Friday, April 28, 2006

Albert's New Digs: Philly Has Moved to a New Address

Albert's great writing on Philly can be found at a new address. Now he's at http://blog.dragonballyee.com/. Bookmark the man. Show him the linky love.

Photo credit.

Keep the Earth clean, it's not Uranus

I've been talking a lot around home about reducing our carbon footprint. And when I saw this 'Keep the Earth clean, it's not Uranus' t-shirt I thought, 'Hey, I should get these for the entire iFlipFlop clan.' Then again, maybe we should just start with conserving resources and buying locally. I don't know if my neighbors would get the joke as they drive by in their giant SUVs plastered with 'Support the Troops' yellow ribbons.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

More Greatness from the Office of Homeland Security

At New York's Kennedy Airport today, an individual--later determined to be a public school teacher--was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a T-square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

The Office of Homeland Security issued the following statement: "Al-gebra is a fearsome cult. They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as unknowns, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle.'"

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

(via BH International)
Photo credit

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pink's Dear Mr. President

I know I'm a little slow on the draw, but i just saw Pink's Dear Mr. President over on In Search of Utopia. Wow. Dear Mr. President, come take a walk with me. The lyrics are here.

UPDATE: The .mp3 is on Philly.

Chernobyl: 20 Years Later

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster started 20 years ago on this date. The effects are still being felt today. Here's the chronology of events from Chernobyl.info:

1978 The first reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant comes on stream. Chernobyl is considered a model plant in the USSR.

1983 Unit no. 4 of the Chernobyl power plant comes on stream.

1986: The year of the accident
  • 26 April 1986, 1:23:00: A test of the cooling system begins in unit no. 4 of the Chernobyl power plant
  • 26 April 1986, 1:23:40: The emergency shutdown fails.
  • 26 April 1986, 1:23:44: The reactor in unit no. 4 runs out of control and explodes.
  • 26 April 1986: In the town of Pripyat, 3 km away, there are 45 000 people, including 16 000 children. On 26 April 1986 they are enjoying the first warm Sunday of the spring.
  • 26 April to 4 May 1986: Most of the radiation is released in the first ten days. At first, northerly and northwesterly winds predominate. At the end of April the wind switches to the south and southeast. There are frequent but local showers. This results in a very varied regional and local distribution of the radiation.
  • 27 April to 5 May 1986: About 1800 helicopter flights deposit around 5000 tonnes of extinguishing materials such as sand and lead onto the burning reactor.
  • 27 April 1986: The inhabitants of the Pripyat power plant settlement are evacuated.
  • 28 April 1986, 21:00: The Soviet news agency Tass announces that there has been an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station and that there have been casualties. An investigative committee is established.
  • 28 April 1986, 23:00: A Danish nuclear research laboratory announces that an MCA (maximum credible accident) has occurred in the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
  • 29 April 1986: The MCA at Chernobyl is first reported in German newscasts.
  • Up to 5 May 1986: Over the ten days following the accident, 130 000 people are evacuated from a 30-km zone around the reactor.
  • 6 May 1986: The release of radiation stops.
  • 15 to 16 May 1986: New fires break out and more radiation is released.
The image is from a Belarus commemoration ceremony.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day in Center City

I took this picture on my Treo of the line for Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's on 18th Street in Philadelphia. The line at 7PM snaked all the way down the street and was wrapped two stores down on Walnut Street. The store's still open, so you still have time.

One Eyed Stanley: May 3 at The Fire

Check out One Eyed Stanley at The Fire on May 3. You can listen to snippets of their music here.

One Eyed Stanley and a few other great bands
The Fire
412 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
8:30 PM, $7, 21+

What is it about Denny's and 3AM?

Is there something in Denny's $1.99 pancakes at 3AM that brings out the worst in people? This week's case involves an NFL defensive back (and his buddies) pounding a lone guy with a laptop and a Grand Slam into scrapple. Let's see what Ricky Manning Jr.'s excuse will be. At the moment, I'm going with the "Cynthia McKinney made me do it" defense.

Photo credit.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ever get one of those City of Philadelphia trash violations?

We just got a trash violation notice from The City of Philadelphia. Other than the fact that they had the name of the business wrong, said we threw out six bags of trash and two boxes when we have only a small bag of paper each week, and said it was done in an alleyway about a block from here, all was fine. And the fine? $25. Escalates to $50 if you don't pay in 10 days.

So...bums rip through all the trash in Center City. There's trash and shit everywhere. And somehow, some piece of mail from our business ends up a block from here. And they bag us for a fine. No way. We don't throw out the amount of trash they said in six weeks. And we NEVER put out our trash before evening (the ticket said it was at 3:43 pm on a Monday). It's crazy. Ah, one more joy about doing business in Philly.

Photo credit.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Climbing Everest: The Khumbu Icefall

I'm completely fascinated with Mount Everest climbing. In fact, one of my life goals is to go to Base Camp. (No way I can climb it...I've never climbed a thing in my life...I barely make it up the stairs.) The 2006 climb is going on right now.

One of the most challenging parts of climbing Everest is the Khumbu Icefall, a full-day climb through shifting ice and seracs. Here's one of the best descriptions I've ever read about that part of the climb (where, just yesterday, three Sherpas were killed when an ice wall collapsed and buried a group). Considering that I get wobbly on my step-ladder, consider what Alan Arnette writes:
After an hour in a "normal" year you reach the first ladder. For most climbers this is a moment of truth. You can prepare, read, talk and dream about this moment but when it comes time to actually placing your cramponed boot on the first rung of a ladder crossing a crevasse that is 100' deep ... well I think you get the idea.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Scary stuff, global warming. Merci has a well thought out piece at A Room Somewhere about reducing our carbon footprint and taking action now. The part about Global Dimming is powerful. I watched the show last night on Nova...yikes!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spoem of the Week: April 21, 2006 Edition

This Week's Spoem of the Week* had lots of source material for reference. It was a good spam week.

Sinner Runners Up
Tasteful on renovate
Waterhouse swallows
I don't think you know about this.

Her interlude prolate can?
Some abel puff
Deadline did caiman biotic?
Crewmen did epsitle at height?

You horseplay busy with?

Urgent news.

Through inclusion but hebraic
Grand slam architectural
Intramuros is strangely quiet and lazy
"Time to start over," he says.

Can precocious hydrodynamic his?
Can precocious hydrodynamic his?
"Why? You expecting him to pull out a weapon?"
Well, in retrospect maybe you shouldn't have done that.

"I love you," Randy says. "I want you to be okay.

*Name, Spoem, short for Spam Poem,was coined by Gideon.

National Debt Explained Using Oreo Cookies

Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry's, explains the national budget and how much we spend on defense using Oreo cookies. A video by True Majority.

Photo credit.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm the Decider

Did you see I'm the Decider yet? It's a whole song, so careful if you're at work and your speakers are on.
I am me and Rummy's he, Iraq is free and we are all together
See the world run when Dick shoots his gun, see how I lie
I'm Lying...

Sitting on my own brain, waiting for the end of days
Corporation profits, Bloody oil money
I'm above the law and I'll decide what's right or wrong

I am the egg head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider
Koo-Koo-Kachoo.

Philadelphia's Fine Weather

I've lived in quite a few places around the U.S. and in Europe. And Philadelphia has what I'd say is the best weather. This article in USA Today titled Is There Anywhere Safe To Live? says there are some pretty bad places to live, especially with a little global warming thrown in for good measure. In Philadelphia we have mild winters (with global warming we've slid into the Mid-Atlantic planting zone), extended springs, decent summers (have you ever visited Chicago in July?), and a long fall. We get a little snow now and then, but not too much. We don't get tornados to speak of because the jet stream isn't bouncing over our heads like it is in the midwest. No earthquakes. No hurricanes.

Anyways, it's a beauty here today. 80 degrees and sunny. And Mr. Bluebird's on my shoulder.

Photo source.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Looks Like the Time Has Come: Dunce Awards of the Day


Photo credit.

George W. Bush: Dunce-in-Chief
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H. L. Mencken, 1920.

Tom Cruise: Placenta-Munching Dunce
Tomkatt had a little Scientologist yesterday. Pax has the details.

Omaha: Resegregationist Dunces
Albert has the details on Omaha's move to go back in the Dunce time machine and formally segregate their schools. Now that's Dunceworthy no matter how you look at it!

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Dixie Chicks: Not Ready to Make Nice Video

I am absolutely crazy about The Dixie Chicks' new song Not Ready To Make Nice. The video is equally compelling and is available on You Tube. Very cool. Check out the metaphors (wiping oil off their hands is one).




Not Ready to Make Nice (Lyrics)
Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I'm through, with doubt,
There's nothing left for me to figure out,
I've paid a price, and i'll keep paying

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I know you said
Why can't you just get over it,
It turned my whole world around
and i kind of like it

I made by bed, and I sleep like a baby,
With no regrets and I don't mind saying,
It's a sad sad story
That a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

Tax Day in Philadelphia...and I Don't Feel Fine


Photo credit

Philadelphia's business tax exceeds the average tax rate of the 20 largest cities in the United States by 907%. I love having our office in Center City, I love being here. But starting today, I'm Leaving Las Vegas (I mean Taxadelphia). I am looking at KOZs. I am looking at the Cira Center. I am looking at the suburbs. I am looking at Florida. I am already gone.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter Fellow FlipFloppers



What does a glasswing butterfly have to do with Easter? I dunno, but I like the picture, I like Easter candy, and I like Springtime. In combo, a delightful day. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Juvenile Laugh Alert: Hot Chicks with Douchebags

This is why I love the internets - funny finds. And who could go wrong on a Saturday morning with Hot Chicks with Douchebags? I know it's juvenile, but I did LOL a few times. Here's a sample:
Keepin' It Real


Yo yo yo. Peace out! Word. Know what I'm sayin'? I'm sayin' you two is some serious douchebags, that's what I'm talkin' about.

This poor hottie looks like she'd rather have a root canal than continue to be swarmed by the utter douchocity of these two doofuses. Or is the plural of doofus, "doofi"? I keep forgetting.

Dude. Baseball cap turned 10 degrees to the right? Awesome. Leaning into a photo so you can pretend you're near a hot chick? Priceless.

Run, hottie. Run.

Left Civilian It's Moses

This is my poem this week, built entirely on subject: lines from this week's spam in my inbox.

Left Civilian It's Moses
left civilian it's moses
CIA p LIS
no subject
PLEASE CANCEL THIS ORDER 002091
Will trypsin on sternal
accusatory homage
.eu on sale for $14.99
dino and contemplate
conyv news
reserpine
fwd: in VINCENT s bell a pennies analyzed a stock
fwd: Dont even invest before you read
W Quality Discount Opportunity IVoq6_
nuqeo news

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tax hell in Philadelphia



Um, I'm going to start paying attention to those Business Privilege Tax discussions. Anyone who is a small business owner in Philadelphia has to really question doing business in this city. Do you know that we have the highest city wage tax in the country...and that on top of that, the City requires business owners to pay last year's tax...AND THEN DOUBLE IT? They require prepayment of "next years tax." Who ever heard of that? What if our business is half of what it was last year? It's craziness. Florida is looking better every day.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Best Jobs in America


(Photo credit: Claudecf on Flickr)

CNN has a list of the 50 Best Jobs in America. Number 13 is a technical writer, whose average pay is $57,841.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Unidos



From yesterday's Day Without an Immigrant.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Day Without an Immigrant Rally in Philadelphia: The Faces

I went to the Day Without an Immigrant rally today at Love Park in Philadelphia. These are the faces of people who are part of the essential fabric of our country. Si se puede was the chant of the day: Yes, we can. My favorite sign today: Every American is an immigrant.

UPDATE: I posted a Flickr set of 47 shots here.











Phil Mickelson Wins the Masters and I Don't Get to See It



Phil Mickelson won The Masters yesterday for the second time. I like that guy. He seems like a normal guy, and unlike a lot of self-absorbed baseball, basketball and football players, he seems genuinely thrilled to be at the top of his game. No whipping out a Sharpie to sign his gold ball when he sinks the winning putt, no steroids, no attitude. Just plain Phil.

So, with great expectation I set my TiVo to record the final round of The Masters yesterday. (I had a dinner out, which also made me miss The Sopranos, btw.) And when I got home I flipped on the TiVo with great expectations. But....you know the rest. TiVo stopped recording at 7pm. Mickelson was at the 16th tee. So, how did I enjoy Mickelson's win? Sports Center. Ugh. I need to learn to add a little padding on TiVo.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

George Bush: Freefallin' Part Deux

I still like this video of George Bush freefalling. Kind of like the last shreds of his "ethics."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Susan Werner's My Strange Nation

Have you heard Susan Werner's My Strange Nation at The Huffington Post? Great stuff. Listen with speakers if you're at work.

A New Car



I got a new car yesterday. My train car was on its last legs, so this makes me happy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Words of Wisdom by Art Buchwald

I saw a little snippet of Tom Brokaw's interview with Art Buchwald. Mr. Buchwald is in a hospice now and is preparing for his death. But he hasn't lost a bit of his wit. And his wisdom is so powerful. Brokaw asked Buchwald "What will you miss most?" Buchwald replied, "I'll miss global warming. I was always cold, and now the kids in the future can enjoy the warm weather."

Wow. Funny. And a thought that gave me pause.

It was just snowing...

...we got a blast of snow, and I mean heavy snow, for about two minutes here in Baghdad, PA. I tried to run out and make a quick video, but I didn't get my camera in time. Crazy weather. It was 75 last week...now there's a layer of ice on my deck. Ah, the joys of spring.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tom DeLay Goes Bye-Bye

Man, I'm just laughing about this...Tom DeLay isn't going to run for re-election. I give 30 days to find out that he's being prosecuted. It'll be great to see Mr. Black Shellac Hair after he's been in prison for a while without hair dye.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sony Portable Reader System PRS-500: I Want One of These eBooks


I just put my name on Sony's mailing list to be alerted when the first Sony Portable Reader System PRS-500 eBooks are available. I want one. These eBooks, which are going to retail for around $350, look like they'll really work. They have an e.ink technology, which doesn't flicker - it basically is on or off and has the resolution of newsprint (around 170 dpi). The device weighs about half a pound and is 7" x 5" x 0.5" thick. It's a super-thin paperback. And about the same weight. I'm going to get one. I'll let you know when it's in my hands.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Young iFlipFlop Turns 13



The youngest iFlipFlop turned 13 today. And he was up at the crack of dawn as he is with all holidays, birthdays, and any other day that involves presents and parties. He woke the house up at 7 am (which is 6 am to everyone from the human to the canine to the feline iFlipFlops...today is the first day of Daylight Savings Time). He'd already been up for an hour. Presents have been opened and Mrs. iFlipFlop is cooking Young iFlipFlop's favorite breakfast - eggs benedict and blueberry muffins. I'm sitting here drinking my coffee and hoping that Young iFlipFlop never loses that enthusiasm for special days. Cynicism is overrated. Happy birthday.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

It's Springtime in Utopia...

...and the Clan Romano is heading off to church. Details here.