Monthly Archives: April 2013

Random n’at


1. If you haven’t yet, please scroll down or click here to see pictures of the $20,000 in technology upgrades we dropped off and installed at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh this week.

2. Reader Kathleen is running the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon for Genre’s Kids With Cancer Fund.

If you’re looking for a charitable place to spread some good karma today, go throw in a few dollars for her? She only needs about $240 more to reach her goal!

For sick kids!

3. The Bucs are in second place. Half game out of first. They’ve won 12 of their last 16, I think. The best team in baseball, Atlanta, has only lost 6 games all season, and three of those were to the Pirates.


4.  Did you know you can buy Yinzer Bingo at Wildcard and another store that sells them, but I lost the name? There’s a K in the name? Anyone? Anyone? Zober?

Regardless, LOOK!



These are created by John the Craftist, who is actually a woman. Look at some of the other amazing stuff she creates, many of which are greeting cards:






I’m kind of in love with all of this and I wonder if there’s a Gemini one that says, “Witty. Passionate. Batshit Crazy.”

Anyway, I’ll be in Wildcard very soon to buy all the things.

5. Pigeons are assholes. And they smoke too. Look at this news photo from a 1989 edition of the Post-Gazette.

Click to embiggen and then read the caption.

The Pittsburgh Press   Google News Archive Search

Unreal. If today’s pigeons get wind of this, it is going to RAIN FIRE.

(h/t Jerry)

6. If you’re around Market Square next Friday morning …

Light of Life Rescue Mission is presenting former MLB player Sean Casey with the 3rd annual Locker Room Leadership Award at 9:30 a.m.  Sean is a former all-star baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. Dennis Bowman will emcee, introducing former Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley who will present Sean with the award.

I’ll be there hanging out for sure. Sean does amazing things for the homeless via Light of Life.

7. This is old, but shut up.

Pittsburgh leads the nation in people moving in.

Suck it, Portland.

8. Giant Eagle is grocery store Big Brother?

Also, people are STILL commenting on my pharmacy rant. My God.

9. Lukey went AWOL, said he never left the city, but apparently his press secretary thought he went to Bradenton at one point. 

That sounds right.

10. Pretty sure the P-G is going to endorse Wagner after reading this article. Why? Just scroll down and read the comment left by Matt Barron. The P-G very conveniently left out some HUGE names that endorsed Bill Peduto yesterday. 

[golf clap]

11. Headline: “Penguins Drop Second Straight.”


Seriously. Two losses in a row. NBD.

12. The fountain is almost ready to go!

Here’s an image from today via Point Park TV’s twitter account:


Cannot wait until I can take my kids for a stroll around the fountain again.


Also unreal? That WTAE used FOUR anchors to intro it. Hah!

But seriously … amazing video.

14. Mother’s Day!

I wrote about Pittsburgh Moms for the May magazine edition. A snippet:

Our conversations about the latest episode of “Greatest American Hero” turned to hushed whispers. There was no whining about elbows in ribs or bothersome jelly-shoe blisters. While we painfully swallowed our sneezes, our mom drove with her chin hovering 3 inches above the steering wheel and her hands locked in a death-grip. She’d hold this position until the wagon was safely parked — which is when she’d exhale and revoke the sacred Writ of Silentium Absolutus.

I didn’t appreciate it then, but I can see it now for what it was: My mother was doing something far outside of her comfort zone so that her girls could have nice clothes (that didn’t scream, “Five kids. One job. Hills is where the toys are.”).

And I also put together a Burghy Mother’s Day gift guide for you. Everything from Burgh-made jewelry, to an awesome Pirates iPhone case, to BYOB painting classes where Mom can paint her own Pittsburgh skyline, and LOTS more.

I mean, the Confluence necklace pictured up top of this post? Holy moly.

Check all the gift suggestions out here.

15. Finally, your amazing tweets:



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A really good day at The Children’s Home

At 8:55 a.m. yesterday, April 24, I stood at the entrance of The Children’s Home with my friends from the Mario Lemieux Foundation and Microsoft, and watched as the caravan pulled in with SUVs full of $20,000 in technology upgrades designed to give both the patients and their families a few distractions from life-threatening illnesses.


Luke Sossi, who spearheads the regional MR4K fundraising efforts at Microsoft, pulled in at exactly 9:00 a.m. looking SUPER HAPPY FUN TIMES READY!


Terrible white balance on my part. Still figuring out this photography biznass.

Time to unload!




Printers and laptops:


Let’s get organized!



This is from my phone, because I forgot to take a picture of all the stuff with my good camera.  That’s not even all of it. That’s just some of it.

2013-04-24 09.10.47

Instructions from Luke before teams break up to head to various parts of the home and family center to start the installs:


Right there, Luke is saying, “Keep an eye on Ginny. She steals things.”


Everything is planned out before we ever step foot in the Home for installs. Luke and his people are amazing at coordinating everything so that they can move in and out of patient rooms in five minutes flat. XBOX mounts are purchased and sent ahead of time so that maintenance can get them up before we arrive.

I don’t know what’s in there but it better shoot confetti and glitter at me and tell me I’m beautiful when I open it:


We’ve also got some of these to allow for Skype-ing at various places throughout the home.


And they’re off:


We even put XBOXes in the infant rooms which house the most critical babies in the city. Why put XBOXes in rooms with tiny patients who can’t use them? Because this way their siblings and parents have a way to pass some time! I spent a bit of time with this little girl as they installed one in her room.


She was like, “What is that even? I’m trying to watch Sprout here.” She was Mckayla Maroney-unimpressed with my attempts to make her smile.

But her family is REALLY going to appreciate the new XBOX in the room.

We didn’t stop at XBOXes. We also bought four In-One desktop computers that were installed throughout the home, along with customized home screens that Microsoft designed to include easy access to various apps the patients and families might use.





Hi, Nancy (Mario Lemieux Foundation executive director) and Pam (Children’s Home CEO)!


We didn’t stop at XBOXes and desktops, we also purchased FIVE flat screen TVs. Yes. FIVE. They are scattered through the home where they were needed, with this one in the Child’s Way special-needs daycare being the largest at 55-inches.


That unit has an XBOX and Kinect so the kids that spend the day there can get some movement going.

I got to test out the Skype capabilities that are now available on the three Skype units, the four desktops and the six Ideapads.


Nobody puts me in a corner, Skype.

The great thing about the Skype capabilities is that not only can patients and their families keep in touch with their relatives from out of town, but what we’ve essentially done is give the doctors and nurses telemedicine capabilities! Patients can confer with their doctors over Skype, rather than having to leave the home for a face-to-face visit every time. The nurses can also use it to confer with off-site doctors regarding patient treatment.

That is freaking awesome, you guys. Look how we made things better for them! Pulled them out of the dark ages and just made things BETTER and EASIER and MORE COWBELL-Y.

We didn’t stop at XBOXes and desktops and TVs and Skype units. We also donated six Lenovo Yoga IdeaPad combos! Remember, before yesterday all of the families were sharing ONE old laptop.


These things rock because of their ability to flip into tablets:


Where’d the keyboard go? [swishes cape] Magic! [jazz hands]

Jazz hands are in magic shows, right?

That picture gives you a good look at the customized home screen Microsoft put on every laptop and desktop unit.

I tried one out:



I pwnd that game.

Circle gets the square.

[throws signs]

And finally, games and movies by the crap ton. THE. CRAP. TON.




Crap ton. Since I was the one responsible for which movies were donated, you know there’s some Goonies, Princess Bride, Napoleon Dynamite, Anne of Green Gables, and Pride and Prejudice in there.

It was a great day. So great. I wanted to squeeze all the babies, but I think that’s frowned upon.  :(

I spent most of my time on the third floor, where the babies are. Because, babies. Poor little sick babies. You talk to them and they can’t take their eyes off of you for one second. You tell them mom and dad will be back and they coo at you all, “You better be serious, lady, because you are a stranger to me.”

Babies don’t take crap from anyone.

The family center is more private, as families live there, so I didn’t intrude to take pictures there.  But trust me that parents are thrilled with the donations for the patients, their siblings, and themselves.

Huge thanks go to the Microsoft employees for their donations and to Microsoft corporate for matching them. Also, to the Mario Lemieux Foundation for nurturing this program the way they have under Austin’s Playroom Project … putting their time into it and their name behind it. And thank you to YOU. To each of you who donated or tweeted or shared on Facebook what we were trying to do. To everyone who purchased a Scarehouse Shake at Burgatory last October. All of you. It’s a team effort and you’re part of that team. Someday a child you know may be admitted to The Children’s Home and you’ll see the stickers on the XBOXes and laptops and know that you had a part in alleviating some of the stress that goes along with being sick or having a sick child.

[high five]

Since Make Room for Kids was born, we’ve taken care of the oncology kids, the transplant kids, the “Frequent-fliers,”  the entire pediatric unit at AGH, and now, every patient and family at The Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center.  That’s amazing.

Next week we’ll be visiting Children’s Hospital to update their Live subscriptions, do maintenance, and drop off some new games and controllers for the kids. I’ll be sure to share some pictures from that.

I can’t thank you guys enough for your generosity.

Also, this is the only thing I stole from Luke:

You covet it madly, don’t you? 

Group hug!


Media coverage:




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Random n’at.


(Chef at Light of Life Rescue Mission holding donated forks)

1. Oh. My. God.

Who would have thought one little Giant Eagle pharmacy rant would result in the madness it did and in the criticism toward me that it did?

You’ve got to go read the comments; you’d think I wrote a post about how we should kill all the puppies.

Oh, and I didn’t even include the part about how that was the second time that day I had tried to pick up that prescription, as they claimed the first time that they didn’t have it and they sent me away.


2. Speaking of birds, the Aviary hatched a new owl chick, and when I think baby owls I think this:



I was wrong, though, because theirs is a baby EAGLE owl. 


I looked into its eyes for ten seconds and I can tell you in no uncertain terms …

… that thing wants to kill me.

Why are birds so evil?

3. The first mayoral TV-spot is out and it is Bill Peduto’s and I kind of love it. Well done.

YouTube Preview Image

4. Speaking of mayoral candidates, Jake Wheatley’s entire campaign site doesn’t have a single picture of him on it. Not even the “About Jake” page.


And AJ Richardson not only has a DUI, a prior arrest, face tattoos, and the penchant for referring to himself in the third person,but his website has autoplay. 



When are these mayoral candidates going to ask my advice about fixing their shit? I mean, what does “skillful in morality” even mean?

Lukey would have been mayor for life if he would have brought me on board years ago to run the Office of Church.

5. Ay caramba, Penn Avenue Fish Company.

(h/t Woozle on Twitter)

6. The PensBlog boys have a gif of Sidney Crosby not blinking for 15 straight seconds during last night’s game. 

You know who else does that?


7. Hadouken fights are the best Internet thing since the Rickroll, and this one from the Scarehouse made me pee a little it’s so awesome:


You gotta see the whole set from the “fight.” So perfect.

I hate that zombie. And that bunny. They look harmless until you’re standing in a scary room in the dark and their noses are three millimeters from your neck, and you hear them inhale. [shudder]

8. Does hadouken really work?

I hope so.

Because I’m going to try it on the pigeons in Market Square.

[awkward kung fu moves] [HADOUKEN!]

9. Jamie and Ali McMutrie have HUGE news in that they won the prestigious Norman Borlaug Humanitarian Award!

They were flown to Las Vegas to accept the award in front of a crowd of 4,000. They’re having a free reception to celebrate on April 18 in East Liberty. They’ll be giving away Pens playoff tickets there too!

Details here.

10. If you’re looking for an easy way to give back to the community, I have it for you. The Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side is in need of forks for their meal services to the homeless. That’s it!

Not plasticware, as they like to reuse, but any old, mismatched forks you might have around the house can be dropped off at the mission on the North Side. I did it and it takes five seconds to hand them over at the front desk.

11. Pittsburgh is the new Hollywood, as a new A&E series will be both set here, and filmed here.

12. WUT?

But the device attached to the man’s body wasn’t a bomb at all. He took road flares and taped them to his chest. He then stuck an iPod earbud up his nose and ran the cord down to the flares.

Can you just picture this idiot coming up with this plan? Taping the flares to his chest, looking at himself in the mirror all, “How can I make this look even MORE realistic? iPOD EARBUD UP THE NOSE, GENIUS!”

13. Finally, some awesome Pittsburgh tweets:





Randy wins.

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Giant Eagle Rage

Yesterday at Giant Eagle pharmacy, after standing in line behind five elderly people who paid for their prescriptions with checks, this happened.

I was picking up my sister Pens Fan’s prescription. She is super sick. She wants to die, she’s so sick. She eats an ice chip on an empty stomach and she pukes up a cheeseburger she ate when she was ten-years-old.

I approach the employee behind the counter after being waved forward.

Pharmacy employee: “Can I help you?”

Me, cheerfully, “I’m here to pick up a prescription for Pens Fan. First name Pens. Last name … Fan.”

Her: “From today?”

Me: “Yes. An hour ago. It was called in.”

Her: [looks through some bags] “Ah. Here it is.”

She begins to ring up the purchase. I sign my name on the dotted line agreeing that either I don’t need a pharmacy consult or that my third-born shall be owed to Giant Eagle Corporation. Not sure. Haven’t read the fine print yet. 

Her: “Birthdate?”

Me: [thinking] “Uh, April 6, 1974.”

Her: “April 6, 1974.”

Me: “April 6, 1974.”

Her: “April 6, 1974.”

Me: “LADY. APRIL 6, 1974!”

Her: “April 6, 1974?”

Me: [blink] “You’re a terrible Jedi. I have no idea what you’re trying to tell me.”

Her: “1974?”

Me: “Wait. I’m a 1974. So she’s … 1972? April 6, 1972.”

Her: “April 6, 1972?”

Me: “April 6, 1972.”

Her: “April 6, 1972? 1972?”

Me: “Am I on Candid Camera?”

Her: “Go the other way.”

Me: “1976?”

Her: “So the birthdate is?”


Me, verbally through gritted teeth: “April 6, 1976.”

Her: [as if speaking to a child that just went number two in the potty] “There you go!”

Do you know what happens when you go to Target to pick up a prescription for this type of medicine? They go, “Birthdate of April 6, 1976? Here are your suppositories. Good luck with the retching.”

I could choke a bitch, Giant Eagle.

And there’s no suppository for that.

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Inadvertent racist.

Brad Paisley, who is a country star for those of you who aren’t fans of the genre like I am (don’t judge me, damn it! “Honkeytonk Badonkadonk” is LYRICAL GOLD), wrote a song called “Accidental Racist” and no, this is not a late April Fools’ joke; this is a real song with instruments and lyrics and producers and drums and everything!

Without meaning to, I’m sure, Paisley wrote one of the most racist, slavery-dismissive songs you will ever hear in your life. And not only that, he somehow managed to convince LL Cool J, a BLACK MAN who I absolutely love (Agent Sam Hanna is badass), to rap on the track.

Why is the song racist? Because it makes excuses for the Confederate flag. It compares wearing a do-rag to wearing or displaying the Confederate flag. It hints that if we white people look past the gold chains, the black people will forget about the iron chains that enslaved their people. It, in my opinion, insinuates that black people need to get over slavery already. It’s been 150 years, after all.

I feel I need to say this again … I AM NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP.

I worked for a decade at minority-assistive nonprofits and I can tell you this … TOO. SOON. Yes, 150 years is too soon. A race enslaved. Families torn apart. Rights trampled on. Chains. Whips. Too. Soon. Until racism no longer exists, until black people stop getting a second look when they walk through certain stores in certain neighborhoods, and until the pay gap and the education gap close … TOO. SOON.

Read about the Confederacy. Eleven states saw Abraham Lincoln elected and said to themselves, “This man is a threat to our ‘right’ to enslave black men, women, and their children,” and they seceded, officially formed their own country, elected a president, and created an official flag — a flag that was the visual manifestation of their desire to enslave an entire race. Brad Paisley comparing that flag to a do-rag is head-deskingly ignorant and inadvertently racist and this song needs to die right the hell now.

That said, in an effort to find a somewhat local-adjacent angle on this story, KDKA decided to talk to some West Virginians about this controversial song, as Brad Paisley is actually from West Virginia. 

Let’s see what these West Virginian high schoolers and their teacher had to say about this song:

“I love Brad Paisley! He’s a really good singer and artist,” says Elizabeth Huff.


(gif sources)

“I think that he’s trying to make a statement that we can all live on this world together and not have to segregate and try to be different,” Shipman [their teacher] said.



No, I’m pretty sure this song is saying, “Get over it already, man.”

“Bringing people together – that’s what music’s done for hundreds of years.”


“I think it’s a little risky, because most of the racist people are going to hate him now, but the people who understand it are really gonna like it.”


I believe the children are our future, and I am scared shitless.

P.S. “Scared Shitless” would be a great country song title. Get on that, Blake Shelton.


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