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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Get Off My Phone? Get Off My Ass!

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A few years ago, after receiving some bad directions from a man with a cool accent, I found myself embarrassingly lost in New Orleans’ French Quarter, en route to a destination whose name I can no longer recall. (I blame the Sazeracs.) So I decided to pull out my iPhone and punch the place into Google Maps to determine how not-even-close I was.

This, I learned, was a sight so troubling that strangers felt the need to inform me I was squandering what little time I had left here on earth.

An older man, who did not have a cool accent but did wear a hat with a feather in it (these guys always have hats with feathers in them), stopped abruptly on the sidewalk in front of me and placed his right hand on my left shoulder, like an uncle about to deliver bad news to a young nephew with a behavioral disorder.

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’Murrican as Apple Pie

You'll find about a million of these on the Internet. Internet, please shut up.

You’ll find about a million of these on the Internet. Internet, please shut up.

’Merica. ’Murrica. ’Mericuh.

Our most recent Independence Day weekend brought them out, in intentionally butchered droves — cheekily edited versions of our great country’s name, accompanied by photos of eagles, flags or domestic beer cans with eagles and flags on them. I’m not sure when, where or why lopping the lead “A” off “America” and mush-mouthing the rest began, but it’s very clear where this odd act of ass-backwards Insta-patriotism has taken up permanent residence:

The Internet.

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Awesome Philly Blog: Say Hello to “Oh, Hello Window Cat”

Queen Village
Jackie Palmer would like it to be stated, for the record, that she has only one cat — one lone, singular, solitary, individual cat, a female rescue named Ellie. Just one.

You’d probably be sensitive about being perceived as a psycho feline hoarder, too, if you ran a blog populated by pictures of other people’s pusses. But that’s what Palmer’s got on her paws hands with Oh, Hello Window Cat, a Tumblr dedicated to the Internet’s preferred domestic species in sun-bathed repose, in Philadelphia and beyond. Read more »

10 Places to Mooch Free Air Conditioning in Philadelphia

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It was Thomas Jefferson who famously wrote that the core of American identity rides on the preservation of life, liberty and the ability to blast every cell in our sickly bodies with frigid artificial air the second the weather gets slightly hot. But what Jefferson failed to consider when penning his seminal treatises (note to stoned high-school students: He didn’t actually write that, head elsewhere to plagiarize) was just how much the cost of energy would rise along with the republic.

Not sure what kind of setup T-Jeff had at Monticello, but it was likely more efficient than the junkbox ‘80s-era window units most of us rely on to chill our sweatbox South Philly apartments. There’s no more defeating feeling than swimming through sauna-like, ice-on-neck surroundings, only to be steamrolled by an insane PECO bill whose total resembles Chase Utley’s batting average (good Chase, we mean). What’s a stinky, sticky, sans-central-air citizen to do?

Mooch off other peoples’ AC, of course.

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Five Tips for Faking Your Way Through the “Dreaded Soccer Conversation”

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Statistically speaking, if you live in America you are probably not a dedicated fan of soccer, aka “footy” or “The Beautiful Game,” as your one friend who studied abroad in London for a semester and came back wearing scarves all the time calls it. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s coming, to a Laundromat, elevator, coffee line or bar stool near you — the Dreaded Soccer Conversation (DSC).

A recurring challenge for casual observers, getting caught in a DSC is a near-sure thing. The major distinction here is that while boorish soccer haters welcome the chance to blather on about how prissy and phony they think the game is (“They don’t even have touchdowns, bro!”), noobs just want to get through it without looking like idiots. With the 2014 World Cup fully upon us, there’s simply no time to master the nuances of the sport and its culture beyond the most rudimentary observations (“They can’t use their hands, that’s crazy!”). That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to faking your way through a DSC as painlessly as possible.

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