Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

27 July 2006

Murder and margaritas...

There should be a joke or witty, observational connection in there somewhere, but all I got is "those are the topics of this week's column, and my contribution to the cover story."
Lo siento.

26 July 2006

One of those Dan Savage stories ...

... I wish I'd have been the first one to write in Philly. Nice job, Staff Writer Carrie Budoff.


Want to see me look like the city's smirking, token naysayer? I shouldn't even point it out. (You may have to search for the "decision day for olympic elimination city" vid)


If you get a chance, check out the Channel 3 news tonight. They swang by the office today to interview me about why I think Philly trying to get the 2016 Summer Olympics is a horrific idea. Not sure what time it'll be on (I think they have 5, 6, and 11 p.m. newscasts), or if I won't end up on the cutting-room floor, but hell, what's wrong with a little potential airtime?

25 July 2006

So effin hot

It took me months to get over the Pat O'Brien voice mails, well, if I've gotten over them at all, that is. So anyway, a co-worker sent a blog link along to me. Turns out that this is Betsy, as in Pat O'Brien's Betsy, as in the Betsy who he wanted to the waitress to hook up with, complete with hookers and coke and craziness.

More on Sal

In case I haven't mentioned it enough yet, the Phillies are dead to me. On the bright side, someone forwarded a nice Sal Fasano tribute video earlier today. The Fu Manchu will live forever.

24 July 2006

First-ever Philly Blunt poll

So, the Christians sent me another eye-opening email this weekend. Here, verbatim, is the opening:

Majority of Adults Feel it is not Morally Acceptable to View Pornographic Websites and Videos
NEW YORK, July 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Almost three in four (73%) U.S. adults think that viewing pornographic websites and videos is morally unacceptable, according to a survey commissioned by Morality in Media and conducted by Harris Interactive. This compares with 21% who feel that viewing pornographic websites and videos is morally acceptable. The question and overall breakdown of responses are as follows: “Do you consider it to be morally acceptable to view pornographic websites and videos?”
73%-- No
4%--Not Sure

Well, I can't resist, so dear readers, do you consider it to be morally acceptable to view pornographic websites and videos? Send your votes, and any additional comments, to I'll post the all-too-predictable results when I have the all-too-predictable results.

First-ever Philly Blunt poll

So, the Christians sent me another eye-opening email this weekend. Here, verbatim, is the opening:

Majority of Adults Feel it is not Morally Acceptable to View Pornographic Websites and Videos
NEW YORK, July 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Almost three in four (73%) U.S. adults think that viewing pornographic websites and videos is morally unacceptable, according to a survey commissioned by Morality in Media and conducted by Harris Interactive. This compares with 21% who feel that viewing pornographic websites and videos is morally acceptable. The question and overall breakdown of responses are as follows: “Do you consider it to be morally acceptable to view pornographic websites and videos?”
73%-- No
4%--Not Sure

Well, I can't resist, so dear readers, do you consider it to be morally acceptable to view pornographic websites and videos? Send your votes, and any additional comments, to I'll post the all-too-predictable results when I have the all-too-predictable results.

Purple Rain

And I quote:

"One soldier then reached Prince through the connecting pipe and, along with four other soldiers, took him back through the pipe and up the abandoned well to ground level. ... The camera showed the boy looking around timidly, munching on chocolate and drinking milk from a can that had been lowered by rope into the hole, along with some biscuits and tea made by his mother."

Yes, I realize Prince isn't Jewish, but how often to I get a legitimate chance to post a link to Borat?

21 July 2006

You say you want a revolution?

Because it's not like they have anything more important to worry about these days, our legislators are sticking the screws to online gambling sites:

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a measure 317-93 to make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online-gambling sites. The House bill was part of a package of 10 items - known as the "American values agenda" - that the conservative wing of the Republican-controlled House made a priority. The 10 issues include gay marriage and flag burning.

Ok then, let's talk values. (My favorite excerpt: Republican Party Chairman Sam Walls,who is married, was urged to drop his candidacy for Congress when it was found he likes to dress up in women's clothing).

A.C. bound, yo

Well the weekend's here and I'm A.C. bound after work. Sadly, I won't be going to catch the Gatti/Baldomir fight. Well, maybe it's not so sad at all. This one has disaster written all over it. If Baldomir was Russian, I'd be expecting "Death from Above" headlines in Sunday's paper, and Mickey Ward to be preparing to train in Russia for his fight of vengeance. Not that Baldomir's any good. I just got a bad feeling that Gatti's one misplaced punch away from Ali. TKO, 7th.

Which brings me to the real reason why I'm heading down (aside from visiting someone I'm writing about in two weeks and trying to sneak a few hands of Hold 'Em in at Caesars): a party for A.C. Associated Press legend John Curran, who worked out of the A.C. Press office when I was down there (still does until today, actually), but is now packing up the family and moving north to Vermont. Good career move, but he'll be missed.

Can't let him go without sharing one great story: We were both working a story where a 17-year-old girl stabbed a 50-some year old dude to death in a motel right behind Resorts, stuffed his body under a bed (one of those wooden frame ones), took dude's car and bailed town. Well, over the next two nights, a German couple gets the room in which murder happened and sleep ON the bed. Finally, they complain about the stench and housekeeping finally lifts the bed up. Ta-Da! Dead body. So, what does John do to get a better sense of the story? Why, he sneaks into the hallway, grabs a sheet that's laying on the ground and, oh yeah, sniffs away. Mmm, mmm good. (My story, of course, was still better, but his lives on online).

Best of luck, Mr. Curran. You'll be missed!

20 July 2006

Yep, that's Barbaro ...

... and, showing this'll be quite a fun week, hate mail's already pouring in from as far away as California. Think before you write people; reading comprehension's as important as it was on the fourth grade Iowa tests. The column.

19 July 2006

Tomorrow's column is about ....

(Photo courtesy of Sabina Louise Pierce/U Penn)

18 July 2006

U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens on the "Internets"

It's tubes!
(Sorry it's so late, but give it time, and follow along with the transcript; it's well worth it, considering this man is in charge of federally regulating the Internet)

See what happens when they can't grow tobaccy

Sometimes my inbox at work produces a gem of an email. Today was one of those lucky days. From the keen minds over that the Traditional Values Coalition:

Is ‘Fetal Farming’ In Our Future?

Sweet Jesus, I didn't know fetuses, or feti, or however you pluralize the unborn came from the ground! (So much for the stork). Oh, it gets better from there:

If pro-abortion forces win the stem cell debate, it is inevitable that fetal farms will be established to harvest stem cells from unborn human beings. This nightmare scenario is reminiscent of the 1970s Michael Crichton novel, “Coma,” where adult humans were kept in comatose states in a hospital so that their organs could be auctioned off to the highest bidder on a world stock market.

Liberals already vehemently defend partial-birth abortion, a process involving pulling a child from the womb, puncturing of his skull and sucking out the brain so the abortion can be completed. They typically support euthanasia as well to rid our nation of the elderly.
Is there any line a liberal will not cross to exterminate human lives? Apparently not.

And finally:
Rev. Sheldon (the author) is the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, DC. His new book, The Agenda -- The Homosexual Plan to Change America, was recently released by FrontLine Publishers, a Strang Communications company.

Godspeed, Brother Sheldon, and good luck.

News from the Absurd

Even though he's paid to write about hockey on a continental level, he really doesn't know what he's talking about. Here's a sage who thinks Eric Lindros will prove to be a wise signing for the Dallas Stars. Note to Bob Clarke: I hear Ilkka Sinisalo and Ron Flockhart may be available on the cheap.

Somebody PLEASE put a muzzle on baby Terrell

Maybe we could tolerate him when he was catching 80-yard touchdowns and helping the Birds get to their first Super Bowl since 1980. But now I'm starting to think - OK, I've been thinking it for more than a year, but you get the point - that it's time for a T.O. boycott. The man has absolutely nothing to offer society. He's a crybaby. A self-absorbed, emotional-development-stunted whiner. And now, Mr. Come Over to My House and Watch Me Do Sit-ups in the Driveway is blaming the media for all his woes.
Earth to T.O.: You ARE a selfish player.
You ask "Why you?" Here's why, Terrell: Your persecution-complex ploy is so utterly transparent that even 10 year olds - you know, the kids who have surpassed your maturity level - can see right through it.
If the world thought it was bad when the fans at the Vet cheered Michael Irvin's injury, wait till October when T.O. tries to go across the middle on B Dawk.

17 July 2006

Friggin' Cubs

At this point, after the Cubbies found a way to give up two grand slams in an inning, the only thing that keeps me going is this: "At least I'm not tethered to the Phillies."
Die, Steve, Die.

16 July 2006

Cheers, Woody!

I'm man enough to admit it: Yes, I've googled myself from time to time. And this week, I'm happy that I did.
Seems that Woody Harrelson's activism Web site threw up a link to a cover story I wrote in early July about a bunch of anti-war grandmothers taking over a Philadelphia military-recruiting station. (If the link doesn't work, just search the site under my name and it'll come up).
Makes me want to rethink all those hippie-disparaging comments I've made over the years. Ok, not really. But, I will watch Kingpin today just to throw a little support back Woody's way.

14 July 2006

A Parting Weekend Thought

Again, TiVo proves it's the best thing this side of electricity. My Spanish comprehension may be broken, but who cares? The second best thing going on television these days -- the best being It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, of course -- is Univision's Rebelde. Five reasons why: Latina pop starlets as schoolgirls.

Quote of the decade

"As a spiritual man, I felt it would be a sin against my God for me to wear all that gold again because I spent a lot of time with the less fortunate."

First they came for the winos, but I wasn't a wino ...

This is nothing short of hurtful and mean. What next? A ban on Midnight Dragon? (On the brightside, I now know a website entitled exists. Glorious, glorious day)

The countdown is on...

254 days. Book your flights now.

13 July 2006

Rather be dead than ugly?

Now, I've never watched Project Runway, and I never will, but this story out of the N.Y. Daily News caught my eye ... seems one of the models got smacked by a bus near the end of the pre-taped season and dragged a while. Sucks for her, with the shattered eye socket and all. But what are her first words upon waking up? "Am I still on Project Runway"?
Wonder how they broke it to her lightly.

Mum, could I have some chicken noodle?

If you don't eat your soup, how can you have any pudding?
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your soup?

Seems as if the Brits are about to find out as the Soup Nazi branches out across the Atlantic.

Obviously, this week's column ...

... is about hippies, just like they all should be.

11 July 2006

For my out-of-Philly friends

So, a reporter interviews Phillies owner Bill Giles the other day about Brett Myers, the Phils' pitcher who apparently beat the living hell out of his wife in public up in Boston a couple weeks back. Well, lo and behold, what does Giles say? (You'll love this, Jackson). That Myers was "helping his wife."
Of course, they're backpedaling today.

This week's column involves ....

10 July 2006

It was only a matter of time

Sticks and stones...

...and headbutts may break bones. Here's a story about what may have set Zidane off.

Zidane apparently called "dirty terrorist"

Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:38 PM BST17

PARIS, July 10 (Reuters) - France captain Zinedine Zidane was apparently called a "dirty terrorist" by Marco Materazzi before he head-butted the Italy defender in Sunday's World Cup final, the anti-racism group SOS Racism said on Monday.

"According to several very well informed sources from the world of football, it would seem that the Italian player Marco Materazzi called Zinedine Zidane a 'dirty terrorist'," SOS Racism said in a statement.

Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, was shown a red card after the incident and Italy went on to win on penalties after the match was tied 1-1 following extra time.

The Paris-based group called for an inquiry and said world soccer's governing body FIFA had recently toughened sanctions against racism.

"It's for this reason that SOS Racism asks in a determined fashion for FIFA to shed light on this altercation and that sanctions laid out in the official rules be applied should this be the case," SOS Racism said.

Neither Zidane nor Materazzi have spoken in public about what had passed between them before the incident. French television reported that Zidane would talk about the incident "in the coming days".

And a subsequent response in the BBC:

Zidane blames Materazzi insults
Zinedine Zidane headbutts Marco Materazzi to the ground
The moment Zidane headbutted Materazzi to the ground
Zinedine Zidane's agent says the France captain headbutted Marco Materazzi in Sunday's World Cup final because the Italian made a "very serious" comment.

Zidane appeared to react to something that was said and was dismissed for his violent charge into his opponent.

"He told me Materazzi said something very serious to him but he wouldn't tell me what," agent Alain Migliaccio told BBC Five Live Sport.

Sources in France say it is believed Materazzi insulted Zidane's family.

Materazzi himself has not spoken publicly about the incident except to deny a claim by Paris-based anti-racism group SOS Racism, made on Monday, that he had called Zidane "a dirty terrorist".

"It is absolutely not true, I did not call him a terrorist. I'm ignorant. I don't even know what the word means," the Italian news agency Ansa quoted Materazzi as saying after the Italian team returned to Rome.

"The whole world saw what happened on live TV," he added.

Migliaccio, who spoke to Zidane early on Monday morning, added that Zidane did not elaborate on what Materazzi said.

"I don't know. Zinedine didn't want to talk about it but it will all come out in the next week," he said.

"He is a man who normally lets things wash over him but on Sunday night something exploded inside him.

"He was very disappointed and sad. He didn't want it to end this way."

The Futbol Life Aquatic

True to form, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys are whining that Zinedine Zidane was goaded into headbutting Italy's Marco Materazzi during overtime of yesterday's World Cup final. Sorry, but if retiring dude can't take a couple insults, maybe it's better that his career's over. (And to think, for a fleeting moment, that I almost wanted to see him go out on top.) Photo from
Go ahead, try and name a better nation to endure such humiliation in Germany? Didn't think so.

08 July 2006

Uh oh, Spaghetti O's

Thanks to the Hon. Rev. E.B. Webb for sending this inspirational tale of parenting north:

Dad faces poisoning charges
Feds: Kids fed tainted soup in extortion plot
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Stockbridge father was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he poisoned his children by feeding them soup he had tampered with, in hopes of extorting money from the manufacturer.
Three times, the children — Billy, 3, and Miranda, 18 months — had to be rushed to emergency rooms, with the last incident so serious that they remained hospitalized for a week, family members said.

William Allen Cunningham of Stockbridge allegedly poisoned his children, 3 and 1 1/2, three times.
William Allen Cunningham, 41, then contacted the Campbell Soup Co. blaming them for his children's hospital trips and threatening to sue, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
"This parent allegedly committed a horrific crime," U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. "In statements to police ... he allegedly said he intended to get money by suing the makers of the soup claiming the product was the cause of the children's sickness."
Never able to hold down a job for too long, Cunningham often was left tending to the children while his wife of about four years worked, family members said.
"I never liked him. He wasn't good with the kids, he lived with his mother and did a whole lot of mainly nothing," said his mother-in-law, Jan Dockery, Thursday evening. "I don't know what [Rhonda] saw in him."
According to the indictment against him, Cunningham first hatched his scheme around Jan. 1 when he prepared a bowl of Campbell's Roasted Beef Tips With Orzo Pasta soup, added a foreign substance to it, and fed it to his son.
Nahmias would not elaborate on what Cunningham supposedly added, saying more information may surface sometime next week during his arraignment.
The boy was taken to the emergency room, where Cunningham told nurses Billy had had some soup and fallen ill, authorities said.
The boy was treated and released.
Fifteen days later, Cunningham prepared another bowl of soup — Campbell's SpaghettiOs Sliced Franks — and after adding another "foreign substance" to it, fed it to Billy and his 18-month-old sister, Miranda, the indictment alleges.
Again, the children were taken to the hospital where a nurse later told authorities that she noticed a smell of lighter fluid, Nahmias said.
"The second trip was very concerning," Dockery, the mother-in-law, said. "Everybody began to have doubts but nobody could prove anything."
Cunningham then contacted Campbell's Pennsylvania offices, claiming that the soup he fed his children was contaminated either by the company or during the manufacturing process.
He told them he intended to sue the company, saying his children had been injured by its product.
Campbell checked with its manufacturing plants and internally to see if any other complaints had been filed about the soup.
It then sent Cunningham material, asking him to send them the packaging on the soup cans so they could investigate further.
Prosecutors said Cunningham instead waited two weeks, and on Jan. 29, prepared a bowl of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and added the antidepressants Prozac and amitriptyline to it, Nahmias said.
He then fed it to his son.
"His son reacted badly to the soup but rather than stopping and tasting it himself, he actually came and got his daughter and force-fed it to her," Nahmias said.
The girl became so ill that she was airlifted to an Atlanta hospital.
Both children remained hospitalized for a week, prosecutors and family members said.
By this time, Cunningham's wife "clearly had an idea" that something was not right, Nahmias said.
She has not been charged and now has custody of the children.
She did not want to comment Thursday evening.
"It's not been real good on her," her mother said. "How do you handle something like this?"
Cunningham was indicted on three counts of product tampering and one count of making false statements.
He was also charged with wire fraud — because he communicated with Campbell's via telephone — and mail fraud, because he received materials from the soup company as a result of his false claims.
If convicted, Cunningham can face a $1.5 million fine and up to 75 years in prison.

07 July 2006

Dead Baby in a Trashcan

We believe we know who the mother is, but are not prepared to release her name at this time.”
Ok, Mr. Prosecutor, give us a hint ... is the last name Spears?

Talk about buzzworthy

It's days like this that make me rethink whether Philly's as good a news town as I've always thought it was.

"He looked at me, and before I know it, he was attacking me. The motor kept going on and he was trying to cut through me and he never stopped - for two, three four times, he never stopped."

06 July 2006

When the Rev. talks ...

... you should listen. Especially when the Rev. in question is Al Sharpton, whose new TV show Sharp Talk with Rev. Al, a roundtable discussion in a barbershop, is well worth the monthly TiVo fee. (Personally, I've loved the guy ever since talking to him in A.C. court after he'd been locked up for a protest when I was working down that way. Of this, I'm certain: his hair was mesmerizing.)

This week's column...

... is actually the cover story, which is a follow-up on a previous column. Enjoy.

05 July 2006


I'll comment when I get done laughing.

Brothers of Italy, Italy has awakened ...

Having picked a Brazil/Argentina World Cup final, I presume my futbol prognistication holds little water these days, but what the hell, after reading about the fine hurricane gamblers (next post), I couldn't help myself.
France is gonna beat Portugal today, 2-1, maybe OT. Then, I think the Cup heads to the booted land. After that amazing win over Germany on Fabio Grosso's one-timer with 2 minutes left in extra time yesterday, it's destino for the Azzurri. A 2-0 final. (AP photo)

Oh, the fans they'll have in N'Awlins

"Betting on baseball gets boring. You're looking for a little action every now and then." ... Finally, degenerate gambling has a fresh poster child, he who wagers on weather.

01 July 2006

Parting is such sweet sorrow

(The final installment of Brazil-fan photos culled from the BBC and

Let's go Portugal, Italy or Germany

I'll concede this much: Zinede Zidane is an unbelievable soccer player. He owned the field against Brazil today.
BUT, now more than ever, I loathe the French. I loathe France. Everything about it. Should any nation invade them, they should be left to their own devices, which I presume would consist of throwing berets or baguettes to defend themselves.

A few pertinent thoughts from

Q. How do you say "Give me liberty or give me death!" in French?
A. I give up.

Q. How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?
A. Nobody knows. It's never been tried.

Q. What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands up?
A. The French Army.

Q. Why was the Chunnel built under the English Channel?
A. So the French government could to flee to London.

Q: Why don't they have fireworks at Euro Disney?
A: Because every time they shoot them off, the French try to surrender.

Q: Why was Jesus not born in France?
A: Because they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin.

Q: Did you hear about France's new weapons contracts?
A: They gave one to Ace Hardware to produce 250,000 wood sticks...they are still looking for a company to produce 250,000 little white flags.

Union Jacked

Ok, ok, so England had to play a man down because Rooney couldn't control his temper (Must be something about the number 9; I wouldn't have thrown him out, though). But to blame their exit entirely on him? Um, no. There's no way of knowing whether England would've scored and spared themselves a penalty-kick loss if they didn't have to play a man down. Bottom line: If you can't score more than one penalty shot (one that the goalie even got his hand on, at that), you don't deserve to win. End of story. Hated to see them go down, but Portugal was just the better side.
Now, let's see whether France can put Brazil down which, after the first half, is making an all-European semifinal round a distinct possibility. (Photo from the London Sun)

Exhibit 2,647 in the case against the Inquirer for being ridiculously out of touch

Hey, didja hear Philly's daily newspapers have new owners? Well, in case you didn't, here's an excerpt from the 500th non-story about it:

The promotions department put out a red carpet and unveiled a movie-style poster showing Tierney in a Superman getup, giving a power salute as he flew through the air. "Tierneyman," it said. "The Journey Begins."

Stop it. Now. Please. You're humiliating yourselves. Badly.

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