The Real Losers at Wing Bowl: The Chickens

Chicken | Shutterstock.com;  Tiger Wings and Things from last year's Wing Bowl | HughE Dillon

Chicken | Shutterstock.com; Tiger Wings and Things from last year’s Wing Bowl | HughE Dillon

When morals get murky, I like to play a game I call, “What Would the Aliens Say?”

(You could, of course, substitute the more mainstream “What Would Jesus Do,” but only at your own risk. From what I can tell, Jesus was a pretty solid dude, and I have no interest in living a life that pious. Extraterrestrials tend to be more lenient.)

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Which Girl Scout Cookie Best Represents Your Philly Neighborhood?

In theory, the Girl Scouts’ cookie drive is a simple fundraiser.

In practice? It’s a merciful beacon of light in this mess we call winter in Philadelphia, the absolute only chance you’ll have at joy or hope until, say, mid-April. Girl Scout’s honor, this place sucks in January.

If you’re like us, you already bought a box or 15 (y’all are doing the Lord’s work, troop 82136). You probably didn’t bother to match up each cookie with a Philadelphia neighborhood, but that’s where we come in with our free time and our cabin fever.

Just in time for cookie season, this is the neighborhood guide you never knew you (sort of, maybe) wanted.

(Note: As you may have noticed, the names of some Girl Scout cookies have changed in certain markets. We’re sticking with the far-superior original names. Peanut Butter Sandwich vs. Do-Si-Do? Get outta here.)

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Cold and Loathing in Philadelphia: Welcome to January

Deep down, I know that this is not Philadelphia’s fault.

From the very beginning, since its charter was granted, Philadelphia has occupied North America’s temperamental Northeastern Seaboard. As every fourth grade history student knows, its brutal winter nearly killed off an entire army of adrenaline-fueled soldiers who were pretty accustomed to roughing it over here in the New World. In 1996, 31 inches of snow convinced even the Archdiocese — an organization that occasionally grants sainthood for self-flagellation and considers wooden pews “seating” — to hunker down and close schools for an entire week.

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How “Shocking” Was Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Cosby Joke?

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As promised, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler addressed the Bill Cosby rape allegations during Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony.

During their opening monologue — which is traditionally when the award ceremony’s hosts poke exceedingly gentle fun at their rich and famous audience – they went after Cosby with what was a very good joke. A solid, well-played, network TV-friendly topical joke.

But judging from the audience’s reaction and Monday’s headlines, you would have thought it was a truly outrageous joke. Here it is, word for word:

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Why Do Trolls Especially Hate Women?

If you’re a reasonably well-adjusted person, you probably don’t spend much time in the comments sections of local news stories — maybe not any time at all.

Before we start, here’s a brief recap of what you’re “missing” from most outlets: racist jab, misogynistic non sequitur, left-field Obama rant, casual grumping that suddenly seems cute by comparison.

Citified, for one, is attempting to keep the conversation civil. Philly Mag’s just-unveiled urban affairs channel will strictly moderate the comments on all posts, weeding out not only the obviously hateful, but the garden-variety dumb and unhelpful as well.

I don’t envy whoever is tasked with sorting through that noise, and I can only hope that a morale-boosting desk puppy was part of the deal. But I’m pretty excited for the new approach — especially for someone who doesn’t, as a rule, read the comments.

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The Icing on the Butter Cake

Butter cake (courtesy of Danish Bakers) and the author in her new prized possession.

Butter cake (courtesy of Danish Bakers) and the author in her new prized possession.

As a hopeless neurotic with a fetish for Post-it notes, I regularly edit my “What to Grab in a Fire” list.

The first spot never changes: In the event of an emergency, my shih tzu goes under one arm, despite the fact that he would abandon me, happily, for a piece of bacon. A lick of bacon. If I’m being honest in a way I can’t afford to be at this point in my life? A sniff of bacon.

The runner-up used to be a photo album, an irreplaceable keepsake that seems to be on the rescue list of most well-adjusted people.

But last week, things changed, for I acquired a butter cake T-shirt.

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Yes, Blue Lives Matter. So Do Black Lives.

Emerald Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, center, visits a makeshift memorial near the site where NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. Police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed the two officers in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday, fatally shooting them before killing himself inside a subway station. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Emerald Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, center, visits a makeshift memorial near the site where NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. Police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed the two officers in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday, fatally shooting them before killing himself inside a subway station. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

At first, I couldn’t figure out what made me uncomfortable about last week’s rally in Mayfair to support the Police Department.

The Facebook invitation seemed polite and earnest, a genuine gesture of gratitude following an incident in which a man allegedly reached for a handgun during a traffic stop (he was killed after a struggle with police). I’m from the area, and I’m incredibly grateful to the men and women who allow me to go about my life in this city feeling secure – as a woman who routinely walks her three-legged shih tzu while wearing four-inch heels, I rely very heavily on safe streets as opposed to, say, survival skills or physical prowess.

And yet, something about that rally didn’t feel quite right. Something looked confrontational about this peaceful protest.

And then I saw it, my least favorite Facebook meme, out there in the wild on posterboard: a “Blue Lives Matter” sign.

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A Philadelphia Christmas List

monica weymouth

I have no reason to believe that Philadelphia made Santa’s list this year. If he checked it even once, he’d probably realize that we don’t do a lot of good for goodness sake around these parts.

But just in case – because Christmas is a time for miracles, and Santa seems like a pretty solid dude – it wouldn’t hurt to have a wish list at the ready.

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Jim Kenney’s Mean Girl 101

Jim Kenney, Chris Christie

Jim Kenney, Chris Christie

Like most people who were tweeting from the Linc on Sunday night, I’m going to assume that Councilman Jim Kenney wasn’t putting much thought into his 140 characters.

An Eagles fan, the possible mayoral candidate was annoyed when he spotted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie snuggling up to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the skybox. Here’s what that looks like:

Admittedly, part of me likes that a Philly politician would not only publish those tweets but defend them. Councilman Kenney – who has a history of Twitter tantrums – didn’t take them down, explaining, “I have a big nose and he has a fat ass. Just as life deals you.”

But, as much as I enjoy Philadelphia’s unique brand of feisty real-talk, I can’t help but think the same thing I think every time someone attacks Christie for his weight: Kenney sounds like an idiot, and he probably needs a hug.

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Facebook and “Friends” in the Wake of Ferguson

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Scene from last Wednesday’s protest march (top); detail from a controversial post on the Facebook page of a Central Bucks West guidance counselor.

As a 29-year-old woman, this is how my Facebook feed tends to look: baby picture, wedding picture, baby-at-a-wedding picture, Supernatural spoiler (that last one might be my own contribution).

But over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed an even less appealing trend: racist rant, thinly veiled racist rant, confusing meme that I suspect is a racist rant.

To clarify, I’m from the Northeast.

This is not, necessarily, to say that my hometown is any more backward than your own hometown. (Unless you’re from Amherst — you guys are pretty squeaky clean.) There’s an ugly, dumb contingent in every group of humans, and most of the time, I love that place. But post-Ferguson, I find myself rethinking my Internet relationship to the (Often, But Not Always) Great Northeast.

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