Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Follow Up Tuesday



I am a huge fan of the Little River Band's "Reminiscing."  The band is playing in the Poconos in July.  I'd love to go, but it conflicts with my work schedule.  It has long been my contention that the "Little River Band" is vastly underrated.  

NBC has granted the great Al Michaels "emeritus" status.  It means the network will use him during the NFL playoffs and the Olympics.  I still think Pat Summerall was better at football, but Michaels, who will call NFL games for Amazon this year, might be the best overall announcer in history-- NFL, MLB, Olympics, NBA...

I recently complained about the lack of an outstanding supermarket pickle.  Thank you for the suggestions.  My cart will be filled on my next trip to the store.

We are only five months in to the year, and I already have seven photographs for this year's "Top Ten."    It looks like I'll have to include some "honorable mentions" again this year.  I've had great luck with some recent, albeit fast, expeditions.

The Orioles, Royals, Pirates and Reds are still bad, and I'm still sad.  These teams were once baseball's elite organizations.

It was the usual Memorial Day problem at the office.  It is touching that so many communities have Memorial Day services and parades.  We try to get to as many as we can, but we can't visit them all.  That always leads to bruised feelings.  It's unintentional.  We should be proud of the way we honor the men and woman who served.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day


It's Memorial Day, a weekend for parks, picnics, parties, barbecues, etc...  If you get the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, fantastic.  Savor the moments.

All I ask is you dedicate a moment or two remembering what the day is all about.

Thanks, and I'll call you back later.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Andy's Angles: Flags

 I have some of the same thoughts at Christmas.  There are many, many times a simple and basic display carries much more power than the elaborate.

Small flags.  Massive cemetery.  Hundreds honored.  Green grass.  Green trees.  Green mountain.  It's a scene that evokes awe.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Andy's Angles: Memorial Day Weekend


As I noted yesterday, I made my annual pre Memorial Day weekend trip to Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton.

It was an opportunity to visit the grave of a childhood friend and to reflect on all those who served.

I also use the trip to exercise some photography skills, including depth of field and focus points.  I used the kit lens on this trip, and that was a mistake.  One of my prime lenses would have provided more background blur, but you get the idea.

Blurry or not, it is a stirring sight.

Friday, May 27, 2022

It Begins


Today marks the start of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of the summer season.

As has been tradition in recent years, my weekend begins with a visit to Cathedral Cemetery, off Oram Street in Scranton.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of veterans are buried here.  There is a flag on every grave, and it is an impressive sight.  There are some cemeteries that do it just as well, but there is no more stirring sight than here in Scranton.

On top of that, I finally found the grave of a childhood friend here, so it's always a productive visit.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

What Happened?


Saturday was Armed Forces Day, and I didn't see any celebrations or observances.

Scranton used to have a parade.  It was always poorly attended, but it was something.  I've long felt that there was a better way to do it.  Block off a street near Courthouse Square, or take part of Nay Aug Park and use it for a day filled with military displays, and maybe some music.  People could come and go all day.  They weren't tied to one singular event.

I do realize the pandemic changed the way we observe things, but it does make me sad that the day went mostly unnoticed.

Let's make up for it by taking a little more time this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who served and those who are currently in uniform. served

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


For a while, Dan Rather signed off the "CBS Evening News" by saying "courage."  That word popped in to my mind recently.

I watched Tiger Woods struggle at the PGA Championship Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  He withdrew after the disastrous third round.  Part of me was sad watching the once great Woods make bogey after bogey after bogey.  On the other hand, I admire his courage to keep at it.

It reminded me of Yankees' pitcher Catfish Hunter in the late 70's.  His arm and shoulder were messed up.  Hunter pitched anyway,  and got his arse handed to him in several games.  It was embarrassing for Hunter and the team, yet he kept going.

It was like the end of Willie Mays' career.   He spent his last two years with the Mets.  Batting averages of .267 and .211.  Mays stayed at the party too long.

While I'm on the reboot topic, they are considering a "Scrubs" remake.  Please, don't.  It was fine the first time around.  It's over.  Let it go.

It seems knowing when to stop and knowing when to persevere is a fine art.  One thing I do know is there are no easy answers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

One Week


Well, here we are, one week after the primary election and we still don't know who won the Republican nomination for United States Senate.

The aromas of 2000 and 2016 are wafting through the air.  I smell this one is headed for court, and possibly more than one.  Onward and upward.

I have railed against slow vote counts in this space, in the past, but this one is different.  The margin between Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick is razor thin, so let's double check every ballot and make sure it's done right.

I can wait.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Monday Scrapple


Odd, but I kind of miss all the election stuff.  Rest assured, it will be back before you know it.

I've found every over the counter cold remedy to be absolutely worthless.

CNN and FOX have renewed their sniping at each other.  Please, stop.

It was a little too early for 90 degree weather.

NBC took a chance on Drew Brees when he retired last year.  How did that work out for you?

There are a lot of pickles in the supermarket.  There aren't enough great pickles in the supermarket.

Supertramp is an underrated group.

I am a huge Joe Buck fan, but that ESPN PGA alternative telecast he got stuck with was unwatchable.

Package tracking is wonderful when all goes well, and supremely frustrating when it does not.

It was great to see downtown Wilkes-Barre alive again thanks to the Fine Arts Fiesta.

I was never a huge Tiger Woods fan, but I respect his abilities.  It was sad to watch him struggle at the PGA Championship Saturday.

Memorial Day weekend already?  It seems like Christmas was yesterday.

One day, I hope to play pickleball.

Valerie Bertinelli is single again.  She knows where to find me.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Andy's Angles: I Was Wrong!


I have to admit, when the Scranton Lace rehabilitation project was announced a few years back, I raised a skeptical and cynical eyebrow.  My reasoning that the project was too big and too expensive to work.

The project is making tremendous progress.  Parts of the old complex were torn down.  Work is in high gear on the rest.

The goal is to have this become artists' space and apartments.

In an era when we have lost so much history due to neglect, I'm happy to say I was wrong.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Andy's Angles: Up in the Air


I was on my way to pick up my usual Thursday order of Texas wieners from Green Ridge News, when I took a short detour.  There was nothing interesting at the Von Storch rail repair garage, so I kept going down the street to The Scranton Lace rehab.

The old building is being turned to artists' and living space.  When I looked up, I saw a couple of guys in a lift, working on the iconic clock/whistle tower.

After watching this building rot for decades, it's nice to see some real activity here.

Plus, it was a great day to be outside.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Barney Miller

 The last of 171 "Barney Miller" episodes aired on this day, 40 years ago.

It was one of my favorites from day one, and throughout the 7 and a half year run.  I have the boxed set on DVD, and I pop one in any time I have a bad day.  Those DVD's are getting a workout.

Johnny Carson called "Barney Miller" one of the best written shows on television, and Carson knew his comedy.  In fact, the writing led to the show's demise.  "Barney Miller" was not cancelled.  Production stopped because the producers couldn't find the writers they wanted and needed to carry on, and they didn't want to repeat story lines.

I met Hal Linden back in the 80's.  He was in Wilkes-Barre to campaign for a U.S. Senate candidate.  I was tough, quizzing Linden on Pennsylvania issues he knew nothing about.  In retrospect, I was too hard on the guy and Hal, I'm sorry.

"Barney Miller" checked all the boxes.  While the cast and the writing were top notch, Linden says early on, they rightly realized the comedy came from the people coming through the squad room, and the cast reaction only added to it.  Linden said the regular cast members were actors, not stand up comedians, and that added to the quality of the show.  They were all OK if they didn't deliver the punch lines and the break through lines.

The show is still on one of the TV rerun channels, and I punch in as often as I can, even though I have the DVD's.  It was funny then.  It's funny now.  There are times TV gets it right.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

It's Here!


There is a lot to like about summer.  But, when you work weekends and overnights, there is a lot to dislike, hence today's angry sun graphic.  This is the time for my standard disclaimer:  Don't cry for me.  I am more than fairly compensated by my employer.  Most aspects of my work schedule are great for me.  This is the life I have chosen.

I keep the same schedule on my days off, which means sleeping in the afternoon and the evening.  Let's take you back to the 12th.  It was a gorgeous day.  Sunny.  Clear.  Low Humidity.  I went out with my camera in the morning and got some really nice photos.  You'll see them here on weekends.

And then, the afternoon arrived.  My bedroom gets the PM sun.  I recently procrastinated on installing the window air conditioner, and I roasted.  The fans just didn't cut it.

I watched Joe Snedeker's forecast the next morning.  Joe called for a warm weekend but a slight cooling trend  ahead.  The air conditioner could wait, but with that sweaty and most uncomfortable night fresh in my mind, I went for it.

The air conditioner isn't super heavy.  It's a smaller model, meant to cool only a moderately sized bedroom, and that's all I need.  It is awkward to lug around, and the window where it works best means moving a lot of things.  If that wasn't enough, I feared aggravating a recent back injury.

I need my sleep, so I wrestled with the bulky unit and got it installed.  Yes, the back was sore afterward.  A pain killer took care of that.

It was a warm weekend.  The installation was not a bad idea.

There is something I should add.  I'm happy I have an air conditioner.  A lot of people have some hot summer nights ahead.

The air conditioner had to go in eventually, so it was best to get it over with.  I'm good until October.

I have considered one of those portable units over the years.  All you do is wheel it where you want and stick a vent hose out the window.  I know people who have them, and love them.  I have also read some bad reviews.  There is more research to do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Numbers

 As I write this at midnight, many races are still too close to call, but here is what I can say...

First up, Luzerne County government did it again, treating every election like it's their first time out of the box.  From machine problems in the morning to vote count problems at night, why can't they get it right?

The race for the Republican senate nomination is between Dave McCormick and Mehmet Oz.  Kathy Barnette had a late surge in the polls, but something told me that wasn't tight.  She came too far, too fast.  This was always going to be a race between the big spenders.

Doug Mastriano blew away the rest of the field to capture the Republican nomination for governor.  The win comes in spite of members of his own party seeking to derail him, fearing he is too far right to win.  How did that work out for you?  Former Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta finished a distance second, a campaign that never caught fire.

Democrat Josh Shapiro was unopposed on the Democrat side, so now, it's a contest between two men at the far ends of the political spectrum.  We know both have solid bases.  Who has the ability to capture the moderates and the independents they need to win?  Even though the Republicans have been making gains, Democrats still hold the registration edge.  Mastriano now faces the though task of uniting his party.

Carrie DelRosso spent big, and she wins the nomination for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican side.  Mastriano's choice, Teddy Daniels finishes a distant third.  The domestic violence allegations against Daniels took their toll.  Can she get along with Mastriano, who clearly wanted someone else as his second in command?

Democrat John Fetterman breezed to a win in the Democrat race for senate.  Conor Lamb was a distant second, a moderate who never gained traction.  Fetterman started with tremendous name recognition from two previous state-wide runs.  Plus, that unique look of his sticks in the minds of voters.  Republicans see Fetterman as beatable.  Can Oz or McCormick do it?  An aside, it was not a good night for moderates in any party.

Jim Bognet cruises to an easy win over former Hazleton Mayor Mike Marsicano in the Republican race for congress in the 8th district.  Bognet nearly took down Matt Cartwright two years ago.  Is this his year?  Can predictions of the new "red wave" get Bognet over the top?  I thought Marsicano had some well done television commercials, but his track record in recent years isn't very good.

James May wins the Republican nomination for state representative in the 118th, and he made it look easy.  I have to admit I'm surprised here.  May is a known commodity with a solid base.  I thought John Lombardo, with a well known name in and around the Pittston population base, would fare better.

Dane Watro cruises to the Republican nomination in the 116th,  an easy win in a crowded field.

Kyle Donahue had an easy win over Patrick Flynn for the Democratic nomination in the 113th, and that isn't much of a surprise.

As I write this, the Republican race in the 119th is still tight.  Alec Ryncavage holds a lead over Tom Williams.  Ryncavage found an issue that worked for him-- Williams' party switching.

As always, things are subject to change, and keep watching this space for updates.

Good luck to the winners.  And to those who didn't win (I never call them losers), thank you for getting involved in the process.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Election Day


In many ways, this is your typical election day.  There is anticipation in the air and a tightness in my stomach.  Election days are the TV news equivalent of the Super Bowl.

The work flow has changed this year.  I typically do election morning previews, and that will not change this year.  Photographer Jason and I produced them a couple of weeks ago.  Management wisely reasoned that the stakes are especially high this year.  The previews should run than more than just a couple of times on election morning.  I hope they helped you know who's who.

I always had an election morning tradition of a fast food spicy chicken sandwich, no mayonnaise.  Well, the only place in town where you could get one stopped its 24 hour operation when the pandemic hit.  I've been settling for cold Pop Tarts at my desk.  I might search out something else on the way to work, and watch this space for the latest inappropriate choice for breakfast.

My work day will be slightly longer this year, but no big deal.  I won't stop to vote after work.  As an independent, I have to sit this one out.  There will be an afternoon nap so I can be up late to watch the numbers come in and my brethren report them.

Look for a few updates here during the day, and an analysis piece here tomorrow.

Above all, please vote! 

>>>3:00 AM UPDATE:  A quick flurry of activity when I hit the office...  some stories needed to be tweaked and adjusted, reflecting candidates' visits to our area and the latest polling.  Editor Jason is making the necessary changes to the video, and the producers and I are now on the same page.  In case you're wondering, breakfast consisted of a couple of fast food roast beef sandwiches I stashed in the refrigerator yesterday, topped by a cheese danish.  I really do miss my spicy chicken sandwich.

>>>7:30 AM UPDATE:  Well, that didn't take long!  Only 16 minutes after the polls opened, we received the first phone call about malfunctioning voting machines.  The call came from Nanticoke.  Why does Luzerne County have problems with every election?  Two calls from two different polling places in Wilkes-Barre quickly followed.

>>>8:30 AM UPDATE:   Add Plains, Hazleton and Conyngham to the list of places in Luzerne County with voting machine issues.  Why?  Is it the hardware, the software, the training, the people...?  Also, anecdotal evidence shows a light turnout, and I'm surprised.  There are some important races out there.  Are voters burned out?

>>>9:50 AM UPDATE:   More malfunction reports are coming in to the newsroom, and that makes me sad.  Also, there is more evidence that turnout, so far, is light.  I'm sure it will pick up as we head toward poll closing time at 8 PM.  I'm taking a temporary break to record a podcast with Joe Snedeker.  Yes, Mr. Curiosity has finally corralled me.  I believe it's scheduled to drop on Monday.

>>>11:50 AM UPDATE:   I survived my session with Mr. Curiosity, and if you repeat this, I'll deny it.  It was fun.  Producer Lisa put the finishing touches on Newswatch 16 at Noon while I was away, and now it's time to anchor a bit before going home.  By the way, Lisa always does the heavy lifting for the noon broadcast.  By the way, we're still getting indications voter turnout is light so far.

12:40 PM UPDATE:  My work day is done.  I'll be watching the numbers come in tonight.  

Monday, May 16, 2022

Almost There


We are almost there.

The phone constantly rings with robo calls, every television commercial break is filled with political commercials, mailers have been arriving for weeks.  Tomorrow is primary election day.

In spite of the annoyances, it is shaping up to be a fascinating couple of days, an I'm really looking forward to seeing how things turn out.

The last several days have been filled with political maneuvering, and there will be more today and tomorrow.

There is still time.  Read up on the men and women who want your support.  Be an informed voter tomorrow.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Andy's Angles: This Old Theater

 For many years, at WNEP and "down the street," I worked with Dave the photographer.  He probably grew weary of hearing me say it, but any time we passed through an old coal town that had seen better days, I would say the same thing.  "Dave, it must have been a helluva town at one time."

Olyhant had at least three movie theaters, that I know of, and they are all closed.  The buildings remain.  This is the one on Delaware Avenue.  The borough recently awarded a contract for its demolition.  It sad on one level, that being the loss of history and identity.  It's a good thing when you really look at it.  The building is too far gone to fix.

In the shot you see above, I was attempting to go old timey and nostalgic.  I really should do more monochrome.

Be that as it may...

After the theater closed, it became a pizza restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, and then a home for a model car layout.

I shot the photo above through the dirty glass doors.  The building shows no signs of all the pizzas and fried rice consumed here, all the popcorn from the theater days.  As I looked through the glass, I thought of all the dates here, all the entertainment, all the escapism and fun that movies provided.

From what I read, there are no plans for the soon to be empty lot.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Andy's Angles: Demolition Weekend


Looking back on the blog archives, there have been far too many blog entries dedicated to demolition projects-- before, during and after.  Today, it's a "before."

This is the old theater on Delaware Avenue in Olyphant.

The theater closed eons ago.  It was a pizza restaurant, then a Chinese restaurant, then a place to hold a model car layout.  I did get a quick look at the model cars, back in 1996.  It really was impressive.  I'm sorry I didn't have more time to explore the building.

I am most familiar with this building during its pizza restaurant days.  It was the Friday lunch spot when I was in 6th grade-- the year of my educational journey I despised the most.  If we behaved and if our grades were good, we were allowed to walk a few blocks and grab a pizza for lunch.  

Trouble is on the horizon here, because the pizza was just fair, in my view, even though it was exceptionally popular with the locals.  It never lived up to the hype, but even bad pizza is good.  It was nice to get out of that horrible school building for a while.  The school was later condemned as a fire trap.  The playground was a paved and sloped alley.  No gym.  No library.  No science facilities.  I can honestly say I hated just about every second in that building.  In fact, the principal at my previous school set up a little library in an un-used room, and we could stop there after school.  It was the 70's.  My teacher was stuck in the 40's and should have retired long before I walked in the door. What really makes this tale sad is the people who ran that particular school and the district in general thought it was just fine.  In reality, it was an embarrassment to the school district.

I digress.

Above is the view of the theater building from the rear.

The theater story is a familiar tale.  Yet another local building is allowed to deteriorate.  It has to be torn down before it falls down, or burns down.  Considering the history here, a small town movie theater, it really is tragic.

You can see the rubber roofing that's been peeled back and the holes in the roof in the above photo.

I'm going to try to get back here when the bulldozers expose the inside of what was once a grand building.

A few more thoughts here tomorrow.

But, before I close for the day, I'm not picking on the people of Olyphant.  They're a good bunch, with active churches, and strong volunteer fire companies.  The business community is taking steps to promote itself.  The borough has some very nice bars and restaurants.  I am merely pointing out the shortcomings of a school district from 50 years ago.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday Scrapple


Any time a network makes a splashy hire involving an ex-jock, I am reminded of Joe Montana on NBC,  Great quarterback.  Lousy broadcaster.

I wish spring stuck around longer.  The heat is already here.

It's amazing how much a smiling retail clerk makes your day.

I can stare at a bumble bee for hours and still wonder how it gets off the ground.

Chips and salsa is one of the world's great snacks.

Why is nothing simple when dealing with a government agency?

A friend and I recently were discussing the glory days of the shopping mall.  It was everything you wanted under one roof, plus fountains.

Speaking of which, I know they are expensive and high maintenance, but I do wish we had more fountains around here.

While I really enjoyed the early years of "The Big Bang Theory," before it became a standard bickering couples comedy in its later years, I have not watched one minute of "Young Sheldon."

The stock market is doing wonders for Alka Seltzer and Pepto Bismol sales.

It appears recent political polls are all pointing in the same direction.  There are a lot of candidates who should be very worried going in to the final weekend of the spring campaign.

It is amazing how quickly we can go from monsoon to brush fires.

Every allergy season seems to be worse than the previous one.

A trip to the drug store really illustrates supply chain issues.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Because I Said So!


The primary election is coming up on Tuesday.  Some newspapers have made endorsements and there will be more this weekend.

My question is, do you care?

I've always had mixed feelings on newspaper endorsements.  As a candidate, I'd rather have the backing than not have it.

As I reader, I just wonder if an endorsement taints coverage.  Yes, the endorsements are on the editorial page, away from the news.  They are clearly labeled as opinion.  But, if you know how the bosses slant, does that trickle down to the reporters?  Do some candidates get favorable coverage because the bosses like them?

I do read the endorsements, and they do have weight for me, especially if it is a well thought out and well reasoned argument.  The primaries can produce some surprises.  You already know the conservative newspapers and the ones that lean toward the liberal side, so there is rarely an eyebrow raised in November.

The bottom line is read everything and then make up your own mind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Follow Up Wednesday


I recently complained here about Drew Carey's sloppy appearance on "The Price is Right."  I'll start off by saying Drew does a nice job as host, and he really has made the show his own.  I do wish he brought something over from the Bob Barker days-- a suit.  Having said that, the contestants are dressing down as well.  Hey folks, this is national TV.  Leave the ripped jeans, cut offs and flip flops at home.

Regular readers know I've been a Billy Joel fan since "The Stranger" album was released in  September 1977.  In fact, the title cut was the first song I played on college radio in December of 1979, and the last one I played in January of 1983.  Joel turned 73 years old Monday.  All I can say is I now feel very, very old.

Jimmy Fallon's version of "Password" hits the air in a couple of months.  Keke Palmer is host.  Doing a game show isn't as easy as it looks, and I wonder how she will do.  Fallon will be a regular panelist.  I've already expressed my feelings about Fallon here.  I think he's an exceptionally talented guy, but "The Tonight Show" isn't the right forum for him.  He still looks unsure and terrified, and the show's signature piece, the monologue, suffers.

I've been watching more Gilbert Gottfried performances on You Tube.  Blue and horribly inappropriate at times, but still outrageously funny.  I'm so sorry he's passed.

Streaming is gaining a foothold...   NBC/MSNBC just bumped Chuck Todd over to its Peacock streaming service.  Todd is one of the signature stars of NBC News.  Mixed signals, here...  Moving him to Peacock bolsters that service, but I would think the company would want Todd in front of more eyeballs on MSNBC.  He is still host of "Meet the Press" on the big broadcast network.

I nailed the Final Jeopardy question that took down the 23 day champion.

FOX has been rotating hosts in and out of "FOX News Sunday" since the departure of Chris Wallace.  They've all been good, and picking a permanent replacement will be a tough choice.  It shows the value of having a deep bench.

Speaking of FOX, Tom Brady has signed on to be part of the top NFL broadcast team after he retires.  Whatever became of the days of learning your craft, doing the minor games, before you move up to the top team?  CBS did it with Tony Romo, and he would have benefitted from working his way up.

I recently yammered on about the problems in major league baseball.  We're more than a month in to the season, and the Cincinnati Reds, one of the most storied franchises in the game, has won fewer than twenty per cent of its game, the worst team in baseball.  That's just sad.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

One Week


There is one week to go before the primary election.  Polling information is coming fast and furious.  

Keep in mind that a poll is just a snapshot in time.  Numbers that are valid one day might not be the next.  Plus, there are a lot of people, myself included, who tell pollsters "It's none of your business!"  There is a reason that you vote in privacy.  However, they are indicative of trends.

Still, I read each poll with fascination, especially the ones for senate here in Pennsylvania.  The things that really jump out at me are the number of undecideds this late in the game, and the really high number of people who are not firmly glued to one candidate.

The bottom line is fasten your seatbelts.  It's going to be a bumpy ride between now and election night.  I am thrilled to see there are a number of places where you can get good, solid information on the candidates and where they stand.  A little homework goes a long way, but it doesn't mean anything unless you vote next week.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Happy Camper


I know Memorial Day weekend is considered the start of the summer vacation and driving season.  I have a newsflash for you kids.  It's already here.

More than the usual number of errands and appointments were on my agenda during my days off last week, and that means a lot of time on the road.

I saw more than my share of campers being towed on the interstates, and just about all had something in common.  The people behind the wheel had no business towing a camper.  They were all over the lane, even cutting off the drivers behind them.

I'm sure camping is a great way to spend a vacation, but if you don't have the skills to tow one, I have two simple words of advice:  Holiday Inn.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Andy's Angles: A Pop of Color


The focus is on the dandelion closest to the center of the photo.

Serious lawn people hate these things.

As you can see, I'm not a serious lawn guy.

There is nothing wrong with a little pop of color, plus a resting place for the bugs and the bees.

Andy's Angles: Route 6


I've attempted light trails on Business Route 6 in Dickson City before, with generally good results.  The Fashion Mall, thanks to the suggestion of a reader, has become a favorite spot.  On a recent morning, I attempted something different and moved up the highway.  I'm just east of the mall.  The shot was taken in the parking lot of a strip mall.  Once again, it was the middle of the night and there wasn't much traffic.  This shot is severely cropped to get rid of a lot of dead space.  The tail lights are headed toward Interstate 81.  The headlights are morning east, toward Blakely.  I'll try it again when there is more traffic.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Andy's Angles: Not Yet


One of my 2022 goals was to work on my macro skills, and as you have been seeing, I have a logn way to go.

I set out to find signs of springtime, and while the season is bustin' out all over, the lolac bush adjacent to my driveway is bringing up the rear.

About the Cover


I had a little time off recently and I couldn't sleep.  It adds up to camera time and an attempt at getting some light trails.

I set up early Saturday morning at Mulberry and Penn in downtown Scranton.  The Chamber of Commerce building is on the left.  The veterans home is out of frame on the right.

There wasn't a lot of traffic, but there are times when you get lucky and you don't need much.  From the trails above and below, a truck went through the shot, providing the high lines.  If I remember correctly, the curved lines in the middle are from an ambulance, with most lights off, turning from Mulberry on to Penn.

And, as you can see from the traffic light and street light starbursts, I had the aperture choked down quite a bit.

I can't say I was totally thrilled, but I did get something that worked.

Friday, May 6, 2022

You Tubing It


I don't get much "down time" these days, but when I do, I occasionally tool around YouTube.

Fascinating stuff.

Someone recently dumped a lot of intros to 80's TV sitcoms in there.  They all have something in common.  I don't remember any of them.  The first third of the decade was spent in college.  The rest was dedicated to working bizarre shifts on the radio, so there wasn't much TV time.  They all have something else in common.  They all look simply awful.

There is also a new batch of Siskel & Ebert movie review shows.  Big fan at the time.  Big fan now.  Those two had a passion for film, and it shows.  I know we now have the internet, but it's sad there is nothing even close to Siskel & Ebert now.

I will occasionally watch some old TV game shows, especially some early Pyramids.  As I have noted before, it was a daytime TV game changer:  wild set, loud and brassy music, and big money.  You all know I'm a little strange, but I really enjoy how the big pyramid boxes spin and snap in to place.  It was really evident in those early years.

I especially love watching old election nights.  It was numbers and analysis.  There wasn't as much needless and partisan yapping, and it involved fewer people on the set.  Less is more.  The giants had it all under control...  Cronkite, Smith, Reasoner,  Huntley, Brinkley and Chancellor all managed nicely.  They didn't need a cast of thousands.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

State of the Game


I hinted at a baseball entry a few days ago, and here it is.

Baseball is a mess, and let's tick off some of the reasons.

The league is thrilled with money from Apple and Amazon.  Streaming is king, and now some key games are inaccessible to fans.

Some teams aren't even trying to win.

The Oakland A's started dumping payroll before the season started.  They usually wait until June.  Plus, no one is going to the games.  The stadium is a disaster.  A rumored move to Las Vegas would be a good thing.

Legendary, heritage teams like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are no longer interested in putting competitive teams on the field.

Prices are out of reach and the "fan friendly" days are long gone.

One of the game's signature highlight shows, "Quick Pitch" on the MLB Network, now borders on unwatchable.  The talent has gone down hill, and if I want to watch music videos, I'll tune in another channel.

Add it all up, and it points to a game in serious trouble.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Minute at Midnight


Once upon a time, radio was just about all live and all local.

When I started at WARM 590 in 1981, we were playing music, with a live personality, around the clock.  Kids, you missed a great time in the industry.  After several months on the weekend overnight shift, playing the religious and public affairs shows, I was pressed in to service to be the overnight DJ on an interim basis.  That shift was a revolving door for a while, and one of the people who had it was battling an illness.

The evening guy would end his show at midnight.  We would run five minutes of AP Network News, and by the way, the Associated Press had an awesome audio network at one time.  The newscast would end and be followed by a one minute recorded segment provided by the Christophers, a Christian inspirational group.

The voice of the Christophers was Father John Catoir, and I'm searching for the words to describe the piece.  Yes, it was religion based, but it wasn't over the top.  No matter what religion you followed, even if you had none, these pieces were non offensive.  The goal was to inspire, and they really hit the mark.  Father Catoir had a wonderfully pleasing, soothing, yet authoritative voice.  Even though I was picking up my music and grabbing my commercial material, I always took the time to listen and pay attention.

Occasionally, I would be a scamp and choose a record with a long instrumental intro, like Toto's "Africa" and "Love Will Find a Way" by Pablo Cruise, and start the song beneath Father Catoir as he was wrapping up.  Station management never caught me, and the statute of limitations has run out.  It was not an attempt to be disrespectful, but rather an effort to get back to the music just a little faster.

Father John Catoir died April 7.  He was 90.

I'm sure Father Catoir inspired millions over the years and he provided a nice start to the morning for some kid in a radio studio, all alone, in Avoca, PA

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Tuesday Scrapple


Drew Carey:  cut your hair, shave, and put on a tie.

Last week's cold snap didn't bother me.  Blustery spring days have their charm and it's too early for summer.

I visited a couple of shopping malls during last week's vacation.  Wow!  They have become such sorry places, and I don't know if that is ever going to change.

Said it before, but it bears repeating, part I:  The attention the NFL commands, even in the off season, is astounding.

A baseball blog entry is coming up.  For now, the league should be embarrassed by what's going on.  Some teams aren't trying to win, and the Oakland situation is a mess.

The roads are still a mess and some parking lots are even worse.

The light emitted by tiny led's is amazing.

Said it before but it bears repeating, part II:  I don't care if it came out of a microwave, a simple baked potato is one of life's major joys.  Moderate butter.  A little salt.  A lot of pepper.

If you don't like Twitter's rules, or lack of rules, just delete your account.   There are more important things in life.

By the way, how did we survive before texting?

Kay Adams is leaving the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."  As the only articulate and succinct member of the crew, Adams was the only reason to watch that show.

Said it before, but it bears repeating, part III:  I still don't get Trevor Noah.  I watched his comments Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Association dinner.  There were some hysterical lines, but his delivery was awful.

George Harrison's solo work is vastly underrated.

Brush fires are dangerous and horrible, but they are also one of the dominant aromas of spring to me.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Music Notes


Welcome to the very first "Music Notes."  Prepare to be underwhelmed.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote how I can take or leave Jimmy Buffet.  One listen to "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" fills me up for the year.  I'm embarrassed to say this.  I totally forgot about "Come Monday."  I love that song!

He sings,  and music is a big part of his show, so this can be considered a "Music Note."  James Corden is leaving "The Late Late Show" on CBS.  His eight year run ends in the summer of 2023.  I thought Corden started off great, a charming and entertaining guy.  But, the show then developed into another slimy, smarmy Hollywood smooch-fest.  I stopped watching.  Corden's predecessor, the great Craig Ferguson, had an edge and he took the show in a different direction.  Corden was just a British Jay Leno, without the stand up comedy skills.  "The Late Late Show" stopped being "must see TV."  No replacement named.

I'm a big Tony Kornheiser fan.  The TV is always tuned to "Pardon the Interruption" if I'm awake at 5:30 PM.  He does three podcasts a week, and most weeks, I catch all three.  It's a great listen.  Recently, the 73 year old Kornheiser mentioned some minor short term memory issues.  It's natural as you age.  Kornheiser added that he wasn't worried because he still remembered all the words to his favorite songs.

While I have yet to experience those short term memory issues, the song memory thing hits home.  I still know the words to just about every song on Billy Joel's "The Stranger" LP.  It's the same thing with 10CC's "I'm Not In Love."  Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" earns a ditto.  Occasionally, something comes out of left field to surprise me.  As I was driving north on Interstate 81 the other night, "Happy Together" by the Turtles came on the radio.  It was released in 1967.  I knew the words as if I was a member of the band.

It's nice to know some things still work.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Andy's Angles: May


May is here, and that's the month most associated with college commencements.  That's why we see a photo of my alma mater today.  It's Marywood University.  It was Marywood College in my day.

I shot this one with my widest lens and left it wide.  I did crop the foreground a bit.  I wanted to leave a lot of sky.

The building on the left contains offices.  It was a dorm in my day.  The one on the right was and is a dorm.  I've never been inside.

In the center, it's the Liberal Arts Center.  A spectacular rotunda is in the middle, with classrooms on both sides.  This is where I struggled through all those religion, philosophy, world history, literature and French classes.  I'd gaze out the windows and wonder if I would make it.  I did.  In fact, there was a great sense of satisfaction when I came out of there with an unexpected B, or in the case of social science, something even better.

My first time in the rotunda was in the summer of 79.  I went there to pick up a packet of information for new students from the admissions office, which is in the back of the building.  If you've never been inside, I strongly recommend it.  This is one of our area's gems.  But, for a kid coming from a really bad public high school, it was ultra intimidating.  I remember getting weak in the knees as I looked up at the dome and the artwork, all the marble, the religious paintings on the walls...  I feared I made a huge mistake, and I was destined for failure.

Try hard.  You can do it.

I should add that I never toured the place before I applied.  Thank you, feeble high school guidance department.  I never knew you could do those things.  I read about Marywood and was attracted to the fact that it had a real radio station.  The rest was paperwork and writing checks.