Problems with my blog host, this is posting three days late.  Sorry.

Tomorrow is Nicolas Appert’s birth anniversary (1752), chef, chemist, confectioner, inventor and author.  He invented the bouillon cube and the process of heating foods and then sealing them in air tight containers for long term storage.  It’s the anniversary of the Beirut terrorist attack on American forces where we lost 240 personal to this suicide bomber (1983).  And to leave this on a happier note, it is the traditional day the swallows leave San Juan Capistrano for their wintering in Mexico.

Has anyone noticed a change in the PA State Store system?  There’s one on McKnight Road I frequent because it’s next to a Kuhn’s grocery store I go to.  It’s a small store and the staff are frequently stocking the shelves when you walk in.  Here, as in ANY state store I’ve been in, have I NEVER felt warm and fuzzy about giving them my money.  At best, they have made eye contact and maybe thanked me. They have two registers and invariably I go to the one that is not assigned to the clerk that comes up from stocking the shelves to ring me up.  I then need to move my purchases to the other register.  Not a major inconvenience, but something I think could be handled better.  In fact, I have pointed this out to the employee sitting in the raised area of the office (the boss maybe)?  I’ve suggested, just at many retail establishments, when one register is closed, put a sign up stating so.  I’ve made this suggestion, on occasion, over the five years I’ve patronized this store, never to see results.  That is still an issue, but what I have noticed is the clerks now are showing some personality!  On a regular basis, I have found the clerk looks me in the eye when they are speaking to me, they seem sincere when thanking me and one of them really threw me through a loop.  He started talking to me with things like “It’s really good to see you again”.  I guess the threat of privatization is having an effect.  🙂

Braddock’s in the lime light again.  Did you know Levi’s has partnered with them on several fronts.  Benefit Braddock is an up coming concert series in the Carnegie public library in Braddock, 419 Library Street.  All ticket sales will be TRIPLED by Levi and the proceeds will benefit the rebuilding efforts of the town.  On Thursday, November 10, at 8 p.m. will be Andrew Bird with special guest Kurt Vile and the Violators, 🙂 on November 11 also at 8 p.m. will be Built to Spill with special guest Atlas Sound.  And finally on November 12 it will be The Hold Steady with special guest Titus Andronicus.  You have to love their Mayor, John Fetterman.  He really is an amazing guy.

Jon Bon Jovi has opened another of his charity restaurants near Red Bank, NJ.  This is the latest of the New Jersey native’s efforts to give back to his home state.  Among other accomplishments, his Soul Foundation has built 260 homes for low-income residents.  When you go in one of his restaurants, there’s no prices on the menu.  You are given an envelope that you place what you feel is appropriate.  And they never turn someone away.  If you don’t have $ for the meal, you can help out busing tables, waiting tables, cooking.  Maybe you’re not a “people person”, they can arrange for you to work at the local food bank, or some other charity.

The new 40 story PNC tower they are planning on breaking ground in April will be joining The Tower at PNC Plaza, Century Building, Penn Avenue Place, Midtown Towers and David Lawrence Convention Center in tapping our fourth river (underground) for a geothermal heating and cooling system.  They anticipate a 20% energy savings from it.  They figure it will take four 16″ holes drilled down to the aquifer to accomplish this.

The credit reporting agencies are adding to the mix how they rate you.  They currently only take into account purchases, payments on these purchases and asset to debt ratio.  They are adding things like on time payments on rental payments, utilities, rent, pay day loands and cell phones.  This should make credit more readily available to a large segment of our population that lives successfully towards the edge.  A lot of people can’t afford to buy the new living room set, so they rent it.  These people have a large chunk of their income responsibly paid to companies, but get no credit for their responsible behavior because the credit reporting agencies never looked at that.  This is how lower income people can start to break that viscous cycle and start reaping the advantages of being responsible, like qualifying for lower credit card interest rates, purchasing furniture, even a home.  I’m pretty excited to see this.  The credit reporting agencies are also going to start listing deadbeats on child support payments.

One of the MANY things in the world that annoy me are the Introductory Offers.  They’ll reward you when they steal you from their competitors, then once they figure they “have” you, no more discounts.  You generally see this with cell phones, cable and other media.  It’s the opposite of the way I see the world, I would reward my regulars for staying with me.  Maybe come up with a points system that occasionally gives you a free month or some other tangible reward for staying with them.  You’re seeing this with hotels, airlines, etc more and more.  But I digress from the point I was going to.  In this article I read, they talk about when the Introductory Offer expires, how to complain to get it extended or maybe a reduction in the rate.  The article even points you in a direction on how to complain.  Go to the Consumer’s Action Guide and brush up on your complaining skills.  No one ever accused me of not being able to complain.  🙂

The Hodges Family Collection of Faberge is coming to The Frick tomorrow through January 15.  The Clayton’s normal hours 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and normal price of $7.50 admission.  I think most people know the Faberge’s were originally French that fled to Russia to avoid persecution  for being Huguenots.  Gustav was just a jeweler, skilled, but just did regular jewelry.  They really exploded after son Carl and younger son Agathon took over the business.  Carl had recently returned from nine years of studies in Germany, Italy, France and England.  Tsar Alexander started commissioning their fantastic Imperial Eggs and the Faberge basically got out of jewelry making and into making “objets de fantaisie”-small decorative items that were both beautiful and useful.  These artist-jewelers began making one of a kind objects that were in high demand with the new wealthy and the rest is history.  This show has over 100 pieces, several lectures and even an added Roll-Royce in keeping with the theme of luxury.  More info at the Frick’s web site or by calling them 412.371.0600.

Well, they sold Betty’s house at auction today.  As sad day, but a nice closure.  I missed the auction, couldn’t get out until after I finished serving breakfast, but apparently a good many people stopped by that we knew over the years, sort of like a wake.  It was pretty nice.

Have a great rest of your weekend,


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