Dec 292014
 

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge focuses on the theme of “Warmth.”  It’s with that in mind that I present to you the warmest spot I found in 2014:

 

Now that's a fire!

You wanted warmth, now you have it. Be careful what you wish for!

 

Is this literal enough for ya?

Last October I was stranded in Pittsburgh on a Sunday (and then a Monday) due to my car having mechanical difficulties.  I thought I had it bad until later in the day.  It was at that point that I rounded the corner in the city’s Shadyside neighborhood and saw this burning hunk.  Actually, I smelled the stench of an electrical fire and saw the smoke before I rounded the corner, but I still had NO idea that it was going to be that bad.  I ducked inside to a local pizzeria right by the scene of the accident and watched as police and fire units responded to the incident.  The tires melted before the fire was put out.  The good news is that the driver was AWOL and presumably unhurt.

The lesson I took from the incident is that it could always be worse.  My car had a busted coolant hose, but at least it didn’t catch fire!  That’s less warmth than cold comfort, but I’ll take it.  After all, what choice did I have?

Oct 282014
 

Everyone’s favorite Pittsburgh band, The Clarks, performing Penny On The Floor at the Abbey Bar earlier this month:

Jun 252014
 

So, here are a few video clips of Lucinda Williams playing at the Three Rivers Arts Fest that I took using my phone.  Again, like my picture, they’re very basic, but I hope they can give yinz an adequate idea of what the show was like.

I admit that I don’t know a lot her songs, but this one I do know.  I thought she did a pretty nice job with it.  If only her whole set had been as solid.

Sadly, “Drunken Angel” seemed to be more typical of her performance.  She seemed to be straining to get to some of the higher notes.  At 61, I’m afraid that’s she lost some of her vocal range.  It’s sad but it happens.  That, and she also sounded warbly, as in, a smidge tipsy.  But that’s just a hunch.

 These girls are:

  1. Dancing ironically to Lucinda Williams
  2. Really, really into her.
  3. Drunk.
  4. 1&3
  5. 2&3

I’m not 100% sure, but I’d wager that the answer involves alcohol.  Call it a hunch.

Jun 232014
 

 Writing 101’s 16th assignment challenges us to imagine what it would be like to work in place where one would manage lost or forgotten items.  Here goes.

“What is that?” I asked.

“A loaf of bread.  What do you think it is?” my coworker Jordy (short for Jordan, a name he hated) shot back.

“I know what it is, but what’s it doing here?”

Jordy shrugged, “We’re the University of Pittsburgh’s Lost and Found Office.  We’re where lost things go.”

“Yeah, but a duck?  Isn’t that something that the city’s Animal Control unit should be handling?  The University Police, at least?”

“It’s like I said, we’re where lost things go.  And he is a lost thing.”  Jordy’s powers of logic were astounding.  “Besides, he seems like a friendly enough guy.  And his quacking is oddly soothing, don’t you think?”

“I…, well, yeah he is entertaining, and I don’t mind the quacking.  And we have had worse things dropped off here.” (Don’t get me started about the blow up dolls.  Just don’t).  “I guess we can hang onto him until his owners come back to free him or when it’s time for him to fly south or something.  He won’t be around for long.”

“Good, it’s settled then!  I’ll go scrounge up some bread for him.  Try to think of a name for him while I’m out searching.”  And with that, Jordy made his way down the hall of our basement office as he began his quest.  I turned around to get a good look at this mysterious mallard and started reeling off names “Scrooge?  Daffy?  Oregon?”  This was gonna take a while.

Three years later, Huey (yeah, we know,  we know) Jordy and I still work at Pitt’s Lost and Found Office.  Well, Huey doesn’t work.  But he is good company, and the ladies love him.  As work families go, we’re doing pretty well.  Here’s to the next three.

Jun 222014
 

Sooo, today’s Daily Post asks for a memorable moment involving a sporting event.  Some of these prompts are tricky, but not this.  I got this one covered.

It was June of 1992 and the Pittsburgh Penguins just swept the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup.  Woo Hoo!  My friends and were at a bar in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh when this happened.  Like almost everyone else, we poured out of the bar, down the stairs, and out into the street to hoot and holler with everyone else around.  It was your typical evening of (thankfully minor league) mayhem that follows a sports championship.  After a few minutes of jumping and cheering, my 21 year-old self looked at some of the other loonies that had climbed on top of a city bus.  “What a great idea.  I wanna do that too!” my youthful, drunken, and possibly, er, “smoked out” self thought.  And so, I made my climb via the back of the bus to its top.  Boy oh boy, was I having fun!  But then, I heard warnings from below that the cops were coming.  Uh-oh.  Better get outta there!  I looked down and two strangers told me to jump.  “Come on!  We’ll catch you!” they cried out.  “No no no, I’m good man!” I yelled back (or something to that effect) and then hopped off the bus.  And then, POP!  I felt something snap in my left ankle.  There was a brief flash of pain but then that was gone and replaced with a swelling numbness and an inability to stand on that leg.  As others were either still celebrating I found myself in a state of panic and possibly mild shock as I limped around the street yelling “CHAS!!!  CHAS!!!” as I looked for my college roommate.  I eventually found him and one of his fraternity brothers after what seemed like an eternity (read: 5-10 minutes).  The next I remember is limping into his car and going to the nearest emergency room.  One long, painful wait later, and I found myself fitted with a nice plaster cast.  I would be wearing it for the next six weeks.  During that time, I learned about the unique pleasures of showering while injured, hobbling around on crutches, and why pencils and rulers are your best friend when you get an itch beneath a cast.  It wasn’t my greatest moment, to be sure.  Still, my sister pointed out to me a few years ago that I was just being young and stupid and that I should just laugh about it.  Plus, she pointed out, it makes for a good story.  And she was right.  And there you have it, that’s my story involving a sporting event.

May 012014
 

I’ve briefly mentioned the Yinzer accent, but for those of you who don’t know, seeing and hearing is believing.  Behold, it’s Pittsburgh Dad!

Now you begin to understand.  Now you begin to drink in the paher (power) and glory that is the Pittsburgh accent.  Them French ain’t got nohtin’ on when it comes ta accents ‘n ‘at!