Pittsburgh’s “Best Fish Sandwich” Contests End In 234-way Tie Again

(Homestead, PA) – The results of this year’s annual fried culinary contest are finally in.  For the 34th year in a row, there are over two hundred restaurants, bars, pubs, VFWs, churches, barbecue stands, and tailgate parties that can all officially boast that they have the “Best Fish Sandwich in the ‘Burgh’.”

“I know it seems like a lot of winners,” said Panel Judge Tom Musial.  “But they are all so good!  We couldn’t decide.”

Criteria for the contest included: crispiness and the fact that the sandwich was made out of fish and put on some sort of bread.

“It’s honestly almost impossible to mess this up,” said Norma Delbroski of Calamities Bar and Grille.  “You put fish in a fryer and hope nothing explodes.  Outside of that, there ain’t too much too it.”

Here are a list of winners:

– Primanti Brothers (the good one in the Strip)

– Wholey’s Fish Market

– Peppi’s

– Deluca’s

– The Dor-Stop

– The Apple Inn

– Duke’s Station

– Dave and Andy’s

– The Royal (the one where Lisa’s brother got in that big fight, remember? Lisa broke her finger cause it got caught in that one girl’s hair? That was crazy.)

– Primanti Brothers (that one in Cranberry off 79)

– Calamities

– Cupka’s I

– Cupka’s II

– Every bar on the Southside

– Every non-residential building that serves food on the Northside

– Armando Spicolli’s Tailgate for Steeler Games (Golden Lot, sort of by the Clark Bar Building)

– Your Mum

– My Mum

– Every woman over 40 who lives in Bloomfield.

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Starbucks to Save Millions In Profit by Turning Off That One Faucet

(Seattle, WA)   During an investor call on Tuesday, Starbuck’s Michael Crafton, Senior Vice President of Facilities, announced that the company stands to save millions of dollars in top line expenses by turning off that one faucet which for some reason is running constantly at every Starbucks in the nation.

“We will be piloting a test program in certain districts, whereby employees of the location will be required to twist the faucet knobs to the off, or closed position,” Crafton said during prepared remarks.  “If rolled out nationwide, initial projections indicate that we could see a utility savings of 5400 basis points, which would then translate into a 14% increase in Earnings Per Share.”

When asked by analyst why the practice of turning a faucet on and then inexplicably leaving it on throughout the entire 16 hour day existed in the first place, Crafton responded, “I really have no idea.  I guess because associates need to rinse out a lot of stuff all the time.  There’s a lot of rinsing, right?  Does that sound right?  Maybe they like the ambient sound?  Who knows?”

At the time of publication, Starbuck’s stock had climbed to $75.60.

Department of Weights and Measures Finds Stadium Noisemeter Woefully Inaccurate

(Durham, NC)  A study released by the North Carolina Department of Weights and Measures has indicated that the scoreboard Noise-o-Meter of the Durham Bulls is in desperate need of re-calibration.

“We found that even when a Bulls player struck out or made an error, their meter was still showing red, i.e. the loudest, most enthusiastic the crowd could get,” said Dr. Fred Barker, co-author of the report.  “When all observations recorded that fans were not really that into it.”

Conducted over the 2013 summer season, the study found that more often than not, the Noise-o-Meter’s dial was often in stark contrast to other decibel measuring devices.

“This is an extremely serious allegation,” Bulls’ GM Tap Bradley said in a released statement.  “The Bulls will be conducting our own internal investigation into this matter.  We respectfully reject the Department’s claim that the Noise-o-Meter is a completely arbitrary tool and was in fact a graphic design project made by our intern Kyle on an Apple Laptop that we play over and over again to rile up idiots and the drunk.”

Kyle could not be reached for comment.

Bethany College

“Are there any questions or anything out there?”  Comedian J Russ asks the apathetic crowd.  He looks to the wings of the stage and shrugs.  There’s no going back now.  I’m closing the show.  Headlining, if you can call it that.  As J Russ puts the mic back into the stand and gives a goodbye wave, I stare into the yawning chasm of the next 30-35 minutes.

T-Robe is hosting this show at Bethany College, a small liberal arts school in the panhandle of West Virginia.  It’s the kind of place that springs up on you.  The long and windy farm roads were dense with trees.  Only small clearings for natural gas wells dotted the scenery.   The college itself nearly sprung out of the ground.  In an instant, it was there.  In another instant it could be gone. 

T-Robe swings back out to the stage and deals with a heckler before attempting to bring me up.  Nothing unusual.  But the heckler is vocal and T-Robe won’t have that.  He calls the anonymous voice up on stage.  “You think this is easy?” he asks.  “You try it.”  He hands the mic over to a young athletic college student.

This is a risky manuever in the hosting world.  If the heckler stinks, it’s just embarrassing and makes for an awkward remainder of the show.  But if the heckler is good, there’s a chance that he might show up the “professionals”, thus shattering the crucial patina of self-importance that all comedians need to function properly. 

The heckler takes the mic and already he looks extremely comfortable.  Trouble.  Most normal people will mess their pants if given a microphone and asked to talk to a group of strangers.  But these aren’t strangers.  These are his classmates, and teammates and bunkmates.  He might as well be holding court at the lunch table.  

The heckler does pretty good.  He tells some jokes about the school, makes a few inside references that get some laughs.  He says T-Robe looks like Luther Vandross and gives the microphone back.  I watch the rightful host seething in the wings of the stage opposite me.  His mind racing.  All manner of insults and barbs and put downs gleaming in his eyes like rubies in the desert.  T-robe takes the mic back. 

Wham!  You’re ugly.  Wham! You’re ashy.  Wham!  You ain’t shit. 

Here’s Jeff Konkle. 

The crowd remains lethargic and distracted throughout that exchange so I try to adjust my energy level to the room.  This is something I had always thought was the correct thing to do.  If the audience is low energy, keep you’re energy on par with them.  If they’re frenetic and crazy, match it.  You don’t want to seem like you’re trying too hard.

I can’t imagine that I have anything in my act to relate to these Freshman and Sophomore’s.  I’m almost 30.  The time I spent binge drinking and not washing my bedsheets for months at a time seems a distant memory.  I look at my set list and shake my head.   Bits about HGTV, references to Teddy Ruxpin, all point to one path: Bombsville. 

I immediately make several self-deprecating jokes about how bad the show was going.  I proceed to follow that with roughly 25 minutes of lack luster humor.  I’m phoning it in.  They respond with appropriate silence, a few faces in the auditorium lighting up with i-phone glow.  They’re checking messages, posting on facebook and Twitter.  #yawncomedy.  This, my friends, is bombing.

But I realize that I had been thinking about my set all wrong.  I shouldn’t be living up to the audience’s lousy responses or piss poor expectations.  I should be the one that says, “Hey, I’m giving it my all up here.  Anyone wanna join me?”  I need to be the whirling dervish of energy that sucks a few passersby into the comedy vortex.  If you’re not into it, then you get into it.  I had learned that rule a while back.  But as always, I don’t follow my own advice. 

I think about this as I drive through the creepy “Silent Hill”-type roads that lead us away from Bethany College and back into Pittsburgh.  Pockets a little fuller.  Mind a little wiser.