Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Paul Zeise, KDKA Part Ways. Don Cannon M.I.A...

A wonderful morning for Pittsburgh mediaphiles!

Paul Zeise, the PG Pitt football beat reporter will no longer be seen on KDKA's Sports Showdown after suggesting that Mike Vick would have received a more lenient punishment by the NFL commissioner if instead of running a dog-fighting ring he had committed a rape.

I have yet to determine whether being thrown off the KD Sports Showdown is much of a punishment. Cheer up, Paul. Now you don't have to listen to Paul Alexander.

And Don Cannon has disappeared from the weekend anchor desk at KDKA. After appearing dishevelled and inelegant during the Saturday 6 PM broadcast, Don Cannon has been missing in action. The station says Don was feeling ill, and there is no word on his return. Naturally, this story allows us to bring up Don's troubles with the drinkey-poo. In February 1993, he was arrested for drunk driving. In December 1994, he appeared drunk on-air.

A DUI? Showing up to work drunk? Don Cannon is a Pittsburgh institution. The DN wishes you well!

And if you are like me - a drunk, angry, unemployed Pirates fanatic who enjoys listening to the Rocco DeMaro's post-game show more than the actual broadcast - please find your way to the old ballyard on Thursday. The Pirates will donate $5 from each $20 ticket sold to a recovery fund for Rocco. More than three weeks ago, DeMaro suffered a very severe head injury when was hit in the temple by an errant throw during a softball game. He's currently in speech therapy and we wish he a speedy recovery. See you Thursday, other fan!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Whadaya say, America? One more chance?

I really wish we could give the Bush Administration one more chance to get a war right. Agreed?

Detroit Dead at 306.

Detroit Michigan, known for her once stunning beauty, productivity and wealth, was found dead in her apartment at 3 AM this morning. Ms Michigan's body was found riddled with bullets in an apparent gang conflict involving drugs, Hummer H2's, and an inefficient homogeneous economic structure plagued by class and racial discord. Police took several white liberal social-engineers and Toyota executives in for questioning last night, but insiders said Ms Michigan had it coming. Her flirtations with the former, and ignorance of the latter, could yield little else.

Viewings are postponed pending autopsy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Worst. Review. Ever.

As a service to our reader(s), the DN will, from time to time, offer a view from the aisle seat as only we can – semi-sober, badly sourced, and proudly biased. First up: Homer’s odyssey in the just-released “The Simpsons Movie.” If you haven’t been following the Simpson family, now 18 seasons on, and you can’t understand what all the fuss is about then, well, you’re in luck. Because this movie’s crap.

Make that “craptastic.” There really is nothing new for fans of Springfield’s most infamous family here. The movie takes shots at two very big, very worthy targets in religion and environmentalism, but the whole 87-minute film ends up coming off little better than three average Mike Scully-conceived episodes. (Scully, according to legions of fanboys, is the gremlin responsible for sabotaging the cartoon’s complex social satire in favor of cheap punch lines and ridiculous scenarios, such as one unmemorable episode in which Homer is fondled by a panda.)

Me, I like absurdist laughs as much as the next loser, but “The Simpsons Movie” lacked even that. Creative sight gags notwithstanding, this was in many ways only an average feature-length cartoon. Understandably, not every character gets a piece of the spotlight, but some of the editing decisions left me scratching my bald head (no Snake?!). The jokes were many; the truly theater-shaking belly laughs very, very few. I had high hopes for “The Simpsons Movie” – unreasonably high as it turns out – but even by a modest fan’s expectations the movie fails to deliver. “The Simpsons,” the television show, not the movie, will be with us, I hope, for years to come. As an introduction to Matt Groening’s wonderful cultural zeitgeist I’d recommend this film with few reservations. But for longtime fans who have waited years for a big-screen version, “The Simpsons Movie” tries but can only fail. The lesson for future box-office iterations of this venerable cartoon franchise? “Never try.”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reasons Why the DN Won't Be Endorsing Fred Thompson

A "Great American" accosted Fred Thompson Wednesday morning at a Houston Airport. Seems ole' Freddy Boy ain't no true conservative cause he's a member of the Jew-lovin' Council of Foreign Relations. Freddy, dohn-cha-no, wants to bring on the New World Order.

When confronted by her shrill complaint that the Council supported the North American Union, Fred said "Don't sass me, lady." Just kidding. His exact words were: “Don’t fuss at me. You asked me a question. Let me answer it.”

Here are two reasons why we won't be endorsing Uncle Fred's "Aww Shucks" candidacy. Please stay tuned for future installments.

From Gov't Issue:
[You may have already read] the creepy reminiscences of a former flame (and current failed country music singer) and lame, Page Six-style gushing over Thompson's way with the ladies. Money quote:

"Morgan remembers encouraging Thompson to run for president when they were together. 'I think he has a great chance of capturing the women's vote. He's majestic. He's a soft, safe place to be and that could be Fred's ticket. Women love a soft place to lay and a strong pair of hands to hold us.' "

What the fuck are you talking about, lady?! Jesus, if I have to endure eight more goddamn years of "Hi, y'all!" and "We was fixin' to have supper 'round now" I am going to weep blood. America, you have a pair of Italian and Jewish nerd-workaholics vying for your attention. Fred Thompson is George Allen with a SAG card. Do the right thing.

New York Magazine profiled Unkie Fred and his "southern fried charm." Here's your money anecdote:

After the Christian rock band Avalon performed, Thompson was introduced. He read a patriotic poem about the war, took his bows, then sat down in the audience and watched with rapt excitement as the comedian Larry the Cable Guy glided through a set. "My doctor told me I had to give up eggs," said Larry, tugging at his trucker cap. "I said, 'Why, because of my cholesterol?' He said, 'No, your farts are killing us.'"

The arena echoed with laughter. Over in his seat, Thompson slapped his thigh and gave an “It’s funny ’cause it’s true” full-body shake. He seemed to be having the time of his life. It is hard to imagine Rudy or Romney, Hillary or Barack, sitting through the set, much less soaking it all in.

Open Up Your Heart And Let This Fool Rush In

Mayoral hopeful Mark DeSantis met with Trib editors yesterday and casted doubt upon Luke Ravenstahl's claim of a $40 million budget surplus. According to DeSantis, any claim of fiscal stability is hogwash because the city's outstanding obligations are between $2 and $2.6 billion.

Said DeSantis in the Trib story:

"As a private citizen, I cannot get good numbers, and I know how to get good numbers, and I can't get them, so right away there's a problem. Informed speculation: probably bad numbers."
"When you add up the pension funds, workers comp claims, the bonded debt (and the city's share of the authorities' debt), the number comes up to $2.6 billion," he said.

That's about $8,400 per resident - man, woman, child.

It sounds like DeSantis will make the city's fiscal ruin his clarion call. Unfortunately, the only thing Pittsburghers find scarier than math is the Republican Party. He'll need some red meat to raise the ire of the rabble.

DeSantis also tells the Trib he's raised $100,000 (Luke has over $700,000). Expect that number to climb. DeSantis' staff is tight with millionaire Republican (is there any other kind?) Bill Scranton, who still has his eye on the governor's mansion and continues to help GOP candidates across the state.

Will Luke's penchant for peccadilloes and DeSantis' button-up "straight-talk" make this a horse race? Wait for the fall when financial disclosure reports are due.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Code Stink

Cindy Sheehan is back, baby! Dana Milbank of the Wa Po has a sardonic report from Sheehan's Coming Out Party.

I haven't seen a less inspired protest since 1,000 Pirate fans decided to voice their displeasure with ownership.

Friday, July 20, 2007

West Mifflin Update

Tough Luck, Whitey, Duquesne is sending you the wreckage of its teeming shores. But the originally anticipated 200 will probably be more like 130, with the other 70 going to an equally hostile East Allegheny. No better way to stigmatize the arrival of your neighbor's kids.

Woah there, smug Highland Avenue. Those aren't my neighbors.

No, they really aren't, are they.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

That's What I Call A Rainout!

Saw this over at Deadspin.com today. It's a clip of a storm at the new Busch Stadium in 2006. Enjoy!

The New Sheriff's a (Bleep)

White yinzers in West Mifflin are freaking out. Black people from Duquesne are coming, and they're bringing their guns and crack. Before you know it, yinzer Dad, one of 'them' is gonna come wagging his enormous **** up your driveway, and run off with your daughter.

"My daughter is scared to death of the first day of school," said yinzer mom Cheryl Hejnosz in a seemingly unrelated statement. "I moved to the Mon Valley because of its long tradition of segregation. I mean, my kid goes to AP English and onto college, 'their' kids go to 8 periods of study hall and then onto jail." Nothing wrong with that, right?

So how to screen the unwashed masses soon to matriculate with your lilly white babies... well of course, you get metal detectors so they can't bring their savage gun-totin ways into your school. Plans are also afoot for separate bathrooms and water fountains.

Nota Bene, less than 200 kids from Duquesne will matriculate at West Mifflin High, not 2 miles from their beleaguered home at Duquesne High. This into a school of over 2,000, flush with cash and opportunity. Thanks for reminding us how ridiculously racist you jackasses are.

Ravenstahl Detail: Code Bullshit

In the very same week our august city council deadlocked over legislation on tagging cats, it comes out that the Mayor's office has a 24-7 security detail that costs over $200k per year. If it seems a bit uneconomical to pay 9 flunkies $80k per year to wax poetic about Garfield and Heathcliffe's civil rights, consider a full-time security detail for the man who wields the veto pen!

Murphy eschewed the suited toughs, safeguarded himself with his finely tuned Napoleonic Complex. Anyhow, everyone figured Tom Cox was jonesin for the bullet more than Murphy. Ravenstahl, take a note. Your a ribbon-cutting patsy with no gravitas, and little more to your name than the promotion of a few wife-bruising cops and a morally repugnant round of golf. Drop the detail.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Motznik, the Cat's Meow

When NPR announced that Jim Motznik's bill finally reached the floor of city council, I turned to my loving girlfriend and said, "This is why we don't need a full-time city council."

Why go after the big fish, like the fact the city is rotting from the core outwards, has a structural deficit problem, and a golf-addicted mayor who's best round was played in the pocket of UPMC. Throw in that mix the rampant spread of slumlords, the deterioriating infrastructure and the fact that the city employs one of every 6 city residents?

Thanks for weighing on this incredibly important legislation, Post Gazette. If we're going to editorialize over such mundane shit, perhaps we don't need a full-time editorial board either.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

George Stephanopoulos disses Ron Paul

I've been meaning to post this video clip from last week's appearance of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

It's like Stephen Colbert took over the interview.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Furloughed State Employees Head to the Track

25k 'non-essential' employees happily gave up a paycheck they considered 'non-essential' to their livelihood today. Unable to spend their lazy summer day lounging by the lake at one of the state's beautiful parks, they're doing what any self-respecting out-of-work Joe would do. Hittin the liquor store and heading to the betting parlor. Such are the state's priorities, booze, lotto and slots are still open for business.

So is it worth it? Capitolman and Highland Ave. are at loggerheads over this question. He says transit needs to wait for a special legislative session. I say I'm tired of the annual 'Port Authority Closure Emminent' routine, and want consistent funding for our busses. Face it, Sam Smith R-Punxawhathefuck PA doesnt get much heat down at the VFW during the annual transit cut dance. Nor does newly minted President Pro Temp W. Gapteeth McSheepbanger from Jefferson County... I didn't know there was a Jefferson County. So us city slickers are biting back- can't go bass fishin today Skeeter, 'cause Silver Tounge Sammy is playin his wheelen-dealin politickin games again.

As for the energy efficiency packages, I'm somewhat on the fence. Considering how many rambling Victorian houses in Pennsylvania's cities and older towns are bleeding heat in the winter, a plan for reducing energy burden could pay for itself in cost savings. Its an age-old question in construction- upfront cost vs. long-term savings- recast as a budgetary one. However, the Republicans claim that Rendell's plan isn't planned out is fair. Hate to say it Ed, but considering how ridiculous some green initiatives are, I need a little more evidence that my bond issue isn't going to be building solar energy fields in cloudy Pittsburgh.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Pens Blog

Pittsburgh hockey afficinado and international businessman John Sedunov has launched a new web site dedicated to the Penguins. For fresh news and commentary on the Pens hot-stove summer, check out his site. If you're not following Pittsburgh's best-run franchise, then you're missing out.

Make sense?


Mayor Luke Starting to Crack

Tony Norman must be eaves-dropping on the conversations of Highland Avenue and me. Yesterday, Highland and I discussed the city's unhealthy obsession with Hizzonor's golf game. Both of us had listened to Marty Griffin's interview with Mayor Wunderkind (Luke Ravenstahl). I must say its always a pleasure to hear a local politician get defensive [listen to the interview here]. The Mayor skipped a carnival council meeting regarding the police promotions to go golfing. Hizzonor's defense - that mayors never attend these sessions - holds water. Frankly, I don't care if Hizzonor missed the meeting because he was standing on top of the downtown Hilton knocking a box of Top Flites into the Ohio River with a piece of lumber.

The bigger issue is that his $9,000 round at the Mario Lemieux charity tourney was paid for by city-succubus UPMC. Fuck the ethics violations. Now I don't mean to go on a rant here, but UPMC's grip on the machinations of Pittsburgh appears to be tightening during the reign of the Boy Mayor. It's bad enough that Barbara Mistick, member of the city's planning commission and self-appointed interior decorator says the UPMC's sign upon the Steel Building will "enhance the skyline." Yo, Babs. If architects Harrison & Abramovitz believed a garish neon billboard would have added to the building's brio they would have included it in the original construction. The skyline is not a Christmas tree. No more "twinkles," Babs.

So Babs and the other members say there was no pressure from the Mayor's Office to overturn the original ruling that banned the sign. Fair enough. But what about UPMC's gigantic profits? Their reluctance to contribute to the city's staggering deficit?

Okay, glad I got that off my chest. Back to the interview between Marty and Luke. One of the most unbelievable moments came when Luke said this story was politically motivated. He blamed Trib reporter Jeremy Boren, former mayoral adversary Bill Peduto, current mayoral adversary Mark DeSantis, and President Bush. I'm starting to think that the golden boy might not be up to the task. Right, Tony?

For more coverage of the Bogeygate, visit the Burgh Report.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It's about bobbleheads, not baseball

Had enough, Pittsburgh?

Apparently not.

Only an estimated 1,000 attendees left their seats during the fourth inning at the Saturday night protest. I was one of them.

I participated because I’m a loyalist, contrary to what Bob Nutting and some wackjob fans define loyalty as. [For a solid recap of differing fan opinions on the protest read Dan Majors story in today's PG]

I can’t stop buying tickets or listening to games. I’m a diehard. Being a Pirates fan - like being a fanatic for any team - is not a rational behavior. Telling me to stop being a fan is like telling a Catholic who is upset with the priest-abuse scandal to stop attending church. But seriously folks, baseball is much more important - and rational - than religion.

Even if I stopped attending, listening to, or watching games, I will not impact baseball economics. Baseball's revenue sharing structure is the greatest hinderance to producing a winning franchise. The lower the Pirates local revenues are (ticket sales, TV contracts), the greater their share of national revenues.

A hypothetical for you: Let's say Bob Nutting spends $60 million on team payroll. The club wins an additional ten games but is still a relatively lousy 79-83. More tickets and goodies are sold. The television contract should be more lucrative. The Pirates make more money, right?

Nutting's piece of revenue sharing will decrease because its based on local revenues. Their newfound money must match their operating costs, which have increased by $20 million. It's a risky proposition and one could argue it's better than the profiteering that's going on right now. But it's a business and Nutting can run it as he sees fit.

I can handle a lower payroll, if I knew the organization was headed in the right direction. That's simply not the case. There has been a dearth of minor-league talent since Littlefield took over, a plethora of questionable baseball moves (signing Burnitz, Randa, et al), and a lack of investment in Latin America or the amateur draft (Matt Wieters, anyone?), The Pirates have produced a culture without accountability. I do not want to stand idly by and accept losing. I want to scream in anguish!

And despite my hatred for the Axis of Evil (Tracy, Littlebrain, McNutting) I’ll probably attend two more games this week at $5 a pop (gotta love those scalpers). I go for Pirates baseball, not bobbleheads, beach blankets, and pierogie races. These casual fans have forgotten about the game. And the season-ticket holder has been hoodwinked, too. It's all about the distractions.