Arctic Splash Cartons: Litter Scourge of the River Wards or Works of Art?


Arctic Splash isn’t made in Fishtown. It isn’t made in Philadelphia, or even Pennsylvania. But that hasn’t stopped the budget-priced iced tea — basically water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid and something called “tea solids” — from becoming synonymous with River Wards culture.

Drunk from the school-lunch fold-top cartons that bear that kitschy frost-capped logo, Splash — “the Faygo of Fishtown,” according to one poster — has long been an iconic beverage north of Girard. (No one’s really sure why.) Manufactured by Massachusetts-based Dean Foods and distributed regionally by its subsidiary, Lehigh Valley Dairy, it’s peddled at shops and delis throughout the area, and residents have capitalized on that ubiquity to turn it into a point of pride. The so-sweet tea’s responsible for inspiring band names, T-shirt designs and boozy variations at local bars.

It’s also inspired a tremendous amount of litter, a reality not lost on seventh-generation Fishtowner Jake Sauer. For every person he comes across sipping one — “I literally see babies in strollers drinking Arctic Splash out of a straw,” he says — he’s able to spot multiple cartons, in varying states of decomposition, trashing up his Fishtown streets.

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The 8 Stinkiest Spots in Philadelphia (Described With Emojis)


When I first got my cat, a rescue from the streets of Kensington, he wasn’t exactly house-broken. It took five weeks, three Craigslist futon cushions and two rubber sheets before the little dude learned how to properly use the litter box. This is why I am sympathetic to the residents of South Philadelphia who are up in arms over a recent assault on their senses. According to the Passyunk Post, the pervasive aroma of cat urine has been wafting through the streets south of Snyder.

It’s gross — there’s no arguing there.

But is it the stinkiest spot in Philadelphia? There are quite a few contenders for that not-so-highly-coveted crown. Here, I’ve broken down the smelliest place in Philadelphia. And since this is 2014 and this is the Internet, I’ve translated these locations and smells into emojis. (Too bad Philadelphia doesn’t have it’s own emojis yet.)

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Dirty Philadelphia Is Dirty

NBC 10 says the American Lung Association has bad news for Philly in a new report: “Ozone levels (commonly called smog) came in worse than it did in the 2009 data, likely due to warmer temperatures in 2012. Philadelphia County remained the most polluted county in the metro area as well as in Pennsylvania, and was graded “F,” significantly worsening its annual average to 16.7 days with unhealthful levels of ozone in 2010-2012, from 10.7 in 2009-2011.” The report said Philly tied for 11th — not an honor — for year-round particle pollution.

Philly Unemployment Declines

Via Philadelphia Business Journal: “Philadelphia’s unemployment rate declined once again. The rate fell to 8 percent in March 2014 from 8.3 percent in February, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is 2.1 percent lower than March 2013. The city added 4,000 jobs last month bringing the number of jobs in Philadelphia to its highest level for a March since 2003.”

The BLS statistics show, however, that Philly’s workforce is about 4,000 workers smaller than it was a year ago. While roughly 9,000 more Philadelphians are working, a good chunk of those jobs are in “leisure and hospitality” services — basically, low-paying restaurant work that is the fastest-growing job sector in the city.

Still, good news is good news: More Philadelphians are working, and fewer are unemployed, than a year ago. We’ll take what we can get.

Slate Says PA is “Most Linguistically Fascinating State in the Country”


Slate today calls Pennsylvania the “most linguistically fascinating state in the country.” (We already knew that Philly’s accent is fascinating, but whatever.)

Pennsylvania, in case yinz didn’t know, is a regional dialect hotbed nonpareil. A typical state maintains two or three distinct, comprehensive dialects within its borders. Pennsylvania boasts five, each consisting of unique pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar elements. Of course, three of the five kind of get the shaft—sorry Erie, and no offense, Pennsylvania Dutch Country—because by far the most widely recognized Pennsylvania regional dialects are those associated with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

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Philadelphians Get to Work Late



Interesting bit of data from FiveThirtyEight: The median Philadelphian apparently gets to work at 8:05 a.m. every day. Which means we’re a sleepy bunch: The national median is 10 minutes earlier than that, at 7:55 a.m..

Not to worry: We’re a lot like other big cities. “The majority of highly populous metro areas begin working a little later than the rest of the country. Washington, D.C., starts work at a median time of 8:07 (although it is prompt: three-quarters of the workforce is in by 9:14). The median worker in Los Angeles begins at 8:05; in Atlanta, at 8:03; in Chicago, at 8:02.”

I’m Agnostic, and I’m Hoping Pope Francis Comes to Philadelphia



Let’s get something straight: I know the Pope is Catholic.

This means a few things: I never expect him to adopt the conventional American Liberal positions l hold. There will be no embrace of gay marriage by the church, there will be no permission for abortion, and Pope Francis’s term will not end with the ascension of Pope Mary I. We’re never going to agree on those things. It is what it is.

Still: I find that I’m increasingly a fan of this pope. That’s a bit weird to admit. I grew up among Mennonites who pretty explicitly traced their theological heritage to the Reformation; more recently I’ve simply been agnostic: God’s not really part of my life anymore. Catholicism doesn’t hold much appeal for me, generally. Pope Francis does, however — and so I am rooting for him to visit Philadelphia next year.

Why? His humility. And his attempts to bring the church in line with that quality.

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