Hi,

I’m a very fortunate person, I am a vet, but not one of combat action.  I never had to make the decision of whether to pull the trigger and kill another human being.  I’m a Vietnam era veteran and was never in that conflict.  As a remembrance for today, I ordered the movie Dunkirk and saved it for today.  Although today is officially Veterans Day, it is actually Armistice Day.  At 11 am on 11/11/18 Germany surrendered to the Allies.  It was such a relief for the world to end this massacre.  Unfortunately, most young people, patriotic or otherwise are unaware of World War I and the atrocities back then or even the original meaning of this “holiday”.  This war to end all wars was actually a failure in that just a few years later we had World War II and it wasn’t until after that that the Geneva Conventions were adopted.  The agreement commonly referred to as the Geneva Conventions is actually four treaties (some as early as 1929) that were rolled into one in 1949.  It seems after atrocities like those committed during major wars makes mankind think about fairness and civility.  So after the unbelievable treatment of prisoners of war and the use of unbelievable tactics like mustard gas and other unbelievable creations to win a war we take a step back and consider their use.  So mustard gas is no longer an acceptable means of winning a war.  Although it is generally recognized cluster bombs, napalm nuclear bombs and other chemical forms of killing other humans may not be codified in the Geneva Conventions, it is commonly held that these also are war atrocities.  I appreciate all the people that thank me for my service, but I would rather they seek ways to end this constant blood shed on our shared planet.  A friend of mine is in the National Guard and when e’s been in uniform when we’ve met for a drink or meal and it impresses me how many strangers buy us a drink or at least thank him for his service.  We think right, we just don’t seem to follow through.

Lets look at the positives, the thing I am most impressed with Dunkirk is the evacuation of 300,000 Allied soldiers stranded on Dunkirk beach by 800 civilian fishing boats, merchant vessels, pleasure boats that converged to save the soldiers from a certain massacre by the German army a few miles away if not evacuated.  As I am also most impressed with the civilians on 9/11 that stopped the aircraft from causing further destruction after the twin towers were destroyed.  The courage of these civilians should make you want to visit the Shanksville 9/11 memorial.

Finally, I am a big proponent of a mandatory 2 year term of service to be an American citizen (born or naturalized).  It could be the military, peace corps, VISA, job corps anything.  Maybe then we as Americans can learn civics and civil behavior?

Thank you for your service, military, first responders and others that put their lives on the line for us,

ed

Hi,

I would like to thank you folks that expressed distress at what happened in my home town last week.  No Mr. Commander in Tweet, we do not need armed guards outside and inside our schools, churches, temples and synagogues.  We need less guns in our society.  I agree, most deaths by guns is by a hand gun, but most mass murders are done with military style assault rifles.  You don’t need an ak 47 to go hunting and kill a deer, rabbit or squirrel.  We need government leaders that are willing to step up and defend our citizens by enacting sensible gun control laws.

Speaking of gun control, tomorrow is election day.  GO OUT AND VOTE!  I don’t care who you vote for (actually I do, but it’s like winning a thousand dollar lottery versus a hundred dollar lottery-I have a preference, but I’m happy either way-I don’t play the lottery by the way, it was just an example).  🙂    Thank god those annoying campaign commercials will be over by Wednesday.  How can you vote for someone that gets elected by lying about his/her opponent or lying about their accomplishments and positions on issues.  If they lie in their campaign, I’d say that pretty much sums up their honesty.  Some of the candidates have been caught in outright lies and then deny it.  Worse yet is the advertisements paid for by special interests and PACs and their negativity.  Connor Lamb is not running in my district and he has run a very positive campaign discussing the issues and not being all negative. But the democratic machine has run some pretty negative ads in his name.   Besides liking Mr. Lamb’s position on many items, I want him to win to hopefully set a new campaign standard.  Keith Rufthus  has been pretty negative in his personal campaign.  Add to this the republican machine’s negative ads and its a smear campaign (and he has never endorsed these smears).  I like Governor Wolf and he has had some negative ads, but not over the top like his opponent who threatened to stomp Governor’s face in with golf spikes.  To give Scott Wagner some credit, he is now running a campaign ad pushing acceptance of all citizens. We need a new law that before a political ad is aired, it needs a seal of approval by an independent agency like Fact Checker, that gives a rating like the movies get.

I hate OTA’s, On line Travel Agencies like Expedia, Travelocity, etc.  They charge a fee for rooms booked through their websites, which I would be OK with.  But (you knew a but was coming up) 🙂 .  They initially tried charging bed and breakfasts an outrageous 25% fee for bookings, none of us signed up with them.  Eventually, they dropped the fee to a less outrageous 15% booking fee.  (They charge the big box hotels a 10% fee, which sticks in my craw).  I refused to sign up with an OTA for years and then Google came out with a new requirement that bed and breakfasts need to be signed up with an OTA to prove that they are legitimate.  So I signed up with Booking.com because they supposedly are the largest OTA covering Europe.  I’ve complained to my Booking.com agent about their fee and was told it wasn’t excessive that it was justified with all they spend on advertising and website security.  I told her they don’t spend more than Visa does on advertising and security that charges me less than 3%.

My battle with the pigeons continues, I’m making progress though.  I was making progress, but not enough so I decided to up the anti again and went back to Dick’s  and was looking at BB gun rifles.  They would be more accurate than the hand gun and luckily an employee came up and asked if I needed help.  I explained I didn’t want to kill the pigeons, just hurt them and make them go away.  He said the power in a rifle would send the BB through the pigeon and thus kill them.  He suggested doing what he does and use a sling shot.  I have that oak tree in my yard and so lots of acorns.  When I use them as ammunition, they biodegrade in my yard instead of leaving plastic pellets or metal BB’s  littering my yard for ever.  It’s been pretty successful, frequently I don’t have any pigeons and just a few other times.

Been busy working on my holiday cards, Roy was over this weekend and took the picture and I’ve been working on the mailing list.  Going through 6,000 addresses takes some time.  I just finished. 🙂  Most of the deletions are bad addresses, probably past guests that have moved since visiting.  Some are mail carriers that send the card back as un-deliverable for whatever reason and that guest ends up with a “bad address” note in my data base.  I also delete foreign countries (other than Canada).  There’s also a fair amount of incorrect addresses I need to fix zip codes, cities, etc.  The final category is those I don’t want back like the ones that smoked in their guest room.

Have a great evening and remember to VOTE tomorrow,

ed

Hi,

Da gerl went to the vet this week to have her stitches removed.  Still no walks and limited movement and to her chagrin the vet said she needs to keep the cone on for another week, she was so bummed.  She cried in the car coming home.  ):

 

When I’m in the kitchen and can watch her, I leave it off.  When I go out or leave the kitchen for chores, she gets the cone. I take if off so she can eat comfortably.  One evening, I forgot to remove the cone and put the food down for them and she just looked up at me pitifully, “Dad take the cone off!”  🙂

My good friend Arlen, the owner of City Books right down the street from me, sent me an email two weeks ago telling me I had made it in Forbes, it was an article on Pittsburgh talked about attractions, restaurants and lodging in the city.  He mentioned three lodging options and I was the only one with a picture.  🙂

I think I hate fall more than winter, it’s the harbinger of things to come.  I took the elephant ears out last week and did a great job this year I might add.  It’s important to get as much dirt off the rhizomes as I can so I don’t tease the tubers and they start to grow.  The bins I put them in were pretty light this year, so I must have done a good job.  I took little blankets and tucked them in when I put them in the basement and told them good night and I’ll see you in the spring.  (Just kidding).  Also, I normally take all the vegetation out at the same time.  But you should leave some of it in so the bugs and winter birds have someplace to hide from predators and as a food source with any seeds left.  So this year, I am gradually removing items.  Leaving the banana plants makes the courtyard look less barren.

I’ve been feeding the song birds for several years now.  About six months ago some pigeon found out that there’s food in the courtyard, so she invited her friends to the feast.  I was having 15 – 20 pigeons in my yard.  Yes, I’m prejudiced pigeons have never done anything to harm me, I just don’t like them or want them in my yard.  So I started throwing tennis balls at them and they would scatter and come right back.  I decided to up my game and went out and bought a pellet gun.  $20, you get what you pay for in life, I could watch the pellets wobble and fall short of the pigeons, I then bought a BB gun that used a CO2 cartridge to shoot the BBs.  It worked OK, but again you get what you pay for in life and it wasn’t tremendously accurate.  One day, the pigeons were ignoring me and I walked down the brick sidewalk along the front of the carriage house and had the stance aiming for the pigeons (at 6 am) and some lady was walking up the street saw me aiming in the general direction of the street and screamed.  I told her not to worry, she’s not a pigeon.  Luckily she laughed.  I wasn’t making enough progress with the BB gun and decided I needed to up my game again.  I went back to Dicks and was looking at a BB rifle.  A young guy working there came up and asked if I needed help and I explained my problem, I didn’t want to kill the pigeons, just chase them away.  He said the rifle would send the BB right through the pigeon and kill it.  I don’t want to kill them, I just don’t want them in my yard.  He suggested a sling shot, he said that’s what he uses.  I have the oak tree in the courtyard and so I have plenty of acorns.  And that’s what I’ve been using and that seems to be working pretty good.  I have that obnoxious one that first discovered me, she’s pretty persistent and I guess it’s her boyfriend and another pigeon.  Generally these days I have less than five pigeons, if any.  Some days they don’t come by at all.

How about that horrendous massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue here in Pittsburgh?  I blame this hatefulness in our country on YOUR commander in tweet for his divisiveness rhetoric appealing to his base. His idiotic statements during the 2016 campaign that made no sense like he knows more about ISIS than the generals and other such idiotic statements drove me crazy (and still drives me crazy-I ignore most of it).  Then his ranting about a wall is why we have that caravan of peoples coming up from central America.  His hateful comments about sh*t hole African countries and ban on Muslim country visas and entry into our country has empowered these nut cases like Robert D. Bowers here in Pittsburgh in their twisted views on life.  I watched a fair amount of Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing.  With his tears, anger and other emotions, I felt I was watching a scene from the Apprentice.  Yo budd, this isn’t some TV series that needs higher ratings, this is my country and we deserve better.  You can be an idiot and in charge of the country (with checks and balances hopefully), but please stop this hateful divisiveness.  It’s bad enough how much your are degrading our environment and giving more and more money to the top 1%, but please stop making us hate each other.  My friend Peet corrected my description of DJT to his divisiveness, I trusted spell check and should have known better.   Damn after reading Peet’s comment, I think i could write a book here, what an idiot (not you Peet-but DJT).  I don’t want to degrade the “conservatives”, but we need to learn to understand people other than us.

I’m planning my winter trip to Florida, my normal person is not available to baby sit the kidz and mansion.  My blog automatically posts to Facebook and won’t put the dates in here.  Anyone interested in living in a mansion for two weeks with two adorable dogs?  My dates aren’t in concrete yet, if you are interested send me an email ed@theparadorinn.com

OK guys, that’s it for today, have a good one,

ed

Hi,

Da gerl had her surgery yesterday.  The surgeon was happy with the results, she seems pretty stressed out, I think it’s discomfort, not pain.  See her shaved leg.  When I picked her up, she confronted me because yesterday when I dropped her off, I told her it was a day spa.  This morning she said, Dad, that wasn’t no day spa!

10 days we go back to have the stitches removed and it’s still a 10 week recovery until her last appointment and final x-ray to ensure everything healed properly.  I guess I’m sleeping on the floor for the next couple of weeks to be sure she doesn’t get it in her head to jump up on the bed (and my big fear is that she would then jump down out of the bed).

 

Wish us luck,

ed

Hi,

It’s been a while, I’ve been super busy.  Dee hasn’t been here since late July and in addition to my normal, I’ve had to clean and refresh rooms.  The first two weekends were the worst serving 16 -18 for breakfast and then cleaning, refreshing and turning rooms for new guest to arrive.  I hired Nicole about two weeks ago and she’s doing fantastic.  Within a couple of days, she already knew the names of the rooms and which one it was.  She’s a natural cleaner and the rooms are sparkling.

I’ve come to a new insight, we are not red states/blue states, Democrats/Republicans, liberals/conservatives.  We are victims/entrepreneurs, well not actually entrepreneurs.  We are people that blame others for problems in our lives (victims) or we are people that see a problem and find a solution (entrepreneurs).  There are victims and entrepreneurs in all of the above categories.  I think if we focused on this instead of “He’s a Republican and so he’s wrong” or vice versa.  The question should be does he have a solution within his framework and does the solution work within my set of values?  Maybe I should change my set of values if his logic makes sense?

I probably have said in the past, but I love Halloween, it’s the non stress holiday.  No worries about cooking a turkey, buying great gifts, doing holiday cards, preparing a picnic.  You just throw up some decorations, buy some candy and that’s it.  No stress.  So here’s this year’s scary tree:

My OCD gets the best of me sometimes.  I would like to change my scary tree next year to be a Día de Muertos tree.  I’ve never seen Dia de Muertos ornaments that I could hang on a tree.  If anyone knows of a source, please let me know.  I would love to make them, but my hands are not steady enough to draw all those narrow lines.  Maybe I should start yoga to calm my nerves?  🙂

Here’s a cute small coconut I got last trip to Florida of a zombie (cute might not be the right word).    I have a hole series of small coconuts I decorated for a tree in the ballroom I use when I do a holiday party.  That might be a good winter project to change them all to Dia de Muertos coconuts.

I am currently in a battle, I’ve been feeding the song birds for several years now.  About six months ago, a pigeon, discovered there was food in my courtyard.  She invited her friends over and I was having 15 or more pigeons each day.  I started throwing tennis balls at them, they would fly away and immediately return.  After a month of this, I decided to up the anti.  I wanted to inflict some pain, I’m not about to kill them, I just don’t want them in my yard.  When I was young (6th grade) we moved from the city (Baldwin) out to the country (Finleyville to a house that had been empty for years).  My parents bought an old farm house, whose property dated back to a deed back when this area was part of Virginia, before Geogie Washington drew the straight line separating Pennsylvania from Virginia.  The farm house had been empty for years and we had a rodent problem.  My dad said something I thought at the time was pretty weird.  He said “Rats don’t live where rats aren’t wanted”.  I’m a firm believer in this now, I’ll tell you about the possum next.   So Mr. Cheap bought a pellet gun, it was cheap, $20 you get what you pay for in life, you don’t have to buy a Mercedes to get a good car, but if you buy a used care off one of those lots on the side of the road, unless you’re a mechanic, you’re taking your chances.  I could watch the pellet waver towards the pigeons.  So after a week, I invested in a BB gun, it uses a CO2 cartridge, so it produces a report.  I’ve been using this for about 2 weeks.  It pretty much works.  I’ve gotten several pigeons and they flounder around a bit.  I’m now down to about 4 or 5 at most, some mornings I don’t have any.  I usually shoot from right off the veranda, one morning they were ignoring me (and I was missing them), so I walked down the brick sidewalk in front of the carriage house and took my stand with the gun hand resting on my other hand (you’ve seen this on TV).  Some lady was walking up the sidewalk out front, saw me and screamed.  I told her she wasn’t a pigeon and it was just a BB gun, she laughed (luckily).  Pigeons don’t live where they aren’t wanted, I WILL WIN.  🙂

One morning last winter I came out of the kitchen and I thought I saw a possum between the shed and the carriage house.  I quickly closed the kitchen door to keep the kids from chasing it like they do the squirrels.  I was afraid it would bite or scratch them and they contract rabies.  I didn’t see it anymore, so I walked out to the shed and he was on the other side of the shed next to the wall.   I called 911 and when she asked for the address of the emergency, I told her no emergency but there’s a possum in my enclosed courtyard and I was afraid of my dogs contracting rabies and didn’t know who to call at 6 am.  She said not to worry about it, she would handle it.  20 minutes later animal control was at the door.  As I walked them back to my courtyard, I explained my concern about rabies.  The one guy said I didn’t need to worry about possum carrying rabies, because of their metabolism they can’t carry rabies, I knew that.  The possum was gone.  Animal control said they are climbers and it probably climbed over my wall to my neighbor’s yard or up the tree on the carriage house roof and into the alley way behind.  I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks, then one day he was out by my compost bin.  So I closed the kitchen door, rabies or no rabies I didn’t want da kidz battling a possum.  My closest weapon when I approached the possum was the pitch fork I use to turn my compost.  I banged it on the brick wall to scare him.  The possum ran down my yard along the wall towards the street.  He got as far at the banana tree and didn’t go any further.  I lifted one of the banana leaves and started banging the pitch fork on the wall to further scare him.  We were uncomfortably close (it’s a short pitch fork) 🙂 and he was snarling at me showing his teeth.  Rabies or no rabies, I didn’t want to get bit.  So I went up to the shed and got a long handled rake and started using that.  He’s still under there snarling at me.  Then I realized something.  His instinct must have been to escape along the wall and he couldn’t get past the banana trunk without exposing himself in the yard.and the brick wall, the banana trunk was right next to the wall.  So I left him came back later and he was gone.  I haven’t seen him since.  Dad, you were right rats (and possums) don’t live where they aren’t wanted.

Da gerl tore her other ACL and we go for the operation this Wednesday.  We’re old pros at this, we did it just last December.  Long story here, maybe deserves her own post soon.

Sold out tonight (Steeler home game) and I have some prep to do yet.

Have a good one,

ed

What’s ya doing August 17 – 18?  Want to go to a summer camp for adults?  Troegs Independent Brewing Company is hosting a beer camp for adults in North Park.  Besides drinking beer, they are planning zip line with Go Ape and other tree top activities-careful how much your drink before climbing trees, kayaking and biking lead by Venture Outdoors, flag capture games, other activities include geocaching, other lawn games & crafts.  It is limited to 75 and the last camp they held in York County sold out.  The price is $75 for Friday (hours 1:30 -7), $95 for Saturday (hours 8:30 am – 2 pm and the afternoon hours) and $150 for both days.

Other activities you might be interested in presented by Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation include Saturdays from 3 – 5 pm Garfield’s murals including the famous The Bride of Penn Avenue, the Pittsburgh Glass Center and Silver Eye Photography.   Monday Tours include HH RIchardson’s old Allegheny County Jail  from 11:30 to 1 pm, court holiday Mondays are excluded.  Wednesdays tour is hours 6 – 7:30 pm of East Carson Street commercial street and residential side streets (a safe time to visit since the college kids don’t descend until after 10 pm for the bar scene).  Thursday’s tour is of historically significant architectural landmarks interior and exterior spaces Downtown from 9:45 t- 12:15.  Fridays tour Oakland  the Carnegie Museums out there, the Cathedral of Learning, Carnegie Library, Frick Fine Arts Building, and Heinz Chapel, hours are 10 – 11 am.  Prices and details are at PHL website.

Allegheny County is in the process of restoring The Cascades pool in South Park originally designed by Paul B. Riis, a Swiss-​born landscape architect who worked for the Allegheny County Park system from 1927 – 32.   What a cool way to cool off the Cascades was a pool designed to be a pool, wading pools and water falls all with a natural look.  The stone were all recovered during South Parks creation in the 1930’s.  Early recycling?  🙂  I’ve heard for years they were thinking of putting it back in and now I hear they are actually working on it.

May I be a bit negative?  I wish Christian Cassotis would go back to Florida or Georgia, where ever the airport authority found her.  She’s been pushing since she came here to revamp the airport at a tune of $1B!  We haven’t paid off the last brainchild of the airport authority that designed the airport to serve as USAir’s hub.  Granted, she has brought more flights in recently than the airport’s had in years, many are significantly subsidized.  I don’t like offering a Qatar company a half million dollars to flight freight in but when we start talking a BILLION dollars, I need to step up and holler.  Yes, there are way too many gates that waste resources like heating, cooling , lights security, etc.  But tearing down the landside terminal, building new structures at a cost she is now saying will exceed the BILLION dollar initial estimate.  There has to be a more cost effective way to modernize the facility.

Pittsburgh’s oldest makerspace HackPGH is doing well, they are expanding.  For just $50 a month ($30 for students, seniors and vets) you have access to the many tools they have in their workshop.  Located in an alley behind 5th Avenue in the Updown section of the city, it’s in an old garage and are taking over an adjacent space to expand.  Chad Elish, the founder, has all kinds of wood working tools, metal working tools, laser cutting, 3-D printing and other skills.  A great part of the program is when you are in the shop with others that can guide you with their experience in learning new tricks to whatever you are trying to make.

I just re-painted the gecko swing yesterday and was thinking about a mutual friend of Kerry & myself made for me.  Dino moved back to Minnesota and when he returned, I put him and Layne up in one of my guest rooms in my Lake Worth, FL bed and breakfast and since he was such a good friend, I wouldn’t take any money while they looked for permanent housing.  So they made the gecko swing for me.  Each time I paint it, I marvel at the detail they incorporated into it:

His tail is curled up on the bottom, his back leg is across from where your thigh would be on the swing, the arm rest is his front paws, his head is next to where your head would be and see the scales going up his back.

I took da kidz out to Raccoon State Park today, they had a ball.  We even got hollered at by a park ranger.  I picked an unused picnic area and left them off leash.  A ranger pulled over and told me they weren’t allowed off leash.  I clapped my hands, my good kidz came running over to the truck and immediately sat down.  The ranger commented on how good they were and told me he was just giving me a warning.  He smiled and drove off.

It’s been a rough day and I had started this blog two days ago (I had to delete the post about the scuba diving event at the zoo this weekend, since it’s already Saturday.  It looked like a fun time, if your quick, they are also holding it tomorrow.  I’m going to feed my good kidz and enjoy my front porch and do my crossword puzzle.  Have a good weekend,

ed

Hi,

September 8 they are dedicating the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset.    It’s an awesome looking structure and has 40 individual wind chimes dedicated to each of the 40 heroes that gave up their lives to save other lives.  Each wind chime has it’s own dedicated tone so it’s like all 40 heroes are talking.  The great final installment to this great memorial.  If you follow the link, be sure to scroll to the bottom to hear the architect’s vision of what the chimes should sound like.   I look forward to hearing the chimes with the wind deciding on the tunes.

Supposedly I have a new feature on my phones to cut out those incessant robo calls, it’s a shame they don’t have one of those to screen regular telemarketers.  When you call the Inn or my personal phone, my voice instructs you to push 1 to talk to me.  Robo calls don’t have fingers and can’t push 1.  🙂

The Parador is reducing it’s carbon foot print even further.  I’ve always had bottled water in the pantry for guests, those thin plastic bottles are not recyclable.  So I installed a water cooler.  And I have small recyclable plastic cups sitting on it.  Besides cold water, it also dispenses hot water.  I have the coffee makers in the guest rooms, but after brewing coffee, there’s always residual coffee oils in the pot and basket that effects the taste of tea.  So I’m killing two bird with one stone.

I replaced that old refrigerator in the pantry that was using about $35 of energy each month with a new much more efficient one that uses the electricity of a 40 watt light bulb.  With moving to just about all LED bulbs and the new windows and other projects I’ve done, my electric bill has dropped from around $1,700 a month with the AC to just over $500.  🙂

I saw Mark last week, he owns Blue Wave Auto Spa on McKnight Road.  I’ve taken my car and before truck to him for mechanical work for years.  Mark, his wife and Chris the mechanic that usually works on my vehicles all came to my 10 year anniversary two years ago.  Mark’s been battling cancer for about a year now.  He’s looked kind of rough for the past several months going through chemo.  I saw him last week and wow does he look better.  I told him and he thanked me for noticing.  We had never discussed his cancer, it was just obvious.  Speaking of cancer Carol & her husband just checked out, when she arrived she was wearing one of those head scarfs to hide her thin hair.  At registration, she was comfortable enough with me that she took the scarf off and we discussed her cancer.  She’s doing well and finished her last chemo and this was their celebration trip from Maryland (not too far, but far enough that it felt like a real get away).  While we are discussing cancer, my sister Sue had her last chemo yesterday.  She also would wear  scarfs to cover her thin or no hair.  Luckily for me, I have not battled cancer and am bald anyway.  If I was going through cancer, I would not wear a scarf, even if I normally had hair.  I think you cancer battlers should not wear scarves and show off you lack of hair as a badge of honor.  Having cancer is not something to be ashamed of and the hair issue should be a badge of courage.   Mark, Carol and Sue have shown in their battles this is something to admire.

Yesterday all day when walking back and forth between the courtyard & office and the kitchen I kept hearing a bird chirping along the brick walk way in front of the carriage house. I’m looking up thinking birds were building a nest up above.  Finally late afternoon, I stopped when I heard it and paid closer attention.  You know those terracotta chimney pots I have outside Ruellia’s door.  Some stupid baby robin must have flown and landed on the lip and fell in and couldn’t fly back out and was calling for help.  I had become suspicious because I kept seeing a female robin obsessing in the area pacing back and forth.  So I aimed a flashlight in the dark space and there was this large baby down there.  I picked up the terracotta pipe freeing her and she never said thank you, the rude SOB.  🙂  She was in the chimney pot on the left:

And finally for today, the National Aviary just opened the newly renovated Tropical Rain Forest room, this includes a 15 foot waterfall, all the glass has been replaced with a special non reflective bird glass so birds don’t try and fly into it and predator birds on the outside can’t see in it also lets bird beneficial UV light in.  I stopped by today to pick up more tickets from my contact Audrey who took me over to see it, but they were still hosting their press photo op and I passed.  Audrey invited me back anytime to see it.  What I saw was impressive.  Also, they moved my buddy the old guy sloth from his glass cage by the rear entrance into the Rain Forest.  Audrey says he should be happy with his new digs and hanging out with the other Rain Forest natives.

 

That’s it for today guys, have a great weekend,

ed

Hi,

The migration to my new hosting company is complete.  Seems the last blog, I thought they had brought my blogging platform over, but not so.  Nick, my web guy manually posted it for me, he’s great, we love him.  I got an email from Go Daddy that Word Press had been migrated so I want to do a short post to see if it goes through.

As is usual with me, technology raises it’s ugly head when I attempt something.  I think I hear technology snicker when I try something.  🙂  This has been two weeks of torture.  Nick did a great job navigating the transfer and I had to get involved only a few times and that always scares me what I might screw up.  At least other than when my old hosting company shut my site down, it’s not been down since, Nick created a shadow site and directed inquiries to it.  Email became a challenge.  During the migration, because my old hosting company still had my email address, Nick had to forward all my mail to my gmail account.  So instead of just clicking on the Outlook Icon on my desk top, I had to log into Chrome and the open my gmail account to see any emails I might have received.  Once my site was totally migrated/transferred to the new hosting company I called Go Daddy and spoke with a very polite and knowledgeable rep that set my email up so it goes smoothly to my iPhone (I only use that to see if I’ve received a new email and then come to the office to handle).  And since tomorrow or Tuesday, I am finally upgrading my Microsoft to a newer version than the 2007 I’ve been using she suggested to change the setting in Microsoft until after the upgrade.  So this weekend, I’ve had to go to gmail and Outlook on the web watching for emails.  I haven’t seen all emails, the most important are new reservations and luckily I can go into Think Reservations my reservation system to see new reservations that haven’t appeared in either gmail or Outlook.  There was just a few.  I dread tomorrow or Tuesday whenever the Answer Group installs the new version of Microsoft Office.  Karen, Ron & group have been very patient with my ineptitude.  🙂  I’ve dealt with Robert the tech assigned to this project off and on for over a year now and he talks slowly and in a language I understand.

I wrote this post on Thursday and somehow with the migration to the new hosting company it got lost.  I’m sorry for the late posting on the Furries, they left today.

The next weekend will be the the North Side for the Deutschtown’s Music Festival.  It has certainly grown in the six years it’s been happening.  This year, they will have over 300 bands on the seven outdoor stages and 26 indoor venues.  They also will have food trucks, a beer garden, or should I say Biergarten.  🙂   Featuring local brews.  And they are expecting over 20,000 people to attend.

The Furries are back starting today, Anthrocon . It is a strange looking group, but very fun loving and I love watching them.  The closest I ever came to being a Furrie was when I worked at the William Penn Hotel and was elected to be Barney for the Easter Brunch.  OMG, was that costume hot!  The kiddies were super cute, every time I would walk out of the break room and have a half dozen come running up and grab me by my ankles and couldn’t move until the parents interceded.  I’m sure at this point they have created costumes that aren’t as hot as the one I had to wear.  Of the thousands that attend only about 20% actually get dressed up.

The Latrobe Museum is opening something new the Lincoln Highway Experience, dedicated to the first national highway from the east coast starting in New York City and ending in San Francisco, later this month.  Included in the exhibit will be a tourist cabin, a pretty spartan lodging but better than sleeping in your car or tenting it which was the other option then.  Also, they will have a recreation of a 1930’d diner, you get a slice of pie and cup of coffee with the admission ($14 for adults).  They also have a recreation of an old gas station with authentic gas pumps with the Texaco logo on them.

New Pittsburgh movies, the big one is You Are My Friend starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers.  Filming starts here in the fall.  Appropriate with this year being the 50th anniversary of the Mr. Roger’s show.

The other film based on Pittsburgh is Rub & Tub, based on the life and times of massage parlor boss Dante “TeX Gill a transgender who dressed as a man and took on the mob in the 1970’s.  There’s a fair amount of uproar about the headliner Scarlett Johansson, a cisgender (a person who’s personal identity corresponds with their birth sex) portraying a transgender person.

Finally, probably my favorite flower in the world is the Hawaiian Heliconia, commonly called the Lobster Claw and you’ll see why below.

I have a Crocosmia “Lucifer” that reminds me of the Heliconia (I guess mainly because the reds are just a vibrant).  I’ve had it several years and it’s in the path da kidz take chasing squirrels.  So I moved my gargoyle to divert them around it.

The gargoyle worked for several years, but Lucifer has gotten too big and RJ trampled it:

I have that fencing I used before the front fence to slow da kidz down from chasing other dogs walking past and got a couple of “fence posts” to secure it around Lucifer:

Besides protecting Lucifer, the fence works nice because I holds the leaves and flower up pretty good.  So out of a negative, we get a positive.  It does look much nicer supported by the fence.

OK kid’s I’m going to try and post this again as I did last Thursday.  Wish me luck and be good,

ed

Hi,

Happy 4th of July, have a safe (watch out for those newly legalized personal fireworks-play safe) and keep hydrated.  It’s going to be hot tomorrow.

OK, I will up my game on patriotic decorations before Labor Day.  Stop your whining.  🙂

I’d been with Blue Host as my hosting company for a number of years now.  They claimed I had malware on my website and notified me around 7 pm on a Friday night.  Most businesses are closed by then. The rep I was speaking with told me I needed to use an associate business of their’s Site Lock to protect my site.  In my panic to keep my site active I agreed to it and agreed to their $100 fee.  As I was speaking with the Blue Host rep, Site Lock called me on my business line (I was using the phone on my desk for Blue Host) and couldn’t maintain two separate conversations.  I told Site Lock to call me back and finished dealing with Blue Host.  When I finished with Blue Host and Site Lock called me back, he said that was what he was trying to tell me when he called me, the $100 package would not fix my current problem, I needed to buy their enhanced product at 10x the fee.  They were unable to get my site back up and my web guy Nick go involved Monday morning and got my site back up.  When I was speaking with Site Lock I asked about the malware, one of the things he mentioned I recall being that a site related to the Lost Boys of Sudan.  I know one of them through my sister and spoke about his ordeal in my blog several years ago and that he book a wrote.  First of all I recall doing some research on the Lost Boys and that was almost 5 years ago and they discover this malware on a Friday night at 7 pm and force me to buy a product of one of their associates to no avail.  Second, if it’s malware, Blue Host has the ability and skill to remove it, at that level it can all be automated.  When I spoke with Nick later in the week he said this wasn’t the first time he’d have problems with Blue Host and suggested we move the hosting to Go Daddy.  There were some glitches last night and today, but it seems to be going through OK.

One of my early blogs I made an observation of something I had seen in Florida.  I noticed when a city was doing road work, the city contacted the utility companies to coordinate replacing aging pipes when they were rebuilding the streets.  First of all, it is cost effective to have both the water, sewer and gas lines replaced when the road is torn up and holes dug.  There had never been any coordination I saw here in Pittsburgh like that.  I did make that recommendation to PWSA twice and my idea for changing the way storm water catch basins are installed.  I got this idea when the state was ripping out Western Avenue and replacing the street.  They also replaced the storm water catch basins on the street with new ones.  The hole was dug, gravel dumped in the hole and I thought what a great idea, have some of the storm water percolate down into the ground instead of all it going into the sewer system.  After the gravel was tamped down, they put a new cement box where the inlet from the street kept the storm water in the cement box and sent it all into the sewer system.  Of course PWSA totally ignored me.  Now that we have new people running it, maybe I should see if someone will listen to me this time.  The reason for this narrative is there is a current controversy over Peoples gas wants to create a partnership of some sort with PWSA.  I think that’s a great idea, if our elected officials can get their act together, to insure our interests are maintained.  I am totally against privatizing the water system.  But since Peoples is gearing up for a massive gas line replacement project, why not do them both at the same time?  The city attorneys should draft a binding agreement that limits the agreement to infrastructure.

Northside turned out in mass last Tuesday for the meeting with Norfolk Southern railway.  We needed to connect the country in the mid 1800’s so the government got involved with getting rail lines across the country.  That was a good thing, but doesn’t mean it needs to continue.  I think the government needs involved with subsidizing mass transit, but not commercial transsportation.  We need mass transit for a number of reason.  Number obviously greenhouse gases emitted by cars.  Also most users of mass transit are lower income.  That doesn’t mean we should continue subsidizing a major corporation.  If the rail systems can’t exist without government subsidies they should go the way of buggy manufacturers.  The rail industry lobbies got a regulation past a number of years ago requiring when capital expenditures are made for things like replacing bridges, they want them high enough so the rail lines can run double stacked cars.  Maybe profits aren’t doubled on double stacked cars, but they certainly are higher than single stacked cars.  There are 14 bridges along Norfolk’s line that runs through my neighborhood and the Commons, the oldest park in Allegheny County.  The rail line was installed back when the government was more interested in the wants and needs of it’s citizen than of big business than they seem to today.  They granted the rail lines a route through the commons on the condition that it be below grade.  Now they want me to pay the lions share to raise the bridges so they can double stack the cars.  Which means they are no longer below grade.  There is an option other than raising the bridges, they could lower the tracks and achieve the same end result.  At the meeting, a local resident Greg Olcrest, a retired attorney who is active in trying to restore the Commons spoke about several things.  One of the things he talked about and I was unaware of is that there are HUGE brick water/sewer lines that were install before the tracks were originally laid.  The weight of the double stacked trains have a good possibility of cracking these 100+ year old utility lines.  Norfolk Southern also wants to increase the number of trains scheduled from 20 25 per day to 40 to 50 trains per day.  Luckily they don’t permit trains transporting Marcellus oil product to be double stacked.  Even at single stacked I don’t my neighborhood to end up like that town in Quebec a few years ago!  Accidents happen, more so when corporate profits are at risk.

I wrote the above a few days ago and our elected and other government employees seem to be listening to us.  Mayor Peduto has weighted in that he wants other options explored. As has our State Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards and state Reb Jake Wheatley.  Norfolk’s VP of government relations Rudy Husband said the lowering the tracks would be cost prohibitive (because they would have to pay for it themselves).  🙂

Are you an instillational artist?  Then Pittsburgh is looking for you.  Pittsburgh is looking for art to install in six of it’s city parks, they are calling it Art in Parks and plan on moving the installations between the parks periodically.  Follow the link if you would like more info on what they are looking for.

Government can work, that massive landslide that closed down Route 30 in East Pittsburgh April 7 has been fixed already and the road is re-opened.

A bunch of rare books and other rare items were discovered missing last summer.  Missing are 314 items valued at around $8M.  The finally announced they found the culprits, it was the curator and a book store owner.  They have recovered a number of items and working on tracking down the stuff still missing.

How about them finding those young soccer players in Thailand that were lost in those caves.  As of today, the kids are still stuck in the cave, but they are located and the rescuers are able to provide food, water and some dry cloths.  Sometimes, things work out well.  Thank you rescuers for not giving up!

That’s it for today, keep hydrated (I had 6 16 ounce glasses of ice water today myself),

ed

HI,

I had to do a quick post.  I’m migrating my website from one hosting company to another.  Of course it’s technology and there’s some challenges.  🙂  If it goes down, hopefully it will be just for a short while.

I’ll explain what the old company did in my next post.

Keep hydrated,

ed

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