Living In the Toilet #3

by Scoats

Now with endnotes at NO ADDED COST!

October 1997

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Three Emotions in Two Seconds and the Zen of Snideness
My method of reading the newspaper hasn't varied much in the last decade and a half. I start with the Entertainment section and work forward. When I reach the back, I start with the section preceding the Entertainment section and work back. Us newspaper readers are a vanishing breed. On my city block of duplexes, houses, offices, and second floor storefront apartments, the newspaper man only delivers two papers. More proof on that later. I had just sat down on the El and worked my way to page two of the Entertainment section. Page two of the Inky's-3- Entertainment section contains, gossip, Ann Landers, and a patronizing kiddie column. Half way into the gossip section I read about an event being held at my bar. I was unprepared and impressed that promotor Rich Pawlak was able to get the event listed in that section of the newspaper. In proper and effective promotor style, Rich apparently called our food "cutting edge" in the press release. In typical snide writer style, the columnist wrote " the Grey Lodge Pub, 6235 Frankford Ave., which features something called 'cutting edge food'". Surprised, impressed and seemingly dissed in 2 seconds. To prove how few people read the newspaper, only 3 people told me they saw the article. Two people told me someone else told them about it.

I probably read too much into it, but as a writer-1- I know about snideness. Whenever I detect what I feel is an annoying level of pomposity, I'll quote it directly and use their own words instead of a snide comment from myself. That way I get to be snide without being snide.

Instead of obsessing, I should be grateful to get the plug and work hard to live up to it. As PT Barnum, or someone, said "No publicity is bad publicity".

Top Five List: Dyslexic Cursing
5. "Oh my dog!"
4. "Mand it!"
3. "Piece of Carp!"
2. "Holy this!"
1. "Futhermocker!"

Denim Day Fun
A Breast Cancer foundation has an annual fund raiser called Denim Day. You donate $5 to fight breast cancer and your employer lets you wear denim for a day. A fun thing to do on Denim Day is to ask a co-worker who isn't wearing denim "How much did you have to donate to participate in Polyester Day?"

Bank of the Present
I stopped in the new PNC Bank branch office in their new Philadelphia area headquarters (PNC is based in Pittsburgh). Half of the ground floor contains what one assumes is PNC's Philadelphia area flagship branch. The other contains a new product of bank deregulation, PNC Brokerage. I popped in to check out the architecture.

Banks don't build flagship offices very often and when they do they usually go whole hog. The results are often both timeless and dated. The Girard Bank (now Mellon PSFS) at Broad and Chestnut with Greek temple design and its circular teller area is an example of the anti-Frank Furness backlash of the last 1890's and onward. The bank president demanded a non-Furnesslike design. Ironically it was Furness's last building; he worked on it anonymously. The PSFS (now vacant) banking floor at 13th and Market is great example of art decoish 1920's modernism (actually that entire building is a world famous treasure). The new single branch bank at Rhawn Street and Frankford Avenue is beautiful and screams late 20th Century post modernism.

The main architectural theme of the new PNC branch? Bland, low ceilings, with lots of TV's. The branch is filled with them. The brokerage half has a wall of monitors all tuned to CNN. Bold or banal? Time will tell. You can guess where my opinion lays.

More Evidence That the Internet is Evil
In a double tragedy, the suspected killer and assaulter of an 11 year old NJ boy turned out to be a 15 year old teenager who lived several blocks away. I overheard one of the godawful local TV news shows in the bar. Turns out the teenager had a Website, devoted mostly to rock music. The TV news didn't give any clue what the relevance of having a Website has to do with being a murderer. They also didn't mention if he wore Nike shoes-2-. The next day, the newspaper-3- had a little article on the suspect's Website, some of which was rather revealing. The kid actually liked going to an all boys high school. Like most Websites, it was out of date. He was last attending a mixed sex school. From what I gather from the TV news, only suicide cults, murders, and child pornographers (or some combination) have Websites. As they story grew more detailed and increasingly weirder and sadder, they forgot about his Website.

1. Since I have gotten paid for some of my work, I am a professional writer. Remember if you can get someone to pay you to do something, you can pass yourself off as a professional.

2. There is a joke here.

3. In Philadelphia, "the newspaper" is the Philadelphia Inquirer. There's also the Daily News, which in some aspects is a better paper, but not "the" newspaper.

Living in the Toilet is a mostly monthly zine published by Scoats. Copyright: Scoats 1997. All rights reserved. Most wrongs unintentional. Reproduction permitted as long as it is accompanied by this entire paragraph.

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Last updated on 08 January 2003.
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