Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King, dead at 78

Pardon me while I pause the Super Bowl hype machine for a moment. If this is your 1st visit, you may not know that this blog is not always about the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Super Bowl.

Sully's Stuff began in May 2005 as a way for friends and family to connect with some fundraising I was doing to support stroke rehabilitation. I ran several articles about stroke survivors and treatment. One story run 166 days ago was about Coretta Scott King who suffered a stroke in August of 2005.

Coretta Scott King passed away today at the age of 78. For almost 40 years after the assassination of her husband Dr. Martin Luther King, she worked to continue his legacy.

Link: MSNBC Coretta Scott King dead at 78.

Seahawks Pep Rally In Pittsburgh

Many people don't know this, but while more than 30,000 black and gold clad fans (some freakishly so) were pouring into Heinz Field for the Pittsburgh Steelers send off pep rally (including yours truly) to worship Bob Pompeani and Ken Rice, there was a Seattle Seahawks pep rally for all of the displaced Seahawks fans forced to live in enemy territory.

The rally took place on Ross Street downtown, and was attended by this single, solitary individual clad in his Seahawks blue and kelly green parka. Spokesman for the event blamed security concerns in the aftermath of the unforunate case of Scott Vannoy for the sparse attendance at the event. Allegedly the event's original emcee, Alby Oxenreiter backed out on Tuesday after being informed that he was being picked up by channel 11 and would be able to continue as Ox on Fox..

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Blast Furnace for January 29, 2006, Super Bowl Bound Edition

Red up your house! Putting a gumband around the week that was, here’s the The Blast Furnace for January 29, 2006, Super Bowl bound edition.

1. Rocky Mountain High. If you are a Bronco fan, the Steelers 34-17 win was butt ugly.

2. Gladys Bettis. Jerome’s mom takes over from Mama McNabb as the NFL’s top mom.

3. Lemieux Adieu Part Deux. Thanks for the 77 Goals and 152 assists since coming back in December 2000.

4. Mozart turns 250. This means his deeper cuts will have to finally come out of heavy rotation on DVE.

5. Seattle. Instead of playing the Super Bowl in some place sunny and warm Pittsburgh and Seattle should play in a cold, gray, damp, drizzly place…oh yeah, they are.

6. I’m So Vannoyed. What happens when a kid screams for attention and then his adult supervision behaves even more immaturely? Joshua Vannoy knows...1 week of constant news coverage.

7. Seven. The parents of Seven didn’t get that name passing an Eighty-Four Lumber, they got it from “Seinfeld.” As Jerry put it, “Seven? Yeah I guess I could see it. Seven. Seven periods of school, seven beatings a day. Roughly Seven stitches a beating, and eventually seven years to life. Yeah, you’re doing that child quite a service.”

8. The Bride Will Wear White. The Steelers have worn white in only one of their 4 previous Super Bowl wins, Super Bowl IX in 1975. While they wore black in their next 3 Super Bowl victories (X, XIII, and XIV), they did wear black during their only Super Bowl loss, Super Bowl XXX.

9. You’re fired. Republican candidate Bill Scranton sacks campaign manager James Seif after Seiff calls Lynn Swann a “rich white guy.” Swann responds by waving his terrible towel, pointing to the polls and reminding everyone that he does ballet too.

10. Poor No More. Povertyneck Hillbillies play Steeler Super Bowl pep rally in front of 30,000, sign deal with Rust records.

Read more Blast Furnace:
January 22, 2006
January 15, 2006

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Heinz Field Happy Hour...

january 2006 029
Originally uploaded by justinsullivan.

Last night the Sully family, short the redhead, waded into the black and gold sea of humanity at Heinz Field to send the Pittsburgh Steelers off to Detroit for Super Bowl XL.

Jeff Reed, James Farrior, Antwaan Randle El, Joey Porter, Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger, and the Bus, Jerome Bettis were on hand.

The crowd of 30,000 terrible towel waving, face painted, black and gold wearing, Here We Go chanting Steeler fans filled the lower bowl -- many looked as if they had taken the day off and tailgated.

If you're not living in Pittsburgh and couldn't be there or see it on the local news, you really need to check out some of the video from the local news coverage:

KDKA video library
WTAE -- The Pittsburgh Channel

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sully's going to Seattle to hunt Seahawks fans...

A Picture Share!
Originally uploaded by justinsullivan.

I'm going on the road next week as my alter-ego the "Spend Management Consultant." In my previous posts, you know I've been talking about Seahawks mania for a couple of weeks now (See: 25 days of rain and Sandra Bullock is ugly, a Seattle story..).

I'll be hitting the ground Tuesday night and posting from Seattle through Friday, with a 6 pack of IC Light, a bottle of Heinz Ketchup, a Steeler jersey, a Terrible Towel and the camera in my trusty Treo 650.

I'll be hitting the Public Market, the Space Needle and Qwest Field in hunt of Seahawks fever. Got a tip for me? Send me an e-mail.

The Impact of the Super Bowl Steelers....

Odd proof that the Steelers going to the Superbowl can impact people personally in unexpected ways.

Seven days ago, this blog averaged 15-25 hits per day since its launch in May. We had brief spikes for a post on Tedy Bruschi in the fall and on Dick Clark earlier this month (which set a then record of 55 visitors in one day).

Last Friday, in the same week I had an article published in the Federal Times (See: Shameless self promotion: Sully in print), I posted a link to the Polamalu song as part of a post lamenting the fact that no one wanted to write a Steeler song to the tune of Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2, but did want to find actual pre-existing songs to download.

Since that post on Friday of last week, and more importantly, the Steelers win in the AFC Championship Game, this site has had nearly 4,000 visitors and 9,500 page views. In other words, in the space of a week, total total lifetime visitor count for this website has more than doubled and doubled again. A blog that made about $2 in 9 months running adwords made about $15 in the last week.

This is exactly the reason our local news no longer includes any news, just naked black and gold hype in all it's glory.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What does A Seattle Seahawks Song sound like?

If you've been in Pittsburgh for the last 2 weeks and listened to the radio, you've no doubt listened to a steady diet of this years crop of Steeler songs. "Here We Go" (now 10 years running!), "The Steeler Polka," that Steelers Ghostbusters thing, and this year's trendy fave "Puhlamalu (The Troy Polamalu song)". But what are they listening to in Seattle?

Seattle should win this battle hands down, right? After all, they're the home of Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. Sure we've got the Clarks and Donnie Iris, but you'll hear more Seattle on DVE than Pittsburgh. Clearly on the fan front, Pittsburgh Steeler fans have the battle won hands down. Seattle's Seahawaks fan musicians are out of practice and need some work:

So without further adieu, keep your finger on the back button, links to Seahawks songs:

UPDATE: 2/2/06 We found more songs! See Twelve!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

New Puhlamalu Video...

It was just a matter of time...the Troy Polamalu Song, Puhlamalu by Mr. Devious now has a video...it's very helpful if you have trouble deciphering the mumbled verses.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/?v=NmBIrLmo79c

Planning to see the Steelers in 2006? Visit Here We Go Info for Steeler Ticket and Travel Information.

The Puhlamalu / Menah Menah Phenomenon

Walk down the street in Pittsburgh and as you pass by your neighbor, quietly, under your breath murmur "Puhl-a-ma-lu," and chances are that person will be singing Puhlamalu for at least the next hour.

Search for Troy Polamalu on ebay.

Puhlamulu (The Troy Polamalu Steeler song by Mr. Devious) is based on the famous Muppets version of the song "Menah Menah." The high esteem people of a certain age that causes them to occasionally break out into a chorus was used by Dr. Pepper to launch Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper in 2005. The commercial was listed by Adtunes.com as the #1 best ad music of 2005.

The Muppets version has a more interesting history. According to this site by Peter McLennan, Piero Umiliani wrote Mahna Mahna in 1968 for a Swedish pornographic film, and that maniacal genius Jim Henson new exactly where it came from.

Search for the muppets on ebay.

You can own your very own version of Menah Menah by purchasing Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More! The 25th Anniversary Collection.

Planning to see the Steelers in 2006? Visit Here We Go Info for Steeler Ticket and Travel Information.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Super Bowl ticket prices? They're XL

Looking for tickets to Super Bowl XL? The market for tickets is alive and well. While Detroit is far from the most exciting (or warm) place to hold a Super Bowl, it does have the advantage of being close to Pittsburgh. Combine that with Steeler Nation's willingness to travel that has NFL ticket offices closely monitoring their caller ID for "the 412" and demand for tickets should be strong.

Secondary ticket seller Stubhub.com has more than 80 offers for Super Bowl tickets ranging from $2,295 for upper deck endzone seats to $176,475 for the rights to a luxury suite!

(If you're looking for tickets, Stubhub is a good choice, because they guarantee a similar replacement ticket if the one that you purchase turns out to be fraudulent.)

The dirty secret is that most of the tickets to the Super Bowl begin in the hands of the NFL teams themselves who offer them as part of corporate sponsorship packages, including ones involving ticket brokers. It's seems very close to money laundering -- but at least they do become available at a price.

Monday, January 23, 2006

More on Puhlamalu...(that's Polamalu)

I've been able to track down some more information on the Puhlamalu, (a.k.a the Polamalu song) which seems to is the most popular of this year's crop of songs for the Pittsburgh Steeler Superbowl drive, and want to get some credit out to the song's creators.

Puhlamalu is by local band, Mr. Devious. According to the bands website, the song was inspired by a mispronunciation by a Fox announcer in week 14. The song is available on the band's myspace page, and Flidop, a Pittsburgh music community. The song is a parody of the muppets "Phenomenon" song, or Menam Menah -- more on that later.

The band will be playing at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern on Saturday, January 28 at 9PM, which promises to be a pretty festive show given that the Steeler are Superbowl bound.

Planning to see the Steelers in 2006? Visit Here We Go Info for Steeler Ticket and Travel Information.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Blast Furnace for January 22, 2006, AFC Championship Edition

Putting a gumband around the week that was, here’s The Blast Furnace for January 22, 2006, AFC Championship Edition:

1. The Vast Officiating Conspiracy. NFL referee and school principal Pete Morelli takes a rock through his front window after almost handing Indy the game. Said Morelli, “I’m trying to be a good team mate here, but someone needed to pick that crybaby Manning up.”

2. The Terrible Tackle. Ben Roethlisberger gives a new definition to taking a knee at the end of the game. Said Big Ben, “I was just BEING a good teammate.”

3. Big Ben. Big Ben Franklin celebrated the big three-oh-oh this week.

4. Puhl-a-ma-lu (That’s Polamalu). The Steelers own hairy muppet, Troy Polamalu immortalized in song. Listen once, involuntarily sing for the rest of the day.

5. Dr. Cyril Wecht-er. About the only thing missing in Dr. Cyril Wecht’s 84-count indictment is cannibalism. No confirmation on the rumor that he’s being held in a giant bird cage on the top floor of Soldiers and Sailors.

6. Butt-Ugly. Bill Johnson of the Rocky Mountain News comes to Pittsburgh and has a massive case of Seasonal Affected Disorder, writes nasty column, suffers avalanche of hate e-mail, punished by having to tour the city with KDKA’s Brenda Waters and eat Roethlisberger.

7. Scoble-ized! Technoratti’s #80 blogger, Microsoft’s Rob Scoble spends his 41st birthday in the Burgh selling books. In an upset, has a surprisingly pleasant time.

8. The War That Made America. Filmed in Ligonier, the British backup QB George Washington didn’t show much of the brilliance to come after signing with the Patriots as a free agent in 1776.

9. S-Pitt-acular! Pitt is rolling, undefe….I mean once beaten, despite Carl Krauser’s confusion about the new Medicare drug plan.

10. Palff-etic. Ziggy we hardly new ye. Zigmund Palffy knows a sinking ship when he jumps off it. The streaking Penguins are waddling to oblivion with 9 consecutive losses.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Steeler Baby

You won't be able to resist the hypnotic appeal of the Steeler Baby by No Wall Studios. Thanks to Eric and Tricia for the link.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sunday Steeler Sunday

As expected there were no entries in the "Sunday Steeler Sunday" contest. So GSully and I will have to enjoy these socks on our own. In a way we're thankful, we have a tremendous amount of respect for Bono, after all he's one of the few people who can stand up with Oprah, and as Unspace said, it is a song about an actual violent conflict already. That being said...if anyone wants to take a shot...feel free.

From the amount of traffic, there is insatiable demand for actual Steeler songs to listen to, so here are some links to some popular Steeler songs to get you started:

  • Puhlahmahlu doo doo da doo doo, doo doo doo doo. The Troy Polamalu Song. I don't know where this song came from, but you'll be singing it for the rest of the day.
    **Update: I've tracked down more information on the song's creators, Mr. Devious.
  • The Post Gazette's Steeler fight song page (includes Here We Go, Steelers Rock!, Rock 'N Roll Steelers, and our favorite, the Ray Parker Jr. insipid, I mean inspired, Go Steelers.)
  • **Update: The Post-Gazette linked to more songs on January 26.
  • Steelergridiron.com includes the grand daddy of them all the Steeler Polka

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities...

From Bill Johnson of The Rocky Mountain News:

"I will tell you this, something I would never tell one of the locals. [It] is one butt-ugly town.

It is precisely the type of town that would name its professional football team the Steelers. Old mills, long stilled, dot the town. Weeds spill from smokestacks. "

From Scobleizer:

"I found a really pretty city that has great educational institutions and a vibrancy that many other cities wish they had."

They're both talking about....PITTSBURGH!

Maybe the difference is that Rob Scoble comes from Seattle, where it happens to also be grey and wet the entire year, and Johnson is from Denver where there are over 300 days of sunshine. Maybe it's because Scoble is trying to sell books across the country, while Johnson is trying to sell newspapers in Colorado. Maybe its because Johnson had a cab driver like the Ambassador. Maybe its because Scoble wants a Seahawks/Steelers Superbowl. Maybe its because Johnson likes hatemail. Maybe it was Johnson's birthday and he wanted to be home (it was Scoble's, happy 41.)

Either way 2 outsiders, 4 eyes, 2 very different conclusions.

My knees could be in your back tonight...

Greetings from Seattle. You'll be happy to know that the rain has let up somewhat. There has been at least one rain free day since I've been here last week. When I arrived on Tuesday, I even was rewarded with a sunny day and clear enough skies for the "money shot" approach into SeaTac with the view of Mount Rainier out the window. Since then rain and damp cold.

I'll be on the red eye back to Pittsburgh tonight. To make the red eye worth while (which to me means arriving before 7AM), you actually have to fly down to San Francisco and then on to Pittsburgh. This is thanks to the magic of codesharing between USAirways and United.

Otherwise you have to take an AM connection from O'Hare, Philadelphia or Charlotte and arrive between 9 and 11, which essentially defeats the purpose of the entire excercise to me. The only legitimate red eye flights into Pittsburgh right now are on USAirways planes from San Francisco and Las Vegas, and anecdotally, they always seem to be packed.

I already know what I have to look forward to on the plane home -- the middle seat in coach. If you're sitting in front of me, I'm sorry, I'm 6 foot 3 and if you recline your seat, my knees will be in your back.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Sully's Stuff Contest, Sunday Steeler Sunday,

UPDATE THE CONTEST HAS ENDED -- for links to actual STEELER SONGS, click here and sing along.

No comment on yesterday's game, let's just say we'll have airline sickness bags available for next week's game against Denver. Now my question...straight from the breakfast table conversation of GSully and me to you.

There are at least a dozen fairly well-known in Pittsburgh Steeler songs/song parodies. If Ray Parker, Jr ever hears the Ghostbuster's themed "Go Steelers" he'll slit his wrists. (Which is worse than what he does when he hears Ghostbusters -- count his royalty check while banging his head against a brick wall.)

Why is there no Steelers song to the tune of Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2? In it's original form it has a confrontational theme and a chantable chorus suitable for several dozen people in a crowded bar. Surely the word Bus, Hines and Superbowl can be worked into some suitable verses, after all the chorus is already written.

That leads us to our 1st ever contest...the Sunday Steeler Sunday songwriting contest. The best (as judged by GSully and me) (should we receive any entries) written version of Sunday Steeler Sunday will receive a prize, a free pair of Steelers Rage Socks, size 10-13 and a certificate suitable for framing. Submit your verse or audio file by e-mail to sullysstuff@gmail.com by Midnight, Eastern Standard Time, Thursday, January 19. If we receive any entries (and somehow I doubt we will), the winner will be announced Friday, January 20 at 5PM, and posted along with the other entries.

Sandra Sully

Last week's post that mentioned my Seattle driver, The Ambassador's opinion on the beauty of Sandra Bullock has caused an unexpected phenomenon. In the last 48 hours, I've started to get visitors from Australia searching for Sandra Sully on MSN.

It turns out that Sandra Sully is the national newsreader for Australia's channel 10. If I were blind, I would assume that she is recognized for her gravitas and her worldly flair for delivering the news in a way that conveys knowledge with a warmth that does not come accross as condescending. But, I'm not blind, so I will attribute the visits to PittGirl's "Sonni Abatta effect".

UPDATE: (2/10/06) Now more on Sandra Sully.
(3/9/06) Leads on Sandra Sully's birthday.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Blast Furnace for January 15, 20005

Putting a gumband around the week that was in Pittsburgh, PA, here's The Blast Furnace for January 15, 2006:

1. The 412. The most feared area code by scal-...er..ticket brokers in the NFL. The least? 602.
2. The Costa Freedom. From disability to the Chief's seat, Dom Costa now sports the most prominent mustache in the Burgh.
3. Ox Not On Fox. Somebody stop the bleeding. Pittsburgh is losing broadcasting jobs by the dozen! Chin up Alby Oxenreiter, Smilin' Jay Harris ended up at ESPN.
4. "Zee worst deeefenseman in zee world." Ahhh...French the language of love and ennui. The combined score this week: Adversairs, Treize...Pingouins de Pittsburgh, trois. Michel Therrien, the Candians job is open again.
5. Elephants do it here. A Bunny Ranch in Somerset for elephants.
6. Mt. Lebolympian. Jamie Silverstein is ice dancing all the way to Torino.
7. Getting sTIFed. A big boring tax incentive for our new big boring sky scraper.
8. Columbus ROCKS! It just takes so much political courage to take a bus to Columbus, OH to support an arena proposal that doesn't involve public funding.
9. Springtime in January. We had to wear our short sleeve Stiller gear on Friday.
10. Who Dey? We Dey! O-tay on to In-dey!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Shameless Self Promotion: Sully In Print

This week's issue of Federal Times features my commentary, "The path to strategic sourcing: Start small to take advantage of budget tool." The article was posted last night on the Federal Times website. The in print version may have a picture -- I even participated in an "executive photo shoot." Contrary to what the article says, I do not live and have no plans to relocate to Sunnyvale, CA.

As I've mentioned before, in past lives I've worked for the Office of Management and Budget and am currently a Spend Management Strategy consultant for Ariba. This is the first of what I hope will be many by-lines in print.

By the way...Seattle's on Day 26 of rain.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I miss you forever...I'm LinkedIn

People move on. Jobs that were once mission driven, exciting, lucrative and new become blah, boring, time punching, not worth the money chores. This is usually when people move on. This usually leads to a resignation and ultimately a mass goodbye e-mail, that goes something like this:

"As many of you know today is my last day at [Company]. I will have so many great memories of the people. This has been an incredibly valuable experience, and I will miss you all. Please keep in touch. My contact information is below."

There's a new phrase in goodbye e-mails, "I'm LinkedIn." LinkedIn is a professional networking website that has become part of the currency of the realm for maintaining a professional network. User post on-line profiles and maintain contact information that is available to their network of contacts.

I'm a LinkedIn junkie -- here's my profile. If you're a recruiter or entrepreneur looking for talent, you can pinpoint the talent you need and their references in the people that know them. I trust people I find on LinkedIn, especially if they have endorsements, because I can see the company that they keep. If you are a job seeker you can find contacts at the company you're interested and resources in your field that can give you advice.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

25 days of rain and Sandra Bullock is ugly, a Seattle story...

Seattle. I'm happy to report that we did see more rain today, making 25 consecutive days here in the Northwest. Further, I have seen more people wearing Steeler gear (one) than wearing Seahawks gear. In fact, were it not for one lonely shop front in the public market, I would be hardpressed to tell you what Seahawks stuff looks like.

I used the same driver today as yesterday. I'll call him the Ambassador. Since it was our second day riding with him, he really began to open up:

Me: "How long have you been driving in Seattle."
Ambassador: "8 years."
Me: "Were you here for the earthquake?"
Ambassador: "yes."
Me: "Ever drive anybody famous?"
Ambassador: "yes."
Steve: "Like who?"
Ambassador: "Sandra Bullock. She's ugly."

I'm so glad I got to meet the Ambassador this week. I'm on a 6AM back to the 'Burgh tomorrow.

Every 4 minutes...

According to USA Today's unofficial tally, Howard Stern's 1st show on Sirius included 170 swear words, slightly more than one every 4 minutes. The FCC is really going to miss the funding.

24 days and counting...

SEATTLE, WA. First trip of the year finds me about as far away from home as you can get in the Continental US, Seattle, WA. Counting today, it has rained for 24 consecutive days in Seattle, making Pittsburgh feel sunny. The record is 33 days, and anytime you get within 10 days of the record, I think you have to get excited.

When I arrived on Monday afternoon, my cell phone wasn't working. It turns out that a fiber optic phone line in California had been cut, which somehow cut off wireless phone and data service to the entire west coast for more than 3 hours.

Seattle is a great city with beautiful mountains and the Puget Sound, some decent restaurants, a coffee culture and some pretty energetic youthful folks, but there is no buzz for the Seahawks and that makes me miss Pittsburgh. Not a single local in a single restaurant or coffee shop, not one taxi driver, barista or corporate middle manager has mentioned the S-word. Here's a conversation from my cab ride this morning:

Me: "Are you a Seahawks fan?"
Cab driver: "No"
Me: "Is there another team you're rooting for?"
CD: "No."
Me: "What will you do during the game Sunday?"
CD: "Work."

As you can see, he was a real ambassador for the city.

I'm ready to get home to black and gold tastefully worn by news anchors, interviews with longsnappers about wrist action, speculation about Ben's thumb and a righteous and healthy indignance about piped in crowd noise.

Monday, January 09, 2006


In yesterday's post, "Guide to Cincinatti Chili," the description of 5-way chili should have read as follows (corrected text in bold).

"Five way -- El Yeah! Additionally topped with kidney beans. A direct snap to Randle El, pass back to Roethlisberger, with a 43 yard bomb to Cedric Wilson for a touchdown."

We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Guide to Cincinnati Chili

Oddly, for a city of German's, Cincinnati loves chili, and to help you enjoy the experience, here's a little guide to good eating. Like a cheesesteak in Philadelphia, it's very important to order your chili properly....

One way -- plain, just the chili. Like a Bus rush up the middle between the tackles.

Two way -- chili served on spaghetti. Like a Willie Parker end around with an explosion around the corner, with a block from Hines Ward to spring him free.

Three way -- additionally topped with cheddar cheese. A Roethlisberger pass to Heath Miller in the end zone.

Four way -- additionally topped with chopped onion. A Polamalu interception return for a touchdown.

Five way -- El Yah! Additionally topped with kidney beans. A Randle El punt return taken to the bank.

...and my favorite...

Who dey??? ----- We dey!!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pittsburgh Immigrants

In the Sully house we have a brand new favorite Penguin. It isn't Sidney Crosby, (although my middle daughter might disagree), it's #23 Eric Boguniecki who comes from my old hometown, West Haven, CT. I think I might have played soccer with his brother when I was kid (after all how can you forget the sound of a coach shouting Boguniecki. Sullivan might look better on the printed page, but it's not nearly as much fun to say).

In a city that's fond of claiming people that live in other places (especially Hollywood), you may be surprised to know that there are other immigrants from the Elm City area thriving in this inland oasis, such as the folks over at Pittsburgh Dish and CMU's Alumni VP, Judith Cole came here from Yale. Try as we might we can't convince anyone we don't live in the mid-west. I suspect that people that move here from Chicago have the same problem convincing people they're not from the East.

My question for former New Haven-ers: Mineo's or Sally's? Even gsully says Sally's, no contest.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ariel Sharon suffers stroke

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has suffered a stroke, just a few days since suffering a TIA last month. TIA's are often precursors of strokes. Coretta Scott King may have suffered from TIA's prior to her stroke, and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada suffered a TIA earlier this year.

Recently, we've highlighted Dick Clark's comeback from stroke and Tedy Bruschi's return to the New England Patriots. There's not much news yet on Sharon's condition, but it is a good bet that it will be long and difficult. He may suffer from aphasia and paralysis. While it's too early to know for sure, he may never be able to reassume his duties as Prime Minister, which have been transferred to Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Free Business Books...

I like free stuff, I can not lie...

Maybe I'm just lucky. Maybe I am good at giving answers to non-sensical questions, but after learning about this InBubbleWrap from the Seth Godin weblog, I've won twice -- on 12/19 and yesterday! Now I'm the proud owner of the The Little Book That Beats The Market, and Bullies, Tyrants and Impossible People.

Part of 800 CEO Read, InBubbleWrap gives away several copies of a new business title every day (for a sampling of this month's offerings, click here). All you have to do is create an account, login, and answer 2 questions -- which are often zen-like, non-sequitor abstractions. Then wait. The next day, you may get an e-mail letting you know that you've won.

If you hurry, you can still register for today's offer: Building Better Boards.

Now, I'm warning you, many of these books fall into the "[Adjective!], [#] Steps to [gerund verb] your [Business noun] and a [adjective] Life" school of publishing, but it's fun to win, and if you do your prize comes wrapped in bubble wrap --- Pop! Good luck...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Moving From Tom to Bob...

Bob O'Connor became the Mayor today, ending Tom Murphy's 12 year run as the Mayor of Pittsburgh. For most of the late 1990s they were Pittsburgh's own "Bob and Tom Morning Show," foils in mayoral primaries and disputes between the Mayor and City Council.

Murphy was a passionate Mayor who took risks, was firm in his beliefs, and occasionally rubbed people the wrong way. Along the way he built miles of trails, a much bigger trick than it sounds given the maze of ownership and liability issuies. The most visible transformation during his tenure is seen along the Allegheny River. Heinz Field, the new Del Monte Headquarters, the Equitable gas building, PNC Park, 2 new parking garages, a new Springhill Suites hotel, the new Alcoa services center and the shiny headquarters along the river, the Lincoln North Shore apartments, the new Convention Center, the new condiminiums rising on 7th and Fort Duquesne, and the Riverfron Park that lines both sides. People actually kayak in that water now. A visitor to Pittsburgh in 1994 for the last All-Star Game would be hard pressed to recognize the same area in 2006.

The question for Murphy's legacy will be 1.) Did the ends justify the means, and 2.) Did the successes outway the collossal failures? Who can forget the defeat of the stadium referendum, the declaration of victory on back-door state financining before the ultimate RAD based solution for the stadiums and convention center was reached. Who is not depressed to walk 5th and Forbes and see the empty Lazarus and Lord and Taylor and reflect on Murphy's Quixotic pursuit of Nordstrom and belief that retail would begat housing anf prosperity and not the other way around.

I'll personally remember the Tom Murphy that I bumped into on occasion running in Frick Park, the one that liked to jump into the race after firing the starters pistol. I think history, and aerial photographs, will be kind to his legacy for years to come.

I first encountered Bob O'Connor in the mid-1990's when I worked at the Schenley Park Golf Course. He was the Councilman for the 5th district and a player in the arrangement for CMU to operate the golf course, saving it from closure. O'Connor was a regular at the course, playing rounds with the regulars, practicing putting with his then young son Corey, who was probably about 10 at the time.

I remember him being affable, with a slight edge. Someone whose intelligence was greater than what lied on the surface, and who seemed to genuinely enjoy being with the people who surrounded him on the golf course.

I wonder if people dismiss him and his professional experience running Roy Rogers franchises too easily. It seems the bias for action and the need to stay close to the cash are things that may help us in a city where it's often seems easier to win funding to study why new businesses aren't being created than it is to actually start one.

Monday, January 02, 2006

UPDATE:"Over the Christmas holiday, Al Newell and I invented a thinking machine."

Today's Post-Gazette features this article about Herb Simon and Allen Newell's work on artificial intelligence 50 years ago, including a great picture of notes made by Simon and Newell.

Imagine sitting in a lecture hall and having Herb Simon come in and say, "Over the Christmas holiday, Al Newell and I invented a thinking machine."

On December 19, we featured a post on Tom Peters thoughts on Herb Simon from his blog, TomPeters.com.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year, Dick Clark...

"Last year I had a stroke. It left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself to walk and talk again. It's been a long hard fight . My speech is not perfect but I'm getting there." -- Dick Clark

Dick Clark returned to host ABC's Time Square coverage of New Year's Rockin' Eve last night, and welcome millions of Americans to 2006 in the same way they had for more than 30 years before Dick Clark suffered a stroke in December 2004 that prevented him from welcoming 2005.

It was great to have Dick back on New Years Eve, and in my opinion he looked great. I woke up this morning with incredible respect and admiration for him. I imagine that it was an incredibly emotional night for him and his wife, and the many that probably helped him in 2005. Sharing his story and putting his slurred speech on display for millions on television was courageous, especially someone known for his looks and smooth demeanor for so long. It's a tribute to his determination that he was able to make it back to set and to his humanity that he was willing to give us a glimpse into the challenges that he, his family and his caregivers face each day.