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Monday, November 21, 2011

or excuse my hockey fangirl gush 

After 10 1/2 months of recuperation, speculation and anticipation, one of hockey's greats, Sidney Crosby hit the ice to a deafening roar from a capacity crowd.

And boy, did he bring it.

At 5:24 into his first game after a double concussion almost put an early end to his brilliant career, he stuffed the net with his first shot on goal after speeding down ice on a magnificent breakaway. 

You can watch this beautiful moment over and over and over to your heart's content right here

"I'm back, bitches!
How do you like me now?"

His face, the notable face of hockey, exploded with an ear-to-ear, self-satisfied grin, punctuated with an emphatic "FUCK YEAH!!" as the fans in the stands leapt to their feet in celebration. (Seriously. He clearly says the f-bomb. Go back and look at the clip. LOVE!)

a sea of Welcome Back SID signs
(Mario's idea)

He's back, BABY and making up for lost time.

Later in the first period, we all held our breath when he took his first crushing hit against the boards from the Islanders' Travis Hamonic, and we all exhaled in unison when he popped right back up to resume play as though he was never injured.


Sid promised us he wouldn't return until he was 100 percent. Surviving that first leveling, racking up two goals and logging two assists proves he's a man of his word. The Pens performed remarkably well in Sid's absence, keeping the team on top. It seemed each night marked a new leader. They made it damn difficult to pick my extra attacker for every game.

The boys were outstanding without him, but they are spectacular with him. His presence on the ice last night elevated every single teammate's level of play. For the first time in a long while, all of our big guns are healthy and skating together. Now we have three amazing lines jam packed with talent to die for. Unbelievable fun to witness.

As anxious as we all were to see our hero return to the lineup, imagine how frustrated Crosby felt. Being a hockey player isn't just what he does, it's who he is. And he's the best. He IS a Ferrari. He's in a class unto himself. His talent is a thing of beauty. It must have just killed him not to be able to perform at full tilt. We haven't seen a comeback of this magnitude since Mario's triumphant return. When asked about his return, the kid with the luscious red lips said, "I've been waiting a long time to have the chance to go out there. I wanted to make sure I gave it my best effort."

His best effort is the stuff of hockey legend.

It was one HELL of a contest. An emotional evening that galvanized a community and defied description. As Coach Bylsma stated after the game, "I don't really have good words for it. That was special in a lot of ways."


i'm too sexy for my stache...

Not only is Crosby perhaps the most awesome player in the NHL, he's incredibly sweet, grounded and the consummate team player. When asked before the game if he expects to be where he was in January of last year (66 points in 41 games), the superstar humbly replied "Probably not, but I expect to, hopefully, contribute."

Mission accomplished, Boy Wonder.

Welcome back, Sid. We've missed your magic.

Now if you can only get rid of that sorry excuse for a mustache, we'll be golden. Besides, you're too pretty for facial hair. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Baby's First Drag Pageant 
Or on the seventh day ye shall strut thy stuff

Okay, so Sunday night this happened.

That's right. That long, lithe lady rocking those heels (and skimpy threads) on well-defined calves... is a Dude.

I am not even kidding. There's not one inch of cottage cheesy flab on her 59 year-old bare buttocks. That is soooo not fair.

Miss Thang working that dress

A pile of us old friends attended the Tri-State Drag Pageant. The 19th Annual for them, the first for all of us. I had heard about these affairs from our beloved niece, Regi who attended a number of similar festivities when she lived in the Burgh. I'm not unfamiliar with this particular type of spectacle. Long ago and far away when Geo and I used to frequent the indie movie theaters, we saw the quintessential drag-pageant doc, Paris is Burning, but I've never experienced one first hand.

these two are like 6'10"
It was too funny. Giiiiirl, there was so much glitter, lashes and falsies, it felt like a real-life Priscilla, Queen of the Desert without all the excessive ABBA love. And that was just the audience. Hey Oooooo!

Man, I love that movie. Did you recognize the girl in the long white wig? That's Guy Pearce. Yes, that Guy Pearce from LA Confidential and Memento. No shit. He looks FABULOUS in make up. The other one is the nasty sunglass-wearing cur from The Matrix and the third is legendary actor Terrence Stamp as the old queen. It's a great movie. Go Netflix it.


I'm not a short person, but waiting for my buds in the lobby I felt like a munchkin amongst the towering frames of poofed out, vamped up and tucked in attendants gliding along in their five inch heels.

Seriously. Only a drag queen can walk in these beauties
no cankles on this runway, dahlink

How do they do that?!? I don't know of any women who can effortlessly strut along in those spikes. Again, so not fair.

the higher the hair, the closer to God

The competition was broken up into two parts: evening wear and talent which mainly consisted of lipsynching, voguing and emoting to songs. In between sets, former winners and famous (to this community) performers worked the crowd into a fevered pitch with what I assume are their classic numbers and in turn were showered with appreciation in the form of singles.

She's as gorgeous as Lena Horn
how is that even possible?

By far the most amusing and slightly disturbing act of the evening was this Joan Crawford medley.

That is just so wrong in so many deliciously sick and twisted ways. I particularly enjoy how her wig moves back and forth as if floating on a cushion of air.

In the end, the winner was a gal who goes by the middle name of Pork Chop.

Some observations:

1. Cartwheels and handsprings on a narrow runway are impressive in their own right, but executed in four-inch heels is downright magnificent.

2. The act of lining up to hand over dollar bills to the "ladies" performing on the runway felt a little icky and stripperish, but who am I to judge.

3. Standing beside beautifully bedazzled, statuesque drag queens in the ladies room is a little unsettling, if only for the fact they make this natural born double XXers feel like a troll.

4. FYI: Drag queens sit when they tinkle, Yo.

5. The Ladies looooooove the bling.

6. When the gals by bazongas, they buy up, BABY.


7. Is it pervy that I couldn't stop looking at their boobage spilling forth from their deep V necklines? I mean, come on. They were just... out there.

8. Not all drag queens are created equal as evidenced by this dude in the red frock. From the front, he looked like Ned Flanders and he is NOT meant for heels. Ever.

stick to the church lady footwear

And Finally, the question you all want to ask....

9. Where do they hide their junk? Seriously.

so little fabric
so much duct tape

The evening was certainly an interesting look into an entire subculture I didn't realize existed in our town. A nurturing culture which takes care of its own. One which encourages it's member to be who they are with a warm embrace, cheering each other on. Sure there was a lot of good-natured snark and attitude in the room, but I could also feel an enormous amount of love and support.

And really, how could that be a bad thing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

And On A Lighter Note...
or the implosion of a presidential hopeful

Okay, so first of all today is November 11, 2011. In short form that's 11-11-11.


Coolness, right? This configuration only comes around once a century, so you'd expect something big to happen, right? Well, maybe we can all just make a wish that all the crazy, crappy, hot mess around us will magically clean itself up. Nice thought. Good luck with that. As it stands, TONS of people are marking this historical moment by getting themselves hitched. Their own version of wishing for a happy ending.

Anywho, our dear, dear cross-Commonwealth friend, Beeeeeeal is one of those folks who sees the 11:11 configuration often in his daily life's path. Today is the mother load of 11s for him. His Mecca, if you will. We couldn't swing a meet-up for this momentous occasion, but hopefully he's got something special cooked up. Hopefully it's not one of those weirdo happenings where the most devoted of devotees ascends to a higher plane, because we'd really miss him down here in the trenches.

He doesn't read this, but hey, HAPPY 11-11-11 Buddy!! Go forth and do whatev makes you happiest.


The lighter note for the end of this heavy, heavy week comes in the form of one bumbling, execution-happy presidential hopeful who by all accounts self-destructed at the last debate. Of course, that's not to say he won't rise above and actually be elected since we've somehow been transported to, you know, Bizarro World.


In case you missed it because like me, you can't stomach watching these Republicans debate about how much they would love to kill the infirm, education funding and basically the entire middle class, here's his stellar performance:

Funny enough, but wait... Here comes Jon Stewart and his magnificent band of merry pranksters. Enjoy the brilliance that is smart, edgy humor skewering those who think too highly of themselves.

Happy 11-11-11, y'all. Happy Veteran's Day to all the brave service men and women who risks their lives everyday so buffoons like those in the above video can spew their rhetoric without fear of corporal punishment. And Happy three-day weekend to all toiling in traditional work environments.

A big bear hug of thanks to you, Jon Stewart for making me belly-laugh again after an unbearable week. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Which I Weigh In On Unspeakable Acts Of Human Cruelty 

I made it through page 10 of the Jerry Sandusky Grand Jury report before I got physically ill.

That's the section devoted to the 2002 eyewitness account by a graduate assistant of the former Penn State coach anally raping a ten year old boy in the shower at the Lasch Football building, the inaction of all parties involved to stop this despicable monster and the ensuing cover up.

I was red with rage. I still am.

This entire, disgusting hot mess could have been avoided had someone, ANYONE done the right thing and called the police immediately. The boy was only ten. TEN, for crissake!

Sure it's shocking to witness such a vile act, but I'm sorry, you don't just run to your Daddy and cry on his shoulder then wait a day to talk to your supervisor who talks to his supervisor who sweeps it under the carpet never to be spoke of again. Screw chain-of-command proprieties! In that instance you step in, pull that prick off of that little boy, call the police and beat the shit out of that fucker until the cruiser gets there.

I repeat, he was TEN FUCKING YEARS OLD!

Do you remember being ten? Do you remember how innocent you were at that tender age, not having a care in the world with no responsibilities except to do well in school and play with your friends. Trusting the adults around you to take care of you. Knowing nothing about the dark side of the world or the big bad wolf dressed in upstanding-charitable-organization-founder's clothing. Can you even imagine how shattered that little boy became in that moment. How splintered his little psyche is now after walking nine years down that dark path.

He looked right. At. The. GA.

How do you NOT do something after registering the terror in his little eyes?

I tell you what, if it was my kid, GODDAMN there would be a crater in Sandusky's head inflicted by the bloodied lead pipe in my hand.

Last night the Board of Trustees at Penn State cleaned house, terminating all involved including the President of the college and Joe Paterno.


They should all rot in hell for placing priority on football over a child's innocence. Their silence allowed this predator to violate at least 20 other young boys through his unchecked involvement in The Second Mile, a charity Sandusky started to "help children who need additional support and would benefit from positive human interaction."

I taste bile.

And yet there are still Paterno supporters who feel he was targeted by the media as a scape goat. Really.  I say to them, if this was Paterno's grandchild being heinously violated you better believe he would have demanded the firings of every single department member including the janitors.

These same die-hard supporters call him a victim in this sordid scenario. Clearly they have not read the Grand Jury Report. If the had, they'd realize Paterno's not the victim here. The victims are the children who are forever damaged and deeply scarred by the sick and vile actions of a pedophile enabled by the INACTION of heartless men solely concerned with their own survival.

The video of Paterno asking the students who had gathered around his house Tuesday evening to pray for the victims in this case makes me want to vomit. It's offensive. Where was this compassion back in 2002 when he had the power to stop the madness? Too little, too late Jo Pa. Buh-Bye. You got to have a life. These poor kids were robbed of theirs. As for that bastard, Sandusky may he be buggered by Clydesdales for all of eternity for what he's done.

Last night students rioted in the ironically named Happy Valley not because of their outrage over a cover-up of a despicable crime perpetrated on an innocent child, but because the football coach was fired.

(shakes head)

Someday, when these students gaze into the eyes of their own ten year old child, they'll look back on their misguided anger and feel ashamed.

The only positive thing we can hope to come out of this quagmire is next time, and sadly there seems to be no shortage of predatory monsters in the world, finally the child will come first.

Much better written related articles by Harlen Coben, Rick Reilly, the former Pitt Girl, Pittsburgh Sports writer Gene Collier

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In Which Ray Davies Lands In The Burgh

Okay, so the one regret I have from our virginal voyage to SXSW last winter (has it been over a year already?) is that we didn't head on back to La Zona Rosa to catch the bulk of Ray Davies' set after dumping out of Stone Temple Pilots early.

Kings of the Brit Pop
Last night that wrong was righted in exemplary fashion on an architecturally elegant library stage east of center city. Pittsburgh may not be as romantic as a Waterloo Sunset, but the love was certainly flowing unconditionally last night for legendary Brit, Ray Davies.

After dining on some very tasty vegetarian fare served to us by a braided, hippy-type lass with road-kill breath and an irksome, high-pitched, helium voice, while being serenaded by a fashionably-challenged, tattooed Reubenesque jazz singer with the odd moniker of Phat Man Dee and her crooning paramour, my SX buddy, Betty and I ventured the four blocks to the historic landmark.

It was a big couple of days in the Burgh. Bruce Springsteen was playing back-to-back concerts across the river in Oakland with local rocker, Joe Grushecky. Rumors were circling in the Will Call line that Mr. Davies was planning to high-tail it after the show to take the stage with the Boss and company. It didn't happen, of course, but boy that would have been something. But honestly, this Honey Badger didn't give a shit that Ray called it a night, being as I had neither a ticket nor any inclination to crash that party. We were having quite the party of our own in Homestead.

Hipster Doofus to the right
Once we downed our customary libation amongst the annuls of "oral tradition", it was time to take our place amidst the near-capacity crowd.

file this on the shelf of Yum
 Dressed in a dapper, fitted black jacket and skinny jeans that may or may not have been originals stored in his cedar chest from his Kinks genesis in the 60s, this Dedicated Follower of Fashion took the stage with an Irish guitar accompanist in tow. The only deviation from his past hipster persona were the sensible sneakers he now sported in place of his trademark Beatle boots.

He performed eight new and old numbers acoustically, including the classics Sunny Afternoon and Waterloo Sunset, coaxing the audience to sing and clap along from the get-go.

(I got busted by the photo Nazi while taping the start of Waterloo Sunset, hence the lack of videos. Whatev. It was a grand night of popular rifts.)

Then the band joined in and things got jumping with a full-on rocker version of 20th Century Man. Davies dished out the hits one after another to the crowd's delight: Dedicated Follower, Hollywood Boulevard, Ape Man, a bluesy start to You Really Got Me before cutting loose with a trademark power pop rendition, stopping occasionally to dance like the delightfully awkward white guy he is and punctuating several songs with a rock star jump. He got some pretty sweet air, too. And he wasn't even winded. Not bad for a 67 year old pioneer of Brit Pop.

The evening came to a close with a very spirited Lola and All Day and All of the Night that had all of us middle-agers on our feet dancing and singing. With the last note still hanging in the air, he made his way down across the front row shaking hands, signing autographs and genuinely looking like he had as much fun as we did.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Long-Standing College Tradition Or Cheap Way To Grab Free TP

Okay, so the kids at John Brown University have established a unique 30-year b-ball tradition to celebrate the first basket of the season. 

The coach knows it's coming, along with a mandatory technical foul, but come on! That is awesome. How fantastic would it be to open every fiscal year with a steady stream of unspooling toilet paper? (pun intended) Bonding worker bee to manager in a blur of white for at least a moment before the mental beatings begin again. 

In TV land, this would be the perfect ploy to mark the start of a ratings month. Surely people would tune in to watch the spectacle of hundreds of rolls of Charmin cascading onto the anchors from every angle in the studio. Think of the numbers a stunt of this caliber could generate!


 February book is just around the corner. Time to stock up.