You need a black cat today. This is Samantha, one of Peanut and Nathan's friends.
She was a dirty stray, rescued from the side of a country road a few years ago, and has turned out to be a very nice young lady.
Enjoy the day!
You need a black cat today. This is Samantha, one of Peanut and Nathan's friends.
She was a dirty stray, rescued from the side of a country road a few years ago, and has turned out to be a very nice young lady.
Enjoy the day!
Having said that, I'll play along this weekend.
I took this shot on the last day of September. It's a back porch cob web. You can tell the pic is a few weeks old because the leaves are still mostly green.
How I got the shot? Nifty 50 on the Canon. The web was too fine to trigger the autofocus, so I went manual. From the background blur, you can tell the aperture was open all the way.
I really was looking forward to some camera play, but it is my October curse. When I had free time, it was raining. When I was busy with other things, the weather was great. I did manage to get out one morning, before the rain knocked the leaves off the trees.
There were a lot of "around the house" projects, including removing the air conditioner from my bedroom window and mothballing my bike for the season. Yes, late fall is here, and winter isn't fall behind.
As you know from an earlier entry, I read a good book and really, really, really caught up on my sleep.
I got together with friends and even managed to get in a little shopping.
I upped my radio listening.
Vacation time is nice, but it's time to get back to work, and I'm really looking forward to getting Halloween in my rear view mirror. It is not my favorite holiday-- far from it.
Thanks to Carmella Mataloni for filling in on the big weekend morning broadcasts.
I have another week off in November, plus several scattered days before the end of the year.
We'll talk tomorrow.
Speaking of sad, I manage to catch a "Night Court" episode every week or so. I watched a couple extra while I was on vacation, including a hilarious Thanksgiving episode. Like WKRP, "Night Court" could be uneven, but there was nothing funnier when it was hitting on all cylinders. The recently departed Markie Post never received the recognition she deserved, which was difficult because of the number of strong characters on the show. I laugh at Post's performances. I'm sad she's gone.
Atlanta/Houston isn't the dream World Series match up FOX wanted, but it could be interesting. The key-- hope the series goes seven games.
Getting back to this week's book review, the "NFL Today" of the 70's had something few shows accomplished. If you didn't get a chance to watch it, you felt like you were missing something important. Believe me, you can do without any of the current pre game shows.
Some radio stations, here and in major markets, are playing format roulette. I'm a huge supporter of "live and local." Unfortunately, that concept is slowly disappearing. However, there is a great comfort to punching up channel 7 on the satellite or on Amazon Echo, and knowing you will hear a 70's song. Consistency is key, radio friends!
The New York Post reported this week that CBS is considering dumping Norah O'Donnell as Evening News anchor. Bad ratings. CBS still doesn't get it. Evening News sags because the local news lead-in gets hammered in several big cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston... When the local stations get good news ratings, the network news follows.
I could not possibly care less about "The Squid Game."
My former co-worker, John Marshall, now works for the FOX Weather streaming service, which went live Monday. John is good people.
Val Bisoglio died last week. 95. He was in a ton of things. Bisoglio appeared in the "Barney Miller" pilot, but that character never made it in to the series.
Stu Billett died October 22. 85. He created "The People's Court." While the show was never my thing, I did respect its popularity. Let me take you back to September 1990. I was full time on the radio and part time at a television station down the street. In one of the biggest programming blunders of all time, the station dropped "The People's Court" at 5 pm and replaced it with a new game show, "Trump Card." Management reasoned that because "Trump Card" was hosted by Pittston native Jimmy Cefalo, it would be a huge hit in this area. "Mayim, may I have 'Famous Flops' for $200?" It bombed. Big time. Enormous. Colossal. I stopped the TV station by on premiere afternoon and watched the phones go nuts. People wanted Judge Wappner and they wanted no part of "Trump Card." The show limped along for one season and it was cancelled in May of 1991. There are a few "Trump Card" episodes on YouTube. It was Jeopardy-esque, but you had to answer questions to fill out a pattern on a bingo-like card. It wasn't a bad show, and it was worth the risk of putting in on at 5 pm. Cefalo did a nice job with what he was handed. "The People's Court" was hot and that meant it was expensive. Plus, it drew an old audience. Risk takes are hurt more often, but the rewards are huge if it pays off. This gamble didn't. I should add Billett produced the 70's game show "Split Second." It was a highly under-rated game show and the great Tom Kennedy hit it out of the park.
Joe Buck was a guest on Rich Eisen's radio show yesterday. Buck might be the best radio talk show guest of all time. Plus, Eisen had the good sense to ask a question and get out of the way.
I call it "book weather." In my book (pun), there is nothing better than reading a good book, under a blanket, on a chilly and rainy fall weekend. That's exactly what I did when I was off this past weekend.
The topic was "You Are Looking Live." It's all about the CBS NFL pre game show of the 70's, the one that really did change the game when it came to sports broadcasting. I devoured the book and loved every page.
In a jacket blurb, broadcaster and writer Tony Kornheiser nailed it when he said CBS created a show and everyone else spent 40 years trying to copy it. It was just a unique mix of talent, in front of the camera and behind it. For my money, Brent Musberger was the best studio host-- ever. Bryant Gumbel came close, but Musberger really knew how to sell a line with a great sense of urgency and immediacy.
It's more than the personalities. Author Rich Podolsky introduces to the writers, the directors, the producers and the executives who made it happen.
You'll love it if you are a TV geek, and you'll enjoy it even if you aren't.
It was even better on a chilly October afternoon.
I'm guessing this one will be a little smoother than the election of November 2020. We don't have that hyper activity that surrounds a presidential election. Turnout in off year elections is traditionally lower, much lower. There are so many races that are, sadly, uncontested. Plus, county election people now have a little more experience with mail in ballots and drop boxes.
Races for statewide and county judge seem to be getting most of the attention. The amount of money spent on these things never ceases to amaze me. When you look closely, it's easy to understand. You get the job for ten years and when you are up for retention, it's yes or no. Spend huge to get the seat now and you don't have to spend a lot to keep it down the road, a long distance down the road.
I get the feeling that most people are looking beyond next week and are focusing on Vote 2022. We'll be electing a new senator and governor. Plus, all the US and state house seats are up, and half of the state senate. District boundaries will be redrawn, so new people might be running in new places. Mid terms are usually a referendum on people and parties in power.
Say what you want about politics, but it is never dull.
I preface this by saying I have the utmost respect for meteorologists. They get no credit when things go right. They are pilloried when things go wrong.
I'm sorry if Ida hit you hard, but the hurricane season wasn't as horrible as first forecast.
Let's move on to winter. The National Weather Service believes it will be milder than normal.
I can live with the cold. Snow is another story.
Yes, we do get to save some money on home heating bills, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, a warmer than normal winter means an increased potential for ice. As we all know, ice can be more dangerous than snow.
Second, even the government admits there is a 50 per cent accuracy rate on these long term forecasts. Weather patterns change every couple of months. Technology has improved, but I wonder why they issue super long range forecasts when the accuracy rate is considerably less than desired.
Third, and finally, warmer-- wetter-- cooler-- dryer-- There is nothing you can do about it. Stop obsessing over these things and let life happen.
I took this photo on a late summer morning, for home, loaded it in to the computer and said to myself, "Self, that's a good header shot."
I usually shoot, parding the pun, for a fall type header in October, but I simply liked this photo too much. Not to pat myself on the back, but it almost looks like a photo you'd see on a calendar. Locomotive at the Von Storch shop in Scranton. Radio and light tower, bridge over the tracks on the left. The lines of the tracks draw eye off to infinity. Blue sky above. I deliberatly put my name on the lower left to leave the sky pristine.
I rarely say I'm very happy with a shot, but I really do like this one.
I'm still getting a feel for my new wide angle lens, and this shot does show a lot of distortion.
Clearly, it's the WEJL tower on top of the Scranton Times building at Penn and Spruce. I'm on the Spruce Street side.
It was a 30 second exposure. I hoped the lights on the radio tower would pop a little more, but I just couldn't make it happen. I would have stayed to take more shots, but it was 4 am and it was one of those nights where I just didn't feel comfortable out there.
I'll be back. I really want to make this one work.
Facebook is in the process of attempting to reinvent itself. The problem isn't really the site. It's the users. Stop re-posting the same stupid jokes over and over again. Stop saying mean things. Save your politics for election day , and vote. And, I don't care what you had for breakfast. Boom! Done! Fixed!
Any time I walk in to a supermarket, I hear Will McAvoy's voice in my head.
Plenty of statewide and local judicial races are on next month's ballot, and once again, there are tons of staged "inside courtroom" commercial videos. Where do these people stand on cameras in courtrooms, for real?
FOX, MSNBC, and CNN have upped the "sniping at each other" game again. Please stop. No one cares. Just do the news. Please.
Finding a sports talk radio station that also does real news updates is a major plus. Thank you AM 1350 WOYK in York.
I still don't get the whole bitcoin thing.
I'm not enjoying watching the New England Patriots lose as much as I once did.
Samsung, Apple, and Google all have new phones available. I'm overdue for an upgrade. It's intimidating, so I'll likely sit on the sidelines again. My current phone is fine.
One of life's hardest decisions is picking a flavor from the supermarket ice cream freezer.
I like "Jeopardy!" better when one person doesn't dominate the competition for days and weeks.
Candy corn policy: I don't hate it, but I don't go out of my way for it, either.
While it is understandable, it is sad. I was able to attend a few parades several years ago, and it was a great time. It was the opportunity to hang with some co-workers, who I rarely see. Plus, it was nice to meet our viewers, some of the most loyal in America.
Having said that, it's great to see communities all across our area doing some holiday related things. For example, there is a Christmas market planned for Scranton. Pittston is upping its game with a tree lighting and an indoor/outdoor market. There are several others across northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
I've long established that I'm really not a Christmas guy. Hustle, bustle, fuss and bother are not for me. I enjoy the quieter moments. However, those outdoor things I mentioned above to stir up some feelings. It was being a kid, simpler times, happier times, wandering around my small town and looking at the decorated houses, walking around downtown Scranton, looking at the lights, the Scranton Dry and Globe windows...
Santa is scheduled to make several appearances leading up to Christmas, but I will really miss that grand entrance in downtown Scranton.
I have to plan these things better. I don't take much time off in the first half of the year and I cram it all in to the second. Spreading it out makes more sense.
Plans? Few. Reading, sleeping, a little exercise and I hope to do some leaf peeping. It happens every fall. I have no time when the leaves are at their peak, but tons of time off when it's too late. I'm looking forward to doing some landscapes with my relatively new wide angle lens.
The weekend morning broadcasts are in the capable hands of Carmella Mataloni.
We'll talk soon.
The network tapped in to an underserved portion of American viewers. The look is outstanding-- the staging, the graphics, the music, the sets, the photography... Like them or not, the network developed a compelling set of personalities.
FNC also inspires great loyalty among viewers. It managed to survive the messy departure of prime time cornerstone Bill O'Reilly and the equally as messy exit of founder Roger Ailes.
CNN had a 15 year head start. FNC simply came along with a viewpoint and did a lot of things better than its older competition.
So far, no one has been able to match its success.
I didn't think my disinterest could top last year, but I just can't get invested in the baseball playoffs. Why?
Why can't we get this country's supply chain back to normal? It amazes me that we have such great minds, using wonderful technology, and it just doesn't work.
Why can't fall last a little longer?
Except for the signs noting the exit for the University of Scranton, travelers might have a difficult time realizing they are approaching Scranton as they drive on Interstate 81. How difficult would it be to get some "Scranton" signs out there?
I agree with a caller to Talkback 16 this week. "The Office" just isn't funny. There hasn't been a new episode in eight years. How does it still inspire such loyalty and fascination? Scranton, they made fun of you.
There is some good talent on "60 Minutes" these days. Why do I still miss Harry, Ed, Mike and Morley so much?
Why can't big box stores, supermarkets and mini marts go back to 24 hour operation?
The leaves had just begun to turn when I took this shot a couple of weeks ago, and it's not the greatest look. Half green, half dead.
Still, it's a great tree and I'm happy to have it around.
This is a plant just off my back porch, fading away from the bottom up, as cold weather approaches.
As the mid 70's approached, the audience got bored with it. The ratings slipped. ABC and Goodson/Todman decided to jazz it up with "all celebrity" tournaments every week. It lasted a few months. The audience rejected it, and "Password All Stars" went back to being plain "Password." Well, it wasn't all that plain. Two celebrities, four contestants, confusing format, and a mind boggling Lightning Round. The post "All Stars" format limped along for a while and "Password" was eventually cancelled.
All of that is a convoluted way to bring me around to today's topic-- the recent wave of privately funded space flights. I marvel at the technology, but the "Space Flight All Stars" gimmickry bores me to tears. I want to see real astronauts, advancing the technology and advancing the science. Oldest astronaut, youngest astronaut, billionaire astronaut, TV star astronaut... it does absolutely nothing for me.
I know it does play up the fact that, eventually, space travel will become common.
Even though the private space flights are new, I'm already bored.
A green piece of paper was included in my morning newspaper-- the same newspaper my family has faithfully subscribed to for years, the one I pay for a year in advance! Yes, I cut one check, once a year and I'm done with it. That's commitment.
The green sheet said the newspaper can't find enough carriers, so it's turning delivery over to the United States Postal Service.
Are you kidding me? This is your job! Publish a newspaper and get it in to the hands of readers.
So, what you've done is take one troubled enterprise, print newspapers, and turned it over to another failing organization, the postal service. Explain how that makes sense.
And, if that isn't enough, and I kid you not, I'm lucky if I get my mail by 6 pm these days. Let's review. It's a newspaper printed mostly the night before, and I'm getting it on the following evening, maybe.
Newspaper industry, you have signed your own death warrant.
The green sheet said the company said the paper is aggressively recruiting new carriers, and the paper via mail thing is only temporary. We'll see.
Yes, there is the electronic option, but there are family members who still love holding that newspaper every morning.
As I've noted here in the past, I have great respect for the newspaper industry. It starts with the men and women who report and write, the people who have to get things in exacting detail. Then, there are the carriers who get the paper to your home in all sorts of weather. Plus, there is the absolute magic of watching the big presses get cranked up. I feel sorry for you if you've never experienced that.
My subscription is up next month. Mr. Publisher, the clock is ticking. Fix this!
The brouhaha involves naming things after a certain individual. By the way, in nearly twenty years of blogging, it's the first time I've used the word "brouhaha" here. I'm not taking a stand on the issue of "naming."
Here is one of my experiences with recognition, and it goes back several years.
I was in a news truck, on the way to a story, when the assignment desk forwarded a call to my cell phone. A young lady identified has self as a student from my old high school. She was writing for the school newspaper. I was named as one of the school's top ten graduates and she wanted to ask me some questions.
The kid was so nervous, giggly and unfocused, I thought it was a prank and hung up. There was no effort to contact me again. I never discovered if she was legit or someone out to have fun at my expense.
The "top ten graduates" concept nauseates me, anyway.
Many of classmates went in to the military. That is more difficult and more important than anything I ever had to do.
Many of my classmates raised children. That is more difficult and more important than anything I ever had to do.
I got lucky. I knew what I wanted to do from an early age and worked hard to achieve some success. There were plenty of sacrifices along the way. No regrets. I think I'm pretty good at what I do, and proof of that is 40+ years in the business.
What I'm trying to say is think twice before you elevate someone to a pedestal, even if it is a student newspaper. There are plenty of heroes out there. They are closer than you think.
AM 750 fired up in the 80's. While I didn't know Mr. Nardone, I did know several of the people involved in the very early days, including a favorite junior high English teacher, Jim Emmel. At one time, the studio and offices were in the Williamson Building, in downtown Olyphant.
Even though I was working at WARM at the time, I did stop in a few times to look around and see my friends. Everyone there was nice and accommodating. We really didn't see each other as competition. I was with the "MIGHTY 590." AM 750 was a little start up station with a relatively weak signal. It signed off at sundown. Every day, they would play Ray Charles' "America the Beautiful" just before turning off the transmitter for the evening. Give it a listen. One of the best performances-- ever.
That launches me in to part two of today's entry: the dream. If my fairy godmother ever bopped me on the nose with her magic wand and handed me a winning Powerball ticket, I always wanted to own a small town AM station, just like the old AM 750. Storefront studio. Play some good music. Do a little news. Community groups could drop in to plug what was going on.
Forget about storefront, street level, windowed studios-- forever and ever. Security.
When you really think about it, it's not a dream. It's a nightmare. There is no way you could make money with something like that. There are companies out there that own hundreds of stations. There is the economy of scale. You just can't compete. The mere concept of breaking even is a long shot.
Still, it would have been nice to try.
My sympathy goes out to the Nardone family.
My heart is with the people who still make radio a lot of fun.
I was watching "Jeopardy!" last week. The Final Jeopardy question dealt with the French Revolution. The three contestants missed it. I nailed it! Bang!
No, I didn't nail it. Dr. John Barrett nailed it. He was one of my Marywood College professors. The courses were Roots of the Modern World in my freshman year and Peoples of the 20th Century in my sophomore year. They were Marywood fancy names for World History I and II.
When I saw and heard the question, I was immediately transported to the building you see above, right side, a classroom on the first floor, facing the back of the building. The year was 1979.
Let me tell you about Dr. Barrett. I've never met a teacher or professor who knew his material so well, and had so much enthusiasm for it. No one knew World History, especially the French Revolution, better. I'm sorry It took me 42 years and a cheesy game show to realize it. Back in the day, all I wanted to do was get out of that class and go over to the radio station to play the Doobies and Floyd.
By the way, it was a B in both World History courses.
It took 42 years, but those courses paid off.
I am in the process of trying to track the guy down to say "thank you" for the "Jeopardy!" win and for being a damned good professor. He needs to know he did make a difference, and it goes far beyond "Jeopardy!"
This was part of a recent test at Jefferson and Spruce in downtown Scranton. I was capturing light trails and checking to see how the lens performed at night. The courthouse is at my back and I'm looking toward the Central Scranton Expressway.
I'm zoomed out all the way. Unfortunately, there wasn't much traffic.
I have the f stop closed down fairly tight, and you can tell by the starburst effect on the overhead lights.
Wider isn't always better and there is a lot of wasted space in this shot.
Hey, it was a test!
This has become my favorite spot for light trails. It's Route 315 in Pittston Township. A truck stop is on the left. Walmart is out of view to the right. Even though Walmart sadly gave up 24 hour operation when the pandemic hit, this intersection always gets plenty of traffic, 24/7.
The starburst lights show the f stop is rather narrow. I did cheat this one a bit by cropping out some of the sky.
Otherwise, the wide angle lens does a nice job with long exposures.
As I grew up, Sunday nights meant another work week was approaching. I've, for the most part, had jobs I liked, so it was OK.
In recent years, after I started working weekends, Sunday night means I am half way through my work week. Again, even though I like my job, "hump day" is a nice milestone.
Sunday nights mean a little more now. It might be the best night of radio all week. A few things make me say that.
Arnie Spanier and Chris Plank occupy the late Sunday hours on FOX Sports Radio. While I'm no longer a huge sports fan, these guys make sports fun and interesting.
JT the Brick hits XM at 11 pm. He's a guy who strikes the right chord. Serious when he has to be, funny when it's called for. Energetic and knowledgeable always.
Sunday night radio, especially sports talk radio, isn't Death Valley. Sunday is the busiest day in sports, and there is plenty of fresh material to discuss.
Ben Maller comes on FOX Sports Radio at 2 am, and he has the most interesting show on the entire FSR schedule.
If that isn't enough, the XM 70's channel reruns an old "American Top 40" in the middle of the night. Sometimes, you need to switch gears.
There are times when being up all night has its advantages.
I deal with cameras for a living. I deal with cameras for a hobby.
If you are walking down a street, or strolling through a park, you are fair game to be photographed because you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. It's the legal standard.
If you are trying on a pair of Levi's in a store fitting room, seated at a porcelain convenience, or sitting in your home, you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy. No cameras!
That brings us to Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer. He abandoned his team after yet another loss and went partying. Meyer was photographed having a nice time with a young woman in a bar, not his wife.
The team's owner says Meyer lost credibility and he has to earn it back. That's the understatement of the year.
Meyer is a public figure in a public place, and there was no reasonable expectation of privacy. I really didn't see the need for someone to take pictures, but what's done is done. It can be argued he shouldn't have been there in the first place.
America loves a winner. Sadly, this would be less of a story if Jacksonville had a good team. It's 0-4.
I'm pulling out the crystal ball. This doesn't end well for Urban Meyer.
Can we stop talking about Britney Spears now?
Crunchy peanut butter. Always.
The networks that carry the baseball playoffs have to be happy. Some major market teams are involved: New York, Los Angles, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston... Yes, NY made an early exit, and that's cause for network concern. I honestly don't care who wins, but a one game playoff is ridiculous.
Chocolate porter is back. McRib returns November 1.
Does everyone still think Mike Tomlin is a genius?
A new Soprano's movie is out. Pass. I tried the tv series years ago, and thought it was simply a parade of every bad Italian stereotype.
Why are some Luzerne County government jobs a revolving door?
I heard Murrow rolling over in his grave the other day. NBC broadcast the Friday evening news from the Patriots' stadium to hype the network's Sunday night Tampa Bay vs. New England game. Good night and good luck.
I rather enjoyed Monday's Facebook outage.
Monday Night Football on radio is better than Monday Night Football on television.
The New York Post reports CBS won't participate in Katie Couric's book promotion tour. I'm guessing ABC and NBC will follow. Surprise!
Call me old school, but I miss the days of an afternoon newspaper hitting the front porch.
Below is the front of the Bancroft School on Albright Avenue in Scranton. The school district closed it this year. It's old and needs a lot of repairs. Plus, the school district is broke. Students now attend class at an elementary school, a relatively new one, a couple of miles away.
It's water under the bridge, but it's also sad how the school was allowed to deteriorate over the years. This shouldn't have happened and a neighborhood las lost part of its soul.
Why, Katie, why?
Instead of that very successful run at NBC, her legacy will be this book.
I think the "Today" show years will make people forget about the stunning failure at the "CBS Evening News" and her unwatchable talk show. Then, she was global affairs correspondent for Yahoo! I have yet to meet anyone who ever clicked on one of her videos.
You have more money than you will ever need. Your family has financial stability, and we should all be so lucky. Why do you feel the need to be so horrible?
Sadly, I'll probably read the book. I'm extremely curious about the debacle at CBS. It's similar to slowing down at the scene of a crash.
The publisher describes Couric's words as "honest."
There is a difference between honest and mean.
Be that as it may, the view is always nicer from the high road. After reading the Post stories, Katie is down, looking up, and firing with both barrels.
This is another shot of the dogwood tree in my back yard.
Admittedly, I over did the background blur with the Nifty 50 lens, but I still like it.
Golly Moses, this is a great time of year. Aperture opened up, background blurred.
The best of the season is yet to come.
Let me back up a second. I produced Newswatch 16 This Morning on Monday and Tuesday. I'm the guy who picks the stories, where to put them, and does most of the writing.
Early Tuesday morning, I was going through "the feed." It's a huge file of stories ABC does for local stations and it's also the stories ABC News collects from its affiliates around the country.
That's where I saw Cowie. It was the story of an Arizona family that took in a Diamondbacks game. Two year old Cruz Solis left Cowie at the stadium. Mom called the ballpark. A crew found Cowie. The team mailed him home to little Cruz, but an employee took pictures of Cowie around the ballpark first.
Even though the story had a happy ending, it still broke my heart. Cowie was a gift from Santa. I don't recall a favorite stuffed animal in my own childhood, but I was imagining how sad Cruz was because he was without his Cowie. Believe it or not, I do get sentimental about some things.
As I write this, I'm listening to the radio news. Washington is fighting over the infrastructure bill. A government shutdown looms. There is a crisis at the border. We're in a pandemic. Consumer confidence is shot.
I know TV news occasionally catches a little heat for devoting some time to fluff, especially the water skiing squirrel.
No regrets. Not for a second. Not for a millisecond.
We all need a little Cowie.