How Colonial and Hip Hop Fashion are Similar

Major Ball Sweat
Major Ball Sweat

By: Billy BeerSlugger

In the 18th Century to “wear layers” took on quite different than it is currently understood. Whereas today when you are told to wear layers it is out of function, to keep you warm in the cold. In Colonial times wearing layers upon layers of clothing and adorning yourself with a  powdered wig were signs of affluence, status and wealth. We’ve all seen renderings of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the get-ups our founding fathers were wearing and probably think nothing of it. However, have you ever been in Philadelphia in July? If you’re doing anything outside, even just walking around you are going to be sweating profusely and that’s wearing shorts and a t-shirt. So in the name of high fashion and status our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in layer upon layer of unnecessary clothing in 90 degree temperatures. The Colonial gentleman typically donned underdrawers, breeches, leggings (“spatterdashes”), a robelike banyan or waistcoat, formal full-skirted coat or informal frock, outer cloak, hat, and cravat around the neck. I’m not sure what took more guts, to proclaim Independence or risk heat exhaustion from doing it.

So how does Hip Hop and Rap fashion relate to Colonial fashion? Because the same kind of “fashion as a status symbol” is essentially ingrained in the hip hop culture. How many rap songs do you hear that do not brag about money or cars or jewelry or expansive fashion?

I'm Rich Bitch!

Drinking Cristal Champagne more for it’s price tag than it’s taste. Fashion in the Hip Hop culture is more a symbol of status then it is of function, just like our fore fathers. How many times have you seen the emblem of a Mercedes Benz ripped off to make a necklace? How many rappers have gotten gold or platinum front teeth implanted? Certainly not necessary but definitely shows people you have a lot of disposable income.

Now this isn’t to say that most, if not all, cultures do not have a status placed on articles of clothing and accessories. Your girlfriend or wife probably won’t go out of the house without her Coach or Louis Vuitton purse. I know in most circles in corporate America that a really expensive watch denotes wealth where it will generally perform exactly the same as a watch that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars less. And sure the WASP section of the American population is probably just as enamored with expensive name brands as the hip hop culture is. I guess you really don’t hear white people talking singing about owning status symbols and the hip hop culture may be a little more likely to take their perceived level of wealth and status to an extreme. To each their own though, can’t hate on a brotha’ for flaunting it.
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Girls and BFF’s

Lunch girls-15
Honey no, you need to tell him......

By: Billy BeerSlugger

The more I try to understand women the less I do.  Take for instance girls who invariably tell every aspect of their relationship and lives to their best friends. When girls get together to talk about relationships it is anything but good news for the guy she is dating, especially when women ask their friends advice or opinion on things dealing with their significant other. Girls often find out that they have more perceived problems than they did before they sat down and had the discussion. As if their friend talked them into being mad at the boyfriend for something they previously did not think was largely offensive.

“I wasn’t mad at Jim for going to the bar with his friends but after talking to Susie I’m kind of pissed off about it.”

Now from what I can surmise there are a couple of glaring reasons for this to occur:

  • Critiquing other peoples relationships make women feel better. It’s kind of like being a judge on a reality show, even though you may suck as well, telling other people where they are failing with no repercussions can be a big ego boost.
  • Subconsciously or otherwise the friend is trying to sabotage your relationship. Reasons detailed later in the article.
  • The friend is actively trying to destroy your relationship
  • There is a good reason to question a man’s actions/behavior. This is certainly possible.

Not to say that a girl’s friends intentions are bad because I truly believe that for the most part girls best friends are trying to help. However, they may be trying to help them in a way that lends itself to their situation, not your girlfriends. The friend is not there for the intimate parts of your relationship and does not understand the complexities and idiosyncrasies involved.  Guys and girls also can leave out crucial parts of stories when talking to friends. The circumstances surrounding a fight. The wanton disregard of crucial details as to the genesis of the problem.

“Dan and I got into a fight about money again. He just freaked out on me for no good reason.”

Well Dan’s wife/girlfriend may be spending too much of their money on crap they don’t need like $200 hand bags and such. Further, Dan may have had that money earmarked for some sort of beach vacation in which he was going to whisk Sally away on and be all romantic and shit. Now his plans are askew.

But seriously, no one knows your relationship like the people in the relationship.  The day by day dealings, the good times, the bad times. For the most part your friends aren’t there for the day by day unless you’re on a sitcom like Friends. Your friends insight into dealing with things is subjective at best for ways to approach specific situations. I often find that the best advice is very broad in nature and can be applied in a multitude of situations. If you get that sort of advice from a friend, take that to heart. But don’t get all bent out of shape when one of your friends tells you that you should be pissed off at your boyfriend for X situation. Of course she could be saying, “dump that loser” and you might have to listen to that one. Your girls’ friend may be single herself and trying to get her single for selfish reasons (this goes both ways for men and women) so you have to watch out for that one.

One of my favorite Chris Rock routines goes like this:

Women hate women. You get any two girlfriends in this room, been girlfriends for twenty five years, you put a man in between them … “fuck that bitch,” “fuck that bitch.” Guys are not like that. Guys actually think that there are other fish in the sea, and if a guy introduces his boy to his new girlfriend, and when they walk away, his boy goes, “Oh man, she’s nice, I gotta get me a girl like that.” If a woman introduces her new man to her girlfriend, and they walk away, her girlfriend goes, “I gotta get him, and I will slit that bitch’s throat to do it.” Every girl in here got a girlfriend they don’t trust around their man.

Anyway, the reason for writing this is that most guys have run into this at one time or another in their dating careers. When their significant other talks to a friend or family member and then becomes pissed at a certain situation at the behest of that friend or family member. A note-able one for me was when an ex-girlfriend got pissed that I couldn’t/wouldn’t take a Friday off to help her move  and that her parents were coming down that day to help. At first she was fine with it and then was later pissed after talking to her mom even though I was given 3 days notice as to the parents coming down to help. Though I was sure enough slave labor for the remainder of the weekend lugging boxes of crap and furniture it just wasn’t enough that I didn’t take that Friday off to help too. To try and mitigate the damage I did take a two hour lunch that Friday to help. Still not enough. No good deed does go unpunished.

Sketch Burgers


By: Billy BeerSlugger

Sketch gets a lot of hipster clientele and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Hipsters have to eat too and some of them are so emaciated that I think they should probably get two Sketch burgers when they go in there. There’s hand drawn “Sketch”es by customers postered all over the wall and is where it gets it’s name (I’m taking a shot in the dark on this one).

Sketch is a Burger joint at it’s heart but does some things that a traditional burger place might not get into: Kobe beef, eggs, horseradish cheddar cheese, salsa verde. It’s right on East Girard st between Earl and Columbia though the sign doesn’t really jump out at you while driving down Girard. The fries are good, the milshakes are good and certainly the burgers are good. My roll might have been a little greasy but I did get it to go so a lot of the grease may have seeped in while contained in the wrapper. That’s about the only complaint I have about the place, maybe it’s a tad expensive though. But if you want an inexpensive burger there’s a McDonalds down the street.

Overall it’s some of the best food I’ve had in the Fishtown section of the city. Next up to try when I go there, Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork!

Partying With Celebrities

snookiBy: Billy BeerSlugger

I get at least a couple emails every week from or some other social alerting service where they allude to a party taking place at a venue which has booked a “celebrity” as the host. “Come Party with Audrina Patridge from the Hills in Atlantic City” or my personal favorite of the last year, Snooki of MTV’s Jersey Shore hosts Fat Tuesday at Bootleggers. The personal favorite being that Bootleggers is about 5 minutes from my parents house and not exactly known for it’s high quality clientele, trust me I know.

Anyway, the point being that bars and clubs hire these “celebrities” to come say a few words at the start and end of the night, hang out and drink in a VIP section and maybe spin a couple CD’s or look like they’re partying in a DJ booth. You generally do not get to talk or interact with the “celebrities” hosting these parties. Maybe if you are a good enough looking group of girls you can get into the VIP area and talk to a psedo-celebrity like “The Situation” but someone might have to blow a bouncer first.

It’s amazing to me that teeny boppers and early 20’s guys and girls will pay upwards of $20 to get into a place which holds a member of a TV show they happen to like and not get in 30 yards of that celebrity and that just gets you in the door. You know the venue is jacking up prices on drinks too so be prepared for $9 beer night. Plus, what would you even say to these “celebrities” if you did get the chance to actually meet them? “Snooki I thought it was terrible when that dude punched you in the face!”, like she hasn’t heard that about a billion times. “Lo Bosworth from The Hills I can’t believe so and so did this to you on the show!”, all the while the celebrity is thinking it wasn’t actually real but just in the script. They aren’t concerts, it’s not some sort of thespian performance it’s just a reality TV show participant drinking the same watered down liquor you are only they’re getting paid to be there. If you enjoy watching celebrities from afar and wasting money I would highly suggest participating in one of these types of events. – Whats up with Facebook Privacy?

facebook1By: Billy BeerSlugger

So I stumbled onto whilst reading a magazine article about why not to be on Facebook. Lot of compelling arguments not to be on Facebook and I too share the authors feelings of perceived un-coolness when people I meet are bewildered that I’m not on Facebook.  Obviously I also share some of the authors views on the reasons not to be on Facebook as you may have read recently, mostly dealing with private companies like Facebook and Google containing so much data on people and how that data can be misused.

There has been general problems and criticisms with Facebook and privacy issues for some time but the most public issues came to light as recently as late 2009 and May 2010 when Facebook with revised privacy policies.  It forced “user profile photos and friends lists to be visible in users’ public listing, even for users who had explicitly chosen to hide this information previously, and making photos and personal information public unless users were proactive about limiting access” according to So basically users who previously thought their data was safe behind a login wall and or only accessible to their firends now had to actively protect their data as Facebook’s default functionality was to share your data.

Besides all that mess the real thing I’d like to you visit is Go ahead and search a multitude of terms. As suggested by the author at Wired fun ones are “cheated on my wife” or “my new mobile number is” or “feeling horny“. Just a small taste of what can be grabbed off of your online Facebook profile. Just trying to raise some awareness for you Facebookers and social network addicts.

Dawes, “When My Time Comes”

By: Robby Ripchord

I watch the show Hung on HBO as it keeps my attention for the half hour, makes me laugh from time to time and obviously there’s naked women here and there, I mean the show is about a male prostitute.

I don’t usually write about TV shows or pop culture but the Season 2 finale was capped in the ending credits by a song I had swore I heard before live. Back in June I had gone to the Trocadero to see a Blitzen Trapper on a whim after listening to a couple of their songs on before Apple bought and killed it. As it turned out The Moondoggies opened up for Blitzen Trapper and I happened to like them a whole lot better.

So now I was trying to connect the dots all last night on where I had heard the song on the ending credits and did a little research. It turns out that it was a band called Dawes and they have a bunch of tour dates with the Moondoggies coming up. I am about 90% sure that The Moondoggies performed the song, possibly with the lead singer of Dawes that night. Or maybe I was just really stoned and Dawes was actually there and performed and didn’t receive any billing. Who knows, all I know is I liked the song and I heard it live before I heard it on Hung.

Pretty cool videos from Dawes. Check out all 3 bands.

PECO Rate Caps Expiring this January

peco_logoBy: Billy BeerSlugger

Federal Rate caps on electricity expire on the first of the new year. That means that electricity rates will go up about 20% this January.

PECO says right now the price for electricity per kilowatt hour is about 15-cents.  The average household uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours a month,or roughly 150-dollars per month. The rate increase could add to your bill as much as 30-dollars!

Not a huge amount of press has been made about this though I have heard radio commercials as far back as January 2009. One thing for sure is that there will be a large public outcry coming February about how much people’s bills are and how they are too poor to afford it. I’d think that the local news stations would start alerting the general public on a more frequent basis at the end of November and through January. Of course PECO probably has been alerting people via their monthly statements for some time now so it shouldn’t be a shock. However, it will be a shock. I can foresee about 10-15 news stories in the Philadelphia area with interviews from residents who say they can’t afford the increases in electric and that they weren’t properly notified about the increases.

So now especially would be as good a time as any to start good habits to save yourself electricity and money like:

  • Turning off unnecessary lights and fans.
  • Unplug unnecessary appliances like a toaster, blender and can opener.
  • Turn your refrigerator down to around 37 degrees. Refrigerators can account for about 20% of household electric use.
  • Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, not hot.
  • Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it and use the energy saving setting, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry. You can also turn off the drying cycle manually. Not using heat in the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use.
  • Turn down your water heater thermostat. Thermostats are often set to 140 degrees F when 120 is usually fine.
  • Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. CFL’s 1/4 the energy of an ordinary incandescent bulb and lasting 8-12 times longer.
  • Replace dirty Air Filters in your Heating and Air Conditioning system and it will run more efficiently, saving you money.

These tips are slightly more costly but pay off in the long run:

  • Insulate your walls and ceilings. This can save 20 to 30 percent of home heating bills. (During construction)
  • Modernize your windows. Replacing all your ordinary windows with argon filled, double-glazed windows can save a lot of money. I believe these are also tax deducible.
  • Replace outdated appliances with new Energy saving ones. (I think this is also a tax credit)
  • Use less hot water by installing low-flow shower heads.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip your windows.

Remember any amount of reduction in consumption of Electricity is also a reduction in your carbon footprint. Save electricity, save money, help the environment.

Stuff Guys Shouldn’t Do: Small Dogs

How do you reprimand this dog after it pisses in your living room?

By: Billy BeerSlugger

Yes dogs are awesome. Yes they are way better than cats in every facet of their existence. Yes dogs need adequate space and exercise to thrive.  One thing I never understood about when people choose a dog is it’s cuteness over it’s size, capabilities and intelligence.  I for one am a proponent for meshing the three together to get the best fit for yourself. If you are a man you don’t choose a dog because it’s “super cute” you choose it because it’s smart and can provide you with not only companionship but security. No you don’t have a Pit Bull to have security but you want a dog that isn’t lazy enough to not care if it hears the door open at an odd hour of the night and maybe bite the shit out of a person coming in that late who it doesn’t know.

Personally I’m a fan of bigger dogs 50lbs and up. Why?

  1. Because if they do something wrong like shit on the carpet you can give them a really good whack without worrying about killing them.
  2. Because as fun as it is to play around with a little ankle biter dog, you can really play around with a bigger dog and get physical and they like it as opposed to run away.
  3. Because of the intimidation factor. If neighbors and would be robbers see a big dog in a house they will certainly think twice about trying to break in.
  4. Because exercising a high energy dog, bigger dog is fun.

If you can find a high energy big dog that is smart and obedient you are in good fortune. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a smaller breed of dog that isn’t a wimp and you can have a lot of fun with. There’s a bunch of really smart, high energy smaller dogs out there and the Jack Russell Terrier comes to mind instantly.

However, if you are a man and do not enjoy being anally penetrated you should probably stay away from a dog that you carry around in a bag.

Also, here’s a list of dogs that men should not own (unless inherited from a live in girlfriend or wife):

  • Maltese
  • Pomeranian
  • Chihuahua
  • Shih Tzu
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Chinese Crested

There’s more but I don’t have time to list them. Just know that a man should never own a dog that has “toy” in the front of it’s breed name and that if you must get a small dog, get a smart and active one.

Internet TV is Coming

zinc-main-screen-1By: Billy BeerSlugger

So both Apple and Google will release set top boxes for your television and my educated guess is that in the next year or so that some new HDTV’s will come pre-loaded with some sort of standard interface whether it be a web browser or operating system like iOS or Android. That being said I wouldn’t rush to grab any of these devices before a lot of the kinks are worked out: namely access to content.

I have long been a proponent of ditching cable for the internet and absolutely think that all meaningful communication will occur over the internet. All of the technology is there for nerds like me to hook up my laptop to my TV and be able to essentially watch anything on my hard drive as well as any content available via the web like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. I could take it a step further and turn a cheap computer into a dedicated media and internet player like Boxee. There’s actually a bunch of different ways to consume internet content from your living room TV though nothing your grandmother would be able to figure out how to put together.

However, for this whole internet TV thing to really take off and overthrow the Goliath cable companies, the content that is licensed to these Cable companies, more specifically the channels themselves will have to be ported to the internet as well. What does that mean? Well my take is that it means one of two things:

  1. You could pay for each channel you want individually from the channel or owner itself and install some sort of widget/application which when clicked on your internet TV opens the channel for viewing.
  2. There would be some paywall to content on the internet just like there is with Cable/Satellite TV now.

One, I don’t think it is logical or plausible that each individual channel or ownership group of channels would want to get into dealing with the customer service aspect of payments, service shut offs and turn ons. I think they want to stay exactly where they are and do what they are good at: making content and grabbing a per-subscriber fee.

Two, I think there will eventually be a kind of Cable Company for most internet content in terms of broadcast and cable TV. I’m not sure if that is going to come from an existing cable company, a merger of companies or a new company but that is the best way I see it happening at least in terms of the content that is currently on cable/satellite right now.

So while it’s likely that there will be some sort of middle man in terms of traditional TV channel content and probably the companies holding onto the current contracts for the right to broadcast these channels and content will these companies want to crush their current cash cows and take everything to the internet right away? My guess is no. Traditional Cable/Satellite TV is not going anywhere too fast. They have too much money to throw around, too much money invested in their current business model and too much of a monopoly on content.

So yes, you will see a more progressive exodus of the general public from watching cable TV in their living rooms to watching content via the internet in their living rooms but it won’t go mainstream until TV manufacturers start putting wi-fi or Ethernet jacks standard into new TV’s and certainly some sort of breakthrough in terms of cable licensing their channels to broadcast over the internet. Internet TV is coming to the mainstream, just not as soon as you might hope.

Is the Watch Useless in the Digital Age?

watchBy: Billy BeerSlugger

Anyone plugged into the grid enough to own a cell phone automatically has the time in their pocket at all times so is a watch now a novelty or status item only? Is there a practical reason to have and own a watch now that cell phones and smart phones have become ubiquitous?

I don’t like clunky things on my wrists or hands and I never particularly liked having a watch. I would always get a watch from my grandmother for Christmas, wear it for 3 days and then it would go in a dresser drawer until I got rid of it. Maybe it was because I was a kid and didn’t need to have a concept of time but I just never saw a good reason to keep a watch on. I do remember one of my classmates using his watch/calculator to cheat on math tests so I guess that was one reason back in the day to have a watch.

Besides cheating on math tests I just don’t see a watch as being anything but an accessory anymore. Though there’s nothing wrong with the watch as an accessory and it still functions for time it just seems a little redundant when you have a phone in your pocket.