Tomorrow is the anniversary of V-J Day (the surrender of Japan in 1945), Social Security was enacted (1935), the longest softball game between the Cager’s Diner and Bend’n Elbow lasted 365 innings in 1976 (by the way, the Cager’s won 491-467), it was finally called on day two because of fog.

It looks like Southside getting a new institution.  Tom Tripoli of Pius Street Associates (the developer of Angel Arms Condominiums over there) is joining forces with Anne Marie Toccket the director of the Pittsburgh Hostel Project to open a hostel on the Southside.  The building is on the corner of 14th and Carson Streets has retail/restaurants on the first floor and they are planning on opening the second and third floor as a hostel.  The location is much better than the last hostel attempt up in Allentown.  They are planning a 60 to 70 bed accommodation made of dormitory type bunking set up in 10 bunk rooms mixed with private rooms some with private baths.  Rates are expected to be in the $25 to $50 rates.  I wonder what kind of uproar that this is going to bring by Southside’s locals.  🙂  I don’t see where they are going to be offering breakfast, so I guest I’m safe.  🙂  More info on Pittsburgh hostels at www.notanotherhostel.org.

Speaking of Southside, did you see where they’re considering extending the residential parking from 7 pm until midnight.  Wow, that’s going to cause riots.

I want to weigh in on the bicycle lane issues in the city.  If you’ve read any of my past blogs or spoken with me more than a minute, you know how green focused I am.  I am all for alternative means of transportation other than cars.  But shoving bicycle lanes down our throats just to have as many as possible is insane.  The streets were built for vehicles.  Instead of just putting stickers on busy city streets and Share the Road signs on telephone poles, why don’t we plan this thing out.  I’m in favor of doing a master plan, figuring out bicycle highways closed to vehicles (even if this means closing some city streets) allowing bicyclists safe routes.  Or eliminate parking on one side of the street and making real bicycle lanes.  Then we share the side streets and everyone should get along together.  Also, this new ordinance/law that vehicles have to give bicycles four feet of clearance puts you in the path of opposing traffic.  My final thoughts on this issue is bicycle activists that insist on pedaling in the middle of the lane making it impossible for a vehicle to pass should be ticketed.

There’s an exhibit at the Fe Arts Gallery in Lawrenceville titled The Art of War that runs through September 1.  It is a show of a dozen area vets from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq in mixed medias of pencil, photography and ceramics.  It’s free and runs from 4 until 8 pm Thursdays and Fridays, noon until 6 pm Saturdays and noon until 4 pm Sundays.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.860.6028.

There’s two exhibits at two of the Cultural Trusts galleries at SPACE 812 Liberty Avenue and 709 Gallery at 709 Penn Avenue.  Photographer Jerry Irwin from south of Philly has been taking pictures since before 1974.  His most known were taken while skydiving (he was on the cover of Life magazine) or motorcycles, his other passion.  There’s a picture he took of Billy Gibbons on a custom bike built by Mad Dog Custom Chopper in Louisville.  Also in at SPACE is retro paintings by Jonathan Chamberlain and Brian Brown from Bloomfield.  Chamberlain took a brochure from the 1950’s of a lady astride a horse, scanned it into his computer, worked it and then the final image became the source for How I Imagine Your Mother.  Brown is famous for his huge canvases (one is 14 feet tall.)  Daisy Lane is a compilation of various mid 20th century imagery including a butler serving two men, a tiny Jackie Onassis type character standing in a little car, King Kong and even a little space ship.  This picture is so large, that he has to bring a canvas stretcher when it goes on display because it doesn’t fit through doorways.  There are additional paintings by Brown at 709 Gallery.  Free admission, and is open until this coming Sunday (August 19) from 11 am until 6 pm Wednesday and Thursday, 11 am until 8 pm Friday and Saturday and 11 am until 5 pm Sunday.

I have issues with 60 minutes since they trashed Greg Mortenson and the CAI a year ago.  It was very one sided and biased.  Greg is far from a saint and has his flaws, but he does incredible work.  60 Minutes did a great job on the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, the poorest nation on earth’s symphony.  Armand Diagienda was a pilot for a Congolese airline that went out of business.  So in 1992, he decided to pursue his other passion, music.  He started recruiting musicians and just regular people that wanted to learn music.  This low budget, actually no budget started with locally donated instruments and using local volunteers, they reconditioned them into playable instruments using things like wire from bicycles to restring violins, no kidding.  Two brothers walk ten miles five days a week to practice.  They teach each other how to play music.  For 17 years, in obscurity in the impoverished nation, he has grown his symphony from a hand full of musician to a full orchestra.  Finally in 2009, some Germans made a short film on them and they’ve started getting some recognition.  Armand started getting donated used musical equipment from the Germans who saw this film and several Germans traveled to his conservancy.  Can you image German speaking musicians “talking” to French speaking Congolese how to sing an Italian aria?  Oh, to be a fly on the wall.  The link from the Orchestre Symphonique will take you to part of the 60 Minute special, well worth the four minutes it takes to view.

It’s a beautiful day out there today, enjoy it,



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