Thursday, February 29, 2024

Business Thursday


The bomb dropped Tuesday.  Macy's is closing 150 stores.  Some soon.  Some later.  It is a magic name in American retailing and this makes me sad.

Call me guilty of oversimplification, but, as I've said here before, Macy’s stores are just a sea of beige.  It's no fun to shop there.  Macy's management needs to invest in its properties and think of the customer experience.  Look at the stores that are doing well.  This isn't difficult to figure out.

And, can you cut your way to profitability?  Ask Sears/Kmart management.

It seems like Penney's is one step away from a major problem.  While Macy's has the market on beige cornered, Penney's is a sea of off-white.

Moving on...

I needed a few things from a big box store at 6 am Wednesday-- the one notorious for funneling you into a self service check out, and then examining your receipt like you were a criminal on the way out.  I did my thing, and breezed out the door.  Either I looked honest, or they were short handed.  I'm leaning toward the latter.  I despise the self service, but if it gets me out the door faster, bring it on.  The key is if the self service machines working properly.  I'm constantly fighting with the hardware at a couple of supermarket chains.

Wendy's is catching some heat for its plan to charge more for food at peak demand times, and deservedly so.  This is food, people!  It's not a car ride on New Year's Eve.  Let's hope common sense prevails.  I'm not holding my breath.   And now, Wednesday afternoon, the company walked back the surge pricing idea.  Even though it looks like it won’t happen, the person who came up with the idea should be sent packing.  This is a public relations nightmare.

Happy Leap Day!!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024



I might have made my last trip to Wendy's.

The head of the company says it's testing a system where customers will be charged more during peak hours.  The price comes down when demand lessens.  The system will be introduced next year.

Wendy's, take a hike!

Major League Baseball teams charge more for tickets when the good teams come to town, but at least there is a value with that.  You are seeing quality teams.  With Wendy's, you are paying more for the same thing.

This, dear readers, is obscene.

The sad part about all of this is, if Wendy's gets away with it, all the other fast food restaurants will follow suit.

It's like when millions paid to see an NFL playoff game streamed on Peacock.  All that showed is people are willing to pay.  Team owners, the NFL, and the TV networks started to drool.  You'll have to pay more to see other playoff games next year, and you cut your own throat.  How did that work out for you?

My only hope is some other fast food chain will say to its customers that it appreciates your business and it will give you a fair deal.  I know I'll be there.  If not, I'll go to the supermarket and buy the things needed to make my own sandwich, and no doubt it will be better.  On top of that, I'll eat the sandwich in Wendy's parking lot and wave to them though the window.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Office Space and The Big Bang Theory


This one slipped by me last week...  February 19 was the 25th anniversary of the release of "Office Space."  I remember seeing it in a theater, and I wasn't impressed.  However, each time I viewed it on television, I enjoyed it more.  No matter where you work or what you do, you can relate to something in this film.

I heard an interview with the star, Ron Livingston, a while back.  The movie did not do well at the box office.  Livingston thought part of that was bad advertising and a bad movie poster.  I get that.

In spite of it all, the movie really is a classic.

And, enough already!

Facebook lights up every time someone hears a big bang.

Most of the time, it's nothing to be concerned about.  Fireworks are legal now.  People shoot them off all the time-- no reason required.  

Please, calm down.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Follow Up Monday


While I'm still waiting for a response from the Scranton parking people as to why meters are enforced on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but not Juneteenth, I see they did hit my credit card.

The NFL still dominates sports talk radio.  NHL, NBA, and MLB, be very worried.

Speaking of MLB, the commissioner, Robert Manfred, is retiring in a few years.  The man has poisoned everything he's touched.

The Oakland Athletics could play the 2025 season in Sacramento, before the stadium in Las Vegas is ready.  This situation was botched from the beginning.

I am not an AT&T customer, but how could they screw up a software update that took down the system?  Hackers in foreign countries are probably drooling right now.  Computer and internet security in this country is a mess.

I didn't know what to think when the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, but I didn't think the war would last two years and two days.

Odie is on the moon!

I nearly have all my tax time paperwork together.  And, yes, I'm a little late this year.  I'm usually good to go by Valentine's Day.

Thursday morning's stumbling across some old "Frasier" episodes prompted me to watch a few more.  First, John Mahoney added so much to that show.  Second, even after all these years, I'm still impressed by the sharp writing and the timing of the actors.

Sam Waterston left "Law & Order" last week.  I never watched, but I thought Waterston was amazing in HBO's "The Newsroom."

Vice media laid off hundreds last week.  Only the strong survive, and they are dumping payroll, too.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Andy's Angles: #Sad


The signs are down.  The Rite Aid in downtown Scranton, at the corner of North Washington and Biden, is closed.

The chain is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  It's closed dozens of stores, and show me a chain that's survived by cutting.  I'm sure there are instances, but few and far between.

Rite Aid started in Scranton and while there are stores in west side and south side, it's sad the downtown presence is gone.  Thankfully, for the increasing number of people living downtown, there is still a drug store in the area.

I used to work downtown, many, many years ago-- and I was always in here for something.  It had just about everything.  I'm sure the downtown workers and residents will miss it.

I always thought it was a cool looking building-- modern, and yet a little retro.  A restaurant would fit in here nicely.  Offices, too.

Seeing vacant prime space on a busy corner is troubling, and it does send the wrong message to visitors.  With any luck, that changes soon.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Black Alps of Dickson City


Someone is finally coming up with the money to remove a huge culm pile from the middle of Dickson City.

It's about dang time!  This has been an eyesore for years.

I went to a horrid junior high school in this neighborhood.  Well, it wasn't totally horrid.  I did meet two dynamite English teachers there, and I'm sad to say they are both no longer with this.

The culm bank was our lunch time playground.  There was actually an easy and well worn path to the top, and those trees weren't around during my time here.  Now that the statute of limitations has expired, we would occasionally roll an old tire down from the top, laughing hysterically as it smashed into a garage door or front porch.  Rest assured, there was never any serious damage.

Homes will replace the culm bank and while there were some fun times here, I look forward to the improvements.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Insomnia Advantage


I couldn't sleep very early Thursday morning.  My usual remedy is to sample some things on the radio and check email on my iPad.   Something made me turn on the television, which I rarely do.

I stumbled upon an episode of "Frasier" from 2000.  It was the final show of season seven, and it was called "Something Borrowed, Someone Blue."  Long story short, Daphne and Niles finally confront their feelings for each other.  Daphne runs away from her wedding to Donnie, and Niles whisks her way in an RV.


I hadn't seen that particular episode in several years, maybe since the original aired, and I was blown away at how everything worked-- the visuals, the acting, the writing...

Watching Niles, played by David Hyde Pierce, go from the depths of depression to absolute euphoria was stunning.  Rare are the sitcoms that can make you cry and make you laugh in the same half hour.  "Scrubs" had that ability.  The list is extremely short. 

There really is no moral to the story today, other than this.  We all spend a lot of time complaining about television, especially me.  It was refreshing to see something that touched me, even if it's 24 years old.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Thursday Scrapple


Today's entry in the "you know the lyrics, even though you haven't heard the song in a long time" category is Rod Stewarts's "You're In My Heart."  On top of that, it's just one great song.

It's been cold and snowy, but you can really feel the sun getting a little stronger.

I've always felt Presidents Day should be a bigger observance here in the U.S.A.  After all, president is the most important job in the free world.

Can someone make a good muffin that doesn't crumble?  All too often, the remedy is loading it with butter and putting it in the microwave.

The power of the NFL:  The Super Bowl was two weeks ago, and the game still dominates sports talk radio.

The CW is working on revivals of "Scrabble" and "Trivial Pursuit."  I loved "Scrabble" on NBC from 1984 to 1990.  I hope they don't stray from the original.  "Trivial Pursuit" should be right up my alley, but I never cared for it.

Capitol One and Discover want to merge.  If it does happen, it will not be an easy road getting there.

For some reason, I'm experiencing a major uptick in LinkedIn activity this week.

Christie Brinkley turned 70 this week.  Think about that.

I know air travel is safe, but doesn't it seem like a jet is falling apart, in mid air, every other day?

Jimmy Kimmel told the Los Angeles Times, "I think this is my last contract."  Where will we get our tired political jokes?

Happiness is a good dental check up.

The man who helped develop the Pop Tart recently died.  Sir, I am forever in your debt.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

When the Dust Settles...


I've been thinking about this one since the February 11th Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

During the game, KC tight end Travis Kelce, better known as Taylor Swift's boyfriend, flipped out on head coach Andy Reid.  Kelce bumped Reid.  He nearly went down.  There are two ways you can look at this.

Kelce is a warrior.  He wanted the ball.  He wanted to get his team moving.  He has passion.  He wanted to step up.  I admire that.  I want fighters on my team.

On the other hand, Kelce committed a bush league maneuver.  He showed up his head coach. Have I ever fought with a boss?  Yeah!  Oh yeah!  The difference is I've never done it in front of 150 million people.

Reid handled the post game news conference questions about Kelce with class and dignity.  I would not have been as kind.  It has been said that winning helps forgive all sins.  Plus, Kelce admitted he was wrong.

After thinking about this one for more than a week, Kansas City needs to find a way to drop the hammer on Travis Kelce.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

My Best Friend: A Man and His Microphone


Covering a snow storm might look like fun and games, but it can be serious business.  There is the danger associated with the travel.  Slips and falls are always a concern.  I remember an ice storm in February of 2013.  My feet went out from under me, and I landed flat on by back, like in the cartoons.

Then, there are the technical problems.  Much of our gear is weather resistant.  A drop of water in the wrong place can still put you out of business.

It happened during the February 13th snow storm in Hazleton.  Photographer Tim and I were having major microphone problems.  We were dead in the water, or the snow.

It was the DO 56 L to the rescue.

Don't ask me why, but I carry my own microphone in my bag.  Personal property.  It's an Electro Voice, model DO 56 L.  The L stands for long, a few inches longer than the standard DO 56.  I used the exact same model when I was on the radio in the 80's.  Below is an old picture of channel 22's Bill Mecca and I clowning around at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

I found the same model on EBay several years ago, and I grabbed it.  Nostalgia.  A reminder of simpler times.

This is a great microphone!  First, the sound quality is amazing.  Second, but more importantly, the length gives you a little advantage in reaching in to get those interviews everyone wants to grab at the same time.

When my Hazleton snow story aired, our executive producer walked over to my desk.  One of our web people was already there.  "Hey, what's the story with the microphone?"  Yes, it wasn't standard WNEP Newswatch 16 issue.  I explained what I told you above, and all is well.

I was never a Boy Scout, but I do travel well prepared.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Unfinished Monday



Last week's blog on cheese prompted a discussion in the newsroom.  There are a lot of savory dishes that use cream cheese, or as it was called on "Scrubs," "cow fudge."  Those applications are nothing new.  However, they are not for me.  I like cheesecake, and I love a schmear on a bagel.  A good cheese danish is one of my major weaknesses.  I have a hang up about cream cheese for "non sweet" things.  It's like cinnamon.  Many cultures use it in savory dishes.  Yuck!  I associate cinnamon, which I like, in sweet things and it ends there.

ABC News apparently liked photographer Tim's video of the snow in Hazleton because some of it wound up on "World News Tonight."  Someone I interviewed also popped up on the network.  The network stuff doesn't put any more money in my pocket, but it's cool nonetheless.  I'll have a little more to say about that storm coverage, in this space tomorrow.

I recently used this space to pan Billy Joel's new song, "Turn the Lights Back On."  That hasn't changed.  I love Billy Joel.  He got me through high school and college.  The new song does nothing for me.  Joel recently appeared on Howard Stern's satellite radio show.  The Stern channel is not part of my Sirius/XM package, but several snippets have turned up on You Tube.  Listening to Bill Joel play the old stuff, and hearing him describe those songs was an absolute delight.  "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" is a masterpiece.

Nailing a Final Jeopardy! question when all three contestants blow it makes me happy beyond belief.  It happened again Thursday and the category was "landmarks."   I won't spoil it for you.  The clip is available on-line.

Enjoy your Presidents Day!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Andy's Angles: Treed In


I like showing you my best work here.  I don't mind showing you the mediocre stuff, too.

This is a treed in shot of the old railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River.  I'm standing just north of the Fort Jenkins bridge in Pittston.

Yes, there are places to get a clear shot of the bridge, but I wasn't going to risk getting run over by a bus for the sake of my hobby.

Be that as it may, enjoy the mountains and the blue sky in what has been a rather grey winter.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Andy's Angles: Where's Winter?


I know we had some snow and cooler weather this week, but for the most part, it's been a mild winter.

This would normally be the time of year that I'd take the camera to the banks of the Susquehanna River and take pictures of the giant hunks of ice floating downstream.

Not this year!

This is the view from one of my favorite spots to visit, a parking lot adjacent to the Water Street Bridge in Pittston.  I deliberately kept the shot wide to show the blue sky.  While it's been a mild winter, the sun has been severely lacking.

Friday, February 16, 2024

First Person: Snow Day


The storm that moved though our area Tuesday will be a memorable one, for a few reasons.

It started when I arrived at work Saturday night.  Meteorologist Valerie Smock was going over all the possibilities, and there were several.  Meteorologist Ally Gallo did the same thing on Sunday and Monday morning.  Every computer run said something different.  There was no agreement and it really was one of those "two inches to a foot" storms.

I considered the station's offer of a hotel room Monday night.  I declined.  The forecast was becoming more clearly defined, and I would be driving in to work Tuesday morning just as the storm was starting.  the roads would be passable.  As it turns out, during my eight mile journey, I didn't see a flake until I turned on to Montage Mountain Road in Moosic.

Let me back up for a moment.  Late Monday morning, the executive producer, the news director and I had a quick huddle, in an effort to have me report like a champion.  Colleague Amanda Eustice would be live in Mount Pocono Tuesday morning.  As an aside, Amanda has become a really good snow reporter.  I would take Hazleton, which looked likely to be a trouble spot.  We were right.

Photographer Tim and I piled in one of our better snow trucks around 3 am Tuesday.  All Monday afternoon and early Tuesday, all I could think about was what I would talk about if the storm was a bust.

It wasn't.

We hit snow in Avoca, and it became worse with every mile.  It was snowing hard when we hit Broad and Church in downtown Hazleton, and it didn't slow down until late morning.  I've been in several snow storms over the years.  This was among the worst.  Plow trucks made passes, but they just couldn't keep up with the snow.  It was an interesting morning forecast, including cars sliding and stuck.  A hero police officer helped push one car out of the intersection to keep traffic moving.

After the morning broadcast, Tim and I worked on a story for our noon broadcast.  The ride back to home base in Moosic turned out to be an adventure.  We crawled.  Parts of 81 were closed by crashes, so we took the back roads and side streets.  Luckily, we know them.

Our report aired in its scheduled slot.  It was time to go home and dump the wet clothes.

I still have the feeling there will be a couple more repeat episodes before winter ends.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Follow Up Thursday


I'm still waiting for the reply to my email to the organization that runs Scranton's parking.  I want to know why meters are enforced on Martin Luther King Day, but it's free parking on Juneteenth.  Guys, you know where to find me.

Earlier this week, I gave those new flavored cellophane wrapped "cheese" slices a lousy review.  I've been tooling around on the internet, and I've discovered I'm in the minority.  Other reviewers love them, especially in a grilled cheese application, which I did not do.

A company in Canada is selling 45 of its radio stations because it feels the radio business is no longer viable.  I'm typing through the tears.

The other day, I whined that the newspaper industry is its own worst enemy.  Here is more proof.  Beginning March 18, the Erie Times-News is getting rid of all of its carriers.  The U.S. Postal service will now deliver the paper, so if you are a traditionalist, and you like your news on your front porch the first thing in the morning, forget it.  The paper's management says it's discovered digital delivery is now the first choice for its customers.  The print newspaper will switch to more background and context type of reporting, and you'll get it a day late-- at the very least.

I'm sure I'll catch a replay on the NFL Network, but CBS's Tony Romo is being savaged by the critics.  There is blood in the water.  And by the way, Jim Nantz, you're 64 years old.  It's OK to have a little grey hair.

And this last one is going back a long time.  Several years ago, I raved about Bob's Red Mill products.  It's a line of  grains, cereals, etc.  If you pop your own corn, there is none better.  And, you should be popping your own.  It's not that difficult.  Be that as it may, the founder, Bob Moore died.  It was announced Saturday.  Bob Moore was 94.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day!


I haven't ranted maniacally on anything in a while, so let's revisit one of my favorites-- Valentine's Day.

It drives me insane when I hear people complain about the day.  Yes, it's a schmaltzy Hallmark holiday, filled with expensive candy and overpriced roses, but at least be grateful you have someone in your life.  There are a lot of people on the outside looking in.

The late, great Bob Barker used to pontificate that it's not what you say that's important.  It's what you don't say that really counts.

True.  Very, very true.

If you are lucky enough to have a significant other, and you hate Valentine's Day, do society a favor.  Just keep quiet.  One day isn't going to kill you.

And, speaking of love.  You know I love radio.  I'm doing the 7 am hour with Doc and Chewy on Froggy 101 tomorrow.  Give it a listen if you get the chance.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Super Review


I would have preferred to see San Francisco win Sunday night's Super Bowl, but it's no big deal.

I'll give my prediction a mixed review.  I thought Kansas City would win, and I was right.  I didn't think it would be close, and I was wrong on that.  I clearly didn't believe there was overtime potential here, but there was.

As is my 25 year custom, I didn't watch one second of the pre game, game, or post game.  I learned the outcome by asking my Amazon Echo.  Thank you, Alexa.

This has to be one of the best sports talk radio days of the year.  From what I understand, there was plenty to second guess, on both sides of the field.  Plus, as FOX Sports Radio overnight host Ben Maller always says, the best stories are in the losing locker room.  I was really pulling for SF QB Brock Purdy, the last one chosen in the NFL draft.

I'm happy for KC GM Brett Veach, from Mount Carmel.  Local kid makes good.  Home town pride, and that's always fun.

I can't say I was ever an Andy Reid fan, but I was happy for the guy.  As Bill Belichick can attest, having a superstar quarterback can take you a long way.

There have been two overtime games in the history of the Super Bowl.  San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan his fingerprints on both-- as offensive coordinator in Atlanta, and now head coach with the 49ers.

I'm suffering from months of Taylor Swift overload-- from the concert tour, to the movie, to her romance with Travis Kelce of the Chiefs.  Still, it's a cute aspect of the football story, and I'm sure it drew plenty of new eyeballs to the NFL.

Jim Nantz's CBS call of the winning play was very good.  Tony Romo needed to shut up.  Kevin Harlan on the radio was amazing.

Now, it's on to baseball season!

Monday, February 12, 2024

And the Mouse Takes the Cheese


Boredom is a terrible thing, and I've always been a sucker for anything new at the supermarket.

I've habitually stayed away from those cellophane wrapped individual cheese slices.  First, they aren't real cheese.  Second, and more importantly, I compare them to flavorless wax.

Imagine my glee when those "cheese" slices I avoided announced a new line of flavors, including jalapeno.  I love hot things, as long as they are not excessive.  Flavor is good.  Heat for the sake of heat isn't.

While I was curious, I wasn't that curious, so I let a pack hang out in my refrigerator until the following day.  Imagine my disappointment.  They are just slightly spicy flavored wax.  There is no cheese flavor and just a hint of jalapeno.

They also come in garlic and herb, and caramelized onion.

It's a moot point.

Regardless of the new varieties, they won't be finding their way into my cart, my refrigerator and my stomach.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Andy's Angles: Lace Village


I am so happy to say I'm wrong about this one.

When the plan to turn the old Scranton Lace factory into a complex of apartments, business space, and space for artists, I thought it would never happen.  The project was too big, too complicated, too expansive, too expensive.

The developer persevered, and it took a really long time, but the first tenants moved in this month, following the lighting of the clock tower last month.  While the place is far from finished, it already is a thing of beauty.

I'm sure this will have a big impact on this part of Scranton and the city as a whole.  This, along with some old factory and school conversions, shows Scranton is more than the site of a bad sitcom.  We are not a joke.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

About the Cover: Blue Lace


I always had a fascination with Scranton Lace.  I remember being in a car with the family, occasionally driving past, and marveling about everything here-- the size of the buildings, the clock tower, the whistle...  It was also a source of local pride.  A world famous product was made in Scranton.  Now, all we seem to hang our hat on is a dreadful sitcom.

It was a sad day when the factory closed.  Jobs lost.  Our economy took a hit.  Prestige disappeared.  This was an amazing building-- offices, machinery, a bowling alley, food...  a city unto itself.

The place was vacant for years, and I'm sorry I never had the chance to go inside before renovations started.

The renaissance has begun, and look for some thoughts on that here tomorrow.

Friday, February 9, 2024



The point spread has been fluctuating from 1 to 2.5, with San Francisco favored, so I'll slap it with the "irrelevant" tag this year.

As is tradition, I pick the team with the better defense, and that is Kansas City.  The Chiefs also have the better quarterback, in Patrick Mahomes.

I am worried about Kansas City head coach Andy Reid, who seems to make a questionable decision in every big game.

On the other hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was Atlanta's offensive coordinator when the Falcons blew that 28 to 3 lead over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.  The man knows how to mess up a game.  The Falcons should have lost the franchise over that one.

I think the Chiefs win, and it will be comfortable, by at least four points.

Things I would like to see this year include Taylor Swift on the field after a Chiefs win, just because it would irritate people.

I wouldn't mind seeing Mahomes lose after that punk performance after a defeat a couple of months ago.

I would like to see San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy lift the Vince Lombardi and tell everyone who passed him over in the NFL draft they can stuff the trophy up their noses.

Regardless, I won't be watching.  I'll be asleep.  I haven't seen a Super Bowl since 1999.  I kid you not.  It's possible I'll be awake for the tail end of the game, and I'll have it on the radio because I'm a huge Kevin Harlan fan.

CBS says it will use 165 cameras, in the pre game show, the game, and the post game show.  That, my friends, is amazing.

As always, don't talk to me about the commercials.  I just don't care.

Enjoy the day, and I'll do a review next week.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Media Thursday


Six AM radio stations, around the country, recently went off the air.  Permanently.  The owners surrendered the licenses to the Federal Communications Commission.  Broadcasting is no longer permission to print money.

For the second year in a row, President Biden is blowing off an interview request in the Super Bowl pre game show.  FOX last year.  CBS this year.  Why?

Basketball would be a much better television sport if they could speed up the end of the game.  The final five minutes takes a half hour to complete.

TV News writers:  proper usage is "suddenly."  It's not "all of a sudden."

Some local newspapers are watching experienced reporters walk out the door, and I am sad.  However, they are embarking on interesting new opportunities.

ABC/ESPN report strong ad sales for the just completed  NHL All Star Weekend.   Hockey is an under appreciated sport.

I've never heard the latest from Miley Cyrus, but I'm kind of happy she picked up a Grammy the other night.

There are times I consider getting in to ham radio, but I have no desire to jump through all the hoops necessary and make the financial commitment.

The Los Angeles Times recently did a story on Jim Nantz of CBS Sports.  Imagine what would happen if the network gave him a decent color commentator.

CNN is blowing up its morning show-- again!  Why is this so hard?  Find anchors the public likes, and just do the news.  There is a hard news hole in network morning television that you can drive a truck through.  And, sorry, CNN.  I'm still under contract.

The great Brent Musberger was on Dan Patrick's radio show yesterday.  Wow!  Great story teller, interesting man, insider stuff.  I could listen to him for hours.

In a similar vein, I heard former Kansas City and Philadelphia head coach Dick Vermeil interviewed recently.  87 years old and sharp as a tack!

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Better than Punxsutawney Phil


Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring last week, and my nose tells me spring is in our near future.  

Skunks are becoming more active.  The aroma is now all over my neighborhood.  As I say every year, skunks become active in late winter, looking for food and love.  It's a great signal that warmer weather is on the way.

There was a false start this year.  There was a skunk near my house on New Year's Day.  The stench was so strong, I thought he was in the living room!  I thought it was going to be the daily thing, but that was it.  The skunks disappeared for several weeks.

I'm happy to say they are back!  I even saw a robin the other day, and yes, I do know that some do stay north during the winter.

I will also add that I did see some long range scientific guidance that predicts colder and possibly snowier weather from mid February, in to March.

However, a combination of skunk, ground hog, and robin is tough to beat.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

A Geezer Moment


I can appreciate the music of my elders-- Sinatra, Bennett, the crooners, and the big bands.  The 50's grease/do-wop stuff is great fun.  I'm still aggravated that Jon "Bowser" Bauman was in Scranton a couple of years ago, and I didn't get a chance to meet him.

Pop music became less appealing to me during the Madonna era of the 80's.  I will admit to liking some 90's and 00's stuff, but not much.  I cringe when the Red Hot Chili Peppers come on the classic rock station.  That stuff is more rap than rock to me, and I can't dive for the dial fast enough.

While I like the music that came before me, I just can't stomach the contemporary stuff, and sad to say, that includes (Dare I say it?)  Taylor Swift!

Swift seems like a perfectly nice woman, who treats her fans with respect--  the fans that spend hundreds of dollars for a seat in a giant arena, to watch the show a mile from the stage.  Swift won another box of Grammy's Sunday night, and that's great for her and her fans.  Swift announced a new album is coming out, and thank you for the warning.

By the way, Swift's romance with Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs is absolutely adorable.

I don't understand Taylor Swift much the same way people didn't understand my Billy Joel fixation when I was in high school and college, and much the same way those slightly older than me adored The Beatles.

To each, his own.  This is the real no judgement zone.

I still don't get it.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Monday Scrapple


First, a sad note.  Bob Folmar died last week.  He was an engineer at WBRE for many years, and Bob was always great to me.  I extend my sympathy to Bob's family, his work family, and his friends.

While there is still a lot of winter left to go, it's nice to say it's February.

My interest in the NFL has waned considerably over the years.  I will admit to enjoying the hype leading up to the Super Bowl.  Las Vegas is a great venue.  Outstanding visuals.   However, I will be worn out by Thursday.

UPS is trimming its payroll by 12,000 people.  Friends, that is frightening.  More than 500 journalism jobs disappeared last month.

It seems like McDonald's is in the news about some weekly menu tweak or improvement.  I will admit they are marketing geniuses, but it all tastes the same to me.

The Baltimore Orioles are being sold for $1.7 billion dollars.  While the team is coming off a few good years, present ownership left a lot to be desired.

I was a huge Billy Joel fan in high school and college.  I still listen to tracks from "The Stranger" on a regular basis.  Having said that, his new song does absolutely nothing for me.

Movie reviewers Siskel & Ebert used to say that if you have a good villain, you have a good movie.  Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" movies was a good villain.

Today's entry in you know the words even if you haven't heard the song in years is "Calendar Girl" by Neil Sedaka.

David Letterman's You Tube takes on Taylor Swift are hilarious.

Macy's is closing stores and firing employees.  When I think of Macy's, one word comes to mind:  beige.

I know there is a lot of winter left, and it's likely we'll get some big storms.  Still, a sunny and relatively mild weekend didn't hurt.

If San Diego built a new stadium, it would have hosted a Super Bowl at least every five years.

Doesn't it seem like we've waited too long to attack the local gang problem?

I'm so tired of the store self service debate.  Keep them, or dump them.  Just do something!

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Andy's Angles: #Sad, Half Baked


My job has its advantages.  I get to wander off in pursuit of interesting things, and many of them hit close to home.

As I say often, I needed to get out of the house Tuesday morning, so I grabbed photographer Tim and we set out to the enchanted land of Dickson City.  As we've established here, I grew up one town away.  Dickson City was the site of my junior high school, and there are plenty of memories in the borough.

An email tipster told us the old Chvotzkin's Bakery on Jackson Street was being torn down.  Indeed it was.  It was a frequent junior high school lunchtime stop.  I vividly remember the apple and cherry turnovers, and assorted other delights.  Danish!  A very kind elderly couple ran the shop.  Great proprietors.  Great baked goods.  Who could ask for anything more?

The bakery closed years ago, and the Chvotzkins are long gone.  Stopping by to see the rubble made me sad, nonetheless.  This place made people happy.  It's gone.

The front building, the actual retail part of the operation, is still standing.  I think it was a laundromat for a while.  It's apartments now.

After getting some video of the demolition, Tim and I stopped by the Dickson Borough office to talk with the people there and check some facts.  Everyone was so kind, and I enjoyed the reminiscing about the borough's past.

I'll think of Chvotzkin's the next time I have a turnover.  It won't be the same.

Andy's Angles: The Bridge


PennDOT is finally getting around to getting a contractor and replacing the Green Ridge Street bridge in Scranton.  It spans the Lackawanna River, between Nay Aug Avenue and North Main Avenue.

The state presented several options over the years-- all bad, and I'm not faulting the state.  If you close the bridge, drivers and business owners go nuts.  Plus, a closed bridge throws a lot of traffic on Market Street, already a narrow street, with a busy intersection with North Main.

If you try to keep traffic moving on Green Ridge Street while replacing the bridge...  Well, that's like trying to fix a flat tire while the car is still moving, and it adds time to the project.

The chosen solution will take two years to accomplish, and that is far too long.

I guess you can't please everyone.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Andy's Angles: Demolition


By the time you read this, the old Keen's Floral building along Green Ridge Street in Scranton will be history.  It came down Monday night and Tuesday morning.  This is a photo taken shortly after sunrise, Monday morning.

I can't say I've ever been here, but the building has been on Green Ridge Street, near the intersection with North Main, for as long as I can remember.  It's a stucco box, and not really architecturally significant.

Still, I'm a little sorry to see it go.  Someone could have done something with it.  It's a moot point now.  The demolition is part of a bridge replacement project and I'll have something to say about that tomorrow.

As luck would have it, I happened to be in the neighborhood Tuesday early morning.  I took a picture of the rubble, just before dawn.  We've lost a bit of our history, but at least we are finally getting a new bridge.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Ground Hog Day

 I enjoy Ground Hog Day.  Always did.  I think it's because I took it so seriously as a kid, and it's carried over in to my adult years.

Having said that, the folks who run the show in Punxsutawney do go overboard.  But hey, go for it.  It is the one day of the year the little town in Jefferson County is in the spotlight.  Enjoy your moment.

Spring right around the corner would be nice, but no matter how you look at it, there is still a lot of winter left.  As I irritatingly note, some of our worst snow storms have been in February and March.

Just look at it this way...  Most of winter is over.

>>>UPDATE:  Phil did not see his shadow this morning, and he predicts an early spring.  Relax.  It's just harmless fun.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Dance


It was a serious case of deja vu as I watched and read coverage of the latest utility company rate hike request.  I've seen this movie, countless times, and I know how it ends.

It's a well choreographed dance.  Scripted.  I've been covering these things since my radio pup days in the early 80's.

The big utility company asks for permission to hike rates.  Politicians become outraged.  Citizens and consumers are angry.  The state orders hearings.  The politicians pound the podium for the cameras.  Consumers wonder how they will pay for what the utility wants.  The Public Utility Commission members look concerned.

They all end the same way.

The utility company accepts a smaller rate hike, which it banked on all along.  Ask for twice what you want, and settle for half.  The utility company feigns benevolence.  The politicians claim victory.

In the end, you're still cutting a bigger check every month.