Monday, June 30, 2008

Big Month For Us

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!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Welcomed New Right

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.

Retro Eatery Is Tops!

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
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

Bravo, Scalia!

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

Baked Alaska?

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.
Baked Alaska.
Somehow, even the name sounds wonderful!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bubba Snobs OH!man

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

Bravo, Grotto!

I was in Delaware yesterday and stopped to enjoy a Grotto pizza.
If you are a pizza aficionado (as I am) then you've gotta try Grotto's pizza.
Grotto boasts 15 Delaware locations and three Pennsylvania eateries. It's near impossible to travel anywhere in The First State without encountering Grotto. I first discovered this extraordinary pizza nearly 20 years ago while visiting the Delaware shore.
And the Grotto pizza that I ate yesterday is every bit as good as the one I first tasted so many years ago. The taste is consistently good.
Grotto's pizza is thin crusted and extra crispy.
Grotto Pizza was founded in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in 1960 by 17 year old Dominick Pulieri along with his brother-in-law Joe Paglianite and sister Mary Jean.
What makes Grotto pizza so special?
At Grotto, Pulieri explains, the cheese is laid down first, and then the sauce is added. At most other shops, he says, the sauce is put down first and then the cheese goes on top; that makes other pizzas look like they have more cheese when, in fact, they don't. Pulieri also points out that, as a quality measure, the cheese that Grotto uses is made to specifications at a Wisconsin cheese house. "It's a very controlled thing."
Although Grotto Pizza has expanded its menu and its size from that tiny pizza only take-out stand, Grotto Pizza continues to adhere to its philosophy of quality food and friendly hospitality. Even today, it’s not unusual to find Dominick stationed at the pizza table in one of the restaurants, making pizzas and serving customers with the same quality and care that has made Grotto Pizza a family tradition for more than 45 years.
Grotto is definately worth the trip.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Carole's Big Day!

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.
Special thanks to Aimee Cirucci for helping to put the event together and to Julie Duffy, Mary Barczak the incredible Palm staff and the Palm's amazing Arleen Weitz for making it happen.
Carole's Very Special Birthday was a Very Special Event!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hi, Sayde!

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

A Real Treasure

The longer one lives the more stuff one accumulates.
It you don't get rid of your stuff, it piles up.
Sooner of later you have to decide what to do with it.
I recently collected a whole bunch of my stuff and threw it out. After I started tossing the first few items, the rest was easy. Yes, I recycled whatever I could. I donated a lot to various non-profit and charitable groups and I sold a good deal of stuff at a couple of yard sales.
But there was still some stuff left over, stuff I couldn't part with.
So I decided to get a small storage unit for my stuff.
And I found something I never knew existed: a condo for stuff. Oh, I know there are large storage facilities all over the country. I've seen them before. But this is different. This is no collection of rinky-dink mini garages. This is Treasure Island.
Treasure Island is an enclosed, multi-story, brightly lit, gleaming, climate controlled condo for stuff. Treasure Island has its own welcoming lobby and convenient storage docks and its own spacious elevators. Stuff is stored away in a near-pristine atmosphere. There are small, medium and large condos for your stuff at Treasure Island. It's breathtaking.
It's no accident that Treasure Island is the fastest growing tri-state provider of self storage for the business, student and local markets.
When you finally get all your stuff together in its cozy new home and you roll down the bright metal door to your stuff condo, you'll feel better - and so will your stuff.
I recommend it!

Obama: Osama Has Rights

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

One Night In June

Here's another photo from that June evening in Camden 48 years ago when John F. Kennedy came to town to speak at a Democrat Party fund-raising dinner.
Like the others, this is a photo that I've never shown publically before.
Things were different in 1960. Kennedy did not have the nomination "wrapped up" by any means, even in June.
Only certain states had presidential primaries. Other states delegates and presidential preferences were determined largely by party bosses. In nearby Pennsylvania, power brokers such as Governor David Lawrence and Philly Democrat boss Bill Green pretty much controlled the delegation. Green leaned toward Kennedy but Lawrence still had to be convinced. So, nothing was certain. In Joisey things were as dumb as ever. Democrat Governor Robert B. Meyner was Joisey's choice as a "favorite son" and he held the delegation together so that it wouldn't be committed to any of the Democrat presidential candidates. In the end, Meyner waiting too long and the Kennedy bandwagon left Joisey in its wake. Once again, Joisey was forgotten and so too was Meyner.
There were plenty of Democrat presidential aspirants in 1960: Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, Symington and (though not undeclared and not "officially" campaigining) Stevenson.
In the end Johnson emerged as Kennedy's nearest challenger and Stevenson (with the help of the party's left wing) actually came closer to being nominated a third time than most people expected. But Kennedy prevailed and, you know the rest of the story.

Yo, Gimme Some Fries!

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!"
But you can't resist digging into them. The cheese whiz is sooo fresh n gooey and if folds over the fries (and slowly makes its way toward the bottom of the plate) in a sort of dreamy junkfood symphony.
Of course the cheese never really reaches the bottom of the plate because you've eaten it all up (along with the fries) before it gets there.
Incredibly, these fries never get soggy and they don't seem to stick together either. The fries and the cheese are in perfect harmony. Or, to quote Stephen Sondheim: "Parallel lines that meet side by side, by side . . ."
And as for that cheesesteak on fresh baked bread - well, I'll save that story for another time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tony: Do I Care?

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!
Beyond that, for the first time in many years I can honestly say I don't know which Broadway "musical" won the Tony this year - and I really don't care.
I know it was either Passing Strange or In The Heights.
But I'm not the least bit interested in either of them.
Why? Because they simply aren't Broadway musicals. They don't fit the definition of a Broadway musical anymore than Rent did when it won the Tony.
And, it's worth noting that Spring Awakening, last year's Tony winner, is not really a Broadway musical either. None of these shows are traditional Broadway musicals.
The only musicals of note this year were revivals: Gypsy and South Pacific. Both of these shows received their share of honors with South Pacific snagging best musical revival and Patti LuPone winning for the Mama Rose role in Gypsy.
Many people say Young Frankenstein is a lot of fun but I'm simply not a big Mel Brooks fan.
Broadway is drifting right now. It's in one of those funny, kooky periods when youth cult fads and aberrations suddenly come center stage and everyone tries to show how "hip" and "with it" they are.
I'm not buyin it.
BTW: I know that technically the title of the new production of South Pacific is Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific but I'm not buyin that either. The name of the show is South Pacific.

Big Mac: New Energy

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.

What Took So Long?

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

Bravo, Nino Rota!

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!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bush On Russert

Statement of President Bush on the death of Tim Russert:
Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him.
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

Getting Close, And Comparing

Here's another photo of JFK from that event in Camden nearly 50 years ago.
And the incredible thing is that we can still get as close to presidential candidates in 2008 as I got in 1960.
But now we have to arrive at the candidate's event hours beforehand and pass through tight security and then stand or sit and wait and wait and wait before we actually get to meet the candidate.
Still, that's exactly what I did the other day when I went to see John McCain in Philadelphia. As you can see, I managed to get very close to JFK in 1960 and I was equally as close to John McCain on Wednesday.
Is McCain another Kennedy? Well, like Kennedy McCain is a war hero. But no, McCain is not another Kennedy and neither is the other guy who's running.
But I'll leave that to Fran Coombs writing at Human Events:
For months now it seems everywhere you turn someone has been making comparisons between the senator from Illinois and John F. Kennedy. . . . Of course, Mr. Obama demurs if the comparison to Kennedy is raised, while his campaign milks it whenever possible. He’s even enlisted JFK’s premier wordsmith Ted Sorensen to work on his speeches.Here’s the catch: The late President Kennedy was far more conservative than the political party he represented is today. Just a look at the hawkish Cold War tone of his national security speeches during the 1960 campaign would cause a building-wide fainting spell at the Democratic Party’s national headquarters. So, like many historical figures, he has been twisted Gumby-like into an all-purpose, one-size-fits-all caricature to meet the needs of whoever is quoting him on a given day. Including his own family.
JFK’s most famous quotation, except perhaps his declaration at the then newly-built Berlin Wall that he was a jelly doughnut (“Ich bin ein Berliner”), came at the close of his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961. “Ask not what your country can do for you,” he told his fellow Americans that bitterly cold day. “Ask what you can do for your country.”
Now flash forward nearly 50 years from that historic date to the presidential campaign of 2008. The new Kennedy, Barack Obama -- and only to a slightly lesser degree his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain -- are already turning JFK’s inspiring quotation upside down, offering every kind of government prescription possible.
Photo of JFK copyright 2008 by Dan Cirucci

Another JFK?

The photo that you see here of John F. Kennedy is one of several that I took in June, 1960 at a Democrat Party dinner in Camden, New Jersey.
I've never shown any of these photos publicly before.
This is Kennedy much as we remember him, striking a contemplative pose that makes us wonder: Who is he, really? Why are we so drawn to him?
When I met him, I knew there was something different.
He didn’t seem full of himself like so many public figures. In fact, he seemed shy and awkward in the public spotlight. He’d lower his shoulders a bit and thrust his hands into the pockets of his suit jacket. He’d look away for a moment and appeared lost or detached, almost to the point where you wanted to help him.
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.
On that June evening 48 years ago all eyes were on Kennedy. I found many, including my father, referring to him as "another Roosevelt."
Now some people feel that the Democrat Party has found itself another Kennedy.
But I was there. I was with Kennedy. I heard him. I met him. I saw him.
And I can tell you this: In terms of charisma and stature and leadership the only man who came close to Kennedy in my lifetime has been Ronald Reagan.
Another JFK? I don't think so. Not now. Not this time around.
Photo: copyright 2008 Dan Cirucci

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Did It Again!

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!

Tout Le Monde!

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!

Big Mac In Philly

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

What Happened?

'What Happened."
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.

Dress Lightly

I hate talking about the weather.
It's really a stupid, boring topic. And there's not much we can do about it anyway.
Plus, you've probably already figured out that I pretty much don't believe in either global warming or climate change Phooey!
But yesterday in Philly the temperature hit 97 and it tied a record, hon! Cheez, it was hot! Felt more like Vegas than Pil'elphia. Know what I mean?
We're expected to get some relief today but it's still hot.
Well, the local TV weathercasters (and Philly has about 357 of 'em) have been yappin and squawkin 'bout the weather like a buncha tropical birds.
Hey, it's not like there aren't places to cool off. For example, I escaped it all by taking a brisk midday walk through the Mall - very comfortable and refreshing, thank you.
And on Monday, a group of us known as the Anne Klein Senior [PR] Counselors Alliance enjoyed a wonderful luncheon/discussion program within the very cool confines of Maggiano's Little Italy. No, I'm not talkin bout that Anne Klein. I'm talking about the legendary PR guru Anne Sceia Klein who founded the Anne Klein Communications Group which is part of Pinnacle worldwide, an international corporation of independent public relations firms with offices in more than 60 major cities throughout the world. Gerry Klein, John Moscatelli and Mike Gross (all of Anne Klein Group) presided over the discussion. Participants included seasoned PR experts (and trusted friends) Susan Baltake and Shirley Bonnem, among others. The temperature was right, the food was good and the compnay was right.
Besides, I learn so much from my colleagues in the profession that no matter how hot the weather, an afternoon with them is always kewel.

Monday, June 9, 2008

An Original

This year will mark the 45th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy.
While doing a bit of spring cleaning in my attic I found this pennant from the 1961 Inauguration of JFK.
It's a bit faded but it is an authentic original. Look at those red felt streamers on the end.
I checked with an appraiser and found that it is worth about $12.
That seems to be what it will garner on the open market.
Obviously, I have no intention of selling it.
It takes up very little room and I continue to treasure it.

Blood In The Water

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

Hollywood Meets Woodstock

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

Magic Milestone!

Thank you 10,000 times for helping us reach this thrilling new milestone! Keep spreading the word, keep visiting and keep urging others to visit.

Just Released!

The Democrats said it best!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Odor Limits

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.
Odor Limits is a multimedia exhibition that examines the potential of smell to redefine aesthetic experience. The exhibit is presented through a collaboration between University City’s Science Center and Monell Center and showcases four international artists whose work demonstrates how scent can prompt thought-provoking insights into cultural differences, environmentalism, personal identity, spirituality and the philosophy of the body.
Curated by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer, Odor Limits features works by artists Oswaldo Maciá, Jenny Marketou, Chrysanne Stathacos (art work pictured) and Clara Ursitti.
This is not your typical art exhibit. Rather, it is a sensory experience involving sight, smell and touch. Some of the scents which are part of these works of art were easy for me to identify while others were not. I'm not going to give away the scents that are featured. That's for you to discover when you visit Odor Limits, as I hope you will.
BTW: The Odor Limits cell phone tour allows you to hear the curators and participating artists discuss the exhibition and the artworks, as well as listen to scientific commentary from several Monell olfactory scientists.
The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 to 5 at the Science Center at 36th and Market Sts.
Special thanks to Bill Cowen and Metrospective Communications for doing such a fine job of promoting this exhibition which runs through June 28.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Right Change

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

Michelle Tape This Week?

From Newsmax:
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

A Towering Presence

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.
Anne d'Harnoncourt was art royalty.
But she never acted like royalty. She was warm, engaging, welcoming - down to earth. She had such a magnificent sense of herself and she was living proof that one woman with vision, determination and a keen understanding of the world can accomplish almost anything.
Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a friend and colleague for decades said "There's no question that she was one of the very few people at the very summit to whom all museum directors and curators would look up and consult. She was a very big influence on the international museum group that meets every year. She was just someone who made a difference wherever she went."
"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."
I was proud to know Anne d'Harnoncourt and wrote about her recently on this blog.
To listen to my podcast interview with Anne d'Harnoncourt click here.


He lived in the world of haute couture.
But his real significance came in the way he influenced everyday dress: the clothes we wear, the colors we choose, the patterns we find acceptable, the styles we come to accept.
According to the New York Times: "he was largely responsible for changing the way modern women dress, putting them into pants both day and night, into peacoats and safari jackets, into 'le smoking' (as the French call a man’s tuxedo jacket), and into leopard prints, trench coats and, for a time in the 1970’s, peasant-inspired clothing in rich fabrics."
Through his laser-like focus on fashion he helped to created a new definition and he changed the way we look at the world.
Again, according to the Times, he "often sought inspiration on the streets, bringing the Parisian beatnik style to couture runways and adapting the sailors’ peacoats he found in Army-Navy stores in New York into jackets that found their way into fashionable women’s wardrobes around the world. His glamorous evening clothes were often adorned with appliqués and beadwork inspired by artists like Picasso, Miró and Matisse. .
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. "
Of course, he also lent his name to menswear and to fragrances, linens and home goods. But it was women's clothing that remained the essence of his work and the definition of his art.
He was Yves Saint Laurent and his name was synonymous with a time when fashion actually meant something - when it was more than a fleeting fantasy.
His death yesterday at the age of 71 is a mere footnote to his enduing legacy: his enormous body of work and his boundless influence. He was one of those people who fused life and work in such a way that the words Bigger Than Life immediately came to mind when you thought of him.
And so he remains: Bigger Than Life!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Big Mac Defends Hillary

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.
To begin with, I've never seen the TV show of the same name.
It was never something that attracted my interest, Besides, I don't subscribe to HBO. Frankly, I think HBO is a total waste: sensationalistic, endlessly huckstered and overrated.
Still, like everyone else I was familiar with the SATC characters. How could I not be? They've been virtually unavoidable for years now. And I was curious to see what all the commotion was about.
Anyway, this flick is basically a two-hour plus estrogen festival.
For about 150 minutes is goes like this: talk, talk, talk, fashion, fashion, feelings, feelings, talk, talk about feeling, talk about fashion, talk, feelings, feelings, [sex] fashion, talk, talk, talk, feelings, feelings, fashion, talk, talk, talk about feelings, fashion, fashion, [sex] talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
I'm always suspicious of a movie that contains lots of narration. This is usually a sure sign of a bad script. The endless narration here (by the Sarah Jessica Parker character) is terminally tedious. Sarah herself is a strange looking gal. You wonder how she came to be this sort of modern-day icon. She's not really pretty and some might say not even attractive.
There is little or no character development in this movie and even less of a plot. Nothing much really happens except a group of women friends travel in and out of each other's lives, try on clothes, talk a lot and (once in a great moon) actually have sex with guys they don't seem to like very much. It's all very shallow.
One might say that this movie will teach you that: 1) Men need women more than women need men; and 2) Women support and nurture one another better than men do. But, hey - I already understood both of these facts and I also understand that this is why women will almost always outlive men. I needed no lesson in this.
Bottom line: Women really are the stronger sex. Don't forget it, guys!