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Look Who’s Recycling

In honor of Earth Day 2013: anti-litter icons customized by clever citizens.

These icons appear on the side of Philadelphia’s “Big Belly” combination solar trash compactor/recycling containers.


orange devil

pink monster

i threw up

Even more unlikely recyclers in my Flickr photoset!

Before & After #1


Imagine on South Street, summer 2001

January 2000 - On my first visit to Philadelphia I’m delighted by this flower-powered little shop brightening up snowy South Street.

Imagine on South Street, spring 2010

April 2010 - 10 years after my first sighting, Imagine was going out of business - flowers a bit faded but still cheerful and fun.


Formerly Imagine - summer 2011

September 2011 - With the colorful flowers painted over and big window bricked up, it’s now a dime-a-dozen jewelry shop.

Jewelry shop taking the place of the Imagine store


It’s Mannequin Monday!

Cupcake shop mannequin covered in gift bows

Cupcake shop mannequin

Pink-haired mannequin in vintage wedding dress

Pink-haired mannequin in vintage clothing shop window

Cracked mannequin hand

Mannequin hand in window of long-closed fur shop

And I saved the best for last…

Mannequin with broken face stuffed with Barbie doll heads

At the truly marvelous Philly AIDS Thrift shop

Enjoy your new nightmares!

eARTh day

One of the things I really love about living here is that recycling actually happens. Just being able to set our recyclables out for curbside pickup is a huge change from where I used to live! And there are recycling-collection boxes side-by-side with solar-powered trash compactors all over Center City. The mayor has pledged to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America.

Philadelphia is also packed with art. You can’t go anywhere without seeing a mural or a gallery or a bizarre little drawing. I love going to the open gallery nights, I’m amazed by the Magic Gardens, and one of these days I’ll actually make it to the Museum of Art.

So for eARTh Day, here are some artsy recycled things I’ve seen around town…

Dumpster Divers art gallery on South Street - everything is made of reused/recycled materials and found objects. Definitely worth stopping in to admire:

recycled lamps

"Trash is simply a failure of imagination." Also at Dumpster Divers:

trash is simply a failure of imagination

Adorable windowbox made of reused metal cans in South Philadelphia, near Dickinson Square:

recycled window planters

Garden decorations made of reused plastic bottle caps (e.g. soda caps, detergent bottle caps, etc. - great idea because I think those don’t recycle like the bottles themselves do). This was in front of an elementary school:

bottle cap decorations

Bicycle wheels adorned with records and CDs:

record wheels

Hooray for recycling!

Please, Please, Please

Been seeing these sidewalk stencils around recently…

On South Street:

South Street

In the Italian Market:

Italian Market

On South 7th:

South 7th


A year ago today, Anna & I saw the Elms for the first time, at the Indiana State Fair, where they played with Jon McLaughlin. I’d looked them up and listened to “The Shake” in advance of the show, and figured I’d “probably” like them. Probably! My naive first impression of Elms frontman Owen: “That guy doesn’t look much like a rock star…” Ha! His attitude and confidence proved me dead wrong. I was knocked out by “Nothin’ to do with Love” and especially the epic “Speaking in Tongues,” during which guitarist Thom completely dominated the stage. Unfortunately, I ignorantly decided to delete the videos that I recorded because I was worried I didn’t have enough space on my camera for Jon McLaughlin later in the evening. Still kicking myself for that one!

After the show we lined up to buy The Great American Midrange a month before its official release, and get it signed, as well as say hello to the band. I regret that we didn’t get a photo taken with them like so many others did at the time. I remember we talked to Chris for a minute due to our mutual Kentucky residency. Then we were off on our 2-hour journey home, listening to the new CD all the way.

On the drive home we saw a shooting star. It happened too quickly to think of making a wish. Besides, whatever I’d have thought of wishing for at the time would never have come close to what actually happened over the following year.

It was a good time.

* * *

Incidentally, this means it’s also been a year since I last saw Jon McLaughlin and his fantastic band. That’s too long!