Which Shark Week Star Is Your Favorite Jersey Shore Point’s Spirit Shark?

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Shark Week is upon us, friends.

The Discovery Channel’s annual celebration of scary fish and worse puns kicked off Sunday, and it looks to be another banner year. Maybe not quite as good as 2014 now that the network has promised more science and less Megalodon, but still — pretty damn good. (People whining about the factual accuracy of Shark Week: Why do you hate America? It’s the freedom, isn’t it? May your boardwalks be paved with splinters.)

This year’s marquee villains include ninja sharks, alien sharks, serial killer sharks and — we owe you one, Jesus — “The Bride of Jaws.” Most of these bad boys are trolling the waters of Florida, Australia and South Africa, but just in case they ever decided to drop by the Jersey Shore, we wanted to figure out where they would feel most at home.

Why would anyone waste their time doing such a thing? Because Shark Week. If you start bringing logic and good taste into this, you’ll ruin Shark Week. Stop that right now. Read more »

Philadelphia, We Needed the Cheesecake Factory

Photo | Brian Howard

Photo | Brian Howard

Everyone has their safe space.

Maybe you like to take a time-out at Rittenhouse Square when the office feels like it’s closing in. Or perhaps you find peace in your garden at the end of a long day. Yoga studios are popular, as are churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other buildings where vampires aren’t welcome (or aren’t usually welcome — it all depends which season of Supernatural you’re watching).

My personal sanctuary — that little nook of the world where time seems to stop and breathing comes easy — is The Cheesecake Factory. Read more »

Why Do I Find Taylor Swift So Annoying?

It was hard not to cheer for Taylor Swift over the past couple days.

Less than 24 hours after she penned a blog post criticizing Apple’s new music streaming service, the company backtracked and confirmed that it would, indeed, pay artists full royalties during the trial period. After a few polite, eloquent paragraphs outlining her argument and the importance of compensating both struggling artists and established talent, Swift signed off with this succinct little mic drop to let them know she meant business:

 “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Seemingly all corners of the Internet came together in support and admiration of the 25-year-old Berks County native. As for myself, I decided it was finally time to figure out why I absolutely can’t stand the woman. Read more »

These Are the 10 Worst Drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway

Illustration | Hawk Krall

Illustrations | Hawk Krall

This wasn’t the best day for my editor to ask if I wanted to write about driving on the Schuylkill Expressway. Today it took me an hour and 39 minutes to get from my front door to the parking garage across the street from our office building — a total distance of 37 of the most heavily traveled highway miles in the United States. That’s not bad. It’s about average, in fact, for my morning ride. Along the way, I encountered four pothole crews, three miscellaneous lane restrictions, two disabled vehicles, eight dead deer, countless rotting raccoons, and the same sweet company I have every single morning and night on this road.

Then again, this morning, for the first time in the 20-plus years I’ve made this commute, I found myself forming my hand into the shape of a gun and firing it at another driver. So yeah, maybe this is the right day to introduce you to my favorite traveling companions. In ascending order of assholedom, here are the 10 Worst Drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway. Read more »

Ocean City, New Jersey, the Most Magical Shore Town on Earth

Gilligan's Wonderland Pier Ferris Wheel | Edwin under a CC 2.0 license.

Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Ferris Wheel | Edwin under a CC 2.0 license.

My family has gone to Ocean City, New Jersey, every summer since I can remember.

When things were tight, we went for a long afternoon or a short weekend. Other times, we’d pack up that gigantic blue station wagon and put Fox Chase in the rearview for an entire week. Regardless, for a few hours or a few days, it was always and easily the best part of the year, the time when the Weymouths most felt like the families on TV.

It wasn’t until I was in college that we decided to take our first “real” vacation and booked a flight to Disney World. Read more »

Meet the Local Hospital Worker Who Posts Autopsy Photos on Instagram

Nicole Angemi via Instagram

Nicole Angemi via Instagram

When you go into the hospital, you probably don’t expect that your tumor, gangrened leg or, God forbid, dead body will wind up on Instagram. But thanks to one local hospital’s pathology assistant, who moonlights at Drexel University as a teacher, it could happen. South Jersey’s Nicole Angemi routinely shares pathology and autopsy photos with her 350,000-plus followers on Instagram (she swears none of them are her patients), so we reached out to her to find out how a mother of three wound up with such a gruesome hobby. As a condition of the interview, we agreed not to reveal the hospital where she is employed.

See below the interview for a gallery of some of the photos she has shared. Read more »

Autism and Vaccines, Earthquakes and Malaysian Mountain Spirits

Image of the hikers that circulated on social media.

Image of the hikers that circulated on social media.

It isn’t often that I laugh out loud while reading the staid New York Times, but I did last Thursday as I perused a story about four Western mountain climbers who, after scaling Malaysia’s highest peak, disrobed and took nude photos at the top. The cavorting tourists — a Canadian brother and sister, a woman from Britain and a Dutchman — were subsequently detained by authorities. The charge against them is public obscenity, but their real crime when they stripped atop Mount Kinabalu in May, according to the locals, was offending the holy mountain, angering it and thereby causing an earthquake in June that killed 18 people.

How supremely silly. Read more »

Relax, Everyone: Millennials Are Getting Plenty

Two studies came out recently showing that — surprise! — millennials get laid less than their parents did.

My Baby Boomer colleague Sandy Hingston wrote that as soon as she heard the news, “I knew the kids would twist themselves into pretzels explaining to me how that’s a good thing. After all, we’re the ones who ruined the environment, razed the economy and stuck them all with a hundred grand in college debt, so how could anything that we did ever be good?” Read more »

How Pope Francis Made It Safe for Me to Come Crawling Back to Church

It was in second grade that I first suspected I didn’t belong at St. Cecilia’s.

I was only 7, but when I looked into Sister Mary’s unfeeling eyes I knew, as clearly as only 7-year-olds can, that whoever she was working for wasn’t worth my Sunday morning. I brought my concerns to my mom, hoping for a quick “Jesus Loves You!” Band-Aid to ease the impending existential crisis.

Now, I realize this was a mistake. My mother is a wonderful, empathetic, kind-hearted woman, but comforting white lies aren’t really her strong suit. Santa died early in our house, and the Easter Bunny wasn’t far behind. The Tooth Fairy, well, she never stood a chance on Hoffnagle Street. This is what it sounds like when a child asks Joan if we’re floating on, all alone, through this vast, indifferent universe:

“How do you know God is real?”

“Well, I don’t.”

“Oh. Do you think he is?”

“I’m not sure.”

“So … where do we go when we die?”

“Nobody really knows.”

“Where did Smokey go?!?”

“He’s in the flower bed, honey. Now brush your teeth – Wings comes on at 8.”

Read more »

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