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Where do all the hippies meet? SOUTH STREET! SOUTH STREET!

Spent the afternoon with my niece Janet visiting the Philadelphia Magic Gardens on South Street in South Philly. Took lots of pictures with my Lensbaby Composer lens (with Sweet 35 optic). Did some thrift store shopping on South Street, then had dinner at the Melrose Diner. Overall great day!

Photos can be seen here.

Magic Gardens in South Philly.
Mosaic artwork by Isaiah Zagar. Photo © Kathy Hand Spear 2012.
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A Very Merry Crafty Weekend

Niece Janet invited me to the Art Star Craft Bazaar yesterday at Penn's Landing where a fine time was had by all. I splurged on the following purchases:

Pendant made from broken plate, from the Broken Plate Pendant Company.

Juliet Ames (The Broken Plate Pendant Company) makes pendants, earrings, cufflinks, and other cool stuff out of -- you guessed it -- broken plates. Visit her web site or her Etsy shop.

Taxi Photo Earrings from Heidi Roland.

Heidi Roland creates "daring earrings for women who dare" ... dare to wear photos on their ears, I guess. She creates earrings from her own original photos as well as from feathers, shells, metals, and other materials. The earrings show actually contain 4 sections of the same photo. (Sections 1 and 4 are on the back.) You can see more of her pieces at her Etsy shop.

iTunes is currently playing: I Feel Pretty from the album West Side Story- Original Broadway Cast by Carol Lawrence and Marilyn Cooper.

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Is she really the best model ...

... to connect with women who need to lose a few pounds?

Jeans for overweight women, modeled by stick woman.

iTunes is currently playing: More Today Than Yesterday from the album More Today Than Yesterday by Spiral Starecase.

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I love love love ...

... receiving packages from China. Chinese characters are so beautiful. They remind me of snowflakes.

Chinese Export Form

Do you think that the characters circled in pink mean "United States"?

Chinese Characters = US?

I also love Hello Kitty. And I love the bag I got from Hannah in China. Very reasonable. Very well made. Perfect handbag for traveling.

Hello Kitty Bag.

iTunes is currently playing: Visions Of China from the album Live in Tokyo December 1982 by Japan.

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What would you expect to learn ...

... from a candy bar hotline? [Thanks, Nan!]

Call the Nestle Crunch Hotline at 800-295-0051. When you are asked if you want to continue in English or Spanish, just wait quietly for about 10 seconds and you will smile. Promise! Keep going and press 4. Listen to the options and then press 7. If you aren't smiling by now, check and make sure you still have a pulse.

iTunes is currently playing: Candy Everybody Wants from the album MTV Unplugged by 10,000 Maniacs.

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A big improvement? You be the judge.

I love my new door!

BEFORE:

Kathy and Dan's old door.
Our original door was much larger than a standard-sized door and had a big round doorknob the size of a grapefruit on the outside.

AFTER:

Kathy and Dan's NEW door.
Target checks out the new door. The installer had to build a frame around the door because the old one was so big.

Close-up of the window on our new door.
Here is a close-up view of the stained glass window in the door.

iTunes is currently playing: This House (Album Version) from the album Hoodoo by Alison Moyet.

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Evian Roller Babies

I feel as if I am always the last person on earth to learn about a cool commercial or video or performer or whatever. Has everyone else known about Evian Babies for a while??



iTunes is currently playing: Have You Seen My Baby from the album Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman by Randy Newman.

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If I hadn't seen this ad ...

... with my own eyes I'd swear it had to be a joke. It isn't bad enough that we are bombarded by rap music ringtones everywhere we go. Soon we will be assaulted by PERFUME emanating from laptop computers, too!

Perfumed laptop
Perfumed laptop



iTunes is currently playing: Girls Just Want to Have Fun from the album The Essential Cyndi Lauper by Cyndi Lauper.
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What I want to know is ...

... does anyone actually deposit checks like this in his or her bank account? (Yes, that is a check for FIVE CENTS.)

Refund check from Verizon for 5 cents.

iTunes is currently playing: What Is This Going To Get Us? from the album The Man I Love - Past Perfect, Disc 7 by Billie Holiday.

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One of the few things I'll miss ...

... about NJ is cheap gas. In PA we pay 30 to 40 cents more per gallon for self-service gas than folks in NJ pay for full service. And I must admit I didn't expect to see gas at this price ever again, even in NJ.

Cheap NJ gas.

iTunes is currently playing: Driving from the album The Language Of Life by Everything But The Girl.

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Another adorable SmartCar

This one was spotted in a Smart showroom in Naples, Italy.

I love Smarties. I love Hello Kitty. I love this car!

Hello Kitty Smart Car

iTunes is currently playing: My Sanctuary from the album Join the Parade by Marc Cohn.

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Jay Leno test drives "the car that makes people smile".

I want one. I want one. I WANT ONE!!!



iTunes is currently playing: Short People from the album Little Criminals by Randy Newman.

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How to hold down prices ...

... without alienating your customers:

From the L.A.Times (11/9/08):

Containers



iTunes is currently playing: Slippery People from the album Stop Making Sense: Special New Edition (1984 Film) by Talking Heads.
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I do not need a new car.

BUT I WANT THIS CAR!!

SmartCar with Peace and Love-designed wrap.

iTunes is currently playing: What is This Thing Called Love from the album Portrait: Past Perfect - Disc 10 by Billie Holiday.

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R.I.P. Acres of Books in Long Beach, CA

Oh, my, the hours I spent there! Happy trails, Jackie and Phil.

Acres of Books

Resident Cat at Acres of Books

[L.A.Times] After 74 years in business, the independent bookstore giant with an inventory that topped 1 million volumes is closing down to make way for a redevelopment project. The two-story brick building will be transformed into a mix of housing and art galleries as part of the city's plan to connect downtown with its East Village Arts District.

Acres of Books opened on Pacific Street in 1934 and moved into the current building in the 1940s, taking over from a country-western bar and dance hall. Back then, Long Beach Boulevard was a hot spot for the Navy, packed with bars, tattoo parlors and mom-and-pop shops.

Founder Bertrand Smith and his son, E.P. Smith, worked more than a year to move into the site, shuttling hundreds of thousands of books in the back of a pickup. Over time, the downtown strip, starting from the shoreline, has given way to an arts renaissance and a 21st century economy of condos and Starbucks shops.

"We knew eventually it would catch up with us," said Jackie Smith, 68. She and her husband, Phil, plan to retire and travel. They've had time to say goodbye to the store, after selling their building to the city for $2.8 million three months ago.

Smith said she and her husband searched for months for a new location but didn't find one that met their needs for a large space on a modest budget. Once they sell their inventory, which in less than two weeks has gone from 700,000 to 500,000, they will join the list of independent L.A. area bookstores that have been ousted by sluggish sales or redevelopment.

"I hate to see it go," said Smith, whose husband inherited the store from his grandfather. "If we would have been able to hold on, we would have probably been here until we turned to dirt. But that's not possible."

iTunes is currently playing: The Book I Read from the [bootleg] album Live at the Sun Palace (Tokyo) by Talking Heads.

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Cool new chess set

Cool new chess set.

Carole King - Tapestry - I Feel the Earth Move ... is currently playing: I Feel The Earth Move from the album Tapestry by Carole King.
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This item is available from a web site called JourneyEd.com …

... which sells computer stuff at academic discounts. But don't worry! You don't have to be a student or teacher to buy one!

iPod - it goes anywhere!


Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues - Spreadin' Rhythm Around


iTunes is currently playing: How Could You? from the album Billie Holiday: Portrait by Billie Holiday.
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If you have ceramic tile in your house …

... hurry to Linens and Things and buy a SONIC SCRUBBER while they are still available.

SonicScrubber - Cleans filthy grout with no scrubbing!

Use it with Comet Soft Cleanser Cream with Bleach ...

Comet Liquid Cleanser with Bleach

... and watch what happens. This thing is amazing -- and worth every penny of the $12.99 price tag.

You're welcome!

Presto!  Grout goes from black to white in the blink of an eye.

iTunes is currently playing: Rest For The Weary from the album The Rainy Season by Marc Cohn.
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am i a bad pet owner?

I was wandering around in a drug store the other day and I saw this in the pet department:



There are many things that can be purchased in either "stylish" or "boring" versions, but I didn't think a cat litter box was one of them.

I didn't buy it.

iTunes is currently playing: Walls Come Tumbing Down from the album The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council by The Style Council.
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magic wrinkle remover ?

i just bought an ironing board from Target that hangs over a closet door. i thought i might be more inclined to iron the things that need to be ironed if i just had to pull the board down rather than drag a (larger, heavier) model out of a closet and find someplace to set it up.

i almost didn't buy it because this was written on the package:

"there's something rather magical about ironing. you take your rumpled up life. spritz a little water on it. run an iron over it. and presto. everything's new again. the wrinkles of yesterday have vanished right before your very eyes. and there you are. looking fresh. feeling sharp. ready to take on the world."

they actually paid someone to write that crap? clearly, it was someone who has never ironed, because anyone who has will tell you there is nothing MAGICAL about it or any other form of domestic drudgery known as housework.

hmmm.... could the field of marketing possibly be dominated by ... men??

iTunes is currently playing: We Work The Black Seam from the album The Dream Of The Blue Turtles by Sting.

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It’s almost Easter and that means …

... it's time for MARSHMALLOW PEEPS!!!!



Did you know:

Just Born, a candy company that was formed in 1910, got into the Peeps market by buying the Rodda Candy Company of Lancaster, Pa., in 1953. Though Rodda was best known as being technologically advanced in the art of jellybean making, they also produced Peeps.

At that time, the making of Peeps was a time-consuming process. When Just Born bought the company, it took 27 hours to make one Peep. Today it takes 6 minutes. Also, before the Peep-making technology was streamlined, Peeps were squeezed through a pastry tube, one at a time and then the eyes were painted on by hand. It wasn't exactly high-tech candy making. Just Born revolutionized the Peep-making technology and now 3,500 Peep eyes are created every minute.

And for the health conscious:

Each Peep has 32 calories (160 per five-chick serving) and 0 fat grams.

Want to know more about Peeps? Here ya go!



iTunes is currently playing: Candy Everybody Wants from the album MTV Unplugged by 10,000 Maniacs.
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i’m as patriotic as the next guy …

... but red, white, and blue POP TARTS?? i'm sorry, but that is just too gross.



iTunes is currently playing: America from the album West Side Story- Original Broadway Cast by Chita Rivera & Marilyn Cooper.
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if you have a boring baby …

... turn him into an iPod!

The [iPod accessories] craze has even spread to clothing -- for infants. One Web site, iPodmybaby.com, sells multicolored baby jumpers with the familiar iPod scroll wheel on the front, for people who want their children to look like life-size music players. The site has made more than 1,000 sales since it launched a couple of weeks ago, according to Dave Schroeder of Reston, who co-founded the business.



iTunes is currently playing: God Bless The Child from the album Ken Burns Jazz Collection: Billie Holiday by Billie Holiday.
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POSITIVELY GIDDY!

That's how I felt as I drove my new Scion xA off the dealer's lot.

Is it cute or what?!



iTunes is currently playing: Driving from the album The Language Of Life by Everything But The Girl.
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Cool Earrings

I really like the software (WordPress) that I am using for this web site. In my quest for "plug-ins" (WordPress enhancements) that I can use to make the site even spiffier, I stumbled upon the web site of ScriptyGoddess, a young lady named Jennifer who is a php/WordPress script writer extraordinaire.

In addition to her programming prowess, she is also an artist. She has an online business called Above The Fold that sells beautiful handmade origami earrings, among other things. I ordered the butterfly earrings shown below, but she also makes lovely crane earrings. Click here to visit her store.

Visit AboveTheFold.org for lovely handmade origami earrings.
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Chain Chain Chain … Chain of Fools …

I love chain stores and restaurants. I love that I can walk into any Target or Wal-Mart in the country and find exactly what I want. I love that those sinfully delicious, artery-clogging, buttery Popeye's biscuits taste exactly the same regardless of the state I am in when I buy them.

I don't understand people who fight to keep the "big box" guys out of their cities. Do they enjoy paying more for their CDs and cat litter? Or do they not understand that if Wal-Mart paid its employees twice as much it would also have to charge twice as much for everything it sells?

I followed the news stories a while back regarding Wal-Mart's unsuccessful attempt to open a store in Inglewood, CA. In an area where residents complain about both high unemployment and the high prices they pay for goods at their local stores, they voted to keep Wal-Mart from opening a store that would have employed hundreds and sold them food and household products for much less than they currently pay. Go figure.

So I was thrilled to read the other day that the tactics of the Wal-Mart haters in Rosemead, CA backfired on them! They put forth a referendum that they thought would prevent Wal-Mart from opening a Supercenter by overturning an existing development agreement between Wal-Mart and the city. They couldn't figure out why the Wal-Mart folks were in favor of the referendum, which was ultimately approved. As it turns out, Wal-Mart is going to be able to put up their store much sooner now that it is not bound by the original agreement.

And the moral of this story is: Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it!

iTunes is currently playing: The Winner Takes It All from the album Mamma Mia! [Bonus Tracks] by Siobhan McCarthy.
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QUESTION: What’s cuter than a Mini Cooper?

ANSWER: The ZAP! Smart Car, coming soon to a showroom near you. You can read about it here.

I hope to be driving one in a few months. I'm leaning toward a convertible in one of these two color combinations:

SmartCar White & Black

Smart Car (green with silver trim)

Want to help me decide? Cast your vote below.

iTunes is currently playing: Driving from the album The Language Of Life by Everything But The Girl.
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