Tube City Almanac

January 21, 2005

Bits 'n Bytes

Category: default || By jt3y

Things I found on the Internet while looking for other things:

During my mediocre career as a newspaper reporter, I had many occasions to deal with local police departments. And now that he's retired, there's no chance (I don't think) of being accused of a conflict of interest by saying that I enjoyed dealing with Chuck Henaghan, the former police chief in North Huntingdon Township.

That's not to say that he always answered my questions --- because he didn't. Or that I always asked reasonable questions --- because I didn't. Yet that's the give-and-take between the government and the "free press" in the U.S. that you expect, and Chief Henaghan was always professional about it. Plus he never lied to me. You might say, "big deal," but, believe me, it is.

I'd like to think that the respect was mutual. When I told him that I was leaving the newspaper business, Chief Henaghan said, and I quote: "That's too bad. You were one of the few reporters I deal with who wasn't a pain in the ass."

I'm going to use that on my tombstone.

And, he tells great stories, like the ones he told Norm Vargo in a profile for the Post-Gazette:

"Just two weeks on the job, and there I was raiding the Pagans," recalled Henaghan, who retired Jan. 3 after 35 years on the township force, the past 14 as chief. "I was at the Mason Apartments on Route 30. Sgt. Frank Baker tossed me a shotgun and told me to go around the back of the building and hide. If anyone ran out, I was supposed to stop them. I remember thinking, 'Stop a Pagan? Me? How? Do I shoot 'em. trip 'em, or what?'"

You'll have to read the story to see what happened next. Happy retirement, Chief.


Speaking of Norm Vargo, have I mentioned he's got a book out? Shame on me.

It's a great little paperback called Stadium Stories: Pittsburgh Steelers, and it collects some of Vargo's favorite behind-the-scenes tales of covering the Steelers from the bad old days before Chuck Noll became coach, right through the present day.

Vargo, of course, is the former sports editor of the Daily News and a heck of a nice guy. The book's a quick read, and the price is right (less than $9).


Also from North Huntingdon comes word via Craig Smith in the Tribune-Review that the old Murphy's Mart near the Turnpike is about to be bulldozed to make way for a Target.

Meanwhile, Mark Belko reports in the P-G that the Downtown Pittsburgh G.C. Murphy store would likely be turned into housing under the latest redevelopment plan.

Sic transit gloria Murphy's?


For Christmas, an old friend gave me a copy of Berke Breathed's Opus, a collection of Sunday comic strips featuring the eponymous penguin from "Bloom County," "Outland" and "Opus." I was a big "Bloom County" fan, and was curious to see how the strips held up. Quite well, in fact. Better than Breathed's newer stuff, unfortunately.

In a related matter, I stumbled over this webpage devoted to "Bloom County"'s fictional Banana Jr. computer. Maybe you have to be a fan of the comic strip to appreciate it, but I found it funny.

The rest of the site is worth a look, too. It has screen captures and information about various early personal computers with desktop-style operating systems --- "GUIs," or "graphical user interfaces," in other words.


To Do This Weekend: Other than shoveling snow? ... "Acoustic Mayhem" plays on Saturday night at Perrone's Ristorante, 13380 Lincoln Way, North Huntingdon. Call (724) 863-1900. ... the Pittsburgh Jitter-Bug Club hosts the Al Lewis Orchestra (presumably not led by Grandpa Munster) at The Palisades, Fifth Avenue at Water Street, Our Fair City, at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 per couple or $8 a person. Call (412) 678-6979.

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