Hi,

Well, the big thing tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, the start of the Mardi Gras.  The Washington Monument was dedicated (1885-I had no idea it was that old), Paczki Day a Polish Shrove Tuesday tradition where sugar coated fruit filled pastries are consumed in mass quantities :) , the assassination of Malcolm X (1965) in Harlem and Richard Nixon started his historic trip to China (1972-the first time a sitting president visited a country not diplomatically recognized by the U.S.

Well, I’m back in da ‘burg.  Two years ago when I was last in West Palm, they had the coldest snap they’d had in fifty years.  This year they had a drought until the day I arrived.  It rained every day I was there, but at least I was in short sleeved shirts and shorts.  And in Florida it can rain and twenty minutes later the sun’s out.  Saw friends I haven’t seen in awhile (planned and just bumped into), had some nice shopping and I’m not a beach person anyway, all was good.  I then went hang to with Jeff from The Inn on the Mexican War Streets, they own a condo in Tampa.  I did a map quest between West Palm and Tampa and a large segment of the trip was through the center of the state was on a two lane road, Route 60.  Well, it’s citrus harvesting time down there and there was all these huge trucks hauling oranges and grapefruits from the orchards.  I had to pass these lumbering beasts quickly and get back in my lane, in my new Prius hybrid.  The little guy did great.  It has a pwr button that gives it a turbo boost kind of thing that really does work.   The Prius does have a good amount of spunk, but that pwr button really does a nice job.  This Prius is rated 51 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway, if I’m reading the gauge correctly, I averaged 50 mpg for the entire trip.  I read a disturbing article on hybrids, they peaked in sales in 2010, sales of hybrids actually dropped in 2011.  Hey, if you’re not worried about the climate and earth, gas supposedly is going up to $4.50 – $5.00 a gallon this summer!  One final note on the trip, I got as far as the North Carolina/Virginia border and it was around 9 at night and I could continue to PGH and arrive around 2 in the morning and have a fitful night sleep and be out of sorts the next day.  Or I could pull over and find a cheap motel room.  Which I did, for being a boring little motel, The Surry Inn in Dobson, NC was actually a well run little place.  The amenities were pretty small (soaps, shampoo-not that I need that) :), but their towels were of a nice quality, the room was clean and had everything expected in a motel and in good working order. I digress, so I head off to bed and get up around 4 in the morning.  I take a shower and am on the road and it’s dark with just the truck drivers and myself cruising along.  I admit, I was doing 80 in a 70 zone, but it was five in the morning!  You know where this is going, yeps I now have my first moving vehicle violation in almost 15 years.  I’m a criminal.  :)

There’s a famous painting of Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary, that has hung in the Illinois governor’s mansion for years.  The story behind the painting is that Francis Carpenter painted it for Mary as a gift to Abraham.  Unfortunately he was assassinated before it was finished.  The painting was sold to the Lincoln family in the 1920′s for about $2,500, apparently in a scam.  One of the descendants gave the painting to the state historical society in 1976 and it was then hung in the mansion.  The mansion is undergoing renovations and so they sent the painting out for maintenance and this is how the deception was discovered.  Apparently there’s an anonymous woman that was painted over to resemble Mary and the signature of Carpenter was added at a later date.

Frankferd Farms in Saxonburg recently received an award from The Association for Sustainable Agriculture for their work in providing sustainable and renewable farming practices.  The Association, out of Centre County, is one of the largest such organizations in the country.  T. Lyle and Betty Ferderber wanted to do sustainable farming long before it became a trend (like thirty some years ago) and developed their farming business into $4M business with over 4,000 items.  Not only do they farm, they also produce a variety of ground flours and pancake mixes at the flour mill as well as a myriad of items.  More info at their web site or by visiting their store at 717 Saxonburg Blvd, Saxonburg, PA 16056.  724.352.9500.

OK, I hope any of you that know me are sitting down.  I am going to endorse a candidate in the Republican campaign.  I officially support the nomination of Rick Santorum, the weasel.  :)  Seriously, I hope he wins their nomination.  He’s the anti-Christ to me, he is everything I don’t believe in or support.  But he seems to be tailor fit for the Tea Party right wingers.  Let’s let America go to the polls this fall and announce who we are.  Are we a republic that supports corporate greed and wealthy entitlements at the expense of educating and feeding our children, or are we a nation that maintains safety nets for our less fortunate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out for a welfare state.  There’s a lot of waste, bloated agencies, redundancies and undeserving people getting aid they shouldn’t.  But to take an axe and eliminate programs that take care of basic necessities is just wrong.  The weak (and that includes a lot of definitions) deserve the support of the strong.  And the strong owe the weak this support.  “Christians” like the intolerant Santorum and the Catholic church in Italy sneaking chapels in their “bed and breakfasts” so they don’t have to pay taxes on the income the generate in their lodging establishments is the reason I am no longer a Catholic or a “christian”.  l pride myself in being a “human”.

Sorry, you know me, sometimes I just can’t help myself.

One final note tonight, I found this to be pretty ingenious.  The Apollo-Ridge School District built a new media center, that seems to have been brought in on budget.  Now the problem is to fill it.  They created a “bridal registry” kind of thing on Amazon.com and are looking for people buy anything from an iMac desk top computer for $1,133 to a 24 count single-serve hot cocoa cups for the Keuring K Cups brewer (one of their goals is to teach the high schoolers to open and run a coffee shop) for $10.50.  Somebody at the Apollo-Ridge School District deserves a gold star for creativity and thinking outside the box.  If you are so inclined, go to Amazon.com and click on the “Find a Wish List or Registry” and enter Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation.

Have a great tomorrow,

ed

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