Monthly Archives: November 2013

2013 Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide GIVEAWAY!

UPDATED to include three new items donated by their respective shops: The Xmittens, the Alternate Histories print, and the Yinz mug!


It’s here, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

The 2013 Yinzer Gift Guide is up at Pittsburgh Magazine and look at all these gorgeous things I’ve hunted down for you. Affordable Burgh-made or Burgh-inspired gifts guaranteed to earn you some serious hugs and smooches this holiday season.  Click the picture to be taken to the list, or scroll down to see which items I’m giving away because I love yinz like pigeons love pooping.


I’m giving away a few items from the official list, and one from the UN-listed list.

One lucky winner will receive:

— Heinz Christmas Pickle ornament, $15, paid for with my own moolah. Give this to pretty much anyone in your life:


— Heinz Ketchup ornament, $15, paid for with my own moolah.


— Moop Tiny Clutch No. 1 in charcoal and blue, $31, donated by Moop AFTER I picked them to be on the list. Perfect for moms, wives, sisters, friends and the like.


— Moop Tiny Clutch No. 2 in grey and orange $31, donated by Moop AFTER, etc.



— Fear the Beard socks $10, donated by Fresh Factory AFTER. Perfect for a Steeler fan:


 — Penguins earrings from Perfectly Simple, $8, donated by Perfectly Simple AFTER. Pens fans will love!


— SmallTower Pittsburgh Skyline Print, $30, donated AFTER:



–Alternate Histories Monongahela Monster Print, $20


— Pittsburgh Pottery Yinz Mug, $20



— The wildly popular Xmittens, $35.  You may receive a different color than that pictured.


That’s a retail value of $217 bucks saved on your gift list! If any other vendors from the list offer up a few goodies, I’ll update this post and the same winner will receive those items too.

To enter: Leave a comment, one comment per valid email address, and so you have something to say, you can do any of the following in your comment:

1. Shout out which item on the 2013 Yinzer Gift Guide is your favorite.

2. Shout out a locally-made or Burgh-inspired gift not on the list that you think I should consider for next year’s list.

3. Leave a generic comment, preferably one in which you say nice things about me.


4. Type the word “toot.” You’ll understand why when you go read the list. 

You have until next Friday, November 29 at noon to enter, at which time will pick the winning comment number. Since none of the items are too big or heavy, guess what? If you’re not living in the Pittsburgh area, I’ll mail the prize pack to any of the contiguous 48 states.

If you live in Portland, I’ll probably include a little handwritten note that says “SUCK IT.”

[swishes cape and runs off in dramatic fashion]

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The unlisted list of Yinzer Holiday Gifts

My 2013 Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide will be up this week over at, giving you plenty of time to get orders in to be delivered in time for the holidays.

This year’s list was especially hard to compile what with so many great Burghy gifts entering the market since last year. As you know, the goal of the list is to show you gifts that are either made BY Burghers, ABOUT Pittsburgh, or IN Pittsburgh.

Suck it, China. And for the hell of it, you too, Portland.

While these items didn’t make the list this year for one reason or another, I still wanted to share them with you because they’re all worthy gifts:

1. Slaterzorn apparel

Category: ABOUT Pittsburgh

Why it’s not on the list: Holy pricey, Batman! I have trouble recommending you spend $80 on a pair of socks unless those socks have a 50 dollar bill inside of them.

Why it’s awesome: Most black and gold gear looks like Steely McBeam either puked or died on it. Not at Slaterzorn where classy, upscale team-themed apparel is available to gift to the people in your life who love the Steelers, Pens, and/or Bucs, but who wouldn’t wear a bedazzled hypocycloid even if you threatened to take away their country club membership.

Here’s a sampling of the pricey, but oh so gorgeous gear for men and women:

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Want. I don’t know. I might include the scarves on the official list. But still … $85?! Wah.

2. Go Down on Me Incline Shirt

Category: ABOUT Pittsburgh, BY Burghers

Why it’s not on the list: It’s a PG-rated magazine.

Why it’s awesome: [snicker]

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3. Perfectly Simple earrings

Category: ABOUT, BY, and IN

Why it’s not on the list: I chose different jewelry to feature on the list …

Why it’s awesome: … but these are funky and adorable and come in a crazy cute variety. The mustache ones are just knocking my socks off.

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4. Light of Life Ornament by Wendell August Forge

Category: ABOUT, BY, and IN

Why it’s not on the list: I featured their 2012 fundraising ornament last year, and wanted to put a different non-profit-benefiting gift on the list this year.

Why it’s awesome: This ornament, like last year’s, was designed by one of their program members. There are only 500 available, so get one while you can for a suggested donation of $20. $25 if you want them to mail it to you.



5. Kobold Watches

Category:  BY Burghers, IN Pittsburgh

Why it’s not on the list: ALL. OF. THE. DOLLARS.

Why it’s awesome: I was hunting for a watch made in Pittsburgh (I feel like some Burgher somewhere should be Kickstarting a line of steel watches or something. Get on that.) These watches are local and they are incredible. AND ALL OF THE DOLLARS! So if your middle name is McMoneyBags, these are for you, ranging in price from a bit over $2,000 to ALL OF THE DOLLARS:

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Seriously gorgeous. Seriously out of my budget.

Now I’m off to spend my day at the History Center, the Incline gift shop, Wildcard, and possibly the Pittsburgh Public Market for one final hunt for cute Burghy gifts that I might have missed, and then the Yinzer Gift Guide will be ready to go.

Be prepared to repent of covetousness.

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A story.

“Nine. One. One. What is your emergency?”

This past summer I sent my kid to summer camp in North Carolina with his cousins. After a week, my husband, me, my daughter, and my niece visiting from Cancun went to my sister Ta-Ta’s house in Richmond, Virginia to await the boys’ return with my brother-in-law who had served as the camp nurse.

The next day, we set off for Pittsburgh from Richmond with six people in my six-passenger Mazda 5. Realizing we were going to need extra storage space for the overnight bags and for the boys’ sleeping bags and suitcases, I purchased a soft-sided rooftop carrier from Amazon prior to heading for Virginia. It had four and half stars. It was one of those carriers  you could use with or without a roof rack. They said.

Without a roof rack, you could run the straps inside your car doors and secure them safely inside the vehicle. They said.

My husband was skeptical as he and my brother-in-law double checked the straps prior to us setting off for the Burgh. They tugged and yanked at the straps to be sure.

My husband was like, “I don’t know.”

My brother-in-law was like, “It’s secure. It’s fine.”

Off we went. The clouds grew dark. We hit I-95 AKA the Highway of Satan’s Doom and my husband picked up speed … nervously.

“I just don’t know.”

“It’s fine.”

Have you ever watched one of those based-on-a-true-story-made-for-TV movies about an airplane crash and one pilot is all, “I don’t know about this. Something’s off.” and the co-pilot is just smacking buttons and flipping switches all, “It’s fine. It’s fine”?

That was me and my husband as we went up to 70 miles per hour.

“I just don’t know.”

“It’s fine. It’s fine.”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s FINE. Say ‘focus’ for me.”

Then the rain started falling lightly and he got more nervous. Slowed down to 60.

“I don’t know.”

“It’s fine. It’s fine,” I said as I adjusted the radio, the air controls, the sun visors, the vent direction, my seat position — busy like the co-pilot of a doomed aircraft.

We sped along. My son and nephew in the back seat with headphones plugged into their electronics. My daughter reading in the middle seat next to her cousin who was busy with her phone. My husband softly muttering, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.” Me in the front passenger seat adjusting controls like a NASA mission commander preparing to dock with the ISS.  The warm rain sprinkling against the windshield.







What was that?!

Oh, look.

The carrier is gone.

Right there on I-95, the straps had torn and sent the large soft-sided carrier hurling through the air. It plopped onto the highway behind us as my husband, muttering all of the Spanish swear words, hurriedly maneuvered the car to the side of the road.

All six of us twisted in our seats and craned our necks just in time to see an 18-wheeler the size of Jupiter kerthump a few of its enormous tires right over the bag.

We simultaneously turned to face forward again. Stunned.


Then my daughter burst into tears.


What do we do oh my god we are all going to die someone call the cops how are we going to get that back everyone just CALM DOWN Spanish swear words let me just adjust all the controls here what are we going to do what is the number for 911 are we going to jail mommy Spanish swear words I knew this was going to happen are we just going to leave our stuff back there we can’t just leave our stuff back there I am going to give that thing one star on Amazon dot com.

“Well, that bag is gone forever,” said my husband.

“No,” I said, “We have to go get it! Everyone’s stuff is in there! EVERYONE STOP SCREAMING SO I CAN HEAR MYSELF THINK! IT IS GOING TO BE OH-KAY!”

I turned to my husband. “Go get the bag.”

I said it as if I were simply saying, “Go pick up a gallon of milk at the Iggle.”

He stared at me. “You want me to go get that bag that probably weighs more than 150 pounds? That bag that’s in the middle of the busy highway full of speeding 18-wheelers? That bag?”

“You gotta go get the bag. I’ll call 911. You go get the bag. You’ll be fine. Just look both ways.”


It was decided. By me.

My husband exited the car and headed the 70 yards or so back to the bag which still lay in the middle of the far right lane on I-95 near Richmond, Virginia as beach traffic careened around it.

“Nine. One. One. What is your emergency?”

“Yeah. We’re on I-95 — EVERYBODY STOP CRYING, SCREAMING, OR LAUGHING RIGHT THIS INSTANT OR SO HELP ME GOD — and we lost our rooftop carrier. It’s on the road. I’m worried someone might hit it and get hurt.”

“Okay, ma’am, what is your location? Okay. Okay. Got it. Okay, ma’am, we have a car nearby. Please, ma’am. Do NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE BAG. Do not enter the road. We will be there, ma’am. Again, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE BAG. Do you understand, ma’am? Do not enter the road … for your own safety.”

“Yeah, about that…” I turned in my seat to see my husband had already managed to drag the bag to the side of the road and had hoisted it onto his back and was now trudging slowly down the side of the highway, in the rain, bent over at the waist, with the enormous bag containing three suitcases and various small bags resting on his back like Atlas carrying the weight of the world. The bag was so large it looked like he was carrying two bodybags on his back.

I ordered the children to STAY like good obedient dogs and got out of the car as my husband neared. Step. Step. Heave his shoulders to readjust the bag. Step. Step. Heave. Step. Heave. Rest. Step. Heave.

I imagine there are many pictures of him on Twitter and Instagram all, “Look at this dude carrying a rooftop car carrier on his back in the rain. LOL.”

He gave me a look that I couldn’t place and then let the bag fall into the high grass with a thud. It was then I looked closely at him. Not only was he sweating in the light rain, but he was covered in brown powder and smelled strongly of cinnamon.

I looked at the bag, flattened and a huge hole ripped into it, and noticed it too was covered in the brown dust.

And then I remembered that I had found a huge canister of my favorite cinnamon-infused Mexican coffee in Richmond and had tucked it into the carrier at the last moment. It had exploded under the weight of the truck tire and sifted onto my husband with each step and heave he took.

He was shooting me Palpatine-esque death looks as we began picking through the bag to see what was salvageable.

Just as I reached down to open the carrier bag, a spider the size of Chris Farley’s face crawled out of the high grass and right onto the top of the bag. I’m pretty sure it reared up and hissed at me.

And that’s how the Virginia State Police found us as they pulled up behind us with their lights flashing.

An angry Mexican, coated in cinnamon coffee grounds that were gradually turning to sticky syrup in the warm rain, muttering about his wife not giving a shit whether he lived or died, shoving sticky cinnamon-y suitcases into any crevice he could find inside the vehicle. His wife, her hands covered in that same cinnamon syrup, screaming maniacally and using her now-removed flip-flop to repeatedly pummel a ripped and flattened soft-sided rooftop carrier. DIE DIE DIE DIE! Four children, all in various states of hilarity and panic, inside the vehicle. Two ten-year-old boys laughing hysterically at the situation. A six-year-old crying and screaming, “STOP LAUGHING! THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!”

Minivans of families passing by, slowing down, snapping photos all, “HASHTAG CRAZY MEXICAN FAMILY!”

With each child sharing a seat with a bag, and with suitcases taking up every spare inch in the car, and with the entire car reeking of a putrid witch’s brew of rain, coffee, sweat and cinnamon, we prepared to re-enter traffic. My husband and I using the last five wet-wipes to de-stickify ourselves as best we could.

We were safe. No one had been hurt. My husband and I looked at each other — he browner than his usual brown. Me still shaking from my scary spider encounter. My daughter swallowing her sobs. The boys swallowing their laughter. My niece writing in her diary about the crazy Americans.

And we burst out laughing.


It’s a drive we’ll never forget and he eventually forgave me for stupidly risking his life like that.

My point is this, though: Soft-sided rooftop carriers that claim you need no roof rack … ZERO STARS.


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Jeff Reed joins Twitter. Does everything wrong/right.

When 96.1’s resident hottie Tall Cathy informed me that Skippy Skeeve (as I called him many a time) AKA former Steelers badboy Jeff Reed, had joined Twitter, I grabbed a chair and some popcorn.

This oughta be good.

I was so so right, because somehow, some way, somewhere over the rainbow, Jeff Reed is managing to break all the Twitter rules and still come out on top.

That’s not a euphemism.

And speaking of euphemisms, Jeff Reed calls that an “SAT word.”

Let’s review the rules Jeff is breaking.

1. Use proper punctuation

Jeff Reed only believes in four punctuation marks — the ellipses, the triple question mark, and the triple exclamation point. And very occasionally, he’ll whip out a comma. That’s not a euphemism.

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Jeff Reed does not believe in periods.

He sees a period and he Sheetz-Paper-Towel-Dispenses that bullshit all the way to Ohio.

I called him on his excessive exclamatory punctuation:

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Dumbfounded = me:

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Jeff Reed, 1: Punctuation rules, 0!!!…???

2. Don’t feed the trolls

I have a pretty epic Twitter troll who believes in his heart of hearts that I, a Pittsburgh-born girl of Syrian descent, am an illegal Mexican immigrant. That my husband, a naturalized US citizen who has never once set toenail in the United States without a proper Visa or Green Card, is an illegal immigrant. He loves to tweet to people who follow me about how I am a “wetback Messican.”

Here’s a sampling of hate from one of his many Twitter accounts he has used to bash me:

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My Twitter followers have been very very good about not responding in any way to this troll, because the rule is DON’T FEED THE TROLLS AND THEY’LL GO AWAY.

Jeff Reed fed the troll, whose latest account has already been suspended, but the gist of his tweets to me and Jeff Reed were INSULT INSULT YOU BOTH SUCK. SHE’S AN ILLEGAL WETBACK AND YOU’RE A WASHED UP LOSER ASSHOLE MOTHERF–:

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What can the troll say to that?


The troll is still sitting at his keyboard all, “By the beard of Zeus and my tiny penis, I have no clue how to respond to this!!!…???”

Jeff Reed: 1, Troll: 0

3. If your glory days are behind you, pretend like you don’t care.

Jeff Reed wants back in the NFL, and he’s not afraid to admit it.

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4. If you’re a celebrity, don’t be too accessible to fans. 

Jeff Reed says EFF THAT and he rips the rule off the wall like a misbehaving paper towel dispenser.

He responds to every single tweet.

His schedule is more public than Luke Ravenstahl’s, not that that’s saying much.

He walks into Ross Park Mall and just begs you to find him:

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His shirt? “Congratulations! You’re not illiterate.”

Fans, 1: Privacy, 0

Also, I have no clue what batorches are.

Maybe it’s a euphemism.

For balls.

P.S. Here’a fun Jeff Reed post I wrote a while ago. 

And here’s the one where he looked like a gerbil chasing a puma.

Good times.

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