much ado about paying…for something else

When things become an ad to buy something else it just bothers me. To me this is about buying a service and buying “influencers”, not writing a blog.
I do not write a blog because of competition, I write because I like to write and have things to say. When I have nothing to say, I do not write. I do not have a monetized blog, I have no desire to.

Yes monetized blogs are a turn off to me because you never know if you are getting a real opinion or a compensated one. And a lot of bloggers do NOT make that clear.

I saw the above sponsored content (as in they paid for it to go into new feeds) on Facebook.  Out of curiosity I clicked. It led to this thing on LinkedIn.

This woman goes on to sell you on the business that she is actually pimping – you see it is not your well being a blogger she cares about, in my opinion it is the potential money she can make if you sign up for her deep interest network.

It’s like paying for a platform that already exists on free blogging platforms meets another kind of social media platform.

How many of those do we need? And why should we pay for it? Sorry, I think I will stick to being an individual, not a blogging Stepford Wife with another monthly bill to pay. I do not want fake potentially paid for “influencers.”  I want people who want to read what I write, like one of my photos or recipes…. organically.  Different strokes for different folks.

Sorry I just think this whole entire concept is Mighty Fake.

Advertisements

hark I hear there is a bonnet contest somewhere today?

Reader submitted photo

I don’t know if they were going for Jane Austen or Jane Eyre….. or perhaps Surrey With The Fringe On Top LOL?

Reader submitted photo

You can tell they spent noodles (and OODLES LOL) of money on their costumes….. but I’m sorry this isn’t supposed to be a masquerade party is it? Or is it?

Reader submitted photo

scrooged in wayne

This location is Runnymede at South Wayne Avenue in Wayne PA (Radnor Twp)- friend courtesy photo

So last night a friend messages me:

Hey Happy holidays! I’m asking you this because you might know – the small white vans being used during Christmas for deliveries, do you know if they are usps or a FedEx or ups or Amazon delivery person? I ask because today I saw a delivery person driving one of these actually put an Amazon package in the storm SEWER. So I am trying to figure out what agency to contact this to report it. SMH.

So I messaged her back how crazy that was and that Amazon is introducing dedicated drivers in small white vans in the area. How crazy must it have been to see a delivery person chuck a package like that?

I suggested she go to the police and contact Amazon.com.  She showed me a picture of the package in the storm sewer which I am about to post:

She couldn’t figure out where the package was going because it was face down. Her  local police department went out to the location this morning and the package was gone. It’s pretty deep to fish out from this storm sewer, so we’re at a loss as to how the package moved – either someone came along with something to fish it out or there was inexplicable water that washed it out of view.

But somebody somewhere is missing a package a few days before Christmas. I hope it was not a present for a child.

I am a big Amazon fan but I will admit I have had problems with some of their delivery people since they started adding dedicated delivery. I have had things just not get delivered or delivered late. It’s a relatively new service in this area with dedicated drivers, so obviously they have some kinks to work out.

Here is hoping Amazon can figure this out.

dear ryan homes….

Dear Ryan Homes,

Please pardon me while I barf all over your saccharine sweet ridiculous glossy postcard you mailed me today. My apologies, truly, part of it is because I am sick and part of it is because, well, I simply can’t stomach anymore developer drivel.

Who are you to judge the living I “deserve”?  I live quite nicely in Chester County.  I have an actual home that isn’t made of plastic and plywood.  

Why on earth would you think I wanted the urban Stepford plasticness of a non-organic fake neighborhood next to a highway?  Especially  because I live in a real neighborhood with real people?

I know, I know you want to sell everyone on the plastic houses that would be so lovely next to the elite blue lagoon of the old  quarry lake.  You know the one that no one has sufficiently fenced around yet?

The East Whiteland supervisors and staff like the director of building and planning are salivating and counting the ratables before they are hatched completely ….I get that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean build it and they will come. Of course they might all come and then it’s going to be like part of Chester County has turned into King of Prussia West. Or Bensalem, pick your  development.

Your “lake views” are as fake as the architecture you are touting here. That isn’t an actual lake it’s a toxic body of water left over from the days of quarries. If you were smart you would have fenced that in properly by now, but I predict it will take something awful happening before you actually do – presuming you guys own that since I don’t know who actually owns it. 

As far as I’m concerned everything being built over at Atwater is just developer blight on the horizon and density that we aren’t going to be able to handle in a few years.  And the schools certainly will bear the brunt of this and municipal and other services as well. And the roads are already groaning. 

But hey like everyone else’s development plans, it’s like all of yours exist in a tiny bubble with a green Elysian field surrounding it…. And in this case also bordering an unnaturally blue, toxic “lake”.

I’m sure by now you’re sorry I am on your mailing list. Trust me the feeling is mutual.

Signed ,

Just me, mocking  bad developments proudly for decades.

dear santa can you help?


Dear Santa,

Hi there! Are you getting your letters from Chester County, PA?  I am sorry to ask  during this time of year, but you see parts of Chester County has an on again, off again mail problem.

You see, part of Chester County PA’s Mail sorts through another city and state. Yes, it’s true, part of Chester County’s mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine, you send your next door neighbor a card and it takes not days , but weeks to arrive. Why? Because the mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you have an awesome local post office and equally terrific mail carriers. Imagine how awful they feel when they have to knock on your door and hand you damaged mail and damaged packages that sometimes look like the football after Monday Night Football! Why? Because the mail came to Chester County via Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you are waiting for a registered or priority package and you are tracking it on USPS.com and you watch it travel from pillar to post and then it just stalls for a couple of days…in Wilmington, Delaware. (with no explanation, ever.)

Santa, it is sad but true. When you complain the United States Postal Service doesn’t honor their “we deliver for you” they terrorize your local mail carriers and post office or they blow you off entirely. Heck maybe YOU can get them to respond to emails – because unless you are contacting the Office of The Inspector General, you stand a pretty good chance of being totally blown off.

Last time I went on a tirade against Chester County PA mail partially sorting through Wilmington, Delaware I was told off the record that the reason mail from Chester County sorts through another state entirely was Joe Biden and is this true?  So should I be writing to Joe Biden instead of you Santa Claus?

I have a theory and that is the postal workers in the sorting facility in Wilmington,  Delaware resent having to also sort Chester County, Pennsylvania mail.  And that is why I hypothesize why mail goes missing, has inexplicable delays, and gets damaged. And who can blame them?  Wouldn’t you be upset if some politicians just doubled your workloads because they thought that was the solution to some stupid political agenda? 

December 1, 2016 update: spoke to consumer affairs personnel in Washington, DC in the Postmaster General’s Office after getting blown off by Philadelphia Consumer Affairs and the office of the USPS OIG. Santa would you like to receive a priority package marked fragile that looks like this?

So Santa, if you can talk to USPS about the mail and ask them to do something about the Chester County, Pennsylvania mail partially sorting in Wilmington, Delaware that would be an awesome stocking stuffer this Christmas!

too much development has negative consequences


This photo came to me from a friend with the following note:

People who are interested in all the new construction  in the Chester Springs area should be made to attempt a morning commute during the week versus cruising through on a Saturday or Sunday. 

I felt like I was in Manhattan this morning – cars well past Montgomery School on Route 113 trying to get through the intersection with Route 401, a couple miles worth of hideous, now everyday traffic.  

God bless those who have to get to work OUTSIDE of Chester Springs. And to think of the nearly 250 homes not yet occupied as part of Byers Station Phase 2 and roughly same number of Pulte homes going up near Ludwigs Corner???? 

This is insanity!!!

Perhaps worth a post. Biggest problem when the the massive amount of developing going on is the market for them- the buyers. They have no idea the poor quality of these homes along with what it is really like to get around these 2 lane roads. Uh!!!

And indeed, so worth a post!

Why this is so good to see come to life isn’t so people can be miserable in traffic, it’s instead so people can know what their future holds every time they see one of these plans proposed wherever it is they live.

When these plans are proposed in your municipalities, they are cute little Lego land box drawings on a big flat piece of paper. The drawings are shown with these buildings with nothing around them, so you can’t visualize the reality of these developments for the most part. You get stuck waiting for the developments to be built and then there’s nothing you can do.

And my favorite is the trick that even a curse out here where they talk about how people aren’t going to be using their cars, they will use special Jetson spaceships and public transportation. Everything is going to be “walkable”. Of course how they can say that with a straight face and parts of Chester County were you still have to drive miles to get to a grocery store cracks me up.

A lot of the  “highways”  out here are glorified country roads. They weren’t meant for this volume of humanity. Then you look at roads like 202 which are a nightmare even with improvements.

So anyway, just more food for thought. Especially if you were thinking about areas like over around Crebilly, and that’s not just because of the Toll Brothers proposed building on that land. It’s quite simply put: just adding all the plans up. 

What do you get if you add up all the developments large and small from one end of Chester county to the other? To me that prospect is frightening and very very sad. 

tempest in an en blanc teapot

28987928280_23f3f673d1_oYears and years ago when I was working in New York, there was a party held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island on Bellevue in one of the old “cottages” (mansions) called Newport Night in White. I want to say it was maybe held at Belcourt Castle at the time, but it has been way too long (we are talking early 90s).

Anyway, it was not the Newport White Party held today which was held this past Saturday on August 27th in Rhode Island. Newport White Party is a different white  event which started in 2011. It also benefits non-profits, which Newport Night in White back in the 90s did too. The event I attended for two or three summers was held in the summer some weekend after the Gatsby Ball (or Gatsby Society Ball, I forget what it was called precisely.).  This was the first white party I ever attended and it was such an amazing event I still remember it. You dressed in all white cocktail attire to black tie.  There was dinner and dancing and it was held in this amazing mansion. And it was FUN.

Then white parties sort of petered out except in certain locations where they will always have white summer event like Provincetown, the Hamptons, and so on, and have had a general renaissance due to people discovering Dîner en Blanc de Paris as it grew from a man’s white picnic in Paris in the late 1980s.  Now of course, it is this huge thing, held world-wide and licensed. The irony is Dîner en Blanc de Paris was going on when Newport Night in White was, but I never heard of it back then. Who knows if the event organizers did back then, I didn’t know them personally, they just threw a heck of a summer party.

When I first heard about Dîner en Blanc in Philadelphia (also known as DEBPhl or DEB) I was delighted.  I do like white parties and the idea of white parties even if dressing head to toe in white is hard to wear and hard to pull off. But white makes you think of summer, right?  The first Dîner en Blanc in Philadelphia had well over 1000 people. A lot of my friends went.

I did not want to go. Why? Because August in Philadelphia outside is gross in my opinion a lot of the time because it is a major metropolitan city with lots of concrete and density.  Heat and humidity are bad enough without adding a city to it. I also did not want to go because while I loved the idea of white and a theoretical “white picnic”, already at over 1000 the event was too large for me. And you had to schlep furniture. I also do not like being in huge crowds. I do not like stadium sized events, even sports or rock concerts. It’s just not me and never has been. I find crowds of a couple of hundred too much at times. If you know me, you know I have always been this way.

Ok so those are my opinions, right? Nothing earth shattering.  They are not a damnation of Dîner en Blanc, it’s how I feel about events that are HUGE. And since its debut in Philadelphia, that event has grown to over 5000 people. I am not so sorry, but no, getting crammed in with 5000 other people in white like lemmings at an outdoor event in August in a big city is not for me. My opinion. Personal choice. Should be no big deal to express said opinion.

But no. That is criticism of Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia. And critics are not welcome. My goodness the hubbub over Brian Hickey’s article after the most recent event was not to be believed.

Philly Voice AUGUST 19, 2016

Dîner en Blanc Philly is the worst and I hope it never goes away

BY BRIAN HICKEY  PhillyVoice Staff

This is America, and in America, you can spend $45 (or $93 a couple) on anything you want without fear of repercussions, provided it’s legal and all that.
This is America, and in America, you can damn well judge anybody who spends that kind of money for the right to prepare their own dinner, carry their own tables and utensils, don white clothing from head to toe and wave sparklers in the air after usurping a public space in the name of pretentious exclusivity.
Welcome to the morning after the fifth annual Dîner en Blanc Philly, the pop-up dinner picnic in a secret location.

Read the whole article. It is wonderfully written. And captures precisely right or wrong how  a lot of people feel about the event.

But no, drama ensued, serious drama. There was even a rebuttal from a writer attending the event as a journalist:

Philly Voice AUGUST 22, 2016

Dîner en Blanc: Philadelphians coming together, in a sea of positivity

BY SARAH MAIELLANO

In response to critics of his unfair, and sometimes silly, takedown-attempt of Thursday’s Dîner en Blanc, Brian Hickey suggested that, instead of tweeting at him, the pro-DEB crowd could submit their own commentary to Philly Voice.
It was a taunt: as if none of the event’s 5,000 attendees would be capable of writing 600 coherent words defending it. Well, I had an extra 45 minutes this weekend.
I attended DEB as a journalist (I cover Philadelphia and the rest of the country for a number of publications, including Washington Post, USA TODAY and Travel + Leisure).

Read the whole piece. “Takedown”? Seriously? What is this a mob hit? Seems to me Brian Hickey wrote an opinion piece.

And then there is this, anointed a “must read”  by  @DEBphl

Defending DEB

It’s cool to hate on Diner en Blanc, but is it necessary?

…Part of the cri­ti­cism is that this is elit­ist, pre­ten­tious and ob­nox­ious. Yet, at $45 a seat, it’s a far cheap­er night out than most black tie galas that run every oth­er week­end. And, if you look at the crowd, you’ll see these are far from just so­ci­ety reg­u­lars that pop­u­late those old-money events. This DEB crowd isn’t bring­ing out the an­tique jew­elry, it’s shop­ping on Etsy.

And among the big so­cial events of the city, DEB hap­pens to be the most di­verse. Far from be­ing the white­wash that many of the pop-up beer gar­dens and Fishtown fest­ivals tend to be, DEB ap­pears widely pop­u­lar among black at­tendees and oth­er minor­it­ies. And where else do you see people from vari­ous races and eco­nom­ic back­grounds din­ing el­bow to el­bow, fine china next to dixie cups and Tup­per­ware?

Ok that is the author’s opinion.  I do not quite see the event as a great equalizer, but she loves it and it’s her opinion.

But, you are not allowed apparently to have a negative or even a different opinion even if it is not particularly negative, just honest.

And yo’ Philly, birthplace of America and our freedom, do you remember the First Amendment regarding opinions?

First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Land sakes do you people think this is the first person to write about these events in less than glowing terms??? Or to mock any social event?

(Queue Washington Post)

The Washington Post: Why do people hate Diner en Blanc? The word ‘pretentious’ keeps coming up.

By Maura Judkis August 26 , 2016

It is very, very easy to hate Diner en Blanc. The annual event, which returns to Washington on Saturday night, brings thousands of people to a surprise location, where they arrive dressed in head-to-toe white, eat gourmet picnics and drink champagne in full view of the uninvited masses. Those who are out and about this weekend may see a parade of them on the Metro, toting tables and chairs and china. And depending on your outlook, you’ll either wish you were one of those lucky 3,500 or loathe them with every fiber of your being.

“No event has ever made me want to plan a paintball rampage like this one,” said Tom Bridge, editor emeritus of We Love DC. He’s kidding, kidding, he promises! But he is not alone…..But no foodie trend seems to raise hackles quite like a very public, invitation-only party with a dress code and a $45 admission fee.

“The whole process is so unbelievably pretentious it seems to me to be a complete waste of effort,” Bridge said. “Pretentious” is a word that comes up a lot around Diner en Blanc. Is it the French name? Peut-être!

Again, read the whole article. They event mention the Philadelphia tempest in an en blanc pot.

Now here is another article on the Philadelphia event:

AUGUST 19, 2016

Diner en Blanc diner says event is a wasted opportunity

BY BERNIE CARLIN Philly Voice

For better or for worse, I’ve been a participant of Diner en Blanc for the past two years. My special lady friend’s mother enjoys it, therefore my special lady friend enjoys it, so I must enjoy it. Such is the law; I didn’t write it.

Before I ever attended, I found the amount of hatred the general public held for this gala to be entertaining, but didn’t think much about it. As an outsider, it struck me as just another us vs. them debate, in a city that is literally defined by us vs. them debates. Like all such debates, I figured there was some merit to the criticism, but felt pretty sure that it couldn’t be as bad as it was made out to be.

Now that I have two of these events under my belt, I can confidently say that it is…Its indulgence defined, and the true cost isn’t simply $93 per couple (plus the requisite two bottles of Cab Franc per person). It’s the wasted opportunity that comes and goes when 5,000 Philadelphians who have the time and money to do better with both, get together and waste it on taking drunk selfies on a Thursday….An estimated 5,000 people got together, and spent almost a quarter of a million dollars to do it. And no one – not one of us, not one citizen in the city that hosted it, is any better for it.

Let’s do this differently next year. Please. I’d like to be hungover because I helped someone, not (just) because I’m an entitled prick.

Again read the whole article. Of course the response of one of the originators of Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia, was a little Marie-Antoinette-let-them-eat-cake  because they said “all” of “Philly” benefits.

There has been so much breast beating back and forth over this event on social media that it is somewhat crazy. People saying they will “unfriend” other  people for criticizing the event.  Seriously?

OK I get the picture, people love the event. But others don’t . And then there are others like myself that love to look at the event photos but have absolutely no desire to go to the event. My reasons for not wanting to go, my personal choice for choosing not to go also by the standards set by these people makes me a Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia hater. Alrighty then, pretzel logic.

I do like events that benefit charities.  I especially like events that benefit charities that do not take themselves so seriously and don’t (for example) call themselves “balls” when by definition they are not.

I grew up in Society Hill and on the Main Line. I went to a private school. I did the cotillion for the Charity Ball all in white. I did years and years of traditional non-profit events and traditional volunteering like my mother.

I stopped doing most of it after 9/11 by personal choice. I felt that most of those people on those committees and who attended those events would always need people like me more than I would ever need them.  I also felt bigger picture, there was more to life that was more important. Also, let’s get real: these parties are expensive and a new dress for every event adds up.

But I do like white parties and I do appreciate non-profit events that do good for legitimate local charities.  So when a friend suggested Brandywine in White and described it to me, I thought “why not”?

It is an absolutely lovely event.  It has a charming host and slew of people who put it together. While not a non-profit per se, part of the proceeds benefit a local charity. In 2015 it benefitted the Sunday Breakfast Mission in Wilmington, DE.   This year they were donating  to the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County to help save Barnard’s Orchard.

Also this year held on the same evening of August 27th was the inaugural  WC Summer Soirée . This event had a non- profit formed first and benefitted three local Chester County Charities: St. Agnes Day Room, Chester County Food Bank, and Chester County Family Academy.

We went to WC Summer Soirée this year. Not because we didn’t love Brandywine in White, but because we thought we would be able to do both and both events ended up being on the same evening, and by the time we figured it out, the tickets for WC Summer Soirée were already purchased. (But a small donation did go to Brandywine in White as well.)

Both of these Chester County / Brandywine Valley events are summer white or en blanc parties. But they do not try to be Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia. They are white parties yes, but the feel is different.

These are lovely events that are more laid back. You have fun and it is a few hundred people versus a few thousand. You don’t schlep your furniture you buy tables and service tables or eat at communal tables. You do set up your tablescapes in white and dress in white, but your back drops, the settings are completely different. And yes they choose non-profits as event partners. To me that is more appealing.

And the people whiles mostly strangers to me at these events are so nice. People mingle and table hop and enjoy checking everyone’s tablescapes out.  I love to entertains, cook, and everyone knows I love vintage dishes and linens, so I totally have fun at these Brandywine Valley/ Chester County events.

We had a blast at WC Summer Soirée ! It was held at the American Helicopter Museum and there were even helicopter rides. People had fun! Dress code wise it was slightly more casual than Brandywine in White, but that’s fine as it was never intended to be a clone of Brandywine in White or a  Dîner en Blanc.

While at WC Summer Soirée I noticed people whose business promotes Philadelphia and the Brandywine Valley were at Brandywine in White and they would be tweeting live. How nice I thought for Brandywine in White. Next thing you know they post a selfie with the following “Nice event here at #brandywinwhite but it’s no @DEBphl.”

I thought the damnation by faint praise to be shall we say, ignorant and totally unnecessary. If they thought it was a nice party, why couldn’t they just say that? It is not supposed to be  Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia so why toss that in? White party yes, but DEB, no. And sorry not sorry, but DEB did not originate the concept of white parties or place a patent on them, they have revived an entertaining trend.

I responded to those people that I would rather support good causes in Chester County then to be among the 5000 lemmings dressed in white, in Philadelphia. You know what this is boys and girls ? Opinion and personal choice. I was never kept off a guest list for this thing, I chose not to go for valid reasons already discussed.

So then these people decided to follow me on Twitter .  I decided to back them because if you know social media and you know Twitter you know the next thing is a flat out Twitter war over whose opinion matters more. I didn’t want that, so I chose not to engage.

Next thing you know, the person I am told is the paid publicist for DEB Philadelphia pops up in 140 characters or less. How I am attending an event that almost “entirely copies DEB AND are rude about it. #goodbye #copycat”

Oh snap! I guess he schooled me, right? I also think that technically DEB Philadelphia (license or not) can be considered a copycat of other larger  established DEBs around the world and other white parties, yes? After all DEB Philadelphia did not originate the idea of a white party in general, did they?

I admit I told him to have a hissy fit other than at me and it was bourgeois that he did not realize not everything is trying to be DEB. Sorry not sorry, my opinion. Knowing a Twitter feud would definitely spring from this one, I blocked him. I shouldn’t have engaged in the first place, and chose not to engage further.

So his response to blocking was twofold. First was on Twitter – if I am going to criticize I am supposed to “stand behind my comments. Not block everyone. #coward”

Then he rolls up on my blog’s Facebook page and continues about how I blocked him. (wahhhhhh!) and how his comment was directed at me for being “rude”. And because he wasn’t limited to 140 characters, he goes on to say  that I couldn’t stand up for my comments and hid them from everyone and continues  “…it is clear you lack facts and just want to be hostile. First, that event was started and called Brandywine in White after DEB. And if you had half an education of course our event is based on Paris- who do you think started the idea and licensed it.”

He goes on to call me a troll. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre. He neglects to say he blocked me back which I find hysterical, so what is his very important point about blocking people again, I forget? And I guess he “encouraged” the “official”  @DEBphl  Twitter handle to block me too? ( Totally mature, totally amusing, totally cracks me up and do they think that means I can’t see what they post anyway? All you have to do is not be signed into Twitter to view it if you want to- so not difficult if it is a public versus private Twitter-feed. )

I mean seriously he is a publicist being paid to promote this event?  And part of the job description is being the DEB Philadelphia ankle biter? And my goodness, do the people who run Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia think this is acceptable behavior out of what amounts to someone they employ to positively promote their event? And as a professional publicist this person thinks their version of playing well with others is acceptable behavior?

Right or wrong, if I were hiring a publicist and saw this out of a publicist they would be the last publicist I ever hired. And seeing a publicist doing this even if not directed at me personally would mean if I didn’t want to go to something in the first place, I would never even ever reconsider the event or recommend it to others. And if I did want to go, I would choose another party because who wants to go to something represented by someone like that anyway? I guess this guy thinks that the White Party in Provincetown the past 30 years is also a “copycat” of DEB Philadelphia?

People were criticizing DEB events in 2013 too :

Le Diner en Blanc: The Great Doucheby

POSTED BY ON THU, APR 4, 2013 AT 3:26 PM

Hey New Orleans — here’s a dinner deal for you!

First you pay $35, then you bring your own food, utensils and your own goddam table.

You don’t know where you’re going, but you must wear white from head to toe. Oh, and there’s a three-step process for application and a waiting list (“Best of luck in your registration!”), because, you know, the experience of paying a stranger for the privilege of staging your own dinner party is not just for everyone, darling.

And you can’t cancel. Period…

We don’t need to pay to attend a dinner party and be told to bring “a picnic basket comprised of quality menu items and a china dinner service including proper stemware and flatware.”

Are we really turning into this, New Orleans? I hope not. Because this whole thing makes me feel like putting on an old Saints jersey and licking roast beef po-boy gravy off my forearm while doing the Cupid Shuffle.

 

And then there is this from Vancouver, Canada:

Side Dishes: The little black event