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 www.dcwg.org 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,