Things To Do In Philly When The Internet Goes Down.

You never really understand how much of your life is dependent upon the internet until it’s not there anymore.

For almost a month, my internet has been suffering drop outs and sluggish speeds. It’s been a nightmare for which I’ve been preparing a long vengeful blog post that, because of outlandish accusations and rough profanity, will probably never be published in it’s entirety.

We did find productive things to do around the house while the internet was down. Sunglasses are now required in the bathroom because the bathtub sparkles so brightly! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

In our downtime we caught a few good movies, some of which I share with you here.

I happened to catch a late night broadcast of Crime and Punishment (1935) starring Peter Lorre, on GetTV (one of the myriad broadcast movie channels that have been popping up lately.) I’ve never seen this early adaptation. Lorre is brilliant. Strangely enough, this version is not available on Netflix but it is available in it’s entirety on Youtube.

“The story goes that Peter Lorre wanted to star in the film version of the Dostoyevsky novel, but was certain that Columbia Pictures chieftain Harry Cohn would turn the project down. So Lorre hired a secretary to type up a synopsis of the story in words of one syllable then submitted this simplified resume to Cohn. Enthusiastic over the project, Cohn gave Lorre the go-ahead — but first he asked “Tell me —ย  has this book got a publisher?”” – Hal Erickson (Rovi)

Whether true or not, that rumor makes for good entertainment.

Here’s the movie, in it’s entirety. Bookmark it. Save it for when you’re looking for something good to watch.

Out of the Furnace (2013) stars Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker and Casey Afleck (yes, THAT Afleck). When police stop looking for his missing veteran brother, Russell Baze takes matters into his own hands.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but clearly not anything as deep and thoughtful as this flick turned out to be. It’s slow to unfold but it’s good story telling. Woody Harrelson is creepy as hell.

While we’re on the subject of Christian Bale… If you haven’t seen American Hustle (2013), put it on your list. it’s a great piece of entertainment that’s loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. I don’t know why people love to hate this film so much. I enjoyed it. The clothes and the cars alone gave me flashbacks.

Warm Bodies (2013) A zombie saves a teenager. They fall in love and save the world. What’s not to love? Even the Romeo and Juliet references that get shamelessly thrown in your face didn’t manage to ruin the film for me. It’s cheesy, pop corn chomping fun.

The Call (2013) How can you go wrong with Halle Berry? A 911 operator gets a call from a kidnapped teen. This is a joyride movie! It had me shouting at the screen.

The 2014 Robocop reboot was a lot better than I had expected. It’s still silly and a bit of a stretch for suspension of disbelief, but it was good entertainment. Perhaps I’m just a little biased. I’ve been a huge fan of Gary Oldman since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, one of my all time favorite films.

I started following Simon Pegg on twitter long before I learned of his incredible career as an actor/writer/comedian. Seriously, I had no idea. That was almost four years ago. Since then I’ve gotten all caught up. I’ve enjoyed him in everything from Shaun of the Dead to Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Star Trek and everything in between. On Monday night we had the pleasure of watching A Fantastic Fear of Everything. It’s about a crime writer whose research has turned him into a paranoid mess. It’s a little strange but bizarrely funny. Pegg spends half of the movie in his underwear chasing his imagination. The running gag is incredibly funny.

Thankfully, our internet trouble has been dealt with. Everything is running smoothly. We sacrificed a goat and danced around in circles naked while singing the alphabet song backwards. That seemed to have appeased the internet gods. …for now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus Material…

Everything Wrong With Robocop (1987) in 7 Minutes or Less. by CinemaSins

ย And finally…

Simon Pegg rapping old school style in ‘A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Oh, fair warning. The following clip is probably not safe for work.

 

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Summer Detour

Gallery

This gallery contains 22 photos.

So, over the week of July 4th we took a drive through New Jersey in what seems to be a new tradition. — Though, putting it in writing will probably put an end to it.   We chose the hottest … Continue reading

Food Porn: The Sweet Days of Summer.

ย As summer approaches, I prepare simple syrup for iced coffee in the morning. This seems like a good vessel for something sweet. ๐Ÿ˜›
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Every joke and pun I can think of regarding that โ€œmanโ€ bottle, and the sticky sweetness of simple syrup inside, is a bit too lewd for mixed company. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Basic Recipe
makes approximately 1ย 1/2 cups

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Simple, right?
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow mixture to cool, then decant into a clean container (preferably glass) with a tight-fitting lid. โ€” or cork, like the sexy male torso bottle pictured. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks.

 

  • If you’ve got some vanilla ice cream in the freezer, float a small scoopful on top of your iced coffee.
  • Iced Coffee Float anybody? Put a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream into a tall glass then top with cold black coffee. It’s not exactly “diet” friendly but a little indulgence every once in a while doesn’t hurt.

Simple syrup is also great for fresh brewed iced tea and any mixed drink that calls for sugar.

Stay Cool!

The Cardinal Came To Visit Us This Weekend…

Nope, not THAT Cardinal!

We have a family of cardinals that live in a nearby tree. They like to drop by every day for the sunflower seeds we put out during the winter.

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After missing a few opportunities, we started leaving the camera by the window. When I heard the cardinal Saturday (pictured left) I grabbed the camera for a rare photo shoot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

He was looking for left over seeds from the Ferris Wheel Feeder that was tipped over and left draining after the previous day’s rain.

You might have seen the Ferris Wheel Feeder video that I posted after the last snow storm.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAIf you follow me on twitter, you might recognize the image on the right. It’s the very first picture I took of the cardinals in my neighborhood. It was a huge surprise for me to discover we had cardinals in South Philly. Seriously, I’ve lived in (or around) Philadelphia all my life. I have never seen a cardinal in the city.

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This last picture is my favorite from Saturday. The border around the image was not added. I was shooting the cardinal through some house plants. I also had the blinds down because I was trying not to scare the cardinal away. The final result is pretty cool.

There are some superstitions surrounding birds that appear after the death of a loved one. Some believe that birds “sometimes appear as envoys from the spirit world โ€” fleeting emissaries of loved ones who have passed on to the other side.” I like that idea. It would be nice to think that my friend Fran was just dropping by to say hello. Most likely, it was just a member of a family of cardinals picking through the debris, looking for sunflower seeds to feed his family. Either way, it was nice to see him.

As the adage goes, it’s the little things in life that sometimes make you the happiest. For me it’s true. I may not win the Powerball anytime soon, but as long as the cardinal comes to visit once in a while, I’ll be happy.

Oh, and I took a short video too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Summer Musings

It’s been a very wet July, though not a particularly hot one. There have even been nights that we were able to turn off the air conditioner.ย  I can’t remember the last summer that was possible.

I could lament the plight of farmers, and how the glut of rain has drowned their crops of fruits and vegetables. I could rant about climate change. But I’m choosing instead, to take a few moments to smell the flowers. I’ve been ranting enough. I need a break.

…and, I suspect, you do too.

Hibiscus peaking through the shadows on an early Sunday morning.

A Hibiscus bloom (left) peeking through the shadows on an early Sunday morning.

Our Hibiscus plant didn’t like the wet weather. It waited until just last week to bloom.

Now, as if in a rush to catch up, it’s throwing out multiple flowers at odd times of the day.

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It took the Morning Glories a while to flower, as well. It’s like they wanted to sleep-in until the rain subsided.

“Wake us when the rain stops.”

July 4th and the Soundtrack of Summer

July 4th is upon us once again, and with it comes parades, picnics, fireworks, and of course, great music. Independence Day ushers in the lazy days of summer, warm evenings gathered with family and friends, and a steady stream of feel-good music. Music heard through a neighbor’s open window, on a friend’s boombox, or from a passing car’s stereo is the soundtrack of summer.

Everybody’s got their favorite summer tracks.

What follows are a few of mine.

When I hear the opening guitar riff of The Rolling Stones’ classic, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, I think of The Steel Pier TV Show, which used to air on Philadelphia’s WPVI Channel 6 (the local ABC affiliate).

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K.D. Lang’s Summer Fling is such a happy fun song. It’s so full of optimism. It makes me long for the beach. My favorite line, “Laugh, oh how we would laugh at anything.” …Indeed we did. ๐Ÿ™‚

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It was a B 52s toss up between Rock Lobster and the classic Love Shack. Both scream summer, but everybody’s movin’ everybody’s groovin to the Love Shack baby!

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I was a part-time DJ at a local bar in 1991 when Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff released their seasonal hit,ย Summertime.

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Whatever happened to Dee-Lite?ย  Technically released in August of 1990, Groove Is In The Heart set the tone for the summer of ’91. Everybody danced to this tune. Lady Miss Kier Dressed in groovy Mod Sixties hipness, assured us that she “couldn’t ask for another.”

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I was 11 years old. I remember being in a car with my Grandmother and two of my cousins. Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music started playing on the car’s AM radio. Upon hearing the lyrics “Play that funky music white boy”, my Grandmother was scandalized. “That’s terrible” she said. “What if the whites said that about the blacks?” To which my cousins burst into laughter. “Mom-mom.” said cousin Cheryl “Wild Cherry IS a white band!” My grandmother backpedaled a bit with, “Well, I still think it’s terrible.” — Happy Times. {:-]

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In 1993 the London based Jazz-Rap group released a remake of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Cantaloupe Island’ called Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia). It’s still one of my favorites. “Diddy diddy bop. Funky funky.”

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During my last summer living at home with my parents, I spent a lot of time at the community swimming pool. It was a fun summer. The Rolling Stones’ Emotional Rescue was a favorite of one of the life guards. So it was played repetitively. It didn’t help that it was heard through their PA system, which was equipped with cone shaped aluminum paging speakers. It sounded awful. But the song is now synonymous with summer. There’s a fun Emotional Rescue remake by Freedom Dub on the Bossa N; Stones CD. but the original brings back that summer at the pool.

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Virtual Insanity was my introduction to the British Acid Jazz band, Jamiroquai. It’s a fun song. Lead singer Jay Kay has a singing style reminiscent of 1970s funk and soul, which I love. The moving floor in this video is inventive take on the famous scene in Royal Wedding where Fred Astaire dances on the ceiling. (Later recreated in Lionel Ritchie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling” video)

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Hot In The City is one of my favorite Billy Idol tunes. It was hard for me to choose between it, White Wedding or Thighs Around Your Face, I mean Eyes Without a Face for this post. They’re all good tunes.

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There are few things better than New York City in the summertime? Empire State of Mind, Alicia Keys’ love letter to New York makes me want to jump on a train and head to the Big Apple. It’s changed a lot. I really do miss the “colorful” element that used to populate Times Square, but it’s still a fun place to be in the summer. You might recognize the chorus from the Jay Z hit.

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I love, Love, LOVE Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. This 1987 live performance in Athens featuring Youssou N’Dour is quite possibly the most achingly beautiful version of the song… Accepting all I’ve done and said, I want to stand and stare again, ‘Til there’s nothing left out, oh whoa whoa It remains there in your eyes, Whatever comes and goes Oh, it’s in your eyes.”ย 

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I must not forget the ultimate summer classic. Under The Boardwalk by The Drifters. This tune was remade by many artists, including Bette Midler, for the movie, Beaches. Those are okay, but I prefer the Drifters’ version best.

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Special Thanks to James Stafford for this little gem, More, More, More by Carmel (not to be confused with the Andrea True Connection song of the same name) It was featured on his June 27th “Why It Matters” Word Press blog, From The Stacks: Carmel More, More, More (12″ single) which inspired this list.

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BONUS: Summer (The Very First Time) was a Bobby Goldsboro hit, but I think Millie Jackson does it better. If you don’t know who Millie Jackson is, I feel sorry for you.

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Dear Readers: As I stated above, everybody has a special song that connects them to a happy summer memory. I’m gonna borrow a page from The Accidental Cootchie Mama, and ask you to share it. Post a favorite summer tune with it’s link in a comment below. Maybe we can make a killer summer playlist before Labor Day. ๐Ÿ˜€

My favorite chefโ€™s knife and I had a fight. The chef knife won. :\

The mercury hovered above the ninety degree mark on Sunday afternoon. The humidity was quickly approaching oppressive. It was Mother Nature’s way of showing us what she had in store in the coming months.

With summer on my mind, I got to thinking of the watermelon that’s been sitting in the fridge this last week. It was past time to slice that puppy up and enjoy the cool sweetness I knew awaited me.

I took out my favorite knife and prepared to go to work.

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My favorite knife is a ten inch work horse.
I use it for everything.

Now, I’ve had that chef’s knife for almost two decades. She and I have created many a memorable meal. She’s got a good weight, with a nice balance, and her handle fits my hand well. When I’m prepping dinner or chopping veggies, she’s an extension on my arm.

But today I was careless.

After I cut the watermelon in half, I placed the knife on the table so I could set one of the halves aside. This would ensure that the half I wasn’t working on would be out of the way.

The knife fell off the table.

I stepped back to let the knife fall.

But my hand was close enough to the blade that it made contact.

I watched in slow motion as steel sliced flesh.

Time was a blur.

  • Cold water.
  • Rinse the cut.
  • Wrap the cut.
  • Apply pressure.
  • Examine cut. (Probably needs stitches.)
  • Call neighbor. “I need a ride to the ER.”
  • Rinse cut in water again.
  • Dress cut.
  • Drive to ER. Sign in. Wait.
  • Answer questions. Wait.
  • Triage nurse. (Check blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.)
  • Wait some more.
  • Examination. Needle. “Ouch!”
  • Wait. “Feeling no pain.”
  • Clean laceration.
  • Sew it up.
  • Take pictures of cool stitches..
  • Here’s your bill. Off you go.
  • Home.
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Waiting for the shot they gave me to make my finger go numb.
Listening to the kid in the next stall brag about his sprained ankle.

I really want to thank the triage nurse for informing me that ACME has “Pre-Cut” watermelon for $4.99 lb. I thought that was very considerate of her.

And in case you’re wondering, the watermelon was fine. No, really. It was delicious! ;p

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Four Stitches?? That’s all I need?? Just Four Stitches?? :\

…and yes, I will most certainly use my favorite knife again.