Hi,

Tomorrow is the anniversary of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) being used as an anesthetic in America (1842), the assassination attempt on President Reagan (1981), the pencil was patented (1858) and the repeal of the Shouter Prohibition Ordinance in Trinidad and Tobago (1917).  Birth anniversaries include painters Vincent Van Gogh (1853), Francisco Jose de Goya (1746) and Irish Playwright Sean O’Casey (1880).

In the conversion from my old website to my new one, we lost my last post (March 22), I’m going to see if Nick can recover it somehow.  We also lost a draft post I was ready to post Friday.  Oh well.

OK, we’re going to call this the post of pictures.  First of all, Roy perfected the picture of my ghost hummingbird.  Here’s the oil painting when you see it in daylight:

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And here’s the image you see at night with my ghost:

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Isn’t it amazing?  I love Colleen.

When I bought my Inn, my sister brought over a can of Restor-A-Finish, she said it was amazing.  I tried it on the top of a credenza and wasn’t too impressed.  It ended up in the storage area under the stairs.  Dee pulled everything out of that closet to clean it this week.  I asked her to organize everything when she put the stuff back in.  She asked me what to do with the stuff she doesn’t use and I told her to just put it on the kitchen table and I’ll figure out what do do with it.  One of the items was that Restor and I had been bothered with the condition of the main shelf in the Pantry between the upper and lower cabinets, it was pretty dry and tired looking.  So I thought I’d give it a try there.  Obviously it’s not the solution to everything, but what a fabulous job it did.  I scraped the paint splatters from over the years first and applied this product.  Here’s the Pantry:

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I didn’t think (as usual) to take a picture before, but I did today before I applied it to the Pantry door, here’s the before:

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And here’s the after:

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The Pantry’s such an amazing room, one day I’ll invest the time to properly strip it, but in the mean time, this is a good solution.

I saw the first eaglet hatch yesterday.  I’ve been going to the webcam off and on and on Friday I saw mom move around a bit and you could see one of the eggs cracking.  Then all of a sudden, there was this little furry chick.  Pretty indistinct.  But today it looks like a real baby eagle.  As of this morning the other two eggs haven’t hatched, but that could be any time.  There had been 500 – 800 people watching it in the past, today there’s over 6,000!  Check it out.

Pennsylvania is offering a special driver’s license for military veterans (you can also get this as an official Pennsylvania ID, if you don’t drive). It has a flag and the word “veteran” on it. As of last week, 2,500 people had applied for the licenses. Someone could use the driver’s license or ID card to get discounts, etc, but they won’t be valid for serious veteran’s benefits like claims with the VA or access to military facilities. They are not requiring proof of service, which I find strange. I can pull out my DD214 at any time, it’s with my birth certificate and other important pages.  And it’s not a major process to get a DD214 duplicate. I don’t know why the state just doesn’t do this right the first time and require proof of service and be done with it.

Did you know there are over 700 city owned and maintained sets of stairs covering our hilly terrain? That translates into roughly 44,600 stairs! Retired Pitt professor Bob Regan wrote a great coffee table book, The Steps of Pittsburgh that was published in 2004. A bit pricy on Amazon, $250 for new versions and $150 for used. Amazingly 334 sets of stairs are legal streets, yep. :) Some areas, where the street would descend would be too steep for vehicles, so the city turned them into stairs. When I lived on the Southside Slopes, Sterling, which came down to my street Patterson was so steep the city quit maintaining two blocks past Patterson. You could come down Sterling to Patterson, then wind around and find Sterling about two blocks farther down the hill. Some of these stairs are identified as streets on city maps, which can be confusing for first responders at times. Some residences in the city only have access via city stairs.

There’s a new on-line store that sells customized paraphernalia, in particular Pittsburgh themed items.  They have images of various locations around the city that you can have put on glassware, key chains, etc.  (my favorite is Ed’s Bar :) ).  Nice idea for that hard to buy for person or  for that ex-patriot you know.  It’s called Pittsburgh Artifacts.

There’s a new exhibit opening this weekend at The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Race: Are We So Different?  It explores the science behind anthropology and the culture behind race relations.  It’s  a unique introspective created by the American Anthropological Association in Virginia and the Science Museum of Minnesota in 2007.  It has been so popular around the country that they created a second 5,000 square foot exhibit as well as a 1,500 square foot exhibit for smaller spaces.  Joanne Jones-Rizzi of the Minnesota Science Museum says they designed the exhibit to explore the history, biology and social aspects of race.  A pretty thought provoking show.

Well, enjoy this warmth we’re having, I’m OK that it’s raining as long as it’s warm,

ed

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