Craigslist Yinzers #9 – Discount Ash Storage

crematory plot (lower burrell)

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Date: 2008-07-23, 9:19AM EDT

single niche, with urn inside greenwood memorial museuleum, includes opening/closing, paid $2700 for it, make 1000/make offer, or seeing what is out there in trade

#13 Rick Sebak TV Specials on WQED

Amongst leading experts, it is widely acknowledged that education must take place both inside and outside of the classroom. The role of the local school system is to teach children critical historical facts, such as the time George Washington lured enemy Frenchmen and Native Americans to an arts festival at the Point on a particularly rainy day during the French and Indian War. However, it is left to Yinzer parents to teach more recent history, including subjects like Pittsburgh’s bridge to “nowhere” and the mysterious sinking and disappearance of a B25 Bomber in the Monogahela River. Fortunately, Yinzer parents have a superior teaching tool for these lessons — Rick Sebak TV Specials on WQED.

The local expert on temporally-displaced things is Rick Sebak, who produces “scrapbook documentaries.”  In these specials, Yinzers are given the opportunity to wax nostalgic about things that are either not there any more, or are very different today. With old photos, film clips, and a player-piano soundtrack, people recall the time that the they met girls during Italian days or ate a very unusual sandwich.

Rick Sebak’s most-beloved special is Kennywood Memories, a 20-year old film that looks back at the local amusement park’s growth from a small park at the end of a commuter rail line to the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” that filled the park with Yinzers in cut-off shorts and AC/DC t-shirts. The documentary provides Yinzers the opportunity to reflect on the good old days of their childhood and to tell their children just how much better Potato Patch fries were “back in the day.”

Other Rick Sebak blockbusters include the obviously-titled Things that Aren’t There Anymore, the not-what-you-think-it-is The Strip Show, the creepy A Cemetery Special, and the only-Yinzers-need-this-to-be-pointed-out What Makes Pittsburgh Pittsburgh. While it is quite impressive that Rick Sebak has produced twenty-three documentaries through 2008, it might be an even greater Pittsburgh media achievement that none of his films are exclusively focused on the Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 70s.

The Pittsburgh PBS station, WQED, almost completely relies on Rick Sebak’s work for its funding. A totally fictional analysis of the PBS station’s books shows that sales of his specials alone account for 83% of the station’s budget each year. Further invented analysis shows that Kennywood Memories is responsible for about 46% of that total.

So, if you happen to run across a Yinzer, thank him for helping to finance your child’s obsession with Elmo through his purchase of another Sebak classic, A Program About Unusual Buildings & Other Roadside Stuff. Remember folks, he’s just doing it for the children.

#12 Talking About the Time They Met Franco Harris

For non-Yinzers, Franco Harris is simply a retired football player of some notoriety. For football-as-religion Yinzers, he is the leader of “Franco’s Italian Army” and the man upon whom the football gods bestowed the blessing of the Immaculate Reception, an improbable play that resulted in a walk-off Steelers playoff victory. While he sustained a successful Hall of Fame career, that one play has defined his place in football history.

Despite a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks in the twilight of his playing days, Franco Harris has remained a presence in Pittsburgh. His legend status and continued involvement in the community has led to a great deal of interaction with Yinzers, and you can guarantee that every Yinzer has a story about the time they met Franco Harris.

Yinzers will not hesitate to tell anyone who will listen that Franco “ain’t a jagoff,” “is good people,” “is dahn to earth,” and “is good to talk at n’at.” Whether it be at a Democratic rally with Barack Obama, an autograph session at the Union hall, or just walking the streets, Yinzers always make it a point to tell Franco how much they love him. While that chance encounter would become a nice anecdote for most people, it becomes a center of conversation for Yinzers. “Yeah, I know Franco,” a Yinzer will say, as if Franco Harris was a neighbor that once fed the dog while the Yinzer was at camp at lake Pymatuning. The Yinzer will then recount every glorious detail of the interaction. He will work himself into an absolute frenzy if Franco happened to be wearing his Super Bowl rings that day as well. “Oh my gosh,” he will say, “those rings were so beautiful it almost made me cry.” Usually, the story ends with, “Franco’s not as big as I thought he was.”

Listen intently to a Yinzer as he speaks of his run-in with football glory. It is impolite to sneer at anyone’s dream come true, especially when it involves meeting a personal hero. And, in the event that you have a chance encounter with Franco Harris, simply shake his hand and say “nice to meet you.” He has heard it all already, and he probably respects anyone that does not wag their tail in his presence.

#11 Mark Cuban

The Yinzer\'s Sports Team Messiah. Seriously.Every culture needs myths, the stories shared among its people to reinforce group norms and carry traditions. While Yinzers have their share of legends — the night Jack Lambert tore through 20 tons of steel with his bare hands, for instance — Yinzers have one particular myth onto which they continue to hold. It’s about a boy, born and raised in the cradle of the Pittsburgh region (Mount Lebanon), educated at a world-renowned, Pittsburgh-based university (University of Pittsburgh for one year, then transferred to Indiana University in Bloomington), and grew to become a very wealthy (selling at the height of the dot-com boom). He is rabid sports fan, wearing his team’s colors and capable of buying any share of Pittsburgh’s three major professional sports teams at any time. As the story is told, the man comes to Pittsburgh and spends vasts amounts of his wealth to guarantee a Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup in each year he owns the team. Like a shepherd leads his flock, he will lead Pittsburgh to its rightful place as the City of Champions once again. The man, the myth, the legend is Mark Cuban.

Yinzers truly see Mark Cuban as the savior of the franchise, regardless of which franchise(s) he might choose. The Pirates are on their way to their 16th-straight losing season? Mark Cuban should buy them! The Penguins are on the brink of being sold and moved to Kansas City? Cuban and another Pittsburgh legend, Dan Marino, explored the possibility, later saying that not buying the team was a mistake. The venerable Steelers, on the block for the first time in a very, very long time? Mark Cuban has to reject the rumor.

It is easy to see why Yinzers would gravitate to this hometown boy. Mr. Cuban has demonstrated a considerable commitment to the Pittsburgh region by: owning a minority stake in an abandoned building on Fort Duquesne Boulevard; choosing to live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex; and purchasing the NBA Dallas Mavericks. In addition, his sports team ownership style only slightly contrasts with the typical Yinzer love for understated owners, mostly demonstrated through behaviors like: getting in verbal confrontations with fans and referees; knowing little about running a sports team; acting like an idiot at his team’s games; and writing a blog about issues that no league would ever want discussed publicly. “Hey,” Yinzers say to each other at the corner bar, “he’s rich, he loves sports and he’s from Pittsburgh! He’s a perfect owner for all three of our teams!”

Yinzers see absolutely no irony in their breathless reaction to Stanley Druckenmiller, a billionare who has emerged as a possible buyer of a majority stake in the Steelers and has never shied away from telling people how much he “loves Pittsburgh.” In fact, according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Stanley Druckenmiller is also a diehard Steelers fan who rarely misses a game at Heinz Field, typically hosts a tailgate party in the “A” lot and has been known to paint his face black and gold.

With an owner like that, it’s easy to see how the man could be perceived as interested in ruining the franchise and moving the team to another city.

It is best to leave well enough alone when the subject of Mark Cuban comes up in Yinzer sports conversations. As with the most pervasive of myths, Yinzers never let the facts get in the way of a good legend.

#10 Illegal Video Poker Machines

The local corner bar represents the foundation of Yinzer culture, a sacred place where fathers spend quality time with their children, wives meet their eventual husband(s), and bartenders are asked to serve as Godparents. It is a common belief that Yinzers just like to sit on a bar stool, talk about the Steelers, drink Iron City, and do shots of Jim Beam to a soundtrack of 70’s southern rock. While these behaviors are certainly tenants of their culture, even the most staunch Yinzer can get bored with doing the exact same thing every night since Carter was elected president. For Yinzers, wasting money on useless endeavors comes naturally, which means that they will eventually try to win a few more rounds of beer through the video poker machines.

Illegal video poker machines are everywhere in Yinzer nation. While the actual machine is supposedly for “entertainment purposes only,” there is a common understanding that the bar will pay out the winnings.  Whether it is a backroom parlor at a newsstand in Braddock, a little tavern in Dravosburg, or an Elks Club in Westmoreland County, you’ll find Yinzers with a beer, puffing a pack of cigarettes away, hoping to nail the jackpot that has eluded them for twenty years. Most popular are the 80s-era machines, complete with a neon-colored bikini-clad woman rendered using video graphics slightly more sophisticated than those featured in the original Pong game.

There are certain rules by which to play if ever at a Yinzer bar. It is not recommended to ever play video poker as an outsider, but in the event that one might want to throw in a couple of $1 bills, the following must be observed:

  1. Never ever play someone else’s machine. While ownership is not entirely clear to non-Yinzers, established players have already marked their territory. Particularly drunk Yinzers might actually pee on the machine, though this is both frowned upon and a considerable electrocution risk.
  2. Never, ever win more than $10; Yinzers hate nothing more than some foreigner coming into their bar and taking the money that is rightfully theirs. In the event that the $100 jackpot is hit, be sure to exhaust it on beer and shots for the regular patrons in the establishment, as this is most likely the only way to leave the place in one piece.
  3. Don’t make any noises that correspond to the fortunes of the game. Yinzers believe that video poker takes a tremendous amount of focus and luck. While focus and luck have absolutely no bearing on the outcome, Yinzer superstition will always override rational thought.
  4. Like a caddy in golf, always blame the lack of success on something else. Suggestions include: the temperature; time of year; lack of focus; significant others; missing lucky charms; or some other factor. The stacked odds in favor of the house is not an acceptable excuse, however.

Yinzers will always love gambling. It is best to get out of their way and let them play. Good fortune may prevail, and being in the presence of a victorious Yinzer guarantees at least one round of Iron City to every patron in the building. Unless instructed to give a toast, down the beer knowing that the short-term pain of drinking Pittsburgh’s semi-famous brew is far preferred to inciting a riot for being the outsider who won it all and ruined it for everyone else.

#9 Uncle Charlie’s Sausage

A huge pig-head-shaped hot air balloon. Young children screaming “Uncle Charlie’s Sausage, please!” And, despite all of these curious-at-best ideas for a commercial, you’ll see this brand at any Yinzer cookout.

Charlie is probably a perfectly good guy, and he’s surely never harmed his nieces and nephews. His sausage is absolutely terrific once soaked in beer and loaded with mustard. However, in the age of To Catch a Predator, there could hardly be a worse name for a phallic-shaped food product.

When at a Yinzer cookout, grab a Mancini’s roll, throw on a link of sausage and smother it in peppers and onions. Enjoy it. Savor it. But don’t dare laugh at it. Yinzers take their Uncle Charlie’s Sausage seriously, and anything other than respect will be deemed offensive.

#8 Being Interviewed by Local News After a Neighbor’s Fire

Yinzers who are looking to achieve stardom in Pittsburgh have one of two choices: learn to play guitar and sing four-note songs; or be present for the news stations to interview them about a neighbor’s house burning down.

An interview with a Yinzer about a neighbor’s house fire follows a nearly identical script:

KDKA/WTAE/WPXI Announcer with Deep, Important Voice: A house fire occurred on the 1100 block of Morewood in the early afternoon today, a point at which no self-respecting person should be sitting at home, drinking an Iron City, waiting for a neighbor’s house to burst into flames. (Editor’s note: yes, Morewood is an actual Pittsburgh street name).
KDKA/WTAE/WPXY Beat Reporter: This house fire might have been even worse had Joe Girandelli not been around to alert the authorities, or us.
Yinzer: I’s sitting watching TV n’at, when I heard this big rush. I ran ahtside and I seen this huge fahr. I ran in to get my video camera and my Arhn City and called nine-one-one and jus watched the flames take at the whole haas and sorta hoped they’d be good. Thems guys is such good people and I jus hope they’re gunna be ok.
KDKA/WTAE/WPXY Beat Reporter: That was very courageous of you.
Yinzer: I know, right?

Once a Yinzer is interviewed on TV, his friends and family go freakin’ insane. A yinzer will actually complete the interview and immediately proceed to call friends and relatives in the area, breathlessly shouting, “I just got interviewed ’cause of that huge fire at the Poleshczevski’s haas.” With luck, the Yinzer will also get their home video footage shown on the local news channel for extra bonus Yinzer bragging rights. For the next several months the Yinzer will be famous everywhere he goes: the bar; family reunions; fire hall weddings; funeral viewings; and Giant Eagle. If the Yinzer is lucky, a family member will have set their VCR to record the newscast. This video will serve as a reminder of the Yinzer’s courageous act, to which the firefighters present at his wedding will applaud when it’s played.

If you happen to find yourself at a Yinzer’s house, don’t be surprised to see at least one VHS tape marked “KDKA House Fire, 9/22/98.” If you want to make a lifetime friend, ask to see the video. However, do this with caution — it is a MAJOR faux pas to laugh at a Yinzer fire interview, and keeping a straight face is difficult at best.


We all have a soundrack of our lives. Some songs might represent defining moments, others might inspire, or still others might just make us smile as we go about our day-to-day routine. Yinzers also have a soundtrack of their lives, and that soundtrack is played every day on WDVE.

For non-Yinzers, WDVE (or just DVE for those mullet-clad Yinzers in the know) is the Rosetta Stone of their culture. It features:

  • Two morning show hosts who smoke cigars, talk about breasts, do bad voices to invented characters such as “Ralph the Cat,” talk about Pittsburgh sports teams, and make fun of/revel in yinzer culture by producing annual CDs with such local favorites as Go Steelers and The Meaning of Penguins Hockey;
  • Contests such as “Hottest Moms” and the man-boob-featuring “Twisted Wet T-Shirt Contest;”
  • Artists that define Yinzer culture, including as ZZ Top, Rush, Ozzy Osbourne, Lynard Skynyrd, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and The Doors;
  • Parody songs of Pittsburgh;
  • Frequent tracks by The Clarks, a local band that every Yinzer insists should have been as big, if not bigger, than Donnie Iris;
  • A midday female DJ who does a request show called “The Electric Lunch,” on whom nearly every Yinzer has a crush;
  • A Black-and-Gold web site that includes”Steelers” and “Girls” as its first two menu items, as well as a plethora of stimulating Yinzer activities, such as voting for the hottest mom and checking out the babe of the day; and
  • An hourly playing of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train. (Note: see screen shot below)

If preparing for an interaction where you need to make small talk with Yinzers, be sure to spend some time listenening to DVE. In addition to making the conversation more palatable, you’re likely to find yourself thinking about the people from whom you could have learned had you not been Born Too Late.

#6 Giving Directions Using Landmarks that Don’t Exist Anymore

The next time you get lost on your way to a Yinzer’s firehall wedding/fundraiser, you may decide to stop and ask directions. If you’ve come prepared with your knowledge of historical architecture, or one your grandfather’s Moose club buddies, you’ll be just fine.

(For the record, Yinzer wedding/fundraiser isn’t a joke. It is not uncommon for 50/50 raffles to be held to help pay for the hoagie rolls.)

As an example of the bizarre nature of Pittsburgh’s “grid” layout, downtown Pittsburgh’s roadways are based on two intersecting series of roads — streets on the northern side (named with numbers), avenues on the southern side (also mostly named with numbers) — and they slam together at Liberty Avenue like two drunk Yinzers looking for cross-dressing hookers. As roads travel out from downtown into the various neighborhoods, they will often change names for no apparent reason except to spite the neighboring municipality by forcing them to buy a new sign.

In an effort to help navigate this confusing — even for a lifetime Pittsburgh resident — set of gravel/cobblestone/paved-but-full-of-potholes roadways, a Yinzer will help you navigate by landmarks instead of road names. Unfortunately, at least three of these landmarks no longer exist. Whether it be the five-and-dime that closed in 1967, the family’s home that burned down in 1982, or one of the many neighborhood Islay’s stores that haven’t been in operation since the Steelers won their second Super Bowl, you’re sure to have no better clue where you were going had you just tried to follow the ever-changing street signs.

A typical Yinzer trip plan could sound like this: “Go past the old Owls Club for about half a mile, turn right past where G. C. Murphy’s used to be, make a right and a quick left down the wrong way of a one-way street, then when you come up to the old coke works, it’ll be on your left.”

While this routing may be navigable now — most of these pieces of closed navigation still boast their original signage 40-years later — future generations of Yinzers will have a tough road ahead of them: “After the old Panera Bread you want to turn by where Starbucks used to be…no, not the one on the right side of the street, the one on the left…the one next to UPMC…no, not that UPMC, the one before that.”

For your best chance at getting around Pittsburgh, get a GPS. While directions from a Yinzer are a great history lesson in the Pittsburgh economy, they won’t get you anywhere but lost in Polish Hill. However, in the instances that even TomTom gets confused, pull over and ask for directions. Most importantly, get used to paying attention to faded signs.

#5 Fireworks – Special Fourth of July Edition

For most people, watching fireworks is sort of like Egg Nog at Christmas; they enter the consciousness around the Fourth of July and then pretty much forget about them otherwise. Most people buy a few sparklers, or a pack of roman candles, or a few little boxes of those snap things you use to scare your grandmother. A family might even decide to have a picnic and enjoy the wonders of a particularly good fireworks display (i.e. The Sandlot). No matter what, most people see fireworks as one of the small joys of the general American experience.

Not Yinzers. There is really no other way of saying this — Yinzers just freakin’ love fireworks.

Yinzers are willing to brave nearly anything to see a fireworks display. Three hours of bad baseball and $7 beers? Hasn’t stopped the Buccos from selling out every SkyBlast since they’ve started the promotion. Cross two bridges, and go through a tunnel? Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Stop and park the car in the middle of a major U.S. Interstate to watch? As long as there’s a place for the cooler full of Iron City Beer.

In the mind of Yinzers, Pittsburgh practically invented fireworks. The region is home to Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, known as the “First Family of Fireworks,” one of the oldest and largest American fireworks companies. While Zambelli lists an impressive array of clients around the world ( the Odyssey Network, the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and the British Broadcasting Company), Yinzers believe that God Himself hired them for His lightning/thunder/fire/brimstone appearances over the past six millennia. It makes sense, He would only want the best.

While Steelers Monday Night Football games, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Day, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, outdoor concerts, and Pirates home runs are all still considered rare enough occurrances to warrant fireworks, the Fourth of July is what really brings out the glimmer in a Yinzer’s eye. According to a local TV News station, there are 15 separate fireworks displays slated for July 4th celebrations within a 20-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh, all scheduled at the same time. And, if Yinzers don’t feel like their local municipality’s displays are up to snuff — Zambelli can’t be everywhere, people — they are welcome to travel to the Golden Triangle, where 500,000 people are expected to watch the City of Pittsburgh display.

Unfortunately, this fireworks saturation has created an insatiable audience, and Yinzers always want more. Colors, lights, graphics, music, timing, shooting them from the river… Zambelli has already reached the pinnacle of fireworks perfection. Intelligence officers for the city of Cleveland have secretly expressed concern that Yinzers might be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against the city just to see the show.

If you’re invited to a Yinzer’s house for the fourth of July, be ready for anything. Review the instructions on the fire extinguisher, do a little research on first aid tips, and always be on the lookout for a kid with a sparkler trying to poke you in the ass. In the end, a hour’s worth of oohs, ahhs, wows and that-was-the-best-grand-finale-they’ve-ever-hads are worth both personal safety and Yinzer harmony. Most importantly, have a great time. Sometimes the things Yinzers like are things everyone else likes, too.