Tomorrow is birth anniversaries of Emily Bronte (1818), Henry Ford (1863) and Casey Stengel (1890), it is the anniversaries of Elvis Presley’s first concert (1954), Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance (1975) and Father Hidalgo’s execution (the fiery leader of Mexico’s fight with Spain for independence (1811) and Vanuatu’s independence from France (1980-in case you are as bad as me-I had to look it up-it’s in the South Pacific).  :)

Want some good clean old fashioned fun?  Take a Blast from the Past and go to one of our local county fairs.  I remember as a child (yes, I remember that far back) :) looking forward to the Allegheny County Fair, I think I still have a Heinz pickle somewhere.  I’m listing the seven by chronological order.  The Butler Farm Show runs from August 6 to 11, admission is $7.50 and it’s on Evans City Road.  It’s their 64th annual event and will feature tractor pulls, a demolition derby, square dancing and livestock judging as well as good old unhealthy food stands.  The Allegheny Drifters bluegrass band will perform two shows August 6 and the Wild World of Animals will perform three shows daily (that should be worth the price of admission :) ).  The Washington County Agricultural Fair runs August 11 to 18.  They will have tractor pulls, and up graded demolition derby with school buses, harness racing and Zambelli fireworks on August 12.  American Idol finalist Adam Brock will perform August 11.  It’s at the Washington County Fairgrounds and admission is $6 to $9.  The Dayton Fair (Armstrong County) runs from August 13 to 18 and this is there 132 annual event at 464 Midway Road, New Castle.  Country singer Colt Ford will perform August 18.  The Great Lakes Timber Show and the Pork Chop Revue will also be highlights.  :)  Besides the mandatory tractor pull, they also will have harness racing, rides and livestock auction (in case you want to bring a cow home).  Lawrence County Fair runs August 13 to 18 with admission of $8 (there’s an additional charge for grand stand events).  Josh Thompson will perform August 18 and that night they will have fireworks.  Livestock and agricultural goods judging will be the center of this event.  The Westmoreland County Fair runs August 17 to 25 at 123 Blue Ribbon Lane in Pleasant Unity.  Admission is $7 and a Farmer’s Olympics will kick of this fair on August 17.  They plan on having lawn mower races, a Lumberjack Jamboree, demolition derby and the mandatory tractor pull. NoMAD will perform August 25.  The Hookstown Fair in Beaver County runs August 21 to 25 with an admission of $7 to $10 at 1198 State Route 168, Hookstown, Beaver County.  Darryl Gatlin will perform August 22, Route 45 on August 24 and Zambelli fireworks on August 21.  Aussie Kingdom will have critters from the down under.  Lastly, the Indiana County Fair runs from August 26 to September 1.  This is their 150th annual fair!  Free admission on August 26, otherwise it’s $8.  They plan on having livestock judging, demolition derby, harness racing and a high school marching band night.

If you want some indoor, air conditioned entertainment, the new exhibit at The Warhol is Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein.  It runs through September 9 with the museums normal hours of 10 am until 5 pm Tuesdays through Sundays (they are open until 10 on Fridays).  General admission tickets include the exhibit and are $20 (remember, if you stay at The Parador Inn, I have tickets for $9).  :)  Donald has been a controversial artist since the 1980′s and has taken on social issues in his artwork like AIDS, civil rights and many other topics.  His latest efforts include two dimensional art with video.

Keeping your summer busy with wholesome entertainment, why not try Geocaching.  It is a world wide game of hide and seek for treasure caches.  You use your smart phone GPS and traipse around looking for the goods.  On August 18, Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad is sponsoring a Geocache through Oil Creek State Park.  Venture Outdoors (the folks that rent kayaks and bikes under the 6th Street Bridge is sponsoring a Geocaching right down the street from me in The Commons on August 26. The Armstrong County Geo Trail has a permanent Geocache highlighting 25 historic spots in their county.

There’s an 18 hole disc golf course (Frisbees) in Schenley Park.  The Flying Disc Society set it up, basically you toss your Frisbee at a metal basket on a pole with dangling chains to catch the disc.  Or, you can sign up for Obscure Games.  Their next event is July, 29at 2 pm  and you can try your hand at Human Curling-a 1930′s period clothing form of stick ball, Monkeyball, Martian Attack Drill or many other games they are planning.  There is another event planned on August 1 and both are held at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park.  The Steel City Games Fest is planned for August 27 and 28.  Something a little speedier is Ziplining.  You strap the harness on, click on to the very scary looking thin steel cable and can reach speeds of 60 mph.  1,060 food long Fatbird Flyer is at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington (they also have a tamer 250 Classic Zip for you feint of heart.  The Screaming Hawk is a 2,000 foot Zipline at Seven Springs.  Or, maybe if you have energy left after shooting the rapids at Ohiopyle, they have a 200 foot and a 90 food Ziplines at Ohiopyle Zipline Adventure Park.

I’m reading the most interesting book, Imagine by Jonah Lehrer.  I hear about it on NPR, it’s about creativity and the mind.  He talks about research on different sections of the brain and how it effects creativity.  Just as a section is designed for us to interpret sight and sound, there’s a section set up to inhibit us.  It is the last section to develop, that’s why children are known for being uninhibited as far as drawing, making up games, etc.  Around fourth grade, this section is completed and you ever notice the difference between kids in third grade and fifth?  I could talk about this for hours, but he talked about something I found really fascinating.  Alpheus Bingham, a vice president with Eli Lilly got concerned about their R & D department and the billions they were paying for research.  How do you determine which experiments were going to produce results and which were dead ends.  Pharmaceutical companies are famous for the secrecy of their research and he came up with an entirely off-the-books idea.  Concerned that scientists were all to close to the problems, he suggested they put stumbling blocks out on a web site and offer a reward.  So he launched the pilot version of InnoCentive in June, 2001.  At first, nothing happened.  Then after a month, answers started pouring in.  In less than a year, InnoCentive had become an integral part of Eli Lilly’s R & D department.  By 2003, it was spun off from Eli and began featuring challenges from other major companies.  Besides accessing scientist across the globe, he was tapping into cross disciplines.  He was getting engineers solving medical problems because they view chemistry differently than the traditional medical scientist.  How brilliant was InnoCentive?

In case any of you haven’t noticed, my web site has a new look.  It’s not huge, but it gives me the ability to change text and pictures is the big deal.  One of my new tools is for the blog.  I can now see how many times each blog has been read, some are over 150!  Damn, I thought I was just rattling to myself.  :)

Have great week.  Dee’s back from vacation Tuesday, yea.  :)

ed

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