Hi,

Tomorrow has lots of anniversaries like when the Bar Code system was introduced (1974), the Federal Credit Union Act (1934), the human genome was mapped (200), the Saint Lawrence Seaway was opened (1959), the pardoning of three of the men convicted in Chicago’s Haymarket Riot by the Illinois governor and the United Nations charter was signed (1945).  Birth anniversaries include author Pearl Buck (1892), Union Civil War officer (and for awhile was credited with inventing baseball) Abner Doubleday (1819) and Revolutionary War leader Arthur Middleton (1742).

Honest, I had a post last Saturday.  But when I went into WordPress today, it showed up as a draft and I thought I had a double copy and deleted it.  Damn, I hate putting all that work into a post and then losing it on my own fault.

Why do guests want to know where I live?  I think it’s a legitimate question if I live on-site, but the exact location I find irksome.  A lot of people ask if I live on-site and I always say yes and drop it.  Sometimes guests get persistent about where.  What, are you going to stop by later and ask me out for a glass of wine?  :)  What difference does it make?  It’s just one of those little things that I find annoying.

I had 21 guests for the Kenny Chesney concert and then a wedding for a neighbor’s son on Sunday.  Quite a challenging weekend, but all went well.   There were 55K people in the stadium for the concert and they estimate as high as an additional 30K where here just to party.  That kept the police a little busy with 73 arrests and they had to respond to 10 large fights.  When you consider the number of people (many who have been consuming alcohol since the morning), I don’t think the negative stats are too bad.  I did at one point walk outside the front of my Inn and found three young guys standing right inside the fence separating my parking lot from the sidewalk, which in and of itself wasn’t too strange, but I had “a feeling” and when I started walking towards them, a fourth came out of the back of my lot.  When I approached, they discretely, but quickly walked down the sidewalk away from me.  I figured he was using my lot as a toilet, but didn’t find any wet spots.  So my assumption was he was trying door handles to see if the cars were locked and would steal anything they could get there hands on.  I hate thieves as much as liars.

Anyway, on July 18, the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming is hosting an instructor’s recital at the Shady Side Academy’s Hillman Center.  It’s a pretty cool organization I support yearly with a gift certificate.

Camp Erin, founded by professional baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife offers a yearly camp to help kids cope with loss.  This year it was held at YMCA’s Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Butler county along the Conoquenessing Creek.  No cell phones, no TV, no electronics, what a great way to show kids besides how to cope with death of loved ones, but also that to be disconnected can be fun.  This last camp they had 103 kids that are encouraged to laugh, sing as well as cry.  The adult volunteers show kids it’s OK to grieve, that’s the best way to work loss out.  If you know a child that needs help coping with a loss, they start taking applications in December for the 2014 camp.  Camp Erin has expanded to 39 locations in the US and 2 in Canada.

Have you ever been on the USS Requin?  It’s on the river right next to the Carnegie Science Center and I have always been fascinated with it.  I’m not overly claustrophobic, but I do get the willies going in it and thinking of being confined on it for months on end when it was in service.  The Carnegie has started guided tours on select Sundays, one of the guides actually served on the Requin in the 60’s.  To have an “inside” tour of the submarine would be like having an inside tour of The Parador getting all the little details you could miss on your own.  The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non members.  Reservations are required.

The gift that keeps giving, P.W.S.A.  The state oversight committee trying to work with the city (and in this instance the county) has been insisting the city pick up a computer software package the county is using so the systems can integrate and be more efficient and save money.  I think this has been an issue for almost five years now.  Instead of getting the same system so everyone can talk together, the water authority bought their own system that doesn’t have the ability to communicate with the city or the county.  After spending $2.7M on the system (and it’s still not fully operational) three years ago, they say it would cost and additional $2M to make it able to communicate with the city.  We really should get rid of all these authorities.  They are by nature, independent.  But when you see the stupidity and ineptness, there’s nothing much you can do.  You certainly can’t vote them out of office.   The water authority has a special place in my heart after costing me $42K pre-opening to separate the domestic and the sprinkler system waters (LONG story here).  Although the stadium authority did stand up to the Steelers about paying for the additional seats the Steelers want added and other amenities, they basically let the sports teams have complete control of developing public lands around the stadiums at bargain basement prices.  It wasn’t until the gentleman that owns Alco Parking made a realistic offer for the Northshore properties that the stadium authority finally made the Steelers pay a price that was discounted, not just robbery.  The other authority that needs disbanded is Port Authority.  During the initial pre-construction phase of the Northshore connector, then director Steve Bland was asked if he would put additional cars on when the Steelers have home games.  He said “No, that would involve overtime”.  OMG, 65K people going to a game and he wasn’t planning on adding additional cars.  He quickly changed that story.  Most recently, our county executive nominated an ex-turnpike official that ended up getting indicted for theft and corruption.  I’m sure Councilman Ricky Burgess has the best of intentions, but he’s proposing creating a new authority to make up a land bank for abandoned properties predominately in the Homewood Brushton sections of the city.  We already have a Urban Redevelopment Authority, why do we need another urban redevelopment group?  The sky is blue, it’s hot and humid, but a nice breeze.  See, I’m not all negative.  :)

I don’t know how much you watch our waterways, but Campbell Transportation Company is a pretty big local company that does a lot of barge movement on the rivers.  This privately held company out of Houston, PA has been around over 50 years has expanded into building tugboats.  They are christening their two new boats, the Renee Lynn and Alice Jean on Tuesday at a private (but very large group of invited guests) here on the Northshore.  I like seeing local companies grow.

The Three Rivers Regatta is this coming Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Besides all the boats, boat races and food vendors, a big attraction is Sandsational Sand Sculpting‘s of 160 tons of sand into America’s Pioneering Spirit.  The sneak picture in today’s paper looks pretty impressive.  Better than my weak sandcastles I used to make on the beach. :)

Well, that’s it for today, have a great day and enjoy this hot, but sunny and nice weather,

ed

Hi,

I found the blog I inadvertently deleted a week ago.

Happy summer solstice.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the end of the battle of Okinawa (1945), New Hampshire ratified the constitution (1788) and the anniversary of Hurricane Agnes (1972).  Birth anniversaries include presidential wife Matha Washington (1731), French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905), novelist Mary McCarthy (1912) and black artist Henry Tanner (1859).

I have a new one, when I pulled the bath linen out of a guest room yesterday, I noticed one of the towels was terribly thin.  I spoke with Dee about and she thinks the guests stole a towel from a Motel 6 or some place like that and swapped towels with me.  Too funny.

Another kick-butt at The Parador.  21 guests for the Kenny Chesney concert and a small conference at Duquesne University.  Then Sunday afternoon, my neighbor’s Paula & Lenny’s son will be marrying April.  Small event, very intimate.

Ron Gdovic is the inventor and marketer of Power Stax Power Systems on Smallman Street in the Strip.  They’re twenty foot tall wind turbines (instead of the tall blade wind machines you see on the hills in Somerset) that the blades are made of okoume wood, an Asian wood known for flexibility and and are frequently used in boat construction.  They are housed in a polyvinyl chloride posts and are relatively small in their foot print.  Unlike their tall bladed counter parts, they are not dangerous to birds, in fact, although they don’t recommend it, you can actually put your hand in them while their turning without injury (it might hurt though).  :)  The blades are installed backwards with the blunt end out.  Starting price is around $7,500 and they say they can generate enough electricity for a smaller house.  Before they sell the units, they place a machine in your space that records wind and other environmental factors to see if it’s feasible and then send a tech out to survey the area.

The iconic Schwartz’s Market on East Carson Street that closed last year after 84 years is reopening as Schwartz Living Market.  I’m not real sure what they are, I think they’re like a Whole Foods.  In addition to local natural farm products, they will be offering educational movies and things like “living juices”, not sure here.  I hope it’s not a slurpy with live germs or small animals in it.  :)  Anyway, it’s great to see small local markets opening and giving the Southside residents an option besides the evil Giant Eagle in Wharton Square is a great thing.

You know, when I was looking to replace some windows, I spoke with several contractors looking to make an INFORMED decision.  I did that what I contracted out to replace the Veranda floor with exposed aggregate concrete.  I seek information from knowledgeable sources.   Alcosan is facing a federal court order to clean up what they’re dumping in the rivers.  This is no small matter, the estimated costs exceed $2B up to almost $4B.  You would think with that much on the line, Alcosan would be seeking information from all sources to come up with the best solution at the lowest cost.  Alcosan is famously famous for not being green or thinking in those terms.  Clean Rivers requested information on Alcosan’s plans and Alcosan has refused.  Their spokesperson Nancy Barylak said they will tell Clean Rivers.

6what Alcosan’s plans are when their finished!  Maybe take a billion dollars and invest it in rain gardens, rain barrels, public educational classes and so much more.  My suggestion, which they summarily dismissed was when replacing storm water catch basins along the roads, instead of digging a whole, placing a sealed concrete box that connects directly to the sewer, dig the holemaybe two feed deeper than normal, fill it with rock so some of the water can dissipate right there.   I’m sure if I was a scientist or had the time, the amount of water you could keep out of the system could be huge.  You don’t need to invest the money immediately by replacing all the catch basins at once.  If they did they study (and they do like to commission studies), show the DEP how much run off water you can divert if all basins are replaced this way whenever it’s time.

Pittsburgh hosted the Americans for the Arts convention last week and we had scads of people from all over the country touring our city.  Th responses I’ve heard were extremely favorable.  It’s like my guests that have never been to Pittsburgh rave about how clean, interesting, friendly and filled with interesting attractions they had no idea we had.  As a side note, did you know that the arts generate $1.17B a year in economic impact?  The average per capital spending on non-profit arts and culture is $315 per county resident compared to $267 per capital nationally.  We spent $249 participating in individual artists’ shows compared to a national average of $148.    That’s pretty impressive.  I saw a poll last year where something like 45% of Allegheny County residents attends a sporting event where 53% attend some sort of cultural event of some sort (I’m making those numbers up, I don’t recall the exact percentages, but mine are fairly close).

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is hosting an interesting exhibit that’s traveling the world.  Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia runs through November 3.  This exhibit examines the impact of trade routes through the middle east from the west to the east.  They have over 200 recently excavated objects, some from as far back as 6 BC and shows how the area changed over time, including the advent of Islam after 7 AD.  I haven’t seen it yet, but get a copy of their magazine and the statues, etc look pretty interesting.

In 1863, as the Confederates were marching north, Pittsburgh and Allegheny City felt a real threat and employers released thousands of employees to help build 37 fortifications in and around Pittsburgh.  The Allegheny City Society has been researching the one here and will be hosting tours of the significant sites tomorrow.  I don’t have much information on them, I’ve been to their web site and when I click on the link to the tours, it just brings me back to their home page.  If you are interested in attending, visit the link above.  The cost ($40) includes bus and walking tours as well as lunch.

That wraps it up for today, hopefully I will have time to ramble on more than once a week soon.  Next week isn’t too busy (at this point) :), the following week (4th of July and Taylor Swift concert) is going to be gang busters again.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and remember to keep hydrated,

ed

Hi,

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Bunker Hill (1775), Iceland Independence Day (1944), South Africa repealed the last apartheid law (1991) and the 41th anniversary of Watergate (1972).  Birth anniversaries include Methodist Church John Wesley (1703), PA Governor Tom Corbett (1949), composer Igor Stravinsky (1882) and constitution signer William Hooper (1742).

Business has been crazy busy.  A huge trend the last few weeks is a ton of European guests (probably 10% of my total guests).  I don’t know Pittsburgh’s becoming more of a destination or if The Parador is a becoming an international destination.  :)

Did you go out to the 15th Annual Atlatl Competition Saturday at Meadowcroft?  Loosely speaking, an Atlatl is and ancient attachment to a spear that extends it’s distance and accuracy.  They believe to have been in use by primitive hunters as far back as 30,000 years ago.  I guess that’s where Jean Auel got the idea for her heroine Ayla’s idea for her innovative weapon in the Clan of the Cave Bear.  It’s funny how as life goes by, you see things from your past that makes more sense with new perspectives.  It’s like years ago when I first read Frank Herbert’s Dune I thought how creative he was with the city names.  Then about ten years ago, as the middle east came to the front page of news, I swear all the city names he used are right out of Yemen.

Also on Saturday was the 23 Annual River Sweep, the largest river clean up in the country that cleans more than 2,400 miles of shoreline.  Cleaning the Ohio River from Pennsylvania through Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois they pulled more than 40 tons of trash out of the river.  This was accomplished by 600 volunteers in 24 groups, good work guys!

Well, the commute is open, you can now accept that job in DC and bike all the way.  :)  Seriously, they finally opened those two last segments around Sandcastle and up around McKeesport for the Great Allegheny Passage Trail to be completed.  The organizers already have their eyes on some smaller improvements along the trail and a fairly large challenge getting the motor traffic and bikers separated along the Mon Wharf,  they just received a $2M state earmark for it.  It’s about 150 miles to Cumberland, MD where it meets the C&O Canal Towpath that completes the 334.5 mile trip to DC.  It’s a very cool trip (not that I’ve done it), going through the mountains, over rebuilt bridges over waterway and through refurbished tunnels that trains once uses, so the grade is minimal.

Next Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm they will be having a Pollinator Open House by St Vincent College in Unity.  Penn State Master Gardeners will be giving tours of the Reserve’s gardens and a local beekeeper will be their giving demonstrations.  Great opportunity if any of you are thinking of taking up apiary as a hobby.  More info by calling 724-837-1402 or by  visiting their website.

Next month, July 11 Phipps will be teaming with Penn State Cooperative Extension and nationally known garden designer David Culp for a special Summer Short Course on design and use of native plants.  It runs from 8:30 until 2:30 and the $95 includes lunch and coffee.  Limited spaces in their new learning center and a $50 deposit will be required.  More info by calling 412-441-4442 or by visiting their website.

Have you seen Mr Epic Man’s YouTube posting How Animals Eat Their Food?  I like it how his dining partner keeps a straight face watching his antics until the kangaroo.  Pretty cute.

144 years after Samuel Morse sent his first telegram, the  Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited will be sending the world’s last telegraph and closing it’s doors on July 14.

That Philadelphia company that’s been all over Downtown buying properties and converting them into apartments and condos mainly is planning a Kimpton Hotel chain Hotel Monaco brand, watch out Fairmont Hotel, you’re going to have a run for your money on the higher end guest market.  I like to see it because Pittsburgh’s been lacking in the availability of upscale hotel rooms.  It gives the city more of an upscale destination image. This 250 room luxury hotel will be in the old James Reed Building that has law offices of Reed Smith most recently.  So now we have luxury accommodations in The Parador, The Fairmont and a Monaco.  :)

I’ve been a big fan of John Conti for some time now.  What a well presented argument for a compromise for the Terminal Building in the Strip (maybe he read an earlier blog of mine) he made in today’s Trib titled “Lost” Buildings Can Never Be Replaced:)  Instead of tearing the entire bottom third of the building down, cut a pass through at 17th Street.  This leaves the imagery of the 1500 foot solid building framing what could be a VERY dramatic plaza framed by the Terminal Building on one side, the various old buildings (some have been re-habbed WITHOUT public money Buncher Group) on the other side and on the end that very dramatic St Stanislaus Kostka church.  They are even proposing leaving some of the structural metal work in place between the two parts of the Terminal Building for visual affect.    If you go to the link, there’s a rendering of their proposal.  I suggest going one step further, make a park in the middle of the street, a long narrow park.  Angled in parking and single lane in each direction would leave at least thirty feet in the middle for my park, maybe call it Parador Park?  :)  Unlike Buncher, Mr Conti and myself are willing to compromise.

Have a great week,

ed

 

 

Tomorrow’s anniversary include one for me, Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935.  :)  The ball point pen was patented (1935), the rape of the town Lidice by the Germans (1942), in defiance of England, the first mint was established in Massachusetts (1652) and the first Arab Spring started in Jordan (1916).  Birth anniversaries include Canadian author Saul Bellow (1915), actress Judy Garland (1922) and the first African American to win an Academy Award, Hattie McDaniel (1889).

Kicked my butt.   The 20 new windows are stained and two coats of polyurethane in the inside and two finish coats on the outside.  The contractor was OK, at best.  At least I think the windows were installed properly.  I’m missing a whole stack of hand towels, the workers went into and used the guest bathrooms and their hygiene was REALLY bad, Dee had a fit.  Marginal clean up, when I say marginal, they picked the big things up and swept the obvious floor.  We found debris everywhere.  I spend an entire day cleaning the big suite, Lady Palm myself.  But it’s over and everything’s put back together, and clean. :)

Casa Rasta has opened a second location over on Federal Street two doors up from El Burro.  Both are basically take out with some counter type seating.  I don’t recall if I spoke of El Burro in the past when they opened, nice people, good burritos a welcome addition to the Northside.  And I know I’ve talked about Casa Rasta and the great job they do up in Beechview.  A friend of mine is the head librarian at the Federal Street Carnegie Library and we’ve talked about lunch over there.  All the little storefront restaurants literally run out of food by the end of lunch.  They can’t keep up the demand from Allegheny General Hospital’s main location and the AGH medical facility on Federal.

Have you heard of Memes?  It lets you add text and alter images of pictures you have taken for online.  Like Ian Richards posting of the 300 feet on the Ft Duquesne bridge you have to get from the left lane to the right lane in five lanes.  There’s some pretty cute ones out there.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is bringing back the Festival of Firsts for the third time since 2004.  The festival runs from September 27 through October 26.  They will be showcasing a wide range of art forms including dance, theater, performance, music and visual art.  The “mascot” will be Floretijn Hofman‘s 40′ high and 30′ wide bright yellow floating rubber duck that has been seen recently in Sydney and Hong Kong.  One of the events will be Kiss and Cry where Belgium collective NanoDanses will present the story of a woman recounting her greatest loves told by hands portraying persons in miniature backgrounds.  Austrian Kurt Hentschlager‘s Vee which will be an enclosed room filled with odorless, dense (and hopefully non lethal) :) which limits your normal senses and add to the a constant droning sound will probably not be for the faint of heart.  A second piece by Hentschlager will be Hive, a 3-D animated audio/visual where swirling human shapes spiral into one one form.  Measure Back is an audience participation to seek out the difference between citizen-as-spectator and citizen-as-participant in war and was created and run by Christopher McElroen and T Ryder Smith.  More info and ticket sales are at the Festival of Firsts web site.

Have you seen the Mr. Roger’s auto tunes re-mix?  To compliment last year’s  release Garden of Your Mind, Sing Together has recently been released.  Kind of perks Mr. R. up a bit.  :)

There’s some websites with deals much better than the mammoth E-Bay.  Govdeals is one where they sell confiscated items from airlines.  USAgov also has deals on surplus items and can direct you to local sites that are selling these items.  And Woot has deals on it’s site.

Pittsburgh is the home to many small museums, I have covered most of them in the past, but the Trib ran an article with a bunch together, so I thought I’d talk about them as a group.  Trundle Manor is one I missed.  When Rachel Rech first met Anton Raphael Mirello, he told her he had a freezer full of squirrels he’d like her to eviscerate and stuff them, she was hooked.  There are tons of stuffed animals there to include a grouse/raccoon/alligator thing, a singing tumor and much, much more.  By appointment in Swissvale, 412-916-5544.  More info at their website.  Center for Post-Natural History a CMU professor Richard Pell opened this storefront museum in Garfield dedicated to genetically modified organisms.  Hours are noon to 4 pm Sundays and 5 – 8 pm the first Fridays of the month.  He hopes to raise enough money through donations to be able to hire a staff member to have it opened more.  More info at his website or by calling 412-223-7698.  Bayernhoff Museum is one of my favorites.  This rambling hilltop mansion O’Hara Township is filled with his obsession with antique musical instruments, automatons, music boxes and player pianos.  Open by appointment only, more info at the website or by calling 412-782-4231.  Downtown is the Toonseum which is dedicated to cartoon art in America.  In addition to his in-house rotating collections, there’s frequently guest exhibits as well.  Rivers of Steel/Carrie Furnace in Homestead has tons of visitors.  This article didn’t quote numbers, but I’ve read in the past they have somewhere around 200,000 visitors a year at the small museum.  The museum is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 am until 4 pm and Carrie Furnace is by appointment.  More info at their website or by calling 412-464-4020.  The Roberto Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville is by appointment and is dedicated to all things the great athlete and humanitarian was all about.  More info at their website or by calling 412.621-1268, admission is by appointment.  The next three museums are home over here on the Northside.  Bicycle Heaven is down off Beaver Avenue by the river.  Craig Morrow has saved tons of classic bikes, restored them and put them on display hanging from the walls and ceilings in this old factory.  It’s a great resource if you are into classic bikes for parts.  Next to and owned by the famous Bernie’s Photography is Photo Antiquities on East Ohio Street.  This narrow museum is stuffed with all kinds of classic photographs.  He was trying to raise money to move to a new location just north of it’s current showroom to expand the exhibition space and so he could have classes, dark rooms, etc.  I haven’t heard lately of any progress in this endeavor.  More info at his website or by calling 412-231-7881.  It is open from 10 am until 4 pm Mondays, Wednesdays through Saturdays.  The Mattress Factory in the Mexican War Streets is open 10 am until 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 pm Sundays.  Barbara converted this former mattress factor to house installational art, the room is the piece of work.  She brings local, national and international artists in.  If you go there, be sure to check out their Annex right down the street as well.  If you go to the Mattress Factory, right down the street is Randyland.  Although not an actual museum, Randy has taken two three story Victorian houses and they are his canvas, as is his Courtyard which is open when he’s home.  It’s worth a trip in and of itself.  All the more reason to plan a visit to The Parador Inn:)

Be sure to go to the Three Rivers Arts Festival and check out the newly re-opened Fountain at the Point.

I’ll be back sooner than a week, I promise,

ed

Hi,

Tomorrow’s Italian Republic Day where in 1946 they passed a referendum which kept it a republic instead of returning it to a monarchy, the Salem Witch Trials began in 1692), it is the anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953) and Saint Erasmus holiday, the patron saint of sailors also know as Saint Elmo.  Birth anniversaries include actor Johnny Weissmuller (1904) and no introduction needed for Marquis De Sade (1740).

I know it’s been a week since my last post, but the window project is just about completed.  I haven’t pulled a weed in almost two weeks.  I’ve stained the insides of all twenty windows and given the insides two coats of a Polycriylic sealant.  I’ve given the exterior of the windows the first coat of the teal finish and cleaned the windows up (ended up in a clinic because a gashed my palm on the LAST of the 112 staples I had to take out from their packing).  Tomorrow I give them a second finish coat of the teal and I’ll be all set for installation starting on Monday.  They really look great, I’m so excited.

I really hate Giant Eagle grocery stores.  They do all sorts of sly things like listing specials and not differentiating between a sale for the general public and a sale for their frequent shopper patrons.  I really don’t like people following my habits and never sign up for any of those perk cards, my privacy’s worth more to me than the few dollars a year I’d save. When I first moved back to Pittsburgh and saw Giant Eagle would have banners for specials, but not differentiate between frequent shopper specials and general specials, I  brought it to the attention of the store manager and she literally told me they can run their specials any way they want.   GE is constantly carrying an item and then it’s only available under their label and of lesser quality (and price I admit).  Their latest salvo is black bean and corn salsa.  Paul Newman’s brand is one of the items Kuhn’s doesn’t carry and I go to GE for.  Last night, the only black bean and corn salsa available was under the GE label and it definitely doesn’t have the taste or quality of Paul Newman’s.  Also, when I came into the GE last night, I walked through their produce section and in the center of the floor was this display of red and green bell peppers.  The big sign said “Green Peppers $2.49 lbs”.  No mention of the red peppers which are always more expensive than green.  Just another sly trick of theirs.  They are also HUGE on trying to force you to use their perks card one way or another.  Their latest is you have to have their perks card to use the self check out line.  They claim the reason for this is they experience a lot of theft through the self check out line.  I’ve gone from occasionally shopping there, to seldom and now it’s probably going to never.  In case you don’t remember, GE was busted for threatening Schweppes that if they didn’t withdraw their bid for  that bottling company in Latrobe, GE would NEVER carry their products again, or if they did, it would be on a lower shelf.

Do you own a pool?  It is illegal to dispose of pool water into anything that would flow into a waterway in Pennsylvania.  It has to be put through a sanitary sewer system so the chlorine and muriatic acid can be removed.  So if you do own a pool and clean out last years water, don’t just dump it out into your yard or a storm water drainage system.  Every year around now, the DEP gets reports of fish and other aquatic life kill-offs because of it.  More info on proper disposal of pool water is at the DEP’s website and use the keyword pool waste water.

Did you know there are 55,390 small businesses in Allegheny County with 100 or less employees?  I wasn’t.  Go Small Businesses.  :)

On Tuesday, Preservation Pittsburgh and a Lawrenceville architect Sarah Kroloff filed to have the 87 year old Terminal Building in the Strip declared a historic building.  Go guys!  Hopefully their hard work will finally save one of our iconic buildings city hall seems to quick to dismiss.  Although I hear mayoral candidate Bill Peduto is against the Buncher plan to destroy 1/3 of the building.

Forty years ago, the Westmoreland County Historical Society  started a flea market to generate revenue at the historic village they created.  The flea market is not as popular as in it’s heydays, back when my Dad would go out there, there were almost 300 vendors.   Next Sunday, Historic Hanna’s Town opens for the season.  It’s a pretty extensive antiques flea market out in Greensburg (almost an hour east of Pittsburgh).  Now it’s down to a little over 100, but you can usually fine some great stuff.  It’s held the second Sunday each month of it’s season.   More info on their website.

For a longer trip, SeaWorld has opened it’s Antarctica, Empire of the the Penguin on a four acre site in Orlando.  This is on the foot heels of the Universal opening their Harry Potter theme park three years ago.  Both theme parks are giving DisneyWorld a run for it’s money, which happens to be HUGE money.  Disney is banking on it’s Avatar theme park to keep it in the lead, scheduled to open in 2017.

Did you know CMU was ranked #4 in the top 25 drama schools or the WORLD rated by the Hollywood Reporter coming out next week.  CMU has graduated the winners of six Oscars, 24 Tony’s and 95 Emmys.  Pretty good score card.

Daniel Tosh is coming to Heinz Hall June 13.  I don’t get to see many of his politically incorrect shows on the Comedy Channel, but he really makes me laugh when I do.

Speaking of entertainment, the Three River’s Arts Festival starts next Friday (June 7) and runs through Sunday, June 16.  I don’t often find things I want to buy there, but enjoy the crowds, shows and other entertainment during the festival.  Huge this year is the final re-opening of the fountain on the point.  To celebrate, they are doing a laser show on top of the fountain beamed from on top of PPG Place.  They are going to do this along with the new LED lighting in the fountain and some other light shows around Point State Park.  There’s still construction going on down there, but at least the fountain will be on again, I for one have really missed it.

There’s a cool nonprofit over here on the Northside, Artists Image Resources.  Founded in 1997, this 10,000 square foot facility teaches intaglio (etching), lithography, screen-printing shops, a digital imaging lab, exhibition and archival spaces.  Founded by Ian Short and Robert Beckman they’ve taught and learned from hundreds of artists, teachers and students.  Worth checking out.

Lastly, LMS Greenhouse and Nursery out by Hartwood Acres is hosting their second fairy gardening class next Saturday (June 8) at 10:30 am.  A fairy garden is a miniature garden in a container that uses plants that are naturally of a small scale and props of small buildings, furniture, accents and of course fairies.  The art form started in Japan in the 1800’s and was first seen in America at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893.  The cost of the class is $40 and you get a container, soil, three plants and instructions.  LMS has other fairy products for purchase as well.  Yard supervisor Jane Getsey will be teaching the class and reservation are required.  You can make them by calling 412-767-7020 or by e-mailing Jane at jgetsey@lmsgreenhouse.com.  More info general info at their web site.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, we’ll talk again soon,

ed

Hi,

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,

ed

Hi,

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,

ed

Hi,

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.

 

Hi,

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,

ed

Hi,

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.

Enjoy,

ed

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