I was blind sided yesterday when I got an email from one of our team members posting information on an event hosted by University of Pennsylvania. It was one in which Governor Tom Corbett was signing an executive order to circumvent the state legislature and put in place a state appointed panel on Alzheimer’s disease. We are learning more and more about the disease itself and research has been fierce (or as fierce as it can be). I have friends that are in the labs plugging away at isolating proteins or amyloid plaque treatments. I am currently on the other side looking at care and how we can improve conditions for an Alzheimer’s patient.
Not too long ago, my grandmother passed away after a 10+ year battle with the disease. She fought until the end and while it was painful to watch as a grandson, it must have been even harder to watch as her daughters and one son. While we all deal with things a different way, I chose to deal with this in the best way I knew how: to become a researcher in the public health arena. I am truly blessed to have found a position with the University of Pennsylvania as a researcher on Alzheimer’s disease. There are many different diseases (chronic and acute) that deserve attention but Alzheimer’s is one that is still without a cure. That is why yesterday’s event had more of an impact on me than I first realized. When the Governor signed that piece of legislation, it was a momentous occasion for everyone in that room. It means that the state is now recognizing its aging population and doing something about it. If nothing else, it is a step forward in the treatment and care for Alzheimer’s patients.
May Katherine Chepenuk rest in peace and may we one day in the near future find a cure for this truly devastating disease.
Every person should take a read. This sums up my feelings on this stupid day and I am glad there are others who agree with me…even girls.
Today is Tuesday. At least to me it’s Tuesday. I would even go as far as saying that it is February 14, 2012. However, I would not say “it is Valentine’s Day!” February 14th every year has been labeled as a “holiday”, but really, can it even be considered a holiday? I personally don’t consider this day an actual holiday. While there are people out there that will say that today is the holiday in which you celebrate love, I believe it’s a load of crap. It’s a bit ridiculous how Valentine’s Day is getting almost as much attention as Christmas when it comes to giving cards and gifts and spending money. Valentine’s Day should not be considered a “holiday.” It’s just a reason for card companies to make money and guys to get some because they bought their girl flowers, candy, a giant bear, holding a heart that says…
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Really neat for a planner or architect. Are we finally catching on to the urban problems of today?
What will the urban areas of tomorrow look like? More like an ever-changing and vibrant garden than a static set of buildings and blocks. In our new ebook Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives, British designer and architect Rachel Armstrong re-imagines the world’s cities and argues that in order to achieve sustainable development of the built environment — and help countries like Japan recover from natural disasters — we need to rethink how we approach architecture. By genetically modifying biological systems and studying such things as protocells — nongenetic self-organizing molecules that exhibit movement and sensitivity to their surroundings — we could create more responsive and dynamic structures. The result is a new kind of architectural practice where cities behave more like an evolving ecosystem than a lifeless machine. We recently spoke with Armstrong.
What do you mean by ‘living architecture’?
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Here Comes…Black Friday?
Today’s blog post will be in form of a mini-rant. It all started with a news story this morning about how stores are now opening their doors on Thanksgiving night for the “Black Friday” deals. I know I am not the only one that finds this trend appalling.
One year ago, while working at the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia, I arranged a trip to the Philadelphia Outlets for my kids. The outlets were promoting “Midnight Madness” which sought to get shoppers out at midnight on Friday morning to enjoy shopping as soon as Black Friday hit. I thought about the trip as a whole and considered the time at which the trip took place. However, I thought I was doing the right thing because I knew that the kids would have fun and would be able to get the best deals possible. I knew that it seemed like people would be giving up time with their families to take this trip but midnight was not all THAT bad. At least it was FRIDAY!
The Shrinking Holidays
This news story told its audience that stores would now be open as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving night so that consumers would be able to get the good deals even BEFORE Black Friday hit. Maybe this is good for some but for me, this effort that the stores have put forth just ruins the holiday known as Thanksgiving and effectively commercializes the holiday known as Christmas.
If you don’t live under a rock, you have noticed that stores have already put up their Christmas decorations and have begun the process of retro-fitting their stores to look and feel as if Christmas is almost upon us. What this means for Christmas is that the holiday has been stretched that much longer and by the time Christmas gets here, people have gotten “too much” or too saturated with Christmas. What it means for Thanksgiving is that it is a dying holiday. What will stop stores from opening earlier and earlier each year henceforth? The answer: NOTHING!
Thanks For Nothing!
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is meant to be spent with family and friends giving thanks to all the many joys they have in their lives. Yes there usually is a big meal and yes I do LOVE food so there is that. However, the meal becomes the centerpiece and the driving force behind getting everyone together. As with any “group” there must be a catch to “lure” them. This catch is the food. My catch is both food and family. I LOVE spending time with my family and laughing and joking. It makes me feel warm and its one of the reasons I came back from California after my freshman year of college. I can imagine that many of you also love spending time with your family and friends. Thanksgiving should be enjoyed not solely because of the food but also the company that it brings.
Christmas, like Thanksgiving usually features a meal and the rounding up of family members, no matter where they are in the country (or in some cases, abroad). However, this holiday’s centerpiece has become “presents.” We spend so much time now (and more time now because Black Friday gets earlier and earlier each year) worrying about the right gift to get someone instead of actually being able to see our friends and family. We worry about what they will think when they receive the gift instead of what they will think when we are together. The commercialization of Christmas has now gotten to the point where we need two days instead of one to kickoff “Christmas.” I believe it is appalling and that we have lost the meaning of both Thanksgiving and Christmas because companies are looking for “the edge.” That competitive edge that they seek has ruined my outlook on these holidays and I hope it is a trend that does NOT continue.
Enraged member of society,
JOE BONAMASSA: ALREADY LEGENDARY
How someone like Joe could go under the radar is beyond me. I discovered him for myself about a year or two ago while still in the band “Pete Staff and the Oxford Circus” and have not looked back since. This Blues Rock guitarist is one of the best I have seen and heard in my lifetime.
The Best Blues Rock Guitarist Out There
I bought my ticket in late August to a show at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The show date was set for November 12th and at the time I did not even care what day it was, I wanted to go see Bonamassa at any cost. I bought my ticket (best available) and could not wait for the 3 months to go by. The chance to see one of the premier blues guitarists of this generation fueled my fire. I never got the chance to see Stevie Ray Vaughn or Jimi Hendrix so I thought my chance was now to see Joe.
I arrived at the venue about 30 minutes early and waited as time seemed to move backward. As people moved in and out before the doors opened, all I could think about was how my face would literally be “melted” off after the show. I had heard so many amazing things and had previewed his live performances on youtube. PLUS, this was my first time at the Academy of Music. I knew the acoustics, venue (one of the oldest in Philadelphia), and performance would be one of the best I have ever seen.
The Show Itself
The start of the concert featured feedback from Joe’s guitar and only his silhouette behind a white light on stage. What better way to start a show than that? Then came his blistering but soulful solos which were just masterful. The funniest part of the evening came when Joe recollected his first gig in Philly at the Trocadero (he pronounced it “Troke-a-dare-0h). An audience member sought to correct his mistake by yelling out the correct pronunciation. His response: “What, do we have a fucking linguistics expert here?” His point is that he played to 6 people but those 6 people got the best concert of their lives. Last night, the Academy was filled with 2500 people who all enjoyed his performance. Quite a leap!
He played a lot of my favorite songs as well as some tunes from his newest album “Dust Bowl.” My favorites like “Sloe Gin,” “Just Got Paid(not really his),” and “Slow Train” were on tap for the evening and these were played to perfection. A new song that I fell in love with was “The Ballad of John Henry.” The riff in this song was kick ass and should be on everyone’s list to download. Overall this night satisfied my musical palette and went beyond anything I could have imagined.
GO LISTEN TO HIM!
Proud to be a listener of great music,
The Peculiar Case of Ryan Madson
I thought since all we ever hear anymore is this Penn State scandal that we switch gears for a minute. I was listening to sports radio today and almost the whole day was spent on the Penn State ordeal. The other part was spent commiserating about the lowly Eagles. It is clear in my mind as to who the best, classiest organization in town is: The Philadelphia Phillies. However, there has been some news as of late that hurts the Phillies’ reputation.
The Case FOR Madson
Look, Ryan Madson is a great pitcher do not get me wrong. He has been our elite setup man and since Lidge’s injuries, our closer. He has been moved around to a lot of different roles, even being asked to start games at one point. It was disastrous. He gave up too many homers and his ERA was abysmal. Since moving to the setup role (Primary 8th inning guy), Ryan Madson has been as good as any in the majors. As a closer (most consistently in 2011) he was 32/34 in save opportunities and came in and shut the door on many teams in tight spots. This is the case for giving Ryan Madson another deal. He is a great clubhouse guy, familiar with our system, and has been very good the last couple of years.
The Case AGAINST Madson
While Madson is a good pitcher, the sample size is still VERY small compared to other closers in the league who are now free agents. Jonathan Papelbon (say what you will) has been a closer his whole career (6 years) and Heath Bell had almost as many saves in one season as Madson has had in his career (43, Madson with 50). Comparing age, Madson will be 31 as the season starts next year. Papelbon ( 31 ) and Bell (34) have 219 and 134 saves respectively. You look at these stats and they blow you away. Why give Madson the kind of money Ruben wanted to give him with such a small sample size? Why have the Phillies set the market for closers when there is more than one closer available who would still be VERY serviceable?
The Ultimate Decision
Ryan Madson is certainly due a BIG raise on any team. However, his services as a closer were only needed because Jose Contreras’ injury forced Madson into duty. We may not even be having this conversation if Madson were still in his usual 8th inning role. While he has been our best and most consistent pitcher out of the bullpen, Ryan Madson does NOT need to return to the Phillies at the price Ruben and Scott Boras’ has set. In my previous post about the Phillies, I stated that the team must get younger and hungrier. Closer is one position that is immune to this tactic (See Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera). My answer for the Phillies is to go ahead and seek others’ services. David Montgomery is right to put the brakes on this deal. NOBODY should pay Madson 44-57 million dollars, especially the Phillies who are so deficient in other areas and are looking for upgrades.
I love the hot stove,