What did I accomplish in 2015?

The Internet of Things


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, January 16th, 2015



Sensitivites Are Eroding Our Freedom Of Speech


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, February 7th, 2015



George Ferris: A Life of Ups and Downs


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, February 14th, 2015



Pittsburgh Ties to Oscar Run Deep


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, February 21st, 2015



Death of the Art Museum


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, February 23rd, 2015



No Burgh Bias Here


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, March 22nd, 2015




Don’t Think of Fake News as a Modern Invention


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, March 31st, 2015




May 4th, Star Wars Day Builds Excitement for New Movie


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 4th, 2015





Archives Detail Pittsburghers who Sailed on the Lusitania


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 6th, 2015




Cartooning Stupidity Deep in the Heart of Texas


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 9th 2015




Pittsburgh Has A Big Butt Problem


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, June 6th, 2015





Yinzer Night Before Chrismis


Pittsburgh Tribune Review, December 19th, 2015








The Consumer Electronics Show 2015

January 13th, 2015



Film Censorship in Pittsburgh: A History

January 23rd, 2015



Have We Lost the Ability to Appreciate Art Museums?

February 2th, 2015



Pittsburgh’s Oscar Ties

February 20th, 2015



Remembering Mr. Spock

March 2nd, 2015


(Begins at 41:00)


The World’s Greatest Liar

April 1st, 2015


(Starts at 34:20)


Launch of MazeToons

May 4th, 2015


(Begins at 39:22)


The Three Little Pigsburghers Book

June 30th, 2015


(Starts at 38:46)



The Unforgettable Trial of Harry K. Thaw

August 20th, 2015




A Century of Steel City Cinema

October 5th, 2015



Communicating Black and Gold to the Red Planet

October 15th, 2015




The Legacy of Magician Harry Albacker

November 2nd, 2015




Peanuts Legacy Continues

November 17th, 2015



The Force is Strong With This Franchise

December 17th, 2015



The Yinzer Night Before Chrismis

December 18th, 2015



A Yinzer Night Before Chrismis

A Yinzer Night Before Chrismis

(a tradisshunle hawiday pome)

adapted and translated into Pittsburghese by Joe Wos


Twas the night before Chrismis and all through dahtahn

not a creature was stirrin, weren’t no one arahn!

The stockings needed hung by the chimley with care,

ahnachanta Saint Nicklas soon would be there.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

while visions of progis raced in their heads,

and mawm in her babushka and me in my hat,

had just settled dahn for a long winner n’at;


when ahtside I heard a noise on the lawn,

I sprung from my bed to see whawas goin on.

To the baffroom window I flew like a flash,

tore open the shudders and threw up the sash.

My neckstore neighbor was aht with his cat,

I shahted at him- “quit bein nebby n’at.”


When what to my ooglin’ eyes I seen there,

but a miniature sleigh, moving my parking chair!

With a little old driver and a toy filled bag,

I knew in a moment it that he weren’t no jag.


More rapid than the Penguins his reindeer came,

and he whistled and shahted and called them by name:

Now dawny! Now Rawny! Now Prancer and Vixen!

On Cawmet! On cupid! On, Dahnder and Blitzen!

To the top of the stoop, to the top of the wall,

now dash away, dash away, dash away all!


Like a football thrown by Rothelsberger flies

off into the distance and up to the skies.

So up to the ruff the reindeers they flew,

with the buggy full of toys and Saint Nicklas too!


And then, a racket, I heard on the ruff

the prancin and stompin of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning arahn,

downa chimley Saint Nicklas came with a bahn!


He was dressed in black and gold

from his head to his foot,

And his clodhoppers were tarnished

with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had brung in his sack,

he was round and jolly, like Rick Sebak!


His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry,

His nose round and red, like a fresh farkleberry.

His face lit up with a bew-d-ful smahl,

And the beard of his chin waved

like a Terrible Tahl.


He smoked like a still mill with a pipe in his teef,

And the smoke circled his head, arahn like a wreef.

He had a broad face and a jigunda belly,

That shook when he laft like a bowlful of jelly!


He was chubby n’at, a rill jolly old elf

And I laft when I saw him, in spite a myself.

A wink of his eye and a fluff of his beard

Soon let me to know, I need not be askirred.


He dittint say nuffin, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And beside his nose he placed his thumb,

And just lie-gat, up the chimley he clum!


He sprung to the ruuf and flew off in his sleigh,

I hollered aht to him “Don’t take the parkway!”

And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

Happy Chrismis to yinz, and to yinz …Go Stillers!



You can hear the story read online at http://wesa.fm/post/sights-and-sounds-pittsburgh-holiday-traditions

Visit www.pigsburgh.com for The Three Little Pigsburghers,

The story of the Three Little Pigs as told in Pittsburghese.

Best of Burghosphere Bloggers: Steel City Intrigue

Web Banner Best of

Steel City Intrigue: a novel approach to blogging

I have been writing for local newspapers, blogs, comics and so forth for a few years now. Writing comes pretty naturally to me. It is just my rambling, blathering, rants typed out instead of shouting these things on a street corner. If I did share my musings via a soapbox and not a blog I would rightfully be locked up. This is my way of saying I am a writer and all writers are one street corner rant from ending up on a Secret Service list somewhere.

So it is appropriate that one of Pittsburgh’s brightest bloggers, J.J. Hensley is himself a former Special Agent with the Secret Service. You might be expecting his blog to be filled with pieces on the inner workings of the Illuminati, government cover-ups about UFOs, and the well-guarded secret Coca Cola formula. Alas he doesn’t tackle any of these great mysteries. He instead explores a much deeper one- How to write a novel.

While he does sometimes delve into the topics of security and strangely Playdoh, his posts on the writing process really standout. I view writing a novel like I view building a bridge. I am pretty sure I know how to do it, but really have no idea where you start? -Either end? The middle? Do you build it first and then haul it into place? No idea.

J.J., who is an award-winning mystery writer, takes the mystery out of writing. His posts are informative and entertaining. After reading his posts you feel empowered with the ability to write rather than rant on a street corner. While he may not teach you how to build a bridge he will teach you how to bridge the gap between day-to-day writing and writing a novel.

I am almost out of literary puns so I will end with declaring him the winner of “The Most NOVEL Blog” award. See what I did there.

You can read his blog at https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com

See more award winning blogs at http://mostwantedfineart.com/2014-events-at-mwfa/best-of-the-burghosphere-2015/

The amazing Harry Albacker and the great paint hoax!

Pittsburgh's great Harry Albacker!
There are so many great stories about Harry Albacker. The Pittsburgh papers would regularly print quotes from him. For decade he toured performing at nigGinger Leehtclubs. He was well known among other performers.  He was a charming man with a gift for hocus pocus! He once had a fling with an exotic dancer named Ginger Lee. He even enticed her into visiting Pittsburgh, the city he loved. He once said “the world is my stage, but Pittsburgh is my home.” 

He was a natural born showman. He once claimed to be P.T. Barnum reincarnated, he said the same of Houdini. He claimed to have been born the day Houdini died, a story he manufactured to add to the illusion of his life on stage.

He was known for handing out the rabbits he used in his shows, he once gave a rabbit to Caroline Kennedy on her birthday. The rabbit had a taste for beer, and could supposedly play the trumpet, according to Harry. The rabbit was removed from the White House and donated to the Washington Zoo, apparently drunken rabbits were not considered a proper pet for a the young daughter of JFK.


Of his many pets over the years several of them made headlines. His guinea pig escaped during a visit in North Carolina. When he was found six days later he was flown back to Pittsburgh. A thief caught a nasty surprise when he stole Harry’s suitcase and discovered a sixty pound python. His rooster Big Daddy wandered off, Donald the duck flew away, and many rabbits vanished. Luckily they always seemed to make more rabbits.

A story that gained national attention was the escape of his flea circus. The tale alleges that he dropped the tin holding them while visiting Ohio. Eva the weightlifter, Magda the shimmy dancer, and Zsa-Zsa the ringmaster all escaped. He called the local dog pound to see if his fleas turned up on one of their dogs. It was of course a bit of brilliant bunk. (Flea circuses don’t actually use fleas. It’s all a mechanized illusion using magnets.)

He “gave up magic” in 1949 when he discovered a formula for polka dot paint. News spread throughout the United States of his “discovery.” He rented the parlor at the Fort Pitt Hotel and invited the press and representatives of the paint industry.

He demonstrated his remarkable paint and the audience was stunned! It was of course an illusion but newspapers ran the story and soon stores where getting calls asking how they could buy the polka dotted paint. It was of course just another of his magic tricks.

The papers got back at him when they ran the story of Harry getting locked out of his dressing room! He’s no Houdini they declared.

When the work at nightclubs dried up Harry began to take work performing for children. At first he thought it would be degrading, but he soon fell in love with the crowds. He would entertain Pittsburgh children for decades at festivals, libraries and on TV. He became a Pittsburgh icon.

Harry passed away while performing on stage at Pittsburgh senior citizens center in 1994.

It was a heck of an exit for a great showman!

Pittsburgh’s First Automobile

Pittsburgh's first car
Pittsburgh’s first car

Joseph F. Haller was an inventor who held several patents. His inventions included a fruit washing machine, an automated bottle washer and other mass production machines for the bottling industry.  He had worked for Heinz for several years designing improvements to the manufacturing process.

He began inventing when he was just 14 years old when he built his own bicycle. In the early 1900’s he began tinkering with an idea for a “horseless carriage”. While his design was not the first, it was the first in Pittsburgh, and one of the earliest, predating Henry Ford’s first vehicle design by 3 years.

When Haller drove into downtown Pittsburgh he was met with howls of laughter. His own father thought it was a worthless contraption and would never replace horse and wagons.

In 1896 the car tipped over onto the newly laid out Beechwood Blvd, causing one of the first automobile accident in US History. Luckily no other cars were involved in the accident…because there weren’t any.

He passed away in 1944 and is buried in St. Martin’s Cemetery in Pittsburgh.