Today is the 176th anniversary of the  birth of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain).  Tomorrow is the anniversary of James Naismith creating the game basketball, in Springfield, MA (1891).  In the local YMCA he took two peach baskets and nailed them to either side of the gym and took a soccer ball for the boys to have indoor exercise in the winter.  It is also the anniversary of Rosa Parks being arrested for refusing to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, AL (1955).

While we are dealing with factoids, I know many of you were wondering if there really was a Colonel Sanders, yes, Harland Sanders existed.  As did Little Debbie, Chef Boyardee (correct spelling was Boiardi), Duncan Hines, Howard Johnson, Marie Callender, Sara Lee, Mrs Paul and Fannie Farmer.  There was no Aunt Jemima, or Uncle Ben.  And Wendy Thomas is the real adopted daughter of Dave Thomas.

The Fayette County Food Bank lost the entire ground level of food due to the Redstone Creek overflowing it’s banks and putting two and a half feet of water in their warehouse last Tuesday.  They lost an estimated $30,000 in food.  Luckily, the flood hit after they made their Thanksgiving distributions.  Hopefully, they can get it cleaned up in time and restocked in time for the Christmas holidays.  Items they are looking for are cereal, peanut butter, canned juice and canned goods.  They prefer cash donations because they have great bulk buying power.  More info at their web site.

Finally they are putting Route 19 lights through West Liberty Avenue and Washington Blvd in sync out to Upper St Clair.  Having grown up in the South Hills, that was one of my major routes and I continue to use it fairly often.  It can be quite frustrating traveling that way.  Sometimes you seem to get all the lights green, other times all red (I know, is my glass half full or half empty).  🙂  They seem to have the major work already done and are fine tuning it over the next several weeks with the holiday traffic.  Once the holidays are over, they will do one final fine tuning and call it a day.  It’s not a speeding thing for me, I would rather go twenty-five miles an hour the entire length and get all green lights than forty-five miles and hour and have to start and stop constantly.  They’ve divided the road into three groups, I think West Liberty is one, Mt Lebanon an other and Bethel Park/Upper St Clair the third.

My niece Katie married her fiancee earlier this month in a very private ceremony in Philadelphia and they went to Jamaica for a week for their honeymoon.  They had a celebration this past Saturday for friends and family which I attended.  It was a very nice event and good to see that side of the family, many I haven’t seen in awhile.  Ryan’s family I had met a couple of years ago at a cook out at Katie & Ryan’s house and it was nice seeing them again as well.  My intent was not to drag you into family business, but I stayed at the Thomas Bond House Bed and Breakfast in Philly’s Old Towne.  I haven’t been down around the historic area since the Liberty Bell was still in Independence Hall.  What a change down there.  Actually, Penn’s Landing wasn’t even open back when I was down there last.  It was interesting to see the diverse tourists viewing our history.  And I was surprised at how easy it was to zip around Philly using I95 and I676.  I was zipping all the way out to Abbington in like twenty-five minutes.

The Inn was interesting.  Affordable, I found a room for $130, it was small, but for $130 you couldn’t beat the price for a Center City guest room.  Now they don’t have a parking lot, but right next store to them, there’s the Ritz Parking Garage.  The most they charge is $18 per day, so that made my room $148, not bad.  The key is to not move your car but once a day.  The Innkeepers were very nice and their manager was exceptional.  They offered one of the nicest full hot American breakfasts of any of the Inn’s I’ve stayed at recently.  But I think they only offer a continental on week days.  There were some minor issues like I couldn’t get my lap top connected to the Internet, even with an Ethernet.  But they won’t stop me from staying there in the future, the location is convenient. I kept tabs on my e-mails with my iPhone.  I’m becoming quite the electronically proficient person these days.  🙂

While there I saw J Edgar with a friend.  I know a lot of it was factual, I’m curious how much and what they made up for dramatization.  What I didn’t like was how the film kept going forward and then back in his life.  It wasn’t just bouncing between when he started the FBI and his final days there.  They would jump into middle ground as well.  I found that rather annoying.

So Southwest is pulling their non stop flights to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh leaving just US Air with non stop flights.  They are predicting that flights are going to jump from an average of $340 round trip to over $600.  So there’s now talk of US Air merging with American Airlines since they are in bankrupsy.  I guess we’ll end with just one airline that charges whatever they want.

OK, I’m going to whine a bit, but I promise I only have two items today.  #1 is a common thread with me, the Stadium Authority and sports teams.  We seem to have won the battle over the Northside give away to the Steelers.  The new one is the give away to the Penguins.  I love the Penguins, Mario, Sid, etc.  But cut me a break.  They want to declare the lower hill as a distressed area qualifying for tax deferred and other incentives.  (In case you miss my point here, these “incentives” are things WE pay for right away or later on).  OMG, two blocks to a major downtown center and they need “incentives” to get investors?  Something’s wrong with this picture.  We built you a damn stadium, isn’t that enough?  (Sorry for the expletive.)

#2 is the Post Office.  They’ve been practicing the Steve Bland form of money management possibly longer than he has.  (In case you’ve missed, Steve Bland of the Port Authority just says “Give me more money or I’ll cut services and raise fares.”  Ever think about running your organization efficiency?  How about retiring 3/4 of those big empty buses and replacing them with smaller vans during off peak times?).  The post office moved the sorting function from their Grant Street location in 1983!  And have been paying rent on that empty space since then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So in 2011 they address this down sizing from hundreds of thousands of square feet they pay rent on to a few thousand.  It took them almost 30 years to realize they shouldn’t pay rent for space they don’t use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great afternoon and do something nice for a stranger to brighten at least one day on this dreary day,


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