Friday, February 27, 2009


PITTSBURGH- Never one to shy away from glomming onto another man's popularity, even if that person is now deceased, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, A.K.A "Steelerstahl", A.K.A."Raven-yoi" officially declared today "Myron Cope Day" on this, the one year anniversary of the death of the most exciting broadcaster in Pittsburgh sports history. I have to be fair to Jim and Randy over at WDVE radio. They came up with the "Raven-yoi" name and I just couldn't resist using it myself since it was so appropriate for this column.

On this day of reflecting on the life of Myron, I want to share a couple of personal Myron Memories that I have...

Myron's morning commentary was always "must listening" every day, so you can imagine how flabbergasted I was one morning when the morning commentary was about me!

The year was 1985 in early March and I was one of four finalists at the time for the inglorious title of "America's Worst Avid Golfer". I was at this point being besieged on a daily basis by radio stations, newspapers, you name it, trying to get some insight into this bizarre golf event. Of course being a Pittsburgh area resident, the story was getting a lot of play locally as well.

Above: The year was 1985. Myron, during his morning commentary "tears me a new one".

In his commentary, Myron lambasted the editors at "Golf Digest Magazine" for putting on such an event. He said that ,"Anyone could go out and hit balls into the woods or the water, take divots and whiffs and shoot a round of 150. What "Golf Digest" should be doing is finding a person who plays bad golf but with a flair and have them compete...a person like me, for example, not this Angelo Spagnolo character."

He continued his whole commentary assailing my credibility as a true contestant and when it was over, I can remember just shaking my head and saying, "How in God's name did I ever get myself into this?" At the time, before this event took place, there was always the inevitable question for me such as, "Are you going to try to play bad or good?" Hearing that question about 500 times really started to grate on me because who in their right mind would want to go out and purposely play bad...especially when it came so naturally while trying to play good?

Anyway, later that morning I called the station and got Myron on the phone. Now you have to realize that Myron was one of my absolute favorites and I had just been mortally wounded and embarassed in the media by my hero that morning in front of the entire City of Pittsburgh. I couldn't believe that I was actually talking with him...I began. "Myron, this is Angelo Spagnolo. I can't believe the way you harpooned me on your commentary this morning."

His response, "Mm hah, Spagnolo, it was all in good fun, all in good fun." I said that I realized that but that I thought that in fairness that I should have a chance to defend myself on his evening talk show. He agreed and that evening, for about a half hour, Myron and I debated about my golf "abilities" or lack thereof and the legitimacy of the "Worst Avid Golfer's Tournament" in total. The listeners had a field day with it. One thing led to another and before you knew it, I wound up challenging Myron to a grudge match at what was my home course, Linden Hall Golf Course in Dawson, PA.

Myron and I played that match together. He showed up in resplendent bright red knickers with knee-high socks and a tweed golf shirt. He wore a white beret-type hat and really looked like the character that he was. He also had Eartha Jackson, his longtime-producer, at his side as his "caddie". Looking unlike any caddie I had ever seen before, Eartha, I vividly recall, was wearing hot pants and stilletto high heels. This did wonders for aerating the greens at Linden Hall by the way. We played a five hole match for the channel four cameras that Myron won by a single stroke. While he was a lightweight hitter (he couldn't hit a ball far enough to lose it) I on the other hand I had my usual fair share of screaming liners sprayed all over the property that was typical of my normal game.

When it was over, my family and friends took the usual photos with Myron and I. He was really great to play with and a real performer for the cameras. A few months later, after I had "brought the title" back to Pittsburgh, he agreed to play in my own tournament for the benefit of the Multiple Sclerosis Service Society. We played our first event that year at Seven Springs Resort and we flew in the other "Worst Avid Golfers" from around the country who had played in the original match in Florida. After that first tournament in Pittsburgh, these fellows, by now lifelong friends, would end up coming back for over 20 years helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for MSSS. Every year that they'd come back they'd always ask, "Hey, how's that Myron Cope fellow that's the Steelers sportscaster? He was a real hoot to play with."

Myron had that kind of an effect on people.

Our paths crossed at many different charity golf events over the years too and I have this memory of a relaxed Myron etched into my brain: He'd be standing somewhere near the bar area, engrossed in a lively conversation with a scotch or whisky-type toddy as he called it in one hand and a cigarette always burning in the other. That was Myron Cope...a throwback to a different era of sportwriters and broadcasters. A man who to this day is still sorely missed and fondly treasured. His voice, his excitement for Steelers football, his overall enthusiasm for life itself will always remain as one of the better memories of my own lifetime's experiences. I'll always be thankful that our paths crossed...even if he did take me to task!

Above: The gravesite of Myron Cope. As always adorned with his "Terrible Towel". Rest in peace Pittsburgh icon and fellow lousy golfer!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why The Steelers Should Draft Pat White

Above: The lovely, the vivacious, the OH MY GOD IS SHE FOR REAL? Erin Andrews slinks away moments after a romantic interlude with Pat White. She has that "I've just been caught" naughty girl look on her face! Any guy who can get a chick like this to come on to him in a place like Puskar Stadium HAS TO BE Steeler material!!!

From "Deadspin"

Patrick White's not one to kiss and tell. The West Virginia quarterback received what appeared to be a hug and a peck on the cheek from ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews a few seconds after a postgame interview Saturday at Puskar Stadium.

"That's between me and her," White said, a little shocked that someone caught the interlude, before breaking into a sly smile. A few seconds later, he volunteered, "I almost fainted when she came up to me."


Above: Since we did mention Erin Andrews, I thought it only prudent to add one more "zebra" shot of her before we get back onto our real subject, Pat White! You don't mind, do you? Below: This is more like it! Now we're back on top of the current goings-on in Couchtown. What do West Virginians have against couches, anyway?

Yes, Pat White obviously has some special spell that he's weaving over the female population in the land of burning couches. Either that, or he must be subconsciously exuding male pheromones like no male ever before him. I'm quite impressed by his seeming prowess. As all women know who frequent clubs on the South Side or the Strip, male prowess is a very important Steeler trait.

Above: This guy is a veritable clone of Hines Ward. He's a quarterback as Hines was. He resembles his build, has his toughness, has his desire to win and loves to light up the unsuspecting a la Hines. Close your eyes and imagine him as a Steeler. He'd be another dangerous weapon for Ben!



But you're not reading this supposedly to look at chesty pictures of Erin Andrews, you're here to learn why the Steelers should draft Pat White, right? Yeah, right!

Above: He already has most of the uniform colors right and he even has Hines' high step. He can cut with the best of them too, just like 'Tonio and Hines.

Various mock drafts have had Pat White lasting until the 57th pick or late in the second round. White has apparently done very well at the scouting combine and various reports are saying that he improved his draft position more than any other attendee. While that may be true and while it will get him more money to start off with I don't see him cracking the first round because of lingering concerns over his size. With the Steelers drafting last in the first round, Pat White should still be there and offensively would have the greatest potential of virtually any offensive player to be drafted. Don't be shocked if this happens. Here's why:

The Steelers have always liked drafting the BAA player (best athlete available) especially in the early rounds. They do this because it works.

Hines is another year older and has a couple more injuries to show for it. He probably has two years tops left in the tank. The Steelers are going to lose Nate Washington, probably to Tennessee. Nate has improved himself over the years, but tell me that Pat White wouldn't be an upgrade over him? Plus, last year's number two draft choice, Limas Sweed has yet to flash his supposed skills, so the Steelers are really dealing with a major potential dropoff after Santonio, especially considering Hines' age. If Hines or Santonio goes down, watch out, here come the Browns.

Above: Oh, did I say that he can throw too? The Steelers could have a whole package of plays written just for White! He wowed the scouts displaying an ability to confidently make all of the necessary repertoire of throws.

There are reports that Jeff Saturday, an outstanding center on the Colts would like to play for the Steelers. His agent is Pittsburgher Ralph Cindrich, so this could really be do-able. Getting a guy like Saturday would take a lot of that first round lineman pressure off the team and it further makes this look like a tantalizing opportunity. Face it, all of the "all-world" offensive linemen will already be gone and anyone we would draft as a lineman probably wouldn't play that much anyway. Pat White could be an immediate impact player and he would add even more blazing speed onto a team that already has "Fast"Willie Parker and Santonio Holmes on its' roster..

Above: Pat White has received permission from Roger Goodell to wear this WWF-style champeen's belt during games. He will be the first player to be granted this exemption since he was the first q.b. to ever win four bowl games EVER!! The Steelers should draft him just for having done that!!!

So when it comes time for the Steelers to draft, don't be surprised when the commish says, "With the 32nd and final pick in the first round, the SuperBowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers select quarterback, Pat White from the University of West Virginia."

So what about Dennis Dixon whom the Steelers already have on their roster? Well first of all expect Byron Leftwich to get a starters job elsewhere. Though he's said that he wants to stay, the money will be too great for him to do so. Charlie Batch will probably remain as the backup with Dixon as third string. Pat White will make the roster as a receiver slash wildcat quarterback giving the "large one" a break from time-to-time.

As long as White doesn't do any more of those mock Pitt "meows" like he did a couple years ago on ESPN during the "Backyard Brawl", he can consider all to be forgiven and will be welcomed into the collective bosom of the Steeler Nation...well at least by those Steeler fans who didn't go to Pitt!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Above: Who can ever figure out millionaires? Monty Brewster was upset when his investments made money. The Rooney brothers are apparently unhappy that their enterprise, "The Pittsburgh Steelers" just won the SuperBowl. Go figure?

Life...It's All About Choices

It's not that often that you'll hear negative comments around this town about the Rooneys, but a photo that appeared in yesterday's "Pittsburgh Post Gazette" with photo credit to one Kay Rooney no less, is managing to accomplish just that.

In the strange photo which we've published below, the four "other" Rooney brothers who were forced into selling their shares of ownership in the team because of involvement in "taboo" NFL businesses (re: gambling) stand on the field, after the thrilling Steelers SuperBowl victory, whooping it up.

Could you ever imagine seeing more dour expressions on four people's faces after just watching your family's team winning the biggest prize in North American sports and maybe the most exciting SuperBowl ever? This is the best you could do?

What was even more puzzling was the spin that the "Post Gazette" tried to put on this shameful display, calling the Rooney brothers "bittersweet" over the Steelers winning and them getting the equivalent of an NFL heave-ho. Why should the "Post Gazette" feel the need to apologize for the Rooney's having a glum look on their faces? Are they their p.r. arm? Some would answer that as a big fat "yes".

Hey guys, no one in the NFL said that you had to sell, remember that. What they did say was that you couldn't own a team and be involved in gambling. You had to make a choice. You didn't want to get out of your own slot machines and dog races (plus you also couldn't imagine being subservient to your brother, Dan), so you couldn't remain as NFL owners. It's as simple as that. Oh, and I'm sure that the tens of millions of dollars that each of you are going to be paid for essentially being the result of one of your Dad's more amorous moments are really going to be tough to take too.

In retrospect, I guess all of us would feel glum if the golden trough that we'd been drinking at for our entire lives was suddenly being taken away, but don't feel too sorry for these pathetic Rooney millionaires. Other than Art, they did next to nothing to ever earn the millions upon millions of dollars that they've already glommed from Art Rooney's DNA over the years. They should be ashamed for taking such a horrible picture though. Not one of them made so much as a feeble attempt at even a fake smile. In fact, the only picture they could've taken that would have been more truthful would have been if the four of them had been giving Dan the "finger". I'd say that it was pretty evident that they weren't happy that their brother and his son had just won another SuperBowl, pure and simple or they had a horrible collective case of gas..
Remember: You can pick your friends, but not your family Dan. Be glad that you're rid of them. This fact holds even more true in mega-wealthy clans such as the Rooneys.

P-G Photo by Kay Rooney. Here's a good question: So why own up to it?

Above:Contain yourselves! Money can't always buy happiness, but no longer getting it by the bushelbaskets every year can cause millionaires like these to become very unhappy. Did you ever see a more pathetic-looking bunch of mega-wealthy men in your life? Their expressions were almost as incongruous as Richard Pryor's in "Brewster's Millions" when he would get angry because he had made millions of dollars on an "iceburg thing". Remember: each of the men pictured above is going to be getting tens of millions of dollars in settlement for their share of the Steelers, so don't feel too sorry for their plight in life. Maybe they should buy a rare stamp and mail it or run against Mayor "Steeler-stahl" as "None of the Above". It worked for Brewster, it could work for the Rooneys!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


2009 "Blackened Gold" Award winning story

One of the things I really enjoy about authoring this blog is that I can pursue any topic that I feel my readers will enjoy when it comes to Pittsburgh. When I come across something that I feel is a winner, it's almost like hitting a jackpot. This occured yesterday while doing some research on another story I'm planning for you. I came across the name of a person that I thought all of you would enjoy reading about, the venerable Bill Cardille.

Above: The Pittsburgh Legend with the velvety voice, "Chilly Billy," Bill Cardille. He wasn't ever "Chilly", just cool, very cool.

This past week we lost a longtime friend of Bill Cardille's and another one of Pittsburgh's television pioneers, Don Riggs.

I came across an interview that was done with him several years ago. Riggs was the former "Bwana Don" on KDKA's "Safari" Tarzan series who also created the "Willy the Duck" puppet that appeared on several Channel 11 shows. "Bill's always been versatile," he began.

"When he started in TV, like a lot of us, he had no idea where it was going. He would do anything they wanted," Riggs said. "You want a weatherman, he'd do the weather. You want a movie host, he'd host the movies. Anything you want, Bill would do it and like it. He always had a good, positive attitude."

Cracked Cardille: "The only thing I didn't do was sing the national anthem."

Bill Cardille will always have a large place in the pantheon of Pittsburgh television. He was one of six original announcing voices ever heard on WIIC (now WPXI) and his was the very familiar face that hosted popular shows like "Studio Wrestling" and "Chiller Theater".

"Chilly Billy" was certainly among the most popular TV hosts ever in Pittsburgh and he also managed to do a pretty good weatherman imitation from time-to-time as well.

"Studio Wrestling" was quite the program. I vividly recall the cast of characters that made up that show, good guys and bad guys alike. Of course the man among boys was "Pittsburgh's Champion", Bruno Sammartino. Bruno was always good for a "W" although I remember him taking severe punishment from guys like "Killer Kowalski", Professor Tanaka, Gorilla Monsoon or "Crusher" Morzowski. There were good guys like "Ace" Freeman, Chief White Owl, "Batt Man" and Jumpin' Johnny DeFazio.
Above: Our man Bruno posing with his championship belt. Below, Bill conducts a serious interview with the champeen.
"90 Minutes of Unorganized Mayhem"

                 --Bill Cardille

The ring announcer in those days was a man with an exciting voice who always got dressed up in a tux for the occasion, Johnny Francona. There were also other characters like "Ringside Rosie", a female spectator who always had a front row seat and managed to get into the thick of the action by baiting various wrestlers and even hitting them with her purse when the opportunity presented itself.

The venerable Pirate Hall of Famer, Harold "Pie" Traynor was also a regular on "Studio Wrestling" doing live spots for a company called, "The American Heating Company". Pie's big line in these commercials was always, "Who can? Ameri-can. The American Heating Company".

Above: Bill looking positively natty in a double-breasted suit with Pirate baseball legend "Pie" Traynor.

The referees always seemed as though they were watching another program. Izzie Moidell was the worst of them all though. His incompetency was legendary. He always managed to miss a count, miss an illegally concealed weapon, or just plain not see a horrible infraction because he was distracted by something unimportant on another side of the ring. I don't know how this man could even look himself in the mirror.

As a young lad around eight years old, I can remember "Studio Wrestling" getting me into a good bit of trouble too. My younger brother was still a bit too little to rough up in the ring, but my sister, a wiry and feisty six-year-old, was close enough in size to be a viable combatant. We'd had some spirited matches at my Grandmother's after watching "Studio Wrestling" until one day when the inevitable happened... our match ended with a table lamp being broken as my sister fell backwards into it. As the lamp fell, it also knocked a picture of my recently- deceased grandfather to the floor, putting a large crack in the glass. Good Lord and the goose fat this was a nightmare bigger than anything I could ever imagine!
Above: An example of the type of wanton destruction I was inspired to do by "Studio Wrestling".

There are some things that you never forget about your childhood. That day was one of them for me. My sweet little 4' 8" Italian grandmother was so incensed  that she was moved to chase me with a broom! She would have hit me with it too if it wouldn't have been that she hit her dining room chandelier first and broke a globe on it! She then sat down and started crying!

Do you have any idea how bad you can make an eight-year-old feel when you first chase him with a broom because he broke a lamp and a picture of his deceased grandfather and he then sees his grandmother sitting down crying because he inadvertantly caused her to break her chandelier too? This day was what I'll call a "Bad day at black rock" and leave it at that.
So Bill Cardille caused me to get into a ton of trouble that day and I've never forgiven him for it. Well today I'm going to unburden myself. "Bill, I forgive you!" I just wonder how much other wanton destruction you caused in homes across Western Pennsylvania?!
Studio Wrestling 1961-1974
Chiller Theater    1964-1983
Another show that I got a real kick out of was "Chiller Theater" although I must admit that I would really get scared watching a lot of these movies. To this day I'll never understand why they took off that great show, although I'm sure that WIIC bowed to network pressure to begin carrying "Saturday Night live", a program I've never liked. "Chilly Billy" had characters like "Terminal Stare", "Steffen" and others whom he would interview between segments of a horror movie. Then, of course, he'd also do skits that were produced on about a 25 cent the Pittsburgh Subway System (noexistant at the time) otherwise know as "PSS". A typical skit would consist of Chilly standing in front of an emergency exit door and having a janitor's hamper come slowly rolling down the hallway into the picture while talking about some imaginary problem that was plaguing "PSS". Were these skits often pretty lame? Sure they were! But we loved them and we're still talking about them 35 years later!
Of course at the absolute zenith of Chilly Billy's career, he had a role in the George Romero horror classic, "Night of the Living Dead". Bill played himself as a WIIC TV reporter investigating the outbreak of zombie-like people in, I believe, Evans City or Mercer or Zelienople... one of those northern communities. That movie scared the total bejezzus out of me the first time I saw it and just went on to prove that you don't have to have the biggest budget to create the most horror. It also was another in a long line of affective black and white horror films.
On another sidenote, I consider myself very fortunate to have married into a family that has as an important member, the LEAD ZOMBIE in this very classic, one Bill Hinzman. I promise you folks that one of these days I'm going to give you an exclusive interview with this true-life zombie and give you greater insight into his playing of this role.

So revolving around the career of Bill Cardille are two of the greatest locally-produced shows of all time, "Studio Wrestling" and "Chiller Theater" as well as one of the top three horror films ever, "The Night of the Living Dead". Not too shabby "Chilly Billy".
Bill Cardille has always been a great name in Pittsburgh television and it's really a shame that all of these shows apparently are either lost or were in some cases taped over. As it is today, there are very few artifacts remaining from either of these two classic Pittsburgh television shows. But I'll always have a shattered lamp, cracked picture of my grandfather and a broken chandelier (along with the memory of my grandmother crying etched into my brain) to keep these memories vividly alive for me forever!
Above: Insert picture here of your deceased grandfather to get the full effect of this childhood mega-disaster.

Friday, February 20, 2009


People from outside of Pittsburgh often wonder what it is that makes this team so special in the eyes of its' adoring fans. Make no mistake about it, there is a TREMENDOUS love affair that's been going on here for years. The best part about it is that it's not one sided. This is not just a case of player worship. The fans here give their full love to the Steelers and the team gives it right back to the fans.

Here's just another example of this courtesy of "P.B. & G." reader and best buddy, Dave W. He wrote:...

"Hi Ang, I thought you would like to know about this. There is a 10-year-old little girl - Heather is her name - who has Ewing's Sarcoma. She had surgery on Monday to remove part of her lung, three ribs and part of a few other ribs. She is recovering now but Troy Polamalu has been an angel in her life. She has been in and out of the hospital and when Troy can be there, he goes to see her.

Above: Heather, in proper attire, poses with her favorite Steeler, Troy Polamalu. Positive moments like this will hopefully speed along her recovery from recent serious surgery.
Below: Troy plays guitar hero in the hospital with Heather. Am I just old or can anyone else remember when there used to be signs a block away from a hospital that said "QUIET, HOSPITAL ZONE"?

They play Guitar Hero and when he's not there, he texts her. Before Monday's surgery, Heather got a surprise from him... he sent her his jersey - signed - that he wore in the game against the Ravens. I am forwarding you pictures of him playing guitar hero with her. I thought your readers might enjoy it. This is a very special guy, taking time out of his busy schedule to bring sunshine into this little girls life....."

You really said it all Dave. Troy Polamalu is a fine example of the good character people that the Steelers insist are a part of the equation when they draft a player. They, more than probably any other team in the NFL, value integrity and what's inside a player's heart as much as how fast he can run, or how high he can jump. When he can do all of those things AND is a great character guy, you trade up to get him which is exactly what the Steelers did to acquire Troy Polamalu as a first round draft choice.

Above: Troy even enjoys chocolates (when he's not drinking Coke that is).

I've always loved when our city's athletes do this kind of thing (Mario, for example, has done this for years) and in the case of Troy Polamalu, he's doing this because he's a great guy and for no other image reason. Troy is genuine. Troy is a Pittsburgh Steeler, Troy is one of OUR guys.

Again, now you know why the Steelers are so beloved in this town.

Thursday, February 19, 2009



Above: As the songs goes, "They smile in your face, all the time they wanna take your place, the back stabbers, back stabbers....."

I have a few things that I'd like to addresss today and I'll start off with the Penguins. Dan Bylsma can very well be the best coach to come around since sliced bread was invented, but I'm very disturbed at the raw deal that Mike Therrien got just a few months after taking the team to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Mike Therrien didn't get stupid all of a sudden, nor did he "lose the team" as people like to say. His boss fired him because he didn't win with a different set of players than he had last year...a far different cast of players. Not only did he lose his grit players like Ryan Malone, Jarko Ruutu, Georges LaRoque and Gary Roberts but also talented winger Marian Hossa. Look at the players that were brought in by Ray Shero to replace them. They were far below what was lost. In addition, this team has had a myriad of injuries, starting with Segei Gonchar who quarterbacked their now-anemic power play last year.

How can a team go through this much roster upheaval and not be affected? Given the circumstances, I think it's amazing that Therrien had this team still above .500 when he was fired...and who do you think brought in these players, Therrien? Hardly.

I listened to an interview today where Therrien felt the team was really starting to come around and was just starting to get over some of the major injuries. He felt that, the Toronto game aside, that the team was ready to start making a move. Therrien and his family were obviously crushed over this move by Ray Shero which certainly strikes me as being highly unjust.

I guess in a city where the Rooney's have always exemplified the ultimate in patience with these types of situations, the move by the Penguins sticks out like an even bigger sore thumb. I really feel sorry for Mike Therrien and I hope for his sake that he gets another opportunity to coach. I especially felt bad hearing him speak so glowingly about Pittsburgh, how he sold his home in Montreal and how his kids want to stay here. He also strongly believes that this team is going to make the playoffs.

You didn't deserve this Mike. Ray Shero should be ashamed of himself for making you into his scapegoat. Maybe his bosses will someday treat him just as unfairly as he treated you. Let's hope not, because no human being deserves that.

McDonald's: Sad To Say, Apparently I've Eaten
My Last Big Mac

Above: Apparently McDonalds would go to the moon if they thought they could get cheaper beef there.

Can you believe that McDonald's is making a move now to begin buying all of their beef from South American producers? McDonalds says it's because American producers can't keep up, but the reality is that they can get cheaper, less regulated beef in countries like Argentina that don't have the same level of regulations that American producers have to work within.

This is just another example of an American corporation that makes its' money in America, shifting either its' buying or manufacturing overseas where the profit is bigger. This is how our country got into its' present mess and until people who run these companies start to display even the least sense of a moral compass, our country will continue to slide. Hey, I've eaten at McDonalds a million times, but they can forget it now as far as I'm concerned. American cattlemen have to support their families too! I'll buy my burgers from companies that buy American beef.

And on a lighter note...

Above: Buddha's probably rolling over in his grave right now...



You probably remember the story that appeared in "P. B. & G." about a month ago about the guy who built a house made entirely out of beer cans in Houston. He drank a six pack per day for 16 years until he amassed something like 35,000 beer cans and decided to build a house with them.

Above: Beer bottle temple in Thailand required that the local populace drink 375,000 gallons of beer (in 16 ounce bottles of course). This means that many Thais are either 1) Not Buddhist or 2) Don't care about the rule against drinking alcoholic beverages in Buddhism. Oh well, at least the bottles ended up being used for something good.

Well in North East Thailand comes this story about a group of Buddhist monks who have built an entire temple to Buddha using beer bottles! What really makes this story fascinating is that drinking alcohol is a sin in Buddhism. Apparently in 1984 the monks started collecting the beer bottles and amassed a staggering 1.5 million bottles.

Above: Buddhist monk stands in front of amazing beer bottle temple. Nice touch with the water and all.
Today you can visit the impressive "Wat Lan Kuad" temple located in Wat Pa Maha Chedikaew, Thailand. Okay, who's gonna top this? I think it'll have to be built out of empty beer kegs though!

One final thought: Just imagine for a minute if Thais were Steeler fans? They'd be building skyscrapers!

Below: Inside the beer bottle temple. Very impressive inside and out. You can never underestimate the value of alcoholism, either in Houston or Thailand!

Monday, February 16, 2009



Copyright 2009 "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold"

In a story that could be right out of an episode of "The Jetsons" and that was first unearthed by the investigative team here at “Pittsburgh’s Black and Gold”, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a stunning admission, confirmed today to our reporters that the NFL is indeed going to release all current players from their contracts following the upcoming 2009-10 season and begin using robots only in all future games beginning in the 2011 season.

Goodell, annoyed and obviously very agitated at having his plan uncovered prematurely by “PB&G” decided to come clean, “In the interest of clearing up any confusion or misconception that may have been caused by this premature release of information by the "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold” blog site."

Above Top: Goodell is ticked at "P.B.& G." at news conference. Above: A glimpse at the future Roethlisberger model for the Steelers. These shoulders should be much more durable than Big Ben's were this past season.

Stunningly, Goodell went on to confirm that all players will be released and none will be re-signed after next season. Therein came the link to the story that “Pittsburgh’s Black and Gold” had been investigating for quite some time, that amazingly, robots would be used instead of humans playing in future NFL games!

“Face it,” Goodell went on to say, “The days of men playing this game are just about over anyway. First we have to contend with skyrocketing salaries, then there are the constant injuries. If that’s not enough, we have to put up with these big mouths like T.O. or Chad Ocho whatever. With robots we won’t have that. Besides, the fans want a more violent game and we’ll be able to give them that too. Remember the head slap? The forearm shiver? They‘ll be back! Also, clipping and chop blocks will now be legal as well since we don‘t have to worry about injuries. There will be no roughing the kicker, no fair catches, no protecting the quarterback, no defenseless receivers, none of that stuff that was only designed to take injuries out of the game. In fact, we want the stuff that caused injuries in the past. We will intentionally program helmet-to- helmet contact!

“Today all of the rules are about protecting the player. We’ll be able to scrap all of those rules and really let these robots kill each other! Imagine it!!! Plus, the cost of repairing the robots will be a heckuva lot less than having a guy sittiing on the bench all year long doing nothing. Robots will be able to play every game all year! We won‘t have to worry about concussions, shoulder separations or spinal cord injuries either.”

Above: Steelers prototype along with the smaller, more damageable Patriots robots. This matchup could be a "smash face kind of game as Ryan Clark likes to say (only he won't be playing).

"After our initial startup expenses, we expect to have our investment amortized by the end of the first year. Thereafter, probably less than half a season’s games will be required to cover our robot expenses. This will enable us to actually lower ticket costs for our loyal fans while at the same time increasing the number and velocity of on-field collisions. Teams such as the Steelers, where their fans have craved random acts of violence for years will be thrilled with these developments. They'll forget about human players the first time they see these robots collide.”

Seeing as this is the NFL, isn’t there some additional benefit in this for the owners,” we asked?

“Well the owners concluded that they could save millions of dollars annually in airline transportation, hotel bills, food and training camps just by having two sets of robots available in each NFL city. Let’s say the Steelers are scheduled to play the Browns in Pittsburgh. The Browns will have their robotics personnel fly to Pittsburgh and make the uniform and programming adjustments to the set of visiting robots housed in Pittsburgh. After the game, any damaged robots will be shipped to the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute. They’ll handle all of the repairs under an exclusive arrangement with our league. We'll also save on medical claims, insurance and we won't have to fund the players association oldtimers anymore."

Above: More than likely this Ravens linebacker will be giving the Steelers loads of problems.
Below: More traditional-looking offensive linemen robots are already in full scale production at CMU. The NFL's marketing gurus figure that they'll be a mega hit with the kids.

But there was one final question that the Commissioner didn't seem to have an answer for…how would the league handle not having its' popular draft any longer?

"We’ve tried to figure out what we could do with that, and I just don't know yet." said Goodell, "But it just might have to be that we’ll save the hundreds of millions of dollars that the draft costs our league every year and just bank it. Believe me, when our fans see, hear,.... smell,..... even feel the velocity of these impacts, they’ll forget all about that we once had fragile humans playing this game and that they were drafted and had to wear helmets. So what? I mean who really cares about that anymore?"

"We'll also be coming out with a new line of what we're calling "NFLbot rally towels". The fans are really going to love them for just $19.95."

Dan Rooney, when questioned about the move said, "We're delighted that our name meshes so nicely with the new direction of the league. The New NFLbot Steelers will be a formidable force, especially with CMU being in our backyard. I'm sure that by the time we start with robots that we'll be going for our 'Snowman" rings'," he laughed. "Our robots will be made entirely of steel, so they won't be called the Steelers for nothing!"

Of course the obvious joke here was that the teams would also save on no longer having to pay out SuperBowl bonuses or the winning team having to purchase SuperBowl rings...another big savings for the always cost-conscious owners.

Below: Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney with President Barack Obama.

"We'll create an industry in Pittsburgh building robots for the NFL," said Rooney, "And hand pick the best ones and make them Steelers! The President is a big Steeler fan and he loves the idea as part of his jobs stimulus package."

Sunday, February 15, 2009


2009 "Blackened Gold" Award Winning Story



copyright 2009 "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold"

Steelers kicker Jeff Reed found out about that target that every NFL player has on his back when he was arrested following a disgraceful situation that occured at a Sheetz store at 3 a.m. on Friday night in New Alexandria.

Above: Their MTOs may be good, but when it comes to restrooms, forget it. Ask Jeff Reed!

Reed, returning home from Carnegie Library in Oakland where he had been working on a research paper on male pheremones, made an innocent "pit stop" at a Sheetz store along the way. He entered this restroom and then the trouble began...After simply trying to get a paper towel to dry his just-sanitized hands, the kicker, in an obvious state of exhaustion from his research work lost his composure...and it was all Sheetz' fault!

Above: Darn right he was mad! Who isn't mad when there's no paper towels in the dispenser? It's enough to bring out the animal in anybody!

Above: Apparently it was this sign that sent Reed over the edge. How dare they post a sign like this and not have paper towels. A Pittsburgh-based chain would never have let this happen (Sheetz is headquartered in Altoona... figures).

Yes, Jeff Reed was upset. Yes he said some bad words. Yes this was inappropriate behavior. Yes, yes, yes. But what the Sheetz employees did, calling the cops after he smashed their empty paper towel dispenser was totally uncalled for.

Jeff Reed is a nice, happy-go-lucky, fun loving guy. Ask any woman anywhere and they will tell you: Jeff Reed is the man! Besides all that, he also kicks footballs straight through the uprights at Heinz easy trick we all know. On top of all of this, he just won a SuperBowl for our region. One day he's in a parade, the next day you're going to cite him for Sheetz' shortcomings as a convenience chain? Where's the convenience when you have to dry your hands on your pants? Remember, chicks don't dig a guy with wet pants.

Above: Some fatso tries to horn in on "Skippy's" action, further proof that the man gets no respect from anyone around here. Instead of bothering Jeff, this porker should be at Goodyear seeing if they have any jobs for blimp drivers.

Ironically enough, this whole incident could have been prevented if only Sheetz had been doing the environmentally responsible thing and got rid of its' paper towel dispensers. What a disgraceful waste of our country's natural resources!

Maybe instead of buying more of those $10,000 cappucino machines, Sheetz should spend a few bucks on some of these and prevent a lot of trouble for the Steelers and their true fans!!!

While the Steelers offices were closed over the weekend, a security guard, on the condition of anonymity, commented on the situation: "There's going to be hell to pay, that's for sure. I'm sure that there'll be a couple knees taken out over this," he said while hitting a night stick in his hand.

Hey, Sheetz started this war. The Steelers have every right to finish it!

Above: Shame on you Sheetz. You put cappucino ahead of the Steelers then try to shift the blame! Below: Restroom graffitti left over from George H.W. Bush's first presidential campaign. Further proof that they don't check their restrooms often enough.