Family Feed

FREE Summer outdoor movies return to Mount Airy

Lillian Bijl (left) and Tara Bucci, Mt Airy USA interns, are going around the neighborhood stapling up posters for the popular “Moonlight Movies” series this summer. Starting with an outdoor showing of “Frozen” at 8:30 pm on June 20th  in the park adjacent to the Lovett Library at Germantown and  Sedgwick Avenues , the series continues on Fridays there, and on Saturdays next to the Trolley Car Diner. At Lovett, moviegoers may patronize “Dining under the Stars” food trucks or bring their own picnic dinners. Mount Airy USA, Trolley Car Diner, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Valley Green Bank  and a certain big box store sponsor the  popular series of mostly G and PG rated films through August 16th. For more information, visit http://gomtairy.com/events/moonlight-movies-in-mt.-airy.html.

Complete list of movies:

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Landscaper continues family tradition

Fifty years ago, when John Antonucci’s grandfather, Frank, immigrated from Italy and established his masonry business in North Wales, Pa outside Philadelphia, there was just a stop sign outside at the now busy intersection of Stump Road and Route 309. Frank’s son Salvatore expanded the business and now Sal’s Nursery and Landscaping has nineteen acres of nursery which is mainly a source of plant material for the company’s landscaping operation. Customers can also walk in and buy plants at retail. Sal’s specializes in upscale projects like in-ground pool, pool houses and patio installations. And, unlike the big-box stores, it offers rare varieties and very large specimens so that customers who have lost shrubs or trees say, during the recent rough winter, can match and fill in the gaps in their landscapes. On a crisp spring day, John spoke proudly about the family operation and pointed out several beautiful plants like the cluster of dark red-leafed and flowering ninebarks. (Physocarpus opulifolius)

Watch video and tour here


Stagecrafters: barn to theater

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Watch video interview here At the next to last performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde at the Stagecrafters Theater in Chestnut Hill, 78 year old __________ fondly recalled how, as a child, she used to chased chickens, play hide and seek and jump rope with her many cousins in the theater auditorium back when it was her grandparents’ barn. (Aiman family)


Fighting to read at age 77

Frank Simms of North Philadelphia graduated from Overbrook High School many years ago yet now, at age 77, is still learning how to read.

He hasn’t spent a day in jail, he says, and has been working since he was six years old, doing everything from welding and bricklaying to electrical work in Philly and for periods of time in Erie and Cleveland.

At the Lovett Branch of the Free Library in Mount Airy, where he has just completed a literacy session with another woman and his tutor, Simms proudly pulls out wallet photos of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He partly blames an early speech impediment and a school with misbehaved classmates for keeping him from learning to read properly.

Asked to read aloud from an elementary grade story handed out by his teacher, he stumbles on words but perseveres. Later in  the week, he meets with another tutor in the basement of an apartment building at 12th and Fairmount pursuing his quest for literacy.

Watch video interview here.


Money never sleeps: mining litecoins in basement

A father and son  "mine" bitcoins and litecoins 24/7 in their unfinished Chestnut Hill basement.

These "coins," son explains, are virtual currencies not under the control of any government.  As such, the world of digital money has attracted illegal activity such as the Silk Road online black market that the U.S. government has shut down for dealings in drugs.

Rocky relates that bitcoins are convertible to dollars and that when China recently clamped down on their use, the price crashed from upwards of $1200 per bitcoin to $700.

These exchanges depend upon an army of computer geeks called miners (like the duo) to verify transactions through the use of computers installed with software that solves complex mathematical formulas. As explained in an Internet video, miners may work together in "pools". 

The son enjoys both the technical challenge of configuring and adding hardware and the money-making aspect of mining.  A friend of theirs, he says, has earned $100,000 with a shed full of equipment. For now, the duo are transitioning from bitcoin to litecoin which uses the same peer-to-peer network protocols as bitcoin but can be mined using consumer level graphics cards. They currently earn about $16 a day from running their set-up around the clock out of which $2.50 a day covers additional electricity charges.

Dad is not new to home industry; he also keeps bees.

Watch video here.


Empty Bowl Dinner fights hunger and homelessness

Diners get to pick out a hand made bowl

Twenty five percent of Philadelphians live below the poverty level. This somber statistic was delivered last night to hundreds of diners, along with delicious soups and breads donated by dozens of restaurants and caterers, at the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s 15th annual “Empty Bowl Dinner”  held at the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Through a large network of religious congregations and volunteers, the Network (“NPIHN”) provides emergency and transitional housing and support services to families facing homelessness, like the Baez family, now “alumni”, who recounted their continuing personal struggle to support themselves and stay together as a family.

Watch video here.

The Baez family found shelter with the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network


Harry Potter fans descend on Chestnut Hill for Potter Festival

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View all photos here.

Harry Potter fans swarmed the attractions along Germantown Avenue on Saturday for the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival. At Top of the Hill Market, Dan Lemoyne, a Harry Potter/Daniel Radcliffe doppelganger, obligingly struck poses with adoring fans for photos. Meanwhile Professor Dumbledore employed his sorting hat to assign “students” into different Houses of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. Lemoyne and friends Alyssa Alberto and Lisa Makhoul   offered their responses to the question. “What role does fantasy play in your life?” Watch video here.

Cynthia Day and Therese Tiger gave out brownies to raise funds for “Autism Speaks” a project of their daughters at the Springside School.  Research is aimed at determining what environmental factors may be triggering genetic predispositions to the sensory/social/developmental disorder. Why table at the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival? The crowds. But Tiger’s husband George drew a parallel between his autistic nephew  and Harry Potter, both teens facing the normal teen challenges  and, in addition, possessing special powers. Watch video here.

Outside the Ministry of Magic (Chestnut Hill Visitor’s Center) a man was taking a photo of two young hooded women, one very colorfully attired, betwixt lifesize cardboard cutouts of Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter. The women simply had happened to wander into the Harry Potter Festival wearing the garb of their homeland, Saudi Arabia. Instructional technology students at Chestnut Hill College, they were pleased to find themselves amid the festivities. “It’s fun,” said one who had read the first two books in the Potter series. Watch video here.


New baby, new studio at CH Fall for the Arts Fest

The youngest person at Chestnut Hill’s Fall for the Arts festival Sunday may have been two day-old Xavier Brubaker.  Sleep-deprived but happy parents Japheth and Suzanne recently returned to Chestnut Hill with their 2 year-old daughter, Quinn, to be closer to family. They were the southernmost exhibitors at the festival, promoting their new fitness and personal training studio, "Water and Rock," at 8109 Germantown Avenue. Visit http://waterandrockstudio.com/ for more information.

New baby, new training studio

Watch video interview here.


GO MO MATH - Math Museum of NYC

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We arrived at the Museum of Math one hour before closing on a Saturday in late summer and zipped through it. The exhibits deserved more than the limited time we gave them and these videos, summarized below, will help us understand what we experienced with the intriguing interactive demonstrations. GO MO MATH!

SHAPES OF CONSTANT WIDTH You sit on a boat-shaped platform above a field of irregularly shaped objects and yet glide rather smoothly over them because these objects, such as the Meissner tetrahedron, all have the same constant diameter whichever way they roll.

SQUARE WHEELS, CATENARY CURVES You ride a tricycle with square wheels without any problem. This is because the surface you are riding on is catenary curved (hyperbolic cosine). And, for any shaped wheel, there is a corresponding road that will facilitate locomotion.

A SPECIAL SQUARE When you and others step upon this large lit-from-below square, the square divides into as many differently colored geometric areas as there are people and each point within any one’s area is closer to that person than to any one else.

THE HUMAN FRACTAL TREE On a projection screen, a copy of your body is copied where your arms are and on those projections, your body is again copied where your arms are and so on, forming a fractal pattern of you as a tree.

SOLIDS OF REVOLUTION SLICED TWISTED, REATTACHED AND ROLLED Solids of revolution are cut along the axis of symmetry and then twisted and reattached to form an asymmetric object which then describes a distinct path when it rolls and it’s your job to match up each object with the trail it makes.