Tomorrow’s the independence for Albania (1912), Panama (1821), Mauritania (1960) and Chad’s Republic Day (958).  Birth anniversaries include English poet William Blake (1757), African American painter Charles Alston (1907), French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss (1908)

Well, I hope everyone enjoys this Thanksgivukkah, it’s the last time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving occur together for the next 79,000 years.  What will we do with all those hybrid recipes that I’ve been seeing on the Internet?

Although they are already decorated, the Cathedral of Learning is officially opening their Nationality Room on December 8 with guides dress in ethnic clothing from noon until 4.  There will be ethnic dance and music as well traditional food and crafts for sale.  The rooms will be open to the public daily until January 17 (with the exceptions of December 24, 25 & 26 as well as January 1).  More info about the tours or rooms in general can be had at their website or by calling 412-624-6000.

Don’t forget, this is Small Business Saturday, support your local small businesses.  Just because The Parador Inn does not have worldwide name recognition as some of the big boys like Marriott and Exxon, combined, we’re  a powerful engine.  I know I’ve said this in the past, while attending business school at Penn State, a professor pointed out the 93% of the economy is fueled by small businesses.  I’ve seen that stat several times since, most recently in an article about a year and a half ago.  There’s a lot of small neighborhood shopping districts around that just might have that special gift you are looking for.  Sewickley, Shadyside, Southside, Oakmont to name just a few.  There’s also the Hand Made Arcade at the convention center next weekend that always has tons of vendors selling their homemade wares.

Instead of scrapping plans for multi billion dollar warships (which I’m not saying we don’t need to keep our defense updated, it’s just  we don’t need to buy all the new toys the generals want), we cut social net programs because they don’t have high priced lobbyists.  The temporary expansion of SNAP benefits expired at the same time the government did a 5% reduction in their participation in the nations food banks.  That figures out to average 20 fewer meals a month for a family of four.  Of the 87 million recipients of food vouchers in Pennsylvania, 87% are a family that includes a child, a senior or a person with a disability.  Our most vulnerable.  With the reduction in government assistance, many families run out food benefits by the third week of the month, then they turn to the depleted food banks go help them through the last of the month.  I donate to the Northside Common Ministries trying to keep as local as possible.  Our regional food bank, The Greater Pittsburgh Community is another source that needs assistance.

As if having 3,000 natural lakes (the most of any country on Earth), Canada is giving the go ahead to Syncrude to create artificial lakes to store the contaminated waste water from processing the oil sands.  They estimate that by 2022, they will be generating monthly enough toxic waste to fill New York’s Central Park 11 feet.  The plan is to fill the old fields where they removed to oil sands with this sludge and then put 16 feet of fresh water on top to force the pollutants down to the bottom.  And then make another “pond”.  The industry says there are naturally occurring microbes that help break down that break down some of the pollutants.  Or at least this is what happened in their “test kitchen” they say.  They also say in their “test kitchen” ecosystems of insects, amphibians and fish eventually developed.  Maybe they can film the next Star Wars bar scene there.  🙂

The National Cathedral will start charging $10 admission for tourists to cover upkeep ($6 for children, seniors and military).  After all the expense they had to shell out since the earthquake (insurance only covers so much), I think that’s fair.

Well, The Parador is almost ready for the holidays.  I hope to get the outside decorations up this weekend, the weather’s looking a little better than it’s been for the past few days (bitterly cold with the wind, I even turned the furnace on low in the Ballroom at night to keep the pipes from freezing).  The coconuts in the windows have all been repainted and I’m trying a new way to hang them so they don’t get all snaggled together when they’re stored off-season.  I still have a few tweeks to do inside.  Many of you have received the yearly holiday card featuring The Duck.

This year, I was able to convert the address book in my data base into Excel and my printer, Raff Printing, was able to print the cards with the addresses.  Saved a ton of time (3,600 addresses!).  Next year, we’ll do postage as well.  By the time I’m ready to through in the towel, this job’s going to be a piece of cake.  🙂

Well, I wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and if you are traveling, please take your time.  They say a key is to rest up before leaving, I’m a big believer in naps.  🙂



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