Saturday, January 31, 2009

FYI (II) Port Richmond Library Closed Again


Richmond Branch
Closed - Saturday
January 31, 2009
Staff Shortage


Signage posted at said Library Branch


Library Plan Is Hard To Read

It's not clear how many days a week branches will remain open. Free Library Director Siobhan Reardon calls the situation "fluid."

article by Alfred Lubrano

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Keeping Score - A Case For Ray Guy Belonging In The Pro Football Hall of Fame

Published: January 24, 2009
The New York Times

The voting for the 2009 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will take place Saturday, and it will once again not include a candidate for the most underrepresented position in football —punter. The roster of immortals in Canton, Ohio, includes a player from each of the other 23 starting positions, offensive and defensive coaches, owners and administrators of every sort and even one supervisor of officials (Shorty Ray). But nary a pure punter graces the list.

This omission is doubly glaring when one considers the case of Ray Guy. Guy significantly improved what was already a championship-caliber franchise when he was drafted in the first round by the Oakland Raiders in 1973. His versatility and overall excellence were evident throughout his 14-year career, which included three Super Bowl championships with the Raiders.

Guy is one of only five eligible players who are not in the Hall despite having at least six consensus All-Pro nominations and nine over all. The other 45 made it. He is also one of only two players on the N.F.L.’s 75th anniversary All-Time team not in the Hall.

“We knew no matter what happened in a game, Guy would be able to pin the other team back,” Willie Brown, the Raiders’ Hall of Fame cornerback, said. “He had more of an impact on our team than Stenerud had on Kansas City,” Brown added, referring to Jan Stenerud, the only pure place-kicker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So why hasn’t Guy received the league’s ultimate individual honor? The primary impediment is a misperception of his statistical dominance. The Holy Grail of punting statistics is net average, and Guy’s highest season ranking was second.

This leads his detractors to say that Guy, the first punter to be drafted in the first round, was all hype, but that argument does not take into account that the league did not track all of the statistics necessary to calculate net-punting average during Guy’s first three seasons. His career started in 1973, but the N.F.L. did not keep a count of the number of touchbacks and punt-return yards gained against specific punters until 1976.

This hurts Guy because his first three years were his best. There is, however, a way to measure his dominance. Most teams use only one punter a year, so it is possible in most cases to generate a subtotal net average that subtracts punt-return yards out of a punter’s gross yards.

When the punting numbers from 1973 to 1975 are recalculated using this method, Guy’s statistical dominance becomes clear. He was second in this category with a 41.1-yard mark in 1973, an impressive showing for a rookie. But his real value was illustrated after the N.F.L. implemented a rule change before the 1974 season. Up to that point, everyone on the punt team could rush downfield to cover a kick immediately after the snap. The new rule limited that right to two gunners and forced all other blockers to stay behind the scrimmage line until the ball was kicked.

That change made hang time more important, and that is why Guy posted totals in 1974 and 1975 that gave him a Babe Ruth-like lead over the rest of the league.

These figures do not take into account touchbacks, but Guy had such a huge net-average lead in 1974 that were he to be given 13 touchbacks and all of his competitors none, he would have still led the league in net average. The situation was similar in 1975.

That illustrates his peak performance in net average. But he also fared well in net average in the other years of his career. Guy ranks fourth on the list of punters who played at least five seasons from 1976 to 1986.

The second complaint about Guy is that he was said to be the punting equivalent of a fastball pitcher in baseball — all power and no control. His detractors say that he led the league in touchbacks four times while leading the league only once in inside-the-20-yard-line punts.

But this approach fails to take into account that measuring in raw volumes does not put these statistics into a proper attempt-based context. Once again, take a look at how Guy fared against his competitors from 1976 to 1986. His No. 3 ranking here shows Guy was a master at short-range punting.

The other undervalued part of Guy’s statistics is how valuable his high hang times were in preventing punt returns.

The 1973-76 totals partly illustrate this, but Guy ranks third in the 1976-86 comparisons. Considering that he is being compared to punters who played as few as five seasons, his dominance is even more evident.

In the end, football coaches want three things from their punter — the ability to hit a long punt when the offense is caught deep in its own territory, to be able to pin the ball inside an opponent’s 20 and to give coverage teams time to get downfield.

Guy had a combination of these skills wholly unmatched among his peers. If that does not say Hall of Famer, what does?

K C Joyner is the author of “Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Letter To The Editor

Ancient Wisdom Amid Fiscal Chaos

Given the federal government's financial situation, I find this quote from Cicero in 63 B.C. to be quite appropriate:

"The budget should be balanced, and the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest we become bankrupt."

He was right on the money, and I feel that every member of our government should have a copy of this framed and hung in his office - and if he fails to act accordingly he should be made accountable and sent to federal prison. This situation must change, or Cicero's observation will surely come true.

Paul N. Kelly Sr.
Philadelphia, Pa.

published Jan. 16, 2009

Philadelphia Daily News


House Republicans urged to oppose stimulus bill

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders are urging their rank and file to oppose the economic stimulus bill heading for a vote on Wednesday, delivering their appeal hours before President Obama heads to the Capitol to seek bipartisan support.

Two officials say the top House Republican leaders — Rep. John Boehner and Eric Cantor — made the request.

In a gesture of bipartisanship, Obama on Monday urged Democrats to delete money from the bill for family planning funds for the low-income.

The House bill includes about $825 billion in tax cuts and spending. Republicans say much of the spending is wasteful and will not stimulate the economy.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is making good on his promise to hear from Republicans as he pushes for swift passage and bipartisan backing of his massive $825 billion plan intended to jolt the country out of recession.

The unanswered question: Whether the new Democratic president will actually listen to GOP concerns about the amount of spending and the tax approach — and modify his proposal accordingly.

With the economy worsening, Obama was making his first trip to Capitol Hill since his swearing-in last week for two private afternoon sessions Tuesday with House and Senate Republicans. A former Republican congressman who is a member of Obama's Cabinet, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, was accompanying the president.

"The goal is to seek their input. He wants to hear their ideas," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "If there are good ideas — and I think he assumes there will be — we will look at those ideas."

"I think the president is genuinely serious about this," Gibbs added.

The presidential spokesman would not, however, reveal what concessions Obama may be willing to make, if any, to demonstrate his seriousness about securing Republican support. Gibbs, however, noted that there already are tax provisions in the measure, mostly small business cuts, that are direct GOP suggestions to Obama and his economic team.

"We don't have pride of authorship. We understand that this is a process of give and take to produce what the president believes is the strongest plan to get the economy going again," Gibbs said.

In a sign that Obama may be willing to compromise, officials said the president made a personal appeal to House Democrats to jettison from the package family planning funds for low-income people. Republicans have criticized the provision as an example of wasteful spending that would neither create jobs nor otherwise improve the economy. A decision on the provision was expected Tuesday.

Ahead of the meetings, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Democrats for holding up progress on the bill.

"We're anxious to help him," the Kentucky Republican said of Obama. "Frankly, the biggest problem is with his own party, the Democratic Party, which seems to be drifting away from what he said he wanted, which is a package that is at least 40 percent tax cuts and earmark free."

"We think the country needs a stimulus," McConnell said on NBC's "Today" show. But he also said that he believes most people do not believe it will be accomplished through projects like "fixing up the mall."

Under the Obama team's watchful eye, the Democratic-controlled House and the Senate are in the midst of modifying the package that melds new government spending with a series of tax cuts. It seems to grow with every turn as it wends its way through Congress, and it's likely to be the largest single piece of legislation ever, once it ends up on Obama's desk. He wants it ready to sign by mid-February.

As Senate committees prepared to take up the measure and the full House got ready to vote on it this week, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis that found that Obama's plan would flow into the economy a little more slowly than he predicted.

At this point, two-thirds of the package consists of new spending on everything from unemployment aid to construction projects while the rest is tax cuts for both individuals and businesses. Republicans are griping that the price tag is too high because of nonessential spending and that the tax provisions are flawed.

Obama's meetings come as the Federal Reserve examines unconventional ways to lift the economy, and one day after several companies, including Sprint Nextel Corp., Home Depot Inc., and General Motors Corp., announced sweeping job cuts as they seek to remain solvent in an economic environment that worsens by the day amid turmoil in the financial, housing and credit sectors.

Given the gravity of the economic situation, the stimulus measure is widely expected to pass Congress with bipartisan support. The question is just how many Republicans will side with majority Democrats to pass it; House GOP leader John Boehner has said he couldn't support the measure in its current form and McConnell has been noncommittal.

Footnote: Editorial Cartoon by Tony Auth

Saturday, January 24, 2009

$20 Budget - Thursday, Jan. 22nd

* $0.90 - sm coffee (light/sweet)
* $4.76 - pack of Marlboro Reds (box)
* $0.50 - lighter
* $0.75 - newspaper (Philadelphia Inquirer)
* $0.75 - newspaper (Philadelphia Daily News)
* $6.00 - 3 pints of Kenzinger beer
* $2.00 - tip for barkeep
* $2.00 - Septa (#15 trolley) fare - didn't have a token


* $17.66 total

($2.34 remaining)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Conservatives & The Right... So Wrong In So Many Ways (Cont.)

Christine M. Flowers: My Big Fat Patriotic Promise

At the risk of sounding like I've been sucking on sour grapes for the past few days, let me say something that, for me at least, needs to be said:

We non-Obama voters shouldn't be bullied into supporting our new president.

Now that I've gotten your attention, allow me to explain.

It's become common since the election to hear people say "even if you didn't vote for him, even if you don't agree with his policies, we as Americans should all support Barack Obama." The implication: If we love this country, we want its leader to succeed. You know, the old "If we don't hang together, we shall all hang separately."

We all know how well that worked with George Bush, don't we? (In fact, haven't we had eight years of hearing that the highest form of patriotism is dissent?)

So it's one thing to wish President Obama well as a human being, to acknowledge the historic magnitude of his getting elected, to admire his sweet family and his mellifluent speaking voice and his prodigious brain.

But it's quite another to endorse his social, economic and national security policies if, in fact, you think they pose a serious threat to the fabric and essence of this country we all claim to love.

And that's where the bullying comes in. On Michael Smerconish's show earlier this week, a caller named "Ken" observed that anyone who didn't support this president had lost his grip, and pretty much accused critics of Obama as being unpatriotic.

Others have echoed those sentiments, reminding me of how exercised some critics of Sen. McCain were when conservatives accused them of being unpatriotic and dishonoring the military when they objected to his references to his POW days.

But regardless of who is doing the finger-wagging, it's pretty clear you can't tell someone to just shut up and get with the program if they actually don't like the program. Or if they think it's a blueprint for disaster. This is America, after all. Home of the Free. Land of the Critics.

So here is my promise to our new president. I will pray that he and his family continue to be happy and healthy. I'll assume that everything he does is undertaken in a good-faith effort to preserve, protect and defend these United States (even if the words got jumbled on Inauguration Day). I'll continue to honor the monumental significance of his elevation to the Oval Office, and be respectful of those who are uplifted by the words "President Barack Hussein Obama."

But I won't be pressured into being quiet when I see him straying off course, pushing this country in what I believe is the wrong direction. And if success means he'll challenge the fundamental nature of everything I believe in and cherish, I won't root for his success.

So I hope he fails in trying to force Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services. If he signs the Freedom of Choice Act as anticipated, it will severely limit the ability of those who oppose abortion on moral principles to avoid performing abortions themselves, or having to make referrals for the procedure. FOCA should actually be called "The Freedom to Impose My Choice on Others Act." I know Obama is an ardent abortion-rights advocate, but I hope he has the integrity to respect the religious beliefs of those who disagree with him.

And I hope he fails in intimidating employees to unionize. If Obama has his way, the Employee Freedom of Choice Act will become law, thereby eliminating the secret ballot (how un-American) that allows employees to decide whether they want to belong to a union.

Under EFCA, employees will be forced to publicly declare their vote. To replace the allegedly intimidating tactics of employers, we'll now be giving the same tactics to the unions. It would be sad and chilling if our new president condoned them.

And high on my wish list is that No. 44 fails in closing Guantanamo. It's become conventional to say it's a gulag and we have committed war crimes in its corridors. But just because the American Civil Liberties Union believes it, and just because a passel of liberal lawyers believe it's an embarrassment (with no definitive answer from the courts) doesn't mean it should be shut, particularly when no one has figured out what do with the "guests."

For eight years, many people insisted that they'd lost their country. They detested Bush, hated his politics and condemned his choices when they disagreed. Loudly.

Good for them. Now, it's my turn. God bless America.

Published Friday, Jan. 23, 2009
The Philadelphia Daily News
Page 21

Previous Column Comedy by C. Flowers:

As 43 Leaves The Stage . . .

Footnote: Editorial Cartoon by Tony Auth

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's Highlights in History

On The Cusp Of Change


On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

On Jan. 20, 1920, Federico Fellini , the Italian film director , was born.


On this date in:

1801 - John Marshall was appointed chief justice of the United States.

1841 - Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain.

1887 - The U.S. Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.

1896 - Comedian George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City.

1920 - Movie director Federico Fellini was born in Rimini, Italy.

1936 - Britain's King George V died.

1942 - Nazi officials arrived at a "final solution" that called for exterminating Europe's Jews, during a conference at Lake Wannsee in Berlin.

1961 - John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States.

1981 - Iran released 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days.

1986 - The United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

1986 - Britain and France announced plans to build the Channel Tunnel.

1987 - Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite disappeared in Beirut, Lebanon, while attempting to negotiate the release of Western hostages.

1989 - George H.W. Bush took the oath of office as the 41st U.S. president.

1993 - Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States.

1993 - Actress Audrey Hepburn died at age 63.

2001 - George W. Bush took the oath of office as the 43rd president of the United States.

2001 - Hundreds of thousands of protesting Filipinos forced President Joseph Estrada to step down; Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as the new president.

2004 - The Salvation Army announced it had received a $1.5 billion donation from the estate of Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc.

note: Hat-Tip to Phawker

Friday, January 16, 2009

Port Richmond Branch To Be Closed Saturday

The Port Richmond Branch of the Free Library System of Philadelphia will be closed Saturday, January 17th, due to library layoffs and a lack of staff.

New Free Library System Director Siobhan Reardon this past week imposed new staffing requirements.

In order for a library branch to operate and be open to the public, there must now be a minimum of four city-paid staff working at said location. Because of the recent cutbacks to staff at the Free Library, the security guard who normally works at the Port Richmond Branch has been transferred/relocated to the Independence Branch for the working day of Saturday, Jan. 17th.

Asked why the minimum number of staff change was being made, Sandy Horrocks, a spokeswoman for the Free Library, said, "We have a new director who is saying four is the minimum, and it should really be six workers." She did not elaborate.

Note: Port Richmond Branch is not one of the 11 branches Mayor Nutter tried to permanently close recently, an action which was denied and declared illegal by Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox. The City is appealing the ruling.

Excerpt from Judge Fox's written decision:

"The decision to close these eleven branch libraries is more than a response to a financial crisis; it changes the very foundation of our City. Two of the libraries scheduled to close, Haddinton and Holmesburg, will result in a reversion of the property back to the original grantor because of deed restrictions. No one questions the economic crisis which has rocked both the City and the Nation. However, we are a Nation of hope. A "crisis" evokes something temporary. Defendants argued there were more than enough libraries in Philadelphia. "Philadelphia has more libraries than any other city in the country." Our library system is more than a century old yet in three short months an economic crisis results in permanently closing eleven branches. This court does not envy the Mayor and the tough decisions he has had to make in this financial crisis. Yet, as this court is bound to follow the law, so is the Mayor. The permanent closing of neighborhood branch libraries is changing the very structure of the Free Library of Philadelphia and not just responding to a "financial crisis."

[Full Text Here]


When Port Richmond Branch Manager Joan Rachubinski was asked her opinion of Director Reardon new work rule decree she said, "I think it's a good idea."

When asked again, but in the context of Mayor Nutter's recent attempts at closure, and if the two "actions" were related Rachubinski replied "I'm not a mind reader," adding again "[but] I still think it [work staff decree] is a good idea."

Bell Curve Summary, A Quality-o-Life-o-Meter:

The Free Library is now requiring every branch have four workers, not three, before it can open for the day, which could lead to closures. "The rationale here is simple," says Director Siobhan Reardon. "You need one librarian to man the check-out counter, one to stack the books, one to watch the kids, and one to make it mathematically impossible for the city to keep all of our libraries open." Minus 3

The Free Library will display four banners designed by artist Alexander Calder previously thought to be lost. Dear Library. Sell the banners. Sincerely, Duh. Plus 2

The Inquirer's Marcia Gelbart calls the 9-foot photo of Nutter promoting recycling "Stalinesque." Then she calls a bug Kafka-esque. At the train station she tips the newspaper guy and says he's Hot-to-Trotsky-Wotsky. At home she pets her cat and calls him a Dostoyevsky-utie-pie. Even

Members of the SEPTA police force will assist D.C. transit cops during Barack Obama's inauguration. And the city braces for its next international embarrassment. Plus 1

A burglar broke into the nuns' residences at Holy Family University, stealing money and personal items. Next week: "Priest punches man in confessional." Minus 2

Nutter says he is quietly like by most Philadelphians. "It's just one of those thing you don't talk about," says the mayor. "Like picking your nose, or jerking off in a train." Even

SEPTA deems the first day of "the quiet car" program a success. "It was easy," say passengers, "because we were already quietly liking the mayor." Plus 3

Total Pluses: 6

Total Minuses: 5

Total for the Week: 1

Last Week's Total: 8

Note: Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Signe Wilkinson

Comic Book Crazy


Thursday, January 15, 2009

memo to self

When a cute girl an attractive woman tells you how much she loves Venice do not respond by telling her you're not a romantic, and that besides the Biennale and the Guggenheim Villa, you think Venice is a dirty and disgusting place not worth visiting.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Empty Frontier

There is much more nothing than something in the universe.

4% is baryonic matter, the stuff we call something. (Atomic Matter is the stuff that planets and people are made of)

22% is dark matter particles we cannot see. (Dark Matter is a mysterious form of matter not made of atoms or known particles)

74% of the universe is "nothing," or what physicists call dark energy. (Dark Energy is an even more enigmatic form of energy that is causing the universe's expansion to accelerate)

more science:

Climate change hits Mars

Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

more images: Postcards From Mars

note: hat-tips to Metro Newspaper

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Automotive Acne (Productions) vs Automotive Acne (Barely A Blog)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On This Date

Saturday, January 10th
The 010th day of 2009.
There are 355 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History

On Jan. 10, 1946, the first General Assembly of the United Nations convened in London.

On Jan. 10, 1910, Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova, one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century, was born.

On this date in:

1776 - Thomas Paine published the pamphlet "Common Sense."

1861 - Florida seceded from the Union.

1863 - London's Metropolitan, the world's first underground passenger railway, opened to the public.

1870 - John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.

1920 - The League of Nations was established as the Treaty of Versailles went into effect.

1957 - Harold Macmillan became prime minister of Great Britain following the resignation of Anthony Eden.

1964 - The Beatles' first album in the United States, "Introducing the Beatles," was released.

1967 - Republican Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts, the first black elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote, took his seat.

1971 - "Masterpiece Theatre" premiered on PBS.

1984 - The United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than a century.

2000 - America Online agreed to buy Time-Warner for $162 billion.

2003 - North Korea withdrew from a global treaty barring it from making nuclear weapons.

2005 - CBS issued a damning independent review of mistakes related to a "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President George W. Bush's National Guard service and fired three news executives and a producer for their "myopic zeal" in rushing it to air.

2006 - Iran resumed nuclear research two years after halting the work to avoid possible U.N. economic sanctions. The move was denounced by the United States and European governments.

2007 - President George W. Bush announced he would send 21,500 additional U.S. forces to Iraq in an effort to quell violence there.

2008 - The United States lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Iran over an incident in which Iranian speedboats harassed U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

MANNY'S Recipe

CHI-CHI'S Quick Meal

Breakfast Taco Bowls featuring SPAM


6 MANNY'S soft taco tortillas
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
12 large eggs
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded zesty Mexican cheese blend, divided
1 can (12 oz.) SPAM, diced _or_
1 (3 oz.) jar HORMEL'S real bacon bits
1 cup CHI-CHI'S medium salsa

Cooking Directions:

Place tortillas into 6 lightly greased (10-oz.) custard cups. Bake at 350 degree F. for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir together eggs, 1 1/4 cheese, and SPAM; add to skillet. Cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to set. Draw spatula across bottom of pan; continue to cook until eggs are cooked but still moist.

Spoon egg mixture evenly into tortilla bowls. Top with salsa and remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Note: HORMEL real bacon bits may be substituted for the SPAM in the recipe.

Perfect as a snack or a light meal

view more at

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winter Exhibitions - Institute of Contemporary Art

Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania
winter exhibitions


Opening Reception · thurs jan 15 @ 6-8pm · free and open to the public
Exhibition Walkthroughs · thurs jan 15 @ 5pm · members only · join on-site


Through June 21, 2009
Walkthrough with curators Ingrid Schaffner and Jenelle Porter

"Dirt on Delight" presents significant work in clay by 22 artists spanning four generations: Ann Agee, Robert Arneson, Kathy Butterly, Nicole Cherubini, Lucio Fontana, Viola Frey, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Jane Irish, Jeffry Mitchell, Ron Nagle, George Ohr, Ken Price, Sterling Ruby, Adrian Saxe, Beverly Semmes, Arlene Shechet, Rudolf Staffel, Paul Swenbeck, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Peter Voulkos, Beatrice Wood, and Betty Woodman. Ranging from modestly sized pots to large sculptures, these objects cross a spectrum of conventional delineations between fine art, craft, and outsider practices. Collectively they suggest that clay appeals to basic impulses, starting with the delight of building form, coupled with the anxiety of completion.


Through March 29, 2009
Walkthrough with artist Joshua Mosley and curator Jenelle Porter

Joshua Mosley named his most recent installation dread after photographer Eadweard Muybridge's motion study sequence of a dog titled "Dread" walking. Made over a two-year period, dread is composed of five bronze sculptures, and a six-minute, black-and-white, animated video that combines computer and stop-motion animation, as well as the artist's own music and dialogue. dread follows its protagonists, philosophers Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Blaise Pascal, on something of a nature walk. They encounter flora and fauna, and engage in conversation about existence, God, and nature; in the end, they encounter Dread.


Through March 29, 2009
Walkthrough with artist Anthony Campuzano and curator Kate Kraczon

Known for his use of found language, Philadelphia-based artist Anthony Campuzano activates texts from a variety of sources—newspaper headlines, Wikipedia entries, the covers of paperback novels, trivial cultural events, pop songs, common clichés—in drawings that couple intense color with the tangible presence of the artist's hand. Dubbing his practice "abstract journalism," Campuzano's work wavers between cynicism and celebration over the visual excesses of language. As sentences dip and dodge through his compositions, the act of reading alternately slows or quickens, sometimes lines are reread, sometimes skipped. Regardless of the route taken, the performance of the text becomes central.


Continues through December 6, 2009

Equally informed by television test band patterns, African textiles, Op art, and digital technology, Odili Donald Odita's vast multicolored wall paintings speak to a contemporary experience of dislocation and decenteredness. Third Space, a symphony of irregularly shaped, fractured planes in 115 shades of housepaint, takes full advantage of the Ramp's soaring, sloping architecture.

* Free admission to the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania for the public is sponsored by the Glenn R. Fuhrman (W87/WG88) Fund.

Visit online at

Monday, January 5, 2009

Update: Hear, hear: Judge Fox's Order - 09.01.05 Preliminary Injunction Adjudication

The decision to close these eleven branch libraries is more than a response to a financial crisis; it changes the very foundation of our City. Two of the libraries scheduled to close, Haddinton and Holmesburg, will result in a reversion of the property back to the original grantor because of deed restrictions. No one questions the economic crisis which has rocked both the City and the Nation. However, we are a Nation of hope. A "crisis" evokes something temporary. Defendants argued there were more than enough libraries in Philadelphia. "Philadelphia has more libraries than any other city in the country." Our library system is more than a century old yet in three short months an economic crisis results in permanently closing eleven branches. This court does not envy the Mayor and the tough decisions he has had to make in this financial crisis. Yet, as this court is bound to follow the law, so is the Mayor. The permanent closing of neighborhood branch libraries is changing the very structure of the Free Library of Philadelphia and not just responding to a "financial crisis."

[To view the whole order, click here]

information via: Young Philly Politics

Mayor Nutter Says Ruling Could Force More Layoffs

Urges Library Closings Be Reconsidered

Philadelphia Daily News

Mayor Nutter today will ask a Common Pleas judge to reconsider her ruling that the administration can't close 11 libraries without City Council approval.

Nutter, who had planned to close the branches Dec. 31 to help close a $1 billion budget gap over the next five years, said that keeping the branches open would mean reduced service across the library system.

"We only have a certain number of personnel to operate the 53 total branches, which will impact the level of service and continued service," Nutter said. "That will cause us to have to cut back service days and programmatic activity."

Nutter also said that if the city has to keep all the branches open, it likely would mean more layoffs.

Last Tuesday, Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox ruled in favor of seven library patrons and three Council members who sued Nutter, citing a 20-year-old ordinance requiring Council approval to close city buildings.

Fox is expected to provide a more-detailed written order today. Nutter said he wanted to get more information to the judge before that.

"I'm very concerned that we have one last opportunity to lay out in clear terms what this will mean systemwide," Nutter said. He said that after the order is issued, the city still may appeal to Commonwealth Court.

The library closings, along with plans to eliminate seven Fire Department companies, have emerged as the most controversial portions of Nutter's budget cuts.

Trying to reach out to opponents of the library closures, Nutter met Saturday with more than 75 members of the Friends of the Free Library to discuss the financial difficulty of keeping the libraries open.

"My administration wants to work in closer consort with the Friends groups," Nutter said. "I apologize to them for not having an opportunity for having more discussion [earlier.]"

Amy Dougherty, executive director of the Friends of the Free Library, said that library advocates have not been included in talks on how to manage the system with reduced finances. She said supporters would rather see the cuts spread evenly across the library branches.

Dougherty said Saturday's meeting with Nutter "was a different version of the same."

"He's going to continue, and thinks the right thing to do is to shutter 11 branches," she said. "Our members, including those from the 42 branches that are not being shuttered, do not think this is right or necessary."

Background Info:

Crisis A Stopper To Nutter's Year Of Successes

Great Expectations For Nutter Faded As The Financial Crisis Worsened

Mayor Nutter stood at the center of a hot and cramped room at the Kingsessing Recreation Center three weeks ago, repeatedly interrupted by hissing, booing and foot-stomping as he pleaded his case.

"This is the last thing I want to be doing," Nutter told the crowd of his decision to close 11 city libraries, seven fire companies, and 68 swimming pools.

Few seemed to hear him.

"Shame on you, Nutter!" one woman shouted. Another called out: "We voted you in - OK, we can vote you out!"

So much for the carefree, feel-good days of last January, when thousands of Philadelphians waited hours in a line that wrapped around City Hall to shake their new mayor's hand.

After taking office amid some of the greatest expectations for a mayor in recent memory, Michael Nutter ends his first year mired in the thankless work of managing Philadelphia's worst financial crisis in decades.

It is a crisis that has slowed and may ultimately threaten his ambitious plans for reform and renewal.

[Click Here For Complete Article by By Marcia Gelbart, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer]




Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Current Cookie Fortune

You are vigorous in words and action.

Daily Numbers: 2 4 3

Lotto Six #'s: 30 41 9 24 12 44