Sunday, July 31, 2022

Andy's Angles: 2317


We'll close out the weekend with this impressive piece of machinery at Steamtown in Scranton.

It's big and I'm sure it was extremely powerful back in its day.

2317 was shining nicely on a recent summer morning.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Andy's Angles: 43


The sun was not my friend when I snapped a picture on a recent morning.  I must remember to bring my filters.

It's a lovely engine that greets you as you enter the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Let's Review


Another vacation week is coming to an end, and it seems like every vacation week is less than productive than the last.

I'm okay with that.

I hung out with friends, took walks, took pictures and got some rest.  I washed the car, got a hair cut, and a dental check up.  I grew a beard.  I shaved off a beard.

Here's what disturbs me a tad.  I manage to knock off a book or two every vacation week.  It just wasn't in me this time around.  Was it the heat?  I really don't know.

Maybe I'll get back to reading when my next vacation week rolls around after Labor Day.

Thursday, July 28, 2022



I liked it.  I didn't love it.

Let me back up for a moment.  Even though I had tremendous interest in the documentary on the 50th anniversary of the tropical storm Agnes flood, there was no way I could make to the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre for any of the showings.  I did the next best thing, happily paying $20, plus shipping for the DVD.

Before I begin my review, here is something to consider.  I viewed it as not only as an interested local resident, but also as a journalist and an editor.

Even though there was a lot of archival material that hadn't been seen in decades, there wasn't much new here.  That's OK.  It's difficult to uncover new territory in a story fifty years old, one that has been told hundreds, maybe thousands of times.  It was great to see and hear local and national broadcasting legends.  The images were stunning and powerful, even after all these years.  The documentary had a solid beginning middle and end.  It told the story from the first rain drops to the "new" Wilkes-Barre.  The tears and the frustration of the flood victims are as powerful now as they were fifty years ago.

My main beef was with the contemporary interviews.  I can listen to David DeCosmo tell flood stories until the cows come home, and his recollections added a great deal to the documentary.  Meteorologist Tom Clark?   None better.  Unfortunately, other than Mike Stevens, I didn't get much insight or emotion from those new interviews, and some could have, and should have, been cut altogether.  There was some emotion in the narration, but it was lost in the torrent of unnecessary facts and superfluous sound bites.

I wanted those "moments."  What did it feel like when you knew the fight to hold back the river was over?  What was it like seeing the disinterred bodies from the Forty Fort Cemetery?  What did you think about during the helicopter tour, as the chopper came over the mountain and entered the valley?

The documentary is a first class work and an exceptionally important project.  I'm glad we have it to show generations to come-- where we've been and where we're going.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Elton Johnny Come Lately

 Y'know, one day, Tito Puente will be dead, and you'll say, "Oh, yes, I've been listening to his work for years."

John Winger uttered that famous line in the movie "Stripes" in 1981.

Thankfully, Elton John is still with us and he is conducting his farewell tour.

John has become the Tito Puente of the 20-somethings, running to the concerts and acting like they are responsible for the man's stellar career.

I take you back to December 1979, and a little radio studio on the campus of Marywood College in Scranton.  A terrified 17 year old was doing his first air shift, and one of the songs he selected that morning was Elton John's "Lucy in the Sky."  For my money, it's just as good as the Beatles' version, if not better.

In case you haven't guessed by now, I was that terrified 17 year old.

As for Elton John, well, I've been listening to his work for years.  I had the 45's and 8 tracks long before the 20-somethings were even thought of.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

It's Over!


The heat wave of 2022 is over, and I am among the happiest people on the planet.

If the heat and humidity weren't bad enough, it's been dry.  Very, very dry.

People who follow me on social media know I spent part of my Sunday off exploring the new section of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.  It's the part that goes from Parker Street in Scranton to the Throop line.

Some weekend blog and photo entries are in the pipeline, but to illustrate the drought, I took this photo looking upstream, and I'm standing on a large rock placed in the river as part of a pool for fish.

I could have walked across the Lackawanna, so we really can use some rain.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Unfinished Monday


Ratings are out for baseball's All Star Game.  Record low.  Face it.  We live in a football nation.  Baseball is a local/regional game and I understand it still does quite well on the local sports networks.  It is still the best radio sport-- ever.

It appears Heinz will still have some advertising at the Pittsburgh football stadium.  One of the giant ketchup bottles will remain.  I still can't get over the sentimentality over a company that turned its back on Pittsburgh a long time ago.

The United States Postal Service is transitioning to a fleet of electric vehicles.  All the postal service needs now is someone to visit my house once in a while to drop off the mail.

The first season of "Soap" was among the funniest ever to appear on American television.  Season two was also very good.  Rebecca Balding, who played Carol David, died last week.  73.  Very pretty-- and funny.

Why is there a constant turn-over in Luzerne County government?

I've long complained about the state of local radio.  Sunday, 4 am, a heat warning, potentially dangerous conditions, including storms, and the forecast I heard was more than a day old.  #sad.  

Friday, July 22, 2022

Week Two


Sleeping Homer is back and that always signals a vacation week is upon us.

It is a familiar refrain.  No plans.  Maybe a little shopping, reading, exercise and photography, and a lot of sleep.  There are tentative plans to get together with some friends, and that's always a treat.

The weekend morning broadcasts are in good hands.

I'll call you back later.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Small World


Small world as they say.

I listen to Tony Kornheiser's podcast, when he does one, about three times a week.  He attended summer camp in Wayne County as a kid.  From the e-mails Mr. Tony receives, a lot of people, many famous, did the same thing, and also in Wayne County.  It appears to be the summer camp capital of the world.

Me?  No.  Never.  Zero desire.  I was happy riding my bike around the neighborhood when I was kid.  Back yard wiffle ball games.  Walking to the corner store for a can of soda and a bag of potato chips.  Watching Match Game.

A close friend had a yearly camp experience.  The neighborhood wasn't the same while he was away.  By the way, he hated it.

Rush Limbaugh used to tell a story about his one and only camp experience.  I don't know where it was.  There was one unforgettable line in Limbaugh's story:  "All I could think about was how much I didn't want to be there."

I'm sure camp is a wonderful thing, but it's not for everyone, and Kornheiser has some very nice things to say about his summers in Wayne County.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022



It is one of those stories that defies analysis, and it erodes your faith in state government.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says unpaid tolls last year totaled $ 155 million, and that's a 48 per cent increase.  The state explains away the increase by saying turnpike tolls have increased, as well as the number of drivers using the highway.

No matter how you look at it, nearly seven per cent of the people who drive the highway don't pay tolls.


It's not the first time a problem has cropped up.

I am tempted to quote Mayberry Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife here and say "Nip it in the bud."  But, upon further reflection, we are well past the bud stage here.  This has been happening for months.  We get excuses rather than solutions.  It's bad enough that it happened.  It's even worse that it still happens.

Could imagine what that $ 155 million could do?  New lanes, better rest areas, patched potholes, resurfacing, better signs, new interchanges...

The first graphic in this entry says it all.  People who follow the rules are carrying the turnpike operation on their backs.

Where is the outrage?

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Heat Wave


I do my fair share of whining here when there is an approaching snow storm.  I can take the cold.  Just bring out the puffy coat outside, and put an extra blanket on the bed inside.  Snow is a different story.  It's dangerous.  Snow is tough to drive in, and you can get hurt shoveling it.

I'm beginning to feel the same way about heat.  No, it's easy to drive in.  But, there are other dangerous.  Overloaded electrical circuits.  Heat stroke.  People who overestimate their swimming skills.  Serious sun burns.

There is a heat wave in this week's forecast.  You know what to do.  Stay out of the sun.  Stay hydrated.  Keep an eye on kids, the elderly and pets.  Limit exposure to hot cars.  Even though its common sense, there will be a good deal of problems this week.

Bring on autumn.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Enough Already!


I'm tired of the constant whining touched off by the Heinz name coming off the Pittsburgh football stadium and the Acrisure name going on.

Who cares?  The Steelers will still be there several times a year.

Let's face some facts about Heinz.  The company abandoned Pittsburgh a long time ago.  While it still has a presence there, the ketchup is made in Iowa and Ohio--not Allegheny County.  Most of the corporate functions, since the merger with Kraft, are in Chicago.

Heinz was a Pittsburgh company.  Those days are over.  The stadium name change is just another sign of that.

Move on.  There are more important things to be concerned about.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Andy's Angles: # 7


Considerably smaller than Big Boy, #7 is also a part of the Steamtown collection, positioned near the  entrance.

It was a tough day for an amateur to shoot.  The sun angle wasn't the greatest.  Bright sky and black train gave me some issues, but you get the picture.  This is a nice locomotive.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Andy's Angles: Big Boy


I had an extra day off late last month, and it was a "sterling" day, as our old friend J. Kristopher would say.

I hadn't been to Steamtown in months, and even though there is rarely anything new here, I decided to walk around with my camera, anyway.  I took a ton of photos, nothing you haven't seen before.  I'll sprinkle them in during the next couple of months.

Above is Steamtown's signature piece, the giant Union Pacific Big Boy.  It has a new coat of paint and some other aesthetic improvements.  

I've seen Big Boy's brethren fired up in videos and it's impressive to say the least.  This one doesn't move, but it is nice to look at. 

Friday, July 15, 2022



I play this silly little game in the winter.  Now, it's the summer version.

The three warmest months of the year are June, July and August.  It means today marks the end of the first half of summer.

Apologies to summer lovers, but the season is not the best for those who work overnights.  Heat and light are not our friends.  Good air conditioning and dark curtains get me through the summer months, but nothing beats the solid sleep helped by a cool, dark, rainy day.

There are already some hints that we're on the back end of summer.  You can feel the days getting a wee bit shorter.  It really accelerates when we roll in to August.  The days are still hot, but an earlier sunset means the evening cool arrives a little faster.

It won't be long before I'm complaining about the snow.

Thursday, July 14, 2022



I knew this blog entry was coming.  I was shocked at how soon I had to write it.

Nancy Free died yesterday, and she was my friend.

We met while I was doing a story in Carbondale several years ago, one of those people you instantly liked.  We had a lot in common.  Brother Gene, who left us several years ago, was in radio.  Brother Jim is in radio in upstate New York.  She wrote for newspapers and was an avid photographer.  I was in radio and I'm a bit of a shutterbug myself.

Nancy was famous for photographing eagles and posting them on Facebook.  That's one of her photos above.  She also was in Carbondale for every Independence Night celebration and that's one of her photos below.

No one knew more about Carbondale, and no one loved it more.  Nancy frequently sent messages tipping me off to something happening in the city, and it was always good news.  Nothing negative.  That is the type of a woman Nancy was.

There were a few times I stopped in to the Eynon Burger King that she managed before moving on to other challenges.  Most of our contact was on-line.  Nancy read this blog every day and put a link to it on her Facebook page, providing me with hits I ordinarily wouldn't have.

Nancy had a few health problems over the years.  Cancer was a recent diagnosis, and the disease took her quickly.  I hope her last days were peaceful and pain free.

Nancy Free loved her family, her pets, her friends, trips to Merli-Sarnoski Park, photography expeditions in the country-- where she enjoyed shooting old barns, and so much more.  I am lucky she was part of my life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Give Me Some Credit


I attempted to use my Macy's credit card to buy something on line a few weeks ago.  Declined!  The company deactivated me because I hadn't been using the card.  Hello!  The pandemic closed your store for months.  I called to get reactivated and was told I have to reapply.  Pass.  I'll take my business elsewhere.

Sears did the same thing.  At least, that company had a good excuse.  It closed almost all of its stores.

I've always been a "cash" guy, especially for small purchases.  Unfortunately, my favorite mini mart is constantly understaffed, forcing me to head for the self service machines, more often than not.  I hate whipping out the card for a $ 1.69 soda, but if it gets me out the door faster...

You never know when a Big Mac attack will strike, and I found myself driving through at 2:30 AM on a recent morning.  Apparently, Ronald was having computer and/or internet issues.  The disembodied voice over the speaker asked if it was okay to pay cash. Of course it was.  By the way, the Mac was awesome.

I've had a few gas station credit cards, even before the current situation arrived.  Being a frugal lad, saving a few cents on a gallon was appealing.  By the end of the year, I will have saved enough for a stick of gum.  Juicy Fruit!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

By Any Other Name


I've always despised that whole stadium/arena naming stuff.  On the other hand, I do understand economic realities.

That brings us to the Pittsburgh situation.

Heinz is not renewing the deal to put its name on the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The new organization to pony up the cash is Acrisure.  It's a financial services company based in Michigan.

I do realize what organizations get out of stadium and arena naming rights-- the name gets plenty of exposure to people who go to the games, and those who watch on television.

It comes down to this.  I never bought Heinz ketchup because its name was on a stadium.  My choice of a bank was never influenced by naming rights.  Ring Central is on the old Oakland Coliseum.   That is a product marketed to businesses.

No doubt that a business that buys naming rights thinks its a good deal.  I'm skeptical.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Remembering Three


It was a bad week, as three memorable people left us.

What can you say about James Caan?  Comedy and drama.  Movies and television.  He was a giant.  If you need a laugh, check out his appearance in an episode of "Newsradio."  James Caan was 82.

Larry Storch died at the age of 99.  His role as CPL Randolph Agarn on "F Troop" lasted for only two seasons.  Great show.  Fantastic theme.  Everyone was funny, but Storch had the tough job of being second banana.  As I have said here many times before, getting laughs in a secondary role is tough.

Unfortunately, this one might have slipped through the cracks, and that's too bad.  Adam Wade died last week.  He was a singer, musician and actor.  Wade also hosted a game show for a few months in 1975.  It was called "Musical Chairs."  No, it wasn't like the kids game.  It was a test of musical knowledge with a band and live performers on stage.  CBS taped the show at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.  I'll level with you.  The show wasn't very good and CBS yanked it after about four months.  Regardless, Wade made history as the first Black network game show host.  Adam Wade was 87 years old.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Andy's Angles:


Andy's Angles: Gnomes


Today, it's another of the new Nay Aug Park gnomes, saved from the demolition of the Audubon School in Scranton.

This one is still creepy, but a little less so than the one in the header and featured here yesterday.

I pass by Colfax and Mulberry in Scranton all the time.  There is an empty lot where the school used to be, and it's controlled by the adjacent hospital.

When the school closed, the school district said it would cost too much to get rid of the mold and make other necessary repairs.

It's something that happens around here a lot-- we let things go until they become too expensive to fix, and then we tear them down.

It makes me sad, and angry.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

About the Cover


When I shot the demolition of the Audubon school in Scranton back in April of 2015, I thought I'd never use the photos again after their initial blog appearance.

I was wrong.

Stone gnomes taken from the school are on display at Nay Aug Park, just a block away from the school that closed in 2010.

The Audubon school opened in 1911.  I just wonder about the the thought process where it became okay to place creepy gnomes above the doors.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Follow Up Friday


Let's go back to late last year.  I whined at how a local hardware store chain repeatedly advertised a color changing red, green and white Christmas light bulb.  Yet, when you visited the store, and I stopped by more than one, they were never in stock.  What made it even worse, the staff didn't give a rat's behind.  They were unapologetic and unprofessional.  As you might remember, I eventually found a few and the story had a happy ending.  At the time, I also purchased a color changing red, white and blue light bulb.  I stashed it away, and I actually remembered where I put it.  I had one of the most festive front porches in the area.  I wish more people bought the bulbs rather than fireworks.

That brings us to our second item.  The state is trying to fix its bad fireworks law.  Every mayor, police chief, and fire chief in the state thinks the fireworks need to go.  The amended law gives local municipalities more control.  The amended law and the current one are laughable.  Enforcement is non existent.  The situation is out of control.  Follow the money.  Fireworks bring in tax revenue.  So what if someone's house burns down?

I mentioned last week that Back to School sales start right after Independence Day.  During a visit to a big box store Wednesday morning, the staff was filling the shelves with pens, notebooks and backpacks.  That sight used to make me sick to my stomach as a kid.  But then again, in my day, the sales didn't start until mid August.

Our friends at the Allentown Morning Call reported the last Long John Silver's in the Lehigh Valley closed.  Holy cow!  That chain was everywhere at one time, and we are down to only a few stores here in our area.  I admit to liking it, but it's a treat for only a few times a year.  Delicious, but on the heavy and oily side.

And one last food issue, before I hit "publish" for the day.  Wendy's decided to try breakfast again, and then the pandemic hit.  There is a Wendy's across the street from the Golden Arches on a highway near my home.  McDonald's would have a line of cars around the building while Wendy's was a ghost town.  I couldn't figure it out.  I thought the Wendy's food, albeit heavy and salty, was quite a bit better.  During a recent errand mission, I noticed Wendy's was generating a lot of traffic.  Maybe, it just took people a while to notice the new breakfast menu.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Staying Dry


I have been looking at all the vacation pictures my friends have been posting to social media, and the vast majority have something in common:  water.  It might be a river, creek, stream, lake or swimming pool.  Most of the people I know are spending a lot of time around water this summer.

Me?  No.

The last time was in a pool was for that swimming class my college inflicted upon us.  I passed.  Barely.  I wasn't a water person before, during, or after.

I do like looking at it.  I really enjoy photographing it.  Jumping in?  Boating on?  Pass.

I'm happy reading a book, and I hope to a crack one or two during my time off toward the end of the month.

By the way, today's graphic is the alchemy symbol for water.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Sports Business


I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  The commissioner of Major League Baseball said he wants to add two teams to the league.  Potential cities include Las Vegas, New Orleans, Charlotte, and Nashville.

Are you kidding me?  Oakland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Washington can't, or won't field,  competitive teams.  The talent pool will be diluted even more.  The league should be contracting rather than expanding.

Follow the money.  Expansion is another way to get more money out of the television networks and streaming services.

On a similar note, USC and UCLA join the college Big Ten conference in a couple of years.  It doesn't make geographic sense, but it does make economic sense.  It puts the network in the top three media markets in the country.  That translates into a much fatter television contract the next time around.

I remember when the Indiana people flipped out when Penn State wanted to join.  Administration reasoned that State College is impossible to reach easily.  An expanded airport fixed that.  How about the new travel mode, when Rutgers has to fly to Los Angeles?

Of course, it would make sense if the Big Ten can fill in some schools between the current westernmost team, Nebraska, and Los Angeles.  I fully expect that to happen, and there will probably be more west coast teams jumping in.

For the record, and there are very few who agree with me, I always wanted to see Penn State in the ACC.  Games against Syracuse, Pitt, Virginia, North Carolina and Boston College would be a lot of fun.  With a new round of conference realignments on the way, it looks like the ACC is headed for extinction.

The roar of the crowd will be drowned out by the ring of the cash resister.

And before I go for the day, some might consider competitive eating a sport, like the July 4th hot dog eating contest.  I consider it disgusting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Moving On


Independence Day has come and gone.  Let's do a little reminiscing.

Back in the day, politics would take the summer off.  We would have the May primary, and it would be quiet until Labor Day.  then, the campaigning and the commercials would ramp up until the November general election.

My friends, those days are over and,  they are never coming back.

Campaigning for the general election began right after the last votes were counted after the primary.  There are no more election season and election cycles.  It's become a 24/7/365 business.

Expect to see the first presidential candidates dipping their toes in the water after we see the make up of the new house and senate on election night in November.

It never ends.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Independence Day


When we think about Independence Day, of course, the Revolutionary War instantly comes to mind.

This is a reminder that maintaining freedom never ends. It's the Nay Aug Park, Scranton monument to some men who never came home from the War on Terror.

Enjoy the day, but the holiday is more than barbecues and fireworks.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Andy's Angles: Old Glory


There is something about a clear day, brilliant sunshine, blue sky and a flag flying in the early morning breeze.

This the flag near the Everhart Museum at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

I think it's a rather nice shot for Independence Day weekend.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Andy's Angles: The Park


I can write a book on Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  It holds so many great memories.  Zoo animals, the amusement park, family Sunday walks...

This is one of the park pavilions, a little weather worn, but still looking pleasant and old fashioned on a summer morning.

The park is a great resource, albeit underutilized.  It's now mostly a parking lot for a hospital.  However, a swimming area renovation is in the works.  Plus, there are concerts and shows here on most summer weekends.

On this Independence Day weekend, think of family time and pleasant summer days.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Take a Moment


As we head in to America's Independence Day weekend, take a moment to remember a country that is fighting to maintain its own independence.

Ukraine has been pushed off page one by high gasoline prices, a faltering economy, violence and Supreme Court decisions.

Those are all important things, but don't let this one drop off the radar.

The photo above was taken Tuesday morning on North 7th Avenue in Scranton.