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Archive for May, 2008

Childhood Lead Exposure

May 28, 2008 1 comment

As seen in USA Today

Now I’m not 100% disputing the scientific evidence in this article, but it seems more and more like society is looking for scientific reasoning for human actions so people come up with excuses like “Killing mommy wasn’t my fault ….. how did I know licking the paint off of my tricycle when I was 9 would make me hate her so much.”

Somehow I can see a special interest group forming here:  “Lead Kids”.

Now lead will kill your memory and bring on high impulsivity … true.  On the other side ….. remember how science boasted that we could “re-train our brains”?  So much for that idea.  Now the consensus is that lead is an indicator of whether your child will get a criminal record as a juvenile.

I’m not against knowing what causes issues … but it seemed when I grew up and everyone was clueless, they tended to do a much better job of raising children who were productive parts of society and had the ability to overcome their issues.  Sometimes knowing too much is worse than knowing everything.

Maybe if we just go back to teaching our children the basics of right and wrong?

Hmmmmmm ….. that could work.

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Pittsburgh Port Authority strikes again

May 23, 2008 6 comments

Yup … they’re thinking about striking again …. for what????

  • They are some of the highest paid in the nation.
  • They can pretty much drive anyway they want and not get ticketed.
  • Some of the newbies start at wages higher that what I get and I’ve been working my industry for 20 years.
  • They will still get to retire at 60 while the rest of us will have to work until we are dead.
  • They will still get some level of pension – that word isn’t in most people’s vocabulary anymore.
  • (this list could go on for about 3 pages … but I’ll be nice)

Check out the article in the Post-Gazette.

So .. Onorato wants to push them to be financially responsible (considering bad management pretty much blew most of the authority’s money – why don’t the employees now find those management persons and hang THEM?) … so they want to sue him

I’m all for unions (had lots of family in them) – but this is where the unions shoot themselves in the foot (remember the unions at the steel mills – ya don’t see the steel mills anymore do you?) and eventually hurt their members and the city itself.

So to the Port Authority ……. WTF? Why are you complaining when you have it better than 90% of the city? And you wonder why Pittsburghers have a growing disdain towards PAT bus drivers.

To Onorato …… maybe you would ask a private company to come in and give the Port Authority a little competition and new perspective on the issue?

Again, to the Port Authority ….. WTF?

Pittsburgh Cultural District Takes A Dump

May 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Well, when the going gets bad in Pittsburgh, the tough give up.

When we all thought the Pittsburgh Cultural District would product what may have been one of the better or best living areas in the city – they gave up. The plan gave us national attention for the already world class area. Unfortunately it also now gives the area national attention for what people now think Pittsburgh does best – give up.

Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t delay it for a few years – but consider this: If they would have started this year or next, they would be completing just when all of the crisis would be over in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Think about how much they would have benefited.

Clip from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: (c)2008 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Government subsidies were planned to provide much of the overall financing, and the trust took responsibility for meeting with state, county and city leaders on their support, she said. It had the $12.3 million commitment from the state but told her in a meeting May 12 that the commitment had lapsed.

“The trust lost their courage upon that defeat. That’s the last thing that should happen,” Ms. Eastridge said.

Ummmm ….. no guts ….. get somebody in there that has a set of gonads for doing a big project and taking chances.

The Cultural Trust has really made it’s name for itself and the city nationally (no mistaking that is has done much for this city) — it could have really made it’s mark with this project internationally for itself and the city along with proving that an arts organization could do something at this level. Instead, it chose to say “I’m too scared” and stick it’s head under a rock so many people could say “yup …. we told you they couldn’t do it”.

Oh, well … I guess some outside developer only interested in sucking the money out of the city will take it over.

PS – Delaying would have looked smart – giving up was just dumping on the city that supports you.

Powerful Storms

May 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Dunno … with the large amount of storms, tornadoes, and such lately around the nation – I’m thinkin’ we may have irritated God (or at least Mother Nature) a little.

Just guessing ……

Making A New Career

May 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Post Date: August 02 2006

Here is the typical American work situation: You invested $$$ in college or trade schools, worked up through the sh@t jobs, got additional certifications, and now …… you beloved company dumps you for someone in another country that will work for less. You look at this situation and say “my country forgot about me”. This is not true. One thing has changed in this country for allot of folks (and I’ve gotten caught up in it also), and that is the fact that allot of time we now get a career after getting a piece of paper for a college or university that says we have right to it. Years ago people themselves has to discover their own talents as they didn’t have text books to instruct them on how to learn a career. People tried different things, worked different places, until they discovered their talents. They then apprenticed at them and perfected them. After that was all done, they finally started creating their career, constantly learning skill after skill – not just specializing. These people conditioned themselves to a point where this country could survive something like the Great Depression.

Now, are there people like this now … yes, but not that many. All people learn a multitude of skills at their workplace and in their chosen main career that can be applied to any career. That’s known as the basics. Allot of people are made though, and/or let themselves believe that their skills are so specialized that they are only useful in their field (ie. Information Technology, Sales, Marketing, etc). The truth is totally the opposite, once you learn business basics you can work them into an career you choose to enter into without another eight years of college and spending $$$$. Now do the educational institutions want you to know this and/or believe this? Absolutely now. Is it really hard work learning a new career you haven’t been educated in? Yes. Will you make mistakes? Yup. Is there a small chance you will get better at that new career that you have chosen than the just graduated college kid because you learned it “the hard way”? Uh-huh. Is making a new career scary? Yes
I speak from experience on this one because I work in I.T. and most likely in a few years my industry will not be able to support my current lifestyle (which I worked really hard for the last 20 years to attain, and have no intention on giving up), so I was put into a position about four years ago to start developing my learned skills into other career entry point. The last three years have been very hard and frustrating … trying to learn new things, get little bites for work hear and there, but never seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that told me in a few more years I will have a new career. Well, this year I am now starting to see a glimmer of that light, things are coming together, I am starting to prove myself to others and gain their trust in business. This is where that hard work starts to pay off (and the best thing is I don’t have another $60,000 college loan to pay off with it).
If your career is the same as mine, look deeply into what you have leaned over the years and ask yourself questions like these:
1. Have you learned communications skills?
2. Have you learned to manage others?
3. Have you learned to multi-task efficiently?
4. Has your business creativity expanded?
5. etc. etc.
If you really look into what you do, you should be able to come up with at least ten marketable skills you can apply to a new career you love …. and not just settle for one that pays the bills. This is one of the reasons our economy is getting better (it really is … you don’t get this level of building and expansion in cities if it isn’t). People are going back to creating careers they love with the skills they love to use. They are going back to innovating and creating on their jobs, instead of just collecting a paycheck. People are going back to what really created this country ….. even the ones we are newly welcoming here.

Tylenol: The Right Dose

May 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Post Date: July 05 2006

This is my day off, so laying in bed this morning with my dog, the Tylenol commercial comes of that tells you they’d rather not have you use their product if you don’t take the correct dose.

Now, watching this first part of the commercial which explains the myth that taking more help more is incorrect because more of the drug could actually hurt you. Now, that is not always true, but most of us do not have medical degrees and are not quite qualified to make good decisions about drug usage. That part of the commercial is great, it is really full of a common sense that allot of people have not acquired.
Let’s go to the second part of the commercial where they full out to a full view of the VP of Sales having her state if you aren’t going to take the correct dosage, she would rather you not use Tylenol – basically saying that making money is not as important to her and/or Tylenol as your health is. ***GET REAL***. I work for a large corporation,and know directly about the large corporations lack of caring … the ONLY purpose the second half of that commercial put into the full commercial can be translated into “if you aren’t going to take the correct dosage, please take someone else’s drug so when you get sick or end up in the hospital we don’t get sued for millions, because it’s proven a lawsuit will cost us much more money than a few thousand people not buying our $7 bottle of pain pills”. Again ….. ***GET REAL***. If Tylenol really cared about people they would have only had the first part of the commercial, because I can tell you … that VP of Sales DOES care if you use their product over someone else’s …. because if sales drop, so does her job.
Reality check, Tylenol ……. fire your PR firm, they obviously think consumers are still stupid brainless idiots.

Pittsburgh Needs To Become More Progressive

May 21, 2008 Leave a comment

…. we are getting there, but we need to do more.

In one of my replies to The Burgh Blog I stated in a post the Pittsburgh is not progressive enough. This doesn’t mean that this is a bad city. It mean we need to move forward faster. Currently we are advertising ourselves and starting to be recognized as one of the meccas in medical and technology industries. We are also starting to be called “Little Hollywood” by developers watching us out west. This is a good sign … and it’s bringing people to Pittsburgh in record numbers to do anything from research and development, to movie filming, to getting an education, etc ……. the problem is it’s not keeping them here for long lengths of time.

This has happened before ….. remember the 90’s? Things were going great, but Pittsburgh held on to it’s past, and slowly all the things we gained trickled back out. Many times this is cause by people not wanting to change or change their thinking. Change can be a difficult thing ….. I change and embrace change because I know at some point it can make my life better. Do I necessarily like going through all the parts of getting to that change? No. Do I sometimes get scared that the changes may make things worse than before? Yes. Will I allow my fears cause me to stop change? No.

The problem many times with Pittsburgh is that the people that have grown up there will do anything to not see the parts of the city that represent their childhood go away. Candy-Rama is a good example, Kaufmann’s is another. Both of them were icons in our city – I almost cried when they were announced to be gone. Although I didn’t want to see Candy-Rama go, I knew the apartments that would take the place of the business would bring more people into the city – attracting even more businesses and more jobs and better living. The Kaufmann’s conversion into Macy’s brought a little better retailing and the Macy’s charm to the city – attracting people who like Macy’s. Macy’s also tends to be a better employer.

There are things that people coming into the city look at too, especially since we are getting people moving here internationally now:

* Art – people really look progressive at art, and many times something you or I as Pittsburghers don’t consider art, the people moving into Pittsburgh do consider art. Graffiti can be one style (not tagging or vandalism). So we have to provide venue for the types or styles of art people coming into the city want to see. If you don’t build it the people won’t come – if you don’t put the venue out there, the people won’t patronize it.

* Music – Pittsburgh is mostly a rock and blues city. Which is great. I spent many a night down at Nicks Fat City (when it existed) listening to those styles of bands and I’m also a Billy Price fan. I don’t necessarily like Diesel as much as I liked Nick’s, but it’s a nice addition to the SouthSide. We are there a little as far as accepting more music styles, but if you talk to any band playing what people are listening to outside of Pittsburgh and PA trying to make a go of it in Pittsburgh …. they will most likely tell you they will have to move out of the city because it won’t support their music or style because Pittsburgh is stuck on the same old thing. There goes their money and possible recognition for the city if the bands actually did make it.

*Living Space – we are actually doing good on this one (Mark Pyatt, Big River Developnment “The Cork Factory”, etc) have set the standards for Pittsburgh, and I believe the Cultural District will set another living space standard when they finish their projects. Unfortunately we need permanent people in those living spaces, not just 3 to 6 month renters.

Along with people mistakenly still knowing us as “The Steel City” and the “Smoky City”, we are also know as “The Safe City”. Not safe as in you won’t get mugged … but safe as in we only support “safe” music, “safe” radio stations, “safe” art, etc. “Safe” meaning that what is being done contains almost guaranteed possibility of at least working a little – maybe not being hugely profitable, nor generating allot of new customers. Unfortunately “safe” does not keep the new residents here with their money, knowledge, and talents. Remember what happened in the 70’s and early 80’s with the steel industry because it didn’t want to change?, and in the 90’s because the city didn’t want to be as accepting as it needed to be with tech companies moving in? We lost many chances to become a city people want to move to because we wanted to be “safe”.

Here is a good example of how change worked: The Firehouse Lounge in the Strip district started a house night featuring Steel City Funk. From talking to people that attended before I did, it took 8 to 12 months before it gained a really sustainable crowd. The point being that the owners embraced a change that normally did not include guaranteed success in a Pittsburgh based venue and gave the time for Pittsburghers to start accepting it, and the group running it time to tweak it to the area. We need to apply this attitude towards allot of other change in Pittsburgh. We tend to want immediate results.

I’ve been to places that I’ve grown to love, that are now gone because they wanted to be “safe” and avoid any chances associated with change. Don’t let Pittsburgh get that way. The people moving into Pittsburgh won’t wait for us to get past our fears of change and not being “safe” – they will just move to cities that have already gotten over their fears of change. Something our children seem to be in a habit of doing too, once they find out what is available outside of our city.

Remember – everything you have now was once something someone hated and spoke out against. (Rock Music, Sky Scrapers, Computers, Cars, Electronic Billboards, etc), so change has proven itself (although sometimes difficult) to be a vehicle to make things better.

Our current Mayor Luke is one of our better chances for change – and look at the flack he gets when he tries to make any changes or improvements. It’s the same flack the city gets from it’s residents when it tries to make any change.

I don’t want to see Pittsburgh disappear due to change, but change so it doesn’t disappear.