Archive: April, 2006
Amazing. Among the thanks-but-we'll pass entreaties that have flooded our in-box lately - are we interested to know Bon Jovi is the first rock star with a No. 1 hit on the country charts? - was a practical email from our friends at Purdue University.
It suggests ways of saving gas.
Heather L. Cooper, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology, has a couple tips I've never considered. I called her and asked if she could explain some things r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and this is what I learned:
And here's why: Years after it was written, we're still too often ignoring her simple wisdom about how to make cities successful. If we had listened to Jane Jacobs, we wouldn't have I-95 blocking access to the Delaware waterfront, and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway would be filled with strolling pedestrians.
Here's a favorite passage of mine from that book: "Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets to grow without them. By old buildings I mean not museum-piece old buildings, not old buildings in an excellent state of rehabilitation -- although these make fine ingredients -- but also a good lot of plain, ordinary, low-value old buildings, including some rundown old buildings...."
Let your freak flag fly! Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to open "Freedom of Speech" tour at the Tweeter Center in Camden on July 6. First time in four years the foursome has hit the road together. I knew there was some reason I listened to this over the weekend.
NY-based Al Jazeera correspondent travels to Philadelphia on the trail of Benjamin Franklin and pronounces our city's Benergy to be "brilliant." Of course he was writing in the UK's Guardian, where that word showed up 12 other times Monday, including a description of a newspaper column, a soccer lob and Tony Blair.
New Jersey blogger disses Camden, but concedes never having been there. My Garden Statement, out of Brigantine, is working hard, but somebody lend her a Google map: "To be fair, I haven't exactly been to Camden. But I have driven through it on I-95, and I can tell you it looks like a real hellhole. Picture the slums of Bombay, only with more graffiti and fewer live chickens." I-95, hon, runs through our hellhole.
Body of same message, on the Flyers Fan Forum: "What's sad is that there is still time left."
It was only 4 to nothing when Omaha Flyer wrote that, shortly before the end of the first period. Sabres tucked one more in before the horn.
The Sunday Inquirer scorched the earth to cover the blogs v newspapers debate, roping in Jeff Jarvis to posit how the era of newspaper may be over, Hugh Hewitt to argue how conservative blogs balance the liberal-dominated mainstream media, Richard Stengel to remind that to own a newspaper is to own a still-profitable public trust.
The Currents section's final word came from our newest op-ed columnist, Jonathan Last, who wrote a piece headlined, "Blog, humbug!: Good writing, news-gathering lose to speed and vehemence."
"Close-minded at a minimum," harumphed blogger Karl Martino by e-mail this morning, who underlined Last's words, "Being a good writer helps a blogger about as much as a good singing voice helps a broadcast
Psst. Wanna save money on gas? How about $2.83-a-gallon for regular? - that's the cheapest area price now on Philadelphia Gas Prices, a customer-generated site. The source is a Sunoco station on Old Lancaster Ave. in Merion, which compares nicely to, say, the Citgo station on Broad St. under I-76 in South Philly, which wanted $3.19-a-gallon early Sunday. At that rate, filling the Blinq van would take more than $51. At the Washington Monthly, blogger Kevin Drum does a little figuring and reports that if prices hold at $3 a gallon, the average American household would be spending about 10 percent of its after-tax yearly income on gas. 10 percent. That's assuming the average household income is $44,000 and gasoline consumption is 1,100 gallons a year. Income has been falling over five years. Gas prices have jumped 50 percent over the past year. One solution: Septa. But you shouldn't spend the quarters they give you back in change.
Which leads to a piece in The Economist on the rise of user-generated media. Or, Why Barry Diller Doesn't Get It.
My grandfather Barney used to watch the Red Sox games with the sound turned down, and the radio turned up. He thought the radio team did a better job announcing, since they had to be their listeners' eyes and ears.
I think I'll try that for Monday's Flyers game.
Because I swear I saw a different game last night than the TV crew of Jim Jackson, Gary Dornhoefer and Steve Coates.
Is this just "big company bad?" as one TPM Cafe commenter asked. Or is Congress truly "Giving Away the Internet?"
The hands-off-of-our Web crowd is warning that Comcast/ATT/Verizon/Time Warner will be allowed create a two-tier Internet, where premium-paying content providers will enjoy fast-lane service and those great, quirky mom-and-pop or unpaying sites, will be relegated to the slow lane - or the shoulder.
The TPM Cafe guest post, from Art Brodsky, spokesman for Public Knowledge, argues that when the FCC and Supreme Court decided last fall that the Communications Act didn't cover broadband service offered by cable and telephone companies, those providers were freed to give preferential treatment to those who bought their services or could pay more. Brodsky, a former Congressional Quarterly editor, wrote:
The right place, the right time is Phoenixville's Colonial Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday when Dr. John trips the night fantastic. Part Crescent City legend, part haberdashery God, the piano player born Mac Rebennack, can be heard here, (click 'listen') on a 1988 Fresh Air clip, where he plays "Tipitina," the Prof. Longhair tune, in the WHYY studio. For something a little more poimanent, his management is offering an Mp3 of "I Ain't No Johnny Mercer." And, for a little something under the counter, you might want to Walk on Gilded Splinters here. I'll have what he's having.
Same night, different place gets you Goapele at the TLA -- the daughter of an exiled South African political activist and a NY-born Jewish mother. The Oakland singer's name means "to go forward' in Setswana, the South African language of her grandmother. Her second CD is called Change it All and is on Columbia's Skyblaze imprint. Billboard blurbed: This arresting set organically mixes R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and electronica in introspective, candid songs that colorfully reflect this soulful sista's diverse range and life experiences. Goapele's smoky, sensual voice is a beacon that shines on a set that wisely steers clear of overproduction. While calling to mind such influences as Nina Simone and Sade, this classic chanteuse-in-the-making is definitely her own woman of substance. Her songs can be streamed on her MySpace page. There's a promo video where she says she likes people to make babies to her music.
Looks like I wasn't the only one to miss Mama Kangaroos: Philly Women Sing Captain Beefheart. "I thought I'd seen it all, but no," writes Ed Ward by e-mail from Berlin. He links the Genus Records web site, which explains the project where 20 local artists cover the songs of the Capt., aka Don Van Vliet. It's never too early in the morning for a taste of "Lick My Decals Baby" by Kiss Kiss Kill.
Trying to picture what the '51 Phillies looked like? Not sure why, but this will help: a graphic database of major league uniforms, showing what each team wore. The Phillyist, which found this, notes 1947 was the year when baseball discovered people of color. 1995 began a six-year period when the models looked pumped on 'roids. It also wonders if a young Charlie Manuel serves as the model for the modern-day player.