Boo you!

As you know, in the Burgh there rages a spirited debate about the future of the Civic/Mellon Arena.

Some, such as the Penguins, Lukey, Dan Onorato and lots of Burghers believe it should be destroyed in the name of development.

Others believe it is an historical building that should be considered a permanent part of the Pittsburgh skyline as the Space Needle is to Seattle’s. That it should be repurposed.

Is repurpose actually a word, I wonder, or is it like tranforminituitiated or irreconcilasponsible in that respect?

Moving on, a public meeting was held yesterday when this happened:

Chief among them was Penguins president David Morehouse, who was booed when he suggested the arena’s retractable roof “never opened because it never worked.”

Let’s just say in this case, he’s wrong. Let’s say that’s not why the roof of the arena is never open. I personally have never seen the thing open other than that one time the helicopter fell through the opening and landed on the ice during the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Finals and Jean Claude Van Damme was all, “I’m about to have a very bad day.” Remember that time? Maybe the helicopter broke the roof?

But let’s say for the sake of argument that David Morehouse is wrong. Let’s say you want him to take you seriously enough so that you can prove him wrong. Let’s say you want him to say to himself, “The other side of this argument is being argued by some very intelligent people. Perhaps I should listen to them,” a great way to make that not happen is TO FREAKING BOO THE MAN.

I get booing during sporting games. The loudest boos of my life have been reserved for Marian Hossa and Tom Brady. And every one of the Flyers.  And the Red Wings. And the Ravens. And the new Penguins Ice Girls. Boo to them all. And if the Steelers ever get cheerleaders? They will taste my boos.

But booing outside of sporting events? Booing because you don’t like what someone is saying?

It seems counterproductive. It seems childish. It makes one bad booing apple spoil the whole bunch of non-booing intelligent respectful apples.

Does it ever work? Does a person ever get booed and say, “Hmmm. I am beginning to question my feelings here?” Does Sid ever think, “Gosh. Maybe I DO suck!” Did Princess Buttercup think, “Maybe I AM the Queen of Putrescence.”

I don’t think so, but just to be sure, the next time I’m having an argument with my husband and he’s all, “I really think we should just get rid of your giant hunk of junk and get a new car because we’re putting so much money into that thing and now the muffler is hanging low. How about we go look at a nice Mazda 5 for you?” I will get right in his face, nose to nose, and say, “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I’ll even throw in two thumbs down for good measure.

I’ll let you know how it goes over.

Oh, and P.S., David Morehouse? 4,743 is more than a “few facebook friends.”

P.P.S. David Conrad’s ass was in my passenger seat. I’ll drive that SUV of doom until the canary dies.


  1. Noelle
    August 24, 2010 12:31 pm

    It’s like Marsha Brady never washing her Davy Jones kissed cheek again.

  2. spoon
    August 24, 2010 12:35 pm

    Does this mean I cant boo Onorato or Rendell? That blows. I’ll have to go back to throwing dirty looks

  3. Jake
    August 24, 2010 12:49 pm

    I don’t know – I personally think there should be more British Parliamentarian themed debates… You know – booing, heckling and the occasional locale-themed insult such as “your mother was a Monongahela tart.”

    It would be especially fitting in these instances where the crust has its mind made up, and no amount of debating or pleading will sway it.

  4. Scott
    August 24, 2010 12:53 pm

    The Igloo was a great arena during its time, but it is no longer. It should be leveled to make way for new development.

    The Igloo….St. Nicholas’ Church, etc. Pittsburgh is starting to resemble one of those hoarders you see on TV with the way these relics are being defended and saved with no plan for their future. (Have you looked at St. Nicholas’ Church lately? Eyesore.)

    Let it go, Pittsburgh. Time to move on.

  5. Jim
    August 24, 2010 1:00 pm

    The roof worked. I was at 2 events where they opened it. One was a concert by The Moody Blues, and the other by Jimmy Buffet. For the latter, it opened when he played “Rag Top Day”. Urban legend has it that The roof was open for a Clapton show in the 70’s, but they started to close it when it began to rain, and they segued into “Let It Rain”. I can’t swear to that one, but the other two are genuine. It was an incredible experience to see the sky (and Pittsburgh skyline) appear in front of you as the roof opened over your head. The problem is it ended up costing too much to remove all the stuff hanging from the roof to open it. I love the old place…saw many incredible events there, including a then unknown Peter Frampton\Rod Stewart show for $3.00, (yes, that’s not a typo…three bucks. But short of turning it into a fortified grocery store for the benefit of the Hill District, I can’t say I’ve seen an honestly good reason for keeping it around, other than pure nostalgia. It’s time to let go Pittsburgh.

  6. Bram R
    August 24, 2010 1:09 pm

    I’d had to have been there in order to truly judge the length / ferocity / spirit of the boo in question, but I’d say: if somebody delivers what sounds to many as a newly invented, bold-faced lie at a public meeting, and they look quickly to the left and right of each other and lots of folks are like, “WTF was THAT just now?” it’s alright to let ‘er rip with a short clear boo of condemnation, so that even Mark Belko is clear that somebody just pulled a low maneuver.

    Certainly different than ongoing boos of, “We’ll drown out what you’re saying!” or frequent boo’s of, “Let’s hurt this guy’s feelings!”

    There are worse things in life than getting boo’d at a public meeting — you get too creative, you takes your chances. Life. You should see some of the public meetings concerning employee benefits. I’d also had to have been there to gauge how respectful Mr. Morehouse was towards the other side generally — there are ways to make your point with humility and proportion, and then ways to condescend towards and characterize those who differ from you, which tends to invite more emotional responses.

  7. BeauJacques
    August 24, 2010 1:17 pm

    If someone who SHOULD BE, and ACTS AS IF, he’s informed, and he isn’t, then EFF HIM!!

    BOO HIM!!

    I believe ignorance should be painful and David Mprehouse is obviously both uninformed, and ignorant while speaking as if he wouldn’t eff up a 2 car funeral!

  8. bluzdude
    August 24, 2010 1:29 pm

    I wonder how much you could get as a trade-in for a car with the passenger seat missing, perhaps because it is now in your family room with a certain brunette curled up on it like a cat on a loveseat.

  9. Monty
    August 24, 2010 1:35 pm

    To Kill a Mockingbird conventions would be pretty boring if you weren’t allowed to scream “booooooo” whenever you felt like it.

  10. Al Lambrini
    August 24, 2010 1:50 pm

    when they knock it down I bet it stays a parking lot just like the Syria Mosque still have never forgiven Pitt for that

  11. Scott
    August 24, 2010 1:56 pm

    In case you aren’t already aware, while these public forums are legitimate venues for gathering public sentiment, the folks who actually make these decisions view the crackpots who show up and act like morons, boo or generally disrupt these meetings as having zero credibility….along with their opinions.

    If you truly want to present your opinion, do so using facts delivered calmly and professionally. Act like a grown up.

  12. betoon
    August 24, 2010 1:58 pm

    It was funny listening to the radio news coverage of the public meeting, hearing David Morehouse talk and then these random boos, like Morehouse was a particularly ugly dance hall gal and they wanted him off the stage. If the boos were from learned people in the audience, then please, send someone in your place who can make a argument. You’ve weakened your position. If Morehouse was rude and or condescending to his audience, well then he weakened his argument and you didn’t need to boo.

    Oh and I drive my car with a muffler that goes “bucketa bucketa bucketa” when I drive on brick roads. It’s a Saturn and now a rare car, so I’m driving it till it dies.

  13. empirechick
    August 24, 2010 2:04 pm

    Ummm, this is a done deal. The Pens have the development rights to the Arena property, and they’ve made it clear what they’re going to do. (Because really, what part of town doesn’t need another boring office/shopping/restaurant complex?) This particular public forum is a PR move so the SEA can say that they heard from all parties involved.

    People NOT booing yesterday wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind. So if you’re just pretending to care about my opinion, I say boo away.

    If the Pens really wanted to go a good thing, they’d find a way to save at least part of the arena and incorporate it into their boring complex. Then history and so-called progress would both be happy.

  14. Al Lambrini
    August 24, 2010 2:07 pm

    working as a busboy at the top of the triangle summer of my senior year 88 I rememeber looking down into the the civic arena wit the roof open for a beach boys concert if I rmemeber correctly I bleieve they filled the place up with sand in order ot make it seem like a beahc party (seriously

  15. Cassie
    August 24, 2010 2:13 pm

    I agree with Scott and Jim. The building is a bit sad and tired and taking up a lot of space. Plus it’s really odd looking. (Don’t throw things at me!) I mean, with everything poor or broke in this city (I’m looking at you PAT bus systems) why keep another money pit?

  16. Cassie
    August 24, 2010 2:13 pm

    Oh, and I don’t mean everything’s poor and broke. I meant with some things being broke. Sorry ’bout that.

  17. k
    August 24, 2010 2:23 pm

    Princess Buttercup reference = brilliant.

  18. Butcher's Dog
    August 24, 2010 2:34 pm

    I’m bothered most about those saying, “Wait! We need some time to come up with other uses for the Igloo!” Um…people? The new facility was announced three years ago. If you loved The Dome so much, it should have occured to you at that time that it could be torn down. If not, you’re very late to the party. The people with the most to gain/lose are those living in the Hill District. They, the Pens, and the SEA should have the most say about what stays and what goes.

    Roof’s been open plenty, including once for a hockey game. A roller hockey game. You could look it up. It first opened for the Carol Burnet Revue, the first CLO show that played there.

    And in news you might have missed: the Pens Ice Team has both girls and guys on it. All those of you who scoffed that they’d never even get around to auditioning men (they had 140 show up for the audition, by the way) just go ahead and cut yourself off an extra big helping of crow and start chowing.

  19. Bram R
    August 24, 2010 2:46 pm

    When empirechick comments: “So if you’re just pretending to care about my opinion, I say boo away,” that’s uncomfortably brilliant, IMO.

    When Butcher’s Dog comments: “If you loved The Dome so much, it should have occured to you at that time that it could be torn down. If not, you’re very late to the party,” the latter half of my recent post I think is relevant:

  20. Sleemo
    August 24, 2010 3:13 pm

    I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on keeping the current Arena, but a public figure who makes a baldfaced lie to a concerned and knowledgeable audience has more than earned a boo or two, IMO. 40 years ago rotten vegetables & eggs wouldn’t have been out of the question.

  21. k
    August 24, 2010 3:27 pm

    I was at a concert for Reba a decade or so ago when the roof was partially opened. One little sliver of the giant pie was cracked open.
    I’ve also worked at Mellon Arena for many years and we were always told the roof was no longer able to open due to the weight of the scoreboard hanging from its center. Some of us thought the scoreboard might have been taken down in time for the final concert, so the roof could open one last time, but it wasn’t meant to be.
    Here’s the thing, coming from someone who spent most of the last decade working at the arena: The arena is broken. From the inside out, the place is broken. It rains indoors. Seriously. It’s over.
    Honestly? The focus from day one has been on razing the Igloo. How do I know? Because if anyone spent any time considering extending its life beyond July 2010, they would have put some money into maintaining the structure. And I can honestly tell you, they have not done that.
    I love the Igloo. I was sad to walk out the last time, but with a few concerts under my belt at the new arena, I’ve already moved on. Will it be sad that the Civic Arena will no longer exist? Of course. But lots of things that were here aren’t here anymore…just ask Rick Sebak.

  22. Scott
    August 24, 2010 3:37 pm

    The real story on the roof is that the rigging cables that are hanging from the roof for use with stages, props, etc for concerts and events prevent the roof from being opened while they are in place. There are at least a couple hundred of these cables, and they have been in place since the mid-90s. In theory, if the cables were removed, the roof could be opened, but since they have not even attempted to open the roof in over 15 years and have not done any maintenance to the roof motors or tracks, no one is sure if it would even work at this point. At a minimum, getting the roof back into safe, working condition would require significant work, and ongoing maintenance costs.

    So…I’m going to take a wild guess that none of these “Save the Igloo” scream-and-holler groups have even thought of where those funds would come from, and probably aren’t even aware that they would be required to fulfill their half-baked plans for the building. I’m guessing the roof-related costs alone would be high 6 figures at least to get the roof working again.

    Time to move on, folks. Take a picture…and let it go.

  23. Susan
    August 24, 2010 4:02 pm

    WRT your car. Why don’t you have that husband of yours remove the passenger seat & put it somewhere you can sit in it (garage, rec room, porch, bedroom) and have ‘special me time’? That way you could have your (beef) cake and get a new car too. :)

    And yes, the roof has been open and I’d love the Igloo to stay part of PGH’s skyline.

  24. Carol
    August 24, 2010 4:07 pm

    Reading this article, I’ve gotten the impression that while it’s up to the Pens on if/when the arena is razed, taxpayers will bear the costs which are not low.
    So, I think it’s beginning to be more of a decision on where to put the money. Tear it down, prepare the area and wait for development that may never happen? Or, put the money into preparing the arena for other uses. Hell, open the damn roof permanently for an outdoor facility. There are a hundred things it could be used for with vision and imagination which I don’t have unfortunately, just a horror at the destruction of a city’s historic signature building.

    Also, my husband and I were at a concert in the 80’s, and the roof opened in the middle of it, without warning. Everyone was oohing & ahhing, including the band playing, so there.

  25. CarolineFB
    August 24, 2010 4:29 pm

    Been to the arena (back when it was Civic) for two events that included the roof open – completely. Both concerts in the 80’s. It was a brilliant sight.

    I wonder why a “move forward” must include demolition? New isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes old can be awesome too.

  26. rickh
    August 24, 2010 4:41 pm

    Great Princess Bride reference Ginny!

    The Ancient Booer: Boo. Boo. Boo.
    Buttercup: Why do you do this?
    The Ancient Booer: Because you had love in your hands, and you gave it up.
    Buttercup: But they would have killed Westley if I hadn’t done it.
    The Ancient Booer: Your true love lives. And you marry another. True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage. And that’s what she is, the Queen of Refuse. So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo.

  27. BK
    August 24, 2010 4:52 pm

    @Al Lambrini

    I was at that Beach Boys concert in ’88 and I can confirm they did bring in sand and yes, the roof was partially opened that night.

  28. Christina
    August 24, 2010 4:55 pm

    Sorry for the off topic, but

    @Jim for “Peter Frampton\Rod Stewart show for $3.00”
    MAN, I am really, really jealous! How freakin’ awesome is that?

  29. big chuck
    August 24, 2010 4:59 pm

    please tear it down, make way for new development, i loved the igloo as much as the next yinzer but im sure i will also love the new arena. why are yinzers so hard pressed to move from the past?

  30. Shane
    August 24, 2010 8:07 pm

    Reminds me of the Eddie Izzard bit talking about the stupid Americans wanting to restore some ‘historic’ building to how it was 50 YEARS AGO!

    There is nothing historic about the Igloo. Doesn’t it seem like the ones bitching about it tearing it down the same people who were bitching about how it destroyed the lower hill as a neighborhood when it was built?

  31. Joey
    August 24, 2010 8:15 pm

    #25 Caroline–I was there too! It was the Moody Blues and that made the concert even more awesome!! Plus the indoor football team had a game where they opened one section of the arena. They pronounced it the world’s first indoor-outdoor football game!!

  32. Mary
    August 24, 2010 9:58 pm

    The roof was open for the Bob Dylan concert in the early 1990’s but everyone was probably too stoned to remember (except me).

    I say we throw the arena in the backyard and save it for parts.

  33. Mike
    August 24, 2010 10:48 pm

    I have never seen a single comment at these public meetings integrated into decision-making.
    Certainly booing isn’t going to cajole anyone…

    I know… Say it ain’t so…

    Good thing we have at least one model public organization in Pittsburgh’s Historic Review Commission!

    Maybe the boo’ers just wanted The Boss to close out the Arena? Bruuuuuuce!

  34. Bettis
    August 24, 2010 11:28 pm


  35. Cari
    August 24, 2010 11:40 pm

    I agree with #23 Susan! :)

  36. BeauJacques
    August 25, 2010 12:45 am

    June 19, 1973

    Pink Floyd

    Dark Side of the Moon Tour, one of the coolest of a tuff list of Arena gigs!!

    It opened perfectly, Morehouse, you ass!


  37. Pa-pop
    August 25, 2010 9:51 am

    “Never worked”? Who’s advising him? Not only did it work, it worked right on cue as Chicago started their encore of “Saturday in the Park” with a fireworks display, and it also opened as CSN began their encore with “Teach Your Children.” I hope Morehouse is operating the team with better intel than this. And while booing at a public meeting may be boorish and unlikely to produce a change of opinion, Morehouse certainly received an unexpected jolt after purposely grabbing the third rail of a hot civic topic.

  38. toni
    August 25, 2010 11:30 am

    Your right Jim, I was at the same Moody Blues concert and YES the roof was opened.

  39. CMazz
    August 25, 2010 2:25 pm

    I most agree with all of the posts about this topic.
    Lie at a public meeting and you should be shunned a little, maybe it will teach you a lesson not to lie (like your mommy taught you). As for the old arena, its both the first sports arena with a retractable dome, a historic landmark, and an engineering triumph when it was built. Yet does this outweigh the destruction of part of the Hill District in order to build it? The forced removal of people, homes, business, and a community??

    Truthfully, what the Penguins, SEA, and most importantly One Hill community organization decides should be the final resolve.
    Preservationists need to pick their battles, we can’t save every building.

  40. Tim
    August 25, 2010 9:39 pm

    The roof opened. My wife and I were at a Crosby, Stills, and Nash concert back around 1980 and they opened but it was only partially opened. It was awesome! So cool watching the concert and look over my shoulder and see the downtown buildings at night. I found out right after that when they close it again each seal that was cracked when that section opened was $20,000 to replace(that was back in the early ’80s)thus the partial openings. Now combine that with the Pittsburgh weather where it rains often those seals had to be replaced immediately. It was never cost effective to do it and had to be resealed in hours. It think what David Morehouse was meaning when he said it never worked. Today it cannot open because of the scoreboard and support cables for concert stage lighting. I loved the Arena. I saw so many things there … too many to mention. However if you want to see what was lost to built it, see a WQED special program called “Wylie Avenue Days”. Watch that and you will see what was lost to build the Arena. It was a lot! Reuse the Arena? There is no way that building could be used for anything other than what it was build to do. Tear it down is my vote.
    P.S. Ginny, I love how you worked that whole car thing in to give your feelings on the matter. God, you write so well! And the way your mind just works . . . umm maybe we shouldn’t go there. lol. You where missed. Welcome home!