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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Duck That Charmed Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh > your city.

It's a fact. Look it up.

Okay, so Pittsburgh is having a great run this year. First, the Pirates have finally vanquished the Ghost-of-Miserable-Seasons-Past by finally making the playoffs (Hallelujah! Praise Baby Jesus!), bringing long overdue positive attention to our little hamlet nestled in the rivers, and now a bigass yellow rubber ducky has invaded the three rivers to the delight of MILLIONS! Okay, not millions, but damn-near close to half a mill.

it's just so freaking happy!!

As part of the Cultural Trust's Festival of Firsts, dutch artist Florentijn Hofman brought his 40 foot rubber ducky to play in our waters. The ginormous bath toy has been displayed a number of times in international waters, but Pittsburgh is the first city in America to host Hofman's ducky.

That's right. He chose Pittsburgh. 


Suck it, haters.

I was beyond excited. Like, ridiculously geeked to see a 40 foot duck float in the river. I mean, c'mon. How adorable is this thing!

a snap of Marvin on the Allegheny from the artist himself

(watch the PG's video of ducky's birthing on the Ohio river here)

One thing you can say about Pittsburghers, we LOVE a party. And Dude, what a welcome party the Cultural peeps threw! (you see what I did there? I'm en fuego.) The only thing missing was fireworks, which is totally weird because we are utterly MENTAL for incendiary displays and this event kinda screamed for a Zambelli blow out. On second thought, it would have been totally uncool to blow up the ducky, let's call him Marvin, with a rogue firework ember on his first day in the Burgh.

Welcome, Marvin!! Now we will blow your butt to smithereens. WoooHOOOOOO!!! Oh, sorry Dutch Dude with the Swedish Chef sounding name.

Seriously. I can't be the only person who hears the Swedish Chef's voice in my head when I read that magnificent bastard's name?

And now you're doing it too, aren't you. You're welcome.


They closed the Clemente Bridge (formerly known as the Sixth Street Bridge because we love to rename shit over and over even though all of us oldsters STILL refer to aforementioned landmarks by their prior names, i.e. Macy's will alwaysalwaysALWAYS be called Kaufmann's, the Highmark building will be Horne's until the day I die and William Shatner will never stop being Captain Kirk...) .. wait, where was I?

Oh, yeah, they closed the bridge off to motor traffic, set up a big stage in the middle and food booths along the north-bound lane, allowing the minions to dance, eat and buy a crap-ton of ducky merchandise.

our friend, Carl captured Marvin from his car while stuck in traffic
he didn't even know what was going on
clearly, he lives in a vacuum

duck vs bridge

big duck, little ducks

There was an impassable mass of people at the head of the bridge, a jam for which the Squirrel Hill Tunnel would be envious. It took me 15 minutes to maneuver my way through the throng of yinzer humanity to get to the stairs leading to the shoreline.

dusk and duck

All the forced, grit-your-teeth patience it took to press through the flesh to get to the bottom was worth it once Big Ole Marvin floated into view. Gobs of excited people, young and old, lined both shore lines as well as the bridge. Marvin was greeted with exuberant cheers and chants of "Rubber Ducky" lead by Mikey and Big Bob from Kiss radio. Choruses of the Sesame Street standard, Rubber Ducky reverberated off Marvin and his flotilla.

Okay, that bit sounds downright lame, but it wasn't really. You had to be there to get caught up in the gooberness. Who knew the sight of a four-story replica of a common childhood tub toy could bring such joy. Maybe it was the common thread to our collective innocence. Maybe it was the ridiculous scale. Maybe it was that sweet, sweet face bobbing along. Whatever. Folks were giddy.

peeping duck
seriously, how could you not smile at this?

i love this photo
marvin breaks down cultural barriers
only in 'Merica

The festivities continued into the night with the guest of honor bathed in light at the foot of the bridge.

onlookers at the nesting place
(via John Johnson)

super blurry traffic cam
just before the giant spider pounces
for location purposes only
His Yellowness will be nesting at the Point, across from PNC Park until October 26, which means he'll be front and center for the Pirates Wild Card game Tuesday.


(via the geniuses on the interwebs)
aaaaaaarg! quack

I hope someone puts an eye patch and jolly roger on him. How fun would that be? Please somebody make this happen!!

THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!
(thank you, interweb geniuses for jumping on this immediately)

Kudos to the Cultural Trust for hitting the mark. Friday's duckfest was big fun even with the clusterf**k at the head of the bridge. So many people in town enjoying a volume of activities on a beautiful night in a vibrant city. For those who complain there is nothing to do in Pittsburgh... Go home, you're drunk.

Pittsburgh rocks, MoFos!

*quack quack* n'at

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In Which Sometimes In Life, Good Things Happen To Those Who Wait...And Wait...And Wait...

Okay, so you know how when something major occurs and people ask "where were you when such-and-such happened?" Well, this morning at zero-dark butt-crack, I kissed the patient-saint-who-is-my-husband goodbye, only this time he wasn't a warm mass of deep sleep. This morning he was conscious enough to break the news that the Bucs, the Heartbreak Kings of the kingdom, clinched a Wild Card playoff berth with a nail-biter of an ending against the Cubs.


They didn't make it easy on us fans either. Nosiree, Bob. It all came down to a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run blazing toward home and a bumbled field play...


Jiminey CHRISTMAS, could there have been a more dramatic way for the Bucs to make it to the playoffs?! I don't think so. I don't care. This way was one sweet, SWEET victory. I swear to the little Baby Jesus the entire Pirates Nation stood up and yelled a big, fat collective NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! at the sight of Byrd's bobble in the shallow outfield.

raising the jolly ruckus in the locker room

Aw, man, I could watch that video over and over and over, in perpetuity. It gets me a little verklempt. I admit it brought a tear or two thousand to me foggy eyes when I first saw the playback this morning at the Special K. Okay, fine. It makes me tear up EVERY time I watch it. I'm a little misty now.

I'm a sentimental sap, so sue and/or bite me.

bubbly bath
In one reasonably dry corner of the room, hitting coach Jay Bell, a link to the club's glory days in the early 1990s, smiled as he looked on.
“This is how I remember it,” Bell said, with a catch in his voice. “This is a long time coming.”
(excerpt from Tuesday's Trib)

goggles? really?
whatev. he just got into the playoffs.

the long-suffering announcers
busting out the celebratory Cohibas

I can't even describe how crazy good this feels. The city is jubilant. Good gravy we all needed this. Somebody PINCH ME!

(locker room celebration at 1:40 and 3:33)

During the celebration, Pirates Manager, Clint Hurdle was asked a question to which he answered, ab-so-bucn-lutely. Immediately it became a trending hashtag on Twitter. Almost immediately someone designed this shirt.

please let this be real

The interwebs rule, yo.

Geo and his Mom, Stancy, a devoted Pirates fan nearly her entire 87 years, have developed a sweet tradition over the last several years. Every time the Pirates win, Geo calls her. No matter where he is, either home or away, he picks up the phone and calls her. She, in turn answers with an excited "We won! We won!" Needless to say, there have been dismal years where they didn't talk much. Not this year. With 90 wins and counting, they've spoken a LOT. Stancy's endurance has definitely been tested over the past couple decades, but unlike me, she has hung tough in her die-hard devotion to the franchise. Her longevity has paid off. She has officially lived long enough to witness another winning season.

We still have a shot at making the regular playoffs. It involves us winning, the Cards losing and the feet of a live chicken or some other voodoo mathematics, but at this point, WE'RE IN, BABY!

A wild card, one-and-done post season is not the most ideal, but hey, no one expected this team to get anywhere CLOSE to this point... except for the former GM of WYEP, Lee Ferarro who has been tweeting me one word, "PLAYOFFS!" after almost every win for the last month. I owe you a drink, buddy.

HOLY HELL!! Seriously. Somebody pinch me.

No matter what happens from here on out, no one can take away the universally felt bliss of this moment.

Buctober, Sweet Cheeks. It's happening in the 412!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"We Play For October"


After 20 long, grueling, painful years of dismal performance, on September 8th, The Pittsburgh Pirates achieved what was thought to be the impossible... A winning season.

Cutch thanking the baby jesus and all the baseball gods for the clinch
"we play for october", BABY


Let's let that sink in a little bit. Let's savor that sweet, sweet victory.

You smell that? That's the scent of hope and long overdue promise. Go ahead. Jam your proboscis right down in there. Suck it in and hold it there. Aaaaaaaaa...

It all started with this:

A heart-wrenching loss in the playoffs to the Braves back in 1992, when a former, slow-running Pirate player beat Barry Bonds' throw to the plate with this slide. Thus began the Sid Bream Curse.

For two decades--an entire freaking generation--parents have been teaching their children how to deal with disappointment by exposing them to the ineptitude of past Bucco franchises. Each Spring the forever hopeful would hold their breath, certain this would be the year the Bucs would hit 500, only to have their spirits crushed by mid season.

But that all ended on a steamy, Texas field last Sunday night, September 8, 2013 as the Pittsburgh Pirates won game #82, clinching a winning season! Pirates fans' long, national nightmare was over. The moniker of LOSER expunged from Bucco vernacular. The curse finally lifted.

And there was joy in Burghville.

"we play for october"

Have a look at the win for yourself right here.

You gotta love the Cutch-Byrd-Pie celebration jump mid-field. Pure joy. These kids are fun to watch.

Of course, it took awhile to capture #82 after hitting the 500 mark. Five days, in fact. What's baseball without a little drama. They had to test fans' fortitude with a bloody four-game losing streak before busting it open in Texas.

I blame you, Sports Illustrated. Every time you put one of our team's players on the cover, bad things happen.

Dear SI Douchebags:

Leave. Our. Teams ALONE!


Maybe we broke that curse, too. As it stands right now, the Pirates are at 84 wins, only a half game out from first-place St. Louis, with a magic number of 10 to reach the playoffs.


Holy SHIT! Reaching #82 was reason enough to warrant a big-ass parade, in my humble opinion, but DAAAAMN, we have a real shot at post-season play here.

Post-Season Play. The Bucs.

Pinch me.

how much gum do you think Clint Hurdle will chew in
post season?

I admit, enduring so many misery-ladden seasons, made me cautious with my support and hesitant to go all in again this time around. 20 years of heartache will do that, but this is too much fun. I am officially on board the bandwagon. I have Bucco fever, BABY! And it is sweet!

For once, so much positive attention is being given to our little-engine-that-could team with the amazing heart. No matter how one feels about sports, the cold truth is this team has been tremendous for our city. The seats are filled, the surrounding businesses are booming, the streets are teeming with people proudly donning Pirates gear. EVERYONE is talking about the Bucs. The excitement is palpable!

Steelers, who?

The fans have earned this moment of glory. It's been a long time coming.

Some people have an interesting theory about this season. This would have been our 21st losing record. Roberto Clemente, one of the greatest players of the game, wore #21. Some would argue, the spirit of Roberto is with this team and would not allow another loss connected to his number. I like it. Let's do this for Roberto, shall we.

What a season.


The Bucs are taking the new MLB slogan to heart.

We play for October, Muthaf**ker!