Hi,

Tomorrow is Earth Day, so something appropriate please.  It is also the anniversary of Babe Ruth’s pitching debut (1914), the discovery of Brazil by Pedro Alvarez Cabral (1500), the first solo trip to the North Pole by Norwegian Borge Ausland (1994), the Oklahoma Land Rush started (1889) and the birth anniversary of Nikolai Lenin (1870).

Here’s a post from the trade group PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers Internation) that’s pretty funny.  Just click on the image of the hotel clerk to watch the video.  Obviously, owning a Bed and Breakfast, I laugh at the “big guys” (hotels) that feel so threatened by us “little guys” (Bed and Breakfasts) that they need to offer “Bed and Breakfast Packages”.  I’ve been watching this trend grow for years.  It started with the economy chains offering “free breakfast” about ten years ago with was actually just a continental (which I admit many Bed and Breakfasts do).  Then to out do each other, they then added frozen waffles which they heated up.  Finally, the mid-priced chains started adding Bed and Breakfast Specials to their “specials”.  Coming from a hotel background, I have found it amusing (and disconcerting) how they offer half the truths.  Yes, you can get water from hotels-minibars was one of my largest sources of profit.  :)  I could go on for hours on how hotels are expert on “up selling”.  “Oh, you want a bed in the room, that will be an additional $50.”    Just watch the video and think of me, I’ve probably seen it seven times (from various sources) and laughed each time.

I have battled slugs since I moved here.  I saw one over six inches (I swear) a number of years ago.  Since starting composting several years ago, I haven’t seen them or their slimy trails in the mornings, except in the composting bin.  I’ve murdered them one by one, but they have always come back.  Most days I’d find at least a few.  Jessica Walliser writes a gardening column for the Trib and she takes questions.  I asked her about the slugs and she recommended any product with Iron phosphate in it.  I bought a container of Bonide Slug Magic at one of the big box Lowe’s or Home Depot and oh my.  I sprinkled it in the compost bin and haven’t seen a slug in a week.  It’s safe around pets & wild life (RJ’s squirrel’s safe :) ).

Here’s one for you, China overtook the United States as the global leader in clean energy investment last year.  They’ve had such a huge push to be the leading exporter over the past several decades that their environment really took a beating.  Now that their economy is changing and they are seeing the effects of all this pollution, their leaders are have invested $65B last year in clean energy while the US dropped our investment 40%.  To keep things in perspective, we started figuring out that we need to clean up the mess we made during the early industrial revolution decades ago and started our “clean up”.  We still have a long way to go, but China is just starting to take their environment seriously.  Also, with the fall in orders for solar panels in particular (which the Chinese where the world’s largest producer), someone had to buy the panels.  I’m not knocking them, I wish them the best and hope they put the effort they put into being the world’s largest exporter into being the world’s greenest country.  They have a loooong way to go to beat out the Scandinavian countries.  Sweden recycles 96% of it’s trash, which pretty amazing.  They had built a trash to energy plant that they can’t keep supplied with trash to burn.  Norway is currently paying Sweden to burn their trash and the Swedes are currently looking at contracting with other European governments to burn their trash.  :)

If you want to “get your game on”, there’s options in Pittsburgh other the the big box national chains of Dave & Busters and Chuck E Cheese.  Just of 18th Street on the Southside is Games N’at at 2010 Josephine Street, they are celebrating their 10th anniversary.  They have all kinds of old school and new school games and naturally prices vary according to the game you choose.  More info at their website or by calling 412-481-2002.  West View has Pinball Perfection at 231 Perry Highway which is part museum, part store, part pinball restoration and part game room.  It hosts 220 games including many rare, classic and vintage.  More info at their website or by calling 412-931-4425.  If you are into pinball, the Mecca of pinballing is quite possibly located Scott Township, PAPA (The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association ).  Generally, this facility with over 450 games is not open to the public.  But they are sponsoring the World Pinball Championships August 8 through 11 and will be open to the public for this charity fundraising event.  More info at their web site.  In North Fayette near Robinson is Latitude 40.  This huge entertainment complex has about 70 games, movies, restaurants and bars.  More info at their website or by calling 412-693-5555.  In North Park is Wildwood Highlands has many seasonal activities like miniature golf and snow tubing; but they also have an arcade with several video games.  More info at their website or by calling 412-487-5517.

The National Aviary is celebrating the arrival of their newest, a Eurasian eagle owlet.  The staff brings the baby out occasionally on a daily basis for visitors to see.  It is the cutest thing.

Dormont’s Hollywood Theater’s latest fundraising program is a Secret Santa, or more appropriately a Secret Cinema.  The next one will be Friday, April 26.  Of course, Hollywood Theater knows what the movie is going to be ahead of time and they commission local artists to create an original movie poster for this screening.  The event starts with music, micro-brewed Latrobe based Flat Rock Brewing beer, new pieces of art from local artists with a 1980′s horror theme of the movie and a booth by Lawrenceville based House of the Dead.  After the film, if you bought a “poster pass”, “date night” or “VIP date night” package you get a copy of the film’s poster.  You can buy any extra posters after the three packages get theirs, if any’s left.  Proceeds are split between the Hollywood and co-sponsor Toonseum.  More info at Secret Cinema website.

Point Park Project 1: Kaleidoscope is a collaboration between the Warhol and Point Park University and it runs through May 12.  Nicholas Chambers, Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Warhol worked with four art students from Pitt to create this exhibit.  Chambers worked with the emerging artists for four months viewing other exhibits, talking about their strengths and weaknesses and deciding how to proceed with their own ideas.  Although these four artists use various styles, they worked together to create a cohesive whole. The exhibit is on the ground floor of Lawrence Hall on the corner of Wood Street and Blvd of the Allies and some of it is even visible from the street.

Finally, did you know how much of America is protected by volunteer firemen?  69% of all firefighters are volunteers, of the 30,145 fire departments in the US, 20,200 are all-volunteer and 5,530 are mostly volunteer.  It is estimated that these volunteers save the overall economy $130B annually. Risking their lives, taking on risks that aren’t clear cut, time spend training and responding really adds up.  Next time you pass one of there “boot” collections at an intersection, remember this.  We owe them.  :)

Enjoy our unfolding spring,

ed

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