"What's black and white and read all over?"

Saturday, November 26, 2005
Posted 5:34 PM by

Singing Comcast's praises

Even tone deaf schmucks like William Hung can sing with Comcast's Karaoke on demand.It's pretty rare that I'll praise cable giant/monopoly Comcast here, but they did a nice job by including karaoke on demand for their digital TV subscribers.

Finally, the tone deaf can sing to their hearts' content in the privacy of their own home - and without disturbing bar patrons who might tend to throw stuff at them. (I include myself in both categories.)

If they really want to make this into something, they should let people submit videos of themselves singing off key. Isn't that why so many tune into 'American Idol', hoping to catch a glimpse of the next William Hung?

She bang. She bang.

In the old days, somebody used to bang a gong and a drugged up Chuck Barris would drag these people from the stage.

This is far more dangerous.


Friday, November 25, 2005
Posted 5:05 PM by

Bitter cold Black (hearted) Friday

Hundreds of buyers brave the cold and a long line in front of Best Buy, near the Oxford Valley Mall, at around 5 a.m. while waiting for the store to open.Despite bitterly cold temperatures, thousands of holiday shoppers, myself included, lined up outside of area stores before dawn this morning to hunt for Black Friday bargains.

The line at Wal-Mart on the Levittown Parkway stretched the entire front of the store by 4:30 a.m. Most customers were dressed for winter, but some simply huddled together under blankets for warmth.

The scene was similar at Best Buy near the Oxford Valley Mall at 5 a.m., where I went looking for an MP3 player for my dad. I stood outside for a half-hour and waited inside the store for 2 1/2 hours to get the one he wanted.

A woman shops for computer equipment while her friend snoozes inside their shopping cart at Best Buy, near the Oxford Valley Mall.With ropes marking off the area for MP3 players-only and stacks of merchandise barricading the aisles of other areas inside the store, it was like being in a cattle chute on the way to the slaughter.

Got any Black Friday war stories? Share them here. Or send me your photos (JPEGs only please) at and I'll post them in an online photo gallery. To see some pictures from my way-too-early sojourn, and Calkins Media staff photographer pictures from Bucks, Burlington and Montgomery counties, click here.


Posted 5:04 PM by

Visions of bargains dancing in their heads

Visions of bargains dancing in their headsBargain hunters braved the bitter cold in front of the Wal-Mart on the Levittown Parkway at 4:30 a.m. waiting for the store to open at 5 a.m.


Posted 5:00 PM by

Waiting for some satisfaction

Waiting for some satisfactionThe long line of pre-dawn shoppers at Wal-Mart on the Levittown Parkway stretched down the sidewalk in front of the store.


Posted 4:57 PM by

Less is more

Less is moreBargain hunters huddled for warmth and camaraderie while waiting in line for Wal-Mart on the Levittown Parkway to open.


Posted 4:52 PM by

Blankets and shopping carts

Blankets and shopping carts were the order of the early morning.


Posted 4:51 PM by

Shopping - a patriotic duty?

Dressed head-to-foot in a winter hunting jumpsuit, this man made a statement with his red, white and blue ski cap.


Posted 4:48 PM by

Buyers brave bitter cold

Hundreds of buyers brave the cold and a long line in front of Best Buy, near the Oxford Valley Mall, at around 5 a.m. while waiting for the store to open.


Posted 4:47 PM by

Shop till you drop

Shop till you dropA woman shops for computer equipment while her friend snoozes inside their shopping cart at Best Buy, near the Oxford Valley Mall.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Posted 5:14 PM by

Thanks for Giving us the land, suckers

I won't be blogging tomorrow, Thanksgiving, so that I can feast on fowl to celebrate the foul treatment of Native Americans and the victory of Manifest Destiny.

Hooray for the white folks. They managed to destroy whole nations of people who lived largely peacefully off the land and then promptly decided to hold a national holiday celebrating the decimation.

It wasn't until the 1970s, when the tribes were all but gone and limited to a few dirt poor reservations, that history teachers even acknowledged the slaughter and broken treaties that led to their demise.

And even that only came about from guilt feelings after a national Ad Council commercial showed Iron Eyes Cody crying - not for his lost land and desecrated ancestors - but over motorists littering highways.

Oh well, they've got casinos now. And the NCAA is forcing colleges like Indiana University of Pennsylvania to stop using racial epithets for their athletic teams' names and mascots, but only during the postseason.

Like that makes up for hundreds of years of lost culture. We've done our forefathers so proud.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Posted 4:50 PM by

Here's a shock: PennDOT pays too much for crappy roads

PennDOT prefers to pay out millions rather than delay road projects. Why not? It's not their money.The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) paid for at least $7.6 million in mistakes made by contractors in just one district near Pittsburgh, according to agency records obtained by the Tribune-Review.

The errors make highway work more expensive, often delaying jobs and keeping roads closed longer, the newspaper found.

"We could take every dispute to litigation, spend a huge amount in legal fees and toss project schedules out of the window," Dan Cessna, PennDOT District 11 executive, told the paper.

District 11 manages an annual portfolio of about $270 million in construction work. But magnify its mistakes by 12 state-wide (the number of PennDOT districts) and its easy to see why there are only two real seasons in Pennsylvania - winter and construction.


Monday, November 21, 2005
Posted 5:23 PM by

Tax money for political campaigns?

Is taxpayer financing really the best idea for campaign finance reform?New Jersey taxpayers will pay for as much as $130,000 of state Assembly campaigns this fall in the 6th and 13th legislative districts.

But before the lynch mob forms to exact vengeance in a state teteering on bankruptcy and rife with corruption, know that this is a legal experiment at campaign finance reform.

Under the pilot program, known as the Clean Elections Project, the state said it would pick up the tab for the Assembly campaigns after each candidate raised 3,000 donations of $5 and $30. And of the five pairs of candidates trying to get the state money, only one - Camden County Democrats Louis D. Greenwald and Pamela Rosen Lampitt - raised enough of the small donations.

So much for reform. But the experiment does raise a good point.

Why aren't similar requirements in place for presidential candidates who receive taxpayer financing for their campaigns via that $3 checkoff box on your IRS 1040 form?

Just a thought.


Sunday, November 20, 2005
Posted 6:40 PM by

An evolved prayer

A Pa. school board is throwing bricks at Charles Darwin. Lord help him.Lord hear my prayer.

Praise be, let it be your will that U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III reaches an enlightened position in favor of teaching evolution in Pennsylvania schools, rather than one fanatical religous sect's half-baked and reconstituted belief in "intelligent design."

Praise be, let it be your will that those who promote this religious-based philosophy come to see the folly of their ways and decide that America was indeed founded on the principle of separation of church and state.

Praise be, let it be your will that scientists continue to struggle with the many questions we all have over the origins of the universe, not to mention ourselves. For without striving, learning and wonder, man will never evolve beyond his current form.

Praise be, let it be your will that the many gaps in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution - Yes, it is just a theory, but based on ever-increasing facts - are painstakingly filled in by brilliant minds who can reach concensus.

Praise be, let it be your will that the people of this land and all others begin to understand that we are all your children and loved equally despite our many beliefs - even if we were descended from apes, monkeys and other primates.

Praise be, let it be your will that we all understand that we are a part of nature too, not above it, and find balance with the threatened flora and fauna of this world.

Praise be, let it be your will that we learn that this is our true human nature.

Thank you Lord.



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