Get Off My Phone? Get Off My Ass!

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A few years ago, after receiving some bad directions from a man with a cool accent, I found myself embarrassingly lost in New Orleans’ French Quarter, en route to a destination whose name I can no longer recall. (I blame the Sazeracs.) So I decided to pull out my iPhone and punch the place into Google Maps to determine how not-even-close I was.

This, I learned, was a sight so troubling that strangers felt the need to inform me I was squandering what little time I had left here on earth.

An older man, who did not have a cool accent but did wear a hat with a feather in it (these guys always have hats with feathers in them), stopped abruptly on the sidewalk in front of me and placed his right hand on my left shoulder, like an uncle about to deliver bad news to a young nephew with a behavioral disorder.

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Congrats, 42-Year-Old Women: Esquire Now Deems You Attractive

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Sofia Vergara, who is now 42. Photo | Shutterstock.com

Did you see? Esquire magazine praised the 42-year-old woman, saying that the age is “not what it used to be.”

“Let’s face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman,” the opener reads. “With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something — namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother. If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone … well, then God help her.”

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The 10 People You’ll Meet at Spruce Street Harbor Park



In Philadelphia, there’s always something to argue about. Whether it’s the Phillie Phanaticthe clientele at Center City Sips or the worthiness of Wawa, we are a people who love to gripe. All the time. No matter what.

Or at least that’s how it was until Spruce Street Harbor Park opened this summer to universal praise — and justifiably so. The revitalization of the waterfront is a no-brainer when it comes to things that should happen in this city. By adding hammocks and  floating gardens and brightly colored chairs and, perhaps most importantly, food and booze, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has given us good reason to go somewhere besides Penn’s Landing when we want to gaze across the river at New Jersey.

But the thing about being universally loved is that Spruce Street Harbor Park brings out all types of people — people who do not usually interact on a day-to-day basis. Here, a roundup who you’ll see when you venture down to the waterfront.

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The 10 Stupid Internet News Stories I Keep Reading

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

The news of the world as brought to me via the Internet tends to be a roundup of humans doing seriously stupid things. And you know what? As I read through the stories that such forums as Gawker, Jezebel, Philly.com and the Huffington Post see fit to dish up to me, I’m beginning to feel an inescapable sense of been there, read that.

Didn’t I just see this same story a few days ago, in some other publication? Isn’t this the third time this month I read that same damn thing? I mean, how many times are you people going to drop shit off subway platforms and then jump down onto the tracks to get them? When another one of you does that, it isn’t news. It’s just déjà vu all over again.

And for this, I’m paying $460 a month to keep every member of my nuclear family tied to the Internet at every waking moment? Think of all the fun stuff I could do with $460 a month if I weren’t giving it to Comcast and Verizon.

Which gave me an idea.

The following is a brief list of Stupid Stuff You People Keep On Doing. If you stop doing these stupid things, there won’t be any news, and the Internet will close down, and I can use my $460 a month to go to Tahiti. So hey, what do you say?

1. Stop punishing women for breastfeeding in public. Oh, no, you didn’t actually do this again, did you? At a country music concert? Oh yes you did. Read more »

Awesome Philly Blog: Say Hello to “Oh, Hello Window Cat”

Queen Village
Jackie Palmer would like it to be stated, for the record, that she has only one cat — one lone, singular, solitary, individual cat, a female rescue named Ellie. Just one.

You’d probably be sensitive about being perceived as a psycho feline hoarder, too, if you ran a blog populated by pictures of other people’s pusses. But that’s what Palmer’s got on her paws hands with Oh, Hello Window Cat, a Tumblr dedicated to the Internet’s preferred domestic species in sun-bathed repose, in Philadelphia and beyond. Read more »

Philadelphians Who Deserve Murals Instead of Kurt Vile

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On Saturday, a Philadelphian decided to buff the Kurt Vile mural, causing shrieks of horror from hip Philadelphians and a Philadelphia public art meme.

People have said the reaction is overblown, but (1) it’s good when people discuss and debate public art and (2) of course it is. Literally everything on the Internet, even the most serious issues, can get overblown — there’s no sense complaining about it. But, sure, this isn’t the nose of the Old Man in the Mountain collapsing — the defacer has already apologized and even the artist says you should calm down. ESPO, aka Steve Powers, was similarly undisturbed about psychylustro covering up. “Nobody writing [graffiti] cares and any attempt to make it appear otherwise is click bait,” he told Hidden City (the Buzzfeed of Philadelphia Buildings, I guess) in May.

That is a point to take: Graffiti by its very nature is a transient art form, and murals come and go, too. David Guinn — who has more good murals in the city than anyone — once had four seasons in South Philadelphia. Now there are only three. The enormous Frank Sinatra mural is gone. Both were covered up by new residential construction, which is a better use of space than a mural. This one just disappeared in a more fantastic fashion. (And, obviously, the uproar was so great that it will be fixed up.)

But the mural got me thinking. I have passed the Kurt Vile mural several times where someone comments about how — while it’s cool — the mural is also an ad for his latest album. That’s weird, no? Did we paint a Boyz II Men album in the mid-’90s? (Not that they needed the increased sales.) A mural that’s also an ad is not exactly the end of the world: We have a mural for Jane Seymour’s jewelry line, after all, and a Vile album ad is certainly a better choice than that. But it got me thinking about other Philadelphians who deserve a mural, perhaps ones who aren’t selling anything. Time for some jokes mixed in with real suggestions!

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Cult Leaders and Ballet Dancers: The Strange Rock School Lawsuit

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Shutterstock.com

Each year, many up-and-coming ballet dancers from around the world audition for the “summer intensives” at Philadelphia’s Rock School for Dance Education, the prestigious 51-year-old ballet school on South Broad Street that claims “alumni in every major ballet company in the United States, on Broadway and in Europe.” In fact, this year’s summer intensives have just begun. And according to a new federal lawsuit, there’s one parent particularly upset with how things went last year. Read more »

Terry Gross Is Bad for the Country

Photo: William F. Steinmetz/Philadelphia Inquirer

Photo: William F. Steinmetz/Philadelphia Inquirer

Conventional wisdom holds that Terry Gross, host of WHYY-produced NPR staple Fresh Air, is the best interviewer in the business. Conventional wisdom is full of shit. Let’s start with her mannerisms. Sarah Miller captured them perfectly in her New Yorker parody “Gwyneth Paltrow Talks to Terry Gross About Conscious Uncoupling”:

GROSS: Okay, I wonder — could you maybe take — you know, like a typical scene from a breakup and describe it as though it were an opera? And then, maybe, could you describe the same scene through the lens of conscious uncoupling? Could you … do you think you could maybe do that, for us?

The hesitant, beseeching ingénue, so timidly obsequious — cut the crap, Terry. You’ve been doing this for 40 years. If you asked guests to strip naked and stick daisies up their arses, they would. Read more »

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