Archive for May, 2010

Sex and the City … and Us
May 28, 2010

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and millions of women nation-wide will be heading to the theatres … for sex. Sex and the City 2. The sequel to the film based upon the popular TV series is set to roll this weekend. Around town, there are some Sex and the City 2 parties and get-together as the ultimate girls night out hits the big screen.

Now there aren’t a whole lot of men, practically none that I know, that will admit to watching the first movie. I not only saw the first movie, but also most of the HBO series. I found it funny, engaging, sexy and unique. However, I was told not to see it that way in a local review of the film. The author’s first words: Men stop reading. A woman wrote the review.

It got me to wondering why this comedy was such a topic for divisiveness among the sexes so , as I tend to, I posted on my Facebook page about wanting to see the film … and waited. It didn’t take long for the responses to come in. Everything from women unhappy that their husbands wouldn’t go see it .. to women calling me a “real man” for admitting that I liked the entire Sex and the City concept.

Truthfully, going to see the movie doesn’t make you more of a man any more than not seeing it makes you less of a man. You aren’t more masculine if you skip it anymore than you are less masculine if you pay the ten bucks to go.

What this is all about is the battle that has existed since we were in the school yard. There are boys and there are girls and while we all want the genders to be viewed on a level playing field when it comes to jobs and opportunities, we are inherently different when it comes to our preferences.

Most people who loved Entourage are guys because the show speaks to us and most women love Sex and the City because the series speaks to them. It’s just the way it is and will always be. Same thing with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Women tend to watch these shows more than men.

As for me, I like all those shows … for various reasons. Some are shows that speak to me and some are silly fun. No matter what, I can take these shows for what they are … fun and enjoyable. That being said, it sounds like I may be the only guy in the theatre when I go to see Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. Probably the only one not wearing Manolo Blahniks.

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A Birthday of Discovery
May 17, 2010

We all make big plans for our milestone birthdays: 16, 21, 30, 40, etc.

But what about those odd years or those birthdays that signify little except another year of life? Such was my dilemma Sunday with another celebration of my birth on the horizon. If you know me by now, you know I play golf and a round of 18 holes on a beautiful day would seem a natural. But these days, I like to do something different. So I did.

I decided to ask a friend to join me a tour … a crawl of sorts .. on the city’s South Side. No, this was not a bar crawl like you see so many young people doing that often ends up in a lot of drinking and some considerable trouble walking. No, this was different. We got a ride to 10th street and Carson at 1pm Sunday and started walking … and stopping … and walking … and stopping.

We visited bars and restaurants, sampling the south side’s culinary offerings. We stopped at used book stores, jewelry stores and clothing shops. We talked with store owners, customers and people on the street. We sampled everything from craft beers to cheesecake. Most of all, we hear stories. We heard why the certain establishments have been on the south side for years and why others had failed. We saw the wide variety of food and drink, everything from Pittsburgh-bred foods … to dishes from Cambodia and India.

The bottom line is that I spent my birthday exploring a portion of the town that I now call home. Thought I report on Pittsburgh every day, there are still lessons to be learned and places to discover. What better way to discover what makes the place I live in so special than to tour a portion of Pittsburgh on my special day.

That was the best birthday present I could imagine giving myself.

Talking with You
May 11, 2010

You might have noticed that I’m not blogging as much as I used to.

It’s not because I don’t enjoy it. Frankly, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time and sometimes its hard to come up with interesting or inspiring commentary ( call it writer’s block ). However, the biggest reason for a lack of blogging is an overabundance of Facebooking.

Not so much my own page, but our WTAE Facebook Fan page. It’s become quite a popular site. We are now up to 18,700+ fans, most of them from western Pennsylvania. The page allows people to get linked to the latest information and video from our website, thepittsburghchannel.com. It also allows viewers to talk to us … us to talk to them.

In my opinion, this is the most important part of the site. Each night, I have the Facebook page up and running on my laptop at the anchor desk … along with my show information and the latest websites. I not only like to see what people are saying during the show, but I encourage them to talk with us directly.

Our business was once the one-way street: Broadcasters delivering the information and viewers accepting it. Now, it’s a two-way street. We want to hear what’s important to you and what’s on your mind and how we can help you. In turn, you have delivered opinions, ideas and story tips. If anything I think it’s a chance for us to really get closer to you and for us to become a valuable and important part of your life.

Like everything, you get some comments and conversations that are more interesting than others. Last week, I posted a comment starting with “Happy Cinco De Mayo”. By the end of the thread, it had turned into a heated discussion over immigration. What that tells me is that people have that topic on their minds.

Just want to let you know that we appreciate your comments on the WTAE Facebook fan page and I encourage you speak out … as well as take the time to see what your neighbors as saying as well.

For the record, I’m still blogging.

A Sunday Run
May 4, 2010

Its been almost a day and a half since the Pittsburgh marathon and I still can’t believe it. I can’t believe that I ran 26.2 miles in the rain … and finished. I can’t believe so many people have been so kind in their comments, praise and support. I really can’t believe that I am able to walk today.

To understand why this experience was so significant for me you have to understand where I’m coming from. After leaving college, my only running was the annual 5K at the Race for the Cure. I had a gut at age 32 and was wearing size 38-40 pants. I only started running in February of 2009 … and had gotten hooked enough to do 5 half-marathons but never the full marathon.

Worst of all, I really didn’t train the way experts like world famous trainer Hal Higdon suggest training for this experience. My longest run with 15 miles … and that the previous Sunday.

But this Sunday, I forgot about what I had not done prior and focused on what I could do if I pushed myself. I ran at a good, steady pace as not to burn. I did a 10-minute mile and I left my iPod at home. After running with music in my ears, I forgo the songs for the soundtrack of the city and its neighborhoods.

I heard the cheering of the people along the route. I listen to the eclectic mix of bands that played along the race route. I heard the volunteers in each neighborhood offer Gatorade and water to us. I even heard the guys offering beer at mile 24 in Lawrenceville outside the old Iron City Brewing.

My medal from Sunday. Of all the awards I have won, professional or athletic, this one was the most difficult to achieve .. and the most rewarding.

I also hit the wall at mile 18 in the east hills. I knew I had gone further than I had ever gone before. My aching ankles told me that. However, seeing the neighbors come out from Homewood to Shadyside and from Highland Park to Bloomfield inspired me. To have runners come by as I started to walk and urge me to keep running/jogging kept me going. Finally, to reach the strip with two miles to go and see friends and loved ones gave me that much needed second wind. I ran the final mile with crowds five deep cheering.

I finished in 4:28:56. I predicted 4:20. I’m very happy.

I’m also very proud of my city. As you well know, I love the city however I was never more proud than during the marathon. In the driving rain ( did I mention it rained the whole time ), people came out to support the runners. While the athletes are the stars in this race, the real story are all those Pittsburghers who pulled for us. As one runner from Boston said after the race, this would never happen in Beantown.

Would I do it again? After much thought I have decided I will but not in another city. I have decided that while I like to travel to other cities to run half marathons, this will be my only marathon city. In a town that gives it’s all for me its the least I can do.

Marathon Man
May 1, 2010

Sorry to everyone for not blogging recently. I have been so busy Tweeting and Facebooking that I haven’t had time to just sit and write.

Tonight, I do because I have something to write about. It’s one of those challenges that comes along in life. Not one you have to accept, but one you know you will regret if you don’t.

The Pittsburgh Marathon this Sunday. 26.2 miles.

I have blogged in past months about my passion for running. It started last February as a way to deal with life and its challenges. It evolved into a lifestyle. I soon found myself reading Runners World and buying new shoes every 300 miles. I now have a closet of almost-like-new shoes. I did five half-marathons ( 13.1 miles ) in the last 12 months, but this will be different.

I have not trained like a crazy man for this race. The most I have run prior to Sunday will be 15 miles. My goal, though I tell everyone who asks is four hours 30 minutes, is just to finish. I know I will likely not be able to do this in future years and half marathons are perfect for me. I want to do this because I want to prove to myself that I can.

Perhaps nothing inspired me more to go to the full distance than when I was waiting for friends to cross the finish line at lats month’s Georgia marathon. It’s not world-class athletes coming through the tape at 5 hours, 30 minutes. There are people I know that I am faster than, in better shape than and younger than. These are people who wanted to take this odyssey at ages 50, 60 and 70. These are people who wanted to do something because they knew it would take a singular determination and drive. These are people who wanted to beat themselves and father time.

They have inspired me. If they can do it, why can’t I? I may not sprint across the finish … or even walk, but I will finish and I will get not only a medal but a sense of satisfaction few things in life can provide.

You can follow me on Twitter if you like …. or just wave to me as I run through your neighborhood. All support is welcome in this the loneliest of life’s challenges.