Friday, April 25, 2003

South Oakland Residents Compose Regional Brand Statement

Armed with a case of beer, an extra-large order of O-fries and a thesaurus, three South Oaklanders gathered in a small Atwood Street apartment to formulate a regional branding statement.

Twenty-four hours later, they emerged to unveil a proclamation that, they believe, captures the very essence of South Oakland:

Just as the keg from which it pumps its beer, South Oakland has a redeemable value and durability that provides a good, strong buzz, yielding new opportunities to get drunk and screw. The amalgamation of cheap booze, potent weed, and loose morals draws college students and other social degenerates together to a place where ideas are invented and then destroyed by substance abuse.

The ad hoc team formulated the 63-word statement from a list of core attributes that differentiate South Oakland from other communities. Doug Pollack, a Pitt sophomore and organizer of the branding group, believes that South Oakland’s versatility is the key to its mystique.

“This neighborhood is just an orgy of cultures,” Pollack said. “You’ve got your rich, college kids mixed in with the bottom-feeders of society, plus some elderly people thrown in to give it an old school feel. South Oakland is basically just an urban ghetto with suburban appeal.”

Pollack was inspired to take on this daunting task after a group of marketing experts named The Image Gap Committee released a similar statement representing Pittsburgh as a whole.

“We didn't feel that the Pittsburgh brand reflected our South Oakland values,” Pollack said. “So we took their general idea and substituted ‘beer’ and ‘screw’ for words like ‘authenticity’ and ‘succeed.’ We did, however, leave in ‘amalgamation,’ because it sounded cool.”

While the Image Gap was given a $200,000 grant to come up with their brand, Pollack had just over $9 to work with.

“Half of the money was spent on beer,” Pollack said, “but that is just a testament to South Oakland’s greatness. I mean where else can you get a case of beer for under nine bucks?”

Student Health Celebrates One Millionth STD

The University of Pittsburgh’s Student Health Center celebrated a milestone this past week when it treated its one millionth STD case.

“Oh, it’s just fantastic,” cheered long-time nurse Helen Davis. “I’m so glad we finally got here. There was a while in the seventies where I thought we’d hit one million by around 1984, but then came all the ‘safe sex’ media, and we hit a big lull. Slowly though, we started seeing ‘the clap,’ syphilis, etc. start to seep back into our office. And now, here we are.”

The lucky one millionth case was freshman Jeremy Carroll who quietly arrived on Wednesday afternoon, complaining about a “sick” discharge and pain when he urinated.

“One look at it,” said nurse Aisha Watson, “and I knew it. Bam! Chlamydia. I hit our ‘one million’ alarm, and all hell broke loose.”

Balloons and streamers showered down on Carroll in the examination room, and in the waiting room as well. Nurses and office staff came in to celebrate with a quiet, blushing Carroll.

“Please, it’s ok, no big deal, really,” pleaded Carroll, asking to just be quietly treated so he could leave.

For being the lucky winner, Carroll will receive a year’s worth of penicillin and penile swabbing, as well as a month’s supply of cottage cheese. He’ll be featured on a cover story in the Pitt News and have his name and face advertised everywhere as part of the health center’s Does it burn when you pee? Maybe it’s an STD campaign. Most importantly, though, Carroll won himself a semester of paid tuition, room, and board.

“Because of the whole free-tuition thing,” said nurse Davis, “we had to call his parents to inform them of the prize, and how lucky their son was. The thing is, though, they didn’t seem too excited about it.”

According to roommate Walt Anders, Carroll was probably exposed to the winning STD by a fellow Tower B tenant he knew only as “Kim.”

“Even though she looks like she got hit in the face with a bag of nickels,” began Anders, “I totally would have nailed her just to win the tuition. That Carroll… what a lucky prick.”

Paraphernalia Seized in South Oakland Raid

A month after confiscating drug paraphernalia from local head shop, Tela Ropa, federal agents raided several South Oakland-area grocery stores to remove all Honey Bear squeeze bottles and any other product that could potentially be used to smoke marijuana.

The raid was part of “Operation Pipe Dreams,” a nationwide crackdown on drug accessories. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and money saving coupons, authorities went up and down every aisle, filling their carts with hundreds of seemingly inoffensive products.

“Sergeant Peterson! Grab those super absorbent Tampax Tampons!” screamed Mark Winters, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. “Those things are just begging to be packed with wacky weed!”

Agent Winters cleared the shelves of pop bottles, Redi Whip cans, roach clip-like eye brow tweezers, juice boxes and apples before being deployed to the snack food aisle to seize all “munchies.”

“If these hippie freaks do get their grubby little hands on the Mary Jane, we don’t want them to have anything good to eat!” he said.

South Oakland stoners are disappointed, but not deterred, by the raids.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, man,” said resident pothead Chad Long, who then proceeded to hit a bong fashioned out of an empty toilet paper roll, tinfoil and chicken wire.

Parking, Poon Abundant in South Oakland

With students leaving South Oakland in droves, finding a parking spot has never been so easy. And with more parking available, more people are taking advantage of the nightlife in the area.

“We’re excited about hanging out with our old friends,” said Mindy Proleux, a recent Pitt alumnae.

Proleux said that her travel plans don’t usually take her to Oakland as she hates to hunt a half hour to find a suitable parking space.

The rise in parking has brought steady sales to businesses, which usually slump when most of the neighborhood population has left for the summer break. Bar owners are capitalizing by offering creative “Ladies Night” drink specials for women.
The increase in the female population has excited the men in the area.

“More hot chicks for us! Take that, Shadyside!” exclaimed James Knox. “All of a sudden, it’s titties as far as the eye can see. I’m glad I didn’t go home this summer with the crop of poon in South Oakland.”

Knox and his friends have been showing up at Denny’s “Ladies Drink Free Until Someone Pukes” special seeking available women, who tend to show up in packs, reminding his friend Chris Kahn of a “slutty freshman party train.”

“Let’s just put it this way: if a girl had a nice enough ass, I would remove the folding chair from my special privileged spot in front of my house just for a chance to chat.”

Greek Affiliation Questioned In Fellatio Incident

This past Friday night was like any other for senior Lisa Conrad: wine coolers while getting ready, shots and mixed drinks at Peter’s Pub by 10, near-blacked out by 11, and finally, taking some random guy home to perform sloppy oral sex, before waking up to find he’s already gone. Usually, no problem. Saturday morning after breakfast, however, her roommates found out just the predicament she was in.

“Do you guys remember what fraternity that guy I brought home last night was in?” asked a groggy Conrad.

“Was it the guy you were making out with by the door?” asked roommate Sarah Nash, “because I think I heard he was a Sig Chi.”

“No, I didn’t bring that one home,” admitted Conrad. “I brought home the guy who I was sitting next to at the bar. I think he was either a Delta Tau Delta or a Delta Sigma Delta. God, I feel like such a whore.”

“Well, Delta Sigma Delta is the dental fraternity,” added Hall. “Did he say anything about going to be a dentist?”

“No, not that I can remember,” pondered Conrad. “I can’t remember what his teeth looked like. I never kissed him, so I don’t know what his breath smelled like either.”

The mystery did seem to get clearer when Conrad remembered some other details of the tryst.

“You know, at one point, I caught one of his pubes in my mouth, and he made some joke about me flossing with it. Maybe he was in the dental frat? Would a dental guy have minty cum? Does that happen? Well, I’m not sure if his was minty or not, but he did make me gargle it!”

By noon, Conrad was “kinda sure” he was a member of the dental fraternity. “Well, my plaque feels a lot looser this morning!”

Gay Man Outed By Cabana Boy Rum Purchase

Long-time South Oakland resident and closeted homosexual, Raymond Murphy, was outed last week by his liquor store purchase.

During a party thrown at their McKee Place apartment, straight roommate Dan Collins sent Murphy on a booze run.

“We were going through rum pretty fast,” Collins said. “So I told Ray to grab a couple bottles of cheap, bottom-shelf shit. What he came back with confirms the fact that he’s a total flamer.” Forgoing a 2-for-1 special on Jacquin’s, Murphy opted on the more expensive Cabana Boy brand rum. Known for its exotic flavors and provocative packaging, each bottle of Cabana Boy features a different scantily clad stud emblazoned on the front. Murphy couldn’t decide between the Vanilla Spice hard-body in Hawaiian swim trunks or the Coconut hunk in white linen pants – so he bought them both.

“I got Cabana Boy because it tastes FAB-U-LOUS and goes perfectly with our tropical island party decor. It was a purchase made for thematic reasons,” Murphy said.

“That’s bullshit,” Collins retorted. “He’s just gay.”

Point / Weaker Point: Parkway East/West Feud

Parkway West Ain't Shit
Pennsylvania Interstate 376 East

Straight up, only ballers be riding on Parkway East. We got mad bitches riding our concrete, looking tight in their Jettas and Cabs. I know we got some construction to hash out, but you know shit don’t get worse than no single lane. Traffic be steady flowin’.

Ain’t ever got our tunnel closed. We take care of our asphalt so we can take care of business. We don’t have to be relying on no West End Bridge either to bail us out. We handle our shit. You’re gonna hear some nonsense from the Parkway West about us being responsible for Fort Pitt Tunnel closings, but bitches be spreading lies. The real problem be all those Robinson motherfuckers coming into our city. Ain’t our East End boys got no business going through no whack ass Fort Pitt Tunnel anyhow.

We also got the hookups: PA Turnpike, Route 30, Business 22. We get you there in style. Western PA Conservancy be taking care of our shit too, so you know we look good. PennDot knows we own the game in Pittsburgh.

Parkway East is Trifling
Pennsylvania Interstate 279 South

I’m tired of that punk ass Parkway East running its mouth about its hookups and tunnels. Pittsburgh knows the only game in town is Parkway West. Parkway West puts you in the city. We be the motherfucking entrance, dog.

Our ryders don’t need to slow down ’cause their scared to go through no tunnel. Our crew be steady rolling on by. We ain’t afraid. We got soldiers driving on our block.

They be talking about their trifling hookups, they shit is ignorant compared to us. We in with route 60, the airport, 50, and 79. We got our team, and two seven nine is the captain.

Oh my god, I don’t even want to talk about it no more. 376 better call us collect next time they dial, cause bitches ain’t even in the same area code as us.

PCNC to Air Joe South Oaklander

Following in the footsteps of Fox Television’s mega hit Joe Millionaire, the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel is hoping to capture a few ratings points by putting a local spin on a hip reality series. PCNC’s Joe South Oaklander will see Edward Lewis, 22, of North Oakland, disguise himself as a South Oakland resident to capture the hearts of unsuspecting South Oakland females.

“It’s really going to be great,” said PCNC spokesperson William Nagle. “We have 20 very beautiful young women who think their potential future mate has a prestigious Atwood Street address. I don’t want to give too much away, but when the final girl finds out Lewis resides on Melwood, ooooh, I can’t even begin to tell you what happens, you’ll just have to tune in and see for yourself every Tuesday at 8 on PCNC.”

Lewis tries to reinforce the lie by patronizing South Oakland institutions during his dates. With an Antoon’s Pizza to go, a case of Old German, or a Busch Pounder at Uncle Jimmy’s, Lewis shows his dates he is privy to all which is the essence of South Oakland. Although Lewis does his homework, he does let out a crucial slip in the third episode when he cites his usual Thursday evening watering hole as Mitchell’s Tavern. Apart from the gaffe, Lewis comes across as a legitimate resident of the neighborhood.

“It was really hard,” Lewis confessed. “I started to have genuine feelings for a couple of the contestants. But in the back of my mind, the questions were always there-would they still love me if they knew I bought my Jacob’s Best from Craig Street Distributor and not Mellinger’s? Could they accompany me while I grocery shopped at the Centre Avenue Giant Eagle? Might they possibly dare to give up their Pamela’s to eat a Sunday morning brunch with me at Ritter’s?”

“We not only want this show to be entertaining, but thought-provoking as well. Would you still love your significant other if you found out he or she had resided in North Oakland at some point in their life? Makes you think about things a little differently, huh?” questioned Nagle.

Sororities Celebrate Senior Bar Tours:
- Mayor Announces Citywide Zima Shortage

As hundreds of graduating sorority members pack local bars for their long-awaited senior drinking binges, Mayor Tom Murphy publicly declared a citywide shortage of Zima.

“My administration was caught completely off-guard,” Murphy said in a press conference last week. “We severely underestimated how many Zimas the average sorority girl can consume. This is the most devastating shortage to hit our administration since the dearth of Mario Lemieux commemorative Stroh’s cans reeked havoc on the city in the fall and winter of 1997.”

Last year’s budget projected that each Greek woman would quaff three Zimas before passing out. However, the class of 2003 apparently harbors more alcoholics than previous classes.

Missy Peters, a self-proclaimed “Zima enthusiast” and a graduating sister of Sigma Sigma Sigma, was devastated by the mayor’s news.

“What was once a drunken rite-of-passage has been reduced to a sober waste-of-time,” Peters said.

Wearing pink “Sigma Drinking Team” T-shirts, Peters and her fellow Zima-lovers stumbled up-and-down East Carson Street in a futile search for the coveted, citrus-flavored malt beverage. After investigating 10 bars, the group settled on a round of Smirnoff Ice at Club Implosions.

Mayor Murphy apologized for the miscalculation saying, “My heart goes out to all those affected. My only hope now is that this tragedy will not put a damper on the upcoming high school prom season.”

Pitt Sophomore Still Taking Terror Precautions

Tensions rose at 312 Atwood Street last weekend when Pitt sophomore Bryan Jones attempted to remove the plastic he and his roommates put on the windows before the winter began. The residence is an older, drafty building, and with the rising temperatures, Jones wanted to open the windows to let in some fresh air.

Roommate Josh Fraser abruptly stopped the removal proceedings, citing the need to keep their house equipped for a possible biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological terrorist attack.

“I can’t believe you’re even thinking about taking down the plastic!” Fraser exclaimed. “What if there is contaminated air out there in South Oakland? Don’t you know that it may end up saving our lives?”

Jones attempted to reason with Fraser, stating that the roommates had put up the plastic before any warnings were even given to the American public. He also said that the old house had tons of drafts and certainly wasn’t airtight, which would mean in the event of an attack, the plastic would provide Fraser with possibly 10 more minutes of life than the rest of the world.

“The Department of Homeland Security would not give us misinformation – we must be prepared,” Fraser retorted.

“Goddamn Josh is just frigging lazy,” Jones said. “That asshole didn’t even help us put any of it up, and now he doesn’t want to help us take it down.”

Jones also reported that Fraser often claims to have a stockpile of duct tape and three days worth of food and water stashed in his bedroom closet, although the roommates have debunked the idea. They believe Fraser wouldn’t “walk his fat ass to the store to buy the shit.”

The residents of 312 Atwood have compromised by removing the plastic from everyone’s bedroom windows except for Fraser’s.

“This is a great safe room for me, especially with the proximity to the bathroom. They’ll be sorry in the end.”

There have been no reports as to what Fraser will do when the apartment lease ends in June. “Let him figure it out. If he still wants to be ‘safe,’ he’ll need to put the fucking plastic up himself in a new apartment, because we’re all moving out.”

Shared Yellow Cab Economical, Sexual Decision

With only three dollars in his pocket, Steve Holman wasn’t sure just how he was going to make it home from the Strip District last Saturday night.

“I shouldn’t have spent so much on alcohol,” Holman said. He remembered he would have taken more cash out of the ATM, but his bank account was empty.

His friends had left him chatting up a woman inside the G Spot around 1:45 a.m. Although the conversation was promising, she left with friends when the lights came up. As Holman’s friends and ride home had already deserted him, he was left with few options on how to return to South Oakland.

“I walked out to Smallman Street, hoping to see one of the guys I knew, but they were completely gone,” he said. “I was just about to give up hope and start walking, when this cute looking chick almost knocked me over trying to get to an approaching cab. I was sensing defeat when suddenly, I heard my butt-wasted self say, ‘Well, if you’re going to Oakland, it only makes sense that we share this cab together,’” Holman said. “I couldn’t believe it when she agreed with me! And damn, she was cute.”

Although Holman admits he did try to cop a feel in the backseat of the cab, it wasn’t until it was time to talk money that he worried he would be found out.

“I handed her the three dollars and held my breath. Luckily, the guy drove like a bat out of hell so it ended up being only $7, and she offered to cover the rest.”

Holman repaid her in full at the end of the night.

“My performance was definitely worth $1,” he said.

Pirates Petition City, State for New Stadium

To combat slumping ticket sales, Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy Monday petitioned representatives from the state of Pennsylvania, as well as the City of Pittsburgh, to come to his aid.

“Our plan is simple,” said McClatchy. “With the new stadium in Cincinnati and with Philadelphia building a new ballpark, we feel it’s time for a change in Pittsburgh.”

McClatchy, citing the importance of the Pirates both to baseball and the City of Pittsburgh asked the government to consider setting aside funds for a new baseball stadium. “We need to remain competitive,” explained McClatchy.

“We feel that a new ballpark, located near the river, facing the downtown city-scape, will bring back fans, spark more interest in Major League Baseball, and attract more revenues for both the team and the city.”

The new stadium, he explained, would be erected on the site of the old Three Rivers Stadium. That site is currently between PNC Park, where the Pirates now play, and Heinz Field, the ultra-modern home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers. The plan calls for erection of the $180 million stadium on land now inhabited by parking lots. The work would begin in August of 2004 and last until February of 2005. PNC Park would be razed in November of 2004. The plans call for a large parking garage to be built on that site.

“I know that parking on the North Shore will be hectic when we begin,” McClatchy said. “But, I know both Bucco and Steelers fans will put up with a little inconvenience in the name of progress.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy reiterated his stance that the city had no money available. “When we built PNC Park and Heinz Field, I told you there was no money available. I’ve told Mario [Lemieux, owner of the Penguins] that no money is available. You’ll have to go to the state.”

Sharpsburg Man Declares Mellon Arena Bathroom Stall Historical Site

Mario Lemieux’s plans for a new Penguins arena by 2007 hit another roadblock yesterday when 38 year old Sharpsburg resident Jim Franklin declared the bathroom stall in the C-30 section of Mellon Arena a historic Site.

“That place holds a lot of special memories for me,” recalled Franklin. “On that spot I hit my first joint back during the Pens 91’ Stanley Cup run. It’s where I threw down and up over 1,000 Iron City Beers, and recorded personal bests in urination duration and defecation length. And during one memorable Monster Truck Rally, I even made a little vrrm, vrrm of my own when I smuggled one very lucky coed into my personal Mecca.”

Franklin has petitioned the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation with a request to make the stall and the surrounding arena a historical landmark. If the foundation grants approval it will become very difficult for the Penguins to justify demolishing Mellon Arena for a new home.

“We respect Mr. Franklin’s historical milestones,” said Penguin GM Craig Patrick. “We all have personal memories associated with Mellon Arena. However, we need to forge ahead into the 21st century to create new lavatory accomplishments which we can all be proud to show the world.”

While the Penguins see the destruction of Mellon Arena as a chance to construct a modern facility, City Councilman Sala Udin is hoping the demolition will right previous civil wrongs. “I can’t believe nearly 5,000 African-American residents were displaced from their homes in the lower hill so one white dude from Sharpsburg could feel nostalgic about a dump he took in ‘98. This is a new low for the city.”

Although Udin is outraged, the Penguins are hoping an appeasement policy will force Franklin to drop his request and satisfy the disgruntled season ticket holder.

“We are currently in negotiations with the Heinz History Center to set up a permanent ‘I remember Mellon Arena Toilets’ exhibit. That way Franklin and fellow restroom aficionados can tell their exotic bathroom tales to future generations of Pittsburghers,” said Patrick.