Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bill Peduto for Mayor . . .

Brewed On Grant: Boy New Year
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

The race is on! If you're like me, you can hardly wait for the exciting 2013 Pittsburgh mayoral campaign to really get underway!

Friday, December 14, 2012

I opened two Christmas cards yesterday. They were both the kind that are covered in sparkles. While I am always thankful for any Christmas cards that I receive, given that I don't send any, I cringe when I open an envelope to find a card with sparkles. It takes, oh, about two seconds for them to get all over my hands, and from there, the sparkles seem to spread all over my home and last for months. It drives me crazy.

Monday, December 3, 2012

That's my father . . .

DAVE: Were you and Mom pleased with the winner of "Dancing with the Stars?"

DAD: Sort of neutral. I was pleased for Tony Devoloni, who has been on the show since it started and has never won. I did not care for his celebrity. I always vote for Derek Hough and his celebrity and would have preferred to see them win. I think Derek is, hands down, the best professional dancer on the show.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I don't think that Pippa Middleton looks very good in this photo from her new book about entertaining. And is it just me, or does her hand look a little large?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

I was watching "30 Rock" last night when I saw my first Christmas advertisement for Target. That seems kind of early to me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brewed On Grant: Grant Street 
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Grant Street has been chosen as one of the "Top 10 Streets In America" ... yahoo! Maybe now "Brewed On Grant" will be chosen as one of the "Top 10 Comic Strips About One of the Top 10 Streets In America".

"Great for kids to play on?" That's just hilarious.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

JIM: I tried to make my first Skype call tonight. It showed my friend was online, but he didn't answer when I called. Are you on Skype?


JIM: Do you have a web camera on your computer? You should get one and get on Skype. So I can practice using some of this stuff that my kids know all about.

DAVE: Skype is for young people. You and I don't qualify.

JIM: No. Oovoo and FaceTime are for youngsters. Skype is for old heads like us.

DAVE: This homey don't play Skype.

JIM: What a waste of high-speed internet.

DAVE: I waste it everyday.

JIM: I feel like I waste so much.
DAVE: You probably do. Everyone does.

JIM: I guess so.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brewed On Grant: Peduto 
Wednesday, 03 October 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

City Councilman Bill Peduto is planning a run for mayor. Maybe his slogan can be, "I'm Bill Peduto ... and I don't drink out of a juice box."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Can't Big Bird get a little love, Mr. Romney?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's pink month in the NFL. I don't particularly like seeing pink all over the field during NFL games in October. It just doesn't seem right.

Friday, September 28, 2012

NFL Refs 
Thursday, 27 September 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

The NFL referees are back after a much-talked about bad call at the end of Monday night's game. This cartoon was drawn yesterday [Wednesday] before the late night deal, but the point is still relevant. Governor Scott Walker, the man who fought to break the union in Wisconsin, called for the return of the unionized NFL refs. So did Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. So, unions are OK as long as it is just in the NFL?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One of the worst kept secrets in Pittsburgh came to light over the weekend. The rumors were true. Kevin McClatchy was a terrible owner/president of the Pirates.

And he was gay, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In my opinion, car alarms should be illegal, especially those that go off when a bus or a bread truck passes the car. Like house alarms before them, no one pays any attention to car alarms, except to be annoyed by the incessant wailing of them. No one calls the police. They just ignore them. It's time to get rid of them altogether.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

With the first game against the Peyton Manning-led Broncos mercifully behind them, it is time for my annual prediction of what the Steelers' final season record will be. I see a challenging season ahead for the Steelers, and I don't think that the team has improved itself over last year's team, which was good, but not great. Therefore, my prediction is 11-5. I just hope that this season the Steelers can at least split the season series with the hated Ravens. Getting swept by the Ravens last season was a bad omen.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Here are the top nine comments made by NBC sports commentators during the Summer Olympics that they would probably like to take back:

1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up, and it was amazing."

2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse, and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

3. Paul Hamm, gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

4. Boxing analyst: "Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact, you can see it all over their faces."

7. At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice. The wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."

8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

9. Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them. . . . Oh my God, what have I just said?"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Here it is, Mr. Blondie.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Other than part of the Opening Ceremonies and the Closing Ceremonies, I didn't watch any of the Olympics, other than two relay races on Friday. Fortunately, Mr. Blondie was kind enough to point out what I had been missing. Leryn Franco.

Monday, August 6, 2012

After 19 losing seasons, I admit it, I got a little caught up in the Pirates this season. But much to my chagrin, they are starting to come down to earth and look beatable. I recently admitted to Mr. Blondie that I didn't think that they Pirates were going to make the playoffs, which is a shame, really, after such a great first half to the season, and Andrew McCutchen looking like the MVP so far. After 19 long years, with the image of Sid Bream sliding into home in '92 seared into my brain, I had gotten a case of Pirate fever. But now it seems that I'm just struggling with a summer cold.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Playing Dead 
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 
Written by Rob Rogers

Where are the political leaders calling for gun control following yet another massacre by someone using assault weapons? Don't hold your breath. The NRA, like some sort of kryptonite, makes congressman and presidential candidates weak and ineffective.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Despite the stern and ominous warnings from the NRA and the conservative right, Obama never "took away their guns." In fact, he has made no attempt whatsoever to tighten gun control laws. Maybe he should have. It probably would never have worked, given how guns are an everyday part of American life and how strong the gun lobby is in Washington. But make no mistake, guns are EVERYWHERE. That prospect has even affected how I behave, knowing that at any given moment I am around people with guns. I don't want to rub the wrong person the wrong way at the wrong time. It's simply not worth it. And I just don't understand our fascination with the damn things. I just don't get it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bain vs Bane 
Friday, 20 July 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

"The Dark Knight Rises" hits theaters this weekend. The movie pits Batman against Bane, a villain who first appeared in D.C. Comics in 1993. Rush Limbaugh actually came out and accused Hollywood of creating this villain as a comparison to Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital. Yes, Rush ... and The Riddler was created as a conspiracy to question what's in Mitt's tax returns!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Made In China 
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Politicians in Washington are upset about the fact that the U.S.A. Olympic Team will be wearing uniforms that were made in China. They say it is "Un-American." Are they serious? Not only does China own all of our debt ... just about everything we use in our daily lives is made in China. Olympic uniforms made in China ... what could be MORE American?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If you're going to use the express self checkout lines at your local Giant Eagle, then it should be a rule that you at least know HOW TO USE THE MACHINES. If you've never used them before, then use a regular line with a checkout person. When there is a line of folks with just a few items behind you, that is definitely NOT a good time to use the machines for the first time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I feel like I've complained about this before, but I really cannot stand drivers who go through blatantly red lights. And they seem to speed through them, creating a greater chance of a terrible accident. It seems to be worse at certain intersections in the East End, such as Fifth and Penn.

Also, did you happen to see that over the weekend another great white shark got a surfer? I admit that I'm afraid to go in the ocean. I could NEVER get into the water out in the deep ocean. I would have an anxiety attack. I can maybe wade into the water near the beach until it's up to my knees, but even that makes me nervous. Sharks eat humans. Scientists come up with all sorts of reasons why this happens because the sharks supposedly mistake us for seals, and we're always told that we have a better chance of being hit by lightning or some such rarity. But I'm scared to go in the water, and I admit it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jenny Dell is definitely not in Kansas, anymore.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why, I think that's Jenn Brown. How did she sneak into Jenny Dell's week in the blog?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This is Jenny Dell at the original Starbucks in Seattle. Maybe you didn't notice the Starbucks in the background. Perfectly understandable.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I guess it's common these days for baseball teams to have attractive "sideline" reporters. For instance, I have recently discovered Jenny Dell, the reporter for the Boston Red Sox. Believe you me, she is no Trenni Kusnierek, former such reporter for the Pirates. Unfortunately, there are no photos of her on Google in a bikini. But there are plenty of photos of her looking quite fetching. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day 
Tuesday, 03 July 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

As we celebrate our independence from King George III's England, let's not forget who owns us now.

Monday, July 2, 2012

ObamaCare is still alive and kicking . . .

Friday, 29 June 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

The Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts surprised a lot of liberals and conservatives by ruling that the ObamaCare individual mandate was indeed constitutional. Most people watching at home were betting that the partisan court would strike down the entire bill or at least the mandate. Roberts sided with the liberal majority. This is good news for Obama and the 30 million Americans without health insurance.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The softer side of the lovely Jenn Brown.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Although she's not Pippa Middleton, I must humbly admit that I am smitten with ESPN's Jenn Brown. With that in mind, I bring my readers (particularly Mr. Blondie) "Jenn Brown Week," during which I will feature some of the best photos of Miss Brown that Google has to offer. It will be hard to top today's, I fear. But I am up to the challenge. Sometimes it's what a quiet observer like myself has to do to appease his demanding audience, albeit both vast and loyal.

Friday, June 22, 2012

DAVE: Did I hear that the Phillies second baseman got suspended for 50 games for PEDs?

JIM: Yes. Of course, he has no idea how drugs could have gotten into his system.

Here's a new one though:
I'm listening to the local sports talk station yesterday and they had a doctor on (an orthopedic surgeon) and asked him about Freddy Galvis failing his drug test. This guy, A DOCTOR, said that the substance found in Galvis' drug test is legal in some places around the world, like South America (particularly in Brazil). Apparently, Brazilian women use this particular PED as a vaginal cream. And he claims that there have been scientific studies done that if a man has intercourse with a woman who is using this cream, he can get stuff on his "member" that then will show up in a urinalysis.

So it's conceivable that Freddy Galvis had sex with a Brazilian woman who was using a steroid-based vaginal cream, got some on his "member" and then it came off when he peed in a cup for his drug test.

DAVE: Ah, you just have to love those Brazilian women.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I ate a banana the other day and threw the peel in the garbage. I swear, the next thing I knew, there was a fruit fly in my condo. Where do they come from? I think they come through the sink. They're sneakier than stink bugs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Brewed On Grant: Mayor's Ban 
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Mayor Bloomberg is trying to fight obesity in New York City by banning big sodas. I wonder what our mayor would do?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

JIM: Five people wished me happy birthday on Facebook already today. Do I need this?

DAVE: What have I said about Facebook?

I guess this means that today is your birthday. Happy birthday.

JIM: I just counted and I'm up to 19 birthday wishes from "friends" on facebook. You are the first one though to take the time to send me a personal email.

Well, you and

DAVE: is a good friend to have.

JIM: I guess. But they only want me for my money.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Somewhat to my surprise, I was a fan of the show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," even though it was clearly intended for a younger audience (read: kids). Sure, looking at Sarah Michelle Gellar didn't hurt my interest in the show. But that having been said, this recent fascination with vampires completely baffles me. I don't begin to understand why people watch HBO's "True Blood." It's so . . . bloody. And it seems as though every other new movie released these days is about vampires. But I could not just stand idly by without making some sort of comment about the new movie that depicts Abraham Lincoln (yes, THAT Abraham Lincoln) as a "vampire hunter." Now, of course this movie is fiction. But to me, it sullies history. Abraham Lincoln was a lot of things, not the least of which was a great President. But in no world of fantasy or otherwise should he be considered a vampire hunter. Couldn't they have brought Robert Downey, Jr. back to fight vampires as Sherlock Holmes? He appears to be willing to do any movie script that comes his way. I can actually see Sherlock Holmes fighting vampires. Sherlock Holmes wasn't a real person. He's a literary character. Abraham Lincoln was a real person. The President of the United States kind of real. Not a freaking vampire hunter.

Friday, June 8, 2012

JIM: We just hired a new girl named Avis. I am dying to ask her if she tries harder, but I'm not sure that's appropriate.

I don't know how much longer I can help myself.

DAVE: Very funny. Don't do it.

JIM: Maybe I should tell her that I am an Avis Preferred customer.

DAVE: Only if you have a card to prove it.

(Jim does, in fact, have the card to prove it. I saw a copy of it.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

As you may have heard by now, Jane Orie is going to jail. The cover-up is always worse than the crime.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Catholic Bishops are suing to stop Obama's health care mandate, despite the compromise that the White House made for churches. Catholic leaders still feel like the bill is an attack of religious liberty. That is ridiculous. Many non-catholics work at those schools and hospitals and should have fair access to contraception.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DAVE: My hairline is receding. How did this happen?

MICHELLE: Genetics?

DAVE: I should probably be happy for the hair that I have, rather than mourning the hair that I have lost.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Great cartoon . . .

Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Facebook's public offering is off to a rocky start. No, not for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the original investors who sold $9 billion worth of their own shares, but for regular investors. Many analysts are saying the stock was way overvalued and will be hard-pressed to deliver the kind of returns people were hoping for. I don't "like" it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fat Lady 
Monday, 14 May 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Governor Tom Corbett has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pittsburgh Opera for achievements and contributions to the arts. This is ironic since Corbett is responsible for cutting the funding for arts education programs in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jane Orie suspended from practicing law 
May 8, 2012 6:03 pm
By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

State Sen. Jane C. Orie has been temporarily suspended from the practice of law based on her criminal conviction.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued the decision on Monday. Her sister, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who is a target of the investigating grand jury, did not participate in the decision.

Ms. Orie, R-McCandless, is scheduled to be sentenced on 14 criminal counts on May 21 by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning.

The defense had filed a motion asking for her sentencing date to be postponed so attorney William Costopoulos could have more time to prepare, but today Judge Manning denied that request.

Ms. Orie was found guilty by a jury of misusing her legislative staff to campaign and do fundraising for herself. Ms. Orie will be sentenced on counts including theft of services, ethics violations, forgery and tampering with evidence.

Mr. Costopoulos has said his client will resign her Senate seat before the May 21 sentencing date.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I actually know this drag queen, Sharon Needles. He is a barista in Point Breeze. Small world.

Brewed On Grant: Drag Race
Wednesday, 02 May 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Pittsburgh likes to be number one, whether you're talking about the "most livable city" or the most Super Bowl rings. Now we have another "best of" honor. A Pittsburgh drag queen, Sharon Needles, has been crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar" on "RuPaul's Drag Race."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Keeping up with the Ories . . .

Daughter of state Supreme Court justice under investigation for insurance fraud
May 3, 2012 1:05 am
By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The daughter of a state Supreme Court justice is being investigated by the Allegheny County District Attorney's office for insurance fraud.

Casey Melvin, 24, of Sharpsburg was involved in a one-car crash in March in Shaler. She is the daughter of state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who has been identified as the target of a grand jury investigation for possible misuse of her staff for campaign purposes.

According to a police report, completed by Officer Richard J. Fowler Jr., the accident involving Casey Melvin was reported at 12:54 p.m. on March 29 in the 800 block of Butler Street.

Ms. Melvin told Officer Fowler she was distracted when leaving Shaler Plaza and drove into a utility pole as she entered a Sunoco gasoline station. The concrete base of the pole was not damaged, but both air bags of Ms. Melvin's 2011 Jeep Laredo deployed. The vehicle was towed from the scene. She was not injured.

Shaler police Chief Bryan B. Kelly said Ms. Melvin was eating when the crash occurred. She was not cited on-scene.

According to Jeff Sibel, a representative with Progressive insurance, Ms. Melvin attempted to submit a claim for the crash, but it was denied because her policy had been canceled.

There is a grace period, generally, of 15 to 20 days, if a policy has lapsed, he said, and Ms. Melvin's crash happened after that.

"Due to Pennsylvania law, it automatically has to be referred to law enforcement," he said.

Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney, said there is a pending review by his office.

"The only thing I can say is that we have received a referral from Progressive concerning [Ms. Melvin], and we are in the process of reviewing the material."

Chief Kelly said it is a matter of course for traffic officers to check driver's licenses, registration and insurance at the time of a crash.

If there is a lapse in insurance coverage, the company is supposed to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which then suspends the driver's registration, the chief said.

"I don't know what the lag time is for that," he said.

Mr. Sibel said Progressive does its own "due diligence" on a questionable claim before referring a case to police.

"A lot of times you can tell right away if it's a misunderstanding. You're not going to send that forward," he said.

Ms. Melvin could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DAVE: Lots of day games today. I see that your Phillies beat Atlanta. Pirates are losing 2-1 to the Cardinals. Erik Bedard is the Pirates' best starter.

JIM: Yes. I like it when there is day baseball.

I still hate Chipper Jones.

DAVE: I know you hate Chipper Jones. And Jason Bay.

I don't hate anyone. Adam LaRoche would be at the top of the list, though.

Pedro Alvarez has been hitting the ball lately, so the Pirates are a little more interesting at the moment. He hit a homerun, 4-2.

JIM: Nice.

With Pablo Sandoval getting a broken hand last night, it looks like Pirates slugger Garrett Jones is now leading active players on my team in HRs. Probably RBIs too.

DAVE: Garrett Jones? That's not good. To me, he's so blah.

JIM: That's my team. The Blahs.
The republicans are such hypocrites and history revisionists that it truly makes me sick sometimes.

Thursday, 03 May 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

It's the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden and President Obama is not afraid to brag about it. Mitt Romney and the GOP are criticizing the president for using the war on terror as a campaign device. They clearly forgot that they (the GOP and George W. Bush) invented using the war on terror as a campaign device in 2004.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Both college and graduate school are crazy expensive these days, compared to when I attended them. And the salaries that you get with a degree have not kept up with the price of higher education. It's just more debt for young people before they have even gotten started with their lives. I think college is important. But at what price?

Higher Education
Monday, 30 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

It's graduation season, but for some state budgets, it is also open season on higher education. State legislatures across the country, including Pennsylvania, are cutting funds for colleges and trade schools, forcing institutions to raise tuition. It was already hard enough for kids to afford a college education, now it will be even harder.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DAVE: No Hannah Storm this morning. So sad. I hate when they have two guys hosting Sportscenter.

I'm so glad the draft is over. Now, I just have to listen to them talk about the results of the draft for the next two months.

JIM: I did a pretty good job of avoiding the draft. I know that the Eagles first round pick was a defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox. And I think at some point they drafted a QB. But other than that, I know nothing. and I'm pretty happy about that.

DAVE: I know virtually nothing about the Steelers except that they took a couple of offensive linemen with their first two picks of the draft. Now, I just want it to go away and never come back.

JIM: I'm already reaching the point where I want this baseball season to go away and never come back. We'll get 'em next year!

DAVE: It's way too soon for that. For you, anyway. The Phillies can still get back into it. It's not like they're the Marlins.

JIM: You mean the Phillies that got two hits yesterday against the Cubs? The first batter of the game and the next-to-last batter of the game? The Phillies who just got smoked at home over the weekend by the Cubs, probably the worst team in the NL? Those Phillies?

DAVE: Yep. The baseball season is way too long to give up so soon. It's not like the football season, which you wanted to end early as well. The Nationals are not going to win that division. The Phillies just need to get Howard back (I don't think they really miss Utley in his condition), maybe make a trade, and then just plug away. They still have a better record than the offensive-less Pirates. And the Pirates don't have a Ryan Howard coming back. What they got is what they got.

JIM: I'm depressed. It is not fun to watch these Phillies.

DAVE: They are celebrating the 20th anniversary of what they call "The Slide" in Atlanta on June 9th with a bobblehead of a sliding Sid Bream.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Four years ago, the United States elected a black President. It seemed like a truly unbelievable time in this country. However, the apparent backlash by our country's racist underbelly has been strong and, in many ways, not even subtle. I realize that in life and in politics, an extreme event often draws an extreme response. But I am honestly amazed at how state republicans have responded by creating laws that clearly target black people. How has this happened just four years after what seemed like such a momentous event at the time? It really makes me wonder what this year's election will look like.

Rodney King
Sunday, 29 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

It is hard to believe it's been twenty years since Rodney King asked us all to "get along" in the wake of the LA Riots. Sadly, we don't seem to be getting any closer to getting along. Trayvon Martin and voter ID laws are only a couple of ways our collective racism has been revealed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Student Loan
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Obama is hitting college campuses hoping to energize the young voters who helped him win in 2008. He is promising to reduce the interest rate on their student loans. Granted, that's better than the republicans who want to raise the rate ... but I'm not sure it'll be enough.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The news just isn't the same without you, Sonni.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I hate the NRA more than I hate guns.

NRA Ground
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

The NRA is nervous about all the national attention being paid to the Trayvon Martin case because it is making the public more aware of the dangerous "stand your ground" laws that have been passed by half of our state legislatures. These laws are invitations for racists and other zealots to carry guns and use force even when it isn't necessary. The NRA isn't concerned about the victims, they are only concerned with protecting easy access to guns.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The U.S. government is truly an embarrassment . . .

GSA Scandal
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

The General Services Administration scandal has many of us taxpayers wondering what government workers do with all our money. Some argue that this is the behavior of a few rogue employees at the GSA and that most government workers are honest hard-working people. This may be true, but it is also a fact that there are those in government who have been engaged in this kind of activity for years.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why does D. Raja seem to want to get into politics so badly?

He needs to wear a sweater vest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Buffett Rule
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

Over 60% of Americans are in favor of the rich paying their fair share of taxes under the so-called "Buffett Rule." Naturally, that means congress will listen to the will of the people and pass a bill to that effect, right? Wrong. Happy Tax Day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Hey, Bud. Let's party."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day
Thursday, 05 April 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

It is opening day of baseball season! Yay! It's time for the 99% to buy tickets to sit in the stands and cheer for the 1%.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

JIM: So...Mike Milbury called Sidney Crosby a punk. Funny how that word seems to keep following him around.

DAVE: I don't understand it.

JIM: Duh. Of course you don't.

DAVE: He seems like such a nice, young man.

JIM: I am sure that his mother loves him. Well, kind of sure.

Friday, March 30, 2012

About once a week, I trim my eyebrows with a beard and mustache trimmer. One of the four beard and mustache trimmers that I own. But I only use this particular one for my eyebrows. Otherwise, well, you don't even want to know. I have what may well be the fastest growing hair in the world. I'm not a particularly hairy fellow. It's just that the hair that I have grows very quickly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brewed On Grant: Crooks
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

State Senator Jane Orie is the latest Pennsylvania politician to be convicted of corruption. Fourteen counts of it to be exact. Orie follows Bill DeWeese, Mike Veon and John Perzel, to name a few. If this keeps up we may have to replace the Pennsylvania state bird (the Ruffed Grouse) with a jailbird.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trayvon Martin
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Written by Rob Rogers

I hope all the attention surrounding the Trayvon Martin case will remind Americans that young black men are dying in huge numbers every day. These deaths have become as commonplace on the evening news as traffic reports. Where is the outrage for these young black men? Where is the justice for them?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last night, on an apparently beautiful night in Bradenton, Florida, the Pirates played one of only a few nighttime Spring Training home games against the Baltimore Orioles. My parents have tickets to all of the Pirates' Spring Training home games. However, rather than go to one of the four remaining home games at McKechnie Field, my parents decided to stay home and watch "Dancing With the Stars."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maybe the signing of Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos will bring more attention to Denver's truly odd airport:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DAVE: I'm watching the Peyton Manning press conference. Denver. I never thought the Broncos would pursue him, but they are a good fit for him.

JIM: I think Peyton probably went to the best team available that he could take over at quarterback for. He was looking for a good team that would give him a chance to get to the Super Bowl, or at least the playoffs. That's why he looked at the 49ers too. I never saw him playing in Miami. that was all just made up by the media I think.

Ultimately, Peyton Manning choosing a team ended up looking a lot like what Lebron did, only Peyton wasn't quite so obnoxious about it.

DAVE: Yeah, I was wrong about Miami. But you were way off with the Jets. As I said, it didn't occur to me that teams like the Broncos and the 49ers (both of whom made the playoffs with their QBs) would go after a 36-year-old. But I was wrong. I still can't believe the Broncos are dumping Tebow. The fucker made fantastic throws to beat the Steelers. He had the game of his life. But he sucked, otherwise. And they knew it.

JIM: Yes, the game he played after the Steelers win had to be one of the all-time worst playoff performances by a QB.

DAVE: That's why it hurts to have lost to him.

JIM: Ha ha.

Monday, March 19, 2012

If you think the look on the face of 2012 Miss Smiling Irish Eyes is bad, take a gander at Uncle Rich's facial expression.

Friday, March 16, 2012

My HP computer is not working right. I'm not sure what the problem is. I don't know whether it's the computer hardware itself or the software installed on it. And the most frustrating thing is that there is really no one for me to consult about the problems I've having. There's certainly no one whom I can call. And I'm not going to take my computer to a business that fixes computers. I'm really on my own here. It's rather frustrating. You buy a computer, and then you're pretty much on your own from the moment you open the box. Maybe it's true that Apple computers don't have these problems, and maybe that makes them worth the extra money. I honestly don't know. The only Apple computer I've ever had was my first computer, a Macintosh Classic II in college. Tiny little thing in black and white. Good times.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I feel that I owe my vast and loyal readership an apology for neglecting my blog in recent months. I need to try harder.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So, um, how exactly does this happen?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DAVE: Someone on ESPN this morning suggested that Danica Patrick is beginning to get into Anna Kournakova land: all looks and marketing with little success. I agree with that assessment. I certainly don't give a fuck about auto racing, but yet I talk about her because of her looks. That's pretty much the way I used to talk about Anna Kournakova. Danica needs to win something.

JIM: I guess. I'm not always completely comfortable with that. She's been good enough to become one of the best in the world at her sport and a contender. If she never wins a race outright, I don't think it diminishes that. If she wins one race, then people will complain that she hasn't won two. If she wins two, they will complain that she hasn't won an overall championship (is there even such a thing in racing?). It will just go on and on.

Winning doesn't have to be the be all, end all. I'd like to think that competing counts for something. Dan Marino never won a Supe, but I still think he was a great quarterback.

DAVE: You like Danica Patrick.

JIM: I don't mind looking at Danica Patrick. I liked looking at Anna Kournikova too.

DAVE: No arguments here. I wonder what became of Anna Kournakova?

JIM: I heard something about her in the not too distant past. I don't remember what it was, I guess it must not have included a picture so it didn't stick in my mind.

Google her.

DAVE: I did quickly. She looks the same. Interestingly enough, I learned from Google that the retired Kournakova is 31. Meanwhile, Danica Patrick is 32.

Monday, February 27, 2012

There are almost as many Jennifer Aniston romcoms as there are Catherine Heigl movies. But Jennifer Aniston is better looking.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Check out this website. It's fascinating.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DAVE: It seems so weird to me that ESPN actually shows the tweets from athletes, other famous people, and average viewers. What is the relevance of these opinions to the news? I thought Facebook was bad. Twitter is evil.

JIM: My son's teachers recently sent a letter home that they are all starting Twitter accounts and want their students to follow them. So now my son has a Twitter account. Ugh.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm genuinely surprised at how many people still smoke cigarettes. If nothing else, I can't believe how much a pack costs these days. I'm a former smoker, and I think it's a very disgusting habit.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Did I not get the memo? Are cargo-style gray sweat pants now acceptable for casual wear outside of the house? They're sweat pants. You can put front pockets, back pockets, and even cargo pockets on them, but they're still sweat pants. If you're going to wear cargo sweat pants, why not just wear a pair of normal pants or jeans. I'm confused.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday, 09 February 2012 00:01
Written by Rob Rogers

The Obama administration is instituting a policy requiring health insurance plans to offer birth control to women free of charge. That includes plans provided by Catholic hospitals, universities and charities. As you might expect, church leaders and social conservatives are not happy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Experts disagree on impact of gambling revenue on school tax bills
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In 2004, during the debate over whether to legalize gambling in Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell predicted that slot machine revenue one day would be able to cut school property taxes by an average of 23 percent.

About 71/2 years and 10 casinos later, many homeowners are still waiting for that day.

While slot machine gambling is delivering promised tax relief, it doesn't appear that many residents locally are getting close to the 23 percent savings predicted by the former governor -- or even the 15 percent to 20 percent estimated when slots gambling was legalized in July 2004.

This year, the average reduction statewide will be $198. It might buy a nice dinner out or a cheap flat screen TV, but chances are it won't come close to covering a school tax bill.

"In reality, I think in the Bucks County area, it might be 7 to 8 percent at most. When you're talking about a $4,000 to $5,000 tax bill and you're getting $250, that's 5 percent," said state Rep. Paul Clymer, a Bucks County Republican who opposed legalized gambling.

In Allegheny County, based on data from the state Department of Education and the Allegheny County website, it doesn't appear as if many property owners are seeing reductions anywhere close to 23 percent.

For instance, a property owner with a $100,000 house in South Fayette is seeing his school tax bill cut by 5.8 percent. In Bethel Park, it's 6.5 percent, and in Moon, 6.2 percent. In McCandless, part of the North Allegheny School District, it's 7.3 percent. In Penn Hills and Plum, it's 7.3 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively. In Carnegie, it's 6.8 percent.

Some, however, are making out better. In the city of Pittsburgh, the reduction is $269. That equals about 19.3 percent of the school tax bill for a $100,000 house.

In Duquesne, it's 16.6 percent on a $100,000 house. But on the median value of a home in that city of $16,700, it's enough to cover the entire school tax bill. In McKees Rocks, part of the Sto-Rox district, it equals 12.5 percent on a $100,000 home.

But for many others, the amount of school tax relief being provided through slots gambling appears to be more of a pittance compared to what originally was promised.

One who won't argue with that notion is state Rep. Bill DeWeese, the Waynesburg Democrat who helped to usher through the bill that legalized gambling in 2004.

Mr. DeWeese said he is "disappointed" that slot machine gambling has not produced more tax relief for residents. He said he is constantly bombarded by complaints from people in his district about not seeing the promised tax relief, including one instance where he was cornered at a high school football game and grilled on the issue.

"I said, 'I don't have a good excuse,' " he recalled.

Likewise, Mr. Clymer doesn't think slots gambling has delivered on the promises made when it was enacted.

"In 2012, we will become Las Vegas east. We will be the [second-highest] state in gross gambling revenue next to Nevada. In spite of all of that, one could not say that we have meaningful property tax relief," he said.

Added Tim Potts, founder of Democracy Rising PA, a watchdog group seeking to transform state government, "What I can say is that gambling was never about property tax relief. It was about gambling. Period. Tax relief was the Trojan horse.

"[Gambling] was not set up to do that. It was set up to give gambling interests a foot in the door so that they could expand."

Last year, tax revenue statewide from slot machine gambling hit $1.3 billion, with roughly $818 million of that diverted for school property tax relief.

That's still below the $1 billion-a-year mark touted by some politicians, including Mr. Rendell, who could not be reached for comment, when gambling was legalized.

Proponents point out that the state has yet to open four of the 14 casinos envisioned under the law. They are expected to generate more tax revenue to add to the tax relief pot. Venues still to be opened include a standalone casino in Philadelphia, another racetrack casino and two resort casinos.

"You've got some more growth in revenue, no doubt," said Doug Harbach, spokesman for the state gaming control board.

Tax relief from gambling comes solely from slot machines. None of the revenue generated from table games currently is used for that purpose.

Despite the critics, state Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said slot machine gambling is providing meaningful property tax relief in myriad ways.

He said that many senior citizens, for example, qualify for additional gambling-related relief above that doled out through their school districts.

In some cases, a property tax rent-and-rebate program, funded in part by gambling revenues, supplements the primary tax relief they receive. In the city of Pittsburgh, for instance, that may be enough to cut the average school tax bill on a $100,000 home in half, he said.

"I think [gambling's] providing significant property tax relief," he said.

Furthermore, the city and the county last year received $10 million and $5.5 million, respectively, as the local share for hosting the Rivers Casino on the North Shore. While that money does not go directly for property tax relief, Mr. Costa argued that it does help keep taxes down.

He also noted another $120.3 million in slots tax revenue last year was deposited into an economic development trust fund that is used to fund projects throughout the state, including a number locally.

That, too, helps to lower the tax burden, he said. In addition, another $25 million is earmarked to help volunteer fire companies throughout Pennsylvania.

"Had we put it all into property tax relief, you would have seen a different percentage," he said.

In addition, Mr. Harbach said many property owners are unaware of the tax relief they do get as a result of gambling. That's because the money goes directly to school districts, which then reduce property tax bills accordingly. The relief is listed on tax bills as a homestead exemption with no mention of gambling.

"Unfortunately, many homeowners either never see their tax bill since it goes to a bank or mortgage company to be paid from an escrow account, or are unaware that the reduction they do see is a result of slot machine revenue," Mr. Harbach said.

Still, some wonder whether taxpayers are losing ground despite the relief they are getting. A study by the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank, found that between 2004, when slots gambling was legalized, through the 2008-09 school year, school property taxes in Pennsylvania had increased by $2.1 billion while the amount of slots-related tax relief totaled about $700 million.

"I don't think too many homeowners are satisfied with the amount of relief they've gotten," said Nate Benefield, the foundation's director of policy analysis.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DAVE: Today, I am wearing a button-down shirt and a tie for the first time in a couple of years. I had to look for both, and then I was pleased to discover that I still remember how to tie a tie. After a couple of years, I was afraid that I had forgotten how to do it. Whew.

JIM: I know one way to tie a tie and that is it. I think every once in awhile that I should learn a couple of other knots, but really the only time I ever wear a tie these days is pretty much at funerals so what's the point?

DAVE: That's it. The last time that I wore a tie was to my aunt's funeral three years ago.

I only know one way to tie a tie, and I'm satisfied with that. What is the dress code at your job?

JIM: Theoretically, I guess it's business casual, but it's pretty lax. There are people who wear jeans and t-shirts every day and there are some who I don't think I ever saw wear shoes all summer.

DAVE: That's awesome.

JIM: For the most part, yes. But there are some people I work with who have pretty damn ugly feet.

DAVE: Yeah, I'm against the menfolk wearing sandals.

JIM: When I say no shoes, I'm talking no shoes. Bare feet in some cases.

DAVE: That ain't right at all.

JIM: Exactly.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I see that there is a new Katherine Heigl movie coming out. I honestly thought that those were over with. I guess not.

Monday, January 16, 2012

DAVE: Do you chew gum? I realized recently that I don't. I used to way back in college, but now I have no interest. I'm sure my breath has suffered.

JIM: No, I don't. My wife tries to get me to chew gum once in awhile. I think I have a pack in my car, but I have no idea how old it is and probably wouldn't recommend trying it at this point.

DAVE: Kathy tries to get you to chew gum once in a while? I think she's telling you that your breath is bad when she does that. Women do that. Sneaky bitches.

JIM: Probably. It usually seems to be at odd times though. I wish she'd just say what she wants.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It was cold in Pittsburgh today. But the high in Toronto was 12. The low was zero. Zero. I don't have any idea how I survived my two winters in Toronto. I know for certain that I wore a lot of sweaters. Occasionally even a very nice and terribly warm Icelandic sweater. Do you remember those? Well, I had one in high school. Interestingly, I was never much of a sweater wearer after high school. In fact, I don't wear them now.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

An unfortunate series of events has left me searching for a new shower head for my shower. Those of my vast and loyal readership who know me well (which is a very small number) know that my shower is a very important part of my day. And my condo has a stall shower that requires the right shower head. I have learned from experience over the years that Waterpik makes the best shower heads when you want to get the most from your water pressure. So, I am only looking at Waterpiks. I'm completely crazy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The place where I presently work has a lot of very loyal customers who have been coming there for many years. Most of them live in the East End, my domain. Yesterday, my ninth grade Latin teacher came in with her daughter. Her son and I ran cross-country in ninth and tenth grade before my family moved to Toronto, thus changing the course of my life like a butterfly flapping its wings in South America. Instead of graduating high school as a top student and going off to college at Penn or Princeton, as was the plan, instead, I ended up spending two years out of school before I went to the University of Pittsburgh. A handful of bad things have happened to me in my life. Leaving Pittsburgh was just the first really big one. But not only did moving change my life for the worse, in many ways, it changed my life for the better, in many ways. I just need to remind myself of just exactly what those better things are. I'm trying to think of one right now.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter in Pittsburgh means a lot of rainy days. Where I work, people have recently been saying that they would rather that it snowed than to have to endure all that rain. I think that these people are either crazy or they have short memories. Snow sucks. An inch or two every now and then is fine, maybe even nice. But any more than that is an inconvenience, if not a pain in the ass. Please understand that I HATE rain almost anytime, and especially in the winter. I would much prefer that winter in Pittsburgh wasn't the winter rainy season (frequently followed by the spring rainy season). But I will take rain over snow any day. Any day. I would also like more sunshine, but I've lived here long enough to know that that just isn't going to happen. I really hate winter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My prediction for the Steelers' final regular season record was 10-6. They finished 12-4. So, I was wrong. But you have to admit that both games against the Browns were way too close and way too boring.