Hi,

Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of Mae West (1893 or 1892), Davy Crockett (1786) and Harrison Chase (the co-founder of Chase’s Annual Events-the almanac I use for all of this first paragraph 1913).  It is the anniversary of President Clinton’s famous “It depends on what your meaning of is is” while dealing with the Monica Lewinsky inquiry (1998), the first balloon crossing of the Atlantic (1978), Fulton Sails Steamboat (1807), the devastating Turkey earthquake (1999), Gabon Independence (1960), Indonesia Independence (1949) and Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959).

Facebook’s being greedy and nefarious.  They are doing a test where advertisers can pay them to send you unsolicited ads.  Currently, you have to Like a business to get their ads.  This new thing they are doing is advertisers can drop ads in your news feeds, even though you have no relationship with them.  This “test” is to see what kind of an uproar it causes.  I predict that they will start slow, get people used to it and then just keep expanding it.  It’s not surprising this was announced after months of slowing revenue growth and the fact the the value of Facebook stock has plunged 40% since it’s initial offering in May.

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m a bit of a nutcase as for as personal information goes.  I have systems in place at The Parador Inn that I believe keeps all my guests’ information safe.  For example, I don’t take credit card numbers on repeat guests, I just print a copy of the confirmation letter I send them and keep it in my suspense file until they arrive.  Even though there’s no credit card info on this letter, it has their names and address.  That gets shredded just as a confirmation that did have credit card info.  This leads this conversation to a new free search tool that just came out.  Not in My Back Yard will scan the Internet social sites, publications and other sources to see what’s being said and held on you.  I have Google Alerts on myself and The Parador Inn and it’s pretty good at notifying me when something is published.  This goes much deeper.  It’s easy to install and use.  I just downloaded it and started a search on various forms of my name.  It’s currently stalled after retrieving a ton of information.  I imagine this is because the article on it just came out today and I image they are getting bombarded. (I was in the New York Time’s article 36 Hours In Pittsburgh the year after I opened and back then I was averaging 40 hits a day, the Monday after the article hit the stands I had over 400)! You can put in your name, organization, company and social security number.  I don’t know how comfortable I am with the latter.

I finally made it to that new restaurant on Broadway in Beechview, Casa Rasta.  What a great and inexpensive little place.  One table inside and maybe four outside (so plan on visiting in nice weather).  I ordered two tostadas that they made in front of me.  They placed sour cream on the fried tostada shells (I toast them in the oven when I make them, it’s healthier), a healthy portion of Jerk chicken, fresh mango, lettuce and cilantro and topped with drizzled guacamole and roasted red peppers.  All for just $2.50 each.    They also carry Jarritos Beverages, I had the tamarind.  It looks like Mendoza Express is going to have some fierce competition when I get a hankering for a Spanish lunch.

Did you recognize the #2 cop in Dark Knight Rises?   It’s none other than Penn Hills native Aldo Bigante.  The best part of the story is Aldo has been living in LA pursuing a career in entertainment and got the part while in Pittsburgh!

The Dewey Decimal system seems to be on the way out, at least for smaller library collections.  The massive collections of books larger libraries will probably require the Dewey system for a long time yet, if not forever.  But smaller libraries like the Brentwood Public Library have switched to the BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) which groups like bookstores do (they never used the Dewey Decimal system.)  Most non-librarians don’t know how to use the Dewey system.  The main branch of the Carnegie system in Oakland has converted the first floor to the BISAC, leaving the Dewey system for their massive collections upstairs.

Next Friday from 6 to 9 pm, the Fern Hollow Nature Center will be presenting their second annual Alfresco Italian Garden Dinner fund raiser.  Last year they had 80 participants and raised $4,000 for the Nature Center.  All the food will be freshly prepared from family recipes and will include zucchini fritters, to types of fresh pasta, meatballs in a roasted tomato sauce, green beans with olive and garlic, home made gelato, espresso, limo-cello and more.  The price is $75 for members and $100 for non members. More info at The Italian Garden Project.

Also at Fern Hollow this Friday at 7:30 will be a program Bees, Bees, Bees at 7:30 pm.  New apiarians Norm and Linda Diebold will show the four hives (holding around 20,000 to 30,000 bee apiece) and talk about beekeeping.  Norm got interested in beekeeping after going on a hike after going on a hike by Venture Outdoors through SteffesWood Apiary where he tasted fresh honey and cheeses.  The attendees will see frames of bees and try and locate the reclusive queen.  These new beekeepers have had the challenges any new farmer or business experience, like no honey production (his mentor, Robert Steffes suggested he feed the bees homemade sugar patties), queen bee battles and cranky bees that will crawl all over him and even follow him into the parking lot. Tickets for the event are $10 for Fern Hollow members and $20 for non-members.  More info at the Fern Hollow web site or by calling 412.741.3633.

I said in a blog or two ago that I now have full control of my web site.  This is because Kirk put it in WordPress, the program I have been using for my blogs.  Since converting, as I’ve noticed things on my web site that aren’t totally clear, I can change them.  Like I had guests recently that asked for a AAA discount on arrival.  I will only honor discounts or specials when requested at booking.  It says so in bold on top of my Specials page.  I also have a Reservations page that mentions AAA discounts, but there’s no mention that you need to request it at the time of booking.  It does now.  :)  Also, while typing my blog, there was a full screen mode and a partial screen that shows additional options.  While typing, I would have to leave the full screen mode to the partial screen to do a spell check, I’m a terrible speller-if I could spell I would be so much better at my crosswords.  :)  This new version offers spell check as I type.  So much nicer.

Well, John from All Pro Plumbing and Heating is installing attic vents today to relieve pressure on the A/C unit.  Hopefully that makes a big difference.  I am so tired of fighting the A/C to keep the place cool on really hot days.  John’s the guy that last year realized on of the intake vents was way too small for the space it was handling and figured out a way to install a much bigger vent discretely.  That made a big difference.  The A/C units are sized right for the size of the Mansion, hopefully after spending over $60 on the A/C this may be the final piece of the puzzle.

Have a great day and enjoy this sun before tomorrows rain,

ed

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