Saturday, June 28, 2008

Interview: The three-ring binder inventor

WilliamPennmanship was fortune enough to sit down with Gunther Hillsborough, the inventor of the three-ring binder at his home in Ardmore, Pa. In this heartfelt sitdown the 71 year-old opens up like never before. He dodges questions about his run-ins with the law and evades the entire Avalon,NJ topic. He also fails to address the ATV accident and his love of floating billiards tables. But he does touch on his major competitor from the 1970's and 80's.

WP: Thanks for taking the time to talk today. I'm going to start with a very difficult question. One you may have avoided in the past, but I'd really like your thoughts. What did the creation of the Trapper Keeper mean to you in the 1970's?

GH: Ahh. You do like to start with the tough ones. To be honest I thought I was finished. Absolutely done. I had this great product and it was doing very well and all the sudden this "super-binder" comes on to the market. I was like where in God's name did this thing come from?

WP: So you had no idea that this "thing" was being developed?

GH: I mean there were very quiet rumors floating around, but I can remember thinking that no person or thing could create this "super-power-binder" that was being talked about. I passed it off and didn't believe it.

WP: So what was your reaction when you first saw the Trapper Keeper in stores.

GH: Well, the first time I saw it was when I was dropping my youngest son off at school and a child on the sidewalk was holding one. I called the child over to the car and said what the hell is holding all of your papers like that? He said it was a Trapper Keeper. Trapper Keeper? After my son got out of the car I sobbed uncontrollably for an hour. Ask my wife. Also ask my wife and she will tell you that for three days after it came out I was convinced the Trapper Keeper was left behind by some alien space craft.

WP: So you thought that was it?

GH: I really did. I tried coming up with all these ideas to improve my binder to make one last stand. Should I add a fourth ring to the three-ring binder? Should I take away a ring and make it two? I panicked and in the end I simply added two small pockets for holding paper on the inside of the front and back covers.

WP: Genius. Unreal. When did you come up with the idea to sell paper that had three holes punched in it?

GH: There are some things I can't discuss.

Easton,Pa tries to lure Penn's Landing upriver

Philadelphia may have hit another bump in its never-ending journey to develop its waterfront if Penn's Landing decides to relocate to Easton, Pa. The town, about 70 miles upstream from Philadelphia, has made a generous offer that includes a lifetime supply of crayons.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Firework group to protest during Welcome America festivities

The group known as No S'in Firework plans to hold several peaceful protests in Philadelphia during the city's hugely popular Welcome America celebration- the country's largest.

The Atlantic City-based organization has been calling for a change in the spelling of the word 'fireworks' for almost a year.

President of the group, Paulie Francis explains. "The word fireworks should not contain an 's' at the end. Firework should be both singular and plural. It was how the word was spelled thousands of years ago and the government added the 's' in really recent times not in olden times."

"'I like to go see the firework. Did you see the plethora of firework?' It sounds a lot flows better. It seriously does," said No S'in Firework member, Donna Green.

The city has taken precautions for the planned demonstration in Love Park set for next Tuesday.

"We assigned our sole Segway cruiser to police the group. That should be plenty. This particular Segway is equipped with cup holders and a built-in bottle opener," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey.

How will they protest? The group wouldn't say, but noted that they have been saving empty tennis ball cans for months.

It should also be noted that the group advocates firework safety especially over the July 4th holiday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Price of corn, elephant eyes very high

You've heard the saying 'where corn is as high as an elephant's eye.' It used to refer only to the height of corn particularly in Iowa. But the saying is also holding true for the price of corn and the price of elephant eyes.

Corn prices have soared to around $8 per bushel as of yesterday. Partially due to the Midwest flooding, speculators and largely because of anticipated ethanol demands for fuel.

On the other end (of the saying) are elephant eyes. Where corn prices have doubled in the last year elephant eye prices have nearly tripled to $10 per handful.

"Oh, there's a huge demand for elephant eyes right now. Many energy experts have their sights set on them. They think they would allow us to see a new path to alternative energy sources," said Gibbon Dorset, forest ranger in Africa's Serengeti.

In Pennsylvania, because of soil type and climate, corn only reaches the height of an elephant's upper leg (as the saying goes). But prices of elephant upper legs have remained relatively low in comparison. As of this morning upper legs were trading for $0.79 per small duffel bag.

"Here in the Keystone corn and elephant upper legs are not the same price when it comes to the saying: Pennsylvania, where corn is as high as an elephant's upper leg. It just don't work," said Centre County farmer, Clyde Sorndale.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Poison Ivy Powers Little Leaguer

Damon Latti was partaking in a yard clean up day at his grandparents house when he developed a severe case of poison ivy. The "weeds" he thought he was weeding turned out to be the rash-giving ivy. "I just thought it was regular ivy. I've never liked poison ivy, never," said Latti, 12, of Upper Pillsgrove, PA.

The itching, scratching and swelling were so bad that it forced the Latti's to make a visit to the family doctor. "It was so bad that it made me rather uncomfortable," said Dr Miles Kinter.

Because of the severity of the rash Kinter put Damon on a steroid to help the healing process. Three shots of corticosteroid were injected into his upper arm.

Within two days the child had gained 20 pounds and his head size increased by a third. "We had to order a special batting helmet. The kind that's a lot bigger," said League vice president, Charles McGilicuddy.

In his first game on the "ivy-juice" Latti belted three homeruns totaling 750 feet. "I love poison ivy," said Latti, a shortstop.

By week's end the entire lineup of the Cougars had developed the ivy rash and were trading ivy leaves instead of baseball cards. Two other teams in the league had volunteered to clear the weeds under the bleachers.

The Upper Pillsgrove Little League has a strict steroid policy, but poison ivy is the lone loophole. "There's nothing we can do. They found a way around the rules. Koodos to them. I really respect that," said McGillicuddy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Temporary cable crossing at South Street being considered

As construction looms on the South Street Bridge, the city is making plans for the traffic and logistical nightmares that will plague the neighborhoods linked by the crumbling span.

One idea being seriously considered by the city is a cable crossing that would be set up just south of the bridge's current location.

"Cable crossings are slow and dangerous but very economical," said Harold Comtier, owner of Cable Solutions Inc., a Bridgeport, PA company. "That's how I make a living, but I wouldn't be caught on one."

The design being considered would allow for one adult or two small children to cross over the Schuylkill River at one time. Passengers would be strapped to a pulley and pulled across by individuals on the destination side.

There would also be a "Sky Club," which would be a lounge-type area for frequent crossers.

"Each side would have a trailer that would act as a lounge for our privileged travelers," said Comtier. "Things like free coffee and nice leather chairs will welcome the cable travelers. Oh, and cable television. Pun intended."

City Council member Donna Miller is a little concerned for the safety of children. "Children will be crossing the river to get to school. I think they should be given some sort of snack."

Many residents in the neighborhoods affected by the bridge closing echoed Miller's concern for snacks.

"Bottom line is the kids need to get a snack," said Graduate Hospital resident, Debbie Tuliver. "Some sort of snack should be provided."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Disappointed Bruins hang up purple and gold

Marc Savard took off his Kobe Bryant jersey rolled it into a ball and threw it violently into the garage door of Boston Bruins Vice President Cam Neely. The Bruins center was expressing his displeasure in the clinching victory by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

Teary-eyed goalie Alex Auld stopped dribbling his purple and gold basketball long enough to punt the ball into the neighbor's yard after the final buzzer sounded.

Neely hosted a party at his suburban Boston home for all Bruins players and front office personnel. "I wanted to have the gang over to cheer for the Celtics. We all cheer for one another in this city," said Neely in his purple Lamar Odom warm up suit.

Sequoia-like defenseman Zdeno Chara showed up donning a purple and gold Lakers hard hat. "I do construction in the off-season. Sometimes in Orange County."

The Celtics victory put the lowly Bruins in a very uncomfortable position. They are the lone team of Boston's four major sports franchises not included in the city's recent string of professional championships.

"Before Tuesday we were buddies, bad at what we did, but we were still buddies. That brought us closer. Now this buddy has decided to take a knife a championship," said Neely. "I can't believe they did this."

Coach Peter Chiarelli likened the situation to Gilligan's Island. "It's like for some reason everyone on the island got rescued except for Gilligan and the Skipper. And then one day Gilligan wakes up and the Skipper is gone...rescued. Yeah, it's a lot like that."

The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001, 2002 and 2004. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. And the Celtics joined the club this year. Six trophies in seven years has made the citizens of Boston feel as if the streets are paved in beans.

"I'm very proud to officially welcome the Celtics into the 'City of Champions.' I would also like to have a moment of silence for the only team not in the club," said Boston Mayor, Thomas M. Menino, addressing the crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden after the Celtics victory.

Neely and Chiarelli plan to meet with Celtics coach Doc Rivers sometime later this week. Neely talked with Celtics GM Danny Ainge and owner Wycliffe Grousbeck early Wednesday morning. Details were not discussed, but each hinted that the relationship could be repaired unlike the S.S. Minnow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Optimus Prime snubs fans after filming at Eastern State

The sequel to the box office hit Transformers, Transformers II, is being filmed in Philadelphia this month at various locations throughout the city.

Yesterday, the cast and crew set up in Fairmount's Eastern State Penitentiary for a day of filming. Fans began to gather around the prison's 30ft walls when onlookers glimpsed the top of Optimus Prime's head. The leader of the Autobots changes into a tractor trailer when not in robot form.

"I was just walking minding my own business when I saw Prime and I began yelling his name as loud as I could. My voice really hurts right now. It's weird because I know most of the robots don't like to do filming on-location," said Claus Von Derman, a Fairmount resident.

Optimus Prime's contract for Transformers II requires the popular robot to attend at least three on-location filming sessions. In the prequel Prime demanded only studio sets.

The robot is notorious for being very unfriendly to fans who gather near film sets. In 1985 Prime changed into a truck on a Los Angeles street and crushed a teenager's 10-speed. He later claimed that he did not see the bike, which became lodged in his leg joint.

Before leaving the Penitentiary Optimus Prime changed back into an 18-wheeler and drove from the castle-like prison unnoticed.

"I can't believe I didn't notice that was him. I was totally looking for Prime the robot. He does that all the time too. I really should have expected the 18-wheeler trick," said Von Derman.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sosa partners with Schmidt to provide cork for wine

Mike Schmidt revealed today that Sammy Sosa has joined the Hall of Fame third baseman in creating 'Schmidt 548,' his new wine that will arrive in state stores this coming weekend. Schmidt chose the name not only because it is his favorite number but because it represents his career homerun total.

Sosa will provide cork for one in ten bottles sold from his vast bat collection. Cork, when inserted into a bat, is believed to help baseballs travel further upon contact.

When asked why he partnered with Schmidt instead of launching his own line of wine Sosa replied,"Es goo to av epardner dat ace goo. Schmitty goo."

Schmidt described the partnership as strictly a way into the greater Chicago-land wine market where Sosa walked on the Lake Michigan water not all that long ago. And to a lesser extent the greater Baltimore area where Sosa spent one season. Although he also spent a couple of seasons in Texas the two agreed wine would not sell in the lonestar state.

"He's got all this cork and it's just all lying around and I got to thinking. What I came up with was this," said a glowing Schmidt, referring to the cork partnership.

The cork will be removed from the bats and turned into wine corks with the de-corkenator, an expensive, highly sensitive instrument made by Corkton Inc. in Lewisburg, PA.

Some may remember the machine's debut seven years ago when Corky, the star from TV's Life Goes On, appeared in commercials for MLB warning players not to use cork. "Don't you dare use cork, oo blah dee blah da!"

Schmidt is excited about the partnership and did not appear disappointed that he could not reach an agreement with Mark Maguire (Bay Area and St Louis) or Jose Canseco (Bay Area). "It didn't happen so I moved on, even if it would have satisfied our cork need for some time."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Heatwave forces Rita's to sell Italian Water Water

Official's at Rita's water ice and ice cream shops are unable to produce the ice needed to make water ice during this uncharacteristic and stifling June heatwave and will only be selling Italian water.

"We just can't make the "ice" in water ice right now. We can only sell Italian water during these brutal temperatures," said Dan Glostenoni, owner of a Rita's franchise in University City.

Glostenoni went on to say that the Italian water will be high quality spring water and will be "pretty darn cold and good."

Earlier this week several children cried uncontrollably upon leaving the store and seeing the water ice in their hand enter the liquid state.

"When I look at my cup it reminds me of how the polar ice caps are melting because of our addiction to fossil fuels," said a teary-eyed Madison Frink, 8, while drinking her cherry water ice.

Frink was one of the last customers to be served a water ice. "It's sort of special that my daughter got one of the last water ice during the heatwave," said Debbie Frink.

Rita's plans to begin making it's most popular dessert once the temperature begins to fall. However, Glostenoni said sales of Italian water liquid (as he likes to call it) are very strong in the two days it has been on the menu.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

'We lost everything, but this dryer chair with hood dryer.'

A fire ripped through Combs, Brushes and Scissors, a beauty salon in Britain's Corner, PA, late on Monday night.

"We lost everything, but this dryer chair with hood dryer. I guess we're pretty lucky considering. I look at the hood part of the chair and I think,'what would we have done if the hood part went up in smoke,'" said Gail Smith, owner of the salon.

As tears ran down Smith's soot covered cheeks creating small streaks, she attempted to recall opening day of the shop in 1996. "I just can't believe the hood part is still here. And it's fully functioning. Please, sit down."

As I sat down in the chair Gail's tears seemed to pour faster as she finally realized the chair was not plugged in. Nor would it be anytime soon.

The Britain's Corner Police placed handcuffs on Smith and lead her to the unmarked car that had arrived without sound. As they pulled away Smith yelled,"Combs, Brushes, Scissors and... Dryer Chair with Hood Dryer."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Only fitting for Griffey to hit 600 in Phila; Hall of Fame to attend games?

Sitting on 599 homeruns, Cincinnati Reds outfielder,Ken Griffey Jr took to the road this week with a four-game series against the Phillies in Philadelphia. Many in the media feel that the City of Brotherly Love would not embrace Griffey's milestone.

Griffey disagreed,"Naw, it's a great place, I have many great memories here in this city on the Delaware."

Interestingly enough Griffey hit his 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th and 500th homeruns all here in Philadelphia. This has only happened to one other player. Willie Mays hit all of the above numbers in St. Louis, but his 600th occurred in Toronto's Sky Dome.

"Not only is 600 big, but doing all the big ones in the same city would be truly remarkable," said Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, Kevin Cornison.

Bigger yet may be the excitement growing among Philadelphia's baseball fans. Rightfield seats in Citizens Bank Park sold out less than two hours after the Reds Sunday game ended where number 600 failed to occur.

One Phillies fan explained one scenario if he caught the ball. "If I catch number 600 I'll hope that I also catch 601 in the same game. I would then keep the real 600 and sell the 601. But I would tell people that 601 was really 600. I would later sell the real 600, but not very publicly. Does that make sense?"

Rumors that the Baseball Hall of Fame purchased all of the rightfield seats for the series in an effort to bring the ball to Cooperstown were denied.

"Buying all of those tickets and placing Hall of Fame employees in the seats all just to claim a ball is...well, it's just...not a bad idea. But something we would never do. At least not all of the seats."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mendte breaks story about Mendte

CBS3 anchorman Larry Mendte has been credited for breaking the story about an FBI investigation into whether or not Larry Mendte wrongly hacked into, former co-anchorwoman, Alicia Lane's email account.

Mendte reported,"But the big story on CBS3 tonight is an FBI investigation centered on my actions to hack into a former co-worker's email account. Later in the broadcast I will interview myself, an exclusive to CBS3 News."

As the interview took place the broadcast went to a split screen. One view of a live Mendte sitting at the anchor desk and a second view of Mendte in a still photo wearing casual clothing. When live Mendte would finish asking a question the screen switched from split to a full shot of the still photo for the answer.

"That's a very good question Larry, but at this time I am not permitted to comment on that," said Mendte, when asked by himself about his email password.

Mendte, obsessed with the exclusivity of the interview, often reminded viewers throughout the broadcast that "this is an interview only seen on CBS3."