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.
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Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court: divorcecourting.blogspot.com.
30 March 2009
BREAKING: P.O'B. Returns?
Though it started an hour ago, I've paused The Insider to bring you news of what can only be described as an omen that Pat O'Brien shall emerge from his rehabiliatory cave and reclaim His leading role as the noblest gossiper of all thee gossipers on pre-prime-time television programmes. Don't believe me? Well, how does this ...
... get on the air with the voice over of ...
From the stock market to the strip club. "I am desperate and broke, but not ashamed." The 28-year-old beauty is pole dancing to earn her former Wall Street salary.
... if but not for His eminence of hookers and coke, Msgr. P.O'B., Himself. All praise be until Him. (And, if you know where the 28-year-old trenchcoat-sportin' beauty is exhibiting her skills, by all means share; I'd like to catch up with her benefactor prior to the Cubs/Yankees game this Friday.)
Today, I realized why it doesn't bother me to shell out so much for my New York Times subscription. And it comes down to one word: Porn. Specifically, the graphic entitled "The Celebrity Twitter Ecosystem," for it listed not only celebrities like Punky Brewster and Darth Vader (who knew?), but also got around to January Seraph (pictured), Sasha Grey and Joanna Angel. For the uneducated, the Times lists their professions as "pornographic film star." To which I say: "Welcome aboard Brian Hickey's Twitter page, ladies!" The Times also has an interesting piece which poses the question, "Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?" as they approach their 200-millionth user. (Sadly, no pornographees referenced in this one.) Since I'm rapidly approaching Tarheels-victory-preparation time, I'll go rapid-fire here, again, with some stories from the Inquirer. Read these: -- Bob Ford's most excellent column about Villanova continuing the Philly Champion's Region trend by moving within two victories of another title (Note to Nova fans: You better root Oklahoma today, 'cause Carolina will tear you to shreds. True dat.) -- An AP piece about David Simon's latest post-Wire project.
Named after the Creole neighborhood known for its rich musical history, Treme (truh-MAY) is a prospective TV series geared for HBO that aims to capture New Orleans' heritage and traditions as residents struggle to recover from Hurricane Katrina. But it's not just another Katrina project, Simon is quick to say. "This is an American story," he said in an interview from outside a jazz club where the hourlong pilot was being filmed Wednesday. "This is about an American city trying to pick itself up and doing it without a great deal of help."
-- An AP brief about a Spanish court that just very well may haul former AG Alberto "Conveniently Forgetful Memory" Gonzales, Inky columnist John Yoo and four others in to face charges for allowing torture. (When local liberal bloggers get a load of that one, I hope they acknowledge the Inky for running the brief, complete with Yoo's name, yo.) -- And, an editorial by the region's former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, breaking down "The lesson of the Fumo verdict." It goes as such ...
We can no longer allow officials to claim they didn't know the rules. Unless laws are properly enforced and clearly understood by state officials and staff at whom they are aimed, nothing will change.
I couldn't have said it freer of profanity and insult myself, which explains why Meehan is probably running for Governor, and I'm dedicated to using Wii Fit to get back into fightin' shape.
If you've read this blog for any extended period of time -- and let's face it, who hasn't, right? -- you know that the Cubs have a place in my heart. A huge place in my heart. Because even though I celebrated profusely when the Phils won the series, my nightmare would have been an NLCS between Philly and the Cubbies (They're 1 and 1a in my remaining mind). Even though the Phils sent a No. 11 jersey to my hospital room -- a move that earned mega points in my book then and now -- my allegiance would still be torn in a 1-1a showdown. Like in October, when the Phils and Cubbies face off for the right to represent NL-style in the W.S. My allegiance won't, however, be torn in July since the Phils have invited injured ole me to a game against -- you got it -- the Chicago Cubs! (I'd initially told them I wanted to get there for the first Mets game, but it's too close to my skull surgery). See, I want to meet every last Phil, but the only Cubbie who's hurlin' hand I must shake is Carlos Zambrano. Had Kerry Wood still been around, well, I'd have been a teenaged fan all over again. But he's gone. So it's Zambrano (maybe Soriano, too) but only after all the Phillies. Because they are the champions. And, as me, Bill Hader and Cubs fans young and old all know, the Cubs are not. I'll tell you who else ain't gonna be a champ if what's currently going on keeps up: my NFL love, the Denver Broncos.
From a football perspective, it makes no sense for Cutler to want to leave Denver. The offense ranked second in the league last season (395.8 yards per game), and he has four other young rising stars around him in tackles Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris and wideouts Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall. By contrast, Detroit and Tampa Bay between them have one great offensive player, Lions wideout Calvin Johnson. As Cook says, "I have told Jay, 'You'd better be careful. You don't have any control over where you play.'"
(Photo and excerpt from Sports Illustrated)
Which sucks, and not just because they gots the Dawkins and all. But if the new coach, Mrs. Josh McDaniels, can't mend the fences with his franchise QB, Mrs. Jay Cutler, a 12-4 season turns into 5-11, and Brian P. Hickey gets angry. And Mrs. McDaniels won't like me when I'm angry.
Bonus coverage: Since Entertainment Weekly neglected to name Jame Gumb as one of the Top 20 villains of all time, they've been placed on the Dead To Me List. Because they're dead to me. But being on said list does not bar you from getting a Bonus Coverage shout-out. So, shouting out: -- the Facebook group formed by UCLA's Erin Moore after the school named James Franco its commencement speaker. Says Moore, "I just don't think he's changed the structure of our society just yet." Pineapple Express was close, though. -- the article about The Real Housewives of New York City because not only did they include a photo of the Jersey skanks, er, brides they'll be exploiting next (seen to the right), but I'm fixated on Bethenny. -- and, finally, for alerting me to the fact that there's a new V pilot in the works. Are they serious? Because V, the alien-takeover one, was like the show I listed as my all-time favorite in the Strawbridge School sixth-grade graduation leaflet. (Big ups, Strawbridge.)
An Arthur Kade post, entitled "Love Taxi" included this next-level Kade-servation ...
The only concern that I have is that I have been very passive in trying to date women over the last few months, and may be a bit rusty, so I may practice tonight on girls who are 6’s and 7’s and not in my league to get back “into the groove”. I hate setting up false expectations for girls I will never call again, but I want to make sure I give myself a solid chance at success with this opportunity. I am not a big reality show person, but it could be a great opportunity to continue to get on-camera experience and exposure.
Thus, it prompted (at the moment) 67 comments like this ...
this guy is obviously bating all of us. This guy is a harmless queen. I mean, there’s a direct correlation between the douchier posts and the number of comments. I know it’s hard, but please do what you can to refrain yourselves!!!
And this ...
I think we should consider (just consider it!) ignoring Art the Fart for a 5 day period. We could still come and watch the masturbating in public monkey, but we shouldn’t comment or feed it. Maybe Matt could have us over to his place and we could hold all discussions there? Just to see what would happen, it may be something we want to consider. We need to prove that people aren’t coming to watch Retarthur, they are coming to read the comments.
And this ...
Its clear that this guy needs a good assfucking from a HIV positive gay man. Please do not write on his broad anymore. Do not visit his site. Arthur needs all of us to suceed. Understand that the more people visit this site, and write on his board, the more popular he gets no matter what anyone person says. Also potential for $ from advertising. If you want Arthur Kade to die………….say goodbye to his site. EVERYONE IS GIVING HIM WHAT HE WANTS WAKE UP
Clearly, the Kade backlash has begun full-force, yo. And I'm agreein' with it, so I shall honor the five-day Period of Kade Avoidance. Will you? Or is Kade such a delusional fuckbag that you can't avert your eyes? Well, he may have that down pat. Arthur Kade: Out.
Why you should go to Magee Rehab's Night of Champions
Hey all, just wanted to get word out about an event with which I'm affiliated. Magee Rehab helped me immensely after the hit-and-run and brain surgery at Cooper. I stayed there for nearly a month and can attest to the commitment that the employees have to helping their patients heal. In the time since I left Magee, I've heard about their Night of Champions Event in May and actually joined the committee for it. So, here's the latest press release about the event. If you have any questions about it -- for example, "This sounds great! How can I make a donation to the charity auction or, better yet, buy tickets for the dinner so I can not only meet some folks from Magee, but local sports heroes?" -- you're in luck. Just go to this website for all the details. Or, just drop me an email.
For Immediate Release/Advisory/Photo Op March 25, 2009 Contact: Kerry O’Connor (215) 587-3363 (203) 581-4192 Jon Runyan added to list of local sports celebrities attending Magee Rehabilitation Hospital’s Night of Champions Event on May 8
Jon Runyan will be joining other celebrities from the Philadelphia sports world, including Howard Eskin, Adam Taliaferro, Billy Cunningham, Fran Dunphy, Mike Mamula, Scott Palmer, Joe Conklin and Brian Propp at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital’s Ninth Annual Night of Champions held on May 8. The event, which begins at 6:30 pm, will once again be held at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall at 1301 South Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia. (MEDIA ARE INVITED TO COVER THE EVENT.)
Jon Runyan joined the Eagles in 2000 as an unrestricted free agent. With William Thomas and Jermane Mayberry, Runyan comprised the first-ever trio of Eagles offensive linemen to play in the NFC’s Pro Bowl in the 2002 season. Runyan has started 176 consecutive regular season games at right tackle, placing him third in the NFL among active starting players. Runyan is the only remaining player in the NFL to have been on the former Houston Oilers (before they became the Tennessee Titans). Involved in many charitable activities, Runyan received the Philly Sports Fans Choice Awards Humanitarian Award in 2006.
The Night of Champions event includes dinner, raffle prizes and auctions of autographed sports memorabilia, exclusive gifts, restaurant certificates, getaway weekends, and travel packages. All funds benefit Magee’s Wheelchair Sports Programs, which support athletic programs that help former Magee patients and individuals with disabilities in the community improve the quality of their lives through physical activity. Programs include wheelchair basketball, rugby, tennis, and soccer. Magee’s wheelchair sports programs have involved more than 450 athletes over the past 20 years.
For more information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call 215-587-3090.
Forgive me father, for they have sinned. Every last one of them.
In 2003, freelancer Ralph Cipriano penned a cover story for Howard Altman and I about how the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (or, DROP) was bleeding the city fiscally dry day by expensive day. Here's an excerpt:
City officials, in response to a Freedom of Information request from City Paper, have released a 73-page list of 3,484 city employees currently enrolled in the DROP. If all those employees stay enrolled in the DROP for the maximum time allowed -- four years -- they will leave their jobs over the next four years with cash payments that average, according to the records, more than $132,000 each, or a total of $461 million. To put that figure into perspective, in fiscal year 2002, the city spent $455 million on the entire police department. The DROP payments to city employees range from as low as $24,000 for city crossing guards who earn $49 a day, to a high of $550,733 for Fire Commissioner Harold B. Hairston, who earns $129,500 a year. (For the past three weeks, Hairston has steadfastly refused comment on his top-rated jackpot.)
Well, now it seems, about six years later, and as capitalism is feeding solely on its cud, the issue has resurfaced as the controversial matter it's been for at least a half-dozen years! On Thursday, the Daily News ran a cover of its own delineating how large of a six-figure payout certain council members will walk away with. (And that kind of pissed council off since they think they're entitled to the loot. For doing what? Besides buying their way into office, your guess is as good as mine.) But today, it got even better, onaccounta Councilwoman/Rasp Queen Joan "Boom Boom" Krajewski who chimed in to the Inquirer after Council President Anna Verna maintained that none of her constituents are mad that she'll strut out the door with a cool half-mil.
Verna and Tasco have said that DROP is an issue created by the media, the Committee of Seventy, and opportunistic politicians, even though it was a recurring theme at recent budget workshops. "Many of my colleagues are telling me they have not received one phone call from a constituent complaining about it," Verna said. Krajewski said she had even talked to a priest about her actions, and was reassured that it was her money. But she doesn't like the way she and others are being portrayed. "It's like we're part of the AIG gang," she said. "And once you join that, you can't get out."
(Psst, hey Joan: When you're a greedy, money-hungry schlub out to line your pockets on the taxpayers' backs, well, allow me to say that you meet the fair-game qualifications.)
When you hear charges that the administration's approach will lead to "socialized medicine" or put the government "between the doctor and the patient," call it what it is: self-interested fear-mongering. My fellow doctors know that American health care is broken. Frankly, everyone knows it's broken. And competition and choice, including an affordable public insurance option, will go a long way toward fixing it. We can't let "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror" get in our way. We should not fear fixing health care. We should fear what lies ahead if we don't.
Bravo. (Even though the kneejerk conservatives who've decimated this nation won't think so. Oops, I mean the literate ones.)
But you betcha D'Arcy will stand behind his flock of Pederast Priests.
Listen, abortion is not a laughing matter. I understand that. You, and everybody else, understands that. But when holier-than-thou conservatives tap the nation fiscally dry, while sounding pious and god-fearin' as they tap toes in Minnesota all the while, the only logical revenge for that would be, you got it, a spike in abortions of Biblical proportions.
For many Americans, the recession is affecting their most intimate decisions about sex and family planning. Doctors and clinics are reporting that many women are choosing abortions and men are having vasectomies because they cannot afford a child.
If you'll allow me to be incredibly crass for a moment, I can't think of any better way to show Bush and Cheney just how they decimated this country than by gifting them a river of fetal blood as a Thank You card, or naming said river for one, or both, of them as a way to put it on the historical record. God, that's really, really disgusting -- possibly even rancid -- now that I re-read it, but hey, hypocrisy is as hypocrisy does. Or something like that. But still, it's no worse than Indiana Bishop John D'Arcy, who is boycotting Obama's appearance at Notre Dame because he supports stem-cell research and -- that's right, you guess it! -- abortion rights that created the Bush-Cheney Fetal River! (Ok, that was definitely rancid. My most sincere apologies.)
Why I'm All For Setting Mr. Styles N. Beckles Free
He might (or might not) have gotten unjustly smacked with a two-year sentence, but Mr. Styles N. Beckles did the right thing yesterday. As in, going out of his way to correct the prosecutor's opening-argument allegation about him that was obviously designed to creep into jurors' minds and resurface with a guilty verdict. This report comes from NFL.com:
An alleged drug dealer who accused Correll Buckhalter of being a client has recanted his story, according to the Denver Post. The newly signed Broncos running back was never charged by the police. Convicted drug dealer Styles Beckles apologized to Correll Buckhalter after a prosecutor mentioned the Broncos running back as a client during Beckles’ trial last week. Beckles was convicted of drug possession with intent to deliver. “I never sold marijuana to Correll Buckhalter,” Beckles said in a statement issued by his attorney. “The police listened to one conversation I had with Correll and decided it was about marijuana. It’s not the truth. I have never sold, talked about selling or given marijuana or anything else illegal to Correll Buckhalter.”
I’ll never forget my first great story. At my initial post-college gig with the Florence (S.C.) Morning News, I randomly stopped into the newsroom on Saturday, April 26, 1996. A call to the county sheriff’s office turned up an arson at a local house of God. The weekend ended. By the time I got to the more-than-a-century-old Effingham Baptist Church, everything from altar to steeple was destroyed by fire and malignant black smoke. The distraught pastor leaned on his car’s bumper as someone explained that bottles filled with accelerant were thrown inside overnight. By the time a co-worker and I sifted to the bottom of it, we’d tied the blaze, and two more local African-American church arsons, to racist mutts who were showing off for their Klan pals. (Damned if I can find the articles we did, but they're around here somewhere, so I'll find, scan and post them.) The stories -- and we wrote about a dozen or more of them on the subject -- elicited a pride which validated the decision to move 550 miles south and live a low-paying journalistic dream, but the chance to take bad guys down was compensation enough. All of which is to explain why I feel like a helpless Indiana Jones, waiting for Mola Ram to tear out his heart in the Temple of Doom. It’s painful, but even I see print journalism as doomed. Blame it on Craigslist filching the classified ads, blogs pretending that snarky takes on others’ articles benefit society (an offense of which I’m sometimes guilty; I mean, you're reading this on my blog, after all), or readers who go online to save 75 cents. Personally, I think newspaper owners didn’t awe anyone with an early response to the shifting society; by cutting jobs, they slashed quality and enabled the world to slip away. It’s a dangerous predicament, since greed-driven politicians, CEOs and the rest of the world’s shadesters could soon freely run amok with little fear of public humiliation and double-digit prison terms. Look at it this way: Without an Inquirer, Vinnie Fumo would still be adorning himself with platinum hairspray; and without a New York Times, Dubya would be stammering his way through a third term. Community journalism is a grand idea. So is the idea to convince non-profit foundations to step in and save the journalistic hyde. But when two-newspaper towns disappear like in Seattle, Denver and more to come, the trained, passionate, beat watchdogs will lack the bite they need to make the world a better place. It’s already happening, and we're all the worse for it. And, who knows, perhaps that’ll enable the Klan firebugs to be free to torch their way from sea to once-shining sea. Because I don't think much has changed from when Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Florence and said,
"The government has categorized them as isolated arson attacks, not as race-hate burnings. But all the churches burned have been black. All those caught have been angry white males, the same kinds that bombed Oklahoma City, the same mentality that's burning these churches."
(The top photo is from free-times.com. After all, when I started in Florence, the online-story option didn't exist.)
Nice piece in yesterday's paper by Ashley Fox about Bernard Hopkins and his North Philly (Strawberry Mansion-ish) roots.
He remembers the gang wars over territory, and how, even as a little kid, he couldn't wander past a certain boundary in the neighborhood. It wasn't until he was a little older that Hopkins started robbing people, an offense that landed him at Graterford prison, where he ultimately honed his boxing skills, got his GED, and committed himself to becoming something other than a "401(k)" for a prison guard. "We had a high homicide rate and a lot of gang war when I was coming up, a lot of drugs," Hopkins said. "We're talking about the mid '70s, late '70s. It was really bad in Philadelphia, especially Diamond Street, Norris Street three blocks away. Everything was so close, so that's why there was always confrontations. You didn't have to go three miles to go here, four miles to go there. You could be walking or playing basketball four or five blocks over, and you'd be in a different territory. A lot of people were getting fired on and ambushed.
(Picture by Michael T. Regan ran with a column I'd written about his Tarver fight. Brother Naazim is the dude who got Antonio Margarito jammed up.) It was almost enough to make me overlook the DirecTV magazine, Access, which, in a story interviewing coverboy Cole Hamels -- "They booed me," he recounts of the fans' reaction to him not serving up Ken Griffey Jr's 600th homer -- the magazine's crack research team found that Cole: -- is "getting cheered by fans so brutal they once booed Santa," and -- he "just bought a condo in a hip downtown Philly neighborhood." Psst, we pelted Mr. Claus with snowballs and, well, isn't Center City technically the lone downtown neighborhood? I mean, I guess you could argue that downtown is Fairmount to Bella Vista-ish. Or could you?
Christ, you write a little commentary on the state of health-care in America -- and the State of Health Care in America is Bad! -- and all the McCainites come out and throw the government-run card at you. Oh well. I love a good debate, especially one I feel I'm on the right side of. But I'm clearly not here to talk about my writings. I'm hear to talk about Danny McBride's and Jason Gay's First off: Eastbound & Down is Eastbound & Gone now. Unless they commit to adding another season, Kenny Powers is six episodes and gone. In the season (or show) closer, some dude claiming to be the Assistant to the Assistant GM of Tampa shows up at Kenny's bro's house and offers him a contract. Kenny proceeds to rip lines off a gun (which, when tweaked, he puts into his mouth), buy a Denali (which I don't think was really a Denali), and convinces April (who bared her breasts in the opening credits) to go with him and his 98-mph fastball the bigs, via Tampa (the words he used to convince April: "F*** all that fine Cuban p****. Your olive skin bests that any day of the week.") Only, the Assistant to the Assistant GM of Tampa with the black Amex card wasn't really what he said he was. And he called Kenny to apologize for getting his hopes up, saying he was going to rehab now. But Kenny didn't tell anybody. Which was totally Powers-esque.
As for the reference to Jason Gay, it was the Gossip Girl article in Rolling Stone, the one with the cover that told me God was alive and well via the Mr. Softee trucks out of Runnemede. I won't bog you down with the details. You can buy the magazine yourself, if only for the cover shot alone. But Victory Beer? I hereby order you to seek an endorsement from the show, for the Golden Monkey variety -- a case of which taunts my not-allowed-to-drink-self from the basement fridge -- seems to be a favorite of the Gossip Boys.
The drink of choice [of Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley and Ed Westwick] is Golden Monkey, a grassy Belgian-style beer with a not unnoticeable alcohol volume. "Don't disrespect the Golden Monkey," Crawford says. "Nine point five percent, man," Westwick says, holding the beer aloft.
Oh, and Victory, you can thank me by sending a few cases over to the house around 09.09.09. Much obliged, beer guys.
Hey all; just wanted to pass along the link to a column of mine in today's Inquirer. It's about health-insurance; namely, how opponents of coverage for all are driven by ignorance, greed and the comfort of their top-shelf plans. You can read it here.
Have a doctor's appointment in the morning, so won't be dropping k'nowledge about the Gossip Girl issue of Rolling Stone and the last episode of Eastbound & Down till later in the day. (Unless I haul myself out of bed, get through the exercise routine, and finish up this week's Metro piece by about 9. Which I clearly won't be able to. Lo siento.)
"I never thought I would say these words: 'Angelina Jolie is hot in person, just not as hot as I had hoped.' ... She is definitely unique looking, but I feel like I have dated much hotter women than her."
Thank you, Kade, for exposing that nasty looking trollop for the pig she is!
Runner-up: "Oh, Arthur, you sexy beast. Oh I can't take it." "I feel like I'm having a fat day."
Well, I have a splitting headache (ok, ok, I need to do a little Wii Fit and the new soccer game I picked up this week before sitting in the recliner, pondering next week's column idea and watching basketball all afternoon), so this roundup is going to be of the abbreviated version. But, it includes a scanned picture of a monkey -- on the front page of the Inquirer, no less -- so who's complaining now? That's right, nobody.
In the non-monkey categories, the paper also broke down how the feds castrated Fumo world (thankfully), and ran an AP story about how new Attorney General Eric Holder ...
... said federal agents would now target marijuana distributors only when they violate both federal and state laws - a departure from the policy of the Bush administration. It's not seen by many as a move by the Obama administration toward the legalization of marijuana. However, it could end much of the confusion among state and federal authorities dealing with the mishmash of laws in which cultivating, using, and selling marijuana for medical purposes is allowed by states but outlawed by the federal government.
Side note: From his No. 91 perch in Rolling Stone's List of The 100 People Who Are Reinventing America, FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver said the legalization of marijuana will come sometime after 2023 -- when I'll be 50. "We'll see some other once-unthinkable things like legalized gay marriage first," he said. Absurd, I said, adding that weed grows from the earth while gay marriage does not. (Translation: We damn well better have legal weed first, or you'll get forkstabbed, Nate Silver.) In the Times, Kristof delves into public education via the "most unlikely figure in the struggle to reform America's education system," while GQ magazine: -- Rightfully chastises Andy Samberg, who should "reach higher" than his fall-back "gay-panicked snickering," -- Rightfully celebrates Amy "Mrs. G.O.B." Poehler, Domestic Goddess in advance of her new show, "Parks and Recreation," (neither SNL-related link was on GQ's site, or so a cursory search found) -- Featured sidetaker.com, a site that enables couples to go further down the passive-aggressive path by posting the topic of their disputes online and letting total strangers, well, take sides, -- and, as you may have already heard, blasted Lenny Dykstra, Bidnessman (pictured, center). I'll let an excerpt do the judging:
On another occasion, I field a call from Lenny about potential cover subjects while I’m at home; Lenny’s on speaker when he proudly states, for both my wife and me, that “nobody can call me a racist—I put three darkies and a bitch on my first four covers.” The first four Players Club covers featured Derek Jeter, Chris Paul, Tiger Woods, and Danica Patrick. “What was that, Lenny?” I ask. “I said I put three spearchuckers on the cover!” he replies.
Classy! I'll get back to y'all tomorrow with an in-depth breakdown of the Rolling Stone Gossip Girl cover. You know you love it. XOXO.
My thoughts are with Cathy Burke and the rest of the Atlantic City Irish Pub family tonight. Just got word that a bouncer was fatally stabbed while trying to break up a fight in a place that's always welcoming, festive and open 24 hours a day. Except today, since it was a crime scene.
It's with great sorrow that I bring you news about the Hero of the Week runner-up. Yes, it seems that Mr. Styles N. Beckles (pictured, via the Inquirer) suffered the indignity of a guilty verdict in the marijuana-dealing case brought against him. You may recall that earlier in the week, when it was alleged that Mr. Styles N. Beckles sold to Correll Buckhalter -- he denied it - I took the stance that to not buy weed from a person with such a name was un-American. I would wear a flag pin on my lapel to declare it publicly (if I wore anything with a lapel.) Alas, Styles is now facing two-years in the clink since, The Law claims, the drug ring was, you know, violent n'shit. Fare thee well, Styles N. Beckles. I'll be pulling for ya. Especially because if the Hero of the Week (1st Place) has his way. I'll let the Metro take it from here (the Inky followed it up today, as well):
State Rep. Mark Cohen said Wednesday that he will introduce a bill as soon as next month to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. ... "It's easier when you have public support to get legislation through," said Cohen, who gave the bill a 50-50 shot of passing in the next few years. "I think it's something that has a good chance of being taken seriously in the Legislature."
In Mr. Beckles' name, I hope we can all just get along behind this bill and get it pushed past the Krazy Mid-State Khristians and squirrel hunters.
You know, I've been avoiding writing about the Denver Broncos since Dawkins signed there. Didn't want to give the impression that I hate the Birds now, 'cause I don't. It's just that I'd have said, "B Dawk is now closer to winning a Super Bowl," and that wouldn't have been very nice at all. Now, I'm not so sure, because it seems like the Broncos' new coach and franchise QB are both auditioning for the crossdressing lead in Tootsie. Brief update for non-NFL-heads: New coach/former Belichek bitchboy Josh McDaniels tried to trade Cutler so he could have the comfortable blankey of New England backup Matt Cassel. Cutler flipped out and now says he doesn't trust the coach or, it seems, the owner. He demanded a trade, and will probably get it. Who knows, maybe he'll be a Bird. I mean, they do have two first round picks and, depending on who you believe, No. 5 could secretly yearn to have a better chance to win the Bowl, too. But, what I found interesting enough to post about the debacle was the fact that The Greatest QB of All-Time chimed in on Friday, calling the whole situation "sad and unfortunate."
"I'm sad for the Broncos because I think that Jay is a great player and he obviously has a lot of potential and this is a great place for a player like him to play. Hopefully, they can get the rift fixed because I don't think that there's any rift that's too solid," Elway said.
I'll tell you what isn't sad, though: My receiving a letter wishing me a speedy recovery from The Greatest QB of All-Time last week. Felt like I was a 10-year-old all over again when I read:
"As someone who has recovered from injuries during the course of my career, I understand the hard work that you are doing to help the recovery process. Believe me, it is worth it and I encourage you to keep it up."
Rad. Now, if John'd only stuck around to win three -- count em, THREE -- Super Bowls in a row!
Listen, I'm no Yankees fan, even if I'm going to the new-home opener first week of April for an exhibition against the Mighty Chicago Cubs. Which means I've never been all that huge a fan of Jason Giambi. After all, if he had a smidge more in the wheels category, Jeter never would have thrown him out at the plate in the playoffs (one of the greatest plays ever. Period.). Hence, he'd never have achieved champion-caliber status (ok, maybe it'd have taken a lil longer). But here I am, disgusted by a letter in Sports Illustrated that could be perceived to be anti-Yankees-and-all-they-stand-for. But with no further ado, here's your scrote of the week, Ms. Kenneth H. Alshanski from Arnold, Missouri.
Giambi compares himself to Frank the Tank of Old School fame and says of his time in Oakland, "When I was here the first time, we turned this place into a frat house. I think we can do it again." Frank the Tank is a drunken loser who might be funny in a movie but is certainly not a role model. I wonder if Jason will tell his understudies about the beauty of steroid and HGH use, which he has admitted to. Kenneth H. Alshanski, Arnold, Mo.
Drunken loser, eh? Well, Kenneth, you doth protest too much for your own good.
Because not only did Frank "the Tank" Ricard do away with his pesky, prissy "you're a drunken loser and not a role model" spouting wife in Old School, but he made an appearance on stage with SnoopaLoop, streaked to the quad (ok, to the center of town) and listened to Whitesnake while he made his muscle car not exactly street-legal. Shame on you, Ms. Alshanski for even thinking that Frank the Tank is a loser, let along dragging him down by valuing the comparison that Giambi had drawn to himself. For that, among, I'm sure, many other reason, you, good madam, are the Scrote of the Week. Enjoy.
P.S. Arnold, Missouri -- a town that is only one year older than I am -- may very well be the 12th most affordable city in America, Ms. Alshanski, but if you think you're better than Frank the Tank, just think about this: The Three Dog Night concert at Rickman Auditorium last month was The Pinnacle of the Arnold Social Circuit. Couldn't you at least have gotten Whitesnake? (I'll bet the 11th most affordable city could!)
Oh Rolling Stone, oh Rolling Stone. I love thee for one reason
Navin R. Johnson, oh he flipped out when the new phonebooks got delivered. Brian P. Hickey, oh he flipped out when the new Rolling Stone got delivered to his front door about 45 seconds ago. Because this is the cover: I scream, you scream, we all scream when Serena and Blair eat ice cream. (Ok, even I admit that one's annoying, but still. It's Serena and Blair.)
But who is the President's fave character? My money's on Bass. Because Bass is The Way and The Light
Courtesy of Facebook friend Tara, I found out this morn' that Pres. Obama is acutely aware of the best-friggin'-show on television, Gossip Girl. (Her news came several days after Facebook friend Sharon let me know that she'd just walked by the whole damn cast, which was filming the graduation scenes in her home neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. People sense that I wholly appreciate the show, and all it stands for, and it's much appreciated.) Wrote Tara, she "thinks that Obama is even cooler now thet she knows he watches Gossip Girl." So should we all, even those in a rabies-resemblin' lather now that President Gossip Girl ended the Wars on Science and American People. His GG reference makes me even prouder that I voted for him and lobbied people to do the same. (The full account appears on an LA Times blog, located here.) Because even though Sarah's a GILF now, she'd have condemned Chuck Bass' actions without knowing that He is who most men wish they were, at least when they were a senior in high school. (But getting knocked up and dumped all by the ripe old age of 18? Sorry, there's not a Bristol character, even though there should be, since Bristol seems more intellectually intuitive than her presidential-wannabe mammy. Come to think of it, Bristol is better looking than her mammy, too. Not that I'm one to judge, of course.)
Yo, if you're stuck at work instead of being home like I am, watching every second of the tournament in phucking Philadelphia instead of Vegas, might I recommend checking out a college friend's Day One Tourney blog via the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Sweet Lew is a hell of a sports writer; that's why I recommend it. Bonus round: See if you can guess what comment I left on the bottom of the page. The following picture serves as a clue.
So, was Donte Stallworth in Collingswood on Nov. 28? If so, I think I just got my hands on a $10K reward! From the Miami Herald:
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was driving drunk -- blood alcohol tests showed he was over the legal limit -- last weekend when he struck and killed a pedestrian with his Bentley in Miami Beach, a source with knowledge of the investigation told The Miami Herald.
For his part, Donte put out a statement reading, in part:
"My family and I are grief stricken over the tragic accident which occurred Saturday on Miami Beach where Mario Reyes sadly lost his life. My thoughts and prayers are with the Reyes family during this incredibly difficult time. Unfortunately, since this accident is still under police investigation, I cannot comment further on the matter at this time."
I'm convinced more than ever today that I never really woke up from the coma. Seriously. Maybe you can help, because for the life of me, I can't explain where Arthur Kade came from (besides the Great Northeast) and how I didn't know about him till 2009. You see, greatness cannot go unnoticed forever. It rises to the top of our collective consciousness and makes us bow in its presence. We feel like lesser people when confronted with perfection. And, really, this photo is perfect.
Absolutely f'in perfect. It accompanied this portion of the post, entitled "Baby Steps":
The day finished with me doing my first press interview with NEPhilly Magazine, an online magazine, who wants to write about my journey and my past in the Northeast. I also decided to do a live Internet show called TruthSlap.com. It is a great feeling to be able to share how I am feeling and share some of the inspiration with others; I am hoping that I can make a difference in other people’s lives to make “The Hard Choice” that I have.
I'd be remiss if I didn't include a section of Matt Beauchamp's comment about "Baby Steps," too:
Now that St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, I’m going to have to move from limerick to nursery rhymes. This is a tribute to Mary Had a Little Lamb, obviously.
Artie had a couple chicks who really loved his blow and everywhere that Arthur went, the girls were sure to go
They tried to get by Binn one night which was against the rules the doorman yelled and told them off and made them look like tools
And so the owner turned them out but still they lingered near and waited patiently about til Arthur did appear
“Why do the whores like Arthur so!” the other patrons cry “Why, Arthur’s got a pile of blow!” the owner did reply
Arthur Kade, I now realize you're a figment of my coma-gination, but you've made me a better person anyway. You've made ALL of us better people. Please, please, please do NOT stop blogging. Even if you have to repeat your devotion to 1Oak twenty times, we'll never be able to get by without you. (And if anybody knows whether NEPhilly Magazine actually exists, let me know with the quickness. I need to get my hands on the issue with The Passion of the Kade cover.)
So, a Delaware County prosecutor went all loud with the allegation that Correll Buckhalter, a former Eagle and current Bronco, bought drugs'n'shit. (Um, yo legal dude, we kind of all suspected that ever since the time he got caught with weed on South Street, nahmean?) But what caught my eye on philly.com this afternoon, as I paused The Running Man for a moment, was the dude on trial's name.
Deputy District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland, addressing the jury, said that Styles N. Beckles, 36, of Clifton Heights, had told police that he sold drugs to pro athletes, including Buckhalter and Keita Crespina, a former Temple University football player. No charges have been filed against Buckhalter or Crespina.
Well, a hearty welcome to the mighty Orange-and-Blue, Corey, because I'd argue that to NOT buy drugs from a dude named Styles N. Beckles is un-American. Any self-respecting person would, too. Hell, you might be able to say the same for a dude named Katayoun M. Copeland.
Up here, around 24th and As-peeeen, we call this a twinnnny twin twiin
Oh yeah, the Metro -- the place I proudly freelance these days -- goes down Legalize Tha MILFweed Road today. From the quotes file:
"If marijuana were legalized in the city and not elsewhere, it would be highly profitable for growers and distributors,” said Frederic Murphy, a professor at the Temple School of Business. “This creates a real opportunity for very steep taxes that would help balance the city budget."
"I could support making marijuana legal for medical purposes if there was demonstrated public support for such a policy.” -- Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark B. Cohen
I think we all know where I come down on said theory, even though it'll never happen. (For what it's worth, I said we ought to scrap the whole damn War on Drugs a couple weeks back.) Makes me wonder if getting hit by a car qualifies somebody for medical-weed dispensation, though. Also makes me wonder if anybody'll read my non-weed-related column in the same issue today!
So, I watch American Idol. I'm dude enough to admit it. Strange thing happened last night, too: Kinda dug Adam's take on Ring of Fire. I say that because I've just been waiting for the chance to write about how every time I look at him I'm reminded of Ashlea Halpern's disturbing story about people who castrate themselves. I think it's obvious why, but if you need an escort to get from A to B, by all means checkouttheselinks. Listen, we're all God's children. But this child of God will come in second. Danny (or that Matt guy from Wisconsin or Michigan or wherever) will win it all.
So, Maxim has its Baseball Preview in the April issue. It's not online yet, of course, since Maxim is the pre-eminent publication when it comes to baseball prognostication. But, the preview is littered with Phillies' references. This is what happens when you win the championship, yo. Some examples: -- A Q&A with Cole Hamels. Q: Do you ever worry you'll never sign a mega-contract? Former Phillie Darren Daulton says the end of the world is slated for 2012? A: It'll be interesting to see what he'll say after 2012. I know the world will not end in 2012. You can bet on that. -- Former Mets GM and ESPN "Analyst" Steve Phillips says Chase Utley "has a chance to become the greatest second baseman ever." Chase and Cole both named to the All-Maxim Team 2009. -- Jamie Moyer, 46, is said to look "like Harris from Major League." Kind of does. -- And they worked out Ryan Howard's per-pound yearly salary. It's $70,312. "In homage to Philly's own Rocky Balboa, [Howard] consumes two raw chickens every morning," they say.
I don't know whether checking in on Arthur Kade's Web site (www.arthurkade.com) is good or bad for me. But each time I do, I cry myself to near-stroke status. Mostly, it's the videos Kade posts.
But I'd venture to say that the comments are really what beckons the tears of joy. Like this one:
# Matt Beauchamp on 17 Mar 2009 at 1:55 pm OK - you look like a fucking cat batting a mouse around when you tap the bag like that. A cat with a big nose.
More news for you, dipshit, I just called Joltin’ Jabs (215-482-4802) and asked for Joey to find out if you were for real with this shit (yes, I really have my hands full this morning)
Me: Hi, can I speak to Joey please
JJ: One moment please…
Joey: This is Joey
Me: Hi Joey, I just saw your video on YouTube where you are supposedly teaching a guy named Arthur Kade how to box. He’s kind of a gay dude with a big nose and thinks he’s an actor…
I didn’t even get through my sentence when Joey just starts laughing really hard. I mean REALLY hard. Then I hear him yelling to somebody in the background about “that Kade guy”
Joey: You cannot even ask me about that guy…seriously…he is the weirdest fucker I know. I don’t know what’s up with him.
Me: so he’s for real? That wasn’t all an act?
Joey: OH, he is for real. I mean, he’s a real person and he really brought a camcorder in to tape our…um…workout? [more laughing]. As for if he is REAL I don’t know. He is just so bizarre it’s like Borat or something but he does come in here with some Asian chick. He seems real but just kind of out of it like he doesn’t know what’s going on around him.
Me: would you say he boxes like a woman?
Joey: awwww man…I can’t say anything about that
Me: why? Because he pays you and you don’t want to fuck that up?
Joey: You figure it out man! You saw the tape, right.
Kade is a f'in American hero. I hope he gets his own network so I can TiVo it for 24-hours-at-a-time. This is the way he does it in the Northeast. Where he's from.
[Updated] Fumo gets shutout, other moments of hilarity, and a horrible horror story
So, the feds beat Fumo 137-0 and then took $2 million in other people's bail money. Yes, all in all this week has started off well. While I need to settle in and write another column this morning, I penned (ok, typed) one for today's Metro about the public flogging of Vinnie Fumo. Can't find it online, however, so I'll cut-and-paste an excerpt from the copy I have:
The reason the verdict is better for this city than the Phillies parade is the moral code it honors: No matter how much power you think you have, or ex-girlfriends and enemies that your bankroll lets you sic PI’s on, if you filch from Philadelphians and shamelessly boast that you spend “other people’s money” without regard for anybody not named Vinnie Fumo, you’ll get publicly shamed and deservedly sent to the clink.
(Found it online. It's here. Don't mind my hair, though. It's grown back considerably more.) I go on to make the case that a mobster, hotdog vendor and two city officials who came on down and helped themselves to prizes are better people than Vinnie. It was an easy case to make. Oh, that picture up top? Most definitely not Fumo (though he may be considering Redrum today). It's Danny McBride, from this month's Vanity Fair which features a set of photos of comedic folk. They're stellar shots (McBride in The Shining was made by Mark Seliger). Like this one of Rogen, a monkey, a Delaware Ave. stash and butterfly hair clips (by Norman Jean Ray): Yeah, it's boss. In other news: -- Money Magazine predicts that Philly's housing-price rock bottom (-10.9 percent for an average of $174K) won't come till the third quarter of 2010, -- Ben Affleck gives Patrick Murphy a shout-out in Esquire as one of the "congressmen who [are] real stars," and -- Esquire also breaks down the "Worst Story I Ever Heard" by Rich Schapiro. I'll let the long excerpts do the talking...
As St. James confronted the chimp, the six-two former running back turned to find a second chimp — also a male, this one older and bigger — bearing down on him as well. With both hands, he pushed the bigger animal. Both chimps pounced. One of the animals grabbed him in a bear hug before chomping into the bone above his right eyebrow. He then stuck his finger in St. James's right eye, gouging it out. The same animal clamped his teeth onto St. James's nose, biting it off, as the other chimp chewed away at St. James's fingers. In the melee, one of the chimps dug in his claws and ripped the skin off the right side of St. James's face, causing it to flop over and cover his left eye, temporarily blinding him. One of the primates sunk his teeth into St. James's skull. He then closed his jaws on St. James's mouth, ripping off his lips and most of his teeth. St. James tried to put one of his hands down the animal's throat, but the chimp just kept chewing on it and chewing on it, and he couldn't get it out. St. James fell to the ground, no longer able to defend himself, and for at least five minutes, the mauling continued as he lay helpless. One of the chimps gnawed on his buttocks and bit off his genitals. They ravaged his left foot, leaving it shredded. Blood poured from his body, and LaDonna was screaming. It looked as if they were eating him alive.
Um, all that stuff about getting nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver? Yeah, well, St. James had it much, much worse. I'll be praying for him.
Psst, hey PETA, how about fighting the good fight for once?
Save me, PETA. I'll even go live with Vick. (NYT Photo)
I'll be the first to admit it (since I already did on this here blog): I find PETA's targeting of post-prison Michael Vick utterly shameful. But it took a story in the New York Times today to make me think, "Hey, those pasty vegans are just afraid to go where the real pro-animal action is." No, I don't mean to the set of "Farm Fun II: Doggies Styled." I mean Baghdad. To wit:
[S]tray dogs are such a menace that municipal workers are hunting them down, slaughtering some 10,000 in Baghdad just since December. ... Here in the capital, a program began late last year in which the national Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary services teamed up with the municipality, the police and even the army in some of the tougher neighborhoods to tackle the problem. Mostly the dogs are killed with rotten raw meat laced with strychnine, a poison used in pesticides and against rodents. In some cases, particularly around the city’s sprawling garbage dumps, the dogs are instead shot. By the time this campaign is over this month, perhaps 20,000 dogs will have been exterminated, said Shaker Fraiyeh of the ministry’s veterinary services company. “Our work may be against animal rights, but there is a more important issue, public health,” said Dr. Fraiyeh, a veterinarian in his 30s.
You send a PETA team over there to save dogs FROM STRYCHNINE BURGERS and I'll throw some coin your way, yo.
I have a lot of time to read. So much time that I get through the magazines and papers rather quickly, leading me down a road I hadn't had time to tread upon, oh, since college. And even then I didn't read all that many books besides those of a text variety. But, a special point of pride is the fact that I've already gotten through two books while recovering. Especially since they were both good enough to garner the Hickey Stamp of Approval (which translates into, yo, they cost me a combined $17.84, so give the authors' economy a shot of whatever Eric Stoltz used on Mrs. Mia Wallace, y'know?) The first one came to mind today when I was reading the NY Times obituary page and saw that "Joseph Bloch, Guide to Juilliard Pianist, Dies at 91." Of course I mentally made the mental leap toward former, and legendarily great, Inky columnist's The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music. Yeah, yeah, it came out in '08. And yeah, yeah, it's probably going to rake money in since Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx have the leads in the upcoming movie. But I'll say this: It's a totally different mood than what came across when Lopez was skewering Philly pols ("Boom-Boom Sisters" Joan Krajewski and Marge Tartaglione are the quintessential easy political targets for skeet practice) or letting his heart bleed publicly (his Eddie Polec coverage was extraordinary). (Side note: If you're unfamiliar with his work, pick up Land of Giants: Where No Good Deed Goes Unpunished; it's a collection of his best columns that came out in '95. Re-reading those both inspires and humbles me.) But what comes across in the book chronicling his relationship with Nathaniel Ayers, a Juilliard guy himself now homeless and battling mental illness, is the emotional ups-and-downs that any self-respecting columnist goes through if they're doing their job right. (Ayers in the photo, with Yo-Yo Ma, who was at the NYC school at the same time). The second book is Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation, by the New Yorker's David Denby. In a nutshell: Denby doesn't like how bloggers and online commenters hide behind anonymity and slice people's reps to shreds when, in reality, those doing the dissing offer not a single redeeming quality that benefits society as a whole. (He goes after Gawker and Maureen Dowd pretty hard). I agree wholeheartedly, as you might have suspected. Some verbatim excerpts:
The trolls have a merry time screwing people up. What they do violates existing statutes. Snark, by its very nature, is philistine; it will never honor the artistically and intellectually ambitious. Snark is hazing on the page. It prides itself on wit, but it's closer to a leg stuck out in a school corridor that sends some kid flying. When writers of snark turn their attention to anyone even slightly well known, they choose to regard rumor as fact, accusation as proof, gossip as news. This habit of snarking your enemies could move into Web sites devoted to any kind of public event -- a business conference, say, or a town council meeting. The habit of never checking the truth ... wrings bitter tears from the angels of journalism. The anonymous writers are either ashamed of what they're saying, or, alternately, quite proud of what they're saying, but, in either case, they're not eager to confront anyone directly.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Which is why I don't have a book deal, yet.
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.
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