Below, you see the intersection of Linden and Wyoming in downtown Scranton. This is the site of a proposed pocket park.
Below, you see the intersection of Linden and Wyoming in downtown Scranton. This is the site of a proposed pocket park.
Yes, I do appreciate parts of the season, especially the Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men thing.
That brings us to decorations. I love looking at Christmas decorations and I have a great time photographing them. I have no skill for, and no desire to decorate myself.
I kid you not. My Christmas decoration consists of unscrewing the white light bulb on the front porch and replacing it with a green one. Fun, festive, and fast.
That brings us to today's topic.
About a year ago, a local chain of hardware stores advertised a bulb that alternates between red and green! Beauty!!!
I visited two stores in this chain. None in stock.
Around Independence Day, the chain advertised a bulb that switches from red, to white, to blue.
Same story. None in stock.
Making things worse, the staff at both stores was full of excuses, and was unfailingly unapologetic.
I'm a letter writer, and I came very close to firing off a missive to management. Hey, if you don't have it, don't advertise it! Plus, stop blaming the "national ad" for the snafu.
It is said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome. Call me crazy.
Last week, it was another newspaper circular, and another ad for the elusive color changing bulb.
I stopped in a store, affiliated with the same chain , but owned by a different local company. None.
I went to a store run by the horribly unapologetic people. None.
I resigned myself to another Christmas with the plain green bulb illuminating my front porch and sidewalk. Decorative, but I hoped for more.
Amazon was no help. Ordering one on line, from another supplier, promised delivery AFTER Christmas. Thank you, very much.
I did click on one thing and it said another store in the shoddy and unapologetic chain had some in stock, and I can reserve an order for pick up. I nearly fell out of my chair. Not being greedy, I ordered just a couple and waited an eternity for the confirmation return email. It finally arrived, and I was in the car to secure my treasure, even if this particular store was several miles out of my way.
The confirmation email said I was to visit the store with my order number and picture ID. I arrived, parked, went to the register, told the clerk my name and I was there for my bulbs. They were in a bag and I was out the door in seconds. No order number or ID required, which disappointed me. I didn't anyone snatching my bulbs before I got there.
The bulbs are still in the bag. I'm one of those people who doesn't like to see anything Christmas related before Thanksgiving. I'm a mid December decorator. By the way, I had an orange bulb on the front porch for that late November holiday. For Halloween, I used a blackish purple one.
2021: the year I "aced" Christmas and took decorating up a notch.
Usually, these things obnoxiously stick out like a boil on a baby's bottom.
Here, it fits.
Carbondale has an interesting railroading history. The caboose is a great addition to the downtown.
The locals tell me the tree you see here will be trimmed back a bit, and the caboose will eventually be used as a tourist promotion office, a place where people can stop by to learn about area attractions.
History is preserved and I like it.
I was on Route 6 in the Carbondale area, trying to get some sweeping vistas, when I spied this beauty near the guiderail.
This fall's weather was funky-- very warm for very long, and that impacted the colors. I've seen better years.
This one just looked great.
Be that as it may, Black Friday still an day of excesses-- too much hustle and bustle, noise, confusion, and stress. I choose not to participate.
While I'd rather see money spent on local businesses, or big businesses that employ local people, internet shopping has taken some of the shine off the Black Friday apple.
I do admit there is a big need to save a buck these days, and if it means going out on Black Friday to stretch a dollar, by all means, go for it. Also, some people used Black Friday shopping as family time. That is a good thing.
Two words come to mind today: considerate and careful.
One of the things that drives me insane about the holidays is the expectations. Not everyone can be with family, or have a family. There isn't a turkey on every table. Not everyone has that Norman Rockwell scene. It's easy to get caught up in the cliche. Don't become depressed if the season isn't what society expects. It's still good, even if it is less than Martha Stewart perfect.
I take the low key approach. Weather permitting, I'll play with my camera in the morning. It's usually followed by dumping the pictures in to the computer for a little tweaking. I also expect to work on this year's Top Ten photo collection.
Make the most of the day, and do the best you can.
It picks up again Sunday, as all those people who left today return to where they came from.
I'm sure the high price of gasoline will put a damper on some excursions. I get that, but after the last two years, I know a lot of people who aren't going to let a few dollars get in the way of family time.
I consider myself lucky. First, I have the day off. Second, I never had to travel far during a holiday season.
The stress must be unbearable and I thank my lucky stars I don't have to do it.
Be it near or far, whatever you do, do it safely... and think of the people working this weekend to make sure you make it to your destination in one piece.
In high school, it was the day before Thanksgiving.
Both are major getaway days.
In adult life, you get away when you can, and thanks to email, you are really never away.
High school had its own feel, and it was so nice to close the books and look forward to an extra long, five day weekend. We had Monday after Thanksgiving off for deer hunting season. Only a few of my friends engaged in the sport and I didn't understand why an entire school district had to shut down. I would have preferred an earlier end to the school year in June, but hey, a day off is a day off.
The college break was a little shorter. I loved how the campus could be rocking on Tuesday and be a ghost town on the very next day. We "townies" remained behind to keep the college radio station running. It was when the hard core radio people took over. I missed my friends, but I also did enjoy the campus quiet, including an abundance of good parking spaces. It was a nice atmosphere. Me, my microphone and all those albums, spinning the hits as people enjoyed the holiday. I miss that. Radio has a wonderful intimacy that is really lacking these days.
I was lucky. My family understood I was pursuing what I really enjoyed, and I did make sure to spend some quality time with them on the holiday.
Get away, but don't get too far.
The fact that a man and his daughter survived a plane crash one week ago is northing short of amazing. So is the technology that allowed first responders to find them.
Underrated song: Jackson Browne's "Rock Me On the Water."
I really miss the old CBS Sports logo.
There are plenty of work and school days between now and Christmas, but face it. We all lack focus on our daily tasks with a holiday looming.
I was too young to fully appreciate the "Patty Duke Show." but I did get the concept. Duke did a lot of 70's game show work, and was adorable in every appearance.
I say it every year. Good luck to my radio brethren, forced to play a steady stream of Christmas music. The day after the holiday must feel so good.
Who does every turkey cooked on tv look overwhelmingly greasy?
CVS closing 10 per cent of its stores, Dollar General expanding. Americans have voted with their wallets.
Two types of hand sanitizer: gel and liquid. I've grown fond of the liquid.
The clip is on YouTube-- a long credit roll from David Letterman's "Late Show." Has a talk show ever had a better band? Easy answer. NO!!!
Happiness is... going to a national chain hardware store and actually finding the things they've advertised in the newspaper circular. That has been rare in the last couple of years. I'll have more on that soon.
It's another set of light trails today, before I move on to other things. I've returned to the scene of the crime. This is where I attempted light trails for the first time, a couple of years ago. I'm on the Scranton end of the Viewmont Mall parking lot. Interstate 81 runs left to right. The other trails come from cars and trucks on the North Scranton Expressway.
I'm in the parking lot of the Fashion Mall, along Business Route 6 in Dickson City. The camera is pointed south. The tail lights are headed toward the North Scranton Expressway. There is a faint trail near the green sign noting the ramp to Interstate 81. That trail is traffic on the interstate.
This was another attempt with my wide angle lens. Unlike the Route 315 shots, which is a brighter area, this one was tough to focus. The wide angle lens is not known for its ability to let in a lot of light, and that's where the focusing issues started. I'm sure this would be a better shot at dawn or dusk. Soon!
Let's take you back to the beginning. I came home from work on a Sunday morning. My routine is to have breakfast while listening to an all news radio station from Philadelphia. I asked my Amazon Echo to play KYW. She replied that there was no internet connection. There was no panic. It was 9:30 on a Sunday morning. I assumed the internet provider was doing maintenance. It made sense. There was a massive outage a few days prior.
I visited my home office area and unplugged my modem. I wanted 30 seconds and plugged it back in. Still nothing. The frustration was ramping up.
It was time to go to sleep and I always drift off listening to CBS Sports Radio. The network's weekend hosts are very good, and I enjoy the banter, even though I'm not a hard core sports fan. Still no internet. I grabbed a portable radio and tried to tune the local AM affiliate. Unfortunately, since a transmitter power decrease, I can't pick it up where I live. I was forced to go to sleep in silence.
I have a horrible problem of not being able to sleep straight through a night, or afternoon in my case. During my "awake" periods, I did the modem unplugging thing again. Still nothing.
Grrrrrr... The thought of calling the cable company the next day to troubleshoot was upsetting my stomach.
Sleep time was over at 10 PM, and I had a little time to kill before coming to work. I traced the cable, checking every connection-- the splitter, the modem, etc. Everything was nicely snug. It was time to face facts. I was going to have to call the cable company when I returned from work the next day.
Then, it came to me. There was one thing I hadn't checked. The router. It's one of those slim and sleek models. The led's that indicate functioning and transmitting are in the back of the unit and I didn't realize it didn't have power. The power cord was pulled out.
It was time for deep thought. I recalled a cat, for reasons unknown, came barreling in to my home office area the day before, and ran beneath my computer desk. The little rascal must have pulled out the router cord. I was kicking myself for waiting so long to check the router. I mistakenly assumed the issue was with the modem or the cable itself.
Vacation task: cat proof my computer area!
Sunday marked the 40th anniversary of "This Week with David Brinkley." The format was blessedly simple. The broadcast was a mix of a look back at the last week, and a look ahead to the upcoming week. It began some news headlines, things that happened after the Sunday papers were printed. Remember, there was no internet in 1981. Then, it was a set up piece on the week's big story. An interview with a newsmaker involved in that story followed. A round table discussion occupied most of the second half hour. The broadcast ended with a Brinkley wry commentary. It was a solid broadcast and Brinkley was the guy who brought it all together.
The top brass at ABC didn't want to hire Brinkley. They thought he was too old. Brinkley wanted out at NBC. As he put it, there was nothing left to do there. The network stuck him with a Friday night magazine show that got creamed in the ratings by "Dallas." NBC had imported some managers from CBS. They didn't see eye to eye with Brinkley and disrespect was the result. It was a terrible way to treat someone who helped put NBC News on the map. No dignity. No respect. ABC News president Roone Arledge thought David Brinkley was the right man for the new Sunday morning broadcast, and like most things, Arledge was right. Brinkley brought instant credibility.
The show stumbled after Brinkley's retirement. Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts were great round table panelists. Hosting was another story. ABC News then tried to take the emphasis off Washington and it hired Christiane Amanpour. She is a competent broadcaster and a brilliant journalist, but she wasn't a good fit for "This Week." George Stephanopoulos is fine, even though he isn't in the host's chair most weeks.
I watched the 40th anniversary broadcast Sunday morning. There was disappointment over only ten minutes dedicated to the anniversary, but the geek in me adored the display of old ABC News logos on the ticker over the anchor desk.
Even though David Brinkley retired decades ago, "This Week" is still a Sunday must, and I still call the broadcast "Brinkley."
Plans? Same as always. Reading, gym, walks, camera play, a little shopping, getting together with friends, and plenty of sleep. Emphasis on the latter.
I know I was just off for a week last month, but I schedule things differently, packing most of my vacation weeks into the last third of the year.
There are still several scattered days off between now and the end of 2021.
The blog will still be here. Maybe I'll do some photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
I'll call you back later.
A few lines on topics I've discussed earlier...
I tried contacting a college professor from 40+ years ago to thank him for teaching me something in 1979 that helped me nail a final Jeopardy question several weeks ago. Unfortunately, I ran in to dead ends. Hey, I tried.
Brian Williams leaves MSNBC at the end of the year. After his lying scandal, NBC management handed him an 11 PM broadcast on MSNBC. It started off great, but eventually, Williams' show followed the same political ideology as the rest of the network, and I was gone. Can anybody on TV play it straight these days? There really is a need for a solid late night network newscast.
This next one is no surprise, but it irritates me nonetheless... I had to do a fair amount of driving Friday morning, in that driving rain storm. There is still a frightening number of nimrods who refuse to obey state law and turn on their headlights in the rain. It's not so you can see. It's so others can see you! And, no one pays attention to the speed limit, rain or shine.
Speaking of headlights, it seems more people are using high beams when there really is no need. If you need high beams to see on a city street, you shouldn't be driving.
I consider myself a well informed individual, and some state representatives around here keep such a low profile, I wouldn't know them if they bit me on the toe. No one steps up.
I still can't believe people think Mike Tomlin of the Steelers is a good coach. I'll concede he has a solid win/loss record. Why hasn't the team prepared for the future with a solid back up quarterback. We learned a long time ago that Mason Rudolph is not the answer.
Same area, same day. The difference is there is no railing and everything is in focus. Yes, the sky is overexposed, but I do like the look of the water and the trees.
It's a decent shot, even though this year's leaves weren't the greatest.
Several spots along the Lackawanna Heritage Trail are on my favorites, including this one. The picture was taken along a fishing area near South Laurel Street in Archbald.
The focus is on the leaf that landed on the railing. Sun and blue sky reflect off the water. The rest is deliberately blurred, maybe overly so.
I attempted the same thing in the same place last year, and I thought last year's shot was slightly better. Still, I liked this one enough to make it the November header.
Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of Pennsylvania's first casino, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Back then, it was just a bunch of slot machines in a big room. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Still, people waited for hours in a cold drizzle to get inside. I can still hear the moans and groans of the crowd as Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll rambled on and on in a speech before the ribbon cutting.
I think I'm good for two casino visits a year. I'll throw a few bucks in to a slot machine, break even, get bored, and go home. I still find table games intimidating, and let's face it. The house always gets your money. If you don't lose it during gaming, you'll spend it on food and drinks. That's okay. No one forces you to go there.
Casino money has helped the local economy, and I'm sure there is a price. Gambling addiction, families torn apart. I've covered a lot of cases where people steal to take care of their gambling debts. Although, the vast majority of gamblers seem to be good and decent people.
Have the casinos and the state delivered on everything that was promised when gambling became legal? It's a safe bet to say the answer is "no."
In the spring, it's flowers in bloom, and the aroma you detect after a rain.
In the summer, it's the smell of a lawn right after a cutting, and barbecues. For a few weeks, around Independence Day, it's sulfur, all the time, from all the fireworks.
Fall brings pumpkin spice and dying vegetation.
The vegetation really begins to rot and it is kicked up a notch at this time of year. Plus, you get the aroma of smoke from fireplaces and wood burning stoves.
One of my tricks when pulling overnight shifts is to go outside for a breath of fresh air and a little extra oxygen. It wakes you up, fast! The scent really hit me over the weekend. Winter is approaching. I can smell it.
How many on the list have I watched? One and a half. That's a measly six per cent.
The one was "Scrubs." It was funny from the pilot to the last episode with the original cast. The final season, "Med School" was mildly amusing, at best, but I watched it. "Scrubs" was one of the few shows that could make you laugh, and make you cry in the same half hour. Great writing. Great characters.
The half is "The Big Bang Theory." The first few years were funny. I could relate to the social awkwardness of the main characters, especially the guy who pined for the unattainable woman. Things changed and "The Big Bang Theory" simply became another bickering couples sitcom. I stopped watching.
My own list? I have to admit that I haven't watched many. There were plenty that started out great, but petered out rather quickly. "My Name is Earl," Dharma and Greg," and "Two Broke Girls" to name a few.
My prime time viewing is way down, even with time shifting, and streaming, I really don't miss it.
Peter Scolari died recently. Newhart, Bosom Buddies, That Thing You Do... You simply liked the guy in everything in which he appeared.
It's too early for anything "Christmas."
Having said that, I'm really looking forward to getting out and photographing some holiday lights.
One of our area's newspapers has a weird fondness and fixation for the word "governance."
A poll shows mashed potatoes are America's favorite Thanksgiving side dish. I get that. I'm a stuffing guy, and I'll take Brussel sprouts as long as they're not overcooked. Love the spuds, too.
It's hard to beat a sunny, but cold November day. Unfortunately, they are rather rare.
The Aaron Rodgers story shows there are different rules for different people.
I still have no desire to see a movie in a theater. It has nothing to do with the pandemic. Nothing interests me.
Green is my favorite color, but I do love Chargers' blue.
There is a wonderful satisfaction in taking a good photo.
I'm no kid. I've been around the block a few times. Still, I'm occasionally shocked at how slowly and inefficiently government works.
I'm behind the Radisson, looking west, down Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton. The first cross street is Adams Avenue. South side is off to the left. The courthouse is a block away on the right.
Like yesterday's photo, it's a 30 second exposure with the 24 mm prime lens.
Once in a while, you get lucky.
I've wanted to do a long exposure shot from this spot for a very long time. I'm looking down on the Central Scranton/Biden Expressway from the Harrison Avenue Bridge. There is a rather substantial fence along both sides of the bridge, and that's a good thing, for safety. It does make it tough for photography.
I couldn't get my tripod close enough to the fence to shoot between the metal spires. I compromised, almost using the tripod as a monopod and leaning it up against the fence. Unorthodox, but it worked.
This is the view, 30 second exposure and looking toward downtown. You can see the Radisson, and then the lights of the WEJL tower on the upper left. I used my 24 mm lens for this, and it lets in tons of light.
Back in September, a friend and I were exiting a restaurant when a customer said "Have a good evening, Mr. Reynolds."
Well, another case of mistaken identity took place last week. I was in a mini mart, waiting for my hot dogs, when one of the workers asked "How are you doing, Mr. Stevens?"
I said, No, I'm not Mike Stevens, and before I revealed my true identity, he backed off in embarrassment. The worker returned a few minutes later and admitted he asked the cashier who I was, and she corrected him. No worries. It's all good. If I am to be mistaken for anyone, Mike is a good choice. Although, all we really have in common is the gray hair.
I miss Mike. The pandemic sent us on separate paths, and I've seen him only a few times in the past year and a half. I long for those b.s. sessions at his desk, talking about our old radio days. There are very few people in the newsroom who can relate.
In fact, this is the second time I've been mistaken for Mike. The first time happened a few years ago, in another mini mart run by the same company. There must be something in the soda.
And then, there is what you see above.
The 6th Avenue bridge is closed and there is a rotting, abandoned hotel on the other side. It's been this way for decades. It's right in the center of the downtown-- near the fire station and city hall.
Could you imagine what could be done with this space? Parking? A park? An event venue? Even an empty lot would be an improvement, not to mention the improved traffic flow a new bridge would mean.
It's a blotch on a fine city that should have been taken care of years ago.
Look out for next year! We will elect a new senator and a new governor. Plus, with redistricting, new people will be running in different places. Vote 22 will be loud and expensive.
Time to start working on next year's graphics!