Tomorrow is the anniversary of when the Dali Lama fled Tibet (1959), the opening of the Eiffel Tower (1889), Soviet Georgia votes for independence (1991) and we bought the US Virgin Islands for $25M (1917).  It is the birth anniversary of the guy that invented Bunsen Burners, Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen (1811), Rene Descartes (1596), labor rights leader Cesar Chavez (1927) and composer Franz Joseph Hayden (1732).

I don’t know if you remember funeral picture of the Navy Seal Jon Tumilson where is dog was lying under his casket.  Jon perished when the Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan in 2011 killing 28 Seals.  The picture was very moving.  NCIS had an episode based on this story.  Jon’s family is planning on unveiling a statue of Jon and Hawkeye this summer and invited the NCIS crew to the unveiling in Jon’s hometown.

OK guys, be careful.  Downloading “free” from the Internet generally is not “free”.  Which kind of follows life, “Nothing in life is free” to coin a phrase.  :)  Going on line to one of those file sharing sites is not the same as downloading songs from iTunes, movies from Netflix, etc.  When you go to sites like LimeWire, BitTorrent and others, you’re basically walking into the wild west.  The most important thing to remember is to NEVER agree to the software “automatically configuring the settings on your computer”.  That opens all kinds of doors for malware, viruses, worms and other nefarious programs.

In France, a family of Moroccan decent named their newborn on September 11, 2010 Jihad.  Mistake (?) #1.  Recently, his uncle bought him a shirt that read on the front “I am a bomb” and on the back it read “Jihad Born Sept. 11″  Mistake (?) #2.  Jihad’s mom dressed him in the shirt and dropped him off at day care.  Mistake (?) #3.  I’m sorry, I really don’t think there are people out there that are that stupid to name a child that, let alone put that shirt on him and INNOCENTLY send him do day care in it.

I tried to let this one go, but I can’t let it slide.  I thought it was too funny.  When the Republicans met last week at the CPAC convention in Virginia, they were trying to put on a new face that would reach out across the board to all the people they have alienated.  I’m not sure if they think we don’t remember that they were adamantly against immigration reform, one of their planks in the 2012 election was grossly anti gay, they are against woman’s rights in abortion, they want to balance the budget by keeping tax breaks for the 2% and cutting services for the 98%.  Honest, I’m going somewhere here, be patient.  At the convention, because they invited younger delegates (I don’t know, I’m assuming these younger delegates where white and male) the Republicans, for the first time, had basketball courts and game rooms set up.  OMG how out of touch can you be.  I guess they also had makeup kits for the gays, McDonald’s coupons for the poorer, watermelon for the blacks and copies of Representative Akin’s soon to be best seller Legitimate Rape. :)

Richard & Andrew Mellon established the Mellon Institute in 1913 in what eventually became part of Carnegie Mellon University.  They hired Robert Kennedy Duncan, who’s book The Chemistry of Commerce inspired them to lead the Institute.  Research was not a big thing back there, new ideas were created by innovators like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.  Companies didn’t have R & D departments.  The Mellons set up a business incubator sort of set up for R & D.  Talented researchers were sent to the labs on fellowships to work on specific projects.  The labs were segregated so the researchers could keep their ideas private.  Latter on, inspired by this concept of research, Bell Labs, DuPont Research and others spun off.  The original lab is still a two story wooden building on Bayard Street in Pitt’s campus.  Later, it was housed in Allen Hall, also in Pitt’s campus.  In recognition of the far reaching impact of the Institute, The American Chemical Society honored the work with a ceremony and plaque March 28.

Comcast has banned all gun advertising.  And as expected, the sporting goods shops have raised the cry of alarm.  Why can’t we learn to play nice?  Why does everything have to be either or, why can’t we meet in the middle.  I don’t see a use for extended ammunition clips nor do I think you need an assault rifle to hunt deer.  I really would like to see them off the market.  They found 154 spent casing Adam Lanza fired on the floor of Newtown Elementary School.  He fired these in less than five minutes.  He had multiple 30 round clips.  If he only had ten round clips, how many lives could have been saved?  Just one is worth it.  But with as much as this make sense to me, if the majority of Americans still want Uzi’s at Walmart’s check-out line, I think it’s stupid, but will go along with you.  Why does everything have to be soooooo dramatic?

I didn’t even place in the Trib’s 2013 Peep Show.  If you have a Facebook page, you can log in to the Trib’s Facebook page and like me (it’s Peepador #68 out of 112 contestants-that’s not a ranking it’s just where I am) or make comments.  You can also just view all 112 entries at the Trib’s site.  This is also on Facebook, but you can only view from this page.

Have a Happy Easter and don’t eat too much chocolate,






Here’s a first.  Jeff Satterly and Robert Muhlhauser from Historic Natural Disasters submitted a “guest post” for the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 flood on my blog:

Starting on March 21st and lasting until March 27th, 1913, a vast region of the United States was attacked by a storm system so strong and powerful we can only compare the damage it caused to Hurricane Katrina. The storm spanned west to east from Nebraska to New York and north to south from Minnesota to Louisiana. The Midwest and New England were some of the hardest hit areas, and the flooding in the east was so extensive that it still holds the record for the worst flooding on record in many areas.

Pennsylvania got off pretty easy compared to Ohio, where entire cities were turned into lakes.  Damages in Dayton, Ohio alone rose to in excess of $2 billion (in today’s dollars). While some parts of both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were flooded, the damage there wasn’t nearly as significant as it was in other parts of the state.  The effect of the flood on those cities was more economic than physical. With a majority of the Pennsylvania Railroad underwater, the company was forced to halt all transportation and dispatch emergency crews, at a cost tens of millions of dollars in extra wages and lost revenue to get the rails rolling again.  (Pittsburgh later got clobbered with the Saint Patrick’s Day flood of 1936).

Here’s some pictures of the 1913 flood from the Northside’s point of view:

And here’s the same view today:

The town of Sharon, about 70 miles north of Pittsburgh, was filled with 18 feet of water from the Shenango River over the course of 2 days. All communication and transportation to and from the city was crippled for days, so the people in Sharon had no way of getting help from the outside world until 4 days after the flood. Neighboring towns in Shenango River Valley like Farrell, Wheatland, Sharpsville, Middlesex, and Greenville all experienced varying degrees of flooding as well.

In New Castle, the Neshannock Creek began to overflow onto the streets on March 23rd. As the streets filled with water during the day, the Shenango River on the west side of town starting rising rapidly. By noon the Shenango had overflowed its banks and filled parts of the city with up to 5 feet of water. Running water, electricity, and railroad operations were all shut down. The city’s bowl-like shape (with the two rivers being at the bottom) only made it easier for the flood waters to accumulate, particularly in the business district. In New Castle alone the waters washed away 4 bridges and claimed the lives of two.



The above was what North Jefferson Street in New Castle looked like. Below is a picture of the center of New Castle looked like:

Despite the damage, many of the towns in Pennsylvania affected by the flooding were able to complete cleanup efforts and get on with life much more quickly than harder-hit Ohio. Sharon, for instance, had cleaned its streets up and was fully functional just a week later, unlike Dayton, Ohio, where cleanup efforts would take more than a year.

Thanks so much to Ed for letting us share a piece of this historical project in his blog and we’re humbled by the interest in this project, and we really hope you enjoyed this snippet of history!

We’d also like to thank some of the great archives and archivists who have done so much to work to help preserve the amazing history of the 1913 flood, including the Dayton Metro Library and historian and science writer Trudy E Bell.

Don’t forget to check out our web site by clicking the link at the top of the page.  While visiting our web site go to our Mapping History Contest to help us figure out the locations pictured in historic photos from 1913 and you could win $100!  Robert’s friend Jason has sponsored the creation of the blog and is the money bags behind the $100 prize.  :)  So if you need insurance services, Jason at Insurance Town‘s an up standing guy ready to help you out.  (Shameless plug).  :)

Have a great day,

ed, jeff & robert


Tomorrow is Bangladesh Independence Day, Steward’s Day in Alaska (we purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867) and Camp David Accords were signed in 1979.  Birth anniversaries include poet Robert Lee Frost (1874), US Army Nurse & Red Cross champion Jane Delano (1862), playwright Tennessee Williams (1911) and American mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch (1773).

Outside Toledo, Ohio along Lake Erie is Val Meadows Equestrian Center.  Mike McGee runs a therapy horse center with eight very special horses that are OK with their role of helping people with cerebral palsy, autism, emotional and learning disabilities.  You can imagine how well trained (and compassionate) a horse that doesn’t get skittish with someone that might thrash around on it.  Mike’s been doing this for twenty years.  Unfortunately, a fire in the century old barn killed six of his horses as well as some other animals that were boarded in the century old barn.  With as much as Mike feels bad about the horses, he really dreads having to tell the kids about it.  Arson is not suspected.

Six malnourished horses were rescued by Equine Angels Friday from a property in Fairview Township.  Pam Vivirto, the founder of Equine Angels says these six has pushed the number of horses rescued since the first of the year up to 26, quite the jump from 18 during the same time last year.  Besides being malnourished, the horses were caked in mud, dehydrated, had worms among other ailments.  Pam says rising grain prices and a shortage of hay is pushing some horse owners over the edge.  She tries to work with them, if possible, before being forced to rescue them.  The vet bill for these latest six horses was  $700 and with food running $500 a week, she’s appealing for donations.  You can donate directly from her web site.

When I bought the property that became The Parador Inn it already had a license to be a bed and breakfast, but the license was for five single guest rooms.  The reason the previous owner did this is by international building codes (which Pittsburgh adopted in the 1980′s), when you have six or more guests in an Inn, you needed the next higher safety standard, fire escapes.  The previous owner didn’t want to deal with that, hence the license for five single guest rooms.  When I bought it, I wanted seven double occupancy rooms in the Mansion, didn’t want to destroy the outside appearance of the building so in collaboration with my architect we petitioned the city zoning board to let us install a sprinkler system in lieu of the fire escapes.  We conformed to all the other codes and the city agreed.  The sprinkler was installed and I continued with my renovations.  The following March, the hard renovations were completed and I applied for my occupancy permit.  When I went in to ask for it, I was informed I needed a letter of approval from Pittsburgh City Water and Sewer Authority saying it was OK to use their water for the system.  I spoke with Mongovi and Son’s the installers of my system and they told me that the city required buildings to have separate water lines for the domestic water and fire system water.  That way, if the business didn’t pay their water bill, the water authority could shut the domestic water off and not face liability in case of a fire.  This was passed in the 1980′s as well and had only been enforced with new construction, not retrofits.  Mongovi also told me it would cost $20K to $30 to do this (the entire sprinkler system cost $28K).  I called five other master plumbers that could separate the domestic and sprinkler waters and they all echoed what Mongovi said.  I attempted to contact then Mayor O’Connor who never returned my phone calls.  I attempted to contact BJ Leber, his chief of staff that never returned my phone calls.  I contacted then county executive Dan Onorato’s office and his staff member Peter Haverland (?) who was very sympathetic, but said the authority was an independent authority and his office couldn’t make them do anything.  I contacted my city counsel woman’s office, Tanya Payne and tried to get help from her.  At least her office SEEMED to be willing to help.  At one point, while speaking with Payne’s assistant to schedule an appointment between myself, the water authority and Payne, I raised my voice.  I did not curse or use any inappropriate language.  The aide told me she did not have to take my attitude and I immediately and profusely apologized.  I was wrong and told her that and said that after almost two months I was getting frustrated.  We continued the conversation and before I hung up, I again apologized.  When I arrived at the meeting with Payne, her assistant and Greg Tocksic (sp?) the guy in charge of the authority at the time, Payne and Tocksic were sitting next together chatting.  I pointed out the authority had yet to enforce this with retrofits and Tocksic’s reply was “it’s the code”.  I said separating the water lines would be over $20K and he said that wasn’t his concern.  I offered to instal separate lines in my basement (could be done for less than half the cost) and he said I could block his employees from entering my property.  I offered to get an attorney to draft permission that unequivocally gave him the right to enter my property and he said that wasn’t acceptable, I could change my mind at a later date.  I offered a $5K or even $10K deposit, he said no.  He made a comment about if I sold the property and the water lines weren’t separated, there wouldn’t be anything he could do.  I offered to put a lien on my property that that would be the only way it could be sold, with separated water lines.  He said no.  Guess who sat in that room and said NOTHING, Payne.  Oh, I just lied to you.  She did rebuke me twice for being rude to her assistant on the phone.  I informed her that I apologized twice to the assistant on the phone during that conversation and made a big point of apologizing to her again in that meeting.  When Payne ran for re-election, the voters threw her out and elected Daniel Lavell.  Guess where Payne has a job?  The city water and sewer authority.  She’s running for a council seat again, talk about city officials with secret agendas and an “old boys network” taking care of each other.  As a post script, I had to open, so I agreed to separate the water at a tune of $24K.  I broke the sidewalk up and dug the hole to save some money.  Mongovi came and installed the separated lines.  We had to wait for Pittsburgh water authority to shut the water off so we could tap into it.  During this process, I learned that the water authority unilaterally turned the laterals and shut of valves to the residents, they only own the water mains.  Even though I owned the shut off, we waited for them to send a crew out to shut the water off.  When they did, they broke the aged shut off and the supervisor on the crew (why was there a supervisor assigned to a crew that was just shutting the water off, I guess the answer is obvious), pointed to me and told me I was responsible to have the shut off replaced.  Their solution to the water spewing out of the hole was to drive a wooden stake in the old shut off leaving me with no water until the shut off was permitted and replaced.  Thankfully Mongovi was on site, they repaired the shut off to a trickle.  At this point, I wasn’t fighting anymore.  I told Mongovi to schedule me as soon as possible.  Because Western Avenue is a commercial street and technically route 28, the work had to be done after 5 p.m.  So I had to pay Mongovi’s crew overtime for the work.  I also had to pay an off-duty policeman time and a half to direct traffic for the same reasons (has anyone seen how little traffic is on Western Avenue after 5pm?)  This cost me an additional $22K.  (The permit alone was $2,500).   Payne and the water authority drove the price of the sprinkler system up to $75K.  I will do anything to keep her out of office, anything legal that is.

Port Authority is at it again.  The T has been completed for a year now and they are talking about expanding it again.  They are considering running from the Northside to Cranberry, basically following I79 at an estimated $1.385B.  #1, the density of Cranberry is 1,200 per square mile compared to 2,900 per square mile along the south hills route.  #2 the demographics of the residents in that affluent area aren’t the type to share space on public transportation.  #3 they would be encouraging more urban sprawl.  #4 traffic is not as congested along I79N and I279 as along the Parkway west.  An alternative, if they want to extend the T, would be to take it out to the airport.  It would make our airport a lot more attractive having such accessibility to the city.  And if designed right, there’s a ton of space that could be developed along that route.  Just my opinion.

Finally, the tree top zip line course in North Park is scheduled to open next month.  Go Ape is creating an attraction that includes rope swings, zip lines, rope bridges, trapezes and other obstacles.  The cost will be $55 for adults, $35 for children 10 to 17.  I think a partnership like this a win/win for us all.  I really think the government should govern and let stores sell alcohol; restauranteurs provide food service; outdoor outfitters run ski slopes, zip lines, boat rentals, etc.

Keep warm and dry,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the debut of “Big Bertha” gun by the Germans in 1918, it is anniversary of Patrick Henry’s famous speech “Give me liberty or give me death” (1775) and it is Pakistan’s Republic Day.

While in Costa Rica, really enjoyed their Gallo Pinto.  It is like potato salad in America.  Everyone eats it and it’s generally made the same.  Generally speaking, you saute diced onions and red bell pepper in garlic and oil.  At the end, add cilantro.  Add cooked white rice and basically any beans.  It is usually black or pinto beans. You then season it with about four tablespoons of Lizano, which is only made in Lizano Costa Rica.   I found an on-line source for Lizano, Amigo Foods out of Miami.  I ordered it from them and they then sent me an follow up e-mail asking if everything was OK with my experience shopping with them and was I happy with the product.  Yes, it was advertising, to a point, but it was tasteful and not offensive.  (Like the telemarketer with 15 phone calls).  ):

Speaking of tasteful, I certainly wasn’t Thursday.  In fact, I was quite the ass.  I really feel bad.  When we did my newest room, Bromeliad, I specified the paint colors with Sherman Williams colors.  There’s a Sherman Williams store right down the street from me, so it’s convenient and I’m somewhat supporting a local business.  I’ve been using them since I bought my Inn and have a file in my computer with all the colors I’ve used in each room and it’s very easy to get more paint to touch-up or re-paint a room.  Well,this contractor subbed the painting out and the painter took my color chips to Master Works and had them “match” the colors.  They kept the cans of paint discretely out of sight.  I had them paint the room in a flat paint because I was planning on doing a faux finish on the wall above the bed.  Last summer I decided not to do the faux over the bed.  Instead I decided hang a piece of the tin ceiling pieces I have in the basement to give some texture over the bed.  I went to Sherman Williams with the Master Work Paint can and they matched the color up to one of theirs in a semi gloss.  I painted the ceiling panel and hung it between the two prints you see in the picture (obviously the picture on the link was before this project).  You never want flat paint on the walls of a guest room, marks stain it.  With a semi gloss or gloss, generally you can just wipe the mark off with a damp cloth.  I was getting a fair amount of marks on the walls and decided while it’s slow in the winter and I now that have Oleander’s bathroom project finished, I’d paint all the walls in Bromeliad.  I went down in the basement and got a quart of blue paint off the shelf and called the name and  number in to Sherman Williams and ordered two gallons of paint.  I got the room all prepped and started painting it and the new paint was much lighter than the paint on the walls.  Sometimes, particularly with deep colors, the paint dries a lot different than when wet.  I kept painting and kept looking at the painted walls and they aren’t drying to the color it should be.  At this point, I’m 3/4 of the way around the room and Sherman Williams is closed for the day.  I decided to finish the walls so when I get the paint color correct, I’d be dealing with the same thing throughout the room.  I slapped some of the new paint on the piece of tin ceiling.  The next morning, I take the gallon can, the quart and the tin ceiling panel down to Sherman Williams and proceeded to throw a fit.  It got to the point that Rick, the manager came out and was dealing with me.  He’s telling me the color on the quart and the color on the gallon look to be the same and took them both out to their work area to take samples.  This past summer, I had also ordered a quart of the teal I use for the exterior trim for touch up.  I ordered two gallons of my exterior trim paint (aquaduct) instead of the correct quart (aquarium).  I couldn’t apologize enough and Rick was the the perfect manager saying things like “If this is the worst that happens to me today, it’s going to be a good day.  Don’t worry about it.”    While they were mixing the paint, I ran the tin ceiling piece, quart and gallon cans down to my Inn.  When I returned to Sherman Williams to get the new paint, Rick was in the middle of the store and handed me the new gallon.  I had my wallet out and looked at him and he said “It’s on me”.  I said “No, it was my mistake”.  He said “Let me be a nice guy”.  He has ensured that I will ALWAYS use Sherman Williams in the future.

Speaking of Oleander, here’s it finished:

One of the reasons for refinishing the walls, was I added a shower to the tub and even though we had the wainscoting pretty protected with shower curtains, water was getting on it behind the tub and the finish was washed away and the wood was going to start getting damaged.  After refinishing the wainscoting, my plan was to put 1/8″ sheet of plexiglass over that section of wainscoting to protect it.  I went up to Eastern Glass and Mirror up over the West End where I had been getting my glass and plexiglass since moving up here.  I’ve had the feeling that they kept getting more and more expensive each time I got something from them.  I really don’t look for warm and fuzzy from a glass person, but they’ve never been very friendly and I’ve been a customer for seven years.  When I ordered the piece for Oleander, their price really seemed over the top.  So when I got home, I looked in the phone book for someone else and came across Cully Glass over here on the Northside.  I called and got directions and stopped by with exactly what I was looking for.  Jack Cully’s price was significantly less that Eastern’s price and Jack is Mr. Personality.

One of the things on my long list of projects has been having the mirror over the bathroom sink in Oleander re-silvered.  There’s not a lot of people that do that anymore.  None in Pittsburgh that I could find, but there does seem to be two in Pennsylvania.  I’ve been planning on contacting them, but haven’t gotten around to it.  The mirror over the sink is a rectangular mirror with two oval mirrors hinged each hinged to opposite sides of the rectangular mirror.  Somehow during this project the center mirror actually got cracked.  So Wednesday,I took it off the wall and brought it down to Jack to take a look at it.  He was pretty busy and told me just to leave it.  I told him I was OK if he couldn’t get to it right away, he could just measure it and I’d pick it up “as is” and when he has time he can take care of it.  He said to leave it and he’d look into it later.  He called me Thursday morning to tell me it was finished.  I love great business persons.  His phone number is 412-321-5150 and he’s located at 1301 Beaver Avenue, down in Chateau.  He shares a building with Lenzer bus services around back of that building.

OK, restrain yourselves.  I know Easter is next Sunday, but think twice before going out buying a cute bunny.  Gretchen Fieser of the WPHS says they put more than 300 rabbits up for adoption last year, most were surrendered later summer/early fall when the “cuteness” factor ran it’s course and reality set in.  #1 rabbits are a long term commitment, they live up to ten years.  #2 not all veterinarians treat them.  #3 you can’t buy “bunny food” like dog food.  Their diet of hay and vegetables has to be made each day.  #4 rabbits need as much veterinary attention as dogs and cats.  #5 they have a hyper active digestive system and pass around 260 pellets a day.  Now on the bright side, rabbits aren’t all boring and indifferent as their reputation suggests.  You’d be pretty boring if you lived your life in a small cage (you might already be pretty boring and not live in a cage-just kidding).  :)  Rabbits are actually pretty friendly, affectionate and fairly curious.  If you are thinking about a rabbit, why not adopt one?  Adult rabbits are pretty much as cute as bunnies are.  There’s several shelters that have rabbits for adoption, like WPHS down the street from me, there’s Rabbit Wranglers and Animal Friends over in Killbuck.

The Mexican Grocery Las Palmas Carniceria has a third location.  I’ve been aware of the one over in Brookline and Oakland, but was unaware they had one down in Little Washington on Chestnut Street.  In case you haven’t been, they are well stocked Latin American grocery stores and butcher shops.  They also have great taco stands outside their stores, but only go in nice weather.  There’s not a lot of shelter or seating.

Have a great weekend,



Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685), vintner Julio Gallo (1910), full blooded Zapotec (Mexican) Indian Benito Pablo Juarez who ended up being Mexico’s president (1806) and Declaration of Independence signer Francis Lewis (1713).  It is Namibia Independence Day (from 1990), Noruz, Iranian New Year’s Day, India’s Saka calendar New Year’s Day, Baha’i New Year’s day Naw Ruz, Selma Civil Rights March (1965) and it is the anniversary of the death of Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe 1595).

Finally, I got the picture of me on a zip line in Costa Rica in a format I can share with you.  Honestly, at this point I wasn’t scared, it was the 9th leg of the trip down.  To make a correction, Costa Rica uses metric, so I was traveling 75 kph, not 75 mph.  :)

There are two outdoor leadership programs coming up through Venture Outdoors.  From 7 pm April 5 through 5 pm April 7 they will be teaching folks how to lead hiking, Biking and Kayaking groups.  (I’m assuming this class is not straight through).  :)  It is being held at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Marion, Beaver County and costs $50 for members and $67 for non-members.  The other class will be a wilderness first aid class and is a 16 hour course.  It’s being taught at Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center in Ford City from 7:45 am April 20 through 5 pm on April 21.  The cost is $220 for members and $250 for non-members.  More info on their web site or by calling 412-255-0564.

I thought I talked about the Latrobe High School‘s art collection in the past, but when I did a search on my blog, nothing came up.  I knew they had a fairly sizable collection on their walls (around 200 paintings and some sculptures and photographs), but what I didn’t know was how this artwork came to be.  During the Great Depression (1936), art teacher Mary Martha Himler wanted to expose her students to artwork.  The closest art museum was here in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Art Museum, way to far and they didn’t do field trips during the Depression.  So Ms Himler would borrow paintings from the Associated Artists to display.  Jim Beatty, the social studies teacher got involved and would speak about the paintings.  Mr Beatty was one of  the student council’s advisers and got the student council to work on the idea purchasing artwork for the school.  The student body would all team up to raise the money and then vote on which piece (s) to purchase.  This tradition continues to this day.  I have never actually been in the high school, I’ve just seen pictures of the artwork and was curious how it remained on display, in a high school and not suffer damage, graffiti or theft.  I guess when you “own” something, you take pride in it.

How petty.  Our illustrious mayor threw Senator Wayne Fontana off the  Sports and Exhibition Authority days after Fontana endorsed Councilman Bill Peduto, a bitter rival of Ravenstahl.  Ravenstahl announced last week that he wouldn’t seek reelection, the job has too much stress.  What a child.  This is the same mayor that denied repeatedly he got into a fight with a Pittsburgh Police Officer at Heinz field.  Lukey was in college at the time, who would have cared?  Have any of you gotten into a fight with a police officer and “forgot”.  This kind of childishness is one of the big problems of why the mayor’s office and city council have been at each others’ throats since Ravenstahl came to office.  It’s like the democrats and republicans in Washington.  Serious guys, can’t we all grow up and learn to play nice with each other?

I do have to give Lukey some credit.  He’s decided to take on the evil giant, UPMC and is trying to revoke their nonprofit status.  UPMC reported a $220.7M PROFIT  last year.  I believe UPMC has a different term, but the money left over after you pay all your bills still boils down to profit, no matter what the semantics.  To qualify as a charitable hospital, they need to provide 4% free care to the less fortunate.  UPMC CONSISTENTLY hoover at the 4%, they NEVER go up to even 5%.  They might have a very generous year and do 4.2%.  Any way, UPMC spokesman Paul Wood said “If UPMC ran its affairs as poorly  as some of our local governments, it would not have become the internationally known, world-class health care institution it is today”.  Wow, I guess we took our gloves off here.  :)  As an aside, the evil non-profits are pushing a state wide bill stripping local governments power to declassify non-profit status.  If you happen to talk to your elected representative, please make it known that this is a local thing.  We know the difference between Springboard Kitchens and UPMC.

I’ve talked about traveling restaurants and retail in the past.  Street vending seems to be pretty huge in Los Angeles.  Here’s a new twist.  The JW Marriott in Los Angeles has some pretty extensive meeting and convention space.  One of the things their convention services team offer guests is an assortment of real street vendors just outside the convention center on the Marriott’s private road.  The hotel has a list of “approved vendors” that they have already investigated to ensure they offered a quality product, run clean and legal trucks and will offer limited items so they can expedite service.  Since they can have up to 1,000 attendees, time is critical.  It seems usually the attendees prefer to stand and eat like you would on the street.  The Marriott does offer to put Astro Turf down and picnic tables if requested.  Kind of thinking outside the traditional boxed lunch.  :)

Last spring, Tom Hendrix’s monument to his great-great-grandmother was completed.  Te-lah-nay was one of the Indians forced to relocate back in the 1830′s that marched the Trail of Tears to the Oklahoma reservation.  She was so unhappy there, that she walked back to Alabama and married a local man.  They had three children before she passed away at a young age.  While talking to an elderly American Indian women, Tom came away with a quote “We honor our ancestors with stones.”  Later, when Tom retired, he decided to build a remembrance that turned out to be two parallel walls that run a mile and are from three to five feet high and six to eighteen feet wide.  There is no rhyme or reason to the variances, he just let the walls dictate their creation.   At 79 years old, Tom’s pretty glad he doesn’t have to go around rummaging stones anymore.  :)

Have a great one and keep warm,





Tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of the US Military Academy (1802), the My Lai Massacre (1968), the premier of The Gumby Show (1957) and commemoration of the first liquid fueled rocket launch called Goddard Day (1926).  Birth anniversaries include Declaration of Independence signer George Clymer (1739), president James Madison (1751) and Civil War general John Pope (1822).

I had the telemarketer from h*ll, and I do mean that.  My phone rang, it was an out of state area code and I answered it (I always answer the phone, but I just wanted to point out that I looked at the number).  He started by offering me a “free web site”.  There’s nothing for free in the world, other than air.  :)  And I’m very happy with my web site The Parador Inn.  So I told him I was happy with my web site, didn’t need a new or free one and hung up.  He’s calling on my dime and I figured I gave him more than he deserved.  My phone immediately rings, I expect it to be him and it was a different area code and phone number.  When I answered it, he said “Ed, I’m offering you a free web site.”,  I said I didn’t want it and hung up again.  The phone rings again, still a different area code and number and when I answered the phone, he said “Ed, why don’t you want a free web site?”.  I’m fairly annoyed at this point and said”Maybe if you learned how to speak English clearly, someone may be more inclined to to listen to your pitch” and hung up.  He called me six more times, all from different phone numbers and I ended up shutting my phone off.  I can’t leave the phone off for long, so I turned it back on about twenty minutes later and it was fine, then he started again.  We played this cat and mouse game the rest of Friday afternoon.  In all, I got over 15 calls from him.  I called the FCC to see what could be done and they explained #1 I’m a business and they won’t do anything for me and #2 he’s calling from fake numbers and there would be no way to trace them.  Apparently, he doesn’t work evenings or weekends, because I go no phone calls after five or over the weekend.    Monday morning he calls me again!  So I dutifully listen to a short sales pitch, told him again I was very happy with my web site and would not ever deal with him, he could call me repeated all day and I would dutifully answer each call and immediately hang up.  A waste of both of our times.  I haven’t heard from him since.

I’ve had a peregrine falcon hanging out in my yard lately.  My two squirrels I’ve been feeding over the winter disappeared for awhile.  I thought they ended up being lunch, but they’re back.  Here’s a picture of my peregrine from my desk:

So cool.

His/Her (I can’t tell the sex on falcons from the ground and have no intention of getting close enough to find out) :) cousin Dorothy has laid her first egg in her nest at The Cathedral of Learning.  They anticipate three more.  The live web cam is not always up and running.  There is also a nesting pair of peregrine’s on the Tarentum Bridge.  While we’re speaking of birds, a pair of nesting Bald Eagles have settled in the Hays area of Pittsburgh (across the Glennwood Bridge from Hazelwood) and some eagles have been spotted up route 28 around Harmar.

I’ve been fairly neutral towards our relatively new county executive Rich Fitzgerald.  I was pretty happy when he stood up to Port Authority’s Steve Bland awhile ago and demanded reforms and was totally in favor of Bland getting the axe.  I was a bit concerned when Mr. Fitzgerald was pushing for Joe Brimmeier to take the lead of Port Authority (whom Mr Fitzgerald appointed to the Port Authority’s Board last March).  Brimmeier was coming from the PA Turnpike Commission and they are famed for political patronage.  In the year Brimmeier has been on the Board, he #1 tried to get contracts to his sister, who’s an architect, for the Port Authority.  Brimmeier concerned several other board members by his frequent questions on how Port Authority contracts are bidded, why they are frequently just renewed instead of put out for re-bidding (not necessarily a bad question).  And Brimmeier’s push to push out existing contractors for the purpose of bringing in new contractors without an obvious reason.  This week,  criminal charges were brought against Brimmeier’s for all kinds of corruption charges.  #1, shouldn’t Mr Fitzgerald done some homework on whom he put on the Board (or maybe he did).  :( .  #2, didn’t Mr Fitzgerald pay attention to what was going on with his appointee?  This has me very concerned about the integrity of our county’s chief executive.

The Pitcairn Historical Society is seeking railroad memorabilia, particularly if it’s from the Pitcairn Rail Yard.  In it’s day, it was a major component of the Pennsylvania Rail Road.  At 4,700 employees, it was one of the largest rail yards in the country.  It was designed around a “hump” where they would lug a car up a slight rise and release it down grade from the top and through a series of switches would funnel that car through 35 “fingers” or spurs to organize the cars according to their destinations.  The yard also had round houses where trains could be repaired.  The Historic Society only has ten members, so their memorabilia is only on display once a week at a former church on the corner of Center and Agatha Streets.  More info at their web site or by calling 412-373-0052.

The concept Live-Work-Play has been around since the 1990′s around Chicago, New York, Seattle and some other metro areas.  Obviously with the name, you should pretty much be able to figure out exactly what this development is all about.  They are taking a large area, designating areas for homes, businesses, retail/restaurants, possibly light industrial all connected with parks, plazas and other amenities making the whole development kind of like a Main Street with everything accessible by walking.   T & R Properties from Ohio is planning one out in Cecil, AdVenture Development out of South Carolina is planning one out at McCandless Crossings.  Smaller developments are being planned around the Mt Lebanon and Castle Shannon T stops.  Somewhat of an urban environment in the country.  One study found in 2011 by the National Association of Realtors found that 6 out of 10 people preferred living in a mixed use neighborhood where you can walk to stores and businesses.

Stand back the Indigo Girls, say not the the Brazilian Girls, it’s time for the Guerrilla Girls.  No, this isn’t a new trend, they’ve been around since 1984.  They always were guerrilla masks and take the names of deceased female artists to maintain their anonymity.  Seriously, no one knows who they are.  They started in 1984 when the MOMA in New York held An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture intended to be a summary of the most significant artwork in the world and of the 169 pieces selected, 13 were by women.  Of the 156 male artists, 156 were white.  To add insult to injury, the curator said “any artist who wasn’t in the show should rethink ‘his’ career.  So the Guerrilla Girls started their campaign to make the art world more inclusive.  Henry Heinz Art Museum director Lynn Zelevansky will present a dialogue with two Guerrilla Girls as part of the Carnegie Museum of Art’s series What Are Museums For at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland at 7 pm on March 20.  More info and ticket information either at the art museum’s web site or by calling 412-622-3288.

Some of my favorite restaurants are little whole in the wall kind of places. Medozza Express in Greentree and Casa Rasta in Beechview (until they moved into their new digs next door) are not known for ambiance.  So the opening of Salud Cuban American Restaurant’s outside appearance doesn’t scare me.  I hope to check them out next week.

Starting today at the Carnegie Science Center a new IMAX film Flight of the Butterflies chronicles the forty years of study by the late Canadian Fred Urquhart and how he discovered their winter hideout in Mexico (the original snow birds)  :)  Entire trees are completely covered in these beautiful creatures, when you first see the image, you mistake all the butterflies for leaves.  There was a huge drop in the monarch butterfly population just this past year.  The film hopes to inspire people to plant milkweed (butterfly weed) and asciepias in their gardens to help these gorgeous creatures survive their twice a year journey.  More info at the Science Center’s web site or by calling 412-237-3400.

Bar Codes, Universal Product Codes, UPC’s turn forty this June 26.  In 1973, Heinz, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Del Monte and others adopted this stand way to differentiate between a case of canned corn and a case of oatmeal.  Obviously, the technology has exploded as has it’s use.  Bar codes are one dimensional images of various width lines and numbers scanners can read.   Using six sided scanners, FedEx is able to track packages as they move 540 feet per minute in their warehouses.  The next wave in scanned codes was two dimensional QR Code (Quick Response Code) has the ability to keeps tons more data in them.  This technology was developed by Toyota to track production in the auto manufacturing plants.  It has since evolved into a consumer product that you can wave your smart phone in front of the graphics and your latte is scanned, sold and paid for.  You can also go down to the Commons Park, right down the street from me and scan the QR Code on the trees by this summer and you can get the history of what the tree is and possibly when the tree was planted. The most recent trend is in health care.  Federal officials are pushing the health care industry to use GS1 DataMatrix technology to keep track items in their inventory.  In particular they can track serial numbers of products so a re-call can more or less be instantaneous.  It would also prevent healthcare professionals from inadvertently using expired product.  Radio-frequency identification seems to be the newest wave in this kind of technology.

Well, that’s about it, have a great night and we’ll chat again soon,




Tomorrow is the anniversary of the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler (1943), Mattel introduced the Ken doll (1961), planet Uranus was discovered (1781), the Arab oil embargo ended (1974) and ear muffs were patented (1887).  Birth anniversaries include author L Ron Hubbard, gastronomic Lorenzo Delmonico (1813), the clergyman that discovered oxygen Joseph Priestly (1733) and American astronomer Percival Lowell (1855).

One of my favorite contests is underway, The Tribune Review’s Peep Show.  Show your creativity by submitting your peeps in a diorama.  Some of them are really funny.  The deadline is 5 pm, Monday, March 25.  Watch for The Parador Inn‘s tropical entry.  :)

There was some good news that came out of the Commerce Department recently.  Raw statistics imply that factory workers income has dropped quite a bit from previous to the great recession compared to a comparable worker outside manufacturing.  But that doesn’t take into account medical and retirement benefits added to the basic hourly rates.  This combined with the fact that factory workers generally work more hours than their counterparts add up to factory workers have actually gained income since the great recession.  Add this to increased productivity of factory workers in that time span, it’s a win win.  I’m not saying things are good, I’m just saying there is some blue skies out there.

Has anyone noticed the huge increase in corporate casual dining advertising?  Applebee’s, Chili’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc are really spending a ton of money on advertising.  That’s because their sales are way down.  Some studies indicate that the general public’s spending more money on the less expensive fast food than what they were spending on corporate casual dining.  I’m hoping the shift is to  independent restaurants.

There’s an official name for that really ugly architecture I’ve hated for years.  Brutalist!  I remember the first time I saw Pitt’s Posvar Hall, what a monstrosity.  In the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s French architect Charles Edouard Jenneret pioneered this style known for interlocking spaces and abstract shapes.  This style was very academia driven and that’s why you see it more often on college campuses that in general building.  Other local examples of this style are the Duquesne University student union and Chatham University’s Jennie King Mellon Library.  This style welcomed industrial appearance of large unadorned spaces often with things like leaving the impression of wood forms in the concrete.  Sometimes they would cover this with a more appealing covering of limestone (Prosvar Hall) or something like this, but the big bulky structure is still there.  Even windows were minimized, the new county jail on Second Avenue is an example of modified Brutalism.

Pittsburgh’s experimenting with a bike share program.  Funded by $4M the initial leg of this program will be from Oakland to Bakery Square.  Users can buy a $7 per day, $15 for three days, $25 per month and $75 for a year long pass.  You pick up the bike at one of the designated locations and drop it off at another.  Trips are supposed to be just 30 minutes and you get a surcharge if you keep the bike out later.  This is in addition to Bike Pittsburgh that also rents bikes out, their closest location to me is under the Bill Mazeroski brige (6th Street by PNC Park) that also rents kayaks in warmer weather.

The city’s offering a free shuttle service this Saturday for St Patrick’s Day, the 144th annual parade  starts at 10 am.  You can park for free at the 2nd Avenue lot (by the 10th Street Bridge where Greyhound was set up while the transportation center was being built).  And then it’s free shuttle service between Downtown and Southside.  Service is scheduled from noon until 4 am and you can even leave your car in the lot overnight if you imbibe too much.  :)

Primer on touch screens.  We all have seen touch screens around for years.  Earliest major use of them were at ATM machines and point of sale terminals for restaurant and retail workers.  These were two pieces of material, separated by space and covered with a protective pad.  When you pressed on the screen, the two sides connected where you touched sending a signal of what you were trying to do.  The iPhone came up with a new technology where there was a single glass sheet that was electrified and this is what Steve Jobs got to do multiple tasks like expanding the screen.  The use of touch screens is huge, obviously in smart phones, computer notebooks, etc.  Northside’s own Dawar is huge in specialized touch screens for manufacturing, medical and other specialized uses.  They customize each application for it’s intended use.  Dawar (founded as Davis & Warde publishing 144 years ago) took over the USA Gourmet building behind Wendy’s and McDonald’s on Allegheny Avenue about six years ago.  They manufacture this pads here and obviously in China and employ about 40 here and 600 overseas.

Peaches and cream, hot dogs and relish, apple pie and vanilla ice cream-some things just go together.  How about Cops and Doughnuts?  In 2009, when a local bakery was getting ready to close in Clare, Michigan, several police officers got together and bought the venture.  It has been quite the success, and with menu items like the Night Stick (cinnamon twist), Taser (lemon filled doughnut), and Felony Fritter (large fried apple fritter), how could they go wrong?  The bakery has been such a success that they have opened The Traffic Stop Diner next door and even a remote location in nearby Harrison called the Precinct Store.  Pretty cute.  :)


Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of Amerigo Vespucci (1454), cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and Vyacheslav Molotov (interesting story on how the incendiary devises came by his name 1890).  Barbie debuted in 1959, General Grant was commissioned commander of the union forces in 1864 and it is the anniversary of the Tokyo blanket bombing where 343 Superfortresses carried all the incendiary bombs they could carry and 16 square miles of paper and wood homes were leveled and the death toll was over 83,000.

The Seventh Annual Farm to Table Conference is scheduled March 22 and 23 at DL Convention Center.  The have over 65 exhibitors scheduled and plan on having networking, educational opportunities, cooking demonstrations, gardening tips and much more.  Various prices depending on various options, go to their website for details.

The Pittsburgh Public Market seems to have found a new home.  Neighbors in the Strip, their sponsor, signed a lease in the 2400 block of Penn Avenue, execution of the lease depends on them raising the money needed to renovate the building.  One asset this new property has is it’s on the level with the sidewalk which makes it wheelchair accessible.  Another is it offers twice the square footage.  Another is it gets them away from those evil people at Buncher Development (did I mention I have no respect for those money hungry, no respect for our history or historic preservation?).  Also in the plan is to create a commercial kitchen, which would be a real asset for a venue such as this.  This would give the vendors access to legal commercial kitchen space and give the opportunity to give cooking classes, etc.

I like the term “fractivists”.  I am very much in favor of extracting energy sources with a lesser carbon foot print, but safely.  The ultimate  energy source would be totally green with no carbon foot print, but this is the real work and we need compromise.  We are and will be for decades, paying for “industrialists” that took the coal from under us and we have that unhealthy, smelly and deadly to aquatic animals acid mine drainage.  Lets not do that again.  You can call me many things, some I may not approve of, fractivist would not be one of those.  :)

OK, are you ready to Pysanky?  Do you have any idea what I’m talking about (or care)?  Pysanky is the Ukrainian tradition of ensuring the earth’s survival through decorating eggs.  It keeps us in balance. Pysanky is the art of placing  bee’s wax (or is it bees’ wax)  :) with a funnel funneling the wax unto specific areas of the egg you want to stay white.  You then dip the egg in the lightest color of dye.  Cover the section(s) that you want to remain that color with bee’s wax (or is it bees’ wax) and dip the egg in the next darker color of dye.  Continue this process and when you have achieved the pattern you are looking for, peel off the wax.   They will be teaching Pysanky at the Sewickley Public Library Saturday from 1 pm until 4 pm.  If you are busy Saturday, you can go to St John Russian Orthodox Church at 450 Glenwood Drive, Ambridge, PA any Friday in Lent from 7 to 9 pm.

Keystone Oak High School is sponsoring an electronics recycling next Saturday (March 16) from 10 am until 1 pm.  It is now illegal in Pennsylvania to dispose of electronic equipment in landfills anymore.  They are setting up in the middle school parking lot (next to the high school).  There is no charge.

Several years ago New York City created the High Line Park, built on an unused elevated rail line.  The founders of Low Line Park just reached their Kickstarter goal of $155K to get this underground park built.  Dan Barasch, co-founder of the non-profit for this park wants to take the old Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal in the Lower East Side and convert this underground terminal into a park complete with natural light so plants can grow.  He plans on using a new technology that captures natural light above ground and moves it through fiber optics below ground.  An added benefit of this system is the dangerous UV wave lengths will not be transported down the fiber optic channels.   There are many architectural features still down there that he plans on using in the final design.

Years ago I was involved with a local company cafeteria that was the first step outside the institutional setting of the Goodwill training program for food service workers.  If the trainees passed the mustard in my cafeteria, they graduated to regular jobs on the outside.  Recently I read an article in the PAII newsletter about an initiative in St Augustine, Florida where the local bed and breakfast association started a food service training program for convicted criminals either recently released on about to be released so they could learn marketable skills.  Recently, Jennifer Flanagan founded Springboard Kitchen over on 9th Street on the Southside by Mercy Behavioral Health as a food service training program for clients that have “barriers to employment”.  Several other very interesting things about this endeavor includes over 10,000 pounds of fresh foods rescued.  To accomplish a goal of providing fresh foods, the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank ends up with perishable foods that are nearing the end of their shelf life.  That’s when Chef Josh Den Boer and crew step in.  Frequently they don’t have immediate uses for this perishable food, so Chef Josh needs to figure out how to break it down, cook it down, freeze it or preserve it.  Pretty amazing.  And there’s another goal with Springboard, serving food-insecure or at risk people.  Jennifer’s goal here is to prepare as good of a meal as she can because quite possibly, this meal is the only meal these folks are going to get that day.

Speaking of people with a heart, Karen Phillips, VMD founded Hope Haven Animal Sanctuary in Wexford.  Doctor Phillips left private practice a decade ago to work with animal shelters where she felt most needed.  While listening to The Secret on audio tape while driving, she decided to open Hope Haven for homeless farm animals.  This is a group not serviced my most shelters.  Due to zoning issues, she can not take in cattle or horses.  But pigs, sheep, fowl, etc are all welcome.  She hopes this year to team up with local 4H clubs and start regularly scheduled tour of her facility.  She’s looking for volunteers if you are up in that area.  :)

I’ve been a customer of DirecTV for years.  My first time with them was when I moved to Florida in the mid 90′s, I used them at my residence.  Then when I opened my first bed and breakfast, they were who I used.  When I moved to Pittsburgh, I interview several cable providers and DirecTV kind of won by default.  Overall, I think it’s a good value for the money, other than occasionally having minor service interruptions because of weather I’ve been very satisfied with them.  I must say, whenever I call for technical support, the tech team has always been Johnny on the Spot.  It’s just getting to the support team that drives me nuts.  I deal with a fair amount of national companies and I swear the thrive on making us jump through hoops.  Verizon’s recorded message going into voice mail is one of the most annoying.  Well, I had problems with one of my DirecTV receivers the other day and called for tech support.  After going through the usual queue, I even had to endure an advertisement for “referring a friend”.  When the tech got on the phone, I voiced a complaint about this to her.  As always, she was very professional and expressed regret at my displeasure.  The next day, I received a solicitation from DirecTV to evaluate how my experience was with their tech support.  I rated the techie very good, the experience very bad.  I explained that I already knew that I was going to have to devote close to 10 minutes for rebooting the system once she sent a signal from her home location.  Add to that the 8 minutes going through the queue and the advertisement, 20 minutes of my life is too much.  I got a call later yesterday from a senior DirecTV representative that couldn’t have been nicer and concerned about my loyalty!  She gave me her direct line as well as a toll free number that goes directly into tech support.  DirecTV has a loyal customer for life.

Well, I guess this is about it for today, have a great one and enjoy these near 60 degree days  coming up,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of Arkansas Hot Springs National Park, Pennsylvania was deeded to William Penn (1681), famed football coach Knute Rockne’s birth anniversary (1888), Vermont was admitted to the Union (1791), Chicago was incorporated in 1837 and it is the anniversary of the of the first meeting of Congress under our constitution (1789).

Two Pittsburgh filmed films are being released this spring.  6 Souls, the filming title was Shelter, was shot in 2008 and is a horror film about multiple personalities staring Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  The flic has a limited theater release on April 5.  Lovestruck, the Musical will be on ABC Family on April 21 was originally called Elixir.

The Professional Disc Golf Association World Championship will be held in Allegheny and Butler Counties on July 25 through August 1, 2015.  They anticipate about 400 participants and a modest economic impact of $1.5M for the area.  There are about nine flying disc courses in our area, if you want to practice up to see if you want to compete.  :)  More info on local disc activities are at Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society and if you want a world view, go to the PDG Association website above.

The Glade Run Lutheran Services in Zelienople has a CSA program that is a training program for 85 children and adolescents with diagnosed mental health conditions.  The farm efforts of these kids supply 65 families with farm fresh produce for 18 weeks out of the year.  What a great way to give those kids some life skills and fill a community need (we all need more fresh from the farm foods and less ultra manufactured processed foods).  They sell small boxes at $374 and large boxes for $464.

Through April 30, ToonSeum will be hosting Drawn to Peace, The Art of Atila Ozer during their normal operating hours.  This Turkish born artist has an impressive collection of peace-themed cartoons.  His cartoons have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Turkey, Germany and Austria.  With admission of just $5, you can’t go wrong here.  :)

There is a website that helps people find scholarships for themselves or children.  Scholarship America has a very informative website with a lot of tools to start the quest.  Remember, the #1 rule is never take no for an answer.  I may have told this story in the past.  When I got out of the military, I started college and hung out with four other vets.  We were a bit older than the other students and had common interests from being vets.  We had all applied and were receiving the benefits from the GI Bill.  Pennsylvania had a provision in PHEA that they paid our tuition.  So during our first semester, we all applied for this benefit.  It was denied because they said you had to apply the previous semester to receive it.  I didn’t agree with this “policy”, how could we apply for the grant when we were still in the military?  So my friends and myself re-applied.  And were turned down a second time.  My friends wouldn’t apply for a third time, I did and I ended up having my tuition paid from my first semester onward.  Persistence pays.  :)

Speaking of TED (my last post talked about CMU’s version of this national conference), it was on TV tonight!  CIMEMOI carried all four days.  It was pretty interesting listening to all these super smart people and all their ideas.  I love smart.

Speaking of TV, (sorry, just wanted to do two Speakings in a row).  :)  Is it just me or are you guys getting fed up with that stupid advertising the TV stations are putting on the bottom of the screen during regular programing?  When they started doing this, maybe two years ago, it was occasional and small.  They almost have two programs running at the same time.  And it’s not that they reduced the amount of regular commercial breaks.  And while I’m whining, I watch the news in the morning as I’m getting ready for the day.  They have the ticker tape on the bottom of the screen either mimicking what they are talking about, other news or just blah-blah-blah.  They also run school closings/delays listed down there as are the time and current temperature.  How much information do we  need?  And taking this one step further, they run the closed caption down there as well and no one coordinates all this so there is a cohesive bit of information down there.  It’s like Luke Ravenstahl making the city “bike friendly” and just adding bike lanes without measuring the width of that street and whether there’s enough room to add a bike lane or two or any other use of intelligent design .

I’ll quit complaining now, talk soon,