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,







Tomorrow’s the anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania (1864), British coronation of George VI (1937), the odometer was invented (1847), American Indians Rights were recognized (1879) and recognition of the founding of Jamestown Day and Limerick Day.  Birth anniversaries include actress Katharine Hepburn (1907), English artist and author Edward Lear (1812) and composer Burt Bacharach (1929).

Want to watch the filming of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior?  It will be filming down in Rankin at the Carrie Furnace over night on May 22 and 23.  It’s free, but you do need tickets and must be at least 12 years old.  The timed tickets are for 8 and 10 pm and 12:30 and 2:30.  You can reserve tickets at their website.

Three big annual events this year have their dates and lineups all set.  The Three River’s Arts Festival runs from June 4 through the 14 (I wonder if it will rain the first day, that seems to be a tradition).  🙂   The Pittsburgh Jazz Live International Festival runs from June 19 through 21.  And the Three Rivers Regatta runs July 3 through 5.  Details on their websites.

Did you know Pittsburgh’s rated number 8 in the top ten cities for flipping properties?  The average rate of return on a flip in Pittsburgh for the first quarter this year was 55.2% compared to the national average of just 35.1%.  There’s not a lot of flipping going on in Pittsburgh as there is in Florida and California, but we are getting noticed.  National real estate firm Jones, Lang, LaSalle are moving their offices to a much larger space in the new Piatt development The Gardens at Market Square and plan on increasing their staff by 25% in the new location.  JLL doesn’t do flipping, they do corporate relocation for companies like Shell & Whirlpool.  Having a Downtown hub will showcase what a vibrant city we have when corporate clients come in to meet with them.

I found the coolest (and cruelest) had bag at that antique mall on Ohio River Blvd.  It’s an old purse made out of a crocodile:


And here it is spread open showing the front and back:


The Rex Theater on the Southside is hosting Art Attack Pittsburgh this Wednesday, May 13 starting at 7 pm. They are going to have 12 artists creating paintings live in front of the audience competing against each other.  There will be three thirty minute bouts and the audience will vote on who’s the best.  And the best won’t necessarily be the most skilled artist, but also which artist engages the audience more to encourage them to vote for him/her.  The winning artists of the first heat will then move on to the next round.  In between rounds DJ Keeb$ and the bands Fortified PhonetX and Wire Riots will perform.  At the end of the events, the artwork will be auctioned off.  A little different take on the old gallery crawl to see new artwork.

Southside’s 24th Annual Historic House Tour will be next Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm.  It’s a self guided walking tour featuring 13 sites including historically accurate houses, contemporary adaptations and even industrial sites.  The price is $18 for pre-purchased tickets and $20 the day of the tour.  The gathering point is UPMC Mercy on Mary Street.  More details at their website.

In Cranberry, Bill Schaudt Wood Creations has been chainsaw carving for about ten years.  He gets logs from arborists and boards from demolition jobs.  With 14 different chain saws, he creates bears over eight feet tall as well as eagles, benches, tables and much more.  He has stuff on hand and will make custom creations for you.

Patrick Jordan’s Barebones Productions is opening next Thursday premiering American Falls.  This play written by Miki Johnson is similiar to the play Our Town and travels the interconnected lives of six people living in American Falls, Idaho (and two dead).  Tickets are $30 ($55 for the premier with apps by Patrick’s next door neighbor Kevin Sousa who should be opening his new venue Superior Motor soon next door).  The shows are at 8 pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 6 pm on Sundays through May 31.  Barebones is located at 1211 Braddock Avenue, Braddock and tickets can be purchased on line.

Also in Braddock the Saints Tour will be given May 21 through June 14 starting at 7:30 pm.  The tours cost $60 and originate at the Braddock Carnegie Library.  This is being done in conjunction with Bricolage on Penn Avenue.  Billed as “immersive theater” they will lead you through Braddock to uncover the corners of Braddock that are unsung, magical or made alive for this tour (ie artists, musician, etc will be on tap).  A little different evening entertainment, if you’re tired of the same old, same old.

I hope all you mothers out there had a great Mother’s Day (Mother’s Day turned 101 years old this year).

Cut your grass, plant a flower or tree or do other things to enjoy this great weather we’re having,





Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Kent State student demonstrations that left four students dead (1970), Rhode Island declared it’s independence from England (1776), Haymarket Square Riot (1886), the Freedom Riders started (1961), Jamaica was discovered by Christopher Columbus (1494) and the first female British Prime Minister was elected (1979).  Birth anniversaries include actress Audrey Hepburn (1929) and American author, educator, public servant Horace Mann (1796).

It was the Pittsburgh Marathon this morning, quite the turn out.  There were about 30,000 runners again this year, but during the surge, it was a lot more crowded than last year.  There were people running on both sidewalks because the street was so crowded:


And there wasn’t as many people in costume as last year.  There was one person in some brown thing I across the street I couldn’t see what they were, one drag queen and Charlie the tuna:


There also was a runner juggling three deflated footballs (I couldn’t tell if it actually was Tom Brady from where I was standing).  🙂

If you are an Innkeeper, beware of the organization inspectedinns.org, they also own BnBstar and All American Bed and Breakfasts.  I used to pay to advertise on BnBStar and got very little traffic through that site, so I cancelled in 2013.  A charge showed up on my 2014 credit card statement from them and they no longer answer their phones, I left a message (no one returned my call) and disputed the charge.  The charge again showed up on my credit card statement this year.  Again they don’t answer their phones and I am disputing it.  The payment was never made, but I have to go through the hassle of formally writing the dispute and mailing to my credit card company.  A minor PIA, but one I shouldn’t have to do.  This will be the last time they will be able to pull this because USAA Credit Cards will be issuing a new credit card to me this year.

Western PA might not always be on the cutting edge, but we’re never too far from it.  Rent the Chicken in Butler is taking on the chicken rental craze sweeping the country and has been renting chickens for about two years now.  Chicken rental is feeding on the eat local and healthy.  Chicken rental prices vary based on the company, location, length of lease, etc.  Generally they include two hens, feed, help line and a wheeled cage (so you can move the cage around the year so the chickens get to eat all the bugs spread around the yard).  The two chickens will generally lay about a dozen eggs each week.  To show how much this is growing, Rent a Coop started in 2012 renting five or six coops per month and they are now renting 25 to 30 coops each month.  If you’re considering chicken renting, there’s an on-line resource Back Yard Chickens that started eight years ago with 50 members.  They now boast 325,000 members and has a wealth of information for the chicken enthusiast.

Cinco de Mayo is coming up Tuesday.  You can do your boring old toast it with a Corona beer at your favorite watering hole and have their boring interpretation of what Spanish food’s supposed to be, or try something a bit different.  If you are planning on celebrating at home, one good choice for authentic groceries is Reyna Foods in the Strip.  I was in there one time looking for a product and the clerk I was talking to gave some misinformation and Reyna herself was in the next aisle and came around and politely corrected him.  Brookline/Beachview are home to our Little Havana.  Las Palmas, in Brookline also has great selections of authentic Spanish groceries as does the Market on Broadway IGA in Beechview.   Right down the street, El Milagro is a restaurant and small grocery store.  Farther south on Broadway is probably my favorite Caribbean restaurant Casa Rasta, they’ve been so successful that they moved from the little storefront location up a few doors next to where Davio’s used to be with as a full service restaurant with a full liquor license.  Big Burrito has two great Mexican/Caribbean themed restaurants Mad Mex and Kaya.  Mendoza Express is like the Spanish highway diners you find all over South Florida.  Two walk ups on Federal Street here on the Northside that do a nice job are Casa Rasta (unrelated to the original Casa Rasta in Beechview) and El Burrito.

MeadowCroft Rockshelter is opening for it’s 46th season to the public this weekend.  It is believed to be the oldest site with proof of human habitation in North America dating back 16,000 years ago.  It’s located in Avella in Washington County.  In 1973 a group of archaeologists started digging around out there and found recent fire pits, empty beer cans and other recent debris.  They dug down deeper and found older beer cans, and trash.  The kept digging and found evidence of continued human habitation going way back.  And these people even had shells from the Atlantic ocean showing how well traveled they were.  A truly amazing field trip for you, it’s part of the Heinz History Center in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute.

My neighborhood association is always upset with the Steelers and all the disruptions caused by the 8 home games they play in the stadium.  The Steelers have been here way before these people moved in (Three Rivers Stadium was built in 1970), the neighbors new this when they decided to purchase their houses.  McConway & Torley foundry has been in Lawrenceville since 1868, way before any Lawrenceville residents were even born.  It was well established before any Lawrenceville resident purchased their home.  So why are they trying to shudder this business that not only was there long before any residents, but also pays good wages and benefits to over 400 Pittsburgh residents?  Did something happen that all of a sudden there’s annoying sounds, truck traffic, etc?  I don’t get it, where do people get off choosing to move to a location knowing what’s in the neighborhood and then once they live there for awhile think they have to right do do this?

Phipps Conservatory’s new Summer Flower Show is taking a new twist, they are featuring Weird and Wonderful plants.  Several highlights include the Chenille plant (one of my guest rooms is named for this intriguing plant with it’s long fuzzy flowers that look like red caterpillars), Australia’s kangaroo paws, bromeliads (also a namesake for one of my rooms with their waxy leaves in brilliant colors that look plastic), a ceiba tree cover with large thorns, an elephant’s foot, brain flowers, purple and orange cauliflower bottle plants and trees known for their storage devices to hold water during dry seasons.  We again reached out to Phipps to partner with us, but they only offered tickets at a 10% discount.  We sell more Warhol tickets than any hotel in the city and are #2 in the city with our River’s Casino package.  Maybe next year they’ll quit being penny wise and pound foolish.  🙂

Mark your calendars, Bellevue’s having their summer tour next Saturday, May 9 from 1 – 5 pm.  John Hermann inherited his father’s leather business wealth (and business) back when this was Allegheny City.  John was a prolific artist (over 1,000 pieces) that he never sold.  Being a Bellevue native, he donated his collection to the city and that will be one of the highlights of the tour.  There also will be several houses and churches that showcase the grandeur of this bygone era.  Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the tour.  This is a self guided tour, so you can take your time and enjoy all there is to see.  Details on their website.

Well, that’s it for today, I’m sure there’s a lot of sore and tired people in Pittsburgh after running, walking and biking 27 miles today, rest up folks,


New lighting projects include a reading light over Allamanda’s bedroom heated seating bench:


Another that’s not so obvious, but we changed the fluorescent lights over the dining room buffet to LED:


The look is similar, a little more golden, but since these lights are on 24/7, switching to LED will effect our energy consumption.

You know Pittsburgh’s Taco Truck?  James Rich, the owner is looking into a new endeavor, The Taco Boat!  He’s currently exploring the idea checking out the health codes, appropriate water craft, etc.  He’s hoping to launch it this summer (pun intended).  🙂

A new study out of Duke University found there were 79,000 new jobs created in the solar and wind industries, both direct and spinoff in the last four years.  There was 95,000 direct and spinoff new jobs created in the natural gas industry in the same time period, mainly for electric generation.  The coal industry lost 49,000 jobs during that time period.  A large part of this growth has been driven by the federal push for cleaner energy through incentives that may or may not continue.  Another contributing factor is some state mandates that a percentage of renewables be included the power grid.  Unfortunately for Appalachia, where most of the lost coal jobs are don’t have state mandates and the terrain and weather aren’t conducive for wind or solar generation.   So there’s very little green generation projects there and in the south where they also don’t have state mandates for renewables in their system either.  So the job growth is all in the west and northeast.

Phillip Roth’s book American Pastoral is the basis of a new film probably being shot in Ligonier by actor/director (his first) Ewan McGregor this summer.  Add that to Cinemax’s 4th season of Banshee that moved filming from North Carolina and the made for TV Sony production of The Outsiders.  Films shot in the area being released this year include Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, Southpaw, The Last Witch Hunter, Fathers and Daughters, Love the Coopers and Concussions.

Before the Boiler Makers had their program Guns for a Trade where residents could turn in guns and no questions asked and they would offer to train those that turned in guns the Boiler Makers trade, Stephen Selton started The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh seven years ago training disadvantaged how to be bricklayers.  He did this himself in a 20 foot by 50 foot empty boiler room in Wilkinsburg.  He’s just moved his program to an old Westinghouse factory in Homewood that is ten times the size.  He’s taken around 200 since starting with 100 graduating and 76 with full time bricklaying jobs.  With the added space, he intends to expand his 10 week classes of 12 students to 16 students.  A few years ago, the Heinz, RK Mellon and Pittsburgh foundations realized the importance of grass roots creation of skills that could give the opportunity to earn living wages and started subsidizing him.  He specializes in training ex-cons so they can enter society as an asset.

Spring has sprung and the spring garden sales are all over.  Phipps Conservatory is having their 79th annual May Market May 8 & 9 on their front lawn.  More info on their website or by calling 412-622-6914.  The Greensburg Garden Center is having their annual May Mart May 1 and 2 inside and out their center on Old Salem Road.  More info on their website or by calling 724-837-0245.  Sewickly’s May Mart will be held May 9 on Broad Street.  More info on their website.  The Audubon Center for Native Plants will have their sale May 2 at the Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in Fox Chapel.  More info at their website or by calling 412-963-6100.  The Indiana Garden Club will have their sale May 15 & 16 at the S & T Bank Arena in White Township.  More info at their website or by calling 724-349-8763.  West Overton Garden Society’s May Mart will be held May 9 at the West Overton Distillery Museum in Scottdale.  More info at their website or by calling 724-640-4180. Dry Ridge Garden Club will have their annual plant sale May 2 in Hempfield.  More info at their website or by calling 724-5583457.  Penn State Master Gardeners will be hosting sales in Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Butler County, Fayette County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County early May.  So anywhere you live in Western Pennsylvania there’s a gardening event to help you gussy up your home.

Speaking of flowers, the tulips I planted last fall are adding a welcome splash of color:


That’s it for day, pretty cool and overcast today, supposed to start clearing up and warming up tomorrow, I’m more than ready.  🙂





Tomorrow is the anniversary of Brasilia’s Inauguration (1960), the birth of Rome (753), the Red Baron was shot down (1918), holidays include Brazil’s Tiradentes Day, Baha’s Festival of Ridvan, Indonesia’s Kartini Day and Texas’ San Jacinto Day.  Birth anniversaries include naturalist John Muir (1838), actor Anthony Quinn (1915), German educator Friedrich Froebel (1782) and author Charlotte Bronte (1816).

Wilkinsbug is hosting a unique house tour on May 9 called The Vacant Home Tour.  In conjunction with a group of CMU grad students, they’ve selected five vacant houses they will highlight that could be available to purchase.  They’ve done their homework figuring out the history of the house and even will have some pictures of the homes in their happier days.  After the tour, Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation will hold workshops talking about programs and financing options for people that tackle bringing vacant houses back to the tax rolls.  They have the expertise to handle the acquisition of the property and can lead the way in guiding you through the process.   If nothing else, you should consider the tour just to learn from the experts how this can be accomplished.  And maybe you’ll fall in love with a property and start the process for your new home!

Slide the City is coming to South Park on June 6.  It’s a touring company visiting 150 US and Canadian cities.  The 1,000 foot slide will come down one of South Park’s hills.  You need to bring your own inflatable to ride the slide, or you can buy one from them at the site.  The cost is $20 for one ride, $30 for three rides and $50 for an all day pass.  There are discounts for buying your tickets early and premiums for buying the day of the event (and that will be based on availability).  More info and tickets are on their website.

Joylette Portlock, founder of Communitopia thinks environmentalism could use a lighter side.  She has a series of videos on the environment, some are kind of cute like her take on Gangnam Style with her version Climate Dennier Style.  Her tag line is Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something.  She not looking for people to take radical action, not chain themselves to trees, but maybe washing in cold water to save energy.  She says big steps are best, but if you only want to take little steps, they add up also.  Communitopia is joining up with Phipps, the Carnegie Museums and other partners to to host Futurefest 2015 on the lawn of Phipps on Saturday, April 25.  It’s going to be a fun day of cooking demonstrations, tours of the new Phipps labs & classrooms, composting demos, hands on activities, an eco minded market, scavenger hunts, even 1/2 Phipps admission that day.

Remember I spoke about that door between Bird of Paradise’s bathroom and African Tulip?  Well I did the construction a week or so ago framing it out, putting sound proofing insulation in and then dry walling it:


And April from No Good Riding Hood created a faux door for me:


Pretty cool?  🙂

There’s an interesting free exhibit at the top floor of the Hunt Library on CMU’s campus through June 30.  Photographer Sue Abramson has a black and white photo collection of nests and their building materials she has taken in Frick Park.  Images done in colored pencil by David Morrison feature detailed images of nests in their natural environment with details like spring buds and new leaves gracing the drawings. Wendy Brockman uses water colors to create her nests on calfskin vellum.  Kate Nessler uses water color to make images of her nests.  All this is enhanced with real bird nests on loan from The Carnegie Museum of Natural History which pretty much rounds out the show.  The show follows the Library’s normal operating hours of 9 am to noon and 1 to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays and from 1 to 4 pm Saturdays.  More info at Hunt Library’s website or by calling 412-268-2434.

Last year, Open Streets Pittsburgh had a  route from Roberto Clemente Bridge, down Sixth Avenue to Market Square.  This year the route is mainly from the Strip District out to Lawrenceville.  They close the main streets to vehicle traffic and they are open to pedestrians, cyclists, skate boarders, dancers (the side streets are still open to vehicles).  It’s the last Sundays of May, June and July and the hours are from 8 am until noon.  More info on Bike Pittsburgh’s website.

You know, I complain a lot about a lot of things in America, we have our problems.  But when you take a minute and  look around the world, even at our worst, we’re still pretty good.  There’s a group of the Lost Boys of Sudan living in Pittsburgh.  I met one through my sister, Deng (his birth name) published a book under his baptismal name Paul Kur called “Out of The Impossible” about his struggles as one of the Lost Boys fleeing ethnic violence in Sudan as a small child. The book chronicles Deng’s struggles as a child just to survive genocide, starvation, even being eaten by lions.

Out in Latrobe, Matthew Stein Woodworker and Hand Crafted Furniture makes Windsor chairs, tables, toys and other items using 18th century wood working techniques and tools used back then.  Although he doesn’t use all antique tools, he makes tools that mimic what they used back then.  Besides making these new old pieces, he also restores furniture.  On some projects he’s partnered with another Latrobe craftsman Dave Horner of Dave Horner Carpentry and Millwork.

Join Ann, the resident shelter dog at Northside Common Ministries, at this year’s Walk for a Healthy Community as she and other Food Pantry supporters raise funds to stock the shelves at the food pantry.  It’s easy – just click on the Walk for a Healthy Community to sign up to the team or make a donation to the team on line–then join the festivities at stage AE on the Northshore on Saturday, May 16th at 9am.  All proceeds go right to the purchase of food for distribution in the food pantry.

The Northside Common Ministries is having an Old Fashioned Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday April 25th at Northmont Presbyterian Church at 8169 Perry Highway for an Old Fashioned Spaghetti Dinner from 4pm-7pm.  Carry out available—bring the whole family!  More info at the Common Ministry’s website or by calling 412-323-1163.

Well, that’s it for now.  I have an electrician doing some repairs, some you’d never notice, a couple I’ll talk about next time.  Enjoy this spring weather, we earned it,