#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.

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Yinzers in the News #4 – SYL Shameless Self-Promotion

WTAE shows us some love, which is a good thing since we just used an image of one of their newscasts to, well, make fun of them. Our only concern is that the WTAE coverage might signal that we’ve already jumped the shark.

In honor of their acknowledgement of our blog, we’ll lay off the local news media for at least 24 hours. Plus, it’s really entertaining to hear two blonde, attractive, non-Yinzer women actually say both “Yinzer” and “n’at.” I freakin’ love this town.

Note: WTAE ladies, please email us at yinzguys@stuffyinzerslike.com. We’re normal, attractive, young, successful, single professionals that happen to have a need for an anonymous creative outlet, and you obviously appreciate a little humor. Or don’t email us, you know, whatever.

(our little 25 seconds of video fame starts at 1:49)


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#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.

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Craigslist Yinzers #6 – Let’s Date… Then You Can Help Pay the Bills

Share House – 49 (east , city)

Reply to: pers-xxxxxxxxx@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-07-08, 6:34PM EDT

Hello, 49 attractive hard working white male looking for long term relationship and someone interested in moving in and paying a share of the bills. getting tough with gas prices, heating gas and food. maybe we can help each other out. not like i’m looking for money. i’ve owned my own home for 11 years. just looking to make my house a home agian with a nice lady. small pets could work. i have a 16 year old thats here 50% of the time now in the summer and will be a little less once school starts. looking for slender to average lady between 40-45 years old with a job and NO drugs or alcohol problems. No reason for us all to struggle. Good honest guy here. drop me a line at e mail listed above. we can make this work.

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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.

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Yinzers in the News #3 – New York Times talks about Pixburgh

The New York Times has an interesting article about Pittsburgh’s unique speaking style…

“Pittsburgh is a special case,” Professor Labov said. “Generally, local dialects have been absorbed by larger regional ones. But Pittsburgh, though part of the Midland, has retained its own speech patterns. In fact, Pittsburgh does things no place else does, like pronouncing ‘ow’ as ‘ah’ and very often dropping the ‘l’ when it comes at the end of a word.” (Radial, for example, winds up sounding like radio.)

Julie Schoonover, the barkeeper from Corning, had described the dialect of the Steel City (a k a Pixburgh) more succinctly: “If you want to hear some freaky talk, go to Pittsburgh,” she told me. “It’s all ‘yinz goin’ dahntahn’ down there.”

It’s actually an interesting academic look at the Yinzer Lingo. Go Pittsburghese!


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#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.

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Craigslist Yinzers #5 – Yinz are Persistent

Some folks are just persistent…

(Edit: Check the dates and times.)

lets get together – 53 (monongahela)

Reply to: pers-xxxxxxxxx@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-07-04, 6:07PM EDT

looking for someone that would like to meet and have some fun.
Copyright 2008, Craigslist.org

want to meet ? – 53 (monongahela)

Reply to: pers-xxxxxxxxx@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-07-04, 6:25PM EDT

I would like to find someone to love…could it be you?
Copyright 2008, Craigslist.org

ltr needed – 53 (monongahela)

Reply to: pers-xxxxxxxxx@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-07-04, 6:39PM EDT

would you like to find someone to ?
Copyright 2008, Craigslist.org

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Yinzers in the News #2 – Watch Your Hammy Karma

From the New Castle News, again

Have no fear, if all hell breaks loose, this 40-year amateur radio operator turned an acre of land on Mosser Street in Shenango Township into a makeshift radio command center:
Jenna Staul / New Castle News

A few golden nuggets…

For Jim Klingensmith, ham radio is more than just a weekend hobby…

…Draped in blue tarp and surrounded by windmills that power the site, the shed houses an estimated $15,000 worth of radio equipment that runs entirely off an elaborate system of solar and wind power as well as batteries and a back-up generator. Running water is provided through storage tanks that collect rainwater from the roof, which then goes through a purification filter.

Way to go, Jim. You completely blew past anything those folks at ready.gov could have ever expected.

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#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.

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