Monthly Archives: October 2013

What They’re Really Thinking: “Merry Suishmiss!” edition


Somewhere, Shaun Suisham still sits on a sideline bench with a stunned expression on his face and the devil in his leg.

Somewhere, the Steelers defense is still looking for Terrell Pryor. They can’t find him. They also suck at Where’s Waldo, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, and Where’s My Water.

Somewhere, Mike Tomlin is a bit worried about job security. Just a little. A skoosh.

Somewhere, Zoltan Mesko is packing a bag and then punting pigeons in anger as hard as he can. The pigeons are landing about three feet away.

Somewhere, Todd Haley is thinking “I should’a went with a bubble screen.”

Somewhere, Steely McBeam is asking, “Am I still a thing?”

What a game.

What a piece of football puke.

And do you know how to make a piece of football puke even more putrescent? You watch it with your diehard Oakland Raiders-loving brother-in-law and the 11-year-old son he managed to raise as a Raiders fan despite my sister Pens Fan’s best efforts to instill Steelers love in him.

You remember Muchacho, yes? The first and only person in the history of the world to catch a foul ball?

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Calm down, Muchacho. Calm. Down.

Let’s talk football. Wretched, wretched football.

1. We arrived at my sister’s house at 4:08 p.m., walked into the living room carrying our contribution to the potluck, and Muchacho was freaking out because Terrell Pryor had just run something like 482 yards to score a touchdown while the Steelers defense was busy picking lint from their bellybutton holes. Either that or he engaged his cloak of invisibility.


This is basically what happened, in goat form:


On the first play of the first possession. Breaking a record for a QB touchdown rush.

The Raiders are leading by 7 points only five seconds into the game. Steeler Nation reacts accordingly:


2. Then we blinked and it was 21-3.


21-3. To the Raiders. The NFL’s bastard child. The black sheep. The poop on the NFL’s shoe. The 1992-2012 Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL.

Beating the vaunted Steelers 21-3.

Steeler Nation reacts accordingly.


Did I just use a Tom Brady “F–k you bitches” gif to represent Steelers fans? I did.

Come at me, bro.

3. Up next, my father’s impression of Zoltan Mesko’s punting:

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Nailed it.

4. After managing only two takeaways since 1972, the Steelers had THREE yesterday.

Too bad they counted for ZERO POINTS.


5.What running game?

6. What offensive line?

7. The Steelers broke a long time ago, but they had one good working part and that was Shaun Suisham. Our rock. Our solid foundation. The man who would miss no kick. The man who could find the center of the uprights in a sharknado raging in the middle of an anaconda-cane.

It was his 47-yarder that brought the score to 14-3 earlier in the game.

So at 21-3 with the Steelers on a drive that chewed like nine minutes off of the third quarter clock, Suisham is called upon to kick the ball 34 yards after the offense failed to record a TD (shocker!).

34 yards. Easy as pie, for our rock. Our anchor. Our–


And it’s wide. Steeler Nation reacts accordingly:


I wasn’t mad. I mean, there was so much blame to go around; I couldn’t put it all on him.

I wanted to hug Suishy. Tell him it was okay.

But then later in the game, another short field goal attempt. This one he’ll make. Because he’s our rock. Our foundation. Our one good-

And he missed it.


And I wasn’t mad. We were down by two touchdowns. Six points won’t make a difference.


I wanted to hug him even harder now. Poor guy. He’s so cute. And sad. Let me hug your sad away my Suishy.

And the Karma Boomerang makes a U-turn because guess what?

Here’s how I felt about Suishmiss by the end of the game when those six points would have meant everything:


This is also how I felt about my brother-in-law by the end of the game. I wanted to throw all the punches and I came very very close to slapping his phone out of his hands as he was posting celebratory messages on Facebook.


8. The fourth quarter is when the Steelers showed up, coming so close to tying the game up, which wouldn’t have been necessary had Suisham made those damn easy field goals.

But with no timeouts left, and Tomlin arguably wasting one with 1:48 on the clock, it was too little too late as Suisham sends an onside kick directly into the hands of the Raiders and time runs out before Benny can get any sort of final play off.

Steelers lose. Raiders win. Steelers’ chances of making the playoffs are smaller than Luke Ravenstahl’s brain.

Steeler Nation reacts accordingly:


That’s right. 100% out of shits to give at this point.

And next week we play Tom Brady.

Expect a score of ALL OF THE POINTS to NONE OF THEM.

Our only hope for any joy to come out of that game is if someone accidentally telestrates a penis coming out of Tom Brady’s butt.

Fingers crossed.

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UPMC has zero employees, huge balls.


Groups. Subsidiaries. Conglomerates. Amalgamation. Brain explosion.

Let’s have a quiz. Are the following excerpts about UPMC from a Post-Gazette article or an article from the satirical news site The Onion:

  • But UPMC itself? “We don’t have employees,” Mr. Pietragallo said.
  • Mr. Wood said he sees no contradiction when UPMC claims it employs 55,000 people in marketing and business materials — and no one in court.
  • He did not know which subsidiary employed him nor UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff.

Of course they’re from the Post-Gazette because this is about UPMC and it seems lately UPMC sees the border of Ridiculous and says, “Let’s just step over that line and head fully into the Territory of ABSOLUTE BONKERS whose capital city is Loophole Heaven.”

As a refresher, UPMC is being sued by the City of Pittsburgh to have its charitable organization status revoked. This means they would no longer be exempt from property and wage taxes. UPMC is now claiming that since it technically has no employees, it cannot be sued for wage taxes. No wages. No wage taxes. No lawsuit. Magic! [throws confetti]

UPMC has clearly been protecting itself from such a lawsuit for years in that it seems to indeed pay all employees through one of its 37 subsidiaries — even their corporate employees who have no association with any specific hospital. As one UPMC corporate-employed reader put it, “My badge says ‘UPMC Corporate Services,’ but my paystub says Presby.”

That person does not work at UPMC Presby, but his paystub says he’s paid by that subsidiary, certainly lending support to UPMC’s claim it has no real employees — just 55,000 people scattered around 37 subsidiaries and therefore, the city’s lawsuit should be thrown out.

I assume the entirety of corporate upper-management at UPMC walks around in shirts that say, “Keep Calm and Loophole On.”

I get this is how the corporate world operates, but in this case UPMC is being beyond absurd to the point that it is almost insulting to the residents of the city of Pittsburgh and the employees of their 37 subsidiaries, of which Jeffrey Romoff doesn’t even know which is issuing his seven-figure paycheck, apparently.

Here’s why it’s insulting and absurd. Here’s a snapshot from the I-990 form via that “UPMC Group” filed in 2012 which showed a reported income of $7.7 billion:


How can UPMC claim to have zero employees and that their widely self-reported 55,000 number is just a “marketing number,” when they officially filed with the Internal Revenue Service claiming they employ 52,000 as a group?

0 = 52,000?

Is this new math? Did they forget to regroup? Carry the billion? Solve for X where X = “How the hell can we get ourselves out of this mess?”

You can have zero employees … or you can have 55,000 employees. You cannot have BOTH zero and 55,000 employees and then just choose which number suits you best for certain circumstances. I mean loopholes are great and all, but at some point, you’re just trying to defy the laws of mathematics and possibly physics and for all I know, gravity.

I’m not a corporate accountant. I’m not a lawyer. I’m a Pittsburgher. And as a Pittsburgher and a human with a brain in her head, I am qualified to tell you that this is farcical and insulting and it will only serve to generate even greater ill-will toward UPMC than currently exists among the public who already imagine UPMC as King Kong squashing any puny entity that dares approach its territory.

Who knows what will hold up in the court of law, but in the court of public opinion, this “we have no employees” defense will not stand. It will serve only to anger, because this is how we non-accountant, non-lawyer Burghers are looking at it:

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That or, “I actually have no hands. It’s all a mirage.”

Stop this nonsense and get to work proving you’re a charity, UPMC. Because if you really are, this creative legal maneuvering wouldn’t even be necessary.

Math is hard. The truth is easy.

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Lukey has one last visit to the Office of That’s Church


Setting: Present day at the Office of That’s Church inside of the Market Square Dunkin’ Donuts.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl walks in, sees the Secretary of the Office of That’s Church sitting with a steaming pumpkin coffee on her table and a look of epic doom on her face. Turns to leave.

PittGirl: “Don’t. Even. Think. About. It.”

Luke: [droops his shoulders and sighs]

PittGirl: “Have a seat, Hizzoner.”

Luke: [turns to face her] “Not if you’re going to call me –”


Luke: [reluctantly takes a chair] “Can I order a –”

PG: “Have you lost your damn mind?”

Luke: “I–”

PG: “You know, I sit here and ask myself, ‘When did The Office of That’s Church just become you sitting there stuttering like a kid caught looking at the naughty pages of a National Geographic and me sitting here asking you if you have LOST YOUR DAMN MIND?’ When did that happen, do you know?”

Luke: “You’re–”

PG: “Let me just talk myself through this. Okay? Can you help me talk myself through this?”

Luke: “I–”

PG: “Did you, or did you not, use the city’s official webpage, not your own personal website, but the city’s OFFICIAL site, to begin a TWO AND A HALF MONTH LONG series of posts in which you will tell the people of Pittsburgh in great detail all the the things you believe you have accomplished in the last seven years?”

Luke: “It’s–”

PG: “And did you write that you feel since there is so much negative attention focused on you right now, it is ‘my responsibility to remind people just how much we’ve achieved?’ You FINALLY start worrying about responsibility and THAT’S what you think your responsibility as mayor is? Patting yourself on the back?!”

Luke: “You’ve –”

PG: “And did you actually use Twitter to create an official hashtag for this recounting of your successes over the last seven years? And is that hashtag ‘#sevenyearsofsuccesses?'”

Luke: “It kinda–”

PG: “Tell me your Twitter account was hacked.Tell me. Go ahead. Tell me your password was something easy to guess like ‘PEDUTOSUCKS’ or ‘TIGERWOODS4LYFE’ and it was hacked. Go on. Say those words to me. Say, ‘I was hacked.’ Please.”

Luke: “I wasn’t–”

PG: “Because if you weren’t hacked, and you are actually willfully and knowingly and deliberately and intentionally and all the words that mean those very things …  launching this desperate legacy-grasping initiative on this the very day your police chief and highest deputy testified in front of a grand jury investigating your questionable political and financial ethics, I am going to have to believe that you have the mental maturity of Caillou and the mental capacity of a urinal cake.”

Luke: “Now, that’s a bit–”

PG: “You can’t GIVE a legacy after the fact. Do you get that? You can only LEAVE one. It’s like trying to go back and change your footprints in the sand. You can’t! You already left them. So no matter how much you trumpet your successes over the next two point five months, no matter how much you try to feed us the positives in the hopes we’ll appreciate them, it won’t affect the legacy you have already left. There is no amount of bullet points that will negate, erase, or diminish the areas you’ve left us wanting. In fact, by publicly using city resources and staff to trumpet your successes, you’re only drawing our attention to your shortcomings. We’re not going to replace those shortcomings with your successes. We’re going to look at them side by side, because we have the mental capacity to do that.  WE are not the urinal cakes in this scenario.”

Luke: “I wish you’d stop saying–”


Luke: [stands to leave] “Are you quite done?”

PG: “Done!? I haven’t even been put in the oven yet! The oven isn’t even preheated yet! THE OVEN HASN’T EVEN BEEN INVENTED YET!”

Luke: “You’re out of –”

PG: “Luke, before you walk out of this office this one last time, allow me to say, if as you near the end of your political career you feel the negative is shining so brightly that it has completely hidden the positive and has motivated you to begin a self-serving, self-applauding, self-backslapping look at your tenure, you’ve got to ask yourself, is the blinding negative a PR issue or is it a ‘me issue?’ If you’re honest, you’re going to see it’s a YOU issue and you’re going to realize no amount of shouting about the positives is going to in any way impact the legacy you’ve already left in your wake. You look stunned. Blink twice if you understood what I just said.”

Luke: “I’m leaving.” [walks toward door]

PG: “Fine. But one last thing.”

Luke: [turns] “What?”


Luke: [storms out]

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GIVEAWAY: Day of the Dead Live Rock n’ Roll Karaoke Tickets

(Jim Lokay, formerly of KDKA, singing his heart out. All photos from last year’s event by Jonathan Wander)

I can honestly say that in 2012, the most fun event I attended was the inaugural Haitian Families First Live Rock n’ Roll Karaoke party at Shadow Lounge. 

I stayed out until 2:30 a.m. Me. The girl who when she looks at the clock and it reads 1:00 a.m. says, “WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?! DID THE BUS DROP ME OFF IN CRAZYTOWN?! WHERE IS MY BED?!?!”

I can’t sing. You know this about me. But there is something so damn fun about watching people who CAN sing get up on stage with a live band to belt their hearts out.

It was just the best time of music and drinking and conversation and camaraderie and I’m beyond excited for this year’s event which will be bigger and better and at The Rex:


It will feature your host for the evening, the one and only Randy Baumann of the ‘DVE Morning Show, seen here on the right in his appearance on TBS’ “Sullivan and Son”:


(“Oh, no. I promised my kid a car!” Still funny.)

In addition to regular folks getting up there to sing live with the band to a tune from a list of 100 songs, you’ll be voting for one of three celebrity contestants to sing on stage!

They are … last year’s winners/losers Mikey and Big Bob from the Kiss Morning Freakshow:

Her Royal Highness Sally Wiggin of WTAE who I think should sing “Wrecking Ball”:

And future mayor Bill Peduto:


That’s not all!

  • Just by attending, you are entered into a giveaway of an epic collection of local restaurant gift cards.
  • Raffle tickets will be for sale for a pair of tickets to the November 18 Penguins home game vs. the Anaheim Ducks
  • Additionally, you’ll have the chance to purchase Haitian Love Beads and get your picture taken in the HFF photo booth.
  • Prize package from our friends at The Scarehouse will be awarded for best costume.

All proceeds benefit Jamie and Ali McMutrie’s Haitian Families First.

To enter to win two free tickets to the event, simply leave a comment before Wednesday, October 16 at 5:00 p.m. at which time will pick the winner. So you have something to say, tell me one of two things, or be a rebel and tell me BOTH things:

  1. What should my costume be? Preferably something that requires brunette hair, and that isn’t one of those ridiculous “sexy” outfits like “sexy porcupine.” Last year I went as Slash. Don’t say, “Sexy Slash.”
  2. What’s the spookiest/unexplained thing that’s ever happened to you? I love reading stories like that because I don’t really have any to tell.

Or just leave a generic comment and you’re entered to win.

If you don’t win or if you plan to go no matter what and want to reserve your spot to sing as it’s first come first served, you can get all the details right here.

See you there!

I WON’T be the sexy enchilada.

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Dear Pirates,

Look, I can’t really say I’m speaking on behalf of an entire city or an entire fan base — I’m not THAT egotistical –but for the past eight years I’ve heard a common refrain and that is this: “You wrote exactly what I was thinking, but couldn’t put into words.”

So, I’m going to try to put into words what I think the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates are thinking as they wake up to the first morning of the 2013 offseason …

You didn’t do enough.

You did more than enough.

But before I get into that, you first have to understand what Pittsburgh’s passion for baseball was like back in March. It was a tiny, barely smoldering piece of tinder resting on the wet floor of a massive damp forest of disappointment that hadn’t seen a lick of flames in decades. Those were the odds stacked against you … lighting a fire in a monsoon. Good luck. You have a better chance of leashing the Kraken and taking it for a walk in the park.  

What you managed to do as a team — a brotherhood — was to take that little piece of smoking tinder, and to slowly nurture it. Pick it up, blow on it gently, give it sun and warmth and oxygen. And when it grew ever so slightly, you didn’t let it get trampled or snuffed out. You protected it and fed it until that tiny flicker of light became a fire big enough to warm our hands on.

You didn’t stop there. When it died down ever so slightly, you went Bear Grylls on it — stoked it with wins until come September that once barely flickering tinder became a raging fire of baseball passion burning a path to the postseason and Smoky the Bear was all, “HAVE I TAUGHT YOU PEOPLE NOTHING?! LOOK AT THIS MESS, DAMN IT.”

You, not the team before you — not any of the teams before them — brought baseball back to Pittsburgh.

Who cares, right?

It’s just a sport. 

Let’s get some perspective here, people. What about world peace, amirite?

Sure, it’s just a sport, but I haven’t found a single scripture in the Bible or the Brocode that says we can’t care about world peace while also caring about the fortunes of our baseball team. There’s nothing wrong with baseball mattering.

And you reminded us that, here in Pittsburgh, baseball … matters.

The sport of Roberto, of Maz, of kids in dirt fields. The sport of peanuts and Cracker Jacks and Jolly Rogers and Pierogie races (What’s in your purse, HANNAH?!), and high-fiving strangers, and the crack of the bat, and the glorious double play, and the slide into home with one finger gliding across the base, and living and dying by one single pitch in the bright late summer sun. It matters to us again, as it has mattered to America for centuries. You did that. You gave us that gift that will ripple on for years, and there’s no way for us to repay that gift to you.

You out-gifted us. You gave us a Mercedes with a big red bow on top; we are holding an engraved pen from Things Remembered behind our backs.  Hope you like it. It says, “You’re #1.”

And that brings me back to my original point.

You did more than enough. 

As a fan base, 2013 was like taking part in the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right. “What would you say about this … FIRST NON-LOSING SEASON IN 21 YEARS?!”


“But wait, there’s more! Enjoy your non-losing season for a few days, but then we’re going to put you into this … GORGEOUS WINNING SEASON!”


“And that’s not all! After you’re done celebrating your winning season, why not step into this brand … new … WILDCARD GAME!”

“But before you bid on all that, step away from that Wildcard Game and make your way over to  … your very own NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES!?”


We would have been happy to go home with the winning season. And maybe one of the Showcase Showdown models.

But you gave us more than that — more than enough for 2013.

You gave us our pastime back. You gave us baseball that was more than bobbleheads and Free Shirt Fridays and Fireworks Spectaculars.

You made it okay to love the Pirates —  the baseball team — again. You negated two decades of losing. You gave us the blackouts and fist pumps and a Strip District once barely dotted with Pirates merchandise, now bursting at the seams with thousands of unlicensed Bucs shirts. You gave us incredible defense, a home-run king, the Shark Tank, and a Sid Bream palate cleanse. You gave us that grizzly bear lumberjack werewolf Gerrit Cole (grrrrrrrrmmmmrowrrrrr).

Sure it sucks that you didn’t win last night and it probably feels like the end of a road. But before you start blaring Boyz II Men in the clubhouse, I’ll remind you of the 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins who lost in the Stanley Cup Finals … only to win it the very next year.

This road ended last night, but come March, you’re going to step on another road, and for the first time in a long time, you’re going to walk that road with postseason experience, with the respect of the MLB, and with an entire city walking behind you. And I’m almost positive that road will lead us to an even better destination than this one did.

The bandwagon will not be burned and rolled into the Mon. It’s being cared for all winter. Upgraded. Bigger oxen. More margarita options. Extra taco topping choices. Additional seating not paid for with public dollars. And we’ll pull it out in March and we’ll climb in and we’ll raucously show America that indeed … baseball is back in Pittsburgh because the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates gave it back to us.

Much love and sports butt slaps to every single damn one of you,

Me and all of Pittsburgh


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