Monthly Archives: November 2010

Give until it feels good

It’s usually around this time of year, these weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas that I widen my perspective a bit. Look at what I have. Forget about what I don’t have. Feel blessed with how good things are considering how very bad things could be.

I think a lot of people do that. You can’t have your family around you, putting ornaments on a tree or lighting candles or what not, and not look at them and go, “Lucky me.”

And that makes this a perfect time of year to give to the people who still might say “Lucky me!” while struggling to provide or obtain the necessities for living and happiness.

If you haven’t yet decided who might be worthy of your generous chairtable dollars this holiday season, I have two local organizations/drives that might be just the thing you were looking for:

1. 96.1 Stuff A Bus

Each year Mikey and Big Bob from 96.1 spend a week living in an RV in the Miracle Mile shopping center where they encourage Pittsburghers to swing by and drop off a new toy or two to be donated to the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program. Some people show up with one toy, some with two or three and some stuff their cars with toys.

Last year Mikey and Bob stuffed just over 16 buses with toys, and due to the generous anonymous gift from a Burgher who handed them a $4,200 check and told them to go shopping for toys with it, this year promises to be the best yet.

Go to Target, Walmart, KMart, whatever, and buy some toys and take them down to Mikey and Big Bob at all hours of the day and night. Or if you prefer, check your local Walgreens for a big Stuff A Bus donation box and drop your toys in there.

An easy way to give a merry Christmas to a needy child.

2. Community Human Services

This is a local organization that I just love and was proud to support during their Rock the Streets event. CHS serves the area’s most needy families and individuals. They are trying to help 535 individuals or families during this holiday season by providing them each with a $25 gift. That’s not a number they just made up. That is how many Pittsburghers are requesting help.

You can help CHS in a few ways, but perhaps the easiest is by providing them with a gift card. A simple gift card!

I’ll let Sue Kerr explain why:

Many of the people we serve don’t often have the luxury of shopping for anything but the basics.  A gift card (which many request) gives them a gift AND the gift of the shopping trip.  It also gives us a chance to encourage them to socialize a bit, isolation being one of the biggest challenges for many of our program participants.

Any denomination is fine.  A $5 Subway gift card gives someone a chance to “go out” for lunch.   Giant Eagle has 140 different types of cards and we can use most of them.  But our top list would be:  Giant Eagle, Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Kohl’s.  For teens:  The Gap, Old Navy, Game Stop, Best Buy, Claire’s, Wet Seal.  Restaurants:  Eat n Park is the best for an affordable family meal, but also Applebee’s, Subway, McDonalds, and other places that are accessible by bus.  We can also use cards to drug stores like Rite-Aid.

The sad thing is that most of our adults asked for the everyday basics we take for granted – bathroom towels, shaving cream, a new pair of slippers … the gift card gives them the dignity of picking out their own towels.

An easy way to do it is through Giant Eagle’s gift card program, which will also earn you double fuel perks! Give and get!

Or just go buy a gift card and drop it in the mail:

Community Human Services

374 Lawn Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Attn:  Holiday Projects

So easy to do. Learn more here.

Do you ever do this? Are you ever behind someone in the grocery store and their shoes are torn and their face is drawn and they’re clearly watching the amount tick up and hoping they have the cash to pay for it? And they have a child with them? And you just say a quick prayer of blessing for them? I don’t mean to get religious on you, it’s just my habit when I encounter people who are clearly hurting for necessities. I can’t really afford to buy groceries for every person I see like that, and that hurts. If I was rich? Look out, world. But since I am not and maybe you aren’t either, this is a small way to throw your dollars in the pot to make a big impact on a lot of people like the ones who are counting their pennies at the check out line.

Pick one. Pick both. Go forth. Do good.

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Why I love my readers, reason #93747299

Reader Amy made this for me:

My dreams are going to RAWK tonight.

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My happy heart

I’m about to help you cross at least one person off of your Christmas gift list.

Have at ’em, yinz guys.

(h/t Meghann M)

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What They’re Really Thinking: Passball Pooch Punt Edition

No matter the reason, coach Mike Tomlin made a bad mistake. If he had brought in kicker Shaun Suisham to challenge Reed, make him feel a little less comfortable and bring out the competitor in him, that would have been great. But to flat out release Reed? The team will be worse off because of it.

Ron Cook, Post-Gazette, November 17, 2010

I could just end this post right there, and I’m going to.

Just kidding. Let’s let Ron Cook talk his way out of that one while I try to talk my way out of my comment last week that I expected the total decimation of the Bills.

Yesterday we had the family over at our house for the game because my husband was making some shredded chicken mole traditional Mexican sandwiches. I hate mole. Seriously. Whoever decided chocolate would be good on chicken should get a kick in the huevos.

Regardless, as the field goals were racking up points, this conversation happened:

Me: “Why did they call this football? Seriously. The foot only scores points as a last possible resort.”

Mom: “Well, they couldn’t call it soccer. It was already taken.”

Me: “[Internally] WTF IS SHE SMOKING? [Aloud] Um … Mom? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Mom: “Shut up.”

Me: “Handball? Throwball? Armball?”

Dad: “Passball!”

So we’re righting years of wrong and calling it passball now. You’re welcome, futbol.

1. When we were up 13-0, I said to my brother-in-law, “Sheesh. This game is boring.”

And the God’s of football smote me with a BOOYAH!

As the score became closer and closer and my mother had to leave the room because of the stress, I said, “WHY, GOD?! WHY?!”

I hate boring games, but I hate close games more. I prefer a game somewhere between the ass-whooping we handed down to the Raiders and the thumb-sucking, rocking in place, losing my shit of the Bills/Steelers game.

A happy medium. There must be a way to win that doesn’t bore me to tears but that doesn’t age me like yesterday’s game aged me. Literally two new gray hairs.


2. Am I wrong in thinking Kemoeatu sucks? Lots of unnecessary holding penalties. I might be mis-remembering, but there were several times during yesterday’s game when I thought to myself, “That guy sucks.”

Too handsy with the hands, n’at.

I also remember wishing evil things on Keyaron Fox’s face at one point during overtime. Like, his face was on my TV and I hexed him with the evil eye.

So that will explain if he woke up with an inverted nose.

One of these days, a hex of mine is going to work.

3. The first drive was BAM BAM BAM BAM SCORE. Just like that.

Total decimation is forthcoming.

The end is near for Buffalo.

Hines Ward: Fire.

The Duke of Fug and the Earl of Gross: Fire.

Rashard Mendenhall: Fie-ah.


4. And then here come Shaun Suisham (pronounced “HAWT”) to kick his first field goal as a Steeler and it’s not an easy one. 45-yards is what we’re asking of the boy.

Somewhere, in a seedy bar, Jeff Reed sits with an especially skanky slut, watching the game on TV, trying his hardest to hex the kick.

That is some strange-looking voodoo juju shit he’s pulling there.

But here’s Suisham (pronounced “NOM NOM”) with the kick … and … IT’S GOOD!

5.  Then just before the second half, the score 10-0, the Steelers call on Suisham to attempt a field goal again, except this time, they’ve added a yard.


It’s getting harder, not easier.

That’s what she said.

So Suisham lines up for the kick, my family holds its collective breath because we really want him to do good, and somewhere Jeff Reed tries a new hex.

(original pic)

A scent of stale, putrid slut juice fills the air, temporarily rendering Suisham motionless, and then … the kick … from 46 yards out … and … IT’S GOOD!

13-0 going into the half!

Somewhere, Jeff Reed punches a poker machine.

6. Then someone somewhere did something at halftime, perhaps drugged the Steelers, because the second half started out and stayed one giant ball of passball suck.

I mean, WTF happened?

Where did the total decimation run off to?

Did Jeff Reed hex the whole damn team with his fart?!

7. Before we get to the suck, can we talk about Benny’s punt? What was the reason for that? What were they trying to do? Somebody explain it to me, Lucy!

It’s 4th and 4 at the Buffalo 30-something yard line, so why not just let Danny Boy punt it so I can take a look at his arms?

Why the hysterical looking, but not terrible punt by Benny?

The best part? It’s called a pooch punt. I’d never heard that before.


I want to front a rock band called Pooch Punt and this will be our cover art:

8.  Not long after the punt of poochiness, James Harrison was penalized for roughing the passer because he tackled the passer and I guess maybe took a camera-phone pic up the passer’s GIANT PINK SKIRT.


Meanwhile, the NFL has rejected Harrison’s appeal of two fines that are costing him $95,000 for things he did WITHIN the game of football, while Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan had a real live fist fight outside of play and they’ll be fined $25,000 each.

I think we can all agree for the sake of James’ wallet, that he should just wait until the whistle is blown and then beat the shit out of quarterbacks with his fists of steel.

It’ll be cheaper that way, you see.

Excuse me while I lather up enough indignation for this epic eyeroll I’m about to execute.


Totally stuck the landing.

9. So before we know it, penalties start adding up and our play suffers and suddenly is 13-10 and Mendenhall fumbles, AGAIN and I want to punt the pooch.

Field goal. 13-13. WTF?

Let the rocking and muttering to yourself under your breath begin.

Benny saves the day with an 18-yard run after almost getting sacked and let’s bring out Suisham.

Only let’s make it even HARDER THIS TIME!


He’s gotta miss some time, right? I mean, he can’t be asked to continue to nail kicks from 40-plus yards out can he?

Somewhere, Jeff Reed is too distracted to notice what’s about to happen.

BAM! 48 yards and it’s good. All of Pittsburgh says, “Skippy who?” Ron Cook tries to erase his previous column from the archives.  I’m stunned and writing the lyrics to “Pow! Goes the Punted Pooch” in my head.

We have to leave him alone now. He’s completed three successful long field goals. Nine of our 16 points. He’s done his work.

10. Know who else did his work? Troysus Polamalu.

What a game he had. Without him, that game was lost. No way around that.

Troysus saves.

11. Overtime. 16-16. And suddenly, the game is over. We have lost. A pass to Steve Johnson in the end zone is caught for a touch down. The quarterback is celebrating. I am weeping and changing the lyrics of my song to “KILL KILL KILL KILL.”

But … what’s this?

Actually, I think THESE guys are writing a song called KILL KILL KILL right now:

12. Finally, here’s our chance. Suisham. 41-yards.

THIS is the one’s he’s going to miss, right? The easy one. I brace for it.

My mother covers her eyes, preferring to know the result via our screams of joy or our chanting of KILL KILL KILL.

Jeff Reed sexts pictures of his crotch to Suisham in an effort to blind him.

Suisham vomits violently, lines up to kick … and …




Steelers win, I change the title of my song to “Daniel Sepulveda Should Call Me and Here’s Why,” and Steve Johnson sends out a hilarious tweet blaming God for his five dropped passes:

I bet when God was checking his Twitter and saw that, He was all, “UNFOLLOW.”

We’re 8-3 and Shaun Suisham earned us that passball win with his foot.

But seriously, someone needs to tell him to step off my man or I will punt his pooch.

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Dear Lukey,

I need to talk to you about something you did that brings to mind words like “stabbity” or “sporky” or “gross misuse of tax-payer dollah dollah bills.”

I like that last one.

It’s street. Like you apparently are if you need three bodyguards earning over $200,000 in overtime pay in two years just to protect you from, well, I don’t know what.

Yourself? The pigeons? Potholes? Peduto? Peter Piper who picked a peck of pickled peppers and then decided to accost you on the streets of Pittsburgh?

You are Luke Ravenstahl, the mayor of Pittsburgh. There are countless people on earth more threatened than you who do not have your level of publicly-funded 24-hour protection. Attorney Generals. Criminal defense lawyers. Abortion doctors. Yet you’ve managed to rack up more overtime pay for security detail in two years than Mayor Murphy did in TWELVE YEARS, according to Bill Peduto. That’s almost comical.

Keep in mind that I’ve had dealings with both Mayors Murphy and O’Connor and county executive Dan Onorato, and I have had interactions with each of their security details. Yours is by FAR the most posse-like. I’m not going to get into details here about the differences between administrations, because that’s actually not the point of my letter to you.

My point is that you were asked by KDKA to go on record about this gross abuse of overtime pay by your security detail and you said, and I quote, “It’s not a story.”

I beg to differ.

Here’s why it’s a story. Because of the faltering pension. Because of your threats to cut overtime pay for regular hard-working cops while your elite security detail is taking baths in cold hard cash. Because of the supposed reason you cut the South Side patrols that were doing an effective job of cutting down on what makes the South Side turn into Sodom and Gomorrah each weekend.

We the people are not stupid. We know the real reason you cut the South Side patrols. Because you were angry that Kraus wouldn’t support your parking lease plan after you met with him to ask him to. If I were outlining the story, it  would go like this: South Side patrols are working four weekends in a row. The police announce the patrols are working and that they will continue. You meet with Kraus, Shields and others to ask support of the lease plan. Kraus says no. Nate Harper suddenly, mysteriously, out of the blue cuts South Side patrols claiming:

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard, repeating the explanation she gave last week, said the city’s yearly pool of money for special details is dwindling. Some, she said, has to be kept in reserve for emergencies.

You see? Forgetting for a minute the likely real reason the South Side patrols were canceled, what you’re saying is that there’s not enough money to protect the residents of the South Side from drunken escapades, illegal parking, property destruction and public urination, but there’s plenty to keep you all posse-ed up with the constant companions you call “security.”

That is a story.

It’s a story of entitlement, perceived celebrity status, tax dollar misuse, overtime abuse, and political fighting that detrimentally affected the South Side residents.  Each of those is a story standing all by itself, and together?

Big story. Calling it a non-story is an insult to the taxpayers whose dollars you’re spending, and ignoring it won’t make it go away. Transparency, ethical leadership, and accountability will.



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