Thursday, September 29, 2005

What's better than a $50 iBook?

This is a pretty good idea -- a $100 laptop to distribute to children in developing nations.

Just think. In a few years, school kids in Costa Rica will just have to crank their computer for 10 minutes to access the latest non-news on Save the Squared Stage!!!

Do I detect a new method to acheive international understanding and (eventually) world peace??? I think I speak on behalf of Elle when I say we here at STSS accept this responsibility with humble hearts.

Al Jazeera's New Spinmeister

This is classic. Seems the Marine captain made a superstar by the documentary Control Room is now an employee of Al Jazeera. Well, the upcoming English-language Al Jazeera International, anyway.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

Print and audio coverage of this wackiness is just a click away.

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried, kids...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Now that's dedication!

In response to Elle's challenge to make this blog multimedia, I offer y'all a link to a story about a girl in Moldova who loves that Harry Potter. So much so that she's transcribed the entirety of the latest book by hand because she couldn't afford to buy it. Guess she's never heard of a library card.

And if you don't like that, dig this. Or this. Kids these days are all freaks, I tell ya...

Homage to an Old Friend

The grand finale. The final in the three part series concludes with the true reason for the trip to coal country PA. While Bruiser truly captured the unique and humorous essence of our trip in his previous post, I hope this last part inspires you to grab a Yuengling.

A trip to the oldest brewery in America is not just another brewery tour – it’s a pilgrimage. For all who had the privledge of attending college in certain parts of Pennsylvania, your first Yuengling is almost a rite of passage. We didn’t embrace college life with disgusting cheap Rolling Rock or Schlitz. Instead, we were lucky that Yuengling Premium “pounders” (in returnable bottles and boxes) were cheap, and yards more tasty.

Bruiser, Paulette Bonafonte and myself grew to love Yuengling during our long days at the “Ford. Fortunately for us, leaving PA did not mean leaving Yuengling behind. The finest brewery in America has been on an upswing in the past few years, marketing their fine beers to other mid-Atlantic states. “Vitamin Y” (as I believe loyal reader “Murphy’s Lawyer” dubbed it) now surrounds us most places we turn. So thank you, Dick Yuengling, for thinking beyond the Keystone State (even though I hear you are a Republican).

But to get a full appreciation of the many brews we’ve drank over the years (but not too many, of course), we needed to see where it all began at the brewery in Pottsville, PA. The town is quaint, seemingly caught in 1955. Old churches, a quiet main street, and a brand new Dunkin Donuts greet those who visit the brewery at the top of the hill. The brewery is still the same red brick building from 176 year ago, housing caves below the surface and in the hill next door where beer was once stored. Visitors get to see it all – bottling, brewing, the old caves, and a mini museum with bottles and ads from the past (including a very odd ad campaign touting two Chinese men named “Ying” and “Ling”).

Our tour concluded with some free samples of beer, which tasted fresher than anything you get out of a keg at a bar. We didn’t get to pour our own brews, but felt just as fulfilled by standing behind the over 100 year old bar. A bit of pre-OSHA regulations history: Yuengling employees used to be able to drink at brewery bar during their workday. Now, wouldn’t that be the life?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bruiser and Elle's Excellent Adventure -- Take 2

Thanks are due to Elle for so wittily describing our visit to Centralia. But it was a long day, with much more to talk about. Here's Part 2 of our premiere travel series:

On our way to the burning town of Centralia, we decided we would all benefit from a crash course on the wonders of anthracite coal and the impact it has had on the economy and social fabric of Pennsylvania. And what better place to learn about coal than in a coal mine! Fortunately, the folks at the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine have placed signs all along the roads between Pottsville and Centralia, serving as a beacon to those thirsty for coal knowledge.

Pioneer Tunnel features a quaint little gift shop where you can buy everything from a history of the Yuengling beer dynasty to lumps of dirty anthracite coal for the kids to play with. But the real attraction is their mine tour. For just $8 you can hop inside a mine car, ride 1800 feet into the side of a mountain, and have Tom-the-mine-tour-guide tell you all about the history of regional coal mining in his best central PA accent! Tom is no run-of-the-mill tour guide, either – he will wow you with his knowledge, tickle your funny bone with his wit (favorite joke: “Now that we’re here in the mine, grab a shovel and get to work!”), and befuddle you with riddles (He asked everyone on the tour, “Where are you from? [PAUSE for reply] Are you an Eagles fan?” I never figured out what answer he was looking for…).

A word to the prospective mine tour taker – mines are cold, even in summer. Fortunately, Pioneer Tunnel makes the comfort of their guests priority #1 and offers a wide assortment of loaner jackets for the under-dressed traveler! The pleather number I chose even came complete with a snack – there were handfuls of cookie crumbs in BOTH pockets! Was I lucky or what??? Paulette “Bend and Snap” Bonafonté, our trusty photographer, looked particularly stunning in the velveteen corduroy smoking jacket that he selected.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

TV Premiere Week - Kitchen Confidential

Loosely based on the book by celebrity chef/author Anthony Bourdain, "Kitchen Confidential," a new show on Fox Monday night, chronicles a brash NYC chef who is tasked with opening a new restaurant in 48 hours. While the show overuses somewhat superfluous sex scenes as an integral part of the seedy restaurant business, I'm hypnotized by the dreamy sky blue eyes of star Bradley Cooper (who I first saw on a cheezy made-for-tv-movie on the ABC Family Channel with Jason Priestley). Like Eminem in "8 Mile," I can't take my eyes off the tantilizing star. I hope directors Fred Savage and Darren Star (of 90210 and "Sex and the City" fame) give Harold of "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" a bigger role un upcoming episodes. Regardless, its good enough to tune in next week.

Monday, September 19, 2005

*Station Interruption* for Pirate Day

We currently interrupt the regularly scheduled program to inform everyone it is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day," an important holiday formed back in 1995 according to Wikipedia. To celebrate this important holiday, I think everyone needs a pirate name. This holiday is almost as fun as Festivus!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bruiser and Elle's Excellent Adventure - Take 1

In the first of a series this week, Bruiser and I headed out to the hinterlands this past weekend for fun, beer and views of destruction. This photo was snapped in Centralia, Pennsylanvia, site of a 43 year-old mine fire that was simmering beneath our feet. You'll see here that we are standing over where old Rt 61 literally split due to the extreme heat of the mine fire. Central, located in the heart of PA's anthracite coal country, was once a thriving town. Now, only about 10 families remain, due to the long-burning fire. For more information about the almost non-existent town of Centralia, pop over here.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Return on our investment (or "In which we finally get to play with the CIA's old toys")

So, am I alone in getting a huge kick out of all the satellite images now offered by our favorite internet map sites? I mean, who knew Dick Cheney's house looks like a big blob when viewed from above (maybe they used a little too much TNT when they were building those post-9/11 bunkers)?

But I have to say that Amazon's A9 Maps goes a little too far in its offering street level photos. Being able to see rooftops and cars and such is one thing, but A9 offers candid stills of poor schmucks unlucky enough to have been caught in the sights of Jeff Bezos' cameraman. To see what I'm talking about, check out this shot of a few diners at Geno's one afternoon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This is Annoying

While channel surfing, I flipped into the new Tyra Banks talk show. It only took me about half a second to realize that "Tyra" is the worst talk show to hit the airwaves since "Gabrielle" (and I think we all remember "Gabrielle"). Tyra was especially idiotic this morning as she was hosting a show on girls with body image problems. Yes, a successful, beautiful supermodel was trying to counsel average young women about their body image problems. Does anyone else see something disturbing about that? I finally had to flip off the TV when Tyra pinched her "imperfect belly" to show how she had fat too. It really was too much. I think I'm gonna go eat a donut.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bag Lady Chic Just Ain't Cool

I don't care about the millions of young men who anxiously awaited the Olsen twins' 18th birthday. Apparently that fateful day inaugurated their tranformation from cutesy teeney bopper to bag lady chic. Ick.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Freakiest College Around

As I was was driving around Loudon County, Virginia over the weekend I remembered an eerie article I read a few months back about a newish college out in VA that "trains" Christian boys and girls to be politicians. Obviously, I fear additional wacko right wing nuts entering America's political system, but I get nightmares when I envision these kids dressed in their southern frat boy/sorority girl outfits (diagonal wide striped ties, navy blue blazers, Duckhead khakis and women in perfect strands of pearls and ballet flats) wandering around my hometown. I saw this creepy college from my convertible and immediately felt icky, but I did feel a little glee when I realized the campus was really ugly.

Just to tease you, here are a few tidbits from this tantalizing tale of the dark side:
  • During class hours, the college enforces a “business casual” dress code designed to prepare the students for office life
  • About 85% come from home schooling
  • Two of the kids profiled wanted their first kiss to be at their wedding.
  • One kid sent out a nine-page e-mail to the entire student body before the spring formal reminding the girls to dress modestly.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Brief Word of Seriousness

I'm not one to be Ms. Serious, but the hurricane situation has me mesmerized and feeling very fortunate in this world. But, it makes this story about what people had studied about New Orleans all the more intriguing (thanks to Mr. F for sending). Note the menu at the top that shows this story is from October 2004.