Friday, June 29, 2007

Two iPhones, Baby!

Yep, I bought two, and neither of them is mine. I have some really great pix from downtown Philadelphia with the mayor. I'll get them up later. At this point, I'm just jazzed.

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I'm Connie, and I'm from France

Stephen J. iFlipFlop saw London. He saw France. He saw Amsterdam in his traveling pants.

Young iFlipFlop, 14, went to France on Wednesday night. Kinda. His British Airways flight was to have left at 7pm out of Philadelphia. In fact, when I checked on BA66 on Flight Tracker, it left on time. And when I checked at around 8:45pm, it looked like the plane was at 37,000 feet and leaving North American airspace, dipping just below Greenland.

Then the phone rang.

"Mom, we still haven't left," said Stephen.

It was 9pm. Since his connection in London was only 90 minutes to get him to Lyon, that meant he'd already missed it. Plus, to start off the day, BA wouldn't let Mrs. iFlipFlop into the waiting area, so the 14-year-old was on his own since about 4:30 in the afternoon.

"Okay, let me make a few calls," said Mrs. iFF as she looked for customer service numbers.

After 30 minutes on hold she finally got an agent. They said Stephen would be booked on the next flight to the south of France. But how would he know that?

Mrs. iFF got up at 4am and checked. Stephen would be rerouted from London to Amsterdam to Lyon. And his final leg would have to be on Air France, which meant a change of terminals in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Great.

The phone started ringing at 4:30am our time. "I'm in a really long line and I'm not sure I'm going to get my new tickets," said Stephen.

"Don't worry, here's what to do," Said Mrs. iFF. When the chips are down, you want Mrs. iFF working the action for you. She can get it done.

Well, after nearly 18 hours of travel, Stephen finally made it to Lyon, where he met up with the family he's staying with in La Drome. The father is the Minister of Tourism for that beautiful part of France, where lavender fields go on as far as the eye can see, and the Rhone Alps frame the views. Ah, La France. Now he's there.

We got this note from Stephen last night. I think it captures the essence of what it's like to travel unattended at 14, and pull it of with aplomb:
I made it to Charles' house perfectly fine, and my luggage is expected to come in by tomorrow.

I am pretty tired, so I am going to bed right after we eat dinner, which is in a few minutes.

I just wanted to give you the update.

Hope all is well over there.

I am going to a music festival tomorrow morning.

I will talk to you later.


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Happy iDay

Yep, today's the day. iPhone, uPhone, wePhone.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's iPhone Eve!

"Tomorrow is iPhone Eve!" Charlie said as he left our office yesterday.

Kids have holidays. Summer vacation. Recess. Adults have the iPhone.

We're going to be at the AT&T store in Center City tomorrow if you want to look for us. We'll be the excited ones.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hot Clothes Claustrophobia

Today is more suited for bathing suits and water parks than it is for three-piece suits and water coolers. It's freakin' hot in the city that scalds you back.

As I was walking to work today in my standard uniform -- black t-shirt and jeans -- I looked at the very, very hot people walking by me. Now, I'm not talking about the "very, very hot" type that you see in Cannes or on Ipanema Beach in Rio, I'm talking about sweaty hot. The kind that gives me "hot clothes claustrophobia." Here are some examples:
The Old Lady in Polyester. There was an old lady in a wheelchair being loaded down from a SEPTA van. She and her attending friend were dressed in ankle-length skirts, polyester blouses, camisoles, Playtex 18-hour bras (no, I wasn't looking), all kinds of jewelry, and their hair was done up in an upsweep of recently-rinsed cinnamon. Oh, and panty hose, of course. I mean, the idea of that kind of getup just makes me hot - the temperature kind -- being near it. That kind of clothing could result in spontaneous human combustion today.

The Baller in XXXL. This guy was walking along with his wife and baby, and he was sweating up a storm. He was wearing a wool throwback baseball cap, a white t-shirt that came down to his knees and could be used as a spinnaker in America's Cup races, a pair of jeans that had enough fabric to double as a bus wrap, and a pair of unlaced high-tops. Hot, I tell you, hot. And to prove it, he was carrying a full-sized white bath towel, which he kept using to wipe his face. And it's just morning. He'd better stay out of the midday sun.

The Office Lady in Snuggies. Man, those clothes were tight. Tight blouse fitted just so. Black skirt that had to have been greased before it could be slipped on. A huge belt around the whole thing. Stilettos. And an umbrella. Now normally I'd just say that was "hot" and leave it at that. But snug clothes today? No way. There's nothing worse than a sweaty waistband. And the thought of clingy clothes induces my hot clothes claustrophobia.

I have to be out a lot today (dentist appointment). I put on an double dose of Axe antiperspirant. I'm going to walk slowly. And I'll be looking at all those poor suckers who are sweltering while I think of "hot clothes claustrophobia."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stories from Reading Terminal Market

I forgot to mention how much I really like Marisa's Stories from Reading Terminal Market. Really interesting stories from a really good writer.

You can also read more of Marisa's writing on her Apartment 2024 and Metrobloging Philadelphia. Plus, you can see her on the smash hit, Fork You, a cooking show she does with Scott that I think will get picked up and syndicated within a year.

Eight Random Facts and iFlipFlop Habits

My friend, Pax, tagged me with this bad boy. First, the rules:
  1. All right, here are the rules.
  2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight Random Facts/Habits
  1. My hair is the longest it's ever been.
  2. I'm not kidding, I really want to run with the bulls and climb to Everest Base Camp.
  3. I've had a quick temper my whole life. I'm Irish, but that's not really an excuse. BTW: It's getting better, or I'm just getting too old to worry as much.
  4. I could squat 550 lbs and bench press 325 lbs with ease when I was at my weightlifting prime, which was about 12 years ago. It's a lot less now.
  5. I always put on my left sock, then my left shoe, then my right sock, then my right shoe. Always. As Jack Nicholson said, "What if this is as good as it gets?"
  6. Even though I had parents, from the time I was 13 I was really raised by a gay couple. They taught me a lot about life, respect, and business (they had high level professional jobs and were top dog handlers, which is how I got to know them). Thirty-plus years ago they were gay when people weren't "gay." And they were more committed to each other than anyone I knew. I could write pages and pages about this, but this is a random facts meme, so I'll leave it at that.
  7. I gave up caffeine this year (big headache). I gave up sugar a couple of years ago. So now, coffee is less enjoyable, but a lot healthier. Now if I could only give up Cinnabon and cheeseburgers.
  8. I am constantly amazed that I am as old as I am. I feel asleep one day and woke up this age. The last 20 years were a blur.

Okay, that's my 8. I will tag Rick, Moni, Sarah, TDMJ, and Guillaume. Guillaume, why, oh why, don't you have a blog?


Monday, June 25, 2007

Broken Spring

I took my car in for its annual Pennsylvania inspection on Saturday. I thought that would be an easy project, just a perfunctory check. (By mistake, I'd let my inspection expire a couple of months, and in PA that's a no-no.)

Well, bummer. It seems like every time I take a car in for inspection there's something wrong. Niggling little things. This time there were two "somethings." I have a faulty oil sensor: $146. And I have a broken front spring: $350. So, in addition to the cost of the inspection, I'm looking at $650 or so. And no noticeable difference in the car. Just a new inspection sticker.

On the other hand, I'm glad I didn't find out about that broken spring by going around a corner fast and having uncontrollable wheel hop. That would have been a real bummer.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Special Two-for-One Purchase: Alli, the Weight Loss Drug and a Year's Supply of Oops! I Crapped My Pants

You know how every once in a while you read a story and just can hardly keep going? How you just want to cover your eyes and pretend it's not really there? That's how I felt this morning when I was reading The Philadelphia Inquirer and stumbled across a story titled, "When a New Diet Drug Elicits Potty Humor." Here's the lede:
How badly do you want to be skinny? Is it worth soiling your underwear?
The story goes into the toilet after that.

I mean, if you want to lose weight, either eat less or exercise more. It's pretty simple. I can't imagine taking the Alli diet pill and only losing "an average of 6.3 pounds over one year" while risking the very real chance of becoming a 2-year-old in diapers. I don't think so. You can read here about the disgusting side effects, which happen to HALF the patients who use Alli.

But the drug did make me think of one of the funniest scatological pieces ever on Saturday Night Live: Oops! I Crapped My Pants!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cogito, Ergo Sum

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush went to a fitness spa for some fun. After a stimulating, healthy lunch, all three decided to visit the men's room and they found a strange-looking gent sitting at the entrance.

He said, "Welcome to the gentleman's room. Be sure to check out our newest feature, a mirror that, if you look into it and say something truthful, you will be rewarded with your wish. But, be warned: if you say something FALSE, you will be sucked into the mirror to live in a void of nothingness for all eternity!"

The three men quickly entered and upon finding the mirror, Bill Clinton stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most intelligent of us three," and he suddenly found the keys to a brand new Bentley in his hands.

Al Gore stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most aware of the environmental problems of us three," and in an instant, he was surrounded by a pile of money to fund his next Presidential Campaign.

Excited over the possibility of finally having a wish come true, George W. Bush looked into the mirror and said, "I think...," and was promptly sucked into the mirror.

Another from the Guillaume Library of Silly Jokes

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Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm a Steamroller

We've cooked up a disruptive idea in our consulting business. And we're going to steamroll it. It's gonna be a hefty hunk of steaming junk.

One of our tenets when we started the business was, "Think it up one day and see it happen the next day." We're doing that. As JT says, "I'm a napalm bomb for ya, baby! C'mon and roll on over, baby, and help lose these steamroller blues."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

We FlipFlop

My buddy, The Big Tuna, sent me this picture of his front door with a note that said, "We FlipFlop." That made me smile.

And on this longest day of 2007, I'm thinking I should slip on some flip-flops and ease back into summer. (But I'm wearing grownup clothes, including cuff links, so it might need to be later. At least the sun will set late today.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Dropped My Laptop

I dropped my PowerBook. It wasn't just a little drop. I'm talking about having it fall several feet from my (slippery) hands to the hard, hard cement sidewalk of Ritenhouse Square. Zoiks.

There was a lot of damage to the laptop around the power supply. It didn't look good. But I ws able to turn it one (kinda). wa new laptop time. Charlie grabbed me a new McBook Pro at Springboard Media, I powered it up, it asked me if I wanted to transfer data from another Mac, I said yes, and Voila!

It just worked. As in, I'm typing from the new MacBook Pro. And it's working like nothing happened. Every single process, every single password, every single application ported over. And it just worked.

This is my first post on my MacBook Pro. How do you like it so far?

I'm spending the rest of the day working on my Kung Fu grip. I'm not going to let this one slip through my fingers.


Monday, June 18, 2007

I Love to Laugh

I can laugh at the most inopportune (okay, inappropriate) times. These movie clips really make me crack up.

Mary Poppins: I Love to Laugh

Mary Tyler Moore: The Funeral of Chuckles the Clown

And even though I couldn't embed this Tallywhacker scene from Porky's, it has to be a classic form of people trying to hold back a laugh. Um, do I need to say it? NSFW.

Talk Show Host Laughs Uncontrollably

Even though that last one is in Dutch (well, Flemish, really), you can get the point. The host is interviewing a guy who reportedly had his testicles removed accidentally in a surgical mistake. (The video has a questionable provenance, but the laughing is real...and contagious.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Happy Father's Day

I love going out to breakfast on the weekends. I especially like going early on Sunday morning, which doesn't always exactly reconcile with the Teenage iFlipFlops. They like to sleep in. But not today.

This morning I heard a lot of movement upstairs. And the Teenage iFlipFlops got up to go to breakfast with Mrs. iFlipFlop and me for Father's Day. We ate outside at one of my all time favorite breakfast places, Nudy's Eastside Cafe. We talked. We laughed. And when the waitress brought the check and said, "Happy Father's Day," I thought, "I already have."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Real Boys of Summer

Remember real joy? The happiness of winning? Or playing just because it was fun?

I smiled when I got the picture above and the note below from Tami, my sister-in-law, who has a has a cool way of observing the world in very interesting ways. Her son, Devin, is the smiling guy in the foreground of the picture:
One of the moms on Devin's baseball team takes pics all the time and she forwarded this to me. I don't know why, but I love this picture. To me it epitomizes what summer is about. The boys had just won a 3 day tournament and were running to line up for their trophies (and yes, there were one or two kids in front of Devin that aren't in the picture!). The scoreboard was starting to be cleared off (thus the first inning number), but the final score is correct.

One other thing, the reason Devin isn't wearing a belt is because the first game of the tourny (3 days earlier) he forgot it and he hit the ball really well...he was convinced that it was because he didn't wear his belt (he also had holes in his sox that he wouldn't change!!). Baseball players can be so superstitious!!'s to the "boys of summer!"
I think I'll go walk around barefoot in the grass today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Like Rep-Striped Ties

I'm wearing a Rep Striped Tie today, and whenever I wear one, I always feel great. There's something about that pattern that says, "Yep, I'm feeling bold today!" The one I'm wearing today is blue with a gold collegiate stripe. I'm wearing a Rep Stripe and I'm King of the World. Okay, maybe more like Master of My Own Domain.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Can We Stop for a Snack?

I've been getting a little extra exercise this week by walking Sarah's twin 7-year-olds to and from school each day. That's helping her out, giving me about an extra hour of walking a day (I can use it), and I get the double bonus of hanging around 7-year-olds. Little kids just look at the world differently.

"Can we stop for a snack?" they asked yesterday as we approached the corner of 16th and Market.

"Maybe," I said. I looked around for one of the ubiquitous green booths in Philadelphia that sells snacks.

"No, we have snacks. We have some leftover from our lunch," they said in unison.

When 7-year-olds ask "Can we have a snack?" they don't mean it theoretically. They aren't playing around. They want a snack.

"Yes, you can eat your snack," I said. What I meant was they could eat while we walked. They didn't quite get the message.

And they sat down right where they were. Hopped up on one of those big marble planters lining the concourse. Sat down, opened their lunch boxes, pulled out a leftover sandwich, a few almonds, some chocolate-covered pretzels, and had their snack.

I saw a client walking by after a few minutes. I had just been in a meeting with her 15 minutes before and explained then that I had to leave to pick up the kids. And there we were. I said, "We stopped for a snack. Isn't that great?"

"I'd love to be able to sit down and stop for a snack when I want to. I'd like to not have any worries...or meetings. I'd like to be seven again," she said.

Me too. It's a variation on stopping to smell the roses. Only at age 7 it's stopping for a snack.

Photo credit

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Karma

It stormed yesterday afternoon in Philadelphia, and it more than rained, it poured. That left huge puddles in the roads. And that's when the jerk drivers have a heyday.

I was walking at the corner of 18th and Walnut when I hear a truck rev up. The driver veered right into the bus lane, which had a foot of standing water in it in front of the Barnes and Noble. It was like slow motion. A business guy. iPod. Walking right next to the gutter. A huge wave. A soaking.

The pickup driver purposely swerved to splash the guy with filthy Philly water. That sucked, but then came the sound of sweet, sweet karma. And with that sound came flashing lights. Police siren, baby, the sound of karma.

A cop was behind the jerk in the pickup truck. And he nailed that prick. Just for fun I followed the guy who got splashed down to the pulled over truck. All kinds of Marines and Semper Fi and Support Our Troops stickers all over the truck. Beauty, support our troops, because we want the freedom to be a jagoff and splash people at will. It's in the Second Amendment, right? Well, funguol, asshole.

"Karma's a bitch," I said to Mr. Semper Fi. The guy who got splashed had a lot more to say to the cop. It was a good day.

Oh, I got a free loaf of bread at Le Bus that the manager gave me as I walked by. All was right in the world.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Scott McCNBC

Scott McNulty of Blankbaby and Fork fame became even more famous when he appeared on CNBC's Face-to-Face yesterday to comment on Apple's WWDC 07. Small town Philadelphia boy did good when he was introduced as not only a blogger at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, but as *THE* lead expert on matters Apple. Very cool indeed.

Only bummer: You have to register to see Scott talk, but it's worth it.

UPDATE: He's on registration necessary!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Ever Heard the Sound of 15 Million Americans Screaming?

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! That's what was screamed in millions of U.S. households last night at 10:02 PM EST. Fifteen million people watching the Sopranos all thought their cable went out. No such luck. The show just ended. Cut to black. And scream!

Larger version here.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

We'll Always Have Paris

So, Paris Hilton is going to serve her 23 days in jail. Wahoo! Um, I would like to pretend like I don't care,but I do. I'm a pop culture slut. I think she should spend some time in jail...that's my law-and-order nature, which conflicts with my feelings that Tony Soprano is one of the good guys. Go figure. Cognitive dissonance and gravity are not my friends.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Great Way to Waste a Friday Afternoon

Buh-bye. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It Takes Nerve to Sit in a Neuro-Surgery Waiting Room

I sat for a couple hours yesterday in a neuro-surgery waiting room. I might have mentioned that Ms.LiquidTreats had a pretty serious brain injury from a fall about 6 weeks ago. It's getting much better, but she has to go frequently to the neurosurgeon to check on the progress of the clot on her brain and I went along to help her. Her injury's getting much better, but I gotta tell you, the people in that waiting room weren't doing so well.

I've got a brain tumor and I need to see Doctor Smith-Jones right away. Just before we were leaving, a woman walking in an made that announcement at the top of her lungs. "I've got a brain tumor" are words I hope I never need to utter. She then went on to say that she'd called early in the morning, but the doctors' office forgot to call her back, so she just came in.

I've got a pocket full of Percocet. A 50-ish guy was telling his story to the woman sitting next to him, who had surgery on cervical vertebrae -- from the FRONT and BACK. The guy said he had a degenerating condition in his lower back that made his hips so painful all he could do to get out of bed was take a handful of Percocet. Oh, while the back thing was going on, he had a stroke, too. Now his 80-something mother is driving him across the bridge to a Center City hospital.

They pulled my brain tumor out my nose. I am not shitting you, that's what the guy said. He had his hair shaved partially in the front and there was a six-week-old scar where his hair was just starting to grow back. "They drilled a hole in my head and then pulled the tumor out my nose," he said as he gestured toward the scar. "Now I'm doing much better. I feel like my old self."

There was a woman in there who was driving her wheelchair with her chin. Another woman wearing a huge helmet because part of her skull was removed. Old people. Middle-aged people. Even a teenager.

I had a headache when I went there. After looking around and listening for a bit I decided that I was just fine, thank you very much.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sometimes Life Is a Bowl of Cherries

When I got home for dinner last night this bowl of cherries was on the table along with my dinner. (Mrs. iFlipFlop had made dinner, left some behind for me, and was driving The Youngest iFlipFlop to his karate school, so it was me, myself and I.)

And as I sat there, I thought, "You know, I have it made. And yeah, sometimes life is a bowl of cherries."

I'm Wearing My Buddha T-Shirt Today

No evil eyes on me today, I'm packing The Buddha on my back.

I recognize the irony of wearing a Buddha shirt that I paid $38 for at a Center City store. That's the way to inner peace. I'm thinking that in an equal time move tomorrow, I might go with the What Wouldn't Jesus Do? t-shirt.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Interest Piqued

You know, after you write for a while, it can get a little isolated. What I mean is that in the beginning I used to link a lot. Now I read more and link less. And it's just pure laziness. I comment a lot more than I used to...that was my commitment to myself in 2007. But I read lots daily, and each day I'm amazed. Here's a sampler of cool stuff I read within the last week from some very good writers, photographers, and artists:

Rub Your Breasts. Yep, you read it right. Scott and Marisa are at it again in this ninth installment of Fork You. There's something about preparing a whole chicken that brings out the inner Beavis and Butthead in all of us (well, Marisa brought it back to cooking).

Hitting Home. A soldier from Mark's town was killed last week in Iraq. Do you fly a flag or not? Mark talks about the torn feelings on that. He also has a link to a bumper sticker I'm ordering today.

A Day at the Academy. Besides the fact that it includes one of the truly great lines ever uttered, "Frank, big boys don't cry," it's a story of how our scripts are embedded in us and we never know when we all of a sudden become our parents.

I Used to Be a Heroin Addict, but Now I'm a Methadone Addict. Pax has a favorite clip from Annie Hall (one of my favorite movies, too) where Alvie is in school and wondering what his classmates are doing now.

E2 4 Me. Ubermensch is on airplanes all the time, and offers a 48Facets recommendation for the best ear buds. Hello music, goodbye world.

Low Impact Week. Albert and Lady are working on living a low impact life. I admire that. I also drooled over this loaf of bread he bought locally.

I Have Found It. Moni watched a Bollywood film and said, "Isn't it romantic?"

Yeah, Baby! Tony bought some CDs and got the very best "thank you" letter ever from the CEO. Cool.

Breaking Suburbia's Stranglehold. Jeff writes about how his and Eric's commute into Hotlanta ain't as hot as it used to be now that the time to get downtown has gone up dramatically.

Ever Owned a Moleskin Jacket? Howard has been keeping his notes and observations in moleskin notebooks. He has the pictures -- and the haikus, he's the Poet Laureate of Philadelphia in my book -- to prove it.

Matt's Been Dealing With Cats. How would you deal with feral cats? I have to say that Matt took the best approach and did the most research of anyone I've ever heard of. You can read an ennobling story in three parts.

Sum, Sum, Summertime. Jessica has a summertime meme that gets us all thinking about sun and surf...and days off to enjoy.

And Baby Makes 4. Heck, I don't know how I didn't get this up on the first round. Maidy is having a baby...or at least she's doing the Brackston-Hicks Boogie. She's trying all the tricks to get the little one to say, "Hello world!"

Okay, that's what made me smile this week, along with a lot more.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Sarah Silverman on Paris Hilton Going to Jail

Paris Hilton reported to jail this morning, which will be easy after enduring Sarah Silverman pwning her at the MTV Music Awards. Check out Jack Nicholson's reaction, too.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Do You Read The Dilbert Blog?

The Dilbert Blog isn't what you might think it is. Scott Adams, in addition to being a brilliant cartoonist with his Dilbert strip, is also a super writer. And a crafty lefty. I really like his stuff. He'll get you thinking. I like seeing him pop into my Google Reader.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm Going to See Barry Bonds Get Booed Tonight

Barry Bonds is in town tonight and the iFlipFlop Clan will be there. I might even join the Boo Birds for a moment or two, welcoming the intoxicating Mr. Bonds to the City of Brotherly Love. You might say we'll do some male "Bonding." I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I found a very rare Barry Bonds rookie card. Man, those steroids really pumped him up.

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