Tomorrow, June 30 is kind of boring, so we’re going to talk about events that occurred on July 1.  Zip Codes were introduced on July 1, 1963, the 26th amendment was enacted lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1971 adding 11 million voters at that time, the Battle of Gettysburg began in 1863, the first American Zoo opened in Philadelphia in 1874 and the first US postage stamps were released in 1847.  This is also the anniversary of Grover Cleveland’s secret surgery on his yacht for mouth cancer.  Because the country was in a depression (1893), they were afraid of the panic this may cause.  It was pretty extensive surgery removing the whole left side of his jaw.  This was kept secret until 1917.  Better than we keep secrets today.  :)

Long time no talk.  I apologize, it’s been quite the week.  You know I’m weeded when I loose my keys on the desk for two days before I can find them.  First off, business is incredible.  I’m up 30% over last year, and last year was a great year!  And I had a wedding from hell last weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, the Kim & Wes were great, the guests had a wonderful time and everything went fantastic.  Here’s a cute idea they did with coozies.

They booked all the rooms and had four guests in the suites, so I was making breakfast for 22 guests each morning AND the wedding was an afternoon event, so Saturday I had to feed everyone and get my kitchen cleaned up by 10 a.m. so culinary could get in.  AND the contractors finished the Loft (my new space) and I had to move the office out of it’s current location so they can start construction on the new guest room (#9).  So I’m all moved in and very happy with the work of the contractors.

The Loft turned out great.  I’m so happy, except I left the window open next to my composting bin.  It’s right behind the gecko swing and I’ve never had problems with bugs there.  I guest they got trapped in the Loft and were quite annoying, at first.  We start the new (yet to be named) guest room tomorrow.  As a favor to the bride on the wedding I’m hosting on August 6, I’m renting the room out to guests.  They know the room won’t be totally finished and the contractor knows the bathroom has to be totally finished.  Wish us luck.  :)  I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas I have planned for the room.  It renovated during the massive work when I first bought the place and I just had it done fairly utilitarian.  I’ll take some pictures tomorrow of the current look and update you as we progress.  I’m also going to take some garden pictures so I can post them on July 1, and easy day to remember for event planners can see what the gardens look like mid summer.  I want to do that on August 1 and September 1.

Da boiz are doing well.  They both had their stitches taken out yesterday and got clean bills of health.  I took them down the lake this afternoon for a swim and they had a splendid time.

I will soon have the option of an abbreviated web site for mobile devices.  Joe & Kirk from Vollkommen Media are currently building that and doing a few other adjustments to my web site.  Joe started as my printer and I highly recommend his services.  He then hired Kirk to do web work and and can’t say enough nice things about what he’s done for my web site.  My site still looks pretty much the same as it did all the way back to when I was in Florida, but the mechanics have improved so greatly, that when I do a search bed breakfast pittsburgh pa I ALWAYS come up in the top five of Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK and AOL.

The new housekeeper, Quay worked today.  I love her.  She’s been here for a couple of weeks and talk about always having a positive attitude.  Such an easy person to work with, attentive and a desire to do a good job (which she always does).  I’m so happy and she’s such a great compliment to Derronda (who’s been here for four years next week).  Happy Anniversary Derronda.

My friends Helen and Richard are in again.  The own the Solomon Victorian Inn in Maryland.  I love all my guests, but it’s special when you have a peer that you can swap stories (and recipes :) ) with.

Enjoy the next several days of beautiful weather we’re supposed to have.  Talk to you again on Friday,



Tomorrow is the first day of summer, the summer solstice and the Wiccan Lesser Sabbats.  It is Martha Washington’s birth anniversary (1731) and the on slot of Hurricane Agnes (1972).

Free Celtic concert Friday at 7 p.m. John P Murtha Amphitheater in Kittaning.  Gaelic Storm will be performing as the first free show of the Arts on the Allegheny series. (Trivia buffs, Gaelic Storm was the band performing as the Titanic sank on the name sake movie.  Hopefully we won’t need them to perform as the amphitheater sinks.  :) )  Also performing will be Ben Valasek and the Slim Society.  Between sets, Patrick Murphy will be entertaining with his tall, and occasionally true tales.  More info at their web site or by calling 724.543.2091.

I’m not saying this negatively, but the Pittsburgh Glass Center is one of five non profits in the City that really know how to use the press.  I see their name, The National Aviary, the Mattress Factory and the Warhol more than any other.  They have a new exhibit, 10 x 10 x 10, all pieces are under 10 inches tall, 10 inches wide and 10 inches deep, hence the name, if you’re deice (just having some fun with a play on words, no offense meant).  It runs through September 17 and is open 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.3652145.

Here’s a web site that’s kind of interesting.   You can get murals by named artists from Murals Your Way, sort of like wallpaper.  It’s like buying a print instead of the original.  Some of them you can move around like those Fat Heads sporting figures.  You can get them with a vinyl finish for damp/wet areas like your porch, the movable ones or ones on a canvas kind of material.  They have over a thousand to choose from.  I didn’t see any Deco, Aztec or Incan.  They only had four Egyptian, but tons of other kinds like wildlife, tropical, etc.

I had lunch the other day at a Mexican restaurant I haven’t been to in awhile.  Mendoza Express reminds me of so many the Spanish restaurants dotting South Florida I used to go to.  It’s a great little restaurant at the bottom of Mansfield Avenue and Rt 50 below Greentree, I guess it’s Scott.  Check it out for lunch or dinner if you get a chance.

Well, I guess that’s about it.  I’m going to go and play out in the garden, have a great day,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of General Sherman saying “War is hell” at Michigan Military Academy in 1879 (may people attribute that to General Patton), it is also the anniversary of the electrocution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg at Sing Sing Prison in 1953 (they are the only couple ever executed and were executed together), it is also the anniversary of the first running of the Belmont Stakes (1867).

Well, lets do first things first.  Da boiz are doing well, all things considered.  RJ has recovered from the after effects of his anesthesia.  He was pretty funny Wednesday when I brought him home.  And Razor, rip my heart out, is such a trooper.  Wednesday night was kind of rough, but by Thursday he was a happy camper again.  Even though he had to wear one of those stupid cones to protect his sutures.  I can take the cone off so he can eat comfortably and I leave it off for a little while after each meal.

Anyone that read my rant on the Igloo a while back should remember me being baffled at a $4M mortgage that’s going to need paid off if they demolish the igloo.  It’s fifty years old and still has a $4M mortgage!  Well, I just saw a better one.  Kirner’s the Catholic book store by PPG Place is going into foreclosure on a $400,000 mortgage.  They have owned that building for 130 years!  I do understand using your property to pursue other things, but a Catholic book store that has had the same owners for over 100 years?  The world is a crazy place.

OK, here’s my last room, Ruellia.  I don’t even have one before picture.  The first picture, with the pump organ is right where you come up the stairs.  The space originally had wall to wall carpeting over a sub floor.  The origin layout had a hallway from the wall the organ’s on over almost to the edge of the carpet.  There was a door into the first room which is basically the second picture.  The indent that has the kitchenette/wet bar was actually an anti room going into the bathroom.  The third picture just shows you the rest of Ruellia’s living room.  The fourth picture obviously is the bedroom.  That door off to your right was just an alcove (behind that door is a small door that goes into the crawl space over the center of the Ballroom-where the furnace is).  The new layout for the bathroom has you entering directly from the bedroom there.  Originally, there was an anti room you entered from the bedroom where the coconut pod is hanging in the fifth picture.  You can see on the closet floor where I stole some of the bathroom space for the closet.  You entered the bathroom next to the toilet (sixth picture).  A couple of notes, that arc shaped thing over the bed is the prototype for the Aztec wall sculpture Rich Bach did that sits on the wall in the Courtyard.  And that yellow dresser I faux’d in Florida.  I painted the dresser green, let it dry and then took large fern leaves and sprayed adhesive on them and stuck them to the drawers.  After the yellow spray paint dried, I carefully pealed the fern leaves off, roughed the finish up with sand paper and coated it all with polyurethane.

Slow last night, but sold out tonight.  Have a great weekend and Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers,



Just a quick note on da boiz.  RJ was scheduled to be neutered yesterday and was released this morning.  Well, I picked the little guy up this morning and putzed around and ended up in the office.  I had a number of things I needed to get done and was interrupted several times ( and that was OK).  Razor has trouble with stairs, partially because of his arthritis.  Also, he grew up at my B & B I had in Florida and it was all one level.  Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?  Me.  When I sold the Florida B & B and first moved up here, I stayed at Betty’s until I had closing at the new location.  Razor has always slept in my bedroom and so our first night back, we hung out with Betty and when it was time to go to bed, I said “Good night” and called Razor to follow me.  I went up the stairs expecting him to follow me.  When I got to the top of the stairs, he wasn’t there, so I looked to the bottom of the stairs and there he was, wiggling his butt and whining.  So I came back down and strattled him and tried to show him how to walk stairs.  I’ve tried several times, and finally gave up.  He still hops up stairs. And between his not knowing how to navigate stairs and his arthritis he continually has trouble with stairs, particularly coming down. When I’m working in the Office and know I’m coming back up shortly, I tell Razor to “Stay”.  On my third today, interruption, I failed to tell him to “Stay”, I was on the first floor and heard him scrambling around.  So I called out to him to “Stay”, but he was already on the stairs.  My call startled his concentration and he ended up falling down over half of the stairs unto the construction at the bottom.  I ran over and made sure he got up OK, petted him and said nice things.  I had no idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! of the damage.  I thought of taking a picture of him, but decided not to because he kind of looks like Frankenstein a dog in one of those no irritate cone neck collars they put on dogs.  He’s pretty scary.  So right now, RJ’s laying by my feet and OK and Razor’s finally asleep and not whining (no comments about my past blogs darn it, some apples do fall far from the tree).

Good night,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of baseball’s First Perfect Game (no opposing team was able to get even to first base) in 1880 was Worcester against Cleveland, the first man-powered flight across the English Channel (1979), Anne Frank Frank’s birth anniversary  (1929) and Prez Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” speech (1987).

An art show, without art.  How novel is that.  The Through the Looking Glass Project is being presented at the Artform & Tatoo at 2603 Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell.  Go into the gallery co-owned by Chris Churchfield and Seth Leibowitz and you will find frames with matrix bar codes arranged in a square pattern that can be read with many apps to smarty pants phones.  These QR (Quick Response) codes will read the information and download the images to your smart phone.

We have a number of bridges built around the turn of the 19th century for The Commons Park (frequently referred to as West Park).   The pedestrian bridge between my side of the park and Lake Elizabeth (where da boiz swim) has been closed for years.  Ridge Avenue bridge also has been closed for years and is slated for demolition.  The West Ohio Street bridge is in fairly serious disrepair and they are talking about options.  One option is to rebuild it as it stands, but the railroad company is adamantly against that option.  The PUC has a height requirement for trains to be able to double stack the cars.  So the railroad wants the bridge raised four feet, which would destroy the original intent and design of the park.  The City took our Commons market building out for that monstrosity once called Allegheny Center Mall.  If they agree with the railroad option, they would have to regrade up to the bridge and destroy two dozen mature London Plane trees and the overall topography of the park.  The other option would be to lower the tracks so it meets the four foot requirement.  The cost of lowering the rail bed would fall on the railroad company.  The cost of raising the bridge and adversely effecting the park would fall on us.  There’s a meeting Tuesday night at the New Hazlett Theater

Did you know the film just released Super 8 was almost entirely filmed in Weirton, WV?  They decided to film there instead of here because WV has a more favorable tax incentive than PA does.  So they’re doing all the sets their, but using our film crews because WV doesn’t have any skilled film people.

There’s a film finishing up here about Janet Vogel’s life, she was with the Skyliners, one of the biggest doowop bands from the late 50′s early 60′s.  This film was just produced in da burg for around $275,000 and was written by local Gavin Rapp of Aspinwall (Janet’s son).  Rapp co-directed this film with Ron Hankison, the two founded Winter Morning Pictures.  the Skyliners had several big breaks with a performance at Apollow Theater in Harlem and a stint on Bandstand. Janet had a troubled life and ended up taking her own.  Jimmy Beaumont is still performing.

Wanta be famous?  The Batman movie being filmed here is looking for extras.  June 18 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. and then on June 19 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the William Penn Ballroom.  I do need to warn you, the last casting call had people lined up for blocks down around the Wm Penn.

Want to buy a mountain or two?  Austria is offering two 6,500 foot mountain peaks (Grosse Kinigat and Rosskoph) for just $175,800 FOR THE PAIR!  They are accepting bids through July 8, if you want your own mountains, you better get on it soon.  :)

I think this is about it for today, have a great week,



Tomorrow’s Dean Martin’s birth anniversary (1917) as well as the French painter Paul Gauguin’s (1848)-did you know he started as a stock broker and in mid life decided to paint and moved to exotic islands to pursue his art.  VCR’s were introduced (1975) and cost $995!  and the day Kentuckians celebrate the day Daniel Boone first saw what became Kentucky with a state wide Boone Day.

They’re having a sale at Rachel Carson’s home at 613 Marion Avenue in Springdale this coming Saturday.  It was the home she was born in and lived in until the family moved to Maryland in her later childhood.  The house fell into disrepair and one of her former teachers bought the home and saved it.  Over the years, the four room house was expanded and period pieces were bought to fill the house.  There is very little, if any thing in the house actually attributed to Rachel.  So they are selling the contents to raise money, the new plan is to return the house to it’s original dimensions and use it as a backdrop telling her story.  Viewing starts at 8 p.m. and the sale starts at 10.  More info at 724.274.5449.

Speaking of auctions, they are selling the antiques my father collected over the years at the Greene County Fairgrounds this Friday.  Behm Auctioneers are handling the sale.  The auction starts at 10 a.m. and I believe there’s a previewing as well.  There is so much stuff, they are doing two separate auctions at the same time.  One for small things and tools and the other for the antiques.  I’ll be out there earlier, but probably won’t be able to stay for the entire sale, since I have a big check in.

The Pittsburgh Food Bank turns 30 on Tuesday.  When it first opened, it was in a few thousand square foot warehouse in the Hill District.  It now occupies a 95,000 square foot green warehouse in Duquesne.  They are celebrating with an open house tomorrow from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.  If you get a chance, it would be nice if you could stop by to show your support for this very worthwhile organization.

My old stomping grounds, where I got started in Hospitality, Atlantic City is making news, again.  And once again, it’s not good news.  I graduated college and landed in AC shortly after the casinos started opening.  It was AC’s hey day and it was quite the exciting place to work.  Money was no object and food and beverage operations had a pretty free hand getting what ever we wanted.  We were always finding new products and introducing them.  It was a very cutting edge time.  While I was there, two of the mayors went to jail for fraud and corruption.  The casinos were these Taj Mahal’s initially along the Boardwalk and one block into the city, it was slums.  Mistake #1 was to let the reinvestment funds that were supposed to clean up the city line the pockets of everyone that handled them.  Mistake #2 was the city never diversified.  It was mega building casinos and nothing else.  It was truly a one horse town.  I guess they didn’t hear about the gold mining in the old west, Pittsburgh and other one horse towns and how some totally died, some like Pittsburgh has had such a hard struggle to save itself.  Mistake #3 was AC casinos were and are competing with themselves instead of cooperating and competing with the newly legal gambling in the neighboring states.  They’ve had thirty years and plenty of warning.  They seem to be finally trying to diversify the AC visiting experience and the casinos seem to be pulling together to make a united advertising campaign.  How many years has the slogan been around “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.  And Vegas has been marketing themselves as a group for years before that.  You’d think AC would look to it’s big brother and take a hint.

My final comments today is the purchase of WDUQ by WYEP that takes effect on July 1.  It’s kind of funny who’s buying whom.  DUQ has about 149,300 daily listeners and YEP has about 107,600 (compare this to KISS, the most listened to station in Pittsburgh has around 736,500 weekly listeners).  Also, DUQ is by far the oldest NPR station in PGH, it was founded in 1949.  I think WEP was a country station in it’s former life.  Merging Media CEO Marco Cardamone seems to be the driving force behind Essential Public Media, the company that owns WEP and soon DUQ.  He’s also they guy that owned Cafe Allegro for years on the Southside.  They are switching the format from mainly jazz and news to all news, except for 6 or 8 hours on Saturday nights.  I appreciate jazz, but seldom listen to it on the radio.  I do listen to NPR news any chance I get.  So they will probably be seeing more of me as this changes.

Welp, that’s about it.  Pretty amazing, you don’t hear from me in almost a week and then two times in two days.  :)



Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of two of the most famous economists Adam Smith (1723) and John Mynard Keynes  (1883).  It is the anniversary of the release of Apple II (1977-the consumer Mac wasn’t released until 1984) and the assassination of Robert F Kennedy (1968)   It is also the United Nations World Environment Day, what floods, tornadoes, earthquakes record breaking highs and lows.  Who is still in denial?

The reason you haven’t heard from me in a bit, I was getting ready for a wedding this weekend.  Weddings consume a lot of time and work and when they are as successful as Meagan & Josh’s yesterday, it’s all worth it.  It was a great event and all had a fabulous time.  They opted to make it a three day event, since most of their guests were from out of town.  They had their rehearsal dinner at Atria’s in PNC Park, the wedding here on Friday and a picnic this afternoon at Schenley Park.  The weather really worked for them.  The best of luck Meagan & Josh.  :)

If anyone sees me around and I have a white paste smeared on me, yes, I again have poison ivy.  Soooo annoying.  I was out at Betty’s house cleaning up some sheds and burning some stuff in the woods.  I’m so sensitive to it, I usually spy it before it strikes.  But obviously not this time.  The baking soda paste is working, it just takes awhile to dry it all out.  I’ve tried several of those off the shelf products, but nothing works as well as baking soda on me.  The last time I had it bad was when I bought The Parador of Pittsburgh.  The entire building was engulfed in wisteria, ivy AND poison ivy, which I didn’t notice.  I was climbing all over in flip flops, shorts and a tee shirt.  Did I ever pay for that.  I do have a funny story on my brother Tom and poison ivy.  The sibs and friends were all skiing in the Poconos and we rented a cabin.  There was a fire place with cut wood stored right outside.  Tom, being the goof he can be picked up a stick from the fire wood and played with it putting it in his nose, etc.  Someone said “I think that may be poison ivy.”  He ended up in the hospital with the worst poison ivy I’ve ever been aware of, even in personal places.  :)  :)

There’s a fairly new company in Pittsburgh making About Time brand of whey protein.  Whey protein is one of two major proteins in milk and is left when milk solids are separated to make cheese.  The liquid is filtered and dried to make it into a powder form.  It’s the rage of many major athletes and health conscious people.  About  Time developed a proprietary formula based on whey protein isolate, the purest form.  They use stevia as a sweetener and non artificial flavors.  EZ ist is to just mix it in a smoothie or something like that.  You can find it at GNC stores or order from their web site About Time.

Let’s visit Lady Palm, my largest guest room.  869 square feet, many guests checking in refer to it as bigger than their first (or current) apartment.  The first and second pictures are the before and after of the living room.  The model in the picture is my good friend Kathleen Flaherty , she’s the artist that did all the murals here.  The two stained glass windows in the third picture are two of the only five original stained glass windows here (the other three are in the dining room.)  There real story with this room is the bed room.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any before pictures of it.  It was the storage room for the mansion.  It just had a rough sub floor that I put bamboo flooring over.  There’s the built in that you see on the left of the sixth picture that’s original.  You can’t see it in the picture, but this built in has this fabulous naturally crackled finish.  There was never any heat or cooling in the room, so over the years, the extreme temperatures pulled the old varnish apart.  Next to it where the white wicker dresser is there was this tall dresser with with only three very large drawers in it.  Behind the white wicker chairs was another built in.  Then if you look at the last picture, the “head board” for the bed is also an original storage unit.  When I was deciding which side to make the bedroom, I thought what a cool “head board” it would be to put the bed up against those drawers.  So I took the 16 drawers to the basement, refinished them and brought them back up.  I pulled a drawer out on either side of the bed and did a mosaic on plywood for the bed’s end tables.  I love it.  :)

I think that’s about it for tonight.  Have great night and we’ll talk again sonner than last,