Yo, Rocky! (no, not that one …)

Tribune Review review, Sept. 16, 2015:
By Tom Scanlon

The Steelers dynasty may have found its Homer.

Unlike his famous teammates, Rocky Bleier was never an All Pro. Yet he may be a Hall of Fame storyteller, judging by the debut of Rocky the Raconteur.

The official title is “The Play: With Rocky Bleier” — and the title was the only slightly clunky thing about a polished one-man show.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/theaterarts/9102449-74/bleier-rocky-steelers#ixzz3pDh6Xdqi

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“Controversial” (or was it pedestrian?) story on the dangers of walking in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette essay on “R.I.P in Pittsburgh” and comments:

By Tom Scanlon

By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.

No worries, it’s completely my fault, as I engage in extremely risky behavior. I’m not a sky diver, drug taker, mountain climber, train hopper or mixed martial arts fighter, and I don’t participate in the Running of the Bulls.

My hobby is far more hazardous than all those and more, as I am a Pittsburgh pedestrian.

I know I should stop, but I can’t.

How did I start? Probably when I lived in pedestrian-friendly cities, like San Francisco and Seattle. In San Francisco, I remember walking from one end of the city — the Financial District — to the far end — the aptly-named Sunset District — pausing only for refreshments at neighborhood bars, often walking down the middle of streets. It should be noted that this was in the 1990s, before Facebook, Yahoo and hundreds of start-ups landed and took over the city, like techie Martians.

Later, I roamed up to the Northwest, to what was a sort of pedestrian Mecca; I imagine thousands of faithful walking for miles to Seattle, in order to … walk some more.

In Seattle, drivers hold crosswalks as sacred as hunters cherish the Second Amendment; instead of the Right to Bear Arms, in Starbucksville they celebrate the Right to Cross Streets.

Let’s say you are walking up Pike Street through the drizzle and are about 10 paces from a mid-block crosswalk. A Seattle driver coming ripping through the rain will brake hard, waiting for you to catch up — IN CASE you want to cross the street. And if you get to the crosswalk but have no intention to cross, waving the car on to signal you’re continuing on this side of the street, the driver will continue, but with a frown of disappointment.

Different story, here — but you know that, as you’re a Pittsburgh driver.

When you are driving and you see a pedestrian up ahead tentatively leaning into a crosswalk, you lift your right foot off the gas pedal — only to give you some momentum before stomping it down. You’re being courteous: The sound of your revving engine will serve as a warning to the walker, who, in most cases, will be me.

Being slow to react, I will leap back to the relative safety of the sidewalk (assuming it isn’t blocked by parked cars) as you speed by, screaming out your window, “Get a car, loser!”

Thinking about it, it seems to me that Pittsburgh drivers aren’t any more aggressive and unforgiving than, say, New York City drivers. But in Manhattan, herds of pedestrians cross streets; New York drivers would love to rip through crosswalks and send walkers scurrying, but they would be attacked by hundreds of angry foot soldiers.

Rather than platoons of pedestrians, here, it seems, it’s just pretty much me, an unarmed army of one ambling along in an enemy uniform (San Francisco Giants cap, Seattle flannel jacket). Perhaps the crosswalks on my South Side path should have crosshairs?

Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating for Pittsburgh drivers to be more wary of and/​or courteous to pedestrians. I understand deeply in-bred cultural mores and merely think some warning signs might be wise, to protect those new to town.

At a busy intersection, when the traffic light turns green for cars and the pedestrian sign shifts from a red hand to a white man (racist/​sexist?), it might be good to add a subtitle, stating “AT YOUR OWN RISK!” Or, “IF NO CARS ARE COMING AND BE SNAPPY ABOUT IT!” Or, for a more subtle touch, a soundtrack of mocking laughter.

Better yet, so as not to disturb you hurrying drivers in the least, how about having elevated zip lines at each intersection? Pedestrians would climb up to a platform elevated a good 15 feet off the ground, then just zip over to the other side — as cars and trucks rumble by underneath.

You’re right, Pittsburgh’s probably not quite ready for that. Maybe when the Lawrencevillers start to get some political traction …

As for me, I’ll be long gone, as I have accepted my fate. On a gray, drizzly day, I’ll have a flashback to being in Seattle, come to a crosswalk and, with that Northwestern pedestrian confidence, stride across without hesitation.

I apologize in advance to the driver who, scrolling through his phone app to find the least-trafficked way home, hears a strange “THUNK” as he runs over me. After the briefest of pauses, he will shrug his shoulders and stomp on the gas pedal, muttering, “These potholes! What’s that app to report them?”

Tom Scanlon is a freelance journalist/​social services worker living on the South Side, where he is likely to meet his end (tomscanlonsblog@gmail.com).

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Mexican prison officials: “We had no idea it was a tunnel …

…Shorty told us he was putting in a hot tub.”

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“London is to the billionaire…

…as the jungles of Sumatra are to the orangutan.” Boris (!) Johnson, mayor of London, radio interview.

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Changes soon at Prescott Valley Event Center?

In the fall, a last-minute settlement prevented All State’s $35 million lawsuit against the Prescott Valley Event Center (and various connected parties) from going to trial. A curious part of the settlement conditions: All State insisted that the Fain Signature Group-Global Entertainment partnership that had been operating the event center be dissolved, with the Fain family taking over. That, apparently, has been delayed by Global (which has changed its operating name to International Coliseums Company) filing for bankruptcy, though sources say a deal is in the works.

Links to my series on the troubled, complex event center. (Courier graphic)


center losing hundreds of thousands of dollars per year

explaining the complex operating/ownership arrangement

debt escalating

bond underwriters settlement

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How low will gas go?

With gas pumps starting to look like slot machines, in the Prescott area, estimates from $1.60 to $1.90. story

Photo illustration by Scott Heide/PNI Graphics

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It was a very good year – for local real estate

Home sale prices up in all four quad cities – and Obama plan may fuel sales. Story

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Solar series: Savings through the roof

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

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The crowdfunding revolution

No money? No business plan? No problem!

Daily Courier story

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Prescott: Home of the Friendly Ghosts

No “Amityville Horror” terrorizing or “The Shining” bloodbaths in Prescott, where lodging ghosts seem more ready to charm than harm.

Daily Courier story

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Oil prices falling like drunken ice skater

“Vladimir Putin doesn’t like this trend – not one bit.

But Jackie Cole thinks it’s great”

Daily Courier storyEmbedded image permalink

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Obama: “If Republicans won’t try to impeach me … I’ll impeach myself!”

Threatens executive order. Republicans decry “publicity stunt.” Ted Cruz: “Who does he think he is – Cleavon Little?”

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Please join me in my drive to stamp out the whistling cell phone ring

Your contribution of as low as $1 and as high as infinity will help me make society a less annoying place to live.

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Please join me in my fight to outlaw “Selfies”

We must stop this, NOW, before it’s too late!

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Obama: “You CAN keep your doctor. As a friend.”

White House insider says Prez’s “you can keep your doctor under the new plan” quote was “taken out of context. He meant you can always stay on close terms with your doctor — there’s absolutely nothing in the Affordable Care Act that says you can’t be friends with your old doctor on Facebook. You can go golfing together, catch a movie — whatever! And, even if your doctor isn’t covered by your ACA plan, there’s nothing that says your doc can’t treat you on a pro bono level.”

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Snowden: NSA hacking Netflix accounts! (White House denies “any and all knowledge of this or anything else bad”)

German Chancelor Merkel: “I thought something was funny, when I got a documentary on J. Edgar Hoover, instead of ‘The Obama Deception.'” White House denies “any and all knowledge of this or anything else bad.”

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NFL’s MVP (Most Valuable Punk) is . . .

Richie Incomprehensible! (Who else?!) He wins a bag of flies . . . and tearing the wings of them will give him hours of fun!

. . . More on the “All-Punk Team” later.

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Watch this clip . . . and then buy an “I Heart Antonio Smith” T-shirt


Proceeds of sales for research on a cure for meatheaditis.

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Hollywood producer offers “role of lifetime” to Incognito: “Dumb and Homophobicer”

Pouncey to co-star . . . if he can stay out of jail.

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Happy Precedents Day! Vote on your favorite Precedent:

a) Extended Happy Hour

b) Casual Friday

c) “Twates” (Twitter Dating)

d) Medical Marijuana To Treat Colds (“Stone a Cold, Tweak a Fever”)

e) Unattended Kids Running and Screaming Through Stores

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Report: NFL lockerrooms will have “Towel Marshals”

Federal agents, similar to Air Marshals, to enforce new anti-bullying, sexual harassment etc. regulations.

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Putin wears Pussy Riot T-shirt, but experts say “his smile is obviously fake”

Pussy Riot in turn stages protest concerts, pledging “we won’t stop playing in churches until he takes off our T-shirt!”

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Tea Party Celebrates Cold Snap!

Outdoor rallies across Midwest, claiming “extreme cold temperatures disprove — again — the Global Warming Obamamyth!” Rallies deemed a success, though dozens of Tea Partiers taken to ER’s for pneumonia and flu-like syndromes.

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Obamacare “Black Friday Specials”

Presidential announcement coming soon: “Anyone who makes a Black Friday purchase of insurance on the ACA exchange will receive, in addition to deep discounts on excellent plans, two free co-pays.” 

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Found Stuff: “My Favoritest Movies, Ever”

Found a couple creepy, hand-written lists (I’ll save the “Best Scarey Movies” for Halloween) on an empty table at Scottsdale’s Mustang Library:

My Favoritest Movies, Ever

1) The Psycho.

“The Shower Scene” has to be the sexiest, ever! This is the best Albert Hitchcock movie (except maybe “The Halloween.”) He is, truly, an ingenious.

2) My Dog Skipped.

For those who havent’ seen it, I wont’ give away the ending. But I cried like a baby when the kid died.

3) Harold & Mod.

The old lady is hilarious! I love it when she swears! Very sexy. Continue reading

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