Tomorrow’s birth anniversaries include poet, playwright, Nobel Prize winner TS Eliot (1888), composer George Gershwin (1898), Shamu (1985) and Johnny Appleseed (1774).  The first televised presidential debate between JF Kennedy and Richard Nixon (1960).  The West Side Story premiered on Broadway (1957).

It’s been a busy summer, great guests and now that fall is almost with us, weekdays are slowing down and I should finally be able to get some time to devote to my long delayed blog.

I had my 10th anniversary party in July, which was a great success, with many friends, business associates, neighbors and past guests.  My friend Ed Cyphers of Sounds Like Fun DJ service spun tunes in the Court Yard while pianist Kyle Uricchio had so much fun in the Parlor, he was supposed to play for two hours and ended up playing all four hours.  He plays contemporary piano and vocal performance for live entertainment and ambiance.  You can contact him through his email  kjuricchio@gmail.com, or call him at 412-715-7433 to inquire about a booking. I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention my very dear friends Lisa & Mike from Fabled Table catering large and small events.  To say their food was spectacular would be an understatement.  My nephews Joseph and Michael provided valet service and cousin Jeannie’s daughter and friend were the bartenders.  My friends from college that still live in State College came down a day early and were extremely helpful with fine tuning the finishing touches, I would have been lost without them.  A funny story, my sister Susan wanted to make desserts.  So she made tons of individual cheese cakes, I had hundreds left over and was talking to my friends Lenny & Paula across the street and they suggested giving them to Judge, a friend of theirs that lives in senior housing in East Liberty.  So we packaged them up and Judge put them in the day room, by the time he came downstairs from helping one his mobility challenged friends, the cheese cakes were basically all gone.  They made a lot of old people’s day.  🙂

This summer’s projects included finally hanging the refinished bottom shutters in the Parlor.  I fixed the roof leak from the parking lot porch, did plaster repairs in both the main staircase and Ruellia’s staircase.  I wire brushed, scraped and painted the iron fence across the front.  Last fall’s window replacement is still paying off, last summer’s AC ran $1,700; this summer was warmer and my largest bill was under $1,000.  The next project I need to accomplish soon is cleaning up and painting the two new radiators for African Tulip and Bird of Paradise before the weather changes and I have to turn the heat on.  There were two huge radiators in both rooms.  The one in African Tulip was actually leaning in to the room away from the wall.  I thought the weight was causing problems with the floor joists.  Actually it was compressing the quarter sawn oak flooring.  If you read my blog this past spring, I complained that I had gone out to Construction Junction and told they guy out there that I needed two smaller hot water radiators (I knew there’s a difference between hot water radiators and steam radiators-some are interchangeable-most steam radiators only have an inlet, not an outlet.  This I learned after cleaning them up and had John come out to install them.  He pointed out that those radiators only had the one outlet and could only be used with a steam system.  So all that work was in vain.)  The Construction Junction guy told me those radiators would work either system.  Wrong!  I got two hot water radiators, now and need to get them cleaned up and painted before turning the heat on.  Here’s my next project:


I also cleaned up the deck in the beach and re stained it.  Although I didn’t do it, I had cameras installed.  I’m sitting here with the camera in the parking lot on and can see when guests arrive ahead of time.  I hung Edison lights in the Courtyard for the anniversary party along the Courtyard wall and across the Loft in the Carriage House and like them so much, I’ve kept them up:


They look kind of blurry in this picture, but very cool in real life.  Paula across the street likes the lights so much that she thinks I run them across the front of the Ballroom at the end of the parking lot.  Unfortunately, electricity is not readily available there.  I will look into changing that.  (I have two more strings in the basement).

This month, the Oxford English Dictionary added the Pittsburgh term jagoff to the dictionary!  Although I seldom use the word, I love it.  I can be a derogatory term for just about anyone one or anything without being really offensive.

I’m adding a new page to my website, ticket swap.  I have a lot of guests that have season tickets for the Steelers and don’t want or can’t attend all the games.  Instead of going through Ticket Stub or one of those on line agencies with the seller and buyer both paying high fees.  You can post the tickets on my site with contact info with no fees.  🙂  Nick’s setting this up for Steelers, Penguins and Pitt tickets.

I thought Ester & Fester gave Lester a sibling, I’ve been seeing this little waving over the grass.  I finally got a good look at the little one, it wasn’t a baby squirrel.  It’s chipmunk, I did a Face Book contest, name the newest at the Parador and Maureen Kowlski suggested Jester.  So here’s two pictures of Jester, it’s so cute:



That’s it for today, enjoy the break in the heat until we start  complaining about the cold (I’ll be the first one there)  🙂



Tomorrow’s birth anniversaries include poet, journalist Walt Whitman (1819), Prince Rainier of Monaco (1923), American religious leader, author Norman Vincent Peale (1898), ambassador Patricia Harris (1924), actor Don Ameche (1908) and Pope Pius XI (1857).  It is the anniversary of the Civil War battle of Seven Pines (1862), the Copyright law was passed (1790), the TV series Seinfeld premiered (1990) and the Johnstown Flood (1889).

Yes, it’s been awhile.  I couldn’t let Memorial Day pass without remembering our fallen.  I have an idea for our military, why not start a fighting division made up of older Americans.  I remember when I was draft age, considering going to Canada to avoid the draft, because I didn’t think I could kill another man.  I would have no problem shooting an ISIS terrorist, rapist, scum of the earth.  We are not as agile and strong as we once were, but that’s not to say the military couldn’t design a basic training focused on getting us in shape.  I’ve been watching my diet lately more than usual and have dropped 15#, been trying to take the bike out two times a week for about 10 miles each.  No big deal, but it all adds up.  So here’s to our fallen:


Thank you.

Speaking of bikes, I got two for guest use:


They’re not the prettiest, but they work and are free, so can it.  🙂  I also have helmets and locks.

Speaking of fatties, da gerl was up to 95# and she voluntarily cut lunch out.  I’ve reduced her breakfast and dinner and she was down to 88# two weeks ago when I last weighed her.  I’d like to get her down to 85#, maybe a tad less.  She’s been having trouble with the heat the last few days, so a few less pounds would help that and help her joints to delay or possibly stop her from getting hip dysplasia.  RJ’s the age Razor was when he started showing signs of dysplasia and so far RJ is not showing any signs.  Here’s a picture of the fat gerl and her svelte big brother:


Here’s a picture of the fat gerl as a puppy:


And I might be remiss not to include a picture of RJ as a puppy:


Oh so cute.

Speaking of cute, besides feeding the squirrel family, Ester, Fester and their son Lester, I’ve been feeding the birds daily as well.  I have a spectacular cardinal family, a blue jay family, the morning doves that have nested here since I bought the place and of course the little annoying starlings or what ever those constantly fighting little guys.  The robins this year built their nest on the electrical box for the hood system instead of up in the tree.  It’s probably safer than up a tree a predator could climb.  And the chicks are clearly visible. They are growing so quickly.


The Three Rivers Arts Festival starts this coming Friday and I just looked at the extended day forecast and of course they are predicting thunder storms and rain storms all weekend.  Luckily, the Arts Festival lasts longer than just the weekend.  Being so close, I can pick when I go down there.

The Rivers Casino has announced their free concert series at their amphitheater on the river front.  Friday, June 17 will be Disco 54, Saturday, June 18 will be the John Mellencamp Tribute by Tumbling Down, Sunday, July 3 will be a Credence Clear Water Revival Tribute Green River, Monday, July 4 will feature Bon Journey and Saturday July 16 will be the Boston Tribute Don’t Look Back.  Shows start at 7 pm.

In the past, I have tried posting a blog a week, but these take a lot of time.  And with the summer starting, don’t know how much time I will be able to devote to my blogs.  I do enjoy writing them, but need to budget my time.  So you might not hear a lot from me over the summer.




Sorry, I haven’t been blogging for a bit, I hope to start again soon.

Big news, this is the 10 yr anniversary of The Parador being open in PIttsburgh, celebrations will be an open house Saturday, July 16 from 4 to 8 pm  hoes-d’oeuvre (provided by Fable Table), beer, wine (provided by Dreadnought Wines), free valet parking, celebrities, special 10 year give aways and 50% off a two or three night visit that weekend.  If you book on line, put your dates in and click on Special Rates and in the Promo Box put in parador10yrs for the celebratory rate.  I’m asking that you RSVP so I can tell my very dear friend Lisa and owner of Fable Table guest count.  The email is parador10yrs@theparadorinn.com

I have a girl friend, Ester.  I’ve been feeding the squirrels peanuts for two years now.  Lately the female has been showing off, by jumping off the plate holding the peanuts and then scampering up to the window ledge outside my desk.  She stands on all four legs until I bend my head around past the computer monitor.  When she sees me she stands up on her hind legs (exposing herself).  🙂  The weather is so beautiful I have the office windows open and she has come into the office and got as far as the edge of the desk until she gets scared of da kidz.  Yes, in case you didn’t realize before, I am crazy.  🙂

If not before, I hope to see you July 17,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of Three Mile Island nuclear melt down (1979), Libya celebrates the British removing their bases (1970) and the first show of the combined Barnum & Bailey circuses first performance as The Greatest Show on Earth (1881).  Birth anniversaries include Humphrey Bogart’s agent Irving Lazar (1907), child star Freddie Bartholomew (1924) and the first male American to be canonized Saint John Nepomucene Neumann (1811).

With all the warmth we’ve had lately, I was able to clean out the pond and get the fountain up and running for Easter, although it looks kind of naked without any growth:


At least I have some daffodils in the garden right next to it:



And my guests are greeted with daffodils and crocuses flowering in the back of the parking lot:


Dutch artist Allard van Hoorn  saw Market Square and it reminded him of an old school record player from the view in Google Earth.  He competed with 80 other artist for an installation work for this year’s Market Square Public Art.  Last year’s winner, an Asian, woman installed bare trees and updated them periodically to reflect the change of seasons.  He installed 960 feet of LED strips that respond to the music generated by the computer in a torpedo looking master control box (similar to the knob that stuck up on an old record player that secured the record on the surface).  Allard collected music in Pittsburgh from tap dancers at Point Park University to the steel drum band at Urban Pathways Charter School.  You can select the music to be played.  His website doesn’t have a preview of this work.

Greensburg native and Stage Right theater school co-founder Anthony Marino wrote the musical “Tink” a prequel to Peter Pan.  His group has been performing it at the Palace Theater out in Greensburg and it was selected as one of the finalist for inclusion in the New York Musical Festival this July.  the NYMF is frequently the spring board for entry into Broadway or Off-Broadway productions.  Because of the high cost of producing a play in NYC, the festival is paying for much of the production costs, Marino has started a Kick-Stater campaign to help raise the additional $60, he needs.  Home town team does good!

Next weekend is the South Hills Home Show at the Iceoplex at Southpointe.  Admission is free.  In addition to the vendors, they will also be having a number of clinics and workshops, also free.  Details on times and admission, Oh that’s right i already told you admission’s free.

Renewable energy hit a record $286B last year and for the first time it was led by emerging economies, mainly China with a $103B investment.  Even with all this investment, renewable s still only accounted for one tenth of power generation.  At least we are moving in the right direction. One of the many road blocks to increased renewable sources is called “net metering” which is when you create extra energy and sell it to the local electrical provider.  In your electric bill is a fee for transition line maintenance and improvement.  If you are not paying an electric bill, the electrical provider is not collecting that money.  i would love to add solar and possibly wind energy options at The Parador.  And would be willing to pay a reasonable,b minimal fee for this.  Another problem is storage of electricity generated from solar panels for use when the suns not up.  There’s huge investment in new battery storage options.  Tesla even has a home storage battery just for this called the power wall.

Among PIttsburgh’s firsts was we hosted the first flight in 1899 sorry North Carolina.  Not really 🙂  This is chronicled by John Schalcosky in City Paper.  He runs a Face Book page that explores Pittsburgh’s weird history.

The long time Cathedral of Learning resident peregrine falcon Dorthy passed away last year and her long time companion E2 picked up a new mate Hope last year as well.  E2’s new mate, Hope (formerly nested under the Tarentum Bridge)  laid a clutch of eggs atop the Cathedral a week ago and then E2 was found dead in a year in Swissvale.  Apparently Hope has picked up a new mate and they are predicting a new clutch of eggs.  Something I didn’t know was the eggs don’t have to be incubated right away.  Both clutches can be incubated at the same time.  You can watch Hope and her new companion live on a webcam provided by the National Aviary.  And if you’d like to watch the Hays eagles on webcam, here’s the link.  I think two have hatched, one of the little guys just popped out from under mom, so cute with it’s black eyes bobbing around.  Soap opera have nothing on our peregrines.  :

Much to the chagrin of da kidz, I feed the squirrels.  I put a small shelf on the shed right outside the window in front of my desk and put the peanuts on a plate which I place on that shelf.  They didn’t eat many peanuts yesterday.  I put more out this morning and apparently they’re hungry.  Mom crawled down the shed roof and was looking at me through the window.  So I made da kidz wait inside and put a hand full of peanuts on the plate, she’s fallen off the roof three time and the roof’s not even wet.  The last time she fell, she jumped on my window sill, looked in (saying thank you?) and then scampered up the side of the window and jumped onto the roof for a peanut.

August Wilson’s play Fences is starting up production here in Pittsburgh, directed by Denzel Washington.

I’m guilty, I stole a plant from the Everglades while in Florida and it’s done so well, I now have three that grow uncontrollably, I will find 8 foot growths from all three plants if I don’t keep a close eye on them.  They will sneak behind the wooden shelf one of them sits on and grow and grow.  I sent a picture of them to my good friend Tony at Penn State, he’s a botanist or horticulturalist, not sure which.  🙂  He identified it as epiphytic catyi a non native species to Florida, so I don’t feel so bad about taking it.  Take a look at the flowers it should get, I think I need to take them down into the basement for a couple of weeks to make them flower.  The flowers are absolutely amazing!

I just wanted to take a minute and remember Razor who left us a year ago Saturday, I miss him, but it was his time.  The vet was surprised he had gone to sleep before she administered 1/2 of the solution for his weight, he had given up:


RJ, you have some big shoes to fill, do you remember when you met Razor?

rj puppy

That’s it and Happy Easter,




Tomorrow is the anniversary of the inauguration of the new capital of Brazil, Brasilia (1960), the festival of Ridvan when the founder of the Baha’ faith spent 12 days in a garden in Baghdad after which he proclaimed his mission as god’s messenger, it’s Rome’s birthday (753 bc), the Red Baron was shot down (1918) and Kartini Day, honoring Raden Adjeng Kartini the emanicpator of women in Indonesia (1879).  Birth anniversaries include naturalist John Muir (1838), actor Anthony Quinn (1915)  and novelist Charlotte Bronte (1816).

The eagles in Harmar have at least one egg (no eggs last year).  The PixController web cam is pretty much level with the nest and you can’t see in.  Some saw her laying the egg.

Dorothy, the long time resident peregrine falcon at the Cathedral of Learning passed away last year at the ripe old age of 18 (that’s a huge accomplishment for a peregrine falcon).  Her long time mate E2 (Erie was her first mate that disappeared shortly after the two became a couple).  They seem to have the same recipe for naming as I do, first there was Razor, then RJ (Razor Junior), then Rayzette.  🙂  E2 picked up a new mate, Hope that had been nesting under the Tarentum bridge joined E2 in November and laid a clutch of several eggs.  Unfortunately, E2 was found dead in the East End in someone’s yard (he was getting pretty old as well).  So the fate of the eggs is looking kind of dire.  Hope can’t stay on them to keep them warm alone without a mate to share that and get her food.

The single largest killer of birds is not wind turbines, pesticides or even cats and other predators, it’s windows!  I have been aware of this,  but, recently I had a robin fly into my dining room window as I was setting up for breakfast.  Knocked the crap out of it, it laid on it’s side on a seat cushion for awhile.  Thinking it was dying, stupid me went outside and started stroking it’s breast with the back of my finger.  Far from dying, just stunned, she jumped up and opened her beak in a threatening manner.  🙂   There are a lot of options out there to help the birds differentiate between the reflection of the glass and nature.  One source is Bird Savers, another  is Bird Tape, still another is Collide Escape.  It can be something as simple as putting screens over your windows.  But if you’re like me and like an unobstructed  view, particularly of my bird “infested” Courtyard, you can just hang string, paint washable stencils on your windows.  Not all windows need treated, my leaded glass around the Library and some bathrooms work fine.

On a happier note, the National Aviary just got a baby sloth, it’s the cutest!  It’s probably sacrilege, but the adult sloth is my favorite in the Aviary.  I can stand in front of him (her?) for the longest time.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the picture of the baby.

The house used in the movie Silence of the Lambs in Layton is for sale at an again reduced price.  From $300k it’s now down to $225k.  Supposedly totally renovated.

As you are probably aware, March 18 was the bicentennial of the incorporation of Pittsburgh as a city.  Photo Antiquities on East Ohio Street here on the Northside has a special photo exhibit commemorating our founding. Photography wasn’t created for another 23 years so there are no photos of the celebrations or city at that time.  Photo Antiquities has a trove of pictures never before exhibited and included in this stash are a series taken by Fredrick Thomas & Thomas Jon Gretton chemist brothers that worked for Jones & Laughlin Steel.  Their heirs donated their negatives that are on glass plates and Bruce Klein and associates printed images from these negatives.  One image is a picture of George Farris’ first Farris Wheel somewhere in Pittsburgh (probably Luna Park in Oakland), where the gondolas could hold 30 people taken around 1885 (eight years before the attraction became the darling of the Chicago Worlds Fair).  There’s also images of steel mills in the late 1880’s.  To include one of child labor of “pull boys” in a mill.

If you have a millennial in your sphere of influence, a couple of questions you might want to ask him/her/them is “What is the interest rate your credit card charges?”  A recent poll of millennials showed 50% didn’t know what the interest rate was!  Also, cash advances on a credit card usually have a higher interest rate than normal charges and usually there’s a one time fee on top of this.  (I fell victim to these when I first opened in Florida and was extremely cash poor).  Another question you might ask is “What is the credit limit of your credit card?  A third of respondents didn’t know what it was.  If they are not paying the credit card off each month, it is better to have two cards and split it between the two.  Say they have a $1,000 limit and have $900 on the card, it’s more or less maxed out.  Credit reporting agencies really frown on this, they feel someone shouldn’t have more than 25% of credit available to an individual card tied up.   Now $450 between the two cards is not 25%, but a lot better than 90%. 35% of millennials didn’t know what their credit score was,  it’s extremely important at this time of their life.  Many aren’t aware that a late payment doesn’t effect their credit score, unless it’s over 30 days late, which is huge (again I fell victim to this back in my early days with my Discover card (-a long story I think I talked about in the past).  Finally they don’t know they can ask for waived or lower fees.  My Worker’s Comp company charged me $30 in February to keep my policy active (my last payroll fee was $18)!  I had a problem paying for worker’s comp when I didn’t have a payroll, so I canceled them and switched to another carrier, the insurance group I have my property insurance with (Insurance Services United).  Which lowered my monthly charge.  March rolls around and the previous insurance company was going to charge me $8.08 for a maintenance fee.  I called them and told them I was going to file a formal complaint with the PA AG’s office.  Steve told me he was going to stop the $8.08 withdrawal and credit me the $30.  I told him if I see that in my account, I would not file the compliant and he thanked me.  Bitching has it’s benefits, you need to be calm, polite and precise about what you want.

Even though it’s been a mild winter, finally, I am so ready for spring, it’s right around the corner, chins up,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone (1876), US paper money was introduced (1862), American abolitionist Harriet Tubman passed away (1913) and the American Salvation Army was founded in America (1880).

It’s free admission to the Carnegie’s in Oakland on Thursdays from 3 pm until 8 pm for the month of March.  That doesn’t include the noted Pterosaurs exhibit.  that will set you back $5 adults and $3 kids.

Last post I gave you to opportunity to learn to make brooms, now here’s a beginner on weaving, or advanced if you already weave.  I dabbled in it a number of years ago an it was fun.  Depreciation Lands Museum up in Hampton, Butler County.  The beginners class will be held Saturday March 12 from 9 am until 4  pm.  The $25 not only includes expert teachers by the Butler Spinners and Weavers Guild, supplies and even lunch.  They have been offering these classes for four years now.  The advanced class will cost $40 and include materials, expert instruction as well as lunch.  It runs March 19 same hours.  Preregistration is required.

There’s a difference between radiators for steam heat and hot water heat.  I had those to big radiators in African Tulip and Bird of Paradise I wanted to replace.  The one in African Tulip was noticeably leaning in away from the window.  I was concerned about long term damage to the floor joist from all the weight.  I’ve been looking for smaller replacements for a year or so now.  I  was out at Construction Junction in October and they again had a selection of radiators, knowing there’s a difference between steam and hot water radiators, I asked the CJ employee if he knew the difference and he said yes.  I asked him if the smallest two were hot water radiators and he said yes. I bought them and brought them home.    The plan was to get the replacement radiators, clean them up over the winter and after shutting the system down, drain it and install the replacements.  As fate would have it, the radiator in Bird of Paradise sprung a leak and we had to move the project up.  John, my plumber was scheduled to come over last Tuesday and so as usual I was up early, shut the furnace down and started draining the water out of it.  John arrive around 9 and before he started, I took him to the Ballroom (where I had worked on the new radiators) to be sure they were right.  They weren’t, they were for steam systems.  FYI, hot water systems always has a pipe on each side, steam sometimes does (these ones you can use with a hot water system).  The two I had only had a connection for a pipe on the one side.  Also, steam radiators, have vent to let of excess steam.  I wasn’t up set, mistakes happen, people talk the talk without meaning evil, even though they don’t know what they are talking about.  Since John had brawn to get the old radiators out, we did that and he got these ugly, but functional radiators for a temporary fix.


I went out to Construction Junction and asked for the manager.  The cashier asked me why and I gave her a short explanation and she told me they only offer exchanges for 30 days. And I said that’s why I need to talk to the manager.  She got the general manager.  I explained the situation to him, explained I wasn’t mad, things happen.  All I wanted was to swap the cleaned and painted ones I had for two hot water radiators.  We walked back to the ones on the floor and I picked the smallest ones there.   I explained I had a Prius and couldn’t transport something that heavy in it. He had someone set them aside for me,  I asked, since his people were picking up the ones I cleaned up anyway on Friday, could they drop the new ones off.  He said they don’t do delivery, but would see what he could do.  I got a call from Ben, the manager of donations Friday morning.  Absolutely no negotiations with him, they don’t deliver, even though they were stopping by to pick up my two and would be in my parking lot.  So they replaced John, they gentleman I have spoken about in the past that had no personality, no Thank you for your donation kind of attitude, with potentially someone worse.  🙂

Sts Peter & Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie will host pysanky workshop at noon on March 12, if you want to learn how to dye intricate eggs.  The cost is $20 and it didn’t say if you need to bring eggs with the whites and yolks blown out (frequently these classes don’t supply the hollow eggs, you might want to check that out first.  Registration is required.  You can do it at their website.  Jeannette Public Library is having classes on March 19 also starting at noon.  The event is free under their adult education program.  Registration is by calling  724-523-5702.

Amit Seru, a professor at Chicago’s Booth School of Business co-authored a paper called The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct.  He points out that 7% of financial planners have been disciplined for misconduct.  So how do you trust whom you are dealing with (better put, who is dealing with you money).  If you are thinking of investing some of your hard earned money, you really should read the article.  There are tools for checking the qualifications and past history of anyone licensed to be a financial planner.  The scary thing he point out isn’t that you just have to be concerned about small time financial planners, some of the worst offenders are the big guys like Wells Fargo, First Allied Securities and the worst offender was of Oppenheimer’s 2,275 financial advisers, 19.6 percent have been disciplined for misconduct.  Unless the financial planner has been caught in serious enough issues that he/she looses her/his license, when a financial planner has been busted and can still practice, there are firms out there that hire the less than scrupulous.  They frequently turn more profits to the firm’s bottom line.

I took the sausage down to the Humane Society to weigh her, she’s 95# !  🙂

That’s it for today folks, enjoy this spring like weather while we have it,



I read the Trib regularly.  That’s where I get a lot of the fodder I get for my blog, I found this article on the credibility of Donald Trump so interesting, I wanted to reproduce the entire article instead of paraphrasing from it.  The Trib reprinted the article from Washington Post Sunday.  Not that I think many of my readers are in Trump’s camp and think I can convert  them.  I found this thought provoking and disturbing enough to publish it independently.

No, Donald Trump, the unemployment rate is not 42 percent.

And, no, it’s not true that President Obama wants to take in 250,000 Syrian refugees. Or that “thousands and thousands” of American Muslims celebrated when the World Trade towers toppled on 9/11.

Despite numerous accounts to the contrary, Trump has insisted on all these things.

Which makes someone like Angie Drobnic Holan shake her head ruefully.

Holan, editor of PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning news site devoted to vetting political statements, has investigated plenty of dubious assertions in her time. But she has never seen anyone quite like Trump.

“The difference with him is the degree to which he’s wrong,” she said. “All politicians like to stick to their talking points, and sometimes a few of those points are debunked. With Trump, it’s not one or two points. It’s lots and lots.”

Politicians of every kind, in every era, have bent and twisted facts to their liking. And yes, they sometimes lie.

But to Holan and the small community of professional fact checkers, Trump represents something new: a front-running candidate who is not just wrong at times, but wrong many, many times, and defiantly so when called on it.

He may indeed be America’s first post-factual candidate. Consider:

• PolitiFact found that 78 percent of the 96 Trump statements it reviewed were either “mostly false,” “false” or “pants-on-fire” false, the highest percentage by far in the current field of presidential candidates. By comparison, 66 percent of Ted Cruz’s statements fell into those categories; 42 percent of Marco Rubio’s; 32 percent of Bernie Sanders’; and 27 percent of Hillary Clinton’s. Trump’s is the highest they have ever recorded for a major candidate. Among others, PolitiFact dinged Trump for claiming that blacks kill 81 percent of white homicide victims and for saying that Obama is pushing refugees to states with Republican governors.

• The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column has awarded Trump four Pinocchios — its lowest rating for honesty — 63 percent of the time it has looked at one of his statements, also by far the worst percentage (others: Cruz, 21 percent; Rubio, 18; Sanders and Clinton 14). A recent four-Pinocchio: Trump’s claim that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would cost $8 billion.

• In naming Trump the “King of Whoppers” in its annual review last year, FactCheck.org, an organization at the University of Pennsylvania, observed: “In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.”

It’s not clear that Trump has ever backed down from any of his unsubstantiated claims since announcing his candidacy in June — a hallmark of his pugnacious style. When journalists failed to find TV footage or published accounts to back up Trump’s assertion of widespread celebrations in New Jersey cheered on 9/11, for example, he cited “hundreds” of calls and tweets from people claiming they had seen the same thing. He demanded an apology from those who had written otherwise.

He has also questioned the fact-checkers. After PolitiFact awarded Trump its “Lie of the Year” for his run of campaign misstatements, he responded by telling ABC News: “They are leaning in a certain direction, and no matter what you do with them — I mean they are a very dishonest group, in my opinion.”

Trump’s refusal to acknowledge error or simply to adjust his rhetoric sets him apart from his fellow office seekers, too: Contrary to the general cynicism about political truthiness, many leading politicians do change their tune when called out on untrue statements, fact-checkers say. Sanders, for one, changed a talking point about the chances of a black male being sent to prison after The Post’s Fact Checker questioned his data.

“Professional politicians mostly want to get it right,” said Glenn Kessler, the Fact Checker columnist. “What’s unusual about Trump is he’s a leading candidate and he seems to have no interest in getting important things factually correct.”

And that fact is not especially frustrating to the fact-checkers. Their goal, they say, is to point out what’s wrong, not necessarily to change a politician’s ways.

“The mission of the fact-checker is to inform democracy, first and foremost,” said Bill Adair, PolitiFact’s creator and now a journalism professor at Duke University. “So it doesn’t bother me to say that a statement is false and a candidate continues to make that statement. The most important thing is that we’re telling voters what’s true and what’s not.”

Fact-checkers have not failed if politicians continue to twist the facts, Adair said, any more than investigative reporters have failed when politicians continue to be corrupt.

In fact, an academic study of political fact-checking operations this year found that the public generally views political fact-checking favorably, and that more exposure to it helps people become better informed. However, the study also found that the format tends to reach well-informed and educated people and that those who are less informed have less favorable views. What’s more, the study found a partisan divide: Republicans find less to like in fact-checking than Democrats, an echo of conservative complaints that fact-checkers are slanted against Republicans.

As for Trump, it’s possible that his supporters are less interested in mere facts than in other qualities, such as his determination, passion and strength, said Carol Pogash, author of “Quotations from Chairman Trump,” a recently published collection of his statements through the years.

“His fans … are voting for the Disrupter-in-Chief,” said Pogash. “He’s the billionaire who promises to blow up the status quo. His supporters love that Trump is the bully in the china shop.”




Tomorrow is the anniversary of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme (1986),  the 228 riot in China where Taiwanese cigarette vendor had everything she owned confiscated for violating the Chinese government’s cigarette monopoly causing a major riot (1947), the USS Princeton exploded when a gun backfired killing many crew members and politicians (1844)   and NATO downing Serb jets (1994).  Birth anniversaries include French acrobat Charles Blondin (1824), comic strip creator Milton Caniff (19907) and gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906).

Want to learn how to make a  broom, Old Economy Village is offering a three hour class on how to March 5 and a class on the art of paper cutting called Scherenschnitte at the visitor center.  Pre-registration is required and you can do that by calling David Miller at 724-266-4500 next 110 or emailing him  at davmiller@pa.gov.

A number of years ago, I was at a flea market and there was a box of framed pictures marked $2 each.  Most of them were those boring “Why would someone buy these new?” types.  Then I came across these two Scherenschnitte:  I had them matted and framed.

Scissor Art

Make an over night venture out of it by staying at the newly opened Bed and Breakfast, The Heslett House opened about a month ago.  Dennis has been fighting local government trying to get open for over a year now.  Speaking of uncooperative governments, It looks like The Allegheny Inn may be at their last hurdle, where to place the compressor for their AC unit.  Justin hopes to finally open in about a month after several years of battling city hall.

I think I told you in a past post how the sausage had taught herself how to open doors.  Dee and myself kept finding her in the Mansion and the assumption was that we weren’t properly closing the Pantry door, leaving it unlatched.  Then the two of us started paying attention when we went through the pantry door into the dining room.  And we were still finding her out there, so I went into discipline mode.  She’s stopped.  But earlier in the week it was warm and I went out to do errands leaving the back door open so da kidz could come and go as they wanted.  When I got home, RJ was in the cold kitchen on one of the dog beds.  I assumed she was outside.  I went to put the flour in the hot kitchen and when I opened the door (it also has a handicapped lever type door handle and she was inside.  She was so stressed and happy to see me.  Here’s the new picture of us I just posted on my home page:

905 911 57

She’s the short fat one on my right.  She came home from the dog park last week in tears.  When I asked what’s wrong she said all the other dogs at the dog park were calling her “Fatty”.  The poor girl.  🙂

If you’ve read my past blogs, you know the respect I have for the police.  There’s always the exception, like the forty + year old bully that beat up the drunk 19 year old football fan outside Heinz Field last year.  No where near the absurdity of our public servants shooting unarmed civilians.  Matakovich earned $190,644 last year.  Between his $69k base, $17k shift differential, uniform allowances and special event pays.  He was the the seventh highest paid Pittsburgh employee.  The kid was drunk and walking away from him.  When Matakovich a “trained” “professional” knocked him to the ground and began to pummel him.  I’m upset, not so much because of his bullying, but because my taxes are paying for the belligerent actions.  And his audacity demanding his job back.  Which page in the police handbook about protecting and serving did he miss?

When I was a small child (no comments like Did they have cars then?”).  🙂  We lived in Baldwin Borough on top of the hill above the Hazelwood Bridge, Rodger and I would walk down the hill and “fish” in the Mon River, not surprisingly, we never caught anything.  I remember when they tore the old Hazelwood Bridge down, my dad said it was to be part of a future highway.  It looks like Penndot is finally planning on completing the long delayed Mon Valley Expressway.  It now stops in Pleasant Hills.  I don’t understand how they plan on taking the highway up that steep hill on the Hazelwood side to reach the parkway east.  I think they plan on building a Squirrel Hill tunnel bypass as part of it to relieve congestion on the parkway.  Currently, route 51 is the highway connecting the city to the Mon Valley.  This is great news for the Mon Valley, where I really grew up in Finleyville.  I hope it’s not too late to help those poor towns down the valley that’s been suffering so much since the mills closed.

Days are getting longer, temperatures improving, I’m happy,



Tomorrow’s the anniversary of Nixon’s trip to China (1972), the New Yorker’s first publication (1925), Malcolm X’s assassination (1965),  and the Washington Monument was dedicated (1885).  Birth anniversaries include jazz singer Nina Simone (1933) and humorist Erma Bombeck (1927)

The Hays eagles have two eggs, lets wish them better luck this year than last (they lost both eggs).  The Harmar eagles aren’t getting the attention the Hays eagles get.  I’ve been watching them a bit, apparently, the Harmar eagles just mated the other day.  There’s about 900 people watching the Harmar eagles and 1,200 people following the Hays eagles.

I spent $2,500 for a two door commercial refrigerator a year and a half ago.  The compressor died.  I contacted Penn Fixture, where I bought it and for weeks have been going back and forth with them trying to get the warranty to cover it’s replacement.  I kept being told they can’t get a hold of the manufacturer and finally, Tuesday when I made my daily call (they never initiated a phone call to me), I told them I was going to contact my attorney.  (Warranties’ on compressors have to last 3 years-even if the company files for bankruptcy the company has to set money aside to cover warranties).  I was forwarded an email Penn fixture got Tuesday from the company with a follow up and direction to get it taken care of.  Koone’s refrigeration was at my Inn the next day and determined that the compressor was shot and ordered it’s replacement.  The new compressor should be in in  few days.

My current project is replacing the huge radiators in both African Tulip:


You can’t see in this picture, but the radiator is noticeably  leaning away from the window wall.  The weight of this five foot long cast iron piece is effecting the floor joist.  Since replacing the windows, I don’t need a radiator this large and found two smaller ones at Construction Junction.  The other one in Bird of Paradise is also much larger than is needed.  Here’s the current one in Bird of Paradise:


Both radiators are about five feet long.  Here’s the two new matching ones I got at Construction Junction:


I don’t know if you ever paid attention to radiators, but they are actually works of art.P1000924

Take a look at these puppies:

Speaking of puppies, “the sausage” just past 90#

I posted a year or two ago when ALCOSAN went under the court order to stop fouling the waterways.  My water & sewer bill was less than my Direct TV and internet.  Even though I don’t like the higher bills, I agree water is more important than TV and the internet.  When ALCOSAN came up with their boondoggle $3 BILLION solution with concrete pipes and holding tanks.  River Life offered to assist with green suggestions and ALCOSAN flat out rejected their offer.  ALCOSAN told them they could make suggestions once the plan was approved.  Now the arrogant SOB’s at ALCOSAN are asking for River Life’s suggestions and others for suggestions.  $3 BILLION could finance a lot of rain gardens, rain barrels, swells, and my big suggestions they keep ignoring.  Make a new standard so when the replace storm water catch basins, instead of the entire box being concrete, leave the bottom open with a gravel base.  A ton of water would percolate down into the soil!

Thanx for putting up with my rant.  It was so beautiful today, I got around to painting the gecko swing.





First of all Happy Valentine’s Day!  Tomorrow is Remember the Maine Day (ship blown up while at anchor in Havana Harbor 1898 starting the Spanish American War), it is Lupercalia (the anniversary of ancient Roman fertility festival) and the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan (1989).  Birth anniversaries include actor John Barrymore (1882), Anton Cermak (the mayor of Chicago who took the bullet meant to assassinate President Elect Franklin Roosevelt in Miami (1933) and inventor of the reaper Cyrus McCormick (1809).

The gorgeous stained glass windows Joedda installed in Chenille and Oleander were not supported correctly.  They were just the stained glass and the lead supports.  Which weren’t strong enough to support the weight of the stained glass and lead.  So I sent Oleander’s out to be rebuild and put in a proper frame so they survive.  They were bulging all over the place and ready to fall apart.  Here’s a picture of Oleander’s windows:


After sending Chenille’s stained glass windows out to be rebuilt I got them backabout 2 weeks ago.  I had to prime and paint the exterior facing wood and stain and polyurethane the inside.  Here’s a picture of the new windows I had installed the past fall (more on that next).  These are the stationary windows that are double pained with e-gas and reflective tinting for efficiency:


Here’s a picture of the repaired stained glass windows installed over the new exterior windows:


And here’s a close up of the stained glass in the new frame:


The fall window project seems to be paying off. My December 2014 gas bill was $1,300 and this past December it was $300 (granted this December was much warmer than last). Both January’s had similar temeratures and the 2015 gas bill was $1,450 and this January it was $750. 🙂 Big smile. I’m closing in on almost 100 windows replaced.

So UPMC is planning to build a new hospital in Jefferson Hills across from Allegheny Hospital’s Jefferson hospital which sits six miles from McKeesport.  I guess that’s the death toll for UPMC’s less profitable McKeesport hospital.  They are being even more aggressive than when they closed the less profitable Braddock hospital and then built a new one basically  across the street from Allegheny Hospital’s Forbes regional hospital something like two miles away.  Braddock and McKeesport are both economically challenge neighborhoods, Monroeville and Jefferson Hills are both economically well to do neighborhoods.  I guess prejudiced is what warrants Jeffrey Romoff’s $6.4 MILLION dollar bonus.  He needs that to afford his home that occupies a full floor in the US Steel building.  Not that he personally pays for it, I assume it’s part of his “compensation” package by getting a floor in the building UPMC basically rents most of.

I recenetlhy hosted a visit by artist Michael Sirvet, who set up a show at James Galleries in the West End.  Michael has very vibrant pieces, he’s not afraid of color.  🙂  He creates restructuralist sculpture using various materials.

The Northside Chronicle had a feature story on St. Anthony’s Chapel up on Troy Hill.  St Anthony’s has the largest collection of relics outside the Vatican!  They are authenticated by the Vatican.  They were mainly collected by a a Belgian-born noble/physician turned priest Suitbert Godfrey Mollinger.  He traveled Europe during war times collecting these relics.  It’s quite impressive.  The chapel is generally open from 1 – 4 with formal tours generally starting around 1:30 Saturdays through Thursdays.

TVs are getting harder and harder to recycle responsibly. eLoop the major electronics recycler no longer accepts them, nor does Goodwill, Salvation Army or Best Buy. Evolution E-Cycling on the South Side does accept TVs, but for a price between $10 – $60.

After moving to the Northside ten years ago, The Northside Chronicle finally is running an article on me, The Tribune Review has had two stories on The Parador and the Post Gazette has never run a story on me.  Follow the link to the on line version, the print version will be out in next month’s print version.  Thank you Neil.

There’s an amazing show at Photo Antiquities over on East Ohio Street,  Chris Togneri did a great article on them in The Trib.  There’s still a lot of power in good photography.  When I was in the army in Munich, I ended up going to Dachau several times and the thing that still sticks with me is a photograph of a well dress boy about 8 years old and he’s standing in the cold, well dressed and the rest of the image was Nazis and the only thing you could see of them was their jack boots and knees.  The confusion and fear in his face obviously left a lasting impression on me.  Photographer Ed Salamony of the former Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, who passed away in1999, went over to Bernies Photo for some equipment to develop some pictures he took during the Great Depression.  He ended up giving the negatives to Bernies for their collection.  What curator Frank Watters is trying to show, is even in extreme poverty and hopelessness you can have dignity.  Very interesting and well written article in the trib an very powerful images at Bernies.

A couple of years ago, The History Center purchased the Dietrich Building behind it.  They use it for storage and that’s where they refurbish pieces. Sections of it are now open to the public.  It’s included in the admission price.

At the PABBI conference I signed up with a new credit card processor, and Tom Weiskotten was right, his rates are noticeably lower than I was paying previously to Heartland.  I also signed up for a new on line reservation system Think Reservations.  And didn’t want to roll out the new system while I was busy.  We scheduled to do it in February and it went live last week.  My previous system Webervations was so outdated and unresponsive (the staff).  Taking a reservation was so cumbersome between getting the credit info securely and transferring all the personal information into my data base took a lot of time.  And people were always getting confused because the system could not automatically include the specials or other discounts.  There’s now codes you put in and it automatically gives the appropriate discount.  And it knows how to tell the three week days it takes to qualify for the Caribbean Freedom Special.  It automatically sends the reservation confirmation.  Richard programmed the system so that with one click I can easily print the welcome letters instead of going back and forth between different programs.  The system also automatically takes a one day deposit.  If you are a cash customer (Michelle 🙂 ), or one of my regular business travelers, call me for the secret promo codes (Liz & Jim for example).

That’s it for today, keep warm, its supposed to go back up close to 50 towards the end of the week,