Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News Flash - Palin Power

This is a test. For the next thirty seconds, this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.

Automotive Acne (Productions) is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.

This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.

The following is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. The broadcasters of your area in voluntary cooperation with the FCC and other authorities have developed this system to keep you informed in the event of an emergency.

If this had been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed to tune to one of the broadcast stations in your area.

If this had been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for news and official information.

If this had been an actual emergency, the Attention Signal you just heard would have been followed by official information, news or instructions.

This station is testing its Emergency Broadcast System equipment. The EBS will soon be replaced by the Emergency Alert System; the EAS will provide timely emergency warnings.

Automotive Acne (Productions) serves the (name of operational area) area. This concludes this test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

This station serves the (name of operational area) area. This concludes this test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

Bonus Round:

Wolf Block joins forces with a lobbying firm

As businesses from banks to car makers converge on Washington seeking financial aid, the Wolf Block law firm has announced plans to greatly expand its lobbying on behalf of companies and other interests fighting for a piece of the bailout.

The firm, which currently has a small lobbying staff in Washington, along with lobbyists in Harrisburg, Boston, New York and Wilmington, said it was affiliating with the American Continental Group, whose leadership includes David Urban, former chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Under the arrangement, Wolf Block Public Strategies and American Continental would share fees and client referrals, said Mark Alderman, chairman of Wolf Block, a 300-lawyer firm based in Center City. Wolf Block Public Strategies is the law firm's lobbying subsidiary.

The new alliance will include several high-profile players in Washington politics and policy. Alderman was a top fund-raiser for President-elect Barack Obama and one of his first prominent supporters in Pennsylvania, and Urban has many ties to Democratic and Republican moderates.

Urban's firm, which has nine registered lobbyists, includes Sheryl V. Cohen, a former chief of staff to Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D., Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The committee is playing a central role in the government response to ailing credit markets and the economic downturn.

"I absolutely believe that we would be doing something like this no matter who had won the election," Alderman said. "What this will do is link us in a formal way."

As the relationship evolves, Alderman said, the firms will review the possibility of a full-fledged merger.

Ever since the financial markets began tanking and the Bush administration responded with various aid packages, Washington has become a magnet for commercial interests seeking aid, information or both.

That has produced a windfall of business for lobbying firms that are capable of not only taking on big projects, but also referring clients internally to lawyers who can sort through the legal issues raised by the various bailout proposals.

Alderman and Urban said the hope is that clients who come to the affiliated firms for lobbying assistance will also seek their legal advice at Wolf Block.

Wolf Block's lobbying clients include Lockheed Martin and Bose. American Continental's clients include Disney and Ernst & Young, the global accounting and advisory firm.

"We have been off to a nice start there, but David is way further down the road," Alderman said.

Article written by Chris Mondics
published Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Philadelphia Inquirer
page D1 - Business Section

Friday, November 28, 2008


The Day After - Have A Happy Holiday Weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Classical


David Greilsammer, piano. Naïve V 5081; CD.

The idea of choosing piano works for a solo recording that explores the concept of fantasy may not seem all that original. But on this fascinating album the Israeli pianist David Greilsammer explores the concept in a program of striking diversity, exposing musical resonances among disparate works by composers from Bach and Brahms to Cage to Ligeti. Of course the concept would mean little were the performances not so brilliant and probing. Mr. Greilsammer, born in Jerusalem in 1977, is a formidable pianist.

He begins with one of the boldest fantasies ever written, the first part of Bach's ''Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue,'' playing just that rhapsodic and grimly agitated fantasy section. He then segues directly into the first of two recent ''Fantastrophes'' by Jonathan Keren, frenetically jazzy music that shifts between states of sublime mysticism and catastrophic wildness.

The surprising segues continue, as Mr. Greilsammer moves to Brahms's mellow Intermezzo in A minor from the Op. 116 Fantasies, then to the first three of Schoenberg's elusive Six Little Piano Pieces and Ligeti's fantastical ''Musica Ricercata'' (the sixth movement), in which Ligeti's jittery counterpoint harkens to Bach.

''The Presentiment,'' a hallucinogenic movement from Janacek's Sonata ''1.X.1905,'' which follows, proves an ideal setup for Cage's playfully exotic Sonata No. 5 for Prepared Piano. Mozart's stormy, episodic Fantasy in C minor (K. 475), which Mr. Greilsammer plays with arresting freedom yet crisp articulation, marks the halfway point in the program.

From there he circles back almost in a mirror reflection, through Cage, Janacek, Ligeti and so on, playing some of the missing movements and parts of works we have already heard incomplete, concluding with the fugue from the Bach piece. Somehow, in this context, and thanks to Mr. Greilsammer's dynamic performance, the imposing counterpoint of Bach's great fugue sounds fantastical.

Published: November 9, 2008
The New York Times
Arts & Leisure section, page 32

More Art Info via The NY Times:

Hirst Studio Hard Times

He might have sold more than $200 million in art at a two-day auction in London this year, but not even Damien Hirst, below, is immune to the effects of the ailing economy. The Guardian reported that several workers who make the pills for Mr. Hirst’s drug-cabinet artworks were told their contracts would not be renewed. A spokesman for Mr. Hirst’s company, Science Ltd., would not confirm for The Guardian how many jobs were shed but said, “We have to be mindful of the current economic climate and how this may affect us in the future.” In 2007 Mr. Hirst’s work “Lullaby Spring,” a cabinet filled with pills painted by hand sold for $14.4 million. But at an auction this month at Sotheby’s in New York, a minor Hirst work sold for well below its estimate while a second did not sell at all.

Compiled by Dave Itzkoff
Published: November 24, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Food For Thought

The Carnegie Legacy Will Be Lost In 4 Neighborhoods

Sure, Andrew Carnegie was a robber baron who built the formidable business empire that became U.S. Steel. But most Americans probably know him as the guy who went from town to town, scattering public libraries the way Johnny Appleseed planted trees.

His fortune, which was valued at $400 million when he died in 1919, paid for more than 2,500 branches. Carnegie was a staunch believer in meritocracy. He was convinced that anyone, no matter how poor, could be lifted up by knowledge, and he insisted that his libraries express that in their architecture.

If you're not met at the entrance by an impressive staircase and a mighty portal of classical columns, chances are the building isn't a Carnegie. In many neighborhoods, his libraries are still the most dignified buildings residents ever encounter. Walking through those heavy doors is the first step in the hard passage to a middle-class life.

Philadelphia, which created the nation's first public-library system, had the good fortune to receive 25 of Carnegie's libraries. But if Mayor Nutter goes through with his crisis plan to shrink the library system by 11 branches, the city will lose four representatives of its original Carnegie legacy.

What will happen to Carnegie's four temples of knowledge is anyone's guess. Some might be used for other city purposes. Some might be sold, assuming the Carnegie deed permits the transfer. But others could be left to sit vacant, transformed into temples of gloom, monuments to opportunities lost.

Statistics are the language of bureaucrats, not the language of real life. So while it is undeniable that Philadelphia supports more than its statistical share of branches, it is also true that it has a larger proportion of poor families than most big cities. Many of their kids go to public schools that have no libraries [and limited access to the internet].

Join the Friends of the Free Library's campaign to raise privately the $8 million needed to keep the 11 branches open. The effort echoes the Carnegie creed: He demanded that residents buy the land to qualify for one of his libraries. Of course, the Friends' effort is an Internet campaign -


You would think the mayor would welcome such citizen initiative. But a city spokesman told me that the Nutter administration intends to refuse the money. "We think a smaller city library system will be a stronger system," he explained.

Instead of finding fault in Philadelphia's large collection of neighborhood branches, the administration ought be crowing about being at the top of this particular statistical heap. You can bet Andrew Carnegie would be.

excerpt from
Cuts weren't in Carnegie's library plans by Inga Saffron
published Friday, November 21, 2008
The Philadelphia Inquirer
page E1


Fishtowners March To Save Their Library

Saturday, November 22, 2008



Lamb Sliders With Tzatziki

Makes 8-10 servings

For the tzatziki:

½ cup plain Greek-style yogurt

½ tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons grated cucumber

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the burgers:

1 1/3 pounds lean ground lamb

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and ground

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 to 10 small rolls of any kind, split

1. To make the tzatziki, in a small bowl combine the yogurt, garlic, cucumber, oil, juice, parsley, salt and black pepper. Set aside.

2. For the lamb burgers, in a large bowl, combine the lamb, garlic, fennel, parsley, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 8 to 10 small, thin patties.

3. Heat a large, cast-iron griddle over high heat and brush with oil. Add the lamb burgers and cook for about 2 minutes on each side for medium.

4. Lightly toast the rolls on the griddle, then sandwich a lamb burger in each and spread with tzatziki. Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 10): 318 calories, 14 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 20 grams fat, 63 milligrams cholesterol, 1,166 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

From Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun's in Atlanta in NBC Sunday Night
Football Cookbook (Time Inc., 2008)

This & Other Tailgating Recipes
published Thu, Nov. 13, 2008
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Friday, November 21, 2008

3-Card Marney & Another Cup Of Coffee

Without consumers to lead the charge, an economic recovery will be hard to achieve. And yet everyone agrees that we need to start saving more. So should I buy to stimulate the economy? Or should I save the money in order to “grow” the economy and provide for my own old age? I can’t do both.

This is the dilemma that 30 years of Reaganomics (the real Reaganomics — keeping the economy overstimulated with huge deficits and irresponsible [lending and] borrowing — not the fantasy Reaganomics of government run like a family and tax cuts that pay for themselves) has left us with. So what do we do? The nearest thing to an actual plan seems to be something like this: stimulate first, to avert various short-term disasters, and then — at some signal from the Treasury Department — turn around and start saving like mad, to avert various long-term disasters. In other words, we need to get back our consumer confidence, and then lose it again."

--Michael Kinsley
published Friday, November 14, 2008
The New York Times
page A33

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Date Rememberance

Allan Smithee Nov 15th, 2008 at 3:58 pm

This is silly and only sort of related but the “first date” I ever went on, was probably around 14 years old. The waiter came up and asked whether we would like cocktails. Being the man and seasoned pro I asked the waiter what kind of cocktails they had.

He responded by saying, “Sir, we have all kinds of cocktails.”

After some silent and mental deliberation I said, “in that case, I’ll have a shrimp cocktail.”

At that point, the waiter cracked a smile and realised we were both a little young to be drinking. Oh, yeah, they didn’t have shrimp cocktails.

comment from Readers Write: Best Shrimp Cocktail In Town?

Hot or Not? (*)

(*) Bad Pun - was feeling ill when photos & video were taken/made and might also have been running a fever, hence the question.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Update: Critics far from silent on library closings

Desperate to find revenue, the Nutter administration made the difficult choice to shutter 11 libraries and save $8 million.

The hope was that the remaining libraries, left to function unimpeded by further cuts, could still serve the city without too much inconvenience.

What city officials might not have calculated was the outrage fomented in communities that see the facilities as havens meant to protect and edify children, and as tiny oases of culture that improve life in worsening times.

Community protests already have begun, with more being contemplated.

If the plan holds, Philadelphia will be the only major U.S. city responding to the sickened economy by closing a large number of its library branches, a leading library authority says.

click here for complete article by Alfred Lubrano
published Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
The Philadelphia Inquirer
page A1

More History:

A Library Legend - The Fishtown Branch was saved once before.

This past Monday night, more than 100 people rallied outside the tiny Fishtown Library on Montgomery Avenue to show their support for the institution and to protest Mayor Nutter's recent announcement that, due to a budget shortfall, it and 10other neighborhood branches would be closed.

The library staff — clearly happy to see the support, but also rattled by the invasion — watched a little nervously as the crowd poured in and out of the small building to sign petitions.

Amid the throng sat an elderly man, plopped comfortably in a chair and chatting with people as they went by and paid polite respects.

"He's kind of like the patriarch of Fishtown," one woman explained to me.

The man, who is 84 years old (he adamantly refused to allow his name to be printed, saying he didn't want people in Fishtown to think his head had gotten big; let's call him Frank) had come out with his neighbors to support the library, of which he is a grateful patron.

"I like thrillers!" he declared. The possible closing of the library, he said, was "very distressing."

But living in the same neighborhood for more than 80 years lends a bit of perspective. And this, he explained, wasn't the first time the library had been in trouble.

"The last time it happened, there was a lady, Mrs. Stepnowski," Frank said, "who saved it."

click here for complete article by Isaiah Thompson
Published: Nov 12, 2008
Philadelphia City Paper

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11 Free Library Branches to be Closed...

and the buildings to be sold!



I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:

"Save Philadelphia Free Library Branches"

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.


The petition

We, the undersigned, demand that the City of Philadelphia stop the closure of 11 library branches and roll back the layoff of 36 branch library staff. We demand that the burden of the economic downturn not be placed on the backs of our children, elderly, students of all ages, unemployed or transitioning workers, or those on the wrong side of the digital divide. We demand that enough funding be allocated so that all Philadelphians have equal access to the informational and educational opportunities available only at our libraries.

Sign the petition

Note: This Blog entry and many others on Automotive Acne (Productions) were posted from the Free Library of Philadelphia. It is 7:20 p.m., Wednesday, November 12, 2008. The Port Richmond branch will close in approximately 29 minutes and reopen tomorrow at 10 a.m.


djlynnabraham Says:
November 12th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

"that petition site kind of sucks. please make sure that when you click “submit,” and are automagically taken to a page that asks for a monetary pledge of your support, that you understand that money going to the website — — and not to the libraries or a fund to help fight the closing of the libraries. the page does call out that a pledge would fund the site and not the cause, but it’s also a little misleading."

Mocking Bird & Bldg

Apartment Window - Port Richmond - Philadelphia

Abandoned Bldg
Port Richmond - Philadelphia
Clementine St./Emery St. off Richmond St.

Monday, November 10, 2008

No To Bipartisan Unity

"I've heard President-elect Obama call for a spirit of unity. Sorry. It's not going to happen. For years Democrats castigated President Bush mercilessly. The election has validated their campaign of vituperation. Republicans have learned the lesson. We will now give the new president the same treatment.
The values of 401(k)s and houses had better increase, but not inflation or joblessness. There had better be no domestic disturbances or terrorist attacks on our shores. Osama bin Laden must be caught or killed. We must win the war in Afghanistan. No excuses. Otherwise, we will call Obama a liar, an incompetent, evil and stupid and impugn his motives. So please, Democrats, no lectures. You had your chance to practice bipartisanship. You didn't."

Bill Hickey
Meadowbrook, Pa
Letter to the Editor
Philadelphia Inquirer
Monday, November 10, 2008
page A14

Editorial Cartoon by Bill Bramhall
published Monday, November 10, 2008
New York Daily News
page 27

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Allan Smithee Says:
November 4th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

First time to vote at my new place in Port Richmond (used to vote at the fire station in Chinatown) and had no problems. As a matter of fact, it was around 10:45 am and wasn’t even sure if I was at the polling place.

There was no line or crowds (literally). Just presented ID and walked into the booth and cast my vote for Obama/Biden. Took no more than 3-4 minutes."

via Philebrity

Monday, November 3, 2008

On This Date - Today's Highlights In History

Monday, November 03rd
The 308th day of 2008.
There are 58 days left in the year.

On Nov. 3, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide over Republican Alfred M. ''Alf'' Landon.

On Nov. 3, 1903, Walker Evans, the American photographer best known for his portrayal of America during the Great Depression, was born.

On this date in:

1839 - The first Opium War between China and Britain broke out.

1868 - Republican Ulysses S. Grant won the presidential election over Democrat Horatio Seymour.

1896 - Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan for the presidency.

1903 - Panama proclaimed its independence from Colombia.

1908 - Republican William Howard Taft was elected president, outpolling William Jennings Bryan.

1957 - The Soviet Union launched into orbit Sputnik 2, the second manmade satellite; a dog on board named Laika was sacrificed in the experiment.

1964 - President Lyndon B. Johnson soundly defeated Republican challenger Barry Goldwater to win a White House term in his own right.

1970 - Salvador Allende was inaugurated as president of Chile.

1986 - A Lebanese magazine broke the story of U.S. arms sales to Iran, a revelation that escalated into the Iran-Contra affair.

1992 - Democrat Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd president of the United States, defeating President George H.W. Bush.

1992 - Illinois Democrat Carol Moseley-Braun became the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

1994 - Susan Smith of Union, S.C., was arrested for drowning her two young sons, nine days after claiming the children had been abducted by a black man. (Smith is serving life in prison.)

1998 - Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota.

1999 - Aaron McKinney was convicted of murder in the beating of gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard. (McKinney and Russell Henderson are each serving life in prison for the 1998 slaying.)

2004 - Hamid Karzai was declared the winner of Afghanistan's first-ever presidential election.

2005 - Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, pleaded not guilty to a five-count felony indictment in the CIA leak case. (Libby was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison; President George W. Bush commuted his sentence.)

2006 - Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who had pleaded guilty in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation, resigned from Congress.

2007 - Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan.