With Labor Day marking the end of summer vacation, let's sort through queries in the MMM (Mythological Morning [File] Mailbag) and review the past few months' local news for benefit of those who may have been away enjoying New Orleans, Damascus and other sunny spots.
Q: Every year I look forward to the prospect of losing my Port Authority bus service, based on voluminous news stories about it, because it means I will finally get in shape by walking a few miles to and from work every day. Why can't these people make good on their promises and help me live a longer, healthier life?
A: To their credit, in March 2011 Port Authority officials did follow through on their vows to reduce service by 15 percent, but in general you are correct about their "mass transit service that cried wolf" routine. Gov. Tom Corbett, doing the best Ed Rendell impersonation he's ever delivered, has even assisted them in the chicanery this time. So Pittsburghers like you are stuck once again being overweight, out of shape and with relatively convenient bus service. But next time you hear about service cuts, it'll be for real. Really. Don't think otherwise for a second.
Q: I opened my Sports section and turned on my sports talk radio station hoping, like every July and August, for nothing but Steelers information, but Pirates blather keeps getting in the way. Why should we football fans have to put up all of a sudden with this baseball talk in the middle of summer? Can I at least still count on getting my regular Steelers fix if one of them gets publicly drunk or arrested or sued?
A: Now, now, don't get your Terrible Towel all knotted up. There's plenty of room in this town for multiple sports obsessions. The Pirates were kind enough a year ago to fade away when Steelers' exhibition games were starting. Now they're just testing whether it's worth keeping everyone's attention into the start of the regular season. If they violate a secret pact with the Rooneys by actually competing into October, well, then we've got a multitasking fan focus problem, but let's cross that Roberto Clemente Bridge when we come to it.
Q: That Joe Paterno statue removed from outside Penn State's football stadium would look really cool in my front yard. Whom do I talk to about obtaining it?
A: Just keep checking eBay, and it could be yours before you know it.
Q: I was eagerly planning to return to the University of Pittsburgh to attend classes this fall, because last spring I was able to miss so many of them without being penalized, due to the bomb threats. I could stay up late partying every night without worrying I'd fail some test the next morning, as the test was inevitably postponed. What am I supposed to do to enjoy college life, now that they've caught someone in Dublin in connection with the bombings?
A: It's a shame that the concerns about the disruptions from thousands of students, professors and administrators has to ruin things for the group of attendees like yourself who are trying to enjoy the active socialization long associated with public institutions of higher education. If you have trouble enjoying those aspects at Pitt this semester, you may want to consider transferring to West Virginia University.
Q: I'm an anti-government conspiracy nut who has been living "off the grid" for the past couple decades, with no driver's license, birth certificate, Social Security number, legible fingerprints or past history of ever voting. But Paul Ryan has me so inspired that I'm determined to vote in November. That's not going to be a problem when I arrive at the polls, is it?
A: Unfortunately, Pennsylvania's new voter identification law has caught innocent victims like you in its net, instead of only its intended target of blacks, immigrants, the impoverished elderly and others who would lean Democratic. If you're just judicious about which voting precinct you visit on Election Day -- Upper St. Clair or Fox Chapel would be my suggestions -- and tell them who you intend to vote for, you may be able to slide through. Good luck.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255.