Month: January 2014

The Meaning of Life and Everything

Most of my friends will know that when the evening gets a little late (sometimes not even that late) I love a good good deep chat. We all do I reckon… if not then why not???

I’ve never had religious beliefs ever, it will sound blasphemous but at school when we were being fed stories from the bible I always thought that they were man-made and never came from some divine magical place (I did enjoy singing the hymns though).

My reasoning at this young age was simple and it came from the greek myths (which i absolutely love). I still remember my teacher explaining to my class at this tender age that the ancient Greeks didn’t understand the world fully, so in an attempt to piece it all together they used these ‘myths’ to explain how everything works. Atlas holds up the sky to stop is from crushing us, Pandora released all the evils in the world by opening a box and in ancient Egypt Ra rode a chariot which carried the sun around the Earth… simples.

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Its too late now love…

We now scoff at these ideas in our enlightened 21st century, so I thought surely people in 1000 years will be scoffing at us. ‘Haha they believed god sent them a son who turned water into wine and who died but came back again anyway.’ (I must apologise if I sound offensive, I’m just trying to explain how I viewed things, I don’t mean to sound so negative, In my book people can believe whatever they want, If it makes you happy then I’m happy!).

Well when I got to about 15 I had the sudden realisation that, if I don’t believe in god then I probably don’t believe in an afterlife. This hit home hard, When you’re young you think you’ll live forever. It took me about a week to lift the cloud, my mum was actually really helpful and I chatted to her about it loads over that week. I genuinely would love to have a faith and believe in a higher purpose. However I think everything is kinda  random and you should just enjoy it while you can. A few years ago a friend recommended that I read Richard Dawkin’s ‘God Delusion’. I still haven’t read it to this day, I’m worried that after reading it I will be a complete atheist (It sits on my book shelf taunting me!).

Consciousness is something however that I find fascinating. Our brain stores memories and these memories define us. If you lose the memories i.e. die, then surely we cease to exist and more importantly are consciousness essentially evaporates away into nothingness???

Well there is a new interesting theory which looks at this in a completely different way. Its called Biocentrism (I promise you its a real theory and not the plot from a bad B-movie), this states that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe.  It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around. It sounds crazy and it does pander to that hope we all have in that we want to believe in something bigger and the whole after life malarkey that entails.

Its not complete hocus pocus though as it aligns itself strictly with the laws of quantum mechanics and some of the stuff that comes out of that seem crazy at first. Propagation of energy is one that still baffles me, the idea that on a microscopic level every action we make in the world resonates with every particle in existence is mind blowing (thank you Brian Cox for that nugget of knowledge).

The guy who writes all this stuff is called Robert Lanza. Hes not some nutjob, he is actually considered to be one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The theory implies that death of consciousness does not exist. It only exists as a man made idea because we identify ourselves with our bodies. We believe that when the body perishes, then consciousness will disappear too, because the body generates consciousness. But if the body actually receives consciousness then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact then consciousness must exist outside of the constraints of time and space? Consciousness is able to be anywhere. in the human body and outside of it in other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.

It is all still just a theory, but a very interesting one at that, if not simply because it challenges the way we preconceive things.

Thats me done for today. In an effort to lighten things up, here’s a song I’ve been listening to loads recently (although David Cameron did say he likes them, so I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t listen).

Philly out!

Image credit from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora

The 50p Tax

So the labour party is considering bringing back the 50p tax. Well in my opinion, so they bloody well should. It’s a disgrace that it was gotten rid of in the first place. When everyone on the breadline is struggling it’s so typical of the Tories to reduce taxes for those earning over £150,000!

Why is it then that the media would have you believe this is such a bad move? It’s because the small priveledged section of society that would be affected by this has a huge voice and aren’t afraid to use it.

Right wingers everywhere claim that it’s anti business and a large number of companies have actually spoken out against it, stating that they would have to let people go (well I’m guessing it won’t be those earning over £150,000 will it?). They should be ashamed. For me it’s a simple question of morality, the people with the most power should have to contribute more simple as that. If they think of themselves as outside of society, then why do we have have to shoulder their mistakes (i.e banking crisis)?

France has recently brought in a tax bracket of 75% for their super rich and it has been met positively. We should be thinking exactly the same way. If it’s a global effort they won’t be able to hide their money abroad and pay next to no tax.

Rant over.

Perfect Procrastination

Hey ya’ll, what up? This post is just a little update of what I’ve been up to (or not as the title alludes)!

Well I had so many plans for my days off… Alas the reality is I’ve just spent the last two days procrastinating my face off (ironically I haven’t watched the movie face off, you know the movie where the guy takes his face off and switches it with another guy who takes his face off?) I have watched a load of top notch moviesicals though; The Royal Tennenbaums, Spinal Tap, Airplane and The Life Aquatic to name but a few! I’ve also played loads of minecraft (a super duper geeky game for those of you that don’t know). I also had some pretty intense Youtube sessions that went south on me more than once (Youtube can get weird fast!) and oh yeah I’ve watched a lot of cartoon network as well… I mean loads… all I can say is I really like Adventure Time, Finn and Jake are just the best (self respect at an all time low).

Is procrastination a weakness, basically a failure to do anything of merit? If it is then why does it feel so right dammit!?

In other news I Philly89, self-proclaimed hater of people everywhere (not you though treasured reader!) am throwing a house party! Can you believe it, cause I can’t? I hate house parties and I hate big crowds. However I have no choice, my house mate is determined to have one. Last time he threw one it was a little fun, but I invited none of my friends and in hindsight I regretted it. It turns out they’re actually fun and if you just relax and don’t worry about inviting everyone plus all the crappy organisation, you can have a reasonable time! So this time round I have actually invited people I know and I am genuinely looking forward to it! Plus I get to make the playlist (which I will love, but most people at said party will hate)! Right now it consists solely of Hot Chocolate (No doubt about it!) and Billy Ocean (loverboy is a tune of the highest regard!)

The intro is essentially liquid music!

Wanna be your… Lover Lover… LOVERBOY!

Well now I’m going to leave the house for the first time in 48 hours. Luckily the sun has set, otherwise I can only assume its rays would have startled me and sent me scurrying back into the house!

Philly out

Let’s Get Physical

Guten Tag everyone,

I have disturbing news… I have turned to the darkside… I have joined a gym. The following clip is eerily close to my own initial experience upon discovering said gym:

Not being able to pronounce words… all good like… is difficult for a man of my limited vocab. 

After joining a gym though I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite. This is going to sound terrible but I had few default cynical opinions in my head as to what a typical ‘gym go-er-rer’ was like. Once someone informed me that they went to the gym, I used to think BORING, they obviously have no interests otherwise they’d be spending their time doing something far more interesting. I still think some people fall into this category, but not to the same ‘tar them all with the same brush’ attitude I once adopted. Also you know when you’re a kid and you plant your first ever seed and you’re like ‘now what… wheres the damn plant!’ That is exactly how I used to feel about the gym, I’d do ten sit ups and expect to look like Hercules. Basically it turns out I was once really lazy and incredibly impatient, I still am really. In my mind the commitment in terms of time and effort didn’t seem worth it, plus I liked going against the crowd, all my friends were gym monkeys, therefore I refused to step foot inside of one, that is unless I was intent on doing my best Rocky impression in the boxing area, ironically of course.

I must say though I’m not joining a gym now to look like the next Schwarzenegger (that would be way too easy for me anyway), I’m joining after a recommendation from a friend.  I fear that I’m ruled by my emotions, I’ve come to terms with this, but that’s not gonna stop me addressing it. My aim is to attempt to put a lid on my silly brain by wearing myself out and by incorporating a bit of discipline into my weekly routine. Healthy body, healthy mind and all that jazzy jazz.

On a lighter note, I bet you’re now wondering one thing and one thing only… ”Whats my gym playlist gonna be?” Well I’m glad you asked. For me, when I’m pumping that sweet iron there can only be one motivational soundtrack that fits the bill. It has to be… the soundtrack from ROCKY 4! Then when I wanna get riled up and do some angry dancing… the soundtrack from FOOTLOOSE of course. Two of the greatest movie soundtracks EVER I think you will be forced to agree!

Angry dancing is just the best.

For those of you that made it to the end of this post, firstly congratulations are in order, secondly as a reward I have a treat for you! Like usual here are two songs that have burrowed into my head and are firmly lodged in there (to the annoyance of everyone in a ten meter radiance of me).

First up is ‘Air’ by Ben Folds Five. I  discovered these guys for myself about a year ago, their back catalog is really strong, they’ve been around for absolutely ages though. In the chorus of this song I love the floaty synth in the background and how it mixes with the vocal harmony at the front of the mix, it just does it for me.

My second song is by the great Bee Gees; ‘Spirits having flown’. The harmonies in the chorus are just epic, I got so fired up listening to this song this morning. Funnily enough my earliest memory of the Bee Gees is from when I was playing with Lego at my friends house when I was little. His mum used to love Savage Garden, I couldn’t stand them. The only other CD she had around of note was best of the Bee Gees, it was a no brainer,  6 year old me used to get in there first and crack the Bee Gees on before she had a chance!

Anyhow that’s enough from me, I’ve got to head back into work (that’s right I’m working on a Saturday laaaaame). Enjoy your weekend you crazy so and so’s,

Philly out

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

How did you get to where you are today? Was it meticulously planned out or did it just kinda happen? I’m guessing it was probably the second one, unless you’re Barrack Obama then it’s definitely the first option (he was born with presidential airs and graces I say).

I have never had a grand plan like you see in the movies. All through my life when people asked me the dreaded “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?” question I would just palm them off and tell them ”I’m only ten, I don’t know what I want to do yet…’. However 10 soon becomes 13, then 16, then 18 and so on… (I’m not very good at counting it turns out…).

I still vividly remember when an adult that I looked up to greatly at the time said to me when I was about 19 ”Philip, you really should know what you want to do with your life by now’. This really upset me. I’m a dweller by nature (as all my friends and family will know) and this set the dwell into overload. I’ve always considered myself to be quite mature and super sensible since I was very little, so I felt like I should know what it is I want to do. However it turns out they were a bit of a douchebag and my master plan was actually to be as indecisive as possible until the very last moment (more exciting that way)!

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Its funny because he’d rather eat the doughnut than save citizens. Oh Garfield!

For me deciding on what to study at college and ultimately for university felt like a good strong natural opportunity to access where I’m going and to finally force me to decide what I’m doing (oh how you must decide!). Of Course I didn’t, I bottled it and just choose subjects that I was good at and that I enjoyed doing. At college that for me was Physics, Maths and Music. When it came to choosing a degree (I cho cho choose you) I couldn’t decide between the sciency stuff and music. So I fudged it by finding a course that incorporated them both; Electronic Engineering with Music Technology Systems (win win). 

The only long term-ish plan I ever made was for when I finished uni (it was disastrous). I intended to move home for a bit and find a job in Manchester (so I could be close to my family) working as an engineer in broadcasting, they’d just finished building media city there for the BBC, so it was meant to be right?. Well so began a six month battle to find a job that turned me into the most miserable grouchy git ever. I ended up signing on and then working at a phone store, which I hated (I was bloody good at selling phones though). I had to cast my net a bit further and if I was going to find something I wanted. When I was eventually offered a job I wanted it was in London. In my mind I had no choice but to go for it, I wasn’t waiting another six months!

I’m happy to say It all turned out for the best cause I have a great job now and I bloody love London. Its like they say, when life gives you lemons, eat them… Then again they’re actually quite sour and eating a lot of them in one sitting is probably not good for you. 

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If you haven’t seen The Simpsons Lemon of Troy episode then we can no longer be friends.

I sometimes think If I’d made a big grand plan I could have avoided all the unhappiness that happened after uni, but then I wouldn’t be where I am now and I can hand on heart say I learnt a lot from those bitter experiences. I should mention that I was lucky enough to have the safety net of having my family around me, so I wasn’t just struggling on my own, it could’ve been a lot worse in that respect.

On reflection, as much as I’d like it be, life is not like a book. Its kind of a jumbly wumbly big timey wimey mess. When you’re a kid you think you’re destined to do something amazing (and we still can) buts its not just going happen on it own by magic (I thought there was an outside chance I was the second coming of Jesus and I just didn’t know it yet). Whatever life throws at you, you just have to make what sense of it you can at the time and make the best of it as it all happens. Hindsight is a beautiful thing though and everyone thinks ‘what if?’ from time to time.

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That’s today’s ramblings done for now. Here are my current musical obsessions (thanks to young Johnny Boy): 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JECTUQVrvzE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTQiT58AbE0

Have a great rest of the week lads and lasses!

Philly out

photo credit 1: http://shocksandshoes.blogspot.co.uk

photo credit 2: ypoiw.blogspot.com

photo credit 3: http://letsenjoygaming.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday Related Musings

Okily-dokily readerino,

I finally went and saw American Hustle. Well as like most people my expectations were sky high, I mean look at the cast! Bradley ‘Handsome’ Cooper, Jennifer ‘My 2nd (only to Zooey Deschanel) Dream-girl’ Lawrence, Christian ‘Cos I’m Batman’ BaleJeremy ‘Poor mans Matt Damon’ Renner and Amy ‘I ran out of tag-lines’ Adams.

So so promising… and it delivered sir, the words that spring to mind are BLOODY and BRILLIANT. Definitely worth the £10.25 it cost for the ticket (when did the cinema become so expensive? And more importantly when did I become such a grumpy old miser?). The film lost a bit of momentum at times, but that really is the only bit of criticism I have.

As a side comment American Hustle kinda makes me think Bale wasted some good years doing rubbish films like terminator and dare I say it… batman (apart from the first one, I wasn’t on board at all). Well let me tell you good ole Baley boy puts in an awards worthy performance and if you don’t mind me being so forward… what a toupee/comb-over, to be honest all the hair in the film is off the scale, but Bales takes the biscuit!

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Five of the best hairstyles in the world ever right there!

Also one of the supporting actors in it was from a play I saw the other day. He played the nutter in Strangers on a train at the Gielgud theater in London UK. For some reason this made me feel a little smug.

In other news after watching the Syfy channel for a few hours today, I found myself asking why we still don’t have robot butlers like in Rocky 4. I mean come on that film was set in 1985 and they gave Unkie Paulie a fully working robot butler. We’re 29 years further into the future now! Obviously we would have had to overcome a few robot rebellions, but it would be totally worth it.

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Robots are in no way creepy… in no way creepy.

Anyway happy end of the week everybody, I’m gonna watch the final Sherlock, yep that’s right they only made three, damn you BBC, damn you!

Here’s a little song that’s been bounding round my mind laddie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Cfrl7hMoQ

Philly out

Photo credit: hollywoodreporter.com

Photo credit: pinktentacle.com

You Shall Not Pass… Go! (Or collect £200)

Hello treasured reader

Firstly happy Saturday to you. Lets dive straight in. For the last few days I’ve been all over the place, I’m blaming the January blues! I apologise if this revelation is a little depressing but I warned WordPress when they asked me to write this blog, I said, “Erm… I’m not a natural blogger”. And they said, I’ll always remember this, that they didn’t want any ordinary blog, they wanted the truth. So, here is, Philly89, blogging the truth. Not putting on an act, but putting on the truth. (I apologise to the 99.9% people who did not get the above Garth Marenghi reference).

Anyhow soldiering on, last eve, I was invited round to my friends house to partake in a evening of one of my favourite past-times, BOARDGAMES. Usually this is a delightful occasion, but as stated earlier my head has been all over the place. The evening was going well until it took a huge downturn when I made a few hilarious tenuous Lord of the Rings jokes and nobody laughed… awkward.

We were playing a game were you have to collect countries, with the main objective of collecting five that border each other. I started off great, but it quickly took a downward spiral until I literally only had a minor hold on the middle east, which obviously as almighty overlord supreme I renamed it to Middle Earth. I also started pronouncing Iraq as ‘Eye-raq’ like Americans do. It was the jewel in the crown of my sweet empire, until it actually became my only country left, so I obliviously started renaming ‘Eye-raq’ to my Eye of Sauron (as if nobody found that funny…).

Well after last night it hit me that I’ve been blogging now since Christmas day and it pains me to realise I haven’t yet mentioned one of my all time super duper favourite board games. Which (I really hope you can guess by the title) is the family destroyer that is MONOPOLY! 

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Years later all of the little girls family would go mysteriously missing.

Well you can imagine how I felt over Christmas when no one would take me on! We ended up playing the Pointless board game which was fun but it just does not have the same bitter feeling that monopoly brings to the table. I bloody love it. At university when everyone else was going out on the town me and my friends had other plans, we created a monopoly league (seriously). We played once a week and it was great. The disputes got to such an extent that my friend Chazzy actually emailed Hasbro with our dispute (and they replied!). The catchphrase use to be ‘lets play till it gets bitter’. When we meet up now we play an incredibly complicated game called Axis Vs Allies, I kid you not it took about 4 hours to get our head round the rules.

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He went for broke with Mayfair & Park Lane. Rookie move.

Well without further ado I’m giving you my cherished reader  a few of my sure fire tips to avoid ending up like the monopoly guy and come out on top in a sweet game of monopoly (**warning** they’re within the rules, but probably violate the spirit of the game):

  • Is anyone knew to the game? If so capitalise, offer to help them navigate their way around the treacherous world of Monopoly.  Basically you will be controlling two pieces, you can then start bargaining with that in mind.
  • Show no sentiment, even if you’re collecting just £8 in rent, collect it, it all adds up!
  • Hide some of your money at the start, then whilst bargaining you can pretend that you are incredibly poor and that they’re leaving you up a creek.
  • Spend, spend, spend. Just spend, early on spend it all!

Apart from actually cheating does anybody else have an shady methods of winning at a sweet game of monopoly?

Well that’s my Saturday morning rant over. I’m now off to go ten pin bowling (and people think I’m not cool)! Have a great day!

Philly out

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo credit: http://www.tshirtsmoselikes.com

I Love the Smell of Nostalgia in the Morning

Hello esteemed reader,

Today I took a trip to Greenwich Maritime Museum to see the ‘Turner at Sea exhibition’.

On the face of things this would seem like a very cultured thing for a 24 year old male living in London to partake in (suits you sir). However you miss read my intentions. I went for one reason and one reason only and that was for a healthy dose of nostalgia. My mission was ingenious in its simplicity, I wished to gaze upon The Fighting Temeraire!

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During my childhood in our little terrace house in Bolton there hung a copy of The Fighting Temeraire over our mantelpiece.  The copy was painted by my Granddad Michael Hodges, who sadly I never got to meet as he passed away before I was born. 

Bear in mind that growing up I saw this painting pretty much everyday until I was about 18 (when I finally flew the coop to go to the terrifying world of university). It is firmly stuck in my brain and whenever I see it I get that lovely warm feeling of nostalgia. I love the sensation when memories come flooding back, some which you thought you had completely forgotten and I’m sure I’m not alone. So imagine how I felt when I saw a massive advert for this exhibition on the underground in London with The Fighting Temiere front and centre in the advert. As Sherlock would say ‘The game was afoot’! I was going to the Greenwich Maritime Museum baby, the mission was formulated!

Once I was inside the exhibition it was clear straight away that it was going to be an amazing experience. The audio guide (which being such a miser I usually never purchase) added to the experience significantly. When I finally came upon The Fighting Temiere I  really wanted to know what the curators had to say so I grabbed my audio guide and fumbled at the touch screen (so fancy!). Well the curators claimed one of the main themes of this paintings was nostalgia, the very reason I had come to see it. This painting was trying to get across the message that this was in fact the end of an era, the last surviving boat from the battle of Trafalgar and alas here it is being towed to be broken up and decommissioned. Turner wanted to evoke a sense of yearning for the past, the glory days of the British navy and he really does.

It would be wrong of me if I didn’t mention that as kid growing up I didn’t really read anything into the painting, the fascination lay in the fact that it was a link to my Granddad. I should also mention that my Granddad was an amateur painter and his copy had a few blemishes when compared to the that of the original by  Turner. One specific difference that I always fixate on is on the left hand wheel of the steamboat. In my granddads version there are a few white brush strokes there. Well when I was a kid these looked like huge scary teeth, I used to think the steam boat was a monster attacking the golden HMS Temiere! (Sometimes I still do!)

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(You can sort of make the teeth out in this grainy snap sent from my dad)

In the pursuit of nostalgia here is a song from my childhood that I used to love (and still do)!

Philly out

Photo credit: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-fighting-temeraire

The Day in the Life (of a Cynic)

This morning I woke up got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head and realised with a start that I am a huge cynic. It’s a fact. I can’t help it. 

Once a dwell starts yours truly likes to do a little aimless browsing on the before mentioned delightful topic that has started said dwell. Well what I found leaves you feeling a little pensive… to say the least. Here are a few choice quotes (that make me look mega worldly):

“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.” – Maya Angelou, as quoted in The Truth in Words (2005) by Neal Zero

Okay…

“The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad.” – Henry Ward Beecher, in Lectures to Young Men: On Various Important Subjects (1860) Lecture IV : Portrait Gallery

Yeah maybe I sometimes do that…

“Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.” – Charlie Chaplin, in The Great Dictator (1940)

Ouch…

That stung a little, but surely there are some benefits to being a cynic? In Britain I believe we are a nation of cynics, it ain’t healthy dammit!

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But it can’t be a coincidence that so many people in this nation are so cynical can it? Well I believe in certain areas of life in Britain cynicism has been thrust upon us. So I have compiled for you the esteemed reader, a few areas where I believe cynicism is important:

1) Always be cynical when listening to a politician (even the ones with nice faces… Andy Burnham, I’m looking at you!). They feed us utter rubbish and are constantly trying to distract us from the actual important issues (*cough* immigration scaremongering whilst the NHS is slowly dismantled *cough*).

2) Always challenge the MAN. The French do it all the time, do you hear the people sing? Although to be fair they did cost me a hundred euros because the trains were on strike, but don’t worry a local taxi driver capitalised on my unfortunate situation.

3) ‘Why?’ Its important to question what you’re told, don’t believe everything people tell you, always assume they might not have it 100% correct and go away and inform yourself on the topic. Ignorance is unacceptable in a world of instant information, I definitely don’t do this enough.

I know I’m late to the party but Russell Brand (love him or hate him) adds nicely to what I’m trying to say in this lovely interview with the ‘Bearded’ Paxman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YR4CseY9pk

I don’t think being a cynic is as dire as its made out to be (by renowned philosophers worldwide). I think in certain areas of life its important to add a little sprinkle of apprehension and negativity. Where I don’t thinks it’s acceptable is in your personal life. For me it definitely bleeds over, I use to be a bit of an optimist you know. So I suggest in the words of Morecambe and Wise, we all try some good, strong, positive thinking and together life wont let us down.

Philly Out

Photo credit via: http://www.quickmeme.com