Monthly Archives: December 2012
(click the pic for the source, but I’d love to know the photographer’s name)
I’m gearing up to forget the Internet for a bit and focus on the real world as my sisters begin arriving home for the holidays from Texas (Tina Fey), Virginia (Ta-Ta the Giant Breasted Poobah), and Ohio (Princess Aurora). There are cookies to bake, a pound of melted butter to brush into baklawa (that’s Syrian), and presents to wrap.
I wanted to share two things I wrote that you might want to read when you get the chance:
1. A blog post over at Pittsburgh Magazine in defense of Wiz Khalifa Day, which as you know wasn’t too kindly received by some Burghers.
How important are these days year after year? Are you going to celebrate Rita’s Italian Ice’s Pinto League Softball Team next October 2?
Are you going to call off work next December 4 to celebrate OLSH Boys Cross Country Team Day?
Are you going to send a card to your grandma on December 10 for Amnesty International Write-A-Thon Day?
There are hundreds and hundreds of people, organizations and events that have their own official days in Pittsburgh and Wiz is just one of them … a famous one, but just one of many, nonetheless. Next year, December 12 will probably be proclaimed as something like North Shore Connector Day or Highmark Tenth Floor Employees Day or even Jeff Reed Self-Photography Appreciation Day.
2. I have a year-end recap up over at the magazine too.
On the list?
- Wiz Khalifa
- Food trucks
- And seven more
Go see the rest of the things and people I thought made 2012 a year in which our city really got to shine brightly.
Let me know what you think I should have put on the list.
And I’ll tell you to suck it.
KIDDING. I’m really curious if I missed something obvious that should have been in the year-end recap.
But also, suck it.
So, it’s been crazy since we last chatted.
Mourning the lost lives. Asking the questions that won’t ever be answered here on Earth. Praying the prayers that feel a bit futile if we’re being honest. Shaking angry fists. Trying to make sense of something that will never make sense if you live a thousand years. Trying to push down the silent terror and imagined pictures that keep bubbling to the surface.
I’m right there with you.
It is a giant burning hellfire ball of suck that we’re left staring at until our eyes melt right out of our sockets.
But life goes on even if we don’t want it to, so let’s just try to focus on the good we can find out there and make that good shine so bright it dwarfs the evil.
So this seems so trivial in light of THAT, but I do have some Burghy things to give away to one of you as either a Christmas gift to yourself, or a last minute gift to someone in your life.
What: One randomly selected winner will receive the following:
— One copy of Food Lovers’ Guide to Pittsburgh autographed by all four authors Julia Gongaware, Sarah Sudar, Amanda McFadden, and Laura Zorch. I personally purchased this book at their book signing. It is apparently mostly sold out all over the city, so it’s a hot item!
— One artist signed “Pittsburg” print by illustrator Rachel Sager. Again, I personally purchased this print from her at Handmade Arcade. I AM GIVING YOU ALL THE THINGS.
— From Edgar Snyder himself! A “Mocktails” kit to help you throw a safer New Year’s Eve bash. Inside you’ll find mocktail recipes. A few small mixers, a t-shirt, Ghirardelli chocolate, recipe cards for you to put your own recipes on, and coasters, etc. I didn’t purchase this, but rather it was sent to me by Mr. We Get Money For YOU!, who makes a point to encourage safe and responsible New Year’s celebrations. And as the former recording secretary of Norwin’s SADD, I feel it my duty to pass this on.
— One just-released Pittsburgh Dad DVD, autographed by both the director Chris Preksta and Pittsburgh Dad himself, Curt Wootton. He has WOOT! right in his name.
That’s the face of a man who says WOOT! a lot, don’t you think?
To win! You have until Thursday at 5 p.m. to enter at which time Random.org will pick the winner. This is another one of those giveaways that I’d rather not mail because of all the different sizes of the items, so if you enter, either live in or around the city, or have a buddy willing to retrieve these items from me at Las Velas in Market Square.
One comment per valid email address and so you have something to say, tell me something Christmas-y or Hanukkah-y. A Christmas joke. The gift you can’t wait to give. The gift you hope you’ll receive. The time your kid figured out the truth about Santa. What you made your Elf on a Shelf do. Your favorite carol (O Holy Night). Anything at all!
Good luck. If you don’t win, I’ve linked out to all the various places you can purchase the items.
1. Note to self: Insert random personal tidbit here. Make yourself sound youthful, vibrant, exciting, perfect, and above all else, cellulite-free.
2. Pittsburgh is the new Hollywood.
Proof: The guy who produced Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, and who is producing the new Superman movie, and who owns part of the Steelers, and who is the CEO of Legendary Pictures … just bought a home in Pittsburgh.
Go read where his home is going to be and how big and then let me know how I can become this guy’s BFF.
Go watch the video and listen to her talk.
I’ll have what she’s having.
I hope she’s having tequila.
4. I just don’t have time this week to write a WTRT for the debacle that was the most recent Steelers game. I can just offer you this:
And that about sums it up.
5. How many people in a row can UPMC executives hear criticize them for their business practices before they walk out of the room?
Watch the video. It’s funny. The guys are like, “You audi? I’m audi.”
6. The city is giving away tickets on Facebook to this weekend’s Jack Reacher premiere with Tom Cruise.
Not mentioned … the winner will have to fight Snoop Ravey Rave for the chance to take a red carpet selfie with Tom.
7. Pittsburgh is the 6th naughtiest city in America.
And before you freak out:
The report says 69 percent of people in Pittsburgh admitted to committing one of the seven deadly sins at least six times a week.
So the rest of the country doesn’t fall victim to sloth, or gluttony, or pride on a regular basis?
I think what this study has REALLY shown is that Pittsburgh is the 6th most honest city in the nation.
Suck it, Portland.
8. OK! Magazine Russia named Geno the most eligible bachelor and then failed to put a shirtless picture on the cover.
(h/t Charles, who amazingly didn’t send me a link to the catfish article!)
9. A little boy fighting Spinal Muscular Atrophy would like a Christmas card from you.
I love it!
12. Matt Lammmmmmmmanna went to Antarctica.
I hate pigeons.
And you know that.
So when you see something pigeon related, you think of me.
And if you see something awesome in relation to pigeons, like a news article about ten thousand of them just mysteriously falling dead out of the sky (you’re welcome), you email it to me all, “Thought you’d like this.”
And if you come across a hawk feasting on a pigeon near your work, tearing pigeon flesh asunder with voraciousness, you email me a picture for my own personal pleasure.
And if you see something so crazy off-the-wall like catfish learning to hunt effing pigeons right from the water’s edge, you GUYS ALL LOSE YOUR COLLECTIVE SHIT AND YOU GO CRAZY IN MY INBOX ALL, “MERRY EFFING CHRISTMAS, PITTGIRL!!!!!!1111!!!! TRY NOT TO ORGASM TOO HARD AT THIS!!!!”
I lost a bunch of those sent my way thanks to my delete-trigger-finger, but thank you Bluz, Jonathan, Michelle, Glenn, Lea, Aimee, Rhonda, Fitting Group, Shawn, Brando, Jay, Liz, Stephanie, Jeff, Dan, Scott, Jody, Elaine, and anyone else who sent it to me.
Group hug that evolution is finally addressing the fact that pigeons never should have existed to begin with.
I fully expect in 100 more years we’ll see these catfish grow legs and just start storming the banks armed with ninja stars and awkward kung fu moves.
And little calling cards that say, “What’s’a matter? Catfish got your vermin?”
Scroll to the bottom for photos of the Knoxville Incline’s curve.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with learning about Pittsburgh’s inclines lately. No clue why and I think we’ve discussed this, but I don’t choose my obsessions; they choose me.
Recent obsessions, while we’re discussing them:
— Made for TV Christmas romance movies.
— YouTube videos of funny news reports in Australia, just so I can listen to the accents.
— Adam Levine.
But back to the inclines.
I’d like to ride an incline with Adam Levine.
Is that a euphemism? I’M NOT TELLING.
But, as I was saying … BACK TO THE INCLINES.
Pittsburgh has two very famous inclines, but did you know Pittsburgh used to have dozens of inclines?
This little search over at the Pitt archive will bring you pictures of some of those lost inclines like …
Mt. Oliver Incline:
This view is taken from the top of the incline from the station and engine house located on Washington/Warrington Avenue opposite Mount Oliver Street looking to the South Side. The incline ran from 1872 – 1951. Its last day of operation was July 7, 1951.
The Knoxville Incline:
View of the base of the Knoxville Incline looking from Bradford Street between South 11th Street and South 12th Street to a point at the junction of Brownsville Road. This incline boasted a total length of a 1/2 Mile, rising 370 Vertical Feet, and rising to a 14% Grade. The incline was a double-track railway of nine foot gaughe, 60 pound rails laid on wooden ties which rested on ballad or steel girders. Each car weighed about 10 tons and was specially designed to carry street cars and other vehicles. A special enclosed and heated compartment was provided for passengers. The Knoxville Incline opened in 1890 and closed in 1960.
Here’s the Monongahela Incline in a smoky 1900:
The Monongahela Incline, opened on May 28, 1870, was the first incline constructed in Pittsburgh. The incline, one of seventeen inclines in Pittsburgh at one time, climbs a 35 percent grade, one of the steepest incline planes in the world.
Note the two sets of tracks. One was for freight, but was eventually removed.
Here’s five men working on the Monongahela Incline supports in 1926:
Hi, fellas! Hope your great-grandkids are proud of you.
Castle Shannon Incline in 1964:
View of the west elevation of the Castle Shannon Incline car showing the ailing condition of incline before it was demolished at East Carson Street near Arlington Avenue to Bailey.
Wouldn’t set a toe on that thing if it was the only way out of pigeon hell.
Penn Incline in 1935:
The Penn Incline terminating in the Strip District (background). The Sixteenth Street Bridge is in the far left background. The Penn Incline, also called the 17th Street Incline, began operating in 1883 and handled 20-ton coal freight cars. It ceased operation in 1953.
Here’s the view on Liberty:
Teenie Harris snapped this around 1945. Burghers riding the Penn Incline down. Wonder who they are and where they’re going:
If this post has piqued your interest, you’ll find even more about our lost inclines here.
Knoxville Incline Curve:
The Knoxville Incline was built in 1890 and was located in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood. The incline was designed with an 18-degree curve and had the longest track ever built in Pittsburgh at 2,644 feet. It was the second incline in Pittsburgh with a curved track.