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The Philadelphia Inquirer's experimental online "morning show", which began in Sept. 2005, went on hiatus in the summer of 2006, after a gradual shift to putting more of its content directly on

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Great Room Ideas for Guys 

Face it. When it comes to interior design, regular guys need help. Not all guys. But your mainstream recliner-floppin’, beer-sloppin’, crumb-droppin’, firewood-choppin’, story-toppin’, park-those-fumy-Pumas-on-the-coffeetable kind of guys.

The kind who hear “ruffles” and think “have ridges.”

Yes, you’re thinking, it’s time somebody taught them good taste.

For crying out loud, no! Designers have tried to beat good taste into guys’ brains for centuries. It’s time somebody catered to regular guys’ tastes.

Once I read about a couple planning a pricey domicile redo. So they hired an architect. Suddenly, he's outnumbered! First thing to go? His hopes for a basement bar-and-gameroom! OK, maybe his insisting on the firing range for bazookas was a deal-breaker, but saps like this need support. They need a list of ideas for great guy rooms:

The Driver-Indoors Movie Theater. TV's bigger than an elephant, room's big as a zoo. Ride around in bumper cars, picking up burgers and fries at your own drive-thru kitchen window. Only one way to make beer-dispensing safe: Hover keg.

Neanderthal Kitchen. Cook the prehistoric way — burn everything. Rock-floored and roofless, this room’s perfect for campfires hot enough to smelt bronze. Suggested accessories: Paint roller to slather barbecue sauce on woolly mammoth-size steaks; turbocharged garbage disposal; broadaxes instead of sissy cleavers; exploding practical-joke cigars; fire hydrant with a fire hose. For a christening dish, add rhino sausage and Mongolian fire oil to beef-a-roni — it’s Testosteroni!

The Dreams-Come-True Room. Strap on wired-up football helmet, sink into big comfy chair, and flip the switch. Soon you’ll imaginatively live out your every fantasy. Free parking on demand. The Dow always rises. The boss loves your latest outburst. Your favorite team wins championships, everyone thinks you’re cool, and women find you irresistable, even when you’re old with a pot belly. Wait, that’s not your fantasy — it’s Jack Nicholson’s life!

The Jungle Bathroom. Make answering nature’s call even more natural, with nifty touches like vines, tile-climbing lizards and piped-in monkey noises. How about a waterfall instead of a shower? Or a tropical-fish-filled glass toilet tank? Fit right in with Eagles-green body paint. It's your call whether to add civilized amenities, like sports-trivia tissue, moving toilet for target practice, a scale long enough to be visible over any gut, mildew-proof towels, or an electric razor that actually works.

The Fortress of Nap Solitude. Looks like an ordinary TV room. But when snoring is detected, a long mechanical arm shoos out any awake folks, and swats all buzzing bugs dead. Total lockdown mode thwarts all those annoying interruptions — “Dad, man’s here to repossess the Daewoo!” — until sensors detect that deep REM sleep has been completed.

Ali Baba’s Super-Vault. Inspired by Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin, our room’s filled with all kinds of valuables, like spark plugs, that a guy can scoop up by the armful, while greedily gloating, “Ha-ha-ha! It’s mine! All mine! At least until my next cell-phone payment is due!” A bathtub has a lifetime supply of beach tags. A chest overflows with honey mustard pretzel nuggets. And boxes of gems come already wrapped, so come Valentine’s Day, no shopping.

World Domination Map Room. Use shuffleboard sticks to jockey nuclear subs and bombers on your huge tabletop video map of the planet. Crank trillion-dollar bills out of your Inkjet and buy cities, countries, continents! Cackle evilly while marching your armies of little Lego people. Room is windowless, of course, to avoid (a) drapes, and (b) any intrusion by reality.

Den of the Dead. Got a prized bug collection? Stuffed warthog? A Ted Williams frozen-head bobblehead doll? No wife wants gruesome stuff like this near the Hummels. So build a room for all your dead-related stuff. Old VCRs you’re saving for parts. Front-yard tombstones for Halloween. Mob-movie posters. Disco records. That IRA you put in an Internet start-up fund. Lock it all up with a deadbolt and a skeleton key.

The Unwreckable Rec Room. Anger management issues? Have we got a padded cell for you! The windows are shatterproof, and the TV’s indestructible. Almost everything else is made of cheap, yet edible material. (Same stuff is in Pringles.) So fear not when that lamp “slips” — “@#&%$! Phillies! @#&%$! Lieberthal!” — and bludgeons the boob tube. A funky focal point is the front half of a junker you can whack with a tire iron without regrets. Curse-word wall coverings are a nifty touch, perfect for the vocabulary challenged. All rugs have futuristic fibers that instantly transmogrify cheesesteak drips into cool wisps of smoke.

The Best Bleeping Bedroom. Shhh, let’s see if the editor’s paying attention. Here goes: The bed bleep! bleep! bleepity-bleep! in-your-dreams-buddy! bleep! … trampoline … bleep! you-must-be-kidding! bleeeeep! … trapeze …you-can’t-say-that! bleep! censored! censored! see-saw … bleepamatic bleeperama bleepathon! … weekend-in-Vegas-strength Viagra … what the bleeping bleepers! ... pregnancy test kit ... in my office now! ... and a good lawyer’s phone number, not to mention sheets with big race cars.

My Arsenal Can Kick Yours. Whether Armageddon’s coming, baby, or it's just spring with its killer bunnies (who’s whispering I’m paranoid?), a guy’s got to be ready. Besides, it just feels right good to stockpile Symbols of Powerful Manhood: Like guns, rifles, Super Soakers, lawn darts, pesticides, powersaws, nose-hair clippers, blowtorches, fishing tackle, can openers, ping pong paddles, and cans of Vienna sausage. Kick back and think, “Dude! With a time machine, I could single-handedly whup the Roman Empire!” Or work out with weights as you wait for al-Qaeda, carpenter ants, and, oh no, not those docs in the white coats again!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger: Urp! 

What's Mike Missanelli Been Doing Lately? 

He got ousted from WIP, hasn't been seen since on NBC10's Sunday night Sports Final, hasn't returned calls. Maybe he found a temporary gig. (Click the link.)

Recipe for Cheesesteak Empanadas 

Cheesesteak Empanada

10 oz. thinly sliced sirloin steak
1 ea. Medium Spanish onion (diced)
1 ea. Garlic clove (minced)
1 ea. Jalapeno pepper( diced)
3 oz. provolone cheese( sliced)
4 oz. blended vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 ea. Empanada dough rolled out to 1/8th inch

empanada dough

1.5 cup whole milk
.5 cup vegetable oil
4 cup all purpose flour

Mix all ingredients until smooth
Let dough rest for 15 min.

1) heat two sauté pans to medium heat
2) in one add meat and cook through
3) the other pan cook onions ,pepper,and garlic until translucent
4) while ingredients are warm add cheese and mix everything together
5) let cool to room temperature
6) roll out empanada dough
7) portion out cheesesteak into equal parts
8) wrap cheesesteak with dough pinch together edges to seal using a fork
9) bake @ 375 for 15 min. or deep fry @325 until golden brown

yields 8-10 empandas

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

'Witness' Is Best Movie Made in Pa.? 

C'mon, you know it's The Fish That Ate Pittsburgh, "the cream of 1970's disco fluff," starring Dr. J. No, seriously. Hans "The Fugitive" Solo's visit to Amish County was great and an Oscar nominee. But it wasn't the best, even if voters in a state-run poll said so. A case can easily be made for either of the two top runners-up, Silence of the Lambs (shot in Pittsburgh) and best-picture champion Rocky. Also getting votes: Oscar-winner The Deer Hunter, Girl Interrupted, Gettysburg, Groundhog Day (starring Bill Murray, right), All the Right Moves, Flashdance and Night of the Living Dead. (Yes, all filmed between Jersey and Ohio.) But how come nobody mentioned two other marvelous films shot in Philly, Trading Places and Sixth Sense (with Haley Joel Osment, above)? Didn't see Philadelphia, but Tom Hanks won a best-actor Oscar for his portrayal of an AIDS patient fighting for his rights. And, gee, we all know people who say Johnstown-filmed Slap Shot is their all-time favorite. Which flick gets your vote?

What's the best movie ever made in Pa.?
Free polls from

Donovan Deadpans 

Donovan McNabb sure gave Fox 29 an exclusive perspective for last night's 10 O'Clock News. Talking about returning from an abdominal tear, the Eagles hurler started pulling some leg: "I don't think I'll be able to go in any of the minicamps, or training camp. I don't think I'll be able to play in the preseason. I might not be ready until the middle of the season. So I'm really looking forward to being out there maybe like Week 10, and just really going out and having fun."

Then he added: "No, I'll be ready for the first minicamp, and I'm just excited about it."

"He doesn't want to be there for that October game when T.O. comes back," quipped sportscaster Don Tollefson.

What Do Fans Want Eagles to Do in the Draft? 

A series of polls on the Eagles website gives a good snapshot into fans' opinions. Here are the questions with the top answers.
Best Eagles first-round pick ever?
Donovan McNabb, said by 70.9 percent.
Do the Eagles need a big running back?
Yes, in a major role, 37.1 percent.
What should a first-round pick give an NFL team?
Be a solid, productive starter for many years, 69.4 percent.
What do you make of running back Lendale White's situation?
He'll be taken late in first, 38.4 percent.
What do you think the Eagles will do?
Surprise us all, 42.2 percent.
How many great players do you think are in this draft's first round?
As many as 10, 42.8 percent.
What do you want from the first day of the draft?
Immediate impact from 1-2 picks, 35.5 percent.
At which position could the Eagles draft an immediate starter?
Wide receiver, 34.1 percent.
Latest question: Which wide reciever would best fit the Eagles from this draft?
Chad Jackson, 45.1 percent.

And here's a question of our own:

To have title hopes again, how many impact players do Eagles need from this draft?
Free polls from

Jarred by Jetta Ads 

See those new Jetta commercials? Friends just driving along, WHOOMP! Mangled metal. Airbag deployment. Gnarled wreckage. Yeah, car commercials should have impact. But not this much.

Reminds me of flashbacks I had back in my hippie days. Was hitchhiking across the country. Got picked up by two young women in a van. Somewhere near St. Louis, a car in the right lane suddenly did a left in front of us! We smashed the driver's door, and next thing I know, I'm floating in mid-air, the van revolving around me, like some slo-mo movie scene, then WHOOMP! the van lands on its roof. I forget whether the door popped open, or one of the women opened it, but I saw two furry streaks depart the van heading across the interstate for distant woods. The girls' dog and cat. Amazingly, no one died, not even the driver whose door we hit. Of the girls, only the driver had even a scratch. Can't remember much else, except for a trooper asking with a drawl, "Girls pick you up hitchhiking a lot?" I hitched on to L.A., where the next day, while watching Psycho, I relived the crash, as screechy music accompanied the knife stabs of the shower scene. (No, I wasn't using drugs.)

(For more tales of near-death experiences, see "I Got Robber While a Camden Cabbie" and "How I Almost Died as a Teenage Driver.")

So I really don't need TV ads to remind me of sudden impacts. And how could I ever buy a Jetta, now that "Jetta" and "crash" are permanently fused in my brain? My take: Another ad so clever it'll hurt sales.

Then again, (a) the ad did succeed in turning me into a publicity pawn, and (b) some folks who commented at think the ads are cool. Check out one ad below. More are on the yayhooray post. Your take?

Penn Expert: Guilt Taking Fun Out of Eating 

That bites.

Sally the Dog Dies a Hero 

See this? When two dogs got loose in Willow Grove, a mother and baby might have been seriously hurt if not for their courageous pet.

Teens Waste Police Time 

Tragic Coincidence or Something Else? 

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Penn physicist confirms a real flip-flopper 

Politicians have nothing on the strange neutral B meson, reports The New York Times. It does a Jekyll and Hyde routine a few trillion times a second. Penn's I. Joseph Kroll was part of a 700-member international team (more than Nebraska football!) who analyzed the results.

Pigs Olympics Wins by a Nose 

The Moscow Times headline brags, "Russia Dominates." Of course. After all, it is their annual event. Just as naturally, other reports pack on the puns: "Fans squeal," "Hamming it up," and "Go on, give us a piggy-back." The event was Saturday's Pig Olympics, which featured swimming (above), swineball (below), and racing. Kostik Rystish Shvain, just 2-1/2 years old, won a sprint and praise: "He's the smartest, fastest, slyest and bravest of all," said Kostik's manager. Of the crowd of just 300 (barely more than a Chick-fil-A grand opening), why do we suspect 100 were photographers?

Hoffa Truth Better Than None 

Are we finally making progress on the infamous-missing-persons front? Can't nab bin Ladin. Can't arrest an anthrax mailer/killer suspect. But at least we've finally found out what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters boss who vanished outside Detroit in 1975. Or have we? Story is a Jersey hitman, who's now dead but has a book coming out, drove to Michigan, knifed Hoffa in the head, and carted the corpse back to the Perth Hoboken exit or thereabouts. But do not believe this tale, ex-FBI guy Robert Garrity told the Detroit Free Press: "That's the most embarrassing one to date."

But hold on. We see reasons to believe.
1. The FBI guy says he never heard of any hitman named Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski. As a criminal, maybe he was trying not to be heard of! Ever think of that?
2. "The Iceman" is just OK as a nickname. If he was making that up, he could have done better. Like "Icedude." Or "Head Stabber Guy From Trenton."
3. Another foresenicology major told the Bergen Record: Makes no sense. Why drive the body back to Jersey when Michigan has one of the world's biggest lakes? Hey, he's from Jersey! He didn't know that!
4. People trying to sell books aren't usually so boring, unless they're professors or Hollywood starsluts, I mean, harlots, I mean, starlets. Head stabbing? Booooring. Long drive to Jersey? Yeah, that'll sell movie rights. Stuff body in barrel, bury it, dig it up, put in trunk of car, sell car for scrap metal? Sounds so lame, and so Jersey, it's gotta be true!
5. "He's part of a car somewhere in Japan right now," a line from the book, is exactly the kind of thing hitmen say to each other at parties.
6. Having a book come out after you're dead is not a smart plan.
7. Where is the The Sopranos set?
8. Book says the Iceman got ideas from Roadrunner cartoons. Yes, at first this sounds all wrong. Wile E. Coyote used anvils, boulders, bombs and rockets, not blackjacks and skull stabbers. But then I realized: Iceman meant he got ideas for what NOT to do! Wile's work is classic in that regard.
9. A state trooper finds the guy's story credible.
10. Even I'm not sure how much I'm kidding.

By the way, why do people keep saying no one ever found D.B. Cooper? In 1971, guy hijacked a plane, got $200,000, and parachuted into an Oregon an forest. He becomes a legend, because authorities never found him, dead or alive. But his wife did, a bunch of years ago.

Are You Kiddin' Me? 

Passion? Pride? Playoffs?


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