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Zak of All Trades: The sweet soundtracks of summer

June 27, 2014

There's just something about rolling down the windows and turning up the radio, isn't there?

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who loves to do it, though some might say that I'm getting too old to do so.

But an afternoon on the front porch by any main road will reveal dozens of cars heading up and/or down it with music pumping out the speakers and out the windows.

We all have these songs that get us pumped up for summer. There are old favorites and new songs that tune us into the new vibe of a particular summer. When you combine them, we have quite a soundtrack.

Zak Of All Trades: Need to get away? I sure do!

June 20, 2014

The past few weeks, my column has been a bit less upbeat than I typically try to keep it, and for that I apologize.

It's just that there's been so much junk in the news and so much junk surrounding our personal lives that sometimes it's hard not to get swept up in it.

And that's why last weekend was exactly what I needed, as I escaped with Grandma for 36 hours to one of the places that makes me feel more OK than just about anywhere else — Deer Meadow Campground.

McGuire's Musings: The secret struggles of the second shift

June 20, 2014

Today, I just want to acknowledge you second shifters, the people who are at work while everyone else is at home or attending family-oriented events.

Before I worked at The Spirit, I worked as a morning show host and later as news director, which required me to rise and shine at 4 a.m. to be at the radio station by 5 a.m. at the latest.

The upside: I got to go home at 1 p.m. while everyone else had to work until 5 p.m.

Now, since I began working second shift (3 p.m. to midnight) I don't go to bed before 4 a.m. — the time I used to get up.

Zak of All Trades: What's in a word?: 'Ignorance'

June 6, 2014

One of the words that I think has been most misunderstood definition-wise growing up has been the word ignorant.

Ironically, I think that most of us are a bit ignorant of its definition, and because of that, we come off as a bit ignorant — at least by its perceived definition.

• ignorance : lack of knowledge, information, or education; the state of being ignorant

On a daily basis, at least a dozen people do something to me that I would consider ignorant by the definition I grew up using.

On Review: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

June 6, 2014

Editor's Note: This monthly installment of movie reviews by Spirit employees Matt Triponey and Dan Long rates X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Plot: The X-Men send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to avert a coming apocalypse.

I should begin by clarifying that I had a good time watching X-Men: Days of Future Past. I say that because this review probably isn't going to read that way.

McGuire's Musings: Mow, mow, mow your grass — every week

May 16, 2014

I remember a few short months ago, sitting inside on the couch with my feet propped up, looking at the snow fluttering in the sky and thinking, it won't be long before we'll be back out working in the yard in the warmth and sunshine.

Well, be careful what you wish for, because now I'm out in the yard working, and I'm not inside with my feet propped up watching sports on television.

Alright, alright, I know what you're going to say — you mow the grass and it stays mowed for usually an entire week, or at the very least, four or five days.

Zak of All Trades: What's in a word?: 'Passion'

May 16, 2014

This week's word came about from a lot of reflection on what it means to be a "fan" of a team.

It was a rough week for hockey fans of the Pittsburgh variety, as our beloved Penguins pulled off an epic collapse to exit the playoffs far too early yet again. And so, as a fan, I started to focus on the word.

I heard all sorts of things about fans in Pittsburgh — we're too harsh; we're too focused on winning; we are poor sports — thrown around on the Internet and on a few talk radio shows.

The Watering Hole: This one is dedicated to you, Punxsutawney

May 9, 2014

"Are you still interested in interviewing for the position? Let me know, and we can set something up"

That was the end of an Email that I received on July 17, 2013, from The Punxsutawney Spirit's editor, Zak Lantz.

Two days later, I was offered the job of sports reporter at The Spirit, and since Aug. 5, 2013, I've made the daily drive up Interstate 80 and Route 36 from Clarion to Punxsutawney.

I was asked Thursday by a co-worker if I'm sad to leave them today, and I said yes.

They joked, saying they could tell I was being nice, but in all honesty, I will miss Punxsutawney a lot.

Zak of All Trades: Self-awareness: Some things we probably do that we probably shouldn't do

May 2, 2014

I think that we, as a collective society, have a problem with self-awareness.

Now, it's hard to make such an individualistic claim about a society as a whole and a problem that's so self-centered, but I really feel like it's a trait that's evolved into part of our character.

We — and this we is definitely inclusive, as I'm part of this problem — don't seem to be very aware of ourselves or our role in the game called life, and just as troubling to me is the fact that we seem to have become experts on others-awareness.

On Review: 'Transcendence'

May 2, 2014

Editor's Note: This monthly installment of movie reviews by Spirit employees Matt Triponey and Dan Long rates Transcendence.

Plot: With her computer scientist husband, Will (Johnny Depp), facing imminent death, Dr. Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall) copies his mind into cyberspace. The end result brings great advancement to the world but also poses a tremendous threat to humanity.

"Well, that was stupid,” was my first thought whenever the credits finally rolled on Transcendence.

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