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Zak of All Trades: It's time a winning tradition returns to Pittsburgh

July 19, 2013

For those of us who are sports fans, it's been a rough couple of days.

I'm writing this column on Friday morning, and it's been about five days now since I've watched or listened to a meaningful game for one of our Pittsburgh teams.

With a sports schedule specifically designed to keep the fan constantly entertained, this is a rarity in Pittsburgh.

All year, we have something going on, and only in football season do we encounter such a regular layoff. We've grown accustomed to that.

McGuire's Musings: There's no jumping on the bandwagon when you're a hard-core fan

July 19, 2013

Welcome to jumping on the bandwagon!!! The Bucco bandwagon that is.

If you're not a baseball fan, I'm talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven't had a winning season since 1992.

Back when I was a kid growing up, in Parma, Ohio, in 1962, I enjoyed listening to Cleveland Indians games on the radio at night (back then, there were like 50 games a year on television).

I also enjoyed keeping score, which you don't see much of anymore, at Pirates games or any games.

The most distressing thing about my years of following the Indians was that they never won anything.

We're all searching for the perfect metaphor

July 12, 2013

Recently, we've been receiving résumés and conducting interviews to fill our vacant sports writer position, and I'm going to tip off anyone who interviews with me in the future here, but one of the questions that I just love to ask is this: "We're in the business of telling stories, so what's your story?"

And you know what I love about this question? It's so open-ended and vague, that it forces a bit of on-the-spot creativity — or it did until I just gave it away.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm a little bit off

June 28, 2013

I was talking to my grandma the other day at our weekly lunch appointment, and through our conversation — and not because she came out and said it — I realized that I might be a little bit off.

I don't think I'm full-on crazy or anything (but then again, who does, right?), but it started to dawn on me that maybe, just maybe, I'm a little bit off.

What made me realize it was that I was describing something that I thought was a common experience among all of humanity, and she didn't seem to share the same sentiment with me.

Random Thoughts: So you think you know your state?

June 28, 2013

Everyone knows that Pennsylvania has a rich and colorful history, but what trivial facts do you really know about the state?

Do you know, for instance, that Pennsylvania is called a commonwealth rather than a state?

And everyone should have learned in history class that our nickname is the Keystone State, but what does the word "Pennsylvania" mean?

Everyone knows that the first part was named for William Penn, the founder of the state.

Well, not quite. The government of King Charles II in 1681 owed Penn's father, Admiral William Penn, a great deal of money.

Zak of All Trades: The marks a father leaves: expectations & appreciation

June 14, 2013

This weekend, we will celebrate Father's Day, and while that's what I'd really like to talk about, I'd like to say, first of all, that I understand that by nature, this Hallmark holiday is not one that is to be celebrated by everyone this year.

As a lifetime fan of racing — both local dirt tracks and major circuits — the passing of NASCAR/sprint driver Jason Leffler at a race in New Jersey hit me especially hard when I saw the last photo he'd posted on his Twitter feed — one of him and his son standing by the fence at a race track.

McGuire's Musings: Steering away from the flying saucers at your neighborhood carnival

June 14, 2013

I can smell it in the air, the aroma of hot sausage sandwiches and funnel cakes being prepared to feed the hungry masses at the Firemen's Old Home Week carnival grounds located behind the Punxy Plaza.

Wait a minute, what's that?

It's not going to happen this year?

No carnival, no hot sausage sandwiches or spinny carnival rides, no bearded lady or man.

Zak of All Trades: Lessons learned from the graduation speech

May 31, 2013

Friday night, I had the pleasure of covering one of the most important annual events in the town of Punxsutawney.

Right up there beside Groundhog Day is the day that we see off another year's worth of students from the high school and send them out into the world.

We hope that the 13 years of education they've received has prepared them for the next phase of their lives and trust that the 18-or-so years they have spent gaining education outside the classroom in this town has done the same.

Zak of All Trades: Letting our lives speak into those of others

May 24, 2013

Because of the late hours that I work, there aren't a whole lot of things that I look forward to setting an alarm in the morning for.

But Monday, I considered it an honor to wake to my alarm, because I knew the special nature of the occasion I was waking for.

It was Monday morning that we went to the high school and the middle school to honor the Teachers of the Year — a promotion we do each year and a small token of just how much we appreciate the teachers in our community.

Random Thoughts: Pedaling through all the rules and regulations on the road

May 24, 2013

Wait a minute.

That can't be true.

Riding a bicycle around town has the same laws as driving a car around town.

Are you saying that going down a one-way street the wrong way on a bike is in violation of the law?

Oh, boy, somebody is in trouble.

It's hard to believe, but bicycle laws parallel the laws that govern those for automobiles.

A bike is considered a vehicle when operating on a public thoroughfare and, thus, is subject to the same laws as any other moving vehicle.

You mean to tell me there's no riding a bike down the sidewalk?

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