Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

Be Careful What You Pray For

How High’s The Water, Mama: The Republican choice for President, Senator and pilot John McCain, has named his navigator: the governor of the 49th state. Roll back the video tape to mid August when the Demos announced that their nomination acceptance speech would be held in the INVESCO Denver Bronco football stadium, an open air venue. The right wing-nuts began immediately to come out of the closet. Stuart Shepard, media director of the right wing Evangelical group “Focus on the Family” called for Christians to “pray for abundant, torrential rains” during the Democratic convention. Presumably this would drown out the splash that Demos had planned at Denver’s INVESCO field. He went on to urge Christians to pray for rains that would create flash floods and “swamp the intersections.” He continued, describing the Noah nemesis type rains as, “Umbrella-ain’t-gonna-help-you rain.” Shepard directed the sheep to pray that the rain begin “two minutes before the acceptance speech begins” but forgot to look ahead for the next 40 days and 40 nights.

The Worst Kind of Juxtaposition: We’re not sure how many of Shepard’s faithful members of “Focus on the Family” heeded the words of the news release creator, but Senator Obama’s acceptance speech came off without a hitch. The Focus flock-tending Shephard was left high and dry – or was he? Democratic Senator John Morse who hails from Denver responded to Shepard’s remarks with, “Is praying for rain wrong? No, its soulless.” Focus on the Family is one of the most powerful evangelical groups in America and is led by Bush Backer James Dobson. Another Evangelical televangelist, John Hagee, whose endorsement was solicited by Senator McCain, told a radio audience that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment of New Orleans for having a Gay Pride parade. In later comments Hagee described the hurricane in New Orleans as a curse. Another hurricane threatens New Orleans as we write this blog. This one not only threatens the city of Mardi Gras but the Republican convention several states away.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost: In view of comments made by Pastor Hagee and calls to Focus on the Family of praying for rain, the real irony is that rain is now falling and seems to be the answer to the Shepard’s prayers. But instead of raining out Senator Obama’s acceptance speech it might completely rain out the Republican convention. Are Obama’s former minister Jeremiah Wright’s words coming back to haunt the Republicans? Are the chickens coming home to roost? Maybe it is time to separate church from state. Perhaps it is time to at least remove the hate mongers in the religious community from the equation. The only way that can be done is to denounce the endorsement of radicals such as Farrakhan and Wright (as Senator Obama did) rather than embrace hate mongers such as Hagee and Shepard.

The Rain on the Plain May Allow Avoidance of Pain: At this writing the Republicans have not decided what to do about their convention, scheduled to begin tomorrow in the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. One plan would be to shorten it to one or two days and cram in the necessaries of a political convention – get the candidates nominated and get out of Dodge. The hard truth is that Republicans up for reelection want to distance themselves from the disaster of the Bush Administration and many have already sent their regrets that they will be unable to attend the convention with the Bushman. Earlier today President Bush and Vice President Cheney announced that they will not be able to make the party either. That whooshing sound you hear is a sigh of relief from those who still plan to attend the convention if it goes as scheduled. It will be interesting to see how many of those who already sent their RSVP regrets will suddenly discover that their schedules will now allow them to attend, especially if the convention can be spun for a positive photo opportunity – say for example if they decide to have a blood drive in conjunction with the convention.

Woe be Politicos if the Evacuation Becomes a Bust: Politicians will always be politicians. No way will the Repubs be able to come close to the splash and dash created at the Demo convention so they must strategize what would give them the most bang for their buck. Cancel their convention? Do a condensed version? Politicians pandering? Perish the thought. But what if Hurricane Gustav ends with a whimper? What happens the next time an evacuation appears to be necessary. A delicate line must be walked between being the CNN Boy who cried Wolf Blitzer and the government mandating evacuations to save people from their own poor judgment of not evacuating in light of an impending hurricane.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Stormy Weather” by an number of artists. My favorite version is by Etta James.

Dr. Forgot

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Convention of Olympic Proportions

The First Rule of Holes

Apply this one to Iraq: In a recent column Tom Friedman, author of “The World is Flat” and a NY Times columnist reminds us of The First Rule of Holes, “When you’re in one stop digging.” Our country has gone far beyond drawing a line in the sand we have been digging holes in the sand for seven years. And we have been digging holes in the ground, more than 4,000 of them for our brave troops who have perished during Bush’s bungle. Let’s do a quick review: our country was attacked under the direction of a terrorist. Bush/Cheney used the euphoria of the moment to send troops to invade a sovereign country that had nothing to do with the bombing, ignored the country in which the terrorists trained, and spent 7 years and more than 4,000 lives supposedly looking for one man whom they still can’t find. The hole continues to deepen and Bush and his bunglers continue to dig.

Name That Word: Pundits. You’ve gotta love ‘em. They play with words and when they find one that seems to capture the public’s ear, it spreads like a computer virus from pundit to pundit. Remember “Détente?” How about “Hit the ground running?” Or “Bottom line.” The two current pundit prattle winners are “Attack Dog,” and “Red Meat.” College frat boys often play a game. They buy several pitchers of beer and each time a designated pundit prattle word is used they drink up. After this week at the convention I hope the frat boys have designated drivers.

First Peek at VEEP Joe Bee: The democrats have named their vice presidential candidate. They kept it quiet for a while but CNN broke the story by reporting that Sen. Biden was running around D.C. looking for an undisclosed location. Some issues have been raised about Biden’s health since he had a brain aneurism a few years ago. Many were expecting a VP candidate with no health issues like the one “W” chose eight years ago, Dick Cheney. While some on the Repub side might say Hillary’s speech was given through clenched teeth and while biting her tongue, even we were expecting her to start, “Remember all those nasty things I said about Obama? Not.” Joe’s speech, however was given with both six-guns blasting. Senator Obama will speak tonight on the 45th anniversary of the Martin Luther King “Dream” speech. It will also mark the 25th anniversary of John McCain refusing to sign the Martin Luther King Holiday bill. The speech will be given in the Denver Bronco’s Mile High Stadium. The other team no doubt will criticize the ostentatious nature of the setting but you can bet your cowboy boots that even as I write this the Repubs are putting down a deposit on Yankee Stadium for their 2012 convention.

One TV Spectacle after Another: The Olympics just ended in the host city of Beijing. All who watched would agree that the Chinese did a fantastic job particularly with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the venues. The spectacle did not happen overnight. Let’s look at history again as noted by Thomas Friedman. China was awarded the Olympic Games shortly before the 9/11 tragedy. In the seven years since China has spent $ 43 billion developing their infrastructure, upgrading their airports, subways, stadiums, parks, and roads. We have no information on any fatalities during the buildup. Since the Iraq invasion the Bush Bungle has cost our country over $ 500 billion, more than 10 times what China spent. In FY2007 alone the US spent about $ 5000 per Iraqi, more than triple their “per person” GNP. That money has gone to destroy roads, airports, stadiums and parks. We have depleted the ranks of our National Guard and their equipment and money for our own infrastructure has been redirected leaving the majority of our bridges in dire need of repair, our airlines failing, our trains in disrepair, our housing market in the tank, and our economic structure on the brink of collapse. To add insult to injury, we are in debt to China up to our eyeballs thanks to the fiscal mismanagement of the Bush Blunder team.

Will McCain be a Pain Tonight? The vice presidential selection has been made on the Democratic ticket. Some say that the selection method used was “Barack, paper, scissors,” others say it was to save ink my making bumper stickers read “OBiden.” Regardless, the Republican VEEP is yet to be named although pundits say McCain has already decided. That leaves the question of strategy. Will he name his running mate during tonight’s Democratic gala, or even during Sen. Obama’s speech? Stay tuned for more politics, humor, and satire.

A little blogging music Maestro... Bruce Springsteen singing “.”

Dr. Forgot

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Bard on Obama

The Bard Version of O and Joe

Ready to Return to School: Ok, boys and girls, school is about to begin and the election campaigns are at full throttle. In the interest of fulfilling your Humanities requirement we will discuss the Bard (had you done your assigned reading you would know that’s William Shakespeare) and the upcoming presidential election (you remember, Political Science?). This will be accomplished by taking quotes from characters in various Shakespearean plays and attaching them to the current cast of candidate characters. Just in case you did not complete your homework the candidates are, Democrat: Senator Barack Obama, president, and Senator Bill Biden, vice president. The Republican candidate for president is Senator John McCain and his VP is a draft choice to be named later. Ok, shhhhh, curtain’s going up:

Act I Scene I: Republican National Committee Chair Mike Duncan as Romeo asks, “What Light through yonder window breaks?” The media and Republicans scramble to try to identify the Demo Vice Presidential candidate. Once Joe Biden has been named VP, Duncan as Romeo continues “A pair of star crossed lovers. A plague on both your houses.” Duncan then asks Senator McCain when he will select his running mate and McCain, as Macbeth replies: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” Fox News reporters are beginning to pester McCain for a hint as to his running mate. Sean Hannity asks if Mitt will be the second banana. McCain, as Hamlet replies, “To be or not to be. That is the question.” As scene I ends Senator McCain is talking on the phone to Joe Lieberman who is begging to know if he is the chosen one. McCain, as Caesar responds, “Et tu Brute?”

Act I Scene II: A flashback from 18 months earlier, Hillary, as Cleopatra commands, “Give me my robe, put on my crown.” Upstage in the present day the CNN newsroom is abuzz. The Democratic VP has yet to be announced and speculation runs wild. Might it be Hillary despite her repeated denials? Wolf Blitzer, as the queen in Hamlet howls, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” Amid the hubub Bill Clinton as Duke Orsino cries, “If music be the fruit of love, play on. Give me excess of it” Nigh midnight the VP candidate has not been yet identified. A CNN Obamaniac waits for the text message and ponders as Hamlet, “To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub.” When Senator Biden finally realizes he is the chosen one he responds as Prospero in The Tempest, “Such stuff as dreams are made on.” Bill Clinton as Richard the Third, laments, “Now is the winter of our discontent.” Geraldine Ferraro, as Claudio moans, “Oh, what men dare do!”

Act II Scene I: The scene opens outside the Old State Capital in Springfield, Illinois. Senator Obama, as Jacques in As You Like it is ready to introduce his VP candidate, “All the world’s a stage, the men and women merely players.” Joe Biden as Hamlet to Obama, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, than are dreampt of in your philosophy.” As Omama mounts the stage, he turns to Biden and says as Hamlet, “My words fly up. My thoughts remain below.” He begins his speech as Mark Antonius with, “Friends, Romans, and Countrymen, lend me your ears.” He continues as Lysander, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” And finally, as Malvolio, Senator Obama introduces his Vice Presidential candidate by telling the crowd, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” The curtain falls whilst Senator Biden orates to the crowd.

Act II Scene II: Senator Biden is still on stage. He praises his maybe new boss as Richard III, “So wise, so young,” then focuses on the current administration as Marcellus, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” then begins to praise his opponent as Hamlet, “What a piece of work is that man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties.” But soon reminds the audience that Senator McCain owns seven houses, “All that glitters is not gold,” Finally describing their parting when McCain gave in to the right wing, as Hamlet, “Alas poor Yoric, I knew him well.” In the McCain camp pundit Bill Bennett warns as Cesar, “He has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.” Bennett cites an old speech of Biden’s and as Claudio chortles, “Done to death by slanderous tongue.” As the curtain falls, Bill Clinton as Hamlet helps Hillary plan for her future, “Get thee to a nunnery.”

Act III Scene I: The curtain rises on the Fox News desk planning another fair and balanced script on Obama mania. A producer mumbles, “Eye of newt, and toe of frog.” After watching Obama’s speech another producer, as Hamlet, cries, “Oh villain, villain, smiling damn villain!”

Act III Scene II, the Finale: The crowds are gone. Signs are scattered on the statehouse steps. Senator Obama is reflecting with Senator Biden that the news media was not content to wait for the text message, but had a two-day feeding frenzy. As Iago, Obama laments, “How poor are they that have not patience.” The new veep candidate puts his arm around the shoulders of his running mate and as Celia says, “Now we go in content. To Liberty, and not to banishment. Curtain falls. Loyal supporters cheer. The other party jeers and throws rotten fruit.

A little blogging music Maestro... The soundtrack from the movie, “Shakespeare in Love.”

Dr. Forgot
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Friday, August 22, 2008

The Moon is in the Seventh House

Love Birds Bill and Coo nearly half century

This is the Dawning of the Age of Auspiciousness: As you read this, sit back, relax, mellow out, and remember the days of innocence. The 1960s and 70s found the children of “The Greatest Generation” growing up and finding that the world was, like, too square, man. Daddeo was a vet and not hip to the jive at all. Our parents generation’s music was like so yesterday. So we invented our own music, culture, and manner of speaking. One of the singing groups that was part and parcel of those days – after the Big Band Era but before Punk Rock – was the 5th Dimension. Some of their music was whimsical, such as “Up, Up, and Away,” and “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In.” Others had a message of equality such as “Stone Soul Picnic.” And there were even tongue-in-cheek songs such as “Wedding Bell Blues.” The harmonies of their songs made The 5th Dimension stand out from other groups of the era.

A Dimension of Love: Even as the group sang about love – sometimes unrequited as in “One Less Bell to Answer,” love blossomed between two of the main singers in the group. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. fell in love on set (get it now? Bill and Coo?), married, and continued their love affair with each other and music for nearly a half century. They left the group after a decade but continued making music. Together, as artists, performers, and authors, they’ve earned 7 Grammy Awards, 15 Gold and 3 Platinum records, enjoyed starring roles on TV and cinema, and toured the world performing to sold out audiences everywhere.

How About a Reunion Tour: With the death of Ron Townson and the retirement of Lamonte McLemore, a 5th Dimension Reunion Tour was simply not to be. But Davis and McCoo, stars in their own right with hits including “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To be in My Show),” a mega hit as a single that earned them a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal By a Duo or Group. Besides making sweet music together they had individual achievements. Marilyn hosted a TV show for five years, and appeared on Broadway. Billy recorded an album of religious songs with gospel great Rev. James Cleveland, as well as performing starring roles in musical hits including Dreamgirls.

Why I Love Living in Vegas: One of the perks of living in Vegas is that nearly every performer I’ve ever dreamed of seeing has come to town. This weekend Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. will perform on tour at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino as part of their “40th Anniversary Celebration Show.” Their engagement is limited to the weekend of August 29-31.

Billy and Marilyn are not only outstanding performers, they are lovebirds who have stayed together for four decades. That fact alone should put them in the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Their love affair might not make the Guinness Book of Records, but it has made into a book, “Up, Up and Away; How We Found Love, Faith, and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.” The critically acclaimed book was authored by the singing lovebirds.

When you plan your Labor Day weekend, be sure to include a wholesome musical treat. To order tickets go to or call the Suncoast at 877.677.7111 (or locally 702.636.7111).

A little blogging music Maestro... “When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars. And Peace will guide the planets, and love will fill the air...” by You Know Who.

Dr. Forgot
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thrill of Victory

Beijing 2008; Lip Synching Chinese

One World, One Dream – Tibet Not Included: China has put on quite a display for the world as they’ve hosted the Olympics. Opening ceremonies were fantastic despite the lip-synching youngster. She may well grow up to be Brittany Spears. President Bush seemed to enjoy the festivities as well as any lame Peking duck. He was finally able to find an American Weapon of Mass Destruction in the swimming pool – Michael Phelps. There is no word if President Bush was able to look into China President Hu Jintao’s soul, but while he was searching, "Glad Vlad" Putin sent Russian troops into Georgia. Bush’s response, “Why would anybody invade a sovereign nation that posed no threat?” That is exactly what the Iraqis were asking six years ago.

Is it over yet?: The excitement of the Opening Ceremonies has abated. The gold medal quest by U.S. swimmers and gymnasts has passed. Even beach volleyball girls in their itsy bitsy teeny weenie USA painted-on bikinis have hung gold on their near-naked bodies, ho-hum. A sure sign that it is time for the games to end is when you’ve memorized the Yugoslavian national anthem. Also, the interviews with Chinese locals are starting to make sense before the translations. In fact, one reader sent us a mini version of an English/Chinese dictionary. We’ve reprinted in the event that London chooses not to host the next Olympics and they revert back to the Birds Nest.


That’s not right. (Sum ting wong)

I see somebody. (Hu Yu Hai Ding)

See me ASAP. (Kum Hia Nau)

Stupid American. (Dum Do Do)

Small Horse. (Tai Ni Po Ni)

Were you at Beach? (Wai Yu So Tan)

Bump coffee table. (Ai Ding Mai Ne)

You need facelift. (Chin Tu Fat)

It’s dark in here. (Wai So Dim)

Are you dieting? (Wai Yu Mun Ching)

Loading zone. (No Pa King)

You’re too early. (Wai Yu Kum Nao)

Staying hidden. (Lai Ying Lo)

Cleaning new auto. (Wa Shing Ka)

You need deodorant. (Yu Stin Ki Pu)

Great, fantastic. (Aw Sum, Su Pa)

A little blogging music Maestro... Opening Ceremony, “Hymn to the Motherland,” by the little girl who wasn’t there.

Dr. Forgot
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, Monday

Give me Liberty or a Jelly Donut

Helps build strong bodies several ways: One of the staples of life in the 1950s and 1960s was a two-parent family that had dinner together. My how society has changed. Breakfast on the run in the car with a Starbucks triple mocha latte grande and a giant slice of New York coffee cake. No hands on the wheel. Lunch is a tube steak (uh, that’s a hot dog for you rookies) from the gut wagon that stops outside your place of employment. Dinner? Grilled chicken and rice, but you’re eating alone. The kids grabbed a burger and fries on their way to meet their buds. What dummies! No, really. Research shows that kids who eat sit down family meals at least once per day have higher grade point averages, are better adjusted, and are less likely to experiment with drugs. Bon apetite.

FOX News – Fair, Balanced, and made up: Last night Mrs. Dr. Forgot was watching Fox News. The story was about a dam breach and flood in the Grand Canyon. BREAKING NEWS! A high speed chase in upstate New York. Speeds in excess of 130 mph. The driver was identified as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Mrs. Dr. Forgot replayed the clip and sure enough that was the story. There is no verification. No news media, not even Fox has posted the story anywhere. The story must have been a hoax. Since the tag line “All the News That’s Fit to Print” is already taken, perhaps Fox News can run theirs as “We Outrage the Tabloids.”

Tag on your car and I’ll follow you anywhere: Each winter Olympics the story goes around about Picabo (pronounced Peek-a-boo) Street. She was injured in a ski accident but the hospital patched her up good as new. As a thank you, goes the story, she paid for an entire new emergency unit, which was named Picabo ICU. Cops in Fairfax VA must have heard the story and gotten the bright idea to attach a GPS (global positioning system) to cars of suspected bad guys. They tagged a GPS to the bumper of a van owned by a convicted rapist after 11 rapes were reported in his neighborhood. Result: GPS worked, rapist caught, lawyer objected because it was done without first getting a warrant. The left side of my brain says we need to be cautious about compromising our rights to privacy especially in view of the abuses by the current administration. The right side of me says, “One more bad guy off the streets.” ‘Tiz a puzzlement.

Nonsense and Sensibility: Don’t think we’ve forgotten that this is the political silly season. Democrats take the lead on this one. Since John Edwards got outed regarding his affair with his videographer (wait until we see THOSE sex tapes) he will be a persona non grata at the Demo convention in Denver. No speakers with a sordid sex history for these Demos. The Edwards the speech slot instead will be given to Bill Clinton! Off to the right you have Mitt Romney. Is it just me or does he look like the picture that comes in the frame? There is also some discussion that Mitt might have been the model on the “Just For Men” hair products. Mitt would balance the Republican ticket. None of his five sons served in the military but John McCain has served longer than any five candidates’ kids combined. Senator McCain also announced his economic plan to wipe out the deficit – he’ll put it all on his wife’s gold card.

Just when you thought the worst was over: Ah, things have been starting to look up on the economic front. Gas prices hit a three month low, stock markets were up more than down last week, T. Boone Pickens was getting windy in a good way. Perhaps the current administration is not as bad as the opposition had portrayed them. Or not. Well, oil slumped again down another dollar per barrel. But economists suggests that is just the “normaling out” of a market that had been fueled (pun intended) by speculators. Fuel is precarious and can be impacted by so many disasters including the storm in Florida. Oil’s loss has been the bond market’s gain but as the price of oil seems to be settling experts are predicting a dive in the bond market. Hershey stock is down ten percent as the price of chocolate increases the outlook is bittersweet. At least there is plenty of hot air to keep T. Boone’s windmills turning.

Won’t you take a ride in my beautiful balloon: Many of us can remember a time in the not too distant past when flying was a first class operation. We used to get dressed up just to board the plane. Food was served on cloth napkins and real silverware and silver salt and pepper shakers were the rule in First Class. A menu gave you several choices of cuisine. Even coach had warm meals decent legroom. My how times have changed. Off came the jackets and ties in favor of jeans, shorts, and tee shirts. Low fare airlines became the Greyhound of the sky. Then it got worse. Food disappeared. Charges were added to everything from free water to pillows and blankets. Delays, sultry cabin attendants, rude passengers, and barroom brawl boarding procedures replaced the once regal way of travel. Brace yourself. It’s going to get worse. Fewer flights, higher fares, reduced service, and fewer employees are all strategies airlines are using to keep profitable. How about this for a strategy? Improve service and legroom and raise prices so that only those who can afford it will fly. Passengers will probably dress up and be treated royally. Déjà vu!

A little blogging music Maestro... Frank Sinatra crooning, “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Dr. Forgot
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Heartbreak Turns Happy

“To Catch a Thief,” the REAL story

Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of letters: Ok, that was the start of a song from “Your Hit Parade.” Remember the dancing cigarette package – LSMFT? No? Well, ok, we get emails and we don’t smoke, and even if we did we wouldn’t inhale. A recent letter came from a reader near our nation’s capital. The topic was not political, although she reads our political satire sometimes. I’m crushed. I thought she’d read it daily. But back to her story.

Three grad students in an apartment: The apartment is in a three story building and is occupied by three recently graduated coeds. At least one is studying law and at least one of the three’s boyfriend is a law student as well. The other morning two of the roommates had left for school and work and the third was in the bathroom preparing for the day. She heard a noise out front but paid it little mind, assuming that one of the forgetful roomies had returned for something she’d forgotten. Happens regularly.

She felt like she was in an episode of Candid Camera: When the remaining roommate finished with the primping, powder, and paint, dressed, and headed into the living room to leave she froze in her tracks. The door was open and the living room was bare. Computers, gone. TV sets, gone. Iphone and Itunes, gone. Everything of value that was easily transported had been cleaned out. It did not even cross her mind at first that she had been at risk by being alone in the apartment. Fortunately the burglars either grabbed and ran or peeked in and saw her and decided to take things that could be easily sold or pawned.

Behavior in a crisis often defies logic: She called her roommate at work and told what had happened. She said she’d walked back to the bathroom and out again several times to make sure she was not imagining but the cupboard was still bare. Was somebody playing a trick on her? No, it was real. They had been burgled and lost not only items that could be replaced but data on the computers crucial for projects and other school and work activities that would be difficult if not impossible to replicate. She sat on the couch and began to shiver as she thought what might have been. Soon her roommate and both their boyfriends arrived. Together they went to the manager to report the theft.

This ain’t our first rodeo: The manager of the apartment told the gals that theirs was not the first apartment to be victimized. It seems a ring of burglars had been casing the area trying to figure out whose apartment was vacant during the day, then breaking in. It was a modus operandi the manager had seen before. Why weren’t the tenants told about this? Well, corporate did not want to alarm the tenants. (That is code for, we don’t want you to break your leases and leave our place unoccupied). To the next question they answered, yes, they do have renters insurance but that is not the point.

Candidate for one of the world’s dumbest criminals: During the conversation a couple of young men came into the office, said they were renters and their car had been towed. The manager said, “Which apartment do you live in?” At which point the two youngsters turned and ran. One of the roommates had sensed during the conversation that something did not seem right about the lads. They seemed nervous and were wearing hoodies despite the warm August weather. So she surreptitiously took out her cell phone and snapped their picture – several times. The manager phoned the towing company and was told that a car had just been brought in that had been towed from a red zone in that very location. Another of the roomies was already on the phone with the police to report the events.

Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do when they come for you: A detective was promptly dispatched after the car was sealed for possible evidence, complete with all the stolen goods from the burglary. If the detective seemed happy that the good citizens of greater Washington D.C. had the presence of mind to call the tow company, he was ecstatic to get the photos of the suspicious possible perps and within minutes had electronically distributed the photos to the local gendarmes who picked up the suspects in short order. Ain’t technology grand? Three cheers for the roommates and their boyfriends who conspired to catch the no-good-niks, and even to the property manager who atoned for not warning them of the burglar ring. And hazzah to the cops and their technology. Don’t you just love a story with a happy ending?

A little blogging music Maestro... “Pardon Me I’ve Got Somebody to Kill” by Johnny Paycheck.

Dr. Forgot
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is it real or Memorex?

Days of Wine and Roses and Runny Noses

Welcome to Clairton, City of Prayer: So says the sign that greets people as they enter Clairton from Large. No, Large is not a modifier, it is just Large, which is actually a small village outside Clairton. The City of Clairton, PA can also be accessed from the hill (Route 885), or the River Road, (Route 837), or even by crossing the Elizabeth or Glassport bridges. It is quite a different city today than it was during the 1950s and 1960s. The Clairton Works mill once belched smoke and boasted the manufacturing of more coke to make steel than any other mill in the world. In its heyday the city produced All-American football players, Military Academy graduates, and a host of young men and women who would make their mark in the bigger arenas. Clairton’s biggest export somehow changed from coke and steel to talent as its children went off to college and did not return.

The Clairton phenomenon: Clairton was the kind of town you left but it always stayed with you. I lived my first 17 years there and the past 40+ in Las Vegas but I still consider myself a Clairtonian. In 1962 I was in Hawaii and bumped into two fellows from Clairton who were stationed at Schofield Barracks. In 1964 I was in the small village of Oxford, PA near Delaware when I ran into a high school classmate. In 1965 while in Pocatello, Idaho pumping gas a fellow Clairtonian driving from Montana to California stopped to gas up at the same pump. In 1991 I ran into another CHS grad in Carlsbad, CA. And during my years in Las Vegas I’ve met dozens of current and former fellow Clairtonians.

Long term, short term memories: A well known radio talk show host wrote a book called, “The Way Things Ought To Be.” To those who grew up in Clairton in the mid 20th century, that’s the way things were. Whether one attended Shaw Avenue, Miller Avenue, Fifth Street, or Catholic school during their elementary grades, everybody coalesced as a single class upon reaching Clairton High School. We had all learned the “Pennsylvania” song as well as the “The Erie Canal.” We all had learned to duck and cover, wrote on Clearfield pencil tablets using No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils, and used Zaner-Blozer pens to make ovals to improve our penmanship. We were each given a pen nib to dip into the ink well and, yes, occasionally a pig-tailed girl got her hair dipped by the imp who sat behind her. When we stepped out of line we got the paddle from a female teacher whose swing was as good as any high school coach. All this was done before entering CHS.

Parents in the iron and steel business: The standard joke by anybody from Clairton or the greater Pittsburgh area was, “My parents are in the iron and steel business. My mother irons, my father steals.” But Clairton in the 1950s was an ideal place for a boy to grow up. It was the Boomer era so there were many children to play with. Two boys together meant a 1 on 1 basketball shootout. Six boys together meant a 3 on 3 football game. We played on the street and even designed sophisticated plays, “Go to the back bumper of the red Ford and cut over to the blue Desoto.” An odd number of kids meant a singing group, and that might have even included a girl. Every boy envisioned himself as an athlete and a singer. Occasionally the singing groups organized and sometimes even cut a record.

Sing along with the Holidays: Singing groups usually called themselves “The (something)”. Sometimes the “something” was a made up word like The Deltones, DelVikings, Shirrels, etc.” Other times “The” was followed by the plural of a word such as Four Tops, Playboys, Teenagers, or Holidays. The Holidays consisted of a group of Clairton high school kids who in 1959 had two hit records; “Lonely Summer” and “Who Knows?” Franny Grisnik and Frank Gori sang baritone bass, Charlie Hatfield sang tenor, Barbara Jo Lippzer sang alto and Ray Lancianese was the lead and played the piano. It was an innocent era. We were invincible. Our generation made the rules and changed the world. But then we grew up and had adult lives with adult issues and illnesses and adult heartbreaks. That fact was brought home a couple of weeks ago when I heard that one of the Holidays, Franny Grisnik, had passed away after years of fighting Multiple Sclerosis. He died peacefully in Clairton.

The legacy continues: The steel town of the ‘50s with 20,000 citizens had a dozen car dealerships, three movie theaters, a large, beautiful park, and a high school with a swimming pool. A bond among residents of every ethnic background developed that has lasted into the next century. A group of Clairton alumni celebrates a reunion each February in Florida. Several classes get together each year around Labor Day for a family picnic in Clairton Park. Individual classes have reunions every five years. Who needed Camelot? We had Clairton.

A little blogging music Maestro... “The Way We Were” by Barbara Streisand.

Dr. Forgot
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Going to the Dogs

Some days you’re the dog. Some days you’re the hydrant.

Born in a test tube; Bozo the clone: Consider Bernann McKinney the dog lover. She loved her pit bull so much she paid a Korean scientist $ 53,000 to have five puppies cloned from it. That act brought her fame and misfortune. Turns out she’s got a history of being quite a lover, and not only of dogs. Three decades ago she was a student at Brigham Young University where she fell for a good Mormon boy. He, like many good Mormon boys at BYU, interrupted his studies to go on a mission for his church. They sent him to England. Bernann, a former Miss Wyoming who then called herself Joyce, reportedly tracked down the object of her affection, kidnapped him, tied him up, took him to a love nest in a 17th century cottage and forced him to have sex with her repeatedly! She was not able to successfully convert the missionary and he slipped out of his mink-lined handcuffs and got away. Since the episode she’s had several brushes with the law including attempted kidnapping (of the same victim 7 years later), threatening another woman, assault on a public official, passing bad checks, and abusing a horse. Her life had gone to the dogs long before the cloned dogs came to her.

The whole state seems to be in collapse: The state of Utah does not make national news every day. The story of the wayward missionary kidnapper turned pit bull cloner has all the elements to keep Utah on the front burner of the Fox News kitchen for some time. As if that weren’t enough to sting Beehive State bodies to mind their own beeswax, their sky is literally falling! The stone arch along Devil’s Garden Trail in Utah’s Arches National Park has fallen. It is never good for a state’s tourist industry to have fallen arches. The stone arch was 33 feet tall and 71 feet across. There is no truth to the rumor that Bernann Joyce McKinney has sent DNA of the sandstone arch to Korea in an attempt to clone another one.

It is not poplar to be a son of a beech or a son of a birch: Mother nature has not been kind to Utah as noted above. Neither has she been a honey to a famous honey locust tree in Pennsylvania. The tree stood just 150 feet from where President Lincoln spoke and was called a “Witness Tree” for having witnessed the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg. But the mighty honey locust seems to have weathered her last storm as is recently fell during a storm. Thank goodness Joyce Kilmer, who wrote the poem “Trees,” is not around to see the results. In case you don’t remember the ending of the poem, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” Of course, she died in 1918, ling before we knew about cloning.

A little political silliness: President Bush is at the Olympics. He stood to be acknowledged during opening ceremonies and the entire panel rated his performance a ten. That is noteworthy because it is the same as his approval rating. Last we heard the two presidential candidates were trying to agree on debate topics. The Obama camp is leaning toward a new energy policy as the first topic and the McCain camp is holding out for songs of the big band era. A poll was recently conducted asking who people would rather carpool with, Senator McCain or Senator Obama. Obama was a landslide winner once the respondents were told McCain might be driving. Will Obama choose Hillary as a running mate? If Democrats wanted an African American man and a white woman they should have run Michael Jackson. Some pundits have accused the McCain camp of mudslinging by using Paris Hilton in an ad. The Obama camp struck by calling the McCain campaign the “Antiques Roadshow.” The news about John Edwards having an affair might explain his $ 400 haircut. The tryst also eliminates him from vice presidential consideration – too much vice to be president.

Building a bridge with a Ridge: Senator McCain has shined the spotlight on several #2 possibilities including Mitt of the Michigan and Mass. Mitts and the Pawlenty Governor who nobody knows. Today is the day to focus on Tom Ridge, the PA ex-Guv and strongman who believes he can deliver the Keystone State to the Repubs. Ridge and his new best friend started their campaigning in Erie – the city, not the lake or the canal, which is where Tom grew up and is s Demo stronghold that went for Lady Hill in the primaries. Pennsylvania could be the state that spawns both veeps if Mac jumps on the Ridge and Obie-wan is swell with Rendell. We’re not sure what, if anything that would mean.Stay tuned for the latest on the veepstakes.

Gender is not a substitute for sex – but exercise might be: If the elections are getting boring, politics has become a pain, invasions have become inane and the Olympics are overhyped, what about sex? Some academics say that breaking a sweat by exercising is better than wrestling in the back seat of a Mini Cooper. Research from Baylor suggests a smile can stimulate, and other researchers find that a sexual type high can be reached by shopping, public speaking, or eating. We suspect they might be spending too much time in the lab and too little in the bedroom.

A little blogging music Maestro... “A Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins.

Dr. Forgot
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Friday, August 8, 2008

News of the Wrold

Do infants have as much fun in infancy as adults do in adultery?

Deny, Deny, Deny: Add another quote to those that will live in infamy. Bill Clinton’s, “I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky,” Senator Larry Craig’s “I am not gay,” Tom Delay’s smiley face picture when being booked, Cindy McCain’s “It is an old family recipe,” Kwame Kilpatrick, “What cell phone records?” Now we have John Edwards on tape being asked about an alleged affair and responding, “I don’t respond to those types of lies.” Why is it that Southerners are always more fun to discover scandals about? Maybe it is that Southerners seem so more intense in their beliefs that when they stumble (the preacher who got caught then with tears rolling down his cheeks cried “I have sinned”) we watch more closely.

Let’s see if we can list a dozen or so sex scandals among recent politicians: Rep. Vito Fosella, NY, had a “love child” out of wedlock, NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer bought a hooker for more than what most people put down on a new car, FL Rep Mark Foley sent sex text messages to underage boys, CA Rep. Duke Cunningham used hookers paid for by a defense contractor, LA Sen. David Vitter was a regular at a whorehouse, Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias booked his hookers with the “D.C. Madam,” NJ Gov James McGreevy allegedly sexually harassed his gay lover, ID Sen. Larry Craig toe tapped his gay intentions to an undercover cop, Spokane Mayor James West got caught up in a gay porn internet service, LA Rep Bob Livingston bragged to his colleagues about straying from his marriage while he was prosecuting Bill Clinton for the same behavior, IL Rep Daniel Crane admitted to turning over a couple of underage female pages. And that, my friends, is today’s “Dirty Dozen.”

That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia: The troops are burning and looting all over Georgia. But this time it is not General William Tecumseh Sherman doing the invading, and it is not the great state of Georgia that is being overrun. Instead the troops of Russians are roamin’ all over Georgia in an invasion the likes of which have not been seen for some time. Seems that a portion of the Caucasus region of South Ossetia is in dispute. I’m not sure if the invaders are White Russians or Red Russians but the troops are fighting in the Black Sea Region and the invasion is making the Caucasians blue.

Conservative driver claims to be full of hot air: The energy crisis is real. There just don’t seem to be that many dinosaurs dying to keep fossil fuel operating our cars forever. Some creative solutions have been put forward including solar energy to heat water, wind power to generate electricity, hybrid cars that run on a little gas and a lot of electricity, total electric Teslas, and even cars that run on garbage. But the prize has to be the recent announcement of a car that runs on air. No, not wind power, but compressed air. And it claims to get 106 miles per gallon. Imagine being able to pull into an “air station” and say “fill ‘er up.” Better yet, think of all the late night jokes about mothers-in-law whose hot air helps keep their loving son-in-law’s car operating at peak efficiency. Some say genius is the ability to look at something and see something else. The idea for a car that runs on air uses the same principle as a steam engine. Only instead of steam, it uses compressed air! The six-seater reportedly can reach 90 mph and is anything but a blowhard with a range of 800 miles. This puts a whole new meaning to air conditioning your car.

For once the naked truth from a conservative: Glen Beck is not one of our favorite pundits. The admitted recovering alcoholic and rodeo clown (we’re not sure if he’s fully recovered from being a rodeo clown) often is the poster boy for the silly season. But our views are always open to listening to comments out of both sides of a pundits mouth so we sat up and took notice of his latest proposal. Beck suggests that we all drive naked to reduce the weight of our cars so we won’t have to drill for new oil. We think he might, uh, have something there. In fairness, he agrees that in addition to buffing it we should follow Senator Obama’s advice and check the air in our tires and tune up our engines. But I don’t think Glen has ever lived in the desert. Getting into a car whose interior temp exceeds 160 degrees is bad enough if you’re wearing shorts. Trying it naked could have long term effects on population growth. On the other hand, perhaps we should require the Dirty Dozen listed above to drive naked in the desert. I know, not a pretty sight but it sure might keep them on the straight and narrow.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth: It looks like the preacher’s wife might be left out of the will. The wife of evangelical pastor Joel Osteen was at 30,000 feet when instead of singing “Nearer my God to thee,” she decided to become Daniel in the lion’s den. Apparently a drop of water, or maybe it was wine, was on the seat of her first class lounge chair when cabin attendants did not move with miracle speed to remove it. Mrs. Osteen wept and wailed and gnashed her teeth as well as attempting to make her way into the cockpit to report the indiscretion to the head man (No, not THAT Head man, but plane’s pilot). Her behavior earned Queen Victoria Osteen a free pass off the plane. Attendant Sharon Brown placed her hand on the Bible and swore out a complaint against Osteen. Besides hitting Mrs. Osteen in the collection plate with a settlement, some cabin attendants hope that in the future it will be easier for her to fit through the eye of a needle rather than board another Continental flight.

Back seat drivers yet to be named: Finally, we have done extensive research on the possible candidates for the vice presidency and our cracked team of researchers has advised us who will definitely NOT occupy the veep seat. On the Republican side we can say that Cindy McCain look alike Paris Hilton is definitely out of consideration. On the Demo side, we can rule out, with 98% accuracy the selection of John Edwards.

A little blogging music Maestro... “A Change is Gonna’ Come” by the late Sam Cooke.

Dr. Forgot
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Politics and Stuff

“I’m not worried about the deficit. It’s big enough to take care of itself.” Ronald Reagan

Presidents show feelings too: Sometimes it is difficult to think of presidents as people. They live in a bubble and are often kept from reality. But they can get testy, as can candidates running for office. Whether it was “W” the first referring to Al Gore as “Ozone Man,” or ex-prexy Clinton saying “Gimmee a break!” referring to his party’s candidate. One would think that after being beaten up for eight years that “Slick Willie” would have developed a thick skin. But instead of gator hide he apparently has baby pink skin, at least where the little lady is concerned. When the Obie camp began to pillory Hillary, Bill took umbrage. The Hillster proved to be no shrinking violet but the Billster’s ire showed during the political deflowering of his Hill ticket. The “Nation’s first black president” has faded before the glare of a campaign that was his but not really. His recent quote, “I am not a racist,” is beginning to sound eerily like, “I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.” Could his reaction become another stain on the dress of his legacy? Only time will tell.

Obama’s newest hymn, “The Sweet Byah and Byah”: The Senator from Illinois referred to his colleague Evan Bayh of Indiana as “one of the finest United States Senators we have,” but did not anoint him as his jet’s navigator. The race for the second spot is an interesting one. Although that seat is “just a heartbeat away from the presidency,” it lacks glory and fame. Rarely does one hear a group of rabid fans cheering, “We’re Number 2.” The Veep slot is simply not one rife with excitement. It is like the backup quarterback who sits on the sidelines listening to the crowd cheer his mentor. Al Gore was the Terry Hanratty of politics. Dick Cheney, on the other hand has been, by many accounts, the crafty uncle who is the real power behind the King George II throne. But back to Bayh as a possible second; by a Stu Rothenberg account he is “loyal, trustworthy, smart, and looks terrific in a photo op.” Sounds like #2 material to me. Unlike the other Indiana VP, Dan Quayle, at least he can probably spell potato.

Come listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed: The poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed til up from the ground came a bubblin’ crude. If that sounds like the Jed Clampett Beverly Hillbilly story, it has been upstaged by North Dakota farmer and sometimes mechanic Herb Geving who replicated Jed’s success. The 74-year old grandpa gets for more money than he can count from his three backyard oil wells in Stanley, ND. He sits in his 11,000 square foot mansion and plans additions to it just because he can. He’s turned Stanley, 50 miles from Canada, into a boomtown where the driver of a water wagon can command a $ 100,000 salary. Who’d ‘a thunk it? Las Vegas, Hollywood, and New York City are on the brink of a depression and North Dakota is home to hundred thousand dollar a year water wagon drivers?

If you can read this you’re too damn vulnerable: A similar bumper that warned drivers of tailgating once graced the rear ends of autos. But the expression above might be placed on every computer if we are to believe the recently reported flaw in the internet. The problem is that ordinary people like you as you are reading this, type in a legitimate web address. Doing so can expose the user to a gaping security hole that enables a scam to manipulate your computer. The result is that criminals will be able to control your computer. Once tricked, users are unable to distinguish between the legitimate web site and its evil twin, operated by somebody up to no good. Specific details about the scam are not available but it reportedly ran rampant recently in Texas. Is the threat real or is it Memorex. With such little information it reminds us of Saddam Hussein telling us his attacks will be the “Mother of all (fill in the blank).” Perhaps it is time for Al Gore to invent another internet for affected users.

Were McCain ads mocking Obama racist?: It is a well known fact that free publicity is the best publicity money can buy. It is also a fact that the Obama campaign is much more well heeled than the McCain campaign. Therefore by some standards it is clever for the McCain campaign to release provocative ads that get constant replays on mass media for free, like the one that shows Paris and Brittany with Obama in Germany, even though they weren’t there. But some say the ad is designed with racial overtones to show two young sexy blond girls with a black man. To prove their point they say the ad could have been done using Tiger Woods or Oprah Winfrey or any number of other stars who would not have evoked the racist image. Maybe. But such an ad would not have gotten the millions in free publicity.

Paris strikes back: Paris Hilton, whose parents reportedly contributed to the McCain campaign, cut a political video of her own. In it she mocks both candidates by offering her own energy solution. She mocks the McCain ad by saying, “I want America to know that I’m like totally ready to lead.” She ends the ad with, “Oh, and I might paint it (the White House) pink. I hope that’s cool with you guys.”

A little blogging music Maestro... “Pretty in Pink” by the Psychedelic Furs.

Dr. ForgotSee me also at

Monday, August 4, 2008

Straight Talk Express

Oh, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye

What a Difference a Day Makes: One of my favorite oldies is the Dinah Washington hit, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Today the Washington that fills our TV screen is not Dinah but D.C. Think back to the days when there were ten or more candidates vying for their party’s nomination for a chance to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On the Demo side Hillary’s tiara was tucked safely away in her trousseau even though a young whipper-snapper of a pest was nipping at her heels. The Republicans made John McCain the butt of jokes and their big money donors refused to open their purses even to toss a few gold coins his way. Reporters had him flying on low budget Southwest Airlines carrying his own baggage; not because of HIS baggage but because he dared to be a crusty maverick and challenge the machine.

The Day the Wheels Came off the Straight Talk Express: The Senator from Arizona was a pain in the neck if not other parts of the anatomy of the kingmakers of his party so they ignored him. Instead of flying in a private jet or even Southwest, he rode the bus he called his “Straight Talk Express.” One year ago McCain’s campaign manager and his chief strategist both resigned. Rumors were rampant that he was ready to throw in the bloody towel. All the writers and pundits had fun with the line “The wheels came off the Straight Talk Express.” But McCain outlasted his rivals. One by one they fell by the wayside until he alone stood at the altar awaiting anointment by his party. He bought new wheels for his “Straight Talk Express” which looked like the wheels from Charleton Heston’s chariot in Ben Hur - wicked. Then the Express left the Interstate and embarked on the Low Rove Road.

From Maverick to Mudslinger: When Senator McCain began his single-man march to Washington he made party liners on both sides of the aisle shudder. His candor was refreshing and appealed to Democrat voters as well as Republicans – except for the hard-line Right. McCain got away with the unthinkable for a Republican candidate – talking to American Indian leaders, chastising his colleagues regarding their stance on the environment, and other comments of party-line heresy. Just the kind of guy Washington desperately needs. Things change. That was then. This is now.

Out with the old, in with the new: All of a sudden the word on the street is, “McCain goes Negative!” What happened? How could this maverick who vowed to change the complexion of filth in attack ads now be going negative? The once straight shooter and his straight talk have begun to be interlaced with distortion and innuendo. He goads his opponent into taking a trip abroad then complains about the press coverage. He accuses his opponent of playing the race card. He approves one video attack ad after another. How did the Express get splashed with so much mud? What happened to the maverick who promised to bring a cleaner campaign to the American public? Who hijacked the Express? The culprits are disciples of “George Bush’s Brain,” Karl Rove. The McCain flip flop turned into a belly flop that sadly seems to be working despite the slime that oozes into the once pristine bus that was the Straight Talk Express.

Promises made but not kept: The John McCain who once promised he would never question an opponent’s patriotism has announced that his opponent “would rather lose a war to win an election.” An attack ad mocked his status as a celebrity by showing two Hollywood airheads who had nothing to do with the trip abroad. Sadly the party that has conducted gutter politics with “Swift Boat” and “Willie Horton” ads usually won. I’m not sure if that says more about the slime mongers or the American public who are duped into voting for such garbage.

Change is still possible: Neither candidate is has clean hands in this election. But both have the potential to tell the slime mongers who work for their respective parties to go to Hell. Senator Obama’s campaign has raised money from new, young donors and does not need DNC or federal monies. Senator McCain started out being a maverick and it got him this far. Either candidate can do a better job than the current administration but both need to toss out their negative surrogates. The country needs it.

A little blogging music Maestro... Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”

Dr. ForgotSee me also at

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An H By Any Other Name Doth Sound As Sweet?

What’s in a name? Pittsburgh revisited.

John, Jon, or Juan: I received so many comments from the recent Pittsburgh post that I was moved to write a followup. I once had a friend named Jon. He was proud of the fact that his name was unique. Everybody else with a similar sounding name spelled theirs John or Juan. He spelled his Jon. He said the spelling of his name distinguished him from those whose name is synonymous with the room in which men relieve themselves. He also said that it shows his heritage is 100% American, although I’m not sure the Native Americans would agree that John is any more American than Juan. As for me, I think John became Jon after having had the “H” knocked out of him. The same might be said about Pittsburgh.

More on my former hometown: Pittsburgh is probably the most frequently misspelled name among American cities. There are wannabe Pittsburghs, namely in Kansas and California but neither of them boast an h at the end of their names or a confluence of rivers in their midst. The Pittsburgh that is today accessible from State Route 51 via either the Liberty Tubes or the newer Fort Pitt Tunnels was named by General John Forbes in honor of Sir William Pitt. It was founded in 1758 complete with an “H” at the end of its name. All was well for the next 30 years or so. Nobody bothered to challenge the “H” until some troublemakers in the form of politicians decided to fix something that wasn’t broken. The feds were screwing things up way back then, long before anybody had ever heard of George W. Bush.

I’m from the government and I’m here to help you: In 1890 President Benjamin Harrison created a U. S. Board on Geographic Names in an effort to bring some order to the naming of cities, towns, lakes, mountains, and other things that needed to be named. At the time some states had as many as five towns with the same name. One of the first orders of business of the board was to have the “H” dropped from any city whose name ended in “burgh.” Pittsburgh area people have always been a proud, independent lot and they decided to keep their “H” since the town was obviously a historical exception. In short, they told the Board to stick the rules where the sun don’t shine, and they didn’t mean the smoggy skies of their city. For the next 20 years they waged a torrid campaign to keep their beloved “H” even in the face of threatened federal troop intervention. In 1911 the Board finally relented and let Pittsburgh be Pittsburgh.

Cleaning up the language: An excerpt from the Board directive for standardizing names and words used in the designation of places follows:
(a)The avoidance, so far as seems practicable, of the possessive form of names.
(b) The dropping of the final "h" in the termination "burgh."
(c) The abbreviation of "borough" to "boro."
(d) The spelling of the word "center" as here given.
(e) The discontinuance of the use of hyphens in connecting parts of names.
(f) The omission wherever practicable of the letters "C.H." (Court House) after the names of county seats.
(g) The simplification of names consisting of more than one word by their combination into one word.
(h) The avoidance of the use of diacritic characters.
(i) The dropping of the words "city" and "town" as parts of names.

Three cheers for North Dakota: Oh, did I mention a couple of other US cities named Pittsburg sans “H?” The list of name-alikes included:
Pittsburg, California - Contra Costa County
Pittsburg, Colorado - Gunnison County
Pittsburg, Florida - Polk County
Pittsburg, Georgia - DeKalb County
Pittsburg, Illinois - Fayette County
Pittsburg, Illinois - Williamson County
Pittsburg, Indiana - Carroll County
Pittsburg, Iowa - Van Buren County
Pittsburg, Kansas - Crawford County
Pittsburg, Kentucky - Laurel County
Pittsburg, Michigan - Shiawassee County
Pittsburg, Missouri - Hickory County
Pittsburg, New Hampshire - Coos County
Pittsburg, Oklahoma - Pittsburg County
Pittsburg, Oregon - Columbia County
Pittsburg, South Carolina - Greenwood County
Pittsburg, Texas - Camp County
Pittsburg, Utah - Piute County
Pittsburgh, North Dakota - Pembina County

A little blogging music Maestro... Anything BUT “I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Chicago, or New York New York.”

Dr. ForgotSee me also at

Saturday, August 2, 2008

City of Champions

“I entered a contest. The winner went to Vegas; the loser had to go to Pittsburgh”

That used to be one of the lines about my old hometown. Few people know some of the great things that have happened in “The Burgh.” So in honor of its anniversary, read and enjoy.

Pittsburgh is celebrating its 250-year anniversary this year. For those of you that lived near Pittsburgh , this will just jog your memory. If you didn't live here, it will be some trivia. Pittsburgh (and some surrounding areas) was the first city in the world to do a lot of neat things including:

First Heart, Liver, Kidney Transplant - December 3, 1989. The first simultaneous heart, liver and kidney transplant was done at Presbyterian-University Hospital .

The First Internet Emoticon - 1980.The Smiley :-) was the first Internet emoticon, created in 1980 by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman.

First Robotics Institute - 1979. The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University was established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies relevant to industrial and societal tasks. The college is still working on Robots ~~ in fact it is their robots used in the unmanned air craft that fly over Iraq .

First Mr. Yuk Sticker – 1971. Mr. Yuk was created at the Poison Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh after research indicated that the skull and crossbones previously used to identify poisons had little meaning to the children of today (for most children it means exciting things like pirates and adventure). Covering 27 counties and 33 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, the Pittsburgh Poison Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is the largest such center in the United States.

First Night World Series Game - 1971. Game 4 of the 1971 World Series was the first night game in Series history. Pittsburgh tied the series in that game with a 4-3 win and went on to win the series, 4 games to 3. This was one of the last big moments in the career of well-loved Pirate, Roberto Clemente. Fourteen and a half months after the 1971 World Series, he died in a plane crash off the coast of his native Puerto Rico as he attempted to take food, clothing and medical supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua .

First Big Mac - 1967. Created by Jim Delligatti at his Uniontown McDonald's, the Big Mac debuted and was test marketed in three other Pittsburgh-area McDonald's restaurants in 1967... Bellevue and Butler. By 1968 it was a mainstay on McDonald's menus throughout the country and eventually, the world.

First Pull-Tab on Cans - 1962. The pull-tab was developed by Alcoa and was first used by Iron City Brewery in 1962 For many years, pull-tabs were only used in this area.

First Retractable Dome - September 1961. Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena boasts the world's first auditorium with a retractable roof. This is still being used although the Hockey team wants to tear it down and build a new building.

First U.S. Public Television Station - WQED - April 1, 1954. WQED, operated by the Metropolitan Pittsburgh educational Station, was the first community-sponsor ed educational television station in America and was also the first to telecast classes to elementary schools (1955).

First Polio Vaccine - March 26, 1953. The polio vaccine was developed by Dr. Jonas E. Salk, a 38-year-old University of Pittsburgh researcher and professor, and his staff at the University of Pittsburgh .

First All-Aluminum Building - ALCOA - August 1953. The first aluminum-faced skyscraper was the Alcoa Building , a 30-story, 410 foot structure with thin stamped aluminum panels forming the exterior walls. (This building is still being used today.)

First Zippo Lighter - 1932. George G. Blaisdell invented the Zippo lighter in 1932 in Bradford , Pennsylvania . Although hardly a community "in the surrounding area," you can even find the name of the manufacturing location, either Bradford or Niagara Falls , stamped on the bottom of every Zippo lighter. The name Zippo was chosen by Blaisdell because he liked the sound of the word "zipper" - which was patented around the same time in nearby Meadville , PA.

First Bingo Game - early. Hugh J. Ward first came up with the concept of bingo in Pittsburgh and began running the game at carnivals in the early 1920's, taking it nationwide in 1924. He secured a copyright on the game and wrote a book of Bingo rules in 1933.

First U.S. Commercial Radio Station - KDKA - November 2, 1 920. Dr. Frank Conrad, assistant chief engineer of Westinghouse Electric, first constructed a transmitter and installed it in a garage near his home in Wilkinsburg in 1916. The station was licensed as 8XK. At 6 PM. on Nov. 2, 1920, 8KX became KDKA Radio and began broadcasting at 100 watts from a makeshift shack atop one of the Westinghouse manufacturing buildings in East Pittsburgh. (The station is now KDKA.)

The First Gas Station - December, 1913. In 1913, the first automobile service station, built by Gulf Refining Company, opened in Pittsburgh at Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in East Liberty. It was designed by J. H. Giesey.

The First Baseball Stadium in the U.S. - 1909. In 1909 the first baseball stadium, Forbes Field, was built in Pittsburgh , followed soon by similar stadiums in Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and New York. Forbes Field closed in 1970 when Three Rivers Stadium opened. PNC Park is the newest replacement, opening in 2001.

First Motion Picture Theater - 1905. The first theater in the world devoted to the exhibition of motion pictures was the "Nickelodeon," opened by Harry Davis on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh .

First Banana Split - 1904. The banana split was invented by Dr. David Strickler, a pharmacist, at Strickler's Drug Store in Latrobe, Pennsylvania .

The First World Series - 1903. The Boston Pilgrims defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in baseball's first modern World Series in 1903. The Pirates lost the final game 4-3, before a crowd of 7,455 in Boston. Four of the series' games were played in Pittsburgh.

First Ferris Wheel - 1892/1893. The first Ferris Wheel, invented by Pittsburgh native and civil engineer, George Washington Gale Ferris (1859-1896) was in operation at the World's Fair (Columbian Exposition) in Chicago. It was over 264 feet high and was capable of carrying more than 2,000 passengers at a time.

Long-Distance Electricity - 1885. Westinghouse Electric developed alternating current, allowing long-distance transmission of electricity for the first time.

First Air Brake - 1869. The first practical air brake for railroads was invented by George Westinghouse in the 1860's and patented in 1869. In the same year he organized the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. With additional automatic features incorporated into its design, the air brake became widely accepted, and the Railroad Safety Appliance Act of 1893 made air brakes compulsory on American trains.

The STEELERS were purchased by Art Rooney Sr. for $2500...they were originally the Canton Bulldogs. They are the first team to win four super bowls, now five after six appearances, and the first team to get into the playoffs as a wild card and go all the way to win the Super Bowl.

The Pittsburgh Rens played basketball at the Civic Arena but are no longer in existence.

The Rolling Stones came to Pittsburgh first and played at West View Park Danceland. Price of a ticket was 50 cents. They were considered too weird and went back to England and came back after the Beatles broke the ice.

Ah, Pittsburgh. Today it is a place where air is clean and sex is dirty.

A little blogging music Maestro: “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania” by Bob Merrill (No kidding… it begins, “There’s a pawnshop on the corner in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania…)

Dr. Forgot

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Friday, August 1, 2008

I'll take Philosophy with Mayo

Today’s blog was sent to me by a reader and dear friend. The old professor in me kept me interested and the philosophy is profound. Read and enjoy.

Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups Of Coffee

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 Hours in a day is not enough, remember the philosophy of the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and Favorite passions--things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

“The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first, he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.”

“The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.”

“So... Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play With your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18.

“There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple ofcup s of coffee with a friend."

A little blogging music maestro… Lee Ann Rimes singing “You Light Up My Life.”

Dr. Forgot

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