Friday, December 31, 2021

Top Ten: Night in to Day


I had a feeling this would be my number one photo of the year, right after I took it ten months ago.

I've always had a love affair with the Scranton Times building in downtown Scranton.  Any newspaper building in a downtown, with a big radio tower, WEJL, on top, is the coolest thing ever.  Plus, the tower is tied in to the building's steel, which is sunk into the swamp that used to be Scranton, and you have a monster signal with a relatively small number of watts.  The tower itself is about 400 feet tall.

I took this one in late February, at 3:45 am.  It looks like dawn or dusk because I have the aperture opened way up and have the shutter open for 30 seconds.  The result-- night turns in to day.  A photographer friend said it looks like a painting.

The result was totally accidental.  You never know what you will get when you experiment with your camera settings and turn away from "automatic."

Well, that's this year's Top Ten.  Thank you for being along for the ride in 2021.  Now, on to 2022.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Top Ten: Downtown Streaks


The number two spot on this year's Top Ten list is actually a series, but a theme unites them.

The photo above gets in on a technicality.

Yes, it was taken in late 2020, but it didn't appear on the blog until January of 2021.  In my book, it qualifies.  It's my blog and I make the rules.

This is one of my overdone slow shutter speed shots, to capture the lights of passing cars.

The location:  Spruce/Biden and North Washington in downtown Scranton.

I tried it again.  Below is an early November shot, looking down on Lackawanna Avenue, from behind the Radisson.

And on the same morning in November, I was on the Harrison Avenue Bridge, looking down on the Central Scranton/Biden Expressway.  Downtown is in the distance.  Interstate 81 is at my back.

I've really grown to enjoy the technique, and I have some spots in mind to visit in 2022.  The shots really depend on the location and the amount of traffic.  The second and third photos were taken around 7 am-- a late sunrise as winter approached.  One of the reasons I like shooting at night is you really don't have to depend on the weather.

Tomorrow, it's my favorite photo of 2021.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Top Ten: Slow Ride, Take it Easy


You've seen my long exposure night shots scattered throughout the year.  My long exposure, slow shutter speed moving water technique needed work, and this is what I accomplished in Honesdale back in mid April.

This was my first venture with my new filter.  It blocks some of the light entering the camera so you can leave the shutter open longer.

For a first try, it wasn't bad.

Tomorrow, it's back to night.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Top Ten: Blue


This one really should be higher in the Top Ten, but it is my birthday, and I always try to choose a photo with a little more significance and personal meaning for the day.

Scott Schaffer and Sharla McBride used to have this thing, where they would color coordinate every day.  That was their thing.  It was cute.

Earlier this year, meteorologist Valerie Smock and I did it accidentally.  Blue tie.  Blue dress.  It made my day, and a team selfie, if there is such a thing, taken by Valerie, makes this year's Top Ten.

I lost my security blanket when Noreen Clark retired a few years ago.  For 20 years, I marveled at her enthusiasm and professionalism as she bounded in the office door at 2 am.  Valerie made the transition easy by simply being herself.  I'm lucky to work on the same broadcast with her.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Top Ten: It Is Balloon!



I was on my way to Lackawanna State Park on a late November morning when this drifted overhead.  As luck would have it, there was no place to pull over safely where I could get a clear shot.  I had to wait until I made it to the park's parking lot.  By then, the balloon was in its descent.  On top of that, I had to twist off the wide angle lens I had on the camera and grab the 300 mm zoom out of my bag.

I'm not fast and the balloon was getting lower and lower.  The task now was to get the envelope in focus and not the trees.  There was a major sigh of relief when I loaded the pictures in to the computer and saw I had a decent photo.  The basket is a bit fuzzy, but the colors of the balloon really pop against the brown trees and the blue sky.

As I said on social media the day I took the photo, if you ever have the chance to take a hot air balloon ride, do it!  It is one of life's great joys, especially when the burner is turned off and it's the silence of drifting over the countryside.

By the way, if you the "F Troop" reference, congratulations.

Tomorrow, coordinating with a friend.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Top Ten: Gas Glow


Christmas is over, and I hope you had a great one.  Now, it's on with the countdown.  

I've taken plenty of pictures of this place over the years.  It's the plant along Route 6 in Jessup that turns natural gas in to electricity, but all those pictures have been during the day.

This was my first time up here at night.  My trip was in late July and very early in the morning.  The shutter was open for 30 seconds on this one, and I love what the long exposure does to the lights.

As I said in the original post, regardless of how you feel about the project, it is an impressive and imposing sight.

We go up in the air tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!

 The Top Ten countdown takes its traditional Christmas day break.

Submitted for your approval, a newspaper ad from my first Christmas on the planet, 1962.

Relax today, and have a drink with Santa.

And below is a shot of Marywood University's nativity scene.

Yes, it was here last year, but it was a night time shot and I didn't like it.  Mary's halo was too bright and the figures were too dark.  I solved the problem this year by taking a picture during the day.  You really do have to see it at night, and stop by if you're in the neighborhood.

The Top Ten countdown resumes tomorrow, with an industrial look.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Top Ten: MoonWatch

This is a good choice for Christmas Eve, and I'm sure Santa and the reindeer will have a great view of it tonight.

I know there was a moon shot in last year's Top Ten.  It hasn't changed, but I still like photographing it, so a new shot is back in this year's Top Ten.  

This one was taken around 4:00 am on May 27th.

Photographing the moon isn't as easy as it seems.  You have to get a sharp focus through atmospheric haze.  Your camera wants to overexpose the moon because it's surrounded by darkness.  You have to change your metering mode and deliberately underexpose.

It really is quite a challenge and tough to get exactly right.  This one isn't great, but it's not bad.

And on this Christmas Eve, a little reminder of what the season is all about.

Tomorrow, it's a break for Christmas, and when the countdown resumes, it's a different kind of glow.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Top Ten: Leafy Focus

A friend remarked how fall photography can become a cliche, a little tired, the tried and true.  Yes.  It's all of the above and I am guilty as charged.

 I was playing with my camera the morning of October 25, along the Lackawanna River at South Laurel St. in Archbald.

An artsy and creative burst hit me, and I attempted to recreate a nice shot from the previous year, with some changes.  The focus is on the leaf on the rail, not the river.  Yes, I might have over-blurred the background, but I do like it and it's worthy of a spot in this year's Top Ten.

Tomorrow, it hits your eye.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Top Ten: Histoire


A lot of mixed feelings for today's Top Ten entry.  I love history and preserving it, but everything has a shelf life.

The old fire house behind the Olyphant Municipal Building was torn down in March to make way for parking spaces.

The fire company moved out months prior, because this building was too old and too small to be functional.  It would cost too much to fix.  Understandable, but it was still sad to watch more than one hundred years reduced to rubble.

Below is a shot of the cleared lot, taken back at the end of May.  Part of the space will be used for a memorial to veterans, and I look forward to seeing the finished product.  I'll be there, camera in hand.

A taste of fall comes to the Top Ten tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Top Ten: Patriots


This is a great way to begin the actual Top Ten of 2021.

On September 12th, I did what I've been doing the past nine years-- attending the SGT Jan Argonish Memorial Bike Ride in Jessup.  SGT Argonish died in Afghanistan in 2007.

I never met Jan, but I do know his parents, and they are great people.

I always avoid taking photographs during the national anthem, but I made an exception this year.  It was a powerful scene-- bikes, flags, heads bowed as they remembered a young man who served his country with honor and dignity.

I just had to snap a photo.  No disrespect intended.  In fact, it was just the opposite.  I wanted to show how people respected the flag, the country and a soldier.

Tomorrow, history bites the dust.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Top Ten Honorable Mention: 2461


As I said yesterday, you knew it had to happen.  It couldn't be an end of year review without at least one train.

This shot works for me on so many levels.

It's a locomotive outside the Von Storch shop in Scranton, taken on an early September morning.  The colors on the engine pop on a sunny morning.  Radio and light tower above, bridge over the tracks on the left.  The lines of the tracks catch your eye and draws you off to infinity.

As I said a few months ago, it almost looks like calendar art.

Some purists might complain there is a lot of wasted space here, and I do get that.  On the other hand, the sky is a great shade of blue, and I wanted to showcase the environment as well as the locomotive-- the trees, the bridge, the radio tower...

Tomorrow, a spirited start to the actual Top Ten of 2021.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Snowy Jason


OK, boys and girls.  It's countdown time.  Today, it's the first of the honorable mentions.

Our area was hit by a three day long nor'easter that started January 31.  Some places received more than two feet of snow.  The Scranton area measured in at about a foot and a half.

This is the Jason Miller monument on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton, taken the morning of February 3.  It's a camera phone shot, and not the sharpest one at that.

I know inanimate objects have no feelings, but Mr. Miller looks really cold here.

Tomorrow, you knew it had to happen.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Top Ten Preview


As Jim Nantz of CBS Sports would say, it's a tradition unlike any other.

It's time for this year's countdown of my favorite photos.  Photos have been part of the blog since its inception 17 years ago, but this is the 13th year for the countdown.  It serves a variety of purposes.  One of them is to fill space as things slow down toward the end of the year.  Plus, it offers another look and a little perspective on some photos that have appeared here in the last 12 months.

As I always say, the Top Ten doesn't necessarily reflect the best photos of the year.  Some are clearly flawed.  However, they are photos that mean a lot to me.

This year is slightly different.  There are no screen grabs.  I took them all, except one, and that one will be clear to you.

As in recent years, there are a couple of honorable mentions-- decent shots that just didn't crack in to the Top Ten.  There will also be a one day break for Christmas.

If something big and newsworthy happens between now and the end of the year, I'll mention it here.  Plus, I still have Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

It all starts tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Valley


Plusses and minuses of the 10-18 mm lens I've been prattling on about in recent months...

It's great for landscapes, but there are times when too wide is too much.  You really can't make out the buildings here from the overlook along Route 307, just outside of Scranton.  For perspective, CMC is in the near center of the shot.

On the plus side, there is a decent view of the Central Scranton/Biden Expressway.  I'll get back here some morning or evening, zoom in or use another lens, and get some light trails.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Courthouse


There really is no raison d'etre for today's entry.  I'm just blowing off some photos before the end of the year arrives.

This is Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.  It's the intersection of North Washington and Linden.  The shot was taken from one of the upper levels of the parking garage and it was a bit of an experiment.

First, I was trying the wide angle lens, and the lens gave me more than enough wiggle room.  I actually had to crop out a building that stuck in to the shot from the left.

Second, I was trying to determine if I had enough "street" for a light trail/long exposure shot sometime in the future.  The answer is yes, and I'm looking forward to trying it, especially if I get there while the Christmas decorations are lit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Christmas Letter


It's time for my yearly exercise in frustration, and it's become a blog tradition for the last several years.  

I get a card and letter from my college friend, Sue, every year at this time.  She is one of those people who includes a family newsletter along with the card.  I am being 100 per cent sincere when I tell you I like those things.  I enjoy catching up with old friends.

My problem is the response.  Sue has a great life, great job, great family, great vacations...  I just don't know how to respond and as always, I publish my first draft here to get your input.

Here goes.

Dear Sue:

As always, I was thrilled to learn about your 2021 adventures, and thank you for the photo.  The smiles on all your faces is fantastic.  I'm glad things are going so well.

Life in Pennsylvania is OK.  We've had some weather extremes, but I've seen worse.  

I've been at my job a long time, and in a year when we've seen so many people trying their hands at other things, I'm still happy and challenged.

Photography expeditions haven't been spectacular, but they have been rewarding.  I've taken some shots I really like.

I've made some new friends. Unfortunately, I've lost some, too.  Too many.

I spent a recent Sunday organizing a home storage area and I realized I have far too many light bulbs.

A major bank rewarded me with a new credit card, which I have yet to use.  It's in the wallet I recently purchased, which meets my needs perfectly.

It's been another year filled with diligent tire rotations and oil changes, and I found a new toothpaste I really like.

I received two shingles shots and a tetanus booster.

I became Linked In buddies with a couple of ABC News correspondents.

All in all, it's been a fine year.

I hope 2022 is filled with happiness for you and the family.

Be well and stay safe.

Your college friend,


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Another White Whale


Let me tell you about my Monday.

I produced "Newswatch 16 This Morning" and went home a little after 7 am.  After a breakfast of chicken parmigiana, I watched a couple of "Hogan's Heroes" episodes and set out to conquer another of of my holiday white whales.

Regular blog readers know one is the WEJL tower in Scranton.  No matter how many times I photographed it, I could never get it quite right.  The same goes for what you see above-- the giant Christmas tree inside the Liberal Arts Building at Marywood University.

Let me back up and jump around a bit.  Marywood started putting a giant tree here in 1982, which was my senior year.  It was actually half way through my senior year.  I graduated the following May.  I didn't go to a tree lighting ceremony until decades later, when I thought it would jump start me in a Christmas mood.  Yes, it helped.

Last year, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the tree and the lighting ceremony.  I didn't go in 2019 because I just wasn't feeling it.  Family obligations kept me away the two years before that.

This year's tree lighting was open to students and staff only.  Distinguished and successful alumni were excluded, and I get that.  Pandemic.  Also, even masked up, I wouldn't feel comfortable in a crowded building, anyway.

Be that as it may...  Marywood held final exams last week, so the campus is a ghost town this week.  I had the building to myself, and I could take my time with a variety of shots, using different camera settings and different locations in the rotunda.

I've been going "full manual" lately, including focus.  Note to amateurs, like me:  It's not that difficult.  Take your time.  Experiment, and the light meter will not steer you wrong.

I really wanted a tight aperture shot, hoping for a starry twinkle effect with the lights, and I didn't quite get what I wanted.  I also tried some long exposure shots, looking to get a nice glow going.

For example, the the shutter was open for 25 seconds in the shot you see below.

Was the photography expedition a total success?  Far from it, even though I was happy with some of the shots.

There were other plusses.  First, getting out after an overnight shift rather than collapsing in bed was nice, and the weather was beautiful.  Second, it's always wonderful being back on campus.  The place has changed, a lot.  Walking around still brings back some pleasant memories.

Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 13, 2021

The First Noel


Before I move on to the Top Ten photos of the year and a few other holiday things, I thought I would write about a Christmas memory.

It was December 24/25 1981.  This year is the 40th anniversary of the first Christmas I ever worked.

I was at WARM, The Mighty 590, and I was low man on the totem pole.  I don't remember if program director Ron Allen asked me or told me I was working Christmas Eve into Christmas morning.  Regardless if it was a request or an order, I was happy to do it.  Seriously.  Really.  I was.  It was my college junior year and I really wasn't a social butterfly.  At home, I never really was much of a Christmas guy.  Working was something to do, and a few extra dollars in my paycheck.  Bring it on!

I like to think management trusted me with an important assignment.  In reality, I was just the dumb kid willing to take the gig.  Cheap help.

My radio station duties weren't all that challenging.  I had to play a tape of Handel's Messiah at midnight, followed by several hours of recorded Christmas music and religious programming.  The main challenge was staying awake and staying occupied.  I do remember reading the newspapers and some radio trade industry publications.  There wasn't much coming over the Associated Press teletype.  SportsTicker was dead.  Nothing on the little newsroom black and white TV captured my interest.

Remember, this was before massive, and often destructive, media consolidation.  WARM was a stand alone AM station at the time, so I was all by myself at the Avoca headquarters.  The daytime office staff even unplugged the Christmas tree.  I restored the juice.

A 3 am lunch was a soda and some granola bars.  Chewy chocolate chip.  My favorite, even though they have no redeeming health value.

For some bizarre reason, there were several music requests from drunks at Christmas parties, and they all wanted to hear "Feliz Navidad."  I grew weary of explaining that all the music that morning was recorded.  There wasn't a live DJ on duty.  I just started saying "Keep listening.  I'll see if I can get that song on for you."  Yes, I lied on Christmas morning!  I'm sorry.

If memory serves, I called a couple of friends who were also working at their radio jobs.  The hours passed quickly enough, and eventually, it was time to go home.  It was breakfast with the family and off to bed.

As I have noted to newbies in this space in the past, don't be afraid to work holidays.  Yes, it's unpleasant in many respects, but it's also the opportunity for rookies to do things they ordinarily wouldn't get the chance to do.  In fact, the first newscast I ever anchored on WNEP was on a Christmas morning.  I've seen other people tossed a holiday bone, and they hit it out of the park.

The bottom line is that asked or forced, keep people working on the holidays in your thoughts, and it could be the day someone gets their big break.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Andy's Angles: Eagles


These eagles stand guard at the entrances to the Market Street Bridge.  There are two on the Kingston side of the Susquehanna River.  These two are on the Wilkes-Barre side.

You marvel at the the things these eagles have seen over the decades-- the Great American Races, the floods, the crashes, the tourists, the festivals, the fireworks,  the college kids...

I never grow weary of the view.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Andy's Angles: The View


This has to be one of the best and lovliest views here in our area.  I'm on the flood wall along the Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre.  I'm looking downstream at the Market Street Bridge.  Wilkes-Barre is on the left.  Kingston is on the right.  The photo was taken right around dawn.  The water was low and still.  That changed two days later when Ida arrived.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Andy's Angles: Frosty Trains


This is another late November vacation shot, and you can never get enough trains.

I took the shot behind the intermodal transportation center in Scranton-- working diesel in the foreground, and a part of the Steamtown collection off to the rear left.

As you can see from the weeds, it was a frosty late fall morning.

Thursday, December 9, 2021


 Yes, I know!  #Happy.  It's a first for this blog. Something actually made me happy.

Regular blog readers will know I've been following the saga of the Central Railroad of New Jersey train station for years.  The old Wilkes-Bare train station, turned bar/nightclub, turned abandoned eyesore had been falling apart for years.  Someone finally stepped up to buy and renovate the place.  Luzerne County moves its visitors' bureau here after the new year.

I worried about this one.  I feared it would meet the fate of so many other local historic buildings-- allowed to rot until the only option is demolition.  Remember the Hotel Sterling?  Also, the homeless and scavengers had broken in many times.  A fire seemed inevitable.

My concerns are over.  The building, constructed in 1868, looks fantastic.  I'm in love with the authentic looking brackets beneath the roofs.  Maybe, one day, passenger trains will return to the city.  It is so nice to see the building look the way it was intended-- without the garish and inappropriate additions.  Less is more, dear readers.

One thing is still bothering me-- that eyesore across the boulevard.  Let's hope it's next on the redevelopment list.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

About the Cover


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, pardon the pun.

As always, the December header topic was a challenge.  Most Christmas displays aren't fired up until we get in to December, and I'm not complaining about that.  Let's do Thanksgiving first, decompress for a few days and then move in to Christmas.

The WEJL tower atop the Scranton Times building was lit the night before Thanksgiving, a tradition, and that's fine.  It was a good show.  It brought a lot of people downtown and it was a great kick off to the holiday season.  It was nice to see Thanksgiving Eve activities that didn't involve a crowded bar.

This year, the tower is my white whale.  I tried a set of shots Black Friday morning and I hated them all.  I just couldn't get it right.  I attempted every combination of ISO, exposure and aperture.  If I got the lighting right, the focus was off and vice versa.

Unless it's a special occasion, the lights go off at 2 am.  I decided to try it again on the way to work November 30, paying extra special attention to the focus.  Yes, I trusted myself rather than the camera and went manual.   It's still far from a perfect shot, but it's the best of the bunch.

I love the tower, especially at Christmas.  Have a great month!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tuesday Scrapple


I adore consistency more than most, but how did James Franklin get a ten year contract out of Penn State?

A couple of weeks ago, Baltimore topped 300 homicides for the year-- again.  The 300th victim of 2021 was a five year old girl.  The number of homicides is disgusting.  Even more sad is the lack of outrage.  By the way, Philadelphia already has more than 500 homicides this year.

I love looking at old game shows, election nights, news broadcasts and sports broadcasts on You Tube.  I watched Lindsey Nelson do an NFL game for CBS.  Football, baseball...  Nelson excelled in every assignment, and he is horribly under-rated.

Bobby Flay and the Food Network finally settled on a new contract.  I could not imagine Guy Fieri being the face of the network.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be afraid to go to school, and for parents to be afraid to send their children to school.

I love pie crust and pizza crust.

Fabulous invention:  Those ATM's that allow you to choose the dispensed denominations.

Is there anything more boring than "best of" sports talk radio shows during the holidays?  I'm sure there are hosts all over the country who would take a fill in gig and a little national exposure.  There is no need to go canned.

The endless social media links to the WKRP Thanksgiving show got on my nerves, but you have to admit that it was an outstanding episode.

Can't change the radio station when there's a Ronstadt song on.

There are plenty of bruised feelings over some college football coaching changes.  Boo hoo!  What have I been saying here for years?  College sports is a big business and it's time to give up the illusion that these people actually care.

I don't care how good it is.  I'm not waiting an hour for fast food.

When did Chia pets become so creepy?

Monday, December 6, 2021

Canned and a Farewell


I wasn't going to say anything about the debacle at CNN, but I can't help myself.

It's in bad taste to advocate for someone's dismissal, but with Chris Cuomo, there was no other option.  CNN had to fire him.

Chris admitted to helping his brother, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, defend himself against sexual harassment allegations.  I get that.  Family first.  No problem.  Family first is always OK by me.

But, and it's a big one...  Chris lied about his total involvement, and that's a huge no-no.  As we learned nearly fifty years ago, it's not the crime, it's the cover up.

CNN bears some of the responsibility for this.  Management allowed Chris to conduct endless interviews with Andrew when the pandemic hit.  No!  No! No!  Many found it entertaining, but it just looked bad.  Integrity takes a holiday at CNN.

The network will be just fine.  Chris Cuomo never pulled big ratings.  his morning show bombed.  It will put someone else in there, making half the money, causing no problems, and have the same ratings result.

This will never happen, but I wish CNN uses the opportunity to re-make its prime time line up.  How I long for the days of PrimeNews at 8, a solid newscast of record.  I'd hang around for Larry King if he had an interesting guest.  Another solid, straight news broadcast came on at 10.  NewsNight followed, and CNN used to do great half hour sportscasts at 11:30 pm and 2:30 am.  News and highlights.  That's it.  No screwing around.  No schtick.  It was a sports fan's dream.  CNN kept its newscasts updated overnight, which is prime time on the west coast.

Straight news isn't going to pull huge numbers, but that's okay.  It attracts a quality audience and good demographics.  Advertisers love that.  Unfortunately, CNN fell victim to the "more heat than light" philosophy, and it got burned.

What will I remember about Bob Dole, who died yesterday at the age of 98?

First, his service and sacrifice to our country.

And then there was his eulogy at Richard Nixon's 1994 funeral.  Dole got up and spoke about Nixon, one of the most reviled characters in American political history.  Remember, Dole was ramping up his presidential campaign at the time, and I'm sure there were those who advised he lay low, and not speak glowingly about a man disliked by so many.  Dole did it anyway, and I respected him for that.

The moment I took away, forever, from the George H.W. Bush funeral was Dole being helped to his feet to salute the casket.

I met Bob Dole, briefly, when I was a radio pup in the 80's.  He and his wife appeared at a rally for a Republican congressional candidate.  It was inside the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre.  I simply didn't think he was very friendly.

I believe that's a common Dole criticism.  Bob Dole had an impressive resume, and he would have made a solid president.  He was lacking in the charisma category.  The guy just didn't give people the warm fuzzies that a candidate needs.

Dole admits he ran a bad presidential campaign in 1996.  I don't think he offered anything new.  His platform was to say "no" to everything.  Voters needed more than that, and America sent a very flawed Bill Clinton back to the White House.

I covered a 1996 Dole rally on a warm fall afternoon at the University of Scranton.  It was typical of what is done these days.  Arrive, make a speech, meet some of the movers and shakers, and take off to another city.  It was considerably less than memorable.

When everything is totaled up, Bob Dole will be remembered as a great American and that's as it should be.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Andy's Angles: Mr. Blue Sky


Let's do a little leaf peeping.

I took this on the same day as the recent burst of shots.  If it looks familiar, I stuck it on Facebook to let people there know I'm still around.

The shot is from the Route 6 scenic overlook near Carbondale.  The view is down the valley toward Scranton.

As many others have noted, this year's foliage was rather muted, thanks to the warm October.  I do like how that one red tree sticks out nicely.  I took the picture just before a massively rainy nor'easter moved in.

December is  here.  It's on to the grey and the cold-- except for the Christmas lights.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Andy's Angles: Artsy


Much to the relief of regular blog readers, I don't attempt much artsy stuff here.  Today, it's an exception.

I've photographed Carbondale City Hall several times.  It's a great building.  I twisted the wide angle lens on to the camera and attempted something different.  A wide angle lens can distort and I was really hoping for some distortion here.  There is a little but not enough to make me happy.

Below is the super wide view from the park across the street.  Obviously, I took it a couple of months ago.  I have to get back up there to see the Christmas trees.

 It's a beautiful building in a beautiful setting.  Carbondaleans are lucky to have it. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Lake and a Passing


It's that time of year again.  I have enough weekend photos to last until the "Top Ten" countdown takes over later this month, so the excess falls to Friday.  I look at it as a nice way to ease in to the weekend.

I'm still putting my 10-18 mm lens through its paces and I experimented at Lackawanna State Park while I was on vacation last month.

As you can see, it's just after sunrise and the water was exceptionally still.  What you cant see:  It was darned cold.

I have mixed feelings on the lens.  It's not the sharpest in my collection, but it does a nice job with landscapes.

And before I publish for the day, a sad note.  Michael Gargiulo passed away November 30.  He was a television legend, directing game shows, daytime drams and the Thanksgiving parade for decades.  Gargiulo was the first director of the "$10,000 Pyramid," which really was a game changer when it hit in 1973.  He also directed several Bill Cullen NBC game shows.  Michael Gargiulo was 95.

You might recognize the name.  His son, Michael worked at WYOU in the late 80's and early 90's.  In fact, I took the opening in 1991 when Michael moved on to a job in Louisville, Kentucky.  Michael has been anchoring the morning broadcast on WNBC in New York for the last several years.

My sympathy to the Gargiulo family.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Taste Test: Dot's


I have to admit it was a new one on me.

I read Hershey's bought North Dakota based Dot's pretzels.  It's one of the fastest growing brands in the country although I'd never heard of it.

I was in a hardware store recently and there it was, on a shelf near the check out.  I just had to try it.

With apologies to my good friend, Kerry Kearns, here is my version of Taste Test.  By the way, Kerry, you are dearly missed.

Unlike traditional pretzels, these twists don't have salt granules adhered to the outside.  They are tossed in a dusty, stale tasting seasoned salt.

It's oniony, garlicky, and some flavors I couldn't discern.  It reminded me of that Lawry's seasoned salt, that contains a little of everything.

Keep the Colgate and Listerine handy after you eat these things.  The aftertaste stays with you for quite a while.

The cashier at the hardware store says she loves them.  I shared them with family members.  Thumbs up from them.  Not from me.

There will not be a repeat purchase.

Hershey, you should have stuck to chocolate.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Holiday Horse


It begins soon, and I don't expect it to be as intense this year because Christmas and New Year's Eve/Day fall on weekends.  It is the horse trading that needs to be done to make sure every shift at the television station is covered.  We might lose newscasts due to sports and special programming, but there are still people at the office and on the road in case something happens.

There is usually what I call "horse trading" going on.  There is some of "I'll work this shift if you take that one."  It also involves taking comp days, and other assorted days off later.  That's the way broadcasting works. It's a 24/7 business, and working holidays comes as part of the package.  I'm still amazed that people don't get that, and it should be among the first things young people learn when they enter college.

It's odd to say, but I never minded working holidays.  It could be one of the reasons I've reached an advanced age and I'm still single.

When you are starting out, you do holidays because you get a chance to do things you ordinarily wouldn't do.  The first Newswatch 16 newscast I ever anchored was on a Christmas morning.  Before that, I took extra shifts on my college radio station and again when I arrived at WARM.  Yes, the extra large paycheck was nice, and a tiny, tiny piece of my cold, cold heart felt good working so people who loved the holiday could spend it at home.  I also took extra shifts when I was part time at my first television station.

I've thought about it long and hard, and I'm trying to figure out when I turned against the holidays.  I still can't come up with an acceptable answer.  I guess some people are just  born without the holiday gene.  I'm done beating myself up over that one.

You just can't look at working holidays as a chore.  Once you fall victim to that, you're done and you are going to be miserable.

If you are working at the holidays-- retail, first responders, military, broadcasting, emergency services, food service, medical, corrections, etc...  Thank you and an early Merry Christmas!