Here’s What’s Missing From the #BlackLivesMatter Discussion

NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 23 2014: Thousands rallied in Staten Island demanding justice & accountability in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown & other victims of alleged police brutality a katz / Shutterstock.com

NEW YORK CITY – AUGUST 23 2014: Thousands rallied in Staten Island demanding justice & accountability in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown & other victims of alleged police brutality a katz / Shutterstock.com

There are missing pieces in the coverage of Black Lives Matter.

Yes, putting an end to abuse of force by the police is a primary goal. But there are other systemic things that impede the quality of black life: Bad schools. Poor nutrition. Bad health. These things matter, too, but they’re not getting the attention of tragedy-porn dashcam video and police confrontations with protesters.

It’s time that we broaden our understanding of Black Lives Matter to include how the movement affects black lives that are still being lived, to address the issues that impact quality of life for blacks living in America.

The deaths of black youths have galvanized protesters and the children have become the barometer of the movement and how much work is left to be done. The legacy of redlining and its uneven distribution of resources impacts their access to basic needs, ranging from quality public education to quality produce.

So let’s talk about the rest of the agenda: Read more »

How Did Dîner en Blanc Become Philadelphia’s Most Polarizing Event?

It’s not that I hate Diner en Blanc.

It’s more that I really, really hate Diner en Blanc.

That is, if Diner en Blanc actually exists. My working theory is that it doesn’t, that the organizers of Thursday night’s dinner party accessed my subconscious and designed an elaborate hoax based on my wildest nightmares and most visceral fears. Think Freddie Krueger, but with more seersucker and entitlement, less clawed gloves and face melt.

Far-fetched? Perhaps. But the alternative is believing that thousands of my fellow Philadelphians entered a lottery for a chance to buy $39 tickets to a dinner party that doesn’t serve dinner. That they’re seriously going to dress in head-to-toe white and drag their own tables, chairs, dishware and food into Center City during a heat wave. That — per the world’s most eye-stabby slide show — “once all the guests are settled in, [they’ll] spontaneously lift their white linen napkins to indicate the beginning of the dinner.” Read more »

The 10 Worst Tourist Traps in Philadelphia, Ranked

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer.

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Liberty Bell | Jeff Fusco, Visit Philly. Sugar House | G. Widman, Visit Philly, Tourists and Ride the Ducks, shutterstock.com

So, you’re planning a trip to Philadelphia to see the pope, or for a convention, or for the Dalai Lama, or to attend the DNC, or, you know, just to take a trip. There’s a lot to see and do here, but there are also plenty of tourist traps. And since we want you to have the best possible experience while you’re visiting our city, we thought it important to warn you about them as well — and offer some alternatives worth writing home, or at least posting on Facebook, about. Without further ado, here are the worst tourist attractions in Philadelphia — ranked. Read more »

Is Stripper Registry Bill a Trojan Horse Meant to Shut Down Nudie Bars?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

I don’t like strip clubs.

The first time I went to a nudie bar, I felt like I was watching pornography with a room full of people I would never even want to hug, let alone fire up RedTube.com next to. I decided pretty quickly that my first time would be my last time.

So I can understand why state Rep. Matt Baker might have the impulse to shut down strip clubs. The Tioga County Republican has introduced a bill that would require strippers to provide tons of information — their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information, trafficking status and photo ID — to a government registry. He says the legislation is singularly aimed at fighting the horrors of sex trafficking, but truth be told, it also appears to be designed to wreak havoc on the strip club industry.

And the thing is, you can’t just put a place out of business simply because you find it distasteful. I don’t personally like strip clubs (or casinos or pet boutiques) either, but I think they should be allowed to exist. Read more »

Why Are You Walking Barefoot Around Center City?

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

It was 11 a.m. on a Friday at 15th and Locust when I saw it: a man, in nice khakis and a polo, holding his shoes and socks in one hand and his cell phone in the other. No, there wasn’t a fire, and, yes, he was totally barefoot and walking down the street like it was no big deal, chilling and chatting on his phone.

I had to stop and wonder if I wasn’t in some sort of Alice in Wonderland-type dream (more on those later), but, nope: This was real life and this dude was barefoot walking down a dirty Philly street. I’d say this was a strange, isolated incident, but it isn’t. I keep seeing people casually walking down the sidewalk with absolutely no footwear. And I don’t understand. Read more »

Why You Won’t Find Me in a Yoga Class

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Shutterstock

I’m no stranger to doing things that make me uncomfortable. When I first began dabbling in CrossFit last year, I worried about walking into a new kind of workout, with new people speaking a fitness language all their own, and finding that I wouldn’t fit in. But I took the first step — then the second, and the third — and I haven’t looked back since.

Which is why it continues to puzzle me that I just can’t get into yoga — that is, yoga classes at yoga studios with other yoga students. I’m happy as a clam doing yoga in the privacy of my own living room with the help of a video. But a class? It’s just not for me, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Read more »

Expert Opinion: The Most Important Ingredients for Lasting Weight Loss

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Shutterstock

In my work as a weight-loss expert, people often ask me which diet plan is the best. They’re usually surprised when I don’t have an answer. I think there are merits to most diet plans on the market today, and chances are, if you can adhere to any well-researched diet, you will lose weight.

The real challenge of weight loss, however, is not finding a good diet plan. Walk into any bookstore and you can thumb through hundreds of diet books; there’s no absence of advice in this area. The real challenge of weight loss, as any yo-yo dieter will tell you, is keeping the weight off for good.

Read more »

OPINION: Put. The Phone. Down.

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Shutterstock

Editor’s note: Green Philly Blog co-founder and editor Julie Hancher has a message for you. In her words, “Put down the damn phone.” Inspired by my intentional two-week vacation from email, she decided to challenge herself (and others) to break their smartphone addiction—both because constantly checking your phone is really tacky when, say, you’re out to happy hour, but also because it’s not good for your brain to be multitasking quite so much. Check out her rant post below. 

When did going out socially turn into isolation?

Have you been out lately and looked around? Maybe thought, “OMG, everyone is on their goddamned phones.”

I’m not being sadistic. I’m talking about the inability of anyone to communicate without a damn phone in their hand. And not just online – I mean, like always being preoccupied with someone else. Or somewhere else. Or someone else’s lives on Facebook, Instagram or email.

Statistically, Americans are using their iPhones more than ever.  It’s not just an observation walking around… uh… anywhere. In January, more Americans accessed the internet from tablets and smartphones rather than their good ol’ computers.

Read more »

Celiac Foundation President: Stop Calling It the Gluten-Free ‘Diet’

gluten free

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President of the Philly-based National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and former Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge semifinalist, Alice Bast, wrote a really interesting piece for the Huffington Post this week, in which she argues that we should do away with the term “gluten-free diet”—specifically, the “diet” part of the equation.

Read more »

This Philly Trainer Says You’re Working Out All Wrong

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Shutterstock

Imagine that you’re buying a house. You find one that’s in your price range, has a big yard, good kitchen, sweet roof deck and garage, but you notice some water damage caused by a leaky roof. Clearly, before you buy the house, the owners need to do some work. But instead of thinking about the work that needs to be done, your first thought is, What color should I paint the walls?

This, of course, is flawed logic when it comes to buying a house. We can all agree on that. But what most people don’t recognize is that they fall into this same flawed thought-pattern when it comes to their fitness routine. It’s understandable: We all want pretty results. We all want to succeed. We all want it now. To get there, most people ignore the real challenges and follow the path of least resistance: They do only what they are already good at, what they enjoy, and what gets — according to their own definition — “results.”

The problem is that by so narrowly focusing your fitness on what your body can already do well, you are neglecting the very movements that your body needs help developing, improving and mastering.

Read more »

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