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,



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),



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,



Plan on coming to the next jazz event at The Parador next Wednesday, June 20 from 7 – 9.  We will be high lighting George Heid.  Just $30 covers corkage (bring your own booze)  :), live music in the ballroom and a wonderful buffet of turkey lasagna, sausage sliders and salads.  The last one with Joe Negri was a blast, I had never met Joe in the past, what a talented musician and nice man!  Free on street parking after 6.

I’m starting something new.  Drew, Lenny & Paula’s son across the street got married here after I quit hosting weddings, I did it as a favor to Lenny & Paula.  This was several years ago.  I was talking to Drew, who works for Verizon.  He asked if he could look into my account and is saving me around $50 a month and he’s starting a thing where when you call any of my numbers a recording in my voice says something to the effect, to talk to ed push #1.  This will stop those insidious robo calls because they can’t push one.  🙂

I was speaking with a friend he said my blogs have been a bit negative, he even used the word “dark”.  Thinking about it, I think he might be right.  I was a my sister’s recently and she said I was turning into my father.  I loved and respected my father, but as he got older he got more and more negative.  It has been a big fear of mine, I don’t want to turn into a bitter old man.  I have to renew looking at the sunny side of the street.  Life is hard and there’s a lot of terrible things going on, but there’s also a lot of wonderful things as well.

For a long time it seemed like we were making progress towards a more fair America.  Unfortunately, with the dysfunction in Washington, we seem to becoming a less tolerant and more greedy society.  I do have to be a bit negative here, did you hear about that pilot whale stranded in a canal in Thailand?  They couldn’t save him and when they did the necropsy he had 15 pounds of plastic bags stuck in his stomach and couldn’t digest food.  I was talking to someone about it and he said well, the stupid thing deserved it for being so stupid.  The poor thing was an animal, not a college graduate like the man I almost punched.  We need to totally stop using plastic bags.  Whether you are one of the responsible people that dispose of them properly, or not, they should not be available.  With all the plastic floating around in the oceans, Mr OCD is constantly picking plastic litter up when I’m walking around.  This is one of the reasons I have reusable grocery bags in my guest rooms, to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

On the sunny side of the street, Pennsylvania is making it easier for retired lawyers to practice law in the state for pro bono cases.  The judiciary reduced the rate for retired pro bono lawyers through an emeritus status designation from $200 to $25.  Attorney’s are required 12 credits a year in continuing education at around $30 a pop, they’ve dropped that to 8 credits for emeritus status lawyers.  To earn emeritus status, you have to do work for a recognized non-profit who provide malpractice insurance as it can be pretty expensive on the open market.

Speaking of lawyers, I’m impressed with our Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro.  He’s been in office just over a year and doesn’t back down from a fight.

In 2013 vandals burnt a cross in the lawn of Pittsburgh’s Mifflin prek-8 grade school.  The teachers and staff were not going to take this hateful event define them.  Instead they instituted programs that ended up getting them the “No Place for Hate” designation by the Anit-Defamation League.   They are one of just 1,700 schools in the entire United States to receive this.

Walt Yager of McKeesport avoided the draft during the Vietnam War with the sole surviving son exception a decision he regrets to this day.  He visited the Vietnam War Memorial twenty years ago and it’s left him changed.  He’s spearheading a drive to bring the traveling replica to his hometown McKeesport right down the street where I started Penn State at Renzie Park.  He needs to raise the $8,000 host fee and $4,000 for security.   You can donate  a check to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund c/o MAVMO 1985 Lincoln Way Suite 23 McKeesport, PA 15131.  You can email Walt at s3585way@gmail.com.

Summer house tours are gearing up.  Two local ones include Observatory Hill on June 24, I was at their tour last year and it was a very mixed bag of houses, all very interesting.  And the East Northside is this coming weekend.  This tour is a compliation of several neighborhoods, including Troy Hill, East Deutschtown and Spring Garden a great way to see several charming neighborhoods over here.

I had to drop the membership I had with the local YMCA, they charged me around $500 a year (fitness clubs usually run around a hundred with all new and shiny gyms and equipment) because they refused to give me two passes.  If I have two separate guests like traveling business people most frequent users of the passes I had to get them to schedule their workout times between themselves.  Mike told me they had “new management”  at the Y and couldn’t give me two passes anymore.  (You have to swipe in to use the facility and it would be easy for them to see how seldom my passes were used)  I had been willing to pay the premium because they are a local non profit.  But not if they cannot accommodate my guests any better than that.  There was an article in the paper about the Y filing for bankruptcy over their location Downtown.  They run the new gym over the old GC Murphy store at Market Square. The paper said they agree with Millcraft the owners of the building to pay $100,000  a month! until September to take them out of bankruptcy and keep the facility open while they pursue new operators.  I don’t know what the original terms were, but anywhere around $100,00 a month for any gym is outrageous.  Maybe the Y should look to their local supporters instead of trying all that flash and bang Downtown?

The gardens are going gang busters, my vertical hydrangea are blooming for the first time:

Look at how much the banana plants have grown since my last post several weeks ago:

The Bleeding Heart is becoming a monster:

Gender confusion, my kids are experiencing.  Da boi lifts his leg a lot to urinate, but sometime he just squats like a gerl.  Yesterday I was taking da kidz for their walk and da gerl lifted her leg to urinate.  I fell out laughing.

Although I am not clinically diagnosed, I have OCD fairly severely.  Particularly in the kitchen.  I read an article in the Opinions section of the paper a couple of weeks ago written by someone diagnosed with OCD, his must be worse than mine.  His concern was because he is official diagnosed with OCD, he has a record of mental illness.  There’s a large push to ban folks with diagnosed mental illness from being able to purchase guns.  I agree some people with mental illness should not be able to purchase a lethal weapon, but it can’t be the easy way out with with a blanket ban.  OCD does not categorize you as a terrorist. That’s like the easy way out the government started probably around 20 years ago they decided to close the mental hospitals.  The logic was acclimating people into society is more humane than institutionalization (and saves the government a lot of money).  Look at how our homelessness has ballooned.  A lot of those poor people should be given constant care (for one reason to be sure they remain on their medications- case in point, Freddy the skinny homeless man that walks my street a lot talking to himself very loudly and obscenely.  You can tell when Freddy has been off his meds for a while), not in an institution like the one made famous in One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest.

OK kids, I’m done for the day, have a great one and hope to see you next Wednesday at my jazz event,





What happened to our Mojo?   America has always been on the cutting edge.  A while back I talked about a Scandinavian country (I think maybe Sweden) that had build a trash to energy plant and they were so good at recycling, that they ended up buying trash from a fellow Scandinavian country to power it.  America recycles a fair amount, but the recycling system is in a panic because China is cutting back on what it will accept from us.  Pittsburgh started a single stream for recycling (you don’t have to separate by type), the pick up takes everything that’s recyclable and a sorter separates the stuff.  Pittsburgh is now complaining our recyclables are cross contaminated and they are having a hard time finding buyers.  Fix the system or create a new one.  I think most people are into recycling and would buy into a new system.  Granted, it would need to be easy to use, but that comes in the design stage.

The greed of an American company to sell our private information you may have voluntarily given to face book to a company that used our (yours, not mine, I have give very little info to face book) to sway elections and god knows what else they are doing with it.  The American government has really done nothing about this, it took the European Union to come up with GDPR.  That is why all the companies you deal with are rushing to update their terms of service and privacy policies, I’m sure you’ve gotten a ton of emails alerting you that they were changing these and want you to review them.

Drew, my neighbor’s son from across the street (who got married here, probably my last wedding) approached me about saving me some money with Verizon who has both my cell phone and iPhone.  He did a great job and probably is saving me about $50 a month.  He also got me Verizon’s hum for free.  I had heard the name, but never paid attention to it.  It’s one of those devices that monitors your driving.  I don’t want someone tracking that I am going 35 mph in a 30 mph zone, or where I’m driving.  I’m not smart enough to know all the information they could be mining from me.  This is somewhat like those car insurance companies that offer you discounts if you install their driving tracking device in your car.  If you want to permit an insurance company to monitor your driving for a discount, I’m fine with that.  It’s also like UBER, in the app they ask you to give them permission to know your location.  Once you turn that on, it’s difficult to turn it off, it doesn’t automatically turn off.  So even if I’m not in an UBER, and UBER wants they can know I drove out McKnight Road and parked in the front of the Kuhn’s grocery store, then the Home Depot also on McKnight Road and how long I was parked there because their tracking device is on my iPhone.  I know some stores have tracking devices in them that connect to your smart phone.  If you stand in from on lingerie, for example, for a few minutes, the store sends you a coupon.  I don’t use frequent flyer cards for this reason, (one of the many reasons I don’t shop at Giant Eagle) there’s no need for them to know I purchase Oxyclean once a week.  I’m not concerned about their minimal discounts on their over priced items.

Before I go off on another rant, my point with all of the above, is America is not cutting edge anymore on many fronts.  The innovations that investors might make a ton of money are moving forward, like UBER, Amazon, drone technology to name a few.  Why aren’t we on the cutting edge of renewable energy?  Besides stopping global warming and leaving natural resources in the ground until they are needed 200 years in the future when we hopefully will be smart enough to responsibly use them.

Government can be responsive and creative, like Wolfhagen, Germany with a population of just 14,000 has already become 100% renewable and clean energy.  The problem in America is not too much regulation, that’s easy to say like “Lets drain the swamp”, but there’s lots our Commander in Tweet can claim at 3 am on a 140 character Tweet.  It’s the dysfunction of government.  Slashing budgets doesn’t improve government, it worsens it.  We need a real businessman (or woman), not one that’s all show and thrived on cheating little people out of their small businesses.  Like the lighting shop in West Palm Beach DJT bought a bunch of Chrystal chandeliers for Mar-a-Lago and then refused to pay for them.  I lived there at the time and DJT drove this small business out of business.

I’m pretty excited about Virgin Hyperloop One under construction in the Mojave Desert just outside Las Vegas.  Actually, it started here in Pittsburgh and we called it Mag Lev, which turned out to be a bust.  It’s a similar concept of reversed magnetic fields.  For one thing, it would beat the pants of Europe & Japan’s high speed trains and certainly give America some of it’s Mojo back.  Another Pittsburgh connection is the chief engineer Rob Ferber.  This technology could whisk people and freight from Pittsburgh to Chicago in as little as 48 minutes!  Being self contained and on the ground, i think it would be safer than air travel, not to mention it’s much cleaner than diesel airplanes use.  I for one would be much more willing to grant a right away to Hyperloop to go through my property than some gas pipeline, that never runs past one of the homes of the energy executives that run those companies.  No matter the hype the energy transmission companies say, those pipes do leak and blow up.  Yes, I read the news paper.

OK, I’m a loser.  I thought I had beat those pigeons.  Besides being a loser, I’m also prejudiced.  There’s no reason for my dislike of pigeons, other than I don’t like them  They’ve never done anything against me, but I don’t want them in my yard.  I used to fill my bird feeder and put it out by 7 am.  The pigeons showed up around 8 or 9.  So I figured I’d put it out when I get up at 5:30 for the song birds and I only fill it half full.  That way, the song birds could have breakfast before those lazy pigeons got up.  I wake every morning to bird song, what a pleasant way to start your day, so I knew the song birds would be ready to eat at 5:30.  Well the pigeons figured out the food was out earlier and started coming around by 6.  So I keep some of da kidz tennis balls on the table right outside the kitchen door and hurl one at the pigeons anytime I see them.  I might be  loser to the pigeons, but my aim is definitely improving.  🙂

Me and technology, first it was my camera stopped loading pictures into Picassa last year, then this past winter my iPhone stopped emailing pictures I took with it.  After going to local Apple stores three times, I finally met someone there that said something that made sense to me.  The previous Apple employees tried several things and nothing got it working again.  His suggestion was to call 1-900-aplcare and have them save my phone book, pictures, etc and delete the programs in the phone and upload new ones.  He thinks one of the many updates didn’t take correctly.  By the way, his age was over the normal 20 year olds you normally see in Apple that look at anyone over 35 as inept.  Speaking of prejudice, I’m just saying 🙂

Summer is here.  My AC is working the best since it was installed this year, the Inn is not cold, but comfortable.  That’s all I want.  I don’t use AC in the kitchens where I normally am and walking into a refrigerator in the mansion would be pretty unpleasant.  John did a great job this year, maybe it was that he lowered the temperature that kicks the attic fans on.  The bleeding heart is becoming this huge bush, best year ever for it.  The banana transplants are growing by leaps and bounds, the vertical hydrangeas on the back wall of the parking, have blooms for their first time since I planted them three years ago.  And the regular hydrangea the California Girls bought me in memory of Razor that’s planted by the courtyard wall isn’t showing any buds yet, but certainly looks happy.

Speaking of summer, the Allegheny County summer concert series for both Hartwood Acres and South Park have been announced.  Also, the Pittsburgh outdoor movie schedule has been announced.  The Three Rivers Arts Festival started Friday and runs through June 10.  Pittsburgh Pride started this weekend.  So there’s no excuse to be bored.  🙂

The Kenny Chesney concert last night was less disruptive and ugly than in the past.  Trash was again measured by the ton.  Seems to be a lot less arrests and other disturbances.

Thank care and go swimming,  🙂


Joe Negri performs live at The Parador Inn


Well first of all, Happy Memorial Day.  Take a moment this weekend to think of all the courageous men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and remember what our freedom means.

With all the negative discourse in our society, particularly with our Commander in Tweet, I get severely depressed.  Possibly the quote from him that resonates with me the most is pre-election when he said “Trust me, I know more about ISIS and the our generals do.”  He really scared me with that one.  As many things in life, I understand things are going ways I’m not used to and trying to cope with it   To me communication is vocal between to respectful human beings.  There are other means of communication that I like like emails, even texts have their place in life.  “Sorry, I’m running late and will be there in 10 minutes”.  But to have a conversation in texting, I find it absurd.  Why would you text something like my husband had surgery, my wife is leaving me, my dog got hit by a car.  To me, communicating is talking to someone across a table from you, there is so much richness added by seeing someone’s facial expressions as they are talking.  And if they say something you don’t understand, you can politely  stop them and ask for clarification.  Instead of responding to an email or text with a question on something you don’t understand and when they respond, they get distracted and go off on another tangent never answering your question.  An even lower form of communication is Tweeting, it’s like a bully that doesn’t want to hear an opposing opinion and they are always talking over you.  Again, I admit, this is something I am not used to and maybe am missing something?

Reading the newspaper is so much quicker these day because of all the articles I won’t read.  And listening to news is much quicker these days for me, because when it gets too depressing I just turn it off. if I even had turned it on in the first place.  I listen to a lot more music these days.  The tax cut was not for the masses, it was for the richest individuals and companies.  Companies are not investing their already high profits into something like R & D or their employees.  They are just buying other companies with these obscene profits.

I get so depressed watching the less fortunate having more and more of their lives hardened by reduced spending on aid programs for the seniors, children and adults to balance the budget.  I like it when I see rays of hope like a recent article by Max Boot, Democracy is Alive and Kicking.  The news keeps highlighting the strongmen ruling today like in Russia, Egypt, Turkey and America (and I don’t mean strongmen in a good way).  Freedom is reaching all across the world.  Big and small steps.  Like the nightmare that’s been Iraq just held and election that was not marred by violence and seems to have been legitimate.  One of the big winners was Moqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand that hated American (and who can blame him?).  Maybe it’s time these people figure out what they want and how they want to get it. Malaysia, Armenia has recently held a peaceful change of power from a long time dictators and Nicaragua also having a ground swell of citizens coming out opposing the oppressive Sandinista government.

Busy here the next two weekends in particular.  This weekend is Memorial Day weekend.  The place looks great.  Usually I weed and area and then tend another.  I did the entire place the last couple of days, everything looks great.  Last year, the banana tree next to the wall where the Aztec calendar is was out of control.  So I dug it up and separated it into four roots and transplanted it to either side of the calendar so even it it gets out of control again, it wont’ block the calendar again.  And the other two cuttings I put where the  arborvitae trees were next to the mansion that the snow took out last year.  All four a coming up and I’m so excited, I’ve never done this before.


And smaller ones

Those friends of mine from State College were in for the jazz event last week.  Tony’s built all the furniture in their house and started a new project.  They have well water and the pipe has to extend out of the ground and it irritated him so he decided to build a structure over it.  He couldn’t figure out the angles so he found a program in Google for building pyramids and he plugged his numbers in (length he wanted everything to be) and came up with the correct angles and lengths and build the 8th wonder of the world (or is it the 9th?).  Here’s the 8th wonder of the world the Pyramid of State College (actually Bellefonte):

Well kids, it’s summer (almost) and I’m getting busier and busier.  I don’t know how often I will get to posting blogs for a bit.  Enjoy and we’ll talk later,




My BFF Jeff Bezos stopped by a couple of weeks ago.  We just hung out on the veranda with a bottle of wine.  He told me how much he like Pittsburgh and looks forward to moving here when they create their second headquarters.

I finally believe spring is here.  My bleeding heart is very happy, the best it’s been:

Another gift from my good friends in State College Tony & Sue Solomon’s Seal is also happy:

And the Aliums (also from Tony & Sue) are opening:

There’s something in car insurance I wasn’t aware of and it’s called “Diminished Value“, what happens to you car’s value after an accident.  If you are in an accident, ask your insurance company about this.  My understanding is it is a one time payout for the diminished value of your car after an accident.

Everyone has heard of ride sharing, UBER, how about Bird Scooters?  They started in Santa Monica, CA  earlier this year and have already spread to San Francisco, Atlanta, Nashville and DC.  It works through an app, you schedule on and they give you the closest scooter to you and you use your smart phone to unlock it.  The cities they are already working in are starting to complain about scooter drivers not following normal driving standards (wrong lanes,  not stopping at stop signs, etc) and driving on pedestrian sidewalks.  As well as just dropping the scooter anywhere when they get where they want to be.

I’ve talked about new attractions like the hatchet throwing outfit in Millvale and the play rooms where you have to follow clues to get out of the room.  Here’s something that’s sure to be a smash hit (pun intended).  It’s called The Break Room in Monroeville.  Their tag line is come in angry and leave happy.  They give you an option for destruction, hammer, ax, baseball bat to mention a few.  And the price includes some items they have on hand like lamps, china, and other items easily crushed.  You can even bring in things special to you like a picture of your ex.  Not the real person though.  🙂  They want you to know if you are moving or doing spring cleaning they accept donations.  Crew Newcomer the manager says his biggest demographic is women.  They have smaller rooms for individual anger releases and larger rooms you can rent for a group for say birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties. as well as office team building parties.  I had my own Break Room in my kitchen yesterday after having another battle with my computer.  Luckily for me I had the presence of mind to leave the computer where it was and took it out on a parfait glass.  I did feel better.

Pigeons, the scourge of earth and myself are battling.  I love my kidz, squirrels and song birds.  Pigeons found the bird feeder and I had one or two for a few days, the other day I had 8!  So nut case that I am, stockpiled a bunch of da kidz tennis balls on the veranda and hurled them every time the pigeons landed or sent da kidz out to chase them.  Then I realized the fat lazy pigeons sleep in in the morning.  Instead of filling the bird feeder at 7, I do it when I get up at 5:30 I don’t fill the feeder all the way up and my song birds get fed before the pigeons roll out of bed and the food’s pretty much gone.  I’m down to one or two pigeons and they won’t be around for long.   When I was a kid, my parents bought and old house that had been empty for years in the country and we had a rat problem.  My dad said something I thought was funny at the time and now am a believer in it “Rats don’t live where they’re not wanted”.    It’s not that rats are smart enough to read nasty notes you leave around the house saying “Rats go somewhere else”.  Make it hard for rats to get in your house, remove food sources, and make the place generally rat unfriendly (this also includes killing them-not many creatures I’m willing to kill other than rats, maybe pigeons [city rats with wings] and maybe some people-just kidding on this last option don’t be nervous).  If you remember my possum story a few months ago, he learned he wasn’t welcome in my yard and hasn’t been back (at least not during the day).

The ballroom is cleaned and I have the tables set up for the jazz event next week and most of my supplies.  Sunday and Monday I will be picking up the last minute perishables and starting cooking.  The last few days I’ve been making my cheese cakes and freezing them in my neighbor’s extra freezer.  I even seem to have figured out how to use my credit card processor with a remote application like Square.  Pretty exciting I was able to download the app and I should have the devise to add to my iPad tomorrow and will try some test charges on my credit card.  I’m getting scared about the turn out.  When Thomas first  approached me about it, I figure it would be a couple of you, up and coming musicians with a bit of a following, so wasn’t ready then Thomas dropped the bomb shell, Pittsburgh legend Joe Negri would perform at the first jazz event.  I’ve had a lot of inquiries and we’ve even been on the new Pittsburgh jazz station WZUM that took over when WDUQ was bought out and turned into WESA news and NPR station.  I don’t have a system in place to take reservations, so we’ll just see who and how many show up.  Wish me luck.

Enjoy this wonderful weather we are having,



Did a new breakfast entree last weekend, strawberry French toast, it was a hit.  I’ve already tweaked the recipe, better next time.

Some more Northside news, they have put the construction fencing up in the Commons across from AGH where they are planning on building a fountain to look like the one that was originally there.  It’s supposed to be completed this summer.

Watch out for a scam going around.  People are calling claiming to be representing a “cheaper” alternative to your current electric bill.  The two big things to watch for is number one some are outright scams and the other is they offer a cheaper rate than you are currently paying but it is only good for a limited time and then jumps up to a higher rate than you are currently paying.  The phone number for the PUC to complain is 1-800-692-7380.

With our dysfunctional government unable to do much of anything, private businesses are stepping up to the plate over gun violence.  Dick’s Sporting goods is no longer carrying assault style rifles and are not turning them back to the manufacturer, they are taking them apart and recycling the parts as metal scrap.  They are taking a lot of heat from the NRA over this.  Also a number of investment firms are now screening what the companies that they hold an interest in are doing as far as gun control.  Citigroup was on of the first and Vista has just started as well.

The Pittsburgh Marathon is this weekend, once again the are putting the runners down along the North Shore, running past the big stadiums and through parking lots instead of through neighborhoods.  I love it when they run past my Inn and will post complaints to the marathon people, Dick’s Sporting Goods (the main sponsor) and the convention  bureau.  If I was a runner, I’d be upset as well about running through an asphalt jungle instead of cruising through neighborhoods.

Millvale is celebrating their 150 year anniversary this weekend with 150 acts and bands, not to mention food and beer (they are the home to two noted craft breweries like Grist House Brewery and Strange Roots Experimental Ales.   The local Pop Up Pittsburgh with be selling a cook book celebrating Millvale’s diverse history.  Millvale is a cute little town just up the Allegheny River and worth checking out anytime.  They have a lot of fun things going on.  And Millvale is now home to the Food Truck Park along the river, as I spoke about in my last blog.

As if there’s not enough to do this weekend, Teutonia Mannerchor is celebrating Maifest either in the club (if you are a member) or outside in tents. It starts Friday at 5 pm and runs until 11 and Saturday from 11 until 11.  They will be offering tours of the club during the event, if you might like to join or are just nebby.  🙂  Food, beer and music are on the agenda.  Two performers will be Madel Jager & the electronic Autobahn famous a few years back.

I understand that in our country you are innocent until proven guilty, but I have a problem with Don Blankenship running for West Virginia’s  senate seat, after what happened to 67 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster under his watch.  Just because he’s a Republican, I certainly hope the voters in West Virginia remember who he is.  Just as Michael Vic, officially paid his price in the dog fighting criminal complaint, I still don’t forgive him.  The pain and suffering he caused countless dogs can never be repaid as the lives of the lost miners can not be returned to their families they suffered because of corporate greed.  Vic paid his price but should never be permitted to a role model for children and Blankenship should never be given an opportunity to run out country as he ran that mining operation.

I need to move on to something nice, before I have a serious melt down.  🙂  A nice trip south of here could be to the Meadowcroft Rockshelter  which is celebrating 50 years this month, actually much longer than that.  They have discovered artifacts dating back 16,000 years of human habitation.  In 1955 Albert Miller a amateur archaeologist was poking around his farm and found a knife blade in a groundhog hole and the archaeology digging started then ans has continued.  If you can’t make it to their anniversary  celebration this weekend, you should consider putting it on your summer agenda of things to do.  It’s been years since I was there and I’m sure it’s gotten better, particularly now that the Heinz History Center is involved.  The history center made some great improvements to the Fort Pitt Museum, which is another place you should consider visiting particularly if you were last in there years ago like me an how boring it was.  The improvements are immediately visible.

That’s it for today, I’m loving this warm weather,



There’s a raptor bike ride on the Mon this weekend, I’m fascinated with raptors, eagles, peregrine falcons, hawks, etc.  It’s a 16 mile trek from Hays to McKeesport on the Allegheny Passage from 9 am until 2.  It’s a self guided tour, they will have experts at key locations to aid you in seeing the nesting raptors, you are encouraged to bring your own binoculars so you can see a lot that isn’t highlighted.  It’s a fund raiser for Steel Valley Trail Council who maintains that section of the trail.  Cost is $30 for couples that are members and $40 for those not members.  Individuals are $20 for members and $25 for non members.  More info and registration are on their website.

First Energy spun off their electric generation operations from the main company.  They are trying to sell off the unprofitable coal and nuclear plants.  They have been lobbying and whining for months that they need tax payer subsidies, so they can reach their corporate profit goals.  Personally I would be happy to see all nuclear power plants closed.  Mainly because the radioactive waste lasts longer than humans have been on earth and secondly because our dysfunctional government can’t come up with a proper disposal plan.  They are currently storing spend rods on site in inadequate containment areas.  I acknowledge that nuclear power plants do not emit carbon dioxide, but considering the leathality (my word) of the waste, I still think they need to go away.  I’m also against coal produced power plants.  They are so busy spending the cash they have on had buying other coal facilities instead of spending money (current profits) on R & D and figured out how to sequester the pollution or figure a way to clean it before it leaves the smoke stacks.  I don’t blame the coal companies anymore than the rest of corporate America for not investing the huge profits they are raking in for R & D to come up with solutions.  They just keep buying their competitors.  This is similar to the evil empire Buncher group that tried to rail road the city into letting them knock down a 1/3 of the iconic Terminal Building so they could have easy access the red light on Penn & 17th Street.  Have you seen the huge shoe box Buncher built behind the Terminal Building?  They first put up this huge parking garage and then build their apartments on all four sides.  I’m not an architect, but it’s possibly the most boring building I’ve ever seen, it has no visual appeal, it  is just this huge square box with some trim added to it.  They needed to build that density to reach their “corporate profit goals”.    It’s like the development on North Avenue Q development is doing.    They want a variance to the height restrictions there, it’s the only way they could “make the numbers work”.  They came in knowing full well what the density was zoned for in the area.  Also the want a lot of other variances to what the city and residents set years before like parking, set backs and mostly they want to tear down the three last buildings so they could create the density they need for their “numbers to work”.  I’m OK with variances, but within reason.  I’m tired of subsidizing the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates  so they can make their “numbers work”.  I have to have a parking spot for each guest room I have, the sports teams don’t have to do the same, so overflow parking is pushed into the adjacent neighborhoods.  The thing that sticks in my craw is the Pirates to get their subsidies had to go before the voters and it was rejected!  The city then worked around the vote to give what the Pirates wanted.  I wasn’t living here at the time and don’t know the details.  All three sports teams bring in a ton of visitor spending (I admit, the Steelers are huge for my business, but that’s beside the point in my opinion.  The rules are the rules).

I can’t leave my whining without complaining about the Airport Authorities latest boondoggle, a $1.2B (yes Billion) renovation.  The landside terminal is going away as are the trains.  Everything is going into the airside terminal.  They are also removing many of the unused gates.  I’m pretty much OK with a fairly major renovation of the airport, but $1.2B?  The “new” airport was construction in 1972 for $33M, it’s forty years old and we are spending this money?  Generally speaking I think Christina Cassotis is doing a pretty good job, although we seem to be taking it in the shorts by the agreement she signed with the Qatar freight airline.

Enough of my ranting today, lets move back to the North Avenue, Garden Theater development.  I haven’t heard exactly what will be moving into to the old Garden Theater, but they are now doing major work and you can finally see where they are making progress for whatever they are putting in there.

Also on the Northside, the National Aviary is doing a $1.2M improvement.  They are replacing 3,146 panes of glass with bird friendly glass both inside and out and the glass is specially designed to let the bird friendly UV rays in.  (the glass is even designed so predator birds on the outside do not see the inside birds.  The glass is being manufactured by Vitro Architectural Glass a Mexican company the purchase PPG glass 18 months ago.  Much of the work is in the Tropical Rain Forest Room, the oldest area in the Aviary.  They are making it more bird friendly with waterfalls, trees and other bird amenities. They just started the Rain Forest work and expect to be completed by July.  The Rain Forest is closed and they moved some of the more popular birds into Canary Call exhibit.

In 2015, the historic Century Inn in Scenery Hill, PA (near little Washington PA) was basically burnt to the ground.  This devastating fire left only the stone exterior walls standing.  The owner and her son barely got out in time and was only able to save the last remaining flag from the Whiskey Rebellion.  All the antiques, historic pictures and other mementos were lost. I remember being in it when I was in high school with my father on one of his auction trips.  Megin Harrington was (and is) the owner.  At the time, she swore she would rebuild it, true to what it was and she’s accomplished this, it just reopened.  Good job Megin!

That’s it for today, enjoy this spring weather,