Monday, December 31, 2007

So close . . .

I'm telling you, if yesterday's game had really meant something to the Steelers, I would have been right on the money. Oh, well.

No predictions for the playoffs from me, I'm afraid. I don't know what the heck this team is going to do. Special teams, a porous defense, and no Willie Parker are likely to put much of the burden on the shoulders of Ben Roethlisberger. I think he is capable of leading them to victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars next week. Whether or not it will happen, however, I really don't know. I expect a good game. Hopefully, the Steelers will find a way to win it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Friday after Christmas . . .

Jim: I'm bored. Go out and quietly observe something so I can read about it on your blog.

Dave: I'm pretty bored myself. Other than Christmas, this has got to be the biggest week of nothing of the year. The time leading up to Christmas is always frenetic, Christmas comes and goes so quickly, and then blam! Nothing. And we're too old to get all tweaked up about New Year's Eve. Plus, you have kids, so no late night fun for you. And then January comes and it's dark and dreary until hints of spring start showing up in March. Life in our part of the country, I guess. It's freaking beautiful in Florida. Maybe I should move there.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

While you were being joyous and full of good cheer . . .

For those of you who might have missed this little news item during your holiday revelry, the final cost for the completion of the "Big Dig" (the nation's most complex and costliest highway project) in Boston came in at $14.8 billion. When the project began, the cost was expected to be $2.6 billion. That's a modest cost overrun of almost 470%. Four hundred and seventy percent.

Meanwhile, back here at home, the "Little Dig" is underway to bore the first of two holes below the Allegheny River between downtown and the North Shore at a projected cost of $435 million.

The meter's running.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Those Spears girls sure are fertile . . .

What are Jamie Lynn Spears's plans for her future baby? Well, she says she plans to raise the baby in her home state of Louisiana - "so it can have a normal family life."

Yeah. Uh, good luck with that.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Did you hear about this . . . ?

So, the much ballyhooed Mitchell Report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball came out yesterday. The report included a list of players allegedly linked to the drugs. There were names of Yankees and Red Sox and Dodgers and Phillies. But there were no names of Pirates on the list.

It's as if they're not even trying.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Your mother was right . . .

Never take candy from a stranger.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I don't mind losing, but . . .

The Patriots are a great football team. Maybe the best ever. But I would be hard-pressed to call them humble or classy. Starting with the smug coach and his gameday sweatsuits. Cheating asshole.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I was just thinking . . .

Sausage is weird.

But very tasty.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

But they're still digging that big hole under the river . . .

From today's Post-Gazette:

After long and heated debate, Allegheny County Council yesterday adopted a $727.5 million county budget for next year that includes a new 10 percent tax on poured alcoholic drinks and a new $2-a-day levy on car rentals.

Revenue from the new taxes is earmarked for public transit.

County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, who included the new taxes in his budget proposal to council, had vowed to veto any budget with a property tax increase.

Mr. Onorato last night called the budget "a victory for all property owners in Allegheny County," noting that it was the fourth consecutive year without an increase in the . . . property tax rate.

Well, it's a gamble for the County Chief Executive. He raised the price of poured drinks (which Pittsburghers love) in a continuing effort to not raise property taxes (taxes which Pittsburghers don't love). So, the question is, is all of this enough to pave the road to the governor's mansion for Danny Boy? And will he take public transportation there or rent a car?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Slip an extra Barbie on the barbie . . .

After being part of PNC Park since it opened in 2001, the Outback Steakhouse has closed. The Pirates say, "We're creating a new concept that will be open to all fans before, during and after all games." My suggestion: stop catering to the little kiddies and put a strip club in that space. Build it and they will come.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Actual photo from a corner in Philadelphia . . .

I used to visit Philadelphia every now and then. It's no wonder I don't anymore.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jim and Dave emailing about football . . .

Just as a reminder, Jim lives near Philadelphia and is an Eagles fan. I am still friends with him, despite that. If you have any knowledge of football, then this email exchange will make a lot more sense than if you don't.

Jim: I guess Andy Reid is a good coach to have won as many games as he has, but he is so frustrating because at the worst possible times he will do something that is so boneheaded and completely defies any kind of rational explanation. Honestly, I don't care how many times he's been to the NFC championship. If I was the owner, I would have fired his fat idiot ass on the spot last night. I wouldn't even have let him leave the field and go back into the locker room with the team.

Dave: I see. Coaches make moves like that all of the time. If they work, they're lauded. If not, they're roasted on radio talk shows for the next week. Cowher had his share of those moments, and Tomlin will, too. However, as an observer from afar, Reid does seem to have more than his share of them. Ultimately, I think, Feeley threw the interception, so it's on him. Come on, Jim, give Reid a break. He lives in a drug emporium.

Jim: He acts like he lives in a drug emporium.

I think I have to disagree when it comes to last night. How can you do a great job of putting your players in a position where they have a chance to win for 99% of the game, only to pull the rug out from under them at the very end and almost deliberately put them in a position to fail right at the exact moment where all of their hard work is about to pay off? I am a patient man, but that is not only inexcusable, it's inhumane. Michael Vick and Pacman Jones got suspended from the NFL for less.

Dave: Wow. Strong words. I hope I'm not as angry tomorrow as you are now.

I wish I lived in a drug emporium.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That's a pretty bitter berry . . .

Did you know that there is as much sugar in one scoop of canned cranberry sauce as there is in eight chocolate donuts? Wow. Well . . . Happy Thanksgiving.
From today's Post-Gazette:

The 500-ton cylindrical drill that will carve its way from the North Shore to the new Gateway Station, Downtown, and back began its journey slowly yesterday.

The massive machine, strapped into a red gantry crane, was lifted up, then carried forward as the crane inched its way along a red steel track into the starting pit opposite PNC Park.

Construction workers snapped photos with cameras and cell phones, but to uninitiated observers, it was almost impossible to tell it was moving.

So . . . now we know that this is definitely a Port Authority project.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Penguins could use some good karma . . .

Looks like the Lukester missed a pretty good photo op in the Hill District with some of the Penguins. But as we all know, the Boy Mayor often misses opportunities to meet with minorities in the area.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not a good day for Mr. Bonds . . .

Why so surly, Barry? What, is it that whole Federal Indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice thing? Don't sweat it, man. If everyone from the Bush administration can beat their charges, then you and a really good lawyer can, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Triumphant Return of Ronald Miller . . .

When he was making that awful 80s movie where he is a pizza delivery man who boinks his female customers who order extra anchovies, do you think that Patrick Dempsey thought that in 2007 he would be named one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive and that his nickname would be "McDreamy?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The leaves are finally falling, along with my morale . . .

Oh, I just can't stand that little twit. But life must go on. And the blog must go on. I don't have much to say, I'm sorry to report, despite having been on hiatus for a week. I suppose on the plus side, I now have at least two more years of the Lukester's shenanigans to make fun of. There should be plenty of photos for that. But, really, I'm just getting a little sick and tired of business as usual around this city. And I'm really sick of high-end condos being built all over the place. Yeah, they're nice and all, but who's going to live in them? Downtown continues to be plagued by tons of empty office space; the "non-profit" giants of the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC continue to make lots of money and scarf up property, and they still don't feel particularly compelled to pay property taxes on their growing empire; and the Pirates just bloody suck. It's a beautiful city with a tremendous landscape, decent people, and a great football team. But is that enough?

Friday, November 9, 2007

In response to the Lukester's victory, my blog is observing several days of silence in mourning for the City of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Election Day. Remember to vote early and vote often.

Yesterday there were two election messages left on my home answering machine. Unlike some voters, I did not get the taped message from Bob O'Connor's widow Judy endorsing the Lukester. Good thing. I did, however, get one from the Boy Mayor in which he introduced Dan Onorato to speak on his behalf. No surprise there, really. Onorato has been doing all the talking for months. Then later in the day, I got a message from Mark DeSantis. He spoke for himself.

I like him. Even though he is a Republican. But what does that even mean in Pittsburgh?! Sometimes the Democrats are more conservative than the Republicans. I'm told that the Lukester is pro-life and that DeSantis is pro-choice. In my opinion, they should both be pro-choice. But my guess is that despite the political label, DeSantis is more of a Democrat than the Lukester is.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Listen to Joe . . .

Who am I voting for in tomorrow's Mayoral election? Well, it's not going to be that Ravenstahl fellow, I can tell you that. I may be mean, but I'm not stupid.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

From the Sidney Chronicles . . .

Note: This little story will be more amusing to the people who know me really well than it will be to the rest of my vast readership. To them, I apologize in advance.

Last night when Sidney and I were coming to the end of a little stroll around the block, we came across a car parked in a place where it should not have been parked. To my surprise, Sidney stopped and growled at it. He kept growling at it as we walked by, looking back over his shoulder with contempt.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

When a bad quarter is still a pretty good quarter . . .

Exxon Mobil Corp. said this morning that its profit fell 10% in the third quarter from a year ago, when its profit was the second-largest ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The drop in net income (pure profit, baby) was from $10.49 billion to a humbling $9.41 billion.

Oil company executives in Houston had to be talked down from the window ledges outside of their ridiculously opulent offices. President Bush is expected to visit the region to determine whether it can be declared a national disaster area.

I'd rather have a dog . . .

Little Jimmy was just following the teacher's directions for the students to show her what they would do if their mother served them spinach for dinner.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In case you missed the big debate last night . . .

DeSantis: Are you using less product in your hair?

Lukester: Yes, as a matter of fact, I am. My wife the beautician says it makes me look more mature.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

That's just wrong . . .

This is Amy the Christian's dog Luther. Just be happy that I didn't post the photo of him from bee-hind.

To cut costs, the pilots have to clean their own windshields . . .

Damn bugs! I told you to spend the extra buck for the premium washer fluid!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is that the top of Cyril Wecht's head in the photo?

I've gotten four pieces of mail from this joker in one week. Once the election is over next Tuesday, I'm thinking about putting all of the full-color, glossy mail that I will have received by then in an envelope and mailing it to the Mayor's office.

Or, maybe to his home if he loses the election.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Boy Mayor relates well to young people . . .

Uh, listen, could you guys at least look at me for this photo? Come on, I'm the Mayor. And we're giving you each fifty bucks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just chillin' with some friends . . .

The Lukester avoids scheduled meetings with community leadership groups from the Hill District and the North Side, but he appears to have found time in his busy schedule for this photo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . .

Hey, Uncle Dan, when you're done talking to the old guy, can we go to Mount Washington to check out the neato view of the city? Can we, huh?

Doggie style . . .

Sonni, I adore you, but please, I'm begging you, eat a cracker.

Or a Scooby Snack. Whatever's handy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Busy day on the blog. I may have to take some time off to recover . . .

Long-lost friend Amy the Christian appeared in my email inbox today. Ironic, given that she attended the same misguided university at which Professor Kengor now professes (Grove City College). Anywho, she and I swapped a couple of emails about work, looking for better jobs, and our dogs, and I sent her a photo of Sidney and me. This was her reply:

ATC: Sidney is adorable. The End. Simply adorable. I suppose you now belong to that secret club of people who have to tolerate all the ignorami who insist on saying "dash-hund" rather than "doxen."

There is no better vocation than to be responsible for a dog. Even if I'm cursed with children someday, I will still believe that.

I think you are certainly looking well and very "academia." I hope your gross underemployment is at least still within education or counseling. Or sarcasm. You are gifted in all those areas.

And I'm not the only one . . .

FF says: It would appear to me that Professor Paul Kengor believes himself to be the sole magisterium of the Catholic church. NO, he does not accurately portray my Catholic beliefs which are so far to the left of what he is saying that I even wonder if I ever was a Catholic. And ask my mom about the Veritatis Splendor! She knows all about that big encyclical o' bullshite! And like most conservative, die-hard Catholic fundamentalists, and self-appointed Catholic moral authority, (that have probably only ever done it missionary style because that's how God said to), the almighty Professor Paul Kengor has taken the Veritatis Splendor literally in every way, shape and form and applied it to everyone but himself! I think he's insane. He's a nut job.

He's almost as bad as the Lukester . . .

My former college op-ed editor and drinking buddy Professor Kengor is starting to piss me off.

Ben is thinking . . .

Uh, Coach Tomlin, I dig your coaching style and all, but can we run Willie every now and then? You know, just to soften up the pass rush a little bit? Please? Coach?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I wonder if Professor Kengor knows what God REALLY thinks about Iraq . . .

Jim and I worked on the university student newspaper and were friends with a fellow named Paul Kengor. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Paul Kengor is an American conservative author and academic. A professor at Grove City College and the executive director of the College's The Center for Vision & Values, Kengor is widely popular with students and conservative readers.
Kengor is a frequent television political commentator and opinion page contributor, but is most known for his best selling books. He is the author of God and Ronald Reagan, God and George W. Bush and co-editor with Peter Schweizer of Assessing the Reagan Presidency. He is currently finishing a major work on
Ronald Reagan’s role in his administration’s effort to undermine the Soviet Union, and is also writing an authorized biography of former Reagan confidant and National Security Advisor William P. Clark, Jr..
Kengor earned his Bachelor and Ph.D. from the
University of Pittsburgh and his Masters from American University. In private life, he is married to Susan Kengor and has four children. He is a practicing Roman Catholic and avid Pittsburgh sports fan.

Paul was a Republican in college when it still sort of cool to be a Republican. But what's happened to him since then is somewhat startling (at least to me) because he is a very intelligent person. But apparently, in that time he also became a very devout Roman Catholic. And his faith has obviously had a profound effect on his life and his work.

Jim: Got email from Kengor today. He and Susan just had their 5th kid. He was responding to an email I sent him a few weeks ago. He used the opportunity to send me a press release promoting his new book about God and Hillary Clinton.

Dave: Paul has gotten a lot of money and fame from God and the Bushes, and God and the Clintons. Mostly God.

Friday, October 19, 2007

In today's postal mail . . .

I got a very nice, beautifully packaged, four-page brochure for a candidate in the upcoming Mayoral election. Some feller named Ravenstahl. Brochure says that he's "A Pittsburgh Story." Ever heard of him?

Halloween must be around the corner . . . even though the leaves haven't fallen from the trees, yet . . .

Finger food.

Get it?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I betcha he feels like . . .

Man rescued after falling into septic tank
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Associated Press

A 77-year-old Beaver County man has been rescued after falling head first into a septic tank at his son's business.

Paul Davidson says he arrived at his pizza shop in Frankfort Springs about 12:30 p.m. yesterday to find his father, Tom, had fallen into the tank. Mr. Davidson says his father was reaching to fix a pipe when he fell through a 2-foot-wide opening and went down about eight feet.

The tank contained only six inches of sewage. Emergency crews used a harness to get Mr. Davidson out about 2?? hours after he fell in.

A spokesman at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh says Mr. Davidson is in serious condition.

Uh, yeah. That sounds pretty serious to me.

Steely McBeam out in public . . .

If you like that, then you'll really like the steel beam that I carry around.

The Lukester needs food . . .

Hmmm. This lunch is not nearly as nice the ones I have gotten from the Penguins and UPMC.

What is that?! Grilled chicken?!

My horoscope for today . . .

The problem with being too philosophical is that it can be easy to get caught up in your own thoughts. Think too much about people's motivations and societal complications right now, and you will get overwhelmed by the sheer scope of things. Instead, turn your philosophical scope down to a pinpoint of light, and let it illuminate your personal life. For now, just focus on the people in your life and what they're thinking about. That will make you feel like you can make a difference.

I hate when that happens.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just emailing at work about private bathroom activities involving hair removal . . .

Dave: I like to keep some things private. I'll tell you that I trim my crazy fast growing nosehairs, but I don't want you to watch me doing it. It's dangerous work, anyway.

FF: You account for 85% of the laughter in my life.

Mark DeSantis just says "no" . . .

Yes, sir-ree. You fellas seem mighty thirsty. What exactly were you guys doing outside behind the building during the break?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wish you were there . . .

To tell you the truth, I don't even really like Toby Keith. But I just couldn't resist the chance to take out that Yukon with all of that cool high-tech spy stuff. I don't know what most of that stuff does, but the burgers and dogs were cooked to absolute perfection, my man.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today was a rough one . . .

FF: Are you eating on the phone with me?!

Dave: I'm having a Rolaids because I have heartburn from my life.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

In the mind of Mark DeSantis . . .

Seriously, does your hair ever move?! How much product do you put in your hair?! At least with my hairline, I really don't have to worry about that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, Captain, My Captain . . .

It is staggering to imagine how things could have been, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

I know, it's just not as glamorous as "Mr. President." But those dreams are going to have to remain in the lockbox.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gratuitous new doggie photo . . .

I bet this little fella learns more quickly than the Lukester.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, and one more thing . . .


Let's play "What is the Lukester thinking right now?"

He's smarter than me, he's richer than me, he has far more political experience than me. Heck, he's got more experience in general than I do. I'd be worried if he had hair like mine. The chicks dig the wet look.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A boy and his dog: the beginning . . .

Last week I adopted a dog. It is the first time I have welcomed a dog into my life since my last dog Fritz passed away nine years ago. He came to me from an organization that accepts, rescues, fosters, and finds homes for dachshunds all over North America. It's called Dachshund Rescue of North America ( In less than a week, there's already a lot to tell about Sidney. He's a little more than one year old, so while not technically a puppy, he is still a young little fellow. This afternoon during our walk, we strolled around a block in my neighborhood that he had not seen yet. And during that walk, I discovered that Sidney is afraid of fire hydrants. You heard me. Afraid of fire hydrants. That's like women being afraid of shoes. It just doesn't happen.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Oops . . . he did it again . . .

Mayor Bob O'Connor was beloved by many folks here in Pittsburgh. I am the first person to admit, however, that I did not vote for him. Ever. None of the three times that he ran for mayor, including the last time, which, of course, is when he finally won. But I am still very much aware of how popular a man he was in this city. After his untimely death, Boy Mayor Lukester ascended to the position and was seemingly embraced by Bob's former supporters. Well, now we see that that may be starting to change due to the Lukester's perceived arrogance and sense of entitlement.

My father is in the demographic that Bob appealed to the most (i.e., senior citizens). They like to vote (it's often the most important thing that they do on that particular Tuesday in May and November, other than play bridge at the local senior center with their senior buddies). They get up early, get dressed in nice clothes, and go to their local polling places to "do their duty as American citizens." My father is no different. He is a diligent voter. And despite the fact that he and my mother now spend half of the year in Florida (like many other folks his age), he requests absentee ballots when necessary.

What's the point of all of this talk about my father and older voters. Well, the Lukester pissed him off. So, now rather than just vote for him or not vote at all, my father and many other pissed off voters have another option. Mark DeSantis. Now, he's technically running as a Republican against the Lukester. But he's just doing that out of convenience, not out of any genuine party loyalty. And people like my father (who would never vote for a Republican other than, say, John Heinz) has requested an absentee ballot just so that he can vote for DeSantis in November when he is in Florida (Where, by the way, the recent temperatures have been lower than they've been here. Al Gore is right.).

The bottom line is that the Lukester really screwed the pooch on this one. He got an unearned and undeserved gift in the form of the mayor's office, and he's been pissing it away (usually when someone else is picking up the tab) ever since it looked like it was going to be clear sailing for him through November and for the next two years until the next mayoral election. But not so fast there, trigger. You have upset your older voters with your childish behavior and lack of maturity. And they just may ground you and take away your Homeland Security Yukon privileges next month.

Friday, October 5, 2007

In Mayor Lukester's world . . .

Well, it looks like I may have dodged a bullet with that whole "borrowing the Homeland Security Yukon without permission" thing. Now, I'd just like to take a moment to invite all my buddies, as well as all of you single ladies out there, to a major kegger at the Mayor's crib. You reporters are also invited, of course. Just don't bring those cameras with you, if you know that I mean.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I say, Beware of the insurance agents . . .

Now, that's a funny little internet ad.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'll tell you what you can do with your 50 lottery tickets and a Snapple . . .

People who make out loud complaints or "huffing" noises about other people at the counter when they are waiting in line are some of the most obnoxious people around, in my humble opinion. And they are usually pains in the ass to deal with once they get to the front of the line. Seriously, smoke some dope. Those waits in lines will seem like free entertainment.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Pirates are really just the opening act . . .

The Pirates sold out the truly meaningless next to last game of the season tonight, which features a performance by local favorite The Clarks after the Pirates lose, err, I mean, after the game. I'm telling you, PNC Park is a great place to see fireworks and musical concerts. It's a shame that they have to waste that beautiful venue with 81 baseball games every summer.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thanks for your support . . .

I have chosen not to post on my blog gratuitous photos of women in various states of undress, but I couldn't resist this one, only because it begs this very important question:

Does this "strapless" bra (bras? bra set?) really work? It can't possibly be very comfortable. I suppose it's pretty easy to take off.

For the women, too.

What they were REALLY thinking . . .

Mark DeSantis: Your ass is mine, you dimwitted little punk who did nothing to deserve being mayor of Pittsburgh. And nice eye contact, O'Connor-wannabe.

Luke Ravenstahl: If you think being smarter than me with far more political experience is enough to beat this wonderboy who inherited his position from the beloved Bob O'Connor, then you've got another thing coming. The people like me more than Peduto and they will like me more than . . . Hey, is that free food over there?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just stating the obvious . . .

The war in Iraq is costing America about 50 million dollars per month.

Meanwhile, back home in the States:

No health care for all.
Social service agencies experiencing major funding cuts.
People starving.
People homeless.
People unemployed.
Our infrastructure crumbling.
The housing market stumbling.

Of course, the stock market continues to rise, making the wealthy more wealthy.

Bush's family friend Osama bin Laden? Still out there somewhere. But we did capture and cause the beheading of the crazy Middle East leader who had nothing to do with 9-11.

Good work, George. How's your stock portfolio doing these days?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I smell progress . . .

Last night I officially joined the 21st century when I bought my first flip phone. Yes, yes, I know how incredibly behind the times I am. I'm like that. Slow and steady, dear readers. But the phone that I've had for several months was beginning to show signs of fatigue in the form of minor malfunctions, so I decided to embrace technology (although it's certainly not an iPhone) and this is my new phone. And I'm still well off the pace of most phones, since I opted to go with one that doesn't even have a camera, but it's still quite an upgrade from my previous phones. And it was only 30 bucks. I do like a bargain.

For the most part, I'm pretty pleased with my new MARBL (it even has a cool name), although I've always preferred the one-piece phones that don't flip, so that's going to take some getting used to.

The friendly sales associate in the technology department at Target was very helpful in my decision to buy this phone over some of the other models. However, I must tell you that he did not smell good. Not at all. He was dirty and smelly. He had obviously not showered in a couple of days, and his deodorant had given out on him sometime on Sunday, I would guess. He had long fingernails with dirt under them. He was a swell fellow, but I could smell him coming and going, and when I stood next to him, it was downright oppressive.

When I left the store and drove away, I sat at a light with the smell still swirling around my olfactory cavities, so I cranked the AC in an effort to get the stench out of my system. That seemed to work, but I couldn't help thinking to myself, how does a person get to be so stinky at a nice, clean store like Target without their co-workers and managers saying something to them? It's not like the deodorant aisle is that far from the technology department. He even could have bought a little sample-sized Speed Stick for under a dollar and slapped some of that (maybe all of that) under those puppies. Wow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jim and Dave emailing about the Elbow Room . . .

Jim: I'm not a mixed drink person (but I think you knew that), but I used to love their margaritas. Not frozen, on the rocks. That was a long time ago though and I'm sure they've had a few different bartenders since then. I still recommend trying one next time though.

Dave: Actually, I think they may have some of the same bartenders.

So, margaritas, huh? Very macho.

Jim: On the rocks. Not the frozen kind. The kind real men drink.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I love it when the boys play . . .

From today's

Attorneys for Tribune-Review publisher Richard M. Scaife have filed court papers demanding the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette return documents related to Mr. Scaife's divorce proceedings from his wife, Margaret Ritchie Battle Scaife. In response, the Post-Gazette, arguing that no court has the right to force a newspaper to surrender documents lawfully in its possession, has posted those documents online.

Sunday afternoon with the folks . . .

I was over at my parents' house today watching the second half of the Steelers game. (My prediction of an 11-5 season is looking very good so far.) While my mother and I watched the game in one room, my father was watching the Pirates game in the other. He may well be the biggest Pirates fan there is, but I was surprised that he was watching the game because, like me, he has lost interest in the team as their miserable season has worn on. I heard him clapping from the other room, and assumed that the Pirates were doing well. When I went in to see what was going on, I came in just in time to see Aramis Ramirez hit yet another home run against his former team, making the score 6-0 in favor of the Cubs. (The final score was 8-0.) I asked him when he had become a Cubs fan. He said, "I'm a fan of whoever is playing the Pirates at this point. I hope they lose every game for the rest of the season." Well, they've now lost nine in a row, with six games to play, so that just might happen.

Even my father has been beaten down by that team.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Snakes in the grass . . .

I don't go out drinking much anymore. But since yesterday was my last day working with my co-worker, I agreed to meet him at the Elbow Room at five for drinks. We had a very nice time, drinking, talking, getting to really know each other, ironically on the last day of our working relationship. After some time, he decided to head for home, and I stayed behind for one last beer.

While I was finishing it off and watching the closed captioned version of Larry King on the TV mounted above the bar, I couldn't help but hear the three guys perched next to me at the bar. They had been there for a while, and were plenty lubed up, much like myself. However, they were talking loudly among themselves, and one of the topics was the large table of young Asian women apparently celebrating someone's birthday. Dear readers, I must tell you that I could not believe my ears as I listened to them make derogatory remark after derogatory remark about "Chinese" people. I don't even know if these women were Chinese, but it doesn't matter. These guys were unbelievably obnoxious and offensive. I just hoped that the birthday party gathering couldn't hear them, although I suspect that they could.

I was embarrassed. Embarrassed for the assholes next to me, embarrassed for the young women, and embarrassed for myself that I had to be there. It practically undid all of the good fellowship that I had just spent with my new friend. It reminded me of one of the reasons why I don't go out drinking much anymore: people. Take what appear to me perfectly normal people and add a bit of alcohol, and presto, you've got assholes. Loud, obnoxious assholes.

The apparent ringleader of the threesome, who didn't seem to be able to separate himself from his Blackberry, never seemed to stop talking. He took shots at the women, he made unpleasant remarks about a "black woman that he once dated," and he just continued to spew venomous words of small-mindedness. I hated him. If my co-drinker had not left, I most surely would have said something to him. But I was clearly outnumbered, and the threesome seemed to be regulars who knew the bartenders. So, I was not in a very good position to interject with my opinions about what a bunch of fucking douchebags they were. But I sure did want to.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I bet he's faster than a dog without wheels . . .

To me, this little fellow is far more precious than he is sad. It's truly amazing how dogs learn to adapt as if there's nothing wrong with them at all. If only we humans were so flexible.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jim and Dave emailing about my blog . . .

I want to punch Steeler baby.

Who is that guy on your blog anyway? Should I know him?

Not Steelerbaby!

He's the CMU professor who claims to have invented the emoticon 25 years ago yesterday.

Then I hate that guy too.

Arrr, matey.

If you didn't know, today was National Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'd like to know which day is National Dave Gets Asked Out on a Date by Jennifer Aniston Day.

Cooler than Steely McBeam . . .

Two wins into the season and the Steelers are looking good. And without the help of videotape from Bill Belichick's vast personal video library. So, that can only mean one thing . . . It's time to bring out Steelerbaby.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I can see the resemblance . . .

I hate this guy.

The Curse of Sid Bream . . .

As the 15th straight losing season draws to a merciful close for my hometown Pirates, I exit the season with absolutely no hopeful expectations for next year. I got suckered in at the end of last season, and it ended up causing me to make one of the most failed predictions of my prognosticating history. Not to mention resulting in my personal boycott of the Pirates that began June 11, after the embarrassingly lopsided, three-game weekend sweep of the Buccos by the Yankees in New York.

Not this time, dear readers. I have learned my lesson. The last time the Pirates were a respectable, no, a great baseball team, it all ended with a photo-finish slide, orchestrated on the reconstructed knees of one of my old favorites in Sid Bream. With that fortuitous slide, the Pirates were thereby cursed. The Pirates (and I) have never been the same.

(Comic credit: The very appropriate comic above was brought to my attention by FF.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Don't they sell products for that on the internet?

I drove behind a Hummer H3 today. It was shiny and black. It had a sign for "Heard's Tree Service" on either side of it. And the license plate (which was not personalized, to my surprise) was in a frame that said "Harvard Business School."

Honestly, you don't have to go to so much trouble, dude. I get it. You've got money. Congrats. Really. I'm happy for you.

But Apple still isn't going to give you $200 back for the iPhone that you probably made your assistant wait in line to buy you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

iPhucked . . .

I just heard yesterday that Apple has lowered the price of its iPhone by $200. That seems a bit soon after its much-hyped, initial release just a couple of months ago. These companies usually wait at least a year before they lower the cost of a new and exciting product like this amazing, life-changing little gadget. What are they thinking? Apple users are some of the most fiercely loyal consumers out there, and Apple just thumbed their noses at them. Especially the ones who waited in line all day and night to be one of the first to pay the full $600 price for one. It doesn't seem like good business to me, but what do I know? My cell phone only cost $9.99, and should the company decide to lower that price by one-third, I will be just fine with that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I wouldn't call it road rage, but . . .

Great googalee moogalee. Does anyone in this town use their turn signals anymore?! And I don't mean those folks who sit at a red light and then suddenly put on their left turn signal just as the light turns green. That so doesn't count.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Speaking of that hair style . . .

Email between me and my friend Jim, who lives outside of Philadelphia:

Dave: Do you see much of that hair style in your part of the Commonwealth?

Jim: You will never see as many goofy hair styles for women as you do in Pittsburgh.

He's right, you know. Unless you're watching old episodes of "Cops" on Court TV. Now, those hair styles are scary.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stories from the Hill . . .

My co-worker and I were working with our young people today and talking about how best to market themselves in their resumes for jobs that they might like to do. It was a lively discussion at the end of the day filled with much good humor. One young woman said to a young man, "You could be a street pharmacist." Now, how do you phrase that on a resume?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The word from Delphi is . . .

With the first Sunday of the new football season drawing to a close, I realized that I had failed to make a prediction about the Steelers regular season record. So, with one win already, my prediction is 11-5.

At the beginning of last season, amidst all of the hype surrounding the Steelers' Super Bowl defense and then Ben's motorcycle accident, I predicted that the team would finish 8-8. Those with whom I shared my prediction were not convinced. That is, until the end of the season.

Does this hair style have a name?

Dark hair underneath and platinum blonde on the outside. Whose brilliant idea was this?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stories from the Hill District . . .

Two of the young men with whom I work at my new job were telling me last week that after they smoke, they like to eat Cheetos and drink Gatorade.

Personally, I prefer Doritos and cold green tea.

In today's email inbox . . .

From a friend who works at the library:

A guy returned a book at the library yesterday about Cannabis and inside the book was a subpoena for him to attend a trial regarding drug possession.

Another guy returned 15 books with musical orchestrations in them from classical pieces and so I asked him if he was a musician.
"What do you play?"
"The violin."

"I played that in middle school."
"Well, you know, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."
He didn't find that as amusing as I did.

We have a harmless but always drunken older black man who comes into the library to listen to the Temptations on the computer. He goes by the name Brother George. We call him Temptations Man. He tends to become rather passionate while listening to the Temptations and frequently gets up from his seat and while connected to the computer by his earphones begins to dance in place and sing the lyrics to the songs. He was kicked out on Wednesday while singing "My Girl". He's not allowed to come back for a month. When he was told this while we escorted him out of the building he began crying in slurred speech, "You're taking my Temptations away from me."

Friday, September 7, 2007

It's about bloody time . . .

Bye, Dave. The airport is that way.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Can he even vote for Luke in November?

It's kind of late in what city government folk call the "street repaving season," but guess which relatively new resident of Pittsburgh is getting a brand new paving job done on the street right outside of his brand new house? I'm not saying that it's Mike Tomlin. But it's Mike Tomlin.

Do you think the Boy Mayor is trying to score some primo seats, compliments of the new head coach?

And speaking of dogs . . .

When did really small white dogs become a women's accessory? I don't get it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

About best friends . . .

I've been thinking about Fritz. A lot. Fritz was my dog during the "most important years of my life." My "transitional years." And after I finally moved into my first apartment in college, Fritz came to live with me. We lived together for a couple of years while he grew very old, and deaf, and blind, and finally he just couldn't keep defying death just to be there for me. So, I still think about him. Sometimes more than others. Lately, a lot. I've started looking at dogs online for the first time since Fritz (although in his day, you didn't look at dogs "online"). When I was looking earlier tonight, the tears were just rolling down my face and dripping onto my shirt. It's so transparent. I'm losing someone, something very important to me (even though it's the natural order of things, to be sure, and I know that). But here I am looking at online dogs and getting weepy over the ones that look like Fritz.

And it had to be in the fall.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Does Brooklyn have another tree that we can borrow?

My new job is in the Hill District. People my age and older may know about the great TV show in the 80s called "Hill Street Blues." The "NYPD Blue" of its time, if you will. Like NYPD Blue, it was created by Steven Bochco, who attended Carnegie Mellon and who based Hill Street Blues on the Hill District, presumably the Pittsburgh Police Zone 2 Station, which I drive by everyday. If you remember the show, and even if you don't, let me tell you that the Hill District is depressing. Boarded-up houses and storefronts everywhere. And no trees. Seriously, it's so sunny in the Hill because there are no big, leafy trees lining the street or scattered about in people's yards. There are no trees. When I'm driving to work, I pass through Oakland and all of its trees and vitality, and then as I pull up to work, I can see some of the taller buildings beaming ahead in nearby downtown. But in the Hill . . . there's just sun, and heat, and there are no trees. When I'm there, I really have no idea where I am. I'm not even sure that I know what I'm doing there.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

End of summertime blues

It is September first, and it is an absolutely perfect, beautiful day in Pittsburgh. I'm told by people who know weather that this weekend, we are expected to have some of the best weather in the country. Despite what everyone thinks or says, we do get some of the good stuff here nestled among the hills and the river valleys of Southwestern Pennsylvania, in the gateway between the East Coast and the Midwest.

As glorious as the weather is, today marks the beginning of fall for me. I can feel it. So, while I relish the perfection of the day, deep down inside of me somewhere, there will be a little itch of discomfort that knows summer is over. It abandons me every year. But I always forgive it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

One year later

Alas, fellow Pittsburghers, we will never know what the city might have been like under this man.

Instead, we're stuck with this joker. And his team of top notch advisers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Bob was so excited that the beautiful Linda had finally agreed to "look at his CD collection" in his bedroom that he grabbed her up right off the ground to whisk her away. But then he noticed that she was wearing red rubber shoes.

He was rather deflated by his discovery.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I have a question . . .

What the fuck is that?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

There's no sense in the Champagne Room

Am I like the last person to hear about our Boy Mayor and his juvenile hi-jinx with some buddies at a strip club? Jeepers. First the golf outing. Now, some strippers. Luke appears to have developed a fondness for holes surrounded by well-manicured bushes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I want to know if it's the Feds at the door

So, today was my first official day at my new job. I had been looking for a new job for a while, and this one came along at the right time on the right day. So here I am. I'm wondering how my blog may suffer from my impending case of chronic exhaustion. Anyway, that's not at all what this blog is about. I'm sure my job will produce plenty of fodder for future blogs, so there's no need to force one on this occasion. However, while I was at the location of my new job, I was meeting some new people who I won't work with, but who also work in the same location. You know what I mean, and even if you don't, it doesn't matter. So, I meet this very nice older woman (who actually knows my father, but that's also a story for another day) who gives me a couple of pamphlets for her organization, which provides free installation of security and safety hardware for those with low incomes and bad neighborhoods. They provide things like smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, and door peepholes.

I open one of the pamphlets and see that there is a chart that shows the income guidelines for a household of one person through eight people. The cut-off for an eight-person household was $61,100. I'm not going to tell you the cut-off for a one-person household because I qualified. And by a comfortable margin. So, I'm thinking to myself about how I'd really like a peephole for the front door of my condo. I don't have one, and I think that they are an excellent security measure. For anyone. I don't want to spend the money to have one installed by a professional peephole installer. But I can't possibly apply to get one for free because of my income level. I work there, after all.

I sure would like a peephole.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I have abandonment issues. There. I said it. It's out there. When I make real connections with people and I let them into the inner circle, then it means something. I have a ton of acquaintances. I know people all over this city. I could probably run for mayor. But I have very few close friends. And as happens in life, when you move or go to college or get jobs in different cities, people who have become an important, if not integral, part of your life sometimes have to leave it physically. Which is certainly hard enough to deal with on its own. What may be even harder to adapt to is the change that often accompanies that relationship that moves it from what I would term a "daily" friendship to more like a "weekly" friendship. Or even a "monthly." Or a "yearly." Phone calls turn to emails, which turn into . . . well, every situation is different, of course. But this is what happens.

Even with a backdrop of psychological-grade abandonment issues, I have been placed in situations throughout my life thus far where I have had to say good-bye to people who were once members of that inner circle. You have to say good-bye for any number of reasons, but the underlying theme is always the same: they are leaving. Leaving for another high school. Leaving for another country. Leaving for college. Leaving for the Army. Leaving to return to their home from college. Leaving you for somewhere else. Or someone else. Leaving because they died. Leaving because they've met their future spouse. Leaving because their spouse is now their new best friend. Leaving because they want a spouse and a new best friend. All leaving.

And by now, I'm well-versed in the routine. I see the signs of a future leaving well in advance of its actual occurrence. But inevitably it happens. And I have to find a way to channel that energy, that emotion, that time, that commitment into something else. And the periods between those outlets can be a very difficult time. Depressing. Lonely. Boring. Drunk. But you find a way, and life goes on. You don't envy the happiness (sometimes not so happy) that others have found in their committed relationships and eventual marriages. You may envy that they have dogs. Or maybe a very special cat who could do commercials and who reminds you a little bit of your last dog. Who also left. And who may be the hardest leaving of them all, when it's all said and done. And may be proven by the fact that the first tear just appeared as I was composing that last sentence. What can I say? Dogs get me every time. And the friends, both the now and the then, know just how much that's true.

So, I just keep going, doing my best to adjust as my life and my relationships shift every now and then, and I remain what some have even called "the constant." I'll be here. I'll be in Pittsburgh. I'll be teaching someone something, and I'll be learning something myself. I'll be having fun, and I'll be regretting a thing or two along the way. I may get into a little trouble every now and then, but never anything serious. And I'll be sitting quietly somewhere, having a cocktail or just driving around, and I'll be observing. Because that's what I do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Has anyone checked to see if Millvale is still there?

I had the weirdest dream last night. Morgan Freeman came to my condo and told me to build an ark.

So, I guess I should probably go to Home Depot today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

PNC Park: the Best Place to Watch Fireworks

Last night at PNC Park, a capacity crowd of 37,072 witnessed what I'm told was an outstanding fireworks show. Unfortunately, they were forced to watch a Pirate game first.

Friday, August 17, 2007

We don't like it when you steal our tax money and murder doggies

After a few quiet days, dear readers, I thought I'd at least make an appearance to end the work week with a few "farewells" to a couple of people who are finally going to be going to trial for their alleged crimes. And by most accounts, it looks like they're pretty much screwed.

So, to Twanda Carlisle and Michael Vick: enjoy your remaining days of freedom. You probably won't end up in a high security prison, but it's still gonna suck. And you both deserve it.

But, on a positive note, I will leave you with some words of wisdom from Walt Disney himself, who said, "You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hello, Feds? It's me, Margaret.

Have you been following this story? The one about the government's wire-tapping program and all of the folks who are suing because they think that they were targets of the program. Oh, that crazy George and his notions about what the government can do to monitor the behavior and speech of its citizens. I'm not talking about Bush, of course. I'm talking about George Orwell. You know, the guy who wrote 1984 and Animal Farm. Does anyone read anymore?

Speaking of animals as metaphors, I certainly hope that the government hasn't been monitoring me while I've been ordering monkeys from internet companies in Great Britain and Amsterdam. That would certainly suck. Oh, hold on. Someone's at the door. I'll be right back . . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Good-bye, Mr. Bonds

Top notch story by Ron Cook in today's Post Gazette:
I liked it so much that I wrote him a little note:
Mr. Cook:

Nice story about Bonds in today's paper. I've been watching and listening to Bob Pompeani, Bob Smizik, and yourself talking about Bonds and the early 90s Pirates over the last couple of weeks, and it has honestly given me chills to see the way your faces light up when you watch clips of that team and talk about them. I feel the same way, and it just makes what's happened since then all the more painful to endure.

As Bonds's comments indicate, the ownership of the team was no better then than it has been under McClatchy/Nutting. The difference was that Sid Thrift knew how to draft, trade for, and develop talent. Once the CEO ownership group drove him out of town, it was the beginning of the end. We just had the pleasure/pain of watching the players finish their contracts and then leave, one by one.

As I like to say about all of the ridiculous, unwarranted criticism of Bonds's final play as a Pirate, if it had been Jason Bay out there in left, he would have just lobbed the ball into second. At least Bonds tried for home.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Breaking News: For Real

I just heard on NPR that Karl Rove, Bush's longtime advisor since his days as the paper Governor of Texas, is resigning from his position.

After he made the announcement, he was said to have disappeared in a puff of sulfur-laced smoke and a trailing laugh that sounded remarkably like Vincent Price.

Can we leave Iraq now, George? Please?

The rites of autumn

The days are getting shorter, dear readers. Despite the recent hot and steamy weather, make no mistake, the cool autumn breezes are gathering just around the corner. This is not the easiest time of year for me, as I suffer from some form of seasonal affective disorder. Spring and summer are my seasons. On those particularly unpleasant hot days when all anyone can do is complain about the heat, I embrace it (and put on a little extra deodorant) because I know that when January and February roll around and we're stuck in what seems like the eternal dead of winter, I will covet those hot days.

Another clear indication that summer is coming to an end is the annual ritual that is the return of the college students. With two fine universities (one a little finer than the other) in close proximity to me, I can see the shift in the local population as more young people are flitting about. Plus, there are all those U-Haul trucks parked up and down the streets. But I knew for certain that the college students were returning on Friday night when I was awakened by the sound of a beer bottle being dropped out of a car driving by and onto the street outside my window. Those crazy kids and their fun.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday morning musings

You might think that at my age and level of life experience that there would not be that many lessons still to be learned. But recent events in my life have proven otherwise. And without going into any unnecessary detail (plus, it's none of your freaking business), let me sum of my thoughts thusly:

I have recently come to believe that while it may be easy to get really mad at someone about whom you care very much (friends and lovers), it seems to be hard to stay really mad at them.

Call it the effect of history together or the weight of the investment that you've both put into cultivating those relationships. But whatever it is, I hope that it's more common than I might have thought.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Missed it by THAT much

Did you see it? Bonds hit number 758 against the Pirates last night in San Francisco. Again, at least it wasn't number 756. But my prediction was just two off. Whew.

The Pirates have to play the Giants for the next four games in a row, although Bonds is not expected to play in all of them, perhaps even including the double-header here in Pittsburgh on Monday. Still, I wonder how many more bombs he's going to accumulate at the expense of the beleaguered Buccos.

Oh. The Pirates actually won the game. But, really, does anyone, anywhere even care anymore? Not me, that's for sure. I didn't even watch the game. Moments ago, I caught the highlights (read: the Bonds homerun) on ESPN.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's just water over the bridge

After yesterday's barrage of intense and destructive storms, today is the day when we all start playing the blame game and pointing fingers at anyone who doesn't appear to be packing. That's all fine and good, and we all enjoy playing Monday morning quarterback in this burgh. However, let me tell you something, dear readers. I have no personal or political agenda here, because I think everybody involved is a doorknob. But if you look at the areas that were hardest hit by the flooding that took place, you realize that those areas are situated downstream from other areas of our region that have been undergoing what we affectionately refer to as "development." We just love that word, development. It sounds like such as positive thing. But while all of this great development, both commercial and residential, has been going on in recent years, environmental experts have been warning us that this unbridled development was going to have an effect on the rest of our region's ecosystem.

I'm not making this up, folks. I read the papers and watch the news about as much as an average person, and I actually read what these people say. And they always warn us. And now we're seeing the direct result of all of this development. We've messed with our topography in every direction, and now the earth can't handle the damage that we've done. This was bound to happen. It's sort of a microcosm of the effects that global warming is having on the entire planet.

Now, I live in the city, and the worst thing that happened to me yesterday was that my power went out for about an hour and a half in the late afternoon. Even with the two monsoons that blew through here yesterday morning and afternoon, there wasn't even water coming into my basement from the overrun sewer system. And if you know anything about Pittsburgh's sewer system, then you realize that that's a pretty impressive feat. So, why none of the hardcore problems in the city that they had outside of it? Well, that's an easy one. Because there's no significant "development" in the city. And, despite what the politicians might say, maybe it's actually better that way.

Wait a second. Wait just one second. Does the Tunnel of Love count as development? Well, let's see. We're going to dig under the Allegheny River (lots of water there) and build two channels big enough for a lame subway to run to and from the North Shore. That won't affect our city's ecosystem, will it? No, no. I'm sure somebody did extensive studies on that before they ordered the big hole-digging machine from Germany. Right?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

He looks like a human bobble-head and sounds like a porn star

I didn't enter the contest to name this fellow, but had they asked, I would have suggested the "Mauler." But I can see where that would not necessarily have been a welcome idea.

I imagine that this fellow will last around here about as long as a starting quarterback who throws three interceptions in two straight losses.

Art Rooney II looks like he's choking back a little vomit in this photo, don't you think?