Philadelphia Takes Top Spot For Most Bedbug Infested City

hotel roomTaking an award that no city wants to win, Philadelphia has won the dubious title of most bedbug-infested U.S. city, according to the annual Most Bedbug-Infested Cities ranking, released today by Terminix.

Philadelphia took the top spot from New York City, which held the title for two years. While you’re at it, stay away from Ohio as well, which has three cities – Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – on the top 15 list.

“Bedbugs continue to increase their presence across the U.S.,” said Stoy Hedges, an entomologist with Terminix. “While major metropolitan areas are most at risk, it is important to note that bedbugs have been spotted in cities and towns across the country.”
The 2012 most bedbug-infested cities include:

1. Philadelphia
2. Cincinnati
3. New York City
4. Chicago
5. Detroit
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Columbus, Ohio
8. San Francisco
9. Denver
10. New Haven, Conn.
11. Dallas
12. Houston
13. Indianapolis
14. Miami
15. Cleveland”Bedbugs can cause itchy welts and rashes, and may go undetected for months in a home or business,” Hedges added. “It is important for consumers to know the signs of an infestation and to have their home inspected by a professional if they suspect a problem.”

As travelers prepare to hit the road this summer, use these tips to slow the spread of bedbugs:

  • Check hotel headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and dark blood spots.
  • Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
  • Avoid storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
  • Store suitcases on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning home and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
  • Between trips, store luggage in a sealed plastic bag in a garage or basement, away from bedrooms.
  • If you suspect your hotel has bedbugs, ask for a change of rooms.
  • Bedbugs should only be treated by a trained pest control professional.

The list was created by compiling data from the 300 Terminix branches across the country. The company created the ranking by evaluating service calls from customers, as well as confirmed cases by service professionals.

[Flickr via expensorvic]

Museum Month: Pizza Brain, Philadelphia’s Pizza Museum

pizza brain pizza museumThe world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia will soon be housed in an unlikely home – not Italy, or New York or even Connecticut, but in Philadelphia, a city better known for its hoagies and its cheesesteaks than its ‘za.

But thanks to 27-year-old Brian Dwyer, the Guinness World Record holder of pizza memorabilia, the dream to open a pizza-themed museum will become a reality late this spring or early this summer at Pizza Brain, the world’s first museum dedicated to Pizza.

As might be expected, the museum will also function as a restaurant serving, you guessed it, pizza.

The idea came about somewhat virally, as many do these days – Dwyer and friends had rousing success at an art gallery event in 2010 titled “Give Pizza a Chance,” which drew a crowd of more than 300.

“When I started down this road, I said, I want to be able to display all this stuff in a pizzeria,” Dwyer told The Huffington Post. “And I thought at first that when we open, I’ll make this funny bold claim that we had the biggest pizza memorabilia collection on the Eastern Seaboard, or maybe in America. As I started joking about that, my friend was like, ‘Dude, you should see who actually has the biggest.’ I assumed somebody had done this. So I did that: I typed in all sorts of search phrases into Google trying to find the biggest collection, and nothing came up. I was shocked. So I contacted Guinness, started going through all the regular channels, and got the record in July.”

And thus the museum began, and thus it will open, in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, the same area that once housed his art show. Thanks to Internet-based Kickstarter, Dwyer and partners have raised $16,587, more than their initial $15,000 goal.

What do you think? Would you visit this museum, if only to get a hot slice at the end of the night?

Museum Month: Mütter Museum In Philadelphia

The Mütter Museum is not for the squeamish. Brimming with medical oddities, pathological specimens and antique medical equipment, it’s where you’ll find a book bound in human flesh, dried severed hands, a two-headed baby in formaldehyde, Albert Einstein’s brain and a collection of objects that have been swallowed and removed. There’s also a nine-foot-long human colon that contained 40 pounds of fecal matter (it was once part of a sideshow act called “the Human Balloon”) and the body of “the Soap Lady,” whose corpse turned itself into a soapy substance because of the chemical properties of the soil she was buried in. Visitors can “ooh” and “ahh” at a collection of 139 human skulls in neat rows, or check out the tallest human skeleton on display in North America, which stands tall at 7.5 feet right next to the skeleton of a dwarf.

Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter originally began collecting these strange items, which were donated to The College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1858 for the purpose of medical research and education. To this day, the museum exists with that goal in mind – as well as for the shear purpose of shocking and amazing the general public. As the collection has grown, there are now over 20,000 items on display in jars and cases around the museum. Check out the museum’s YouTube station to be introduced to some of the curiosities of the exhibits.

Celebrate The Works Of Maurice Sendak In Philadelphia

If I had to pinpoint my very first pang of wanderlust, my memories would take me all the way back to the age of 5 or 6, when I first learned about Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” While the main character Max is sequestered in his bedroom without dinner, he conjures up images of a “ceiling hung with vines” and “sailing in and out of weeks” aboard a “private boat” to “where the wild things are.” Sendak’s prose evoked the exoticism of travel, and no doubt sparked my fantasies about paddling down the Amazon, battling monsters in medieval castles in Europe and waking up among wild things while on safari in South Africa. Even the feeling of being homesick, an affliction that all travelers go through at some point or another, befalls Max. So, he goes back home.

For fans of the writing and illustrations of Maurice Sendak, who died today at the age of 83, “home” is in Philadelphia at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. The artist felt a kinship with museum founder Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach and chose it to house his writings, including manuscripts and first editions of his books, and his distinctive artwork, which he realized in watercolor, pen-and-ink and pencil. In total, the Rosenbach Museum contains more than 10,000 pieces of art and stories ranging from the 1940s to the 21st century in the Maurice Sendak Collection. The Maurice Sendak Gallery on the first floor of the museum regularly displays notable ephemera from the collection.

[Getty Image: Spencer Platt]The Rosenbach Museum is also home to the world’s only Maurice Sendak mural, which he painted on the wall of his friends’ children’s bedroom in a New York City apartment in 1961. The whimsical piece, known as the Chertoff Mural, features a parade of a few of Sendak’s famous book characters and other figures, and was painstakingly removed from the apartment and donated to the museum in 2008.

Rest in peace, Maurice Sendak. Thanks for inspiring millions of kids like me to go off in search of our own wild rumpus.

Celebration To Promote Mexico In Familiar Neighborhood Setting

Mexican celebrationDe Pueblo a Pueblo is an eight-week celebration that begins later this month in Philadelphia. The first-ever festival will honor Philadelphia’s local Mexican community by promoting greater understanding of traditional arts, language and history of Mexico.

The citywide festival hopes to connect a growing Mexican population and their customs with a broader Philadelphia audience. In addition to providing a variety of opportunities to learn more about Mexican culture, of special significance is where the event will be happening – Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

Showcasing the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a folk art environment made entirely of found objects and contributions from the community.

In 1968, Zagar and his wife came to Philadelphia after spending three years with the Peace Corps in Peru. Creating folk art all around his new city, he took an entire row house on South Street and covered it with mosaics, over 3000 square feet of them, that include pieces of mirror and original poetry.Hands-on activities, performances, traditional foods, crafts and folk art, along with discussions about immigration, are set to provide opportunities to learn about Mexico and should fit right in at the Magic Gardens.

The event will kick off on April 27 with the opening reception for “Echeleganas: Do Your Best,” a photographic exhibition featuring the people of La Sierra del Norte, a small village in Puebla, Mexico.

Flickr photo via Guerry