Archive for April, 2007

Witty Title About Cigarettes, Maybe With a Smoke Pun

I know, cigarettes and second-hand smoke are dangerous. If you breathe even the smallest microgram of tobacco smoke, you are instantly infected with tiny microbes that cause all seventeen thousand known varieties of cancer, and your risk of developing emphysema increases by six hundred percent.

But I’m not here to argue about whether smoke is dangerous, dirty, icky, smelly and gross, because all of those things are demonstrably true. I started smoking in college to impress a girl, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I’m going to quit Real Soon, hopefully before it kills me.

The smoking ban due to take effect at midnight tonight is a bad thing. I know it comes from good intentions and I know that those who support it have their hearts in the right places. Cigarettes are bad. People shouldn’t smoke.

But businesses should have the right to decide whether people can smoke on their premises. Prospective employees can choose not to work at such locations. Patrons who prefer clean air can choose to eat or drink elsewhere. We the people can vote with our wallets.

But that’s simply not good enough for hands-on governments and the people behind them. Governments should trust that its citizens can decide for themselves what they should and shouldn’t do, and trust that business owners and their employees can decide whether they want to work under clouds of smoke.

The answer to almost every question of government policy is this: more freedom, more choice, more individual liberty. The smoking ban, and the injustice it represents, is no different.

I’m So Exited!

So what’s it like to be an artist in America’s #1 mid sized art city?

Unknown Local Artist Finally Earns Long-Deserved Recognition

Andrew Warhola, the iconoclastic icon of repurposed icons and spawn of this city’s steel-lined loins, has moved to the top of the global art market. His 1963 work, Green Car Crash, is expected to sell for a whole lot of money.

Frankly, it’s about time. Pittsburgh has suffered long enough under the yoke of major metropolitan artists and their New York swagger. I, for one, am glad that our city’s practically unknown artist and his voluminous work finally get the recognition they deserve.

Make sure you get your absentee bids in soon! The Christie’s auction starts on May 17th.

Poltics & Beer: The Third Round

So election day is almost here and you have no idea who to vote for, or you are a political junkie but you want to hear more than what comes out of the press offices on Grant street. Luckily, there is a weekly web program for you – The Third Round (which I always post over here on Progress Pittsburgh).
What started as small podcast in 2005 has now become a weekly video cast of

Pittsburgh journalists and politicos discuss the 2007 elections over beer. The shoot doesn’t begin until after they’ve had their third round of drinks.

This is a great place to get a more intimate look at what some of Pittsburgh’s politicos are thinking about politics.

Adventures in Brookline

I’ve been here seven years, but I’ve still visited less than half of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. Whenever I want to broaden my horizons, I need look no further than Urban Hike. Every month or so, these brave explorers pick a neighborhood or two and lead us around, ending with a stop at some local eatery. Yesterday, we explored Brookline. Our explorations included:

  • Learning that Brookline is the city’s second-largest neighborhood (the largest being my own Squirrel Hill).
  • Meeting newly-elected State Rep Chelsea Wagner, who was kind enough to let a bunch of non-constituents crash her open house.
  • Touring a pita bakery (with some really good meat pies).
  • Seeing the newly-renovated Brookline Library and its “community living room”.
  • Tasty Greek food at “It’s Greek To Me”, a little hole-in-the-wall on Brookline Boulevard that I’d gladly go back to.
  • Finding not one, but two neighborhood bakeries on the same block. Cupcakes have been purchased; I’ll let you know which ones our panel prefers.

Photos from the hike are here. The next one is scheduled for May 19th on Neville Island; mark your calendars and git on aht!

Gravity Is For Little People

OK, I have to admit that I don’t have a TV and was somehow not even aware that this had happened. Anyone looking for a more eloquent display of the arrogance of so much of the political class needs to look at this jerk.

“Corzine, who took his first steps Wednesday since his April 12 crash and is expected to leave the hospital in the week ahead, suffered 11 broken ribs, a severe leg fracture and other injuries when the state SUV in which he was a passenger went out control and smashed into a guard rail.
The vehicle, driven by a state trooper, was going 91 mph in a 65 mph zone with its emergency lights flashing.

Corzine, late for a meeting between radio host Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team, was not wearing a seat belt as he rode in the front seat.”

As, for our own personal jerk —

“Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell required his drivers to obey posted speed limits after The Philadelphia Daily News reported that troopers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike clocked his state-issued Cadillac DeVille at more than 100 mph on nine separate occasions.”

” I didn’t know we were going at 100 mph” say’s our jerk. The people hurt or killed by these idiots can be comforted by knowing that they didnt run into any mere mortal.

Another Video On Swoon

Here’s another video on the artist swoon. Careful viewers may recognise seeing some of these images around Pittsburgh.

Shakeup at the Mayor’s office!

Friday afternoon massacre! O’Connor’s holdovers shunted off to crappy jobs that they will quit at their first opportunity!

Mr. Skrinjar said his role will be overseeing senior activities and programming… He earned $72,091. The city has several supervisory positions related to senior activities paying between $44,241 and $66,740.

The man had to announce his own demotion to the press, and the Boy Mayor doesn’t even have a replacement lined up yet. Harsh.

Since the Mayor’s staff will no doubt be busy figuring out which of them still have jobs, I ginned up this graphic to make sure their billboard campaign continues smoothly:

It is all yours, fellas. I stole the image of Tiger Beat’s favorite municipal executive from the City website anyway.

Swoon Talk At MOMA

Here’s a video of Swoon’s Talk at the Museum Of Modern Art

World Famous Artist Showing In Braddock Tonight

Swoon In Garfield
Swoon In Brooklyn
More Swoon

One of the weird and I guess kind of great things about Pittsburgh is that people and things that would cause riots in many places go unnoticed here. The images above, which you might have run into in doorways, or under bridges in Pittsburgh are from one of the most Famous artists to regularly show here. She goes by the name of Swoon and will be in a group show at in Braddock tonight.

Swoon first took her art to the street five years ago while she was a fine-arts student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She was compelled to take her work outside after suffering what she calls “the quiet, boring preciousness” of the gallery world.

“I wanted to jump out of my skin,” she said. But the streets were free and open to a wider range of expression. “Because it’s kind of an outlaw thing, you don’t have to go through official channels,” she explained. “It’s trying to create a visual commons out of the derelict walls of the city.” (She has since returned to the gallery scene, as the star of her own shows in Berlin, Miami and Cincinnati. “I need to make a living,” she shrugged.)

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