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Quote of the day
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Published Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 7:36 AM EDT
Jun 30 2010

There's no dealing with a cat who knows you're awake.
-Brad Solomon

Pumpkin (aka The Demon Cat from Hell) has an appointment with the vet this morning.

I may be getting skin grafts later in the day.

Stay tuned.


Categories: Cats, KGB Family, Quotes of the day


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Quote of the day
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Published Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 11:51 AM EDT
Jun 29 2010


Categories: Quotes of the day


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Crusade of the week
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Published Monday, June 28, 2010 @ 2:14 AM EDT
Jun 28 2010

So I dropped my cell phone into the dogs' water bowl while chasing Cindy's cat Chloe, who escaped while I was letting out one of the dogs.

I caught the cat and retrieved the phone, both of which were acting erratically. The cat ran upstairs and took a dump at the bottom of the steps leading to our bedroom; the cell phone screen flashed a few times, then went dark.

Hey, no problem. I have Asurion insurance through my carrier, Verizon Wireless. A few minutes on their website filling out a simple claim form, and they said I'd have another phone by tomorrow (Tuesday).

I was a bit concerned when the website said it was sending me an Audiovox phone, when the model I have is actually an HTC. But the photo of the phone was correct, and a quick Google search confirmed the model number listed was indeed my device.

I reached the checkout screen where one provides the credit card info to pay the $50 deductible- and I discovered the charge was actually $89.

I keep everything. Every receipt, bill, correspondence and e-mail is either scanned or archived somewhere on my computer. A search quickly located the Asurion policy, which clearly stated the deductible amount as $50, not $89.

So I called Asurion, and the very polite gentleman asked me to hold while he checked my policy. Presently he confirmed that, yes, the deductible for my particular phone was indeed $89.

After a day of McDonalds-induced gastrointestinal pyrotechnics which left me with a pounding headache, a sensitive portal and a decided physical and psychological dependence on loperamide hydrochloride, I wasn't going to argue. I asked him to mail me a copy of the policy. The nice man apologized for the confusion and said I'd receive the paperwork in two or three days.

Now it's entirely possible I missed a notice from Verizon or Asurion about the deductible. I get so much marketing crap from Verizon Wireless in the mail that I may have thrown it out. But usually those types of things are clearly marked, and I routinely scan everything I get, so my inability to find the notice makes me skeptical.

It appears I have my moral imperative of the week.

But right now, I need to find a cork.

And that cat.


Categories: Cats, KGB Family


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Good girl...
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Published Friday, June 25, 2010 @ 12:25 AM EDT
Jun 25 2010

Lord knows what great-great-great-great-grandcollie's in the picture, but that's Lassie's mom, June Lockhart, who turns 85 today. We'll do the math: that's slightly over 12 in dog years.

The photo was taken last August at a ceremony for the issuance of "Early TV Memories" commemorative postage stamps. Only Lassie appears on the stamp. The bitch.

(It appears the current "Lassie" is a tenth-generation direct descendent from "Pal," who starred in the MGM films and the pilot of the TV series. Interesting article on Wikipedia.)

The official Lassie website notes that Lassie "doesn't meet the AKC standard for the breed. Lassie is bred larger than average so that a child actor can play opposite the dog for a longer time."

Another piece of trivia: "Lassie is a registered trademark, and that trademark requires the following: a sable and white collie, four white feet, a full white collar and a white blaze up the nose."


Categories: Classic, Dogs


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Remembering "The Great One"
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Published Thursday, June 24, 2010 @ 9:27 AM EDT
Jun 24 2010

Jackie Gleason February 26, 1916-June 24, 1987


Categories: Johnny Carson, Video


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PG: Lazy, dishonest journalism
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Published Wednesday, June 23, 2010 @ 7:11 AM EDT
Jun 23 2010

Jason Togyer of Tube City Online is a journalist.

When Pleasant Hills Police refused to release the name of the driver responsible for the June 11 crash in the borough that injured seven people, he filed a Right to Know form with the department.

When police finally released the name, Jason was able to produce this story.

I e-mailed the link to the Post-Gazette yesterday.

Today, this story appeared in the P-G.

I just e-mailed the following, which you can be certain you won't be reading in the P-G's letters column:

---

So Tube City Online- which doesn't even cover Pleasant Hills- spends the five minutes your reporters couldn't spare to complete the state Right to Know form and obtain the identity of the driver responsible for the June 11 crash. I send you the link to the story, and the next day you publish your own version with slightly more detail than Tube City's online piece- but fail to attribute the web site as the source of the driver's name.

Some observations:

- If you didn't obtain the driver's name from Tube City Online, where did you get it? The article mentions Pleasant Hills Police several times, but is very carefully phrased. It doesn't credit the department with releasing the driver's name. A casual reader can't help but assume the Post-Gazette did all the legwork in this story.

- You are again ignoring the other important issue here- that local police are abusing the Right To Know law and are continuing to refuse to release information to the media that should be readily available without disclosure filings.

- If I were editor, I'd have an intern whose only job would be filing right to know requests with police departments that refuse to release information. The investment in time has potentially great rewards, as this incident proves. And over the long term, it could make local authorities more forthcoming. Police hate paperwork. If you would keep up the pressure, I strongly suspect authorities would eventually waive the filing requirements and simply release routine information like they did in the past.

- Not crediting the source of the driver's name is beneath contempt, especially considering the background on this story. This confirms my experience 40 years ago as a reporter for a local newspaper, who often saw his work appropriated by the big metro dailies:

- You guys are weasels.

Regards,

KGB

-----
Kevin G. Barkes

---

Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge.-Erwin Knoll


Categories: Hypocrisy, KGB Opinion


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Arrhhh?
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Published Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 8:20 AM EDT
Jun 22 2010

Last week on CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, actor/comedian Tim Allen discussed the BP disaster, and made an observation. Starts about five minutes in.

You know, the more I think about this, the more I think it might work. Think about it: what keeps the oil in the earth's crust from leaking out? There's a layer of heavy rock on it, that's what.

Just sayin'


Categories: Craig Ferguson, Video


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Your video of the day, should you decide to accept it...
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Published Monday, June 21, 2010 @ 11:44 AM EDT
Jun 21 2010

Iconic composer Lalo Schifrin is 78 today. Most network television series don't have themes anymore, the typical argument being today's attention deficit inflicted numbskull viewers can't wait for the actual program to begin. And, of course, you have to have additional time for all the commercials. Bull. This version of the Mission theme, from the opening titles of the show's 1966 season, is only 51 seconds. Coupled with brilliantly edited montages (how many series have different title openings every week?), the main title sequence set the mood and dragged you into the show.

Interesting piece of musical trivia. The original tv theme is in 5/4 time. Before Mission, Schifrin worked on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Jerry Goldsmith wrote that show's theme, and in its first season, it was also in 5/4 time. In later seasons, it was rescored to 4/4. I've always wondered if Schifrin wrote the Mission theme in 5/4 because of Goldsmith's influence.

Goldsmith had a penchant for themes with asymmetrical meters and odd time signatures. Witness Room 222 which is, I believe, the only theme written in 7/4 time.

Hope you were taking notes. There'll be a quiz at the end of the week.


Categories: Music, Video


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Father's Day
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Published Sunday, June 20, 2010 @ 12:34 AM EDT
Jun 20 2010

Four years ago on Father's Day I did something I always wanted to do- accompany my daughter Sara as she sang. During my exile in Chicago from 2000-2005, a friend of mine sent me a guitar to help me pass the time, especially during those endlessly long and dark Chicago winter weekends. So I taught myself to play. More accurately, I taught myself to play four chords, which is pretty much all you need for most popular music produced in the 60s.

When I returned to Pittsburgh, I convinced Sara to do a solo during church, with just me on the guitar. Even though the song contained seven of the four chords I knew, I managed to get through it without any obvious mistakes. It was the first time I had played guitar in public- and, to date, the only time I did it without any royal screw-ups.

If you want to hear some really superb guitar, listen to the full praise band's version of Praise Adonai. The great bridge in the middle is performed by Dave Haines on acoustic, and Eric Stark on rhythm guitar.

Happy Father's Day, guys. And give your kids a hug.


Categories: KGB Family, Music, Video


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Quote of the day
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Published Saturday, June 19, 2010 @ 10:36 AM EDT
Jun 19 2010

There's no CSI: West Virginia because there are no dental records, and all the DNA is the same.
-Unattributed


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The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator
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Published Friday, June 18, 2010 @ 8:33 AM EDT
Jun 18 2010

Click here for another conspiracy.


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Why do the police control the news?
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Published Friday, June 18, 2010 @ 1:29 AM EDT
Jun 18 2010


I spoke with an editor at the Post-Gazette Tuesday. He called after receiving a letter to the editor I submitted based on my Monday rant.

The gist of the conversation: the P-G (and other local media which covered the incident) didn't identify the driver of the pick-up truck responsible for the Friday, June 11 crash, because Pleasant Hills police wouldn't release his name.

Some background:

In 2008, the state legislature passed the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law, which requires certain state and local government entitites, including police departments, not to withhold information from the public.

The act contains certain exclusions, including one which the editor says police departments routinely abuse.

Officials can refuse to release information if doing so would, among other things, jeopardize an ongoing police inquiry. By claiming an incident is "under investigation," the police can essentially shut out the media from obtaining the details about any law enforcement activity.

This certainly wasn't the legislature's intent. Indeed, the act specifically states, "This paragraph shall not apply to information contained in a police blotter... and utilized or maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police, local, campus, transit or port authority police department or other law enforcement agency or in a traffic report..."

A "police blotter" is defined as a "chronological listing of arrests, usually documented contemporaneous with the incident, which may include, but is not limited to, the name and address of the individual charged and the alleged offenses."

In one challenge before the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, the Pennsylvania State Police claimed it did not maintain a chronological listing of its activity. Instead, officers filed "incident reports," used to describe "investigative actions." Through this little exercise in disingenuous semantics, the state police maintained all of its actions were recorded on incident reports, which are by their very definition "investigative," and therefore exempt from disclosure.

Fortunately, the Office of Open Records and several Commonwealth Court rulings have blown away this obfuscation, specifically stating the names of drivers involved in traffic accidents do not constitute "investigative material."

Which brings me back to my conversation with the P-G editor. He noted that scores of stories which appear in his paper and in media throughout PA lack basic information due to police claims of, for lack of a better term, "investigative privilege."

How many? Click here. And here. And here.

The searches are inexact, and not all of the hits deal with non-disclosure issues, but the number is nonetheless impressive- and disturbing.

When did the police decide they would determine what constitutes news? And why is the media, including the P-G, not shouting this disturbing development from their front pages and "breaking news" chyrons?

Because of the time and costs involved, the media isn't particularly fond of dragging governments into court. But they're ignoring perhaps the best venue available for obtaining justice: the court of public opinion.

Instead of positioning the ubiquitous "police refused to disclose" notice at the end of the story- or not mentioning it at all- stick it in the lead paragraph. Or, better yet, promote it to the headline. Make the stonewalling a major part of every story.

The public is unaware that the media has been kneecapped, because the media isn't making an issue of it. A couple days of "Two shot, police refuse to name victims," "One hurt in accident, police shield driver's identity," "Police won't name burglary suspect," on every story in which authorities aren't forthcoming, and pretty soon people will start showing up at council meetings, calling their mayors and township supervisors, and asking some pointed questions of those who are supposed to serve, not conceal.

Why dwell on this?

The media- local newspapers in particular- are a major social force. They inform and educate. And, by publicizing the names of those who impugn or injure their communities- like the unidentified reckless driver who decimated a bride's family the day before her wedding- deter others from engaging in such anti-social behaviors.

By failing to pursue the matter, the media is also failing to fulfill its public function and responsibility.

---

The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehood and errors.
-Thomas Jefferson


Categories: KGB Opinion


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The Ten Commandments, Joan of Arc, Jesus of Nazareth and... The Blues Brothers?
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Published Thursday, June 17, 2010 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Jun 17 2010

(from The Hollywood Reporter)

AORMINA, Sicily- When Jake and Elwood Blues, the protagonists in John Landis' cult classic The Blues Brothers, claimed they were on a mission from God, the Catholic Church apparently took them at their word.

On the 30th anniversary of the film's release, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, called the film a "Catholic classic" and said it should be recommended viewing for Catholics everywhere.

The film is based on a skit from Saturday Night Live. In the story, Jake and Elwood- played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, respectively- embark on an unlikely road trip featuring concerts, car chases, clashes with the police and neo-Nazi groups, and attempts at revenge from a spurned lover, all, ostensibly, to raise money for the church-run orphanage where they grew up.

But aside from a brief appearance from Kathleen Freeman as a wrist-slapping nun referred to as "The Penguin" and the brothers' periodic claim that they were on a mission from God, spirituality does not play a significant role in the film.

In addition to Belushi and Aykroyd, the film featured an all-star cast including musicians James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, and Chaka Khan, in addition to noted actors John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Charles Napier, and Henry Gibson, and cameo roles for Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg, Landis, Mr. T, and Paul Reubens.

With the recommendation, The Blues Brothers joins the list of dozens of films recommended by Catholic authorities that includes Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, Jesus of Nazareth from Franco Zeffirelli, Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ, Victor Flemming's Joan of Arc, and It's a Wonderful Life from Frank Capra.


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Questions for the Ages, #412
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Published Wednesday, June 16, 2010 @ 11:37 AM EDT
Jun 16 2010

Why is it the DVR Comcast always needs to replace is the one which contains all your archived programs and recording schedule?


Categories: Questions for the Ages


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Quote of the day
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Published Tuesday, June 15, 2010 @ 12:14 AM EDT
Jun 15 2010

My ex-wife is so eco-friendly that her vibrator is a hybrid. It runs on bitterness and ethanol.
-John Novosad


Categories: Quotes of the day


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Journalists or stenographers?
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Published Monday, June 14, 2010 @ 12:21 PM EDT
Jun 14 2010

It seems if authorities won't release the information, it's the end of the story.

No local media source has identified the driver of the pick-up truck responsible for that horrible accident in Pleasant Hills on Friday evening.

I asked the Post-Gazette via e-mail why the driver remains unidentified, and the response was:

> ...police have not released the driver's name...

I replied:

Which begs the question: why not?

Why have the police not released the driver's name?

Is the driver politically connected, or related to someone who is?

Forgive my impertinence- but why isn't the Post-Gazette asking these questions?

The withholding by authorities of the identity of the person responsible for this horrendous incident is a valid story in itself.

You published the details of the rehearsal dinner, the postponed wedding, the name of the pastor of the church where the wedding was supposed to be held, even the fact the bride-to-be was a former homecoming queen. Her family's background is now an open book.

But the person responsible gets a pass?

The PG came back with:

> we do ask these questions. police rarely answer. they don't have to,
>> under the state's poor sunshine law.

This, from "One of America's Great Newspapers?"

I replied,

Irrelevant.

There is still a story here:

Police won't identify
driver responsible for
wedding rehearsal crash

Pleasant Hills is a borough, which means the mayor is in charge of the police department. Ask the mayor. If he won't answer, your headline is now:

Mayor won't identify
driver responsible for
wedding rehearsal crash

Now, you have a significant story.

No reply, as yet.

What's really galling about this entire incident is that all the local media have taken the lazy way out covering this story. Initial reports didn't include the victims' names, because they weren't released by the police. Yet there were 30 friends and family members at the restaurant, and several were interviewed on television (apparently to intersperse between the "bent metal" shots). It didn't occur to any of these Woodwards or Bernsteins to ask the names of those in the crash?

Failing to report the name of the pick-up truck driver is inexcusable. Basic Reporting 101: Who is involved? So far, we only have half the story.

The police won't tell you the name of the driver? That's also news. Publish it. Shortly after it appears, you'll start getting phone calls from persons who do know who the driver is. Preliminary reports indicate he was breaking several traffic laws. It occurred in a construction area, where fines are doubled.

Has anyone appeared before the local magistrate on traffic-related charges? If not, why not?

Napoleon is reputed to have said "Never attribute to malice that which can be blamed on stupidity." Or sloth, it appears. The local media have moved on to the next shiny object to attract its attention.

They could be covering up, aiding and abetting local officials in order to shield the privileged.

Nah. Too conspiratorial.

They're all just doing the minimum necessary to get by. They're bad journalists, doing a half-assed job. Reporting the name of just one driver in a two car accident? Reminds me of an old George Carlin routine: "And here's a partial score: Pittsburgh, 5."

Idjits.


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Quote of the day
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Published Monday, June 14, 2010 @ 7:47 AM EDT
Jun 14 2010

Finally, a guy who says what people who aren't thinking are thinking.
~Jon Stewart, 'The Daily Show' (speaking of Glenn Beck)


Categories: Daily Show, Jon Stewart


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E-mail of the day
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Published Monday, June 14, 2010 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 14 2010


Categories: E-mail of the day


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You know, I'm really starting to like Comcast...
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Published Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 8:18 PM EDT
Jun 13 2010

Comcast> We would appreciate it if you could complete a short, three-question survey at the completion of this chat.

Me> Only if one of the three questions is "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"

Comcast> African or European?

Me> That's four questions.

Comcast> AHHHHHH!!!!!


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The Four Ws? (Updated II)
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Published Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 6:56 AM EDT
Jun 13 2010

As of 7 am this morning:

The Tribune-Review has an updated story identifying the two most seriously injured persons. The piece focuses on traffic control reviews planned for the constuction area.

The Post-Gazette has a full feature also identifying the two most seriously injured persons. The PG notes "Five others were injured, but police did not release their names or conditions."

WTAE-TV's website has a story from 7:42 pm Saturday evening that identifies the bride- and groom-to-be, but doesn't name the injured.

KDKA-TV's story hasn't been updated since 2 pm yesterday. It identifies one of the seven injured by name, based on an earlier update during the day by the P-G.

WPXI-TV's story was updated at 12:55 am this morning. It also doesn't name the injured.

KQV Radio's "local" lead story is about a Philadelphia catholic school closing. No reference to the accident at all.

Amazingly, none of the media outlets identifies the driver of the pickup truck responsible for the carnage. During my newspaper days, I'm certain I would have been inundated by calls accusing me of shielding the driver because of political or other influential connections.

I suspect nothing as insidious here. The police didn't release the driver's name, and none of the reporters apparently feel it's important enough to expend the energy necessary to obtain this critical piece of the story.

I'm through ranting. I followed this item when the news initially broke because the parties were from South Park, so there was a chance I may have known them. I was frustrated by the lack of detail in early reports about the accident and decided to track the story until all the important elements were finally published. More than two days have elapsed, and it appears we won't find out who the driver of the pick-up is until his name is released by police to the local media/stenographic pool.

As someone once said, "The word media is plural for mediocre."


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The Four Ws? (Updated)
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Published Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 12:57 PM EDT
Jun 12 2010

As of 1 pm, the Post-Gazette is the only local media outlet to update its original coverage of the crash in Pleasant Hills to include the names of the injured. The PG's update came at 12:24 pm. Their "news partner," KDKA, updated its web report a half hour later based on the PG's story.

WTAE, WPXI and The Tribune Review still have their original stories online. There's nothing about it at all on KQV's "All News/All The Time" website. In fact, their "Local Newsroom" front page looks like it should belong to KYW, since the majority of the stories are AP items from the eastern part of the state.

Interestingly enough, I received a couple snarky e-mails from a '91 Bethany College grad who's apparently a local television news producer. I'm assuming they're genuine, considering the condescending tone.

This could get interesting...


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The Four Ws?
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Published Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 8:14 AM EDT
Jun 12 2010

My first job as a newspaper reporter was to haul my sorry and, even then, not inconsiderable butt out of bed every morning at 5 am to check the local police departments for the prior days' events.

This entailed actually driving to the respective station houses- Homestead, West Homestead, Munhall, Whitaker, and West Mifflin- and physically reviewing the baskets containing the incident and accident reports.

Bleary-eyed, I'd dutifully transcribe the more significant ones, getting the names, addresses, and phone numbers of those involved. I'd also check the names of the officers who filed the reports. I quickly learned who were sticklers for detail, who were rather lax in their information gathering skills, and who had excelled in their creative writing classes. ("The actor seemed nonplussed by our appearance, and could not understand our concern and consternation over his over-indulgent ingestion of controlled substances in a futile attempt to mitigate his chronic state of ennui.")

After a quick stop at Moxley's on Eighth and Amity, the source of my life-long coffee addiction, I'd listen to the morning's gossip, then head across the street to the Messenger office and my seat on the rim of the city desk.

I'd call the Duquesne Police- we engaged in token coverage there just to irritate The McKeesport Daily News, which was trying to expand into our area- and then I'd review my notes with the city editor to determine what stories to pursue.

In between taking obits from local funeral directors, typing up school lunch menus, and telling callers that no, Homestead Hannah and Munhall Millie couldn't attend their bingo in person because, well, they were fictional characters who made pithy editorial comments in the front page Valley Mirror column, I'd write the police beat stuff. This involved checking the info on the police reports and often calling the officers involved to confirm or clarify the information.

Even as a 17-year-old cub reporter, I knew I couldn't hand in a story that didn't cover the "five Ws" in the first paragraph: who, what, where, when and why (or how). The first graf had all the basic info; the remainder of the story contained additional detail.

You can appreciate my frustration, then, at the following:

Crash on Route 51 sends seven to hospital
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Seven people were injured in a traffic accident Friday in Pleasant Hills on a stretch of Route 51 where construction has made the road prone to collisions, Pleasant Hills police said. (Ok, I get it, it was in Pleasant Hills.)

Paramedics from several South Hills communities were dispatched around 7:40 p.m. to the accident involving two vehicles on Route 51 near Coal Valley Road. One car was carrying members of a wedding party, KDKA-TV reported. (Wedding party? That should have been in the lead paragraph.)

Two of the seven were injured critically, and one was flown to UPMC Presbyterian by helicopter. The remaining victims were transported to UPMC Mercy. (Wait a minute. Jefferson Regional Medical Center is less than a mile away. I can understand flying someone with severe trauma to the experts at Presby, but why take the rest to another hospital 11 miles and 25 minutes distant when there's a perfectly good hospital with an award-winning emergency department just up the road?)

The accident was the fourth to occur in that stretch of Route 51 Friday evening. The first three did not involve injuries.(Then why weren't police directing traffic? What massive bit of PennDot incompetence is responsible for this?)

Officers were still reconstructing the accident Friday night with the help of county police investigators. They said construction on that stretch of road has reduced traffic to one lane in each direction.

The accident reduced Route 51 to one lane, which was used for alternating northbound and southbound traffic.

This was the PG's second story on the accident. If I had turned this in to Earle or Ralph, it would have been bounced. And I mean literally. The paper would have been compressed into a ball and hurled at my head.

The Tribune-Review did a much better job:

Pleasant Hills wreck injures 7, including members of wedding party
By Michael Hasch
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dozens of people attending a wedding rehearsal dinner could only watch in horror Friday evening as several members of the bride-to-be's family were injured in a two-vehicle crash near a construction zone on Route 51 in Pleasant Hills.

Two people -- including the woman's mother and stepfather-- were flown to Pittsburgh hospitals following the crash that occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m. as the family arrived at the Primanti Brothers Restaurant.

Five others were taken to hospitals in the crash between a car and pickup truck a few yards from the point where two lanes of traffic merge into a single lane, Pleasant Hills police Sgt. Richard Painter said. (They were taken to hospitals in the crash? What year and model crash was it? And again, what's the problem with Jefferson?)

Several people at the rehearsal dinner said the bride-to-be's mother and stepfather were in a northbound car driven by her brother. The younger man's girlfriend also was in the car. (I would have said "driven by her brother, whose girlfriend was also in the car." Picking nits here.)

Two men and a woman were in the southbound pickup truck, Painter said.

"(The bride-to-be) saw it. She knew it was her family and went running over," said Jason Seal, 26, of Carroll Township, who is a member of the wedding party for the Library couple who were planning to marry this afternoon in Finleyville. "The truck hit the car really hard... so hard that the (car) battery) came out... and is lying on the road."

Allegheny County Police are trying to determine how the crash occurred. Painter said witnesses told him there was a line of slow-moving vehicles in the passing southbound lanes and that one of the motorists stopped to allow the northbound car to turn into the parking lot.

The pickup, traveling in the curb lane, crashed into the passenger side of the car, Painter said. He said the truck was going faster than the 30 mph speed limit on what has become a dangerous stretch of highway.

"We've had six accidents here since Monday, three today alone," Painter said.

There's one, massive, glaring omission. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN THE ACCIDENT? We know their familiar relationships, that they're from Library and were supposed to be married in Finleyville today, even the name, age, and residence of a member of the wedding party... but not the names of the people involved in the crash.

That's the first "W"- who- and in none of the print or broadcast reports are the victims identified.

And don't give me this "officials did not release the names" bull. They entire wedding party was there. Someone could identify them.

Here are the available reports:

WTAE TV

Post Gazette

Tribune Review

WPXI TV

Note the differences in details and obvious errors in some of the reports.

I suppose the names will be released later today in follow-up stories.

But this is just inexcusable. I can just hear Earle... "This isn't a news story, it's gossip, and bad gossip. Names, Barkes! Names! People care about people. Here are two families whose lives have been changed forever, and you're telling me about Hyundais and pick-up trucks and traffic patterns and restaurants. I don't give a rat's ass about that stuff. I want all the victims' names in the second graf, and I want it in ten minutes. This paper's not going out until I get it, and you can explain to Joe Buck that he lost 100 news stand sales because you were too lazy to do your job."


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Ouch
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Published Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 12:04 AM EDT
Jun 12 2010

Jay Leno ran the tape of California US Senate candidate Carly Fiorina calling Senator Barbara Boxer's hair style "sooo yesterday," then pointed out Fiorina's hairstyle was "so Martin Short."

Republican candidate Fiorina is running on her business experience, which includes taking over the reigns of Hewlett-Packard in July 1999, when it was selling at $59 a share, and being forced to resign in February 2005, when it was priced at $21. Fiorina exited the company with a $20 million golden parachute.


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Quote of the day
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Published Friday, June 11, 2010 @ 10:01 AM EDT
Jun 11 2010

"Here's a little bit of good news. The Coast Guard says that BP is now catching up to 630,000 gallons of oil a day. The bad news is that they're capturing it with ducks."
-Jimmy Fallon


Categories: Quotes of the day


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Near perfection
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Published Friday, June 11, 2010 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Jun 11 2010

With the move, the rain, the damaged furniture, the missing boxes, the office rewiring, the spider bite, the mold allergy, the constant fatigue and the endless unpacking, there were times when I wondered whether it was worth moving back to South Park.

Yesterday was another non-stop marathon of struggling just to stay ahead of the chaos. Then after dinner, we rounded up our pack of shetland sheepdogs and headed down to the far end of the yard.

Shelties on the grass alas. With apologies to Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein.

Déjà Vu is 13, and our "Queen Mum." She is reserved and dignified- except when she rolls on her back in the grass and finally lies still in the warm sun, like a stuffed animal used to demonstrate the process of rigor mortis.

"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, he will make a fool of himself too."
-Samuel Butler (Misty likes being "wound up".)

Poor Sassy, the youngest, will be in a cast for the next four months until her ankle/wrist bones fuse due to a hyperextension injury (common in Shelties and Collies). Two days after surgery, she's still in pain- but here, the warm sun and the drugs finally kick in.

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring. It was peace."
-Milan Kundera  
"I think the purpose of the dog is to provide an accessible example to the recondite concept of unconditional love."
-Me

Riley is the second youngest of the pack, but is, I believe, the oldest soul. Look in those eyes and tell me there isn't a person in there. By the way, I don't believe in reincarnation. But in a previous life, I did.

"A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
-Henry Wheeler Shaw

"That's the whole secret of life. Life is a series of dogs."
-George Carlin  
"Old age means realizing you will never own all the dogs you wanted to."
-Joe Gores


Categories: Dogs, KGB Family, Quotes of the day


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The response...
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Published Thursday, June 10, 2010 @ 7:31 PM EDT
Jun 10 2010

to my email of 5/24:

Dear Friend:

Thank you for writing to me about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I am going to stand with the people of the Gulf Coast until they are made whole, and I appreciate your perspective as we continue to do everything we can to address this crisis.

The Gulf is one of the richest and most beautiful ecosystems on the planet. For centuries, its residents have enjoyed and made a living off the fish that swim in its waters and the wildlife that inhabit its shores. The Gulf is also the heartbeat of the region's economic life, and this oil spill has upended whole communities.

My Administration will continue to leverage every resource at our disposal to protect coastlines, to clean up the oil, to hold British Petroleum and other companies accountable for damages, to begin to restore the bounty and beauty of this region, and to aid the hardworking people of the Gulf as they rebuild their businesses and communities. For information about response efforts, how to help, or available assistance, I encourage you to visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/deepwater-bp-oil-spill, www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon, or www.epa.gov/bpspill/. Small businesses may also find resources by visiting www.sba.gov or calling 1-(800)-659-2955.

Thank you again for contacting me. I encourage you to visit WhiteHouse.gov to learn more about my Administration or to contact me in the future.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

To be a part of our agenda for change, join us at www.WhiteHouse.gov


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No politics, just good advice.
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Published Thursday, June 10, 2010 @ 5:19 PM EDT
Jun 10 2010

When the big day finally came and President Obama surprised us and arrived in our holding room a few hours before schedule, it was surreal, not only for the chance to hear the President speak but to have him mere inches away from us in a private setting. It was more than anyone could have dreamed of. The initial excitement never faded. Later, seeing him on stage joking with our principal, listening to our valedictorian and salutatorian speak, and finally giving us a speech that showed that he had read our essays and paid attention to our community was incredible; an experience none of us graduates or our families will soon forget. The honor went far beyond the President simply coming to our graduation or even shaking our hands. It was the fact that he made the experience wholly about us, using no political campaigns or agendas, that made it a truly special ceremony.
-Kelsey Socha, Kalamazoo Central High School student


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Recuperating
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Published Thursday, June 10, 2010 @ 11:15 AM EDT
Jun 10 2010

Sassy has decided she wants to recuperate in the dark, quiet den-like space under my workstation. Note the cast... the poor little girl will be wearing it for the next four months until the bones in her wrist/ankle fuse.


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Hell week continues...
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Published Wednesday, June 09, 2010 @ 8:41 AM EDT
Jun 09 2010

We took one of the dogs to the vet yesterday for what we thought would be arthroscopic surgery for a hyperextension injury to her foot. Turned out the damage was so bad she needed arthrodesis- fusing the bones in her wrist/ankle. 16 weeks in a cast and $3.5K for surgery and physical therapy, but this is supposedly the top specialist within 200 miles of Pittsburgh. We pick her up later this morning.

The moving company hasn't been returning our calls, so we called the credit card company. Turns out the amount they charged the card is different than the amount on the charge authorization we signed, so they'll put a hold on the payment until it's investigated. That should get their attention. (It appears their moving skills are exceeded only by their math abilities.)

And finally, I was bitten on the foot by a spider or something while in bed last night. The steroids and Benadryl took care of the swelling by this morning, but I'm in a drugged quasi-stupor and my toe is an interesting color. I may be making a trip to the doctor as well.

Otherwise, I'm happily ensconced in my office surrounded by the pups, snoozing after their morning constitutional, and waiting for the sensation to return to my foot...


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Warp drive is out, and impulse power is just hangin' on...
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Published Monday, June 07, 2010 @ 10:27 PM EDT
Jun 07 2010

Reconstructing the KGB bridge following the move is proving to be quite a task. But we finally found the power supplies, and the computer mice will show up any day now...


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The move is complete..
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Published Sunday, June 06, 2010 @ 5:06 PM EDT
Jun 06 2010

In that the beds are assembled, the refrigerator and microwave are working, and cable tv is on. It took 16 hours of intermittent wrangling to get Comcast's Arris modem and the Netgear router to talk to each other, but wireless Internet is now also up.

The move itself was horrendous. Aside from the subtropical rainforest weather conditions, the crew the moving company sent was comprised mainly of guys in their 20s Who Can Lift Heavy Things. They also could ram them into walls, get them stuck in doorways, and were incapable of following instructions. It was sort of like watching a National Geographic special on ants trying to get a large object into their nest, except the ants could eventually figure it out without intervention.

I'm really upset. Various family members and I have used this company without incident for the past 20 years. We used them just 20 months ago and the move was quick and painless.

Tomorrow's phone call is going to be interesting. I hate to name names, especially given such a long, successful relationship, but if they try to dodge the bullet, the hammer's coming down. Two clichéd metaphors in one sentence. You know I'm pissed.


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The adventure begins...
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Published Thursday, June 03, 2010 @ 7:26 PM EDT
Jun 03 2010

The movers will be here at 8 am Saturday morning, but in the meantime we have to pack up the rest of the house. The pups go to the kennel, the cable guy is scheduled to show up tomorrow, and the drugs still haven't kicked in. It's going to be a long couple of days.

Check back on Monday to see if we survived...


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Sexually Suggestive Trek
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Published Wednesday, June 02, 2010 @ 4:21 PM EDT
Jun 02 2010


Categories: Star Trek, Video, WTF?


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Trifecta
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Published Wednesday, June 02, 2010 @ 2:14 AM EDT
Jun 02 2010

Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart in an awesome dance contest last night at Radio City Music Hall in New York, an impromptu addition to O'Brien's "The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour."


Categories: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Video


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