Hi,

Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of French acrobat Charles Blondin (1824), comic strip creator Milton Caniff (1907), woman’s higher education advocate Mary Lyon (1797), director Vincente Minnelli (1903), gangster Bugsy Siegel (1906) and illustrator and cartoonist John Tenniel (1820).  It is also the anniversary of the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (1986) and the 228 Incident where the Chinese government confiscated tobacco products and fortune of a Chinese vendor for violating their monopoly which resulted in riots in Taiwan and elsewhere with and estimated 10,000 – 20,000 people killed (1947).

OK, for any of you that’s been living under a rock, :) the 724 area code is outgrowing the number of numbers available.  So the new area code is going to be 878.  They expect the new area code to start rolling out next year.

This Sunday in McConomy Auditorium on CMU’s campus will be the fourth annual TEDxCMU from 10 am until 5 pm.  If you have a great internet idea or want to hear great internet ideas this symposium is for you.  You have to preregister to speak, you can attend for free, but also have to preregister for this as well.  This student run program takes the format that TED conferences use that draws some of the world’s leading thinkers and charge $2,500 to $7,500 to attend.  You don’t even have to attend, they will be streaming it live.  For more info, go to their web site.  Past speakers was the lady that started One Laptop Per Child and the one that started the community based playground builders KaBOOM.

I know I’m not the only one fed up with our federal government and the bs over the fiscal cliff, sequestration and other shenanigans our elected leaders are pulling.  Did you know during the last “crisis”, somebody buried in the fiscal cliff deal a sweat heart deal for NASCAR valued at $150M over the next five years in tax write offs that WE are subsidizing.  OMG, are they all out of their minds? Aren’t any of them listening to the general public?  Don’t they see their approval ratings are nearing single digits?

I heard a great one today.  Republican Senator Mitch McConnell suggested that President Obama be given discretion over how to actually do the $85B cuts this sequestration is calling for instead of it being a blanket across the board action.  How stupid to they think Prez Obama is?  You know as soon as he would suggest something, they would jump all over it.

I thought a nice break from the above grim stories I would point out that despite the condition of the economy, American spending on their pets rose 5% 2012 over 2011.  Of the $53B we spent on our furry, feathered and other skinned friends, $12.5B went to alternative care like acupuncture, $4.4B was spent on grooming, boarding and pet sitting.  At least we, the people, have some decent priorities.  :)

Do you have a favorite family doctor?  Anyone can nominate their doctor as the 2013 Family Physician of the Year by going to their web site by March 11.  They are mainly looking for doctors that are accessible to recognize.

For any of you in the food service industry, Allegheny County Health Department will be conducting several food handling courses for food workers.  Next week, March 4 & 11 at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield, March 18 & 25 will be held in St Valentine’s Church in Bethel Park, April 8 and 15 will be at the Club at Nevilewood in Collier and May 5 and  10 at UPMC in McKeesport.  The two day classes are $60 for county residents and $75 for non residents.  You must be preregistered to attend, more info and a printable form is at their web site or you can call them at 412-687-2243 for more information.

I’m somewhat OK with this one.  It irks me when I rent a movie and have to wait through the trailers for other movies they are pushing for me to rent.  I already paid for the movie.  I also take offense after paying to go to a movie and having to sit through the trailers there as well.  Granted, this doesn’t have the seriousness of $150M to NASCAR, it’s just annoying.  The point here is the theaters are now charging Hollywood to run these trailers.  I never thought about this before, but good for them.  Hollywood doesn’t have any trouble shoving things down our throats, just ask the poor guys trying to a go of it with the Hollywood Theater in Dormont that needs to raise $75,000 to change their projection system so it meets Hollywood’s requirements (this upgrade is being forced as an anti-piracy solution).  I know this Hollywood and Hollywood Theater may be a bit confusing, sorry.  One’s the good guys and the other is not.

If you’re looking for some arts and crafts, the Pittsburgh Arts and Crafts Spring Fever Festival will be in the Monroeville Convention Center March 22 – 24.  I believe these are the same people that had the Christmas Shop there last December I attended and I need to warn you that it’s not all crafters.  There were window sales persons, a chiropractor and LOTS of salespersons selling Made in China products.  In December I did find some very fine crafters and they were fairly upset with the Made in China products for sale, but they said the promoters do enough advertising that makes it worth it.  More info at their web site or by calling 724-863-4577.

A new restaurant is opening in Lawrenceville called Tender Bar + Kitchen is opening next month in the old Arsenal Bank Building at 4300 Butler Street.  During their renovations, they had a locksmith open the six safes, all were empty.  But up in the attic they found box with 500 handwritten checks dating back to the 1890’s.  The building was built in 1883 and housed a bank up until 1943.  The building is owned by Botero Development, a group trying to more or less single handedly rejuvenate Lawrenceville. :)  I’ve talked about Botero’s projects in the past, it’s great seeing responsible developers, unlike those evil people at Buncher Development.  May they get what they deserve.

Are you ready to invest in a 3Doodler pen at kickstarterWobbleWorks is creating a 3D pen that uses a special plastic that is heated and instantly cooled to form the solid structures you draw.  Although they aren’t in production yet, you can reserve one of them if you invest $99 or more.

For parents with young children, there’s the Virtual Piggy, an app that’s free and it is used to teach children saving for goals and can be pared with brand partnerships so children can buy products with their savings.  Kind of cool.

I’ve been back for over a week, but haven’t been blogging too much because I’ve been sort of obsessed with finishing the wood trim in Oleander.  The chemical stripping phase is over and I hope to have the sanding finished tomorrow.  It’s going to be a good day to get all of the dust out of there and then two coats of varnish (real varnish :) ) should complete it.  So my goal is to be done by Sunday so we can put the fixtures back next week and poor Dee can detail the bedroom (dust everywhere there as well).

Have a great one and we’ll talk again soon,

ed

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