Sunday, March 31, 2024

Andy's Angles: Roaring Brook


Roaring Brook in Scranton and Dunmore has been in the news quite a bit recently, and for the wrong reasons.  An upstream construction project dumped tons of dirt and silt into the water.  I can't wait to see whose feet are held to the fire over that one.

The water was running clear when I visited on a recent early spring morning.  It was sunny and cold, but still a beautiful day.

The shot was taken near Richter and Ash, just across from the East Scranton Little League fields.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Andy's Angles: Holding on to Yesterday


I always liked oak trees.  Big.  Majestic.  And acorns!

Another of the plusses, is the mighty oaks hang on to their leaves, sometimes until the new growth arrives in the spring.

Yes, the leaves can be brown and nasty, crispy, crinkled, and curled...  but they survive through the harshest of times, and there is a lot to be said for that.

Don't ask me why, but the "survival" aspect hit me hard a couple of weeks ago, while I was walking toward my car, after photographing a creek in east Scranton.  We often overlook that.  

They might be unsightly, but give credit to the oak leaves for weathering the storms.

Friday, March 29, 2024



The TV game show "Jeopardy!" turns 60 years old tomorrow.

There was a long original run, until January of 1975, with the man you see above, Art Fleming, as host, and he really was the master.  Watch the few episodes that are on YouTube.  Fleming slows down if he gets an ultra smart and cocky contestant.  He picks up the pace when the show lags.  Watching him work was a thing of beauty.

Fleming had another short run with the for about five months in 1978 and 1979.  It wasn't the same.  They screwed with the format and added a cumbersome bonus round.

There are still plenty of other fond memories.  I remember walking home from my elementary school for lunch with my mom.  NBC had a killer line up of game shows back in the day.  Campbell's vegetable soup and "Hollywood Squares" were frequently on my menu.  Mom and I had the opportunity to see more games during summer break.  There was still plenty of time to play outside.

I should add, I knew nothing as a tot, but I was amazed at the big mechanical game board, the brilliant contestants who were lightning fast, and the way Fleming handled the game.

"Jeopardy!" came back in daily syndication in the fall of 1984.  The local station ran it at 5:30 in the afternoon at first, before it really took off and moved to the "prime access hour.".  I would sit and watch in the WARM newsroom in Avoca, and compete with fellow broadcaster Guy Randall.  We were both surprised at how easy the questions had become.   By the way, Guy was really good.  It seems like the show eventually found a groove and the questions, or more accurately, the answers, became a little more difficult.

As I said when he passed, I was never really much of an Alex Trebek fan, until "Jeopardy!."  He did a few other game shows, and I thought he was rather wooden, but "Jeopardy!" fit like a glove.  On top of that, the producers had the great sense not to mess with the format.

If I can't watch in its entirety, I do catch the highlight clips on the internet.

60 years of "Jeopardy!" is an amazing broadcast success story.  It was good when I was a kid.  It's still that good.

Thursday, March 28, 2024



It was one of my "where were you when..." moments and it happened 45 years ago today.

We had a warm spell a few days prior.  A friend and I blew off school for the day, believing a day at Lackawanna State Park was better than a day inside a smelly and soul crushing high school.  We were right.  It was our senior year, and by then, I knew all I needed to know.

I was driving out of the Dunmore Shopping Center and on to the O'Neil Highway, fresh from picking up some photos from one of those tiny film developing booths that were so revolutionary at the time.  Yes, not only did I blow off school, but I had the photos to prove it.  The news came on the radio.  There was an accident at the nuclear power plant in Middletown, just outside of Harrisburg.  And for you youngsters out there, there really was a time when you could get news on local radio.

That late afternoon newscast sounded serious, but not catastrophic.  The story was just beginning and the worst was yet to come.

I vividly remember actually going to school the next day, and hearing a teacher discuss that plans were being made to evacuate the city of Harrisburg.  This was getting real!

Local TV news was all over it, and a huge portion of Walter Cronkite's "CBS Evening News" was dedicated to the TMI story, including detailed explanations of how nuclear power worked, what happened at the plant, and all the horrible possibilities if the situation wasn't contained.

As we know by now, the leak was fixed.  The meltdown was averted.  It either shows the system worked, or it didn't, depending on your point of view.

It did make for an unforgettable week for a high school senior.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024



If you're been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that one of my phobias is driving over big bridges that cross large bodies of water.

I remember those terror filled moments on the Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson River as a kid.  We'd make family trips to visit relatives in Bridgeport, CT.  As if Bridgeport wasn't bad enough, you had to cross that bridge to get there.

As I matured and started taking vacations on my own, I became very fond of the Baltimore/Annapolis area.  It's beautiful.  Unfortunately, using bridges and tunnels are a must.

I've driven the Bay Bridge.  I've driven the Key Bridge, the one that collapsed Tuesday morning, when a barge hit a support.  It fell down in a heap.  My stomach sank when I saw the amazing video.  My heart went out to the drivers and passengers on the bridge.  At least, it happened in the middle of the night.  I can imagine the death and injuries if the collapse happened in the middle of the morning or afternoon rush.

I should add that being in a newsroom is an amazing place when a major news story hits.  Buzzers and alarms go off.  The Associated Press and ABC News start popping with closed circuit advisories.  It's non stop action and activity.

I don't mean to be insensitive.  People lost their lives.  The loss of the bridge will have a huge economic impact.

My only hope is we've learned something about ship traffic and bridge construction.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Tuesday Scrapple


I've never played a team or individual sport.  We had three high school basketball teams here in our area go to the state championships last week, and all three came up a little short.  Our reporters interviewed some of the kids, and they all had the best attitudes.  I thought it was great.

Today's entry in "You remember the words, even though you haven't heard the song in eons..." belongs to Gene Cotton's "Before My Heart Finds Out."  1978.

I've been in a solar eclipse.  Interesting.  Not thrilling.  They don't excite me.

I have a blog entry coming up on the 45th anniversary of the Three Mile Island accident.  Believe me, that story did make an impact.

Easter was always one of my favorite holidays.

My stomach tightens every time I pass a gas station.  It's going to be a long summer.

Former Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty lost his battle with cancer last week.  I met him a few times over the years, and I can't say I really knew him.  We do have a close mutual friend, and Haggerty really did seem like a great guy.  My sympathy to his family and friends.

A ton of old "Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour" episodes from 1983 and 1984 have turned up on You Tube.  They also run on the Buzzr network.  While the show had its moments, I can't believe such a flawed concept made it on the air.

I haven't whined about this for a while, but it's time for Walmart to go back to 24/7 operation.  I know it's a lost cause.

The mass shooting in Russia made major headlines over the weekend.  The world is a scary place.

The pace at which we repair old bridges here in Pennsylvania is appalling.  

I'm still waiting for this year's magic "March Madness" story to appear.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Chickened Out


I was tooling about on the internet the other day, making a stop at You Tube.  Someone uploaded a ton of "The French Chef" episodes from the early 60's. and they are a primitive thing of beauty.

The video is black and white.  It's grainy, and it shows every bit of Julia Child's awkward charm.  You can see her straining to read the cue cards.  You can see her rush through recipe elements.  You can see she is never totally comfortable on television.  I guess that's what made Julia great.  She was real.

However, the focus of today's entry is sanitation.

There has been a chicken phobia in recent years-- fears of bacteria and cross contamination.  If a chicken so much as looks at something, out comes the hot, soapy water and bleach.

Julia Child is tossing around chickens and chicken parts like there is no tomorrow in the episode I watched.  She wasn't a clean freak because we just didn't care about that stuff back in the day.  I checked the archives.  Julia Child never killed anybody.

I know.  You can never be too careful, especially these days.

But, there are times I wonder if we are being too darned fussy.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Rail Yard

 I'm thrilled Reading and Northern made its Pittston operation more accessible.  It makes sense.  This is the arrival and departure point for weekend excursions to Jim Thorpe.  I know all railroad people worry about having photographers and sightseers wander into potentially dangerous places.

This is an opportunity to get close, without getting too close.  All you have to do is stay in the designated parking area, and you should be fine.

I really look forward to that return visit.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Andy's Angles: Caboose Day


I have a few more train photos to blow off here before we move on to other things, and today, it's a couple from my recent trip to the Reading and Northern yard in Pittston.

As a kid, I thought the caboose was the coolest part of the train.  As the years piled on, I learned to appreciate the power and majesty of the engine, but I can appreciate the end of the train.

I know there is no longer a need for a caboose, but I'm happy some are still around.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Let's Do Shots Before Philosophy Class!

 Let me tell you about the Marywood College of my my era.

There were no dorms for men back then.  No worries.  I lived two miles from campus, and there was plenty of apartment space around the city if I wanted to make a move.  Many of my classmates did.

At the dorms for females, men weren't allowed past the lobby.

There was a strict anti alcohol policy.  In fact, dorm girls weren't even allowed to use an empty beer or wine bottle as a vase!

Hey, those were the rules.  They were clearly advertised.  If you didn't like them, there were plenty of other colleges or universities willing to take your money.  If you were old enough to drink, Scranton had plenty of bars back then.  It still does.  As opposed to my era, every mini mart now has a liquor license, and some are just a few blocks from campus.

Imagine my shock and surprise when I read on the student news web site that the the company that has the university's food service contract applied for a liquor license.  Yes, "The Wood Word" clued me in, but the photos are mine.  Welcome to the "Pacer Pub."  It seems destined for the student center, called Nazareth Hall.

Nazareth Hall is already home to Marywood's E Sports center, another move that leaves me shaking my head, but that is another story for another time.

I'm a traditionalist.  I'm old school, pardon the pun.  I'm not a Neanderthal.  I know colleges and universities have to compete for the higher education dollar, an increasingly competitive industry.  You need the latest and the greatest.  You need to stay with the times.  There is still much we don't know about the operation of the "Pacer Pub."  It seems to me to be an effort to show Marywood is more than that quiet nunnery on the hill, that it is a modern institution.  I also have no problem with the responsible use of alcohol.  

However, this seems to be the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thursday, March 21, 2024



The annual NCAA Basketball Tournament is underway, also known as "March Madness."  It's a great event-- a single elimination tournament, lasting three weeks, ending with the crowning of a national champion.

The tournament always draws solid television ratings, and tons of interest-- from simple office pools to hard core gambling.  Picking the games, or the brackets, is good, clean fun.

There are always first round upsets, and a team or two that hangs on much longer than expected.  The moments after the final buzzer, of the final game, are sheer magic-- an unforgettable experience for players and fans.

And, I could not possibly care less.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

A Hero


Regular blog readers know the astronauts of the 60's and 70's were among my heroes.  We lost one this week.

Thomas Stafford was aboard Apollo 10 in the spring of 1969.  That mission was the dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon landing that summer.

I've grown to appreciate these men even more, even though we stopped going to the moon long ago.  They made it look so easy, but as we've learned, the space program was anything but easy.  There was no guarantee any of this stuff would work.  There was no guarantee they would get there, and clearly, there was no guarantee they were coming home.

Thomas Stafford was 93.

According to NASA, there are only eight remaining astronauts from the lunar program.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Action News


courtesy:  New York Post

Bill Jorgensen is the man you see here on the left, in a photo from his days at WPIX in New York City.  Jorgensen died last week at the age of 96.

He came over to WPIX after helping establish the news operation at cross town WNEW, now WNYW.

Let me back up a bit, and do what I usually do here-- inflict myself in to the story.

WPIX revamped its news in the mid 70's.  New title:  "Action News."  Great theme.   Fantastic set.  Solid anchors-- Pat Harper in the center and Steve Bosh on the right.  It was a perfect mix of reporters-- Kamen, Bloom, Casey, Witker, Ferer, Malloy, Scott...  Some were great at features.  The others were intrepid investigators.  You can't forget about Jerry Girard on sports.  Jeffrey Lyons did movie and Broadway reviews.  I had occasional access to WNEW, but I couldn't see the major network affiliates on my cable system, so this is likely an unfair judgement, but I loved Action News and thought it was the best newscast in the city.  It was informative, visual, fun, interesting...  My joy was only amplified when they added a 7:30 pm version to the 10 pm edition.

There are a handful of major influences on my television "career, " and many minor ones.   The two biggest are WNEP and WPIX of the 1970's.

Okay, foundation established.

Harper and Bosh handled most of the anchoring chores, until 1979, when Bill Jorgensen joined the crew.  Jorgensen was just about the perfect anchor-- great voice and delivery, tight writer.  The man dripped gravitas.  If Bill Jorgensen said something, you believed it.

Unfortunately...  there was no chemistry with Bosh and Harper.  The three anchor arrangement just didn't work and the newscast lost its luster.  It just seemed awkward and uncomfortable.  You can sense something was amiss.

Let me branch off for a moment, and how much I hate talking about "chemistry."  It's television.  If the chemistry is a little off, no one dies.  On the other hand, a newscast is much more watchable and easier to handle if the people on the screen like and respect each other.  You can't teach that.  You can't fake that, and I have been so fortunate over the last several years.  One day, I will tell "the rest of the story."

Harper eventually defected for WNBC.  Bosh made a couple of other stops, including Dallas and San Diego.  You might find this story semi humorous.  I had a friend working at Bosh's San Diego TV station.  We were messaging one day, and I said "Tell Steve Bosh I said he is a God."  My friend replied "He's standing right here."  I nearly dropped my phone.

Jorgensen stayed at WPIX for eight years, until his retirement.

I'm searching for a clever way to wrap this up, and looking for the moral of the story.  Bill Jorgensen was a great anchor, but I never thought WPIX was a good fit.  He informed millions for decades, and I hope his contributions to journalism are never forgotten.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Hurry Up and Wait


Once upon a time, ABC hired a young reporter out of Canada.  It was the mid 60's.  The kid showed great promise and he was handed the evening news anchor job.

He bombed.


It didn't help that ABC had a station line-up that was far inferior to CBS and NBC, but the kid wasn't ready for the evening news anchor gig.  Awkward.  Chilly.  The audience didn't warm up to him and he was soon replaced.

The new former anchor became a correspondent for ABC, traveling the country, and then the globe.  There were assignments in Europe and the Middle East.  He did great.

The correspondent was installed as the news reader on a new ABC network morning show.

It flopped.

It lasted less than one year.

It was back to Europe and the Middle East.

When ABC needed an anchor in the mid 70's, This man was given another shot.  He was ready this time.  It was the best newscast on network television.

You might remember the correspondent/anchor:  Peter Jennings.

For some bizarre reason, Peter Jennings came to mind when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles Friday.

Pickett was handed Pittsburgh's starting quarterback job.

He bombed.


The Steelers decided to go with the now journeyed Russell Wilson, who will be 36 when the season starts.  Pickett pouted.  Rather than sit on the bench for a while and learn from a player who will be in the Hall of Fame one day, Pickett wanted a move.

Now, he'll sit on the bench in Philadelphia.

This should have turned out differently.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Andy's Angles: Ft. Jenkins


You can't put a picture of the Water Street Bridge on the blog without a photo of its companion span.  This is the Fort Jenkins Bridge over the Susquehanna River.  Pittston is on the left.  West Pittston is on the right.

Unlike Water Street, this bridge is still open.

This photo begged to be cropped, at least a little.  I didn't.  I wouldn't.  I couldn't.  I like the blue sky and the reflection on the water in the left part of the shot.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Andy's Angles: Again?!


Outside of the trains at Steamtown, this has to be one of the most photographed things in my catalog.  This is the Water Street Bridge over the Susquehanna River.  Pittston is on the right.  West Pittston is on the left.

In a blog post about one of my favorite songs, "Baker Street," I mentioned that I notice something different each time I hear the song.  The same is true when I have this bridge in my viewfinder.

The bridge is old and it closed a few years ago.  There is a plan to replace it.  We'll see if the politicians follow through after the election.

A look at its companion bridge tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Business Friday


Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar.  Big mistake.  Too much debt, too fast.   The company announced 1,000 stores will be closed.

I have no problem admitting that I visit both, on occasion-- Dollar Tree more than Family Dollar.  The latter have manageably sized stores.  You can usually get in and out without an issue.  On the other hand, they are nothing special and the prices aren't that great.

Wendy's, which recently was caught with its hands in the "dynamic pricing" cookie jar, is introducing an Orange Cream Frosty.  It's a temporary menu item.  As much as I've been avoiding Wendy's recently, I am intrigued.

How would you like to be the public relations person for Boeing right now?  Someone has a lot of explaining to do.

Gasoline prices are at a four month high.  The peak demand summer travel season is hitting early.

Chocolate prices are on the way up.  That one is going to hurt.

Tik Tok might be on the way out.  Come on?  You can do without it.

Gap reported a good holiday season, and its sister chain, Old Navy is also doing well.  Old Navy doesn't surprise me.  Gap does.  It's become extremely pricey.

Price Chopper in Taylor closes next month.  It's clear the store isn't making money, and that's unfortunate.  I always enjoyed my visits. Value minded shoppers hit WalMart across the street.  Shop Rite, just a few miles in Moosic, does a lot of things better.    This could have worked.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

First Person: The Morning Relay


It is a shocking crime-- three people charged with shooting a man in Bradford County, cutting up the body and burning the pieces.  Getting it on the air Tuesday morning was a major challenge, and here is that tale.

The arraignments were around 2 am in Troy, just about the far western edge of our coverage area.  Photographer Jason was dispatched to get the video.  The district justice provided copies of the affidavits filed by police.  The work in Troy was finally finished around 4 am.

Here comes issue number one.  We transmit video and information via cell phone, and coverage in the western part of Bradford county isn't the greatest.  Jason had to high tail it to Towanda, where the service is better.  He sent the video back to editor Tim back at home base in Moosic.

Jason also sent back, electronically, the police paperwork, and that leads us to issue number two.  Three defendants.  Multiple charges.  A complicated case.  Lengthy paperwork.  If that wasn't enough the crime was grisly, gruesome, and downright horrific.  We had to find the words to convey exactly what happened, while still conforming to broadcast standards.  Morning TV is a different animal.  It family time.  Parents are getting the kids ready for school.  Some aspects of the crime were sexual in nature, and the rest were, literally, bloody awful.

Executive producer Brigid poured over the pages and pages of affidavits, conveying to me what police allege happened.  After 43 years of broadcasting (plus knowing the back roads and side streets), I can bang out a script pretty fast.  The 4:30 am edition was completed with seconds to spare.  I jumped in my newsroom camera chair to deliver the first news of the arrests at the top of the broadcast.

As the morning broadcast progressed, we had a few more minutes to digest what police believe happened, and every report, every half hour, had new facts.  This story is an artichoke-- one unsightly layer after another.

I should add, while all of this was happening out in the newsroom, producer Leo was in the control room to make sure the broadcast ran smoothly.  Jon and Mindi delivered the introduction to my stories, rolling with the latest changes, and I know the first time they saw some of the copy was when it zipped past on the teleprompter.  

It's a cliché, but television, especially morning television, is a team effort.  Yes, my face is on the marquee, but it takes a lot of people to get me there. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Wednesday Scrapple


The political party makes no difference.  If you can't behave at the State of the Union address, where can you behave?

Speaking of politics, gang violence seems to be the new "in" issue.  I'm having a hard time seeing how any politician can fix this.  Throwing money at the problem won't help.  This is a "home" issue.

Some Taco Bell restaurants in and around Oakland, California are closing their dining rooms because of an increase in crime.  It's now drive-through only.

Jimmy Kimmel stopped being funny a long time ago.

RIP, Eric Carmen.

The Sunday morning network talk shows used to be more light than heat.  Now, it seems like they're trying to out-do each other and make headlines for their arguments.

Today's entry in the "you know all the words, even though you haven't heard the sing in years" is Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans."

FOX will air some college football games on Friday night this year.  More cannibalism.  Fridays used to belong to high school football.  Christmas was NBA territory.  Black Friday was college football time.  Now, the NFL is moving things about.  There are no rules.

I'm sorry Paul Giamatti didn't win an Academy Award Sunday night.  His time will come.

By the way, the Academy Awards hit a four year high Sunday night.  It's easy to see why.  Popular movies were up for awards, and the broadcast didn't last until 1 in the morning.

Media collapse: sold.  Entire staff fired.

Fun fact:  There are 32 Dollar General stores in Erie County, PA

What's with all the wind the last several months?

I'm not sure Russell Johnson is the answer to the Steelers' problems, but he has to be better than Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph.

A reputable Yahoo! Sports writer predicts the Atlantic Coast Conference is the next to implode.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

40 Years Ago


I spent the 80's on the radio, and I valued the experience.  It was also great fun.

There was a period of violence here in our area way back when, and the homicide trials that followed.  I was throwing the bull with one of our engineers one afternoon.  He is one of the smartest people I ever worked with.  He had spent some time working in Detroit, a city known for its violence.  The engineer remarked that northeastern Pennsylvania was different.  People here, said the engineer, kill people they know.  He added it wasn't like Detroit, where random mini mart clerks were killed during robberies.

That conversation flashed in to my memory last week, after a man walked into a mini mart in Scranton.  He shot the clerk and a customer.  One died.  The other survived.    It wasn't far from the scene where a Scranton Police officer was shot  in the head and nearly killed in January.

Friends, welcome to Detroit.

Sunrise Silence


We flipped to Daylight Saving Time Sunday morning, and I can't say DST are my favorite months of the year.  As a third shift worker, I like my sunshine in the morning rather than at night.

This year's switch was a little different.  

No one in Harrisburg or Washington was yammering about picking Standard Time or Daylight Saving time and sticking with it, year 'round.  As Newswatch 16's Ally Gallo reported Friday morning, efforts to pick one and keep it are just about dead.

I suspect you'll see some chatter in the fall, because those early sunsets aren't very popular, at all, except with me.  Some politician will be looking for a quick headline and a little face time.  Bills will be introduced, again, that will go nowhere.

There are advantages to two standards, and advantages to sticking with one.  No one is thrilled with an 8:30 am sunrise, especially parents who have to send their kids to school in the dark.  I experienced that during the energy crisis of the 70's, when we switched to DST early.  Believe me, it was no big deal.  I still found my way to the bus stop in the dark.  I can see how the people in agriculture wouldn't like it.

If we did change, it would be a couple years of adjustment and the routine would become normal.  Maybe we should give it a try.

As I say here, twice a year, I'm just tired of talking about something that will never happen.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Drink Up!


The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board came out with its annual report last week.  The bottom line:  Boy, do we like to drink!!!

Sales are very strong, spiking around the November, December, and January holidays.  There is major growth in the canned cocktail sector.

So, what are we drinking?

It terms of bottles sold, Fireball cinnamon whiskey is at the top, even thought it is down 11 per cent from the prior year.

Second place goes to New Amsterdam vodka, by 46 per cent from 2022.  I have to admit I've never tried it, but now the bug is planted in my year.

Third place goes to perennial favorite, Tito's vodka.  But, look at this.  The PLCB report  has a different entry for each bottle size.

If you add them up, Tito's blows everyone else out of the water.

The entries in the top ten amaze me.  No Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan...

Tito's is king.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Andy's Angles: All Aboard!


Yesterday, I mentioned my recent wandering around the Reading and Northern yard in Pittston.  Weekend train trips to and from Jim Thorpe start and end here.

This a flawed photo of an engine and passenger cars.  The sun was not my friend and the scene is horribly back-lit.  You might ask, why I didn't simply go to the other side.  Well, that other side is right up against a guide rail and the road.  I love taking photographs, but it's always safety first with me-- especially when it involves traffic.

I did try to fix it, a little, in post production.  As as friend says, "You can't sell fish off an empty truck."  A bad photo is still a bad photo.

I would like to try it again some afternoon, especially now that there is more light later in the day.  There are some things to like with the composition-- mainly the curving track in the foreground.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Andy's Angles: About the Cover


I really haven't done any railroad pictures on the blog since the first of the year, so I thought it was high time.

This photo is the result of a little wandering around the Reading and Northern yard in Pittston last month.  This area was one of my white whales.  There were always great opportunities here, but no safe place to park.  On top of that, to get a good photo, you would have to trespass, and I do respect boundaries.

That all changed last year when this became a passenger terminal for trips to and from Jim Thorpe.

Suddenly, you had a station, and parking, and safe and easy access.  It is a train lover's delight.  By the way, the Jim Thorpe trips resume next month.  The electronic message board says more than 300,000 people took the trips last year, and that's amazing!

Plus, the engine on the header photo is green and it is St. Patrick's month.  That fact was lost on me when I took the photos and prepared the header.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Follow Up Friday


Last week's entry on a family bakery in Dickson City touched off one of those wonderful newsroom discussions.  Every small town back in the day had at least one bakery and they were all great.  Supermarkets have really stepped up their games in recent years, but you can't beat the charm of a mom and pop bakery.

I don't know if it's happening more, or if its being reported more, but it still fascinates me that some people have the onions to load up a cart and simply wheel it out of a store.  Why?  Because they know they can get away with it.  That has to change if American brick and mortar retail is to survive.

I really enjoyed the whipping Wendy's took over that half baked surge pricing idea.  This could have been one of the biggest disasters in American business history.

I've mentioned here in the past that I enjoy getting hair cuts because I like having my hair on the shorter side, and my barber is an absolutely delightful woman.  However, the thing that drives me nuts is the window when your hair isn't too short and isn't too long is just a few days.

The death of someone I grew up watching on TV always saddens me.  Former CBS News correspondent David Culhane died last week.  93.  Quiet dignity.  A reporter's reporter.

The woes of the radio industry have been chronicled here in the past.  I love radio.  WFME AM 1560 in New York recently went off the air, and it might never come back.  For decades, this was WQXR, a classical music station owned by the New York Times.  The current owner, Family Radio,  had to move transmitter sites a few times and there were a host of technical issues, leading to the station going silent.  I get it, but I'm troubled.  This place was legendary.

I have yet to hear anyone talk about the new CBS 12:30 am show.

The Academy Awards is coming up Sunday night.  I haven't been a theater since 2012, and I don't stream anything.  However, it was nice to see movies people actually watched nominated this year.  I know it won't happen, but I'm expecting the ceremony to be a political affair.  Just stop it!  People want entertainment Sunday night.

Discover card has a new batch of radio commercials featuring actress Jennifer Coolidge.  They are simply unlistenable, and they make me want to cancel my account.  I can't believe some ad agency and the Discover people thought those spots would attract business.

I'm the first to yap about poorly done radio, but WTOP in Washington was simply outstanding Super Tuesday night and into the next morning.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Tax Time


I was a little late this year because one organization was late sending me its paperwork, but I finally bundled up all my records and sent them off to my tax prep person.

This task is usually completed by Valentine's Day.

As always, and I stole this from Tony Kornheiser, there is one rule:  "Keep me out of jail."

No worries this year, like most years.  I'm sure I'll end owing something.  I have no issues in paying my fair share.  There are times it does seem excessive, like how we penalize saving and investing in this country, and in this state. 

 I'm no Rockefeller.  

While I apologize to Harrisburg and Washington for my tardiness this year, I promise that you will get your money on time.  I haven't let you down yet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024



After doing this for more than forty years, I'm glad I can still feel.  The hope is still there, the smiles, the tears, the disgust, and the wonder.

Today, it's the latter three.

A 15 year old was gunned down in a Loyalsock Township parking lot Saturday night.  Someone fired shots at a home in that same area Sunday night.

This follows violence involving young people in several parts of our area.  And, we can't forget that two young people are charged with playing a role in the shooting of a Scranton Police detective.

We look for easy answers-- the availability of guns, the prevalence of gangs, the disintegration of family life, and a disregard for human life.  

The solutions are complicated.

The politicians are crawling out of the woodwork on this one, pledging more anti gang education in schools and more efforts to curb  gang violence.

There is no easy way out of this one.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Super Tuesday


I'm glad I saved this logo from four years ago!

Today is Super Tuesday, the biggest primary day of the presidential election calendar.  Voters in 16 states go to the polls today.

In an ordinary year, this would be great fun, suspense, intrigue and more.  For a news junkie like me, it is better than Super Bowl Sunday.  The networks would trot out their top line talent and technology.  It was must see TV.

Super Tuesday this year isn't so super.

Trump and Biden have their respective party nominations locked up.  The only question is the sizes of the victories.  While the networks will cover the results, the wall-to-wall stuff is shunted off to the streaming services.

Many of the states voting today have open primaries, meaning independents can vote.  There can be some party lines crossed as well, so there might be a surprise or two.  It's still worth watching.

This is as close as America comes to a national primary--  and, that national primary isn't a bad idea.  There were plenty of states that shifted their primary dates this year.  It will be interesting to see how many modifications there will be in 2028.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Ghost of a Chance


I like spicy.  I don't like excessively hot.

As I was wandering the aisles of a big box store the other day, this jumped out at me.  Campbell's Ghost Pepper Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup.  A couple of cans found their way into my cart and I couldn't wait to try it.

As the cold wind howled outside, I warmed up a can in a pot on the stove.  It looked and smelled great.  It was your typical Campbell's product-- decent noodles, vegetables, and broth.  Light on the meat.  Very light on the meat.

Of course, the big question is the heat level.  So many products bill themselves as "spicy" or "hot" and they fail to deliver.  Regular readers will remember when I whined about lackluster jalapeno cheese a few weeks ago.  This stuff delivers, and then some.  In fact, it's too hot for me.

I will occasionally add a pinch of cayenne to canned soups for a little kick.  This product goes above and beyond.  I'm glad it lived up to the billing.

I'm not sorry I bought it, but I don't think I'll purchase it again.  I never thought I'd say this, but it's too hot for me.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Andy's Angles: Theodore Street


I've said it here before.  I'll say it again.  We have this horrible habit in this area of neglecting things until there is a problem.  The solution, most of the time, is to tear it down.  Friends, here is something that cannot be replaced.

This is the railroad bridge going over Theodore Street in Scranton.  Rust.  Decay.  Falling concrete.  The city had the street cut to one lane while the owner, Norfolk Southern, shores up the bridge.  The bridge has to remain open.  You can detour cars and trucks.  You can't detour a freight train.

There are stop signs at both ends of the one lane section.  Drivers have to use the honor system.  This is an accident waiting to happen.

Norfolk Southern is working on repairs, and has put up boards to keep concrete from falling on to the cars below.

I have to add, a neighborhood resident started sending pictures of the deteriorating bridge out to the news media.  Questions were asked.  Cages rattled, and the city finally stepped in to tell the railroad to do something.

You have to wonder what disaster could have happened here.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Andy's Angles: Chovtzkin's


One of the neat things about my job is I get to jump in someone else's car and travel off to see interesting things.  A viewer emailed to say the legendary Chovtzkin's Bakery in Dickson City was being torn down.  The actual retail part still stands, as apartments.  The portion of the business where they made outstanding bread, rolls and pastries was being bulldozed.

Regular readers know I went to junior high school a few blocks away, so there was an occasional lunch time visit to Chovtzkin's.  It was run by a sweet, older couple and every product was great.  I was partial to the turnovers.

Photographer Tim and I stopped by Dickson City borough hall to do a little fact checking and to make sure my memory was correct.  It was a great time reminiscing about the way things used to be in small town America.  Mom and pop markets.  Bakeries.  Ice cream shops.  Pizza.

The bakery closed and the Chovtzkins passed long ago.  There were some great memories here.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Friday Scrapple


It still troubles me that on Mondays, you cannot find a physical copy of a local newspaper.

We've had a mild winter.  Here we are.  It's March 1, and I still think we will have one more whopper snowstorm before spring arrives for good.

AT&T is giving customers a $5 credit because of the recent outage.  Are you kidding me?  The company should pony up more than that.

There is a renewed discussion over college kids storming basketball courts.  One, it shouldn't happen.  Two, I don't know how to prevent it.  Arrest the kids?  I don't think so.  You shouldn't have a criminal record over a youthful indiscretion.  However, someone is really going to get hurt, severely, one of these days.

Investigators determined the 2022 bridge collapse in Pittsburgh was caused by poor maintenance and it is the city's fault.  Is anyone surprised?  If you saw what was beneath most bridges here in the state, you would never cross them.

Former Dallas Cowboys star Golden Richards died last week.  73.  He had one of the greatest names in sports.

Richard Lewis died the other day.  Comedian.  76.  Comedy is extremely subjective.  I'm sorry.  I wasn't a fan.  I do respect his body of work and his popularity.

Tom Emanski died this week.  He worked at several radio stations over the years.  After that, Tom was a private event DJ.  Our paths crossed at WARM in the late 80's.  Great guy.  You couldn't help but like him.  Tom had a few bouts with cancer over the years.  His fight is over.  His pain is over.  My sympathy to Tom's family, friends, and fans.  We lost a good one.