Pa. Lawmakers Should Get Serious About Texting While Driving

Photo by iStock.com

Photo by iStock.com/encrier

Let us now mourn the turn signal.

I couldn’t assign an exact date to its demise, but there’s no question it’s dead. Drive on I-95 or the Atlantic City Expressway or 422, as I do every day, and you’ll see maybe one or two in 20 drivers still bothering to alert those around them to their intentions before they change lanes or pass someone or move toward an exit. And it’s not just on highways; drivers in my rinky-dink hometown are just as cavalier, jolting to a stop to parallel-park with no notice whatsoever, making lefts at four-way stop signs without warning, maneuvering through Walmart and Giant and Best Buy parking lots like they’re alone on the road. Read more »

11 Things You Might Not Know About Betsy Ross

Painting depicting the story of Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to General George Washington, by Edward Percy Moran. Public Domain.

Painting depicting the story of Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to General George Washington, by Edward Percy Moran. Public Domain.

Today is Flag Day, commemorating the date in 1777 on which the Continental Congress passed a resolution that read: “Resolved. That the flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a field of blue representing a new constellation.” It wasn’t much to go on — which came first, a white stripe or a red one? What shape was that “new constellation”? — and it isn’t really clear whether the legislators intended this new flag to be the flag, or simply a flag. (The resolution came from the Marine Committee.) But this is America, and hey, we never let a little uncertainty stand in the way of a great myth, which is how we come to Betsy Ross. Did she make that flag, or didn’t she? Here are 11 things you might not know about our famous First Seamstress.  Read more »

13 Things You Might Not Know About Octavius Catto

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Temple University’s Urban Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

Mayor Jim Kenney just unveiled the design for a long-planned memorial to Octavius V. Catto, the charismatic black educator, orator, civil rights activist and baseball player who was shot to death outside his home at 8th and Lombard Street during the bitterly contested mayoral election of 1871. Here are some highlights of the life of one of the city’s most remarkable citizens, from the Temple University Press book Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, by Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin. Read more »

10 Things You Might Not Know About Beer in Philly

Bergner & Engel’s Brewery via the Library Company of Philadelphia

Bergner & Engel’s Brewery via the Library Company of Philadelphia

Beer is big in Philly right now, but it’s not as big as it once was. “I drink no cider,” John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail back in Boston during the run-up to the Revolution, “but feast on Philadelphia beer.” Rich Wagner’s 2012 book Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty overflows with tales of the city’s brewers, breweries and drinkers. Beer Week kicks off this week. Here, in celebration, are a few of the facts Wagner’s book contains.

Read more »

10 Things You Might Not Know About Beer in Philly

Bergner & Engel’s Brewery via the Library Company of Philadelphia

Bergner & Engel’s Brewery via the Library Company of Philadelphia

Beer is big in Philly right now, but it’s not as big as it once was. “I drink no cider,” John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail back in Boston during the run-up to the Revolution, “but feast on Philadelphia beer.” Rich Wagner’s 2012 book Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty overflows with tales of the city’s brewers, breweries and drinkers. Beer Week kicks off this week. Here, in celebration, are a few of the facts Wagner’s book contains. Read more »

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