Today is the birth anniversary of John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed 1774), TS Eliot (1888), George Gershwin (1898), Pope Paul VI (1897) and Shamu (1985).  It is also the anniversary of the West Side Story premier (1957), the first televised presidential debate (1960) and it is Yom Kippur.

Here’s one of my re-occurring themes.  UPMC claiming that it’s non-profit.  To qualify for non-profit status, a hospital has to provide just 4% of their income for indigent care.  Each year, UPMC just barely makes the 4%, that’s with all their “skilled” accountants.  They grossed $9.6B fiscal year ending this past June.  To the city, which they pay no property tax and refuse to join other non-profits that voluntarily pay a portion of property tax, they said they netted $7M, yet at their board of investors they said they netted $220.7M !  They are now mounting a reputation campaign costing thousands to try and cover this up.  UPMC owns at least $1.3B in property in Allegheny County.

Pittsburgh has more sets of city steps than any other city in the country.  In fact, we have more than both San Fransisco (#2) and Cincinnati (#3) combined.  That’s a lot of steps!  I wonder what the public works department’s title is for the person in charge of steps.  The stepmeister?  🙂

This Saturday will be the third annual Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival at Hartwood Acres from 11 am until 4 pm. Food will have Conflict Kitchen, Soup Nancy’s, Franktuary, and Sito’s Middle Eastern Foods  (an offshoot of Khalil’s Restaurant) to name a few.  They will be collecting used bicycles, bike parts, the food bank will be collecting non-perishable foods and they will be collecting gently used medical equipment like canes, wheel chairs, etc.  There will be lots of kids stuff like reuse-a-palooza, the Science Center will be there and more.  There’s going to be dozens of exhibitors, vendors and demonstrations in addition to about two dozen craft vendors. This is timed to coincide with Hartwood’s Hay Day, a Fall Hay Day featuring hay rides, face painting, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch with pumpkin painting, petting zoo, puppet show and a petting zoo.  More info at their web sites.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, I’m familiar with John Brashear, the 19th century Industrialist that was in opitcs.  I didn’t realize what a cool guy he was.  Born in Brownsville (down the Mon Valley), he only received the equivalent of a middle school education.  As a boy of 9, his grandfather took him to see a traveling telescope that was in town and it became an obsession with him.  He moved to South Side and taught himself how to make optics in a small coal shed on Holt Streets by lamp light.  He didn’t patent most of his many inventions because he published them “for the good of science.”  I knew he was the driving force behind the observatory being built in Riverview Park, what I didn’t know was his and his wife Phoebe’s ashes are buried under the observatory with the quote “We have loved the stars too much to be afraid of the dark”.  Besides telescopes, he pioneered a revolutionary process used in spectroscopes that permitted scientist to determine the chemical composition of 300 astrological bodies.  A mirror he built in 1886 was used in Einstein’s theory of relativity by calculating the speed of light.  Optical products he made are  treasured as Stradivarius violins are to violin enthusiasts.

Just Ducky just passed their 15th anniversary.  I thought I talked about them in the past, I did a search for past blogs and not much came up.  I wish I remembered the details.  They started with just one of those amphibious vehicles (I guest 15 years ago) kind of like on a lark.  At the time, they weren’t particularly mechanically inclined, but put their noses to the grind stone and the rest is history.  They have an entire fleet of vehicles now and last year, they bought the Pittsburgh franchise of Molly’s Trolley.  I first noticed Molly’s Trolley down in West Palm when I lived there.  I didn’t realize the company started here.  The founder decided to live full time down in West Palm and sold Molly’s to Ducky.

We’re in the middle of RAD Days. RAD, Regional Asset District, takes 1/2 of the extra 1% sales tax in Allegheny County and distributes it to different arts groups (looks like Port Authority may be thrown in the mix now as well (who can call them part of the arts community?)  So in celebration, the recipients of this money have free admission days. I was at the Mattress Factory on Sunday, their free day.  Thursday will be free admission to Heinz Field (no game 🙂 ), Friday will be free admission to the Cultural District’s Gallery Crawl, Saturday will have free admission to The Frick, Fort Pitt Museum, free admission to Young Men and Woman’s African Heritage Association at 1205 Boyle Street here on the Northside (they’re the group that brought Gee’s Bend’s Quilters here two years ago and those amazing ladies stayed at The Parador) and the above mentioned Hartwood Acres event.  Sunday’s free admission include the Heinz History Center, the Young Men and Woman’s African Heritage Association (again), the Oakland Carnegie Natural History/Art/Architectural Museums, the Children’s Museum and a special presentation at the Carnegie Library next to the museums in Oakland.  Monday will have free admission at the Soldier’s and Sailors Memorial Hall.  Wednesday, Manchester Craftsman’s Guild will have free events at the center here on the Northside.  Next Thursday, The Pittsburgh Center for the Performing Arts will be giving free special tours.  October 5 will have free special tours of the Davie Lawrence Convention Center and Pittsburgh Glass Center (and PGH Film Makers).  October 6, free admission will include Bulgarian-Macedonian National Education and Cultural Center, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pittsburgh Film Makers (again).  Sunday, October 7 the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium will have free admission.  Monday, Soldiers and Sailors will again have free admission.  Finally, as a close out, on October 13 Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will be featuring a free Sketch Crawl, WQED will be giving free tours, the Pittsburgh Symphony and South Park’s Hay Day will all be free.  I’m tired thinking about all this.

That was a lot of links I had to do 🙂


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