Pulse: Quick Takes

Opening for Ashlee

Pepper’s Ghost, five shaggy-haired rockers from Springfield, Delaware County (left), have been likened to the Beatles and David Bowie. So we thought it strange when the band announced its national tour with Ashlee Simpson — best known for her Saturday Night Live acid-reflux incident and being booed at the Rose Bowl. Do we smell a sellout? Nah, PG’s drummer insists. “We’re a rock-’n’-roll band,” says Steven Fessler, a.k.a. Zil, 29. “Anytime a band begins to excel, they start to hear they suck.” Zil also pledges that unlike Simpson, his band won’t rely on backing tracks to improve its sound.

Buy This Book

Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but the logistics aren’t always easy. Philly Mag contributing writer Caroline Tiger tries to help far-flung couples stick together with her new The Long-Distance Relationship Guide, just out from local publisher Quirk.

Raab’s Write Stuff

“HEAVEN FREEZES OVER” was the Daily News headline the day after the Eagles won the NFC championship. But it wasn’t another gem from the paper’s headline team. Credit goes instead to Esquire writer Scott Raab, who was in the newsroom to do a story on the DN as America’s best city tabloid. “A COLD DAY IN HEAVEN” was the front-runner until Raab suggested his alternative. He’s still doing his story despite the resignation of Zack Stalberg as Daily News editor. Says Stalberg, “As someone here acknowledged, it just goes to show, anybody can do this shit.”

Look, No Hands!

Visitors to this month’s Flower Show shouldn’t take their Convention Center pit stops for granted. According to cleaning giant Cintas’s fifth annual “America’s Best Restroom” contest, the facility has one of the country’s 10 best facilities. While other nominees got kudos for flashiness — New York’s ESPN Zone has TVs in each stall — our finalist gets respect from Big Hygiene for a workmanlike proximity to godliness. The bathrooms were noted for being immaculately clean and virtually hands-free. Vote for the hometown hoppers through March 11th at bestrestrooms.com.

Let’s Watch What We Do With Our Billboards, Shall We?

Ever since October, the “Select Greater Philadelphia” marketing campaign has greeted drivers heading west over the Ben Franklin Bridge with the following billboard message: “We’re trying to attract new business. (Let’s watch what we do with our fingers, shall we?)” We’ve been wondering: What the hell does that mean? One reading, according to SGP’s Jim Shannon, could be, “You shouldn’t flip people off.” So, the billboard announces that Greater Philadelphians are the type who give the finger regularly? “You’re reading too much into this,” says Shannon, offering other interpretations: Don’t give the peace sign; don’t pick your nose. Don’t give the peace sign? “Maybe we got a little too cute,” Shannon says. A new sign may go up as early as March 1st.