Hi,

Tomorrow is National Work Naked day (for people that work from home – if you’re visiting The Parador tomorrow, don’t worry, I don’t participate).  :)  It’s also the anniversary of Black Maria Studio, the first moving picture studio at the Thomas Edison complex (1893), it’s the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the 13th Amendment (1865), the Greensboro Sit-In (1960), GI Joe was introduced (1964) and Robinson Crusoe was rescued (1709).  Birth anniversaries include Boris Yeltsin (1931), film director John Ford (1895), actor Clark Gable (1905) and the first woman that was elected to the Senate Hattie Wyatt Caraway (1878).

What’s up with bitcoins?  Known for non-transparency and lurking in the shadows, this new form of payment doesn’t even admit who actually came up with the concept.  Supposedly some young Chinese guy has been reported to be the “inventor”, but even his identity hasn’t been verified.  It’s being run here by three guys, two of which are under federal indictment for money laundering.  Two Las Vegas casinos, D Casino and Golden Gate have recently started accepting bitcoins.  Of all places, Las Vegas casinos have a sullied history of crime and money laundering.  And it’s expanding into retail.  Overstock.com, TigerDirect.com, US Hobby are currently accepting bitcoins and Amazon is considering accepting them.

Gun control advocates always quote fatalities when discussing the need for gun control, what they don’t talk about and may be an even bigger issue is that it is estimated one child or teen is wounded seriously enough by a firearm that it requires hospital attention PER HOUR.  I was never aware of this before now.  Firearm injuries are the second leading cause of injuries behind auto mishaps.  In addition to the immediate medical attention these injuries cause, there’s frequently extensive follow-up treatment, home healthcare, hospital re-admission as well as mental health and social services needs afterwards.  This was pointed out in a study by Robert Sege of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy of Boston Medical Center.

Ever wonder about the modernistic stainless steel sculpture in West Park right down the street from The Parador Inn?  It was created by Peter Calaboylias in 1977 (the sister sculpture is in Melon Park) is called Five Factors II.  It was created joining two modules, one has three Factors and the other has two, hence it’s name.

In addition to the two adorable baby African penguins at the National Aviar,y there’s another addition to the Aviary.  Well, actually two adult Andean Condors.  They weigh between 20 – 25 pounds and have one of the largest wing spans in the avian world – over ten feet across.  Condors are “bald” because they don’t have feathers on their heads so they can easily clean themselves after eating carrion (kind of gross here).  :)  They were acquired in the hopes of them breeding, only one chick was produced in zoos last year.  They don’t know each other and condors can be pretty aggressive, so they have the 43 year old male Lurch and the 36 year old female Precious in separate cages next to each other so they get a bit acquainted with  each other.  The Aviary staff will bring them together in the next couple of months (under supervision) to introduce them to each other.  Hopefully they will take a “shine” to each other.

There’s nothing wrong with a cheap night out, if you do it smartly.  There’s lots to do without spending a lot of money, like the weekly banjo night at the Allegheny Elks Club over on Cedar Avenue here on the Northside.  The Elks also has jazz nights as well, and very affordable drinks.

Market Square’s getting something new from February 21 through March 16, an interactive light display created by London artists Kit Monkman and Tom Wexler.  It’s going to be a fifty square foot projection of light that displays geometric patterns and shapes into the square that visitors can change by walking through it.  Market Square’s really changed since they did the latest re-do.  Certainly an improvement from it’s shabbier days.

Just as an aside, Jeannette is finally in the process of tearing down the two outer buildings of the Monsour Medical Center and plan on tearing down the vacant hospital this summer.  All at tax payer expense while the elderly multimillionaire doctors that founded the facility get to keep their money.  Somethings just don’t make sense to me.

While I’m complaining, why is the Port Authority ramming a $200M Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) down our throats?  $200M is a lot of money a cash trapped agency could better spend I would think on other projects.  They already have bus designated lanes, I don’t see where prepaying stations and timing traffic lights justify the expense to shave 10 minutes off the trip.  I’m all for mass transit and Oakland is a major employer in the city, but lets do things that make sense.  It’s like the the $250K (I don’t remember exactly, but it was in that neighborhood) the Port Authority paid some consultant to rename the routes.  Instead of the 18D, it became the 18.  I could have done that.  :)

Well, the contractor is finally finishing up Ruellia.  The tile work in the bathroom and where the fireplace is going is finished, they’re reinstalling the fixtures in the bath today and building the mantle for the fireplace.  The plumber will install the Franklin stove tomorrow.  Now it’s my turn to get in there and paint and reorganize the rooms.  The fun part.  :)  I’ll have pictures in my next post next week.  It shouldn’t take me  long to get it put back together.

Talk soon and I’m so glad that bitter cold weather’s over,

ed

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