The Newspapers & Rico the Baker

Tim Menees The Newspapers & Rico the Baker
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Pittsburgh’s old morning newspaper was the small dog in town — feistier, funkier, more colorful, more daring and, compared to the larger afternoon paper, far more fun.

Its “personnel department” was Agnes who worked in an alcove full of office machines from the Roosevelt years. The Teddy Roosevelt years.

Ray took over. He was bright, funny, had a comfortable office and told great stories. Babe worked for the paper’s charities and sat outside his door. Her regular visitors were Sonny, who repped sneakers to high schools and whose brother ran a legal book in Vegas; Radio Rich who lived at the Y and ran errands; and Tony, a sort of PA whom she called “T” long before TV’s Tony Soprano.

Anyone could stroll into the city room: the guy in an open shirt with a sister forever on death’s door, the wanderer with an FM voice who roamed from desk to desk, and the husky unemployed (and notorious) steelworker who turned up in my office the morning I zinged him in a cartoon.

Everyone had nicknames. One was “Rico the Baker” who brought in home-​made bread. He was a lifelong bachelor, looked like a Greek Orthodox priest and hit on any woman in a skirt. His favorite evening pick-​up line was, “What do you like for breakfast?”

One day I borrowed Rico’s car. I made an illegal U-​turn and a county cop directing traffic stomped over and yelled, “Gimme your owner’s card!” I looked under the visor. Nothing. I opened the glove compartment, and about 500 unpaid traffic tickets burst onto the front seat, the floorboard and me.

The cop stared at the pile and said, “Your friend isn’t any better than you! If I wasn’t so goddam busy I’d write you up. Get the f*** outta here!”

Now the paper has Human Resources.

Tim Menees

Tim drew political cartoons for the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette for nearly 30 years. His work appeared in national newspapers, newsmagazines and on network television. He also paints and has drawn comic strips, written and illustrated a column and feature stories, and written one-​act plays. And, he plays in a blues-​zydeco band: piano and, uh… accordion.

Explore Related Stories:

Welcome to Pittsburgh Quarterly
Win a two-night stay at Hotel Monaco

To enter to win a two-​night stay at Hotel Monaco plus dinner for two at The Commoner, sign up by June 20 for our great (and free) newsletter.

We’ll keep you updated with web-​only stories and art plus exclusive news and updates. Get more between the issues! Fill out the form below, and be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your subscription.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is a fantastic revival of the beautiful James H. Reed building, originally erected in 1903. The classic building in Downtown Pittsburgh serves as a captivating destination for both leisure and business travelers journeying to the Steel City. The stunning Beaux Arts-​style of the building is perfectly matched with the locally inspired interior of the hotel, which is both vibrant and whimsical. The Commoner, adjacent to Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, is an 120-​seat gastropub serving breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, helmed by executive chef Wyatt Lash. The restaurant’s menu showcases approachable, seasonal favorites, an expansive beer program and cocktails that lean toward the classics with an original twist.

Entry is open to anyone in the United States 18 years or older. Blackout dates may apply.

View past newsletters here.

Win a two-​night stay at Hotel Monaco plus dinner for two at The Commoner!

To enter, sign up below for our great (and free) newsletter by June 20. We’ll keep you updated with web-​only stories and art plus exclusive news and updates. Get more between the issues!

Already signed up? Please click the “Don’t Show This Again” button below

First Name(*)
Please let us know your name.

Last Name(*)
Invalid Input

Your Email(*)
Please let us know your email address.

Please check the box for security purposes.
Invalid Input

Don't have an account yet? Register Now!

Sign in to your account.