Friday, April 30, 2021

Let's Review


The first vacation week of the year is in the books and it's tradition here for a little review before it's back to work tonight.

It was an average week off for me.  No complaints.  I got to play with my camera a few times, read a little, wandered a bit, and slept a lot.  There was also some bike time, and I forgot how much I missed it.

There was what I call "arts and crafts" time.  I recently had some favorite photos printed.  A short shopping trip produced some nice frames, and I finally got around to hanging them on a wall.

Thanks to Carmella Mataloni for filling in last weekend.  Back to work tonight.

Onward and upward.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Shake Down Cruise


I'm slightly late this year.

Regular readers know I like to ride my bike early in the morning, and when it's above 50 degrees.  Well, warm morning weather has been elusive so far this spring.

I got the itch the other day, aired up the tires, lubed up the chain and went for a daytime ride.  The bike is in fine shape.  I am not.

The first few journeys were in the five mile range.  I'll gradually increase the distance over the course of the spring and summer.

It was nice to be back on two wheels.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Down One


The census numbers are in and to no one's surprise, the south gets stronger and Pennsylvania gets a little weaker.

The state loses one of its 18 congressional districts, and our electoral vote counts drops from 20 to 19.  Pennsylvania peaked at 38 in the 1920's.  It was as high as 25 during the Reagan years.

Does the state lose some of its clout?  Of course.  Is it still one of the major prizes?  Indeed yes.

So, now it's up to the people in Harrisburg to re-draw the congressional district maps, and we remember what kind of debacle that was ten years ago.  Each party tries to protect its incumbents.  Each party looks for the advantage.  The goal is to split the state into 17 pieces, with roughly the same number of residents in each.  Add the political component, and you get some funky looking districts.

Last time, it would up in the courts and no one would really be shocked if it happens again.  There is a lot at stake here.

Equally as fascinating, Texas gets two more representatives and that means two more electoral votes.  Democrats have to be concerned about that.  Texas hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.  Plus, blue state California loses one, and California hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George HW Bush in 1988.

Florida jumps one, to 30, and that is a state that has gone Republican in seven out of the last ten presidential elections.

The path to 270, always treacherous, becomes even more challenging, for both parties in 2024.

If all goes as it should, you could see some different names, in different places, on the ballot  next year.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Follow Up Tuesday


I used this space in the past to explain why I am no longer a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, and it all revolved some horrible personnel decisions.  Last week, the team rewarded head coach Mike Tomlin with a three year contract extension.  Yes, he has a fantastic won-loss record, but Tomlin manages to lose control of his team at least once a year.  Last season's end of year collapse was a total embarrassment.  On top of that, the Steelers have an old and injury prone quarterback.  The team has no plans for the future.  Friends, Mason Rudolph is not the answer.   Needless to say at this point, but I would have made a different decision on that contract.

A radio and podcasting company recently changed its name to Audacy, and I mentioned that here a couple of weeks ago  The goal, from what I gather, is to make people aware that the company is no longer "just radio."  That's all well and good.  The promotional announcements always include instructions on how to spell "Audacy."  If you have to constantly school people on how to spell the name of the app, there is bound to be trouble ahead.  The bottom line:  if the content is good, people will find it.

It's also been noted in this space that I am a huge Pyramid fan, especially the shows from the early 70's.  You can find several of those early shows on You Tube.  What a game changer it was-- a huge money prize for daytime, the music, the lights on the giant pyramid, and the way the trilons on the big pyramid board would snap in to place.  It all worked so well.  Plus, Dick Clark made hosting look so easy and he didn't get in the way of the game.  Genius on every level.

You had to remember the CBS schedule at the time Pyramid premiered in 1973.  "The Price is Right" was slick, and fun with great production values.  "Gambit" and "Joker's Wild" were middle of the pack.  Pyramid left them in the dust with its music and size and light bulbs, and the way those categories on the big board clicked in to place.  A 12 year old me was mesmerized by that and I never forgot it.  It took daytime games to the next level, and the game was blessedly simple.

And a follow up to March's 40th anniversary of the Reagan shooting...  I was glued to ABC that afternoon and evening, but I recently watched the NBC coverage on You Tube.  Edwin Newman, John Palmer, John Chancellor, and Roger Mudd were amazingly calm amidst the chaos.  Four men who never received their due.

Some "Hollywood Squares" episodes from the John Davidson era have popped up on You Tube.  I'll say it again.  If there ever was a series ripe for a freshening and a reboot, "Hollywood Squares" is it.

By the way, Tom Bergeron, who did a "Squares" revival, hinted on social media that he has a new job.  Bergeron added that it's similar to an old job, but it is not a return to "Dancing with the Stars."  That leaves two options-- talk show or game show.  Tom Bergeron is a pro and he'd be fine at either.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Jimmy Carter


Last week's death of former vice president Walter Mondale started me thinking about Mondale's boss, Jimmy Carter.  There is a lot here to like, and, well, you know the rest.

I was too young to vote in the 1976 presidential election, but I remember liking Carter.  Fresh.  Different.  An outsider.  I thought he was what the country needed at the time.

In retrospect, the country would have been okay, more than okay,  under Gerald Ford.  Back in 1976, Ford was still catching heat for the Nixon pardon.  Most people will now agree the pardon was the right thing to do.  It was time to move on from that sorry time in our history.

It was a close election.  Carter rode a solid south to the White House, with the networks making the calls around 3:30 AM.

The Carter presidency came off the tracks several times-- oil kept rising in price, the economy faltered, and there were 444 frustrating days here at home and in Tehran.

As I neared high school graduation, President Carter became preoccupied with peace in the middle east.  I remember getting upset because there were more and bigger problems here at home that needed to be addressed.  I was thinking about college, jobs, paying bills, the economy, putting gas in my tank...  The middle east seemed so irrelevant.   As I've become older, and hopefully wiser, I realized middle eastern peace is important to world stability and the economy as a whole.  Still, I thought Carter's focus was way off.

I do remember one hot night at the Avoca airport.  Carter was flying around the country on a listening tour, and there was a rumor NEPA would be among the stops.  It wasn't.  It still drew a big crowd to the airport, even very late at night.  An aside, if any elected official needs to go on a listening tour, something is seriously wrong, and a publicity stunt like a listening tour isn't going to fix it.

1980 was a disaster.  Carter lost touch with the electorate.  We all felt impotent during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  The Carter administration looked inept.  Ronald Reagan uttered perhaps the best debate line ever when he asked "Are you better off than you were four years ago.?"  No one could honestly answer "yes."

Reagan trounced Carter on election night, although, as ABC's Sam Donaldson notes in an interview that you can find on You Tube, that the tide really didn't turn until the weekend before the election.  People were looking for a reason to give Carter another four years, and they just couldn't find it. Donaldson added that history will treat Jimmy Carter nicer than the voters did.  Time will tell.

Jimmy Carter had a second act.   When foreign nations wanted an impartial election observer, they called Jimmy Carter.  He built countless homes for Habitat for Humanity.   It would take hours to list all of his charity work.

Jimmy Carter will never be on the list of America's greatest presidents, but no one can dispute that he is a good man.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Andy's Angles: Deserted


Downtown Scranton can be a lively place, but every downtown has its down time.

This is a flawed shot from a morning this week.

I hoped for some light trails, but not a creature was stirring.  

It's not the sharpest photo.  I had the shutter open for 30 seconds, and there was some camera shake because of a frisky wind, even with the camera on a sturdy tripod.

You can see a bit of a blur, especially on the lights on the WEJL tower at the far right.

Even without activity, this looks like a good corner to get some light trails.  I hope to return when there is a little more traffic.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Andy's Angles: Old and New


Scranton Counseling Center recently moved in to a renovated building in south Scranton.  I deliberately took this photo early in the morning.  I didn't want take a shot with a full parking lot to protect the privacy of clients.  I should add there is nothing wrong with seeking and receiving counseling.

It's the odd perfectionist in me.  I took the bottom photo with a smart phone.  I didn't like it and went back a couple of days later with a DSLR.  You might not notice the difference.  One of the things that keeps me going as a novice, amateur and mediocre photographer is that voice in my head that says "You can do better."

As you know, I love new uses for old buildings and this one will bring a lot of life to a neglected neighborhood.  There is plenty of history here.  If you bought a Beatles record in the 60's, it likely came from this block.

It's a huge building and other tenants are sure to follow.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Scrapple


There has been a lot of soccer talk this week, and I could not possibly care less.

In a very busy and dangerous news week, kudos to my media brethren for acting responsibly.

One cannot underestimate the simple joys of a hot dog.

Cold April weather is not unusual, but I've had enough.

Spring flowers are worth the sneezes.

The spring construction season seems to be busier than most.

I'm sorry it's become politicized, but every day should be Earth Day.

Is there anything better than the unconditional love of a pet?

Six days until the NFL draft.  I'm weary of the talk.  Just do it.

Often overlooked on the list of difficult professions:  bank tellers.

The best game shows are the simple ones.

Several of our former interns and part timers are doing great, and I'm absolutely thrilled.

I have the weekend off.  See you soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2021



courtesy:  New York Times

I never met Walter Mondale, but I did cover his visit to Wilkes-Barre, just before the 1984 presidential election, the one where Mondale suffered one of the worst beatings in American history.

I remember it was a chilly and grey day.  Mondale was far, far behind in the polls.  His choice of a running mate, New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro seemed to be hurting the ticket, not helping.  The crowd on the square that afternoon wasn't huge.  It wasn't very enthusiastic.  The handwriting was on the wall and Mondale could read.  I give him credit for trying his best until the last day of the campaign.

Mondale was vice president during the failed Jimmy Carter presidency.  He was a loyal second in command and a Washington insider, which the Georgia governor really needed.  Mondale never outshined his boss, and if,  God forbid, something happened to Carter, the country would have been in competent hands.

The only drama on election night 1984 was to see if Mondale would lose all 50 states.  He came close, winning only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.  Ronald Reagan was very popular, recovering in the second debate from a poor performance in the first.  Mondale's honesty got him in trouble.  Note to future candidates:  Don't promise to raise taxes.

Mondale was the first to put a woman on a major party's presidential ticket.  I remember the process.  Mondale interviewed everyone, men and women, every ethnicity, every background.  Mayors, representatives, senators...  Geraldine Ferraro was an interesting choice.  She brought geographic balance to the ticket-- and a lot of controversy.  Her pro choice stance prompted protests, including some big and vocal ones here in our area.  Ferraro's husband's business ties came under the microscope.  They were distractions an already foundering campaign didn't need.

This campaign was doomed right from the beginning.  Reagan was well liked and the master of the media.  The "Morning in America" ads were genius.   Mondale was solid, but dull.  He wasn't very good on television and he couldn't shake the stench of the last days of the Carter presidency  America voted to stay the course.

Mondale was fiercely liberal, and whether or not you agreed with his politics, he did seem like a decent guy.

Walter Mondale died Monday.  He was 93.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Week One


By now, I's sure you know what a Sleeping Homer appearance means.  It's a vacation week coming up, my first full week off in 2021.

My last vacation week was in November, and while I enjoy my job, you do need to recharge the battery once in a while.

As always, I have no plans other than catching up on some rest, a little reading, walking, a bike ride or two, and some camera time.

The weekend morning broadcasts are in the very capable hands of Carmella Mataloni.

I'll call you back later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ducks in a Row


I usually don't let errands pile up, but it was the perfect storm on Friday.

I had to hit the bank, post office and drug store and get it all done before going home to get enough sleep to work the overnight shift.

It's amazing when a plan comes together.  The bank was the first stop, and it was a branch I rarely visit.  The transactions were complicated, but the teller handled them smoothly and efficiently.  The bank was quiet on a Friday morning and that was a surprise.

Next stop, the post office.  Again, it was much quieter than expected.  In and out in a flash.  While the system might be flawed, the United States Postal Service does have some solid employees.

The third and final destination was the drug store.  Like the first two stops, the drug store was unusually quiet.  No lines.  Boom!  In and out.

I even had the opportunity for a little computer photo editing time before I had to bed down for the afternoon.

In this era of reduced expectations, it was nice to have everything work the way it should.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Media Monday


I use this space to bash radio on a fairly regular basis, namely the lack of "live and local."  I do have to give credit to WIBC in Indianapolis.  There was a mass shooting late Thursday night.  The station provided live updates all night long.  Friends, that's what radio is all about, or at least it should be.  By the way, the WIBC web site was also regularly updated.  I have to add that when the updates were over, WIBC went back to the syndicated show with the silly man talking about Martians.

ABC and CBS both have new news division leaders.  I've always said the major CBS problem is weak local affiliates in a lot of places.  They provide a horrible lead-in to the morning and evening news.  A news division president can't change that.  The new ABC News president has to keep the momentum going-- number one in the morning and the evening.  The streaming service needs a higher profile.

"Jeopardy!" still hasn't decided on a new host.  You may be surprised to learn that I, a game show fan, have no strong feelings on this.  The show airs when I'm asleep, so I rarely watch. That doesn't diminish my respect for the series.  I read yesterday where Joe Buck of FOX Sports is getting a turn.  We have a winner!  I think he'd be great temporarily and permanently.

WNEP alum Brittany Boyer is now working at WPVI in Philadelphia, a good person working for a good station.

WNEP alum Michelle Rotella is now with Accu-Weather, a good person working for a good organization.

"48 Hours" popped up on one of the cable channels over the weekend.  I hadn't seen it in years and i forgot what a fun and entertaining movie it is.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Andy's Angles: A Known Character


If you're going to start a weekend with a train, you might as well end it with one.

This engine, and others like it, are frequent sights around the Scranton area.  It's the D&L grey, and white color scheme, with red and yellow accents.

Like yesterday's engine, it was parked behind the Intermodal Transportation center in Downtown Scranton.  The shot was taken around 2:00 am.

The engine was running.  It's easier to keep it turned on than restarting.  Part of my fascination with trains is the mystery-- where has it been, where is it going, what has it hauled, what's in its future???

I'll keep shooting, and wondering, as the trains keep rolling.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Andy's Angles: Black & White


It's been a while since I inflicted a train photo on you, and we need a break from the recent deluge (get it?) of river photos.

I was driving to work the other morning when this one caught my eye.  It was parked behind the Intermodal Transportation Center, off Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton.

The color scheme was a tad unusual.  I hadn't seen one like this around for a while.  Grey and white, with only a thin red stripe.  I like it.

Less is more.

Friday, April 16, 2021



Luzerne County voted this week to lease space inside the old Central Railroad of New Jersey station on Market Street in Wilkes-Barre.  It will become home to the tourism office.

It was the piece of the puzzle that needed to fall in to place before renovations can begin.

I took the photo you see above in 2011.  The place was a mess, and I feared someone would torch it.  Thankfully, vandalism was the biggest issue.

Moving the tourism office here, from Public Square, makes sense.  First, a magnificent old building has new life.  Second, visitors no longer have to hunt for a parking space on the square and pay the ridiculous meter rate of a quarter for eight minutes.  On Market Street, there is plenty of parking.  Just pull up, go inside, get the info on everything the area has to offer, and you are on your way.

All we now is some a real train offering passenger service!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

I Hope It Isn't True


The New York Post is reporting , according to project Veritas, that a CNN employee was told he had to play up the coronavirus death toll because it was good for ratings.

Pass the Rolaids.

The media has taken a bashing in recent years, and much of it is deserved.  Something that hurts one of us, hurts all of us.  This isn't helping.

It's disappointing, if true.  We can be our own worst enemies.

Let's fix this.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Once Upon a Time...


There used to be a standard playbook when it came to political advertising, especially television advertising.

A candidate's first ads used to serve as an introduction.  Here is who I am and what I stand for.  This is why you should vote for me.

That playbook is out the window.  

It's now attack-- early and often.

There is a state senate special election contest underway in our area.  The first batch of television ads, from both candidates, blew me away.  There were no "introduction" ads.  There is "go for the throat" stuff now airing.

Do the candidates assume we already know who they are, because both currently hold elective offices?  I'm sure some of that is involved, but you cannot overlook the fact that all political advertising, regardless of contest, is going to be some vicious stuff.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Business Tuesday


USA Today reported last week that there is now a surplus supply of hand sanitizer.  The big companies ramped up production last year, and some new manufacturers got in to the game.  I'm not a hoarder, but if I see a bottle at the dollar store, it usually winds up in my basket.  The gel is fine, but I have to admit that I've become fond of the liquids.  My hands feel cleaner.

Having said that, it's still a major treat when you can score a can of spray disinfectant and a cannister of wipes.  We are more than a year in to this, and I'm surprised these items are still at a premium.

Multiple agencies reported last week that there is now a shortage of Heinz ketchup packets.  Bottles are out.  Take out is in.  All those packets tossed in the bag add up, and supply can't keep up with demand.  Heinz is working on it.  Packet cost is up about 13 per cent.

I haven't eaten inside a fast food restaurant in a year, but one of the greatest inventions ever is the jug o' ketchup pump with the little cups.  I'm not a huge ketchup guy.  There are times I like my fries plain.  It's nice to have the efficent ketchup delivery option.

I mentioned check writing in a recent entry.  I wrote my first of the year back on April 2, the latest ever.  Well, the government should be happy.  My taxes are done and the checks are in the mail.

It appears telemarketing is a major growth industry here in the USA and overseas.  My phones ring several times a day, and I've had enough.

McDonald's is closing most of its restaurants inside Walmart.  There is less foot traffic because more people are shopping on-line, so McDonald's isn't making money here.  I'm not opposed to the concept, but I've never eaten inside a Walmart.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The First


Today is the 40th anniversary of the initial launch of Columbia, the first space shuttle.  It was America's first reusable spacecraft, and America's first manned space launch in six years.

For a kid who grew up with the Gemini and Apollo programs, I remember thinking the shuttle was a neat idea, but it didn't blow me away.  Like the rest of America, I watched that first launch, thinking of all the possibilities.

What really impressed me was the landing two days later, on a dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force base in California.  It seemed much more dangerous to me, and infinitely more interesting.  The shuttle had no engine.  It came in as a glider, and the landing appeared to be such a tricky maneuver.  Everyone wondered if the heat shield tiles would hold.  They did.

I vividly remember the TV news anchors, especially ABC's Frank Reynolds, sitting at a desk near the landing site.  The wind blew his tie straight out, and he had to wear goggles as the protection from the blowing sand.  Columbia and its crew nailed that first landing.

Of course, you can't think about the shuttle program and its 135 missions without remembering how Challenger and Columbia were lost.  14 astronauts killed.

Now, we rely on the Russians to get us in to space, and that's a disappointment.  It looks like private industry is picking up the ball down the road.

There is talk about going back to the moon, and launching expeditions to mars.  Space travel is more than advancing science.  It's a source of pride.  We've lost a lot of that.

It's also a source of wonder, no matter what your age.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Andy's Angles: Overexposed


My fast shutter speed shots came out much better than the slow ones.

This is another photo from Blakely Park, looking downstream along the Lackawanna River.  The trees and the rocks are sharp.  The water is fuzzed out a bit because my shutter was open for 1/3rd of a second.

I wanted it open longer, but it was a bright, sunny morning.  All my experiments with a shutter speed longer than 1/3 came out overexposed, and I had the aperture choked down as far as it would go.  The ISO was also at its low point.

I tried a fix during editing and they all looked really fake and phony.

So, what are the solutions?  I can shoot on grey, cloudy days.  I can shoot closer to dawn and dusk.  I can buy some filters.  Everything is on the table.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Andy's Angles: River Park


I moved downstream.

On recent weekends, it was Depot Street in Peckville.  This weekend, it's Blakely Park.

As you've been seeing here, ad nauseum, I've been experimenting with fast and slow shutter speeds.  I wanted to show the white water, waves and ripples in all their glory.  The river was running high because of the snow melt.  This one was shot at 1/200th of a second.

Tomorrow, the last in the series.  Insert applause here.  Plus, an explanation of what went wrong.

Friday, April 9, 2021



Hal Linden said the thing that made "Barney Miller" work was they realized the regulars were not the comedy on the series.  It was the people who came through the squad room who provided the laughs, and the regulars simply reacted to it.

One of those funny people died the other day.   Walter Olkewicz.  He only did two "Barney Miller" episodes, and I'll describe my favorite appearance in a moment.  Look him up on  It's an impressive body of work, including the highly regarded "Twin Peaks."

Getting back to my original point, this particular episode of "Barney Miller" dealt with Det. Harris losing a court case and being forced to pay money he didn't have.  His life is crumbling around him.  The closing scene involves Walter Cushing, played by Olkewicz, in the cell for creating a disturbance, singing "High Hopes" as Harris loses it at his desk.  It's a classic.

Walter Olkewicz was never a major star.  He should have been.  Walter Olkewicz was 72.

I also have to not the passing of James Hampton.  He played the bugler, Hannibal Dobbs on "F Troop."  It was one of those series that was totally absurd and simply great fun.  You would never be able to get away with some of those gags today.  Hampton is another one of those actors who was in everything, but I was surprised to learn "F Troop" lasted for only 65 episodes.  I would have bet there were more.

James Hampton was 84.

Thursday, April 8, 2021



Put me in the "negative" column.

The NFL recently decided to go to a 17 game regular season schedule, and decrease the pre season to three games.  I think pre season should have been knocked back to two, and a 16 game regular season was perfect.

The longer season means more injuries, more mediocre play, and a watered down product.  It moves the Super Bowl into the middle of February, and that is way too late.

I'm sure the hard core fans and the television networks are happy.  I understand that.  It's all about the money, and I understand that, too.  It's the American way.

I just people would understand, one day, that more isn't necessarily better.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

What's In a Name?


Entercom, a radio company, has changed its name to Audacy.  The platform has transitioned to

I get that.  Radio is no longer radio.  It's podcasting and a bunch of similar "on demand" services.

Here is my beef.  Audacy is a cute name, but any time I look at it, I see  "Audacity."  It's kind of awkward, and when I hear it on the air, my mind goes to odyssey, and not Audacy.

A big part of me believes they could have picked a better name.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rush Limbaugh station is going local in the noon to three pm time period.  The choice?  Former Lackawanna County Commissioner Bob Cordaro.  He does have a radio background, legal knowledge, and he knows his way around the penal system, among other things.  He's been filling in quite a bit lately, but I have yet to hear his show.  Let's just call this one an interesting experiment.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

John Heinz


For the second time in two weeks, an anniversary has gotten away from me, and I apologize.

Sunday was the 30th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Sen. John Heinz.

I always thought Heinz, a moderate Republican, was presidential material.  He was smart, good looking, rich, and his name was in every refrigerator in America.  He was articulate and great on television.

I will never forget the day Heinz paid a visit to our area to look at a toxic waste site.  I was working at WARM at the time.  One of the locals started yammering on about how the state screwed things up.  Heinz quickly and politely shut the local guy down, saying he was federal, not state.  It was not time to blame mistakes of the past.  It was time to look forward and find ways to get the site cleaned up.  Boom!  Heinz shut the guy down quick, fast, and in a hurry, and he did it in a way that didn't offend.  That, dear readers, is a skilled politician.  As a broadcaster, I was grateful Sen. Heinz got to the point and didn't waste our time.

A former Heinz staffer told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Sunday that Heinz was always able to "overcome any perception that he bought his way in to the world."

Regardless of political affiliation or point of view, you couldn't help but like the guy.

John Heinz was the great American tragedy.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Monday Scrapple


Easter, especially when it happens in April, is a great time of year.  There is such a "newness" in the air.

When the list of great songs is compiled, Jackson Browne's "Rock Me On the Water" has to be there.

I can't keep up with all the streaming services, and frankly, I don't want to.

It's nice to see kids back in schools.

Jim Nantz signed a new contract with CBS Sports.  Rock solid and never a bad performance.

Enough with the wind!

There is an upside to all those windy days.  All those dead trees are down and gone, cut up, hauled away, and destined for fireplaces all across northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Martin Short just turned 71.  Yes, he's been around for a long time, but I was still surprised when I read that.  Very few people will appreciate this, but Short does a David Steinberg impression that always has me on the floor.

Don Farmer died last week.  82.  He covered congress for ABC and everything for CNN.  He was also a local anchor in Atlanta.  A talented man.

It's bike season!

"Quick Pitch"  is back for another season on MLB Network.  Great show.  Horrible graphics.  And they changed the "Premier Plays" segment.  It's not a change for the better.

Is there anything more tired than an April Fool's prank?

I wrote my first check of the new year on April 2, and that's a record for lateness.  It's tax time, so there will be more check writing in the days to come.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Andy's Angles: Slow it Down

This is another from my recent visit to Depot St. in Peckville.  This past weekend's shots had fast shutter speeds.  This one is slowed down to 1/3rd of a second.  The branches are crisp, but the water evens out a bit.

I promise, just a couple more, including a bit of a problem, next weekend.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

About the Cover


It's a pretty shot of the Lackawanna River from Depot Street in Peckville, and I thought you deserved to see it without my name plastered on it.

As an aside, the Lackawanna Heritage Trail is out of view here, but it's to the left of the photo.  It was a kick to see so many people using it, even on a very cold spring morning.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Names in the News


It's the debut of a new franchise today, "Names in the News."  It other words, same old junk under a new banner.  Let's proceed.

Watergate mastermind G. Gordon Liddy died Tuesday.  90.  In addition to his role in one of the worst political debacles of all time, I will remember Liddy for one thing.  HE.  NEVER.  TALKED.  NEVER.  It earned him the longest prison sentence of any of the Watergate participants.

I did listen to his radio show once in a while.  I'd put it in the "mildly entertaining" category.  Unique voice and delivery, and G. Gordon Liddy had a lot to say.

Shifting gears...

Peter Marshall is alive, and I hope, well.  The first host of the Hollywood Squares celebrated a birthday this week.  He's 95.

Marshall was always announced as the "master of the Hollywood Squares."  That can have a few interpretations, and I always found it a little creepy.  You would never get away with that today.

Some useless trivia...

CBS head programmer Fred Silverman wanted to put a game on the prime time schedule.  Silverman was regarded as a programming genius.  He had two choices:  Hollywood Squares and a scrambled face photo guessing game called The Face is Familiar.  He picked the latter.  It never gained traction.  The producers took the show to NBC, where it became a major daytime and nighttime hit.

Bert Parks hosted the pilot.  Marshall auditioned because he heard Dan Rowan was going to get the job and according to Marshall, he wanted to "screw Rowan out of a job."  Obviously, there was some bad blood between the two.

Peter Marshall was perfect.  He asked the questions, allowed the celebrities to be the stars, and he got out of the way.  

Books on game shows that I've read have Marshall as the highest paid host of the 60's and 70's, making much more than Gene Rayburn, even when Match Game ratings were through the roof.

I always thought the host and contestant area of the Hollywood Squares set was hideous.  Ugly and cheap looking.

John Davidson and Tom Bergeron were good Hollywood Squares hosts.  Jon Baumann did a decent job with a poorly revised format.  None were better than Peter Marshall.

Plenty of old game shows have been rebooted in recent years.  It's time for a new Hollywood Squares.

And, that is my first "Names in the News."

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Presidential Shooting


Don't ask me how this one slipped off my radar, but Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

I remember it well.  I was a 19 year old sophomore at Marywood College.  I walked in to the radio and television area for a television performance class.  Some classmates were gathered around the teletype in the radio newsroom.  Others were looking at a television in the TV control room.  That's where I learned the president had been shot.  I spent the next several minutes running from the teletype to the TV and back again.  I literally had to be dragged in to the class in the TV studio.

I sped home after the class and parked myself in front of the living room television, and that's where I stayed for the next several hours.  I neglected the next morning's college assignments, but I faked my way through it when I arrived at school the next morning.

It's been established here that I was a big fan of ABC News anchor Frank Reynolds.  It was during the early hours of coverage when Reynolds flipped out when he learned the first reports of Reagan being okay were inaccurate.  There was a second episode when the network reported press secretary Jim Brady was dead, and then alive.  I can't say it was Reynolds' greatest performance, but I do understand it.  First, he was upset at the wrong information going out to millions.  Second, a friend had been shot.

Not many people knew it, but Reagan and Reynolds were close.  They got to know each other during Reagan's run for the White House in 1976.  Reynolds and Reagan were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they did bond during all those hours on planes, cris crossing the country.

In spite of the glitches, on all networks, TV really did shine that afternoon, and so did radio.  A Mutual Broadcasting System reporter, Ross Simpson, was far out in front of everyone else-- print, radio and TV.  I spent a good amount of time watching video from that afternoon and evening.  I'm amazed at how much the networks did, so fast, with archaic technology, when compared with today's gear.

And we can't forget about the doctors that saved the president's life.