The Relationship With Your Long-Term Shore Landlord Is … Special

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The first time, we never dreamed it would last this long.

Frankly, yours was just another duplex, one in a long line of joints we’d rented down the Shore. You were a nice enough couple. (I thought you were old then.) We were a big, sprawling family: Dad, our patriarch; four kids and their spouses; a growing crew of offspring; a stray aunt and cousin; and assorted other friends and relations. All we were really looking for was a fridge, a couple of bathrooms and a bunch of beds. We tried you out. Something about you worked. Maybe it was the layout; maybe it was the location. Maybe it was the fact that you had the exact same kitchen tile as our patriarch did. We settled in, made ourselves at home, got sand in your carpet and ramen noodles under your dining room table. It was two weeks of bliss.

The next year, we came back.

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The Phils Without Ryan Howard Would Be Like Gluten-Free Cat Food

The Joy of a Phillies Game, Even When They Stink: What's nice about baseball is it's a picnic. The Phillies may have given up three home runs to Ryan Braun in a 10-4 loss in their home opener, but I still had a good time at the game yesterday. I tailgated with friends in the parking lot beforehand. I met my uncle, a man who's taken me to scores of Phillies games in my life, and we sat in his season ticket seats. I listened to him wax nostalgic on Phillies teams in games past — "Since the Vet opened, I've only missed about three home openers," he bragged — and we drank beers and sighed as the Brewers scored another run. I ran into friends I hadn't seen in forever. I updated an old boss on my life. I actually walked back to downtown up 10th Street because it was nice out, and a friend suggested we walk. Why has no one asked me to do this before? I wondered aloud. (Dan McQuade)

My husband Doug and I were toggling between preseason football and yet another extra-innings Phillies game the other night when we lighted upon a cat food commercial. We don’t have a cat (though we did recently acquire a grand-kitten), so there was no reason to pause. Yet we did. Because the narrator of the commercial was proudly declaring that the cat food in question was gluten-free.

“Is this a commercial for gluten-free cat food?” Doug asked incredulously, just as I said, “Was that a gluten-free cat food commercial?” Because no matter how you feel about the current human gluten-free craze, it seems off the wall to extend it to our feline friends. The ones I’ve had in my lifetime haven’t been big bread eaters, generally. Nor were they particularly fond of pasta. But I never noticed any ill effects from the occasional noodle or cookie crumb. And I’ve had a lot of cats. Read more »

What’s the Secret to Happiness? Genes and Expectations, Say Two New Studies

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Shutterstock

Searching for the secret to happiness? Two new studies shed some interesting light.

In one of the most peculiar genetic studies we’ve ever come across, a group of economists from England’s University of Warwick have stuck a pin in the world map of happiness and declared Denmark its epicenter. Literally. Their research helps explain why a tiny Scandinavian nation whose greatest claim to fame is a dubious link to breakfast pastry consistently ranks at the top of studies of bliss.

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3 Great Moments in PC Hysteria

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It’s been a busy week here in the P.C. States of America, with everybody defending everybody else’s right to be offended, with the usual head-spinning results. Let’s start at Ohio State University, which just fired the director of its world-renowned marching band for allowing hazing and sexual harassment to go on amidst its ranks. (You may have seen the band’s halftime tribute to Michael Jackson on YouTube last year.) One practice decried in a university report was the assignment of nicknames to new band members — nicknames that the university deemed degrading, such as “Jizzy” and “Twinkle Dick,” according to the august Chronicle of Higher Ed. Among the objectionable monikers the report cited was “Jwoobs,” given to a female Jewish student with large breasts. Read more »

Hey Jerk! Use Your Freaking Turn Signal!

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Shutterstock.com

The other day on my way home from work, when I was a block away from my house, I pulled over and called my son Jake, who’s back from college for the summer. I asked him to come out to the front porch and check if my left-hand turn signal light was out. He emerged onto the porch as I pulled up, and turned two big thumbs up as I tested first my left-hand signal and then the right one. “Both working,” he assured me when I got out. “What’s up?”

“Some jerk pulled right out in front of me at the four-way stop at Wilson and Franklin,” I told him. “I absolutely had the right-of-way, and I had my left-hand turn signal on. And he still nearly plowed into me. I figured the light must be out.” Because, really, why else would somebody almost drive into my car like that?

Jake shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell you. He was an idiot, I guess.” Read more »

What Does My Kid’s Apartment Say About Me?

Illustration by Alexander Purdy

Illustration by Alexander Purdy

I’m standing in an aisle at HomeGoods, holding a spoon rest. It’s a pretty thing, bright orange, shaped like a sunflower, and it only costs $3.99. I don’t happen to need a spoon rest, and anyway, my kitchen’s red, not orange. But my daughter Marcy’s kitchen has one orange wall. This would look perfect in it.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a spoon rest. She doesn’t have a lot of stuff. She and her husband, Basil, are just a year out of school now, working their starter jobs, living in West Philly amidst hand-me-downs and thrift-shop buys and found-on-the-street reclamations, the way most people do at that age. They’re perfectly happy, but I know Marcy would like to have more — to have nice things. They will, someday. Meantime, I’m buying this spoon rest for her.
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