76ers Musings: Can An Okafor And Embiid Lineup Work?

Can the 76ers play Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid at the same time? | Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Can the 76ers play Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid at the same time? | Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This week we continue our 76ers musings column, where we focus on a couple of (relatively) quick-hitting thoughts on topics being discussed about the Philadelphia 76ers.

You can read previous entries in the “Sixers Musings” series here.

Can an Okafor and Embiid lineup work?
The 76ers preseason finally provided Sixers fans something they hadn’t yet seen from the team: Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid playing in the same game.

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When the Taliban Takes the Girl Next Door

Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Joshua Boyle, in a video released by their captors

Caitlan Coleman and her husband, Joshua Boyle, in a video released by their captors

In the early morning of July 4, 2012, Caitlan Coleman sent a short email to her friends.

“Our flight leaves at 4 p.m.,” she wrote. “Only God knows exactly where it will lead or what all can be accomplished, seen, experienced or learned while we travel. So we put ourselves in His hands.”

Caitlan had grown up in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, a place without a single stoplight, with a population of 2,130. Now, at the age of 26, she was hours away from leaving it behind to embark on a journey to the other side of the planet. Caitlan, who has long chestnut-colored hair, big brown eyes and fashionably strong eyebrows, and her husband, a burly Canadian named Joshua Boyle, had decided to hike across the steppes of Central Asia. They dreamed of eating exotic foods, meeting the locals and doing aid work. Read more »

The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Sam Katz’s Secret Stash

Sam Katz Smokes Weed

So stalwart civic watchdog Sam Katz—a man who campaigned to become governor of Pennsylvania, a former Republican business leader, a municipal finance expert, a guy who’s run for mayor here on numerous occasions—was on his way to do some fishing in Florida on Thursday when cops pulled him off his plane. Seems Sam (for God’s sake, man, you were a Rizzo supporter!) had packed a little pot in his bag. When the news broke, helpful commenters deluged him with suggestions on how not to get caught the next time (“Pro tip: carry-on luggage”); Sam admitted to being “terribly embarrassed,” noted that he was a “child of the ’60s,” got slapped with a $25 fine, and caught the next plane. Hey, all you millennials still living with Mom and Dad? This is why we always seem so happy when you leave town for the weekend. Now stay out of our dresser drawers.

Sixers Give January Timeline For Ben Simmons Return

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons has a fractured right foot | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers head coach Brett Brown says injured rookie Ben Simmons could return in January. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a few weeks since the Sixers announced Ben Simmons had surgery to repair an acute Jones fracture in his right foot suffered during the last scrimmage of training camp, but up to this point the Sixers have been hesitant to place a timeline on the rookie forward’s return.

The lack of clear direction has led to some speculation over how long Simmons would be out, with some reports around the league speculating that Simmons’ representation could look to keep him out for the entire season.

As the 76ers are in Miami to wrap up their preseason schedule tonight against the Heat, head coach Brett Brown provided the first bit of reassurance that Simmons would return to the lineup this year.

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I’ve Been Paying for SEPTA With a Credit Card. It’s a Godsend.

SEPTA Quick Trip ticket

A SEPTA Quick Trip ticket for an El ride I took last month.

There’s been a little extra kick in my step recently, and when I walk outside the birds seem to be singing. There is only one thing that can explain it: I’ve been using a credit card to pay for my rides on the El and the Broad Street subway.

Late last month, SEPTA announced it had deployed “Quick Trip” tickets at select SEPTA Key kiosks on the Broad Street subway and Market-Frankford El. A Quick Trip purchase gives the rider a single ride for $2.25. What makes this different than handing a SEPTA employee two dollars and a quarter is that you can buy this trip with a credit card.

I’ve been riding SEPTA my whole life. Despite this, I never remember to bring tokens (or exact change). Before last month, my experience would’ve been like this: I duck into a corner deli, tap MAC, and then buy a soda so I’ll have $2.25 for the subway or the bus. Or, if the El stop has a token machine, I put in $20 and get 11 tokens and four nickels in return. In the worst-case scenario, I’d find myself paying $5 to get on the El. It wasn’t a great setup.

But in the last month, things have gotten easier. Instead of having to spend money to make change, I can just dip my card at a SEPTA Key machine and get a slip of paper that allows me to ride the subway. After 30 years of tokens, I feel so free. Read more »

Rats In Philly: Even Worse Than Before

Photo by Edal Anton Lefterov via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Edal Anton Lefterov via Wikimedia Commons

Our civic leaders like to talk about Philadelphia as the Next Great American City. There’s an amazing restaurant scene. There are newly developed urban oases like Spruce Street Harbor Park. And we’ve championed all sorts of progressive ideas, like green buildings, bike share, decriminalized pot and gay marriage. But we’re still a city, and boy, do we have the rats to show for it. Read more »

Milton Street Is No Longer a Trump Supporter

Milton Street outside the District Attorney's office

Photo by Dan McQuade

Before he’d even won a vote in the Republican presidential primaries, Donald Trump held a rally in Virginia last December. There, he met Milton Street, and his daughter, Renee Street Toppin. Trump called Milton Street a “highly respected, great man in Philadelphia,” and said he had accepted Milton’s offer to give Trump a tour of impoverished parts of Philadelphia.

That never happened. And now, with Trump the Republican nominee and just 17 days to go before the election, Street has dropped his support. As Clout reported today, Milton Street has now endorsed Hillary Clinton. Read more »

Inside the Increasingly Rough-and-Tumble Philadelphia Quidditch Scene

Photo | Isabella Gong Photography

Photo | Isabella Gong Photography

They hurtle toward each other, six per team, cleats sloshing with mean vigor on the ground still wet from the morning sprinklers. The quickest, most audacious head toward midfield where an under-inflated volleyball and three dodgeballs await. They jostle violently for the balls but only with one hand. The other must always – always – hold on to the broom.

Unfortunately, magic broomsticks do not exist on earth. So they carry three-foot-long PVC pipes between their legs instead, one hand latched with the desperate clasp of a bull rider.

A few minutes before the match began, a small swarm of dragonflies circled this field on 31st and Chestnut next to the train tracks. But in the minds of the athletes playing competitive Quidditch on this warm afternoon in July, they may as well be flying too. Dodgeballs are now caroming off people so hard that spectators wince from the sidelines. Hit in the face? No matter. Get off your broom and touch your goalposts. Play on. If you have the volleyball, you sprint toward your opponent’s three plastic hula hoops, spinning, juking, jumping, passing. Avoiding tackles and dodgeballs, all with one simple goal: shoot that volleyball through the hoop. A few minutes in, the red team scores. Seconds later, an agile speedster wearing a baby blue North Carolina jersey and a white headband takes the volleyball and runs the length of the field. He weaves through a sea of red, a cheetah with tunnel vision, now only 20 feet away from goal. He’s unstoppable. Until he crashes into the meaty outstretched arm of a red player and crumples to the ground.

“Brooms down!” The whistle of the referee fills the summer air. PVC pipes drop.  Read more »

Kenney, Labor Leaders Shame Trump Over Failed Waterfront Project

Photo by Jared Brey

Photo by Jared Brey

The 2016 campaign season is bringing name-calling back in a big way. In the final presidential debate on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump a “puppet” of Russian president Vladimir Putin, which sent Trump into a tiny fit. He later said Clinton was “such a nasty woman.”

On Thursday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney got in on the action. Standing in front of a vacant lot just north of Spring Garden Street and the Delaware River waterfront, where Trump had promised in the mid-2000s to build a condominium tower “the likes of which Philadelphia has never seen before,” Kenney said that Trump had acted like “a high school kid” during the debate. (I once saw Kenney himself act like a high school kid, for what it’s worth.) Read more »

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