Tomorrow is birth anniversaries of Emily Bronte (1818), Henry Ford (1863) and Casey Stengel (1890), it is the anniversaries of Elvis Presley’s first concert (1954), Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance (1975) and Father Hidalgo’s execution (the fiery leader of Mexico’s fight with Spain for independence (1811) and Vanuatu’s independence from France (1980-in case you are as bad as me-I had to look it up-it’s in the South Pacific).  :)

Want some good clean old fashioned fun?  Take a Blast from the Past and go to one of our local county fairs.  I remember as a child (yes, I remember that far back) :) looking forward to the Allegheny County Fair, I think I still have a Heinz pickle somewhere.  I’m listing the seven by chronological order.  The Butler Farm Show runs from August 6 to 11, admission is $7.50 and it’s on Evans City Road.  It’s their 64th annual event and will feature tractor pulls, a demolition derby, square dancing and livestock judging as well as good old unhealthy food stands.  The Allegheny Drifters bluegrass band will perform two shows August 6 and the Wild World of Animals will perform three shows daily (that should be worth the price of admission :) ).  The Washington County Agricultural Fair runs August 11 to 18.  They will have tractor pulls, and up graded demolition derby with school buses, harness racing and Zambelli fireworks on August 12.  American Idol finalist Adam Brock will perform August 11.  It’s at the Washington County Fairgrounds and admission is $6 to $9.  The Dayton Fair (Armstrong County) runs from August 13 to 18 and this is there 132 annual event at 464 Midway Road, New Castle.  Country singer Colt Ford will perform August 18.  The Great Lakes Timber Show and the Pork Chop Revue will also be highlights.  :)  Besides the mandatory tractor pull, they also will have harness racing, rides and livestock auction (in case you want to bring a cow home).  Lawrence County Fair runs August 13 to 18 with admission of $8 (there’s an additional charge for grand stand events).  Josh Thompson will perform August 18 and that night they will have fireworks.  Livestock and agricultural goods judging will be the center of this event.  The Westmoreland County Fair runs August 17 to 25 at 123 Blue Ribbon Lane in Pleasant Unity.  Admission is $7 and a Farmer’s Olympics will kick of this fair on August 17.  They plan on having lawn mower races, a Lumberjack Jamboree, demolition derby and the mandatory tractor pull. NoMAD will perform August 25.  The Hookstown Fair in Beaver County runs August 21 to 25 with an admission of $7 to $10 at 1198 State Route 168, Hookstown, Beaver County.  Darryl Gatlin will perform August 22, Route 45 on August 24 and Zambelli fireworks on August 21.  Aussie Kingdom will have critters from the down under.  Lastly, the Indiana County Fair runs from August 26 to September 1.  This is their 150th annual fair!  Free admission on August 26, otherwise it’s $8.  They plan on having livestock judging, demolition derby, harness racing and a high school marching band night.

If you want some indoor, air conditioned entertainment, the new exhibit at The Warhol is Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein.  It runs through September 9 with the museums normal hours of 10 am until 5 pm Tuesdays through Sundays (they are open until 10 on Fridays).  General admission tickets include the exhibit and are $20 (remember, if you stay at The Parador Inn, I have tickets for $9).  :)  Donald has been a controversial artist since the 1980′s and has taken on social issues in his artwork like AIDS, civil rights and many other topics.  His latest efforts include two dimensional art with video.

Keeping your summer busy with wholesome entertainment, why not try Geocaching.  It is a world wide game of hide and seek for treasure caches.  You use your smart phone GPS and traipse around looking for the goods.  On August 18, Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad is sponsoring a Geocache through Oil Creek State Park.  Venture Outdoors (the folks that rent kayaks and bikes under the 6th Street Bridge is sponsoring a Geocaching right down the street from me in The Commons on August 26. The Armstrong County Geo Trail has a permanent Geocache highlighting 25 historic spots in their county.

There’s an 18 hole disc golf course (Frisbees) in Schenley Park.  The Flying Disc Society set it up, basically you toss your Frisbee at a metal basket on a pole with dangling chains to catch the disc.  Or, you can sign up for Obscure Games.  Their next event is July, 29at 2 pm  and you can try your hand at Human Curling-a 1930′s period clothing form of stick ball, Monkeyball, Martian Attack Drill or many other games they are planning.  There is another event planned on August 1 and both are held at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park.  The Steel City Games Fest is planned for August 27 and 28.  Something a little speedier is Ziplining.  You strap the harness on, click on to the very scary looking thin steel cable and can reach speeds of 60 mph.  1,060 food long Fatbird Flyer is at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington (they also have a tamer 250 Classic Zip for you feint of heart.  The Screaming Hawk is a 2,000 foot Zipline at Seven Springs.  Or, maybe if you have energy left after shooting the rapids at Ohiopyle, they have a 200 foot and a 90 food Ziplines at Ohiopyle Zipline Adventure Park.

I’m reading the most interesting book, Imagine by Jonah Lehrer.  I hear about it on NPR, it’s about creativity and the mind.  He talks about research on different sections of the brain and how it effects creativity.  Just as a section is designed for us to interpret sight and sound, there’s a section set up to inhibit us.  It is the last section to develop, that’s why children are known for being uninhibited as far as drawing, making up games, etc.  Around fourth grade, this section is completed and you ever notice the difference between kids in third grade and fifth?  I could talk about this for hours, but he talked about something I found really fascinating.  Alpheus Bingham, a vice president with Eli Lilly got concerned about their R & D department and the billions they were paying for research.  How do you determine which experiments were going to produce results and which were dead ends.  Pharmaceutical companies are famous for the secrecy of their research and he came up with an entirely off-the-books idea.  Concerned that scientists were all to close to the problems, he suggested they put stumbling blocks out on a web site and offer a reward.  So he launched the pilot version of InnoCentive in June, 2001.  At first, nothing happened.  Then after a month, answers started pouring in.  In less than a year, InnoCentive had become an integral part of Eli Lilly’s R & D department.  By 2003, it was spun off from Eli and began featuring challenges from other major companies.  Besides accessing scientist across the globe, he was tapping into cross disciplines.  He was getting engineers solving medical problems because they view chemistry differently than the traditional medical scientist.  How brilliant was InnoCentive?

In case any of you haven’t noticed, my web site has a new look.  It’s not huge, but it gives me the ability to change text and pictures is the big deal.  One of my new tools is for the blog.  I can now see how many times each blog has been read, some are over 150!  Damn, I thought I was just rattling to myself.  :)

Have great week.  Dee’s back from vacation Tuesday, yea.  :)


Birth anniversaries include Stanley Kubrick (1928), George Bernard Shaw (1856), Aldous Huxley (1894) and painter George Catlin (1796); the armed forces were united under the newly created Department of Defense by President Truman (1947), New York ratified the constitution in 1788 making it the 11th state and independence was achieved by Liberia (1847) and Maldives (1965).

Paul and Shirley, from Jacksonville, checked in Monday with another couple.  As we were at the table filling out their registration, I mentioned that I used to own an Inn in South Florida.  Paul asked me where it was and I said West Palm, actually Lake Worth.  He brightened up and said “What was it called”  and I replied The Parador of the Palm Beaches.  Paul and Shirley looked at each other and then at me and said “We stayed there”.  :)  Honestly, when I processed their reservation request, I remember thinking their name sounded familiar and before I created a new entry, I looked them up and come up with zippo.  My third year up here, when I sent my holiday cards out, in the greeting, I told all my Lake Worth guests if they wanted me to continue them in my data base to let me know.  Otherwise I would delete them.

Being a Penn State Alumni, I have a little more invested in the reputation at stake in this PSU controversy.  They still don’t get it!  Children were molested and the half a million dollar a year president and his top cronies covered it up for years “because it was the humane thing to do for sandusky”.  All this whining about the fine, the lost wins, lost scholarships, etc is missing the point.  I can’t believe people are so dense.  Let me make this clear and simple:  #1 Children were raped by an adult on school property and elsewhere.  #2  Criminal actions were taken by adults with power, influence and hefty paychecks for their own form of Watergate.  #3 The school still hasn’t come clean with the events.  I think what the NCAA levied on the school was fair and just.  I think the NCAA may be the only ones that have a clue (and Freeh of coursed) about the magnitude and seriousness of this.

Did you know the paterno family is “negotiating” with the school about life long season tickets?  Did you know spanieer is now blaming the PSU’s top attorney for not giving him key details during the grand jury investigation?  What about the e-mails he sent ten years ago saying to sweep this under the carpet.  It’s bad enough that they hid this back then, but they let this monster continue to prey on children unabated.  The more I think about this and read the more incensed I get.  My lack of respect shows up in the lower case first letter of their names.

OK, I’m going to whine in a bit (not as intense as above), but first lets talk about the new food trucks debut in Lawrenceville this Saturday.  The first Food Truck Roundup will run from 6 pm until 10 pm in the lot at 188 43rd Street.  Parking will be there as well.  Franktuary has been around for awhile and is sponsoring it.  New comers will include Polish Pierogi Truck, Oh My Grill and of course Franktuary will be there.  This is the first of a series of Roundups they are planning, I think this could be pretty cool.

In March, I got the cement contractor to replace the composite decking with exposed agrigate cement on the Veranda.  My intention was to move the wheel chair ramp from inside the gate into the Ballroom outside in the parking lot.  Well, you can see the structure from the street and since I’m in a historic district, I had to go before the city historic review.  I got approved in May and have been waiting for the contractor DiBucci and Sons to be able to work me back into his schedule.  I got the phone call on Wednesday that he wanted to do it Thursday/Friday.  They were going to do all the excavating and forming Thursday and pour the concrete on Friday.  I said OK, but I was sold out Friday and needed access to Bromeliad for a guest (that was part of the plan, to give Bromeliad a decent entrance).  He said the cement would be cured by Friday afternoon that my guests could walk on planks they would put down.  My next door neighbor bought the old bank next door about the same time as I bought my place.  There used to be an old chain link fence between us.  He brought all this dirt in and made his back yard a garden.  The chain link fence pretty much held his dirt back, but when I removed it so we could do the ramp, it started moving down into my parking lot (it’s about three feet higher than my elevation).  Back when we bought our places and he was doing his landscaping, he build a block wall around the back of his building keeping that dirt away from his house making a patio right outside his door with steps up to the garden and his parking.  We talked about where the dirt was abutting my property and and back then his plan was to continue the block wall with a privacy fence on top.  The contractor asked me about all the dirt on my side, I told him it was OK to remove it.  He go a little aggressive with the dirt removal and actually got to close to one of my neighbor’s posts and his fence basically collapsed.  They put it back up and braced it, it looks like my neighbor is going to go ahead with the plan of a cement block wall to hold it back with his privacy fence on top.  :)  Here’s the ramp:

I love it, again, it looks like it’s been around for fifty years.  I have to get John Groll out to do the railings and I have to wait until my neighbor’s wall’s up to finish off around the ramp.  But it is so much nicer than that pile of dirt my guests were having to climb over to get to Bromeliad (the door at the bottom of the ramp).  I’ve talked about the great work Rick DiBucci and crew have done here, I haven’t talked about John Groll.  Follow the link to his web site and see some of the cool works he’s done at Phipps, Duquesne U and other places (you’ll actually see my front fence with the Parador truck inside the fence).  :)

I have whined about the Buncher plan for the vacant land behind the Terminal building in the Strip.  My main complaint has been Buncher’s plan to demolish 1/3 of the iconic Terminal building so his for profit venture has easier access.  (He wants to tear the Terminal building down from 17th Street down to 16th Street so he can put proper traffic signals in at 17th Street that would connect Liberty, Penn and his development.  My position is he should go down to 15th Street (where Lydia’s restaurant is) and upgrade that intersection leaving the Terminal building intact.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to make an issue about the $50M Buncher wants of public money to build this for profit endeavor.  ($50M is a large portion of the $400M this project is supposed to cost)!   On Sunday, John Conti came out against this project as well.  I hadn’t seen the details of the plan, I’m just against destroying a huge portion of an iconic Pittsburgh building and am against subsidising for profit endeavors with cash the city could use for other purposes (like lower our pension legacy costs).  I highly recommend you read Mr. Conti’s article.  He’s an architect with some very sound insights.

It’s cooled off enough, I have a couple of errands to do and it’s not too hot for da boiz.  They will be in heaven, with this heat, they haven’t traveled with me much lately.  Have a great rest of your week,



Tomorrow is Janet Reno’s birthday (1938-what ever happened to her?), it is Ernest Hemingway’s birth anniversary (1899), -128.3 was the coldest recorded temperature (1983 at the Russian’s Vostok station in Antarctica), it is the anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run (1861) and Belgium’s Independence Day (1831).

They are pushing for a greening of the Allegheny Riverfront from Morningside all the way down to Downtown.  They are looking to build offices, housing etc inland and along the riverfront, fishing piers, a children’s splash pool and a tree lined multi-use trail.  There is also talk of adding commuter lines to the existing Allegheny Valley rail road.  More info at the Green Boulevard web site.

The Death Cab for Cutie concert at Stage AE last Friday was pretty out of control.  They opened with Styx’s Renegade that actually shook my windows.  At one point, I went out and it was like I was right in the concert, I almost had to shout to be heard by some of my guests hanging out in the the Courtyard.  I called 911 and the dispatch said there was nothing he could do, they are a permitted concert site.  I was persistent (surprise surprise :) ), and he referred me to his supervisor Tim.  Tim’s suggestion was since it would be referred to Zone One, I should call them directly.  The number he gave me bypassed the desk and took me directly to the Lt in charge.  All were very polite, professional and empathetic.  The Lt told me that “even if the city had a noise ordinance, they don’t have a sound meter to determine the volume coming from the concert.”  He recommended that I contact the mayor’s hot line, 311 on Monday.  Which I did.  The operator gave me the hot line’s e-mail so I could first hand document my concerns.  Within three hours of filing my complaint, Zone One Commander RaShell called me!  Talk about response!  She explained that city council has been considering a noise ordinance, but haven’t passed one yet.  How can a city have multiple concert venues and not have a noise ordinance for it’s citizens?  Cammandor RaShell offered to personally go down to Stage AE and express concerns about the volume of the music last Friday.   I’ve lived here for almost seven years and lived through Steeler home games, Kenny Chesney concerts and tons of concerts at Stage AE and never had a problem with them.  Frequently you can hear things from these venues, but not enough that you have to shout to you guests.  Maybe the reason the city doesn’t have a noise ordinance is the district one council woman hasn’t responded to me about the complaint I filed through her web site.

Some pretty exciting news over here on the Northside.  1010 Cedar Avenue is being turned into The Allegheny Inn.  Justin and Kelli are transforming that gorgeous building right across the street from Allegheny General Hospital.  It is the one with all the decorative brick work, the slate roof with the patterns and the decorative iron railings along the top roof line.  They plan on turning it into a five room guest house serving a full hot American breakfast each day.  Two weeks ago, Justin and Kelli and about 20 good friends did a lot of the demo, they are working with architect Bob Baumback that did a lot of work with The Priory.  They hope to be open by early next year.  More to follow in future posts.

North America has 150 species of fireflies, which are actually winged beetles, where as all of Eastern Europe just has 3 species.  Two of these species, one in Tennessee and one in Allegheny National Forest do Photinus carolinus, blinking synchronously.  This occurs during the mating season with the females on or near the ground and the males flying above.  The males are all blinking variously and then suddenly they all go dark.  It must be pretty dramatic to see out in the forest.  Then they start the ritual all over again.  Since their discovery twenty years ago, the event draws a thousand people each year to witness this phenomenon in the Smoky Mountains.

VIA has sponsored music festivals around the city for the past couple of years.  They don’t promote any particular genre and are know for pairing music with cutting-edge visual/video artist, which sets them apart from most other music promoters.  They seem to have found a permanent home at called and at 6119 Penn Avenue (it’s called sixty-in nineteen).  They have a catering license which allows them to serve alcohol past 2 am fifty-two times a year.  When they don’t have a concert scheduled, the space is available for rental.  Nice addition to the booming East Liberty.

Coming up in Pittsburgh August 11 will be ReuseFest at the parking lost at 26th and Sidney Streets in Southside Works from 10 am until 2 pm.  This one stop collection of gently used goods will have the Animal Rescue League collecting caned fruit, vegetables and nuts (except peanuts) for their wildlife center.  They are also collecting clean blankets bedding, animal carriers, collars and leashes.  Construction Junction will be collecting building materials, Free Ride will be collecting bicycles, bike parts, and tools in working order (in particular they are looking for screw drivers, wrenches and allen keys).  Goodwill will be accepting gently used clothing, shoes, house ware, books and sporting goods.  Global Links with be looking for wheelchairs, hearing aids, crutches, canes, shower benches and other medical related items.  Off the Floor will be looking for kitchen tables and chairs, dressers, end tables, cribs and bed frames.  Pittsburgh Center for the Creative Reuse will be looking for artist supplies.  And finally the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project will be seeking tote bags, back packs, messenger bags. soft side briefcases and gently used soft luggage.  When thinking about recycling, always keep in mind, recycling starts at the point of purchase.  What we choose to purchase and how it is packed tells you ahead of time how much is recycling and how much you are going to have to place in the garbage stream.

They poured the handicapped ramp today.  They will pressure wash it tomorrow and it will finally be done (after a five month wait from when they did the Veranda).  Yea!  I’ll take a picture and most it next post.

Have a great weekend,


Tomorrow Phyllis Diller turns 95 (and she’s still working), it is the anniversary of the execution of Czar Nicholas and his family by the Soviets, it is Erle Stanley Gardner’s birth anniversary (1889), the opening of America’s first theme park, Disneyland opened in 1955, it is the anniversary of the collapse of Kansas City’s Hyatt aerial walkway (1981), it is the anniversary of the start of the Spanish Revolution (1936) and the debut of the Stealth Bomber (1989).

Hurricane Ivan’s legacy lives on.  Folks up in Beaver County are trying to organize a clean up of the Connoquenessing Creek on September 22.  There’s grills, appliances, a septic tank, even an outhouse that was deposited from the flooding (and of course there’s trash from irresponsible people since).  Spearheaded by Christina Handley, they are seeking 200 volunteers to clean up the creek and it’s shores.  If you have time, more info by calling Christina at 724.3710416 or sending her an e-mail at

A tropical greeting at the entrance to The Parador Inn:

Did you know Beechview boasts the steepest street in the world?  Canton Avenue, with a 37% grade is the steepest recorded street in the world (Guinness recognizes a street in New Zealand, that one has a 35% grade, but is significantly longer).  Beechview also has another notable steep street Boustead Avenue right of Broadway by that new Spanish restaurant I’m hearing such great things about but haven’t eaten at yet.

What’s up with Penn State?  At the turn of the century, they were aware of child sex abuse by a staff member of there’s on school property.  That seems to be pretty much accepted at this point.  The people in charge were criminally guilty, but I don’t want to talk about that at this point.  Fast forward ten years when indictments came out.  When the indictments came out, the president of the school, the vice president of the school, the chief of athletics and the head coach all denied previous knowledge of the abuse.  The board of trustees fired them all and kept mum.  The board of trustees promised full cooperation and an open investigation.  A year of silence from Penn State and then the e-mails came out.  I’m ashamed to say I am a Penn State Alumni.  The only thing Penn State can do at this point, in my opinion, is to discharge the entire board of trustees with NO compensation/benefits/anything.  They even bestowed a prestigious title on spanier when firing him.  Disgusting.

There’s a pretty cool exhibit at August Wilson Center through September 15 at 980 Liberty Avenue Downtown.  Richmond Barthe: His Life Iin Art will be available for viewing 11 am until 6 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Admission is $8.  Richmond, 1901 – 1989, created classically influenced bronze sculptures featuring African and African-American themes.  This traveling exhibit of 30 of his works include portrait busts, free-standing figurative works and other forms.

Want to cool off?  Dress appropriately when traveling water themed “pub crawl” I just invented.  Start at the new park outside the Children’s Museum and walk into The Cloud to be missed off.  Then work your way down the the Allegheny River and wade in the Water Steps.  When you cross the river to Downtown, skip the fountain at the point for another year.  Instead, make your way to PPG Plaza for their 140 water columns that gush 15 feet in the air.  Next walk over to Bessemer Court at Station Square to the Waltzing Water Fountain and cool off as the water dances to guess what, yeps waltzes.  Finally hike down to South Side Works for your final dip in Town Square Fountain where water burbles and spikes amount 25 fountain heads.  You can always enjoy any of the city’s spray parks in Troy Hill at Cowley Playground on Goettman Street, Beechview at Vanucci Playground on Orangewood Avenue, Mellon Park in Point Breeze and Wilner Drive in the East Hills.  Allegheny County has spray parks at Round Hill Park in Elizabeth and Deer Lakes Park near the intersection of Creighton Russelton Road and Mehaffey Road.  Tarentum new river front park has a spray park.

Want a little more formal wet getting?  :)  Kennywood Park has three water themed rides in the park.  Allegheny County Parks system features wave pools in Boyce Park in Monroeville, Settler’s Cabin in Robinson and South Park.  Soak Zone at Idlewild Park in Ligonier is geared towards families with small children.  Of course there’s the water park in Hays, Sandcastle Water Park with a whole plethora of water related rides and their famous Boardwalk on the Monongahela River you can boat up to.  If whitewater rafting is your speed, there’s always Ohiopyle in Fayette County and just a little farther south is New River and the Gauley in West Virginia (New River is one of the oldest rivers on our continent and totally changes from the regular run in later spring/ summer and the early spring when they release extra water from the dam before the rains.  Finally, Wisp Resort in Maryland has a man made whitewater facility that was built for competitive-training but can be used by rafting fans not affiliated with a team.

This reminds me of when I was working in Nashville at was then the Crowne Plaza across from the state capital.  A group of us from work when over to the Ocoee River for a white water rafting trip.  The Ocoee also is a man made course that was built for the 1996 Olympics.  It was fun, we all had a blast.  While there, I noticed Rodger’s Used Kayak Emporium.  It was one of the many times I quit smoking and was looking for a new physical activity and thought I’d take up kayaking.  I was off the next Monday and so I drove down to pick one out.  When I arrived, there was a big gate closing Rodger’s off.  So I went across the street to an open convenience store to ask if Rodgers would be opening later.  The clerk looked at me like I was from Mars and said “It’s Monday”.  I replied with a blank look and he said “It’s Monday, they close the river on Mondays, so most places are closed”.  So I drove down the river and sure enough, what the week before was this raging rapids was a little trickle of a creek.  TVA owns the dam and they need to build back up pressure on Mondays to run their hydro power plants.  So I went back to the convenience store, got Rodgers number, told him I was down from Nashville (three hour trip), didn’t know they closed the river on Mondays and would like to buy a kayak.  He came over in about a half and hour, I got my kayak and was a happy camper.

I’m not a big fan of Howard Schultz, not saying anything negative about him.  He has a lot of tremendous attributes that I admire, it’s just after reading his book Pour Your Heart Into It, he started getting on my nerves.  I now have to take my hat off to him and give him massive kudos.  He’s started a program that I’ve been whining about for years, supporting small businesses.  Howard started the Indivisible line, a line of specialty coffees, mugs and wrist bands whose proceeds go to support small businesses.  Starbucks partnered with Philadelphia based Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of community development financial institutions that provide loans and other financial assistance to benefit low-income communities.  Starbuck’s initial order for 20,000 of these specialty mugs went to American Mug and Stein Company located in East Liverpool Ohio.  East Liverpool once was the pottery capital of the US, but has fallen into such dire straights that only around one percent of the population can find jobs in the few pottery plants left (down from 90% of the residents worked pottery just back in the 1990′s).  American Mug is one of three pottery factories left (one of the others is Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta plant), to read the entire article click on the AM link.

Gonna be a hot one again tomorrow, keep hydrated,



Tomorrow is Turkey’s Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim where 750 athletes swim across the Bosphorus Strait spanning Europe and Asia, it is Rembrant’s birth anniversary (1606), it is the anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald (1410 Poland and Luthuania joined forces to defeat the Knights of Teutonic) and the Battle of the Marne (1918 where the American, French and Italian forces stopped the forward progress of the Germans).

Next Saturday and Sunday (July 21 & 22) will be Pittsburgh’s Vintage Grand Prix.  Outside of Monte Carlo,  we are the only city that can lay claim to true vintage street racing.  We have been doing this for over thirty years.  This is an extremely unique race, in that it is run on actual city streets, not on purpose-built tracks are in racing venues.  For instance there’s “road crowning”, normal roads are higher in the center than on the sides to promote drainage can causes a real challenge for racers.  Then there’s the 22 turns on the course (three are almost 180 degrees), there are old stone walls along the edge in places, telephone poles (telepoles) :), recessed storm drainage grates and numerous other hazards to racing makes this all the more challenging.  Admission is free for spectators to the race and various car shows.  Saturday it runs from 8:30 am until about 6 and Sunday from 7 am until around 5.  More info at their web site.

Many of you have used the intersection of I70 and I 79 down in Washington County.  I remember when they first opened it and how wrong it was designed.  I don’t remember when, but a good while ago they redesigned parts of it and it was better, but there was still one hair pin turn (at least it seemed hair pin if you were traveling 65 mph).  :)  Well they started fixing that last part last fall and the $35M project is slated to be completed in 2014.  It will now be four lanes, two traveling straight and two using the exit.

Border collies were bred and designed to herd sheep, labs were bred and designed for water retrieval, German shepherds were bred and designed for protection.  These wonderful human companions were created by us.  The whole group referred to a Pitt Bulls were bred and designed for aggression.  Yes, humans that have murdered have been rehabilitated or “seen the light” and deserve a second chance.  Just as pitt bulls, I guess.  I’m sorry, I’ve known people that have had them for years as pets and never had a problem.  But I’ve also know of these dogs that went rouge for no known reason and mauled children.  There is a very well meaning and dedicated group dedicated to rehabilitating pit bulls out in Cranberry called Hello Bully.  Cute name.  Founded in 2005 with 125 volunteers they are selling personalized bricks to help defray the cost of the shelter.  The bricks will be used to create a patio area at the shelter and the bricks run from $50 to $500, depending on the size.

Time has done what CEO’s and other company bigwigs have tried for years to accomplish.  :)  Evelyn Y Davis, the famous corporate heckler has retired at the age of 82.  After years of flirting and fighting with corporate VIP’s and other shareholders, she’s decided to call it quits.  Quite the colorful lady, I hope she finds her retirement as fulling as her life had been to this point.

I went to Kathleen (Flaherty) Hall’s Grand Opening of her Red Bandana Winery yesterday.  It was wonderful seeing a good friend again and quite the shindig.  She had her state senator, two state representative, two county commissioners, a professor from Clairion State University and many other dignitaries.  What a cute facility they’ve built and such a perfect setting to showcase her wonderful artwork.

Above she’s cutting the ribbon and below is a wonderful Veranda which will become legendary (if I know Kathleen) for hosting events, wine tastings and art shows.

And this was a family affair.  Her mother, Carole made the chandeliers and lamps (she’s quite the accomplished stained glass artist herself.  Unfortunately, the pictures I took of the lights didn’t turn out.  I sampled the Chambourcin red wine, I was afraid it was going to be too sweet, but it was just right for me.

Kathleen is quite the accomplished artist.  In case you don’t know, she’s the one that did all the watermark murals on the first floor of my Inn.  If you want to see more of her artwork, visit her web site Flaherty Art.

Well, the sun has come out and I’m going to go out as well  :)  Have a great weekend,









Tomorrow is the US Senior Open Golf Championship in Lake Orion, MI, Josiah Wedgwood birth anniversary (Wedgwood pottery 1730), Henry David Thoreau’s birth anniversary (1817), it’s the anniversary of the Battle of Kursk (1943-the largest tank battle in history), Milton Berle’s birth anniversary (1908) and Buckminster Fuller’s birth anniversary (1895).

The  Japan UW Creatives is having two receptions at two distinctive examples of Japanese culture on July 25 in New York. The first reception will be at Miya Shoji’s showroom at 145 W 26th Street.  Mr. Shoji carries hand crafted furniture, tables shoji screens and tatami mats.  Then a short subway ride away participants will travel to JapaDog, a new restaurant in the Lower East side.  JapaDog is an new concept of using American hot dogs with Japanese toppings.  These Japanese hot dogs are hugely popular in Vancouver.

Kathleen Flaherty, the artist the did all the murals in my Mansion has gotten married (she’s now Kathleen Hall) and is starting up a new venture in Leeper, PA (just outside Cook’s Forest).  She’s opening The Red Bandana Winery with a grand opening Friday, July 13.   Kathleen took the name for her winery from the struggle of the miners in Appalachia from 1883 to 1919 for a decent living.  Back then, the coal companies owned everything, they even paid with their own scrip, tokens or credit.  The miners lived in houses owned by the companies, had to shop in general stores owned by the companies, everything was controlled by the companies.  To identify themselves, these “insurgents” were red bandannas.  Kathleen is going for local produced grapes (she says 20 percent of US wine comes from Pennsylvania grapes).  She is planning on experimenting with new flavors like coffee, chai tea and pumpkin.  Should be interesting.  Maybe I’ll see you Friday at her grand opening.

Marty’s Market is slated to open this Saturday in the site of the former Right by Nature  on Smallman in the Strip (by the Cork Factory Apartments).  Navy Reserve Lieutenant Commander Regina Koetters already has opened the coffee bar and cafe.  She’s planning on being open from 11 am until 7 pm Mondays through Fridays and 9 am until 7 pm Saturdays and Sundays.  She’s striving for locally grown produce and chemically free meats.  I think being open until 7 will help, since most of the rest of the Strip closes around 3 pm, she will be the “only game in town”.  With all the people living down there (the Cork Factory has run close to 100% occupancy since opening, they are building new units as we speak, the Otto Milk condo across from it does well), I think she has a shot at succeeding.  I think it’s a great location for a grocery store, particularly a green one.

In 1978, the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad’s Pittsburgh station opened to the public as The Grand ConcourseStation Square is the rest of his terminal complex.  This was the train station of a Joshua Rhodes, the builder of my Inn.  Today, the P & L E train station in Beaver is in the process of becoming public space.  The Beaver Area Heritage Foundation has acquired the building and their first project will be to repair the slate roof to stop the water damage in the station.  They intend to turn the station itself into a venture for events, classes, community events.  They intend to use the out buildings as there working and storing spaces.  The Beaver station is a fine example of Romanesque style.  It even has a lot of it’s original architecturals like many stained glass windows.  (As a side note on Joshua Rhodes, I cooked in the Grand Concourse in the 1990′s and now I own his home).  :)

In 2007, at the age of eight, Tyler Kautzman of McCandless decided he wanted to do something for our troops over seas.  He and his classmates collected 400 pounds of supplies and hooked up the Yellow Ribbon Girls of Ellwood City.  These ladies are like a clearing house for sending things to our troupes overseas.  Yellow Ribbon also sends school supplies to schools and orphanages in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Tyler met and befriended Army Staff Sargent Ed Greiner, formerly from Ross Township.  Griener was in Pittsburgh and stopped to visit Tyler in 2007 to thank him and visited his school.  They have been pen pals since.  Griener passed away earlier this year in a motorcycle accident outside Ft Bragg, NC while awaiting redeployment to Afghanistan.  Tyler and his mother have organized a 5K memorial run/walk on July 29 starting at 7:30, the actual race will be beginning at 9 at the North Park Boat House.  There’s a $25 entrance fee that goes to the Yellow Ribbon Girls.  More info at the 5K site.

Thank you PennFuture, at last someone is standing up to the Buncher group and the city kowtowing to them.  The city’s letting them tear down 1/3 or the Terminal building so it’s easier access to their private/for profit development off 17th Street, instead of making them put the entrance at 15th Street which is already there and doesn’t need to destroy a building I (and you) own.  The city and the URA are giving lavishing grants ($15M from the URA) and loans on Buncher to assist this development, did I mention this is a private/for profit endeavour?  (They are also seeking %50M Tax Incremental Financing-TIF).  I am so tired of the city giving away my Igloo (and yours) so the Penguins can build a new arena that we subsidized and they are going to make a fortune developing the old site.  Just as the Steelers are making a fortune redeveloping with smaller development than Alco had proposed at the bargain basement prices given to the Steelers.  Did I mention I have to have nine parking spaces for my Inn because I have nine guest rooms.  The Steelers are controlling surface lots and making money off of them.  They haven’t been forced to build a parking garage for their 65,000 fans (the garage that was finally build was build buy the Stadium Authority and the URA and is run by Alco Parking.

We’ll talk soon,



It’s been a full week since my last post.  Another lost housekeeper, gang busting business and heat (and broken AC-now repaired) are what I’m blaming.  Yesterday was the anniversary of the Homestead Riots, where the steel workers finally had enough with the steel magnates.  Maybe the 99% should learn a lesson from the past.  The Occupy movement has had good ideas, but no cohesion.  This excess of the banks is really riling me.  It’s just one heinous act of greed after another.  Sorry,  tomorrow is the anniversary of the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia (1776), Billy Eckstine’s birth anniversary (1914), Nelson Rockefeller’s birth anniversary (1908), war hero Jean Moulin’s death anniversary (1943), the King of Jukebox Louis Jordan’s birth anniversary (jazz pioneer, band leader 1908) and the Ziegfeld Follies anniversary (1907).

I don’t blame the companies, I blame our government.  Chesapeake Energy has averaged paying one percent of it’s cumulative pretax profits (this in a country with a 35% corporate income tax rate) over it’s twenty-three year history.  Add to this an average 2.1 percent paid by Southwestern Energy and 5.3 percent by EQT, we could really balance our federal budget and cut the deficit if these mega companies ponied up what they legitimately owe and we cut the millions in tax breaks to the oil giants.

While I’m on a rant, I can’t idly sit by with a new figure I just found out about Port Authority.  Come this September, because of  their legacy costs, one current employee will need to support two retired employees.  This is outrageous.  Since moving back to Pittsburgh, I keep hearing about this study and that study Port Authority paid for.  One of these studies was over two hundred thousand dollars last year that basically said to simplify things get rid of the letters after the numbers.  Manchester (the bus in front of my Inn) magically became just 18 (instead of the 16D it was).  Didn’t they have studies done each time they negotiated a contract?  I’m so furious, I think County Executive Rich Fitzgerald shouldn’t just fire Steve Bland, put should press criminal charges against him.

Two years ago, Janice Parks from YMWAHA brought eight of Gee’s Bend quilters to Pittsburgh for a show at the New Hazlett Theater.  These amazing women stayed at The Parador during their show.  What a great group, and what a wonderful story behind Gee’s Bend.  YHWAHA is an organization that strives to get inner city youths focused in healthy directions, like quilting.  Janice was the founder of this great organization and has recently retired.  She is such a dynamo, she’s one of those people that speak what they see and I certainly enjoy that.  :)  Eric Asongwed is Janice’s successor, he his some big shoes to fill, I’m sure he’s up to it and I wish him the best of luck.

They re-did the gardens in front of the Children’s Museum and a piece of art work is pretty cool (literally).  :)  Ned Kahn created the “Cloud Arbor”, which is nine metal poles that periodically spray a fine mist you can cool off in.  This vast expanse 65% of neglected concrete now has open space and the 20 trees have been replaced with 100 trees, 200 shrubs and 5,000 flowers and is 70% grass.

And the best part is the way they designed it, they can easily reconnect East Ohio Street with West Ohio Street.  :)  A biggie with me.  Live concerts in the park presented by the Allegheny City Society will feature the Ortner Roberts Duo on July 17 and August 7 and the Allegheny Brass Band will perform on August 21.  Show times are from 7 – 8:30 pm.

Lots of live music on the Northside these days.  I’ve talked about the nice job the folks are doing at James Street with their food, service and live jazz Thursdays through Sundays.  The Elks Club on Cedar features the Pittsburgh Banjo Club on Wednesday nights at 9 pm, they also feature Dixie Doc and the Pittsburgh Dixieland All-Stars and other musical groups.  Their calendar of events is a bit spotty.  The Park House (the first licensed bar in Pittsburgh) on East Ohio Street features Bluegrass on Wednesdays starting at 9 pm.  Riverview Park will be hosting live outdoor music Saturday evenings from 7 – 8:30 through August 25 followed by family friendly movies beginning at dusk.  Musicians George Heid III, Mark Lucas, Poogie Bell, Cecil Brooks II, Mark Strickland, Eric Johnson and Sean Jones will be performing.

The Lost Lady Bug Project is seeking volunteers to seek out ladybugs, take their pictures and send the pictures to be classified.  Apparently the 9 spotted, 2 spotted and transverse ladybugs (our native ladybugs) have all but disappeared over the past thirty years.  The seven spotted and the multicolored Asian ladybugs are filling in the gaps.  The native ladybugs aren’t all gone, not surprisingly they found a bunch at an organic farm in New York (the nine spotted ladybug is New York’s state insect).  The Ladybug Project is trying to assess the population still around and looking for groups or individuals to take pictures and give a count of how many you find, in your garden, in the wild, where ever so the can get a handle on their populations.  If you are so inclined, snap a couple of pics and send to their web site.

Have a great weekend and keep hydrated,