Discover more from Breathing Space
Double your terror, double your yoi
The ghost of Myron Cope awaits your apologetic sacrifice
Inside this edition: Why I missed last week’s publication * Big news from Astrobotic * the Penguins really care about me * a 1917 Pittsburgh space-themed poem * the Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide publish date * the curse of the Terrible Towel has found its next victim * are pigeons actually good luck? * Random n’at
There was no newsletter last week because food had the audacity to poison me even though I specifically asked it not to. I’ve narrowed it down to two culprits: (1) mail-order low-carb ramen or (2) a chicken breast from McDonald’s.
I kept insisting it was the ramen because that’s the thing I couldn’t even THINK about without it making me feel worse, but my sister was like, eh, I’m leaning toward the chicken on account of IT IS MCDONALD’S CHICKEN not pumpkin-based noodles. She had a point. I eat at McDonald’s maybe once every three years, but I was driving back from Buffalo and needed sustenance, so I hit a drive-through somewhere between Buffalo and Erie and was handed a chicken sandwich that was gummy in some parts and so hard in other parts, I wondered if it was baked clay. But I ate it. Desperate times, etc.
So it was probably that. Luckily I was feeling much better by the next day and was able to get caught up on my schoolwork (hence no newsletter) before driving up to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit my childhood best friend’s book group. While there, she took me not only to Zingerman’s to eat the Obama Reuben (so good!), but also to the famed year-round farmer’s market. Look what they had for sale at the Polish stand:
My friend and I were like, “Oh my God, look!” and the vendor said, “Just so you know, it’s not chicken,” and we eyed each other and laughed and told her, “Oh, we know; we grew up in Pittsburgh.”
When I shared this on Twitter, someone responded asking if city chicken was the food they order from a cart/truck and I was like, “I think you might be thinking of Cat-on-a-Stick from Cambod-Ican Kitchen? Which actually is chicken!”
Pittsburgh foods are weird. Pork is called “chicken” and chicken is called “cat.” Also, what would happen if you made city chicken with chicken? I feel like the answer has the phrase “space-time continuum” in it. Or maybe … “chicken nuggets.”
1. My time has come
We’re starting off early with the portion of the newsletter where I need you to grab hold of your cute butt because …
[SCREAMS IN SPACE-NERD]
Pittsburgh’s leading space company said Tuesday it plans to move some of its operations into a $20 million office building on the North Side and more than double its workforce.
Astrobotic, a Manchester-based company that builds equipment to send to the moon, said it has bought a five-story building on Reedsdale Street and will expand its offices and labs there.
The company’s CEO, John Thornton, said Astrobotic wants to lead the growth of a potential “space district” in the area of the Allegheny light-rail station on the North Shore.
[SCREAMS LOUDER BUT THIS TIME IN SPACE-DORK BECAUSE SHE IS MULTILINGUAL]
I. am. ecstatic. I’m already so excited about Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander*, which is set to be launched at NASA on December 24 on the ULA’s Vulcan rocket as part of the Artemis program, and now Pittsburgh is on the brink of having a space district.
Now, here’s my question, and first, take a moment to pause and try to guess where I’m about to go with this. Take a stab. Okay, here it is:
Can I be the mayor of the Pittsburgh Space District? Kind of like how Pittsburgh’s iconic Chinatown once had its own mayor? I already have my campaign poster!
And my campaign slogan!
MONTANEZ 2025! Spaced Out of Her Mind
Vote early and vote often and be sure to hand me babies and cookies on the campaign trail!
*This is the lander that you could have seen being constructed if you had visited the Moonshot Museum on the North Side. Listen to me when I tell you to do specific stuff, people! You missed your chance to see it in person and now it’s going to the Moon and you aren’t. Not an ad.
2. At last, my mullet twin comes home
Wait. I lied. NOW I need you to grab your butt because …
[SCREAMS IN MRS. JAROMIR JAGR]
The Pittsburgh Penguins will raise two-time Stanley Cup Champion Jaromir Jagr’s no. 68 jersey to the rafters at PPG Paints Arena on February 18 versus the Los Angeles Kings as part of a pre-game celebration, it was announced today by the club.
As part of the ‘Celebrate 68’ festivities, all fans in attendance that night will receive a replica Jagr No. 68 banner. In addition, a commemorative Jagr bobblehead has been added as a giveaway to all fans in attendance on Thursday, March 14 versus the San Jose Sharks.
I will absolutely be at both of these games and will do my very best to not get very arrested on February 18, 2024 because it could really hurt my election chances come the 2025 Pittsburgh Space District mayoral election.
Also, this week on Twitter a long-time reader called me this …
Put it on my gravestone, print it on my campaign posters, and etch it inside my future wedding band.
Ms. Virginia NASA Jagr has spoken.
3. Speaking of space…
I can’t remember how I stumbled on this, but I found a space-themed poem about Pittsburgh from 1917. It was printed by a local company for gift-giving or framing, and as such, they printed the whole thing in the newspaper ad.
Get your berets and black turtlenecks out and prepare your snaps. Really take in each line to understand the meaning. It was often said by visitors during Pittsburgh’s most heavily industrial years when the smoke blocked out the stars, that looking down on the city from Mt. Washington looked like the stars were below and the ground was overhead, and this poem captures that perfectly.
I adore it and wish I knew the author’s name. As seen in January 1917 editions of The Pittsburg Press:
4. The 14th Annual Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide!
Guys. Guys. Guys? Guys. Is this annoying? Too bad. Guys … this edition of the newsletter has a truly extensive amount of butt-holding because there’s even more butt-grab-worthy news! The 2023 YINZER HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE IS UPON US!
It will publish next Tuesday probably and it is so so good. I spent dozens (dozenssss!) of hours to find perfect gifts for everyone on your gift list and nearly every item is local. It is extensive this year, possibly my most extensive gift guide ever. Which leads me to the question, when and what was my first-ever Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide?
I believe it was 2010. So this will be the 14th edition! But it’s possible I started it earlier on my That’s Church or Burgh Blog sites, but I nuked those to high heaven a long time ago, so who knows. Let’s go with 14 unless one of you can find an earlier edition.
Here’s your sneak peek at just a few items from this year’s list:
Watch your inbox next week! Tuck your wallet in and whisper softly, “Rest up. Your big day will be here soon.”
5. I warned your stupidity-having Florida asses
Let’s go back to the last edition of Breathing Space and let me remind you that I wrote this:
Only use the Terrible Towel for good, lest you be felled by a thousand curses. That is on the city shield, is it not?
Well, well, well …
That’s right. Since they screwed around with a Terrible Towel during an interception celebration two weeks ago, thus summoning the screeching, howling angry ghost of Myron Cope, the Jacksonville Jaguars have indeed not scored a touchdown.
And while that is only five quarters of football, the drop-off is quite noticeable compared to their scoring since October 1:
Thoughts and prayers to the Jacksonville Jaguars. You should probably make a charitable donation to the Allegheny Valley School to see if it helps appease Cope’s ghost who might lift the curse you so stupidly invited into your lives.
6. I’m so conflicted
On the flip side of this curse/charm debate, we have … the Acrisure Pigeons.
No, that’s not our new USFL team. I mean LITERAL PIGEONS. Look at this:
What in the actual hell? Is there a word for a combination of dream and nightmare? Curse and charm? Dreammare? Churse?
Regardless, we need a new word for when the thing that brings your city’s team good luck is also the thing that terrorizes you, dive-bombs you, brings down your bridges and wakes up every morning going, “Time to spread a little fecal mayhem!”*
Heck yes, Fecal Mayhem is my new hardcore punk band name. We are a right holy mess.
Wait. Actually, Right Holy Mess is my new band name. Less poop, more general screaming. You’ll adore/despise it. Adpise? Despore?
WE NEED NEW AND BETTER WORDS, ENGLISH!
* Somewhere, Najeh Davenport just sat up a little straighter.
7. Random n’at
The cute little short things!
I have two events coming up if you’d like to ask me questions about my book! First up, I’m taking part in a Zoom book club discussion on November 28 at 7:00 p.m. with the Page Turners book club, which was started by a Pittsburgher but now has members all around the country. If that’s a book club you think you might like to join and gain access to the Zoom discussion, visit them on Facebook. Then of course we have the December 6 in-person book talk at the Carnegie Library Squirrel Hill branch. Details for that one here.
One of the items featured on my Pittsburgh Remains to be Seen map is in the midst of a preservation fund drive by Preservation Pittsburgh. It is the Peabody Soldiers and Sailors Memorial statue which is now at the Obama school. My pal, former Peduto staffer, Peabody grad and future mayor of Pittsburgh James Hill has been instrumental in getting this project off the ground. As it says on the item’s description in my map:
The statue is the Peabody Memorial to Soldiers and Sailors which was paid for by Peabody students and alumni in 1924. It was created by famed sculptor Frank Vittor and includes the names of Peabody students that have died in war, or who served in war. It was once a flagpole base, but the flagpole has been missing since the mid-1940s.
8. That’s all!
Very out of space and time! Have a fantastic week! Introduce your kids to city chicken! Laugh in their faces when they say, “This chicken tastes weird”! Let me know what my space mayor platform should be!
And I’ll see you back here next week for the the 2023 Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide!