Hi,

I hope you all had great holidays and a fantastic New Year’s Eve.  I have to break a tradition with this blog.  I finally ordered a new Chase’s Almanac thought it would be in by now.  I gave my old copy to a friend and the new one still isn’t in.  So I don’t have any anniversaries to announce for tomorrow.

The Silence of the Lambs and Forrest Gump were both inducted into the Library of Congress Film Registry this year.  The odd thing is Bambi was inducted as well.  Didn’t it take them a long time to finally select Bambi.  I have no back up on this, but I would venture to guess that Bambi would be Walt Disney’s all time favorite.  It’s such an iconic film and has had such a major influence on generations of children.  That forest fire still haunts me.  :)  The film registry, started in 1989 has 575 films currently registered as historically, culturally or historically significant.

We all know the Jersey Barrier.  Many are familiar with the Texas Barrier.  Did you know there’s a Pennsylvania Barrier?  In 2003, during the reconstruction of the Ft Pitt bridge, Riverlife was concerned about the famous views coming out of the Ft Pitt Tunnels would be decreased to meet federal standards.  They had new barriers engineered that would meet federal guidelines and be seven inches lower, who-la, the Pennsylvania Barrier.

Added fees are nothing new to us.  The airlines have been back and forth for years over what extra fees they can charge and get away with.  They’ve run into problems with the federal government and public back lash.  Fees still account for billions of dollars in profit (fees are usually applied to actions they already take, like checking bags.  So the fees more or less are pure profit).  Hotels also are famous for fees of various sorts.  They rent a ballroom for your special event for a fee and usually they charge you a per person fee for food served, the amount depends on the menu selected.  “Oh, did you want tables and chairs for your guests to sit at?”  “Linen?”  “We have these really beautiful silver candelabras that would really grace the buffet table-for a fee.”  Valet parking, self parking fee, surcharges, tariffs, etc.  Well the latest I’m hearing is the Crowne Plaza are hiring “hall monitors”.  Seriously.  They are the snoring Nazis.  They walk the halls at night and if you are snoring too loudly, they knock on your door and ask you to quiet it down.  Speculation is they will eventually offer quiet areas to the hotel, for an up charge of course.  :)

Speaking of fees, public outcry forced Bank America to drop their outrageous new charges on debit card use.  Now it seems public pressure has forced Verizon to drop their plans for a “convenience charge” for certain payment options.  The plan was to start with two payment options and then add the fee to all payment methods.  They just keep trying to squeeze more and more out of us.  Why can’t they just set a fair price and charge it.  If you want to make more money, great.  Offer new services, bring in more customers, do something innovative.  Don’t just start charging me for something I already am paying for.  ):

A while back I talked about the Planking, the so called dead man’s game.  Generally someone would lay horizontally some place with an iconic background behind them.  One picture I saw was a guy perfectly horizontal suspended between two benches on Mt Washington with the city behind him.  For you Plankers, you are soo passe.  The in thing to do now is Tebowing.  Yes, Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos has started a new fad.  Instead of laying horizontally, you now humbly go down on one knee and the rest of the rules still apply (iconic back ground).  Tebowing.com, just started in October already has over 18,000 pictures up loaded to it.

The Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce is offering a trip to Cuba June 7 through 16.  The cost per person is $3,299 and the price includes airfare, lodging, meals, tours and health care.  Not a bad deal, but in June?  Why not sponsor a trip out of Pittsburgh to the Caribbean in the cold winter months?  Besides June being one of my busiest months, I wouldn’t be overly eager to go to Cuba in the hot summer.  The chamber does seem to sponsor a fair amount of yearly trips like one this March to Spain and one that left last week to China.  More info on their web site.

Lena Paahlsson of Sweden lost her wedding ring sixteen years ago while preparing Christmas dinner.  She discovered the ring on a carrot she harvested from garden this year.

I keep finding you guys jobs.  Here’s another cool suggestion.  Phipps Conservatory is seeking a new batch of volunteers.  You have to be willing to commit three hours a day twice a week for a year.  That comes out to about 80 hours a year.  There’s a bunch of different positions they are seeking to fill, and they provide training.  If you are looking for more information, call Laura Rundell at 412.622.6915 ext 6958.  How could you call that work?  :)  I love the Phipps.  :)

Speaking of flowers and work, I have a great idea for a new profession.  I don’t know of anyone that is specializing in residential swells.  I’m sure there’s high end companies out there.  There’s a federal mandate on ALCOSAN to reduce the amount of run off out of the sewer system.  Before a property in Allegheny County can sell, it needs dye test showing that they are not including roof run off into the sewer system.  Figuring out the amount of water coming off your roof so the size of swell you need would be the engineering part.  What native plants to use and how to arrange them would be the creative part.  Rearranging the the downspouts so they all feed the swell would be the plumbing part.  The Home Swell Specialist :) could advertise through normal channels.  And then for a premium, hook up with local real estate offices and come up with quick fixes so people can sell their houses.  I think there’s a dire need of solutions for gray water handling and a landscaper could do well here.  We’ve all seen them expanding into snow removal and hanging outside holiday lighting.  Here’s a new direction for expansion, or specialization.  I think they should be able to command a higher price with this than the cut throat landscaping market.  If you know a landscaper, please pass my ideas on.  I don’t want any royalties.  :)

Have a great one and keeps safe on those icy roads out there,

ed

 

 

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