Bums and Jagoffs


Two things to read. Or as we say in Spanish. Dos thingos de leyendo. I think.

1. This story I wrote for Pittsburgh Magazine is completely true. It is truthy true. Churchy true.

I don’t talk about my kids very much on this blog because that’s what Facebook is for. That and ducky-lipped bathroom pics. I’m kidding. I have never taken a ducky-lipped bathroom pic of myself. If I ever do, you can bet your bottom dollar there’s a man behind the shower curtain training a gun on my noggin.

But this story, because it involved the mayor, Sally Wiggin, and Franco Harris, well, I just had to share it with you and the lesson I learned.

I froze. It was the angry scream of my 2-year-old daughter, who normally followed such noise with a temper tantrum. There was no telling what had upset her — it literally could’ve been anything.

I rushed to intervene, grabbing her from the floor and marching with her through the restaurant while she squirmed and wailed as if I were kidnapping her from the park. We blew past Sally Wiggin, Franco and his wife, and the mayor and his posse. On I rushed, looking like a farmer trying desperately to get a grip on a shrieking, muddy piglet.

2. Did you guys hear that David Shribman, the big enchilada over at the Post-Gazette, sent an email to staff making them aware that he is banning the word “jagoff” from the print edition, the online edition, and even the newsroom?

As you might imagine, I have something to say about that and it goes like … this.

I think where Mr. Shribman goes off-course is his focus on the fact that jagoff rhymes with well … you know. Which is what he is hinting at when he writes, “I know it doesn’t mean what some people think it means.” But to ban the word simply because it rhymes with a less-than-savory PG-13 expletive doesn’t make sense, unless he also plans to ban the words suck or sass.

Here in Pittsburgh, we don’t have thorn bushes; we have jaggerbushes. From the time we are children we are told to watch out for the jaggerbushes in them there woods, as Pittsburgh Dad is my witness.

I didn’t hear the word thorn until Poison came out with their power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and even then I thought “Every Rose Has Its Jagger” would have worked just as well.

Have a read and see what Mr. Shribman is getting in the mail from me this week. 

Because that’s just how I roll.


  1. Butcher's Dog
    July 3, 2012 2:21 pm

    “No jagoffs in the newsroom”? Then John Allison better look for another line of work; if you look up “jagoff” in a dictionary, beside the definition will be film of him as he appears on KDKA’s 4:00 news broadcast several days a week.

  2. rickh
    July 4, 2012 8:04 am

    i guess this means no “Jagoffs make me stabby” T-shirts in the PG Store.

  3. mairinpgh
    July 9, 2012 3:18 pm

    A yinzer co-worker once told me about visiting a girlfriend’s family in Chicago, and when he uttered the word “jagoff” in passing during a family dinner, her mother became very upset & horrified with him b/c she believed he was referring to, well, a nickname for someone engaging in masturbation. (naturally the girlfriend quickly became an ex-girlfriend soon after that dinner). It may be that ousiders/midwesterners don’t get that “jagoff” is really an innocent term. But Shribman oughta know better by now.

  4. bucdaddy
    July 10, 2012 11:33 am

    Forgive me, I thought I knew all the words, but what does “jagoff” rhyme with?

    When I’m trying to think of a rhyming word, I usually start at the top of the alphabet (minus the vowels, in this case, and, obviously, the J):


    Nope, don’t see what’s so bad about any of those, except maybe “fagoff.” Is that the one?

    Also, “Zagoff” sounds like a Penguins defenseman from Russia. Hopefully with the first name “Zarley.”