Hi,

Tomorrow’s the anniversary of Princess Elizabeth ascending to Queenhood :) (1952), Massachusetts ratified the Constitution (1788) and the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the native Maori and European settlers allowing the formation of New Zealand (1840).  Birth anniversaries include Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun (1912), President Aaron Burr (756), Rastafarian and musician Bob Marley (1945), President Ronald Reagan (1911) and baseballer Babe Ruth (1895).

In observance of Black History Month, Citiparks is hosting Beyond the Funny Pages: The Works of Art and Life Captured in the Comics all February long in the City-County Building.  It’s free and open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8 am until 5 pm.

Got a spare $135K or $300K?  Then you can be the first in your neighborhood to own a land and water amphibious vehicle made by Dave March of WaterCar.  Just getting under production, the Panther (top land speeds of 85mph and 45mph in the water) and the more pricey Python (top land speeds of 127mph and 60pm on water) are taking pre-orders.  You have to register the vehicle as both a boat and a car, and it doesn’t come ready to drive.  The cars come as a “kit” with the motor separate from the chassis to by pass some manufacturing regulations.  You then need to get a third party to install the engine, this way the buyer, not WaterCar built the vehicle.   It comes with a engine similiar to a corvette and has pretty good all terrain capabilities like a jeep.  Sounds like fun.

I don’t understand the drama with the Pittsburgh Police working extra details, off the city payroll.  Bars, special events and even me when I was required to have an off duty officer direct traffic when they had to tear the street up to install separate lines for my sprinkler system when I purchased the Inn.  All special detail assignments should come through a central office that is staffed by a civilian hired for that position and paid from the special detail’s account.  All compensation for special duties should come out of this account, as should all expenses of running the system.  NEVER should CASH be exchanged, you’re just inviting trouble. Cash is not a word that should ever be used in a city government.   It should be written in the police contract that accepting cash is a terminal offense.  The special duty scheduling employee should post available work schedules and officers can bid on the assignment  and it should be assigned based on seniority.  This is in line with the current contract and standard union requirements.  Currently different active officers assign special assignments, again, you’re asking for trouble.  Unemployment, taxes, worker’s comp, etc can all be address through this account and it would be incredibly transparent.

I spoke awhile back about a lady in Florida that let her boyfriend take naked pictures of her and when they broke up, he posted them on that extortion website out of the Netherlands (you have to pay them something like $300 -$400 to remove the pictures) and she was whining “Why doesn’t someone help me?”  #1 don’t let someone take compromising pictures of yourself.  #2 you messed up, pay up or shut up.  The site shouldn’t exist, and that’s my topic.  Extortion is illegal on the street, it should be on the Internet as well, just as soliciting someone to kill an enemy on line is illegal.  There are websites out there whose sole existence is extortion, like justmugshots.com.  They pay people to cull the Internet for negative information on you and then post it.  They then charge “a fee” to have it removed.  It’s cost people jobs among other things.

Some Republicans are now saying that for emigration reform to move forward, they want up to $2,000 in fines be added to the $680 application fee that currently is charged.  $2,000 may not be much to our multimillionaire legislators, but it’s an incredible burden for the working poor, who many if not most of our illegal aliens are.  Do those Republicans really want to alienate such a huge number of people that are potential voters?  Cuban Americans in Miami are a very strong voting block.  Every time I turn around, it seems the Republicans keep shooting themselves in the foot (or feet may be more appropriate here).  :)  It’s like the government shut down, who’s carrying the majority of blame, the Republicans.  Politically, I could align myself more with Republican views on many issues than Democrats.  But that party seems to be such a bunch of idiots.  Sorry.  ):

I opened my Home Depot bill that came in today and there was a $2 “Fees Charged”.  I called customer service and the rep said it was a late fee, I disagreed and when he looked into it, he couldn’t explain what the fee was and made a big deal about he was going to waive it, like he was doing me a favor.  Watch your bills closely.  There’s a scam going on where somehow they’re placing an $8.84 charge on your bill.  A small amount in your credit card statement that would be easy to overlook.  The best part of this scam is when you contest it, the credit card companies remove it from your account, but rarely actually pursue collecting it because of the size of the charge.  What a great scam, they get their money either way.  :)

No pictures on Ruellia yet.  The contractor still has to install the Franklin stove, build the mantle and some other minor things.  But the big reason for no pictures is I decided to patch and paint the suite.  Since everything’s torn up and pulled apart, I figured I might as well do a good paint job, it’s been awhile since I did it.  Since I have the room closed for the winter, I might as well.  And it will look nice and sharp when photographer  Roy Engelbrecht re-shoots the property for my new website.  Some very exciting news about Ruellia ….. Colleen Black may be making an original oil for the room!  More on that soon.  I’m super excited.

Most of the calls seeking me to advertise on Google are robo-calls.  The ones that an actual person is on the phone, I inform them that I would slit my wrists before I ever advertised on Google (I get at least ten solicitations about Google each day!).  That usually shuts them up.  I do get occasional solicitations from Yahoo, Trip Advisor, Yelp and Facebook either by snail mail or e-mail, none hold a candle to Google.  I have heard some unsettling things about Yelp for the past year or so.  A restauranteur friend of mine approached me about a month ago and asked if I had trouble with Yelp and I said no.  I have received a couple of solicitations from Yelp in the past year by phone.  I always explain to the solicitor that I won’t advertise on any of the major Internet sites, period.  I don’t single one out, it’s just a blanket policy of mine.  They seem to leave me alone after that.  Dave said he was approached by Yelp and when he wouldn’t advertise with them, the rep actually threatened him with messing with the reviews on Yelp’s site (hiding good ones, putting bad ones on top, etc).  Dave still refused to advertise and immediately his reviews on the site changed.  There’s been a lot of talk about this and I just went to the websites for Dave’s restaurants and they seem to be good again.  But I thought I should talk about this for any of my other small business readers  and include the links he shared:

Yelp1

Yelp2

Yelp3

Yelp4

Well, that’s  it for today.  Keep warm, keep your sidewalks shoveled, watch out for your elderly neighbors,

ed

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