Saturday, July 31, 2010

Isn't he just the charmer?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

DAVE: Barry Bonds was the best baseball player that I ever saw, and as you know, I saw him pre-steroids. But the motherfucker was so envious of McGwire and Sosa, rather than being content being considered the best all-around baseball player in the game, he had to juice. He had been my favorite player, even with the Giants, up until then. Now, I just think he's a joke.

JIM: Same here. I agree with all that. For many years, I used to stick up for Bonds when people ripped him. oops.

I can remember watching a skinny Barry Bonds hit .258 while batting leadoff his rookie year. I used to tell people all the time that he was going to be a future Hall of Famer and they would laugh at me.

DAVE: Well, the Pirates sure had high hopes for him, even then. But now, I suspect he will never get into the Hall of Fame.

JIM: That remains to be seen.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Written and drawn by Rob Rogers . . .

Jane Orie, a Republican state Senator, is accused along with her sister Janine of using staff members to help another sister, Joan, with her campaign. They are under investigation by Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala. It has also been revealed that they used a medium or "Angel Whisperer" to peek into their future charges.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Written and drawn by Rob Rogers . . .

Sarah Palin made up a word and then compared herself to William Shakespeare. No, I am not making this up. She used the word "refudiate" and then, after being told it wasn't a word, claimed that English is a living language. She tweeted, "Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!" To be or not to be? You Betcha!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I figured it out while I was walking dogs today. I have to stop reading the PG online. I used to check it just for the weather, but when I allow myself to scroll down the whole page, I end up reading articles and then thinking about them and then blogging about them and then thinking about them some more. I already had a rule where I haven't watched the local or national news in almost a year. But I like reading the stories. I don't like newspapers, but newspapers online are just fantastic, as far as I'm concerned. I embrace that technology. But now I'm going to have to control how much exposure I get to it.
Tony Hayward is leaving as head of BP. But don't worry about him. He's going to get a very nice golden parachute as a parting gift, and he will most likely be employed as a high-ranking executive in the oil industry somewhere else within the year. These guys don't just go away. They get recycled among giant corporations.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A lot of things to blog about this morning. I think I will conclude by saying that while it is clear that Kaye Cowher was a tremendous person and mother, the two indelible memories that I have of her are the way she and her daughters greeted Bill Cowher as he walked off the field after losing Super Bowl XXX to the Cowboys in 1996, and then the way she stood by his side and celebrated with him when he (and the Steelers) finally got that elusive fifth Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XL in 2006.

Written and drawn by Rob Rogers . . .

Republicans didn't want unemployment benefits to be renewed. We're in the middle of an economic crisis and suddenly they find religion about spending? Guess they forgot about all those deficits they racked up with two wars and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. During Obama's presidency, the GOP has done nothing but vote "NO" on everything. They're not working toward a solution, they're just standing in the way.
Well blast prompts call for stricter regs
Fatal natural gas explosion in Indiana Twp. was state's 2nd since June
Sunday, July 25, 2010
By Jim McKinnon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Deepwater Horizon alarm was disabled
Technician: Didn't want to wake crew
Saturday, July 24, 2010
By Robbie Brown, The New York Times
Now that Pennsylvania is such a hotbed for the oil and natural gas located in the underground Marcellus Shale, I wonder if these types of incidents are going to become a regular occurrence. But don't worry, my vast and loyal readership, if republicans have their way, there will be little to no regulation or supervision of these wells. And if you are gullible enough to believe the ridiculous commercials on television that suggest that actually taxing these huge moneymaking energy companies that are now rushing from all over the country to dig for our oil and natural gas will hurt, rather than help, the local economies, well, then, you're just wrong. Corporations have LOTS of money to spend on affecting public opinion. Not so much money on safety regulations and disaster preparedness, it seems.

Blast at natural gas well kills 2 workers
Texas firm puts out fire in Indiana Twp. and caps the well
Saturday, July 24, 2010
By Moriah Balingit, Jim McKinnon and Sean Hamill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Friday, July 23, 2010

Several Downtown Pittsburgh landmarks up for sale
Friday, July 23, 2010
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The way things are going, the Golden Triangle just might become one gigantic "for sale" sign.

All over Downtown, buildings are going up for sale almost as fast as LeBron James jerseys in Cleveland.

And not just any old building. Some of Pittsburgh's signature real estate is on the block -- from Macy's (formerly Kaufmann's) department store to Gateway Center, the linchpin of the city's first renaissance.

Others up for sale include the Henry W. Oliver Building; the Regional Enterprise Tower, formerly the Alcoa building; EQT Tower, once known as Dominion Tower; and the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania building.

And that doesn't even count some of the smaller properties that have hit the market recently.

What's next? The County Courthouse? PPG Place? U.S. Steel Tower?

The surge in sales has made newspaper headlines and even attracted the attention of City Hall. Aides to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have consulted with local real estate brokers seeking to determine what is driving the phenomenon.

Interesting story with different theories and predictions. Read more:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Orie sisters kind of freak me out.
It looks like there were no new local shootings overnight. So, the streak ends at two. I suppose that's actually good news, as opposed to bad.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From an AP story . . .

At a hearing in suburban New Orleans, one of the ill-fated rig's drilling supervisors told Coast Guard investigators that the rig's crew didn't stop drilling or properly notify regulators when a hydraulic leak was discovered in a critical safety device weeks before the blast. Well site leader Ronald Sepulvado testified that he and others aboard the rig believed the leak wouldn't prevent the device, called a blowout preventer, from functioning properly.

While there was not a shooting in the East End overnight, there was a fatal shootout in nearby Penn Hills in the early hours of the morning.
As his term as Governor moves toward its conclusion, Ed Rendell wants Pennsylvania to raise $472 million a year it needs for transportation projects. His first plan is to tax oil companies in the state, like all of the energy companies that have descended upon Western Pennsylvania now that we apparently have a slew of fossil fuels in the Marcellus Shale. If the state legislature won't tax big oil companies, then guess who is going to make up that money?

Options including increasing driver's licenses renewal fees from $21 to $23.10; increasing annual car registration from $36 to $45; increasing vehicle title fees from $22.50 to $28.13; increasing annual inspection sticker fees from $2 to $4.06 and increasing the cost of driving history reports from $5 to $11.20.

Those fee increases would raise about $265 million, the governor's office said. A 3.25-cent-per-gallon increase at the pump, meanwhile, would raise about $200 million.

Read more:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jim and his family are on a cruise this week, so no witty email banter from the two of us. But I just wanted to conduct a little experiment. I bet that every day this week, there is a story in the PG online about a shooting in the East End. My neighborhood. The violence is getting closer. And more frequent.

That's one.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I always find it funny that I get thirsty after I eat ice cream.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I almost never even think or speak about Sarah Palin, because I consider her to be completely insignificant. But this piece of information about her daughter's new job was just too much:

Bristol Palin was thrust into the spotlight as a pregnant teen during her mother's unsuccessful campaign for vice president. She recently signed on with a group to offer speeches on abstinence and "pro-life" issues, among other topics, and will be paid between $15,000 and $30,000 per appearance, Palin family attorney Thomas Van Flein said in May.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I can't stop listening to this song . . . and whistling . . .

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros "Home" from Edward Sharpe on Vimeo.

JIM: My wife tricked me into going to the mall tonight to make me buy new clothes for our upcoming vacation.

I got two new pairs of shorts. Size 34.

I am so sad. So very, very sad.

DAVE: When's your vacation? Where are you going?

How ironic. I just ordered a new pair of shorts online last night. Size 34.

Has your waistline gotten bigger?

JIM: We're taking the kids on a cruise.

It ain't getting any smaller.

DAVE: Where are you and the kids cruising to?

Mine seems to have found a nice resting spot at 34.

JIM: We're going on a Nickelodeon themed cruise that leaves from New York and goes to Nassau, Port Canaveral, and Norweigan's own island in the Bahamas. The kids think we're going to Canada though and aren't quite thrilled about that.

DAVE: Nice one, Dad.

JIM: Dad really has nothing to do with it.

DAVE: Who's paying for it?

JIM: That is a good point.
Normally, my monthly bank statement is three pages, front and back. This month's bank statement was four pages. An entire page was devoted to this insert.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Today I gave what amounted to the bulk of my football and baseball card collection to a 14-year-old young man named Matt from the South Hills who was the only youth who replied to my craigslist ad to give away my cards. Everyone else was an adult, in some cases asking for them to give to a youth. But from our email correspondence responding the cards, I could tell that the cards should go to him. Today, when I met him face-to-face, and saw his family crammed into the minivan waiting for him, I knew that the cards were going to the right place. I couldn't have picked a better candidate if I had tried. Typical Pittsburgh family. Going into high school in the fall, braces, zits, facial hair in patches, hair all a mess like the kids wear it these days. I wouldn't go as far as to say something sort of corny like he reminded me of me at his age. Because he didn't. But he did remind me that baseball cards are something to be handed down, within families, from outside families, among complete strangers. That's the way it should be done, and today I helped continue the tradition.

Post Script

For such a large collection, there were just a small number of cards of any real value in today's market, something about which I've lamented in previous posts. I kept those cards. I didn't give them to Matt. Although there were some decent cards in what I gave him. Just not anything with much actual value. And in a surprisingly sentimental move, I kept the complete Topps set from 1979, the last year that the Pittsburgh Pirates will ever win a World Series.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm told that people are actually wearing these little contraptions as shoes.
It looks like some people have been waiting their whole lives for table games to come to Pittsburgh.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sandbonis to the rescue.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DAVE: Postal rates are going up again. Last increase was May 2009. That's why I always buy the Forever stamps. The Postal Service has got to be the worst run business in America.

JIM: It used to be so efficient and cost-effective too. Stamps were cheap and rarely went up in price and the Postal Service generated enough revenue on its own to sustain itself. I wonder what happened.

DAVE: Are you being sarcastic?

JIM: No. It wasn't really all that long ago that the Post Office was a totally self-sufficient government organization. Honest. I'm sure you could Google it with your high-speed internet access.

DAVE: That's what I thought. Actually, it was high-speed internet that killed the Post Office. And it is no longer a government organization. THAT may be the problem.

JIM: Maybe. It's probably not quite that simple though.

DAVE: No, but it is one of these companies with "antiquated" things known as pension plans. Those companies are not doing so hot these days. The City of Pittsburgh has a HUGE pension plan fund shortfall. So, the mayor raised parking rates.

JIM: Here, they are putting a tax on soda. Or "pop", as you would call it.

DAVE: I don't call it "pop." And our mayor proposed that, too.
I went through a huge box of baseball and football cards on Saturday. It was painful. There was nothing of value in the box of something like 6000 cards, and the cards had been given to me by somebody at some point, and I guess I had never gone through them. But on Saturday, I did. And among the cards was this classic.

"Yo, Adrian! I did it!"

Still gives me goosebumps when I see it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I just heard that today is the 25th anniversary of the release of "Back to the Future."

How old does that make you feel?