Hi,

150 years ago today the first paper currency was issued in the United States.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs’founding  anniversary is tomorrow (1824), Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami was one year ago tomorrow, the first “Spanish” influenza pandemic was reported (1918), Lawrence Welk’s birth anniversary (1903), the signer of the Declaration of Independence, Robert Paine was born in (1731) and it is the anniversary of the Madrid train bombings killing 191 and injuring 1,800 (2004).

One of my favorite signs of spring is the Tribune Review’s annual Peeps Show.   If you are not followers, click on the Peeps Show link to see the contestants from 2011.  To enter the contest, click on the link to the Tribune Review.  If any of you do enter, please let me know so I can follow you (yes, sometimes I have too much time on my hands).  :)

How ironic both the Girl Scouts of American and Oreo Cookies are celebrating their 100th anniversary in the same year and the same month?  Here some fun trivia on Oreos:  The first Oreo cookie was embossed with a thin wreath on the outer edge with the name on the plain surface in the middle.  Now, the cookie consists of 12 flowers, 12 dots and 12 dashes on both sides.  Each cookie has 90 ridges and takes 59 minutes to make.  They are made in 21 bakeries around the world and sold in over 100 countries.  Annual sales top $1.5B and their Facebook page has 25 million fans (a few more than Fan The Parador) :).  Started in the original Nabisco factory in New York City and first sold in bulk tins in Hoboken, NJ.  Which makes them three years older than Hoboken’s other favorite son, Frank Sinatra.

We have another microbrew here in Pittsburgh, All Saints Brewing out of Hempfield.  Jeff Guidos, formerly the master brewer from the now closed Red Star Brewery in Greensburg has partnered with Beth Vreeland, an adjunct professor of education at Seton Hill University who is handling the marketing.  They’ve only been in business for about three months and already have expanded from selling just Growlers to supplying bars with kegs.  That’s huge for name recognition.  They are making an amber style ale, a dark German dunkel, an English style barleywine and an India Pale Ale in the abandoned bakery outlet they’ve converted into a brewery.  Another Westmoreland County microbrewery is Helltown Brewing.  Although beer sales has fallen 2.2% overall last year, craft beers has risen 11% last year.  Now to keep  it in context, craft brews only account for about 5% of the total of millions of barrels of beer consumed in America.  But I’m not looking to compete with Hilton either.  :)  Brad Brown writes about craft brewing in the Pittsburgh region in his blog shouldidrinkthat.com.

OK, I was in an accident last June, I didn’t want to write about it until it was resolved.  I came down State Route 65 to Western Avenue.  There was a car stopped at the yield sign at the bottom of the ramp by the West End Bridge.  I pulled up behind him, stopped and looked to my left (as I could see him doing) to see if it was safe to proceed.  There was a mini van about half way across the bridge, plenty of time for us both to go.  I saw him pull forward and so I turned to my left again to double check to ensure that all was clear and it was.  So I hit the gas and apparently he decided to stop.  He couldn’t have been more than eight feet in front of me.  I love my Tacoma, but it’s not a monster truck.  It takes a bit to pick up speed.  So we pulled over and I got out, greeted him and looked at his car and my truck and saw no damage.  I asked him if he wanted my info and he said yes.  There’s a police processing station right up the hill from there and an unmarked car turned on his lights as he came down the hill and a plain clothes officer got out of that car.  He said “Hi Chris, are you alright?”  The driver of the other car said he was fine.  End of story, I thought.  Weeks later my insurance company contacts me and says he’s claiming serious injury and is suing.  I eagerly offer to testify, if they would like to take it to court, because this is obviously an insurance scam.  They would rather settle out of court and avoid all the assorted lawyer and court fees.  We speak several times and the USAA Insurance feels they will have it resolved soon.  Finally, about two months ago I get a sheriff’s deputy serve me a subpoena to appear in court, Chris is suing me!  Now I actually get to look at what he’s claiming.  The summons stated that I exited route 65 without slowing and slammed into his vehicle causing serious bodily injury forcing him to miss work, spinal issues, all kinds of ailments.  The only thing he didn’t claim was he was sexually impotent because of it, oh, maybe he already was.  :)  OMG, this is one of Pittsburgh’s finest that is responsible for people’s lives.  This liar and some may call him a thief for insurance fraud handles crime scene evidence, interviews victims and perps.  What a dirt bag.

I had dinner at Chef Sousa’s of Salt of the Earth’s new incarnation, Union Pig and Chicken on North Highland Avenue in East Liberty.  It has a sort of minimalist interior, which was fine and true to form, seating is family style.  The food was tasty and well presented.  The staff’s well trained and informative.  My friend had the St Louis Ribs, nice portion, dry  and well smoked and flavored.  I had the pork shoulder, which was very tender and tasty.  What I was disappointed in is that they cut the shoulder into basically bite sized chunks and included in it were chunks of pure sofa fat.  When you get pork shoulder and have to cut it up, you naturally cut that soft fat off and leave it on the side.  But when you are served a dish with everything cut in similar sizes, I assumed they were all pork meat.  The first one I bit into that was all fat really disappointed me.  But speaking of Union Pig and Chicken, I noticed they were carrying Wigle whiskey, very cool.  If you remember, I spoke of Wigle in the past, it is the whiskey distiller that finally opened in the Strip next to the Cork Factory apartments.  I was also in James Street recently and noticed they also were carrying Wigle.  In case you don’t remember, Wigle was named after a gentleman killed during the Whiskey Rebellion.  Speaking of Jame Street, in addition to having live jazz on Fridays and Saturdays, they’ve added Thursdays.

Finally, in case you haven’t heard, Legume has moved to a much larger space from Regent Square to 214 N Craig Street, North Oakland.  The husband and wife team, Trevett and Sarah Hooper, are still creating daily menus with the best local produce, meats and fish.  Their menu changes seasonally and daily and in the winter they feature meats and fishes more and in the summer they feature more local vegetarian fare.

Enjoy another beatiful day today,

ed

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