Happy Chinese New Year, this is the year of the golden rabbit.  There’s always a lot of anniversaries to quote at the beginning of the month, because that’s when month long events are notated.  But February first is by far the longest list of the year.  I guess people are pretty board by now (actually tomorrow) and dream up all kinds of National Day of ……….. 🙂  Tomorrow is National Bubble Gum Day, Learn Italian Month, National Bird Feeding Month, Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month to name a few. 🙂  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Greensboro Sit In and the start of Black History month.

I’m currently reading an appropriate book for me, Colonel Roosevelt, the story of Teddy Roosevelt after he left office the first time.  I didn’t realize how cool he was, he was all about reform of big business and government and pulling the masses of American middle class up.  Even though he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and really had little direct association with the middle class, he was their champion.  Which brings me to my soap box for today, why don’t they call me to tell them how to fix our economy?  Oil companies will again set record profits for 2010, as will the banks and investment firms.  Big businesses are set to record record profits in 2010.  And housing foreclosures and unemployment are at record levels.  The biggies aren’t sharing with us.  So how about a stimulus package for small businesses.  When I went to college several centuries ago :), one of the things I remember one of my business professors quoting was that 90+% of the American economy is fueled by small businesses.  I read an article in The Trib a year ago that quoted the same (93%).  LEND me $100k interest only for three years and I will create The Parador North with three new employees.  Better deal than GIVING billions to financial institutions that are still getting their bonuses.

Any of you that have been following my posts, awhile back, I was whining about the City’s response to bolster their anemic pension fund.  The biggest “fix” was to sell off our public assets (parking garages, lots and meters) and infuse most of that money to bring the pension fund up to the State mandated minimum.  There was lots of posturing around about getting us up to the minimum, but I haven’t seen any proposals to FIX the basic problems with the fund.  I digress here, I stated that I was in favor of the City selling these assets because they do such a lousy job of running them on their own.  One of the examples I gave of the City’s incompetence in running the Parking Authority is my street.  We did a street scape that was totally paid for (a large chunk by the residents.)  My side of the street is totally finished, completion of the other side has been delayed for almost two years over issues with moving the utility lines to the alleyways.  3/4 of the posts for the meters over on that side have been sitting their without meters (the meters were all bought through this street scape project and the ones for the other side of the street have been sitting in a warehouse).  Of course the mayor or any of my city counsel never answer their phones or respond to VM.  I pointed this out over a year ago to them.  The City makes a killing here Monday through Friday with our meters.  Free and easy money and we sat with no meters on one side of the street, until last week!  I doubt my suggestions to our “City Fathers” or my whining in my blog had any effect on this, but I’m happy to see they finally did something.

Whining does pay off, by the way.  After a year and a half of whining about The Rivers Casino not supporting local businesses (The Inn on the Mexican War Streets and The Parador Inn), and a major blow up with the Northside Leadership Conference a month and a half ago, I now have $10 free slot coupons for new patrons of The Rivers Casino.  I’ve had them for three days and already have passed two out.  And the casino is going to place a link from their site to mine.  Yeah!

They interviewed the lady that invented the beehive hair do, Margaret Vinci, 92 of Chicago, IL had been a hair stylist for a number of years when Modern Beauty Shop magazine (which became the current Modern Salon magazine) was looking for a distinctly new hair style.  As her inspiration, she saw a black velvet had shaped like a small bump and went to work in her family room late at night on a wig on a mannequin and the rest is history.  The Chicago Museum of History is including her wig, the mannequin and pill box hat in it’s display.

Fe Arts Gallery, 4102 Butler Street, Lawrenceville has it’s show “Getting Closer” on display until March 1.  It’s open noon to 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and admission is free.  What they’re doing is taking art that has been created on the Internet and designed to be on the Internet (virtual instead of hard copy).  Kind of a different take on things.


OK, I’m changing the rules, I hope you don’t mind.  Instead of quoting the anniversary for events the day of my post, I’m going to start talking about the ones for the next day.  This way, when you go in to school or work, you can impress people with the breadth of your knowledge.  Tomorrow is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, it’s WC Fields birth anniversary (1880), Kansas was admitted to the union on this day in 1861 and it is the anniversary of the first publication of The Raven in 1845.

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion, do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

Now that the Winter Classic is over as are the playoff games, and it’s January, I have time to straighten my world up.  I just finished clearing up the photos I have in my computer.  What a project that was.  That’s why I never got to it until I knew I could spend the time needed on it.  As I have been taking them (over the past five years since buying The Parador), I’ve just been dumping them in my computer.  They are all labeled, grouped by group and duplicates deleted (close to 200 duplicates).  Also, a few months ago, I bought one of those butcher block tables on wheels to be a rolling TV table in Bougainvillea’s living room.  It was/is in great shape.  So I cleaned it up, primed it, did a mosaic on the top and it’s sat in the basement since then.  I started doing the faux finish on it today and really made some nice progress.  Like most things in my world, I don’t have a clear picture of what the finished product’s going to be.  It evolves as I work on it and I’m liking how I think the finished product’s going to be.

How’s your Myron Cope impersonation?  Next Thursday, at Ross Park Mall around 6 p.m. they are having auditions.  The contestants will be asked to do a sixty second description of a recent Steelers football event.  They will be judged on linguistic accuracy, appearance and cleverness.  First place gets a 42″ plasma TV; second place gets a framed photo of Cope & $200 mall gift card; third place gets a Tiffany style Steelers lamp, a Steelers banner and a framed photo of Roethlisberger.

How about all that activities over in Northern Africa.  I think it may turn out to be an incredible event (s).  These aren’t Islamic radicals, they’re everyday Arabs.  Working class, educated, poor even many of the elite seem to be apart of this uprising.  After twenty or thirty years under corrupt dictators, the citizens have finally gotten fed up and want change.  (Maybe we should take note 🙂 ).   I’m not seeing looting either, this isn’t an excuse for the dishonest to fill their bags.  And chasing the one dictator out and having his cronies shuffle around in the cabinet didn’t work.  I haven’t seen anyone group being the “ins” or the “outs” as I’ve watched in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  As a nation, if they choose woman should wear the burqa, I’m fine with that.  Just as I’m fine that the French don’t want a burqa worn in public.  I have a problem with fear, terror, torture and intimidation used to force a minority’s agenda on the majority.  Wouldn’t it be incredible if a country in the middle east with a predominantly Muslim population created a nation based on democracy, ON THEIR OWN.  What an incredible model this could be.  The repercussions are incredible.

Good night,



Today is the birth anniversary (1880) of Elisabeth Achelis, she advocated making the calendar the same every year.  First day being Sunday January 1 with equal quarters with each date falling on the same day each year.   It is John Belushi’s birthday (1949).  It’s also the anniversary of the discovery of gold in California in Coloma in 1848.  James Marshall, an employee of John Sutter was building a saw mill when he stumbled upon it.  They tried to keep it secret, but in 1849 the California Gold Rush commenced.

The coldest day of the year (of this winter) so far was last Saturday, it was 2 degrees when I went down to start breakfast.  When I bought this place and was doing the first major renovations, big on the list was making my kitchen commercial quality  legal.  One of the codes up here that I didn’t have to deal with before was hood systems are required to have a small furnace to heat the make up air (the hood system pulls air out of the kitchen removing cooking smoke, odors, etc and the other half of the system needs to replace this air).  Of course if you’ve read my blog, I’m quite proficient at whining.  When I heard about the additional $4k , I did a major whine.  The cooking kitchen has not regular source of heat, so when I first go in it in the winter, it’s always pretty cold.  When I turn the hood system on, initially it just pulls cold outside air in until the furnace kicks on.  Well, Saturday, it was pulling 2 degree air in and the furnace never kicked on.   Brrrr  I went out and shoveled the snow off the top of the external box for the hood system and then shoveled the snow from under where the outside air is sucked into the system.  I knew it was a long shot, and it didn’t help.  So I shut the system down and turned it back on several times and the furnace did finally kick on.

Speaking of cold, quite the game last night.  It was the coldest game ever played at Heinz Field. I didn’t make it to the actual sidelines last night, but was right next to the field and damn it was cold.  Had a great time.

Amazing, Voyager has been out in space  working for 33 years.  It is saving it’s info on EIGHT TRACK TAPES, the working memories is a million times smaller than your home computer and it transmits its finding back to earth on a 23 watt whisper.  In June it got to the place where charged particles from the sun -the solar wind- stops.  Voyager left the solar system.  Way to go little guy.

So you want to be an artist and don’t know how to start?  Make a ceramic mug, do some oil or pastel painting, maybe create a mosaic.  Why not get professionals to help you?  You don’t have to sign up for a full college class on any of these to get a taste and get a feel for this art form before making a commitment.  The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Society for Contemporary Crafts, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and the Greensburg Art Center all off “dabbling” classes.  Check out this article in today’s Trib for details.

Good Night,



Today’s the anniversary of the seizure of the USS Pueblo in 1968 in the Sea of Japan.  The North Koreans held the crew captive for 11 months and confiscated the vessel.  Barney Miller premiered today in 1975 and January 23 is Babin Den day in Bulgaria.  This is a festival honoring midwives and grandmothers.

Guess where I’m going to be this evening?  Heinz Field, on the field!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Watch for me on the side lines.  I’ll have a black and gold knit cap I’ll be wearing, it’s a little unique.  Black top, gold around me head and the colors kind of bleed together like stalagmite stalagmites, it that makes any sense.

A short drive from Pittsburgh, less than an hour is East Liverpool Ohio.  Early nineteenth century, it was the ceramics capital of the world.  During it’s hey day, there was over 20,000 people living and working there (there’s now about 13,000).   Hall China,  has their manufacturing facility there and an outlet store the Hall Closet is on the edge of town down by the Ohio River.  Also, in E Liverpool, the Pottery City Antiques Mall and a ceramics museum in the old post office that shows the evolution in ceramics industry in the area.  In near by Newell, WV is the Homer Laughlin plant an outlet store, they are the makers of the famed Fiesta line of brightly colored pottery.

There’s a art glass exhibit called Domesticity at Morgan Contemporary Glass at 5833 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside.   This is a exhibit of sculptures by eleven female artists from around the country and some of the domestic service themed pieces recreated in glass are pot holders, a cartoon characters of a mop and broom as well as over sized knitting needles and many other pieces.  The domestic theme has caused some controversy.

Go Steelers,



We’re going to skip my normal  quotes from Chase’s Almanac and giving a January Birthdays Special.  Born in January were Betsy Ross, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin D Roosevelt, Nicolas Cage, Paul Newman, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton and Neil Diamond.

BIG news, if you’re watching THE game on Sunday, watch for me ON THE FIELD.  Yeps, can’t say a lot here and right now, but keep your eyes open

Very cool, I’m not a skilled craftsman, more of a shoemaker.  Luckily, I am at a point that I can hire a professional rather than risk life and limb trying many things I knew I shouldn’t try an tackle.  But I’m still very active in doing handy man things here.  Ruellia, the guest suite in the Carriage house had the original bathroom exhaust fan from when I bought the property.  The fan wasn’t too effective and was getting very noisy.  I went to Lowes to get a replacement and instead of having to buy a whole new fan kit, they sell replacement kit.  You just unplug the fan, pull the metal plate bearing the fan assembly and replace it with the new one.  Very easy and less expensive.  This option has probably been around for years, but I just found it and wanted to pass it on to you.

Abby, the National Aviary’s bald eagle seems to be sick.  She hasn’t eaten in days.  They have her quarantined, they think she has some kind of a fungal infection.  They did some blood work on her and should have the results back in a few days.  I went to the National Aviary’s web site and clicked on the Contact Us  and sent Abby a get well e-mail.  You should also, if it doesn’t cheer her up (she may not have computer access while ill, but I bet the staff will get a kick out of it).  🙂

Ed Coll of Skys the Limit photography called me yesterday.  Ed’s an interesting guy that uses photography to do what he loves to do, travel.  He showed me a few incredible pictures of his travels through central and south America, Africa and the Asias.  Not to say he does shabby work in between his trips, got to his web site and see how creative he is.  As it turns out, he was scouting for a location to take the picture for a group’s new album. So he stopped by yesterday afternoon and loved the place.  He was going to contact the group to see if they wanted to use my space.  He called me and they came over today at three, then four.  🙂  The group turns out to be Lovebettie, I’ve heard them on WYEP.  They’re a cool retro/rock group that’s releasing their Red Door album in March and starting a tour then.  They’re going from Maine to Austin on tour.  Kind of funny, they reminded me of the group from ModCloth that did that photo shoot here, and when I mentioned it, Ed’s assistant is associated with them and the band’s into ModCloth as well.

I’m going to blow my brains out.  I got the $ to do the two rooms (mine and a guest room), both had blue prints by my “previous” architect Val.  When I was approved for the $ in the beginning of December, I contacted Val.   Val is currently semi-retired and living in New England doing research.  He referred me to another Southside architect he knew.  I spoke with a friend that said I should use a local architect we both new.  So I went to him before the holidays.  He was going to stop by over the holidays.  After New Years, I stopped by his office.  It’s on the second floor and there’s no working door bell.  So I called his cell and got his voice mail.  I left a message.  When I hadn’t heard from him within a day, I started calling the architect Val referred.  I called for a week.  If I let the phone ring until it went to VM, the recording said the message center was full, please try again.  My next try was I sent an e-mail to an interior decorator that specializes in historic properties.  I figured she’d have a line on an architect, so I sent her an e-mail asking for a referral, no response.  So I then opened the Yellow Pages (my last resort) and guess what?  There’s ONLY two listed.  Did I say I’m going to blow my brains out?

Good night,



Today’s the birth anniversary of Benedict Arnold, Albert Schweitzer and Richard Outcault.  Richard Outcault was asked by the New York World’s Sunday editor to submit drawings for use with their new color printing process in January 12, 1863.  He went on to start the first “Sunday Funnies”, “Hogan’s Alley”.

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery removed “A Fire in My Belly” a film by David Wojnarowicz from the exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture because it was too controversial.  The film is being shown at both the Mattress Factory and the Warhol through February 13, the date it was to run through at the Smithsonian.

I keep getting these “comments” to my blog and they all seem to follow this format:

Kids room decor…

Thank you for this excellent write-up. I am usually searching for Kids room ideas to recommend in order to my own, personal readers. It is just what I was looking out for….

I haven’t said anything about “Kids room decor…” in any of my blogs and there’s always the “…” at the end of the narrative with nothing that follows.  I get spam through my Guest Comments Page on my web site, they’re always Viagra, other drugs, gambling opportunities, etc with hyperlinks.  I assume the hyperlinks take you to a bad place.  These comments don’t really have hyperlinks, other than the one that would take you back to originator.  I guess there’s some things in life I’ll never know.  🙂

Chatham University has always been this quiet girls school out in the Oakland/Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.  It’s been around forever, one of the alumni is Rachael Carson, which is appropriate for what’s to follow.  Chatham was given the 388 acre Richland farm, about twenty miles north of the City.  About 100 years ago, a HJ Heinz executive created Eden Hall on the property as a retreat for women that worked for Heinz.  Chatham plans on making the entire new campus environmentally sustainable.  Most colleges and universities have a sustainable building or area, but I believe this will be the first entire campus being designed from the ground up as being sustainable.  I’m impressed.

That friend that’s opening The Stone Manse out by Harrisburg saw a bald eagle outside her Inn today.  How cool is that.  What do I have, a family of vary large crows that have moved into the neighborhood.  Darn they’re big, I’d be nervous in a dark alley with one or two of them.  🙂

Well, that’s about it for today, Go Steelers,



Today is the anniversary of the first episode of All in the Family (1971), Batman (1966) and Dynasty (1981).  Zanzibar became independent in December 1963 under a sultan and over threw him on this date in 1964.  Finally, on this day in 1992 in Urbana IL, HAL of 2001 A Space Odyssey was “born”.

The West End, the little community just across the West End Bridge from me has several high light businesses.  There’s Articraft, a very high end antique store.  The gentleman that owns it has no connection to Pittsburgh, the reason he chose to locate here is we are the largest city within driving distance from New York and Chicago, his two major markets.  There’s also James Gallery over there.  They have shows there and do a lot of higher end framing, no Michael’s Crafts here.  🙂  Anyway, the current show is Pulp Friction, misspelling on purpose.  Director Paul Cicozi asked local and national artists to come up with art stretching the boundaries of paper.  The artists used torches, sand paper, cereal boxes, photographs and combinations of digital and hand work.  It is open Monday through Saturdays, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. through January 29 and admission is free.  James Gallery is  S. Main Street, West End 412.922.9800.

Brian from Eventures called me last week and had the courtesy to set up an appointment to meet at 11 a.m yesterday.  A few days later, Jay from Catered Elegance called and said Brian and Shannon wanted to meet here Tuesday afternoon, they’re getting married here this coming July.  I really needed to get my oil changed and called Blue Wave Auto Spa and set an 11 a.m. appointment.  I looked at my calendar and saw Brian and Shannon, but some how missed Brian from Eventures (maybe my brain saw Brian twice and counted it as one?).  Brian from Eventures called me to say he was here while they were changing my oil.  He was gracious  enough to wait for me to come home.  They do social and business media, recording meetings and weddings, audio visual effects, etc.  Very nice and professional, even though I was so rudely late.  The point of the story really isn’t my rudeness, I was flying down I 279 at 85 miles and hour and in the rear view mirror, I see a motorcycle police officer way behind me.  I slow down and he comes along beside me, looks at me and shakes his head NO and continued on his way.  Thank you.  I do speed all the time, but nothing like that.  Generally, I go just under ten miles an hour on my speedometer.  My speedometer is eight miles and hour fast.  So in a 55 mile and hour zone, I’m actually going more like 62.  Wrong, but not outrageous like 85.

Anyone that knows me or follows my blog knows how much I hate big.  I never go to Walmart, switched to a one branch bank (Slovak Savings Bank), seldom go to Lowes or Home Depot, etc.  And I never have anything nice to say about them either.  Well, I went to Verizon yesterday and had a pleasant experience.  I’ve been having problems with reception with my phone.  The agent was polite as well as knowledgeable.  He pointed several things out I could do on a maintenance basis.  And he reviewed my account and VOLUNTARILY OFFERED TO LOWER MY MONTHLY PAYMENT AND GAVE ME UNLIMITED HOURS.  They picked me up off the floor after that.  🙂  I have had such unpleasant experiences with Verizon over the years.  Generally speaking, anytime I dealt with them in person or over the phone, they were indifferent, at best.  When I moved up here, after being a Verizon customer for years in Florida, they made me pay a deposit because I didn’t have payment history up here with this branch.  They couldn’t contact the branch in Florida.  Yet, I was receiving continuous solicitations for changing my land line to them, then FIOS started.  I would get multiple solicitations in one day.  Verizon farms their marketing out to independent contractors (ie make lots of money by working from home) and there was no way to stop it.  I ended up letting out a barrage of profanity every time I answered the phone and it was someone soliciting for Verizon.  Also, they would send these “account executives” around door to door that would ask to see my phone bill and they would show me how they could save me money.  I must say, I seldom hear from them lately.  God I hate unwanted solicitation.  Anyway, I was impressed with Verizon yesterday.  I’m thinking of getting a smart phone (it may help me 🙂 ) and now that they have the iphone, I may go that route.

Steve Bland, the guy in charge of the mismanaged Port Authority was in today’s paper, but I don’t want to rant on two items in one day.  Maybe I’ll give him another shellacking tomorrow.  🙂



On this date in 1982, AT & T was forced to divestiture.  This is the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in 1815 the British were soundly trounced (neither side new that the War of 1812 was officially ended two weeks earlier).  Finally, today is the anniversary of Chou En-Lai’s death in 1976 (no one knows exactly when he was born, sometime in 1898).

OK, my glass isn’t half empty or half full.  It’s three quarters full!  Well, more good news on the water leak.  Paul finished repairing the stack and only had to take about 6′ of the 18″ wide wall next to the front door.  We didn’t have to touch that gorgeous paneling in the front foyer or take the plaster down in the Dining Room with Kathleen Flaherty’s mural.

Did I tell you about my basement?  It’s a labyrinth of small rooms, the entire Inn is built of bricks. Even most of the interior walls.  So it needs a bunch of foundations below.  When I bought the Inn, the basement had a lathe and plaster ceiling.  I initially hired someone to take the bulk of the ceiling out so I would have access to the floor joists.  Since then, I’ve picked away at finishing cleaning the basement ceiling up.  After Paul repaired the stack, he went down the basement and removed a bunch of old pipes that were left from previous uses.

Squeezed in that chase with the stack was a bunch of electrical lines of all styles.  Shaun, my electrician had a cancellation on Friday and came by and straightened the wiring in that chase up and started removing dead wiring from the basement ceiling.  He’s coming back Monday to run some new wiring up to the third floor while we have that chase open.

The electrical and plumbing has been repaired, I have a fan on the chase drying it out.  So by next week, I should have the front hallway all closed up.

There’s a new hard cider bar that’s recently opened in Lawrenceville.  Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar is located at 300 39th Street.  Bill & Michelle Larkin converted the first floor of their Lawrenceville 19th century row house into the cider bar.  They make all their own hard ciders and are always coming up with new adaptations.  They’re open Wednesday through Friday from 4 – 8 p.m., Saturdays from noon until 8 and Sunday from noon until 4.  Their first batch was sold out in in three months and had to close for three weeks to brew a new batch.  They sell their cider in growlers (1 liters) for about $20 and refills are about $12.

The week before Christmas, I had a melt down with Mark from the Northside Leadership Conference.  At issue was the lack of support to local Northside businesses by the new Rivers Casino and the lack of support of Northside business support groups for this.  When I would drive out the Parkway West and see that sign for the Best Western Hotel’s that says “Stop in for free casino discount tickets”, my blood would boil.  Well, I have to give Mark credit, within two days, George from the Rivers called and set up another appointment with me (we met last summer).  When George stopped by, Jeff from the Inn on the Mexican Wars Streets was here also and George offered us discount tickets also.  He said they also would include us with a link on their web site.  I’m quite happy with this.  Thanx Mark & George.

Well that’s about it for today,



A lot of famous people were born on this day, Louis Braille was born in 1809, Jacob Grimm (of Grimm’s Fairy Tales) was born in 1785 and Isaac Newton was born in 1643.  Today, Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896.

Happy days are here again.  Paul, my plumber was here this morning.  There definitely is/was leaking into my walls from at least the second to the first floor, possible starting all the way up on the third floor.  The FANTASTIC news (sorry for shouting, but I’m really excited here) is we will not have to take the paneling in the front foyer down or take  the dining room wall out (it’d kill me if I had to damage Kathleen’s murals).  The problem is the stack (where the water comes down from the tubs, toilets & sinks) has failed.  It runs up the wall between the foyer and the front hallway next to the front door between the Parlor and Dining Rooms.  So we’re going to have to take out that little (maybe 18″) section of wall right next to the front door where the light switches are.  And it seems to get better.  It looks like if we need to repair the stack all the way up to the third floor, it runs through a closet in Bird of Paradise’s foyer that I store holiday decorations in.  All things that will relatively easily be repaired after the plumbing is fixed.  What a HUGE sigh of relief.  Paul’s coming back tomorrow morning, so once he has that wall opened up, we’ll see how extensive the work will need to be.

Here’s an interesting one for you.  The Palace at Versailles is being leased by the French government to a Belgium firm that’s going to turn it’s 23 bedrooms into a luxury hotel.   I’ve never been to Versailles, but I did visit Mad Ludwig’s recreation of it in Bavaria and it’s quite the palace.  The French government has assigned their top historian to oversee the renovations so the hotel doesn’t damage the integrity of the palace.  I can’t imagine what a night there’s going to cost.  I would imagine higher than my $150.  🙂

Disney’s national Mary Poppins’ tour includes three locals.  Case Dillard from Little Rock, Ark, Shua Potter from Erlanger, KY and Eric Hatch from Knoxville, IA are all on the cast and are graduates from Point Park University.

The PBS’s Antiques Roadshow is coming to Pittsburgh this year.  If you want your free tickets, go to www.pbs.org/antiques and sign up.  You have to do this by April 18.  They are also looking for large antiques for their Roadshow Furniture Roundup.  They plan on airing this show in 2012 and are looking for a selection of large antiques within a fifty miles of each other.

There’s a guy in California, Dan Balsam, that got so fed up with spam, he quit his job, got a law degree and now his whole practice is fighting spam. The attorney representing several of the spammers Dan’s sued calls him a “spambulance” chaser.  Pretty cute.  I love his poem on the front page of his web site.  His web site www.danhatesspam.com is worth a visit.




Happy New Year, I hope everyone had safe and happy holidays.

Today, in 2004, after traveling 302.6 million miles, the Mars Rover successfully landed and began exploring Venus (just kidding, looking to see if you were paying attention).  Alaska was admitted into the Union on this date in 1959 the first drinking straw was patented in 1888, it was a paraffin-covered paper which replaced natural rye straws.

There’s a move afoot to save Pittsburgh’s last remaining wooden block paved street.  Roslyn Place is a cul-de-sac in Shadeyside and is made up 26,000 4 X 8 inch oak blocks.  It was originally laid in 1916.

Did you know that poison ivy’s active ingredient can infect you up to five years after it was killed on a tree (ie be careful of firewood).

The Penns were a disappointment over the weekend, but the weekend was great.  I had about half Penns fans and half Caps fans and everyone played nicely together.

A lot of the plumbing and electrical here are buried in the walls.  One of my greatest fears seems to have come true. I seem to have a water leak in the walls over the front foyer.  Last week when the weather got so warm, I hosed the front and side porches off and even got the windows washed.  I’ve been smelling a funky smell in the front hallway and attributed it that.  Then Saturday night, the smoke/fire alarm was sending an alert of a problem with the pull box by the front door.  I called ADP and just as I got through to Wayne, the system reset to Normal.  When I looked at the pull box, the plaster had more cracks than I recall being there and part seemed damp.  I went to the basement and directly under the front foyer the floor was wet and there was (is) water dripping from the joists.  There’s two light switches for the basement.  One at the top of the stairs that turns on the lights in the first half of the basement and then a switch in a doorway to the second half.  There’s one or two lights in each of the rooms.  Stupid me, either Mr Cheapness or Mr Ecology, I turn lights out in the basement in areas I don’t normally go to.  The light that lights the area under the foyer I had turned off, I may have caught this sooner if I didn’t leave it in darkness.  I talked to Paul, my plumber and he was going to try and make it over today, if not definitely tomorrow.  I’ve checked both Bird of Paradise and Lady Palm’s bathrooms (directly over this leak) and there’s no obvious water.  There’s a hot water and a cold water pipe going up from the basement directly where this leak is.  I have no idea how we’re going to fix this.  I’m scared.

We’ll talk again as soon as I have an update,