Wednesday, September 30, 2020

An Open Letter to J. Kristopher


I should have done this years ago.  WNEP's J. Kristopher, Stephen Kotch, celebrated a birthday yesterday.  I'm sorry it took me so long to express some thoughts.

Dear Stephen:

I hope you had a good birthday yesterday, and I know it's been a lousy year.  Losing two loved ones in a short amount of time must be extremely difficult, and my heart goes out to you.  I admire how your faith guides you.

I should have said this during the time we overlapped at WNEP, and I clearly should have spoken up in the days leading to your retirement.  I was embarrassed to open my yap.  It's a confession.  I snuck in to the old WNEP backyard in Avoca, a couple of times, to watch you do the weather while I was in high school.  It was 1978 or 1979, possibly both.  I wanted to be in broadcasting and more importantly, I wanted to be you.  You did news, sports, weather, play by play, telethons, interviews, Dialing for Dollars...  You were the guy every young "wanna be" broadcaster wanted to be.  Thank you for the words of encouragement on those nights I trespassed decades ago.  Thank you more for not calling the police.

I have always said I am luckier than I deserve to be.  I grew up watching the greats.  I had the opportunity to work with many of them during my time in local TV and radio.  I like to think I carry a tiny piece of every one of them, learning their traits, what worked, what didn't, the value of hard work, honesty, and most importantly, decency.

I will never forget the morning the news director walked out of his office to announce an event the station handled was jumping to another outlet.  I remember exactly where you were standing in the office when you said to everyone, "And the sun will rise tomorrow."  J., you right.  The sun did rise, and I have often thought of that line when unfortunate things happened to me.

Your kindness has stayed with me all these years.  Also, I cannot experience a cloudless, comfortable, sunny day without thinking "J. would call this a "sterling" day."

J., thank you for your influence.  Thank you for being a role model.  Thank you for setting a great example.  The current WNEP staff stands on the shoulders of people like you, who built the place and set the standard.  I hope we aren't letting you down.

Once again, happy birthday, and I'm sorry this little note is twenty years late.  I hope there are many sterling days in our futures.

Be well and stay safe.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Why Not?


Joe Buck is going in to the broadcasters' section of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I have absolutely no problem with that.

The selection did touch off a discussion on sports talk radio.  The thoughts below are not original, but I endorse them.

What about Brent Musberger?  He was the best NFL pre game show host.  Ever!  He was also great at doing halftime highlights.  Musberger does Las Vegas Raiders games on radio.  He's 82 and still does an outstanding job.

What about John Facenda?  The man was the voice of NFL Films for decades.  He helped put the NFL on the map.  

I'm not one for handing out awards and honors like Halloween candy.  Quite the contrary.  But, here are a couple of guys who really deserve to be in Canton.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Back to the Future


A big drug store chain is changing its logo, and the new look includes a mortar and pestle.  That one was a head scratcher.  For years, a mortar and pestle was part of the apothecary business, but that was a long time ago.  Unless you grind your own spices, no one under the age of thirty knows what this thing is.  Maybe the chain is going for a "traditional quality and service" image.  I just don't know.  I do know many stores in the chain have been modernized and the look is rather nice.  Contemporary.  Bright.  Easy to maneuver.  Informative signs.  A mortar and pestle seems to go against that image.

Speaking of archaic, regular blog readers know that I use a fair share of graphics here, and I create many of them myself.  They're not great.  They're not awful, either.  I am very fond of the "typewriter" style font, but I phased it out.  Same reason I'm anti mortar and pestle.  No one under the age of 30 gets it.

I assume the drug store marketing people tested the new logo, at least I hope they did.  I also assume it received a passing grade.

No one asked me.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Andy's Angles: Downstream

This photo was taken at the same place and the same time as the one you saw yesterday-- South Laurel Street in Jermyn, along the Lackawanna Heritage trail.

I hoped for more motion in the water, but it was just not my day.  It had been fairly dry when I took this photo, and the Lackawanna lazily flowed south, toward the Susquehanna.

Still, it's not a bad photo, but nothing really special.

I will note the water was crystal clear when I looked down from the fishing pier and that made me very happy.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Andy's Angles: The River

I'm not one for being "in" water, but I do like to look at it.

The is the upstream view of the Lackawanna River from South Laurel Street in Jermyn.  I took this around noontime in late August.

To be honest with you, it's a nice shot, but unremarkable.  There is nothing really special about it.  Blame me.  Don't blame the river, which was running low and slow on this particular day.

It looks like a great spot to view fall foliage, and I will be back.

Friday, September 25, 2020



The New York Post reports McDonald's will be rolling out a loyalty program.  Specifics have yet to be announced, but it appears a certain number of purchases gets you a price cut or something for free.

I'm not a McDonald's frequent flyer, so it's a moot point for me.

The Post says everything will be done through the McDonald's app, and that's what sends up my red flag.  The company believes ordering and paying through the app streamlines the process-- getting customers in out of stores, and in and out of drive-throughs, faster.

If this was a vlog, you would see my skeptical eyebrow raised.

I have a few apps on my phone and tablet, mainly for information.  I have yet to jump on the food bandwagon.

It seems like any time someone in line in front of me at the mini mart attempts to pay with an app, it slows the line, not speeds it up.

As always, the "wait and see" approach applies here.  Maybe McDonalds has the wherewithal to do it right.  Considering the number of times it screws up an order, I'm not sure.

Call me back when it's perfected.

Also, I tried the new spicy McNuggets the other day.  Not bad.  Could be spicier.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Spice of Life


Today's top is variety packs.

The type is irrelevant-- soda, beer, seltzer, candy, snacks.

My question is, what one do you grab first?  Do you go for the kind you like, the kind you don't like, or is it the luck of the draw?

Personally, I always attack my least favorite flavor first, and save the best for last.

You can debate this one for days.

And if deciding whether it's Fritos or Cheetos, Coke or Pepsi, chocolate or vanilla, is your worst problem, then it's going to be a good day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Mike Wallace Is Here


The DVD had been sitting on my shelf far too long, and I finally had the time to watch it during last week's vacation.

The producer calls "Mike Wallace Is Here" a "film," not a documentary.  Regardless, it was 90 minutes of fascinating entertainment.

There is no narration.  It's just a series of clips and interviews documenting Mike Wallace's life, from boyhood in Massachusetts to "60 Minutes" stardom.  Just about everything is covered, including the death of Wallace's son, Peter, and the crushing depression that resulted in a suicide attempt later in life.

There was one area I found lacking.  For those of you not familiar with Wallace's early work, he did it all-- actor, game show host, commercial spokesman, and some tabloid type interviews.  Wallace mentions that he wasn't liked when he arrived at CBS and there really isn't enough on those early CBS years.  How did he get the job?  Who tried to freeze his out?  In spite of it all, how did he get the plum assignments of following Richard Nixon's 1968 campaign, convention floor reporter and "CBS Morning News" anchor?

Wallace mentioned Don Hewitt selected him for "60 Minutes" because he and Hewitt were two of the misfits at CBS News.  I wanted more of that.

There is nothing new in this film.  It's just a series of old interviews, but they are assembled in a way that traces the path of Wallace's life and career.

"Mike Wallace Is Here" is a wonderful reminder of what a talent Mike Wallace was.  The "gotcha" stuff and ambush interviews generated much of the heat, but it should not be forgotten that Mike Wallace was a fearless interviewer.  His celebrity profiles are classics.

If you can get your hands on a copy of "Mike Wallace Is Here," do it.

Thumbs up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Innocence Lost


A recent blog post featured a photo of Jim Nabors as PFC Gomer Pyle, and  that started me thinking.

His sitcom aired at a rough time in American history.  1964 to 1969.  Vietnam.  Assassinations.  Riots.

Nabors' character was a sweet and innocent oasis, a purely good and nice person.  Gomer might have driven SGT Carter insane, but you never doubted his heart.

I don't watch much television these days, and I can't think of another character that comes even close to Gomer's characteristics.  Every current character is flawed in some way.  Flaws can be funny.  It's the story of my life.

Simon & Garfunkel sang "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?  Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."  You can replace Joltin' Joe with Gomer.

We can all use a little Gomer these days.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Monday Scrapple


Joe Buck is going in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I'm okay with that.  Buck has his share of detractors and I really don't understand that.  His calls are a mix of fun and reverence.  Even though Buck is only 51, he's been doing this for a long time and he deserves the honor.

I'm not a fan of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.  Still, it makes me sad to see them struggle on the course.  Both missed the cut at the US Open, and in Mickelson's case, it wasn't even close.

What happened to fall?  It seems we're making the jump to winter rather quickly.

I know the current situation is far from over, but it would be nice to see more stores and gyms going back to 24 hour operation.

I'm blocking as many numbers as I can, but too many texts and calls from political organizations are still getting through.

ESPN is sharing tonight's Monday Night Football game with ABC.  I know the glory days are gone, but it's still nice to see MNF on broadcast television.

Kudos to Wilkes-Barre city government and veterans groups for finding a way to still do a Veterans Day parade in November.

Office Max outside the Wyoming Valley Mall is closing, and that makes me sad.  I remember when it was Office Warehouse, one of the first big box office supply stores in the area.  Every visit was like Christmas morning.

A mask is a tiny piece of cloth and some elastic.  Can someone explain why they are so expensive?

With so many other diversions, why is the Tik Tok thing such a big deal?  Seriously.  Who cares?

Any time I think I've watched all the relevant photography videos on You Tube, I stumble across a new batch.

My condolences to the family and friends of Barry Finn.  The former WNEP and WYOU meteorologist died over the weekend.  We worked together down the street.  Good broadcaster and a good man.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Andy's Angles: Experimentation


When I go out to photograph something, especially an "event" like the SGT Jan Argonish Memorial Motorcycle Run September 13th, I always blow off several shots on my camera's "automatic" setting.  That's so I know I'm coming back with something I can use.  After that, it's time for experimenting and learning.

I positioned myself near the intersection of Dunmore and Sanderson Streets in Throop, so I knew I would have a long run of motorcycles coming up a hill.  I shared some of those shots yesterday.

Today, it's the experimental part of the trip.  Some things worked.  Some didn't.

The first photo today is an attempt at a bit of whimsy.  First, it's a cool bike.  Second, the bear in the back really catches your eye.

The second shot is a Jeep pick up, with the American flag waving from the back.  Yes, the sharpness could be improved.  The framing could be a lot better.

I'll be kicking myself over the last photo for a while.  I was experimenting with the panning technique-- moving my body and the camera along with the motorcycle moving up the street.  The goal is to get a sharp bike with a blurry background.

I did get the background blur.  The back of the bike is in focus.  The rest is weak.

Upon further review...  I used a shutter speed of 1/80.  I should have gone up a few notches, but a former newspaper photographer told me I could have gone slower, if my panning was more in tune with the bike.

I also used a 24mm prime lens, not the fastest focusing lens in my bag.  I used it because I was relatively close to the street and I needed something with a wide angle

For a first time, it could have been worse.  I think I showed enough promise to keep trying.  That's part of the fun.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Andy's Angles: Motorcycle Run


It's become a yearly thing for me-- a quick visit to the start of the motorcycle run honoring SGT Jan Argonish.  He was killed in Afghanistan 13 years ago.  Family and friends put together a motorcycle run to raise money for veterans' charities.  While I never met Jan, I do know his parents.  Good people.  Kudos to the organizers for making it happen this year.  There were several restrictions spurred by the current situation, and I get that.

Speaking of which, even though the ride began in an open field, in the great outdoors, I wasn't totally comfortable being in a big bunch of people, even with a mask and other precautions.

Above and below are my solutions.  I took some photos as the motorcycles rode up Dunmore Street in Throop.  I was able to wave to Jan's father, so the family knows they have my support, even though for the first time in eight years, I wasn't there for the start.

I was thrown for a bit of a loop this year.  Usually, Throop is at the front end of the run.  This year, the course was reversed and it was toward the end.

It was worth the wait.

Tomorrow, some experimental photography.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Let's Review

 Another vacation week comes to an end, and let's review.  It wasn't the most fun vacation, but it was productive.  Hair cut, car inspection, stocking up on necessities, flu shot...

There was a little time for photography and bike riding, and a lot of time for sleeping.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

I hope there is more where that came from.  I have two non consecutive weeks off in October, and some scattered days after that.

Thanks to Elizabeth Worthington for filling in.  Those hours are tough when you're not used to it.

See you tomorrow morning.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News


It seemed simple enough.  Call.  Arrange for a flu shot.  Get a flu shot.  Well, nothing is simple in the world of big medicine.

Let me start by saying I have a great deal of respect and admiration for people in the medical field.  It includes custodians, secretaries, receptionists, all the way to the people with the fancy degrees.  That respect and admiration is ramped up considerably during the current situation.

It is the system that fails, and bigger is not necessarily better.  And, one day I will write a book about my experiences with the Veterans Administration.  That is another story for another time.  Today's tale is not VA related.

Let's go back to the beginning.  I always get a flu shot in early September.  I made the call for an appointment.  After being on hold for 15 minutes, I had to jump through a series of hoops because my insurance has changed since my last flu shot.  Yes, I am thankful I have insurance.  Very thankful.

Here is where it gets sad and hilarious at the same time.  My primary care physician, who I haven't seen in years because he closed his quaint private practice and affiliated with a big medical group, left and I didn't know it.  No notice.  No recommendation for a new primary care physician.  No "arrivederci."  All the woman on the phone said was "he left us."  I didn't know if he quit, retired, or died.  I later learned he retired.  The woman on the phone was having difficulty scheduling me because I didn't have a primary care physician.  Finally, out of exasperation, I said, "Just put down Dr. Fauci."  The reply?  "Is he a (medical group) doctor?"  No, I explained.  He's the national coronavirus expert you see on TV every night.

I finally was scheduled, and arrived the next morning, at a huge medical building, for the shot.  The place was crowded.  Due to the current situation, that really gave me the creeps, even though there was a temperature check at the door.  On the other hand, they did seem efficient in moving people in and out, and I received my shot at the appointed time.

You may be asking why I just didn't go to the drug store.  Any time I have been to a pharmacy, it's been packed, and the pharmacists and techs are working as fast as they can.  I'd feel awful at taking them away from pill duty to give me a shot.  I can just picture some guy in line to pick up medicine for a sick kid, having to wait while I get a shot.  I don't want that.

However, after this year's experience, I might find myself in a drug store next year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020



Men and women of science might scoff, but I am convinced animals know things.

I've had dogs and cats over the years, who I am sure knew when I was feeling anxious, sad, upset and depressed, and sometimes, combinations of all four.  Of the current bunch, Peanut is the most perceptive.  Nathan is a great cat, but, as cats can be, rather aloof.

But, today's entry isn't about the truth with cats and dogs.  It's squirrels.

I have a big old chestnut tree in the front yard.  It seems to have produced a larger than normal crop of nuts this year.  That's my first clue it's going to be a bad winter.  Second, the nuts have attracted a huge group of squirrels.  They are really going to town on this tree, grabbing every nut they can get their hands on.  They grab the ones that have fallen to earth, and they've even been climbing the tree to get to the rest.

Third, the squirrel tails seem thicker than normal, and they're turned from spring/summer brown to winter grey earlier than normal.

It's it's a choice between meteorologists looking at computers, and bushy tailed forecasters, I'll place my bet on the squirrels.  Every time.

Don't dismiss the predictions of the animals, even though the scientists say we should.  It's possible we haven't found the secret to animals' ability to predict and perceive.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020



Broadcasters and people who own stations never cease to amaze me.

A Pittsburgh news anchor lost her job a couple of years ago because she said some mean things on social media.  The anchor got a job as an afternoon host on a radio station.  She was hired because she was a flamethrower-- someone who isn't afraid to say anything to get emotions boiling.

The afternoon show host was taken off the air recently because she said some things that fired up people again.  Didn't management know what they was getting when she was hired?

The same can be said for Tony Bruno, a man Keith Olbermann referred to as the most talented person to ever work at ESPN Radio.  Bruno had a show on satellite radio-- until a couple of weeks ago.  That's when he uttered some insensitive remarks.  Sirius/XM showed him the door.

I was a regular listener.  Bruno was known for his provocative remarks, and I'm sure that's one of the reasons he was hired in the first place.  It was an entertaining broadcast, until he went off the tracks.

It's funny that one of the reasons you get a job, is also one of the reasons you lose it.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Thumbs Up!

Other than the news and some shows on WNEP2, I really don't watch much traditional television.  You Tube is another story.  I'm hooked on "how to" photography videos, old network newscasts and election nights, and old game shows.  I've recently added another guilty pleasure:  Siskel & Ebert.
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert worked at competing Chicago newspapers, but they got together for a movie review program, first on public television and later in syndication.  They had such a wonderfully simple ratings system:  thumbs up or thumbs down.  That's it.

Someone put a ton of movie review clips on You Tube and they are glorious.  As I said here when Roger Ebert passed away, you could sense his passion and his joy for movies.  The same was true for Gene Siskel, who died before this blog was around.  Ebert was also a gifted writer, and his blog was a "must read."

I used to go to a lot of movies in the 90's.  It was one of the many benefits of working in morning television.  You had your afternoons free.  Then, the movies changed.  Less story telling.  More special effects, blood, gore, car chases...  I grew too old for that, or the movies grew too young.   If one more "super computer taking over mankind" movie came out, I was going to scream.

I digress.  I watched Siskel & Ebert every week.  I saw the movies they liked.  I even saw the movies they didn't like.  Gene and Roger analyzed the finer points of films, but they never lost the "everyman" quality a movie reviewer must posess.  Critics shouldn't review for other critics.  They should review for the masses.  That's what Siskel & Ebert did.

I've enjoyed reliving the reviews of movies I watched, and even some I never saw.  The debates were even better when Gene and Roger disagreed on something.  It occasionally became heated, but always civil.

After the curtain came down on Gene and Roger, there were attempts to do movie review shows with other people.  It never worked.  Both have been gone for a long time.  It's time to give it another try, with a whole new audience.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were the most powerful critics in the country at one time, and they never lost sight of the fact that the movies were the stars.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Andy's Angles: President McKinley

Tomorrow marks the 119th anniversary of the death of President William McKinley.  He was shot in Buffalo.

This is the McKinley bust outside of the federal courthouse on North Washington Avenue in downtown Scranton.

Once again, I was using a statue to work on my blurred background skills.

In case you're wondering, there's a McKinley statue in Scranton because he signed the legislation creating the middle district of Pennsylvania, with its main court location in Scranton.  For years, the bust was tucked away in a courtyard.  Now, the president gets a perfect view of what's happening along Courthouse Square and North Washington Avenue.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Andy's Angles: Mr. Everhart

I was playing with my camera on a recent morning, and Nay Aug Park in Scranton is always a great place to snap off a few.

This is Isaiah Everhart, seated comfortably right outside the front door of his museum..

It seems like there has been a revolving door of managers here over the years, but it's nice to see they're trying to make it a place to visit, beyond that third grade field trip.  The museum opened last week, for the first time in six months.  Currently, it's open weekends only.  Let's hope things get back to normal soon.

The Everhart statue has been on the blog before, but I framed it differently this time, and with a different lens.  I used the 40 mm and made sure to get a tree in the background to test bokeh, or background blur.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Andy's Angles: Benji

On a day like this, you might need something to lighten the mood and make you smile.

This is one of Nathan's friends, Benji.  He was a rescue, from along a country road, a few years ago-- a tiny, dirty kitten no one wanted.  Benji has recovered nicely.

Thursday, September 10, 2020


The New York Times has stopped publishing television listings, something it's done for 81 years.

A Times editor said the daily grid no longer represented the way people watch television.

I get that.

It's become more of a streaming and "on demand" business.  All I have to do is push a couple of buttons on my remote to see what's on, when, and where.

The Times says it will still cover the television business, but the program grid is history.

To be honest with you, I can't remember the last time I consulted a newspaper for what's on television.  Still, it does make me a little bit sad.  something you grew up with is no longer relevant.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

They Never Learned


A "Today in History" piece in the Sunday Times caught my eye on September 6.  The article dealt with the Olyphant School Board leasing space inside a Catholic school in 1950 .  It needed the space because Olyphant's junior high school had been condemned.

I wasn't around in 1950, but I was there in 1977, when a half high school/half elementary school in Olyphant was condemned because it was a fire trap.  By then, Olyphant was part of the Mid Valley School District.

As I have said before, the real tragedy during this whole sorry episode in 1977 was that the people of Olyphant and the school board thought that horrid structure was just fine.  The fact that a daytime fire could have killed dozens somehow escaped them.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Truer words have never been spoken.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


Sleeping Homer is here, and that means it's vacation time.

I have a lot of time to burn off before the end of the year.  I didn't take any time off during the lock down, and even a month prior to that, because we were learning a new computer system and software.  I'll be making up for it now.

You're probably tired of reading this, but I have no plans.  It's just the usual.  Sleeping, reading, riding my bike and playing with my camera.  The blog will be updated.  There might even be a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post or two.

I've been taking time off in September since I started working full time in the early 80's.  The weather is great.  The kids are back in school (or learning from home) and nothing is crowded.  It's a wonderful vacation month, except for the occasional hurricane or tropical storm.

The September vacation is always funny for me.  There always seems to be an upcoming story I want a piece of, and I don't want to power down the computer and walk out of the office.  Let's hope for a quiet week.  We all can use a break.

The weekend morning broadcasts are in the capable hands of Elizabeth Worthington this time around.

Be safe.  I'll call you back later.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day and a Thief

It's finally here.

Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year.

First, it celebrates the American worker, and there are plenty of efforts that need to be saluted in 2020-- health care workers, truck drivers, supermarket employees, restaurant workers, police, firefighters, sanitation workers, and everyone else considered essential this year.

As for me, I like Labor Day because it signals cooler days and quieter days because all the kids are back in school, at least they're supposed to be.  The nights are longer, too.  It's a nice manageable amount of day versus night.  Football is starting, and in a normal year, it's pennant races in baseball.

I can't say I always liked Labor Day.  As a kid, it spelled dread because it meant back to school.  Yes, I went to school in the days when classes started AFTER Labor Day.

Please, think about the meaning of the day a little more than usual this year.

Former Cub and Cardinal Lou Brock died yesterday.   It's funny.  I was thinking about Brock just the other day.  For a few years, Brock advertised something called the Brockabrella.  It was a combination of cap and umbrella.  I don't know why that particular device popped in to my head.

Anyway, at one time, Brock held the single season base stealing record, only to have it eclipsed by Rickey Henderson.  I always considered Brock to be the superior base stealer.  The reason?  He was more selective.  Managers gave Henderson the green light to steal, any time, all the time.  Of course, if you run all the time, you're going to get the record.

Lou Brock had a variety of health problems over the years.  He was 81.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Andy's Angles: A Wider View

This is a wider view of the Mitchell memorial on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.

The Scranton Electric building is in the background, with city hall off to the right.

If you are a regular here, or if you look back, everything I shot at the U of S and the square was done with a 50 mm lens.  It's a prime lens.  No zoom.  You zoom with your feet.  On the other hand, it produces sharp images and is great in low light.  The low light part wasn't needed on this day, but I will admit that I could have framed this one better.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Andy's Angles: Labor Day Weekend

This is a selection from my recent bokeh practice day in Scranton.

It's a close up shot of labor leader John Mitchell, on Courthouse Square.

Not great.  Not bad.  Mitchell is in focus.  The tree isn't.  It's what I aimed for.  I used my 50 mm lens.

Tomorrow, a wider view.

Friday, September 4, 2020

About the Cover

I've gotten away from it for a while, but I always tried to do something "schooly" for the September header.  I'm old school, pardon the pun, and consider September as THE back to school month.  Back in my day, the soul crushing of experience of going back to school didn't happen until AFTER labor day.  Then there was a shift to late August to build in more snow days, and get kids started on their summer vacations sooner.

The header and the building this month have always vexed me.  It's Lackawanna College at North Washington Avenue and Vine Street in Scranton.  It used to be Scranton Central High School, home of the Golden Eagles.

Outstanding cupola, beautiful building, but I could never get the right angle on the cupola.  And, like Many Scranton buildings, the view is poisoned by wired and utility poles.

I had a plan this time.  I was going to use my new, super zoom 300 mm lens, go up Vine Street, and get a better angle.  Well, the best laid plans...  I forgot about that big hunk of roof obstructing the view as you move up Vine.  I really wanted the shot, so I gave up on the 300 mm and put on the 40 mm and walked closer to the building.  I love this lens.  Tack sharp, as the pros say, and very easy to use.
This is one of my favorite buildings.  I love to see old schools repurposed.  In many cases, they become apartments.  This one is rare-- from high school to college, and it still retains the original character.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Surprise! Surprise!! Surprise!!! and "The Franchise"

Actually, two surprises.

Imagine my surprise Wednesday morning when I learned a Kennedy, for the first time, lost a state wide election in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I wanted more information!

Imagine my double surprise when I tuned in a Boston radio station, at 3 AM, and I heard actual live news-- not the supernatural loving, UFO believing guy who accepts everything every caller and guest says as fact.

The kudos go out to WBZ AM 1030, a former Westinghouse station and a former CBS Radio station-- the New England blowtorch.

A television news director, many years ago, taught me the successful stations are the ones that do the best job of reflecting their community.  It is especially true in radio.  It's all too easy to put the UFO loon on all night, turn off the lights, lock the door, and walk away 'til the morning.  It was refreshing to hear "live and local."

And a few words about the death of baseball hall of famer Tom Seaver...  A great pitcher and a very good broadcaster.

I remember the horror of Seaver's 1977 contract dispute with the Mets in 1977, played out in the tabloids, and his trade to the Reds.  I wasn't a Mets fan, but it was odd to see Seaver in other uniforms over the years.  311 career wins.  The man was a star.

Seaver went in to the broadcast booth after retirement.  Actually, the networks used him for post season games while he was still playing.  Seaver did the last year of NBC's baseball contract, after Joe Garagiola left.  He had some good insight.  Unfortunately,  Vin Scully never let him talk.  Seaver was much better on local broadcasts.  He took the game seriously, and still managed to have some fun along the way.

Tom Seaver was 75.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Laughing All the Way to the Phone

It is perhaps one of the better jokes to be inflicted upon the fine people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  I refer to the "Do Not Call" list.

It.  Doesn't.  Work!

Yes, some businesses have been whacked for violations, but they are few and far between.  Admittedly, it's tough for the state to crack down on fly by night entities in different states, and many in foreign countries.

If that wasn't enough, politicians exempted themselves from the law.  People running for office, and their surrogates are the biggest violators of the peace.

You might say, just shut your phones off.  Well, I can't.  When you work in a 24/7 business and you have elderly relatives, that is not an option.  Multiply it by three.  I have a personal cell phone, a work cell phone and a land line.  I have three ways to be bothered.

It's time for the legislature to get tough and make this law work.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Business News

A report from Coresight Researsh says 25 per cent of America's malls will close in the next three to five years.  There are about 1,000 malls left in the country.  It's sad for those of us who grew up in the mall era, but times change.

A Pittsburgh newspaper reports a major mall operator is close to filing for bankruptcy protection.  The company doesn't have any properties in our area, but it has two in the York, PA area.  Could there be more dead malls in America's future?

We are several months in to the current situation, and there are still shortages of plenty of products, and that makes me fear for the fragility of the system.

Checking the "futures" has become one of my early morning rituals.

Lord & Taylor is going out of business.  38 stores close.  Thousands lose their jobs.  An American institution disappears.  America no longer loves department stores, at least high end ones.

The Stein Mart chain also closing.  There are no Stein Marts in our area.

Dollar store chains are reporting strong sales and profits.  It's not difficult to understand why.  People are broke.

I really don't care who owns Tik Tok.  No account now.  None on the horizon.  Ever.

Jeff Bezos is worth more than $ 200 billion.  Good for him!  The man created a product and service America wanted.  It's as simple as that.

There have been plenty of news stories lately about chain restaurants closing.  While I don't know anyone in love with a chain restaurant, they do employ a lot of people.  We all hurt when they close.