Archive for September, 2006

Boobaloo
September 29, 2006


Meet Boobaloo:

Next Saturday, the annual Pittsburgh Pet Expo happens at the convention
center. I’ll be there — along with my wife and our child. Actually, it’s our dog but he has become an important member of our family in the six seven years we have been together. I thought I would share with you his story – and what a difference he has made in our lives.

His name is “Boobaloo” ( as you will not doubt discover reading my bio or listening to Sally say his name every now and then ). He is our seven-year old bischon/poodle and his name is a combination of the pet names Sharon and myself have for one another – and that’s as much as I’m going to say about that.

He came into our lives completely by accident and under some scary circumstances. We were living in the Mexican War Streets and were barely married when we saw this small white dog chained up to the fire escape in the back of this apartment building next to us. As the days went on, he continued to be chained back there — small and skinny and thin. Sharon – being the caring person she is – would sneak over and leave a bowl of water or food. Finally, one day it started raining and the poor puppy was soaking wet. Sharon could hardly stand to watch him suffer – so I went next door and found the abusive owners. I gave them 30 bucks and took the dog. They did not put up a fight.

We took in this cold, shivering dog and started nursing him back to health. He was afraid but there was something about him that made us believe there was a gentle soul inside that damp white fur. As time went on, we gained his trust and he started to open his unique personality to us. When we moved out to the suburbs of Washington County, the pain that he experienced as a puppy seemed to disappear as he took to the grass and trees and fields of the country.

Boobaloo is more than a dog to us. He has a personality that emerges at just the right time for the just the right situation. If Sharon and I are arguing, he gives us a look that says “Hey Guys, you’re supposed to be in love”. When one of us gets sick, he curls up next to us and won’t leave until we are well. At the same time, when we are sleeping in bed, he always has to be right in the middle.

He loves me, but he will always be a mamma’s boy. When I come home, he rushes to me like a little child greeting dad from a long trip — looking for goodies but then leaving when he realizes dad has nothing for him. When mom comes home, he started bouncing up and down, almost leaping into her arms.

I told Boobaloo that he would be signing autographs with me next Saturday at the Pet Expo — and he seems pretty excited. We both hope you will stop by and say “hi” and share with us the story of you and your pet.

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BACK FROM VACATION .. AND BACK TO REALITY
September 26, 2006

Sorry it’s been so long since I was blogging. Thanks to your e-mails, I understand the blogging process is one that does not take a vacation. I will endeavor to keep it going, even as I enjoy some down time during vacation.

Still, the one thing I am quickly learning is that there is no vacation from the world of news. Just look at what I missed during my week off in Fort Myers, Florida: The Steelers lose to Jacksonville and 5 Duquesne basketball players are shot on campus and Bill Clinton’s much-blogged about interview with Fox News. Not I think the world is going to stop just because I choose to get off for a few days, but I am amazed how much happens when you’re away.

Then I saw the story that not only jolted me back to reality, but angered me and left me feeling helplessness. You have likely heard by now about the death of the mother of three who had her unborn child ripped out of her womb. It gets worse. Her three children – none older than seven – were drowned and later left in the washer and dryer of their home. Their murders were committed by – of all people – the family babysitter.

It’s this story – of people living in Saint Louis that I did not know – that left an indelible impression. One that often leaves me wondering if this is the job for me. Being a news anchor, you daily present the worst of human frailties and are asked to be both unbiased and professional in your daily dissemination of the stories of the day. Folks, Let me tell you something: I am human. I cannot help but feel pain, anger, sadness and vengeance when I read those types of stories. Sure, we are supposed to hide our feelings and most of the time; we do a good job masking our true emotions. However, there is a limit.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that human tragedy is not easy to cover and report and we do not handle such stories with a smile and indifference. Maybe that’s why I try to be as upbeat as I can about the other stories in our newscast. Still, it makes for an interesting roller coaster of emotion over the course of two hours of TV every morning.

FYI — I’m excited to hear our sports staff here at WTAE has been filled out with the addition of Guy Junker as our weekend anchor. I guiess Guy has gone full circle from his days as a sports anchor here in the late 80’s. He’s going to be great and it’s exicting to have him on board joining JB.

On Vacation
September 19, 2006

From thepittsburghchannel.com staff:

Andrew is on vacation. He’ll be back next week… look for a new blog then. Thanks.

Have We Forgotten?
September 12, 2006

Like all of you, the memory of September 11th, 2001 is still fresh in my mind. But the tragic events of that day did not completely hit me until five years after the attacks. Tuesday, September 11th 2006. I spent that day in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Broadcasting live all morning from the open field where the heroes of flight 93 took on their hijackers, saving thousands while sacrificing their own lives.

Being in that field, next to that memorial, as hundreds came that morning is something I will never forget. It made the super bowls that I have covered seem insignificant and exposed me to a whole new set of emotions, feelings and concerns. Like many of those at the temporary memorial, I felt pride in the passengers and crew aboard that ill-fated flight, anger at those hijackers and terrorists and a frustration that this sort of violence still takes place. You can see my personal thoughts on my video blog on thepittsburghchannel.

Link: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/video/9819633/index.html

I also felt a fear — a fear that as time passes that we forget what exactly happened during that day and what it means to our modern-day struggle. I was told numbers at the Gainesville site were down from previous years and our country — so united on that day — is politically as polarized as ever. Then, there is a poll in the Washington Post that should scare all of you. 30% of the those polled by the Post could not remember the year the 9/11 attacks occurred!

Of course it’s natural to have memories fade as the years go on, but this is one event that we cannot put behind us. It is too important. Perhaps all of us should take a ride to Shanksville to be reminded of what evil exists in the world and how courageous ordinary Americans can be. There is a war going on in Iraq and I have my own personal feelings about it, but this blog is about what took place 5 years ago and asking that we never forget. Perhaps in some ways, I did, until I was reminded on a cold Monday this week in Somerset county.

Being a Fan
September 7, 2006

I have to head out soon and get ready to cover the funeral procession for the late mayor Bob O’Connor this morning, but I wanted to drop you a note and let you know I’m about to experience something new tonight.

After 11 seasons of covering Steelers football as a journalist, I’m going to my first game as a fan. Sharon and I are going to see the season opener against Miami at Heinz Field tonight. It will be odd not having the watch every play so closely and then dissect it like it was the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination. I will just be able to kick back and relax and enjoy — and actually cheer for the Steelers. Something I have never done. However, no booze for me since I have to come into work tomorrow morning at 4am — ouch!

As part of my first football season since college as a fan — I will be playing the role of prognosticator. Offering up my predictions for the week ahead. What I will do each week is pick three NFL games using and guess the winner against the spread. We’ll see at season’s end how I do. They only weeks I will not be picking games will be the weekend of the 24th since I will be on vacation.

Here’s my bold week one picks that you can take to the bank — and I’m staying away from the Steelers game.

BRONCOS ( -3.5 ) at Rams
EAGLES ( -5 ) at Texans
Browns ( +3 ) vs SAINTS

My Picks are in caps ( minus means I’m giving points, plus means I’m taking points )

No Ordinary Joe
September 4, 2006

How was your Labor Day Weekend? I know mine was one to remember. Saturday night, I had the honor of being the emcee of the first ever Ringgold High School athletic hall of fame induction ceremony. The volunteers in the Mon Valley worked very hard to bring three of the four members of this distinguished class. Consider this inaugural class: Ken Griffey Sr, Stan Musial (absent), Fred Cox and Joe Montana.

All four of these professional sports starts kicked off their careers at Ringgold High and while they have all moved out of the area, three quarters were able to come back and be a part of the party. Without questions, Joe was the main attraction and even had the high school stadium renamed in his honor the night before.

Joe and I had met three years earlier when he first returned to the Mon Valley and was honored with the naming of the “Joe Montana Bridges” on route 43. Before the dinner that night, Joe and I spent a good half hour talking — both on and off camera. We discussed his growing up in Mon Valley, his family and – suprisingly – his nervousness about speaking before his friends in the area.

Joe — for all his football daring and heroics — is a shy person. A humble man who often seems overwhelmed by his success and the attention he received. Three years ago, I don’t think he quite knew how to handle the love he received from his former neighbors in New Engle. Saturday night, he did.

Joe gave a stirring speech about realizing that he knew he was in a position to give back — and he did. In a small banquet hall filled to the rafters with local residents, Joe talked less about his glory days and more about his vision for the future of the children of the Mon Valley. It was heartfelt and it was eloquent.

Joe and I are not best friends, but he was kind of enough to share with me during the course of the night his thoughts on this special occasion. He was also nice enough to give me updates on his Notre Dame team’s battle with Georgia Tech which he followed on his blackberry.

Joe Montana. He really is an ordinary Joe – and the Mon Valley would not have it any other way.

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FYI — Here’s are the weekend golf results. I played 36 on Sunday at the Lakeview/Mountainview Courses at Cheat Lake just outside Morgantown.

Mountainview 51/55 == 106 (+34)
Lakeview 53/46 == 99 ( +27 ) with a 20-foot birdie putt