Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Romero, the Corpse Flower, blooms

Phipps has announced that their Corpse Flower, named Romero after the director, is in bloom!

The bloom lasts between 24-48 hours and smells like “the rotting flesh of a mammal.”  Tonight (Tuesday the 20th) and tomorrow (Wednesday the 21), they will be open until 2 a.m. for visitors, and Wednesday will even feature two screenings of “Day of the Dead” at 8 and 10:30 p.m.

Phipps is amazing at night, and sadly, it’s been too light to really get the full experience over the summer for a night time viewing of the summer glass show, so that alone, is worth it, not to mention a bloom that only comes around every decade.

Condescend much?

One of my favorite pages on Facebook is “Condescending Brand Page.”  Since I run a few Facebook pages, I always try to keep in the forefront that we’re people, what a like actually is (not what most brands think it is) and that we’re there to have a good time and a conversation.

In comes WTAE, which is really the only local news I watch, if I watch anything at all.  And they totally failed at being any kind of decent human being.  But thankfully, Facebook was there to call them out on their asshat move.

Yeah, that’s right, “give this story a ‘like’ to show support for these parents whose child was ripped away from them by disease.”

It doesn’t get much lower than that, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, to be fair, it looks as though they did remove that post.  But still, what kind of heartless social media manager would post that in the first place?


12 Years Later

CBS News (and The Good Men Project) cover The Lost Boys of Sudan, 12 years later.

When I was in college at Saint Vincent, we did a year-long project with some of the Lost Boys who were staying with the parish of St. Benedict the Moor in the Hill District.

We went down to visit them twice, spending Mass and an afternoon with them, learning about their stories, their culture and what it had been like since they came to the United States.

The third session, they came to visit us.  We had a huge cook-out and a great game of soccer on the Steeler Fields, and I really, really enjoyed the time I spent with them.  Check out the story and the video clip from CBS at the link above.

A present of sorts

It’s usually not a good thing when Pittsburgh makes Yahoo’s Oddly Enough.  Here we are again:

Some residents of a Pittsburgh suburb have gift-wrapped something they hope will be gone by Christmas: a charred and abandoned house that burned nine months ago.

Amy Davis tells WPXI-TV  that residents put a big red bow on the house next door to hers, so Penn Hills officials will get moving on tearing it down. The house burned in March.

Part of me wants to go see the gift-wrapped house.  All of me hopes it is torn down before I have the chance to.

Oddly Enough

I’m cleaning up some news feeds that lay ignored during my time away, and I’m a bit concerned.  Pittsburgh came up three times within a week on Yahoo!’s Oddly Enough feed.  Either they just found how weird we can be, or things are getting really strange.

First, a fire alarm in an apartment building in Wilkinsburg blared for 15 hours before it could be shut off.

Then, a patient with terminal cancer decided to create a bowling ball urn.

And lastly, out in Johnstown, a motorcyclist snapped a pic of a newly painted double yellow line, painted over a dead raccoon.

A note about PSU

One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is clean up all my e-mails, as well old periodicals that I’ve apparently been hoarding for some sort of time when I need to either build a fort of newspapers and magazines, or possibly just for a long afternoon to read.

I promised a long time ago to react to the PSU scandal, noting that my thoughts might make people mad, but I couldn’t quite put anything into words.  As it turns out, one of those magazines I saved, put my thoughts in words for me.

As we all read with horror as the facts came to light (and speaking of, what’s going on the trial?), the local blogosphere annoyed the crap out of me.  The general consensus was outrage, which is the right feeling to be sure.  But after the outrage seemed to come the sense of loss for the youth.

But in a way that seemed to almost pander to them.

What happened was awful, it was horrific and no one should have to experience that, don’t get me wrong.  But I have to believe that those victims will continue on and they can live their lives without being defined by what happened to them.

I think that sometimes that society and the media put victims into a place where that is all they are, and I hate seeing that.

But anyway, the article from Newsweek comes from Tyler Perry, and here’s a quote:

 You will get through this; you’ve already endured the worst part at age 11. Now fight on, my young friend, fight on! We are all with you.

Go read the whole thing here, and sorry for bringing up the bad memories.

Good men and the Pitt bomb threats

The Good Men Project has covered the Pitt bomb threats in two articles.  The first:

 See, of all the possible ways that the world could end, this is one of them.  It’s surely among the most effective:  by taking the level of extreme comfort that we soft, insulated denizens of the First World have come to expect–this assumed “freedom from fear“–and subverting it, our weakness is completely exposed.

And the second:

Pitt’s endowment is in the billions of dollars and its community is in the tens of thousands, yet it has been rendered impotent by threatening notes scrawled on bathroom stalls and untraceable emails warning of imminent disaster.

Go check them both out, they are both long, but worthwhile reads, from Pitt graduate students writing for the GMP.

Two more stories from 2011

I thought I had a couple more, maybe it is the gravity of these stories that made me think there were more.

First up, the movie 30 Minutes or Less and how it was received by the family of the victim of the collar bomb years ago:

“It’s hard for me to grasp how other human beings can take delight and pride in making such a movie and consider it a comedy,” Heid said in an e-mailed response to The Associated Press. Heid asked to respond by e-mail because she wanted to choose her words carefully. “I don’t think it’s funny to laugh at the innocent who are victimized by criminals, who care nothing for human life.”

“Neither the filmmakers nor the stars of `30 Minutes or Less’ were aware of this crime prior to their involvement in the film,” Steve Elzer, the senior vice president who handles media relations for Sony Pictures’ Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, said in a statement. “The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay that does not mirror the real-life tragedy.”

And second, if you think back to Abu Ghraib, I don’t remember ever hearing this detail about the ringleader, but now he has been released from military prison:

Graner was an Army Reserve corporal from Uniontown, Pa., when he and six other members of the Maryland-based 372nd Military Police Company were charged in 2004 with abusing detainees at the prison in Iraq. The strongest evidence was photographs of grinning U.S. soldiers posing beside naked detainees stacked in a pyramid or held on a leash.

So not great stories to reflect upon, but items nonetheless.

McDains and small children

You’ve probably heard about this story already.  And no, I’m not talking about the next Batman movie, although I will be discussing that later this week.  McDain’s in Monroeville has banned children under six from coming to their restaurant.

It’s been really funny watching my Facebook feed (I don’t have enough friends yet on Google+) explode with reactions to this.  Some praise it, others want to storm McDain’s with torches and pitchforks.  And as you can imagine, the reactions are drawn along lines of those with and without children.

For the sake of argument, here’s my reaction.  When I was younger, my parent’s were considerate (not to say that they aren’t now, because they are, but they were then as well).  If we could not behave in a mature enough fashion for a venue they wanted to go to, they either got a sitter and went out, just the two of them, or we didn’t go.

Now, if we went to a place like Chuck E. Cheese or the Ground Round, where you expect to have a “family” atmosphere, and, especially those two, entertainment geared towards children, that is another story.  Chances are, all the kids in the restaurant aren’t mature enough to go to nicer restaurants: that’s why we were where we were.

So, I guess I agree with McDain’s.  And here’s a radical idea.  If you’re not happy with their decision, don’t go there.  You don’t have to storm the place and riot.  You aren’t losing your rights as a person.  For goodness sake, it’s a restaurant at a driving range…in Monroeville.  There are plenty of other options you can go to.  Heck, walk across the street and get an MTO.  I highly recommend the mint chocolate smoothie thing.

Local high school football player killed

A player from my alma mater was gunned down while in North Carolina.

An impromptu vigil was held this afternoon as word spread.  WTAE and are both following the story.

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