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 »

17 Things to Do in Philly Christmas Weekend

This weekend, several holiday attractions throughout the city will keep their doors open for some post-Christmas fun. For those who have filled their Christmas quota, we found some more secular activities people of all faiths can enjoy — musical concerts, theatrical productions, museum events and activities. Check out all our picks below.

Christmas Day

Catch a marathon of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" screenings Friday at Blue Cross RiverRink.

Catch a marathon of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” screenings Friday at Blue Cross RiverRink.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Movie Screening

America’s favorite furry recluse — the Jim Carrey version — will peak his head out to cap off the 12 Days of Christmas Movies celebration at the RiverRink. The showing will begin at 6 pm and play on loop until late into the evening. Enjoy the film as a backdrop to your skating experience or cozy up on a couch with a friend to give the film individual attention. Friday, December 25th, 6 pm, free, Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 South Columbus Boulevard.

Ciroc-mas Ugly Sweater Party 

Those oversized scratchy wool sweaters have been waiting all year to be pulled from the back of your closet. Now is their time to shine. The Bleu Martini is inviting you to join them for their annual ugly sweater party hosted by Icon Ryan. Live music will be played by guest DJ O-Boyy and drink specials will be served throughout the night. Friday, December 25th, 9 pm, Bleu Martini, 24 s 2nd Street. 

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One-in-Three Americans Is Hitting the Road This Weekend. Here’s How to Prepare.

“From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific…” 

Looks like it’s going to be terrific around here too, for the lowest gas prices in seven years combined with back-to-back long holiday weekends are both contributing to what looks like a record-breaking year for holiday travel both locally and nationally, observers say.

Nationally, AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts a record 100 million Americans, or one in every three, will head at least 50 miles from home to visit friends and family over the holiday period stretching from yesterday to Jan. 3. That works out to an average of 8 million Americans traveling each day, says AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Jana Tidwell.

Within the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region covered by PennDOT District 6, AAA predicts that about 1.14 million residents, or 28 percent of the total, will be traveling over the holidays, up 2.1 percent from last year. About 1.03 million, or 90 percent of those traveling in this region, will do so by car. “Traveling by car is more convenient for most people, and it’s more cost-effective if you’re traveling with a large family,” Tidwell said. Another 6 percent will fly, and the rest will be on trains or buses. Read more »

10 Very Philly Christmas Songs to Break Your Holiday Tune Rut

Jon Solomon feeling festive in his studio at WPRB.

Jon Solomon feeling festive in his studio at WPRB.

On Christmas Eve, WPRB DJ Jon Solomon will kick off his 27th annual 25-Hour Holiday Radio Show, well known around town for his collection of off-beat tunes with a punk and indie twist. You can listen at 103.3 FM starting 5 pm on December 24th all the way to 6 pm on Christmas Day.

In the spirit of the season — and because we’re a little sick of listening to all the familiar tunes already — we asked him to share some of his favorite holiday songs from Philly artists. He sent us some doozies — from something by The Dead Milkmen to an oh-so-Philly-style version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (eat your heart out, Tina Fey). Give them a listen below and share them with friends for the ultimate Very Philly Christmas.

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16 Things to Do in Philly This Week

Disney Header

If you’re looking for last-minute holiday gifts, why not take your loved ones to a show this week in Philly? There’s plenty of options for all ages and tastes, from the return of Disney on Ice and Martha Graham Cracker to Robert Glasper and John Waters. If movies are your cup of holiday tea, head over to the Roxy to catch a tipsy BYO National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. All our picks below:

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Spend Christmas Eve with Stargazy Pies at Aldine


South Park’s Cartman would appreciate this pie fest.

In what we hope becomes a long running tradition, on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24th, Aldine chef/owner George Sabatino is inviting his long time friend Sam Jacobson, chef/owner of East Passyunk’s British pie and mash shop, Stargazy, to come over and celebrate the holiday.

And instead of turkey, ham, seven fishes or even Chinese food, there will be pies. An all-you-can-eat pie buffet to be exact. The event will cost $40 per person and will include Stargazy staples plus special pies like, pulled beef cheek; chorizo and mussel; chana masala (vegetarian), and winter pumpkin with house ricotta (also vegetarian).

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This Photo of Adam Joseph’s Son on Santa’s Lap Has Gone Viral

Somewhere in the stacks of your mom’s old photo albums, there is definitely a photo of you in Santa’s lap crying your eyes out to get away. And yes, dad may have pulled it out a time or two to humiliate you in front of friends, but only a handful of people have seen it, right? 6ABC weatherman Adam Joseph’s little boy, Jacob, won’t have that luxury.

His pops dropped a photo of him on Facebook bawling his eyes out when he met Santa a few days ago. The photo has gone viral — like many of Adam Joseph’s updates do — at press time being liked by well over 10,000 people and shared by 82 more. (83 now, if you count me.) Check out the little guy below. The picture is adorable, capturing, as Joseph remarks in his status, a rite of passage for the family. “I was secretly happy he cried (can use as blackmail later in life) but the dad in me wanted to hold his hand,” he writes

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10 Awesome Christmas Songs You’ve Probably Never Heard

best-christmas-songs-robert-drakeMost folks have a love-hate relationship with Christmas songs.

Perhaps it’s the feeling of being forced to embrace the season regardless of what life has thrown your way the past 11 months. Or maybe it’s simply that many Christmas songs are so sickeningly sweet that you might as well carry a NovoLog insulin pen just in case.

But for the 200 or so Christmas songs we all know, there are thousands more that have rarely been heard — from renditions of classic songs to original tunes that embrace the season, warts and all.

For the past 22 years I have had the honor of hosting The Night Before on XPN, a live radio extravaganza. Every December 24th, I take-over WXPN (88.5FM) in Philadelphia for 24 hours nonstop to play anything I want from my insane collection of holiday music that has grown over the past 30 years.

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PHOTOS: Gorgeous Shots From Ice Sculpture Event on East Passyunk

On Saturday, Passyunk Avenue hosted its first annual Arctic Ave event. The centerpiece of the gathering was a handful of ice sculpture stations that moved down the promenade throughout the night — starting at the Native American head at the Gateway to outside Pat’s and Geno’s at Cheesesteak Corner. Among the sculptures that were created were an icy base for the Joey Giardello sculpture at Mifflin Triangle, a Frozen snowman at the Singing Fountain and finally an ice-carving battle that capped off the night. Along the way there were visits from Santa, live music and, if you were close enough to the in-progress sculptures, the closest thing we’ve had to a snow day this season. Kids played around under the falling shavings that were shot up into the air, despite the fact it was a muggy 60-plus outside.

Local photographer Colleen Stepanian sent some gorgeous shots of the occasion. Check them out below:

SEPTA to Detour for Holiday Events on Saturday

city street travel

SEPTA bus routes near Memorial Hall in West Fairmount Park, on Spring Garden Street in Northern Liberties, on 9th Street in the Italian Market and along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill will be detoured for part of the day on Saturday, December 12th, in order to accommodate four holiday-themed events. Read more »

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