Friday, September 29, 2006

Championship Tactics in Chess and Life

Sure, I can play chess. I win sometimes and lose sometimes. But seldom, and by that I mean exactly once, have I felt that I really understood the game. And that was something like 26 years ago.

I could probably get to that point again by playing more. But that would be a waste of my precious time. And it would be dumb, because I wouldn't be taking advantage of the latest strategic theories on chess.

The beauty of these theories are that they don't have anything to do with the game.
Witness the current the world chess championship taking place in Elista, the capital of the Russian republic of Kalmykia. The match is between Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. After four games, Mr. Kramnik leads the match 3-1, with 6.5 points needed to win.

What's the strategy that's serving Mr. Kramnik so far? Bathroom breaks. It appears that Mr. Kramnik has been taking an unusually large number of bathroom breaks - up to 50 per game. Which sounds a bit excessive, with the games ranging from less than 4 hours to more than 6. There's no monitoring of bathroom activity, so there's no telling what manner of assistance Mr. Kramnik could be receiving.

So, is Mr. Kramnik cheating? Or is he psyching out Mr. Topalov? What's the truth? Nigel Short, an English grandmaster who played and lost a world championship match in 1993 against Garry Kasparov, said that the accusations leveled against Mr. Kramnik might just be a tactic on Mr. Topalov’s part.

It's just like the business world! If you have the right strategy and tactics, you don't even need to learn the rules of the game. You can come out on top without even knowing what game you're playing!

Thailand Coup Losing Support Among the Troops

Thailand's coup may be losing support among the troops responsible for its success. At first, once the initial violence ended, the troops were instructed to put on a happy face. Many of the troops mingled freely with residents and foreigners and their tanks became an instant tourist attraction. Hundreds had photos snapped of themselves posing with the soldiers.

But things got a little too happy for military officials when a troupe of go-go dancers with naked midriffs and sexy camouflaged pants performed in front of the tanks to be followed the next day by dancers in traditional attire.

"We have to maintain the seriousness of the coup," said Lt. Gen. Palangoon Klaharn, a military spokesman. "The police should ensure that provocative performances are kept at a distance from soldiers while they are on duty."

Bangkok had a soldier or two
That got caught making light of the coup
They saw a hot dance
Done in tight camo pants
But the dancers were ordered to shoo.

New Hampshire Killer Bear Held Without Bail

A New Hampshire bear is being held without bail tonight on suspicion of causing 2500 trout deaths. The bear, who is currently identified only as "Teddy," was pulled from a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery near Milford, New Hampshire, earlier this month.

Hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the bear, clad only in a tie and a matching yellow rain slicker and hat, is believed to be the first stuffed toy to cause fatalities at the facility.

The deaths prompted Fawcett to release a written warning: "RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into the fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED."

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department officials downplayed speculation that ursine profiling measures have been instituted. "Sure, 'Teddy' was dressed perfectly for the crime, but that doesn't mean that we can prevent bears from visiting the hatchery just because they're dressed for foul weather," Department official and noted author Stan Berenstain said.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's Official - My Mental Disorder is ADD

That's right! According to this quiz, created by Hannah, I have Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. My wife didn't find that to be one bit surprising. Although I must admit that I had expected to rank higher on the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder scale. I MEAN, I REALLY EXPECTED IT! BUT I'LL BE OK! There, three deep breaths. We'll talk about it tomorrow.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bush's War in Iraq Increases Terror Threat!

It sounded nice - get rid of a terrorist who was amassing weapons of mass destruction. The only problem was that it wasn't true, we knew that it wasn't true, and yet we did it anyway. Because we could.

And, worse yet, the terror threat is worse now because we did it. Read more about it here and here.

It's time to insist on returning truth to its rightful place as part of the American Way!

What Kind of Thinker Are You?

Here's an interesting test that I think describes me pretty well. My college degrees were in chemistry and I had a strong interest in and an aptitude for music. Click here to take it.

Some people have a strong preference for one style of thinking, and find some skills come more naturally than others. Other people tend to adopt different thinking styles in different situations.

This test gives you an idea of what your current thinking style or styles are. But remember - the brain is a very adaptive organ. You should be able to improve your performance in any one of these categories with practice.

The test appears to be based on the Renaissance ideal

The leading thinkers of the Renaissance were not just experts in their own field. The renaissance scholar was expected to master all branches of knowledge.

With his insatiable desire to know everything, Leonardo da Vinci is often held up as the ideal Renaissance man.

You are a Logical-Mathematical Thinker
Logical-Mathematical thinker
Logical-Mathematical thinkers:
  • Like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions
  • Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects
  • Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively
Like Logical-Mathematical thinkers, Leonardo based his theories on evidence rather than speculation.
Other Logical-Mathematical Thinkers include
Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Albert Einstein

Careers which suit Logical-Mathematical thinkers include

Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer programmer, Engineer, Inventor

You are a Musical Thinker
Musical thinker
Musical thinkers:
  • Tend to think in sounds, and may also think in rhythms and melodies
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.
  • Feel a strong connection between music and emotions
Like many musical thinkers, Leonardo loved to sing, and had a fine voice
Other Musical Thinkers include
Mozart, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix

Careers which suit Musical Thinkers include

Musician, Music teacher, Sound engineer, Recording technician

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I Am - Apocalypse Now!

I Could be a Visionary, Indecisive, or Mentally Disturbed. It Depends.

I took this quiz to discover my Dosha. I don't know exactly what that means, but I think it has something to do with determining which products I'm supposed to be buying off of the website.

Here's the premise:

According to ayurveda, the ancient Asian healing system, each human being has a primary element of nature -- kapha, vata or pitta -- that most influences their mind, body and emotions. Each of us also has one of these three elements that will tend to get out of balance more easily than the others. This is our dosha, literally "that which is at fault".

And here are the results:

You are a Vata person. Vata people are like the wind. Their moods change quickly, and they often move on to new pursuits before finishing old projects. Generally, imaginative, exciting, and excitable, Vatas move at a hectic pace. When balanced, Vata types are often artistic visionaries. Idealistic and spiritual, they have a strong sense of unity and are often healers and teachers. A Vata out of balance may be indecisive, unreliable, restless, overly talkative, superficial and anxious. If completely out of balance, Vata people can be fearful, secretive, depressed, mentally disturbed and even suicidal.

The Vata body may be thin due to inefficient methods of expending energy. Vatas prefer warm climates, food and drink, and may become especially moody and anxious if they miss a meal. Lacking endurance, Vatas often need time to recuperate; they thrive on healing massage and total relaxation. A regular schedule can help dispel their anxieties and promote inner harmony.

More Eyeball Popping Stuff

I certainly had fun learning and writing about Claudio Pinto, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, who makes his living by doing shows where he pops his eyes out of their sockets. Pinto can pop both eyes 95% out of their sockets. Since then I've run across more photos of Pinto.

Click here for a video documenting Mr. Pinto's prowess.

But I've also learned that Mr. Pinto is not unique in having this ability! Popping your eyeballs of their sockets is known as globe luxation. Kim Goodman, of Chicago, has been listed since 1998 in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the Furthest Eyeball Popper. She can pop her eyeballs to a protrusion of 11 mm. (0.43 in) beyond her eye sockets. Mr. Pinto could pop his eyes out 7 mm the last time he was tested in January.

You can see a great video from the Guinness site here, and you'll definitely want check out this YouTube video:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Best Position For Speed Blogging

A few years ago I took a course on speed reading. One of the concepts is that you should not sit in too comfortable a position. Thus, you might want to put your recliner chair into the upright position. You might not get much speedreading done in bed if you're so comfortable that the book ends up on your chest while you snooze. Not that I have any experience with that latter situation, of course...

Anyhow, this principle applies to blogging as well. Your writing is likely to be less efficient if you're reclining on your La-Z-Boy while blogging on your laptop. (Unless you still have one of those hot Sony batteries in your Dell, HP, Toshiba, or Apple Powerbook notebook PC - that'll keep you awake.)

So what's the best position for blogging? We may need to do more research in this area, but here's the leading candidate:

We Won't Be Bush-Whacked Again!

Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Great News For Us Dark Meat Lovers

Henrietta is an 18-month-old egg-laying hen from Brendle Farms in Somerset, PA. She was living a life of nameless anonymity until she was discovered to have 4 legs, whereupon the owner's 13-year-old daughter, Ashley, named her Henrietta. We couldn't find a photo of Henrietta, but that's Ashley at right.

The bird has two normal front legs and, behind those, two more feet. They are of a similar size to the chicken's front legs, but don't function. The chicken drags her extra feet behind her.

(Update 9/23/06 - There's a photo here.)

Mike Brendle, the farm's owner, had suggested to his family they sell Henrietta in an Internet auction, but Ashley objected.

There once was a hen from PA
Who had eggs that she needed to lay
But they could not ignore
She'd not two legs, but four
She'd have fetched a great price on eBay

Friday, September 22, 2006

First, Pittsburgh Gets Free Wi-Fi. Then, It's Segway Tours.

Personally, I think that the pith helmets provide the fashion accent that makes the Segway Tour the don't-miss Pittsburgh experience. Maybe PittGirl will write about her tour.

Here are the details:

Experience the wonder of this future advancement of transportation.
A tour of about 2 hours around the cities most interesting sights.
See the city up close like most never get a chance to see, and have lots of fun in a different
kind of way .

Highly trained Segway "glide technicians" ensure your guided tour will be a safe , memorable,
once in a lifetime experience.
Thousands of individuals from ages 6 to 76 have enjoyed this magical futuristic activity.

* * *

Tours now being conducted at the following location:

Pittsburgh- Downtown City Tour :
On the tour you will see Heinz Field, PNC Park, Station Square, Point State Park,
PPG Plaza, Theater Cultural District.

For Availability of tours and to reserve a place. Call us
To make reservations, please call 724-625-3521. Or, email w/ your phone #

We normally have tours twice a day at 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
We meet on the North Shore Riverwalk between the Carnegie Science Center & Heinz Field
Cost of the tour is $49 + tax per person. This includes 20 minutes training and 2 hours of
Guided Segway riding around Downtown Pittsburgh.

Each tour is limited to allow for personal attention
Weekends fill up quickly !

Wear comfortable shoes (no high-heels or flip-flops) and bring a camera.

Shorter time and distance Tours, available on request.


Age limit? 8 years old to 76 years old. If you can stand, walk a little, be able to step
up an eight inch step, and have use of your left hand, you can ride.

Kids? Yes, We will determine if they are capable, based on size, weight, ability.
We have had as young as age 8 , please call for specifics.

WEIGHT? Not a problem ! Jerome Bettis has ridden on our Segway twice !
Even if your trying out for the team, the Segway can handle it.

Thanks and talk to you soon : )
Earlene Woods
Segway in Paradise

My Next Job

I don't know what I want my next job to be. Actually, to show you how weird I am, I would be very interested in overnighting at the South Pole. However, since I'm happily married and have 4 kids, that's unlikely. So I need to find something that sets me apart from others so I can make money.

I'm talking of distinctive skills like those enjoyed by Claudio Pinto, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Mr. Pinto, 48, is making a living out of shows where he pops his eyes out, Terra Noticias Populares reports.

Pinto can pop both eyes 95% out of their sockets. He looks like this when he does it.

I begin my training tomorrow.

Line Jumping Now Legal at Six Flags Great America

You never know when a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach will come in handy. In May, we reported that the creatures can be made into an attractive and fashionable fashion accessory. And now, they will actually be able to do you some good. Especially if you like to ride the popular rides with long lines at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

That's right. Beginning October 7, the park will begin, as part of its Halloween-themed FrightFest, a promotion daring customers to eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach in exchange for unlimited line-jumping privileges. Anyone who chows down the entire 2- to 3-inch horned cockroach gets a pass for four people to cut to the front of ride lines through Oct. 29.

The park plans to make money, too. They're going to take a picture of each cockroach eater. If you like yours, you can get a 4x6, 5x7, or a keychain or refrigerator magnet with the picture on it. It's gonna look something like this:

Just in case you don't like your roaches raw, the park can accommodate your tastes. The bug buffet continues with a cooked roach eating contest Friday, Oct. 13.

Six Flags spokesman James Taylor is hoping someone can beat the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records feat in which a British man downed 36 cockroaches. We're thinking that the winner should get the fridge magnet photo for free, even if the record isn't broken.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wal-Mart Beats Route 65 In A Landslide!

Scott's Spot previously reported on an April incident in which some overzealous blasting resulted in a rockslide that partially covered Route 65 in the area of the new River Pointe Plaza, a 207-acre development to be anchored by a Wal-Mart on the site of the former Dixmont State Hospital. That rockslide caused Route 65 to be closed to traffic for 2 days.

But that was nothing. Today, there was a landslide resulting in a mass of earth and stone (measuring about 500 feet wide and 20 feet high and with an estimated volume of 500,000 cubic yards) which completely blocked Route 65, a busy route to and from Pittsburgh.

The highway is expected to be closed for more than a week.

According to PennDOT officials, the material that shifted and slid appeared to be fill for the plateau being created on top of the hillside for the shopping plaza and parking lot. They said PennDOT has not been involved in what has been taking place at the site since March, when the work started. WELL, MAYBE IT'S TIME TO GET INVOLVED, YOU BOZOS!

Penn Development, listed as the contractor, could not be reached for comment. A little "Oopsie" might have been nice!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Backyard Wedding Receptions - Then And Now

When I got married, 23 years ago, we had a very nice backyard reception. But it was a rather modest backyard in comparison to some of the ones in Loyal, Wisconsin. That's where newly married Sonia and Ben Suda had a reception complete with several rounds of trap shooting by their wedding party.

At least we can tell the kids that our wedding was not a shotgun wedding in any sense of the word!

Monday, September 18, 2006

The First Known Shopping List

The Associated Press reports that an ancient slab of green stone inscribed with insects, ears of corn, fish and other symbols is indecipherable so far, but one message is clear: It is the earliest known writing in the Western Hemisphere.

You can read the entire article here.

"We are dealing with the first, clear evidence of writing in the New World," said Stephen Houston, a Brown University anthropologist. Houston and his U.S. and Mexican colleagues detail the tablet's discovery and analysis in a study appearing this week in the journal Science.

The article further reports that "there is little hope of deciphering the meaning of the text. The small size of the block and the faintness of the inscription imply the text was not a public document, but instead was meant for intimate reading, Houston said. Some suggested it may have had a ritual use."

This "scientific analysis" underscores an important point - Scientists who get published in Science are after one thing - grant proposal money. So you know they're never going to come to a conclusion about anything. But we have ways around that limitation - the Scott's Spot Anthropology Department had a look at it, and concluded that it is a shopping list. The directions are to come home with meat, vegetables, and fish for Friday.

Heaven help the recipient if he came
home with grasshoppers instead of crickets. This recipe calls for crickets! We're speculating, of course, but since the tablet was found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, maybe they were also after some ants for the Ant Brood Taco recipe. Checkitout!

Ant Brood Tacos
  • 2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
  • 1/2 pound ant larvae and pupae
  • 3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • Pepper and Cumin, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • Taco shells, to serve
Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the larvae or pupae. Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste. Serve in tacos and garnish with cilantro.

This recip
e came from Creepy Crawly Cuisine, The Gourmet Guide to Edible Insects, reportedly an excellent recipe book. Maybe I'll add it to my wish list. Yes, I'll probably get to that sometime next week...

And I can tell you for sure that my shopping list is NOT written in stone.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Avast, Me Hearties! Learn to Talk Like a Pirate!

In honor of tonight's Pittsburgh Pirates victory over the scurvy New York Mets, and in preparation for International Talk Like A Pirate Day September 19, Scott's Spot is pleased to direct you to this informational video to help you hone your skills in talking like a pirate. If ye be nautically challenged, then click here ye'll be ready for pillaging in no time!

Or, you may want to try this video...


Thursday, September 14, 2006

How to Get People to View Your Blog

Not too many people visit Scott's Spot. Maybe they take the "I'd Turn Back if I were You" admonition in my header seriously. To understand how people find my blog, I look at the "Visitor Paths" page on StatCounter. Recently, I've gotten a lot of hits based on my Ben Roethlisberger appendectomy article and the one about the sorry situation with the football players in Kenton, Ohio.

Probably my biggest number one search query that gets people to Scott's Spot is for "Mama Lena's", the McKees Rock
s pizza shop that makes "The Big One," the world's largest commercially available pizza, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

But sometimes people stumble across Scott's Spot by accident. I'm sure that was the case today when someone found my blog by doing a search for

videos of wrestlers in speedos doing sleeper holds


I did a search and here's a photo of Matt Furey demonstrating a sleeper hold. Thankfully, no Speedos.

Washington State Teacher Won't Shave Until Bin Laden Caught

Gary Weddle is obsessed. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Gary Weddle followed the news so closely that he forgot to shave. After a week he decided not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or killed.

Now, five years later, Weddle, 46, of Ephrata, Washington, has a beard that makes him look like, well, bin Laden!

His wife, Donita, hates the beard, but their three daughters, who attend high school in East Wenatchee, don't mind and "mostly their boyfriends think it's cool," Weddle said.

He said he would keep the beard, untrimmed, as long as bin Laden remains at large -- "even if I get buried with it." And that may well happen, since the war on terror and Al-Qaeda has been ditched in favor of getting mired in Iraq.

Weddle may have gotten too late a start to get any record with his beard, though. The beard is now about a foot long, with some hairs about 15 inches. But the world record for the longest beard belongs to Hans Langseth, of Norway, whose beard measured 17-1/2 feet when he died in 1927.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Six-Point Buck Photo and Haiku

A six-point buck looks
One last time before taking
His leave of my yard

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How Now, Brown Towel?

Here at Scott's Spot, we don't much care for the Cleveland Browns. But we don't hate them with the rabid hatred of many Pittsburgh Steelers fans. But that may change. Russ pointed out the existence of The Dirty Brown Towel, which is like a Terrible Towel, except that it's brown and ugly and it has Cleveland Browns helmets on it. And it's ugly.

There is one good thing about it, though. Art Modell isn't associated with the Cleveland Browns anymore so his picture isn't on it and he won't make any money from it. It's still butt ugly, though.

Who's to Blame for Corporate Greed?

This Letter to the Editor appeared in the September 2006 edition of Industry Week.

I contend that we (that is the we that make up society) are getting what we ask for. We want lower-priced goods so we shop at Wal-Mart and Home Depot. We want immediate answers and solutions at no added cost, so Dell has a low-wage earner in India answer our questions 24 hours per
day, 7 days per week. We demand more Social Security benefits and more vacation time and a raise every year. We foster an atmosphere of entitlement and aversion to change. (How many workers at how many companies will say, "But this is how we have always done it" today?)

Are corporations greedy? Yes! But they are driven by what we demand and they are giving the customer (whether a consumer or worker) what they are asking for - either directly or indirectly. It is fortunate that most of us have two hands, one to point a finger at the infamous evil "them" and one to hold open to accept the latest hand o
ut we have demanded.

I think that the points made by bradintx are good, but that the issues go deeper than that. The mantra of the modern corporation is "shareholder value." And that means stock price. Anything will be done to improve the next quarter's profits in the hope that the stock price will rise. These include:
  • Layoffs take place even during times of record profits.
  • Customer service and computer programming get outsourced to India.
  • Plants are shuttered and production moved to China.
Who reaps the benefits of this "shareholder value?" Company executives, to be sure. But it's not just them, because we as workers and investors in stocks, mutual funds, and retirement plans also stand to benefit. If we manage to keep our jobs, that is.

Our drive to maximize the value of our stocks, mutual funds, and retirement plans therefore makes us party to the evils committed by greedy corporate executives. It comes back to the adage about pointing a finger at someone else without realizing that at the same time you have three fingers pointing back at yourself.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Acid Rock Resurfaces in Central Pennsylvania

When you think about Central Pennsylvania you're probably thinking about hunting, fishing, mountains, and unspoiled scenery. And Penn State football, this time of year, anyway. But one thing you don't generally think of is that Central PA is the epicenter of the current acid rock scene.

That's right. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers, reports that three years ago the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) unearthed 1 million cubic yards of acid-bearing rock, which has contaminated streams and groundwater. It has also delayed construction of a 1.5 mile section of Interstate 99, one of the state's biggest federal pork barrel projects.

Transportation officials want to move nearly 70 percent of the acid rock to a site three miles away. The remaining rock, however, is rock solid and cannot be moved because it could make the ground unstable.

A PennDOT construction executive, Ben LaParne, said last week that he hoped to open the new section of I-99 by spring of 2008. State officials are planning to name the 1.5 mile stretch of road the Grace Slick Curves.

Testosterone at the Vuelta a España

Looking at this article, it appears that cyclists other than Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis have plenty of testosterone. But, as they say...Is it real, or is it Memorex?

ALMUSSAFES, Spain (Reuters) - Italy's Alessandro Petacchi was forced to quit the Tour of Spain Sunday after he punched his team bus and broke a bone in his right hand thereby ending his troubled 2006 season ended.

Petacchi finished stage 15 to Almussafes but was so angry he did not win the sprint that he vented his frustration on the door of the Team Milram bus and fractured the top of the fifth metacarpal on his right hand.

The fracture means Petacchi, who fractured his kneecap during stage three of the Giro d'Italia in May and missed the Tour de France in July, will not be able to continue in the three-week Tour of Spain.

"I know I've done something stupid but I did it because I was very angry after having a real chance of winning for the first time for months," Petacchi said in a statement issued by his Milram team.

"I want to apologize to my team mates and team managers but I was so angry I couldn't control myself. There's no doubt I've made a mistake but I'm a human being, I'm not a machine.

"The riders enjoy a second rest day Monday so the final week of racing starts Tuesday with the 145-km 16th stage from Almeria to the Astronomical Observatory of Calar Alto.The Tour of Spain ends on September 17 in Madrid.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Eau de Play-Doh

At Scott's Spot, we subscribe to Chemical & Engineering News, the official news magazine of the American Chemical Society. It's mostly full of business and academic chemistry articles, which we recommend if you have problems with insomnia. It also has the occasional controversial editorial by editor Rudy Baum, whose increasingly political writings are more liberal than 99.4% of C&EN's readership.

But sometimes the magazine reports on items of interest to the general public in a section called "Newscripts." This is where we learned about the development of the Labacus, the ultimate lab rat's PDA, which we profiled here.

And this week, we learned about an important advance in fragrances. We refer, of course, to the Play-Doh fragrance developed by the Demeter Fragrance Library. It's the perfect thing for those baby boomers among us who are trying to relive our childhoods. A 1-oz cologne spray retails for $19; a 4-oz bottle goes for $39.50.

On the other hand, Play-Doh might not be your thing. That's OK, because the Demeter Fragrance Library can accommodate your tastes as well. Here is a very small sampling of some of the scents they offer:
  • Beet Root
  • Bon Fire
  • Celery
  • Dandelion
  • Dirt
  • Dregs
  • Dust
  • Earthworm
  • Glue
  • Holy Smoke
  • Lobster
  • Mildew
  • Paint
  • Poison Ivy
  • Pruning Shears
  • Stable
  • Tarnish
  • Waffles
They also offer some more mainstream type scents at the Demeter Fragrance Library. But we don't care about that kind of thing at Scott's Spot.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jim Motznik - Pittsburgh City Council Independent

Yesterday, Pittsburgh City Councilman Jim Motznik, having just been soundly defeated for the presidency the the council, angrily stated that he was "embarrassed" to be on council, and questioned his colleagues' honesty and intelligence.

The other Councilors promptly kicked him off of the Conferencebike. Today, having seen the error his ways, Motznik apologized for his remarks. "You know why I'm not the president? It's because I'm an independent person," he said. But not so independent that he didn't want back on the Conferencebike.

The apology was accepted by Councilman Jeff Koch, who introduced a resolution to allow Motznik back on the Conferencebike and kick Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle off.

Carlisle immediately demanded funding for hiring her sister's brother's cousin's uncle to do a study on whether an 8th seat can be added to the Conferencebike.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Poor Bobby O's Not Yet Buried...

...but it's back to business as usual in Pittsburgh.

With Pittsburgh City Council President Luke Ravenstahl assuming the Mayor's duties upon the untimely death of Bob O'Connor, Pittsburgh City Council met today and elected Doug Shields as its new president. The vote was 7-1, with only Councilman Jim Motznik, who has sought the position for a year, voting no.

The vote brought an angry response from Mr. Motznik, who said he was "embarrassed" to be on council.

The solution to this is obvious. The 7 Councilors who voted for Mr. Shields can ride the Conferencebike, with Mr. Shields driving. Mr. Motznik can sit and pout in his embarrassment. Click on the picture for a movie of how smoothly Council can operate without Mr. Motznik.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In Grossness, I'm Close to Average

You Are 56% Gross

You're more than a little gross, but probably no more gross than the average person. Maybe it's time to drop some of those disgusting habits that could eventually embarrass you!

An Aging American Idol

Billy Idol, that is. Well, he's not originally from America. He was born and raised in England, but he now lives in the Hollywood Hills area, so that's close enough for blog title purposes.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Crikey! Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin Dead

Conservationist and TV show host Steve Irwin, known as the Crocodile Hunter, has died after being stung by a stingray in a marine accident off Australia's north coast.

Media reports say Irwin was snorkeling at Batt Reef, a part of the Great Barrier Reef about 9 miles from the town of Port Douglas, when the incident happened on Monday morning.

Irwin, 44, was killed by a stingray barb that pierced his chest, according to Cairns police sources.

Irwin was director of the Australia Zoo in Queensland. He is survived by his American-born wife Terri and their two children, Bindi Sue, born 1998, and Robert (Bob), born December 2003.

I hadn't seen much of Steve Irwin on TV lately, but when I went to Australia in June, they showed a video on the plane about Australia's strict quarantine laws. The host of the video was, of course, Steve Irwin.

Link Between Body Piercing and Bird Flu Discovered

Bird Flu Hits Pennsylvania!

It's time to PANIC! Take your SUV, or rent one if necessary, and head to the nearest Sam's Club and buy all their bottled water and toilet paper!

No wait! False Alarm!

Wild ducks in Pennsylvania have tested positive for bird flu, but NOT the deadly Asian strain that has ravaged poultry and killed at least 141 people worldwide, the Agriculture Department said Saturday.

The mallards, which were sampled Aug. 28 in Crawford County, Pa., showed no signs of sickness - another indication that they were not exposed to the virulent Asian H5N1 strain.

The low-grade strain of H5N1 has been found many times in North American wild birds and poses no threat to people, but officials expect the deadlier strain to reach the continent this year.

"It is possible that these birds were not infected with an H5N1 strain, but instead with two separate avian influenza viruses, one containing H5 and the other containing N1," the department said. Further testing is under way at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.

The ducks were sampled as part of the government's effort to test as many as 100,000 wild birds.

Ben Roethlisberger Appendectomy Performed by Car Driver in Accident

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger developed abdominal pains before today's practice and had emergency abdominal surgery to remove his appendix. It was the quarterback's third operation in 10 months and second in 2 1/2 months.

In a curious twist of fate, Roethlisberger's surgeon was none other than Martha Fleishman, 62, the driver of the car involved in the June 12 accident in which Roethlisberger sustained major facial injuries and nearly lost his life.

Following the surgery, Dr. Fleishman's office issued the following statement: "I figured that I was probably the cause of the initial injury to Big Ben's appendix, so I figured that I should be one to finish the job."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bovine Yinzers

Here in Pittsburgh the term Yinzer is often applied to people speaking the Pittsburghese dialect. We thought of the term as applying mainly to humans. But not any more. It appears that bovine Pittsburghers may also qualify for the "Yinzer" moniker as well.

Reuters reports that cows have regional accents. Lloyd Green, from southwest England, was one of a group of farmers who first noticed the phenomenon. "I spend a lot of time with my Friesians and they definitely 'moo' with a Somerset drawl," he said, referring to the breed of dairy cow he owns.

So if you're in the Pittsburgh area and you hear a cow saying "Moo an'at" then you're probably not imagining anything.

And it gets better: John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at University College London, said that a similar phenomenon had been found in birds."You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country."

So next time you're feeding the pigeons in Market Square, be alert for the sounds of "Coooo! Coooo! Hey watch where yer goin' ya jagoff!"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Shirts - You've Gotta Know How to Fold 'em

My kids don't seem to be able to fold clothes. Shirts, pants, underwear, whatever, all seem to end up in balls that need to be refolded. But now there's hope. Check out this video on a quick and dirty way to fold shirts.

For those of you requiring a more systematic approach, check out this video, which also proves that even men can accomplish this mysterious task.

Giant Eagle Rankings

Consumer Reports readers rank Giant Eagle middling

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers, the Pittsburgh-based grocery chain Giant Eagle ranked 29 out of 54 in Consumer Reports' annual ranking of grocery chains, based on voluntary responses by readers of the magazine. Giant Eagle bested many other major regional chains, including No. 33 Safeway, No. 39 Kroger, No. 41 Stop & Shop and No. 42 Ralphs.

Scott's Spot will never shop at a grocery store named "Ralphs."

Mayor Bob O'Connor - A Great Loss For All Pittsburghers

Scott's Spot is deeply saddened by the loss today of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor. Mayor O'Connor was the kind of politician that everyone respected. He achieved success by uniting rather than dividing. He served others in both his political and personal lives. He will be missed.

Our condolences are extended to his family and friends. May our future leaders honor Mayor O'Connor's memory by emulating his life of service.

You Are 50% Normal

I half disagree with this number.

You Are 50% Normal

While some of your behavior is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

Maybe I Should Become a Britney Spears Fan

I'll admit it. I'm out of touch. I'm not much of a Britney Spears fan, although I do think she's a hit in
Britney's Guide to Semiconductor Physics.

But maybe I should change, because there's money to be made, big money. No, not from knowledge of physics, but from shadowing people like Spears and selling her discards.

Setting the standard in this area is an astute waiter who recently sold an egg salad sandwich half eaten by Britney Spears and a corn dog eaten by husband Kevin Federline and nibbled on by Spears. The eBay listing got over 67,000 hits. There were 43 bids, with the winning bid being $520!

A while back I posted about Britney stumble where she almost dropped her poor son Sean Preston. Sean Preston survived the incident unscathed, but that cute little orange hat took a tumble. What I wanted was to get hold of Sean Preston's hat and put it up for sale on eBay.

Sure, I could use my knowledge of science to get rich, but, frankly, it hasn't really delivered the big payoff. It's time to shift gears, find a way to obtain celebrity discards, and then let the free market dictate the high prices that are going to secure my place on easy street.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mr. Gardner Gets Season Ticket for Diaper Changing

As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers...

Neighbors driving a pregnant Upper St. Clair woman to the hospital helped deliver a baby girl on the Parkway West last night.

State police said they got a call about a woman in labor around 9:30 about a mile south of the Greentree exit. When troopers arrived, Beth Gardner, 38, had just delivered a girl.

Her neighbors, Jennifer Brett, 51, and Sara Brett, 23, had helped with the birth of the infant, whose name police didn't know.

Mother and daughter were then taken to Magee Womens Hospital in Oakland.

Dad was out watching the Steelers game at the time, police said.

Gas Price Discounts Down Under Covers

Here in Pittsburgh, the Giant Eagle supermarket chain offers FuelPerks discounts. For every $50 you spend on groceries and other eligible items, you can get a 5 cent discount per gallon of gas, up to a 30 gallon purchase. Since we own a gas guzzling GMC Suburban with a 42 gallon gas tank, we're certainly making good use of these discounts.

But in Australia, the discounts can get bigger, because supermarkets have competition from brothels in this lucrative market. "If you come in and spend time with one of our lovely ladies, we'll give you a discount of 20 cents a liter," Kerry, manager of Sydney brothel The Site, told Reuters Wednesday.

There is no link between brothels, petrol providers or supermarkets but brothels like The Site and Madame Kerry's say the system is simple. Once you've filled up your car, bring your receipt to the brothel and they'll discount the price of your visit.

Holy Hasema, Mehmet!

In the photo below, a model wears a swimwear called Hasema. Turkish businessman Mehmet Sahin has designed what he says is the world's first Islam-inspired swimsuits and sells head to ankle bathing gear to devout well-heeled Muslims, including the wives of Turkey's leading politicians.

Turkish sunscreen sales are expected to plummet if the trend takes hold.

Update: An alert reader provided me with the following correction:

Actually, the swimsuit is named "Astara" and made by Mr. Sahin's company Haşema

Got Big Carotid Arteries? Then Avoid Las Vegas!

We all know that police do racial profiling. But we didn't know that they did physical profiling. And we never would have suspected that they would base their physical profiling on, are you ready for this, a "pumping carotid artery."

For you anatomically challenged readers, the carotid artery is the prominent artery that runs through your neck, carrying the blood to your brain. So, if you have a pumping carotid artery, it means that you're alive. Which is a very good thing.

Except if you're the wanted polygamist Warren Steed Jeffs. His pumping carotid artery
suggested something different to Nevada Highway Patrolman Eddie Dutchover. When he saw that bugger pumping, Dutchover knew that he had cornered someone big. "I knew some type of criminal activity was possibly afoot," he said.

The options for the carotid arterially enhanced are as follows:
  1. Die
  2. Avoid Vegas
  3. Wear a Turtleneck

Is That Katie in Photo Number 1, or Photo Number 2?

We don't like Katie Couric here at Scott's Spot. We didn't watch the CBS Evening News before, and we're even less likely to do so now. Our view is that Couric will be unlikely to attract viewers interested in objective, hard news. On the other hand, CBS has as much as admitted that they don't give a fig about hard news when it comes to their new anchor.

We're referring, of course, to the revelation that a photo of Couric in the September issue of Watch! magazine, distributed at CBS stations and on American Airlines flights, was airbrushed to make Couric look like she had lost 20 pounds.

Gil Schwartz, executive vice president of communications for CBS Corp., said that the photo alteration was done by someone in the CBS photo department who "got a little zealous." But he dismissed any notion of heads rolling over the matter. "I talked to my photo department, we had a discussion about it," Schwartz said. "I think photo understands this is not something we'd do in the future."

If it had been Dan Rather reporting on, oh, say, George W. Bush's military record, somebody's head would have rolled.

But remember, this isn't hard news. This is Katie Couric.

Goodbye CBS News (with apologies to Bernie Taupin)

So goodbye CBS News
Where you can't trust what they say or they print
I won't hear what you try to tell me
Through the mouth of your new glamour queen.

We don't know if she's fat or she's thin.
The truth is no longer a given.
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Somewhere else than CBS News.