Sunday night in Easton, PA

Sunday night in Easton, PA

Boss-across-the-hall update

Bless his anal-retentive little heart. The guy actually has a bunch of take-out menus in his office–filed under M, of course. I dig his filing technique*.

*Shameless attempt to make $0.80.

I Love You, I Hate You: stop messing it up

frowny balloonIt used to be a favorite ritual:  get up early, go to the gym, hope that the City Paper delivery guy shows up before the end of my workout, snag a paper on the way out, and read I Love You, I Hate You over a bowl of shredded cinnamon mini-wheats.  But now it’s all ruined!

Isn’t it bad enough that the 2004 presidential election divided the US into residents of Jesusland and a bunch of very sorry Canadian wannabes?  Must it also take the fun out of the reader rants and raves?  For example:

America:  The land of fat, lazy, illiterate assholes

Bush voters:  You are the most myopic, backwoods, backward bunch of frat boy-loving hillbillies to walk the face of the earth.

Midwest and South: don’t worry–the people of the North will support your ass through welfare, so you can still buy your beer and ammunition (if you can read that word).

People, these self-righteous rants are no good.  Whatever happened to “Kensington slut,” the woman who swore to sleep with every man in Philadelphia?  Or the woman who wanted to poke her barista’s eyes out?  Sadly, the most recent City Paper had only one example of a good I Hate You:

GRETA:  I compare the thought of you to eating razorblades and then allowing a grade-school soccer team to kick me in the stomach until I die of internal bleeding. No wait, that actually sounds appealing next to you, you fucking derelict!  I can’t fucking believe you ate the last donut. anonymous.

Bless you, anonymous, whoever you are.  Everyone else, stop turning I Love You, I Hate You into a no-fun zone.   It makes me sad.

Jukebox the Ghost: Perfect Pop

As the years go by, I see less and less live music.  I wasn’t always such a curmudgeon, but  lately I get more out of listening to music at home than I do from braving the cold, cramming into a club, and listening to a few hours of opening bands only to be shoved aside by latecomers who didn’t want to listen to a few hours of opening bands.

This attitude is disappointing to Type E, who thinks I’m remiss in my wifely duty to attend shows with him.  He’s been nagging me to see Jukebox the Ghost since they released their first record in 2008, and when he learned that the band was making a Fishtown appearance at Johnny Brenda’s, subtle hints arrived in the form of catchy JTG mp3s mysteriously appearing in our shared Dropbox.

One of these catchy mp3s convinced me to make the oh-so-long walk to Johnny Brenda’s for the show.  Hold It In just might be the perfect pop song.

So much fun.  Jukebox the Ghost is a trio: guitar player, drummer, and keyboard player–the incredibly talented Ben Thornewill.  Luckily, we were in the balcony and could watch as he played the bass lines, played the leads, and sang, all while having fun with the audience.

Highlights of the show:  Hold It In (of course) and Temptation, a New Order cover performed with a joy that infected the entire audience.

Jukebox the Ghost is everything that’s good about Ben Folds, synthesizers, Europop, and The Beatles.  And, I’m sure, many other things I lack the musical background to identify.  But most importantly, they’re entertaining.  And isn’t that why you go out on a Saturday night?

Have yourself a cheesy little Christmas!

Have yourself a cheesy little Christmas!

Seeking Lititzonians

vandalized lion
Frankly, I am shocked that no enterprising weblogger has taken on the project of documenting the life and times of Lititz, Pennsylvania. I’d do it myself, but I’m only there a few times a year.

My current Lititz goal is to track down “shoe man,” a former state trooper who sits in his front yard and reads while wearing women’s shoes. Shoe man lives near my parents, but he’s never out when I’m visiting, and even if he was, I’m not sure I’d be able to snap a stealth photo. My mom, who recently retired and is therefore on the prowl around town, sees him all the time. She reports that one day last week shoe man was sporting white strappy pumps in the morning but switched to non-strappy white pumps for the afternoon.

Lititz is full of characters. Some of these characters, like shoe man, are quirky in an amusing and harmless kind of way, and some are downright maddening in a racist and homophobic kind of way. But Lititz is where I was born and raised, so I have a great affection for the town.

Thankfully, Lititz’s online presence has improved over the last few years. I always knew as a local news aggregator (remember when a Lititz woman was outed as a *gasp* Democrat in USA Today?), but it turns out that the site also hosts Lititz-oriented online discussion forums.

And at long last, The Lititz Record Express has some online content, and the letters to the editor alone are enough material to fuel a weblog. Some recent reader comments:

  • Women with drivers licenses should be more considerate to other people.
  • Have you tried to blow the paper wrapper off a straw recently? Most of the time it just simply can’t be done.
  • As the editor, you have the right to edit what gets printed; you don’t have to print every letter written.

So where are the Lititz webloggers?  I would enjoy some hard-hitting commentary and analysis!

Jim and Jennie & The Pinetops: they’re back!

jim and jennie
Jim and Jennie & The Pinetops haven’t been to Philadelphia in such a long time that I’d stopped checking the performance schedule on their website. But the ever-excellent Bloodshot Records announced today that Rivers Roll on By, the new Jim and Jennie CD, is now available!

Even better, the band is playing two Philly shows at World Café Live. I can’t wait–it’s been too long since their last visit.

All your candy canes belong to zombie panda

All your candy canes belong to zombie panda

A Day at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, June 11, 2013


Sometimes your itinerary says you’re flying from Buenos Aires to Salta, but instead you spend the day at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport with a swarm of frantic, caffeinated Argentinians waving their arms and yelling.

Unbeknownst to all of us, the airport had, in fact, closed. Closing the airport involves putting up new times for all the flights about every 30 minutes, just to keep the dream alive. There’s no public address system, so sometimes a flight status changes from “delayed” to “see agent,” at which point a sacrificial agent is deployed from behind the safety of the ticket counter to answer the questions of whoever shouts the loudest.

By this point in the trip, we could say things in Spanish, like “please bring the check” and “where is the bathroom?” We could not say things like “what are the chances we’ll get out of here today?” and “please print documentation for our travel insurance.”

Sometimes, you meet a kind stranger — an American expat who lives in Salta and speaks wonderful Spanish. She braved the crowd surrounding the sacrificial agent and reported the following conversation:

“What time is the flight to Salta?”


“What time is the flight to Cordoba?”


“How about Mendoza?”


This conversation, she explained, translates to “there is no information.”

So, instead of flying to Salta, you end up back in downtown Buenos Aires, drinking beer, watching football, and swapping stories with one of those kindred spirits you meet on the road from time to time.

Adventures in taxis

Cabbing it back to Fairmount on Saturday night:

Becky: Hi, I’m going to Woodstock Street.
Cabbie: Ok, that’s between some road and some other road, right?
Becky: Er, yeah. Specifically, between 21st Street and Corinthian, behind Eastern State Penitentiary.
Cabbie: Great, thanks.
Cabbie: See that car stopped in the middle of the road? The driver is dialing a number on his cell phone.
Becky: Damn cell phones.
Cabbie: I would never drive and talk on the phone.
Becky: I think you’re the only cabbie in Philadelphia who feels that way.
Cabbie: Well, it’s rude to my customers. Also, it’s not safe. I’m not a very good driver, so why make things worse by talking on the phone?
Becky: Uh, good point.

[We’re at 16th and JFK now, and the taxi swerves, coming within two inches of the blue BMW in the next lane. The BMW driver and I lock eyes in a shared moment of panic.]

Cabbie: No one really taught me to drive, you know? I just kind of picked it up from playing video games
Becky: Like Pole Position?
Cabbie: What’s Pole Position?
Becky: Nevermind.
Cabbie: Also, I hardly ever drive drunk. In fact, I’ve only had a few drinks tonight.
Cabbie: Just kidding.
Becky: Are we there yet?