Select Photos Two

Oh boy, oh boy.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Fall in Pittsburgh!  Time to get out there and snap a few photos … in the meantime, here are a few more photos from the archives.  As always, feel free to download and use them for whatever.  Mi photos es su photos.  And if you’d like a high res photo, send me a message and I’ll hook a brotha’ or a sista’ up (or a transgender; I don’t discriminate).


July 18, 2009
Oak tree. One of my favorite hangout / hideout spots behind the house where I grew up.
Shanksville, PA

September 13, 2010
Former YMCA / Current Y Lofts under construction
Scouted for the movie “One For The Money”
120 S Whitfield St
East Liberty, PA (Pittsburgh)

November 1, 2009
Moraine State Park
Portersville, PA

October 24, 2010
Picnic area at Seven Springs Four Seasons Resort
Village Drive
Champion, PA

November 27, 2009
Unity United Church of Christ graveyard just after a snowstorm
2074 Huckleberry Highway
Berlin, PA

October 21, 2010
Windmill Farm
Entrance Dr / Route 160
Friedens, PA (Near Shanksville)

April 16, 2011
GAYNGS concert
Coachella Music Festival
Indio, CA (Near Palm Springs)

June 20, 2008
Sunset at Harriet Street (Behind the Island Studio Soundstage)
McKees Rocks, PA

November 7, 2011
Antoni Gaudi’s “La Sagrada Familia”
Barcelona, Spain

July 4, 2012
4th of July fireworks display
Renziehausen (Renzie) Park
McKeesport, PA.

May 18, 2009
Taken in the field behind the house I grew up in.
Shanksville, PA

September 29, 2012
Sunrise at Moraine State Park (North Shore Boat Launch)
Portersville, PA

September 19, 2012
Old farmhouse and horse barn
Scouted for the movie “American Pastoral” to be filmed next year
Worthington, PA

February 1, 2010
Streets of Georgetown
Georgetown, Washington D.C.

November 3, 2011
Basle, Switzerland

An Essay by Ralph: How Was My Summer Vacation?


How Was My Summer Vacation?
By Ralph

Probably the single most best thing that happened to me this summer was goin to the ZZ Top concert with my Gram, Uncle Rodger, and two of my counsins.  Pap didn’t go cause he says listenin to that kind of crap gives him ulcers.  Uncle Rodger kept urking him on and calling him Suzie Q, but I just says, “Fine. Pap don’t want to go see the greatest rock band of all time, then it’s his loss Uncle Rodger.”

You shoulda seen it.  ZZ Top was just beltin out one classic hit after another, but there was this one song that I really wanted them to play, so I finally screamed it out, “Why don’t yins play Pearl Necklace!” And sure enough, seven songs later, what song do they start playing?  Pearl Necklace.  Uncle Rodger told me, “Hey queerbait.  Do you even know what a pearl necklace is?”  I says, “What do you think?  That I was born in a cave and raised by friendly wolves?  Of course I know what a pearl necklace is.”  He argued that no I don’t.  He leans in so Gram can’t hear and he tells me, “A pearl necklace is when a guy splooges on a woman’s neck.”

So now I know what a pearl necklace is.  I guess you learn something new everyday, especially with my idiotic Uncle Rodger around, that’s for sure.   So how was your summer Mrs. McMinn?  Did you take any cool vacations?


Ralph received the following note on his essay from his 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. McMinn:

Ralph, comments like these are appalling. I spoke with the Principal about your behavior, and we will be having a conference meeting concerning this matter.

Select Photos

It seems like everyone is a photographer nowadays.  Every time I get on Facebook, somebody has started a new photography business.  It use to annoy me – buy a nice camera, aim it at some pretty stuff, and suddenly that makes you a professional photographer –  but now I think it’s great.  I say the more photographers the merrier, because the saying “it’s a small world after all,” that’s just some bullshit Disney saying that somebody made up anyhow.  It’s a great, big, ginormous world after all, and there’s not enough time for a person to see everything.  So when somebody can take some nice photos and really capture a moment, take you to the top of a 15,000 foot cliff, or place you along a peaceful river bank to watch the sunrise, I’m all for it.

Go on shutterbugs.  Fire away.  I just have one bone to pick, however.   If you insist on incorporating a flower into your logo, or if you dot your i’s with hearts, or if your flyer looks like an 8 year old made it during arts and crafts at summer camp for mentally challenged children, than I can’t take your photography business seriously.   Sorry.  That’s just the way it is.  Maybe you should take up selling scented candles or tupperware instead.  Oh my gosh, was that mean?  I’m sorry.  I woke up at, like, 4 o’clock this morning and I have to work all day today with these folks from Toronto.  Ugh.  Folks from Toronto.

I’m not a professional photographer, but I do enjoy having an excuse to get outside and to see things in a different light, so I take photos from time to time.  Feel free to steal them and use them for whatever.  And if you’d like a high res photo, shoot me a message and I’m sure we could work it out.  Like maybe a high res photo for an Arby’s sandwich, or something like that.  I’m a pretty reasonable guy AS LONG AS IT’S NOT 4 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING.  Gotta go.  Toodles (by the way, is that not the worst expression ever?  Toodles.” Talk about a total barf-o-rama.  I think it’s time to go get some coffee now…)

September 19, 2010
Sunrise at Moraine State Park
Portersville, PA

March 4, 2010
The Coliseum
Rome, Italy
Taken during a two week vacation to Italy with my Mom.

March 20, 2011
Cap Haitien, Haiti
Taken during a one week medical and food relief mission trip to Haiti.

November 27, 2009
The Glessner Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge Road
Stonycreek, PA

November 12, 2010
Field in Shanksville, PA

September 26, 2010
Sacred Heart Parish Catholic Church
310 Shady Ave
Pittsburgh, PA

September 20, 2011
Goldenrod Field
Lake Arthur Water Tower
Portersville, PA

October 31, 2011
Town fair at Basel, Switzerland

March 21, 2011
St. Thomas More Church
126 Fort Couch Rd
Pittsburgh, PA
Taken during scouting for the movie “The Perks of Being A Wallflower.”

July 31, 2010
Wolf Rocks Hiking Trail
Linn Run State Park
Ligonier, PA

September 21, 2010
Dawn at Raccoon Creek State Park
Clinton, PA

October 11, 2011
Skull Bluff
Buffalo River National Park

March 20, 2011
Cap Haitien, Haiti
Taken during a one week medical and food relief mission trip to Haiti.

January 9, 2010
Laurel Mountain Ski Resort
Ligonier, PA

June 24, 2012
Windmill Farm
Wills Church Rd
Somerset, PA

Introducing Ralph

Hi there my fellow dimwits.  I wanted to take a minute to introduce my big eared, snaggletoothed, lazy-eyed, bib overall, John Deere hat wearing friend, Ralph.

Ralph is my alter ego that I created about 6 years ago during the MySpace days.  I’m not so sure someone like me needs an alter ego, but Ralph just sorta happened like all great, happy accidents seem to do (isn’t that right Mom and Dad!).  I started Photoshopping my head onto the bodies of random photos that I found on the internet, mashed up the face a bit, played with the teeth a little, crossed up the eyes, and BOOM.  Ralph was born.

I created a MySpace and began posting funny photos, poems, essays, and letters that Ralph had written to people like the President, the Pope, his pastor, girlfriends, high school teachers, Chuck Woolery, and to the management of Ralph’s all time favorite restaurant – Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I also created a fake TV show called “Late Knight With Ralph” that Ralph filmed in his grandparents’ wood paneled basement with the help of his sweet 70 year old Gram acting as the camera operator and Ralph taking on the role of host.

Ralph would try to get famous guests on his show like Oprah Winfrey and Hulk Hogan, but he didn’t have a lot of success in the way of recruiting, so he would have to settle for interviewing whoever he could manage to scrounge up in his local neighborhood, like the post man or his crude, combative Uncle Rodger.   I would post the transcripts from the Late Knight show to Ralph’s MySpace.  It was pretty stinking hilarious.

Ralph had built up a bit of a cult following on MySpace.  He had fans from all over the US and a few fans from across the globe.  I never realized just how popular Ralph had gotten until I was working on a movie called “Smart People” in Pittsburgh.   I was talking with the production designer and somehow Ralph came up in conversation.  The designer mentioned that his high school son was a huge fan of Ralph, and he asked me if I had ever seen the Ralph MySpace.  I was kind of taken aback.  I told the him, “Yeah, I’m actually quite familiar with the site.  This is going to sound a little strange, but I’m Ralph.  I’m the guy who created the Ralph MySpace page.”

The designer was floored.  He called his son to tell him that he’s working on a movie with Ralph.  I ended up mailing his son a special gift and signed a card that included a silly note from his mischievous, snaggletoothed hero.

It was all really strange for me to be perfectly honest.  I was just some dude who sat in his bedroom writing goofy letters and making silly images on my laptop during my spare time.  I’m not sure what happened.  I guess I got overwhelmed, or felt guilty that I couldn’t respond to all the comments and messages.  It was all too much really, and I felt a tremendous sense of burden to entertain everyone.  One night, I took the MySpace site down completely.  Poof.  Just like that, Ralph was no more.

I don’t know why, but I guess I’ve been missing my hillbilly alter ego friend lately.  It was a little sad the way I had killed Ralph off without a proper goodbye to his fans.  I don’t know that I’m necessarily ready to revive Ralph completely, but I have been doing some new writing with his character.  I think it’s pretty funny, but I’ll let you guys be the judge.  I’ll be posting some new and old stuff periodically.

Just a quick set-up to give a little background information:  Ralph is 28, lives with his grandparents (Gram and Pap), feuds mightily with his Uncle Rodger, plays Dungeons and Dragons, idolizes WWF wrestling, blasts his favorite band ZZ Top, and loves, loves, loves chowing down on beef jerky.  The rest of his character I think you’ll catch on pretty quickly.

A Letter To Cindy Crawford (From Ralph)

November 7, 1992

Dear Cindy,

Holy crap am I ever in love with you and then some. I always just dream that if we could get married one day and have our honeymoon somewhere like at my Pap’s hunting cabin or someplace exotic like Ocean City, Maryland.  We could head down to the beach, play catch with those velcro things, then later we could lay out in the sand and I could rub suntan lotion on your back.  You would probably say “Oh Ralph, that feels so good.  Don’t ever stop rubbing Banana Boat lotion on me, you manly stud muffin.”  You probably get it all the time so I won’t go on for too much, but I think you are probably THEE hottest babe next to Pamela Anderson, Paula Abdul, and Six from that show Blossom.

I really like your mole. I have moles on my back, arms, legs, chest, face, and pretty much everywhere, except for I don’t got no moles on my privates.   I think your mole looks sexy on you.  Not everyone looks as good with face moles.  Take for example this girl in my class, Tiffany Sanders, who has a mole kinda’ like yours, only her mole covers half her face and has these long, straggly hairs growing out of it.  I always tease her and tell her if I can pluck the hairs from her mole so I can make a toupee for my Pap.  Boy does that ever get her worked up, and she’ll go on and say “How about I knock your hillbilly teeth down your throat and make you shit chicklets out of your ass for the next couple weeks.”  She cracks me up.  Me and her is always goofing around like that.  Do you like to goof around Cindy?  What are your favorite hobbies?

I wanted to tell you this one last thing before I let you go.  I use to have this sexy poster of you hanging on my bedroom wall.  You shoulda’ seen it.  Part of your bathing suit was see through and if you looked close enough – which trust me, I did pretty much every single night – you could see your nipples as plain as day.  It was my favorite poster up until my nosy Gram barged in on me one night and caught me cutting a hole in the mouth of the poster so I could French kiss it.  My stupid Gram made me get rid of it.  She says that God don’t like when you lust after women and He especially don’t like you kissing no posters of half naked women with their bazoombas hanging out all over the place.   Now I just have posters of NBA basketball players on my wall.  It ain’t nearly the same when I stare at Clyde “The Glide” Drexler going for a dunk as it was staring at a beautiful fox like you.

Anyway, the whole reason I’m writing to you in the first place is to ask you if you want to go steady with me.  You don’t half to answer back right away cause I’m still waiting to hear back from Pamela, Paula Abdul, and Six, so take your time to think it over if you need to.  I included an eighth grade class photo of me so you at least know what I look like.  Gram says I look handsome but I don’t know.  She says that Pap looks handsome too and I think his face looks like he ran into a telephone pole and was run over by a Ford F-150 several times.  Hopefully you will think I’m handsome too.

Forever yours if you’ll have me,