Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Welcome to the 20th Century, Asshole!

I got a cell phone on Monday.

Things I plan to do with my new phone.
1. Have an obnoxiously loud conversation on the subway.
2. Same as above but substitute "street" for "subway".
3. Talk while taking a leak at a Phillies game.
4. Answer it while in a meeting at work.
5. Take a call during a movie.
6. Download "Holy Diver" ringtone.
7. Drunk dial.
8. Forget to charge it.
9. Forget it at home.*
10. Drop it.
11. Lose it.
12. Repeat.

*Accomplished #9 today.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tippin' the 40

This week's City Paper features a piece entitled "Cheap Shots" by Ashlea Halpern. This lady's a connoisseur of low-end liquor with an appreciation for Ice Cube. Damn! Her writing makes a man go weak in his bloody knees. I'm tippin' the 40 to ya, shorty.

In other alcohol-related news, Olde English 800 has some serious competition for the title of "Cadillac of 40s". Dogfish Head has produced a high-end Liqueur de Malt (pictured to the right)* that is delicious and pricey. The Liqueur loses points for its 7-dollar price tag and pre-printed brown bags, which just scream pretention when you're drinkin' on the stoop.

"drinkin' straight out the 8 bottle, do I look like a muthafuckin' role model?" --Ice Cube

*Halpern's article motivated me to get a 40, take a picture of it, and figure out how to put pictures on this damn blog.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stupidity? It's in the Jeans

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Slate Magazine asks: will people soon stop buying $300 blue jeans?

Stop paying 300 dollars for a pair of jeans? I can't believe people started paying that much for denim pants. Who, besides celebrities, would pay this much for jeans? News Flash, Idiots: these celebrities usually get their clothes and jeans for free from designers who know there are about a thousand morons out there who will pay to wear the same brand.

Shit. Corporate casual dress code be damned, if I had a pair of $300 jeans I would live in them every day for a few years (provided they last that long) just to get my money's worth. But my point is, I will never own or wear a pair of $300 jeans (unless they fall out of the sky and are just my size, or inflation makes the dollar worthless and $300 is the new $20 bill). It is ridiculous. If you own a pair of $300 jeans (or god-forbid more than one pair), you had better be a philanthropist...otherwise you're just a selfish jerk. A friend informed me there are a lot of these "jean jerks" when I showed her this article. Walking home from work, I tried to spot one of these culprits. It wasn't easy. To the untrained eye, jeans look like jeans look like jeans in the well-lit outdoors. It's probably easier to distinguish designer trademarks in a dark nightclub...because you wouldn't want to go home with someone wearing the wrong pair of jeans, no matter how good they look. Right?

The designers behind these jeans are marketing geniuses. The consumers who buy these jeans are stupid with greed.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

The "Sixth" Incensed!

There was an article by Jessica Pressler entitled "Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough" in the New York Times today.

Pressler writes:

Philadelphians occasionally refer to their city - somewhat deprecatingly - as the "sixth borough" of New York, and with almost 8,000 commuters making the 75-minute train ride between the cities each weekday, the label seems not far off the mark.
Who refers to Philadelphia as the "sixth borough"? Writers looking to make a name for themselves in the New York Times? I've heard many people refer to Philly as a road bump between New York and D.C., but that designation still acknowledges that Philly is its own town. Isn't Connecticut already the "sixth borough"? How many damn boroughs does New York need? Allentown has been reclassified as a suburb of New York City. The Big Apple is becoming the monster that swallowed the East Coast. Keep calling Philly the "sixth borough" and see how many bands start skipping our town because they assume Philadelphians will just commute up to New York via train or "the popular Chinatown bus".

They are the first wave of what could be called Philadelphia's Brooklynization.
Let's hope that unfortunate name doesn't stick. At least she compared us to Brooklyn and not Queens.

"everyone knows someone who's moved here from New York," said Paul Levy
No shit? I think that statement is written in the universal truths of every city on the East Coast (and possibly farther, I don't get out of the "sixth borough" much). New Yorkers are like an infestation of locusts.

"We like going to shows here," Mr. Schmersal said. "In New York there are so many people, it's impossible to even get in to see hot bands."
The next time you can't get into the Khyber to see a hot band, blame Ms. Pressler. She's probably inside at the show you can't get into, attempting to score free drinks with her press credentials. Just wait outside for her.

between sips of Yuengling lager at a bar in the Northern Liberties neighborhood, an artists' enclave north of City Hall.
There you have it, the shining obligatory reference to Yuengling. An artists' enclave? Is that what Northern Liberties is now? Well, if it's in the New York Times, it must be true (just like $800 rent in Rittenhouse Square). Northern Liberties used to be such a nice working-class neighborhood, but artist enclave it must be. The next paragraph identifies Fishtown as the working-class neighborhood turned melting pot.

Pressler loses her focus at this point in her story (or maybe I missed a segue), but she stops talking about Philly as a "sixth borough" and focuses on people who move to Philly from New York, but don't commute back to Manhattan for work. Wasn't the commuting angle the whole point of writing this article on Philly as the "sixth borough" of New York City?

Sandwiched between New York and Washington, Philadelphia was a flyover city - trainover really - a place where a mayor had ordered the bombing of a neighborhood and where Eagles fans reveled in booing their own team, its chief popular exports cheese steaks and "Rocky."
What exactly has changed? Eagles fans still boo (most recently, T.O.), and the FCC regulates that every national broadcast of Philadelphia must include footage of cheesesteaks and a Rocky reference (the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are optional). While she's on the topic of Philadelphia events and personalities with national recognition, she's forgetting Live 8 and Will Smith. Why no shout-out to the Roots?

Want some perspective on Pressler's New York Times schmoozing? Read the first blurb in this column she wrote in November 2004. She is quite the chameleon (Philly isn't Brooklyn, Philly is the new Brooklyn; I refuse to use the word "flip-flop", but the agenda for her Times article probably grew out of this piece).

Pressler can't be faulted for the picture of the Khyber that accompanied the story (that was Ryan Donnell), but of all the bars in all the world... Yeah, yeah, I know the Khyber can't subsist on a small, local scene of hipsters alone, but does it really need to attract jerks? Isn't that the clientele of every other bar on 2nd Street? Here come the bastards. It's a good picture though.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Philly's Bermuda Triangle: Update

Walked past Dead Fred's (a.k.a. Foggy Ugly, etc.) tonight.
The property is up for sale, again.

What is up with that place? It rivals the Overlook Hotel for eeriness.

Found another rival to the Overlook Hotel through Google. Geek fun.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Radio Report

My report is entitled: Why I Don't Listen to Top 40 Radio

While driving around Lancaster this past weekend without a tape or CD (and A Prairie Home Companion on NPR), I made the mistake of tuning into a local music station.

Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" might be the shittiest song of the new millennium (if pressed, I'm certain I could come up with a worse song).

I think deep down people know that Brittany Spears, Ashlee Simpson, and every boy band in the world produce disposable music that won't be relevant within a year; but Green Day used to be a legitimate band. The album (American Idiot) containing this turd won a Grammy for best rock album. This song emphatically does not rock.

The inanity begins with the opening line: "Summer has come and passed/The innocent can never last". Is this not the most overused imagery in the history of overused imagery? Summer as a passing time of innocence? The triteness of it all. They repeat that hackneyed couplet about a hundred times in the song.

How much payola went into airing this crap?

In conclusion: Green Day's new single sucks ass.

Support KEXP in Seattle and WPRB in New Jersey, they play good music.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Washington Square Park

Bravo Washington Square Park.
Today you had the fountain running and the eternal flame the same time!

And they said it would be done in 2000, 2003, and 2005. The squeaky CBS wheel gets the grease. I walk through Washington Square Park regularly, but I can't attest to whether the flame was lit before today.

Click here, here, and here to learn more about Philadelphia's Washington Square Park.

With the flame relit, let's see if we can get rid of those unsightly bike racks around Independence Hall. That crappy looking bunting isn't fooling anyone...the National Park Service is imprisoning our independence and rationing it as they see fit under the pretense of security. Things have improved marginally since this report, but the Park Service is threatening to erect a wall around the building. Maybe proponents of freedom should take comfort in the bike least you can still see Independence Hall.

Fuck that.

The National Park Service has been itching to put Independence Hall in lockdown since 1997. Those opportunistic bastards took advantage of 9/11 to railroad through their agenda (sounds like the war in Iraq, doesn't it?).

This is a sad situation for American liberty. If the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall aren't readily accessible to the public, then the terrorists accomplished their goal on September 11th...defeating the American ideal of freedom.

This guy gets it.

If the bike racks are an essential part of Independence Hall, then why aren't they pictured in postcards? Because they're fucking ugly. Shame on the National Park Service.


Saturday, August 06, 2005


My Ozzfest "Blistered in the Sun" published last week in the City Paper, but there are always more notes than fit in one column. What follows is sort of a b-sides compilation of comments.

Ozzfest 2005
Arch Enemy filled OTEP's usual role as the token female-fronted metal act this year. Still no sign of L7.

As I Lay Dying followed Mastodon on the "Hot Topic" second stage making for a double-dose of metal based on classic American literature. Only As I Lay Dying's literary influence doesn't extend to their lyrics, and they lose metal credibility because their band name landed on Oprah's Book Club.

The sun was baking us like the crew of the Pequod, and it was too hot to move or breathe during the set changes, so I entertained myself by thinking up stories using the names of Ozzfest bands. It was a stupid game, but here's an example:

As the Shadows Fall on a Black Sabbath night, Rob Zombie decides, It Dies Today. Throwing his Arch Enemy into the Iron Maiden ("Excellent!"), he pulled the Killswitch Engage lever. Mama Zombie always admonished him to "Bury Your Dead", and Rob prepared for the Soil Work ahead.
Yeah, that was lame, and that realization eventually cut through my heat-induced delirium and I walked through the crowd to the various vendor booths. As usual, there was a ton of free swag, and the best of it disappeared before noon, leaving only The Devil's Rejects postcards and temporary tattoos. At the Ozzfest table, promotional sampler CDs were free in exchange for your name and e-mail address. Despite the NHL strike, Bill Guerin ( scored again, and unemployment couldn't stop Ron Tugnutt ( from lending his John Hancock to the list.

The Trojan condom booth offered a giveaway that didn't add any additional weight to cargo pockets already bulging with free stuff. In the haze of Camden, the pure oxygen (bubbled through a green, minty liquid of unknown origin) was 5 minutes of heaven for the lungs. In addition to the breath of fresh air, Trojan distributed "Mint Tingle" condoms, which the chap at the booth said had the "same effect as Altoids" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!). I was instantly reminded of "Bonita Applebum" by A Tribe Called Quest: "And if you need 'em I got crazy prophylactics."

The set times on the flyer distributed by 94 WYSP were for shit (in all fairness, there was a disclaimer saying that set times might change), so it was funny to see drunk guys turn their abandoned booth by the second stage into a make-shift piss tent.

Rob Zombie's gone Hollywood. He traded in his normally gloomy attire for a sunny Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA" jeans and white t-shirt ensemble. Zombie seemed genuinely glad to be on the second stage, voicing his approval for "no worries about seats, tickets stubs, and guys eating nachos and slurpees." A slurpee would have been nice though.

Zombie's set with stage banter in parentheses: 1) Superbeast, 2) Supercharger Heaven, 3) Living Dead Girl ("for the ladies"), 4) Demon Speeding ("This girl thinks taking her top off will combat the b.o. rolling in waves to the stage."), 5) More Human than Human, 6) Demonoid Phenomenon, 7) Dead Girl Superstar, 8) Joe Walsh intro into Dragula, 9) Sweet Home Alabama into Thunderkiss '65.

Zombie paraphrased an interview he gave to the New York Times about Ozzfest being for the young, but also like a Brontosaurus never changing... He lost his point in the middle of the talk, and no one bothered to inform him that the name for brontosaurus (once one of the most popular dinosaurs of the 70s and 80s) has recently changed.

The Tweeter Center had the worst crowd control ever! Trying to move from the main stage to the second stage (or vice versa) was damn-near impossible. They funneled everyone through the Walt Whitman plaza and created a horrific bottleneck.

Overheard: "8 dollars for beer!? That's why I take my drugs and laugh at you all."

There was a guy trading beads for bared breasts. No one seemed to notice that this isn't fuckin' Mardi Gras. Women flashing for free (or paying to have their bare breasts airbrushed with paint) got nothing.

Damn! I have to get a pair of those rollerskate sneakers.

The Tweeter Center staff were not prepared for the level of aggression in the mosh pit. The Camden cops augmenting their ranks were off gafflin' free drinks from the concession stands. Instead of wading into the fray of the pit, the staff centered their attention on dragging a guy who scaled speaker tower #3 to the security booth. He was never heard from again (as far as I know).

Worst idea of the day: Mudvayne's singer performed in a gorilla suit. He's not getting his security deposit back from the costume rental shop.

"This is your fuckin' music! This is your fuckin' festival!"
--Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden kicked ass! Bruce Dickinson was wired and bursting with manic energy. He brandished the Union Jack and sighted the audience down the flag's pole (like the barrel of a rifle) during "The Trooper", but the most theatrical moment was when Dickinson performed limbering stretches during the guitar solos. There was a different Eddie scrim for nearly every song, and a mechanized beast flailed its limbs during "Number of the Beast". Playing to the crowd, Dickinson paid many compliments to Philadelphia (even though he was in Camden), and set off the mirthless laughter of the damned when he asked, "Anyone here come to see the Dave Matthews Band?" before performing "Phantom of the Opera". An encore was demanded by Zippo salute. Encore: "Runing Free", "Sanctuary".

Throughout the night, the main-stage video monitors aired commercials for Mind Freak on a constant loop. Is this the price to pay for free Mind Freak cinnamon candies? Every time they showed Criss Angel getting shot by a bloated Jonathan Davis of Korn or being suspended from a helicopter through hooks in his flesh, I was desensitized to violence just a little bit more. It was a real nice network A&E once had.

During Black Sabbath's set, I found myself standing next to a very excited young woman who flashed her breasts in time to the music. Having been to 7 previous Ozzfests, I have seen a great many breasts, and I'm fairly non-plussed, but this woman loved Ozzy, and had interesting piercings. They were flaming sun-shaped breastplates that covered the areolas but allowed the nipples to pop through the center. They looked like decorative washers on pink, fleshy screws. There was no way in hell (unless he had binoculars, which he didn't) that Ozzy could see this diminutive woman baring her soul (and breasts).

When she turned to me (breasts momentarily covered) and chastized me for jotting down the set list, I remembered that the main characters (Kate Hudson and Patick Fugit) in Almost Famous had a similar exchange at a Black Sabbath concert. Juxtapose the heights, Hudson was taller than Fugit, and add partial frontal nudity, and it was just! like! the! movie!

Sabbath's set : 1) N.I.B., (let the flashing begin!) 2) After Forever, 3) War Pigs ("Generals gathered in their masses" Boobs! "Just like witches at black masses" Tits.), 4) Dirty Women (lots of flashing for this one), 5) Fairies Wear Boots, 6) Symptom/Sweet Leaf instrumental teaser, Electric Funeral, 7) Iron Man ("Ozzy is so hot!" Flash!), 8) Into the Void, 9) Black Sabbath (Zippo salute, Twin-nipple salute), 10) Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tease, Paranoid (yelling "woo!", holding breasts and shaking them). Encore: 11) Children of the Grave.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Next, They'll Block Out the Sun

It just occurred to me why Comcast is building a giant monolithic tower in Center City. They want to block satellite TV reception for DirectTV subscribers.

Last month, I paid $12 to ride the elevator to the observation deck of the Sears Tower. To date, that is the most expensive elevator ride I've ever taken--unless you put a value on time--in which case the 30 minutes I spent trapped in the elevator at the Congress Hotel in Chicago missing part of Lollapalooza was the most expensive.

I wonder how much it will cost to ride to the top of Comcast Center.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

For Whom the Bell Doesn't Toll

As anyone who knows me knows, I am a die-hard fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. So it should come as no surprise that last night I was rooting for the Phillies against the crappy Cubs (and especially Zambrano).

Much to my surprise, the Phillies were pitching well, and going into the 8th inning the score was tied 0-0. Then the Cubs hit a ball past David Bell to score 2 runs.

The Phillies clawed their way to within a run (or rather the Cubs walked in a run), and the tying run was on 3rd with 1 out. Bell was at the plate. All he had to do was put the ball in play and the tying run would score. Bell struck out.

Here's a quote from Bell: "He threw me a pretty good slider. Give him credit."

Give him credit? How about you stop sucking?

The Cubs pitcher had walked the previous 3 batters, including a bases-loaded walk. Why the hell was Bell swinging at balls outside the strike zone? Or swinging at all for that matter?

In true Philadelphia loser fashion, the Comcast Sports Net commentators said after the game, "There's no shame in losing to these guys."

The Phillies have a 55-52 record. The Cubs are 54-52. If the Phillies are ever to be contenders again, they need to beat their fellow .500 clubs.

In a game against the Cardinals earlier this season (a game the Cardinals unfortunately lost), Bell made 3 errors. Chants of "You're not Rolen" rose up from the cheap seats (OK, it was just me being an obnoxious jerk; and my friend quipped, "Yeah, Bell's not the DL.").

Why the Phillies didn't start Placido Polanco at 3rd base instead of Bell, I'll never know. Maybe they just like having a player named Bell to go with the giant bell in the outfield. Well, if that's the case then the Phillies have a couple of ding-dongs.