Friday, December 23, 2011

Yinzers New Years Resolutions

Eat more Pierogies!

When I first started writing this post, I was coming up with resolutions to many a Yinzer’s faux pas.  However, I quickly realized that a true yinzer would never abandon his / her true love for the city by discarding these locally accepted transgressions.  Therefore, this list is aimed at fully embracing the yinzer culture, and consequently, becoming a ‘true’ Pittsburgher.
1.   In Pittsburgh, it is absolutely socially acceptable to wear your 1996 XXL Bettis Jersey to a fancy dinner down the shore.  This is especially true if it is mid-May, and it is only halfway through the football offseason.  However, a true Yinzer needs to not only wear his / her Earl “the Hitman” Holmes to more social outings, it must also start to be considered as a part of formal wear.  Proudly wear that Woodson jersey to church, and keep it on for that Sunday dinner at some fancy restaurant.   That James Harrison jersey needs to be worn 7 days a week, social norms need not apply.
2.  Become more familiar with the local dialect.  Any time you ask a question, always cut off the first word.  Remember this simple rule by a familiar example:  ‘Are you going to eat all of that?’ becomes ‘You gonna eat all that?’  It’s really that easy!
3.  Sweatpants, sweatpants, sweatpants. Sweatpants are easily the pant of choice among the yinzers.  This is not only because they are extremely fashionable, but also because of the elastic waist line that comes in handy for Stiller tailgates.  Spill some Iron on them or need to use them to wipe ham-barbeque sauce off of your fingers so you can crack open another ice-cold Iron?  Not a problem as sweatpants can be thrown in the laundry with the rest of your Steelers jerseys, and most of the stains will come out. 
Similar adaptation of the sweatpant must be followed in accordance to the Stiller jersey.  Formal wear is sweatpants time, and remember they always look great with year-old reebok hi-tops.  (The one with the Velcro band up top, of course).
4.  Drink more local beer.  It may be impossible for a yinzer to consume more beer by volume, as any hour of the day is appropriate beer time.  This is especially true Monday morning when you’re all hung-over from the Steelers game; an ice-cold Iron kicks those blues right outta there.
However, with the advent of popularity of craft beer, a resurgence in local brewing has begun.  Of course Irons are always the staple, as they are the cheapest and most readily available.  Try some East End brews or some Duquesne pilsner.  And to the yinzer delight, they will get you drunk quicker as they have more Alcohol per volume.
5.  Continue to complain loudly and at inappropriate times about anything in general.  This includes local politicians: ‘You know that Ravenstahl is a jag,’ to traffic: “You jag you just cut me off!’ to work: ‘My jag of a boss won’t let me take Mondays off no more.” 
It is extremely important for every yinzer to voice his / her displeasure with something during any social situation, even if it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.  Just because some jagoff is talking about his recent divorce and their 5 kids doesn’t mean that it’s not the right time to question aloud ‘Why on Earth is that idiot Tomlin not runnin’ the ball more?’ 
6.  Eat more, more often.  Make sure to include plenty of Primanti’s and pierogies, as they are the foundation of a proper Yinzer diet.  Don’t worry about diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, as ‘some doctor will probably come up with some new medicine soon that will take care of that, anyways.’
7.  Grow a mustache.  If you don’t already have one, what are you waiting for?  Even Bylsma had one earlier this year, for chrissakes!  Mustaches don’t only help out in picking up hot babes, they also make a person look more distinguished and presentable.  Whether you are a janitor, high school football coach or local entrepreneur, a mustache makes anybody look more educated and handsome.  People will respect you more, and you will have more confidence.
8.  Disobey simple traffic laws.  Making the Pittsburgh left is a part of our local culture, and besides you don’t want to sit there like a jag waiting for all the cars to pass through the intersection; you’ll spend your whole life in traffic!  Remember, you are more important than the other person facing you in the intersection and you are definitely busier, so you deserve to make that left before he goes straight.  You gotta pick up your kids from grammas and stop by the distributor all before the game starts, so there is no time to lose. 
9.  Slow down before entering the Squirrel Hill tunnels.  Why wouldn’t you?  You don’t wanna run into the tunnel walls, that’ll start a pile-up!  Once you are safely inside the tunnels, then it is time to police both lanes and make sure no one crosses the center line.  If that occurs, make sure to honk and turn on your brights, then give him the finger.  This will discourage them from doing this again in the future.
10.  Go to Pirates games when they have Zambelli fireworks.  Just because the team sucks doesn’t mean you gotta miss out on the best firework show on Earth!  Like insects towards light, a Yinzer is always attracted to fireworks.  No other city in the world is as lucky as Pittsburgh to have Zambelli firework shows, so make sure to embrace it. 
This is just a short list of resolutions yinzers must make in order to have continued success.  Don’t forget to bring your family to ride the incline, as that is also a Pittsburgh highlight.  But if those kids get too loud on the car ride over, make sure to threaten them by telling them you are going to turn the car right around and go home. 
Anyways, enjoy the New Year, and go Stillers!  They better win the Super Bowl, or that Roethlisberger is really a bum. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Black Widow to Attack Yinzers

Just when you thought Kennywood had enough swirly, jerky rides that induce vomiting another has been added, The Black Widow. It has been known for some time that the Pitfall was leaving and a new ride was going to replace it and I have to say that I am very disappointed in the ride choice. I was never a fan of the Pitfall to begin with simply because the actual ride time was less than 10 seconds, but the ominous black and gold tower did grow on me as a symbol in Lost Kennywood. With that being said, I was hoping that a replacement would be something of a throwback style ride such as my favorite the Rotor or something of that ilk. It seems as if for the last 10 years Kennywood has only been attempting to out do the previous spinning ride with changing how it spins and/or rotates. I really have no desire to try this new ride as it resembles many others. Hopefully this will be a short lived ride and Kennywood can go back to its roots and bring back a classic next time.

Move Ya Jagoff!

The new craze in da Burgh, "Move Ya Jagoff!"  This brilliant version of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" created by Pat Conway stars some jag named Nick Armstrong on his daily commute from Troy Hill to Dahntahn Picksburgh.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Restaurant Reviews: The Porch

Eat'n Park Hospitality opened a new restaurant in Oakland located in Schenley Plaza named "The Porch" on November 14.  The Porch features a seasonal menu of sandwiches, salads, and a variety of brick-oven pizzas for lunch and an expanded dinner menu that includes rotisserie items such as prime rib, porchetta, roast chicken, duck legs and sauteed salmon.  The restaurant  also has a liquor license for your alcohol needs.   The restaurant has capacity for 140 people inside and outdoor seating for 40 people. 

During the first week of business, I headed over to Schenley Plaza to try it out for lunch.  Upon entrance a hostess gave me a menu and I was told to go to the register and order my food.  I ordered a House Smoked Turkey 9 sandwich that came with a salad, paid and found a table.  While waiting for my meal to arrive I had a chance to take in the surroundings.  The restaurant has a very modern look, with plenty of windows and unique light fixtures. The Porch has a green roof, with space for an urban garden where vegetables for the restaurant will be grown during the warmer months.  My food was delivered by the waitress and I ate my first meal at the new spot.  The sandwich was good; it had cranberry sauce on it which was a different taste.  I observed many customers ordering pizza and a member of my party ordered The Roasted Pig 10 sandwich.  Looking back I wish I would have tried that, it looked delicious.....maybe next time.  The only negatives were the limited menu and prices which were a bit high for a lunch.  

Overall, I was pleased with my experience at The Porch, the service was excellent and the food was served quickly after ordering.   The Porch is a nice addition to the beautiful Schenley Plaza and is a fine addition to Oakland's eateries.     

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NHL Realignment

The NHL Board of Governors approved a realignment plan on Monday night that eliminates the current two conference, six division format and moves to a geographic four conference league. Under this plan all teams will play a home and home series against all non-conference teams and five or six games within their conference. The new conferences, unnamed to date, will be as follows:

Conference 1:
Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals

Conference 2:
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs

Conference 3:
Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

Conference 4:
Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix Coyotes
San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks

The playoff format will also change; the top four teams in every conference will be guaranteed a playoff spot. The first two rounds of the playoffs will consist of intraconference matchups and a proposal of whether to reseed after the second round or have predetermined pairings is still being debated by NHL officials.

My thoughts:
When I heard the original rumors of realignment that had the Penguins moving to the Northeast Division I wasn't very excited since they would leave the division with longtime rivals Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. The easiest thing to do in my opinion would have been just to move Nashville to the nobody-cares-sans-Washington Southeast Division and keep everything else the same. In NHL geography Tennessee is pretty southeast and for whatever reason that option was never really considered. This new conference format allows the Penguins to stay in the same "conference" with their rivals and the fans get a bonus of having Washington back where they belong. It will be nice to see the Pens play some of the western teams more. I always enjoy when they play Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.

There is a downside in this realignment of course; the secondary rivalries with teams such as Buffalo, Boston, and Montreal will only be played as one home and home series. I also wonder what will happen when some of these southern teams that nobody cares about either fold or relocate (Phoenix, Florida), will the NHL realign again?

Not sure how I feel about the new playoff format, it will be different for a while but things may even out as the truly best teams will face each other in the Stanley Cup Finals. We have seen recent Conference Finals that pair the two best teams in the NHL and the victor has an easier time with their Stanley Cup opponent. The NHL has made many poor decisions over the last 20 years such as expanding too fast and too south and lackluster rule enforcement, but I don't think this plan is among their worst. With all that being said, the Penguins should be in good shape and that is all I really care about.