Tuesday, August 31, 2021

In Memoriam


Ed Asner died Sunday, and to say I'm sad is an understatement.

Yes, I know the writers created the Lou Grant character, but Ed Asner brought it to life.  He was the guy you always wanted to work for.  Serious, gruff, you knew where you stood, and he kept a bottle in his bottom desk drawer.

Asner showed his range when he took the same character and modified it for the hour long drama known as "Lou Grant."  In fact, Asner became the first actor to win Emmys for playing the same character in a comedy and a drama.

The Washington Post got it right when it said Asner had the role of a lifetime-- twice.

Asner showed a great deal of class when Mary Tyler Moore died, talking about how she advanced the secondary characters on the show.  Moore had it figured out.  Her sitcom worked because she was the island of semi sanity, surrounded by the seriously funny people around her.

One of the things that impressed me is how Ed Asner wasn't afraid to play unpopular characters.  Case in point, the slave ship captain on "Roots."

Looking at imdb.com, it's a tremendous body of work, from villains to Santa Claus.

Ed Asner was 91.

Monday, August 30, 2021



Very few people, past or present, can say they changed history.  Very few.

Sirhan Sirhan is one of them.

He shot and killed presidential candidate Sen. Robert Kennedy in 1968.  We don't know if the country would be better or worse had Kennedy lived.  We will never know.  Sirhan stopped that.

California ruled Friday the killer, who says he doesn't remember the shooting, is eligible for parole.  There are several more hurdles to clear before Sirhan walks out of prison.

I'm not passing judgement on Kennedy.

I'm not passing judgement on Sirhan.

I'm not passing judgement on the California penal system.

I am wondering what is fair and just.

I am wondering how things might have been different.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Rapids

Short story long...

I produced Newswatch 16 This Morning on Monday, as it was pouring due to Tropical Storm Henri.  All heck was breaking loose.  We had a team of people out covering it, but I was really antsy.  I wanted to see it for myself.  My duties kept me in the building until 7:15 AM.

After my shift, and after taking a major deep breath, I went home and wolfed down a sandwich.  I then hurriedly grabbed my camera and twisted on my 24 mm wide angle lens.   I should have taken my time and took all my gear.  More on that in a moment.

I hit a couple of spots along the Lackawanna River.  They were nothing to write home about.  The water level was dropping after a Sunday night high.

The shot above came from the Blakely Borough Recreation Complex, an area with big rocks and plenty of rapids when the water gets high.

The sun was coming out and it was brightening up.  I wanted a short exposure to accentuate the bubbles and the waves.  Today's picture has a 1/100 exposure.

It would have been the perfect opportunity for a long exposure shot to smooth out the water, but it was way too bright for that.  I was in a hurry and my bag with the necessary lens filter was at home.  The tripod was in the car.  A test shot was a failure.  Overexposed, even with a small aperture and dialing down the light meter as far as it would go.

We will have high water again.  I hope it won't be as bad as Henri.  I'll be back and I'll have my filter next time.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Andy's Angles: Turned On

 I am a lineman for the county...

Actually, I'm not.  Far from it.  Electricity scares me.

I admire the men and women who get in the bucket trucks to get the lights back on.  There is a special breed of lineman that travels from disaster zone to disaster zone, working under horrible conditions to get people their juice.  Away from home.  Strange places.  Adverse weather.  Confronting real messes.

This was the early Tuesday morning scene outside a local hotel.  These trucks were gone well before daybreak.  Destination:  New England.

Thank you.

Friday, August 27, 2021



Unfortunately, Hashtag Sad is getting to be a regular thing here.

Today's subject is the Baltimore Orioles.

The team ended a 19 game losing streak Wednesday night.  The streak is the third longest in modern major league history.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards set the gold standard for contemporary baseball stadium construction.  It's a great place to explore, even when the team is out of town.

The Orioles used to be among Major League Baseball's elite.  Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Ken Singleton, Paul Blair, Dave McNally...

Now, the franchise is a joke.

Baltimore deserves better.

Baseball deserves better.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Charlie and Lloyd


We lost two big names this week.

Charlie Watts died.  He was the Rolling Stones' drummer for 60 years.  Think about that for a moment.  60 years!  If that wasn't enough, Watts was married for nearly 60 years.  That is unheard of in the rock world.  It's unheard of in the mainstream world.

Yes, I played rock on the radio during my college days, but I'm not going to pretend to be an expert.  A Stones song, or two, or three was always part of my radio shift.  

A compilation album, Hot Rocks, got me through many a depressing Christmas season.  I would pull the cassette out of a drawer every November.  Those songs were a yearly diversion from personal problems, generally bad Christmas music,  and general holiday malaise.

When you think of the Stones, of course, Mick Jagger comes to mind.  However, you cannot forget about the talented contributions of Charlie Watts.

Charlie Watts was 80 years old.

Retired NBC News correspondent Lloyd Dobyns also died this week.  85.

Once upon a time, "Saturday Night Live" ran for three weekends a month.  The fourth weekend was occupied by a news magazine show, anchored by Dobyns, called "Weekend."  Dobyns was clever, maybe a little too clever, if you catch my drift.  Some sentences were longer and a little more complicated than they should have been.  Anyway, it was good television.  NBC, who for years couldn't develop a decent magazine show, made "Weekend" weekly and moved it to prime time.  Linda Ellerbee co-anchored.  Good television.  Bad ratings.  It was moved around the schedule and eventually cancelled.

Dobyns and Ellerbee went on to co-anchor "NBC News Overnight" at 1:30 am.  Perfect show for the time slot.  Newsy but quirky.  Dobyns stayed for several months before getting another news magazine, called "Monitor."  "Overnight" ran for a year and a half before NBC cancelled it.

Here comes the soap box.  The late night/early morning hours are a great time for the broadcast and cable networks to experiment and innovate.  They all tried something at one time or another.  CBS had a really good news and interview program for a while.  Gone.  Replaced by a repeat of the evening news.  NBC had a nice news wheel show for a few years.  Gone.  Replaced by a repeat of one of the "Today" hours.  CNN, FOX and MSNBC all air repeats of prime time.  Boo!  Only ABC is still in the game.

Lloyd Dobyns was never a major star, in spite of major talent, and that's unfortunate.  Take a moment today and do a You Tube search.  It will not be a waste of time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Here We Go Again


It seems everyone is yammering on over the drama finding a new host for "Jeopardy!," so I might as well chime in.

Newly selected host Mike Richards quit after news of some past inappropriate behavior surfaced.  It's too bad, because I thought he did the best job of all the fill-ins.  He had actual game show experience, as a host and a producer.

I'm just throwing it out there, and I don't know what the answer is, and I'm not defending anything Richards said or did, but what is the statute of limitations on stupid?  When does someone get out of the penalty box for things that happened years ago?

Mayim Bialyik gets the substitute call once again, and she handled the show well.

If I was doing the choosing, Bialyik would be on the list, as well as Anderson Cooper and Joe Buck.

It's just been reported that Joe Buck improved on the ratings by 16 per cent.  Sony, who makes "Jeopardy!" has to sit up and take notice of that news.

It reminds me of something that happened in 1980.  The great Allen Ludden was host of "Password Plus" on NBC.  He got sick.  The even greater Bill Cullen filled in for a month and didn't miss a beat.  When Ludden died in 1981, the exceptionally talented Tom Kennedy took over until the show was canceled a couple of years later.  Relevance to 2021?  There are fewer game shows on the air these days.  That pool of talented hosts, male and female, isn't as deep as it once was.  The daytime network schedule was filled with game shows and there were several others in night time syndication.

There has to be somebody out there who is both a talented host and a safe choice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Stomach Was Right

I've had more than my share of head vs heart conflicts over the years, too many to mention, and they all have unhappy endings.

Today, it's stomach versus brain.

Yesterday, I wrote about the feeling of impending doom in my stomach because Henri was approaching.  I heard the forecasts.  I saw the maps.  We were due for rain, and a lot of it.  It didn't appear to be anything we couldn't handle.

Don't worry, so said the brain.

The stomach and a constant upset sent another message.

I was scheduled to work 10 Sunday night until 7 Monday morning.

I woke up Sunday evening to a steady rain.  The rain gained in intensity as the night ended and the morning began.  The stomach was right.  This was going to be worse than predicted.

My heart breaks for all those who have property damage, flooded cars, soggy basements...

Never doubt the stomach.

Monday, August 23, 2021



It happens all the time and I'm surprised I don't have a hole in my stomach all the way to my toes.

It's a feeling of impending doom.  Today, the trigger is Hurricane Henri.

I'm writing this early on a Sunday morning, taking a 2 am break from preparing Newswatch 16 Sunday morning.  I have the Weather Channel on my monitor.  The ABC News closed circuit channel has live video from New York, plus Afghanistan and Washington.  Believe me, when something big is happening, you want to be in a newsroom.  You have so many sources of information at your disposal.

I always feel it in my stomach.  A pain, a queasiness, because something very bad could happen.

It appears Henri is turning east, and Pennsylvania will be spared the heavy rain and wind.

Still, my heart breaks for people in New York and New England.

I know it's not the first hurricane and it won't be the last.  You never get used to the images of destruction.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Andy's Angles: #Sad


It really shouldn't, but this picture makes me sad.

A lot of factors contribute to that-- an angine that's pretty beat up and in need of some tender loving care, the overgrown weeds, the solitude of a weekend summer morning...

I guess, it's not the way it looks.  It's what you do with it.  I'm sure this diesel earned its keep for a very long time.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Andy's Angles: Icy Bridge


Today's photo from the archives serves two purposes.

First, I enjoy looking at "cold" things on hot days.  The photo is from January 2014.

Second, it gives me an excuse to talk about the Water Street Bridge over the Susquehanna River between Pittston, on the right, and West Pittston, on the left.

The old bridge closed earlier this month.  An inspection shows there's a safety issue.  The bridge, built in 1914, has been rehabbed several times.  I'm expecting a familiar refrain from Luzerne County.  It will cost too much to fix, and way too much to replace.

To be honest with you, I loved the look, but I didn't enjoy using it.  I'm not a fan of long bridges over water.  Plus, this one was really narrow.

In a perfect world, there would be a bigger, wider, safer bridge constructed here.  However, it looks like we'll just have to use the Fort Jenkins Bridge, pictured here just upstream, until the end of time.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Media Friday


I tried listening to one of those radio shows dedicated to gambling.  I lasted ten minutes.  It was awful.  Even though I don't gamble, I thought it might be entertaining.  I was wrong.

The "Field of Dreams" game on FOX received big ratings anf that made me happy.  Baseball has suffered so many self inflicted wounds lately.  The game needed a boost.

I still haven't jumped on the podcasting bandwagon, either as a creator or listener.  I do punch in Joe Snedeker's effort from time to time.  His talk with Carmella Mataloni was excellent.  

I do listen to Tony Kornheiser's podcast.  He does two or three a week.  It's an interesting show, and it has that live and topical feel.

I really haven't studied the fall TV schedule.  At first glance, there is nothing that really interests me.

Some pre season replays on the NFL Network caught my eye.  I am no longer a rabid NFL fan, but I did watch.  Maybe, it was it a pleasant reminder of fall weather and cooler days.

I do check out some radio industry web sites, and I see that several stations have flipped to conservative talk lately.  None are in our area.  Intriguing.

Let's hope the Britney Spears saga ends happily for all involved.  I've grown weary of the daily updates.

FOX, CNN and MSNBC still spend far too much time reporting on each other.  Stay in your lane!

Kudos to the journalists reporting on Afghanistan from inside Afghanistan.  I admire your dedication and your bravery.

CBS sold its landmark "black rock" headquarters in New York.  It will lease space there for two years while it looks for new space.  I understand why.  It still makes me sad.

"The Price is Right" is still entertaining as it heads in to season 50, but I really do miss the audience.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Enough, Already


As I write this, Wednesday morning, most of the state is under a flood watch.  Blame it on what is left of Tropical Storm Fred.

It's just the latest episode in a sorry weather summer.

We've had three bonafide heat waves, along with several above normal temperature days, crushing humidity, damaging storms, flash flooding, high winds and a few tornado warnings tossed in.

I've had enough.

This is usually the time of year when there is a hint of fall in the air, especially at night.  Hot weather during the day is bad enough.  It's especvially bad when it doesn't cool off at night.

I just feel sapped-- all the time.  Bring on October!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Business Wednesday


Even though retail sales were down last month, it appears people are venturing in to stores a little more often these days.

I'm depending less on the on-line retailers and actually shopping in person.  Apparently, I'm not alone and that triggered a renewed debate over self service check outs.

I would prefer to have a clerk do the work.  It's employment for someone.

On the other hand, if it's a choice between standing in a line, and zipping through a self service area, the choice is clear.  I scan my purchases myself and I bolt for the door.  Limiting time inside is more important to me right now.

I have a little news for you.  The self service revolution began before the pandemic.  Retailers like trimming the payroll.  Those jobs are gone,  and they're not coming back.

The toothpaste is out of the tube.  By the way, toothpaste is in aisle seven.  Go get it yourself.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Reviewed and ReReviewed


There are days when it's not enough to watch an old movie.  I'll have to go back and look at the reviews.

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was on television the other morning.  It's always been a favorite.  "Fast Times" won't go down in history as a great film, but it was darned entertaining-- a couple of hours of escapist fun.

I've always been a Roget Ebert fan.  He was not only a good critic, but he was also a great writer.  I loved reading his blog.

Anyway, after watching "Fast Times," I looked up Ebert's review from 1982.  I was surprised to see that he hated it.  Ebert liked the performances, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh.  "Fast Times" lost it, in Ebert's view, because of the excessive vulgarity.

While I get that, you do have to face facts.  Young people, heck, even old people, can be vulgar.

"Fast Times" would have lost some of its realism if it cut the vulgarity.  Looking at it from Ebert's point of view, it could have been toned down a bit.

Vulgar or not, I still look at "Fast Times" as one of the better movies of the 80's.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Monday Scrapple


I haven't done one of these in a while, so let's give it a whirl.

Joe Buck is doing a good job on "Jeopardy."

It's great to see all the new festivals, most food based, here in our area, and it's also great to see the return of some old ones.  They're all on weekends, so I can't attend, but it's wonderful to know they're there.

I grew tired of hot weather by mid June.

The new football season doesn't excite me, but it will be nice to have some weekend TV sport variety.

A friend was shocked by the small amount of TV I watch:  Hogan's Heroes, MASH (if it's from the first four seasons), Beat Bobby Flay, and Match Game.  I spend more of my time listening to the radio.

Is there any time of day when a Sheetz store is not busy?

Thursday night's "Field of Dreams" FOX baseball telecast was nothing short of perfect.  FOX really has become the sports innovation leader.  The photography and graphics were excellent.

I'm still heartbroken over Markie Post's passing.

The bathing and showering habits of celebrities doesn't interest me.  In fact, we would be a much better country if people didn't discuss every aspect of their personal lives on social media.

Something I don't own and will never own:  loungewear.

I'm not defending his cheating, but Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros really does have a lot of telent.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Andy's Angles: Ice


We just came through another spell of above normal temperatures, and that's okay.  It is summer, after all, and colder weather is ahead.

I thought I'd remind you of that today with a shot from the archives.  This is a picture of an ice jam on the Susquehanna River at Tunkhannock back in 2015.  There were fears the ice jam would trigger flooding, but it broke up and eventually moved down stream without a major incident.

My thoughts on winter?  I can deal with the cold.  There is a certain charm to a bowl of hot soup, and burrowing under heavy blankets for a good night's sleep.  However, I can do without the snow and ice.  Yes, winter is a package deal.

There is one consolation.  Time seems to pass more quickly as you age, so the winters don't seem as endless as they used to be.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Andy's Angles: Conrail Blue


Conrail split up years ago, but you can still find a relic of the past, in the signature Conrail blue.

I found this one in Scranton in a Saturday morning late last month.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Bank On It


A recent story in the Pittsburgh Tribune~Review caught my eye.  Citizens Bank is closing a few of its branches in western Pennsylvania.

Let's face facts.  People don't go to banks as often as they once did.  Pay and government checks come from direct deposits.  Bills get paid electronically.  You can even deposit a paper check remotely.  ATM's provide walking around money.

Jessup in Lackawanna County will soon lose its one and only bank.  Banks used to be the centers of towns.  Those days are over.  While it will be a nuisance for Jessup and a hole in the middle of a very nice downtown, it's not catastrophic.  There are still banks in neighboring towns, and there are all those electronic options.

Me?  I get paper checks once in a while, residuals from a couple of freelance projects.  I sincerely enjoy going to the bank to cash them.  The tellers are my friends.  One of the banks I visit has a real old timey feel, with the marble lobby and the huge vault.  It's a trip back in time and I really enjoy it.  I just wonder sometimes how long I'll get to have that experience.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

We Were There First!


I thoroughly enjoyed Tuesday morning's Facebook Live by Chelsea Strub and Mike Erat.  It was a play by play of the painting of the red stripe on Main Street in Pittston, to mark the parade route for next week's Tomato Festival.

Of course, it didn't happen on time, which led to Chelsea and Mike peeling back the curtain to show you what it takes to do a television news story.  I know that stuff bores a lot of people.  Chelsea and Mike made it fun and interesting, even to someone who's been through the drill hundreds of times.

It brought back memories of March 2014.  Photographer Steve Smallwood and I were dispatched to Pittston, where they were painting a green stripe on Main Street, prior to the St. Patrick's Parade.  Steve is wearing the red and black coat in the photo above.

Again, it didn't happen on time.

Steve and I froze while we waited, and waited, and waited some more.

Chelsea and Mike perspired.

I took the photo above when the project finally started moving.  Steve is shooting video on the right.

Look, line painting is nothing new.  A lot of cities and towns do it.  It's not earth shattering news, but it's a fun little gimmick to drum up some pre parade publicity.  It's cool tv, pretty pictures.

It's been done dozens of times.  I admire Chelsea and Mike for making it interesting and entertaining.   They even put up with my snarky comments, and I loved Mike's responses.

Chelsea is an extra miler, dressing up as a tomato Tuesday.  I'm sure the heat of the tomato costume added to the degree of difficulty.

I should have borrowed Joe Snedeker's shamrock costume back in 2014.

By the way, Steve Smallwood is hapily retired, and he is greatly missed at WNEP.  As I said when Steve left, I learned from him, and I say that about very few people.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

More Than Pen and Paper


I found myself in a big box store the other day-- one of those places that sells everything, including food.

You can tell it's back to school time-- kids clothes, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, backpacks, etc.

It's also possible to tell the time of year by venturing over to the food side.  There is peanut butter everywhere.

It makes a lot of sense.  Peanut butter makes a great sandwich.  You don't need to refrigerate it, and it doesn't sog up the bread.   Kids love it.

Yes, it's filled with fat, sugar, and chemicals.  But, there is protein.  You take the good with the bad.

Me?  I always have a big jar around.  Crunchy/chunky and there are are only two brands that will do.

Fall is a tasty time of year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Smooth Sailing


Once upon a time, I would check the baseball schedule to see when the local minor league team was playing Friday and Saturday night games.  I was interested to learn if I would encounter traffic issues on my way to work.

If that isn't enough, I'd tune in the games while I was getting dressed.

There is no longer a need.

The pandemic wiped out the 2020 season.  Even though the ballpark in Moosic cam be filled to be capacity, the fans just aren't there.

Yes, dear readers, there was a time when the stadium was filled every night and baseball was the hottest ticket in town.  Police would direct traffic where Montage Mountain Road meets Davis Street and Interstate 81.  Now, that intersection is busy, but no police required.

What happened?  Are we reluctant to attend events with hundreds, maybe thousands of other people? Are we tired of baseball?  Is the team doing a lousy job of promotions?

No answers, but some disturbing questions.

Monday, August 9, 2021

In Memoriam


AFL CIO president and former United Mine Workers union president Rich Trumka died Thursday.  Heart attack.  72.

Trumka was among my first "big" interviews, back when I was a radio pup in the early 80's.  He was friendly, but serious, and a bit intimidating.  UMW played hardball.  It had no choice.  Mine workers had been horribly treated in this country for decades.  

Trumka answered all my questions.  Nothing evaded.  Nothing ducked.  Whether or not you agreed with him, you had to admire his resolve and his passion.  It was nice that he came to places like Hazleton to meet with the people he represented.

Union members were lucky to have Rich Trumka on their side.

Retired NBC executive Herb Schlosser died last week at the age of 95.  According to his obituary in the New York times, Schlosser negotiated Johnny Carson's first contract.  He green lit ground breaking shows like "Laugh In" and "Saturday Night Live."  Schlosser was also a friend to the news division, giving it whatever time it needed.

Herb Schlosser was apparently quite the executive.

Has there ever been a more intimidating pitcher than JR Richard of the Houston Astros?  He was 6'8" and he threw fast.  Richard finished his career with a 107 and 71 record.  1,493 strikeouts.  Richard's career was cut short by blood clots and a stroke.  He fell on tough times after leaving baseball, and that is a tragedy in and of itself.  JR Richard died last week at the age of 71.

We lost Markie Post over the weekend.  Just 70.  She was in "The Fall Guy," but Post is best known as Christine Sullivan,  the public defender on "Night Court."  I've always said being a secondary character is tougher than being the top banana.   Playing Christine Sullivan was not an easy gig.  For the most part, Post was sandwiched between strong characters, and performers like Harry Anderson and John Larroquette.  Post was outrageously attractive, and her character was on the prudish side.  Markie Post made it happen.

I have to note a minor, but fun role as the mother of Cameron Diaz in "There's Something About Mary."  She was also Elliot's mother in several "Scrubs" episodes.  Post was also a top player on "The $25,000 Pyramid."  She had a long history with game shows, starting as a researcher for "Split Second" in the 1970's.  Host Tom Kennedy brought staffers on stage at the enhd of the final show, and that included Post.  She went on to work on and off camera in the first incarnation of "Card Sharks" in the late 70's.

 Gone too soon.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Andy's Angles: Dawn


I really enjoy my visits to the Von Storch garage in Scranton.  There is always something interesting.

Today, it's a familiar engine, with a passenger car behind.

This is a "golden hour" shot, taken shortly after sunrise, late last month.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

About the Cover: Classical Gas


This month, we feature the plant in Jessup that turns natural gas in to electricity.  You can't miss it as you pass on Route 6.

I usually shoot it every fall, in the daytime.  This was my first trip here at night, and it is an impressive sight.

In the header photo, I have the shutter open for 30 seconds and it really sets off the lights.  Today's shot, the one you see above,  has the shutter open for only a fraction of that amount.

Below is a clean shot of the 30 second exposure photograph.

The project set off quite a controversy a few years back, and regardless of how you feel about it, you can't help but marvel at the sight.

By the way, I'm really running out of patience with the "Blogger" platform.  It reduced the size of the header image in the template.  There has been a fix, but it's not as good as it used to be.  I'm considering dropping header photos or going to another host.

Friday, August 6, 2021

The Answer Is...


Who is Mike Richards?

"Variety" reports he will be the new "Jeopardy!" host, taking over for Alex Trebek, who died in November.

It's a good choice.  It's a safe choice.  Richards knows game shows.  He's produced several, including "The Price is Right." Richards hosted an absolutely awful "Pyramid" revival on GSN several years ago.  Richards was fine, but they managed to find the dumbest celebrities-- ever.

One thing we've learned from the year of try outs is that hosting a game show isn't as easy looks, even one that is fairly cut and dried, like "Jeopardy!"

Everone's sentimental favorite, LeVar Burton was merely okay, seeming rather unsure and tentative most of the time.  Mayim Bialek could have handled it.  The same with Roberts, Stephanpoulos and the rest of the newsies.  "Jeopardy"" champion Ken Jennings also did a passable job, but they all have something in common.  They all lacked that little spark that turns average in to good.

By the way, it's always a kick to get a Final Jeopardy question right when all three contestants get it wrong.  It happened the other night on a Declaration of Independence question.  The clip is on YouTube.  I nailed it!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Dress Down


I've been venturing in to some stores recently, and doing it very carefully.

I visited one big mall store back in May.  During my vacation late last month, I made my first trip to two other big and well known stores in a year and a half.

All those stores have something in common-- the men's dress clothing departments have gone to hell.

I can understand why.  People worked from home during the pandemic.  There was no need to dress up.  The New York Times reported this week that the dress code has been relaxed at many companies now welcoming workers back to the office.  Why make attractive dress clothing departments when the merchandise wasn't moving?

As I said, I made those initial visits.  There is no need for a return trip.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Mirror, Mirror


A few years ago, I was in a mini mart along Business Route 6 in Dickson City, and one of the employees thought I was Mike Stevens.  I took it as a compliment.  Mike is a wonderful guy with great hair.

Fast forward to late last month.  A friend and I were exiting a restaurant in Avoca when a customer, waiting for his take out, said "Good evening, Mr. Reynolds."  Again, I took it as a compliment.  Bob was a great guy, inside and out, and he left us way too soon.  It was actually a bigger compliment to Bob.  Someone remembered the name and his work, even though he got the face confused.

The only thing that would have made the night better is if the man who made the mistake picked up the check.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Being Social


A recent blog post noted how my recent vacation was more social than most.  Allow me to go in to detail on one incident.

This all started a few years ago.  A high school friend called me out of the blue and wanted to get together.  I declined.  And, I declined two more invitations.  My schedule is bizarre, even on my days off.  I did feel badly about blowing off an old friend.  A vacation eventually rolled around and I told my friend to pick a day and place.  I'll make it happen.  That led to getting together two or three times a year.

Of course, we skipped 2020.

When my most recent vacation week arrived, my friend arranged a small gathering of high school classmates in his back yard, some I hadn't seen in more than forty years.  It was nothing extravagant.  Just a few of us sitting around a fire pit.

Have you ever agreed to something, and then instantly regretted it?  Well, that was me a couple of weeks ago.  We've all gone in very different directions.  Some in manufacturing.  Some in construction.   I write.   They hunt and fish.  I take photographs.  They've traveled.  I've stayed close to home.    They've raised families.  I've never found someone crazy enough to marry me.  They build things.  I write things. They camp.  My view of "roughing it" is staying in a hotel with bad cable.  I feared an awkward evening with a bunch of people, and nothing in common.  No one is better than anyone else, just different.  I should add that I have never attended a high school reunion and I don't see one in my future.

Well, the big night rolled around, and I had the greatest time!

We talked about the old days and what's happened over the past forty years.  We talked about the future.

There were plenty of laughs, plus a few sad moments when we remembered the people who are no longer around.

There are times when nothing in common is a good thing.  You ask questions and learn about the different paths people have taken.

I don't know if there will ever be another night like that one, but I sincerely hope some of us will get together again.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Fire Sale


It happens every year at this time.  It doesn't make it any less horrible.

The people who run baseball teams that likely will not make the playoffs sell off and trade away their best players.  This year's major violators are the Cubs and the Nationals.

The fans deserve better.

And they still wonder why TV ratings are down and people are turning away from the sport.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Andy's Angles: Redeveloped


This project had been stalled for several months, and it looks like it will soon be moving again.  The old Parodi Cigar factory on North Main Avenue in Scranton will be converted in to apartments.

It was sad when Parodi moved out.  The building no longer suited the company's needs.  I'm happy that it's been saved from the bulldozer and it will eventually have a new purpose.

Of all the construction projects going on in our area, and there are many, the ones that involve saving old and historic buildings make me the happiest.