Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Joan of Arc (1412), poet Kahlil Gibran (1883), oater actor Tom Mix (1880), Danny Thomas (1912) and Loretta Young (1913).  The first commercial aircraft circled the earth (Pan Am 1942), New Mexico was admitted to the Union (1912) and Jamaica’s Maroon Festival celebrating when the Spanish were driven out, (the Spanish exterminated the native Arawaks and replaced African slaves) the Africans were permitted to settle the north of the island with the Treaty of Cudjoe.

There was an interesting article in the Trib this past Sunday about the disparity of income between the rich and the poor.  In an article quoted from the Bloomberg News, a Tyree Johnson says he has to work two part time jobs to make ends meet, barely.  The article talks about the dead end life a minimum pay jobs.  Tyree has worked for McDonald’s for two decades and still just earns minimum wage ($8.25) and doesn’t get forty hours between the two McDonald’s he works at.  The last CEO of McDonald’s compensation on record was Jim Skinner’s $8.75M.  There is obviously a huge difference education, experience and responsibilities between Johnson and Skinner.  And one has to consider the intermediate folks like the corporate chain in McDonald’s and share holders that need compensated appropriately.  And I have no issues with rewarding a person that has invested in education, worked their way up “the corporate ladder” and spend the extra time “on the clock” with more responsibility being compensated more than an “hourly employee”.  But the follow up article by Trib writer Jack Markowitz was such a bigoted viewpoint, I can’t ignore it.  Markowitz suggests 44 year old Johnson move back in with his parents (making the assumptions #1 that Johnson’s parents are still alive, #2 that their quality of life makes this an option on Senior or Junior’s part, #3 that they are even in Chicago).  His condescending attitude in “Then consider Tyree‘s reported 20 years on the bottom rung of McDonald‘s career ladder. Never a shot at promotion? Hmm.”  OMG, not everyone has the desire or ability to get rapid promotions (or slow ones for that matter).  So does this mean that a man (or woman) that has worked for two decades for the same company doesn’t deserve decent money?  Then the racist pops up “Throw in food stamps and Medicaid, and the “working poor” surely aren‘t bereft of help when trying to quit being poor — if they also cut out such foolishness as lottery tickets and cigarettes.”  At least GEICO uses a sense of humor in their “racist” commercial about “When Pigs Fly”.  Yes, the CEO deserves better compensation than a line employee, but that doesn’t mean line employees need to be kept at poverty levels.  Johnson is obviously a low income individual that has held a JOB with the same company for twenty years, he’s not selling drugs, he’s not on welfare.  Cut me a break Markowitz.  I’m rambling and getting angry, I’ll drop this here.

Theodore Bolha opens a one man show at The Gallery 4 in Shadyside and it runs through January 26. He has been interested in botanical art since a child, the Latrobe native got caught up in Scherenschnitte, the German art of cutting images out of paper with either very sharp scissors or knives.  He has about two dozen examples on display.  The Gallery is at 206 S Highland Avenue and more info at their web site or by calling 412-363-5050.  (I tried Googling Theodore, but he doesn’t appear to have a web site, he does have a VERY explicit post on an adult web site that comes up, be careful what you put on the web).  🙂

Want a break from this nasty cold weather we’ve been having, Phipps Conservatory is always a good bet.  Their Winter Flower Show ends this week and next week the Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show opens up.  Always a great way to spend an afternoon to get out of the winter doldrums (not as good as going to Costa Rica).  🙂  More info at Phipps web site or by calling 412-622-6914.

Jeremy Kost: Friends with Benefits takes a close look at Pittsburgh’s ‘queens’ at The Warhol through January 27.  The title doesn’t refer to what most people assume Friends with Benefits means, it’s a play on words about how kids have a relationship with each other and how drag queens have a tight knit family of sorts and how this family can be quite dysfunctional at times.  What’s interesting about this show is Jeremy took all these photographs of various drag queens with a Polaroid camera and pieced the Polaroids together to create a congruent image.  More info at The Warhol’s site or by calling 412-237-8300.

My current project is refinishing the wainscoting in Oleander’s bathroom, it’s the fifth guest room down.  It’s bugged me since purchasing the place and I had a guest about a year ago that stayed in Oleander make a comment on the woodwork in a guest review.  It really was looking tire:

This picture shows the shadow from the ancient toilet I had to take out.

This picture shows the wainscoting behind the shower curtain where the controls for the shower are.  My plumber John from All Pro Plumbing removed the bath fixtures and I just started working on taking the old finish off.  I will take some more pictures tomorrow in the day light for my next post.  I’m pretty slow this week, I’m hoping to have most of the stripping finished in about a week, but then again, I’m always the optimist when I take these projects on.  🙂  I’m hoping to avoid wood stripper, it’s too caustic.  My plan is to use my orbital sander and then my Dremel (I love my Dremel).  It’s ancient varnish that I’m dealing with and it’s very dry and should come off fairly easy.  Then when I get most of it off, the next step will be with denatured alcohol and 000 steel wool.  The main challenge will be getting behind the radiator.  We can’t take that out without shutting the entire heating system down.  ):

Well, you guys have a great rest of the weekend, it’s supposed to go up into the upper forties next week, maybe even the fifties.  🙂


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