Tomorrow is the anniversary of Paul Revere’s Ride (1775), the first time Japan’s mainland was bombed in WWII (1942), San Fransisco’s earthquake (1906), Zimbabwe’s Independence Day (1980), the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982 which replaced the the British North American Act of 1867 created by the British and the failure of the 34-D Titan Rocket failure (1986).

I have been very busy and it looks like I will be for the foreseeable future.  There was the Frozen Four last week, this weekend I’m pretty much sold out already and next weekend is Pitt’s graduation.  I have a bunch of rooms sold for three or more nights.  And I’m pretty slow early in the week and this week I journeyed up to Leesburg and went antiquing.  I like to play with my Victorian/Caribbean thing and I had this old Victorian picture I put in a tropical picture frame when I first started this project.

I’ve been looking for more old Victorian photo’s for a couple of years now without success.  Well, guess what I found at Leesburg Station Antique Shop?

Here’s one of the new pictures in a frame I’ve had for awhile:

And then I found this incredibly tacky, but I love it at the Leesburg School House Antique Shop:

I don’t know how I’m going to use this, but I’m sure I’ll find the right spot.  🙂

The 43rd Earth Day is this coming Monday.  Lots of family friendly events coming up over this weekend.  Citiparks, teaming with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, will be hosting a community campfire at the Frick Environmental Center (2005 Beechwood Blvd) from 6 pm until 9 pm on Friday.  This event is free, they are providing the fire, sticks and warm cider-you supply marshmallows, cups for the cider and your own fireside stories.  🙂     On Saturday, also at Frick Park there will be a tree planting event you can volunteer for.  This is from 9 am until 1 pm and includes a lunch after your toils.  Registration is required for this event and you can do this at Pittsburgh Parks website.  On Sunday guided Nature Walks  will take place from noon until 3 pm through Frick Park’s 151 acres, weather permitting.  On site registration is required for this walk that will show edible berries, birds, squirrels (RJ won’t be invited)  🙂 wildflowers and trees.  More info on all events at CitiParks website.  Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is also hosting Earth Day festivities on Saturday from 11 am until 3 pm.  They will have eco-friendly crafts, the zoo’s mascot will be hanging around, recycling games and representatives of various local non-profits will be showing how you can help mother earth.  More info by calling 412-665-3640 or by visiting the zoo’s web site.  Westmoreland Earth Day 2013 will celebrate earth on Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.  This free event will have a petting zoo, green cars, kid’s energy activities, energy companies and representatives of various green non-profits giving tips and advice.  The college will also be offering free tours of it’s campus.  More info at the their web site.

The iconic Sloppy Joe’s has just reopened for the first time since the Cuban revolution closed it in 1965.  Some thought it had deteriorated too much to be saved, but through a lot of work and effort, it has been restored to it’s original appearance that drew the jet set, before there were jets.  🙂  From photographs, they reproduced the plaster moldings, dark wood paneling, brightly colored bottles of alcohol behind the bar.  Original photographs of the bar’s heydays adorn the walls and they have brought back the bar’s signature drink of a cool refreshing blend of brandy, port, Cointreau and pineapple juice.  The location is ideal for success, it’s right in the midst of the new hotels and renovated area of touristy bars and restaurants.

In life, accidents happen.  No one is perfect, including you, me and big companies.  It’s how you step up to the plate when an unforeseen incident occurs.  The oil industry isn’t known for stepping up to the plate when something happens.  Back in 1989, the Exon Valdez tanker grounded in Alaska by a drunk pilot and and spilled a lot of oil.  It cause massive environmental damage. Exon used every tactic in the book to delay doing ANYTHING.  I believe there are law suites still in courts over that.  There was the pipe line spill in Arkansas on March 29 this year. Exxon had a 12″ pipe rupture and 63,000 gallons of oil escaped and much ended up in the Yellowstone River .  And now the talk about the Keystone Pipeline, TransCanada wants to expand the size of the existing pipeline from 30″ to 36″ and create new routes.  That’s a lot of oil if there’s an accident.  Again, accidents happen, but #1 who’s going to IMMEDIATELY pay the price?  Us.  By immediately we don’t have drinking water in almost an entire state (Nebraska’s  Ogallala Aquifer is right under it’s path).  #2 IF we have the economic wherewithal to fight the big lawyers representing the oil companies in the courts to get our “just dues”, that’s one thing. But how many years and how much money do we have to expend?  #3 I don’t trust TransCanda.  They are already taking property through eminent domain along the path they want to create in Texas and elsewhere.  I thought eminent domain was created for public projects that benefit the public good.  Some mega foreign company that has the wherewithal to underhandedly use eminent domain, spend huge amounts of money lobbying our government and litigate all over the place is not someone to be trusted.  Typical of Exxon, they have been fighting a New Hampshire law suite for groundwater contamination because of the additive MTBE for decades.  It took the jury just 90 minutes to find Exxon guilty and just 20 minutes to settle on a fine of $236M.   My point here is I think America is getting fed up with the big corporate BS, cover ups, litigation, etc.  Ninety minutes and twenty minutes speaks volumes about America’s attitude these days.  ):

Lets talk prisons.  For one, a number of them have been turned into upscale hotels and hostels.  At one point in history, they were a major statement for cities.  Like the county jail Downtown designed by HH Richardson, which is currently siting pretty much empty.  Wouldn’t that make a fabulous hotel.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my 9 guest rooms).  🙂

Speaking of prisons, photographer Mark Perrott has chronicled the Western Pennsylvania Penitentiary when it closed with photographs.  Back in the 1980’s, he chronicled the Eastern State Penitentiary near Philadelphia and that turned into the book Hope Abandoned.  This new project, developed over several years is spawning his latest book, E Block.  A lot of what caught his attention is the graffiti he found in many of the cells like one he found in the in-processing block for new inmates that says Welcome Home Convict.  He focuses on the messages in the graffiti that are raw, mainly rage, longing, hurt and remorse.  Many of the original photographs of our prison are on display at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Galleries at 477 Melwood Avenue in Oakland through June 15.  Admission is free and there’s more info at Filmmaker’s web site and by calling 412-681-5449.

Starting Friday, we have the Second Annual Craft Beer Fest through April 27.  There are over 200 events on their schedule.  A big thing this year the organizers are excited about is Collaboration Beers, this is where one brewer goes to another brewers facility and they brew together learning from each other.  (Kind of like an Innkeeper staying at another Bed and Breakfast).  🙂  There’s something like 14 independent craft brewers in the Pittsburgh area.  Check out their schedule you beer drinks support local.

Well, that’s about it for now, have a great week/weekend,




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