Thursday, August 31, 2023

Star Struck


It is rare that I become star struck.

I'm not bragging, but I was feet away from Mother Teresa.  I've interviewed Joe Biden and Bill Clinton.  I shook hands with George H.W. Bush.  There were senators, governors and congressmen-- including Jim Wright, when he was Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful men in the country.  Meeting Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo was a treat.  Don Imus.  Actress Debbie Reynolds.  Major league baseball players, football stars, past and present, NASCAR drivers.  I worked at WARM, alongside  broadcasting legends.  There were a few network news correspondents.  My voice has been on network dramas, network news shows and documentaries, movies, and network radio.  Bishops.  Cardinals.  Cabinet secretaries.

I am grateful and thankful for every opportunity.  As I have said here many, many, many times before, I am luckier than I deserve to be.

I tried to take all those "brushes with greatness" in stride.

I broke my stride Tuesday morning.  I became star struck.

Our chief engineer was giving a couple of gentlemen a tour around our building.  They stopped by my desk to say hello.  One of them was Scott Fybush, and I lost it.

Scott Fybush is in the station brokerage business.  He's also a broadcast consultant, writer and historian.  His hobby is traveling the country, taking photos of radio and tv studios, transmitters, and towers.  His web site,, is a must-read for broadcasters, and I check it every Friday morning.  He publishes a calendar every year, with some great photography.  A feature a couple of years ago was the spectacular WEJL tower, high atop the Scranton Times building.

Fybush is one of those guys who appreciates the history of the business, when radio was something special.  Big towers, blowtorch AM's, live and local.  Major personalities.  News.  Individuality.   In fact, one of my coworkers and I were discussing an item on just shortly before he arrived, an amazing coincidence.

It was just a major kick to shake his hand and converse for a few minutes.  Scott seemed very happy that I was familiar with his site and his work.  It certainly made my day, and I really needed the boost.

We swapped business cards, so I hope I've found a new friend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023



It happened 30 years ago tonight.  "Late Show with David Letterman" made its debut on CBS.

I was working at a CBS affiliate at the time, and I was thrilled the network was jumping back in to the late night game, and in a big way.  A stronger network delivers more eyeballs to local programming.

Letterman was funny and edgy.  Fresh and different.

Jay Leno was a fantastic stand up comedian, and a great talk show guest, but a lousy interviewer.  His "Tonight" show was more of that slimey, smarmy Hollywood pap.

I thought NBC made a huge mistake when it picked Leno over Letterman to replace Johnny Carson.  In retrospect, NBC did the right thing.  First, it was a better financial deal for NBC.  Once Jay found his footing, he wore well, more comfortable to watch than Dave.  Letterman's edge and snark was part of his charm, but he was difficult to watch at times.  There were more than a few nights when Dave just didn't seem to want to be there.

Having said that, when Letterman was firing on all cylinders, there was none better.  Brilliant, I dare say.  He was genuine.  The shows just before his 2015 retirement were especially good.  The Christmas shows, throughout the years, are classics.  The show without an audience during Hurricane Sandy was amazing.  The broadcast after 9/11 hit all the right notes, and that wasn't easy.

It has been said Letterman won the critics, but Leno won the ratings.

For me, the choice was always clear.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Voices

 I watched every network Bob Barker obituary I could find over the weekend.  The word "legend" is tossed around too frequently, but it really fits in describing Barker.

While I'm sorry he's gone, something in all those obituaries made me smile.  It was great hearing announcer Johnny Olsen in those old "The Price is Right" clips.  He was simply the best.

I will get some argument on that from the Don Pardo fans.  He was great, but there was no one like Johnny Olsen.  He could read the phone book aloud and make it sound exciting.

Another one high on my list was John Harlan, who handled the "Password" run on ABC in the 70's.  The same goes for Jack Clark, who had a long list of credits, including "Pyramid."

And, you cannot forget Jay Stewart, who was not only the announcer on "Let's Make a Deal," but he was also Monty Hall's sidekick.

Charlie Tuna spent years working on "Scrabble," an underrated show.

I know an announcer is not the make or break person for a game show, but a talented voice does add a lot to the broadcast.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Third Choice


Bob Barker died Saturday.  99 years old.

He hosted "The Price is Right" for 35 years, not bad for the third choice.

Here is some little known history.

When Mark Goodson was reviving "The Price is Right" in 1972, he first approached the original host, Bill Cullen.  Cullen walked with a severe limp due to a childhood bout with polio.  He saw the walking involved with the new format and expressed a concern.  Goodson promised some adroit camera work and directing to minimize Cullen's movements.  Cullen passed.  There was more.  The revival would be shot in Los Angeles.  Cullen was doing radio work, commercials, and "To Tell the Truth" in New York and was against the move.

Next choice, Dennis James.   CBS vetoed that one, fearing James was too closely associated with NBC because of all his work over there.  James received the consolation prize, hosting duties for the night time and syndicated "The Price is Right."

Goodson was familiar with Barker's work on the audience participation show "Truth or Consequences" and thought he would be a good fit.  Goodson was right.

Here is something totally off the wall.  According to a couple of books I read, Barker didn't think the revived "The Price is Right" would last.  In the days before the show premiered, he lobbied to get one of the other two game shows CBS would be debuting on the same day instead.  CBS declined.  The rest is history.

Barker retired in 2007, and I thought it was time.  He appeared a little cranky toward the end, and short with contestants.  I will give him credit for one of the more difficult hosting jobs in game show history.  "The Price is Right" isn't just one game show.  It's about thirty, with all the little individual games, six per show.

There was more-- the Rose Parade, the Pillsbury Bake Off, Miss Universe, Miss USA, appearances on "Tattletales" and "Match Game."

Barker once offered the greatest advice on hosting a game show:  "It's not what you say that counts.  It's what you don't say."  His reasoning was that it would be easy to have fun at the expense of a nervous or bad contestant, but it would come off as mean, so he never did it.

He loved animals and America loved Bob Barker.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Andy's Angles: The Caboose


I'm not sure the colors are authentic, but it is certainly eye catching.

This lovely caboose is parked near the engine that occupied this space yesterday.

I can do without the foreground shrubs, but I do like the bright yellow of the caboose against the deep green of summer time foliage in Honesdale.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Andy's Angles: Overdue


It's been a couple of weeks since I inflicted some trains on you, so here goes.

This hard working beauty was on some tracks near Main Street in Honesdale a few weeks ago.

The locomotive looks like it's seen better days, but it apparently gets the job done.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Business Friday


The few times I visit WalMart, it's usually at opening time, 6 am.  No crowds.  In and out fast.

By the way, WalMart management, if the sign says you open at 6, you open at 6.  Not 6:05, or 6:07.  Chances are, if you are at WalMart at that hour, you are not shopping for funsies.

An exasperated shopper, not me, angrily asked the clerk if WalMart will ever go back to 24/7.  The clerk, who opened the door late, said nothing.

I later encountered that woman in an aisle.  I commiserated with her.  We really miss the old days, pre pandemic, when getting a few necessities was much easier.  I said the 24/7 days are never coming back.  There is the labor crunch, and too many stores are losing too much inventory to too many shoplifters.  We both noted at how many items are now under lock and key.

That brings me to an ancillary item.  The management at Dick's says it's laying off some employees because they are losing too much to theft.  I'm sorry the employees have to pay the price for the degradation of society.  What's happened to us?  If the issues at Dick's are that bad, perhaps there should be security guards at the door.

I regularly see social media posts from police departments that patrol big retail areas.  It seems people think nothing of loading up carts and simply walking out the door.

It makes me sad.

On an unrelated note, American Express used to be the gold standard for customer service.  It took me three days and several attempts to change my password.  On-line was no help.  The person who answered the phone was also useless.  What happened here?

Back on the 16th, I whined about two major supermarket chains not having my favorite bottled barbecue sauce.  I saw it at a regional chain the other day.  Too late.  My Amazon order arrived long ago.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Back to School


Newswatch 16's Clair Alfree has the desk next to mine in the WNEP newsroom, and we were both in pursuit of the same thing Tuesday morning-- back to school stories.

Claire worked the phones.  I emailed school people I knew, working a few contacts.  I couldn't help overhearing Claire's calls.  We both succeeded in finding what we were looking for.

In my day, it was a trip to the Globe or Jean King a couple of weeks before school started.  Maybe Sears and Penney's.  Supplies came from places like Sugerman's or another big box discount store.  It was not a difficult process.  No Staples back then.  No Amazon, either.

Times have changed.  Technology was supposed to make our lives easier.  On the contrary.  It's now more complicated than ever and there is still the big unknown of artificial intelligence out there.

Back to school day is one of the more emotional days on the calendar.  Kids cry.  Parents cry.  Anticipation.  Optimism.  Fear.   Growth.   It's all out there, and I'm sure every second will be photographed for, and documented on the internet.

Honestly, the first day of school was never one of my favorite days.  While it was nice to see old friends, June and the end of the school year seemed like a century away, rather than nine little months.

Thank you in advance for sharing your stories, and look for  Newswatch 16 crew at a school near you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Reality Bites


The very first season of the television show "Survivor" ended on this day in 2000.  "Survivor" is given credit for kicking off the reality television show craze.

I never watched it.  Zero interest.  Actually, below zero interest, if there is such a thing.

Thanks to the writers' strike, you will see a lot more reality and unscripted shows on television this fall.  It's a big yawn from me.  It's just not my genre.  Bachelors and bachelorettes looking for mates does nothing for me.  I don't care about cooking competitions and contests for the best decorated Christmas house.  Dancing with the Sharks?  The list goes on and on.

You will see a few more game shows on the network schedules this fall, and in my book, it's a good thing.  There will be prime time versions of Jeopardy, Pyramid, The Price is Right, Let's Make a Deal and a few others.  Once again, there is plenty of time to fill while the writers and the actors walk the picket line.

Change is good, but I think people will turn away from the major networks and head to the streaming services to find their scripted comedies and dramas.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Old Man Says...


I will admit there are times I feel old, tired, and jaded.  The emotion occasionally strikes during hurricane coverage.  My heart goes out to the people stuck in the storms, but after a while, every hurricane looks the same.  The coverage has the same elements-- sandbagging, boarding up, evacuation, the supermarket and home improvement store rush, wind, flooding, aftermath...

But, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hilary simply fascinated me.  It was the first big storm to hit California in more than eighty years.  I couldn't get enough.  California gets strange weather.  A tropical storm and inches of rain is new territory.  The company that owns WNEP also owns a TV station in San Diego, so I got to look at their video over the weekend.  I couldn't get enough.

While Hilary was bad, it could have been worse.

And, that brings me to part two of today's saga.  

I was listening to network news radio coverage of Hilary.  Sad to say, it consisted of snippets of television news reports.

I've done radio.  I've done TV.  There are a few similarities, but they are very different.  I should know.

Whatever happened to boots on the ground?  A story like this cried out for radio news reporters, painting word pictures of what they saw, what they were experienced.  Sad to say, there aren't many solid radio reporters left these days.  Management's commitment to radio news is waning.

The listener suffers.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Great Expectations


I'm up early, even on my days off.

I woke up around 11 Thursday night.  My ritual includes firing up the iPad to scan the latest headlines, and tuning in a big city all news radio station for the rest.

I noticed a line of thunderstorms marching across the state.  They looked severe.  I've seen worse.  Apparently, so had the National Weather Service because it hadn't issued any watches or warnings in my area.  Estimated time of arrival, 3 am, and I looked forward to it.  It was warm and humid.  The storms would provide blessed, albeit temporary, relief.

The storms arrived.  A few booms and flashes.  No big deal, but enough to frighten the cat.  It was over in a few minutes.

The temperature on my remote back porch thermometer dropped from 75 to 70.    Five degrees is five degrees.  I hoped for more.

I really should add that the storms did create some major flooding issues in central Pennsylvania.  The line of thunderstorms apparently lost their oomph by the time they reached my neighborhood.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Andy's Angles: Red Hot Chili Peppers


While I've spent more than my share of time whining and moaning about an excessively hot and humid summer, the season did have its advantages.

The plants really did seem to like it.  As long as they were watered, they thrived.

Today, it's more photos from the Gardens of Cedar in Scranton, and my early August visit.  I'm not sure of the variety, but there were a few pepper plants here.  Personal preference?  I like a little heat, but nothing overwhelming.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Andy's Angles: Ripe


I haven't had a vegetable garden in eons.  When I did,  there was a yearly tomato issue.  It seems like they took forever to ripen, and when it did happen, they ripened all at once.

I guess that explains the popularity of cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes.  They are ready early in the growing season.

Todays photos are from the Garden of Cedar, a community garden along Cedar Avenue in Scranton.  It was my first visit, and I was really impressed.  Every planter was filled with vegetables and flowers, and it was well maintained.

I visited early on the morning of August 2.  Most of the tomatoes were green.  I'm sure by the time this entry hits, they will be red, ripe, and ready to be enjoyed.  There is nothing like a vine ripened, home grown tomato.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Media Friday


CBS News is getting a new president.  From what I've been reading the past few months, this is a good thing.  As someone who grew up with Walter Cronkite every evening at 6:30, the problems at CBS make me sad.

To all the companies complaining about AM radios dropped from new cars, I haven't seen you do anything to improve the band or your programming.  Case in point, an AM station in Detroit fired its live and local talk show staff this week, in favor of network sports talk.

Will there be any winners once the Hollywood strikes are over?

I've read where contestants' row in the new "The Price is Right" studio will be level with the stage.  Oh no!

The producers of "Wheel of Fortune" replaced Vanna White during a recent tiff.  It seems to me that someone is overestimating her value, but Vanna should monetarily share in the success of the show.

Words cannot express the joy that I feel listening to Casey Kasem shows from the 70's Sunday mornings on satellite radio.

Amazon Prime just stopped featuring old "Barney Miller" episodes for free, so it's back to the dvd's for me.

In writing news stories over the weekend, I still can't get used to "Syracuse Mets."  They are the Chiefs and they always will be the Chiefs.

Once again, the power of the NFL astounds me.  It's pennant chase time in Major League Baseball, and all radio hosts and callers wanted to talk about over the weekend was meaningless pre season football games.

"Barbie" has brought in more than $ 1 billion box office dollars around the world.  Think about that for a moment.

I was watching some old game show clips the other day, as I often do.  "Family Feud" was never one of my favorites, but watching Richard Dawson in his prime is amazing-- the way he handled the contestants and the audience.  

CNN is blowing up its lineup-- again!  I think I'm like most people.  All the opinion based programming has me worn out.  Just do the news!

I've seen some media hysterics during Maui fire coverage, but for the most part, the reporting has been compassionate, fair, and responsible.

Ohio State fans are in full whine mode because the Maryland game will be streamed, and not available via free TV.  Friends, when college conferences and pro leagues sell their souls to television, this is what happens.  Get used to it. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

It Makes You Wonder


Shelley Smith died August 8.  She was only 70 years old.

Did you ever look at someone and wonder why they weren't a bigger star?

First, Smith was a strikingly beautiful woman.  She was on a legal sitcom called "The Associates."  They produced thirteen episodes in 1979 and 1980.   Only nine aired.   No one watched, but the show was nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes.  It wasn't a bad show, and it probably could have been hit if ABC showed a little patience.

She was a regular in a couple of seasons of something called "For Love and Honor."  Sorry.  I never saw it.  In fact, I never heard of it until I was doing a little research for this entry.

There were a few other projects over the years, mostly guest appearances.  There wasn't a lot of regular work.  It was then on to the game show circuit.  Smith appeared on "Pyramid," "Super Password," and "Body Language.  She was charming, funny, and most importantly, smart.

Shelley Smith always a favorite of mine.

I'm sorry more people can't say that.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Condimentally Disturbed


I will start by saying that if this is my biggest problem, life is pretty good.

I ran out of my favorite barbecue sauce the other day, so it made it on to my supermarket list.  One big chain didn't have it.  I tried another.  Ditto.  Nothing.

Now, this is a national brand, made by a huge company.  It's not too sweet, not too spicy, not too smoky.  It actually won the competition on that overly fussy and increasingly annoying tv show "America's Test Kitchen."

By the way, ATK, stop making people jump through a thousand hoops to watch the show on-line!

I digress.  Both supermarkets I tried had other sauces made by the same company, and a long line of bottled sauces in general.

It has already been established here that I am "that guy."  I write letters, email and snail mail, good and bad.  I fill out surveys.  I never suffer in silence.  Conversely, if something good happens, I also let people know.

I shipped off an email to the multi national conglomerate that makes the barbecue sauce.  The response is below.

We'd like to be able to appropriately respond, but in order to research your inquiry, we need the specific UPC (Universal Product Code) for each product you are inquiring about. If you do not have this information, please send as much information as you can including the brand and flavor.

How do I know the UPC code if the product is out of stock and I threw away the old, empty bottle?  I named the brand in the original email.

Yes, somebody gets paid for a response like this.

I did what I should have done in the first place.  Amazon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Invasion of Privacy


It was among the worst days I've spent in the news business.

It was mid 90's and I was working at another television station.  The news director sent a photographer and I to what used to be known as Mercy Hospital in Scranton.  Former Governor Bob Casey was staying there for a medical issue and we learned he was about to discharged.

The photographer and I staked out the hospital exit for hours.  Finally, the former governor and former first lady emerged.  The photographer and I approached, and Mr. Casey said a few words, looking tired and thin-- like he just got out of the hospital.  You could see Ellen Casey was a bit annoyed at the invasion of privacy and I didn't blame her.  She took the high road.

I know when you become a public figure, you do lose some privacy.  However, this was a bit much.  I didn't like being there.  We shouldn't have been there.  Not to be disrespectful, but there wasn't much news value to the story.  The Caseys should have been left alone.

Ellen Casey died Friday.  She was 91.  Mrs. Casey always seemed, at least to me, to be a reluctant public figure.  She supported her family and I respect that.

I will always remember her for some extreme patience on a cold hospital sidewalk.

Monday, August 14, 2023

I Wonder


William Randolph Hearst was born 160 years ago today.  At one time, he controlled the largest newspaper chain in the country.  The Hearst name is still a force in media today.

I wonder what Hearst would think of what's become of his industry-- smaller papers, less localism, and many have given up on publishing every day.  

Technology has evolved.  A story can get out in seconds rather than waiting for the type to be set and the presses to roll.  The newsstand comes to you rather than the other way around.  I will say that faster doesn't necessarily equate in to better journalism.  It doesn't leave much opportunity for perspective, relevance, understanding, context...

It's like what Ted Koppel said when 24 hour TV news came on the scene:  "Pointing a camera at something isn't journalism."

There will always be a place for local news.  The delivery method has changed, and will continue to change.  It's clear the days of the newspaper landing with a thud on your front porch every morning are almost over.  Pictures coming out of a big tower on top of a mountain aren't far behind.

The important thing here is to continue to have that thirst for knowledge, and to expect more from the people who deliver the facts.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Andy's Angles: River Search


I should have told this story weeks ago, but there were several other photos in the weekend queue.

I was sitting in the newsroom on the morning of July 10th, when the call came in.  A woman spotted a body in the Lackawanna River near Nay Aug Avenue and East Market Street in Scranton.  Photographer Tim and I jumped in a car and headed over there.  The Scranton police and fire departments had personnel at every overpass between East Market Street and Elm Street in the city's south side.  The fire department put its boat in the water.

The boat came a shore and the search was declared over here at Sweeney's Beach near Poplar Street.  Nothing found.  It was not a pleasant morning.  We had heavy rain the day before.  The Lackawanna was running moderately high and fast.  It was hot and humid.  Pesky insects everywhere.  Yet, these people went above and beyond.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Andy's Angles: Lazy River


Really not much to say about this photo, taken on a recent and serene morning.

This is the Lackawanna River at the Throop, Dickson City line.  The Boulevard Avenue Bridge is off to the left.

On this morning, it was just me and the mosquitoes.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Any Way You Slice It...


The Subway sandwich chain is trying to reverse its fortunes by upping its meat game.  The meat is now sliced in stores, rather than shipped in pre sliced.

I think I've addressed my feelings on Subway here before, but let's review.  I'm not in love with the chain, but I do like it.  It's a way to get a decent sandwich, relatively fast, and consistent.  The "economical" days are long gone.

It's the same order on every visit-- turkey and swiss, all the vegetables, and just a quick shot of oil and vinegar.

Curiosity got the better of me the other day, even though I wasn't really hungry.  I wanted to see if the freshly sliced meat made any difference.

At least on my visit, the meat wasn't sliced to order.  It was sliced and waiting in a bin, like the old days, with the slicer prominently displayed on the counter.  You eat with your eyes, and the turkey that made its way on to my sandwich did look a little better.  However, if you blindfolded me, I couldn't tell the difference.

It was a decent sandwich, not a great sandwich.

The vegetables are still on the very tired side.  Tomatoes didn't have flavor.  Cucumbers were dry.  Olives were mushy.  The peppers seemed old.  I know Subway prides itself on consistency, but there has to be a way to improve the vegetables here.

And, here is a factor that makes a major difference.  Some restaurants are a lot cleaner than others.

Freshly sliced meat is a nice start.  This chain has a long way to go.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Danger! Danger!!


It happens every time the National Weather Service triggers watching and warnings, and Monday afternoon might have set a record for tornado warnings across northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Was it too much?  Overdone?  

Judging by the emails, phone calls and social media posts, many of you say the answer to that is a resounding "yes."

When it comes to weather, I've always been a cautious lad.  Mix in fear and anxiety and you get the picture.  Yes, my neighborhood was under a tornado watch for a while Monday afternoon.  I slept through it, and luckily, there was no trouble anywhere near me.

I do agree it can be frustrating, and watching a radar map for several minutes at a time might not make the best television.

On the other hand, I'd rather be warned than surprised.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Isn't It a Pity?


I once worked with a lawyer who had the strongest sense of right and wrong I've ever encountered.  Watching the little guy get hosed and taken advantage of made his blood boil.  He's gone and I miss his wisdom dearly.

That brings me to today's entry.

Yellow Trucking shut down last month.   One of the final nails in the coffin came late Sunday night, when the company filed for bankruptcy.

Trucking industry experts were quoted by the Associated Press as saying Yellow took on too much debt and was horribly mismanaged.  30,000 people lose their jobs.  Plus, there is the collateral damage from truck repair garages, truck stops, equipment manufacturers, etc.  It doesn't end there.  Businesses will have to find other shippers, and at a higher cost.  Yellow was known for its low rates.

All those workers deserve more than a severance check and unemployment compensation.  They deserve an apology.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Media Tuesday


Did you ever watch an episode of an old television series and wonder how it stayed on the air so long?  "Alice."

One of America's great radio stations, all news KYW in Philadelphia, added an FM simulcast several months ago.  It no longer mentions AM 1060, and that makes me sad.

There is one reason for all those colleges jumping conferences:  television money.  If anyone says anything different, they have no idea what they are talking about.

Some industry trade publications/web sites report several streaming sites are struggling.  I'm not surprised.  There are too many.  There will be a shake down process, and only the strong will survive.

I'm not going to see "Barbie."  I'm not going to sit through three hours of tortured "Oppenheimer."  Still, it is nice see people going back to theaters again.

By the way, I haven't been to a theater since July of 2012, and I can't say I miss it.

One of the joys working for a big company like Tegna is the ability to look at video from other stations in the chain, and incorporate it in to our newscasts.  WNEP's parent company has several stations in the south-- Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia...  This has been the summer of  excessive heat.  For my co-workers there, it's just another day at the office.  They haven't really done a lot of heat stories.

As for the writers and actors strike, I wish them well.  Everyone deserves fair compensation and some job security.  However, I have yet to hear anyone say they miss new episodes from Kimmel, Colbert and Fallon.

Whatever Tom Hamilton makes to broadcast Cleveland Guardians games, it isn't enough.  He's outstanding.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Monday Scrapple


I say this any time there's a big soccer tournament:  I tried.  I just don't get it.

What does an "X" have to do with Twitter?  Just modernize the bird like the Orioles and Cardinals did.

I know people look down their nose at them, but I like those potato crisps in a tube.  I know, you can't call them "chips."

Every day is one step closet to fall!

On the other hand, pumpkin spice stuff is already appearing in stores, restaurants and mini marts!  It's awful, at any time of year!

Thankfully, the video is on You Tube.  The "Candy Band" before a General Cinemas movie was the best.

I still have my wisdom teeth.

"What would you say...  you do here?" is one of the best lines in movie history.

I still haven't created a Threads account.

The changes in college football are maddening, frustrating, dizzying, and fascinating.

There seemed to be a ton of traffic late Friday and Saturday nights.  I suspect people are simply getting in a little late summer fun, before fall sets in.

Medical schools are cranking out the students.  Why is a convenient doctor's appointment so hard to find?

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Andy's Angles: A Close Call

 This is another photo from the Route 407 bridge at Lackawanna State Park, and it nearly became this month's blog header photo.  It was really close.  I do like the stillness of the water, the reflection, and the vapor rising from the lake in the distance, the bright green of the plants in the foreground...  It's flawed.  There are sunspots on the left.  They easily could have been removed through editing software, but I rather like them.

Other than that, there is a lot to like here...  but, I prefer the header photo just a little more.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

About the Cover


It is rare that I hit the last day of the month without the next month's blog header photo ready to go, but that is where I found myself Monday morning.  The new month was hours away, and the tank was on empty.

I wanted something that said "summer."  After all, fall will be here before you know it.  (Yay!)  You can already sense the daylight hours shortening.

So, I looked at a computer map program, hoping for inspiration, and something that wasn't a train.  I had such good luck last month, with an early morning photo from Lake Wallenpaupack.  By the way, thank you for the kind words on that shot.  It will likely return in December as one of the Top Ten of 2023.

I pointed the car north and headed to Lackawanna State Park.  It never disappoints.

I shot this from the Route 407 bridge.  The boat launch and the dock are off to the right.  If you look carefully at the water on the upper left, you can see some early morning vapor rising from the lake.

It's a nice way to begin the last month of summer.

Tomorrow, a photo that nearly became August's header.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Let's Review!


My second vacation week of the year is nearly in the books, so, as is customary, here is a little review.

I didn't do anything, and it is just what the doctor ordered!

Of course, there were the standards of sleeping, reading, and a little camera play.  I grew a vacation beard.  I shaved off a vacation beard.  

Other than that, it was an enormous zero.

The first several days were spent in air conditioned bliss.  I hate the heat.  I started feeling better once the heat and humidity temporarily departed.

It's back to work, with an eye on the calendar to my usual post Labor Day vacation.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Only in Lackawanna County...


Our friends at the Scranton Times-Tribune did a story this week on the malfunctioning fountains on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.  The newspaper discovered the fountains have an underground leak.  There is a fear the granite slabs will be broken if and when they decide to dig to find the source of the leak, and no one can find a copy of the blueprints.  Plus, there is the expense.

In the meantime, the fountains are turned off, making a sea of concrete and granite even larger, and drier.  

Only in Lackawanna County!

As regular blog readers know, I've never been a fan of the renovations here.  The "wall" is inappropriate for the site.  There is far too much masonry.

A broken fountain serves no purpose, and it sends the wrong message to visitors.  We can fix a mural at the city's entrance, but a centerpiece at one of the area's signature buildings will remain busted.  

Fix the fountains, or get rid of them.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Paul Reubens


Actor Paul Reubens died this week.  Cancer.  70.  He was best known as Pee Wee Herman, television and movie star.

Reubens was more than Pee Wee.  Check out his list of credits.  Comedy.  Drama.  Animation.  He did it all, and his appearances on "Murphy Brown" especially memorable.  You should also check out Reubens' appearances with David Letterman.

Yes, he had some issues, too.

While the Pee Wee persona was front and center, and occasionally wildly inventive and funny, my overwhelming sentiment was "a little Pee Wee went a long way."  It didn't take me long before I spun the dial.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Book Review: Barney Miller


I have the "Barney Miller" boxed DVD set.  I can stream any episode, at any time, through Amazon.  Yet, if I'm awake and near a television at 3 pm, 9 pm, or midnight, I'm watching "Barney Miller" on television.

Otto Bruno wrote the definitive history of the series a couple of years ago, and devouring it while on vacation was the thing to do.  This was not an easy book to write.  Most of the people involved in the writing, production, and acting are no longer with us.  Bruno relied on old interviews, plus talks with wives, husbands, sons and daughters to get his information.

Johnny Carson, who knew comedy, called "Barney Miller" one of the two best written sitcoms on television.  "M*A*S*H" was the other.  In fact, it was the writing that led to the series' demise.  It was never cancelled.  Other studios kept stealing the writers, and Danny Arnold believed that if they couldn't keep up the quality, it was time to go.  Arnold ended the series-- not ABC.

By the way, you have to love Danny Arnold.  In the early years, he constantly threatened to pull the plug if ABC interfered.  The network got the message.  One of the ABC people eventually told one of the actors, after "Barney Miller" was long off the air, that he was the ABC executive in charge of the show.  They had never met.  ABC had a strong performer, never a huge hit, and it was smart enough to stay away.

This book is not for the casual fan.  If you love "Barney Miller," you will enjoy the book.  I especially liked chapters devoted to the characters who came through the squad room.  Most played a few different roles during the series eight year run.  "Barney Miller" creator Danny Arnold had a salon of favorites, and they never failed to hit it out of the park.

Much of the book is devoted to an episode guide that rises above the usual fare, featuring bits of trivia and things even a devoted Barney fan didn't know.

This was a great way to spend several vacation hours.