Pittsburgh’s landmark Gulf Tower is abandoning a 70-year-old tradition of using its colored beacon atop the skyscraper to announce weather forecasts and instead, says it is seeking a more contemporary message for today’s news-hungry citizen.

“When the Gulf Building began this tradition so many decades ago, weather forecasting was not as advanced and communications weren’t as ubiquitous,” explained building spokesman Jeannette Silvestri. “We wanted to do something more in keeping with the times.”

The tower lantern’s lights will now alert passersby to the status of Britney Spears.
“Traditionally, a blue light indicated rain was imminent. From now on when the light is blue, it will signal that Britney is not in rehab,” Ms. Silvestri said.

A red shade on the light will signal that Ms. Spears is in rehab, and a blinking red will signal that Ms. Spears has bolted from a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center.

A clear white light will signal that Ms. Spears has received a new tattoo, while a blinking white light will represent that she has shaved her head again.

The tower will retain its long standing tradition of using a blinking blue light to alert the public when Ms. Spears goes out without underpants.

“Naturally, the light won’t be blinking white that often because of how long it takes for her hair to grow back in,” Ms. Silvestri said. “In a way, that’s good, because pilots sometimes mistake it for Morse code.”

And when it comes to Morse code, the Gulf Tower’s “competition” in the Downtown lighting contest, the Grant Building, will abandon its tradition of blinking out code for “Pittsburgh.” A spokesman for the building’s management says pilots no longer require that message.

Instead, if things turn out right, the building will be the first to announce in Morse code the name of the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby.

“Naturally, we’re going to have to get that from the wire services, first,” noted building manager Manolo Freeload. “But we were curious to see if it causes jetliners coming in and out of the city to circle for a little while. Just curious.”