Hi,

Tomorrow is a full moon and the Worm Moon celebrated by Native Americans of the New England/upper New York regions.  The full moon causes activities among earthworms as a first sign of spring.  It is also the anniversary of the French classic Mirror of the World being translated into English in 1481.  This popular book on astronomy and other sciences  was translated and printed by England’s first printer, William Caxton complete with illustrations.  Purim, the Hebrew holiday dating from their calendar Adar 14, 5772 is a festive holiday celebrating Queen Ester’s intervention in the 6th century saving the Jews of ancient Persia.  Finally, tomorrow is the religious holiday of Holi in India.  Indians run through the streets throwing brightly colored and scented powers and waters on each other regardless of caste.  This spring festival also includes huge bonfires the evening before the main day.

There’s a 5K marathon coming to Pittsburgh on September 1, Run for Your Lives puts runners out in front of zombies on an obstacle course.  The first Run for Your Lives was held in Maryland last October.  There are nine zombie events scheduled for this year.  More info at their web site.  They are already fifty percent filled, you better not just “lie around” if you want in.

I guess I’m becoming your Hollywood insider.  :)  John Krasinski (from The Office) and Matt Damon (no credits needed) will be filming Promised Land starting next month (Originally titled Gold Dust).  The movie was written by Kransinski and directing it will be Gus Van Sant-who has worked with Damon four times so far, starting with Damon’s big break Good Will Hunting.  They have a $15M budget.

There’s thirty second ring tones of some of the Beatles most famous songs now available on iTunes.  They run from $1.29 to $12.99 for all twenty-seven.  I Want to Hold Your Hand, Ticket to Ride, Help and of course Hello Goodbye :) are some of them.

I’ve spoken about the new thirty-three story office tower for PNC’s new headquarters Downtown.  The demolition along Wood Street between Fifth and Forbes has already started.  I’ve also talked about One Grandview Avenue, the proposed 160 room hotel, condo, retail and restaurants.  One of the points on this project I find interesting is the developer is talking about putting a staircase from this development down to Carson Street.  So many issues here, but the over riding one in my head is how will he get insurance for this?  Imagine tripping on the top and you would surely die by the time you hit the bottom.  :)  This project seems to have secured their financing.  They’ve already cleared the land preparing for construction.  What I haven’t talked about is Millcraft’s latest venture on Forbes Avenue.  This is right behind the iconic George Aikens diner and will be a seventeen story office tower with condos and retail and a separate attached building housing a Hilton Garden Inn.  The Hilton will have meeting and public space above street level so there will be views of Market Square.  There was an article in the Trib with the latest renderings of the proposals.

The Cathedral of learning has just added it’s twenty-eighth nationality classroom, the Turkish room.  The $500,000 classroom was officially dedicated Sunday by the ambassador to the United States from Turkey.  The room is modeled after a traditional “main room” in a Turkish house with seating along the edges.  There are four ceramic panels depicting  Turkish life in the ninth, fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.  The room also has intricate native woodwork and a window designed by master Turkish artisans.  The window is embellished with stylized tulips, the royal flower of the Ottomans, who ruled Turkey from 1299 until 1923.  Rooms are required to represent designs prior to 1787, the year Pitt was founded.  Turkey will not be the new guy on the block for long, the Swiss room is scheduled to open in two months.

Charities hire fundraisers to help them raise money.  Not only do they pay exorbitant fees, it’s not uncommon for them to actually owe more in fees than the campaign actually brings in.  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lost $1.9M on a fund raiser (enough cash to feed 68,078 animals for three weeks).  Some charities view this as an asset in that they get to build their data base of donors and it gives them added exposure to make their causes better known.  I view this as just plain stupid.  :)  They sign contracts up front, look for another fund raising company if you’re going to loose money.  The fund raisers generated $560,884 for the Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters Association, the fire fighters netted $85,741.  Amnesty International of the USA last an average of four cents for every dollar they raised last fiscal year.  There are small charities that don’t have the ability/expertise to run a fund raiser, but they should shop around and LEARN what the professionals do.  Give me a $475,143 and I will generate a much bigger return for the fire fighters and learn how to do this.  For that kind of money, why don’t they hire someone inside to “work with these professional fundraisers” and then keep this new person on payroll to be a full time fundraiser?  Those that got the lowest returns are the fire fighters, police, military and veterans.  I never donate to phone solicitations or TV campaigns for this reason.  I have select charities that I donate to throughout the year and just seek them out when I’m ready to donate.

Sorry for such a delay in posts, this time it’s really not me.  I have been having trouble posting pictures for awhile now.  I’ve been back and forth with my hoster (?) and getting kind of frustrated with him.  Anyone have any recommendations on a new hosting company?

Thank goodness for John Fetterman and the City of Braddock, as opposed to the City of Pittsburgh.  At least Braddock respects it’s past. (I’m still griping about Bruncher getting Pittsburgh approval to tear down 1/3 of the Terminal building because it’s more convenient for them).  The first library Carnegie built was in Braddock and twenty-five years after the front doors were chained shut, it has received a National historic landmark status.  This library was the beginning of the turn of the century “Internet”, with 1,679 free public libraries built by Carnegie for the dissemination of information and knowledge.

Did you know PNC has had their headquarters at the same place Downtown for 160 years?  I guess it’s PNC 1 on the corner of Wood Street and Fifth Avenue was the location of their old headquarters that was torn down for this new structure, what twenty years ago.  That’s kind of cool.  And in case you’ve noticed the old Liberty Travel building across Liberty from Heinz Hall’s renovations, PNC is doing that as well.  They totally gutted it and are bringing it up to energy efficiency standards.  The 800 square foot building is going to be called the Lantern Building and is set to open this May.  It is going to be an interactive museum on the regions past and future featuring artifacts and oral histories.  This is one of several PNC has built in their market cities and they are all feature free admission.

Finally, are you ready for Christmas?  :)  The Downtown Partnership has announced that starting next November 24 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) and running through December 23, Christkindlesmarkt will open in Market Square.  This is a tradition from 1575 in Nuremberg, Germany where local crafters sell their wares in chalet like stalls.  That will make a nice addition to Market Square with what seems to be quite the successful change to a dining and entertainment center.  With the ice skating rink at PPG Plaza and the gingerbread houses displayed in PPG’s building connecting the skating rink and Market Square, this could become a new popular holiday destination.

It’s going to be a spectacular day, enjoy it,

ed

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