Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Anna Nicole Smith (1967), painter & sculpture Charles Alston (1907), poet artist William Blake, cleric & author John Bunyan (1628 no relationship to Paul) :), French anthropologist and philosopher Claude Levi Strauss (1908 no relation to the jeans guys) and musician and composer Jean Baptiste Lully (1632).  They light the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and it is the anniversary of the oldest scientific society in the world, The Royal Society (1660).

I am a major fan of Mayor John Fetterman and just when I thought he had impressed me as much as he could, he puts a new feather in his cap.  He’s opening his very cool home Saturday, December 8 for a pig roast/cocktail party for 100 guests in collaboration with Chef Kevin Sousa of Salt of the Earth for  a charity Mayor Fetterman started a few years ago.  Proceeds of the fund raiser go directly to buy winter coats and Christmas gifts  for Braddock’s youth.  A little back ground on Mayor Fetterman, originally from York, PA and Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public policy came to Braddock after graduating as an AmeriCorps volunteer and fell in love with the gritty little town.  Mr. Fetterman and his wife, Gisele, bought an abandoned warehouse across from Andrew Carnegie’s first free public library in Braddock.  After renovating it, to expand they got two shipping containers that they raised onto the roof with a crane.  Mrs. Fetterman, a third generation vegetarian wanted to space for a yoga studio.  So if you would like to meet Mr. Fetterman, enjoy Chef Sousa’s creations, see this amazing home, call 412-441-7258 or e-mail Kevin at unionpgh@gmail.com.  Tickets are $100 and if it wasn’t a Steeler home game weekend, I definitely would be there.

Turner Dairy, that great Penn Hills dairy that takes pride in not using hormones or other unnatural products in their dairy recently won a first and third place awards at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI.  Their Fat Free Skim Milk crushed the competition with the highest score of 98.74%.  Their 2% milk came in third.  Other awards brought home to Pittsburgh was the Church Brew Works won Best Large Brewpub at 2012 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.  Brew Works master brewer Steve Sloan won Best Large Brewer of the Year.

Restaurant Expansions, it looks like after opening Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina, Chef Lynett “LBEE” Bushey is opening a new concept restaurant in Lawrenceville-Tender.  It’s going to be at 4300 Butler Street.  I guess opening a restaurant next to Kevin Sousa’s Salt things rubbed off.  🙂

Continuing with holiday tours, out in Venetia (right up the street from where I grew up) The Wright House Museum will be holding it’s sixth annual Soup and Stroll at their restored 1780’s log house on December 2.  More info at the Peters Creek Historic Society web site or by calling 724-941-5710.

Kennywood having their second annual Holiday Lights with over one million lights lit up.  There will be 50 live pine trees lit, Santa will be in a larger than life roller coaster next to The Racer and instead of flashing the ride’s name, it will flash Santa.  There will be live shows around the Lagoon, holiday music piped around the park and a number of rides will operate (mainly in Kiddie Land).  It will be from 5 – 9 on Fridays and Saturdays through December 30 and December 26 & 27 thrown in as a bonus.  Tickets are $16, more info at their web site or by calling 412-461-0500.

Guess who’s turning 100 this year?  Tarzan!  I find the back story even more interesting.  Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in 1875 to a wealthy Chicago family and was expelled from prep school and then graduated from a military but didn’t qualify for West Point.  He joined the Army, but that lasted less than a year.  Teddy Roosevelt rejected him as a recruit for the Rough Riders.  He lived out West where his venture into gold mining went bust, he bombed  with his stationary store in Idaho and railroad cop in Utah.  He returned to Chicago and tried selling patent medicine and managing stenographers at Sears, Roebuck and Company.  A few years later, selling his wife’s jewelry for cash while working for an advertising company, he was reading pulp magazines making sure his ads were in there and correct and decided he could do a better job than what he was reading.  So he sat down and wrote Under the Moons of Mars (which later became the Disney movie John Carter) and sold it for about $400 ($9,300 in today’s money)!  Always curious about science and interested in Darwin, he came up with this tale about a titled English couple that take an ill fated sailing trip to Africa their son John Clayton ends up being raised by apes.  Tarzan of the Apes was an 80,000 word adventure that really hit a nerve in the October, 1912 issue of The All-Story Magazine and was published in book form two years later.  It spawned 24 sequels in 35 languages, it’s significance has been recognized by the Library of Congress and has created 52 authorized films, a radio show, a comic strip even a Broadway musical.

The seven county Southwestern Pennsylvanian region saw a 24.7% increase in exports from 2010 to 2011.  We blew past Milwaukee, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Detroit, Richmond, Cleveland, St Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Boston and Indianapolis.  With all the turmoil in Europe and China’s slowing economy, they are predicting a more modest growth of 15 to 19% growth over last year, still not bad.  Our region has 89,000 people in manufacturing (10% of all jobs).  Manufactured goods are our largest export (47%) followed by Services (29%)  and the rest are agriculture/commodities and fuels.  Our largest trading partners are Canada (19%), European Union (14%), Mexico (13%) and China (8%).

Am I overly intelligent or moral?  I don’t understand what part of honesty, integrity, transparency Penn State has missed this past year.  On Monday, a PSU spokesperson “clarified” the status of Spanier.  In case you don’t remember, he’s the arrogant guy that was at the helm at PSU when the Jerry Sandusky case broke (not to mention he was the boss throughout the time Sandusky was molesting boys) and testified that he only “learned of Sandusky’s actions when the grand jury indictment was released”, later after he was booted from the post and couldn’t cover things up anymore, e-mails were discovered implicating him with a cover up “for years to keep PSU’s name in tact”.  (Both statements in quotation marks are paraphrased by me).  Earlier, PSU stated Spanier “was receiving no additional compensation from the university”.  Oops, they forgot to mention the $600,000 he receives as a tenured professor.  I don’t know, that sure sounds like compensation to me.  And the best part?  PSU REFUSES to release the terms of his separation contract!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They really need to fire everyone up there above the level of janitor.  (Nothing personal janitors).  🙂

Well, that’s about it for today.  I’m currently finishing up deep cleaning the dining rooms getting ready for holiday decorating.  It looks like this weekend will be great weather to hang my outside stuff.  I remember some years it was bitingly cold.  I found out what that chandelier in the front dining room is, Tiche.  More to follow on my next post.

Be well,





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