Hi,

A lot of birth anniversaries tomorrow:  explorer Henry Morton Stanley (1841), abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912), scientist Jean Felix Piccard (1884) and Cuban author/activist Jose Julian Marti (1853).  It is also the anniversary of Congress resolved that the Great Seal of the US  should be kept by the Congress and it affixed to every act, ordinance or paper as directed by congress (1782).

Here’s one for you, the Kaulong tribe in New Guinea practiced widow strangling until 1957!  True story.  It was the brother’s responsibility to strangle a widow after her husband passed away.  In the absence of a brother, the task was passed on to her son.  There is no explanation as to why this custom was established.

I’ve talked about the Dormont’s non-profit Hollywood Theater’s dilemma in the past.  In order to stay afloat, they need to upgrade their projection system to the new format at the tune of $75,000.  So far, they’ve raised $12,000.  Enter Gary Streiner who worked on Night of the Living Dead.  Streiner heads The Living Dead Festival, an annual celebration of that movie that brings groupies, cast and crew members together together.  He is organizing “The Hollywood Theater is Closing, Over My Dead Body”, apply named because he is bringing cast and crew members to the event on March 2 who will be signing posters and other memorabilia as well as just mingling with the crowd.  Get your tickets now at  ShowClix.  Be quick, they’ve already sold 100 tickets.  Last year, Streiner’s group raised $50,000 to rehab Evans City Cemetery chapel that was so prominent in the original Living Dead movie.

OK, we all know what a vegan is and what a wiccan is.  Do you know what a freegan is?  I don’t know how widespread this movement is, but it’s people that like to survive on free.  They pretty much are a group of dumpster divers.  They know where the dumpsters are that grocery stores throw away food that has gone beyond it’s “expired” date and other “prime” dumpsters.  The pros never spend money on objects, they survive and barter with each other on objects they find.  No don’t think homeless, these people own homes, live in apartments and some in vehicles.  And I’m not being critical here, I’ve done my share of dumpster diving in my life.  :)

Has the financial recession caused you to cut back on entertainment, maybe home remodeling projects you were planning on or caused you to delay other purchases?  Would someone please tell the Pentagon this?  The American defense budget is over $1T (yes that’s TRILLION).  Last week, before the Pentagon went before Congress to plead their case to INCREASE their budget, they LEAKED to the press information they planned to submit to Congress.  Obviously a political ploy, what is the Pentagon doing playing politics?  I thought they were supposed to fight enemies and keep us safe.  This week, they are warning that budget cuts will hurt the war effort.  Well, number one, if they haven’t won a war in over ten years, maybe they should go back and look at their play book.  Number two, why are they holier than thou when the entire country is cutting our budgets?  Don’t get me wrong, I want a strong defense.  I just think people need to use reason.

It appears Steve Bland’s about to get the axe.  County Executive Fitzgerald seems to have given Port Authority’s Board a list of reasons why Bland should go and they tabled it at their last meeting and will bring it up next week.  Although the Board is independent from the county, the County Executive does appoint the members and so has a lot of sway there.  Maybe we can get someone in there that can actually run the transit authority instead of just hiring outside companies at the tune of $230,000 to tell them to take the letters off the bus routes and just use numbers.  (I am exaggerating here a bit, but basically that’s what one of the studies concluded).

After a $25M renovation, one of my Alma Maters, the Omni William Penn picked up their fourth diamond from AAA.  Celebrating it’s 100th anniversary in 2016, the Wm Penn has had it’s storied past.  When I worked there, it was the cash cow for Servico, a West Palm Beach based hotel group that seemed to have the propensity to purchase poor performing locations.  So for years, needed maintenance and up grades kept getting pushed back until the back log became too great.  I left while Servico still owned it and I’m not sure, but I think Omni bought it next.  It certainly is a grand hotel.  I just love that art deco ballroom up on the 17th floor.

You Tube sensation Angela Trimbur has recently posted a new Dance Like Nobody’s Watching video at LAX airport.  They’ve had over 4 million views on this one.  She’s pretty funny (I say that in the kindest of ways).  :)

Included in the general admission price for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (and Art & Architecture) is a pretty cool Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives that Transform Communities.  These women band together to create co-ops to provide a safe haven from violence, preserving fading heritages, nurturing the environment and of course earning income.  The groups go from maybe 100 and I’ve heard of them reaching 4,000 members.  You can always purchase their wares at 10,000 Villages.  That’s a group that has a year round presence here, but the have multiple locations right before the Christmas holidays.  The show runs through May here, then moves on to other cities.  The traveling exhibit is available starting in August, 2014 for $16,000 if you would like to display it.  Just go to the Empowering Women web site for more info.  :)

There’s a pretty cool visual artist that’s come back to Pittsburgh.  Mexico City native Miguel Chevalier‘s new video installation will be at the Wood Street Galleries through April 7, admission is free.  Miguel Chevalier: Power Pixels 2013 will be accompanied with original music composed by Jacop Baboni Schilingi for the exhibit.  This is all computer generated, random (?) images of all numerals that are combined with psychedelic images that are in constant change.  Not only being changed in the computer program, but also by observers entering the exhibit effect the images.  One of the things that’s intriguing about this exhibit is the way he’s gotten the technology to bend these light images around corners.  This kind of artwork used to be only clear when shown directly on a flat surface.

I have been working on Oleander’s wainscoting, but nothing to post any pictures about.  I decided to scrape everything scrapable, clean up the dust and then do the stripper/alcohol routine.  And I decide to include the door and window trims as well.  I have all the scraping finished and just did the first coat of stripper/alcohol on the wainscoting behind the sink and toilet.  I’m helping my brother move out in Murrysville today, so probably won’t get much done until tomorrow.  Enjoy this bright and crisp day,

ed

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