Tomorrow is the anniversary of the sinking of the cruiser Indianapolis (1945), NASA was established (1958), Hebrew Tisha B’Av (the destruction of the first and second temples, Norway’s Olsok Eve and the Spanish Festa De Santa Marta De Ribarteme.  Birth anniversaries include new anchor Peter Jennings (1938), French politician Alexis Tocqueville who wrote Democracy in America (1831), first lady Alice Roosevelt (1861) and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (1883).

Up in Mercer, two ladies have started Bed Dog Restoration.  They specialize in taking vintage things and turning them into furniture and accessories.  They’re not cheap, they have a queen bed whose frame is a 1956 Chevy truck at Artistry in the Strip for $15,670.  Ouch.  It is very cool, but I don’t know if I’m in the mood for a $15k bed.  They also make trundle tables out of old barn wood.  I don’t know if you ever go to Artistry, it’s on Smallman right around the Smallman Street Deli and they have some great pieces.  I’m really on a roll here, I also love the Smallman Street Deli, one of the best in the city.

Some things are just too strange.  In 2004, they planted a pine tree in Los Angeles to commemorate George Harrison, the Beatle that passed away in 2001 from cancer.  George, an avid gardener, would have appreciated the irony of a beetle infestation killed a tree dedicated to a Beatle.  :)

I admit, I’m a 20th century guy, not a 21st.  I do own an iPhone, a computer and have GPS in my car.  But really hate people tracking me and my habits.  I’m always shutting down cookies on my computer trying to track me, I don’t use frequent shopper “rewards” cards. This is one of the reasons I seldom shop Giant Eagle, they are just over the top trying to force me to buy what they want to sell me, not what I want to buy.  Giant Eagle did force me to get one of their rewards cards because I always use the self checkout line and they claimed I had to have a rewards card because they were having trouble with shop lifters going through the self checkout line.  I don’t buy that, they just wanted an excuse to force customers like me into their network and since I do need to pop in a Giant Eagle store on occasion, I signed up for one. With their Advantage card, they track what you buy, how much, when and all kinds of other information, just like Google, but on a different scale.  They have studied grocery shopping  to the extent that they know for every 140 feet further into the store, you typically spend an additional $2.54.  They are now developing an App that can send you coupons on your phone to encourage you to spend more.  It’s like some of those stores (I don’t remember which) that have GPS kind of system set up in their store and even if you don’t have your iPhone turned on, they can track how long you’ve been a particular counters and other data.  That’s just too scary for me.

While we’re talking about shopping, let’s just jump over to vending machines, they aren’t just for sodas and chips anymore.  And they aren’t just in office and school break rooms.  Sprinkles Cupcakes is installing cupcake dispensing machines at all 16 nationwide outlets they have.  These machines can hold up to 760 cupcakes and turn the outlet into 24 hours service.  The machine has been tracked selling on average 1,000 cupcakes a day, 50% of the sales!  Burritobox has a menu of various types of burritos, even fajita burritos that are warmed when you buy them.  You can also order sides like guacamole, sour cream and warmed chips.  For safe food purposes, these machines warm the burritos to 195 degrees internal temperature.  There’s pizza vending machines, burger machines, you name it.  Europe and Asia are pretty far ahead of us in this, they have machines that sell gold bars, eggs, live beetles to name a few.  Wow.  :)

The Pennsylvania Resources Council has been around for 75 years now trying to keep our environment clean and wholesome.  Somewhat ironically, they will be hosting their 75th collection at Boyce Park on Saturday from 9 am until 1pm.  (No, they do a lot more collections each year than one, for the longest time there wasn’t a way to recycle or at least neutralize hazardous materials.  They just been collecting them the last few years).  But, since 2011, the have kept more than 4 million tons of these products out of the environment!  They take paint, cleaning supplies, pesticides and other hazardous materials.  They charge $2 per container, so if you want to be frugal, marry like products together (take three quarts of latex paints and pour into a one gallon can).  Just be sure to marry “like products”, latex paints with latex paints, not latex paints with oil paints.  More info at their website.

As we all have heard, obesity is epidemic in America.  Where do you stand?  They say three out of four people that would be officially classified as obese think they’re actually alright.  Even if you’re not obese (or at least don’t think you are)  :) you really should check out your bmi (body mass indes).  It’s super easy and might give you the added push to take of a couple of pounds.  Go to the Centers for Disease Control’s bmi site and fill in your heights and weight (and you have to be honest here).  I did if for myself and on a mission to drop about 7 pounds.

The House and Garden Tour for the Manchester Historical Society is next Sunday (August 3) from 11 am until 3 pm.  You can pick up the $15 tickets the day of the tour at the Pittsburgh Conroy in the 1300 block of Page Avenue.  PediCabs will be available if you don’t want to walk, the Mark Strickland Group will be performing jazz from 1 – 3 pm, one of the houses has a “Wizard Garden”.  One of the houses on the tour is a restored 1883 mansion, tours will point out historical sites and a modern adaption that was saved from the wrecking ball because of a Manchester initiative a few years ago.  That was amazing.  The city came up with 100+ buildings to be demolished in Manchester.  The civic council said “NO”.  They agree to 10 – 20 frame buildings that were beyond repair.  The rest the city wasn’t allowed to touch.  The the civic council came up with a “package” for about 12 of the buildings.  Because if was a group of buildings, Manchester was able to negotiate a low interest rate with a bank, a property tax deferred from the city and a contractor willing to work good numbers.  Manchester figured out what the house would be worth fixed and worked from there.  Say a three bedroom, two bath would have a market value of $167,000, that was the price they put on it.  The price included total renovations, the deferred tax and low interest rate loan.  Now the price might include Formica counter tops and you wanted granite, you could negotiate with the contractor for an appropriate increase.  Manchester then did a “house tour” of these properties and if you were interested, you signed a form one of the volunteers had at that site.  After the tour, Manchester started with the first person on the list and if they could qualify for the loan, they got the house.  If the first person couldn’t qualify for some reason, Manchester went to the second person that signed the list.  How cool was that?

It’s that time of year, regional county fairs are hitting our local counties.  The Fayette County Fair winds up this weekend.  Next up the Butler County Fair starts Monday and runs through August 9.  The Washington County Fair starts August 9 and runs through August 16.  The Dayton Fair in Armstrong County will be in their 134th year starting August 8 and closing on the 17.  The Lawrence County Fair runs from August 11 until 16.  From August 15 until 23 will be the Westmoreland County Fair.  August 16 through 23 the Somerset County Fair will take place.  The Hookstown Fair will run from August 19 through 23.  And finally the Indiana County Fair will run from August 24 through 30.  Lots of good clean wholesome fun, check one out.

Ty came up to me Sunday and asked if he could run a free night offer through Facebook.  As of now, there has been over 3,000 people have been reached.  If you already Like The Parador, you just need to Like that post and share it to qualify.

Well, that’s about it for this post.  Enjoy your summer and enjoy it safely,


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