Sunday, December 02, 2001

Pitt to Add White Trash Nationality Room

The University of Pittsburgh is the only educational institution in the country that pays homage to the different cultural groups which make up the diverse Pittsburgh community. The 26 nationality rooms housed in the Cathedral of Learning recognize Indian, African, Irish, Polish, German, Serbian, and many other heritages. This spring, Pitt will begin construction on a new nationality room which honors another unique American heritage, officially titled the University of Pittsburgh White Trash Nationality Room.

The room is the result of the efforts of approximately 24 students who make up the West Virginia Students Association (WVSA). The group has been lobbying the university and the SGB for nationality rights for over six years, and now their hard work and foresight will finally see the light of day.

“This is a great day for the WVSA and all Pitt students,” WVSA spokesperson Billy Ray Tolbert announced yesterday. “For years you Yankees have been laughing at us with your sister-fornicating, cow-screwing, John Deere driving, flannel shirt wearing jokes. Now the Pitt community has finally accepted us as one of their own.”

While white trash students are giving high praise to the proposal, administrators are simultaneously rejoicing the announcement. Pitt professor Adam Tumult explains the new project as epitomizing the philosophy of the origin of the nationality room concept. “For so long, West Virginians have been unfairly prejudged and discriminated against,” Tumult commented. “People treat the white trash of this country as uneducated, unclean, and uncouth. For years I have been ashamed of my own white trash family living in Sandusky, Ohio. Now I proudly claim this culture and lifestyle as my own. While many will cling to their preconceived notions of white trash inferiority, the new classroom will help to change these stereotypes and will welcome future white trash students into Pitt with open arms and discarded cans of beer.”

The new White Trash Nationality Room design will come from the nationally renowned architectual firm of Jones, Lubello, and Smith of Buckhannon, West Virginia—the same trio responsible for the clearance rack design of the Fairmont, West Virginia DEB, the dining room of the Henderson, Kentucky Shoneys, and the award winning shelf design system at Dollar General in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Plans for the nationality room call for old pick-up seats to be used as student chairs, an all dirt floor, a broken down Camaro on cinder blocks, and posters of NASCAR greats Davy Allison, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon.

“We really were trying to foster the neo-classical white trash feel,” architect Tommy Bob Jones declared. “We spent hours researching Appalachian history and culture and visited thousands of homes in the West Virginia area. While we want the rooms to highlight the culture and history of the region, we also want to remain true to the modern day neuvo West Virginian design style.”

Busch beer has already become the first official sponsor of the nationality room, and has struck a deal with the university to suspend Pitt's prohibition of alcohol on university grounds. Students with valid IDs will be allowed to consume alcohol in this room only if it is Busch beer in the 16 oz “pounder” format.

The White Trash Nationality room is set to open in April of 2002 with a Chancellor's Busch Beer and Cheeto reception.

UPMC to Take Over ER;
- Wylie Out, Fu In

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) announced yesterday that it had acquired the rights to the NBC Thursday night smash hit ER, marking the first time an organization has taken over a television drama. “With this purchase, UPMC has taken giant leaps toward expanding its functions and diversifying itself as an institution,” said UPMC spokesperson Arthur Person. “The collective staff and board of UPMC has long been a fan of the televised medical drama genre and now we are proud to be a part of the field. We, however, are not satisfied to be just another player in the domain. UPMC is looking to be at the forefront of the medical drama by developing riveting and heart-wrenching plots.”

Person spoke further about the logistics of supporting a fully functioning world class hospital, and maintaining the high ratings of the television drama. “We believe the two fields to be mutually beneficial. Television has had a long tradition of dramatizing what is commonplace. Thus, we can take our everyday life here at UPMC and tweak it to make it entertaining for millions of Americans. We expect the show's writers and producers to take story ideas and plot lines from real-life events. At the same time, our doctors, nurses, and administrators can be influenced by the show to develop love triangles, personality conflicts, and power struggles in their own personal lives. We believe this will be a win-win proposition.”

While the hospital administration is content with the transition, there is the likely possibility of personnel changes which usually follow a corporate acquisition.

“Many ER actors are worried about being replaced by real doctors,” Entertainment insider Joan Rivers explained. “I have already heard rumors floating around that current star Noah Wylie is going to be replaced by the sports-medicine expert Freddie Fu. This has sent shockwaves to the other cast members who are wondering if they could be next.”

Likewise, many hospital employees fear for their own stability in light of the recent transition.

“Everyone knows those Hollywood big shots only hire highly attractive actors and actresses, so it's only natural to assume that the less attractive hospital staff without quirky personalities will be the next to go,” worried a hospital employee who wished to remain anonymous. “It'll only be a matter of time before they start hiring former Miss America pageant contestants and former playmate bunnies to work in hospital staffing positions. ‘Choose a hospital as if your life depended on it,’ it'll be more like ‘choose a hospital as if the size of their tits depended on it.’”

Another hospital employee, who also wished to remain anonymous, was equally as concerned. “With the recent trend towards reality-based television who knows what kind of spin-offs and projects will develop using UPMC as a base. It'll be nearly impossible to wheel patients around with all those cameras and equipment in the hallways. I'm thinking about transferring to Mercy.”

Regardless of any opposition, UPMC will officially take over ER on January 2, 2002. No other details were given about other television prospects for the hospital.

Old German Inducted Into Mellinger's Wall of Beer

In a simple, barely noticed ceremony last Thursday afternoon, Pasquale “Patsy” Bellisario, owner of Mellinger's Beer Distributor, quietly inducted Old German Beer into the now famous Mellinger's Wall of Beer.

The Wall of Beer features full bottles of various imports, Belgian beers, and micro brews and spans the length of the establishment. “We're very proud of the Wall of Beer. It really showcases all of the great choices we offer our customers. Adding the world’s finest beer was the least we could do to honor such an outstanding brew,” said Bellisario, referencing the Old German motto “the world knows no finer.”

Pittsburgh historian John Morgan explained that Old German Beer, now brewed by Pittsburgh Brewing Company, was first brewed by the Old German Brewing Company of Cumberland, MD. After World War II, the company became the Queen City Brewing Company, but ended up selling the rights to Old German Beer. Pittsburgh Brewing Company acquired it in the 1970's and brought back one of the most distinguished beers of the early part of the century. “Many domestic beer connoisseurs and poor college students attest to its superb taste and affordability,” said Morgan, “Thank God I can get it in Oakland now; I'm tired of driving out to McKees Rocks for a case.”

Added Bellisario, “Well, I think it's alright, shitty beer-wise that is, but it ain't exactly the taste that my usual micro-brew fans will like. It's more there for the [over 21] kids.”

When asked if he thinks that Old German, new to the Oakland market, would sell as well as his $11 Pabst Blue Ribbon College Special, Bellaiario popped a can of Miller High Life and said, “Yeah. It's really cheap. The kids will love this one.”

Mellinger's Beer Distributor sells Old German for $7.99 for a case of cans, $11.99 for 16 ounce returnable glass bottles.

Pitt Student Still Hasn't Mastered Local 412 Dialing

James Filate, 24, has reportedly not been able to master local calling since Verizon made it necessary to dial the 412 area code before all local calls. Reports coming out of his 319 South Bouquet Street home cite frustration, foul language, and physical apartmental abuse since Verizon made the necessary change last July.

“It's been hard to watch,” roommate Michael Levers reported. “You want to dial for him, but that’s just not an option. Every man has to learn to dial for himself. Unfortunately for Jim, it's just taken a little bit longer than your average man.”

Filate explains his difficulty stems from his restricted use of the phone.

“Dude, who do I ever call?” Filate questioned his roommate. “You're on with your god-damn girlfriend all the time and I'm always studying. I don't even have time to use the phone. So it's not like I get the practice everyone else does. Leave me alone.”

Verizon customer service operators report Filate's case to be “an extreme rarity,” especially three months after the change was made.

“I haven't heard any complaints about the new area code since July,” Verizon customer service operator Anita Barkowitz reported. “And everyone I've talked to about [the new area code] change has gotten it down. This is the first documented case of frustration our office has seen since I took this job in September. I guess we could send a service technician to Filate's house if he requested one. Also, in addition to my answer to your query, my job today has been to give you outstanding customer service. Have I done that for you today, sir?”

Conservative roommate estimates place Filate's mastery of the 412 area code dialing to occur somewhere in April or May. However, skeptics argue Filate will "never f#cking get a clue."

We are pleased to report that Verizon did meet S.O.F.L. customer service expectations.

PiKA to Offer EZ-Passed Out Service

University of Pittsburgh fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha (PiKA) is attempting to follow national trends by instituting a new way to handle its passed-out party guests. The fraternity is currently in the midst of negotiations to install EZ-Passed-Out service, which would allow heavily intoxicated party goers to bypass the traditional long lines for available bed space in fraternity housing.

“This is great,” said Pitt freshman and PiKA pledge Joey Cruckle. “I get so bombed up at the house and my only option is to pass out on the floor. Besides being uncomfortable, I get fucked with all the time. The brothers take it upon themselves to put shaving cream all over my body and write things like ‘cock snorter’ on my face. EZ-Passed-Out will allow me the option to get around that hassle. I can't wait.”

The EZ-Passed-Out service is the brainchild of the National Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), which is always looking for ways to strengthen fraternities' public image. It was developed in response to several hazing incidents in the Northeast which put several pledges in the hospital. The EZ-Passed-out option has been effective in reducing harmful incidents by 38%. Universities across the country have adopted the program to combat the darkened image of fraternal organizations.

“We here [at the University of Pittsburgh] applaud the efforts of the IFC to ensure the safety of fraternity members,” Pitt spokesman Robert Hill reported. “Traditionally, fraternities have had a less than positive image. With this service, [fraternities] are moving towards a more responsible and workable course of action, one which will be better tolerated here at the University of Pittsburgh.”

The EZ-Passed-Out program calls for the university fraternities to designate ten beds in the house as "safe zones," which will be inaccessible to the other party goers. EZ-Passed-Out participants must purchase an ID card from the IFC for a nominal lifetime fee of $20. Once activated, the card will allow the EZ-Passed-Out participants to swipe their IDs to enter the safe zone if they are in danger of passing out. Safe zones will then be staffed by two work-study nursing students and will be equipped with vomit buckets, loaves of bread, and showers that only dispense cold water. They will also contain an emergency call button which will alert the work-study nurses of any problems. EZ-Passed-Out will be installed in the PiKA house at the end of January and will be in use by March 1, 2002. The University of Pittsburgh is hoping other fraternities will follow suit.

PCNC Unveils New "Hip" Spring Lineup:
Frat Brother to Headline

Abandoning its traditional news-only format, Pittsburgh Cable News Channel, PCNC, released its new spring lineup today. PCNC Spokesman William Nagle explained the unprecedented move to the six astonished reporters in attendance. “While keeping Pittsburghers informed of local news and current events is still our number one goal, now we'll be able to reach a demographic we never dreamed possible.”

The headliner of the lineup is Frat Brother, a spin on CBS's Big Brother and Big Brother 2, which features several strangers locked in a house together and being “real.” Said Nagle, “We've taken reality-based television up a notch,” while pointing to the “beer pong” table and empty beer can used to symbolize the new show. “We’re placing ten random non-fraternity-affiliated South Oakland residents into one of Pitt's fraternity houses for six weeks. They’ll have nothing but Rice-a-Roni, canned corn, old porn mags, shitty beer, and assorted ‘sorostitutes’ to keep them entertained. We're letting them have a beer pong table, but two of the six balls we've given them have already been crushed at a local party.” Frat Brother is slated for Wednesday nights at 8pm.

While the ten Oaklanders chosen are being kept under tight wraps, sources close to PCNC say that this show could easily topple Survivor's ratings, that is, if all of the estimated 2,581 non-fraternity-affiliated residents of South Oakland watch each episode.

Other “big ratings” shows in the new line-up include: PCNC/WQED produced Rick Sebak's Gone Already, with the local documentarian Sebak taking the viewer to different places around Pittsburgh that aren't really there anymore; Recipes from tha Hill, an afrocentric look at cooking in Pittsburgh; and South Oakland Bar Tour, which is aimed at the 17-20 year old demographic. “South Oakland Bar Tour is our way of preparing the under-twenty-one crowd for Oakland's chic bar scene. Now younger roommates can’t complain that they've missed anything,” says Nagle. The show is slated to air from 9 pm to 2 am Monday through Saturday, and will feature a different South Oakland bar each week.

South Oakland resident and University of Pittsburgh Junior Jessica Brennan says of South Oakland Bar Tour, “now I can see if my boyfriend really was with [Oakland resident Terri] Foote at the Second Floor last Thursday!” Other residents have hailed the new PCNC line-up as well. One girl, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Oh my God, this is the best line-up ever!”

When asked about Frat Brother, local micro-beer retailer Pasquale Bellasario, owner of Mellinger Beer Distributor Inc, said that, thanks to the show, his business should triple. “[PCNC] buys the Jacobs Ice from me, not up'ere at UBC. Plus, I gave 'em kids T-shirts and posters, plus some old Mellinger's soft-ball T's.”

September 11 - My own Personal Nightmare

By Mary Arnold,
Financial Consultant

You know for years to come, people will be asking where you were on September 11, 2001. It will be the topic of cocktail parties, first dates, and all kinds of ice breaker activities. Everyone will have a story. Some will recount how they sat glued to their television and watched events unfold, while others will reminisce about their own first hand traumatic experience.

Unlike many across the nation I did not have the luxury of being at home on that fateful day. I was not safe and secure at home watching my television. I was at work in the USX Tower, the first building to be evacuated in the city of Pittsburgh. It was terrifying at first because we didn't know what was happening, but little did I know how eerily distressing this experience would be.

Once I got in my car, I started to head to the parkway to get to my Forest Hills home. I turned on KDKA radio to get updates on unfolding events, when I heard that fateful announcement which would forever change my life: the Squirrel Hill Tunnels were closed. I would have to go through Wilkinsburg to get home.

And that's when my ride of terror began.

I turned off Fifth Avenue onto Penn Avenue and my hands started to tremble. I would have to pass that McDonald's where Ronald Taylor killed three people nearly two years ago.

But Mary has a resolve of steel. I took a deep breath, shut my eyes, and before I knew it, I made it! I was under the railroad bridge and past the McDonald's. Whew!

But my nightmare wasn't quite over yet. Wouldn't you know it, but at the next light I ran into some terrible misfortune...a red light! I started to panic but then I remembered my grandmother's advice, "lock the doors if you ever ride through a bad neighborhood." So I did. And just in time too. Three men had assembled on the corner by a PNC bank and were staring directly in my car. This might have been my last moment on Earth.

Luckily, someone, or something was on my side as the light turned green, I made it!

Or so I thought.

Sure enough, three blocks later down the street in front of the Rally's, wouldn't you know it, my second red light.

Of all the luck.

So I got out my rosary beads and said a couple "Hail Marys." Would this be the last time I saw blue sky from below? I wondered and decided to put it in God's hands, and He must have been listening because sure enough, the light miraculously turned green.

I was really through this time. Thank God. Smooth sailing, 1/2 mile later I was on the Parkway, and then before I knew it, I was home. But not without my battle scars.

September 11th is definitely a day I will not forget anytime soon.

Rick Sebak Completes New
F'ed Up In Oakland Documentary

Noted local WQED filmmaker Rick Sebak has just completed his newest documentary, F'ed Up In Oakland, a virtual bar tour of Oakland's most famous, and not so famous, bars and pubs. Sebak has gained fame both locally and nationally for his comical documentaries on Pittsburgh's history and communities such as South Side, Stuff That's Gone, Kennywood Memories, and most recently, Something About Oakland. "Well, after I released Something About Oakland last year, I got a mixed response," Sebak explained. "While a lot of the area really enjoyed the film, there was quite a bit of criticism from the Oakland community itself. I couldn't understand why. So, one day after doing a pledge-break at the [WQED] studio, I was sitting at Uncle Jimmy's when it hit me. This is why there's 'something about Oakland.'"

"Yeah, I'm all excited for this show last year," said Pitt Senior Mitch Hassenbach, "then it comes on and it's all little shops and book stores and shit." Pitt grad and South Oakland resident Chris Irvine had similar thoughts. "Schenley Park? Screw that! Where's Denny's? Where's The Attic? Hell, even Peter's or, god help me, Mitchell's or something. Not a one. Has [Sebak] ever even been in Oakland? He didn't get it at all."

Featured in the documentary are "looks back" at Oakland bars from the past, such as CJ Barney's, the Beehive/Pollinator, and the famous story of the night Zelda's got closed down. “Hopefully, with the release of F'ed Up In Oakland, I can not only make the Oakland residents happy, but myself as well," said Sebak in a recent interview. “It's not a sequel, but rather a preservation of the real heart and soul of Oakland.”

The film was shot during the span of one Friday, late October, and features Sebak in his own “bar crawl,” stopping in and drinking at as many local bars as he could. Included was an impromptu stop at Mellinger's Beer Distributor on Semple Street. “Yeah, I'd say he showed up at around 9 [pm] or so,” said owner Patsy Bellisario. “We were pretty busy at the time. I don't even know what he was doing in here. I think he tried to buy a six pack of Schlitz Malt talls or something, but we told him we could only sell by the case. He did try to pick up two girls though, while he was in line.”

“Oh my God!” remembered sophomore Samantha Walsh, “I was in there with my younger sister while my boyfriend was buying us some Zima, when this guy comes up to us and says, 'hey girls, have you ever seen The Bridge to Nowhere?” We were kind of creeped out, especially my sister, who's still in high school, but I figured, hey, he was just some drunk old guy. But then I saw the camera and thought maybe I would be on TV.” Bellisario added, “Yeah, it should definitely make for some interesting television, I'll tell you that much.”

Such adventures follow Sebak throughout the program, eventually ending with footage of him passed out in an alley off of Ward Street after apparently being kicked out of a party for starting a fight.

Catzelman Graduates!

John and Jerri Catzleman are proud to announce the graduation of their son, Wayne, from the Pittsburgh Diesel Institute.

Through the school's home study course, Wayne earned his Professional Truck Driver's Commercial License in just two weeks.

“The Pittsburgh Diesel Institute was great. I'd wake up around noon, crack open a brewski, then flip through my Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Guide Book while watching lesbians make-out on ‘Jerry Springer,’” he said. “It was just like college!”

Wayne dropped out of the University of Pittsburgh, just three credits shy of a Philosophy degree, to pursue his weeklong dream of driving the big rigs.

“As a former gas station attendant and McDonald's Drive-Thru cashier, I figured that I already had more than enough experience with motor vehicles and shit,” he said.

Wayne tried other correspondence schools before deciding on PDI, but found them to be unfulfilling. A brief enrollment in the Sally Struthers School of Veterinary Medicine led to the inadvertent death of Queenie, the family Bichon Frise.

“How was I supposed to know that you weren't supposed to anesthetize a dog with a fifth of Jack Daniel's?" Wayne asked tearfully.

Despite his son's past academic shortcomings, John Catzleman is bursting with faith and pride. "If you add up all the tuition bills, bail bonds and rehab costs, I figure that I've spent over $60,000 to get that lazy son of a bitch off my goddamn couch.”

The family recently celebrated Wayne's big achievement by throwing a party at their McKee's Rocks home. Among the many graduation gifts were a pair of fuzzy dice, Yosemite Sam mud flaps, a copy of John Denver's Greatest Hits, three flannel shirts, a “Keep on Truckin” ball cap, some back issues of Hustler, and an economy-sized bottle of Astroglide Personal Lubricant.

“I can't wait to get out on that open road and feel the wind whip through my mullet,” Wayne mused. “And from what I hear, there's a lot of hot and horny hitchhiker babes at those interstate truck stops!”

Although the hours are long and lonely, Wayne is committed to making the most of his PDI education.

“Man, if they give me a Budweiser truck I'd be so stoked," he exclaimed. “I'd park that sucker outside my buddy's house on Atwood Street and throw the biggest fuckin' kegger ever!”

Pitt Students Initiate "Minutes for Ethiopia" Fund Drive

The Global Alliance Student Association (GASA) has recently instituted a fund drive which will support the country of Ethiopia with cellular phone minutes. The plan calls for Pitt students to give up any extra minutes they have at the end of the month towards a large collection of excess minutes. This excess pile of minutes will then be distributed by three local cellular phone companies to Ethiopians starving for minutes.

“I've always felt connected to the Ethiopian people ever since I saw a 60 Minutes piece about them last March,” GASA spokesperson Mary Connors explained. “What I saw in that excerpt really haunted me—in that five minute segment, I only saw one person using a cellular telephone. Then the next day on campus, I probably saw well over 2,000 people using them. It really got me thinking. We have so much here, in this country, and we don't even understand the telecommunications struggle which Third World nations undergo. I figured there must be a way to help these struggling nations. And from that moment on it, was like a light bulb went off in my head — most cell phone users are locked into pre-paid plans and don't use all of their minutes at the end of the month. What if we took these extra minutes and gave them to needy Ethiopians? It just seemed to make sense.”

Connors then approached local representatives from telecommunications giants Cricket, Verizon, and Sprint and lobbied for support.

“It was one of the greatest ideas I've ever heard,” exclaimed Cricket regional manager John Stummers. “We as an organization don't normally think outside our regional box, but once Mary came to us, it really forced us to examine our global responsibility and we realized we were negligent. Besides, it makes good business sense for the future if we get our name established and branded in new markets.”

GASA expects to collect over 200,000 minutes to distribute to Ethiopians in time for the New Year. It is asking all Pitt students to donate by calling their local cell phone company and mentioning the “donation for Ethiopia drive.” Users can automatically donate a set amount of minutes each month, and Verizon users will even be matched by the company.

Straka Out Four to Six Months with Broken English

Pittsburgh Penguin center Martin Straka was diagnosed by team linguistic Mitchell T. Shanders with an extreme case of broken English. The diagnosis calls for the superstar to be out three to four months as tutors work with the Penguins star on his minimal pairs, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

“I noticed Martin struggling at last Tuesday's press conference,” Shanders reported. “He was using incorrect verb tenses, the first person possessive pronoun in place of the first person singular, and he totally screwed up the irregular verb ‘go/went.’ I knew I had to step in and remedy the problem. He's been in this country for almost ten years now and these mistakes should not be occurring. We need to fix this problem now before it gets worse.”

The Penguin center was referred to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for intensive English as a Second Language coaching and development. Current tutor Steven Trummell speculates that Straka could possibly be out longer than the time reported by the team linguist.

“His case is pretty severe,” Trummell reported. "I could see him out for as long as six to eight months, and if he has learning disabilities, possibly even a year. Perhaps if he doubles up on lessons and really forces himself to go out and immerse himself in the language, he could make it in three to four months, but when you're working with language and speech, Martin has to understand there is no such thing as a quick fix.”

Straka remains optimistic that he can be back after the all-star break in February.

“My very much want to help team," Straka reported. "My do good learning to get more better at speaking the English an way the Americans do. My want very much to be back and play with players on the team of Penguins. My work very hard with tutors to get better and be back by break for All-Star game. If not then, my definitely went back by time the season of the playoffs comes to being.”

Pittsburgh Steelers Defender Aquires "Big Nasty VD"

Alma Illery Medical Center of Pittsburgh is reporting that a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team has acquired “a big nasty V.D.” The clinic is not releasing the identity of the football star due to confidentiality policies, saying only that he is a member of the defense. The clinic did report that the venereal disease was chlamydia, which is characterized by a weird clear discharge coming from the urethra, and was easily treated with a combination of antibiotics and abstinence. The Steelers defender allowed the clinic to report the incident in order to increase awareness.

“I thought I was immune from disease by only fornicating with high class broads,” admitted the Steeler in an anonymous statement delivered to the clinic. “This incident has really opened my eyes to the world of venereal diseases. If a patron of Morton's Steak House can have a V.D., it's safe to assume almost anyone can. I just want people to be aware. Whether you're getting it in a crack house or a carriage house, please, use a condom.”

The Medical Center reports that the Steeler is not the first celebrity to come to the clinic for treatment.

“Because of their high public profile and social standings and our own confidentiality policy, a lot of well-known patients seek out our assistance for treatment,” clinic head Jessica Montgomery reported. “You'd be very surprised who has obtained venereal diseases before. Musicians, politicians, heads of corporations, we've even had some staff of [Souf Oaklin fo' Life!!!] who've come to us for treatment. Most of the time, the celebrities refuse to even allow us to issue a statement. However, we would like to thank the anonymous starting left middle linebacker from the Steelers who allowed us to issue a press release and drum up awareness of venereal diseases.”