Archive for the ‘WTF’ Category

I was out to dinner the other day when I saw a suspiciously familiar image pasted to the door of the eating establishment. I scoped it out on the internet and found the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau website, trumpeting their signature image for 2009:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?


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The elephant in the room

So, Dorothee, where the heck ya been?

The short and mostly true answer is that I’ve been working. Always working.

But the more complete answer is that I’ve been mired in ever-growing anxiety about what to do about this place. As I’ve mentioned a couple times since I got home, it’s hard when I’ve built an identity around yearning for Pittsburgh from afar to refocus on considering Pittsburgh from within. So hard, in fact, that I’ve gone months and months without even trying, and like that email that you mean to send to an old friend but take some time getting around to, the longer I go without having anything to say, the more ashamed I become and the longer still it becomes.

What I knew all along that I didn’t want was to make this site, “Dear Pittsburgh Diary, Today I went to Taj Mahal for lunch, then went shopping at Giant Eagle. Maybe I’ll make mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner…” My private life is two things: 1. private, and 2. boring. Neither you nor I really wants for me to write much about it. And when I was Out of the ‘Burgh, I could commentate (not a word) on life here without being autobiographical about it, but now, much of what I can say about Pittsburgh is just my life in it. I’m not an insider to anything worth hearing about (except for one aspect of ‘Burgh life, about which I can’t, or at least shouldn’t, opine, due to the jay-oh-bee). It’s all neighborhood walks, making dinner, potholes, wishing I still had heated seats in my car, and WTF-Steelers-didn’t-make-the-playoffs. Private/boring.

So I just disappeared. I guess in my indictment of Pittsburgh’s lousy self-esteem, I forgot to turn the mirror toward myself – I figured no one was paying attention and no one would even notice I had gone. Imagine my surprise when I got a kind note from Woy, letting me know I was missed.

Thanks, yinz, for noticing. While I was feeling like I owed you more than the mundane details of my life, I forgot that I also owe you a little check-in now and then. How ’bout I try to keep up with twitter, where I don’t have to feel so clever and insightful, and I’ll be back here if I ever get interesting again? I think I can handle that, if you can.

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From TMZ.com

From TMZ.com

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Calling Oprah

Pittsburgh needs Oprah. It needs Oprah to tell it that it’s really and truly good enough to stand up with all those flashier cities that it feels so inferior to. And maybe to buy it a car, or whatever. Because Pittsburgh has a self-esteem problem, and I never noticed it until I had to start telling people that I just moved from Austin.

By now, I’ve developed a standard response to the inevitable gushing of a Pittsburgher who has heard such wonderful things about Austin and was it just wonderful to live there? I’ve developed an even more extensive standard response to the Pittsburgher who reacts to the news that I moved deliberately, on purpose, to Pittsburgh from Austin in the same way that I might react if someone informed me that they have given up eating Roland’s hot lobster rolls in favor of eating dust bunnies.

My response consists of discussing the traffic and crowding problems in Austin, the general sense of smug ennui there, and the fact that I never could have bought such an unbelievably awesome turn-of-the-century Victorian row house there – because 1) it wouldn’t even exist there, and 2) mere mortals can’t afford property there. It consists of extolling the incredible beauty of the city of Pittsburgh, and its wonderful sense of history and identity, and its down-to-earth authenticity that is okay with me being both a compassionate and sensitive servant of humanity and a beer-swilling psychotic sports fan freak. I wrap it up by just shrugging and saying I guess I wasn’t hip enough for Austin, which is the only lie in the whole spiel and inevitably the only part accepted as truth.

I don’t like the underlying principle that this phenomenon seems to suggest – that Pittsburgh’s image problem comes just as much from its own apparent self-loathing as it does from bad PR. The bad PR problem we can overcome, and to some degree we are, if the steady stream of love from the New York Times is any indication. But all the good press in the world can’t save the city from its bad self-image.

Pittsburgh, you need an Aha! moment.

(Note: The above link is brought to you by me googling “Oprah catch phrase.” Perhaps I shouldn’t write about a celebrity if I know absolutely nothing about her. Oh well, what’s done is done.)

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Do not ask me how I came to have these photos. It is strictly confidential, just between you and me and the whole internet. But is this COOL or what:



And then it gets rowdy:




No cherished sterling silver trophies were harmed during the making of this post.

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Courtesy Millvale Blog

Courtesy Millvale Blog

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Hey Texas, find your mind


NOT in Pittsburgh

Yes, I’m back in Texas. I don’t want to talk about it.

But at least I can go back to being entertained by the H1N1 flu sideshow that is running amok in the streets of Oz-tin. When I hugged a friend’s child this afternoon, his mom asked me if anyone had coughed on me on the plane (probably, but I was sleeping so I can’t be sure) and if there were any swine flu cases in Pennsylvania (I don’t care).

Like I need to tell Pittsburghers to be practical, but let me just personally exhort you to remain calm, even if the case count in PA (which I did finally look up) exceeds one.

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