Sunday, June 29, 2008

South Oakland Drug Dealers Embrace Nationwide Urban Green Trend

When you hear about urban drug dealers going green, you might think they are referencing a newfound slang for money. However, many inner-city entrepreneurs are surprisingly aligning themselves with the typically, white upper-middle class green movement. Turns out, dealers, like most Americans, are feeling the effects of high gas prices.

“Fucking gas prices be cutting in our scrilla and shit,” said South Oakland urban capitalist Tyrone Bell. “Used to be, back in the day [two years ago], we’d be balling and making money hand over fist, now we only up to our wrists in cheddar. We do a’hite, but shit, not like back in the day [two years ago].”

Surprisingly Bell and other urban industrialists have been scaling back their excesses in a profession which has built a culture upon it with the popularization of big, gas guzzling sport utility vehicles such as Lincoln Navigators and Cadillac Escalades.

“Up until recently you could suss out a drive by if you saw a slow rolling Escalade with tinted windows barreling down the street,” explained Bell. “Now I swear you see niggas everyday rolling up on a block, fucking popping out the hatchback of Priuses and shit, just shooting up a mother fucking corner.”

Conservation is also popping up in a variety of other urban arenas, most notably an unforeseen trend of gangster rappers extolling the virtues of preservation of natural resources. Most notably the rapper Chamillionare has released a remix of his 2006 smash hit Ridin’, which he has re-titled Still Ridin’ Dirty, though I’m Limiting Carbon Emissions [in the process]. Other eco-friendly rap songs are expected later this summer from T.I. (Recycle That Empty Cristal Bottle) and from Lil’ Wayne (You Best Turn the Lights Out, Before you F%#& a Bitch).

Environmental crusader and former Vice President, Al Gore has enthusiastically embraced this newfound, urban environmentalism. He’s currently partnering with Urban Works Entertainment to package his award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth with the current urban release 17000 Block. Most major urban markets will also have street teams peddling bootleg copies of the DVDs on major city intersections. Gore and Urban Works Entertainment are also in negotiations to create An Inconvenient Truth documentary remix to feature narration by rappers Ice Cube and Flavor Flav.

While conservation efforts can’t come too soon for Gore, local peddlers like Bell are hoping the trend doesn’t last long. He’s looking for the environmental crisis to abate, and gas prices to lower, so he can resume riding in larger SUV vehicles.

“It’s embarrassing and shit. Being one of the kings of the city and being forced to roll through the streets in a Honda Fit. If these prices keep rising, we’ll be forced to take [the mother fucking] bus,” said Bell.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Obituary: James Regis "Uncle Jimmy" Connors
- Nov. 25, 1934 - June 23, 2008

In a bit of seriousness here, thanks Uncle Jimmy for your support and patronage of our efforts over the years. Your dream provided us with an oasis in the heart of South Oakland and helped to further our dream. Our sympathy and condolences to your family and friends. May your spirit live on, and may you rest in peace.

From the Post-Gazette:

As the youngest of six children growing up on Parkview Avenue in South Oakland, James Regis Connors came into the world as "Baby Jim." Later, his habit of wearing spit-shined demi-boots to lengthen his 5-foot-71/2-inch frame earned him the nickname "Cleatie."

But it was the name "Uncle Jimmy" that stuck and adorned Uncle Jimmy's Tavern, the Semple Street bar he opened more than 15 years ago in South Oakland.

"His lifelong dream was to own a bar," said his wife, Susan. "He just had that personality, that special touch."

Mr. Connors died of lung cancer Monday at his home in Greenfield. He was 73.

The rest can be read at the Post Gazette's website.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Former Pitt Spokesperson Ken Service Writes "Scathing" Criticism of Nordenberg, Pitt Administration

Former Pitt Spokesperson Ken Service has released a new book criticizing Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, his former boss for nearly eight years. The book, titled Child of Light and Bride of Untruth: Inside Nordenberg’s Cathedral and What's Wrong with Oakland was released last week by Penn State University Press. Inside the book, Service writes of a trail of deception which plagued Nordenberg’s major decisions while at the university; most notably, Nordenberg and former and current Athletic Director Steve Pederson’s conspiracy to tear down Pitt Stadium. In his tell-all account of his time at the university, Service said the chancellor’s major motivation in tearing down the stadium was not to modernize the university and attract new football recruits as the duo claimed. Service argues those excuses were merely a front, and that Nordenberg and Pederson really conspired to build the $119 million mega-structure to secretly secure upper campus parking.

The five people who have read the book have characterized it as a scathing attack on the Nordenberg inner circle. Nordenberg has an almost unparalleled reputation for a chancellor in demanding and expecting loyalty from his staff. He’s been reluctant to speak with the press about key university issues, instead arming himself with a team of spokespersons who do the chancellor’s bidding. The book is a rare behind the scenes look at his propaganda machine.

Nordenberg is apparently shocked by Service’s tell-all. It comes as an unexpected blow to the chancellor. He had always thought of Service as one of his closest friends. In Nordenberg’s 2002 press conference announcing Service’s departure, Nordenberg told the University Times that he thought one day he and Service would, “[after retirement] grow old together, learn Italian, walk the streets of South Oakland and reminisce about the good old days while using our newly acquired Italian curse words to describe the current student population and their lack of consideration for the elderly.”

While Nordenberg might be affected by the personal criticisms, his staff is wasting little time trying to discredit Service. Current University Spokesperson John Fedele is defending Nordenberg and his administration, claiming that they don’t believe Service is acting alone.

“This book just doesn’t sound like the Ken we know,” Fedele told KDKA radio host Fred Honsberger. “We believe Ken is being put up to this by rural mid-state publishers who are pushing their own agrarian agenda and attempting to discredit our cosmopolitan institution. It’s a political attack, pure and simple.”

Service rejects Fedele’s claims. He told Pittsburgh Today Live host Kristine Sorensen that he decided to come out with his book when Bigelow Bash was mysteriously canceled last year. Service told that Nordenberg was always “annoyed each April when the thoroughfare was closed, as it caused the Chancellor to take a circuitous route home by going down Fifth Avenue to Bouquet Street and then back down Forbes again. I feel Nordenberg erroneously led students to believe that the SGB’s lack of funding was the root cause. I just couldn’t live with the lie anymore. It is really the students who have suffered without the Bigelow Bash ever since.”

Child of Light and Bride of Untruth will be distributed free to every Penn State Creamery patron who orders a biggie-sized Peachy Paterno skyscraper cone. The book has been banned by the University of Pittsburgh’s Book Center.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

"Extreme" Measures Taken to Improve Conditions in Local Apartment Complex

Ty Pennington, host of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," paid a surprise visit yesterday to a South Oakland apartment complex.

"Gooooood afternoon, McKee Place Manor!" Pennington shouted into a megaphone.

The designer's usual 6 a.m. wake-up call was pushed back seven hours to accommodate building residents – University of Pittsburgh students who slowly shuffled outside to greet their spiky haired guest.

Months ago, a mother of one of the young tenants sent a video tape to the reality show's producers, begging them to rescue her daughter from "that $800-a-month, rat-infested shithole."

From rickety stairs and broken windows to dysfunctional smoke detectors and urine-stained carpets, the 50-year-old structure is in violation of numerous health and fire safety codes.

Pennington knew he had to act fast or watch the entire dwelling collapse.

"We might not be able to transform this place into Home Sweet Home," he said, "but at least we can help these kids get their security deposits back."

After a tour of the hovel, members of the design team interviewed each occupant about their interests.

Philosophy major Todd Smithson said he liked Bob Marley.

Total Cum Dumpster Angelina Dixon™ regaled carpenter Paul DiMeo with stories of her recent sexual conquests.

During periods of semi-consciousness, alcoholic Ted Landon slurred the name "Gene."

Fraternity brothers Kyle Harris, Pete Sipes, and Jason Rhodes sang the praises of Old German Beer. "The world knows no finer," Sipes explained to designer Paige Hemmis.

All of the residents were sent to Sandcastle Waterpark for the day while workers renovated their pads.

When the renters returned eight hours later – intoxicated and sporting farmer's tans – they were literally bursting with excitement.

"Gotta pee," mumbled Landon, crossing his legs.

A Port Authority bus, which had broken down in front of McKee Place Manor, was the only thing separating the tenants from their new-and-improved lives.

"Bus driver," an agitated Pennington screamed, "move that bus!"

Once inside, residents were delighted by what they saw.

"My coffee table is in the shape of a giant marijuana leaf!" said Smithson. "And my four-poster bed, it's actually a four-person bong!"

The Delta Sigma brothers were greeted by a statue of beer mascot Herman the German, which dispensed ice-cold lager from the tip of its finger.

Upon seeing the plush whorehouse d├ęcor in her bedroom, Dixon grabbed a volunteer laborer and slammed the door.

The most impressive makeover awaited Landon, who, in February, was banned from Gene's Place for guzzling an entire bottle of Rock & Rye and putting his fist through the jukebox. His apartment is now an exact replica of the Louisa Street bar.

"Ooooh," Landon said, fondling the I.C. Light tap.

Pennington, who was arrested for DUI last year, patted the tearful drunkard on the back and smiled. "Welcome home, my friend," he said. "Welcome home."