News Startup Drops “Brother.ly” Name

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The new, less bro-ish logo.

Even before they’ve launched, the creators of a new digital news service for Philadelphia are showing they can discard a bad idea in a hurry. Which is why that forthcoming service — previously named Brother.ly — is now BillyPenn.com.

Critics had sniffed at the former name, nicknaming it “Bro.therly” and suggesting the moniker was exclusionary. Read more »

Can the Free Library Replace Your Netflix Subscription?

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The Free Library of Philadelphia is taking a giant leap into the Streaming Digital Future of Everything today, launching Hoopla — a service that lets library cardholders check out TV, movies, audiobooks, and music. (The service is available for tablets and smartphones via apps on iTunes and Google Play.)

“Think of it like a Netflix for libraries,” the Free Library said in a blog post introducing the service. “And because you stream, rather than download, content from Hoopla, there are no waiting lists, no holds, and of course, no late fees! ”

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10 Men You Should Unfollow on Twitter

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Earlier this week, the Internet was all aflutter with news of the latest feminist hashtag. #UnfollowAMan is a (questionably executed) satirical movement created by Buzzfeed staffer Katie Notopoulos and the premise is simple: Unfollow a man — or in Notopoulos’s case, all men — on Twitter. She writes that after doing some research about her typical Twitter actions she was horrified to learn that she was “using it like a locker room where jocular masculine sick burns are doled out each minute like 140-character towel snaps.”

So, she went on what she calls “a digital man cleanse.”

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Flyers Goalie Steve Mason Keeps Posting Shirtless Selfies with His Dog

Two days ago, Flyers goalie Steve Mason posted this to his Instagram.

Cute doggy! Also… it’s a shirtless selfie with his dog. Let me go on the record as pro-selfie — and even pro-shirtless selfie! I myself have finagled a way to post two shirtless photos of myself on this very website, so it would be hypocritical of me to come out against it. Plus, shirtless pro athletes are way more exciting to look at shirtless than I am. Post as many shirtless selfies as you want, Steve Mason!

Well, guess what: He has!

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Former Teacher Can’t Sue for Nasty Blog Posts

Remember Natalie Munroe,the Bucks County teacher caught back in 2011 writing an anonymous blog where she disparaged students? She got fired, then sued the school district for wrongful termination, claiming her First Amendment rights were violated.

A court disagrees. U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe rejected Munroe’s suit Friday, saying it failed a legal test that determines if a teacher’s speech is worth the disruption it can cause in school.

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Hey Jerk! Use Your Freaking Turn Signal!

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Shutterstock.com

The other day on my way home from work, when I was a block away from my house, I pulled over and called my son Jake, who’s back from college for the summer. I asked him to come out to the front porch and check if my left-hand turn signal light was out. He emerged onto the porch as I pulled up, and turned two big thumbs up as I tested first my left-hand signal and then the right one. “Both working,” he assured me when I got out. “What’s up?”

“Some jerk pulled right out in front of me at the four-way stop at Wilson and Franklin,” I told him. “I absolutely had the right-of-way, and I had my left-hand turn signal on. And he still nearly plowed into me. I figured the light must be out.” Because, really, why else would somebody almost drive into my car like that?

Jake shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell you. He was an idiot, I guess.” Read more »

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

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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 fishtown.us 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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