Tomorrow is Devil’s Night, it is the anniversary of Orson Wells initial broadcast of The War of the Worlds (1938) and also the anniversary of the closing of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 where that evening the Mayor of Chicago was shot and killed.  It is the birth anniversary of the second president John Adams (1735), Charles Atlas (the skinny Italian immigrant that went on to be the famed body builder-1893), Emily Post (1872) and poet Ezra Pound (1885).

I heard something on NPR that has me concerned.  The European Union is sending election monitors to the United States on our election day.  What, have we become a third world country?  In the last major election (presidential), of the millions of voters, 63 were caught doing voter fraud.  Now there’s the big push for voter ID that they’ve screwed up so bad in their rush to put this in place.  One of the problems with the Pennsylvania law was it specifically said the ID’s had to have an expiration date and that college picture ID’s were OK.  Some Pennsylvania college ID’s don’t have an expiration date.  :)   Senator Mike Turzai of the 28th District here in Allegheny County was secretly recorded saying “Now that we have the voter ID law passed, Pennsylvania is Governor Romney’s”.  Of course that was misinterpreted, according to Turzai’s people.

I don’t know why I keep noticing things about Angry Birds, I’ve played it a couple of times and never was too impressed.  But Rovio (the maker of Angry Birds and Star Wars Birds) is releasing Bad Piggies soon.  This is a blend of physics game and a building puzzle, the stages are brain-tickling but not difficult enough to frustrate.

Here’s a new slant on thrift store shopping.  The Shop Till You Drop consignment bus tour is set for November 10 from 9 am until 5 pm.  Yes, you heard me right, a bus tour.  :)  The $40 tickets include lunch, bus, beverages and chocolate.  You must pre-register by this coming Thursday by calling 412.262.0833 or 412.788.0899.  The tour will meet at the Consignment Cottage in Moon and then travel to Eco Chic in Robinson, Savvy Fox in Peters and Mt Lebanon, Kindred Spirits in Pine and Ambiance in Oakmont.  That’s quite some territory to cover in just 8 hours.

It’s about time for you pumpkin cutters to get your tools out.  Here’s a few tips from the pros.  When purchasing a pumpkin, one of the things to consider is the stem.  Only buy a pumpkin with a healthy stem, even though the pumpkin is cut off the vine, the stem is still providing nutrients to the pumpkin.  On this note, don’t make the traditional cut around the top to scrape out the pumpkin.  This keeps the nutrients from circulating into the pumpkin flesh.  Cut the opening in the back.  Scrape as much of the inside out as you dare.  The dryer the flesh will last longer than all that moisture hanging out inside.  Although, other than with photography, there’s no way to “preserve” you pumpkin.  You can use “delay” tactics.  You can soak your pumpkin in water when not on display.  You can treat the edges with a lemon juice/water mixture, vegetable oil, petroleum jelly or you can buy Fruit Fresh in the baking aisle of your grocery store (you can use this throughout the year to preserve fresh sliced fruits while on display.  This is a mild taste to this, but works great when you want to present fresh fruits like apple slices).  For more inspiration, go to The Maniac Pumpkin Carver’s web site, The Pumpkin Gutter’s web site, The Pumpkin Geek’s web site and Villa Fanes Studios.  There’s also a ton of UTube videos you can peruse for ideas.

Charitable donations are a good habit, like teaching children to save.  If you create the habit, it’s just like brushing your teeth in the morning or at night.  I believe in our social safety net programs, but I think a lot more of our charity should come from us, individually.  We should take direct responsibility for our neighbors.  There’s the big headline practices like Warren Buffett and Bill & Melinda Gates’ program The Giving Pledge where they ask billionaires to commit to donating have of their wealth to charities.  They have nearly 100 individuals and families have signed up for this.  Just last month, another 12 have signed on.  And you don’t actually have to be a billionaire to participate.  :)  With this challenged economy, last year charitable contributions climbed 4% from 2010 to 2011.  Pretty impressive, particularly when you see that hard number of $218B for 2011.  It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference (ie, you don’t have to be a billionaire to make a difference).  You can pick a charity you find deserving like the Food Bank, CAI, Brother’s Brother, Northside Common Ministries, etc.  I always look for smaller groups that don’t have the high overhead of organizations like United Way.  There’s a bunch of small groups that pool their money and democratically select where the money is to go each time (frequently quarterly) like the One Percenters that’s geared towards a younger crowd to get in the habit of donating.  If you are so inclined to start your own charity, Giving Circles is a grassroots group that gives tips on how to start up you own charity.  Another resource is Giving Circles Network.  Remember, it’s not how much you give (although it’s always nice to give as much as you can), it’s more important to create the habit of giving.  Just as one of the most important aspects of saving is to “create the habit”.

Pittsburgh had another minute in the spot light this month.  Architectural Record Magazine highlighted da ‘burg as a prime example of New Life for the American City.  It has three articles about us, one on the new PNC tower being built and they have an emphasis on the building being the tallest office building to use natural ventilation, rather than being a hermetically sealed box.  The magazine also talks about Phipps new Center for Sustainable Landscapes Building and the David L Lawrence Convention Center and how all these buildings are setting new standards for sustainability.  Also, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects gave out several design awards.  One is for the old Lantern Building (next to the new PNC/Fairmont tower that used to be a Liberty Travel) and both AIA and Architectural Record mentioned Perkins Eastman Architects rendering of the Allegheny Riverfront Boulevard.  This is a comprehensive look at a possible way to develop the Allegheny riverfront from the Convention Center up to the 40th Street Bridge.  (Of course this award winning design is being totally ignored by the Buncher group that want’s us to give them $50M AND allow them to tear down 1/3 of the iconic Terminal Building so they can create some more white-bread space on prime real estate.

OK, I’m through whining.  Keep dry these next couple of days and keep safe.

Happy Halloween,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the New York Subway’s first trip (1904), Turkmenistan Independence Day (1991), Theodore Roosevelt’s birth anniversary (1858), discoverer of Australia & New Zealand James Cook’s birth anniversary (1728), pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s birth anniversary (1923), the 225 anniversary of the publishing of the Federalist Papers and Hurricane Mitch that killed 7,000 people in Honduras in 1998.

October 26 and 27 and then again November 2 and 3 at 9 pm, Midnight Radio, a production of Bricolage Production Company will be performing The Haunting at there center on the corner of Smithfield Street and Liberty Avenue.  This quirky performance is based on a reproduction of the 1940′s radio shows with stories of suspense, vintage sound effects, musical guests, fake breaking news, game show segments and spoofy commercials.  All around fun entertainment.  More at their web site or by calling 412.471.0999.

Rusted Root, the band that won’t go away (I say that in the kindest of terms).  :)  Every time they release an album, I hear they are breaking up and going there own way.  Well, The Movement is due to be released Tuesday.  I understand that it’s less experimental than some of their more recent releases.  More in line with the Latin/African influences of the two smash albums Cruel Sun and When I Woke.  With the general state of the economy and their diverse interests, cash was a little tough to get this album cut, so they turned to a Kickstarter kind of financing they called Fortunate Freaks Unite.  They collected enough donations from this from fans, family, friends to have the album recorded.  One of the things that always amazes me about Rusted Root is it seems like anyone you talk to in Pittsburgh is either friends with one or several of them or knows someone that is.  November 10 they will be performing at The Palace Theater in Greensburg and on December 21, The Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

Harry Clark’s massive Indian Creek Valley Railroad Display has been under cosntruction since just after World War II. The project started in his kitchen and eventually moved to his garage.  Most recently, it was at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, but it had to be moved so the resort could build their Lady Luck Casino.   Terry Shallenberger bought his friend’s display had this 25′ x 50′ model railroad in storage until this past weekend when they closed bridges and streets to squeeze the display into the center of Connellsville (where they also still make glass for the Tiffany company).  Mr. Shallenberger, of Shallenberger Construction paid for the move.  Mr. Shallenberger built the walls of the display’s new home on a concrete pad a Stone and Company donated.  The display was lowered into this building by a All Crane Rental Company that donated the use of the crane.  The building’s metal roof should be completed this weekend.  The building will look like the old Connellsville B & O train station and it will have a Canteen Cafe and gift shop.  Hopefully the proceeds from both will help keep the project afloat.

London born, Pittsburgh based project photographer Brian Cohen came up with the idea of chronicling the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling and quickly came to realize it was probably a bigger project that one person could cover.  So he approached Laura Domencic, the director of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts who quickly saw the value in this project and they recruited several more photographers for this year long project.  Instead of a Michael Moore kind of documentary (not that that’s necessarily bad), this collection of photographs really speak for themselves.  Marcellus has been a boon for many people in royalties, construction and construction jobs, local housing, apartment rentals, restaurant and retail sales in a lot of rural areas normally missed by other projects.  On the other hand, known side effects of polluted water spills, vehicles too heavy for rural roads decimating the roads, destruction of habitat and other negative results of this industry.  Add to that the unknown effects of potential ground water pollution and other less obvious side effects of Marcellus and other new oil/gas extraction methods is having all around the world makes this a topic that needs to be seriously studied.  The 220 page paper back book is available for $25 and the photographs printed in editions of five to ten are available with prices ranging from $300 to $3,000.  However you weigh in on this topic, some of these pictures are VERY powerful.  Marcellus continues through January 6 at 477 Melwood Avenue, Oakland.  Hours are noon until 7 Monday through Thursday and noon until 6 on Fridays.  Admission is free and more info is available at PGH Center for the Arts web site or by calling 412.681.5449.

Michael Henrichsen is having the birthday of a lifetime.  After a two year campaign trying to get Billy Idol to come to his part, he finally succeeded.  This 26 year old from Seattle decided two years ago to get Billy Idol to play at his birthday party.  He got a friend to create a web site www.playmybirthdaybillyidol.com and started a campaign to convince the rocker to play at his birthday party.  Michael has done all kinds of antics to get Billy’s attention and was officially turned down last year.  So Michael started a campaign to get stars and celebrities visiting Portland to pose for a video shot plugging for Billy to play at Michael’s party that he added to his web site.  Tonight, Billy is playing for Michael’s party.  This shows what persistence will do.  Ask me about when I started college with for Vet buddies and how I got PHEAA and they didn’t not because of persistence.  The success of The Parador in Florida with income of $4k a month and bills of $8k per month was because of persistence.  I’m a BIG fan of persistence.

Well, this is about it for today, have a great night, wonderful tomorrow and Go Steelers on Sunday.




Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of artist Pablo Picasso (1881), Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl (1912) and English poet and writer Geoffrey Chaucer (1400).  It is the anniversary of the first female FBI agents (1972), Grenada was invaded by the U.S. (1983) and Taiwan was expelled from the UN so mainland China could be admitted (1971).

My blog is again posting on Facebook, and you may notice I’ve changed the heading.  :)  Morgan, from morganHDcreative says I should do that so it picks up on Twitter better.  She had some other suggestions that makes a lot of sense.  The world keeps pushing me into social media and I’m not going easily.  Some may say kicking and screaming.  :)

ALCOSAN is taking public comments on it’s $2B to $3.6B plan to meet mandated upgrades by the EPA.  As I’m sure you are aware, ALCOSAN is planning on totally meeting this standard by creating a grey system (hard construction) without any green solutions included.  They claim they have no authority to force surrounding municipalities to comply with any green solution (although Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald is in support of at least including some green in the process).  You can leave a comment on their web site or if you want to leave a more detailed message, snail mail one to ALCOSAN 3300 Preble Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.

A 14 year old boy stole a Jeep in Churchhill in August and police started chasing him because of erratic driving down I376 until he rolled the Jeep.  The kid’s mother is blaming the owner of the Jeep because she left her keys in the car, the police had no right to chase her son because maybe he just wanted to take a joy ride, or possibly wanted to go further than he felt like walking.  What is wrong with people?  Follow this link if you want to see the details.

Kraynick’s Bike Shop at 5003 Penn Avenue in Garfield is very cool.  Jerry Kraynick runs the shop kind of like a hybrid between a school and co-op.  If you’re bike’s broken, you can bring it in, he has several work stations and you can borrow tools and if you don’t know how to make the repairs, Jerry or one of the volunteers working there will give you pointers on what to do.  Jerry sells bike parts and does a lot of bartering (he got roof repairs done this way, even anesthesia for a hernia surgery).  Starting around now, Jerry and a group of volunteers start repairing donated bike to donate to kids at Christmas time.  If you happen to have an old bike laying around, not a bad idea for a new use for it.  :)

Amy Garbark, aka Garbella was an art teacher and started selling handmade goods in 2006 and in 2010 left her teaching career and started doing this full time.  One of her best sellers is a dumpling with the words “p is for pierogi” under it.  Surprisingly, it’s quite popular in Canada.  In addition to her T-shirts, scarves, skirts, aprons, even clocks.  Other themes are bike parts, typewriters and many other whimsical  things.

Governor Corbett just gave four of his inner staff raises hovering around $10k to “level the playing field and bring senior staff into the same pay grade”.  $10K is the yearly salary of many of his constituents make who he’s cutting the social safety nets from under.  How can our elected officials be so clueless?  Governor Corbett blasted Governor Rendell repeatedly for over spending for staff positions and questioned his yet Rendell’s average senior staffer was paid $116,440 as compared to Corbett’s $129,303.

Extreme Tree Service did a massive trim on the honey locust tree in the Courtyard.  It desperately needed manicured.  So the tree’s going to be healthier next year, less seeds in the spring, less leaves clogging the loft’s gutter in the fall.  And it looks so much neater.  Very nice people to work with, very professional and cleaned up nicely when done.

Enjoy this beautiful day, are we going to make a record high today and go over 80?



Birth anniversaries tomorrow include geneticist Nobel prize winner George Beadle (1903), photojournalist that covered five wars from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam Robert Capa (1913), Jerome Lester Horwitz (Curly of the three stooges 1903), prominent psychologist Timothy Leary (of hippy LSD fame 1920) and composer Franz Liszt (1811).  Tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the anniversary of the New York Metropolitan Opera House (1883) and Zambia’s Independence Day (1964).

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department employs a Horseshoer.  They don’t own a horse, nor have they for decades.  This position pays just over $56,000 a year in wages and benefits.  John Riehl, president if the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207 says “it’s impossible to eliminate positions.”  This with the Detroit system using twice as many employees per gallon of water as Chicago does.  I come from a very blue collar family, my dad worked in the Steel Mills.  But big evil unions are as bad as big evil corporations.  Corporations are not inherently evil, nor are unions.  It’s idiots like Riehl that ruin life for the working stiff.

Speaking of evil, Lamar advertising is making the news again.  They’ve started a billboard campaign against Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris and Councilwoman Rudiak because they are proposing a tax on billboard advertising.  I don’t know enough about what taxes Lamar (the largest billboard company in the country) pays here versus elsewhere.  What I do know is I take offense at Lamar thinking it’s OK to interfere with politics in my city.  Just as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has no business endorsing a presidential candidate in a foreign country, a business has no business trying to influence the general population like this.  They seem to think we may have forgotten they tried illegally to bribe our city officials to get a sweat deal on an electronic billboard on the Grant & Liberty Transit Center, but got caught.  When the city made them stop, Lamar tried taking us to court to get their way.  How much do we have to take from them?  As most of my regulars know, I only include hyperlinks to businesses I support.  The reason I have a hyperlink to Lamar is not that I support them, I’m hoping they have Google Alerts and see my post.

The Pittsburgh Glass Center in Friendship (5472 Penn Avenue is always a good bet to visit.  They’ve extended John Moran’s American Idols to January 21.  John has sculpted the heads and faces of past presidents and dressed them in whimsical clothing.  You can even vote for your favorite.  Currently, the top three are Obama, Washington and Jackson in that order.  Normal hours are 10 am – 7 pm Tuesday through Thursday and 10 am – 4 pm Friday through Sunday.  More info at either web site or by calling 412.365.2145.

OK, it’s that time of year.  In keeping with the season, here’s my list of haunted houses for your perusal.  In Renfrew you will find The Beacon, which has family friendly No Scare Sundays from 1 pm – 4 pm.  Out in West Deer Township’s Bairford Park you will find West Deer Nightmare.  Rated one of the scariest Halloween attractions by the Travel Channel is Scarehouse in Etna.  The Haunted Hills Hayride over in N Versailles is celebrating 13 years of scaring you.  Proceeds from Haunted Hills benefit Autism Society of Pittsburgh.  Fright Farm 2012 is an association of haunted houses and the ilk.  You can go to their web site and find haunted houses all over the country.  Not to be confused with Cheeseman’s Fright Farm out in Portersville (near McConnell’s Mill).  There’s Demon House 2012 out in Monongahela/Carrol Township.  South Park’s having Haunted Hundred Acres again.  In Perryopolis Allen’s Haunted Hayrides is scaring people again.  Kennywood’s Phantom Fright Nights is back.  Mischief Manor (formerly Victory Haunted House) is open in Elizabeth Township.  Terror Town is back in the Strip on Smallman across from the Terminal Building.  KDKA Zoo Boo for kids is coming back this year, great non scary event for the smaller goblin fans.  ExScream Nightmares has been in Clairton’s pool since 2008.  The Boy Scouts will be hosting The Haunted Cabin in Oakdale.  There’s a ton of other scary houses around the area, follow this link to events outside Allegheny County.  This web site even lists scare houses that have been open in the past on the bottom of their list.  Molly’s Trolleys is featuring Terror Trolley Tours Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 pm and 9 pm leaving from Station Square.  The Trolley Museum out in Washington County is hosting a pumpkin patch trolley tour as well.

There’s a start up over on the South Side that’s goal is to make money off free water and in the process help the environment.  Evive has set up water filling stations at WVU and California.  The system is set up to either clean the water bottle and then fill with chilled filtered water for free or just will the bottle with chilled filtered water (skip the cleaning step).  The bottles are part of the system, they have a microchip in them that when you swipe it to get water, personalized ads appear on a 32″ screen. You buy the $10 bottle and fill in a questionnaire with general preferences, like you like to ski or hike, music you like, etc.  The machine will display custom ads on a screen as you fill the bottle based on your preferences and ad space Evive was able to sell.

Project Bundle Up, the charity that supplies cold weather coats and jackets to seniors and children are looking at a fairly bleak future now that UPMC has pulled their support out of the Hartwood Acres Celebration of Lights, Bundle Up’s major funding source.  It’s not going to effect this year, Bundle Up works a year in the future.  So they are highlighting their shopping-trips sponsorships.  This is where donors can accompany the child buying winter outerwear.  This program looks for a donation of at least $2,500.  Business Records Management, this great company over here right down the street from The Parador Inn became a shopping sponsor and hopes to raise at least $15,000 for Bundle Up.  (I had all these old boxes of financial records and guest info from Florida I wanted to shred, BRM only wanted $6 for it.  When I had a wedding and there was a Pitt game, they let my guests use one of their lots without charge).

I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise, but his new film set to be released in December, Jack Reacher has lots of Pittsburgh identifiable shots.  Pittsburgh police cruisers, PNC Park, Heinz Field, Ft Pitt tunnels, lots and lots.

Have a great day,



Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the Water Pollutions Control Act, the anniversary of the first newspaper comic strip (1896-there had been individual comics, but the first comic stretched over several panels was in the New York Journal) and it is Azerbaijan Independence Day (1991).  Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of James Brooks (born 1906, he was one of the muralists employed during the Great Depression’s public works program-his most famous, the one in the Marine Air Terminal at La Guardia Airport and was painted over in 1950.  In 1980 it was restored).  It is also the birth anniversary of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

For you Angry Birds players, I assume you already know the Angry Birds Star Wars is coming out next month.  Those cranky birds and pigs dress up in Star Wars garb and take on their characters personas.

South Baldwin firefighters did a UTube video with a take off of the Korean Gangnam Style promoting fire safety.  It’s very cute.

While recovering from a knee injury and bored, second year Steeler running back Baron Batch he decided to take up painting.  He started making art for his bare walled home and has progressed since.  This he added to his already passion for photography.  Sherry Jo Matt with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation saw his work and arranged for his debut art show November 16 at Pavilion X at 120 Boulevard of the Allies.  Tickets are $75 and you can bid on any of his exhibited art work.  More info on Baron’s art work and blog is at his web site.  More info on the art show by calling 412.321.4422 (there’s nothing on their web site).

What’s up with those WVU students?  They’re happy they won, they burn couches in the streets.  They’re upset they lost, they burn couches in the street.  A world event occurs, they burn couches in the street.  These fires have wasted precious safety resources.  These fires have caused extensive damage to buildings and vehicles.  It’s criminal.  I bet if WVU didn’t have a similar “old boys club” attitude like PSU the fires would stop pretty damn fast.  I’d say felony arson and permanent expulsion would have an immediate effect.  These are not “pranks” and the “responsible adults” in charge of this university should be held accountable just as those at PSU should be.

There’s a free heating solutions workshop being offered October 20 from 1 – 4 pm in the Park Place, Pittsburgh.  High Performance Homes, the Next Frontier in Home Renovation will be held at the Environmental Charter Lower School at 309 S Braddock Avenue (Mayor Fedderman strikes again)  :)  I love that guy.  More info at their web site, at 888.728.9288 or by e-mail info@deawp.org.

Have you seen a picture of Miley Cyrus?  I’m not into country, nor into the celebrity gossip columns.  I occasionally see something that peaks my interest, like when her dad was pushing her recording a few years ago.  There was all that controversy about “robbing the cradle”.  I just saw a  picture of her in the newspaper, granted newspapers don’t have the clearest pictures, but OMG, that 20 yr old looks 35 – 40.  What a shame.

Phipps Conservatory (my favorite space in the city, next to The Parador Inn) :) just opened their fall show themed after the Chinese “Year of the Dragon”.  In the Sunken Garden they have a dragon made of oak leaves (and other things), in the East Room you’ll find Under the Sea.  There are many other dragon and fall themed displays throughout the conservatory.  Normal rates and hours prevail, more info at their web site or by calling 412.622.6914.

With the State closing Liberty Pet Control over in McKees Rocks (the place owned by the 70+ that kept failing State inspections), the Western Pa Humane Society is over run with animals.  They’ve doubled up the kennels, they have 30 – 40 animals in foster homes and they’re even in the offices.  They are running a promotion of $30 adoptions for dogs older than 2.  If you’ve been thinking about a pet, now’s a great time.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.321.4626.

The city’s giving Buncher $50M in TIF money, allowing them to tear down 1/3 of the iconic Terminal Building and creating a boring white bread development.  No one is mentioning all the great small businesses rescuing many of our buildings.  There’s the huge building along Railroad Street in the Strip between 28th and 29th Streets.  There used to be the International Carpet Company (I think that was there name), followed by Mod Cloth (who’s now in the West End in an old grocery store).  Whoever owns the building tore down a ratty addition to it across from the metal recycler’s location on 28th and are in the process of replacing the metal facade and windows with energy efficient ones.  They are even dressing up the parking lot.  Then there’s the building down around 18th Street and Smallman in the Strip that some some independent seems to be totally redoing the brick facade and also replacing the windows (it’s building that houses Kaya restaurant on the first floor, Odyssey computer company on the second and a good bit of newly renovated retail/office space available.  Then there’s Brian Mendelssohn in Lawrenceville, not even a Pittsburgh native.  After graduating CMU he bought a place in Lawrenceville to live and fell in love with Lawrenceville.  Mendelssohn, the principle with Botero Development, has restored row homes along 48th Street, the Omega Credit Union Building, the Arsenal Bank Building with lofts on the second floor.  His current project is the former Starr Discount store, the largest building in Lawrenceville and he’s putting a 72 seat single screen theater, a restaurant, some retail space and bottle shop.  There’s the two guys (I don’t recall their names) buying up individual buildings in the Strip and Lawrenceville corridor, rehabbing them and putting them back on the market.  I’m OK with the profit motive.  I have a problem with the greed motive, all about making as much money as you can, it doesn’t matter that you’re tearing down 1/3 of an icon building to make the maximum profits you can, it doesn’t matter that a cash strapped stupid city administrators are willing to give you $50M so you can suck the city dry.  Why doesn’t Buncher apply for a job at Bank America?  The city should start some sort of recognition program for entrepreneurs that invest their own money in the city.  There are a lot of local entrepreneurs like ed menzer at The Parador that have invested a ton of there own money and sweat making a real impact on the city.  :)

Have a great day tomorrow,



Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the Bali Terrorist Bombing (2002 for you mathematically challenged), Columbus discovered the Bahamas (1492), the Boer War anniversary (1899) and Equatorial Guinea Independence Day (1968).  Birth anniversaries include composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872), US revolutionary patriot Jonathan Trumbull (1710), the first black play write Charles Gordone (1925) and Luciano Pavarotti (1935).

At the 3rd Street Gallery is the 66th annual Aquenous Open, an international exhibit sponsored by the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society.  It is featuring works in most any conceivable water based medium.  The gallery is at 200 Third Street, Carnegie and the hours are 11 am until 4 pm Wednesday through Saturday. More info at their web sites or by calling 412.276.5233.

The Frick has a new exhibit at it’s Art Gallery through January 6.  Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay.  The Fricks were one of Gay’s sponsors and a number of the almost 70 paintings on display are images from there homes here in Pittsburgh as well as their NYC home.  These oil on canvas are kind of dream like and feature the opulence of the elite residences of the high Victorian era.  As always, admission to The Frick Art Museum is free during the normal hours of 10 am – 5 pm Tuesdays through Sundays at 7227 Reynolds Street, Point Breeze.   More info at their web site or by calling 412.371.0600.

New store in that trendy Lawrenceville.  House of the Dead has recently opened at 4110 Butler Street and specializes in all things Zombie.  Chuck Cramer & Stu Neft thought what better place to open a zombie store than George Romero’s Day of the Dead hometown.  This year round store, though specializing in zombie related items, they plan on expanding into all things horror.  Open from 11 – 7 Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 – 5 on Sundays, they have been spreading the word at local zombie events like the recent Run for Your Lives 5K run in Butler, the recent Horror Realm film convention and the Saturday’s West End Village Zombie Fest.  More info on the Zombie Fest at their web site and more info on House of the Dead on their web site or by calling 412.687.0510.

The Carnegie Museum of Art has taken a look at modern from a fairly new angle.  They have assembled a collection of what was presented as “modern” at the World Fairs from 1851 – 1939.  Many of the pieces are from their collections, much is on loan from other institutions and individuals.  This is a collection of 200 objects from 45 lenders in 9 different countries.  This exhibit has been two years in the making and is in partnership with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO and runs through February 24.  It is included in the three museum fee (Museums of Art, Architecture and Natural History) with normal viewing hours.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.622.3131.

In memory of their mother, Jean of McCandless and Betty of Lincoln, NB donated an aviary to the Vincentian Home for seniors in McCandless.  The company that built and supplied the birds, Living Designs,  also trained a staff member at the Vincentian how to feed and care for the birds.  What a nice idea.  I can only imagine how many hours the residents get enjoyment from this gift.

The final word on Starbucks is I won.  :)  After sending a link to my last post to Starbucks customer service, I received another e-mail from them that said that they  couldn’t  remove my name from their data base via e-mail.  They gave me a reference number and the phone number for customer service.  I just called it and had all my personal information removed from their data base.  :)  I should no go to a Starbucks and apply for one of their frequent flyer cards.  :)  Just kidding.

Character actor Doug Bradley, most know for the character Pinhead in the Hellraiser series, will be reading selections from classic horror texts such as Poe, Lovecraft, etc next Wednesday at the Bricolage Theater at 937 Liberty Avenue.  Tickets are $25 and $50 for VIP that includes a signed copy of the Hellraiser comic book and an audio book Spinechillers read by him.  Proceeds are to benefit Toonseum /.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.232.0199.

Fort Ligonier Days is this weekend.  It is free admission, but parking is $5 and you need to park at either the High School or Laural Valley Country Club, included is free shuttle service to and from.  They are  anticipating 100,000 visitors to this three day event.  And they are dividing the 173 craft vendors up between four sites with the free shuttle service making a loop between them.  There will be 100 living history re-enactors, including colonial French, British, Native Americans, even George Washington will be present by professional actor and historian Dean Malissa.  In addition to the vendors, the local shop keepers will be hosting specials, the local restaurants will be open for business in addition to twenty-eight food booths.  There’s also plenty of free live entertainment throughout the weekend.  More info at their web site or by calling 724.238.4200.





October 6th is not a big day for big events in history.  So we’re jumping to Monday, October 8.  It will be birth anniversaries of war hero/auto racer/airline executive  Eddie Rickenbacker’s (1890), comic book innovator Harvey Pekar (1939) and German composer/musician Heinrich Schutz (1585).  Two huge fires were on this day, The Great Chicago Fire (1871) and the related Peshtigo Forest Fire (same day).  Finally, Monday will be Columbus Day.

Follow up on the fund raiser dinner in the pool last weekend in Canonsburg.  Bill Sarris, son of Frank Sarris, the founder of Sarris Candies in Canonsburg was talking to his mother during the event.  Bill expressed how much the pool meant to him, remembering learning to swim in the pool.  Athena (mom) said your dad learned to swim in this pool as well.  Suddenly a light went off in Bill’s head and he decided to donate $100,000 towards the much needed pool liner (total tag at $150,00).  Their generosity inspired another participant to donate $25,000.  So now that the liner is pretty much funded, Canonsburg is planning on buying a cover for the pool and put the rest of the proceeds from the fund raiser in an account for future maintenance.  I love small businesses that can give from the heart, instead of these big corporations that frequently give to where they get the most advertising.  I’m not totally knocking corporate sponsorship of things like The Great Race, it’s just how much of the money they give is given so their name is broadcast every the event is talked about.

My dad grew up in Hazelwood and my mom grew up on Greenfield.  All my grandparents past away when I was young, but I’m pretty familiar with the areas and anytime I pass through, I take note of places I’ve been.  There was an article in the Trib awhile back about Jozsa’s Corner, an authentic Hungarian restaurant located in Hazelwood.  It’s been on my endless list of things to check out.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a young couple visiting.  When I asked if they needed directions or recommendations, they declined and said they were going to Jozsa’s for dinner.  The next morning they said they had a great time and highly recommended it.  I mentioned it to some of my friends that are going to Costa Rica with me this winter and they were eager to try it.  What a find.  I have to warn you, there’s not much left of Hazelwood.  And Jozsa’s is VERY casual.  If Styrofoam plates bother you, don’t go.  If great food made and served by the chef/owner is something that peaks your interest, here’s a great find.  Alex is a graphic designer by trade and has operated Jozsa’s for twenty-five years now.  They are only open Monday through Friday 11 am until 6 pm.  Other times are by appointment only.  We wanted to go last Wednesday, but there was only three of us and he wouldn’t open.  But Thursday, there was a group coming in and we were welcome that night.  Some of the other group obviously had been there in the past, for most of the ten, it was their first time.  We all had a great time.  Jozsa’s is located at 4800 Second Avenue (the corner of Second and Hazelwood Avenue going up the hill) zip 15207 for you GPS users.  :)  Alex’s phone number is 412.422.1886.  They don’t have a web site I could find, the link I’ve included goes to Yelp.

The Mt Lebanon, Bethel Park, Upper St Clair corridor is continuing to change.  Trader Joe’s opened on the right side going up the hill from the intersection of Washington, Conner and Gilkeson Roads (where the Galleria is).  (For you old timers, Trader Joe’s is sitting where Chi Chi’s used to be.)  They tore down the old Roth Carpet building at the bottom of the hill where the 18,000 sq ft Fresh Market specialty grocery store is scheduled to open (think Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Market District).  They don’t have a set opening date, but I’d say early 2014 because they have a number of issues they need to deal with before they can actually start construction.   Also, West Virginia’s MedExpress bought the leases of Blue Horse Coffee (an individually owned coffee house) and Pazzo Ristorante (think LeMonte) and are planning on re-configuring the building as one of those clinics springing up all over the place.

The city seems to have thrown in the towel trying to save St Nicolas’ from the wrecking ball.  Way back when Penn Dot was doing the original plans for upgrading Rte 28, St Nick’s was either closed or slated to be closed.  They fought Penn Dot for years to keep it from the wrecking ball saying it was historically significant.  They wanted to turn it into a museum and cultural center.  So Penn Dot re-did all the plans leaving St Nick’s standing.  The group trying to save the church wasn’t able to get enough money to do their project.  So now they want to tear it down.  Now the City and Northside Leadership got involved and was blocking them from tearing it down.  The orthodox church in Millvile that took over the flock here on the Northside has been complaining that it costs them $1,800 a month to maintain the church, even closed.  I don’t have a major problem with it’s demolition, I have a problem with them fighting Penn Dot for years, causing Penn Dot the financial resources to re-route 28 and then turn around and want to tear it down now because it’s convenient for them.

From 8 – 10 am the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium will be hosting their 9th annual ZooZilla 5K Walk/Run November 3.  Early registration is $25, $30 after October 28.  Proceeds to benefit the zoo.  More info at their web site.

Next Saturday, Kayak Pittsburgh will be holding a Zombie Kayak event from 4 – 7 pm at it’s Northshore location (by 6th Street Bridge in front of PNC Park.  Zombie writer Lucy Leitner will read excerpts from her book Working Stiffs, a professional make-up artist will be there to get you all gussied up zombie style.  Afterward, there will be a 90 minute zombie paddle on the Allegheny.  It is $20 for members $30 for non members and more info can be found at Kayak Pittsburgh’s web site.

Sister Norma Rodriquez will be leading a series of four seminars titles Revitalization Seminars for Caregivers and Volunteers.  A lot of us are now facing aging parents moving in with us (or us with them) and are becoming the primary care givers.  Even if the elder is in a home, it can be quite challenging juggling work, kids, dinner, etc AND devoting time to aging relatives.  Some of us do it full time and can easily be consumed with the demands of an elder.  Sister Norma knows first hand, that has been her “job” for over twenty years.  She personally views the social and health services more of a ministry than a job.  Being a positive influence in peoples’ lives means we need to be strong first.  We need “we” time, particular time each day/week that we get a chance to re-group ourselves.  All seminars will be held Panera Bread stores.  The first will be October 10 at 7217 McKnight Road in Ross at 9 am.  the next will be at 9:30 on October 24 at Panera in the Galleria at 1500 Washington Road Mt Lebanon.  November 1 at 9 am 250 Mcholme Drive at The Pointe in North Fayette.  Finally at 9 am on November 15 the seminar will be at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.  You can register by calling 412.536.2020, 412.720.8941 or e-mail bbacka@gatewayhospice.com.  Don’t be ashamed that you could use some help with a task you have taken upon.

Halloween is all around us, even at The Parador Inn:


I love the spider.


The ghouls waiting to greet you.

And if you think you can skip out the side door, look who’s waiting for you.

And Chuckie’s just watching to make sure you clean your plate.

The Jack o Lanterns were made by a guy in Monesson and his father sells his stuff in a funky little semi shop where Becks Run Road dead ends on Carson Street.  I got quite the deal last year.

Well, that’s it for today.  Speaking of tomorrow:  GO STEELERS. :)



Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Harvey Kurtzman (founder of Mad Magazine 1902), James Herriot (veterinarian & author 1916) and George Bancroft (famed American historian 1800).  It is the anniversary of the first woman US Senator, Rebecca Felton (1922), the first airing of the Mickey Mouse Club (1955) and Germany was reunited in 1990.

I’m a  big fan of John Conti, Trib contributor on architecture on Sundays.  He’s recommending an exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art through January 13 called White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes.  The title refers to how the current view on how to exhibit interior art is against an all white background of walls and ceilings.  The Green Maze refers to how multiple pieces of art are displayed in an outdoor setting (this is not referring to a single piece of art placed outside a corporate headquarters).  The exhibit looks at how art not only can be displayed creatively, but can also be a functional part of a city like how Seattle re-purposed a brown field with an “art park” that goes over railroad tracks and a highway giving access to the riverfront.  Think Parkway East Downtown, 10th Street Bypass and many other locations in and around the city.  He suggests taking it a step further and using this concept to develop things other than art.  There are several developments being developed along the “T” in Dormont, Mt Lebanon, Castleshannon and Bethel Park that show an economic variation of this concept.  The exhibit can be view during normal museum hours.  For more info, to to their web site or call 412.622.3131.

Looks like the Garden Theater Block now has a sister restaurant backing up Nakama over here on North Avenue.  Piccolo Forno from Butler Street in Lawrenceville has signed a lease.  Piccolo is a fairly casual restaurant over there serving wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta and paninis.   The best part is Piccolo leased the space that the Garden Theater was in.  A lot nicer use of the space than using it for a food co-op as was the last plan.  The tentative name is Il Giardino, kind of cute.

Speaking of restaurants, BRiX right down the street from me opened for a short time last year with signature brick oven pizzas that were quite good.  Then they ran into issues with the city and the fire marshal have been closed forever.  They have given up on the pizzas and are now planning on opening as Benjamins with specialty hamburgers.  Yes, there’s a lot of new specialty hamburger joints springing up like BRGR in the East End and Burgatory over in the Waterworks, but no hamburger specialty restaurants are over here.  It might hit a cord.  No web site yet.

Thinking of going solar?  There’s a self-guided tour next Saturday (October 13) of 16 homes and businesses scattered around Pittsburgh, Forest Hills, Cranberry, Canonsburg and Uniontown.  On hand will be owners, vendors and people with info on financial support.  The cost is $5 for one or all locations.  For more info on the 2012 Pittsburgh Solar Tour by visiting their web site.

As my regulars know, I always include a hyperlink to businesses I support and never hyperlink when talking about companies I don’t have any respect for.  Hence no hyperlink to help their business.  Which brings me to Starbucks.  (No hyperlink- hint hint).  I really hate people tracking me, I love my privacy.  I never sign up for frequent flyer cards, grocery store and gas station perk cards or any of those other tracking devises.  I have frequently patronized Starbucks and bought coffee, pastries, whatever.  Several years ago, I was in Savannah or Charleston, I don’t remember which, and need Internet access.  I went to a Starbucks and had to join their frequent flyer program to gain access.  I told the girl I didn’t want e-mail advertisements, etc.  She said not to worry, she could handle that.  Since then, I have on occasion received solicitations from Starbucks.  About a month ago, I contacted Starbucks and requested to be removed from their data base because I don’t want their solicitations.   The responding e-mail (a month or two later) said they were unable to remove me from their data base.  So I sent a fairly terse e-mail about my privacy, etc.  The response I received was that I should log into “my Starbucks” account and fill in false information to stop this!  I don’t lie, in general and specifically over something like this.  Below is their latest response:

I am sorry that this issue has upset you, but for record keeping purposes, we are unable to completely delete an account.  However, to remove information from your Starbucks.com account, please go to www.starbucks.com/account and log in to your Starbucks.com account. 

To unregister your cards, click on “Manage My Cards,” choose the card you want to remove from your account and select “Unregister This Card” from the menu at the left-hand side of the page. On the next page simply verify that you wish to remove the Card.

Once you’ve logged in, you can change or remove your billing address information. Select the “Manage My Account” option and then click “Payment Methods” to update your billing address and information. On the next page you will be able to edit your billing address and your credit card number and/or expiration date

You can change or remove your registration address information clicking “Address Book” from the menu on the left-hand side. On the next page you will be able to edit your address and phone number, as well as add any additional addresses that you had associated with your account.

Thanks again for writing us.  If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We would love to hear your feedback. Click here to take a short survey.

Starbucks, that claims to be forward thinking and a progressive company WON’T delete me from their data base.  They refused to give our troops in Iraq their coffee because they are against the war, but they want me lie to stop receiving random e-mails. If a human inputs a name in a data base, a human can remove that name.  Starbucks CHOOSES to keep my information hostage.   I will never step foot in a Starbucks in the future and I encourage all of you to do so also.

I am sorry to say, Starbucks is now in my Evil Company category and will be covered in future posts like UPMC and Port Authority.

My last wedding went well last Saturday.  I was impressed with the caterer.  All the caterers that have worked here have created great food.  But this reception was one of my largest (150 guests) and Kate did plated service for them all.  It went very smooth.  Kate, the bride wanted to have a Pittsburgh theme.  The tables were not numbered, but named Strip District, Bloomfield, etc.  One of the favors was little bottles of Heinz ketchup.  The even had a Peppi’s sub cut up as an app.

Well, that’s about it for today, have a great rest of your week,