Today is the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  Also today, the Titanic sank (1912), Botox was approved by the FDA (2002), the first McDonald’s was opened (1955), the first school for the deaf was founded (1817) and Jackie Robinson broke the racial barrier in baseball (1947).  Birth anniversaries include artist Thomas Benton (1889), North Korean leader Kim Il Sung (1912), capitalist John Longyear (1850), blues singer Bessie Smith (1894) and artist Charles Peale (1741).

The best year yet for composting, my first year it was a clump of mud, the second year (when I ramped up water and brown-leaves) it was decent.  This year it came out ideal.  Black gold:


It was so well decomposed, I was able to spread it over the grass this year:


The rain will soak it into the soil.  Here’s the old guy watching dad work:


The gardens are all prepped for the season, winter is officially banished.  Mulch is scheduled for delivery this morning.  Hopefully I can get it spread before the rains come this afternoon.  13 cubic yards is a lot of mulch.  🙂

Point Park University is hosting an art show celebrating women in art through May 18.  They selected 26 works from 200 submitted in all forms of art, 2D as well as 3D and combinations of both.  The submissions came from the National Association of Women Artists, headquartered out of New York City.  Several artists in the show include Claudia Kleefeld, Michelle Manley, Judith Modrak, Pennie Brantley and my favorite, Pittsburgh native Elizabeth Myers Castonguay.  Elizabeth is contributing part of her current series she is working on highlighting endangered species.  She paints the humans in drab colors showing all people on earth regardless of their heritage all are involved with this tragedy and she paints the endangered animals in bright vivid colors.  The hours are from 9 am until 6 pm (school hours) Mondays through Saturdays, admission is free.  Located in Lawrence Hall at the corner of Wood Street and the Blvd of the Allies.  More info at 412-392-8008 or Point Park‘s website.

Next week is the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, April 17.  When it was rolled out in 1964 (in case you’re mathematically challenged)  🙂 , the dealerships had drapes over the windows and you had to wait in lines to get in to see the car.  Many dealers were offering hot dogs, donuts and lemonade while you waited.  The base sticker price back then was $2k and the dealers took over 22,000 orders for the car that day.  If you want to see the very first Mustang (Serial Number one #0001), just go the the Ford Museum in Dearborn.  The Mustang Club of America will be hosting simultaneous birthday parties in both the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada April 16 – 20.  If you are really into it, the American Pony Drive will meet up in Norman, Okla and caravan to either destination.  More info at their sites.

President Wm McKinley’s wife Ida’s tiara is being held hostage at Las Vegas pawn shop.  When Ida passed away, it was inherited by members of her family and it’s location became lost.  It turned up on that TV series Pawn Stars feature and now the private non-profit McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton is trying to acquire it.  The pawn shop paid $43k for it and want $75k for it.  If you’d like to assist, you can call a donation to 330-455-7043 or mail a check to Ida McKinley Tiara Fund, McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, OH 44708.

Pittsburgh seems to be the darling child of the Huffington Post.  They ran an article singing our praises in December What Pittsburgh Can Teach The Rest Of The Country About Living Well.  The Trib picked up another article from the Huffington Post who picked up an article on us from Air Fare Watch Dog that also was singing our praises.  We have really been getting a ton of super positive press, maybe one day I’ll devote an entire blog to all the wonderful things people are saying about us.  🙂

I believe the last time I complained about my neighborhood association was in January.  The local food bank Northside Common Ministries made a plea for $1,000, they were visiting all the Northside neighborhood associations asking for help.  Later in the meeting, when it was discussed whether to donate or not, two issues came up.  #1 the association didn’t have a formal budget, so they couldn’t commit.  #2 one of the members questioned “Can we even donate due to out by-laws.”  It made the minutes, so it had to come up in February’s meeting.  “We don’t have an approved budget, the item is tabled.”  In March, two representatives from the food bank made a second plea.  When it was discussed, after they left, “we don’t have an approved budget, the item is tabled”.  After much rancor in the April meeting over hiring attorneys over renovations at two neighborhood buildings, the item came up on the agenda AGAIN.  Because of the length of the meeting to that point and another major issue yet to be discussed, the motion was AGAIN tabled until next month.  At the previous meetings, I pointed out that these were neighbors that were going to bed hungry partially because of these delays.  This meeting, I asked how long it would take to vote, necessitating another month.  My comments again “were noted”.  I won’t go into specifics about how much money the association brought in last year, but I can compare it to my gross revenue.  They paid as much in attorney fees as I paid in heating last year.   They don’t have property taxes, mortgages, etc.  Second harvest notes that they activity increased 26% from 2012 to 2013.   49 million families are at risk of hunger, 16 million of these are children!.  How can they sleep at night?

It’s the 50th anniversaries of many children’s favorites and adult’s bane, It’s a Small World at the Disney attractions.  That is one of the most annoying attractions I have ever been to, and all the kids in our group loved it.

Here’s a controversial post.  I was listening to NPR the other day and the topic was child pedophiles.  They interviewed this 18 year old guy that’s an admitted pedophile.  When he turned 16, he realized he was attracted to very young girls.  He has never acted on his impulses.  He went to his mom who tried to find a psychiatrist to treat him and ran into problems finding one.  Number one, it’s not a recognized medical issue and number two there’s a major liability issue.  If the psychiatrist is treating him and he takes action on this, the psychiatrist would be liable for not alerting authorities of his pre-disposition.  It’s like someone suicidal and the psychiatrist doesn’t alert authorities ahead of time and they take their life, the psychiatrist can face criminal charges.  The kid set up an on-line chat group for other young pedophiles.  The number one requirement to join is you have to adamantly acknowledge that pedophilia is wrong.  I never viewed this in this light.  And please, I am no way justifying or otherwise condoning this.  It’s just I always viewed pedophilia  as some old geezer preying on young children (which I pretty much still feel).     I guess it’s like the rest of life, it’s more complicated than you realize at first.

On that twisted note, I’m signing off.  Breakfast to serve and mulch to spread.  Enjoy this fabulous weather,


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