Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

May 19, 2018 — This week’s photo challenge is liquid.

Turtle coming out of the water sit in the sun.
The Schuylkill River Boardwalk by the South Street Bridge in Philadelphia.

The Sounds of the Season

May 14, 2018 – Once the temperature rises, it’s a sure sign that the sounds of the Mister Softee jingle will be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

You’ll hear the familiar jingle in the distance at first, causing your heart to beat faster as it gets closer. You can’t help but smile; aside from the crack of a baseball bat, it’s one of the sweetest sounds of summer.

That simple jingle summons heartwarming childhood memories for many of us, and reminds me of our local driver who several years back rolled through the streets calling to children with such classics as “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World”. Those cherished holiday hits seem odd as they filtered through open windows with outside temperatures reaching 80 degrees.

Mr. Whippy as seen in the Beatles’ movie Help.

Instead of the Mister Softee , the driver — who wore a turban — operated a vehicle that looked like the Mr. Whippy truck from the Beatles’ movie “Help”. Not that I mind how he dressed, but his choice of headwear and music suggest that perhaps he is new to the U.S. and may not realize that although he’s playing seasonal music, it’s the wrong season.

Now that I’ve moved, I kinda miss him.

P.S. “Your famous Ringo is safe.”


Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World

May 12, 2018 — This week’s challenge is “place in the world”.

I’ve lived in the Philadelphia for most of my life. Now that I’ve made the move to suburban life, the city remains one of my favorite places to photograph.

Boat House Row along Kelly Drive.
The Schuylkill River Boardwalk
City Hall
Part of the Skyline
Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in America

More Street Slang Added to The Official Scrabble Dictionary

May 7, 2018 – Remember the two old ladies playing dirty word Scrabble in the 1978 movie Foul Play?

Scrabble snobs like me may have a sense of humor when it comes to comedy scenes in movies, but in reality we would never accept those words if they didn’t appear in The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Last month, Scrabble celebrated its 70th anniversary, and in its honor, The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary added 300 more words, marking the sixth edition of the game book.

Prior to this, the book was last updated in 2014, when 10 new street slang words were added, some more offensive than those words used by the old ladies. They include “thankx” (it’s not even shorter than the proper spelling, but the “k” and the “x” together can score plenty) and “bezzy”, (a term used to describe a “ho” is not particularly good-looking). Do we really need a slang term for this scenario? Not to mention, Scrabble only has one “z”, so you’d need a blank to spell the word.

The newest volume, which publishes this fall, includes 21st century slang words like “emoji,” “facepalm” and “puggle.” I’m familiar with the term emoji, but I just learned that facepalm is the act of bringing your hand up to you face to express disbelief, and puggle is a breed of dog with a beagle and a pug for parents, the latter of which seems acceptable.

Even better, the newest volume includes more of those elusive two letter words that can score big points for you at the end of the game when trying to use all of your letters. The expressions “ew” and “hm”, are now official, along with the strange slang term for pizza–“za”, which is simply disrespectful.

The latest edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary will be available in September 2018.

The Last Maypole

April 30, 2018 — Tomorrow we welcome the month of May. That can only mean it will be May 1, and time to dance around the Maypole to celebrate May Day.

OK, so the European spring tradition isn’t widely recognized in the states, but it is a national holiday in many countries. It’s also celebrated in Russia, Cuba and many other communist countries as International Worker’s Day,  but legend says its roots are right here in the United States, before we began celebrating Labor Day in September.

I have vivid memories of dancing around the Maypole in a kindergarten in the mid 1960s. It may be my first lasting memory since I can’t recall much before then. Right after, a boy named Billy who lived one block over chased me home from that celebration trying to steal my May Day balloon. I still think about that each May 1, and I wonder what happened to Billy. In jail for theft perhaps?

So, whether May Day is a spring celebration, a pagan festival, a day of political protests, or just another day closer to summer, find a Maypole or something that can pass for one tomorrow and boogie on down.