Can we talk about ridiculousness for a bit?

Can we just sit here and marvel at something ridiculous?

Can we?

Let’s talk about the Post-Gazette, one of America’s great newspapers.

Do I want to talk about their ridiculous and attention-begging use of unnecessary gifs on their Twitter account as of late?

No. But it’s pretty ridiculous.

Do I want to talk about this Ask Natalie column in which a mother-of-the-groom wrote Natalie to tell her how aghast she was that a few of her son’s friends didn’t bring gifts to the wedding and how she CALLED THEM ON THE PHONE TO ASK WHERE THEIR GIFTS WERE, and how Natalie’s response was not to read this woman the riot act, but to not even mention the uncouthness of calling, and to instead tell the woman to not invite those people to the next son’s wedding and also to PUT THE GIFT REGISTRY INFORMATION ON THE ACTUAL WEDDING INVITATION WHICH WOULD MAKE EMILY POST LOSE ALL OF HER GENTLEWOMANLY SHIT AND WHY ARE THERE STILL ADVICE COLUMNS IN 2016 WHEN A SIMPLE INTERNET SEARCH WILL TELL YOU WHAT A HUGE YINZER JAGOFF YOU WERE TO CALL THESE POOR WEDDING GUESTS WHO MIGHT ACTUALLY BE LITERALLY POOR?!

No. But it’s pretty pretty damnity damned ridiculous and also, I would be the best advice columnist to ever live.

[long-winded question about a life problem]


Let’s instead talk about … this.

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What? Is this.

I mean … what is this?


I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Let me walk you through this ridiculousness, friends, because it has been a long time since I morphed into Super Snarks-a-lot Girl just because something was so ridiculous I couldn’t ignore it.

List style…

1. This is an “advertorial” (You won’t know it’s an advertorial unless you look near the top where it is indicated. Otherwise, it just seems like a normal regular Post-Gazette column.) in which a Pittsburgh writer, Sydney Carver, (who I’m sure is a lovely human but if you’re going to write something this ridiculous, I have to snark on it), is going to walk us through the proper way to throw a Pittsburgh-Perfect Dinner Party.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s easy. Make a tray of lasagna with some garlic bread and a salad and throw a bottle of red wine on the table. Boom. Dinner. Party.

Oh, no. How mistaken you are, you low-class lasagna-serving mortal who probably serves wine in juice glasses and serves dinner on the “fancy” paper Chinet.

2. If you’re going to throw a proper Pittsburgh-perfect dinner party, you need to spend a day shopping and if you’re going to do that, you better dress well!

I am headed out to prep for my own dinner party, so I’ll take you along to illustrate how I prepare. First thing’s first: When running all over Pittsburgh, comfort is key. I opt for dark-wash skinny jeans, a cashmere cable knit sweater, Chanel flats, and a Barbour jacket. I always make sure to bring some extra canvas L.L. Bean totes so that everything makes it home in one piece!

She wants you to shop in a cashmere cable knit sweater, $600 Chanel flats and a Barbour jacket. Got it? Don’t do what I do which is show up at the grocery store looking like an actual whale recently spit me out onto shore where a flock of seagulls landed on my head and had a dance party. And don’t you dare use the store’s bags. And you better not show up with some Target or Walmart-branded reusable totes. No, you better get those L.L. Bean totes or GTFOH.

Or rather, she recommends this bag:

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Yeah, you are to lug that shiz around with you as you hit all the shops in your fancy cashmere clothes. And since when the actual hell are skinny jeans comfortable? They are the opposite of comfortable. They are the most uncomfortable pants you can buy.

2. Moving on! You’re dressed in your most expensive outfit and carrying a luggage-sized tote. Time to shop for our Pittsburgh dinner party!

The first thing you do, according to this column, THE FIRST THING YOU DO, losers, is you go…

and …




Are you ready?

Wait for it.






I didn’t just misspell champagne  (I’ll never misspell that word thanks to Patch from Days of Our Lives who pronounced is CHAM-PAG-NEE).

One of the easiest ways to escalate your space as well as add some dim, romantic lighting to any room is by opting for a gorgeous chandelier, and Cardello has many different options for all different tastes and budgets. I opt for a classic crystal chandelier that is sure to set the tone for the night: romantic elegance! 

The first thing you must do if you wish to throw a Pittsburgh-perfect dinner party is you have to buy yourself a new chandelier because if you don’t have new, expensive dining room lighting and instead just serve your slop under some $200 Home Depot-bought five-light fixture, you are a terrible dinner party hostess who doesn’t care about the romantic and aesthetically pleasing warm light that will erase the wrinkles from the faces of your guests.

So, you go buy a new chandelier. Got it? This is the one she bought, so you should too:

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It will only cost you $1,560.

Then AFTER you have bought a new chandelier and have loaded that sucker in your car, you can head to your next stop for the Pittsburgh-perfect dinner party …

2. You need to stop and get some diptyque figuier candles!

As I make my way from the North Shore to Shadyside … I arrive at Toadflax in Shadyside where I pick up several diptyque figuier candles. Scent is one of the easiest ways to change a person’s mood, so if you light the same scent every time your guests are in your home, they’ll remember it as your signature scent! I also spot some great accents for my blue-and-white-themed tablescape that I grab before I check out.

I don’t even know what diptyque or figuier means. Do you? Why don’t we? We suck, that’s why. We don’t use candles for our dinner parties, or if we do, we probably bought them at Target or Dollar General.

As for “signature scent.” Guests in my home know that as “Lemon Pledge with hint of Doggy Breath.”

Guys, I Googled it. These candles START at $60 each and run up to $90. FOR A CANDLE.

HAHAHAHAHA. NINETY DOLLARS FOR SOMETHING I’M GOING TO LIGHT ON FIRE?! How about I just throw a hundred-dollar bill in the fireplace and my signature scent can be “CRAZY PILLS AFLAME”?


After you’ve gotten your dippy candles (that’s what I’m calling ’em now), you must …


Now we’re talking. I love any excuse to buy new shoes … except …

Next up on my list is to snag a new pair of shoes! … I eye a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo’s and know that I’ve found the one. A classic, neutral heel will be sure to elongate my legs and pair well with any dress I decide to wear.

JIMMY. CHOOS. To wear with the dress you’ll wear at your dinner party at your house?

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Ell. Oh. Ell.

My dinner party attire? Clean jeans, a sweater I snagged at Marshalls, and socks. If you think I’m stomping around my own house serving my guests romantically lit food underneath a new chandelier while wearing 700-dollar stiletto heels and a damned dress, you are smoking some special-sauced crack.

So you’ve got a car full of chandelier, dippy candles, and Jimmy Choos. You’ve only spent $3,000 so far. Next up.

4. Prantl’s for some burnt almond torte.

I have no complaints. This is for sure a perfect suggestion.

Throw that cake in your car and pray the giant chandelier doesn’t smush it because this is the first thing you’ve bought that is actually worth the money you’ve spent on it.

Then head to …

5. Buy some fresh flowers!

Not a terrible idea. Easy to grab a few fresh bouquets from Trader Joes, right?

Except …

I plan to place the floral arrangement in blue-and-white Chinoiserie ginger jars of varying sizes down the middle of the table. Usually when choosing a color scheme, I pick one or two colors and then an accent color; in this case, my primary colors are blue and white with gold as an accent.


Okay, I Googled it. They are like $250 each!

Anyway, toss in your car the flowers she recommends you buy, along with the additional fresh blooms to place in your bathrooms, as she recommends, and then …

6. You got to go rent some fancy china!

The Kingston setting pairs nicely with a gold beaded charger, and I complete my table setting with the Schott Zwiesel Pure stemware glassware collection. The juxtaposition of the classic china against the more modern stemware is fantastic and adds dimension to the table. 

I know what most of those words mean by themselves, but put together in this paragraph, I’m lost.

“Adds dimension to the table”?

I just Googled that to see if that’s a real thing and IT IS TOTALLY NOT. She is Barney Stinson-ing us into believing we can add “dimension” to our table setting by using “juxtaposition” of classic and modern tableware and stemware.

If a friend walked in my house, looked at my set table and said, “Wow, this juxtaposition really adds dimension to your tablescape,” that person would no longer be my friend because GTFOH and someone open a beer for me gawd.

7. Time to buy a dress!

I stroll down the street to No. 14 Boutique, which may be the chicest boutique in Pittsburgh. After previewing a few of the amazing pieces that they have in stock on Snapchat (No_14lville), I knew they would have the perfect hostess dress for me! 

Yes! Head to a pricey boutique to find the perfect dress to wear with your 700-dollar shoes to host a dinner party for a few friends at your home where they’ll pee and poop while inhaling the scent of fresh flowers, eat while inhaling your signature scent wafting from 90-dollar candles, be surrounded by blooms in 300-dollar ginger jars, be served by you in your Jimmy Choos while wearing your new pricey fancy party dress after you’ve changed out of your pricey fancy party-shopping clothes, and dine on your fancy rented china on a dimensional tablescape of juxtapositions under your new fifteen-hundred-dollar chandelier that you bought just because you were throwing a “Pittsburgh-perfect” dinner party.

“Honey, I’m going to get started on cooking dinner for our friends. Can you go hang the new $1,500 chandelier I bought so I can set the table?” is a thing I would say that would 100% appear on the divorce papers my husband would file against me before the fresh blooms sucked in a millimeter of Chinoiserie ginger jarred water.

8. Finally …

Finally, our adventure has ended … is there time for a quick nap before the guests arrive?



You …


Maybe the 90-dollar dippy candles are vegan?


Did you smile at this ridiculousness? You know who could use a smile? The kids at Children’s Hospital. I’ve put up this year’s Make Room for Kids Amazon Wish List of the games and movies the kids in previously installed units need. These are for the cancer kids, transplant kids, heart kids, etc. We want to give them updated games and movies, so please pitch in and buy them one! All items will be shipped directly from Amazon to the Mario Lemieux Foundation in preparation for Make Room for Kids install in April. Thank you and group hug!

Make Room for Kids Giveaway II! Metal Pittsburgh prints by Dave DiCello.

Dave DiCello is the Linda Barnicott of photography, basically.

If you understood that sentence, congratulations! You’re a Burgher.

Regardless of where you live in the world, if you’re a Burgher, I can pretty much guarantee you’ve liked, hearted, thumbsed up, shared, retweeted, regrammed one of his photos; they are THAT popular.

You remember last year Dave donated his sales over a span of days to Make Room for Kids and that turned out to be a $1,000 donation. He wanted to do the same this year, so he PROACTIVELY donated the $1,000 before he even raised it, meaning he gave $1,000 of his own money to the total.

In addition to his $1,000 donation, he donated these two huge metal prints for me to give to two of you!

Let’s have another giveaway!

What: A 20×30 metal print of a rainbow over Pittsburgh…


And a 16×30 metal print of the Point from the Gateway Clipper…




To win: Donate and you are automatically entered to win! No, you don’t have to. You can comment on this post and you will be entered to win the prints, but if you can spare five dollars or so to donate to Make Room for Kids, I promise we will use the money. We have so many units to outfit, and they have lots of requests. We aren’t always able to fulfill every request, but each extra dollar helps us fulfill more and more. If you already donated, you are also entered to win this prize in addition to the Billy Joel tickets; you don’t have to comment or donate again. Dave and I will make arrangements to get the winners their prizes.

Random.org will choose the winning comment/donation number this Friday at the same time it pulls the Billy Joel ticket winner.

Good luck, let’s help sick kids have diversion from their diseases, and group hug.

Make Room for Kids Billy Joel Ticket Giveaway WHAAAT!

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“…Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television …”

Is it weird I still remember every single word to We Didn’t Start the Fire? Shut up.

Each year I try to have a nice giveaway to show you how much I appreciate the donations you give and have given to Make Room for Kids at the Mario Lemieux Foundation over the years.

This year is no different!

Thanks to a good friend, I have two tickets to the sold out Billy Joel concert at PNC Park to give away to a lucky winner!

And not only that, the seats are AMAZING.

The deets:

What: Two field level tickets to Billy Joel at PNC Park

When: Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

Where: Section 20 seats with a face value of $135 each (see below for seating chart):

Seatingchart-Billy Joel.v2



How to enter: Donate to Make Room for Kids and you’re automatically entered to win (if you’ve already donated, you’re in). Do you have to donate to win? No. That would be illegal. You can also leave a comment to this post to be entered, but maybe you can spare $5, $10 or $20 bucks so that we can bring in-room gaming to sick kids at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh?

Click the Donate button under the thermometer in the sidebar to be taken to the PayPal page. Donations go directly to Mario Lemieux Foundation. You can read more about this year’s efforts here where I outline which units we are helping this year (cystic fibrosis, cardiac, colitis, Crohn’s, etc.).

Also: I’ll pick a winner next Friday, February 26 at noon using Random.org to select the winning donation/comment. Tickets are on hand and will be mailed to the winner.

Milo would like to thank you in advance for your support of Make Room for Kids!

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Year Seven. Here we go.

Growing up in a religious household (don’t stop reading, you  jags; I’m going somewhere with this!) with a minister father meant lots of bible instruction, and one thing me and my four sisters learned quite often was about the number seven.

Seven is the number of completion.


Anyway. Every time I see the number seven I think …


Year. Seven. For Make Room for Kids.

Do you  remember how this started? This whole thing where you and I work to raise money to put XBOXs in patient rooms at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh via the Make Room for Kids program at Mario Lemieux Foundation?

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(This little dude was the happiest you’ve ever seen a little dude … and he was in the transplant unit at the time.)

Let me refresh your memory. It started right here with this post. 

If I fail in my efforts on behalf of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to win this prize, guess what? You’re not off the hook because then I’m going to hold a fundraiser to raise the $10,000 and guess who I’m coming to begging for three dollars? That’s right, YOU. And now that I’m not anonymous I can actually show up at your door with my hand out, my eyes in their best sad-puppy look, and I will weep and beg and gnash my teeth until you fork over your three hard-earned bucks.

We failed because the voting site failed, and we succeeded because you forked over your three dollars so I didn’t show up at your house with the fire of the sun in my eyes and the doom of a thousand demons in my scream. (I think I just wrote a heavy metal song. Gimme a pigeon and I’ll bite its head off.)

200 XBOXs later.

$125,000 later. Here we are. Here’s all the kids we helped:

  • Year one: Transplant Unit
  • Year two: Adolescent Medicine Unit
  • Year three: Cancer Unit
  • Year four: The Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center
  • Year five: Cardiac Unit, cardiac step-down unit, and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
  • Year six: Infusion/dialysis unit

That’s a lot of rooms, a lot of beds, a lot of smiles on sick kids’ faces.


(That’s Haley. We follow each other on Twitter now because I am a hip young cool person.)

Year seven. Can there possibly be sick children left who we haven’t taken care of?

Yes. There are.

What about the kids with Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that will allow them to live to see 40 if they’re lucky?

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe.

What about the kids suffering from Crohn’s and colitis, diseases they’ll fight their entire lives?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

That’s our unit this year. It’s called the GI unit and these are children who are regularly readmitted to the hospital for treatment and maintenance. Chronic. They will live with their conditions their whole lives. They know the hospital like the backs of their tiny hands, they’ve been there so much.

Children of all ages are cared for in this unit, but many are teens. Kidney and liver transplant children are also housed in this unit at times. The children in this unit stay for a week at a time, or months at a time, and they have to keep coming back due to their conditions when flare-ups happen.

Transplant kids can wait in this unit indefinitely until an organ becomes available. The kidney transplant children go from this unit down to dialysis and back.

This unit has three sleep-study beds. Children have a very hard time sitting still as all the wires and machines are hooked up to their bodies. Hospital staff has let us know that having in-room gaming would go a long way to helping the children stay still and occupied while being set up for their sleep studies.

Many of the children in this unit cannot move about freely to visit the general playroom area because it is vital they are near their restrooms due to their chronic GI conditions. For this reason, they would be ecstatic with in-room gaming.

Right now, this unit is sharing three XBOXs between 23 beds.

That. Won’t. Do.

Now, you’ll notice the thermometer is only set for $5,200. That’s much less than our usual goal of $10,000. Why?

Because Pittsburgh is awesome.

  • Regional Microsoft employees have donated a huge chunk of cash as they do every year, which was matched by the Microsoft corporation.
  • The Holiday Park Volunteer Fire Department donated over $4,200 to Make Room for Kids via their bingo night proceeds.
  • The ScareHouse Shake at Burgatory provides an influx of maintenance dollars.
  • And this year, Genre’s Kids with Cancer Fund will be covering our cost of maintenance of machines already installed in the oncology unit, and will also cover the cost of outfitting a planned expansion that will add more beds. We can’t let some of the cancer kids not have in-room gaming. They must all have this diversion from their awful disease.

That leaves you and I to make up the remainder needed. $5,200.

Here’s where your money is going:

  • Maintenance on all previous units installed. XBOXs break, controllers get lost, games get broken or lost, new games are released, new movies as well, and the children make new requests. We ask Child Life in each unit to let us know what they need, what the kids are begging for, and we get take their lists and we use your donations and we get those things for them.
  • This year we will be doing maintenance on the pediatric unit at Allegheny General Hospital as well, as you recall we did a little side project to outfit that unit one year. Time to give them new games and movies and to replace any broken equipment.
  • We will be putting an XBOX One with a Kinect in the play area of the GI unit, and we would like to upgrade their current small TV to a much much larger one so that the Cystic Fibrosis kids, who need activity to stay on top of their disease, can get some FUN exercise with plenty of room to move and a big TV to do it on. We will get them lots and lots of Kinect games for every age. We will make them thrilled to move their little bodies in defense of Cystic Fibrosis.
  • This unit has requested lots of scrapbooking equipment, as the children like to pass the time that way as well. As for units in the past, we will be providing a Cricut machine, cameras, photo printers, and all the fun fixings needed for scrapbooking.
  • Mounts and locks for the XBOXs are important
  • Games and movies GALORE for the GI unit, as well as extra controllers.
  • Portable DVD players. We will be getting half a dozen along with headphones. This is helpful for the children on the spectrum who need visuals to be up close.
  • Virtual reality goggles. These are particularly for children on the spectrum as well. This will be the first year we’ve supplied such a product for an install and I’m excited to see what we can find out there for the kids.
  • Every bed will have an XBOX installed and we will be providing Surface units for handheld fun and Skype-ing with friends and families, to keep the kids feeling connected to their outside life while hospitalized.
  • We will be installing all new XBOXs in the cardiac step down unit. This unit was relocated after our install a few years ago, so last year we refurbished the transplant XBOXs, gave the transplant unit all new XBOXs, and put the refurbished ones in the relocated cardiac step down. Now, we will replace every XBOX in the cardiac step down unit with a brand new machine.So basically, we are not only doing maintenance on every unit we’ve installed so far, we are installing new XBOXs in TWO ENTIRE UNITS.

It’s a lot. And thank goodness we have the partners we do at Microsoft, Genres Kids with Cancer Fund, Holiday Park VFD, and ScareHouse/Burgatory!

And you. Could you spare a few bucks for these sick kids? These Cystic Fibrosis kids? Crohn’s, colitis, transplant, heart, dialysis? Your dollars will touch six units in Children’s Hospital this year, and one at Allegheny General Hospital.

All donations go directly to the Mario Lemieux Foundation’s PayPal account. I don’t touch a penny of your money. It all goes to the sick kids.


It only takes a minute of your time, if even that, to provide these wonderful children with a distraction from their very real, very scary diseases.

We install on April 21. The goal is $5,200. And if I know Pittsburgh, we will get there. Just click the button under the thermometer up there, and give anything you can. Every single dollar helps.

I love you all! Group hug.

Pittsburgh History with Ginny … and cookies.

So I says to my kid, I says, “Your popple waffed.”

And then I says, “I meant to say your waffle popped. Let me run myself through the stroke tests real quick here while you get your toffle out of the woaster.”

How do our brains do that? Switch letters around like that?

And what does that have to do with anything? Nothing. I just wasted twenty seconds of your precious time.


As you know, I am a true crazy person when it comes to Pittsburgh history. The subscription to the Post-Gazette archives is the best money I’ve spent since Amazon Prime.

I received an email from an editor at Pittsburgh Magazine not too long ago in which she let me know that the History Center had emailed her about another matter and in doing so mentioned they had uncovered evidence that a statue of mythical steelman Joe Magarac was once proposed to be placed at the tip of the Point.

So, you know me … I downed six cookies and two glasses of wine.

And then I spent some time in a shame spiral.

And THEN … I ate more cookies.

And then finally I started researching, and hit paydirt.

Learning about the BATSHIT INSANE OH MAH GAWD IT WAS GOING TO BE AS BIG AS CHRIST THE REDEEMER IN RIO statue of Joe Magarac designed for the Point, and finding a picture of the clay model of it, led me to stumble upon information regarding a 2,500-seat amphitheater that was once at the tip of the Point. And that led me to learn about what Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to put at the Point. And that led me to learn who Stanley Roush was and what HE wanted to put at the Point.

All told, I spent about 12 hours in research and cookies and wine.

Why are cookies so delicious?

Did I just waste ten more seconds of your time talking about cookies? You betcha.


I can’t stop laughing at that and I’m not even drunk. The 80s were awful. Really really awful.

Where were we? Right, the confluence! (DRINK!)

So I’m reading and researching and hunting and finally birthed this post over at Pittsburgh Magazine. In that post, you’ll notice I acquired rights to an image of the amphitheater (which was SO HARD TO FIND. The damn thing was there for like a year and no one has any pictures of it. Go check all your gram’s pictures from 1959 and see if you can find any please.)

While I was zooming around the image provided to me by the Brady Stewart Archive, I noticed this standing at the Point.

What is it?! Where is it?! Why is it?! What does it do?! What is it called?! WHAT IS IT DAMN IT?!?!

Anyway, go read that post and see all the fantastic pictures of crazy shit they used to want to put at the Point.

It’s been nice knowing you. I’ll be useless until I get to the bottom of this.

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