Tag Archives: Bridge

The Fort Pitt Friggin’ Bridge.


A quick look at Wikipedia shows that some guy in the late 1950s named George S. Richardson was actually a computer that designed the Fort Pitt Bridge. Well, maybe he used a computer. The Wikipedia article is surprisingly unclear.  It says that Richardson designed it, but it also says “It was the world’s first computer designed bowstring arch bridge.”

The bridge opened in 1959. It’s 2013. I’m not sure how many revisions (if any) have occurred since 1959. I get that in combination with the Fort Pitt Tunnel it’s quite popular, but certainly there should have been changes over the years. I haven’t checked census data, but it’s a safe bet that the region’s population & the number of people who own cars has risen quite dramatically since then.  I believe it’s time for an overhaul.

Did this ever make sense?

Did this ever make sense?  (From Bing)

The Fort Pitt Bridge - Chaos by Bing Maps

The green arrow shows where Jagoffs come from.

There are several problems, but the biggest one that drives me crazy is Yinzer drivers coming out of the city making their own lanes.  It’s bad enough that you have to sometimes cross 3 lanes in a short distance to make sure you’re in the correct lane to get where you’re going.  Check out the green arrow in the picture to the right.  This is the ramp coming from Liberty Ave. downtown.  Apparently during the afternoon commute out of the city, people coming up these two lanes decide to not merge into one lane as suggested by those funny little white dashed lines.  They also choose not to obey the only traffic sign on the bridge, a STOP sign.  Well, there’s 2 of them…  but both for the same lane.  These images from Google’s street view might show what I mean:

It’s pretty clear how one is supposed to merge in such a situation.  The STOP sign here is ridiculous.  It ought to be illegal to pull out from a full stop while traffic is whizzing by at a high speed.  It’s there nonetheless… and should be obeyed.  Like I said, there are many problems.  Let me get back to focusing on the crazy extra lane-making Yinzer drivers.  Look at this…

2 cars, 1 lane

2 cars, 1 lane

Those dingleberries are side-by-side in one lane.  So are these dingleberries behind them:

These guys are both dingleberries.

Following the lead…

Buses are the Devil.

Buses are the Devil.

Now, is this really helping the traffic situation?  No.  It does slow down everyone in my lane.  No one seems to want to stop, they pull out & to the left to go into the tunnel, or out & right to go to the West End.  I took those photos of these numb-nuts a while ago… but on a very special day a while ago, I saw a bus doing it.  Yes, a PAT bus was beside a car in a single lane, and trying to cut across into the lane to my right if I were to stay in the lane I was in & simply go forward.

Just typing all of this out & trying to explain it rationally hurts my head.  Why aren’t there cops there?  You could triple the city or count’s monthly revenue in about 2 hours at that spot.

Clearly something needs done at this intersection.  Traffic lights?  A camera that captures your license plate when you break a law or 10 merging lanes?  It’s absolutely ridiculous.  Who started this?  Obviously others have seen people get away with it, so they are trying it too.  What part of your brain rationalizes that this is somehow acceptable behavior?

Have you run into this insanity?  Please, share your hate for the Fort Pitt Bridge in the comments.

The Tunnel Monster is a myth? Say it ain’t so!


 

Have you been following the Tunnel Monster saga?  We last left off with a somewhat confusing email from Cryptid hunter Raptorguy14.  I can’t tell if Raptorguy14 thinks I’m being serious, or if he’s just messing with me.  It’s really strange.  I replied to his last email with this:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 7, 2012
Subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster
To: The Cryptid Hunters <thecryptidhunters@gmail.com>

Hello Raptorguy14,

Nice to “meet” you!  Sorry to hear that several of your people have become inactive.  Hopefully they haven’t all mysteriously disappeared while searching for cryptids.  Good luck in your quest to revive the group!

I understand that you’re not affiliated with MonsterQuest.  If I understand correctly, MonsterQuest isn’t even being made any more?  I find that to be such a shame.  I can only watch the Hatfields & McCoys or How The States Got Their Shapes so many times, but I could watch MonsterQuest or UFO Hunters all day long.

I’m not sure if the tunnel monster is a hoax, but if it does exist… it has special powers that slow down traffic in the morning, afternoon, and during concerts or sporting events.  I have more artist renderings attached if you’d like to tell me if they’re perhaps more accurate?

Have you heard about Tunnel Monsters out west, or anywhere else around the world?  I would like to see this one captured…so I can get to events on time.

Onward & Upward,
-Waldo

P.S. – Your parents are very forward-thinking.  Raptorguy is the coolest name ever, but to include a number like we’re in a science fiction novel?  That’s just awesome.

These photos were attached (thanks to my faithful readers…):

This was the reply:

From: The Cryptid Hunters <thecryptidhunters@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 14, 2012
Subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

No, they’re perfectly fine, they just haven’t been active. I still converse with them on occasion.

That’s right, MonsterQuest is no longer in production. TV networks often get rid of good quality shows for some reason, but I suppose that’s how it works.

Again, I must reiterate my opinion that the tunnel monster is a myth being used to make people drive more carefully in tunnels. Tunnels can be more difficult to drive through than conventional roadways, so one must be more careful. And the fact that the monster targets speeders and wrecked vehicles strengthens this opinion; it makes people think, “I don’t want to encounter this ‘beast’, so I should be more careful in the tunnel.” The likelihood that this creature is real is very low.

To my knowledge, no tunnel monsters (myth or otherwise) exist in the Western United States. I’m not sure about the rest of the world, though.

What?

We’ll find that tunnel monster someday, & prove Raptorguy14 wrong!

 

The Tunnel Monster may have eaten me by now…


Pittsburgh tunnel

Pittsburgh tunnel (Photo credit: glowingfish)

OK, so remember my post about the Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster & the artist renderings?  Well, I just got this reply.  It came a little late, and it came from someone who couldn’t pick up on the fact that I was goofing around.  I mean, I don’t even know how I should respond to this.  Should I tell them, or keep it going?  Surely a quick Google search of my email address or “Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster” would have landed you here?  I kind of feel bad that this cat didn’t “get” it.

I poked around several forums and web pages until I found email addresses or forums or anywhere where I could post my goofiness.  They mostly all fell entirely flat (Fail 1/Fail 2/Fail 3).  This email eventually found someone, I guess.

Oh well, here’s the reply:

From: The Cryptid Hunters <thecryptidhunters@gmail.com>

Date: Fri, Aug 3, 2012
Subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello, and thank you for emailing The Cryptid Hunters.

Firstly, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Raptorguy14, currently the only active member of this group. We used to have several people, but they’ve since become inactive. I’ve been thinking many times about reviving this group, and I may do that soon, but for now I can only investigate reports of cryptids in the Western United States.

Secondly, I, nor anyone else in this group, do not represent MonsterQuest or anything/anyone affiliated with it. I understand that the link to our email is on the History Channel website, so I apologize for any confusion. We are simply a group of amateur cryptid hunters.

Thirdly, the photos definitely appear to be fake. I know that you said they are artist renderings, but I’m certain that it’s impossible for creatures that look like those “renderings” in the photos to exist. After some preliminary research online, I can conclude that the Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster is likely a hoax, an urban legend, as no solid evidence has turned up yet. As I said, I would be open to investigating, but at this time I can only investigate cryptid reports in the Western United States (specifically the Intermountain West). I will try to find somebody to investigate, but I find it unlikely that any evidence will turn up. More than likely it’s just a myth that makes drivers be more cautious in the tunnel, as tunnels can be very dangerous places if certain driving precautions are not taken.

~Raptorguy14

I guess I should write back.

Also, if I neglected to post your artist rendering, please send it again!  I was sitting on a few until I had another related post… wanna make sure I don’t miss any.  Here’s one from Valley of Steel‘s Eric Yano:

Flying Tunnel Monster (by Eric Yano)

Flying Tunnel Monster (by Eric Yano)

https://twitter.com/suburbsasquatch/status/195707700351479812?iid=am-85321533413354953266169787&nid=4+status_timestamp&uid=89820926

The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster gets national attention?


Well, sort of.  The buzz around town on the news & radio lately has been about a survey by a GPS data company called INRIX that calls the sweet spot from Greentree to the Fort Pitt tunnels on the Parkway West here in the ‘Burgh the worst traffic outside of New York or Los Angeles.  Read the Post-Gazette article for all the juicy details.  Here’s an excerpt…

According to INRIX, it takes an average of 13 minutes — nine more than it should — to traverse that stretch. That doesn’t count the time it takes to get there, as morning backups now routinely spill well down the back side of Green Tree Hill and sometimes past Carnegie.

At a delay of nine minutes a day, for a regular commuter that works out to about 36 hours a year down the rat hole, just for the morning rush. According to INRIX, drivers on the 10 worst U.S. corridors may squander up to 60 hours a year stuck in traffic.

Those who while away their mornings in the daily tangle might be inclined to dream of a wider Parkway West or new tunnels drilled through Mount Washington, but financial and topographic realities make that a bit like yearning for world peace.

105.9 WXDX-FM

105.9 WXDX-FM

The guys on the X were talking about it yesterday morning, so I sent Bob a link to my Tunnel Monster blog.  Bob posted it on their morning show blog & I’ve been getting mad hits today because if it.  Ha ha.  Thanks guys!

I do have to say though that the Steely McBeam tunnel monster image isn’t mine.  Someone named Angry Mongo posted it first.

I have one more “artist rendering” from Eric Yano (I’d still like to see more!):

Flying Tunnel Monster

Flying Tunnel Monster (by Eric Yano / Valley of Steel)

And here was the letter to MythBusters & Dirty Jobs, that didn’t get a reply from anyone…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 27, 2012
Subject: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster (Mythbusters & Dirty Jobs team-up?)
To: jamie@m5industries.com, mythbusters@m5industries.com, adam@adamsavage.com, info@mikeroweworks.com, torybelleci@gmail.com, swift@buchwald.com
Cc: info@beyondaction.com.au

Dear Duke of Dirt and Sultans of Science (or Emperors of Explosions?),

I’m a big fan of both of your shows, I believe that I have been watching since the first season of each, and have seen almost all (if not all) of the collective episodes.  My wife & I enjoy the Saturday morning/afternoon marathon runs of each, sometimes they prevent us for doing anything productive (except learning while being entertained of course) for most of the day.  My favorite Dirty Jobs moment has to be an early one… where Mike was at the charcoal factory & asking the guy how you can burn it after it has already been burned and the guy either didn’t know the answer or comprehend the question and started to get irate.  It set the tone for the rest of the series!  Of course I love all the dirty gross stuff like expressing the anal glands during pet grooming… who knew?  Having worked an assembly line myself, I really appreciate that you manage to shed light on jobs that most people never even think about (or know existed).  With Mythbusters, I don’t know how to pick a favorite… I loved the ninja & pirate myths, the ancient mirror laser thing, all of the movie scene recreations (or attempted recreations), the many abuses of Buster, and for some odd reason… the car filled entirely with A/B foam.

If I’m not watching the Discovery Network, I’m over on the History Channel.  My wife likes to remind me that we have about 200 other channels.  I don’t need them, really.

I first attempted this (intentionally humorous) pitch to the people over at history with MonsterQuest or MysteryQuest in my sights.  I had assumed I’d receive some sort of “Yeah, whatever goofball” type of reply.  Sadly I have not received any reply at all.

The more I thought about it, I feel that this is a serious subject.  It would work for Mythbusters… not sure how you could word the myth… but basically your task would be to get to the bottom of seemingly inexplicable tunnel traffic/congestion.  You could look at how people slow down when approaching, how throwing a roadside distraction (like a car accident) in there would effect things?

As for Mr. Rowe, I’m sure that working in a tunnel is a dirty job.  There are nightly cleanings/work in the Liberty tubes some times… and someone sets out traffic cones every day for the changing of a lane’s direction when going into/coming out of the tunnel.  I’m also guessing that being a Mythbuster (or one of their crew) is a dirty job.  Pittsburgh is a little Hollywood lately, why not capitalize on it by coming to check out our little town?  I know Grant & Tori were at the Zabmelli firework factory in New Castle once!

Did you see the incredibly forced Pawn Stars/American Pickers/American Restoration crossover?  You guys could do way better than that, and it would be unscripted.

Here’s the meat of my original email…

I believe that we have a monster in the Pittsburgh area that you may want to check out.  It’s affectionately referred to as the Tunnel Monster.  People in the southwestern Pennsylvania area live in a great fear of the Tunnel Monster.  Many yinzer drivers slow down as they approach any area tunnel… but most especially the Fort Pitt Tunnels, Liberty “Tubes”, and the Squirrel Hill Tunnels.  I’ve heard theories that the tunnel monster also perhaps takes shelter in one or all of the three rivers when not lurking in the tunnel.

Fear seems to increase in times of rain, snow, and (perhaps strangely) before sporting events, holiday festivities, and large concerts.  I believe we have weekday tunnel anxiety between 7:00am & 9:00am, and again from 2:00pm to 7:00pm at all tunnels.  I’ve never heard a first-hand account of an actual sighting, but it’s clear that there is something strange happening at these locations.  There are also spikes of Tunnel Monster fear when traffic accidents happen nearby.  Perhaps the tunnel monster feeds on broken down cars, flat tires, or the corpses left in the wake of fatal accidents?  Rubberneckers seem to be ripe for the picking also.

I have personally seen 18-wheelers get to the entrance of a tunnel and turn completely around, most likely out of fear of the tunnel monster perhaps lurking within the yellow-hued florescent-lit man made caverns.  Some people go through the entire length of a tunnel holding their breath so the tunnel monster doesn’t steal it, or honking their horn the entire way to scare it off.  I’ve seen motorcycles and ambulances go right down the center line at accelerated speeds, no doubt trying to avoid a tragic end.  I’ve even heard of people tapping the roof of their car when spotting a Padiddle to ward off the evil tunnel monster.  The theory perhaps being that the tunnel monster is on the hood of the other car, and its webbed fin (a paddle or “padiddle”) is blocking one headlight.

I have seen strange markings on the inside of they Liberty Tunnels, but they have since been covered-over.  They were strange numbers and hieroglyphic-like symbols that appeared right before a construction project.  Do you think the crews working in the tunnel are in any danger?  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy?  Are they in there hunting for the tunnel monster under the guise of construction efforts while they cover up the monster’s cave paintings?  Could the monster be some sort of Neanderthal, or perhaps a supernatural being, or some sort of demon?

There are countless videos on YouTube documenting fearless drives through the Fort Pitt Tunnels, but I don’t believe that any concrete video evidence has been recorded.  I have attached some artist renderings of the Tunnel Monster that I have found on the internet.  Perhaps you would like your experts to interview the area residents and come up with your own?

I really would like someone to get to the bottom of this Tunnel Monster thing, and I believe that Monster Quest is perfectly suited for the job!  Thank you for your time, I hope to hear from you soon!

So, now you know where my thought process has gone, & how it has developed.  I’d love your consideration for this idea.  Please don’t make me turn to TV shows that I don’t watch like Billy the Exterminator or Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you!

Not afraid of the Tunnel Monster,
-Waldo Lunar

I tried message boards, email addresses, all kinds of outlets… all to no avail.  Party poopers.

Maybe this will get a reply:

Should I try PennDOT or the city of Pittburgh next?

Fort Pitt Tunnel

The Monster’s Lair | Fort Pitt Tunnel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to need to learn how to solder.


I’ve soldered stuff before, but it’s been a long time, I’m going to need to learn again.  I just got a box full ‘o neat stuff that I’m going to slap on to that New York Pro that I picked up at Hoke·E·Geez.  I have this urge to do as much of it as I can myself.  (I’ll still have it set up when I’m done by Aaron at Lawrence Music.)

Guitar Pimpin'

Guitar Pimpin'

I’m sure I can do it.  I might make a mess, and it might take me longer than someone who actually knows what they’re doing, but I can do it.

GFS | Lil Killer Black Humbucker Rail Pickup for Strats

GFS | Lil Killer Black Humbucker Rail Pickup for Strats

I went with a goofy pickup configuration, because I have the luxury of not knowing what I’m doing & no one to tell me “that’s not the way you do that”.

GFS | Pro-Tube Lipstick Tube Pickup- GLOSS BLACK

GFS | Pro-Tube Lipstick Tube Pickup - GLOSS BLACK

I got 2 Lil Killer humbucker rail pickups, one 15K for the neck, & one 10K for the middle.  I have no idea what the K means.  I got a Pro-Tube lipstick tube pickup for the neck position, because I thought it looked neat… and because I never use the neck position, so I thought this might be neat to try out.  I opted for the 6K version, because that’s what the pickup in the calibrated rail set comes as…  even though the GFS page suggests you use the 4.9K one at the neck position.  Will it make that big of a difference?

Galaxy Guitars | New York Pro | Star Gazer

It's gonna look (& sound) a little different by the time I'm done with it.

So, I have these pickups, & the 5-way switch that came with the guitar.  What kind of wiring do you suggest I do?  Do I need to worry about shielding tape or paint?  Do I need flux, or no flux?  Can anyone show me a diagram for a normal setup?  What about something “hot-rodded” using these components?

I have a soldering iron and some solder.  I might get one of those soldering stands with the alligator clips.

Any tips, tricks, or advice?

Inspiration from Hoke·E·Geez (My new ‘New York Pro’ Strat copy)


So, I bought a guitar this past Saturday.  I wasn’t looking for a guitar.  This guitar was looking for me.

Hoke·E·Geez | INDOOR FLEA MARKET · CRAFTS

...and SO MUCH MORE.

Some of my extended family had rented out the lodge at our church camp for the weekend.  My cousin & I were out killing time and exploring while the ladies stayed in for their main objective; scrapbooking.  When in the area with time on my hands, a trip to Hoke·E·Geez is an absolute must.  It’s located right on Route 30 in Bedford PA by the Sheetz(Sheetz is a good bright red & yellow landmark, right?)

In what was once (perhaps obviously for people my age and older) an Ames department store, rests the one of the craziest/coolest places I have ever been.  My first trip there was in search of antiques… I collect old Coca~Cola & other glass bottles.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Hoke·E·Geez is full of …Everything. 

Stuffed Squirrel on display (& for sale!) at Hoke·E·Geez (Bedford, PA)

"Help! I'm not dead! Some redneck just stapled my nuts to this driftwood!"

It’s got crafts, antiques (from old pop bottles to the machines), furniture, a weird leather biker-jacket section, a hardware section like someone emptied a Harbor Freight in 1978 and dumped it there, of records, new stuff made to look old (think the store in Cracker Barrel), toys, tools, books, records, a section chock full of cassette tapes (mostly hair metal), musical instruments of all varieties, a stuffed squirrel that my cousin photographed with his phone, nunchucks, swords, toilets, knives, flooring, gun parts, cabinetry, pistol crossbows, stuff you’d see in a thrift store or at a garage sale, a Weinermobile pedal car, … and other scattered oddities/treasures.

Yeah, I said musical instruments.  Of course, I flock nearly immediately to the old guitars.  Hoke-E-Geez also serves as an aged acoustic graveyard.  They have several dried out yet beautiful acoustics ravaged by time & strings that pull the neck past the point of no return. They would be great as decorations, or for this…

Guiar Fail | Acoustic Guitar Recycling

Guiar Fail | Acoustic Guitar Recycling

There I Fixed It | First Smash, Then Season

There I Fixed It | First Smash, Then Season

In fact, if I ever find one for the right price, it might make a cool antique bottle shelf… with some glass shelves & a light or 2.

Back to the story at hand though…  There we are strolling through the wonderland that is Hoke·E·Geez, like a bee doing its “tell the others where the honey is” dance. We were exclaiming “Woah!”, “Look at that!”, or “What is that?” with each erratic hop to the next section.

Toy Accordion (or Button Box?)

I can already play "Iron Man" and "Happy Birthday" (very poorly).

The first beauty I spied was this toy accordion for $12 and change.  It seems ridiculous and awesome.  Maybe I’ve seen The Bloody Seamen one too many times lately.  Looking online, it seems to be a fair price… and not difficult to master. I’m not sure of the name brand.  I have no idea if it’s a Hohner, Schylling, Barcelona, First Act, or something else.  I have found a bunch online that look similar.  This doesn’t match the colors of any others exactly, and of course it has no brand/name/logo in it.  Also, it appears that I have been shorted a book.  Also, is this really an accordion, or is it just a button box?  What’s the difference?  Are the butterfly-like designs up top too girly?

The next thing of interest that I saw was this beautiful New York Pro Strat knockoff…

New York Pro - Natural Finish Strat Copy
“Psst… you, yeah you… buy me. Yeah. I know I’m not a goofy guitar, but you need me. Look at my woodgrain. It’s not fancy or elegant, it’s just ‘there’. Buy me. I probably have really crappy electronics and hardware. Buy me. I bet no one has ever heard of ‘New York Pro’ or knows where we’re made. Buy me!
New York Pro - Strat Copy

New York Pro - Strat Copy

Well, the photo to the left is the photo that I sent to my wife along with the price, asking (only half kidding) if I should buy it.  There was some other black no-name Strat copy behind it.  The body on that black POS wasn’t nearly as solid, hefty,  or well-cut.

My cousin pointed it out I believe, & remarked on the natural finish.  I was stuck drooling over the $95 price tag since the neck was straight, there were no cracks, and it was nice solid body.  This was about the time we got into a conversation with a local cat who was into weird guitars and punk rock… and actually in a punk rock band up that way.  I can’t remember the name of the band.  I need to pop stuff like that into my phone.  The guy stopped & asked if I really had an accordion in the box marked “Accordion”.  I showed it to him & he’s the one that remarked that it was a button box & not an accordion.  After talking forever about weird guitars, rocking out, and goofy venues… we moved on.  He mentioned that there were other guitars “over there” pointing to a little music store-like area within the hallowed walls of Hoke·E·Geez.

This is where we happened upon some beast, made by a local cat that goes by Merle Kegg or Merle R. Kegg.  One of his custom-built axes had the letters “M R K” on the headstock.  The first one I spotted was a doubleneck… one 6 string guitar & one mandolin neck.  Yeah.  You read that right.

Merle R. Kegg - Guitar/Mandolin Doubleneck

Merle R. Kegg - Guitar/Mandolin Doubleneck

I apologize for the horrible quality cell phone photos, but I’m sure you get the point.  I find it an odd placement for the pickups… but then again some people like that neck pickup sound.  I generally stick as close to the bridge as possible.  The custom cases are pretty cool.  Then I came upon this one…

Merle R. Kegg - White Guitar

Merle R. Kegg - White Guitar

It caught my eye, and I believe the price was only $64 or $65… but I didn’t even take it out of the case once I got a closer look.  If there was a Regretsy-like site for homemade guitars, this may top them all.  I mean, I love the shape… and I respect the intent and the labor that went into this beast, but… wow.  The placement of the bridge directly up the neck’s ass is crazy.  The pickguard looks like flooring or wall tile.  I’m hoping this cat is Amish or 97 years old or has 7 fingers total or something.  I hate to be so harsh, but when I think a guitar is ugly, we have a problem on our hands.  There was no attempt to smooth out the edges or anything… the paint is applied like it’s the side of an outdoor shed… not a guitar.  Wow.  I’d like to see more of his work, maybe these were the odd ones out.  If you know anything more about his work, please post in the comments!  There were some other cool guitars (not made by Merle), ukuleles, mandolins & other stuff in that section.

I still hadn’t received a reply from the wife.  I got the accordion, my cousin picked up a few things, and off we went.

When we got back to camp, I asked my wife if she had seen the text with the photo.  She hadn’t.  She checked it out & liked it.  She asked that if I got it I could place it on the stand in the living room instead of my Batman Logo guitar.  She liked the wood (which I have since come to learn is mahogany).  We talked it over and she suggested that I go get it.  I told her it would need new guts, but she was still behind the idea.  After lunch, my cousin went to a nearby farm to hunt coyotes, and I went back to Hoke·E·Geez to hunt that guitar.

I came back with my prize:

New York Pro - Stratocaster Copy

New York Pro - Stratocaster Copy

I also managed to stop by the Bedford Banjo Shop.  It was small but very cool and reasonably priced in there.  They had banjos, guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, & more.  They were also very friendly and quite busy.  I tried to stop by another store nearby, but they were closed as it was after 2:00pm.

I have plans for this guitar… GFS Lil Killer rail pickups, some wooden knobs, a leopard-print pickguard, black hardware (& bridge & tuners), and I guess a leopard-print strap.  As soon as I put away some money, I hope to get all this stuff & have it all set up nice & pretty.  My go-to guitar guy has been Aaron at Lawrence Music lately.  He helped set up the Batman Logo guitar… and dropped in my Seymour Duncans.

Oh what I'm gonna do to this guitar...

Oh what I'm gonna do to this guitar...

You didn’t think I’d leave it alone did you?  It needs something in order to fit in with my other guitars.

I’m still at a loss with any concrete information about the New York Pro brand.  I’m not sure if it’s pumped out of a Chinese factory that puts many different brands on the same guitars?  They do have an odd cut in the top of the headstock that seems to be on every NY Pro guitar I’ve seen online.  I’ve seen them as kit guitars, for $99, for $149.99 and for $279.95.  Maybe they’re made by Galaxy Guitars and the same as their Starfire line?  It looks like they might call it the “Galaxy New York Pro Star Gazer”.  They may be distributed by Lou Capece.  I may have to write to them for more information.

If you have any comments/stories about Hoke·E·Geez, any information about the accordion/button box, any info on that other guitar store in Bedford, any information about the New York Pro brand, or any comments/suggestions about my plans for the guitar… I’d love to hear ‘em!  Please share in the comments below!

In search of the Tunnel Monster…


We have all heard talk of the Pittsburgh tunnel monster.  There are other sites that talk about it and claim that it’s not real, simply poor planning by the engineers that designed the traffic flow in & around the city, or my favorite… that it’s simply Pittsburgh drivers slowing down for absolutely no reason!  I mean, how crazy is that?  Slowing down for no discernible reason?  That’s just insane, my friends.

Obviously there is something to the tunnel monster rumors.  I have discovered a few artists’ renderings online.  (I’d like to see more! I decided to call in the big guns from the History Channel to investigate…

Hello Heads of Historical Heavy-Hitting!

I’m a big fan of all of your shows, I’m always watching Pawn Stars, Swamp People, American Restoration, American Pickers, Ancient Aliens, or one of your many informative yet incredibly entertaining offerings.  One of my favorites is Monster Quest.  I’m always intrigued by new evidence of cryptids, and am captivated by new Bigfoot or yeti sounds, hairs, tracks, eyewitness accounts, theories, and the like.  I enjoy thought-provoking television where I’m able to learn some things or open my mind to new possibilities.

I believe that we have a monster in the Pittsburgh area that you may want to check out.  It’s affectionately referred to as the Tunnel Monster.  People in the southwestern Pennsylvania area live in a great fear of the Tunnel Monster.  Many yinzer drivers slow down as they approach any area tunnel… but most especially the Fort Pitt Tunnels, Liberty “Tubes”, and the Squirrel Hill Tunnels.  I’ve heard theories that the tunnel monster also perhaps takes shelter in one or all of the three rivers when not lurking in the tunnel.

Fear seems to increase in times of rain, snow, and (perhaps strangely) before sporting events, holiday festivities, and large concerts.  I believe we have weekday tunnel anxiety between 7:00am & 9:00am, and again from 2:00pm to 7:00pm at all tunnels.  I’ve never heard a first-hand account of an actual sighting, but it’s clear that there is something strange happening at these locations.  There are also spikes of Tunnel Monster fear when traffic accidents happen nearby.  Perhaps the tunnel monster feeds on broken down cars, flat tires, or the corpses left in the wake of fatal accidents?  Rubberneckers seem to be ripe for the picking also.

I have personally seen 18-wheelers get to the entrance of a tunnel and turn completely around, most likely out of fear of the tunnel monster perhaps lurking within the yellow-hued florescent-lit man made caverns.  Some people go through the entire length of a tunnel holding their breath so the tunnel monster doesn’t steal it, or honking their horn the entire way to scare it off.  I’ve seen motorcycles and ambulances go right down the center line at accelerated speeds, no doubt trying to avoid a tragic end.  I’ve even heard of people tapping the roof of their car when spotting a Padiddle to ward off the evil tunnel monster.  The theory perhaps being that the tunnel monster is on the hood of the other car, and its webbed fin (a paddle or “padiddle”) is blocking one headlight.

I have seen strange markings on the inside of they Liberty Tunnels, but they have since been covered-over.  They were strange numbers and hieroglyphic-like symbols that appeared right before a construction project.  Do you think the crews working in the tunnel are in any danger?  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy?  Are they in there hunting for the tunnel monster under the guise of construction efforts while they cover up the monster’s cave paintings?  Could the monster be some sort of Neanderthal, or perhaps a supernatural being, or some sort of demon?

There are countless videos on YouTube documenting fearless drives through the Fort Pitt Tunnels, but I don’t believe that any concrete video evidence has been recorded.  I have attached some artist renderings of the Tunnel Monster that I have found on the internet.  Perhaps you would like your experts to interview the area residents and come up with your own?

I really would like someone to get to the bottom of this Tunnel Monster thing, and I believe that Monster Quest is perfectly suited for the job!  Thank you for your time, I hope to hear from you soon!

Not afraid of the Tunnel Monster,
-Waldo Lunar
World (and Lunar) Domination

These were the attached pictures:

The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster (as presented by Boring Pittsburgh)

The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster (as presented by Boring Pittsburgh)

Steely McTunnelMonster

PENNDOT Uses Magic Eight Ball To Determine Travel Time on Parkway East (by Angry Mongo)

Sadly, my emails have fallen upon deaf ears/blind eyes.   I have tweeted at the History Channel, used their contact forms (submit a ticket & submit feedback), and dug up emails for the MonsterQuest production company.

When I learned that MonsterQuest was no longer in production, I moved on to the people behind MysteryQuest.  I wrote to their production company too… again to no avail (so far, anyway).

This must be investigated.  I refuse to be ignored!

I submitted the following (again via stupid contact form) to the people behind one of my favorite History shows, Ancient Aliens:

Shalom Science Soul-mates,

I recently had a show idea for MonsterQuest, to find that they are no longer in production… and I haven’t had any replies from their production company, the History Channel, A&E, or even from any of the people involved with MysteryQuest.  Perhaps you can take a look at my attached letter, and somehow tie these mysterious happenings into extraterrestrials or ancient astronauts?  Who built the first tunnels?  Was it aliens?  Were horses & chariots ever afraid of tunnels?  Did this only happen since the invention of the automobile?  Was Henry Ford working with alien technology?

I cannot wait to hear from you.  I can’t contain my excitement.  The original letter attached…

[Message from above included here.]

Since I can’t attach something in a contact form, here are links to the aforementioned photos:

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/Pittsburgh%20Tunnel%20Monster/ThePittsburghTunnelMonster.jpg

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/Pittsburgh%20Tunnel%20Monster/TunnelMonster.jpg

Thank you for your time & assistance!

Live long and prosper, and may the force be with you!
-Waldo Lunar
World (and Lunar) Domination

I'm not saying it was aliens... but it was aliens.

Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (Ancient Aliens)

Perhaps they will be able to help?  I don’t like being ignored.  I hope the Tunnel Monster isn’t somehow able to monitor my transmissions and stop anyone from replying.  (Looks like the Tunnel Monster is on Facebook & Twitter – so it may be more technologically advanced than we thought.)

I’m sure the phenomenon isn’t isolated to the Steel City.  I bet it happens with tunnels all over the world.  Is there just one tunnel monster?  Are there many?

Perhaps I will need to put together my own team to investigate.  I’m guessing that since the local news has never touched upon this, that they’re scared of losing a reporter or a cameraman?

The Mythfits

The Mythfits

I’m thinking of also contacting Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs.  I’m a huge fan of both of those Discovery Channel shows.  Mike Rowe is clearly not afraid of anything, maybe he could team up with Adam, Jamie, & the Mythfits.  I hope I don’t have to reach out to Billy the Exterminator or Dog the Bounty Hunter.  If we tell Andrew Zimmern that he can eat the tunnel monster (or at least its eyeballs & testicles) maybe he’ll come investigate?

Is there anyone else that you feel I should reach out to?  Please, send me your suggestions!

Also, I would love it if you would send me your own artist renderings of the tunnel monster.  You can find plenty of photos of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, The Fort Pitt Tunnel, The Liberty Tunnel, or even the Wabash (or any other local) tunnel online to start with… or you can start from scratch!

You can email submissions to me at world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com or post them in the comments below!

View inside the southbound/westbound half of t...

This is the monster's tunnel, we're just passing through...

Clemente Bridge @ Night


Clemente BridgeI recently submitted a photo to the Only In Pittsburgh blog, and they posted it today (Thanks Brett!).  So, this is nothing more than shameless self-promotion.  The photo featured is my current desktop @ work, and was part of a set that I took last year at PNC Park.

I find the bridge more visually interesting than anything actually in the park. I need to go back down & get some more views of the city this summer.  I have no idea how I managed to get a night photo that wasn’t blurry without the use of a tripod.

Only In Pittsburgh is a cool blog to check out if you like photography & if you like the ‘Burgh.  I follow them on Twitter to get my daily dose of Yinzer pride.