Tony & Sue came by last week with the finishing touches for the panels for the dining room.  When they came by in September, we decided the decorative caps and bases didn’t work with the new panels, so they went home and Tony made new adaptations.  Here’s the finished fabulous product:

See the decorative top and baseboard on these by the main dining room and baseboard.  Here’s one of the panels by the front dining room with the finished bottoms:

Tony’s such a perfectionist and he has a couple of more tweaks he wants to do and will be back in two weeks.

My sister has been on my case since I got da gerl, she wants me to give her some bling.  I’m not into big and frilly, so I agreed to painting her nails.  Sue made a point the some people have a hard time telling the two apart and the gerl having her nails painted would make it easier.  I was in Target the other day getting a bath mat and remembered to get nail polish.  So I go to the cosmetics aisle and stop in front of this display of clear bottles with colorful liquids in them and the top looked like it might be a small paint brush for applying.  This Target employee woman approaches me and asks if she can help me.  I told her “no, I just need to pick up some nail polish”.  She politely and professionally says, “But sir, this is eye makeup, the nail polish is over there.”  🙂   I got some red nail polish and Dee had offered to apply it.  I think it will take several coats to get it right.  I also found out there a nail polish that does a quick dry so I guess I will find that before the next coat.  Actually Lisa & Scott were in this past weekend for the Steelers home game embarrassment and Lisa donated some quick dry gold glittery nail polish.  So da gerl is going to have her Steelers colors.  Here’s da gerl with her first coat of red:

That’s her shy face, Dad quit embarrassing me.

The Northside is becoming quite the beer destination with five microbreweries.  Jake Bier who started the War Streets Brewery in 2015 has bought Benjamin’s right down the street from me.  Jake is planning on incorporating his craft brewed beers into the restaurant.  He’s using Paul’s recipes for the famous burgers and has kept his partnership with me (he gives my guests a free dessert when they have their copy of the registration form).  Over on the lower Troy Hill (it’s actually in the far east section of Deutschtown) Penn Brewery has been around for years.  It’s a full service brewery with a complete menu offering.  They are opening a tap room Downtown at 432 First Avenue, a small 30 seat in late November or December with a limited menu and Pennsylvania wines & spirits.  Allegheny City Brewery (ACB) is also located over in east Deutschtown).  Spring Hill Brewery in that area of the Northside as well.  ACB is converting the old Workingman’s Beneficial Union building on the left side of Ohio Street right past Madison Avenue before the 16th Street bridge as their tap room (the picture currently on their website is that of their brewery, not the Workingman’s Beneficial building).  Rivertowne down on the Shore (between the stadiums) has operated one of their six outlets for several years now.  Finally, not a Pittsburgh native Southern Tier Brewing from New York is opening a small batch brew house down on the Shore as well.

Not quite a microbrewery, but the Federal Galley in Nova Place will host a concept similar to the Smallman Galley in the Strip with some novice foodies making unique offerings.  They are planning food and beverage of choice offerings. There will be 150 indoor seats and 100 outdoor seats.  With Federal’s name being so similar to Smallman’s and since a number of chefs operating there came directly out of Smallman, I am assuming they are connected as well.  (In case you are not aware, Smallman Galley is a foodie business incubator run by two Vets.  After the participants hone their offerings, they are paired up with established business owners and others with expertise to guide them into becoming entrepreneurs).

Speaking of Nova Place, Pittsburgh native Matt Humphrey is bringing his latest tech start up here from Silicon Valley, Lendinghome.  This is his fourth or fifth start up he started (he sold one for $100M)!  Matt started CMU at the ripe old age of 13! And started his first start up at 17.  His friend and co-founder of Lindinghome James Hurbert was going through a re-finance and it was taking a long time.  Lendinghome is a direct competitor to Quicken’s on-line Rocket Mortgage and the difference according to Matt is Rocket starts the application on line and then all the processing is done manually as traditional banks have always done.  Matt’s process is all automated, good luck neighbor.  As Mr. Rogers used to say “Welcome to my neighborhood”.

It’s October and time for the scare houses to be open.  For those of you looking for adventure, probably my favorite is the Scarehouse in Etna, probably the longest running and one of the biggest.  In South Park the Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House does a nice job.  Kennywood is again offering their Phantom Fright Nights with mazes, costumed actors and dark rides, never been to it.  Molley’s Trolley has  Terror Trolley tours.  Molley’s Trolley is headquartered here on the Northside.  I don’t know if I am on the tour, but I have seen them slow down when passing my Inn.  🙂  The tours are 7 & 9 pm.  If you are in the Valley, Monessen has Castle Blood also in the Valley is Demon House in Monngahela it’s been there a number of years as well.  Allen’s Haunted Hayrides are in Smock, PA, Fright Farm in Smithfield has some scary stuff going on as does Cheeseman Fright Farm in Portersville, Lincoln Caverns has a ghost & goblins encounter, Huston’s Haunted Hollow is out in Somerset, Zombies of the Corn in Freedom, I’d say the name says it all.  Lastly In Sewickley there’s the Haunted House Tour.

Halloween may be my favorite holiday.  There’s no pressure cooking like Thanksgiving, presents like Christmas, just fun.  I’ve had my Ghoul for years and added the hands this year, I like the touch:

My scary tree is fairly popular, this picture doesn’t do it justice:

It’s a very dreary day here in Pittsburgh.  My zoo is ravenously devouring the bird seed (da birds) the squirrels are being joined my my newly arrived chipmunks.  The chipmunk doesn’t know how to get up to the plate with the peanuts and waits for the squirrels or birds knock a couple off the plate.  I have three plastic tubs of compost sitting next to the shed in front of my window (I harvested the mulch yesterday [luckily before the rain]).  So I’m sitting at the desk and watching the chipmunk on top of the bins stretching up thinking he might be able to reach the peanuts.  I just went outside and grabbed several an put them on the bin.  When he picked up a peanut, he waved to me before jumping back down to eat the peanut on the ground.  Just kidding here.  🙂

 

That’s it for today, enjoy,

ed

 

Hi,

Henry Moore from Fit Traveler sent me an email asking if he could do a guest post on my blog.  It’s a nice write and I like his website, please visit.  I need to take some of his advice.  🙂

Use those vacation days – it’s good for your mind, body and spirit

Photo by Pixabay

(His picture didn’t carry over when I cut and pasted his text from the email-its a picture of a plane taking off with a clear blue sky above it).

You’re tired of your job and sick of your boss. Your co-workers aren’t exactly your favorites these days, either. You need a vacation — and not a stay-cation!

 

Getting away from home is one of the most important things you can do for your emotional well-being. Travel helps your brain in many ways, not the least of which are creativity, problem-solving, relaxation, trust, patience and humility.

 

While you’re away, don’t forget the needs of your pets. Hiring a pet sitter will allow your dog, cat, hamster or snake to stay in the comfort of his home while getting all the attention he needs. A pet sitter will feed and water your pet, take him for walks and spend time cuddling and playing with him. Most pet sitters will also send you updates and photos to ease your worry about your best buddy.

 

Get creative

Travel helps you learn creativity because your mind spends time outside of its normal location and routine. When you are away from home, you learn other ways to live and see how another culture might do things differently than your own. This boosts your mind’s creativity because you become more able to see things in a different way.

Solve it

Problem solving is part of the mix in any travel, but especially if you go overseas. When you have to navigate trains, buses, taxis and even driving in another culture that speaks a different language, you learn really quickly how to solve any problem that comes your way. Remember that time in Germany when you couldn’t find the correct train platform? That was much more difficult than this demanding client. If you can get on the right train in Berlin, you can do anything.

Just relax

Going to places far and wide will also relax your mind, even if you don’t spend much time sitting still. You’ll be too excited about visiting that beautiful 800-year-old cemetery to worry about what’s going on back home. Just taking your mind off of the office will give you the perspective to relax your nervous system a bit.

Trust the process

When you are in an environment where you don’t know the language, don’t know anyone and aren’t sure how to get anywhere, you learn to trust pretty quickly — what other choice do you have? Trust is overcoming anxiety, which is a healthy improvement. It can be very difficult to allow someone else to take control, but in the end, you learn that there are good people in the world who only want to help you.

Be patient

If you’ve ever waited on a tarmac for your plane to take off, you’ve learned patience. Sometimes letting go of control is good for you. You may not want to learn that lesson, but at some point, you will. You’ll learn your place in this huge world of ours, and you’ll experience a sense of humility. You’ll meet new people with very different lives from yours and see that your way of life isn’t the only one. Plus, you’ll make new friends from all over the world.

Get happy

If you want to just get your mood boosted, start planning that trip. Studies have shown that planning for a trip can increase your happiness while you anticipate your adventure. Looking forward to getting outside of your comfort zone might make it hard to concentrate at work, but imagining yourself sitting in a Parisian cafe in front of the Eiffel Tower is enough to put a smile on your face in that pointless meeting. So, start planning!

Pittsburgh is making  a proposal for Amazon’s 2nd headquarters.  Some of the local contenders are the Alamo site in Hazelwood, Parkway Center Mall (just a Giant Eagle left there from retail),  Carrie Furnace in Rankin, Piatt’s Chateau here on the Northside (behind the casino) and of course the Penguins are pushing their lower hill location. The state provided $75M for a new facility in New Stanton for VW, who promised 20,000 new jobs (in the 1980’s) and never got close to that, then Sony had their hand out for $40M for the facility (2008) when VW bailed.  We then subsidized Aquion the battery start up from Lawrenceville (in just 2014), we gave them $19M for 341 jobs.  Amazon claims the new facility will create 50,000 high paying jobs.  I hope we’ve learned out lesson from the past, but with a state legislature that can’t pass a budget with funding for months, there’s little hope for that.  They are now proposing adding a 5% tax on top of the 7% hotels currently collect (on top of the 7% sales tax) making us one of the most taxed lodging in the country.  But they won’t create a extraction tax on the Marcellus oil & gas companies.  I believe we are the only producing state without an extraction tax.  I guess my bribes aren’t as steep as the oil & gas industry.  🙂

I’m lucky to have USAA credit cards, they are amazing.  Someone run up over $2K Ticket Master charges last Sunday morning and USAA called me Sunday morning questioning if I did that and immediately canceled the transaction.  Is this fallout from the Equifax breach?  This company that makes millions if not billions selling my information (without my permission) to credit curious businesses and Equifax cannot have a secure site that can’t be hacked?  143M of us have had our information stolen through their incompetence!  They have never notified me that my information was hacked (maybe I was one of the lucky ones?).  I’m curious if 143M had their info stolen, how many are in their data base?  The slime balls initially offered free credit monitoring for a year if their victim signed a waiver not to pursue a class action suite.  The audacity!!!!!!  Thank heavens, sometimes our government works for us little people and they have now dropped the class action caveat (no comments on my fatness)  :), by the way I’ve lost another 8 pounds, getting close to where I want to be.

There’s a ton of little known great people and organizations over here on the Northside.  Besides my favorite Brother’s Brother.  Another one many people are not aware of is Off the Floor.  Started in 2011 (actually before, founder MJ McCarty was driving to work through Wilkinsburg and noticed a couple of little girls on their porch playing every day, but no toys.  She stopped to ask their mom if they needed toys and the lady said toys were the least of her worries, she didn’t even have beds for her kids to sleep on, this happened in 2004.  MJ went to her church and they started getting furniture for the family.  MJ then found out that other families on the block didn’t have furniture either so she started collecting furniture and came to realize this is a real need.  So many people, poor (working families on minimum wage jobs only have enough to feed the family, not “luxuries”  like furniture) homeless that have recently gotten a place to live out of the elements, etc so she started Off the Floor (their headquarters is right around the corner from me).  Off the Floor has furnished 2,400 home since it’s inception.  Not only do they help so many people live a more civilized life, they get their staff through the Center for Employment Opportunities teaching them relevant job skills like showing up for work, work ethics, even fixing and repairing furniture (they are so small that they have to do repairs outside in their parking lot which is pretty tough in the winter).  They are always looking for gently used furniture and household goods (hint-hint).

My friend Tony (& Sue) called me, Tony’s finished the finishing pieces for the dining room re-do of removing those fluted columns and replacing them with panels and they are stopping by Thursday to finish up, it’s about time he got off his dead a** and finished a project he committed to.  Just kidding Tony, don’t get mad at me and bail on me.  🙂  Pictures soon.

Speaking of artists my sister Sue had been on my case that my gerl should have some femininity like a big pink bow.  I nixed that.  Then she said have her nails painted to reflect her femininity.  I was in Target picking something else up and remembered.  So I went to the cosmetic area and found these glass tubes with a bright red and what looked like an application brush built in it.  A sales rep comes up to the man (me) that seems out of place and asked if she could help me.  I said no, “I’m looking for red nail polish” and pointed to the jars or red stuff.    She said what I was looking at was eye make up and the nail polish was over there.  She explained these are the least expensive for a couple of dollars, or I could upgrade to some system for $40.  I told her it was for my dog and I wasn’t paying $40, she said “Sure”.  🙂  Pictures to follow.  Da gerl doesn’t allow me to touch her paws, she always yank her paws away when I try and pet them.  So I delegated the task to Dee, if anyone can convince da gerl to upgrade her nails it would be Dee.

That’s it for today, have a great night and great Wednesday,

ed

 

 

Here’s a new one for you curious folks that want to see something you’ve never seen before, it’s over in Winber (over by Johnston about an hour east of Pittsburgh) is the Trolley Graveyard.  It’s a collection of old trolleys that are sitting around in a field.  You need to contact Ed Metka who purchased the 14 trolleys hoping to save them from the scrap heap ahead of time for permission.  Not sure how to contact him, someone told me to do it on Face book.

Oakland is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that has Pitt, CMU and UPMC’s major hospitals.  It is only 1.7 square miles big and it holds10% of the city’s population and 20% of the city’s jobs.  A regular little powerhouse for Pittsburgh.

I know some of my followers follow me to get updates on the city, you ex-patriots.  🙂  A couple of big things going on here is we are one of the 10 finalist world wide for Hyperloop I this super futuristic method of transportation.  It’s a blend of the old meg lev that they build in South Park as a demo years ago with much more, it’s a tube that propels pods through them on a magnetic propulsion system .  It’s a passenger and freight system that will travel from Pittsburgh to Chicago in less than 30 minutes.  Although Elon Musk is not a part of it, he’s a big proponent.  The jury’s still out on him with me.  I don’t know if he’s the 21st century version of Albert Einstein or just another greedy capitalist.

The other thing going on here is self driving cars.  Everyone knows Uber picked Pittsburgh as one of their main research facilities.  Probably because Uber is here, there are  several autonomous vehicle tech groups moving here.  Riding on the heals of Uber is Argo AI the Pittsburgh start up that’s partnered with Ford who’s committed $1B investment in the project (yes, that’s a b in in Billion).  They are moving into the new building Oxford Development is slated to start in their Crossings 3 in the Strip.  Part of Crossings 3 is that 300 apartment complex on the river side of Railroad Street just past the Cork Factory apartments. And two office buildings already housing Apple, German Tech company Robert Bosch and some big law firm.  They better hurry construction on this fourth building.  Argo’s lease in the Crane building on 24th Street expires next year and Wombat Securities has signed a lease on the space (so Argo might end up being homeless for awhile).  🙂  Wombat is a CMU spin off specializing in information security.  Maybe Equifax might want to hire them, more on Equifax in my next post.

My good friends from college visited last week.  Tony and Sue from State College, PA and Dave & Claire from Austin, TX.  Tony & Sue were in in the spring when their daughter came in from Canada (she flew in to PGH airport) and they all spent a weekend.  We were chatting about his woodworking projects and he said most of his back log was caught up.  He foolishly asked if I needed anything.  There’s a small kind of picket fence on the mantel in the dining room and the left side is missing (actually I have the parts, but not the skill level to fix I try a lot of things, but call my limits when dealing with the antiques).  Tony said it would be no big deal to drill out the holes on the top rail and fix the broken parts on the base of the spindles so we/he can re-attach them.  First pic is the current fence on the right of the mantel:

This next picture shows the missing fence on the left:

He then said anything else?  Did I say Tony was foolish?  🙂  Something that’s bugged me since I bought Mr. Rhodes mansion in 2005.  Mr. Rhodes had very specific tastes.  He liked panels, they are everywhere, but on either side of the middle dining room.  There was fluted columns that stood out like a sore thumb to me:

Tony said it would be no problem to make panels like you see going toward the pantry and we’d take the flutes out.  The initial plan was to leave the decorative base and matching crowns.  When we went to install his panels, we all agreed the bases and crowns would be too much.  So plan B.

Plan B involved Tony making a new bottoms on the front dining room side to match the baseboard there and a fairly straight forward piece for the tops of the main dining room side.

This is like the missing piece of trim in the main hallway that bothered me (no one else ever saw it). At the end of the hallway at the door going out to the veranda, the piece of trim on the hinge (left side) was missing.  And every time I walked down that hallway I would see the strip of yellow paint.  A carpenter I know replaced the hinges on the interior front door that kept pulling loose and he foolishly (do you see a trend here) 🙂 asked if there was something else.  I pointed out the yellow strip and he said the rest of the trim is walnut and to get all the pieces needed it would run around $900.  Or he could do it in pine, faux the stain and no one would notice for $200.  Guess which I choose?  I never see the yellow stripe or the pine, I just see a hallway with trim that matches.

Can you tell the left is pine and the right is walnut?

That’s it for today, it may not be as long for my next post.  Tomorrow seems to be a fairly tame day and I might be able to get one started.

Take care,

ed

My sister read my blog about Betty’s birthday party and pointed out I had missed thanking a significant person that was invaluable in making Betty’s birthday truly special.  My right hand Dee.  When I typed that post, I had an image in my mind of the dining room and thanked all the non guests helping out.  Dee was in the kitchen at the time.  She was as is always amazing.  She was there early, helped anyway she could and was there long after everyone else left helping me put the Inn back together.

Oh, maybe that’s why I didn’t see Dee in my mind’s eye, she was eating cake.  🙂

I had a visitor last week, a non paying one.  I went out into the courtyard around 7 am when I had a break on making breakfast, of course da kidz came with me.  Guess who was hiding behind the shed?  A possum, I was concerned the kidz would antagonize it like the squirrels and it get mad and attack them.  My biggest concern was rabies.  I didn’t know what to do with it, so I called 911 and when the operator answered and asked the address of the emergency and I told her it wasn’t an emergency, but I had a possum in my courtyard and was concerned about my dogs and didn’t know what to do.  She said she would handle it.  Animal Control showed up a half hour later.  I brought them back to the courtyard and the possum was gone.  I told them my biggest concern was if the da kidz got into a scuffle with the possum and it had rabies da kidz could get infected.  The main guy said you don’t need to worry about possums carrying rabies, they don’t.  He said the possum probably climbed the wall to get away.  Here’s the little critter if you can see it on the side of the shed it’s his little white face you can see:

My first response to the removal of Confederate statues was people are being overly sensitive, until the mess down in Charlottesville.  At the same time, there was a small article in the paper about some drunk American in a German city that he gave a Nazi salute outside some bar he apparently got drunk at.  A group of Germans beat him up.  I don’t condone violence at any point, but thought it made a good point of how serious the Germans take their history and have zero tolerance toward anything Nazi.  The Germans let Hitler come to power and didn’t stop his madnessWhen I saw Django Unchained, I found it very disturbing, as I knew it would be.  My ex-boss and friend DB was in town when the movie came out and he insisted on seeing it.  I’m glad I did, I’m well aware of the atrocities some of the white race subjected the black slaves to and the part about that poor girl that was repeatedly raped by her “master” tore my heart out.  That’s why I didn’t want to see the movie.  I watch Animal Planet and NatGeo a lot and change the channel when the lions (whom I adore) are finding and collecting dinner.  I know it’s their nature, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch it.  There was a show on I watched where a baby elephant got too close too a river bank and a crocodile grabbed her.  The females on top of the hill squawked, but there wasn’t much they could do.  The baby finally broke free and scrambled up the bank to a waiting lion.  The females came over threatening the lion and the baby got free finally.  After that long winded explanation lets get back to the point.  The statues were erected in the early 20th century at the same time the Jim Crow laws were enacted.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so, I think the South was trying to white wash the history books.  We should have zero tolerance for anything that glorifies slavery as the Germans have with anything Nazi.  The Confederacy was a part of our history and should be remembered, but not in front of a court house!  A house Hitler grew up in was private property and recently sold to a new owner.  It’s been a focal point for the neo Nazis. When the new owners filed for a building permit, the only way the government would issue one was if the exterior of the house was drastically changed so it didn’t look anything like it did when Hitler lived there (actually I think this was Austria, not Germany).  When I lived in Germany, I went to the concentration camp Dachau myself and was so moved I went back five time with people I thought should experience the horror.  The Confederacy is part of our history and should be remember, but remembered in revulsion, it’s not what I am.  By the way I am white and of German decent and reject slavery and Nazi bs.

On a lighter note, but more heart pounding, The Gauley (pronounced Golly) is open for white water rafting.  It’s an annual event when they open the dam to lower the reservoir before the winter.  It feeds The New River which is referred to as the lower Gauley is open during all warm weather, they only open the Gauley in the fall.  The New River is a nice rafting experience, like Ohio Pyle, but when they open the “flood gates” a normal 30 minute trip turns into 10.  🙂  White water rafting is not for the faint of heart, but if you are going to tackle the Gauley, be prepared to be terrified, it’s been years since I did and am currently shaking remembering.  🙂

Are you familiar with DuraEdge?  21 of the 30 major league baseball fields use it and it’s made right here in Grove City.  DuraEdge is a proprietary blend of soils, clay & sand that they use in the infields.

There’s a Pittsburgh group that specializes in senior dog adoptions, Senior Pet Rescue.  They mainly specialize in older dogs and cats their owners can no longer care for them.  Either due to the owners old age or illness.  The nice thing is these dogs are already house broken and trained.  They are older and don’t have the rambunctious behavior of puppies chewing everything (are you listening to this Rayzette?)  They screen the dogs to be sure they are social and determine (to the best of their ability) of any ailments the dog might have.  Their business model is you foster first to determine if you both are a match.  With all the chaos down after the hurricane, the rescues are trying to free up as much space as they can to handle the incoming pets.  A good time to adopt!

Speaking of hurricanes, good luck to all my friends in South Florida. I’ve spoken with several that are already boarded up and any on or next to the barrier islands have already left seeking shelter.  I offer The Parador as a place of refuge.  My good friends Steve and Darcy might actually take me up on it.

That’s it for today, don’t forget to take a moment Monday to remember 9/11,

ed

 

Hi,

Ted Zellers, not a Pittsburgh native, lives here now as a computer programmer and has an odd hobby.  He is creating a coffee table book on Pittsburgh Potties.  Supposedly, they were invented in the early industrial era so workers leaving the dirty mills or mines didn’t have to enter through the normal living spaces.  They could enter through the basement take care of hygiene before entering the normal living spaces.  Most Pittsburgh Potties had a utility sink right next to them and possibly a shower.  As places of employment offered places to get cleaned up before leaving, the use of these basement fixtures became less and less used.  They were also used by the hired help.  Mike S on Lincoln Ave, just finished re-habbing a Victorian townhouse that has one in his basement. There used to be a Pittsburgh Pottie on Beech on block on the other side of me that was a swan that had it’s wings outstretched (a bit strange, I’d say).  If you have a Pittsburgh Pottie in your basement and would like to add it to Ted’s book, you can email him at pittsburghtoilets@gmail.com.

Heinz Field Rib Fest will be back this summer starting Thursday August 31 through Labor Day September 4.  Lots of good BBQ, sides and crowds.  Starts at noon and runs until 11 pm (Monday they always close early.  It’s outside Heinz Field and entry is free.

Another event coming 66-Open Door, will have guess what 66 places with open doors to neb into what the inside looks like.  🙂  October 7 & 8.  There’s locations Downtown, the Strip and of course the Northside  Northside locations include AGH, the Elks on Cedar Ave, Alphabet City (City of Asylum) on North Ave, The Inn Mexican War Streets also North Ave, Byer’s Hall part of CCAC on Ridge Ave right behind me, Calvary Methodist Church on Beech one block in front of me with the amazing Tiffany Windows, one of the first  Carnegie Libraries next to the Children’s Museum and now part of it, Heinz Lofts, Jones Hall on Brighton, the Mattress Factory, The New Hazlett Theater, Nova Place (the old Allegheny Center Mall. NRG Energy Center (across from Nova Place that generates steam for many of the larger places her like AGH), Teutonia Mannechor the German Club over off Chestnut Street, William Penn/Snyder House now Babb Insurance (with a very interesting ballroom in their basement) and Wigle Whiskey over in Spring HIll.  One day passes are $8 and for both days it’s $12.  You can get tickets at their website.

I’ve know this guy John for several years, he lives here on the Northside and sometimes when I’m sitting on the front porch reading and he passes, he always stops to say hi to da kidz.  The kidz have a lot of “regulars” that stop to greet them.  I noticed when the weather started to change and I started hanging on the porch, he was looking kind of rugged.  He finally admitted to me that he was homeless and struggling.  One day in late April, he was real excited, he thought his son in Beaver county had found him job as a union painter and I wouldn’t be seeing much of him.  I kept seeing him and he admitted that the job had fallen through.  I then saw him in late May, again he was super excited, he had just gotten hired as a union painter on the West End Bridge rehab.  I’ve seen him off and on throughout the summer and he’s been kind of rough, getting off from work and dirty from the work.  He’s been so happy, it was nice to see.  When I saw him a couple of weeks ago, he was all depressed.  Some government agency came through (I assume OSHA) and did random blood test to the crew they saw.  John was one of them.  When he got the results they told him he had a problem.  He said they told him high lead levels were between 30 40 (something, I don’t know what the metrics were) and his was 65.  Which is basically lethal.  The company was not doing anything for him or offering him anything.  His job was scraping the old paint off the bridge (grunt work newbies always get that first).  The company provided him with protective clothing (as this point I question how effective the clothing was, did they give him an old used suit that had leaks in it?).  The company is required to have showers there for the workers  to use to wash the lead dust off the protective clothing before removing it, so they don’t breath the lead in while changing.  The company does have a showering station, but it doesn’t work and hasn’t since John started.  The company has been taking $40 out of each paycheck for union dues.  A union rep shows up and was pretty curt to John telling him since he hadn’t paid his initiation dues of $300+ he wasn’t a union member although they accepted his dues each paycheck.  An OSHA representative came by a week later and randomly selected various workers to interview and he pointed to John, in front of the OSHA rep, the company foreman said to to be sure to tell the rep the truth.  When the rep asked John about the showers, he said they didn’t work and that he had a lead level of 65 in his blood.  The rep said something needs to be done.  Dah, obvious.  When the rep left, the foreman repeatedly called John a Mf for disclosing that the showers didn’t work.  The foreman told John he was fired (this happened to happen in front of a union rep).  The union rep didn’t stand up for John, was just kind of mute (collusion between the company and the union, how do you say payola?  My opinion).  Last week I told John he needed to find a good attorney, he said he wasn’t a suing kind of guy.   I said neither was I, but some things have to go that route.  So when I saw John the next Tuesday, he said he had looked into it and those he spoke with didn’t seem interested.  To me this is an open and closed case, there’s documents of his elevated lead levels, showers not working, wrongfully fired for telling the truth to an OSHA rep among so many other things.  John spends a lot of his off time at the library on a computer.  I suggested he look into a lawyer that specializes in OSHA problems, particularly lead contamination.  He thanked me and said he would.  There is a treatment for this, very painful and expensive.  They take your blood and bone marrow out, filter it and replace it.  This is the same company that lost their ability to bid on federal contracts because of nefarious practices the former owner got arrested for.  Now the company is owned by the previous owners son-in-law, tell me about shell companies.  The company is trying to make money by using this homeless man as a disposable as the uniforms they provided, humans aren’t disposable.  I hope John finds a lawyer good enough to sue the pants off them, or should I say the company out from under them?

I wrote the narrative about John several weeks ago.  The AC on my first floor broke and needed replaced.   I was consumed with that and buying massive window units to try and keep the  Inn at a comfortable temperature and buying fans, assembling them and spacing them around.  Anyone want to buy a $600 25,0000 BTU 220 AC for $300?  Used once.  “Then the AC for the upper floors died.  Both finally seem to be functioning and I’m back working on the blog.  I saw John the other day and the lawyers he’s contacted him told him it would be a waste of time because “who would believe a homeless man”.  What does that have to do with anything?  There are official documents to start your case and then you go from there.  Does anyone know an attorney I could refer to John?  This is so wrong on so many levels.  It seems John is resigned to facing a slow and painful death.

On a slightly nice note, Tuesday when I came back from taking da kidz or their 5:30 am walk, there was two packages of dog treat marrow bones sitting on my brochure box on the front porch.  Here’s this man struggling with these hardships and he takes his hard earned money to make my dogs happy.  That they were marrow bones, I think was lost on John.  🙂

Pittsburgh will host the 2018 National Cheese Conference next summer at the DL Lawrence Convention Center July 25 – 28.  Something cool about this is if you get on as a volunteer your get a free ticket to the event.  The American Cheese Association has 1,400 members many of which will be attending plus the rest of us.  It should be a good event to attend.

That’s it for this post, enjoy whats left of our summer,

ed

Hi,

It was Betty’s, my mom’s, 90th birthday last Monday, so we threw her a birthday party at The Parador.  I was in a panic, I had rented a short bus and there’s over a hundred residents in the building.  The bus could only seat 25 people.  As it turns out about 20 signed the sign up sheet so we had plenty of room.  Joann the manager called be and asked if the bus could handle wheel chairs.  I contacted Kathleen my contact at Pittsburgh Transportation and she said the bus reserved could not handle wheel chairs and she would see if one was available and she promptly called me back and found one.  Rick, the driver was extremely polite and sensitive to the frailty of his cargo and couldn’t assist the riders more or kinder.  And some of them were a bit of a challenge.  Here’s the bus leaving with the lunch ladies:

The ladies were extremely thankful for their little field trip to my Inn.  We had lunch ready of chicken wraps, potato salad, sliced fruit and vegetable sticks with lemonade and iced tea.  We had all these elderly ladies in the dining room and then with the help of my nephew Joseph, his son, my other nephew Michael’s son Nicolas, my sister Sue, my cuz Jeannie we ended up plating and serving from the buffet I had set up.  (It was better option that relying on these elders navigating the buffet and then carrying their plates to their table).  It worked so smoothly.  We then sang Happy Birthday and Betty blew out the candles.  There’s a video on my Fb page and one on The Parador’s if you’d like to see it.  Betty was so cute.

Here’s a group picture of many of the ladies:

It was such a cute event and the ladies couldn’t have been more thankful.  Possibly more than seeing Betty have such a good time, it was a real pleasure seeing the happiness of the ladies getting out of the apartment building and even getting a lunch.  I’m now a celebrity whenever I go over to the building.  🙂

 

How many steps are on Pittsburgh’s famed 712 hillside staircases?  That  answer is just waiting for you to figure out.  The city didn’t even know how many sets of stairs there are before the late 1990’s when Bob Regan got off his bike and started mapping them.  We have the most sets of stairs of any city in the world blowing the #2 out of the water, Cincinnati has 300 fewer sets of stairs.  The longest lasting celebration of stairs is Southside’s Step Trek that started in 2000.  Northside’s Finefview’s Step-a-Thon has been around a few years now.  The city is now working on an on line detailed map of all city stairs and hopes to have it live by the end of the summer.

There’s a new shop on Mt Washington basically across from my friend’s restaurant The Shiloh GrillLove Pittsburgh Shop   Monica Yope and Kelly Sanders are two arts that met each other at various Pittsburgh events for artists like Handmade Arcade & Neighborhood Flea and decided to open a shop near Monica’s home besides their own wares, they also carry the work of various other artists.

Hey UPMC, jealousy is a bad thing.  Just because I referred to Lamar Advertising as the evil empire, doesn’t mean I’m not watching you.  You think you can bully everyone around for your evil profits, barely making the required minimum free service for poor people.  There seems to be some leeway on the 4%, because every time I see your numbers you are running at 3.4%, 4.1%,3.2%. Not only does your rating as a non profit save you millions of dollars on your vast real estate empire, it also gives you bragging rights so good hearted people feel they should run and donate to all of the well intended fund raisers so you can pay your executives multiple millions of dollars each.  There’s a new development being built in South Fayette called Newbury that is zoned for shopping and dining.  A hospital is neither and you are put off that you have to ask for a variance, last I heard, residents own their own township and set up the rules.  I can’t say with certainty, but when residents started questioning you an anonymous flier was sent to most of the residents, questioning their elected commissioners decision to hold variance hearings.  De Ju Vue of Pleasant Hills where you recently tried to shove a hospital down the the residents’ throats to drive Jefferson Hospital our of business.  Similar what you tried with Forbes Regional out in Monroeville.  I guess it’s true, you can’t change the stripes on a tiger or teach a pig to eat with a fork and knife.  I’m just saying.  🙂

31st Street Sudios the filming business in the Strip has been teetering on bankruptcy for over a year now.  North River Company, a New York private equity company is in the process of purchasing it.  Even though they claim they are going to keep the location as a film studio, this property is on the riverfront.  I bet they develop the riverfront and then maybe close down the studio and if it’s not working right then develop that land as well. I would say that’s great way to keep the studio afloat.

The Regatta is returning August 4 – 6 for their 40th anniversary.  The high speed races will be back, now that it’s later in the season and they think the rivers will be clearer.  They had trouble when they first moved the Regatta to July 4th weekend with trees and other large debris int he water.  Anything that floats will be back and a new event.  A new event has been added, Fly Boarding, I talked about in the past. I saw them practicing on the river last week and it’s pretty cool and exciting.  Schedules and details on their website.

I recently finished a book Leadershit by Rande Somma.  One of the things that drew me to it was Rande is from Pittsburgh and the book has yinz and stillers quoted in it.  Several times I thought of just putting on a shelf in the Library and I’m glad I finished it.  One of Rande’s premises is top executives get bonuses based on short term profitability.  it’s easy to complain and he does lots of that, but if you pick it up, plug through to the end where he talks about solutions.  Executives get a big bonus by making the numbers Wall Street is looking for instead of investing in the future.  Something else he suggests when someone is applying for an executive position, they should list failures and what they learned from these.  I think this is a great idea for any job seeker to add to their resume.  We’ve all had failures personal and professional in our lives.  I think that would give a great opening for a conversation with a potential employer.

There’s a Pittsburgh very small organization that feels there’s not enough unconditional love in the world.  Jonathan Potter & Rachel Adler started Pittsburgh Good Deeds.  They have recently helped a woman move from McKeesport to the Northside.  Because of the distance, she would not have been able to take advantage of an affordable housing opportunity here.  It’s not a total commitment like people frequently do to help at the food bank every Thursday for example.  It’s like Gisesle Fettereman’s 412 food rescue.  You contact PGH Good Deeds when you have time.  Or you can email them at pgh-gooddeeds@gmail.com.

The scammers have entered the world of texting.  Just like you should never open an email with hyperlinks you don’t know the sender, don’t respond to a text that asks for person info or follow a link in the text.

Complaints are pouring in over the nasty appearance of Pittsburgh’s ex flagship department store Macy’s.  Core development has owned it for several years now and claim they have been concentrating on interior structural work.  They admit they have ignored the exterior and say will clean it up.  Core is the same development company that took exclusive rights to the Garden Theater block and had that tied up for years, never getting anything off the ground.  I hope they don’t pull that same with the old Kauffman’s building.

That’s it for today, enjoy yourselves,

ed

Hi,

Happy 4th of July.

For those wanting something unique to honor our vets, the Traveling Vietnam War Memorial is Hampton Community Park Through Tuesday.  It’s free and open 24 hours a day.  Hampton Community Park is just up in Allison Park, see link for details to get the address you can put in your GPS.

The Battle of Homestead celebrates 125 years this Thursday.  This was a pivotal point in workers rights and if you can there are several celebrations in Homestead.  While in Homestead, friends of mine own Blue Dust (the name is taken from the residue from steel making).  Jerry’s family own the restaurant, Jerry is famed for his smoked brisket, it’s amazing.  When my sister goest there, she orders 2 one then and one for lunch the next day.  Kathleen, my friend that did the amazing murals on my first floor did an air brush mural of steel mills on the walls.  Sara, Jerry’s daughter did the mosaic tile bar top.  I shows the Mon River, and bridges crossing it.

Here’s da kidz chilling on the holiday weekend:

Rayzette came up to me later and said “Dad, RJ does love me.”

My Crocosmia came back this year, they haven’t flowered in two years:

That’s it, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July,

ed

Hi,

Citiparks will be showing the movie Jungle Book in Brookline this evening, Lawrenceville Friday and Mt Washington Saturday.  Visit Citiparks for showtimes, details and a complete list of movies being offered this summer.

The Antrocon is back starting today for their sixth convention at DL Lawrence CC for four days.  The furries will be seen throughout the city.  In case you are not aware, furries dress up as their favorite creature, real or imaginary.  They go from just donning ears and nose to full body suites.  I can’t imagine that, my closest experience to this was when I worked at the Wm Penn and was volunteered to dress as Barney for our Easter Brunch one year.  Holy cow as that hot.  If you are interested in attending, tickets can be found on line for $30 for a one day pass $60 for all four days and upwards for VIP tickets.

Our friends to the north, Canada is celebrating their 150 year birthday Saturday.  Why can’t all countries get along as Canada and the USA?  Over the years, we have had our differences, but it boils down to respect for each other and being civil.  It also helps that we have similar beliefs and economic opportunities.  Happy Birthday Canada.

The city is finally getting rid of “the moat” here on the Northside.  The moat is that obnoxious highway around the former Allegheny Center Mall that is neither vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian friendly.  They are removing all but one of the stupid traffic signals that are not timed so you can travel at the speed limit and casually make it around the former mall without repeatedly stopping at traffic signals.  To add insult to injury they have those “no turn on red signs”, so even at 2 am, you have to sit there.  They are making in two way, one lane in each direction with bike lanes, bump outs for safer pedestrian crossings and additional parking.  I give Farros credit for someone finally enlightening the city to the absurdity of those old traffic patterns.  People complain about all the “outside” money buying up Pittsburgh, I’m not one of those.  Farros bought the old high rise apartments in the mall complex several years ago and took it from 40 -45% occupancy to 100% with a wait list.    They were so impressed with their success and the potential in Pittsburgh, they bought the old mall and are turning it into a high tech Nova Place.

It seems what I have referred to as the Evil Empire Buncher Corp the developers invested in the Strip that wanted to tear down 1/3 of the Terminal Building for easy access to their new boring development along the Allegheny.  They insisted that was the only way to make their investment work, to hell with what the citizens here wanted and they got outright rude in their campaign. (I guess they read my blog, because they have kept a very low profile since losing the law suite and got tired of me referring to them as The Evil Empire.)   Lamar advertising is my new Evil Empire trying to force their money making endeavors down our throats.  They purchased the “non confirming” Bayer sign on Mt Washington and wanted to replace it with an even more non confirming LED digital sign.  I guess they taught us something about mature responses to a disagreement.  When the city refused to go along with the new sign, they put that ugly yellow vinyl Sprint Banner over it and refused to take it down.  Maybe they think we have the memory of a Labrador Retriever and forget the trouble they got in for bribing past city employees, we miss all your headlines Lukie.  🙂

When I’m retiring for the evening, I usually turn the TV on as I answer emails, etc.  Usually it’s PBS Nova, NatGeo, animal planet that’s mainly back ground noise.  I never have prime time serials on, I really find them mentally offensive. One I watched when it came out was Downward Dog.  I thought it was cute (and filmed in Pittsburgh) and after just one episode this year, they cancelled it.

There’s biking tennis, gold, soft ball and many other forms of recreational exercise one can do. There’s a new one in Jeannette competitive indoor axe throwing at Valhalla Indoor Axe.  They have 2-3# axes and 1-2# axes for you weenies.  🙂

NatGeo is starting Earth Live next month and Pittsburgh’s going to have a place in it.  I love the eagle cams, but it seems they are more interested in deer & raccoons.

City Council will be taking up the issue of whether to become a “Sanctuary City” in the next couple of weeks.  Arlen, my friend that owns City Books right down on Galveston and gives my guests 10% off had a sign up a couple weeks ago saying Sanctuary Books, I stopped in and told her to be careful she might loose her federal funding.  She gave me a blank look for 30 seconds before she got my joke.  🙂

Da kidz got in trouble yesterday, the baby robins left their nest and were hopping around and anytime da kidz curiosity got too much mom (or maybe it was dad) squawked at them.  If they go too close, a team of robins would start swooping.

Big weekend, not so much for the fourth, but Catherine & Greg are getting married and their guests have just about the entire house, most are in for three days, Sunil booked three rooms for 5 days.  We had Open Streets this past Sunday, so for Open Streets I had an Open House.  I only offered it from 11 am (after breakfast) until 1 pm.  Lots of people came through, I had to refill the brochure box by my front door.  A group of about 8 came in together and as I was showing around, one of them said “Hi Ed, I’m Catherine”, I didn’t put two and two together and she explained who she is.  I hollered at her, told her she needs to chill (she was fine, I was just talking about how some brides get all stressed out at their weddings, the photographer forgot a lens, the florist is late, etc).  I told her everything works out in the end and not to stress.  She said she won’t her and Greg turn it all over to her wedding planner at this point.  She’s done.  🙂

Well, that’s it for today, have  a great and happy Fourth of July,

ed

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