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?

3678 American deaths in Iraq. And counting.

Busy morning. Lots to talk about. I decided to do something this morning between coffee mug number one and coffee mug number two that I hadn't done since the debacle in Iraq began. Fortunately for me, I only know one person firsthand who is or was in the military. He's my age, and coincidentally, he left our shared university for basic training very shortly after the first invasion of Iraq took place under the first George Bush. So, I found the website on that tracks the deaths in Iraq, and with some hesitancy (thankfully assisted by my slow internet service), I searched the P's for his name.

Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II, 36, from Manteca, California.
Cpl. Cory L. Palmer, 21, from Seaford, Delaware.
Spc. Eric C. Palmer, 21, from Maize, Kansas.
Cpl. Joshua D. Palmer, 24, from Blandinsville, Illinois.

But thankfully, no Douglas Palmer from Pittsburgh.

I haven't had any contact with Doug for a very long time. Not long, in fact, after he had become a proud member of the elite Army Rangers. But I was still glad that his name wasn't on that list.

If you'd like to perform a similar search, just to make sure, about someone that you know or used to know who is or was in the military, this is the place to do it:

I hope you find the same relieving result that I did.

Wake up and smell the steroids

And while I'm thinking about Barry Bonds, dear readers, let me just say this. Pittsburgh sports fans pride themselves on their knowledge of their sports (read: football). However, there is one topic which never seems to get reconciled properly for those same fans (read: Yinzers). They cry and bemoan and gnash their teeth on the local sports talk shows about what a cheater Barry Bonds is because he may or may not have taken performance enhancing substances. And yet, they all seem to turn a cataract-ridden eye to the Steelers of the 1970s. If they don't think that some of the big men from their beloved Super Steelers and their four Super Bowls didn't take steroids or the like, then they're just plain stupid. They did, folks. Sorry. I know we don't like to talk about that around here because of how revered those teams and the players on them were, but there is plenty of information out there to suggest that they did. Sure, there's no quantitative evidence of that. But then again, the same is true thus far for Barry Bonds. So, shut up and watch your Steelers pre-season games and make your annual boastful Super Bowl predictions. There's a better than average chance that there's still at least one person in that locker room who's taking performance enhancing substances right now. But you probably could care less. As long as they win.


Barry Bonds is the best baseball player I ever saw, and I, for one, will not apologize for that.

I saw a lot of him when he was with the Pirates from 1986-1992, which, at this point, seems like a very long time ago.

At least I was wrong with my prediction, and I didn't have to suffer the eternal pain of watching him hit number 756 against the crumbling franchise that I used to call my Pittsburgh Pirates. In this case, I don't so much mind being wrong.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday afternoon email about skibbees

FF: I put my underwear on inside out today. I've now made this mistake three times this week . . . and I'm not even smoking.

Dave: I thought that's what the tag is for. They sure do help me.

FF: Yes, but when you wear skimpy little underwear like I do, and it takes a Masters degree just to figure out how to unravel the damn things once you pull them out of the over-stocked underwear drawer, and it's 7:45 in the morning, and the coffee hasn't kicked in, and you are over 30 . . . well, you get the point. I'm putting my underwear on backwards. It could be worse. I could be forgetting it all together.

Dave: Are they inside out or on backwards? I require clarification.

FF: Inside out. I've been putting them on inside out -- although I have put them on backwards before. Specifically, the Gap pairs, because they are tagless and the part that covers the p-hole is nearly the same size as the part that covers the a-hole, so you can see how easily that mistake can be made.

So many jokes. So. Many. Jokes.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

"20,000 Leagues Under the Allegheny"

Look at the plan for the "T Tunnel." This is going to be great fun.

Feel free to click on it to get a better look.

I think the Pirates are losing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More Tunnel talk

I forgot to make a prediction in my first (of many, perhaps) post about the "North Shore Connector" Port Authority tunnel project.

As I stated in that post, the estimated cost going in was $435 million. When, and if, the project is completed, I predict the final cost will be more than $1 billion.

$1 billion.

With all of the budgetary problems PAT is experiencing, I wonder if there will be any bus routes still in service to take folks to the nearest T station.