Leturgey Musings and Goings On

These are some of my writings...from events going on in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance and elsewhere, to observations from the rest of my decidely unformulaic life.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Wecht Spins Yarns With The Best Of Them On The South Side

In what was once considered “a past life,” I interviewed every important political and leader in Pittsburgh and sometimes Western Pennsylvania. On a few occasions they were even bigger. I interviewed then-Governor Tom Ridge on a golf course during an Arnold Palmer charity event. I was on the tarmac with then-President Bill Clinton.

Once upon a time I interviewed almost everyone of consequence in this region (Mario Lemieux and Fred Rogers notwithstanding) and maintained a fairly decent Rolodex. No list of contacts would be complete in Pittsburgh without Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, one-time Coroner, one-time Medical Examiner, one-time County Commissioner, frequent Democratic Committee kingpin, all-the-time lawyer and omnipresent roustabout.

I've admired brilliant people more than anyone, even more than the less-than-frequent cute girl who would find herself talking to me. I've been fortunate enough to talk with Dr. Wecht lots of times. During a conversation about a dozen years ago he complimented me on knowing a lot about his favorite subject: himself.

I've known about Dr. Wecht since the 1970's or 1980's when he was called in to investigate the deaths of (if I remember correctly) mummified babies a bizarre Gallitzen woman had in her attic at the time. Back then that was a story that garnered only local attention. Today it would be an international controversy.

Before that he was a dissenter of the “Magic Bullet” theory in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He's conducted more than 17,000 autopsies, theorized on countless others, and has been called in for almost every high-profile case there's been for more than 40 years.

It was his word I took when we heard that the jury came back with the O.J. Simpson decision. He was spot on with his conclusion.

In recent years he was targeted for wrongdoing by Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. Attorney under the G.W. Bush administration, who happens to be both a fellow California University of Pennsylvania alumnus and Republican. That's where most of our similarities end. I'm a part-time dink, while she's universally revered as a full-timer.

Anyhoo, Wecht was the guest of Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist, at Norman's monthly “Versus” confab. The “debate” is mostly a liberal love-fest (this was Norman's second go-'round, the first being with South Side City Councilman Bruce Kraus), but with Wecht in attendance, the discussion turned more CSI than politics.

Wecht, who recently turned 80 but looks 20 years younger, jumped into action when Norman asked if his JFK assassination theory was hogwash. Wecht effortlessly grabbed a couple from the audience, moved their chairs and in-detail re-enacted the “Magic Bullet” theory better than Jerry dissected the “Magic Loogie” on “Seinfeld.” Wecht's mind remains flawless, and humor almost vaudevillian. The audience of about 80 was enthralled.

Wecht's theories are plentiful. He says that Elvis died of a toxic drug overdose and not from heart disease, O.J. did it, but not by himself, and most remarkably (at least to me) one of Robert Kennedy's bodyguards, Thane Eugene Cesar, accidentally shot the Presidential candidate, and not only Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. He opined that Jon Benet Ramsey's partners were involved in her still-mysterious murder, and motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker rigged his own suicide to look like murder in Harlem (a New York court found a man guilty of the murder in the case nevertheless)..

Norman served as a good host and the hour flew by more quickly than expected. Wecht is no wall flower. He said that the plethora of CSI shows are unrealistic in one distinction fashion: forensic pathology and detective work are two different careers and are not intertwined. That goes along well with the critics who used to say that Jack Klugman's “Quincy” was more nosey than authoritative.

Both Norman and the crowd were disappointed that they didn't touch much of politics. Wecht did blast multi-millionaires (of which he is one many times over) for taking all the money from poor people. He also complained that Marcellus Shale businessmen were raking in big bucks while new Governor Tom Corbett was slashing educational dollars from the budget. It was an extremely easy crowd to excite with such rhetoric. Reminder: Marcellus Shale money goes into job creation, for one. The cash isn't stockpiled in a room somewhere that no one will ever be able to access. The mill jobs aren't coming back to the South Side. There's a Cheesecake Factory there now.

At the conclusion of the night, both Norman and Wecht joked that no Republicans would be in the house. Meanwhile, one sat six feet away. I re-introduced myself to Norman afterward, in front of a couple of typical blue-collar yinzer Democrats who threatened to “string (me) up” upon overhearing my conversation. I retorted that it's always good to hear a tolerant Democrat, and they left, quietly.

Wecht was gone, halfway back to his Squirrel Hill abode. It was good to be back in a room with Wecht.

It was just like old times.

Pittsburgh Native Cuban To Enter Wrestling

by Trapper Tom, Ring Announcer/Wrestling Journalist

A representative for Mark Cuban announced today that the businessman has agreed to purchase the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance for an undisclosed amount.

Purchasing the federation has been a top priority for Cuban since he was rebuffed from acquring the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team a few years ago, confirmed the unnamed source.

Reports indicated that Cuban was in attendance at a recent KSWA event and that the Pittsburgh native was the first to purchase a new Alex Arcadian tee shirt.

Initial sources claim that current KSWA Owner Bobby O was blown away when he contacted by Cuban's people. “We had no idea that Mark was in the audience,” said Bobby O. “We would have gave him a special shout out from the ring.”

Lately, Cuban has been interesting in branching out from different ventures. He currently owns the NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks, and he's been featured on the TV Show “Shark Tank.”

Formerly, Cuban had dealing with the WWE. Cuban was a guest host when TV's “RAW” featured celebrity hosts, and he was even put through a table by one of the Superstars. He once had talks with Vince McMahon about starting a mixed martial arts league but that has since quieted.

Once acquired, Cuban plans to go ahead with plans to build a new wrestling venue. Nearly two years ago to the day it was announced that Allegheny County taxpayers would fund a wrestling arena near the current KSWA Arena in Lawrenceville. Expected cost overruns on the $200 million facility have temporarily grounded the project.

Officials close to the situation say that once the new venue is constructed, it will be home to the KSWA, as well as Cuban's fledgling MMA league, Pittsburgh Fight Club. He also hopes to hold quarterly demolition derbys featuring only Smart Cars. A former Dancing With the Stars contestent, Cuban is interested in bringing touring hoofers to the arena.

Leaders from the Pittsburgh area applaud Cuban's move, saying it allows Cuban to finally enter the city's bustling sports pantheon. Cuban had also shown interest in buying the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey club and Roller Derby team in the past, only to be thwarted.

Sources close to the transaction say there is no timetable for the transaction and there's no word weather or not the billionaire with be in attendance at Mayhem at the Moose on May 7 at the Home of Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh, the Lawrenceville Moose. Bell time is 7:30.