Pa. Liquor Stores Expand Curbside Delivery Program, Increase Number Of Stores Available For Service

Starting today, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is expanding its curbside delivery program that was rolled out as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

When the program first started, many who tried calling to place orders couldn’t get through — they would simply get a busy signal.

Many customers said they would try calling multiple times every hour.

Recognizing the demand, the Liquor Control Board is expanding their program, and more stores will be accepting orders for pick up.

When KDKA first reported about curbside pickup, there were 17 locations available for curbside delivery in Allegheny County.

With the expanded program, that number has now jumped up to 70.

Surrounding counties have also increased their number of locations.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says they were aware of peoples frustrations.

“Beginning Monday, we’ll have 565 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores across Pennsylvania accepting orders by phone for curbside pickup,” said PLCB Chairman Tim Holden in a press release.

“We acknowledge that Pennsylvanians are frustrated with busy signals and want broader access to wine and spirits, so after learning from our experiences this past week, we’ve made improvements to process orders faster, expand the hours we take orders by phone, and be more flexible in scheduling pickups, even the same day, if pickup appointments are available,” Holden said.

Across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

  • 565 locations available for curbside pickup
  • Service is offered on a First-Call, First-Served Basis
  • The expanded program goes into effect starting at 9a.m.
  • 50 to 100 Orders will be fulfilled per Day, p[er Store
  • Pickup will be available from 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday

The previous regulations of one order per caller, per store, per day with an order limited of up to 6 bottles will still be in effect.

Some stores will operate on a more limited basis, such as less days being open and fewer hours.

Details on specific store hours and locations can be found online.

 

 

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The COVID Quarantine Is Scarily Similar to the First 30 Years of My Life

Here is a piece written by a friend of mine. It’s incredibly revealing, and I never knew this about her. I can understand why. She’s shown incredible courage and patience growing up in that situation. I think we all take for granted how ‘normal’ most of our childhoods were. I’m happy she’s in my life, and honored I had the opportunity to work with her. This is one case where the cypress not only grew in the shadow of the oak, but actually flourished.

https://medium.com/@jackierupp215/the-covid-quarantine-is-scarily-similar-to-the-first-30-years-of-my-life-ca2da29d9906

 

View at Medium.com

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

13 Things Rich People Don’t Spend Their Money On, While Poor People Are Ready to Take Out Loans for Them

There are things that speak to a person’s financial wealth. Usually, they are things like fur coats, fine jewelry, and expensive watches. Some poor people are ready to save their money for years or even take out loans to be able to buy these things. However, rich people around the world have gradually stopped indicating their social status this way.

We at Bright Side are big supporters of sensible spending and that’s why we want to highlight symbols of wealth that are not trendy anymore. There are still many people who haven’t realized this yet.

1. Gold jewelry

Stylish and wealthy women usually wear a moderate amount of gold jewelry when attending events. In addition, the quality of these items is the biggest priority for them. Some of them even prefer large jewelry.

For those whose financial position is not stable, buying gold is still considered an investment. It is believed that by buying a gold item, you create a stash for rainy days in the form of a gold chain or a ring. That’s why poor girls prefer to wear jewelry with the mantra: “I’m wearing the best of what I have.”

2. Clothes and shoes from expensive brands

Oftentimes, even very wealthy people are indifferent to branded clothing and wear ordinary, mass-market jeans and sweaters that are basic items in their wardrobe and in their everyday life. In one of his interviews, Bill Gates outlined that the watch on his wrist cost $10, despite the fact that he could afford millions of watches from the most famous brands. Instead of shopping, rich people try to explore the other pleasures that life has to offer, like entertainment and travel. This means more to them than a brand new bag.

3. Plastic surgery

Earlier, plastic surgery was pretty popular around the world — everyone wanted to have a perfect body and a flawless face. Rich men would even offer to pay for the transformation of their “chosen ones,” while the girls didn’t mind at all. Today more and more celebrities and wealthy people are against plastic surgery and are promoting having love for one’s body and wrinkles.

Meanwhile, many girls are still ready to cut back on a lot of things in order to save enough money for lip and breast surgeries, as well as other procedures that could help them look young and meet the current understanding of beauty ideals, which are actually fading into the past.

4. Fur coats

Famous designers and their wealthy clients are refusing to wear fur coats, since they believe that it is unethical to wear them. There were cases when animal advocates poured paint on girls who were wearing fur coats. In addition, California state has a law banning the wearing and selling of natural fur.

But fur coats are still considered a luxury item and an indicator of social status for some girls. However, theoretically, they can be easily replaced by frost-resistant down jackets, winter coats, or warm fur coats that are made of artificial fur.

5. Flying in business class

Rational people around the world want to travel modestly, even if they have the financial ability to pay more. For example, the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, believes that flying business class is an unnecessary luxury, that’s why all IKEA employees, despite their level, fly in economy class and stay in inexpensive hotels.

However, many people with a moderate income are ready to overpay for a trip in business class, despite the fact that prices for air tickets continue to rise and business class tickets have seen the highest increases. In fact, thanks to the existence of expensive business class fares, airlines can keep affordable fares for economy class. When we know about this fact, business class flights stop looking so attractive.

6. Home appliances

Wealthy people don’t strive to buy the latest models of home appliances. If the previous model they bought still works perfectly, they see no need to buy a new one. At the same time, this rule is constantly broken by people with an average income — consumer loans are taken out for any household appliances and gadgets.

This also relates to “one-time” home appliances like waffle irons, pancake makers, ice cream makers, and fondue pots, as well as massagers with 15 nozzles. Most often, people use these super devices only one or 2 times, and afterward they just lie on a shelf and “stare” at their owners with dumb reproach for insensibly spent money.

7. A lot of knick-knacks

Successful people try to keep minimalism in their home’s design. Rich people increasingly prefer simplicity in their interiors, so as not to be distracted by household items and so they don’t waste time choosing and buying furniture, or repairing it. It helps them free up time for family, relationships, meeting friends, and work.

Oftentimes, the middle class try to fill their houses with various interior details and the latest trendy things. They strive to constantly improve their interior, distracting themselves from the really important immaterial things.

8. A big house

Wealthy people prefer to buy promising real estate, for little money, in order to make a profit when it grows in price. For example, billionaire Warren Buffett still lives in the same modest house that he bought in 1958. His cozy house in Nebraska state only cost him $30,000, today it’s estimated to be worth $650,000.

A Mexican billionaire whose fortune is estimated at $50 billion, also lives in a modest house that was bought long ago and avoids expensive things. Amancio Ortega, the founder of the Zara clothing store chain, also didn’t let his success infatuate him — he and his wife live in an ordinary house in Spain. A professor at Stanford University, David Cheriton, who owns $1.3 billion in Google shares, once said in his interview, “These people who build houses with 13 bathrooms and so on, there’s something wrong with them.”

The middle class, in contrast, is mainly driven by the saying, “Every man should plant a tree, build a house, and give birth to a son.” That’s why the life of many people starts to center around the construction of a big house, that sometimes doesn’t stop until the kids grow up. It takes a lot of money, time, and energy, while the expenses for maintaining the house itself and its territory take a big part of their income.

9. Luxury cars

Nowadays, wealthy people don’t buy new car brands if their own car is in good condition and meets all their needs. Even Facebook owner, Mark Zuckerberg, drives a Volkswagen with a manual transmission and says he never cared about “looking” rich.

However, many people around the world use expensive cars to boost their self-esteem and even not having the money to buy or maintain a vehicle like this doesn’t prevent them from getting one. They just take out car loans.

10. An expensive education

Millionaires know that a free education doesn’t differ much from an expensive one, while success in life is obtained by discipline, determination, and perseverance. In addition, nowadays big international companies are ready to hire young people for work, if they have the necessary knowledge. This means that professional experience and real skills are becoming more important than a college diploma.

At the same time, many people believe that if they pay for an education and get a diploma, they are buying a ticket to a successful life. As a result, young people take out huge loans to pay for their education, but after graduation, they have to work outside of their specialty for the next 5-10 years to pay back the loan to the bank, which means they spend the most precious years of their life doing this.

11. Buying lots of toys for their kids

Successful people came to the conclusion that they could harm their children by buying toys in unlimited quantities. Research proves it too: 36 children were offered the chance to play for half an hour with 4 or 16 toys. It was found that the kids from the first group (the ones who had 4 toys) showed more creativity and came up with more interesting ideas using fewer objects. If parents spend time with their kids and pay more attention to them, they will develop faster than if they are simply playing with a lot of toys.

At the same time, most parents admit that their kids are literally snowed under toys: their stuffed toys are so big that they require a separate apartment, their amount of dolls is so big that they could build a doll army, there are so many Legos that it’s possible to build a 2-story house out of them. Kids don’t have time to dream — they have everything and all their wishes come true too quickly. That’s the way parents show their love to their kids and give them the things they themselves didn’t have in their childhood.

12. Training and courses

Personal growth courses are a business, and the coaches there are not interested in the effective development of their clients. Because of this, it is impossible to transform your life drastically with the help of a training session like this. Successful people know that you can only change your life by continuously working on yourself and your goals.

At the same time, these courses have become incredibly popular among people who are planning to become successful. Even though their cost is pretty high, tickets are still sold really quickly. Poor people are often trying to find a magic pill that will change their life for the better. When one pill doesn’t work, they start to seek help from another coach.

13. The beauty sphere

Today, the natural color of nails speaks to privilege and wealth. Successful women prefer a neat, natural nail, in a modest pastel or nude shade that looks nice.

But many girls want to be sure that their manicure is noticeable by everyone around them, which is why they often opt for brighter colors of nail polish, unique designs with rhinestones, and extreme lengths. If the length is not enough, they go for artificial nails. This style is often chosen by middle class women who want to show that they have an idle and relaxed lifestyle.

Which things do you consider a part of your social status and are you not ready to give up?

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21 of our Favorite Holiday Gag Gifts — All from Amazon

I love this crap!

Happy Holiday, Everyone!

 

A warning to those who leave their children unattended in cafes

unattendedchildren

Amazon

“Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten” sign, $12.99

Perfect for that friend who owns a cafe and just can’t figure out how to deal with the unbridled children of their caffeine-fiend clientele.

 

A (loudly) screaming goat figurine and booklet

screaminggoat

Amazon

“The Screaming Goat” book and figure, $7.55

If they still can’t get enough of that Screaming Goat video on YouTube, this is as blood-curdling — and annoying — as you might imagine. Trust me, I have one on my desk. My colleagues love me.

Blinker fluid, for the uninclined

blinker fluid

Amazon

Blinker Fluid, $6.95

We can all think of someone who this is for. Maybe they’ll get the message now.

The world’s smallest violin

violin

Amazon

3-Inch Miniature Violin Replica (with case), $11.98

Sorry, no pony this year, either, kiddo. Play it, momma.

A mock video game to drop the hint that it’s time they pull their weight around the house

extremechores

Amazon

Extreme Chores: Motion Controlled Video Game (empty box), $7.49

For little Lord Fauntleroy. Yeah, maybe coal didn’t quite get the message across, but this ought to do the trick. Note that this box comes empty, so you can also fill it with coal, if you so please.

Your face on a pair of socks

facesocks

Amazon

Custom Photo Face Socks, $15.59

Put the mug of their best friend (or worst enemy) on a pair of socks. Either way, they’ll wear them. Trust us.

For those who ask too many questions

'what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions'

Amazon

“What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions,” $11.49

Great coffee table (or commode) material for the coveter of useless information.

Help them slow that little tyke down

toddler tamer gag

Amazon

Toddler Tamers (gag kit), $7.99

Parents, rejoice!

An ice cream lock, so they’ll stop blaming you for being the culprit

icecreamlock

Amazon

Ben & Jerry’s Euphori-Lock Ice Cream Lock, $24.19

For the stingy one who’ll never share their ice cream.

Poems by cats about what cats do best

icouldpeeonthis

Amazon

“I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats,” $9.89

For your friend, family member, or housemate who’s just a little too in love with their feline and could stand a reality check.

A muffler whistle, to terrorize both them and the neighborhood

mufflerwhistle

Amazon

Muffler Whistles, $8.79

To the know-it-all mechanic(s) in your life: Fix this!

Your face (or theirs) on a real potato

potatoface

Amazon

Potato Pal, $17.99

Your face on a potato. How could they not savor this forever and ever?

One dozen rattlesnake eggs (keep warm for best results)

rattlesnakeeggs

Amazon

(Fake) Rattlesnake Eggs, $7.99

Best delivered incubator-warm.

A bag of “the world’s strongest coffee”

deathwishcoffee

Amazon

Death Wish Coffee Co. Coffee, $19.99

We only hope they’ll get this is a gag.

An impossible-to-solve puzzle

ravensburgerpuzzle

Amazon

Ravensburger Puzzle, $15.68

Something to finally stump that very special whiz kid you know.

A remote-controlled scorpion (be sure to pre-open and gift-wrap this one)

rcscorpion

Amazon

Remote-Controlled Scorpion, $15.99

Have the remote handy for when they open this one; it’ll work a lot better.

A game for the whole family

relativeinsanity

Amazon

Relative Insanity Party Game, $14.16

Think “Cards Against Humanity,” but for some wholesome fun for the whole family.

A personal cleansing wheel (in lieu of the bidet they keep asking for)

rotowipe

Amazon

Roto Wipe Personal Cleansing Wheel, $7.99

So they’ll finally stop pestering you for that exorbitant bidet thing they all love so much over in Europe. (Note: This is just an empty box in which to wrap your real gift.)

Instructions for gracefully approaching (and achieving) senescence

crotchety

Amazon

“How Not to Become a Crotchety Old Man,” $6.39

Dear Dad (or Grandpa)…

Snot (and tear) mittens, for those who work outdoors, or just won’t stop wiping their nose on their sleeve

snittens

Amazon

Snittens, The Original Snot Mittens, $19.99

One side for snot, the other for tears. Maybe after receiving this, they’ll stop wiping their nose on their sleeve, or their bare hands. Probably not. Either way, they actually work!

A practice putting green for the bathroom

toiletgolf

Amazon

Toilet Golf, $9.95

If their Golf Digest subscription just isn’t cutting it on long trips to the john anymore, they can always stand to work on their short game.

 

 

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How To Live Your #bestlife This Holiday Season (While Also Sticking To Your Budget)

I pride myself on being an excellent gift giver, so the holidays are really my time to shine. Maybe my Leo sun is the reason I love finding the right gifts for my friends and family members, but there’s nothing better than hearing, “Wait, this is perfect! How did you think of this?!”

Budgets and high prices rarely stand in my way when I find the one thing that’s just so them (or when that “one thing” is actually two or three things). Unfortunately, that means I tend to overextend myself — financially and emotionally — on my quest to find the ideal present for everyone.

But I’m not the only one who spends a lot toward the end of the year. A recent survey on holiday spending found that in 2018, the average consumer planned to spend nearly $650 on gifts for friends, family, and coworkers for the holidays. No matter if that number feels comfortable or overwhelming for your budget, it’s worth following a few small-but-mighty ways to make sure you’re maintaining your financial health throughout the holiday season.

First Things First: Figure Out Why You’re Spending The Way You Are

Imcsike/Shutterstock

Spending habits can be hard to change. If you’ve always bought a gift for a friend in the past, it’s easy to get caught in a pattern of buying something for them every year, but experts suggest it may be helpful to take a step back and figure out why you’re compelled to buy them anything at all.

“Many of us don’t see our family and friends as often as we’d like (hello, life) and to make up for lost time, we give with tangible things like gifts,” says Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a licensed master social worker and a financial therapist who helps people understand the psychology behind spending.

So when you’re planning holiday gifts, take time to evaluate who you’re buying for and why they’re on your list. Is it, as Bryan-Podvin suggests, about how you feel giving them a gift? (Um, guilty.) Or is it out of a sense of obligation?

As certified financial planner Liz Frazier says, “You are not Santa. Buy for the people you want to buy for, not because you feel obligated.”

Make Your Budget Your Best Friend

Building a budget can be fairly simple, but you have to be realistic about it — which means setting aside some time to plan it out earlier than December 1. Luckily, having that plan in place could help you avoid some common money mistakes.

According to money coach Emma Leigh Geiser, most money issues can be simplified into two main categories: underestimating and overspending. Many people try to set a budget using “mental math,” says Geiser, but they tend to underestimate how much things will actually add up. Then reality kicks in and they’re hit with sticker shock, and that’s when overspending happens.

To keep your money in a good place, set up your holiday spending plan before you start shopping. Between purchases, you can check in with your budget to make sure you’re staying on a productive track.

Think Outside The Gift-Giving Box

Personally, I make it a point to donate a portion of my holiday spending budget to a local organization that ensures children in their care network have gifts to open on Christmas morning. It’s an important line item in my budget, and I encourage everyone to do something similar around the holidays if you can.

But, as Bryan-Podvin points out, “Nonprofits need funding year-round, not just during the holiday rush.” Consider spacing your contributions out throughout the other 11 months of the year to make budgeting easier.

Plan Your Holiday Travel Sooner Than Later

Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock

For those of us who live far from family, going home for the holidays is often a lot more involved than simply dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh — and it’s usually more costly.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help you find a solid deal on flights, like apps that show you if the most affordable time to book your trip is today, or maybe a couple of weeks from now. You can easily filter by number of stops, airline, and time of day to make sure you’re finding an option that suits your budget and your schedule.

That in mind, sometimes holiday deals book up too quickly for you to actually take advantage of them. If that’s the case, fear not! There are other budget-friendly ways to cash in on some quality time with your loved ones. “See if there is an off-season time you can visit, say for a relative’s big birthday or anniversary,” Bryan-Podvin suggests. “It allows you quality time with less competing demands and often results in cheaper travel. To double-up on this idea, send a holiday card with your tentative travel dates or flight receipt to the person you’ll be visiting. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!”

Try This Tip For Navigating Post-Holiday Sales

Who doesn’t love a sale? Sales are great — if you actually need whatever you’re buying. “Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it,” Frazier says. After all, buying something (even if it’s on sale) is still spending money.

When it comes to spending any money you received over the holidays, Frazier suggests writing down a list of the things you want and need, then shopping the sales with a keen eye on those items only — a strategy that can help you overcome a common pitfall of impulse shopping.

 

 

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Tales of Rock: Alice Cooper – Discovery

Most drunken purchases are best forgotten.

But not this one.

The rock star Alice Cooper was so caught up in “a swirl of drugs and drinking” that he apparently forgot he owned a silkscreen of an electric chair by his friend Andy Warhol that could now be worth several million dollars.

The forgotten work has spent the best part of the last forty years in a storage locker, and was only rediscovered four years ago when Alice’s mother found it ‘rolled up in a tube’ in the locker.

The work has never been stretched on a frame.

According to a report in the Guardian by the British writer Edward Helmore, Cooper’s then-girlfriend organized the purchase of the work, a red Little Electric Chair silkscreen, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, for $2,500 in the early ’70s.

However, amidst the chaos of his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, Cooper forgot all about the purchase, and was shortly afterwards admitted to a psychiatric hospital, according to his manager, the legendary Shep Gordon.

Gordon told the Guardian that Cooper and Warhol became friends in New York in the ’70s.

“It was back in ‘72 and Alice had moved to New York with his girlfriend Cindy Lang,” Gordon told the Guardian. “Andy was kind of a groupie, and so was Alice. They loved famous people. So they started a relationship, and they loved to hang out.”

At the time, Cooper had a stage routine that involved him feigning electrocution in an electric chair.

After learning that Warhol had produced images of the electric chair – the work is based on a press photograph from 13 January 1953 of the death chamber at Sing Sing prison, where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for passing atomic secrets to the Russians—Lang, who passed away in January at the age of 67—had the idea to approach the artist’s studio and purchase one of the 1964 canvases.

“As I recall,” Gordon told the Guardian, “Cindy came to me for $2,500 for the painting. At the time Alice is making two albums a year and touring the rest of the time. It was a rock’n’roll time, none of us thought about anything. He ends up going into an insane asylum for his drinking and then leaves New York for LA.

“Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was.”

After a chance meeting with a Los Angeles art dealer, Ruth Bloom, Gordon was reminded of the work, which measures 22 x 28in, and Alice’s mother found it rolled up in a tube in storage.

Upon learning that the top price paid for a Little Electric Chair was $11.6m, at Christie’s in November 2015 for a green version dated 1964, Cooper said he didn’t want anything of such value in his house—and put it back into storage.

Richard Polsky, a Warhol expert believes the canvas dates to 1964 or 1965.

“I’m 100%,” Polsky told the Guardian. “It looks right, and the story just makes too much sense. It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?

“He had plenty of electric chairs. They were not an easy sell. They weren’t decorative in the conventional sense. It’s a brutal image.”

Gordon added: “At the time no one thought it had any real value. Andy Warhol was not ‘Andy Warhol’ back then. And it was all a swirl of drugs and drinking. But you should have seen Alice’s face when Richard Polsky’s estimate came in. His jaw dropped and he looked at me.

“‘Are you serious? I own that!’”

 

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What is a VSCO girl? Meaning behind latest trend taking over your Instagram

WEARING scrunchies, a seashell necklace and rocking a pair of Birkenstocks has taken over Instagram – and it has a name.

It’s called “VSCO girl” and popular among teens. Here’s what we know about the latest social media trend…

 

One of the most popular VSCO girls is YouTuber Emma ChamberlainCredit: @_EMMACHAMBERLAIN

What is a VSCO girl?

A VSCO girl is all about the accessories and very specific fashion taste.

They wear the iconic 90s scrunchies, brightly coloured backpacks, seashell necklaces and carry a hydroflask decorated with stickers.

A VSCO girl’s brand is to save the environment, so they are usually carrying a reusable straw.

They wear oversized tie-die shirts, denim or biker shorts and ribbed white socks.

For footwear, it can be anything from Vans to Crocs to Birenstocks.

VSCO girls wear little to no make up and keep their hair long and wavy – like they’ve just come back from the beach.

 This meme explains what a VSCO girl is

2
This meme explains what a VSCO girl isCredit: Instagram

What does VSCO stand for?

VSCO stands for Visual Supply Company.

It is an app that was created in California in 2011.

It allows users to capture photos and edit them with preset filters and tools.

The app lets pictures look like they were taken with a film camera.

What’s a typical VSCO girl?

The typical VSCO girl has a beachy, California style combined with a drop of 2000s or 90s nostalgia.

One of the most popular VSCO girls is YouTuber Emma Chamberlain.

The trend has been criticized for being exclusionary.

The VSCO girl’s love for expensive brands such as Urban Outfitters and Fjallraven Kanken backpack is one of the most criticized thing about the trend.

Also the typical VSCO girl is tall, white and thin – drawing more criticism.

 

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – That’s Not a Guitar. Put it Down

I was with my bandmates passing through Santa Barbara CA. headed to Orange County where we had a gig the next day. While walking around browsing stores and enjoying the nice day we found ourselves in this huge store that had a little bit of everything including a lot of used items. I ran across an odd sized guitar case that was leaning up against the wall so I opened it to see what it contained. Turned out to be one of those latin style instruments with the courses of 3 strings together, can’t think of the name at the moment, but I had never seen one in person and was kinda thrilled and excited to mess with it.

I was plinkin’ away and about that time this kinda dumpy old Hispanic man came up and tried to take it from me. He couldn’t speak English and though not getting especially angry or too physical he was obviously trying to get it from me. I’m like “Hey gramps, I saw it first”. But he wouldn’t let up. I finally gave him a pantomime of “Dude, back off”. With that he walked away and I look at my buddies like what was that all about? A few minutes later the guy comes back with a younger man that could speak English. Turned out the old man was a street musician and that was his personal guitar. He was friends with the store owner and he would set it in that particular spot whenever he took a break.

I was so embarrassed. I told the young guy to explain what happened and that I was very sorry. He was actually pretty cool about it smiled and shook my hand.
But I got ribbed about that the whole weekend. My band mates were all “You big bully stealing an old man’s guitar”.

 

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Netflix and Marie Kondo have People (serenely) Bulldozing their Closets, and Thrift Stores are Riding the Wave

 

I love her and I’m going to do this to my place in Rittenhouse!

 

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/12/entertainment/marie-kondo-konmari-tidying-up-netflix-trnd/index.html

 

 

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 2

As I expected, Eric had no plans for Thanksgiving weekend. He found the whole concept a bit twisted. He understood the appeal of trying to solve the mystery, but not the costumes.

– “You mean people dress up to do this shit?” he asked.

– “They do indeed.” I told him. “And so will you.”

– “Alright. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. There will be rum, right?”

Sheila was a lot more enthusiastic, when she answered my phone call.

– “And we get to dress up? Like pirates?” she asked.

– “That’s the plan.” I agreed.

– “I don’t have to be a saucy wench, or a watery tart?”

– “No.” I laughed. “That’s Monty Python, as you well know. This is Teresa we’re talking about: women can be pirate captains, and swashbuckle like the men. If that’s a word.”

– “What part do I get?” Sheila wanted to know.

– “Teresa will be letting us know once we’re all aboard.” I said.

– “Ooh – ship puns. Or is it that shit puns?” she said. “I better start practicing.” She held the phone a few inches from her face, and let loose a loud ‘Aaaaargh, matey!’ With her deep, mannish voice, it sounded awesome. “I love the idea, Colin. You can tell her I’m in for sure.”

I called Teresa with the good news.

– “Perfect.” she said. “Thank you, Colin. We’re almost ready to start. I’ll send out the introduction and the character descriptions. But I’d like to use you as a guinea pig, if you don’t mind. Can I show you what I’m planning to send the others, and get your feedback?”

– “I would be glad to help.” I told her.

We met at the cafe again. Teresa greeted me warmly once again, and then turned her laptop around to show me the screen.

– “Here’s the intro.” she said.

For more than three decades, the dread pirate Redbeard terrorized the Caribbean, plundering and pillaging far and wide. No one was safe: Spanish, Dutch, English and French ships and towns were all targets of his insatiable greed and bloodlust. In the course of his far-flung depredations, Redbeard was said to have accumulated a considerable treasure hoard. According to legend, the old pirate was too paranoid to bury his ill-gotten gains on some deserted island. Instead, he carried them with him, aboard his pirate ship, the notorious Sea Demon.

Finally, justice caught up with the dread pirate. An anonymous tip led the Governor of Jamaica’s soldiers to the Mouldy Maggot, a dockside tavern where Redbeard and members of his crew were drinking and roistering while the Sea Demon rode at anchor in Kingston harbour. Thoroughly inebriated, Redbeard was easily overcome by the redcoats, and captured. His erstwhile crew scattered to the four winds. The Governor loaded the dread pirate with chains, and confiscated his ship, the Sea Demon. The vessel was appropriated by the Royal Navy, and re-christened HMS Retribution.

The Governor has ordered Captain Teresa Fairwind to transport the prisoner to Bermuda, where he will face a swift trial and public execution. Captain Fairwind has been given the Royal Navy’s newest vessel, HMS Retribution. A new crew was swiftly recruited from the experienced local sailors and sea-dogs.

YOU are a member of the crew.

Read the description of your character, and dress appropriately. Further instructions will be made available upon arrival.

When I had finished reading, I looked up at her.

– “What do you think?” she asked.

– “Honestly?”

– Aren’t you always honest with me?” she asked, with that bewitching half-smile. It had been one of our favourite ‘pet’ phrases when we were dating.

– “It’s cute.” I said. “A bit melodramatic, a bit campy – like an old Errol Flynn movie.”

– “That’s fine.” she said. “Kind of what I was aiming for.”

– “And you’re the Captain?”

She nodded. “I thought it would be easier than coming up with complicated instructions for one of the players. Speaking of which: here are your instructions.” Teresa spun the laptop around, opened a new file, and then turned it back to face me again.

You are NED MULLIGAN.

– “Ned Mulligan?” I asked her. “Really?”

– “Remember that time you took me golfing?” she reminded me.

I did. Like most novices, Teresa missed the ball completely several times, but she also managed to knock three golf balls into the water, and hit two golf carts and a vending machine. She was able to laugh at herself, and enjoyed the outing, but she found the whole concept of a ‘mulligan’ fascinating’.

– “You mean I get to hit it again?” she wanted to know.

– “Yeah. Go ahead and tee it up again.” I said.

– “And it doesn’t count as a stroke?” She looked at me sideways, squinting, as if suspicious that I was trying to trick her.

– “That’s the whole idea.” I confirmed.

– “Isn’t that cheating?” she asked.

– “You wouldn’t do it in a tournament, or if you were playing for money. But it’s only a friendly game, and I’m the one inviting you to take a mulligan. A do-over.”

Now she just smiled at me. “Keep reading.” she said.

As a young man, you were a pirate, and a member of Redbeard’s crew. You were brave and clever, so that Redbeard made you one of his lieutenants. But he grew too bloodthirsty for your taste, and also promoted some unsavoury characters alongside you, including the Falcon, and the Scar.

You chose to leave his crew, and jumped ship at Tortuga, taking a bag of doubloons with you. Redbeard swore revenge, and offered a bounty for your head. Both the Falcon and the Scar vowed that they would earn that bounty. The Scar, in particular, promised to drink a toast from your skull. You have been on the run ever since.

You were in Kingston, Jamaica, and horrified to learn that the Sea Demon was in port. But you were equally delighted to learn of Redbeard’s capture – serves him right. You hear the gossip in the dockside taverns: Redbeard’s crew are all over the place. What if one of them recognizes you? The ship HMS Retribution is leaving for Bermuda. Is Redbeard’s treasure still hidden aboard?

You sign on as a sailor …

YOU HAVE – A PISTOL

YOU KNOW:

– THERE IS A PLOT TO FREE REDBEARD AND HELP HIM ESCAPE

– THE FALCON IS ABOARD, DISGUISED AS A MEMBER OF THE CREW

– THE TREASURE IS HIDDEN SOMEWHERE ABOARD THE SHIP

– YOU ONCE CAUGHT A GLIMPSE OF A LETTER BELONGING TO REDBEARD. IT MAY HAVE CONTAINED THE SECRET OF THE TREASURE’S LOCATION. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU ONLY SAW ONE LETTER … IT WAS THE LETTER ‘C’

– “There’s a treasure, too?” I asked. “Or is that instead of a murder?”

– “Both.” said Teresa. “I’m going to space out the murder mystery clues, so that no one can solve it on the first day. But I thought a treasure made sense. This will keep people searching. Plus, we can have multiple winners – solving the mystery, or finding the treasure.”

– “Very clever.” I told her.

– “How about the character description? What do you think?” she asked me.

– “Couldn’t I be ‘Wicked Ned’, or ‘Lusty Ned Longsword’?”

– “You’re Ned Mulligan.” she told me, firmly. “Get used to it. If it’s any consolation, that’s your secret identity. Until somebody else guesses or uncovers who you really are, they’ll only know you as Able Seaman Colin. Everybody will use their real name as an alias.”

– “How many letters are there in the treasure code?” I had to try.

She wagged a finger at me. “No more clues for you. Seriously, Colin – what do you think?”

– “I love it. The description gives me enough of an idea to base my character on. And I’m all pumped up to go out and get a costume. How does the pistol work? Do I have to get a replica pistol?”

– “No.” she said. “I’ll put the items on pieces of paper, so that people can hide them in a pocket, or wherever.”

We discussed the mechanics of the game, without getting too specific. Knowing the people who were participating, I thought it would work well. I was more than looking forward to it: I was ready to start that very day.

Teresa and I discussed the weekend and the game for a long time. We both had two large coffees, and were beginning to feel the effects of too much caffeine.

– “Walk me home?” she asked.

As we walked, we continued to discuss her ideas. She seemed quite taken with some of my suggestions, but wouldn’t give me any hints about whether she planned to use them or not.

– “And you’ll help people get costumes?” she asked, again.

– “I promised.” I reminded her.

– “I’ll hold you to that.”

 

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