Monday, October 31, 2022

Quickly and Sadly, Forgotten


A couple of recent events made me sad, and both are related.

James McDivitt died October 13.  He was commander of Apollo 9 in 1969.  It was the first mission where all of the moon landing gear was tested.  Apollo 10 took it a step beyond, and Apollo 11 made the first moon landing.  McDivitt also participated in the Gemini program.  You have to read about this guy.  Korean War hero.  Amazing record.  James McDivitt was 93 years old.

Some of the smartest people in the country appear on "Jeopardy!"   That might be a bit strong.  Let's just say they are the best at trivia.  A space category popped up recently.  One answer showed a photo of the second man to walk on the moon.  All three contestants missed it.  ALL THREE!  I screamed at the television "BUZZ ALDRIN."  It just amazed me that all three were dumbfounded by something they really should have known.

On an unrelated note, actor Ron Masak died a couple of weeks ago.  86.  He is perhaps best known for playing the sheriff on "Murder, She Wrote."  With me, everything comes back to game shows.  Masak was a semi regular on the 1990-91 NBC daytime edition of "To Tell the Truth."  He was really good, frequently ferreting out the impostors and correctly voting.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Andy's Angles: Better Days


Yes, this is an unhappy bunch of leaves.  Splotchy color.  Rot.  Decay.  Hey, it's that time of year.   You enjoy leaf peeping season until it becomes twig season.

On to the Thanksgiving season!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Andy's Angles: A Pop of Color


We've lost most of the outdoor color, so you take what you can get.  

This is a pop of purple in a neighbor's yard.  I've photographed this shrub or bush before, but this appears to be the last flower of the season.

It was fun while it lasted.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Halloween Weekend


I don't like Halloween.  Never have.  Never will.  Even as a kid.

Life is frightening enough.  I can do without the extra scares.

I will admit to admiring some decorations and lights.  I've never been one to turn down a Snickers bar, even if it's the size of a postage stamp.  However, the bottom line on this time of year is adults have taken a fun kids' holiday and taken it to new levels of excess.  Parties.  Drinking.  Vandalism.  Arson.  Assorted mayhem.

Enough with the skeletons.  They seem to be this year's "in" decoration.  It's time to dial it back.

I'll be happy when it's over.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


I was looking back on my files and saw that I took some pictures of the old Tate Theater/Tony's Pizza Palace in Olyphant back on May 12th.  Demolition was imminent.  Well, sort of imminent.  A demolition crew got around to it this week, and it didn't take long.

Above is a demolition shot.  Below is before the mid May view, long before the crew got here.

It's too bad.  The building was deteriorated and it couldn't be saved.  We seem to do that a lot here-- wait too long, until rehabilitation is no longer an option and demolition is the only answer.

Borough officials are considering a pocket park for the site.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022



Sleeping Homer is back, signaling the start of another vacation week.

This one happens to include Halloween.  There is no real significance there.  As you already know, it's not my holiday.

Even though there are signs winter is approaching, this is still a good time to burn off vacation days.  It's cool, but not cold.  The holiday frenzy has yet to arrive.  It's a good week to do nothing and that's what I intend to do.

Oh, it will be a week filled with the usual pursuits-- a little visiting, a little shopping, a little photography, a little reading and a lot of sleep.

As always, the weekend morning broadcasts are in good hands.  I'll return just in time for the last weekend before the election.

I'll call you back later!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The "A" Word


Today, the A stands for "awkward."  It's horrible when you are afflicted with it.  It can be charming on someone else.

I guess we are all awkward in some category.  For most, that category is social, especially in our younger years.  Some are lucky to shed it.  Others, myself included, carry it around a while longer.  Hey, there are worse things.

Moving on to someone else, the social awkwardness of the main characters in the early years of "The Big Bang Theory" was cute.  While we are not all geniuses, we all could relate.  The characters had to grow, and when they did, the show lost something for me.  I stopped watching.  I didn't need another bickering couples "comedy."

Staying with TV, Julia Child's awkwardness on camera was endearing.  Even though she possessed cooking skills the rest of us could only dream about, Julia had her moments.  You could see her squinting at the camera and the cue cards.  Some things in the kitchen went wrong.  She paused as she hunted for the right words.  She recovered and muddled through.  The awkwardness and imperfection were parts of what made Julia, Julia.

Awkwardness can also work against you.  There is a man on PBS who dies a grilling and smoking show.  I'm not a vegetarian.  I like burgers and dogs, along with chicken patties and nuggets.  On the other hand, a big hunk of bloody steak or prime rib does absolutely nothing for me.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  It makes me queasy.  Anyway, this guy is so awkward on camera, even though it's clear he knows his stuff, it makes me uncomfortable.  After a few minutes, my hand is on the remote.

Awkwardness can be your friend, or your enemy.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Sandy + 10


The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy slamming in to the east coast is approaching.  Even though I was far away from the eye of the storm, it does bring back some vivid memories.

The night before, I was told I would be doing my part of Newswatch 16 This Morning from Stroudsburg, the closest part of our area to the impact zone.

As I was getting dressed just after midnight, the wind was howling and the lights flickered.  I thought "This is it."  I was about to be plunged into darkness for days.  It never happened.  The lights stayed on.

I got to the office and met up with a photographer.  We loaded up a van and headed southeast to Stroudsburg.  As I always say in big storms, you know it's bad when the truckers pull off the road.  Interstates 380 and 80 were lined with idle big rigs, with the drivers smartly avoiding the brutal winds.

Our van arrived to the higher elevation between Tobyhanna and Mount Pocono.  A huge gust of wind hit us, and I swear we were going over the guide rail.  Photographer Mark Monahan kept a firm grip on the wheel, and all was well.

We arrived at the Main St. Stroudsburg exit and made the loop on the ramp in to complete darkness.  Every light in the borough was out.  We parked on Main and set up for our live broadcasts.  The only light came from our truck, our camera, and the giant flashlight I brought along.

By the way, all the experts say there are bands of wind in a hurricane, and I felt it in Stroudsburg that morning.  There would be bursts of intense wind, followed by calm.  The cycle was repeated dozens of times.

After the newscast ended, Mark and I walked around town, looking at the storm's impact.  Trees and branches down.  Closed stores.  An idle cab driver because roads were closed.  A deli struggled to keep its product cool without refrigeration.  People stuck in a hotel.  There were plenty of stories to tell.  We wrapped it up into one big ball and told it at noon.  Our day was done.  When I arrived home, I hit a commercial strip a couple of miles away from me with no electricity.  The house never lost its juice.  Lucky.

The next morning's broadcast was spent at an emergency shelter at East Stroudsburg University.  Remember, it was almost November.  It was getting cold.  No lights is one story.  No heat and no hot water is a totally different animal.  Shelter space was valuable, even if it was a night in a gym with a rapidly overwhelmed bathroom.

One moment sticks out.  A woman walked out of the shelter crying loudly.  She walked over toward our truck.  I asked what happened.  She was just told that it would be at least two weeks before her electricity would be back.  Ouch!

Lessons learned?  The electric grid is a fragile thing.  Some utilities were caught with their pants down-- under manned and under equipped.  I love trees, but we have to keep them away from power lines, impossible as that sounds.  You would think that locations a long distance from the coast are hurricane safe.  Guess again!

I would like to think the northeast came out of Sandy smarter and better prepared for future storms.  I pray we are never put to the test again.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Andy's Angles: Old Age


There are so many wonderful pieces at Steamtown in Scranton, and it's sad they all can't be restored.

This is a rusty relic on the tracks between the roundhouse and the mall.  I deliberately left a lot of track in the shot.  I simply liked the look.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Andy's Angles: #15

 I've  always liked this engine at Steamtown.  It reminds me of something you would see making the run between Hooterville and Pixley and then on to Bugtussle.  It's charming.  It's America.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Mixed Memories


I stopped by yesterday morning to watch a demolition crew take apart the old WNEP building near the airport in Avoca, and I will admit to some mixed feelings.

First, some great people worked here, and some amazing television came out of this building over the years.  It knocked the area on its arse, and it left the other television stations in the dust.  Groundbreaking.  Revolutionary for the time.  It was a joy to watch.

I came here a few times while I was in high school, late at night, to watch J. Kristopher do the 11 pm weather outside.  J. was always kind and gracious.  It was a real kick.

On the other hand, this building was the scene of the worst job interview of my life.  

It was 1983.  The ink on my Marywood College degree was still wet.  I don't remember if I called or I wrote, but I did manage to get a job interview.  The words "job interview" are used loosely.  Paul Stueber was news director at the time.  I got a tour of the place, which was really neat.  All Paul did was talk about himself and the station.    As I sat in the chair across from his desk, I wondered why he had me there.  His interest in me was absolutely zero.

I wasn't crushed when I walked out of there, but  it was close.  Looking at it objectively, I was smart enough to work at WNEP.  I had the news sense to work at WNEP.  I saw some of the people hired in that era.  Clearly, I believed I could do just as well, if not better.  Unfortunately, I had just a few years of radio experience under my belt, and it wasn't enough to get my foot in the door.  While I understood that, I didn't get why Stueber had me in if he had no intention of hiring me.

I also had a miserable interview at WDAU at around the same time, but it wasn't as horrible as the WNEP experience.  At least, WDAU gave me a writing test, and they sat me down on the news set to record a test news broadcast.  I sat with news director Tom Powell for a few minutes afterward.  He read my copy, grumbled a few things, and sent me on my way.  Don't call us...

I went back to work at WARM radio for the next several years, followed by time at WYOU.  I value both experiences.  Good people.  Good places.   Good management.   I did contact Stueber a couple more times in the 80's.  I couldn't get beyond a phone call.  You can't say I didn't try.

Let's fast forward several years.  It's 1998 and I was producing the morning news at WYOU.  It was merging with WBRE.  I was told my services were no longer required.  Just before I took an offer from a station in Charleston, West Virginia, I called Paul Stueber again.  He was in his second tour of duty at WNEP.  Now, the station was at its current location in Moosic.  Stueber had me in for a talk.  We watched a tape of some of my work.  This interview was much better than the first.  We hit it off.

I left.  And waited.

One of my references called me to say it wasn't going to happen.  Some people who had Stueber's ear didn't like me.  West Virginia, here I come!

Well, there was a rally.  People who liked me talked with Stueber.  He contacted others, not on my reference list, who said nice things.  We compromised.  I didn't get the "on air" job that I sought, but Stueber did offer me a producer's job.  Timing was on my side here.  WNEP was very short on producers at the time, and I was a known, albeit not universally liked, commodity.  We Italians have a saying.  "An egg today is better than a chicken tomorrow."    I took the egg, and the rest is history.  Stueber put me on the air a few months later.

Paul Stueber and I got along great after I joined the staff.  Even though I had been in the news business for nearly twenty years before I joined WNEP, he taught me quite a bit.  I greatly enjoyed working for him, and I was lucky to do so.

Strangely enough, I took the demolition photos on the 23rd anniversary of Stueber's second departure from WNEP.

From what I read, a car wash will replace the former WNEP building.  You cannot take away the memories, good and bad, of what happened there.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Something Fishy This Way Comes


Long John Silver's here along Birney Avenue in Moosic closed several months ago.  A demolition crew tore down the building recently, and you can still see the remnants of the sign, on the left of the photo.   There's a big hole where the restaurant used to be.   I do not know what becomes of the property.  Considering the plaza has been refurbished and revitalized, maybe something interesting will happen here.

The closing and subsequent demolition made me sad.  I like Long John Silver's.  The problem is,  the food is heavy and greasy, so it can't be a frequent treat.  I like the fish, the slaw, and the hush puppies.  The shrimp is really good, too.  When the chain switched from horrible little boney chicken peg legs to wonderful boneless planks, it was a game changer.

The focus of today's entry is what's become of fast food seafood in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.  There used to be several Long John Silver's.  Now, there are just two.  There are only 28 left in the entire state.  "Mature" blog readers will remember the H. Salt and Arthur Treacher's chains.  Phillip's, too.  Captain D's made a brief entry in to the market, only to quickly retreat.  Yes, we have Red Lobster, but I don't consider that "fast food."  Have people in this corner part of the state lost their taste for fast seafood?  Maybe.  I should note that there is just one Arthur Treacher's left in the country.  H Salt is a west coast only chain.  I know a lot of people are trying to eat healthier.  Fish is healthy, but when you dip it in batter and deep fry it, it becomes a different story.

I'm probably reading too much in to the Long John Silver's pull back.  This is likely simply a matter of "times and tastes change."

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A Really Big Shoe


One of the signs of advancing age is becoming ecstatic overt the most mundane things.

I bought a pair of shoes several years ago.  Not a real shoe, and not a sneaker.  It's somewhere in the middle.  I guess you would call it a "walking shoe."  Comfortable is an understatement, and by the way, it looks nothing like today's graphic.

Unfortunately, the stitching on one shoe came loose because of repeated wear, and I put them aside.  While I was straightening up the other day, I looked at those walking shoes and said "I really should have them fixed."

It was off to a repair shop the next town over.  The owner, who I've dealt with many times before, said it was doable.  Just come back in a couple of days.

Even though it was a short amount of time in the shop, it seemed like weeks.  After all, I was getting a favorite pair of shoes back.  They were ready when promised, and I couldn't wait to go out the next day and wear them.

Yes, they were as comfortable as I remember.  Walking was a wonderful experience and my feet didn't feel horrible at the end of a long work day.

It doesn't take much to make the old man happy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Listen to Norm!


Now-retired PBS master carpenter Norm Abram always hated brick steps and brick walkways.  He had solid reasoning.  Brick steps and walkways have many, many joints.  Joints can fail.  Water seeps in, and the ball game is over.

That brings us to today's topic.

It's a state road, so I assume it's a state project.  New crosswalks are going in on a street near my home.  This isn't brick.  I know that.  It's a stamped and colored pavement material.  However, there are joints before and after the faux brick strips.  Even though they will be sealed, it's a joint, and that's where the pavement is prone to breaking apart.

Pretty?  Kinda.

It just seems to me a couple stripes of paint could do the job more quickly, efficiently, cheaper, and with fewer problems, down the road, pardon the pun.  There is nothing like taking a recently paved road and slicing it up again.

I'll be sure to post pictures of the crack and pothole patching next year.

I'm just counting my blessings that they didn't install a roundabout.

Monday, October 17, 2022

A Slice of Amazement


I couldn't believe what I was reading in the newspaper.

A pair of chain take-out pizza stores had to close recently because demand was so great, they ran out of product.  Supply chain issues also played a role.

Are you kidding me?

This is the mass produced chain stuff!  It's average, at best.  I always call it, and the other chains "pizzas of last resort."  They are the ones you get when you are in a super hurry and you can't easily find anything else.  I'm not sure if it's still the case, but this chain used to use a conveyor belt oven to cook its product.  Great for consistency.  Bad for everything else.

I'll eat it.  I'm okay with it.  It can be tasty.  I don't love it.  I can't believe there was a run on it that was so severe, the pizza stores had to close early.

What makes this even more amazing, both chain stores are in communities where it is easy to get amazing pizza.

A co-worker suggested I add video to the blog and make it a vlog.  If it was up and running now, you would see me crying and shaking my head in disbelief.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Andy's Angles: Past Prime


A leaf in the fall, even a branch past its prime, is still a thing of beauty.  This will be a collection of twigs before you know it.

As you can see, there is already a fair amount of foliage that's fallen to the ground.  More to come.

I'd rather see the leaves still on the trees, but listening to the wind blow them around is a thing of beauty.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Andy's Angles: Green and Gold


Green and gold is perhaps my favorite color combination.  The Oakland Athletics.  The Reading engine at Steamtown I've photographed a hundred times.

It works for leaves, too.

I didn't do the leaf peeping I had planned earlier in the week.  I went as far as my back yard for this one.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Friday Scrapple


Is there anything better than a good pike of french fries?

I'm not afraid to say I like Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"

All my favorite fall jackets have finally been located.  Now, it's time to put them back in the closet in favor of heavier gear.

USA Today did a story on Hurricane Ian being underestimated.  You think?

Isn't it time for a "Hollywood Squares" revival?

The World Series starts Friday, October 28.  Way too late!

A Montgomery County school district has canceled Halloween parades due to safety and inclusivity concerns.  Let that one sink in for a while.

Aaron Judge's talents are admirable, but I just grew weary of that whole story.

Watching the start of the Steamtown Marathon is always a rush.  It was great to see it back.

Brooke Burns is a good game show host.

I ate Spaghetti O's the other day.  Don't judge.

Is pumpkin spice over yet?   Probably just in time for cable tv Christmas movies.

Edgar Winter's "Free Ride" is a great song.

Bank.  Cleaner.  Supermarket.  Shoe repair.  It wasn't the most fun days off, but it might have been among the most productive.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Another Legend Disappears


Once upon a time, there was a legendary radio station in San Francisco, KGO.  It was one of the pioneers in talk radio, and it enjoyed that position for decades.

Things changed.  ABC sold most of its radio stations.  New people came in.  Resources cut.  Ratings slipped.

The end came last week.  A morning talk show host was cut off in the middle of his program.  No one had a chance to say good-bye.  The talk radio format was gone.  It was a weekend of filler music.

The new format made its debut Monday morning.  Sports talk with a major emphasis on gambling.

I know I don't have a dog in this fight, but I am an old radio guy who appreciates the history of the medium.

I'm also smart enough to know it's a business not a charity.  Once again, it's a matter of "If it don't pay, it don't stay."  The company obviously wasn't making enough of a profit with a heavily local talk format.  Boom!  Gone!   Sports talk from a network is always a viable alternative, especially with the new emphasis on gambling.

It still pains me to see a once-proud radio station take that route.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

13 Years of Being Wrong


An anniversary recently passed.  Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos just marked 13 years together on ABC's "Good Morning America."   That makes them the longest serving "team" in the history of network morning television.  There have been individual anchors who have served longer.  Robin and George have the team record.

I have to admit, I blew this one.  I thought Stephanopoulos was a bad fit for morning television  Too serious, too stiff, and lacking warmth.  It turns out, he is just what that program needs.  Stephanopoulos provides gravitas, seriousness and balance.  He keeps the show grounded.

The timing was perfect.  ABC put Robin and George together just as NBC was having major chemistry problems with its morning show.  CBS is, well, CBS.  It seems to change people, formula, format and focus every six months.

This is one case where I was wrong and I'm proud to admit it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Panic Button


The leaves are turning colors.  Overnight lows are close to the freezing mark, and people and animals are reaching for the panic button.

First, the people.  It's tough to find a road that isn't under construction.  The season is coming to an end.  Now, the rush is on to get things paved and cemented before the flakes start to fly.  It makes simple travels around town a major headache.  Yes, I realize it has to be done.

Now, the animals.  The squirrels have made a mess of the chestnut tree in my yard.  They're grabbing the nuts before they fall, leaving a lot of chewed up tree parts in their wake.  I hasten to add a messy yard is a small price to pay for fat and happy squirrels as winter approaches.

And then, there are the deer.  They are not an uncommon sight in my neighborhood.  It seems appearances are more frequent these days.  Yes, they can be a major nuisance, especially to gardeners.  On the other hand, they are lovely creatures, especially the does, with their big eyes and huge ears.

Skunks and raccoons are pretty much a constant presence, and I'm okay with that.  They're cute.  An occasionally torn apart garbage bag isn't that a big of a deal.

It's all signs of the inevitable.  Winter is on the way.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Unfinished Monday


A quick weigh-in on Aaron Judge setting the American League home run mark at 62...  I was underwhelmed.  It's a cheapened record because Judge plays in an era of juiced balls and small parks.  However, you can't penalize him for that.  He's just doing his thing.  It's nearly, but not the same, as Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds launching home runs in the days when you can get away with using performance enhancing drugs.  I'm disappointed we have to listen to the Michael Kay and John Sterling home run calls for eternity.  It looks like Joe DiMaggio's 56 game consecutive hitting streak will be the one that lasts until the end of time.

Speaking of baseball, it's the annual challenge of finding the games: ABC, ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB, TBS...

By the way, I used to love "Quick Pitch" on the MLB Network, a morning hour filled with highlights and scores.  Anchors changed.  It seems like they're just reading the copy without understanding it.  Kelly Nash is the exception.  Note to producers:  every highlight doesn't need music beneath it!  It's annoying and distracting, especially if that type of music is not your genre.  The show became unwatchable.  I hope it improves in the spring.

If you liked her, I'm sorry.  Comedian Judy Tenuta died last week.  72.  She wasn't my thing, and I'm not alone.  I love game shows.  A television programming executive I know was considering buying a "Match Game" revival for his station about twenty years ago.  The pitch reel had Judy Tenuta on the panel.  He passed.  The show did make it in to syndication.  It bombed.  Big time.

The Halloween overkill has begun!  More on that in the days to come.

It seems like fall foliage is a little behind schedule, at least where I live.  My camera batteries are charged and ready to go.

Cass Elliot finally has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Bravo!  As I have said here before, Elliot had one of the best female pop voices-- ever.  I'm sorry we lost her at a young age.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Andy's Angles: Lumpy Pumpkin

 I considered this shot for this month's blog header, but I went with the oblong gourd instead.  I simply thought it was more visually interesting.

Regular blog readers know I've been trying to improve my macro and depth of field skills.  This shot is borderline macro, but I did get a nice background blur.

I've been experimenting with all my lenses, and this shot was done with the basic kit lens.  It performed better than expected and is an underrated lens.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

About the Cover: Fall


I didn't have the time to get the place I had intended to shoot for this month's blog header, but it isn't going away.  I'll get there eventually.

This month's header takes you to my back yard.  A gourd on a railing.  It says fall, even though the tree in the background is still very green.  I took this shot the morning of September 28, and the trees, at the time, had yet to pick up significant color.

Be that as it may, fall is a wonderful time of year.

Friday, October 7, 2022



Bernard McGuirk died Wednesday night.  64.  Prostate cancer.

He was half of the morning team on WABC 770 in New York City.  For many years, he was one of the enablers on the Don Imus show.  We met briefly, once, and Bernie seemed like a decent chap.

Yes, I laughed at Bernie's outrageous Cardinal John O'Connor impression.  Bernie's job, beyond "The Cardinal," was to get racist, homophobic and sexist comments on to the air, with Imus' blessing.  Imus would chastise Bernie, keeping his hands clean, but you know Imus was okay with every mean spirited word Bernie uttered.

It eventually caught up with Imus and crew, fired from WFAN and MSNBC.  They drifted over the WABC and a couple of unknown cable networks.  The ratings never improved.  Even in the glory days, one of my favorite sayings was "You know a station is in trouble if it runs 'Imus in the Morning.'"

I'm not sure if Bernie actually believed all that stuff he said, or if it was just a character he played.

Regardless, my sympathy to family, friends, and fans.

Thursday, October 6, 2022



I am not a snob and I don't look down my nose at anything.

Today's topic is food snobbery.

Clearly, there are some brands I like more than others, but any brand of ketchup is okay.  The same goes for chocolate, pasta, tater tots, iced tea, cereal, bread, potato chips, ice cream, bottled water, chicken patties, barbecue sauce, pepperoni, soup...  The list is endless.  You can line up the leading lite beers and I can't tell the difference.  I still can't tell the difference between butter and margarine.  

There is one exception:  black pepper.

I bought a pepper grinder several years ago, at the urging of the fine folks on the PBS show "America's Test Kitchen."  I purchased the brand and model the show recommended.  It is among the best decisions I ever made.  If I can't have freshly ground, I do without.  The other stuff has zero flavor.  That pepper grinder changed my life!

I should add the show did another round of testing recently, and it found an even better make and model of pepper grinder.  Tempting as it was, I didn't order it.  The one I have works fine.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Thrown Away


Indulge me today.  It will be a day filled with "geezer" moments.

When I was a broadcasting pup, every hour of every broadcast day, radio and television, was important.  Nothing was thrown away.

CBS in the 70's had a fantastic Saturday night schedule.  Now, Saturday nights are where you find sports and returns.  By the way, there is nothing wrong with sports.  Advertisers and viewers love it.  The networks gave up on Saturday nights long ago, and NBC is considering dumping its 10 pm hour permanently, seven nights a week.

Daytime TV?  Fun game shows and soaps.  Both genres committed the sin of appealing to an older demographic.  Gone.

Radio used to be live and local 24/7.  We had an old saying that if a radio station sounds good at 10 am on a Sunday, it's a good station.  Now, it's infomercials and "best of" talk.  It's the same thing with the overnight shift.  That was a place where you experimented and developed young talent.  Now?  Sports talk, very biased political talk shows, and that silly man who yaps endlessly about Martians.

I benefitted from pulling a lot of overnighters.  It was a place to learn, maybe make some mistakes, and grow.

Yes, I know it's become an on demand, streaming and podcast world.  We watch and listen to what we want, when we want it.  Stations and networks no longer dictate when we can view and listen to things.

I still long for the time when every minute was a priority and an opportunity to showcase all you can do.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022



Last week was the 45th anniversary of the release of Billy Joel's album called "The Stranger."  It's my favorite of all time.  Any time I hear a song from it, I'm immediately transported back to high school, and it's the fun high school memories, not the soul crushing ones.

Every track is wonderful, especially the ones that didn't receive a lot or radio station air play, and that includes "Vienna" and "Everybody Has a Dream."  "Get It Right the First Time" was also great.  In fact, there isn't one dog on the entire album.  "Scenes From and Italian Restaurant" is a masterpiece.  "Anthony's Song" is just plain fun.

Rolling Stone calls "The Stranger" one of the best albums of all time.

The title cut holds special significance.  It was the first song I ever played on the radio, at Marywood's WVMW in December of 1979.  It was also the last song I played there, in January of 1983.  You may be asking, "Why January?"  "Didn't you graduate in May of 83?"  The graduation month is correct.  Back in the day, you had to put in a certain number of hours at the college radio station.  I went nuts during the 82/83 Christmas break, working every shift I could get my hands on.  I exceeded the minimum hour requirement by a huge amount in just a matter of weeks.  Just before the new semester started, I declared my college radio days were at an end,  and that was it.  A lot of classmates asked me to fill in for them during the spring semester.  I politely declined.  I retired.  There was another reason.  By then, I was working a lot of shifts at WARM 590.  Something had to give, and that was college radio.  Yes, it was bittersweet.  I really loved being on the air at WVMW.  We were given the freedom to play the music we liked.  I miss that.

I digress.

The bottom line is that "The Stranger" was one of the best albums of all time, with four singles hitting the top 40.  It's quite an accomplishment.

There are some songs I liked as a teen, and when I hear them today, I wonder what I was thinking at the time.  They're awful.  Nothing from "The Stranger" is on that list.

Happy anniversary.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Al Primo


You probably don't know the name, but you know what he did.

Al Primo died last week.  He was the Philadelphia and  New York City news executive who pioneered the practice of putting reporters on the set to introduce the stories they did that day, and discuss them with the anchors.  Revolutionary.  Compelling television.  Some say it ushered in the "happy talk" news era.  

Primo was a diversity pioneer.  He opened newscasts to different faces, different ethnicities, different sexes...  It made the news more human, more relatable.  Stations across the country copied the format and the rest is history.

In later years, Primo developed a syndicated newscast for children.  We exchanged a few emails, and it always was a kick to communicate with a legend.  It was clear there was a passion for news, and a love of the medium.

Al Primo was 87.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Andy's Angles: 790

Back in the day, I know they built these things for function, but I wonder if "the look" was taken in to consideration.  This is one beautiful piece of machinery. 

There was brilliant sunshine the morning I took this photo.  I should have kept a better eye on my exposure.  It's a little hot.

Below is a paragraph shamelessly lifted from the Steamtown web site:

Rebuilt and modernized in 1918 to a superheated heavy freight locomotive. Renumbered to IC 790, January 1943. Last company service was replacing IC diesels during spring floods near Cedar Rapids, IA. Manually fired. Sold by a private owner to Nelson Blount, 1966. Only surviving locomotive from the Chicago Union Transfer Railway and one of nine surviving from the Illinois Central.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Andy's Angles: My Favorite


If you are a regular blog reader, you know this is my absolute favorite in the Steamtown collection.

Diesels like this remind me of the ones we had under the Christmas tree as a kid.  That was always my older brother's domain, but I was allowed to look.

Plus, I just love the green and gold color scheme.

I must have photographed this one dozens of times and there will be more.