Monthly Archives: August 2011

On the catwalk. On the catwalk.

My September column is up on the Pittsburgh Magazine site, this one about how Pittsburgh was named the third worst dressed city in all of America by GQ.

First, a look at the brilliant illustration by Patrick Neil.

WORK IT. I bet Lady Ga-Ga tries to steal this look.

A snippet:

At work, you should only wear your jersey or black-and-gold gear on game days or Fridays before game days. Wearing your vintage Franco Harris jersey to meet the new CEO on a random Tuesday in April is a fashion no-no on par with wearing nothing but glitter and a fedora to court. Unless the CEO is Franco Harris—in which case, score!

I’d like to work for Franco Harris. FREE SUPER DOUGHNUTS!

Go have a read.

Shirt Giveaway

There is no shortage of awesome Pittsburgh shirts these days (but I still miss WearPittsburgh).

Another local company with Pittsburgh-themed shirts is Fresh Factory who have generously agreed to give away a free shirt to two lucky winners.

Some of their Burgh shirts include:

Bike PGH, which I know I saw for sale at Wildcard:

Hockey shirts!

I covet this Pirates shirt for my official Bandwagon Driver uniform:

They have lots of other non-Burgh shirts too.

What: Two winners may choose any one shirt from Fresh Factory in any style or size.

When: You have until Wednesday at noon to enter, at which time will select the two winning comment numbers.

How: Just leave a comment! One comment per valid email address and you know the whole shebang about if your comment goes to spam yadda yadda freak out no don’t I’ll pull it out for you take a chill pill and shoot some tequila.

So you have something to say, tell me what is the oldest piece of clothing you own and STILL WEAR. Don’t tell me about that skirt from when you were a teenager that SOMEDAY you’re going to fit in again. Me? Gotta be my college tennis t-shirts from mumble mumble years ago.

They’re getting a TEENY bit worn out.

Come Wednesday, I’ll be giving away your choice of a Pittsburgh fine photography print and then on Friday, History Center tickets are up for grabs.

I’M MAKING IT RAIN UP IN HERE. [throws pennies]

Did I do that right?


Random n’at

1. The sister of mine that writes better than I do, and always always has, has started a blog and I’m working to get permission to share it with you.

This might be difficult in light of the fact that I recently very publicly posted some less than flattering pictures of her on this here blog.

2. Casey Hampton has a fight song!

(h/t @observacious on twitter who even wrote the fight song joke! My work is easy.)

3. Burgher Andy Kelemen is a top ten finalist in the Universal Studios 2011 Halloween Horror Nights Short Film competition!

His is entitled “103” and is the tensest three minutes of the brightest scary movie you have ever seen.

I’m so used to my scary stuff being dark and black and dreary and doomy.

This is stark and white and very discombobulating.

Have a look and VOTE BURGH!

4. This Pittsburgh Gigapan is so awesome and so clear you can probably pick your car out of the Station Square parking lot. I just spent 30 minutes looking at peoples’ balcony furniture on the North Side. Love the red chairs!

Dear CMU, do this again at night so we can look in peoples’ windows.

Signed, Nebby Debby.

(h/t Jenny)

5. Benny as a high school senior from Sports Illustrated.

I’m disappointed he was in the class of 2000. I’m old.

I’m VERY disappointed that there are no lasers. WTF?

Someone Photoshop that shit. Put a cat in there too.

Also, you know Benny’s minions are Blingee-ing that thing to sparkle heart heaven.

(h/t Kacie)

6.  September 3 is International Vulture Awareness Day and the Aviary has a bunch of stuff planned to honor the vulture.

For its part, the National Aviary will hold a full day of activities and programming focusing on vultures on September 3. The day will include a trainer-led feeding in the outdoor Andean condor exhibit;  talks; a condor wingspan display that allows visitors to compare their arms with a condor’s wings; a vulture biofact table; and a scavenger fact hunt with prizes for those that find all their cluesChildren will have the opportunity to make their own vulture mask, play a vulture population game, and learn about vultures at a special story time. 

I need a pin to wear that day that says “I’m AWARE that vultures kick pigeon ass.”


7. While Googling to confirm that vultures do in fact eat pigeons, I stumbled upon this poem by Jean de La Fontaine called The Vultures and The Pigeons. A snippet:

They tried their hand at mediation–
To reconcile the foes, or part.
The pigeon people duly chose
Ambassadors, who work’d so well
As soon the murderous rage to quell,
And stanch the source of countless woes.
A truce took place, and peace ensued.
Alas! the people dearly paid
Who such pacification made!
Those cursed hawks at once pursued
The harmless pigeons, slew and ate,
Till towns and fields were desolate.

First, this is pigeon propoganda.


8.  Your Pittsburgh Pirates are only eight games from .500 ball! Shut up. It’s lonely on the bandwagon.

Also, if you need reason to join me on the bandwagon despite the Buccos’ dismal performance of late, here’s the other version of the bandwagon that Mitch Donaberger drew for me.

See if you can spot the BIG GIANT BOOBIES!

(click to embiggen)



Eye candy. For no reason.


(Fort McKenry on August 24)


(Troysus on August 15)


Fine Fellow Matt Lamanna

(Matt Lamanna showing off his giant sexy brain. Step off.)



 (Gina Cerilli in a photo for Pittsburgh’s Front Row Monthly Magazine. Click the link for MOAR HAWT. Also, Gina is in law school now.  And when my health prevented me from attending a function recently, she stepped in with hours notice and filled my shoes. Awesome Burgher.)

Pittsburgh is full of beautiful people.


In the news today is a report on KDKA from Jon Delano that Lukey Hizzoner Master Lil’ Ravenstahl MC Skate Boi is currently sitting ugly with a scant 19% approval rating.



One. Niner.

This data comes from local CMU — “offshoot” is not the right word, but let’s just say it was borne out of CMU — company CivicScience run by CEO John Dick.

Some, including Chris Briem of NullSpace, have questioned the validity of such polls in light of oftentimes unreliable results, drawing a comparison to a KQV poll that showed DeSantis leading Lukey by a 74% to a 34% margin prior to the mayoral election that Lukey, as we know, handily won.

I asked John Dick, who in the KDKA interview is quite adamant that their numbers are accurate, to ask him how he can be so sure about their methodology.

I’ll have you know that I asked for the “elevator speech” and judging by the length of his response, I assume John and I are riding an elevator TO MARS. I kid.

Lots of good info he gave me, but here’s the important-sounding parts as to why the Mayor, it seems, really does have a 19% approval rating when CivicScience’s recent poll was adjusted for gender:

We trust in the law of big numbers. While there is bias in any human sample, those biases can be accounted for when you have large enough data. In the case of the Ravenstahl #s, a 26,000+ person sample included enough people in every key demographic to build reliable models. Consider that a standard polling sample includes 500-1000 people (hence, margins-of-error in the 3-6% range). Throw our data (over 110MM polls and counting) into the machines built by these geniuses here from CMU and you can do things that can’t be done with 500 data points.

The KQV poll was NOT using the machines the geniuses built and also used a sample of about 2,500. Makes sense why perhaps their poll got it so wrong. Plus who knows what the listener demographics are at KQV, another thing to keep in mind. This is why you could put a poll on FoxNews all, “True or False. Barack Obama is an illegal alien.” and it would appear that 95% of Americans think TRUE.

Web connectivity is virtually ubiquitous among all but the oldest and most indigent populations. Compare that with the landline telephone (still the prevailing means of opinion research). Only 74% of US households have a land phone. Among those, at least half subscribe to Do-Not-Call Lists and/or CallerID, rendering them unreachable. The people left over are an extremely biased group (older, suburban/rural, etc). But, by aggregating results from millions of polls over news websites (GenX, Baby Boomers, and Moms), Social networks (Youth, Early Tech Adopters, and increasingly everyone), trade publications (professionals), and other online destinations, we are able to reach a much broader cross-section of the population.

Another reason Lukey might appear to have a higher approval rating in a phone survey, if there is one, could be because of that oldster thingamobobbibbity. You have a better chance of reaching an old person at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday than you do a 45-year-old working mom.

I could drop the names of some really smart people, including well-known economists, anthropologists, political scientists, consumer researchers, political pollsters and return customers who have validated our work. Numerous independent technical and academic white papers have also been published that substantiate what we do. I will spare you all of that.

Thanks, this is my floor anyhow.

Shit. Mars is COLD.

P.S. Machines the Geniuses Built? BAND NAME!