Tomorrow is the anniversary of the zipper being patented (1913), the liberation of Dachau (1945) {I visited Dachau several times while in the army and will never forget the chilling photographs in particular), the Los Angeles riots (1992) and the Peace Rose was introduced (1945).  Birth anniversaries include jazz great “Duke” Ellington (1899), media magnate William Randolph Hearst (1863), Japanese emperor Hirohito Michi-no-Miya (1901) and race car driver Dale Earnhardt (1952).

My friend Myra from The Stone Manse is familiar with the fold we have done here for a number of years with our toilet paper fold:


in sent me a link to a book on origami toilet paper folds.  I gave the book to Dee, and in case you don’t follow The Parador on Facebook, here’s some of her new folds:

The Sail Boat


The Marquis:


The Montecito:


The Heart:


She even came up with a creation not in the book, I call this one The Dee:  🙂




The annual Lawrenceville Historical Society spring walking tour will be next Sunday (May 4) and the following Sunday (May 11) starts at 1 pm on the corner of Butler Street and Stanton Avenue.  This is a free guided tour and reservations are not required.  More info at their website.

The Monongahela River has passed another land mark.  The state Department of Environmental Protection says the sulfate contamination dropped enough to recommend removing it from it’s “impaired” list. The sulfur content (mainly from mine run off) has dropped to 250 mg per liter, a significant improvement.  The sulfur content still needs to come down and there’s other contaminates of concern, but it’s another step in the right direction as noted by our eagles making Hays their home.  The chicks are certainly getting bigger.  I still wouldn’t drink directly from the water though.  🙂

The Brownsville Drive-In Theater was named the 10th and last drive-in to receive Honda’s Project Drive-In promotion.  They will be receiving a grant to help up-grade their projection system to the new format.  They are still fund raising to cover the rest of the costs of upgrading the property.  It costs roughly $75,000 just for the projection equipment.  I’m glad to see some of these iconic venues are being saved for the future.

Electrified is a new work at the Wood Street Galleries through June 22.  Taking a page out of Nikola Tesla’s work, Dutch artist Edwin van der Heide has 80 identical spark bridges spanning a grid hanging from the ceiling where sparks arc from one node to another, the display is enhanced by motion detectors that customize the firings by the observer’s movements.  They are meant to mimic our neurons firing in our nervous system. Montreal artist Alexandre Burton has a series of of Tesla coils encased in glass (for safety) that fire based on the observer’s proximity to each coil.  A real “hair raising” experience.  🙂  More info on this free exhibit is at their websites or by calling 412-471-5605.

Back in the day, the Missouri River went where it wanted.  Before the Army Corps of Engineers told the river where to be, this shallow waterway moved across the flat landscape of the parts of the country it flowed.  Pittsburgh had a healthy ship building industry up until the late Victorian age.  One of the steamboats built on the banks of the Monongahela River was the Arabia and it sank in the Missouri River in 1856.  There river changed course, changed course and changed course many more times.  Although it was known to have sunk in the area, it was never found until 1988 under a cornfield.  They excavated the boat and it’s a major attraction in Missouri with tons of relics that were preserved because they were encased in water all those years because of the high water table.  The boat was carrying supplies for settlers out west and they found nails, stoves, shoes and even pickles that were still edible.  The Heinz History Center has arranged with their Kansas City, MO counterparts to create on of the largest shows ever at the History Center, the exhibit is 8,000 square feet.  The exhibit is included in the History Center’s normal admission and is available for viewing during their normal hours of operation.  That can all be found at their website or by calling 412-454-6000.

Animal Friends has come up with a new program for cats that are pretty much anti-social and unadoptable. They are called the Working Cats.  They take these cats, treat them however is needed, neuter them and put them up for adoption for vermin control like at farms, etc.  These cats are  actually feral, but not the warm and cuddly cats you’d want to give to a grandparent for comfort.  🙂  Left on their own, they can become “friends” with their “owners”, but on more restricted terms, theirs.  More info on the programs can be found at Alley Cat Allies or the ASPCA.

They’re working on making the South Park Fairgrounds viable for it’s new life.  I remember when it was an actual fairgrounds, I got my first Heinz pickle there.  🙂  They haven’t had a fair there in years and really just let it sit there with no real maintenance in probably forty years.  Some of the buildings they’ve rented out over the years to some small businesses and the main hall down at the bottom would occasionally host some smaller festivals and things, but basically everything’s been falling apart.  They’re going to raze the old out buildings that are beyond saving and shore up the others.  The main focus the the parade field.  They are going to remove the crumbling paved track and replace it with a hard pack for jogging and walking.  They are removing the old bleachers (leaving the stairs for access) and planting native plants for low maintenance and visual appeal.  They will re-align the ball fields on the parade field itself with more intimate bleachers so you can actually see the people playing baseball, etc.  The sides of the rest of the hollow they plan on planting native plants there as well.  All and all I think it’s a great concept and not some expensive redesign as some where advocating.

I had guests last week that came here to visit Point Park University for possibly enrolling their daughter (showing my roots, I said something about Point Park College and they said “We thought it was a university”. Oops, it’s all grown up now.)  🙂  It certainly has “grown up”, just six years into their Urban Village vision, they have really transformed that area of Downtown around the Blvd of the Allies and Wood Street.  I don’t know where they get their money, Downtown properties aren’t cheap, but they have continued to acquire more and more buildings and convert them to their educational mission.  And a nice thing about Point Park is they try and keep their eye on preservation as well as new use.  Aurthur Ziegler of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks has commended them.  They’ve also added some very nice amenities like that park on the corner of the Blvd and Wood Street.  I was surprised when I heard they were adding student housing, that is such a nice breath of fresh air, seeing students walking around not just during the day, but in the evening as well since they live there.  They went for a resident population of just 350 a decade ago to 958 this past fall.  Add to that all the residential   construction Downtown, it’s no longer the ghost town it’s been for so long.  The next step will be for businesses to start moving in to cater to the needs/wants of close to a 1,000 students.  They also bought those buildings on Fourth Avenue a year ago around (and including) the Honus Wagner sports store to bring their Pittsburgh Playhouse down from Oakland (and the 40,000 non-student patrons) as well as create a student center there.

Enjoy this wonderful spring weather we have been having, it looks like April showers are starting soon, I’m OK with that as long as it’s no longer cold.


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