Tube City Almanac

August 11, 2008

Summer Reruns

Category: Rants a.k.a. Commentary || By

(Editor's Note: Due to circumstances beyond my control, it's summer rerun time! Here's an Almanac that originally appeared on March 31, 2004. I'd call it "the best of," but that's like trying to decide which method of tooth-drilling you like "best.")

. . .

At a critical point in a serious meeting last night, I looked down and realized I was wearing two different color shoes. One brown, one black.

It's a long walk from the parking lot to the office, so on rainy, sloppy days, I wear my swamp boots to work, and then change into a pair of dress shoes. The problem is that this invariably means that either the boots or the shoes go home at the end of the day; not both. (Unless I wore shoes on my hands when I went home ... hmmm ....)

But yesterday, there was no need to wear my swamp boots to the office, so I wore a pair of dress shoes. At some point during the afternoon, I kicked off the shoes under my desk. And then, as I prepared to go home last night, I slipped my feet back into them.

One brown. One black. I looked like an escapee from the looney bin (the Dementia ward, if you will, or if you won't, for that matter).

It's just the thing when you're having a serious meeting with a couple of PhDs. Luckily they weren't psychiatrists.

In other business, Kennywood is giving the Old Mill a new look, according to the Post-Gazette:

The new ride will be called Garfield's Nightmare, featuring that chubby feline of comic strip fame. In the ride, Garfield, who is known for his healthy appetite, has a bit too much to eat and goes into a deep sleep, and falls into a nightmare where all the characters that he normally tortures, such as his owner, Jon, and Odie the dog, gain a bit of revenge. Riders will be given special glasses that will make the scenes appear in 3-D and the entire ride will undergo other changes, including a new queuing line, a refreshment stand and a place where riders can get their picture taken with the famous fat cat.

I'd like to take revenge on Garfield for Sunday's comic, which hit a new low in unfunniness even by the standards of "Garfield," which was last funny during the first Reagan administration.

It could be worse, I suppose. It could be called "The Family Circus' Nightmare." On that ride, the boats would trail dotted lines behind them, and dead grandparents would leap from the walls as the riders were pelted with "piz-getty" and meatballs. By the end, you'd be begging for the sweet release of death.

It's not the first time the Old Mill --- now the oldest amusement park water ride in the U.S. --- has been re-themed. Before being remodeled about 10 years ago, it was known as "Hard-Headed Harold's Horrendously Horrific Haunted Hideaway." I may be missing a few "H" words there ("Halitosis Haven, Hepatitis Heliport and Hollandaise Hokey-Pokey"), but it's been a long time, and I'm not about to go look it up in Charles Jacques' book. According to the P-G, at various times the Old Mill was known as the "Panama Canal" and the "Mill Chute."

In one of the earliest attempts at sponsorship of an amusement park ride, the Old Mill also had a short stint as the "Crane Plumbing Raw Sewage Flume," but after a dysentery outbreak, the contract was canceled.

Those of you who grew up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and early '80s will remember another Kennywood dark-ride called "Le Cachot" (which we Kennywood employees called something unprintable; it's a compound seven-letter word beginning with "cat"). Well, it apparently has some fans of its own, and its own Web page.

Meanwhile, dissolving the city of Pittsburgh and merging it into Allegheny County is a topic under serious consideration by the state's financial oversight board, according to Andrew Conte in the Trib. The suggestion could be interpreted as a big ol' "G.F.Y." to Mayor Smurphy, especially given that Jim Roddey is a member of the panel.

Frankly, it's a good idea, but don't stop there, oversight board; they should also merge all of the municipalities with fewer than 10,000 residents into the county government. In the Mon Valley, that would include just about everybody except for McKeesport, North Versailles Township, Munhall, Swissvale and West Mifflin.

We have a better chance of a "Raw Sewage Flume" moving to Kennywood, and for much the same reason.

But back to Murph the Smurf: A few weeks ago, John Kerry gave an interview to KDKA-TV in which he dropped Hizzoner da Mahr's name in an apparent attempt to curry favor with Pittsburghers.

Given the fact that Murphy's approval ratings in Pittsburgh are hovering somewhere between those of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, I'd have to recommend that Kerry smack around his advance team a little bit. If you're going to be a name-dropper, Senator, at least drop names that will score you some points.

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