Friday, October 24, 2014

BLUES N'AT

     Take cover, blues fans. There's going to be a showdown at Moondog's in Blawnox tomorrow night. A Guitar Showdown, that is. Jimmy Adler, Vince Agwada and Craig King will brandish their axes with some of the hottest licks this side of the Mississippi to aid Project Bundle Up. That's right, boys and girls. Three of Pittsburgh's best guitar-slingers are in action for your listening pleasure as they help raise money and awareness for a program that has been assisting needy children and seniors in the Pittsburgh area for almost 30 years.


      All three guitarists have been featured on the BSWPA's Blues from the 'Burgh CDs and are well-known to blues-fans all over the tri-state region and beyond. Jimmy Adler represented the BSWPA at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He has lit up stages from across the country and Europe with his super-charged fretwork, as well as bringing down the house at many Pittsburgh area gigs.


      Vince Agwada brings his high-powered blues to Pittsburgh by way of sweet home Chicago. After tearing up the scene in the Windy City for over 25 years, Vince decided to grace us with his hard-charging guitar style, blowing Pittsburgh audiences away every time he steps on the stage.


     Craig King is no stranger to Pittsburgh blues-lovers. He's been firing up blues fans for years with his fiery fretwork. Whether he's out front, leading his band or he's helping out other fellow musicians with a gig, Craig King amazes everyone with his astonishing guitar skills.


     Adler plus Agwada plus King equals out to three great guitarists and one fantastic, fun-filled evening of blues. And it's all for your listening pleasure tomorrow night at Moondog's. The doors open at 7 and the Showdown starts at 8. Come enjoy an evening of guitar-slinging blues and help support Project Bundle-Up, too. Until next time boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!







Thursday, October 23, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

Shave my face with a rusty razor, it's a great day for hockey! There will be panic in Detroit tonight as your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to faceoff against the Red Wings. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens, who lost last night to Philly 5-3, have dropped 2 of their last 3 games. Get back in the win column tonight! 2)Detroit is 1 of 2 teams in the NHL that have not been scored upon on the power play. Make those special teams special. Pack up the Goals, Goals, Goals for the road trip! 3)The Red Wings lost in OT Tuesday, 2-1 at Montreal. Kick 'em while they're down. Clip the Wings! Let's Go Pens!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

50-YARD LINE

We have a winner! That's right, your Pittsburgh Steelers came back from a 13-0 deficit on Monday Night Football to defeat the Houston Texans 30-23. Mrs. Black-N-Gold brings you the Good, the Bad & the Ugly from Monday night's win.

1)The Good-Oh there was a lot of good in the Steelers victory. The offense found the end zone! There were sacks and turnovers and trick plays. Oh my! What was really good is the fact that RB Le'Veon Bell rushed 12 times for 57 yards for a 4.8 yard average and caught 8 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. And WR Antonio Brown caught 9 passes for 90 yards and threw a touchdown pass. More and more these two are the premiere playmakers on the Steelers offense. Every time they touch the ball something big happens. They really are that good.

2)The Bad-I hate to be a wet blanket, but I just can't help myself. When the Steelers were down 13-0 was I the only one who figured to be in bed, fast asleep by 9:30? Yes the Steelers dug themselves out of a hole. No, they cannot afford to keep burying themselves like this. Come out ready, willing and able to play an entire 60 minute game, guys.

3)The Ugly-Yes, a win is a win. It was a fun game to watch after the 1st quarter. That being said, let us remember that is was the Houston Texans, the team that had the worst record in the NFL last year. Apart from DE JJ Watt, they don't have a lot. Their QB is Ryan Fitzpatrick, a guy who has bounced around this league trying to nail down a starting gig for many seasons. Punt returner Danieal Manning could not keep a handle on the football. Not to mention the fact that the Texans pulled a Steelers by penalizing themselves right out of the game. Yes, this win can be a building block to more wins and a confidence-builder. Just don't go dancing and jumping around just yet. Because.....

This Sunday the Steelers will have a better test of what they are. They play the AFC-South leading Indy Dolts, 5-2, led by QB Andrew Luck. This is a team that made the playoffs last season and will be a better barometer with which to take the Steelers temperature.

Meanwhile, enjoy the win as it moved the Steelers out of the AFC North basement. The standings are as follows: The Baltimorons won and sit in first place at 5-2. Cincy's loss drops them to 3-2-1 and second place. Your 4-3 Steelers are now #3 in the division. And bringing up the rear with their loss is the Clowns at 3-3. Can't wait to see the Steelers string together back-to-back wins. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


SLAP SHOTS

Great balls of fire, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against cross-state rivals the Philly Cryers tonight at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Philly comes into the game at #3 in the league averaging 3.4 goals per game. Guess who sits atop the league with an average of 4 goals per game? That's right, baby, the Pens. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)Philly also thinks their special because they're second in the NHL on the power play at a 31.8% clip. Not so fast, Philly. The Pens are rated #1 on the PP with 47.1%. Take advantage of the man-advantage! 3)The one aspect where the Pens are sorely lacking is on the penalty-kill where they're ranked 27th in the league with 72.7%. Tighten up that D and send the Cryers crying all the way back to Philly! Let's Go Pens!!!





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

THE BULLPEN

Play Ball! That cry will ring out tonight as the World Series gets under way. Yes, Mrs. Black-N-Gold is aware that her beloved Pittsburgh Pirates will not be participating in the Fall Classic (we'll get 'em next year!). However, she is going to attempt to scientifically predict the victor of the matchup between the San Fran Giants and the KC Royals. Prepare to be impressed.

Food-Here is some food for thought regarding the two World Series participants. San Francisco, of course, brought the world Rice-A-Roni, dubbed the San Francisco treat. Kansas City, meanwhile, is famous for it's barbeque. It is home to the world-famous Arthur Bryant's Barbeque. Let's see, rice or bbq? Point for KC.

Music-Mrs. Black-N-Gold is a big Grateful Dead fan. The Dead hailed from the Haight-Ashbury section of San Fran. San Francisco is was also made famous in songs by both Tony Bennett, who left his heart in San Francisco, and Scott McKenzie who wants you to know that if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair. San Fran is also home to '80s hit-makers Journey. We even caught a glimpse of former lead singer Steve Perry celebrating amongst the fans in the stands. The only musical contributions from Kansas City that I am aware of is the fact that some youngster named Lorde wrote a hit for herself called "Royals". Apparently, young Lorde was inspired by a picture she had seen of George Brett in National Geographic. And we can't forget the Leiber & Stoller R&B hit, "Kansas City" that was covered by both Little Richard and the Beatles. It's a close one, and I wanted to take points away from San Fran for Journey but the Grateful Dead win out. Point for San Fran.

Famous Fans-Upon his passing this past summer, there was mention of the fact that the late Robin Williams was a huge Giants fan. San Fran also hosted WWE star Daniel Bryan to pump up the crowd  before a playoff game. Word is that actor Paul Rudd is a KC fan. The Internet says that he was born in New Jersey but attended the University of Kansas. He even invited everyone to his mother's house after the Royals won the pennant. Then there is SungWoo Lee, the South Korean who suffered like the rest of the Royals fans lo these many years. Lee captured the attention of fellow Royals fans when it became known that he'd followed the team's exploits, while living in South Korea, since the 1990s. They even brought him over for his first visit this past summer. He's expected to make the trip again to see KC in the Series. I know, I know, Robin Williams was an Oscar-winning actor. Still, I like the story of the South Korean fan. Point for KC.

Legendary Players-San Fran has many. There are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal. They also have some jagoff named Bonds who has yet to be voted into the Hall. KC has George Brett and.....that's about it. I still remember when Brett went ballistic in the Pine Tar Game. Sorry, George. That's not enough. Point San Fran.

Let's see. It's all tied up at 2-2. Whatever is Mrs. Black-N-Gold to do? Bottom line is San Fran knocked the Pirates out of the postseason with that 8-0 thumping in the Wild Card game. And, like Lorde, I like the Royals blue/white color scheme. I'm probably putting the jinx on but I'm sticking to my call. Let's Go KC!

Monday, October 20, 2014

50-YARD LINE

Here we go Steelers, here we go! Your Pittsburgh Steelers return to Heinz Field tonight for Monday Night Football as they look to get back in the win column versus the Houston Texans. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Steelers are next to last in the league with a 36.8% red-zone touchdown percentage. The joke all week has been who will score the most points, the Steelers offense or Houston DE JJ Watt. The Steelers will never find the win column if they don't find the end-zone. Stop leaving points on the field. Score early, score often, score BIG! 2)The Steelers offensive line has given up 17 sacks, 2nd in the NFL. Expectations were high for this unit with the hiring of offensive line coach Mike Munchak. They'll have their hands full with Watt, a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year. QB Ben Roethlisberger will need to keep his head on a swivel and his feet moving to avoid the rush. The Steelers my also want to keep TE Heath Miller home to help keep Ben clean. Protect the QB and protect this house! 3)The Steelers defense has allowed pass plays of 30+ yards 10 times this season while also allowing runs of 20+ yards 6 times in 6 games. Unimpressive stats, to be sure. CB Cortez Allen will not start because of poor play. He'll be replaced by former Texan Brice McCain. Also, rookie DL Stephon Tuitt and Daniel McCullers are expected to see action for the defense. I hope these changes are the shot in the arm the Steelers defense so sorely needs. Hit 'em early, hit 'em often, hit 'em HARD! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

SPORTS & THE CITY

     While watching a recent "Sex & the City" marathon, Mrs. Black-N-Gold got to wondering: What if she were Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrier Bradshaw? And instead of "Sex & the City", she wrote a column called "Sports & the City". It could be based on the teams that she loves, instead of the men. The city, of course, would be the City of Champyinz, Pittsburgh, not NYC. Carrie can keep the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Madison Square Garden. We've got PNC Park, Heinz Field and Consol Energy Center. I could trade cosmopolitans for Iron City and Manolo Blahniks for Black-N-Gold. Hmmm.

     Steelers-This is a rock-solid relationship that is, unfortunately, beginning to show cracks. Mrs. Black-N-Gold is feeling taken for granted as the Steelers have become undisciplined and unfocused through the years. Mrs. Black-N-Gold would never think of cheating on the Steelers, but feels that the relationship needs a bit of a change. The Steelers have tried to inject youth into the mix, it's just taking a little longer to gel than expected. Clearly, if Mrs. Black-N-Gold is going to receive a 7th ring from the Steelers, she will need to exhibit patience, and the Steelers will, obviously, need to re-commit to making this relationship work by focusing on the task at hand and raising the bar for the standard.

     Penguins-Mrs. Black-N-Gold keeps things on the back-burner when it comes to the Penguins. She knows that she shouldn't but can't help herself. Hockey season begins during the MLB postseason and when the NFL is under way. She usually holds out until the cold winter months hit and she's looking for companionship on a lonely, freezing evening. However, the spark has been re-ignited recently. There's a dashing new man behind the bench and the team has an exciting, revitalized mix of players. Mrs. Black-N-Gold would love to keep seeing the Penguins well into the summer, as long as Marc-Andre Fleury and the penalty-kill don't break her heart.

     Pirates-This is a romance that has spanned decades. It's been on-again, off-again. Ok, I'm in denial. It was mostly off-again for a little over twenty years. But lately, things are looking up. We've been seeing the Pirates late into the regular season, and have even made it to the postseason together the last two years. Is this a tease and will we end up with our hearts broken and a cubic zirconia? Or will Bob Nutting buy us that bobble at Tiffany's that we've so wanted for so long? A girl can dream, can't she?

     To paraphrase Carrie Bradshaw, the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with your sports teams. And if the teams you love, return that love in the form of championships, well, that's just fabulous! Lets Go Steelers!!!!!! Let's Go Pens!!! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!