Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Harvey Kurtzman (founder of Mad Magazine 1902), James Herriot (veterinarian & author 1916) and George Bancroft (famed American historian 1800).  It is the anniversary of the first woman US Senator, Rebecca Felton (1922), the first airing of the Mickey Mouse Club (1955) and Germany was reunited in 1990.

I’m a  big fan of John Conti, Trib contributor on architecture on Sundays.  He’s recommending an exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art through January 13 called White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes.  The title refers to how the current view on how to exhibit interior art is against an all white background of walls and ceilings.  The Green Maze refers to how multiple pieces of art are displayed in an outdoor setting (this is not referring to a single piece of art placed outside a corporate headquarters).  The exhibit looks at how art not only can be displayed creatively, but can also be a functional part of a city like how Seattle re-purposed a brown field with an “art park” that goes over railroad tracks and a highway giving access to the riverfront.  Think Parkway East Downtown, 10th Street Bypass and many other locations in and around the city.  He suggests taking it a step further and using this concept to develop things other than art.  There are several developments being developed along the “T” in Dormont, Mt Lebanon, Castleshannon and Bethel Park that show an economic variation of this concept.  The exhibit can be view during normal museum hours.  For more info, to to their web site or call 412.622.3131.

Looks like the Garden Theater Block now has a sister restaurant backing up Nakama over here on North Avenue.  Piccolo Forno from Butler Street in Lawrenceville has signed a lease.  Piccolo is a fairly casual restaurant over there serving wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta and paninis.   The best part is Piccolo leased the space that the Garden Theater was in.  A lot nicer use of the space than using it for a food co-op as was the last plan.  The tentative name is Il Giardino, kind of cute.

Speaking of restaurants, BRiX right down the street from me opened for a short time last year with signature brick oven pizzas that were quite good.  Then they ran into issues with the city and the fire marshal have been closed forever.  They have given up on the pizzas and are now planning on opening as Benjamins with specialty hamburgers.  Yes, there’s a lot of new specialty hamburger joints springing up like BRGR in the East End and Burgatory over in the Waterworks, but no hamburger specialty restaurants are over here.  It might hit a cord.  No web site yet.

Thinking of going solar?  There’s a self-guided tour next Saturday (October 13) of 16 homes and businesses scattered around Pittsburgh, Forest Hills, Cranberry, Canonsburg and Uniontown.  On hand will be owners, vendors and people with info on financial support.  The cost is $5 for one or all locations.  For more info on the 2012 Pittsburgh Solar Tour by visiting their web site.

As my regulars know, I always include a hyperlink to businesses I support and never hyperlink when talking about companies I don’t have any respect for.  Hence no hyperlink to help their business.  Which brings me to Starbucks.  (No hyperlink- hint hint).  I really hate people tracking me, I love my privacy.  I never sign up for frequent flyer cards, grocery store and gas station perk cards or any of those other tracking devises.  I have frequently patronized Starbucks and bought coffee, pastries, whatever.  Several years ago, I was in Savannah or Charleston, I don’t remember which, and need Internet access.  I went to a Starbucks and had to join their frequent flyer program to gain access.  I told the girl I didn’t want e-mail advertisements, etc.  She said not to worry, she could handle that.  Since then, I have on occasion received solicitations from Starbucks.  About a month ago, I contacted Starbucks and requested to be removed from their data base because I don’t want their solicitations.   The responding e-mail (a month or two later) said they were unable to remove me from their data base.  So I sent a fairly terse e-mail about my privacy, etc.  The response I received was that I should log into “my Starbucks” account and fill in false information to stop this!  I don’t lie, in general and specifically over something like this.  Below is their latest response:

I am sorry that this issue has upset you, but for record keeping purposes, we are unable to completely delete an account.  However, to remove information from your Starbucks.com account, please go to www.starbucks.com/account and log in to your Starbucks.com account. 

To unregister your cards, click on “Manage My Cards,” choose the card you want to remove from your account and select “Unregister This Card” from the menu at the left-hand side of the page. On the next page simply verify that you wish to remove the Card.

Once you’ve logged in, you can change or remove your billing address information. Select the “Manage My Account” option and then click “Payment Methods” to update your billing address and information. On the next page you will be able to edit your billing address and your credit card number and/or expiration date

You can change or remove your registration address information clicking “Address Book” from the menu on the left-hand side. On the next page you will be able to edit your address and phone number, as well as add any additional addresses that you had associated with your account.

Thanks again for writing us.  If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Starbucks, that claims to be forward thinking and a progressive company WON’T delete me from their data base.  They refused to give our troops in Iraq their coffee because they are against the war, but they want me lie to stop receiving random e-mails. If a human inputs a name in a data base, a human can remove that name.  Starbucks CHOOSES to keep my information hostage.   I will never step foot in a Starbucks in the future and I encourage all of you to do so also.

I am sorry to say, Starbucks is now in my Evil Company category and will be covered in future posts like UPMC and Port Authority.

My last wedding went well last Saturday.  I was impressed with the caterer.  All the caterers that have worked here have created great food.  But this reception was one of my largest (150 guests) and Kate did plated service for them all.  It went very smooth.  Kate, the bride wanted to have a Pittsburgh theme.  The tables were not numbered, but named Strip District, Bloomfield, etc.  One of the favors was little bottles of Heinz ketchup.  The even had a Peppi’s sub cut up as an app.

Well, that’s about it for today, have a great rest of your week,




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