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

nutter-blowing-kiss

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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13 More Bizarre Philadelphia International Airport Moments: A Timeline

plane crash phl

Photo | Dennis Fee

This past Tuesday night, the pilots of a US Airways flight heading from Philadelphia International Airport to London were forced to make good on their “don’t make me turn this plane around!” threats once Robert Coppack decided to hit for the dickhead passenger cycle.

According to NBC Philadelphia, Coppack, a dual US/UK citizen, has been accused of touching three female passengers inappropriately, verbally abusing crew and threatening a Federal Air Marshal in the air. After the plane, which was near Cape Cod at the time of the turnaround, returned to PHL, he allegedly became “physically aggressive [and] belligerent” during interviews with law enforcement. He’s currently detained in Center City awaiting a hearing early next week.

These shenanigans serve as the latest entry in the canon of bizarre/embarrassing/both incidents that have involved PHL over the years. Below, a recent timeline of PHL’s many odd and unfortunate moments (2013 was a bear of a year for these guys). We should be thankful that these are all relatively minor in the grand scheme.

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“10 Surprising Things Miley Cyrus and the Swiss Cheese Pervert Have in Common”

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Miley Cyrus photo via Shutterstock.com

Every once in awhile, someone asks me how I go about coming up with topics for articles and blog posts. Since the fake, talking-to-college-kids answer (“I just observe the world around me, man”) is much more palatable than the real, depressing answer (criminal caffeine abuse and subhuman sleep deprivation), I never really considered trying to explain the process formally. And now it looks like I’ll never have to, thanks to a new doohickey from web marketing firm HubSpot that’s offered to do all my not-that-critical thinking for me.

The Blog Topic Generator, launched to complement other services offered by the automated marketing platform, almost comes off like a proper clowning of Internet content creation, spitting out a week’s worth of trite “ideas” using nothing more than a few nouns you’re asked to input. But it seems to be positioning itself as a legitimate tool, which means it behooves us to use it legitimately.

While it doesn’t spit out headlines in the infinitely useful “winning a game of Clue” or “babies + Beyoncé” formats, HubStop’s auto-offerings seem to be optimized for maximum web traction and your-mom-on-Facebook shareability. What better way to rack up ideas for the rest of May and test its mettle than to plug in a bunch of Philadelphia-centric terms and see what comes up? Here are 10 of my favorite results from my Philly-fixated time spent with the tool. All these posts are most likely coming to a bereft-of-creativity city blog near you within the hour — and I’ll probably be writing all of them.

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Meet the Barnes Foundation’s Celebrity Twinsies

"Léopold Zborowski," painted by Modigliani in 1919, totally looks like ... Pete Campbell from Mad Men, if he had a beard. "Pete, Pete, Pete...what are we going to do with you, buddy?" - everyone who watches Mad Men to their TVs, every week.

I’ll be the first to admit that the probably-expired yogurt in my fridge has more culture than I do. I barely made it out of Art History 101 alive, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “symphony” is the candy bar, and most of my exposure to opera has come in the form of commercials for canned ravioli. That’s not to say that I don’t consume massive amounts of culture on the daily — it’s just not the classy, smart-people-at-an-erudite-cocktail-party kind. It’s more the kind with Jason Statham.

I felt a little out of my league during a recent visit to the Barnes Foundation, which is approaching its second anniversary in its controversial new space on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Not having visited the original Merion location prior to its relocation, I was wowed by the intricacies of the idiosyncratic layout of each room, to say nothing of the tremendous work itself.

Of course, since I know very little about any of the incredibly important artists represented in the collection, I felt my brain turning the reins over to the neurons responsible for rotting it. I began noting every portrait that bore even the slightest resemblance to a dumb celebrity or personality, writing the names of the pieces down in my notebook with a pen, until security flexed on me and insisted I use a tiny golf pencil instead. The results are laid out for you after the jump.

I was having fun, but I felt like a total moron — but then I overheard a tourist telling his wife that the dark, disturbing work of morose expressionist Chaim Soutine reminded him of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. We immediately became best friends, forever, in my head.

I’m sorry Dr. Barnes.

Meet the Barnes Foundation’s Celebrity Twinsies »

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