03.13.09 – Friday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: altruistic [al-troo-is-tik] adj. unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others

Birthday: Walter Annenberg (1902), Sammy Kaye (1910), L. Ron Hubbard (1911), Neil Sedaka (1939), William H. Macy (1950), Dana  Delany (1956), Adam Clayton (1960),  Common (1972), Danny Masterson (1976)

Occurrence: 1954Milwaukee Braves’ outfielder Bobby Thomson brakes his ankle during spring training, allowing then-unknown Hank Aaron a spot on the roster. That is the kind of thing it sucks to be famous for.

Irksome: Once in a while, I read something that puts my daily life in total perspective. Martin Smith’s article in this week’s Philadelphia Weekly was sobering. It’s the story of Michael Kingsley, a homeless man who recently passed away near the corner of 13th and Chestnut Sts. while pedestrians walked on by. These days, we all tend to think of our lives in terms of our hardships. Well, if you are reading this, chances are you won’t ever have it as bad as Mr. Kingsley had it. His story, while potentially reaffirming on an individual level, exposes some glaring problems on a societal level.

Quotation: We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpsesRobert Ardrey

Soupçon: Criminals used to shave the edges of coins to gather miniscule amounts of precious metals. Mints battled these fiends by putting serrated edges around some coins, like the quarter.

Tune: When it comes to employing a song to tell a story, there are very few that can rival Elvis Costello. Check out “God’s Comic” a song about a priest who dies, goes to heaven and meets God for the first time. Best line? When God says to the priest, “I’ve been wading through all of this unbelievable junk, and wondering if I should’ve given the world to the monkeys.”

Link: I Am Fuel, You Are Friends – a superb indie music blog run by Heather Browne. Read it daily.

Gallimaufry: My friend Dawn Tancredi is running for Judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Click HERE to see her website. Please vote for her this upcoming May 19th. She’s good people…Do you like to cuddle? Of course you do. So get your affectionate self over to Abington this Saturday, March 14th for a Cuddle Party. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, this event is just about sharing some human contact. Perverts need not apply…The economy is bad shape. We all know this. But – at least in Philadelphia – things could be worse. Read Bruce Schimmel’s current Op-Ed article, “Cant Beat the Grid? Green It.” It’ll make you feel good…Happy Birthday to my younger brother Jeremy, a so-so brother but a great guy. Just kidding about the so-so brother part. Mostly…Sunday night, head down to the M-Room at 15 W. Girard Avenue and check out local Philly band, The Swimmers. You won’t be disappointed… For those of you inquiring about the next addition of True Story, I’m pleased to announce that I’m making strides and hope to have it ready within the next week or so…Have a great weekend (especially those of you braving The Erin Express) and thanks for reading this week. Come back Monday for some more.

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03.02.09 – Monday

Whereabouts: Philadelphia, PA

Word: sacrosanct [sak-roh-sangkt] – 1. extremely sacred of inviolable 2. not to be entered or trespassed upon 3. above or beyond criticism, change or interference

Birthday: Sam Houston (1791), Dr. Seuss (1904), Desi Arnaz (1917), Mikhail Gorbachev (1931), Tom Wolfe (1931), John Irving (1942), Lou Reed (1942), Karen Carpenter (1950), Jon Bon Jovi (1962), Ben Roethlisberger (1982)

Occurrence: 1962Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks in a single game. This record has never been broken and, chances are, it never will be.

Irksome: As I write this, it is Sunday evening and it is snowing heavily outside. The forecast is calling for 6”-10” of snow for Monday morning. In the city of Philadelphia, a snowstorm brings out three distinct groups of people:

  1. Alarmed – You walk around your workplace, ask for a weather update every other minute and express absolute astonishment that it might snow as if you live in Mexico City. After work, you drive as fast as you can to the supermarket, buy enough groceries for approximately 6 weeks, speed home, gather your family around, tell them how much you love them and hope that the sun rises in the morning. The sun does rise in the morning and you now have to find a way to use 12 cartons of milk before they spoil.
  2. Ecstatic – You can’t wait for the snow because it means (a) you don’t have to work the next day, and (b) you can get completely drunk like there is no tomorrow. The next morning at 6AM, you wake up to a call from your boss saying that you indeed have to work and you spend the rest of the day cursing “the goddam weatherman.”
  3. Stoic – You are prepared for it to snow. You half-believe the weatherman. You live your life like it is just an ordinary day. The next day is business-as-usual.

Quotation: “Some days it’s incredibly easy to write four thousand words in an afternoon. Other days, it’s impossible to write two sentences. There’s no consistency with the difficulty of the process.”Chuck Klosterman

Tidbit: The term five-hole in hockey refers to the space between the goalies legs. The other holes are the four corners of the goalmouth. As long as I’ve watched hockey and I didn’t know that until this weekend.

Song: Army Navy’s rendition of Maxine Nightingale’s 1975 “Right Back (Where We Started From)” is a cover that makes me realize that even dopey songs from the 70s have some kind of musical value.

Gallimaufry: Click HERE to read all about the feud between The Chestnut Hill Local and The Chestnut Hill Community Association…Saw Milk last night. Great movie. After Into The Wild, I planned on boycotting Sean Penn for eternity, but I lifted the ban last night and thought it was one of the best portrayals ever. Also, James Franco was fantastic. Go see it…There are over 70 sites in the Greater Philadelphia area housing sex slaves. Click HERE to read Tara Murtha’s article about in Philadelphia Weekly.