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)

Tunnel Monster ☠ Artist Renderings


So, I had some Tunnel Monster submissions, but I’d like some more.  These hail from Josh, Joel, & Ian. Thanks to those guys for being awesome and taking the time to create these artist renderings.  These men are true believers in the Tunnel Monster.

No replies from anyone at History or Discovery either.  Poo, I say.  Poo.  Poo indeed.

Get on it, people!  We need more!  Aren’t you curious as to what the Tunnel Monster may look like?  No one put a Sarlacc in a tunnel hole?  I find your lack of participation disturbing.

Not submissions, but fun recommendations from Zemanta…

Tunnel monster.jpg

Tunnel monster.jpg (Photo credit: Oyvind Solstad)

monster in the tunnel

monster in the tunnel (Photo credit: danielle_blue)

The Special Edition version of the sarlacc wit...

Image via Wikipedia

Biliruben Is the Secret


Well, someone at the Penn State Food Science department has a sense of humor.  Ha ha ha.  Have you followed my attempt to contact Galliker’s, the Yahoo! Answers question, posing the question to Turner’s, and Turner’s final suggestion?  OK, then you’re caught up… and you can read this.  I emailed the following to a bunch of people there, and as of yet have only received one reply.  Here’s the email:

from: ERiC AiXeLsyD  <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to: foodsci@psu.edu
cc: ca3@psu.edu, xd11@psu.edu, jdf10@psu.edu, tsd3@psu.edu, sep14@psu.edu, jmw5@psu.edu, jxc16@psu.edu, moconnor@psu.edu, emills@psu.edu
date: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 11:03 PM
subject: Blue + Brown = …Green?
mailed-by: gmail.com

Salutations Savvy Sustenance Science Scholar Staff!

I write to you today with something that has had me perplexed for quite a while.  It was recently suggested to me that you would be the the ones with the most knowledge and best skill set to deal with my query.  I of course, thought that this was a splendid idea… which is why I’m (obviously I guess) writing to you now.

Do you like “blue flavored” drinks and Popsicles?  I do.  I enjoy them quite a lot, actually.  Whether it’s the seemingly fictional blue raspberry, some sort of punch, Faygo’s Jazzin’ Blues Berry, or “Bug Juice”… I just seem to gravitate to blue colored drinks.  As of late, I’ve noticed an interesting side-effect of said blue flavored drink consumption:  For some reason, it tends to turn my feces a quite disturbing shade of green.

First, I wrote to Gallagher’s and my missive went unanswered.  Perhaps they did not find the humor in my inquiry.  Perhaps they were upset that I mentioned rival dairy, Turner’s, as having a better Iced Tea.  Perhaps they were offended that I offered to provide photos as evidence of my brightly-hued chartreuse bowel movement upon request.

Second, I posted a question to the Yahoo! Answers community, and wasn’t exactly satisfied with the answer.  I understand the general concept that what you eat determines the contents of your waste, but want a deeper explanation.  Why does the blue dye turn out so green?  Why doesn’t it come out blue?  What is going on in there?  What exactly isn’t digesting?  Does that much blue dye really need to be there?  Are my insides dyed blue or green after it comes out?  Is it harmful?  Are my intestines playing some sort of practical joke on my eyes?

In a tertiary attempt to unravel the mystery at hand, I contacted the good people at Turner Dairy Farms, and was met with a couple of responses, each unfortunately unable to answer my original question… but courteous and accommodating nonetheless.  It was a Mr. Yon & his Quality Control Manager at Turner’s who directed my attention to your esteemed department as the group that would successfully be able to provide a satisfactory explanation of the process behind the green from my behind.

I would really appreciate any insight that you may have on the situation.  Have studies been done about this phenomenon?  Has anyone ever asked you about such things before?  I have so many questions, and you’re the  education experts!  I really appreciate your taking the time to read my email, and thank you in advance for your assistance!

The Emerald Excreter,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

Perhaps it was too goofy for all the other stuffy scientists?  Maybe they’re scared of the Emerald Excreter!

At any rate, I got an amusing an informative answer (finally):

from: EDWARD MILLS <ewm3@psu.edu>
to: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 2:07 PM
subject: Re: Blue + Brown = …Green?
mailed-by: psu.edu

Eric,
Interesting question with possibly a very simple explanation.  The human eye sees green when blue and yellow light are reflected simultaneously from a surface.  Blue food dye reflects blue light.  Find a yellow dye to go with it and you could account for the observed green.

I would speculate that the blue food dye is passing through your GIT largely unchanged and is not absorbed across the gut wall. One of the more common pigments of normal stool in biliruben a yellow pigment (derived from hemoglobin or myoglobin breakdown).  Put the two together and the resulting stool might appear green.

Have a great day!
Ed Mills
814-865-2394

Win!  I did have a great day Mr. Mills, thanks to your easy to understand explanation.  Finally, the great mystery is solved!

No Prior Knowledge


Following the green poop issue that went from the terribly unfunny Galliker’s to Yahoo! Answers to Turner’s Dairy?  Well, if so, I have an answer and a suggestion from our new friend Nicholas and his Quality Control Director…

from Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@turnerdairy.net>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Wed, Aug 11, 2010
subject RE: Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?

Eric-

Unfortunately, our Quality Control Director has no prior knowledge of your coloration situation and could not find any further information beyond if the body cannot digest or absorb something it will pass through the body possibly causing a color change.  He indicated that you may want to contact the Penn State Food Science Department.  Thanks again, sorry I could not be of more assistance.

P.S. Yes I get to drive the TeaBird from time to time.  I haven’t had it out this summer yet though.

Nicholas

I think I have to write to Penn State Food Science Department now.  I wonder if they have a sense of humor?

Turner’s is much more awesome than Galliker’s. I’m just sayin’.


Not only does Turner’s produce better Iced Tea, but they’re infinitely more awesome as a company.  As evidence, I give you the following email exchange.  You might want to catch up by reading my previous exchange with Turner’s and an attempted exchange with Galliker’s.

From me to Turner’s:

from ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to Nicholas@turnerdairy.net
date Wed, Aug 4, 2010
subject Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?
mailed-by gmail.com

hide details Aug 4 (2 days ago)

Hello Titans of Tea!

Recently I wrote to Galliker’s about their Blue Raspberry Drink, and I happened to mention Turner’s Dairy.  They as of yet have not written me back.  Perhaps they were upset that I mentioned that your tea is superior and that you have a cool Tea-bird while they do not?  You can see the full email below.

At any rate, I’ve decided to stop consuming any Galliker’s products… even though I usually have to go out of my way to get Turner’s products.  (I wish more Giant Eagle stores would carry your stuff!)

The only foreseeable problem is that I like their Blue Raspberry flavored drink.  Do you guys have anything comparable?  If so, know where I can get it in Bridgeville, Heidelberg, or anywhere in the South Hills?

Also… the main point of the email below is the odd coloration after the blue dye consumption.  Do you have anything that’s a color that may balance it out?  Science is fun!  Do you guys have food scientists in your employ?  Perhaps this would be something for them to tackle.

Thank you for your time, and have a great day!

Make mine Turner’s,
-Eric

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 26, 2010
Subject: Blue Raspberry Drink & interesting side-effects?
To: info@gallikers.com
Cc: stangeletti@gallikers.com

Hello Mighty Milk Moguls,

I’m writing today to tell you how much I enjoy your Blue Raspberry drink.  Man, it’s flavorful and gives me quite the sugar rush!  I do enjoy Galliker’s milk and juices, although your iced tea isn’t quite as good as Turner’s.  Your lime drink is also stellar… but typically we go for the blue.  I was wondering why you don’t have them all pictured/listed somewhere on the website when I looked to find a way to contact you.  It’s good to show everyone what you’ve got!  Turner Dairy has a photo of all of their products on their website, along with nutritional information.  I do enjoy the allergen information on the “Learn More” section of your site though… it’s something I take quite seriously as a person who suffers from a severe shellfish allergy.

The main reason that I’m writing to you today is to ask… why does your Blue Raspberry drink turn my poop into an odd shade of green?  It’s quite a disturbing site until I realize that I drank some of your juice in the last 24 hours or so.  Perhaps you ought to put a warning on the label?  I’d love to know the science behind it.  If you need photos, I can send them upon request.

Thank you for your time, and thanks in advance for the reply.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

It’s not easy being green,
-Eric

P.S. – Turner’s has a Tea-Bird, do you guys have the Galliker’s Gremlin or something cool like that?

Ridiculous, but after getting nothing from Galliker’s and pretty much a “you’re goofy” from the Yahoo! Answers community…  Why not? Well, it paid off. Nicholas  form Turner’s wrote back!

from Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@turnerdairy.net>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Wed, Aug 4, 2010
subject RE: Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?

Eric-

Thank you for the email and kind words.  I hope the Brentwood Giant Eagle is still providing you with a viable (albeit it a somewhat far drive) option for procuring our Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk.  We do produce a “Blue Bug Juice” product which is a blue raspberry flavored beverage (picture attached).  Listed below is a location in Bridgeville that regularly carries said product as well as a number of additional Turner’s products.  As far as the blue coloration, I’ve forwarded your email to our Quality Control Director for his insight.  He’s on vacation this week and part of next so an answer will be forthcoming but may not be for a few weeks.  He may need to discuss this with some colleagues.  Thank you again for the email and for making our higher standard yours!  Have a great afternoon.

7-11 Bridgeville
850 Boyce Road
Bridgeville, PA

Nicholas Yon
Marketing Director
Turner Dairy Farms, Inc.

From Local Farms to Local Families!

The attached picture:

Blue Bug Thirs-T

Tuner's | Blue Bug Juice

I’m easily wowed by shiny things like pictures.  Pretty neat!  I’m going to have to pick up some of this bug juice.  I hope it’s made from real bugs!  (I’d love to… but can’t bring myself to write & ask that at this point.)

And… it’s awesome that this guy remembered me form before… because I totally sent the other email from my “real” email address… not this W(aL)D one.  Granted, it’s a thinly veiled alias, but dude had to be paying attention.  Kudos for that!  Ha ha ha.

I wrote back to them, of course…

from ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@turnerdairy.net>
date Fri, Aug 6, 2010
subject Re: Galliker’s vs. Turner’s?
mailed-by gmail.com

hide details 3:05 PM (54 minutes ago)

Thank you, Nicholas, for your quick and informative reply!

I will definitely be on the lookout for Blue Bug Juice!  when I was young and went to camp, we always called the drink “bug juice”.  Good times!  I like the product by name alone.  Ha ha ha.  I can swing through Bridgeville on my way home from work.  Thanks for the attached picture!

The Brentwood Giant Eagle is a great place for me to get Charlie’s Old Fasioned Buttermilk when the craving hits.  Plus, I can use going down that way as an excuse to eat at the Brentwood Express Rowdy BBQ stand.  Ever been there?  It’s ridiculously awesome barbecue.

I really look forward to hearing from your Quality Control Director.  I mean, I can make a guess as to the reason for my query, but I’d like an expert opinion.  An answer from a committee of his peers would even be better!

I find it hilarious that your “esteemed” competition obviously has no sense of humor as a company.  It must be boring to go through life with no appreciation for anything amusing.

I just need to make it a point to stop at Rite Aid more often to get my Turner’s iced tea fix… although I wish they’d carry a larger selection of products like the juices & lime tea.

Have a pleasant weekend!

-Eric

P.S. – Do you ever get to drive the Tea-Bird?  That would make for an exciting weekend!

Hopefully I’ll hear something from this mysterious Quality Control Director and his esteemed panel of colleagues.

Blue+Brown=Green?


I wrote to Galliker’s to ask a silly question about their Blue Raspberry drink.  Apparently they weren’t amused.  Maybe it was all the Turner’s references.  Maybe it was the offer of photos?  I guess I’ll never know exactly where the line was crossed.

I couldn’t let the email go unseen or unanswered, so I turned to the Yahoo! Answers community.

Here’s the original email:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD  world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: Mon, Jul 26, 2010
Subject: Blue Raspberry Drink & interesting side-effects?
To: info@gallikers.com
Cc: stangeletti@gallikers.com

Hello Mighty Milk Moguls,

I’m writing today to tell you how much I enjoy your Blue Raspberry drink. Man, it’s flavorful and gives me quite the sugar rush! I do enjoy Galliker’s milk and juices, although your iced tea isn’t quite as good as Turner’s. Your lime drink is also stellar… but typically we go for the blue. I was wondering why you don’t have them all pictured/listed somewhere on the website when I looked to find a way to contact you. It’s good to show everyone what you’ve got! Turner Dairy has a photo of all of their products on their website, along with nutritional information. I do enjoy the allergen information on the “Learn More” section of your site though… it’s something I take quite seriously as a person who suffers from a severe shellfish allergy.

The main reason that I’m writing to you today is to ask… why does your Blue Raspberry drink turn my poop into an odd shade of green? It’s quite a disturbing site until I realize that I drank some of your juice in the last 24 hours or so. Perhaps you ought to put a warning on the label? I’d love to know the science behind it. If you need photos, I can send them upon request.

Thank you for your time, and thanks in advance for the reply. I can’t wait to hear from you!

It’s not easy being green,
-Eric

P.S. – Turner’s has a Tea-Bird, do you guys have the Galliker’s Gremlin or something cool like that?

And, here’s the link to Yahoo! Answers: How does blue + brown = green?

Some people sure are wound tightly.  I did get an honest genuine answer though, thanks to a Salt and Peppy.  Of course, Dave was also there to encourage.

Also… if you search “Galliker’s Blue Raspberry” in Googlemy question is the first thing to pop up.  That’s before the Galliker’s web page.

Google Search: Galliker's Blue Raspberry

Google Search: Galliker's Blue Raspberry

I win.

Top 10 Bathroom Reads (Listverse)


Ha, I have #1 on this list from Listverse Top 10 Bathroom Reads

It’s quite interesting & hilarious.  Here’s an excerpt…

Ring of Fire Poo [What's Your Poo Telling You?]

I’m gonna have to pick up #8, or ask the wife to get it for me for Christmas or my Birthday… ha ha ha.  I love it based on it’s tag-line… “How America is Shaped by its Grossest National Product” — Genius!

I am disappointed however, that the standard by which all bathroom-reading material should be held was sadly absent form the list.  What about Uncle John?  I have nearly all of their books, and can’t wait until the new ones come out!  I was even recently duped into buying an Armchair Reader instead of the Bathroom Reader that was not by Uncle John or the BRI.  They’re not written nearly as well, nor are they as informative… yet the covers look eerily similar.

By the way, with all this talk of poop… watch out for El Caganer this year!