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:

17 November 2008

Weekend Reading Roundup

First, I'd like to start off with a nugget of knowledge I learned while watching a Nature special about primate intelligence the other day. (Monkeys!) Check this dude out!

According to the show, as they showed this freaky looking dude, "Childhood in monkeys is not primarily about a growing body, but a growing mind." Just thought I'd share. I also thought I'd share a photo of the breakfast I cooked yesterday because, well, I thought it was a damn good looking meal.

Mmm, sausage. By now, I hope, two goofy photographs have sufficiently distracted you from the fact that:
The. Eagles. Season. Is. Over.
Also, to the fact that:
The. Reid/McNabb. Era. Is. Over.
And what a sad way for it to symbolically end, with a whimpering 13-13 (bad luck) tie with a 1-8 (well, now 1-8-1) team that had ZERO to play for. ZERO. NOTHING. NADA. YET DONOVAN COMES OUT AND THROWS THREE INTS ON LIKELY SCORING DRIVES AND PUKES UP YET-ANOTHER CHANCE TO REDEEM HIMSELF IN THE EYES OF PHILADELPHIA.

God, I'm sorry. This one's particularly hard to take because when the Daily News a few years ago asked notable Philadelphians (I know, I'm not notable, but they asked anyway) which team would win the next championship, I went with the Birds over the Phils. Why? Because, and I paraquote, "Can you really imagine Donovan leaving town or retiring without a ring on his finger?"
Well -- mark the time, 10:46 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 17, 2008 -- I was wrong. Way wrong. And I'm done ranting, now. I'm sorry. Didn't realize how riled up I was till I sat down, started typing and decided the CapLock key was a necessary touch.

Oh yeah, stories I read while not watching a wasted football decade crumble before my eyes.
Vanity Fair takes a long look at why Bloomberg L.P. is thriving while other media outlets cut, slash and pillage their staff to the point where a good story is a surprise and the easy-out is the norm. (Big play given to Philly-bred Norman Perlstine in this one.)

This upcoming month's Maxim -- with Bondgirl Olga Kurylenko on the cover (sounds like she's got a wild side), and interview with Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers and the fact that 33 percent of West Virginia adults are missing a minimum of six teeth (helps explain the Democratic Primary results, no?) -- also has a grand piece on the history of the late Marlon Brando's island of Tetiaroa, located boat-distance from Tahiti. It's not online as best I can tell, but here's a summary: They're going to build a resort there now, because nothing's sacred.
The New York Times Magazine has a going-away interview with Condoleeza Rice in which the soon-to-be-former Secretary of State says things like:

"I have regrets about Darfur, real regrets. I don’t know that there were other answers. The president considered trying to do something unilaterally — very difficult to do. ...
"We worked day in and day out. Almost not a day passes in this office that we’re not trying to find some way to get more forces into Darfur. To make the Sudanese government live up to the multiple agreements that it has made and then walked away from. We go to the Security Council, and nobody wants there to be consequences, well, not nobody, sorry, some don’t wish there to be consequences. And so we end up sanctioning again, unilaterally. The Europeans do some things but other interests seem to then trump the responsibility to protect."

The mag also takes us a wee-bit deeper into the Obama inner sanctum in a piece that also reveals how the outgoing President's childhood home is in Midland, Texas where, fellow Friday Night Lights viewers will remember, is where Jason Street was treated for his spinal injuries.

But the Obama details help fill out the painting:

It was in Iowa, just a year ago. Obama was way behind Hillary Clinton. The heavyweights were called in, 200 members of Obama’s national finance committee. The money people. Many had given mightily. And now, it seemed, nothing was working. Obama said that before they all gathered to pass judgment, he wanted them — all 200 — to meet his grass-roots field team in Iowa.
They did, then gathered in a room at an Iowa arts center. The room was tense.
Obama explained that day that they were running a different kind of campaign, a real grass-roots campaign, one that grew from the bottom up, from the dirt, and that it takes time for those roots to take hold. And the heavy hitters nodded; yes, they understood that idea, but it wasn’t working. The polls were the proof. They showed Clinton with a double-digit lead.
And Jarrett can remember how Obama looked at them, hard-eyed, everything on the line. “ ‘Did you think I was kidding when I said this was the unlikely journey?’ ” Jarrett recalls him saying. “‘You thought this would be simple? No, change is never simple. Change is hard.
“ ‘Listen, I know you’re nervous,’ he went on. ‘But if you’re nervous, I’ll hold your hand. We’re going to get through this together. And if we win Iowa, we’ll win this country.’ ”
Jarrett said: “He turned their emotion around. He made sense of it. He told them why we were there and what was within our grasp. And people became jubilant. You never heard cheering like that. That was the turn, where it happened.”

As for the weekend papers, the Times' had pieces on:
-- Asbury Park's on-again-off-again revitalization,
-- President Obama's looming departure from Crackberry culture (really, we haven't figured out a way for the leader of the free world to even email?!),
-- MLB's shameful blackballing of Mark Cuban's bid for my beloved Cubbies gives way to a wise suggestion that he be given the keys to an under-the-radar franchise, say, the Kansas City Royals,
-- the horrific story of a black Staten Island man beaten on Election Night by white assailants chanting Obama-related taunts,
-- and an in-depth look at why Exxon just really doesn't care about leading your stinkin' green revolution....

Gingerly, over the last three years, Exxon has moved away from its extreme position. It stopped financing climate skeptics this year, and has sought to soften its image with a $100 million advertising campaign featuring real company executives, scientists and managers. One of the ads said the company aimed to provide energy “with dramatically lower CO2 emissions.”

As for the Inky,
-- I learned that Gamblin' Rick Tocchet is now the interim coach down in Tampa "Second Place" Bay,
-- Maricopa County, Az. is the most pro-McCain county in the land (H.I. McDunnough could've saw that comin' a country mile away). But please start running the excellent map graphics online, paper. Please.

-- and that things are bad, and getting worse, when it comes to ignorant white folk who want to lash out because somebody who doesn't look like them will be leader of their free world. Specifically, a wave of racist activity on college campuses. If it's happening here, in the bluest city of a blue state, I can only imagine what's shaking elsewhere, and it sure ain't good.


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