Hi,

For those of you living under a rock, tomorrow is St Patrick’s day.  I think Pittsburgh has the second or third largest parade in the country, VP Joe Biden will be in attendance.  It is the birth anniversary of Howard Shemp (of The Three Stooges fame-1895), it is the 20th anniversary of the white vote in South Africa to end minority rule and it is Birkebeinerrennet day in Norway (don’t ask me to pronounce it).  The Norwegians have had this cross country race since 1932 to is based on an escape in 1205 of an infant prince that was transported this route to save his life, he later went on to become King Hakon Hakonasson IV that unified the country.

What a pleasant experience.  I spoke with the new (not brand new, but she hasn’t held the position that long) lady in charge of the City Historic Review.  I left her a message yesterday afternoon and she called me back this morning.  When I thanked her for calling back so promptly, she said she felt bad.  Normally she calls back the same day.  She was pleasant to speak with, clear, concise, knowledgeable and where she could be, flexible.  Sometimes when you speak with a city employee, it can be so trying.

Do you remember that on March 12, 1993 we received twenty-six inches of snow?  I don’t know about you, but I prefer the seventy degree days we are enjoying.

One of the first things I learned about recycling was that recycling starts at the point of purchase.  The construction of the product, one time use or multiple uses, packaging are just the starting points in my purchasing decision.  Heinz ketchup (or is it catsup) :) is rolling out mini ketchup containers that are totally unrecyclable.  They are cute and convenient, but a terrible thing for the environment.  Not only that, Campbells Soups are coming out with a similar package for single serve soups.  Speaking of recycling, I’m either frugal, cheap or recycling suave.  I save welcome letters after guests leave, as I do with guest comments cards and correspondence that comes in the mail.  I then use the blank backs of these and do all my office printing on this.  I also use this paper by cutting them up in quarters and use it as scrap paper on my desk and in the pantry.  I haven’t used new paper in my printer (for in-house documents) in probably three years.  I just ran out and had to use new paper for a couple of days.  I’m already back to my old ways :) of reusing paper.

Encyclopedia Britannica has gone out of print.  After 244 years of print, the final run of the thirty-two volume was run in 2010.  The set weights one hundred and twenty-nine pounds and of the 12,000 printed, 4,000 remain in inventory.  So I guess it shows the lack of demand.  Don’t get me wrong, I revere the Britannica and am a big advocate of reading books.  I always have a hard back book that I am currently reading.  But I would never buy a hard cover general reference source any more.  A reference books like a cook book and gardening basics I like.  But as a source of general information on many topics, why have a hard back book that was out of date the day it was published?  There’s way too much information that is more detailed and more current than something published in the past available on the Internet.

Are you looking for a job?  Come on, don’t get all excited, I don’t have an inside track on something.  But I do want to warn you, be careful if applying for a city job at New Jersey’s capital, Trenton.  Through budget issues, they’ve run out of toilet paper.  There does seem to be a few rolls left in the ladies rooms, that’s about it.  Sorry guys.  :)

On Sunday, at 4 p.m. The Spirit of Uganda takes stage at the Byham Theater.  These Ugandan performers are from age eleven to twenty-one.  Many of whom became orphans when their parents died of AIDS or lost in violence from Ugandan rebel forces.  When these kids put on their native cultural garb, get together on stage with authentic African music with singing, dancing and instrumentation, they become transformed.  The show highlights what a “hand up, not a hand out” can do even with kids that have lived through such tragedy.  Tickets are $13 – $45.  More info at the web sites or by calling 412.456.6666.

The latest craze with kids is Kendama.  Kendama is a ball tethered to a wooden shaft with three different sized cups.  Sort of like cup-and-ball games kids played generations ago.  Theories of it’s origin span the globe, from Greece, China, Japan even Peru.  There’s tons of You Tube videos of kids doing this.  It is also a competition sport.  Participants are given predetermined  maneuvers or tricks to do in a set amount of time.  The contestant completing all the maneuvers error free and in the shortest time wins.  Kendamas can be purchased from the USA web site (of which Jeremy Stephenson of Pittsburgh, is on the governing body) or at Learning Express.  Kendama runs from around $20 up to $200.

I like a trend I see more and more of in retail.  Up front sales.  For quite awhile, Costco automatically gives you the discount whether you have the coupon or not.  Lowes automatically gives you a discount when you spend a certain amount of money.  Now JC Penney’s seems to be trying to do the same thing.  They claim they are going to no longer increase prices so they can have them on ”sale” latter.  They say they are going to have lower prices all the time and get rid of those stupid “sales” like Levins Furniture always have.  I think consumers are totally fed up with the bs.

Enjoy another beautiful and and don’t be embarrassing tomorrow,

ed

 

 

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