Archive for May, 2008

Sid the penguin and crazy division

SidI’m pretty sure that WTAE reported on this before, but of course, with the Stanley Cup finals going on, it’s a good piece to run again. I had a chance to go to the Aviary and see Sid, and I had a blast. I had never been there before, and the whole experience was so much fun. I did find out that I ended up going through the entire place backwards, but I still maintain that I did it correctly, because if you go through the “correct” way, the quotes hanging from the ceiling down the one hallway would be unreadable.

But I would like to draw attention to this quote from the article:

“He can eat up to a pound of fish a day by himself,” said Erin Estell, manager of animal programs at the aviary. “He only weighs about five pounds. In the wild, that is like a fifth of their body weight that they are eating.”

As opposed to when they are in captivity and division is different…?

But I digress. If you get a chance, go check out the Aviary. The schedule (and website) of the Aviary has changed since I’ve been there, and it looks like you can meet Sid and the other penguins Monday and Tuesdays in the atrium.

Click here for the National Aviary

Added: Oh my goodness, I either broke, confused or outsmarted the coding of Metblogs….this entry has no related entries!

Added again: Never mind, it found something!

Home Sweet Mellon

Photo courtesy of jomilo75

Sheesh, I go away on vacation for ten days and the ice caves in.

So we now find our once-indomitable Penguins in the odd position of being behind in this year’s playoff run. By two games.

And scoring no goals.

Someone check the Mellon Arena basement; did the right team show up in Detroit on Saturday and Monday?

I’ve watched the Finals with two hands planted firmly in front of my face. My nice big LCD screen looks weird when framed by my fingers, letmetellyou.

But take heart, fans – all is not lost.

It’s only two games. With two quick, solid wins here at home, the Penguins will be right back in it. Remember, Detroit went up 2-0 on Nashville in the first round with complete dominance of the Predators. And then promptly lost the next two in Nashville; the “inevitable sweep” predicted by analysts died a quick death.

And don’t forget Dallas; Detroit had them on the ropes 3-0 when the real Stars finally arrived and took two games before giving up in Game Six.

There’s two big keys to tonight’s game:

1.) SCORE GOALS. Not much to say here.

2.) Dump-n-chase the puck. It’s clear Detroit’s booooooring trap style is just too stifling (and proves this is only New Jersey in different uniforms) to keep carrying the puck in. Dump it deep off the boards and follow through and they’ll generate the possession and scoring chances they need to take the win.

Honestly, once the ‘stigma’ of Osgood’s invincibility is broken, the dam will bust and we’ll see a scoring rampage from our key players.

So don’t lose faith, Penguin fans. It ain’t over until the final horn sounds.

Watch for Penguins, courtesy of jomilo75

Banana Split Wars

Banana split

Driving into work this morning I heard a commercial from Ohio’s tourism department touting different things to do in Ohio, such as the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame, art museums, zoos and the like.  One caught my ear however: going to the birthplace of the banana split.


Maybe I’ve been lied to for the last six years, maybe the Food Network is wrong…but I was under the impression that the banana split was invented in Latrobe at Valley Dairy.  Guess I’ll have to do some more digging and see what I can come up with, and until then, my shattered dreams will just have to be comforted by some other ice cream…maybe a Blizzard of some sort…

Watch the game inside and continuing banner fights

In case you hadn’t heard yet, the big screen outside the Mellon Arena will not be operational for the first two games of the series versus the Red Wings, instead the arena will be opened up and for a five dollar donation to Mario Lemieux Foundation, fans will be able to watch the game on the screens inside.


Parking (surprisingly) is free after 6 at the arena lots, and concessions and various stores will be open as well.  The screen will return for the two home games, May 28 and 31.

 As that good news came through the pipes, the storm from the downtown banners continues to rage.  This morning, the news was that the Penguins had asked the city for permission, but had in fact withdrawn their request since they would not have the banners done in time.  Now, it’s become yet another chapter in the ongoing saga between Ravenstahl and city council. 

I’m sure stories will change at least a few more times.  It would have been nice to have them up for the home games, but I don’t think it was in the cards.  Oh well…now I have to decide if I should come into town on Monday to see the game.  It’s one time I wish I worked on Memorial Day so I could just walk across the street to the game!

___________ (adjective)

Nine days after it was announced, and almost a week since the letters began to appear on our skyline (read the story here), the USX tower still provides a Pittsburgh MadLib.  Now granted, the first day I saw the letters, I was a little confused and did not make the connection that there should be an “M” in the middle of “UP   C,” but I’ll chalk that up to my brain not quite firing on all cylinders that early in the morning.

 Anyway, I snapped these pictures, more updates to come as work progresses, and if I ever find myself in a place to see the third side of the building.


Fishing in the Rain

Fishing in the Rain

Originally uploaded by gophotogo

Even though it was raining yesterday there were quite a few people who stopped by the Venture Outdoors festival on Washington’s Landing yesterday. The annual festival is a day to try out all sorts of out doors activities. In addition to fishing, many people were out on the river trying out the kayaks too.
Venture Outdoors offers all sorts of outdoors activites year round – more info at

Village Voice: Farmington

I believe other Metblog cities have done it, so I’m taking a cue from them and introducing you to the village of Farmington.  The idea struck me when I was on the road this weekend (camping and running events for work) and I thought it would be a fun idea.  I tend to travel to Farmington quite a bit (and live there over the summer), so if nothing else, it may provide some inspiration for you to come visit.

 For me, the quickest way to Farmington is to hop on the Turnpike to New Stanton and then take 119, which turns into 40.  But it is also accessible via 381, which also makes for a nice trip through Ohiopyle and the opportunity to stop at Falling Water, or even 281, which will put you through Confluence.

 Farmington is south of Uniontown, up on the mountain, and home to Nemacolin Woodlands.  Other points of interest (which are at least near, and I believe in the same township of Wharton) are Jumonville, The Summit Inn, the Stone House, Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Laurel Caverns.  Summertime also brings a giant flea market worth checking out.  I want to say it’s the first weekend of each month, but I’m not positive on that.

The view from the scenic overlook, gazing down onto Uniontown

 Driving up 40 will take you up a winding mountain highway.  On the way up there are two pull-offs, one for Lick Hollow picnic area (which is rarely, if ever open, a sign eternally proclaiming “closed for season”) and one which provides a scenic overlook of Uniontown.  The scenic overlook, as well as a pull-off on the way down with a spring are both home to geocaches.  And even though I generally try not to encourage the park-and-grab variety, these two are worth it, both providing very interesting locations to visit and beautiful and unique scenery.

More after the jump, including eateries and entertainment! (more…)

More Pittsburgh television

I’ve been a fan of Survivor since its first season, and I’m always excited when I see contestants from Pittsburgh, and it seems that Survivor is a magnet for those of us from the burgh. And imagine my surprise when during the second hour of the American Gladiator’s premiere (I can’t quite decide, but I’m pretty sure it’s a game show), they announce that John was from Pittsburgh!

John is an amputee and a Paralympic athlete, having competed in the 1996 games.

John and his competition, picture via Buzzerblogs.

John was awesome to watch, and a great competitor, so much more than I ever could be, but sadly, he didn’t win the eliminator, but it was amazing and so heartwarming to see the entire stadium cheer for him to finish and give him an awesome standing ovation.

American Gladiator’s page (NBC)
Picture via BuzzerBlog

Go Zombies!

Hockey is a pretty big deal in this town – well, it’s a big deal as long as the Penguins are winning. Ok, maybe it’s a big deal all the time, but people like me (that is, people who don’t like sports) don’t notice it unless the Penguins are winning. So, the Pens are doing well this year, eh? I guess that’s cool, if you’re into it.

Anyway, the Pittsburgh area has a hockey team that interests me way more than the Penguins interest me, except this more interesting team doesn’t exist except in a movie and it’s not spending millions of dollars on a new rink or whatever.

Ladies and gentlemen: the Monroeville Zombies!


Kevin Smith, the director of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, is a bit of a geek, which typically includes being a fan of zombies and zombie movies. Monroeville Mall was the location of the original Dawn of the Dead. Aside from that, Smith’s new movie was filmed in Pittsburgh, creating a perfect little package of Pittsburgh/nerdy/zombie/Kevin Smithy references.

The movie opens on October 31st. Duh.

One Stomping Good Night (x2)

Photo courtesy of daveynin

Two down, two to go as the Penguins made my weekend that much cheerier, despite all the rain. Hammering the Flyers – in more ways than one – was one of many highlights to a great Mother’s Day weekend.

As I’d predicted earlier last week, the Pens relied not only on Malkin (Game 1 – 2 goals) and Crosby (Game 2 – 2 points) but also their other offensive threats to elevate Penguins play; players who bear “marquee” names such as Talbot, Staal, Dupuis, Roberts, Kennedy…heck, the list pretty much includes the whole team. It may not have the rhinestone name glitter of the Red Wings’ roster, but just like our hometown, the Pens are all blue-collar, get-it-done players. And that’s what matters in this series.

(Congrats, by the way, to the Penguins for the impressive seven straight playoff wins at home!)

You know the Penguins making an impact when my own wife knows who Maxime Talbot, Tyler Kennedy, and Pascal Dupuis are. That’s saying a lot for the team-spirited play the Penguins have been exhibiting since Game 1, Round 1. The Flyers have quite the challenge ahead of them – keeping Malkin and Crosby down isn’t going to cut it, as they’ve shown in the past two games. And now that they’re missing Timonen and possibly Coburn…

If the Pens can keep up their physical play as well as scoring when Hatcher keeps going to the box, the ‘burgh boys may well sneak one (if not both!) game out of the Wachovia Center in Philly. The Penguins are only halfway there, but at least they can see the end of the series.

The Flyers need a telescope and a way to curve time.

It’s not over yet, fans. But it’s getting close. Is it Tuesday yet?

Roberts for Prez 08, courtesy of daveynin

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