Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters: A Tribute

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Last weekend, a famous Philadelphian died. He was a dentist. But David Bresler — of Doc Bresler’s Cavity Busters fame — was definitely famous locally. Those ads are everywhere. Even at the Phillies game, you run into ads for his pediatric dentistry chain. And look how cool it seems!

I guess this is the part of my article where I publicly shame my parents for not taking me to Doc Bresler’s. I went to some dentist with a Ms. Pac-Man machine in the waiting room, but that was about it. But Bresler’s place is bumpin’.

Bresler, 61, died of complications from surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center. (Per the Inquirer obit, he also “had an extensive collection of beer memorabilia, ‘which is ironic since he never had a beer in his life,’ his family said.”) And I knew Doc Bresler despite never seeing him, and that’s because of his infomercial. I don’t remember where it aired — Channel 48, probably — but his ad is up there in the great pantheon of awesome Philly infomercials along with TNT Amusements and Club Risqué. Read more »

Temple Has a Great Shot at Being “Crappy UConn” This Year

Last night, Feyonda Fitzgerald hit a bank shot with a half-second left in overtime to put Temple past N.C. State, 80-79, in the Women’s NIT. The Owls are now in the quarterfinals.

Coincidentally, Temple’s men’s team is in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament, the top postseason tourney for teams that didn’t make the NCAA tournament.

Last year, the University of Connecticut won both the men’s and women’s NCAA tourneys. You know what’s coming: Temple has a great shot to win both the men’s and women’s NIT this year, which would make them a shitty UConn. Read more »

Bart Blatstein To Present Pier Shops Plans Wednesday

Pier Shops escalator

The late Mitch Hedberg would not be happy with this sign. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

As we reported on Tuesday, Bart Blatstein has settled his legal dispute with Caesars and his plan for the Pier Shops is back on.

Blatstein’s press person sent out a release this morning with details on his announcement for the Pier Shops at Caesars. Blatstein has grand plans for the mall, so the all-caps subject line was warranted: “BART BLATSTEIN TO UNVEIL DRAMATIC REDEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR THE PIER AT CAESAR’S – MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1st AT 12 NOON IN ATLANTIC CITY.” Read more »

SEPTA Has Started Painting the Underground Concourse

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Last month, we told you about SEPTA’s grand plans for Center City’s underground concourse. We now have some tangible evidence of the upgrade: The columns on the South Broad concourse are being painted!

SEPTA has been working on the South Broad section of the concourse, which runs from the weird, exit-only portion of the City Hall stop on the Broad Street Line to Locust Street, for a little over a month now. They’ve fixed several stretches of concrete, and eventually plan to try to make the concourse not creepy. That’ll be tough — um, see the above photo — but it’s worth a shot. Read more »

Why Pennsylvania is Replacing Nearly Half a Million Licenses — Including Mine

Pennsylvania drivers license - correct security feature

The blue keystone “PA” pattern is visible under blacklight. Letters near the top are transposed to “AP” in faulty licenses. (Image via PennDOT)

I got a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation late last week. “What did I do?” I thought. I panicked, even though I probably shouldn’t have. I have a license to drive, but I don’t own a car — so it wasn’t a red-light ticket. I had renewed my license in January. I had my new one already.

I opened the envelope with a little trepidation. Inside was what appeared to be an identical copy of my driver’s license. “PennDOT’s Bureau of Driver Licensing recently discovered one of our vendors supplied a security feature for the production of driver’s license and identification cards that was defective,” the letter from PennDOT began. “As a result, your recently issued driver’s license or identification card may have been produced with the defective security feature.” Read more »

5 Charts That Show Just How Screwed Atlantic City Is

Atlantic City winter beach

Atlantic City in February 2015 (Photo | Dan McQuade)

On Tuesday, Atlantic City’s Chris Christie-appointed emergency management team released its first report. The results were grim.

“The acute financial distress facing the City is imminent and the causes of such distress are not transitory,” emergency manager Kevin Lavin wrote in the report. “Absent an urgent, material realignment of revenues and expenses, this crisis will rapidly deepen and will threaten the City’s ability to deliver and maintain essential government services impacting the health, safety and welfare of its residents.” Christie’s executive order required Lavin and consultant Kevyn Orr, who handled Detroit’s bankruptcy, to issue a report within 60 days.

“It’s actually a lot more severe than we thought when we started 60 days ago,” Lavin said, though he and Orr said bankruptcy was not being considered. Atlantic City has a $101 million city budget shortfall and a $47 million deficit in the school district. The managers recommended $10 million in city cuts, including hundreds of layoffs, and appointing mediators to work with casinos and unions.

New Jersey State Senate president Steve Sweeney lambasted the report: “This report does nothing more than dramatize the fiscal crisis in Atlantic City … Today’s report was 60 days in the making and it reached the same conclusions that we did in November: that decisive action is needed to stabilize Atlantic City’s finances, reduce expenses, protect local taxpayers and reposition the casino industry for future growth.” Sweeney has proposed his own plan that includes a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program for the casinos.

Sweeney is right: The report does dramatize Atlantic City’s fiscal crisis. You can read it at the end of this post. But since it’s essentially just a stop-gap report — another one is due in 90 days — let’s take a look at some of its charts that illustrate the bad shape A.C. is in. Read more »

Philly Players All Over This Map of America’s Most Popular Retro Jerseys

Top-Selling Mitchell & Ness Jerseys in 2014

The top-selling Mitchell & Ness jerseys in 2014 (Graphic via Mitchell & Ness)

Mitchell & Ness recently released the top-selling retro jerseys in each state from 2014. And a man from Lower Merion has the best-selling jersey in seven different states: Albert C. Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation!

Okay, okay, it’s actually Kobe Bryant, NBA superstar and Philadelphia native with the tumultuous relationship with the City of Brotherly Love. His 1996-97 Lakers jersey — from his rookie year — is the top-seller in Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Read more »

WATCH: Eaglet Hatches on Eagle Cam

We’ve told you twice now about the bald eagle cam the Pennsylvania Game Commission has set up at a nest in Hanover.

And now, we have an eaglet! An eagle hatched sometime after 8 a.m. this morning in the nest, which is located near Codorus State Park in York County.

Read more »

Bart Blatstein’s A.C. Pier Shops Plan Appears to Be Back On

Third Floor of the Pier Shops

The third floor of the Pier Shops in late summer 2014. The sand has since been removed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Bart Blatstein appears to have resolved his dispute with Caesars over the Pier Shops in Atlantic City.

Today, a spokesman confirmed to Philadelphia magazine that Blatstein will hold a press conference next month at the Pier Shops. This morning, the Press of Atlantic City reported Blatstein met with tenants at the shops and told them things with Caesars were being settled. The press conference is set for noon on April 1st. Read more »

Jimmy Rollins: Out of Philadelphia, I’m Now “Free”

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins against the Chicago White Sox during a spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins against the Chicago White Sox during a spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch.

Last year, Jimmy Rollins passed Mike Schmidt for the most hits in Phillies history. I happened to attend the next day. Rollins led off. He popped up.

“I’ll be so happy when he’s gone,” a fan behind me yelled. “The most overrated player in Phillies history.” It’s impossible to quantify just who is the most overrated player in the long history of the Fightin Phils, but it’s probably not the man with the biggest hit in Phillies history. But there has always been a segment of the fanbase that doesn’t like Rollins. He pops up too much. (Yeah, his infield fly ball numbers are a little higher than average.)

Sometimes, he doesn’t run out grounders. Last year, Pete Rose criticized Rollins for caring about individual statistics. (Yes, Pete Rose, the man who calls himself the Hit King.) The comments on this CSN Philly piece about Rose’s comments tell the story. One fan even calls Rollins a “cancer” on the team!  Read more »

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