The 20 All-Time-Best Philly Names

Clockwise from top left: Catto, Anderson, Crumb (By Christian Lessenich - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7025854), Birdsong, Coltrane (By Gelderen, Hugo van / Anefo - [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989, Nummer toegang 2.24.01.05 Bestanddeelnummer 915-6748, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27600885) and Clark. Photos public domain except where noted.

Clockwise from top left: Catto, Anderson, Crumb (Christian Lessenich, CC BY-SA 3.0), Birdsong, Coltrane (Gelderen, Hugo van / Anefo, Dutch National Archives, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl) and Clark. Photos public domain except where noted.

We were thinking the other day about E. Digby Baltzell, the Penn sociology prof who coined the term “Wasp,” for “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.” It would take a guy named E. Digby Baltzell to come up with something like that. Really, could there be a more Wasp-y name? And that got us thinking about other great Philly names — ones that suit their bearers’ careers or personalities so well, or are so onomatopoeically perfect, that those people really couldn’t have been called anything else. In their honor, we created this, the first-ever list of Great Philly Names. Read more »

Signs of the Apocalypse: The Peeple App Launches

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I’m approaching that age where it’s time to decide if I want to bring children into this world.

Most days, the answer is yes. I love kids, and for whatever reason — blind optimism, naïveté, Ambien — I believe that the human race is a good one and that we’ll eventually wake up from this fever dream we call election season.

But on other days, the Peeple app launches. Read more »

11 Things You Might Not Know About Leap Year

Left: By Camillo Rusconi (1658–1728); photograph de:User:Rsuessbr - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=526632. Right: By Bob Satterfield - Tacoma Times (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085187/1903-12-23/ed-1/seq-3/), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32324725

Left: Detail of the tomb of Pope Gregory XIII celebrating the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, by Camillo Rusconi (1658–1728); photograph Rsuessbr, CC BY-SA 3.0; Right: Cartoon by Bob SatterfieldTacoma Times, Public Domain.

Happy February 29th, also known as “leap day” — a lunar event created by humans to compensate for the fact that the earth doesn’t orbit the sun in precisely 365 days. Herewith, trivia attending this grand occasion. Read more »

Moore Prof: Women Don’t Design “Girly” Video Games

Game Changers promotional image (Photo | Allison Carrier). Digital painting from student Animation & Game Arts student Leslie Hammond.

Game Changers promotional image (Photo | Alison Carrier). Digital painting from student Animation & Game Arts student Leslie Hammond.

Two years ago, the Animation and Game Arts major at Center City’s Moore College of Art & Design was just getting off the ground. Only eight students were enrolled, and the junior- and senior-year curricula hadn’t even been, well, designed. That’s when the school brought in Stephen Wood, a young adjunct prof from Minnesota, to beef up the program and build its visibility and connectivity.

Wood was excited for the opportunity — and curious. The classrooms in which he’d been teaching had been male-dominated, like most of the video game industry. Moore is a college for women. What, he wondered, would his students be like?

The answer, he’s concluded, is: no different from the guys. “There are no gender differences in designing,” says Wood. “You see the same personalities, the same types of gamers. You have someone who likes first-person-shooter games, someone who likes role-playing games. I’ve talked to people who think women design ‘girly’ games. They don’t. They want to play Mortal Kombat. They don’t make kitten-and-rainbow games. Or if they do, the kittens blow up.” Read more »

These Are the Top 10 Dog Breeds in Philadelphia

The Labrador retriever may be the No. 1 dog in the country, but in Philadelphia another breed is top dog.

Yesterday, the American Kennel Club released its annual list of the top dog breeds in the United States. The labrador retriever was first, the 25th straight year the dog has claimed the honor.

Things are different in Philadelphia, however. According to figures provided by the American Kennel Club to Philadelphia magazine, the German shepherd dog is the top breed in the city. The Labrador retriever falls all the way to fifth! The lists are generated by the number of purebred dogs registered with the AKC; the group does not release the number of dogs registered, only the rankings. Read more »

Should All Animals Be Banned from the Circus?

Say goodbye to the elephants of the Ringling Bros. Circus. (Photo via Feld Entertainment)

Say goodbye to the elephants of the Ringling Bros. Circus. (Photo via Feld Entertainment)

“Please, smart people I know, stop supporting the circus.”

That was the Facebook status of a Philadelphia artist friend of mine on Wednesday morning, and I’m pretty sure that it was directed at me. Read more »

In Delaware, People Pay Big Bucks for Low-Digit License Plates. Here’s Why.

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Photos | DelDOT

Delaware residents have an odd obsession with license plate numbers. The lower the plate number the more valuable a plate is considered to be. Residents are willing to dole out heaps of cash in order to secure the single and double digits. Last weekend, plate no. 14 sold to a Delaware couple for the ripe price of $325,000. So, why are residents willing to drop enough green to buy a house for a license plate number? Aaron Dunphy, the owner of Low Digit Tags — a website that functions just like eBay, but instead sells only Delaware license plate numbers — said the reasons differ between collectors. “For some it’s a status symbol,” said Dunphy. “I’ve had some that buy them as an investment, others will flip them.” While the low numbers are generally considered the most valuable, Dunphy said there’s also a market for numbers that people have a personal attachment to. He’s gotten requests for tags for birthday, wedding and even divorce dates. It’s all made possible by Delaware’s policy of recycling old license plate numbers, because of the low population of the state they don’t have to worry about expanding beyond 999,999.

Here’s a few stories about 5 famous Delaware plates that have caused quite a fuss: Read more »

I Have Complicated Feelings About Chickie’s & Pete’s Crabfries Chips

Herr's Facebook

Herr’s Facebook

They’ve arrived.

Yesterday afternoon, Herr’s officially unveiled their latest flavor, Chickie’s & Pete’s Famous Crabfries, at the restaurant’s South Philly location. This came a few weeks after rumors swirled about the chip’s existence, and days after they started popping up at Oregon Avenue’s finer Sunoco stations.

So, are they any good? That’s a seemingly simple question with a seemingly simple answer: Yes. Yes they are. Read more »

CBS 3 Did a Report on the Word “Jawn” Last Night

CBS 3 - jawn report

The Grammy Awards were on CBS last night, but in Philadelphia the real prize was what was on the local news afterward. The station promoted it throughout the evening: As part of Nicole Brewer‘s new Good Question series, she explored the existential question that’s been bothering all Philadelphians for centuries: “What is jawn?”

The report went on pretty early in the broadcast, which started late because the Grammys went over. The news opened with weather (naturally), then reported on the LSD busts at Villanova and the norovirus outbreak at Ursinus. After a Grammys recap, Brewer’s report on jawn was next. Read more »

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