Things I don’t understand, Philadelphia edition:
- Why does Sonic even bother to advertise on TV in the Philly area, considering the drive-in restaurant chain doesn’t have a single location in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or New York? (In fact, the online Sonic restaurant locator doesn’t even list those states among its search options.)
- Why can’t US Airways do anything right? The baggage problems and labor shortages at Philadelphia International Airport are getting worse. US Airways has filed for bankruptcy twice in the last three years and has inconvenienced thousands of their customers over the last few months alone. And on the verge of being laid off, many US Airways employees simply call in sick! This company should be put out of its misery. Now.
- Why can’t the Philadelphia police department rely on its radio system? The latest outage only lasted for a few minutes, but that could have been the difference between life and death for someone in trouble. Plus, a system that costs $54 million should have backups, redundancies, and backups for the redundancies. In fact, at that price, the radio network should be able to remotely wash the cops’ squad cars, too.
- Why do people make such a fuss over the Mummers around here? Even to someone like me who grew up in the area, there’s something strange about a bunch of guys from South Philly who get dressed up in feathers and sequins and play annoying string-band songs on New Year’s Day. Those sights and sounds would just make my hangover feel worse — assuming that I could get up early enough to see the parade in person, that is.
[ No. 141 ]
Some readers seemed to enjoy the first installment of this rant, so here’s a second one for you:
Stop asking me, “You’re such a great guy — so why are you still single?” I’m not someone who gets offended easily, and I’m sure that question is meant to be a compliment, but it comes across as, “You seem like you should be dating someone — so what’s wrong with you?”
Stop using Web-based ads that obscure the entire screen when I happen to move the mouse pointer over them. Look, I understand that online advertising is here to stay, but it shouldn’t interfere with the page that I’m trying to read.
Stop calling me on behalf of my alma mater’s alumni association if you’re going to ask for a donation that is quadruple the amount that I gave last year. In other words, you’re telling me, “For every dollar that you’ve given in the past, now we want four.” Keep that up, and you won’t get a nickel from me — how’s that?
Stop saying “happy holidays” to relatives and close friends when you know they celebrate Christmas. It’s an appropriate catch-all phrase when you’re addressing a broad audience, but it sounds bland and overly cautious among loved ones. For some reason, the phrase “merry Christmas” has become more politically incorrect with each passing year, and I’m getting really tired of it.
You heard me. Just stop.
[ No. 140 ]
Observations from this past Friday:
- Funny and long overdue — printable “Shhh!” handouts (PDF link) as a convenient, discreet way to rebuke loud cell phone users in public places, courtesy of Coudal Partners and their fictitious organization, the Society for HandHeld Hushing (SHHH, naturally).
- Funny but really strange — a laser-printed label reading “Free Cowboy Hats,” taped to a toilet seat cover dispenser in a men’s restroom in a Center City office building. (I sincerely hope that no one actually tried one of them on.)
- Not funny at all — the driver coming from the opposite direction who drifted almost entirely into my lane on Route 252 late Friday night. The motorist was probably drunk or asleep at the wheel, and would have certainly ended my life in a head-on collision if I’d been coming around a curve. I was so angry that I considered making a U-turn to follow the car and get its license plate number, but decided that starting a high-speed chase would be equally stupid.
[ No. 139 ]
On Saturday, my friend Jen left me a message, saying that she had an extra ticket to the following day’s Eagles game, courtesy of one of her contacts through work. Having never visited Lincoln Financial Field since its opening last year, I jumped at the chance.
What a great first impression of the new place — the arena was beautiful, our seats in the club section were fantastic, the 50° weather at kickoff was incredibly mild for early December, and best of all, the Birds really came to play. Against the highly regarded Packers, the Eagles jumped out to a shocking 35–0 lead in the second quarter and cruised to a 47–17 blowout.
After clinching the NFC East last week and destroying Green Bay this week, the Eagles’ record now stands at 11–1. If you listen carefully, you can already hear fingers being crossed all over the Philadelphia area.
[ No. 138 ]
Returned to the North Star Bar in Philadelphia to see a Bob Mould performance for the first time in two years. As usual, his setlist included an eclectic mix of songs from his prolific Hüsker Dü, Sugar, and solo catalog:
- Wishing Well
- Hoover Dam
- See a Little Light
- Your Favorite Thing
- Lonely Afternoon
- Sinners and Their Repentances
- Hardly Getting Over It
- High Fidelity [new]
- Gauze of Friendship [new]
- Circles [new]
- Paralyzed [new]
- [new song]
- [new song]
- I Apologize
- The Act We Act
- Celebrated Summer
- If I Can’t Change Your Mind
- Makes No Sense at All
Bob played the first half of the set on his 12-string acoustic, then switched over to his blue Stratocaster for the remainder of the show. Six of the songs (some of which I remember from his show in 2002) were unreleased tracks that will likely appear on his next album, Body of Song, which is scheduled for release in July 2005. Bob jokingly referred to the new material as the “educational part of the evening,” and it all sounded terrific.
I’ve seen Bob play live several times over the last decade, and he sounded as good as ever — his strong vocals and blistering guitar work were truly impressive. Nice turnout at the North Star, too — the crowd was large and appreciative, and no one interrupted the quieter parts of the set.
I even had a chance to chat with Bob after the show, and complimented him on both the performance and his entertaining blog* — he was very friendly and gracious, as always. And even though I already own most of his CDs, I couldn’t resist picking up additional copies of his most recent work, especially since I could buy three autographed albums (Modulate, Long Playing Grooves, and the stellar, thunderous LiveDog98) for just $20!
Great night on the town. Already looking forward to Bob’s next show in Philly!
* Update: This very review is now linked from Bob’s site! Look for the “blogger’s review” link in the second paragraph of his posting on Dec. 6, 2004.
[ No. 137 ]
Exactly one year to the day that I finished the redesign of this site, I’ve completed an overhaul of the Archives section. All of my previous entries are now grouped by month, and each archive page contains a set of links that will allow you to navigate forward and backward with ease.
This process would have been much simpler, of course, if I had used a blogging service to automate the archives. But I still enjoy the process of building this site by hand and testing out some new coding tricks along the way, so monorailmike.com will remain a homegrown project for now. Regardless of all that techie stuff, you’ll probably find that it’s much easier to get around the site.
So, welcome to monorailmike.com, version 2.1 — and please let me know if you encounter any problems with the new setup.
[ No. 136 ]