Never Eat Alone in Action

What do you call it when you have a birthday party and the guest of honor only knows 5 of the 14 guests?


One heckuva good time!


On Sunday night I attended a surprise birthday party at the Gypsy Café on the Southside.  The café is very nice, somewhat eclectic, and serves some very good appetizers.  The staff was attentive and responsive.  The prices are a little on the high side for Pittsburgh, but as time goes on and Pittsburgh begins to get more like New York and LA (It IS happening, just really really slowly) the prices will be seen as reasonable.  You can find them on the web here.


The party itself was pulled together by my friend Viviana.  She’s originally from Rome and is a master networker.  She had to be, moving to a foreign country and getting involved in as many activities as she could.  Viviana knows people from many different places.  She’s a great example of Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone in action.


It was entertaining and fun, as the pics below show.  Special thanks to Alan, who took most of the pics.


    Jen loves her chocolate!

  Jen and Viviana – Queen for a day!

  All that and she’s a marksman too!

   Party guests


 Make a wish!

  I’ll be in my bunk…(points if you get the reference)

  Okay, time to go…

Misplaced Priorities

I’m not one for writing on politics, and I rarely rant on anything.  I’m also taking my life in my hands to criticize the Pittsburgh Penguins, who just smashed the Ottawa Senators and may be on their way to another Stanley Cup.  (Note:  Go Pens!)

But I had to get this one off my chest.  I have a four and a half year old boy.  He’s my greatest treasure.  And this one’s for him.  Note:  He’s a Pens fan too!

Back at the end of March, the Children’s Center for Creative Play in Edgewood closed down.  My son has been there numerous times and enjoyed himself.  It was a place where there was lots to do and where he could, dare I say it, exercise his creativity.  In this day an age, especially with globalization, creativity is a pretty important thing.  Just read A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink.

Anyway, the Center closed due to lack of funding.  So let me get this straight:  we can build not one, not two, but THREE sports arenas for millionaire athletes playing CHILDREN’s games, but we can’t take care of our own children?  Where are the priorities in this city?  Mr. Ravenstahl, are you not supposed to be a fresh new face doing things different?  No, you’re just like your predecessors pandering to the big money donors and ignoring the little people.  Wouldn’t creative, well-educated kids make a bigger difference in our ACT 47 city than a new hockey arena, a casino, and so on?

I guess not.

I encourage everyone to fight for the Center for Creative Play – there’s a group trying to save it at THIS WEBSITE.

Rant done.

What do you think?  Is it worth saving?


On Facebook and Readers who Lead…?

I use Facebook, while it’s nice for keeping track of friends, mainly for one thing:  keeping track of the books I read.  I guess I could use other applications to do that but since I am on Facebook once a day (at least) it’s easier just to use the built-in app for it.

But one thing that irritates me is the leaderboard.  I consider myself pretty well read but I know there’re quite a few books I haven’t read.  I’m never going to be in the top ten, and that’s fine with me.  What irks me is that the leaders’ claims seem to be, to me, a tad unrealistic.

For example, the woman in the lead claims to have read over 10,000 books.  Hmmm.  I’ve racked my memory trying to remember all the books I’ve read, and while I know there are a whole bunch that I’ve missed or forgotten about (and a lot of children’s books, both what I read as a kid and what I’ve read to my own child), I would be surprised if the number exceeded much more than a thousand or so.  And I read all the time.

So, 10,000 books.  We’ll assume she’s 30 – she doesn’t look much older.  Say she started reading at 5 years of age – maybe early, but we’ll assume children’s books.  At 1 book a day, that’s around 8,000 books.  Possible?  Maybe.

Except it isn’t.  There are books out there that can’t be read in a day (War and Peace, anyone?).  Even if she didn’t read serious books like that (all Harlequins, maybe) there had to be days where she didn’t have a chance to read (work puts a cramp in my reading time, for sure, as well as family stuff).

Let’s say she did, though.  What kind of quality of books?  If they were all potboilers, then 10,000 is a lot but it’s not very nourishing.  And if she burned through them and didn’t retain a lot, then what was the point?  Entertainment?  Doing that is only slightly better than watching TV!

Harriet Klausner is a (infamous?) name on Amazon that has drawn the same comments.  People say she just reads the summaries of the books and restates it.  Or that she just skims the books.  I don’t know.  But if being in the lead means reading mindless stuff or just skimming like an appetizer rather than tucking in like a main course, I feel pretty comfortable being back at number 870 or so…

What’s your opinion?