The Three Rivers Arts Festival runs Jun 2 through 11 and I went to the extended forecast to see if rain was predicted for the first day of the festival.  The forecast is for no rain, are these weatherpersons inept?   🙂 It rains the first day of the festival every year.  There’s a ton of activities something to peak everyone’s interest.  Many forms of music, art, dance and other activities.  For details, follow the link to their site.

Speaking of free entertainment, Citipark’s free film schedule was released.  Sunday night films has moved from Flagstaff Hill to Schenley Plaza this year.  Schenley Plaza has 26 films between the two nights (Sundays & Wednesdays), Highland Park Resvoir has 3 (Mondays), West End Elliot 13 (Tuesdays), Brookline 13 (Thursdays), Arsenal Park 12 (Fridays), Grandview Park 12 (Saturdays), Riverview Park 12 ( Saturdays).  Allegheny County has a series of free movies and concerts in South Park, Deer Lakes Park and North Park.  Follow the link for movies scheduled which nights and go out and meet your neighbors.

Not free, but for just $10 for live music, who can complain?  The city of Monongahela is hosting Rockin on the Mon at the Monongahela Aquarium for my southern friends.  There’s a concert schedule on their website.  Mon City is one of the Valley cities that seem to be “holding it’s own” in the Valley misery caused by the closing of the steel mills. Though I’m seldom involved in that area anymore, I did grow up in Finleyville and had ties to the Valley and my dad worked in the steel mill in Hazelwood.

Speaking of concerts, Allegheny County announced their Summer Concert Series schedule in both South Park and Hartwood Acres.  Concerts are listed on their website and are free.  If you go, particularly to one at Hartwood Acres bring a book, cards or board game for after the concert, it can be challenging getting out.  I sit on my front porch after Steeler home games when it’s warm and traffic sits for periods of time.  75,000 people just left the stadium and some drivers start honking their horns.  What are you stupid?  You just left with 75,000 others and traffic is going to be heavy.  It only last for just over an hour.  Park on the street and come over and sit on my porch with me and we can talk, maybe solve all the problems of the world.

Speaking of solving the problems of the world, I want to add a couple of planks to my 2020 campaign.  I want to abolish the death penalty.  Besides it’s just wrong, the money we spend defending the sentence, the money spent in special jail housing, the salaries of judges, convicted’s defense is just too much.  I propose life without the possibility of parole as an alternative.  I alos propose creating a huge tax on robo marketing.  I guess we can’t just ban it because of free speech,  so let’s tax it.  Not sure how to value the value (like the value of a new car is easily appraised at say $24,000) how do you value the marketing value to marketing companies.  Maybe create a new kind of tax, the annoyance tax?  Put a value on my time and possible lost revenue because my phone was busy and couldn’t take a reservation?  I also want to tax non profits, OK calm down. 🙂  I very much support non profits and the wonderful work most of them do.  But when you get to these mega corporations like UPMC that each year barely meet the minimum free indignant medical care required to meet their “non profit” status.  Close to 1/3 of the land in the city that could be taxed are in the hands of non profits.  My thoughts are on speculation.  Why  should UPMC be able to hold on to property that isn’t used in their “mission” on speculation only that they might use it in the future.  Either develop and use it or pay taxes.  My next item on the non profits is figure out a new formula for indignant care.  Just barely making 4% free care with executiveS earning multi million dollar salaries.  If they are making that  much money to pay their elite that much, they could be more compassionate.

Anyone that knows me, knows how crazy I am.  The better you know me, the crazier you think I am, just ask Dee.  🙂  I have very specific tastes.  When I opened, I wanted coffee service in my guest rooms.  My opinion is people that want coffee don’t normally want a big pot, they are looking for that first jolt in the morning while getting dressed.  So I bought small coffee makers (4 cups).  I had to look around to find a roaster that could package one ounce packets and lucked out.  I found Iron Star Roasters in West Mifflin that can handle my needs.  They also own Coffee Tree coffee shops.  My guests seem to enjoy the coffee I serve at breakfast, Costa Rica El Indio brand and that I am able to have the same in my guest rooms, because Iron Star is able to package smaller packages for me.  Tim if you are reading this, join the 21st century and update your website so people can order coffee from it.  I can’t tell you how many guests have asked about purchasing it.

I hate “new and improved”.  I need several clocks in my kitchens so I can keep track of time for breakfast.  The Boston Accustic radio in the hot kitchen has a radio and clock and has worked great for 10 years.  I had one on the coffee maker in the cold kitchen, that the coffee pot still worked fine, but the clock stopped working.  So I tried to buy a new one off the shelf, I couldn’t find a coffee maker with a clock so I bought one from their website.  Six months later the clock stopped working.  So I bought an electric clock I found on the Internet.  Somehow, last fall, the time automatically went back an hour when the time changed and then this spring it sprung forward.  It runs about 4 minutes fast and I’ve set it back to the correct time twice and it keeps moving forward four minutes.  It doesn’t keep adding time, it just thinks the time should be four minutes earlier that it its.  So I’ve resigned myself to accepting that the time is wrong and there’s nothing I can do but remember it’s four minutes fast.  I didn’t see anything on the site that they controlled the time on my clock.

I try hard not to have similarities to a Marriott.  The tumblers in my guest bathrooms I have used Stolzle Weinland, they have always been hard to find.  I prefer the 9 ounce tumbler and twice had to accept 10 ounces or more.  This year, after months of fighting with the company that normally carries them, they had them on order (the larger ones) that were late being delivered and then the order was totally cancelled.  So I had settle on a Libbey tumbler, I feel so much like a boring Hilton.

My latest battle is the motion sensor on the side porch.  There’s a lot I need to keep track of and like to keep life as simple as possible.  I already own LED outdoor spot lights, I don’t want to have to carry another specialty bulb which were the only ceiling mounted lights I could find at Ace, Home Depot and Lowes.  So I looked at their wall mounted motion censor lights and it seemed I could mount it on the porch ceiling and move the sensor so it would sense motion on the porch.  Not so.  After hours of trying to adjust it, I went on line looking for a spot light ceiling mounted motion sensor light fixture, after three hours, I’ve given up and going to buy a stupid new bulb ceiling mounted motion sensor.

Something that’s bothered me for years is why is Walmart such a success, are Americans getting cheap and only concerned about the cheapest price?  I don’t think it’s that.  I think it’s our rebellion to corporate greed.  Trump was on a close path to the dissatisfaction of the working middle class, but not quite on the mark.  We are all tired of corporate greed.  We are still paying for the coal barons that made their fortunes extracting coal from the earth and we are now paying, what they should have to clean up their mess with acid mine drainage and we will be pay for years on that and the new travesty of long wall extraction.  They take the coal out and the homes above face mine subsidence as the old mines collapse.  Home owners can buy “Mine Subsidence Insurance” through the state, which we are subsidizing.  I’ve started my day with Tetley tea all my adult life.  I’m old enough to remember when they took the paper dividers out of the box to save money on packaging (I’m OK with saving money by shaving waste).   I’m also old enough to remember when they reduced the amount of tea in each bag, it the taste was similar, but not the same.  Most recently, the financial crisis we had to bail them out.  The corporate executives still got their multi million dollar paychecks.  I don’t believe people go into Walmart thinking of hedge fund managers, but it’s a subtle dissatisfaction with the status quo.

I took da kidz down to the Humane Society to weigh them.  Da gerl is still down 10# and da boi has gained 10#, so he’s going on a diet.  I tried today and green beans are not acceptable to him. I will have start with two or three at a time until he’s used to it.  Sorry RJ, fat is not on the program.  🙂

The Three Rivers Regatta has moved back to August this year, August 4 -6 to be exact.  Too much debris in the water with the earlier dates.  Not much on their website yet.

Observatory Hill is having their house tour June 4 from noon to 5 pm.  Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 the day of the tour.  If you go to the tour, give yourself some time to go over to River View Park, it has spectacular views of the river and city.  And there isn’t any tour scheduled for the Observatory, but it’s cool to look at from the outside and the park is beautiful.  In 1859, Lewis Bradley, a lens pioneer built one of the first observatories in the world there, it is now owned and operated by Pitt.

That’s it for today, keep dry and happy,

ed

 

The mantel clock in the Parlor broke.  The chimes stopped and then the time quit working.  I found this guy in 7 Fields that does clock repair, Jeff Campbell.  If you need a clock repaired, he’s good, he’s reasonable and for me was fast.  Because the parlor clock is such a focal point, he put it on a fast track and I got I got it back in about a week.  He does it part time, more or less as a hobby.  the hyper link is his email and his phone number is 724-816-7147, if you would like to get a clock repaired.  I also learned a good bit from him.  I knew the clock in the dining room was an Ansonia mantel clock:`

When I carried the Parlor clock into his shop, he referred to is as a kitchen clock and he asked me something about the Ansonia clock, I asked him how he knew it was an Ansonia and he said it’s written right here on the bottom, sure enough it’s also an Ansonia:

And I took that big, garish gold clock that’s been in the front dining room for years to get it fixed.  He said “Oh you have a Japy Frees clock”, its a French clock and at one time had matching candle sticks.  The main reason it didn’t keep time was because it was missing the pendulum.  Here it is keeping time in the main dining room:

Jeff’s not a big fan of French clocks, but does like the Ansonias.  The reason I put the Japy Frees in the main dining room is the Ansonia is a PIA to wind, you have to wind it from the back through a little hole.  The Japy Frees is front winding, I like easy.  🙂

I had a long conversation with Lester this morning.  I really don’t understand “squirrel”, but I believe he was complaining the birds are eating all his peanuts.  He was on top of the gecko swing chittering away at me and I noticed the plate I put peanuts on for the squirrels was empty.  I told him he needs to get up earlier and told him the old adage The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the peanut, I don’t believe he understands “English”.  I put some more peanuts on the dish and he seemed happy.

Pittsburgh filmed TV series Downward Dog premiers this season at 9:30 on ABC.  It’s a cute story about a dog’s perspective on us.  Speaking of dogs, A Dog’s Purpose, one of my favorite books was turned into a movie that I hear is very lame.  I won’t go and watch because I loved the book so much.  Every third page you cry and then laugh.  I don’t care for the sequel books much.

Braddock mayor John Fetterman’s wife Gisele founded 412 Food Rescue in 2015 with Leah Lizarondo, so far they have saved 750 tons of edible food from going in the trash.  A number of grocery stores, restaurants and caterers have signed on and they distribute the saved food to 289 non profits, schools and public housing communities.  What they do is pair available food to agencies that want it.  Not everyone would want a case of avocados say, so their app lists available food and agencies that want it sign on.  Here’s where YOU come in.  One of the problems saving food is if there is the said case of avocados in Finley Township and an agency in Southside that wants it.  It would be cost ineffective to send a truck out to Finley to transport it.  If you happen to be at the Mall at Robinson, click on the app and are heading home to the Northside, you click that you are able to transport it.  No major commitment that you will man the food pantry for a four hour shift.  Just pick the case of avocados up and on the way home drop it off.  They need tons of us to step up to the plate and sign on with them.  They estimate they have saved $3.7M worth of food with their 1,500 volunteers.  Are YOU going to make it 1,501?  🙂  I’m so in love with the Fettrerans I’d like to open a bed and breakfast in Braddock just to be around John and Gisele.  Speaking of mayors, today is primary election day and I endorse Mayor Peduto.  I don’t agree with all his policies, but I do believe he has US as his primary focus.  Not like that last bozo that was more concerned with snow bunnies at Seven Springs that he missed the worst snow storm we’ve had in years and lining his pockets.  What’s he doing now, some well paid consulting with one of his cronies.  I didn’t say Luckie, so he can’t get me on slander.  🙂

Speaking of food, I don’t recall if I told you about my anniversary party last year.  My good friends Lisa & Mike the owners of Fabled Table Catering did the food for me.  My sister wanted to do something to help out and offered to do the dessert.  She was going to make a ton of individual cheese cakes.  Mr Efficiency (me) said why not make them on sheet trays and just cut them into squares.  Which she did.  After the party, I asked the remaining guests to take as much food as they wanted and then took the rest up to Pleasant Valley, a men’s shelter in the neighborhood.  They were really grateful.  I still had something like 400 little pieces of cheesecake in the frig.  I was talking to my across the street neighbors Paula & Lenny about the cheesecake and asked if they wanted a bunch.  Paula said what about Judge?  He used to work for Lenny when he had a pizza shop and now lives in senior housing in East Liberty.  So they called him to see if he wanted the cheesecakes.  He said sure.  So Paula & Lenny loaded the cheesecakes in their car and drove them over.  Judge was helping unload them into the senior common room.  He went up to help a friend that’s mobility challenged to come down for some.  By the time they came down, most all of the 400 little cheesecakes were gone.  There must of been a bunch of little old ladies shoving cheesecakes in their pockets.  We made a bunch of old people happy.  🙂

That’s it for today, enjoy life,

ed

Hi,

I’ve spoken with a few other Pennsylvania Innkeepers and they are all complaining that their occupancies are down this year.  I recently read an article on Inns in North St Pete FLA.  Of the four, three are either closed or closing. Industry experts are blaming this on Air BnB and other on-line booking sites like Home Away, etc.  These unregulated companies are not being regulated by our legislatures.    I periodically go to Air BnB’s website.  One ad I’ve seen several times is someone is renting the couch in their living room for $35 with the caveat their cat normally sleeps on the couch.  Generally, I don’t see Air BnB as competition, if you’re so cheap you are willing to spend $35 to sleep on a couch with a cat, I really don’t want you here.  🙂  I am aware of some Innkeepers that list on that site.  Air BnB has been talking about giving legitimate Inns a badge they can put on their listing for at least a year I’ve heard of.  Air BnB’s are not licensed or inspected.  They are not required to have minimum safety safe guards like even smoke detectors or locks on the room they rent out to strangers.  They don’t have second egresses in case of fire.  One of my recent guests’ last visit to PGH was in a place she found in Air BnB, I don’t know what she paid, but she said the hosts were hoarders and the entire first floor was hallways through boxes.  The electricity in the room was supplied by an extension cord from the first floor.    Because of the rise in opposition to them and to protect their business model, Air BnB is negotiating with states claiming they will collect the sales tax and remit it directly to the state, without any back up.  Although I have yet to audited by the state, the county comes by every three years and goes through all my books.  I am aware that I need to be ready for a state audit.  Pennsylvania is one of the states that signed on to this, our state Innkeepers association, PABBI is trying to educate out legislators.  I don’t much care about someone renting their couch out for $35 on occassion, but I know a former banker that is gobbling up local properties and running them through Air BnB.  Matt visited me a year ago to see if I was interested in selling, he owns two properties over by Allegheny General Hospital.

Fortunately for me, this is not a problem with The Parador.  I’m on track to again see a 65% occupancy this year, which I’ve done in the past.  But the last two years, I’ve been in the mid 50’s.  Most bed and breakfasts run an occupancy of somewhere in the 40% range.  65% is what big box hotels aim for and I’m doing it without the big advertising campaigns they run nor do I have a 1-800-Hilton.  🙂

I haven’t whined in a bit.    Watching the news in the morning, I see a lot of car commercials.  Does anyone else wonder what new car’s mark up is if they can offer $10,000 – $20,000 discounts?  If they can offer that amount in a commercial, you aren’t getting any special deal because they have to honor it for anyone purchasing that vehicle.

While I’m whining, they moved the Pittsburgh off Western Avenue AGAIN.  They did it several years ago.  The route crosses over to the Northside and goes around Allegheny Center (the former Allegheny Center Mall, now Nova Place a high tech incubator) and then down to what’s referred to as the Northshore, along the river between the stadiums.  When I called the Marathon organization, her first excuse was the “Sisters Bridges are being rebuilt and causing problems routing the route.  When I said the Marathon is already on the Northside, but turning back down away from Western Avenue.  She then said the reason was the theme this year was something about us being a city of champions and that’s why they want the runners to run through parking lots and see the two stadiums.  My first issue here is it is one of the few times us small businesses have the option to be exposed to 30,000 to 40,000 people as they run past.  They built PNC Park because the Pirates were threatening to leave the city without public money to build it.  They used the same ploy to build Heinz Field for the Steelers.  I wasn’t living here at the time, but I believe the voters rejected this and somehow the voters lost and the stadium was built with tax payer money.  My other issue is when you drive down any of our interstates, there’s no sign “Take exit 1c for The Parador, as there is for both stadiums and the casino.  Granted, I have never had 75,000 people drive into the city looking for The Parador on one day like for a Steeler home game.  Not to mention, how boring is it running through parking lots?  I guarantee there will be no porch parties, like there is on my street cheering the runners on.  And the banner I had created to encourage the runners will remain in my closet this year.

If you would like to express your displeasure of the Marathon supporting mega concerns a the expense of small businesses here’s a link for the Marathon organization, a link to our convention bureau Visit PIttsburgh and one for the main sponsor Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Speaking of running, Johnstown is having their marathon on May 27 and it will follow the path of the deadly 1889.  The first one was in 2014 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the flood.  The first run had 500 participants, last year it had grown to 700.  In addition to the race, Johnstown will be having a festival called a Taste of Johnstown in their Downtown area.  And the National Park Service with have two different free tours, reservations required.  One will be of Cottage Row and the other will be of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.  Reservations for either tour can be made by calling 814-886-6170.

Da gerl is becoming quite the athlete, she doesn’t compete with RJ.  She just sits there and watches me bounce the ball on the bricks in the Courtyard as he jumps up to catch it.  Lately, I’ve taken several tennis balls out with me and bounce one hard so RJ has to work for it and then immediately while he’s distracted, bounce one softly between her and me.  But it’s hysterical to watch.  She has the concept down pat, but not the coordination.  The ball will bounce to the left and she’ll jump to the right.  She’s closing in on a 50% catch rate.    I should get Dee to do a video of it.  Speaking of da gerl, I recently saw pictures of her and RJ as puppies.  Here they are (or used to be):

And my “old guy” he hates it when I call him that:

That’s it for today, enjoy this spring weather we are having, the gardens are growing in very nicely,

ed

There’s some pretty big news at The Parador, da gerl has lost just over 10 # now.  It’s getting harder to tell her from her brother, they both have svelte waists.  I guess I have to take her to a store to fulfill my promise to get her a new bikini for the summer.   🙂

 

The other big thing is the parking lot has been replaced.  Here’s after they did the excavation and put down the membrane:

And here’s the finished product:

And RJ (or is it Rayzette?)  🙂 doing the final inspection, it passed.  I had the lines reconfigured so the larger space is now the back spot, still a tight squeeze, but not as bad as it was.

The conversion of Chenille and Oleander is complete.  I love how Oleander turned out, Chenille I will tweak it next winter, can’t do it at this point, it will take a bit of time.  Here’s Oleander:

Chenille had an extra challenge because I can’t block the sprinkler head with the lace, I have a better idea of how to handle it.  Here’s the current version:

My good friends Tony & Sue from State College were down for a visit.  Tony is the SOB that labeled me Special Ed when we all went to Costa Rica two years ago.  🙂  Besides all his gardening skills,he  gives me great advice, he even has orchids that are patented, he has made all the furniture in their house.  Not just boards nailed together, he puts  inlay in everything and does some amazing designs.  The Mellon bench in the Parlor, has a skirt that is supposed to be below the gold cushion.  It has been off since I bought the place.  Here’s a picture of how the bench has been for 10 years:

And here it is with the skirt re-connected:

It’s the little things that pull a place together.  After 10 years of looking at that broken piece of furniture, every time I walk in the Parlor now I stop and admire it.  So we laid it down so the back and bottom was exposed and attached the skirt again.  An interesting thing happened.  We took all the pillows off and when we flipped it upside down, the gold seat and back are actually two pieces connected with hinges.  I guest maybe it was built as a daybed for short people.  🙂  The mantel in the dining room has little fences on the bottom of the shelves on the two sides.

See the little fence on the upper shelf, I’ve had the pieces for the bottom shelf.  Tony took the pieces home with him to drill out and fix the broken spindles.  I guess I should stop referring to him as a SOB.  🙂

There was a cute article in the paper today about happiness, Dr Sharp at the Happiness Institute  in New South Wales, Australia came up with an acronym CHOOSE.  The C stands for Clarity of goals provides direction and life purpose; H stands for healthy living involves activity, exercise, diet, nutrition and sleep; O stands for optimism focuses on a positive attitude, but also realistic thinking and is something people can learn; the second O is for happiness leads to and involves quality relationships; S stands for strong core qualities what is your strengths and focus on them and the E stands for enjoy the moment.  Here’s a link to the full article in today’s Post-Gazette.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation has announced their free Friday tours.  The tours are free and lead by PH&LF docents lead the one hour tours.  They run about an hour and start at 10 am and noon.

 

Yes, I’m what they call a “back slider”,  I said I wasn’t listening to NPR any more, or any news station, it’s too depressing.  I was listening the other day when they were talking to Professor Andrew Ferguson, after being a Federal prosecutor for years, he now teaches law at a college, I don’t recall which.  Professor Ferguson, an African American, said part of the reason for racial divide in our court system, is the method used in jury selection.  The jury selection process uses property tax records and driver’s license records.  He said people of color have a lower percentage of home ownership and drivers licenses than white citizens.  He said the jury pool should include persons signed up for housing assistance, food assistance, etc.  Makes sense to me.

The Humane Society is having a fund raiser this Friday from noon – 3, April 7 at the location right down the street from me on Western Avenue.  And then at their East End location Sunday April 9 from 10 am till 1 pm.  They’ve partnered with Goodwill to accept donations of small stuff (no furniture).  Goodwill will be making a monetary donation to the Humane Society for items donated.

Last post I spoke about some new retails in Downtown.  I’ve spoken to the Downtown Partnership and they have spaces available, contact them if you want to open a brick and mortar store, they are looking for start ups.  And good luck.  And let me know so I can include you in a future post.

Spring has finally sprung, the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths have all started to spring.  The trees are budding out.  My playground mulch came in so I pulled the bins of elephant ears up from their hibernation in the basement.  They were so eager to be planted they had the lids on their containers pushed up.  It’s warm enough that I planted the elephant ears, they are the sickly white sprouts you see.

The playground mulch came in and Dragun dumped it in the back of my parking lot. I had to get it out of the parking lot because Pittsburgh Asphalt should be replacing my parking lot Monday.  I got all 10 yards spread around, and the Courtyard is looking so pretty.  All my other perennials are pushing their cute little heads out.

Here’s da kidz enjoying their freshly mulched yard and on squirrel patrol:

Speaking of da kidz, da gerl is showing a waist now, she’s lost a little more weight and the two to three walks a day are building lean muscles on her (and me).  🙂

I went out to Lumber Liquidators to get some more of the floor cleaner and when I walked in a guy was behind the counter and I pointed at the gallon jug and said “Can I HAVE one of those?”.  He then asked for my credit card and I said “No, you said I could HAVE it”.  He then apologized and said he was sorry but English is his second language and I said well, what is you primary language and responded “Sarcasm.”  I loved it and asked if I could use it and he sarcastically said sure.  🙂

Saturday I’m going to a Pennsylvania Resource Council class on rain barrels at fern hollow in Sewickly.  They have a whole series of them scheduled in the area for the next several months, see the link on their site.  It costs $80 and that includes a rain barrel.  This year I would like to take out four downspouts and put rain barrels on them.  It should be fairly easy where I want to start in the Courtyard.  If it goes as I hope, I should be able to remove 3/4 of the run off from my roofs and be able to water my gardens without using city water, lower water bills 🙂

That’s it for today,

ed

First off, I would like to apologize to the weather people.  Although I didn’t discuss their reliability in my last post/rant.  🙂  Generally their forecasts are pretty accurate.  But they remind me of Rayzette she is so eager to get to the park and be off leash she drags me down the street.  She’s not being a bad gerl, just impetuous.  When challenging weather is eminent, weather persons are like her and can’t control themselves.  When I was in Florida, it’s going to be the worst hurricane ever   and this snow storm will drop lots of snow and paralyze the city.  When they gave the weather the next morning, they didn’t say we made a mistake, the weather gods sent a high pressure system that pushed the storm north and it missed us.  They said its snowing now and that was just some flurries.  Rayzette doesn’t apologize either.  🙂

The Downtown Partnership is trying something new by luring unique small stores into vacant store fronts.  Like apparel store Steel City on Smithfield Street and Moop on First Avenue a handmade handbag store that’s been selling it’s wares on line for ten years.  What the Downtown Partnership should do is coordinate with the big real estate companies for free or greatly reduced rent.  Investors buy a building downtown and it sit empty for a long time waiting on development plans, architectural drawings, city approval.  (Look how long the former Macy’s has been sitting empty).  Why not stick a small company in there with the understanding that when construction starts, or they need that space for construction, the vendor needs to move.  The Partnership would know this in advance and if the start up hasn’t gain the strength yet to afford Downtown rents, maybe find another location for them.

This caught my attention partially because I lived in Atlantic City for 10 years and also because I think a major problem in America is we don’t take responsibility for our neighborhoods, white, black, brown.  Ibn Ali Miller received recognition from the city council of Atlantic City for his bravery.  Ibn stood between two teens that were fighting at the egging on from their peers.  Ibn called out the other kids, because he lives with them and pointed out how one kid’s parents would be ashamed of his actions because they had worked so hard to try and raise their kids rightly and pointed out another kid who’s father’s in jail for life for what he did.  I don’t know if I would have been as calm and well spoken as Ibn in a similar situation.  Two funny stories of mine, when I first bought my place there was a domestic on the sidewalk in front of my house.  The two men were telling the woman why everyone hates her, it was pretty brutal, laced with profanity and loud.  Not five feet away, I called the police to report the domestic, 911 wanted descriptions and as I was giving the descriptions of the three one finally noticed I was standing there on the phone with the police and said Aw man, he’s calling the police.  They left and took their domestic out of my neighborhood.  My other neighborhood story is one day last summer I was sitting on my porch and two ladies obviously had had lunch in one of our local establishments.  As they got in their car the lady on my side put her soda can on the curb.  I said “Excuse me Miss, would you wait for just a minute while I get my car and follow you home and put that litter in the front of your home.”  She quickly retrieved the soda can and they left.  I guess they didn’t want some nut case following them home.  🙂

I’ve been diligently working on converting Chenille and Oleander from full/double beds to kings without loosing the Victorian look.  Kings are much more popular than fulls,  I’ve had several guests comment when entering the room, Oh, I didn’t realize the bed was only a full, not complaining, just observing and they ended up being very happy.  Many people don’t read the full (pun intended) description and miss that the bed is just a full.  They are busy looking at how attractive the rooms are.  So what I decided to do is remove the side rails and foot boards, put them in the basement labeled in case someone wants to put them back together.  And attach the headboards to the wall.  Since a king is wider than a full, to keep that from being too noticeable, I draped lace to give a visual break.  The first one I did was Oleander.  Since the wall behind the headboard is brick, as is most of my interior (and exterior) walls, I had to drill into the brick and put wooden plugs held with Liquid Nails.  I put two eyelets just below the top of the headboard and tied picture hanging wire between them and lifted the head board onto the hook to keep it from being top heavy.  I put two plugs low so I could put lag screws through the base and not be visible without moving the bed. good friend Kerry that owns KS Kennedy Floral and Gourmet right down the street did the lace in Oleander, he has a much better flare than I.  Here’s the new Oleander:

There was some challenges with Chenille.  Towards the left of the bed, there was stairs that went up to what is now African Tulip when I bought the place.  We took the stairs out and used that space and part of the old maid’s closet to create African Tulip’s bathroom and ended up framing the wall out to close out the door that had lead to the stairs.  I wanted the hook that would hold the top of the bed tight into one of the studs, which sort of set the bed off center and to add to that, I couldn’t cover the sprinkler head, so that’s why the lace is a bit off.  I had to finish both rooms, they are sold tonight.  I’ve been looking at it a bit and might change things around this week, Chenille is empty most of this week.  Might be a new picture next post.

One more thing I’d like to talk about is cleaning my laminate bamboo floors.  When I had them installed, I was told to just use water, not chemical cleaners.  They’ve been streaky since.  I saw Lumber Liquidators has a laminate cleaning system.  We’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and it really works.  There’s applicator sort of like a big Swifter that you spray the cleaner on the applicator (not directly on the floor) and then apply to the floor.  Chenille, my most popular room (the one with the most traffic) was the worst and we started with that one.  It is totally amazing.  I love it when I find a product that lives up to what it’s supposed to do.  Here’s the cleaning solution:

 

That’s it for now, enjoy this spring like weather we’re having,

ed

Hi,

One of my winter projects is giving the radiator in Chenille a fresh coat of paint and when I looked at the feet on the tub, I realized it was time for them as well.  I cleaned them up and when I went to paint them realized it’s not a claw foot tub but a fish foot tub:

Chenille & Oleander are my two most Victorian guest rooms.  A common complaint is they only have a full sized bed in them.  So I decided to make them kings, they didn’t have king beds in the Victorian era, so this took a little creativity.  I took Oleander’s bed apart and had my nephew hold the head board while I brought down the king bed from Lady Palm, right up the stairs.  It looked OK, so I’ve attached the head board to the wall and the new king bed arrives Friday from the Original Mattress Factory, I love their beds.  Also, they are delivering the king for Chenille and I’ll store that in the Ballroom until I get Chenille’s head board attached to the wall next week, second time should go smoothly next week.  I’ll post pictures on my next blog, Roy Engelbrecht my fabulous photographer will stop by shortly and take good pictures for my website.  I’ll store the side rails and foot boards in the basement, in case someone wants to put them back.

My campaign for 2020 is picking up a little steam.  I’ve never met Mike, he booked a room and sent me an email about my blog and asked about my campaign.  Here’s what he said:

I will be sure to check out the blog, but apparently the way to get elected president is to spout lies, engage a foreign power to interfere in the election and be a billionaire game show host.  I think you will start this Quixotic quest way behind the eight ball.   Perhaps you would consider hiring illegal immigrants to work on the Inn and stiff them on their wages to build your resume!

🙂

Speaking of civility, I went to a local watering hole and ran into Ed, I’ve known him for almost 10 years and John, I’ve known him for a few months.  This was shortly after Donald Trump claimed President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower in NYC.  It was on the news and I mentioned that I could support Donald Trump more if he quit just making these accusations with nothing to support them.  I meant it as a basically innocent observation.  I wasn’t condemning the man, just saying if he knows something, why not share it.  The two of them jumped on me with a ton of acrimony “That’s what’s wrong with American, no one is giving him a chance.”  Honestly, I’m trying.  I for one believe the generals know more about ISIS than he does, contrary to his campaign rhetoric.  I just waved my hands and went back to my wine.  Why even bother with someone that can’t be civil and have a civil conversation?

I think I said in my last blog, I’ve pretty much quit listening to NPR, I just don’t want to hear this stuff constantly.  I now listen to the local oldies station in the kitchen when I’m working on breakfast. A lot less stressful.  I was listening to them the other day and they were addressing how America has lost faith in our institutions.  It is true, it’s not just the “fake” news on Face Book and other outlets.  We’re tired of people lying to us.  It’s bad enough listening to criminals deny that they did wrong, like former Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley just pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the Jerry Sandusky case.  Spanier’s the one that should be nailed to the wall.  The DA seems to have emails that incriminate him about his knowledge of the atrocities of Sandusky and turned his back on those children.  PWSA has denied for months that there’s lead in our water and it turns out we do, not to the extent of Flint, MI, but of significant levels that it’s harmful to our children.  Maybe if we put some of these “public servants” in jail, others might wise up?  They are making six figures to run our water system safely.  Maybe because I make so many mistakes, I don’t have problem apologizing for them and what can we do to make this better?  I went to Wikipedia to look up some of our more famous federal scandals like Watergate, the Iran Contra scandal the ATF attempt to track gun sales that ended up putting guns in the hands of drug gangs and how the ATF tried throwing smoke and mirrors up to hide behind. and the list was so huge, I stopped.  We’ve had some scandals in print media like Roger Ailes and his inappropriate conduct at Fox & CNN and the attempt’s to cover it up.  When you bring in religious corruption like the Catholic church trying to cover up sex abuse by it’s priests, there’s not much left for us to believe in.   OK, I’ll stop now, I’m depressing myself.  🙂

We didn’t get the snow Armageddon the weather people were predicting , they could just say, we miscalled it, the system we expected to drop 1 – 3″ in Pittsburgh slipped by us last night, instead they were saying this morning, it’s snowing now, never acknowledging they errored.   It’s OK weather guys, I’ve made bad calls in the past.  So to end this post on a big lighter note, here’s Fester shivering in the cold (I can always tell fat Fester from the slim teenager Lester):

I wasn’t totally accurate when I spoke of the gerl’s weight loss.  She went down from 93# to 88.3# not an even 88#  I just weighted her after two more weeks and she’s 88.1#  So she’s still going in the right direction.  We’re calling her the green bean queen, she likes the title.  🙂

Have a good one and keep warm,

ed

 

Hi,

I’ve received a number of responses on my candidacy for 2020.  My favorite was from Tony & Sue in State College:

“So we have read your blog. Sue and I will vote for you. You invited suggestions, I’m no Kelly Ann Conway but I encourage you to consider this advice.

The platform is sound but needs to appeal to a broader base. Consider proposing a ban on gay, gun toting, illegal immigrants, ethnic Asian, female Muslims that have crossed the Mexican border and are seeking employment in the fracking industry.

This should provide momentum in establishing a grass roots campaign.”

It’s worked in the past, I’d say.  🙂

My first change on my platform is to properly regulate PACs.  PACs can no longer hide behind fluffy names like “Americans for democracy” or other generic terms.  If big money is going to try and sway voters, they need to be required to list in order of magnitude of support who is paying for this.  I am seeing a lot of ads on radio time pushing for de-regulation of the clean air act from a PAC.  I’m OK with them soliciting this, just tell me who you are.

I traditionally have had NPR on my kitchen radio while I work on breakfast.  I am so tired of listening to “fake” news, the war by the press for countering claims with facts, attendance at inaugurations and how the regular press distorted pictures (I’ve seen aerial pictures of 2017, 2015, 2011 and 2007).  I now listen to 3ws oldies station in the morning before I turn my Reggae on.

We had a tragedy at The Parador, Ester seems to have gotten hit by a car.  Fester and Lester have been wearing these very cute black arm bands.

Speaking animals, my “fat” gerl has been on a diet since topping 93#.  We go for at least two walks a day (all three of us) and three weeks ago, I cut back on her dog food and substituted green beans.  I took her to the Humane Society yesterday for an accurate reading.  She’s down to 88#!  She’ll be ready for the summer bikini season.  I told her if she make 84# or lower, I will take her to a shop and she can pick out any bikini she wants.

I had a dispute with Direct TV, they have raised my rate every year since I signed up with them when I move up here in 2005.  Before that, I signed up with them in 1995 when I first move to Lake Worth and lived in my private residence on Lake Osborne Road and worked as the Food & Beverage Director of the Palm Beach Ocean Front Hilton.  When I opened The Parador Inn of the Palm Beaches, I moved Direct TV over to my new Inn on S Federal Highway.  So actually, I’ve been a customer of theirs for over 20 years.  They have raised my rates between $2 and $9.  This year’s increase was $8.60 yearly.  I called to complain and the woman I spoke with was very sympathetic, but could do nothing.  She referred me to the Customer Loyalty department.  I explained to the gentleman that they shouldn’t raise my rate every year.  He said all companies do that.  I said “No, I’ve only raised my rates once in ten years.”  He countered that most companies do and I could see I was going now where with him and told him good bye.  Direct TV always sends an evaluation form via email after you interact with them.  I gave a very negative review and they called me the same day.  This gentleman I spoke with listened to all I had to say.  I asked him how much money does Direct TV spend on advertising trying to recruit new customers, he said he didn’t know.  I said I figured that, but they should develop a customer loyalty program to retain current customers.  When you have someone for 10 years, cap an increase to a set amount and when someone goes over 20 they should be grandfathered into their latest rate.  What does it cost to keep me as a customer, it should be negligible.  Yes, increases are necessary, but not increases just for increases sake.  I also pointed out my “endorsement” I give them by having the Direct TV logo come up every time my guests turn on a TV.  I have over 3,000 guests visit my Inn every year and don’t charge Direct TV for my implied endorsement.  For what it’s worth, he said I made good points and he would pass my ideas on to the appropriate people

Obviously, we’ve had an extremely warm winter, so far.  A couple of weeks ago we had a very heavy snow storm, the weight of the snow was very heavy, we didn’t get that much snow.

I wasn’t too happy with these arborvitaes, they were tall and spindly.  I was thinking of taking them out anyway.  They were blocking too much light out of the Parlor and Allamanda.  So I cut the bottom branches off so the weight would continue to pull the roots out.  They are now gone:

See how tall and spindly the Arborvitae is next to the yellow bay window.

I should have a new parking lot next month, I’m so excited.  They are going to dig the old one out, excavate to a proper depth, put a liner down, larger aggregate base topped with smaller aggregate and then pave it and do the top, and stripe it.

Also, Window MIke was over Sunday and took measurements to replace the six windows in the Loft (my space) that my become the new Ruellia, my first first floor guest room.  More to come on this.

Have a great day,

ed

 

I want to be one of the first to announce my intention to run for president of the United States in 2020.  I thought I should announce my platform straight up.  I don’t think I have a chance in hell to gain any traction in this.  But if you read the following and have experience as a campaign manager and think I make sense, please contact me.  I’m not looking for donations, nor even supporters at this point.  That will come in the future, if you are interested.

I’ve tried to list my platform by things I find most important first and the things not as urgent later on.

#1  Eliminate the Electoral College for a primer on the Electoral College please follow this link.  If you remember high school civics class, our founding fathers were so brilliant, I think they were probably the same aliens that taught the Egyptians how to build the pyramids.  I had forgot a lot of what I learned in civics class until recently with things that occurred with President Obama and now Trump.  As the news outlets have talked about the brilliance of our Constitution, I am in aware of how brilliant our founding fathers were.  At our nation’s founding, most Americans had never attended formal schooling and couldn’t read and write.  This is the reason the Electoral College was formed.  We could debate how well our school system is, but by far most Americans can read a newspaper, watch the news on whatever devise they are comfortable with and be informed.

#2 Eliminate PACs, corporations are not persons and have no right influencing our electoral process.

#3 Fund job growth by moving subsidies from fossil fuel interests to renewable.  China is bragging they intend to be the largest solar producer in the world, we need to take this advantage.

#4 Create jobs by stimulus geared towards water and sewerage replacement instead of roads.  Make local agencies create 50 year replacement plans to qualify for infrastructure grants, so we don’t again get our basic necessity water and sewage so severely compromised again.

#5 Take subsidies from for profit rail lines and put that money towards road and bridge replacement.  Separate for profit rail line designation from commuter rail.

#6 Prohibit drug manufacturers from trying to tell doctors how to do their jobs through demand pull advertising.

#7 Free four year college degrees for students that maintain a 3.0 GPA

#8  Eliminate capital punishment.  Besides killing someone is wrong and much of the world has already done this.  The cost for special housing on death row and the legal costs are two other reasons.  Substitute life in prison without the possibility for parole.

#9 All federal agencies will be required to reduce their budget by 10% each year through efficiencies, not service reductions.  Things like Allegheny County Community College has less enrollment than in the past.  Instead of paying for the up keep for the unused Visual Arts building on the corner of Galveston and Lincoln Avenues, they leased the property to the Pittsburgh Police Department as their new training facility.  If we force agencies to think like a business, (I turn my heat down to 50 degrees when I don’t have guests.  I’m comfortable at that temperature with my long sleeved t shirt and hoodie and save money on my heating bill.)

This is my initial platform, if you have any suggestions or want to suggest additional planks, please email me at ed@theparadorinn.com

Thanx and have a great day,

ed

Hi Guys,

Sorry, I hit Publish meaning to hit Preview before finishing up.

I was working on a post I was going to post this past weekend and then Trump signed his executive order banning Muslims from seven countries and the more I thought about this, the more I felt I needed to respond.  Let me start I did not vote for Trump, nor did I support Clinton.  I didn’t like Trump’s racist and inflammatory statements.  I never considered him very smart.  He won the election legally and I was resigned to accept him.

I agree with a lot of what he says, government is  way too big and unyielding and needs to be downsized.  I think we need increased homeland security.  I was hoping he would surround himself with intelligent advisors that could influence a  rational decisions  instead of all of his unsubstantiated stances during his campaign.

What was one of the first controversies of his administration?  The candidate with “small hands”  🙂 became president and was upset with the reported size of the crowd at his inauguration.  Typical, he claimed it was the largest crowd ever at an inauguration.  When people disagreed with him, and showed pictures of his crowd compared to President Obama’s first and second inaugurations, he claimed it was the angle of the photograph.  When they showed aerial photographs of the inaugurations, he then claimed it was the white covering the Park Service put down to protect the grass.  He then said it was the first time they put the white covering down.  When the news media produced photos from both President Obama’s inaugurations showing white ground covers, he never backed down.  I don’t recall if it was one of his major spokespersons Kellyanne  Conway or press secretary Spicer that dismissed the discrepancy as an alternative opinion.  I’m not interested in a president that lives in an alternative reality.  They never addressed the information retrieved from Washington’s Metro system for the 2017 inaugaration of 193,000.  At President Obama’s first inauguration had 513,000 Metro riders by 11 am, at President Obama’s second inauguration there was 317,000 riders by 11 am.  Even President Bush’s second inauguration there was 197,000 by 11 am.  Maybe a couple thousand of Trump’s attendees all arrived by limousine?  🙂

Trump’s press secretary Spicer said the murder in Quebec was why Trump instituted the Muslim ban, did Spicer fail to notice it was a white guy that murdered Muslims?

Trump announced his ban on immigration from the seven Muslim countries on Friday.  I didn’t like it, first of all, I like diversity.  It didn’t seem right and after all the uproar over the weekend I learned how poorly thought out this executive order was.  What about residents with green cards?  And others already vetted?  Possibly the worst part are the people in those countries that have risked their lives and the lives of their families to assist our war effort as translators, drivers, etc. that were offered visas to enter our country for their service.  This is something I have been watching a good bit lately.  There’s been a number of service members going to bat for Iraqis that they worked with trying to get their visa.  Like Ali & Karim.    In 2008  Congress enacted a special visa program for these locals that assisted our efforts because of the severe threat to them for assisting the American.

This is my biggest fear of Trump, emotional, non thought out actions.  A good thing I’m seeing is when Trump does one of his faux pas and the media responds, there’s a major up tick.  After reporting one of Trump’s faux pas the New York Times got their biggest subscription increase in years as did another main stream media publication.  Since Friday, the ACLU has had more people sign up with them as well.  I love the response by so many Americans taking to the airports and elsewhere expressing support for our fellow humans the Muslims.

I’m not particularly friendly when outside, I pretty much mind my own business, like when I take da kidz for their walks.  But since this divisive presidential campaign, I have made a concerted effort to speak to people that look different than I do.  Please join me, maybe even come up with some snappy moniker and hash tag.  Start a movement like Give Peace a Chance, Just Say No, Black Lives Matter, etc.

To end this post on a more positive note:

I went over to visit my neighbors Paula and Lenny last night.  Paula complained about Ester.  They have two outdoor cats and leave the outer front door open so the cats have some shelter.  That’s where they feed and leave water for the cats.  Paula went out one evening to check on the cats, Missy the submissive female was just sitting there watching Ester eat the cat food, even Timothy Socks, the aggressive male was just watching.  Paula recognized my fat girl (not Rayzette, but Ester my other fat girl).  Speaking of fat girls, I took Rayzette down to the Humane Society to weigh her.  The diet is helping, she’s dropped from 93# to 92.6#.  We obviously have some work to do yet.

Nice things happening in the neighborhood.  In addition to both halves of the duplex across the street having new owners and are in the process of being remodeled.  Arlen moved City Books from Southside right down the street to Galveston and is doing well there, at least with me.  I get all my books there.  They are finishing up with the artist’s studio in the old Bey Flower Shop, my side of the street just past Carmi.  Some developer bought both the Shamrock (nuisance bar) four doors down from me and Duke’s, a quiet bar around the corner on Allegheny.  The down side is I will be loosing Carmi, the best soul food in the city.  I hear Carlene & Mike have lined up a new location.  I looked at Duke’s with Jeff from Peppi’s thinking of maybe doing a joint effort there.  I don’t recall what he was asking for it, but it was a great deal.  It included the liquor and restaurant licenses and 5 apartments upstairs.  Everything was pretty rough, but the five apartments upstairs were basically just rooms for rent.  If you combined and remodeled them you could easily get 2 -3 decent apartments and local rents are running around $1,000/month.  So $2,000 to $3,000 monthly income could really help cover the mortgage and renovations.  Duke’s is not in Allegheny West, it’s in Manchester.  Allegheny West has Benjamins & the Modern Cafe as local watering holes.  The Mexican War Streets has the Monterrey Pub as their local stop.  Manchester does not have a local watering hole.  So if they do a decent job, they have a lot of potential.  Duke’s doesn’t need to be a gut job, there’s some cute things they could keep and mainly open it up a bit (for one thing I would do is un-brick the curved windows to let some good light in.

Speaking of food and books, City of Asylum (whom I love) just opened their restaurant Casellua.  It’s a wine, cheese and small plates style.

Also, Pittsburgh is joining the latest craze food halls.  The new owners of Oxford Centre are getting ready to open Oxford Market.  Food Halls are like food courts in malls, but definitely upscale from the fast food malls have.  They will be similar to Smallman Galley in the Strip, but much bigger.  The concept started in San Fransisco with the Ferry Building and moved to NYC and other major cities.  There’s close to 100 food halls, I spoke about the trend about a year ago.  If you missed or forgot that post, the Post Gazette article I linked Oxford Market does a nice job of explaining the trend.

That it for today,

ed

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