Tag Archives: yinzer

Non-Italian Wedding Soup Recipe


So, I have always wanted to make wedding soup, but have never tried it.  Until now.  Skip to the end if you just want the recipe and none of my shenanigans.

Wedding Soup à la AiXeLsyD13

Wedding Soup à la AiXeLsyD13

Soup Collage #4

Wedding soup recipes abound on the internet.  Some people are vehement that theirs is the “right” way.  Apparently the inclusion of pasta is a beans-in-chili-like debate.  I would guess that it depends on your region, heritage, and family traditions.  I have none of these ties.  I’m just a yinzer that likes food.  I did reach out via Facebook to see how others do it.  I wanted to try to make the soup because of the tiny pasta, I think.  I may have also made some other “controversial” decisions.

Pasta.  Even though real Italians apparently don’t include pasta in their soup, I am not Italian.  Not remotely, even.  Seriously.  My wife got me the DNA thing for my birthday a few years back and I’m apparently super English, Scottish, Welsh, & Irish with a bit of Scandinavia and the Iberian Peninsula thrown in.  I had to Google the Iberian Peninsula. So, as a Yinzer I am making a stand with pasta in the wedding soup because that’s how I have seen it.  Orzo looked too much like rice,and rice in soup is gross.  (I know, it is an entirely different consistency.  Just accept the fact that rice in soup is gross, you’re wrong if you disagree, and read on.)  I did most of my shopping at Aldi, but they had no tiny pasta… so I went to Giant Eagle and got Acini De Pepe.  I could have also easily gone with what Barilla calls Pastina (neat tiny stars!) and apparently is not even a thing or it’s a generic thing.

I chose to make the meatballs myself, because I like making meatballs.  They’re big-ass meatballs because I have poor portion control and couldn’t use the mellon-baller to effectively help reel it in, and who wants a little tiny meatball anyway?  I used beef, because cows are tasty.    I typically don’t do the lamb/veal/pork mix in any meatballs or meatloaf, so why start now?  I also opted for ground beef in lieu of chicken or turkey, because beef.  Sheep are for making blankets, not eating… unless you like eating meat that tastes like wool blankets.

Would you just look at the size of that thing?In my meatballs, I use Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian dressing & crushed seasoned croutons.  I also tossed in some extra spices (onion & garlic powder, salt, pepper, and whatever “Italian Seasoning” is), two eggs, and parmesan/romano “shake cheese.”  (Does anyone else call it that?)  I generally crush the croutons with my hands, but since I was apathetically trying to make smaller meatballs and my 3yo was my helper, I put some in a sandwich baggie and smashed to crap out of them with the shake-cheese bottle.  Why use bread crumbs when you can smash stuff?  I could totally skip the dressing & toss in whatever spices… but I tried this one time with meatballs to go with spaghetti or lasagna and we liked it, so it stuck.  We cooked them in 2 frying pans, because it seemed quick.  I like to bake meatballs sometimes too.  This really could be a 7-day damn project of soup.

meat n' veggiesA lot of wedding soup recipes call for shredded chicken.  I never really noticed it in the wedding soups I had eaten until at a recent wedding where they left the chicken in sizable chunks.  Maybe it was an accident?  I have no idea, but I liked it.  I felt like I was taking a bite of something instead of creepy little chicken strings being used as a garnish.  Also, I decided to cheat and not make stock… or I probably would have roasted then boiled the shit out of a chicken carcass and produced some shredded chicken as well as tasty stock.  I grilled the chicken in the manliest way possible outdoors over an open flame like our cavemen ancestors.  OK, I cooked it on a counter-top panini grill and attempted to give it some nice criss-crossed grill lines before letting it cool and cutting it into “cubes” with less knife skills than Stevie Wonder.  I wanted to know I was eating chicken.  I probably put some season salt on it.

MirepoixI made a mirepoix, I think.  I put some butter in the bottom of the soup pot, and heated up some finely chopped carrots, celery (stalks and some of the leafy top), onion, & a bit of parsley and the lazy-people chopped-up-already in a jar garlic.  Did those last two mess up the mirepoix?  Salt and pepper went in there too, because the Food Network says to season every step or something like that.

Then I added some random boxes of stock & broth from Aldi.  Really.  I couldn’t decide.  So, I got lowfat (that’s all they had) chicken stock, chicken broth, and low sodium chicken broth.  They were all those creepy giant juice-boxish containers that no doubt every chicken aspires to reside in someday.  I almost bought a vegetable stock, but didn’t.  How do you get vegetable stock anyway?  Isn’t that just broth?  Isn’t the difference between stock & broth the inclusion of bones?

After that, I added the meatballs and chicken and let it boil for a bit.  Maybe on like 7 or 8?  I hate when recipes say “medium-high” heat.  Give me a number, damnit.  There are numbers on my oven.  Are they there for no reason?  How long?  I don’t know.  Long enough to chop up the “fresh” spinach.

My helper.I went for the fresh spinach in a plastic box at Aldi.  I didn’t see any with the produce, didn’t catch it in frozen, and bought a can as backup just in case.  They didn’t have any endive or escarole that I noticed.  I wasn’t sure about Kale but may try that next time.  I probably could have added the canned spinach too… it could have used a bit more maybe?  Although, my meatball helper who crushed about 4 or 5 meatballs after we cooked them wasn’t a big fan of the soup itself because “big kids don’t like spinach sometimes.”  She will eat pasta, grilled chicken, carrots, and meatballs all day every day.  But the spinach was a no-go I guess.  I think I added about 4 cups of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes in there somewhere.

I added the spinach and the box of acini de pepe at the same time.  I let it go for the recommended 9 minutes.  I know I had been advised to not do it that way.  Cooking the pasta separately first then adding the rest of the soup over it in a bowl would be the level-headed thing to do.  I was ready to eat by that point though, so in it went.

It was delicious on the first run if I do say so myself.  Upon having leftovers, the acini de pepe swelled to ridiculous proportions.  Ha ha.  Next time I will cook the pasta first or only use half of a box.  Or, I will do it the same way and have wedding pasta.  Your soup means nothing to me!  My total meat and carb domination can not be culled.

Well, on to the recipe if you even made it this far:

 


Non-Italian Wedding Soup Recipe:

This is not your ordinary recipe.  I don’t measure much.  I just throw stuff into a pot, especially with meatballs and soup.  Obviously, use whatever you have on hand.  Make substitutions.  This is a recipe in the loosest sense of the word.  This is how I did it this time.  I may do it different next time.  There probably are some good details above that I neglected to mention down here.

Thanks, Alfred.

The Meatballs:

  • 3 lb. Ground beef (I think it was 80/20?)
  • Seasoned Croutons (grab your favorite)
  • Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian dressing
  • Seasonings
  • 2 eggs, beaten.
  • Parmesan/Romano “shake cheese”

One day when making meatballs, I grabbed the dressing & croutons because they were on the counter.  We were probably having salad with our spaghetti or lasagna.  It’s just breadcrumbs & oil with some seasonings in it.  I usually smash the croutons by hand, but crushed some of these with a plastic sandwich bag & the Parmesan cheese container since I was trying to make smaller(ish) meatballs.   I added some more  spices (see below) with the beaten egg, and mixed the meatballs by hand.  I used a fancy mellon-baller with an ice-cream-scoop like trigger mechanism that my mom had given me for a few of them, to measure… but they got out of hand easily and I had my 3yo helping.  So, they were probably bigger than they needed to be.  How much dressing and croutons?  Eye it.  I do.  I like meatballs that are mostly meat, not bread.

The Soup:

  • A few handsful of Carrots (I started with the baby-cut ones because the kids snack on them.)
  • Maybe ⅓ of a bunch Celery? (I chopped up the stalks & some leaves.)
  • An Onion
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Spinach – I got a box of the “fresh” stuff from Aldi.
  • Grilled & poorly diced Chicken Breasts (I did mine on the panini grill)
  • Home-Made Meatballs (…or use frozen ones from the store.)
  • 3 creepy juice-box-like broth/stock containers. I literally got 3 different kinds of chicken broth.
  • 4-sh cups water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • Minced garlic in Olive Oil (because I’m lazy & don’t want to mince my own.)
  • Butter (enough to cover the bottom of your soup pot when it melts)
  • Parmesan/Romano “shake cheese”
  • Shredded Parmesan (Aldi had a fancy little container.)
  • De Cecco Acini De Pepe

Mmm...I started out with the butter melting on the bottom of the soup pot, then added the carrots, celery, onion, & some parsley.  I sauteed that for a bit, then dumped in the 3 weird juice boxes of chicken broth/stock over top of that and brought it to a boil.  I reduced the heat a bit, and added the chicken and meatballs.  I let it get back to a boil and added some of the shredded Parmesan & Parmesan/Romano shake cheese to the broth.  I let that simmer for a bit and eventually added -ish more cups of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes.  (Maybe beef bullion would have been cool here?)  Once that boiled again, I added the pasta & spinach & boiled for another 9 minutes.  It was tasty.  I burned my tongue.  Let it cool.  Be patient.

Spices…

  • Season All
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Crushed Black Pepper
  • Sea salt
  • White Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Parsley Flakes

When I refer to seasonings or spices, it could have been any combination of these.  I just grab & shake whenever.


Please, let me know if you tried your own inspired by this one.  Let me know if you do your own a totally different way.  Let me know what I did right, or let me know what I did “wrong.”  Thanks for reading!

Boiling Soup

Check out some of my past recipes:

 

Pittsburgh to me; “Slow down.”


So this morning when trying to get to church, we had an adventure.  We cross the city to go there, because it feels like home when we do make it, and it is where I grew up going.  Generally, it’s not a bad drive on a Sunday morning.

This morning, we left a little later than we like to because… we have two small children.

I knew that there was some sort of work in the Fort Pitt Tunnel this weekend, so I decided to take the Liberty Tubes instead.  Why?  No respectful yinzer takes the posted detour, and it was going west when I wanted to go east.

No work in the tubes, or even on the Liberty Bridge… except when we got to the ramp for the Blvd. of the Allies and we couldn’t go towards Monroeville.

Up Bigelow Blvd. to Craig St. through Oakland to try to get to Forbes Ave. and get on the Parkway in Squirrel Hill, and we ran into this along the way:

Lady Pittsburgh

Lady Pittsburgh

I have no idea what this was.  She was oblivious to the world around her, happily rolling down the middle of the street on her scooter with absolutely no regard for safety or traffic laws.  She eventually got on to the sidewalk, but she was rolling along at about a ½ mile per hour when I pulled up behind her.  All I could do was start a “What the…” phrase that I couldn’t finish with children in the car and laugh.  We laughed for the rest of the ride to church, and we weren’t done with the obstacles.

Apparently, Forbes was closed off right after the CMU campus for a race today.  Out & around to the Edgewood/Swissvale on-ramp to the parkway it was.

Seriously though, I know I’m not a resident of Pittsburgh proper, but I am a resident of Allegheny County.  Can we pass some sort of local ordinance that you can’t work on or around two major through-ways to the city at the same damn time?

We got there, and were only a little bit late.  The universe was testing my patience today.  I hope I passed.

 

Parenting Tact.


I’m certainly far from a perfect parent, and I realize everyone learns on the go, but I may have found something specific to work on over the weekend.

The wife and I have always said from the time the first one was in the womb that we would strive to answer questions with real answers, no baby talk, and to not unnecessarily dumb things down.  Certainly some situations call for a simplified answer, but we feel no reason to squash an inquisitive nature with short answers.

You may know I can be a little sarcasic and opnionated.  You may know that two-and-a-half year olds are great with absorb > imitate > repeat.

So, it may have not been my best moment when I provided an answer to a perfectly innocent question that was probably tinged a little too heavily with personal opinion and social commentary.

We were sitting in unusually heavy traffic headed into the Liberty tubes when my daughter asked her 493rd question for the car ride; “What’s that… what’s that white thing hanging from that lady’s mouth?” (She’s got a pretty damn good vocabulary for a 2yo if I do say so myself.)

My answer was “That’s a cigarette, she’s white trash.”  Immidately I got the “Eric!” along with an arm smack from the wife.

I did follow it up with an “Oh, that’s not nice.  I’m sorry.  We shouldn’t call people things like that, but cigarettes are bad for you.  Daddy doesn’t like them.  People are silly for smoking, it makes them sick.”

I find it hard to temper my opinions on such things.  Look, smoking is fine if you’re an adult and make your own decisions and are curteous of where you choose to partake.  I just have my own reasons for not being a fan and I never once needed the “don’t smoke” presentations in elementary school or Jr. High health class.

I want both of my kids to eventually make their own informed decisions about things.  I get that it’s part of my deal to help inform them.  They’ll get my opinions over time, no doubt.  I don’t want my opinions to be forced on to them, or so strong that they get a case of “wow, dad’s an asshole.” 

I just need to pace myself.  Temper the quick observation and judgement.  I’m still learning.

∞ Magical Musical Split? @Dethlehem & @TheBloodySeamen should do this…


Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power

Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power – This could be the cover, because… Why not?

OK, so if I had Oprah money and Dick Cheney power, and could treat other human beings like my own personal play things…  I would commission two local Pittsburgh metal bands to do an epic cover split.  Do bands that aren’t punk bands do splits?  Well, they will if they’re my playthings.

I’d want Dethlehem to cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (with the original “Walpurgis” lyrics of course), and The Bloody Seamen to cover the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'” (which music nerds know features another Sabbath riff from “Sweet Leaf”).

Why?  Why not?  I love obscure and nonsensical covers.  I like these bands.  They would probably not want any part of this.  I mean, guys in bands LOVE it when you go up to them and spew out “You know what song you guys should cover?” then ramble off dumb ideas like this.

Witches gather at black masses
Bodies burning in red ashes
On the hill the church in ruin
Is the scene of evil doings
It’s a place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh Lord yeah

Carry banners which denounce the lord
See me rocking in my grave
See them anoint my head with dead rat’s blood
See them stick the stake through me
Oh

Don’t hold me back cause I’ve just gotta go
They’ve got a hold of my soul now
Lords got my brain instinct with blood obscene
Look in my eyes I’m there enough
Yeah

On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It’s the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh lord yeah

Because Mutiny on the Bounty’s what we’re all about
I’m gonna board your ship and turn it on out
No soft sucker with a parrot on his shoulder
‘Cause I’m bad gettin’ bolder, cold cold gettin’ colder

Terrorizin’ suckers on the seven seas
And if you’ve got beef, you get capped in the knees
We got sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
And I shot those suckers and I’ll shoot the rest

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Shh! Snatchin’ gold chains, vikin’ pieces of eight
I got your money and your honey and the fly name plate
We got wenches on the benches and bitties with titties
Housin’ all girlies from city to city

One for all and all for one
Takin’ out MC’s with a big shotgun
All for one and one for all
Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L

Friggin’ in the riggin’, man, cuttin’ your throat
Big bitin’ suckers gettin’ thrown in the moat
We got maidens and wenches, man they’re on the ace
Captain Bligh’s gonna die when we break his face

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Torchin’ and crackin’ and rhymin’ and stealin’
Robbin’ and rapin’, bustin’ two in the ceilin’
I’m wheelin’, I’m dealin’, I’m drinkin’, not thinkin’
Never cower, never shower and I’m always stinkin’

Yo ho ho and a pint of Brass Monkey
And when my girlie shakes her hips she sure gets funky
Skirt chasin’, free basin’, killin’ every village
We drink and rob and rhyme and pillage

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

I was drinkin’ my rum, a deaf son of a gun
I fought the law and I cold won
Black Beard’s weak, Moby Dick’s on the tick
‘Cause I pull out the jammy and I squeeze off six

My pistol is loaded, I shot Betty Crocker
Deliver Colonel Sanders down to Davey Jones’ locker
Rhymin’ and stealin’ in a drunken state
And I’ll be rockin’ my rhymes all the way to hell’s gate

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most chillinest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most killingest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most dustin’ out b-boy, I’m tossin’ my dust
Most finkinest b-boy, I’m doin’ that finkin’
Most rhyminest b-boy, I’m stretchin’ my shade
Most shootinest b-boy, I think you’re shit

Most rhyminest b-boy, I’ll steal your shit homeboy
Most taxinest b-boy, I’ll tax you boy
Most illingest illingest illingest b-boy
Taxin’ all y’all squares, yeah!

Maybe change “b-boy” to “pirate” or something?  Bandit?  Looter?  Outlaw?  Maybe the line “Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L” to “‘Cause the Bloody Seamen have gone A.W.O.L”?  I’d pee my pants if I heard you all rapping.

So what would it take, guys?  Can we get a Kickstarter going, or what?

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen

Dethlehem

Dethlehem

Decoding the car horn honk. (So, can you help this PA n00b out?) #beep ⚠


Recently, I was contacted by a non-native PA resident as a sort of last ditch effort in providing an answer behind the reason to the local-ish custom of horn honking.  I believe a Google led to my blog on horn honking traffic trolls (or maybe one of many road rage posts).  As much as I’d like to proclaim myself an authority on all things ridiculous in Southwestern & Central PA, I must confess that I’d only be guessing here.  So, I’d like to ask you to help this southern transplant understand the ways of us nothern-ish-ers here in Pennsyltucky.

Here’s the email:

Name: Victoria

Email: XXXX####@gmail.com

Website: http://victoriasviewpoint.wordpress.com

Message / Comment:

Hi,

I really hope you can help me, and answer my question before I either lose my mind, or go running out into the street to flag down a driver and ask him/her.

A bit of background: I moved to Central PA 5 years ago from Memphis, TN.  It’s a very long and stupid story but, suffice to say, I am stuck in Hollidaysburg for now.  It’s not a bad little town.  And, compared to Memphis, it’s safety personified.

Anyway, I have noticed over the years that people honk their horns here.  A lot.  And not (seemingly) to acknowledge a friend they see on the street, as I have noticed this happen when there is NO one on the street (my street, in particular).

It always bugged me, and no one seemed to know why people do this (or it’s a stupid reason and they are ashamed to tell me), but today I really got in a snit.

From around 2:30 this afternoon for a good 5 minutes, people were honking their horns.  A lot of people, honking a lot of horns.  It annoyed me.

I looked on the internet, which is where I found your blog about horn-honking, and since you are in Pittsburgh, I thought you might be able to explain to me what in hell is with all this honking!  I didn’t see anything on the internet that it’s, say, “Hollidaysburg Annual Honk-Your-Horn Day” at 2:30 PM or anything.

It’s snowing a bit, the first time this season.  Is this some kind of weird weather ritual I never noticed until today?  “Honk if you like snow”?

To me, it just seemed like an exaggerated example of something I hear on an all-too-often basis.  And it’s, as we say in Memphis, getting on my last nerve!

Do you know what’s going on with this behavior??

Thank you in advance,
Victoria

How’d you find my blog?: searching for “Pennsylvania horn honking”

Time: November 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
IP Address: ##.###.###.#
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by a verified WordPress.com user.

And here are my thoughts:

Other than that, I’m stuck.  What say you, people of Pennsylvania?  Please comment below.  Victoria and I would appreciate it!

DON'T HONK | $350 PENALTY 🚌🚍🚙🚘🚗🚕🚖🚛🚚🚓🚔🚒🚑🚐

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

Seriously; I’m not McDonald’s, but I will try to help.


It’s happening again.  Someone thinks I’m McDonald’s and that my website is printed on McDonald’s receipts.  This is the message that was in my inbox on Friday night:

From: Jay Culp <culp915@comcast.net>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 8:45 PM
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback

Name: Jay Culp
Email: culp915@comcast.net
Website: http://google
Message / Comment: I was up mcdonalds on walnut street in mckeesport bout 2 months ago they messed up my whole order i called up there took my name address was suppose to seed me coupons bout never got them order 2 big mac got big macs w tomatoes and order 4 mcchichens w kep only they had everything on them was just wondering how long i got to wait for my coupons.
How’d you find my blog?: on recreipt

Time: Friday July 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm
IP Address: ##.##.###.###
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

I wrote back with this:

From: Waldo Lunar world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: Mon, Jul 30, 2012
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback
To: culp915@comcast.net

Hello Jay,

Sadly… I am not McDonald’s.  Well, sadly for you & many others… not so sadly for me.  Although, I would perhaps enjoy the salary of a sole McDonald’s executive let alone the company as a whole. Although, if you own Google like the website field suggests, you know what I mean, my friend.  You could by and sell my economically-challenged ass.

I guess though, that you apparently used Google to find my website.  Thisperplexes me though, and has on multiple occasions:

How’d you find my blog?: on recreipt”

I’m pretty sure that no area McDonald’s locations print my website address on their receipts.  If they do, they need to pay me for customer service services rendered.  After all, I do reply until the situation is resolved (on my end anyway).

I’m guessing that a manager’s email address (not a website) was printed on your receipt.  I’m guessing you Googled that email address and it brought you to my site because that address or a similar one appears on my blog.

As a general rule of thumb… if it contains the “@” symbol, it’s an email address.  A lot of websites are preceded by “http://&#8221; or “www.” but not always.  A website would end in “.com”, “.net”, .”org”, or something similar & would not contain any “@” symbols.

Entering either a website or an email address into Google will search for that website or email address.  If you’d like to go directly to the website, enter that into the address bar of your favorite web browswer.  If you’d like to email someone, enter their address in the “To:” filed of Outlook, other mail client, or in your webmail… however you choose to access email.

If you can reply to me with the exact text written on your receipt, I will be glad to write to McDonald’s on your behalf.  I have experienced some success in dealing with fast food companies & getting coupons or other free stuff.  We, the little people, must band together against such mega-corporations who want nothing more than to take our money and treat us like the cattle they serve.

Certainly two months is a reasonable time in which to receive coupons as an apology to poor service.  Your order seems reasonable… although correct me if I’m wrong but McChicken sandwiches don’t normally have ketchup and Big Macs don’t normally have tomatoes.  It’s an interesting flavor palette you bring forth.  I may have to try it.  Ever have a McChicken with the sweet & sour nugget sauce?  That is fantastic.  It’s even better at Wendy’s with their chicken sandwich & sweet & sour sauce.  And, if you’re not swept up in the current Chick-fil-A controversy, I’d go for their sandwich with the honey mustard sauce.  Some older crazy lady always tries to push the Chick-fil-A Sauce on me, but she’s nuts… the Honey Mustard is far superior.  Also, I still miss the Arch Deluxe… especially when it had round bacon… not Canadian bacon, but round normal American bacon… with black pepper.  That sandwich was the work of a genius.

I haven’t been to McKeesport in quite a while.  I was at a recording studio there years ago and someone’s car got broken into while we were all inside rocking out.  I had a drink or two at the Elbow Room that was across the street.  Funny name… although inside it had a nautical theme… which didn’t seem to fit the name.  I guess elbows everywhere would have been creepy.

I’m sorry, I seem to get off track easily.  I’m guessing you didn’t take the tiem to read my blog when you landed there after your Google search.  Instead, you went directly to the “Contact” page.  I like that.  I see you’re all business.  The title World (and Lunar) Domination at the top didn’t even deter you.

You might want to check out these blog posts though…

I can’t really offer up anything else as proof that ⓐ I’m not Mcdonald’s and ⓑ My website isn’t on the receipt.

I seriously would like to help out though, if I can.  If you could reply with a photo or scan of the receipt, or simply just type the address/phone/email address in the reply, I’ll write to them on your behalf… Cc:ing you and keeping you in the loop.  I tried to help Jane, but never heard if that situation was resolved.  Some people are just ungrateful for assistance, I guess.

I hope this message finds you well, and that you have a good day, my friend.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Excelsior!

Waldo Lunar
Professional Customer Service Liaison, Esq.
W(aL)D

P.S. – Ever want to “Crop-Dust” at a restaurant when people are being exceptionally rude?

A McDonald's McChicken sandwich.

A McDonald’s McChicken sandwich. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder if I’ll get a reply?  I’d love it if this guy actually wants my help and provides a valid email address to someone at the McKessport McDonald’s.  How do you think they’d respond to a 3rd party?  They never did thank me for helping to get that one fryer-cleaner company paid.

Looks like you can actually contact the McKeesport McDonald’s via Webform: http://www.mcpennsylvania.com/2842/contact/manager/

But, how fun is that?  None at all, I say.

Really though, “I was up McDonald’s…” How Yinzer is that?  Fantastic.  Let’s hope that this isn’t another fake message, and that Mr. Culp writes back.

The Arch Deluxe composition from an advertisement

The Arch Deluxe composition from an advertisement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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)