June has been an enormous month for this site.
We've not only surpassed 10,000 visitors but are now closing in on 11,000.
And we're attracting visitors from around the world: Canada, Mexico, England, France, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Philippines, Japan, Israel, and many other nations.
The traffic has been steady with peak period occurring mid-afternoon and midweek.
And some postings have generated significant numbers of comments.
Thank you for visiting. Continue to bookmark and link to our site and forward the address to others. We promise many new postings and fascinating information and observations every day!
Monday, June 30, 2008
June has been an enormous month for this site.
Posted by Dan Cirucci at 6:11 AM
Saturday, June 28, 2008
There's a new individual right in town, and it has nothing to do with ovaries or wire intercepts.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental right to own a handgun.
In a majority decision written by Justice Scalia and joined by Justices Alito, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas, the court held that "the most natural reading of 'keep arms' in the Second Amendment is to 'have weapons.' "
To read the rest of Christine Flowers' column from Friday's Philadelphia Daily News click here.
People come from all over to enjoy Weber's [Root Beer] Drive In.
Weber's is located in Pennsauken, New Jersey on Route 38 just over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge about five miles from Philadelphia.
The other day I found myself at Weber's where I enjoyed a hamburger, fries and a milk shake. You can have a nice meal (right at your car window) at Webers for about six or seven bucks.
But don't take my word for it. Read this review from a Brooklynite posted on yelp.com:
Weber's is a pretty cool place. I usually stop here for a couple of steamed dogs and a hamburger when I'm heading back from Philly to Brooklyn. The menu is limited to hot dogs, hamburgers, roast pork sandwiches, fries and the like. Their two big attractions are the drive-in service (like Arnold's in Happy Days) and the homemade root beer which has some nice spice. Now as a Brooklynite it's my natural duty to say that the dogs don't beat Gray's however for steamed dogs they're pretty good and the chopped raw onion sprinkled with some salt makes a world of difference. Service is impeccable. Everyone from the waitress to the grill people are polite and go out of their way to make you happy. Just pull in, flash your headlights a few times (if you want car service) and wallah [sic] your order is taken and delivered in minutes. My only complaints are that they don't serve onion rings, pickles and diet root beer. Not a deal killer but certainly a setback. You should also be aware that when driving on Route 38 Weber's comes up fast. Try and stay on the right side and go semi-slow. Weber's is seasonal. I believe they're open from April to October. Having lunch and being able to stretch and inhale the combination of hot dogs/fries, traffic on Rt 38 and the trees is a nice way to kill thirty or so minutes
Friday, June 27, 2008
From the Scalia opinion in Heller:
Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret Constitutional Rights in that way...the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding. (Scalia, page 8) . . .
Putting all of these textual operations together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in the case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. WE look to this because it has always been understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of this right and declares only that it "shall not be infringed." As we said in US v. Cruickshank..."this is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it dependent in any manner upon that document for its existence. The Second Amendment declares that it shall not be infringed..."
Undoubtedly, some think the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society in where our standing army is thr pride of our nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct."
Thursday, June 26, 2008
How long has it been since you've had Baked Alaska?
Do you even know what it is?
I remember baked Alaska being served decades ago at leading restaurants. It was much as described: a treat that was hot and cold at the same time.
But over the years baked Alaska has sort of disappeared.
Last night I attended a wonderful birthday party amidst spectacular surroundings where the honoree was feted with a birthday cake of baked Alaska. And it was every bit as good as I remember it.
The cake was appropriate for the 50-year-old birthday boy because in 1958 baked Alaska was still tres chic.
For those of you who don't know, baked Alaska consists of ice cream, cake and meringue. The meringue is usually warm and/or flambe. The outside of the treat is hot while the inside ice cream core is cold.
Somehow, even the name sounds wonderful!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The mainstream media, talk radio and the blogs are abuzz with speculation about Bill Clinton's barely-tepid support of the OH!man. Clinton issued a statement through a spokesperson saying of course he wants to see the OH!man elected and, of course he'll do whatever he can to help him get elected.
But that's it. No direct comment from Bubba himself. No rousing endorsement. No campaigning. Nothing.
Hey, Clinton doesn't have to do anything for anybody if he doesn't want to. President Clinton is the only Democrat since FDR to serve two terms as President. He's the only Democrat President since 1936 to be re-elected to a second term. You can say what you will about him (and I will note that he never received more than 50% of the presidential vote) but you cannot deny Bubba's political achievements.
Long before Obamamania, Clinton was a political sensation.
If I were Bubba, I'd let the OH!man wait and wait and wait for my full-fledged backing.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I was in Delaware yesterday and stopped to enjoy a Grotto pizza.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Carole Cirucci celebrated a Very Special Birthday at Philadelphia's legendary Palm restaurant yesterday and Senator Arlen Specter was among the guests who dropped by to wish Carole a happy birthday and many more to come. Looking over those assembled to fete Carole, Pennsylvania's senior U. S. Senator (and one of the Senate's most powerful and most respected members) said it was an honor to join the guests for a moment and convey his wishes to the honoree. The Senator was joined by longtime Montgomery County GOP Committeewoman Gayle Michael and more than a dozen other friends of the honoree for a "ladies who lunch" afternoon celebrating the finest lady of them all.
Friday, June 20, 2008
A Big Shout Out this morning to Philadel
phia Bar Associa
tion Chancellor-Elect Sayde Ladov who's developing plans for her Big Year as Chancellor of the nation's oldest chartered metropolitan bar association in 2009.
Sayde is huddling downashore ( presumably in Margate, NJ) with key bar staffers Ken Shear, Paul Kazaras and Mark Tarasiewicz to plan next year's agenda.
And those of us who know Sayde know she will inspire these three with her natural wit, charm and effervescent informality.
Sayde does everything in a Big Way but she always makes it a point to be irrepressibly inclusive. The result is that anyone who's involved with anything that Sayde undertakes winds up feeling very special indeed.
Let's put it this way: When you're around them, some people just seem to make the atmosphere sparkle. Sayde is one of those people.
Sayde, we wish we could be with you today but there are many more days between now and 1/1/09 and we'll catch up with you real soon!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Obama's been having a difficult time explaining the rights of Osama.
Obama doesn't think we should "make a martyr" of Osama but Obama admits that we will have to read Osama his Miranda rights. And Obama seems to think we should try Osama in a court of law, just like someone charged with any other crime. (You may remember that this is precisely the course of action followed by Clinton and you may also remember that September 11 followed.)
Obama says it's not that he doesn't want to nail Osama. It's just that Obama agrees with the screwy Supreme Court decision which would extend Habeus Corpus rights to Osama.
It took three Obama advisers chattering away on a conference call to try to delicately explain Obama's highly nuanced position on Osama.
On Tuesday, John Kerry (you remember him) and Richard Clarke offered a similar reading of Osama's rights.
Rudy Giuliani said he was "startled" by Kerry's acknowledgment that Bin Laden would be given Habeas rights at Guantanamo under last week's Supreme Court ruling.
Because Obama agrees with last week's decision and McCain does not, Giuliani said Kerry's remarks on behalf of Obama were a reminder of "what we would have in store for us if we have a Democratic presidency."
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
If you can find better cheese fries than the ones at Tony Lukes on Oregon Ave. near the stadiums in South Philadelphia will you please let me know. I stopped by Tony Luke's last night for a cheesesteak and fries and once again marvelled at those magnificent cheese fries. They are served crisp and piping hot. The waitress warns you: "They've VERY hot, hon - be careful!"
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Thanks goodness Stephen Sondheim (pictured) was given a special Tony Award the other night recognizing his lifetime of achievement in the theatre. And thank goodness he's still here with us to enjoy it. He is, quite simply, The Master!
John McCain will call today for the lifting of a ban on oil and natural gas explora
tion to help address the nation's "dangerous" dependence on foreign oil.
McCain says the United States has 21 billion barrels of proven oil reserves which are not being tapped because of a federal moratorium on exploration and production.
"I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use," he will say. "We can do this in ways that are consistent with sensible standards of environmental protection."
McCain is making energy independence and fighting climate change key components of his bid for the White House.
"Various oil ministers and investment firms have confidently informed us that soon we can expect to pay $200 for every barrel, and as much as $7 for every gallon of gas," he will say.
Cutting back on energy usage -- a key strategy of Europe's efforts to fight global warming -- was critical in the United States, McCain will say.
McCain describes U.S. energy security as a "dangerous situation" in his speech and calls for a reform of laws and regulations that govern the oil futures markets to make the rules more effective.
Gore finally endorsed Obama last night.
It must have been a wrenching decision for Gore.
After all, one musn't be hasty. These things must be thought through.
And I'm sure that lots of people were still holding their breaths waiting for the Big Announcement.
Anyway, here's Gore's statement from yesterday:
A few hours from now I will step on stage in Detroit, Michigan to announce my support for Senator Barack Obama. From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States.
Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges -- including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
You are listening to the music of the great Nino Rota, composer of all of the wonderful music for the films of Federico Fellini. This particular piece is from the Fellini masterpiece, Amarcord.
Rota's music is so rich, so lush, so entertwined with the films, the life, the incredible fantasies of Fellini.
The marriage of Rota's music and Fellini's films represented one of the great creative partnerships of our time. Rota's music has such tremendous range, moving from symphonic to whimsical to mysterious to outlandish, from somber to joyous, from uplifting to haunting. The music is like life itself - often unexpected and surprising by turns but always fascinating.
I return to this music again and again and it enriches me and invigorates me.
Get your hands on (or download) the complete CD of Nino Rota's music for the films of Fellini.
I promise: You won't be disappointed!
Posted by Dan Cirucci at 9:20 PM
Saturday, June 14, 2008
As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.
Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. We will keep them in our prayers.
Friday, June 13, 2008
And then he’d look your way and start to speak. The eyes, the hair, that smile, those teeth, the voice with its distinctive accent – in no time at all you found yourself cheering for him. This man seemed to be completely without hubris.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Yesterday, our op-ed entitled "What (really) happened" was the most-viewed piece in the Philadelphia Daily News opinion section. And this morning it remains the most viewed piece in that section. More people have read "What (really) happened" online than any other editorial, signed opinion or letter in the newspaper.
Thank you for making us Number One again!
Welcome to visitors from Elmhut, Sweden; Driffiled, York, UK; Bangkok, Thailand; Makatii, Rizal, Philippines and Vancouver, Toronto, Kitchener and Port Coquitlam, Canada. These are just a few of the visitors from all over the world who've logged in during the past few days.
And hello to our friends on every continent who have visited our site along with visitors from coast to coast and border to border in the United States. In fact, a special hello to the folks who have visited from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (one of our adopted "home states") and a big Shout Out to our old friends Ed and Merle Lundy who are once again perched in Jackson, Wyoming this summer!
Welcome, and keep visiting!
Posted by Dan Cirucci at 7:16 AM
Yes, we were at the McCain Town Hall Meeting at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. And yes, we had a great time.
We sat in the fourth row center so we were up-front view for the proceedings. Let's face it: McCain is a master of the Town Hall format and this is why the OH!man had been dragging his feet on the invitation to join McCain at Town Hall sessions across the country.
From the start we were impressed with the fact that there was no big buildup or fanfare for The Candidate Himself.
Instead, precisely at 11:30 AM McCain & Co. were announced and John and Cindy McCain walked right into the Town Hall "circle" with their guests and the session began.
Big Mac made news from the start when he said he doesn't agree that voters in Pennsylvania "cling to their religion and the Constitution because they are bitter. I am going to tell them that they have faith and they have trust and support the Constitution of the United States because they have optimism and hope and that is the strength of America."
And then McCain shifted to the economy. "Why in the world would anyone consider raising your taxes in difficult economic times? Sen. Obama wants to raise capital gains tax. My friends, there's a hundred million people who have some kind of investment that is affected by capital gains," he said. "Why would we want to take more of the people's money and send it to Washington to spend on a bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it?"
McCain was quick, crisp, human and engaging. He seems to thrive on the interaction with his audience.
Of course, I wish he had hit harder at Obama. But McCain & Co. have their own pace and their own plan and I'm reasonably confident they will know when and how to move against their locquacious opponent.
BTW: We saw lots of friends at the NCC including Joe Torcella, Laura Linton and Wally Zimolong, among others.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
When I hear the title of ex-White House press secretary Scott McClellan's book and think about the hypocritical behavior of people like McClellan and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, I want to ask, "What happened?"
What happened to loyalty?
What happened to any sense of traditional, ethical judgment?
What happened to the concept of serving others instead of serving yourself?
To read my entire column from today's Philadelphia Daily News click here.
I hate talking about the weather.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I'm always amazed at how the media participate in the destruction of one or another public figure and then ask: "What happened?" or "What went wrong?" - as if they had no part in it.
They love to see the mighty fall. And they certainly do play a role.
And this is what happened with Hillary Clinton. Once her enemies saw that she was vulnerable, that was the beginning of the end. As soon as they saw an opening, they began to move in for the kill.
Yes, she and her husband made their share of enemies over the years. But most of those enemies were cowards. They didn't have the guts to confront Bubba & Co. They patiently waited until their prey was weakened. Then, they began to set the stage for the destruction.
It was sad and pitiful to watch.
But now, what's even sadder - and sicker - is the hypocritical postmortem: Watching these same people pick at the corpse and ask "My, my, what happened here?"
They rise only to fall. Sadly, it sometimes seems that this is the one and only certainty of our media-saturated age.
Bravo to those who take a stand one way or another and fight the good fight.
Shame on those who lurk in the shadows, pretending to be friends or disinterested bystanders while at the same time participating in the kill.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Politicao says it's being billed as a sort of "Woodstock for rich people." It's the big Hollywood/Obama gala scheduled for the Disney Concert Hall in LA.
So call it Woodstock meets Hollywood meets Disney. Here's the deal:
Barack Obama will be welcomed back to Hollywood on June 24 for his first fundraiser in L.A. since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. The event is likely to draw the largest congregation of celebrities and local heavy-hitters attending a political event since late January, when Obama met with Sen. Hillary Clinton at their initial one-on-one debate at the Kodak Theatre.
That televised confrontation, which launched the final stretch of the long-fought Democratic nominating race, drew showbiz notables including Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pierce Brosnan, Stevie Wonder as well as a who's who of state and local representatives.
The upcoming fundraiser, held in downtown Los Angeles at the Music Center complex area, is expected to draw a crowd of more than a thousand well-wishers. Organized as a fete for the Democratic National Committee, the party designation means participants can contribute up to $28,500 as opposed to the $2,300 that donors are allowed to contribute to a specific candidate in the general election. Four years ago, then-candidate John Kerry held a similar event at the Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall that brought in $5 million, making it rank among the most successful political fundraisers in city history.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Last night we visited Philadelphia's University City Science Center where we explored "Odor Limits," the current exhibit at the Center's Esther M. Klein Art Gallery. This unusual tour and reception was sponsored by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, the Science Center and the Monell Chemical Senses Center.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
From John McCain:
Each American faces a decision this election and the choice between my candidacy and Senator Obama's could not be more clear. This is a change election. But the choice is between the right change and the wrong change; between going forward and going backward.The right change recognizes that many of the policies and institutions of our government have failed. The right kind of change will initiate widespread and innovative reforms in almost every area of government policy from energy to taxes to government spending and the military.The right change will stop impeding Americans from doing what they have always done, overcome obstacles and turn challenges into opportunities.
The wrong change looks not to the future, but to the past for solutions that have failed us before and will surely fail us again. Like others before him, my opponent seems to think government is the answer to every problem. That's not change we can believe in. I don't seek the presidency on the presumption I'm blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need. I seek the office with the humility of a man who cannot forget my country saved me.
Has there been any star before or since who has matched Lillian Gish?
I doubt it.
In D. W. Griffith's 1919 film Broken Blossoms Lillian Gish plays an abused daughter who lives in the slums of London with her father who's a renegade and a thug. To get away from her father, she (quite accidentally) takes up with a young Chinese merchant who teaches her the true meaning of love and tenderness.
Lillian Gish was 23 years old when she made this movie and she continued to work in motion pictures for another 68 years!
I watched this film last night as Turner Classic Movies featured an evening of Asian images in film. Several of the films (including this one) were from the silent era.
You cannot understand the movies until and unless you study the silents. This is where the language of film was written This is where techniques were developed. This is where and how actors learned to act for the camera. This is where the closeup was born.
All of the elements of film storytelling that we now take for granted were invented and developed during the silent era.
And, working with Griffith, Lillian Gish helped to write the language, develop the techniques and refine the movements, the gestures and, above all the look that would define what it means to be a movie star.
It was hard work - gruelling work that left little room for the sort of egos that get in the way of things nowadays..
Griffith and Gish understood the hard work of their infant business even if they didn't know that they were giving us a new art form.
Where would we be today without them?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
An untold story lies behind Hillary Clinton’s determination to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — the possible revelation of a shocking recording of rival Barack Obama’s wife Michelle.
That’s the word from longtime political analyst Roger J. Stone Jr., who writes on his The StoneZONE Web site that the recording purportedly documents Michelle Obama making racist comments in a speech.
According to Stone, Hillary aides are in a race with Republicans to get their hands on the offensive recording.
“On the heels of Michelle Obama’s quote that she ‘has never been proud of her country’ until now, the new controversy could turn the contest upside down, but it more likely” to benefit “John McCain than to boost Hillary Clinton to the nomination — if the alleged recording exists,” Stone writes.
He also asserts that Mark Penn, Clinton’s former chief campaign strategist, has told sources that the bombshell “could come this week.”
Note: Stone is the same guy who tipped people off to Eliot Spitzer's escapades. He's
Monday, June 2, 2008
The unexpected passing of Anne d'Harnoncourt represents an incalculable loss to the Philadelphia region and to the entire art world. The esteemed director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art put the Museum on the map and made Philadelphia a premier destination for art.
"Philadelphia has lost one of the greatest cultural leaders in its entire history," said David B. Brownlee, professor and chair of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. "Anne d'Harnoncourt transformed the Philadelphia Museum of Art in a way that modeled and contributed to the transformation of the city of Philadelphia. She attracted the best and brightest curators in the world, created with them an ideal collegial environment in which to work and charged them with the task of creating exhibitions and other programs that would change the city and speak to the world."
Among the women of style who wore his clothes were Catherine Deneuve, Paloma Picasso, Nan Kempner, Lauren Bacall, Marella Agnelli and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild. "
Sunday, June 1, 2008
John McCain has jumped to Hillary Clinton's defense while denouncing the words of Rev. Michael Pfleger.
McCain said,"I have known Senator Clinton for long time. I have always treated her with respect. I respect her and I think that kind of language and that kind of treatment of Senator Clinton is unwarranted, uncalled for and disgraceful.”
Last night a couple of gals who I am thisclose to went to see Sex And The City, the movie, and I went along with them.