OK, just a few things in no particular order here.
First, a quick update on the FOP hoax story we've been following.
Fans of movie-rental spot Dreaming Ant will be happy to hear that it is back in business; police have returned the computer they seized Wednesday evening in an investiaation of a forged press release. In a post online, owner Dean Brandt credits police detective James Glick for "understanding that we have a small business to run." Brandt also thanked the media for helping to "expedit[e] the reopening of our store" -- even though he added that he "was, and still am, instructed to keep my mouth shut for legal reasons."
Also, just for those of you who are fans of this hoax -- and I know you're out there ... a sharp-eyed reader has pointed out that the faked press release also contains another secret message, in addition to the one we've previously noted.
If you look at the very first letter of each line of the release, it spells out the following message:
"Fuck da pigs in pgh."
Moving on to slightly less contentious ground, there's yet another candidate to challenge city councilor Patrick Dowd in District 7: Lawrenceville resident David J. Calfo.
Calfo is a master carpenter, and he's not afraid to let you know about it. In a release sent out this afternoon by his campign, Calfo is quoted saying, "Things [in Pittsburgh] aren't built right. That's the biggest problem facing the city. Whether it's sidewalks, roads, bridges, or pensions -- it's all the same. You've got to build a strong foundation."
Oh, and Calfo's an artist too. And perhaps most intriguingly, his press guy is apparently ... former mayoral candidate Franco "Dok" Harris, son of the Steelers great.
Ordinarily, I'd be tempted to say that the entrant of a second challenger in this race -- the first was Tony Ceoffe Jr. -- would help the incumbent. Something tells me that's not the case here. But in any case, it's shaping up to be a pretty lively spring for Dowd.
Finally, a minor plug here. On Monday night, I'll be hosting an event I've been fortunate enough to be involved with for a couple years now. The folks at cityLIVE! are hosting their third installment of "10 People/3 Minutes" -- a chance for 10 bright locals to share their ideas for the city's future. In the past, proposals have ranged from the practical to the fanciful to the sort-of disturbing. This year's roster should be a good one, with names ranging from Renaissance woman Vanessa German to design guru Dutch MacDonald, from filmmaker Chris Ivey to I Made It! market founder Nina Barbuto.
Each gets three minutes to share their vision for the city's future. I'm basically there to take drink orders and provide momentary substance-free breaks. In other words, pretty much the same thing I do here at the paper.
Anyway, it's Monday, Jan. 2, 6:30 p.m. at the New Hazlett Theater. Check the link above to RSVP. It'd be great to see you there -- a lot of times, I don't have anyone to drink with.
I love Mel Packer!