It’s been a full week since my last post. Another lost housekeeper, gang busting business and heat (and broken AC-now repaired) are what I’m blaming. Yesterday was the anniversary of the Homestead Riots, where the steel workers finally had enough with the steel magnates. Maybe the 99% should learn a lesson from the past. The Occupy movement has had good ideas, but no cohesion. This excess of the banks is really riling me. It’s just one heinous act of greed after another. Sorry, tomorrow is the anniversary of the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia (1776), Billy Eckstine’s birth anniversary (1914), Nelson Rockefeller’s birth anniversary (1908), war hero Jean Moulin’s death anniversary (1943), the King of Jukebox Louis Jordan’s birth anniversary (jazz pioneer, band leader 1908) and the Ziegfeld Follies anniversary (1907).
I don’t blame the companies, I blame our government. Chesapeake Energy has averaged paying one percent of it’s cumulative pretax profits (this in a country with a 35% corporate income tax rate) over it’s twenty-three year history. Add to this an average 2.1 percent paid by Southwestern Energy and 5.3 percent by EQT, we could really balance our federal budget and cut the deficit if these mega companies ponied up what they legitimately owe and we cut the millions in tax breaks to the oil giants.
While I’m on a rant, I can’t idly sit by with a new figure I just found out about Port Authority. Come this September, because of their legacy costs, one current employee will need to support two retired employees. This is outrageous. Since moving back to Pittsburgh, I keep hearing about this study and that study Port Authority paid for. One of these studies was over two hundred thousand dollars last year that basically said to simplify things get rid of the letters after the numbers. Manchester (the bus in front of my Inn) magically became just 18 (instead of the 16D it was). Didn’t they have studies done each time they negotiated a contract? I’m so furious, I think County Executive Rich Fitzgerald shouldn’t just fire Steve Bland, put should press criminal charges against him.
Two years ago, Janice Parks from YMWAHA brought eight of Gee’s Bend quilters to Pittsburgh for a show at the New Hazlett Theater. These amazing women stayed at The Parador during their show. What a great group, and what a wonderful story behind Gee’s Bend. YHWAHA is an organization that strives to get inner city youths focused in healthy directions, like quilting. Janice was the founder of this great organization and has recently retired. She is such a dynamo, she’s one of those people that speak what they see and I certainly enjoy that. Eric Asongwed is Janice’s successor, he his some big shoes to fill, I’m sure he’s up to it and I wish him the best of luck.
They re-did the gardens in front of the Children’s Museum and a piece of art work is pretty cool (literally). Ned Kahn created the “Cloud Arbor”, which is nine metal poles that periodically spray a fine mist you can cool off in. This vast expanse 65% of neglected concrete now has open space and the 20 trees have been replaced with 100 trees, 200 shrubs and 5,000 flowers and is 70% grass.
And the best part is the way they designed it, they can easily reconnect East Ohio Street with West Ohio Street. A biggie with me. Live concerts in the park presented by the Allegheny City Society will feature the Ortner Roberts Duo on July 17 and August 7 and the Allegheny Brass Band will perform on August 21. Show times are from 7 – 8:30 pm.
Lots of live music on the Northside these days. I’ve talked about the nice job the folks are doing at James Street with their food, service and live jazz Thursdays through Sundays. The Elks Club on Cedar features the Pittsburgh Banjo Club on Wednesday nights at 9 pm, they also feature Dixie Doc and the Pittsburgh Dixieland All-Stars and other musical groups. Their calendar of events is a bit spotty. The Park House (the first licensed bar in Pittsburgh) on East Ohio Street features Bluegrass on Wednesdays starting at 9 pm. Riverview Park will be hosting live outdoor music Saturday evenings from 7 – 8:30 through August 25 followed by family friendly movies beginning at dusk. Musicians George Heid III, Mark Lucas, Poogie Bell, Cecil Brooks II, Mark Strickland, Eric Johnson and Sean Jones will be performing.
The Lost Lady Bug Project is seeking volunteers to seek out ladybugs, take their pictures and send the pictures to be classified. Apparently the 9 spotted, 2 spotted and transverse ladybugs (our native ladybugs) have all but disappeared over the past thirty years. The seven spotted and the multicolored Asian ladybugs are filling in the gaps. The native ladybugs aren’t all gone, not surprisingly they found a bunch at an organic farm in New York (the nine spotted ladybug is New York’s state insect). The Ladybug Project is trying to assess the population still around and looking for groups or individuals to take pictures and give a count of how many you find, in your garden, in the wild, where ever so the can get a handle on their populations. If you are so inclined, snap a couple of pics and send to their web site.
Have a great weekend and keep hydrated,