Birth anniversaries tomorrow include geneticist Nobel prize winner George Beadle (1903), photojournalist that covered five wars from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam Robert Capa (1913), Jerome Lester Horwitz (Curly of the three stooges 1903), prominent psychologist Timothy Leary (of hippy LSD fame 1920) and composer Franz Liszt (1811).  Tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the anniversary of the New York Metropolitan Opera House (1883) and Zambia’s Independence Day (1964).

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department employs a Horseshoer.  They don’t own a horse, nor have they for decades.  This position pays just over $56,000 a year in wages and benefits.  John Riehl, president if the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207 says “it’s impossible to eliminate positions.”  This with the Detroit system using twice as many employees per gallon of water as Chicago does.  I come from a very blue collar family, my dad worked in the Steel Mills.  But big evil unions are as bad as big evil corporations.  Corporations are not inherently evil, nor are unions.  It’s idiots like Riehl that ruin life for the working stiff.

Speaking of evil, Lamar advertising is making the news again.  They’ve started a billboard campaign against Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris and Councilwoman Rudiak because they are proposing a tax on billboard advertising.  I don’t know enough about what taxes Lamar (the largest billboard company in the country) pays here versus elsewhere.  What I do know is I take offense at Lamar thinking it’s OK to interfere with politics in my city.  Just as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has no business endorsing a presidential candidate in a foreign country, a business has no business trying to influence the general population like this.  They seem to think we may have forgotten they tried illegally to bribe our city officials to get a sweat deal on an electronic billboard on the Grant & Liberty Transit Center, but got caught.  When the city made them stop, Lamar tried taking us to court to get their way.  How much do we have to take from them?  As most of my regulars know, I only include hyperlinks to businesses I support.  The reason I have a hyperlink to Lamar is not that I support them, I’m hoping they have Google Alerts and see my post.

The Pittsburgh Glass Center in Friendship (5472 Penn Avenue is always a good bet to visit.  They’ve extended John Moran’s American Idols to January 21.  John has sculpted the heads and faces of past presidents and dressed them in whimsical clothing.  You can even vote for your favorite.  Currently, the top three are Obama, Washington and Jackson in that order.  Normal hours are 10 am – 7 pm Tuesday through Thursday and 10 am – 4 pm Friday through Sunday.  More info at either web site or by calling 412.365.2145.

OK, it’s that time of year.  In keeping with the season, here’s my list of haunted houses for your perusal.  In Renfrew you will find The Beacon, which has family friendly No Scare Sundays from 1 pm – 4 pm.  Out in West Deer Township’s Bairford Park you will find West Deer Nightmare.  Rated one of the scariest Halloween attractions by the Travel Channel is Scarehouse in Etna.  The Haunted Hills Hayride over in N Versailles is celebrating 13 years of scaring you.  Proceeds from Haunted Hills benefit Autism Society of Pittsburgh.  Fright Farm 2012 is an association of haunted houses and the ilk.  You can go to their web site and find haunted houses all over the country.  Not to be confused with Cheeseman’s Fright Farm out in Portersville (near McConnell’s Mill).  There’s Demon House 2012 out in Monongahela/Carrol Township.  South Park’s having Haunted Hundred Acres again.  In Perryopolis Allen’s Haunted Hayrides is scaring people again.  Kennywood’s Phantom Fright Nights is back.  Mischief Manor (formerly Victory Haunted House) is open in Elizabeth Township.  Terror Town is back in the Strip on Smallman across from the Terminal Building.  KDKA Zoo Boo for kids is coming back this year, great non scary event for the smaller goblin fans.  ExScream Nightmares has been in Clairton’s pool since 2008.  The Boy Scouts will be hosting The Haunted Cabin in Oakdale.  There’s a ton of other scary houses around the area, follow this link to events outside Allegheny County.  This web site even lists scare houses that have been open in the past on the bottom of their list.  Molly’s Trolleys is featuring Terror Trolley Tours Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 pm and 9 pm leaving from Station Square.  The Trolley Museum out in Washington County is hosting a pumpkin patch trolley tour as well.

There’s a start up over on the South Side that’s goal is to make money off free water and in the process help the environment.  Evive has set up water filling stations at WVU and California.  The system is set up to either clean the water bottle and then fill with chilled filtered water for free or just will the bottle with chilled filtered water (skip the cleaning step).  The bottles are part of the system, they have a microchip in them that when you swipe it to get water, personalized ads appear on a 32″ screen. You buy the $10 bottle and fill in a questionnaire with general preferences, like you like to ski or hike, music you like, etc.  The machine will display custom ads on a screen as you fill the bottle based on your preferences and ad space Evive was able to sell.

Project Bundle Up, the charity that supplies cold weather coats and jackets to seniors and children are looking at a fairly bleak future now that UPMC has pulled their support out of the Hartwood Acres Celebration of Lights, Bundle Up’s major funding source.  It’s not going to effect this year, Bundle Up works a year in the future.  So they are highlighting their shopping-trips sponsorships.  This is where donors can accompany the child buying winter outerwear.  This program looks for a donation of at least $2,500.  Business Records Management, this great company over here right down the street from The Parador Inn became a shopping sponsor and hopes to raise at least $15,000 for Bundle Up.  (I had all these old boxes of financial records and guest info from Florida I wanted to shred, BRM only wanted $6 for it.  When I had a wedding and there was a Pitt game, they let my guests use one of their lots without charge).

I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise, but his new film set to be released in December, Jack Reacher has lots of Pittsburgh identifiable shots.  Pittsburgh police cruisers, PNC Park, Heinz Field, Ft Pitt tunnels, lots and lots.

Have a great day,


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