Where to Send Your Kid to College If He Does Drugs

Photo | DEA

Ecstasy or MDMA/Molly. Photo | DEA

So let’s say your son is a good kid, a nice kid, smart, nailed his SATs, but he does have this troublesome … habit. He likes to get high.

Nothing serious — you don’t think — but you’ve definitely found rolling papers in the pockets of his jeans, not to mention the bong in the back of his bedroom closet, behind his old ice-hockey gear.

Hey, no big deal; you used to get high, and probably will again if — when — it gets legalized. But considering Junior’s fondness for the Disco Biscuits, you wouldn’t be surprised if he’s done some molly, and didn’t four students at Wesleyan just get arrested for that? You’d hate to see your kid’s whole future derailed over some silly party drug. And he’s going to be applying to college this fall, so … Read more »

The Best Thing That Happened This Week

Just when we absolutely, positively cannot stand ONE MORE MINUTE of winter, the Flower Show hits town, bringing with it warmth and light and blazons of color. How lucky are we that for 186 years, we’ve been treated to this early spring? The show’s arrival always makes us think how strange and disconcerting winter must have been in prehistoric times, when our ancestors had to wonder: Will the sun return? It always has before, sure, but … really, who knows? Only a city as tormented by self-doubt as Philly could need an annual springtime guarantee as glorious as this one. But hey, those acres of lilies and roses and hydrangeas make all our anguish worthwhile.

RELATED: One of Us: Drew Becher, Philadelphia Flower Show Honcho

The Strange Link Between Raggedy Ann and the Anti-Vaxxers

Over the weekend I was reading a story in the Wall Street Journal about the history of the anti-vaccination movement when I came across a familiar name: Raggedy Ann. Here’s what the author, NYU historian David Oshinsky, had to say:

Historians generally trace the anti-vaccine movement to a number of 19th-century groups, including religious activists, radical libertarians and health faddists, who insisted that [Edward] Jenner’s vaccine actually caused smallpox. Like some current movement activists, these early leaders had a personal story to tell, claiming that a vaccine had harmed or even killed someone close to them, most often a child. Indeed, their most visible symbol was the smiling but entirely limp Raggedy Ann doll created by a popular cartoonist for his daughter, who had fallen ill and would later die, he believed, from a smallpox shot she received without his permission.

I didn’t have a Raggedy Ann doll when I was little, but I had Raggedy Ann books, written and illustrated by one Johnny Gruelle. The one I especially remember was called Raggedy Ann’s Lucky Pennies. What I mostly remember about it was that it was dark and deeply weird. I looked it up on Amazon and found this synopsis: Read more »

Are Zoos Inhumane?

Last month the Philadelphia Zoo announced plans to build a “Gorilla Treeway” for its primates, to allow them to swing from branch to branch to branch inside caged walkways outside their “enclosure,” a.k.a. cage. The Gorilla Treeway joins the Big Cat Crossing as the zoo’s latest attempts to stave off general public recognition that zoos, well, suck.

Read more »

The Best Thing That Happened This Week


Okay, we know this team doesn’t look like much on paper. (Chad Billingsley? Really?) You know what, though? Neither did the Sixers back in October, and look how much fun they’ve turned out to be! This Phillies team could surprise you. (Ben Revere!) Actually, if it does anything at all, it will surprise everybody. (Domonic Brown!) And how perfectly Philly would that be? A city that’s home to the patron saint of underdogs (Adrian!”) should never (Aaron Harang!), never (Darren Ruf!), never (Jesse Biddle!) say die until the umpire signals the last out. Ryan Howard, just picture every line drive you hit landing in Cataldi’s big fat mouth.

The Three Questions I’m Never Asking Anybody Ever Again

Okay, so the first question you should never ask anyone is pretty obvious, because almost all of us have done it anyway. The question is, “When are you due?” And the reason you should never ask it of anyone is in case they’re not.

Theoretically you could safely ask this of men, but given the increasingly tenuous boundaries of gender, better to play it safe and just zip your lip. Because, really, if you’re a woman and you’ve ever been asked this when you weren’t, you remember. The moment burns in your memory even if (as in my case) it was decades ago. Pregnancy is a joyous occasion. Having a gut is not. Being reminded that you have a gut really is not. So, don’t ask this question. Even if you’re pretty damned sure she’s due any minute and she’s carrying twins.

The second question you should never ask anyone is, perhaps, less obvious, because sociologically, it’s a more recent development. Read more »

What Is Going On at the Chester County SPCA?

Illustration by Danny Hellman; photograph by Christopher Leaman

Illustration by Danny Hellman; photograph by Christopher Leaman

The allegations were shocking: mass killings of dogs, sadists abusing innocent creatures, maimed and ill animals suffering in squalor. They surfaced repeatedly on Facebook, on websites with names like Justice for Chester County Animals, and in mainstream publications like the Inquirer and the Delaware County Daily Times.

A puppy mill? A dog-fighting ring? Read more »

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