South Side.

Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood is a mix of mainly two elements; gentrification, and proximity to colleges and universities. The main street is East Carson, which hosts many shops and tattoo parlors, but is mainly about the 85+ bars that run from Station Square to 33rd St. The neighborhood is divided into the Flats, the (topographically flat) area which is nearer to the Monongahela River, and the (hilly) Slopes. The Flats costs roughly 50-100% more in rent, and began to be gentrified around the year 2000. The neighborhood is vibrant and photogenic by day, and a drunken hellhole at night, especially on the weekends, where the streets run orange with vomit, urine, and blood. The community members who wish to protect their inflated investments from revelers bicker and complain at monthly meetings, to some avail. As professionals and students came in greater numbers to live in the hippest part of the city, the artists, musicians, and service-industry workers were pushed to the Slopes, the other half the South Side. The old people just died in the Flats. The bums are still there.

The Slopes is the name for the clapboard worker houses that litter the adjacent, switchback mountain at impossible angles, and pepper the goat path streets they share with the ghosts of Hunkies and their disappearing little wives. That’s where the founding creative-types of the flats were pushed first, and they have since been pushed to Polish Hill, Lawrenceville, or Bloomfield. It is just as likely that they have been pushing baby carriages, as many of the first hipsters have aged out of the game, anyway. The slopes are now hosting college students for high rent, or latecomers to a “scene” ten years gone. Some old people are still alive in the Slopes, too. No bums are up there, but some service industry workers are still taking girls back to their stinking Bob Marley pads after the bars close for God-knows what.

I thought an interesting interpretation of Kevin Lynch’s term “node” to be “pivot point.” How is this for a node, Professor Lynch?!

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That is the Beehive, an eclectic coffee shop that started the Golden Age immigration of artists, students, and homosexuals to the South Side. The first place of its kind on a street that used to be for former mill working drunks and end of the road bangers.

This next picture is a dirt trail off of Muriel St. The “pathway” actually traverses an “edge,” so it is a combination of two of Professor Lynch’s concepts in that sense. The people who use it provide clues as to why the mix of devices.

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The path that crosses the railroad tracks and the bike trail. It leads to a the river, where the train kids and former Occupy activists go to fraternize, deal drugs, and use drugs. They hang out at a sort of encampment during the day, and come into the town proper at night to shake down anyone they can for anything they can get. They play guitars and banjos and ukuleles, and many of them sing rather well. These young transients also have very interesting looking, loyal dogs. It is no coincidence that these young people specifically cross two finite boundaries to get to their operations venue.

Gary Musisko

Woah, bro. Who slept in your condom?

In the Old Testament, two arguing women presented wise King Solomon with a problem. He settled it brilliantly, so, whatevs. A normal self-centered cock must use his evil rat brain. (You’ll notice two animals normally featured in the Chinese zodiac appear in the last sentence. That is no accident.) When strangers are quarreling, solutions come readily to mind, and it makes the workman a king for that moment. If only all the troubles of the world were the troubles of strangers! When problems arise between two loved ones, the same third-party workman is a leper.

Something Solomon would not have thought of is to take the side of both parties, and alternate loyalty depending on who you’re talking to at the moment. That’s what I did today because I’m a cowardly bum! Here is an unrelated comic! Hope you enjoy it!

Please Select the Card I am Forcing You to Select.

I just wrote a great deal on politics on this very page. I did not even select “new document.” I chose to select all, and deleted everything I had written. This piece is like a blade of grass growing from the dung of an animal that had eaten only blades of grass. Or a fly feeding on the remains of a smashed toad, a cannibal thrice removed. Something happened when I began to proofread what I’d written: I realized I was dumb, and in this case, a special form of dumb. The opposite of my kind of dumb is not smart, or “able to speak”, for that guy out there. The opposite of my dumb is dumb. I’ll illustrate why in this comic strip:

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The strip illustrates two people observing the same image with very different interpretations of what it may be. Both responses called for some creativity, and the people had to have a degree of conviction in order to name the relatively abstract image. If we were viewing a PET scan, both people would have illuminated brains chronicling their efforts. Here’s the thing: Not only are both parties wrong (the image is one corner of a Chinese star,) but it is a Chinese star that is going to specifically harm both of them.

I used to be on the side of the möbius strip for those who thought liberals were shrieking, amoral, murdering shrews. Then I saw the side that hated Teabilly, racist, murderous Tribalists.

I don’t want to talk.

The car is what’s doing it most.  Being in a car changes people, being in a car changes me.  This is an example of my reacting to the evils of other people and looking like the devil. The car is where one first experiences tribalism.

I know about the lowest common denominator. I also just looked at the People of WalMart site, to my detriment.  Those people exist, and so do the ones who take the photographs. “I am just as bad, I’m part of the cycle.” No. A gentleman in a minivan just drove 85 miles per hour to edge me out on Second Avenue. I know this because I was curious as to how badly he wanted to beat me, so I drove about 80.  He was flying on a city street, it was very dangerous. “I’m just as bad as him.”  No, I am not.

Let’s explore the concept called tribalism. I see douchebag muscleheads tailgating at sporting event. They laugh at something about me as I walk by.  If I grew up next-door to a person like that, we would be friends. I did grow up next to people like that, and we are friends.  But since I don’t know these particular douchebags, they hate me and attempt to intimidate me as to walk by to a different tailgate party. I am kind of a douchebag myself, and that makes this tribalistic event that much more the curious.  When I get to the party,  100 yards away,  I find the guests to be cut from the same cloth as the people I passed in each “encampment” on the way across the parking lot. But I know these people, and we embrace and laugh, even though I hate tailgate parties. When we go into the game, the miniature tribes suspend differences in order to unite for a greater cause, in this case a baseball game. Now, we make up a larger tribe that will intimidate any opposing tribesmen, who are dressed in  red and white. If a larger external threat arises, the very large assembled tribes will join forces. The phenomenon is continuous, such that the whole Earth will unite against a threat from outer space. A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet.