Day Trip to the ‘Burgh

Wanted to get out of the house and do something fun and cheap today, so I headed up to the Strip District in Pittsburgh. I went a little bit later to beat the mad rush (plus, the flower guys always cut the prices later on), and it worked:

As always, I called mom and dad and some friends to see if they wanted anything, and I stopped by the usual places- Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, Stamooli Brothers, Wholeys, etc. I didn’t get that much- I am not really eating as much lately and trying to eat healthier, plus I am saving money for the path I am putting in the backyard, but I did get some fresh ricotta and some olive oil, as well as some stuffed grape leaves. Also, ran into my fraternity brother Nick while there (we’ve known each other since 1987):

Fortunately, Nick apparently has a wide angle lens on his phone, otherwise I am not sure he would have been able to take this picture of my ginormous head. I mean jesus tapdancing christ that is a planetary sized head- I’m surprised I don’t have a god damned moon orbiting. I mean, I have always known I had a big head- we had to special order my hats in the army and my drill sergeant told me that if I was a cowboy I would need a 12 gallon hat, but every now and then I see a picture and it just shocks me.

After the Strip district, I went to Traxx Farm Market on the way home to pick up some strawberries for dad and some for Harry and Chatman and a quart for me to eat with my fresh ricotta and honey tonight, and I followed this hysterical car for quite some way. At a stop light I took a picture because I knew you all would appreciate it:

If you can’t tell from the image, the wiper blade is painted as the tail so when the wipers are on it makes it look like the cat is wagging it’s tail. I laughed.

I’m going to take a nap and then tackle the back yard.

53 replies
  1. 1
    Steeplejack says:

    That cat wiper is funny. Although I have to say that on the doughty Kia I very rarely use the rear wiper at all, and then only for a swipe or two to clear the rain. I don’t think I’ve ever turned it on and left it running.

  2. 2
    RobertDSC-Mac Mini says:

    I’m surprised I don’t have a god damned moon orbiting.

    You do. He’s called Steve.

  3. 3
    Raven says:

    @Steeplejack: What do you have? We bought a Niro Touring and like it pretty well.

  4. 4

    Oh no. I had to go looking and they have a Great Dane one – not it’s tail, but waving its paw. I may have to ignore my budget this month and get it.

  5. 5
    Steeplejack says:


    I’ve got a 2009 Rondo, acquired in late 2011. Like this. Great car! Small on the outside, big on the inside.

    I have looked at the Niro. Also have a chronic case of Soul lust. I would definitely consider getting another Kia of some sort.

  6. 6


    I love my Niro (it’s a plug in hybrid, I’m averaging about 127 MPG). Room for both dogs and we did a 8 hour drive last month. Comfy.

    I reluctantly got rid of my Soul when the model year I had started bursting into flames for no reason across the country. Loved my Soul. The Niro feels kind of boring in comparison, but can’t beat the size/mpgs/comfort.

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    @TaMara (HFG): We’ve got the gas/electric and are getting about 50 mpg. I am happy with the legroom but the seats are a little stiff. I’m confused about what a plugin hybrid is? Does it not have the regenerative braking that charges the battery?

  8. 8
    Steeplejack says:

    Okay, I’m off to see Echo in the Canyon.

  9. 9

    @Raven: It does when it’s in hybrid mode – but for most of my around town driving, it is in electric mode – and it plugs into my standard 110 in the garage. It gets about 26 mpg on battery alone, and then if I’m doing long distance driving, about 50mpg.

    I literally use the battery every day and the only time I use the hybrid mode is when I have to drive to Denver. So far charging it has been less than a $2 a month and I had the same tank of gas for 4 months – I only used it up (along with two more) when I drove to NE last month.

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Got it. Did you get a roof rack? I’m on a Kira Niro blog and found one from Mick’s Garage in Dublin, Ireland and it was about half what KIA wants.

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    Glad you had a good day, Cole😊
    The cat wiper😂

  12. 12
  13. 13

    @Raven: I didn’t, but I might look at their bike racks.

  14. 14
    NeenerNeener says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I had a charger installed in my garage that will charge my Niro in 2.5 hours, although that made my electric bill go up by about $20 a month. Still cheaper than a week’s worth of gas, though. The longest I’ve gone on a single tank of gas was 2 months last summer. Now that it’s finally warmed up enough that I don’t have to run the heater in the car anymore I’m getting over 100 mpgs again. I love this car.

  15. 15

    Hey, John, is this your town?

  16. 16
    Jharp says:

    I really dig Pittsburgh.

    Great baseball stadium and I love eating Devonshire sandwiches.

    And by far the most challenging city to find ones way around.

    I once remember seeing where I wanted to be but couldn’t get there. I almost parked ny car and hiked up the hill to my destination.

  17. 17
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I mean, I have always known I had a big head- we had to special order my hats in the army and my drill sergeant told me that if I was a cowboy I would need a 12 gallon hat, …

    Where else are you going to put all of those brains?

    I mean jesus tapdancing christ that is a planetary sized head- I’m surprised I don’t have a god damned moon orbiting.

    You don’t have to be “planetary” sized to have a moon. You would be surprised how many small solar system bodies have satellites.

  18. 18

    @Cheryl Rofer: Apparently a pump broke at the water treatment plant and allowed sodium permanganate into the water. It should be safe once enough is run through the pipes to take out the color. It will also clean the pipes, so that’s not all bad.

  19. 19
    J R in WV says:

    We’re about to byte the bullet for a Mazda CZ-5, based on the reliability stats. Our VW Tiguan is a nice small SUV, but we’ve done two major repairs in the past year with only 40K miles on a 2013.

    Main Driveshaft Bearing for over $3K and a rear ABS sensor and wheel bearing for about another grand, and I’ve completely lost confidence I’ll get home again with the car. Sad, been VW owners since 1978. Mazda gets great ratings from CR, they look OK, will test drive one soon.

    We’re too far from town for hybrids at their current state of the art. Always do at least 60 miles when we leave home.

  20. 20
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    “Perfectly safe.” Code for “Danger!”

  21. 21
    NeenerNeener says:

    @J R in WV: Mazda has a color called “Soul Crystal Red” that’s a gorgeous candy apple color. I don’t usually like red cars but I’ll make an exception for Soul Crystal Red.

  22. 22
    Mart says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: When I got my first job I soon found myself in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. As I was brushing my teeth I remembered my dad telling me one of the great things about America is no matter where you are, the water is safe to drink. Seems like we have taken more than a few steps backwards over 40 years, even though in this instance – though colorful – does not appear too dangerous.

  23. 23
    sukabi says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Jesus Hopscotching Christ, that ain’t koolaid in the water…and safe {{bullshit}} when diluted by how much? A billion parts actually clean water?

  24. 24
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    I reluctantly got rid of my Soul when the model year I had started bursting into flames for no reason across the country. Loved my Soul.

    Sounds like you made a deal with the devil. And by devil, I mean Robot Devil.

  25. 25

    @sukabi: Permanganate is very soluble, and if the water was safe to drink before the coloring, it will be safe after the color goes away. I’d run it for a bit after the color disappeared, though.

  26. 26
    sukabi says:

    John, you mentioned your friends camera had a wide angle lense…the closer an object is to the lense the larger it will be, wide angle lenses distort this enormously. Try not to be the person in the foreground and your noggin won’t appear planetary sized.

  27. 27
    Sab says:

    @rikyrah: My cats only wag their tails when they are really angry, like if I put them on a car window in the rain.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    Should you ever see auditions to play the Warner Brothers, you’ve got a head start (pun intended) on being cast as Albert (pictured on the right).


  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    Got my hair cut and colored, and now I’m headed to a screening of Buster Keaton’s Go West, which I haven’t seen in years.

    I leave for Portland on Thursday, which means I’m going to start packing this weekend, because I’m nuts like that. Also, taking several days to pack means that I remember to look for the stuff I need for the trip ahead of time and don’t end up staying up all night the day before trying to find all of my travel shit. It’s WAY more relaxing.

  30. 30
    sukabi says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: ok, so diluting it by a billion parts…you mentioned it “cleans” the pipes…if they’re old pipes there is probably some lead* that is being “cleaned” from the pipe walls as well.

    The statement released above doesn’t inspire confidence.

    Either the pipes themselves or solder joints.

  31. 31

    @TaMara (HFG): I wish I could have got a plug in hybrid, but I’ve got no place to do the plug in part. Love my Prius, though.

  32. 32
    Sab says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: That looks like my eighth grade science project. I cannot for the life of me remember wh3at I was trying to accomplish, but I do remember that purple color in water.

  33. 33
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @TaMara (HFG): A new Lidl grocery store just opened up at the old Swimming Baths here and in the parking lot there is a bank of EV Charging Stations. When we went there every station had a car charging in it. I was amazed.

  34. 34

    @Litlebritdifrnt: What? They don’t burn coal like the good Lord intended? Jebus sobs while riding he dinosaur.

  35. 35
    HinTN says:

    @Steeplejack: No sign of it coming out here to the sticks any time soon. Le sigh…

  36. 36
    HinTN says:

    @sukabi: Trust us, it’s planetary.

  37. 37
    TomatoQueen says:

    That looks a lot like the Girl Scout soap we were issued at Girl Scout camp (early 70s, Connecticut) for the cleaning of latrines.

  38. 38
    leeleeFL says:

    John, you have made me smile in a week that seemed to never call for one at all. Thank you, Sir! Glad your Dad is doing well and that you have fresh ricotta, strawberries and honey. Sounds wonderful!

  39. 39
    billcinsd says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Depends how the electricity was made

  40. 40
    geg6 says:

    Oooo, I need a trip to the Strip! It’s the best place for me to get unusual and expensive things and I’m pretty much out of saffron. Plus, it never hurts to stop into Wholey’s and Pennsylvania Macaroni. And have lunch at the Church Brew Works. And maybe a stop at the Heinz History Center for the Vietnam exhibit, which I hear is great.

    Making some grilled pork tenderloin and peaches for dinner. The local fruit/vegetable market also had some lovely asparagus. Probably some wild rice on the side. Trying s new recipe for grilled shrimp tomorrow. The marinade is made with garlic and Fresno pepper. Grilling pineapple to go with it, along with some baby yellow squash and zucchini. Jasmine rice for that one. Feeling very creative with the grill this weekend.

  41. 41
    Bjacques says:

    Isn’t the moon part of your head?

    I’ll see myself out…

  42. 42

    @sukabi: Permanganate is an oxidizer, so it should help stabilize the lead in the pipes while it kills whatever bacteria may be there.

  43. 43

    @Bjacques: No, the Moon is part of Mars. A stable genius told me.

  44. 44
    MelissaM says:

    “Heed! Pants! Now!” So I Married an Axe Murderer is a gem.

  45. 45
    Mainmata says:

    As a kid, I remember when the Strip District was still a pretty grim place to visit. I was so surprised about a decade ago and returning to visit and pleasantly surprised at its transformation, not to mention the marvelous baseball stadium.

  46. 46
    Sab says:

    @geg6: Your town is so hard to navigate. We went to see the Giant Ducky a few years back, and there seems to be no riverfront access for un-informed non-locals. Never even saw the rivers, much less the Duck ( lots of bridges and tunnels, but no rivers.) Every missed turn sends you off into the wilds of non-urban PA. All of our grandparents came from Pa (miners and farmers) but we were happy to get back to Ohio where maps work.

  47. 47
    Mainmata says:

    @geg6: That’s another thing that didn’t exist when I was a kid growing up in Pittsburgh – farmers markets. I love, love, love such markets.@Jharp: @Raven: We have a Ford Max E plug-in hybrid. It gets ridiculously great mileage mainly because the charge last forever. But, as is typical for Ford, they’ve produced this great hybrid then have completely ignored it. I get it. All the company’s profit comes from making Ford F-250s and other monster gas guzzlers. Well, heads up, Ford. Trump and his criminal Cabinet are going down next year and the gas guzzler era will be over.

  48. 48
    ThresherK says:

    Maybe it’s the thousands of miles I have on both bicycles and motorcycles, but anyone who puts crap right in the middle of their rear windows…ugh.

    I need them to not see out any worse than they do already.

  49. 49
    Mainmata says:

    @Sab: Actually, the worst part to navigate is along the rivers, especially the Monongahela, Trying to get to Greenfield/Hazlewood from Oakland via the river road takes you nowhere. Best just to take Forbes to Squirrel Hill and go east from there.

  50. 50
    Sab says:

    @Mainmata: My mother from Akron whose father was from Newcastle PA navigated everything in W Pa and E Ohio by going to Newcastle and then finding her way to wherever.

    We used to go to the Butler Museum in Youngstown( wonderful place) by driving to Newcastle PA and then backtracking to Youngstown. Doubled our mileage.

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    I learned how to drive into Pittsburgh to U-Pitt and the museums to attend the Carnegie museum mineral shows, back when those still happened. I guess that’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood? I went to those shows several years in a row, and then one year things felt all different. That year turned out to be the last year the shows happened.

    Years later I learned that the minerals curator was pressed to feed 2/3 of the monies raised to the two other museums, although neither of those museums’ staff helped out with the mineral show. He needed surgery and a long medical leave after that last show, and so they ended.

    I’m not sure I could repeat that drive into town again. I like Pittsburgh, there are rivers and mountains and good food and it seems lots of educational opportunities and jobs. Also a wide variety of ethnic communities, which I enjoy the varieties a lot. NYC is like that…

  52. 52
    Shana says:

    @Mnemosyne: If we lived on the same side of the continent I think we’d be friends. I pack the same way. We’re going on a 7 day cruise with a couple of days in the towns at each end leaving on the 25th and i’m already making lists of what to take.

    I’m toned down from my parents though who would be already packed at this point and would get to the airport, even before security checks etc., 4 hours ahead of their transatlantic flight.

    Any advice on what weather to expect in Barcelona and Lisbon at the end of June/early July? I’m expecting hot.

  53. 53
    Steeplejack says:


    Maybe not as hot as you’d expect.

    Barcelona, July: average high 83°, average low 70°.

    Lisbon, July: average high 82°, average low 65°.

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