Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Am Not an Animal

I needed a little mindless TV today before I went to work. And I am sick of watching CNN beat that "Red Tape & Cleanup" segment, so I flipped on Muscle Beach Party. What a dazzler: Frankie Avalon, Luciana Paluzzi (va-voom), Morey Amsterdam, Peter Turgeon, Little Stevie Wonder, Don Rickles. And Annette Funicello. I thought the Dr. Pepper machine and glass bottles were cool, and that was distracting. But Annette's head. That thing's a monster. Her head was twice as big as Frankie's. Did she go on to star with Cher in Mask?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Homeland Security Tattoo

Charlie came up with the solution to our terrorism risks: The Homeland Security Tattoo. Get yours today!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Irreducible Fraction of Time

My cacaphonous walk to work reminds me of a joke.

Q: What an irreducible fraction of time?
A: The time from when a traffic light turns green until the idiot behind you honks.

Okay, kids, that's your physics lesson for the day.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine Made Me Smile

I just saw Little Miss Sunshine. What a fabulous film. Albert wrote about it on Philly, and I was intrigued. But it was a while before I go to the theater. I could go right back.

The crowd was very responsive, laughing along with the punchlines. But the movie wasn't was powerful. Little Miss Sunshine is a beauty contest that the family is driving to. And how creepy it was to see that part. From what I read on Wikipedia, the girls in the pageant were real beauty queens and did their real acts. Yucko. But that was the great setup for Little Miss Sunshine, with a culmination that reminded me of the Thanksgiving play in Parenthood wrapped around the talent contest in About a Boy. (Same mom as in About a Boy, btw.)

I would go see this movie another time. And now I want a yellow Volkswagen bus. You can design your own here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Snakes on a Train

I sat behind Medusa last night - Snakes on a Train! Sorry about the crappy picture, but I was so skeezed out by the 10 pounds of ratty hair that I couldn't hold the camera still enough to make it work. Besides, I didn't want to risk using a flash, just in case one of Medusa's snakes came out to spit venom on me.

I just don't get dreadlocks. Maybe it's my age. Maybe it's my tragic unhipness. Maybe it's the fact that I like to take a shower every day. Call me crazy but I just get itchy looking at those wads of hair. (Funny thing, but Jamaicans don't give me that feeling...they earn those dreads.) Ugh.

An Incredible Story About an Elephant's Memory

Incredible story about an elephant's memory

UPI July 3, 2006: A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot.

There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.

As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail.

The large bull elephant stared at him and lifted it's front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.

After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.

The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

(True confessions: I'm not sure why this style of joke makes me laugh so much, but it does.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Felix the Khat: Esquire's High in Hell Article

IMHO, Esquire Magazine is the best-written magazine out there. The have a stable of great writers who do first-person commentary on what it's like. I read this article called High in Hell about khat chewing in Dijbouti. Incredible detail. Incredible tension. Incredible drug.

I started reading it at Suburban Station, and never looked up until my stop. Wow.

The 10 Best Presentations Ever

Here's a list of the 10 Best Presentations Ever. Pretty cool talks out there (and not your standard PowerPoint fare). Any others you'd add to the list?

Interesting Levels of Cooperativeness on My Commute

I walk through a warren of hallways in the morning on my way up to the Streets of Philadelphia. And each day there's a level of cooperativeness at one door. There's a fire door/handicap access door about half way through the walk (under the Citizen's Bank building). And it's cool that somehow, just as the doors are about to swing closed, someone, without fanfare or expectation of a "Thank you," just clicks the "door open" button. And we all stream through. Little fishies on our way upstream.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Application for a Boy's Night Out

My sister sent me this Application for a Boy's Night Out and it made me laugh. I'm not really into Boy's Nights Out, but if I were this one's the app I understand. (Click on the image to see it in 800 px. wide size.)

Did I mention how much I like La Colombe?

La Colombe on 19th Street is one block out of my way on my walk to work. But this morning was one of those perfect mornings, where the temperature was just right. And I took the early train into Philadelphia. My morning treat? Some "Torrefaction.". I don't know what in the heck "Torrefaction" means on their cups, but I think it means Best. Coffee. Ever. Or something like that in Italian. I might just have to spend the extra 93 seconds a day going one block out of my way to get that coffee (with the spoon and the saucer they give you, even if you're "to go"). Why compromise on the little things? I didn't this morning and I'm all the happier for it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lunch at Bonte

Being the creature of habit that I am, I tend to go the same lunch places time and again. Now, in late summer 2006, it's Bonte, at 130 S. 17th Street. And true to form, I've been going with the tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich. $6.25. Yum.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bridge to Monday Morning

I joined the Simplicity group on Flickr and was struck by the beauty of this picture by vfowler, which he titles Bridge Into the Temple. I'll try to keep this image in mind as I ride the train into Center City in the morning - my Bridge to Monday Morning. Oooommmmmmmm.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bush Bashed

Jack Cafferty laid the smackdown on BushCo's illegal wiretapping operation. Beauty.

Security Theater, or, Liquids Bombs On Airplanes is Bullshit

Here's the science behind making liquid bombs on airplanes. It doesn't work. The writer calls our current security approach, Security Theater. So true. Keep 'em scared.

Dinner at Mantra

I've eaten at Mantra now a few times, and each time it gets better. And, I've tried nearly everything on their menu at this point. I've not been disappointed.

We ate there last night in the back room (my first time there) and the restaurant was full. That's good news. Even better news, the grilled chicken wings were tremendous. Owner Al Paris came over to our table to check in. As he said, "We're doing this for the customers. If I want to do Pheasant Under Glass for the critics I can do that in another place. This place is about the food."

Mantra is one of those restaurants you can visit multiple times. You can eat a lot or a little, and the prices are good. And as an added bonus, they play Tom Waits music from time to time and have Leffe beer on draught. Foobooz has the menu.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Mets Are in Town

Ms. LiquidTreats and I were walking on 17th Street after lunch this afternoon and saw a crowd in front of the Westin. Autograph freaks. So, we joined the crowd and waited for the New York Mets to leave their hotel on the way to Citizen's Bank Park. And we saw them all. Coolest dude of all of them? Their superstar, Tom Glavine. He signed autographs for everyone, and then even was nice enough to pose for a picture with Ms. LT. Coolness.

Besides from Glavine, we also got autographs from Chad Bradford, Aaron Heilman, and Endy Chavez.

Chad Bradford signs a few autographs. You can get a sense for the kind of guys who stand around all day waiting for baseball players to leave their hotels and sign autographs. Um, the guy with the whiskers isn't me (but could be in a few years if I find myself doing that again).

Aaron Heilman was one of the first players to come over and sign.

Endy Chavez was very gracious.

My Favorite Shoes

These Vans are my favorite shoes. It's funny, people actually say "Cool shoes" to me when I wear them. There is not another single piece of clothing I've worn ever where people felt compelled to say something. Not these. So, I took this picture in the golden hour on the last day of my vacation. And when I uploaded it to iPhoto, the picture reminded me of the only actuarial joke I know:
Q: How can you spot the extroverted actuary?

A: He's staring at your shoes.
If you've ever worked around a bunch of actuaries, which I did at a couple big consulting firms, then that joke will make sense. But, since I'm not in the comedy business, I'll just have to smile at my shoes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Snakes on a Plane Voice Mail

This Snakes on a Plane voice mailer is some kind of funny. You can customize a voice mail to your friends with Samuel L. Jackson's voice (and the customization is pretty good).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back to Reality, Oops There Goes Gravity

Back to work today. Someday I'm going to learn to relax on vacation, then the first day back won't be a stressor. Ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kite Surfer

The wind was blowing 40 mph this morning and the waves were crashing. That brought out the kite surfers. Several of them blew by. It looks like a blast.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Let's Go Fly a Kite

The kite has flown. Many times. It's like riding a bike - I skinned my knees a few times in the beginning, but now I can fly that bad boy like a pro. Swoops. Swirls. Sweeps. And that kite pulls on the arms. Today the wind is blowing 15-20 mph on the beach, and I just about had my arms pulled out of the sockets a couple of times. Very cool with the wind whistling through the guide wires. Now, after three days of flying my kite I'm ready to upgrade.

Albert sent me this article today. I'm ready for kite surfing (except for the fact that I'm not that great a swimmer and my balance is a bit suspect). Let's go fly a kite.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


This is the biggest seagull I've ever seen. It's Gullzilla.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dinner on the Deck

Steamed Crabs. Old Bay. Stella Artois. Outer Banks. Fabulous.

The Starry Night

Full moons look great. But ever try and take a picture of one? Disappointing. Except...I was happy with the colors that came out in this one. I thought it had a certain The Starry Night quality to it. Of course, Van Gogh painted The Starry Night in a mental institution in St. Remy. This picture was from my mental break in the Outer Banks.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

World Pro Kite Flying Tour

I won't be joining the World Pro Kite Flying Tour anytime soon. I bought this kite and took it out for its inaugural flight yesterday. Good thing I wasn't born into the Wright family 130 years ago or today there would be no magnificent men in their flying machines. My kite crashed.

Ah, the instructions looked so deceptively simple. Assemble and go. Take the kite out on the beach not far from where the Wright Brothers had their inaugural flight and let the kite take wing. That worked for about 10 seconds.

I played out 150 yards of line. I held the red strap in my right hand and the gray strap in my left, just like instructed. I walked upwind. And I readied my lines. When the wind picked up I gave the lines a yank and walked backwards. Up, up, up. Left, left, left. Spin, spin, spin.

My brand new kite went up in the air about 10 feet, spun and twisted at Wankel engine rpms, and then smacked into the beach nose first. Ever try and wind up 150 yards of twisted kite string on a beach?

My kite lines were tangled and twisted. Plus, they picked up every piece of flotsam and jetsam that came in from the Atlantic over the past three weeks. So much for my World Pro Kite Flying Tour. One kite flight that lasted less time than Orville's 12-second airplane flight in 1903. So, I set about the Guinness Book of World Records effort to untangle the world's largest knot.

It took me nearly two-and-a-half hours. Since I'm ADD Boy, that's about exactly two hours and twenty-nine minutes longer than I would normal spend untying a knot. But I did. I sat on a dune and pulled and twisted and looped. Aaahhhh. Success.

I'm going out to try that bad boy once again in a bit. Let's see if I can beat Orville's flight time.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sometimes a Lighthouse is Just a Lighthouse

Where in the world is Frankie? Well, ostensibly I'm on "vacation." This is a quick snap of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It's a beauty. I'm going to take pictures of a few more lighthouses on the Outer Banks.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Summer Stench on the R5

It's hot, I'll give you that. And I'm not saying that I'm a Lotus Flower at the end of the day. But my ride home yesterday on the R5 was one of the most stomach-turning rides of my life.

The guy standing behind me smelled like a corpse. It wasn't a homeless guy, but this guy was the stinkiest human being alive who wasn't a homeless guy I've ever been near. And wouldn't you know it, the 7:15 train was packed.

It was hotter than a bastard last night on the platform. That, added to the fact that the train was seven minutes late made it so that everyone was anxious and nearly pushing (R5 pushing, mind you, which is more like cutting in line than real pushing). So, I was happy to find a seat on the "two side" toward the middle of the car. Ah, blessed air conditioning.

The seats were filling fast, but it seemed like all was going to work out. But for some damn reason, the conductor decided to close a back car, which made a surge of overheated humanity flow in my direction. The seats filled. The aisles filled. And then the air filled with a rancid stench. It was the arrival of Stinky Man.

Stinky Man stood right behind me. I didn't see him so much as "sense" him. I threw up in my mouth (well, nearly). I coughed. People around me gagged. Stinky Man was Pigpen incarnate.

I thought, "Hey, this isn't going to be bad. It'll go away. Maybe it's not the guy behind me." I was fooling myself.

I tried breathing through my mouth. I just got larger gulps of Stinky Man. I tried holding my breath, only to realize that I had a 30-minute ride and I can hold my breath for about a total of 30 seconds. I came up short. More and more Stinky Man.

Every time Stinky Man moved, his B.O. wafted my way. It was thick.

Then I went with optimism. "Christ, this guy's gotta be getting off soon." Nope. Stinky Man was sticking with it.

Finally, the train emptied out enough for me to move and Stinky Man to get a seat of his own. Oh, blessed fresh air! And, I finally got a look at Stinky Man.

I can tell you what I was expecting, mostly thinking it had to be a nutbag at minimum. Instead, Stinky Man was some frigging grad student, who knew enough to be studying on the train, but not enough to take a fucking shower. Educated idiot, that's what my dad used to call them.

I swear, I was sitting there thinking, what's the protocol? Should I have said, "Take a shower, you hippie freak" or should I sit there and do nothing? I was worn out with olfactory overload, pleased to be breathing fresh air enough that I let Stinky Man have a pass. But just one.

I'm going to CVS today. And I'm going to buy one of those bottles of Axe Body Spray. If Stinky Man comes anywhere near me again, I'm going to blast him with the full force of chemical nature. Hey, Stinky Man, this isn't 18th Century France. We take showers here. And if we don't, we sure don't want to sit near Frankie. Otherwise, fear the Axe Man.

Photo credit.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How Many Drinks Does It Take to Create a Mel Gibson-Like Bigot?

The Carnival of Mel has the answer. Hint: It wasn't the booze talking.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

100 Degrees and Frank's Red Hot

A sign of the times. It's going to be 100 degrees in Philadelphia and Frank's red hot (just temperature, btw). Phew. I'm going to drive my motorcycle to the train station today. I think I'll wait until after dark to ride it back so that I don't melt my leggs off.

UPDATE: I was going to change the spelling of "leggs" to "legs," but I think I'll leave it. I'm not wearing Leggs, they don't go with my outfit today, but I was astonished to see women on the train wearing panty hose. What gives? Did those things ever look good? And in the blast furnace heat of the summertime they have to be hotter than Hades. Plus, note to women who wear hose, they don't make your legs look more tan. Okay, enough with my Cranky Frankie I'm-Too-Hot-To-Be-Nice routine.

They're Called The Aristocrats

I saw The Aristocrats on HBO last night for the first time. I swear, if everyone Chez iFlipFlop wasn't sleeping, I would have been laughing out loud. But just as well, The Aristocrats, like eating ribs or playing solitaire, was best enjoyed alone.