Tomorrow is the anniversary of the commissioning of the USS New York, the $1B warship has 7 1/2 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center (2009), the Battle of Tippecanoe (1811), the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1885), the Republican Symbol was started by Thomas Nast in a satirical cartoon (1874), President Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term (1944) and the first black governor was elected (in Virginia) (1989).  Birth anniversaries include opera star Dame Sutherland (1926), scientist Marie Curie (1867), American actor Dean Jagger (1903) and French writer and philosopher Albert Camus (1913).

Did you vote yesterday?  If not, shame on you.  You don’t need to vote for each position up, if I’m not familiar with particular candidates for a position and can’t make an informed choose, I by pass it.  I vote knowledgeably on the candidates/issues I am familiar with.  Please, make a commitment to the American system and commit yourself to vote in each election in the future.

It’s unbelievable.  After all the controversy at Penn State over the last few years, the power elite still don’t get it.  They are selecting a new president to replace retiring interim president Rodney Erickson.  The process is totally secret and even the trustees are being kept in the dark.  Transparency is not a difficult thing to do, if you are upright and don’t have hidden agendas.  I think the 96,000 students should have an armed uprising.  🙂   Just kidding, NSA.  🙂  And do you know the best part?  The people selecting the new president met in a BASEMENT in a hotel off campus.  How ludicrous can they be?

The last 8 residents in Centralia can live in there homes as long as they want.  If you are not familiar, Centralia is that coal mining town in NE Pennsylvania that a seam of coal ignited and has burned since 1962.  The fire has followed several seams in and around the town and seems to have tamed down these days, but in it’s hay day, fissures would open up and smoke and fire would come up through them.  Most residents left, but a hardy 8 remained refusing the government’s attempt to buy them out.  Besides it being their “home”, many felt it was a conspiracy to steal the mineral rights.  The state government tried all kinds of tactics to get them out and the last 8 wouldn’t budge.  It all pretty much died a decade or so ago.  Recently, the state started again to try and evict them and they filed a federal lawsuit and came to a compromise.  The state bought their houses, the residents can stay at their own risk, but they can’t sell the house or bequeath it.  Sounds fair to me.

Why are our gas heating bills going up this year?  Natural gas prices are raising an average of 6% I’m hearing (Equitable, my provider is raising their rates 8.9%) during the largest glut of natural gas in history!  Now I understand Columbia gas is doing a capital project replacing all (I think it’s all) of their old lines.  I can understand paying for that.   And I thank all the heavens that we have Tanya McCloskey as our head of the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocacy, when asked why the PUC is permitting these increases she said “The reason additional supply does not necessarily mean lower prices is that customers’ gas prices depend on several factors”.  Oh, I understand now.  Thank you Tanya for clearing that up for me.  I’m not advocating that she be fired, maybe shot?  Just kidding NSA.

The oldest public park in Allegheny County recently received the country’s highest designation.  The Commons, originally an Allegheny City pasture designated for common grazing of animals, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  I don’t think that will affect the battle with the railroads that wants us to pay to raise the truss bridge on West Ohio Street to accommodate their double stacked cars.  The bridge needs replaced, it’s in pretty poor shape and I’m fine with paying to replace it, but not to raise it so they can make more money off the tracks.  #1 it’s going to do some serious visual disruptions to the park.  #2 quite a few of those stately London Plane trees will have to be removed.  #3 our fore fathers had the foresight to put the track below grade to minimize the noise, dirt and visual of having a train go through their park.  #4 if the rail company wants to be able to double their profits, they should pony up and either A-lower the track bed to accommodate the higher cars or at least B-pay for the added cost of bridge replacement to accommodate them.

The Federal Reserve Bank downtown is going to be converted to a Drury Inn and Suites by next year.  They are looking to create a 180 room hotel in the upper floors leaving the grand first floor pretty much as it is.  Drury is an international company (with a really annoying website) with 130 room hotels.  Currently they only have 4o parking spots, not sure what they’re going to do there, but Drury runs higher end hotels, the the room rate would probably warrant carving out the multiple basements into parking.  This will be their first hotel in Pennsylvania.  They will be joining Hotel Monaco under construction in the old Reed Smith building on Sixth Avenue that plan 250 rooms and is also pretty upscale.  Watch out  Fairmont, competition’s on it’s way.  🙂  An Embassy Suites is under construction in the old Oliver Building on Smithfield Street and the new Hilton Gardens down by Market Square.  A little bed and breakfast on the Northside better watch out, the big boys are moving to town.  🙂

Want that unique holiday gift?  Try checking out Tucker-Jones House Tavern Puzzles.  Blacksmith Dennis Sucilsky hand crafts forged steel brainteasers.  Going back to colonial times, tavern owners supplied iron puzzles to their guests to entertain (and retain) them.  They frequently used iron puzzles because of their durability.  One of Denis’ puzzles, the Patience Puzzle takes 43 steps to solve, if you even can.  They start at around $20 and box sets run just over $100.

Anyone that knows me or follows my blog know I follow the news a lot.   I used to watch BBC World News Tonight, until they quit broadcasting it a couple of years ago.  DirecTV now carries Al Jazeera on channel 347 and I’ve been watching it a fair amount. It’s not that I’m against American news broadcasts, and Al Jazeera doesn’t come off with an “agenda”, it’s the same news American networks are covering with a slightly different slant.  And they cover things American new broadcasts don’t cover, and I’m not talking controversial topics, just things outside the box.   Also, they have noticeable less commercials!  I’m not against commercials, in general.  Companies need to make money, it’s the over saturation of commercials during prime time on the major networks that bother me.

The oldest company in America making the original product they were founded making is Waterbury Button Company.  When the war of 1812 stopped the import of buttons from England, Aaron Benedict started making buttons at his company in Connecticut.  Brass was hard to come by then and Aaron scrounged metal from everywhere he could find it.  Every time they make a mold, they save it.  They have 40,000 dies for various button designs they made.  They have been the major supplier for the US Military, all the way back to before the civil war.  They provided the buttons for the staff officers on the original Titanic and when the movie producers recently made the remake, guess where they got their buttons?  Pretty cool, a made in America product.

I’m going to the Pennsylvania Bed and Breakfast Association Second Annual Conference.  (PABBI)  It’s just one evening and a full day, but there’s always lots to learn and it’s great seeing other Innkeepers I already know and meeting others.  There’s always new stuff to learn and stuff to see.  I’m looking forward to it.

That’s it for today, have a great one,



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