Why Does Neil Theobald Think Football Will Save Temple?

Photography by Clint Blowers

Photography by Clint Blowers

It was a date that would live in infamy.

The news hit the scholar-athletes gathered in Temple University’s Student Pavilion on December 6th of last year like a brick to the gut: The sports teams they’d been recruited for, trained for, worked for, played for, were being eliminated — “Chop, boom, you’re gone,” read the headline in the Temple News. Seven teams went poof: men’s crew, women’s rowing, softball, baseball, men’s gymnastics, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Dozens of young hearts — along with those of their coaches — were broken as the university’s new athletic director, Kevin Clark, wielded the ax in a brief, succinct speech. And everybody knew where to lay the blame. “Make no mistake: Football drove cuts” was the headline on a student-newspaper editorial. The Inquirer’s Bob Ford chimed in: “No kidding they had to cut sports to save money. They just didn’t cut the one they should have.”
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Solomon Jones’ Quaint Views on Women, Men

solomonjones-400x400When this old world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to face (doo-doo, doo-doo), I like to open the pages of the Daily News and find me some Solomon Jones. If you don’t know Mr. Jones, he is, as the Daily News describes him, the author of 10 books, the married father of three, and a parenting columnist. I can understand why he became a parenting columnist. On a planet that so often seems to be spinning too quickly, Mr. Jones is a calming influence, an anodyne presence, an antidote to the harsh rush of reality. Mr. Jones’s world is more akin to Mayberry or, perhaps, the land of the Lockhorns than the present day. One of his role models, after all, is Mr. Wilson, Dennis the Menace’s curmudgeonly neighbor from back when TV, and so much else, was black and white.

Consider, if you will, the piece he wrote not long ago (he has a weekly column at the DN) on the TV show Marriage Boot Camp. It was a small, gem-like riff  on how real life is much more fraught with hazards than any “reality TV” show could ever be:

On each of these occasions, marriage boot camp is in full swing. Someone’s going to start yelling, trash cans are going to start rattling and one of you is going to have to drop and give your spouse 20. You’ll have to give them 20 seconds to hand over the ice cream. You’ll have to give them 20 sentences of dialogue during the NFC Championship game. You’ll have to give them 20 minutes of affection when you’re exhausted. That’s marriage boot camp, my friends. It’s on every day at my house, and it’s probably on at your house, too.

Because, seriously, fellas, don’t you just hate it when your wife wants to talk to you during the big game? Don’t you detest it when you’re tired and she wants to cuddle? Women — so unreasonable and demanding, amirite? I can just hear those trash cans rattling! Read more »

Rich People Are Stupider Than You and Me

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Rich people, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, are different from you and me, and there was a doozy of an article in the New York Times last Thursday that proved it. The story was about rich people who send their kids away to ritzy boarding schools and then buy or rent houses near those boarding schools so they can stay close to their kids.

Let me repeat: These rich people send their kids away to boarding schools and then buy or rent houses near those schools so they can stay close to their kids. This shows precisely how rich people are different from you and me: They’re batshit insane.

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No, Thanks, Really, I Don’t Want Another Dog

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I wrote a story for the September issue of the magazine about some very nice dogs. I started working on the story back in February, so for a long time, whenever anyone asked me what I was writing, I would tell them about these dogs. This provided an opportunity for people who knew me to say, “So! I guess you’re thinking about getting another dog!”

This was especially true of my two kids, who, when they were growing up, frequently accused me of loving our dog more than I loved them. There was some truth to this. Homer, the collie/shepherd mix who shared our lives for 12 years, never once kept me waiting, never couldn’t find his shoes, never talked back, never got arrested. It’s been five years now since we had to have him put to sleep, and I guess that’s considered a suitable length of time for mourning, because suddenly everybody is convinced I must want another dog.

“Don’t you miss when we used to take Homer for walks?” my daughter Marcy will ask, apparently forgetting that she frequently had to be hauled out of the house kicking and screaming when it was time for those walks. “A dog would make it easier for you to make new friends,” my son Jake will say. He’s become convinced I need to “make some new friends your own age,” as he puts it, like I’m a socially inept sixth-grader and he’s the parent. He recently guilted me into paying $220 for a special tailgating parking pass at his college, to fulfill some fantasy he has of me clinking highball glasses with the parents of his football teammates before the games. But he’s not going to guilt me into getting another dog.

I don’t want another dog. Read more »

I Just Can’t Even With Jezebel Anymore

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I remember back in the olden days when I first met Jezebel, the distaff online blog of the mighty Gawker empire. It was like stumbling into the best party ever. The women who wrote for it — Anna Holmes, Anna North, Tracie Egan Morrissey, Moe Tkacik (who worked with me at Philly Mag for a while) — were like the coolest girls ever, except they weren’t mean to other girls, only to the rest of the world. I loved their writing, and I loved what they wrote about (even, a couple of times, when they were writing angry stuff about me). Jezebel felt like home in a way no other website I knew of did.

That was then. This is now — last Saturday, to be specific, when I clicked on a story on the site that was headlined, “Indiana Man Raped and Tortured His Wife Under Forced ‘Slave Contract.’” Who reads stories like that on a lovely weekend afternoon? The sort of people who love Law & Order: SVU, which would be me. My excuse is that I’m interested in the human mind and criminal behavior and emotions and love and hate. Anyway, the write-up, by Isha Aran, was pretty much what the headline described — just your average Midwestern rape-and-torture-ordeal tale. What got to me — what made me send myself an email with a link and the all-caps subject line PLEASE WRITE ABOUT THIS — were the comments following the piece. Read more »

Pennsylvania Woman Going to Jail Over Abortion Pills

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

In cheery news from the western part of our great state, a 36-year-old mom has been sentenced to a year to 18 months in prison for providing her 16-year-old daughter with abortion pills she obtained illegally from Europe in an attempt to end the daughter’s unwanted pregnancy. The mom, who’s single, works as a nursing aide, and told the court there was no local abortion clinic available to her daughter (thanks, Governor Corbett), who had no health insurance (thanks again, Governor Corbett) to pay for an in-hospital abortion. The daughter ended up in the hospital anyway after the abortion pills induced severe cramping and bleeding.

What a happy little tale. Read more »

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