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,




Tomorrow is the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s Black Maria Studio (the first motion picture studio) (1893), the first car insurance was issued (1898), the first session of the Supreme Court (1790), GI Joe was introduced (1964), Late Night with David Letterman premiered (1982), General Electric Theater premiered (1953), Geensboro’s Sit-in (1960) and the space shuttle Columbia disaster (2003).  Birth anniversaries include actor Clark Gable (1901), flim director John Ford (1895), African American poet & author Langston Hughes (1902) and Russian president Boris Jeltsin (1931).

The Haslett House Bed and Breakfast finally got their CO and are open for business.  They are a log cabin in Old Economy, 16 miles north west of me.  As I hear the horror stories of Inns trying to open, I wonder why anyone would be crazy enough to start a bed and breakfast.  When I look back on my battles with the city, they almost seem minor compared to what Dennis did trying to open The Haslett House or what Justin is still doing trying to open The Allegheny Inn.  I know Justin has been fighting bureaucracy for at least two years trying to open.  I’m hearing Justin should be getting his CO within about a month.

First off, I wasn’t too excited in the beginning of January when I got my gas bill.  December 2014 my bill was $1,347 and my bill for December 2015 was $387.  December 2015 was much warmer than December 2014.  Now January 2015 vs January 2016 was pretty much equally cold.  January 2015, my gas bill was $1,459 and January 2016 the bill is $746!  The new windows are doing the trick.  Several January’s were close to or just over $2,000 in the past.

Originally built as The First Immanuel Evangelical Church, Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center is located at 1000 Madison Avenue in the Deutschtown area of the Northside.  Built in 1889 it has been transformed into an art center and event center.  They have two spaces for rent, the chapel on the second floor and the gallery on the main floor.  The current exhibit in the gallery is work by New Zealand resident artist Fiona Amundsen called Like a Body Without Skin based on photographs by German photographers Hilla & Bernd Becher who photographed several Pittsburgh blast furnaces.  Who published a book by the same name in the 1980’s.  The exhibit is free and runs through March 31.  Neu Church is open Monday through Friday 10 am till 6 pm.

Dinner Lab contacted me last week, they wanted to host one of their dinners in my Ballroom.  But they were anticipating 120 guests, I can fit 100.  So I had to decline.  In case you aren’t familiar with Dinner Lab, it’s something like the white dinners.  Twenty five years ago Francois Pasquier hosted the first Diner en Blanc in Paris.  He invited some friends to a dinner at a secret location.  And some of the friends were bringing friends, so he asked everyone to wear all white so guests could identify each other.  And the trend started.  It’s a fun pop up kind of an event. Pittsburgh is just starting Diner en Blanc an Dinner Labs.

James Simon loves his art in a big way.  His medium is usually clay and cement.  He just completed a 16 foot tall woman playing bass, two six foot dogs, two nine foot dancers and a large jukebox for Perry Harvey Park in Tampa.  He’s the artist that did the clay musicians in the 900 block of Liberty Avenue.  Obviously, he cranks out some remarkable pieces in his uptown studio.

I just came back from St Pete, Savannah & Charleston.  I drove down to Tampa with my friend Jeff that co-owns the Inn on the Mexican War Streets.  Karl and he are building this colossal lodge in West Virginia, it will be the third largest residence in the state (the governor’s mansion is larger and #2 is just slightly bigger).  They had to cut a road in to reach the top of the mountain:


And here’s the view from the main level:

view from main floor front window

And here’s the view from the end of the above field towards the lodge:

front from a distance

Here’s a view of the unfinished main floor:

main floor towards welcome area

They’re thinking of getting out of daily Innkeeping and just doing corporate retreats, etc.  Quite the undertaking.

Tomorrow is Ground Hog Day, Punxsutawney Phil, lets hope he doesn’t see his shadow.  The House at the End of the Road, was a bed and breakfast close by and they had all kinds of stories about the crowds that come up for the festivities.  They closed the Inn so they could travel and enjoy their grand kids, etc.

The William Penn Hotel opened March 9, 1916, so their 100 anniversary is about a month away.  What a grand building.  I worked there in the 1990’s.  Servico owned the building back then and money was scarce.  Don Berger, my boss and still good friend, had made all the ornaments that decorated their lobby Christmas tree back then.  He had made them several years before I started and it was mass production repairing them each fall so everything was ready to decorate.  It was pretty fun (and funny).  In the late 1920’s they created an addition facing Grant Street which brought the number of rooms to 1,600.  That is the reason the sides do not match and you frequently have to go up or down stairs to go from one place to another.  They were very small rooms, but state of the art at the time with a unique amenity at the time, private baths.  When Alcoa bought it in the 1960’s and did their renovations, the dropped the number down to just under 600 rooms and suites.  If you’ve never seen the ballrooms, you really should go up at some point and see the grand ballroom (which is cool) and the Urban Room an amazing Art Deco styled ballroom adjoining the grand ballroom.  During prohibition, they had a speak easy tucked away under the stairs which has recently re-opened.

That’s it for today, enjoy this great weather while we have it.  I was able to hose accumulate winter grime off all three porches today,



Tomorrow is Nepal’s National Unity Day, Morocco’s Independence Day, the US Surgeon declared cigarettes are a hazard (1964) and the designated hitter rule was adopted (1973).  author of The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton (1755), Puerto Rican patriot Eugenio Maria Hostos (1839) an founder of National Woman’s Party Alice Paul (885).

Of 50 states, Pennsylvania is #5 for organic farms, behind California, Wisconsin, New York and Washington.  We are #1 for organic mushrooms, #2 for organic eggs, #3 for organic turkey production and #6 for organic Dairy production  Sarver Farms in Hempfield, Westmoreland County which started in 1979was credited as being organic in the 1990’s.  It produces 30 tons of organic vegetables on 20 acres.  Rondale Institute in Kutztown, Berks County was founded in 1972 on a 333 acre farm is widely recognized as as shepherding the modern organic farming movement.  Farmers from around the world look to the institutre for evidence-based data to advance their work.

There’s a new tiny house in Garfield and they are having an open house January 31 from 1pm until 4 pm at 200 block of North Atlantic Avenue.  It is a 350  sq foot house.

The Audubon Society has the web cam working on the eagle nest in Harmar.  This was quite the challenge, if the nest is where I believe it it.  It’s on a very steep and remote hillside.  They just got the web cam up and running and I was just there and seems to be no feed yet.

Speaking of birds, The National Aviary is rolling out their new free flight show featuring a palm nut vulture named Severus, a year old burrowing owl (so small and cute) named Attie and a seven year old noisy kookaburra from Australia.  I’m assuming these three new guys are in addition to the traditional raptors that star in the show.

The judge finally ruled in favor of the owner of the camera that Naruto sagged and took a selfie of himself. In case you missed it, a British tourist left his camera sitting around unattended and Naruto took a selfie of himself.  PETA has sued  claiming the macaque monkey owned the copy rights to the image.  It’s such a cute image.  Follow the link to see him.

I think we should have an open and frank discussion on immigration and gun control, not necessarily directly related subjects.  We don’t get anywhere clouding the facts with spin and emotions.  I was in a discussion with someone recntly about assault rifles and was told they just look like military automatic machine guns, they are in fact automatic machine guns.  See what Wikipedia has to say. There is no need for a machine gun to hunt deer in the woods and a hand gun works just fine in defending your home.  And extend ammunition clips are not needed for these purposes either.  How many innocent American citizens need to die before we act?  Sandy Hook is the one most prominent in my mind, if that nut case had to fire individual rounds, someone could have taken him down, before we lost all those kids.  With the increasing threat of homegrown terrorists, we need to get these tools of mass destruction off the streets.  And we need back ground checks, again Sandy Hook comes to mind with his history of mental illness.  If his mother’s not smart enough to keep weapons out of his reach, the back ground check should have done the job.  I like what France is proposing, expelling anyone with dual citizenship convicted of a terrorist crime.  An ISIS affiliated emigrant would have at least second thoughts if he/she knew not only were they risking their lives, but if they’re not killed, they would be returned to that hell hole Syria.  Yes, there was a number of people seeking asylum in Germany New Years Eve that took part in that disturbance in Cologne.  I say they should also face deportation, they’re not even citizens yet.  Again I bet they would think twice before acting as criminals.  I’m not condoning what occurred in Cologne, but where were the police?  We are a nation of laws and if you don’t like our laws, we’ll send you back to the impoverished failed states you have come from. Again, not minimizing what happened in Cologne, of 1.1 million refugees, 130 criminals does not warrant to me not accepting refugees.  Most are law abiding individuals, that are extremely grateful to their host country’s generosity.

The Parador hosted the Humane Society of Western Pa’‘s medium fund raiser last night.  Nice turn out and nice event!  All were happy, especially the spirits.  Da kidz were the hit pre-event (put them in the office so they weren’t a distraction during the event.

That’s it for today, have a great evening and keep warm,



Birth anniversaries tomorrow include President Andrew Johnson (1808), English statesman William Gladstone (1809) and cellist Pablo Casals (1876)  The YMCA was first organized in Boston (1851), the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890), Texas was admitted to the Unio (1845) and the assassination of Rusian monk and mystic Grigory Rasputin ((1916-did Vladimir drop the Ras off to shorten his name)?  🙂

Last year I talked about the Smallman Galley, a restaurant incubator in the Strip.  Their first batch is set to fly the coop.  In case you didn’t read that post last year or don’t want to go back there to read it.  Basically what Ben Mantica and Tyler Benson have done is create an environment where chefs could hone their culinary concepts while learning the business side of restaurants.  In addition to building up a loyal clientel prior to opening their own restaurant, the chef’s are also under the watchful eye of potential investors.

Have you heard about The Dress?  BBC picked up a story about a woman that bought a dress for a wedding that’s white and gold, sent a picture of it to a friend and the friend say it as black and blue.  Then the controversy started and it’s taken the Internet by storm.  In  nut shell, no one knows why different people see this picture of the dress in different colors.  Generally women see it as blue and black, men see it as white and gold.  Take a look and see what you see.

I don’t know how many more years I will be sending my holiday cards out by postal service.  I do like them and they seem well received, but the Post Office is such a mess to deal with.  It’s a significant amount of money and work between creating the card and mailing them.  I expect to get some back, and I always have extras I can mail when I get corrected address.  Of the 5,000 I sent out I probably got 200 returned, but the postal label says incorrect address, when I’ve mailed cards to that address for years now and they are still at the same address.  Of the 200 returned, maybe three had new addresses.  I don’t know if it’s incompetence or laziness on the postal employees part, but I put all that effort into it and they don’t do their job.  Also, I went to three post offices looking to purchase extra stamps, the only post card stamps any of the offices had was in packs of 100.  At least they are forever stamps.  I’ve come a long way from when I used to print the labels, attach them to the cards and the affixed the postage.  So much easier.  🙂

A wild sea otter gave birth to a baby and mom needs to groom the new born so their fur is buoyant, nothing’s cuter than a bundle of fur fluffing a baby bundle of fur.

Speaking of fur, The Western PA Humane Society will be hosting a pet medium at The Parador Saturday, January 9.  Tickets are just $25 for this fund raiser.  Get your tickets before they sell out and I’ll see you at the event.  Maybe Razor will make a special appearance.  ):

Today’s dirt bag of the day is Davin Gartley slum lord in Carrick.  He had refugees living in apartments with raw sewage in the basement and their only source of fresh water was when he would come over and turn on a hose connected to another of his buildings.  The Trib actually posted a picture of him in the print addition.  But not on the online version.  The newspapers should routinely publish a picture of these scumbags and shame them.  Not that someone like this could actually be shamed, but if you live in the area you can voice your opinion if you see him walking the streets.  Which was something else he did, run a prostitution ring out of one of his residences.

Let’s lighten things up a bit and talk about the local eagles.  The Hays eagle’s web cam is back up and running, if you want to track them.  They are busy improving their nest, over the years, eagle nests can grow in excess of a ton with all the additions these busy guys do.  Unfortunately, last year, neither of the eggs produced eaglets.  This is their fourth year nesting there.  Last year a raccoon tried raiding the nest and the eagles chased him off.  I didn’t see it live, but I did on replay, pretty funny.  The Harmar couple are on their third year, unfortunately for them, last year they didn’t have any surviving eaglets either.  The Audubon Society purchased  2 1/2 acres around the Harmar nest.  And are trying to install an eagle cam there as well.  This will be a challenge because the Harmar eagles are up on a steep hill and is very inaccessible.  When they get the cam working, I’ll post a link if you’d like to follow them.

It looks like our luck with warm weather’s coming to an end.  But I don’t see anything extreme in the next two weeks.  Please have a safe New Year’s eve and watch out for the other guy,



Tomorrow’s the anniversary of the most expensive movie to date’s release, The Titanic (1997), speaking of movies, the Music Man was released tomorrow as well (1957).  Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Leonid Brezhnev (1906).

After my rant yesterday, there was some great articles in today’s newspaper and I thought I’d talk about them.

On September 26, I talked about Pittsburgh Police Detective Jack Mook, he was volunteering training kids how to box.  Two of the boys he was teaching, Jesse & Josh, he became friends with.  And noticed a significant change in their behavior.  Taking them out for pizza he learned about their drug addicted parents and offered to foster them.  He ended up adopting them and their story is going to be on CBS tonight on their feature Home for the holidays.  What a great holiday story!

In my December 1 post, I talked about that dirt bag Martin Shkreli the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and he raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 and it just costs pennies to make.  Daraprim is a little know drug that people with compromised immune systems (cancer patients, HIV patients) can’t fight a severe parasitic infection can use.  When asked if he could go back and change anything while on TV, he said yes, he would have raised it even more! Well the Feds pulled him in on a Ponzi scheme! He set up a hedge fund and was playing with peoples’ money.  He lost a lot of money in his first hedge fund and set up a second to cover his loses, when he lost more money with the second hedge fund he started raiding another pharmaceutical company he was running.  The Trib has the complete details.

I just think it’s funny Trump has a new endorsement, Vladimir Putin.  I have nothing else to say here.  🙂

Speaking of dirt bags, they convicted Chuck McCullough.  He is a former county councilman and solicitor.  He helped himself to $50k from the estate of one of his clients.  He said he certainly meant no harm to his client, of course not, she had money and he wanted it.  There was no ill will on his part, just greed.  In addition to the five felony convictions, he also has to face several perjury charges.  He said he was sorry to the court for any undue delay, of course he’s sorry that he couldn’t keep delaying this years long saga.  He truly is proficient at dragging out the systems.  Again, the Trib has a great article on the details.

Have a great evening,



Tomorrow is Mexico’s Feast of Our Lady of Solitude, it is the anniversary of the passing away of famed violin maker Antonio Stradivari (1737), New Jersey’s admission to the Union (1787) and it is the United Nation’s Migrant’s Day.  Birth anniversaries include baseballer Ty Cobb (886), West Germany former Chancellor Willy Brandt (1913), actor Ossie Davis (1917) and World War II hero Benjamin Davis (1917).

Tomorrow’s a rare opportunity to  get a guided tour of both Calvary Methodist Church (the one with the huge Tiffany windows around the corner from me) and Emmanuel Episcopal Church (designed by famed architect   HH Richardson who designed our Court House and Jail Downtown).  Tickets are just $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  Tours are just from noon until 1 and start at Calvary.  More info at Public Art Pittsburgh.

Alan works for Super Laundry (where I got my commercial washers and dryers) and comes up for training periodically.  He was impressed with Dee’s decorative folds on the toilet paper and wanted to show his skill 🙂  The day before he made a mouse and I didn’t get a picture of that, it also was very cute:


It’s the end of an era, I sold the truck, my mechanic at Blue Wave Auto Spa took the identifying stickers off the truck:

truck side

It was a good truck, it served me well here and in Florida.  John from Peppis bought it, so it’s still in the neighborhood.  🙂

Why are we becoming such a hateful country?  We are a nation of immigrants, I think the discussion we should be having is about how we live up to our ideals, not on whether to admit Syrian immigrants.  I heard a program on NPR how a Muslim woman has published a handbook on how to blend in by wearing the Hijab under a baseball cap and another option she poses is to wear it like a turban.  It’s part of their faith, why do they have to hide their faith?  The discussion should be about the burqa and drivers licenses and American passports.  If full facial exposure is our norm and Muslim women want to live in our country and don’t want to expose their face, I’m fine with that.  Then they don’t get drivers licenses or American passports.  Easy.  Mohammad bought Lindo’s basically next door to me from his cousin several years ago.  He’s of Pakistani decent.  His wife and teenage daughter both wear Hijabs.  They are such a nice family, they all work in the restaurant.  No one on the street works harder than Mohammad, seven days a week since he bought it.  When Razor & RJ broke my hand several years ago, I had just bought and opened a 15# package of bacon and wouldn’t be able to cook a hot breakfast for several weeks.  So I took it over to Lindo’s (Mohammad wasn’t working) so I gave it to one of the cooks and said “Give this to Mohammad, tell him it’s from Ed next door.”  Around 2 that afternoon, the cook came over and said “Your bacon’s ready, you can pick it up anytime.”  He thought I wanted him to cook the bacon for me and did just that.  That’s what neighbors do.  If my neighbor brakes his leg and doesn’t shovel the snow off his sidewalk.  I don’t call the cops, I shove his walk.  Mohammad’s on my holiday card list and two years ago I started getting Christmas cards from him.  He’s adapting to our society.  The Koran & Bible both say you should love your neighbor.  As the perverted ISIS misquotes the Koran, so do the Trumps of the Bible.  Diversity and tolerance is what makes us what we are.  Intolerance is what got black men lynched down South, gays chased down alleyways to get beaten up, Shai shooting Sunnis, etc Particularly, this time of year, lets embrace what we should be.

On that note, I think I will sign off.  Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year filled with love and peace,




Today is Pearl Harbor Day, remember our vets who have given so much.  Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of the cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney (1765), The Door’s lead singer Jim Morrison (1943), Popeye creator Elzie Segar (1894), artist Diego Rivera (1886) and entertainer Sammy Davis Jr (1925).  It will be the anniversary of John Lennon being shot (1980), NAFTA was signed (1993), the Soviet Union was disolved (1991) and the American Federation of Labor was founded (1886).

I’m adding a new page to my website, it should be live next week.  Befores and afters, if you are interested it will be under the About Us tab.

Dorothy, the peregrine falcon that’s called the Cathedral of Leaning her home for the past 15 years seems to have passed on.  She was ancient by peregrine standards, they normally live to about 12 in the wild and she was 17.  She had fledged 43 offspring.  The assumption that she has passed is because her husband (E2) has been seen courting a new female (peregrine’s mate for life).

The Beehive, the coffee shop on Carson Street is celebrating being open 25 years this year.  I lived on the Slopes when it opened and frequented it.  It was right up my alley with mismatched china, tables and chairs.  And the most eclectic group of customers, from older locals, the hip and cutting edge youth, street people and runaways.  I never realized their logo was created by my friend Rich Bach, the metal artist that did my Aztec sun calendar that sits on the Courtyard wall, deflecting the dusk to dawn sodium vapor light from my neighbor’s house.Rick also did all the metal art work for the Mad Mex restaurant chain.  Another regular at the Beehive is Jenn Wertz of Rusted Root.  Co-founders Scott Kramer and Steve Zumoff have several other Southside establishments like the Lava Lounge, the Tiki Lounge and the Double Wide Grill (the architect Val Zarro who worked with me in getting The Parador open designed the Double Wide, I think that was Val’s last Pittsburgh project before semi-retiring to New England to focus on sustainable architecture). If you’ve never been to the Beehive, stop in sometime for a cup of coffee, a very interesting place.  Here’s the Aztec Sun Calendar:

Aztec Artifact

Kennywood is returning Noah’s Ark to it’s past incarnation. Built in 1936 they expect to have the renovations completed this spring in time for it’s 80th anniversary.   They remodeled it in 1998 and tried making it more cutting edge with electronics and other modern aspects.  They took the beloved entrance where you would walk through the mouth of a whale on a squishy rug that looked like a tongue out and are putting it back.  Last year, Noah’s Ark was for the sixth year in a row named The Best Fun house/Walk Through Attraction at the Golden Ticket Awards Ceremonies by amusement publication Amusement Today.  I loved Noah’s Ark as a child, even though it didn’t have the thrill of the Jack Rabbit, which as soon as I could slip through past the Henry was the cartoon charrictor for the big rides and Howdy Doody was the cartoon character for the small rides, stand as tall as I could.  And would ride it time and again.

Construction Junction has a new installation, calling for recycling Knock Knock Who’s There.  It’s a whimsical look at the child’s jokes painted on reclaimed doors.  There’s a number of them at their Point Breeze facility and four of them will be at First Night in the Cultural district. One of the doors with a bird theme that will be at First Night has a permanent home waiting for it at The National Aviary.  Speaking of the Aviary, the pen   They are planning on stalling dozens of these doors throughout the city and place them in the Arts Festival next summer.  Constructionnction estimates it’s kept 48,000 doors out of landfills.  If you’ve never been to Construction Junction, you should visit, you’ll find some very interesting stuff there, I love it.

About a year ago, Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos, decided to eliminate all bosses.  He calls it Holacracy, where all employees work in groups that supervise themselves.  He sees this as a strategy, not an experiment.  At the age of 23, he founded LinkExchange and two years later sold it to Microsoft for $265M.  A lot of these high tech companies have budding genius/entrepreneurs in them.  And they develop a new idea, find some backers and start a new company with their innovation.  He’s trying to create an environment where they stay and develop their ideas in his company.  He’s trying to develop more of a business incubator model as opposed to a bureaucracy.  He acknowledges that no all employees would be comfortable with such an open environment, many need more structure to function.  He’s hoping to retain the ones that would develop new ideas using the resources available through his company.  Kind of a novel idea.

Ryan Lammie is an artist that moved to New York to pursue his artistic career and decided it was too expensive to work.  He came to Pittsburgh, settled in Lawerenceville  and found Radiant Hall, the former Polish Social Club. It was much too big for his needs, but the structure and location appealed to him.  So he created a non-profit that subdivided the space into individual “studios” that he rents for around $175 a month.  He plans to expand his concept first to Homewood on Susquehanna Street (that is the street East End Brewery started on) and the space is even bigger than Radiant Hall with 17 “studios”.  Next he plans to open in the former Connely Trade School right next to where the igloo used to stand.  Connely is now known as Environmental Innovation Center after it’s $37M renovation.  He plans on 7 “studios” there and 6 co-working spaces.He also plans to move into the new Nova Place here on the Northside (the former Allegheny Center Mall).  Faros Properties from New York bought the 1.4M square foot former Allegheny Center Mall.  They are in the midst of a $100M renovation of the property.  Eilene, one of my regulars from Texas works for a tech company on Galveston Street right down from me, they are planning on moving into Nova in the spring.

Here’s the latest of The Sausage aka Rayzette with her big brother RJ.  He’s full sized at 84#, she’s 8 months at 80#.  She’s the one sitting up, RJ’s laying down:  She looks so say, but she’s such a happy girl.  🙂  She can’t just walk, she has tow wiggle her butt whenever she moves.


That’s it for today, have a great week,



Tomorrow’s birth anniversaries include the person generally seen as the inspiration for the fictional Sherlock Holmes, Joseph Bell (1837), opera icon Maria Callas (1923) and French Neo-Impresssionist Georges Seurat (1859).  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), the first artificial heart transplant (1982), abolitionist John Brownwas executed (1859), the safety razor was patented (1901) and the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (1942).

I just weighed the sausage, she’s 78# already!

Speaking of dogs, I’ll be hosting a pet seance Saturday, January 9.  It’s a fund raiser for the Western PA Humane Society.  I’ll pass on more details as I get them.  It should be an interesting event, if nothing else.  I wonder what Razor will have to say to me.  🙂

The bald eagle re-population of our area seems to be gearing up, in addition to the pair on webcam in Hays by the Monongahela River and the pair on the hill over Harmar, there’s two more young couples that seem to be scouting the area.  One couple seems interested in the Tarentum bridge peregrine falcon nest (Eagles frequently evict falcons from their home, the larger and stronger eagles win in a close proximity fight.  Falcons are much swifter and generally win air battles if for no other reason they can escape easily.  Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of 200 mile per hour on a down hill drop).  Because of the lack of foliage, this is a good time of year for eagle watching.

On Saturday, December 12, the air side terminal will be open to non ticketed people from 10 am until 6 pm.  You will need a government issued picture ID.  They are encouraging you to pre-register at flypittsburgh.com.  There will even be free parking at their short term parking lot.  They wil be issuing a voucher at the registration.  You will enter where flyers normally enter.

I have been receiving solicitations on the phone from some company trying to get me to switch my credit card processing to them.  The calls are coming in from Pittsburgh’s 412 area code.  They are never “selling” anything, they are offering to “save me money” and other twists on trying to get me to pay them to process my credit cards.  I keep asking them to remove me from their solicitation list.  One of them lectured me with “Let me explain something to you buddy, I’m an independent business man representing this company and there’s like 500 of us”.  You’re not a business man, you sit on you butt you telemarketer.  I had a call yesterday some woman had a representative in town next week and she wanted to schedule an appointment.  It was the same company and when I told her I wasn’t interested in paying them to process my credit cards.  She said she wasn’t selling credit card processing, I called her a lying b**ch and hung up on her.  My phone immediately rang again from 917 area code and it was her saying “You sounded so professional when you answered the phone, I’m surprised you are so rude”.    I again called her a lying b**ch and added another expletive.  🙂  So they’ve figured a way to change the appearance of their area code.  Slick.

Speaking of business people, the reason folks start a business it to make money (the same reason folks take jobs), as a business  owner you have more opportunity to make more money than as an hourly or salaried employee.  (Also you take a higher risk).  I really enjoy making money and the more the merrier.  🙂  But I like to believe I make it morally.  I may make a special segment in my blog “outing” dirt bags, like the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals Martrin Shkreli, raising the price of Daraprim to $750 a pill.  I’m OK charging a premium, generally I don’t raise my rates, but require a two night minimum on select weekends.  A fifty percent increase for a drug that costs pennies to make.  Bump it up a bit, but $750 for something that takes pennies to make.  I hope anyone that purchases drugs, black lists all products from that company.

I’m so over all this hype about bacon, baondtore burgers, bacon fries, etc.  Maybe because I cook and serve it everyday.  But bacon themed and smelling underwear?  Please.  🙂

And speaking of culinary over dose, how about Piecaken, the name sounds like some Cheesey Japanese horror flick from the 60’s.  You bake a pie and then put cake batter in a pan, set the pie in the middle of it and then more cake batter and cook it.  I guess next you cut and eat it, the perfect go with a turducken.

People generally have a problems saving money.  The hardest part is getting started, once you are in a habit of putting say $20 every payday into a savings account, it gets easier and easier.  There are three new ways geared toward millennials  (my contractor that recently installed all the windows, son is about 24 and he walked in the kitchen one day and I was having trouble with my iPhone, I a said “Hey millennial can you look at this?”  He said “What’s a millennial?”.  🙂  too funny.  One of the savings programs is called Acorns,  it can be set up several ways.  One is it automatically rounds purchases up when you use the credit or debit card linked to the account.  Say you buy new shoes that cost $57.80, it automatically puts $.20 in you account, if you use the same method of payment for everything, this can start to accumulate.  You can also program it to put a certain amount of money in the Acorns account on a regular basis.  The cost is $1 a month for balances of $5k or less and .25% a year for balances over $5k.  More details on their website.    Another option id Digit, you link Digit to your checking account and it’s algorithms analyze how much you make and spend and then takes small amounts our periodically and places it in your Digit account.  They don’t charge fees for this,  But they communicate through texting and you may be charged for the texts, depending on your phone plan. More info on their website.  A third option is Stash, it links to your checking account and offers about 30 ETF’s (here’s an example of an Exchange Traded Fund). to choose from that you set how much you want to automatically have invested.  It costs $1 per month for balance under $5k and .25% per year for balances over $5k.  More info at their website.  Another fee not mentioned is they are sitting on your money and making money off it by investing your balance and not paying you interest.

That’s it for today,