Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Just a Second!

 

I think Pat Summerall and I would have been friends.

I was watching John Madden eulogize Summerall in a YouTube clip.  Madden started to ramble.  He stopped and said how Summerall was constantly preaching "brevity."

Amen.

I constantly try to improve my craft by watching YouTube videos on photography.  Some creators are fantastic.  They do show and tells and get right to the point.  Others ramble, in love with the sound of their own voices and images.  Stop that!  Stop it now!  

By the way, if you are interested in photography, look up the "Photo Genius" on YouTube.  Paul Farris really is a genius and he explains things so anyone can understand, even me.  He also does it in an efficient manner.

Yes, my own industry is guilty of this.  Why do newswriters constantly use and overuse the phrase "in connection with?"  99 per cent of the time, it's avoidable.

I actually heard "destructive fire" the other day.  Show me one that wasn't.

There are a thousand other examples I can bring up, but in the name of brevity, I'll stop here.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Half

 

Today, the subject is "half."  It's a half dollar to note that we are more than half way through winter.

Yes, I write about this every year because this is the time of year we can all use a little morale booster.

The three coldest months of the year are December, January, and February.  We are more than half way through January, so that means meteorological winter is half over!

There is a tough nut to crack.  The last two weeks of January are traditionally the coldest of the year, and the average daily high doesn't start to climb until Ground Hog Day.

Still, it's nice to think a lot of cold weather is in the rear view mirror.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Andy's Angles, Winter, Part II

 

You can mark this one as a "fail," but it's the intent that counts.

Like yesterday's shot, my goal was to illustrate "winter."  What better way than show the snow covered, and judging by the flag, windy WNEP back yard.

I took this one at 3 am Tuesday, one camera phone shooting another, plus the station's weather set in the background.  My phone decided to focus on the background rather than the foreground, but you get the idea.  It was cold, and there was a half inch of new snow on the ground.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Andy's Angles: Winter Weekend

 

I knew I was short on photos in the queue, and as I was driving to work the other morning, I was considering photo topics.  The goal was to illustrate "winter."

When stuck for a subject, trains are a great fallback.  I can't believe we're two weeks in to the new year, and I have yet to post a train on the blog.

I spied this beauty in the Taylor yard Tuesday morning.  A train idling on the tracks, new snow all around.  This engine has been here before, but it's the snowy setting that makes it different.

By the way, I thought I was the only insane one who takes train pictures at 1:30 am, when temperatures are in the teens.  There was another guy in the yard looking for a photo opportunity.  We train lovers are a dedicated bunch.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Newspaper Roulette

 

As I have noted in this space many times, I have a great deal of respect for the newspaper industry and the people in it.  We broadcasters are hit and run artists.  Get in, get the pictures and a few nuggets of information, and get out.  The newspaper people are much more detail oriented.  They're specialists.  I envy and admire that.

My local newspaper is trying its best to blow any good will and admiration accumulated over the years.

I call it "newspaper roulette."  You never know if you will find a newspaper on the front porch in the morning.

I get it.  There are labor shortages everywhere.  Carriers are tough to find.  For a while, my paper gave up and stuck it in the mail every day.  There is a huge problem with that.  The US Postal Service is in worse shape than newspapers.  I don't get my mail until late in the afternoon, and there are many days when it doesn't arrive at all.

Keep in mind that I paid for my subscription a year in advance.  You already have my money.  Providing such shoddy service is simply bad business practice.

It's clear the paper has to change its business model.  Give up on carriers as independent contractors.  Hire them.  Put them on the payroll.  Give them benefits.  After all, you have to do something to justify that increase in newsstand price from $1.50 to $2.00 that kicked in January 1. 

What's that noise I hear?  It sounds like a hammer.  The newspaper industry is slamming nails in to its own coffin.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

High Anxiety

 

As I write this, forecasters are raising the possibility of a large snowstorm for Monday, and that's after a weekend where we could see temperatures dip below zero.

Anxiety, high anxiety, is setting in.  I worry about getting myself and family members to medical appointments, getting to work, getting home, and everything else associated with travel.

I'm sure there will be a supermarket trip in my future.  I'm good on Pop Tarts and Diet Pepsi.  The same goes for chunky peanut butter and cups o' noodles.  I could use a couple of frozen pizzas and I'm low on Cheerios (the plain kind).  A bag of kettle chips wouldn't hurt.

I filled my pepper mill yesterday afternoon, and I filled my gas tank yesterday morning.  I even bought the brand of gas my little SUV likes the best.  Hey, it's a snow storm.  This is not the time to go cheap.

Of course, the storm could bring us mostly rain, or it could skirt off to the southeast.

It's setting up to be a high anxiety weekend.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Wednesday Scrapple

 

FOX News and CNN have taken their sniping at each other to a new level.  I have flash for the programmers.  No one cares.  Just do the news.

I'm not sure he will be a head coach again, but Dunmore's Vic Fangio deserves another job somewhere.

Arby's is coming out with a super spicy sandwich and it comes with a free vanilla milk shake to put out the fire.  Chicken or brisket.  Color me intrigued.

It's January.  It gets cold.

I still can't get used to saying and writing Las Vegas Raiders.

I still can't get used to saying and writing Los Angeles Chargers.

An ice storm scares me more than a snow storm.

It's tough watching golf tournaments from Hawaii, California, and Florida when we are up north and freezing.

There is no bad time for pizza.

Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is simply a great song, and my radio volume goes way up when I hear it.

Rod Stewart recently turned 77.  Yikes!

Don't ask me why, but any time I surf past the Food Network these days, someone is making tacos, and some weird variations.  The basic is good enough for me.

It was nice to see Georgia win the national championship after a 41 year drought.

I had a strange broccoli craving the other morning.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Bob Saget and Bad TV

 

Bob Saget's death kicked off several thoughts dancing around in my head.

I was not a "Full House" fan.  I'm sure it was a fine show, and I was not in its target demographic.

Saget hosted a game show for NBC called "1 vs 100."  I thought it was fun and really good, and I'm sorry NBC gave up on it.  Bob Saget was a solid game show host, better than most of the current crop.

His stand up routines were raunchy and outrageously funny.

However, and you knew a "however" was coming...

I cannot think of Bob Saget without remembering "The Morning Program."

Let's take you back to 1987.  CBS was tired of its morning news disasters.  Formats changed.  Anchors changed.  Viewers stayed away.  Although, CBS was always the newsiest of the morning broadcasts and I always watched.  CBS management took the time period away from the news division and gave it to the entertainment division.  "CBS Morning News" was cut back to a half hour at 7 am.  At 7:30, the CBS entertainment division gifted us with "The Morning Program."  It starred Mariette Hartley, Rolland Smith, Mark McEwen, and Bob Saget.  It was awful.  It was beyond awful, and it might be my most hated television show-- ever, even worse than "The Office."  Unwatchable.  How do I describe "The Morning Program?"  It was one of those happy, cheery, sappy, smarmy, unctuous, fawning, fulsome "news you can use" shows, filled with cooking, celebrity news, celebrity interviews, a live audience, witless banter,  alleged comedy, and a bunch of time wasters.  I remember the first broadcast.  Mariette Hartley toured the set and was so thrilled it had an actual working kitchen!  Yay!  That will attract the viewers!  They had a kitchen!

Like everything else CBS did in the morning, "The Morning Program" failed to gain traction.   It bombed.  Big time.   Management put it out of its misery after several months, and returned the time period to the news division.  It gave us "CBS This Morning" with Harry Smith and Kathleen Sullivan, a recruit from ABC News.  While "CBS This Morning" wasn't great, and it looked like the set came from KMart, it sure was better than "The Morning Program."  Anything would have been better.  I've always been a Harry Smith fan.

My sympathy to Bob Saget's family, friends, and fans.  "The Morning Program" is a minor stain on an impressive career.

Monday, January 10, 2022

#Sad

 


Today, it's a misplaced #Sad, and as you can see from the graphic above, it deals with Christmas trees.

I know Christmas trees are a crop.  They are grown to be cut down, decorated, discarded, and hopefully recycled.

Still, it makes me sad to see dead trees along the curb, waiting to get picked up.  It means the end of the holiday season, and the beginning of a long, dark, cold and snowy January.

Plus, it's a reminder of my yearly thing.  Every year, I can't wait for the holiday season to be over, and every year, when January rolls around, I regret not having any holiday fun.

Discarded Christmas trees, thank you for the memories.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Andy's Angles: The Square

 

This was going to be this month's blog header, before I went in another direction.    It's the Bicentennial Building on Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

It's been on the blog before.  While I can't say it's my favorite, I do like it.  It's clean and modern and a sign of the new Wilkes-Barre.  It's decades old and it still looks new in the morning sun.

On the other hand, it's plain and rather robotic.

Significance?  I believe this was the first new development in Wilkes-Barre after the Tropical Storm Agnes flood.  Check your calendars, dear readers.  June marks the 50th anniversary of the flood.

Next time you pass, think of what it stands for.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

About the Cover

 

I had a January header set to go, but I thought I'd take one last New Year's Eve morning ride with the camera at my side to see if I could get something better.

Yes, I'm beginning the new year with one of my long exposure shots.  


This is where Oak Street and Keystone Avenue meet Route 315 in Pittston Township.  I took the photos a little after 3 am on December 31st.  Apparently, one of the businesses inside the industrial park was doing a shift change there was a fair amount of traffic for the middle of the night.

It was a foggy morning and a deliberately underexposed, trying to avoid getting blown out by the bright parking lot lights on the other side of 315.  The aperture was closed down as far as it could go, and that's why the lights have the neat starburst effect.

If you're familiar with the intersection, I'm on the sidewalk at the park and ride lot.  Notice the building with a peaked roof across the street.  It's still under construction and it looks like the parking lot there will afford a great vantage point to view the traffic that enters the intersection.

I'll be back.


Friday, January 7, 2022

Underwhelming

 

We are entering the last weekend of the NFL regular season, and I cannot recall a year when I have cared less.

This is the first 17 game regular season-- too long.

14 teams make the playoffs this year-- too many.

Add it all up and it totals indifference.

The toothpaste is out of the tube.  It's not going back to the way it was, when the playoffs really means something, and most feel an 18 game regular season is in the near future.

I seem to be in the negative minority here.

Enjoy.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Yawn!

 

I call this time of year the "January Doldrums."

We're in a post holiday lull.  Not much is happening.  The news cycle slows a bit.  The dead of winter has arrived.  There's not a whole lot of outdoor activities.

Until the pandemic put the brakes on everything, I thought we were making progress toward eliminating the January Doldrums, especially on weekends.  It seems like winter carnivals and ice festivals were popping up all over the place, and I thought that was great.  Some remain.  We need more.  There is a huge entertainment void to fill.  Going to a movie or watching TV just doesn't cut it.

If and when all of this ends, it would be nice to see winter entertainment gain traction again.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

#Sad

 

The mid Atlantic was hit by a nasty snowstorm Monday, and here are just a few thoughts...

I've been watching the coverage of the storm from the Washington and Philadelphia TV stations.  All did solid and credible jobs.  It was great video and useful information without the Weather Channel-style hysterics.  Whether its Wilkes-Barre or Washington, we all cover storms basically the same way.  Reporters are out in the elements, standing along roads, or driving around.  Viewers see what conditions are like as school and business cancellations race across the bottom of the screen.  I'm okay with that.

Here is why #Sad appears in today's post.  Why are there so many problems keeping roads clear?  I know Washington isn't used to dealing with such things.  Drivers aren't as skilled at maneuvering in the snow as we northerners are.  Elected officials have to do what Pennsylvania tried a couple of years ago-- ban the big trucks, at least for a little while.  Everyone else simply has to stay home and businesses need to be more sensitive to that.  Non essential businesses have to shut down and give their employees a break.  Road crews would then have the time and the space to get the upper hand on the storm.  The Republic will not fall if we lose The Gap for a day.  We can live without Baconators and Peanut Buster parfaits.  Some people were stuck in their cars, on highways, for several hours.  That should never, ever, ever happen.

We are entering the darkest and coldest month of the year.  February is no picnic, either.  There is a whole lot of winter left.  Can we please get storm recovery right?


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Betty White

 

Why I loved Betty White...

She referred to Facebook as a "waste of time" and a "time suck."

She had range.  Tart on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, sweet on The Golden Girls.

She did game shows, even though many in the entertainment industry view them as the bottom rung of the television ladder.  By the way, they aren't.  White had fun, and yet she took all the games seriously.  If I was a contestant and I had Betty White as my partner, I would be in great comfort.

And, the biggest reason of all...  Betty White loved animals and worked to protect their welfare.

Betty White died Friday at the age of 99.  We are all better off because she was on the planet for nearly a century.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Leftovers

 

Just a few things I should have addressed last year...

"Jeopardy!" is staying with Bialik and Jennings for a while longer.  Good choice.  Both have grown in to the role.

Aren't there better charities than paying for over-hyped fast food chicken sandwiches?

The "Night Court" episodes with John Astin never disappoint.

A coworker and I got in to a Tom Petty discussion last month.  Dang!  He was great!  He is one of those artists who take me back to my treasured college radio days.

Peanut butter Kandy Kakes are as delicious as ever, but what's up with the shrinkage?

Chris Wallace left FOX last month.  He's headed for the new CNN streaming service.  I always thought "FOX News Sunday" was the best of the bunch, even going back to the Tony Snow days.

The words I never thought I'd say:  "I'm really beginning to appreciate olives."

Utter failure:  any effort to stop robo calls and telemarketers.

Shouldn't Urban Meyer have known better?  And, why did Jags management stick with him for so long?

Underrated artist:  Boz Scaggs.

There was nothing wrong with a 16 game NFL regular season.

One of the major thrills in life is getting a Final jeopardy! question when the three geniuses miss it.  I nailed the McCartney/Lennon answer last week!



Sunday, January 2, 2022

John Madden

 

I've been reading, watching, and listening to the tributes that followed last week's passing of former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden, and all are wonderful.  Madden was a loveable guy who brought knowledge, fun and passion to his broadcasts.

However, one important fact is missing from the vast, vast majority of the Madden stories.

Pat Summerall.

CBS tested Madden with Vin Scully, the front runner to be on the lead broadcast team, and Pat Summerall.  The sanctimonious Scully kept Madden on a short leash.  Summerall let Madden be Madden.  The rest is history.

In an interview after Summerall's death, Madden talked about Pat's ability to draw the best out of his partner.  Madden added that Summerall asked him questions on the air that Summerall knew the answers to.  He just wanted to help Madden look and sound good.  Summerall also had the ability to pull Madden back to the game when he went off on one of his tangents.

Al Michaels was smart enough to build on that foundation.

It was a great pairing, and I severely doubt that John Madden would have been a major star if he didn't work with Pat Summerall.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year!

 

As you are likely tired of hearing me say by now, I've always felt we pay far too much significance to the simple turning of a calendar page, but if it gives you hope, a feeling of a fresh start, by all means, go for it.

Again, as always, I hope the start of 2022 finds you all happy and healthy-- and it stays that way.

Thanks for reading the past 17 years.

Happy New Year!