Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first baseball games being televised (1939), the largest exposion in recorded history Krakatoa volcano exploded in Indonesia  (883) speaking of Michael Vis, tomorrow is National Dog Day.

the Steelers signed Michael Vic?  What he personally did to animals and what he promoted for monetary benefit can not be forgiven.Can you Imagine he horrors those poor dogs lived?  You rob a bank, take drugs and other criminal acts I believe in once you’ve paid your debt to society, it’s time to move on.  But the premeditation of torturing poor animals to teach them to maul and maim other animals to me is beyond comprehension.  I urge everyone to Join the Facebook movement Pittsburghers against Michael Vic.

And here’s my little girl, she’s getting so big.  She’s lost most of her puppy teeth and now has regular teeth:


For my fellow old timers, tomorrow is  the 50th anniversary of Sonny & Cher’s hit song I Got You Babe.

A late response to James Harrison’s decision to return his boys’  trophies for participating in a sports program.  Acknowledging kids participation in things is an admirable thing to do.  But a trophy?  Let’s get real, how about a red ribbon with a star on it.I love Mr. Harrison’s statement that awards should be for hard work and not participation.  That mentality just feeds a big problem I see in America, the sense of entitlement.  You need to work to earn the “fruits of you labor”.  I cringe when I hear that word compensation.

In collaboration with some other street artistss, Banksy opened Dismaland in England the other day.  If features a satiric view of Disney Land with a decrepit castle and many other installations  making social comments.  His website is fairly dysfunctional, they are blaming it on the high volume of traffic to the website.

There are a lot of art galleries that showcase local artists, usually the highlighted artist represents the taste an style of that gallery.  Charley Larkin transformed the family owned barn into a gallery showcasing all kinds of different mediums.  The barn was a garden center the family ran.  In it’s new life The Outlet Barn in Collier will be showcasing various local artists with a very diverse mix of styles.  Located on Campbells Run Road, it’ easy to access.

Braddock’s Mayor John Feterman’s wife Gisele set up a program with the Costco in Homestead where she would pick up food items Costco couldn’t sell and distribute them to families in need in her town.  There are many restaurants & caterers that have left over food that’s perfectly good and end up throwing it away, even if they consider donating it to a food pantry.  First of all they have to go through the hoops of liability waivers, etc.  Gisele was talking with her friend Leah and they came up with the idea 412foodrescue.  Where different sources of food supply can contact them and through their team of volunteers the find someone to pick the food up an drop it off at an accepting food distribution point.  They are working on an App that participating donors an recipients can link up and coordinate it with Gisele’s team of volunteers.  What a great idea.  Not only is it helping ease the burden of for ome of the many food inscure families in our area, it’s also keeping “food wast” out of our trash system.  Methane from our garbage piles spew 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere each year.  iIf you have a vehicle and sometie, maybe contact them and help transport food to the needy.  I’ve been a big fan of John Fetterman for a number of years now and I guess I need to at Gisele to my list of heroes.  🙂

I own a business and love to make money, I’m always watching how much revenue is coming in (and expenses going out) and comparing it to my past history.  I have no problem with the American idea of capitalism.  What I have a problem with is corporate greed.  Speaking of which, Macy’s is closing their Downtown store after buying out Kaufmann’s several years ago (actually, Kaufmann’s has been a part of Macy’s for years.  Macy’s finally took control of the business and put their flag on the building.  Macy’s has been for years buying Downtown departiment stores across the country and are now in the process of closing them all down.  John Wanamaker in Philly is down to just a couple of floors.  They have been been downsizing since taking control do doing all kinds of cost cutting and revenue enhancing.  Take Edgar Kaufmann and what he did with his father’s business and grew it into a thriving business.  Back when he took control, Pittsburgh was filling up with immigrants that English was not their native language, he would specifically hire people fluent in foreign tongues and have them work the floors.  What a novel concept and what a great way to build loyal long time customers.  The point is not to make that quick buck, but to build a loyal following with innovative and exciting offerings.  He would have concerts and art shows in his department store.  I wonder what the new owners will do with those iconic deco murals he had commissioned for the first floor about Pittsurgh’s industrial heritage by Boardman Robinson.  If you don’t know  them, it may be worth a quick stop in before they close soon.  There was a great article in the Tribune Review Sunday on Mr. Kaufmann..


I was supposed to post this last  night before bed and forgot.  So the below trivia is for today, not tomorrow.  🙂

Tomorrow’s the anniversary of gold being discovered in Yukon (186),Plutonium was first weighed (1942) and sister ships Viking 1 and 2 were launched to Mars (1975).  Birth anniversaries include President Benjamin Harrison (1833), Polish/American architectEero Saarinen (1950) and oddly enough his father Eliel Saarinen (1873)

Don Giles and his crew with Action Painting finished up this week, The Parador looks so fresh.  🙂  They did a bunch of small wood repairs as well as the painting, like the trim around the side porch railing,befoer:


And after:


And this was really significant, when they went to paint the third floor eave, they noticed the wood was all rotted and took it out and replaced it.  Here’s where they removed the rotten wood:


And here it is aftr:


As per our agreement, Action Painting (412-403-6458) got just about everything painted in the two weeks I was closed for painting, they worked seven days a week and focused on the upper areas first.

Northside’s Photo Antiquities has acquired a very early picture of The Point showing a covered bridge from The Point to Northside an how the bottom of the “Golden Triangle was all industry at the time.  The covered bridge was eventually taken down an became the Manchester Bridge which was brought down in the late 1950’s.  The wooden covered bridge was the Union Bridge, which I believe was the on built by Joshua Rhodes, the gentleman that built my Mansion, and they gave him a lot of grief over the bridge because of the low clearance for barge traffic on the Allegheny River. Bruce Klein, who owns Photo Antiquities recently acquired this photograph in pristine condition an is on display at the Museum 531 E Ohio Street.  Bruce has a huge supply of pictures, mainly of the city and an extensive collection of Civil War pictures a well that he displays on a rotating basis.  Always a great time to drop in and view his ever changing display.  Photo Antiquities is a short fifteen minute walk from The Parador.  More info at their website.

What would a post be without a picture of my little girl an her big brother:


That’s it for now, take care and enjoy,



Tomorrow is the anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, the resignation of President Nixon resigned (1974),Robert Gray became the first American to circumnavigate the earth (1790).

My little girl is growing daily, she’ becoming quite the size an is still affectionate with RJ, she waits until he lays down and the scrunches up with him.  Here’s the “bunkmates”:



We’re still working on what’s allowed and what’s not.  She’s doing pretty good with not going out on the sidewalk.  i need to stop the jumping on people, it might be cute as a puppy, but as she gets bigger we can’t have that.

They are moving the Thival Innovation Music Festival from Bakery Square to the Almono site in Hazelwood .  Almono is planning 2,700 housing units and 2 million square feet of office an light industrial spaces on the 158 acre parcel along the Mon River. Hopefully they will integrate this new development with Hazelwood and not do what they did with development in Homestead that brought absolutely no benefit to the neighborhoods on the other side of the tracks from the Water Front retail development there.  Last year at Bakery Square they drew about 10,000 people a day and they expect continued growth this their third year.  They have quite the line up, see the link to see who’s playing and which day.They are fencing off a six acre spot to keep people from wondering around this construction zone.and getting hurt.  Inside the fence they will have porta potties and food trucks.

Who knows their children better than their parents?  Richard Scaife removed his greedy children from his will in 2008.  Now Jeannie & David Scaife are challenging his spending in the later years of his life.  It was his money to do with what he wanted.  the younger Scaifes are trying to get the money he donated to various charities and invest in his passion The Tribune Review newspapers.  Call me cold blooded for not being sympathetic to Jeannie & David, I don’t understand how those poor kids can get by with just $1M a month, they problably have to go to dollar stores to stock their pantries.  🙂

Don Giles and crew from Action Painting have finished both sides and the parts of the Mansion facing the Courtyard.  Here’s the side of the Mansion facing the parking lot before;


And after;


I’m seeing a steady improvement in my motor skills and mental abilities.  The most obvious to me is my ability to type is rapidly improving.  I still lay down several times a day and my body certainly seems to appreciate it. 🙂  And I want to thank everyone that has called and e-mailed wishing me well.

i just has a visit this week from two very good friends from West Palm Beach, Mike and Joe.  When you have good friends and see them again after a period of not seeing them, you just fall back in step with the friendship.  It was such a nice break to have some time off and enjoy their company talking about old times and what’s new in my old town where the first Parador was .

August 10 through August 16 is Pittsburgh Restaurant Week a great time to check out old favorites and find new favorites.  The participating restaurants and th specials they will be offering are on their website.

Have a great rest of your weekend,


This picture makes my little girl look like a full sized lab:


She is still such a bundle of joy and happiness, if only we could be as innocent and happy as puppies are.  🙂

Action Painting has the front third floor finished and most of the Mansion facing the Courtyard finished:


Such great people, I’ve had many contractors here many have been good, but I can’t think of any that has made me as happy as Don and his crew.  #1 excellent job painting, #2 extremely respectful of my property and people.  #4 they’re even doing some minor wood repair as hey move along.  Don’ phone number is 423-4036458.  They totally clean up each day.  A real find if you are looking for interior or exterior painting done.

Yes, i had a minor stroke two weeks ago.  I might be the only person you know that’s thankful that I had a stroke, because of it, they did a MRI that showed I had a potential life threatening condition in my right carotid artery.  I had the surgery Wednesday.  With the Inn being closed for painting it was a good time to have this fixed.  They released me from AGH the next day (yesterday, Thursday) and I felt like I was hit by a truck an today I just feel very tired.  My neck looks petty scarey. I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.  #1 i would like to thank my sister Sue who was by my side through most of it. My good friends Tony and Sue came down from Center County to see me off for this procedure an Dave and Claire came to the hospital to see me through it. Of course there’s my loyal employee and great friend Dee who made me go to AGH when I first had the stroke and has been here since with such true concern about my health and well being. And so many people have called or stopped by John and Jeff walked over from their condo in the Carlyle House with their yellow lab Remi to see me earlier in the week to express their concern and brought me a bottle of wine and pastries to cheer me up.  This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with someone when he bought a house and how he said “None of my friends had my back, maybe I need new friends”, no buddy, you need to learn to be a true friend up front like my friend for years Kerry Kennedy from KS Kenndey Floral who’s always at my side when I need something.  True friends are worth more than your new house or my Inn.  You can’t look at friends for what they can do for you, you need to appreciate them day to day for what a wonderful gift they are to your life.  And with that I want to thank those above as well as Jeff at at Peppi’s, Jeff at the Inn on the Mexican War Streets as well as Paula and Lenny across the street. I want to apologize to anyone I missed in the above, my mind is not 100%  I see major progress from when I first had the stroke and  will will be back soon and better than ever.

Ty resigned without notice two weeks ago and The Parador is surviving just fine.


Thank you all my wonderful friends,



Birth anniversaries tomorrow include author Henry David Thoreau  (1817), pottery designer Josiah Wedgwood (1730), architect Buckmisnster Fuller (1895), comedian Joe De Rita (Curly of the three stooges) (1909) and comedian Milton Berle (1908).  The island nation Kiribati celebrates their independence (1979),the battle of Kursk (1943) and historian Frderick Jackson turner’s Frontier Address was pesented (18930

My little girl doubled in size in the month she’s been here 15 pounds to 27 pounds.  We were at the vet for her shots the other day and she was being rude to some dog in the waiting room by barking at him and he was much bigger and didn’t seem to appreciate it.  To assure my dominance, I told her to “Sit” in the command voice.  She immediately dropped her butt to the ground.  The staff at the vets office gave her a standing ovation.  🙂  Here’s my not so little girl:


There’s a rumor circulating about my health.  Yes, i’ve recently experienced some health issues and am in good shape.  🙂  Thanx to all that have expressed concern, I appreciate it.  And just to be clear, someone is spreading untruths about my health.

In reference to my last post where Allegheny County was considering changing the colors of the Sisters Bridges (6th, 7th and 9th).  Th voting is over and 85% of respondents want them to stay gold.  Yeah!

The NY TImes recently posted an recipe for guacamole that included peas, and appearantly social media exploded with negative reactions.  I had guacamole last night that had diced tomatoes, i would have to taste it with peas before i venture an opinion.  Cuacamole to me is one of those food itemss like salads and humis that’s a blank slate waiting for someone’s creativity to punch it up.

How about those fools out in Washington state that were exploring those ice caves at the foot of a glacier when the cave colapsed.  When I saw the video on the news there was water pouring off the ice field.  First of all, have you heard of global warming, maybe this is a way to get rid of the nay sayers.  Second of all the Rangers were warning not to enter the caves, two strikes against you.

Keeping with our recent Independence Day, we may not have Bunker Hill or Gettysburg, but we do have a rich history of fighting for our freedom to include sites known for the birth of the Revolution and all the way up to challenging the new government over taxation policies the Whiskey Rebellion was centered right down the street where I grew up, the planning for the Whiskey Rebellion  was held in a church on the corner of Rt 88 and Mingo Creek Road.  Then right over in Fayette County is Fort Necessity an early bastion against the French and Indians during that pre-revolutionary war war.  Not far from t Necessity, also in Fayette is Jumonville Glen that some claim was the first shots fired by the Amicans against the Birish in 1754.  Over in Westmoreland County is Hannastown a re-creation of a colonial outpost that hosts a very large antique fair several weekends during the summer, that was my Dad’s favorite flea marsarketis held at Hannastown several weekends over the summer.  While we’re out east lets mention Ft Ligonier, the fort was built four years after the battle of Jumonville Glen.Allegheny County has the Fort Pitt Museum and Blockhouse in Point State Park.We also have the Depreciation Lands spead over five Western PA Counties so named because they set asside these lands as compensation for Revolutionary War Veterans.  The name for the lands is because the dollar made such a tumble right after the Revolutionary War.  The museum dedicated to this is right over in Allison Park.  And how can you talk about heritage sites without mentioning the Allegheny Arsenal over in Lawrenceville.  It was established in 1814 and during the Civil War, and explosion caused the deaths of 78 individuals.  Most of the casualties and injuries was to young women and girls because that was who was mainly employed there because of their slender hands made packing the explosives more efficient. It is believed that the river craft used my Lewis and Clark was built here in Pittsburgh, actually there’s a fair amount of evidence that the actual location was under the Liberty Bridge in Elizabeth PA. West of us there’s a tribute to General Richard Butler a Revolutionary War hero and later judge and state senator at the Butler County Court House.  And South in Washington County the Bradford House on Washington’s S Main Street is the restored colonial home of David Bradford a Whiskey Rebellion principle.

Not sure when I will be able to make another post, take care,



Tomorrow’s the anniversary of the start of the Korean War (1950), the devastating flood in central China (1991), Kim Campbell, Canada’s first elected Prime Minister (1993), the Battle of Big Horn (1876), the US Supreme Court’s rulings on  “the Right to Die”, “Abortion” (1990) and “Banned School Prayer” (1962) and Montserrat’s volcano erupted devastating 3/4 of the Caribbean island (1997).  Birth anniversaries include author George Orwell (1903), illustrator and author Rose O’Neil (1874), US General Henry Arnold (1886) and the death anniversary of  Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars (1988).

My little girl isn’t so little anymore.  When she first arrived two and half weeks ago she fit under the shelves, can’t do that anymore:


She is such a pleasure, she hasn’t had an “accident” indoors in two weeks, she’s learning to walk on the leash, she knows her name and knows the “Come” command, just chooses to ignore it sometimes.  🙂  She only left the parking lot once when someone was on the sidewalk making a commotion about how cute she is.  Her new little den is under the side stair to the front porch, she loves hiding under there.  And it is so amazing to see her learn her boundaries.  Basically I tell her “No” and she remembers, like da kidz aren’t allowed in the hot kitchen, she’s a chewing machine and when I see her chewing on a lamp cord in the Office, she doesn’t chew that cord again.  Other cords are still fair game in her mind.  And her and RJ are best budz these days:


The icon Three Sisters Bridges that connect the Northshore to Downtown (6th, 7th and 9th Streets) are up for rehab in the next few years.  They are owned by the county and the county is considering painting them different colors than Pirates/Steeler yellow.  They are considering painting the 6th Street Bridge (Roberto Clemente), the 9th Street Bridge (Rachel Carson) green to reflect her dedication to the environment and the 7th Street Bridge (Andy Warhol) silver and gray.  I think they should stay yellow, but you can vote at the Allegheny County’s website.

While we’re talking about voting, want to influence the naming of an octopus?  Science Friday has a video of the cutest octopus and want it named Octopus Adorabilis and I think the name might be very appropriate.

What says summer more than watching a movie outdoors?  Whether it’s at a drive in movie (there are still a few of them around) or in a local park, what a better way to enjoy a summer evening watching a movie with neighbors and friends at your local park.  Citiparks started hosting outdoor summer movies at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park in the 1970’s.   Movies at Flagstaff are frequently drawing over a 1,000 people these days.  Citiparks also has movies in Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville; Brookline Memorial Park; Grandview Park, Mt Washington; Highland Park; Riverview Park, Observatory Hill and Elliot Overlook, West End.  Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is a Downtown Rooftop Shindig August 26 showing The Warriors on the Theater Square Garage rooftop with themed food and beverages.  Suburban movies are being offered in Cranberry, Keystone State Park, Verona, Kittanning and Penn State New Kensington.   Citiparks has an extensive list on their website of movies being offered by location.

Pittsburgh will be hosting the 2015 Professional World Disc Golf Championship August 1 – 8 at Deer Lakes Park, Knob Hill Park, Moraine State Park and Slippery Rock University.  We will also be the first city to host a traveling exhibit on the history and evolution of the sport at John Heinz History Center opening August 3 and running through October 25.

Chanel 11 will be doing a live broadcast of the July 4th fireworks.  Before the start of the fireworks, they will be running specials on other July 4th activities.  So if you can’t make it down to watch them, you can still see them live on TV.

There’s a resource for gardeners at The Garden Resource Center in Larimer.  The Center is open from 3 – 8 pm Wednesdays and Fridays and 9 am – 3 pm Saturdays.  There’s a lot of info on their website, the Center has a lot of information and borrowing things, but you will need to join to participate at the Center.

Talk about getting up on the right side of the bed, this member of the British Red Devils display team certainly did.  While performing aerial agility, his parachute failed to open, luckily his quick thinking teammate grabbed him and brought him down safely to the relief of the spectators standing below.

The artist Seward Johnson who turned heads (and still does) here with his life sized and real life looking sculptures of people placed around Downtown over the past few years has placed 18 of his sculptures around the Garment District and Broadway in New York City.  Most are based on subjects in Impressionist painting, but of course he has several others like the icon picture of a sailor kissing an unknown girl after World War II ended in NYC.

Two years ago (almost to the day), I spoke about WindStax a wind energy start up in Lawrenceville and his novel approach to wind energy.  Instead of harnessing wind energy with those fairly unsightly towers with propeller type blades, founder and CEO Ron Gdovic  come up with a cylinder design that you can actually place in your back yard.  It’s a totally new concept, it has a vertical turbine that the wind pushes the actual turbine instead the energy going through the propellers that convert the energy through gears to turn the turbine.  A lot more efficient design using air drag instead of air lift, and they use a magnetic break system to keep the turbine moving steadily.  He makes a 20 foot model ($19,900) and a 40 food model ($39,900) .  Most of the pieces are subcontracted out and he’s looking to expand so he can actually manufacture the entire machine on site.  They are currently making about two turbines a month and if he’s successful with this expansion, he hopes to up that to ten a month.  I think he’s at that point where growing to the next level, he will be able to bring the price down to make they systems more affordable.

There’s an amazing conference at the DL Lawrence Convention Center running tomorrow through Sunday, the 29th Woorturners Symposium.  They selected Pittsburgh for this national conference due to the number of woodturners in our area.  the local chapter, Turners Anonymous has 120 members.  I’m surprised with that many members I haven’t seen more of their work around.  It’s amazing what these amateurs and craftpersons can create with a lathe.  In addition to the displays of their handiwork, there will be 160 instructional demonstrations ranging from very basic wood turning to much more advanced processes.

Well, that’s it for today, enjoy this bright and sunny day, it’s not going to last long,





Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Battle of Philippine Sea (1944), the first running of the Belmont Stakes (1867), Rosenbergs were executed (1953) and Texas’ Emancipation Day (1865).  Birth anniversaries include cartoon favorite Garfield (1978), justice Abe Fortas (1910), baseballer Lou Gehrig (1903), Three Stooges hard guy Moe Howard (1897) and American Author Elbert Hubbard (1856).

My little girls isn’t so little anymore.  In just a week I need to put the bigger choker on her:


Look at that pose with her right foot extended, she’s a natural model.  🙂  In the week she’s been with us, she knows her name, knows the command “Come” (chooses to ignore it sometimes), has learned restrictions like she’s not allowed in the hot kitchen or in the Mansion without being invited (like when we walk to the front porch and have to go through the Mansion to get there).  She sleeps A LOT, but when she wakes up, she is such a bundle of unbridled happiness and energy.  She bounces all over the place tripping and falling in her exuberance.  RJ has certainly taken a shine to her, watching them play is a real joy to watch.

DIY started their filming of Killbuck Lodge out in Oakdale last weekend.  It’s a log cabin used by Boy Scout Troop 248 since the 1930’s (it was over 100 years old then).  In case you missed my last post about it, Barnwood Builders, the DIY show came up here to evaluate the structure last weekend to see if it actually needs to be totally dismantled or if they can make repairs as it stands and they ended up dismantling it last weekend.  There’s a number of logs that have rotted away and other structural issues.  The Boy Scouts also want to update the mechanicals during this project.  The guys from Barnwood Builders will coordinate the repairing or reconstruction of the walls and roof using donated matching materials from a cabin in Mt Pleasant, Westmoreland County.  Then the scouts and volunteers will work on the interior.  Most of the cost of the exterior works is being covered by DIY, which is saving the scouts some cash and giving them some nice exposure for their fundraising for the rest of the work.

The USS Requin down at the Science Center is featuring special “Tech Tours” June 28, July 12 & 26 and August 9 & 23.  Tours are limited to 12 persons and you must be 15 or older and have no mobility challenges (you have to squeeze through some areas that can’t be made normal ADA accessible).  One of the areas not accessible for the normal tour but will be available for these tours is the conning tour.  The cost is $20 and reservations are required.  More info on their website or by calling 412-237-1637.

In celebration for the Rolling Stones concert in this weekend, The Warhol is having s special exhibit featuring the Sticky Fingers controversial album cover that Andy Warhol designed.  There’s a fair amount of back story on the album cover like Polaroids and acetate photos used in the design of the Grammy nominated album cover, a telegram sent by Atlantic Records to Warhol and two tables full of other memorabilia.  It’s part of the regular admission to The Warhol and more info at their website or by calling 412-237-8300.

If you don’t have Stones tickets and want to do something else this weekend, there’s the Westmoreland Air Show which will have a new feature called Drone Zone.  Run by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University out of Daytona, FL, this 2,400 square foot netted area will have several drones you can operate under the supervision of instructors.  Embry-Riddle will also have an exhibit trailer that will include a virtual crash lab, flight simulators, and info about the degrees available at the university, naturally.  🙂  Other highlights at the air show will include the US Navy’s Blue Angels and many other acts.  Go to their website and click on the listing on the right hand side to see what all and when activities are taking place.

The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival was last weekend up in Butler.  It was their 75th anniversary!  In celebration of the 75th year, the parade had one jeep representing each of the 75 years.  Coming up to World War II, the army put out a request for specs to 135 companies to design a four-wheel-drive reconnaissance car.  Only two companies responded, American Bantam Car Company in Butler and Willys-Overland.  Willys couldn’t meet the deadline and so the Butler company won the contract and the ubiquitous jeep was developed right her in Western PA.

Pizza Hut has come out with a hot dog pizza, really?  🙂

There’s been a lot of stars running around Pittsburgh lately with all the films being shot.  Want to see another kind of stars?  About four hours north east of us, Cherry Springs State Park has been designated at the only Dark Sky Park in Pennsylvania by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  It’s a great trip to the country.  There’s weekly stargazing programs by the staff and volunteers through the park’s telescopes.  You can see star clusters, double stars, nebula and distant galaxies.  Because of local light pollution, outside the City you can see about 3,000 stars with you naked eye (even less in the City because of all the night lights on), at Cherry Springs you can see between 5,000 and 6,000!  And since it’s as far as it is, drive up during the day and enjoy one of the three local bed and breakfasts, Frosty Hollow, Kettle Creek or North Bend.  More info at their website or by calling 814-274-3365.

Want to star gaze but not travel so far?  The Allegheny Observatory right up in Riverview Park above The Parador Inn has free two hour tours (reservations required) starting at 8 pm Thursdays and Fridays, it’s free but reservations are required.  412-321-2400.  In case you missed one of my earlier blogs, that’s the observatory  John Brashear had built.  He was quite the innovator in optical lenses.  The Carnegie Science Center has rooftop stargazing 10 – 11:30 Fridays and Saturdays through August 9 and then 9 – 10:30 pm through November, weather permitting.  It costs $2 and you can check if they are doing it by calling 412-237-3327.  Kunkle Park in Washington Township has star gazing parties June 27, August 8 and October 3 at dusk, 724-337-3327  You can get more info on many of these stare gazing activities at the Amateur Astronomers Association’s website.  Mingo Creek Park Observatory  out past Finleyville (where I grew up) has free star gazing parties planned for June 19 & 20, July 24 & 25 and August 14 & 15.  They also have lunar eclipse, solar observing and other activities planned.  More info at their website or by calling 724-348-6150.  Raystown Lake has a Star Party planned August 1 at 9 pm, check out their website for details.  Wagman Observatory at Deer Lakes Park in Frazer has star gazing parties planned June 19 & 20, July 24 & 25 and August 21 & 22.  They also have other gazing activities planned, check the Amateur Astronomers Association’s website for more details or call 724-224-2510 for details.

L.A. resident, Pittsburgh native Jared Show has released Big Foot, the Movie with limited screenings and is available on Blue Ray, DVD or a free down load.  I haven’t seen it yet, but what I’ve gathered, I’m thinking it may become a cult classic like Rocky Horror Picture Show.  You can get more info on his website on the film, screenings and they even have a big foot gift shop.  🙂

Well, that’s it for now.  Looks like it’s going to rain for the rest of our lives here in Pittsburgh.  I think it’-s supposed to rain everyday for about a week.  I hope the weather’s cooperative for the Stones concert this weekend.





Tomorrow’s the anniversary of the VCR being introduced (1975), Bachfest Leipzig, Germany celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach since 1904, it’s Malta’s National Day and the Supreme Court struck down Connecticut’s Ban on contraception (1965).  Birth anniversaries include boxer James Braddock (1906), French artist Paul Gauguin (1848), early fashionist Beau Brummell (1778), stage actress Jessica Tandy (1909) and entertainer Dean Martin (1917).

I’d like to introduce the newest member of The Parador Team, Rayze:


We got her Friday, she’s eight weeks old and going to be a big girl, her mom’s 90# and dad’s 110#, watch out RJ (he’s 85#).  She has the sweetest personality and is very curious, which is an early indicator of intelligence.  She’s already conscious of her name and frequently comes when I call her with the hand motion.  She’s extremely popular with the guests.  Which I think is affecting RJ, he’s been a little grumpy with her.  They’ll work things out.

I’m reading an interesting book, Arundel by Kenneth Roberts.  It’s a historical fiction about the New Englanders that plodded through the wild lands between New England and Quebec during the early years of the American Revolution.  First published in 1931 it is one of a series of books of historical fiction by Roberts.  I Googled the accuracy of the depictions and it got great ratings.  The reason for this post is it brought me back to 9th Grade Civics classes and how one of the big reasons we won the Revolution was we used unorthodox methods of hitting and running as opposed to the British method of lining up as a regiment and then attacking.  The British never adapted to our methods and it makes me think about ISIS, Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts we have been in lately, even Viet Nam and makes me wonder is our military too entrenched in the past that we take such huge loses?  We have spent billions of dollars, lost thousands of lives and really don’t have much to show for it.  I’m a vet, but not a military expert, so I don’t have the answers, but think our military should look “out-side the box” and come up with effective strategies.

There’s a bunch of free concerts down at River’s Casino‘s river front amphitheater. They are mainly tribute bands, but a free concert on the river front is always fun.  Add that to a Casino Package at The Parador and you’re off to a winning weekend.  For just $10 more, you get $40 free slot play, a nice walk down the the Casino and a wonderful breakfast the next morning.  Concerts all start at 7 pm  June 5 a Michael Jackson tribute by Who’s Bad, June 19 Head Games will be doing a tribute to Journey/Bon Jovi/Aerosmith & Foreigner, June 27 Blues Brotherhood will do a tribute to The Blues Brothers, July 3 Pure Gold will perform, July 4th No Bad JuJu will take stage.  July 17 Chris Higbee with the Hobbs Sisters will perform, July 18 Good Vibrations will do a Beach Boys tribute, July 31 the Bruce Springsteen Tribute featuring Vini Lopez will take the state, August 1 Full Moon Fever with tribute Tom Petty and finally August 14 Pittsburgh’s own Johnny Angel will perform with special guest Melvin Steals.

Another series of free concerts take place at Station Square on Fridays and starting at 7 pm.  June 26 will be Brownie Mary & Buzz Poets, July 3 will be Nieds Hotel Band and Bridgewater Station, July 10 will be tribute bands Live Wire (AC/DC) and RATM2 (Rage Against the Machine), July 17 will be tribute band Get the Lead Out (Led Zeppelin) and local band River Trail Acoustic, July 24 with be The Outlaws with local opening act Silent Partner, July 31 will be Springsteen tribute band Bruce in the USA and local band Time Tested, August 21 will be Tom Petty tribute band  Full Moon Fever and Traffic Jam and the last concert will be August 28 with local bands Gathering Field and Nameless.  More info at their website.

Core Reality is starting to disclose details for their conversion of the upper seven floors of the Kaufmann’s building (you can call it Macy’s, it will always be Kaurmann’s to me).  🙂  They went before the planning commission with plan for 311 apartments ranging from studios to two bedrooms with rents ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.  They will be smart apartments that when you sign the lease, you’ll get a smart phone app that will enable you to turn on and off appliances, lights and other electronics.  Core plans on removing the center of the building creating an atrium bringing light down throughout their project.  They have tentative plans to put decks and a swimming pool on the room.  The two floors below the apartment project will house a yet to be determined hotel and Macy’s will occupy the bottom four floors.  Interesting, parking for the apartments are going to be in the basement, I don’t know how much of a basement they already have or if they are going to have to excavate.

The Brighton Heights house tour is next weekend, June 14 from 1 to 5 pm.  Tickets are $15 or $10 if you order them from their website before June 12.  There will be seven houses and four gardens on the tour.  This year’s theme New Growth and will feature houses purchased relatively recently.  I thought they always did their summer tour featuring local chocolates, but I don’t see any mention of it.  If they are offering chocolate, it will just be an added benie for you.  🙂  The tour starts at 3830 California Avenue (that’s the Lutheran Church).

Here’s a disturbing twist on those blood sucking ambulance chasing lawyers that spend a fortune tying to lure people into starting lawsuits so they can get their cut.  Used to be they made those annoying phone calls soliciting people, rented billboards along the highway and that those “info-mercials” trying to scare you into calling them now before it’s too late.  Their latest is trolling social media for new clients.  Social media has all kinds of specialized groups, I know of several associated with bed and breakfasts.  But there’s also a ton of cancer survivors, and other ailments that these trolls are now finding more efficiently to hawk their spiels.

And finally there’s a newer App that helps restaurants manage their risk of taking reservations.  It’s well know in the industry that some people will make several reservations for several different restaurants during peak times.  When they gather with friends they plan to dine with, they then choose which restaurant they want to go to.  It’s a killer for the restaurant, particularly smaller ones that really count on every reservation to survive.  IF these people cancel, they cancel at the last minute and at that point it’s almost impossible to sell that table.  Open Table has been around for years, it’s like an Expedia for restaurants.  Participating restaurants set aside so many tables to offer through Open Table. Newer reservation system apps include Resy, Eater, Reserve It, Table8 and Reserve. There’s a program coming out called Tock, which is a reservation software that lets restaurants manage their tables.  The restaurant can either use it in the traditional way that guests can select the day, time and table they want.  Much like my reservations system, you put your dates in and anything available will show up.  You then pick your room.  With Tock, you put your date and time in and any available tables will appear and you can select which you want.  The idea that sets Tock apart is the restaurant can program it to just take reservations, take reservations with a deposit or even take a reservation with the meal paid in full in advance.  The benefits to the restaurant are obvious, what doesn’t strike you at first is the benefit to the guest.  Number one is being assured of a premium table at a premium time. Also, the restaurant can add incentives, like a specified discount, free appetizer, etc when utilizing the pre-paid option.  Having worked in restaurants as much as I have, I’m well aware of how costly it is to a restaurant for no-shows during prime times.  I think it’s a great idea and we will be seeing it a lot more in the future.

Well, that’s it for today.  Busy, Busy weekend, Taylor Swift concert tonight and I had a two night minimum.  Everyone checks out Sunday and I’m sold out again Sunday and Monday night, a family rented the entire in for a reunion/get-together.




Anniversaries include the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial (1922), the beginning of of Cal Ripken’s consecutive games played streak begain (2,130 games in a row 1982), the Battle of the Aleutian Islands (1943) and the first daily published newspaper The Pennsylvania Evening Post (1783).  Birth anniversaries include gold smith/jeweler/designer Carl Faberge (1846), voice artist Mel Blanc (1908), big band conductor Benny Goodman (1909) and Czar and emperor of all Russia Peter I (1672).

Alright you ‘old-school’ gamers, I’m talking pre-smart phone, there’s a new place opening in Hopewell, it’s the Pennsylvania Coin Operated Gaming Hall of Fame (pretty long name, it’d hate to see their business card).  🙂  These games even predate play stations, X-box and all the others, they have over 400 original arcade games just waiting for you.  They also have another 1,200 games in storage awaiting repairs.  One of the owners has been in the coin vending business for years servicing pinball, coffee, snack and all kinds of machines.  As clients of his went out of business, he’d scarf up the unwanted machines and put them in his garage, he then built a “shed” in his back yard to store them.  Obviously it got somewhat out of hand (1,600 machines seems more of an obsession than a hobby to me).  🙂  And as many things retro, arcade games are enjoying a resurgence.  Last year I talked about Games N’at on Josephine Street that has been around more than 10 years, Southside and Pinball Perfection on Perry Highway (they’ve only been around a few years).  Latitude 40 in Robinson is a newer chain like Dave & Busters and Chuck E Cheese.  Adam Sandler is releasing a new action/comedy/gaming film this year called Pixels and there’s a convention at David L Lawrence CS July 30 – August 2 called Replay FX Arcade and Gaming Festival.  A nice thing about the Gaming Hall of Fame is they’ve altered the games that you don’t have to buy rolls of quarters, when they open next week, it will be a set price $20 for two hours or $40 for all day.  This weekend The Professional Amateur Pinball Association will be hosting the yearly event that opens the Carnegie pinball warehouse for it’s once a year tourney.

It looks like ever present Asian rickshaw that has taken hold all over the world may be coming to America.  The Tuk Tuk Factory in Amsterdam is licensing a factory in Denver to start manufacturing Tuk Tuks here.  These motorized three wheel vehicles are looking to fill the short distance gap in our commuting infrastructure sometimes filled by pedicabs. With all the drama with Uber and Lyft trying to enter the taxi service industry, I can’t wait to see this battle.

The Monterey Bay Fish Grotto is probably my favorite of the pricey Mt. Washington restaurants. I don’t patronize those restaurants often, but when I do I usually end up at the Monterey.  They recently finished a $2.2M renovation changing the overall appearance of the restaurant and adding Sakari, kind of like a tapas, small plate themed restaurant on the lower level.  Executive Chef Smith uses totally sustainable seafood in his kitchen, it’s all certified by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch in California (no relation to the namesake restaurant).  One of the things I like about Monterey Bay is their focus on the main food item.  I have noticed over the years that they are not on a “mission” to impress you with their flash, they are more interested in the quality of the entree.  Nothing against well prepared sauces and other means of presentation, Monterey is more interested in minimizing these and focusing on the appealing nature of the entree with minimal distraction.  (Not saying other restaurants are “hiding something”; if I order salmon, I’m not interested in the Bearnaise sauce as much as the flavor of the actual salmon.)

Pleasant Valley, the homeless shelter and food bank servicing the Northside communities is having a fund raiser to improve their food distribution mission.  The food bank hasn’t had an update in so long the shelves are actually pulling away from the walls.  The want to totally re-do that space and make more user friendly and efficient.  They service 950 food insecure households each month.  They want to create a more grocery store appearance, more accessible and space so their clients don’t have to wait out in the elements for their turn.  The crowd source platform they are using is through crowdrise.  If you would like to help, you can cut out the middleman and send donations directly to the Northside Community Food Bank, 1601 Brighton Road, PGH, PA 15212.  They have also set up an Amazon account so if you would like to donate food directly through Amazon to the food bank, you can choose what you want to donate and Amazon will provide free shipping on donations $35 dollars or more.  Not to discourage any donations to this worth cause, remember different layers take a cut in the donation.

Shadyside is know for their late summer arts and crafts festival is adding a spring one this year.  It’s this weekend from 10 am until about 5 pm Saturday and Sunday.  Their traditional end of summer has some of the best artisans around and I suspect this weekend will not disappoint.  More info at their website.

Speaking of Shadyside, the Shadyside Nursery will be holding another of their concert in the gardens from 5 – 9 pm Sunday.  This is the third year for this event and they are requesting that you don’t bring your dogs or strollers. They are calling this Weather Permitting, which doubles as a disclaimer in case they need to cancel because of bad weather.  Besides the bands, there will be a farmers’ market, food trucks, breweries and kids fun.

For our second year, Pittsburgh will be hosting it’s Open Streets Pittsburgh event this Sunday and then again on June 28 and July 26.  They will be closing over three miles of roads from Downtown through Lawrenceville from 8 am until noon.  It a good time to get an alternative view of these neighborhoods than usual.  You can skate, walk, bike and move about in any mode, other than in a motorized vehicle.  But do remember, the side streets will be open, so be careful at intersections.  Businesses are planning specials, organizers are planning street events with entertainment, yoga, etc.

Remember the robot repair shop that was down on Sixth Avenue basically across from Heinz Hall?  The art installation by Toby Fraley closed a year or two ago.  He’s started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to open a new installation at the airport.

The EagleRider motorcycle tourism and rental company is coming to Carnegie.  Initially, they plan on stocking about 20 BMW, Harely-Davidson, Honda and Indian motorcycles.  It’s a nationwide network so you can rent a bike here and go on a road trip and drop it of in California or any place that has an EagleRider franchise.  Besides just renting bikes, they offer self guided GPS tours that include accommodations.

All you Kenny Chesney fans descending on my neighborhood tomorrow, behave your selves.  🙂





Tomorrow’s the anniversary of Crater Lake National Park was established (1902), consequentially Johnny Carson’s final show (?) (1992), Mr. Roger’s premier (1967), Richard Nixon was the first US President to visit Moscow (1972) and the strongest earthquake of the 20th century in southern Chile (1960); it is also the anniversary of the Truman Doctrine (1947), the National Maritime Day (1933) and Sri Lanka’s National Heroes Day (1971).  Birth anniversaries include Allegheny City artist Mary Cassatt (1844), British author Sir Conan Doyle (1859), soccer star George Best (1946), actor/director Laurence Olivier (1907), German composer Richard Wagner (1813), conductor Peter Nero (1934) and jazz musician Sun Ra (1914).

There’s 90 neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and Ron Donoughe has been painting each one over the past year (not the entire neighborhood, just a part of it that he felt represented the neighborhood).  The collection is finished and all 90 are on display at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts through August 9.  Also on display is works by seven area artists including Danny Bracken, Haylee Ebersole, BA Harrington with Chele Isaac, Brett Kashmere, Derek Reese, Mark Schatz and Steven Sherrill.  PCA’s always a fun place to visit, it’s located 6300 Fifth Avenue, Shadyside.  The artwork is on display during their normal operating hours of 10 am 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 pm Sundays.  More info at the various links or by calling 412-361-0873.

There’s a new green product out there created here in Pittsburgh, it’s called Pittmoss and is a ecofriendly alternative to sphagnum peat moss. Mont Handley, entrepreneur and CEO of Pittmoss Development has been working on this basically in his kitchen as he worked full time for Visit Pittsburgh.  He decided he wasn’t getting any younger and if it’s his passion, he may as well jump in with both feet.  He quit his job at the convention center and started Pittmoss Development.  The TV show Shark Tank was looking to host some entrepreneurs that were veterans and his name came up through the Small Business Administration and he was one of the winners and walked away with $600,000 to develop his plant located in Ambridge.  He parlayed his Shark Tank money with some local investors and ended up with $1.5M and plans to have his plant fully operational in just two more weeks.  It is made from recycled newspaper and retains moisture better the old style peat moss.  It retains 50% more moisture than traditional peat moss and growers that buy Pittmoss from him say that their plants mature three weeks earlier than with traditional peat moss.  The harvesting of peat moss is pretty environmentally destructive.  Besides all of the excavating of sensitive land, peat only occupies 3% of earth’s surface be holds 33% of stored soil carbon. So it’s a pretty much win/win all the way around.

I don’t know if you know of Pittsburgh’s “Skinny Building” located on the corner of Wood Street and Forbes Avenue, but the URA own it and have just finished refurbishing the exterior:


This three story building is only five feet wide and no one knows why such a skinny building was built.  Supposedly, the Guinness Book of Records lists a building in Vancouver, BC that is six feet wide.  I couldn’t find it on there site.  Either way, what can you do with a five foot wide building?  Maybe make it into the local Guinness attraction?  🙂

Here’s an idea for Port Authority, live bands in the Downtown stations.  The MTA that runs New York’s subways has a call out for musicians to apply to play their music at specific locations.  70 applied and about 25 will be selected to perform over the summer.  Granted acoustics will be a major challenge, but could be overcome.  Transit riders get a treat to live music and the bands get exposure.  They have bands featuring classical music, cabaret, opera, blues, reggae and even cartoon tunes applying.  Could be a nice added venue for our city.

There’s a new “tour” bus plying Southside’s streets,Gypsy Rose is a bus that has been converted to kind of look like a pirate’s ship.  The staff are dressed like pirates and covert like pirates during the 45 minute trek down Carson Street to the Duquesne Incline and back to Southside Works.  They run from 11 am until 6 pm and you should arrive 10 minutes early to play games, taking pirate tests and receiving your eye patch and sword (fake) so you fit in with the crew.  It’s a very family friendly adventure, they are planning on more adult themed Friday and Saturday evening “cruises” coming up soon.  Currently they are only “sailing” on weekends, but plan to expand to daily after June 6.  Admission is $10 and leave from 445 S 27th Street in The Works.  More info at their website, or by calling 412-381-8687.

The 16 year old peregrine falcon Dorothy atop the Cathedral of Learning had a clutch of four eggs a month ago, they should be hatching any day now.  The amazing thing is peregrine falcons usually only live to eight years old.  Not only is she ancient, she’s still very much active and having chicks after all these years.  You go girl.  🙂  This is heartening after our Hays eagles lost all of their eggs earlier this spring.

Recently announced plans for the annual Three Rivers Regatta include a nine story Ferris Wheel!  That’s pretty darn high.  They didn’t announce the location for the Ferris Wheel, I assume Point State Park, which is always the hub of activity.  Currently they are looking for corporate sponsors so the rides are free, the worst case scenario is there will be a small fee.

Pittsburgh will have a new festival Picklesburgh on the Rachel Carson Bridge.  They say it’s going to be a big “dill” for the city.  🙂  This free event will run from three until ten pm on July 17 and from ten am until 10 pm on July 18.  It will feature food vendors, pickling and canning demonstrations, music, ethnic food showing the universality of pickling, cocktails with pickled ingredients and a huge pickle balloon will be suspended above the festivities.

Charleroi’s Pyrex is celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary.  A Corning engineer was working on heat-resistant glass for railroad engine lights when his wife asked him if he had a glass she could use as a casserole dish in the oven.  The first Pyrex items appeared in 1915, the iconic measuring cup debuted in 1925 and the signature red lines were added in 1941.  The reason they moved production from Corning, NY to Charleroi, PA is there was an existing glass plant and it was fired by natural gas, the Corning plant was fired by wood.  Since the Pyrex process basically needs the ovens to be on all the time, it just made sense.

That’s about it, have a great Memorial Day weekend,