RAVES to spending a memorable late night on the North Side of Pittsburgh listening to Shari
Richards singing her heart out with this column's favorite songwriter, Norman Nardini, and his mighty
little band, playing like there's no tomorrow... and RAVES to waking on a late, lazy Sunday morning to
the unexpected, but exciting news, that previously unreleased Silencers' music is just one free mouse
click away. RAVES of genuine appreciation to this column's favorite vocalist, Frank Czuri, for pulling
out and sharing the Silencers' kick butt cover of "Agent 00 Soul," to jump start the day to a fun,
fast one! This Silencers' previously unreleased cover was a demo record left off both that group's only
albums from the early '80s. The video is a tribute from Frank to Pittsburgh's late great guitar wizard,
Warren King, and features quite a few, never before seen photos of him. RAVES, too, for someone else
digging and finding the great lost televised performance of Warren on killer slide guitar backing
Norman and Rick Derringer in '87 on a Joy Behar NYC tv show, "Way Off Broadway.'' Norman's
"Love Dog" also features a brief, comical exchange afterwards with Norman and Ms. Behar.
"Round & Round," the second song that Norman and Waren performed on tv that day for Ms.
Behar, clearly had Mr. Derringer struggling, struggling to keep up with Waren.
RAVES to WDVE afternoon radio DJ Sean McDowell for caring once again to help promote Pittsburgh
music with his recent live radio interview with Norman before his CD release party at Moondogs... and
to Mr. M for playing "Shiver and Shake," a classic tune from the very Silencers this week and turning
an ordinary shopping trip in the store streaming radio into a fun outing. RAVES, too, to KDKA TV's
morning show, Pittsburgh Today Live, for hosting Norman on Thurday, March 31, at 9 AM. No kidding!
This gives readers a few days notice to concoct a believable excuse to call off work that day or go in late.
RAVES to the local fire fighters and an area coal mine rescue team, who bravely searched through
rubble in a three story Connellsville building, after its roof collapsed down to the bottom floor last
evening and trapped one of three men working inside. Downtown blight being what it is in economically
depressed small towns, this particular building is one of many in various stages of decay that concern
residents and city leaders. No matter how one viewed the aftermath -- whether it be from helicopter
overhead view or from the ground level looking inside -- one saw a miracle happen that anyone made it
out alive. RAVES, again, to the rescuers for risking their own safety to locate and free the man from
under the the rubble that trapped his leg.
RAVES to U.S. District Judge Alan N. Bloch for wising up to deny a leisure Easter holiday travel
request from an area eye doctor on bond from jail, charged with four counts of upscale federal income
tax evasion. Well, at least RAVES this time, that is, since the judge previously allowed Dr. David P.
Alan, to bend terms of his bond to take a Christmas vacation to Trump International Beach Resort in
North Miami Beach. The good doctor, who has offices in Connellsville, Masontown and Greene County,
has now changed his plea to guilty, as well, after he and his wife signed joint tax returns and failed to
disclose about $574,000 in income for the years 2002-04. It's estimated that the couple owes the federal
government to the tune of $150,000. RANTS that government is so broke and it took 7-9 years to tend
to this matter. Red flags should have gone up immediately in 2002 with the IRS claims rep when the
couple claimed to earn a mere $4 that year. RANTS to such horrific greed to start an offshore shell
corporation on a Carribbean island to try to hide the jing and waste more taxpayers' money and courts'
time when caught filing laughable not guilty pleas. Does anyone know what that $150,000 owed to the
IRS for almost a decade translates in grand total to in 2011, with those hefty IRS interest and penalities
applied? Enough, perhaps, to motivate someone to paddle on a raft from Florida to an off shore bank?
Neither a Rant nor a Rave, but this morning's laugh from the news to hear that most of Charlie Sheen's
Detroit audience wants a refund for his insulting and NOT funny debut "tour" show in the Motor City
last night. How could anyone who has seen and heard any one of his many, many bizarre webcast rants
expect quality entertainment from him? Why would anyone have wanted to buy a $75 ticket in the first
place to see the pathetic shell of a man, who truly was a good comic and serious actor when he had
quality writers and quality co-stars surrounding him? Charlie's not winning, in spite of the desperate
promotional campaign that even puts those goofy T shirts, bearing his likeness and the word
"WINNING," on sale in our little grocery store, way out here in the sticks.
Neither a Rant nor a Rave, but mention of feedback from two of the three Fayette County
Commissioners addressing some coffee shop chatter and faywest.com scuttlebutt. As for the talk of
courthouse radios galore being tuned in for an hour or two daily to a politically-charged area talk show
and claims that staff on worktime later update a county leader on callers' take on the upcoming
election, Commission Chairman Vince Zapotosky and Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink both state that
no public employee is later briefing them. "I have never been approached by county employee(s) during
work hours to brief me on the content of the any talk show. The taxpayers of this county deserve
professional service by professional people and the county work force does an outstanding job but policy
must be followed," so says Commissioner Zapotosky. Commissioner Zimmerlink replied "I can say no
employee is updating me... Political activity which includes election talk is forbidden during county
Additionally, both Zapotosky and Zimmerlink stated this week that they will investigate why at least one
county worker at public-funded IP 207 255 98 31, registered to their local mental health department,
again violated the zero-tolerance policy banning recreational internet usage on worktime. As noted in a
previous Rants, that IP showed up in this site's IP traffic data, reading here on 17Mar11 a few minutes
into the workday and again on 21Mar11, about thirty-three minutes or so before the end of a shift. Not
the couple thousand page hits as in the past, but still evident that policy is recently violated again.
RAAAAANTS that no reason was given -- and no rescheduled date is announced -- for last week's last
minute cancellation of the film premiere of "Guitars Over Cancer," at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood
Screening Room on April 2. The film that so many Pittsburgh music lovers already long to buy on DVD,
included a cream of the crop gathering last summer of the burgh's most gifted performers, singing and
playing their absolute hearts out, in tribute to the late guitar wizard Warren King. The June tribute
show is said to have raised over $12K for the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Susan G. Komen For The
Cure, The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Canine Cancer Founation. Lee Kann, aka Mr.
Lee, a DJ and radio producer who conceived the concert and film, offered no comment for the film's
last-minute cancellation. RANTS that stellar filmed performances that evening by the late sweet Glenn
Pavone, Gil Snyder, Don Hollowood, Shari Richards, James Dougherty, Bill Toms, Marc Reisman, Craig
King, Gary Beloma, Ernie Hawkins, Kenny Blake, Max Woodhall, Randall Troy, Frank Czuri, Tom
Valentine, Hermie Granati and Norman Nardini might not be released. The film also included '80s
footage of Warren with the Mystic Knights of the Sea, shot by Kann at the Decade and in the studios of
the former Magic-97-FM. It also included previously released footage (on Joe Grushecky's "A Good
Life" DVD) of Warren with the Iron City Houserockers at the Cleveland Agora, an early '90s interview
with him and a solo performance by him a month before he died of liver cancer in January, 2010. More
on this later... and in the meantime, say a prayer that the cancellation was due to low publicity and
ticket sales -- not some issue with copyright -- and that a rescheduled date will be announced. That so
many musicians rearranged schedules to gather for this 2010 "Guitars Over Cancer" benefit was
touching. That the late sweet Glenn Pavone pushed himself while undergoing his own chemotherapy to
be at this show, and again to appear the next month in tribute to Warren at the Pittsburgh Blues
Festival, makes it so very easy to beg to get this film project released.
Neither a Rant nor a Rave but a mention that former area musician Kurt Stevens, who played with Joan
Jett and The Throbs and was once managed by Houserocker Art Nardini, dropped by to say hello,
initially in search of Silencers' music, then some out of stock Norman Nardini stuff, and to update on his
own plans to relocate back here from NYC to form a band with Dave Granati. Raves that the burgh
seems to be getting another fine band, because there's always room for more. Click on the link on
Kurt's name above to listen to some of his recent work.
RAVES to readers here for all the positive feedback from the new expanded Fayette County PA
political/social commentary in the link at the bottom of this page. Feedback is noted and appreciated
from Fayette County Commission Chairman Vince Zapotosky and Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink.
This column strongly urges anybody who knows of deporable living conditions or people living with goats
to contact the courthouse if they cannot get through to a live person at any county agency that deals
with those issues (be it mental health, childrens' services) or city hall if it involved code violations with
no actions. This column recognizes that mental health issues often stop the truly needy from making
calls and that it's a sign of benign neglect to assume that we should wait for them to call in themselves.
RAVES to the quick-thinking 11-year-old Sage Encapera of Perryopolis, who reached over to steer the
family car safely off busy Rt. 51 in Menallen Township when her mom slumped over the wheel. Thinking
her mom was dead, the little girl calmly used one hand to check mom's pulse and the other to steer,
preventing the car from crossing over to the next lane and oncoming cars. She likely saved their lives as
well as others. Hers was such a welcome bit of news in a week or two period of other horribly mangled,
traffic double fatalities in Filbert and on Route 40, as well as a later double fatality on the same Rt 51
RAVES to the members of the National Rifle Association, who quickly left a county meeting in a show of
disgust over what they thought was a denial of private citizens to bear arms. Not so, they soon realized,
after hearing that a controversial rifle shooting range is too close to required 1,000-foor safety zone for
air traffic space at the Connellsville Airport. RANTS to the property owners not giving a hoot about the
safety of pilots and planes and trying to bully and cling to their "right" to have a friendly little family
shooting range not for profit. In reality, a D.C. company that trains government employees admits
about 3,000 shots are taken per visit and that weapons used are not standard hunting weapons. RANTS
that should a plane be shot at or someone in the sky be injured that taxpayers will get the bill for the
county's negligence in allowing the foolishness to continue one day beyond being informed that the
range is too close for safe airport traffic. RANTS to the county commissioner candidate/rifle shooting
range/property owner for not doing the right thing by prolonging the insanity. Move the darn range
already to another part of the property. The lack of concern over the safety of those in the air speaks
volumes about character. RAVES that the NRA and so much of the public saw right through it, but
RANTS that the county still let it continue at least till a June hearing date.
RANTS that the country and state are so broke, but that news today reports that the Internal Revenue Service
paid out more than a half-billion dollars in home buyer tax credits to people who probably did not qualify. Of
that total, about $326 million went to more than 47,000 taxpayers who did not qualify as first-time home
buyers because they had already owned homes. Even worse, other credits went to prison inmates, taxpayers
who bought homes before the credit was enacted, and people who did not actually buy homes. In the
Connellsville area, one mortgage broker trying to talk someone into buying a home to take advantage of the
$8,000 to first-time home buyer tax credit last year by explaining anyone can qualify if he hasn't owned a
home in the previous 3 years. RANTS that another piece of the Obama economic recovery package enacted in
2009 was such an outright waste.
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