Saturday, July 13, 2024

About the Cover: Imperfection

 



Once again, I wanted a shot that said "summer" to sit atop the blog for the month.  These flowers were in a planter along Linden Street in Scranton.   The sun was shining brilliantly.   The colors popped.  I had to take a photo.  It is a classic example of the "frame in thirds" philosophy, so the edge of the planter is meant to be here.

As I looked at the photo, my first reaction was to trash it because the yellow flower I chose to focus on is partially wilted.  On second thought, it's not perfect, and that's okay too.  There is no problem with imperfect.

It's more beautiful than you think.

Friday, July 12, 2024

In a Pickle

 

I've used this space to whine about ketchup before.  Bottom line,  it seems like most brands have been reformulated lately to increase the sweetness, and I hate that.

One solution was to just buy a habanero laced ketchup, where the heat cuts through the sweetness.

Imagine my curiosity when Heinz announced it came out with pickle flavored ketchup.  Disgusting as it might sound, I had to find a bottle.

Here's a shocker:  it's not bad!

It seems like there are limited applications, like burgers and fries.  It really works.  It probably wouldn't be great for everything.

Heinz says it's a permanent addition to the condiment line up, so there is no need to go out and buy every bottle in the store.

I went in to this experiment with low expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

I Know, I Know, I Know

 

Pennsylvania is out with a redesigned license plate, and it's fine.

But you know me.  There is always quibble material.

The plate is to note America's 250th birthday, in 2026.  The Liberty Bell is a great choice.  No matter how many times I've seen it in person, it remains a stirring site.  It is "THE" symbol of 1776.

My point of contention is...  there is more to Philadelphia than the bell,  and more to Pennsylvania than Philadelphia.

It reminds of me of people in the northeast keep constantly bringing up coal mining.  Yes, it's an important part of our past, but we clearly have moved on from that.

For the first redesigned plate in twenty years, it's nice.  The simplicity should be admired, but I'm not giving up my old plate, unless I'm forced.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Blank Check

 

I shouldn't be surprised, but it does make me sad, a little.

Target will no longer accept personal checks, in store, as of July 15.  Aldi has the same policy, but I rarely go there.

I can't remember the last time I paid with a check in a store, but yes, I'm still a check writer.  Utilities, mostly.  Credit card bills come right out of my bank account.

One of the reasons I rarely used checks in stores is because it holds up the check out line.  I became frustrated when other people did it, and I wasn't going to spread the misery.

One thing in this modern era of commerce did take some adjustment-- and that is paying for little things with a credit card.  A huge fountain soda accompanies me to work most mornings.  $ 1.90.  I swipe my card at the self serve machine because the mini mart staff is in the kitchen, usually frying up onion rings with boom boom sauce and chicken fingers for another customer.

Another reason to reach for the card is because I don't need a pocketful of change.  A recent purchase at a drug store rang up as $7.27.  I was ready to hand the cashier a $10 bill, but then I decided I didn't need all that change.  I whipped out the card.

We really are headed toward a cash-less society.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Scrapple Tuesday

 

We're in to the second half of 2024.  It seems like Christmas was yesterday.

Today's entry in "you know the lyrics, even if you haven't heard the song in a long time" is Grand Funk's "Bad Time to be in Love."

1:30 am, Friday July 5, and I was the only one in my gym.

The "back to school" sales are underway.

WEJL just switched its affiliation from ESPN Radio to FOX Sports Radio, which I always thought was a better product.

Speaking of radio, WTOP in Washington sounds better in the middle of the night than most stations sound during the daytime.

Published reports say Big Lots is flirting with bankruptcy, and that's unfortunate.  I don't visit often, but I usually walk out of there with something.

Happiness is seeing a refrigerator filled with cold cans of diet soda.

The legislature really needs to do something about fireworks.

I remember when baseball's All Star Game was a big deal.

As I write this, a major hurricane is headed for the United States, and The Weather Channel is running something on deep sea salvage.

Luck has smiled on me, for a change.  I actually got in a few good camera days.

I'm very sorry Heart's Ann Wilson is battling cancer...  such a great voice.

Don't ask me why, but "chapter and verse" has become one of my go to phrases.



Monday, July 8, 2024

Expired License

 



The recent money problems at, and the closing of Clarks Summit University started me thinking about how times have changed, and the economy has changed.

Colleges and universities appeared to have licenses to print money-- always expanding, always building, always doing something bigger and better than the day before.  Sorry.  Those days are over.  A handful of colleges in Pennsylvania have gone out of business in recent months.  Others, including Penn State, are watching expenses (except for a football stadium expansion).

Higher education is not alone.  Media is taking a hit.  Newspapers have to pivot to digital, and look for a way to monetize the internet.  I read the radio industry trades.  It seems like every major company is shedding payroll, and some have gone Chapter 11.  TV?  Only the strong survive.

Food?  Cracker Barrell is striving for relevance.  Perkins is going through a re-brand.  Fast food sales are down because prices are up.  Red Lobster is in Chapter 11.

Rite Aid is another in Chapter 11 and Walgreens is closing stores.

The New York Post says Big Lots could join the Chapter 11 parade.  It lost more than $ 200 million in the first quarter of the year.

Have you been to a mall lately?

You can't blame purely the economy for the bankruptcies and money problems you see above.  I'm sure there was corporate mismanagement and incompetence in some businesses.

The bottom line is what once were sure fire hits are now gambles, at best.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Andy's Angles: Streetlife Seranade

 

Not much of a raison d'etre for today's photos, and I felt like taking some street photos.  This is the intersection of Lackawanna and Washington in downtown Scranton.  The view is to the north.  The tall building is now mostly apartments.  Useless trivia:  one of the upper floor offices was where I anchored coverage of the Great Implosion of 1992.


By the way, Streetlife Seranade is the name of a Billy Joel album.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Andy's Angles: Olyphant's New Fountain

 

A short time ago, I promised to post a photo of the new fountain in the middle of downtown Olyphant, and it really is nice.

My only objection is the location.  Pedestrians brave traffic to get an up close look.

By the way, the skeleton you see in the distance is on the roof of a bar.  The Queen City has everything!

Friday, July 5, 2024

This Week

 

This is one of the least productive work weeks on the calendar.  It seems like everyone takes vacation time in and around the Independence Day window.  Web traffic drops.  Restaurant, bar and retail business jumps because everyone has the time away from work.  Travel spikes.  The government and AAA says we could have record road and air travel this year.  

The only week that tops this one for lack of productivity is the week between Christmas and the New Year's Day.

I'm working my normal schedule this week.  I tend to go against the flow.  If people have time off, I'm at the office and vice versa.  I do have a week off at the end of July-- a tradition.  There is no compelling reason to take that week, other than it is statistically one of the hottest weeks of the year, and I'd rather have the week off.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Independence Day

 

Independence Day is my least favorite holiday.  It's too loud, too hot, too crowded...

But, I do revere the significance of the day.

Looking on the bright side, the holiday falls on one of my days off, so I won't have to fight a barrage of fireworks to get to sleep for the morning news.

Whatever you do today, be safe, and please remember what the day is all about.

This is the flag over the Everhart Museum, at Nay Aug Park, in Scranton.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

So Long, CSU 1932-2024

 

It's long been established here that I didn't like high school, but I did enjoy college.  That's why I've always kept an eye on the higher education system in our area, the good and bad.  Visits to campuses always make me happy, if it's to do a news story, or simply wander and take photographs.  We have some great schools here in our area, especially my alma mater, Marywood.

The news that broke Monday afternoon was disturbing.  Clarks Summit University, formerly Baptist Bible College, is closing.  Money problems.

I was there a few times over the years.  Once was for a summer fluff story on a basketball camp.  The other occasions were to take in the beauty of the campus.  Believe, me, the pictures don't to it justice.  There is a lot of grass and trees.  The buildings scream "history."
The students will find new places to learn.  I hope the campus is put to good use.  It seems like a great place for apartments or a retirement village.  I hope the buildings aren't bulldozed to make room for one of those generic looking housing communities.

I'm sad because our area lost a treasured institution, but it's 2024 and the finances just didn't add up.


Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Tuesday Scrapple

 

Today's entry in the "you know the lyrics, even if you haven't heard the song in a long time" is "How Sweet It Is" by James Taylor.  Yes, I do know that is my second JT song in the last couple of weeks.

The Scranton Farmers Market, off Albright Avenue opens soon, and that is always a reason to rejoice.  Good stuff, and nice people.

Hot weather:  too much, too soon, too long.

Martin Mull always could make me laugh, especially "America 2 Night" in the late 70's, and he had a comedy album at the same time.  It was called "Sex and Violins."  Mull died last week.  He was 80.

Kudos to the ad agency that came up with the Spam commercials.  That stuff looks almost edible.  By the way, there was always a can or two in the house when I was a kid.

One of the local newspapers now has a daily single copy price of $ 3.00.  Really!

I'm glad to see fast food restaurants returning to value meals.

The rise and fall of Boeing will be studied and talked about for years.

I wonder if I'll run in to former Rep. George Santos in the Poconos this summer.

For some unexplained reason, my blog picture of the federal building in downtown Scranton had hits that went through the roof.

I know this is easy to say from a distance, but I've always enjoyed watching the tracks of hurricanes and tropical storms.

Enough about Bronny James!!!

The Fay's drug store chain is sorely missed.  It had everything!    


Monday, July 1, 2024

Follow Up Monday

 



We've been following the money problems at Keystone College.  Nearly thirty jobs were eliminated last week.  Some programs dropped.  That cannot be appealing to prospective students.  Keystone is not alone.  Many colleges and universities have been tightening their belts.  It's now a matter of adapt, or be left behind.

I took another look at the Jimmy Connors obituary I wrote for Newswatch 16 last week, and something hit me.  Many significant things happened during Connors' 12 years in office, and I was there for most of it.  It was history, and I'm fortunate to have been there to see it.

I made my first trip to the Scranton Giant supermarket in a few weeks.  Remember, this was the store damaged in an early morning fire in May.  The clean up crews did a great job.  I thought management would use the opportunity to freshen things up a bit.  The store looked exactly the same.  

The NFL got whacked with a huge judgement in the Sunday Ticket lawsuit, nearly $ 5 billion.  The league apparently forgot consumers these days have finite dollars to spend.  The rush to streaming is going to hurt.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Andy's Angles: City Hall

 

Wednesday's passing of former Scranton mayor Jimmy Connors started me thinking about City Hall-- a grand, old building that is finally receiving some long overdue tender loving care.  

Let's face it.  City Hall was not built for modern times, and it has plenty of problems.  I do know the city kicked around buying the building next door to free up some space.  It's probably not a bad idea, but the finances might tell a different story.

Take careful note of the spire on the right of the photo.  You can see the new copper flashing on the roof.


Saturday, June 29, 2024

Andy's Angles: Noodling Around

 

This part of Scranton has been in the news quite a bit in recent months.  The gentleman who owns property here along Bogart Court has been decorating the alley, and it's really nice.  Last year and this year, it was a display of colorful umbrellas in April.  Pool noodles replaced the umbrellas.


Unfortunately, the pool noodles were gone when I paid a recent visit.

It's a cool space, nonetheless.  I look forward to the next art project.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Jimmy Connors

 

For a blog entry that is supposed to be about the passing of someone special, it's going to contain an awful lot of someone who isn't special-- me.  I apologize in advance.

Former Scranton mayor Jimmy Connors died Wednesday.  He was 77 years old.  Please allow me to weave together a few old stories here.

I remember sitting in my mom's kitchen in November of 1989.  I was working for WARM 590 at the time, and I was about to embark on my election night assignment-- covering the race for mayor of Scranton between Jerry Notarianni and Jimmy Connors.  Conventional wisdom had the Republican Connors losing to Democrat Notarianni in a strongly Democratic city.  I told my mom that I didn't want to go to work because Connors was going to lose, I liked the guy and it was going to be a sad night.  It turns out Connors won, barely, and it began a twelve year run in city hall.  I should add that I liked Notarianni, too.  His family and mine go back eons, and I have no doubt he would have been a fine mayor.

I first got to know Jimmy Connors in the 80's.  He was running the Minooka Neighborhood Association, and I was doing the nighttime news at WARM.  Some genius at what was then Pennsylvania Power and Light had the great idea to run power lines over a little league field.  In case you're not familiar with the neighborhood, the field is long gone.  There is now a Wendy's in its spot on Davis Street.  Jimmy would call in frequently with the association's course of action as it fought the electric company's brilliant plan.  Give the man credit.  He know how to get on radio, television, and in the papers.  The trait continued as he became Community and Economic Development Director under Mayor David Wenzel, and then as mayor.

Jimmy was an active guy, fighting an illegal garbage transfer station on Keyser Avenue and when Lackawanna County didn't want to pay for a permit to put a new roof on the courthouse.

The stalled downtown mall project was dropped on to his plate.  Connors and several others finally made it happen.

I don't remember the exact date of the story that jumps out the most.  It was likely 1993.  I was at WYOU.  I interviewed Connors, live, on an election night.  It was in front of the Frances Willard School in west side.  I was absolutely brutal-- asking exceptionally difficult and pointed questions.   Maybe even mean. When it was over, I wasn't happy with myself.  My bosses at WYOU weren't thrilled.  Connors' people were livid.  One person, and only one, was happy-- Jimmy Connors.  He said the interview proved he could take a punch.  Connors never held it against me, and he had every right to be angry.

There were a lot of punches over the years.  Was Connors the greatest administrator in Scranton history?  No.  For many years, he was stuck with a city council more interested in personal agendas than good governance (a Scranton Times word).  Connors would get bashed in the paper on an almost daily basis.  There was always a money problem.

Jimmy Connors never raised taxes.  He should have.  The city just wasn't keeping up with expenses.

Now it can be told.  Connors once related that he should have said the city was broke and asked the court for help, but he added he didn't want to be known throughout history as the mayor who led Scranton into bankruptcy.

This is not just one of my favorite Jimmy Connors stories.  It is one of my favorite news stories.  Period.  Mid 90's.  President Bill Clinton was coming to town, and Connors called us all in to city hall to talk about closed streets, every cop on duty, etc.  I was with WYOU, a place that no longer exists.  Chrys McCabe was handling the story for WNEP, and she asked every question in the book, wanting to know Clinton's second-by-second location and agenda.  First, Jimmy Connors didn't know, and even if he did, he couldn't talk about it.  Connors had a long fuse and after what must have been the tenth McCabe question, an exasperated Connors finally said "Chrys, that's why they call it the SECRET Service."  I was on the floor.  Connors shut her down, and that was the end of that news conference.

Connors was the most approachable fellow.  I can still see him with a little note pad he carried, writing down the complaints of a citizen so he could get it to the proper department.

Something happened during his third term.  Connors seemed to lose his passion for the job.  I vividly remember a morning when there was a string of arsons in the hill section.  The old Jimmy Connors would have been there, in front of a camera, to assure residents they were safe.  He wasn't.

Someone shot up the home and car of a city employee one morning.  I don't remember the employee's exact title, but this was the code enforcement guy.  The old Jimmy Connors would have been there to say the city would not be intimidated.  He was a no show.

I recall an election morning interview in 2001.  He just sounded defeated, and the polls had just opened.  City voters decided three terms were enough.

Connors and I bumped in to each other a few times over the years.  He was always up, always happy, always vibrant.  Running into Jimmy Connors always made your day better.

Speaking of which, you can keep your Emmys.  A couple of former coworkers called after my obituary piece ran  on WNEP Wednesday.  Their compliments mean more than a statue.  It meant the world to me.

Jimmy Connors remained active, always at a show or concert,  always promoting something positive on social media.  In these days when friendships vanish in an instant, Jimmy Connors was always a friend to the city of Scranton.


Thursday, June 27, 2024

Outside the Box

 

I'm big on broadcast history, and a recent anniversary escaped me.  I'm sorry.

The "score box" on sporting events made its debut on June 17th of 1994, thirty years ago.  Most people credit FOX Sports and its NFL coverage as the originator.  It is not.  The box actually made its debut during ABC/ESPN coverage of World Cup soccer.  I didn't see it because, and I'm sorry, soccer bores me to tears.

I do remember seeing it on that first Sunday of the NFL on FOX, and I thought it was simply fantastic.  NBC was the last network to adopt the score box, fearing fans would tune away quickly if they could drop in any time and see the numbers.  The concern was unwarranted.  People became big fans.

Sadly, there is too much of a good thing.  Yes, I know television is in high definition now.  Screens are bigger and wider.  Graphics have become too annoying, too big, cluttering the screen.

While the score box was a great invention, there is an even better one-- an invention that far predates the score box.  It's called the "off" switch.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Summer Frightens Me

 

This is a dangerous time of year.

Temperatures go up.  People look for relief in the form of swimming.  They overestimate their abilities, and you know the rest.  I had a bad feeling when I left work on a recent scorching day, and I didn't express my fears outwardly.  I didn't want to put it out in to the universe.  It happened anyway.  A teenager lost his life in a river.  Another person was badly hurt.  Newswatch 16 also had video of people frolicking in the falls at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  Dangerous and illegal.

I have no problem with the activity.  Please, do it safely and in places where there is oversight and supervision.

Something that hasn't happened in years occurred the other day.  Someone invited me to swim in a backyard pool.  While it was only a couple of miles from home and very tempting, I passed.  Water and I don't mix.  You had to take an aquatics course back in my Marywood College days.  That was my last time in a pool.  1982.  Everyone took the course as a freshman.  I waited until the summer between my junior and senior year.   As I think I've noted here before.  I wasn't good at swimming.  I was good as sinking.  The instructor passed me, and that was a gift.  My favorite part of the course was the locker room shower afterward, so I could get the stench of chlorine off my body.

I told the friend who issued the invite just what I've written here.  There was an assurance the pool wasn't big and deep-- and there would be experienced swimmers around.  I still declined.

I do know several parents who opted to get their kids swimming lessons, experiences in water young, early and often.  That's a smart move.

I cooled off in air conditioning.  Please be safe in and around water.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Voice

 

Donald Sutherland died last week.  88.

I saw Klute, MASH and Animal House and I thought he was always terrific.

We all bring our perspectives to stories like this.  I will most remember Donald Sutherland for his television commercial voice over work.  Sutherland voiced ads for orange juice, Delta Airlines, among others.  You always knew it was him.

Voice over work is a funny business.  Top tier talent gets big money and deservedly so.  For the rest of us...  Well, a friend used to call it "hoagie money" because it didn't pay much.  I did a few projects over the years, not many.  I do say I enjoy it.  You stand and read, taking direction from the producer, because they pay the fee.  It really is a challenge.

It's an even better business for women.  It seems matching the right voice with the right product is more difficult than it seems.

I just hope artificial intelligence doesn't dry up the hoagie money pool.


Monday, June 24, 2024

No Days Off

 



I've opined about this before, and it seems to be an increasing factor every two years.

Back in the day, you had the spring primary election, and things settled down for the summer.  They ramped up after Labor Day and the sprint toward the general election.

Now, there is no slow season, no summer doldrums, no days off.  It's all politics, all the time.  Just watch your television.  The ads are almost non stop, even during the hottest and sunniest days of the year.

Yes, I'm in a business that sells advertising.  It keeps the lights on, and it puts money in my pocket.  I'm not complaining.

But, there are times you need a little bit of a break.

And, while we are talking politics today, there is plenty of speculation over Donald Trump's choice for a running mate.  I remember the days when part of the fun in watching a political convention was waiting for the presidential nominee's veep pick, and there was no better show than 1980, when Ronald Reagan almost enticed Gerald Ford to be on the ticket.

There is a great and legendary story of Walter Cronkite scoring a Ford interview, in the CBS convention booth, and ABC's Barbara Walters almost breaking down the door to get in there.  Kids, that's fun.  Pardon an old geezer moment, but things these days are too scripted, too prepared, too rehearsed, too handled.  Let's have an old fashioned contest.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Cathedral


 I try to keep this blog religion-free because it is such a personal thing.  Today's photo is about the sunshine and the architecture more than anything else.

Take a look at St. Peter's Cathedral on Wyoming Avenue in Scranton.

Yeah, the wires take away from the shot, but you have to play the cards you're dealt.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Pocket Park

 

This project has been stuck in my craw for a long time.  It's the new pocket park at Linden and Wyoming in downtown Scranton.

It was expensive, and it took years to accomplish, but it is a nice little space.  Back in the shadow of the federal building is a little performance area.

Yes, a taxable building here would have ben nice, but the park really isn't so bad.



Friday, June 21, 2024

Coming Home to Roost

 

The headlines have been filled with money problems at colleges and universities in our area and across the state.  There are consolidations and cutbacks.  A couple of institutions were in danger of closing altogether.  Some, elsewhere in the state, have shut down.

Even with grants and loans, paying for a college education isn't easy.  I was lucky.  It didn't cost a huge amount in my day.  I think my four years at Marywood cost about $ 12,000.  Yes, pricey at the time but a tremendous bargain now.

Here is my point.  Many businesses, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Police no longer require a college degree.  Yes, it does get more people in to the work force, but who is going to pay the piper for that?  The answer, colleges and universities.

I will concede that many institutions of higher learning didn't pay enough attention to demographic and economic trends.  They are pricing themselves out of existence.  They built too much, too fast.  They didn't adapt to the times and the needs of the economy.

Those were the days, my friend.  We'd thought they'd never end.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Summer

 

Today is the first day of summer, and one of the days with the most daylight.

After a few stable days, the sun sets a little earlier, rises a little later.

As a kid, that always blew my mind.  Hey, I just got out of school and summer is here.  The days shouldn't be getting shorter!

Making it even tougher on the young ones these days, is the fact that "back to school" sales begin right after Independence Day.

Working early mornings and overnights changes your perspective.  Heat and light are not your friends, even if you combat the duo with dark curtains and a big air conditioner.  It's always odd getting in the car to come to work, and there is still a trace of evening twilight.  But, this is the business we have chosen.

If you love summer, rejoice!

I'll feel better after Labor Day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wednesday Scrapple

 

You don't know pain until you've dropped a combination lock on to your toe in a gym locker room.

Any network television job used to be the gravy train with biscuit wheels.  Times have changed.  NBC is dumping the band on "Late Night" to save money.

Howard Fineman died last week.  Cancer.  75.  Fineman, a Washington writer, was a fixture on the Sunday morning TV talk shows.  There were occasional visits to Tony Kornheiser's podcasts.  He explained politics in a human way, understandable, and I'm very sorry he is gone.

I'm not a basketball fan, but everyone knew who Jerry West was-- a huge basketball star.  West died last week, leaving a major imprint on the game.

There is a dust up over participants in the Independence Day hot dog eating contest.  I don't care.  Competitive eating is disgusting, and I even found those old "Man Vs Food" shows to be revolting.

FOX grabbed Indy Car racing away from NBC.  Except for golf, FOX has done a good job with all of its sports properties.

It goes without saying.  I can do without a heat wave.

Mixed feeling on the addition of beer to the Bloomsburg Fair.  In a similar vein, it seems every mini mart sells alcohol now, so when it really comes down to it, it's not that big of a deal.

Maybe, some day, I'll really try scrapple.

Wawa and Sheetz are in the midst of expansion, and that triggers the argument over what chain is better.  They are both fine, in their own way.

Why are decisions that used to be so easy, suddenly difficult?

For a reason that cannot be explained, the hits on the blog entry with the photo of the federal building in Scranton went through the roof.

Many of its stories are now behind a pay wall, but USA Today is still a fun web site to visit.

One of my favorite things to say has become "Alexa, play Sirius/XM Seventies on Seven."

The "Raising Cane" fast food chicken finger chain is now in the Lehigh Valley.  Keep moving north!

Most of my life is now spent in front of a keyboard, and I really miss the feeling of a really good pen in your hand.

You always feel a little older when a massive figure from your childhood passes.  RIP, Willie Mays.






Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Angelo Rose

 

Angelo Rose died last week.  He was 93.

I'm guessing that if you are older than 45, you saw Angelo's name in the newspaper-- many, many times.  He was a photographer for the Scranton Times for more than thirty years.

I first met Angelo during my WARM radio days in the 80's.  Always professional and cordial, especially to a fellow Italian.

When I moved over to WYOU TV in 1990, I noticed something about Angelo.  He was very good at getting in your way.  It's not a bad thing.  I did the same thing to the television photographers when I was on the radio.  Angelo's job was to get the shot, and if he momentarily blocked out a television camera, so be it.  I was the same way.  I had to get my big WARM microphone in somebody's face, and if I got in the way, too bad.  I had a job to do.

Angelo Rose served his country, as part of the Navy during the Korean War.  He served his readers with memorable photography.

And, I was never angry Angelo got in my way.

Monday, June 17, 2024

2-6 at 1-6

 

I started at WNEP 26 years ago today.

Believe me, I'm just as amazed as you are.  Longevity in a transient business.

After a few years of bad choices and bad timing, lightning struck on that early summer day in 1998.  I happened to be looking for work when WNEP was desperately short of producers.  Rather than take a job offered in West Virginia, I chose to take a chance on WNEP (and vice versa), and it all worked out.

By the way, a pro tip for college students and recent graduates, learn how to produce a newscast.  There is always work for producers.  It's tough work, and burn out is always constantly staring over your shoulder, but producing is an "in demand" position.

I'll level with you.  There have been some awful days.  And some great ones.  And plenty in the middle.  I was doing the math, and I've spent more than 40 per cent of my life at 16 Montage Mountain Road.

It all comes down to the people.  Yes, not everyone has been a favorite, and I'm sure the feeling was mutual.  On the other hand, I cherish the friendship of some past and present coworkers.  They keep me sane.    They reminded me to stop and think.  And to feel.   I've never been good at that.  You saw me at my best.  You saw me at my worst.  I'm reminded of a small sign that used to be on a filing cabinet in the old WARM 590 newsroom in Avoca:  "You know who you are and what you did."  I'll add a "thank you."


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Federal Building

 

This entry doesn't really have a raison d'etre, but I just liked the way the sun hit the building, and the blue sky above.

Above is the Federal Courthouse on North Washington Avenue in downtown Scranton, across from Courthouse Square.

Like yesterday, I actually have something nice to say.  The addition, on the left is about thirty years old now, and it's one case where the federal government actually did something right.  It seems to fit on the outside, and it's tied together nicely on the inside.

I'm sorry the addition required the demolition of building with businesses on the first floor and apartments above, but that is water over the dam.


Saturday, June 15, 2024

Andy's Angles: In the Trees

 

I actually have something nice to say today!

Back in the day, I savaged the Lackawanna County Courthouse renovation.  Yes, the building did need updating.  Yes, an inappropriate old annex was demolished.

But, it's still a sea of concrete and granite-- way too much.

Today, I am focusing in the trees.  Some big beautiful trees were taken down during the renovation.  I'm thrilled to say, the replacements have grown nicely.  It's still not the old Courthouse Square, but it's getting there.

Above is a Thursday morning shot from the Linden St./North Washington Avenue corner.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Overlooked

 

Today is Flag Day, an oft overlooked observance.  It commemorates the Second Continental Congress adopted the flag of the United States of America.

It's odd.  Typing the word "united" seems so strange these days.  It shouldn't be.  It doesn't have to be.  Sadly, it is.  

Maybe "united" will come back.  Some day.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Thursday Scrapple

 

Today's entry in the "you know the lyrics, even though you haven't heard the song in eons" category is James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face."  I always thought JT is an underrated performer.

I was very sorry to learn Clarks Summit University is having financial problems.  Higher education seems to be in the contraction mode, with many institutions now struggling.

Is it just me, or is the supermarket condiment section exploding?

I'm sorry I'm late with this, but my friend, Carmella Mataloni, is a new mom, and I couldn't be happier.

It's something I do every weekend.  I look to see what the other TV stations in our chain are doing.  60 stations.  It seemed like every one was covering a deadly weekend shooting.

Let's face it.  Every D Day observance kind of looks the same, but the all manage to bring a tear to my eye.

Wendy's is replacing the orange dreamsicle Frosty with triple berry.  I'm sorry I never tried the orange.  It seems like something I would like.

The Red Lobster financial issues still fascinate me.  Just about everyone I know who has been there likes it.  How did the chain screw up so badly?

I know isn't supposed to be hot in the summer, but I liked the recent 70's snap.

Pete Erickson recently died.  He freelanced in the WARM 590 sports department while I was there, in the 80's.  If Pete wasn't the most knowledgeable sports person I've ever met, he was on the short list.

I bought a couple of new box cutters last week.  Don't ask me why, but it was a fun purchase.

It looks like the Phillies and the Mets packed London Stadium over the weekend, but I'm still not a fan of MLB and NFL games overseas.  The people at home pay the freight.

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave head coach Mike Tomlin a three year contract extension this week.   If there was ever a relationship that reached its expiration date, this was it.




Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Day and Date, Time and Place

 

William Anders took the photo you see above.  He was an astronaut aboard Apollo 8, and their mission was to circle the moon.  It was part of the sequence that led to the Apollo 11 moon landing the next year.

Anders died in a plane crash in Washington Friday.  He was 90 years old.

Let me tell you why the photo was so beautiful, so magical, so special, so important...

It was snapped on Christmas Eve of 1968, at the end of a horrible year.  MLK and RFK were assassinated.  The Democratic National Convention in Chicago showed how divided this nation was.  Violence in the streets.  Cities burned.  The horror of the war in Vietnam was broadcast into our homes every night.

I still remember sitting with my dad, watching Walter Cronkite every night.

Even as a little kid, I could see things weren't right.  It was frightening.

Anders' photo caused all of us to pause for a moment, take a breath, stand in awe of the universe, and it gave us a little hope.

William Anders, thank you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Coins in a Fountain

 

There is a new fountain in Olyphant, and I will get there for some photographs, soon.  Sadly, a lot of people driving by can see it, but it really isn't in a pedestrian-friendly location.

I can't think of fountains without recalling some days in Baltimore.  It used to be my favorite quick getaway location, and many of those trips were taken during a time I wasn't happy with how things were going in my personal life.  That is an understatement.

There used to be a mall near the Baltimore hotel I preferred, and there was a killer fountain inside.  It was huge!  Multi tiered, noisy, water cascading over the tiles, the lights.  I know it's tough to get emotional over a mall fountain, but you really had to see it.

Sentimental fool that I am, I'd always toss a few coins in the bubbling water, and wish things in a personal situation would turn around.

It never happened.

At least, there was a moment or two of hope as I watched the coins splash, and then sink to the bottom of the pool.

I have some spare change destined for the new fountain in Olyphant.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Textbook Example

 

You just wonder how things like this happen.  It is a textbook example of irresponsibility and people wasting your tax dollars.

A nursing home here in our area closed, abruptly, back on May 31.  The city of Scranton code officer shut the building.  No reason released to the public, or the residents families.  All questions were referred to the Pennsylvania Health Department.

We contacted the health department-- repeatedly.  Yes, we did receive a statement confirming the closure, and that was about it.  More information came out in short bursts.  Our own digging turned up a treasure trove of information.

By the way, the state says family members were notified their loved ones were being moved, but we have people who swear they didn't know where their loved ones were, until hours after it happened.  I could not imaging how horrible that must have been.

Plus, Lackawanna County became involved, to the point of saying the nursing home isn't its problem, but it did assist with the relocation.

You just have to wonder how people who are in the business of dealing with the public can botch things so badly.  Someone, anyone, needed to step up.

It's not that difficult to do things the right way.  Get all of the information out, at the beginning.  It's the easiest and safest way to avoid "the death of a thousand cuts."  The city dropped the ball.  The state dropped the ball.

This could have been a one or two day story.  Now, it's a saga that's lasting days, maybe weeks.

And, it didn't have to happen.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Lake

 

I threw my camera bag in the car the other day, and set out to photograph something, anything.  There was no clear destination in my head.  It was part photo expedition, and part "get out of the house to clear my head."

Well, at least half of the mission was accomplished.  This is Kresswood Lake in Newfoundland, Wayne County.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

About the Cover: The Dock of the Bay

 

Not really.

No dock.

No bay.

It's just a chair on the edge of Kresswood Lake in Newfoundland.

I wanted a header picture that said "summer."

I found it.

Friday, June 7, 2024

45

 

I graduated from high school 45 years ago tomorrow, or rather tomorrow evening.  It was an evening ceremony in a blazingly hot, old school, without air conditioning.  I remember receiving my diploma as early summer thunderstorms gathered outside.

I do recall it was dry enough for a walk home from the school.  I needed to unwind, and I thought the walk, only a few minutes, would do me good.  Strangely enough, I still walk when troubled, and I've really been totaling up the miles lately.

What did I do when I arrived home?  Friends wanted to go out.  I passed.  My parents wanted to take me out.  I passed.  I watched a baseball game on television, and worried about tomorrow.  Strangely enough, again, I still worry about tomorrows.

The photo you see above usually appears here on high school graduation anniversaries, at least the ones on "the 5's."  My best friend, Dave Jones, took it.  That's Vinnie Kovack behind me.  Great guy.  I haven't spoken with Vinnie in decades.  I'm still in touch with a few people from back in the day.  Even though high school was a soul crushing, horrible experience, it is good to hear their voices.

It doesn't seem like it's been 45 years.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

80

 

I think I've said this every June 6th since this blog has been around, and I will still say it every year the blog is in existence.

I don't know why the anniversary of D Day isn't a bigger deal in this country.  It was the gutsiest military operation of all time, and the day passes with very few mentions.  It might be a little different this year, because it's D Day's 80th anniversary.

Just imaging being told what you would be doing the next morning, not knowing if you would every see your home, family, and friends again.  Bravery doesn't begin to describe it.

Sadly, there aren't many D Day survivors left, and part of our history is fading away.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Pat Sajak

 

This is Pat Sajak's last week as "Wheel of Fortune" host.  He has been doing it for 40 years and Sajak is 77 years old.  

Pat Sajak was in the right place at the right time.  Original WoF host Chuck Woolery wanted a big raise.  Producer Merv Griffin balked.  Merv offered the job to Sajak, who was doing the weather on the Los Angeles NBC station.  Sajak turned down the offer, but eventually changed his mind.  NBC executives weren't thrilled with Merv's choice, but Merv insisted, and the rest is history.

There are many factors to Sajak's longevity.  He is a pleasant and likeable guy who didn't get in the way of the game.  Plus, he's an old radio guy, part of the brotherhood (and sisterhood).

And, for the record, I really enjoyed the early days of Sajak's late night CBS talk show.  He had a light and breezy style, and you didn't tire of him quickly.  Unfortunately for Sajak and CBS, Johnny Carson was still king back then, and the NBC/Carson late night habit was impossible to break. 

Getting back to "Wheel," Sajak made it look easy, and believe me, that is not as simple as it might seem.

To be honest, I'm not a WoF watcher.  I always found it to be rather boring, but it has the hallmarks of a good game-- easy to learn, and simple to play at home.  Having a host who knows what he's doing didn't hurt.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy

 

I don't want to be "that guy" who complains about everything, but some radio and tv stories over the weekend really irritated me, and it was because of simple sloppiness.

It appears to be a slow weekend at the movie theaters.  All the reports I heard says box office receipts were 65 per cent below the same weekend last year.  End of story.

As the great Paul Harvey used to say, here is "the rest of the story."

The current big movie is "Garfield."

Last year at this time, we had the following:

"Indiana Jones"

"Flash"

"No Hard Feelings"

"Spiderman"

"Transformers"

It's no wonder traffic and sales were down 65 per cent.  There were some blockbuster movies out at this time last year.  You know people are going to stay home if the big draw is "Garfield."

Stories like this need to be put in context.

You deserve better out of your broadcasters.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Monday Scrapple

 

I've been horrible at "Final Jeopardy!" questions recently, but I did nail one on banking last week.

There was a great scene in "The Blacklist" several years ago.  Raymond Reddington was reflecting on his life, and one of the things he missed was sleep.  Said Reddington, "I want to sleep like I did when I was a boy."  Amen, Raymond.  I also I wish I enjoyed summers like I once did.

I saw so many country images I wanted to photograph last week, but there was no safe place to pull over and park the car.  Safety first.

Good golly, our area has seen more than its share of bizarre and disturbing crimes this year.

The same goes for bizarre weather.

I admire those who get the warm fuzzies over high school graduation.  I couldn't wait to get out of there.

There are several clips of the "Frasier" reboot on You Tube.  It looks simply awful.

The NBA and NHL seasons aren't over yet.  What's up with that?

There is something about the simple joy about walking around a park.

The variety of items in a mini mart cooler fascinates me, but I always reach for the same things.

Today's entry in "you know the lyrics even though you rarely hear the song" is Elton John's "Goodbye yellow Brick Road."

I never had the desire to be a lawyer, but I was better at reading legalese.



Sunday, June 2, 2024

Andy's Angles: Feathered Friends


 One of my favorite activities recently has been taking long walks.  The usual destination is a park in Blakely, and I'm not alone.

Yes, there are some people around, the regulars, and it's nice to see smiling faces, especially so early in the morning.

These two are always there on my morning strolls.  They make my day.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Andy's Angles: A Surprise


I looked at this shot on the camera screen, right after I snapped the shutter, and I didn't like it.  This is a flowering tree at that little park at North Washington and Electric in Scranton.  The wind was bouncing the branches pretty good that morning and I feared the photo wasn't sharp.  After loading it into the computer and viewing it on the big screen, it's not that bad.  Once again, the sun was my friend, allowing the camera to adjust to a fast shutter speed.

There are times it's worth a second look.

Friday, May 31, 2024

I Smell Summer

 

Summer arrived the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend.  My nose let me know.

There are some great aromas of summer, like fresh cut grass.  There are some unpleasant ones, too.

As I walked out to my car to go to work, you couldn't mistake the aroma of fire pits wafting through the neighborhood.  The smell of a barbecue is great.  The smoke from burning cheap wood in a backyard isn't.

I'll just have to get used to it.  It will be that way well in to fall.