Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Christmas, you guys.

Merry Christmas, Pittsburgh!

Celebrate what you’re going to celebrate, love who you love, do some good, be a good neighbor, be real, be you, be happy.

Print this out and stick it in your stack of Christmas cards; they’ll all feel inferior.

Because yelling out “BOOYAH! My Christmas card just punched yours right in the nose!” is the true meaning of Christmas.


Group hug!

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Believing in Braddock

(photo from Superior Motors Kickstarter page)

Famed Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa is good at a lot of things, but one thing he’s really good at is taking risks.

Pricey cutting-edge “I have no idea what any of these ingredients even are” cuisine in East Liberty? Success.

Showing up at Pittsburgh Magazine‘s Best Restaurants Party with boxes of grocery store bread and butter? Success. Even though for a solid hour people were walking around all OMG KEVIN SOUSA BROUGHT BREAD AND BUTTER. HE MUST BE DOWN TO HIS LAST FIVE CASH DOLLAH BILLZ.

Hot dogs? Success.

Barbecue and fried chicken? Success.

And then he decided to move his family to Braddock and everyone was like, “Kevin Sousa is a couple sausagemeats short of an encornets farcis, if you knowwhaddamean.”

Braddock has become a darling to Levi Strauss, to Kevin Sousa, and to actor David Conrad — you recall when I sat down with David to interview him about St. Nick’s Church, my first question was  why the heck he moved to Braddock — because sometimes you have to just take a second to confirm that people haven’t lost every single one of their sanity-maintaining marbles.

David and Kevin and Mayor Fetterman believe in Braddock and its chances to experience its own renaissance. Fetterman believes in it enough to fight for UPMC’s nonprofit status. David believes in it enough to hang a hat there. Kevin believes in it enough to plan to open a new 3,000 square-foot community restaurant in Braddock — a restaurant with its very own farm, art gallery, performance venue, apiary, and trainee housing.

It is hugely ambitious and clearly risky. He’s hoping to raise $250,000 via Kickstarter to make it happen.

He’s sitting at $92,000 raised with 17 days to go to raise the rest.

If you believe in Braddock too, click here to help.

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History with Ginny: A look at the city ordinances from 1816 to 1858

I cannot honestly remember how I stumbled upon the complete 335 pages of Pittsburgh By-Laws and Ordinances published in 1858, but I did. And I read them. All of them.

I think I found it while I was doing my research on the Monongahela river monster lore (which, SQUEEE! That’s my March 2014 column at the mag. You’ll love it, SyFy.).

As I said, I read every single word, because I am a huge dork, a massive nerd, a giant dweeb, a colossal geek, a —

Stop me any time, jerks.

I had to share some of my interesting findings with you! Ready?

1. First, CONFLUENCE shows up right away, so all you bitchez take my shotz.



You want to know how long a “perch” is, don’t you. Well I have the answer to that … however long they wanted it to be. 

2. The Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of Pittsburgh is your new favorite band name.

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3. The mayor, who made $200 a year in salary, had a TON of power, including acting as a justice of the peace, managing the warrant books, and issuing subpoenas to anyone he wished to.

Lukey’d be all, “I subpeona the shot girls from McFadden’s to appear before me presently whosoeverhereforetoblahblah.”

4. If you watered down the liquor at your “victualling-house” (That’s the name of our next restaurant. Don’t steal it.), you were SHIT OUT OF MOIETIES.

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5. Pittsburgher’s love of fireworks goes all the way back to the 1750’s when they had to make a law about them, because apparently Burghers were shooting stuff off like crazy on New Year’s Eve:

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If you did? Jail for five days. No bail.

In fact, our fireworks love goes back even EARLIER than the 1750s:

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All the way back to the time of King George the FIRST. The firstest. The uno. One. Born 1660. Fireworks are in our ancestral BLOOD, you guys.

I found a picture of him for you:


6. If you were found loitering, begging, or just being a lazy ass who wouldn’t get a job and work to support your family, you were sent to the work house or  if one didn’t exist, thrown in jail for hard labor for one month.

That’ll learn ya!

7. If you “vexatiously” obstructed the road with your horse buggy? $20 fine, which is like $350 today.

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They were not messing around.


8. Initially, children of the poor were allowed to attend any convenient school for free until the age of 12. This became a financial burden on the schools, however, and in 1828, the city passed an ordinance to build and run a school for the children of the poor.

9. “Market Days” were Wednesday and Saturday mornings in present day Market Square:


If you brought your dog or your dog somehow found its way to the market house?

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Not only that, the ordinance goes on to say that ANY stray or dog found running loose anywhere in the city at any time would suffer the same fate, and for every dog he killed, the constable made fifty cents.


10. You were expressly forbidden from bathing naked in the rivers during daylight hours:

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12. The right lane used to be the passing lane.

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13. Don’t you dare beat a drum or ring a bell after sunset:

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14. And God help you if you dropped a stinky one in the privy:

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15. At one point, wild hogs running the streets of Pittsburgh had become enough of a problem, they had to pass an ordinance that they were to be rounded up and given to the poor.

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King George the First of England — the original Grumpy Cat.

You can read all of the rules and regulations yourself right here.

As for me, I’m going to take my dog to Market Square where I’m going to pass on the left and shoot off a firecracker while flying a kite and ringing a giant ass bell.

Bail me out, yo.


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In which I line up UPMC and Highmark and I bitchslap them both to Mars


I cannot take another newspaper ad or another ridiculous scary-sounding television commercial by either Highmark or UPMC. Like, I haven’t been this stabby since Mayor Luke learned what a hashtag is.

I am sick of both of them. I don’t care who wins at this point, because they’re both going to lose; King Solomon is going to cut their baby in half.

I let them have it over at Pittsburgh Magazine.  

A snippet:

We are not opening the Sunday paper to read these ads in the hopes of finally coming down on either side of the fence. I hate to tell you this, but there is no fence. It’s like the final three days leading up to an important election when we are mercilessly bombarded with scary-sounding ads at every turn. We start to hate everyone, even the person we’re going to vote for. We would get sick of our own father’s face if he was the one running for office. “Not this guy again. Ugh.”

Go read my message to UPMC and Highmark. Spread it. Share it. Make sure everyone reads it so that it will reach who it needs to at Highmark and UPMC and their eyes will open and they’ll say, “Wait. So you’re saying THE COMMERCIALS AND ADS ARE MAKING YOU HATE BOTH OF US?! HOW CAN THIS BE?!? WE THOUGHT YOU WERE DUMBER THAN THAT! WHERE IS MY SECURITY BLANKIE MADE OF STITCHED-TOGETHER HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLZ?!”

It is time for the ad war to stop and working toward a solution to start, and that’s not going to happen until they realize I am speaking the truth. So let them hear it. 

We’re sick of both of ya, Highmark and UPMC. At this point, we’re rooting for an asteroid.

A big one.


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Mayor Luke’s last visit to the Office of That’s Church?

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Setting: The Office of That’s Church in Dunkin’ Donuts in Market Square.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl enters, spies the Secretary packing up her office into boxes.

“Her office” = donuts. “Boxes” = her mouth.

Mayor Luke: [sighs]

PittGirl: “Pick your shoulders up, Champ. There is a very very good chance this is the last time you’ll ever visit my office.”

Mayor: [eyes brighten] “Really?!”

PG: “Really! But before we hopefully say goodbye to the Office of That’s Church — the office of truth, of snark, of ‘telling it like it is no matter what,’ we need to discuss how INCREDIBLY, EPICALLY, MONSTROUSLY STUPID YOU ARE ON TWITTER.”

Luke: “I hate you.”

PG: “I bet you do! Have a seat.”

Luke: “Have we met?”

PG: “Fine. Stand.”

Luke: “I will.”

PG: “Do you know that I used to hate your politician-speak? That weird ‘myself and others like myself’ vernacular you used to spout like a robot? I used to call it Politicobot 2000 or something like that. I hated it. You took 30 words to say something that could have been communicated in five words. I thought if we stripped away that important-sounding facade, we’d find you normal. Dare I say, likable. A regular Pittsburgh guy just trying his best to do the job he was, in some ways, thrust into.  Are you seriously giggling because I just said ‘thrust?'”

Luke: “Shut up.”

PG: “I will not. So now your political aspirations have been snuffed out like a candle in the wind, Elton, and along with those aspirations went your Robot Politician Facade, and guess what was behind that facade? Guess. Go ahead. I’m telling you to guess. Say words.”

Luke: “What’s a fac–?”

PG: “BZZZZZ! Time’s up! What we have found behind the facade is what some suspected all along — a weird fratboy/meangirl hybrid with the grammar of a first grader and an addiction to useless hashtags.”

Luke: “Oh! Fratmeangirlboy!”

PG: [headdesk] “I hate you.”

Luke: “I bet you do!”

PG: “So you took to Twitter to publicly whine that a city police officer uses his off-duty time to ref NCAA basketball games and the media doesn’t care, but they bug you mercilessly about your schedule. You, in your holy righteous indignation, salivated as you thought you were about to make the media feel so so foolish. You linked to a schedule of his games and wrote. ‘Imagine if I was out of town this much!’ You hashtagged it with #justsayin — which, that alone is enough to make my bitchslapping hand feel kinda itchy, Luke. You manufactured this controversy mere DAYS after tweeting about how terrible it was that the media manufactures controversy. You also missed an important thing: that if city police officers are doing things you feel they shouldn’t on their off-time, YOU AS THE MAYOR SHOULD HANDLE THAT. THE FINAL BLAME FOR THAT SHOULD REST ON YOUR SHOULDERS. The irony of this is just about killing me, Lukey — like an anvil is going to fall on my head at any moment.”

Luke: [looks up hopefully]

PG: “What are you? Right at this moment. What are you?”

Luke: “A fratmeangirlboy!”

PG: “Lieutenant Scirotto is a police officer. YOU ARE THE MAYOR OF A MAJOR METROPOLITAN CITY. This is beyond apples and oranges. This is bikes and pumpkins. The Pope and Kim Kardashian. POOP AND DIAMONDS. You’re trying to compare how much the media cares about a cop versus how much the media cares about the mayor. It’s LAUGHABLE. The media doesn’t really care where Lieutenant Scirotto is during his off time because he’s a police officer. However, the MAYOR OF A MAJOR METROPOLITAN CITY answers to we the people. His schedule should be public. He should show up. He should lead. He should be as transparent as air. He should work so hard he ages before our very eyes. He should not, at any point in time, giggle at the word thrust.”

Luke: [giggles]

PG: “I hate you.”

Luke: “I hate you to infinity no backsies.”

PG: [headdesk] [headdesk] [headdesk]

Luke: “Are we done?”

PG: “No. I’m going to need you to hand over any hashtags you have on your person.”

Luke: “Even #7yearsofsuccesses?!”

PG: “ESPECIALLY #7yearsofsuccesses.”

Luke: “Fine. But I’m keeping #noclue.”

PG: “Knock yourself out.”

Luke: “Now are we done?”

PG: “My God, I hope so.”

Luke: “Bye. #itsbeenreal.” [turns to walk away]

PG: [rises, runs, tackles Lukey to the ground and rips the hashtag from his hands]



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