Archive for June 2005

June 30, 2005 – High-speed ferry back in business   Leave a comment

The main stairway aboard the “Cat”, the
Toronto – Rochester ferry, making a pre-
service run to the official opening of
Toronto’s Marine Passenger Terminal.
Regular service starts Thursday.


ROCHESTER, New York — The high-speed ferry between Toronto and Rochester, New York is back in business.

The “Spirit of Ontario” left its berth at the Port of Rochester shortly before 8:30 this morning with about 300 passengers on board.

The ferry is due in Toronto just after 10 a.m.

Even though we live too far west for this to benefit us, I think this a cool idea. It will encourage more visitors both ways across the lake, but I suspect more U.S. residents will use this service to visit Toronto.

Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 by Grant in Random

June 28, 2005 – What is ugly?   2 comments

Image: Suzie Schechterle poses with her husband Jason, at their home in Avondale, Ariz.

Suzie Schechterle poses with her husband
Jason, at their home in Avondale, Ariz. in this
March 23, 2002 file photo. (AP Photo/Matt

Phoenix Police Officer Jason Schechterle, while on duty, “suffered fourth-degree burns to his hands and face when his patrol car was hit from behind by a taxi and exploded in flames in 2001.” He nearly died.

The Associated Press ran a picture of Officer Schechterle as part of “a series of award-winning stories chronicling Schechterle’s accident and fight to recover.”

A tabloid, Weekly World News, which is owned by American Media Inc., picked up the photo and ran it in a list of the “top 10 ugliest people” in its Feb. 7 issue.

Jason sued.

The article that announced the settlement got me thinking about what is ugly.

I think it’s ugly to revel in the misfortune of others. I think it is ugly to victimize anyone to make a buck. I think it’s ugly to run a list entitled, “top 10 ugliest people.”

I’m glad that Jason Schechterle sued. I would have been glad for him if he had won the settlement for himself. Instead, The Foundation for Burns & Trauma in Arizona will recieve a “significant” donation. As Jason himself said, “Something bad has been turned into something very good.”

Jason, there is nothing ugly about you.

Jason Schechterle’s web site
The Foundation for Burns & Trauma
Google Jason Schechterle

Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 by Grant in Random

June 24, 2005 – Humor   Leave a comment

Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 by Grant in Random

June 22, 2005 – Voice of the Steelers Retires   1 comment

Myron Cope leaves the room after his news conference announcing his retirement at the Steeler offices on the South Side Tuesday June 21, 2005.
Robin Rombach, Post-Gazette

Myron Cope, the Pittsburgh Steeler’s enthusiastic radio analyst for 35 years, announced his retirement Tuesday.

The Post-Gazette ran this article: Cope quits; admits he’s lost his edge

I think that this quote sums things up:

And Cope has shoes that can’t be filled, no matter what direction the broadcasts go in the future.

“There will never be another Cope,” [Joe] Gordon[, the former director of media relations for the Steelers] said. “There’s no cookie cutter here. There’s only one Cope.”

Here is the article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Voice of Steelers silenced (In my view, a needlessly sensational headline which might lead you to suspect the poor guy had died.)

Yet, I did like this excerpt from the article:

Steelers backers habitually would turn down the network telecast and turn up Cope, who excitedly peppered his stammering chatter with expressions such as “Yoi!” “Double Yoi!” and “Zounds!”

This is so true. Even grafted-in Pittsburghers, like my wife and I, would do this. The sweetness of a victory was enhanced and the bitterness of a defeat softened by Myron’s enthusiastic and colorful banter. He was such fun to listen to.

Of course, all things change and I wish Myron well in retirement, but I will miss the voice of the Steelers.

— Grant

Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 by Grant in Random

June 21, 2005 – Three Rivers Arts Festival   Leave a comment

Three Rivers Arts Festival logo

Pittsburgh’s annual Three Rivers Arts Festival wrapped up on Sunday. Since we can walk over to the Point from the North Shore, Lydia and I usually take this in each year. Overall, I was disappointed this year.

The walk and the sunshine are good, but I have a limited tolerance for “booth trolling.” I appreciate artists, artizans and craftsmen. I like seeing inventive, creative and original work. The thing is, there isn’t much of that. And the pieces that catch your eye have price tags that make you wonder if the sun is getting to you. On the other hand, it’s free to look.

I understand that the artists are trying to make a living doing what they enjoy. I admire that. I know, too, that they are probably shelling out a fair chunk of change to rent the booth for the show. I don’t begrudge them recouping that cost and, just maybe, making a buck or two to eat. That’s all to the good.

Speaking of eating, something I’ve come to expect, but not accept, from the festival is the over-priced and poor quality food. I think this is the nut of it: I want to support the festival, the artists and even the food vendors, but I come away feeling like either I got ripped off if I bought something or I didn’t give to the charity, so to speak, if I kept my money.

Yet, after saying all that, one doesn’t have to spend a dime to enjoy the festival.

And let’s be honest, I’m to blame to some extent for not getting the most from the festival. I didn’t do any research ahead of time. The festival has free concerts and usually there are one or two that interest me. For example, this year had Cowboy Junkies, Buckwheat Zydeco, Rickie Lee Jones, Aimee Mann and others. Who knew? Not I. So, I missed out.

I guess the lesson I’m taking away for next year is 1) research what’s going on ahead of time 2) plan to attend the bits that interest me and 3) pack in my own food.

If you want to read another review of the festival, Mike Seate, reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote an article, Arts fest high in calories, low in art.

— Grant

Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 by Grant in Random

June 20, 2005 – Jeet Jet?   Leave a comment

No, jew?

Which is Pittsburghese for “Did you eat, yet?” and “No, did you?”

Went to Piper’s Pub on the Southside for lunch. Fish and Chip. ‘Nuff said.

I have heard rumors that they have other stuff on the menu, but I just say, “Na na na. I’m not listening…”

Best F&C in ‘da burgh. Although, by no means the best anywhere, but I can’t fly to London or Edinburgh for fish and chips whenever the mood strikes, so I make due.

— Grant

Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 by Grant in Random

June 17, 2005 – Mark your calendars for Friday April 13, 2029   Leave a comment

Asteroid 2004 MN4 will come scarily close to Earth on April 13, 2029, but it will not hit.

On April 13, 2029, asteroid 2004 MN4 will fly past Earth only 18,600 miles (30,000 km) above the ground. For comparison, geosynchronous satellites orbit at 22,300 miles (36,000 km).

The picture above shows the scale of the asteroid’s track. It will come much closer to Earth than the Moon and closer even than high orbit satellites (a.k.a. geosynchronous satellites.) So close, in fact, that the Earth’s gravitational pull will deflect the asteroid’s path.

The asteroid’s trajectory will bend approximately 28 degrees during the encounter, “a result of Earth’s gravitational pull,” explains [Jon] Giorgini [of Jet Propulsion Laboratory]

Here is some more information on JPL’s Near Earth Object Program website.

— Grant

Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 by Grant in Random