The Enemy Among Us: How Are There Cowboys Fans in Philadelphia?

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I’ve written about all sorts of different things over the years, but I’d never experienced people so visibly disgusted with me until I started poking around for this piece. All it took was a simple introduction of the topic: football-watching humans, born and/or raised in the Philadelphia area, who identify as fans of the Dallas Cowboys.

We’ll pause briefly here to allow you to ready your Nate Newton-branded airsickness bags.

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Philly’s 10 Best Pro Athletes on Twitter

References to the Almighty God. Mentions of Jesus Christ. Bible verse citations. Heads up about heading into practice. Vague references to “grinding” and/or “putting in work.” Thanking Uber for the ride. The Twitter lives of many Philadelphia professional athletes can be pretty banal.

But that doesn’t mean all of them are social media dullards. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 Philly jocks who make it a point to bring their best game on Twitter — follow-worthy, all of them.

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Here’s Why the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk Is a Hit

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“So is that it? Is that the end?”

The woman in leopard-print flats seemed disappointed. She’d just walked the length of the brand-new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, entering behind the dog run and trudging 2,000-plus fiercely footwear’d feet to the base of the South Street Bridge, her totally on-trend fall 2014 look rippling in the breeze in time with the undulating waters of the Hidden River. And all this, if her snap reaction was any indication, struck her as a little more meh than majestic.

If it were up to leopard-print flats, the conclusion of the boardwalk, which just completed its first weekend open to the public, would be punctuated by something a little more dramatic than a set of stairs. A length of unsnapped finish-line tape from the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, perhaps, or maybe a jaunty faun coaxing her into an ornate wardrobe leading to Narnia.

Not everyone hanging on this freakishly gorgeous autumn day was quite as vocal about the perceived shortcomings of this long-awaited $18 million project, part of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, an “urban sister to the Appalachian Trail” that stretches from Maine to Florida. But it wasn’t like anyone was blaring trumpets to hail its arrival, either. (Not counting, of course, the trumpeter hired to play as part of a jazz quartet.) It’s early yet, but I think this can be seen as the biggest sign of the boardwalk’s success so far. Philadelphians like it so much, they’re acting like it’s been theirs forever.

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Story Lines We Won’t See On How to Get Away With Murder Now that the Show Ditched Philly to Film on the West Coast

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Watching the debut of super-producer Shonda Rhimes’ new show, How to Get Away with Murder, was a little like spotting one of your exes strutting around in a T-shirt you lent them and never got back. The new legal thriller, created by former Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy writer Pete Nowalk, shot its pilot here this past March. It was later picked up by Rhimes-obsessed ABC — a victory punctuated by the entire operation moving to the West Coast.

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Can’t a Guy Get a Beer in This Town Without Freaking Football Blaring in the Background?

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During football season, Eagles talk — and also Eagles shouting, Eagles yelling and Eagles screaming — hangs in the air with a ubiquity rivaled only by oxygen. It dominates your television, your radio, your phones both smart and dumb, your already-fucked-up Facebook feed. It soaks into workplace asides, sidewalk encounters, waiting-room chats, barroom blather. It is everywhere. And for a large percentage of Philadelphians, this is an invigorating and compelling reality. We’ve waited all year, and it’s finally here! E-A-G…

For a much smaller portion of the population, however, the return of the National Football League spells hell. Living in Philly and rooting for a team other than the Eagles is an interesting existence, as we’ve recently discussed. But what about those who detest not only the Eagles, but the entire NFL and the controversial culture it’s spawned?

Joey Sweeney, founder and editor of the long-running city blog Philebrity, wants you.

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Cub Scouting: What’s the Future Hold for the Zoo’s Baby Lions?

The news cycle in Philadelphia this week, like the news cycle in Philadelphia most weeks, has sucked. AC casinos are shutting down, but not before providing public fodder for horrendous national controversies. Phillies are falling like flies. Parents are suing the school district over deplorable conditions. College students, college presidents, school teachers, and police officers are dying. Temple kids are beating each other up over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Now that the national spotlight has snatched our girl Mo’ne Davis from us, we’re in serious need of a good, meaty story (not involving weed) right now. Where do we turn in this time of depressing desperation?

Baby lions!

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3 Observations About Eagles Fans (From a Non-Eagles Fan)

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Last year, while reporting on a story about football cuisine before the Eagles’ home opener, I crashed multiple tailgates all over the Linc lots, looking for fun anecdotes, quotes and stories, and maybe a couple sausages and beers. I ended up nailing down my own personal definition of Eagles fandom.

One guy in particular stands out to me. Middle-aged, successful. Intelligent and friendly. Owner of multiple businesses. Spoke eloquently about the decades he’s been coming to games with family and friends. Happy to break down a few of his “secret” tailgate recipes, the focus of my column.

Then a kid in a San Diego Chargers jersey strolled by. My interviewee’s eyes suddenly seemed to click to blood-red, like a hungry vampire in a Japanese cartoon.

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3 Feel-Good Stories the Internet Has Ruined This Week

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Have you noticed how angry everyone online is lately? Taking a confluence of factors into consideration, this might have been the most furious Internet week of 2014, and it’s not even over yet. But I’m not talking the myriad of real issues we as a people are facing. Below, let’s quickly look at three topics that seem to be pissing everyone off, when there seem to be much more important things toward which to focus our animosity.

What We’re Mad About: The Little League World Series

Why We’re Mad: Philly’s the type of city that could always use something or someone to root for, but it’s rare that we actually land legitimate options. Now, our very own Taney Dragons, led by breakout star/wunderkind/Sports Illustrated covergirl Mo’ne Davis, is one W away from playing for a national championship. Go Taney! Everyone loves to see awesome local kids have fun and succeed, right? NO OF COURSE NOT STOP BEING HAPPY.

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7 Weird Pa. and N.J. Animal Sightings: A Power Ranking

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Pennsylvania and New Jersey have logged a number of bizarre wildlife sightings this summer, with residents and authorities spotting everything from giant exotic anacondas and gimpy bears to kitty-munching coyotes and disturbing mystery species. Since we’re quickly approaching fantasy football season, what better way to identify the best of the best than a proper power matrix? Our favorite panic-inducing locally situated critters, RANKED, after the jump. Read more »

Arctic Splash Cartons: Litter Scourge of the River Wards or Works of Art?

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Arctic Splash isn’t made in Fishtown. It isn’t made in Philadelphia, or even Pennsylvania. But that hasn’t stopped the budget-priced iced tea — basically water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid and something called “tea solids” — from becoming synonymous with River Wards culture.

Drunk from the school-lunch fold-top cartons that bear that kitschy frost-capped logo, Splash — “the Faygo of Fishtown,” according to one fishtown.us poster — has long been an iconic beverage north of Girard. (No one’s really sure why.) Manufactured by Massachusetts-based Dean Foods and distributed regionally by its subsidiary, Lehigh Valley Dairy, it’s peddled at shops and delis throughout the area, and residents have capitalized on that ubiquity to turn it into a point of pride. The so-sweet tea’s responsible for inspiring band names, T-shirt designs and boozy variations at local bars.

It’s also inspired a tremendous amount of litter, a reality not lost on seventh-generation Fishtowner Jake Sauer. For every person he comes across sipping one — “I literally see babies in strollers drinking Arctic Splash out of a straw,” he says — he’s able to spot multiple cartons, in varying states of decomposition, trashing up his Fishtown streets.

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