Damn Its Cold

February 11, 2008


Remind me not to visit Minnesota any time soon.

The temperature in International Falls, Minnesota, fell to a record 40 below zero Monday, just a few days after the northern Minnesota town won a federal trademark making it officially the “Icebox of the Nation.”

Not that Philly wasn’t at least a little chilly today.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had a “Code Blue” alert in effect, sending outreach crews to coax homeless people into shelters. Monday’s low was 10 above zero.


Read More About the Cold Weather


Pittsburgh: Gay Vacation Destination, Since When?

January 24, 2008

I wanted to share some excerpts from “The Out Traveler: Andy Warhol’s Pittsburg” by H. William Bain

From the spring 2008 issue of The Out Traveler.

“I am from nowhere,” Andy Warhol was known to say when asked where he grew up. With these four words, he often gave the impression of a strained relationship with his hometown of Pittsburgh, the working-class city that fostered his talents as a child and gave rise to many of the themes that recurred throughout his work and defined his career.  Today, Pittsburgh stands as a paradigm of urban renewal, shedding its reputation as the Smoky City and officially claiming the title of “America’s Most Livable City.” In fact, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a haven for “gay nesting” among settled Eastern same-sex couples.

You’ll find Andy’s boyhood home (3252 Dawson St.) in Pittsburgh’s university section of Oakland. The humble brick house has been privately owned for many years, but plans are being made to restore the home to appear as it did during Warhol’s childhood and open it as private housing for art students. Throughout his childhood, Andy’s family attended Mass each week at St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church (506 Saline St.; 412-421-0243).

Visitors to Pittsburgh will find a majestic theater nearby at the Benedum Center (719 Liberty Ave.; 412-456-6666), built in 1927 and restored to its original splendor as Warhol would have seen it.

It was while studying in the commercial art program at Carnegie Institute of Technology that Warhol first began to develop his ideas about the relationship between capitalism and art. Now called Carnegie Mellon University (5000 Forbes Ave.; 412-268-2000), this Pittsburgh institution is recognized as one of the world’s top arts and technology schools. Carnegie Mellon also borders on Shadyside, a mainly residential area where many gay couples now settle. While Pittsburgh lacks a true gay area, one can find several gay bars here, and it’s not uncommon to see shops flying the Pride flag.

Not far from Carnegie Mellon, you will find the Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave.; 412-622-3131), which houses a number of Warhol’s works. Called the world’s first museum of modern art, it was envisioned as a showcase for the “Old Masters of tomorrow” by its founder, Andrew Carnegie, in 1895.

…the city is now ground zero for Warhol art, thanks to the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St.; 412-237-8300), one of the most extensive museums dedicated to a single artist in the world. Opened in 1994, it houses more than 12,000 of his works, including homoerotic drawings, portraits of gay icons, and films that explore the connection between voyeurism and desire, like Blow Job and My Hustler, as well as important documents, records, and source material. Together with the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way; 412-231-3169), an avant-garde art museum exhibiting room-size installations, the Warhol plays an integral part in the contemporary art scene touted by Pittsburgh’s urbane gay set.


Good Medicine, Bad Behavior

January 13, 2008

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You might be wondering where the “Good Medicine, Bad Behavior” exhibit is showing. The answer: the DEA Museum. Although it may just be my ignorance, but did anyone know there was a DEA Museum? Well I am going to a wedding in October that is in Virginia and my mom cut an ad out for this museum in case we want to go.  Hopefully we’ll check it out and then I will promptly fill you in on what exactly a DEA museum entails.

I feel like it was designed for pharmacy school field trips.

The ad reads:

“This interactive exhibit delves into prescription drug abuse and explores the history of drug abuse from period pharmacies to rogue internet pharmacies.”

DEA Museum

700 Army Navy Drive Pentagon City Arlingotn, VA 22202

www.deamuseum.org


Breaking News: Gay Money is Still Money

November 6, 2007

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The Wall Street has an interesting article on Las Vegas travel industry’s recent campaign to sway the gay tourists. It has been highly publicized lately that gay and lesbian travelers tend to come from higher income homes, travel more frequently, and spend more while on vacation.  It makes sense to me, my friends and I are in general gay (sorry scott) and if we can find two pennies to rub together we go on a trip.  We find a way to take at least one trip a year (usually multiple), even though we are full time students who make almost no money.  People want to tap into the booming “gay travel” market. Even my home city. Right here in the city of brotherly love (and I do mean in the gay way) we have expanding recognition of the gayborhood, print ads in gay publications, and a massive online campaign to encourage gay travelers to check out the historic Philadelphia area. (Plus we have casinos now so visit!).

What is interesting to me is Vegas always seemed a little gay.  It doesn’t really need to gay up its image.  There are 24 hour parties, strip clubs, gambling, and drinking.  It is essentially a circuit party with a lot of straight people.  The shows are outrageous, the performers are divas, and the drag is superb.  I went this summer for a few days with the family and still managed to see an adult lesbian vampire show.  I associated Vegas with wild bachleor parties, spring break, 21st birthdays, and gays.  But in reality there were tons of families and straight married couples when I was there.

I saw a sign in Paris (the hotel) for gay weddings when I was there, but really thought nothing of it.  But the article pointed out a lot of resorts are offering ceremony packages.  I think there would be some serious money if Nevada would legalize gay marriage.

What I look forward to even more than potential hotel deals and a stronger feeling of acceptance in Sin City, is the advertisements.  The early ads I have seen have been very coy with little hints as to the targeted market, not direct “GAYS COME HERE NOW” ads.  I think they are cute, but effective.  One was as simple as two manicured hands cutting a wedding cake, another featured a sink that had two men’s razors on it.  But as the money flows, the ads will get more brazen.  I want to see slutty, stripper filled gay ads.


America’s Favorite (and Least Favorite) Cities

October 10, 2007

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Travel and Leisure conducted a poll of travelers and residents of the things they like and dislike about 25 major urban destinations.  The results are interesting, check them out: Results.  Philly did well in some very predictable categories, such as, cheap eats, historical sites, good pizza, museums, antiques and farmer’s markets.  Philly did awful in things like style, vacation spot for adventures, cleanliness, and safety.  Why isn’t there a category for murals?  Here are a few categories.

Museum and galleries (I think the list would be different if Pittsburgh was one of the cities evaluated)

1. Washington

2. New York

3. Chicago, Illinois

Home design (I don’t really know what houses look like in charleston, but they must be pretty nice)

1. Chicago

2. Charleston, South Carolina

3. San Francisco, California

Intelligent (I was surprised Chicago, which thinks so highly of itself was notably absent in the top 3)

1. Seattle

2. Minneapolis/St. Paul

3. Boston

Farmers’ markets (Philly’s Italian market alone should have made it number 1 )

1. Seattle

2. Portland, Oregon

3. Philadelphia


A little Philly pride

September 28, 2007

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For you sporty kids, here is the story:Phillies.

I can hardly believe this is the same team I watched get crushed 12 to nothing by Colorado.  But the gist of the story, Phillies kicked ass, and Mets are just screwing up like crazy.  They are tied, I think there are three games left.  The Phillies need to win the division, how sick would it be if they were in the World Series.  That means more business and news for Philly.  A little positive press could do some serious help for our city.  Maybe people would associated Philadelphia with a winning sports team, not Killadelphia.  Come on boys.


Death from Smoochin’

September 28, 2007

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People shouldn’t cheat on each other.  Obviously it hurts your partner, it could lead to diseases, and usually results in the demise of your relationship.  But after reading a Chinese news article this morning, I have found there is even more incentive to stay faithful.  A Chinese woman who suspected her long time lover was cheating on her killed him.  But not a rage filled stabbing or a quick painless shooting.  How you may ask?  Rat poison.  Rat poison is a common method of suicide and murder in China.  Keep that in mind for travel to China if you get in a fight with the person making your dinner.  What makes is sick hot / twisted love is that she filled a pellet with the posion and told him to meet up with her at bath house.  Once she got him kissing, she slipped it out of her mouth into his.  The poor bastard swallowed it with no idea and died shortly afterward.

Take Home Message: Be careful who you kiss today.

Reuter Story


I meant to Pee on it, I swear

September 26, 2007

Those crazy inventive Asians are at it again. For those of you who are secretly water sport inclined, now you can have a alternative outlet for your zeal. (Aside from the toilet).

NoPoPo (Non-Pollution Power) Aqua Batteries are available in both AA and AAA form, although the company page shows they are producing the technology for all sizes of battery, and can only be currently purchased in Japan. The batteries can be recharged with various different fluids using the new development which forms electric power using liquid as a catalyst. The basic principle is that a mixture of magnesium and carbon reacts when mixed with a liquid to produce, in the case of the AA battery, up to 500 milliamp-hours (mAh) of life. Each time the battery is recharged it has a lower power level than the time before and the life cycle allows for about 3 to 5 recharges before disposing of the battery. Each battery can potentially keep its charge for up to 10 years which could be great for many life saving devices in remote locations. Since the battery does not contain mercury and other harmful materials, it can be easily disposed of without worry for the environment.

Story

While it sounds just weird/gross, I think they may be on to something. In the developed world it could add much needed levity (Imagine: Someone running around the house having to pee so bad, but wants to find the batteries first. Or someone who wants batteries for the remote or something, but just can’t force any out, so they go ask their neighbor.) In the developing world, it would provide an environmentally friendly renewable battery source.


One Laptop Per Child

September 24, 2007

“It’s an education project, not a laptop project.”   — Nicholas Negroponte

This morning while I was comfortably sitting at my computer before school saving a document to my flash drive to bring to the lab of computers at school, I thought how different life would be without computers.  I am sort of a tech geek so of course computers are important to my life, but almost everyone I know (even those people who are terrible with computer..cough…cough…Christina) uses a computer at least once  day.   The thought brought me back to one of my favorite topics: the One Laptop Per Child Project.

For those of you who don’t already know, the project is a global initiative to bring affordable (originally ~100$ but more like 180$) computers to developing nations.  The idea is that technology is the route to education and education is the route to equality.  From the project’s website (laptop.org) :

OLPC is not, at heart, a technology program, nor is the XO a product in any conventional sense of the word. OLPC is a non-profit organization providing a means to an end—an end that sees children in even the most remote regions of the globe being given the opportunity to tap into their own potential, to be exposed to a whole world of ideas, and to contribute to a more productive and saner world community.

So I scanned the news for the most recent update, and sure enough the project is proceeding forward and there is a new development.

OLPC has just launched OLPC USA: XO-1 laptop sales at $400 per computer in a ‘Give 1 Get 1′ program. A two-week programme from November 12 will enable the US and Canadian buyers to pay $399 for an XO laptop created for the third world – and for each one sold to them, another will be given for free to a child in a developing nation.


Flamingos in the News

September 19, 2007

I have not one, but two flamingo stories I came across while scanning the news.

First:

Animal expert Jack Hanna and an 11-month-old flamingo became trapped while trying to squeeze through an airport security turnstile in Ohio. It was one of those turnstiles that has horizontal bars all the way up it. Hanna said. “I never thought about the crate being square and the turnstile being round,” he said. Hanna, 60, pushed the flamingo’s 2-foot-by-3-foot compartment into the turnstile, then continued pushing while straddling the crate. That is when he noticed they were both stuck with bars in his face. He eventually squeezed out, but three firefighters needed to help remove the flamingo.

Source

Second:

You have to watch the video, but it is worth it. I’ll give you a hint: It involves a hypocritical moron with an odd face and no respect for rules messing up. It is a person who I just happen to strongly dislike