Monday, February 28, 2022

Port Jervis and Me


I've devoted a few blog entries this week to Port Jervis, NY and trains.  My association with the city goes back a very long way.

From where I live, it takes about an hour to get there.  And there would be a couple of pre Christmas trips every year, starting more than forty years ago.

Port Jervis is basically where PA, NY, and NJ meet.

Back in the day, Pennsylvania liquor stores were simply awful-- horrible, sterile places, with a very limited selection.  NY and NJ stores were under private ownership.  It meant a better selection, with some unusual finds, and it was a great place to pick up Christmas gifts and alcohol for holiday parties.

Family and I would travel east on Interstate 84, stock up, and sneak back across the border with our purchases.

I haven't made one of those alcohol runs in eons, because Pennsylvania liquor stores have stepped up their game in recent years.

I intend to visit Port Jervis to see its new railroad historical site.  I'm sure there will be a liquor store visit to check out the selection.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Classic Andy's Angles: Port Jervis II


This weekend's trip down memory lane isn't just filling space.  It was triggered by an actual news event.

The Dining Car Society is moving its collection of classic rail cars out of Scranton and to a new historical site and museum in Port Jervis, New York.

I visited the Port Jervis site in the fall of 2013, back when it was just a weedy, trashy, neglected area with the remnants of a burned down round house and a turntable.

I took the above the below photos.
There was some interesting stuff here nine years ago, but it looked like a place where bodies are discovered, so I snapped my pics and shot out of there.

As I said here before, I'm sad Scranton is losing those rail cars, but it's good to know they will be in a place where they will see a lot of attention and interest.

A trip to the east is in my future.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Classic Andy's Angles: Port Jervis I


As the Scranton Times~Tribune reported Tuesday, a collection of rail cars based in Scranton is being moved to a new railroad historical site in Port Jervis, New York.  It's being established where a roundhouse and turntable once stood.  It makes sense.  Port Jervis has a big railroading history.

The new historical site has been established in the location you see above.  When I visited in the fall of 2013, it was a weedy, neglected mess, with trash strewn all over the place.  I snapped my photos and took off.  It was simply a scary place.  I was sorry to learn some history is leaving Scranton, but happy it gets a home in a redeveloped site, just off the main drag in Port Jervis.

In spite of the scariness, there were some neat things to see, back nine years ago, and I look forward to a return visit, without the fears.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Tornado + 5


It's the fifth anniversary of the Lackawanna County tornado.

It hit on a Saturday afternoon, and even though I was just about six miles away from it, I slept through the twister.

The storm started near the Luzerne County line, traveled through an area outside of Moscow, over  Montage Mountain, and eventually to Lake Scranton.  Trees downed-- hundreds.  Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, but there were some very close calls, especially at Lake Scranton.

Weekends keep me in the office, but I did have a chance to look around the next Monday.  I took the photo above along Route 502, and you can see the bent trees on the upper left.

I haven't been up that way in a while, but I understand you can still see the scars.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Thursday Scrapple


There is a time to speak up, and a time to keep your mouth shut.  Golfer Phil Mickelson needs to know the difference.

Telemarketing and robo calls have totally gotten out of hand.  What a government failure!

"Wings" and "Drew Carey" can still make me laugh.

Will Americans ever get interested in an Olympics again?  TV ratings from the just concluded games were awful.  I suspect there will be renewed interest the next time the games are held on American soil.

Is there a newspaper that updates its web site as often as the New York Post?

A taste of spring during February is always welcome.

I haven't been in a mall in nearly one year.  You learn to live without.

Happiness is a good office chair.

I've had an Amazon Echo for years.  The technology still fascinates me.

Major League Baseball is killing itself.  In the meantime, networks and streaming services are more than happy to throw billions at the NFL.

Hard to believe the primary election is only around 80 days away.

It seems every pothole season is worse than the last.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

In the Gut


I woke up to the Tuesday morning news, and it felt like a punch in the gut.

The Scranton Times~Tribune reports that the Dining Car Society is moving its collection from Scranton to a new rail museum and display in Port Jervis, New York.

Part of the deal involves the cars you see above-- purchased when the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus closed.  I took the photo in Scranton in 2017.  What you don't see here is a restored dining car, and I'm sure it will get a lot of attention in Port Jervis.

I understand the reasons for the move, even though it is disappointing.  The head of the Dining Car Society they never found their niche in Scranton.  It's too bad.  There is some great stuff in the collection.  It could have been a nice compliment to the Steamtown National Historic Site, but it never came together.  I enjoy my trips to Steamtown.  However, there is a problem.  It.  Never.  Changes.  The Dining Car Society collection could have spiced things up a bit.

I did view the Port Jervis web site, and it looks like it will be really cool.  A big festival is set for May, but I hope to get out there before then, to take a look around.

By the way, the Port Jervis site has been on the blog before, and we'll revisit that day, in this space, this weekend.

Port Jervis Transportation History Center

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Holiday Mode


Yesterday's Presidents Day holiday started me thinking about holidays.

I've long believed Presidents Day should be a bigger deal in this country.  The same goes for the D Day anniversary, which isn't a holiday at all.

We do have some meaningful Memorial Day observances, but the day has turned into barbecue city and the beginning of summer.

The significance of Independence Day is lost in the noise and drinking.

We've lost sight of what Labor Day means.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are extremely important, but Thanksgiving has been getting lost in the holiday rush, and Christmas commercialism goes off the charts.

I've always believed the start of the new year gets far too much attention.  The same goes for birthdays.

MLK Day is relatively new, and Juneteenth is even newer.  It's about time.

The bottom line is a holiday is what you make of it, and you don't have to go with the flow.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Presidents Day


When I'm asked about news stories that I remember most, this one is always on the short list.

I was on the radio in the 80's.  It was Presidents Day, not a particularly busy day.  I decided to drop in to an arcade at one of the malls and ask young people why they had the day off from school, and what the day means to them.

The young people were very talkative, but sadly, very few knew it was Presidents Day.  To make it worse, even fewer cared.

The story sticks out, more than 30 years later, because I was shocked at the apathy, and disappointed Presidents Day apparently was not part of the curriculum.

I shudder to think of the responses I'd get if I attempted that story today.

As I say on just about every holiday, please remember what the day is all about.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Andy's Angles: Magnificent Desolation II


It's another shot of late winter's "magnificent desolation."  

I didn't have to go beyond the driveway for this one.  It's another f 5.0 aperture shot, and it's just a splash of color on a cold winter morning.

The trees are deliberately blurred and the wind took care of the rest.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Andy's Angles: Magnificent Desolation I

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin referred to the surface of the moon as "magnificent desolation."  The same can be said of a Pennsylvania winter.

This is the time of year when you start looking for color, for signs of spring.

Unfortunately, it was another week where I didn't have time to dedicate to a real photo expedition.  We'll have to settle for the rhododendron bush in the front yard.

I twisted on the 50 mm lens, which isn't the best for macros, but it worked.  Here is a bud, just waiting for springtime warmth and sunshine.

f stop here was 5.0, and it was successful in getting some background blur.

A coworker, also known as Wolfie, is trying to get me interested in macro.  This could be the year.  While the blog is a lot of landscapes, trains, and light trails, I hope to mix a macro in once in a while.    In fact, one of the top photos of 2020 was a macro, and it is one of my favorite shots.

I fear it will be a while before the rhododendron blooms.  I'll be ready with the camera when it does.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Friday Scrapple


Let's knock off some random thoughts as we head in to the last long holiday weekend of winter...

NBC's Olympic ratings are soft, and that's being kind.  I get that.  Compelling stories are few and far between.  You never know where to find your favorite sport.

NBC's Super Bowl rating was through the roof, and I get that, too.  It was a good game.

I didn't watch it and I don't care.

I never touch the radio dial when a Melissa Manchester song comes on.  Magnificent voice.

Her food is nothing to write home about, but Molly Yeh on the Food Network is one of the most charming and endearing personalities to appear on that network in a very long time.

There is always a sigh of relief when the last of the paperwork for tax time comes together.

The CNN saga becomes more bizarre on a daily basis and it's sad to see the turmoil at a once stellar organization.

A warm sweater on a cold day is so comforting.

Less than one month to Daylight Saving Time.

Any time of year is a good one for ice cream, even though I rarely indulge these days.

Is there anything better than a good Texas weiner?

Advantage of the overnight shift:  I slept though Valentine's Day.

Three Oscar hosts?  A good host helps move the broadcast along, but the real strength of Oscar night is the movies, and I don't detect any "grabbers" this year.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Ivan Reitman


You cannot write the history of American film comedies without mentioning the name Ivan Reitman.

Reitman died Sunday at the age of 75.

Ghostbusters, Stripes, Meatballs, Private Parts, Animal House, The Late Shift, Dave, Junior, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Legal Eagles...

Reitman had a hand in all of them.

The man was a giant.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022



Super Bowl LVI is in the books.

Rams 23, Bengals 20.

I predicted a Rams victory.  Win.

I predicted they would cover the spread.  Lose.

I wouldn't have complained if Cincinnati won.  I've always had a soft spot for underdogs, having spent a lot of time in that position.

Los Angeles is an easy team to dislike, mainly because of the way ownership screwed the people of St. Louis out of a team.

You do have to feel good for Matthew Stafford.  Solid quarterback, who was finally surrounded by a decent team.

My streak continued.  I didn't watch one second of the game.  I slept through it, and didn't even listen to the end on the car radio on my way to work.  That is in spite of being a big Kevin Harlan fan.  I learned the outcome by asking Ally Gallo when I walked in to the newsroom at 10 pm.

I cared nothing about the commercials and I cared even less about the half time show.

I did catch some highlights the next morning, and golly, Al Michaels is so good!

NBC tweaked its graphics.  Nice, but nothing great.  I still think FOX has a better look and ESPN isn't bad.

Speaking of TV, and I've been meaning to get to this for a while, Kay Adams has really become one of my favorites.  She handles her often inarticulate and rambling co anchors so well on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."  It's clear the woman knows television and she knows football.

By the way, "inarticulate" and "rambling" are not opposites.  You can talk for hours, and still come up with nothing of value.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Keith Martin


Former WBRE news anchor Keith Martin died Sunday.  76.

I knew Keith as a competitor.  He was tough and fair.  As an anchor, Keith had that exceptionally rare combination of gravitas, warmth, and humor.

I knew Keith as a coworker.  I've never worked with a more involved anchor.  He wasn't one who simply read what was placed in front of him.  It was not unusual to receive an afternoon phone call from Keith, asking for some information on the story you were working on.  He always had a suggestion, always curious, always supportive and helpful.  The man knew politics and government.  It was leadership in every way.

I knew Keith as a newsmaker, especially concerning his duties with the Pennsylvania National Guard.  Keith was one of the main people who made Armed Forces Week in Scranton "a thing" again.

Every meeting was positive, and it was always a kick to run in to him on a story.

There were rumors for years that Keith was considering running for office.  I have no doubt he would have breezed to victory in any race, against any opponent.

My sympathy to his family, friends, coworkers past and present, and fans.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Valentine's Day


It's a lecture today, so I'll be brief.

I don't want to hear anyone complain about having to buy something for their significant other because it's Valentine's Day.  

Be happy you have someone special in your life.

The lecture is concluded.

Carry on.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Andy's Angles: Up Above


Some of the best views of the Wyoming Valley come from the upper floors of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Plains Township.

Unfortunately, shooting through a dirty window on a cloudy day adds up to "fail."

The road you see in the middle is the North Cross Valley Expressway, heading toward the back mountain.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Andy's Angles: Get Used to It.


In spite of a few above normal days, we're still stuck with things like these.  Giant mounds of dirty snow dominate shopping center parking lots across our area.  This one is along the O'Neil Highway in Dunmore.  What's even more interesting is this pile seems to get the morning sun and the afternoon sun.  And, it's still here!

A closer look reveals the reason is simple.  This isn't snow.  This is mostly ice.  It's a combination of the snow, sleet and rain that fell last week.  The sun prompted a little melting, and then a re-freeze in to rock hard ice.


I fear this one will be around for a while longer.

Friday, February 11, 2022



Super Bowl LVI is Sunday night in Los Angeles.  I'll be asleep during the game, and that doesn't bother me.  I haven't watched a Super Bowl live in more than twenty years.  If the game moves fast, I might be awake for the very end.

The Super Bowl returns to Los Angles, and it could be the last game the great Al Michaels calls for NBC.

Even though I'm a casual fan, at best, I'll offer my opinion, and I've had a fairly decent track record in recent years.  There is no magic formula when it comes to picking a winner.  I usually lean toward the team with the better defense.

While I wouldn't call Bengals/Rams a dream match up, it might be interesting.  Cincinnati is quite the Cinderella story.  Quarterback Joe Burrow is a fine young athlete, and I'm enjoying watching him do well.  The Bengals never gave me the warm fuzzies,  and watching Marvin Lewis do a lousy job for 16 seasons was frustrating.  I can't believe management stuck with him for so long.

There are some great stories on the other side of the field.  The biggest has to be quarterback Matthew Stafford.  He was a solid performer, stuck on a lousy team, Detroit, for a very long time.  Gee, that sounds familiar.  Be that as it may, even though Stafford had some quality numbers for Detroit, he still has a lot to prove.

So, here is my prediction.  Los Angeles has the better defense, plus, it's a home game.  They win, and cover the spread.

Good luck, enjoy the game, and as always, spare me the discussion on tv commercials.

Thursday, February 10, 2022



I've been watching several "WKRP in Cincinnati" clips since Howard Hesseman's death a couple of weeks ago.

When you think WKRP, the turkey drop episode immediately comes to mind.  It was so well done, and I'll talk about that in a moment.  There were some episodes I liked better, including the pilot and one called "Baby, It's Cold Inside."

Be that as it may, back to the turkeys.  The landmark scene involves live turkeys dropped from a helicopter, into a shopping center parking lot.

The whole scene rests on the shoulders of Richard Sanders, who played Les Nessman.  You never see the helicopter.  You never see the turkeys.  The comedy is in Sanders' description of the incident and it works.  It works hilariously.

That, dear readers, is great acting and great writing.  Genius.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Spring Has Arrived!


You knew I would do it, and it always happens at this time of year.

Spring is here!

Let's back up to early Tuesday morning, right around midnight.  It cleared my sinuses, curled my nose hairs and nearly knocked me out of bed.  A skunk was paying a visit to my yard.

As has been noted here for eons, increased skunk activity is a sign warmer weather is around the corner.  They're looking for food and they're looking for love.

I was tempted to write this blog entry early last month.  There was a wicked skunk odor as I drove down the North Scranton Expressway in the middle of the night, but I took it as a fluke.  It was likely one skunk who decided to get up a little early.

Outside of the stench, ripping up lawns to find grubs, and destroying garbage bags, I've always found skunks to be cute little animals.  There is a lot to like-- the fur, the different stripe patterns and the way they waddle away when they sense it's time to flee.

Above all, the skunk is the robin of my neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Tuesday Scrapple


I hated haircuts as a kid.  Now, I look forward to them.

I hated broccoli as a kid.  Now, I like it.

It seems like there's an ice festival somewhere every winter weekend, and I think that's great.  We need winter diversions.

It's Super Bowl hype week.  It's fun for a while.  I'm worn out by Thursday.

There is a monster pothole on 81 north, near the Biden Central Scranton Expressway exit.  What are the chances it's filled in?

I see chicken wings are way up in price.  I'm glad I'm not a fan.

I enjoy a new razor blade more than I really should.

Why do Burger King and Wendy's change their French fries every year?

Watching the internal strife at CNN is great entertainment and very sad at the same time.

Why is there so much teeth gnashing at the stupid things some broadcasters say?  Solution:  turn it off.

If the NFL tanking allegations are true, some owners should lose their teams.

You can feel that the sun is a little stronger.  Better days are ahead.

Can someone do something to get me interested in the Olympics?

Mavis and Sheetz, thank you for the free tire air.  I know it costs money to maintain compressors, but the prices I see at mini marts are criminal.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Another Season


There is a season that comes after winter, but before spring, and we received a preview last week.

It's pothole season.

Thursday is usually my errand day-- the day where I do those little annoyances that we call life.  Bank, post office, drug store, supermarket, a take out lunch.  This past Thursday was extra special.  There was a light rain falling and it was the warmest day that we've had in a while.

That meant it was time for the potholes to open.  You know the drill.  The freeze and thaw cycle cracks and pavement.  Water gets in to break it up.  The water freezes and expands.  Potholes expand and multiply.

I fear this season will be especially fierce because we've had several mornings of single digit and below zero cold.  I've noticed more pavement cracks and bridge joints have "heaved."

Temporary patches are just that-- temporary.  There won't be a better fix until the asphalt plants open, and that is still several weeks away.

In the meantime, go slow, and make sure the number of a tire store is in your speed dial.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Andy's Angles: Snowy Morning


As I have said here before, I like photographing at night because weather isn't as large of a factor and there is no sun to worry about.

Well, weather did play a role in today's photos.

Like yesterday, it is the view from the Route 307 overlook, just above Scranton.  I was playing around with long exposures again.  It was a snowy, misty, foggy morning and that's reflected in today's photos.

I had the shutter open for 30 seconds on both.  Above, that's Community Medical Center on the right.  The pink lights of the Radisson are in the center and the Chamberlain plant is on the left.

I centered up on CMC in the above photo.  The green lights on the right come from the Nay Aug Park helipad and you can see some small light trails scattered about.

The overlook is a great place to set up the tripod and I'll be back.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

About the Cover


Yes, I know it's two consecutive months of light trail headers.  Forgive me.

I've taken "day" shots from this location before.  It's the overlook on Route 307, just above Scranton.  On my last visit here, in the fall, I saw that it would be a great place to shoot some light trails, especially in the winter.  The reason for a winter view?  The leaves are off the trees.

Interstate 81 north is shrouded by trees at the bottom.  The red lights running through the center are the southbound lanes.  The Central Scranton/Biden Expressway veers off at the right side of the shot.  The Sheraton Four Points in the large building on the left.

This was a fun shooting location, even on a freezing, snowy morning in late January.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Late Night at 40


Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was the 40th anniversary of the first "Late Night" show on NBC.

Current host Seth Meyers had original host David Letterman as a guest on the anniversary broadcast, and all I can say is "Wow!"

The 74 year old Letterman is as sharp, funny and witty as ever.  After watching that anniversary broadcast, all I could think of is "How did Seth Meyers ever get a show?"

Granted, I am no longer in the "Late Night" target demographic.  Still, some aspects of humor are universal.  I just didn't find anything funny from Meyers or his crew.  He seemed almost as uncomfortable as "Tonight" host and former "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon.

"Variety" published a glowing review of the episode, noting how Meyers was reverential, yet still funny and not making the whole thing about him.  I did see some of that. but Variety and I are not on the same page here.

Some old Letterman shows and bits were on YouTube and they were a welcome respite from the stuff we've been getting at 11:30 and 12:30.  Now, Letterman has started his own You Tube channel with his old material.

At the risk of being accused of living in the past, 40 year old Dave is head and shoulders above what we have now.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

NFL Notes


Tom Brady made it official Tuesday.  The Patriots and Buccaneers star is retiring.  It's time.  44 years old.  Seven Super Bowl rings.  He has nothing left to prove.

And, that brings us to the question, is Tom Brady the greatest of all time?  There is considerable evidence to point to "yes."  I watched some spectacular quarterbacks over the years.  Bart Starr, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Peyton Manning, John Elway...

But, it was a different game back then.  Runners ruled.  There wasn't as much passing.

You cannot overlook those seven rings and how Brady had the ability to pull a game out of the fire in the last two minutes.  So, yes, I do consider Tom Brady the greatest of all time.

The former Washington Redskins are now the Washington Commanders.  My reaction:  Meh.  I can't say I'm thrilled.  The name has a generic quality to it.  I don't hate it.  I don't love it, either.

And that brings us to another Washington story.  The Commonwealth of Virginia is trying to lure the Commanders to northern Virginia with a two billion dollar stadium.  The Commanders are committed to their current home until 2027, so nothing is right around the corner.

The proposed stadium would have a dome.  so, it is conceivable northern Virginia could get in to the Super Bowl rotation.  It would be great having a championship game in the shadow of the capital.

I'll have my annual Super Bowl pick next week.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

40 and Out


Her 40 day championship run is over.  Amy Schneider lost on "Jeopardy!" last week.

I am happy.

It's not because I don't like Amy Schneider.  I do.  She seems like a very likeable and humble person.  I respect her vast knowledge.  Most of Schneider's 40 wins weren't even close.

And, there is the problem.

Schneider was so smart, there was no jeopardy in "Jeopardy!"  The outcome was decided before the Final Jeopardy round.  She couldn't lose.

I didn't find that fun.  I didn't find that entertaining.  I need suspense.  I need drama.

I like "Jeopardy!" better when there are new faces.

"Jeopardy!" used to retire champions after five wins.  I like that rule.  Bring it back!

It will never happen.  Ratings rose during Amy Schneider's championship run.  In television, and in life, follow the money.

Congratulations, Amy.  You were a great champion.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Howard Hesseman


The mark of great casting is you cannot imagine anyone else in that role.

Howard Hesseman died over the weekend.  81.  He was Dr. Johnny Fever on "WKRP in Cincinnati" from 1978 to 1982.  It was a solid series that CBS treated poorly.  It had a dozen different days and time periods during its run.  CBS had a choice of two comedies to continue on its schedule.  The other was "Alice."  We can debate that bad choice for eons.

Some useless trivia here...  Hesseman read for the salesman character on WKRP, and he thought he would be better as Dr. Fever, a role written with another actor in mind.  Hesseman not only won the part, but he knocked it out of the park.

Fever/Hesseman was real.  I once worked with a guy who floated around so much, he needed to write down his name and the station's call letters on a card placed in front of him at all times.  Fever had all his past names on a coffee mug.  I knew guys who were dead tired when they walked in to the studio, but it was magic when they turned on the microphone.  You can see the fatigue instantly evaporate.  Johnny Fever had that quality, except when he was filling in on the overnight shift, using the name "Heavy Early."

The WKRP turkey drop episode is the most famous of the 90.  Three lines stand out.  The first is Les Nessman saying "The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement."  The other is Art Carlson uttering the famous sentence, "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."  The one that really puts me on the floor takes place right after the connection with Les at the Pinedale Shopping Mall is lost.  Fever opens the mic and calmly says "Thanks for that on the spot report, Les."  It kills me every time.

And, who can forget that famous scene in the pilot, where WKRP changes format from elevator music to rock right in the middle of Johnny's morning shift?  You can see Johnny's hesitancy.  You can smell his fear.  He then pulls it together.  It was time for Dr. Johnny Fever to rock.

Howard Hesseman was more than "WKRP in Cincinnati."  But, what a fantastic way to be remembered.