Tomorrow is France’s Bastille Day and the anniversary of the Birmingham Riot (1791).  Birth anniversaries include Italian painter Andrea Del Sarto (1486), folk singer/activist Woody Guthrie (1912), President Jerry Ford (1913), actress Ingmar Bergman (1918) and cartoonist William Hanna (1910).

There’s a book being released featuring Pittsburgh ten years after terrorists obliterated it with a bomb (or bombs).  This is the debut novel by a new Pittsburgh native Thomas Sweterlitsch called Tomorrow and Tomorrow.  It’s a blend of science fiction, detective, romance and high tech.  Ten years after the destruction of Pittsburgh, the main character, John Blaxton, through The Archive for bits and pieces of the wife he lost in the the destruction.  The Archive is like a futuristic Google where all information is kept and accessible not through an external devise but through links in your brain.  John (or anyone) can’t actually come back to the ‘burg because of contamination, so he has to do his research through The Archive.  Thomas, a CMU graduate and now Pittsburgh resident uses many Pittsburgh landmarks in his book.  An interesting thing is this is his first novel and there was a filming rights battle already fought for it and it looks like Sony Pictures will be making a movie of it.  There’s going to be a reading and book signing at the South Hill’s Village Barnes and Noble on July 25 at 7 pm and Thomas will be featured at Writer’s Live August 7 at the CMU campus at 6 pm sponsored by Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures.

The Bricolage is seeking 50 muses to inspire several new shows.  They plan on having a creative Town Hall meeting on July 21 at 6 pm at their location 937 Libery Avenue at 6 pm.  The “muses” will work with actors, writers, directors and a dramaturge to come up with elements such as theme, character and setting.  Participation is open to all, but registration is required.  You can do this at their website.

Will you be Walking with Dinosaurs the end of July/August a the Consol Energy Center?  Well, you may be interested in the next block buster there, Marvel Universe LIVE will be coming in October.  Marvel has put together a show where such super heroes like Spiderman, Thor, Iron Man and two dozen action figures will be in a choreographed show where the superheroes beat up the bad guys, run around in souped up cars and motor cycles and other flashing exhibits.     Marvel is a division of Disney, so it’s probably going to be quite the extravaganza.  By the way, guess who’s their vice president of global creative services, Tom Marvelli.  No kidding.  🙂

The Downtown Art Institute of Pittsburgh hosting their annual art show by alumni and students in their lobby through July 20 from 9 am until 7 pm Mondays – Thursdays 9 am – 5 pm Fridays and 9 am – 4 pm Saturdays.  These commercial arts exhibit their mature artwork in the fields they work.  Like Arthur Germer’s sign for the new BRGR located in PNC Park.  He has their trademarked letters in a diamond with the bases in three of the corners, the beef image in BRGR’s normal logo and crossed bats to signify baseball and hint toward the crossed sword Jolly Roger pirates flags.  George Schill (who works for American Greeting Cards) shows a Halloween party invitation he created with some zombies in a cemetery with the words “Of Corpse You’re Invited to Our Halloween Party.”  And there’s a collaborative effort by a group of Alumni Andromeda Quarterly , they used to have a monthly publication, but has since opted for a quarterly publication.  It’s always fun seeing what they come up with and it’s free, always a good thing.  More info on their website or by calling 412-291-6200.

Rose Smiechowski & Carolyn Barber have founded Hidden Harvest.   Based on a similiar program in Carolyn’s native Toronto, they find food bearing trees in the city and see if the owner would be interested in donating harvested food to the food bank.  In 2008, the Toronto group harvested 70,000 of food donating 22,000 to the food bank.  Pretty impressive.  They use a three way reward system, the tree owner gets 1/3 of the harvested food, the harvester gets 1/3 and the food bank gets 1/3 (of course the tree owner or harvester can donate their portion to the food bank, if they want).  If you have an under utilized food tree (I’m using the word food tree to indicate there’s nut trees, mulberry trees in addition to the traditional apple and pear trees we first think of), or interested in signing up to be a harvester, just contact Rose & Carolyn at their website.

Fourteen year old Zack Abel is a cancer survivor.  Diagnosed with cancer at age of 6, a bright spot in his battle came when Make A Wish gave him a seven foot Tyrannosaurus Rex, which he treasured and it helped him through some pretty dark days.  At twelve years old, Zach decided to return the kindness and had his first fund raiser for Make A Wish.  So far, this young man has raised $65K and hopes to have his best this year with raising $30K at this year’s event.  This year’s Zack’s Make a Move for Make A Wish five mile walk/run/bike starts at North Park’s boathouse on July 27 around 8 am.  $25 for adults, $15 for kids.  What a great kid.  You can get more info by contacting his mom natalie.abel@hotmail.com or by calling 412-370-5070.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Twilight Wish Foundation.  It’s a non-profit for granting seniors with limited income the chance to do something they really want.  It’s a national organization with a chapter here in Western PA.  85 year old Clara Parrish wanted to go on a “girls trip” to Las Vegas with some friends years ago.  Her husband didn’t allow her, afraid of what men in Sin City might do.  Mr. Parrish has passed on and Twilight Wish has arranged for Clara and some friends to take a trip on the Gateway Clipper (she had never been on it before).  Twilight Wish has provided a washing machine, a lift chair, even a Neil Diamond impersonator to a gentleman’s nursing home.  How sweet.  🙂

Scott Brusaw from Sandpoint, Idaho is working on an interesting concept, solar roadways.  He’s engineered the hexagon squares that are solar panels that link together.  He built a prototype parking lot at his headquarters Solar Roadways.  He envisions roads being built from these panels to create a tapable solar system.  He says they are durable enough to withstand vehicle traffic (including trucks), inclement weather, water, etc.  Now he hasn’t disclosed what the cost of these panels will be and there are many skeptics out there.  I find the whole concept intriguing.  If you know me or follow my blog, you know how green I am.  We need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, it’s just not sustainable.  I support (with reservations) solar, wind and hydro powers.  But recognize the negative sides of these like fried birds at solar farms and decapitated birds at wind farms.  But they are movements in the right direction.  And the idea of building roads that could supply our power is definitely thinking outside the box.  He might not have it right, but what a quantum leap outside our normal thought process.  If he starts the idea, someone else can improve on it and maybe we can change the world for our children.

It’s time to support your locals.  Dairy Queen has a contest going on for their S’mores and John Rohlf, Santino Tomasetti and Paul Koudouris are finalists.  Their video is cute, music upbeat and it has Pittsburgh as a back drop.  So click the link and vote for the hometown boys  (you can vote for them even if you’re not a ‘burg native.  🙂

The roof project continues.  When I bought The Parador, I added central AC to the Mansion and the Ballroom.  There’s a five foot flat roof between the Carriage House in the Courtyard and the Loft.  Under it, the Knights of Columbus installed the men’s room and access to the Loft, which was their kitchen.  The HAVC contractor wanted to put the condensers on that roof.  My concern at the time was would the roof hold the two units?  They assured me it would.  And it did, more or less.  What I didn’t think of at the time was roofs fail.  I’ve had a leak into the lady’s room for awhile trying to figure out how to fix it.  To repair the roof, the condensers have to be moved.  Either once and put back or a permanent solution needs to be figured out.  I’ve spoke to several roofers and ideas included building a roof over the units, but that’s not fixing the problem.  Another option was to move the units over the one story connector between the Carriage Houses.  Mike, with Energy Savers Windows, the contractor that replaced the 30 windows last year and put the new bathroom in Ruellia and new tub/shower in Lady Palm suggested bringing in an iron worker to permanently build iron bracing attached to either building with cross pieces to support all three units (the two for the Ballroom and one for the Loft).  Once their up on the iron work, he’ll rip the old roof off and  replace it.  They finished the iron work and moving the condensers Friday and coming back tomorrow (weather permitting) to replace the roof.  You pay now, or pay later.  So here’s my relocated condensers:


Well, that’s it for today.  I hope you all are having a great summer,



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