If you aren’t quite feeling like time is passing you by, a simple reminder that Britney Spears turned 32 this past Monday may be enough to do the trick.
A new poll out last weekend delivered the bad news that Americans don’t trust one another anymore. Only a third of those surveyed by AP-GfK said that most people can be trusted, down from half of us in 1972. It’s a sad state of affairs.
And yet I find our nation to be, by and large, incredibly trusting. I live in a small town where the median income is just over $35,500 — not exactly a fortune by any estimate. And yet I think nothing of ordering items online and having them delivered via UPS or FedEx to my house — even though there’s nobody there all day long. The bags or boxes sit on my front porch, in full view not only of neighbors, but of scores of high-school and middle-school kids who traipse past on their way home. And I’ve never lost anything yet. It’s enough to make a citizen proud.
Mannequin is not a good movie.
You really only need to know the film’s plot to figure that out: A down-on-his-luck Philadelphian gets a job in a department store and falls in love with a mannequin that comes to life.
Even then, not much is done with that silly plot. “Mannequin is dead,” Roger Ebert wrote in his 1987 review. “The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theater. Halfway through, I was ready for someone to lead us in reciting the rosary.” The Washington Post was blunt: “Mannequin is a movie made by, for and about dummies.” (“The PG-rated film “includes some sexual innuendoes and some undraped mannequins,” the New York Times helpfully informs parents.)
And so Mannequin, released in 1987 and filmed primarily in Wanamaker’s at 13th and Market, will never be considered one of the great movies of Philadelphia. It’s not an Oscar-winner like Philadelphia, a critical darling like Blow Out, a hilarious Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd comedy like Trading Places or a classic beloved around the world like Rocky. (Incidentally, Mannequin defeated Stallone’s Over the Top at the box office.)
That’s kind of a shame. Yes, it’s a terrible film, but the message of Mannequin is by far the greatest tribute to Philadelphia ever committed to celluloid.
Good news! After more than a generation of the rich getting richer while the poor and middle class have been left behind, conservatives are starting to wake up to the fact that there’s growing income inequality in America — and that it’s a bad thing.
You’ll never guess, though, how some conservatives want to solve the problem: By getting the government to start writing checks to subsidize the wages of America’s poorest workers.
If you’re reading this, and you are white, and you have friends who happen to be black men — none of these safe assumptions — you might want to ask them whether they’ve ever had experiences like the one I’m about to share with you. Chances are, they have:
One day a few years back, I was waiting for an elevator with a friend in the Washington Square West apartment building where I then lived. I was dressed in the casual uniform men of all ages and races in America have adopted: blue jeans and a T-shirt.
The elevator doors opened to reveal a young white woman on board. My friend and I walked in, and the woman immediately shrank as far back into the opposite corner of the car as she could, with an anxious look on her face.
As we exited to the lobby, I turned and said to my friend, who is also black, “And there you go. I just had one of those moments when I was reminded who I really am.”
Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Cole Hamels stare? You know the one — that withering look he’s known to give on occasion when the home plate umpire’s being stingy with strike calls, or an outfielder makes a bonehead play. I felt that same chill as Cole looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m not talking about the kids.”
You’ve heard about Amazon drones, the Seattle-based e-tail giant’s new idea to use drones to deliver packages on the same day to customers, particularly those in “densely populated” urban areas? The way it works is like this: you order something from Amazon. You want it the same day. Your order is placed in a tupperware container which then gets sent to something resembling the checkout line at Acme where a model “octocopter”(the kind your 5th grader got for Christmas last year) swoops it into the air and seamlessly delivers it to your door.
Really, this is how it will work. And in only a few years. Assuming FAA approval of course. And assuming that we’re all insane.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
A hearty round of applause to Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled House and Senate! By granting GOP Governor Tom Corbett his most highly sought prize — the nation’s highest gas and diesel taxes — the legislature has ensured two things:
1) Tommy Boy will lose next year’s election by an even bigger margin, and
2) He is now likely to achieve the impossible: an approval rating in the single digits.
To be fair, the last one’s not all that hard, since he was already in the toilet at a historically low 17 percent approval.
About the only thing more monumental than the rear-ending Corbett just gave his citizens via the second-largest tax increase in state history is his “bi-partisan” legacy, as no one has done more for the Democratic Party.
You may have heard about a pair of Penn students who’ve come up with a nifty new idea. They’ve created a virtual marketplace, Noteriety (motto: “Get A’s. Make Bank.”), where students can buy and sell notes from their classes. The idea is that if for some reason you should miss a class, or are just having trouble learning what you’re supposed to, you can buy notes taken by somebody else who did go or does understand what the hell’s going on. An article about the start-up in the Daily Pennsylvanian mentioned that it’s “backed by the PennApps Accelerator Program,” a “mentorship and sponsorship” effort aimed at encouraging student entrepreneurship.
Coincidentally, the same week the DP article on Noteriety appeared, the New York Times ran a story on a new study showing that increased class attendance in college leads to improved grades.
In the study, professors teaching a popular Intro to Psych course at the University of Texas instituted a new teaching method that replaced grading based on a final exam with grading based on a series of quizzes given during every class. The quizzes were short and tailored to a student’s previous performance; get a question wrong, and you’d soon find it staring up at you again.
It’s tempting to look at the various missteps taken by the Eagles in Sunday’s highly imperfect win over Arizona and worry that their recent prosperity could be in jeopardy. Doing that would be a mistake. It’s true that almost giving away a 24-7 lead and needing a couple generous calls by the officials to maintain order are not the best ways to continue an assault on the post-season. But the end result, a three-point victory that maintained a tie with Dallas atop the NFC Island of Misfit Toys Division, is all that matters.
At this time of year, there is no need to earn style points. It’s about winning. Just ask Chicago, which dropped an overtime decision to Minnesota and hurt its NFC North title chances, about that. Or New England, which won’t care one bit that it snuck past lowly Houston to maintain a grip on the second AFC playoff seed. After Sunday’s triumph over Arizona, the Eagles are now 7-5, and that’s what counts.