Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first American newspaper being published Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestic (1690), the first female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor 1981), Greenwich Mean Time began (1676), the Pacific Ocean was discovered (1513) and National Parks Sequoia & Kings Canyon were established (1890).  Birth anniversaries include novelist William Faulkner (1897), composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906), actor Christopher Reeve (1952), baseballer Phil Rizzuto (1917) and cartoonist and children’s author Shel Silverstein (1930).

To me, two things are in concrete and indisputable.  Global warming is happening, just look around the globe.  And the most profitable companies lobby hard to keep us using carbon based fuels.  Exxon brags they spend $100M a DAY searching for new sources of carbon fuel.  And gun violence in America is out of control.  We have the most lax gun laws in the world, I believe.  (If not the most lax, we definitely are one of the laxest).  The NRA lobby is as powerful as the energy lobby and they insist on stopping any sensible solution, this is just nuts.   This “It’s absolutely my way or your gonna be fired” has to stop.  We need compromise on all kinds of things, we have too many important issues we need to find common ground to find solutions.  The two politicians in Colorado were recalled for their belief in gun control, not for their overall performance.  Professor David Guth, of the University of Kansas, is suspended indefinitely for Tweeting after the Naval Shipyard shooting “Blood is on the hands of the #NRA.  Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters”.  I agree, poor taste and judgement, but to be fired?

Hunt Auctions in Exton will auction off memorabilia from Pittsburgh favorite son Bill Mazeroski‘s collection on November 6.  A short list of items on the auction block include the home jersey with champagne stains from after winning game 7 in the 1960 World Series, a bronzed bat from that series as well as his cleats.  Also included will be a bat given to him by Roberto Clemente, six of his eight Gold Glove Awards and much more.  Bill and wife Milene decided it was time to clear out “the clutter”, he’s keeping his rings and many other significant pieces.

A short while ago I read about a woman that was in a relationship with a man in Florida and posed for provocative pictures for him.  They had a nasty break up and he started posting them on line.  She was embarrassed and wanted him to stop.  The quote she made that has stuck with me is “Why doesn’t someone help me make him stop?”.  #1, why did you pose for them?  #2, and this is my big deal, why should “someone help” her?  She did it, I feel bad she’s embarrassed, but she did it.  She was in a relationship that didn’t work out and there’s prices we pay in life for choices we make.  I’ve made plenty of poor life choices in my lifetime and basically either figured out how to make it better or live with it.  I never would have wondered “why doesn’t someone help me”.  That’s a problem with our society, we are always looking for someone else to bear the burden.  When I was in Florida, the country subsidized hurricane insurance.  I lived in paradise and wasn’t going to say no to the subsidies, but the entire time I thought it wasn’t right.  You can construct a house in hurricane zones that are hurricane proof (at least to a Cat 5), if you make the lifestyle choice to live in paradise and not have properly build housing, you need to pay the higher insurance rates.  If you live in a fabulous house with fabulous weather in California on a hillside prone to mudslides, have the insurance or be sure it’s built to withstand mudslides.  That’s not to say I’m so cold that I’d turn my back on people effected by catastrophes, I frequently donate to relief funds.  But once you are back on your feet with food, water and shelter; you need to make a lifestyle choice about your future.

Now on to a lighter subject.  In the 1970′s, Kermit the Frog made the iconic song “It’s not easy being green”.  The word green has so many meanings, environmentally friendly, money, envy, etc.  The Silver Eye Center at 1015 E Carson Street, Southside has an exhibit Green.  They took seven photographers and tasked them with creating exhibits of “green”. Dylan Vitone, associate professor at CMU curated the exhibit and one of the photographers, Joe Johnson, decided to look at green as money and has a series of pictures he took at casinos in Reno, NV.  Kim Beck decided to look at all the different aspects of green grass in lawns.  She focused on how weeds, fertilizers, lawnmowers and other factors effect grass.  Also taking a gardening view on green, Sue Abramson decided to look at variations of green in her garden.  In particular, she highlights elephant ears she has in her garden (having spectacular elephant ears here in my garden, I can relate to how spectacular they can be).  ;)  Peter Beste chose to look at green in an urban environment.  Peter is actually teaming up with author Lance Scott to create the book Houston Rap, a pretty gritty work.  Other artists showcased include Judy Natal, Ed Panar and Adam Amengual.

The historic Terminal Building in the Strip took a step toward preservation this week.  Preserve Pittsburgh  and Lawrenceville architect Sarah Kroloff made the nomination and the nomination went before the Pittsburgh Planning Commission this week and the nomination was strongly endorsed by our city historic preservation planner.  The Commission could issue a recommendation during their October 15 meeting.  If they recommend approval, the nomination then goes before City Council to decide whether to grant the historic status.  The Evil Empire Buncher Group :) says they will continue with their development behind the Terminal Building even if it gets historic designation.  Well I guess they would, they own all that property back there.  They might just have to put some work into making the project doable by re-work their plans.

If you’re one of those hunter enthusiasts that love the sport, but are not into venison, there’s a solution for you.  Hunters Sharing the Harvest program, underwritten by Consul Energy has approved meat processors in Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene counties that will process the meat, then donate the venison to food banks at no charge to you.  For a list of the approved butchers, go to their website.

They are having the 19th annual Arts and Crafts Festival at the Washington County Fairgrounds the weekends of October 18 – 20 and 26 -27.  They expect 230 vendors to have booths.  So if you’re looking to do a little early Christmas shopping, they’re waiting for you.  :)  More info at their website or by calling 724-862-4577.

Enjoy your early Fall weather,




Tomorrow is the Independence Day celebrations in Armenia, Belize and Malta.  Monday night football premiered in 1970, Hurricane Hugo hit the east coast in 1989 and Nez Perce Chief Joseph died in 1904.  Birth anniversary include actor Chuck Jones (1912), Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson (1737) and English novelist HG Wells (1866).

As an addendum to my last post on ALCOSAN, so much for me trying to be less critical.  ALCOSAN paid their consultants $500,000 for financial advice.  The only question I have is for a half a million dollars in fees, why do the rate payers have to cover the $70,000 fine for the consultant’s mistake (s)?  What did we pay them a half a million dollars?  OK, it was two questions.  :)

I wanted to get that out of my system before I went to the fun part.  Remember the Big Yellow Duck is coming to Pittsburgh next Friday, September 27.  He’ll be stationed right down on the Allegheny River until October 20.  The duck is the creation of Dutch artist Florentijin Hofman and has been all around the world and he (she ?) has been drawing hordes of people.

RAD days are back.  For accepting RAD dollars, the various attractions they support, the attractions have to give the general free admission once a year.  Tomorrow, The Frick will offer free admission from 10 am – 5 pm and from noon until 2 pm they will teach lawn bowling.  Monday, September 23 Phipps Conservatory has free admission and is featuring local glass artists’ work displayed throughout; free admission.  Soldiers and Sailors Hall is offering free admission all day.  On Tuesday, September 24 Soldiers and Sailors again has free admission.  Wednesday, September 25 Soldiers and Sailors again has free admission as does the Audubon Society of Western PA-Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve is offering a free senior hike from 9 am until 10 am.  Thursday, September 26 PNC Park and Heinz Field are both offering free stadium tours from 10 am until 3 pm.  Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is offering free 1/2 hour docent tours from 2 until 3 pm of their facility.  Squonk Opera will have a free performance of their Mayhem and Majesty at 8 pm at the New Hazlett Theater.  On Friday, September 27 the Convention Center is offering free 45 minute tours of the facility at 10 & 11 am, noon or 1 pm, reservations are needed.  The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will be having a free Gallery Crawl from 5:30 until 11 pm.  And the Audubon Society will have free admission for their Owl Prowl from 7:30 until 9:30.  Saturday, September 28 will feature a free event from 10 am until 5 pm Enough Violence: Artists Speak Out.  The Audubon Society will feature a Kids Walk from 10 – 11 am.  WQED public television will offer free tours of their facilities from 11am until 1 pm.  Hartwood Acres will be offering free hayrides from 11 am until 4 pm.  The Young Men & Women’s African Heritage Association (YMWAHA) will host an open house showcasing their work with quilting, etc from noon until 6 pm.  This is the organization that brought those wonderful ladies with Gee’s Bend Quilters to The Parador for their show at the New Hazlett Theater back in 2010.  The Oakland Carnegie Library will present a sneak preview of The Devil’s Arithmetic from noon until 1 pm.  Finally, for Saturday the Pittsburgh Opera will feature their resident artists’ favorite arias from 6 until 7:30.  Sunday, September 29 The Warhol will have free admission from 10 until 5.  The Carnegie Science Center will have free admission from 10 until 5 as will the Children’s Museum. RiverQuest will give free tours of their green educational vessel-the world’s first from 11 am – 3 pm.  The Carnegie Museum of Art, Architecture and Natural History will have free admission from noon until 5 pm.  YMWAHA will again have an open house from noon until 6 pm.  Free admission to The Mattress Factory from 1 until 5 pm.  The Pittsburgh Opera will have another event, a close of of Aida with an in depth look at the music as well as the story.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the Soldiers and Sailors will again hold open houses.  Also on Wednesday, October 2 Manchester Craftsman’s Guild will showcase what they do from 5 – 7 pm with a Jazz and Youth and Arts Festival.  And the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts will again have free admission to their galleries from 6 – 8 pm.  On Thursday, October 3 Pittsburgh Center for the Arts will again open their doors from 2 until 3 pm with docent led tours. Friday, October 4 the Pittsburgh Glass Center will offer free demonstrations of glassblowing and flame working from 10 am until 9 pm. Pittsburgh Filmmakers will have free screenings at 7:30 and then 9:15.  Saturday, October 5 the Bulgarian-Macedonia National Education and Cultural Center will have free admission from 9 am until 3 pm in their museum of artifacts and their gift shop will also be open where you can purchase ethnic gift ware.  The Fort Pitt Museum will have free admission from 10 am – 5 pm.  Boyce-Mayview Parks will have free guided nature hikes, geocaching, crafts and campfires from 2 until 8 pm. Allegheny Land Trust will have free nature hiking, tours of bird watching, bat sightings and such from 2 – 7 pm at Wingfield Pines Conservation Area.  City Theatre Company will have Storytellers with Dance, Mime and Movement from 11 am until 8 pm.  Pittsburgh Filmmakers will host two more film series, same times.  The Senator John Heinz History Center will have free admission on Sunday, October 6 with lots of activities from 10 am – 5 pm.  The National Aviary will have free admission from 10 am – 5 pm.  Pittsburgh Center for the Arts will again have activities from 1 – 4 p.  The City Theatre will have a puppetry workshop for those aged 11 – 18 (I assume parents are invited to attend as well) :) from 2:30 – 4 pm.  The main Carnegie Library again weighs in with a group playing clarinet, euphonium and trombone featuring music ranging from Renaissance to Ragtime from 3:30.  Skip a few days and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts again has free activities on Thursday, October 10 from 2 – 3 pm.  Saturday, October 12 will have a Sketch Crawl from 10 am – 4 pm.  South Park will have Hay Day the following Saturday, October 19 from noon – 4 p. with hayrides, pony rides, etc. from noon until 4 pm.  Ending the festivities will be the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium free day Sunday, November 10 from 9 am – 5 pm for their free day.

Surely there’s something in the above that will grab your interest.  Whatever you do, don’t come over to the Northside on Sunday.  Sell out crowds for the Pirates vs the Reds for an afternoon game (1:35 pm) quickly followed by the Steelers and the Ravens at 8:30.  Parking and traffic will be a nightmare.  I’m sold out and 3/4 of my guest rooms are regulars, it’s going to be like a family reunion.



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam (1862), our Constitution was ratified unanimously by all 12 states attending (1787) and it is the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah.  Birth anniversaries include Chief Justice Warren Burger (1907), Israeli ex-general & UN delegate Chaim Herzog (1918), the Prussian general that fought in our revolution Baron Friedrich Von Steuben (1730) and country musician Hank Williams Jr (1923),

It’s not in concrete, but it appears The Parador will be hosting it’s first Paranormal Weekend, the weekend of Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2.  (Friday is the start of the South American holiday of Dia de lost Muertos, the day of the dead.)  The price of $200 per night plus tax will include a welcome wine and cheese before the psychic readings on Friday and then Saturday will be the paranormal investigation by an investigator that used to work with SciFi’s Ghost Hunters before they became big on SciFi.

I’m sure you’re aware of ALCOSAN, the agency responsible for treating the sewage in the greater Pittsburgh area.  They are under the magnifying glass with the EPA for consistently dumping raw sewerage into our waterways.  The problem basically is the sewer treatment plants can’t handle the volume of water coming through when we get heavy rain.  So ALCOSAN basically opens the gates and lets all that storm runoff AND raw sewage dump into our rivers.  ALCOSAN finally received an ultimatum from the EPA to come up with a concrete plan (pun intended-read on).  :)  ALCOSAN came up with a plan the will cost in around $3B that TOTALLY relies on building HUGE retention vats and a vast network of pipes feeding into the new vats.  ALCOSAN has REFUSED the help or suggestions of Friends of the Riverfront, or any other expert in reducing the amount of actual storm water run off. ALCOSAN’s arrogant response to these offers for help was “We’ll tell them what we’re going to do when we make our plan public,” I’m paraphrasing here.  ALCOSAN’s directors lack of transparency has caused two board members, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith and Point Park executive Kristen Baginski to resign.  ALCOSAN is facing a $70,000 fine from the IRS for issues with a bond issue they had.  These things are complicated, pretty much beyond my financial abilities, so I don’t overly blame them here.  Although they hire enough “experts” that make me wonder why the “experts” were paid.  What I totally don’t understand is how they failed to renew a basic permit and were fined $52,600!  Who’s running the show there?

There’s a free app out, Redlaser, that lets you use your smart phone to scan the bar code on the product to see if you are about to pay the lowest price and access reviews from other buyers.  I assume it also will alert you what stores nearby offer the same product at a lower price.

On September 21, the Origami Club of Pittsburgh will be celebrating their 25th anniversary at the Carnegie Library of Squirrel Hill (they meet there the third Saturday every month) with free classes.  The classes are for both beginners (noon) and advanced (1:30).   Sue Neff, practiced origami since childhood.  25 years ago, as a graduate school for art student, she decided to put an invitation out for anyone else interested in origami to meet at the Squirrel Hill library.  Two people responded and the club was formed.  Sue likes teaching children origami because it also teaches various mathematical concepts like fractions, quadrants and geometry. If you are interested in origami and can’t make their anniversary, the club is open to all on the third Saturdays of each month.  Congrats Sue Neff and the Origami Club for your longevity.

You’ve missed the first two (August and September) but still have time to attend Sharon’s WaterFire Festival October 12 starting at 10 am.  This free event started in Providence in the mid 1990′s as a way to celebrate Providence’s 10th anniversary of their first night festivities.  Providence’s WaterFire generates $55M in revenue for their festival.  Sharon is a cute little town on the Shenango River on the Ohio boarder and with this being their first year, I doubt they will reach the $55M. :)  The festival will feature ethnic dance, fire performers, food and art.  They will have 50 cedar and pine bonfires floating on the river.  If you go up there and want to make a trip out of it, a friend of mine runs both the Buhl Mansion Inn in Sharon and the Tara Inn nearby in Clark.

Here’s a cool way to help out children, volunteer to be a tutor through Oasis.  Oasis is a national non-profit with a location here. Oasis has partnered with the Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Woodland School District.  There’s two five hour training sessions you need to complete and then they place you either in a school with the highest needs or one more convenient for your location.  You then spend several hours helping tutor these kids.  One of the big things Oasis pushes is improving the kid’s self-esteem.  These at risk kids frequently, if not mostly, suffer from low self-esteem.  Giving frequent pats on the back and high fives might seem hokey to you, but go a long way with this age group.

That’s about it for today, have a great one,



Tomorrow’s the anniversary of California being admitted to the Union (1850), the battle of Marathon between ancient Persia and Athenia (490 BC),  the battle of Salerno (1943), Tajikistan Independence Day (1991) and Japan’s Chrysanthemum Day.  Death anniversaries include William the Conqueror (1087) and Mao Tse-’tung (1976); it’s the birth anniversary of novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828).

I apologize.  I recently lied to you, but not on purpose.  I read an article that they were re-opening the second north bound lane on Route 28 early and thought that meant a more or less permanent opening.  Here they are just opening it in about a week until January when they will again close it for a significant amount of time.  Sorry guys.

It looks like the Children’s Museum may be taking over the city owned Carnegie Library in the Commons.  It was severely damaged by lightning several years ago, which gave the library system the excuse to build a new facility to service the Northside.  (The old library was not handicapped accessible and needed new mechanicals.  The library said it would be too costly to upgrade the building, I don’t know, it seems to me the cost of a brand new building would have to exceed the costs of upgrades.  But it wouldn’t be all new and shiny).  I wasn’t aware that the city was exploring tearing the iconic structure down and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation made the city think twice about demolition.  Apparently, the Children’s Museum has a number of other associated non-profits that operate out of the museum like Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University Food City Fellows and Youth Alive that need more space.  It looks like it would be a pretty pricey endeavor, $6.5M to move in and $12.5M to make it sustainable.  I do hope something works out to save the second public library built by Andrew Carnegie.

The Northside’s Mattress Factory is expanding into it’s second space at 516 Sampsonia Way, a block from the original Mattress Factory proper and right by the Mattress Factory Annex at 1414 Monterrey Avenue.  The new (as yet unnamed) gallery adds 2,500 square feet of exhibit space and was purchased in 2001.  A series of grants has enabled them over the years to upgrade the Victorian building including wheelchair accessibility, new heating and mechanical systems.  They didn’t over renovate, leaving exposed brick, some broken plaster and many of the original fixtures creating non-sterile exhibit spaces. The first artist to open the new wing is Chiharu Shiota of Japan with studios also in Germany.  Shiota uses everyday items that are shrouded in black string like spider webs.

I assume most Pittsburghers have noticed the Gulf Tower again has the top lit up to give the weather forecast.  It’s been doing it for a year now and since it’s LED, the capabilities are large and so instead of the old it’s going to rain or it’s going to be dry, there’s all kinds of info it puts out.  If it’s red, that indicates it’s going over 80, orange is 66-79, amber is 50-65, light blue is 33-49, medium blue is 0-32 and dark blue is – watch out – below zero.  Red purple says rains over a quart inch and blue purple indicates rain less than a quarter inch.  Dark green indicates 50% humidity and above and light green is below 50%.  Winds of over 10 mph are indicated by magenta and less than 10 mph is indicated by pink.  Now to add to all that confusion, they have teamed up with the Pirates.  The Tower will flash black and gold for home runs and runs scored.  At home or away, once the Pirates win, the Tower will continuously flash black and gold for the rest of the evening.  Although the Pirates thing is controlled from a box in the Park, the Pirates can control it from any computer with Internet access and passwords.

Move over deceitful plumbing contractor Gillece, we need room for another low life.  Apparently mega construction contractor Sota isn’t content will all the millions of dollars in contracts he already has, he’s decided to scam disabled American veteran contractors out of business.  Sota “partnered” with his employee Jason Harris to form a new company with Harris (a vet) as token head  president.  Sota has 49% ownership and Harris has 51%, all the construction jobs listed on Battalion, LLC construction company are also listed on Sota’s.  The slogan of the newly formed Battalion construction company is “Demand the strength of an army”.  #1, shame on both Sota and Harris.  #2, I wonder if either will “man up” and actually take responsibility for this disgrace.

I drink a fair amount of coffee, but don’t partake in those energy drinks.  I definitely won’t be partaking in the new Sprayable Caffeine hitting the market.  Yeps, you got that right, you spray this concoction on your flesh to be absorbed through the skin to give you an energy boost.  A starter pack costs $15, said to last two to three weeks with a maximum 20 spritz’s per day.

The Mexican War Streets annual self guided home and garden tour is next Sunday from 11 am until 5 pm.  It’s $18 in advance, $20 the day of the tour.  Tickets will be available next Sunday on the corner North Avenue and Monterrey Street (where the big YMCA is).  The many folks over in the War Streets are a special breed (and I mean that in the nicest way, I’m in that boat as well) and you see a lot of unique adaptations of their Victorian homes.  After all, Randyland is in the War Streets.  More info on their website or by calling 412-848-1083.

Next Saturday, the airport’s holding an auction.  No planes, hangers or deicing machines, but plenty of other stuff.  Abandoned vehicles, old airport vehicles, lawn mowers, contraband the TSA confiscated, etc  It starts at 10 am and is a strictly cash basis.  It will be held at the Airport Heavy Equipment Building on Cargo Road in Moon.  More info at Flypittsburgh‘s website or e-mailing dromitz@pitairport.com.

There’s a new craft beer in Pittsburgh, Roundabout Brewery at 49th and Butler Streets has recently opened. Owner Steve Sloan has worked at other craft breweries around the country, even in New Zealand and Hawaii (actually that is part of “the country”).  :)  His last position before spinning off on his own was brewery manager at the Church Brew Works where he won several awards.  What’s cool about the craft beer movement is they are a small community in themselves.  Scott Smith of East End Brewery gave Steve an old walk-in cooler and some other refrigeration equipment.  Bill Larkin of Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar lent all kinds of tools to Steve as he was getting ready to open.  They view themselves much as I do us Innkeepers, it’s us against the Goliaths.

The Northside Leadership Conference is exploring the idea of creating an artist’s market and co-op here on the Northside.  Something akin to the School House in Braddock or the Brew House on the Southside.  Emily Honhart is spearheading the concept and is seeking input from artists and what they might be looking for in the space.  NSLC is just in the exploratory phase to see what is needed as far as the amount of space the individual artists would need, accumulative amount of space needed under roof, special requirements (higher electricity amperage for welders say).  To get on board with the planning stage, contact Emily at emily@pittsburghnorthside.com.

Speaking of the Northside, next Saturday will be German Heritage Day over here.  Festivities will start at 9:30 with an antique car show over in the Allegheny Commons East.  A parade will follow at 11 am on East Ohio Street featuring antique German, German folk dancing and singing.  A lunch at the Teutonia Mannerchor at 857 Phineas Street over in Deutschtown will follow the parade.    Tickets are $15 in advance at the Priory Bakery and $18 at the door.  The Northside has a very strong German heritage from the Victorian era emigration.  There’s more info at the Teutonia website.

Coming soon (October 19 to be exact) will be Fineview’s annual Step-a-Thon.  This five mile race will ascend Fineview’s hills, streets and most notable staircases and is sponsored by the Fineview Citizen’s Council.  The course covers 12 public staircases for a total of over 1,600 steps.  You can register individually or as a team (prizes are given out for first place male, first place female and first place team).  There’s also a half-thon available as well.  The race starts at 8:30 and as your doing the race, the amazing skyline is only a twist of your head away.  :)  I can’t provide more specific information, their website is under construction.  The above link will take you to that site with at least a phone number and e-mail address.

Have a great week and Go Steelers,




Tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles (1781), civil rights school integration Little Rock Nine (1957) and the first electric lighting of lower Manhattan (1882).  Birth anniversaries include French poet Francois Rene De Chateaubriand (1768), radio broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918), American architect and city planner Daniel Burnham (1846) and Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (1824).

Business has been great.  Last August The Parador hosted 142 guest rooms and this August we hosted 177.  Last September we hosted 103 for the month of September and we started this September with 140 on the books.  :)

Be prepared, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a very cold winter with lots of snow.  In print for 197 years, it seems to have an 80% accuracy in predicting weather.  I just ordered another 12 windows for installation this fall.  I better see improvements in may heating bills this winter.  (These 12 are in addition to the 18 installed this spring).

OK, what was going on in Russian artist Konstantin Altunin’s mind when he hung three of his works in a public display?  After how the Russian judicial handled Pussy Riot’s performance in a church, did he really think he was going to get away with making and then showing a picture of Vladimir Putin in woman’s undergarments fixing Dmitray Medvedev’s hair (he’s also in woman’s undergarments).  :)  The picture is too funny and Vladimir doesn’t seem to have a sense of humor, other than “leading a flock of geese home piloting an ultra light, noiseless aircraft” (I hear the picture was staged).

The word Twerking is official, it makes it into next year’s Oxford dictionary.  That’s the grinding dance moves that’s the rage with youthful dancers across the nation (actually, I imagine it’s global).  Mt Lebanon High School has been battling it at their school dances for several years now.  Miley Cyrus actually did it the other night on stage at the MTV VMA music awards.  As if Miley didn’t already have a trashy reputation.  :)

Birds don’t have fingers.  They also don’t have teeth.  So they have to get pretty creative with their Beaks and Talons.  The National Aviary has created a double header line up to show how they utilized both of their beaks and talons to accomplish eat, grab, grip, court, preen, climb, build nests and groom each other.  These fall shows run through January and as the weather becomes less pleasant, a nice break from gloomy weather and a chance to see these amazing creatures that you may have seen a robin do, but when the emcee at the show points out what’s all involved, you see how amazing these creatures are.  The shows are no longer included in the general admission, the individual shows are $5 on top of the admission price, you can do both for $9.

Trib reporter and a regular guest at The Parador, Brad Bumsted is releasing his book Keystone Corruption next Monday.  Brad’s a reporter for the Trib that lives near Harrisburg and frequently covers events out there.  He personally knows (I don’t believe as in friends, but has interviewed, followed and done other reporter duties) many of the recently convicted as well as many of the older political convicts from past disgraces.  Brad doesn’t just treat the book as a ledger of crimes committed, but also ads humor and insight as to how people that were once respectable have been corrupted by power and influence.  I’ve read many of Brad’s articles in the Trib, haven’t read his book yet, but it’s on my list.

The second biggest polluter of Pennsylvania streams is acid mine drainage.  The state has plugged many mines up to stop the flow of sulfur leaden water into our waterways and there are a number of active and passive treatment facilities around for years.  The active treatment facilities are fairly pricey to build and operate.  When the concept of passive treatment came around a number of years ago, it was hailed as a cost effective way to deal with this pollution.  Unfortunately, they have turned out to be a challenge to keep operating, most sit idle these days.  Hedin Environmental cleans and dries the sludge out of a number of Western PA treatment ponds and refines the iron oxide out.  Last year they recovered around 1,000 tons of it.  After the processing, they sell the oxide for dyes in stains for wood and concrete, but it also is used by Crayola crayon’s burnt sienna crayon.  That’s pretty cool, making money and helping clean the environment.  This is my problem with nuclear energy, coal mining and now fracking.  They extract the energy, make their money and then we are stuck with the legacy costs.

People have been raising chickens for thousands of years as a food source, both for meat and eggs.  We went from many, if not most households in the village to having a few chickens to farmers that specialized in chickens and then into the agribusiness.  Many individual families these days are planting gardens in their yard for food and some are even raising chickens and bees.  Many cities have put restrictions on what kind of “farming” they permit within the city limits.  This coming Sunday, September 8, “Swick’s Chicks” will have a self-guided tour of 12 homes raising chickens in Swickley.  You will get to meet a dozen chicken farmers :) and get insight into not only some local rules and regulations, but also the pros and cons of raising your own.  The tours run from 10 am until 2 pm and they start at the Penguin Bookshop, the cost is $10 which goes to the food bank.

The Detroit citizens subsidized the 1997 $300M Tiger’s stadium, then they subsidized the 1999 $450M Lion’s stadium.  The largest city in the country to go into bankruptcy seems now to be on the verge of subsidizing the Red Wings new $200M stadium.  The city of 700,000 residents, down from over 5M residents in 2000 has long term debt of $18B and their current budget has a $400M projected deficit and have shut down 40% of their street lights to save money.  Am I crazy, or do other people see an issue with subsidizing billionaire Mike Illitch, owner of the Tigers, Red Wings and Little Caesar’s Pizza chain?

Have a great day and enjoy this in between summer and fall weather,