Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s Day of the Dead that celebrates the remembrance of past loved ones.  The Prime Meridian was set (1884), President John Adams was the first to occupy the White House when our nation’s capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, DC (1880), Seabiscuit defeated War Admiral (1938) and the hockey mask was invented (1959).

Chase and Wells Fargo are dropping the plan to charge customers monthly fees for using their debit cards.  Bank of America seems to be crumbling also, to a point.  Customer pressure over their $5 a month fee for debit cards unless you maintain a $20,000 balance in accounts in their many businesses (mortgages, Meryl Lynch, etc).  They haven’t announced what the change will be, but it’s speculated that they will drop the amount of minimum deposit.  I wish I had a BofA account or one of their credit cards so I could close it.  We, the people, won with Netflix attempt at excessive fees.  I think they lost around 25% of their customers before they dropped the plans to separate streaming movies from mailed movies.  There is power in the people, remember that.  :)

The Mattress Factory is having their first residency program since 2006.  Of the more than 600 applicants, six were selected to create unique site specific installational exhibits throughout the the main exhibit building.  If you go to the Mattress Factory, be sure to check out crazy Randy’s Randyland.  His three story house is on Jacksonia just a block or two from the Mattress Factory.  He’s painted it every conceivable color and done things like boarded up windows and then painted people peaking out the drapes at you on it.  For more info on the Mattress Factory, go to their web site or call 412.231.3169.

Here’s one for you, the Justice Department is official discussing instructing their staff to lie to the citizens of the United States when a request for information is made and the information requested is sensitive.  Currently, the Justice Department employee would say that it’s classified and you can’t see it or he/she can provide an edited copy with the classified information blacked out.  I have all kinds of problems with my government having an official “it’s OK to lie to our constituents.”

Richard Muller, the credible scientist from the University of California, Berkeley who’s famous for disputing that the major cause of global warming is man made is publishing his latest study. This study was largely paid for by The Charles Koch Foundation.  The Koch brothers, with major investments in oil and other energy resources are famous for denying that there is global warming and even if it was, it would be just a cyclical blimp.  Mr. Muller was concerned about the reliability of the weather stations data and much data comes from around cities that create “heat islands.”  After reviewing the data available and taking his on recordings, he has concluded that “And now we have confidence that the temperatures rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”  He concluded that there is no reason to be skeptical of climate change now.

A new restaurant on Liberty Avenue in the Dallmeyer Building, Downtown has the name Taste of Dahntahn.  Guess what it’s theme is, no silly it’s not Chinese.  :)  Kind of a retro look inside with black and white and color photographs of the city.  Menu items include things like Sammitches, Fried Green Tuhmaytuh and Da Kerneggy.  There’s been some issues with both food and service, nothing major and that’s fairly common when restaurants open.  I’ve opened many and know we weren’t 100% for all guests.  Good restaurants are aware of this and watch for and correct deficiencies.  We’ll see.  I do like the name.

Speaking of creative menus, I can’t talk about that without mentioning my friends up at Shiloh Grill are coming up on their first year anniversary.  Not only do they have some fun names for their entrees (Traditional Italian Divorce Soup) they follow through in the description of the dish (This broth will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.  What was once rich and creamy is now irrevocably broken, with plenty of grounds.  The cost?  Half of what you got.  Served cold, of course).

The fourth installment in the Warhol’s Word of God series.  The Sound of One Hand, through November 27 with the normal Warhol hours and is included in it’s normal admission price.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.237.8300.  Max Gimblett, a New York artist since 1972, has been focusing on Buddhism since 1965 and even became a lay monk in 2006.  His art is divided between Enso and Koan.  Enso is a Japanese art form that’s basically a circle created on silk or rice paper with a single stroke of a thick brush.  It represents the spirit of the moment of creation.  In a circle, nothing stops, nothing comes to an end, it just keeps going.  His other art form is Koan.  Koan is a story, dialogue, question or statement that cannot be fully understood through rational thought alone.  Koans are frequently referred to as  a riddle.

Have a good night and great day,



From the desk of the Parador.  Someone told me I have to work my name in for page ranking, I’ll see what this does and try and be a little more creative in the future.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the creation of the Internet (1969), birth anniversary of Paul Josef Goebbels (1897)-I’m reading a really good book “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson.  It’s about Ambassador Dodd, the American Ambassador to Germany as Hitler rose to power.  And it’s the anniversary of the stock market crash in 1929 that started the Great Depression.

“Atticus Adams: An Appalachian in Paris” is a new free show at the Borelli-Edwards Galleries 3583 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.  It run through November 12 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturdays.  Addicus uses screen wire to create these sculptures that many of them resemble sea sponges.  Initially created with uncolored wire, but has recently started using some bold colors.  More info at Atticus’ web site, the Gallery’s web site or by calling 412.687.2606.

Ashton Kutcher is cheating on Demi Moore, who cares.  :)

Project Coffee House was started by Nathan Mallory, the owner of Cannon Coffee in Brookline and Kevin Acklin, president of Renew Pittsburgh, an organization the organizes volunteer services.  (You may recognize the name Kevin Acklin, he is the attorney that ran against our current mayor in the last election.)  Coffee Houses are notorious for bringing residents together.  I remember when the Bee Hive opened on Carson Street over in Southside and how all the locals started meeting there.  The coffee house on Buena Vista that opened about four years ago really became a hub for the Mexican War Streets.  Mallory & Acklin supply the expertise, help with the funding and help coordinate marketing and other endeavors needed to make the coffee houses a success.  Their latest, Brew, on Broadway Blvd in Beechview should be turning a profit by next year.  They are working on plans for coffee houses in Castle Shannon, East Liberty, the Hill District, Sheraden and elsewhere in the city.  The chain coffee houses are OK, but for a real taste of local with locals, go to a local coffee house.

This is the same neighborhood that Crested Duck has their production facility and shop (most of their sales are down at the Pittsburgh Public Market on Smallman Street in the Strip),  Davio’s restaurant has been there for years and a number of other new small businesses.  Who would have thought Betty would be so cutting edge.  :)  She moved to a senior apartment there last year.

Here’s something that was in the back of the paper and should have been on page one of local papers.  Pittsburgh was in National Geographic’s top twenty destinations in the WORLD.  The only other American location to make the list was Sonoma Valley.  They site “It’s mourning for it’s industrial past long concluded, this Western Pennsylvania city changed jobs and reclaimed it’s major assets:  A natural setting that rivals Lisbon and San Fransisco, a wealth of fine art and architecture and a quirky sense of humor”  I don’t remember them interviewing me.  :)

Here’s another tidbit, Forbes Magazine ranked Pittsburgh as “the best place to buy a house.”  Forbes says “For a housing market to be attractive it should have appreciating prices that show homeowners are making wise investments; an affordability rating that give middle-class families with good credit entry into the market; and a relatively low number of foreclosures, which keeps prices stable and indicates there isn’t an excess of inventory.”   Forbes says we have all three:  85% of our houses are affordable for those making the median family income of $62,500.  Foreclosures are low, we have the second best of all the cities they looked at.  And our home prices are expected to rise.

Trader Joe’s has opened there second Pittsburgh location at 1630 Washington Blvd, Upper St Clair.  I talked about this about a month ago.  I hear Whole Foods is opening a location in that area as well as the organic chain out of North Carolina (I think).  Add these to the Uncommon Market right at the top of the hill between the Galleria and South Hills Village and you have all kinds of foodie stuff going on in that area.

They are planning on imploding the Greenfield bridge in two years and build a new one.  In case you don’t know which one it is, that the one that when you come out of the Squirrel Hill tunnels, it has the mini bridge over the Parkway to keep chunks of concrete from hitting cars.  There’s also nets strung under the bridge for the same purpose.  I guess it’s time to replace it.  BUT, can you imagine them closing the Parkway for five or six days????  AND it’s going to take two years to build the new bridge.  What a nightmare.

Did you see where the US Army is responding to the Taliban’s use of Twitter broadcasting misinformation?  The Army’s Tweeting the evens as they actually occurred, as apposed to the embellished versions of the Taliban.  That’s too funny.  Here we have one of the poorest countries in the world (that’s not funny) that’s communicating with Twitter?

I have a wedding tomorrow, here’s pictures of Sarah & Joe’s favors:

Pretty cute.  Well, I’m hosting a wedding Saturday and then Sunday D, Quay and myself have to turn the entire Inn for another sell out night Sunday for the Steelers.  Busy weekend, enjoy,



Problems with my blog host, this is posting three days late.  Sorry.

Tomorrow is Nicolas Appert’s birth anniversary (1752), chef, chemist, confectioner, inventor and author.  He invented the bouillon cube and the process of heating foods and then sealing them in air tight containers for long term storage.  It’s the anniversary of the Beirut terrorist attack on American forces where we lost 240 personal to this suicide bomber (1983).  And to leave this on a happier note, it is the traditional day the swallows leave San Juan Capistrano for their wintering in Mexico.

Has anyone noticed a change in the PA State Store system?  There’s one on McKnight Road I frequent because it’s next to a Kuhn’s grocery store I go to.  It’s a small store and the staff are frequently stocking the shelves when you walk in.  Here, as in ANY state store I’ve been in, have I NEVER felt warm and fuzzy about giving them my money.  At best, they have made eye contact and maybe thanked me. They have two registers and invariably I go to the one that is not assigned to the clerk that comes up from stocking the shelves to ring me up.  I then need to move my purchases to the other register.  Not a major inconvenience, but something I think could be handled better.  In fact, I have pointed this out to the employee sitting in the raised area of the office (the boss maybe)?  I’ve suggested, just at many retail establishments, when one register is closed, put a sign up stating so.  I’ve made this suggestion, on occasion, over the five years I’ve patronized this store, never to see results.  That is still an issue, but what I have noticed is the clerks now are showing some personality!  On a regular basis, I have found the clerk looks me in the eye when they are speaking to me, they seem sincere when thanking me and one of them really threw me through a loop.  He started talking to me with things like “It’s really good to see you again”.  I guess the threat of privatization is having an effect.  :)

Braddock’s in the lime light again.  Did you know Levi’s has partnered with them on several fronts.  Benefit Braddock is an up coming concert series in the Carnegie public library in Braddock, 419 Library Street.  All ticket sales will be TRIPLED by Levi and the proceeds will benefit the rebuilding efforts of the town.  On Thursday, November 10, at 8 p.m. will be Andrew Bird with special guest Kurt Vile and the Violators, :) on November 11 also at 8 p.m. will be Built to Spill with special guest Atlas Sound.  And finally on November 12 it will be The Hold Steady with special guest Titus Andronicus.  You have to love their Mayor, John Fetterman.  He really is an amazing guy.

Jon Bon Jovi has opened another of his charity restaurants near Red Bank, NJ.  This is the latest of the New Jersey native’s efforts to give back to his home state.  Among other accomplishments, his Soul Foundation has built 260 homes for low-income residents.  When you go in one of his restaurants, there’s no prices on the menu.  You are given an envelope that you place what you feel is appropriate.  And they never turn someone away.  If you don’t have $ for the meal, you can help out busing tables, waiting tables, cooking.  Maybe you’re not a “people person”, they can arrange for you to work at the local food bank, or some other charity.

The new 40 story PNC tower they are planning on breaking ground in April will be joining The Tower at PNC Plaza, Century Building, Penn Avenue Place, Midtown Towers and David Lawrence Convention Center in tapping our fourth river (underground) for a geothermal heating and cooling system.  They anticipate a 20% energy savings from it.  They figure it will take four 16″ holes drilled down to the aquifer to accomplish this.

The credit reporting agencies are adding to the mix how they rate you.  They currently only take into account purchases, payments on these purchases and asset to debt ratio.  They are adding things like on time payments on rental payments, utilities, rent, pay day loands and cell phones.  This should make credit more readily available to a large segment of our population that lives successfully towards the edge.  A lot of people can’t afford to buy the new living room set, so they rent it.  These people have a large chunk of their income responsibly paid to companies, but get no credit for their responsible behavior because the credit reporting agencies never looked at that.  This is how lower income people can start to break that viscous cycle and start reaping the advantages of being responsible, like qualifying for lower credit card interest rates, purchasing furniture, even a home.  I’m pretty excited to see this.  The credit reporting agencies are also going to start listing deadbeats on child support payments.

One of the MANY things in the world that annoy me are the Introductory Offers.  They’ll reward you when they steal you from their competitors, then once they figure they “have” you, no more discounts.  You generally see this with cell phones, cable and other media.  It’s the opposite of the way I see the world, I would reward my regulars for staying with me.  Maybe come up with a points system that occasionally gives you a free month or some other tangible reward for staying with them.  You’re seeing this with hotels, airlines, etc more and more.  But I digress from the point I was going to.  In this article I read, they talk about when the Introductory Offer expires, how to complain to get it extended or maybe a reduction in the rate.  The article even points you in a direction on how to complain.  Go to the Consumer’s Action Guide and brush up on your complaining skills.  No one ever accused me of not being able to complain.  :)

The Hodges Family Collection of Faberge is coming to The Frick tomorrow through January 15.  The Clayton’s normal hours 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and normal price of $7.50 admission.  I think most people know the Faberge’s were originally French that fled to Russia to avoid persecution  for being Huguenots.  Gustav was just a jeweler, skilled, but just did regular jewelry.  They really exploded after son Carl and younger son Agathon took over the business.  Carl had recently returned from nine years of studies in Germany, Italy, France and England.  Tsar Alexander started commissioning their fantastic Imperial Eggs and the Faberge basically got out of jewelry making and into making “objets de fantaisie”-small decorative items that were both beautiful and useful.  These artist-jewelers began making one of a kind objects that were in high demand with the new wealthy and the rest is history.  This show has over 100 pieces, several lectures and even an added Roll-Royce in keeping with the theme of luxury.  More info at the Frick’s web site or by calling them 412.371.0600.

Well, they sold Betty’s house at auction today.  As sad day, but a nice closure.  I missed the auction, couldn’t get out until after I finished serving breakfast, but apparently a good many people stopped by that we knew over the years, sort of like a wake.  It was pretty nice.

Have a great rest of your weekend,


Did you hear yesterday some exotic animal collector committed suicide after releasing all his wild animals.  Zanesville, OH was asking residents to stay indoors.  Damn straight.  :)  Tomorrow is the anniversary of an employee at Herbert Birch Kingston candy company decided it would be nice to pass out candy to the sick, the shut-ins, etc.  It became known as the Sweetest Day (1922), it’s the anniversary of the Saturday Night Massacre when President Nixon in a desperate attempt to squelch Watergate cleared house of those involved (unfortunately, he exempted himself, we had to do that one).

I’ve been sitting at my desk most of the afternoon watching the squirrels getting ready for the winter.  They are all over the  place running and scampering.  And teasing RJ.  Derronda caught them on film yesterday and I think she was going to post it on Utube.  They know the difference between RJ and Razor and single him out.  It’s really funny to watch.

Nia Quilt Guild, Young Men and Women’s African Heritage Association is having a show at the New Hazlett Theater starting this Sunday, October 23 through next Sunday, October 30.  It’s daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. with an opening event at 2 p.m. and the closing day’s hours of noon until 4 p.m.  These are the folks that brought Gee Bend Quilters up here last year.  These ladies stayed at my Inn while they were showing their quilts at the New Hazlett Theater.  They have the most amazing story.  They were slaves to a “nice slave master” (I’m sure I’m totally politically incorrect here, no offense meant).  The gentleman didn’t abuse the slaves, made sure they were fed and housed properly and their work load wasn’t abusive.  So after the Emancipation Proclamation, many of the slaves stayed on as share croppers.  They eventually purchased a sizable portion of his plantation and a barn.  This is where, to this day, the ladies gather to quilt.  Their quilts are world famous and command a strong price.  And, they are the nicest ladies.  From young teenagers to grandmothers, what a group of wonderful people.  Nia Quilt Guild is taking from these ladies and teaching young girls of color the importance of art, family and work.  They also are multi-generational.  More info at Nia link or by calling 412.322.4008.

Michael Lotenero is having a show and fund raiser at the Persad Center at 6425 Penn Avenue (Bakery Square) starting with a reception on Friday, November 11 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and then a showing on that Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.  Michael is a 20 year multi-disciplinary artist and designer that is known nationally and been acknowledged and reviewed nationally.  I really like his art, more info at either link or by calling 412.441.9786 ext 224.

Well, the Occupy Wall Street group has really taken off.  Two days ago I saw where the Teachers Union was donating space for storage (mainly food) close by and they group had amassed $200k.  In today’s paper, they have over $400k.  That’s a pittance compared to whom they are taking on, but it’s a long way from where they started a month ago.  There’s even some lady up in Alaska that with her dogs have begun Occupy the Tundra.  :)

Well, we sold my parents possessions at an auction this past summer.  This Saturday, they’re selling the house.  If anyone’s looking to buy the old homestead, while it’s still affordable before I get better known ( :) ), come on out this Saturday by 10 a.m.  I will probably not be able to make it until about 11.  More info at the auctioneer’s web site, Behm.  Betty doesn’t want to go out and watch it, which I think is a good thing.  Forty plus years raising a family would be pretty emotional for her.

Myra, my friend that recently opened The Stone Manse Inn in New Cumberland has been doing great.  She’s not even open a year and has had several sold out weekends.  She’s had people that used to stay there when Phyllis used to run it as Farm Fortune Bed and Breakfast stop and visit.  She just sent me a new maple French toast recipe, which I’m going to experiment on my guests tomorrow morning.  Which reminds me, local people.  I use different breads depending on what I’m doing with French toast.  For the sweeter recipes like apple stuffed FT, I have always used Challah (Jewish egg bread) and the only Challah I could find here in Pittsburgh was at the Giant Eagle in McIntire Square on McKnight Road.  Any of my regulars know what I think of Giant Eagle.  I’m now using Breadworks egg twist and I actually like it better than the Challah.  You can’t teach old dogs new tricks (just ask Razor)  :)  I’m used to Challah and wasn’t too eager to try something new.  Plus you have to order the egg twist ahead of time and it comes in this huge loaf.  Well, it lasts several days in the refrigerator and over a week if you freeze it.  Lisa, my good friend from Fabled Table, has been trying to get me to use if for about a year now.  I like it so much that with the orange FT recipe, we don’t put the added sugar in the mix and it’s just fine.

I’m looking for a SMALL refrigerator.  I own a .58 Cu Ft Chefmate that I bought since moving back up here.  But I don’t remember where I found it.  I’ve been to the usual suspects (Sears, Target, etc) and no one has one that small.  Chefmate doesn’t have a web site, you have to buy from their retailers.  When I search for it, the browser always defaults to 5.0 from .58.  This has been going on for over a month.  I took Betty out for a walk yesterday in Dormont (she lives in Beechview) and passed Dormont Appliance Center.  So we went in and perused the entire store, saw a number of employees back in an “office” non show room area and no one came up to us.  So I didn’t see what I was looking for and we left. I was surprised, because they are famous for their customer service. We got as far as the sidewalk when this man comes flying out the door and can’t apologize enough.  He pleaded with me to come back in and so we did.  I couldn’t have felt more important after the way he treated me.  Here it was Craig Scheimer, the guy that owns it.  So they’re looking into my small refrigerator.  I definitely have a new refer store.

Well, that’s about it for today.  Chuck, from Metro Classic Builders, is bringing my new exterior doors for Ruellia, Bromeliad and two of the three Ballroom doors.  I can’t wait to have weather tight doors that actually function and I don’t have to keep putting screws back in the hinges.  :)



Tomorrow is National Grouch Day (no comments here, please) :), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s birth anniversary (1844), John Kenneth Galbraith’s birth anniversary (1908), the anniversary of Mata Hari’s execution (1917) and the anniversary of the first manned flight (1783)-two French men manned a hot air Montgolfier over Paris.

Derronda got her first mention on Trip Advisor, you go girl.  She’s the best, I’m glad to see a guest take the time to acknowledge this.

I love competent craft persons.  I spoke of John with All Pro Plumbing (866.996.7767) in a past blog and the fabulous job he did figuring out what was wrong with my central air conditioning.  (For four years it operated, but didn’t get the Mansion cool enough.  People have looked at it and said the two units should cool the place, but they didn’t.  The air intake wasn’t big enough!).  Well, his latest was one of the the heating/AC duct work lines for the Ballroom we had to disconnect when we did the renovations for Bromeliad.  It came through the brick wall into what was the closet and then down into the Ballroom.  He found a passageway hidden up in the ceiling and so was able to re-connect it to the system without tearing up the ceiling or taking a brick wall apart.  Also, the stairwell up to Ruellia doesn’t have heat, but does has exposed water lines.  I’ve had to watch the winter weather and when it got real cold, run an extension from the guest room down to the door and plug in a space heater.  He took a duck work line from the new furnace/AC in the Loft over through the wall into that stairwell.  It won’t make the stairwell toasty in the winter or chilly in the summer, but should take the edge off of it so I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Kevin Sousa, co-owner and creative chef at Salt of the Earth in East Liberty is opening a second restaurant next spring called Union Pig & Chicken at 220 N Highland Avenue.  This 2,200 square foot space formerly was a restaurant several years ago.  I think Salt of the Earth was a former car show room, so this conversion should be pretty easy.  Chef Kevin’s a pretty interesting guy.  He goes to the market, picks out what he thinks looks good and then creatively figures out how to use the different ingredients together.  Their menu’s on a chalk board hanging on a wall and is always changing.  There are some deuce tables on a balcony and some bar stools at the bar and open kitchen.  But most of the seating’s benches along long tables family style.

Friends of the Riverfront took title of the Aspinwall marina.  Thanx to their efforts, they were able to raise the $2.3 million for the eight acre parcel.  Now that they have title, they are working on plans to make it a public accessible park and river front access.  I think Highmark made a large donation which filled the last gap in funding.

The alligator in Westmoreland’s Beaver Run Reservoir seems to have gotten a reprieve.  The water authority out there backed off their insistence to let the alligator die from the cold instead of letting a qualified trapper to snag the ‘gator and turn him over to a refuge in Florida that had agreed to take him.  What’s up with water authorities, are they all crazy?  Pittsburgh Water Authority cost me over $42k when I bought this place and almost bankrupt me.

Are you aware that the human body has about 100 trillion cells, but only about one in ten are human!  The rest are microbes, primarily bacteria, but also viruses, fungi and a panoply of other micro-organisms.  We are a walking self contained micro-system.  There’s a balance in life, all bacteria and viruses are not bad.  Many are beneficial, in fact, crucial for our existence.  I have frequently whined about this Clorox disinfect everything in your house mentality.  I have repeatedly read about how we are our own worst enemies when it comes to the micro world around us.  We are loosing our immunity humans have developed over eons by being exposed to bad microbes and developing strong anti bodies.  That’s partially why these “super bugs” are evolving.  It’s like alcohol, something that so many people are demonizing.  Responsible consumption keeps coming up as a factor in keeping bad cholesterol in check (French people drinking a responsible amount of red wine).  Now if you’re a guest of mine or potential guest, don’t get nervous.  I’m very clean and practice safe food handling procedures.  It’s just I’m not into running around the Inn spraying all kinds of chemicals because Clorox wants to sell more products.

Tim Hemmes, a quadriplegic from a motor cycle accident has a robotic arm next to his wheel chair.  With it, he can control the arm with his brain!  There’s tiny micro chips embedded in his brain and electrodes read what the mind thinks and transmits it to the robotic arm and hand.  It’s still extremely difficult and a lot of work, but OMG watch out Geordi from Star Trek.  Good work Tim, my hat goes out to you and all your had work.

I would like to thank Merrill Stabile, the owner of Alco Parking, for saving the city residents from a land grab by the Pirates and Steelers.  I have nothing against the Pirates and Steelers trying to get a parcel of land as cheap as possible.  I blame the Stadium Authority for not looking out for the city’s interests.  Because of all the back lash caused by Mr. Sabile’s offer for $10 MILLION instead of the $1 Million the Steelers/Pirates was planning on paying for the land, the SEA decided they better sell it at market value instead of giving it away as a gift.

Robin Russell is coordinating an empty bowls dinner at Quaker Valley School District.  The students are making these bowls that you purchase and proceeds go several local food pantries.  The symbolism of the empty bowls is obvious, the student’s creative efforts are great, teaching these kids that they are a part of a bigger community than just their school is invaluable.  The event on November 1 runs from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. with other similar activities.  Besides making the bowls, the students will be acting as hosts, food prep and general organizers.

Have you seen the picture of Christina Aguilera?  She’s such a pretty woman, from Pittsburgh in case you’ve been living under a rock.  They say her group ran up an $8k bar bill at the hotel when they were performing in Wales (I think it was) and a $7k bar bill on the bus.  Maybe we ought to lighten up on the partying, she really looks a mess.

Phipp’s Fall Flower Show opened yesterday and runs through November 6.  They have over 5,000 fall-hued blooms throughout the gardens.  The Phipps continues to be one of my most favorite spaces in the City.

Well, it’s Friday, Steeler home game weekend, I need to get my butt in gear.  Have a great weekend, go Steelers,



Tomorrow is Yo-Yo Ma’s birthday (Paris 1955),  John Mellencamp (Seymour, IN 1951), Vladimir Putin (1952, St Petersburg) and Desmond Tutu (Klerksdorp, South Africa 1931).

Dormont’s having it’s Street Fair and Music Festival this coming Saturday from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m.  They will be closing off Potomac Avenue from West Liberty to Glenmore.  As expected there will be craftsmen, street vendors and live music.  One of the  performers will be Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers.  Pretty impressive for little Dormont.

The Butler-Beaver Presbytery office is the site or the Artisan Marketplace Shop in Zelienople.  If they weren’t the first, they were one of the original people offering gifts from 10,000 villages.  That’s the group the enures that all gifts from third world countries are produced by individual crafts persons and not out of some sweat shop.  I’ve been patronizing them for a few years now, they carry some very unique gifts you won’t find elsewhere.  Tip from a regular, go early because they’re not like a Target that restocks their shelves throughout the holiday season.  They are open from 10 until 2 Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  They are located at 1348 S Main Street, Zelienople.  More info at their web site or by calling 724.452.7515.

A number of Unions are joining the Wall Street protesters.  In case you’ve been under a rock the last few weeks, this loose group of generally younger people have been camped out in Zuccotti Park for the last few weeks.  They have various issues they are protesting, but they all seem to hone in on Wall Street greed and it seems to be growing (obviously if the Unions are taking notice).  I have a feeling this may grow into something.  They are getting some offshoots around the country, Pittsburgh has Occupy Pittsburgh.  About 250 people attended a meeting Wednesday at a Shadyside church.  They decided to hold three rallies at 10 a.m. on October 15 at Market Square, the City-County building and Freedom Square up in the Hill.

Home Coming: Artwork by Pennsylvania artist Zachary Brown will be held at Elan Fine Art Gallery at 427 Broad Street in Sewickley from noon until 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays until October 28.  Zachary, originally from Sewickley, has recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design.  He paints images of friends and family in a classical manor with a religious icon kind of slant.  Kind of odd, kind of cool.  More info can be found at their web site or by calling 412.749.0427.

The recently opened Acoustic Moose in Bellevue is a welcome new comer at 516 Lincoln Avenue.  The building, with many previous lives, most recently was a pizza joint.  Lindsey and Adam Gibson decided to open a coffee shop kind of restaurant (or is is a restaurant kind of coffee shop) :) that serves a variety of non alcoholic beverages and healthy breakfast and lunchy kind of offerings.  Some take advantage of the old brick oven from it’s previous life.  They also encourage acoustic entertainers to stop by for an open mike kind of a thing.  By the way, the name Acoustic Moose was Adam’s high school nickname when he used to perform.    They are open from 7 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Open until  on Wednesdays.  7:30 until 10 on Fridays and Saturdays they are open from 9:30 until until 7 p.m.  More info at their web site or 412.415.3888.

Those gallery spaces on Penn Avenue (707 and 709) have new artists in them.  707 has Harish Saluja, who traditionally has done abstract art, but recently has turned to more traditional oils starting with mandalas.  Mandalas are symbols of man’s place on earth (woman’s also).  They were used in Hindu and Buddhist palaces with four gates leading to the four corners of the earth.  Well structured, precise and representational is not what Harish has been known for lately.  She has a number of large oils on display that reflect her Indian heritage and a number of miniature paintings.  These started as doodling she would do on the phone that she would fine tune afterwards.  They became quite popular and she sort of mass produces these.  In 709 Thomas Bigatel and oil painter has combined space with Peter Johnson a wood worker that takes one large log and works with it pulling images out of it as he uncovers the original grains and other unique qualities of the piece.  I didn’t see a web site for any of these artists, more info can be had by calling 412.325.7723.

OK, I tricked you.  :)  Usually I start by whining, today I snuck it in the middle.  If I may quote our illustrious mayor “I’m happy with the work so far.”  I’m not addressing that the only time the Steelers/Pirates consortium do any developing is when their option is about to run out.  I would like to address that statement of his.  I just replaced four windows at $1,000 a piece.  If next year, my same contractor came back and told me it was going to cost $10,000 per window, even though “I was happy with his work”, I am sure I would be seeking a new contractor.  I do understand, I am not a politician,  I’m just an Innkeeper.  So I don’t know the interstices of political life, I just know dollars and cents.  Dollars and cents drive what projects I take on, I choose projects I can afford.  What I save today is what I can tackle tomorrow.  I’m not saying the mayor should take Alco up on their $10 MILLION offer, maybe tell the Steelers/Pirates consortium to up the ante from $1 million.

Speaking of $10 MILLION dollars, Saks Fifth Avenue has decided to shutter their Smithfield Street store, even though there was a $10 MILLION dollar offer from the land lord, city and county to aid their remodeling.  #1, give me $10 MILLION and I’ll create an Inn that has as many employees as Saks has and they would not have to depend on commissions on their sales.  :)  But that’s not the point of this Whine.  In the Trib article, the Trib quotes “local government leaders” as saying they wouldn’t provide details “on what they termed private talks”.  EXCUSE ME, all money in government is either tax driven, fee driven or occasionally private money-is ALWAYS PUBLIC MONEY.  What the hell is “private talks”.  Excuse me cursing.  What arrogance.

Brunton Dairy reopened Saturday.  That’s the 7th generation family owned dairy in Beaver County that the Board of Health closed last July because a number of their customers got sick from Yersinia enterocolitica bacteria and it was found in some of their products.  The bacteria was found in at lease one sealed container of their product, but the BoH never found anything at their farm or processing areas.  There’s some conspiratorial theories around about this.  Anyway, they are open, they are real nice people and not far.  Actually, Kerry at KS Kennedy Floral right down the street from me carries their milk.

OK, I’m going to bed.  Have a great day tomorrow, it’s supposed to be gorgeous,



Tomorrow is national ten-four day for CBers (get it October 4) :) , it’s Buster Keaton’s birth anniversary (1895), Lesotho Independence from Britain (1966) formerly known as Basutoland, the squared jawed Dick Tracy comic premiered (1931) and Rutherford Hayes birth anniversary (1822)- the 19th President of the US.

Generally speaking, I write my blog over several days.  I find something interesting and write about it.  When I think there’s enough, I publish it.  Generally, the order you find things is the order I’ve found them.  This is the last item and I had to put it on the top.  Ravenstahl is REJECTING Alco’s offer of $10 MILLION over the Steelers & Pirates offer of $1 MILLION.  Does anyone else in this cash strapped city see a problem here.  Alco also offered $3 MILLION for another parcel the Steelers & Pirates have an option on for $600,000. I am so insesnsed that I will be writing my first ever letters to the editor for both the Trib and Post Gazette.  I am also writing everyone on the SEC Board.  I certainly hope the people in this city raise enough of a ruckus that shakes things up.  This is after the Steelers & Pirates “stole” the parking lot where they built AE Amphitheater for a fraction of what was the other offer last year.  None of the Board Members have direct e-mail that’s published, if you want to write them, you’ll have to use the SEA’s general box office info@pgh-sea.com.  What I am going to do is write a letter and put each of the Board Members Name’s in the subject line.  The lady that answered the phone at the SEA said they would forward the e-mails to them.  If you want to rant to any of the Board Members over the phone, here’s their phone numbers:  Mary Conturo, the SEA’s phone number is 412.393.0200.  Darlene Harris, President of City Council’s phone number is 412.255.2129.  Senator Wayne Fontana’s phone number is 412.344.2551.  William Curtis is head pastor at Mt Ararat Baptist Church, his phone number is 412.441.1800.  Senator Sean Logan’s phone number is 412.664.5200.  Doctor Edie Shipira’s phone number is 412.363.6222.  Anthony Ross, from Ross Development Company’s phone number is 412.661.2500.  Michael Dunleavy from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers phone number is 412.432.1400.  And not to forget Mayor Ravenstahl’s phone number is 412.255.2626.  I encourage all to at least call these people, preferably send them an e-mail and/or snail mail letter.  We can’t let this happen again.

On a cute note, do you know what they call new people at Google?  Their Newglers.  Do you know what they call new employees at U Tube?  Nutubers.  I’m not making this up.  :)

The Pennsylvania Resources Council are offering composting classes this Thursday at the Shaler Library, October 12 at the CCI Center in the Southside, October 18 (their headquarters) at Whole Foods in East Liberty, October 26 at the Mt Lebanon Library, November 1 at the East End Food Co-Op in Point Breeze and November 5 at Blueberry Hill Park in Franklin Park.  The fee of $50 per person ($55 per couple) includes a bin.  Info at 412.488.7490 or at their web site.

Arrested Development, the critically acclaimed TV show, is planning on coming back to TV and they plan to start filming next summer, so it’s not right around the corner.  They are also working on a movie deal, but want to get the TV show back up and running to get you caught up on what they’ve been up to the last five years.

They finally finished the Eliza Furnace Rail Trail bridge over Bates Street.  The trail is no longer detoured and Second Avenue no longer has lane restrictions.  They even added a fifth turning lane coming out of Oakland.  That should help with the congestion at rush hour.  I was down that way today and they have all the bras hanging from the pedestrian side of the Hot Metal Bridge for Breast Cancer Awareness.  It’s pretty funny, there’s hundreds, maybe a thousand bras over there.  :)

Cirque du Soleil is presenting Quidam at the Peterson Event Center October 12 through October 16 (3719 Terrace Street, Oakland).  Starring in the role of Papa is Pittsburgh’s own Patrick McGuire (actually he’s from Franklin Park).  He plays a juggling father that sits removed from his daughter in her real an imagined world.  He’s mastered that art of juggling since it first piqued his interest when he was 16. More info can be had by calling 800.745.3000 or visiting their web site.

The South Hills Food Bank is begging for donations, most needed are cereal, canned tuna, pasta sauce, macaroni & cheese and prepackaged side dishes.  Executive Director Jim Guffey said they have the lowest inventories since he started there five years ago.  The problem is a combined more people in need of help and a drop in donations due to the economy.  For donations, you can contact Kate Snyder at 412.854.9120 or e-mail her at ksnyder@shimcenter.org.

The annual Sewickley Fall Gallery Walk is this weekend.  Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad Street, is presenting Stacks, an exhibit o collage works by Pittsburgh artist Romare Bearden.  The House of Two Sisters, 432 Beaver Street, will feature oil paintings by Claire Hardy.  The Sewickley Galler and Frame Shop, 549 Beaver Street, will be showing photographs taken over two and a half years of temporary memorials at Shanksville.  Pastel artist Harry Demel will be creating portraits at International Images, 514 Beaver Street.  Finally, at Elan Fine Art Gallery, 427 Broad Street, WOOD is being exhibited.  This will be featuring furniture, functional objects and sculptural objects made of large fallen trees, logs and finely milled cut slabs.  Hours and more info at their web site.

Well, that’s it for today, I think I’m going to have a beer and calm down about the City loosing $12 MILLION because they want to favor the sports teams that seem to own this city,