Sunday, March 31, 2013

Classic Bad Photography Sunday: LCS

On this weekend before the grand opening of the new ballpark in Moosic, a look at the way things used to be.

This is a shot from November of 2006, as the old artificial turf was being ripped up and replaced.  This was a year before the Phillies left and the Yankees came in-- complete with real grass.

I really liked it here in the early days.  It was a minor league park with a big stadium feel when it opened in 1989.

Times change.  Minor league ballparks are more family amusement parks than baseball stadiums these days, and Moosic has undergone some huge changes.

Play ball.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Classic Bad Photography Saturday: Oriole Park

A little history as the major and minor league baseball seasons get underway...

I can't give you the exact date I took this one, but it's the view in to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, from Eutaw Street, looking in to the outfield.  I'm sure it's from the early 90's.

Oriole Park in Baltimore is said to be the stadium that changed baseball.  It was the first of the new/old stadiums, smaller, more intimate, with a real baseball feel.  There have been several copies and that's a good thing.

I never saw a game here, but I have schlepped around it many times.  It's beautiful, even when empty.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Half Empty/Half Full

Law enforcement announced yet another big drug bust yesterday.  It involved trafficking from Monroe County to New York.

This is the third big drug ring bust so far this year, and there have been countless smaller arrests.

It's another of those glass half empty, versus glass half full arguments.

It's nice to see bad guys off the streets, and everyone will tell you drugs are one of the reasons society is falling apart.

On the other hand, it's arrest, after arrest, after arrest.  Are we really putting a dent in drug trafficking?

And if you need more to debate, are people using drugs because there's so much out there, or is trafficking up because demand is high?

There are no easy answers.  There are no simple solutions.

Police just have to keep at it, and it seems like it's impossible to stay ahead of the problem.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Anatomy of...

...Something that should have gone better.

Let’s peel back the curtain to give you a look at the morning news process.

Thomas, our producer, drives the bus and makes the decisions.  Tom and Mindi check in by phone, very early in the morning, to learn what’s going on and to offer input.

My fate is generally decided by the time I walk in the door at 2:30 AM, but I can, and do, offer suggestions.

Let’s take you back to Monday morning.  Weather in general, and snow in particular, is big around here.  People who worked in other cities say we are among the most weather conscious areas in the country.  I suspect it’s because we’ve had just about everything bad at one time or another—flood, drought, snow storms, and even the occasional tornado.  Putting me out in the Monday morning snow was the logical decision.

We debated location.  Meteorologists said the most snow would be south of Interstate 80, and east of Interstate 81.  “Top of the 80’s” was high on the list, but I really hate that shot.  You’re in a parking lot next to a dark interstate highway.  You don’t see much, and it’s even worse now that the sun rises later.  On top of that, interstates get plowed and salted first.  I’d rather be on a state or local road, one where there are lights and activity.

We then settled on downtown Stroudsburg.  It was south of Interstate 80, and east of Interstate 81.  It’s well lit.  There’s always plenty of activity.  WNEP’s Pocono Newsroom is on Main Street—so there was a bathroom available (see last week’s blog).


But, there was one problem.  It didn’t snow.

We kept checking the radar.  Blue splotches were approaching.  We really thought we’d have something to show during our morning broadcast.  About three flakes fell around 6:00 AM, and that was it.

What to do?  Well, I think we have one of the most transparent broadcasts around, mainly due to the Snedeker influence.  We show you when things go well.  We show you when they don’t.  I measured non existent snow with my ruler, we looked at little green plants pushing through the frozen soil, and a street sweeper going down the road—not a snow plow.

I heard the ruler bit was discussed on a radio station.  Sorry, I didn’t catch it.  Any publicity is good publicity.  Thanks.

The above photo was taken from an Interstate 380 overpass near Gouldsboro.  Yes, we hit snow on the way back to home base in Moosic.

Wait ‘til next year!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Never Thought I'd See the Day, Part II

I never thought Governor Corbett's plan to get the state out of the liquor business had a prayer, but it looks like I'm wrong.

A bill passed the house Thursday night.  It now goes on to the senate.  They'll make some changes, send it back to the house.  It's then on to the governor's desk, assuming things go Corbett's way.

I rarely visit state stores, but when I am there, I find them to be clean and well run.  The hours do leave a bit to be desired.

There are those who think we can do better.  There are those who think Pennsylvania should not be in the liquor business.  By the way, the newspapers are really pushing this-- hoping for a huge and potentially life saving boost in advertising from all those new liquor and beer stores.

I'm not a major purchaser of beer, wine and spirits, so I' m having trouble conjuring up excitement for either side. 

Other states seem to be doing OK, and there doesn't seem to be much of a reason you can't buy beer at a supermarket.

It's a shame that a lot of state employees will lose their jobs. 

There are winners and losers in every scenario.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

There are three questions I receive most often.

1.  What's Snedeker really like?

2.  What time do you get up in the morning (or at night)?

3.  Why did you choose this career?

I'll pass on answering question 1.

The answer to number two is either 10 at night or 1 in the morning, depending on the day of week.

The third question is the toughest.  I really don't know why I chose broadcasting to make a living.  I like telling stories, and I like being the first to know things.  That's likely a major part of it.

I suspect another part of it happened 40 years ago today.  The $10,000 Pyramid made its debut on CBS.  I didn't see the first day, but I do remember being sick, staying home from school that week, and seeing one of the first $10,000 Pyramid broadcasts.

You have to remember the time.  Pyramid was the first big money daytime game show.  Yes, there were bigger prizes offered on games like "21" and the "$64,000 Question" at night and years before.  I remember being mesmerized by the Pyramid lights and sounds, and the brassy theme.  It was unlike anything out there.  Dick Clark made it look so easy and enjoyable-- standing next to the big Pyramid inside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.

I think it's when I realized TV can be a lot of fun.  I was already spending a lot of time listening to the radio.

News became my broadcasting field of specialty, and I won't bore you with the rest.

Happy 40th anniversary, $10,000 Pyramid.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Never Thought I'd See the Day, Part I

I was on the air the morning the Joe Paterno statue was ripped out of the ground at Penn State's Beaver Stadium, so it was a bit of a deja vu.

Blakely Borough council last week voted 7-0 to take Bob Mellow's name off a park along the Lackawanna River in Peckville.  To get you up to speed, Mellow is the former state senator who admitted to stealing taxpayers money.  He's now in trouble, on the state level, for allegedly taking bribes to push turnpike contracts to companies that greased his palm.

I don't know any Blakely council members, so perhaps I shouldn't say I was shocked, but shocked, I was.  It's not like people around here to turn against their own, even if they are thieves.
We have to get out of that horrible, horrible habit of naming things for politicians.  We are saying thank you for spending our money on us.  Take a look at the sign above.  You see, we paid for this.  Not Bob Mellow.
On one hand, I want to say Blakely Council acted courageously in removing the name, but on the other hand, this wasn't a case of courage.  It was just common sense.

Other organizations need to follow suit, and you know who you are.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bad Photography Sunday: Reflections

I really like this one, and it's likely you'll see it at the end of the year in the 2013 Top Ten.

It's the lake at Lackawanna State Park.  The ice has melted.  There's an ice-less spot in the middle, which did a nice job of reflecting the late winter blue sky and cumulus clouds.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bad Photography Saturday: End of Winter

I ran into an unexpectedly nice morning recently, and I felt the itch to take some pictures.  Lackawanna State Park always provides inspiration.

The park was almost empty during my mid morning visit.  The lake was covered with ice, and it won't be long before these benches are in demand.

Friday, March 22, 2013


I remember it like it was yesterday.  Today is the 35th anniversary of the day I received my drivers license.

How did I celebrate?  My friend and I got our baseball gloves, and we played "catch" in my back yard on a warm spring afternoon..

It took me a month to get behind the wheel again.  My first "alone" trip was to Penn State's library in Dunmore because I wanted to work on a project in a real academic setting-- unlike what I had in high school at the time.

My confidence level wasn't the highest.  I thought the test course was too easy and it wasn't a true way to challenge my driving abilities.  My instructor thought I was good, and I should have been happy with that.  On the way home, he gave me a talk about responsibility behind the wheel, and I've never forgotten that.    I was lucky.  From a drive to the mall yesterday, it appears very few people got the "responsibility" talk on license day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Go Bison!

We've had a fairly steady diet of lousy news recently-- homicides, child abuse, fatal fires, crashes, robberies, assorted violence  layoffs, thieving politicians, cold weather, and snow.  And, I'm sure there are some things I'm leaving out.

That's why it's so refreshing to see the Patriot League champion Bucknell Bison participating in this year's NCAA basketball tournament.

Even though I've heard experts say they believe Bucknell can win a game or two, the odds are long.  It doesn't make a difference.  Bucknell is at the big dance, and we all have something to cheer about.  We need good news once in a while, and this fits the bill-- perfectly.

It might even get me to watch a basketball game.

Go, Bison!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Last One ?

Okay, so what is a snowy day like for a morning television reporter?

Let's start at the beginning.  I got to the office at 2 AM Tuesday, about a half hour earlier than usual.  I was worried about driving to the station on snowy roads, but my fears were unfounded.  My eight mile trip was a breeze, with nothing more than a little slush on the ramps.

Then, there was the discussion over where to go.  We look for the harder hit areas, and it appeared Monroe County got the most snow.  Photographer Corey Burns and I jumped in the truck around 3:30 AM and headed out.

We thought we were in trouble.  The roads weren't bad at all, and we weren't seeing much snow.  That all changed when we got to the higher elevations.  Interstate 380 started getting slick around Tobyhanna, and it got worse as we approached Mount Pocono.

Once we got off the highway, there was another decision-- where to set up.  There are some basic criteria.  We want to be close to, but not on, a highway.  It should be lit so you can see the pre dawn activity.  We knew we'd be there for hours, so proximity to a bathroom is important.

The facilities were in a 24 hour McDonald's along Route 940.  It's important to not leak and run, so I always try to buy something as a courtesy.  Believe me, you haven't lived until you've had a hot Sausage McMuffin, fresh out of the fryer, on a cold and wet morning.  It was outstanding.

It was your typical "Snow Dog" performance.  We walked, talked, and showed you what was happening.  We didn't see a flake of snow during our visit.  The snow had stopped before we got there.  However, we did encounter something worse-- freezing rain.  The broadcast was a success on two levels.  Rain and electronics don't mix.  Corey managed to keep everything dry and operating.  Plus, I managed to stay on my feet and not fall down.

The morning broadcast ended, and we worked on a piece for noon.  Just before we left, the freezing rain turned to sleet.

A change in location was appropriate, so we set out for Interstate 84 in Mount Cobb.  That's when the snow returned.  It snowed non stop during our drive.  We saw a couple vehicles off the road.  Traffic crawled.  We made it in one piece. 

I banged out a story on my laptop in the truck, handed the script to Corey, and a noon story was born.

We were cold and wet.  It felt good to drop the mast of the truck at 12:05 and head back to the office.  It was a long day.

The first "Snow Dog" reports of the year were way back in November.  It hasn't been a severe winter, but it has been a long one.  As I write this, there's a chance for a storm early next week.  Ugh!  I hoped to retire the road reports for the season.

Wait and see.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On the Road

We have a new addition to the WNEP fleet.  That's chief Photographer Paul Kielbasa getting his paw print on the nice, clean window.

It's the first combination microwave/satellite truck we'll have at our disposal.  It means more live capability from more locations-- and it still has that new truck smell.

Look for it on the road shortly.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Blog hits have been slowly increasing in recent months, so it might be time for a review of MBWA and what it's revealed.

MBWA stands for management by walking around.  Walmart founder Sam Walton had MBWA signs in the office areas of all his stores.  He wanted managers out on the floor, watching the business, talking to customers, seeing how employees were doing, and how they could do their jobs better.

I'm not a manager, but I do enjoy my time away from my desk and out on the road.  Of course, there are my days off.

One of the big topics at the gym, the supermarket, the mall, the corner store, etc... is the job losses at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Monroe County.  The head of the depot recently announced hundreds of layoffs, citing federal budget cuts and a lack of work.

I've noticed people react differently to government layoffs than they do to layoffs in the private sector.

When government workers go, a lot of people say "good."  Government has gotten too fat and taxes are too high.  Private sector layoffs are met with a lot of sadness as another business downsizes or closes entirely.

The Tobyhanna issue started decades ago.  Rather than improve the tax structure and the infrastructure to make the area attractive for business and industry, the politicians, and one congressman in particular, did the lazy and easy thing-- government jobs.  Our local economy was artificially inflated.  The politicians made it look like money was falling from heaven, and we should be eternally grateful for our marvelous fortune.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

There will be trouble when you're far away from a capital city, and government is your biggest industry.  The politicians were short sighted and in it for the quick gain.  They failed to see the elephant in the room-- that there would be a time when taxed citizens could take no more.

We dodged the planet killing asteroid when Tobyhanna was removed from the base closing commission in the mid 90's.  It looks like the asteroid is circling around, with the potential for another devastating hit.

Look, the last thing I want to do here is be insensitive.  I've lost jobs.  It's not fun.  I just want to point out yet yet another round of government failure.  These are our friends and neighbors who might be headed for the unemployment line.  My heart goes out to them, and to the businesses that depend on money from those workers.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bad Photography Sunday: Another Green Train

To make a long story short, I looked out the window Wednesday morning, expecting to see the mass of clouds that were forecast.  Much to my surprise, the sun was shining.

After a quick shopping trip, I wandered through Steamtown to see if anything was new.  Silly me.  There's never anything new at Steamtown.  They just move around what they have.

This is my favorite locomotive in the collection.  I love that style of diesel, and I especially love the black, green, and gold color scheme.

It's St. Patrick's Day.  Wear the green, and I hope there's a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bad Photography Saturday: Green Train

It's Saint Patrick's weekend, and while I really wasn't looking for anything green during a Wednesday morning visit to Steamtown, a green diesel did jump out at me.

I love the steam engines, but the workhorse diesels, gritty as they are, hold a strange allure for me.

Friday, March 15, 2013


 I've read a lot about Pope Francis, and his selection seems to make sense on a lot of levels.

The only thing that gives me pause is the new pope's age:  76.  All of the front runners were elderly, or close to it.  The cardinal from Argentina was at the upper end of that spectrum.  It would be advantageous to have some stability at the top, but, on the other hand, popes come and go.  The institution endures.

It seems like a lot of people are looking to the new pope for reforms.  I'm never convinced that's the right thing to do.  I know you increase spending by cutting taxes.  Does the Church increase involvement by cutting requirements and standards?

Regardless of whether you buy in to what the Catholic Church stands for, I thought a lot of the papal selection coverage, on all levels, was trivial, silly and downright disrespectful.

While "habemus papam" is my favorite moment of the process, the enduring image in my memory will be Benedict's helicopter flying over the Colosseum back on February 28th.

Consider this, the pope has to be a spiritual leader, the chief executive officer of a multi billion dollar corporation, and a public relations genius.  John Paul II was the best, during my time, at p.r., but a lot of bad things happened on his watch.

Benedict XVI was said to be a great scholar and theologian.  I found him a bit lacking in the charisma department, but then again, JPII was a tough act to follow.  At least in these early hours, Francis seems to be doing OK in the charisma department.

First, be a leader and the rest should fall in to place.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Scrapple

How many times does Bob Mellow have to be charged before Marywood University takes his name off the physical education center?

Even though it didn't last long, the few days of warm weather was nice.

I still don't understand the Scranton St. Patrick Parade mentality.

Wilkes-Barre had to beg someone to paint the green line down South Main Street, and that in and of itself is sad.

I'm still fascinated by the whole Vatican thing.

Common sense prevailed and a judge struck down New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's big soda ban.  I still can't believe Bloomberg doesn't have more important things to worry about, and if he really cared about health, he'd do something about tobacco.

Penn State says the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal cost it $ 41 million.  It could have, and should have been zero.

Some things never change.  State lawmakers continue to get rich at our expense.

What government genius thought it was a good idea to allow pocket knives on jets?  Can someone please explain that one to me?

The CBS Radio World News Roundup celebrated its 75th birthday this week.  It's one of network radio's last great newscasts.  Unfortunately, in our area, you have to hit the internet to find it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who Are You?

It's been established here that I collect pens.

Many of them came from eBay.  I'm partial to Sheaffer, Cross and Parker models, with a few PaperMate's thrown in.  They're not expensive-- just middle of the road stuff.

Some were purchased new.  Others are used, and that brings us to today's entry.

I recently bought a batch of old, used pens in an eBay auction.  They were good ones-- a steal.  Either the owner didn't appreciate what he had, or didn't care.

A silver Cross pen was engraved with the name "Jennie Rose."  I should have asked the seller "Who was Jennie Rose?" and "Why did she no longer need her very nice pen?"  "Is she still alive?"

I wonder how many things Jennie wrote with that pen.  It was worn.  You could tell.  Checks, letters, notes...

Where are you, Jennie Rose?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I was buying a bucket of diet soda at a mini mart the other morning, and when it was time to pay, I reached in to my wallet and found the smallest thing I had was a $20 bill.

No, I'm not rich.  It just worked out that I had already spent my smaller bills.

As the clerk was fanning a huge amount of singles into my hand as change, I asked if people use those gold dollar coins that were introduced several years ago.

The clerk explained he had a drawer full.  No one wants them.  He added "We can't give them away.  Do you want some?"  I assumed they weren't free, so I declined.  The bills were okay.

The dollar coin will never be a success until the dollar bill goes away.  People like paper money, so I can't see that happening any time soon.  It does make economic sense.  Coins last longer than bills.  I'm not sure if it makes convenience sense.  The republic wouldn't fall if dollar bills went away.  We'd adjust.

I'm seeing people whip out credit and debit cards for even the tiniest of purchases these days, so it's likely just a matter of time before all paper money disappears.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Last week's blog on thieving Fred Rosetti generated a bit of a buzz, so let's follow up on that.

It is my assertion, with evidence to back it up, that a lot of people knew Fred Rosetti was stealing from NEIU 19.  He got away with it for years, and nobody tried to stop him.

Gov. Bob Casey used to say "What did you do when you had the power?"  It was used in reference to elected officials and their ability to make things better for their constituents, especially people in need.

If you really think about it, we all have the power.

Unfortunately, we all have the fear.

Jerry Sandusky could have been stopped years before he was arrested.  People were afraid to speak up for fear of running afoul of Penn State's football culture.

Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan operated a multi million dollar criminal enterprise right under the nose of the district attorney.  The FBI had to come in and give county officials the 411.

Crime rarely operates in a vacuum.

Fred Rosetti, apparently, could have covered his tracks better.  The people who could have put an end to his stealing had the power, but they were afraid to use it.  Think about it.  Fred Rosetti admitted to stealing taxpayers money from an organization that provided educational services to special needs children.  He took from you.  He took from the kids.  This case cried out for someone to exercise their power.  All we saw in court last week was second guessing.

One of the saddest sentences ever has to be "I should have done something."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Classic Bad Photography Sunday

One of the things I always liked about Baltimore was the mix of the old and the new.  Case in point, this building, the Power Plant.

This is a photo from the late 80's, and I remember that I took it early on a summer morning.  The harbor is off to the east, to the right of this photo.  That's why the building is back lit.

The power plant used to be just that.  It was later turned into an entertainment venue.  If memory serves, they struggled to keep tenants.  Many came and went, including an ESPN Zone restaurant.

A web search the other day shows the building appears to be filled and viable.

I wish we were like that around here-- renovate and reuse rather than destroy.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Classic Bad Photography Saturday

I'm not going to kid you.  I got nothing!

There was one sunny day this week, and I spent it in court.  The camera stayed in the bag.

When all else fails, head to my box of photographs, and another from the Baltimore collection.  As you might remember, Charm City used to be one of my favorite quickie vacation destinations.

This is City Hall-- a web search shows the cornerstone was laid in 1867, and the building was completed eight years later.  It cost $2 million, which was some serious coin back in the day.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Parade Day

I'm working from memory here, but I think it's the 20th anniversary of my first time broadcasting the Scranton St. Patrick's Parade.

Here's the story-- I was working down the street when that station grabbed the rights to broadcast the march.  I was enlisted to cover a pre race mass and foot race.

Station management considered putting me in the middle of a Parade Day party at one of the downtown hotels.  While I was thrilled to be part of the broadcast, I thought putting a live camera in the middle of an alcohol fueled party was dangerous.  The station wisely reconsidered.

Again, if memory serves, the 1993 parade was delayed a week due to a major snow storm.

Parade Day finally arrived.  A photographer and I attended the mass at St. Peter's Cathedral, and we headed out onto the race course.  We got our video and our interviews.  The photographer went back to the station, then on Lackawanna Avenue, to slam something together.  I went over to North Washington and Linden, which was home base for the live parade broadcast.

Air time arrived.  I was wired up to introduce my stuff, which I did.  I was giving back the microphone and the ear piece when someone, and I don't remember who, asked that I stick around and become the second street reporter for the actual broadcast.

I was flattered, and they didn't have to ask twice.  Kevin Jordan was the main street reporter, and this was right up his alley.  Kevin was known for his hard news abilities, but he has a great knowledge of Scranton and Irish history, and he has an underrated sense of humor.  I was glad I stayed, and I was happy to be associated with the parade broadcast for four years.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about one of my major thrills in broadcasting, and here's another.  I was in TV Guide in 1996!

The thrill was short lived.  I was fired in an economic cut back four months later.

Enjoy the parade.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


What's going on at NBC?  The following are submitted for your consideration...

The Hollywood Reporter says NBC is set to announce Jimmy Fallon will replace Jay Leno on the "Tonight" show next summer.

The reasons?  Fallon can draw the younger crowd that advertisers want.  The network hears Jimmy Kimmel's footsteps, and Leno makes a ton of money.  He's too expensive to keep around.

Hey, all Leno did is keep "Tonight" in first place for the better part of 20 years, and he made a boatload of cash for the network.  I'm not a fan, but he deserves better treatment.

Granted, I'm not in the target demographic, but I never warmed to Fallon.  Even after several years on the job, he still seems uncomfortable to me.  I do think he's capable of producing a product mainstream American can live with at 11:35 pm, unlike Conan O'Brien.

The New York City tabloids are reporting NBC is considering throwing Matt Lauer overboard as "Today" ratings continue to slide.  "Today" is now in third place, in younger viewers, in New York-- and "Good Morning America" has been on a huge roll nationally.

While I don't like Lauer's smarmy act, I don't think he's the problem, even though his fingerprints are all over the Ann Curry firing.  ABC is better at doing pop culture, and George Stephanopolous gives "Good Morning America" the hard news grounding it needs.

NBC has to go back to its morning roots, especially in the first half hour, and put some news back in "Today."  Copying ABC isn't working.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Do Nothing



 “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”


I wonder if Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke was talking about northeastern Pennsylvania.

Former NEIU 19 executive director Fred Rosetti was sentenced to 33 months in prison yesterday.  He stole thousands from the organization.  The official count is about $ 140,000 and it was likely much more.

Evidence shows there were a lot of people knew what Rosetti was up to.  He plundered the organization for the better part of a decade. 

It reminds me of Luzerne County's "Kids for Cash" scandal.  1,000 kids went before Judge Mark Ciavarella without legal representation.  The silence was deafening.  I will never understand, until the day I die, how no assistant district attorney ever uttered a peep.  That, in and of itself, is criminal.

The silence while Rosetti was feathering his own nest is equally as disgusting.  I will concede that Rosetti ruled his organization through fear and intimidation, and he had a relative, Sen. Bob Mellow, in a high place.  Employees thought they'd lose their pensions or be fired if they dared to right the wrongs. Still, no one had the onions to speak up.  It could have been done discretely.  Call the district attorney.  Call the U.S. Attorney.  Call the FBI.  Call Dave Bohman.

One of Rosetti's attorneys told me Fred stole because he could steal.  In my view, it was another systemic failure-- top to bottom.  The system allows a scoundrel to amass too much power.  There are no checks and balances.  People who should have been watching were asleep at the switch.  Still others were afraid to speak.  Evil triumphed.

This area will always be in the dark ages as long as it embraces the "see no evil, hear no evil" mentality.  We're also pretty good at following the Golden Rule:  "Whoever has the gold makes the rules."

I loved how Rosetti's defense, in a plea for leniency, played the "he's already been vilified in the media" card.  I think it's just a case of the facts speaking for themselves.  Fred, you stole taxpayers money from an organization that helps educate special needs children, and you tried to intimidate people into clamming up.

On top of that, Rosetti took a page out of his pal, Bob Mellow's book, and tried to hide behind a sick relative.  Nice.

It sounds like someone has a lot of explaining to do on the Last Great Day.

Fred, if you'd like to explain a little sooner, I'm here.  There are still a few weeks left before you have to report to federal authorities to begin serving your 33 month sentence.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


"One Day at a Time" star Bonnie Franklin died last week.  69.  Pancreatic cancer.

"One Day at a Time" was part of Norman Lear's stable.  He had quite the bunch back in the 70's and 80's...  "All in the Family," "Maude," "Good Times," "One Day at a Time," "The Jeffersons," and "Sanford and Son."

Lear was and is a staunch defender of the first amendment, and his shows were groundbreaking in that they tackled controversial topics.  If you were around at the time, you will remember that sitcoms were generally safe territory.  No one took any chances.  Most sitcoms were nice, mindless entertainment-- and that's what you want after a long day.

Lear changed the game, and his topics were ripped right from the headlines-- reproductive rights, racism, equality for women, single parenthood, struggling through a bad economy, poverty, divorce, corruption...

Having said all that, and admittedly painting with a broad brush, Lear's shows always seemed to feature unhappy people yelling at each other for a half hour.  It wasn't funny.  But then again, some of it wasn't meant to be.

I always lost interest, and moved on to other things.

Still, you can't deny the fact Norman Lear's shows lasted for years, and people still talk about them today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

+ 30

I've never been to a high school or college reunion.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of college classmates I keep in touch with.  When it comes to high school, there's only one I communicate with.

I've written about one of the few friends left from the college days in this space.  There was a long phone conversation on the 25th anniversary of our graduation in 2008.  I called her again in December, after Sandy Hook.  If you dig through the archives you can find that entry.  To make a long story short, she lives about 20 miles away from Newtown, and works in a school.  I was compelled to call with my concerns, and I'm glad I did.  It was great to hear her voice.

Fast forward to one week ago.  Her daughter has chosen to attend the University of Scranton, so both mother and soon-to-be college student were in town for another look around.  My college friend and I arranged to meet up for lunch, the first face-to-face contact in three decades.

I have to level with you.  I was terrified.  Our phone conversations always went well, and there was no rational reason to be afraid.  I think I feared, that after thirty years, it would be like meeting a total stranger.

It wasn't.

It was like Marywood College, 1979-83 all over again.  We talked about everything, past, present and future.  A two hour lunch seemed like two minutes.

I know pictures of us, on graduation day, exist.  I'm sorry.  I couldn't find them.  I'll keep looking.

My friend will be back in late summer, to help her daughter move in to one of the U's dorms.  I look forward to the visit.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bad Photography Sunday: Big Birds

I stumbled across these creatures while taking the photo that appeared on yesterday's blog.  These two, along with a few others, were patroling some railroad tracks near Route 435 in Elmhurst.

I have to admit, I am challenged by things outdoors, so I'm guessing they're turkeys or turkey vultures.  I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Now, I realize why hunting can be so difficult.  The birds really blend into the brush.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bad Photography Saturday: Winter

As winter drags in to March, it's easy to forget that the season does have its charm.  This is a stretch of railroad track near Route 435 in Elmhurst.

The season, like the track, seems to last forever.

Friday, March 1, 2013

About the Cover

This is part of the satellite farm behind the WNEP building in Moosic.

Industry experts have been predicting the demise of satellite technology for years, yet it still dominates the landscape at TV stations around the world.

We're getting more video through high speed internet connections, and there will be more to come in years ahead.

In the meantime, massive fiberglass circles will scan the skies for news and programming.