Sunday, December 10, 2017

Holiday Shopping IV: Support Your Local Comic Shop

Geek readers take note -- support your local comic shop this holiday season.  ThinkGeek is great for replacing your Mr. Spock garden gnome if yours, like mine, has developed clay feet and broken.  For more mundane extraterrestrial, supernatural, or superheroic gift giving needs, however, make sure to visit the small businesses in your area.  Here are a few suggestions if you don't know where your comic shop is:

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse (2578 Frankford, Philly)
Brave New World Comics (55 N. 2nd St, Philly, and 433 Westmoreland Rd, Willow Grove)
Atomic City Comics (638 South St, Philly)
Johnny Destructo's Hero Complex (4456 Main St, Philly)
Fat Jack's Comicrypt (2006 Sansom St, Philly)

There are more options on this list of favorite comic shops in the area:

Last time I was at King of Prussia Mall there was a comic shop somewhere in the complex but I'm not sure it is still there.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Holiday Shopping III: Wild and Scenic Pennsylvania Calendar

For several years now I have bought a Wild and Scenic Pennsylvania calendar to hang on my office wall.  The pictures are beautiful shots of natural settings in our lovely Commonwealth.  It is a great way to explore the varied landscapes in PA.  I find the pictures very relaxing and inspiring.  The calendars are available online and can often be found at your local mall or bookshop.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Holiday Shopping II: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, by Alyssa Mastromonaco

I read this early last summer.  Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, and Other Questions You Should Have the Answers to When You Work in the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco (Hachette, 2017) is a good read.  It is definitely not the first campaign / White House staff memoir but it is one of the few by a young woman.  Mastromonaco served as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Obama White House and was the youngest woman to have held that position.

Young men write campaign / public service books and I have read more than a few.  They discusses personal foibles, the craziness of political life, and what they learned along the way.  But such books by young women are rare.  Mastromonaco talks about her personal foibles, the craziness of political life, and what she learned along the way; so basically the same stuff the young men write about.  Hearing it from her perspective is refreshing.  She writes about changing majors in college after her first campaign experience, working on campaigns that lost and those that won, and finding herself in the White House.  Along the way she includes stories about trying to find a bathroom while on a business outing, worrying about how her pants fit, finding time for a boyfriend, and other common to many business women. 

I really enjoyed reading this and thought a lot about buying copies for a couple of young women graduating from high school this past June.  The only thing that stopped me was the references to social drinking.  The venue through which I knew the young graduates and their parents would have made it inappropriate; now that the girls are college students I may re-think that and give them the book for Christmas.

It is definitely a great gift for young adults interested in politics or just life narratives for early professional experiences.  Mastromonaco is very forthright about her experiences, decisions (both those she regrets and those she thinks were good ideas).  It is also an interesting look at life in the White House. 

I plan on re-reading the book over the holidays myself.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Holiday Shopping I: Meg Saligman Coloring Book

Meg Saligman, the artist behind the Common Threads mural at Broad and Spring Gardens St. has created a coloring book based on her artwork.  A sample page is available as a free download on her website, .

MegaColor:  25 Years of MegaMurals, The Coloring Book, prepared by the Meg Saligman Studio, is available on Amazon and also on the shop page of her website, and is a very reasonably priced ($16.50) holiday gift for your favorite artistic friend or relative.  If you are still putting your holiday gift list together keep this unique, locally focused item in mind.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Election Resources

I spent this evening reviewing resources for tomorrow's election.  Here are some good places to check:

Committee of Seventy (Philadelphia):

PA Bar Association (read their assessment of judicial candidates and candidate questionnaires):

League of Women Voters (type in your address and you can prepare a personalized ballot sheet):

One thing -- vote no on the Homestead item on the ballot.

Most important -- VOTE!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fishtown in the WSJ

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal has an article on tough neighborhoods to build in (Housing stalls in urban hot spots," by Laura Kusisto, 7/17/2017).  Fishtown, a Philadelphia neighborhood is third toughest neighborhood in the US, at least according to the article.  What makes a tough neighborhood to build in?

Residents of these older urban neighborhoods generally have resisted newcomers, complaining about congestion and public transit and seeking to preserve architecture, sunlight and views.

There is a nifty chart with the article showing that Philadelphia generally is slight tougher to build in than average.  A sidebar article, not online that I can find, "A Look at Fishtown area in Philadelphia" goes into some detail.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I Am Agog

It is inconceivable to me that the United States is refusing admittance to an interpreter who helped US troops in Iraq.  He has been caught up in the new president's recent executive order.  How in the world are we going to persuade people to help us in future conflicts when we treat them so poorly. See "Judge halts implementation of Trump's immigration order," by Ariane de Vogue and Eli Watkins on

Since it is impossible these days to reach Sen. Toomey's office by phone, let me use this blog post to ask the senator to please work against this executive order.  And also, vote against Betsy DeVos.