Hi,

I got my new version of Chase’s Calendar of Events, so we’re back in business.  Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the Divestiture of AT & T, the largest antitrust since Standard Oil in 1911, Elvis Presley’s birth anniversary (1935), in 18551, Jean Foucault proved the earth was round with his Foucault pendulum in Paris and it’s the anniversary of Chou En-Lai’s death anniversary (1976).

Brix restaurant opened months ago.  They opened with the theme of a wood fired oven and had that for about two weeks until the city pulled their CO for it and they’ve been struggling with a temporary menu since.  Well, the city finally gave them their CO this week and they have their wood fired oven up and running.  When you get a chance, check them out.  Also, recently, James Street has reopened.  I thought I talked about this in a past blog, but didn’t see it.  It was famous for years for some of the best jazz in the city.  When they closed, Legends took it over.  They really did a bad job, the original Legends is still excellent.  It closed again and re-opened as Sassy Marie’s.  Sassy’s did great, but ran into some management issues and closed.  Serendipity was next, just poorly run from the beginning, bad menu, bad food, bad service.  So it closed again.  The new owners are calling it James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy.  I’ve eaten lunch there several times and have been real pleased with their food and service.  They will be featuring jazz within the next few weeks.

Would you get them to take their hands out of my pockets?  They drive me crazy (no comments here) :).  The turnpike commission is raising the rates on cash customers only AGAIN, trying to force everyone to sign up for EZ pass.  I don’t want EZ pass, I travel the turnpike maybe twice a year.  EZ pass is an account tied to my bank account.  They can’t pave streets and I’m going to trust that they can keep hackers away from my bank account information?

Speaking of getting their hands out of my pockets, I had a situation with Trip Advisor a few weeks back.  I don’t pay Trip Advisor for any advertising or anything.  When that lady complained about me telling them “to leave”, I went in to the management section to refute her claims and Trip Advisor wouldn’t give me access because they “needed to verify that I was the person responsible for The Parador”  (Whenever I enter Trip Advisor from my computer, I immediately have my picture on the screen and Trip Advisor is welcoming ed@theparadorinn back).  Whatever.  So I start the process of verifying that it’s me and the first screen says I would have immediate access to the management section of Trip Advisor if I provide them with a credit card number.  My other option was to fax them a copy of a utility bill with my name and the name of The Parador on it.  At the top of that screen was another message that if I provided them a credit card number, I would have immediate access to the management section.  Why are they being so persistent attempting to get a credit card number on file?  All of my utilities are either in my name OR The Parador.  So I faxed them one with The Parador on it and then sent them an e-mail asking if they want me to fax another one with my name.  They said, no, they were confident that I am I.  I was then granted access to the management section.

Why does everyone want information that’s not needed.  I went to an oral surgeon and one of the new patients forms was the HIPPA (that may not be the correct acronym-it’s the federal law providing for patient confidentiality).  It had a space for my social security number.  What do they need my social security number for HIPPA, or for any reason for that matter?  The oral surgeon also had a disclaimer on his form that he could change it at anytime and didn’t need to notify me.  I refused to sign the form and the office administrator had an issue with this.  They treated me, I guest the color of my money was more important than having all their forms completely filled out.  :)

There’s a cool thing going on Downtown, it’s the Pop-up Project.  It a collaboration between the City, the Downtown Partnership, some of the foundations and I think maybe the Cultural District folks.  They have given vacant storefronts out to various people for various projects.  Mostly it’s a venue for exposure for artists.  I was walking down Sixth Street a couple of weeks ago and noticed a robot repair shop about two doors down from the Starbucks.  I thought it was pretty cute, but didn’t think too much more about it.  So these people put the word out seeking people to fill these storefronts and they approached the landlords to see if they would be willing to let someone move in for free on the understanding that if the landlord got a regular tenant, the freebies would move out.  Merrill Stabile (the owner of ALCO Parking and the guy that challenged the Stadium Authority’s give away to the Steelers) is one of the landlords donating space.  Out of about 100 applicants, they narrowed it down to twelve.  They include Awesome Books opening a second location at 929 Liberty Avenue (the original is in Garfield), The Steel Curtain Art Installation (1035 Penn Avenue), The Sweet Lounge Bakery (901 Penn Avenue), The Society for the Advancement of Miniature Curiosa and Symbiontic Collusion :) at 131 Seventh Street, Burgheoisie Retail Boutique (208 Sixth Street), Summer Sky Eternal (604 Liberty Avenue), Dream Cream upcoming ice cream parlor at 539 Liberty Avenue, the Main Feature Film Art (420 Wood Street) and Community Photo Art at 422 Wood Street.  Bike-Park will be coming this spring.  Other cities (New York and Baltimore) have similar programs, but they are strickly art.  I find it very cool to support local art and small businesses by utilizing unsightly urban space for something positive.  Their glasses are definitely half full.

The federal subsidy for ethanol is expiring and they anticipate that will raise the price of gasoline about four and a half cents.  I hate seeing the price of gasoline going up, but I hate seeing ethanol being subsidize even more.  When they first started talking about growing corn for ethanol, I thought what a poor use of resources.  With so many people on the verge of starvation, why are we shifting resources from food to fuel?  I’m glad to see at least the subsidy is going away.  Maybe we will start growing more food for people.

Finally finished taking down the holiday decorations today.  The Inn looks so different.  Since the holidays are over, the Steelers don’t seem to be having any home play off games it’s time to settle in for the slow winter months.  Time to do projects I can’t do when I have lots of guests.  The list is quite long.  :)

Enjoy the next couple of days, weather’s supposed to be really decent,

ed

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