I just heard a bit of a news conference by John Rigas, the owner of Adelphia Communications who was convicted of stealing $100 million from his company, basically just for fun money. I’m not clear on whether the news conference was from today, when the 80-year-old Rigas was sentenced to spend 20 years in jail, or whether it came earlier in the process, but it was typically contrite, the kind of thing that was written by Rigas’ lawyers, hoping to curry some favor with the public.

I know, they have to say that stuff. But just once, I’d like to see a more honest assessment of the situation:

“I’m going to die in jail, and I’m here to tell you, it will totally be worth it. I brushed my teeth with single malt Scotch every day, I own more cars than General Motors and I personally know every stripper in the city of Las Vegas. Am I sorry? Are you freaking kidding me? I’m only sorry that I didn’t think of this before I turned 70.”


Apparently the Visa debit card issued by my bank is one of the kazillion credit accounts that were breached at a credit card processing company in Tuscon. My bank called me today, said they had canceled my old card and ordered me a new one.

I’ve been impressed with how my bank, Citizens National Bank of Evans City — or Citizens Blue, as we call it around here — has handled stuff like this. In 1995, when the Indians won the American League Championship series against Seattle, I immediately drove to Boardman, Ohio, and started buying Indians stuff. The next morning, the bank called and said I had a number of charges in Ohio and asked if I was having any problems. They seemed happy to hear that, no, it was just me being an idiot; they didn’t seem quite as happy to hear that I was an Indians fan.

This time, the folks at CNB told me that this was a precautionary measure, and that there was no evidence that any fraudulent charges had shown up on my card. So I have to deal with hassle of waiting for a new card — a relatively small problem, given what could have happened.

Which got me to thinking.

If someone is, say, trying to buy a new car on my account, he’d best head for the Matchbox aisle in the toy store — because that’s the only kind of new car he could afford on my card.

mostly sunny.

I just noticed that the Sun Records catalogue has been added to the iTunes music store. This is very good news for me. And not such good news for my wallet.

big time.

So The Wife and I attended a tasting session at a new brewery in Pittsburgh’s East End — the appropriately named East End Brewing Co. — on Saturday afternoon. While we were there, I picked up a couple of specialty tabs that cover craft brewing in the East and Midwest. I just got about to paging through the June/July copy of Ale Street News and discovered that one of their writers had taken a beer trip through Columbus and Cleveland, culminating with a stop at Cleveland’s Ale Fest a few weeks ago.

The story was favorable to both cities, and the author, Bobby Smolinski, was especially impressed with Ale Fest. An excerpt:

All told, over 150 different offerings were poured. The famous Bass “trailer truck bar” was the centerpiece. Over 1,000 aficionados filtered in and the fun began. The band Skinny Moo rocked the place all day in various sets and you could just sense the euphoria.

And you thought this post was about beer.

Skinny Moo is DD’s cover band, which has such a full schedule this summer that getting DD out of Cleveland is looking damn impossible. So we’re just going to have to head up that way instead. Because if the Moo is getting this kind of pub in a freaking beer newspaper, they have to be pretty good.

So when’s the next show at that place in Chagrin Falls?


I just noticed that one of today’s Uncle Crappy’s readers visited from a computer with a domain emanating from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Holy crap.

To my friends in federal law enforcement: Did I mention that I’m an honorably discharged Army veteran? That I’m a regular voter? That I’ve always been an admirer of J. Edgar Hoover’s investigative techniques, not to mention his, um, offbeat sense of fashion? I mean, those pumps would have been right at home on an episode of Sex in the City. That’s pretty stylish, my friend.

Look, I’m sorry. For (ahem) lots of things. All misdemeanors, I’m sure. Mostly. Nothing really worth your time.

I’ll be good, from now on.

Starting after this weekend.

a little help.

At the risk of sounding like I’m still obsessing over my pending high school reunion (I’m not. Really.), I’m asking Uncle Crappy readers for some help with my efforts to build a new and improved version of Turbo Pinto.

A little background: I almost completely rebelled against the whole idea of reunions when the 15-year rolled around five years ago. As a way of dealing with my angst, I made a mix tape featuring music that anyone who spent any time in my car (yes, a 1980 Ford Pinto with the highly ironic nickname of Turbo Pinto) would be very familiar with. It wasn’t necessarily an 80s mix — I didn’t really embrace the joyful badness of what the 80s had to offer musically until much later in life — but a mostly representative list off stuff that occupied my ears from 10th grade through graduation.

I don’t have the original song list handy, but I can say the original tape covered a lot of ground: Grateful Dead (only two songs, showing remarkable restraint by me, thankyouverymuch), Stones, U2, Bowie, Pretenders, Velvet Underground, Van Morrison, REM, Wall of Voodoo, Violent Femmes, Modern English, The Police, Talking Heads … you get the idea.

Turbo Pinto was originally done on cassettes. Technology? Pish. But with my well-documented switch to a computer that allows me to burn CDs, I’m envisioning Turbo Pinto 2.0 as a double CD set. And that gives me about an extra hour’s worth of music to play with.

I’ve always been pretty happy with the original — the slam-segue between “Texas Radio and the Big Beat” and “Ashes to Ashes” is definitely one example. But I’ve also thought there is a shortcoming on the tape, as far as the 60s R&B I loved so much goes. So I’m pretty sure that’s going to be addressed in the new version.

I’m equally sure that a few of the songs that just missed the cut for the original tape will make it this time around.

But from there, I’m looking for help. If you knew me in high school, you probably know what we were listening to as we sat in the drive-through of the White Castle at Kenny and Henderson. So what needs to be added to TP 2.0? Make some suggestions in the comments box, and do it quickly, for crying out loud — the reunion is just three weeks away, and these have to be ready to hand out by then.

And if you didn’t know me in high school, make some suggestions anyway. We’re looking at music recorded up until the summer of 1985. We’re not necessarily looking for stuff that was popular then — the list o’ bands above is a decent guide — but I’ll give any suggestions a look. And don’t worry about being off-base because you weren’t there in person — my dying brain cells don’t fire quite as regularly as they used to, and your suggestion may be the trigger for something I forgot from a long time ago.

If you received a copy of the original Turbo Pinto, you’re going to get a copy of TP 2.0 regardless — but send me your stuff anyway. And if you don’t have one of those rare, extremely collectable and highly valuable mixes, this is your chance to get in on the next generation: If I use your suggestion, you get a copy of the new one.