Tomorrow is Beltane, one of the Greater Sabbats of the Wiccan year, Cambodia was invaded by the US (1970), Siagon fell (1975), Franklin Del Roosevelt had the first televised address to the country (1939), George Washington’s inauguration (1789) and Walpurgis Night, St Walpurgis is the German protectress from the magic arts.

I have a question, are we stupid as a country or is our military out of control?  (I’m a proud vet, I can go here).  We had the scandal at Abu Ghraib in 2006, in February we burned the Koran, Staff Sergeant Bales last month’s accusation of murdering 17 civilians in the middle of the night, including women and children.  An now there’s stuff coming out about troops urinating on dead insurgents.  I admit, I have never been in war, and as I think it was MacArthur said War is Hell.  But when you are in a country that many citizens don’t want you there, don’t you want to live to the higher standard?  What happens on the battle field is one thing.  What happens later in a prison or post fighting on the battle field isn’t the same as in the heat of battle.  Isn’t there sergeants, captains, other mangers around.  I understand Sergeant Bales lost some fellow soldiers because of an IED earlier that day, and I feel real bad for him.  But that’s why I am totally baffled why they burned the Koran.  Why?

The Swiss room was just dedicated on last Sunday, joining the other 29 Nationality Rooms to grace the Cathedral of Learning.  Pitt was founded in 1787 and the rule is nationality rooms have to reflect design prior to that.  So for inspiration, the Swiss room is based on an Abbey built in 1489.  It has four custom trestle tables and 28 stabellen chairs reflecting of the style back then.  Switzerland has many Pittsburgh connections.  The Isaly family was originally from there and was influential in raising funds for the creation of the room, as had Ben Roethlisberger whom has Swiss heritage in his lineage.  The owners of the Priory, the Grafs originally was from there as well.  They donated a hand crafted oven that was central to heating Swiss homes in the 15th century that their ancestors made.  The room has to appear authentic, so modern conveniences have to be disguised.  So they did things like hiding the energy efficient LED lighting behind floral rosettes in the ceiling.  The Swiss room makes a nice addition to the Nationality Rooms.

The Fein Art Gallery, 519 E Ohio Street right here on the Northside has a new exhibit through May 4, Associated Artists Winners Jerome D’Angelo & Linda Van Gehuchten.  Both were winners last fall at the competition at the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip.  D’Angelo is fascinated with rectangles and the importance of them visually from art in frames, windows, TV screens, even boxing in fireplaces.  So you see a lot of rectangular influences in his works that incorporate collections of detail that form a single entity suggesting a bigger idea.  He cobbles together bits and pieces of miscellany from everyday life to create his creations.  Van Gehuchten, originally from Venezuela, works with wood pulling out the intimacy of the piece itself.  She does this with various methods of turning the wood, not just round but oval as well and working with veneers and colors.  She does large objects like tables and small works of art that could sit on the table.  Admission is free and the hours are from 11 am – 5 pm Tuesdays through Fridays and Noon to 5 pm Saturday.  More info at Fein’s web site or by calling 412.321.6816.

There’s a new breed of predatory debt collectors, they buy old debts on the premise that they can collect on them with a profit.  These are not a business that’s trying to recoup debts owed to them or even a legitimate debt collection agency for companies that are owed money.  These are companies that’s sole purpose is to buy uncollected debts steeply discounted and try and make money on them.  By nature, they are bottom feeders and use all kinds of unsavory tactics.  They have this system down to a science, they know how to call from California and disguise their number on caller ID so it looks like your state capital, among other tricks.  Diane Mey, from Weirton, was so incensed when a debt collector threaten her with sexual assault if she didn’t pay up on a debt that wasn’t hers that she took Global AG and it’s owners Thai Han, Jim Phelps and Stewrt Phillips to court and won $10M.  It’s fairly easy and free to file a complaint against these people.  Contact the Federal Communications Commission at their web site or by calling 1.888.225.5322.

There was an article in last week’s City Paper about recycling and how terrible those “peanuts” are.  Well, actually they are, but they are very  much reusable.  Any of those public pack and ship companies eagerly accept them.  I keep a trash bag in my basement and whenever something comes in with those peanuts, I dump them in the plastic bag and periodically drop them off at the Fedex/Kinko’s on McKnight Road.  They are very happy to accept them.  I sent Bill O’Driscoll, the writer of the article an e-mail and he said he would change the on-line version to reflect this.

There’s a new restaurant in Beechview that’s getting some pretty good reviews.  (That Betty really knows what neighborhoods to move into, or does the neighborhood change because Betty’s there?  :) ).  Casa Rasta is at 2102 Beechview Blvd is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am until 9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am untl 10 pm and Sundays from noon until 9 pm.  Kind of a walk up with two inside tables and counter and a couple of outside tables, serves a kind of Caribbean/Mexican flavored menu of taqueria, tacos, tostadas, burritos and tortas.  Very fresh and very cheap.  Watch out Mad Mex:)

Have you heard about the vicious malware out there, the ghost virus?  The FBI broke them awhile back, it infected your computer and when you did a search, it sent you to advertisers they were making millions from.  They are in custody, or in jail, I don’t remember what.  The reason for this post is there are many computers out there that are infected and in July the virus is scheduled to kill your hard drive.  They set up a very easy way to see if you are infected.  Visit and scroll down just a bit to the link.  If the background is green, you’re cool.  If it’s red, you’re infected and instructions will be down below on options you have.  I just did it, I’m green.  :)

Grove City College is working it’s way into my heart as my favorite higher education institution.  It’s tuition is $13,598 a year, compared to $28,500 which is the the average tuition according to the College Board.  And they severed Federal subsidies in 1984 over Title IX requiring female sports activities meet the same as male.  This wasn’t about “keeping up with the Jones” in male female sports.  It was about keeping up with bureaucracy.  Grove City actually has more females in sports than males.  But they run their college like a small business.  They plan and build when they have the money, they don’t embark on this massive building campaigns figuring someone will bail them out later.  Like Penn State, Pitt and the other major universities.  Their entering freshmen have an average SAT score of 1244 vs the national average of college freshmen of 1009.  94% of their budget is covered by tuition, room and board.  Maybe their “prestigious” big brothers can learn something from their little sibling.  Maybe Steve Bland at the Port Authority to take up an internship at Grove City College to learn to live within his means and how to run an organization with intelligence instead of “give me more money”.  (I do hope he Googles his name and sees how often I dis him.  Hopefully he won’t send a bus through my Inn).

Well, that’s if for today, enjoy the rest of your Sunday,


Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of James Buchanan (1791), the first movie theater, Koster and Bials Music Hall, opened in New York (1896), the first public school opened in Boston (1635), it is the birth AND death anniversary of William Shakespeare (1564/1616), Max Planck’s birth anniversary (1858-formulator of quantum theory) and it is Shirley Temple Black’s birthday (1928).

Add to Pittsburgh being Gotham City in The Dark Knight Rises, a post-apocalyptic wasteland in The Road, backwoods Kentucky in the TV series Justified and Jody Foster in Silence of the Lambs, we are now going to be the back drop for Producer Chris Moore’s Promised Land staring Matt Damon and John Krasinski (from The Office).  Filming starts on Monday.  The story is about a sales executive, Damon, coming to a small town and questions about the life choises he has made.  And his corporate rival is played by Krasinski.  Moore will be hosting a community screening of The People Speak on April 30 at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont with questions and answers afterward.  The People Speak is a film Point Park University professor Lisa Smith made with Moore that initially brought him to Pittsburgh.  It is based on the work of historian Howard Zinn with contributions by Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.

Anyone that reads my blog, knows I have a fairly low regard for politicians.  I’ve always pretty much held the judiciary in a pretty high regard.  I may strongly disagree with their opinions, but that’s the nature of opinions.  We all have them.  I like to think that they have the education, experience and integrity to render what they honestly think is right.  There’s been a number of national issues that have come up recently with judges that have caught my eye.  And I have been watching the developments with PA Supreme Court Justice Orie-Melvin and using her sister’s staff for campaigning.  And then there’s Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.  Her daughter, Lindsay Hildenbrand was working as the judge’s executive assistant and mom promoted her to supervisor of jury operations in November (which included a modest increase). Four months later, Hildenbrand received an eleven percent raise.  One of the highest raises in the court system this year.  This is in a court system that is facing a $3.5M deficit this year.  Judge McDaniel’s son-in-law, Brian Quigley received a promotion in January to assistant director of jury operations (he happens to be married to McDaniels other daughter, Jamie).  Brian received an eleven point nine percent raise.  More than 900 union court workers received a three percent raise.  Deputy Court Administrator Claire Capristo stated the chief judge had nothing to do with the raise and that it was appropriate since some of the people reporting to Hildenbrand made more money than she did.  Sorry, that doesn’t fly with me.  That should have been known before the position was offered and accepted.  Even if this is not nepotism, it sure appears as such.  And with a judge!  Come on McDaniel, come out of your ivory tower offices in the prestigious Frick building and join the real world.

Western PA Conservancy was just honored by Charity Navigator by ranking them number seven out of 5,500 charities reviewed.  This was for using 87% of their budget directly in their programs, clear transparency of finances, growth and longevity (they’ve been around 80 years, the oldest Conservancy in Pennsylvania.)  I spoke of the Conservancy just a few blogs ago.  Besides running Fallingwater, they have assisted in establishing 10 state parks, conserved more than 232,00 acres of natural land, protected or restored 1,500 miles of streams and developed science-based inventories of species, their habits and ecosystems.  Coming soon, you will see the sponsorship of The Parador Inn at the Brighton and California Roads intersection parklet.  :)  I’ve spoken of Charity Navigator in the past, they’re the ones that consistently rank Brother’s Brother as a great charity that is very transparent and uses a very small portion of donations for overhead.  You can see what their priorities are by just walking down the street from here and seeing their warehouses and offices.  Nothing to brag about.  I love them.

Is it coincidence or is Jessica Walliser a fan of my blog?  She just wrote a very informative article in the Trib about rain gardens.  In my past blog, I had talked about we need landscapers to take up the challenge of figuring out the details of how to build rain gardens since the city now bans placing roof run off in the sewer system.  The Three Rivers Rain Garden Alliance is a non profit comprising of 12 organizations that advocate rain gardens.  Jim Bonner of the Audubon Society of Western PA (a founding member of our alliance) says that as little as 1/10 to 1/4 of an inch of rainfall can push raw sewerage out of our system into our waterways.  Their web site has a wealth of information on it, such as a calculator that tells you the size of garden you will need to handle your homes rainwater runoff.  They also have recommended native plants that do well in these gardens.  Creating a rain garden costs about the same as creating a regular garden-$3-$5 per square foot.  You can even register your garden on the site.  There currently are 63 gardens registered that absorbs 100,000 gallons of water each time it rains.  Pretty impressive.

Another chapter of one of my favorite charities has closed.  The judge threw out the lawsuit against Greg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute, for exaggerating in his book Three Cups of Tea.  I don’t care whether he fell off a cliff and was rescued by some Sherpa, I don’t care if he personally had to carry a forty foot iron beam up the Himalayas by himself or if he needed to part the roaring waters of some river to save a kitten.  The work he does is significant and important.  Shame on Sixty Minutes for creating a mountain out of a mole hill to get ratings.

Weather persons, run to the store and get supplies, super snow storm coming this evening.  Feet and feet of snow with a projected low of 34.  Please.  Miserable, but not the end of the world.  Keep warm and dry,




Tomorrow is the anniversary of Columbine High School shooting (1999), Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion (2010), it is the birth anniversary of Lionel Hampton (1908) and Adolph Hitler (1889).

The Butler Home Show runs this weekend, April 20, 21 & 22 at the Family Sports Center, Route 68, Connoquenessing.  They have about 100 vendors with seminars and demonstrations on how to DIY projects.  The Pennsylvania Resources Council will celebrate Earth Day by collecting and recycling unwanted cell phones and they will be giving advice on “green” home and lawn care.  Hours are Friday from 4 – 9 pm, Saturday, 10 am until 9 pm and Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm.  Info at their web site.

The Pittsburgh Observatory up in Riverview Park is getting noticed again with a documentary created by local scientist Dan Handley.  This is the debut film by Mr. Handley who has a master’s degree in logic and computation from CMU, a Ph.D in human genetics from Pitt and has studied play writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and documentary film making at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers where he is an Artist Member.  Quite the pedigree.  :) Pittsburgh actor David Conrad narrates the film and Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto was the  executive producer.  Quite the hometown production on a hometown significant institution. The Observatory was initially conceive after the Donati comet of 1858 was seen over Allegheny City by John Brashear and Samuel P Langley.  (Not coincidentally, two of our high schools were named after these men.)  It was built in 1859 and was taken over by Pitt in 1867, who still runs the Observatory.

Dave Sevick is up for the regional Volunteer of the Year award today.  The winner from Western PA will go to Washington, DC for the national Jefferson Award for Public Service.  Dave, a retired nurse from the operating room at Children’s Hospital started ComputeReach in 2001 to take old computers, refurbish them and give them to disadvantaged kids and schools.  Overall, he and his volunteers has refurbished 3,272 computers.  Google recently awarded ComputeReach a $36,000 grant for operations.  70 year old Ms Bizic, a retired librarian from the elementary school his daughters attended nominated him for this award.  Typically, Dave deferred praise to the 160 volunteers that work with him.

Tucked away at William Penn Place and Strawberry Way is the Allegheny Harvard, Yale, Princeton Club.  Built in 1894 as fairly spartan housing for workers, local architect Edward B Lee converted the building into a Georgian Revival in the 1930s (the same time the Knights of Columbus bought The Parador and made my Ballroom).  In 1980, the club started accepting women and in 1987 the eliminated the requirement that you be an alumni from Harvard, Yale or Princeton to join.  The four levels of membership are premium at $1,440, golden triangle at $1,380, suburban at $900 or nonresident $480.  Very cool looking building and very refined service and food inside.

It used to be referred to as “domestic violence”, the CDC has redefined it to “intimate partner violence” to be more inclusive.  It is estimated the thirty percent of women and twenty-five percent of men were subjected to being slapped, pushed or shoved by an intimate partner.  Woman are by far, subjected to the more serious abuses than men.  An Oakland based non profit, Standing Firm has taken on the challenge of educating the work place on signs of abuse and how to handle it.  Employers are frequently the third party able to notice something amiss and in the past the attitude was to “mind one’s own business”.  That is changing, not only is it the right thing to do, but you may save a person’s life.  Working with someone forty hours a week, you become intimate with their habits.  If some habits suddenly change, the person starts changing the way they dress maybe to cover up bruises, etc, if the employee all of a sudden starts having personal phone conversations away from everyone else, these are all warning signs.  Coordinators Susan Nitzberg and Barbara Penner give classes to the 131 member companies and offer managers a free thirty minute phone consultation.

Did you see where Citibank shareholders rebelled against the CEO’s compensation package?  Someone may have read the fine print, the compensation listed on their agenda was an “estimated” $14M where he is actually eligable for up to $55M!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And EQT shareholders threw a fit yesterday.  Maybe the 99% are finally making themselves heard.  Here’s a new twist on corporate greed.  Chesapeake Energy’s shares dropped 5% the other day after Reuters announced that CE Aubrey McClendon has taken $1.1BILLION loan against his stake in thousands of company wells.  What, he needs a new car?  Or maybe country.

Baldwin Borough is still fighting with Port Authority to take down signs still posted for bus routes that don’t exist.  And I’m not talking about the slashed routes recently cut.  There are signs still up that are so old and rusted you can’t read them.  There’s also posts still in the ground with nothing on them.  Baldwin has been trying for months to get Port Authority to take these signs down.  They are now talking about having their public works department take them down and then bill Port Authority.

April 21, the PA Resource Council will be holding an e-waste collection in the VIP parking lot on Corrigan Drive (for those of you not familiar, the VIP is the old swimming pool and the parking lot is the one between that catering venue and the ice rink).  Hours are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  There’s a small fee for fluorescent lights, ink cartriges, batteries, etc.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.488.7490 ext 236.  The next collection will be May 12 at Steel City Harley-Davidson, 1375 Washington Road, Little Washington, same hours.

That’s about it for today.  Enjoy tomorrow, because Saturday’s supposed to be pretty rainy,



Obviously, today is Friday the 13th, bee careful.  :)  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (1865), Anne Sullivan’s birth anniversary (1866-Helen Keller’s teacher), Grapes of Wrath were published (1939), the first dictionary of American English (1828) and President Taft started the tradition of the President throwing the first baseball of the season (1910).

So what do you think of this sign?

Betty moved into a senior apartment last year run by the Catholic Church.  It’s independent living and the lady that runs the place, Sister Pat, is kind of tough with the residents.  And I can understand it, having sixty to a hundred seniors could be kind of challenging I’m sure.  When I drove up to visit with Betty a couple of weeks ago and saw that new sign in the parking lot, I did a double take.  When I looked closer, the sign doesn’t say the building is guarded with a gun, but by security cameras.  But first impression when you look at that sign, it sure looks like a gun.  I could envision Sister Pat with a Clock strapped to her hip.  :)

Tom Wilson, 1931-2011, was originally from Grant Town in West Virginia and graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.  Heas the creator of Ziggy, that cartoon icon that always has a positive attitude was first published in 1971.  To honor Mr. Wilson, The Art Institute is featuring an exhibit, Ziggy: An Island of Humor in a Sea of Trouble in their lobby through this Saturday, April 14.  Admission is free and it is open 9 – 5 today, Friday and 9 am until 4 pm. Saturday.  The exhibit contains over three dozen original drawings and a half dozen Ziggy inspired artwork by local artists.  The Institute is located at420 Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown.  More info by calling 412.291.6200.

By price:

Carnevale Di Venezia by the Allegheny General Hospital Auxiliary Gala is o$250 – $300 April 14 at the Carnegie Music Hall Foyer in Oakland.  Black ties optional, masks encourages is the word on this sold-out fund raiser.  Grammy Award winning opera tenor Gary Lakes will serenade the guests.  Info at 412.359.3369.

PNC Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Spring Hat Lunch $225, May 5 at Frick Park, Squirrel Hill is in it’s 14th year and has raised over $5M for the Pittsburgh parks system.  The Kentucky Derby may dominate fashion and mint juleps a little south of us, but this affair has all the boaters, bonnets and bowlers in Pittsburgh.  More info at their web site.

A Night in the Woods, Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania is $125 on June 23 at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, Fox Chapel.  Proceeds of this soiree benefits the Shannon’s Camp Fund that helps send underprivileged children in Western Pennsylvania to summer camps.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.963.6100.

Full Bloom Summer Dance Party-Kelly Strayhorn Theater is $40 to $125 and being held on June 2 outside The Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty.  Fireworks and dancing in the streets until late at night are a few of the activities.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.441.1576.

Let Them Eat Cake!  The Midwife Center is $45 – $75 on May 19 at the Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters on Penn Avenue in the Strip.  Professional and amateur bakers will ensure all sweet teeth are taken care of.  This is their 30th anniversary.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.321.6884.

Rivers of Steel, the steel industry historical society, is seeking volunteers to be tour guides at The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.  This is the Carrie Blast Furnace in Rankin that they’re turning into a museum.  Operated by US Steel until 1980 as part of the Homestead Works, the site has an ore yard, car dumper, blowing house, not stoves and cast house.  Also located there is the Deer Head, a sculpture completed by artists after the furnace closed down.  More info at their web site or by calling Sherris Moreiraat 412.464.4020 extension 46.

The Southside Brew House Association’s Distillery Program has brought together a diverse group of artists for  their sixth annual art show.  The Brew House Space 101 Gallery is open from 6 – 9 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, and noon until 6 pm Saturdays.  The show, called The End will have an open reception today Friday, from 6 – 9 with an artist who’s work is displayed.  There will also be meet and greet with artists featured on May 1 and 3.  More info at their web presence or by calling 412.381.7767.

You Don’t Know Dick is coming to The New Hazlett Theatre both this coming Monday and Tuesday at 8 pm.  Caravan Theatre of Pittsburgh will be presenting insights into the life of Philip K Dick, famous for blurring the boundaries between perception and reality.  He wrote Blade Runner, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.  More details at the Hazlett‘s web site, showclix site or by calling 412.320.4610.

Gestures: Intimate Friction is the new exhibit at the Mattress Factory Annex through November 30.  One local artist, Dee Briggs, created a series of periscopes around the outside of the building so you can get glimpses on what’s inside.  The inspiration for this was a number of years ago, Dee was invited to a friend’s opening at the Mattress Factory and brought her two nine year olds and was surprised at the $27 cost for them to enter.  So she wanted to offer sort of a free admittance.  Architect/artist Jeremy Ficca took a section of plywood floor up and then took similar size pieces of plywood, cut slits in them so he could mold them to look like they are flying over the hole in the floor.  Speaking of holes, Nina Marie Barbuto’s Glory Holes are cut outs that expose the interior of the room she was assigned.  Finally, architect/artist Matt Huber also cut holes into his assigned room so you can see his creation, since he drywalled the doorway so you can’t enter.  In the room, he built an enclosed environment with newspaper he hung on string creating a matrix and then pieces of newspaper have been affixed to the walls creating a well-lit jewel box.  Hours are 10 am until 5 pm. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 – 5 pm Sundays.  More info at the Mattress Factory website or by calling 412.231.3169.  $12 admission includes the Mattress Factory proper as well as the Annex.

I know I don’t normally talk about bands, but a group playing at Mr. Smalls tomorrow caught my attention with their name:  Trampled by Turtles.  I love that name.  :)

OK, just so someone doesn’t send a mental health professional over to see me, here’s my whining for this post.  Bank NY Mellon had a shareholders meeting here this week.  The officials ran into protesting shareholders (one was escorted out of the meeting by security)  :)   The shareholders are upset that Bank NY Mellon is being investigated for ripping off pension funds on foreign currency transactions.  Also, they seem pretty concerned about the bank paying “bloated salaries to executives and not paying it’s fair share of taxes.”  We need more shareholders like that.

Have a wonderful weekend,




Obviously tomorrow is Easter Sunday, it is the anniversary of Hank Aaron setting the home run record (715 in 1974), it is the anniversary of President Truman seizing the steel millers because of a strike that the district court ruled as illegal (1952), the last poll tax was abolished in Mississippi (1966-prior to that, some places you had to pay to vote) and the 17th Amendment was passed (1913).

I read a book I learn something from and then I read a mindless novel.  My current brainiac book is The Quest by Daniel Yergin (he go a Pulitzer for The Prize).  The book is about world politics and energy, in particular oil.  It not only is very informative, it’s not overly dry as some of these books can be.  It has about six zillion pages and I won’t finish it for a year or two, but I am enjoying it.  Something I found noteworthy was in the Gulf of Mexico, there are three thousand drilling platforms and twenty-two thousand miles undersea pipelines.  In 2005 when Katrina and then Rita slammed through there, 115 platforms were destroyed (these were the pre-Miami-Dade Standards set after Andrew), 52 platforms were damaged and five-hundred thirty-five miles of pipeline were damaged. “Yet so effective were the environmental containment measures that the offshore production facilities did not leak.”  Pretty amazing, we can do it if we want.

The Bread and Puppet Theater will be presenting four pieces from The Republic of Cardboard Monday at the Brew House on the Southside at 7:30.  Founded in 1963, this self-sustaining nonprofit from New York’s Lower East Side will be presenting four pieces related to their association with the Occupy movement – a depressed citizenry’s uprising against a culture that pretends but fails to serve it’s urgent needs.  That this is being presented at the Brew House is an added bonus.  If you don’t know, the Brew House is an artist’s enclave in the old Duquesne Brewery off Jane Street.  The artists squatted in the empty building years ago and eventually took control of it and turned it into loft/working studio units.  Rich Bach, the metal sculpture that did my Aztec calendar has a place there.  He’s the artist that has done all of the metal sculptures for the Mad Mex restaurant group.  There is no admission for this event, but they will be asking for a donation after the event.

Pittsburgh’s own Brian McGreevy has released his first book Hemlock Grove (actually, Brian’s from Charleroi and currently resides in Los Angeles and works as a screen writer).  This literary novel has as the subject a werewolf.  With the popularity of the Sci Fi and BBC versions of Being Human and the smash success of the Twilight series, I’d say Brian’s right on time.  Netflix secured an option for a television version being filmed here in Pittsburgh starting in June with Brian doing the screenplay.

Three River’s Art’s Festival starts in just over a month.  The music line up has been announced, opening with The Wailers on Friday (June1), Kathleen Edwards on Saturday (June 2), The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Sunday (June 3), The Dawes Band Tuesday (June 5), Ed Menzer and da Boiz Wednesday (just kidding, checking to see if you are still awake), the Carolina Chocolate Drops on Friday (June 8), Saturday (June 9) will be the Bluegrass day featuring Del McCoury, Peter Rowan and Greensky, finally, closing on Sunday will be Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers.

One of my favorite contests is over and the Trib has announced the winners of this year’s Peeps Contest.  The Peep Crown goes AGAIN to Green Tree resident Nancy Becker with “The Peeps” a take off on Alfred Hitchcok’s The Birds.  Last year Kathleen did a take off on Hitchcok’s Psycho.  Also this year were entries I’m Sticky and I Know It, Jurassic Peeps, Hoarder, Buried Alive and Auroral Bunnyalis.  Too funny.  The Trib doesn’t have today’s article posted with the winners, so follow this link for a bunch of the contestants, I think my favorite was Night of the Living Peeps or Brunner Pass.  :)  When you follow the link, click on the Icon Photo Gallery.

I’ve been meaning to replace the light fixture in Ruellia’s stairway for awhile now.  I had guests checking in yesterday and so I hurried up (see a problem here?) and went to install the new fixture yesterday.  Here’s what happened to the ladder when I fell down the stairs:

The bottom of the ladder is what my right thumb feels like.  ):  In my defense, I have one of those triangle things you place on steps when you need to put a ladder on the stairs.  But Ruellia’s stairs are steeper and more narrow than it is designed for.  So after wobbling around for awhile, ruining a ladder and spraining my thumb, I piled block and pieces of wood to secure the ladder.  The light is successfully installed and the guests are happy.

Not surprising banking fees are going up again locally it seems Citizens Bank is the greediest of them all.  The are starting to charge $15 monthly fee if you don’t keep a $5k balance, they are going to charge you $3.95 if you tie Quick Books to you account and $8.95 for bill pay for their Circle Checking account.  They are raising their Green Checking account fees to $9.99 from $4.99, checking with interest will go up to $11.99 from $9.99 if you don’t keep their minimum balance.  The Quick Books and bill pay fees are really inane.  That is a major saving on labor for the banks, they’re just hoping you’ll stay and pay.  Seriously, go to Slovak Savings Bank (they have checking and loans also), they really don’t have fees.  I have my personal checking account there, no fees.  I have my business account there, no fees.  I have Betty’s “slush fund” (the money the kids have in there for her incase of an emergency) and it made $40 last month interest, no fees.  There’s only the one branch up on California Avenue and they don’t even have an ATM machine.  So they just put the fees other banks charge you for using their ATMs back in you account.  I love those people so much, that I usually wait to use an ATM that doesn’t charge a fee like Allegheny Valley Bank up on McKnight Road.

Have a great holiday tomorrow and don’t forget, always eat the ears first :),