Sunday, June 20, 2021

Andy's Angles: Self Portrait

 

I was out Wednesday morning, doing a little celebrating of the next day's 23rd anniversary at WNEP, when the opportunity for a self portrait presented itself.

Yes, not the greatest form.  My arms should be closer to my body.  Hard habit to break.

Guess where I was!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Andy's Angles: A Good Thing

 

This space was recently dedicated to disappointment over the borough of Olyphant tearing down an historic old fire house in favor of a few more parking spaces.

The fire house is long gone.  I'm still sad that even though it lost its value as a fire house, it couldn't be repurposed.


Reason has prevailed in the Queen City.  All of the old fire house space won't be used for parking.  Part will be dedicated to a park, home to the long awated Freedom Fighter statue.  A major plus is the small park will be within walking distance of plenty of homes and apartments.  I am concerned visitors and people passing through might have problems finding it.  It's on a side street and tucked between a few buildings.  However, it's nothing a few signs can't cure.



Friday, June 18, 2021

Herb

 

Frank Bonner died Wednesday.  79.  He is best known for playing salesman Herb Tarlek on "WKRP in Cincinnati."

Friends, let me tell you something.  I was in radio for more than eleven years.   I've been in broadcasting for more than two-thirds of my life.  Frank Bonner nailed that character.  I've known a lot of Herbs over the years.  The clothes, the attitude, the patter-- the writers got it right and Frank Bonner brought it all to life.

Before and after WKRP, Bonner didn't have the greatest acting career, but he did direct several sitcoms in the post-WKRP days.

When you think of "WKRP in Cincinnati," Herb isn't the first character that comes to mind, but he did bring quite a bit to the table.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Anniversary!


 June 1998

The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.  The Chicago Bulls captured their third straight NBA championship.  They were still counting the money from "Comic Relief."  "Sex and the City" premiered.  General Motors workers began a seven week strike.  "The Truman Show" was in theaters.  "Victory Gallop" won the Belmont Stakes.  "The Lion King" won a Tony.  Lee Janzen won the U.S Open, overcoming a seven stroke deficit.  Microsoft released Windows 98.  Out area was recovering from tornadoes.  Sears and Kaufmann's were still in our malls.  92.1 FM was playing oldies.  Quint's Army/Navy in downtown Scranton was having a shoe and boot sale.  LA Bank, Core States, Mellon, and First Union had our money.  Adelphia was offering new cable channels.  A federal bill contained money for the Nittany Parkway in central Pennsylvania.  We shopped for food  at Mr Z's, and when we were sick, we went to Mercy Hospital.  Fresno's had dinner specials, and Whistle's had live entertainment.  "Primary Colors" was playing at the Ritz.  The Red Barons were playing at Lackawanna County Stadium.  Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather were the network nightly news anchors.

And on the 17th, I started at WNEP.

I now work with people who were not alive when I started.

All in all, good days and bad days.  I cannot complain with how things turned out, not even remotely.

I will repeat what I say every year, on anniversary day.  It's still fun.  I still get up in the morning (or late at night) and look forward to the things I will learn that day.  In many ways, I'm still terrified as I was back on that first day 23 years ago, and I am luckier than I deserve to be.

Most importantly, thank you for watching. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Loose Ends


 I finally summoned up the courage to listen to myself on the Prospector's podcast.  He's the morning man on Rock 107.  There is a link on Rock107.com.  I talked about a few things never publicly discussed before, and it wasn't as hideous as it felt at the time.

CNN recently wrapped up its multi part series on late night television.  Grade: C+, and I'm being kind.  It needed more on Tom Snyder's NBC "Tomorrow" show, which really was groundbreaking.  Also, not enough Craig Ferguson.  Too much time spent on mediocre talents and lightweights.

My recent blog entry on the song "MacArthur Park" touched off quite the discussion with a few friends.  First, the Richard Harris original is still very much disliked.  The version that aired on David Letterman's "Late Show" several years ago received good reviews.  I think it was mainly because of the rock treatment Paul Shaffer gave it, and part of the schmaltzy section in the middle was cut for time.

There was also a recent blog entry about the passing of a former radio coworker.  That one triggered a social media discussion of old radio.  While I was sorry to learn a friend died, it was nice to talk about the old days, good and bad.   There were some pretty rough days in there, but I would never regret all that experience, the successes and failures, personally and professionally.  With each year that passes, the radio days become a smaller part of my life and that makes me sad.

I recently wrote how Entercom's new name and audio platform, Audacy, is a confusing name.  Tony Kornheiser agreed on his podcast last week, saying Audacity would better.  Sorry, Mr. Tony, I think that one is taken.



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Gym Rat

 

I waited a long time for this.

My gym closed when the pandemic hit last year.

After the lock down, it re-opened, but with limited hours.  10 pm closing.  Overnights, when I attended, were out.

It finally happened.  Earlier this month, 24 hours, at least during the week, returned.  There was much rejoicing.

The occasional bike ride offered some physical activity, but the bike was mothballed for the winter and this spring hasn't been the greatest.  It was either too cold or too wet.

Not much has changed during my sixteen months away.  Same mediocre wi fi.  Same lousy audio on the televisions.  The place was always spotless, and that hasn't changed.  Some staffers remain.  There are new faces.    I forget the combination to my padlock.  Luckily, I had it written down and found it in a desk drawer.  Some of the overnight crowd gave up their memberships during the lock down, and they told me they are not coming back.  I get that.

Me?  My endurance isn't what it was when the pandemic hit.  However, it is better than I thought.  So far, I've been splitting my time between the ellipticals and the bikes.  I've been staying a little longer with each visit.  I haven't done the weight lifting machines yet.  I'll get there.

Since this sorry situation started, we've been hearing a lot about a return to "normalcy."  I don't think things will ever totally be the way they used to be.  The ability to go to a gym at 1 am is an important step.

Monday, June 14, 2021

STEMming the Tide

 

I had to stop by the car dealer on a recent morning.  Burned out headlight.  Second one in a few months!

Be that as it may, it was an in and out trip.  I arrived, gave my keys to the mechanics and took a seat in the waiting room.  Ten minutes later, I was done.  My quick arrival and departure apparently caught the rest of the people in the full waiting room by surprise.

As I was leaving, I said "Hey, it was just a burned out headlight bulb."  One of my fellow waiting room compadres said "You could have done that yourself."  I replied "I have a liberal arts degree."

STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math is great.  It nudges young people to some rewarding educational opportunities and the jobs that follow.  STEM also has a component that shows females that this is not just a male oriented thing.  Also great.

On the other hand, I have no regrets about being an artist rather than a scientist.  Could I have made more money doing something else?  Possibly.  Would I work normal hours in another field?  Most certainly.  Would I be just as happy?  Of course not.

The sciences are fantastic.  Following your heart and doing what you enjoy is much more important, even if it means you don't have the skills to replace your own headlight bulb.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Andy's Angles: SCC

 

To people of my age, this building on North Washington Avenue in Scranton will always be the Masonic Temple.  The rest of the population knows it as the Scranton Cultural Center.

This is a shot from a recent early morning.  The front is always lit nicely, making a beautiful statement to people traveling through the downtown.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Andy's Angles: Light Trail Saturday II

 

Today's shot comes from the same area as the one you saw here a few weeks ago.  The difference is the camera is pointed in the opposite direction-- up Mulberry Street and toward the University of Scranton.

This shot offers a nice mix-- headlights coming at me, but not directly in to the camera so I didn't get blasted.  The tail lights offer some nice trails as they temporarily crest at North Washington Avenue and head up the hill.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Baked

 

We tend to engage in bizarre conversations at work, with topics that have nothing to do with news and broadcasting.

Case in point:  a recent debate about the potato and food snobbery.  

The question was:  "Are you willing to readily accept a potato "baked" in the microwave?

The consensus was "yes."  My co workers and I are willing to give up a little flavor in exchange for speed and convenience.

I will agree that potatoes baked in a traditional oven are superior, but a potato makes a great snack, and I don't want to fire up the oven for an hour, especially in summer heat.

By the way, I like them plain, with a little butter, a little salt, and a lot of black pepper.  "Loaded" potatoes tend to obliterate the potato flavor and I like to taste the spud.  I can do without the cheese and broccoli, even though I like them both, separately.  

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Business Thursday

 

Burger King went back to its old logo several months ago.  How did I miss that?  Having said that, no one chooses fast food based on the logo.

Speaking of logos, the fast food chain with the little red haired girl seems to be closing earlier than usual, at least the store near me is.  Can't get enough workers?  Late night business doesn't support staying open?

The fast food joints are fighting over chicken sandwiches again.  It's become tiresome.

The same goes for crypto currency.  I can do without the daily updates.

WalMart will be closed on Thanksgiving.  Does anyone really think that's a bad idea?  Target and Best Buy have joined the list.

The New York Post reports Subway management is fighting with its franchise holders.  Again.  Why is this still an issue?  Improve the food.  Cut the prices just a little bit.  And, a good time was had by all.

Apple is making tons of changes to its iPhones and operating system.  There is a new one for you.  I'll level with you, kids.  Android has Apple beat in many areas.

Can Jeopardy! pick a host, already?

Looks like I'm not alone.  The New York Times just did a story about complaints of auto headlights becoming too bright.  My beef is with the nimrods who use high beams, all the time.

I'm oversimplifying here, but a bunch of web sites went down Tuesday because a cloud crashed, and the Russians seem to have free will in our information systems.  The technological superhighway is much more fragile than we think.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Hot, Hot, Hot

 

The heat wave is over, and I feel better.

There is something new going on out there:  heat shaming.

I know the winters around here are long, dark and cold.

I know we just came through a year of lock downs and restrictions.

I know the fresh air is nice.

If you like the heat and humidity, more power to you.  I'm actually a little envious.

But you just have to realize there are people who don't like the heat.

Respect it.  Deal with it.  Move on.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Clay & Buck

 


A big radio syndication company called Premiere, has chosen its replacement for the late Rush Limbaugh.

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton take over June 21.

Travis has been doing a rather forgettable morning show on FOX Sports Radio for the past several years.  Travis knows his stuff, but it was a tough listen.  It just wasn't fun, and I couldn't take more than a half hour at a time.  I found the tone far too dour and serious for morning radio.

Sexton has been doing a conservative radio show for the past several years.  I admit I've never heard him.

The combination should be interesting and I'll give it a listen.

Many Limbaugh stations have turned over the noon to 3 time slot to local hosts.  Some have picked up a syndicated show by Dan Bongino.  I have to admit I haven't heard that one, either.

There's an old saying that cemeteries are full of people who thought they were irreplaceable.    This one is going to be tough.


Monday, June 7, 2021

Strung Along

 

WorldWide Pants



There is a video I watch on a fairly frequent basis.  It's from a "Late Show" with David Letterman episode from 2014.  It's Will Lee singing "MacArthur Park."  The CBS Orchestra is bolstered by 23 musicians, and I'll get to that in a moment.  Paul Shaffer and the song's composer, Jimmy Webb are on keyboards.

First, Lee does a magnificent job on vocals.  The music is outstanding.  They blew the roof off the Ed Sullivan Theater.  I remember watching the original broadcast that night, not believing what I was seeing and hearing.  It might have been the best musical performance ever on network late night television.

Regular readers know I spent my junior high years in the school band, and even though I was horrible, I do know a little about music.  Emphasis on "a little."

The thing that impresses me most any time I view the video is the string section.  There is something magical about watching the bows of the violinists move in perfect synchronization.  I think the only instrument that can come close is the trombone, and it's really not all that close.  The strings really set this performance apart, along with Felicia Collins' guitar work.

The video is on YouTube.  Watch it.  Yes, I know MacArthur Park is on the list of the most disliked songs of all time.  Paul Shaffer, the CBS Orchestra, and Will Lee, plus those superb strings will change your mind.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Andy's Angles: Train and Crane

 

There is no major raison d'etre for today's photo.  I just like the shot.  It was taken last month at the Von Storch shop in Scranton-- the massive crane and a big Lehigh Valley engine.

The sun was my friend on this camera phone shot and the colors really popped.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

About the Cover: CNJ

 

Yes, I know there have been a lot of trains here so far this year.  A couple more this weekend won't hurt.

I frequently pass the Von Storch yard in Scranton, and it's always the usual suspects.

Imagine my glee a couple of weeks ago when there was a new visitor-- a Central New Jersey engine!

I couldn't resist, so enjoy it for the month of June.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Numbers Game

 

Submitted for your approval...

At a recent meeting of the Scranton school board, it was revealed that it will cost more than $ 300 million to fix all of the city's schools.  The number came from a feasibility study.

There are many questions here.  How were things allowed to slide for so long?  Clearly, some schools have to be closed, but which ones?  Does the board have the guts to do it?  If not, where does the money come from?  This is a district already suffering from money problems.

Fasten your seat belts.  It's going to be a long and bumpy ride.  And, no one is going to be happy with the destination.

More money and numbers...

Guy Fieri just signed a new, three year contract with the Food Network.  $ 80 million.  My first reaction is "Are you kidding me?"  Fieri's food is average, at best.  Every edition of "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives" looks exactly the same.  He has a couple of other shows on the network that border on unwatchable.

But, consider this.  Published reports say Fieri is responsible for more than $ 200 million of the Food Network's income.  Therefore, his new contract is a bargain for the network.  He deserves every penny-- and more.

I'm happy for him.  Guy, enjoy the bonanza!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Jim

 

When I arrived at WARM in 1981, Jim Gannon was doing noon to three.  It's true what they say.  The face and body rarely match the voice.  Jim had a rich, deep voice, and it came out of a rather small body.  That first handshake was a surprise.

Jim was moved to nights, and that's where we worked together quite often.  I'd stop at a mini mart to grab a giant coffee for him on my way to work, and it would make his night.  And then there were those evenings when we would be on the air after some horrendous college basketball games.  We wondered if we had any audience at all after that dismal lead-in.  We did.  It was simple.  People liked Jim.

If memory serves, Jim was an Army veteran who worked for the phone company.  In those days, a phone company job was the gravy train with biscuit wheels.  He gave up a good job to follow his dream and work in radio.  I'm sorry if I have the chronology wrong, but I think there was a job in Levittown, some New Jersey stops, and then WBAX in Edwardsville, where he used the name Dale Denver.  It was then on to WARM as Jim Gannon.

The 80's were a rough time at WARM.  We had a succession of managers with a succession of philosophies.  Each was worse than the one that preceded it.  It was a mess and I am being kind.  Jim spent some time in morning drive, as the sidekick for a morning man, Harry West, who did best as a solo act.  It was then back to nights.  Jim and WARM eventually went their separate ways.  That, dear readers, was simply a sad day.  Like a lot of people who came through Avoca, Jim deserved better.  A lot better.

Jim and I kept in touch for a little while after the departure.  I would make copies of the want ads in "Radio & Records" and drop them off at Jim's house, sometimes in person, sometimes, I would leave them in the mail box out front.   I was happy to help a friend, even though it really wasn't much.

Jim eventually found other radio work, and he bounced around quite a bit.  That is no reflection on Jim.  It was a time of great upheaval in local radio.  Ownership and formats seemed to change on a daily basis.  It was always a treat when I would spin the dial and come across Jim's voice.

I am very sorry to say we lost touch in recent years.  I remember the last time I saw him.  By then, I was at WNEP.  It was a Saturday afternoon and I was driving down Wyoming Avenue after an assignment.  I think it might have been Gov. Casey's funeral.  Be that as it may, Jim was walking out of a downtown office building.  I waved.  Today, I am kicking myself for not stopping.  You know how the TV business is.  We are always in a hurry.  I'm sorry I was too rushed to stop for a friend.  Yes, it's a poor excuse.

Jim died last week.  According to the newspaper obituary, there will be no viewing and no service.  That's Jim.  He was always a low key guy.  I'd like to offer my sympathy to Jim's wife, Carol.

Before I hit "enter" for the day, it's a trip down memory lane.  Below are a couple of pages from a mailer WARM put out in the early 80's.  Take a look at the talent I had the privilege of working with.



I was lucky to work with those people.  I was lucky to work with Jim.  He will be missed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wednesday Scrapple

 

Am I the last person in America without a podacst?

Words cannot express my disinterest in a "Friends" reunion.

Raw mushrooms in a salad?  Fine.  Cook them, and I hate them.

I can watch massive amounts of dominoes tumble, but I have no interest in watching a TV show about people making Lego sculptures.

I understand I received one write-in vote for mayor of Scranton in the recent primary.  I am humbled and honored.  On to November!

It's amazing how many high school, college, and minor league baseball teams wear uniforms based on White Sox and Astros designs from the 70's.  No complaints.  It's a good look.

I dread the approach of fireworks season.

My days as a rabid baseball fan ended long ago, but it still troubles me that the Orioles and Pirates are so awful this season.

Cicada hype.  Stop.  They're just bugs.

When you work all night and sleep all day, a chilly rainy day in the late spring isn't necessarily a bad thing.  for the rest of you, I'm sorry it fell on a holiday weekend.

Congratulations to friend and former co-worker Cassie Semyon, who has added weekend evening anchor to her duties at her station in Maryland.

I rarely mail things, but 58 cents to send a card, letter, or bill payment from coast to coast still seems like a bargain.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Losing Two


 Actor Gavin MacLeod and singer BJ Thomas died over the weekend.

If you look at MacLeod's resume on IMDB.com, you will see the history of American television comedy and drama.

Murray Slaughter, the news writer at Mary Tyler Moore's WJM was a great character.  Trivia:  MacLeod auditioned for the news director role, which went to Ed Asner.  Murray was a consolation price and MacLeod hit it out of the park.  The scenes where MacLeod and Betty White traded insults are classics.  There is a MacLeod interview on YouTube.  There is a great section on how he tried to bring "heart" to the Murray character.  He succeeded.

"Love Boat" wasn't my cup of tea, but you cannot diminish the series' staying power-- nearly 250 episodes.  A series like that needs and anchor, pardon the pun, and MacLeod was it.

Gavin MacLeod appeared in four "Hogan's Heroes" episodes, playing a different German officer in each one.

He was funny and funny isn't easy.

BJ Thomas had a smooth voice and he was a success on both the pop and country charts.  Even though "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" was everywhere, all the time, on radio in 1970, it was a song what had staying power.  You never got sick of it.  "Raindrops" is one of those songs where you instantly recall the words, even if you haven't heard it in years.

There were several other hits, all easy on the ears, all can make you happy, and make you think a little.

Do the old man a favor.  Listen to "Rock and Roll Lullaby" for me.  Thank you.

MacLeod was 90.  Thomas was 78.  It was extra sad to lose both on the same weekend.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day

 

There is one simple message today.  Please remember what the day is all about.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Tank

 

This is another feature of the veterans memorial in Jessup-- a tank.

I just could not imagine being in one of these for hours at a time, in blazing heat and intense cold.

If you ever need an injection of respect for the men and women who served, just take a look at one of these things.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Andy's Angles: Monumental

 

It's a trip to Jessup on this Memorial Day weekend.

This is the memorial outside Veterans Memorial Stadium on Hill Street.

Flags.  Granite.  Names.

Well done.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Summer Weekend

 



I always have mixed feelings about Memorial Day.  

It's the unofficial start of the summer season, and the first hot weather three day weekend.  There are picnics and barbecues, swimming and assorted other fun.

Unfortunately the meaning of the day often gets lost, and that troubles me.

There are fond childhood memories.  There was always a morning stop at a market that sold plenty of produce and plants.  We would get some barbecue things, and tomato plants for the back yard.  We would always get some flowers to take to a near by cemetery where my grandfather is buried, along with some uncles.  Everyone served back in those days.

We'd then come home for a little family outdoor fun.  

It was back to school the next day, knowing that the school year was rapidly and blessedly coming to an end.

I try to keep myself grounded this weekend.  It's a normal work weekend for me, and that's okay.  I'll take an extra day off next week.  For the last few years, I've been visiting Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton.  It's flags as far as the eye can see and that is really what the weekend is all about.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Late Night

 

Some random thoughts on late night television...

Stephen Colbert is going back to a full audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York next month.  It's time.  I won't be in the audience at home.  I just don't find his brand of humor funny.  Carson tweaked those in power.  The same went for Letterman.  Colbert bludgeons.  Tweaking is clever and difficult.  Bludgeoning is easy.

NBC rewarded Jimmy Fallon with a five year contract extension.  Why?  All he did was steer the franchise in to third place.  I've always felt Fallon is an exceptionally talented guy, but a talk show, especially the Tonight show, isn't his thing.  The Tonight foundation has always been the monologue.  Fallon's delivery is weak and he still seems terrified to be there.

Conan O'Brien is ending his TBS show and is heading over to a streaming network.  Once again, I'm not a huge fan, but O'Brien has improved his act over the years.  He always lost me when he tried to be funnier than his guests.  On the other hand, Johnny Carson always brought out the best of the people who appeared with him.

And, that brings us to our next entry.  CNN is currently running a multi part series on the history of late night television.  As a TV geek, it really hasn't exposed any new territory for me, but I can see how the average tv fan would enjoy it.  I'm sorry the great Tom Snyder didn't get more attention.  The same goes for Craig Ferguson.  I enjoyed watching former NBC executives rationalize and defend their boneheaded decisions.  Steve Allen became rather pretentious in his later years, but you have to give the man his due.  Just about every late night host/comedian is doing some variation of what Steve Allen did decades ago.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Fifty Fore

 

One of the neat things about being a journalist, reporter, producer, anchor, and blogger is you have to be a generalist.  It's the ability to know a little bit about a lot of different things.

Today's subject is golf.  Phil Mickelson won the PGA championship Sunday afternoon.  At nearly 51, Mickelson becomes the oldest man to ever win a major tournament.

First, it's sad that golf considers you considered washed up before you hit fifty.  

Second, you wonder how many tournaments Mickelson would have won if he wasn't competing against Tiger Woods every Sunday.

Third, it's simply a good story.

With minor exceptions, Mickelson has behaved himself over the years, a good role model.  People at the club where Mickelson won Sunday went nuts when  he locked up the victory.  People like this guy.

The big trophy and the fat paycheck are nice.  So is the adoration.  It's a "feel good" story when we can really use one.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Vacation Season

 

Meteorologist Valerie Smock and I engaged in an on-air conversation about vacations on Newswatch 16 Saturday Morning.  The question was vacation destination:  beach or mountains?

Valerie leaned toward the beach, and that's perfectly understandable.

Me?  Neither.

I guess my answer could be described as "city."

I used to love little trips to Baltimore.  I stopped several years ago.  It became far too "touristy" and, real or perceived, there is a crime issue.  I had a lot of friends in Harrisburg at one time, and I'd stop and see them on the way down or back.

I also used to really enjoyed driving to Erie on Route 6, across the top of the state.  There isn't much to do in Erie, but it was plenty of fun getting there.  Spectacular scenery.  Unfortunately, it takes a long time, and I've grown to dislike being in a car for that long.  The return trip was across the southern tier of New York, using Interstate 86 and Route 17.  I did have friends in Corning, but most have moved on to other things.

I'm really not much of a vacation person, anyway.  If you stop by here on a regular basis, you know my aversion to crowds, noise, fuss and bother.  I hate packing, unpacking, and all the clean up that needs to be done when the vacation is over.  I'd rather hang around the neighborhood and take it easy.

There is a vacation week coming up in late July and I'm fully prepared to do absolutely nothing.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The New Faces of Justice

 


I started working in professional/commercial radio in 1981, and I started going out on the road as a news reporter early in 1982.

One of my WARM 590 co-workers back in the day was the legendary Guy Randall.  Let me tell you about Guy.  No one knew Luzerne County better.  His roots were in the Hazleton area, if memory serves, but he spent his career in and around Wilkes-Barre.

One afternoon, Guy, the grizzled veteran, and me, the snotty young pup, were having a conversation in the WARM newsroom.  I confessed that I had trouble telling the Luzerne County judges apart because they were all little, grey haired, old men.  The only one I could instantly recognize was bald.  I irritated Guy.  He just couldn't understand my confusion.  I should add the judges of that era were all well liked and respected.

Fast forward forty years, and the days of the little old men, all fine jurists, are gone.  Three women are going for the two available on seats on the bench this fall-- Salavantis, Toohill, and Kravitz.  One man and one woman finished out of the money on election night:  Jim Bobeck and Laura Dennis.  As I wrote here Wednesday, the people of Luzerne County are the real winners.  All five have the makings of great judges.

It's the changing of the guard.  Men and women.  Fresh, new faces and names.

I think I can tell them apart now.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Andy's Angles: City Hall

 

While I was playing in traffic recently, I spun the camera around for a shot of Scranton City Hall-- a spectacular building that constantly needs some tender, loving care.

I had the shutter open for 30 seconds on this one, hoping for that signature long exposure glow.  The street lights blasted me, but you get the idea.



Saturday, May 22, 2021

Andy's Angles: Light Trail Saturday I

 

One of the reasons I like dong light trails so much is you never know what you are going to get.

I set up at the corner of North Washington and Mulberry in Scranton on a recent morning.  The camera is pointed down the street, toward Wyoming Avenue and the North Scranton Expressway.

The thing I like about this photo is the red light trails are high off the pavement, and it looks like vehicles were traveling in the wrong lane, but all was well.  It's just part of the grand illusion.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Loose Ends

 


Today, it's the debut of a new franchise called "Loose Ends."   Veteran blog readers will realize it's "Unfinished Business" under a different title.

The offerings today deal with Tuesday's election.

There was some pre election intelligence that Green party candidate Marlene Sebastianelli would be the wild card and potential spoiler in the special election for senate in the 22nd district.  She was supposed to pull enough votes to really make a difference in the outcome.

Oops!

Let's look at two things.  

First, the big newspaper in town endorsed Sebastianelli.  A newspaper endorsement might make a difference in a close election between major party candidates.  Maybe.  It doesn't have the ability to pull a third party candidate into the respectable showing category.

Second, will we ever see a viable third party?  With every passing election, it appears the answer is "no."    It will be Democrats and Republicans until the end of the time.  George Wallace made some noise, even capturing electoral votes in 1968.  John Anderson, a Republican running as an Independent in 1980, captured 6.6 per cent of the presidential vote.  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is a Socialist,  but he ran for president as a Democrat.  Ross Perot won 19 per cent of the vote in 1992.

Full fledged, third party, as a significant force, forever and ever?  A great idea, with a barely flickering flame.

Moving on...

It appears Loni Kavulich Loiselle will be Taylor's mayor next year and the same goes for Max Conway in Dunmore.  New, young faces in positions of power and authority.  Friends, the changing of the guard enters a new phase.

Once again, cameras kicked out of polling places around Pennsylvania yesterday.  Other states have no restrictions.  Other countries have no restrictions.  You paid for the election.  You deserve to see how it works.  Maybe there would be fewer mistakes and more accountability if you had a chance to see what was going on

Enjoy your weekend.  See you tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Marv

 

Sports broadcaster Marv Albert retires at the end of the current NBA season.   He'll turn 80 next month and it's safe to say he is the best basketball broadcaster-- ever.  He's been doing it for 60 years.

Albert was more than a courtside fixture.  He handled the NBC baseball pre game show for a while.  He called NFL games on TV and radio, and he wasn't afraid to poke fun at himself during appearances on David Letterman's NBC show.  If that wasn't enough, he did the nightly sports on WNBC TV for years.

Albert lost all of his jobs in 1997 after some embarrassing behavior went public.  There were criminal charges and plenty of tabloid fodder.  Albert paid the price, was knocked down-- hard, and got back up.  There are two lessons here.  The first is to behave.  Glass houses.  The second is to never give up.

New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick wrote that no one prepared for a game more thoroughly than Marv Albert.  That made me smile.  You know my theory on prep.  Do a ton, and then park it in your brain.  Pull it out when you have to, when the moment calls for it.  Don't pull it out just to prove how smart you are.  Marv Albert did things the right way.

Marv Albert will be missed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Numbers

 

Before delving in the the numbers and the reasons behind them, I will offer my standard preface.  I try to avoid the word "loser."  There are winners, and candidates who didn't win.  Anyone who voluntarily enters the bruising and bloody world of politics and public service is not a loser.

We will attack the races in no particular order and will begin with the Democratic nomination for mayor of Scranton.  Incumbent Paige Cognetti ended the night with a massive vote total.  Our analyst, Corey O'Brien on WNEP 2 nailed it last night.  Corey said that John Murray needed to do more than say he is a lifelong Democrat and a Scranton native.  He needed to talk about the issues.  He didn't.  You saw what happened.  Even though Cognetti told me she has "no plans" to run for anything else, party bosses have to be looking at last night's impressive numbers and thinking Cognetti is an attractive candidate for other offices.

State Representative Marty Flynn wins the special election for state senate in the 22nd, replacing John Blake, who quit.  I thought Flynn would win in a walk, and that's what happened.  It's an easy win over Republican Chris Chermak.  Late intelligence had Green party candidate Marlene Sebastianelli being a spoiler, grabbing votes from Flynn and opening the door for Chermak.  Didn't happen.  Not at all.  Not even close. Lesson:  intelligence is often wrong.

It looks like Mary Walsh Dempsey versus Nisha Arora for an opening on the Lackawanna County Court of Common pleas.

In Luzerne County, Stefanie Salavantis, Tara Toohill and Alexandra Kokura Kravitz will fight it out for two seats on the bench.  Luzerne County was the real winner here.  All candidates, including the ones who didn't capture nominations, were rock solid.   Salavantis is a former district attorney.  Toohill is currently a state representative.  It is much easier being in a race when you have name recognition already in your pocket.

There was a race for the Republican nomination for sheriff in Lackawanna County.  Former Scranton Police Chief David Elliot couldn't use his name recognition to vault to a win.  Glenn Capman wins by about six points.

Max Conway, a political newcomer from a well known Dunmore family, captures the Democratic nomination for Dunmore mayor.  He defeats incumbent Nibs Loughney.  My spies told me this one depended on turnout and getting the younger crowd to the polls.  Conway apparently succeeded there.

It was Florida Fran versus Cheese in the race for the Democratic nomination for Register of Wills in Lackawanna County.  First, do we still need this office?  Pat O'Malley's political comeback derailed and it wasn't close.  The issues included Fran Kovaleski spending too much time away from the office and O'Malley's party jumping, coupled with a seemingly endless quest for a public office.  Voters chose Kovaleski.  I know O'Malley has a loyal legion of followers.  I'm a little surprised there wasn't more of them.

Loni Kavulich Loiselle wins the Democratic nomination for mayor in Taylor.  Her father is the late state representative, Sid Michaels Kavulich.  She breezed to victory.   There is a good story here.

As midnight approaches, the referenda limiting a governor's emergency powers are winning.  It's close.  This was an up or down vote on the way Gov. Wolf handled the pandemic, and it really appears voters are in favor of checks and balances on executive power.  Democratic candidates for governor next year should heed the warning.  The Associated Press declared "yes" the winner by mid morning Wednesday.

It was glitch aplenty day in Luzerne County, which seems to be the norm in recent years.  Why does this keep happening?  Questions need to be asked and issues need to be addressed.  Lackawanna County's vote numbers were on the slow side this time around.  What's up with that?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Election Day

 


Election day!  It's finally here!

I face this primary on two fronts, personally and professionally.

First, the personal stuff.  I get to vote today!  Pennsylvania has closed primaries, so you have to be a member of a party to cast a primary ballot.  But, there is a special election for senate today.  There are four important ballot questions.  I can vote in those contests, even though I am an Independent.  I'll have to sit on the sidelines for the rest.  I'll drop by my polling place right after work this afternoon.  I'm sure I'll see some familiar faces, beneath the masks, and that's always a treat.  Voting is like a social engagement.

The preview stories I wrote last week will get one more going over, and then we're on the air with Newswatch 16 This Morning at 4:30 am.

Watch this space for updates during the day.  My work day ends at noon.  After voting, lunch, and a nap, I'll be up to watch my colleagues deliver the numbers.

There are several new people running county voter services offices in our area, and across the state.  It will be interesting to see if the tally can be done in a timely and efficient manner.  There have been challenges over the years, plus some downright slow and sloppy work.  Maybe new faces in new jobs isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It's 2021.  You deserve a fast and accurate count.  Having said that, I am not willing to sacrifice accuracy for speed.

Keep checking in tomorrow for a little analysis.  I have my theories and speculation.  We'll see if I was right.

As I always say, "off year" elections don't get the attention of a presidential contest, but they are just as important.  The people you vote for today control your taxes, police protection, schools, trash collection, snow removal, social services and a thousand other things.

Vote.  It's important.

>>>11:00 am update:  Apologies for the blackout.  It's been a whirlwind morning.  State senate candidate Marty Flynn voted at 7, Chris Chermak at 8, and Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti at 9.  A photographer and I managed to talk with all three.  It was then back to the office to bang out a story for our noon broadcast.  I finally have a moment to  breathe and write.

Early impressions:  I asked Flynn and Chermak about the nasty tone of this campaign, and there are reports this morning of one of the other candidates doing surprisingly well and siphoning off a lot of votes from the two major parties.  Fascinating.  Turnout didn't appear to be heavy.

>>>12:00 pm update:  My work day is done.  The story is airing, part of a series of election reports.  Problems with ballot wording in Luzerne County.  You had how long to get this right?  It's a detour to my polling place after work, then lunch at home.

>>>1:15 pm update:  I was voter 77 in my precinct.  Anemic.  I was the first Independent.  Hideous.   Independents need to know they can vote in the 22nd district special senate election, and Independents everywhere can vote on the ballot questions.

It's a little down time, then up tonight to watch the numbers come in.

Vote!



Monday, May 17, 2021

The Day Before


I always love the urgency of the day before an election.  Candidates and their supporters are scurrying about, wondering if they've dotted every I and crossed every T.  Even at this late stage in the game, there are still yard signs to be planted and phone calls to be made.

Some races trigger more anxiety than others.  I'm happy to say that in my county, there really are some spirited contests.  I'm sorry to say that far too many candidates have no opposition from within their party or even the other party.  Everyone benefits when there is choice and competition.

It's similar in the TV business.  There are scripts to write, research to finish, logistics to decipher...

Most of my work is already done.  I wrote some preview stories last week.  They'll run tomorrow.  I'll give them a last look soon to see if they need any tweaks and last minute changes. An editor will match video and graphics with the words.  There are pages of notes to digest.

It's early to sleep this afternoon and up early tomorrow for what promises to be a busy day. 

And, we already have a Vote 22 update!  Former US Congressman and Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta announced his run for governor this morning.  The Republican made the announcement on Twitter at 6 a.m..  I know we're in a pandemic, but it really wasn't the way to grab a lot of attention, fast.  It almost snuck in under the radar.

Barletta already has plenty of name recognition and a strong base.  It wasn't enough to propel him in to the United States Senate in 2018.  He lost to Bob Casey by 13 points.  But, it's a new year, and a new race, and in many ways, it's a new world.  Understatement of the day, but 2022 will be extremely interesting.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Queen City

 

This one has been sitting in the queue for a few months, and it's time it gets exposed to the public.

I spent four years of my educational life in Olyphant, so the mere mention of the name induces a deep pain in my stomach.

However, there are bright spots, and this is one of them-- borough hall.  This is a shot from a spring time morning, the sun rising off to the left.

I applaud the borough for trying some new things-- like improving the parking situation and encouraging people to visit downtown businesses.  Small towns make our area special and this is one of them.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Station

 



The recent boost to the renovation of the old train station in downtown Wilkes-Barre triggered a trip to downtown Scranton to look at the old passenger station and railroad offices, now a hotel.

This grand building was almost torn down.  Thankfully, people with vision and banks with money stepped in to save it.

I've photographed it dozens of times, but these are the first night shots.

It's a spectacular building, right at one of the entrances to the city and I'm sure there is a "wow" factor for visitors.

I'm sorry I am too young to remember when this building was really popping.

Every time I pass, I think of how lucky we are that it's still around.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Finally!

 

I first became interested in baseball in the late 60's and early 70's, when the Oakland A's were doing well, and they became my team.  Yes, I might be northeastern Pennsylvania's only Oakland fan.  I will admit, as I've aged, my fandom isn't as rabid as it once was, but I do check the scores and standings most days.

The A's have played in the Oakland Coliseum since moving west in 1968, a stadium they had to share with the NFL's Raiders for a long time.  It ended when the Raiders moved to Las Vegas.

The A's have been trying to get a new stadium for years, but the team, its ownership, government leaders in northern California, the state of California, and the San Francisco Giants could never get their act together.  Yes, the Giants are involved because that team controls territorial rights in that part of NORCAL.

So, for years, the team played in a dump.  Chicken and egg.  Is there a lack of fan support because of a bad stadium, or is the lack of a good stadium due to weak fan support?

Regardless, the bungling Major League Baseball commissioner has given the Athletics permission to start looking at moving to another city.

Where?  Las Vegas comes up most often.  115 degrees on a summer day.  You need to build a very expensive dome.  Portland?  Too close to Seattle.  Nashville?  Maybe.  Charlotte?  It has problems supporting a minor league team.  Montreal?  How did that work out the first time?

At this point, anything is better than Oakland.



Thursday, May 13, 2021

Time Passages: Norman Lloyd

 

Norman Lloyd died this week.  106 years old!  He was the kind and wise Dr. Auschlander on "St. Elsewhere"in the 80, one of the greatest series ever.  There is a long list of movie and television roles.  He was an actor.  He was a producer.  He did it all.  

Sometimes, television gets it right.  "St. Elsewhere" never had huge ratings, but it was a quality show that attracted an audience advertisers liked, and NBC stuck with it for six years and 137 episodes.  Lloyd's character had the title "chief of services."    In a lot of medical series, a character like that had to be mean, the villain.  Dr. Auschlander did what he had to do, but it was done with warmth and compassion-- something that set "St. Elsewhere" apart from other series in that genre.

Lloyd could play the heavy.  Just watch "Dead Poets Society."  

I loved his voice.  Norman Lloyd was one of those actors who improved everything he touched.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Stranger

 

Two things prompted today's entry.

The first was my recording of the Prospector's podcast last week.  It drops in mid June.  We talked about my old college and professional radio days, plus rock and roll.

The second was Billy Joel's 72nd birthday over the weekend.

The first song I played on WVMW FM, the Marywood radio station, in December 1979 was the title cut from Billy Joel's "The Stranger" album.

The last song I played on WVMW FM, in January 1983 was the same as the first.

There is no real significance.  I simply liked the song quite a bit, and I still do.

Back then, in high school and college, I had a blanket Billy Joel rule.  I loved it all.

Now, I'm a bit more selective.  Some of it wasn't very good and "What was I thinking?" constantly runs through my head.

The moral to the story?  Times change.  Tastes change and refine, but the classics remain classics.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Salt of the Earth

 

I despise snobbery of any type, and there is a big example in the culinary world.

I have a salt shaker, even though I rarely use it.  I get far more than my recommended daily intake in prepared foods, and I know that's wrong.  Apologies to my doctor.

It seems plain old table salt is now frowned upon.  It's good enough for me-- even with its anti clumping chemical agents and added iodine.

An Amazon search turns up sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, flaked salt, smoked salt, bamboo salt, Celtic salt, and black salt.  Cooks seem to favor Kosher salt.  There are no additives.  I side with the late, great Julia Child.  She didn't like Kosher salt's big crystals because they didn't dissolve easily.

The bottom line is that, in a recipe, it's hard to tell the difference, maybe impossible.

Give me the cheap stuff.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Podcasting

 

Outside of this silly little blog, I'm really not good at talking about myself.  Yes, I know that's rare for a broadcaster.

My message app pinged last week.  It was The Prospector, who does mornings on Rock 107.  He and I are old friends.  We worked for the same radio company, but on different stations, in the 80's.  We went to Marywood at different times, so those who wear the green and white stick together.

Anyway, Prospector is starting a podcast and he asked if I would be his second guest.  I agreed, and after WNEP management approved, we settled on a Thursday afternoon recording time.

As much as I like Prospector, dread set in Thursday morning and it grew worse as the day progressed.  Would I be interesting?  Would I say something stupid?  Would there be a slip that would land me in hot water with America?

I worried for nothing.  Prospector is a good interview,er and he already knew the answers to the questions before he asked them, like a good lawyer.  I think some old background things did surprise him a little, the history of me.

The 45 minutes flew by and I had a lot of fun.  I love talking about my old radio days and I can do that endlessly.

I've considered a podcast of my own, but until I come up with a really good idea, it remains on the back burner.

If you're a regular blog reader, nothing you will hear will surprise you.

My podcast appearance is tentatively scheduled to drop, as the kids say,  June 11.  I'll provide a link and I'd appreciate it if you gave it a listen.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Andy's Angles: Better Than Nothing

 

A couple of weeks ago, I had the misfortune of trying to get some light trail shots, at a busy intersection, during an un-busy time.

As you can see from the high and low lights, I caught a truck turning from Jefferson Avenue on to the Central Scranton Expressway.  Another vehicle was passing in front of me, heading toward Lackawanna Avenue.

Two vehicles are better than nothing.

And, there is one minor victory.  I managed to get a starburst effect from the street lights, which is simply achieved by choosing a small aperture.  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Andy's Angles: Chop Chop

 




I will admit that I'm out of the photography mainstream, pardon the pun.

It seems that most photographers prefer slow shutter speeds when shooting moving water.  See last week's blog entry.  I'm the total opposite.  I like the fast shutter speeds to you can really see the violent motion of the water.  The shot you see above had a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second.

The shot you see below had the shutter open for 1/160 of a second.


Like last week's picture, this is a waterfall just off Route 6 in Honesdale.


If you are in the area, check it out.  It's directly behind a coffee shop, with a parking area and a safe area to watch mother nature's show.