Tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of the Federal Reserve (1913), the first non-stop flight around the world by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager (1987), Japan’s prime minister during World War II, Jojo Hideki had been convicted of war crimes and was executed tomorrow in 1948 and it is the fortieth anniversary of Franco Harris’s “Immaculate Reception”.
Good news on the fountain. They plan on completing the renovations and turning it on again on June 7, in conjunction with the opening of the 2013 Three Rivers Arts Festival. The $35M renovation of Point State Park ($9.6M for the fountain) was accomplished with $30M from the state and the remaining $5M from Riverlife. Upgrades to the park include handicapped accessibility, river front promenades, woodland areas, conversion of the space in front of the Wyndham from a foot print of the original fort to a Great Lawn, improved lighting and a cafe. The fountain has had it’s guts totally rebuilt, LED lighting has been added, the outer ring has been restored, a “disappearing edge waterfall” has been added and a new blue stone deck has been added. In conjunction with the grand opening, Riverlife is planning a decorative lighting display throughout Point State Park. They are looking for suggestions from architects, artists, lighting designers and students. You can see the details at Riverlife’s web site or Point State Park’s web site. Deadline for proposals is February 1.
OK, I’m tired of hearing about the tragedy at Sandy Hook, not that it wasn’t horrific. But stop beating a dead horse and let those poor people grapple with their loses on their own. But I do want to weight in on a couple of points. Not that anyone that follows my blog or knows me would be surprised. (You can’t change the stripes on a tiger, or my general outlook on life either. ) As I see it, we have three things that need addressed. #1 mental health. The vast majority of people with mental health issues are deemed no threat to themselves or society. I’m at a loss here, I have no idea how to identify ones that may be a threat to society and separate them from the rest. I think this is best left up to the mental health professionals and it will not have a quick answer. #2 violence in our society needs to be addressed. Violence in our neighborhoods, mainly between gang members but also between dads at kids sporting events being violent as well. The inability of our leaders (and ourselves) of being able to have civil conversations without resorting to un-civility and half truths. The proliferation of cut and slash movies and the other extremely violent genres. And finally the violent nature of the video games children and teens seem so addicted to probably have a lot to do with our violent nature these days. #3 and this is pretty big with me, assault weapons and extended clips need to be immediately removed from the market and those buy back programs should be initiated to start reducing the amount of them in society. I’m a HUGE gun proponent and the right to bear arms. You don’t need an AK-47 to hunt a deer or defend your house from a burglar. I’m posting this for two reasons. #1 I would like more people talking about this and identify what their beliefs are among us. And #2 they do have those spiders/robots that search the web looking for public opinion, I want my vote counted.
Sometimes I seem to be so out of it. Northside resident, tattoo artist Sarah Miller came in second in Spike TV’s Ink Master series. I didn’t even know that a Pittsburgher was competing. Sarah’s shop, Wyld Chyld Tattoo parlor is right over in Brookline. 13,000 tattoo artists applied for a spot on the show and Sarah was one of the sixteen selected. She then came out #2 of that sixteen. Needless to say, she’s booked solid through July with people coming from as far away as Canada and the United Kingdom. Do you think they need a place to stay? The Parador Inn is always looking for new guests.
I admit, I’m not an Audi kind of guy. I’m more of a Prius or maybe a Jeep kind of guy. So maybe their advertising attracts their targeted market. But every time I see that tired ad (second year) with mom and dad doing finish holiday touches in their house when their son pulls up in his new Audi and toots his horn “I’ve made it home safe”. They sneak out the back door because he’s coming in the front. As they pull out in his car dad says “He’ll be OK”. I think how rude. If my parents ever did something like that, it would have been the last Christmas I was home.
Did you know there are 1,300 mistletoe species world wide and more than 30 in the continental United States? The most common mistletoe in the United States is Phoradendron, Greek for tree thief. All mistletoes are parasites than when they are a healthy bunch, kill the host trees. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many birds and animals find the hollowed out trees ideal for nesting. Mistletoe seeds are sticky, attach themselves to traveling animals to find new homes and then adhere to trees while their roots take hold. Mature growths turn into a thick, sometimes rounded mass of branches and stems that can look like baskets and are sometimes called witches brooms. The seeds of some species of mistletoe “explode” shooting their seeds up to fifty feet away to sprout. Although the white berries are toxic to humans, many other animal species depend on them when food is scarce. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe goes back to the 1500′s and to do it properly, each time a couple kisses under the mistletoe, they should remove one of the white berries. When there’s no more berries, the mistletoe has lost it’s kissing power.
My good friend and owner of The Stone Manse Inn outside of Harrisburg returned my manuscript this week. She did a wonderful job translating my rambling into a cohesive text. With winter closing in on us, I wanted to get started on it again. I have roughly 55,000 words and need 75,000 for a publisher to even consider it. I gave it to Myra about two years ago as she was opening her Inn to giver her pointers on things she may not have thought of. I started it when I sold my bed and breakfast in Florida and had lots of time on my hands waiting for closing. Since they were going to bulldoze my property and build townhouses, the only work I was doing was basic maintenance. I had wanted to write a book for sometime and that seemed like a good time to start. I buzzed through about 25,000 words and hit a brick wall. Someone suggested I buy a book on how to open and run a bed and breakfast to get ideas on things I missed. Which I did and added about another 15,000 words. I bought another book and add probably another 10,000 and Myra’s editing added the remaining 5,000. The book I’m reading now is How to Start and Run Your Own Bed and Breakfast Inn by Ripley Hotch and Carl Glassman. I’ve picked up a lot of ideas from them and not complaining, but they miss a bunch that I already cover. They have a different approach which is giving me a lot to think about and then put in my book (and of course acknowledge their contributions). So between the influence they will have and experiences I’ve had the last seven years, I think we can make it up to the magic number, 75,000. One of the things I have in my book are life stories of mine. They either give good examples of what I am talking about at the time or a humorous story related to the current topic. I had them spread throughout my manuscript. Before each one, Myra calls them Ed Mania, I love it.
At least we’ve past the solstice, the shortest day of the year was yesterday. It’s all better from now on. Have a great holiday and be safe,