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Amish Mafia

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Governor Corbett is demanding that the Discovery Channel end its reality show about Pennsylvania's Amish community. I wish he felt so protective about the state's environment. 

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Guardians of the Galaxy rockets to top summer spot

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

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Riding good word of mouth, “Guardians of the Galaxy” held onto the top spot at the box office with an estimated $17.6 million. With more than $250 million in North America, it becomes the highest grossing movie of the 2014 summer, nudging aside “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
 
That’s quite a feat for a movie revolving around, as our reviewer put it, third- or fourth-tier Marvel characters. But it’s solidly entertaining with Chris Pratt as a likable Everyman hero. 
 
Here are the early numbers from Rentrak.com:
 
 
1. “Guardians of the Galaxy” — $17,631,000, for $251,884,857 since its early August release. 
2. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — $16,800,000, bringing its running total to $145,609,806 so far. 
3. “If I Stay” — $16,355,000.
4. “Let’s Be Cops” — $11,000,000, or $45,246,168 since release. 
5. “When the Game Stands Tall” — $9,100,000.
6. “The Giver” — $6,730,000, for $24,100,538 so far. 
7. “The Expendables 3” — $6,600,000 or $27,518,177 to date. 
8. “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” — $6,477,000.
9. “The Hundred-Foot Journey” — $5,562,000, for $32,750,000. 
10. “Into the Storm” — $3,800,000, or $38,301,384 so far. 
 
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak, calls “If I Stay,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz as a teenager caught between life and death after a terrible car accident with her family, “yet another example of a profitable female-centric film this summer,” and a crowd-pleaser based on exit surveys. 
 
The summer movie season will end on Labor Day. 
 

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Vacation post - 08-24-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Happy 42nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Ian Moran (right). A sixth-round pick in 1990, Moran spent parts of eight seasons with the Penguins. Moran made his NHL debut in the 1995 postseason by appearing in eight games and failed to record a point. As a true rookie in 1995-96, Moran played in 51 games and scored two points. Despite being limited to 36 games in 1996-97, Moran increased his production by recording nine points. In the 1997 playoffs, Moran appeared in five games and recorded three points, including the primary assist on Mario Lemieux's "last" home postseason goal in a 4-1 win against the Flyers in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal (below). Moran was once again limited to 37 games in 1997-98 due to a knee injury and produced seven points. In the 1998 postseason, he appeared in six contests and was held without a point. In 1998-99, Moran played in 62 games and scored nine points. During the 1999 playoffs, Moran saw action 13 games and contributed two assists. The 1999-2000 season saw Moran set career-highs in games (73) and points (12). In that spring's postseason, Moran appeared in 11 games and recorded one assist. A hand injury limited Moran to 40 games and seven assists in 2000-01. He appeared in all 18 of the team's postseason games that season and contributed one assist. He rebounded in 2001-02 by playing in 64 games and netted 10 points. After 70 games and seven assists in 2002-03, Moran was dealt at the trade deadline to the Bruins in exchange for a draft pick. One of six Ohio natives to play for the Penguins (Ab DeMarco, Brian Holzinger, Moe Mantha, Mike Rupp and Bryan Smolinksi are the others.), Moran appeared in 433 games for the Penguins, 18th-most in franchise history, and produced 63 points. In 61 postseason games, he scored seven points.

-Happy 47th birthday to former Penguins forward Ken Priestlay. Acquired late in the 1990-91 season, Priestlay spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He appeared in two games for the Penguins in 1990-91, recorded one assist and collected a Stanley Cup run that spring despite not appearing in a playoff game. In 1991-92, Priestlay played in 49 games, scored 10 points and had his named engraved on the Stanley Cup for the team's second consecutive championship. After spending the entire 1992-93 season with the Cleveland Lumberjacks, the Penguins' IHL affiliate, Priestlay was released in the 1993 offseason. In 51 games with the Penguins, Priestlay recorded 11 points.

-Happy 31st birthday to current Penguins forward Marcel Goc. Acquired at last season's trade deadline, Goc, one of three natives of Germany to play for the Penguins (Sven Butenschon and Randy Gilhen are the other two to date), appeared in 12 games and recorded two points. In nine postseason game, he recorded one assist.

(Photo: Steve Babineau/Allsport/Getty Images)

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Pure Evil

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The beheading of James Foley by ISIS was a horrific and barbaric act that played out like a some sort of nightmarish violent video game. Social media and the internet can be great, but it can also provide a way to recruit terrorists. 

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YMCA garden feeds body and soul

Written by Doug Oster on .

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blog 20140819dohomesymca2Rodney Tucker and Micheal Rushin in the Boxy Caufield Memorial Garden at the Allegheny YMCA on the North Side. Photos by Doug Oster

By Doug Oster / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

blog 20140819dohomesymca3inches“I love tomatoes and cucumbers,” says Rodney Tucker as he pulls bright red, tennis ball-sized fruit from the plants towering over him.
Mr. Tucker has lived at the Allegheny YMCA on the North Side for the past five years and is one of the founding forces of its garden, now in its fourth season.
A wide strip of grass was transformed into a series of raised beds now filled with shrublike kale, greens, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, herbs, flowers and much more. Early on, the garden benefited from help provided by master gardeners, local nurseries and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. As it grew, Grow Pittsburgh’s City Growers program pitched in with a grant to purchase everything from plants to hardscape.
The garden is thriving, filling with much-needed produce. Its riches are due in part to all the rain, but also “because of all the tender loving care we give it,” Mr. Tucker says, laughing.
He works the garden with fellow resident Michael Rushin and others as they come and go from the facility.
“It’s special because a lot of us come from different backgrounds, Mr. Tucker says. “To get the camaraderie of people [from] different cultures to participate in our garden venture, it’s amazing. It gives you a lot of pride when you see everyone come together.”
Mr. Rushin watched as the garden went in the first season and then visited to enjoy a variety of treats harvested from its beds. The second year he jumped in to help. He can now be seen daily doing garden chores.
“You got to pick it and pluck it and pull weeds,” he says. “I like doing it.”
blog lettuce20140819dohomesymca6One of the benefits of the garden is providing nutritious produce for some of the 105 residents.
“It’s pretty hard for a lot of the guys to get fresh food here,” he says. “But when we do get it, we take advantage of it. You can taste the difference between store food and garden food. It tastes totally different.”
Since 1926, the Allegheny YMCA has provided a place for men to live. They aren’t homeless; they pay rent to stay there. Office manager Mary Collins says many residents don’t make a lot of money, have health issues, prefer to live a simpler life or just like it there.
“A lot of the men who are longtime residents feel this is a family home,” she says with a soft smile.
Ms. Collins says the garden is more than a source of healthy food for residents who work there.
 “Their personalities really changed. It just gave them a purpose, It gave them a lot of self-worth.”
Planting parties, with pizza sometimes as an incentive, bring more residents down to help. The garden isn’t fenced, but the men can see it from the windows. Each visitor is scrutinized from above, but in a good way.
“Oh, there’s a lot of pride,” Mrs. Collins says. “[The garden] made it more like a place to live instead of a place to stay.”
The plot’s name, the Boxy Caufield Memorial Garden, was a unanimous choice, taken from a longtime resident instrumental in getting the project started who died of cancer. He was a much loved character at the YMCA, and a classically trained musician, too. Even though he wasn’t too interested in planting and caring for the plants, he worked tirelessly to recruit helpers and find donations to make the garden a reality.
“He was a guy who went out of his way for everyone,” says executive director Bill Pricener. “It’s a tremendous tribute to him. The men really loved him.”
As Mr. Rushin finishes his garden chores, he remembers Boxy, too. “He was a good all-around gentle, humble guy.”
As he stands in the garden, beaming, he tries to explain what he finds there other than good things to eat.
“I get peace of mind. I relax. All my stress is gone. I spend hours out here, just messing around.”

blog 20140819dohomesymca5Michael Rushin shows off kale from the garden.

 blog 20140819dohomesymca4Rodney Tucker picks one of his favorite crops.

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