Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Humans' Great Donation to Space: Garbage

I read this write-up about rubbish on on July 24th. Take a look at it, but basically it refers to astronauts on the International Space Station tossing out trash into the atmosphere.


Can we humans go anywhere without messing it up?

The article goes on to say how most of the trash should burn up in the air during its descent towards Earth, but "small chunks are likely to survive next year's fall through the atmosphere," according to NASA.


Go humans!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Baseball: A Unique but Changing Entertainment Venue

Baseball has seen its ups and downs over the years. Used to be that crowds would pack stadiums and root, root, root for the home team. Well, that kinds of died off around the 80s or 90s. But now the crowds are back again. But lately, baseball seems to have changed from a casual but intellectual and dramatic sport to watch, to a passive but big bang form of entertainment.

Allow me to clarify. Growing up as a kid, I became very enamored with the details and minutiae of the game. Like when the 2nd baseman and shortstop communicate with "mouth signals" (open mouth or big grin) to each other when there's a runner on first. Or trying to predict what type of pitch to throw on a 2-1 count with runners on base.

Now, fans go to games, wander around the stadium, buy food, browse for team merchandise, people-watch, and maybe catch an inning here or there. And hope a big dude cracks a home run.

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I'm pretty sure the powers that be in the baseball world are content.

Just my hunch. But enough about my thoughts, let me go back to watching the Phils and Padres.

Monday, July 9, 2007

My Phillies' Question of the Day

My question of the day relates to the famous (infamous?) "countdown to 10,000 losses" here in the City of Brotherly Loss, I mean, Love...

Who is the losing-est Phillie of all time?

I figure there must be some poor shlub who got stuck playing for the Phils in the 30's for like 10 years and was subsequently a part of the most losses ever in Phillies' history for one player. Trivia buffs and statisticians, help me out!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

How to Keep Cats Out of a Garden

Let me preface this post by saying I'm an animal lover and I own a cat.

That said, I moved into my current house just about a year ago and I have a feline frenzy in my backyard. This is due to my neighbor's flock of cats that roam the 'hood.

So anyway, this year I put together my first garden ever and it actually turned out looking pretty decent. And it also happens to be cat poop central. :-( Thus ensued my ongoing battle with keeping the cats at bay. Here's what I've tried:
  • Sprinkling cayenne pepper around in the hope that it would be offensive to their noses. Good idea in theory, but it washes away in the rain, and isn't exactly cheap to spread it everyday. Verdict: No go.
  • Spraying the cats with a water gun. This was actually recommended by my neighbor, who said that if her cats bug me, spray with water. This tactic does indeed work, and it is indeed a fun little hobby, but only when I'm around and see them out back. Not coincidentally, the excrement shows up when I wake up in the morning. Verdict: Marginally effective.
  • Putting up thorny branches. I had the idea that maybe if I plugged some thorny branches in the ground, they'd stay away because they would be a nuisance. I didn't have many branches to work with, but managed to secure one particular area that was often frequented. Verdict: No apparent success.
  • Forks in the ground. I just put plastic forks in the ground with the tines sticking up to keep them from walking around there. Verdict: Too early to tell, but I can't see how this would fail to work. The main downside being that it looks really bizarre.
I've read online several other solutions, none of which appeal to me. For example, I have no interest in spraying a chemical around my yard to keep the cats away... this kind of solution does not appeal to me in the least due to the potential environmental effects. Nor does buying an automatic sprayer that is available, for 50+ bucks that sprays anything that crosses its sensor. That's getting a bit pricey and a bit psycho. Plus if anything's going to be shooting water, then it's me!

But if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! It's time to end the litter box trend and I'm all ears for new, environmentally sound, affordable, humane, and preferably un-noticeable solutions. Maybe I should just move...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

There is Hope Yet for Green Buildings

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday covered the "green" changes being made by the powers that be at The Friends Center in Center City Philly. The building itself is a 34-year-old office building for Quakers and is undergoing significant renovations to the tune of $12.5 million. Thankfully, they have decided to take this project on with an eye on saving the environment. The nuts and bolts of this project include:
  • A vegetated roof that covers 8,000 square feet. By laying down topsoil and planting sedum, the roof will insulate the building, eliminate about 90% of the building's rain runoff, last 3 times as long as a new roof would, and provide new CO2-catching plants for the environment
  • Photovoltaic cells, which will convert the sun's energy into electricity, up to 2 percent of the building's usage, with the potential for more to be added in the future.
  • Rainwater recycling, whereby rainwater will collect in tanks for storage and used to flush toilets, virtually eliminating the potable water consumption of the occupants.
  • High performance glass windows, which will admit more sunlight and minimize solar heat, helping to reduce energy consumption by 4 percent
  • and more...
This is the kind of vision, planning, and progressive thinking that Philadelphia, and the world, really needs. We can no longer be users and abusers of the environment if we want to stick it out on this planet for a few more centuries; instead we must follow the lead of groups like this one and start conserving. Thanks, Friends, for leading the way!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Special Thanks to

Someway, somehow my sweet significant other stumbled upon the website It turns out it's been one of the best finds on the internet to date.

This site sells lots of unique, original, dare I say uncommon gifts, gear, and dare I say goods. But coolest of all, in my book, is the variety of recycled stuff they sell.

For example, for our wedding, we registered for some wedding gifts on their registry. Just today, my cousin and her hubby sent us two recycled and flattened glass bottles that can be used as serving dishes. Fun stuff!

All in all, I'm glad to see a site that got someone who previously was lukewarm to recycling fired up about what recycling is all about-- giving old stuff new life.

(Note: this is not a paid endorsement nor is it a recycled blog post.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Welcome to Philadelphia, Jason Smith

Within the last week the Sixers drafted Jason Smith. And the Flyers traded for Jason Smith.

Yup, you heard right. Should be a fun year for sports news broadcasters in Philly.

I'm almost certain that players with the same full name playing on two different teams in Philadelphia has happened before, but I can't recall who that may have been.

Anybody with some help on this mind-bending issue?


Updates to follow if any are found!