Sunday, June 23, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Cathedral


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

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

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

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Pocket Park

 

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

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

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



Friday, June 21, 2024

Coming Home to Roost

 

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Summer

 

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

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

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

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

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

If you love summer, rejoice!

I'll feel better after Labor Day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wednesday Scrapple

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Angelo Rose

 

Angelo Rose died last week.  He was 93.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 17, 2024

2-6 at 1-6

 

I started at WNEP 26 years ago today.

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Federal Building

 

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

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

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

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


Saturday, June 15, 2024

Andy's Angles: In the Trees

 

I actually have something nice to say today!

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 14, 2024

Overlooked

 

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

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

Maybe "united" will come back.  Some day.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Thursday Scrapple

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Day and Date, Time and Place

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

William Anders, thank you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Coins in a Fountain

 

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

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

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

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

It never happened.

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

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

Monday, June 10, 2024

Textbook Example

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, it didn't have to happen.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Lake

 

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

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

Saturday, June 8, 2024

About the Cover: The Dock of the Bay

 

Not really.

No dock.

No bay.

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

I wanted a header picture that said "summer."

I found it.

Friday, June 7, 2024

45

 

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 6, 2024

80

 

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Pat Sajak

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy

 

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

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

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

The current big movie is "Garfield."

Last year at this time, we had the following:

"Indiana Jones"

"Flash"

"No Hard Feelings"

"Spiderman"

"Transformers"

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

Stories like this need to be put in context.

You deserve better out of your broadcasters.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Monday Scrapple

 

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

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

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

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

The same goes for bizarre weather.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, June 2, 2024

Andy's Angles: Feathered Friends


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

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

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

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Andy's Angles: A Surprise


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

There are times it's worth a second look.