Monday, September 14, 2009


Hello all. Just back from a frenetic week or so of travel, first to Phoenix to visit with family there and then a trip to Dayton for a "Steeler wedding" held smack dab in the heart of Bengals country! You, double yoi and triple yoi Myron would have exclaimed! 

We'll have a followup on that story next week, because ironically, the way all of this traveling hit me all at once, it came at just the time I was planning on celebrating our online magazine's one year anniversary!

I did a little research and found that I published 192 stories for you this past year. Since I average about three hours time per story, this means that I spent 576 hours publishing "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold" during volume one. This comes to exactly 24 full days or 6.5% of my total time last year! I kept dividing 576 by 24 and getting 24 on my calculator. I thought it might be broken, so I multiplied 24 times 24 and guess what? It's 576! So it's not broken!!! After doing exhaustive research, I found that the only two things that I did more of was sleeping 2,737 hours and having sex, 1,095 hours* (* caution, this could be a typical male exaggeration).
With all of this time being spent writing (which is my first love) you have to wonder what is it that makes a blogger continue to write, because we all know that it's not the money. Very simply, for me it is seeing my readership climb with each successive month. While it's disappointing that I don't get all the feedback that I'd like to have, the very fact that our site traffic continues to climb is sign enough that you are enjoying what you are reading and you keep coming back for more.

I was thinking about what we could do to celebrate our first anniversary and I decided that I'm going to have an annual awards show. This week-long event is going to become known as the "Blackened Gold Awards"   and it will feature the seven top-ranked stories ever to appear on this site!

ABOVE: The coveted "Blackened Gold Award". Presented by myself, to myself for work I've done this year on "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold". This is the only awards show in history where the awardee is also the composer and judge...all at the same time!!!

I've gone to great lenths to rate all 192 stories and I must say that it has been a daunting task...sort of like deciding which of your 192 children that you love the most. So I had to come up with a very subjective rating system in order to accomplish this. But I must say, as I was going through this vetting process, I began to see that there were certain stories that were absolute musts, then there a great number that were clustered right at the border. There were at least 30 stories that I could have used, but they lost out to those that had just a smidgen of better writing, or originality or photos. When it was all said and done the last thing that I did was come up with a name for these self-proclaimed gems of mine, my "Blackened Gold". 

So my plan is each year to take the prior year's top seven and go through this process all over again to see if these stories will stand up over the course of time. Like any other writer, you have days where the writing flows easily and days where it comes like pulling hen's teeth. But one thing has remained a constant throughout...I greatly enjoy publishing this magazine for you. I sincerely hope that enjoy reading it and I'll appreciate any suggestions you may have to improve it (other than finding another avocation).

ABOVE: "Chilly Billy" reports live on "Night of the Living Dead" telling tales of those recently-deceased as coming back to life as flesh-eating zombies. The Pittsburgh area has always been known for having a diverse ethnic and zombie population.

So sit back and enjoy installment #1 of "Blackened Gold", the #7 rated story of the year:

 2/22/09"Pittsburgh's Bill Cardille: Appreciating a Pittsburgh TV Legend"