Friday, November 30, 2007
In a press conference Friday afternoon, University of Pittsburgh interim athletic director Donna Sanft announced that a successor for former athletic director Jeff Long had finally been named: Steve Pederson. Pederson is no stranger to Pitt, he was athletic director from 1996 to 2002.
"The University of Pittsburgh welcomes back Steve Pederson," announced Sanft. "We look forward to a wonderful working relationship once again!"
Pederson, taking the podium, said, "I never wanted to leave Pittsburgh, and I only did so to work at my alma mater, Nebraska. Now, I'm back at my daughter's alma mater, and my true home, the University of Pittsburgh."
Pederson then opened the floor for questions.
When asked about his strategy to improve the Panthers football team, he outlined a five-point strategy.
"First, and most importantly, we must insist on using the team name 'Pittsburgh.'
"Second, I'm pleased to announce that we've received written commitments from wide receivers [Biletnikoff Award winner] Antonio Bryant and Roosevelt "Sticky Fingas" Bynes, both of whom still have two years of NCAA eligibility left!
"Third, to truly resurrect 'Wide Receiver U', I'm pleased to announce the hiring of Coach Walt Harris to replace Coach Wannstedt after this season—well, Sunday, actually."
Harris coached Pitt football from 1997 to 2004 and was virtually run out of town by alumni and administration despite a winning record, four bowl games, and a 2004 co-Big East Championship and BCS bowl berth. He coached Stanford from 2005-2006.
Pederson's fourth and fifth points included razing the Petersen Event Center and building a new Pittsburgh Stadium, and building a new Petersen Event Center in the heart of Oakland between Oakland Avenue and Atwood Streets.
During Pederson's tenure, Pitt saw four bowl games, two new mascots, a new, edgy Panther logo, an expansion of the school's nickname from "Pitt" to "Pittsburgh", the rise of the Panthers men's basketball team to national prominence, the demolition of Pitt Stadium, the erection of the John M. and Gurtrude E. Petersen Events Center, the Panthers football move to Heinz Field and the UPMC Sports Medicine facility on the South Side.
"It's a new era for Pittsburgh," said Pederson, "Liberty Bowl, here we come!"
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Retired Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has had few moments in his storied career when he couldn't understand an economic trend. However, at a recent speaking engagement at Carnegie Mellon University, Greenspan noticed a decidedly incongruent price trend from his last trip to Oakland in 1998.
“I couldn’t believe some of the signs I was seeing outside the [Oakland] bars,” recalled Greenspan. “What immediately caught my eye was a sign for twenty cent drafts at a bar called Boomerang’s. Twenty cents? What the [expletive]? Last time I was here, I was making it rain dollar bills at that same location when it was CJ Barney’s and I was amazed at how many [expletive – plural] I could get liquored up with twenty-five cent drafts. Now, nearly a decade later, I can still impress the [expletive – plural] with an extra drink per each dollar spent.”
University of Pittsburgh Regional Economist Chris Briem confirmed Greenspan’s observations with a report to be released next Thursday night at Gene’s Place. The report, entitled “The Inflatiatory Value of a Dollar and the Oakland Beer Market,” finds a remarkable trend throughout a longitudinal study of twelve Oakland drinkeries. Miraculously, Briem found a stagnant or declined price trend in drinking establishments coupled with the expected normal inflationary increase in eating establishments when comparing the cost of food over the same time period as alcohol.
“What we did was we took a cost standard product and compared it to the prices of certain beers over the same time period,” explained Briem. “We took Antoon’s pizza as our control value. Over a ten year period, the price has risen with the same variable rate of inflation for the period. In 1998, the pie cost $3.79 and then rose a couple years later to $4.29, $4.69, and now it is at its current $4.79. Now comparing that standard to an import bottle such as Heineken, which would have cost three dollars in 1998 at most establishments, under the current market conditions we can find that same bottle selling for a dollar in many cases, a decrease over one hundred fifty percent. Amazing.”
While researchers have been stumped by the change, the findings don’t come as a surprise to many local bartenders.
“Cheap-ass booze hounds, that would be my explanation,” summarized Garage Door Bartender Larry Walters. “The lower price we can sell some swill, the more volume of sales we take in and the more money these fucks shell out when they get drunk. They buy more expensive shots, play touch screen photo hunt, and load up the jukebox with money once they get a nice buzz going. But I just wish these fuckwads would pass along some of the savings they’re getting into more generous tips. But that doesn’t ever occur to these a’holes.”
Even though Greenspan has been out-economized by local barkeeps, he isn’t exactly complaining about the trend.
“While there’s been a drop in prices, I’ve also noticed a corresponding drop in cleavage since I was last in Oakland. And thanks to the development of the miracle drug Viagra, I’ve noticed a significant rise in other areas when I drink in Oakland. On behalf of my wife [NBC correspondent and occasional Souf Oaklin fo' Life!!! contributor Andrea Mitchell], I’d like to thank the Oakland community for these trends,” concluded Greenspan.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The acclaimed worldwide phenomenon, Bodies the Exhibition, has finally come to Pittsburgh after much waiting and anticipation. The exhibit features human specimens underneath skin in athletic positions such as shooting a basketball, hitting a volleyball, or kicking a soccer ball. New to the display at the Carnegie Science Center is an area highlight that helps to investigate the mysteries and wonders of one of Pittsburgh’s classic cultures.
“We are pleased to announce this partnership and first exploration of regionalism in Bodies the Exhibition,” announced curator Maxwell Mendell. “Starting in Pittsburgh this October we will feature new bodies for the first time which will highlight local talent with a remarkably regional flavor.”
The exhibition features muscular outlines in traditional South Oakland poses. Researchers spent three weeks getting acculturated and acclimated to the South Oakland lifestyle to find authentic and accurate depictions. Among the features are a young adult female strolling on a Sunday morning walk of shame, a young adult male’s muscular display of the awesome power of clearing a beer bong, and a young adult male showing the desperation and despair which comes from hugging the toilet bowl after an all night binge drinking session.
“Originally we were only supposed to take one week gathering our data,” explained lead researcher Alfred R. Burton of the process by which the new poses were chosen. “But by the end of the first week, we were lost in a haze of confusion, which we can only conclude came from an experience of the investigative phenomenon known as ‘contact high.’ All I could make out from my notes were some scribblings about suggestions for body poses of a ‘dirty sanchez’ and ‘Cleveland steamer.’ In the second week we realized that, in order to be completely effective, we needed to connect our research to direct experience, so we entered PiKA’s fourth annual Labor Day beer pong tournament. Boy, did we go down a wrong alley there. Let’s just say it took us a while to recover from that one. Way behind on our deadline, we took the suggestion of one of our subjects who handed us pills labeled ‘Ritalin’ and ‘bamn’, and we churned out 72 pages of research in a 4 hour period.”
South Oakland residents were treated to an early viewing of the exhibition last Sunday morning as the Science Center partnered with University of Pittsburgh’s Fraternity Council to offer a special Kegs, Eggs, and Bodies sneak preview.
“Fucking awesome,” enthused Delta Tau Delta member Ryan Lockhart about the regional exhibition. “Seeing all that shit gave me some real deep appreciation for the beauty and power of that which is the South Oakland machine. Except for that one dude who was hugging the bowl, he must have been hammered. I even took out my sharpie and wrote “cock stain” on his forehead. Dude was so out of it, he didn’t even flinch. What an asshole.”
Saturday, November 17, 2007
In a candid revelation following Saturday's loss to Rutgers, University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Dave Wannstedt tipped his hand at the future direction of the struggling Panther football squad. While Wannstedt has been candid about his desire to sure up offensive and defensive fronts, the local media was caught off guard when Wannstedt admitted that he has been working with Pitt Astrophysics Professor Norman E. Brown to develop a time machine that would portal the Panthers back to the pivotal year of 1989. Wannstedt admits that the team is close to completing the time machine, but is missing the crucial final piece - the elusive Flux Capacitor.
“While I am pleased with the progress this football team is making, especially recently with an impressive victory over Cincinnati and a near-win at Louisville, I still believe the future of this Panther football team lies in going back [to the future],” admitted Wannstedt. “I’m really optimistic that if we transport this team back to 1989, in two or three years we can beat the previous national champions of Alabama or Florida State. I really think I would be, and was, an outstanding football coach in that era when I could play real smash-mouth football and I wouldn’t, and didn’t, have to worry about the prevalence of the spread offense that is endemic in college football today.”
Panthers’ Assistant Media Director E.J. Borghetti cites 1989 as the transitional year in which Pitt football first fell into a downward spiral under then-new head coach Paul Hackett. The Panthers fell from a 8-3-1 season in which they appeared in and won the Sun Bowl to a disappointing 3-7-1 record under Hackett’s first full season. The rest of the decade produced similarly disappointing seasons in which the Panthers only reached above five hundred once.
“I really think Dave can do a lot of impressive things if transported back [to ‘89],” argued Borghetti. “And even if Dave is the lousy coach our critics claim he is, he’ll still get a guaranteed win against South Florida, who didn’t even have a team that year, and a highly probable win against Connecticut, who was division I-AA at the time. And if Wannstedt can land his targeted recruits of Gino Torretta and Rashaan Salaam, I would wager that a national championship is in the bag. As a matter of fact, I told Dave that when he goes back, he has to get in contact with my previous self and convince me to put a thousand bucks on it.”
Wanndstedt admits that he has been close to getting to where he wants the time machine to be at, but believes the team is just a couple gigawatts short of accomplishing the goal.
“Look, I can’t just drive the [time] machine around and wait for a blast of lighting to hit the Cathedral of Learning to power the time machine. That’s pure Hollywood fiction. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of science knows that to have a fully functioning [time] machine, you need to have 1.21 gigawatts. We’ve shown flashes of getting up there, and laying a good foundation, but I don’t think we’ll really get the time machine to the level we need it to be at until we land some Libyan exchange students to smuggle in some nuclear grade plutonium.”
Wannstedt has not revealed which players and coaches he intends to bring back in time with him. However, he did drop a strong hint about the future of Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads, who is rumored to be on the hot seat in the current season after the Panthers have struggled defensively in numerous games. “Rhoads?” questioned Wannstedt while lowering and then raising his Ray Ban sunglasses. “Where we’re going, we don’t need Rhoads.”
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
You Watch, I'm Getting Laid with this Tip
By Evan Ressmer
I'm usually a decent tipper. I wouldn't call myself either generous or cheap. I tend to give pretty standardly, at least by college town evaluations. In general, my tip on a round is usually a dollar. So if I'm ordering one or five drinks I usually leave a buck. But tonight, I found reason to break norm.
This bartender has been eyeing me up all night. She's constantly looking over my way to see if I need anything. And when my glass is empty, she's on top of it like I'm hoping to be on top of her in a few hours.
And look at what she's wearing. It's 40-degrees outside and she's wearing a little tank top. She knows I come in to Hemingway's every Tuesday night. She knew I was going to be sitting at the third stool from the door. Why else would she wear something so revealing?
So when I order my next drink, I'm going to slip her a little something extra when I pay for it. Instead of one dollar, I'm going to let her keep the additional fifty cents on my dollar-fifty beer. What woman could resist a hundred percent tip from a charming patron? Certainly not her. This tip will clinch it. I'm going home with the bartender tonight.
I'm Tired of Putting Myself on Display, but…
By Meghan Stevenson
Bartender, Hemingway's, CAS, '09
I'll admit it, flirting is a bartender's best weapon. It's part of the job. It's not my favorite part of the job, but it's what I have to do to make ends meet. I don't enjoy putting myself out there and on display for drunk men who drink up the courage to think they are going to get me in bed, but it pays the bills and it's a hell of a lot better than working at Target, which was my previous job.
Probably my least favorite part is needing to have my tits hang out all night. Or having customers order drinks to my chest instead of my face. But it's part of the job. I've tried to wear more traditional clothing. Last Tuesday, I got so tired of the ogling that I wore a turtle neck. And while I was actually temperate for once, my tips suffered. On a standard night I usually clear about a hundred twenty five or so. When I wore my turtle neck, I make seventy five. Unbelievable. Men are so stupid. I'm freezing my nipples off here, so they can get a glimpse of my cleavage. Why don't they just spare themselves the trouble and go to the strip club?
And if I have to laugh at any more of their stupid jokes or put up with another misguided compliment about how I'm the best looking girl at Pitt, I think I'm going to implode. But, like I said, it pays the bills and it beats a lot of the other shitty-ass jobs out there. I could go on, but that creepy guy at the end of the bar who has been staring at my ass all night long looks like he needs a drink. Wow, I hope he gives me an extra fifty cent tip if I bend over when I ask if he wants another - what an asshole.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The University of Pittsburgh scheduled its bi-annual trustees meeting last Thursday, but the meeting’s focus quickly shifted from the expanding university to its heralded freshman running back, LeSean “Shady” McCoy. The meeting, which would later be labeled by ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit as a coming out party for #25 McCoy, featured a surprise shift when Chancellor Nordenberg turned control of the meeting agenda over to Shady.
“I mean, to be invited to a trustees meeting as a freshman is awesome, but to actually handle the direct snap of meeting topics is amazing,” Herbstreit commented. “I’ve seen fifth year seniors on national championship teams who don’t exhibit that kind of poise and meeting flare. I think the moment which really sealed McCoy’s status for me was when he ran a quick reverse around the topic of shifting depreciation from capital expenditure assets to recognizing them as regular expenses, the whole time faking like he was going to chalk up the costs as write-offs. To watch him run that meeting was just spectacular.”
By all accounts Nordenberg and the trustees were pleased with the meeting, its topics and accomplishments. Some of the highlights from the meeting occurred when McCoy spearheaded an extension of the current two billion dollar capital campaign by retargeting its goal as two billion and one dollar capital campaign, “to let the poor folk know they can always give a buck, you know, to like help out and [expletive].” McCoy also helped approve a 3.2% increase in benefits for all university employees, extend university library hours during finals week, and create a new marketing campaign that highlights significant historical achievements of Pitt alumni.
Trustee chair Ralph J. Cappy remarked on what a fine job the young McCoy did in his surprise lead of the meeting. “I’ve never been so happy to be at a meeting in all my time here. Usually these things go on for hours and we get bogged down with what color scheme matches the new rugs we’re laying down in Hillman Library. Half the time I have to pinch myself from falling asleep at these things, but that Shady, he kept us energized, motivated, and on task by quickly shifting matters and deftly cutting through the holes on the agenda.”
While McCoy was remarkably in command and is headed for a record breaking season as trustee head, plans call for him to split time at the podium with Nordenberg.
“This is just not the way we do business across the board,” Nordenberg explained. “Just because someone is effective and shows remarkable talent, doesn’t mean we should automatically rush to put that person in the same position in which they had overwhelming success. It wouldn’t be fair to those who have been here longer. And by those, I mean me."
Sunday, November 04, 2007
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan has begun an investigation into why a city-owned vehicle was found this morning in a city police bureau lot with white makeup stains on the upholstery and vomit on both the inside and outside.
The vehicle, a GMC Yukon, purchased for the Pittsburgh Police Bureau with Homeland Security funds, was parked across two handicapped spaces in the lot. It was found unlocked, with a warm, half-finished case of Natural Light beer in the rear.
This is not the first time a city-owned Yukon has been in the center of controversy. In September, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl used a city-owned Yukon to attend a Toby Keith concert. That impropriety and the fact that noted Kiss tribute band "Love Gun" was performing at a South Side bar has put the Mayor back under public scrutiny - and only days before the mayoral elections.
Does the mayor rock n roll all night and party every day?
"No... uh... I'm not sure how that got there... what?" a sluggish, bleary-eyed, unshowered Ravenstahl responded as he entered city offices at just after noon.
Investigators began linking the SUV's condition and the previous evening's concert when Police Chief Nate Harper was spotted this afternoon hurriedly scrubbing off what appeared to be "Yukon Rock City" written in lipstick on the rear window. Wiping silver glitter paint from around his eyes, he rushed past reporters into the station.
Later, when asked if he took the SUV to the concert, Ravenstahl scratched at a "Kiss Army" t-shirt visible through his blue oxford shirt, and responded cryptically, "I wanted the best. I got the best."
Saturday, November 03, 2007
For 22-year-old Meyran Avenue resident James "Stony" Carmine, there are few injustices which will get him out of bed earlier than one on a weekday.
Last Friday, Carmine made a rare exception to protest what he believes to be one of the gravest injustices to face our region since the Pittsburgh Penguins threatened to leave town last winter. Carmine joined approximately 50 other Oakland residents who boarded Port Authority funded buses to join other protesters gathered on a seasonably normal October afternoon in Market Square.
"For me it just came down to a question of doing what's right," Carmine declared. "Could I just sit by and watch as a moderate increase on drink prices was forced down my throat? Well I probably would if it was forced down by a hot bartender with a pair of banging titties, or if that price increase was coupled with proportionally larger drink sizes, but if the drink sizes stayed the same, or if it was just an average or below average bartender pouring, then hell no, I won't pay. Well, I probably would pay because I really enjoy beer, but I guess I'm here to take a stand and let people know, I'd rather not if I have anything to say about it. Do I? Can I vote somewhere for things like this? Is there a process to do this?"
Oakland residents like Carmine represent a growing local movement with college students to get involved in politics. Veterans to the protesting scene such as South Bouquet Street resident Ryan Smith have come to see it as their mission to get involved in influencing city politics. Though statistics show that Oakland residents like Smith probably will not end up staying in Pittsburgh after they graduate, he still believes it is important to get involved.
"I first became aware of this whole protesting thing last spring when some dude at the bar was telling me that if that faggot-ass Mayor got his way, we wouldn't be allowed to smoke in bars no more," recalled Smith. "I thought dude was supposed to be all young and hip, so how could he let this happen to us? I got sorta pissed and signed a petition. I guess my signature worked, because no one's told me I can't smoke no more at Peter's. So now it starts again, but this time I decided to do more. I decided to use my Pitt ID to ride for free down to Market Square and hold a sign."
Local students such as Smith and Carmine were joined by Oakland bar owners who were likewise concerned that a drink tax would cripple the fluxuating Oakland drink market. Edward Lewis, General Manager of Boomerang's on Forbes Avenue, citied the potential trickle down effects of the tax on struggling college students.
"Thursday nights we got that twenty cent draft night. I'm worried that if Onorato has his way the tax will leave me no choice but to raise prices back up to twenty five cents. Believe me, it's not what I want to do, or a decision I take lightly. I don't want to shortchange a hardworking poor college student who only has a few dollars left after shelling out his parents’ hard-earned money on the newest Razr cell phone, but this tax might leave me no choice. It'll be a sad day in Oakland when one of our patrons can only get four drinks instead of five for a dollar," warned Lewis.
Smashed glass. A dented bumper. Chipped paint. These are the signs of an all too familiar occurrence -- another case of a Port Authority Transit (PAT) bus struck and injured by a University of Pittsburgh freshman. The most recent victim, a 54C making its way from the Strip District to the North Side, was hit by Jared Walker (age 18 of Boyertown, PA) as the 54C proceeded through the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard.
"I never saw him coming," claimed 54C driver Frank Visor. Bystanders state that the 54C had just proceeded through a green light and turned right onto Bigelow Blvd. when, without warning, Walker stepped from the sidewalk and collided with the oncoming bus. Witnesses credit Visor's quick reflexes with saving the bus from further harm by swerving away from Walker and into the path of oncoming traffic.
Even with Visor's efforts to protect the bus, the 54C suffered a scuffed bumper and several noticeable scratches above the right tire.
"I've never seen anything like it," commented bystander Allen Geller. "I don't know that I'll ever see that bus back in action again. It was horrible. Horrible."
Visor, who has since been reassigned to a 71D, appeared visibly shaken from his experience and required several pints of an unidentified German lager before he was able to continue on his new bus route. "Let's just hope someone does something about these kids before another innocent bus suffers," Visor concluded.
This most recent incident of a bus/freshman collision brings this semester's total to three such incidents and represents an alarming increase over last year's numbers. PAT CEO Stephen G. Bland addressed this disturbing increase at a recent press conference.
"We've gone to great lengths to avoid such unfortunate occurrences," stated Bland. Most notably, he highlighted the signs now posted at the front of each bus reminding drivers to "look right and left" before proceeding down all streets.
"We take these precautions seriously and stress that our drivers should also take them seriously. Yet damage to buses by freshmen is at an all time high," Bland said. "Some of these injured buses may never recover. I just don't understand it. It's almost as if [the freshmen] are aiming for the buses."
During the summer months, Oakland resident Florence Reghetti loves to patronize Oakland's two-year old, Friday afternoon Farmers' Market, sponsored by Pittsburgh Citiparks.
"It's just great that now we can get fresh produce right here in Oakland without having to go to the markets in East Liberty or the South Side," said Reghetti, purchasing a dozen of Basia's pierogies. "With autumn here, I'm stocking up on tomatoes to make fresh sauces to freeze for the winter!"
While long-time residents are enthusiastic about the Farmers' Market, sales have taken a surprising drop since students returned in September.
"Fucking Farmers are blocking some prime skating real estate," complained returning Pitt student Steve Wilson. "We used to OWN this shit. Now look at it – full of fuckin' apples and pears and cabbages and very affordable baskets of potatoes and other nutritious food. Bullshit, dude."
In order to appeal to students, Farmers' Market liaison Kenneth Plenarski has applied for a license to sell and distribute alcoholic beverages during Market time. The familiar orange "Notice of Application" placard can be seen adorning the side of Arturo Vizzuett's Cinco de Mayo homemade salsa vending tent.
"We all got together over at Pittsburgh Café a few weeks ago for mojitos and martinis," explained Vizzuett, a Mexican-born transplant famous for his salsa. "When [Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) Executive Director] Georgia [Petropoulos] said, 'Arturo, maybe this market idea isn't so good. These kids only care about getting loaded on Fridays,' I had an idea: let's get them loaded on fresh produce and nutritious vegetables!"
Vizzuett and other local vendors began to experiment with different combinations of booze and healthy, tasty fresh foods, trying to find the best pairings. They then ran a two-week trial period in early September, inviting local students 21-years-old and older to taste the pairings.
Pitt Law student Hal Benson gushed, "I couldn't believe that tequila-salsa could be so great! And rum-blacked onions and pierogies are just awesome!" While art major Kimberly Hart added, "You know, soaking nutritious peaches, plums, and a whole watermelon in vodka tastes amazing—and it fucks you up!"
Other successful marriages of food and spirits include cucumbers brined in West Virginia grain alcohol and garlic ("The best pickles in town," says grad student Joshua King); "extra-sour-kraut," made with cabbage and julienned carrots, and soaked in Pucker Sour Apple liqueur; and local favorite Old German beer-battered fried zucchini.
OBID Director Georgia Petropoulos reported, "The new Farmers' Market concept is sweeping Oakland. We've seen a great influx of traffic from other neighborhoods as well. We're happy to report that we've applied to have our Alcoholic Beverages License extended through 2009!"