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,


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