Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nothing could be finer...

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - I'm thinking about auditioning for one of those Corona beer commercials. That seems like a wise career move.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WTA - Part 2

By Justin D. Anderson
BLB Guest Blogger

HURRICANE, W.Va. - My wife and I are in the process of moving out of our little country house here in Hurricane, about 25 miles west of Charleston. We're headed for Morgantown. My landlord called the other day while we were up in Morgantown getting our new place ready to live in. He said he'd found some people from Kentucky who were going to rent our place. Would I mind if they stored a few boxes under our carport? After all, they are coming from a long way.

“Hell no, we don‘t mind,” I said.

When we returned to our little house a couple days later, there were boxes and old decrepit furniture piled up to the ceiling of the carport and covered with tarps. We figured, who cares? We're leaving anyway. Then, last Tuesday, me and the dogs were out in the yard and this van pulls up in my driveway. My dogs start going berserk when an older fellow pops his head out of the driver's side window and says in a heavy twang, "Is it safe?" I had to ask him again what he said.

"Is it safe? Wit' dem dawgs?,” he says again.

"It all depends," I said. "Who are you?"

He pointed a dirty finger at the pile of stuff under the carport. Figuring they were just there to check on their stuff, I put the grouchier dog in the house. The driver and a young kid dressed like Fred Durst popped out of the van. The driver's got some kind of thrift shop polo on with a sallow turtleneck underneath. Ballcap with a dingy mesh back to it on his sweaty head. He introduces himself and Durst, his daughter's boyfriend.

"You guys drive all the way from Kentucky to check on your stuff?" I ask.

"Nah,” the driver said. “We's staying up over the hill there with my cousin. You'all need any help packin'?"

I thought this was a strange question. Hell no I didn't want some weirdo from Kentucky helping me pack.

"Well, y'all just let me know if y'all need any help gettin' outta here," the driver says.

Meanwhile, Durst is messing around with my dog's ears. "He's a beagle," he says.

"No, he's not a beagle," I say.

"Yeah he is,” Durst asserts again. “Look at these ears here."

"He's a beagle all right," the driver agrees.

The dog's not a freaking beagle, but I let it go. Eventually, we part ways. I head into the house to get packing and they head back to their van. I figure they are leaving. But white trash never do what you expect them to do. They're ironic in that way. I watched from my window as they take turns emerging from the van, walking through my yard to their pile of junk and sifting under the tarps. They pull out hats and shirts and other stuff and carry it slowly back to the van. Leisurely. Like they were already living there. I let it go on for an hour or so, my dog growling and barking inside the house going from window to window before I went outside.

"Look, I don't mean to be an jerk, but how long you guys plan on being here?" I ask Durst, who's rummaging through the pile.

"What you mean?" he says.

"What the hell are you doing?" I ask. "I'm trying to work in there and my dog's going nuts."

Then the driver walks up and says, “She just needs some clothes and thangs,” gesturing to his daughter, who's also rummaging through the pile.

"Well, you guys need to move on," I said. "You can't just mess around in my yard all day. This is MY house.”

"What he say?" Durst asked

"He say he don't want us here," the drive said. "We'll be on in a while."

"You guys need to move along now,” I said. “Not later."

The driver got humble suddenly and started apologizing. "We ain't going to bother you no more," he said.

I turned around and headed back into the house. After another five minutes of rummaging, they slowly backed out of my driveway. But I wondered how long would they have stayed if I hadn't tossed them? What was next? Stringing a clothesline and building a campfire? Asking if they can come in and use the phone and the bathroom?

That's white trash ignorance for you.

Justin D. Anderson previously worked as a reporter with the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia. He is planning to move to Morgantown, W.Va., and can be reached by e-mail at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WTA - Part 1

By Justin D. Anderson
BLB Guest Blogger

HURRICANE, W.Va. - I grew up in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Imagine a landscape scarred by rusted steel and coke mills and half-vacant strip malls with dark mountains as a backdrop. I love it, and always will.

It's the kind of place that makes people hard. But they're hard in a good way. They don't expect nothing from no one. They work. They're good people. They'll give a filthy hobo the last dollar they have in their pocket, for instance. They show each other respect. They don't blow their horns and cuss if the guy in front of them hasn't immediately noticed the green light.

Having lived near Charleston, W.Va., since 2005, I can say the landscape is about the same as up north, but the people, by and large, are total jerks. Bunch of white trash. The late Hunter S. Thompson once mentioned a phenomenon called "white trash arrogance." He didn't get into the details of what it was, but if you spend any time in the Kanawha River Valley, you come to recognize it really quick.

The worst drivers on the interstates around here are not the be-suited yuppies in their BMWs. No. They are the 23-year-old women in beaten up Chevy Cavaliers with a cell phone hanging out of their ear and two unrestrained toddlers romping around in the backseat. They'll cut you off at 80 mph and throw you the finger at the same time ... just because you were holding them up from getting to the free clinic on time for their hepatitis treatment or bailing their child's father out of jail.

White trash arrogance.

In my former line of work, I had to deal with the courthouse. Most people are polite and respectful when they're waiting on the clerk to give them their documents. But sometimes you'll get a person pounding on the counter screaming about how "That ol' piece of trash ain't gittin' nothin' from me!" or "They done told me my fine for dog-tetherin' was all paid up! Y'all people don't know what you doin'" and then leave the courthouse in a huff.


Of course, this attitude isn't just in the ‘hollers of Southern West Virginia. And it's not confined to arrogance.

The story continues tomorrow…

Justin D. Anderson previously worked as a reporter with the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia. He is planning to move to Morgantown, W.Va., and can be reached by e-mail at

Monday, July 27, 2009

White Trash Arrogance

While in transit to Myrtle Beach, S.C., over the next couple of days, I'll be handing the reins to an old buddy and colleague of mine from the Charleston Daily Mail. What follows is a two-part satirical essay on what he argues becomes of the chronically unemployed. In his words: Those who stand in the bread line and then complain when they find a tiny piece of mold on the crust.

Justin D. Anderson spent the past four years in Charleston working at the Daily Mail and West Virginia Record. He is originally from Moundsville, W.Va. and graduated with an English degree from West Virginia University. He is planning to move from Hurricane, W.Va. to Morgantown.

His essay, entitled "White Trash Arrogance," will begin Tuesday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Last Story

A couple weeks before exiting the newspaper industry, photographer Celeste Van Kirk and I traveled about 10 miles down U.S. Route 40 to Scenery Hill, Pa. It's such a unique town, so I wrote about it for the "Favorite Places" segment in July's edition of Living in Washington County magazine produced by the Observer-Reporter. What follows is my final story for the O-R.

Century Inn: A Scenery Hill Landmark

SCENERY HILL, Pa. - The stunning view is the first thing that strikes a motorist traveling down U.S. Route 40 into Scenery Hill. But it’s the people and charming shops in this historic town that keep visitors coming back.

Originally known as Springtown, it later became Hillsborough to honor Stephen Hill, who designed the village in 1819 after the completion of America’s first national road. The obelisk mile markers that dot the National Road still count down the mileage to Hillsborough, even though the name permanently changed to Scenery Hill in the late 1800s.

The village has become a hodgepodge of consignment shops, craft stores and antiques dealers. Quaint homes and churches are sandwiched between these unique shops, but one of the most interesting attractions might be the Century Inn.

Hill built this home in 1794, and it soon became an inn and tavern, according to server William Harvey.

Gordon and Mary Amanda Harrington bought the building for a "hefty sum" of $17,000 in 1945, Harvey said, and the family from Charleroi refurbished the house. The Harringtons’ daughter-in-law, Megin Harrington, currently operates the restaurant and inn.

Harvey, who has worked at the Century Inn since 1973, thinks there are a few reasons why Scenery Hill has become a tourist attraction.

"The view is obvious," Harvey said. "The people here are very friendly, and we work as a team. Being that it started as a frontier town, I think everyone here is very accepting of people who are different or new."

A short walk down the road brings visitors to Jan’s Tea Shop.

The owner, Jan Dunker, has lived in the area most of her life and opened this store in 1980. The building at times has housed a grocery store, ice cream shop and car dealership showroom.

She said the village sprouted along the National Road because it took a full day to navigate the trail from Washington or Brownsville, meaning travelers needed a place to stay the night before continuing their journey.

Those same 12-mile trips take less than 20 minutes today.

"To me it’s home," she said while fiddling with a coffee bean roaster.

Her friend, Linda McCracken, usually sips coffee while chatting in the shop. She is originally from Monessen and moved here 20 years ago after meeting her husband, Skip.

"It’s quiet," McCracken said. "People are friendly, and I enjoy visiting friends like Jan. You get a lot of people passing by."

So in that respect, not a lot has changed in this village along the National Road.

"Only that the roads are in a little bit better condition," McCracken said.

Dunker added: "And the mode of transportation has improved."

Friday, July 24, 2009

T + 1 Month

So it's been exactly one month since Jonesy's wild and wacky summer bash began, and there really isn't a lot happening. The job search has been slow. I have four resumes out thus far, but have received acknowledgment from only one company. It might be time to get staff phone numbers and start calling the supervisors to remind them of my resumes.

I've since settled into a nice - although maybe not entirely productive - morning routine. The daily pot of coffee with the newspaper has kept me connected with the goings-on. Unfortunately, my afternoon walks have been limited ever since that fascinating Mayview jaunt tore a nasty blister into my heel.

But it's now crunch-time. My benefits run out next week, and that generous month-long severance check will be depleted soon with my next mortgage payment (You're welcome, by the way, Mr. Fargo). So maybe this is the wrong time to be heading to Myrtle Beach, S.C. with my girlfriend for a pre-pink slip planned vacation. We'll be staying at my aunt's house, so it should be a nice (and cheap) vacation. I'll be blogging from the Palmetto State, and I'm thinking about temporarily changing this Web site's name to "Travel with a Bread Basket."

I appreciate all of your feed back on this blog over the past month. It's been nice to share stories and keep in touch with old friends.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Transition

"Hi, my name is Mike Jones and I'm with the Observer-errrr... a freelancer for the Trib."

I've caught myself saying that sentence a few times now that I'm back on the beat with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Reporting is the same, regardless of which paper employs your services. The AP Style Book reads the same and a lead still is supposed to grab the reader, right? The trouble is remembering the paper for which you actually work.

After the Observer-Reporter rolled off my tongue for nearly three years, it's a little tough to transition into the new phrase/phase. The same thing happened for a couple of weeks when I left the Charleston Daily Mail for the O-R in November 2006. But with the phone cradled on my shoulder and curled cord practically wrapped around my body, it soon became natural to deliver the new spiel, which I am now trying equally hard to break.

The real question is: Which company name will I be blurting out next week?

(The above photo of an eager and intrepid reporter was taken by Scott Beveridge in the O-R newsroom)

Monday, July 20, 2009

First-day jitters

It's been nearly four weeks since I received my walking papers, but I finally found a new job... well, sorda. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last week offered me a freelance reporting position focusing on the Mt. Lebanon area. I begin tonight, but I don't have those normal first-day jitters because I won't actually be entering the Trib's offices in the old Clark Building. Instead, I'll be sitting in the audience of a school board meeting - something I did many times before with the O-R.

Maybe the real reason I don't have those jitters is because I spent four years walking the halls of that antiquated Mt. Lebanon High School building. It's seems fitting I'm restarting my career in the building that was supposed to jump-start my life. Just like Billy Madison, I'm going back to school.

UPDATE: 9:21 p.m. - Nothing substantial to report from Mt. Lebanon, except I ran into another former O-R staffer, Terri Johnson. It was really nice to see her and we talked for a few minutes before the meeting. She landed on her feet and has been hired by The Almanac to work as a regional reporter. I wish her the best of luck, and look forward to seeing her at more Lebo meetings.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A not-so trendy beard

By Greg Tarr
BLB Guest Blogger

After the Pens' impressive Stanley Cup championship run this year, even the most casual Pittsburgh sports fan is now well aware of the playoff beard. They just may not be that familiar with the layoff beard ... yet.

I'd been growing my layoff beard for about the past two weeks. I'm kicking myself for not starting it the day after. I planned on growing it a few days longer but my mom's uncle passed away Wednesday night and I have to go to the funeral home. So, time to shave. As you can see it's no great loss to society that this amazing man-beard is no longer with us.

Other than growing less than impressive facial hair I've been researching my next career move, riding along Washington County's finest roads, wrapping change and of course watching le Tour on Versus.

(Greg Tarr previously worked as a staff photographer at the Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pa. He can be reached by e-mail at

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering a true newsman

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the role of the media, but regardless of that conversation, journalism lost its voice today. I never watched Walter Cronkite live on the nightly news, but his broadcasts still resonate as strongly as they did when he was behind the CBS news desk nearly three decades ago. The emotion in his voice while announcing President Kennedy's death, and the glee he showed while waiting for Neil Armstrong to step foot on the moon set him apart. He held sway with a generation that trusted its newsmen, especially when he declared that the Vietnam War could not be won after the Tet Offensive in 1968. Imagine if an anchor would say those words today.

But anything said on this blog is wholly inadequate to a legendary journalist. All that can be said here is that he will be missed by many.

The darker side of Fairview

Winds whipped through the forested canopy as I ventured farther along an unfamiliar gravel path that took me away from the neatly mowed grass of Fairview Park. My daily walks around my neighborhood and nearby park have grown somewhat bland, so Thursday I decided to explore new areas. Rather than navigate the normal "dog run" area that leads to a scenic skyline, I walked east into the shaded forest, where there appeared to be no end in sight. But after a few minutes, I came upon a small locked gate that posed no problem to hurdle.

That's when I stepped into what seemed like another world. Standing before me were several abandoned buildings that appeared to once be a part of a sprawling elementary school campus. Whatever it was, it hadn't been used in years, as high grass grew within the cracks of the pavement and only a tattered rope dangled from the flagpole. It took only a few more steps to realize that this wasn't a school, but rather a branch of the Mayview State Hospital in South Fayette, Pa. A bronze plaque declared this the Haig Temple Center, opened in 1978 and named after a doctor who apparently dedicated his life to helping elderly people with mental illnesses. State cutbacks closed Mayview last year, but this portion of the hospital - settled atop a secluded hill - obviously hadn't been used for years.

I continued to walk down a winding driveway and was stunned when I came upon Mayview's main campus. The place looked like a ghost town, except for a few maintenance workers staring down an unwanted guest in gym shorts and a T-shirt. I turned around and marched back up the road to the Temple Center.

This walk was different than the others, because it made me think about the thousands of tortured souls who called this hospital home. It also made me think about the hospital workers who did everything in their power to "cure" the mentally ill, or at least tried to help them assimilate into this secluded society. But I also couldn't shake the thought of what is happening to the mentally ill now that Mayview is closed. Sure, powerful drugs might ease their transition into society, but are they working?

A few minutes later, I walked back through that forested path and returned to Fairview Park's manicured walkways. Near the entrance of the park, I found a small cemetery dedicated in 1986 to the "Lost Souls" of Mayview from the beginning of the 20th century. Within a white fence sat 27 unmarked gravestones scattered between several oak trees. It was an appropriate conclusion to my afternoon walk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Putting the brakes on the Gravy Train

The free pass that newspapers have been giving their readers for years is on the verge of collapsing after a daily in Texas announced this week that it will begin charging people to read the content on its Web site. The New York Times is also rumored to be switching over to a subscription-based system. All I have to say about that is, "It's about time." I suppose I should say more because, well, this is a blog and people like opinions.

The internet has helped drive up readership, but it has come at too high of a cost. For way too long, reputable news agencies have been giving away their stories for free. I didn't study economics in college, but that seems like a poor business model. Now, the Texas newspaper's price of 75 cents seems a little high, but it definitely is a step in the right direction, and hopefully will spur more papers to do the same.

The toughest question that has surrounded the industry is whether newspapers can support their businesses by relying primarily on advertising revenue from the Web. Unfortunately, that has not worked because a disproportionate amount of money is generated by advertising in print edition. It brings an interesting conundrum that the inky-paged dinosaur is actually supporting the Web version, which is considered the future of journalism.

Many say a subscription-based Web site will not work because people won't want to pay a fee for content they used to get for free, so they'll get their news elsewhere. Those are valid points, but this should be considered a survival decision for journalism. People should expect to have to pay something for a quality product, and once every news agency turns to this model, then pay-to-read will be the only option for everyone. It worked for Steve Jobs and Apple, didn't it?

Of course, people claim blogs will continue to deliver quality news to the masses. But if that was the case, then we'd still think Sarah Palin's youngest son actually is Bristol's baby and that Barack Obama isn't really an American. Oh, wait... most people believe those blog-generated rumors anyway.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Riding down an uncertain road

By Greg Tarr
BLB Guest Blogger

So today is Saturday July 14, 2009. Or Saturday July 49, 2009. Or Saturday, insert a warm weather month here, now pick any number and place it here, 2009. Either way it's always Saturday when you're unemployed.

My name is Greg Tarr and I am a former photographer for the Observer-Reporter. On that day when the axe fell and severed Mike from the company - in true Paul Bunyan fashion - the axe kept swinging and I followed him out the door just a few hours later. So now what?

I am a 1999 graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I earned an associates degree in photography. My first photograph was published in the summer of 1998 in the Observer-Reporter while I was putting time in as an intern. After graduating from AIP, I accepted a photojournalist job at the Steubenville (Ohio) Herald Star and, after only a few months, I was named photo editor. Ten months after being hired, I was offered to come back to the O-R to join the photo staff. So I did April 24, 2000.

What I'm getting at here, other than giving you a brief look into my background, is that all I really know is photojournalism.

So the question is what direction do I go? Do I look for another job at a newspaper? Do I look in a completely different field? A fresh start, down a path I've never walked before?

These are the thoughts that have clouded my brain for a while now. The pressure is on to come up with answers to these questions. Good thing I've always dealt well in pressure situations. Some ideas are starting to come into focus, although I'm not going to give anything away just yet, so stay tuned. All I can say is that I will not be attending the Washington Hospital's School of Radiology. I have a pretty squeamish stomach and the thought of X-raying someone's broken arm going in six different directions doesn't sound all too appealing.

On a lighter note, being laid off right before the start of the Tour de France is a pretty sweet deal for one of the handful of cycling fans in America.

Greg Tarr previously worked as a staff photographer at the Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pa. He can be reached by e-mail at

Monday, July 13, 2009

History, with a side of Primanti's

PITTSBURGH - The steel mills no longer belch black smoke out of their stacks, but that doesn't mean residents here are not aware of Western Pennsylvania's rich heritage. That's why my girlfriend, Tiffany, and I dropped by the sprawling Heinz History Center in the Strip District last Friday to check out the museum.

The Lincoln exhibit was somewhat disappointing, including a bed that our 16th president may, or may not, have slept in when he visited the Monongahela House Hotel in Pittsburgh in 1861. A former colleague, Scott Beveridge, dissected this supposed artifact on his own blog last month, so like me and Tiffany at the History Center, we'll move right along.

After the Lincoln section, we walked upstairs to the sports museum that showcases more than just Pittsburgh's major sports teams. The sports exhibit highlights local champions, pro golfers, racers and, of course, probes Western Pennsylvania's high school football heritage. We then checked out the Pittsburgh innovation section that tells the story of how the area became an industrial powerhouse, among other important technological achievements.

Finally, we checked out the Heinz section, which seemed more like a walking commercial, although was special nonetheless because my great-grandfather worked for the ketchup giant a century ago. But it also reminded me of a story I wrote two years ago about John Dryer and the Heinz Hitch, which is pictured above. The company eliminated its marketing dollars for the hitch and thundering draft horses, leaving Dryer with no other options but to shut it down. He apparently donated the hitch to the history center, where it sits in the museum lobby.

After spending about three hours in the six-floor museum, we walked a few blocks down Smallman Street through the heart of the Strip District. There, we settled into a table at Primanti Brothers and grabbed an ice cold brew to go with our sandwiches. It's not often that I get a dose of Pittsburgh history with a side of Capicola and cheese, but it definitely was an afternoon fit for a yinzer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's baaaaaaaaaack!

The O-R has released the rights to my motorsports blog, Jonesin' for Speed, so I'm ready to post at will on NASCAR and other racing happenings. Unfortunately, since I no longer have my work e-mail, I will not be able to post the racing results from the local short tracks. But if you get a chance, please find a way to send them to my e-mail at I will definitely post them again if I get the results. Anyway, we're back and ready to rock, gearheads, so spread the word! We start with Mark Martin's impressive comeback win Saturday night at Chicagoland.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Life imitates art

Maybe I'm a few years late here, but count me in as the newest fan of HBO's discontinued television series, "The Wire." The hit show details the life of gangs, drugs and police in Baltimore, but added a twist for it's fifth and final season last year. And depending on how frequently you watched the show, that might be a bad thing.

In the final season (a friend let me borrow his DVDs this week) the writers of the show tossed in their perspective of the Baltimore Sun newsroom. And it shouldn't be a surprise, considering the creator of the show, David Simon, is a former reporter from that very newspaper. One scene depicts the economic struggles of the newspaper and the effect the impending layoffs and buyouts have on the staff. Hmmm, where have I heard that before?

"The fact of the matter is it's more profitable these days to run a worse paper for less money," one editor says to another. "Cutback people and pages, you increase revenue."

Then a 20-year veteran reporter walks back to the group and says he’s been offered two options: Copy desk or buyout. He apparently chooses the buyout and tells his co-workers he’s ready to finally get started on writing a novel.

Then the phone rings and the city editor is called back to the corner office. The other co-workers glance at each other with uneasy looks. The editor trots into the boss’ office and sees both the managing editor and publisher waiting for him. The grin slides off his face as he takes a seat. But the publisher tells him to relax and they need him to transition into a leaner team of reporters. “Doing more with less,” the publisher says.

That sounds like a script stolen from quite a few newspapers I know, but let's snap back to "reality." While there aren't a lot of shows or movies about life in the newsroom, I found this one to be quite accurate and interesting. Brian Lowry, a columnist from Variety, agrees with me about the depiction of newspapers. But not everyone is happy, especially the entertainment writer from ... you guessed it ... the Baltimore Sun. is featured.

What I like most about the show is that I could relate to some of the characters. I loved the city editor and he reminded me of some of my former bosses. He was the kinda guy you'd gladly make that one extra phone call if asked. That character, Gus, also woke up in the middle of the night to call the evening editors to make sure he didn't screw up any of the copy. Brant Newman, the previous night editor at the O-R, can attest that he received plenty of late calls from me begging to tweak my stories. And I could see myself in the young cops reporter, who couldn't wait to see her first front page story, only to see it bumped to B1. Of course, I had to chuckle at the one journalist who manufactured quotes and sources to produce better stories.

But the most important message that Simon leaves us is what can happen to a community if it's left with a neutered newspaper, especially one with less reporters that are not able to uproot corruption by authorities. Without someone checking the daily police reports or snooping around City Hall, one can only imagine what great stories get swept under the rug.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Revenge of the blog

Nowadays, it seems everyone has a blog (this guy included). They're the hot new medium and some bloggers are even predicting they will eventually replace grizzled journalists in reporting the news. But what exactly will they do when they don't have newspapers from which to steal content?

Look at most blogs and they're usually just copies of legitimate newspaper Web sites. Many include a bunch of links with a brief description of the news of the day. So to borrow a line from the old Observer-Reporter ... What's up with that? While some bloggers have very interesting content, it seems that the internet has spawned millions of blogs where everyone has an opinion, but rarely does anyone have something important to say (once again, this guy included).

So my fellow bloggers and comment posters: Let's make a pact to stop stealing newspaper content and start coming up with some fresh ideas. If you offer your own opinion on the news or sports, then more power to you. But for the rest of us, let's re-tool the blogosphere.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Help wanted?

"This is the jobs section?" my mother asked while flipping through the Post-Gazette this morning when I came over for a cup of coffee. The flimsy section used to be bigger, she claims, although she is adamant that it's rare for someone to find a job through the want ads. I did find a couple good leads if I want to begin my new career as a custodian or commercial truck driver.

It seems the top option is to network through friends and family. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a job, or so I've been told, and I have a couple of leads I might pursue. But for now, I'm going to take one last stab at journalism and send my stuff to a couple newspapers. I wonder how enthusiastic the P-G and Trib editors will be when they receive a clip of my riveting investigative piece I did in 2006 on why West Virginians don't like ketchup on their hot dogs. On second thought, maybe I better send the high-voltage power line stories instead.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Live from the World Center of Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kyle Busch took the lead from Tony Stewart on the last lap, but he couldn't hold him off for the win. In fact, Busch got hooked by Stewart coming out of Turn 4 and crashed right in front of us. That made everyone in the grandstands happy as Stewart took the checkers and Busch's twirled on the front stretch before crashing into several other cars.

Everyone escaped the crash uninjured and Daytona International Speedway launched an awesome fireworks display after the race, so everyone went home happy... esxcept Kyle Busch. Well, this concludes our Daytona weekend, and I'll be catching my flight Sunday night to head back to Pittsburgh. That's when my search for a new job begins, but for tonight, I had a great time. Kyle Busch's rear bumper slamming into the wall was a NASCAR highlight I won't soon forget.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Greetings from Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's the annual trip to Florida for the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway, but we're making a pit stop this afternoon at my father's home in this beautiful city on the Atlantic Coast. I flew in from Pittsburgh International Airport (are there even any international flights out of that woebegone airport anymore?) this morning and had a layover in Atlanta.

My favorite part about flying isn't the long lines in security, the battle to find a space to plop your luggage in the overhead compartment or the postage stamp-size bag of peanuts they give you. No... it's bringing a newspaper to a foreign airport. I picked up my Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from my driveway this morning, went to the airport and read it on the plane. After landing at Atlanta's crowded airport, I dropped it off at the local food court, hoping someone from The ATL would read a few stories from the City of Champions. Then I went to the nearest newstand and bought an Atlanta Journal-Constitution to read during my layover. I was somewhat disappointed with the content, but it was very interesting to read the local stories, nonetheless.

Then I dropped off the copy of the AJC in Jacksonville's airport as I walked to my dad's Chevy Blazer. I think it's important to check out different newspapers to compare layout and news. It's refreshing to read another journalist's work. Regardless, it's race weekend and time to drop a resume at the Daytona Beach News-Journal...