Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Today's Oneword - Sliver

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

There wasn't a sliver of truth in his words. She wanted to walk away, but chose to believe his lies. They were her truth.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

North Korea - It's About More Than Just Nukes

Kim Jong-Il has a great thing going in North Korea. Especially if you're him. But if you're not, well then...But don't worry about that, because this article, from the October 21 Korean News website, shows that the reach of North Korea extends far beyond petty interests such as nuclear weapons, missiles, and other Axis of Evil pursuits.

Compound fur Antiseptic Made

Pyongyang, October 20 (KCNA) -- The Korea Shoes Trading Company has developed a new kind of compound fur antiseptic. The antiseptic, made with raw materials abundant in the country, is applicable to various kinds of fur or leather. The fur and leather treated with the antiseptic can be kept as natural ones in safety for more than six months.

It, in particular, not only thoroughly prevents the surface of leather from being changed qualitatively but also protects fur.

Pak Nam Su, chief of the company, told KCNA that loss of hair does not occur among the fur treated with the antiseptic and the practical effectiveness has been fully proved through its long application to various units of the leather industry. The antiseptic is demanded in a large quantity by foreign countries, to say nothing of local companies.

Today's Oneword - Auntie

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

I never referred to any of my Aunts as "Auntie". But one of the ones on my wife's side of the family is called "Auntie Carol". They pronounce it differently, too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Today's Oneword - Sinner

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

Well yesterday I wasn't a saint because I didn't write about "saint" right away. So I was a sinner. But today I'm doing it right so I'm a saint. At least about this.

Principal Nicholas Restivo vs. Captain Underpants

Are you under attack? In a battle with talking toilets or the infamous Professor Poopypants? Do you just need a Superhero? Then stay away from Long Beach, NY. Especially Long Beach High School, where some superheroes are more super than others.

You see, Long Beach High School had Superhero Day yesterday. So
Chelsea Horowitz, an honor student and softball player, along with fellow seniors Ashley Imhof and Eliana Levin, donned their Captain Underpants costumes of beige leotards and nude stockings under white briefs and red capes. That was apparently too much for Principal Nicholas Restivo to handle. He decreed that there would be no visible underpants in his hallways and sent the trio home to select alternate costumes from their wardrobes.

When Mr. Restivo gets done talking to his toilets, he should pay a visit to the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona, where Captain Underpants is a bit more welcome.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ever Forget Your Cell Phone?

Then maybe you need one of these rugs. I can't drive very far without my keys, so I seldom forget them (although I've left them in the office at work more than once). And I usually remember my wallet. But I regularly forget my mobile phone, so this could be a useful purchase.

Today's Oneword - Saint

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

The Oneword site says that you only get 60 seconds to write about the word. But I couldn't immediately think of anything for "saint". So I hit the back button and thought about it. Guess I'm not a saint.

En Garde! Bush Signs Bill for Fencing to Keep Mexicans out of Texas

Today President Bush, rattling his sabre, signed a bill to use fencing to keep illegal immigrants from Mexico out of Texas, away from his ranch, and out of our English speaking schools.

The United States Fencing Association is expecting a big $1.2 Billion windfall from this bill. If you've wanted to learn to fence, now is the time to sign up.

We got a couple of classified photos. Here's one of our squads of shock troops:

And here's one of our developmental No Immigration at Mexican Border Youth (NIMBY) teams:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Today's Oneword - Catastrophe

Go to the OneWord website and write about today's word.

I thought I was going to be able to get something useful done today but I got to work and was confronted with the day's first catastrophe. And so goes another day. Don't plan. Just take life as it comes.

Prankster Ape Takes The Blame in Iowa

When firefighters responded to an alarm at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa research center in Des Moines, they found no fire and one guilty ape.

At least that's what the researchers are saying. The official word is that the alarm was pulled by bonobo named Panbanisha, who has already "been told not to do it again," according to Trust spokesman Al Setka.

Here at Scott's Spot, we're thinking that one of the Trust's workers decided to have a little fun on a Friday afternoon, and fingered Panbanisha. But we're not beyond believing that the bonobo is capable of pulling a false alarm.

As David Byrne sang...

They say animals don't worry
You know animals are hairy?
They think they know what's best
They're making a fool of us
They ought to be more careful
They're setting a bad example
They have untroubled lives
They think everything's nice
They like to laugh at people
They're setting a bad example

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dirty Bombs at Football Stadiums? No Way! They've Hit The World Series!

Last week there were rumors of a dirty bomb plot at an NFL stadium. But that was a smokescreen. The real dirty bombs are pitched by Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers. In the old days, Rogers would have gotten away with it. But now, well, he's still probably gonna get away with it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tongue Piercing Update

I don't have any piercings, and I'm not inclined to get any. But even if I were, I'm thinking that my tongue wo
uld be pretty far down on my list of places to get pierced. And now, thanks to a recent report, it's even lower. The report notes an incident where an Italian teenager said the stabbing pains in her face felt like electrical shocks that lasted 10 to 30 seconds and struck 20 to 30 times a day.

Her doctors diagnosed trigeminal neuralgia, a nerve disorder sometimes called "suicide disease" because of the excruciating and dispiriting pain it ca
uses. The doctors tried painkillers, then stronger medication, but in the end, a cure proved more simple: The young woman removed the metal stud from her pierced tongue.

Two days later her pain vanished. Hmmm...

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this is the latest documentation of complications, some life-threatening, linked to
tongue piercing. Other problems include tetanus, heart infections, brain abscess, chipped teeth and receding gums. One woman developed so much scar tissue that it resembled what she called a "second tongue."

In the newly reported case, the young Italian woman's mouth jewelry apparently irritated a nerve running along the jaw under her tongue. That nerve is con
nected to the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest in the head. Irritation of the trigeminal nerve can lead to the aforementioned trigeminal neuralgia, said Alana Greca, a registered nurse and director of patient support for the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association.
  • I don't want a tongue piercing
  • I don't want trigeminal neuralgia. I don't want trigeminal anything. And I never ever want to have to have any dealings with the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association.
  • I DON'T want a brain abscess, even a little one.
  • And I don't want this:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ford Pulls Plug on Taurus, and Announces Destruction of Remaining Dealer Stock

Ford has finally decided to get serious about turning around its dismal business - it has decided to end production of the Taurus after 21 years and sales of nearly 7 million cars.

In a related announcement related to product quality, Ford announced that all remaining dealer stock of the Taurus model, including used cars, will be bought back and parked along the streets of Pamplona during next year's Running of the Bulls...

Expect that to make los toros salvajes look something like this...

Another Stingray Attack a la Steve Irwin

First, it's Steve Irwin. He survived crocodiles and other potentially lethal creatures, only to succumb to a stingray barb to the heart.

And now, it's an 81-year-old Florida boater. It happened at Lighthouse Point, Florida, about 30 miles north of Miami. Fire Department officials said that James Bertakis was in a small recreational boat with two grandchildren, when a spotted eagle ray, a type of sting ray, leaped aboard and struck him, leaving its poisonous stinger close to his heart. Bertakis was expected to make a full recovery after surgery at a local hospital to have the stinger removed from his chest.

Be on the lookout.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Go West, Young Man! And Whatever You Do, DON'T LOOK DOWN!

This picture appeared on the cover of today's Chemical & Engineering News. That's the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. However much money that man makes, it isn't enough.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fire Prevention in Pittsburgh

When I was a kid, when we had a fire prevention class, we had Sparky the Fire Dog. Sparky was someone you could trust. If you followed his advice, you knew that you and your family would be safe from fires. But even if you had a fire, you knew you could entrust your life to the brave firemen who would come to fight the fire at your house.

But now, things are different. My kids have never come home with anything from Sparky the Fire Dog. Which is surprising since Sparky now has his own website. But there's plenty of incentive to not have a fire at your house. Especially if you live in the City of Pittsburgh.

Imagine it, you have a family of 4 - a beautiful wife, an 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. You awaken at 2:24 am to the sound of the smoke detector. You call 911. The firefighters arrive quickly, but your wife and children are trapped upstairs. They're in good hands! Your loved ones are rescued. You check the badge of the rescuer, and it's Lieutanant Martin Sanders. He's one of Pittsburgh's most trustworthy firefighters, right?


It turns out that your knight in shining armor doesn't necessarily wear his armor all the time! That's right, Lt. Martin Sanders is the same Lt. Martin Sanders of the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau who went to a concession stand at Sunday's Pittsburgh Steelers game, exposed himself, resisted arrest, and finally had to be tasered twice before being subdued and taken to Allegheny General Hospital. And then, while awaiting examination, he reportedly struck yet another officer who tried to stop him from using a cell phone on hospital property.

You start to wonder. Your wife and children have been acting strangely since the fire. Could their behavior be related to a bit too enthusiastic a rescue by Lt. Sanders? You may never know.

It's time to increase our fire prevention education. I'm gonna force our kids to go to the Sparky the Fire Dog website. They're gonna learn not to burn!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How Many People Have My Name

There are 299,968,595 people in the U.S. How many have your name? Go here to find out how man people in the U.S. your first name, last name, and full name. Very interesting!

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vote for Pittsburgh as Capital of the Pierogi Pocket!

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Pittsburgh is among five cities competing for Capital of the Pierogy Pocket title sponsored by Mrs. T's Pierogies. The contest seeks the city with the most passion for pierogies.

The "Pierogy Pocket" is an area of the country in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest where consumption of pierogies is higher than anywhere else in the nation, according to the company. Pittsburgh is competing with Buffalo, N.Y.; Garfield, N.J.; Lancaster, Pa., and Providence, R.I. The winner will receive $10,000 cash toward a community endeavor; Pittsburgh has chosen youth sports programs if the city wins.

Voting and more information is available online. The deadline to vote is Friday, October 13.

For Details and to vote: www.pierogypocket.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No Potential Soldier Left Behind

Back when I was in in high school, you could go to college, get a job, or, well, if you couldn't do either of those you could join the Army. But things have changed since then. The Army became selective. You had to have some kind of qualifications to get in. I remember having a conversation with a co-worker about one of his kids. I made some remark to the effect that if all else failed, he could join the Army, after which was I informed that he probably wouldn't qualify for the Army by today's standards.

But that was then. The standards they are a-lowering. Just today, we learn from the Associated Press that the Army recruited more than 2,600 extra soldiers by lowering its aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties. A total of 70,000 new IED fodder units signed up!

Even with these lowered standards, you have to have a high school diploma to get into the Army. But if you have one of those, then Uncle Sam wants you! Got medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving? No problem! About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests, drunk driving, and drug and alcohol problems.

Former Representative Mark Foley, you're in!
John Mark Karr, you're in!
Patrick Kennedy, you're in!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Luke Ravenstahl Falls For Sienna Miller

We all know by now that Sienna Miller was harshly critical of Pittsburgh in a Rolling Stone interview. In the interview, she refers to Pittsburgh as "sh*tsburgh" and goes on to say “Can you believe this is my life? Will you pity me when you’re back in your funky New York apartment and I’m still in Pittsburgh? I need to get more glamorous films." Miller is currently in town filming a movie called The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. You'd think she'd have a good word to say about the city name featured in her current project.

But now we find that Miller's comments were not directed against Pittsburgh after all! They were actually a ploy to get a photo-op with - an older man. Yes, the 24-year-old Sienna Miller has the hots for 26-year-old Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl!

"I want to apologize for my comments, which seem to have been misconstrued and taken out of context," Miller said. With a grin, Mr. Ravenstahl proclaimed, "She is forgiven."

Luke is gonna have to play this situation carefully. The feelings of the rest of Pittsburgh regarding Sienna Miller are more like those expressed in the Carbolic Smoke Ball and the Burgh Blog (here, here, here, and here).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Holy Humulus Lupulus, Batman!

If you drink Miller Lite, then read no further. This article doesn't have any impact on you. However, if you enjoy real beer, I'm afraid I have some very bad
news that's going to affect you in the taste buds. October 2, 2006 is a day that will live in infamy.

The Associated Press reports that a fire has ruined about 4 percent of America's yield of hops.

The fire started shortly before noon Monday in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse operated by S.S. Steiner Inc., one of the four largest hop buyers in the Yakima Valley of central Washington. By mid-afternoon flames engulfed most of the building, sending up plumes of smoke and a pungent aroma.

Based on an industry official's estimate of the quantity of hops in the warehouse, the loss could amount to $3.5 million to $4 million.

The United States produces 24 percent of the world's hops, and about three-fourths of the U.S. crop comes from the Yakima Valley. Hops were a $77 million crop in Washington state in 2004. More than 40 families grow hops in the valley, which is dotted with orchards, vineyards and farms.

Seventeen varieties of hops are grown in the United States, including aroma varieties which are added for flavor or fragrance and the bitter alpha varieties.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Book Review - Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

Title: Things Fall Apart
Author: Chinua Achebe
Publisher: Anchor Books, 1994. Original copyright: 1959.
Length: 209 pages, plus Glossary of Ibo Words and Phrases

There is a profound need for Americans to read books about non-Western cultures. This is especially true for those in political leadership positions. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, is one such book.

I learned about Things Fall Apart for the first time recently on somebody’s blog. I picked it up from the library two days ago and finished it today.

Things Fall Apart is the story of Okonkwo, a leader in the village of Umuofia in Nigeria. The story is told from the point of view that the Ibo culture of Okonkwo’s people. This culture is profoundly different from that of 21st Century America. A significant part of this book is spent establishing the culture and society for the reader.

In the first part of the book, the cultural constructs hold the society together, even though things fall apart on occasion on a personal level for Okonkwo and others in the book. But things fall apart for the culture as a whole as a result of the arrival of Christian missionaries and British colonial rulers. The story of how this happens to Okonkwo and his village is told in a simple, accessible, but gripping way.

If you read this book, do NOT use the speed reading technique of reading the end first. Just read it through, and will find that the very last paragraph provides the exclamation point that makes this book’s message so important.