Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cobra Found At Bronx Zoo, Resting Comfortably

Breath a deep sigh of relief.
That deadly, poisonous cobra that's been missing from the Bronx Zoo has been found,
The cobra had  evaded zoo workers for six days.
The zoo's director said today that  "we had to give her a chance to feel secure and comfortable so she would come out."
And that's exactly what the cobra did.
The zoo conducted extensive sweeping searches throughout its Reptile House several times a day before finding the snake. Reportedly, the zoo has not changed any protocol since the cobra went missing.
The building will reopen and the cobra will be put on exhibit once officials are sure she is healthy.
Note -- the cobra does not have a name but the zoo is now considering having a naming contest to name her.

Mary Pat Christie Shines Light On Autism

Shining a light on autism, New Jersey's First Lady Mary Pat Christie announced today that historic Drumthwacket (The Governor's mansion) will Light It Up Blue for the entire month of April in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a new initiative undertaken by Mrs. Christie. Throughout the month of April, she will be highlighting the innovative work being done by organizations in New Jersey to serve people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and to bring greater understanding of the developmental disability.
“New Jersey outpaces other states when it comes to children diagnosed with autism,” said Mrs. Christie. “As more families become affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, it’s important to show our support by promoting increased awareness of the issue.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a broad group of disorders that vary from mild to severe and are characterized by difficulty with social interaction, communication, severely limited interests and repetitive behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is estimated that autism occurs in 1 out of every 110 births nationwide. In New Jersey, the prevalence rate is reported to be 1 in 94.
Prominent buildings across the United States and North America, including the Empire State Building, are participating in the Light It Up Blue campaign and will turn their lights blue on April 1 to promote autism awareness as well as on April 2 to commemorate World Autism Day.
More information about autism can be found at and

HUGE CHANGES: New Ways To View This Blog!

You can now view the Dan Cirucci blog in exciting new ways.
In fact, you can customize this blog to your own particular tastes and priorities.
Five new dynamic templates are available.
And to see them, all you have to do is type "/view" at the end of the URL above.
So, it's
When you do this, the blog morphs into an interactive mode much like the Flipboard app for the iPad.
You can transform the design of the blog anytime you want using these five new templates.

Flipcard - A series of squares and images arranged in a colorful, engaging, grid format.

Mosaic - A less structured, more involved pattern that looks almost like a newspaper.

Sidebar - A more strictly organized pattern with a story list on the left side.

Snapshot - Tumbled photos stressing images over words.

Timeslide - A three-columned date format.

So now, you can have the Dan Cirucci blog your way.
It's all part of the new Blogger. And it's just the beginning of many more exciting changes to come.
Try it -- and give us your feedback.

Cherry Hill Aims To Slash Trash Costs

Cherry Hill has joined forces with Gloucester Township, Voorhees and Merchantville with the hope of slashing the cost of trash disposal, Mayor Bernie Platt announced Thursday.

It’s the Township’s latest effort to streamline municipal services while saving significant taxpayer money.

The four towns – in partnership with the Cherry Hill Fire Department and Board of Education – are going out to the marketplace in the coming weeks in search of a new contract for trash-disposal services.

“Together, our towns account for nearly one-third of Camden County’s total population and total single-family homes,” Mayor Bernie Platt said. “Our towns span nearly 60 square miles; we serve almost 171,000 residents, and 61,400 households. That’s a lot of business – and we’re here to send a message: If you want that business, you’d better bring down our costs.”

Under the current pricing structure, Cherry Hill pays about $1.3 million in incinerator fees each year to dispose of approximately 23,000 tons of solid waste. Platt estimated that this deal could reduce that dollar amount by up to $250,000.

Officials said they hope to begin realizing that savings this summer.

Platt noted that this partnership is the largest of its kind undertaken in South Jersey – and is among the largest in the state. In terms of the number of households served, it trumps even a similar partnership announced late last year involving the Township’s trash-collection contract. In that case, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township and Merchantville, saw a combined cost-reduction of nearly $3 million; some $2 million in savings went to Cherry Hill alone.

Platt cited this new partnership as just the latest example of Cherry Hill working with other government agencies to share services and streamline costs. The Township has other existing shared service agreements with Merchantville, Haddonfield, Gloucester Township, the Cherry Hill Schools and Fire Department, and Camden County.

“It’s been said many times: Government simply cannot continue operating under the old way of doing business,” Platt said. “We need to work together and share our resources to cut our operational costs.”

He added: “In that regard, I don’t believe in just ‘talking the talk.’ As a municipality, we need to also ‘walk that walk’ – and I think Cherry Hill and our partners have continually set the bar high in that regard.”

Trump Questions Obama's Birthplace - Again!

Does Anderson Cooper Have A Death Wish?

Does Anderson Cooper have a penchant for danger?
Does he like to place himself at risk?
Might he even have a death wish?
Well, I've read Cooper's Dispatches From The Edge which is subtitled "A Memoir Of War, Disasters and Survival."
The book jumps back and forth between Cooper's stories of his own life and his coverage of the world's hot spots including Sri Lanka, Iraq, Sarajevo, Somalia, Rwanda and New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. To all of these we can now add radioactive Japan.
This boyish-looking CNN News anchor and heir to the Vanderbilt fortune has seen a lot of life -- from the untimely death of his father Wyatt Cooper, to his brother's tragic and dramatic suicide to his own brushes with death in war zones.
Cooper writes in a short, quick stacatto style. Here's how he describes images of his time in Africa: "Amputations. Executions. Empty beds. Shuttered stores. Crippled kids. Wild-eyesd gunmen. Stripped-down corpses. Crashed cars. Mass graves. Hand-made tombstones. Scattered ammo. Half-starved dogs. Sniper warnings posted like billboards . . . Desert. Mountain. Rice paddy. Field. Farmers bent over . . "
There's a breathless quality to Cooper's writing. What comes through is a restlessness tinged with sadness and a scary need for new thrills. 
But on the air Cooper seems calm, detached, super-cool. You wonder about his prematurely gray hair, his quizzical squint and the way he purses his lips. You watch and listen and you want him to smile more, to seem more at ease.
The latest: Cooper and his crew were forced to flee the area near the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after explosions brought the radiation levels in the area to dangerous rates. On Monday night Cooper said that, due to the change of circumstance, he had to cancel part of his show:
Yo, Anderson: You're an anchor. Get it? Get back to the anchor's desk.
Anyway, here's an observation from Cooper's book that's worth repeating: "In disasters, in war, it isn't government that helps people, at least not early on. It's individuals: policemen, doctors, strangers, people who stand up when others sit down."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Video: Twin Baby Boys Talk Their Own Language

These adorable twin boys who to have their own language have taken the internet by storm.
Psychologists and doctors who've studied these things say it's not unusual for identical twins to have their own verbal code -- their own spontaneous language -- known only to them.
These two certainly seem to be having an in-depth discussion about their day -- or, whatever. It's highly animated as well. It comes complete with hand gestures and what appears to be a passionate certainty about whatever it is they're saying and/or arguing about.
And, this much we know: You won't find a computer program  (or app) that can translate this language.
That's refreshing!

Sen. Allen Backs Christie On Early Release Program

New Jersey Senator Diane Allen (R- Burlington/Camden), prime sponsor of legislation to repeal New Jersey's mandatory early release statute, issued this statement following Governor Christie's announcement that he has inserted repeal language into his conditional veto of S-2308:
"The Governor's action provides an additional path to repeal New Jersey's early release law, and I am pleased that he has put his full support behind this effort. With two homicides already committed by inmates released under the program, repealing this misguided policy should be priority number one for the Legislature. A growing chorus of law enforcement professionals has joined my call for ending New Jersey's early release program because it is a threat to public safety, and I encourage Legislative leaders to join our cause by scheduling a vote on repeal at the earliest possible date."
Early release is publicly opposed by the Burlington County Sheriff, the Camden County Prosecutor, and three unions representing New Jersey Corrections Officers: the N.J. Law Enforcement Supervisors Association, the N.J. Superior Officers Association and the N.J. Law Enforcement Commanding Officers Association.

Christie: Repeal Mandatory Early Release Of Prisoners

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today took action to protect the public safety of New Jerseyans and provide needed reform to state law governing New Jersey’s Parole Board with a conditional veto of Senate Bill 2308.
As written, S-2308 would have increased the cycle from every 3 years to every 10 years of mandatory parole review, rather than address the fundamental problems that have stemmed from statutorily-mandated parole review, including the impact on crime victims and their families and the failure to consider inmates’ rehabilitative progress in granting a parole review. This policy shift, enacted during the final days of the Corzine Administration, overturned 30 years of successful practice of the Parole Board utilizing its own discretion, experience and judgment in parole consideration.
Governor Christie wrote, “For more than thirty years, the Parole Board relied on its institutional experience and reasoned discretion to determine when inmates would be considered for parole. This common-sense standard balanced the administrative needs of the corrections system with the rehabilitative goals of incarceration, and allowed the Parole Board to devote its limited resources to consideration of appropriate cases. While I commend the sponsors for their attempt to provide relief to the victims of crimes through this amendment, this approach does not provide sufficient reform. Requiring automatic parole hearings at any interval not set by the State Parole Board, and not based on the Board’s judgment of the facts of each offender’s case, perpetuates a system that values bureaucracy over rehabilitation at the expense of innocent victims.”
By removing the Parole Board’s discretion to determine the inmates suitable for parole, P.L.2009, c.330 strips away the authority of the entity charged with perhaps the most sensitive and personalized determination in our criminal justice system: whether a person has earned the right to rejoin society before the conclusion of his court-ordered sentence. Governor Christie’s conditional veto restores the State Parole Board’s authority to make these decisions.
Furthermore, Governor Christie’s conditional veto also makes additional changes to P.L.2009, c.330, providing for the full repeal of the mandatory early release provisions found in Section 8 of the law. Governor Christie cited the effect of the mandatory early release in endangering public safety through the release of prisoners who have either been denied parole or opted to avoid parole supervision entirely by “maxing out” their sentences. The danger of this law to the public is real and has already been tragically demonstrated with the murders of two individuals, allegedly by two inmates released under the mandatory provisions of Section 8.

“Whatever original policy or principle motivated passage of this law, it failed to adequately consider the safety of the public. In recent months we have seen the horrific consequences of the early release law, which is why we must not wait any longer to take action and change it,” said Governor Christie.

Shame On Georgetown University!

From the Cardinal Newman Society: The Wall Street Journal reported that President Barack Obama will deliver a speech on energy security at Georgetown University on Wednesday.
Many Catholics were outraged in 2009 after Obama delivered a speech in Georgetown’s Gaston Hall because the University complied with a White House request and covered over the monogram “IHS” which is an ancient symbols for the name of Jesus Christ.
It will be worth noting whether or not Georgetown opts to cover over any sacred symbols tomorrow.
Also, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stipulated in 2004, that “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

Christie: Let's Rein In State's 'Shadow Government'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday took the next step to bring accountability and oversight to the so-called “independent” authorities, boards and commissions that constitute New Jersey’s shadow government by proposing comprehensive reform legislation for the Legislature’s consideration. Since taking office, Governor Christie has aggressively policed the activities of those entities where veto authority exists, including vetoing meeting minutes 21 times. The Governor has also acted to remove commissioners at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners and the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, where malfeasance and inappropriate conduct were uncovered. Extending veto authority to entities lacking gubernatorial oversight will allow the Governor’s Administration to prevent these types of abuses before they occur, ensure public funds are being appropriately used and that ethical standards are followed.

The “Shadow Government Reform” legislation extends gubernatorial veto authority and additional oversight tools to the Governor’s Office and State Comptroller, establishing and/or enhancing Governor Christie’s ability to police the actions of designated multi-jurisdictional, regional entities throughout the state, such as water, sewer and environmental authorities that span multiple counties; county and regional utility authorities; entities with publicly documented waste, fraud or abuse of public resources; and entities with critical responsibilities that currently lack oversight of their operations, spending and budgeting.

“The writing is on the wall for New Jersey’s shadow government – the abuse stops now. These entities that for too long have engaged in conduct without oversight, often at the public’s expense, and with a blind eye from members of both political parties, will no longer be able to operate with impunity. With this legislation, my Administration will be better equipped to continue putting the best interest of the public first by cracking down on waste, impropriety and business-as-usual at these entities, where nobody is watching what is going on,” said Governor Christie. “The abuse that defies good government and the public’s trust and resources is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It is a New Jersey problem that the people sent me here to fix. I urge the Legislature to side with the taxpaying, rate paying and toll paying public, rather than the entrenched interests, and quickly take action to end this shadow government’s defiance of standards of good government.”

Extending or expanding the Governor’s veto authority is necessary to prevent waste, abuse and unethical conduct before it occurs and rein in the practices of authorities that have continuously flouted Governor Christie’s insistence on a high-level of accountability in their conduct. The legislation put forward by Governor Christie yesterday will establish or enhance oversight and accountability at the designated entities through the following mechanisms:

· Provide gubernatorial oversight through veto within a 15-day window and mandatory service of agendas and minutes upon Governor’s Authorities Unit request;

· Expressly provide that board members will serve without compensation;

· Provide the Governor with authority to remove a member of the governing body of a regional authority for cause;

· Require financial disclosure statements from the members of the governing bodies of each regional authority;

· Expressly define entities as “regional authorities” so that they will be subject to other forms of state oversight, including Executive Orders and ethics requirements;

· Explicitly grant the state Comptroller the authority to inquire into the financials of the regional authorities; and

· Subject all “regional authorities” to the New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law administered by the State Ethics Commission;

Following is an illustrative list of the authorities, boards and commissions addressed in the legislation:

Cape-Atlantic Soil Conservation District
Cumberland-Salem Soil Conservation District
Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission
Freehold Soil Conservation District
Hudson-Essex & Passaic Soil Conservation District
Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority
Joint Meeting of Essex and Union
Lake Hopatcong Commission
Landis Sewerage Authority
Middlesex County Utilities Authority
Morris County Utilities Authority
Musconetcong Sewerage Authority
New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
North Jersey District Water Supply Commission
Ocean County Utilities Authority
Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority
Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners
Passaic Valley Water Commission
Pequannock River Basin Regional Sewerage Authority
Pequannock-Lincoln Park Fairfield Sewerage Authority
Plainfield Regional Sewerage Authority
Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority
Somerset-Union Soil Conservation District
State Soil Conservation Committee
Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority

Is China Ready To Dump The Dollar?

There's an ominous story out of China.
A story that does not bode well for the dollar.
And if the dollar falls as the international currency standard, America will face economic calamity the likes of which it has not seen.
Here's an excerpt of a revealing story from Yahoo News and Reuters: 
Dollar dominance is sowing the seeds of financial turmoil, and the solution is to promote new reserve currencies, a Chinese government economist said in a paper published on the eve of a G20 meeting about how to reform the global monetary system. Although not an official policy statement, the paper by Xu Hongcai, a department deputy director at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, offered a window onto the domestic pressures bearing on Beijing to move away from a dollar-centric global economy. . . .
Xu's paper, "Reform of the international monetary system under the G20 framework," was published in Chinese on the center's website this week (
"Nations around the world have no way of restricting dollar issuance by the Federal Reserve. The current international monetary system lacks both stability and fairness," Xu wrote.
This bears close watching.
Click here for more.

Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans!

March 30, 2011: Because we didn't do it properly the first time.... Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans!
Today is Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
If you know a 'Nam vet, tell him or her that you're grateful for their sacrifice.
We hope and pray future generations remember your treatment and never repeat those mistakes again.
By all means hate war....but please always love your warriors.

World's Cutest Dog Faces Reality

Sometimes, it's really hard gettin over that midweek hump, y'know?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Natalie Portman Shopping This PM In Philly

If there's a Hollywood star in town you can bet that our favorite gossip columnist Dan Gross at the Philadelphia Daily News is gonna know about it.
Here's an excerpt from Dan:
Natalie Portman shopped at Joan Shepp (1616 Walnut) Tuesday afternoon. The pregnant Oscar-winner is in town with fiance Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed her in "Black Swan," and who is now working with the Pennsylvania Ballet on "Building on Balanchine."
Click here to read more.

Media Overhear Schumer Scheming With Dems

Everyone knows that New York Senator Charles Schumer loves to get media face time.
But of course that requires staying "on message." And when you share your face time (or instruct others in carrying out their face time) it also requires synchronizing the words and the message.
It requires discipline and repetition.
After all, that's the essence of propaganda.
And Schumer and his Democrat colleagues in Congress are nothing if not propagandists.
Anyway, it now appears as if Schummer's been caught in the act and the Washington Examiner has a fine story about it.
Here's an excerpt:
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic Senate leadership, got on a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning without realizing the reporters were already listening in. Schumer thought he was on a private line with four Democratic senators who were to talk with reporters about the current budget stalemate.
Schumer instructed the group, made up of Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, to tell reporters that the GOP is refusing to negotiate.
He told the group to make sure they label the GOP spending cuts as "extreme."
"I always use extreme, Schumer said. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use."
Someone must have finally told Schumer that the media were listening and he stopped talking midsentence.
Click here to read more on the Schumer synchronization stunt.

Christie Praises Authority For Ending Freebies

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today issued the following statement welcoming the action taken yesterday by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) to come into compliance with his September 16, 2010 directive to abolish the practice of providing free E-Z Pass trips that are not available to the general public:   
“The granting of free passage to authority Commissioners, officers, employees or retirees, simply by virtue of their current or former employment, sends the wrong message to the toll paying public and represents yet another type of abuse common in New Jersey’s ‘shadow government.’ I’m pleased that the DRJTBC has joined the other entities in receipt of my directive and acted to come into compliance with my demand that these inappropriate perks be brought to an end. My Administration will continue to take a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the abuse and misuse of public resources, and continue to insist on accountability and ethical conduct in the conduct of all authority, board and commission business.”   
Since taking office, Governor Christie has worked aggressively to rein in the waste, abuse and misuse of public funds and resources at so-called “independent” authorities, boards, commissions and bi-state agencies in New Jersey. The action taken by the DRJTBC brings it into line with similar prohibitions on the use of E-Z Pass and other free passage called for by Governor Christie and implemented by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Delaware River Port Authority, and the Delaware River and Bay Authority.
On September 16, 2010, Governor Christie issued letters to each of those agencies demanding that they move to eliminate the use of E-Z Pass perks at toll payer expense. Those letters and the accompanying press release are available here.

Philly: Sayde Ladov For CP Court Judge!

Every two years, people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vote for qualified judges to fill vacancies on the bench. 
On May 17, Philadelphians will have an opportunity to select as many as 10 new judges to serve on the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia. 
Sayde Ladov is running for one of those positions.
We know Sayde and we can tell you this: There is no one running for this position this year who is more qualified, more committed, more sensitive to the needs of the people of Philadelphia or more worthy of election to this office. Sayde  will make a great judge because she is a great person -- and an accomplished lawyer and litigator.
Simply stated, Sayde has litigated matters in all divisions (Civil Trial, Family, Orphans and Criminal) of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.  As a result of her vast and varied experience, Sayde believes that it is critical for all litigants to come before a fair, competent, and impartial judge who can ably preside over a trial and truly make it a search for the truth, which is then correctly applied to the law
In short, Sayde has strived over a 30 year career to make sure that the playing field remains level for all litigants regardless of race, religion, gender, and economic status.
Learn more about Sayde by exploring this website by clicking here. 
If you have further questions, you can reach out to her campaign by clicking here..
Tell your friends and neighbors. Get involved. Help put Sayde Ladov on the Common Pleas Court.

This Month's Hottest Stories

Here are this month's most-read stories. 
If you haven't caught up with these, click on 'em now!

Sep 6, 2010, 1 comment
 843 Pageviews

Feb 28, 2011
 454 Pageviews

Nov 28, 2010, 1 comment
 451 Pageviews

Mar 3, 2011
 218 Pageviews

Mar 12, 2011, 3 comments
 206 Pageviews

Mar 20, 2011
 196 Pageviews

Mar 27, 2011
 156 Pageviews

Mar 3, 2011
 151 Pageviews

Jul 27, 2009, 3 comments
 132 Pageviews

Mar 3, 2011, 1 comment
 130 Pageviews

Stigall: Philly's Bright New Morning Star!

When The Big Talker, WPHT 1210 AM radio in Philadelphia overhauled its talk lineup at the beginning of the new year, I was skeptical. And, I'm still sorry they dropped Sean Hannity in the late afternoon.
Nonetheless. I've always been a fan of Dom Giordano and was happy to see him move into the mid-morning spot. Dom's doing a great job. And thank goodness that Rush Limbaugh still reigns supreme from 12 to 3 weekdays.
But the happiest change of all is the addition of Chris Stigall at morning drive time.
The Chis Stigall Show is the brightest, wittiest, most engaging addition to Philly radio in many years.
Chis is not only genuinely funny but he's also incisive and clever. He picks up on stories and developments that you might not expect. Neither doctrinaire nor needlessly verbose, he never takes himself too seriously. He doesn't shout and he doesn't pontificate.
And here's the best thing of all: Chris doesn't spend the whole show talking about himself. Rather, he talks about the things that people really care about and he puts stories in perspective with insight and good humor. What's more, he really works at making his listeners an active, vital part of the program.
I'm impressed with the way that Chris (who came here from Kansas City) has immersed himself in The Philly Way -- the unique culture and environment of Philadelphia. He's really done his homework and he seems genuinely happy -- delighted, even -- to be here. He's uniquely qualified to tell us what a great town we have here and he doesn't hesitate to do so. But he's also got the common-sense midwestern bona fides to tell us when we're just not getting it.

Chris studied comedy writing and television production as an intern with Late Show with David Letterman in New York. His diverse background also found Chris taking two years away from the microphone to work as a representative and press assistant to U.S. Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06).
Chris has been a contributor to CNN and serves as a guest host for the country’s top talk show hosts including Senator Fred Thompson, Michael Savage, and Lou Dobbs.
This guy's got a bright future and we are lucky to have him here in Philadelphia.
BTW: The one-two punch of Chris and Dom in the AM appears to be a perfect match -- the newcomer followed by the consummate "Philly guy". The two hosts banter easily and seem to get along well. It's dynamite.

Monday, March 28, 2011

'Penny From Blackwood' Asks; Christie Answers

Poll: Pick Your Favorite Elizabeth Taylor Film

From 1942 when she first appeared on the screen in There's One Born Every Minute through her last film role in The Flinstones in 1994 Elizabeth Taylor appeared in 50 feature films.
Through six decades she was a compelling screen presence.
But what is your very favorite Elizabeth Taylor film of all time?
Maybe you enjoyed Elizabeth Taylor as a young girl in Courage of Lassie, Life With Father or National Velvet.
Maybe you liked Elizabeth Taylor the ingenue in Father of the Bride or it's sequel Father's Little Dividend.
Or maybe the lusty, seductive Elizabeth Taylor in A Place In The Sun or Elephant Walk or Giant appealed to you.
Then there were the bountiful glory years with Raintree County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, and Butterfield 8.
How about the Richard Burton years with Cleopatra, The VIPs, The Sandpiper, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Taming of the Shrew?
There are so many to choose from.
But what if you could only pick one.
What is your favorite Elizabeth Taylor movie of all time?
Make your selection in our poll at the top of this page.
We've listed some of her best films in chronological order.
Now, you choose your favorite. Go to it!

Christie Vetoes UEZ Authority $$$ Excesses

Governor Chris Christie today exercised his veto authority to guard against potentially wasteful or unnecessary spending by partially rejecting the minutes of the March 9 meeting of the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority in connection with $45,700 in promotional and entertainment-related expenses for the Long Branch UEZ.
Long Branch requested the use of $135,800 in UEZ funds to support concerts, special events and marketing initiatives. Governor Christie noted in his veto letter that, while much of the Long Branch project fulfills laudable goals of attracting and promoting businesses within the UEZ, the project budget also contains $45,700 in unnecessary spending in a time demanding fiscal restraint.
“Such expenditures contradict my stated goals of fiscal prudence and are not critical to furthering the goals of the Long Branch Project,” the Governor said in his veto letter. “For these reasons, I am compelled to veto the action which approved the Long Branch UEZ Marketing and Business Development Project 2011.”
Among the expenditures included in the $45,700 in spending vetoed by the Governor:

· $14,000 for promotional items at “conventions, expositions and conferences,” including such things as pads, pens, notebooks, flashlights, key chains, tee shirts, letter openers, sanitizer, Frisbees and other promotional items.

· $15,750 for “videography services” for recording “major car shows, cruise nights and concerts.”

· $15,000 for the “layout, production, printing, mailing and postage of a “UEZ City Calendar.”

· $700 for “refreshments such as donuts and coffee.”

· $250 committed to “travel,” for unspecified individuals, to include “tolls, parking and gas.”

Italians Insist: Even Everyday Objects Must Be 'Bella!'

In his book That Fine Italian Hand author Paul Hofmann has observed that Italy  "must be taken on the Italians' own terms. It is essentially the product of a smiling nature and the keen minds and skilled hands of the Italians who . . . created an artistic patrimony without paragon on earth."
Hoffman further extols "the multiform tactile skills of the Italians. their versatility and mastery in shaping, carving, crafting, refining, drawing, styling, painting, and lettering."
Nowhere is the artistry and heritage of the fine Italian hand more evident than at the exhibit Aessi: Ethical and Radical at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through April 10.
Alessi: Ethical and Radical presents Alberto Alessi’s achievements since the 1970s in producing functional designs of exceptional quality by collaborating with leading architects and designers, including Ron Arad, the Campana Brothers, Achille Castiglioni, Michael Graves, Greg Lynn, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, and Robert Venturi. Different from any other modern manufacturer, Alessi has offered its collaborators absolute creative freedom and technical support in a series of radical, experimental projects, whether or not the results could ever be brought to production. Alessi: Ethical and Radical includes objects, drawings, videos, and photographs that demonstrate the company’s unique approach to design and unique way of working with its designers.
Alessi is widely regarded as the world’s most innovative and influential manufacturer of household objects that blur the boundaries between industry and art. The family-owned and operated company was founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi near Lake Orta in the foothills of the Italian Alps, an area known for highly developed craft traditions in wood and metal. In the 1950s, under the leadership of Carlo Alessi, Giovanni’s son, the company began to commission products from outside designers, and it was through this strategy that Carlo’s eldest son, Alberto Alessi, brought the company to the forefront of international design.
Remember: This wonderful exhibition runs through April 10 only.
We urge you to rush over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the wonders of that fine Italian hand via Alessi before this show closes. You will not be disappointed!
Photos copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

Will Japan Sell Off US Debt Holdings?

The Washington Times has a warning about America's $14 trillion (and growing!) debt.
And the warning is ominous.
It goes like this: Japan may sell off some of its US debt holdings. If that happens, it could spell the beginning of financial calamity in America.
Here's an excerpt from this fine story:
Some lawmakers and market analysts are expressing rising concerns that a demand for capital by earthquake-ravaged Japan could lead it to sell off some of its huge holdings of U.S.-issued debt, leaving the federal government in an even tighter financial pinch. . . .
“This natural disaster in Japan concerns me that it could speed up what’s coming, because they are the second leading buyer of our debt,” Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, told The Washington Times. “Small degrees of differences in how much they buy of our debt, I think, can make a big difference in interest rates that we have to pay people to buy our debt.”
With the federal government having piled up $14.2 trillion in debt, budget experts are warning that the country is on an unsustainable fiscal path.
Click here to read more.

Have We Eaten Our Last Krimpets?

We all know the song. Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake. And if this trend of financial insolvency continues, no one will.

From Joseph N. DiStefano's Philly Deals blog:

Shares of Tasty Baking Co., maker of Tastykakes, slipped to a 28-year low today after the Philadelphia snack bakery told the SEC in this filing late Friday that "the Company is unable to file" its 2010 annual report on schedule because it's busy trying to sell the firm.

In January the company said it had made deals with its banks, state agencies, landlord Liberty Property Trust, and other creditors to delay payments while it looks for a buyer to take over the company or some other "possible strategic and financial option."

That followed the failure of Tasty's new state-subsidized South Philadelphia bakery to meet initial sales targets; higher ingredient costs; and the bankruptcy of A&P, a major supermarket customer. The creditors gave Tasty until June 30.

I don't know about you, but I'm stocking up. If I don't get my blueberry Tasty Pie or my Butterscotch Krimpets, I am NOT a happy camper.

Trump And The Birther Issue: This Is Real

Donald Trump has latched onto the Obama place-of-birth issue and he doesn't seem to want to let go.
Trump is not a stupid man.
So, one is led to believe: He must know where he's going or what he's saying. Maybe he smells a rat.
On Fox and Friends, he's been riding the issue again.
Here's what he says:
“You have no doctors that remember, you have no nurses – this is the president of the United States – that remember. . . . Why can’t he produce a birth certificate? . . . I brought it up just routinely, and all of a sudden, a lot of facts are emerging and I’m starting to wonder myself whether he was born in this country?”
And Trump also says that Obama “spent millions of dollars trying to get away from this issue, millions of dollars in legal fees.”
Yes, Trump is a follow-the money kind of guy.
Are you surprised?

Japan's Nuclear Crisis Makes Three Mile Island Lessons Even More Important

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Crisis, the worst nuclear power plant accident in US history. And with the current nuclear crisis in Japan, what happened at TMI is that much more poignant.

From the AP story:

More than two dozen people gathered to mark the 32nd anniversary of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island and pray for those affected by the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Those gathered outside the plant offered their prayers for tsunami-devastated Japan, especially those forced from their homes by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.

Lessons Learned From TMI Accident 32 Years Later - Video - WGAL The Susquehanna Valley

Sunday, March 27, 2011

If Only This Lincoln Could Find Its Way Home

Don't get in trouble with the law.
That's the take away from The Lincoln Lawyer, the new Matthew McConaughey flick that tells the story of a crusty LA jailhouse lawyer who operates out of an old Lincoln, is estranged from his prosecutor wife and seems to attract trouble faster than you can say "justice."
It's not like this criminal defense lawyer doesn't have a home, of sorts. He's got a reasonably nice apartment (apparently in the Hollywood hills) but he doesn't spend much time there.
McConaughey assumes the kind of role that Paul Newman used to play  -- the just-this-side-of-cocky, irascible, sometimes difficult but strangely charming misfit who won't play by the traditional rules. He's the kind of guy that guys like to pal around with and women love to protect.
And indeed, Newman did take on a similar role in The Verdict.
But this ain't no Verdict.
Back to the law and not getting into trouble with it.
That's an all-too-obvious take away.
But so are many of the other "lessons" in this movie: Don't hang out with prostitutes. Don't needlessly taunt police or prosecutors. Don't lie. And don't use motorcycle gangs to do your bidding.
To be sure, there are some great lines in the script -- such as: "You've got more balls than a Chinese ping pong  match." 
And there are some entertaining and/or suspenseful moments. Plus, some of the characters are vividly etched. And its depiction of the criminal justice system is often (sadly) on target.
But the film eventually loses its way. Is it a thriller or a mystery yarn or an action flick or a courtroom drama or what? Is it updated film noir or is it just pumped-up noveau realism laced with its own notion of cool?
I won't give away the end of the movie but I can tell you this: Hollywood hates rich, successful, well-groomed white people.
Anyway, in addition to McConaughey the film stars Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo and Frances Fisher. Macy is superb, as always. And, his scenes with McConaughey bring out the best in both actors. Also, Laurence Mason is great as McConaughey's chauffeur, gofer and cofidante. And yes, McConaughey and Tomei are fun to watch together. They do know how to sizzle.
Plus, we get to see country music star Trace Adkins on the big screen.
But at just shy of two hours, the film twists and turns more than one of those winding roads that leads up to the Hollywood sign.
And when you finally get there you realize that you could have gotten a better picture with a shorter, more direct journey.

PNC Not Diggin Flower Show Anymore

This is the end.
That familiar old couple -- PNC Bank and The Philadelphia International Flower Show -- are kaput.
Yep, it's splitsville for the green stuff and the greenhouse.
It seems PNC doesn't feel it's reaping the sort of blooms and blossoms it had in mind. In other words, PNC ain't diggin the Flower Show anymore.
Here's an excerpt from a story in the Phladelphia Business Journal:
After two decades sponsoring the Philadelphia International Flower Show, PNC Bank will no longer do so, starting with next year's event, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
The bank made the decision, and informed the show's producer, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, two years ago, the Inquirer said. Pittsburgh-based PNC will still work with the the society on some projects.
Read more: PNC ending its Flower Show sponsorship | Philadelphia Business Journal

Newt Gingrich Is Running For President

It's official.
Newt Gingrich is running.
You're not surprised, are you? He's been making noises about it f-o-r-e-v-e-r!
Still, I can't for the life of me understand why he's running. Makes no sense to me.
Ego. That's the only way to explain it. Pure ego.
Here's an excerpt from Fox News.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he hopes to jump into the race for president "within a month," noting that he's already made visits to key states like Iowa and New Hampshire and has beefed up his political staff. 
"I think within a month, we will have that taken care of and we'll be running," Gingrich said. 
Let's hope that this little venture -- well, whatever . . . !
Click here for more.

Klein Ends His 'INQlings' Column

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Michael Klein has written his last INQlings column for the newspaper.
Klein announced that he's moving on in what appears to be a continuing shift under new management at the Inquirer, Daily News and
Here's the way he explains it in today's column:
And just like that, my time at "INQlings" draws to a close, after more than 1,400 columns since its debut in 2001. My next stop is at, for an exciting challenge. Meanwhile, I will continue writing for The Inquirer - including the "Table Talk" restaurant column - and feeding foodstuff into my "Insider" blog at Thanks for your tips, your feedback, and, most of all, your attention.
We wish Michael well in his future endeavors.
Click here to read more.

'Cherry Hill' - The Magical Name That Changed Everything

An artist's rendering of the Cherry Hill Mall (pre-opening) and the Strawbridge's department store. This entire portion of the Mall has since been replaced by the dazzling new Nordstrom wing and the Mall itself has been transformed into a premier, modern-day shopping and dining destination. The Mall and the town remain virtually synonymous.
Cherry Hill.
For nearly 50 years that name has retained a magic.
Mention Cherry Hill anywhere in America and people invariably say they know about it. And, more often than not, they mention the Cherry Hill Mall.
The Mall is a certified American landmark. When it opened in October, 1961 it marked a milestone: The first and largest enclosed shopping mall east of the Mississippi. It was joyously welcomed as a tropical paradise.
The Mall (and the Cherry Hill Inn, Garden State Park, and other kitschy landmarks like the Hawaiian Cottage) put Cherry Hill on the map. Those other landmarks are long gone.
But here's the incredible part of the story: The Mall has not only survived; it has thrived.
It's newer, more hip, and busier than ever. And for Cherry Hill, after half a century the Mall is still the jewel in the crown.
Our dear friend Kevin Riordan has a beautiful feature story in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about the town, the Mall and the legacy and magic of Cherry Hill.
Here's a snippet:

Ballyhooed as a "tropical paradise," the enclosed shopping center at the old Jaus Farm on Route 38 was among the first of its kind in America.
"The Cherry Hill Mall," longtime resident Dan Cirucci recalls, "changed this region forever."
The promotional fervor (or fever) was understandable. With a snazzy array of indoor stores, acres of free parking, and "Golden Aviary" of exotic birds, the mall siphoned shoppers from downtown Camden and Philadelphia. And it helped put the freshly renamed township, which will mark its golden anniversary as Cherry Hill this year, on the map.
Cirucci, who grew up in Camden, says the mall "lent a luster" to what had long been called Delaware Township. "People wanted to be in Cherry Hill. Everything was new."
Click here for more of this fascinating story.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Remembering The Brightest Star Of All!

Bret Michaels Sues Tony Awards Over Mishap

People were wondering if this would happen.
And many thought it was only a matter of time.
Now, Bret Michaels has finally taken action. And apparently he's blaming his 2010 nearly-fatal brain hemorrhage on that mishap at the 2009 Tony Awards.
Here's an excerpt from the story in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Bret Michaels sued CBS Broadcasting and the organizers of the Tony Awards on Friday over a 2009 mishap that resulted in him being hit in the head by a set piece, claiming the accident contributed to a brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him.
The Poison frontman's lawsuit claims he continues to deal with effects from the injury and brain bleeding that left him hospitalized last year.
"Through his sheer will to live, to see his children grow up, Michaels was able to survive this trauma," his lawsuit states.
Click here to read more.

Remembering Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro was a modern-day trailblazer.
Yes, the quick-taking lady from New York was the first woman to be nominated for the vice-presidency from a major political party in 1984. And she was also the first Italian-American ever to reach that vaulted status in American politics.
I met Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 when she came to speak to the Philadelphia Bar Association at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. She was gracious, funny, witty and smart. I was so impressed with all the time she took with young girls who had been brought to the event by their moms and dads.
She knew that she and Walter Mondale were fighting an uphill battle (like many others, I was a huge Reagan fan at the time) but that didn't stop her from fighting the good fight -- and she did it all with pride and dignity.
I saw Ferraro again at the 2004 GOP Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York. She had become a TV commentator and I greeted her as she scurried up to one of those sky boxes where TV anchors and talking heads congregated. She still looked great.
Ferraro deserves a lot of credit for not automatically falling into line behind Barack Obama in 2008. The former congresswoman was rightly skeptical about Obama's bona fides and she called Obama more than once on inappropriate comments and gaffes that he committed during the campaign. And, Ferraro also deserves a lot of credit for not joining the chorus of those who piled on Sarah Palin. Ferraro and Palin practically became chums during the 2008 campaign even though Ferraro remained a stalwart Democrat. Of late, Ferraro also served as a contributor on Fox News.
Bravo, Geraldine Ferraro!
You opened the door for so many others and you always remained true to your convictions and your impenetrable sense of integrity.
You also made all of us proud of our Italian-American heritage.

Gallup: No Clear Leader In GOP '12 Race

Gallup has a new poll out that shows Huckabee, Romney and Palin bunched together at the top of the battle for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
And while Romney and Huckabee have been ahead at various times, Palin has never been in the lead.
Currently Huckabee leads Romney but the margins are still close.
Here's an excerpt from Gallup's analysis of the situation:
There is no clear front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination, which is a departure from what it has been in years prior to a presidential election. Huckabee may be the closest thing to a front-runner at this point, but he has yet to hold a statistically significant lead in any survey. But his candidacy, as well as that of Sarah Palin, is far from assured.
Romney would apparently benefit more from Huckabee's sitting out the race than from Palin's doing so, and he would move to the front of the field (though not by a statistically significant margin) if neither Huckabee nor Palin runs.
All of this underscores the current wide-open nature of the race, which could eventually find some structure in the coming months as the potential candidates make official decisions about entering the race, begin to campaign in earnest, and face each other in a series of scheduled debates starting in May.
Click here for more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Jessica Turns 25

For 58 hours in October 1987, the world was glued to their television sets. Eighteen-month old Jessica McClure, "Baby Jessica," fell and got trapped in an abandoned water well and was rescued by the dedicated men and women of Midland Texas.

Baby Jessica is all grown up, with children of her own. She turns 25 in a few hours and will gain access to a very sizable trust fund put together by thousands of strangers moved by her plight and will to survive.


Baby Jessica is all grown up. She's Momma Jessica now.

The toddler who tumbled down an abandoned water well and got trapped more than two decades ago turns 25 on Saturday, a milestone that gives her access to a trust fund of up to $800,000 donated by thousands of sympathetic strangers who spent 2 1/2 days glued to the television until she was free.

Jessica McClure Morales is now a contented stay-at-home mother of two, and her youngest is 18 months old , the same age she was when her accident drew the eyes of the world to this oil-patch city. She lives less than two miles from the site of the 1987 rescue.

"That's all Jessica has ever wanted was to be a mom and have a family," said her father, Lewis "Chip" McClure. "She's a good mom and keeps her eyes on her kids. She's certainly a doting mother."

Read the full article here.

Don't Miss 'The Kennedys' Beginning April 3

The Kennedys  |  Barry Pepper  |  Greg Kinnear  |  Katie Holmes  |  Tom Wilkinson   | Movie Trailer | Review
This is the series that the Kennedy family tried to stop.
This is the one you don't want to miss.
It begins Sunday, April 3 on the Reelz channel. Reelz is a free cable channel available on Comcast and other cable and satellite services.
Don't miss The Kennedys.

The Undiscovered Gems Of America's Birthplace

The Italian-Romanesque style 10th Presbyterian Church.

The ceiling of the Doges Room at 1801 Walnut featuring medallion portraits of the popes. This building is now the Anthropologie store.
The Thomas Hockley house incorporating French Empire elements. In the background you can see the garish, top-heavy 1970s-style Wanamaker House condos in exposed concrete.
The ornate crown of The Drake, now an apartment building.

A rambling Second-Empire mansion built for a sea captain on Delancey Place

A "cozy" Georgian Revival residence on the splendid, historically significant 1800 block of Delancey Place.

The spectacular Dr. Horace Jane house on South 19th featuring three triangular gables and terra cotta ornamentation.

The wildly expressive Welsh House at 1932 Spruce with golden pink Pompeian brick, terra cotta and heraldic devices.

Few cities can boast the rich, varied and historically-significant architecture of Philadelphia.
At every turn, there is something new to discover. And each bit of architecture comes with its own lesson and story.
We recently spent a wonderful spring afternoon enjoying a self-conducted architectural tour of Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square area.
The Rittenhouse Square Fitler Historic District encompasses most of the southwest quadrant of the original city of Philadelphia.The entire district is part of the National Register of  Historic Places.Within its boundaries, several thousand buildings contribute to a priceless tapestry of residential and institutional architecture. This extraordinary concentration of buildings and streetscapes documents a period of rapid growth in the city in the 19th century.
But it also remains a cherished, functioning neighborhood for thousands of Philadelphians just as it's been for almost 200 years.
Now, here's an interesting question for you: How many of the buildings shown above are by renowned architect Frank Furness and which ones are they?
Before we give you the answer, we'll tell you that we downloaded our tour free from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. Click here for more information.
And now, the answer: The third and the seventh photos (from the top) that you see above depict homes designed by Furness in his distinctive style.
All photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.