12 Things You Might Not Know About the Constitutional Convention

By Howard Chandler Christy - The Indian Reporter, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=662340

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Howard Chandler Christy, Public Domain

On May 25th, 1787, what came to be known as the Constitutional Convention convened at the State House in Philly. Originally called merely to tweak the Articles of Confederation that had governed the United States since 1781, the convention instead wound up creating a new framework for the young nation. Here are just a few of the arguments, considerations, personalities and conflicts (because conventions always have that stuff, right?) that you learned about in fifth grade but haven’t thought much about since.  Read more »

17 Things You Might Not Know (or Were Trying to Forget) About John Bolaris

Tonight at 10 p.m. CNBC is airing the episode of its true-crime documentary series American Greed based on the adventures of Philly weather swain John Bolaris. How could it not be epic? The forecaster has seen more ups and downs in his 58 or so years than a cheap thermometer. Here, a cheat sheet of the meteoric meteorologist’s life of high- and low-pressure systems, to prep you for the fun to come. Read more »

Penn Is Now Noting Disciplinary Violations on Student Transcripts

Terracotta Heraldry on the Duhring Wing.   | Steven Minicola, University of Pennsylvania  Communications.

Terracotta Heraldry on the Duhring Wing. | Steven Minicola, University of Pennsylvania Communications.

Last week, the University of Pennsylvania announced that students who violate its academic integrity, student conduct or sexual violence codes will no longer be eligible for Latin graduation honors — those “cum laude” notations that look so sexy on a diploma — or for inclusion on its Dean’s List. “In addition,” according to the official announcement, “when a student receives a sanction of probation, suspension or expulsion from the Office of Student Conduct or the Sexual Violence Investigative Officer, that sanction will be part of the student’s permanent record and, therefore, reportable outside of Penn.”

That means if you get caught smoking pot in your freshman year, or cheat on a test, or are convicted by a campus tribunal of failing to ask permission before kissing your boyfriend, your violation of school rules will now be fodder for potential employers and graduate schools. Read more »

The Philly Area Schools That Rejected Barack Obama’s and Tom Hanks’ College Applications

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

I was reading something the other day — I can’t remember what, because the Internet has made reading 80,000 things a day way too easy — in which the author commented snidely on adults who remember their SAT scores. I flushed with embarrassment, because, naturally, I remember my SAT scores. (They were pretty good.) In my experience, most people remember their SAT scores, just like they remember the colleges that rejected their applications (okay for you, Princeton; who’d want to go to Ted Cruz’s college, anyway?) for the rest of their lives.

That may be why I, um, clicked through recently to a slideshow that revealed what colleges rejected some Very Famous People, and thereby learned that I’m in great company. Tina Fey was also rejected by Princeton. (OMG, she and Lyin’ Ted would have been in the same class!John Kerry, Tom Brokow, Matt Groening and Meredith Vieira were rejected by Harvard. (Vieira reports she was “devastated.”) Katie Couric was turned down by Smith. (Who gets turned down by Smith?) Read more »

10 Things You Might Not Know About the 1876 Centennial Exhibition

Centennial_Exhibition,_Opening_Day-940x540

By James D. McCabe from “The Illustrated History of the Centennial Exposition Held In Commemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of American Independence.” Public domain from The Cooper Collections of U.S. History.

Today marks the 140th anniversary of the opening of the 1876 Centennial Exposition, which brought nearly 10 million visitors — almost a fifth of the nation’s population — to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park to view what were then the Wonders of the World. This great World’s Fair — the official title was “The 1876 International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine” — was the first ever held in the United States. It introduced attendees to a host of new technological inventions and some really tasty foods, and forever changed the landscape of the city. Decisions made by the Centennial Committee as to roads, buildings, gardens and vistas continue to reverberate today. Here are ten things you might not know about the greatest party this city ever held.  Read more »

Seven Theories You Might Not Know About Where the Word “Hoagie” Comes From

iStockphoto.com | Jack Puccio

iStockphoto.com | Jack Puccio

We were really hoping we’d be able to trace a Native American origin for the word “hoagie” in celebration of National Hoagie Day today, but we couldn’t. We did, however, find these seven variations, some way more dubious-sounding than others. Get yourself a nice fresh hoagie (or, depending on your place of birth, a submarine, a torpedo, a zeppelin, an Italian, a hero, a grinder, a po’boy, a wedge, a spuckie, a garibaldi, a blimpie … ) and settle in to survey these suggestions. (Note: There is no National Spuckie Day.)  Read more »

Seven Theories You Might Not Know About Where the Word “Hoagie” Comes From

iStockphoto.com | Jack Puccio

iStockphoto.com | Jack Puccio

We were really hoping we’d be able to trace a Native American origin for the word “hoagie” in celebration of National Hoagie Day today, but we couldn’t. We did, however, find these seven variations, some way more dubious-sounding than others. Get yourself a nice fresh hoagie (or, depending on your place of birth, a submarine, a torpedo, a zeppelin, an Italian, a hero, a grinder, a po’boy, a wedge, a spuckie, a garibaldi, a blimpie … ) and settle in to survey these suggestions. (Note: There is no National Spuckie Day.)  Read more »

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