Friday, February 26, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DAVE: Did you happen to hear what Tony Kornheiser said about Hannah Storm last week? I missed it, and I'm just curious.

JIM: Heard about it on the radio this morning. Apparently, he criticized the way that she dresses and pointed out how inappropriate he thinks it is for someone her age. And wasn't very nice about it. I'm guessing the issue is more with publicly criticizing a co-worker that he has to work with more than anything else. If he would have said the same things about any woman who works for another network, it probably wouldn't have been as big a deal. But that's just a guess.

DAVE: I've thought that before about Hannah Storm.

Of course, her choice of outfits has also sometimes caused me to imagine what it would be like to throw her over the back of a couch and . . . talk sports.

JIM: You could probably google the issue if you wanted more info. And google pictures of Hannah Storm.

DAVE: As it stands now, I get to see Hannah when I watch SportsCenter in the morning, so I'm good. Love those knee-high leather boots.


You'll have to google the Hannah pics on your own.

DAVE: Thank you.

I saw the outfit. It was pretty bad.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two and a half weeks after the storm . . .

DAVE: My dentist asked me today why there is still snow in the right-hand lane of Fifth going outbound between Aiken and Negley.

BP: Sent it in every day since last Friday – no response.

After learning from my blog that I had left the doggie daycare . . .

JIM: But what will you do with your wool socks?

DAVE: Funny you should ask. Historically, I have not been a big fan of socks. This you may remember from college. But I have really taken to my wool socks. They are not as itchy as wool socks used to be. And they are pretty easy to pull on and off, which is a small but significant thing because my age, my belly, and my bad left shoulder sometimes make putting on socks a little challenging. They are warm, which is an obvious plus in the winter, and most importantly, because they are thicker than my normal socks, my shoes seem to fit better. I will still need them, I can assure you. I will be walking dogs outside for [my new employer].

JIM: Well, that is all good news. I was afraid those socks were going to languish in your sock drawer and go to waste.

DAVE: You know, they make my shoes fit so much better than the flimsy little socks I wear when I wear socks that I'm thinking of continuing to wear them, even in the summer. Although, I think that would officially make me a communist.

JIM: Maybe you just need different size shoes.

For the dress socks that I need to wear to work every day, I've started wearing socks made of bamboo. They make my feet sweat much less and are much more comfortable.

DAVE: My problem, I'm afraid, is that I have rather thin feet. They're not small. They're . . . average. But they're thin, and in order to get thin shoes for men, you have to special order them. And that ain't gonna happen. But wool socks that are thicker than average socks seem to fill in the gaps rather nicely.

My feet don't sweat a lot. I'm lucky that way. It's interesting, though, how they're starting to make things like socks out of all sorts of things.

JIM: Go with the bamboo. It's trendy.

DAVE: That's what I hear.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lots going on today. Lots to share with my vast and loyal readership.

Interesting article about seniors smoking marijuana:
DAVE: I'm torn today. USA beat Canada. Great. I'm American. But I lived in Canada for two years, and I really like Canada. And Sidney Crosby plays for the Penguins. What's a hockey fan to do?


Sidney Crosby is a punk. If he was on any other team, he would be the hockey player that you most hate.

DAVE: Why do you hate Crosby so much? Is it because he is so often compared to your beloved Gretzky?

I still like Canada. They have universal health care.

JIM: Crosby is a punk. Maybe he'll mature into a decent human being someday, but as of now, he is a spoiled punk. That's not a knock on his skill as a hockey player, just a knock on him as a person.

DAVE: Wow. You sound like a . . . like a . . . like a . . . Flyers fan. Shocking.
DAVE: Here's another photo that I scanned and sent to Focker. So young. So stupid.

FF: Which one is Focker? And is that Julie the Virgin? Your hair is so dark. You look so Italian.

DAVE: My hair used to be very dark. Until it decided to start turning gray.

Focker is the one on the far right. And yes, that is Julie the Virgin.
I don't get a lot of mail. But some of it is pretty interesting. I wonder how I got on their mailing list? Hmm. I wonder.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DAVE: Jim Bibby died.

DAD: I saw that in the paper here. The news report did not mention his time with the Pirates although he was in a World Series with them. It mentioned other teams for whom he pitched. Shows you what people think of the Pirates.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Listening to old cassette tapes of The Who would not be nearly as pleasant without auto reverse. Very significant invention in the history of the cassette tape.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Today was my last day at the doggie daycare. I am leaving to explore other opportunities in the dog care industry. More about that later. This is my horoscope for today:

You've been playing around with a certain hobby for a while, and it's suddenly dawned on you that you really and truly might be able to make a full-time job of this -- or at least a part-time source of income. It's a good idea and you shouldn't dismiss it. You might, however, want to come up with a solid plan before you quit your day job, that is. Get out some legal pads and start scribbling.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DAVE: Jim Bibby died.

JIM: No way.

Was he sick?
JIM: I told my wife this morning that Jim Bibby died. I didn't expect that she would know who that was, but sometimes she surprises you with these things. Like I'll make a crack to someone about Paul Mokeski's mustache or something like that and she'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Not this time though.

Anyway, my son started asking questions and when I told him that Bibby pitched for the Pirates when they won the World Series, he said, "When was that, back in the 30s or 40s?"

I wasn't sure if that would make you laugh or cry.
And of course you always liked Jim Bibby. We always remember the World Series heroes from our youth fondly.
DAVE: Jim Bibby was an extraordinary perspirer. His giant frame on the mound, just dripping sweat from every angle. They still talk about it. Whenever a player is a heavy perspirer, they get compared to Jim Bibby. He set the standard.
DAVE: I have to show you this photo from college [of Cindy and me]. Everyone who's seen it has agreed that she has aged better than I have. Oh, to be young again.

FF: Your skin is so smooth and supple. More so than hers. And you have a turtleneck on. Hilarious. One could photo shop your hair out, insert your new hair, and think it was Dave circa 2010. Bravo my friend, for staying out of the sun.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DAVE: The Galleria is so far away. I don't understand why people live out there. Cindy lives in Mt. Lebanon.

FF: Everyone moves there when they get married and have kids. The school district! The community! Blah, blah, blah. If I had a dollar for every time someone I knew said to me, "It was the best choice for our family" I'd be rich. Diversity, a thriving arts scene, culture, pot holes, smog, City Council wars...THESE are the things that build character! I'm never moving out of the city. And I don't think City schools are all that bad. Really. It depends on the kid and the family. Look at Precious. She did pretty well in the City school system. If you've got a smart and disciplined kid, they'll do well no matter where they are.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And now he's playing hide and seek with the media. Seriously, is he okay? It's starting to not be funny anymore. I'm worried about him. Poor kid.

"Mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven said she did not know Mr. Ravenstahl's whereabouts today but he is in Pittsburgh."

As opposed to, say, Seven Springs . . . ?

Monday, February 15, 2010

This just in . . . Press Release from the Mayor's Office from EXACTLY two years ago today . . .


Date: February 15, 2008
Contact: Alecia Sirk, Press Secretary, 412-255-2484
(mobile) 412-287-7808

PITTSBURGH (February 15) Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is fired up about the the Department of Public Works inconsistent removal of snow and ice, the remnants of which have left some side streets impassable.

After fielding complaints from a number of residents, the Mayor cancelled his afternoon meetings Thursday for a tour of City neighborhoods, to see for himself where travel routes were still frozen.

"I am putting my full attention on getting these issues resolved," Mayor Ravenstahl said. Sure, Mother Nature can deal us a rough hand in the winter months. But we should not make excuses, we should make changes."

Mayor Ravenstahl convened a meeting with top City officials after returning to the office and, effective today, the Mayor has announced the implementation of a snow and ice mitigation plan for Pittsburgh:

1. The promotion of Rob Kaczorowski to Deputy Director of Operations for the Department of Public Works, a move that will require no pay increase. The Deputy Director, to serve under DPW Director Guy Costa, will be charged with supervising and managing all operations for the Department, including snow and ice removal. Current Deputy Director Mike Gable will be named Deputy Director of Administration, charged with supervising the administrative aspects of Pittsburgh's largest non-public safety related department.

2. The purchase of the best state-of-the-art snow removal and routing system available. The system will be in place no later than December 2008. Staff will also be benchmarking Pittsburgh against other cities to identify and evaluate best practices that could be useful for Pittsburgh.

3. The installation of snow plows onto refuse trucks for use on larger, primary streets, freeing up other trucks to clear the side streets.

4. The requirement that existing snow and ice removal routes will be adhered to, barring a major emergency, regardless of who calls the Department or the City.

"For decades, plows have been inefficiently being moved from one part of the City to another based on calls to City and Council offices, wasting time and missing entire sections of neighborhoods," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "The existing snowplow and deicing routes will be followed for the remainder of this winter, sticking to their plans and cleaning every neighborhood, street by street and block by block."

Then changes come just before a week in which at least three days of flurries are predicted.

"We can do better and we will do better, " Mayor Ravenstahl said. "All of our resources should be mobilized when our residents need us. With these changes, I will see to it that the City doesn't melt down when faced with snow and ice."

Dave and Bill Peduto, talking about snow . . .

DAVE: Hi, Bill. Obviously, you have been inundated with emails from residents all over the City. I'm sure that I have little to add to what others have already said. However, one thing that I'm quite sure that you don't know about me is that I lived in Toronto for two years. So, I have experienced winter on levels that many Pittsburghers can only imagine. And, of course, because of its climate and being a major metropolitan area, they deal with big snow storms a little differently than we do. The major difference is that they don't plow it or salt it, but rather they simply pick it up and take it somewhere. I can't say that I know where they take it. Lake Ontario? Regardless, they pick it up, so there are no massive monoliths of ice and snow left behind on streets that have been cleared. Those massive piles of snow will eventually (and hopefully) melt someday, leaving sheets of ice to form all over the City, which will then be cause for alarm and a lot of salt from Public Works. Maybe our city doesn't get enough major snow storms to justify exploring such a strategy, but maybe exploring such a strategy while there are open discussions about snow storm response is not a bad idea. When I was living and going to high school in Toronto, a snowfall of 20 inches, and we were in school the next day at regular time. That city knows what it takes to deal with a snow storm. But, of course, they have many years of experience.

BILL: The major problem is that we have NO strategy. Really - none.

DAVE: I see. Well, do you have Guy Costa's phone number?

BILL: Already spoke with him - twice.

DAVE: Can you call Toronto and ask them for some advice?

BILL: it really is basic operation protocol - just google routesmart and then snowplow tracker and snow removal - it is boilerplate policy in other cities - I know, I know - because Luke and co won't do it.

DAVE: Why won't he do it? Because it was your idea?

BILL: Funny - no, I am just saying that I have been trying to push "professional management systems" for plowing, paving and other dpw operations for the past several years. During this time, the Mayor has stated that we don't' need it or there was no interest in pursuing it. Really - just look online.

Maybe this storm will finally compel the administration to change their mind or maybe it will compel people to actively demand these types of reforms.

Or maybe not...

Either way, I will keep pushing.

DAVE: But I wonder why he doesn't see the potential benefits of professional management systems. That's the part that befuddles me. That's why people (like me) joke that it's just because the ideas are yours.

Sometimes Rob Rogers just says it better than I can . . .

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DAVE: How do you feel about the seemingly inevitable defeat of health care reform? I consider it a monumental failure and a very ominous sign for the future.

DAD: I am not so sure that the defeat of health care reform is inevitable. Obama and the Democratic Congress may yet salvage something out of the current wreck. It does not look good, however. I do agree that if nothing is passed this year, it is a very bad sign for the future. It may yet be another 10-15 years before we can get anything done. It is just another indication that our government in Washington is incapable of doing anything.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It appears that the Father has gone crazy . . .

FATHER: Hi Everyone:

I hope that this email does not offend any pet friendly feelings and I have mentioned before that I am a pet friendly person and used to have a dog myself. The purchase of pet friendly salt is an issue that bothers me.

I feel that indivduals should take personal responsiblity for what they do...and what they own. this includes their pets.
I do not feel that this responsiblity should be a cost placed on the Condo Association. Perhaps we should charge a one time yearly fee on condo pet owners if a decision is made to purchase this salt. Everyone should not have to share this burden.

Our condo is a pet friendly condo. That means that we allow pets in the building. It should not mean that the Condo has the obligation to take care of them. That is the owners' responsibility.

The January 16, 2010 [Post-Gazette article] that Dave had referred us to a few weeks ago recommends that pet owners buy and use Musher's Secret on their pets' paws during the winter snow season. That's what should be done if they are that concerned about the health of their pets.

For these reasons I am not in favor of spending any extra money for pet friendly salt. This is not the responsibility or the obligation of the Condo Association but that of the individual pet owner.

Friday, February 12, 2010

To my knowledge, "It's Hard" was the last album of new material that The Who ever released. It's release coincided with their Final Tour in 1982. I've had the cassette tape of "It's Hard" ever since Jon Beckerman gave it to me on the school bus that took us to school in 9th grade. He didn't think that it was that good. And he was right. But I kept it all of this time. With all of the hoopla surrounding The Who's Super Bowl appearance, and being cooped up inside all week while work was closed, I have been listening to all of my cassette tapes of The Who. I have more cassette tapes than CDs of the band. It was a cassette era when I was discovering, listening to, and growing into The Who. I listened to those cassettes over and over again on my Sony Walkman (which now sits on my mantel as if it were a relic from another time). Anyway, in the process of listening to all of these tapes, I have discovered what I already feared to be true. "It's Hard" has completely lost its fidelity. I have to toss it. But listening to these tapes is a purging process that is also part of a larger project of throwing away all non-essential tapes in my collection. Things are not looking good for Genesis. But I think The Police will make the cut. I like my cassette tapes. Although notoriously reluctant to embrace new technology most of the time, I thought CDs were great, and I think digital music is great. But cassette tapes remind me of a simpler time. Of driving to Monroeville Mall on a Sunday afternoon and looking at the wall of cassette tapes for sale at National Record Mart. It could be overwhelming, not unlike the scene in the movie "Moscow on the Hudson" when Robin Williams playing a Russian defector goes to an American supermarket for the first time and goes down the coffee isle, ultimately passing out because he is overwhelmed by the number of choices just for coffee. Anyway, it was a simpler time. Maybe half of my tape collection are previously blank TDK or Maxell tapes (sold in two-packs) on which friends had recorded albums that they had. Either from CDs, or in some cases, from records. Yes, record albums. 33 1/3 rpm. My cassette tapes of "Who's Last" and the amazing "Quadrophenia" were both recorded from records. I borrowed the two records from my friend Mike in 11th or 12th grade and then taped them on my ridiculous excuse for a stereo at the time. But it got the job done, and I'm still listening to those tapes today. They may be analog cassette tape recordings of analog record albums. But they haven't lost their fidelity. And that's what matters. I'm keeping them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

As many of my vast readership know, I love turtlenecks. One problem I face when shopping for turtlenecks is finding a good one where the neck is snug around mine. Not tight. But definitely not flopping around all over the place. I don't believe that a turtleneck's neck should sag on a person's neck, but rather stay upright. Now, I realize that it would probably be easier to find a more snug neck if I didn't have to buy size Large because my belly is not proportional with the rest of my body. And I have longer than normal arms, too. So, I'm stuck with a Large, and often the necks are just that. When my neck is swimming in a turtleneck's tubular top, I sometimes fold it down. But that's not the way that I like to wear them. Nice and snug.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I just realized something. Ashton Kutcher's life is way too good. That's it. His life is just too good. No one's life should be that good.

MICHELLE: According to my media sources, a whole road crew stopped to watch the Super Bowl. Apparently Marty Griffin is on the story!!

DAVE: I suspect that a lot of inappropriate behavior by truck drivers has contributed to this disaster. City workers. Nothing ever seems to happen to them. But they get a pension in a world where pensions are practically obsolete. I'd be willing to bet there were a bunch of trucks that stopped to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This is the obligatory, standard, Facebook-quality photo of my car in the snow from the first storm.

Email from Bill Peduto . . .

All –

Thank you for taking the time to email about the unacceptable condition of our City streets. I am not satisfied with the response of the City and I shared my frustration with the Mayor in a conference call this afternoon. During that call, I also urged the Mayor to hire private contractors to help get the job done. Right now, we need to focus on getting streets in better condition before the worst part of the next storm hits. It is my belief that the City has done a good job responding to public safety issues. We have worked hard to restore electricity across the City. We have provided safe routes for paramedics and called in the National Guard to assist where needed. However, the snow plowing has not met my expectations or the expectations of taxpayers. Today, I traveled to the suburbs and saw streets that were completely cleared, while major arteries within the city limits remained snow covered. The problems are not just in my district and in the east end, but exist citywide. I am hearing from residents across the City, as well as my Council colleagues, about major streets that are still dangerous to drive on. This is unacceptable and must be changed.

Once this storm is over, I will be calling for both a post agenda and a public hearing to determine where the failures in operations were. We need to implement a results based operation plan. We need to set goals and timelines where people are held accountable for meeting those goals. We need to implement new computer software that models the most effective route system (this is something I have pushed for for several years). We also need to look at gps tracking on our plows so that residents can look online and see where the plows are in real time. Lastly, we need to analyze how many trucks and workers are needed to complete the streets in 48 hours and make the necessary changes.

I will work with my Council colleagues to address all these issues for the future and we will work to guarantee that the City is accountable to its citizens. For now, I remain focused on trying to get your streets cleared as quickly as possible. Today, I pushed the Mayor to get more resources on the street and will do so again tomorrow. I have also asked him to let the public know when people can expect their street plowed and not settle for what has been delivered to date.

I appreciate you taking the time to email me. I apologize for the frustration that we have all been experiencing together and I assure you I am equally frustrated and will not settle for the status quo.

I will keep you posted. Be safe.

Bill Peduto

Monday, February 8, 2010

Did you know that as we age, our visible upper lip gets smaller. It's true. You can look it up. It's happened to me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Behind Blue Eyes . . .

While it feels like the whole world is snowed-in today, I have been forced to find things to entertain me while I put off the inevitable need to venture outside. Right now I am listening to a cassette tape of the Final Who Concert, which I listened to and recorded on my Sony boombox before they were called boomboxes in my bedroom on a night in 1982. Because of my notes on the cassette, I know that the year was 1982, which would put me in 6th or 7th grade, although I didn't note the exact date. I think it was winter. I think it was a Friday night. The cassette is a TDK SA-C90 high bias tape, which was a very good quality cassette tape at the time. Anyway, I was a young lad, and I didn't really know a lot about The Who. I just knew from the chatter at school and on the radio that this final concert from a Canadian city called Toronto that I knew virtually nothing about was a big deal. (Little did I know the immeasurable impact the city of Toronto, Canada would have on my entire life.) So, I decided to spend my Friday night both listening to and recording the concert live on radio station 96 KX. If I remember correctly, I might have dozed off a few times during the concert.

Since I apparently only had one blank cassette tape, I only ended up with the first 90 minutes of the Final Who Concert. And I started listening to it. And I liked it. A lot. It was music unlike any other music that I had ever listened to before. I listened to it over and over again. And that was it. I was a Who fan. And even though I think that The Who are a little old now to be performing at the Super Bowl XLIV Bridgestone Halftime Show tomorrow, I will enjoy seeing and hearing the two old guys rock. I will probably still be snowed-in.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thanks to Facebook and Google, I have been able to establish email communication with an old girlfriend from college, Cindy. What we have here is not a Leigh situation. This is not a girl on whom I had some adolescent crush. I dated Cindy in college. Dated far too briefly. For reasons that aren't important here. But I consider her one of the three loves of my life. But in many ways, the greatest mystery. What separates her from all of the other women I've ever dated is that I think she was genuinely spiritual. I don't think it was a put-on. She was the real deal. I once caught up to her in the rain between classes, and she was wearing a yellow rain slicker like you might find on Paddington Bear. She was unique. She was the epitome of beautiful to me in college. It was about as close as love at first sight as I've ever experienced. And she looks terrific now, tremendous for our age. I'm going to enjoy emailing with her. Today, and for today only, Facebook is the shit.
Surrounded at work by a few of my friends.
DAVE: I think that one major misstep since Obama took office was the seeming rush Geithner was in to declare the worst of the recession over last fall. Even then, I felt that the economy was far from recovered, and I knew that jobs would continue to be lost, which is ultimately the indicator by which most Americans judge the economy. The Stock Market slowly went up, but jobs continued to be lost. Now, the Stock Market is starting to respond to the continued loss of jobs. And there is really no reason to believe that the recession has hit the bottom, yet. I know, of course, that the economy was something that his administration inherited. But despite the obvious desire to see the recession bottom-out, saying it has happened doesn't mean that it's happened.

Also, I want your opinion on this. Do you feel that Toyota is being treated fairly by the government and media? One, I doubt that the company has done anything wrong that the American automakers haven't done. Two, is the media being harder on Toyota because it's a foreign carmaker? Regardless, I would drive a Toyota over an American car any day.

DAD: There are reports recently that Toyota has known about its problems (gas pedal and brakes) for over two years and did not do a recall, inform the owners or the government, or take any steps to correct the problems. If that is true, it is a serious offense and Toyota should be dealt with harshly. The fact that American manufacturers may also have covered up problems does not excuse Toyota. Most of the cars with the problems were made right here in the U.S. at Toyota's American factories. So there is no reason to want to punish Toyota more severely because they are headquartered in Japan. Any downturn in Toyota production could cost American workers' jobs.

One of the missteps of the Obama administration was to have a timid stimulus package. More money should have been spent on rebuilding our infrastructure. Part of the reason it was so timid was an attempt to get Republican votes, which they are never going to get anyway, and the other part was because Obama's chief economic advisor is Larry Summers (from the Clinton administration) instead of Paul Krugman. Both Summers and Geithner are too closely tied to Wall Street. We need a tax on banks that have not repaid the TARP money, a tax on excess bonuses to Wall Street executives, and closer regulation of the financial sector (returning to the days when there was a separation between commercial banks and investment banks). But you are right -- the recession is not over until jobs return.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FF: Today is [FF's significant other]'s birthday.

We went to REI last night. They have the same policy as LL Bean. The policy I protested to you for years. One of the stoner REI employees (a camping specialist, go figure) explained it to us in great detail (he used the word 'Dude' nearly a dozen times). I never really understood how you were able to get away with what you did in terms of returns to LL Bean. Now I understand. Ten years from now, if FFSO doesn't like his new Garmin Running Watch because he stops running and gains 100 pounds, we can return it. No questions asked. We just need to keep the receipt for 10 years. Freakin' tree huggers....

DAVE: Wish FFSO a happy birthday for me. How old is he?

REI is cool, although very pricey, as I'm sure you know. The key to having to make returns to stores with lifetime guarantees is that you have to keep the receipt. Without it, you're screwed.

FF: The big 3-5. Halfway to 40 from 30.

REI IS pricey. You said it! But those 'dudes' are so nice and helpful. They live for that shit. Mr. Dude Camping expert told me he has lit his sleeping bag on fire numerous times and has had it replaced numerous times. For free. He had the receipt tattooed to his buttock.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FF: You might want to pick up a copy of Architectural Digest and feast your eyes on Jennifer Aniston's sanctuary....

DAVE: I'd like nothing better than to feast my eyes on Jennifer Aniston's sanctuary.

Wait. Are we talking about the same thing?

FF: Very funny. Very, very funny.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I was on Facebook last night, and I just happened to notice that my sister has un-friended me. A) I can't believe that she did that. And B) I can't believe that this has happened to me twice. TWICE! I don't even care about Facebook! So, I guess the little email that I sent my sister after I left Florida must not have gone over very well. My sister un-friended me. Not a call. Not an email. That could only happen to me.