Tomorrow is 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, the cold war officially ended in 1990, the first automatic toll collection machine was introduced in 1954 at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway, Pele scored his 1,000 goal (1969) and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was organized (1874) and the first Presidential Library was dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt (1939).

I had a conversation with a guest that’s visited since 2007 (after his son, daughter-in and granddaughter stayed here when relocating to Pittsburgh).  Bob said that although he frequently reads my blog, he doesn’t always agree with me.  That’s the point of my political ramblings, I don’t want people to agree with me.  The purpose is to stimulate conversation, either with me through the Comments section or by e-mail if you feel the topic warrants it.  Or possibly stimulate conversation among your family and friends. As any of you that read my blog know, it’s not just political ramblings that I talk about, mainly I try and cover events people might be interested in attending and happenings at The Parador.  Speaking of happenings, we’re finishing up with the deep cleaning and paste waxing of the floors in the Parlor and Library this afternoon in preparation for the holiday decorations.  Also, I’m working on the coconuts I hang in the front windows.  In case you’ve never been here over the holidays, I came up with the idea while in Florida to take coconuts, spray paint them and then paint holiday images  on them like snowmen, candy canes, Christmas trees, etc.  Well, I haven’t done anything with them in over eight years and they were really looking pretty shabby.  I’ve put a fresh coat of paint on them all and are now re-painting the images.  They’re looking pretty sparkly.  🙂

Speaking of my blog, theirs a counter on it (don’t worry, it doesn’t show who read blogs or when they did), it just shows the gross number of people that have read individual blogs.  I’m closing in on 5,000 on several blogs!

The Netflix feature Orange is the New Back has a Pittsburgh connection.  One of the writers is Lauren Morelli from McCandless.  The story line is about a nice middle class woman imprisoned for prior association with a drug dealer.  I haven’t seen it, but it’s supposed to be pretty good and is available in their streaming service.  The first season was such a success that they are currently filming season two.

I’m reading the most interesting book, Last Ape Standing by Chip Walter.  The book explores the evolution of man, did you know there were 27 forms of us before homo sapiens turned out with our final form?  The book is well written and not too technical that it’s hard to read, in fact Chip makes the book very entertaining as well as informative.   It is the first book I can recall where I actually would Google things in the book like the alien looking aye-aye from Madagascar, the blobfish of Borneo and the bizarre mating rituals of porcupines and anglerfish.

Looking for unique holiday gifts?  Try the Holiday Artist Market in the Cultural District.  They have 30 local artists that belong to the Craftsman’s Guild of Pittsburgh.  The diverse offerings include hand crafted works in jewelry, glass, clay, wood, sculpture, textiles and paper with prices from the inexpensive to fairly pricey.  It’s being held at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 709 Gallery on Penn Avenue and is open during the gallery’s normal operating hours of 11 am – 6 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 am – 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays as well as 11 am – 5 pm Sundays and runs through January 5.  More info at their website or by calling 412-456-6666.

Through the rest of the month at Gallerie Chiz has four artists featured including Pittsburgh Mitzi Hall who works in colorful mosaics of pieces of glass, mirror and ceramic.  She really “dolled” up everything from shoes to violins.  Very colorful.  Venezuelan artist Salvador Di Quinzio takes a light hearted colorful use of acrylic.  Not as colorful as the last two artists, there’s 32 paintings by Romanian artist Manulela Holban.  Although much darker (in shade, not theme), they are very interesting works in oil.  Finally, Masha Archer makes jewelry from objects she collects from around the world.  We’re not talking simple strings of pearls here.  🙂  Though I don’t see me with one of them, I can still appreciate the creativity.  The gallery is open 11 am – 5:30 pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 am – 5 pm Saturdays.  More information on this show in Shadyside at their website or by calling 412-441-6005.

After 206 years, the iconic Pleyel piano company is closing it’s doors.  Favored by such greats as Chopin, Lizst, Ravel and Stravinsky it was the standing in all upscale Paris parlors and salons for generations.  Ignaz Pleyel, a composer and music publisher studied with Haydn and was always on the cutting edge of their craft.  They’ve been on the decline for many years and are down to just 14 employees being under cut by budget pianos from the East and the change in consumer tastes for the bulky pianos.

Be happy,




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