The Abbott & Costello show premiered tomorrow in 1952, the AFL-CIO founded in 1956, Salzburg Austria’s Krampuslauf (see next paragraph), Walk Disney’s birth anniversary (1901), Haiti discovery day by Christopher Columbus (1492) and rodeo star Bill Pickett’s birth anniversary (1870).

The nationality rooms at the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland are featuring their ethnic holiday decorations and trees starting today.  If you’ve never seen them, they are well worth going over during the holidays to see.  If you’ve already seen them, you know it’s worth coming back for seconds.  🙂  I recommend taking one of their hosted tours, it cost like $3 and you learn so many interesting traditions.  Like the Austrian evil Cert (locally known as Krampuslauf), a black devil that carries switches to whack nasty children and his image really does terrorize little kids in Austria.  China doesn’t have anything like Christmas, Hanukkah or Quanza, but they are huge about their New Year.  So instead of having a “Christmas tree”, they have New Year’s trees.  As do the Russians.  The Russian Orthodox church doesn’t believe in images of Mary or the baby Jesus, they also believe in fasting from Christmas day until New Year’s day.  So they also are bigger on New Year’s trees (also, under the soviet rule, religious images, like trees were banned from 1917 – 1992).  But they do have some unique traditions like serving their holiday meal on a white table cloth with straw on it to signify the manger.  And of course there’s the love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and how German born Albert was homesick and so Victoria brought the tradtion to England and the English love for Victoria get them all fans of the Christmas tree.

Tomorrow, the Carnegie Science Center will be presenting “Remember the Buhl, A Science Center History Tour from 9 a.m.  until 11 a.m.  This exhibit will tell the story of the original science exhibits including the Tesla Coil and the Model II Zeizz Star Projector (that’s that apparatus from the old Buhl that kind of looks like a giant ant, for you who remember the old Buhl where the Children’s Museum currently is.

The Wendell August Forge just announced they were making two tree ornaments made from the stainless steel roof of the Igloo.  They’ve already sold out!  Who says the Igloo is not a favorite in this city.  Oh, right our “city fathers” claim they know the pulse of the city.

The city school district had a meeting and announced that they have either spent or committed 1/3 of the Bill and Melinda Gate’s donation to improve our school district on consultants, most of them not even from Pennsylvania.  So they spent almost $15M on consultants!

Walt Disney kind of white washed children’s books.  The original stories were much more gruesome that what was depicted in say Cinderella (the original story had the mean step sisters cutting their toes off to fit in the slipper).  Personally, I like Walt’s version, but artist Mary Mazziotti has created contemporary “memento mori” which is an embroidered outfit or cloth filled with symbols of mortality.  She has combined various mediums for her exhibit with the artwork depicting what one may find in an “off center” children’s book.  It runs through December 17 from 11 until 6 Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 until 5 on Saturdays at the Borelli-Edwards Galleries, 3583 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.6872606.  Why do all these shows change their viewing hours by just one hour for Saturdays.  Does it really make that much of a difference?

My favorite charity, Brother’s Brother, came tied for first place as the most efficient among the 200 largest charities in the country.  It was given 100% rating in fundraising efficiency, charitable commitment and donor dependency.  Since it was founded in 1958, it has given more than $4B worth of medical supplies, textbooks, seeds and other aid to people in more than 140 countries.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.321.3325.  They are some amazing people.

Have a great week,


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