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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10 Tourism Campaigns Here for the Mocking

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Since May, the Inquirer‘s Karen Heller has been covering the humorously bureaucratic scrap between the city’s two civic marketing firms and their conflicting efforts to “brand” Philadelphia with an official come-hither tourism slogan.

Launched in early 2014, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and other outfits, debuted a new campaign: “PHL: Here for the Making.” The tagline’s meant to puff up Philly’s status as a hotbed of hands-on entrepreneurs, as well as hip-ify the city by slanging up its airport code, a la Portland, Oregon’s popular use of “PDX.” It hasn’t gained too much day-to-day traction just yet, due at least in part to skewering by critics like Heller. “Perhaps it was a late-night gambit where the exhausted branding experts, having jettisoned a thousand previous ideas, threw it up against the wall to see if it would stick,” she wrote.

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Confessions of a Beach Hater: 7 Reasons Memorial Day in the City is Amazing

Image courtesy of Davio's

Image courtesy of Davio’s

If you want everyone in the room to leer at you like you’re a gnarled-face, infant-eating freak, simply utter the following four words: “I hate the beach.”

You may now begin sharpening your edged weapons and firing up your medieval torches.

Sand, umbrellas, flip-flops, board shorts, funnel cake — I don’t get it. And judging by the horrified reactions this has garnered over the years, that’s a red-flag indicator of my latent serial-killer tendencies, on par with spree arson or shooting squirrels dead with a pellet gun.

My idea of a vacation, away from the ulcer-inducing existence of sardine-can city life, has never included interminable melanoma tanning sessions, armies of shrieking children with oddly shaped sunburns or power-tripping pencil-necked teenagers demanding you pay them for sitting on hills of hot dirt. And that doesn’t even factor in getting there, wasting away for days in traffic so thick you could flip it upside down and hold it there like a DQ Blizzard. This ain’t garden-variety New Jersey hate, either. I grew up in Maryland, with that state’s Ocean City hosting our summer trips, feeling the exact same way.

I’ve got nothing against beach-town natives, business owners, shoobies and the seasonal residents who love it so. I’ve just never comprehended the idea of the shore as this mystical Brigadoon-like place that rejuvenates the human spirit. As a destination, it’s boring to me. Yet still, telling people “I’m not a beach person” is almost always met with a deep revulsion I find both amusing and confusing. I might as well throw on a crude sandwich board detailing a disdain for babies, bacon and Beyoncé.

Being a pariah, however, does have its annual perks.

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