Today is the 176th anniversary of the  birth of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain).  Tomorrow is the anniversary of James Naismith creating the game basketball, in Springfield, MA (1891).  In the local YMCA he took two peach baskets and nailed them to either side of the gym and took a soccer ball for the boys to have indoor exercise in the winter.  It is also the anniversary of Rosa Parks being arrested for refusing to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, AL (1955).

While we are dealing with factoids, I know many of you were wondering if there really was a Colonel Sanders, yes, Harland Sanders existed.  As did Little Debbie, Chef Boyardee (correct spelling was Boiardi), Duncan Hines, Howard Johnson, Marie Callender, Sara Lee, Mrs Paul and Fannie Farmer.  There was no Aunt Jemima, or Uncle Ben.  And Wendy Thomas is the real adopted daughter of Dave Thomas.

The Fayette County Food Bank lost the entire ground level of food due to the Redstone Creek overflowing it’s banks and putting two and a half feet of water in their warehouse last Tuesday.  They lost an estimated $30,000 in food.  Luckily, the flood hit after they made their Thanksgiving distributions.  Hopefully, they can get it cleaned up in time and restocked in time for the Christmas holidays.  Items they are looking for are cereal, peanut butter, canned juice and canned goods.  They prefer cash donations because they have great bulk buying power.  More info at their web site.

Finally they are putting Route 19 lights through West Liberty Avenue and Washington Blvd in sync out to Upper St Clair.  Having grown up in the South Hills, that was one of my major routes and I continue to use it fairly often.  It can be quite frustrating traveling that way.  Sometimes you seem to get all the lights green, other times all red (I know, is my glass half full or half empty).  :)  They seem to have the major work already done and are fine tuning it over the next several weeks with the holiday traffic.  Once the holidays are over, they will do one final fine tuning and call it a day.  It’s not a speeding thing for me, I would rather go twenty-five miles an hour the entire length and get all green lights than forty-five miles and hour and have to start and stop constantly.  They’ve divided the road into three groups, I think West Liberty is one, Mt Lebanon an other and Bethel Park/Upper St Clair the third.

My niece Katie married her fiancee earlier this month in a very private ceremony in Philadelphia and they went to Jamaica for a week for their honeymoon.  They had a celebration this past Saturday for friends and family which I attended.  It was a very nice event and good to see that side of the family, many I haven’t seen in awhile.  Ryan’s family I had met a couple of years ago at a cook out at Katie & Ryan’s house and it was nice seeing them again as well.  My intent was not to drag you into family business, but I stayed at the Thomas Bond House Bed and Breakfast in Philly’s Old Towne.  I haven’t been down around the historic area since the Liberty Bell was still in Independence Hall.  What a change down there.  Actually, Penn’s Landing wasn’t even open back when I was down there last.  It was interesting to see the diverse tourists viewing our history.  And I was surprised at how easy it was to zip around Philly using I95 and I676.  I was zipping all the way out to Abbington in like twenty-five minutes.

The Inn was interesting.  Affordable, I found a room for $130, it was small, but for $130 you couldn’t beat the price for a Center City guest room.  Now they don’t have a parking lot, but right next store to them, there’s the Ritz Parking Garage.  The most they charge is $18 per day, so that made my room $148, not bad.  The key is to not move your car but once a day.  The Innkeepers were very nice and their manager was exceptional.  They offered one of the nicest full hot American breakfasts of any of the Inn’s I’ve stayed at recently.  But I think they only offer a continental on week days.  There were some minor issues like I couldn’t get my lap top connected to the Internet, even with an Ethernet.  But they won’t stop me from staying there in the future, the location is convenient. I kept tabs on my e-mails with my iPhone.  I’m becoming quite the electronically proficient person these days.  :)

While there I saw J Edgar with a friend.  I know a lot of it was factual, I’m curious how much and what they made up for dramatization.  What I didn’t like was how the film kept going forward and then back in his life.  It wasn’t just bouncing between when he started the FBI and his final days there.  They would jump into middle ground as well.  I found that rather annoying.

So Southwest is pulling their non stop flights to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh leaving just US Air with non stop flights.  They are predicting that flights are going to jump from an average of $340 round trip to over $600.  So there’s now talk of US Air merging with American Airlines since they are in bankrupsy.  I guess we’ll end with just one airline that charges whatever they want.

OK, I’m going to whine a bit, but I promise I only have two items today.  #1 is a common thread with me, the Stadium Authority and sports teams.  We seem to have won the battle over the Northside give away to the Steelers.  The new one is the give away to the Penguins.  I love the Penguins, Mario, Sid, etc.  But cut me a break.  They want to declare the lower hill as a distressed area qualifying for tax deferred and other incentives.  (In case you miss my point here, these “incentives” are things WE pay for right away or later on).  OMG, two blocks to a major downtown center and they need “incentives” to get investors?  Something’s wrong with this picture.  We built you a damn stadium, isn’t that enough?  (Sorry for the expletive.)

#2 is the Post Office.  They’ve been practicing the Steve Bland form of money management possibly longer than he has.  (In case you’ve missed, Steve Bland of the Port Authority just says “Give me more money or I’ll cut services and raise fares.”  Ever think about running your organization efficiency?  How about retiring 3/4 of those big empty buses and replacing them with smaller vans during off peak times?).  The post office moved the sorting function from their Grant Street location in 1983!  And have been paying rent on that empty space since then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So in 2011 they address this down sizing from hundreds of thousands of square feet they pay rent on to a few thousand.  It took them almost 30 years to realize they shouldn’t pay rent for space they don’t use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great afternoon and do something nice for a stranger to brighten at least one day on this dreary day,



President George Washington declared the first official American holiday, Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first publishing of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), the premiere of Casablanca (1942), Queen Elizabeth agrees to pay taxes (1992) and Japan agreed to stop using drift net fishing practices (1991)

A floating island in a lake less than three hours from here?  With TREES growing on the floating island?  Go to Buckeye Lake, just this side of Columbus.

So you always wanted to be an auctioneer?  Well, I have the low down for you.  Clarion University will be offering an associate’s degree in auctioneering conveniently here at West Penn Hospital starting in January.  There are approximately 2,500 apprentice and professional auctioneers in Pennsylvania.  Courses will be offered Saturdays and Sundays through May.  After accruing 20 credits, you can apply to take the state exam.  Once you pass that, an apprentice has to work under an already licensed auctioneer for two years before you can take your state test.  More info at Clairion University or by calling Bill Hallock at 814.676.6591 ext 1307

Buncher Company is still pushing it way into destroying a block of the Terminal building so it’s convenient for them to sell their townhouses and other development behind this iconic Strip structure.  It’s EASIER and CHEAPER for them to destroy a block of history than going down to 15th Street (where Lydia’s is) and upgrading that intersection.  But after what the Penquins got away with in destroying the Igloo, what else can you expect around here.

Did you hear about that dancer in Miami that wanted a bigger butt and went to this fake doctor that injected cement, mineral oil and flat tire sealant.  OMG  The poor girl’s mother made her go to the hospital and she’s being treated.  The police have the “doctor” in custody.

The National Aviary’s Holiday Bird Show starts this Friday.  The head liner is a one year old snowy owl (who’s gorgeous) and native to Quebec is named after Marc Andre Fluer who also is a Quebec native.They are having these shows in the new Free Flight Theater at noon and 3 p.m.  More info at their web site or 412.323.7235.

Seems they’ve put the last piece in the Shenley Plaza renovations.  The Porch restaurant has just opened up.  It a much needed full service restaurant.   Currently they just have that kiosk with fast food options in the Plaza with open seating on a patio.  With Phipp’s, The Carnegie Museums and main library branch as well as Pitt’s Law Building, Hillman Library and the Cathedral of Learning across the street, it should do well with just it’s location.  I don’t know who’s going to be running it, I hope they do decent food.

The Box Heart Gallery, 4523 Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield is hosting Reinhardt Sobye’s exhibit The Secret Garden through November 26 from 11 until 7 Tuesdays, 10 until 6 Wednesdays through Saturday and Sunday from 1 until 5.  I chronicles the photo artist and his significant other Ida.  He rented Ida’s cottage while she was in Edeinburgh, Scottland and met her a few months later.  She was in an abusive relationship and as Ida & Sobye’s relationship grew, he became aware of her past.  This exhibit is dedicated to her and the horror of abuse.  Of the hundreds of photos he has in his computer, he’s pulled 15 and I don’t want to say photoshopped, but edited the pictures to reflect how they seemed to him.  Like the picture hanging in my powder room, The Way Home.  I found this framed photo at the Three Rivers Arts Fest two years ago.  I love the way the artist re imaged the picture.

OK, all you scaredy cats, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Here’s help, The Crisco Pie Hot line is 877.367.7438.  Butterball Turkey is 800.288.8372.  Empire Kosher Poultry Hot line 717.436.7055.  Fleischmann’s Yeast Baker’s help line 800.777.4959.  Foster Farms Turkey hot line is 800.255.7227. King Arthur’s Flour hot line is 802.649.3717.  Ocean Spray help line 800.662.3263.  Perdue 800.473.7383.  Reynolds hot line 800.745.4000 and USDA Meat and Poultry hot line 888.674.6854.

Go out there and bake and cook your hearts out.  Enjoy,  :)



Tomorrow is Mickey Mouse’s birthday (1928), the anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre (1978), Latvia’s Independence Day (1918), the push button phone premiered (1963) and it is the anniversary of the US Uniform Time Zone Plan (1883).  Professor Charles Dowd convinced the railroads to put the four zones in place and because it wasn’t an enacted law, some locations didn’t adopt it until it did become law in 1918.

Light up night is tomorrow (and Saturday).  Macy’s unveils their windows (their theme this year is celebrity decorations) at 6, the parade kicks off from Steel Plaza at 6:15 and the lighting of the Unity Tree at the corner of Stanwix and Penn is at 7.  Friday’s entertainment at Market Square is Al Dowe and Etta Cox at 5, Jeff Jimerson and Airborne at 6 and Borelli’s Dance Gallery will be performing at 8:30.  At the Clemente Bridge (6th Avenue Bridge for you old schoolers) will be NOMaD at 5, John Angel and the Halos at 6:15, No Bad Juju at 8 and the fireworks at 9:38.  Saturday the Mascot Skate at PPG Place from noon until 2 and the Horse Drawn Carriage Parade starting at the Convention Center at 6.  Entertainment at Market Square will be Joe Negri at noon, Doublshot at 1:45, Vanessa Campagna at 3, Granati Brothers at 4:30 and Bill Price Band at 7:30.

Speaking of the Holidays, I got the cutest hoodies last weekend at the craft show at the Convention Center for my three newest nieces.  They’re monster hoodies with fur on the inside of the hood to keep the tykes warm, two horns on the top with a little bird clinging to one horn.  So cute.  Saturday, St Brendan’s Episcopal Church at 2365 McAleer Road, Franklin Park is having their 12 Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show from 9 until 2.  They are featuring over 50 vendors and the cookie mart is back.  What they do us pile out the cookies by type, you buy a small container for $10 (it holds about three dozen cookies) or the large container for $15 (holds five to six dozen cookies).  And you select what kinds of cookies you want.  That’s a pretty cool twist to things.

Holidays for you train buffs, the Ohio Valley Railroad Club is hosting an open house noon to 5 Saturdays and Sundays starting November 26 through January 15.  They will be closed Christmas Eve and Day as well as New Years Eve and Day.  They are located at 1225 Merchant Street Ambridge.  The club has been working on this display for the last ten years and it’s theme is large and small industry that’s been located from Pittsburgh to West Virginia in the 1950′s and 60′s.  It’s not finished yet, they hope to have the final touches done by next year.  Any of you that visited last year will notice the new section they added on Dawhntawn.  :) Admission is $5 adults, kids 6 – 12 $1.  More info at 724.266.4787.

The Center for Creative Reuse has their very own door now at 214 N Lexington Avenue, Point Breeze.  They are still in the same building as Construction Junction, you just don’t have to enter them from the Junction anymore.  You can find some pretty interesting things in both places.  More info at their web site or 412.473.0100.

I got a new computer last week.  What a nightmare.  ABSOLUTELY everything I touch gets more and more complicated.  I bought the new version of Quick Books, what I wanted to do was to pay for it, get a 2010 or 2009 downloadable version e-mailed to me (so my IT guy could install it) and then snail me a hard copy.  The reason I wanted an older version is by now the bugs should have been identified and fixed.  They would only sell me the 2012 version and they insisted on installing it on my computer.  Two and a half hours later, they were still trying to get it working.  Finally we get it up and running, I finished my day and go to bed.  The next morning when I tried to turn it on, the data won’t fill in the program.  The demo stays up.  The next phone call was about 45 minutes.  One of the errors was everytime I turned Quick Books on, my computer kept asking permision for Quick Books to connect on line to Intuit and down load updates.  As I’m talking to the tech, the way they have Quick Books set up, everytime I open it, it goes to Intuit, the company that makes Quick Books to look for updates.  That means Quick Books as constant access to my financial data.  The tech told me I could lower my Norton security settings so Quick Books can get right in.  The tech said the main reason for this is when Quick Books processes credit card payments, there’s certain things it needs to know.  I asked “Are you suggesting I increase my vulnerabilty to outside threats so Quick Books can enter my computer?”  #1 I process my credit card through Heartland Payment Systems and am very happy with them.  #2 Even though I’m a small guy, Quick Books has no need to know how much money I make or don’t.  The tech said that the only way it can work is with this connection.  When I threw a fit, she said if it wasn’t set up like this, I would have to go to Quick Books website to search for updates I may need!!!!  I again threw a fit and the tech said I misunderstood her, she then claimed that was the optimal way.  So we severed Quick Books access to my computer.,  We chatted the next day again and it seems to have worked since.

Last night when I went to bed, I clicked on my Favorites button and went into Webervations (my on-line reservation system) and processed some reservations.  This morning, there was no Favorites button.  The print button on the toolbar disappeared as did the Google relevance ranking button.

All of the places I go, like Webervations, has user ID’s and passwords and they  are all different.  So with the new computer, everywhere I go, I need to figure out my ID’s and input them.  Luckily, awhile back I created a file with almost all of my accounts and their security info.

I have a pretty recent version of my data base system, ACT.  We loaded the program and when we went to transfer my data from the old computer to the new computer, it wanted a password.  The program was programed and I just needed to get the password from ACT and so my tech guy left.  The next morning when I contacted ACT, they informed me that I didn’t own a support package and it would cost $60 for them to enter my computer and get the password.  I gave them my credit card number, he entered my computer and he didn’t need a password!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I now have an ACT support package.  Those of you that have visited, I send out a confirmation letter when you book and a thank you letter when you leave (actually, Razor & RJ does).  For the past week, I’ve been able to punt with the e-mail confirmation and thank you’s.  I’ve tried going into the templates for these, edited them and came back out and they are not saved to where I tried to save them to.  I can type the name of the form letter in the dialog box and pull it up that way, but that’s multiple strokes instead of direct.  I accepted a reservation and needed to do a snail mail confirmation today.  After stumbling around with this for over an hour, I called ACT.  They informed me that the $60 I gave them a couple days ago was for a one time deal.  BLOOD SUCKERS.    I went back in and putzed with it for a little better than an hour and got it figured out.

I haven’t blogged in a bit because there was some “opportunities” with Word Press.  It’s spell check feature didn’t and doesn’t work.  I couldn’t toggle between the small screen and full screen modes.  The “New Post” Icon disappeared.  The File Save Icon dissappeared.  They’re still in there, they’re just in new locations that I need to find (and have).  I have all this figured out, except the spell check function, so I applogize for any misspellings here.

I like using a 12 or 14 font in my typing, I can’t seem to get Outlook to set either of those as my default setting.  It started going down a space and a half when my text goes to the next line (been there, took care of that pretty easy).  When I reply to some e-mails, it goes down to the 11 font and the section where I would change it is all shaded and won’t let me in it.

Have a great weekend and wish me luck with my evil computer,



Tomorrow’s a biggie day.  It’s the anniversary of area codes being introduced (1951), the Badlands National Park was established (1978), Edmund Fitzgerald sank (1975), Martin Luther’s birth anniversary (1483), the Marine Corps birth anniversary (1775), Microsoft released Windows (1983), Stanley found Livingstone (1871) and Sesame Street premiered (1969).

OK, you Pittsburghers, have you ever filed for a building permit at 200 Ross Street?  The city is in the process of probably selling it to PMC Property Group, Inc.  A Philadelphia based developer that takes old buildings and retrofit them into housing.  I’m quite familiar with it, in particularly since starting The Parador Inn of Pittsburgh.  Lots of neat old architecturals are still intact.  I didn’t know that building is the formal headquarters for Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation.  My Dad worked for them, they built several of the mansions over here in my neighborhood.  They say it will probably take about two years to relocate the city employees and turn the building over.  It’s a  very cool looking building

The Heinz History Center will be hosting Heritage Holidays this coming Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  They will be celebrating our ethnic diversity by show casing live music & dance; food demonstrations and hands-on activities from 35 of Western PA’s ethnic and heritage groups.  These include Irish, African-American, Carpatho-Rusyn, German, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Indonesian, Native American and Scottish ethnicities.  More info at the Heinz web site.

OK, I really missed the call on the Carnegie Library’s call for the residents guaranteeing them yearly income through increased taxes.  It seems the residents overwhelmingly  approved the ballot item.  I don’t begrudge the library the money, I hate that they want to be called a PUBLIC library and their meetings are SECRET.  It’s like UPMC being classified as a non profit.  Please.

As much as I hated doing it, this year prepping the gardens for winter was much smoother this year than last.  Last year was when da boiz broke my left hand.  Dee had to do a lot of the work and it was wet and pretty cold.  I’ve had excellent weather to cut everything back and dig up the elephant ears.  In fact, the ground was fairly dry and I was able to clean a good bit of the dirt of their tubers.  (Makes the tubs lighter and easier to carry down to the basement and back up.  As well as doesn’t give them much food, so they tend to sleep better over the winter).  In the past, as I cut things back, I’d drive out to Finleyville an visit Betty and dump the vegetation in one of her valleys.  Can’t do that anymore.  So my good friend Jeff that owns Peppi’s let me use one of his dumpsters.  I wasn’t sure what I could all fit in there, so I didn’t load it as well as I could have.  Now that I know I can get the Arrondo donex, elephant ears, wisteria and grasses in there comfortably, I’ll re-arrange how I put the veg in the dumpster and be able to get everything in there next time.

The Trib’s subsidiary, Valley News Dispatch opened their doors for Produce for People by the Allegheny Valley Council of Churches.  The Produce for the People is part of the Pittsburgh Food Bank and gets fresh fruits and vegetables to lower income people of the Allegheny Valley.  They didn’t have an indoor location for the winter and were going to have to stop this great service for our less fortunate.  Tom Yerace did a story on Produce for the People and his boss, Jeff Domenick became aware of the potential problem for this great service and asked his boss at the Trib for permission to let them use their mail room once a month.  Good job guys.  Be careful of the Valley News Dispatch link as well  as the Allegheny Council of Churches hyperlinks.  For some reason Norton has them flagged.

ELoop LLC in Murrysville has partnered with Guardian Storage Solutions to make electronic waste disposal easier.  Consumers and small businesses (less than 50 employees) can drop off used equipment like computers, keyboards, televisions and portable electronics for safe disposal at any of Guardian’s ten storage locations.  And there’s no charge!  I like no charge.  :)  This service comes ahead of the new Pennsylvania law requiring electronic recycling starting January 1.  I wonder if they take batteries as well?  I end up with a bunch from the TV and fireplace remotes.

Speaking of Murrysville, what’s up with that location.  That’s where the owner of Club Zen where that shooting occurred last week is from.  That’s where the guy that wants to open the strip club in the West End just east of the former circle on E Carson Street.  That is also where the guy is from that owns Butta Butta Boom, or what ever it’s called, on Route 51.  If you don’t recall, that’s the strip club that took over a location that had a very cool jazz club years ago.  There was a fire several years ago and he’s just left it an eyesore since.  Now he wants approval to re-open it.  I wonder how he’d feel if there was a burned out strip club next to his Murrysville home for four years?  Is something in the drinking water out in Murrysville?  My brother, his wife and children are considering moving to Murrysville, maybe I should have a talk with him.  :)

I hosted the Western Pennsylvania Bed and Breakfast Association meeting yesterday.  I’ve been a member for a couple of years.  What a great group of people.  It is the epitome of small business people getting together for the common good.  And I’m not just saying that because they elected me to be their new Vice President.  :)  I gave a speech on the importance of a businesses web site and tips to make it more effective.  I am a TERRIBLE public speaker.  I don’t think it’s shyness on my part.  I’m very comfortable with myself in general, these people in particular and what I presented. I doubt anyone that knows me would accuse me of being shy.  :)  But for some reason, when I get up to speak in front of people, I get all weirded out.  So I ended up basically reading my script.  I must of been OK, because I saw a lot of note taking, there was a lot of questions and some have even asked me to e-mail the script to them.

Well, that’s about it for tonight, have a great one and well talk again soon,



Tomorrow is the First Shattered Black Board Anniversary (1946)-Boston Celtics Chuck Connors became the first player to shatter the backboard.  It’s the anniversary (1605) of England’s Gunpowder Plot.  Eleven conspirators planned to blow up Parliament, twenty barrels of gunpowder were found the night before stored in the basement directly under Parliament.  They were tried and convicted and eight of them were beheaded and their heads were place on stakes along the London Bridge.

Didja see the new app, docket in your pocket?  Currently, it’s only available in Pennsylvania.  The app goes through 32.5 million criminal records in just seconds.  Haindfield, a civil litigation attorney from Des Moines came up with the idea during a break in a court case and he hurried tried to find out the credibility of a witness he doubted.  Pennsylvania’s records are pretty easily accessible and we have a lot of mobile users.  The app is $2.99 currently.  It changes as new criminal activities are recorded and records are expunged.  So eventually, he will probably do this on a prescription basis.  Pretty cool idea for internet dating.  Find out if you’re perspective is a criminal before you get in that car alone with him.  :)

The Three Rivers Film Festival is celebrating their thirty year anniversary this year.  It runs through Saturday, November 19 at theaters throughout the region.  With more than 50 films representing documentaries, experimental, short and refurbished classic movies.

Well, I had a depressing day yesterday, I cut the Arounda donex down (they’re the corn looking grasses I have out front along the fence).  Winter’s right around the corner.  Sunday I cut the elephant ears down and dig up the tubers for winter storage in the basement.    At least this year it’s fairly dry and warm.  I’ve cut them back when the ground was soaked and it was cold.  In fact last year, we had a hard frost coming up and I had just broke my left hand.  D had to do it all.

Tuesday is election day, I hope you all go out and cast your ballots.  I haven’t missed voting in an election I was eligible to vote in in years.  I have mixed feelings on most of the candidates and you aren’t interested in my opinion anyway.  But I do have a strong opinion on the ballot question whether we approve an added tax dedicated to the Carnegie PUBLIC Library system.  This PUBLIC organization meets in private.  People have been complaining about the secrecy surrounding the library system for several years now.  They’ve promised to have ONE of their meetings next year open to the public.  What’s with that?  What do they talk about that needs to be kept secret?

I sat on the Fort Duquesne bridge for almost a half hour today.  Of course I timed my errands at the same time Vice President Biden came to the convention center.  Once traffic was moving again, I took the tenth street by pass and came up around the convention center.  Smallman was closed as was Penn in both directions.  Of course the multiple police officers stationed at the intersections as well.  Since you couldn’t make a right or left turn at any of these intersections and traffic wasn’t coming out of these streets, why did we have to stop at the red lights?  If you’re going to close down streets, why not adjust the traffic signals?  Or ask the police to wave traffic through?

Well, the Steelers play the Ravens at home Sunday.  I’m sold out Saturday and Sunday, yeah!  Almost half my guests this weekend are repeat guests.  Business has definitely slowed down.  It’s time to start knocking out all those projects I’ve been putting off.

This is going to be a short post, enjoy your Indian summer weekend.  Don’t forget to turn your clocks back Saturday night,