Tomorrow’s the anniversary of the end of the over 300 year old war between Netherlands and Scilly Islands (even though hostilities ended 330 years ago, not one signed a peace treaty), Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge (1975), the Bay of Pigs Invasion was launched (1961), the Polish union Solidarity was granted legal status (1989) and it will be Verrazano Day, when New York harbor was discovered by Giovanni Verrazano (1524).    Birth anniversaries include actors Rod Steiger (1925) and William Holden (1925), baseballer Cap Anson (1852), newsman Harry Reasoner (1923), American play wright Thornton Wilder (1897), Chicago’s legendary blues bar owner Theresa Needham of Theresa’s Lounge (1912) and American tycoon John Morgan (1837).

Roy Engelbrecht should finish up re-shooting The Parador for the new website Monday.  Roy does such amazing work, he’s the one that did da boiz picture with the Duck for The Parador’s latest holiday card.  I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but he’s also done a lot of work for Pittsburgh’s convention people Visit Pittsburgh among many other high profile others.  My web guy, Nick has The Parador’s  new website in the Beta version, hopefully with these new images, Nick will be able to finish up and the new site can go live later this week.

When we started the two bathroom projects in January (Ruellia and Lady Palm), Mike the contractor suggested I keep Lady Palm’s pedestal tub because it’s so vintage.  We were going to put it in the basement and decide later what to do with it.  After we got it out of Lady Palm and saw how heavy it was, we barely were able to get it down the main staircase.  I doubted we would be able to get it down the narrow stairs into the basement for storage.  So we just brought it out of the Mansion, loaded it on the truck and I took it out toConstruction Junction.  Dave, the less than friendly guy in charge of accepting donations was his normal morose self.  They used a fork lift to get the tub out of the back of the truck (it was still strapped to the dolly).  They freed my dolly and rolled it over and Dave left the receiving area and immediately returned with several guys in suits and they were ooohing and aaahing over it.  Life goes on.  I got a call from Mike the other day, he has a booth at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show and saw the tub from Lady Palm at Construction Junction’s display there!  I went out to the show to give my “last respects” to the tub and started talking to the staff manning the booth.  They had built a special frame with a wooden floor covering a skid with a hard wood floor under the tub especially for the show so they could transport the tub more easily.  They were going to put a price tag on the tub, but decided to “auction” it off.  They started with a bid of $450 and as of Friday morning it was over $1,200.  They said several of the people bidding on it said they were going to come back on Sunday (the last day of the show) and would decide at that point if they wanted to up their bid to get the tub.  Here it is:


Are you considering taking one of those credit card offers for transferring the balance of a current card to a new one, think about this carefully.  Even if it’s a zero percent offer.  First of all, many introductory offers include (but seldom clearly shown) a transfer fee of between 3 and 5% of the transferred balance.  That’s off the top, before anything.  Also, look at how long the zero percent interest (or steeply discounted rate) lasts (usually 12 – 18 months).  Try and find out a commitment on what the interest rate will be after the introductory offer expires.  Usually the credit card companies are very vague here.  Switching from a 15% rate to a zero percent rate sounds good, at first.  But unless you honestly think you can pay the balance off during the introductory rate, you could be looking at up to a 22% rate.  The easiest way to work with a higher interest rate is just call your current credit card company and ask them to lower the rate.  Explain to the rep that you feel the percentage is higher than you think it should be and are looking into doing a balance transfer to another company.  I have actually done this in the past and it worked.  It wasn’t a massive drop, but noticeable.  California has a great website explaining credit cards and all their implications in very understandable English.

Did you know elephants can distinguish the difference between a man’s voice, a woman’s voice and a boy’s voice?  But that’s just the beginning.  Scientists from the University of Sussex studied elephants at Amboseli National Park in Kenya where hundreds of elephants live among humans.  There are two tribes that live in and around the park, the Maasai and Kamba.  The Maasai hunt elephants, the Kamba do not.  The elephants recognized recorded speech of the Maasai and when they heard the Maasai tongue, took defensive stances.  Not so when they heard recorded Kamba speech or Maasai spoken by women (woman Maasai do not hunt).  Pretty amazing!

Contrary to a rumor I heard that our beloved Duck was on display in Asia and sprang a leak, the Duck had been in storage here ever since it was deflated last year.  The Duck is en route to Norfolk, VA and will be there from May 10 through May 26 outside Chrysler Museum.


The Brew House over in Southside is going through some major changes.  For those of you that may have missed my past posts on it, the old Duquesne Brewery closed in 1972.  The three foot thick walls and ten to sixteen foot ceilings were ideal for artists to work in and so they sort of started squatting there in the 1980′s and by 1991 had organized as a cooperative.  In addition to loft studios where the artists work and live, they also created exhibition space for shows.  Unfortunately, they were never able to afford proper upgrades making the facility compliant with current building codes.  So they are under contract now with an architect and developer that will bring the building up to code by creating 75 loft, one and two bedroom units as well as work and exhibit space as they originally planned.  Over half of the 104,000 square feet of the building was never used, that’s where they are putting in the new apartments that will fund the renovations to the rest of the building bringing it up to code.

73Take a walk just outside the boundaries of historic  Allegheny Commons to the corner of Federal Street and North Commons Drive to view the Man, Beast and Bird Monument, the only monument to a woman found in the park. The fountain was erected as a memorial to Annie Hartzell who lived at the turn of the twentieth century and devoted much of her time and energy to a variety of charities. She was most passionate about animals and birds and became very active in the Humane Society.

84At her death, as a tribute to her love for animals, she set aside $18,000 for the creation of a memorial fountain. The Fountain features a birdbath on top, a basin on one side for horses, and a drinking fountain on the other side for people.  It was originally sited on the curb along Federal Street, near North Avenue. It was moved into storage during construction of Allegheny Center, resurfaced in Market Square for a time, before returning to the North Side and its current location. The Master Plan calls for its restoration and relocation nearer to the original site.

I tried to find another picture of this monument, but couldn’t so I cut and pasted the article from the Allegheny Commons Initiative newsletter.   The ACI is a very grassroots organization trying to re-establish the Commons as the historic first and largest park in the City of Pittsburgh that was established as a common grazing pasture and park for inhabitants of the City of Allegheny (before Pittsburgh annexed Allegheny City).

The Allegheny Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society has maintained a rock garden in the Commons for years.  Unfortunately, the rock garden had to be destroyed so the space could be used as a staging area for the National Aviary’s expansion.  But not to fret too much over this, though the Commons lost this asset for several years, it’s back and better than ever.  They came up with a new and expanded design at an even larger and better spot.  I couldn’t find a decent picture of the rock garden in the Commons by the National Aviary, so I cut and pasted this pictures from ACI’s Newsletter also.


Photo thanks to Alan Peacock

Welcome back to the Commons!

On that Spring note, I think I’m going to sign off,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × 1 =