Tomorrow’s anniversary include one for me, Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935.  🙂  The ball point pen was patented (1935), the rape of the town Lidice by the Germans (1942), in defiance of England, the first mint was established in Massachusetts (1652) and the first Arab Spring started in Jordan (1916).  Birth anniversaries include Canadian author Saul Bellow (1915), actress Judy Garland (1922) and the first African American to win an Academy Award, Hattie McDaniel (1889).

Kicked my butt.   The 20 new windows are stained and two coats of polyurethane in the inside and two finish coats on the outside.  The contractor was OK, at best.  At least I think the windows were installed properly.  I’m missing a whole stack of hand towels, the workers went into and used the guest bathrooms and their hygiene was REALLY bad, Dee had a fit.  Marginal clean up, when I say marginal, they picked the big things up and swept the obvious floor.  We found debris everywhere.  I spend an entire day cleaning the big suite, Lady Palm myself.  But it’s over and everything’s put back together, and clean. 🙂

Casa Rasta has opened a second location over on Federal Street two doors up from El Burro.  Both are basically take out with some counter type seating.  I don’t recall if I spoke of El Burro in the past when they opened, nice people, good burritos a welcome addition to the Northside.  And I know I’ve talked about Casa Rasta and the great job they do up in Beechview.  A friend of mine is the head librarian at the Federal Street Carnegie Library and we’ve talked about lunch over there.  All the little storefront restaurants literally run out of food by the end of lunch.  They can’t keep up the demand from Allegheny General Hospital’s main location and the AGH medical facility on Federal.

Have you heard of Memes?  It lets you add text and alter images of pictures you have taken for online.  Like Ian Richards posting of the 300 feet on the Ft Duquesne bridge you have to get from the left lane to the right lane in five lanes.  There’s some pretty cute ones out there.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is bringing back the Festival of Firsts for the third time since 2004.  The festival runs from September 27 through October 26.  They will be showcasing a wide range of art forms including dance, theater, performance, music and visual art.  The “mascot” will be Floretijn Hofman‘s 40′ high and 30’ wide bright yellow floating rubber duck that has been seen recently in Sydney and Hong Kong.  One of the events will be Kiss and Cry where Belgium collective NanoDanses will present the story of a woman recounting her greatest loves told by hands portraying persons in miniature backgrounds.  Austrian Kurt Hentschlager‘s Vee which will be an enclosed room filled with odorless, dense (and hopefully non lethal) 🙂 which limits your normal senses and add to the a constant droning sound will probably not be for the faint of heart.  A second piece by Hentschlager will be Hive, a 3-D animated audio/visual where swirling human shapes spiral into one one form.  Measure Back is an audience participation to seek out the difference between citizen-as-spectator and citizen-as-participant in war and was created and run by Christopher McElroen and T Ryder Smith.  More info and ticket sales are at the Festival of Firsts web site.

Have you seen the Mr. Roger’s auto tunes re-mix?  To compliment last year’s  release Garden of Your Mind, Sing Together has recently been released.  Kind of perks Mr. R. up a bit.  🙂

There’s some websites with deals much better than the mammoth E-Bay.  Govdeals is one where they sell confiscated items from airlines.  USAgov also has deals on surplus items and can direct you to local sites that are selling these items.  And Woot has deals on it’s site.

Pittsburgh is the home to many small museums, I have covered most of them in the past, but the Trib ran an article with a bunch together, so I thought I’d talk about them as a group.  Trundle Manor is one I missed.  When Rachel Rech first met Anton Raphael Mirello, he told her he had a freezer full of squirrels he’d like her to eviscerate and stuff them, she was hooked.  There are tons of stuffed animals there to include a grouse/raccoon/alligator thing, a singing tumor and much, much more.  By appointment in Swissvale, 412-916-5544.  More info at their website.  Center for Post-Natural History a CMU professor Richard Pell opened this storefront museum in Garfield dedicated to genetically modified organisms.  Hours are noon to 4 pm Sundays and 5 – 8 pm the first Fridays of the month.  He hopes to raise enough money through donations to be able to hire a staff member to have it opened more.  More info at his website or by calling 412-223-7698.  Bayernhoff Museum is one of my favorites.  This rambling hilltop mansion O’Hara Township is filled with his obsession with antique musical instruments, automatons, music boxes and player pianos.  Open by appointment only, more info at the website or by calling 412-782-4231.  Downtown is the Toonseum which is dedicated to cartoon art in America.  In addition to his in-house rotating collections, there’s frequently guest exhibits as well.  Rivers of Steel/Carrie Furnace in Homestead has tons of visitors.  This article didn’t quote numbers, but I’ve read in the past they have somewhere around 200,000 visitors a year at the small museum.  The museum is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 am until 4 pm and Carrie Furnace is by appointment.  More info at their website or by calling 412-464-4020.  The Roberto Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville is by appointment and is dedicated to all things the great athlete and humanitarian was all about.  More info at their website or by calling 412.621-1268, admission is by appointment.  The next three museums are home over here on the Northside.  Bicycle Heaven is down off Beaver Avenue by the river.  Craig Morrow has saved tons of classic bikes, restored them and put them on display hanging from the walls and ceilings in this old factory.  It’s a great resource if you are into classic bikes for parts.  Next to and owned by the famous Bernie’s Photography is Photo Antiquities on East Ohio Street.  This narrow museum is stuffed with all kinds of classic photographs.  He was trying to raise money to move to a new location just north of it’s current showroom to expand the exhibition space and so he could have classes, dark rooms, etc.  I haven’t heard lately of any progress in this endeavor.  More info at his website or by calling 412-231-7881.  It is open from 10 am until 4 pm Mondays, Wednesdays through Saturdays.  The Mattress Factory in the Mexican War Streets is open 10 am until 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 pm Sundays.  Barbara converted this former mattress factor to house installational art, the room is the piece of work.  She brings local, national and international artists in.  If you go there, be sure to check out their Annex right down the street as well.  If you go to the Mattress Factory, right down the street is Randyland.  Although not an actual museum, Randy has taken two three story Victorian houses and they are his canvas, as is his Courtyard which is open when he’s home.  It’s worth a trip in and of itself.  All the more reason to plan a visit to The Parador Inn.  🙂

Be sure to go to the Three Rivers Arts Festival and check out the newly re-opened Fountain at the Point.

I’ll be back sooner than a week, I promise,


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