Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PITTSBURGH: THRU THE LENS OF GARY GAYDA




Today, our staff photographer, Gary Gayda brings you two unusual photos. The first one gives you an idea why Pittsburgh has been dubbed "The City of Bridges" along with its' more-preferred title, "City of Champions". The second shot displays a serious problem that has, until now, been a closely-guarded secret here in the Burgh.  

As some of you may already know, Gary Gayda and I go way back...all the way to high school! Last night we had an alumni meeting and we dined on-- get this-- spaghetti made with yak meat! What other alumni association has such exotic food? I was never aware that the people of Nepal ate spaghetti-type products at all! But my hat goes off to our host last night, Father Dave Schorr. He's not only a great priest, the man can flat-out cook too!

Anyway, it's always great fun seeing my "Executive Director of Pittsburgh Photography" in person. Another guy that I ran into last night was prominent Pittsburgh attorney Mike Wallisch. I used to think that Mike was a really great guy and I've known him now for 41 years! I've always liked him about as much as you can like any attorney. Do you know what i mean? But I also learned that you never quite know about some people, no matter how long you may have known them.

For example, when discussing ideas for possible upcoming alumni events, some chuckelhead from the class of '72 said, "Hey, how about getting together on a night when the Steelers play?"

Mike Wallisch seized the opportunity here to put in his 25 cents worth and goes into a loooonnnnggg dissertation on why this is such a bad idea. "Some people like to watch the game with certain friends only. Some people like to go to their favorite bar. Some people like to tailgate. Some people watch it with their family. Some people actually have tickets to the game. Some people prefer to watch the game in silence so that they can concentrate on the action. Blah, blah, blah." Then, for his closing argument, the esteemed member of the bar shocks everyone by saying, "As for me, I hate the Steelers, so it doesn't matter."

GASP!!!! There was a hush immediately thrown over the room. The silence, as they say was deafening.

Just when you think you know someone... It almost reminded me of one of those bizarre kidnapping cases where they interview the neighbors and they say stuff like, "I always thought he was just a quiet guy." Or,"He never bothered anyone, he kept to himself. I always thought that he wouldn't harm a fly". Then there's always the classic,"I used to see him at alumni meetings. I thought he was a pretty good guy...for an attorney."

Shortly thereafter, the meeting adjourned. The group I left with suddenly started telling classic attorney jokes on the way out. In one joke an attorney, lost at sea and surrounded by sharks, gets out of his boat only to have the sharks line up so that he could walk on their backs safely to shore. "Why did they do that," asked an amazed person still stuck on the boat? "Professional courtesy," yelled back the attorney. Stuff like that. I wonder what brought that on all of a sudden? Moral of the story: Some things are better left unsaid, Mike Wallisch. If you want to hate the Steelers, fine. Just do your hating in a Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, or Cincinnati Bengals jersey in the privacy of your own bedroom. Just don't tell your alumni brethren about it.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's get back to our real reason for getting together today: "Pittsburgh: Thru the Lens of Gary Gayda." Any of the pictures that you see in this series can be ordered directly from Gary Gayda by emailing him at GMGayda@yahoo.com. Tell Gary what photo number you are interested in and the size you'd like. He'll get back to you. If you happen to know Mike Wallisch, let him know that this is Pittsburgh. Nobody here hates the Steelers...and lives to talk about it!

#20: ONE SHOT, FOUR BRIDGES



ABOVE: In Pittsburgh, we like to say that, "There's more bridges here than you kin shake a stick at." Where else can you take one picture and have four bridges in the viewfinder?  Bridges are also convenient for throwing Steeler-haters into the raging rapids below. It's no coincidence that in a city with so many bridges, there are so few Steeler haters.  


#21: PISA, ITALY HAS NOTHING ON US



ABOVE: One of Pittsburgh's best-kept secrets is the large number of leaning buildings that we have here. We even managed to keep that a secret from the entire world recently when Pittsburgh managed to host the G-20 in spite of this looming disaster. Hey, no one got hurt, right? Those hating the Steelers would do well for themselves to stay away from these rooftops. You never know when someone could accidentally bump into you up there. Watch out Mike Wallisch, It's a long way down without an elevator!