So Long, Ricky!

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:35 pm EST

I would just like to take a moment of your time to say…


No more Rick Santorum, no more Rick Santorum, no more Rick Santorum…
(repeat ad infinitum)

I am very proud to be one of the voters who helped cast Rick Santorum out of the US Senate. Not that I’m in any way thrilled with his replacement, mind you. But almost anyone would be better than Ricky.

Good riddance, you narrow-minded, scheming, hypocritical bigot.

-Pennsylvania Senate Election Results [CNN.com]
-Philadelphians Against Santorum

See Also:
-Santorum [Wikipedia]
-Santorum [Urban Dictionary]
-Bob Casey, Jr. [Wikipedia]


And To Think You Knew Me When…

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:54 am EST

Guess what people!!

I’m the featured blogger on Philly Future for the next two weeks!

And I have to say, I am both flattered and flabbergasted. It’s really rewarding to be acknowledged by fellow bloggers like this.

I’ll try not to let it get to my… er… ego.

To my regular readers, thanks for making this blog a success. You keep me on my toes and make me laugh almost every day.

For those of you stopping by for the first time, you can read a little bit about me here: The Ego Behind the Landslide, and there’s a rather incomplete FAQ about the blog here: Burning Questions.

Both the new and the old readers should check out “Classic Ego” for some of the best content here at Starting a Landslide in My Ego. It’s sort of a catchall category for my personal favorites, as well as for the posts that garnered a large response and/or fostered good discussions.

Previously, at the Landslide in My Ego:
-I’m a Loser Baby


Water Water Everywhere

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:27 am EST

Just so all of you know, I am not under water, though I can’t say the same for much of the surrounding region. A good chunk of Eastern Pennsylvania (as well as parts of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Maryland) is has been inundated with flood waters.

How are the rest of you faring?

Further Reading:
-Evacuations begin as rivers rise [Philly.com]
-Officials order massive evacuations [Philly.com]
-Flood [Philly Future]



Filed under: — Kate @ 9:47 pm EST

Philadelphia’s City Council has passed the smoking ban!! Woohoo! It’s not official until Mayor Street signs it, but we’re closer than ever before. I can feel my head clearing already.

Further Reading:
-City Council Passes Compromise Citywide Smoking Ban [KYW3]
-City Council bans smoking in city’s bars and restaurants [Inky]
-BREAKING: Smoke ‘Em While You Got ‘Em! [Philebrity]
-Councilman Nutter Gets it Done: Smoking Ban Passes! [America’s Hometown, via Philly Future]
-Breaking: Smoking Ban Actually Freaking Passes [Philadelphia Will Do]

Previously at the Landslide in My Ego:
-No More Bringing the Bar Smell Home With Me


Many a Shoe I Have Purchased There

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:49 pm EST

The flagship Strawbridge’s store at 8th and Market closed for good on Tuesday. It was the last of Philadelphia’s great department stores. And even though I couldn’t begin to remember the store the way older generations do, it still holds a special place in my heart.

And so, I would like to take a moment to say goodbye, Strawbridge’s. I will miss you.

I will miss your wide open spaces, high ceilings, and those gorgeous, ornate elevator doors.

I will miss your pleasant, intelligent, and helpful salespeople.* They were something special. (I’m glad to hear many of them will be working at Macy’s when it opens in the Wanamaker building this summer.)

I will miss your shoe department. A LOT.

I will miss the wild boar who was so inappropriately molested by countless hands over the years.

And I’m sure there are many gay men who will miss your bathrooms…

So farewell, Strawbridge’s. Philadelphia is the worse for losing you.

Further Reading:
-A Center City style fades away [Inky]
-Philly Loses Historic Downtown Strawbridge’s [NBC10]

-Cops Make Sex Sting At Local Department Store [NBC10]

*Except for that weird grumpy old lady from the lingerie department. Please don’t rehire her.


Like Boxing a Glacier

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:38 am EST

Last night, I got to see Stephen Colbert’s speech from the White House Correspondents Dinner, and wow… how awesome was that?!

Now I understand what all the fuss was about. I’m really glad I didn’t read any of the transcripts beforehand.

I was expecting him to be escorted from the room and locked up in a secret CIA prison for the rest of Bush’s term in office.

Further Reading:
-Re-Improved Colbert transcript (now with complete text of Colbert-Thomas video!) [Daily Kos]
-The truthiness hurts
-All Kidding Aside [WaPost]
-Colbert Does the White House Correspondents’ dinner [Crooks and Liars]
Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner — President Not Amused? [Editor & Publisher]


8 out of 10 Would Sell Firstborn Child to Avoid Riding SEPTA

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:14 pm EST

In the Inky yesterday (via Philebrity):

From March 2004 through last month, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas climbed from $1.74 to $2.40 - a 38 percent increase - in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs. Yet weekday SEPTA ridership went up by only 2 percent during that span.

Is anyone as stunned by this as I am? I mean, I’m astonished that most commuters prefer being abused at the gas station to being abused at the train station. Who could possibly have guessed that people would rather pawn their worldly possessions for gas money than ride SEPTA? I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney:
“Most people, after a price goes up, get used to it, and unless there are other circumstances, will return to the automobile. For people who have those options, the attractiveness of public transportation is generally not the economy of it, but the speed, comfort and efficiency of it.”

Ummmm… what?! The “speed, comfort and efficiency…” of SEPTA?!! Should he even be allowed to use those words to allude to SEPTA? Isn’t that like, false advertising or something? Quick, somebody call the Better Business Bureau!

See Also:
-SEPTA: Gas price, ridership not equal [Inky]
-Rumblings… [Philebrity]
-People Pawning Goods To Buy Gas [MSNBC]


I’ve Waited Hours For This

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:10 pm EST

Dude! Last night I mentioned that songs by The Killers and The Cure have been showing up on Anderson Cooper 360. Well, tonight Countdown with Keith Olbermann just had a bit with the Cure song “Close to Me.”

Now Countdown often uses popular songs with a specific reference in mind—last night I think it was “Burning Down the House” after a story about a dog who nearly did just that—but this one was completely unrelated to the story.

I wonder if someone started selling The Cure’s song rights to news organizations… Still, it’s cool.

-Come Closer and See

We Will Become Silhouettes

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:54 am EST

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.*

Twenty years. Wow.

Of course, the region hasn’t even begun to recover. In fact, if they don’t replace the crumbling “sarcophagus” that protects the remains of Reactor 4, things could get much worse. As I mulled that over, I was reminded of a website I first saw a of couple years ago.

It’s the personal photographic account of Elena Filatova, a Ukrainian woman who documented her travels through the Chernobyl region on her motorcycle. It received international attention after it was Slashdotted in 2004.

Now I should mention that there’s some question about the validity of her story; many people now view her site as a hoax, saying that she was merely a tourist on a guided group tour, rather than a rogue photographer roaming the barren countryside on her motorcycle.

Whether or not that is true, I think her site is still worth visiting, not only for the photos, but also for Elena’s unique insights into the worst manmade disaster our world has ever seen:

Our Pyramids
The sarcophagus will remain radioactive for at least 100.000 years. The age for the pyramids of Egypt is 5,000 to 6,000 years. Each cultural epoch left something to humanity, something immortal, like Judaic epoch left us Bible, Greek culture- philosophy, Romans contributed law and we are leaving Sarcophagus, the construction that going to outlive all other signs of our epoch and may last longer then pyramids. [link]

New Beginning.
Children had to part with their favourite toys. People had to leave everything, from photos of their grandparents to cars. Incredibly, people had homes, motorcycles, garages, cars, country houses, they had money, friends and relatives. People had their lives. Each had their own niche. And then in a matter of hours , their entire world fell to pieces. After a few hours trip in an army vehicle, they stood under a shower, washing away radiation. Then they stepped in a new life, naked with no home, no friends, no money, no past and with a very doubtful future. [link]

Here are the links to her two photo essays about the Chernobyl disaster: Ghost Town and Land of the Wolves.

Further Reading:
-Elena Filatova [Wikipedia]
-Chernobyl Disaster [Wikipedia]
-Chernobyl…18 Years Later [Slashdot]
-Latest Chernobyl Motorcycle Photos [Slashdot]
-Chernobyl: 20 years ago this month. [Boing Boing]
-‘Voices of Chernobyl’: Survivors’ Stories [NPR]
-New Sight in Chernobyl’s Dead Zone: Tourists [NYT]
-Chernobyl - Tschernobyl - Information
-Chernobyl Children’s Project International

*Incidentally, it’s also my parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. Which wouldn’t be quite so weird if Three Mile Island hadn’t happened on my dad’s birthday seven years earlier. I guess this is where I could make a joke about my nuclear family…


ATF Now Targetting Ninjas

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:22 pm EST

ATF rids Univ. of ninja threat [via Fark]


A Nuclear Error, But I Have No Fear

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:36 pm EST

I saw this story on Countdown last night, and I thought it was hilarious. Now if only they would start arresting people who listen to bad music.

Man held as terrorism suspect over punk song (excerpt below).

Wed Apr 5, 2006 2:49 PM BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said on Wednesday.

Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.

The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash’s 1979 anthem “London Calling,” which features the lyrics “Now war is declared — and battle come down” while other lines warn of a “meltdown expected”.

[via Boing Boing]


What’s the Big Deal?

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:00 pm EST

Okay, I have to get this off my chest…. What is so damn wonderful about Katie Couric? Would somebody please explain that to me, because I’ve never understood it.

It’s not that I hate her—I don’t. I just can’t see why people think she’s so special and amazing when my reaction to her ranges from indifference to mild annoyance.

Not that it really matters to me: I’ve never watched NBC’s Today Show or the CBS Evening News, and I don’t have plans to start.

Still, it would be nice if someone could let me in on the secret.

Further Reading:
-Couric leaving “Today” for CBS News [Reuters]
-Poll at Odds With Katie Couric Move [CBSNews]
-Thank You For 15 Great Years [MSNBC]


Move Over Anderson

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:30 am EST

I have a new favorite news anchor. Well, I guess this isn’t really new anymore, but it’s the first time I’ve mentioned it. Keith Olbermann. I just love his irreverent, sardonic way of delivering the news. And his feud with Bill O’Reilly is good fun, too.

That said, I must give credit to CNN for actually engaging my interest for the first time in months. Anderson Cooper 360 just spent the whole program covering illegal immigration and border control.

They presented almost every aspect of the issue from both sides of the border and political spectrum. They talked about a lot of the gray areas and economic implications. I’m sure there’s still much more to learn about this mushrooming problem, but I think I absorbed about all I could handle for one night. Gave me a lot to think about.

Anyone else care to weigh in on this?

Further Reading:
-Latest immigration ‘crisis’ defies simplistic solutions [USA Today]
-Senate begins key immigration debate [WaPost]
-Frist fires opening shot on immigration [CNN]
-Student Immigration Protests Continue [CBS]
-The real battle of the border [Anderson Cooper Blog]


The Seat With the Clearest View

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:52 am EST

Dear NASA,

Congratulations on managing to have several successes in a row!!

I kid, I kid. But in all seriousness, this is a pretty cool month for astronomy and space exploration.

First, your Cassini probe finds water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

And now, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has managed to plop itself into orbit around the Red Planet.

Not to mention the Stardust mission that ended smoothly back in January.

My heart is brimming with joy. Keep up the good work!


See Also:
-Google Mars


That’s So Punny I Forgot to Laugh

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:35 pm EST

So apparently, some guy in Omaha lost his pants while robbing a store and decided not to pull them back up. The whole thing was immortalized by the surveillance cameras.

Well, whoever wrote this article about it should be banned from ever writing publicly again.

Here are a few choice quotes:

Although the man lost his drawers, he managed to go through the drawers of a couple of cash registers.

They say by appearing on surveillance, this man was definitely caught with his pants down.

Bare-Butt Burglar Strikes Tobacco Store [KUTV Saltlake City, via Fark]

Update (3/10/06): The Smoking Gun has the mug shot and some stills.


Some Advice for the Men Out There

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:26 am EST

Just remember, the next time your girlfriend whines about how you never bring her flowers, you could have it much, much worse. [Sun]


Burning Down the Mouse

Filed under: — Kate @ 4:21 pm EST

It’s tough for me to feel any sympathy for someone who would throw a live mouse into a fire. Poor little shmousie.

Blazing mouse sets fire to house [BBC]

UPDATE: The check out the CNN headline for this story. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks it’s absurd….

UPDATE #2: It’s not true: Flaming Mouse Story Found To Be False [WSBTV, via Fark]

Oh well. I’m glad the little guy wasn’t burned alive.

But I still think the CNN headline was funny.


Sneaky Bastards

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:46 am EST

I just might have to boycott me some Sony BMG.

Sony gets an earful over CD software Program to block music piracy prompts privacy, security worries [SF Chron]

“They Underestimated the Intelligence of Voters.”

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:24 am EST

I’m a little late in posting this, but I just want to thank the town of Dover, PA for showing the rest of the world that Pennsylvania is not as backwards as Kansas.

It’s a revolution for evolution [Inky]


Robertson warns Pennsylvania voters of God’s wrath

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city.”


Splish Splash… CRASH!

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:07 am EST

Naked woman drops through ceiling

With all of our bathroom troubles, I’ve always been afraid something like this would happen to me. Seriously. I used to envision standing in my shower one minute, then being in the bathroom of the apartment below me the next.



Filed under: — Kate @ 2:34 pm EST

I am now more convinced than ever that the world revolves around men’s obsessions with breasts:
The Physics of Bras
Designer busts out with wall of breasts


Filed under: — Kate @ 10:28 am EST

The zookeeper came to settle the monkeys.

SEPTA strike is over

I know he’s moved on to bigger and more important “governor” things, but can I renew my motion to make Ed Rendell this city’s permanent mayor?

Our regular shitty service should be back up and running by this evening.


SEPTA: Spoiled Rotten Brats

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:40 pm EST

Well, we’re coming to the end of the first work week sans SEPTA (Stupid, Elementary Poltroon, Tiptoeing in Apathy). Thankfully, I don’t have any problems getting to work, but I have been a prisoner of West Philly for the last five days. Yeah, yeah, I could walk or take a cab, but that’s not the point.

I really am trying to feel sympathetic toward the union workers. While it seems absurd that they don’t want to pay a percentage of their healthcare benefits, it does seem very unfair that SEPTA management would not have to do the same.

But they are not even trying!! They broke off negotiations on Tuesday night and haven’t talked since. According to Philly.com, the talks have lasted a whopping 2.5 hours since the strike began on Monday at 12:01 AM. And if this keeps up, SEPTA is in serious danger of losing additional state funding that it sorely needs.

And regardless of whether you want to blame the unions or the management, the top or the bottom, it’s still SEPTA’s fault.

All of this seems so childish in comparison to what’s going on with Philadelphia’s firefighters and paramedics, who are also trying to negotiate a new contract. Consider this excerpt from an article Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News:

Philadelphia paramedics make roughly $50,000, 10 percent more than the $45,000 paid to firefighters. Plus, they average an additional $20,000 to $30,000 in overtime, but more than one-third of them want to transfer to the lower-paying firefighter’s job.

The Fire Department made 255,000 runs in 2004, and 200,000 of them were medical and not fires. We have under 300 paramedics, meaning we’re already short at least 50, and 106 of them have applied to get out and become firefighters.”

The paramedics and firefighters are asking for:
• Creation of a stress-relief program to deal with the widespread “burnout” problem that drives the average paramedic out after seven or eight years, well short of qualifying for a 10-year pension. A union consultant said stress levels among local paramedics resemble “what you would see coming out of Vietnam.”
• An agreement to allow paramedics, who work two 10-hour and two 14-hour days a week, time to eat lunch or dinner. There are no scheduled meal breaks at present, the union says.
• The provision of a second radio to each two-member Emergency Medical System team. At present, only one team member has a radio, a situation the union calls dangerous.
• A redeployment plan that would enable paramedics to rotate periodically from rescue vehicles to fire trucks, where they would work for a time as firefighters.

While half the city’s bus drivers won’t even hang up their cell phones on the job, our paramedics have to beg for time to eat!! Consider that, you SEPTA monkeys!

See also:
Day 5 of strike, with no end in sight [Philly.com]
Rendell: SEPTA strike hurts funding [Inky]
Analysis: A Few Words About This SEPTA Thing [Philebrity]
Return to Sender: Stranded in the City [Phillyist]
Paramedics look for stress relief [PDN]

CNN Makes Me 360 Degrees of Dizzy

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:59 am EST

Seriously, what the hell is the matter with CNN? Some of you may have heard that the news network has recently shuffled their lineup, firing Aaron Brown and giving us more of Anderson Cooper, who will now be on from 10-12 every night.

Too bad, I really liked coming home and putting on AC 360 at 7 PM, when I don’t usually have anything better to do, and watching for most of the hour. Now he’ll be on for two hours at a time when I’m almost always busy.

I love Anderson Cooper, but I fear that too much of him will eventually cause me to feel otherwise. CNN is exploiting the shit out of all the good work he did covering Katrina. Not that I’ll be watching him as often as before, but he’s going to get so overhyped and overexposed that he’ll be ruined. (If that hasn’t happened already).

And while Aaron Brown wasn’t my favorite anchor, I certainly found him more tolerable and interesting than a lot of their other crap. At least he actually summed up the news stories of the day.

So, what’s happening to the 7 PM time slot, you ask? Why, Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room.” Don’t even get me started on how stupid the premise of that show is….

“We’re always live here on the Situation Room. And oh, by the way, you’re watching the Situation Room. Did I say ‘Situation Room?’ I think I said ‘Situation Room.’ Look at all the pretty televisions with feeds from international news channels. We’re not going to tell you what’s on them, but look how pretty they are here behind me on the Situation Room!”

So anyway, the Situation Room will now air from 4-6, with an hour pause for Lou Dobbs, and then we get more Blitzer from 7-8. Maybe it’s because they realized that no one wants to watch three straight hours of the Wolf man. I don’t know. But the whole thing just seems so convoluted.

See Also:
CNN Ousts Evening Anchor and Embraces Rising Star [NYT]
Anderson Cooper, CNN’s Man of the Hour [WaPost]
Cooper d’etat! [MOAN.tv]

Links via Wonkette. Don’t bother looking for any info about this on CNN.com.


Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:57 pm EST

You guys see this yet?