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 www.twitter.com/brianhickey Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/brianhickey/. Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court: divorcecourting.blogspot.com.

28 February 2009

A Multimedia Extravaganza!



I'll start by saying what I said this afternoon on Facebook: Brian Hickey is now taking applications for room aboard the Broncos bandwagon. For their heartless D that cost them a playoff bid two years running now has an aorta which will snatch them their a third Super Bowl ring. So, 200 words or less on why YOU should be a part of the Blue-and-Orange machine and, who knows, maybe I'll let you lay eyes on my Elway jersey!
For starters, I just want to shout out my second favorite "new" comedy on the flat-screen. I don't know if you can find it without DirecTV since it's on, well, the DirecTV 101 channel, but Trailer Park Boys is the absolute tits.



I don't know, it could be just as good as Eastbound & Down. I mean, they both have white trash and weed and a lotta foul language pouring out of Ricky and, to a lesser extent, Julian's in-and-out-of-prison mouths. But TPB has a dude named Bubbles who steals shopping carts from one mall and sells them back to another. Like I said, the absolute tits. Check this scene with Sebastian Bach. Yes, I said Sebastian Bach.

Extravaganza II (Book Edition): Just started reading Steve Lopez's book The Soloist. Will update all y'all on how good it is. But if you know Lopez, you already know the answer to that. (Here's a link to the movie trailor. In it, Robert Downey Jr.'s back to being white-skinned.)



Extravaganza III (Documentary Edition): "Robert Blecker Wants to Kill Me" is about a like-minded dude who thinks that murderers should be executed. The people behind the documentary disagree. But, they don't interject, just letting the story of Blecker searching his soul while getting to know a death-row inmate unfold. THIS is the way to go about debating, not like the pansies who sing Kumbaya and hold Hacky-Sackin' drum circles to make their "point" that executions are as immoral as the savage murders that prompt them.

And, finalamente, Extravaganza IV (Letters Edition): As in, this letter to the Inquirer on Saturday (because, even though I supported, both then and now, Mayor Nutter's idea we can't go on with indefensible suspicious minds dictating who gets stopped and who doesn't) ...

Stop and frisk
The stop-and-frisk policy in Philadelphia is becoming a nuisance in the African American community. This law, which is supposed to make our streets safe, is actually corrupting our neighborhoods.
My friends and I were stopped and frisked by police officers, without warning, while on our way to a basketball game. After the policeman searched us, I asked the officer what was his reason to search us without probable cause.
He replied, "You look suspicious."
How do you determine if someone looks suspicious? This law, which is supposed to keep our streets safe, seems to be just a reason for the police to harass teens. And, judging by statistics and experience, the target seems to be young black males.
This policy should be repealed because it deprives people of their civil rights, and it is degrading to the people of Philadelphia.

Kareem Gilmore
Philadelphia


Like with the death penalty, I say, don't get rid of it, but fix the hitches.

27 February 2009

Super Bowl Prediction: Broncos 42, Somebody 0


I gotta tell ya, this is a bittersweet day. For, as long as he's been an Eagle, Brian Dawkins has been the baddest-assed badass to come trawling onto that field like Orca and taking out every last guppy in his way. But today, allegedly, the Clemson alum prowled his way to the Rocky Mountains and signed with the Mighty Denver Broncos. (Yes!) (Or No! As someone close to the Birds management tells me that Dawk ain't flown the coop.) Now, it's bittersweet because, if true, days before the Giants playoff game, Dawkins signed a No. 20 jersey and had it sent over to me at Magee with direct orders to wear it so the squad would win. They did. And I will be forever grateful to Brian for that.
So, you'd think that I'd be upset that he -- along with Correll Buckhalter, he of the South Street weed -- (may have) left for Denver.
Well, no no no. Because I may be the lone Bronc-o-Birds hybrid fan in the whole damn land. (It's thanks to Elway.) And, let's be honest, with two rings to showoff, the Broncos (and QB Jay Cutler) afford Dawkins a better chance to retire with some championship jewelry. So, if he truly signed with the Broncos, the Birds fan in me wishes him a fond farewell loaded with much appreciation for the double-digits years of service he gave to this town that he loved so much. And the Broncos fan in me? Well, let's just say if you want on the bandwagon, you gotta convince me you're worthy.

Be sure to have your pets Kade and Neutered

On the day when I found out The Class War is Nigh!, I also managed to -- via Philebrity -- hear about the greatest f'in website this side of Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers. You won't believe this, but I'm at a loss for words. So I'll just let Philadelphia's Arthur Kade, he of www.arthurkade.com, take it from here. Make no mistake about it: I will be reading Arthur Kade regularly. And not only because he links to TMZ on his site.



From the post, Fear, Uncertainty and 1Oak:

... I on the other hand ended up meeting up with a model that I had met in Philadelphia 5 years ago at The Walnut Room in Rittenhouse Square. She is gorgeous, and totally my type, and when I met her at The Walnut Room after breaking up with The EX, I asked for her number and she kept blowing me off for at least 3 months so we never ended up going out. I recently reconnected with her, and we decided to meet up in NYC on Saturday night, but in the back of my mind, I doubted that she would show, and blow me off again. I told Radio Babe that life is karma, and that after how she had played me years ago, it was my turn to return the favor, so I would totally ignore her, and play hard to get. This would in turn make her want me more, and lead to something fun….
Well, she did show, hung out, and I thought that she was all about me, but then somewhere throughout the night, I realized that she had left my company, and started talking to another guy, and by the end of the night leaving with him. My strategy couldn’t have backfired any worse, and now I am probably somewhere in the “Friend Zone” with her. Note to self: do not try and exact emotional revenge on women who are gorgeous and you want to hang out and potentially sleep with.
We ended up leaving 1oak jumping in a cab, and heading back to my friend’s house, where from what I was told, I asked for a barrage of hair massages, and a back rub. We woke up the next morning, and went to Pastis in the meat packing district for brunch, and then heading home to lick our drunken wounds. Overall it was a great weekend that truly symbolized the ups and downs that will be experienced during this adventure over the next three years.




I may stop blogging because I can not match a witty gent who "asked for a barrage of hair massages." I don't even know what a hair massage is. BECAUSE MY HAIR DOESN'T GET STRESSED OUT EVEN WHEN I'M HANGIN' AT 1OAK!
Oh, this comment's pretty hot, too:

How is it not clear to you that you sound like a complete ass? Dont you remember “Look at my striped shirt”?? It was FUCKING JOKE Arthur Kade. It wasnt meant to be serious. It was making fun of people like you who didnt say these things out loud but definitely thought them. It was a narrative from within the representative douche bag’s head for all of us to laugh at what these guys probably thought. And guess what? You actually went and wrote out those things down - elaborated on them further than the original author ever intended - and were SERIOUS!!! You unprecedentedly ignorant asshole! Man oh man - does it get any better than that??




Like I said, I got nothing, absolutely nothing, to add. But be sure to check out the list of "places" that Kade "chills."

If I may interject...

You know, I just can't delve into the journo-blogger battle right now.
Why? Oh, because once-loaded D.C. Republicans (aka those who drove the economy into the f'in stained urinal with Bin Laden Pisscakes still sitting by the drain since their babyboy President couldn't accompish the mission of finding the dude who killed thousands of Americans) seem to think THE CLASS WAR IS COMING! THE CLASS WAR IS COMING!!!

Predictably, Republicans complained - much as they had done during last year's presidential campaign - that Obama was pitting the haves against the have-nots.
"The era of big government is back, and Democrats are asking you to pay for it," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R., Ohio) said. He suggested Obama's proposed tax increases would reach deep into the middle class, despite repeated administration statements that tax hikes would be limited to families making more than $250,000 a year.


I'm wonderin' if THE CLASS WAR! would be the same as a cripple fight outside the South Park, Colo. Henry's Supermarket. God, I hope so. Because if the war's startin', I can't go all brass-knuckles on tha richfolk until my skull bones are reinserted under my head skin.
J-J-J-Jimmmaaay. Wow, what a great audience.

And, the inspirational commentary:


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading downstairs to watch that rad North Carolina/Duke documentary on HBO. And if I see some monocle-wearing scrote in a Blue Devils T-shirt walking by the house, THE CLASS WAR will start with my sneaker-clad heels (get it?) delivering a Jersey Curb Sandwich to the mouth of the aforementioned scrote.

The Boot Fist Day


I'll long remember today as 1 A.N. (After Norman). He's the flamboyant creature whose American Idol performance of that song from, aptly, Dreamgirls -- I think -- mesmorized an entire junk-food-TV-watching nation but didn't earn him enough votes to edge out some dude who seems fit for a Rocky Horror redux.
A horror, indeed. And, literally, a rocky horror, if you consider the fact today, the nation's first major-market newspaper in recent memory, the Rocky Mountain News, which enabled me to follow the Mighty Denver Broncos in style, goes down. This truly is an era of diminished levels of public discourse, for don't think for one second that more than one percent of bloggers can ferret out stories without the papers. (Bonus question: What paper do you think will be first to fold in Philly?) So, a fond farewell, RMN. I guess, for the time being, I'll have to depend on the Denver Post to see how soon-to-be-new-Bronco(?) Correll Buckhalter is doin'.
But neither Norman Gentile (aka Nick Mitchell) nor faltering newspapers is the reason for the title of this post. Oh, no no no. This picture is:

Now, those of you wit' keen eyes will be able to immediately think, "Hey, that an amour-assisting fist-toy just like the one I have!" Well, congrats. Because you're an advanced creature. Allow me to explain.
A couple years back, I was staying over at my friends' home in NYC and the conversation turned to the fact that this man and his bride were walking through a store in the, I think, Village when they noticed a big wooden fist displayed.

(Wooden fist found on the first line of a Google photo shoot)

Proudly displayed, mind you. Now, they didn't purchase said wooden fist, but fully intended to go back and do so. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Fast forward to yesterday when my computer greeted me with a message from the female half of this couple. In part, it read:
Great news! I found the fist!! ... Will just 1 do?

My jaw hit the ground. First, I thought, no, just one will most certainly not do for I have an ambitious economy-saving project planned. Second, I emailed the other half of the NYC couple to tell him his bride had FOUND THE WOODEN FIST!
Fast-forward a couple hours and he'd gone to the store to check it out and realized, much to our dismay, that the fist wasn't wooden at all, but PVC. He wrote:
As I expected, [my wife] is not a connisseur of fists. She did indeed see A fist, but not THE fist. As I checked it out and tried to snap a pic, a couple middle eastern men who operate the shop bum rushed me in an attempt to prevent me from capturing a shot of the elusive fist. Attached [the photo up top of this post] is all I was able to walk away with, but had it been the larger wooden version we've been on a holy grail to discover it would be on its way to you now. Anyway, the search continues...

Added his wife:
So sorry for the false alarm...I saw a fist but it was plastic, which I'm told is for low class amateurs.

Now, of course, she has nothing to apologize for.
But the quest continues.
Know of a wooden-fist dispensary in the 215? By all means, let me know. I have a lot of spare time these days. (I can't help but think, though: If we'd thought to ask Norman Gentile, I think a fist would be in transit today.)

26 February 2009

Congrats go out to Mr. Mahal...

... For Henry St. Clair Fredericks -- aka Taj Mahal -- will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on May 6. Here, he's with the band at the Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus.
Pimp.

Gooooood Mornin' Camden County!

Let me start off with American Idol. Because I was in tears last night watching a simpleman's show. Because of Nick Mitchell, for whom I actually broke down and texted in a vote. Watch why:



In the following, he prepares to go downstairs, fetch Precious and demand that Catherine Baker Martin -- daughter of U.S. Sen. Ruth Martin -- put the lotion in the basket so he can finish sewing his lady-flesh suit:


Well, I'm off today to the scene of the hit-and-run to start interviewing folks about a night (and couple days thereafter) I can't quite remember. But at least the day's starting out well. Like how Family Court found a high-as-a-kite 15-year-old guilty of a hit-and-run yesterday. Or how the economy's gotten so bad that the po-po say that Miss North Wildwood 2007 (quite an honor, too) was caught passing bogus fiddies.



And, couldn't get to this yesterday since I didn't read it till after Lost, which is the only show better than Eastbound and Down (if you didn't catch Kenny Powers this week, do. Because he trips on E at the middle-school dance after punching a dude in the face at a car-lot appearance), but the Inquirer's Bob Ford penned an excellent piece on lying liars:
Whoever was the source for the story made a liar out of Reid and the Eagles' organization, and made a liar out of Fletcher Smith, too. Made them look bad. Whoever was the source of the story did, however, make McNabb look pretty good. Made him look like a desk-pounding kind of guy who isn't going to sit idly by any longer. Give me a team or trade me.
The problem is, according to team sources, he did no such thing.
Now, which liars are we supposed to believe?
In the end, it doesn't really matter, because Donovan McNabb is going to quarterback the Eagles next season. If he or someone in his camp feels better about posturing in the media in the interim, I guess that's fine. If the team doesn't want to appear backed into a corner by one of its employees, that's fine, too.
Wading through a swamp of anonymous leaks and denials is a fun way to spend February.


Bonus coverage:
Gleaned some gems from Entertainment Weekly this week, too. (Hey, don't judge. It's a wonder I can read or write less than three months later. Word.) Like:
-- Twenty-seven minutes of Sopranos' cussin'.
-- Borat's wife Isla talks about the looming I-can't-f'in-wait-for Bruno movie.
-- And, Watchmen seems like the type of movie I'll shell out $13 for. Even if it's based on a comic book.

25 February 2009

Recycle This

So, for years and years and years, the wise among us have been chirping that Philadelphia recycling is the pits. The bottom of a barrel that never gets emptied, so to speak. Well, I picked up the March issue of Mens Health (because, like, health matters a little more to this man these days) and on p. 76 sits a story entitled "Where Recycling Rules."
And wouldn't you know that sandwiched right between Charleston, WV and Milwaukee, WI at No. 12 in the whole land is: Philadelphia, Pa. which garnered an A- ranking?


(As an aside, big ups to Fresno and Fremont, Cal. and San Antonio, Tx. for being the top three and big downs to Colorado Springs, Vegas (!), and Wichita, Ks. for being 98, 99 and 100.
I must say, though, the formula for deciding the top, oh, dozen or so cities is a little suspect. Because, quite frankly, Philly just started citywide single-stream pick-up, like, within the past eight months.
But if Mayor Nutter's going to have to charge Philadelphians to get their trash and recycling picked up, at least he can say, "Yo, Curby Bucket is Pimp with a capital P. Do you really want Pimp to come smack the money out of you? Didn't think so. Word."
(Pictured: Curby's moneymakers)

The Second Writing

Hey all, just wanted to alert you to the fact that I've written my second column for the Metro post-hit-and-run. It's about drugs. (That should get your attention. So should the picture of my uneven dome.)
Note: the piece had to be edited for space, so the report I reference is available at drugsanddemocracy.org.

24 February 2009

Enemy Mine (updated Wednesday morning)

So, I just headed down to the Philadelphia Parking Authority to protest three tickets that I shouldn't have received, but did. I'll blog all about it tomorrow since I'm furious and dedicated to putting the "woman" who heard my case on the unemployment line. And I will. Make no mistake about it.
But I'll just give you a little tease as to why she wouldn't accept an argument from a guy in a helmet awaiting his second brain surgery. And I paraphrase:
"No sir, you don't need to be parked in a two-hour zone for two hours to get the ticket."
Priceless. F'in priceless to the point that a rent-a-guard had to come in and tell me to lower my voice which, mind you, can't get half as loud as it could before the hit-and-run which I'm starting to think a PPA Hearing Officer was behind the wheel for.

UPDATE! Whoops, the hearing officer wasn't a PPA employee so I apologize and move my ire toward the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication. The deputy head of that department, though, responded to my emailed complaint and offered me a second hearing in front of a different officer. So, I've calmed down a bit, which is good since my lone med left regulates my blood pressure that was through the roof after the car hit me.

If this passes, you can find me selling grilled-cheese sandwiches in a shack somewhere along the mighty Cooper River


So, does an injured brain courtesy of a hit-and-run dirtbag qualify said victim as "chronically ill" in the eyes of N.J. state senators? Because I got room for six plants, right here, in my home office. But my home office is in Philly. So, maybe it's time to move on back to the "progressive" Garden State. Holla, Jers.

"If medical marijuana can ease some of the suffering of a patient who's dying from a chronic, severe or terminal disease, state government should not stand in the way of that relief," [Sen. Nicholas] Scutari said after the vote.
The 22-16 Senate vote marked the first time the bill had advanced in the Legislature. It now goes to the New Jersey Assembly, where its fate is uncertain.
If the proposal becomes law, New Jersey would become the 14th state to allow medical marijuana.


Paging Dr. Green. Dr. Green, please call the grilled-cheese shed.

Kill Em All


I'm going to hold off on the joke that starts, "Since they were capitally punished when their owners filed for bankruptcy..." because it's not funny or acceptable for anyone to revel in an important industry's troubled outlook. But the Inquirer pissed me off today. Again. And I'm'a gonna tell you why:
Because those commie criminal-loving sons-of-guns got back on the quarter-operated toy horse outside the supermarket and urged Gov. Rendell -- who I currently loathe because of the whole DRPA/PATCO thing -- to get "inspired to put Pennsylvania in the good company of his more progressive neighbors." Granted, thinking like that is what cost "The Ram" the Oscar on Sunday.
But I also find it, well, peculiar and ironic that the paper practically celebrated Commissioner Charles Ramsey after he said, in the wake of the Pawlowski assassination, that the suspect, "wasn't hit enough. That's the only thing that matters. I don't care." I say "practically celebrated" because Ramsey's words were forceful. He came correct. Because people who kill cops deserve to get executed. In fact, all murderers deserve execution. And no whiney editorial headlined, "The Death Penalty: Principles first" can logically convince me otherwise. I said it before, and I'll say it again: If you want to fix the system, fix it. But if you eliminate it altogether like Jersey is trying to, you'll have blood dripping from, and staining, your hands.
And, Inky, you're starting to sound a little bitchboy-ey about the whole mess. What? Y'all weren't complaining about Heidnik not deserving to die after his headlines made the papers sell like hotcakes, were yas?

Bonus trivia question
Who's greedier?
A) The newspaper CEO who gave himself a raise while forcing the peons to forego their $25 bonus or
B) a gluttonous disgraced state senator (who looks eerily like a fading Squirrel King that's past its prime) who testified, in a trial about his (alleged) crimes, "that one of his ex-girlfriends had a drinking problem, that an aide was a gambling addict, that another had "emotional problems," and that one of his own daughters was troubled?
(I'd say B, but I'm sure people at 400 N. Broad would disagree.)

Bonus fun fact
As I wrote for the Keystone Edge website a few months back, the path could be cleared for six-pack sales statewide if Wegman's wins a case in Commonwealth Court. Which, according to the don't-harm-a-killer Inquirer, it did on Monday.

Milk cried for The Ram



Listen, I'm still furious that the "commie, homo-lovin' sons-of-guns" slighted Randy "The Ram" Robinson Sunday night because of Hollywood's lust for milk, but I've long loved me -- in a non-sexual way, of course -- some Sean Penn. Because he's the one dude that I consider more badass than I think of myself, though the hit-and-run just might have evened us out. I'll let you know when I get casted as the Junkyard Dog.
In any case, I read Penn's pre-Oscar interview in Rolling Stone last night and it reminded me of why I got much respec' for the man. I don't entirely agree with his politics -- except maybe that Bush and Cheney should "be in fucking jail," but I wholeheartedly believe that people who hold different stances than myself should be afforded the right to share them as many people as possible. And that freedom of not only speech but thought should be celebrated.
Here are some examples:

What do you think Harvey Milk would have become, if he had lived?
The only significant speculation I make is if you look at the timing, what an incredibly powerful voice he would have been when the plague hit, which was a year after. You had an entire administration that never said the word "AIDS." He would have pushed that issue, and there would be people alive today that aren't. That seems a pretty safe bet.

How about the famous scene in Mystic River, where your character is being held down by that huge group of police officers as he tries to get to his daughter's body?
This is my favorite story of his guidance. In the script, it was written that six guys are stopping me. I thought maybe two of them could take me. But if it's only six of them, someone might get hurt if I really let myself go, so I don't know what to do. I don't want a really fake fight, and I don't want to hurt anybody. Clint said, "I'll figure it out," and that's all he said. When I came back to the set, he had about 15 guys jump on me, and I was locked down — I was literally able to try to head-butt people, I was able to try to bite people, I was able to try to kick them. I didn't have to hold back at all, and it freed me to do anything. This is Clint thinking.

The gist was, they praised you as an actor but said you're a naive journalist.
Well, I think that they're professionally naive journalists. I have no regard for 90 percent of American journalism. That's why I travel and look for things for myself. If you're going to get on Cuba for its lack of free press, well, we don't have any press, as far as I'm concerned. We supposedly have the right to it. But we don't fulfill it. I'm flattered by their disparaging remarks. And with the television guys, a lot of it's based on actor envy. They're all a bunch of failed actors. Bill O'Reilly wanted to be an actor more than anything. So they have to diminish it. I've heard plenty of actors say, "I don't like it when actors get political." They're just trying to appease these people.

Have you seen other Oscar-buzz films?
I thought about getting out later today, start with Gran Torino and The Wrestler, and then see Benjamin Button later in the week. I run into Clint and Mickey all over the place lately and have to keep saying, "Sorry! I haven't seen it yet. . . ." [In a follow-up interview, Penn said he'd seen The Wrestler: "I wept. Beautiful piece of work."]

As Bush leaves office, do you have anything nice to say about him?
No. I truly think the man should be imprisoned for the rest of his life. I know that sounds like some lefty thing, but I think the state of accountability is a sham. It's one of my biggest problems with Barack Obama. When Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, a lot of people were upset about it, but then when Ford died, these Democrats who'd once criticized Ford for that pardon suddenly had these revisionist opinions: "We needed to be unified." But long term, do you think Bush and Cheney would have gone to the trough like they did if Nixon had gone to jail? No. So when Barack Obama came out militantly opposed not only to impeachment but censuring, I thought, "What the fuck is that for accountability?" Yes, I do think that Obama is a deeply elegant, bright, human person who gives a shit and can do it, who can actually help change the world. But I don't know yet if all of us are going to do our part.





23 February 2009

Shinebox in the Times!

So, a guy I worked with in Atlantic City was named Thomas Peele. Gruff, but a solid dude, even the time he called me from a casino's parking garage where he'd run after fleeing a Cash-for-Gold store/murder scene that we thought was controlled by the Russian mob. I took to calling him Shinebox, since it pissed him off just like it did the dude from Goodfellas.


Shinebox (far left)

He moved out to Cali. I moved on to Philly. And while my hit-and-run got plenty covered here, he made the New York Times today for his work covering the aftermath of The Oakland Post editor who'd been looking into a Muslim bakery. It's dogged journalism following the story, and investigation, of a man who likely got killed for practicing dogged journalism.

The group, named The Chauncey Bailey Project, has had a deep impact on the city’s public life, revealing a jailhouse videotape that suggested a wider conspiracy in the murder and which the police seemingly ignored, and helping force the resignation of the Oakland police chief, Wayne Tucker.
The group has said that much of its work is done, but it says it will not shutter the operation completely until the investigation of Yusuf Bey IV, a son of the founder of the bakery, has been completed. Mr. Tucker suggested that an indictment was likely during a news conference after his resignation and that it would show a larger conspiracy in the murder of Mr. Bailey. Mr. Bey has denied culpability in the murder in an interview with one of the reporters on the project.
The pivotal point for the project occurred on an afternoon last spring. Over a sushi lunch in a downtown Oakland restaurant, a source slipped Thomas Peele, a reporter for The Bay Area News Group, a videotape.
The tape, secretly recorded by the police, showed Yusuf Bey IV sitting with associates in a jailhouse room, bragging about being a part of Mr. Bailey’s murder. It raised critical questions — still unanswered — about why the police had not charged Mr. Bey in the murder.


Shinebox, we're all proud of you.

Mo money, no problems


I just got back from a check-up at Magee -- it went very well, thanks; got to visit the people who put me back together and took a cab all by myself and everything! -- so I'm not going to get all high-and-mighty preacherlike about the owners of the Inky and Daily News going all bankrupt and all. I grew up with those papers, and I love those papers. Besides, I really don't think you can argue that this spells the end of 'em. (Besides, pre-accident, I was loving the days I spent at philly.com.)
Instead, I'm gonna reference a book review I read in the Sunday Inquirer, that came from the L.A. Times, about the New Yorker's David Denby's latest book, Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation. Because, quite frankly, I agree with the premise that untrained bloggers who fancy themselves journalists are too prone to throw an insult at something to pretend they understand the intricacies rather than taking time to, well, understand the intricacies.
Oh, and they're snot-nosed bitches who I wouldn't want to have a conversation with anyway. So there.

Snark aspires to make a counterargument: that the culture of mean, as exemplified by Gawker, TMZ, and Perez Hilton, is not just idiotic, but also a dehumanizing force.
"We are in a shaky moment," Denby writes, "a moment of transition, and I think it's reasonable to ask: What are we doing to ourselves? What kind of journalistic culture do we want? . . . What kind of national conversation?"
These are excellent questions, the kind any thinking person ought to be asking as the top-down authority of traditional media yields to the fluidity of the electronic frontier. What makes this new paradigm so exciting, after all, is what also makes it so unsettling: that we can respond to anything instantaneously, almost without thinking, Twittering and posting and YouTubing in an endless monologue, like Joyce's stream of consciousness run amok.
"The trouble with today's snarky pipsqueaks who break off a sentence or two, or who write a couple of mean paragraphs," Denby notes, in a snarky aside of his own, "is that they don't go far enough; they don't have a coherent view of life. Spinning around in the media from moment to moment, they don't stand for anything, push for anything; they're mere opportunists without dedication, and they don't win any victories."


In other words, the righteous are on Lily Allen's side. And on Randy "The Ram" Robinson's, the real Best Actor to the non-commies among us.

22 February 2009

Weekend Reading Roundup

Make no mistake about it: I think that not only should The Wrestler have been nominated for Best Picture tonight, but that it should've eked out a victory over Slumdog Millionaire. Alas, the tale of a struggling ex-rassler from Jersey (aw yeah!) was snubbed -- just like The Dark Knight was -- but 't least Mickey is up for Best Actor (Didn't see Milk, but if Penn wins, I'll chalk it up as a way-overdue acknowledgment of Spicoli's wasting of Mr. Hand's time.



But it should be Rourke's night. Because He prompted the New York Times to track down Tito Santana for an article today.

Tito Santana wasn’t as flashy as some. Randy (Macho Man) Savage had a signature move where he’d climb to the top of the turnbuckle, jump and land on his hip. “Now he has hip trouble,” Mr. Santana said. “I always took educated bumps.”


But since A1 was soaked since I dropped it in a puddle out front this morning, the only other Times piece I saw worth mentioning was Nicholas Kristof -- I consider him the best columnist in the land -- noting that Clooney was with him in Darfur and launching into a story which proves just how ridiculous it is that more people aren't outraged by the ongoing genocide there. (Check my column on Philly's empowering of murderers here.)

The slaughter in Darfur has continued for six years largely because world leaders have been complacent and preoccupied. In the coming weeks, the International Criminal Court is expected to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for orchestrating the killings — and that will give the world a new opportunity to end the slaughter.


As for the dry Inquirer -- not a slight, just noting that the deliveryman didn't leave it in a puddle, as is his standard M.O. -- I loved the subhead, "Emotional, not sexual" in the story about Vinnie Fumo's late sugardaddy Stephen C. Marcus who apparently took $1 million from his daughter's trust fund to give $1 million to a dirtbag (Fumo, pictured at last year's Mummers parade) with whom he presumably had an emotional, not sexual relationship.

During his trial, Fumo's attorney asked him to talk about his ties to Marcus. Fumo then veered unexpectedly into tender territory, expounding to jurors about the nature of male bonding.
"Between men, you love men sometimes, not in a sexual way but an emotional way," Fumo said. "And we loved each other."
Talking of his relationship with Marcus, who was a dozen years older, Fumo added:
"Steve Marcus was the sweetest human being you would ever want to meet. He was a really nice guy. He was a philanthropist. Did a lot of anonymous philanthropy."
Along with the $1 million, Marcus' philanthropy included giving Fumo a jet-powered Hinckley Picnic Boat worth $500,000, a vessel known for its classic lines.


Also in the Sunday Inky, Game Four NLCS Homer Legend Matt Stairs doesn't think he'll be around if the Phils sign (what I'd consider a mistake) Nomar ...

"If they get a righthanded hitter, I'm gone," he said. "I don't think we need one, but if they got one, I'd understand. This is my 21st spring training. I know it's a business. But as badly as I want to be here, it would be tough. I like it here."




... a tragic North Philly story about a domestic stabbing-turned-arson, and an international AP brief about my Irish peers protesting the nation's boom-turned-bust economy.
(hickeyblunt.blogspot.com)
And finally, GQ magazine has a bang-up piece on the pirates who've turned the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen into a lucrative shipjacking spot ...

As for why the rest of the world doesn’t want to get more involved, part of the problem has to do with the perceived legal complications of capturing and prosecuting pirates (though international-law scholars I spoke with say any country can arrest and prosecute robbers on the high seas). Then there’s the bigger fear of getting sucked back into Somalia. Most military experts I’ve talked to say the only way to really stamp out piracy is to take out the pirates onshore. But there’s the rub, because no one wants to put boots on Somali ground. The Black Hawk Down episode, in which Somali militiamen in flip-flops shot down two Black Hawk helicopters and killed eighteen American soldiers, is still fresh in everyone’s memory. So for now it remains a game of chase, played out on about a million square miles of water.


... as well as shouting out Philly businesses: the Philadelphia Record Exchange (for being one of 10 Reasons to Go to the Record Store Again) and Little Pete's (for deep-fried slabs of scrapple).
Mmm, scrapple.

21 February 2009

We hardly knew ye, Riff Raff.

Yo yo yo. From G's To Gents is back! And I already found my replacement for Pretty Ricky. That's right, it's Riff Raff, yo.



And though I couldn't find The Soup clip online, Riff Raff was representin' (while in mid-lip-balm-application) about how tha bitches was lovin' his style while up on tha catwalk. This season's gonna be tha finest, yo, cause you gots to be in tha billions to f wit Riff Raff.
But just like he did with Pretty Ricky last season -- unjustly, by the way -- Fonzworth already did Riff Raff in.
At least we'll always have Stains the Krazy-Eyed Cupcake-Jonesin' Dog. Here's His official blog.

A Simple Question


From a March 5 issue of Rolling Stone in which 1) Paul's Boutique is rightfully deemed a 5-star album and "hip-hop's greatest sleeper hit" and 2) Stevie Nicks warns wee lasses about the dangers of giving too much information about yourself on Facebook and MySpace, I'm just left with one question: Why didn't Lily Allen grow up in South Jersey? I presume she'd have stood out at HTHS. (OK, two questions: Who's going to buy David Crosby's 59-foot schooner?)

19 February 2009

[UPDATED] Oh Lord, please let this REDACTED get thrown into Curran Fromhold. PLEASE?

Someone asked me today, "When you were working in A.C., did you ever hear of that asshole Michael Crook?" My answer, of course, was "no." Because I hadn't. Until this afternoon, when I looked up this REDACTED's* website on which the REDACTED proceeds to taunt the men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department for -- gasp! -- mourning the loss of another of their own. You know, just like any self-respecting human being mourns the loss of someone who takes a protect-and-serve job knowing full-well that they could lose their life any damn day of the week. Unlike lil Mikey, who actually wrote an autobiography.


Presumably, his book did not contain chapters on grooming or hygiene, unless it's in a Rocky Dennis way. Images taken from Crook's website.

I mean, really? Someone wants to read about a REDACTED from the mean streets of Mays Landing?
"His" latest post is titled, "See you tonight, Philly cops," and it reads:

So tonight, it all starts to come to a close: the fuss that’s been blanketing Philly starts to come to its natural conclusion.
Tonight is John Pawlowski’s viewing in at the John J. Givnish Funeral Home in Philly. I will be there, exercising my legal right to protest. Be sure to look for me after your precious, empty ceremony, and it’ll all be nice and perfectly legal, giving no grounds for arrest or retribution.
Also, I have booked a hotel room, and will be staying in Philly, because I will then protest at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, for his funeral.
And yes, just like I did at a veterans’ cemetery last summer (see the video section), I will share my own little “tribute” after he’s buried at the Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem. After the grave is closed, and after everything is all nice and pretty, I will come exercise my free speech. I have proven that I have no problem doing that, as the Hamilton Township Police and the Atlantic County Park Police can attest.
It’s time that the arrogance of cops is exposed. Oh, and by the way, I am coming prepared, so anyone with bright ideas would do well to remember that.


I think I speak for all of us -- including the actually legible writers of the world (of which he most certainly isn't a member) -- when I say I'm praying Mikey crosses the line and winds up doing 36-48 hours in a Philly cell. (Psst, your cellmates will be a little tougher than the "Atlantic County Park Police").
Because, quite frankly, this "guy" is a total, unrepentant REDACTED who couldn't even land an internship at a local paper.

UPDATE: Aw wook, the REDACTED wishes I'd died in the hit-and-run. How cute!
Back in 2008, a driver apparently “left him for dead” in a hit-and-run accident. Too bad the driver didn’t finish him off. Hickey’s wife whined that “if the driver has a conscience he’ll turn himself in.” Why? If the driver got away with it, why in the hell would he or she do such a thing? If anything, that driver should get a medal. Hickey dubs the driver a “dirtbag hit-and-run driver“, but it is not so. That driver almost eliminated this judgmental, hateful cretin, and that’s a good thing. Arrogant and self-centered, HIckey is so quick to rush to judgment without doing even the most basic research. With all this in mind, it wouldn’t have been a loss to anyone had the driver actually gotten it right, and I for one hope the driver is never caught.


*= I've redacted the name-calling because I made a deal with myself, upon waking up from the coma, to not do so. Besides, I think his wishing death upon me does more than enough talking.

A great sports story



Well, I guess the residual effect of getting hit by a car is that you get choked up at heartfelt stories on TV. Case in point: I just watched Real Sports on HBO. DVR'd it, actually, because there was a story about a peculiarly buxom Tonya Harding. And, let's be honest, you combine those visuals with a penchant for taking the competition via knee damage and I'm watching. Even at 1 in the afternoon.
But a strange thing happened with the third story in the show: I quickly forgot about the Bundy of Figure Skating. Getting told what challenges Kyle Lograsso has faced in his six years on earth put life into perspective. I mean, dude can drive a golf ball 172 yards. This, after he was given three months to live at Wills Eye Hospital in Center City if he didn't have surgery to remove a tumor from his sights. Updating a segment they'd done two years ago, the Lograssos moved cross-country; the piece ends with Kyle's dad coming home from Iraq -- he's a Marine -- and taking him to a setting that he loves: the golf course.
Just watch the show and decide whether you agree that the kid might challenge a retirement-age-approaching Tiger Woods for titles in a dozen or so years.

24

Last night, I was reading the SI with Cole Hamels on the cover when something caught my eye. Now, I'm not all into the motorcycle-jumpin' events at X Games. But when you hear that 24-year-old Jeremy Lusk died from brain injuries sustained while trying to complete a backflip off a 100-foot jump down in Costa, well, when you sustained brain injuries yourself not too long ago, it tends to affect you.
So, R.I.P. Jeremy, and may your family find some sliver of peace despite the tragedy of a young man dying an early death.

18 February 2009

Aw wook, the wittle cartoonist tried to make a funny that back-fwired

Say you're a cartoonist who really hasn't really achieved much of anything in this world. You've just been scribbling away for years and not one person has noticed, let alone uttered your name. What do you do?
Why, if you're Sean Delonas and the New York Post, you get all racist and infer that President Obama is a primate, of course!



Guess you're going to need to figure out how to pay your rent without a paycheck, you f'in bigot. (Thanks to Doron for pointing this one out.)

101 is Their Lucky Number

First off, let me say that the Cubs are going to win the World Series this year. That shouldn't bother we Philadelphians, though, since we had a parade. A World F'in Championship Parade. And nothing can take that away for more than 25 years. So don't be saying that you're worried about the S.I.-cover jinx that this story could launch:



Now, if you don't mind, I'm heading downstairs to 1) exercise, 2) play some Wii fishing and then 3) read the Hamels story, yo.

Selfish Political Bastards

It might be a bit too strong to compare both Gov. Ed Rendell and disgraced former State Sen./Thief Vinnie Fumo to the Khmer Rouge. But on second thought, it isn't. Because, on a day that a genocide trial for the K.R. started in Cambodia, both proved that they're capable of scumbag behavior.


In a tender moment, Vinnie (pictured) prays to his demon gods that the price of skulls will soon decrease

Let's start with Rendell, whom I used to like. Even voted for him despite the fact that he was all rah-rah for Hillary. But when I read an editorial that he (supposedly) wrote that the Delaware Valley Port Authority should piss away money on non-transit-related "economic development," I just had to ask myself, and I hate to keep harping on it but I must, "Hey Brian, why's your head all lopsided? Oh, that's right. Because you got mowed down in a hit-and-run while walking to a PATCO train that goes over a DRPA bridge. But that's not the best part: It's still unsolved because -- wait for it! -- the DRPA doesn't have working cameras in the Collingswood station or in their parking lot. Ain't that groovy?! One more drunk driver served by the DRPA!"


And why, you ask, didn't Rendell mention that PATCO customers are not sufficiently protected? Well, I'd have to say the fact that the Authority gave $620,412 to -- again, wait for it! -- Rendell's old Center City lawfirm. Cute, ain't it? That's right, as cute as a stack of genocide-victim skulls.
As for Fumo, well, hell, he's just a scumbag by any definition of the term. But taking the cake -- or any pastry (or P.I.) that you can purchase with other people's money -- was his revelation from the stand yesterday. I'll let Vinnie the Creep and the Daily News take it from here:

Former State Sen. Vince Fumo tried to suggest to the jury yesterday at his federal corruption trial that his concerns about federal surveillance and the FBI in 2004 were not because the government was investigating him but because he was a political "target" of a Bush White House desperate to win Pennsylvania in the 2004 election.
Fumo testified that he was the "most prominent Democrat in Pennsylvania" and was a prolific fundraiser.
"We're talking about Karl Rove here, we're talking about Alberto Gonzales, who asked about me at the White House, specifically me," Fumo said. "I had my concerns."


Well, I had my concerns too, not the least of which would be my tax dollars funding hairspray that, let's face it, didn't really improve your appearance all that much, Vinnie. Then again, what could, right? Oh, that's right: Stealing enough money for Botox "therapy."
Sad thing is I'm not sure I dislike Fumo more than Rendell anymore. F'in bastards.

17 February 2009

I have an idea of how PATCO could use $11 million...

In a top-of-the-fold A1 story, the Inquirer says the Delaware River Port Authority will vote Wednesday on what community-development projects to earmark and piss away $11 million on both sides of the Delaware River. You see, the DRPA makes money from cars and High Speed Lines crossing the bridges to and fro Philly each day and, since 1992, has frittered away some $375 million ...

...on sports arenas, museums, concert halls, and other projects, much to commuters' dismay.


In fact, the DRPA says such spending is "necessary and appropriate." Oh really? Well, you know what I'd consider necessary and appropriate, you unapologetic schiesters? How about funding cameras that WORK in the PATCO stations so, when people are walking to buy a ticket and fund your greedy inhibitions, they don't get hit by a friggin' car, likely by someone who just got off a train and walked by your non-working cameras drunk as a skunk.
Assholes, one and all.

Best New Show on TV

Kenny Powers is a god among the men of Shelby, NC. I learned this by watching the half-hour premiere of Eastbound & Down on HBO Sunday night and learning that, "Sometimes when you bring the thunder, you get lost in the storm."



You can keep the pansy-ass Conchords; Danny McBride has been the tits since The Foot Fist Way, through Tropical Thunder and as a dealer in Pineapple Express. To think that America will be treated to a weekend McBride nightcap in which he's a foul-mouthed Rocker-esque whoremonger teaching gym in middle school, well hell, it makes me wish Haddon Township had made such a hire to set we junior-high kids proper. I mean, he breaks up a teachers' lunch by saying that he saw a group of sixth-grade boys engaged in a gang rape. Seriously. Dude's got hisshit to-ge-tha.
I think you're gonna like how this ends, hotshot. Because I just found a show to talk about each Monday. I mean, at least until I can get out of the house with regularity. (Then, it might be Tuesday. Like it was this week, yo.)

A Life Lesson from Jermaine Stewart



We could dance and party all night ... and drink cherry wine?!?! I mean, seriously, cherry wine?

We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off
Jermaine Stewart

Not a word, from your lips
You just took for granted that I want to skinny dip.
A quick hit, that's your game.
But I'm not a piece of meat, still you like my brain.
Night is young, so are we.
Let's get to know each other better, slow & easily.
Take my hand, let's hit the floor.
Shake our bodies to the music.
Maybe then you'll score.

Chorus: So come on baby, won't you show some class
Why you want to move so fast.
We don't have to take our clothes off
To have a good time
Oh no
We could dance & party all night
And drink some cherry wine
Uh huh
We don't have to take our clothes off
To have a good time
Oh no
We could dance & party all night (all night)
And drink some cherry wine
Uh huh
Na na na na na na na............

Just slow down if you want me
A man wants to be approached cool & romantically
I've got needs
Just like you
If the conversation's good
Vibrations through & through

So come on baby, won't you show some class
Why you want to move so fast
We don't have to take outr clothes off
To have a good time
Oh no
We could dance & party all night (all night)
And drink some cherry wine
Uh huh
Na na na na na na.........


R.I.P, Jermaine.

16 February 2009

Why didn't they just shoot Eastwood?


I mean, I'm sure Clint would've gladly given his life to protect that of his kindred spirit. To wit:

HARTFORD, Conn. - A 200-pound chimpanzee kept as a pet and once used in commercials was shot and killed by police Monday after it mauled a woman visiting its owner and later cornered an officer in his cruiser, authorities said.


I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that chimps are superior to humans and now that that natural order has been tampered with, they're going to turn on us and capture us and taunt us after tying us to spits and making BBQ'd peoplefolk kabobs.
So thanks, Connecticut, you finally cost humanity the chance to live till 2010.
I always knew Connecticut-ians were scum.

But is he good at damage-control in October?

So, A-Rod called SI's Selena Roberts to apologize for trying to throw her under the bus for doing her job. A class move? Eh. More likely he's just dismayed by the fact that he's never evereverever going to get into the Hall of Fame. Unless, of course, he wins six World Series titles and what's the likelihood of that happening. (It ain't happening.)
Here, A-Rod is pictured leading the charge at Spring Training ...

15 February 2009

My return to print

I mean, sure, the whole Hickey-gets-hit-by-car-and-almost-dies story has been told by just about every media outlet in the city. And I truly appreciate it, because it meant a lot to the people who care about me and want the hit-and-run driver captured.
But, Monday marks the first time I've written a column about anything in the two months and just about three weeks since.



If I may get a little emotional here, once I woke up from the coma and realized something very bad had happened to me, I worried about my wife, dad and family first. Then, I was certain that I'd lost the ability to write, and it broke my spirits more than not being able to move my right arm or leg did. Baby steps turned into healthier steps, though. Sure, I'm not back to full Hickey force yet, but hopefully these Metro columns show that I'm on the road to total recovery.

Weekend Roundup (additions made on Mon. morning)


Yesterday, me and the Bride took a little field trip up the Boulevard. To Wal-Mart, so I could purchase more Thank You cards to send out to those who have been overly kind to me since a dirtbag hit me with his car and ran.
(An aside to dirtbag: do you think people have stopped looking for you? You better not. Because we're going to find you.)
In any event, not only did the crowd at the Blvd. Wal-Mart infuriate me with their rudeness to a guy in a helmet, for crissake, but the store itself did, too.
For one, the cashier swiped the Bride's Glade Plug-In air fresheners.
For two, I purchased a DVD to watch last night, but when I got home, I realized just how the corporate overlords are trying to control our minds (and with mine, it's a little easier than it was before Nov. 28). The DVD I purchased was titled "Zack and Miri," and while I knew that Kevin Smith titled it "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," I didn't realize that Wal-Mart had imposed its will on a piece of art until I got home. A fine movie despite the negative reviews I heard, but the least they could've done is warn me that I was going to be forced to see sober Jay's manmeat!
(Like I said, I'm not quite back at a Nov. 27 level. Yet. But I will be. So, keep hiding, dirtbag.)


At least Police Commissioner Ramsey -- I've met him several times so I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a stand-up guy -- took the P.C. filter off his vocab choice when talking about murderous scumbag Rasheed Scruggs, who knowingly ended the life of a 25-year-old cop. From a heartbreaking, but excellently done, Inquirer account of the latest cop killing ...
When Ramsey was asked at the news conference about the injuries to Scrugs, pain and sadness clearly overwhelmed his usual discretion and decorum.
"He wasn't hit enough. That's the only thing that matters," he said. "I don't care." ...
Scrugs was admitted to the hospital in critical condition and underwent surgery. His condition was so grave, police said, that his heart stopped twice during the night, but he was revived. Found in his pockets, police said, were 19 .357-caliber bullets and 19 packets of crack cocaine.


Sorry, but had justice prevailed, that dead heart wouldn't have been restarted once, let alone twice. A savage animal, Scrugs is.
Since I had two visits today (the first from a guy who I was with at the Collmont on Nov. 28 and his wife and young son to whom Charlie Dawg took an immediate liking and the second from a former A.C. Press co-worker/long-time friend and her husband about whose run for N.J. state office I'll get into here soon), I haven't gotten to the Times. Yet. [But I'll get to it at the bottom of the post!]
But, the Inky featured a piece about the bane of my Facebook addiction, 25 Thinks I Don't Want to Know About Anybody. And, two stories about Jers': the fight over a state song (even though I think I heard it sung outside a strip joint under the Goethals Bridge a few years back) and the fight to keep A.C. alive ...
"Atlantic City was knocking at the door of becoming a destination resort until this confluence of recent events set those efforts backwards," said Joe Weinert of Spectrum Gaming Group L.L.C., a global gambling consulting firm in Linwood, N.J. "There is a real downer mood in Atlantic City right now."...
"Atlantic City could become a tale of two casino markets - those that have and can continue to reinvest in their product, and those that cannot," said analyst Weinert. "This tends to lead to the self-feeding phenomenon in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."


As for the Times, a few pieces that caught my attention. Like the one about Mayor Nutter turning to the public for advice on how to financially save the city.
Or the Arkansas pastors who just don't think allowing guns in church is all that godly a decision.
Or the seems-like-a-necessary-decision-to-me to patch up The Tubes by, among other things, forcing people to use their real names when commenting or posting.
And finally, a special-ops professor at the Naval Postgraduate School really hammers the point home that it ain't the economy that serves as a looming disaster, but the preparedness for "Mumbai Model" swarm attacks that leaves a nation at risk.
Nightmare possibilities include synchronized assaults on several shopping malls, high-rise office buildings or other places that have lots of people and relatively few exits. Another option would be to set loose half a dozen two-man sniper teams in some metropolitan area — you only have to recall the havoc caused by the Washington sniper in 2002 to imagine how huge a panic a slightly larger version of that form of terrorism would cause.
So how are swarms to be countered? The simplest way is to create many more units able to respond to simultaneous, small-scale attacks and spread them around the country. This means jettisoning the idea of overwhelming force in favor of small units that are not “elite” but rather “good enough” to tangle with terrorist teams. In dealing with swarms, economizing on force is essential.

25K!

I woke up this morning to a most unexpected bit of news: Philly Blunt blogged its 25,000th reader overnight! (Which translates to roughly 735 a month, but who's counting, right? Oh wait, I am.)
Well, in honor of this momentous -- ok, fine, it's not momentous, but it's 9:35 a.m. and I have yet to delve into the papers -- event, allow me to point out that restaurants Jones (7th and Chestnut) and Kanella (10th and Spruce) were shouted out in Esquire's March homage to breakfasts. Jones' chef Steven Petrecca reveals his recipe for Eggs in Tomato Sauce while Kanella's Cypriot breakfast plate is there in all its halloumi-havin' glory.
(Also, the open invitation to join my Help Me Find the Person who Almost Killed Me page on Facebook remains yours for the takin', so check it out here. Yo.)

14 February 2009

Those was the days

One of the first things I thought when I awoke from the coma was, "Did the Phillies repeat?" As in, back-to-back World Series titles. I swear, I believed it too. So, put your money on 'em in Vegas, because that's precisely what's going to happen -- should the Cubbies not pull one off in Year 101 A.C. -- since the whole damn team seems to be on par with my 25-pound weight loss. And while I normally don't get amped for Spring Training, an Inquirer story yesterday had me reliving what could be the finest championship play this side of the Broad Street Bullies bullying their way to back-to-back cups.
That's right: Utley's fake throw that pretty much sealed the deal.

Utley judged that with Iwamura's quickness and his position on the field, he almost certainly couldn't get enough on a throw to force him at first. In an instant, he decided to try to fake the runner.
"Those are plays you don't work on," he said. "You're aware of the situation and you don't want the run to score. You'd rather allow another baserunner than a run. I faked and looked at home. He was running hard and he was right at third base when I looked at him. I knew I had plenty of time to make a throw."

Another cop killer who should get lethally injected


I dumped another Facebook "friend" last night, all because this guy -- whom I didn't personally know -- questioned why Philadelphians so deeply mourned the police officers who get killed in the line of duty. He wrote something like, "They don't consider young black men shooting one another all-that tragic."
Well, first, let me say that yes, we certainly do, for any death in Philly is a loss for all of us. (Why else do you think we were crying holy-hell when they murder rate went sky-high?)
But, as with the tragic loss of 25-year-old Officer John Pawlowski last night at Broad and Olney (which is just too close to where one of my Magee nurses lives), we publicly mourn for the hideous death of someone who was out on the streets serving and protecting the citizens, not their drug corners. And shame on that former friend for questioning our reaction to the sixth officer getting killed in the past year and a half.
In fact, I hope the death-penalty opponents wise up and realize that the only true punishment for such a crime is execution. Pure and simple; it was good enough for Heidnik, it's good enough for cop killers.

(Photo by AP)

13 February 2009

Guys just can't accept a woman sports-scoopin' 'em

The call came in around whatever time "Rome is Burning" was on. I can't remember the exact time because -- let's face it -- Jim Rome has been a scumbag ever since the moment he called Jim Everett "Chris" to artificially inflate his ratings, so how would I know when his show airs (if you can call it that). Dude's one step away from the Stephen A. Ninth Circle of TV Hell, really.
But my dad was in a setting where he couldn't control the remote, so Rome was on and he called my cell. Why? "They're tearing Selena to pieces."
As in, Sports Illustrated columnist Selena Roberts, you know, the one who went to the University of Miami to confront -- face-to-face, like reporters are supposed to do -- Alex Rodriguez with the tip she'd received that 1) he was on 'roids as a Texas Ranger and 2) the players' union tipped him off to a looming drug test in '04.



So I turned it on and saw a bunch of guys -- losers -- ripping her for REPORTING THE BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF THE PAST FEW YEARS. An A-Rod witch-hunt, they said. When, in reality, all that was fueling these chuckleheads' ire was the fact that a woman beat them to the punch. (And a classy woman who, in the sake of full disclosure, reached out to me and my family after hearing about the hit-and-run. I can't describe how much we appreciated that.)
Well, jealous tykes, maybe if you'd get off the set and do your reporting jobs like this ...

IN A parking lot space halfway between the University of Miami's baseball complex and its athletic center sits a hulking sign of his presence: a black Maybach, the QM2 of luxury liner cars, with a silver license plate frame that has ALEX RODRIGUEZ engraved across the bottom. It's freezing by Miami standards, about 39°, making an indoor workout far preferable to fielding short hops in the icy dew of a practice field. An SI reporter walks into a sprawling but nearly empty weight room that smells of rubber mats, shows a business card and asks if Alex Rodriguez is around. "In the back," says a man in a Hurricanes jacket.
Rodriguez is dressed in a white T-shirt and sweatpants, working out with a trainer and a friend as music pounds in the background. He is not pleased to see the reporter—whom he recognizes—in a place he views as his sanctuary. "You're not supposed to be here," he says more than once. When told there are a couple of important questions that need to be asked, Rodriguez, the Yankees' All-Star third baseman, rests his arm on a parallel bar used for triceps dips and leans in to listen with a bored sigh, as if he's expecting yet another question about Joe Torre or Madonna or Derek Jeter.
Rodriguez is asked about a drug test he took in 2003 (his final year with the Rangers), which SI's sources said came up positive for two anabolic steroids—testosterone and methenolone, also known by the brand name Primobolan. Rodriguez's green eyes widen, and he looks away. He processes the question and says, "You'll have to talk to the union," as he begins to fiddle with a plate. He is asked if the positive result could be a mistake, if maybe he took a tainted supplement, if the information is wrong. He says nothing. Is there any explanation, anything further he wants to say? "I'm not saying anything," he replies and turns toward a barbell.
One more question comes his way: Three major league players told SI that Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, tipped Rodriguez about an upcoming drug test in early September 2004. Rodriguez is asked if that is true, but he does not respond. He looks at the trainer and orders him to "get someone. [The reporter] is not supposed to be in here."
No escort necessary. The reporter hands Rodriguez her card and tells him to call if there is anything else he wants to say. Rodriguez does not call. Messages left with players' association executive director Don Fehr will not be returned over the next five days. And Orza, when approached by an SI reporter on Friday at his New York City office about the tipping allegation, will say, "I'm not interested in discussing this information with you." On Monday, Orza told The New York Times, "It's not true. Simple as that."


... you wouldn't make me ponder a perplexing question.
Who is a bigger pansy: A-Rod, sports guys who get paid to go on air and bloviate about issues about which they've only seen other guys bloviate, or a "sports network" that bends over backwards to grant air time so a sullied athlete can attempt to salvage some public-relations points?
I'd call it a tie.

12 February 2009

I love PATCO, I love PATCO not


When I was growing up on the mean streets of Haddon Township, NJ, me and the bad kids I consorted wit' would often jump on the High Speed Line and head across the Bridge to the Gallery or the even badder-ass Echelon Mall.
It was also my transportation to Jersey, where I had my last drink at the Collmont, which is what immediately came to mind when good-pal Jen Miller IMd me on Facebook to say she was writing a story for NJ Monthly about 40 years of the silver train. And here's what was said in the article:

The DRPA added security cameras to PATCO stations after Christine Lynn Eberle was abducted from the Ferry Avenue station stop’s parking lot and murdered in 2001. Recently, journalist Brian Hickey was struck by a hit-and-run driver near the Collingswood PATCO station as he was walking to catch a train home to Philly. Hickey suffered a coma, and he’s still missing two parts of his skull.
A train had arrived in the station just before Hickey was struck. It could have helped in the police investigation to check the PATCO cameras for clues about who got off that train and into a car—except the cameras weren’t operational.
Hickey described his outrage to me last week. “I think it's putrid, in the wake of the Eberle case, that passenger safety is still a secondary concern to PATCO.”


Now, the Eberle family has gone through much more pain than me and my family. Substantially more. But the fact remains that PATCO vowed to change its act after she was brutally murdered and, since the cameras weren't working the night I got hit, they truly failed to live up to the promise they made.
Putrid, indeed.

My vote for best hospital

As I was rewatching Lost this morning -- dude! -- while reading the Inquirer, the top-of-the-fold business story captured my attention. Seems that Cooper Health System took a wee-bit of offense at Virtua Health's advert claim that they actually have the most "top docs" in South Jersey.

Cooper contends that Virtua's ads touted the results of an "independent" study that was, in fact, commissioned by the health system and its ad agency, the Star Group. The study was not heavy scientific lifting. It basically involved counting the number of doctors mentioned in top doctor articles in Philadelphia Magazine, New Jersey Monthly, South Jersey Magazine and SJ Magazine, according to a Web site that explained the results without detailing methodology.


Well, for what it's worth, I'd like to cast a vote on Cooper's side of things. I mean, their surgeons did save my life less than three months ago. And, hopefully, they'll be reinstalling the two pieces of skull flap that they took out without a hitch.

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