Random n’at.

1. When your boss calls a meeting just so he can hear himself talk, and as you’re sitting there looking right at him, does it takes all of your strength not to deliberately mime shooting yourself in the head? Just me?

2. The Pens. Oh, that was so so hard to watch.

The boys have fought valiantly all season, and they’ll continue to fight tonight, but not being able to get a goal on 5 on 3 to me was a huge flashing light that maybe this isn’t our year.

All hope is not lost. Just a big bunch of it is.

3. Speaking of the Pens and the Where in the World is Evgeni Malkin-itis that has inflicted Burghers everywhere, spotted at Fuel and Fuddle and snapped by Jim L’s camera:

Hah! But seriously, before we talk smack about Malkin’s lack of goals or scoring contributions this series, you’ve got to believe that our frustration pales in comparison to the frustration he’s feeling at himself. He’s doing a great job of yelling at himself without us jumping on his shoulders and pummeling his head with the frying pan of Hockey Justice.

4. Well, there’s being goth and then there’s having goat horns. No seriously. Goat horns. And that, my friends, is a classic What the Effie.

5. And finally, two sides to the Giant Eagle boycott coin.

From reader C:

You have every right to make whatever choice you please vis a vis choice of supermarket; but, I wonder if you realize how many local people are employed by Giant Eagle, from the headquarters in RIDC, down to the employees of the stores, including high school kids and disabled individuals who have an opportunity to work when they otherwise might not?

When the population of our region is shrinking, in large part due to a lack of jobs, do you really want to support Aldi and Trader Joe’s, which are foreign companies, or Costco, WalMart and Whole Foods, giant corporations that rose to national prominence through shady practices of their own?

Do you realize that the price of “staple” food items have shot up across the board, not just at Giant Eagle, due to the use of corn for fuel, the cost of gas to transport food, and a rising demand for food worldwide?

Again, it’s your blog, and you can say what you want; I think you’re being a little shortsighted in your criticism, or perhaps not considering the issue from all sides.

And this from reader Back in the Burgh:

I took your Giant Eagle rant to heart last week and decided that while I can’t completely quit shopping there (just unrealistic with it 3 minutes from my house and nothing else close enough), I figured I could spend more time (and money) at the other options near me – Costco and WalMart (both about 15 minutes away). Today I went on an adventure to Whole Foods. It’s about 40 minutes from me, but it was SO worth the drive! I felt like I was in produce heaven. I have never seen such beautiful produce. And, of course, it had all the cool, odd stuff that you’d never find at GE. The bakery section was wonderful and everyone working at the store was nice (even chatty … imagine that!). And they bagged my groceries for me … so hard to find anymore! So while it’s a bit of a hike, I imagine I’ll be finding the quickest way there every few weeks. Totally worth the drive. Thanks for making me stop and think about it all last week!

Now THAT is what’s called fair and balanced coverage.   I report, you decide.

As for me, I’ve decided and I’m sticking with BITE ME, GIANT EAGLE!


  1. Sandy
    June 2, 2008 2:03 pm

    PittGirl! You should buy produce in the Strip! That way you can support local vendors AND not pay a bajillion dollars for an avocado. Everybody wins! Except for you, trying to find parking in the Strip.

  2. Brian
    June 2, 2008 2:10 pm

    5. I enjoy the nationalism argument for Giant Eagle. Was that written by Toby Keith? Look, don’t shove this “AMERICA!” bullshit in my face. I have to eat. I have to buy groceries. Yes, you are correct that prices are up across the board, and a lot of that has to do with the ridiculous gas prices (which, just my opinion, is being pushed by our AMERICAN oil companies who rake record profits, yet bitch about crude oil prices. I think they’re trying to squeeze us until we can’t breathe anymore and the last tree huggiest hugger submits and demand we drill for oil in the Alaskan wildlife areas for some relief … but I digress) but shit, unless Aldi and Trader Joe’s are funded by al-Qaida and/or the Taliban and/or the Nazis, I don’t give a shit where they originate. I know that I — and this is just me, not trying to force anyone else — can go get pretty much all the groceries I need at TJ or Aldi’s and when all’s said and done, I’m saving a TON OF CASH. So yes, if I don’t blindly wave the Giant Eagle flag, please forgive me.

  3. Marv Albert
    June 2, 2008 2:15 pm

    hey…can I get in on that “BITE ME” stuff?

    Just checking.

  4. Kelli
    June 2, 2008 2:27 pm

    To agree with Sandy – there are a lot of great ways to support local folks and local businesses without having to shop at Giant Eagle.

  5. Nellie
    June 2, 2008 2:30 pm

    OK Reader C, hold it right there.

    Don’t bunch Costco in with Walmart and the like. The CEO of Costco is from the Burg. Makes sure all his employees are making a living wage. Including health ins, life ins,profit sharing. Only promotes from within.
    And the best part, stopped taking salary increases for himself ages ago. As he puts it, how many millions does one person need. Give it back to the loyal employees.
    As a wife of a 30+yrs. Giant Eagle employee (who was management before he passed away)
    They can bite me.
    I have enough Eagle horror stories to last a lifetime.
    My husband hated them.

  6. In Sewickley
    June 2, 2008 2:36 pm

    I am so tired of everyone harping on Malkin. What the hell. Like he’s the ONLY player on the ice. He’s the only one missing shots.

    I. Don’t. Think. So.

    It takes a team to win and it takes a team to lose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Malkin helped get this team this far and the best everyone can do is get on the kid?!?!?!? Do you know how many other players just want to make the playoffs???? And here we are, lucky enough to see our Penguins in the chase for the Stanley Cup.

    It pisses me off so much when people pinpoint Malkin. Stop it, already!!!!!!

    Besides, Fuel and Fuddle sucks big time. The last time I was there, the waiter sucked. It took like three hours to get all of our meals correct. (I’m not kidding.) And then he brought out WRONG MEALS to the table. He made up our order out of thin air. So F&F can go F&F themselves.

    Am I the only Pittsburgher who is optimistic about tonight’s game?!?!?!?!?

    LET’S GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And you know what… if they lose… then we should thank them for getting this far and giving us something to cheer about!

  7. Zsa
    June 2, 2008 2:59 pm

    Erm, I’ve NEVER heard of anything “shady” where Costco is concerned, and I am the sort of person who jumps all over that isht.

    I also agree with the beauty aspect of Whole Foods. The produce is all so vibrant…it makes you feel like Dorothy stepping into Oz. (Maybe if they had Munchkins working there people wouldn’t notice the prices as much.)

    All this being said…I tried Shop & Save (the Homestead one) instead of the Bird this weekend. The prices seemed about the same. The produce selection was…not that great. There were many other things that were…not that great. The clerk wouldn’t leave me alone about getting the “perks” card. And to top it all off…does the clerk/bagger not normally put your bags in the cart? My clerk just kind of stared at them until she realized I wanted some help with this. Of course I think things like this vary from location to location…but for now, I’m just going to stick w/ Trader Joe’s & Big Bird.

  8. Pensgirl
    June 2, 2008 3:05 pm

    1. Pittgirl, once – and I swear to Woy this is true – my boss, during a staff meeting, went on this bizarre tangent about a medical appointment, a dream she had, and something going on at her house, and one of my colleagues leaned ever so slightly to his right to obscure himself from her view and then put his hand up to his mouth in the universal gesture for smokin’ weed. Those of us who saw it were trying so hard not to laugh out loud, we were tearing up and shaking, hiding our faces and hoping to God nobody noticed (it was a big division).

    2. They could have quit several times this year and didn’t; they could have given up time and again and instead fought harder. If they don’t have any fight left in them, it’s understandable. And if they do, we could be celebrating yet. Either way, we can be proud of what they accomplished this year.

    3. Support Your Local Russian Star: the NHL regular season is more grueling than any other hockey league’s; when you add the length and emotional grind of the playoffs that just tips it over the edge. I don’t think Geno’s remotely behind the 8-ball in terms of career progress. Last year he tuckered out late in the season, and this year he made it a full month longer while playing in every game and receiving more icetime than normal for two months during Sid’s absence. I think he made excellent progress for one season, and I expect with a well-designed off-season program he’ll make at least the same strides next year. (And all of this is assuming he’s just exhausted, when it is entirely possible that he’s also hurt.)

    5. Speaking of supporting local businesses, is the East End Food Co-op still around or did Whole Foods kill it?

  9. Maria
    June 2, 2008 3:08 pm

    I’ve been saying this from the very beginning of the playoffs, and I have gotten harrassed and yelled at and called names, but it isn’t our time yet. Within the next five years, the Pens will bring the cup back to the Burgh. It’s going to happen, but not this year. The Red Wings are just TOO GOOD.

    I really wish people would lay off Malkin. How can they blame one guy for the entire team’s poor performance? He’s an amazing player and really important part of the team. Everyone gets into a funk every now and again. His just came at a bad time.

  10. Lyon Advocate
    June 2, 2008 3:19 pm

    Amen, Brian. Nothing inspires me to shop at another store faster than the “our high prices allow us to pay your neighbors more” argument. Not to get all Lending Tree on people, but when grocery stores compete we win.

  11. joey
    June 2, 2008 3:30 pm

    Maria: When a “star” player goes into a funk every year…right around the playoffs…people tend to focus on that player’s performance. Y’know…people start to wonder if that player is really worth a bajalion dollars when he doesn’t show up in big games….

  12. spoon
    June 2, 2008 3:30 pm

    We can swear to Woy now? oh HELL yeah I’m using that next time I get arrested. “I swear to Woy officer that I really thought I could fly… naked… down Parkway East.”

    I’ve been to Whole Foods and while the selection was top notch I can’t see paying those prices on a regular basis. Special occasions maybe but my meats and seafood will continue to come from Wholey’s.

    My impression of Trader Joes is that it must be a pot smokers heaven because the food that I saw would flush any toxins out of your body. Plus side is that I did get a kickass marinade called Soyaki which i highly recommend and sickpuppy picked up a bag of these Andy Capp type fries that tasted like peas.

    As for Geno, he’s reminding me of Barry Bonds playoff producer. He’s not the main fault though. Home ice, game 4 and you’re on a 5 on 3 and don’t put the puck on net? That’s a serious team issue. I did love the chants when I was leaving F balcony of fans chanting SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!

  13. Pensgirl
    June 2, 2008 3:48 pm

    The way Woy is regarded in the Burghosphere, it only seemed right.

    No, no, Geno is not Barry Bonds. You can see on his face that he cares, that he’s trying; he just…can’t. He has proven over and over again that he can and will step up his game when needed. It’s not fair for anyone to say that he doesn’t care or that it’s a mental thing or that he’s not a playoff performer. He was great for as long as he could be, and now he’s just reached his limit. It was like that slapper against Biron was his last gasp (and again, he could be hurt). It’s frustrating that he wasn’t able to keep it up, but it’s also completely acceptable for someone at that stage of his career. But he progressed between last year and this, and all we can ask of him is to progress between this year and next.

  14. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 2, 2008 3:53 pm

    1. That’s where a blackberry comes in handy. I used to sit across the room from a good friend of mine and we would play bang-bang-you’re dead. It’s sort of like bullshit bingo, but usually someone “dies” much more quickly than someone gets bingo.

    2 & 3. Geno will come around. The Pens will win tonight. I have faith. If I haven’t given up on the Buccos of Suckitude for the past 17 years, I’m not going to abandon the Pens.

    5. My grandma hates the big bird. She avoids it like the plague.

    Let’s Go Pens!!!!!!

  15. unsatisfied
    June 2, 2008 3:55 pm

    lighten up, “in sewickley” — it’s just a sign.

    and, a funny one, at that.

    and, I actually like the F&F. so there.

    and, pensgirl’s right — at least gino/geno give a shit. that’s far more than I could ever say about BB.

    as for the whole grocery store thing — I agree with PG. but, until they put a whole foods or something else of that ilk right next to the GE that is less than one mile from my crib, fergedabahtit…

  16. unsatisfied
    June 2, 2008 3:56 pm

    lighten up, “in sewickley” — it’s just a sign.

    and, a funny one, at that.

    and, I actually like the F&F. so there.

    and, pensgirl’s right — at least gino/geno gives a shit. that’s far more than I could ever say about BB.

    as for the whole grocery store thing — I agree with PG. but, until they put a whole foods or something else of that ilk right next to the GE that is less than one mile from my crib, fergedabahtit…

  17. Sara
    June 2, 2008 3:59 pm

    Hi Pittgirl. I’m a new reader, and admittedly living in Harrisburg (but I have family around Pgh and I bleed black & gold, I promise). Re: your Giant Eagle ban – Do you have any farmer’s markets nearby that it would be worth the drive or ride to pick out nice, fresh produce and still support local people?

  18. Stephanique1
    June 2, 2008 4:03 pm

    1.) Be glad, PG. My boss once flossed her teeth during a meeting. I kid you not.

  19. Pensgirl
    June 2, 2008 4:05 pm

    Stephanique, I’ve heard people clipping their nails (fingernails, thank GOD) at their desks but that is a whole new brand of low. Geez, at least my boss just rambled.

  20. C
    June 2, 2008 4:20 pm

    Brian, Nellie, and Lyon Advocate-

    Not at all in any way, shape, or form arguing that you should “blindly wave the Giant Eagle flag,” or to suggest that competition in the grocery business doesn’t benefit consumers, and believe me, I’m pretty much the farthest thing from Toby Keith or a Toby Keith fan.

    However, having left the Pgh area for school, and returned about 10 years later to an anemic job market, forgive me if I think supporting a local company that employs Pittsburghers isn’t better than supporting giant corporations with no ties to the area (and sorry for adding Costco to the “axis of grocery evil”-I don’t know much about them, but all that I’ve heard has been good. It was a mistake on my part.)

    Also, a comparison of Aldi vs. Giant Eagle vs. Whole Foods vs. Costco isn’t really fair: Aldi sells only generic products, labeled to look like they come from different companies, but all produced by the same company (check the labels). Whole Foods is an organic store, with organic prices to go along with it, and Costco is a wholesaler. Giant Eagle doesn’t fit into any of those categories, and therefore a direct comparison really isn’t fair.

  21. Chad
    June 2, 2008 4:23 pm

    Uh, Joey…

    …EVERY year? How about two years. Sort of.

    If he disappears at the end of a playoff run next year, and then the year after that, maybe we’ll talk. But what you and all the other knee-jerk Malkin bashers fail to acknowledge is that he’s been “showing up in big games” night-in and night-out since January. This team played their hearts out when Fleury and Crosby went down, but two guys in particular played like champions and helped get this team not just to the playoffs but to the #2 seed in the conference. One is Ty Conklin. The other, Evgeni Malkin.

    Malkin, with help from Sykora and Malone — who, of course, played on his line and benefited from his tremendous play — put this team on his shoulders and carried them for the better part of four months. Every game. While facing the other team’s top defensive pairing. And their top checking line. And a game plan specifically designed to shut him down. But he still put up astronomical numbers, all while seeing more ice time and more responsibility than he’d ever had at the NHL level.

    Then, through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and again through the first game of the Flyers’ series, he was still the best and most dazzling player in the league. A bona fide Conn Smythe candidate. And deservedly so.

    Since then — which is a far cry from “right around the playoffs” — yes, he’s disappeared. He’s lost some burst and some confidence, he’s not making plays, and it’s all clearly gotten into his (still only 21-year-old) head. But as Pensgirl noted above, he hit the wall a full month (or more) later this year than he did last year, and that’s even after all the extra work he did and energy he spent while carrying the team for several months in Sid’s absence.

    Singling out Malkin, who has more to do with this season’s success than any other player on the roster, is irrational at best and downright foolish at worst. And all the more so when you consider that he’s still 5th in playoff scoring and has, in this series, scored precisely two fewer points than Henrik Zetterberg and one fewer point than Pavel Datsyuk.

    If you’d told me that after 4 games, those two would have combined for three points, I’d have already staked out my spot on the parade route. The fact that they’re producing that little but the Wings are still up 3-1 tells you everything you need to know about how Malkin isn’t the only problem with the Pens: the Wings have simply been better and more consistent, man to man, line to line, up and down the roster. There’s no shame in that.

    And neither is there any great or lone fault in it for Malkin, who deserves a hell of a lot better than all this “what have you done for me lately?” horseshit that his fair-weather fans have lately piled upon him.

  22. joey
    June 2, 2008 4:56 pm


    regular season: 85 pts in 78 games (1.09)
    playoffs: 4 pts in 5 games (.80)

    regular season: 106 pts in 82 games (1.29)
    Post season: 19 pts in 18 games (1.05)

    see a pattern?

    As for hitting the wall…I thought that the Pens “young legs” were going to carry the series for them. Stop making excuses for Malkin.

  23. TheJim
    June 2, 2008 5:44 pm

    I’m glad you yinzers aren’t shopping at Giant Eagle anymore…shorter lines for me.

  24. Mitch Cumstein
    June 2, 2008 8:23 pm

    holycrapwhocaresaboutwherethehellyallbuyyourgroceriesletitgoalready. Although I’m all for boycotting Giant Eagle. Let’s all grow our own veggies.

    Whatever happens tonight and in the next few days with the Penguins and Geno, thanks for a great season that I can we can all agree exceeding expectations, for the most part.

  25. Still A Fan
    June 2, 2008 9:30 pm

    this is economics 101. if the iggle wants to compete and keep their customers, they will lower prices. simple as that. if they cant lower prices, then they have to step up service…. it’s basic business. you need to do something that matters to people better than everyone else if your price isnt the lowest.

  26. Mrs. Pitsberger
    June 2, 2008 9:43 pm

    Holy Balls!! The Pens just scored with 30 seconds left in regulation to tie it up. We’re going to overtime BA-BY!!!

  27. bucdaddy
    June 2, 2008 11:59 pm


  28. MountaineerHoo
    June 3, 2008 12:05 am

    PittGirl, I completely agree with your sentiments regarding the Penguins’ debacle that was the 5 on 3 scoreless power play. But you have to admit that the 5 on 4 power play goal after three sudden death overtimes was a huge flashing light that maybe this is their year; they just have to fight a little harder for it, giving us a few more heart attacks in the process! Let’s go Pens!

  29. oddmanout
    June 3, 2008 1:12 am

    Malkin is hurt, he is playing with a seperated shoulder, that is why he can’t snap off his shots like he did before. I am amazed he is even out there, it is a testement to his toughness that he does not want to let his team mates down. The man has stones as big a buicks in my book!

  30. Jen
    June 3, 2008 7:56 am

    Speaking of supporting local businesses, is the East End Food Co-op still around or did Whole Foods kill it?

    East End Food Co-op is alive & kicking.


  31. DW
    June 3, 2008 9:03 am

    oddmanout, I’ve heard the same thing…his shoulder that he had surgery on right before coming to the team last year was hurt on a Mike Richards hit in the Philly series. They never disclose injuries in the playoffs, when things end with a Pens Cup Victory we’ll find out for sure.

  32. bucdaddy
    June 3, 2008 9:37 am

    Joey, The only pattern I see is it’s a lot tougher to score in the playoffs when ALL the teams are pretty good.

  33. Burgher in Maine
    June 3, 2008 10:01 am

    I’ve never heard of a grocery store that doesn’t bag up your groceries.

  34. back in the burgh
    June 3, 2008 12:39 pm

    Burgher in Maine … Giant Eagle doesn’t usually bag them anymore … I stand at the end and bag them myself. They’re too busy complaining about working. And if you’re in the ‘self-checkout’ line (I HATE doing that), then you’re totally on your own – scan and bag on your own. Call me crazy, but if I’m doing someone’s job, I should get a few bucks back at the end of the process (seriously, there should be a % off for using the self check-out lanes).

  35. Christina
    June 3, 2008 2:08 pm

    Pensgirl — People I work with clip their nails at their desks all of the time. Sometimes people do it on the bus. It just makes me ill.

  36. Chase
    June 3, 2008 3:18 pm


    Face it Pittsburgh, yinz need one.

  37. spoon
    June 3, 2008 3:31 pm

    Oh man I do miss Wegman’s when I live in Erie. i have to second Chase that Pittsburgh needs one.