Sunday, August 31, 2014

Classic Andy's Angles: National Aquarium

I have a vacation coming up in a few days, and for many years, vacation = Baltimore.  It was a great place.  Far, without being too far.  Affordable.  Plenty to see and do.  I'd always make a side trip in to Harrisburg because government fascinates me.

Then, things changed.  The quiet Baltimore suburb where I grabbed a hotel room became less quiet and less safe.  Baltimore lost a lot of its uniqueness, and it acquired a lot of those touristy things you could find in any city-- chain restaurants, cookie cutter stores and attractions.  However, the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor remained a treasure.  I took this photo in 1987, from the top of Baltimore's World Trade Center, the tallest building at the Inner Harbor.

It's hard to believe that I haven't been to Baltimore in 12 years.  I'm not going to violate one of my rules:  "unless you were buried under rubble, no one cares where you were on 9/11"...  but that's where I was:  Baltimore, MD.

I went back in 2002.  I didn't feel comfortable for the reasons mentioned above.  Plus, there were too many 9/11 memories from the year before.

I'm sure it's still a wonderful city.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Classic Andy's Angles: Elephant

Once upon a time, Scranton had a zoo.  It was at Nay Aug Park, and it had big cats and monkeys, and an elephant.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a pleasant place for the animals.  They slowly went away.  The elephant was among the last to leave, and she was trucked away in 1989.  This photo was taken shortly before Toni was transferred to a much bigger and better place, a zoo in Washington, DC.  Toni is no longer with us.  The memories of family Sundays at Nay Aug Park will be with me always.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Morning Meeting

We're heading in to a holiday weekend.  The last days of summer are upon us.  Let's take a break from the weighty issues of the day and have a little fun.

I was on Maple Street in Wilkes-Barre last week, near General Hospital, when I happened to look up.  A line of birds was on the parking garage, enjoying the late summer morning sun.
Enjoy the day and the weekend.  I'll see you later.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Year Two

Today marks my second anniversary of being a bicycle owner (and rider).

As I said last year, on the last Thursday of August, my only regret is not doing it sooner.

It's a great way to burn off a few calories and tone the legs.  Snedeker warned me of another benefit.  My rides aren't nearly as long as his, but Joe said I'll enjoy the solitude, and I really do.  When you're out there, it's just you, the bike and the road.  The situation is elevated a bit in my case because I ride before the sun comes up.  Other than the occasional drunk driver and stray cat, I generally have my small town streets to myself, and it's a nice feeling.

If you've been kicking around getting a bike, do it.  You can probably find some end of season deals.  Buy it from a store where the employees know what they're talking about.  You might pay a bit more in the beginning, but it's worth it in the long run.

See you on the streets.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Scrapple

A credit union is owned by its members.  I wonder how the people involved in a local credit union feel about paying $500,000 for the naming rights to a high school football stadium.  Yes, it's nice to do things for the community, but this one carries a hefty price tag.

Never saw "Breaking Bad," so I don't know if it deserves all the Emmys.  I did see the Robin Williams tribute at Monday night's broadcast, and I thought it was well done.

The Craig's List Killers have pleaded guilty in Northumberland County.  Now, they will go to jail and we'll never have to look at them, ever again.

A national pizza chain is coming out with a pretzel crust pizza.  Intrigued, but I don't think the chain has any stores around here.

Burger King and Tim Horton's are merging.  I've never been in a Tim Horton's.  I read where it's like a Canadian based Dunkin' Donuts.  The combination sounds interesting.  Maybe it can get BK off the under-performing list.

Labor Day is coming, and that usually signals the start of the fall campaign season.  Candidates take it up a notch.  In the Pennsylvania governor's race, it never really slowed down after the primary.

I've been looking at new cell phones again, and I'm far, far from pulling the trigger.  Why do cell phone companies make the process so complicated?

There's been sports talk radio chatter that this year's Little League World Series will help youngsters think baseball is cool again.  I'm not sure, but I hope so.

I regret not picking up a tennis racket when I had the chance to, in college, many years ago.  It seems to be one of those sports that's a thousand times more fun to play than it is to watch.

CNN is getting rid of hundreds of employees.  One of the bosses said the will do "less with less."  It's so sad.  CNN used to be THE place to turn to get the news and a serious newscast.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


My Monday morning assignment was a "back to school" story.  It's one everyone in the business has done several times, and it's always fun.  Kids are anxious and nervous.  The same goes for the parents, teachers and administrators.

Thanks to Pittston Area for access to the middle school.  It's nice to be known and trusted.  When I said we were doing a feature, they knew they weren't being tricked just to get a camera in the building.

After giving it some thought, photographer Dave and I came up with an unusual hook-- a teacher who is retiring in June, making this her "last first day."  We had a nice talk.  My story went two minutes and five seconds, an eternity in TV time, but it flowed nicely.

Watching those kids enter school yesterday triggered my "first day" thoughts.

I hated going back in elementary and junior high.  As I grew older, I couldn't wait to get the school year started.  I liken it to a prison inmate anticipating his release date.

We always, always went back after Labor Day, and I'm sorry most school districts have gotten away from that.  I understand the reasoning.  School districts seem more willing to pull the trigger on snow days in this modern area, so this keeps the school year from stretching in to mid and late June.

Our time was spent at Pittston Area Middle School, and it really is true.  Girls develop faster.  Boys have to wait a bit longer for their growth spurt.

What's up with the enormous backpacks?  I never had that much stuff to carry, and some of the backpacks appeared larger than the children.

Some things haven't changed.  Most of the kids were struggling with their locker combinations.  I was never good at combination locks, either.

Even though the school had its share of high tech stuff, learning is still learning

I told the staff at the school that I'll be back in June.  Here's to a happy, safe, and fast moving school year.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Monday in August

Today is the 35th anniversary of my first day as a college freshman.

I guess, it was technically yesterday, but I don't count orientation.  I blew off most of that stuff, especially the forced socialization.  It was a waste of time.  Just point me toward the big classroom building and tell me where to park.  Oh, and where's the men's room and the soda machine?

I was exceptionally grateful my parents gave me the opportunity for a higher education, but looking back, the overwhelming emotion of the day was terror.  Intense, intense terror.

Back then, the college handed you your schedule for that first semester.  I was blessed with 18 credits.  I didn't know you could make adjustments.  I just swallowed hard and tried my best with that difficult schedule.

Now, you have to remember, I came from a public school, and a horrible one at that.  This was my first exposure to foreign language courses in three years.  Plus, there was the new territory of religion, hard core psychology, philosophy, and literature.  Literature?  The only poetry I read was on the bathroom walls of my old high school., and it was some fairly creative stuff.  I doubt the people at my college were interested in having me share it.

I was itching to get involved in my major, but you know how freshman years are.  It's all theory.  No "hands on."  I was bored to tears, but I did realize to get to the good stuff, you have to sit through the tedium of theory classes.

Luck was on my side during those early days.  There was a high school friend at the same college who provided a familiar face and plenty of laughs.  We were in the same boat.  We always asked each other "How did we land here?"    I did become friends with several of those in the communications department.  They were a good bunch, and I'm still in touch with a few, even after all these years.  And, no, these aren't shallow, cheap, and easy Facebook friendships.

The freshman year was the toughest.  You learn the routine.  You learn how it works, and the last three years fly by.  I was glad I had those 18 credits.  It meant a much lighter schedule in later years.  I think I stayed at 18 credits through my sophomore year, and I took classes every summer to get ahead of the game.  By the time my senior year rolled around, I was barely on campus.

I can still remember that first day, vividly.

I felt out of place, but I suspect just about everyone else there was going through the same thing.  That's what being a freshman is all about.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Andy's Angles: More Diesels

The green, black, and gold color combination has always been one of my favorites.  Imaging my glee when I spotted this engine in the yard off Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton on a recent sunny morning.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Andy's Angles: Working

I was wandering around Steamtown a few weeks ago, when I drifted over the working tracks at the edge of the years.

As you know, I love the diesels, and this bunch was getting ready to pull out.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Okay, Now What?

For a long time, New Jersey and Pennsylvania looked at the casino industry as free money.

Was there another option?

Atlantic City was a disaster.  It needed something, and for several years, it was the Las Vegas of the east. Now, the bloom is off the rose.  The economy is struggling.  NJ has competition from PA and NY.  Two Atlantic City casinos close this fall, and more might be on the way.

Pennsylvania was a little smarter.  It had the good fortune of sprinkling the casinos across the state, while NJ was stuck with rehabilitating a city on the verge of collapse.  PA gambling proponents said casinos would save the horse racing industry and provide property tax relief.  The horses are still here.  Property tax relief is another story.

It's inevitable.  Gambling revenue is destined to level off, and then dip a bit.  The novelty will wear off.  Casinos are upping their game by providing entertainment and other diversions to supplement the wagering.  Smart move.  It's a tough business.

It makes me wonder what the next cash cow will be.  Some states are experimenting with recreational marijuana.  Money is coming in, but a big hunk of it is spent on hiring more police officers to get those driving under the influence off the road.

It's a lesson we've learned over and over again.  There is no free lunch.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Scrapple

The Little League World Series is a marvelous event.  Yet, I'm still concerned the intense media spotlight is putting too much pressure on the kids.

I'm ready to switch to fall, but not winter.  If there's one flaw in our climate here, it's spring and fall don't last long enough.

We are only two weeks in to the NFL pre-season, and I'm already tired of Johnny Football.

There's not a lot on the fall tv schedule that excites me.  Tea Leoni as secretary of state looks interesting.  However, I'm really not in a mood to invest time in another series.

22 baseball stadiums were built during Bud Selig's 22 years as MLB commissioner.  He still can't figure out what to do with Oakland.

Steamtown is admission free on Monday.  Parents, if your children aren't back in school, visiting Steamtown will be a nice treat.

Ferguson, MO shows we are still a deeply divided country.

SWB Railriders:  fourth from the bottom in International League attendance.  Can someone tell me why?

Thoughts and prayers to the family of James Foley, a journalist who lost his life getting a story.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Time Passages

It's been a little more than a week since Robin Williams took his own life.

Depression and substance abuse are the perfect storm, and it enveloped Mr. Williams.

Do yourself a favor.  It has to be on line somewhere.  Check out David Letterman's Monday night tribute.  It was a mix of clips and some old stories.  Letterman did it in a way that made you laugh and cry at the same time.

I have to admit, Williams' comedy was a bit frenetic for my tastes.  The man could do drama.

His situation was frightening in that you never know what someone is holding inside.  Robin Williams was suffering through pain that eventually led to an unhappy ending.

Don Pardo passed away Monday in Arizona.  96.

Most people will remember Pardo as the Saturday Night Live announcer.  As someone who grew up on 60's and 70's game shows, I'll remember Pardo as announcing some of the classics, including the original Jeopardy.  Pardo was also part of a lot of the NBC game shows when they done live, and later taped in New York City.  The legendary Bill Cullen hosted several of those, and Cullen frequently included Pardo as part of the act.

Great voice.  Great humor.  A legend in the business.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Coffee Break

I've been in this newsroom during floods, snow storms, power outages, hurricanes, heat waves, cold snaps, and assorted other calamities.

Nothing, nothing compares to the catastrophic failure of the station's coffee machine.

I don't drink the stuff.  Never have, and getting hooked is not on my agenda.  I am addicted to diet cola, but that's another story for another time.

Our newsroom coffee maker met its maker yesterday morning.  You could tell by the difference in the mood and demeanor of the staff.  It seems most need that little caffeine jolt to start the morning.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Theirs comes from a cup.  Mine comes from a plastic two liter bottle.

Producer Mike came to the rescue, and I bet there will be a statue here erected in his honor.  He went down the street to a donut shop and came back with one of those giant cardboard coffee containers.  It was enough to satisfy the staff, and then some.

There are a good number of people here able to function due to Mike's kindness.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fries With That?

I read last where Burger King is giving up on its reduced calorie french fries.  I never had them, so I can't offer an intelligent review.  The concept seemed okay.

BK is apparently still trying to come up with the magic formula to take on McDonalds, the french fry gold (or Golden Arches) standard.

I don't know.   BK regular fries were okay.  The last few times I had McDonald's fries, they were crispy and tasty, but overly and excessively salted.

The BK failure might have to do with cost.  A small bag of the reduced calorie fries was $ 1.89, and that's outrageous.  The regular fries are $ 1.59, and that is also far too much.  A potato costs pennies.  Restaurants of all types, not just fast food, have to be making a fortune on potato dishes.

The bottom line is we like them, so we pay for them.

Is this a great country, or what?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Andy's Angles: City Hall

Carbondale's city hall has been featured in this space before.  It's such a nice building, one more picture won't hurt.  This one was taken a few weeks ago, while I was across the street, photographing the Ungerleider bust.

It's a masterpiece of brick and stone.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Andy's Angles: Col. Ungerleider

One of the nice things about Carbondale:  The city knows how to honor its own.

Recently, a bust of Col. Alvin Ungerleider was dedicated.  It's in a nice setting, in the park across from city hall.
I cropped out most of the park so you can read the inscriptions on the base.  Well done, Carbondale.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Early Bird

This has to be a record-- the earliest flu shot ever.

As has been noted here in the past, I'm a firm believer in flu shots, and I get one every year, but usually in September or October.

I was in a drug store yesterday.  It was empty.  The pharmacist asked if I was interested.  Of course, the answer was yes.  After filling out some forms, my sleeve was being rolled up and I was jabbed in the arm.  Left, if you care.  In and out in ten minutes, and I walked out of the store a protected individual.

Pardon the sermon, but insurance should cover it.   Mine did.  Even if it doesn't, a flu shot doesn't cost that much.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for your family and friends.

A flu shot is not a 100 per cent guarantee you'll avoid the virus, but it does give you a pretty good shot.  Pardon the pun.

Let's hope the early bird doesn't catch the flu.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Friend and co-worker Kristina Papa took this picture for me a few weeks ago as she was following Joe Snedeker on his bike ride across the state.

Palumbo's Italian Eatery is on North Second Street in Harrisburg.  While I've been to Harrisburg many times, I've never stopped by.  I really should give it a try, flash a business card, and try to score a free pie.

No, I'm not related.  The same goes for Palumbo's Pizza in Stroudsburg.

It's always to see your name in other places.  There was a Palumbo who made money in mining, and he's given a lot of it to colleges and universities.  His name is up on buildings in Erie and Pittsburgh.  Again, no relation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I left full time radio in the fall of 1991, but the medium still fascinates me, and I actually spend more time listening to radio than watching TV.  It's nothing against TV.  I'm asleep during  prime time, and daytime TV isn't aimed at my sex and socioeconomic group, so radio it is.

I dumped my home satellite radio several months ago, and I bought an internet radio I found in a catalog.  It was one of my best investments ever.  First of all, there's no monthly service charge.  If the station streams on the internet, you get it for free.  It's nice to have access to all news stations and sports talk without play-by-play interruptions.

Having laid the foundation, a couple of recent developments piqued my curiosity, and I apologize in advance for being too "inside."

A company called Cumulus and ABC are going their separate ways.  Cumulus distributed ABC Radio News and assorted other projects.  ABC says it will handle a lot of its own stuff now, with some assistance from an outside company.  ABC promises more products for local stations, and I hope that means more news-- something severely lacking these days.  Cumulus is hooking up with CNN to feed raw material to radio stations.  It doesn't look like there will be a resurrection of CNN Radio News, which at one time, was a darn fine service.

A conservative talk FM station in Pittsburgh abandoned the format last week to go country.  Conservative talk was the "in" thing for a long time.  Now, it looks like the bloom is off that rose.  Rush Limbaugh was relegated to a little AM station in Pittsburgh.  Say what you want about his politics, Rush can still put on an entertaining broadcast.  Unfortunately, some of his good natured ribbing of liberals has turned mean and nasty.  The bottom line is it's all money and if the FM Pittsburgh station's management thinks it can make more money with country, the rest all falls in to place.

New York City's dominant "classics" station has phased out all of its 60's music.  I guess the station decided that people who like that stuff are too old to count, too old to matter much.  That's unfortunate.  Sprinkling in one 60's song every couple of hours wouldn't hurt.  The station is turning its back on some fine music.

Robin Williams played a radio disc jockey in "Good Morning Vietnam."  As you no doubt know by now, Williams died Monday.  Suicide.  He suffered from depression and addictions.  I found his serious stuff a lot more entertaining than the comedy.  It's sad and tragic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I don't get it.  For years, we were told lower speed limits save gasoline and save lives.  Going faster is more dangerous, and it really doesn't save you that much time.

Welcome to 2014.  Parts of Interstates 80 and 380, plus the Pennsylvania Turnpike have new 70 MPH speed limits.  It doesn't make sense.

I was there yesterday, when the signs went up in Lackawanna County.

The CEO of the turnpike got it right when he said 70 is the "maximum," not the "mandatory."  I'll still be doing my 55 to 60.  I've found it's a lot easier to plan ahead, leave a little early, take your time and travel stress-free. 

By the way, the 70 MPH section of Interstate 380 covers 16 miles, from the Interstate 84 split in Lackawanna County to Tobyhanna in Monroe County.  Travelling 16 miles at 70 MPH takes you 13.7 minutes.  At 60 MPH, it takes you 16 minutes.  Are you really saving that much?

PennDOT says it will study the data to see how safe 70 PMH really is, and if the increased speed limit program will be expanded.  I have a feeling we'll learn it was a mistake.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I'm lucky in that my job allows me to see and get up close to some really neat things.  Case in point:  one week ago, Plains Township, Main and Carey.  The safe from the old bank building here was picked up by a crane, placed on a flatbed and hauled away.  The safe was more than 47,000 pounds of concrete and steel.  The demolition crew made it look easy.

It was a great, old building.  Unfortunately, it was allowed to deteriorate and demolition was the only option.  It's a story we've seen too many times before, and there will be more to come.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Turtle

The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is more than pavement and trees.  You'll find some interesting sculptures along the way.  One is this month's blog header.  This giant turtle seems to be crawling his way toward Taylor.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Trail

Believe it or not, I had not set foot on the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail until late last month.  I traveled the section from Elm Street in Scranton to Depot Street in Taylor.

The good:  It's really well done.  The trail is paved, and mostly flat.  That makes it easy for biking and running.  There are also some gravel sections if you want to venture off the beaten path.  There are benches if you need a break.

The not-so-good:  The trail really needs more signs to tell you where you are.  The entrance to the Taylor side isn't marked at all.  Luckily, a fellow blogger told me how to get there.  The web site isn't user friendly.  They should clear the brush at select locations so you can actually see the river.  At times, you walk under some severe power lines.  There's nothing they can do about that.  You also pass near a sewage treatment plant.  Again, there's nothing they can do about that.
Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives.  A lot of people were using the trail on a hot weekday morning.  There's a lot of shade here, so you won't melt.  It's a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Nixon + 40

Tonight marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation.

To say the least, Watergate was a national nightmare, even for a 12 year old.  It dominated the news at night.  The Watergate hearings were on TV, all day, every day.

You know, before Watergate, Nixon didn't seem to be a bad guy.  The Vietnam mess he inherited from Kennedy and Johnson was going away.  We were friends with the USSR and China.  Nixon visited, and TV brought us images we had never seen before.  Even though Kennedy started the space thing, and Johnson pushed it forward, Nixon was in the White House during the moon landings.  It was a fascinating time, especially for a young news hound.

Nixon cruised to re-election in 1972.  I don't think America ever really loved Richard M. Nixon, but he was a guy we were comfortable with.

And then, the wheels came off.

I remember riding bikes with my friends and hanging out at the corner playground the evening of August 8, 1974, and then going home to watch Nixon's 9 PM resignation speech.  We all knew what Nixon was going to say and do.  The resignation was a relief.

It really hit me the next day.  I watched Nixon's teary address to the White House staff, and I watched him board the helicopter on the White House lawn.   While Nixon didn't deserve sympathy because his own stupidity and paranoia put the country through hell, I remember being saddened by the whole thing.  This didn't have to happen, but it did, and at least, it was over.

Nixon turned out to be a pretty good ex-president.  The man was said to be a foreign policy genius.  Even though Clinton won by focusing on the economy, we now know foreign policy can be almost as important.

One of my major irritants is watching great potential wasted.  Richard Nixon could have gone down in history as one of our better presidents.  You know the rest.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

First Person: Fire

I've been doing this news thing, in one form or another, since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.  In spite of all those years, I'm still in awe of the damage fire can do, and it still frightens me.

My Tuesday morning assignment was to cover a particularly nasty fire on Lackawanna Avenue in East Stroudsburg.  Our photographer, who works out of the Pocono Newsroom, was already there.  I was to meet up with another photographer in Moosic, and drive to East Stroudsburg to do live reports for Newswatch 16 This Morning, and our noon broadcast.  There were 10 scheduled "hits" in all.

One challenge was getting to the scene.  All the streets surrounding the fire were closed.
We found an apartment complex parking lot a few blocks away.  I jumped out of the truck and walked to the scene to get information.  Photographer Corey negotiated with a police officer to get a better parking spot.  The police officer was very accommodating.  Were close enough to see what was going on, but still out of the way of first responders.  I wish everyone could be so cooperative.
It was an interesting, and a sad morning.  Eight living units were destroyed.  22 people lost their homes.  Many were hurt.  All were uninsured and lost everything.

We found some willing to share their stories, and I thank them.  I know it isn't easy.

After Good Morning America ended, it was time to head to the Pocono Newsroom to write an updated version of the day's events for Newswatch 16 at Noon, another live report, and my day came to an end.  I handed off to co-worker Amanda Kelley, who found more and interesting angles for our later broadcasts.
Before I go, a few thoughts on row homes.  Some are beautiful, old buildings...  but they can be dangerous.  Many have common attics, so once the flames travel to the top, they spread fast to every unit.  I've seen it happen too many times.  Building owners really have to take steps to partition off attics with fire resistant materials.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Media Wednesday

Some issues that have been sticking around for a while...

FOX has demoted NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver from its lead game broadcasting team.  Erin Andrews steps in.  I wouldn't have made the change.

A newspaper around here has opted for bigger headlines and larger photos.  Could they be trying to disguise less news?  The paper seems rather thin lately.

Katie Couric's run of original shows is over.  I thought it would work.  It seems her solo efforts, like the talk show and the CBS Evening News anchor slot exposed some weaknesses.  Katie is better as part of an ensemble.

A recent newspaper obituary went viral.  It was written by the deceased, and it contained massive doses of alleged humor.  A lot of people thought it was funny.  I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, but I thought it was just bad taste.

The Big Bang Theory cast is holding out for more money.  I'm okay with that.  The show generates a lot of revenue for CBS and Warner Brothers.  They should share in that.  CBS, a few months ago, renewed The Big Bang Theory for three more seasons.  You know, I can live without it.  I think it's peaked.  Late word has the stars renewing for huge amounts of money, and possibly an 11th season.  Good for them!

ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for outrageous comments on spousal abuse.  It's odd how networks hire commentators because they want to liven things up, but they slap them down when they actually say something provocative.  Smith, however, crossed the line and went too far.

I'm still loving the CNN series on the 60's, but I'm disappointed "1968" got only one hour.  It was one of the biggest news years in American history, and it deserved more. reports Fremantle Media and a couple of producers are working on a To Tell the Truth revival.  The show has been off the air since 2001.  The last revival was a stiff-- with bad panelists, including Paula Poundstone, and a boring John O'Hurley as host.  I hope the new bunch does better.  It's one of television's all time great shows.

The sports broadcaster cliche of the year has to be "crooked number."  It was cute-- once.  Now, stop it and move on to something else.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It Bugs Me

Okay, it's August.  You can feel the days getting shorter, the nights getting cooler, and the average daytime high has peaked.  Back to school sales are in high gear, and some trees already have the slightest tinge of color.

Perhaps it's because last winter was so long and cold, but people have already begun to push the end of summer panic button.

Relax.  There's still another month of summer left, to be followed by a lovely Pennsylvania fall.

Above, wasps looking for a home in a piece of masonry on the front lawn of the Tripp House in Scranton, Lackawanna County's oldest home.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Scranton is known for things other than its daily dance with bankruptcy and a dreadfully unfunny sitcom.

For decades, Avanti Cigars, makers of the Parodi, called this building on North Main Avenue "home."  Avanti, which means forward in Italian, recently moved to a building in Dunmore.  Demolition on the North Main Avenue structure began last week.

I don't understand how anyone can smoke anything, especially a Parodi, but to each, his own.  It's a kick that a famous product, one popular with my people, is made in our own back yard.

I happened to be in Baltimore many years ago when the McCormick spice plant at the Inner Harbor, was demolished.  I swear, you could smell the cinnamon in the demolition dust.  Alas, there was no tobacco or other scents wafting up from the North Main Avenue rubble.

The building might be on the way out, but at least the local production remains.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Andy's Angles: Diesel

When I was a kid, we had a mix of trains under the Christmas tree.  One was a Lionel steam engine replica.  The others were diesels.  For some reason, I favored the diesels.  Perhaps it was the sleek lines and the colors.

I can't look at a diesel without thinking of those wonderful Christmas seasons, so long ago.

Above, another picture from the Canadian Pacific Taylor yard.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Andy's Angles: Working Trains

It's been a while since I've inflicted train photos on you.

What you see above was shot on a recent morning at the Canadian Pacific yard in Taylor.  You sort of have to pass through to get to the Lackawanna Valley Heritage Trail.

It's a busy place, and there's a lot to see.  However, I didn't want to get busted for trespassing, so I snapped a few and took off.

Friday, August 1, 2014

About the Cover

The photo is mine, but the idea came from Frank Dutton's blog.  In case you're not familiar with it, Frank photographs local attractions, especially trains.

Anyway, the carved wooden Indian is along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, between Elm Street in Scranton and Depot Street in Taylor.  It's closest to the Taylor end.  Frank recently featured the Indian in his blog, and I had to hike out there to see it for myself.  It's an impressive piece of work.

I took a few other photographs out there, and I'll share those, along with some thoughts, in an upcoming weekend.

I'll give you a preview:  The scenery is nice.   The signage is poor.  The web site doesn't help much.  More later.