Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ghost Signs: Philly Part 2

Here's a couple more ghost signs I've encountered on my travels around the City of Brotherly Love.

This one is on a building in the middle of 13th at Cuthbert. I took it from the top of the parking garage at 12th and Filbert:

I really can't make out any features of this one. It appears that there were several different signs in this spot. At least one was square/rectangular and at least one other was circular. Could it have been this one from 1965? The windows sort of match:

Here it is a bit closer, also from 1965:

The second one caught my eye while driving to work:

It's on the side of a building at the corner of Shields Street and Woodland Avenue, near 67th and Woodland.

Clearly it's a Coca-Cola/Ice Cream Soda sign. But it appears to be on top of a smaller sign. I've been studying the top line and all I can make out is what appears to be "Chas Kendis," research of which reveals nothing. Unfortunately the city historical photo archive has nothing for this address either.

[Old Timey Pictures courtesy of Go at your own risk and prepare to lose most of the next 5 or 6 hours browsing...]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Bracket Time Again!!

And I'm not talking about that ridiculous time waster that will somehow cause businesses to lose eleventy-billion dollars in a month due to their employees working out brackets and watching games on their computers.

No, I am talking about the miraculous and sublime Name of the Year tournament.

I'm late to this party, as I only discovered it last year, but this thing is a million times better than trying to figure out if some idiot team from that idiot sport can beat another idiot team.

As an aside, the NCAA won't go to a football playoff partly because it would tie up the "student" athletes for too long. But in this idiot sport most teams play in a conference tournament and then possibly in a month long second tournament to decide a champion? Whatever.

Anyhow, with matchups like the 8th seeded Larry Koldsweat taking on the 9 seed Larry Warmflash in the Bulltron Regional and the 2nd seeded Nutritious Love battling the 15 seed Tequila Minsky (I smell upset!) in the Sithole Regional, how can you go wrong?

Who cares if some idiot campus of UNC from an idiot conference beats some other idiot school from another idiot conference??

What does matter is if the 3 seed Dallas Lauderdale can take out the 14th seeded Scorpio Babers in the Dragonwagon Regional.

Folks, these are all real names. They're real people. They are all vying for our votes. Log on, visit the site and make sure Juvyline Cubangbang makes it to the next round. Give Dr. Shasta Kielbasa his/her day in the sun. Honor Bunkless Bovian. Make sure the Buff Parrott avoids the Chastity Clapp.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Pat, Thank You.

It's sad that Pat Burrell has moved on from the Phillies. I'll admit that I was in the chorus calling for his head on more than one occasion. I wish him nothing but the best, except against the Phils, in the future.

From The Fightins via The 700 Level comes this, a full page ad in the Daily News:

What a classy move by a classy guy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The View Through the Window Across From Room 232, Philly City Hall

Philadelphia's City Hall is a fascinating building, inside and out. Here's the view from the window across from Courtroom 232:

And as a bonus, here's the view through one of the massive archways. I believe this is south down Market Street:

That Newspaper Sure Knows Its Stuff...

While getting the room ready for our impending arrival we decided to put a fresh coat of red paint on the mirror from my room when I was a kid. I grabbed a bunch of the Inqy out of the recycling basket and masked it up:

After screwing up the first coats and asking my professional painter/artist brother-in-law for help we brought the mirror inside and sanded it down. It was at this point I noticed the article that was on the front of the masking newspaper:

You know what? A splash or dash of red really does spice up home accessories.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ghost Signs: Philly Part 1

I finally got a new cell phone after about 5 years with my previous one. Did you know they come with cameras now?

That would explain why I started taking pictures of the ghost signs on my way to work in Southwest Philly. These are all along the Woodland Avenue shopping corridor:

Around about 55th and Woodland

Near 60th and Woodland
Obviously not much of a ghost sign as it's still in good shape and the company is still in business. Not a big fan of the slogan at the top though, for obvious reasons.

64th and Woodland
Looks like the sign may have been for a place called George's, much like the present check cashing place. Interestingly as well, it looks like there was more to the present George's sign as well at one point, as you can see by the remnants of the wooden framework still there.

UPDATE: After driving by again today, it is actually an ad for "Celotex." A quick Google shows that Celotex is a bankrupt asbestos insulation manufacturer.

67th and Woodland
Right near my office, a long gone meat market. Not even 100% sure if the store in there now is even open.

These signs are even more important since the entire area is vastly different than when it was a thriving shopping area.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Chicago Disappearing Act

One of my favorite foods is the simple hot dog. And I think I like them simply because they hold mustard and ketchup and relish. People frown when you eat these things straight from the jar.

I knew while I was in Chicago I was going to have to try a hot dog, Chicago-style. A dog with yellow mustard, relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, a pickle spear, peppers and a dash of celery salt was in my proverbial wheelhouse. I was warned beforehand NOT to ask for ketchup.

During one of my wanders around the city I came across this place:

And here's where the disappearing act happened.

I sat down with one of these:

And within about a minute and a half I had this:

Pretty cool magic trick, huh? Though absolutely delicious it was surprisingly the only one I had during the entire trip.

Ghost Signs: Chicago

My grandfather sold men's clothes. He worked for a company based in North Carolina, and travelled throughout the coal region of PA selling to mom and pop stores in the days before the big chains and the malls destroyed the Main Streets of Forty Fort, Shamokin Dam, Mahanoy, Milton, etc.

He had a showroom in a "mart" in center city Philly at 8th and Arch. One of my favorite things to do when he'd take me and the Malagan down to his showroom was to look around at all of the faded advertisements painted on the buildings.

Here are a few from our Chicago trip:

Clearly this is the well-known Brunswick Corporation. According to their website this logo was adopted in 1960 when the company changed its name from the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company. Not sure if there was a bowling alley here or just an ad.

This appears to be the Carl Whitinger Company, a floral supply business. According to the American Floral Endowment Annual Report for 2004, the company was a contributor. Other than that, I got nothing.

Gotta be the W.W. Kimball Piano Company. At the bottom of the sign is a section that appears to say "piano" and "organ." The original Kimball factory was at 26th and Rockwell Streets in Chicago in the early 1880s. See The Encyclopedia of Chicago for more detail.

From Chicago Architecture, this building was built in 1910-1911, is 265 feet tall, and has 512,000 square feet of floor space. The Chicago Architecture website has some great pictures of the building from the front, to get the full effect. I was more interested in the rear top and the idea that the giant pipe running in front of the sign could be carrying the People's Gas.

Any time I see a Ghost Sign, I think not of the product sold, whether still with us or long gone, but about the guy that painted the sign. Did he expect it to last forever? Did he bring his kids to see it? Did he brag to the ladies that he painted that particular sign? As the sign faded away or the buildings got torn down did he feel the loss? Could he ever imagine some guy with a free website would be taking pictures of his creations and trying in a small way to preserve his work?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Definitive 1000

We are going to be counting down the Definitive 1000 things. Why are they Definitive? Because The Friendly Friends have deemed them as such.

963 - The Cloud Gate/Chrome Jellybelly

The coolest giant jellybean in the world

I know that this thing has been around for a while, and I'm sure that there are some well written, well thought out artistic type reviews of it floating around the Internet.

All I can offer, what with no art knowledge whatsoever is that this thing is AWESOME.

Me and the missus got to spend about 4 days in Chicago in October and I spent probably about 4 hours over two days sitting in the park staring at this thing and watching other people do the same. It is truly an amazing piece of work.

I walked around it, through it, sat close to it, sat far from it and I couldn't take my eyes off it. Or stop taking pictures of it. I'll only bore you with three or four from my vast library.

The side view

I don't know what it's made out of, I don't know what it means (I don't want to ruin my own ideas about it with some artsy doofus meanings) but I know that I really really REALLY like it.

That's me, posing as a silly tourist taking a zoomed in picture of a silly tourist wearing his hometown baseball team shirt in Chicago.

I do know that I wore my Phillies shirt, since the playoffs were starting the same week we were there. In fact, we watched the first Brewers-Phils game here:

Not generally a fan of the Worldwide Leader, but sitting next to two Brewers fans who couldn't stop squirming when Mrs. Jewbacca would cheer the Phils made it all better.

The second Brewers-Phils game here:

Why yes, that is a giant Weber grill! That place was in our hotel, was the only reason I wanted to go to Chicago and will be enshrined shortly in the D-1000.

And the third at a bar about 100 yards from here:

Man did we piss off a lot of Cubbies fans when we wouldn't give up our table after the Phils-Brewers game.

We had a blast in Chicago, and I'll have more on that later (even though it was 5 months ago), but since I still can't get over how cool The Cloud Gate is in person, it is well deserving of its place in the Definitive 1000!


Minor niners.

Major niners.

Chapter IV: A New Beginning

Well, not really. Just a new generic blogger template. I thinks it's easier on the eyes.

Maybe some of our thousands of daily readers can let us know in the comments if that's true or not?