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Archive for December, 2008

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The P&G Diner in Millvale has everything. It’s a Pamela’s restaurant without the crowds or noise of the Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, or Strip locations. It’s located in the historic Lincoln Pharmacy, still open and operating both the pharmacy and the gift shop. And it has the Big Lincoln, shown above in all its atherosclerotic glory.

Bacon.

Eggs.

Lyonnaise potatoes.

Hotcakes.

Furthermore: a Greek salad that will knock your socks off. Sandwiches. Ask about Stan’s Favorites – the flippers, slippers, and chippers. And [swoon] a real fountain, with shakes and malts, ice cream sodas, and the Lincoln Split.

Oh friends. This place is The Real Deal. The food is among the best I’ve eaten ever, and the setting is a true throwback to the era of my pharmacist grandfather. You’ll enjoy the photos of the building during various Millvale floods almost as much as the coffee. The Lincoln Pharmacy and the P&G Diner are indestructible, by water or by time.

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                                                                                                                            (AP Photo)   

If you were at a wing bar in north Austin early this afternoon, you might have seen a petite Steeler fan twisting her moist towelette, tears welling up in her big brown eyes, fixated on a muted television. You might have wondered how long it would be until she breathed.

We watched the game today at Pluckers, not because it is a great place in town to watch the Steelers, but because I really really wanted some good wings. We didn’t realize that they would only play the sound for the Houston/Chicago game, so even though we had a nice-sized HD screen on which to watch the Browns get trounced, we didn’t hear any of it. It was like a 3 hour real-time What They Were Really Thinking. It was fine, really – I recognize the officials’ penalty sign language, and they always use their most inane statistics as captions.

At least, it was fine until The Ben didn’t get up. That hit didn’t look so much different than the 1.7 million sacks he sustained already this season, but the solemn cluster of Steelers staff was certainly new. The inline cervical spine stabilization was new. The look on The Tomlin’s face was new.

It was a very long fifteen minutes, listening to Texans fans and the sound of my own heartbeat.

Not too much to say about the actual game, I guess. The Browns need to get it together if this rivalry is going to be fun again. As it is, it makes me feel kinda bad – like we need to pick on someone our own size. Remember that Indians GM who tried to trade the whole team for the entire roster of the Chicago White Sox? Frank Lane? The Browns need that guy. (He’s been dead for 27 years, but W.E.)

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Woy beat me to it:

Roy’s glory days

One of the most quotable movies ever made, despite the fact that I can’t actually repeat most of my favorite quotes if I want to keep looking like a grown-up.

And yes, I did just figure out that I skipped CPOM#5 between Jeff Goldblum’s musical extravaganza and Girl Talk. I’m fixing it now. I shouldn’t be allowed to count.

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…moving back to Pittsburgh. The Post-Gazette today reports a bit half-heartedly on an apparent initiative to publicize PGH’s reputed ability to weather the economic storm. I can’t tell if the author is trying to get us to take the Allegheny Conference on Community Development seriously or if he’s calling it out as a pointless charade. Should we be paying attention to this part:

BusinessWeek magazine said Pittsburgh is one of the best American cities in which to ride out tough times. Time magazine said Pittsburgh, on account of its tortoise-like approach to jobs and housing growth, is now bypassing the hares, the “one economic bright spot on Main Street.” Last month, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer wrote a love letter to our city, “The Steel City’s New Strength” — “a city that once defined Rust Belt decay might show the rest of the nation how to weather a recession.”

Or this part:

Let’s conveniently ignore the city’s crushing pension debt, the city’s crushing regular debt, and the fact that the city is still effectively in Act 47 custody, and the fact that many of Pittsburgh Mon Valley suburbs are nearly irretrievable.

Which is it? Are you picking on us, or patting us on the back? 

How vigorously should I protest that my motives for moving home aren’t about the bottom line? After all, I’m in Austin, which according to the article was the old place to go for economic growth. If the new place to go to protect your little pile of cash is Pittsburgh, what does that make me?

Hey Mr. Toland, let’s not sound so bitter that a bunch of guys who moved to D.C. aren’t running back to get a new job so they can pay for their Lexus, and be glad that the people who are moving to Pittsburgh are doing so because they really want to be there. 

I really want to be there.

I had not, however, heard before of the article in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer extolling our virtues. I’ve been trying to mine Cleveland.com to find it, but it seems to have disappeared like a Browns first quarter lead. Anybody have a copy they could share?

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A very Pittsburgh Christmas

dsc_0736In the TR household, there is today the keen understanding that it’s the last holiday season we’ll spend away from Pittsburgh. As usual, a lot of our gifts are charming Pittsburgh-oriented media or clothing – three new WQED Pittsburgh History Series DVDs (the fourth of the 4-DVD deal went to my parents), Steeler gear for both of us, the kind-of-sweet Steely McBeam picture book for The Nephew.

For the first time, I’m not so annoyed by the lack of snow, hot cocoa, or crackling fires. Before this year, this was when the barely-healing wounds would crack open and sting as I imagined skating at PPG Place, visiting the Nationality Rooms, or marveling at my crazy neighbors and their yard displays. But I’ve found this winter that there is no better ointment for those wounds than the simple knowledge that their time is limited. It’s easier to accept a non-optimal situation when the end of it is in sight.

I wouldn’t say I’ve reached some sort of Zen-like peace with the idea of walking out on the porch on December 25th and not seeing my breath nor my red maples laden with snow. I certainly haven’t developed an immunity to the longing for a stroll along the Allegheny watching the chunks of ice lurch by and the downtown lights blink on, but it’s more okay than it was this time last year.

Warm up the fire for me, I’ll be home soon.

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Introducing, Part II: The Return

When I starting writing this diary of surviving away from Pittsburgh, I’m not sure what I expected of it. I am pretty sure I didn’t think that anyone would read it, but then again, why put it out on the internet if I didn’t hope that someone would get something out of it? Now, at least a couple of people actually are reading it, which forces me to consider its place in the universe.

I’m humbled and honored to be included in the blogrolls of Woy and The Judge, and to be visited now and then by BurghBaby. I’m beginning to feel a part of this Pittsburgh internet community, far away though I am. And I’m realizing that I’ve expected you to find my contributions to it credible, despite you knowing nothing at all about me except that I have a Roethlisberger jersey, a husband who takes nice photos, and a serious case of homesickness. Perhaps a better introduction is in order.

  • I’m not a writer, at all. I work in health care. 
  • I do speak French. Sort of.
  • I have proud and well-considered political convictions which are not at all the point of this blog, so I will try not to air them out in it.
  • For years I thought it was just that I could not decide whether I was a tomboy who loved sports and wore jeans and Chuck Taylors, or a fluffball who wore high heels and skirts and lip gloss. Now I know I’m both.
  • I want to be athletic, but my favorite activities are actually to knit, watch documentary television, and cook. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to train for that triathlon I’m always promising to complete.
  • For all my talk, I was not, technically, born in Pittsburgh. But I moved there young enough that my important milestones and life experiences occurred there. To me, it is my hometown, and has felt that way from the moment I first breathed there.
  • I’m not entirely sure what will become of Out of the ‘Burgh, In the Pitts when I get home. Considering that it’s devoted to my experiences of living away, I guess I’ll have to think of something else useful to say. I want to, and I’ll try.

If you’re still reading after knowing some of my realities, then let’s keep going.

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Just a reminder

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The Pirates used to be really, really fun to watch.

Goodbye, Dock.

Dock Ellis was a pretty special character in the Bucs’ history. Beloved and friendly, and also a product of his time and full of surprises – he quite famously pitched a no-hitter against the Padres under the influence of LSD in 1970, and he tried to bean as many Cincinnati Reds as he could before being pulled from the game. Dock is remembered as an intimidating character on the mound and a friend in the locker room. He was good too, with a lifetime ERA of 3.76. After his heyday with the Pirates, he played for several teams, including the Texas Rangers – he charmed Dallas too.

Dock left the baseball field when I was only two, but I still remember him – not for his pitching, but for his work for the league educating young players about drug and alcohol abuse. Sadly, it was too late for this beat poet of the mound – he died waiting for a liver transplant.

The man who threw out the first pitch at Three Rivers Stadium, and the first pitch of its last game, reached the end of his 9th inning. It was most definitely a win.

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