Waking to sunshine pouring through my windows this morning, I thought, "it sucks to be under the weather when the weather is so nice!" Sunny days are rare in Pittsburgh, so rare in fact that the actual number is a matter of some debate - is it 59 or 145? Having lived in California and Italy, and even Cuba (across the span of 20+ trips to that Pearl of the Antilles), neither 59 nor 145 is enough sun for this son of ancestors who surely must have had Aztec-roots. Of all the places I've been, were I free to choose and the conditions ideal, it would be Cuba to which I would move my home base. (For ideal conditions, answers are required to such weighty questions as, What to do with Mom? and will Richard Branson peg a route from la Habana to either Cleveland or Pittsburgh so I'm not again cut-off from my non-Aztec, Irish and Czech family?
Many things would have to come to pass before I could ever return to the (tarnished) Pearl (ex. both Castro bro's dead; restoration of Constitution of 1940; reestablishment of capitalist economic system and democracy), so until then, consider the following:
1) There is hope for more/better bike trails in Pittsburgh, and 2) I'm reviewing Ted Rall's new book, "The Year of Loving Dangerously." As Ted himself writes:
"My new graphic memoir, "The Year of Loving Dangerously," is my first new book in three years. It relates my experiences getting expelled from Columbia University, fired, dumped, arrested and evicted and finally winding up homeless on the wild and weird streets of NYC during the 1980s. This 128-page book is a game changer for me--an autobiographical comic with lots of brutally honest introspection down the dark side of memory lane...with some (OK, a lot of) sex mixed in. Full-color painted artwork is by Pablo G. Callejo, the award-winning illustrator of the "Bluesman" graphic novel series. (This is my first collaborative effort.) "The Happy Hooker" author Xaviera Hollander wrote the introduction. "Year" is a declaration of war against the arch-cliché of the lonely awkward male cartoonist who refuses to engage with the world. It's also the perfect metaphor for the economic collapse: if an Ivy-educated white male can be reduced to penury by a few strokes of bad luck, it can happen to anyone."
Should be amazing, eh? But guess what? I'll let you know once I finish "The Year of Loving Dangerously!" While the book will not hit store shelves until November, you can pre-order a copy inscribed by Ted to the person of your choice by visiting rall.com.
After you've ordered your copy, perhaps you'll want to scrub off some of that anticipatory energy by considering that "Major steps [were] announced to finishing bicycle trail." The Post-Gazette reports today:
"A 335-mile biking/hiking trail that will connect Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., moved one mile closer to completion yesterday but took a far bigger leap forward with the announcement of an agreement for future construction. Dignitaries snipped the ribbon on a one-mile section of the Great Allegheny Passage in Duquesne, from the Riverton Bridge through Regional Industrial Development Corp.'s Riverplace City Center to Grant Avenue, a stretch that includes a 60-foot tunnel. Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato also announced an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway that will clear the way for completion of another 2.5 miles by next summer, from Duquesne to the Waterfront shopping complex..." Read more...
OK, gotta go throw-up now - though whilst retching I can find solace in the thought of a massive, 2.5 mile-long addition to our city's fine network of proper bike trails...