Sunday, February 28, 2021

Andy's Angles: Spruce


I love quiet downtowns in the middle of the night, and the snow makes it even better.

This is a 4 AM shot, looking east on Spruce Street in downtown Scranton.  To put it in perspective, the Lackawanna County Courthouse is out of view to my left.  The North Washington Avenue intersection is at my back.

Silent night.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Andy's Angles: Courthouse 3


This is a shot of the three things towering over the southwestern corner of Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is on the left.  Christopher Columbus, with a cape of snow, is in the middle.  The Courthouse clock tower is on the right.

Oh yeah, there's a foot and a half of snow on the ground.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Pitchers and Catchers


Pitchers and catchers reported for spring training last week, an event that usually gives me great glee.

Not this year.

Perhaps it's because the 2020 season was such a waste, for obvious reasons.  They include a joke of a 60 game season, too many teams in the playoffs, seven inning double headers, a runner automatically on second in extra innings, and creepy cut outs in the stands.

If the government can ever figure out how to get people vaccinated, this season can be much different.  162 games are on the schedule.  MLB is trying to cut down on home runs.  We will see actual people in the stands in most cities.

It will be a very long time before things feel "normal" together.  I should be grateful for small steps in that direction.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Blessed and Cursed


People like Tiger Woods show up on the American radar once in a while.  The man has been so fortunate in so many ways, and other parts of his life have been an absolute disaster.

I know he doesn't have the Jack Nicklaus' number of tour victories, but I think it's fair to say Woods has more raw talent.

He has a powerful swing that did a number on his back and legs over the years.  I've lost count of the number of surgeries.

Tiger's had personal problems.  This is a blog, not a tabloid.  We've all read about those elsewhere.

He's been a prickly pear when it comes to dealing with the media, but in recent years, we've seen a kinder and gentler Tiger.

Through it all, Tiger Woods has always been able to succeed.

His latest misfortune presents a huge mountain to climb.  There was a Tuesday morning car crash in southern California.  Shattered ankle.  Broken leg, now held together with pins and screws.  Coming back from this one will be nearly impossible.

America hopes for a comeback.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The First


Jim Davey died recently.  He was general manager when I started at WARM in 1981.  After leaving WARM, Jim ran WEJL and WEZX for many years, before retiring.

At times, Jim could be maddeningly frugal and conservative, but the bottom line on this guy is he was a fair and decent individual.  While I have been exceptionally lucky to work with and for good managers over the years, there are many times when it's difficult to use "decent" and "broadcasting" in the same sentence.  Jim was one of the good ones.  I was fortunate to work for him.

I offer my sympathy to Jim Davey's family and friends.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021



If it doesn't frighten you, it should.

One ice storm and one cold snap collapsed the electrical grid in Texas.  The experts and the government suits will tell you it wasn't a total collapse, but if you're stuck in the dark and the cold for days, with water pipes bursting around you, it's a collapse.

Granted, Texas is a different animal.  The grid there isn't connected to other states, unlike the Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey agreement.  It gives power companies in Texas the ability to fly under the federal radar.  

How did that work out for you?

It's the opposite of what happened in California in the summer.  Parts of the grid failed during a heat wave.

It's clear upgrades are needed.

Here's the ugly truth.  Shareholders won't pay for it.  Customers will.

You'll have all the electricity you need.  Pity you can't afford it.

Monday, February 22, 2021



It happened 50 years ago today.

Fire destroyed the Motherhouse at Marywood College in Scranton.

I grew up only a couple of miles from campus, and while I remember the fire, I have no vivid memories of the building during better days.  I was nine years old at the time of the fire.

My time as a Marywood student began eight years after the fire.  The school didn't build anything in the space.  We had a concrete gathering place called the "Memorial Commons."  It was a nice place to spend a few minutes between classes, and leaving the area open was the right thing to do.  Green space, even concrete space, at a college campus is second in value only to parking.

The Motherhouse would have been in the foreground of this photo, which I took in April of 2018.

There really isn't a moral to the story today, just some memories of a horrible day, which shaped the future of an institution.  We should also remember the work of police and firefighters, who kept something awful from becoming even worse.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Andy's Angles: Mounds


I hope you weren't planning on parking there!

When you get a lot snow in an urban setting, there is the issue of where to put it.  You have two options:  haul it away or pile it up at the curb.

Snow accumulated on Spruce Street, near the intersection with North Washington Avenue in downtown Scranton.

The is being published several weeks after the storm, and I hope what you see here was eventually hauled away.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Andy's Angles: North Washington Avenue


One advantage to taking photos in the middle of the night after a snow storm-- you can take photos in the middle of an intersection and not have any issues.

This is the view, looking north on North Washington Avenue.  You can see the silhouette of Scranton City Hall a block up and to the right.

Friday, February 19, 2021



The words I hated to hear over the years: "Substituting for Rush Limbaugh today..."

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh died Wednesday morning.  Lung cancer.  70.

Limbaugh said a lot of mean and hurtful things over the years.  In a "60 Minutes" interview many years ago, he explained it away by saying he was ridiculing "movements," and not people.  I'm not sure about that.  I always had the feeling that if Limbaugh could have made more money as a liberal, he'd flip in a second.  Regardless of ideology, he did put on an entertaining show and he took talk radio to the next level.

You do have to give the man his due.  He built an empire.  The show was on 600+ stations.  Big ratings.  If you were/are a talk station, you had to have Rush.  Everything else was leftovers.  Second rate.

Limbaugh proved syndication can work in mid day, and conservative talk radio can draw a crowd.  He kept a lot of struggling AM stations on the air, and that meant jobs.

There is no heir apparent.  No one who has filled in over the 30 year history has come close to achieving Rush's entertainment value.  It reminds me of when Paul Harvey passed in 2009.  There is only one, and there are hundreds of worried station owners and program directors today.

One of my favorite phrases involves cemeteries being full of people who thought they were irreplaceable.  Rush Limbaugh is irreplaceable.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

3 @ 20


Dale Earnhardt was killed at the Daytona 500 twenty years ago today.  I remember watching the crash, and thinking it was nasty, but not severe.  I was shocked when it was announced Earnhardt was dead.  He did not die in vain.  His deadly crash spurred new equipment designs that keep current drivers a little more safe in a dangerous sport.

I was working the next morning.  A photographer and I were sent to the Long Pond area, home of the Pocono races, to talk with race fans and maybe find someone who encountered Earnhardt during his many trips to our area.

We had some success in a diner near the track.  The rest was a lot of asking and a lot of striking out.  My photographer and I were waiting it out in a restaurant parking lot, hoping more people would be out and about later in the morning.  As happens so often in the television news business, we didn't go to the news.  the news came to us.

A woman spotted our truck, and she stopped to tell here story.  She was covered in clothing with Earnhardt's "3" logo.  She was a fan.  A huge one.  Tears were shed as she recounted how much Earnhardt meant to her and the sport of auto racing.  She was television gold, and I had a great story.  She humanized an event that took place hundreds of miles away, and we saw the death through the eyes of a fan.

Outside of Richard Petty, I can't think of anyone who had a bigger impact on auto racing than Dale Earnhardt.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

New Read


I've started reading this, and I do admit I have mixed feelings on my purchase.  More on that in a moment.

The book is about Ira Rosen's adventures as a producer with CBS and ABC.  I already looked at some quotes and reviews.  Rosen doesn't hold back about the people who are in your homes every day and night.  Many of his encounters with some big names were not positive.  Big egos.  Small talent.  Rosen's philosophy is he'd rather worked with someone nasty, but with talent rather than a nice, but talent-less person.

Personally, I think you can be nice and talented, but those individuals.  Luckily a nice and smart guy has a blog you can read every day.  Stop laughing!

While tell-all books are fascinating, they are a little slimey.  Certain things are simply supposed to be private.

My feeling over this book is similar to how I felt when I read Henry Bushkin's book about his former boss Johnny Carson.  Johnny was long gone by the time the book was published.  All Bushkin did is tell some things that shouldn't have been told.  And yes, the book was very entertaining.

I'll give you my review of this one when I finish.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021



...stands for Old Man Winter.

As I write this on Monday morning, every county in the state is under a winter weather advisory, a watch or a warning.  Some of us will get ice.   Some get snow.  Most get that dreaded wintry mix.  I do consider myself fortunate.  I'm off Tuesday and have nowhere to go.  I can watch it fall, and scrape it away when it's done.

But, the focus of today's entry is the winter of 20-21.  It reminds me of the winters we had when I was a kid.  There was a storm a week, sometimes two, and it was cold all the time.

Outside of a few big storms, recent winters have been generally mild and with only a few big snow storms.  I cannot help but wonder if those years were the anomalies, or if this year is the blip.

Be that as it may, there really isn't anything you can do about it.  I saw a long range forecast that calls for normal temperatures and things running a little above normal.

March can be a cruel month, and there is plenty of winter left.

I think of those old days, and wonder how we made it though.

Monday, February 15, 2021

In Memoriam


We note the passing of two very different people, and both died last week.

The first is former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer.  77.  For years, there was a joke that went "Schottenheimer is German for 'never wins in the playoffs.'"  200 and 126 regular season record.  Cleveland.  Washington.  Kansas City.  San Diego.  Only 5 and 13 in the playoffs.

In a sports talk radio eulogy, it was said that Schottenheimer worked for some horrible owners.  Friends, as I've said here before, there is more to life than your won and lost record.

Mary Wilson died at the age of 76.  She was one of the original Supremes-- the most successful girl group of all time.  Yes, there were fancy dresses and hair styles, but there was no schtick.  They sang, and they sang well.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Andy's Angles: CFM


When it comes to snow, I can do without it.

I will admit, it has its beauty.

Icicles and snow drooping from the roof made a nice scene at the mini mart off the Davis St. exit of Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Andy's Angles: Jason


There will be a parade of post-snowstorm shots on the blog the next few weekends.  You have been warned!

Jason Miller looks cold under nearly two feet of snow.

So far, the winter of 20-21 is not "That Championship Season."

Friday, February 12, 2021

Double Weekend


It happens every few years-- Valentine's Day weekend and Presidents Day weekend are one in the same.

Today, it's some brief thoughts on both.

I never want to hear anyone with someone special in their lives complain about Valentine's Day.  Be happy you have a mate.   That ends that part of our sermon.

Moving on to Presidents Day, take a little time to appreciate the gravity of the job and how difficult it has to be.  I hope we can drop the partisanship for just one day.

And, one final note on last weekend's Super Bowl LV.  It comes from podcaster Tony Kornheiser.  He said "I learned one thing from watching the Super Bowl.  I learned I don't want to watch 'The Equalizer.'"  Genius!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Apollo 13


I've written about Apollo 13, the event, here before.  I don't think I've discussed the movie-- until now.

"Apollo 13" is one of a handful of movies that I just can't turn away from when I stumble across it on television, and it happened again this past weekend.  Like the great "Quiz Show," you know it's a good movie if you watch until the last frame, even though you know how it ends.

"Apollo 13" is more than a great drama.  It takes you back to a time and place.  For me, it was third grade.  As I've noted here before, I vividly remember my public school teacher leading us in prayer for the safety of the astronauts.  Now, you'd get hung by the toes for that.  She died in 2002, and I always regret not thanking her for the gesture.

I did really enjoy how the producers and director Ron Howard used clips from actual news broadcasts.  It's always a treat to hear Frank Reynolds, Howard K. Smith, Jules Bergman, Chet Huntley and Walter Cronkite again.  Their coverage kept me glued to the television, before and after school, for the week.

Sadly, I never saw "Apollo 13" in a theater.  I'm told the visuals and the sound are amazing.  Maybe, if the current situation ever passes, some theater that does retro once in a while will book some showings.

Until then, I'll keep channel surfing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Easy Street


Last week's blog entry on big, old goose down comforters kicked off a few in-person discussions.

We started talking about things you had as a kid because you were working class a and those same things are now considered upscale.

Families had those comforters because houses were big, old and drafty.  Heat was expensive.  A check on Amazon shows those comforters now cost more than $100, and some are more than $200.

You ate macaroni and cheese, and pierogis because they filling and cheap.  Now, they are considered gourmet items.  Bread crumbs and other fillers went in the meatloaf to stretch the food budget a little more.  The stuff we used to grow in our back yards is now considered organic.  Supermarkets now charge top dollar for that.  There was a time when processors couldn't give chicken wings away.

And we thought "working class" was tough?  Heck, we were trend setters.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Help Wanted For $200


A new list of "Jeopardy!" fill in hosts came out last week.

The common thread-- many are from the news business.

TV game show pioneer Mark Goodson used  to pick his hosts from radio.  He reasoned that radio people were quick thinkers and good adlibbers.  That's very true.  But then again, look at the radio industry these days.  There is some strong talent out there, but not as much as there used to be.

Game show producer Chuck Barris was also a radio fan.  Bob Eubanks and Jim Lange both came from radio.

Actors usually bomb because they're used to reading scripts and playing characters.  They don't know how to be themselves.  Drew Carey is one of the exceptions, but remember Drew started as a stand up comedian.

It was always a dream as a kid to do a game show.  A show that isn't too goofy and requires some intelligence would be perfect for me-- Pyramid or Password.  "To Tell the Truth" would be the ultimate.  "Card Sharks" would be great fun.  Original host Jim Perry would be proud of my performance.

I don't anticipate the "Jeopardy!" people calling, but I'm here if you need me.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Monday Scrapple


The "Cliff Hangers" game on "The Price is Right" is always great fun.

There is a great deal of satisfaction in moving that last shovel of snow.

Why are the owners and the Major League Baseball players' union always arguing?

I still don't get the whole GameStop thing, and it's frightening at how easily the system is manipulated.

Maybe some experts would carry more weight if they didn't say something different in every interview.

Ian Eagle just signed a big new contract with CBS.  Now, the network has insurance policy in case it can't come to an agreement with Jim Nantz.

They made 203 episodes of "Home Improvement."  The writers' outline for every episode is as follows:  Jill gets angry at Tim.  Kids get in to trouble.  Neighbor offers advice.

I feel a blog entry on advertising is in my near future, but I'll say this for now.  Planters Nuts is a fine product, but poorly advertised.  The same goes for Burger King.

San Diego could have had a Super Bowl every five years.  Why couldn't the city and the state figure out how to build a new stadium?

I never understood guacamole.

Dan Fouts was a darned fine NFL color commentator.  Why isn't he working?

Former Secretary of State George Schultz died.  100.  What a resume'!

John Sadak, former RailRiders guy, will do the Cincinnati Reds games this year.  Congratulations!

I was right on the Super Bowl, but who expected Tampa Bay to dominate the way they did?    Betting on the team with the better defense usually works for me.  It's not perfect.  There were other factors-- Tom Brady's skill, a home game for Tampa Bay, and Andy Reid's post season record is barely above .500.  Plus, I'm still not ready to hand the keys to the kingdom over to Patrick Mahomes.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Andy's Angles: Orange


Have you guessed that I love this engine?

Everything works for me-- the colors, the wear and tear, the look...   And you can even see my shadow on the lower left, snapping a picture with my camera phone.

This one has been at Von Storch in Scranton for quite a while.

I hope it stays.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

About the Cover


I will admit that January was not a good photography month for me.  The weather wasn't the greatest, I worked a couple of extra days, and I didn't have a lot of spare time.  Translation:  the camera stayed in the bag.

In setting out for a February blog header, I wanted something that said "winter," but time wasn't on my side.

I did what I usually do when I'm waiting to pick up my Texas weiner order from Green Ridge News.  I drove by the near by Von Storch maintenance area to see what rolled in.  Much to my glee, a crane was spending a little time there.  The shot looks to the west, with a stack from the old Scranton Lace visible on the left side of the shot, behind the tree.

These cranes are amazing.  They can lift and toss around engines and box cars like they are toys.  Unfortunately, you usually see them at derailments.  It was nice to see one parked on a winter morning.

Friday, February 5, 2021



It's time for my annual Super Bowl pick, and I can't remember a year when I care less.  It gets worse every year.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 3.5 point favorites over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

More often than not, I pick the team with the better defense:  Tampa Bay.

Plus, The game is in Tampa this year, and that's another reason to pick the Bucs.

Kansas City is capable of putting serious points on the board, and there is none better than quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Still, how can you bet against Tom Brady?

Buccaneers win.

I'll be asleep during the game, so I'll know the outcome when I wake up.

Spare me the discussions on television commercials.

Yes, I was wrong last year when I picked SF over KC,

I'll call you back later.

Thursday, February 4, 2021



It's one of my favorite pastimes-- scanning the newspaper and internet circulars for sales, especially in supermarkets and drug store.

The "buy one, get one" promotions have always been around, but they seem to have picked up a lot of steam lately.  The problem is, most of the stores don't tell you the price of the one you'll be paying for.  That's always a tip off that the BOGO sale really is no bargain.

It's sad, because some of those sales really are tempting.  After looking closely, the temptation wanes.

Shifting gears...

I was making a mental list, and there is a huge number of stores and shopping centers I haven't visited in a year.  As I've said here before, shopping for necessities?  Yes.  Recreational shopping?  No.  I've simply learned to do without those activities.  After being without them for so long, I wonder if I will ever go back.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs


It looks like a "Frasier" reboot is moving closer to reality.

Yet, I am sad.  I don't think it can come close to matching the original.

John Mahoney and Moose (Eddie's real name) are gone, and that dynamic between Frasier and his dad will be sorely missed.

Why do these things happen?  Follow the money.

I had high hopes for last year's "Murphy Brown" reboot.  It was awful.  Beyond awful, actually.

I know that if people didn't try improving and refining originals, nothing would ever get done in this country.  Still, watching people mess with "Frasier" troubles me.

In the "moot point" category, if it does happen, the show would go to a streaming service, and I would never see it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Sleep Tight


It sounds silly, but any time we get a cold snap, I think of my first boss in broadcasting, Ron Allen at WARM 590.  We lost Ron several years ago.  He was a great story teller, on and off the air.

Ron was fond of tales of a working class youth in Dickson City, and one that stuck with me involved cold winter nights under a thick down blanket or conforter.  The blanket had a Polish name, and it escapes me.  I Googled ""polish down blanket."  The names of the responses didn't ring a bell.  I'll keep looking.

Ron painted quite a word picture.  He was the master.

I keep my bedroom on the cool side, and I don't like sleeping under a ton of stuff, even though I did try a weighted blanket.  It works for some people.  It didn't work for me.

However, there is a certain romance to crawling under a stack of blankets and getting a lot of rest on a frigid night.  The howling wind adds to the experience.

I wish you could hear Ron tell the story.

Stay warm and keep the memories alive.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Two Thirds


We just came through the coldest weekend of the season, and it looks like we have to deal with some storminess to start the month of February.

Just think of the math.  Meteorological winter is December, January and February-- so the coldest, darkest season of the year is two-thirds over.

January was its yearsly chore.  The first half of the month, when temperatures were above normal, zipped by.  Things cooled off during the second half of the month, and predictably, those last two weeks dragged.

As Paul Harvey used to say, here is the "sunshine side of the ledger."  It's February.  Temperatures have bottomed out.  Daily highs and lows are starting a very slow climb.  You can feel the sun getting a little stronger, alone with a little extra daylight every day.

But, and it's a big one...  we've had some of our worst winter weather in February and March.

Regardless, there is nothing you can do about it.  Let the flakes fall where they may.