Hi,

Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Richard Nixon (1913), the St Petersburg Massacre (1905), Murat Bernard Young’s birth anniversary (1901-the creator of the comic strip Blondie), the first manned free balloon flight in America by Jean-Pierre Francois Blanchard (1793) and Connecticut ratified the Constitution (1788).

Originally called Shannon’s Rainbow, Amazing Racer is being released today at AMC Loews at the Waterfront 22 to an invitation only crowd.  The film is also being released on CD.  John Mowod (any relation to Tony on WESA?) co-wrote the script with Larry Richert of KDKA awhile back and it has been held up in some court battles and was pretty much filmed in the Pittsburgh area in 2008.  This “feel good” story of a depressed girl and a injured race horse who help each other heal was inspired by a true story out of the Meadows Racetrack. The movie has guest appearances of Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg and the late Charles During.  The film is not listed on the Loews web site, I am assuming they will be showing it to the general public after today’s private screening.

Live Life Without the Disease Series was founded in 2008, but has not been active until now do to a lack of funds.  Highmark has given the group a $75,000 grant and so they are planning their first meeting this coming Saturday at the Thelma Lovette YMCA on the Hill.  The non-profit Educating Teens About HIV/AIDS is out of Manchester and is trying to start the very difficult discussions needed to stop this very preventable disease.  They are gathering forums of teens, parents, educators, doctors, nutritionists, relationship professionals and religious leaders to discuss this epidemic.  The organizers are planning on ten more sessions between now and September.  They are seeking about 30 teens between 13 and 19 to participate in the sessions and depending on the location of these volunteers is where future sessions will be held.  More info at both links above.

With all the debates, projects, legislation and scrutiny going on about Marcellus, the tons of information about the drilling has been scattered all over the Internet.  Carl Hagstrom founded MarcellusGas.org trying to pull the vast amount of information into one site where you can search for information.  It is mainly set up by well site so property owners can see what’s going on in their area.  You can visit the site a couple of times for free, but Carl charges $20 a year for unlimited access.  What he has found is for every two searches by people interested in the non-monetary aspect of the site, there is eight by those interested in the monetary aspect (real estate agents, .gas industry professionals, etc).

The 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show opened this past Saturday and runs for eight days.  This free event (they do charge $10 for parking) runs from 8 am until 9 pm and they expect 400,000 people to attend.  The Farm Show Complex will feature food, competition, education, more than 8,000 farm animals and more.  In addition to what you would expect as food at a fair they will have bacon on a stick, veal meatballs, potato donuts and milk shakes.  One of the more popular attractions is the sheep to shawl contest.  Wednesday, they shear the sheep and give the wool to to weavers that make shawls out of it.  A new and somewhat bizarre feature will be “cow bingo”.  This is where they put cows on a huge bingo board and where the bovines “plop down” (I’ll let your imagination figure exactly what that is) is the winner.  :)  More info at their web site.  If you plan on going and what a place to stay, my very good friends Myra, Phil and Alex would love to host you at their nearby The Stone Manse Inn.

For you hearty folks, the third annual Joe Root’s Frozenbite Open will be held February 17.  Elmer Keisel, owner of the Joe Root’s Grill (named after a hermit that lived on Presque Isle before it became a state park) started this fund raiser to give back to the park he depends on for his business to survive.  This nine hole event will be held on Presque Isle if the bay is frozen or on the sand if not (the world’s largest sand trap?)  :)  They are hoping for a turn out of between 150 and 200 golfers, the past two years they raised $3,300 and $8,900 respectively and have used the proceeds to create a turtle observation deck over the park’s Graveyard Pond.  With this year’s proceeds, they hope to accomplish the paving associated with the deck.  if I wasn’t such a sissy about the cold, a terrible golfer and just coming back from Costa Rica, I may be tempted to participate.  More info at their web site.

Tom Balestrieri, president and CEO of the Buncher Group seems to be living in denial.  He claims that the opposition to his company’s planned destruction of 1/3 of the iconic Terminal Building, all kinds of zoning variances, boring design AND $50M in my money is politically motivated.  #1 Mr Balestrieri I have been opposed to this plan since it’s inception, have been very vocal about it AND I have no political aspirations.  #2 I do not support OR oppose Mayor Ravenstahl.    The mayor has done some things I oppose and some things I support.  I have included a link to Buncher’s contact page on their web site in case some non-political people would like to send him an e-mail expressing displeasure with his plans (and in case you are crazy enough to support this plan, being a fair and equal opportunity blogger, you are welcome to use the link to let them know your feelings as well.)  Mr Balestrieri says that the reason people are against the project is because Mayor Ravenstahl favors it and there are residents “opposed to whatever the administration is doing” and he continues (and I like this) “It’s not so much directed at Buncher, but we happen to be a by product”.  I hear Mr Balestrier is a big fan of Bashar al-Assad.  :)  Then Mr Balestrieri says “for a company that has built a reputation over the last 60 years in Western Pennsylvania … We have a lot to be proud of”.  #1 most of Buncher’s projects are industrial parks, not what the Strip project should aspire to.  #2 Maybe he should listen to the experts that are opposed to his plan like ex-mayor Murphy and architect John Conti and learn from people that have valuable insights.  #3 because you did something good once (or multiple times), doesn’t guarantee that future projects are right.

Well, I was a failure.  I tried not using wood stripped on Oleander’s wainscoting in the bathroom, but I would only take one swipe with my orbital sander and the sand paper gummed up.  So I applied the stripped, let it sit and then scrapped it and the old varnish off.  I then took denatured alcohol and 000 steel wool and worked the rest of it off.  Getting in the grooves is very tedious.  Here’s the before and after behind the tub.  This picture shows after I had first tried with the sander and then the denature alcohol:

This next picture shows it pretty much cleaned up:

Looks pretty good, don’t ya think?  This next picture is what I plan on working on today.  I put the stripper on the right side of the off/on handle last night and let it loosen the old varnish:

This is forcing me to bend in places I don’t normally bend, so I guess I’m going to be a more limber person soon.  :)

Have a great day and enjoy this unseasonable weather we’re going to be having the next several days,

ed

 

 

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