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)

Moving my CD’s to a full-out digitial collection. It is time.


I need to step into the 00s.  I know it’s already the 10s, but I’m obviously already behind.  Yesterday I filled 4 giant under-bed storage containers (& one little one) with CD’s.  I need to rip this veritable mountain of plastic to a more easily & instantly accessible medium.

Enrico Caruso with a "Victrola" bran...

Where is the USB port on this thing...?

I also have a pile of vinyl that I believe I’m set up to rip… I just have to plug everything together.  Maybe after that, I’ll do my the last few of my cassette tapes.

For the younger readers:

Any advice?

First one to say iTunes gets a stinkpalm.  I don’t like programs that “take over” and are meant for people who don’t know what they’re doing.  I also dislike anything that asks me to “synch” anything.  NO.  I DO NOT WANT TO SYNCH ANYTHING.

I have a Google Music account that’s awesome, I might use it to store a bunch of the stuff I like to listen to.  Google has a 20,000 song limit.  I’m over that, no doubt.

I’ll most likely keep the CD’s so I have something to listen to when the grid crashes.

Winamp 1

WinAmp (Old School)

I will most likely use CDex and Mp3Tag to get everything in order.  I have experience with them and like them.  They’re free.  I also like WinAmp as a player.  Yes, I still like WinAmp.

I’ll probably need a 1TB (or bigger) external hard drive.  Where can I get an inexpensive yet reliable one?  My usual spots are TigerDirect or NewEgg.  Is there somewhere else I should try?

The compact disc

There are 1s and 0s on here? I don't see any.

It will make accessing the music any time I want much easier.  I’ll be able to control the genres & tags, add artwork, and if I get crazy I can hook up something so I can play all of my stuff from any computer in the house.  I also have an FM transmitter somewhere so I can further destroy the sound quality broadcast to any & all radios in the house.

Re-buying probably isn’t an option for at least a quarter if not half of my collection.  I have a lot of local D.I.Y. stuff and stuff from touring bands that I’ve never heard from again.  Also; I’m cheap.  I bought it once.  I’m not buying it again.  I think I’ve bought Appetite for Destruction at least 6 times.  Two cassettes, 3 CD’s, & a vinyl.  Does Axl really need another dollar out of me?

I’d try a service like Ripshark, but why if I can do it myself?  Also; I’m cheap.

Sadly, my Insignia can’t handle any SDHC cards over 4GB, and it freaks out once you hit over 2000 songs.  Maybe I can put a backup drive in my car & hook it to my stereo, to play my entire music catalog at will?  I’m getting ahead of myself.

Have you done this yourself?  Are you thinking it’s time to do this too?  Do they make a 2TB iPod yet?  Should I go with mp3‘s or rip to something else?  AAC? FLAC?

So many options.  I suppose I’ll finish the entire project some time in 2015.  I’ll still be quicker than PennDOT.  If the world ends before I finish this, I’m going to be really upset.

There is hope for the future of America.


Hope indeed.  I laughed out loud.

The Clarks’ lead singer gets schooled at Shaler.  I found it rather amusing, so will a bunch of my local musician friends because we’re all haters.  No idea if this is real or not, but Mr. Madden was talking about it at the beginning of his show today.

https://twitter.com/#!/NickBuzzelli/status/149946580647149568

https://twitter.com/#!/NickBuzzelli/status/149949890347274241

https://twitter.com/#!/NickBuzzelli/status/149947628690489344

https://twitter.com/#!/NickBuzzelli/status/149947708298379265

https://twitter.com/#!/NickBuzzelli/status/149947830453288961

Ha.  I’d pay $5 to sit in homeroom & not go hear the guy from the Clarks if forced to.

You love me, you really love me!


Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

So, this thing happened…

CBS Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

There was blogging, there was voting.  There was certainly some goofiness.  I still haven’t been contacted by anyone at CBS.  I know other bloggers have.  Just so they know, the contact form on my blog works quite well.  There was something about prizes, but the rules detailing how one could claim a prize are gone.  I really thought I had no chance of winning, as there are so many cool blogs out there.  I’m not sure what kind of bragging rights this gives me.  Do I get a T-shirt or stickers or something?  “Hey, I’m annoying and goofy on the internet!”

It’s good to know that I’m the people’s choice, and not the editor’s choice.  I blog for the people, not for the editors.  I bet I won begrudgingly.  Ha ha.  They were probably all like “Oh crap, not that one!”.  I have to say thank you to whoever nominated me, and thank you for all my friends & family (& readers – who most likely fall into one of the aforementioned groups) who voted!

Here are the results…

Dining and Entertainment

Local Affairs

Sports

Health, Fitness and Medical

Lifestyle and Family

Everything Else

I call shenanigans on Only In Pittsburgh & Beyond Willpower not winning at least one “choice” in their respective categories.  It’s also odd that some of the people’s choice & editor’s choice were the same thing…  Why not spread the love?  I will go all mushy on you now, & say that everyone wins here, because we all got some exposure & hopefully traffic to our blogs that we might not have had before.  I’ve even added a few of these to my WordPress reader/feed.  Go check out all the blogs and their descriptions, and see if there’s something that piques your interest!

Some of the ones I dig:

Hopefully we all say “yinz” without noticing and with pride.  Thanks CBS & Pittsburgh!  And, of course, thanks to these guys & gals for letting me know what’s up!

Thanks Peeps!

Thanks Peeps!

CBSPittsburgh.com’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

CBSPittsburgh.com’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

Celebrity Endorsement?


Sally Wiggin ❹

Sally Wiggin ❹

None can argue with the awesomeness of local celebrity, WATE-TV‘s own Sally Wiggin.  If you do argue, I’ll fight you.  Sally is awesome, in fact… she’s so awesome, that her hair has it’s own Twitter account.  You can find Sally on Wikipedia, Twitter, & Facebook (a few times)(There’s even a page called “Sally Wiggin Out” on Facebook.)  She’s a phenomenon.

Since Andrew Stockey is on Facebook all the time (he’s on Twitter too) , I was feeling goofy & decided to try & goad him into making a donation to the Pittsburgh Food Allergy Walk by invoking the name Sally Wiggin, as she’s the “Local Honorary Media Chair”…

Not gonna let Sally Wiggin get all attention for the Food Allergy Walk, are you? Care to make a donation...?

Not gonna let Sally Wiggin get all attention...

Somehow, Sally must have interpreted this as me asking her personally for a donation, as this appeared on my wall a few days later…

I did as you asked. Can't wait to meet you and Bethany at the walk.

I did as you asked. Can't wait to meet you and Bethany at the walk.

And she did!  You can see that Sarah Wiggin has generally made a contribution to my food allergy walk donation page: http://wwwofoodallergywalk.org/aixelsyd13

(This also humorously qualifies her for a limited run “king krab orange” T-shirt from Ernie of Ernie and the Berts – planning on giving her one at the walk, wonder if she’ll wear it?)

I’m not far from getting my name in the “top fundraisers” list on the Pittsburgh walk page.  Those people are still getting donations too… so keep ’em coming!

This post is to celebrate the generosity of Sally Wiggin, and to try and get other local celebrities and organizations to step up & donate… for a chance to be awesome like Sally.  (I have also received some initial contact from Chick-fil-A, Qdoba, & Giant Eagle… though no donations as of yet.)

You can also donate to my wife, Bethany… she’s not quite as “aggressive” as I am in collecting donations.  You can listen to this while you dig out your credit card…

Dethlehem Photos – Hard Rock Cafe (X Winter Rock Showcase) Thu. Feb. 18th, 2010


Got some cool photos of Dethlehem last night during the X Winter Rock Showcase IV at the Hard Rock Cafe.  If you haven’t checked these cats out, you need to drop whatever you’re doing and get to their next show.  I’m serious.  They’ll blow you away, and maybe even slay that troll that’s been living under your bridge.

They rocked the house last night, and the place was packed for a Thursday night.  The crowd was really digging them.  Sadly… they didn’t go on to the next round, but I really don’t think that’s a big deal to them.

I hate all of them for their respective “mad skillz”… Playing crazy fast beats in a giant metal helmet, fretboard acrobatics at lightning speed, and growling like the demons that they have sworn to battle.  Yet, I watch & listen in awe each time… and it helps that they’re cool guys while they’re not slaying dragons, rescuing maidens in distress, or wandering aimlessly around the halls of madness.

And, thanks to the guys for the warrior swag!

If you just want to check out the album on Photobucket, you can do that too… normal view or slideshow.

DETHLEHEM LOGO