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 assure you, I am not McDonald’s.


McJokerIt’s happening again.  I still say it’s a fail of smart phones & tablet PC‘s in their navigation of the internet.  At least I hope that’s the problem.  It could just be that some people are really not that bright. Maybe it’s a reading comprehension problem.  They see a post about McDonald’s & complaints and they hit “contact” thinking they’re somehow contacting McDonald’s, blissfully unaware that the url in the address bar is https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/ and has nothing to do with McDonald’s.  I’m guessing that this is thanks to Google sending everyone who searches “McDonald’s” & “email” or “complaint” to me.  Maybe the magic words are “McDonald’s” & “Contact”?

Actually, my incredible WordPress site stats show me most of the search terms that people used to land on my blog today.  The culprits are most likely…

  • mcdonalds.customercare@us.mcd.com (3 searches)
  • ella.jones@us.mcd.com (1 search)
  • mcdonalds food tv advertisement (1 search)
  • mcdonalds hand washing procedures (2 searches)

As you’re reading this, can you say it with me?  Seriously, out loud.  Ignore the people around you as they look at you like you’re crazy.  Take a deep breath.  Say it with me:

Eric Carroll (a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD, a.k.a. Waldo Lunar, a.k.a. Bronco Jalapeño) is not McDonald’s.  He does not work for McDonald’s.  Emails sent through the contact form at aixelsyd13.wordpress.com will not reach McDonald’s.  If I contact World (and Lunar) Domination inexplicably thinking that it is somehow related to McDonald’s (or Kmart), I will be publicly ridiculed on the internet.

I may have to put that on my contact page.  I’m guessing you won’t read it anyway if you’re crazy enough to send me an email without really reading anything else on my page.

If the stuff was coming right to my email address, I could almost understand it.  But, this is being typed into (or cut & pasted into) the contact form at my site… which looks like nothing related to anything on any McDonald’s website.  This most recent one is different in that this McDonald’s is apparently delinquent on a payment to a company that cleaned out their most likely disgusting dirty fryer.  This is much more serious than a simple screwed-up order or ignorant employee.  I’ll share it with you…

From: Jane Farrell <janef@malachymechanical.com>
To: █████████████@█████.com
Sent: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 3:08 PM
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Jane Farrell
Email: janef@malachymechanical.com
Message / Comment: I sent you a message about Mcdonalds#14518 located at 1101 East Tremont Ave. in the Bronx, N.Y.  We went there to repair their frymaster fryer and they refuse to pay us. You sent me a email on 4/4/12 Ref#8770056 that you would send my letter to the regional office in my area. I haven’t been paid as of yet. I would appreciate it, if you could let me know if the store was contacted. Thank You so much, I do appreciate any help in getting this paid.

Jane Farrell, Malachy Mechanical
How’d you find my blog?:

Time: Wednesday May 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm
IP Address: ##.###.###.##
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Insanity.  I had to write back, didn’t I?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  I even decided to offer some help to Jane in perhaps contacting the right person or people on the matter.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
To: janef@malachymechanical.com
Cc: McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com; info@mcdonalds.com; ny.14518@us.stores.mcd.com; mcd.14518@us.stores.mcd.com
Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Subject:
Re: W(aL)D Feedback [Sorry, I’m not McDonald’s.]

Hello Jane,

Unfortunately you’re mistaken, as you did not contact me earlier.  I am not McDonald’s.  I have simply blogged about McDonald’s & my interactions (or attempted interactions) with them.  For some odd reason, people keep landing on my website and contacting me, thinking that I am McDonald’s.  I assure you, I am not McDonald’s.  I don’t work for McDonald’s.  I don’t represent McDonald’s.  I can’t speak for McDonald’s.  I certainly can’t pay their bills.  I do sympathize with you though, as McDonald’s apparent ineptitude knows no bounds.  I am a blogger who makes light of their insanity with my own.  If you would like to follow my journey, please see the following blog posts.  They will help to prove & reinforce that I am not McDonald’s, and perhaps bring to light your own error in using my contact form instead of reaching out again to McDonald’s.

  • I AM NOT McDONALD’S – Like you, Harmony, Shirley, Amber, & Jeffrey mistook me for McDonald’s.  This post also links to my earlier correspondence with McDonald’s in case you are interested, as well as valid alternatives to actually contact McDonald’s instead of me, because I am not McDonald’s.
  • I’m still not McDonald’s. – I inform Harmony, Shirley, and Amber that I’m not McDonald’s.  Harmony remains unconvinced.  I unintentionally angered local McManager, Scott Kausky.
  • OK, maybe I am McDonald’s? – Harmony’s husband steps in to assure me that I am indeed McDonald’s, even though though I am clearly not.  Mr. Kausky calms down.  I create some graphics proving that I am indeed not McDonald’s, & I share a McAdventure.
  • s,pןɐuopɔɯ ʇou ɯɐ ı – Really.  I laid it all out one last time for Harmony & her McHusband.  They never responded after this.  Perhaps they finally got the message?  I disclose more McDonald’s contact options, as I am not McDonald’s and contacting me does nothing but further amusement for myself & my readers.
  • McConsistency is Key. – Apparently despite all the other blog posts, I’m still the place to go to complain about McDonald’s.

A bonus post, somewhat related:

A super-special extra bonus post:

  • I’m not Kmart. – While I’m not McDonald’s, I’m also not Kmart.  Perhaps McDonald’s customers & Kmart shoppers are the same demographic?

Perhaps you’re not interested in my blogs, but in exchange for you taking the time to read them I am prepared to help you in your plight for payment.  I have researched several ways for you to contact McDonald’s, none of which are the contact form located at my website.  Let us go through them together:

I hope that I have been able to provide some clarity, amusement, and even some actual help today (even though I am not McDonald’s).  Good luck in your quest, this is most certainly more annoying than the usual lack of ketchup packets or pattyless burger!  Have a nice day.

I am not McDonald’s,
-Eric Aixelsyd
World (and Lunar) Domination

Do you think she’ll write back?

Frymaster Fryer

Frymaster Fryer

Your attendance is required.


Sun. 08/14 @ The Fallout Shelter:

Ernie and the Berts
Hopeless Otis
The Awful Waffles

$5 / 21+ / 9:00pm

Click the link for details & links to the venue & other bands.

Sun.08/14 @ The Fallout Shelter - Ernie and the Berts/Hopeless Otis/The Awful Waffles - $5/21+/9:00pm Beat the heat, not your meat!  Hang out in the cool relaxing not-humid soothing basement of Sheffield Lanes… a little place we like to call the Fallout Shelter.  Well, they called it that, so that’s why we call it that.  We didn’t name it.  Although, it is a pretty good name.  For some reason, they like us there, and keep letting us come back.  Randy just may be a little insane.  That’s OK, I think we are too.  At any rate, they have good drink … Read More

via Ernie and the Berts

Ridiculous Amount of Food Allergy Crap This Week


This week blew up on Twitter as far as food allergies.  So much went by that I wanted to promote, comment on, blog about, or whatever… but I didn’t get to any of it.  Oh well.  There are others out there… writing, educating, & commenting.  So… if you’re interested & you can keep up, here’s a run-down of stuff that you need to see:

First off, the ridiculousness with food allergy protesters in Edgewater, FL:

And, then, all the rest…

  • NY PIX 11 | FOOD ALLERGY WEEKIt was Food Allergy Awareness Week for WPIX TV 11 in New York. Awesome.  There’s a plethora of incredible content available here: NY PIX 11 | Food Allergy Week – I still haven’t made my way through all of it.  Looks like they’re covering all the angles though… form safety at restaurants and schools, to personal profiles, to cooking, to businesses helping out with allergy needs, to dealing with it mentally, to research, to legislation.  I really applaud the drive & effort… and hope other news stations across the country pick up on this!
  • Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies is out, & I finally got a copy.  Just started reading, and I hope to eventually blog a review.  Bonus: Author Sloane Miller got her own segment in the aforementioned WPIX Food Allergy Week!
  • I read this essay from Keith at the FAAN website, and was quite moved: FAAN Community | First Reaction in 14 Years.  Want to know what anaphylaxis feels like?  It’s worth reading, and shows the importance of vigilance in reading labels, education, carrying an epi pen, and staying calm.  Write to your state governor and the President with FAAN’s help, & ask them to support Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011!
  • Quiznos has a lobster sub?  Ugh.  Disgusting.  I still hate Lent.
  • The Allergy Ninja has arrived to give support to the #FoodAllergyMomArmy, and  I bet (& hope) he’s up to no good.

Am I missing something?  I feel like I’m missing something.

Oh yeah.  I need to update my links.  Have a blog that I should be linking to?  Let me know!

Cake-Baking Hooligans


Testing out this Blackbird Pie Tweet-embedder that WordPress is talking about…

Apparently all I have to do it put the tweet’s url on a line all its own, and it imports the whole thing.  Pretty snazzy.

Really though… if I rode around in the back of my Subie or in the back of the wife’s Scion (assuming the seat was down), I’m pretty sure I’d get a ticket.  Even if I had the Ark of the Covenant that we had just rescued from the infamous  secret government warehouse… I’m pretty sure I’d still get a ticket.  Yet, these people on TV get a free pass.

Not that I’m a staunch seat-belt law supporter… but it is a law now, and I wear one as it has saved me from serious injury in the past.  Maybe I’m completely off base, as this does happen in other states where they might not have click-it-or-ticket laws.  I remember riding with my cousins in the back of my dad’s GMC pickup (with a cap) from here all the way to Myrtle Beach when I was a little kid.  Nobody died, and it was actually a fun trip.

I just think it’s funny that one can do something illegal on camera, broadcast it, and face no repercussions… yet I park on the street in from of my house 1 or 2 days a year on a non-holiday weekday between certain hours or on a street-sweeping day and I get a ticket.