News reports today claim that truckers are being trained to watch out for terrorists. I guess they’d be able to recognize terrorists given the way many of them terrorize motorists on the nation’s highways …
I’ve been reading The New York Times pretty regularly, and I’m always amazed at how many great stories they cram into each edition. In Monday’s paper (traditionally a “slow” day for newspapers), I stumbled across the following nuggest (you need to register to see these; it’s worth it).
Cambodia’s Mystery Mammal: For years, tales have emerged from Cambodia’s hidden mountain ranges of this strange animal known as the khting vor. Some mountain people say it eats snakes. Some say it can leap like a mountain goat. Some swear that it is a roaring, savage predator.
Pike invaders: Details attempts to get rid of non-native Pike in a California Lake. Despite bombing and poison, the pike are still hanging in there.
Rust never sleeps: Review of a new biography on good old three-chord Neil Young.
The college game: And finally, a three-day series detailing the quest of three very different students who are attempting to get accepted to the college of their choice. After I read part one on Sunday, I went out of my way to buy Monday and Tuesday’s Times just to make sure I saw the entire piece. I don’t recall ever having done that … This is what journalism is all about. I was especially stoked to realize that the online version had added features, including audio, video and slideshows. Nice …
I concluded last week’s travel with a trip to Pittsburgh to see my parents. They’re about to move to Florida, thus ending the Pittsburgh Years. The family homestead already has been sold. Now Mom and Pops are Florida bound. It seemed strange. In a lot of ways, I miss the ‘Burgh and felt a tinge of regret knowing that I’d have one less reason to drop by there once in a while. My brothers are still there, and I’m sure Pittsburgh hasn’t seen the last of me, but it still seemed like the end of an era. We ended my trip with a gathering of the Benz clan. Mom made stuffed pork chops. The niece and nephews where there. A good time was had by all.
Also swung by the Carnegie Library over in Homestead and and the Riverfront at Homestead. It was incredible. The site where the giant, hulking Homestead Works used to belch smoke and flame is now a strip mall that caters to yuppies. Barnes & Noble. Victoria’s Secret. P.F. Chang’s. All this where soot covered mill workers used to toil. I’ve been kicking around an idea for a novel that involves Homestead (and the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892) and I wanted to get over there to start doing a little research. I couldn’t believe how it’s changed since the days when I used to sit on a hill on the opposite side of the Monogahela, watching the entire river valley pulse reddish orange and listening to the giant reverberating crashes of metal crashing to the grown. Lot of fodder here for that novel. Also found a few books at B&N that’s I’d been looking for, including a copy of The Steelworkers, which chronicles the lives of Pittsburgh mill workers in the early 20th Century.