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,




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

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,



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

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,



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,



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,



This Saturday, be sure you go down the Strip for the Strip Search. 🙂  It’s a search for the best sandwich in the Strip, hence the quirky name.  It’s going to be in Benkovitz, most recently kiddie car seats maker Mom’s was in the space at 21st and Smallman Street.  More than a dozen restaurants, food trucks and street vendors will be compete for the coveted Best Sammich in da Burg.  Vendor’s include my neighbor Peppis, Spork, Wholey’s, Meat & Potatoes, Kelly O’s, Point & Park Bugges, Muddy Water Oyster House, Strip District Meats, Edgars’ Best Tacos, Bull Dawgs, Lucy Original Banh Mi and PGH Sandwich Society.  It will run from noon until 8 pm, admission is free but there will be a small charge for the samples.  There will be live music, beer, wine and Wigle whiskey available.

I know I am going to get flack over this and I do feel bad for him, but Otto Warmbier, what were you thinking?  First of all to go to the famed world’s most notorious human rights violator North Korea and then to steal a propaganda poster!   What did you expect?

As I get depressed about what we are doing to our environment, something comes along that picks me up.  I went to a Pennsylvania Resource Council recycling event in McCandless for hard to recycle liquids this spring. They had a huge line of residents that don’t want to pollute our waterways and the Recourse Council was very efficient.  It didn’t take long to make my way through the line.  And it only cost $32 for two boxes of various liquids.  I’ve always been green and when I moved up here, I went with the most efficient bulbs available at the time and out fitted the Inn with compact Florescents.  After about 8 years, as they started burning out, I started switching to LEDs.  They were pretty pricey and I just learned, that since 2008 their price dropped 90%.  The first ones I replaced were either the ones I deliberately left on all night or stairwell lights in guest rooms that I knew they left the on all night.  They need to come up with less intense candle bulbs for my chandeliers.  I’m probably at 90% LED now,  I’ve read where we are reducing our electrical consumption so much that it’s causing coal plants and nuclear plants to close down because they are too expensive to run given the current prices for electricity.  I’ve switched my electrical supplier to Green Mountain wind energy.  I’m looking into going solar, that’s probably two years yet.  Even with their prices dropping, they claim to last up to 10 years, some do not.  How am I supposed to track them, I bought the light bulb from Home Depot in October 2016?  The time of tracking them would negate any savings from the warranty they provide.

Also good news on the PA environmental front, the state supreme court ruled that the state government can’t divert revenues from gas leases to the state general fund.    If they want to put more money in the general fund, why not reduce the size of our legislature by at least half?  We have the biggest and most expensive state government (and some say the most ineffective).  I hate it when they create a new tax for something and then divert that money to the state’s general fund because they can’t come up with a balanced budget.

There’s a new water sport for you extreme types.  Flyboard is a wide term to describe various forms of water propulsion to get you moving around.  There’s back packs, things that resemble skate boards and even a bicycle kind of thing.  You strap the devise on your back, feet or other parts of your body and release the pressure in the hose you are connected to and it propels you.  There’s a national Flyboard association and they are having a tour stop in Erie June 24 & 25.  You can watch the pros or even give it a go yourself.  Near Lancaster, OH is Jet Pack Water Adventures and also in Ohio is Sky High Hydroflight Rentals in East Liverpool, seems the only way to get info on Sky High is through face book.  They will have Flyboarders at the Regatta in the beginning of August.  My suggestion is to always do this over water instead of over dry (and hard) land.  🙂

Pittsburgh native Josh Marino had a brain injury while serving in Iraq.  When he returned to America he was suffering from PTSD from the injuries, he was stationed at Ft Riley awaiting a medical discharge.  He took a knife he owned and was contemplating suicide when he went out on his front steps and a baby kitten crawled out from under some bushes by the steps and climbed on his lap.  Josh quit feeling sorry for himself and started worrying about what he could do for this kitten, he named Scout.  He ended up feeding the litter tuna fish daily and the kitten that befriended him was the only one that wanted to cuddle with him.  One day, the litter disappeared.  He went to an adoption event at the rescue shelter and as he was walking around, a little paw came out of a cage and rubbed his leg.  He immediately recognized Scout and adopted the kitten.  He has since gone to school and got a masters  in clinical rehabilitation and works with Vets.  He made a video that is posted on Mutual Rescue.

I had two guys from Holland stay with me last week.  Bas & Lowie are both travel writers & bloggers and documenting their bicycle trip across America, all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Bas posted a blog featuring The Parador, follow the link to his post.  Oh and for you that don’t speak Dutch, here’s a translation sans the great pictures he took:

Not many visitors from outside America know Pittsburgh. Indeed, by no means all Americans have an idea of ​​this city. Sin (Google translate is a nice tool, but not perfect, I think Sin is supposed to be Since or something, I don’t think he was calling us a city of Sin, that’s left to Las Vegas) 🙂 because Pittsburgh is fun. Not only because steel history – including robust brick buildings and big factory pipes – fits perfectly in a hip street scene, nowadays because the summers are hot, the sports teams popular and the residents of Pittsburgh are friendly.

After a little 600 kilometers, our first serious stop The Parador Inn, a Victorian-style Bed & Breakfast. The intention is to stay one night here, but a combination of a friendly owner, Ed Menzer, an intensive week and a lot of logistic plans to make sure we decide to stay overnight. It proves an excellent choice. Stress has disappeared in the Parador, not least because of the reggae music that is gently in the background throughout the day.

Victorian Caribbean

Ed Menzer is from Pittsburgh, swirled around elsewhere and returned to his hometown eleven years ago to start a Bed & Breakfast. When he saw his current building on the Western Avenue – one of Pittsburgh’s north side – for sale, he was in love. He fell as a block to the Victorian style, transformed the huge building into 9 guest rooms and runs his business eleven years later every day. Together with Dee, yes. His help with everything ended with Ed one year after the Parador started, and never left. Dee’s son, Taymar, was 7 when Dee started working. During the weekends he went along and did his homework in the library. In the meanwhile, Taymar is 17, and if he has no school, he works in the ministry. Ed: “I can not even get into the dining room, but I have to stay in the kitchen. Taymar loves to take care of people and does it all the best. ”

The style of The Parador Inn is not only Victorian, but interwoven with a Caribbean atmosphere. “Done because I like to come to the Caribbean,” Ed says. “But also because I like to listen to reggae. And now I can set it up all day. ”

The Caribbean atmosphere comes back everywhere. The wallpaper is transformed into flowery motifs or pastel tones into bright colors with monkeys, toucans and other jungle residents. In the front room is a steel room where you can enjoy happy sounds. And all rooms have a color that represents the flower of a Caribbean plant or tree. The African tulip tree, for example, blooms beautifully deep red.

E north of Pittsburgh seems far away from everything in town, but do not let it deter you. In fact, the beginning of Western Avenue has been a slow but nice march for years. A few nice places: Benjamin’s Burger Bar and Nicky’s Thai, who has been voted best Thai in Pittsburgh for four years in a row. Do you want to enter the center: 20 minutes walk you are there. Whether you take the Parador de T, the free tram that brings you to the other side of the bridge.

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Add to our growing international appeal, German airline Condor will be adding direct flights to Germany next week.  This is in addition to Delta that has had summer flights to Paris for several years now.  And Icelandic WOW that started European flights two weeks ago.

That’s it for today kids,



Just when you thought telemarketers couldn’t get any more annoying, let me burst your bubble.  🙂  There’s a new source of irritation out there for the past year, “ringless voice mails“.  They can now enter your voicemail through a back door.  They can literally fill your mail box with repeated solicitations.  The evil Stratics Networks is offering All About the Message programs that provides this service and are requesting exemption from the ruling trying to limit phone solicitations, because your phone doesn’t actually ring.

I went to the Observatory Hill house tour last Sunday.  Possibly the most interesting wasn’t a house.  I met the owner and told her she should be on the tour.  I love her action figure collection:

Let’s take a minute to recognize a few American heroes, like Ian Grillot who came to the defense of two men of Indian decent working as engineers  in Olathe, KS.  Ian was in a local bar in February when someone (I will respect the more common practice of not reveling the nut case 1 name so he doesn’t bask in the notoriety).  Perp 1 started making racist comments to the two engineers and Ian stepped in trying to diffuse the situation.  Perp 1 (AKA also known as nut case 1) pulled a gun and shot at the two engineers killing one and wounding the other and Ian.  Just last month nut case 2 AKA Perp 2 in Portland, Oregon attacked two young women on a subway train also spewing racist comments and also telling them to go home. Three men riding on the train tried to intervene and got stabbed by nut case 2, two perished.  And then, just today, Dee was coming to work and there was a man of Asian decent (or a tourist) was sitting next to her on the “T”.  He was applying sun screen and these three young girls were staring at him pointing and laughing at him.  Dee gave them that hateful glare we all know and love so well that got the girls attention and they started dising her.  Dee never said a word, but the girls knew what she meant.  One of them even got up and came over to Dee’s seat and put her hand on Dee’s shoulder and threatened that her and her friends were going to jump Dee when she got off.  Some other man on the “T” stood up and told them, he  would gladly take care of them.  The perp 3 said “I’m just a girl, don’t threaten me.”  The man said when you accost someone you loose your rights to being a child.   I won’t continue with what Dee told the girls she was going to do to the girl’s moms afterwards.  🙂  Any of you fellow Americans that believe in what we are, need to step up to the plate and defend each other.  If you haven’t seen pictures of perp 1 and perp 2, follow my links to get a look at them.  Obviously 1 & 2 have mental health issues.  Has anyone else noticed the uptick in violence, homelessness, etc from our governments closing down long term mental health facilities without creating an appropriate back up plan?  Mental health problems can be treated and sometimes cured, but can not be ignored.  It’s also like repealing ACA without a replacement.  Save the money and screw the needy.  Over the years, we as a society have made many mistakes in mental health treatment like old style shock therapy, lobotomy, etc.  That doesn’t mean we should continue making grave errors on the silent segment of our population that doesn’t vote, own houses, hold jobs.  It’s not their fault they have mental health problems as most cancers aren’t someone’s fault (smokers are an exception to this I imagine, I hope I stopped in time).

No matter what big government does, we as Americans need to stand up for what we believe in.  Even with all the negative press these days in America, I still believe most of us believe in what our founding fathers tried to create here.  Even if it’s something small like my personal campaign of acknowledging people that look different than I when walking around.

Have a great day and enjoy our summer weather,


Deagan tower chimes were made by the Deagan Company in Chicago, IL in the early 1900’s along with many other high quality percussion instruments.  John Calhoun Deagan was interested in the science of sound and was quite the innovator turning high quality instruments that changed the face of music and still does.  The Pittsburgh Symphony recently acquired a 20 note set that was originally installed in the Bethesda Evangelical Covenant Church.  After a year of restorations, they made their debut at Mahler’s Resurrection currently being performed at Heinz Hall.

Excelon Corp wants Pennsylvania to subsidize their nuclear power plants, they’re not making enough money.  I recognize the nuclear power does not pollute the air, but it does create lethal waste products that last longer than man has been on earth.  The nuclear industry receives $235M a year in subsidies in Illinois and $583,333,333 in New York a year.  If we were to take that roughly $1B a year in subsidies every year, we would have a lot more bang for the buck with solar & wind.  And maybe make these huge corporations think twice about putting their hands out for free money so they can make their profit margins.   They are whining that they provide well paying jobs and with America becoming having more energy conservation, there’s less demand.  (I didn’t realize my window replacement and LED lighting installations was going to have that much of an impact).  🙂   Solar and wind installations are well paying jobs and it would go to a lot of small business (and big ones like Solar City).  And at that point, we are done and have totally clean energy and they have less demand on their grid systems.

One of the problems with our declining bee populations is due to mites that are biting and killing the bees.  Varroa mites are deer tick sized parasites that bit drones, worker bees and larvae transmitting viruses that kill the bees.  Purdue University entomologists discovered a small amount of bees are biting the mites’ legs off.  These bees have been named Purdue ankle biters.  🙂  They are now breeding ankle biters and introducing them to other hives.  They had been trying to kill the insects on insects with chemicals, what a great idea, using nature to cure nature’s problems.  Good news, due to the ankle biters and other efforts, the declining numbers of hives has slowed.

Fresh Georgia peaches anyone?  Stephen & Jessica Rose are originally from Georgia and when they missed the peaches they were used to, they started a business of taking trucks down to pick up the bounty and selling them off the back of the truck in Nashville where they now live.  It’s been so successful, that they have branched out to various locations in the Northeast.  They are coming to Pittsburgh Sunday  from 8 – 10 at Rollier Hardware in Mt Lebanon, 9 – 11 at Bedneer’s Farm and Greenhouse in McDonald, noon – 1:30  at Zone 28 in Harmar, 12:30 – 2 at Ambridge Do It Best and 2:30 – 4 at the Tractor Supply in Natrona Heights and 3:30 – 5 a Fun Fore All in Cranberry.  Because of the efficiency of their system, the peaches are no more than a couple of days old.  The peaches are sold in 25# boxes for $40.  The peach trucks carry peach recipes to help peach buyers out.

I want to post this short blog, so you peach aficionados can plan on tomorrow’s delivery, enjoy,



The iconic Jerry’s Records is somewhat closing this summer (July 31 to be exact).  Jerry’s in need of more knee surgery and is retiring rather than worrying about coming back.  So he sold the store, name, phone number etc to employee Chris Grauzer who will keep it intact.   Jerry’s longer range plans are to reduce his 20,0000 record collection on line and at record shows.  He says he doesn’t need 2 1/2 feet of Billie Holiday records, so he figures he can get by with just one foot of her recordings.  🙂

I learned something about dogs, they don’t like being petted on the head.  There was an article in the paper from a vet that pointed out that dogs like attention, but not to have the top of their heads patted.  I’ve always noticed when I start petting one of my dogs on the head, they move their head so I end up scratching them under their chin, behind their ears, or they move for a butt scratch.

For you not too committed bicyclists, there’s a Tour de Donut in northern Lawrence county this coming weekend.  It will be held in New Wilmington, home to Westminster College.  The “race” starts at the college around 8 am.  You can per-register at their website or basically just show up.  One of the reasons it’s held there is there’s about 2 dozen independent donut shops within an hour’s drive.  It’s part of New Wilmington’s Donut DAZE celebration of all things donut with various donut eating contests, best donut contest and more fun.

The main reason for this post is to ask all make a minute of silence to remember our fallen service members, that’s what this holiday’s all about.  I am a vet, but not a combat vet.  Some Americans gave so much so we have the leisure to discuss the pros and cons of Trump vs Clinton or Bernie Sanders and other pressing issues of our time in a CIVIL manner.  Which is what should differentiate us from those in other countries that just shoot someone or detonate a bomb because you have another religion than theirs.  I have zero tolerance for intolerance.  It’s pretty bad in America when some nut case berates two woman for wearing veils and being Muslim and two fellow commuters came to her defense and got stabbed to death.  At least the police and courts are dealing with him instead of as I said above other cultures might start a fatwa against all white supremacists and a blood bath ensues.  For all our problems we have an amazing country and I am very grateful.  By the way, I still believe aliens helped the Egyptians build the pyramids and our founding fathers were aliens, how else could someone make such an amazing document as out constitution without being an alien, it just blows me away.  I just hope they come back and bail us out of the mess we are creating.


Have a great Memorial Day and party safe,