Thursday, August 31, 2006

Further evidence SEPTA is the most poorly managed transit agency in the world

Public transit is so vital to a city’s economic wellbeing, it literally pains us to think about the incompetent twats “running” Septa.

Take this nugget from today’s City Paper (emphasis added):
Earlier this month, the state started accepting applications from transit authorities, government agencies and nonprofits for Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants (AFIGs), which would offset extra costs associated with switching to biodiesel. Since 1992, the program has allocated nearly $30 million for the production and use of clean-burning fuels; there is no cap on individual grants.

So, SEPTA, why not give biodiesel a try?

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney hadn't heard of the grant until a reporter told him, but even after reviewing the specifics, he declared that no one can provide the five-county agency the 15 million gallons of diesel fuel a year it needs.

But a few calls to providers proved the opposite is true. Massachusetts-based World Energy sends more biofuel to Philadelphia by rail car than anywhere else in the country.

Still, since SEPTA gets its fuel via pipeline directly from the Sunoco refinery in South Philly, Maloney says, it has no place to mix the "bio" parts with the diesel.

"We will not be applying for the fundamental reason that it is at the moment logistically impossible for us to mix the fuels at the capacity we need," he says.

That may be the case now, but Sunoco spokesperson Gerald Davis said the company would consider carrying biodiesel if customers like SEPTA requested it.

SEPTA says it hasn't asked for it because Sunoco doesn't offer it.)
Ah hah. See? Septa can always out-flank you with their insanely-obtuse, circular web of excuse-riddled logic.

But wait, what’s this?
For now, the city plans to apply for the AFIG grant SEPTA rejected. Fleet manager James Muller says the biodiesel would fuel the 3,000 diesel vehicles used by the city, the School District, the Parking Authority and the Housing Authority.

"Anything that comes down the pike, we're interested," he says. "We need to start doing something, with the condition of the world today."

You know you’re in trouble when a bureaucratic city agency makes you look like a complete and total disgrace.

Hi, we’re Septa and we do everything ass backwards… especially if there’s a chance doing it well could reflect positively on Philadelphia [City Paper]

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Finally, Andy Reid admits his offense does, in fact, need skilled players at the “skill positions”

The Eagles have added Donte Stallworth to the seemingly endless array of wide receivers they’ve procured over the years to try and catch McNabb.

While he’s no Jevon Walker, he is a player with great potential. And a hell of a lot better than some of Reid’s previous acquisitions in the position, e.g. James Thrash, Jabar Gaffney and Darnerien McCants.

And if he and Donovan click, he could very well take his game to the next level and emerge as a premier wide receiver. (Ever the optimists… so sue us.)

The fun part, of course, is when that does happen, the Eagles will want to pursue a contract extension with Stallworth, a potential free agent at the end of the season. That means Andy Reid will have to renew old acquaintances and deal with Stallworth’s agent, one Drew Rosenhaus. And that’s just sweet justice.

Ah, the memories:

[Video from Philadelphia Will Do]

Mark Simoneau who? [Inky]
Donte’s past isn’t squeaky clean, but that’s probably a good thing [Earlyword]

Mayor Street hears the one about the pot and the kettle

Just a few weeks after Mayor Street sharply criticized the National Park Service for their amazingly ill-advised plans to permanently fence off Independence Hall, saying “the fence will give visitors a sense that they are ‘entering an armed camp,’” the Street administration is reevaluating their own plans for tightening security at City Hall.
Nearly five years after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Street administration is still grappling with the extent of security needed for City Hall. And a plan calling for daily restricted access is now being re-thought.
Now, even though the turnstiles have been installed, that plan for round-the-clock restricted access is being re-evaluated, according to city managing director Pedro Ramos[.]
We’re glad to hear it, because, if Mayor Street is going to be at all effective fighting the NPS and their reactionary vision for INHP security, he’s going to have to have credibility in his corner.

And nothing screams credible like turning City Hall into a fortress and then crying foul when Independence Hall tries to do the same thing.
“We’re opposed to the fence and believe Independence Park should be as open to the people as reasonably possible,” Mr. Street said by e-mail. [NYTimes]

In a highly critical preliminary response to the plan, city Managing Director Pedro Ramos said: "The city has serious concerns that the current and proposed screening facilities and process... and the proposed fencing... present a significant interference with the historic nature of the property and with the free movement and public access to the entire site." [Inky]
Exactly. Now practice what you preach, boys.

Street: Shit, Pedro, you’re right. Time to backpedal. Stat. [KYW1060]
Security concerns are sucking the soul out of urban life [Salon]
Tell the NPS what they can do with their fence [PhillySkyline]

Breaking: Eagles to say so long to Gatorade?

If the Eagles are considering bringing Duce Staley back, why not go for broke?

Remember six years ago when Duce Staley and the Eagles opened their season by torching the Cowboys on a despicably hot day in Dallas, Texas?

Duce busted out for 262 yards from scrimmage and the birds poured it on, whupping the ‘boys 41-14. Ringing any bells?

Remember the big story of the day? How the Eagles were able to stay hydrated?

That’s right, Pickle Juice.

Well, it’s taken six years, but someone has finally taken the idea to market.

Meet Pickle Juice Sport.

This new “sports drink” allegedly has 30 times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more electrolytes than Gatorade.

Sounds awesome.

The Eagles open their season in 12 days… and, once again, in Texas (albeit Houston). Coincidence? We think not.

Time to embrace the dill. After all, the Eagles' unis are green...

Only $18 for a 12-pack? What are we waiting for? [ via thrillist]
Eagles beat the shit out of the Cowboys to open their 2000 campaign with crazy-super-secret weapon []

Ryan Howard peaces-out ball number 47

Turns out our conservative estimate of 45 was just that.

Yesterday, Ryan Howard hit his 47th homerun of the year (his third straight game with a donger), tying him for the Major League lead with Boston’s David Ortiz.

More importantly, Howard is just one homerun short of tying the Phillies all-time franchise record for homeruns in a season — a record held by Michael Jack Schmidt.

32 games remain. So it’s fair to say that Schmidt’s team record (notched in 1980, the year he won the MVP and the year the Phils won their one and only World Series) is in Howard’s sights.

Here’s to you, Ryan Howard. You’re a class act... and really fucking good. And you make being a Phillies fan a whle lot more bearable. (Plus, you go to Pat’s at 2:30 on a Friday night, mere hours after pulling out an awesome, 14-inning win. And you don't cut the line, but rather wait in it with the rest of us underachievers — that’s just quality karma. Next time, your cheeser is on us.)

Kill the record. And then set a new one next year.

And another one the year after that.

And Mr. Gillick, as the fine folks at Philly Skyline have been telling you for weeks, please get off your ass and pay the man. (Chase too.)

RyHo hit a 430-foot homerun. When he was 12. [Inky]
Howard: hand me my bat — it's the one that says bad-ass motherfucker on it

Monday, August 28, 2006

Inky Image section finally publishes article that doesn’t make us entirely embarrassed we read it

Yea, so the Image section in the Sunday Inquirer is kind of laughable. Scratch the “kind of." You can’t even call it a poor-man’s Sunday Styles section — it’s just too bad to compare, really. (This looks even worse when you realize that Image, when it came about two years ago, basically tried to copy Styles… and couldn’t even do that.)

Sure, it has Laban’s reviews, which are worth reading. (And Rick's stuff... when he's not on vacay.) But that’s it. Every other article will hurt your eyes, whether it’s about women over 40 doing something that’s completely not novel, or some idiotic trend that 12-year olds tired of, like, three months ago. (Note: there have been a few rare exceptions that we’ve seen this year.)

Last Sunday, they actually printed an article that was on the right track. The right track, you ask? It was about someone living in the city, aged between 24-35.

Paging Brian Tierney: that’s your key demographic right there. Stop writing articles for/about suburban soccer moms. No one cares. Not even them. You’re not going to sell any more papers writing about the boring fucks who live in the suburbs.

Write about young people. Living in the city. Doing something somewhat attractive/admirable/reproachable/controversial… whatever. Pick one. People love young people. They might pretend they don’t. But they do. In fact, they can’t get enough of them. (More on that, later this week.)

Write your feature Image articles about folks between 20 and 35 (40 even) and the city in which they live, and just watch, you’re going to have a lot more people reading them. And if that section improves a little, who knows, the rest of the paper might catch on. You could even end up selling a few more papers each Sunday. Gasp, we know.

(Using some younger freelancers wouldn’t hurt either.)

A green hot warrior in the heart of the city [Inky]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Philadelphia only a marginally angry city according to magazine

Remember when a men’s health magazine got Mayor Street to hire an 80K-a-year “Fitness Czar” a few years back by calling us fat?

Well a different men’s health mag has just ranked Philadelphia the 27th angriest city in America.

27th, you say? Yeah, that didn’t seem right to us either. Did violent crime factor into the magazine’s ranking criteria?
We then factored in FBI rates of aggravated assaults and Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers on workplace deaths from assaults and other violence.
So what the fuck? 27th? We just don’t see it.

Cities ranking angrier than Philadelphia include Detroit, Baltimore, Miami, Chicago, Hotlanta, Dallas, DC, Denver, St. Louis, Memphis, etc.


And we actually needed to make top five — for if we had, you never know, Mayor Street might have hired an “Anger Management Czar” and the murder rate would start to drop.

Paging Men’s Health: You might want to take another look at those numbers. Seriously. Double-check your math. [Men’s Health]

Friday, August 18, 2006

PBJ poll refuses to pull punches

This week's poll on the Business Journal's website turns its attention to the spectacle of brilliance that is SEPTA.

Septa's performance, you say? Well that's easy right? Terrible in a landslide.

37% good? Well slap us silly and call us fucking incredulous.

We're talking about SEPTA, right? As in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Public Transit Authority? Who the fuck is voting on these things? [PBJ]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

McNabb confirms: Lehigh's got some dank shit

McNabb sees a 13-3, possibly 14-2 season coming up.
"I would love to say 16-0..."
Never ones to hate, we want to join the fun… Donny, hook us up bro. You obviously have your hands on some lethal-ass icky.

What ever Donovan’s smoking, we want some [Inky]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Buddakans reportedly multiplying faster than rabbits in Spring

A Buddakan in Las Vegas? Another in London?

That’s the rumor Page Six is spreading.

If true, Stephen's quest for world conquest is progressing nicely.

But we have to ask: are chains really that cool? Sure four might be different enough, but how many does it take before they become indistinguishable and as cool as Cheesecake Factories?

Why not take a short break from the Buddas and try your hand at a boutique hotel, you know, like you were planning way back when?

Maybe somewhere around, oh, say that giant gaping hole at 1925 Walnut Street. (If you must, you could even put a Buddakan in the lobby, or, better yet, in the rooftop space overlooking Rittenhouse Square. Sounds pretty sexy to us...)

See, that’d be something new, unique and altogether appreciated.

If it’s on Page Six, you know there’s a 28% chance some portion of it might be true [NYPost via CP]
Without getting melodramatic, (a young) S. Starr reveals his inspiration for extravagant theatrical dining. Totally didn't remind us of Billy Baldwin in Sliver at all...
What's next for Starr? Toppling Starwood?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Breaking: Philadelphia isn’t alone in its ongoing struggle with ‘batshit crazies’

Funny article from Sunday’s Times about, get this, “vertical sprawl.” We’ve taken the liberty of conducting an impromptu interview with the piece. (With apologies for not posting earlier this week.)

So what is it about batshit crazies that makes them hate sound development, healthier neighborhoods, and overall economic growth/prosperity so much?
“Regions and cities, in trying to combat sprawl, are encouraging infill development,” said Ted Droettboom, an official with the Association of Bay Area Governments. “But you’re doing that with existing neighborhoods with existing neighbors, who fear traffic, who fear density and height.”
So basically, you’ve just described the symbol of the Republican Party: a big fat white guy who’s threatened by change. Interesting.

Now tell us, are those fears founded in anything? Or are they just that, unwarranted, childish fears? And please elaborate on some of the merits of these types of developments?
The trend toward infill development is in part a product of the “smart growth” movement that has gained currency among land-use planners and environmentalists. Higher-density, mixed-use development built around mass transit hubs… is more environmentally sound than suburban sprawl and produces better quality of life.
Why has it become so popular? Aside from, well, the obviousness of how superior living in a vibrant, walkable city is than living in a bleak, McMansion-covered, car-dominated suburb?
“People are beginning to realize that living far away from your jobs both has a personal cost and a financial cost,”
[There’s been] a slow but steady resurgence of urban life over the last two decades.
That influx has helped spark growth in places like San Diego, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Portland, Ore., where once-fallow downtowns now bustle with new shops and restaurants. Though nationally the housing market shows signs of softening, in some cities, the resurgence of urban living has created strong housing markets where none existed before. Elsewhere, it has driven up demand where prices were already high.
Yeah. We got the fever here too. It’s actually pretty cool, except when developers make the first 10 odd stories of their buildings bleak, soul-crushing parking.

But, we digress. The problem is many developments that are actually soundly designed and that would integrate well with the urban fabric are being vitriolically opposed by a bunch of neighborhood batshit motherfucking crazies because they’d rather die than see Philadelphia (or rather their neighborhood) change in the tiniest way.

And their arguments are so misinformed, they’re tragic. Why?
While the debate over vertical sprawl can differ from the suburban kind in the particulars — building height, for example, is often a key issue — the general issues are remarkably consistent: traffic, parking and the cost of supporting new projects with schools, water and other municipal services.
We wouldn’t call it much of a “debate” really. (All of those "issues" would be addressed by the increased tax revenue that comes with economic grotwth.) More like a self-serving, deplorable smear campaign. “Vertical sprawl?” Way to take a word synonymous with nasty suburban gluttony and unjustly associate it with sound (economically, environmentally, socially…) planning.

What the shit? Are old people just amazingly acrophobic?
There’s often little correlation between a proposal’s size and the depth of the opposition to it. In Berkeley, Calif., intense controversy has erupted over plans to turn a single parking lot next to a subway station into a 300-unit apartment and retail complex. “There seems to be an almost religious objection to height,” said Mr. Droettboom. “People say, ‘It’s just too tall.’ ”
You said it man. Fuckin batshit crazies. We need to round ‘em up, and give ‘em all a free one-way ticket to Albuquerque or something.

They are the fucking rake.

Here’s an idea: let’s write an article that actually gives the impression that batshit crazy residents diametrically opposed to any new development, no matter what it is, might have a somewhat valid argument. When, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Because, like anyone who’s afraid of potential change, they have an absolutely godawful mindset that propagates nothing but very bad things. [NY Times]
Breaking: David Auspitz and Vince Fumo vie for the revered title of Biggest Pompous Idiot/Gasbag in Philadelphia
Surprise, Surprise: David Auspitz and the ZBA think urban planning is a myth
Of high-rises and small-minded batshit crazies

Friday, August 04, 2006

And you said Penn doesn’t have any hot chicks

From today's New York Daily News:
Malibu cops have said the Oscar winner spewed vile anti-Semitic bile during his drunken-driving arrest last week. But we hear the "Braveheart" star couldn't have been nicer to a fetching 23-year-old University of Pennsylvania grad student in 2001, when he was filming M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" in Philadelphia.

Sources say the 50-year-old married father of seven was seen around town with the Jewish brunette, and even visited her apartment.

Yesterday, the woman, now 27 and married, downplayed their friendship, telling us, "We happened to be in a couple of places together."
OK. Three things:

1. Mel Gibson. Dave Matthews. These two are onto something. Penn can hold its own when it comes to talent. (Hands down, the best in the Ivy League.) And it’s only going to increase.

2. We’re a little miffed that we don’t know who this girl is. We definitely should. Please refresh our memory.

3. And three, why is she married? 27? Come on. WAY too young.

Mel Gibson likes his honeys young, dark and preferably affiliated with SDT [NY Daily News]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Breaking: Invincible inspiration for Sal’s Pals revealed

We thought the fan groups that sprung up during the waning years of Veterans Stadium were original ... for Philadelphia.

Honestly, we weren’t aware of player fan clubs before the days of Padilla’s Flottila, the Wolf Pack, Person’s People and Abreu’s Amigos, to name just a few.

But today we learnt of the mother of all player fan clubs… none other than Papale’s Pisanos [sic].


If this movie is Philadelphia’s Rudy — like we are predicting — these are going to sell like hotcakes.

The fact that they’re sleeveless is just icing on the cake.

Seriously. Get yours. Now.

Holy Shit — Vince Papale is the man… []
Fasano's Paisanos would have been better
Ah, Sweet Memories