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What to do about all that food (from our friends at Marty’s)

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

From home kitchens to industrial-sized farms, food waste is a constant challenge, too often ignored or unseen.  The horror of food waste can only be truly measured in response to those people throughout the world (and in the U.S.) who are categorized as food insecure.

The problem with the problem of food waste (still following?) is that we tend to compartmentalize the issues.  Food security and access are often tackled as a distinct issues.  The labor, energy, fertilizers, nutrients and compost needed to grow food that is never harvested, never brought to market or brought home are losses absorbed by farmers, and that’s ….. click here to read the article.

The Friday that is a Monday

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

See the fog in the picture?  No, it’s not a photoshopped image of how Pittsburgh was supposed to look 30 to 40 years ago.  It’s how my head feels. Because of that, it feels like Monday.

… and for some reason the line in the coffee shop is never ending today, when normally at this time nobody besides the local police are hanging out here (not that it’s a bad place, they just like the coffee – although a little action would be entertaining in the morning).

It’s a great morning {note the sarcasm here} … I can’t get the new caulking around the bathtub to cure well, the kid was whining about not having pop-tarts for breakfast (possibly the most unhealthy thing there is first thing in the morning), the garage door is breaking, and our school board gods are starting to think they are actually god – I had to read about that in the local paper because obviously it was a sucky news day.

I’m sure some idiot will cut me off on the way to work, and my coffee will spill in the car again avoiding him.

The only perks I’ll get today is the view of the city driving into work, preceded by the aroma of Alcosan on the way.  You know your life is on the down side when you look forward to the aroma of Alcosan.

-SWB

Happy Friday

Pirates …. best losers around

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I realize I’m complaining just like everyone else, but it would be nice to see a winning season, before I die.

But, then again … if you are going to do something, do your best, no matter what it is {{groan}} even losing ….

I  can see the headlines now – “20 great seasons – the best losers in town”.  Not that the team did massively bad this year, but the last time I was able to not watch a game simply because I KNEW the were going to win was in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Baseball games no longer give me that “happy fuzzy” feeling they used to when I was a kid.

Guys …. you have a slim chance remaining …… give us something little this year.

Remember, we gave you that nice new shiny ballpark – let’s get a few more flags for it before we have to build a new one.

-SWB

… {{swish}} missed the ball again ………

Review: Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Click Pic for link. SWB has spent years in The Strip, especially liking Wholey’s seafood.  So when Luke decided to open his own seafood spot, we figured it would be hot.

Placed in the old Area 51 spot across from Reyna foods, the space is simple, slightly rustic yet elegant, and very, very, very tasty.  We are convinced that no one does seafood like Luke.

When we went, we treated ourselves to the grilled swordfish. Personally, I have never experienced swordfish as well prepared and moist as I had at Luke’s. The service by all staff (including Luke himself) was excellent. The drinks were heaven. The atmosphere overall with the food quality made a very long day end quite nicely due to Luke’s Grille.

We highly recommend you visit and support this sure to be future Pittsburgh mainstay.

-SWB

A Senseless Day

September 19, 2012 1 comment

What is a senseless day to SWB?

Today.

The sun is out.  The air is cool. Everyone seems happy. The only real irritating news is of the 10th street bypass having construction near it soon, and that’s not really even irritating because we are so used to it. There is nothing to whine or rant about today.  that really sucks for this blog.

The only thing we can rant about is not being able to rant.

We’re even too used to potholes to care about that much anymore.

The politicians are all the same, so if we rant about one we automatically rant about the others in the same exact way, which nullifies any of our rant enough for anyone to actually really give a crap about it.

The rivers are flowing good, so we can’t even complain about stagnant water, or dead and decaying fish.

……… HELP US HERE!!!!!

-SWB (a frustrated weasel on a too nice of a day)

 

Enter The Weather

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Got a great raised garden started this year …

Veggies grew fast, flower buds abound …

Then …

The bees left, the critters ate the flower buds, and my new raised garden slowly became a wilting weed box due to the drought.

So, what happens now, you ask????

Rain …. lots of it.  Right at the end of the garden growing season that allotted me two tomatoes, one green pepper, and five micro-miniature carrots (think eating with tweezers).

So, WTF?

I mean I realize I live in Pittsburgh, but I’m a descendent of Italian and German immigrants that farmed any of the land in Pittsburgh they set foot on and usually ended up having way to much to eat (which became compost for next years crop).

A few peppers, tomatoes, and some carrots …. that’s what I got. Now I have to go buy my crap.  I feel cheated, my ancestors owe me at least a few bushels of veggies.

…. and enter the weather … rain … can’t even cut the grass (which was dead most of the summer).

-SWB

P.S. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….

It’s Monday, and there’s no mourning.

September 17, 2012 1 comment

They won …. which makes for a happy Monday.  Pic by Matt Freed/Post-Gazette.

Click Here for the PG Article.

The Steelers are off to a good start, which makes SWB happy.  When they lose, we have to suffer through the Monday morning mourning. You know, after a Steeler’s loss the traffic is slower, the coffee shop patrons take longer to pay for their drinks, road-rage is times ten, etc.

Everything changes when the Steelers win in Pittsburgh.

Now, if the the Steelers could rub off on the Pirates just a tad more.

Anyway … thanks Steelers … your win means less headaches for this weasel one this beautiful Monday mourning-less morning.

-SWB

Marty’s Market – new site at an old friend’s house

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Marty’s Market – 23rd and Smallman

…. if you recognize the address, it used to be the Right By Nature market, which just didn’t make it. We were fans of that store in the beginning, but near the end it just wasn’t the same.

Marty’s seems to be playing a better game … so keep tuned as it grows, as SWB feels you may be pleasantly surprised.  And, yes …. there is a Marty.

Marty’s was conceived as a business in the businesses of helping change the local food system, and having “food made of food”.  Sound familiar.  Not really, right?  Most of the food businesses are in the business of bottom line only …. not caring whether you eat, nor whether you can still fit though the door of your house.  The people at Marty’s actually care, and that shows in how the business is evolving.

To those those who like the mainstream stuff, we apologize, as we are elated that at no time will you ever see Marty’s contracting out the cafe’ to McDip’s.  The food at Marty’s will actually be good for you.

As we said, we shopped at and liked Right By Nature in the beginning, but as they compromised their beliefs, things became confusing, and as a result they eventually went away.

We don’t feel that Marty’s will at any point, go away. SWB sees a much better business model in place.  Things like starting small, and not opening with a huge bang allow the folks at Marty’s to really tweak things to what customers want.  With trained staff on food systems you get at least a few highly knowledgeable staff on site to answer questions.  With an excellent chef, there are no compromises on cafe’ food. With perfectly chosen coffee, your morning brew from Marty’s coffee bar will put a smile on your face on even the worst day.

We like what we see and will give you updates at this new site evolves.

Link: Marty’s Market

-SWB

Construction Season Is Here … WoooooHooooo!!!

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s the time of year you’ve been waiting for ….. road construction season!

Wait ….

School has started …..construction should be over, because by some unwritten, but highly understood law – road construction only takes place during summer vacation season to fully enhance automobile driver road-rage.

But it’s still around …

Where have we found to be one of the bigger bottlenecks?

The parallel work on Rt65 and Beaver Street near Sewickley and Edgeworth.

I realize there has always been a ridiculous competitive spirit in Edgeworth to be better than everyone else … but now they are competing with PennDot. Go Figure!

Here is the main problems of the Edgeworth Road Crew competing with PennDOT:

1. They ALL WORKED …. the whole road crew worked.  If you are going to compete with PennDOT there are rules!!!

  • At least six supervisors doing nothing. Edgworth appeared to only have one supervisor, actually supervising.
  • Shovel leaners …… no less than 5.  Edgeworth had none.
  • Only one laborer actually working …. Edgworth had at least 10 to 12 people actually working on the project.
  • The path through the road construction should be clearly confusing to the point where you feel you are either going to go head in to another car or end up driving through a guard rail.  Edgeworth’s direction was well laid out.

Get the idea …… there are rules to this road work stuff.

What did they get right?  At least one thing:

  • Obstructions – Edgeworth did well, and obviously learned from PennDOT in this area.  The main road work is around the elementary school and was started (good timing learned from PennDOT here) right when the school year started. Well done, this is where Edgworth gave PennDOT some competition in the way proper road construction is to be done.

As far as Rt65 in Pittsburgh …. that ramp is completed – but we, here at SWB still take the detour, as it doesn’t feel right in PA at any point to get a straight shot to where we are traveling without at least 20 minutes minimum of detours.

-SWB

Out Of A Coma

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re back …. or at least out of a coma.

Slightly after our little stint of “help” from the folks at Sophisticated Pittsburgh on upping our number of blog writers, they in fact lost many of theirs.  In other words people got real jobs, go married, or just disappeared of the face of the earth at SP.  As a result, we are coming back to our original self.

So, about our original self. The blog experimentally started in 2005, and was moved to .mac via the Apple iWeb.  We started writing around the time that PittGirl, CafeWitness, and others started and gained one of the top growing blog rankings ending up with 2000 readers per day, across 15 countries while on the .mac site.

That actually scared us, considering the amount of vomit we spewed out in those days along with the other rant blogs.  I’m not sure we’ll be as harsh these days, but we’ll try.

BTW – while we were hosting on .mac, Apple kindly asked us to move our site due to their product not being originally made for the amount of throughput we were getting.

So, around Spring of 2008 we moved to WordPress.

The Weasel is back, and we will be blowing word chunks as far as possible.

Cheers

-SWB

Review: BD’s Mongolian Grill SouthSide Works

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Yes, a chain made it into one of our ‘fine dining’ reviews.  We were invited to the rehearsal run for the opening on Mongo (apologies to the local owner, but the nickname just stuck), so we decided to send our tech and his wife. That’s how we treat some of our contributing folks to local perks, and get some reviews ourselves. We honestly didn’t think we were going to review on this site, as the review was initially destined for the Screaming Weasel blog we acquired. But …

Sometimes you just get surprised.  We aren’t going to sell Mongo as a five star restaurant, or tell you about some celebrity chef that showed for the opening, or anything even close to that.  What we are going to say is it’s unique, and that’s why we reviewed here.  The creators of Mongo, and the local owner that had enough vision to bring it here deserves our attention.  When our tech came back with the photos from lunch and his opinion of the establishment, we reviewed the info and agreed with him that we might want to consider placing the review here.

Read the rest of the article on Sophisticated Pittsburgh!

PowerUp Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Jobs

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Here we go again …. another program destined to make Pittsburgh great.

PowerUp Pittsburgh (click here to learn more from the Post-Gazette article), will supposedly spider out the successes of the technology and health industries in Oakland.  Some of that has already happened, but PowerUp is supposed to help fill in dying area (where businesses have moved out, etc).  We encourage you to really read the article as it explains the project much better than SWB possibly could.

We are not going to bash the program at all, but in fact we are going to thank Mayor Luke and all involved to get this ball rolling.

Why are we thanking them?  Well, it’s because they aren’t starting with a completely written-in-stone plan.

Why is this good? Because Pittsburgh residents and workers (or more likely ex-workers) still have the time to try and influence it.

So why should ‘Burghers think about trying to influence the program and why did we initially say “Here We Go Again” like we were going to blast the program? One simple reason … we’ve done this before and by the definition of those programs they’ve been wildly successful.

For example, programs to bring industries into Pittsburgh have brought companies like Google, Seagate (now gone, but they came), and other prestigious names into the area … but there is one problem with the available jobs from those companies – they require a Masters or Phd.  So basically the people in the that have lost jobs in Pittsburgh cannot re-acquire employment with the education and skills that they already have because they don’t have that new shiny piece of paper.  Keep in mind many of these people are like me and have 25 years of tech experience with up to date technologies and have massive management and professional skills gained over 25 years of employment.  What people like me don’t have is another $100k to land an entry level position for about $40k.  If you want a decent job today, you are looking at $120k to possibly $250k by the graduation time.  Do the math on that one.  If you gain a decent job (even $50k/yr starting) once you subtract your financial aid payments, you are lucky to make rent payments in a low income housing project (but you aren’t allowed to live there because you now have a good job making $50k/yr).  The chances you have of making a life event remotely close to the quality of the one your parents had is slim and next to nil. Even with the great education … that is until your schooling is paid off, around the age of 65.  So what’s left if you can’t affored the re-ed? … the $8 to $12/hr jobs that still leave you homeless, but with enough money to at least buy clothes so you don’t get arrested for lewdness when you are dumpster-diving at your local McD’s because you can’t even afford to eat there.  So let’s get to your children’s education … it ain’t gonna happen.  Even if you wanted them to go to college you’ve already blown their higher education savings for yourself so you can get back to work.  Nothing left …. sorry kid.

So why do we rant about the above …. isn’t any jobs coming in good jobs?  Yes, and don’t stop supporting the programs that get in place and attract jobs, everything helps.  What people do need to do though is remind those doing the programs that they need to remember those skills already in the area (not the skills they want to attract to the area) so that the people already losing homes, families, and hope can get back to work and recover.  It’s great when new things appear (I lived in SouthSide Words when it was being built, and then the Cork Factory) and that was a wonderful experience.  but now, like many others in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas we watch program after program that helps people come into the city, gain skills, and take them back out … but programs continually totally forget those skills already in place.

I no longer live in the new places because we all forgot to fight to keep our jobs here, and allowed greed to move them out. There is this new re-outsourcing thing.  India, Russia, and others are so overloaded with tech jobs that they no longer have enough skilled persons to do them that they are bringing the jobs back to the US … at their pay levels.  So that job you were paid $30/hr for is not at a rate of about $11 to $13 per hour.  Most of those jobs were illegal to obtain by foreigners that moved to the US, unless there were no US citizens to do them.  So we forgot about our own, and never did any of these new programs address that.

The one key thing that all these wonderful programs forget is that this city at one time was made into and international wonder simply because everyone here supported each other and didn’t forget where we came from.

We’re forgetting … and we are allowing those running programs to forget also.

Don’t let them forget why Pittsburgh was what it was and could be greater if we once again rely on that key thing … building each other up.

Why was Steve Jobs so revered?  He never forgot, and he never stopped pushing those below him to be as passionate as he was.  We need to relearn that.

-SWB

New Blog – Confused Words

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Screaming Weasel would like to invite you to check out a new blog by one of our former listing author’s.  Please Click Here or on the image to read on ….

Forgetfulness and Steel – History Repeats Itself

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” … I hated my high school history teacher because he made a vow to fail us all (not a challenge, mind you, an actual vow) … but the above was his favorite quote, and it’s the one critical piece of life that I learned from him.  Unfortunately our country and our government is proving that taking on this attitude about history is really one of the keys to sustainability and survival.

The situation that lead to the current financial crater that is wall street can be blamed on ignoring the “forget history and you will guarantee it will happen again” advice.  Our current situation is eerily similar to one not too long ago … the plight of the steelworker.  You had two groups, both hard working, strong, and carrying large egos.  Neither would give in, neither would compromise … both had a fight until the end attitude.  Some say that represents honor. Some say that represents stupidity.

The end result was many losing homes, life long possessions, families, and what defined them as a human …. the steel industry. A few mentioned over the years that it wasn’t that compromise would not happen that made the steel industry fade away as we know it, but how long it took to get to a point where compromise could or would happen. By the time it progressed to the point of possible compromise, other countries took advantage of the opportunity to wedge into the steel industry, and quickly separated the bulk of the US steel mills from it.

It’s not that our financial situation as a country cannot be fixed, it’s that the egos of the politicians took so long to get to any kind of initial compromise that sever damage was done, leading way to loss of everything for those just hanging on, and loss of part of what defines us as a country.  So the question is, are our politicians going to wait long enough that our country going into sheriff’s sale and gets divvied up by the other entities of the world … or will they actually defend us, instead of their egos, and restore America where the dream of raising a family is possible?

Few people realize, much of wall street is now owned by outside investors, so defending American is really not in it’s top interested …….. making the bottom line, or at least cutting losses for it’s foreign investors is.  Main Street is no longer in a position to be helped by Wall Street, because we have some of the same interests … the only protection we can gain at the wall street level is from our politicians having enough pride in their country to protect it’s residents … but it seems that if they win and are rewarded with the right to say “I was right!” it’s OK if the American Dream is reduced to finding a better dumpster to dive into for dinner tonight.

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” ….

Translation: “Stupid is what stupid is”

-SWB

Dollar Bank and MasterCard Drop the ball big time

June 7, 2011 Leave a comment

First … to consumers, this is a credit/debit card alert (and most likely you’ll hear it from us WAY before hearing it from Dollar Bank or Master Card): MasterCard caught a processor possibly fraudulently charging to customer accounts, so cards were shut off and/or canceled.

Now on to the rant.  After standing in a store having my card twice declined as a debit, and then declined as a credit, I called the number on the card to see what was going on.  They informed me there was a card security issues and my card was shut off and canceled. When I asked who was the “offender” I was told that MasterCard does not inform Dollar Bank.

Now, I have online banking with alerts set to go to email ….. never received anything and was told by customer service that only if I had happened to log on to http://www.dollarbank.com would I have seen an alert.   Now keep in mind we left PNC for multiple reasons, one being that we felt they used bailout money to drive National City down to acquire them – which in our eyes was illegal.

…but…

When something happens on your account with PNC and previously with National City, you knew via email immediately (or within minutes) what was going on.  Not specifics, mind you, but general info … ie. “your card was shut off due to security issues, call customer service for more info.”.  Neither National City dropped the ball on their customers by not informing them especially if they had elected to be informed with their account alerts via email.

So … basically still being clueless because I don’t know what vendor I am dealing with that was trying to post fraudulent charges to accounts associated with my bank, by no fault of my own after I get my new card I will be forced to link that card or use that card with a vendor that was known to process fraudulent charges.  The best security is to immediately inform and keep your customers informed.  Dollar Bank and MasterCard both dropped the ball on that by keeping their customers in the dark.

So, we elect to give a clueless trophy to Dollar Bank for being back around the early 90s in technology that keeps their customers in the dark, and to instantly going from what we thought was the better bank in Pittsburgh to what in our opinion is now close to being a joke.

We also give MasterCard a trophy for making sure their customers are in the dark so as the thieves of the world can take their pickings.

-SWB

PS – When we had National City / Visa combo as our banking … no issues.  Dollar Bank / MasterCard … issues.  BE AWARE.

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