Tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of the US Military Academy (1802), the My Lai Massacre (1968), the premier of The Gumby Show (1957) and commemoration of the first liquid fueled rocket launch called Goddard Day (1926). Birth anniversaries include Declaration of Independence signer George Clymer (1739), president James Madison (1751) and Civil War general John Pope (1822).
I had the telemarketer from h*ll, and I do mean that. My phone rang, it was an out of state area code and I answered it (I always answer the phone, but I just wanted to point out that I looked at the number). He started by offering me a “free web site”. There’s nothing for free in the world, other than air. And I’m very happy with my web site The Parador Inn. So I told him I was happy with my web site, didn’t need a new or free one and hung up. He’s calling on my dime and I figured I gave him more than he deserved. My phone immediately rings, I expect it to be him and it was a different area code and phone number. When I answered it, he said “Ed, I’m offering you a free web site.”, I said I didn’t want it and hung up again. The phone rings again, still a different area code and number and when I answered the phone, he said “Ed, why don’t you want a free web site?”. I’m fairly annoyed at this point and said”Maybe if you learned how to speak English clearly, someone may be more inclined to to listen to your pitch” and hung up. He called me six more times, all from different phone numbers and I ended up shutting my phone off. I can’t leave the phone off for long, so I turned it back on about twenty minutes later and it was fine, then he started again. We played this cat and mouse game the rest of Friday afternoon. In all, I got over 15 calls from him. I called the FCC to see what could be done and they explained #1 I’m a business and they won’t do anything for me and #2 he’s calling from fake numbers and there would be no way to trace them. Apparently, he doesn’t work evenings or weekends, because I go no phone calls after five or over the weekend. Monday morning he calls me again! So I dutifully listen to a short sales pitch, told him again I was very happy with my web site and would not ever deal with him, he could call me repeated all day and I would dutifully answer each call and immediately hang up. A waste of both of our times. I haven’t heard from him since.
I’ve had a peregrine falcon hanging out in my yard lately. My two squirrels I’ve been feeding over the winter disappeared for awhile. I thought they ended up being lunch, but they’re back. Here’s a picture of my peregrine from my desk:
His/Her (I can’t tell the sex on falcons from the ground and have no intention of getting close enough to find out) cousin Dorothy has laid her first egg in her nest at The Cathedral of Learning. They anticipate three more. The live web cam is not always up and running. There is also a nesting pair of peregrine’s on the Tarentum Bridge. While we’re speaking of birds, a pair of nesting Bald Eagles have settled in the Hays area of Pittsburgh (across the Glennwood Bridge from Hazelwood) and some eagles have been spotted up route 28 around Harmar.
I’ve been fairly neutral towards our relatively new county executive Rich Fitzgerald. I was pretty happy when he stood up to Port Authority’s Steve Bland awhile ago and demanded reforms and was totally in favor of Bland getting the axe. I was a bit concerned when Mr. Fitzgerald was pushing for Joe Brimmeier to take the lead of Port Authority (whom Mr Fitzgerald appointed to the Port Authority’s Board last March). Brimmeier was coming from the PA Turnpike Commission and they are famed for political patronage. In the year Brimmeier has been on the Board, he #1 tried to get contracts to his sister, who’s an architect, for the Port Authority. Brimmeier concerned several other board members by his frequent questions on how Port Authority contracts are bidded, why they are frequently just renewed instead of put out for re-bidding (not necessarily a bad question). And Brimmeier’s push to push out existing contractors for the purpose of bringing in new contractors without an obvious reason. This week, criminal charges were brought against Brimmeier’s for all kinds of corruption charges. #1, shouldn’t Mr Fitzgerald done some homework on whom he put on the Board (or maybe he did). . #2, didn’t Mr Fitzgerald pay attention to what was going on with his appointee? This has me very concerned about the integrity of our county’s chief executive.
The Pitcairn Historical Society is seeking railroad memorabilia, particularly if it’s from the Pitcairn Rail Yard. In it’s day, it was a major component of the Pennsylvania Rail Road. At 4,700 employees, it was one of the largest rail yards in the country. It was designed around a “hump” where they would lug a car up a slight rise and release it down grade from the top and through a series of switches would funnel that car through 35 “fingers” or spurs to organize the cars according to their destinations. The yard also had round houses where trains could be repaired. The Historic Society only has ten members, so their memorabilia is only on display once a week at a former church on the corner of Center and Agatha Streets. More info at their web site or by calling 412-373-0052.
The concept Live-Work-Play has been around since the 1990’s around Chicago, New York, Seattle and some other metro areas. Obviously with the name, you should pretty much be able to figure out exactly what this development is all about. They are taking a large area, designating areas for homes, businesses, retail/restaurants, possibly light industrial all connected with parks, plazas and other amenities making the whole development kind of like a Main Street with everything accessible by walking. T & R Properties from Ohio is planning one out in Cecil, AdVenture Development out of South Carolina is planning one out at McCandless Crossings. Smaller developments are being planned around the Mt Lebanon and Castle Shannon T stops. Somewhat of an urban environment in the country. One study found in 2011 by the National Association of Realtors found that 6 out of 10 people preferred living in a mixed use neighborhood where you can walk to stores and businesses.
Stand back the Indigo Girls, say not the the Brazilian Girls, it’s time for the Guerrilla Girls. No, this isn’t a new trend, they’ve been around since 1984. They always were guerrilla masks and take the names of deceased female artists to maintain their anonymity. Seriously, no one knows who they are. They started in 1984 when the MOMA in New York held An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture intended to be a summary of the most significant artwork in the world and of the 169 pieces selected, 13 were by women. Of the 156 male artists, 156 were white. To add insult to injury, the curator said “any artist who wasn’t in the show should rethink ‘his’ career. So the Guerrilla Girls started their campaign to make the art world more inclusive. Henry Heinz Art Museum director Lynn Zelevansky will present a dialogue with two Guerrilla Girls as part of the Carnegie Museum of Art’s series What Are Museums For at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland at 7 pm on March 20. More info and ticket information either at the art museum’s web site or by calling 412-622-3288.
Some of my favorite restaurants are little whole in the wall kind of places. Medozza Express in Greentree and Casa Rasta in Beechview (until they moved into their new digs next door) are not known for ambiance. So the opening of Salud Cuban American Restaurant’s outside appearance doesn’t scare me. I hope to check them out next week.
Starting today at the Carnegie Science Center a new IMAX film Flight of the Butterflies chronicles the forty years of study by the late Canadian Fred Urquhart and how he discovered their winter hideout in Mexico (the original snow birds) Entire trees are completely covered in these beautiful creatures, when you first see the image, you mistake all the butterflies for leaves. There was a huge drop in the monarch butterfly population just this past year. The film hopes to inspire people to plant milkweed (butterfly weed) and asciepias in their gardens to help these gorgeous creatures survive their twice a year journey. More info at the Science Center’s web site or by calling 412-237-3400.
Bar Codes, Universal Product Codes, UPC’s turn forty this June 26. In 1973, Heinz, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Del Monte and others adopted this stand way to differentiate between a case of canned corn and a case of oatmeal. Obviously, the technology has exploded as has it’s use. Bar codes are one dimensional images of various width lines and numbers scanners can read. Using six sided scanners, FedEx is able to track packages as they move 540 feet per minute in their warehouses. The next wave in scanned codes was two dimensional QR Code (Quick Response Code) has the ability to keeps tons more data in them. This technology was developed by Toyota to track production in the auto manufacturing plants. It has since evolved into a consumer product that you can wave your smart phone in front of the graphics and your latte is scanned, sold and paid for. You can also go down to the Commons Park, right down the street from me and scan the QR Code on the trees by this summer and you can get the history of what the tree is and possibly when the tree was planted. The most recent trend is in health care. Federal officials are pushing the health care industry to use GS1 DataMatrix technology to keep track items in their inventory. In particular they can track serial numbers of products so a re-call can more or less be instantaneous. It would also prevent healthcare professionals from inadvertently using expired product. Radio-frequency identification seems to be the newest wave in this kind of technology.
Well, that’s about it, have a great night and we’ll chat again soon,