Thursday, January 29, 2009


2009 "Blackened Gold" Award Winning Story

Editor's Note: Every once in awhile, something will turn up in your mailbox that bears special attention. This simple poem has been embellished by some photos of Myron Cope, a man whom I'm proud to say that I had the opportunity to meet and know personally. Unfortunately, the SuperBowl and Steeler football will never be the same without him. Special thanks to the author, A.K. Young. --ed.

Twas the night before Super Bowl and along the gulf shore, Steelers fans were praying for
"just one more;

The players were nestled all snug in the sack, With visions of the first  NFL Six-Pack;

Coach Tomlin was young, but wise for his years,
So I drifted to sleep without any fears.

When at Raymond James Stadium there arose some strange chatter,

The Cardinals feared, what was the matter;

We heard "Okel Dokel", we heard "Double Yoi,"
We jumped from our beds, our hearts
jumped for joy;
He stood at the fifty with a grin ear to ear,

Steelers fans everywhere started to cheer;

Then in an instant to our surprise,

This little old man had tears in his eyes;

He went to the booth and there took his chair, While Terrible Towels waved in the air;

Then over the airwaves came his shrill voice, The Steelers Nation began to rejoice;

He said, "I am back, but you know I can't stay. I just had to see this great Steeler team play;

From my home up above, I have a great view,

But I wanted to celebrate here with you!!!
So bring on those Birdies, we'll send them a flyin',
On the way back to Phoenix, they'll surely be cryin';

Ben Hines Troy and the rest,

No matter the outcome, to me,

You're the best!

The airwaves went silent, the stadium fell still,
Was this just a dream, it seemed so real;

In our team we have faith, in our team we have hope,

....But the game's not the same without Myron Cope;

Written by: A.K. Young

Rest In Peace Myron, enjoying only 19-0 seasons!!!

Your Steeler Nation Misses You Greatly In Our Time of Joy!!!!!! Wish you were here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



glom  /glÉ’m/ Pronunciation verb, glommed, glom⋅ming, noun Slang.
–verb (used with object) steal. catch or grab. look at.–noun
4.a look or glimpse.—Verb phrase
5.glom onto, to take hold or possession of: Example: The mayor wanted to glom onto some of the goodies.


Ravenstahl Taps Campaign

Funds For Super Bowl Trip

By The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said today he will take a jet chartered by the Steelers to attend Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. Ravenstahl, 28, plans to leave Friday and return Monday. He said campaign funds — not taxpayer dollars — will be used to cover the cost of the plane ride, three days' lodging and a $1,000 ticket to the big game.

The mayor's brothers, Brad and Adam, will accompany him to the game, as will the mayor's two police security guards, who will travel separately. All costs will be covered by campaign funds, Ravenstahl said.

"It's a great opportunity and a minimal expense for the amount of exposure that Pittsburgh will get," said Ravenstahl, who said he has been asked to appear on CBS and NBC's Today show while he's in Tampa. The mayor said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and his wife, Shelly, also will be on the chartered flight.

Get me an extra-large sized airline barf bag!

As anyone who hasn't been in a coma for the last few years already knows, Pittsburgh has been blessed with one of the glommingest (new word) mayors in the history of the United States. Young Luke Ravenstahl's escapades last year with Tiger Woods and the Penguins Stanley Cup run are already legendary in these parts. Now, the man who perceives himself as "America's Guest" is at it again, courtesy of his unwitting campaign contributors! Can you imagine someone who's been asked to contribute to underwriting the cost of a political campaign finding out that "his guy" is buying SuperBowl tickets with leftover campaign coffer "slush funds"? They'd have to be thrilled with this prudent use of their money. I know I would be.

Also glomming onto this SuperBowl junket on a chartered jet, courtesy of the Steelers no less, will be Allegheny County's Chief Executive Dan Onorato and his wife and even Luke's two brothers! Joining up with the revelers in Tampa will be two Ravenstahl bodyguards (of course). In total, there will be seven tickets required plus a minimum of four rooms at SuperBowl prices. With the tickets alone costing $7,000, it's easy to see where this jaunt will cost Ravenstahl's contributors at least $10,000. The Steeler charter obviously will cost several thousand additionally, but hey, Luke gets on the "Today" show, so everything is cost justified, or so we're led to believe.

Here's a question that's on everyone's mind: Why can't Luke Ravenstahl pay for anything? Is he destitute? Is it justifiable to his very own contributors that he would spend campaign money on his own entertainment and feel that that's "hunky dory" with everyone? Open up your own wallet for once! Do you want to root for the Steelers? Great! Pay for it the same way that your struggling constituents have to in a near-depression economy!

What's with this guy's penchant for bodyguards too? There's going to be more security in Tampa than you can shake a stick at. It's being called "the safest place in the world". Is he really in that much imminent danger? What kind of places is he planning on going to that he needs two bodyguards? What about his brothers, wouldn't they defend him? What about Dan Onorato or even his wife, wouldn't they put up their dukes to protect Luke from those hooligan Steeler fans?

Glomming, as you may not already know, is an acquired skill. Below, the following photo essay will show Pittsburgh's Mayor in action. After viewing, I'm sure you'll see why, in this editor's estimation, that Luke Ravenstahl looks like soon-to-be-Governor material in the waiting. Sorry Dan Onorato. Glomming ability like this is headed for bigger and better things than being Mayor of Pittsburgh. You'll have to junk your thoughts of running for King Glommer of Pennsylvania and make way for soon-to-be "King Luke"!

Right: Ravenstahl strikes an "Obama-appearing" pose now that Hillary has gone down the drain. Notice the shiny shoes and crisp, snappy clothes...a sure sign of a first rate glommer. Notice too that he is already developing a King Glommerish (new word) appearance.

Above: Ouch! McKeesport's "Tube City Almanac" tells it like they see it. They don't pull any punches in the venerable "Tube City".

Above: Mayor glomming up some extra grace from Pittsburgh's Bishop David Zubik. Even God himself can be a victim of glommers who have no conscience.

Above: A thoughtful Ravenstahl seeks advice on glomming from Pennsylvania's King Glommer, Governor Ed Rendell. Rendell's predictable response: "F---- 'em all, that's what I always say. Give 'em their new arena, they'll shut up eventually. Mark my words."

Above: Luke gives an "Animal House" fraternity call during an obvious false statement by Dan Onorato. Onorato looks perplexed that Luke would "call him out"so blatantly. Glommers, according to the national glomming code, should never do this to another fellow glommer. You can be sure that Luke heard about this obvious gaffe when they went into the nearest "cloakroom".

Above: An obviously-annoyed Tiger Woods and his wife prepare to beat a path out of Pittsburgh after Luke gloms Tiger to death at Oakmont. Tiger was traumatized for weeks and probably will never come back to Oakmont after this embarassing incident.

Above: Boy Mayor glomming a free haircut. Hey, twenty bucks is twenty bucks, right? To a glommer, even a free haircut is like finding a gold ingot.

Above: Too bad that the Pittsburgh Xplosion basketball team is now defunct. In this shot, Luke gets free Xplosion tickets AND a free shirt to boot! For glommers, this is the very essence of life itself.

Above: I see a complimentary filet mignon dinner at the LeMont in your future young man! Maybe even a glass of cognac and a cigar. Some call this, "Living off the fat of the land," glommers call it, "Business as usual."

Above: Ravenstahl extended major glom time on this old girl's behalf but it turns out that he picked the wrong horse. Imagine what he would've gotten if this cougar had won! Can you spell U.N. Ambassador? Look at Dan Rooney, he picked the right guy now he's going to become the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland! Glomming is a skill that must be honed over years of practice. He'll learn, I'm confident.

Above: Luke, Dan Onorato and Democratic Chair Jim Burn listen in obvious rapture and profound admiration to the greatest glommer of all time, Bill Clinton, during a recent Hillary vote/glom stop.

Above: EPILOGUE: Deeply immersed in thought, the pressures of running a big city obviously weighing heavily on him, Ravenstahl contemplates his next glomcapade (new word) in a classic black and old-gold striped chair in the mayoral suite. Obviously, it's lonely at the top. "People just don't understand me," I can imagine him thinking to himself... "Especially that effing blogger at "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold".

Monday, January 26, 2009

Steelers VS Cardinals In SuperBowl XLIII, Nostradamus Helps Us To "Pick-em"

Above: The great pronosticator, Nostradamus, was consulted for this post. It is, after all, about the SuperBowl and "Nothing but the best for the readers of "PB&G", that's our motto, no matter the cost!

By Angelo Spagnolo, Editor and M. Michel Nostradamus, Special Paid Consultant to "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold".

Editor's Note: "It's not often that you get a chance to work with a pure professional like M.Michel Nostradamus. It took quite a bit of effort to pull him away from his end-of-the- world prognosticating (12-21-12 by the way) but we also learned that he never, ever, would have done this, under any circumstances, if he wasn't a HUGE Steeler fan first and foremost. So sit back and enjoy... In just a few moments you're going to know exactly what's going to happen in SuperBowl XLIII. Of course you can use this valuable information wisely and earn a ton of money: Think of it as a gift from Nostradamus and another service to our loyal readers from "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold"' -ed.

One thing about the SuperBowl: Every analyst in the country is going to be giving you their opinion about how the game will play out this Sunday. Only one difference, we're the only one that has the stright dope from none other than Nostradamus himself, a BIG Steeler fan we learned. The difference is that "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold" is going to give you the simplified version. One sidebar was unearthed during this process: We learned that this game has everything to do with "The Boogeyman" of all people!

Left: NFL Defensive MVP James Harrison, Below, his bookend, second-year man LaMarr Woodley.

First of all, football is a game where teams seek to impose their will on their opponent. The Steelers have just gone through one of the most difficult schedules in 40 years and went 12-4 in the process. Do you think they know a little bit about this "imposing their will" thing? "You betcha" as Myron would say.

The Steelers have one of their most physical football teams on the defensive side of the ball that they've ever had. These guys know all about "imposing their will" on opponents. They're also a very confident bunch too. When Phillip Rivers burned them for a touchdown early in the San Diego game, there was no panic on the sidelines. "Settle down and do your job," said Dick LeBeau calmly...and they certainly did. But don't forget that they practically didn't have to play the third quarter since their offense kept the Chargers off the field for all but 17 seconds! When they did finally get the ball after a long kick return, a tipped ball became an interception, completely demoralizing the Chargers.
Above: Defensive mastermind, Dick LeBeau.
Against the Ravens, a team that has a defense that's almost as tough as the Steelers', the offense couldn't run the ball as they had done the week before against the Chargers, so as a result, the score was much tighter and the defense was called upon for some well-chronicled heroics by Troy Polamalu. The Steelers prevailed, but it was a different kind of win. The SuperBowl game will follow along the lines of the San Diego game, definitely not the Baltimore game.

Above: Larry Fitzgerald preparing to leave the locker room...or so some Steeler fans would have you think.

Toughness wins football games, just ask Baltimore. It's easy to worry about Larry Fitzgerald going up for a big catch then winding his way through our secondary for a touchdown, and this nightmare very well may happen. It's also possible to see Larry layed out a'la Willis McGahee around the 30 yard line. Make no mistake about it, the Cardinal receivers will be thinking about Clark, Polamalu et al tuning them up everytime they go up for a catch. The Steelers will be in their heads, that's a guarantee.

Above: Here's a more accurate description of "The Boogeyman". Just ask Willis McGahee, he'd love to have the license plate number of the truck that hit him!

I don't see the Cardinals scoring more than 17 points in this game and here's where the crux of the matter lies: Do you really see this Arizona defense holding Big Ben and Co. to less than 17 points? Coming on the heels of another Ravens game, the Steelers offense is going to feel like they have 12 men on the field for this one. While they have played much better of late, this defense has been shredded several times this season.

So how will it play out?
I expect a very close first half with the Steelers kicking off and deferring to the second half. They will have Arizona bottled up offensively as well as possessing the ball for long stretches. It will be 13-7 at halftime on a Heath Miller touchdown and two Jeff Reed field goals.

The Steelers will get the second half kickoff and once again go into their "sleeper hold" mode. After Willie Parker scores following an eight minute possession, the score will now be 20-7 and everyone will sense that the contest is starting to slip away for the Cardinals. However, the Cardinals do have big strike capabilities and they will score the final ten points in this game making Steeler fans sweat the fourth quarter just like they did in SuperBowl XIII against the Cowboys. An interception by Troy Polamalu in the last few minutes will seal the deal with Polamalu being named the MVP.

This game will be a doozy, no doubt about it. But as I see it, if our offense can do its' job, I'm certain that our defense can be counted on to hold the Cardinals to 17 points. If they do, we'll win the six pack trophy.

OTHER GAME PROGNOSTICATIONS: Take the Cardinals and the seven points. The Steelers will win, but will not cover. Also, bet the under. Nostradamus is pedicting a 20-17 final (37 points). The over/under is 46.5! Take the Steelers calling heads, winning the coin toss and deferring...You're going to see the Steelers running the ball much more effectively. Fast Willie will get his 100 yards. The Cardinals are not the Ravens, not by a long shot. I believe that the Steeler offense is going to be able to put together several long possessions culminating in field goals and scores .The Cardinals will learn that their vaunted offense can't score at will when it's watching the game from the sidelines.

The Cardinals also will learn once they get on the field that this defense isn't the St.Louis Rams defense that they're playing either!...They are going to find out that the Steelers are going to quickly force them into playing from behind, not a good thing to have to do against this defense. They will also find their receivers being hit like they haven't been hit all year. I like Larry Fitzgerald a lot, he's a real star in this league. However, he's going to have a very tough game come Sunday. I do believe though that he will indeed score in the second half making it a ballgame....

The Cardinals are going to have a real difficult time trying to run the ball against the Steelers. They'll "join the club" with the rest of the NFL teams that haven't been able to do it. Being one-dimensional is not going to help their cause at all...

Big Ben will have a much better SuperBowl than last time throwing for 180 yards, one touchdown and most importantly, no interceptions. He will throw the ball away instead of taking needless risks. He will be much calmer than last SuperBowl when he admitted to being, "Nervous the whole game."... The Steelers will have one interception off Kurt Warner and will not turn over the ball themselves in a very cleanly-played game. Penalties, thankfully, will also not be a major factor...

In limited duty, Hines Ward will have three catches for 35 yards with all three coming on key third down possession plays. Limas Sweed will make two catches as well as he starts to shake off the rookie jitters. Heath Miller will have the biggest game of all the Steeler receivers, seven catches, 119 yards and a touchdown.


Above: Your SuperBowl MVP, Troy Polamalu, will have an interception, break up two other passes, have a sack and four tackles. His interception will be returned for 35 yards and will ice the game for the Black & Gold.



The Money Pit(t)...The North Shore Connector

2009 "Blackened Gold" Award Winning Story


By Angelo Spagnolo
Editor, "PB&G"

When I first set about planning the rebirth of “Pittsburgh’s Black and Gold”, I stated in my first post that I would occasionally do editorial posts on things other than sports. You know, for variety and all. Sometimes when something really rings my bell, a column will practically write itself, like, say, right now. So since the Steelers are on furlough this week and the Pens are on all star break and the Pirates are … well the Pirates , now seems like a great time to blow off some steam, so let’s get down to important stuff, like that gigantic "sewer line" we’re building under the Allegheny River.

"The North Shore Connector"

Above: The connector plan looked like a good idea until it turned into a real-life "Money Pit(t)".

It amazes me how lacking in dynamic government leadership the Pittsburgh area has always been and yet how great of a city we still have in spite of it. Take the North Shore Connector as an example. This little tidbit was in the news the other day amidst all of the Steelers hooplah: The Connector is going to cost $118 million dollars over the original $435 million cost! Is it just me or is this kind of an “overrun” beyond human comprehension?

This represents a 27.12% increase over the original project cost. 27%!!! Have construction costs really gone up 27%? If so, why? Construction projects have got to be at a record low right now, right? Projects are being cancelled everywhere. Are we to believe that building materials alone are to blame for this? What kind of a contract was this in the first place where the project could be bid out and still have this type of situation occur on the back end for the Port Authority?

Above: Inside the connector tunnel. Right now it's just an overgrown sewer pipe.

Think back to when you may have built a house. When your contractor bid to build your home, did he have the ability to overrun the cost by 27%? Hardly. Your bank would never go for it either. So why was this contract written with an open end? Probably because the people involved are somehow, someway benefiting from it themselves, that’s why. The only other explanation would be because of add-ons and with a project of this magnitude, it's hard to imagine that the army of architects and engineers who designed this could have missed this many things. What we need here are some answers. This whole mess smells to high heaven!

Above: A light rail system helps eliminate many of these diesel burners.

While I am certainly not a transportation expert, I was able to dig up a few interesting facts for this article. For example, once the money to complete this boondoggle is "found", this project will have cost $553 million dollars just to have the novelty of going under the river. That's over half a billion dollars! I wonder what it would have cost to go over the river? What's one more bridge when you're already called the "City of Bridges"? This cost is so exorbitant, that I was able to calculate that at the present cost per hour of operating a PAT bus (about $59 per hour by my best estimate) that the Port Authority could have put two buses on a continuous loop, 24 hours per day, at a cost of $2,832 per day. Of course there would be passenger income to go against that figure, but for the moment, let’s pretend that nobody ever rode these buses. The cost of this project is so high, that we could fund having these empty buses driving around for 188,206 days or 515 years!!! When you factor in paying customers, it stretches it out even further! How long of an amount of time is this? Well, 517 years ago, Christopher Columbus was just discovering America!

Above: Christopher Columbus' home ship, the "Santa Maria". We could have purchased two of these to shuttle patrons across the mighty Allegheny River! Imagine the tourist traffic and wouldn't it be great to ride in a "pirate ship" to or from a Pirate game?

Am I alone on this or has everyone at PAT and the county lost their collective minds at one time? Dan Onorato’s office said the other day that there would be no additional funding coming from there. That’s great Dan, but here’s a good question, where were you when this contract was first being approved? Isn’t it called “The Port Authority of Allegheny County”? Wasn't this project big enough that you would have reviewed the contract?

The next step is that the county is going to appeal to President Obama for help in finishing the project…as if he doesn’t have enough problems already. Then there’s this final nugget, if you aren’t already in the state of near shock over the enormity of this whole situation: If the project shuts down, it will reportedly cost another $21 million just to seal off the four ends of the two tunnels! Which leads me to ask this question: WHY??? What are they planning on using, platinum and trimming it in gold?

Above: This outside view gives you an idea as to the size of the tunnels. Covering four ends of two tunnels would cost $5,250,000 per end! I'm sure that we could accomplish this for much less here at "PB&G". A few two by fours, some plywood...heck we could even put barbed wire around it to keep out the vagrants! I say that we could do it for $10 million, thus saving the county $11 million!!!

I realize that if our area is to continue to grow and develop that we need to improve our transportation. Of course, these two tunnels were dug so that people could be transported from areas to the north of Pittsburgh, not just from the stadiums or the Rivers Casino to the city. So a lot a peoples’ future transportation needs are at stake here. I’m not saying that I’m against this project, only that I’m infuriated with people who are in a position to safeguard the taxpayer’s interests and who demonstrate“oversight” that is as poor as this. This smacks of, "It's not my money, why should I care?" Where's the responsibility Port Authority?

Do you have an opinion on the Connector? Have I missed the mark with this commentary? I'd really like to hear your opinions. Please leave your comments below. I'd particularly welcome opinions from anyone at PAT or the county. Of course it goes without saying that if you're just a plain old outraged citizen, I'll be glad to hear from you too!