There’s a joke here, people.

For the first time this year, Downtown Pittsburgh’s New Year’s Eve celebration will be marked by the raising of a giant ball at midnight, a la Times Square.

Yes, raised: the thousand-pound, glowing ball is named “The Future of Pittsburgh,” so when the midnight countdown happens it will be lifted to the top of a 74-foot flagpole instead of dropped. (There are enough problemlatic metaphors going on already without worrying about the “The Future” dropping.)

There’s a joke here. I’m just not sure what it is.

Is it a joke about where the hell did this city get the money to purchase (or lease?) a thousand pound ball of glowing light?

Is it a joke about who the hell NAMED THE BALL? Or is it a joke about who the hell came up with the idea to NAME THE BALL?

Is it a joke about the fact that the article refers to the Highmark Building as the Old Horne’s Building? When the hell is it FINALLY going to just be the Highmark Building? But then again, when will the Regional Enterprise Tower stop being the Old Alcoa Building? While we’re at it, is it a joke that this city is stuck in the past?

Is it a joke about how the local newscasters are going to have trouble keeping a straight face as they say things like, “We’re looking forward to the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh later tonight.” or “The Future of Pittsburgh has almost reached the top of the flagpole.” or “Look, Sonni Abatta is sitting on The Future of Pittsburgh dressed as one of Santa’s Elves.”

Help me, Burghers. Help me find the joke that is DYING to be made.


  1. Jo Janoski
    November 30, 2006 8:08 pm

    It could be worse. Lukey could have named it The Move Forward Pittsburgh!

  2. Rusty
    November 30, 2006 8:39 pm

    It is always good to have big shiny balls.

    Guys always name their balls.

    Ok, I quit, i’m sorry. Slap me silly.

  3. Uncle Crappy
    November 30, 2006 8:44 pm

    Ummm … uhh … Can we just continue making fun of the Wiggles instead?

  4. After Further Review
    November 30, 2006 9:35 pm

    They should have had two balls rest on top of the flag pole on New Years Eve. The end result would have been tremendous.

    November 30, 2006 9:50 pm

    Will it stay where it is all year and move further up the pole the following Dec 31? If not, what will it mean when they take “The Future of Pittsburgh” down on Jan 2? Instead of moving it upward, they should move it FORWARD.

    No wait, they should place the ball on the spot where the fountain is and then turn the water on at midnight to blast the ball into orbit. Now THAT would be cool.

    No wait, they should roll it down the incline track so it wipes out Station Square exactly at midnight.

    The opportunities are endless. Like the future of Pittsburgh.

  6. PittCheMBA
    November 30, 2006 11:08 pm

    My engineering background says you should not try to work against gravity.

    Raising a ball on a flagpole? Raising a flagpole? No comment.

  7. Judge Rufus Peckham
    November 30, 2006 11:16 pm

    Raise the ball instead of dropping it? Typical. Let’s take what’s worked perfectly well for as long as anyone can remember in a vibrant city . . . AND DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE! And let’s bless the entire pointless, insipid effort with some thoroughly unmemorable title such as “The Future of Pittsburgh.” I agree this would be quite amusing — if it weren’t a de rigueur exercise among the banal corporate-types who concoct these vapid affairs.

  8. JP
    December 1, 2006 12:12 am

    Cant exactly call it a countdown. But no such thing as a countup. Unless its like one of those fundraising thermometers… This is surely some strange imagery.

  9. PtBreeze
    December 1, 2006 8:45 am

    I think the old Horny Building is gonna have a New Year’s Stiffy.

  10. apolitical
    December 1, 2006 8:57 am

    I’d go with two balls dropping down so the pole would appear to grow.

  11. Clarion
    December 1, 2006 9:04 am

    I think the joke is that there is unfortunately no joke. We are pathetic.

  12. pops
    December 1, 2006 9:05 am

    The only glowing thing to be hoisted in the Burgh this year is going to be that ball…our sports teams are sure letting us down.

    It could be worse they could have the balls drop from the fountain as it spouts off at midnight!!!

    Don’t worry soon all the TV folk will be outside telling us about the snow and the cold. Do you really need to be outside to report that it is cold and snowy..Pops does not think so!!!

  13. Z
    December 1, 2006 10:33 am

    I think they should have just raised the Inclines instead.

  14. theburgher
    December 1, 2006 11:26 am

    It is the perfect quasi-religious event for the corporate community. They can worship the magic blue ball of branding and then get back in the cars and drive home to Upper St. Clair.

  15. Awesome Comet
    December 1, 2006 1:27 pm

    I’ll put a thousand dollars of the future of Pittsburgh getting stuck. But you’ve got to give me 50-1 odds on the future of Pittsburgh slipping offtrack and plummeting into the massed throngs.

    This is so dumb its embarrasing.

    What are the odds that when the future of Pittsburgh reaches its zenieth, it will light up an image of our dear leader Luke Ravenstahl grinning with arms akimbo?

  16. pittgirl
    December 1, 2006 1:27 pm


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  18. Mel
    December 1, 2006 3:25 pm

    We got the “Future of Pittsburgh” by the balls… err, ball… err, is the ball blue by chance?

  19. spoon
    December 1, 2006 4:33 pm

    What they’re not telling you is that the wire to raise the ball will be connected to the Mon Incline.

    Who’s taking bets on when the first drunk yinzer will try to climb the pole or when MOOK will get his name on it?

    mmm someone just nuked a bag of popcorn by me… i’m hungry.

  20. jack
    December 2, 2006 10:47 am

    “Balls” said the queen. If I had two I’d be king.
    The king laughed, he had two.

  21. PittsburgherInDC
    December 13, 2006 8:24 am

    I know I’m a bit late posting this, but I just couldn’t believe nobody had mentioned this one…

    we don’t need any more balls dropping… Santonio Holmes does enough of that for the whole city!

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