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Hi, it’s Dave H. and I just want to reach out to one special viewer, the sister of Renee Knippling Coon who lives in the Pittsburgh area and watches our show.

Dave H

Renee tells me you don’t believe we went to Seton-LaSalle High School together?

We did!

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Welcome to da Blog

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dave-dave-033So now that it’s April and we have taken over WQED’s Neighborhood channel this month, you may be visiting our website and our blog for the very first time.  If so, welcome, take your coat off, put your zebra-striped snuggie on and stay awhile.

First off, since 4 of our 1 hour specials are airing during April, the first thing you should know is you can find links, web-exclusive video clips, and photos for each show by clicking on the SHOWS tab from the left side of the page.  There are some fun clips that we couldn’t fit into the show so check them out.

Next up, we have over 40 videos on demand on our “video Ipod” and you can get to that by clicking the VIDEO button.  There are a number of videos that never made a Saturday-night show, so scroll through the list for some fun stuff from the archives.

And for our last two shows, Strange Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh N’at, we have lots of behind-the-scenes posts in this blog.  Look on the right side of the screen under ‘categories’ to find a show, or just keep scrolling through to see all of our ramblings.

If you’ve ever wondering when something was going to air, or when we will be out and about in the area, just bookmark our main page because we always have our schedule listed.

For more twisted information, click on the DOSSIER and you’ll be able to learn fascinating tidbits like what 3 things are in my fridge and what Dave H’s favorite color is. 

And for twisted bits of wisdom, check out our cameraman Frank’s words of wisdom on the left side of each page.  It’s called Frank’s Corner.

So enjoy and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or facts about Guam, let us know by clicking on the CONTACT button or by visiting us on Facebook or Twitter. 

You may now return your tray tables to their upright position.  – Dave R




10 posts in 10 days – Fight the Power

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So this is the end of March Blogness, but please, don’t be so sad.  Actually, writing 10 posts in 10 days was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I now have a new appreciation for the folks who do this everyday.  Thank god I didn’t go with my original idea of 30 in 30 or I’d be in the loony bin.  So for this last post, I’ve been struggling to come up with something to write about.  Do I write it like a season finale and end with a cliff hanger?  Do I just write something and stop in the middle with a cut to black like the last episode of the Sopranos?  Can I get the rights to use a Journey song?  Oh nevermind.

Well, I didn’t want to end like it this but, there is one thing going on right now that is pretty important.  Governor Ed Rendell has decided to zero out funding for Pennsylvania PBS stations in his new budget proposal.  Not cut funding – ELIMINATE IT.  So that may not seem like a big deal but if it happens, that means WQED will lose $1.1 million dollars.  Let me tell you, $1.1 million dollars is a HUGE deal.  Think about your home budget and then subtract $1.1 million dollars.  How do you make that up?  Take a guess.  If this goes through, there will be some big changes coming to this building, and one of them will probably be the end of our show.

If it wasn’t for state funding, we would not have produced our 3 statewide specials Eat Pennsylvania, Offbeat Museums, and Strange Pennsylvania.  State funding is a huge factor in making OnQ possible and if OnQ isn’t around, neither is Dave & Dave.

So I know the economy is in the dumps right now and everyone needs to make cuts, but is this really the place to do it?  You know how much it costs you in taxes to keep QED around?  Take a guess.  It costs you 10 cents.  10 cents for crying out loud!  And at least you can turn on your TV anytime you want and see where your 10 cents is going.  Good luck seeing where else your state tax dollars are going.

So I didn’t want to end this all doom and gloom but there is something you can do about it and it’s very easy.  The final budget won’t be passed for a few months so until then, drop a quick e-mail to the governor and say you want funding to remain for WQED and the other PBS stations around the commonwealth.  Let your voice be heard.  Here’s his address governor@state.pa.us.  If you know the emails of any of your state senators or congressmen, drop them an email as well.  If you’re like me and you’re not sure who your representative is, click here and find out -http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfmI’ve worked at QED for over 15 years now, and it seems like we have to go through this every couple years.  Some bureaucrat decides he doesn’t like something he saw on our channel so he tries to send a message by cutting our funding.  But I believe (and since I work inside here I know for a fact) that public television is one of the best values you can get for your tax dollars.  I won’t go on and on about why PBS is so great, but if you like our little show, help us out and let the state government know.

Thanks, and hopefully next March we’ll be around to figure out how to fill out 10 more blog posts in 10 days.

No big TV stars with the same first name of a locally produced show were harmed in any way during the writing of this blog.  Well, there is a little carpal-tunnel thing going on, but its not too bad.  – Dave R



10 posts in 10 days – Pgh. Trivia Part 2

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Welcome back to the latest game show craze overtaking the country – Who want to be a Millionaire and a 5th Grader?!   That’s the working title for now.  Before we get to today’s questions, let me first give a plug for the book that I’m stealing all these questions.  The book is called Ultimate Pittsburgh Trivia by Dane Topich and it is awesome.  We actually used questions from the book when we did our “Is Pittsburgh Smarter than a 5th Grader?” show.  And, if you wanted a copy of this book for your very own, we just happen to offer it on the WQED website.  How’s that for cross-promotion baby!?!  Click here to check it out – http://www.wqed.org/genl/shop/pgh_books.shtml

Ok, time to get on with the show.  Here are 5 more questions to test your knowledge of Da Burgh.

1.  What does WPIAL stand for?

Answer:  You know I’ve seen these initials all my life and never even thought about it.  I actually guessed at this one but I was wrong.  The answer is not “women playing in a lake” or “worldly people in atrocious leggings.”  The real answer actually is Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.  Yeah, that makes sense.  It was formed in 1906. 

2.  Why are all the fire hydrants within the city of Pittsburgh painted either red, yellow or green?

Answer:  I never noticed this before so I decided to ask my dog Jake since he pays closer attention to fire hydrants than I do.  He knew the answer but I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  The colors indicate the size of the main waterlines that feed the hydrants.  That way, firefighters know instantly how much water pressure is at a particular hydrant.  For example, green indicates a 24-inch line.  How about that?  My dog was right.

3.  In what year did Pittsburgh have its highest population?

Answer:  We are constantly bombarded by the media telling us how much our city is shrinking and how everyone is moving away.  On the positive side, the lines at the Penn Brewery are a lot shorter now.  Pittsburgh was most populated in 1950.  There were 676,806 people who lived here back then.  In 2000, that number was down to 369, 879.  By now it’s probably like 26.

4.  How many stories tall is Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning?

Answer:  Before we get to the answer, construction of the building began in September of 1926 and wasn’t finished until 1937.  Apparently, Frank Lloyd Wright thought the building was hideous, but who’s he?  One other thing, the building is missing a floor.  Apparently it has no 39th floor.  Man, it would be fun to tell some freshmen on their first day of class that their classroom in on the 39th floor.  Anyhoo, the answer is 42 stories tall.  That’s a lot of stories.  Here’s another fact about the Cathedral – I haven’t been to any of those stories and I work about 3 blocks away.  I really have to get out more!

5.  Which university has the largest endowment?

Answer:  Ok, the question should be who had the largest endowment in 2004, because I’m sure with the economy the way it is, their endowment probably sits around 10 bucks now.  The answer is Pitt which had $1.4 billion in their endowment in 2004.  CMU was 2nd with $815 million.  So why do they raise tuition every year and why is a text book $50 bucks?!?  One last question, does this mean that Pitt is well-endowed?  I’m jealous.

Once again, a big thanks to Dane Topich and his book Ultimate Pittsburgh Trivia.   Did I mention you can buy this book by simply clicking on the following link?!?  http://www.wqed.org/genl/shop/pgh_books.shtml.  Isn’t technology wonderful?  Tomorrow, it’s the grand finale of my 10 blog posts in 10 days.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can hear the crowd at the finish line.  I can see fireworks…well, it’s Pittsburgh, of course I can see fireworks.

No Pittsburgh steel barons were harmed in any way during the writing of this blog.  It’s probably because they’re all dead, but I’m just sayin.

- Dave R

10 posts in 10 days – Pgh. Trivia Part 1

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I love game shows.  And when I’m playing in my living room by myself, I’m unstoppable.  I routinely win both showcases on The Price is Right.   I consistently double my money in Final Jeopardy and I always get big bucks and no whammys.  Card Sharks, Family Feud, Match Game…Game over!

But the only problem is, when you turn off your TV to read another awesome blog post by yours truly, you don’t have the chance to win a fabulous genuine simulated-wood dining room set, or a spacious waterbed, or a trip to exciting Acapulco.  Well, that’s about to change.  I’m giving you a chance to test your knowledge of Pittsburgh.  Will you shine or will you be the weakest link?  It’s time to find out on…..Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, or a 1st Grader for that Matter?  (Cue the fancy music and lighting effects!)

Ok, actually there are no 5th graders who could possibly get any of these questions right, but I needed a title.  Here we go:

1.  In square feet, what is Western Pennsylvania’s biggest shopping center?
Answer:  This is a tricky one.  You’re probably thinking the traditional mall route like Ross Park Mall or Pittsburgh Mills.  Well, the answer is The Waterfront which has 1.5 million square feet.  To me, it feels like the inside of Dave & Busters is 1.5 million square feet.

2.  What does the beacon on top of the Grant Building in downtown Pittsburgh spell at night?

Answer:  Before we get to the answer, here’s what it doesn’t spell; 

Cleveland Sucks

Go Stillers

Give me more fireworks

James Harrison is god

I love chipped ham

Damn it’s cold up here

And the answer is…P-I-T-T-S-B-U-R-G-H.  The building has been sending the signal since it opened in 1927.

3.  Who was the host of WTAE-TV’s Bowling for Dollars?

Answer:  You remember Bowling for Dollars right?  I remember loving this show as a kid and I’m surprised no one has tried to bring it back.  Maybe not bowling, maybe Jarts for Dollars or Curling for Cash would be better.  Anyhoo, the host of Bowling for Dollars was Nick Perry.  You also may remember Mr. Perry for something else but I won’t get into that here.

4.  How many panes of glass are in the six building complex at PPG headquarters downtown?

Answer:  This is an easy one and I can’t believe you haven’t answered yet!  Want a hint?  The answer is between 19,749 and 19,751.  Yes!  You got it!  There are 19,750 panes of glass.  I have always wanted to do a pick-up game of baseball in that courtyard.

5.  Ok, here’s an easy one.  The submarine USS Requin is docked on the Allegheny River next to the Carnegie Science Center.  Is it longer or shorter than a football field?

Before I tell you the answer, Dave and & were actually kicked off that sub for fencing.  Yes, you read that correctly, fencing.  In our defense, there was no sign.  Ok, the answer is, it is longer than a football field – 11 feet, 8 inches longer than a football field.  But, if you can’t fence on the sub, you probably can’t play football either.

How’d you do?  Well, tomorrow I’ll give you a chance to redeem yourself.

Alex Trebek was not harmed in any way during the writing of this blog.  –  Dave R


10 posts in 10 days – BEER!

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but a number of our shows over the years have been about beer.  Beer glorious beer.  So I guess the secret is out, we like beer.  And what we’ve found here in Pittsburgh is a rich environment for the frosty beverage, so let’s talk about some of the great stops that need to be on your Burgh Beer Map.

iron-cityWhen you talk about Pittsburgh beer, whether you like it or not, you have to start at the Iron City Brewery.  They been in and out of financial trouble over the years, and you should probably never provide them with water because they won’t pay you back, but Iron City beer is Pittsburgh.  Of course, the most brilliant marketing ploy was putting our sports teams on their cans.  When we were there, at the end of our shoot they left us alone in their Oberbrau house with free beer on tap – I’m surprised we ever left.  I highly recommend their Augustiner beer.  www.ironcitybrewingcompany.com


church-1A few doors up Liberty Avenue from the brewery sits one of the best micro-brew places in the city, the Church Brew Works.  Ok, for an old catholic-school kid like myself, drinking in a beautiful old church riddles me with guilt, but after one, you get over it.  The inside is spacious and the beer is tasty, but unfortunately it is so nice that the crowds are getting a little too big.  www.churchbrew.com


penn-brewAnother great micro-brew place is Penn Brewery on the North Side.  You can always find 4 great beers on tap; Gold, Dark, Pilsner and Weizen.  Dave H always gets the Dark, I always get the Pilsner.  We’ve been quite fortunate to be celebrity bartenders at the brewery over the past few years for Animal Friends and it’s always one of the highlights of our summer.  Here’s an idea; on a warm summer night, head down there and sit in the outside beer garden while sipping your Penn Dark or Penn Pilsner, and don’t forget to order some authentic German food.  It’s the best.  www.pennbrew.com


dave-r-pics-021On a slightly smaller scale is the East End Brewing Company comprised of one – yes, one – employee named Scott Smith.  Scott doesn’t run a brewpub, just a tiny little Point Breeze brewery that churns out delicious beer.  But you can’t pop in there anytime you want, you have to time it for the few hours per week that he lets people come in to fill up their growlers.  In case you were wondering, growlers are just really big jugs of beer.  We like to call it the micro-ist brewery around.  www.eastendbrewing.com


sharp-edge-1If you like Belgian beer, than you have to head to the Sharp Edge in Friendship. (They’ve opened a few other locations that might be nearer to you so check out their website.)  You would be hard-pressed to find a bar that has more beers on tap than the Sharp Edge and my favorite thing about it, for each Belgian beer they have on tap, they have a special glass that it is served in.  It makes you feel classy.  Ok, the beer is a bit pricey so if you’re heading out with plans to drink in volume, you might not want to head here.  But if you are adventurous in your beer drinking, make this a priority.  www.sharpedgebeer.com


One of our favorite discoveries has been D’s Six Packs & Dogz in Regent Square.  The main drew here besides the Chicago dog and the great root beer on tap, is the beer cellar in back.  You can buy beer by the bottle, mix and match your own six packs, and they got over 900 different beers to try out.  And since they’ve expanded into the building next door, getting a table is more do-able.  Since we shot there a number of years ago, a bunch of similar places have sprung up across the region.  Someday we hope to visit them all.  http://www.regentsquare.net/ds6pax.html


north-country-1And here is one more location for you to visit but it requires you to hop on I-79 North and driving to Slippery Rock.  It’s called North Country Brewing and is run by Bob and Jodi McCafferty.   They brew a bunch of their own beers and I would recommend you get the sampler which will give you a small glass of each to see which one is your favorite.  I liked the Station 33 Firehouse Red.  But their building is even better than the beer.  It was constructed in the early 1800’s and the McCafferty’s renovated beginning in 1998.  Take a walk around the building to see all the different wood carvings throughout the space.  It’s amazing!  Their outside beer garden is pretty nice as well.  It’s well worth the hour drive north.  www.northcountrybrewing.com

So there are a few recommendations for your next beer tour of Pittsburgh.  Hopefully soon we’ll make it over to the new Hofbrau Haus at the Southside Works.  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

No hops were harmed in any way during the writing of this blog.


10 posts in 10 days – CMU

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I don’t know about you, but when I think of Carnegie Mellon University or CMU, I think of engineers, computers, expensive text books and pocket protectors.  And yes, they produced a lot of computer experts and engineers but, until a few years ago, I never realized what a big-time theater school CMU has sitting right next door to us here in Oakland.  For one week every year, WQED donates our big Studio A to their School of Drama, and it’s begins today.  Seniors with the college write, act, build sets, shoot, and direct their own short plays and we tape them for their future resume reels.cmu-005


 Did you know that CMU’s School of Drama was founded in 1914 and is the oldest actor-training program in the country.  In addition to the week-long taping they do here every year, they also have a showcase in New York and LA for their students to show off their skills for industry big shots.  And the proof is in the pudding.  Check out just some of the famous alumni who have come out of CMU.  Are you ready for this?

Ted Danson from Cheers and Becker

Rob Marshall, Oscar nominated director of Chicago

Jack Klugman

George Romero

John Wells, creator of The West Wing and ER

Blair Underwood

Laura San Giacomo

Holly Hunter

Cherry Jones, currently playing the President on 24

Judith Light

Steven Bochco, of Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and L.A. Law fame

Rene Auberjonois

Barbara Feldon


Frank Gorshin

Zachary Quinto, Sylar on NBC’s Heroes

Josh Groban

And that’s just the really famous people.  There’s plenty more, so that’s pretty cool.  On the downside, all of these future stars are walking through our parking lot so I hope I don’t hit them with my car.

No Tartans were harmed in any way during the writing of this blog, yet.  – Dave R  

10 posts in 10 days – Deep Thoughts

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deep-thoughtsIt’s Sunday and I’m officially half way through my 10 posts in 10 days.  Since it’s Sunday, and you probably skipped church, I thought I could give you some things to think about, reflect upon, and put into use.  Here are some Deep Thoughts:


It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. “Oh, no,” I said. “Disneyland burned down.” He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can’t scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you’re coming home his face might burn up.

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we’d all pile into the car – I forget what kind it was – and drive and drive. I’m not sure where we’d go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called “Dad.” We’d eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”

If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong, though. It’s Hambone.

If you go parachuting, and your parachute doesn’t open, and your friends are all watching you fall, I think a funny gag would be to pretend you were swimming.

Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling.

Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.

Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, we should be thinking about getting more use out of the ones we already have.

I think a good gift for the President would be a chocolate revolver. And since he is so busy, you’d probably have to run up to him real quick and give it to him.

Just because swans mate for life, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. First of all, if you’re a swan, you’re probably not going to find a swan that looks much better than the one you’ve got, so why not mate for life?

If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid looking in a mirror, because I bet that will really throw you into a panic.

Sometimes I think I’d be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.

Jack Handey was not harmed during the writing of this blog.


10 posts in 10 days – the best Sitcom of all time

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Sometimes our show is funny.  Of course my Mom tells me all the time we used to be a lot funnier than we are now.  Boom – roasted!  So that got me to thinking what are the funniest shows of all time?  And since I’m at blog post #4 of 10, I need to fill some space. So, as I see it, here are the top 5 sitcoms of all time:seinfeld

1. Seinfeld  It’s not even close.  The most quotable show of all time and for some reason, it seems like there is no situation in life where you can’t dig up a Seinfeld reference.  Season 4 was by far the best when they were writing the pilot for NBC, in fact, it may have been the most perfect season in sitcom history.mash

2. M*A*S*H*  Yeah, it got a bit preachy at the end and the series finale – while being the most watched program in TV history – was extremely lame.  But, it was also one of the best written shows of all time and had more jokes per square inch than just about any other.  Ferret Face – c’mon!  That’s gold Jerry!cheers     

3. Cheers  The whole Sam-Dianne thing got in the way of a lot of humor but the sight the George and Cliffy sitting at the bar makes me laugh every time.  I still have always wanted to order a Screaming Viking when I walked into a bar.  And yes, I would want my cucumber bruised.


4. The Office It’s only a few years old, but it is already one of the best ever.  Like Cheers, the Pam-Jim relationship gets in the way of humor, but there’s still enough left over to please.  And Dwight K. Schrute is a TV classic, much like Kramer from Seinfeld.

homer-135. The Simpsons  It’s been on the air for 20 years, and somehow, it is still funny.  Homer Simpson may be the funniest character ever on television.  Doh!

And here are 6 more that are great but just missed the cut in my mind:

 arr-development6.  Arrested Development   I was really pissed when FOX axed this show.  Very funny and very clever.  This is one of those shows like The Office and 30 Rock that needed a year or two on the air to find an audience but typical network executives – if it doesn’t get immediate ratings, it’s gone no matter what the quality.  Makes me have a hankerin’ for frozen bananas.



sunny-philly7. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia  This is actually my favorite comedy on TV right now.  Unfortunately, FX only airs the new episodes and never the repeats so you have to wait 10 months between seasons.  Still, it’s worth the wait because this show is like Seinfeld on crack.  Get the DVD box set of the 1st two seasons and you won’t be disappointed.

30-rock8. 30 Rock  Thank you NBC for allowing this show and The Office time to find an audience.  From Day 1, this has been a great show thanks to Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin.  “I want to go to there.”



 9. Curb Your Enthusiasm  Larry David is god.  And on HBO, his demented mind can go ever farther than it could on Seinfeld.  Cringe-worthy humor every week.

10. South Park  I have to admit I don’t watch this show as much as I used to, but when it first came on the scene, there was nothing like it.  Poor Kenny.

11.  The Larry Sanders Show  This is a blast from the past, but another very funny show that you don’t hear much about.  It’s probably the only show I liked with Gary Shandling.  Ok, it was probably the only thing he was in.

Feel free to add you comments if you see something that is missing.  The sitcom genre went away for a while but seems to be coming back.  Dave H insists I start watching The Big Bang Theory but I just can’t get into it, and, I think I can find a Seinfeld reference for why I can’t watch it – “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Kenny was not harmed during the writing of this blog, although he was later killed.  You bastards!  - Dave R



10 posts in 10 days – I’m dying here

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Ok, so when I bragged about making 10 posts in 10 days, maybe I didn’t think it through.  I can get through to Monday but them I’m in trouble.   Perhaps you have questions, I can answer them like Dear Abby does.   Anyone?  Bueller…Bueller…

So if you have any ideas, let your voice be heard now.  And no, this doesn’t count among the 10, although….