Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ode to Chairman Tom

Our compatriot, Chairman Tom, spent a few glorious months visiting the old stomping grounds of the sacred domain and its surrounding areas. He successfully completed his first scouting mission in S. Korea involving the MTBT&PC's secret plans to expand internationally. He now plans to move on yet again to Prague, and other areas of central Europe, to further his mission of finding other sacred domains all in the name of the MTBT&PC's secret plans of world domination. I've said too much, we will never speak of this again. We owe a lot to the Chairman and we wish him safe travels.

In his honor, a haiku has been prepared . . .

Flew From Korea
Taught Us A New Slapping Game
Then Left, Jokes On Us

- Captain

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Three Rivers: One Stupid Show

So . . . while most of Pittsburgh watched the Steelers destroy the Chargers (then let them back into the game, only to destroy them a second time in the waning moments), I chose to stand by my civic duty, and loyalty to the Mt. Washington Brain Trust & Pipe Club, and engage in the viewing of Three Rivers - for research purposes only. And I do mean research purposes only because there was absolutely no redeeming quality to this show.

Immediately upon the start of the episode I was pissed off because the very first shot of the show was of a city skyline. Not the Pittsburgh skyline mind you, but Cleveland's. Cleveland?! Of all the cities in the world for a guy to take a fall in a construction site, become legally brain dead, and have adequate organs for transplantation!

However, our fearless leader, the Captain, pointed out that having a Pittsburgh based show centered around harvesting organs from Cleveland, for the benefit of Pittsburgh transplant patients, wasn't a bad idea. I digress. The show went on to feature some of the most obnoxious characters and ridiculous story lines ever to grace our televisions . . . and I watch Grey's Anatomy.

A man and his pregnant wife came to the "world's best transplant hospital" because the man fell and bumped his head while painting the nursery (someone really needs to tell him about MedExpress). It was at this time that his pregnant wife collapsed and low and behold she happens to be in need of a heart transplant. How convenient! Fortunately Andy Yablonski, #1 cardiac surgeon in the world, and former Mt. Washington riff raff, is available and on the case (And he wears future shirts!)

The transplant team quickly descends upon Cleveland to get the brain dead guy's heart. Oh, but wait, his family is having second thoughts. So what's the new transplant coordinator do? He verbally attacks the family and informs them this heart is going to a pregnant lady (HIPPA anyone?) Boy, he has a lot to learn. Anyways, they get the heart, the pregnant lady crashes for a bit, the baby is born early, and they are now unsure how much damage to her brain occurred when she crashed. Then her clumsy husband said, "We were just going to paint the nursery and watch the Steelers today."

Dr. Andy seamlessly puts in her new heart and very shortly after he beckons her out of her coma with his soothing voice. (And the girl looks good after the traumatic day she had just gone through!) She inquires about her baby and Dr. Andy puts the TV on in front of her which allows her to see and communicate with her husband and new baby. Keep in mind, they were unsure if she was going to wake up after surgery due to possible brain damage, so I guess they told the husband, "Hey, if you don't see us on the TV, then assume your wife is brain dead." Nice. There was some other crap that happened during the premiere episode of Three Rivers but I have already talked about this show way too much.

"Well Bob, he's either putting them in the Allegheny or the Monongahela . . . That narrows it down" - Tom Hardy


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hear ye, hear ye

"You've got an opinion, but do you have what it takes to be heard? "

Let's be honest. The MWBT&PC is an opinionated bunch. That's clearly implied in the Brain Trust part of the charter. The question is, are we as good as we think we are?

The Washington Post is hosting an essay competition titled "America's Great Next Pundit" (the title alone shows how desperate they are for new talent). I think this is a great opportunity to get some national exposure for the MWBT&PC. Each member should enter this competition. The WP will start by choosing ten finalists, and clearly, there is a great chance that all of us make it to this next round.

So, the gauntlet is thrown. I challenge each and every one of thee to enter the AGNP competition at

May the best brain trustee win....

"I've got a new game. Everybody dies." - Jimmy Detillo

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rapid Fire Pittsburgh News 9/16

Item:  Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, famous for a variety of blunders from remarking on "Man on Dog" sex to involving the government in the Terri Schiavo case, has announced his presidential aspirations for the 2012 election.  With the nation underwhelmed by the announcement, I am reminded of Dan Savage's coining of the term "santorum" to refer to the bodily excretions resulting from anal sex.  

Item:  Twenty-two members of a drug smuggling ring, including 9 American Airline employees have been arrested for drug smuggling out of Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan Puerto Rico.   Lady Rivera has yet to comment.  Puerto Rican!

Item:  Break out your Captain America suits!  (Oh, am I the only one that has one of those?)  Pittsburgh City Council has rejected its ban on masks during the upcoming G20 summit.  Now I can greet those world leaders in style.

Item:  Steelers' Safety Ryan Clark on the fence about whether or not to play in Denver.  After losing his spleen, gall bladder, and thirty pounds during his last trip to Mile-High Stadium, Clark also found, in his own words, that "my lungs had filled, my kidneys were dented, and my stomach was closing."  And he's unsure whether he'll make a return appearence.  Now that's what I call Stillers football!  Guy damages most of his organs due to Denver's rarified air sparking an existent blood condition, and he still might go back and play!  Dude's tough!  or dumb.  

"You have two choices here:  You either put the guns down... or we all start shooting."
~Tom Hardy

By Lord Johnson

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Three Rivers hates Pittsburgh

CBS, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that it would be a great idea to have the first episode of their hit new organ transplant drama "Three Rivers" air at the exact same time as the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night game against the San Diego Chargers.

On October 4th, 2009, Pittsburgh residents, at home and abroad, will have the option of switching over from a huge Sunday night game for their beloved Steelers to an organ transplant drama supposedly taking place in that which boasts three rivers. Their alternative is to keep watching the game. If you are a true Pittsburgher, and lover of the greatest city in the Northern Hemisphere, then you really have no option. CBS obviously cares not for our city and is only interested in national viewership, as they hope to rake in lots of advertising revenue by appealing to our country's collective interest in organ donation, as evidenced by the sense of civic duty one has when showing another that their driver's license says "Organ Donor."

The problem is that CBS has alienated the only guaranteed viewership that they have - the people in the greatest city in Western Pennsylvania. (Well, I guess there is also that Avie person that admonished us for failing to mention that Alex O'Loughlin was a kind and gentle man.) Even if the show ends up being terrible, Pittsburgh residents would still tune in religiously as we love supporting anything positively associated with the greatest city in North America. CBS may think they'll be OK because they can still tap into the non-Steelers fans in Pittsburgh, but little does CBS know, such a thing does not exist, at least not to my knowledge.

On the eve of a major Sunday night game there is no way the people of Pittsburgh, the greatest city in the North Temperate Zone, will tune in to watch the 'kind and gentle' Alex O'Loughlin.

Pittsburgh would rather watch this guy

. . . who is neither kind or gentle.

"Three Rivers" can keep their organs, hastily being carried down hallways in lunch box coolers, because it is obvious that their hearts do not bleed Black & Gold (actually it's more of a neon yellow, but that's not important).

"Maybe you need a drink. It'd ease the pain of being wrong."

- Tom Hardy

- Kernel & Captain

Friday, September 11, 2009

Poll Results: Pick your River

The Mt. Washington Brain Trust & Pipe Club has voted!  

Which River would you put YOUR houseboat on?
14% voted for the Allegheny;
14% voted for the Ohio;
and an overwhelming 71% voted for the muddy banks of the Monongahela!

It is no surprise that one would like to dock their aquatic living arrangements on the Allegheny.  Allegheny is commonly translated from the Native American Lenape as meaning "fine river."  Though others assert that Allegheny actually derives from a legendary tribe that the Lenape spoke of called the Allegewi that lived along its shores.  Apparenly the whole region of tributaries that flow into the Allegheny river was known as Alligewinenk, meaning "a land into which they came from distant parts."  It is believed that this is the river where Tom Hardy docked his houseboat, in the vicinity of Herr's Island, nowadays commonly referred to as Washington's Landing.  

The Ohio begins at the confluence of Pittsburgh's two other mighty rivers and eventually flows into the Mississippi.  Ohio comes from the Seneca word that means "large creek."  Unfortunately a state in our union also shares its name with this river.   I bet that's why it did not receive as many votes.

The clear favorite was the Monongahela river.  This muddy bottomed river is extraordinary.  It is navigable for its entire length, and is the longest navigable river in the world which flows North.  Monongahela comes from the Native American word "Mechmenawugihilla" (which is a really sweet word!) meaning "high bank, which is ever washed out and therefor collapses."  Due to this etymology it seems questionable if docking along its shores would be a wise move, though I often see barges docked there with no ill effect.  I'd put a house-boat there.

Thanks for voting everyone.  Stay tuned for the MWBT&PC coverage of the G20 world leaders in coming weeks as we hold an elimination tournament called the Battle for G1.

"Well Bob, he's either putting them in the Allegheny or the Monongahela... That narrows it down."
~Tom Hardy

By Lord Johnson

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Best Cop Poll Results

Again the poll has been pirated.

Who is the Best Cop Now?
Tom Hardy- 11%
Jimmy Detillo- 0%
Emily Harper- 11%
Nick Detillo- 0%
Eddie Eiler- 66%
Vince Hardy- 11%

So Eddie Eiler is single handedly voted as the Best Cop Now. (Thanks Pipe Von Pipenstein.)  This despite him being a mediocre detective, who obviously ignores facts and evidence,  and never nabbed the Polish Hill Strangler.

Tom Hardy, the clear choice for Best Cop Now, received only 11% of the vote.  This despite actually nabbing the Polish Hill Strangler [P.H.S.], and ending the fight by actually saying "Who's the Best Cop Now?" before tasering him in the mouth.

Nobody voted for Jimmy Detillo, despite his numerous utterings of the phrase.

Emily Harper, a.k.a. Jo Christman received 11% of the vote.  In all fairness she is key in nabbing the P.H.S.  She is also really good at racial profiling.  Though her relationship with Tom Hardy is a bit questionable, since she is supposed to be investigating him.  

Uncle Nick received no votes.  Too bad.  Great Mustache!

And Vince Hardy received 11% of the vote.  He did have an opportunity to take down the P.H.S but was cut down in the prime of his life before he had the chance.

Eddie Eiler!?!  Really?  

"You cheat good."
            ~Tom Hardy

by Lord Johnson

Monday, August 24, 2009

Poll Results

The Mt. Washington Brain Trust & Pipe Club was polled:

Which victim of the Polish Hill Strangler was most tragic?
Arlene Dunn- 0%
Cheryl Putnam- 14%
Paula Puglusi- 0%
Constance (Connie) Cabrizi- 57%
Kim Lee- 28%

Striking Distance fans have voted! And the overwhelming result (or poll tampering on the part of Pipe von Pipenstein) is that flight attendent and former love interest of Tom Hardy, Constance "Connie" Cabrizi was believed to be the most tragic of the losses incured by the notorious Polish Hill Strangler in the blockbuster action-drama-mystery Striking Distance. Strangely, she only appears twice in the film, once when being pulled from the river, and again in an autographed photo, which is a tad strange because she was a flight attendent. How come none of my flight attendents nor love interests ever get me autographed photos? (Sally Wiggin aside.) The overwhelming support of "Connie" from our voters was likely due to the tearful reaction of our protagonist Tom Hardy. He knew the other girls that he pulled from the icy embrace of Pittsburgh's waterways, yet had the most emotional response toward Constance. She must have meant something special to him. He even called her "Connie."

Not surprisingly Arlene Dunn received no votes.  She was an indentified victim of the Polish Hill Strangler's first wave of terror. She did not physically appear in the film, though Sally Wiggin does mention her.

Cheryl Putnam, received a small portion of the vote, most likely due the graphic protrayal of her kidnapping while being taunted by a remote-control Police Car and listening to the 1966 hit "Little Red Riding Hood," by Sam the Sham and the Pharohs. This opening scene fades out as her lifeless body is thrown over damn number 6 on the Allegheny River.

Paula Puglosi received no votes. This is awfully surprising because she is one of the only victims with lines in the film. Struck down by that dastardly TASER after leaving her nursing shift, she never even made it to the Bucco's game.

Kim Lee rightfully received 28% of the vote. Her character was developed to a minor degree, and had some great one-liners ("kinda like when you turn it off;" "Not what you'd expect;" etc.) Her death raises some questions like, did she at one time have a relationship with Hardy? This is much debated amongst Striking Distance Scholars.

Thanks for voting (not poll tampering). A new poll will go up later this week, and suggestions for future polls are appreciated.

"He's putting them in the water so I'll find them! He wants ME to find these girls!"
~Tom Hardy

By Lord Johnson

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pittsburgh Hero: Sally Wiggin

Rarely do a city's local newscasters earn the accolades, adoration, and the legendary status of this week's Pittsburgh Hero:  Sally Wiggin.

I was going to write an intricately researched and detailed profile of our city's favorite TV personality... but instead have decided to write a post based largely on vague perceptions and personal experience, in hopes of capturing the mystique and myth that is Sally Wiggin.

Sally has worked the Channel 4 Action News desk for nearly 30 years.  
Throughout her career, Sally has been a font of journalistic integrity and award winning stories. Watching Sally for years, I remember her receiving a number of awards in the eighties and nineties specifically a Golden Quill award, and some others that I can't remember off-hand.  In her extensive experiences at WTAE, she has covered serious topics as an anchor in the evening and lunchtime news, as well as conducting prominent interviews with local sports celebrities from Hines Ward to Myron Cope.

A woman after my own heart, Sally has an honesty in reporting that is unparalleled in modern media, but also displays an extensive knowledge of both Steelers football and Penguins hockey.  She also has a sharp tongue and an irreverent wit.  This is often wonderfully highlighted on the occasions in which she fills in on the WDVE Morning Show with Jim & Randy on 102.5 FM.  Who knew she is quite so hilarious?  Indeed, Sally Wiggin is the full package.  

An avid dog lover and owner, Sally is also highly active in the community.  
Sally is involved with a number of charities and cultural institutions.  She is a member of the Pittsburgh's Zoo's Board of Directors, and attends many of their fund-raising events.  Below, Sally is in an astounding Leopard-print dress that she wore to the 2007 Zoo Gala, where I was lucky enough to meet her.
I have seen Ms. Wiggin before from afar, as she flew by in an Action News Van, or rode through the town of Ligonier for their annual "Fort Ligonier Days Parade."  But at the zoo, we came face to face right in front of the elephant enclosure.  In that dress, she stole the spotlight from even the animals.  She looked amazing.  My unabashed crush on her could not over come the intimidation of actually seeing her in person.  She was larger than life.  I was star-struck.  Sally looks even better in person than she does on the screen.  (I know!?! Is that even possible?!?)  And she has graciously refused all but the most minor of plastic surgeries, to which many weaker stars succumb much earlier in their careers.  I hope this is a life choice she continues to honor.

Sally has maintained her status as a local icon even while local news outlets and newspapers struggle under tough economic conditions.  Her name is recognized across Western Pennsylvania, and her visage has even become a hipster staple on T-shirts and merchandise, such as in the examples below from Marginal Designs.  
I want one.

But her most striking and career topping role came in 1993 when she was prominently featured in Rowdy Harringon's Pittsburgh action-drama-mystery "Striking Distance."  Sally is featured early in film describing the circumstances which puts Bruce Willis' character Tom Hardy on the outs with the Detillos.  If you reference Sally Wiggin in, despite her daily appearances on the small screen, one film and only one film comes up... Striking Distance!  Awesome!

Thank you, Sally Wiggin.  Thank you for being an example of a strong female role model and an image of comfortable class and dignified cheekiness.  You have given Pittsburghers an example of grace and intelligence for all of us to aspire towards here in the "Best City in the World."  May you stick around for many years to come.

Below are Sally's lines from Striking Distance...
"...Police Department, zone one, Sergeant Roberts.  
The Polish Hill Strangler has claimed a fourth victim. 
The nude body of Arlene Dunn was recovered from the Ohio River.  
Police had been alerted to the crimes by the killer, who taunts them by playing the song "Little Red Riding Hood".  
The police brutality trial of Detective Jimmy Detillo is over.  
Detillo was convicted for the beating of Leon Watson. Watson remains in a coma. 
The key to the conviction was the testimony of Detillo's partner and cousin Thomas Hardy.  
Hardy testified that his partner used unwarranted force..." 
       ~Sally Wiggin
by Lord Johnson

More Three Rivers

The crew from the upcoming CBS Medi-drama "Three Rivers", were back in our fare city to film some scenes for the series which airs this fall.   This show, set in Pittsburgh, (the Best City in the Hemisphere,) had the cast and crew back in Pennsylvania for first time since shooting the pilot, which has since been scrapped and reshot on an LA sound stage.  

Acclaimed actor (at least acclaimed by that one girl who posted a comment) Alex O'Loughlin will play transplant surgeon Dr. Andy Yablonski who grew up in the Polish section of Mt. Washington between Cestone's Pizzeria and the Abbots' house on Virginia Avenue, (Ok, I embellished that part a tad, but he really is supposed to be from Mt. Washington.)  He now works at Three Rivers Memorial Hospital [Thanks Peak] located on the North Side between Heinz Field and PNC Park.

During one of the scenes filmed over the weekend another character named Eddie Eiler (not really) yells at him: 
"You may work across the river now, but I know where you came from.  Remember that!"
Obviously referring to growing up in such close proximity to so many Abbot girls, and the horrible lifestyle disparities between Mt. Washington and the North Side!?!

While in town, O'Loughlin was filmed doing some very Pittsburgh-like activities, such as playing Rugby with Pittsburgh Rugby Club...
and hanging out in the Southside, where he also ate a Primanti Brothers sandwich.  
O'Loughlin also wooed his bread n butter 'Burgh fans by saing: 
"I love the surrounding areas of the city.  It's a beautiful part of the world."
However he was also caught doing some very Un-Pittsburgh-like things.  Such as disparaging our city's official cuisine:
"I've had all the obvious stuff like Primanti Brothers and all that stuff, which is disgusting and fun but you never want to do it more than once."
He was also caught doing the VERY Un-Pittsburgh-like thing of spraying himself with Evian mist:  

So all in all, our Three Rivers actor seems to deserve a mixed rating in the pre-season.

"I knew the guy was white and very tall.  I started checking out basketball courts near the campus.  From the pictures I took of the white players, she identified him."
~Jo Christman (a.k.a. Emily Harper)

By Lord Johnson

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rapid Fire Pittsburgh News

One Man Saves Freedom
A Uniontown Bald Eagle (with the very original name "Freedom") is saved from fishing line.  Read it here.

That sure does HERT!
A 22 year old Mt. Washington man is arrested and charged with 100 counts of graffitti... including some on MY GARAGE!  His tag "HERT" will hopefully apply to his sentencing.  That'll teach him.  Read it here.

Arlen gets a facefull of this guy.  

He really likes the current Health Insurance system.  Click on the photo to see how much.

Cylcists v. Casino
Bicyclists hate to walk.  That's why they took the Rivers Casino to task.  Don't worry, Luke will fix it.  All you have to do is tell on him.  Read it here.

"Is there some meaning in all of this?"
~Tom Hardy

[Dude!  Check out the sweet Striking Distance scene illustrated by Mario Zucca @  That crazy cat and his fish breath!  Oh, Bob.)

by Lord Johnson

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Three Rivers

CBS is launching a new show set in Pittsburgh this fall called Three Rivers.  CBS describes it as 
a medical drama that goes inside the emotionally complex lives of organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons at the preeminent transplant hospital in the country where every moment counts. However, dealing with donor families in their darkest hour and managing the fears and concerns of apprehensive recipients takes much more than just a sharp scalpel.
I have mixed feelings.  
First, are they describing UPMC (the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) as the "preeminent transplant hospital in the country"?!?  That's pretty high billing.  I assume they ain't talking about Allegheny General. 
Secondly, I love anything set and/or filmed in Pittsburgh.  While the show is set in the 'Burgh, it is not being shot here.  The pilot was actually filmed in Pittsburgh, but due to terrible reviews and some cast changes, they are re-filming the first episode in their Burbank studios, and hoping for better results.  

Three Rivers, as a title, is clever, though.  It both refers to our "Best City in the Cosmos" Pittsburgh, as well as coyly referring to the three intertwined stories that each episode will feature: that of 1) the transplant physicians, 2) the organ recipient, and 3) the organ donor and family.  These stories are supposed to be intertwined, much as the Allegheny and Monongahela mix their muddy waters in creating the Ohio... or some such nonesense.  Oh well.  Whether the show will be successful in implementing its goal or whether this medi-drama will be any good remains to be seen.  I'm willing to give the show a chance, even though I hate medical shows.  For example...
Scrubs makes my crotch itch after all these years of inane jokes and soliloquies; House makes me induce vomiting during the obligatory "blood unexpectedly splattering all over the place" scene in every episode;  ER sucked as soon as Clooney left;  I do remember liking St. Elsewhere, but who doesn't love Howie Mandel.  I'm sure I'm missing some, but I bet I didn't care for them either. 

The one reason I might give Three Rivers a chance is the name.  There is a certain film that was supposed to be called Three Rivers (See above poster with rivers flowing in the wrong direction.)  It was a tale of intrigue featuring a desperate river cop named Tom Hardy, seeking the Polish Hill Strangler, murderer of his father... for some unknown reason, the title of the film was changed in post-production to the non-sensical handle of Striking Distance.  If this show is even half as good as Striking Distance, I'm in it for the long haul.  But first lets see if it survives the fall line-up.

"You've got to give these things a chance, Tommy...  That girl who works for Dutch is awful nice..."
~Vince Hardy

[Thanks to Mario Zucca for the Vince Hardy Illustration.]
by Lord Johnson

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Second Chances?

The city of Pittsburgh sure isn't acting like the "Greatest City in the World" this week.  

Five city employees were fired this week, even though they performed their jobs well nor did anything wrong on the job.   Their only crime was being a criminal. 

The Pittsbugh Post-Gazette has been reporting this case for a fortnight, yet has failed to work-up its typical furor over the incident, probably realizing that in some fashion they were the catalyst for the firings of these hard-working city employees. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made a hullabaloo in Rich Lord’s July 12 article “Pittsburgh’s Public Works lacking discipline consistency” wherein a city employee who was arrested for a drug charge in 2007 was later fired for the Bull-Shit reason that he failed to mark on his city employment application that he was charged with a felony in his youth.  They should have just fired him for the drug thing, but there are protocols to deal with, so they used this much easier way: firing him for providing false info on his application.  He complained, and rightfully so, that the city was acting inconsistently in firing him, because there were other city employees who were also convicted criminals who failed to 'check the felon box' on their employment applications and were still working for the city. 

In the aftermath of the story, other news outlets demanded to see worker lists and background checks.  The city and Mayor, in typical reactionary fashion, found six more convicted felons that failed to ‘check the felon box’ on their applications, and were originally all suspended.  Five were fired Monday.  (See Pittsburgh Dept of Public Works suspends no-tell payrollers, July 14.)

What’s crazy is that these firings come after quotes from city Operations Diretor Art Victor like:

"Certainly the public trust issue is something that we always consider," Mr. Victor said. "But again, you have to balance that against the fact that you can't discriminate against somebody just solely based on their history."

But that’s presicely what they have done, for the sake of consistency.  And…

[the city] "can't have a blanket statement or blanket policy that we're not going to hire anybody who has a felony conviction. We would be consigning people to a life sentence for something that they've already paid the price for."

Exactly!  As one of the fired workers said,

 "My record is clean, even my city record. I've never even been late."

So the real question is…

"When is somebody's debt to society paid?" as asked by Teamsters Local 249 Vice President Joe Rossi, "Where do we draw the line?"

I say we draw the line at removing the “felon box” from city applications.  There is a reason former felons don't check the felon box:  They don't get hired!  A small lie can mean the difference between a potential interview, and your application in the recycling bin.  Public works isn’t out there providing child care or even handling money, or other high risk jobs.  Public Works trims trees, collects garbage, paints, sweeps streets, drives trucks.  These are not jobs that a criminal record should even be considered about.  If somebody’s debt to society has been paid, it is our job as a society to help reintegrate them back into life.  It’s the most rehabilitative thing we could do.  I say re-hire the fired employees, and at a policy level, I say Ban the Box!  

"They're gonna throw the book at him, Nick.  Your son or not."

~Mr. Gunther, esq.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pittsburgh Villain: Mary Worth

So my campaign to bring Pearls Before Swine to the Sunday Comics Page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper has so far been unsuccessful.  We at the Mt. Washington Brain Trust & Pipe Club have long complained about the continued presence of strips such as Mary Worth and Rex Morgan M.D. in the comics page.  Meanwhile the humorous and irreverent social commentary on the lives of a Pig, Mouse, Crocodile and ‘Zeeba,’ as scribed by Stephan Pastis, fails to make the Sunday cut. 


To quote Harry Liller “I’m amazed at what goes on!”

Mary Worth is boring.  And Pearls Before Swine points this out in wonderful fashion in today’s strip [July 21, 2009.]  Enjoy. (or click on the comic to have a link to the daily Pearls Before Swine site)

Ha!  He puts her in a closet!  That mouse is crazy!

So come on Post-Gazette!  Drop Mary Worth, and replace it with Pearls Before Swine. 

By Lord Johnson

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pittsburgh Villain: Eddie Eiler

There are many great blog posts about the Pittsburgh Police Force and its valiant heroes:  Noble men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day defending the innocent, protecting our streets and bringing justice to lawbreakers. 

Unfortunately this post is not about one of those.

Below we will look at the complicated character that is Eddie Eiler.  (Wow! What a great piece of original Striking Distance art graciously provided by Mario Zucca, who's work can be found at

Detective Eddie Eiler served the Pittsburgh Police Department for many years eventually rising to the rank of homicide detective.  While his early years are shrouded in mystery, it is generally believed that his wife was unfaithful with his one-time partner.  His animosity toward one Tom Hardy has lead some to infer that animosity between Eiler and Hardy stems back to an affair between Mrs. Eiler and Mr. Hardy.  This is all conjecture and highly refuted by some Striking Distance scholars.  Regardless, their antagonistic relationship would only intensify over the years. 

The cuckolded Eddie Eiler allowed his bitterness to cloud his judgment regarding Tom Hardy’s actions as an officer years later when Hardy turned in fellow officer Jimmy Detillo.  Hardy, bound by the family creed of “loyalty above all else… except honor” felt he had no choice but to testify against his cousin and partner for harshly interrogating a suspect.  Indeed, the honorable Judge Helen Kramer would have sentenced Jimmy for conduct unbecoming an officer had he not thrown himself from the Sewickly Bridge. 

Eddie Eiler so enraged by the apparent betrayal of a Pittsburgh police officer, took every opportunity to express his displeasure with good Mr. Hardy.  His outbursts were frequent, and came in the form of verbal beratings and cheap shot punches at policemen galas.  Apparently Eiler valued loyalty above even honor, when it came to the police force.

His final redeeming moment came at the end of the film.  He offered himself up as a lamb ready to be sacrificed.  But, alas, Tom Hardy is not the forgiving type.

"Nah, it wouldn't do any good.  On the other hand..." 
~Tom Hardy

By Lord Johnson

Friday, July 10, 2009

Details of a Boat Jump

It warms the ol' pipe tobacco that there are other admirers of Striking Distance out there.  I found this website that goes into great detail about the boats (Chris Craft Capris) used in the filming of the movie and some great little tidbits about the dramatic boat jump scene near in the final chase sequence.  Did you know they actually had multiple boats take multiple jumps off of Dam #6 on the Allegheny River?  I sure didn't.  But I'm so glad I know now!

Enjoy this site at called Century Classic Power Boat,  (I'm a little jealous we didn't call our site that actually) at

"Come on, Tommy,  are you mad at me?...  I shot my dad."
~Jimmy Detillo

(Can this be!?! More amazing Mario Zucca Striking Distance Art!  My pipe tobackee can hardly believe!  Check out more of his stuff at

By Lord Johnson

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ranting and Raving

1. First, a rant against the driver of bus 31D - a bus that is part of the same public transit system that insists on increasing my fare 1000% every year (mild exaggeration). Mr. Crazy Bus Driver, I do not like being scolded. Especially if I'm being scolded because I look like what must be another incredibly hot girl living in the greater domain. Allow me to elaborate:

Me: Does this bus stop at the incline?

Crazy Bus Driver (CBD): Does this bus stop at the incline?

Me: Um, yes. The incline?

CBD: Does this bus stop at the incline?!

Me: (puzzled look)

CBD: It stopped there last night didn't it?!

Me: Um...

CBD: You asked me the same question last night!

Me: Uh, I didn't take a bus last night. I walked.

CBD: HA! (And not an I'm-being-funny Ha!, it was a yeah-right-you-LIAR HA!)

Me: (stunned)

I'll be honest, it takes a lot to get me stunned. Especially silent and stunned. But in my defense, the guy looked like a loon, and the whole thing was a little surreal. And now that I got over being stunned, I would like to say that I do not pay a million dollars a month (slight exaggeration) to be yelled at by a Crazy Bus Driver! Thank you.

2. On to the rave- no amount of hassle by a crazy bus driver can diminish the joy I experienced today from eating at the Chicken Latino in the Strip District. It was DELICIOUS!!! Soooo delicious. The chicken was fantastic and the sweet fried plantains were out of this world.

With food like that one, this city must truly be the Most Liveable City in the Universe! (Way better than chocolate ice cream.)

By: Lady Rivera

Pissing-off More Strangers

It has come as a shock a surprise that people who are not Mt. Washington Brain Trust & Pipe Club members, nor even residents of the sacred domain, have 1) visited our humble blog and 2) left with a fair amount of anger at our well-reasoned and insightful posts.  That fine gentleman who claimed that Pittsburgh was the "Best City in the World" and that chocolate was the best ice cream flavor certainly didn't seem too pleased with us, but that was an isolated incident.  Or so I thought...

During a recent occasion when I was wasting time leading up to an important deadline (like I am right now) I chanced to revisit some of the Brain Trust's first blog entries.  I was shocked to find that the one of our earliest attempts received a belated comment.  Let's Rohm These Streets where I rant and rave about the possible namesake for the alley behind my house, recieved the attention of one Wendy Goldman Rohm.

Ms. Rohm, who was probably far too gracious in her remarks, said in response to my accusation of her being an "unpopular novelist":

"i noticed your post while updating my google files. just a correction, while i have had no street named after me (!), i am not an "unpopular novelist." i am a New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction, not novels. thanks for the attention anyway! best, wendy goldman rohm : )"

Let this be an official apology.  I apologize for calling you an unpopular novelist and recognize that you are indeed a...
"New York Times bestselling author and literary agent, [who] has taught and lectured for MediaBistro, Yale University, onboard the QEII, and at numerous universities and organizations in the US, Europe and Asia. [And] has presented her writing and book workshops since 2002."

I was quite mistaken in calling her an unpopular novelist.  Indeed she has received quite a bit of attention for two of her books, one being a lengthy narrative about Bill Gates and Microsoft's troubles of the 90's, and another about Rupert Murdoch, I think.  While praise for her writing workshops has been nearly unanimous, the response to her books has been anything but.  

One critic called her piece about Microsoft:
...a book that is by turns salacious, unbelievable, and dated. Not a good mix at all. -- Business Week, Steve Hamm 

I personally am witholding judgement.  Though, one piece of her prose that was quoted on the website WindowsITPro was interesting, though hopefully not indicative of her entire writing style.  In a Windows website's unsurprising pan of the book we recieve the quote:

"Sleeping, a low hum in the chest, skin reddened by sun, head tight, seams of the skull traced like an etching across the crown taut with the monotony of time. It seemed he'd traveled farther than his thirty-nine years. Feet crossed at the ankles, lower lip slack as if having given up: all having been spoken. Echo in the sleeping brain. Traveling across water. Miles of it. Air like water filling his lungs, dreams billowing like balloons grasped in a fierce wind."

So Ms. Rohm I apologize for my mistaken comments, and will never call you a novelist again.  I promise.
Tom Hardy: "I feel like an asshole"
Vince Hardy: "Maybe you are an asshole... you always were kinda strange."
Tom Hardy:  "I had you as a role model."
Vince Hardy:  "You got that from your mother"
Tom Hardy:  "Let's leave Mom out of this."
Vince Hardy:  "Gladly!"

(YOWZA!  Frasier's dad and John McClain in a car together, expertly rendered by one Mario Zucca.  He has a website at, where you can see many of his Pittsburgh City Paper covers and much more!)

by Lord Johnson