81 year old Fiametta Rubin had been sleeping scrunched on a "horrible little mattress” when, on a recent morning walk along Evergreen Avenue, she came across a large plastic-wrapped mattress leaning up against a meter left out for trash pickup. As she tells it, a tall athletic looking man was getting out of a car and after quickly sizing him up she decided to ask him if he could help her move the mattress to her apartment down the street. He looked at her, paused, then told her to stand guard over the mattress while he went for help. Meanwhile she stood in the cold wondering if she was crazy or he was crazy or they both were. The accompanying video reveals why she was sleeping on a horrible little mattress, why the big mattress was put in the trash, how it is now serving as a bulletin board in her apartment, why she's not going to keep it, and what else she just trash-picked. Watch video of trash picking senior here.
“When certain events take place like this festival of Hidden City or different things like that. I don’t know if you’re part of Occupy but it tends to bring people out of the woodwork and put them in a certain space where they can share their talents and creativity. And my experience with these types of things is that it lends itself to a tremendous new and refreshing hope for mankind, for the state of affairs in the world. Because the tendency is to think we are all alone in our own head and even if we do come up with some positive ideas on what to do we feel pretty helpless because what can I do by myself.
When different things happen and people come together, we stand to get a tremendous new inspiration. And actually, ‘I can do something, I do count and there’s other people that think the same as I do.’ If we put our talents and our efforts together we can really make some difference.
I’m a yoga instructor. I teach yoga meditation and music is a big part of what I do. Because music and something that’s called Kirtan, sankirtan which means the congregation and glorification of the supreme joy of life. So basically, just like your drumming circle, same type of principal. People come together and they selflessly express themselves in such a way that the overall effect is that everyone feels a tremendous upliftment the environment becomes uplifted the community, neighborhood, like that. Just imagine if we could have this on a worldwide scale, every day then the whole planet the whole, the karmic pattern of the whole planet earth will be changed, will be uplifted.
It is possible. We don’t have to simply go down into the muck of gross materialism.”
Amy Hsu came by our house in her car to pick up a tall bookcase. She had seen my post on the popular Northwest Philly Freecycle website, where people give and get things –for free!
I had trash-picked the sturdy bookcase just a couple days before but then realized I could not use it as planned. Hsu says her husband may use it for his beer brewing containers and supplies. Hsu is an enthusiast of the free online exchange. Through notices on the website she recently gave away a couch and a chair and dug up a plant from an offeror’s yard. She likes when she gets “repeats” like the woman who had given her cinderblocks who, thinking of her grandkids, responded to Hsu's offer of stuffed animals.
NW Philly Freecycle, a moderated website, was launched in 2004 by Meenal Raval and the Mount Airy Greening Network (MAGNET) as an offshoot of the citywide Philly Freecycle. It boasts over 5000 members and in April alone hosted 610 posts, a combination of “Offer”, “Wanted”, “Taken” and “Curb Alerts” for all kinds of household items imaginable.
With a shiny turquoise gown and spiked Statute of Liberty hat to match, bearded Tom Humphrey waves at cars passing by on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough to drum up business for Liberty Tax Services. “It’s a fun job,” and he gets to meet a lot of people and see his neighbors, says Humphrey who works four-hour shifts, morning, noon or night, depending on his schedule. Some “wavers” who work other shifts are not so keen on the rainy, sleety or snowy conditions that, he hints, don’t faze him. According to Humphrey, this is Liberty’s signature and effective way of advertising, as the company does not advertise on radio, TV or in newspapers. Watch video here.
“Organo Gold” coffee is a game–changer, says Derrick Carter, an independent distributor for a line of products including not only coffee but also toothpaste and soap, all containing the Chinese herb ganoderma. Boasting sales of the coffee which he says have climbed from merely a couple million dollars four years ago when the company was founded to $400 million this year, Organo aims to capture 1% of the coffee market in the U.S. Coffee is merely the mechanism, says Carter, for delivery of the herb which is touted to oxygenate and detox the body, support the immune system and increase energy and stamina. Working at his laptop at the Flourtown, PA Starbucks coffeehouse, Carter offered your correspondent free samples of Organo Gold coffee and tea. Watch video interview here.
I went to a party in West Virginia and it was a guy’s retirement party. And he had this t-shirt on and it said “Glasgow, Scotland” because he was in the military, he was in the Marines, or Navy that one, one of three. And we’re having a few drinks and someone says, you should go up to the microphone, it’s Karaoke and say you’re Kaley’s son from Scotland. I said, “I can’t do that.” He says, “Come on.” So eventually we had a whip around. And the whip around was up to sixty dollars and being Scotch, you can’t turn down that money. So I went up to the microphone. I was like, “It’s finally great to meet my Dad bringing me here to meet at his retirement party.” Half the party knew I was doing it but the other half didn’t. So it was like, “Chhhh!” But it turned out the guy knew, he found out this was going to happen. He stood up, come up and just hugged us for a good five minutes. I was standing there, I didn’t know he knew. So I was kind of thinking this is great, he thinks, this guy doesn’t know. And then his mother comes from nowhere so gives us a hug. “It’s great to meet you now.” “Oh, you too.” And eventually I found out they knew. But later on I’m talking to this girl at the party and getting a bit closer to her. It’s going all right. A guy comes up to me, “You all know she’s your cousin.” And I’m like, yeah. “It’s alright now, you’re in West Virginia.” I thought it was brilliant"
As related by a UK Elite soccer coach who, for this story, prefers to be identified as "John Deere."
DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT BUSINESS IT WAS? It was a chicken store. A CHICKEN STORE? Yes. HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SITTING LIKE THIS? I got to be about 50 so I’d have to say twenty-four, twenty-five years. WHERE’S THE OWNER, HOW COME HE’S NOT DOING ANYTHING WITH IT? Where’s the City, Why don’t they [unintelligible] You ask me about something the City- WHAT DO YOU THINK THE CITY SHOULD DO WITH THIS BUILDING? There’s only one answer, one explanation for it. That’s tear it down. Gary Burgin, on the 5800 block of Germantown. Watch video here.
"I put in 50 cents and the second quarter didn’t move it at all. I had 43 minutes. So when I went in the restaurant I told the waiter and asked him about it. Because I thought putting in the second quarter I’d at least get an hour. And he said I’ll go out and check on it for you if you tell me when. He said they’re very careful in Chestnut Hill but you know you can park free in the lot. We didn’t know that, haven’t been here in a year. So then I came out when the time was up and saw that he put the note on the front of my car with two quarters. I only gave him one quarter. So the meter man seeing me come to put the note on the meter came over to me and said you know you should always put the note on the meter and not on the car. And I said but that’s not my note, it was the waiter who thought to put the note there and added his own quarter. Now I’ll go back and give the waiter back his quarter. And I also reported to the waiter what the meter man had told me." DID YOU HAVE A GOOD LUNCH? "Yes, a delicious lunch and we’ll come here again because it’s the halfway point between [downtown] Philadelphia and Gwynedd." Polly Dunn of Foulkeways in Gwynedd,Pa. across the street from Cake. Click here to see video interview.