Merry Christmas to you all,

OK, I’m a bit of a politically correct individual, I never say Merry Christmas during December, I always use Happy Holidays.  I like to be as inclusive as I can.  I do say Merry Christmas on December 25

Coming up to all holidays, I reflect a bit on life.  We are a fortunate people.  Taking da kidz for their morning walk at 5:30 (yes, da gerl does not recognize holidays and I am not allowed to sleep in).   As usual when we got to Western and Galveston to cross over to the park, even though we had the green light, I looked both ways before be safe and cautious of distracted or stupid drivers not paying attention, not that I felt threaten by someone deliberately trying to hurt us.  Generally we are a law abiding society, not like some areas of the world where someone would deliberately try and kill us because who we are, where we are from or what we believe.  With all this “government over reach”, we don’t have ferries sinking killing hundreds of people or train derailments also killing hundreds of people.  We did create the Boeing Max that killed hundreds of people through corporate greed (all is not perfect and we have lots to do but generally speaking we are a great place to live).

Again America is a great place filled with great and caring people in case you haven’t heard the story about forty plus neighbors learning sign language so they could communicate with this little girl born deaf, the girl asked her parents why no one liked her because they never “talk” to her.  So the neighbors pitched in hired a signing expert and learned sign so they could communicate with her.  It’s little stories like this that show what a wonderful country we live in and and how great and compassionate our people are.  And there’s the two mayors in Utah (a very Republican and conservative state) pitched in to welcome immigrants.

Traditional tree parlor

Again Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year,



We’ll start this off with I spoke with my printer today and all 6,000 cards will be in the mail tomorrow afternoon.

Next I would like to talk about Krampus, it’s a tradition originated back in the middle ages in central Europe and is most popular these days in southern Germany (particularly Bavaria) and in Austria. Our tradition is St Nick or Santa Claus who rewards good kids and Krampus is a demon that scoops up bad kids and takes them to his lair.  The thing I like about Krampus is like Day of the Dead, Día de Muertos.  I love the art associated with it.  Traditional Krampus masks are carved from wood.  I’ve been trying to make this post for days, sorry for the late notice, but if you would like to participate tomorrow (Friday) evening there will be a Krampus celebration again this year in Market Square from 6 -9 .

Here’s the magical Parador Inn all set for the holidays.




And here’s last year’s acquirement I found them at Pat Catan’s in Pleasant Hills which is now closed as is the original Pat Catan’s in McKeesrocks), I initially called them mice, now with the nutcracker I’m calling them rats for the Rat King from the Nutcracker:

Rat king

We wouldn’t have the holidays without a Caribbean tree:

Caribbean tree

The Caribbean tree is all hand painted fish, seashell and novelty ornaments, look closely at this picture:

closeup Caribbean tree ornaments

And at the head of the dining room table I cover the palm trees with little red bows with Susie’s glass gift boxes underneath:

Glass gift boxes

Here’s the main staircase:

Main stair case

Here’s my traditional tree in the parlor:

Traditional tree parlor

I took coconuts I brought back from Florida, spay painted them and then painted Holiday themes on them like Christmas trees, candy canes, angels.  I’m far from an artist, if you can tell the difference between my candy canes and angels-I’ll be happy  these are all them in a laundry basket when I brought them downstairs to hang.  They are in each of my front windows:

decorated coconuts

And the last image is my snow village in the dining room:

snow village

If you are fretting over gifts for me, just remember I don’t like big, just expensive.  🙂  Just kidding, I’m happy just seeing friends and family.

All the best,





I know I have not be very good at keeping this up, would you all get off my case?  🙂  Two things I’ve tried to focus on was current things to do around the city and with both papers no longer publishing daily editions (their on line editions do not cover the city as the paper editions did.  And the other thing I liked to weigh in on was politics.  I have to keep my distance from our commander in tweet.

I went to the PABBI conference last week in State College, it was a lot of fun and learning.  As usual there was a little over 100 attendees and I got to see and get caught up with many I know.  (You’ve heard of the Anti Christ, well I’m the Anti Technology-evil swirls around me as I walk through cyberspace)  This is pretty scary, I’m going to open an Instagram account.

PABBI Conference

But back to the conference, as usual I went up a day early to visit my friends that still live up there Tony & Sue.  (Tony is the friend that christened me Special Ed while we were touring in Costa Rica-and I am now christening him Crazy Tony)  Tony has made all the wood furniture in their house.   After making all that furniture and some for their daughters his new passion is flutes.  He has wood working tools that are accurate to 1/1,000 of an inch.  He is not a musician, it is just something that appealed to him and decided he wanted to make them.  He gets these exotic woods cuts them down to an predetermined size  and then makes the flute in half then glues them together.  See how the inlay is even on the inside.  These are all works of art:

1 Flute

He took me into his wood shop and was showing me the processes he uses and I thought my head was going to explode

He also made and gifted this coffee table to me:

Coffee table

A gentleman was employed by a small cabinet manufacturer in Centre County (where Penn State’s located and Tony & Sue live) was going out of business not only was he looking at unemployment, he was looking at all his skilled co-workers that were soon going to be looking at unemployment so he decided to create Good People Cabinets, or more succinctly GP Cabinets is where he bought his llc.  It’s pretty amazing story and place.

If you are looking for a magazine to subscribe to may I suggest Pennsylvania Magazine?  I’ve seen it around, it has a lot of good articles like a recent one on Byers Family Carolers, a family owned business that  Mrs. Byers had a hobby of making these Victorian caroler figurines and they became so popular with friends and relatives that she eventually started making them for sale.  Each one is hand made and unique.  So they now have a factory cranking them out.  In addition to the great articles in PA Magazine, they have the best nature pictures around.

Remember PPG Paints Arena is just a free short hop from my Inn The Parador Inn on the “T” and it’s free, if you are planning on going to a Pens game or maybe the Trans Siberian Orchestra December 22.

That’s it for today,




How bad is it that the presidents/CEO’s of 147 major American companies has to call the government on the line to enact common sense gun control legislation?  And major corporations taking the initiative to do sensible things like Walmart discontinuing to sell ammunition and Dicks no long selling certain guns?   Granted I do not answer to a corporate board (other than JR and Rayezette-who are basically rubber stamps for my initiatives).  I’m going to go out on a limb here, I don’t think there should be any assault style weapons in America that are not securely stored in a military type complex.  If you need an AK47 to shoot a deer, you shouldn’t be in possession of any kind of a fire arm.  If you want to boycott me  because of my view, please don’t book here in the future.  Besides the national polls showing 90% of Americans support common sense gun control laws and others I’ve read where taking a stand will generally give a very small set back for a company. Dicks saw that after they first tried doing the right thing with gun control voluntarily and there sales has actually gone up.

Pittsburgh received a Callery pear tree seedling viewed as survivor tree after being discovered still alive after the 9/11 trade center attacks.They brushed the poor thing off and nursed it back to health and have since been giving these saplings to placed that have experienced terror kind of attacks as we did at the Tree of Live Synagogue in Squirrel hill.  I’m assuming it will be planted somewhere around Tree of Life Synagogue.

I was born and raised until 6th grade at the end of Baldwin Borough right on top of the hill over Hays.  There was this wooded area from up on the other side of Glass Run Road, as a kid we would climb over the top passed abandoned strip mines and once on the top with a view of the city and the Monongahela River.  This area is referred to as Hays Woods.  The city bought the 600+ acres for $5M from some developer when he couldn’t get a casino license or mining license from the state for the land.  The city is considering setting some of it aside for some upscale housing development to recoup some of the $5M.  I can tell you from personal experience the entire edge of the property from the top of the hill down to the rail road tracks between Becks Run Road and Hays could never be developed, it’s as steep as the hill from Mt Washington to Station Square.  I was coming home from my parents house in Finleyville one night to my first house on South Side Slopes when I saw the fabled albino buck that lived in those woods.  He had gotten down the hill, across the tracks on to Carson.  He was spectacular!

The new owner of the old Wholey’s cold storage facility with the Icon smiling fish was sold to a developer who is considering building a office building possibly  at tall as 16 stories.  The new office building has a significant presence of Face book in it.  A lot of the old warehouses are currently being converted into office space and some residential.  The one story building on would you like a virtual tour of The Parador?  Follow this link if you do.

Also, big construction plans down in Chateau, the area on the Northside adjacent to tho Ohio River behind the casino.  Millcraft on a major development that will include a marina, lagoon and Ferris While like Navy Pier in Chicago.  Here’s a pic of an artist’s rendering of what it will look like:

New Chateau development

Millcraft in case you don’t know is the group that redeveloped the old Lazarus department store into high end condo’s and retail/restaurants on the first floor.  They also did the hotel/offices/retail/restaurants behind Market Square (the Hilton Garden Square), and are currently redeveloping that old NY lady’s clothing store on Smithfield Street.  Restaurants/retail first floor, parking first and upper floors and condos on the top (I think they bottom is pretty much complete and they are starting on the condos.

Besides being a slacker these days with my blog, I’ve been avoiding politics, but again I have to complain about our mayor, even though I like Mayor Peduto a lot and support a lot of his initiatives, he (like me) has faults that need addressed.  First of all I support building the city for the next 20-40 years and that time cars should pretty much be a thing of the past.  Although it’s a PIA for traveling and parking in the city, I like the foresight of creating bike lanes, expanded sidewalks removing parking spaces to do this and other initiatives.  He needs to stay here and slow down his globe trotting and take care of several things.  My biggest gripe is housing.  There are so many vacant/abandoned houses in the city (read not property tax paying) that are also detracting from the neighborhoods.  Now that city employee that sold himself a house in Beechview for $2,500 and I’m not talking about corruption and things like that, but the system in place is totally broken.  There are so many properties the city owns that could be turned into affordable housing if the city set up a workable program to do this. If he Mayor Peduto spent more time in the city maybe he could focus on this and clean it up.  My other gripe today is trash, he seems obsessive about reducing cost keeping the city clean.  He’s opting for a new state of the art trash cans that talk to a computer and tell Public Works it needs emptied.  I walk da kidz every day twice and am obsessive about picking up plastic and Styrofoam to keep it out of the oceans.  It’s getting harder and harder to find trash cans.  There used to be 10 – 20 on Western Avenue through the Commons Park, now there’s 2.  I’m almost to the point of carrying a plastic bag with me to handle all the trash when I leave the business district of Western.  Another PIA is the lady in charge of Recycling and they have set up glass only containers at the city recycle centers.  Though a PIA I know glass pollutes other recyclables and will modify my collection habits.

Oh and by the way Arlen of City Books and myself received a Humanitarian Award for our food drive that raised over 500 pounds of food in the business district this past summer from the Northside Common Ministries:

Humanitarian Awards

Well kidz that’s it for today, have a great one and we’ll talk again soon,





When I started blogging, most of the events I talked about came from reading the Tribune Review daily.  The Trib quit print editions so I begrudging switched to the Post Gazette, for my daily fix of news and local events.  Then the Gazette started cutting down on it’s daily print offering trying to force everyone to switch to that more profitable on line format.  So since to have a local news paper, I was going to have to do it on line, I signed up for the Trib.  I also have a strong liking for the tactile feeling of a newspaper in my hands.  Maybe it’s just me and technology,   But I don’t find all the events I used to find in the print editions.  I did try buying the print edition of the Sunday Post Gazette, after they raised the price twice (because it’s the only local Sunday paper they figured they could get away with it-maybe so but not with me) I quit buying anything from the Gazette.  They do pass out a free copy of a weekday Gazette at Kuhns sometimes.  Then they try an get me to sign up for a subscription.  I’ve told them when the Gazette wants to offer a seven day subscription I’ll sign up.  Then I get the old it’s the new way all newspapers are going.  And when I respond with I refuse to support Block Communications that has not given their staff a raise in over ten years, that always shuts them up.  So news junkie that I am, I now have a subscription to the Sunday NY Times.  And though they have no local news I do like their national and international coverage.

Speaking of the Times, they had an article Sunday about the Burning Man out in Nevada.  It is something on my list of things to do, This years event just finished, so maybe next year.

Ester and Fester keep entertaining me.  A strange squirrel tried to move in and Esther would have nothing to do with this.  Initially I thought she was playing with one of her kids (she has 2) and then I noticed the new one was much heavier than the youngsters.  This “play” was much more aggressive than the normal play I’d watch the family engage in and that’s when I realized we had an intruder.  He didn’t last a day before Ester kicked his butt and he left.  I enjoy watching the kids play chase with each other.  The other day, I thought one was stuck on the little roof over Allamanda’s sort of bay window.  They go up the oak tree next to the mansion and jump on the flat roof over Allamanda to get acorns that have fallen onto the roof.  I thought maybe she had jumped off the flat roof onto the little roof over the bay window and didn’t know how to get off and thought I was going to have to rescue her.  She finally figured out she could just jump over to the pine tree on the corner there. Yes sometime I have more time on my hands than I should.  🙂

Gardens - Veranda

David & Veronica came for a visit last month and I know David reads my blog regularly and he hollered at me.  The last time we spoke was after Dee quit and I was having trouble with temps to work housekeeping for me-a few funny stories there.  I thought Dee was good, but Jennifer is fantastic.  I totally love her.  I ask Jennifer to do something once and that’s all I have to do.  I always had to remind Dee that cleaning the first floor on Fridays included the plant room and the powder room.

One of my more recent posts I was complaining about Pittsburgh recycling program and management.  The new manager is trying something new, a lot of municipalities are no longer accepting glass.  The problem is glass breaks and pollutes other recyclables like cardboard.   What she’s trying to do is set up glass recycling stations at the major drop off stations in Hazelwood, Strip District and Construction Junction.  As I said in that post, managers are supposed to see problems and create solutions.    this all happened days after my post complaining about the recycling program that was all about being a Debbie Downer, Oh we don’t take that or that. I’m not saying Mayor Peduto’s office follows my blog to keep a hand on the pulse of the city, I’m just saying …………   And I do have to say, since Mayor Peduto has taken office, I see city employees doing more and more than previously.  If Mayor Peduto does read my blog, I have something to say to him, get rid of the beard.  🙂

Arlen Hess the owner of City Books right down the street from me and myself are receiving a Celebration of Humanity Award at Nova Place on Thursday September 19.  This is an honor from the Northside Common Ministries.  Tickets are still available if anyone has time and wants to come along.  🙂

I have a 360 degree tour of my Inn and am not ready to release it.  It should be ready in just a few days, there’s a couple of tweaks I want them to fix.

That’s it for today,




After battling fora month to upload a to get a video of me painting da gerl’s nails, I’m giving up.  Click on the link and pay attention when I finish the first paw and blow on it to help it dry.  Da gerl know’s whats next and see how she offers her other paw to me.  I wanted to load it as a video on my blog and have to settle for a link to it.

Have I told you how much I hate technology?




This is the last weekend of the Pittsburgh Grand Prix, the premier event is scheduled Sunday the race through Schenley Park.  Be sure to keep yourself hydrated if you attend or even if you don’t this weekend, it’s going to be brutal.  And I like their charities Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Merakey Allegheny Valley School.

You’ve heard of the Whiskey Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion and others.  I’m letting you know there going to be another famous rebellion that i have just created, the Ed Rebellion.  I started throwing away all the things the Pittsburgh recycling manager did not want to be bothered with and decided if he doesn’t want to deal with figuring out a solution, instead of me throw them in the trash he can do that.  🙂  My recycling bags were filled with the hard plastic packing shells and plastic bottle caps (I did remove them from the plastic bottles because someone pointed out to me that when going through the rollers the caps can shoot off like a bullet.

Official notice to those of you that used to have my iPhone number, it no longer exists.  I moved my flip phone number, which I love to my iPhone.  So 412-552-0123 no longer reaches me.  I moved my cell 412-508-6000 to my iPhone and got rid of the flip phone. It’s been a month and my left front pocket still feels naked.  ):  Alright Dave & Claire, it’s official.  🙂

I was in an accident a month ago.  Some stupid lady opened her drivers side door without looking in her mirror to see if traffic was coming down the street and she caused some significant damage to my passenger side.  I took it to get it repaired this morning and opted on my way back with the rental car to take the “road less traveled” and came down through Coraopolis and McKees Rocks.  Grimes Interiors is located in McKees Rocks and when I saw it, pulled over to check out the store.  Dwayne was in the shop (the first time I’ve seen him in years).   We chatted for a good bit, he’s over stocked with furniture.  If you are in the market for antiques take a look at these pictures, particularly if you take several pieces, I’m sure he’d work you a deal.

Grimes Interiors

Grimes Interiors antiques

Grimes Interiors side room


When I bought the property I turned into The Parador Inn of Pittsburgh, I bought a lot of antiques from the previous owner in a separate chattel agreement.  I hired Grime’s Interiors to do some repairs on a number of pieces.  One of the things I wanted them to do was the spectacular bedroom set in Allamanda someone had made the bed into a California queen (longer that your standard queen), so I told him I want new side rails making it fit a standard sized queen box springs and mattress.  Which was no problem.  One of the round knobs was missing off the foot board.  My suggestion was to take them off the matching armorie in Allamanda’s living room and just put something roundish out there.  He said no, they would make a match, which is this first picture.  The first picture shows the knob Dwayne’s crew made.  The second picture is a full view of the bed I’ve had wood carvers in that tried to find the flaw and no one ever has.  The third picture is the armorie in the living room with the original roundy things still attached.

Allamanda's foot board

allamanda's bed

Allamanda armorie

The federal government is projecting an 363 foot image of the Apollo 11 rocket that took Neil Armstrong to the moon on the Washington Monument  remembering the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon.  And Neil Armstrong “that’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.” It’s worth following my link to see it, it’s pretty cool.

Queen with Adam Lambert are performing at PPG Paints Arena July 31.  Be sure to get your tickets and and book your room at The Parador Inn. Remember you can’t beat my price, park for free, ride the “T” both to the concert and from the concert.  And have a wonderful breakfast in the morning to start your day.

That’s it for today, as I said earlier be sure to stay hydrated, way before you feel thirsty,





Before I start whining, I would like to point out that my Crocosmia common name Lucifer has just stared blooming.  I love this plant, it isn’t at all like my favorite Heliconia common name Lobster Claw, it makes me think of it.  Heliconia is very prolific in Hawaii and can be grown in S Florida, but won’t grow up here, even indoors.  Here’s my Lucifer individual flower:


And here’s the whole bush:


Lucifer bush

While we’re talking about plants, here’s one of my my new lilies:

Monster lilies

Next weekend, the Deutschtown Music Festival is happening  Friday and Saturday July 12 &13.  300 bands on 30 stages some indoor, some outdoor see the above link for details.

Now, it’s OK for me to start whining, my first gripe is with the “manager” of Pittsburgh’s recycling program.  After years of me holding that mantle of Manager to now being Innkeeper both titles require the holder to solve problems, not to make their life easier.  Every time I hear him speak (or read an interview) there’s something else we’re not supposed to recycle.  As long as I’ve recycled I’ve known not to recycle thin cardboard with the waxy coating like soda & beer boxes.  Pittsburgh doesn’t recycle Styrofoam, but I collect Styrofoam in my basement and can take it to the Appliance Warehouse on the Southside.  Recently I heard him say we shouldn’t put pizza boxes in with cardboard because it has grease on it. I’ve heard him complain about the blue bags they require us  to use that the blue bags clog the machinery.  He’s also complaining about plastic bottle caps, even though they are made of the correct plastic that can be reused because they also clog the machinery.  Instead of whining, why not be a manager and find a solution.  My heroes in recycling is Sweden.  They built a trash to power plant (actually I think several) in the 1980’s and when Sweden decided to recycle, they were so effective that they ended up having to get trash from Denmark to burn.  (One of my earlier posts, I said Sweden bought trash from Denmark and a Swede corrected me, Denmark pays Sweden to take the trash).  🙂

Recently I’ve been hearing comments that we need to openly discuss race relations and I totally agree, but it needs to be a comprehensive conversation, not  a sugar coated one side.  Something happened last week that got me thinking again about this, a resident of Greenfield saw some kid in a construction vehicle that was unattended next to a kids park.  (This area has been the site of recent vandalism).  The resident confronted the kid and ended up on top of him while the kid’s sister was yelling at the adult to get off her brother and recording the incident on her phone.  I heard this initially as it was somewhat breaking news.  The latest versions I have been hearing are omitting the fact that the kid was in the vehicle, just pictures of this adult man on top of a kid.  The news interview the kid’s mom and she was rightly upset that an adult man was on top of her child, no mention was made of the kid being in a vehicle without permission.  The adult man says he called 911 several times and no police officer responded so he took matters in his own hand.  #! no adult should be on top of a child for any reason.  #2 the news needs to be fair and unbiased, not trying to be politically correct.

Which brings me to my next subject, Antwon Rose.  It’s been a  year since Officer Michael Rosfeld shot and killed Rose.  Something not mentioned since the incident was that Rose was in a vehicle that was involved in a drive by shooting.  Being involved in a drive by shooting should not have anything to do with Rose being shot and killed by Rosfelnd.  I would like to know if Rosfeld had any knowledge about the drive by shooting in a near by community and if so what.  Whether Rose was the shooter in the drive by or not does not in the least justify him being shot (maybe in the leg to stop him from fleeing).  The use of excessive force needs to stop and one big way to do this is to get rid of all these small police departments that don’t have the resources to adequately train their officers.

Besides talking about all aspects of racial interactions, not omitting facts that do have relevance, the last thing I would like to whine about is several years ago I read where the biggest cause of death for young black men where shootings by other young black men.  This is something I see being addressed by faith groups in black neighborhoods and this has be be address by society at large to figure out a solution.

Lastly, if you are a white supremacist or other hateful group, please do contact me.  I know for a fact that most of you are STUPID, if you were smart, you would have gone to college or a trade school start a career and moved on instead of sitting in your double wide drinking beer blaming the world for you lazy self.  I would love to connect you with the FBI, there’s agents that would love to talk to you.  You are the “Base” we hear so much about.  And I believe you will be too STUPID to see what I just  said.  🙂

Alright guys & gals, and everyone in between,  🙂

Happy Fourth of July,



John Mayer is performing at PPG Paints Arena July 28 get your tickets now and book your room at The Parador.  Remember the arena is just a short “T” ride from my Inn and is totally free. 🙂


Good year for my plants, my vertical hydrangea are blooming for their first time, instead of solid leaves for the flowers its more like a bunch of little fireworks:

vertical hydrangea

This weekend is the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival, mainly in and around the August Wilson Center, a short “T” ride from the Parador Inn, I’m not sold out yet for this weekend,  I do have four siblings with their spouses visiting and some other guests mostly repeat guests.  Follow the links for details.

Also, summer is time for the remaining county fairs, I missed writing about the Butler Jeep Festival held every year last week. Lawrence County Fair runs August 12 -17.  Big Butler Fair runs June 28 – July 6.  The Fayette County Fair runs July 25 – August 3.  The Westmoreland Fair runs August 16 -24.  And lastly there’s the Crawford County Fair August 17 – 24.  Follow the links to get details on these local festivities and events.

And there’s lots of smaller festivals like the Polish Hill Arts Festival on July 21.  Homewood Black Family Reunion August 10.  It Takes A village  Community Day in Norrthview Heights on July 12.  And finally there’s Beltzhoover Community Day on July 13.  Also don’t forget the free Movies in the Park presented by Pittsburgh Citiparks and Dollar Bank.

And my sedum kamtschaticum Variegatum is blooming for the first time in eight years:


When to the Arts Festival this year, didn’t find anything that really grabbed be, but these giraffes were pretty cool:


And they are for a good cause:

IOcean Sole Africa non profit

I hosted my first wedding this past weekend.  Deena, Chris and family had a wonderful time.  JCP Event Group did a great job as always with food, service and ensuring everything went well.  Even though they lost the manager I had been dealing with, Dena stepped right in and made sure everything ran smoothly.  Besides the quality of their food, I love the attitude of the staff they hire.  I’ve never seen anything like a prima donna attitude, everyone pitches in and helps each other.

That’s it for today, have a great one and enjoy this summer weather,  remember Friday is the summer solstice, summer officially starts, (No running around naked dressed in Druid costumes, unless you want to).  🙂

Don’t forget to get your tickets to the John Mayer concert July 29, at PPG Paints arena.  It’s a five minute walk to the “T”, five minute FREE ride to Steel Plaza and then a five minute walk to the arena.  I still have rooms available, so book now at The Parador Inn.



The most interesting tidal bores to me is the one that flows up the Amazon River. That can send a 15 foot wave 1,500 miles up stream.  Check out the various tidal bores, they are all around the world!

I recently read an interesting book, Love Your Enemies by Arthur Brook.  Unfortunately I have lent the book already to someone and don’t have it to reference.  He talks about finding common ground and having a civil conversation on things you and your “enemy” agree on, not so much to convince them that they are wrong as to facilitate open and respectful conversation.  He points out that there seems to be five “universal” things everyone agrees with, this is where I wish I had the book.  There are I think it was five things we ALL agree on.  Like fair play, equal treatment, etc.  So he recommends discussing contentious issues with your “enemy” from those views.

This is the year of significant anniversaries, the first I want to mention is D Day‘s 75th anniversary.  This was mainly the United States joining with Britain to liberate France.  I like anniversaries because that’s when a lot of back stories come up like the king of England shortly before did a “morale building” tour of his forces where actually he was spying and sending the wrong message to Germany to divert their attention from the actual landing site.  Dropping down from 75 years to 50 years it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  Stonewall is considered the beginning of the fight for gay rights in America.  30 years ago Tiananmen Square became world news.  The point is you have to fight for what you believe in.  In referring to the above paragraph on Love Your Enemies, it doesn’t have to be 24,000 troops storming the beaches in Normandy,  It could be having a civil conversation about the senseless killing of Americans with assault rifles.

Back when I first bought the property I turned into The Parador, my friend Kathleen stopped by and we discussed my plan to blend a tropical feel with the Victorian house and furniture.  She came up with the idea of the water mark murals on the first floor.  I can’t say how pleased I am with them.  She finished the murals pretty much when the contractors finished leaving me to paint and put the seven guest rooms in the mansion together.  Kathleen and I was standing in the ballroom as the contractors were adding the bathrooms and she looked at the three blank walls on either side of that spectacular bar and asked if I wanted her to do something there.  Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s movie Key Largo is one of my favorite movies and that came immediately to mind and I said “You’ve seen the movie Key Largo?  How about some of those palm trees?”  I didn’t want her to get into a whole new mural project, just some palm trees.  What does she do but get the movie and bring probably 20 black and white stills from the movie to pick the images she liked.  The first image on the far  left of the bar is the Indians coming in before the hurricane:

Movie Hotel Largo

The last image on the far right from the bar she painted Hotel Largo, I walked in just as she was finishing and looked at her and said “Don’t get mad at me, but could you make that my Inn?”  She laughed and said sure:

The Parador Inn in Key Largo

The middle image is where I had water damage.  I repaired it and had this big splotch in the mural of plaster.  I spoke with my friend Arlen from City Books to see if she knew someone that could repair the mural.  I have met her husband Patrick, he teaches art and recommended this graduating student Kristen.  Kristen was a bit nervous trying to match Kathleen’s original.  I think she did fantastic, the art is different, that’s what’s great about art and why I never tell an artist what to do:

Humphrey Bogart Key Largo

You can notice Kristen used a bit more red.

My current book is The Pioneers by David McCullough.  It is the story of when the colonist colonized “the Ohio territory”.    After the revolution the United States owned pretty much everything west of the original colonies, give or take.  This is the story of Manassrh Cutler one of the founders of the Ohio Company.  They built their first town at Marietta, Ohio (I had been there a couple of times when I was young with my father chasing auctions) and never realized it’s historical importance. As life would have it, in Sunday’s paper Dianna Nelson Jones did an article on the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge.  If you are from Pittsburgh or neighboring areas you know how critical the system of dams and locks are for river traffic.  Particularly the Monongahela and Ohio are known for getting so shallow in spots that you can pretty much walk across these huge rivers without the dams and locks. The refuge is a series of islands down around Marietta.

The Western Avenue & Galveston Avenue business district (I’m pushing for a new name WestGal business district to differentiate us from the Northshore (down around the stadiums) and East Ohio Street (over on the East side of the Northside),  did a food drive in conjunction with the World Food Hunger Day (May 28).   So local businesses 412 Brewery, Adda, Allegheny Sandwich Shop, Bear Dog Bikes, Bier’s Pub, City Books, Giorgio’s, Leo. a public house, Lola, The Modern, Motive, the Parador Inn, Peppi’s, Pittsburgh Acupuncture and Massageworks, Refucilo Winery, and Royalties joined together and collected over 500 pounds of food that we donated to the Northside Food Pantry.

The latest at the Cathedral of Learning, the Philippine Room has just opened.

Don’t forget to get your tickets for Ariana-Grande at PPG Paints arena.  The concert is June 12, next week.  Also book your room at The Parador Inn for that night.  Remember there is nothing more convenient than parking for FREE in my lot getting ready in the convenience of your room and then taking the “T” from a five minute walk from my Inn and riding it FREE to Steel Plaza Station.  No hassles driving, fighting traffic, finding and PAYING FOR  parking.  Then reverse sit in your car until you can exit the lot, fight traffic and worry about DUI if you had imbibed.  🙂

That’s about it for this post,