Hi,

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Alaska being admitted (1959), the drinking straw was patented (1888), the first cave dedicated as a national park, Wind Cave (1903) and JRR Tolkien’s birth anniversary (1892).

Sorry it’s been a week, I haven’t been this tardy in quite awhile.  Besides the holidays, I tried switching credit card processors and what a nightmare that was.  This past holiday & Steeler home game weekend, I had to manually write down the credit card info on all guests check-ins and  then manually enter it into an on-line system.  This was because the new processor was terrible and when I got fed up with them and went back to my original processor, the original processor couldn’t over write parts of the new processor’s code.  I was up until 2 am Thursday night trying to straighten it out.

The Steelers are keeping a low profile on the latest controversy over here on the Northshore, not surprisingly.  After threatening (and I think they may have actually did file it) a law suite to make the tax payers pay for adding 3,000 more seats that the Steelers can sell tickets for and make money off of, Continental Real Estate Company is requesting more time to begin construction on the two buildings they are planning on constructing.  A little background here, the Steelers are a part of Continental Real Estate, when Continental’s option on the land was about to expire, the gentleman that owns Alco Parking made a counter offer, significantly more than the Steeler’s group was offering.  Alco was also prepared to build two a six or eight story buildings and pay significantly more than the Steelers were offering.  The Steelers threatened a law suite if the land didn’t go to them and they did up the price (not as much as Mr. Merle Stabile offered).  The Steelers group is requesting an extension because their original plans called for two two story structures.  They are now talking about adding a third story and the excuse this time is they don’t want to break ground until they have secured tenants.  If it wasn’t that they bullied Alco out of building two eight story structures with shops, restaurants, offices and housing, if it wasn’t that the Steelers is trying to bully the residents into paying for seats they are going to make money off of, if the Steelers ever played fair-I’d say go ahead and give them an extension.  But since the ball is our court to bully the Steelers, I say lets bully them.  (Don’t get me wrong, I like the Steeler’s football team, I do not like their business management model.)

Flashdance, the film shot here in the 80’s and based on a mill worker with dreams (you could say based here) is doing a full circle this week.  The the national debut musical version opens here on this past Tuesday at Heinz Hall for a week.  The ironic thing about Flashdance is it’s authors Robbie Roth and Robert Casey originally wrote it to be a Broadway play, they couldn’t find any backers and so re-wrote it into a screen play.  It is showing at 7:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday, 8 pm Friday, 2 and 8 pm Saturday and 6:30 pm Sunday.  Admission is from $20 to $65, depending on seat and day.  A nice aside is two of the stars in the play are Pittsburgh natives.  Matthew Hydzik plays Nick, the owner of a steel mill that falls for the lead Alex, is from Sewickley.  Tess, the more mature woman that portrays an older friend and confidant of Alex is played by Rachelle Rak from the South Hills.   More info at the Cultural Trust‘s web site or by calling 412-392-4900.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust owns a lot of property down in the Cultural District.  Some with store fronts that currently don’t have tenants, they give you to artists to display their works (they might charge a nominal fee, I really don’t know for sure).  They own the building on 6th across from the Heinz that has the “robot repair shop” in one of it’s windows.  The Trust also owns SPACE at 812 Liberty Ave and the current installation is called Romper Room, created by seven artists with a Pittsburgh connection.  The artists include Jen Cooney, Jae Ruberto, Jacob Ciocci, Matt Barton , Thad Kellstadt , Jim Lingo and Ladyboy .  I was Downtown several times as they were assembling this exhibit and was wondering how it would turn out.  Jacob Ciocci created Copy Cats, a very cute graffiti looking piece of art with a main theme of cats (obviously).  :)  Jae Ruberto has taken some real liberties with images of Santa Claus.  Ladyboy, the organizer, was/is very much into skateboards and skateboarding and the ramps and skateboards, much of the graffiti and strategically placed trash are pretty much the result of Ladyboy.  The exhibit runs through February 3 and admission is free.   It is open 11 am until 6 pm Wednesdays & Thursdays; 11 am until 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays and 11 am until 5 pm Sundays.

There’s something I don’t understand about how people perceive what I do.  I would never go into my dentist’s office (who probably makes $300K a year) and tell him that I won’t pay the $5,000 he wants to charge for the root canal, I’ll only pay $4,000.  I would never go into a brain surgeon’s office (who probably makes $1.5M a year) and tell him I’ll only pay $18,000 for the operation instead of his normal fee of $20,000.  Let’s bring it down a notch, I would never go in a restaurant and tell the waitress I won’t pay the $18 they want for the special, I’ll only pay $16.  What makes it OK to do that to me?

“we’d like to reserve a room with you if we can get the Tropical Breezes Special for all three nights, including our last night Friday”  I’m already giving them $100 off, but that’s not good enough.  I also like when someone books my Caribbean Freedom Special (visit for three days and pay for two Sunday through Thursday nights) and then asks for a AAA discount also.  I’ve already given them a $150 discount.

I don’t draw a salary yet, almost everything I bring in goes right back into the the house.  This is quite possibly what I was doing before you arrived:

I have a special on my website, the Blizzard Special.  I offer 1/2 off the night of a snow storm, the altruistic purpose of it is if someone is working locally (maybe a nurse at AGH after a twelve hours shift) doesn’t have to battle the icy road going home.  I had a guest that wanted to book today and asked for the Blizzard Special, I told that one that I do not off that special because there’s snow on the ground.

It’s not uncommon to receive a phone call that they want my “cheapest room”.  I have been slow and offered a room for $100 for that night and get “Don’t you have anything cheaper?”  NO!

Well, it’s the end of the holiday season.  If you decorated a live tree, please recycle it.  If you live in the city, you can put it out on the curb and the trash collectors will take it, but it just goes to a dump.  Follow the link to Pittsburgh’s Tree Recycling program to see where you can drop an undecorated tree off through January 29.  Here’s a link to the Allegheny County Tree Recycling program.  There are an estimated 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees sold each year.  Each recycled tree creates 5 pounds of mulch that is used in public parks and other public properties.  Remember, you are not just keeping the tree out of the trash stream, the mulch is returning much needed nutrients into the soil.  There’s no estimate on the number of live trees purchased in Allegheny County that I could find, but we only collected 600 last year.  Some jurisdictions use the discarded trees to improve habitat in waterways for aquatic life and in stabilization projects of different waterways.

Have a great day,

ed

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