out that says eating out isn't healthy due to the amount of fat, calories and salt in restaurant meals.  No kidding.  What's even more shocking is people get paid to study this stuff.  Julie Child used to preach "everything in moderation."  You'll be okay as long as you don't every meal in a restaurant.  Calm down.

The U.S. Postal service is moving ahead with its downsizing plan.  A lot of people will lose their jobs, and I hate to see that.  However, the USPS is nearly bankrupt.  If anyone has a good idea, let's hear it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: G-CMC

There is no particular raison d'etre for today's photograph   I just happened to be in the neighborhood.

This is Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton.  The picture is taken from the Mulberry Street side.

I left my tonsils here about 12 years ago.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: We Recycle

I was walking down a Carbondale street the other day when I spied this in a space between a couple buildings.  There are a lot of thirsty people in the Pioneer City, but I'm happy to see they recycle.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Donna Summer

I don't dance, and I've never been in a club of that nature.

I played rock on the radio for four years, and "adult contemporary" songs followed.

Having said all that, there's a lot of disco that wasn't bad, and I was saddened to learn of the death of disco queen Donna Summer.

Growing up in the 70's, there were essentially two camps-- those who liked disco and those who despised it.  I danced on the fence, so to speak.  I didn't run around saying I adored disco, but there were some songs I liked a lot, and many of those came from Donna Summer.

When the history of music is written, I hope Donna Summer gets a big chapter.  She deserves it.

The great George Carlin used to say "your approval curve goes way up after you die."  I realize that, and I'm still surprised at the number of people admitting they're fans.  Liking disco is not a popular thing.

Cause of death:  cancer.  Donna Summer was 63.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Movie Time

I cannot imagine any scenario that would take me to a theater to see "The Avengers" or "Dark Shadows," but I'm like a lot of people.  I do look at the box numbers every Monday morning, misleading as they may be.

Every Monday, we see the totals, and how much money people spent on admission to the new movies.  For example, "The Avengers" brought in $ 207 million in its opening weekend, and that's a lot of garbage.  I mean the $ 207 million, not the movie.

A movie ticket costs more these days, so you cannot compare, for example, today's "The Avengers" with 1984's "Ghostbusters," which brought in $ 13.6 million in its opening weekend.

Why can't the movies be like baseball?  Count the number of tickets sold, rather than the box office take.  It would be much more accurate, much more fair, and a truer judge of a movie's popularity.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I don't watch baseball games as often as I once did.  The majority are on while I'm sleeping, and I simply don't find them as entertaining as the old days.

I do manage to catch the highlights on the MLB Network.  It does a great job, and here are some of the reasons.

The MLB anchors and analysts occasionally shut up, allowing the call of the local radio and TV announcers to tell the story.  It gives you a renewed regard for the immense talents of Bob Uecker, who does Milwaukee Brewers games, and San Francisco Giants broadcaster Jon Miller.

It also gives you a sense of the dreck that passes for broadcasting in the Bronx, and the mediocrity just about everywhere else.

I was never a Phillies fan, but I do miss Harry Kalas.

Yes, I know nothing lasts forever.

MLB has so far, resisted the silliness and "it's all about me" anchor approach of ESPN, and I hope it stays that way.

As far as play-by-play and color, the pace of a baseball game makes the talent in the booth more important than in other sports.  A lot of teams could do better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Speedy Shop

It was a fixture at Wyoming and Spruce in downtown Scranton for more than two decades.  The Speedy Shop was a little mini mart in the front corner of the Hotel Jermyn.

I worked in an office at 415 Lackawanna Avenue for several years, in the early and mid 90's, and I was a frequent Speedy Shop customer.

My morning visit was to usually pick up the same items-- a Tastykake lemon pie and a Diet Pepsi.  If I stopped by in the afternoon, it was to just grab a soda.  There were times I needed to get out of the building for a few minutes.  A short walk and some outside air (notice, I didn't say "fresh") seemed to help if I got stuck during the construction of a story.  The words always fell in to place when I returned.

I will never forget a morning in August of 1996.  I was paying for my pie and soda when I told the very pretty young lady behind the cash register that I would no longer be a regular.  I was leaving my job, involuntarily.  She said "Who will be nice to me?" and started to cry.  Her tears nearly prompted waterworks of my own.

We don't do it nearly enough-- appreciate the little things in life, like a morning pie and soda.  I was originally tempted to say the friendliness of a mini mart clerk is part of the "little things," but it really isn't.  She was a welcome sight at the start of my day, and you can't put that in the "little" category.

I haven't been in The Speedy Shop in years.  I always meant to stop by, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  If Speedy Shop employees and alumni read this, thank you for improving my days, and I wish you all nothing but good times in the future.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Does anything ever change around here?

I see where Scranton officials want legislation enabling them to whack people with a commuter tax.  The city would get a bite of your pay check if you work in the city and live somewhere else.  That's in addition to the $52 local services tax.

Commuters will argue that they already pay to park.  They shop at city stores and eat at city restaurants.  If there were no commuters, there would be no Scranton.  That's all well and good.

I lived through this the last time Scranton had a commuter tax, about twenty years ago, while I was working at a TV station headquartered at 415 Lackawanna Avenue.

Commuters hated it then, and I'm going to shimmy out on a limb to say sentiment has not improved with age.

Working in Moosic means I escape the tax this time around, but let me tell you some of the aggravating issues.

Scranton is having massive financial problems.  I feel most people wouldn't mind kicking a little if they knew the money was going to be put to good use.

What do you get for your tax dollars?  Surly public employees (although some are excellent), unresponsive elected officials, bad management, cronyism, potholes, weeds, litter, and a lot of waste.  A lot of waste!  Scranton has now been financially distressed for DECADES, and there appears to be little progress toward getting the city back on track.

There will be less opposition to a commuter tax if people feel their money won't be squandered.  Scranton, at least right now, doesn't appear to be prepared and equipped to make that guarantee.

It's like increasing the allowance for an irresponsible child.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bad Photography Sunday: Diesel

I love the diesels.  This one was spotted during an April 25 visit to Steamtown in Scranton.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: Steamtown

This weekend, it's a couple photos from my April 25 visit to Steamtown in Scranton.

As always, it gives you an appreciation of what it took to move people and cargo around the country back in the day.
We have something so cool, right in our backyards.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Double Swing

MSNBC recently published a list of areas where the presidential election ad wars will play out.  They are, as MSNBC put it, the swing markets in swing states-- places that George Bush won in 2004, and Barack Obama won in 2008.

Guess who was at the top of the list, and the only market in Pennsylvania.  Yes.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  It looks like we're in play.  Obama and Romney both stand a good chance of winning here.

Pennsylvania has been Democrat blue for the last five presidential elections, but let's examine the state a little more closely.  Democrats just about always win the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  Erie is also a Democrat stronghold.  No offense to the fine people of northwestern Pennsylvania, but there's not a lot of votes there.  The middle of the state and northern tier usually go Republican.

That leaves northeastern Pennsylvania.  Yes, there are a lot of Democrats here, but it is also a conservative area.  The right Republican candidate, with the right campaign and the right message, could do very well here-- counteracting the big city vote, and supplementing the votes from Pennsylvania's Republican "T."  It could put Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes in the Republican column the night of November 6.

In case you're wondering, some of the other swing markets in swing states are Norfolk and Richmond Virginia, Orlando and Tampa Florida, Columbus and Toledo Ohio, and Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Get ready.  Both parties are poised to spend a lot of money to get your vote.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


CNN just experienced its worst April ratings in ten years.  Management is trying to figure out what to do about the slide.

No one asked me, but...


This is so easy.  Go back to your roots of all news, all the time.  Forget about those hideous talk and interview shows.  Stop trying to copy the other guys.  Stop pandering to the lowest common denominator.

I will never forget when CNN was first added to my cable system in the early 80's.  It was like crack.  Television news, any time you wanted it, was an awesome concept.  You couldn't turn away.

But then, competitors arrived.  CNN regularly gets its clock cleaned by FOX News.  MSNBC has shown some recent strength.  CNN gets a bump when there's big news, like a national disaster or a major political story.  Clearly, and thankfully, that doesn't happen every day.

Just hire some good people and do news the right way.  It's just that simple.  You won't draw a huge audience every night, and that's okay.  You can still make money.  NBC kept the medical drama "St. Elsewhere" on the air for many years, in spite of it never being a ratings hit.  Research showed "St. Elsewhere" drew an affluent audience, one that was an easy sell to advertisers.   You see, when it comes to television, it's not just the numbers.  It's the type of people you draw to the screen.  You don't have to be number one to turn a nice profit.

CBS finally figured it out.  In January, CBS revamped its morning show-- again.  Network suits reasoned there's not enough room for three similar network morning shows, so it abandoned the happy talk thing and went for serious news.  They know it will be a long time before "CBS This Morning" becomes a ratings player, but at least they're trying something different, and it's a broadcast of which they can be proud.

All CNN has to do is stop playing the game.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Scrapple Wednesday

A co-worker recently asked if I was afraid of getting drafted when I was younger.  I replied "How old do you think I am?"  The draft ended in 1973.  Luckily, the army didn't need any 12 year olds back then.

Why do local malls allow the people who try to sell you lotion to be so annoyingly persistent?

I recently unfollowed a bunch of people on Twitter.  Please, don't take it personally.  It seemed like you really weren't using your accounts.

My love/hate relationship with LinkedIn is swinging back to hate.  Some contacts have called, trying to sell me things.  I appreciate the interest, but I am currently very happy with my broker and my insurance agent.

I was listening to Supertramp's 1979 album "Breakfast in America" the other day.  What a fine piece of work!

Awkward moment:  I was in a Subway recently, and ran in to someone I've known since kindergarten.  It's been a few years since I last saw him.  He was wearing a baseball cap, and I didn't recognize him.  Oops.  Sorry.  He was a good chap, and he let me off the hook.  Thanks, Dr. Kenny.

Klondike bars are one of the best inventions-- ever.

Will they ever be finished fixing Interstate 81?

Standing in a cold rain all day makes you appreciate a warm bed even more.

"Goober" was one of the great characters in TV history.  The man who brought him to life, George Lindsey, passed away the other day.  Goober, thanks for the laughs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I've Got a Secret

The Secret Service has been in the news a lot lately, and not in a good way.

I cannot think of the Secret Service without thinking of former Scranton mayor Jimmy Connors, and it has nothing to do with Colombian prostitutes.

Let me back up a moment.  I've known Jimmy Connors for thirty years.  I first encountered Connors while I was a young reporter at WARM, and he was part of the Minooka Neighborhood Association.  Connors was fighting a proposal to put power lines over a Little League baseball field.  If I remember right, he won.

Connors knows the media.  He used it effectively as Scranton's community development director, and later, as mayor.  Regardless of what you think of his administration, you can't deny Jimmy Connors is a nice guy.  He's been on the other end of some of the toughest questions I've ever asked a politician.  There was a memorable, live interview, on an election night several years ago, while I was working down the street.  My boss said it was "brutal."  One of Connors' campaign people went up one side of me and down the other.  Connors didn't care.  He answered the tough questions, and I thought he came off looking good.  He agreed.  We got along before.  We got along after.  Jimmy Connors knew how it worked, and he didn't hold it against me.  By the way, the campaign worker who ripped me a new one is now one of my friends, and Connors won the election that year.

Now, to the Secret Service.

President Bill Clinton was coming to Scranton for a visit.  Connors and the city's police chief held a media briefing in the chief's office.  It was general stuff, but that wasn't good enough for a reporter from one of the TV stations.  She's no longer in Scranton, and I really should use her name.  I won't, even though she was a horse's arse that day.  This lady was asking a million specific and annoying questions, about the Clinton visit-- every intimate detail of every second Clinton would be in the city.  Even if Connors knew the answers, he couldn't answer due to security concerns.  Jimmy Connors has a long fuse and high boiling point.  Finally, he had enough.  In a stern, but calm voice, he looked at this reporter and said "That's why they call it the SECRET service."  It worked.  She shut up, and there was much rejoicing.

By the way, no one under 50 knows the significance of today's blog title.  "I've Got a Secret" was a TV game show from 1952 to 1967, 1972 to 1973, and again during the summer of 1976.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ugh! Why?

It never fails.

Let me back up for a moment.  In a rare display of fan friendliness, the company that now owns YOUR Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees says it's open to a name change.  They finally figured out, after years of embarrassingly poor attendance,  that the Yankee name is magic to some, but poison to many others.

The newspapers and radio stations have been soliciting potential new nicknames.

Why do people always suggest "coal crackers" and "miners?"  No matter the time.  No matter the team.  It always comes up.

God bless the miners and all they've done for us, but I have a news flash for you.  The mines are closed. It's been that way for a while.  Generations, in fact.   Mine owners raped the area and scarred the earth.  They cared little for the people who dug the coal.  It's time to move on.  We're not "hard coal" country any more.  Stop that.

I heard "Steamers" kicked about, an ode to Scranton's Steamtown National Historic Site.  I'm luke warm on that.  We built a lot of trains here.  But, when I hear "steamer" I think of Robert Fulton and the Clermont chugging down a river, not trains.  I also think of clams.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Clams could work.  The Syracuse Chiefs already have a train as part of their logo.  Maybe we should go in another direction.

Scranton is the Electric City.  How about the "Bolts?"  I sort of like that one, a nice rip off of the San Diego Chargers.  My co-worker, Steve Lloyd, in a similar vein, favors "Lightning."  It's okay, but a little too generic for me.

The state bird is the ruffed grouse.  Pass.  The state toy is the Slinky.  Pass again.

The state fish is the brook trout.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Trout.  I can live with that.  Miami has its Marlin.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has its trout.

There are horses on the state flag.  Moosic-- the home of the Stallions.  Maybe.  Everybody likes horses.

The state animal is the white tailed deer.  Now, we're getting somewhere.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Bucks.  I don't think Dunmore will mind sharing.  Stags?  That's okay with me.

There are a lot of rattle snakes on Montage Mountain.  Snakes scare me.  Veto.

We also have a lot of bear around here.  I can live with the Bears, or the Black Bears.  As I write this, it's my personal favorite.  Kurt Aaron could throw out the first pitch on opening night.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Red Barons return.

And, I saw a list of those cutesy names, playing off our scandal ridden recent past-- things like the Jailbirds, and the Felons.  It's not funny.  It's sad.

Anything but "miners."  Please.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Classic Bad Photography Sunday: NYT

It's the fifth anniversary of an important time in the history of WNEP.

We have three flag poles outside the building.  One has the American flag.  The other carries the Pennsylvania flag.

For many years, the third pole was for the New York Times flag.  The New York Times owned WNEP for a very long time.  Ownership shifted to a company called Local TV, LLC at the end of April 2007.

I took the picture you see above on one of the last days the NYT flag flew over WNEP.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bad Photography Saturday: Railroad Bridge

I was doing some aimless wandering in late March when I spied this...  a railroad bridge over a creek, in New York state, just north of Hallstead.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tragedy Upon Tragedy

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

I was listening to Mike & Mike on the radio Thursday morning.  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are two of the most talent-less people ever to host a network radio morning show.  It's more proof of the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory.  These guys are on ESPN Radio, THE brand when it comes to sports radio.  The network is more important than the people who work on it.

So, if I dislike Mike & Mike, why was I listening?  The answer is they were on right before Tony Kornheiser.

Golic and Greenberg were discussing Wednesday's suicide of former NFL great Junior Seau.  Before I launch into my tirade, let me say that any suicide is a horrible tragedy.  The investigation is far from over.  People are already pointing to the head injuries Seau suffered as a player as one of the reasons.

Here we go.  Golic was also figuring depression in to the equation because he said many NFL players don't know what to to "when the music stops."  They've been participating in a game since they were children, and players don't know what to do when their careers come to an end.

So, here's my take on the unpreparedness factor.  Maybe some of these guys would be happier in their retirement if they actually opened some books and spent time in class.

Junior Seau sat out his freshman year at the University of Southern California because he couldn't crack a 700 on his college boards-- the minimum for acceptance at USC.

I couldn't find any information that Seau received a degree from USC.  If he did, I apologize.

Major college athletes have been given many gifts-- physical ability, plus a free education, room and board, that the rest of us can only dream of.


My beef here is with Mike Golic.  You cannot have it both ways.  You cannot be handed the opportunity for a tremendous education, and claim you're unprepared for life at the same time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This Old Interstate

I used to be a big "This Old House" fan, even though I have no home improvement skills.

Then, the show changed.  Bob Vila left, followed by a succession bad hosts.  The show took on projects only the extremely wealthy could afford.  It had a scripted and rehearsed feel.

Be that as it may, I was reminded of something carpenter Norm Abrams once said while driving on Interstate 81 on a recent morning.  Norm hates brick porch steps.  He reasons that there are too many joints, and all joints eventually fail-- especially ones exposed to the elements.

Did you see the work on 81 in the Scranton/Moosic/Avoca area?  It's all joints, patches, and seams.

I will preface this next part by saying yes, I know money is an issue.

Penndot appeared to have two choices-- resurface the road, do it once, and do it right...  or put patches all over the place, patches that won't last, and patches that will have to be re-done.

You already knew which one they chose.

Trucker surveys always rate Pennsylvania roads at the bottom of the national list.

Surprised?  I think not.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Go Figure

I don't do it as often as I once I did, but I do look at blog statistics once in a while.  I've been tracking hits-- to see if people found the blog on the new  By the way, the answer is yes.

Thank you.

While looking at all the graphs and charts, something jumped out at me.  There was a major spike in blog hits April 18.


I went back to check that day's topic.  It was some thoughts on a horrible story in the Mount Pocono area.  A man was about to lose his home, so he blew it up, drove a few miles away, and took his own life.

Unusual?  Certainly.  Interesting?  Yes.  Sad?  Very.

I didn't feel it was a bad blog, but I think I've done better, more creative work.

It shows blogs really are topic driven, and it illustrates what brings people here.  This blog will be eight years old in November.  Hits go up for what I call "value added" blogs, or blogs that expand on stories I've covered.  Most news stories are around 90 seconds.  This blog is the relief valve, a place for the information and back stories I didn't have the time to tell you on TV.

The other thing that spikes blog hits is information on the inner workings of the news biz.  Of course, I value my job, so those blogs are few and far between-- and carefully worded.

Regardless, thanks for stopping by every day.  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

About the Cover

You might have noticed that most blog headers for the past couple years have been looking skyward-- steeples, cupolas, clock towers, etc.

You also might have noticed that the sky looked rather lousy last week-- cold, cloudy, grey.

So this month, we're back down to earth.

Last week was National Park Week.  Places like Steamtown in Scranton waived entry fees.  I grabbed my camera and took a look around.  In spite of it being a raw afternoon, I had a good time.  There's not much here I haven't seen before.  Regardless, a trip to Steamtown is always a nice afternoon.

It must be a fun place to work because the staff is always so helpful, and they're always pleasant.

Yes, I realize my visit was mid week, mid afternoon, on a bad weather day.  Still, it was sad to see Steamtown almost empty.