Tomorrow is Julia Pierpont Day, accredited with originating Decoration Day that later became a National Holiday Memorial Day, remember our troupes that have given so much.  It is Australian Sorry Day  where they express regress for the forced removal of aboriginal children from their parents, it is Georgia’s Independence Day from USSR and the anniversary of the Evacuation of Dunkirk (1940).  Birth anniversaries include actor John Wayne (1907), musician Al Jolson (1886) and singer Peggy Lee (1920).

Peter Guibert emigrated here from France at age one in 1843 ending up in the Northside.  He joined the Union Army to fight in the Civil War as a drummer boy at the age of 17 and was in the Battle of Bull Run and Gettysburg.  On May 26, 1913, at the age of 70, he took his Civil War drum and walked from The Commons to Gettysburg to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that battle.  His drum lay in an attic for years.  A family member found the drum and gave it to Jim Smith of New York who graduated with degrees in music and engineering and restores drums.  Jim, also 70, rebuilt the drum and to commemorate the 150th anniversary will be marching with that drum from the Northside to Gettysburg with stops in Jeannette, Greensburg, Ligonier, Bedford and Breezewood.  If you would like to see Jim off, he will be departing at 9 am.  They are also having a ceremony honoring Peter Guibert at his grave site at Highwood Cemetery on Brighton Road this Friday at 2:30 pm.

PNC Bank made $190M in ATM fees last year, US Bancorp made $346M and Citizens made $86M, that’s a lot of change for ATM usage.  You know when you use an ATM not owned by your bank, that bank charges you a $2-$3.50 fee and then sometimes your bank will charge you for using the other bank’s ATM.  The Dodd-Frank legislation puts a lot of limits on the fees banks can charge, like the interchange fee they charge merchants.  But there is no limit on what banks can charge for the use of their ATM machines, it’s basically what the market will bare.  In banks defense, a cash dispensing machine only costs them about $9,000.  Where one of those “smart” ATM’s that can scan a check you are depositing and give you a receipt with a picture of the check and other upgraded features cost in excess of $50,000.  Just as they charge different amounts for regular unleaded gas versus premium, why not do a similiar thing with ATM’s?  Cash dispenser’s get a $2 non customer usage fee and smart ATM usage charges $4.50?

Having lived in Florida during “The Mean Season“, a book published by the Palm Beach Post documenting the devastating hurricanes in Florida in 2004, I’ve often wondered about tornadoes that cause such destruction in the mid-west and why there would be such damage.  (If you visit The Parador, there’s a copy of this book on the coffee table in my Parlor).  I erroneously assumed that since winds of hurricanes typically don’t go over 150 mph and the intensity of 200+ mph winds of a tornado are something modern building can’t defend against.  I was wrong.  If the mid-west adopted the Miami/Dade standards that are required throughout Florida in the mid-west, they could minimize the damage, just like they do in Florida.  Strapping the walls to the foundation and then the roof to the walls would make a major improvement in building safety facing tornadoes.  And much of the Miami/Dade standards are so inexpensive in construction of new buildings that I then was wondering why these standards weren’t adopted in the mid-west.  I figured it out.  The value of the dense building in Florida has made the government mandate the adoption of the Miami/Dade standards.  The mid-west doesn’t have the density, so the loss is spread over a much larger area.  And the mid-western attitude of minimal government regulation keeps these standards from being adopted.  (I agree in principle for minimal government legislation).  Even when I lived in South Florida and benefited from the nationally subsidized hurricane insurance, I didn’t feel other areas of the country should pay higher rates to cover this subsidy.      Moore, Oklahoma was a tragedy, don’t get me wrong.  But if they want us to subsidize their re-building, they should adopt the Miami/Dade standards, or some semblance to them.  That being said, if you would like to assist the folks out in OK, here’s some ways to help.  The best charity is Brothers Brother here at 1200 Galveston Avenue, PGH, PA 15233. Brother’s Brother keeps very little of what is donated to them goes to overhead.  You can mail a check to them or visit their web site to make a donation.  The Pittsburgh Foundation has set up a fund to assist OK and they’re a pretty good organization.  More info at their web site.  The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund as well and they also have a fairly low overhead.  If you want the better known charities, The American Red Cross and the United Way of Allegheny County have also set up funds, but not as much money goes to those effected by the tornado.  More info at their web sites.

Well, we had our primary this week, did you vote?  Shame on you if you didn’t.  I’ve like Daniel LaValle since he came to office.  Seems like a nice guy that has the citizens as his priority.  He keeps in touch with the citizens, I’ve seen representatives from his office at most local/neighborhood meetings.  When I saw my former council woman Tayna Payne was running against Daniel, I looked at her bio.  She’s been working for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority since she got kicked out of office!  She was the council person I went to for help when battling the PWSA over being required to separate my domestic water from the sprinkler system that cost me over $42T pre-opening.  At the meeting, she was all cozy with Greg Tutsock the former PWSA director I was battling.  Totsock was eventually fired.  I was elated to see Daniel trounced her, I believe he got over twice the votes she got and she was the one endorse by the Allegheny County Democratic Party.  :)

Did you see where the Republican candidate for mayor, Josh Wander was on a TV show?  I don’t know which station carries it, but he was featured on that series that talks about survivalists.  Oh, that’s what we need in City Hall, someone that has a stock pile of beef jerky and water in the mayor’s office closet.  :)

Speaking of the mayor, I initially wasn’t supportive of Bill Peduto, not being in his district, I haven’t been as familiar with him as I have been with Daniel.  Some of the things Peduto supported I definitely agreed with.  It drove me nuts the bickering between him and the mayor and some of his co-council persons.  I’m a big proponent that we should “play nicely”.  I was leaning towards Jack Wagner until those viscous attack ads came out from a Ravenstahl political PAC against Peduto.  Talk about sour grapes Lukey, would you please grow up.  When Wagner didn’t come out and clearly and precisely distance himself from those half true negative ads, he lost all of my support.  Then to put icing on the cake, when Wagner gave his concession speeches, he blamed his loss on poor voter turn out and Peduto’s negative campaign.  Please.

Gonna be cold again tonight, but bright and sunny tomorrow and for the holiday.  Have a fun and safe holiday,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s Atlantic crossing (1932), the first solo flight crossing the Atlantic by Lindbergh (1927), the Homestead Act (1862), Norman Rockwell’s first Saturday Evening Post cover (1916) and the international accord setting up standard Weights and Measures (1875).  Birth anniversaries include actor Jimmy Steward (1908), French painter Henri Rousseau (1844), First Lady Dolly Madison (1768) and French author Honore De Balzac.

A friend is going through something I’ve seen for sometime now.  It’s the same company doing the same thing, but they have “let all their current staff go” and the staff are welcome to “reapply for the new positions”.  I can’t get into specifics, because I don’t want to get my friend in trouble, but what the sh*t?  It’s a legal and easy way to either get rid of staff you don’t want and the company is too lazy to actually do your homework to document poor performance, lousy attitudes, attendance issue, etc.  Or it’s a ruse to get rid of obligations like legacy costs or to reduce your payroll by taking the same job position and “redefining” it so there’s a reduced wage or benefits.  I don’t know who’s worse, the lawyers that dreamed this twisted method of dealing with issues or the companies the turn to it.

While I’m on a rant, one of the clocks I purchased from the previous owner is an Ansonia.  Ansonia an American company that’s heyday was in the Victorian ages (it’s the clock on the dining room mantel with I guess it’s Lady Liberty on the top).  It hasn’t worked since I bought the Inn (and the clock).  :)  I saw a clock repair shop on Brownsville Road in Mt Oliver and dropped it off shortly before last Thanksgiving for repair.  The owner of the shop was working in the shop at the time and informed me it wouldn’t be ready for the holidays (Christmas).  I was disappointed, I thought five weeks should be enough, but he was up front about it and I was OK with it.  I called about it in February and was told “he’s still working on it”.  I called in March and got the same response.  I asked the person that answered the phone to ask the clock repair person to call me and left my phone number.  I never heard from him.  I called in April and he answered the phone and said it was at the shop in his house and he was working on it.  I called the end of April and the lady that answered the phone said  he wasn’t in the shop, I asked for him to return my call, which he never did. I called the next week and he answered the phone and said it was repaired, but he wanted to watch it for a week to ensure it was repaired.  She called me Thursday to say the clock was correctly repaired (six months later!).  It is back in the dining room and keeping time I might add.

What a nice guy, Mike Sotace of the Pittsburgh chapter of Information Systems Security Association is.  With money his company collected, they just donated $8,000 to the Plum Food Pantry.  In 2011, Sotace read that the Plum Food Pantry didn’t have enough vouchers for all their clients to get a turkey for Thanksgiving and he decided to help out.  Sotace says no one in America should go to bed hungry.  All toll, ISSA has donated $14,000 to the The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (of which the Plum pantry is a part). Joe Utterback of the pantry was taken back last Tuesday when Sotace walked in with the check.  Utterback says they service about 180 neighborhood residents and available food runs thin at times and this certainly helps them keep their selves stocked.  their need is a bit higher in the warmer months because most people think hunger with the cold weather and donations are lighter than during this time.

After a series of meetings with the local residents, The Aspinwall Riverfront Park has completed their master plan.  The first phase will be the western area of the park first.  Plans include play grounds, a community pavilion, 1/4 mile walking trail, boat ramp, marina, picnic areas and general green park spaces.  An anonymous family has pledged to match contributions of from $5,000 to $350,000 (very nice).  All proceeds from this fund raising campaign will go to opening the park, not overhead.   To donate or get more information go to their web site.

Can we talk dirty for a minute?  Get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Muck It in Wampum, PA is having their muckfest Saturday, May 25.  Run through moon sized craters of mud, a gigantic steel constructed obstacle course and many other challenges.  Get as dirty as you want. Register by May 22 and the entrance fee is $90, $100 after that.  You get a lunch and two free beers and ALL proceeds go to the National MS Society.  There are muckfests all around the country, so if you are not a Pittsburgher, go to their web site and find a local event.

Also on May 25, the new Talons! show will open at the National Aviary right down the street from me.  Before their big expansion completed last year, the Aviary used to hold their free flight shows outdoors, which ended up being pretty funny sometimes.  The birds are well trained, but the occasional blimp flying overhead on holidays or big sporting events would spook the birds and they’d take off.  Natives of da ‘burg knew if they saw a strange bird in their neighborhood, to call the Aviary.  Those days are gone with the largest free flight theater in the world.  They even dim the lights for the segment of the show for nocturnal raptors.  Pretty cool to be up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.  There’s a $5 entrance fee in addition to the $13 regular Aviary admission.   More information at their website or by calling 412-323-7235.

Speaking of birds, I’m becoming quite the aviary myself.  Besides the normal morning doves, robins and black birds, have I have a red bird family, blue bird family and just saw the canary came back.  Very colorful and I’m in the city.  I haven’t seen the peregrine falcon in awhile.  I don’t know if he found better hunting grounds elsewhere or is hiding in the leaves.

I’m getting ready to replace twenty windows, massive.  The windows came in Friday and I got them all unpacked and lined up.  I have two weeks to get them stained, varnished for the inside and painted for the outside (they came factory primed).  So in addition to selling lots of rooms (sold out Saturday through Wednesday!) and painting the Carriage House, I’m pretty busy.  Here’s the windows:

I’m so excited.  It’s the twelve windows to replace the bay windows facing the parking lot in the Dining Room and African Tulip, the six front windows in Lady Palm and the two Bird of Paradise bathroom windows.  Five of the windows are larger than doors.  They are thermo double paned with e-gas and tinting.  They should make a huge difference in heating and cooling the Inn.  The Mike Wanner, installer, suggested TrimLine, a Pennsylvania company outside Philly.  They don’t have the huge advertising budget Pella, Marvin and the other big guys have and are much less expensive (I’ve had multiple bids) and the windows certainly seem as sturdy as those name brand windows.  They’re slated to be installed starting June 3, Mike says he can do it in three days, I’ve blocked four, just to be safe. :)

Well, four more check-ins for today, busy, busy, busy.  :)

Have a great one,



Tomorrow’s anniversaries include the Iranian attack on the USS Stark (1987), the New York Stock Exchange was established (1792), first Kentucky Derby (1875), the first Same Sex Marriage in the U.S. in Massachusetts (2004), and the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs the Board of Education.  Birth anniversaries include actress Maureen O’Sullivan (1911), baseballer James “Cool Papa” Bell (193) and English physician Edward Jennifer (1749).

Angelina Jolie had a mastectomy.  It’s her body and her right to do it.  When she made it a public issue by pushing for more of them among women, she opened the door for my opinion.  She’s a role model for many women and I think she’s giving out a bad precedent.   If a woman wants to take radical steps when an illness hits, I don’t agree with it, but again it’s her body.  I believe in the least invasive, least amount of drugs, the minimum of everything.  You can always up the anti if needed.  But having both of your breasts remove because you carry a gene that predisposes you to that cancer is like not crossing a bridge because if you fall off you would probably die.  I know I’m pushing the analogy, but I think it makes my point.

The group Paddle Without Pollution is always plying our waterways for recreation as well as cleaning up all the litter in the water and on the shores.  Their event is all oar powered craft, as you can tell from the title of their event.  They’re official clean up on June 8 is looking for help.  Their event last year had about 500 volunteers that removed 15 tons of debris.  (As a side note, you don’t actually have to go in the water, they need volunteers land side to sort and process recycling from trash and other tasks).  There are 86,000 miles of waterways in Pennsylvania.

The fired president of Penn State received $2.9M compensation in 2011-2012 school year, the HIGHEST compensated president of ANY of the 212 public research universities.  Spanier is fighting accusations that he orchestrated cover ups of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.  Greed knows no bounds and integrity is not in some people’s vocabulary.

The market for for first class office space Downtown is the strongest in the country (92.9% for first class office space).  As older buildings are being converted to condos, lofts and apartments, the more affordable space is being eaten up adding to the high occupancy rates.  In addition to office space, Pittsburgh has one of the highest apartment occupancy rates in the country which is the driving force behind the push for 2,400 city residential units either under construction or in the planning phase.

Every three years since 1997, the Fiberarts Guild holds the juried exhibit of international artist that is widely considered a benchmark for documenting trends and innovations in the field.  This exhibit at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Society for Contemporary Craft has 79 works by 63 artists from across the globe.  The Best in Show award went to Japanese artist Naoe Okamoto for her piece A Laughing House, made of knitted and felted wool, hemp and silk.  Kate Kretz’s The Final Word is on black cotton velvet with a deliberate cut on the top with a crude patch job with a white tied sacrificial lamb on the bottom made of thousands of tiny French knots.  (She posted a picture on her Facebook page on April 29, just scroll down a bit).  Though most assume the inspiration was Japanese, Naoe was inspired by the ancient stone houses in the English countryside.  Admission is free at Contemporary Craft and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is asking for a $5 donation.  It runs through August 18.  More info at their respective websites or by calling 412-261-7003 or 412-361-0873.

A year ago, the Trib did a poll on Pittsburgers which surprised me.  I’m making these number up, but they are fairly close-54% of the responders to the poll had attended a cultural event and 35% attended a sporting event.  The cultural events were not all high brow symphony and ballet, they were rock concerts, high school plays, etc.  But still …… I found something like 133 concerts this summer in Pittsburgh and 34 of them were free.  Since the ones making money can do their own advertising, I’m only listing the free concerts:  On May 31 at the South Park Amphitheater the CLO will be performing at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  The Pittsburgh Opera will perform at Hartwood Acres at 7:30 on June 2 (412-350-2528).  At the South Park Amphitheater on June 7 at 7:30 it will be Italian Night featuring We Three, Vito DiSalvo and Giorgia Fumanti (412-350-2528).  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will perform on Dollar Bank Stage on June 7 at 7:30 (4112-471-3191).  Cello Fury and Scott Blasey will perform on the Dollar Bank Stage on June 9 at 7:30 (412-471-3191).  Hartwood Acres will host Bob Mould on June 9 at 7:30 (412-350-2528).  On Dollar Stage on June 10, the Pittsburgh Symphony will perform at 7 pm (412-471-3191).  Grupo Fantasma will perform on the Dollar Bank Stage at 7:30 on June11 (412-471-3191).  Glen Hansard will perform on the Dollar Bank Stage on June 12 at 7:30 (412-471-3191).  Lucius will perform June 13 on Dollar Bank Stage at 7:30 (412-471-3191).  Tommy Castro and the Painkillers will perform June 14 at 7:70 on South Park Amphitheater (412-350-2528).  Red Baraat will be on the Dollar Bank Stage June13 at 7:30 (412-471-3191).  (I think there’s a typo, can’t have Red Baraat on stage the same time as Lucius-need to look into that).  The Vogues will perform at Hartwood Acres on June 15 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  The Wailers will perform at South Park Amphitheater on June 21 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  Langhorne Slim and the Law will be at Hartwood Acres June 23 at 7:30 pm (412-350-22528).  June 28 brings BNY Mellon Jazz Monty Alexander at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  The Pittsburgh Symphony will perform at South Park Amphitheater on July 6 at 8:15 pm (412-350-2528).  David Cassidy will take stage at the South Park Amphitheater on July 12 at 7:30 (412-350-2528).  Great Big Sea will perform at Hartwood Acres on July 14 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  The Stickers are featured July 19 at South Park Amphitheater at 7:30 (412-350-2528).  Sixpence None the Richer command the South Park Amphitheater on July 26 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  Joy Ike, Johnny Miller will be at Hartwood Acres July 28 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  The August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble will take the stage at South Park Amphitheater on August 2 at 7:30 (412-350-2528).  The Yellow Jackets will perform at Hartwood Acres on August 4 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  Los Amigos Invisibles on August 9 at 7:30 pm will appear on South Park Amphitheater (412-350-2528).  Galactic will perform August 11 at 7:30 at Hartwood Acres (412-350-2528).  James Hunter at 7:30 on August 16 will perform at South Park Amphitheater (412-350-2528).  Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will take the stage August 18 at Hartwood Acres at 7:30 (412-350-2528).  The Duquesne University Tamburitzans will perform on South Park Amphitheater August 23 at 7:30 pm (412-350-2528).  Rickey Lee Jones will be at Hartwood Acres on August 25 at 7:30 (412-350-2528).  The Hometown Music Fest featuring JD Eicher, Caleb Lovely and Danielle Barbe will be on South Park Amphitheater’s stage at 7:30 August 30 (412-350-2528).  Finally, at Hartwood Acres September 1, the Allegheny County Music Festival starts at 7:30 pm with Rusted Root, Joel Plaskett (412-350-2528).  Pant-Pant.  :)

On Saturday, June 8, City of Asylum will feature Exiled Voices of China and Tibet from 1 until 10 pm under a tent on the 1400 block of Monterey Street here on the Northside.  All sessions will either be in English or with English translations.  To reserve your seats for this free event, visit their website or call 412-323-0278.  Very low keyed, very nice group of people trying to make a difference in the world.



The tomorrow the odometer was invented in 1847, the Netherlands celebrates the 1,150 wind mills still in operation, Native American Rights were recognized in 1879 and King George VI’s coronation was in 1937.  Birth anniversaries include actress Katharine Hepburn (1907), baseballer Yogi Berra and British artist & author Edward Lear (1812).

Three years ago I spoke about the tragic death of John Metzler (I’ve been blogging three years, wow).  :)  He’s the conservationist that founded The Urban Tree Forge and was killed by a U-Haul trailer that broke free from it’s hitch while John was using a chain saw on a log outside his studio.  I case you don’t recall or haven’t been following me that long, The Urban Tree Forge was founded to save the wonderful resource of old trees that no longer are viable.  Various government and private tree removal folks would contact John when they were involved with a pretty notable tree and John and his crew would come out and collect it.  They would then make furniture, sculpture, I think even tooth picks (just kidding here) to save as much of the majestic tree as he could.  Jason Boone came to Pittsburgh as a full time architect and wood working hobbyist.  When Jason ran out of room in his apartment for his projects, he threw in the towel in on being an architect and pretty much became a full time tree guy.  His relatively new  new organization Urban Tree has taken up residence in a shop in Homewood is modeled after John’s.

Last week, South Carolina elected Sanford as their representative to the House of Representatives.  I really could care less about his extra marital affair, I care that he repeatedly lied about his where abouts.  Trust is huge with me.  Which brings me to Joan Orie Melvin’s sentence.  She has house arrest for two years (much harsher than prison I guess) and she has to sign 500 pictures of her in handcuffs and send an apology to her fellow jurists.  Common Pleas Judge Lester Nauhaus thinks that’s tough enough!  She wasn’t just a judge, she was a Supreme Court Justice, and she repeatedly lied about stealing from the state.  Then she got an attorney to fight the charges in a courtroom!  I’m sorry, I hold myself to a higher standard than Dee (my housekeeper/manager).  All justices should be held to a higher standard everyday citizens, and a Supreme Court Justice………

Anyone looking to be in a reality TV show?  Depending on their respective orbits (Earth and Mars), you could be between 35 million miles and 250 million miles from home.  A lot farther than any of the Survivor series had. :)  If you win, it’s a one way ticket and they hope to have it “off the ground” (their pun, not mine) in about seven years-if they get enough funding.  Already 78,000 Earthlings want to give it a try.  If you go to Mars One (a Netherlands based group) and submit an application, the fee is $38 and they want to know:  “why you want to go to Mars”, “how you feel about never returning to Earth” and they want to know about your sense of humor.  Good luck, if you choose to leave.  :)

Brighton Heights Citizens Federation recently opened their new office and they’ve included an art gallery for local artists in it.  Susan Benn, a BHCF board member entered the new space as it was opening this spring, saw all these long white walls and thought, this should be a gallery.  So she recruited three Brighton Heights artists; photographer Kent Noble and painters David Horvath and Ann Heckel to provide art for the space.  What a great idea, your local civic association supporting your local residents (in this case artists).  Something could be learned here by other not named Northside community groups…Nod Nod Wink Wink.  :)

Northside Common Ministry’s are sponsoring their Magical History Tour on June 8 with registration starting at 9:30 and the walk kicks off at 10am.  This leashed dog friendly event will be featuring 1K, 3K and 5K courses.  Participants will learn about Northside history and pass the houses of Gertrude Stein, Mary Cassatt, Martha Graham and Ferris wheel inventor George Ferris.  The Ministry’s run Pleasant Valley, the men’s homeless shelter on Brighton Avenue, they run the local Northside food bank servicing 1,000 challenged local households, they help out in figuring out health care issues and even GED programs for locals.  It’s a non-profit, so there is no fee, but if you care to donate $30 (or more), you get a free Magical History Tour t-shirt.  More info at their website, by e-mailing Jay at jay.poliziani@ncmin.org or by calling 412-323-1163.

The section of Three Rivers Heritage Trail that runs along the Allegheny over here on the Northside is getting a facelift.  Roughly from the Rachel Carson Bridge up to the 40th Street Bridge is the area with a lot of ruts, pot holes, etc.  So they are planning on regrading it so water doesn’t sit on it and regrading with recycled asphalt.  This $200K update isn’t costing Friends of the Riverfront anything.  Pittsburgh City and Allegheny County are donating labor, the asphalt and other items valued at $100K.  Three anonymous Foundations donated the other $100K.  About 4K people use this trail daily, though you can use the trail on weekends, the parking is going to be closed during the renovations for construction equipment.

Just opened Sky Zone out in Leetsdale is a trampoline exercise and play center.  Sky Zone has five courts for dodgeball and basketball, a Foam Zone filled with 34 foam blocks 9′ by 9′ for individual play.  They only allow one person in each block, but family/friends can get adjacent blocks to hop around in.  You can burn 1,000 calories jumping around for an hour.  They offer SkyRobics, kind of like a specialized aerobics class.  General admission is $10 for 30 minutes, $13 for 60 minutes, $17 for 90 minutes and if you have the stamina 120 minutes is $20.  More info at their web site or by calling 724-251-6100.

Kayak Pittsburgh started renting kayaks under the 6th Street Bridge (right by PNC Park) this weekend, through the end of May, it’s just weekends.  Kayaks will be available 7 days a week starting Memorial Day.  North Park and Millvale locations will start May 25.  I’m not sure if they are renting bicycles already, or if that will start later.  More info at 412-255-0564 or at their website.

The 4th Annual Art Museum Day is officially May 18, but the actual days are different for the various museums participating.  The Andy Warhol will be offering free admission from 10 am until 5 pm on May 14, phone 412-237-8300.  The Carnegie Museum of Art is offering free admission on May 16 from 4 pm until 8 pm, 412-622-3131.  The Frick Art and Historical Center is offering free admission on May 18 for docent led tours and reservations are strongly recommended, phone 412-371-0600.  And the Westmoreland Museum of American Art will be celebrating free admission May 18 from 11 am until 5 pm, phone 724-837-1500.  More information on their individual websites also.

Have a great week,



I finished this post Saturday and thought I had posted it, obviously not.  It’s like me setting my breakfast table and forgetting to put orange juice glasses out.  I scare me sometimes.  :)  It was really nice, again, watching the Marathon runners run past right out front of The Parador.

I’m hosting the regional meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers, PABBI.  Some of the Board of Directors are staying and meeting at my Inn this evening in preparation for tomorrows meeting.  Mildly nervous about my breakfast tomorrow morning being served to my peers.  :)

Tomorrow is the anniversary of eruption of Mount Pelee on Martinique in 1902, there’s a lot of European nations celebrating the surrender of the Nazis, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia and France.  Birth anniversaries include Red Cross founder Jean-Henri Dunant (1828), President Harry S Truman (1884), President Kennedy adviser Ted Sorensen (1928), boxer Sonny Liston (1932) and father of the Mexican Revolution Hidalgo Y Costilla (1753).

An expanded Meadowcroft Rockshelter opens this weekend.  Normal hours are Saturdays from noon until 5 pm and Sundays from 1 until 5 pm.  In case you’ve been living under a rock (pun intended), they have found evidence of tribal life under the rock overhang dating back 16,000 years ago.  Heinz History Center that operates it, has a recreation of a native American village as it would have been 400 years ago and a 200 year ago settlement by Europeans.  One of the new additions is a frontier trading post to show similarities and differences between the native American settlements and the European colonist’s buildings.  Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $6 for children.

There’s a new service being offered by the major theme parks that you can expect to see it expanded across the board.  For $299 each on top of the admission price at Universal Studios in Hollywood you can pick up the VIP package.  For this VIP price, you get lunch, a private escort (there may be more than just the two of you in the private group) to the front of lines and access to areas not normally accessible to other park goers.  For a mere $1,200 at Seaworld San Diego, among the other perks, guests get to feed endangered turtles and moray eels and pet bottle nose dolphins.   Many of these VIP packages are customized like A Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps where you a get behind the scenes tour of the mechanics behind all the illusions and even access to the apartment Walt lived in on Main Street during construction of Disneyland.  A specialized Universal Studio’s tour gives you access to the prop warehouse and costume department where you can see clothing worn by the likes of Barbara Streisand’s Funny Girl dress.  A more modest Pittsburgh take on this is Kenneywood’s VIP pass lets you cut the line for between $5 and $18 depending on time of day and season.

May 8 – 11 the Benedictine Sisters in Ross are auctioning off their possessions as they down size.  They are down to about 50 nuns from about 200 in the 1960′s and no longer need the huge convent.  Highmark bought the campus last year for $2.7M and the nuns have a new facility being built they are currently moving into.  For sale will be religious items like pictures, statues and the such; kitchen equipment like a dough mixer, commercial potato peelers, refrigerators and freezers; furniture including book cases with leaded glass, baby grand piano and a pipe organ; as well as architecturals like a larger than life cast iron St. Benedict.  To see items being sold, go to the link at Barkey Auctions and scroll down to the Benedictine Sisters listings May 9, 10 and 11.  Each date has it’s own pictures of what’s being sold that day.

The Cold Storage Building in the Strip previously owned by Wholeys was sold to a developer who intends to convert it into a 144 unit apartment building.  They hope to pull permits this summer and have an opening in about a year.  I’m not sure which building this is, but I’m thinking that huge ugly building across from Lydia’s Restaurant with the Wholey’s lit fish on the side facing Downtown.  The building has no personality that I’ve noticed.  Up till now, the Cork Factory, Otto Milk building, the condo’s Joedda did across from the Smallman Street Deli and further down on the other side of Smallman that pinkish building next to the 31st Street Bridge all have a lot of charm looking at them from the outside.  If the Cold Storage Building is the one I’m thinking, I imagine the architect can come up with some dramatic treatments for the exterior.

The August Wilson Center is holding three joint Solo Exhibits: Leslie Ansley, Jo-Anne Bates and Tina Brewer through June 29.  Leslie’s ten pieces are titled Heirloom and she was influenced by Marie Antoinette and the 17th century French aristocracy.  Although French society at the time seemed to have endless power, wealth and prominence; they actually had a lot of insecurities and Leslie sees that much like us today and she shows the vulnerabilities in her classic influenced works.  Jo-Ann’s 16 multilayered, abstract monotype prints are based on her travels to South Africa.  With the prints having titles like Pretoria and Johannesburg  it’s easy to see her inspiration.  Giving these prints dimension, there’s “ribbons” attached that are actually receipts from her travels there.  Finally, quilter Tina Brewer tried to connect modern urban lives with the past.  She uses a circular concept in her quilts, a mandala, that combines different fabrics, colors and imagery.  All three shows are open separately together :) from 11 am until 6 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Admission is $8 adults, $4 seniors and $3 children.  More info at their websites or by calling 412-258-2700.

Those stone lions that have guarded Dollar Bank on Fourth Avenue since 1871 have returned.  After being taken to a refurbisher in Ohio in 2006, they have been totally cleaned and restored and are on the inside of the bank now.  While the statues were in Ohio, sculptor Nicholas Fairplay  created two new identical statues that will grace the outside of the bank starting June 5.

Pictures next post of the paint job we’re doing on the Carriage House.  Kevin’s doing a real nice job prepping and priming and I’m doing the finish coats.  It’s amazing how you get used to something looking kind of shabby and take it for granted.  A fresh coat a paint really makes the house.




Happy May Day!  It is the anniversary of Berlin surrendered (1945), the King James bible was first published (1611), Osama Bin Laden was killed (2011), the birth anniversary of Henry Roberts (the author of Roberts Rules of Order, a standard parliamentary guide and the death anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci (1519).

Anyone that knows me would never accuse me of being a slave to fashion.  In fact, most would say that word wasn’t even in my vocabulary (clothing wise at least).  Leeann Marie Golish of Cecil was named by national mall owner and developer Simon named her one of 40 style bloggers out of 700 applications.  You can follow her blog by following this link.

LMS Greenhouse and Nursery in Allison Park (just past Hartwood Acres) are sponsoring Fairy Gardening 101 in four sessions.  Fairy Gardening is a miniature garden complete with structures like gazebos, trellises and live plants.  First debuted in America, this Japanese art form at the Chicago world’s fair of 1893.  The four classes will be held on May 9 at 6:30 pm, May 11 at 10:30 am, June 4 also at 6:30 pm and June 8 also at 10:30.  This kid friendly class encourages children to wear fairy wings and wizard hats (I suggest adults also wear them).  :)  Let’s set the tone.  Please, I shop at LMS, if you are an adult and wear fairy wings and wizard hats, tell them I sent you that way (they may not realize who blogger ed is, but they may ban me from buying plants in the future).  :)  More info at their web site or by calling 412-767-7020.

I hate the Center for Post-Natural History, they get a Google ranking of 5 out of 10 and I can’t seem to get above 4 out of 10.  Just kidding.  This Penn Avenue, Garfield museum created by CMU professor Richard Pell should not surprise me that a CMU graduate has a web site that beats mine.  :)  He has created the only museum in the world dedicated to “lifeforms that have been intentionally altered by humans”.  One of the exhibits in his museum is the famous sea monkeys invented in 1957 by motorcycle racer Harold Von Braunhut.  Through slick advertising, Braunhut made a fortune selling “sea monkeys” that he had scientists deliberately create by extending a long dormant cycle in the egg stage of brine shrimp.  Pell has chicken eggs used to incubate influenza viruses to create flu vaccines, glowing fish made from zebra fish with genes from bio luminescent jellyfish and coral.  His biggest coupe is a stuffed goat he’s hoping to receive within the next few months.  The goat is a BioSteel goat developed by Nexia Corporation in Canada that were genetically altered to produce spider silk.  Very interesting story.  Admission is free, hours that the museum is open are very limited.  Currently it’s open from noon until 4 pm Sundays and from  5 until 8 pm Fridays.  Pell’s looking for donations and or volunteers to be able to have the museum open more.

Spring markets are just around the corner.  One of the oldest and largest is on the lawn in front of Phipps from 9:30 am until 7 pm May 10 and from 9:30 am until 5 pm on May 11.  The market is free and they’re offering half price admission to the Phipps.  Various local garden clubs, nurseries, farms and other vendors will be on hand selling flora, giving advise and more.  More info at Phipps website or by calling412-622-6914.  Greensburg Garden Center’s annual May Mart will be held from 3 to 7 pm on May 3 and from 9 am to 1 pm on May 4 behind the Center on 951 Old Salem Road.  They will be featuring specialty woody ornamentals, heirloom plants, annuals, perennials and other plant related items.  They also will have the Shred-A-Thon where you can bring documents you want shredded to be shredded.  More info at their website or by calling 724-837-0245.  Also in Westmoreland County the Penn State Master Gardener program will hold their annual plant sale from 8 am to 1 pm on May 11 at 214 Donohoe Road in Greensburg.  More info by calling 724-837-1402 (I’ve included a link to all the PS Master Gardner sales).  On May 4 at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve the Audubon Society will be holding their Spring Native Plant Sale from 9 am until 1 pm.  They will explain characteristics of the individual plants and their benefits.  More information for this sale at 614 Dorseyville Road is at their website or by calling 412-963-6100.  In Swickley, the 49th Annual May Mart will be held on May 11 on Broad Street from 9 am until 1 pm.   Garden plants, accessories, heirlooms, advise will all abound.  More info at their website.  The Indiana Garden Club’s 38th annual May Mart will be held from 10 am to 7 pm on May 17 and from 9 am to 5 pm May 18 at 495 East Pike.  Local nurseries, 100 craft vendors and food items will be there.  More info at their web site or by calling 724-349-8763.  The West Overton Garden Club will hold it’s 9th Annual May Mart on May 11 from 9 am until 1 pm at 109 West Overton Road Scottdale.  They will have a plethora of plants, hybrids, food and a swap table.  More info at their web site or by calling 724-640-4180.  Finally, the 9th annual Butler Spring Garden Market and Home Show on May 18 in Alameda Park from 9 am until 4 pm.  They will be featuring specialty foods, craft vendors, landscaping materials, plants and more.  More info at their web site or by calling 724-283-2222.

The Three Rivers Arts Festival is coming up soon, June 7 through 17.  They are scheduling the unveiling of the totally renovated fountain on the Point complete with new lighting and water features and even a laser show from the top of PPG place to the top of the fountain for the first few days.  Here’s the musical line up for the Festival:

June 7: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

June 8: Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley.

June 9: WYEP Regional Showcase with Cello Fury, Joy Ike and Scott Blasey of the Clarks.

June 10: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Opera resident artists Jasmine Muhammed and Kyle Oliver in a concert that kicks off the Pittsburgh Opera’s 75th anniversary.

June 11: Grupo Fantasma, Grammy award-winning Latin funk band.

June 12: Glen Hansard, songwriter from The Swell Season and The Frames.

June 13: Lucius, Indie-Pop band.

June 14: World Music Day with Red Baraat.

June 15: The Airborne Toxic Event, Indie-Rock band.

June 16: Gospel legends Blind Boys of Alabama.

Since we’re talking music, I thought I’d included the Allegheny County Concerts in the Park schedule for this hear.  Here’s the musical line up:

Hartwood Acres

June 2: Pittsburgh Opera

June 9: Bob Mould

June 16: Father’s Day car cruise featuring The Vogues

June 23: Langhorne Slim & The Law

June 30: Sarah Watkins

July 7: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m.

July 14: Great Big Sea

July 19-21: Pittsburgh Blues Festival, times vary

July 28: Joy Ike with Johnny MillerAug. 4: The Yellowjackets

Aug. 11: Galactic

Aug. 18: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Aug. 25: Rickie Lee Jones

Sept. 1: Allegheny County Music Festival with Rusted Root and Joel Plaskett

And the line up for South Park follows:

May 31: “A Gleeful Evening, Vol. 3,” with Gene Kelly Award winners

June 7: “Italian Night,” with We Three, Vito DiSalvo and Giorgia Fumanti

June 14: Tommy Castro & the Painkillers

June 21: The Wailers

June 28: Monty Alexander

July 6: Pittsburgh Symphony, 8:15 p.m.

July 12: David Cassidy

July 19: The Stickers

July 26: Sixpence None the Richer

Aug. 2: August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble

Aug. 9.: Los Amigos Invisibles

Aug. 16: James Hunter

Aug. 23: Duquesne University Tamburitzans

Aug. 30: Hometown Music Fest

I hired a new housekeeper, Savanah, to compliment Dee and a guy to paint the Carriage House, Kevin.  Unfortunately, Kevin has very limited experience painting, but a great attitude and he’s doing a nice job prepping (prepping is 3/4 of the painting job.  If the prep is done right,the actual painting’s a breeze and the paint job lasts twice as long).   So I’m showing him how to paint and he did a nice job today priming a section of eave.

 Have a great evening and enjoy this wonderful weather.