A collection of trivial stuff...some original, some any case, credit is certainly due to all the originators of this stuff...

The Point

The Point, Pittsburgh, PALock 4, Monongahela River, Charleroi, PAWondering what the background in the banner at the top of the page is?  Well, it's a collage of the "Point" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River.  It shows the Point circa 1920.  The picture on the left is a contemporary view of the Point.  The picture to the right is of the US Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam #4 on the Monongahela River about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh near a town called Charleroi.

In addition to Charleroi, there is another town close to Lock 4 named Monessen.  Charleroi was home to a glass factory and takes its name from Charleroi, Belgium, which was a major producer of glass products...and a lot of the original glassworkers were indeed Belgian immigrants.  Monessen had steel mills and a cast iron foundry.  It is named after the Monongahela (i.e., Mon) River and Essen, Germany, which was at the time a major steel production center.  One of the major reasons for locating the factories along the rivers was the need for a low-cost, dependable way to transport the primary energy source needed to run the factories, which was coal.  Southwestern Pennsylvania also had large deposits of soft, or bituminous, coal, much of which was transported from the coal mines to the factories by river barge.  Hence the need for the locks and dams to make sure the river was navigable year-round!

Big Jim the Cowboy

Giving back to the community...

Bentleyville, PA

There's a small town named Bentleyville off of Exit 32 of Interstate 70 in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Until recently, Bentleyville was known mainly as the home of a busy Truck Stop and a Best Western Hotel, both of which were quite visible to travelers along Interstate 70.  On the 9th of June, 2007, Bentleyville acquired another landmark.  His name is Big Jim the Cowboy and this is his story.

Big Jim lived for many years at the Krutz Welding Company on Twilight Hollow Road, which is a few miles east of Bentleyville.  Krutz Welding was no longer in business and the property had been sold, so Big Jim had to find a new home.  He put himself up for sale on eBay, but the reserve was not met.  Other attempts to find a new home for Big Jim were also unsuccessful and he was in danger of joining the ranks of the homeless.  But, at the last moment, a kind benefactor stepped into the breech and offered Big Jim a new home.  And, in addition, on the day Big Jim moved into his new home, invited all the townsfolk over for a free barbecue, musical entertainment, a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids, an antique auto show, and more.

The Bird

Truth or legend? (Makes no difference, it's worth the reading).

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers...

Without the middle finger, it would be impossible for the soldiers to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore be incapable of fighting in the future.  This famous weapon was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew."