Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburgh (1862), the Nanking Massacre (1938), New Zealand was first spotted by Europeans (1642) and the war between North and South Koreas ended (1991-hostilities actually ended in 1953). Birth anniversaries include First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln (1818), pugilist Archie Moore (1913), German poet & critic Heinrich Heine (1797) and my sister Diane, we’ll omit the date here.
The only person that makes money off Face Book is Face Book, but you can use Face Book to your advantage. Ty came up with the idea of offering a free night on a Face Book contest several months ago. Our first campaign we had something like 500 likes. The second one we had over 17,000 likes, can you believe that? We just did it again and we had over 7,000 likes, not as huge as the last, but pretty darn significant. Ty’s latest challenge is to get The Parador Inn’s Face Book page likes up to 1,000. We currently have about 800, so it’s doable. If we don’t get up to the 1,000 mark by the end of the year, Ty will be fired. So get all your friends to like The Parador Inn and save Ty’s job.
Uniontown native Shawn Christopher and his wife were staying in New York City on their honeymoon. Where they were staying was on the side of Gramercy Park, the most exclusive park in NYC. Only people living adjacent to it are permitted to pay the membership to the private park and receive a key to admit them. The park was founded in 1831 and the people that have had keys are a real A-list of past and present notables. Shawn didn’t know he violated many of the park rules, like guests can only enter with a member and absolutely no photography. Shawn did one of those Google 360 degree photographs and posted it on Google Earth, that’s how he got outed. /arekebe Garrison, the president of Gramercy Park Block Association while acknowledging that it was against the rules to take the picture, they would not ask Google to remove it.
We just don’t seem to learn. It’s estimated that it will take $4.7B to clean up the mess left from all the abandoned coal mines, that has to be more money than the coal barons and current coal executives have made from extracting coal from under us. Did you know the first recognized coal mine in Pennsylvania was a drift mine on Coal Hill (now Mt Washington) in 1760? The first reported problem with coal mining was at that same mine in 1765 where it caught fire and collapsed part of Mt Washington. Pennsylvania has the largest abandoned mine problem of any state. It’s estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 miles of our waterways suffer from mine discharge pollution. Another problem is High Walling, where mine operators dug the coal out and left these cliffs on all sides of the pit they dug. Of course, there’s the old mines (many of which aren’t even on any maps) collapsing as their roof supports rot away after all those years. When that happens, houses are damaged, destroyed; roads get sink holes and the list goes on. Of course this subsidence is even worse when the collapse comes from Long Wall Mining where there dig below the mine seam, let it collapse and then pick the coal out and load it on conveyers that bring it to the surface. Maybe just as bad as Mountain Top Mining where they explode the entire top of a mountain, remove the coal and take the earth the mining company doesn’t want and fill nearby valleys wrecking havoc on the local environment. Why do we still let them do this? I guess for the same reason we let them Frack for oil and gas using unnamed chemicals in the process and then pump the waste water into injection wells. Who knows what price our grandchildren will pay for this.
Speaking of pollution, they are estimating there’s about 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans, with a population of 7.2B persons on the planet, that’s 700 pieces of plastic per person! Marcus Eriksen of the Five Gyres Institute in Los Angeles published his study in the journal PLOS said they were using conservative numbers, they estimate it’s much larger. Besides the obvious we’ve all heard about fish trying to eat plastic bags, etc these plastic pieces are deteriorating to smaller and smaller pieces. Fish are eating these tiny pieces and obviously they don’t digest. So it is predicted that will be a problem for us eating fish! Careful what you do with that plastic bottle, it washes down the creek and right out to the ocean.
Pittsburgh Technical Institute has holiday light and sound display at their North Fayette for the past several years. They upped the ante this year. They have 10,000 lights choreographed with music. The display is built each year by the students under the direction of their instructor. The shows run about an hour and there’s a morning performance (6 – 8 am) and evening from 4 – 11 pm. You can tune to 98.5 FM to hear the music choreographed to the light display.
I’m a big fan of small theaters and love seeing them adapt to survive in the world of Walmart and super Cinemax theaters. I talk about the Hollywood Theater in Dormont on a regular basis of things they are doing. Add to this list is the Oaks Theater in Oakmont. It closed this past summer and has gone through some extensive renovations and is reopening this weekend (December 13 & 14) with Jimmy Steward’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life with a brunch. They hope to have their liquor license by January and will add alcohol sales to their events at that point. Next weekend the movie will be White Christmas. Marc Serrao has owned the theater (as well as the Oakmont Bakery) for several years and realized he needed to go in a new direction than just being a movie house. He intends to do cult films, concerts, comedy and many other events.
Speaking of innovation, give that man a raise! I don’t know who at PennDot is responsible, but they have come up with a new idea. Believe it or not! Instead of all the time and expense of designing each bridge individually, with so many structurally deficient it would take years and years to replace them all. Someone at PennDot came up with the idea of coming up with several designs that will accommodate over 550 bridges. They can pre-pour the concrete supports and pre-order much of structural components of the bridges and throw them up in half the time.