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The Rise of the Bag Ban Jackwagons
Crap. I made eye-contact with my Walmart bag and it disintegrated
In this edition: personal stuff * the City of Pittsburgh bag ban * Amos the Alligator is far too cute and smiley * dropping to-bes all up in here * L.O.L. * proposed Point plans that never were * Random n’at
Happy Wednesday! You are not imagining things; I did, in fact, get hotter.
I kid! I did, in fact, not find time last week to write this newsletter. I’ll remind you once again, it is free and you did not die.
I find that as I go deeper into my year of bravery, two things have happened: 1. I’m much more confident during appearances/talks, but at the same time, 2. I have an increasingly higher level of baseline anxiety in the days leading up to those events. How does that make any sense at all? My anxiety is increasing as my confidence increases. Imagine trying to understand me and my stupid ass math.
The days leading up to my Sewickley Library author talk last week were awash in anxiety and then the actual event was well-attended and just a really good time with a great group of Pittsburghers who had lots of meaningful questions for me. I’m so happy I didn’t cancel it.
As this year begins to close its doors, I have four more book clubs to visit (you can still request that I visit your bookclub!). In addition, my TEDxPittsburgh talk is coming up at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater next Thursday. So obviously, I might skip publishing next week as well. I hope to meet some of you at the TEDx event!
My final event for the year will be my book talk at Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill on December 6 at 6:00 p.m.
Oh! One more thing! The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (their continuing education arm) invited me to submit a proposal to teach a Pittsburgh history course this coming spring, and they have approved it! So I’ll be sharing schedule/registration information about that as soon as I have it.
1. Now in this our hour of jackwagon-ery
After a months-long delay, the single-use plastic bag ban has gone into effect in Pittsburgh!
The measure bans most plastic bags but allows exceptions for produce bags, meat packaging, pharmacy bags, bags used to wrap flowers and similar items, garbage bags and pet waste bags.
Under the new ordinance, shoppers will need to bring a reusable bag or pay a 10-cent fee for a paper bag.
While there will continue to be a bunch of ignorant doofi knee-jerk-screaming about “woke-ism” or “virtue signaling” in regards to this, I am so pleased to see that the business owners who are being interviewed are not opposed to the ban because they are aware of the destruction the plastic does to the environment. And I love that Giant Eagle is donating paper bag fees to local conservancy nonprofits like Allegheny Cleanways.
I’ve mentioned this before, but one thing I noticed during my two Ohio River clean-up jaunts with Tom Ross was that while there is floating plastic EVERY-FRICKING-WHERE, you initially don’t see very many plastic store bags. I quickly learned this is not because they aren’t in our rivers; it is because they sink. I tried to pull so many out from under the mud along the banks, but they just tear.
Now, did I upset you with the ignorant doofi line and you, a singular ignorant doofus, wants to email me? Don’t. I just checked replies to posts from the City and news outlets about the ban, and the jagoffs screaming about bike lanes or the homeless are so exceedingly stupid, just proving my point. Listen to me: THE CITY CAN WORK ON MORE THAN ONE THING AT A TIME. Trust me on this. The entire city machinery isn’t like, “Today, everyone on city payroll is to work on the pothole problem! Tomorrow, our attention will shift to planning Light-Up Night, so please be sure there are no residual pothole undertakings remaining at the end of business today.”
I mean look at this:
Holy hell, you absolute children. Do you know how simple it is to just grab a few reusable bags from your trunk before you walk into a store? Do you realize how much more stuff you can carry in one reusable bag compared to the insanely thin single-use plastic bags that tear if you so much as make too strenuous of eye contact with them? Instead of going to Walmart and then home where you have to transfer 42 plastic bags with three things in each, if you’re non-disabled, you can make one trip up your stairs with four reusable bags loaded with everything from gallons of milk to a whole-ass lawnmower.
Since I switched to reusable bags, it is so much more convenient. This ban is just an incredibly moronic hill to die on. Do you, like, go to Aldi or IKEA and just lose your shit when you realize the bags aren’t free and that they don’t sell single-use plastic bags? Don’t email me. I truly mean that. Just unsubscribe, burn my book, and you’ll feel better. Then go ahead and drive out of the city limits for your groceries because you feel the need to continue your tantrum so you can post about it to Elon’s hell site.
Wow, I’m punchy today.
But seriously. Get mad about book bans, not bag bans. One is good for the environment; the other is good for nothing.
2. “Alligator?! I hardly know her!”
Let’s lighten it up in here by chatting about being eaten by an alligator in Pittsburgh!
When Tony Gularsky opened the door to his front porch, he had “a rude awakening”: An alligator was blocking his doorway.
Gularsky, 60, of Kiski Township, had just gotten out of the hospital on Thursday, and he was expecting some friends were coming to visit him to see how he was doing. Gularsky’s neighbor noticed the alligator and called Gularsky’s friends, who were en route so they could warn him
“(They) called me and said, ‘Whatever you do Tony, don’t come out on your porch — there’s a big gator,” Gularsky said.
Sigh. Another freaking Kiski alligator. I’m seriously asking this because I’m not Googling it … is Kiski Area High School’s mascot an alligator by any chance? It probably should be at this point.
I assumed this “big gator” talk was an exaggeration, like putting a lawnmower in an IKEA bag. It was probably just like 3 feet lo-
“It was, I’d say, about 5 to 6 feet long,” Gularsky said.
That is indeed a big gator! There is a picture too!
I hate that it is smiling adorably. Stop being cute! I think I love it. I’m going to name it Amos. While Amos is not big enough to eat a person, he’s definitely big enough to swallow your dog. And the situation gets worse. Apparently Amos belongs to a homeowner down the street, and …
Dominic Hayward, who has kept about 10 alligators as pets at his house down the road, was arrested by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission last month. According to court documents filed Sept. 27, he’s awaiting summary trial in connection with violating regulations regarding the transport of certain animals.
Hayward has owned 11 alligators, and his largest, Thor, is a 7-footer that lives in one of the bedrooms in his home.
The man has a seven-foot alligator living in a bedroom in his house, and it is just one of ten he keeps as pets. In his house. Ten. Alligators. With jaws of steel and mandibles of death.
And “crazy cat ladies” get a bad rap? I’d rather be neighbors with a woman with 40 cats and zero litter boxes, than a man with 10 alligators. This is new math.
This damn alligator hoarder has me literally Googling, “Alligators poop and pee?” and what I found is that alligator poop can actually be harmful to humans because of bacteria and this man has ten in his house and I just want to know where they all poop, honestly.
Pennsylvania probably should ban the ownership of alligators simply because we have shown that, as a people, we are not responsible enough to handle them. They eventually grow big enough to need to be relocated, and, barring the desire/money to deal with that, will just be inhumanely released into the wild.
Then it’s all fun and games until all the little doggies start randomly disappearing from backyards in Fox Chapel. Then where’s your yacht god?
Also, should I write a children’s book about Amos the Smiling Alligator who wins over everyone’s cold dead hearts by showing up on their porches in Pittsburgh and smiling adorably at them until they stop screaming in terror and feed him pierogies and knit him cardigans to keep him warm through the winter?
International best seller.
3. To be or not to be? That is the question, Bob.
I accidentally sparked a discussion on Twitter this week about how Pittsburghers drop “to be” from their sentences.
Some of you are, right at this moment, confused about what that means and are like, “That needs explained.” So let me explain. “My car needs washed.” No. Your car needs TO BE washed. “The dogs need out” should be “the dogs need to be let out.” Raised by a steel man from Bridgeville and a mother from Clairton, I used to do it all the time. In fact, when I first started writing as PittGirl, someone said, “she drops ‘to be’ like phat beats,” and I was like, “Okay. I know what ‘phat beats’ are because I am young and hip and totally groovy, but what’s this about ‘to be’?” I had no clue!
In response to the tweet, several pointed out to me this cool Yale project that explores this linguistic phenomenon, among others, and they even mapped out the “acceptability” of the dropped “to be”:
This map makes me want to go to Philadelphia and drop all of my to-bes until I make the locals develop involuntary tics.
Murray and Simon (2002) describe the rough boundaries as Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia, and Central Indiana. Pockets of speakers may exist in places as far-spread as Kentucky and Illinois. This construction is also attested in Scots English, which might be its historical source.
It makes perfect sense because so much of Pittsburghese was shaped by our Scots-Irish roots. Here’s just a sampling of how acceptable the dropping of to be has always been in Pittsburgh. These mostly range in dates from the early 1900s to the 1940s and come from local writers or ads for local companies:
Some of you are reading these going, “I still don’t get it. Those sound just fine to me,” and to you I say, “My sweet summer yinzer child, just keep being your pure beautiful self. Nothing about you needs changed.”
4. Posted without comment
From this week’s TV Q & A with the Trib’s Rob Owen:
5. Is that a trilon at the Point or are you just happy to see me?
Mapping and Municipal Guru Chris Briem, which is what his desk nameplate should say, posted a picture of a proposed plan for the Point presented in 1939 by New York’s Robert Moses. Here it is from overhead as taken from Press archives:
I had not previously seen this plan for the Point, despite having covered several in the past for Pittsburgh Magazine, though it is a bit similar to the alien-looking trilon proposed in 1961:
Hunting for more information on the Moses plan led me to stumble on a few other proposals for the Point that were new to me. This one is from the 1950s and it features a “Gateway to the West” monument between the old Manchester and Union bridges.
That big number 3 is a design for a new town hall, and those enormous number 7s on prime downtown real estate? PARKING. LOTS. Holy shit, that is a lot of concrete.
I just want to pause for a second and say that I am really glad that we didn’t put any of these giant erections at the Point and that is 100 percent a euphemism. Here’s a 1900 plan created as a collective by members of the respected Pittsburgh Architectural Club:
No pointy Point penis, no parking lot as big as one of Saturn’s moons, a massive park at the Point that features the Block House as its centerpiece. Then up by Grant, you have basically a parklike version of the National Mall in DC, featuring tons of green space, as well as monuments to Carnegie, Washington, Lincoln, Pitt and another name I cannot read. There are also additional small triangle-shaped parklets dotting the whole Golden Triangle. I quite appreciate this design and its liberal use of green spaces and its complete absence of phallic architecture.
If I ever run for mayor, my campaign slogan is for sure going to be Montanez: Less Penises; More Parks!
Vote early and vote often!
6. Random n’at
I can’t remember if I mentioned this Trib article about the litter problem that I was interviewed for, but here’s the link if you want to read me do a verbal eye-roll at the City’s social media team.
It’s honestly too bad our state bird isn’t the Satanic Goatsucker or the Blue-Footed Booby.
The controversial and historical Lion Attacking a Dromedary diorama at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History has been removed from view after years of attempts to find a thoughtful and educational way to display it. A revised human remains policy is behind the latest change. I appreciate the museum’s plan to return the remains to their homeland if isotope analysis reveals it.
A YouTuber and gamer has been building, in great detail, the city of Pittsburgh in Cities: Skylines, and it is truly a work of art. Here’s the video of him adding the final touches to the South Side Slopes and Squirrel Hill after nearly two years of work. You can check out the rest of his videos to watch the city being built in the game. Unreal work. (h/t Peter B)
7. And that’s all!
I’ve run out of time and space again to feature a Pittsburgh product for sale, but my Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide is coming out next month, so I’ll more than make up for it with that. Nor did I share a new historical insult about the city. I’ll be sure to give you one in the next edition.
Have a great two weeks! Be kind! Don’t litter! Ban alligators as pets except for Amos! Come to my TED Talk so that I can un-ironically say, “Thank you for coming to my TED Talk”! Buy my book! And be sure to come out to see my new band Residual Pothole Undertakings. We’re still trying to figure out if we are a death metal band or a Men at Work cover band. Or maybe we do death metal covers of Men at Work songs?
Being a world famous rock star in my head is SUCH. WORK.
Talk with you soon, loves!