Hi,

Tomorrow is Colombia’s Independence Day (1810), the Geneva Accords to end the hostilities in Vietnam (1954), the western great Locust Plague of 1874, the Special Olympics (1968) and the official Riot Act was introduced in England (1715).  The only birth anniversary is explorer/mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919).

OK all you Parrot Heads, next Thursday(June 19) there will be a live concert at area drive ins.  Grab a picnic blanket, basket and beverage of choice and party with your fellow Parrot Heads.  :)

Had these great guests from Ontario a couple of weeks ago.  When they were leaving, Rob said his aunt was a missionary in Africa in the1960’s and they’ve had this original oil painting they liked a lot, but really never fit in with their decor.  He wanted to know if I would be interested in it.  I asked him to send me a picture and he did.  In the picture he sent it looked nice and I said OK.  When it arrived, I absolutely love it.  When I get a new piece of art, it sometimes takes me weeks to decide where to place it.  Ty came up with the idea of over Lady Palm’s desk, what do you think?

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When I opened The Parador of the Palm Beaches, I was WAY under capitalized and desperate for money.  Before I started waiting tables, I worked as a temp for various catering companies.  One of the companies I worked for regularly serviced events at John Goodman’s estate in Wellington (not the comedian, the owner of Amana products).  He was huge into polo and  his entire crew was from Argentina.  Great group of people, but wow were they carnivores.  There was platters of meat, chafing dishes of meat, sliced meat, cubed meat, meat in every form you can imagine.  The funny thing was all the Argentinians had their own knife stuck in their back behind their belt.  We never supplied steak knives and their knives where all so unique.  There’s a new restaurant in the Strip, Gaucho Parrilla  Argentina on Penn Avenue right before the 16th Street Bridge.  I haven’t eaten there yet, but I did have a guest that did and really enjoyed it.  It’s mainly a lunch and early dinner place, they close at 7 pm.  More info at their website or by calling 412-709-6622.

There’s two new active attractions around Pittsburgh.  Fun Sides Skate Park is a carpeted skate park where you were special frictionless shoe covers to slide around on the carpeted challenges.  It’s in Ross at 1130 Perry Highway (up McKnight above the shopping malls).   Owner/developer Don Edwards is a former carpet installer that came up with the in the idea in 1992 from using those glides used to move heavy furniture around a room.  He thought “Why not attach those glides to the bottom of your shoes and glide around yourself.”  His first skate park was in Irwin, he closed it to open one in Greensburg. In addition to the shoe covers, they also have friction resistant slides you can ride down six foot slopes.  More info on their website or by calling 412-364-0400.

Then there’s a national chain, Flight Trampoline Park out by Bridgeville that true to their name is a trampoline facility.  You have to be twelve or older to participate (they do have under twelve sessions in the mornings).  They also have trampoline parks in New York, Connecticut and Virginia.  In addition to the general trampoline fun, they host birthday parties, slumber parties, Club Flight (which has a laser light show) and do corporate team-building events.

Instead of bringing farm fresh food to you, Jacob Mains is bringing you to the farm.  Last year he had eight dinners scheduled, because of the popularity, this year he’s bringing ten dinners at five different farms over the summer into the fall.Obviously, each farm doesn’t have all the ingredients needed for a particular meal, so what he does is feature whatever that farm raises and augments that with products from other local farms.  The dinners are limited to 75 persons and are $100 per person (BYOB).  The farms are spread over Butler, Westmoreland, Beaver and Washington Counties.  Dates, locations and details are on his website.

There’s a new movie in town, Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville.  Brian Mendelssohn took an old row house and former store and turned it into an 83 seat theater.  The grand opening is a screening of Pulp Fiction next Saturday.  As with much of Brian’s ideas, the normally hard to seat front seat he eliminated and instead placed comfy couches for guests to lounge on.  Prices are $9 with a $6 price for Lawrenceville residents students and anyone where a costume related to the film’s theme.  Again, pretty innovating thinking.  Brian plans on offering three to six vintage films a day, all revolving around a theme.  One of the things he’s planning on doing is having marathons of the likes of Terry Gilliam and Mel Brooks movies.  Adjoining the theater is Atlas Bottle Works, a venture he is also involved with.  Not sure if you will be able to bring craft beers from one side to the other, but that could be fun.

At Carnegie Melon University, professor Dale Clifford is working on some interesting new concepts for building construction. They’re calling it bio-stimulant architecture, architecture that mimics biology in the real world.  Some of the things they are working on are solar petals that open during the heat of the day to absorb the heat and close at night to release the heat (it’s a concept for the building’s skin, so get that idea of a bunch of rose petals out of your mind).  :)  He’s also working on glass blocks that are of a similiar design that are translucent during the day making the window like a window and it frosts over at night when it cools, again trapping heat during the day and releasing it at night.  With the glass blocks they are researching a thing called phase-change.  For example water phase changes at 32 degrees and turns to ice as well all know.  But palm oil phase-changes from solid to liquid at 70 degrees and this is the “motor” he’s working on to power this process.  This is the first of his endeavors that seems to be gaining real traction.  It is being used in the new Frick nature center in the planning stages.  When you think of all the “off and on” switches in nature that naturally occur with changes in light and temperature, it’s really an intriguing idea for modern architecture.

The Three Rivers Regatta is coming up July 2 through July 4, mark you calendars.  The sand sculpture Sandsational will be creating recreating the Battle of Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key’s composition The Star Spangled Banner.  They are pretty amazing artists.  In addition to the yearly power boat races, dragon boats and anything that floats races, they are also having sail boat competitions and Pogopalooza.  They will have pogo athletes competing in xtreme contests with their super-charged pogo sticks.  There’s going to be an open area where you can try your hand (or feet in this case) :) at the sport.  The big concerts this year include Steve Augeri, formerly from Journey performing at 8 pm July 3 at Point State Park and Beatlemania at the River’s Amphitheater 7 pm July 3.  More details at their website.

This Sunday, June 22 The Mattress Factory will be hosting their free family friendly Community Garden Party from 1 to 5 pm.  The theme will be Wild West and you will be able to square dance to Haygood Paisleys, pose for Wild West postcards with Fishstep Studios, play Skee-Ball with the Nomadic Arcade and more.  More info at their website or by calling 412-231-3169.

Ever consider wood carving as a hobby?  There’s a number of wood carving clubs around Pittsburgh.  Chisels and Chips Carvers of North Pittsburgh meet the second Monday of each month at Parkwood United Presbyterian Church at 4789 Mount Royal Blvd, Allison Park from 6:30 to 10 pm.  If you go, you can meet some talented wood carvers, pick up some tips and they even introductory workshops.  Dale Kirkpatrick is a member and is quite the carver.  One of the  biggest annual shows is in Dayton, OH called Artistry in Wood that draws thousands of enthusiasts each year.  This year’s show will be held November 8 & 9, a great place to pick up that unique Christmas gift.

That’s it for now, enjoy your weekend,

ed