Wednesday, April 17, 2024

John Sterling


John Sterling retired as the radio voice of the New York Yankees this week.  He is 85.

Regular readers know I was not a fan.

I respect his years of service the the fans loved him, even though I did not.

Sterling's home run calls were tedious and self serving.  Age caught up with him.  He was blowing too many plays.

John Sterling was around long enough that he earned the right to choose the time of his retirement.  I'm sorry that he did not realize that he stayed at the party too long.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Robert MacNeil


Robert MacNeil died last week.  93.

Most will remember him from the nightly news hour on PBS  Yes, it was on the dry side.  It wasn't for everyone, but if it was a topic that interested me, I was there.  MacNeil and Jim Lehrer made a great team.  they complimented each other perfectly, and believe me, I know how difficult that can be and how rare it is.

Do yourself a favor and read about MacNeil's life.  He was NBC's man in Dallas on November 22, 1963.  It's just an amazing story.

MacNeil was one of those people in the news business I really admire.  He perfectly illustrated the "it's not about me, it's about the news" way of thinking,  and that is sorely lacking these days.

We lost a giant.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Unfinished Monday


I wasn't going to comment on last week's passing of OJ Simpson, but I just have to offer a few thoughts here.  He was an awful person, who benefitted from defense attorneys who abused the system, incompetent prosecutors and a judge who lost control of his courtroom.  Enough!

It's sad to read about the financial problems at Keystone College and rumors of its impending demise.  I hope the rumors are false.  Keystone fills a need here in our area, and it's a beautiful campus.

I wouldn't want to live next door to one, but if there is one type of construction project around here that riles people up, it's a mini mart.  It can take years to get one built.

Today is the income tax filing deadline.  Mine were done long ago, and I hope this is a painless day for you.  By the way, there has to be a simpler and more fair way of doing this.

The woes of the newspaper industry have been noted here several times in the past, and here is the latest.  The Centre Daily Times will only publish two days a week, Wednesday and Saturday.  It will be delivered by mail-- no carriers.  Digital is now.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Andy's Angles: Growth

 Growth.  It seems like such a simple concept.  Yet, it is so elusive.

Always look to nature for inspiration.

Today, it's another spring time branch at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

About the Cover: Buds


I'm lucky to have Nay Aug Park only a few miles away.  It's a great place to visit when I'm in need of some camera therapy.

When it comes to "sweeping vistas," there isn't anything here I haven't photographed before, so that means it's time to go tight.

I shot these buds in the back, near the former amusement ride area.  They are no doubt little leaves by now.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Mixed Messages


There is a new book on the life of Barbara Walters, and the cover is above.

She was a trailblazer and every woman in the news business today owes her a debt of gratitude.  Barbara Walters was a fascinating individual.

Here is where the problem comes in.  I've read excerpts, and the book savages Harry Reasoner and Howard K. Smith-- two of the ABC News old guard.  Maybe they deserve it, and the book does appear to be well-sourced.  But, I just hate hammering people who aren't around to defend themselves.

Walters and Reasoner co-anchored what was then called the "ABC Evening News" in 1976, and it was a disaster.  Reasoner didn't want her there, and let's face it, Barbara Walters wasn't a very good news anchor.  She excelled in reporting and interviews, where she was later shifted at ABC.

Will I read "Rulebreaker?"  There is a good chance.  I have a growing stack of books I intend to devour, possibly when I have some time off this summer.

Just remember, some people aren't as awful as they might appear.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Unfinished Thursday


What is with all the bizarre crimes recently?  Chopped up bodies.  Torture.  Bodies found in basements.  Bodies found along highways.  Gang shootings.  Places that used to be safe are now dangerous.  It is severely depressing and troublesome.  Our little area used to be an oasis away from those things, and those days are over.

People are going crazy because the women's NCAA basketball championship game drew more eyeballs than the men's.   Let's take a closer look at that.  First, it's great that women's sports are getting major recognition.  The women's game had a great story-- an unbeaten South Carolina team, and the great Caitlin Clark for Iowa.  The women's game was on ABC on a Sunday afternoon while the men played Monday night on TBS.  Plus, the men's game didn't start until well after 9 pm in the eastern time zone.  Other than the chance of a Connecticut repeat, the men's game didn't have any really compelling story.  And, ABC is in far more homes than TBS.

Numbers can tell you a lot, but they don't reveal everything.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Here's to Erie!


It was great to see Erie in the spotlight, or the total darkness, Monday.  The northwestern Pennsylvania city was in the path of the total solar eclipse.  The clouds parted long enough for people there to get a great look at the eclipse.

I'm fond of the city.

My first visit was in the spring of 1994, and I was covering Tom Ridge's gubernatorial campaign.  A photographer and I took the long way out-- across Route 6.  It was a long drive, but one of the most scenic-- small towns, historic courthouses, trains...

As fate would have it, there was a near total eclipse on that first visit.

I became so fond of the Route 6 journey that I took it several times, recreationally, over the years.  

Erie has come a long way.  The area along the bay has been developed.  A lot of the old, grimy, industrial sites are gone and it's a lovely place to visit.

The only drawback is the nine month long winter.

I really wasn't into photography as much back then, so I don't have any photos to share, but if you ever get the chance, stop by.  You won't be sorry.

Friends tell stories that they had a great time in Erie Monday.  I saw the video.  The city is looking good.

I think Erie has turned the corner and no longer is the joke of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Follow Up Tuesday


I still haven't heard an explanation from the Scranton parking people as to why meters are enforced on MLK Day, but not Juneteenth.

While half of the staff was out chasing the solar eclipse yesterday, Ally Gallo and I held down our morning broadcast, which was great fun.  It's always nice to do a little something different during the week.

Speaking of the eclipse, I thought it was a great event, and I'm happy that people were "in" to something so positive.  However, I became sick of the hype weeks ago, and I'm thrilled its over.

I finally used up the last of those flavorless cellophane wrapped  jalapeno cheese slices.  I will say this.  I microwaved a pepperoni sandwich with a couple of those cheese slices on top.  It's a good melter!

We do keep a careful eye on the presidential and senate polls.  It should make for an entertaining fall.

Crazy weather lately, but that is to be expected at this time of year.

The Oakland Athletics will play in Oakland for one more year.  It's then off to Sacramento for three years, and finally Las Vegas.  Yes, the owner is a penny pinching scoundrel who is not investing n the team, but Oakland rarely supported the team.  The stadium is the worst in the league.  They weren't going to build a new one, so off they go.

A movie studio is in the running to buy CBS.  Conventional wisdom has the studio keeping the CBS property, Paramount, and selling off the network and the TV stations.  Friends, this is the beginning of the end.  

By the way, CBS just closed its Tokyo bureau.  Asia is one of the most volatile places in the world, and CBS will now rely on the BBC to tell it what's going on.

It seems like even more people are ignoring Pennsylvania's "wipers on, lights on" law.

Monday, April 8, 2024

EclipseWatch 2024


I realize that by the time many of you are reading this, the Great Eclipse of 2024 will be over.

My excitement level is severely lacking.

I did witness a near total eclipse back in the spring of 1994.  Erie was in the path, and it was there covering Tom Ridge's run for governor.  I will admit it was cool, but it did not live up to the hype.

Parents are taking their kids on trips into the path of totality, and that is absolutely fantastic.  This is a great shareable moment.  Other than that, I can do without the mayhem.  Warnings were posted about traffic issues.  Hotels in the path of the eclipse are charging outrageous rates.

View it, but do so carefully.  And, please, keep your sanity.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Purple Thumb


I've always stood in awe of people who have the ability to grow things-- from the farmer with thousands of acres, to the backyard gardeners, with just a few square feet.

I don't have the skill.  I don't have the patience.  I don't have the tolerance to deal with fickle weather.

I was blessed with the ability to appreciate the talent of others and the simple majesty of nature.

There is just something about spring time.  New Growth.  Color emerging from the bleakness of fall and winter.

If you ever are feeling down, just take a walk around Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  A little color will do you good.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Daffodil


Spring is a cruel time of year.  Sunny and warm one day, below freezing the next.

The daffodils came out early, during a warm spell last month, only to have their buds frozen off late in the month.

This is a shot from the flower garden on the Arthur Avenue side of Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

Better days are ahead.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Harry and Joe

 Harry Smith retired from NBC News last week.  He'd been there for 12 years.  It was a long stay at CBS before that.  Smith started his career in local TV and radio.

I always loved the guy.  Smooth delivery, great writing, TV Guide once called him one of the best interviewers on morning television.

Smith handled the CBS morning show during a few of its many, many  incarnations.   He never seemed to be the guy CBS went to first, but they went to him eventually.  I can relate to that.

Smith will now teach at Central College in Iowa, and I hope his students realize how lucky they are.

Moving on...

Joe Flaherty died April 1.

His movie and television appearances are too numerous to list here.  I'll always remember Flaherty for all the side splittingly funny characters he did on SCTV.  If you're unfamiliar with the show, do yourself a favor and do a search.  SCTV is one of the most underrated series of all times.  Melonville lost one of the best.

Joe Flaherty was 82.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Just My Luck!


I had a medical check up last week.  Routine.  Nothing major.  It was my first in two years.  Yes, I know that's bad.

I knew my doctor would order blood work.  I saw that coming.  Yes, I know it's routine.  As a preemptive strike, I fasted before my medical appointment, so I wouldn't have to go back for the blood work.  Easy.  I finished with the doctor on the second floor.  Next stop:  the first floor lab.  After a quick jab, I was out the door.  

Life is not without complications.  The doctor also wanted a urine sample.  I didn't have to go!  We skipped that and rescheduled for Monday afternoon, right after work.  I didn't have to go all the way to the lab in the same building as my doctor.  I could drop by the lab a just couple of miles from home.

Sounds like a plan!

I drank my body weight in Diet Pepsi while I was at the office Monday morning.  Water, too.  I came tearing in to the lab's parking lot at 12:40, twenty minutes before my appointment.  My bladder couldn't hold another drop.

Imagine my horror when I saw the sign on the door:  the lab staff would be out to lunch until 1 pm.  I had to hold it!

In case I couldn't, there were several stores and restaurants within running distance.  Fate smiled on me.  The old bladder can still get the job done.

The lab reopened at exactly 1 pm, and I jumped out of my car, bolting for the lab's door.

I was doing the "I really have to pee" dance as the attendant asked all the required questions.  I asked her to hurry up because I really had to go.  I was never as happy as I was when she handed me the cup.  

I could have filled a dozen of them.

At least, I don't have to go through that ordeal for another six months.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Wednesday Scrapple


Today's entry in the "you know the lyrics, even though you haven't heard the song in eons" is "Count Me In" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

It's a cold and rainy week, and I don't really mind.  It will be unbearably hot and humid before you know it.

I know I say this every year, but the opening week of Major League Baseball did nothing for me.

Billion dollar lottery jackpots are tempting, but I'll keep my dollar in my pocket.

I've seen a solar eclipse before.  The upcoming one really doesn't thrill me.

Why do four local newspapers, in different cities, look almost identical?

GMail is now 20 years old.  Yawn.  It's no better or worse than the others out there.

April Fool's Day jokes were never funny.

No great stories coming out of the NCAA basketball tournament this year, but I always liked the speed in which this thing starts and stops, unlike the NHL and NBA playoffs.

Soup is great, even after the weather turns warm.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Master


Peter Marshall, the first host of "The Hollywood Squares" turned 98 over the weekend, and he appears to be doing great.

There are several "Hollywood Squares" episodes on You Tube.  Watch carefully,  and observe how Marshall runs the show.

After Kenny Williams introduces the nine celebrities and then the host, Marshall simply says hello to the audience, the stars, and has a quick chat with the contestants.  Then, it's on to the game.  In an interview, Marshall said he knew his job was to ask the questions, get out of the way, and let the celebrities do their thing.  It was all about the game, not him.

I also saw an interview with series regular, Rose Marie.  She commented on how Marshall knew when to work a line, and more importantly, when to back off.

Watch our weekend morning broadcasts.  After three quick headlines, I say hello and toss it to Ally for a quick shot of weather.  It's then right in to the news.  I never believed in wasting your time, and it's all about the news, not me!  Beware those types who think they are bigger than the news, and they are everywhere.

Happy birthday, Peter Marshall, and thank you for the inspiration.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Business Monday


Some widely varied items today...

Every engineering expert says there is no bridge in the country that would have survived a hit like the one the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore took last week.

Once again, it shows the fragility of the American infrastructure.  The last time I checked, the country is surrounded by water.  Yet, the loss of the port of Baltimore inflicts a major blow to the American economy.  If it's in your home, there is a good chance it came through that port.  That fact simply amazes me.

Shifting gears...

In a major plus for both companies, McDonalds announced it will have Krispy Kreme donuts in all of its stores by the end of 2026.  Recent testing proved to be a major success.  McDonald's will carry only a few varieties, and they will be available all day.  While McDonald's has a great track record of inventing new products, there is nothing like taking something already a hit and bringing it in to your orbit.

Sports gambling is a huge business.  The Dodgers, its star pitcher and his interpreter are currently trying to spin their way out of a betting scandal.  Good luck with that, and get used to it.  There will eventually be something involving gambling that will shake professional and college sports to its core.

And, speaking of "getting used to it,"  the NFL will be selling more exclusive games to streaming services.  Two points of blame.  One is the greed of the NFL.  The other is all the people who bought the Peacock playoff game in January, proving to the league that its fans can be fleeced.