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Posts in “Misc 2007”

December 26, 2007

Lord, Give Me Strength

Literally. At one point in my life (about 12 years ago, during my mid-life crisis), I decided to try and get into some kind of shape and got a weight bench and began running. This regimen lasted less than a year, but I never felt better or had more energy.

That energy drained away long ago. Now I often make ambitious plans for the evening but end up doing something less challenging simply because I’m “too tired.” I know that exercise is the answer, yet starting to exercise is so hard. Now Anne is interested in exercising, too, so we are hoping to motivate each other. Tonight we dusted off ye olde weight bench and just did a few stretches. Just stretching was surprisingly painful, but you have to start somewhere. Tomorrow we might actually pump some iron. Nothing strenuous, you know, just maybe something like a seven iron.


I'm with you, brother. I used to exercise all the I work all the time. And I need to get moving. Your article reminds me of that.

The best kind of iron to "pump", in my opinion, is indeed one that leaves a small divot. ;)

This reminds me of the weight bench I got for Christmas when I was 10 (I think). I used the heck out of that thing for a long time - inspired mostly by those Charles Atlas ads that ran in the comic books - but after the age of 16, not so much.

I'd say I don't even know what became of the set, but just a few months ago my parents sold it when they were getting rid of all the junk in their old house. My father asked if I wanted to take it, and for some reason I said no.

Hope your Christmas was fantastic, by the way.

thanks for all the blessing u give me lord and sorry for all of my sins and i love you so much!!! :)

December 1, 2007

Not Quitting My Day Job Just Yet

Just got an email from Google about changes to their AdSense program, which only served to remind me to yank my AdSense ads. About a year ago, I signed up for Google AdSense and put ads on my five most popular pages (the lobster roll pages). I figured what the heck, it was worth a try. The results have been so pathetic, however, that I took them down. After 14,000 page impressions, those pages have only generated about $25. At the current rate, it would take another 3 years to get a check from Google (they won’t cut a check for less than $100). Naturally I am crushed to learn that I won’t be able to quit my day job just yet, but on the other hand it’s a relief that my life’s work is no longer sullied by commercial considerations. Besides, Google was basically getting those page impressions and click-throughs for free. I wonder how many other low-traffic sites there are displaying AdSense ads who will never see a nickel from Google.


$25? That's more than I expected when I (briefly) sampled AdSense. Never mind that you can't actually collect $25 - the fact that you made that much in theory is impressive enough ;)

Glad to hear I was doing well after all (I didn't have anyone to compare to). In that case, I think my relative "success" was due to the nature of those pages being devoted to one subject, so the ads served were very relevant to people reading the pages.

November 13, 2007

Autumn Light

Apparently something magical happened last Wednesday—something I completely missed, insensitive clod that I am. Fortunately the fleeting phenomenon was captured and transformed into something more permanent. A dreary day like today seems like the perfect time to recollect it.

That day, Anne was struck by the oblique sunlight that set everything it touched on fire. She showed me a beautiful series featuring glowing orchard grass and taxodiums. While the light seemed to symbolize the end of the green seasons, we are actually looking forward to the winter light, as that season’s sunlight is always more saturated.

Justrose of Anonymous Rowhouse shared a moment in her commute that also symbolized the pivotal moment in the transition between seasons. Her piece certainly evoked an ineffable feeling of wistfulness in me; maybe it will in you as well. I just feel lucky to have read it and seen the light, literally as it were.



I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



November 7, 2007

Newb Ego Blogger [nanoblog]

That’s what I yam, at least according to this insightful and funny flowchart, “How to Tell If a Web Page Sucks.” This site does have a “picture of a cat” (neither “dismembered” nor “otherwise humiliated”), and by that criterion, mere cat is a newb ego blog. Close enough to the truth, actually. While the cat pictures are a wink at the Internet cliché of personal sites cluttered with cat pictures, my pictures are otherwise completely non-ironic. I love cats and cat pictures! Non-ironically! (Via Andy Rutledge)


I have that "preview hover thing," qualifying my blog as Brain Rot.

November 6, 2007

Community Garden Season Ends

Sunday was such a beautiful day (unlike today), I actually enjoyed helping Anne clean up the community garden in preparation for winter.

View of the community garden

Thanks to the monopod, here’s an aerial view of one corner of the garden.

Removing woody debris

After the cleanup, the area is mowed and eventually tilled. Anything that might clog the mower was removed, including these sunflower stalks.

Leftover vegetables

There wasn’t much left to harvest, just a few abandoned vegetables.

Saving materials for next year

As many materials as possible (such as this fencing) were saved for reuse next year.

A load for the Dumpster

Not everything could be saved or composted, unfortunately...

November 4, 2007

Fear of the Unknown

Thanks to the Do Not Call Registry, we get no telemarketing calls. Well, almost none; we were getting a few from number “Unknown.” They were easy to ignore, but really, who are these weasels who not only flout the Do Not Call list but also block their number? Anne finally answered one, and it turned out to be WHYY (the local NPR affiliate). That explains why they called us. Since we are already on the hook to them for $10 a month, they have a “previous business relationship" with us, which entitles them to harass us telephonically for even more money. Admittedly, I do listen to WHYY more than any other station...

Which reminds me. When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine anyone preferring to listen to talk instead of music. Well, make way for blah, blah, blah; it has come to pass.


I hate getting those blocked calls. We re-registered for Do Not Call, but still seem to get a ton from the PA Law Enforcement somethingorother. Now I's because Sheryl gave them money in the past. Ugh. Go away, blocked phone numbers.

We used to get calls from the “Police Chiefs,” maybe the same outfit.

September 14, 2007

The Bridges of Philadelphia County

We headed down to Cape May earlier this week which got us talking about bridges and their names. Anne wondered aloud what a commodore was (a computer? Lionel Ritchie’s first band?) and why it was so important that the bridge was named Commodore Barry instead of just plain John Barry in the manner of all the other bridges. Maybe it would make more sense if the other bridges were renamed to honor their namesake’s achievements.

“Hmm, what’s the best way? Should we take the Poet Whitman Bridge or the Statesman Franklin Bridge?”

“You know, that Tacony-Palmyra bridge is kind of narrow. I always liked the Seamstress Ross Bridge better.”


Wait, Commodore Barry is two words? I always thought that I was taking the commadoorbarry.

The strange name makes for strange signs on I-295 - how is someone not from this area supposed to know what a "Com Bar Br" is?

September 13, 2007

Face Time: My First Wet Shave

The first day of “wet shaving” went pretty well. The first shave wasn’t really any closer or smoother, but it was a lot more fun. I have a low-maintenance face and never had any problems with irritation or ingrown hairs, so I can’t report that wet shaving will cure any issues you might have. I would like to mention, however, that I learned that I have always been shaving the wrong way. Like everything else, it’s more about the technique than the equipment.

Merkur Hefty Classic razor and Vulfix shaving brush

Merkur Hefty Classic razor with Merkur blade and Vulfix shaving brush loaded with Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream lather.

If I had to pick one item from the classic shaving toolset (shaving cream, brush, double-edge razor) that most improved my shave, it would be the cream. The lather you make from this stuff is significantly more hydrated than the canned foam or even what I used to use, Edge gel. I think it’s the lather that makes the razor (any razor) work so well. The other factor is technique.

Among the wealth of information I found online was a series of videos on YouTube illustrating the technique of making lather and shaving with a double-edged razor. (Even if you don’t care about shaving, the videos are short, entertaining, and just generally well-made.) The principle I learned was to never shave unlathered skin. In contrast what I have always done is make an initial pass, which cut whiskers, of course, but also removed all the lather, and then scrape over the same now-dry area to get any missed spots. The right way is to make one pass over each area and move on. Finish your whole face and then if necessary lather and repeat. The second pass will likely go very fast.


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Waiting for your message.

The secret to wet-shaving is getting yourself a good double-edge Merkur razor, shaving soap or cream and a shaving brush. Different people prefer different razors and with time you will find the one that works best for you. For starters a medium size, moderately priced, new razor will do the job.

Peter, I guess you couldn’t be bothered to actually read the post before commenting, but I did get a Merkur Hefty Classic and have been using it happily for two years now. That’s mine in the picture above.

I apologize for I overlooked the photo. Always have a great shave day! Visit also my blog if you have time.

Okay, so the original post has some age on it. But most modern-day double egde shaving guys are not too fond of the Merkur blades. The razors are favored, but the blades just don't "cut it." Iridium Supers or Gillette 7 O'Clock SharpEdge are excellent and sharp. Everything else is right on.

Roger, Totally agree. I started with a sample pack from West Coast Shaving (Merkur, Feather, Crystal, Derby Extra, and Personna) and the Merkur was clearly the worst. I liked the Derby best because it was the only blade I never cut myself with. See this related post ( about blades. After two years I am still using Derby Extra and Nancy Boy Signature cream. I'll have to give the Iridium Supers and Gillette SharpEdges a try, though, when the Derbys run out. Thanks!

looks like an old school razor! :)

September 1, 2007

Independents Hall Grand Opening Party

Second only to BlogPhiladelphia in scope, today’s the day of what promises to be the biggest gathering of Philly’s Web 2.0 indie talent (if that’s a fair although inadequate description) that I had planned to attend this year. Except that I can't go. Waaaah!

I’m talking about the Independents Hall Grand Opening party. (Indy Hall is a coworking space in Old City founded by web developer/entrepreneur Alex Hillman.) Celebrity appearances include Scott and Marisa from, Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV, and Jay Graves of BarDiver. More info at Upcoming. Looks like over 50 people have committed to attending. No pressure, Alex. :-) It will be a blast, I’m sure.


And it was a blast but I still wish you could have made it. Waaaah!

August 31, 2007

Does Anyone Use a Safety Razor?

Even when I had a full beard I would shave along its edges almost every day. Now that I’m sporting the Walt Mossberg look, I have more acreage to scrape than ever. I have been using a Trac-II style razor for a long time until I left it in a hotel last week.

I had flagged a post on Snarkmarket about a successful switch to a safety razor (a Merkur “Hefty Classic”) that intrigued me at the time, but now I am seriously in the market for a new razor. Question: Does anyone use an old-fashioned safety razor and would you recommend it?


I've been shaved by one once in a New York City barber shop. The experience was pretty cool, but I didn't think the shave was anything exceptional. I didn't tun out to be George Clooney.

I'm still loving the Gillette Fusion. The blades are expensive, but worth it. First, they last a long time. And second, that razor gives the best shave I've ever had. Even better, it has a revere side to do beard edge trimming. It might be worth checking out (even though super cool people use straight dad always used one, and I remember those barbers sharpening those razors on a leather strop when I was a kid).

Frank, shaving is just a chore so I don't think I would ever have the patience to use a straight razor, cool as that would be. I am drawn to vintage shiny metal objects, hence the Merkur, but I will check out the Fusion. Thanks for the recommendation!

I've often thought about it as modern disposable razor blades are the ink jet cartridges of men's hygiene products. I did switch to the badger hair brush, mug and tube of shaving cream years ago and will never go back to the stuff in cans. I think I'm going to try this. Gauge my success by the amount of bandages on my face when you see me in the office.

My dad is a big fan of the safety razor. It can be tough to find the blades sometimes (although they sometimes have them at the hardware store, for use in box cutters or something). I've used them on my legs sometimes, and they're super-sharp, so be careful until the blade blunts a little.

It's worth noting that I've given these types of razors to 2 different boyfriends in the past, and they were hooked!

If Jim wants to go really old school, he can switch to the bay rum shaving soap that comes in a cake - that works best with the badger hair brush.

Jim and Mrs. Harridan, thanks for the advice and encouragement. I was planning to get just a razor, but got sucked in and bought the whole kit and kaboodle. From the overwhelming number of choices, I selected a razor and brush that I understood to be both popular and appropriate choices for a "beginner," a Merkur "Hefty Classic" and Vulfix #2233 brush. There didn't seem to be the same consensus in the category of shaving soap; I chose Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream. Probably the most critical component is the blade, so I postponed the final decision by ordering an assortment of five brands of blades from West Coast Shaving.

I expect a full photo exposition of the findings. I've always wanted to go the straight razor route, but fearful of the slipup.

The photo of the safety razor reminds me of the Cosby Show episode when Cliff gives Theo the family razor to use for the first time and Clair is horrified and thinks Theo will cut himself horribly.

Albert, I ordered the blades from a different place, and they didn't come until today. So tomorrow's the day!

I began using a safety razor about 6 months ago and have really enjoyed it. I was getting a good shave from my Fusion razor but wanted to shave with a more classic method. No real need simply a desire and it has been great. I use a silvertip badger brush and various soaps and creams, (depending on my mood), a Merkur HD long handle and the blade that works best for me is a Crystal. Check out Badger & if you haven't already. They'll answer every possible question about wet shaving you could have.

Thanks for the link; I haven’t been to Badger & Blade yet. Of the five blades in the sample pack from West Coast Shaving, the only one I didn’t like was the Merkur. I would have to say my favorite is the Derby; it doesn’t shave any closer than the others, but it just seems to glide across my skin, and it’s the only blade I’ve never cut myself with. I ran out of Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Soap and am contemplating what to try next. Decisions, decisions...

I recently became interested in using a safety razor (I've only heard good things) and came across these very enlightening YouTube videos...

Matt, I found those videos, too, and mentioned them in a follow-up post a couple weeks later when I actually started wet shaving. Thanks for pointing them out; they are excellent! I’ve been shaving about six months now with a Merkur Hefty Classic and Derby Extra blades.

I must say to each his own. An old style double-edge razor, won’t pull the hairs and cut them below the skin level as is the case with multi-blade catridges, taking better care of your skin and your beard. Also, with an old style razor you have the luxury of choosing the sharpness of the blade; so you can find the one that fits you best.
As for me, I am using a double edge Merkur razor and I love it.


I recently moved from a multi-blade cartridge to a double-edge safety blade.

The result is a smoother shave and less skin irritation. Significantly less.

I don't know why, but it might likely have to do with needing much less pressure to achieve a close shave.

All in all, the quality of the shave and whole experience is quite a bit more satisfying.

Bill, Cool, another double-edge convert! I’ve been wet shaving for two years now and would never go back to disposable blades. It’s true that I never have any post-shave skin burn anymore. Besides the lighter pressure you mention, the sharpness of the blades and the better lubrication from high-quality shaving cream (I am using Nancy Boy) all make their contribution. Whiskers just don’t have a chance.

Just converted last night!! Closest shave I've ever had in my 24 years of shaving!! I'll never go back to cartridges!!

Aaron, Welcome to the cult!

I have been introduced to this last year by a friend who got me a gift of shaving soap and a parker razor tto..........So i tried it aND NEVER LOOKED BACK.....The parker was a little rough at first but I listened to the forums and got better.
Picked up a 1955 gillette super speed and now Im really digging it , Its been a year plus since i used can cream, My face feels so much better( very heavey beard up to my eyes). I also Purchased a Vulfix fusion Ivory handle and use the fusion once and a while when in a hurry. The soap is the big difference for me! I have experimented with different brushes and soaps.
Im hooked . Right now using a cheap brush from wal-mart. Van der hagen and select shaving soap,
Or Col Conks amber. good results here Happy shaving Dudes!.........Ragu

Ragu, Sounds like you have a nice collection of vintage razors going there! For soap, I am extremely happy with Nancy Boy Signature Shave Cream (it's not a cake, but a luxurious cream). I never liked cake soaps, but I admit I have never tried either Van der Hagen or Col Conks. Thanks for the recommendations!

Folks, my wife discovered the best "software" to shave with: any good quality hair conditioner. I get a better shave using a hair conditioner than with any cream/gel/soap I have ever tried.

Any opinion on that? I shave equally with fusion cardridges or with a safety razor but I am not sure the hardware makes any difference.

Cristian, I gave it a try this morning with my wife's conditioner (I have no hair to speak of, hence no need for conditioner ;-) ). It worked well enough, but the biggest drawback I noticed was that the conditioner was a little hard to rinse off, because it's kind of slimy. I think the sliminess is why it works as well as it does for shaving. Good idea, but I think I'll stick with Nancy Boy and a brush.

Hi Tony, yes, it's true, it does not rinse off easily and it is sort of unmanly. The stickiness problem is also worse with the 5-blades shavers like the fusion, where it is hard to get it off the razors. It works much better with a safety razor (I guess with a straight razor too but I don't use one). I have never gotten a closer shave with anything else though - so it's kind of tempting. In any case, if you're ever on the road and stuck without your nancy boy cream, you can just take the bottle of conditioner the hotel gives you and still shave ...

I was just surprised the conditioner works - I found that pretty interesting.

Cristian, Definitely an interesting find. Conditioner works way better than a plain bar of soap, which is what I would turn to in a pinch before your discovery. Thanks!

I do, and love it. The trick is all the preperation. A good shave soap, brush, and a sharp razor is the best shave you can get these days.

My father used to talk about his barber like an old war buddy, but where I live there are zero. Those days are gone.

I use a safety razor. The trouble is on the road though. TSA allows the razor in a carry on but not the blade so my shaves are safety razor at home and fusion on the road ... I don't want to think about carrying a cut-throat razor in your carry-on.

I don't understand much of the controversy on technique - i never thought it is hard to use a safety razor .... do not know much about cut-throats though.

Cristian, My solution is to pack my razor in my checked baggage, although I bet most people would prefer not to check a bag if they don't have to. As for technique, you are right—you don't need much. If shaving was hard, I would have slit my throat by now for sure.

August 15, 2007

Of Blogiversaries and Meetups

Apparently Philly is the second bloggiest city, trailing Boston in the all-important posts-per-capita stat. I hope it's not my fault we're in second place.

A number of fine bloggers who are making a contribution celebrated anniversaries recently. Literal Barrage (5 years), Fables of the Reconstruction (4 years), Ballad of Yoko (4 years), the Long Cut (3 years), and iFlipFlop (3 years), who has moved to a new address. (Did I miss anyone?) Sadly, the Frankford Terminal Blog won't be celebrating any more anniversaries, as it has gone "out of service." Blogging about SEPTA must be some soul-sucking work. I'm glad that FTB kept it going for so long.

I have nothing bloggy to celebrate (other than such trifles as a new web host and a Movable Type upgrade), but that won't stop me from attending two meetups this week. The Northeast meetup is at Chickie's and Pete's tomorrow (August 16) starting at 7:00, and the Center City meetup is at Ten Stone starting at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon (August 18). Details here. You must be present to attend. Void where prohibited.

If you leave a comment, pay no attention to any error messages--your comment will be recorded. The upgrade is still underway.


Happy blogiversary! Someday, I'll make it to a meetup....

Looking forward, as always, to seeing you at the meetups.

Hi, Tony. I won't be able to make the meetup tomorrow but hope you all have a good time.
Rivertyde is in its 3rd year with a recent move from a modest bungalow at to a condo at I've just started notifying people to update my blogroll link if they have one. Thanks.

July 31, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

It is always an honor to be tagged for some meme or other (this time by Scott—thanks, man!), although it puts me even farther behind posting some Really Great Stuff™ I have in the works. (There’s a bunch of half-written posts lying about the house, written using the reverse side of Declaration of Independence reproductions and a quill. Very analog not to mention patriotic.)

Note to self: Must be careful not to repeat any random things from the last time a similar meme went around.



  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
  4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names [um, rules are made to be broken]. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and that they should read your blog.

OK, let's call tony.random() 8 times and see what we get.

  1. The tendon behind the first knuckle of my fifth finger is too short, so I am unable to straighten them fully—just the most unusual of a number of physical defects. A perfect specimen, I’m not. We won’t go into the mental defects. Let’s see, I forgot what I was doing...
  2. Despite my physical defects, I have a resting heart rate in the low 50s, supposedly the same as a “well-conditioned athlete.” As if. What's that about?
  3. A corollary to number 2: My patented “half-hearted” diet, on which I succeeded in losing 15 pounds and counting, included no exercise other than, you know, the usual elbow bending. The book will be out in time for Christmas.
  4. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables, although I’m not a big fan of other members of the cabbage family. Plus the plant looks so cool.
  5. I hear people complain all the time about how much email they get. I get almost none (two or three a week). I am just so popular.
  6. A corollary to number 5: I wish I were better at keeping in touch with people. The one exception is my first college roomate who tracked me down after 30 years. I Googled him a number of times myself, but never found him, and it’s a miracle he found me, since there are a million Tony Greens on the Internets. Which one am I? I’ll never tell!
  7. After experiencing some pain in my right hand back in the mid-Nineties, I started mousing with my left hand and now rarely use my right hand except to sign autographs.
  8. Unlike most people, I really wish that [IndexOutOfRangeException!]

Aaack. I guess you can only call tony.random seven times. Sorry, guess I’ve got some debugging to do.

July 24, 2007

Visit to Springfield

See for yourself what living in Springfield is like by creating your own Simpsons avatar at the Simpsons Movie site. It’s a pity you couldn’t add spectacles, but in most respects, it’s a faithful likeness. I picked a Duff shirt, of course. Via Ned Batchelder, who did his whole family. [Update: Added glasses to my avatar; much better. Thanks, Yoko!]

Simpsons avatars


My friends were able to add glasses to their avatar.

D'oh! How did I miss that?

July 18, 2007

What a Week, Part the First

I will have to re-read this post come Thanksgiving to remind myself how much I have to be thankful for. It was a great week. (Last week, I mean. I know it's Wednesday already. Being busy is just another thing I have to be thankful for. Really, it wasn't until Sunday that I realized how much fun I had all in one week and theeeen every post on mere cat has to be approved by a team of picky, picky editors. It’s ridiculous.)

Me at BlogPhiladelphia

C’est moi! Caught in a rare moment when I wasn’t smiling. Toonerized in living Toonamation by Toonerstan (Stan Schwartz). Not sure he took this or just processed it.

The work week itself was short, because I took Thursday and Friday off to attend BlogPhiladelphia. I had no business attending this, really, because it was aimed toward professionals, or at the very least amateurs with higher aspirations. It seemed as if I was the only blogger there who just had a dinky little blog without a professional interest or work-related agenda. But who cares? It was just so much fun—and I didn't even go to the parties, which judging by the pictures was where the serious fun was.

The sessions were great and gave me some reassuring perspective on the blogging gestalt, so much of which is conducted in relative isolation. Scott McNulty’s two sessions were particularly entertaining. He’s funny enough to have his own TV show. (Oh, wait, he already does.) I was laughing out loud. I really enjoyed meeting some new people, seeing some familiar faces, and definitely feel a lot less isolated for the experience. A couple of bloggers that I read who attended but didn't run into were The 14th Windiest State and Akkam’s Razor. As Colin Devroe wrote, “The value of these events is in the relationships you build while attending them.” Not to mention the beer you drink in the process. I couldn’t agree more. About the relationships, I mean.

The turnout was fantastic, so I feel confident it will happen again next year. I sure hope so. There are a host of people to thank for putting it all together and keeping it running smoothly as well as the sponsors who stepped up and kept the conference free. That’s right, free. All that fellowship, all that good food, all that information—for nothing! We'll be talking about this one for year to come. :-) I love Philly.



I couldn't agree more that Blog Philadelphia was a lot of fun and Colin is right on. The beers (and cheeseburgers) don't hurt either...

I hope to catch up with you sometime soon.

What an excellent recap, and not just because you quoted mine. ;)

I hope it happens again next year too!

Awesome - glad you made it. It wasn't just for professionals at all!

In this case I was building on the excellent photography of bartmroz. Here's the original:

July 11, 2007

Do You Want Fries ON That?

I had heard that PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had begun serving lobster rolls this year, and Anne was interested in the Pirates anyway, since they were her home team growing up in western Pennsylvania. We were able to go to a game on Sunday, the third game of a series against the Chicago Cubs. Not only would it be fun, but we thought we could count on the Pirates winning. (Kidding, of course, and it’s not even funny: Although the Cubs only won one game of this series, they are way ahead of the Pirates.)

I hadn’t been to a major league game since I was a kid (almost *mumble* years ago) and didn’t know what to expect, but I had an all-around terrific time—I even enjoyed watching the game. Tickets were cheaper than I expected ($27) and concession prices seemed reasonable. We sat just to the first-base side of home plate behind the foul-ball net. That meant there was virtually no chance a foul ball would land in our section of the stands, although a kid in the row in front of us was wearing his glove. Hope springs eternal.

After a thorough search of the concessions for the lobster roll, I found an Aramark employee who looked knowledgeable. He told me he thought the lobster roll was only served on the “club” level where the luxury boxes were and thus off limits to members of the hoi polloi like myself. With my crest appropriately fallen, I spent the remainder of the game gorging myself. For some reason, we ended up with an empty row all to ourselves, so it was easy to pop up and grab something.

Being in Pittsburgh, I naturally looked for something quintessentially Pittsburghian to eat. Since the Pirates feature Racing Pierogies, I thought something Polish might be appropriate, so I started with kielbasa from Federal Street Grille with peppers and onions. Mmm. I had heard about something even more local that sounded intriguing—Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Their trademark gimmick is to add French fries and cole slaw ON the sandwich instead of on the side. In fact, Anne’s salad at the Holiday Inn had come that way. I tried the roast beef and cheese and have to admit about all I could really taste was French fries and cole slaw. Pub 475 has a decent selection of better beers. I had a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat. I really should have tried an Iron City.

PNC Park, July 8, 2007

PNC Park, July 8, 2007. (Photo by Anne.)

One final note about the game itself. Baseball players are supposedly a superstitious lot, and someone in the Pirates organization should listen up, because I am convinced I bring good luck to the Pirates. The first time I left my seat to get food, a Pirate hit a home run (the only one of the game) and drove in three runs. Just my luck, I thought, to have missed all the action. I didn’t think anything of the coincidence until the next time I made a trip for food when the Pirates drove in three more runs. If the Pirates have an important game coming up, I would be happy to make as many trips to the concession stand as necessary for them to win. For a nominal fee, of course.


I *love* Primanti Bros. sandwiches! The bread, fries, and cole slaw are all made in-house. The deli meats are quite good (I particularly like pastrami).

If Citizens Bank Park ever have a lobster roll, that would be pretty awesome.

I lived in "the Burgh" for about a year and 9 months, which was about a year and 9 months too long. (Oops, did I say that?) Anyway, I never totally understood the Primanti Bros. thing. I think it had something to do with the slaw, I prefer mine creamy (more like a Corned Beef Special) while they make theirs more vinegary.

On the other hand, I love the fact that Pittsburghers put french fries on everything. The steak salad will always have a special place in my heart. I never had one before I lived in Pittsburgh and I haven't had one since.

July 3, 2007

Do They Call Them “Buellers”?

Even though the cornerstone of my retirement plan depends on me winning the lottery, I don’t hold out much hope of retiring early, because I’ve never won anything substantial. I have a theory that the reason why may be more subtle than just not being “lucky” and may have to do with maintaining karmic balance. Maybe I never win because I don’t care enough about the prize. In short, I don’t have enough skin in the game.

Using that logic, people who do care about winning should always win, right? Well, not everyone can win, of course. I’m just saying that winners have a higher-than-normal psychic investment in the prize which causes the odds to tip in their favor. Makes perfect sense, right? (Just play along, please.) And I just happen to have a perfect example.

Anne works with someone (Hi, Keith!) who is a big Harley-Davidson fan. He not only owns one, but also makes the occasional pilgrimage to breathe the same air (and drink the same beer, I presume) as other Harley enthusiasts. Recently he attended the 22nd anniversary celebration of a local Harley-Davidson dealer, Brian’s in Langhorne, and he won the grand prize—a Buell Blast* motorcycle. Clearly, Keith’s karmic investment paid off handsomely. Congratulations!

So people who ride Buells—do they call them Buellers? Anyone? Bueller?

* Buell is an American manufacturer of “sport” motorcycles, founded by ex-Harley-Davidson engineer Erik Buell. The Blast is a single-cylinder design with 492 cc displacement.

July 1, 2007

O Canada, Thanks for the Weather [nanoblog]

Today is Canada Day and our weather here in the Philadelphia is how I imagine it to be in Canada: warm with cool breezes and very low humidity. In short, beyond merely perfect and well into glorious territory. Thanks, Canada!

June 20, 2007

That’s MISTER Microphone to You

Remember Mr. Microphone? It was (is?) a microphone with a transmitter that allowed you to broadcast your voice to a nearby FM radio. Truly, with this innovation, life was perfect. I hadn’t thought of it since I saw the ad on TV in the late Seventies, but it popped into my head the other day. I vividly remember one scene in the ad where some guys cruising in a convertible slow down to schedule a date using Mr. Microphone: “We’ll be back to pick you up later!” I’m sure the ladies were swept off their feet.

Since rediscovering it, Mr. Microphone has proven to be so handy to have around the house. To the dishes in the sink, I wink and say, “I'll be back to wash you later!” To the laundry: “I’ll be back to fold you later!” You get the idea. The possibilities are limitless.

Of course, the ad is available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.


Tony, I *had* a Mr. Microphone. I used to practice saying, "Hey good lookin', be back to pick you up later." I think the ads I saw said the "good lookin'" part. My brothers and sisters and I used to use that bad boy all the time. It was nuts...and so 70s...I feel like getting one of my quiana shirts out of the closet, putting on a pair of platform shoes, and firing up Mr. Microphone. Too, too funny. Thanks for making my day with this one!

June 16, 2007

Authorized to Operate a Class M Motor Vehicle

That’s right—I passed! I feel fully qualified to ride on smooth, dry parking lots at speeds not exceeding 20 mph. Seriously, it was a great course; it’s amazing what you can learn in two weeks. As the instructor said, all we need now is experience (and in our case, a motorcycle of some kind). It was interesting that almost all of the students already had riding experience and weren’t total beginners like we were. Thanks to Anne for, um, kick-starting the whole process. She passed, too, of course.


jealous! congrats!

June 15, 2007

Blogger Meetup Time Again

June’s Philly Blogger Meetup is tomorrow. If I have the energy, I may swing by Yo! Darkroom beforehand (113 N 23rd Street—between Arch & Cherry), but I’ll be on foot, and it’s a bit of a hike. But gosh, cameras! galleries! enlargers! Oh my!!! The vapors! (I think it must be the hypo.)

Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant, 21st & South St., 3:00 PM.

May 11, 2007

How Are You Celebrating Helvetica’s Birthday?

I’ll be toasting the font family’s 50th anniversary by watching Helvetica, the movie this Tuesday, May 15. It is being shown at Bossone Auditorium, 3150 Market Street on the campus of Drexel University. No less than the director, Gary Hustwit, will be hosting a Q&A. No word on whether Helvetica will be available to sign autographs.

For a reminder of what Helvetica looks like, check out the official poster as well as Drexel’s poster. And who can forget Khoi Vinh’s naughty T-shirt. I was particularly intrigued by Michael Place’s playful poster, featuring a design that would be incomprehensible 50 years ago. See if you don’t agree. Much more, including clips at Helvetica. 6:30 PM, free.

I’m not sure what to wear to the screening, but one thing’s for sure—serifs are optional.

May 10, 2007

Exam for a Motorcycle Learner’s Permit

Passed! (Er, not on the first try, by the way, unlike some people.)

Book larnin’s fine and all, but now I’m looking forward to pure slapstick at the motorcyle safety course when I actually try to ride one of these things.


need help with the mortor cycle permit test

Pam, I failed the test the first time myself, so I won’t be much help. I think you can take the test over until you pass. All the questions are taken from the Motorcycle Operators Manual available at Good luck!

Every aspiring driver especially as a motorcyclist, it is a must to undergo a driving test in order to evaluate his capability to assure safety while driving on a heavy traffic road.

April 1, 2007

UAW Organizes Casino Dealers

I read on that Trump Plaza dealers voted to unionize and join the United Auto Workers. Probably a simple misunderstanding—UAW officials thought they said car dealers, not card dealers. Another oddity is this quote from Joe Ashton, regional director of UAW Region 9: “The dealers have stepped up in the past year to be organized, and the UAW is the vehicle that they chose.” Vehicle? Ouch. I’m sure it’s all true, of course, but never trust anything you read on April 1. :-)

March 29, 2007

Medieval Tech Support [nanoblog]

Apparently the Help Desk dates back at least to Gutenberg’s time as shown by this sketch (in Norwegian with English subtitles) from 2001. “Everyone needs help with the new system.” In this case, a book. Via Phil Windley’s Technometria

March 16, 2007

Blogger Meetup Time Again

March’s Philly Blogger Meetup is tomorrow and looks to be a bittersweet celebration as it will probably be my last one for a few months.

You never know who’s going to be there, but I am hoping to buttonhole Colin Devroe for a few minutes. I followed his adventures at SXSW and am looking forward to asking him about microformats, as in What are they and should I care? (He has written about this in the past.)

Apart from the interesting conversation, I am looking forward to tasting some Victory HopDevil (an IPA). I remember having some and thinking it was the first IPA I ever liked. Following some recent experiences with IPAs at the Philly Craft Beer Festival, I suspect that HopDevil may be the king of the IPAs, for me at least.

Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant, 21st & South St., 3:00 pm.


As long as this snow lets up long enough for me to drive down - I'll be there!

March 2, 2007

Blocked in China [nanoblog]

According to The Great Firewall of China, this site is blocked there. I always knew I was one dangerous, subversive dude and now I finally have proof. China, at least, is safe from my seditious cat pictures. Via The Smedley Log.


You joke about the cat pictures, but you know repressive regimes are always threatened by the independent nature symbolized by the feline species.

February 16, 2007

Blogger Meetup Time Again

I list my regular appearances in meatspace over on the sidebar (courtesy of Upcoming), but other than that, don’t single any of these meetings out for special attention except for the Philly Blogger Meetup. I do try to promote the meetup precisely because there’s not much talk about actual blogging. The conversation is wide-ranging and stimulating and, of course, there’s beer. (Diet? What diet?) January’s meetup was quite well-attended and tomorrow’s looks to be successful as well. Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant, 21st & South St., 3:00 pm.


And here I reported that you were not going to make it! Look forward to seeing you there again.

Kind of a last-minute change of plans freed up the weekend. Look forward to seeing you, too! It's been a long time... last May or something? I enjoyed the office tour video. :-)

February 13, 2007

Best Wishes to Dan Rubin

Best wishes to Dan Rubin, now-erstwhile alpha blogger at the Philadelphia Inquirer, who will be writing a column in the paper. But it will have hyperlinks! Well, maybe not, but if anyone can do it, Dan can.

I'll never forget Dan coming to our Philly Blogger meetup two years ago, ostensibly to learn about blogging firsthand from a subset of the local blogging community—the subset who likes to socialize and drink beer. Sure, he had never blogged, but it was kind of like Michael Jordan visiting the local playground to get shooting tips. As Mark wrote in his tribute to Dan’s skill, “It was like he was a professional writer or something.” I enjoyed meeting Dan and was impressed by his sincerity and earnestness. I only wish I had made note of what he was drinking... so I could try some. Breakfast of Champions and all that.

I assume this move wasn’t entirely Dan’s idea, and I was surprised since it seemed that Blinq was wildly successful. At least it was wildly successful with me. After years of being aggressively telemarketed by the Inquirer (who in the age of the Do Not Call list, are about the only sales calls we get), I may have to start reading the paper. Best of luck, Dan! I’ll miss you in cyberspace.


I said the same thing - maybe this was part of their bigger plan to get us to read the print version again? ;)

February 2, 2007

Half-Hearted Diet Progress

I started a half-hearted diet back in October and, although it’s going slowly, it is working. I have lost 10 pounds. I know, I know, on a real diet you could probably lose that much in a week. Still, it is satisfying and 10 pounds is about half my goal. At my goal weight of 145, I would still be 10 pounds over my twenty-something weight, but I think I can live with that. It will probably be much more difficult to lose the next 10; I have already noticed that the rate of lossage is decreasing. Maybe I should, like, um, exercise or something.


Nah-- "real diets" shouldn't promise quick weight loss, since you're more likely to regain the weight. A good diet should have slow progress, since it should acclimate your body to the change and make it stick.

In any case, good for you! Exercise is good too.

Tony, I'm trying that too. Down 5 lbs so far but 5 is not as solid of a success as 10 -- mine could just be water loss or something.
My goal is to drop 20 also.
Do you think I should cut back on the beer?

Good luck to you.

That’s a great start—congratulations! You might have to cut back on beer a little if you think beer contributes a significant number of calories to your diet. But to me, a calorie is a calorie whether it comes from beer or something else. I don't drink much, so I haven't had to give any up yet. Here's a story: Last week, I weighed 155 one morning, ate an entire tube of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, had a hamburger and beer for dinner, and the next day weighed 154. When I told the guy I bought the cookies from that I had lost a pound on the “Girl Scout cookie diet,” he told me I should have had two rolls! The point is that I don't think what you do on any single day has any effect on your weight. It's the day-in day-out balance between the calories you eat vs what your body burns. If you eat fewer calories than you need, you lose weight. I found that if I eat when I'm actually hungry and not just when the clock says it’s time, I easily cut out a lot of calories without the hunger pangs that can ruin a diet.

January 31, 2007

State of the Union Challenge

Last week, Ron (Akkam’s Razor) issued a State of the Union challenge, asking “do you have any stories, any real life examples of how the President's suggestions can hurt or help you?” He tagged some distinguished bloggers who frequently write about politics—and me for some reason, who never does. So yo, what’s up with that? Whatever. I should take more of an interest in politics (beyond voting regularly), and I would if only it didn’t involve so many politicians.

I purposefully avoided watching the SOTU address live; our President’s oratory makes me tense and nervous, and I can’t relax. But I did load the text into a browser window to read on the train, and when I learned of the challenge, downloaded the audio in iTunes. I was surprised by how well he spoke.

He had me at “Madame Chairman.” That was a great moment for Nancy Pelosi and the Congress, and it was good to see it acknowledged. After that, however, I was dismayed to hear so many gray areas painted in black and white.

I have to comment on a couple of issues. First, there’s the “matter of earmarks” to the tune of $18 billion. I had never heard this term, but it seems like just another word for pork. Bush got applause for his plan to cut earmarks in half by the end of session, but why did they applaud? Earmarks are put there by Congress, right? Are they at all motivated to limit them? Seems like that’s the kind of stuff that will help them get re-elected.

The new strategy to send reinforcements to Iraq sounds like the same strategy to me. I mean, if you’re trying to put out a grease fire the wrong way with water, you don’t just keep adding more water.

I’m sure the issues in the State of the Union address have a local impact. Really, they must of course, but it’s difficult to see. Kind of like electricity; it may be invisible, but it’s powerful. Health care and education are two issues important to me and two that clearly have a local impact. I went for extended periods without any health insurance and have been very lucky then to never need care and very lucky now to be covered. Many, many people are not so lucky. As long as health care remains private, at least there’s an attempt to make it more affordable. I could have used a break. I’m not aware of the effect that No Child Left Behind has had on our local schools, but I was alarmed to read about the Camden testing scandal. Inflating test scores does nothing to help the children.

By now it should be clear why I never write about politics. Still, I had more to say than I thought I would, but that’s enough. Tomorrow it’s back to lobster rolls and pussycats!


earmarks are pieces of pork which are paper clipped or dogeared onto larger bills as they pass a politician's desk. a process that the previous congress liked to do to more than excess.

Comments Working Again [nanoblog]

When I upgraded Movable Type to 3.34 on January 20, I accidentally broke commenting. I installed the new version in its own directory, and updated all links to point to the new location—except one. When I locked down the old directory, commenters would get a 403 Forbidden error. I like to think no one noticed, since I don’t get that many comments normally, but the error log shows a few people did receive the 403 error. To them, I apologize. ::administers dope slap::


Testing, testing, testing. Yup, seems to be working.

January 28, 2007


Allow me to introduce you to Kenny:


On the reverse is written: Kenny Age 17 1951

I found this tiny picture in our yard the other day. Who knows how it got there; I like to think no one would throw a family picture away no matter how old. Kenny is likely still alive and maybe even living nearby, although I doubt I would recognize him from this picture.

This picture is challenging the notion that I have some latent ability to write fiction. I mean, it’s a gift. I should write a story about this guy, but I’m coming up blank. Well, not blank exactly, but I remember what it was like to be 17, and it wasn’t a pretty picture.

January 20, 2007

My Debt to Ten Stone

Really great meetup today at Ten Stone marred only by a little mixup with my tab. When I went to settle up at the end, they had no record of my order and wouldn’t let me pay despite me throwing a tantrum and holding my breath until I turned blue. One possibility is that my order somehow ended up on someone else’s tab, although I don’t know how anyone could miss the extra $25 or so. Nevertheless, if anyone recollects paying for three Victory Hop Devils and a chicken wrap, they’re mine, and I’d like the chance to settle my debt. If not, well, like they told me at Ten Stone, it’s my “lucky day.”

January 18, 2007

Blogger Meetup Saturday

It’s kind of hard to believe, but I haven’t been to a Blogger Meetup since June, mostly due to work commitments and maybe a vacation or two. Anyway, I will be attending the next one this Saturday and am really looking forward to it. Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant, 21st & South St., 3:00 pm.


It should be lots of fun!

Almost as soon as I find out I won't be able to attend the meetup myself, I read that the inimitable Tony Green will actually be in attendance.


Howard, I am disappointed you won't be there!

oh man, you're gonna make it out? i may have to break my no-show streak.

Albert, I’ll be there. Hope you can make it.

January 2, 2007

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me

Happy New Year! This Five Things meme is so last year, but Albert was kind enough to tag me so, despite a host of excuses for the tardiness (some even legitimate ones like being sick), here goes.

  1. I wasn't always bald, but from an early age, the hair I was destined to lose had a different texture than the hair I still have. Kind of like foreshadowing. You know, if you see a wood chipper in the first reel, chances are by the last reel somebody will end up in it. Like most foreshadowing, however, I didn’t appreciate the significance at the time.
  2. My musical tastes have undergone some radical shifts over the years. My lifelong love of jazz began when I was about 14 or so, but it wasn’t my first love. My earliest passion was for Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and some soundtrack albums I wore out, most notably Goldfinger and Henry Mancini’s music for Peter Gunn, a TV series, and Hatari, a movie. The first jazz band I liked was the Dave Brubeck Quartet (“Take Five” etc). I am mildly abashed by what I liked in those days, although in some ways nothing has changed. Today, my guilty pleasure is smooth jazz, although what I hear on WJJZ rarely matches my concept of the music.
  3. I didn't always have a day job. I played drums full time until I was around 40. As the roaring Eighties drew to a close, I saw the writing on the wall. My career had peaked, and I went back to school when I was 35 to get my degree, finally, and have led a normal, even useful, life ever since.
  4. Speaking of school, my education first went off the rails in high school. I wanted to attend the local Quaker school, but my parents thought it was too liberal, and of course it wasn’t Catholic. I ended up going to a Catholic “prep” school, which turned out to be a disaster. It was a fine school, but wasn’t a good fit for me.
  5. I didn't always love cats. In fact we grew up with dogs—three Dachshunds—and didn't get a cat until I was well into my teens when a stray adopted our family. We named the all-black male Satan. He was an all-around great cat. Not a lap cat at all, but otherwise a totally mellow fellow. I didn’t have a cat of my own until 1988 when Woody came into my life. He saw me through some difficult years and was always there cheerfully dispensing kitty therapy. In fact this site’s name is a meowmorial to the difference a mere cat can make in someone’s life.


Good lord, but you're amusing. Happy New Year to you and the Mrs!


I've been wondering about the origins of mere cat... Now I know and a big amen to the difference a mere cat (or two or three) can make in a human life. (See, there *is* still a good reason to do "five things you don't know about me" :-)