Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Hamburg Firestorm (the allies dropped so many bombs the the resulting firestorm sucked all the oxygen in the area eight square miles it then pulled oxygen from the surrounding areas creating hurricane type winds-1943), Peru’s Independence Day (1821), the singing telegram (1933) and the start of World War I (1914).  Birth anniversaries include Canadian cancer fighter that lost his right leg at 18 and was determined to run the length of Canada to raise $23M for cancer research Terry Fox (1958), Revolutionary soldier Thomas Heyward (1746), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929), oceanographer Jacques Piccard (1922), Peter Rabbit author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (1866) and singer Rudy Vallee (1901).

Next weekend is Manchester’s House and Garden Tour from 11 am until 4 pm on August 4.  There will be repeat homes from the past on the tour, new homes and even a home under renovations that was abandoned 40 years ago.  They will also feature food and drink from Ann Gilligan’s Sorbet and La Prima Coffee and the Pittsburgh Taco Truck will be in residence.  The Western PA Humane Society will be there as well with potential pets on hand.  I love Manchester, the neighborhood organization thinks outside the box, they even will have Green Gears Pedicabs shuttling folks around.  Tickets can be picked up ($15) the day of the tour at Pittsburgh Conroy at 1300 Page Street.  More info at their web site or by calling 412-726-9787.

On Friday, August 9, The Western PA Humane Society is hosting a wine, food and conversation at Linda & Joe Iannotta on Beech Street (the block parallel to me one block over).  Linda’s very active with the WPHS and used to be a caterer.  Her food’s great and she’s preparing the food for the event.  The French wines are being presented my Sommelier Milko Miladinov.  100% of the proceeds goes to the WPHS.  It’s running from 7 until 10 pm and cost $65.  Linda has hosted similiar events for the Allegheny West Civic Association and they always sold out (hint hint, act soon).  Reservations are required and they are looking to close the book by Wednesday (July 31).  You can call Linda Leonhardt at WPHS 412-366-8512 or e-mailing her at leonhard@fnb-corp.com.  I put a link to WPHS’s events web page, but this event hasn’t made it yet.

The defense department exceeds $16T.  That’s a lot of money.  And they are complaining about the effects of the sequester and what’s really getting my goat is they have a very rehearsed portrayal of how devastating these cuts are going to be and put our country at risk.  #1, they are our servants answerable to the President.  Where to they get off thinking it’s OK to keep whining about what I view as modest cuts.  The budget for the human services is under $1T, in case you weren’t paying attention, that’s feeding little children, educating our next generation and keeping us healthy.  MAYBE if the defense department wasn’t paying $160,000 a YEAR to RENT a Coral Gables house for Marine Corps General John F Kelly,  the wouldn’t have to cut elsewhere.  Give the link a minute to load, I know Miami real estate is expensive, but having lived in the area, I could find a lot nicer for a lot less money.  And if you notice, there’s a dumpster in the driveway, I wonder who’s paying for the renovations?  So if this reflects what we pay all 37 active generals in the military, that’s almost $6M a year we pay for just housing for these individuals.  Don’t get me wrong, generals have worked long and hard and I think they deserve to be taken care of, to a point.

Nic DiCio, owner of Reyna Foods Grocery and Casa Reyna Restaurant (named after his Mexican born mother) also owns White Oak Farm that straddles Hampton and Indiana townships.  He is again hosting his Chili Festival from 10 am until 8 pm on September 28.  He opens the 50 acre farm, including the 200 year old barn for the event and it’s not all things chili, they also have various demonstrations like grape crushing.  Local chefs will offer samples of their cuisines using Hatch peppers brought in from Hatch, NM.  Last year he sold almost 4,000 pounds of chili peppers at his festival.  Last year about 1,500 people attended his festival and they’ve corrected some issues they had with valet parking directing guests where to park and adequate porta-potties.  He charges $5 in advance, $8 at the door and proceeds go to upkeep of the hobby farm he inherited from his grandfather who bought it in the early 1900′s.  No info on direct contact in either the Trib or Post Gazette, so I guest the best thing if you’re interested is to contact him through his restaurant or grocery.

After loosing it’s home after last year’s Storytelling Festival, will now be at the Winchester Thurston School’s north campus August 16 and 17 on 4225 Middle Road, Hampton (across from Hartwood Acres).  This is the 12th year of the event which draws 200 to 250 people to hear and share stories.  They will feature stories for children, ghost stories, workshops with “professional” storytellers, lunches for seniors attending and even concerts.  They are looking for a corporate sponsor or organization to donate funds for a tent to expand their offerings (around $1,000).  If you’d like to donate by purchasing t-shirts or lunches with story tellers, visit their fund raiser site.

Summer is hear and it’s time to enjoy this wonderful weather while we have it.  Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers are great at enjoying and taking advantage of our river fronts.  Up on Washington’s Landing on the Allegheny is Red Fin Blues, you can sit inside or outside and watch the river slowly pass you and watch the boats on the river or in their docks.  Some places let you dock for free when you eat there, but I’m not sure what Red Fin’s policy is.  The food’s good, American menu with a bit of an emphasis on seafood, beverages of all sorts are available and the ambiance is casual.  They’re located at 100 Waterfront Drive, Washington’s Landing, 412-322-5837.  At the bottom of Neville Island (by Robert Morris’ sports complex) is Paradise Beach which actually has a sand beach you can eat and dine on, there’s a volleyball court next to it and a bowling alley is part of the complex.  Menu is predominately pizza, burgers, wraps and the such.  Free boat parking at their docks.  :)  They’re at 7601 Grand Avenue, Neville Island,412-264-6570.  Just outside of McKeesport, under the Boston Bridge is the Boston Waterfront, which has an outside deck you can relax, eat and drink on watching the Youghiogheny River and the undisturbed nature across.  American menu, 2422 St David Drive, Boston, 412-751-8112.   Down in Beaver, Kelly’s Down by the Riverside Saloon has imported ten foot tall Florida palm trees to decorate her beach themed restaurant and bar.  The menu is pretty much sandwiches, salads, wraps; many with a Caribbean twist.  She’s known for her Sunday brunch and all you can eat crab legs Mondays in the summer.  Kelly’s is located at 1458 Riverside Drive, Beaver. 724-728-0222.  Up in Sharpsburg is the Silky’s Crow’s Nest at 19 River Heights Drive, 412-782-3701.  You can park your boat and enjoy the casual menu on any of the three different decks or inside.  They don’t have a website, but claimed their Google listing.  They are related to Silky’s Sports Bar in Squirrel Hill and Silky’s Pub in Bloomfield.  Baja Bar and Grill is located at 1366 Old Freeport Road, O’Hara on the Allegheny.  They have a large pavilion bar and restaurant outside on the docks and an inside river themed restaurant and bar as well.  A casual full service menu is offered indoors year round and outdoors in the summer.  412-963-0640.  Allegheny Mariner is located 1301 N Water Street up in Kittanning.  Docking at their dock is free and their American menu is enhanced with crab leg specials on Tuesday, all you can eat pasta on Thursdays and prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays.  Website is being created, phone 724-545-6646.  That’s it for free standing waterfront dining that I know of, if you know of something I missed, please pass it on to me and I’ll include it in the future.  There are some chains and big box restaurants with waterfront options like at Station Square, the Hofbrauhaus, the Northshore has Jerome Bettis’ Grill 36, McFadden’s, The Tilted Kilt, Rivertowne, Pittsburgh Grille and the Rivers Casino has riverfront dining available.  You can always cruise the river on one of the Gateway Clipper themed boats.  The do full service dinner cruises as well as just sight seeing cruises.  Check their website for schedules.

Have a great day,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of Egypt’s first revolution (1952) and it’s worst terrorist action with the bombing of the Red Sea resort Sharm Al-Sheikh killing 88 (2005) and it is the anniversary of the first American swimming school opened in Boston (1827).  Birth anniversaries include author Raymond Chandler (1888), baseballer Don Drysdale (1936), baseballer Harold “Pee Wee” Reese (1918) and rancher, land baron and politician Samuel Maverick (1803).

Summer is a rough time for food banks in general.  People are busy with vacations, summer activities or just aren’t overly active staying out of the heat.  Generally, people equate hunger with cold, but the need is year round.  Animal Friends Chow Wagon program is in dire need of dry dog and cat food.  This is a program where Animal Friends distribute pet food to area shelters to pass on to needy pet owners.  Some people in need by-pass food they should be consuming to keep their beloved pets fed, some pet owners’ only companion is their pet (particularly with the elderly on a fixed income), some families with children are struggling and the pet is the child/children’s best friend.  I remember Shaddy when I was a boy, he was a truly beloved companion (yes, we had pets even way back then).  :)  Director Sue Otto of The Center of Hope, in Ambridge, says they provide food for more than 130 pets each month.  Animal Friends is located at 562 Camp Horn Road in Ohio Township and is open from 11 am -7 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am – 5 pm Saturdays and Sundays if you would like to drop off food.  You can also donate money from their website.

Millvale, home to small businesses Vecenie Distributing (around since 1933), Jerry Kitman Fine Furniture and Lincoln Pharmacy also is home to Esther’s Hobby Shop who’s celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. Bob Mehler, owner and son of founder Esther Mehler, keeps the shelves stocked with model planes, kits, toy rockets and mainly model trains.  He specializes in N scale trains, even hosting the weekly meeting of Steeltown N Scalers.  His customers come from as far away as Germany and the United Arab Emirates.  Although entering there is like a walk back in time, there’s also all the things a modern hobbyist looks for.

Nationally renown tattoo artist Nick Bubash has a second career, he also makes sculptures out of things he collects and there’s a large amount of recycle tattoo needles worked in his art as well.  Son of one of Jonas Salk’s researchers and an artist mother, he moved to New York after studying art at Penn State. In NY, he studied the art of tattoo under one of the fathers of modern tattoo, Thom Vita.  After returning to Pittsburgh, he set up shop in Robinson.  Most of Nick’s sculptures remain in his home or shop.  He has a solo exhibit at The Warhol that runs through September 15.  Nick uses a tribal influence in much of his sculptures and many of his tattoos also express this tribal influence which is quite popular these days (listen to me talk as if I’m a major tattoo connoisseur).  :)  His exhibit is included in your general admission to the Warhol and follows their normal hours.  More info at the websites or by calling 412-237-8300.

I was at an open house the other day at the planned Allegheny Inn across from AGH for the Allegheny Commons Initiative.  The Commons is a group of people trying to coordinate and expedite the restoration of the Commons.  For one thing, they are fighting the evil railroad company trying to force US to pay for and raise the bridges so they can pull double stacked cars and make even more money.  The other option, would be for THEM to pay for lowering the tracks to accommodate this.  Railroads get enough subsidies, they don’t need me to pay for a raised bridge which will #1 destroy some of the historic nature of the park, #2 expose the trains (and noise) and create even more dust and air borne pollutants in the park.  You know, our forefathers made them put the train tracks below grade for a reason, once our city fathers cared about the populace.  The real reason for this rant is poor Justin & Keili trying to open the Allegheny Inn.  They have taken on this project not even to be Inn Keepers, they want to save a wonderful building that’s been vacant for something like thirty years.  They want to invest their hard earned money into something of value for the city and the Northside.  They have partners lined up to run the Inn, once completed.  The city has had them on hold for over three months now.  The city should have codes that are clear for all to understand and enforced.  People trying to do the right thing by upgrading a derelict building into a safe lodging establishment should not be penalized because city employees don’t want to work eight hours a day for five days.  I’m really getting tired of listening to other businesses trying to start up here as they get frustrated at the city’s bureaucracy and business unfriendly attitude.  Talk to Paul at Benjamin’s Burger Bar right down the street from me about the torture the city did to him trying to get opened.  Small businesses should be able to look to their city government for help and assistance, not obstructionism.  The city only seems to care about big developments like the Penguins redevelopment of the lower hill, Buncher who wants to destroy 1/3 of the iconic Terminal Bldg (there is a reprieve, the Historic Review has agreed to look into designating it as Historic), casinos and the various give aways they’ve given to the Steelers.  I’ve been watching this statistic since I was in college, 93% of business in America is small business.  We’re the ones that work seven days a week, frequently 12 or better hours a day.  We’re the ones paying our employees well because they are more than a number to us.  We don’t look for an OMS consultant to come in with stop watches and try and squeeze another nickle out our employees.

Allegheny County is hosting a hazardous wastes collection next Saturday, July 27 at the Second Avenue Plaza Lot (I believe that’s the lot Greyhound used for awhile just past the 10th Street Bridge) from 9 am until 1 pm.  They do charge $2 per the gallon.  More info at 412-488-7452.

The Clayton has remounted an exhibit by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz twelve years after it’s first appearance.  As the artist in residence from 1999 to 2000, Vik used a 19th century 8″ by 10″ view camera to take photographs around the property and developing the images so they looked like they were taken at the turn of the century.  He even got staff to pose in period clothing in some of his images.  One of the images titled “The Potato Peeler” is Sherrie Flick, associate curator of education at the time.  He kept putzing with the various controls on the camera  and kept assuring Sherrie he would be ready in a minute.  He finally snapped the picture and admitted that he didn’t want her to pose a frown, so he kept delaying until she started to show frustration.  :)  The thought for this picture was rooted in Vermeer’s The Milk Maid and van Gogh’s The Potato Peeler.  He used his background in art knowledge to frame different classical pictures.  I find the whole concept pretty cool.  It’s on display through October 27 with the Frick’s normal operating hours and admission.  More info at their website or by calling 412-371-0600.

What a fabulous idea.  That nutcase Westboro Baptist Church has been offending Americans for years now.  Particularly insidious has been their desecration funerals for war veterans.  It’s something that has bothered me a lot since hearing about them the first time.  I’m surprised no one has come up with something like this.  A group of gay satanists have performed a “Pink Mass” over the grave of Fred Phelp’s mother  “turning her gay”.  :)  I don’t know the demographics of my readers, but I call on all gay readers to come up with new ideas to now torture them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Have group kiss-ins on their church lawn, sign them up for gay porn sites, come on, if anyone can be creative, the gay community can.  And for such a wonderful cause, to finally shut them up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And here’s the best part, you don’t have to be gay to join the movement.  Just pretend and you can join this great movement.   A disturbing thing I saw when looking into this is their website has a six out of ten Google ranking, I’m only four out of ten.  :(  Something that did give me a chuckle was their zip code is 66604, the first three digits are the sign of the devil to some people.  :)

Well, that’s it for today.  It’s a free day for me, no guests!   I love my guests, but it’s really nice to have a free day.  I’ve been so busy putzing around with no time constraints.  And the heat wave has broken.  I was so cool this morning to go into the Inn and NOT hear the air conditioning running.

Be good,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald (1410) where Poland & Lithuania kicked some Knights of Teutonic butt, the Battle of the Marne (1918) where the Germans got their butt kicked basically for the last time in WWI, Venice celebrates the Feast of the Redeemer where they have processions in the canals remembering the end of the epidemic of 1575 and St Swithin’s Day, legend has it that when he was interned in Winchester Cathedral in 971 it rained for forty days, if it rains on July 15, they expect rain for the next forty days.

Camel milk has come to the Amish in Lancaster County, twice.  Miller’s Organic Farms has had a camel herd for a couple of years now and ships it’s products around the US and even to Canada.  They carry milk (which kind of tastes skim milk, just a bit saltier), yogurt, Kefir, a fermented milk drink and a soap all made with camel’s milk.  I bit pricy, $10 a pint.  It’s said camel’s milk helps with children with autism and people with diabetes.  Ben Stoltzfus lives by and works at Miller dairy had been using it for his son has an auto-immune disease and diabetes.  He noticed a change in his son and has started his own herd.  You may ask how they milk camels, with a traditional milking machine and VERY CAREFULLY.  :)

4 sale, one 9 room, slightly used Bed and Breakfast on the Northside of Pittsburgh.  Recently renovated and in excellent condition.  The owner is looking to buy and operate a convenience store.  I know I talked about this in the past, but did you know sales in convenience stores across the country exceed $700B and passed total sales of both restaurants and supermarkets!  On average, 1,100 customers a day walk through and given convenience store and spend less than four minutes in there.  We’re all in the wrong business my friends.  Make it convenient and you can charge whatever you want and don’t even have to worry about cleanliness, cheerful staff or landscaping.  :)

My favorite thing about the Snowden scandal was the demands his father stated for his son to return to the United States.  Dad said the government had to agree ahead of time that he could be free on bail until trial, he would get to pick the court he would be tried in and I forget the third condition.  Apples don’t fall far from the tree, do they?  I’m re-hashing some old news as a transition into my next conversation, Euclid Analytics has tracked 50 million devices in 4,000 locations for 100 corporate customers.  What am I talking about?  One example was Nordstrom hired them to track customers walking through their stores via devices that honed in on the customer’s smart phones and other electronic devices.  They knew how long you lingered at the fragrance counter, which department you went to next, how long you were in the store, etc.  Shortly after a Dallas TV station broke the story, Nordstrom apologized and stopped the practice.

On July 18 at 7 pm, they are having the 13th annual Edible Flowers Food Fest at the Buffalo Inn in South Park.  The idea came to horticulturalist Denise Schreiber when she was visiting gardens in England and was served rose-petal ice cream with tea.  With the assistance of Penn State Master Gardeners, friends and family they create the meal.  This year’s menu includes roasted red pepper soup with nasturtiums, spring greens with a lavender-blueberry vinaigrette, chicken with lavender and honey, beef with a cherry rose chutney and shrimp with an orange ginger sauce.  All plates are garnished with edible flowers.  Basil lemonade and Russian teacakes with lavender round out the meal. I find the menu pretty funny, obviously created by a horticulturalist, not a foodie.  Do you notice the emphasis on flowers and not on how the “chicken”, “beef” and “shrimp” are prepared.  :)  No matter, for a mere $20 you can’t beat this.  Reservations are required, I would recommend calling 412-473-2540 before she sells out.

I don’t know if they will let you in if you do not live in the Streets Run Watershed ares, but it’s worth a try if you are interested.  The Streets Run Watershed Association is holding a class on July 24 at 7 pm. The class is being held at the Whitehall community room at 100 Borough Park Drive.  They will be instructing on how to use rain barrels, how to install them, etc.  I would imagine after the flooding the past couple of weeks, there will be a heightened interest in this.  The first 30 “residents” to register get a free rain barrel.  The cost is $50 per person, $55 per couple.  I don’t imagine a group like this would turn away anyone that’s interested in learning more about rain barrels.  Registration is required 412-882-6622.

This week has the events that run up to the 31st annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Sunday, July 21.  The International Car Show on Walnut Street in Shadyside July 15 from 5 – 9 pm with all kinds of cars on display.  Homestead’s Waterfront hosts a Car Cruise of more than 500 cars from 5 – 9 pm on July 16.  At 10:30 to 2 pm 100 vintage cars will be on parade through Downtown on July 17.  July 18 will be the Grand Prix Tune-Up with music, food and dance at Tapas on 7th Street Downtown ($50 per, reservations strongly recommended) from 6 – 9 pm. July 18 from 10 am until 3 pm a Countryside Tour will be held on area back roads, this event is sold out.  Also on this day at the Hard Rock Cafe, Cars & Guitars will run from 7 pm – 1 am will host music for a Grand Prix charities fund raising event.  The Race Car Parade will travel from Squirrel Hill to the racers paddocks in Schenley Park on July 20 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.  The Car Show and Qualifiers will be from 9 am – 5 pm on July 20 in Schenley Park.  And July 21 is race day from 8:15 am – 5   pm (the actual race starts at noon).  This is predominately run volunteer event, all toll 1,000 volunteers make this happen.  It is the only vintage race held on actual city streets in the US.  More info at their website.

Wen Gao was born in Beijing in 1957 during the Cultural Revolution.  As a young man, he organized various cultural movements that stood for freedom of artistic expression which landed him in jail several times totally around 7 years in jail between them all.  He settled in Ross where he has a studio for his work and for teaching.  He’s known for vivid colors and striking images, somewhat reminiscent of a classical style.  He has an exhibit at International Images, 514 Beaver Street, Sewickley through August 31.  Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 am until 4 pm.   More info on the website or by calling 412-741-3036.

Well, keep cool and hydrated.  If you have any elderly neighbors without air conditioning, check on them periodically,




Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first time napalm was used on a large scale on the Japanese in the Philippines (1945), To Kill a Mockingbird was first published (1960), Babe Ruth debuted in the Majors (1914) and the Burr-Hamilton Duel (1804).  Birth anniversaries include John Quincy Adams (1767) and author E.B. White (1899).

It’s happened again.  I don’t know what I do, but my fingers stumble on the keyboard and my entire post is erased.  VERY frustrating.  I never look at the keyboard when I type, so I have no idea what I keep doing.  This is the third time I had a post I was doing the final proof and lost it.  So here goes again:

I’m looking for help, not that kind, my shrink helps a lot.  :)  I have Dee and I love her and Kevin’s a great guy and a big help, he’s actually becoming quite the skilled house painter.  I’m letting him put the finish coat on now.  But I desperately need help running the Inn, business has been amazing and keeps growing.  What I’ve tried in the past (repeatedly) was going to Craig’s List and posting an ad for a housekeeper.  I give a very accurate in the job description, pay and hours.  I would get probably forty calls from it, set up maybe twenty meet and greets and be lucky if ten showed up (ONE called to cancel, once).  The slackers I had no problem getting rid of, the good ones it just wasn’t enough hours to keep them.  So I’m reaching out to you guys.  The housekeeping position I have always thought would be ideal for a stay at home mom or dad. Hours are from 11 am until 3 or 4 depending on the work load and I pay $10./hour.  I have come up with a second option, which probably would be better all around.  I’m thinking of hiring a working supervisor.  This could really free me to do Inn keeping things I really should be doing. The supervisor takes the phone and frees me from the constant phone calls.  He/she can take reservations, answer questions on the property, screen telemarketers, etc.  I have a log that I have always assigned tasks to my housekeeping staff, I can direct the supervisor’s daily duties there as well.  Obviously, cleaning would be a key responsibility.  Culinary duties would be big and most all tasks can be done between check-ins, etc.  Hours would be from around 2 until about 8 and pay would start at $15/hour.  If you know someone that might fit, have them call me at 412-231-4800.  There’s a free weekend in it for you if I hire him/her.  :)

Sunday will be the last day Goodwill will be accepting used TV’s.  They’ve reached their limit for volume this year.  They will still accept computers, printers and other electronics that they can refurbish.  I believe they were just safely removing toxic materials from the TV and then sending them to a dump.  E-Loop expects to be able to accept them through October before they reach their limit.  And don’t panic and take your old TV and pitch it over some hill (not that I think any of my readers would do that), just leave it in the basement until next year.

I’m not sure where I stand on this.  Point Park University is becoming quite the presence Downtown.  Generally speaking, I like what they’ve done with all the properties they’ve bought and they seem to have a bit of a stewardship mentality towards their developments.  But they want to demolish three buildings on Forbes that were built in 1910, 1911 and 1915.  The former Honus Wagner Sports Store is one of them and was originally the Royal Theater. They say they want to save and re-use much of the exterior and some of the interior architecturals in the  new building.  They are looking to relocate the Pittsburgh Playhouse from Oakland to the new building.  I think I’ll straddle the fence for now.

There’s a new addition to the Southside, Skybar.  AMPD Group owns Diesel on Carson Street and have opened their latest venue on it’s roof.  You need a membership to use the pool during the day ($300 per season and it entitles you to bring a guest) and then they put thick plastic over the lit pool so you can walk over it in the evening.  A full service bar (no well brands) and they will order food on request from one of their other venues down the street Local Bar + Kitchen for delivery.  Dramatic views of the City and Southside Slopes from the space.  Evening admission includes admission to Diesel.  This concept has been around for awhile in some cities like Miami and Las Vegas, this is the first of it’s kind in Pittsburgh.

Well, if you didn’t make it to Gettysburg for the anniversary festivities, there’s an exhibit right down the street from me at Photo Antiquities, 531 E Ohio Street (next to Bernie’s Photos).  Bruce has this HUGE photo collection of old photos his family has gathered over the years.  His current show highlights the works of Alexander Gardner, one of the employees of probably most noted photographer of the 19th century, Matthew Brady.  The photographs are more of a human interest theme than war and battles theme.  The vintage albumen photos really take you back in time. Hours are 10 am until 4 pm Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays and Tuesdays) through July 31.  More info at their website or by calling 412-231-7881.

Well it didn’t take them long, the Marcellus Oil companies have figured out that they can deduct “post-production costs”, transportation, compressing and handling the raw gas and oil.  (This came from a lawsuit they filed over this and the judge ruled in their favor).  Some people have been charged as much as $2.88 out of a $3.00 royalty.  The original contracts are all different, as the energy companies tried to gobble up as much leasing acres as they could.  So there’s a chance a property owner may have a leg to stand on to keep them from this practice.  This is currently a big item in the northern Pennsylvania counties, but trust me, it’s coming to Western PA before long.  If you or someone you know has signed with these companies, I would strongly recommend the services of a good attorney.  Even if the energy company has not started this practice, find out what exactly the lease says and how you can protect yourselves.

Accidents happen, I burnt the bacon one day last week.  No one was hurt.  That train that derailed in Lac-Megantic Canada also seems to have been an accident.  Someone got hurt, actually 15 dead at this point and around 25 missing.  I was filling a spray bottle of chemical cleaner we use here and some overflowed into the drain, I added to the pollution in our environment.  I Googled oils spills because I wanted to quote the Exxon pipeline oil spill into the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone Park for this post, the list under my second link in this paragraph really says a lot.  I keep hearing from the corporate spin ad agencies that rail transport of oil is soooo safe and that pipeline transport of oil is even safer.  Tell that to the poor souls in Lac-Megantic or the water life in Yellowstone River.  I’m OK with mistakes, I would possibly be OK with mistakes that seriously impact our environment, if I could trust corporations to do the right thing.  If Exxon had stepped up to the plate in the Prince William Sound spill caused by their drunk tanker driver in 1989, instead of spending the millions fighting their responsibilities and delaying any action, I may not be so hostile to the energy companies.  I think BP initially tried to step up to the plate.  Yes, they were wrong trying the cheap way, which is what all this is about.  If they used the best available technologies and were transparent about it, I really don’t think they would have half the flack they get.  You can never please everyone, but the anti-fracking movement isn’t going away.  Instead of hiring spin doctors for millions, just buy the right well heads and pipe casings.  Easy fix to me.

Quite the rain we’ve had the past 24 hours, I had to drive through Mt Lebanon last night around 7 pm and water was gushing a good foot out of most of the storm drains.  It’s late afternoon today and after a morning drenching, it looks like more’s on it’s way.  And for some reason, my retiree, Razor, seems to be all of a sudden scared of thunder.  He is attached to me during storms.  :)

Have a great one and don’t drive through large puddles in the road,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Constitution of the US took effect (1788), the Declaration of Independence was declared (1776), Amelia Earhart disappeared (1937), President James Garfield was assassinated (1881) and the execution of slave Denmark Vesey for his conspiracy in what would have been the largest slave revolt in South Carolina (1822).  Birth anniversaries include Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908) and tennis player & clothier Rene LaCoste (1904).

Finally, a little break this Monday & Tuesday.  I’ve been extremely busy, and that’s a good thing.  :)

If you are looking for something to do this summer, a great choice is to attend one of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation for the list of tours they are sponsoring.  Most are free, some are self guided and some have tour guides.  One of note is the tour of the old Jail House designed by HH Richardson.  It has been re-purposed as County Juvenile Court.  Most of walk through the City with a purpose and don’t see what’s really around us.  Besides the imposing Oliver Building, Frick Building and others, there’s tons of smaller detail around the City that these tours point out.  By the way, about two weeks ago their installed the recreated lions for the front of Dollar Bank on Fourth Avenue (the originals since being refurbished, grace the inside of the bank).

Another interesting yearly tour is the Biblical Botanical Gardes at Rodef Shalom Temple at 4905 Fifth Avenue, Oakland.  It is open 10 am until 2 pm Sundays through Thursdays, Wednesdays 7 until 9 pm Wednesdays and noon to 1 pm Saturdays.  They have a trove of sub-tropical plants that are native to the middle east that they winter in their greenhouse in West View Cemetery and bring to the garden  and plant each spring.  They try and educate guests that originally, Jews and Arabs of the area were basically farmers they highlight what would have been grown back then as well as many other interesting plants.  Entrance is free, but they do accept donations.

The Three Rivers Regatta is this coming Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  There’s two fireworks shows July 3 and 4, both by Zambelli but totally different shows.  Daily events include Beach ‘Burgh will be on the Allegheny River Steps, Colcom Kids Zone will be on the City side lawn, BMX stunt riding, extreme Pogo and the Sandsational exhibit will be down in Point State Park.   Besides the races on Allegheny River, there’s a wide variety of entertainment like on Wednesday, Marvelous Mutts Dock Dog Show, entertainment on the Main Stage to include Jefferson Starship at the Rivers Casino Amphitheater Beatlemania will perform and other live entertainment.  On Thursday, besides the speed races, the Dragon Boat contest and Anything That Floats competitions will be held as well as live entertainment on both the Main Stage and Rivers Casino Amphitheater.  Times and much more detail on their website.

If you want other options, the Butler County Fair goes through Saturday.  It runs 9 am until 11 pm with rides, live entertainment, food and other activities at this 158 year old fair.  There’s also the farm aspect with tractor pulls, livestock exhibits and other farm related shows and activities.  Admission is $6 before 4 pm and $8 after.  The entrance admission does not include some of the live events.  More info at their website or by calling 724-865-2400.

Seven emerging artists will have an exhibit at The Brew House at 2100 Mary Street on the Southside.  In case you are not aware, the former Duquesne Brewery that became The Brew House was illegally squatted by artists probably twenty years ago or more.  Eventually it became Pittsburgh’s largest (and legal)  :) artists enclave.  I don’t know how many artists are in there now, most have living accommodations as well as workspace/show room.  Artists Alexis Roberto, Cara Livorio, Crystala Armogost, Josh Mitchel, Elizabeth Brophy, Kate Hansen and Terrance M Boyd will have their works on display.  The exhibit is open from noon until 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays through August 4.  Admission is free.  More info at the websites or by calling 412-381-7767.  A great chance to see the works of these artists and you never know who you are going to run into at The Brew House.  Rick Bach, the artist that has done most of the metal sculptures for the Mad Mex restaurant chain as well as other Big Burrito restaurants also did the Aztec sun calendar sculpture on the wall in my Courtyard has a residence there.

For any of you that haven’t been here (or noticed it while here), it’s a pretty amazing piece.  #1 it’s totally customized with the word parador over the center face and other details.  The reason for it’s location (and purpose) is when I bought the Inn, my next door neighbor’s dusk to dawn sodium vapor light would shine into the courtyard all night and was very annoying.  When we first installed it, the light would shine right through it as if it wasn’t there.  Chris, a mutual friend (and the gentleman that made my Parador sign that hangs off my front porch) and owner of Sign Works in the Strip provided a piece of frosted lexan and it works perfectly.  The sculpture is great during the day and pretty spectacular at night.

Master Degree graduates from CMU Neil Druckmann and Bruce Stanley have created a video game about apocalyptic America called The Last of Us.  Much of their animations are either directly Pittsburgh, or very closely resemble it.  In this game, a real fungus, cordyceps, that kills  insects by attacking their brains, is portrayed as killing most of the humans as well.  The country is divided between a government run by martial law and the militant group firefly.  The hero Joel must bring this young girl to Boston and the reason she’s so valuable is she’s immune to the disease and along the way the battle all kinds of baddies.  More than most apocalyptic video games, this one seems to have a decent story line.

That’s it for today,