This weekend is the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.  I didn’t realize they were racing cars in 1911!  It is the anniversary of the Connemaugh Dam bursting due to heavy rains causing the Johnstown Flood (1889), birth anniversary of Don Ameche (1908), Norman Vincent Peale (1898) and Walt Whitman (1819).  It is also the anniversary of the copyright law being passed (1790) and the first airing of Seinfeld (1990).

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy are the people that plant all the flowers around the City.  They’re having a hard time, as most non profits are these days.  Their individual donations have fallen off 22% last year, corporate donations has dropped 9%.  They lost 50% of their RAD funding since RAD’s income is based on the 1% added sales tax in Allegheny County and that was way down last year.  The good news is RAD’s income is coming back up and they’ve had a jump in volunteers of 20%.  If you have time or money to help them out, visit their web site or call 412.288.2777.

Lisa Lampanelli recently had a show in Topeka, KS and heard the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest her show, she decided to donate $1,000 to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization for each protester that showed up.  44 protesters showed up and so she send 44 checks for a thousand dollars.  Which means Westboro got 44 thank yous from the GMHC.  Too funny.

Bill Vorn’s having a free exhibit at the Wood Street Galleries, “Bill Vorn: Hysterical Machines” through June 19.  There are two full-room installations that showcase two dozen of his creations.  Vorn, a Canadian artist and professor at Concordia University has been working with robots since 1992.  These robots, hanging from the ceiling, are writhing, gyrating and otherwise clamoring machines.  He explains it may not be art, but then it is entertainment and he’s fine with that.  They even react to stimuli generated by patrons.  More info can be found at their web site or by calling 412.471.5605.

Gill Scott-Heron passed away on Friday.  I was a big fan of his in the 70′s.  Actually, when I started paying closer attention to Reggae, when I first heard Luciano, I thought he was Mr. Heron.  Something I learned in his obituary is he was frequently referred to as the god father of rap.  I haven’t heard anything of his of late, but his music in the 70′s didn’t sound at all like rap.

There’s a web site focused on helping Vet’s in business find more business.  Buy Veteran is a national organization and they list by city.  Click the link to see Pittsburgh businesses owned by Pittsburgh Veterans (I’m one).  I was just at the web site and found several I intend to follow up on.

OK, call me weird.  I just read a fairly detailed interview with Ajay Banga, the CEO of MasterCard.  As anyone that knows me, I’m way anti big.  So MasterCard doesn’t fit in with my normal ramblings.  But he made I point I really enjoyed.  His focus is not to steal business from Visa, AMEX, Discover, etc.  He says 85% of all world wide transactions are in cash and that is the market segment he is after.  One of the initiatives he’s working on is in India, they are working on a system of doing transactions through finger prints.  It would be a lot more cost effective having finger print reading machines around that your typical credit card processing machines.  Just thought it was an interesting take.

Have a great Memorial Dan and thank a Vet,

ed

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