Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Frank Rizzo just rolled over in his grave

A little.

So-called legendary businessman-gambler Joseph "Joe Vito" Mastronardo Jr., the son-in-law of the late Frank Rizzo — the former Mayor and Police Commissioner of Philadelphia — was arrested today, a month after more than $3 million was seized in a search of his house and car, in connection with a gambling operation sting.

The coppers got suspicious when they saw a few more busted knee caps than they’re used to up there in Montgomery County.
Investigators stumbled into a wider gambling probe after police in Souderton said they saw an increase in beatings that they believed were connected to a gambling ring.
Well at least now we get to keep that hundo we wasted on Barbaro last week. Fuckin choker.

Related:
What I don't understand is... when you owe a bookie a lot of money, and he, say, blows off one of your toes, you still owe him the money. Doesn't seem fair to me. Especially when he's gonna kill you in four days anyway. [CD Times]

Friday, May 26, 2006

Breaking: Teri Hatcher hearts Philadelphia

Don't despair, Teri likes you:
Is Philly really the City of Brotherly Love?

Well, let me just say that for some reason, everyone I meet from Philly is fabulous. I’ll meet a new friend and be talking at a party for a while, and, inevitably, when I ask where they are from, it’s Philly. So that’s a reason to go there in itself. Nice, creative, passionate, real folk. They’re always a pleasure, really.
She goes on to wax poetically about everything from hitting up the Italian Market for breakfast and shopping along Rittenhouse Row to downing martinis at Continental and feasting at Vetri and Barclay Prime.

(
Apparently, she checks us out several times a year while she's visiting the fam.)

We also enjoyed learning that she likes herself a cheesesteak with gravy but not fried onions.

But the real dirt comes when she reveals she has a thing for Tommy Up, he of PaperStreet fame.
You were named "Most Likely to Be a Solid Gold Dancer" in high school. Any good spots to get your groove on?

Well, Philadelphia primarily has a lounge and hip-hop scene, but there are a few really great dance scenes. The best is a Saturday-night party that's thrown all summer, called Mojito, and hosted by Tommy Up. The party is in the courtyard of an office skyscraper in Commerce Square with a huge fountain, great live house music, and guest DJs like the now world-famous King Britt and Josh Wink. A small restaurant, Marathon Grill, supports the party. It's a great time and a great crowd.
Tommy should totally hit that.

We would.

Related:
Teri Hatcher: On the whole, I’d rather be in the city that loves you back [American Way]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Restaurant roundup — the outside is for drinking

We like to eat. We like to drink. More importantly, so do a lot of you. In order to facilitate more of this, here’s a rundown of some new establishments coming to town.

- Mantra is set to open any day now in the space on 18th that was most recently Yann. Asian vibe. They’ve added a liquor license. [CP]
- Philebrity reports that North Bowl is making progress and should be open before too long. All good news. [Philebrity]
- Speaking of bowling, we can’t imagine that Lucky Strike Lanes will be very cool when it opens in June above the old Woolworth on Chestnut. (Sorry, we don’t like chains very much.) [CP]
- The cleverly named Water Works Restaurant is readying to open late next month at — you guessed it — the Fairmount Water Works. Hopefully, in time to watch the fireworks during the PECO Boathouse Row Bash. [Inky]
- More good news: Fresh off making the Top 50 Places to Have a Beer in America (#39), the folks at Tria are already working on their second locale. It’s not for a while yet (like early 07), but the new spot is in Wash West. [Tria]
- The Cira Centre is getting a restaurant from Daniel Stern (Gayle) in October, while the new Comcast Tower will get a restaurant from his former employer, Georges Perrier. [PBJ]
- And Fogo de Chão is coming to town. Yes, we know it’s a chain. But it’s fucking Fogo de Chão. We’re talking mountains of meat. From Brazil. Getting dizzy just thinking about it. Location still under wraps. [Inky]
- But this week’s winner comes from the folks who brought you Royal Tavern… Cantina El Caballito, featuring “lots and lots of tequila,” is due to open next week on Passyunk Avenue. Sounds kinda awesome. Yep. Definitely awesome. [CP / Philebrity]

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ban City Council watch: Jack Kelly just blew your mind

Note: We were busy last week, so we’re sorry that we’re late getting this to you.

In the latest episode feeding our infinite incredulity with Philadelphia City Council, Jack Kelly last week proposed another ban for Philadelphia restaurants.

But wait. It’s not what you think.

JK proposed a ban on... foie gras.
Kelly plans a bill that would ban the sale of foie gras, which he says involves unspeakable cruelty to geese and ducks.

"It's torture," Kelly said of the technique of force-feeding birds until their livers are many times the ordinary size. "I can't even read about it because I get too upset."
Forget that smoking ban, the ban that would actually improve quality of life for human beings in Philadelphia. Instead, let’s improve the quality of life for some ducks in California. *

And why stop there? We might as well ban veal, pork and chicken. And, didn't we read something about fish feeing pain too? Then, they’re out too.

Interestingly...
Kelly takes a more hands-off stance on the other big public-health issue involving legislation and restaurants: an effort to ban bar and restaurant cigarette smoking. An opponent of smoking bans, Kelly says there is no contradiction. "As far as I know, the cigarette industry doesn't torture anybody," he said.
Good work Jacky. You convinced us.

Not.

* We are all for the ethical treatment of animals. That said, we are for the ethical treatment of people first. Soon as City Councils shuts out big tobacky, we'll listen again.

Related:
Kelly: In other words, the foie gras lobby has yet to give me a single kickback [Inky]
Earlier:
Zagats confirms: Philly City Council is fucking nutso

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The last word on Starr-gate, or how we learned to stop worrying and love health violations

Last week, you’ll remember, there was a little commotion around town after Philly Mag posted a report from the City’s Office of Food Protection. We pointed out that in that report, a bunch of Stephen Starr restaurants received multiple violations. Fingers were pointed, names were called and, shortly thereafter, the initial report was pulled from the magazine’s website.

After we posted a follow-up, Philebrity did some digging. They got Jeff Moran, Office of Food Protection spokesperson, to blame the foul-up on an IT problem.

This sounded like a crock at first. (An “IT problem” resulting in eight Starr restaurants getting their grime on?) But as it turns out, Moran was apparently telling the truth. Inasmuch as the “IT problem” was that someone screwed up exporting the report from excel into a PDF, so that violations were lined up with the wrong restaurants.

Philadelphia Magazine published a corrected version on Friday. Philebrity then reported that Starr joints did much better this time around. Which is comforting. Now we can sleep again at night.

Then Sunday morning, we saw a piece in the Inky with the following report:
Early this month, Philadelphia Magazine posted a list of violations, but the list was inaccurate - branding some of Philadelphia's best-known restaurants as having had problems with rats, mice and flies.

An information-technology glitch was to blame, but it is not clear how it happened.
Platt said researcher Victor Fiorillo had gone back and forth with the city to get a "digestible version of the raw data." The city converted the file to an Excel spreadsheet, from which a document known as a PDF file was printed.

But on the document, the names, addresses, violations and dates of violations had been incorrectly lined up.

Eight days after the list went up, Platt said the owner of a Northeast Philadelphia barbecue restaurant called the magazine to say that his restaurant had not been cited.

Platt said the magazine called the department to double-check and pulled the report from its site "within minutes."
Hoo-ray Platt.

In the end, all the ruckus did inspire the City’s Office of Food Protection to post the reports online themselves. Crazy. That was how this thing all got started. Philadelphia Magazine wrote a short piece saying how ridiculously difficult it was for anyone to get their hands on restaurant inspections in this town, when in other cities (like New York) it was insanely easy, “Dirty Secrets: How to Get Your Mitts on the City’s Restaurant Reports.” (May, 2006)

And they got just what they asked for. Now there’s a 425-page PDF report on phila.gov about Center City restaurants with health violations in 2004 and 2005. Can’t wait to check that out. Oh good, the Inky already did that for us…
Other owners also said they had solved their problems.

At Alma de Cuba on Walnut Street, a fly infestation in March was eliminated within 24 hours, owner Stephen Starr said through a spokeswoman.

At Matyson, owner Matt Spector said mouse problems had been fixed, and the most recent inspection found no infestation. When he first opened in late 2003, there were mice because previous tenants had left food that had rotted, he said.
Good work Inky. Someone might just buy you yet.

Related:
Morimotogate R.I.P. [Philebrity]
Sometimes it can take five of us to write a single article [Inky]
We don’t need no stinking excel tutor [phila.gov]
Platt: This definitely should get us a Pulitzer [PhillyMag]
Earlier:
Star-gate; wtf?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Scrapples: South Philly shout outs edition

- Frankie Avalon returns to South Philadelphia tomorrow. Concert aside, the Italian Market Festival is guaranteed good times. Gun shops and butcher shops — what more could you ask for? [official site]
- Pat’s and Geno’s are right there, but we want a cheeser from John’s Roast Pork. The James Beard Foundation just named John’s an “American Classic.” If only Snyder Avenue wasn’t torn up all to shit so we could actually get there. [Inky]
- Copa Miami? Hamburger Mary’s failed, so the geniuses behind Copabanana figure a Copa Miami is exactly what will succeed in its place. The "fun" will begin in June. [CityPaper]
- Facedectomy Alert: 10 Rittenhouse is going to have to take down the Rittenhouse Club’s façade only to put it back up again. [Changing Skyline]
- Curt Schilling returns to South Philadelphia this weekend, when the Boston Red Sox hit up the Phillies for a three-game set. But alas, originally slated to pitch Sunday, Schilling won’t be starting a game this weekend. That said, we hope that the Phils’ bullpen got all the cock-smoking out of their system up in Milwaukee, which is Algonquin for “the good land.” [Inky]

We've included a video below for fun. It's proof that rap videos are infinitely better than most other things on television. Kinda like an iPod commercial on crack. And acid.




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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Starrgate: health violations + philly mag + blogs = online bedlam

So our post last week about Stephen Starr and health code violations created a bit of a brouhaha yesterday.

Eater saw our post, zeroed in on the juicy part and posted something around lunchtime about Stephen Starr having rats.

Well, as you can imagine, the Starr folks weren’t too happy about that and quickly responded to Eater with a missive that including the following statement:
"We have looked at all of our reports and we've gone though our records. We have had nothing like rats. Every restaurant gets violations, but I have no idea where this report came from. It's not even close!"
Woa. We have the report right here and we definitely didn’t make it up. Are we being called liars? We just published what’s in the report. The report that Philadelphia Magazine obtained from Philadelphia’s Office of Food Protection. It clearly states everything that we published in our post last week.

So where’s the disconnect? How can Starr be denying what’s in the official report?

Apparently, the answer lies within the bureaucracy of Philadelphia’s city government. Shocking.

It turns out the Office of Food Protection handed over to Philadelphia Magazine a report rife with mistakes.

For the record, in our original post, we questioned how it was possible for the Starr restaurants to have received so many violations while other notable restaurants didn’t receive many violations at all.

We alleged that it was probably one of two things: either 1) the city’s health inspectors have a hard-on for Starr or 2) Starr never saw much benefit from maintaining sanitary kitchens before.

Well, it has since turned out to be the former.

After the Eater post, Starr contacted both Philadelphia’s Office of Food Protection and Philadelphia Magazine. The Office of Food and Protection soon realized that it delivered an erroneous report to Philadelphia Magazine and contacted the magazine. The magazine’s editors, not wanting to piss off Stephen anymore than they already had, quickly took down the PDF of the report and published this Editor’s Note on their website:
In connection with Philadelphia magazine’s May 2006 article “Dirty Secrets: How to Get Your Mitts on the City’s Restaurant Reports,” this website featured a complete report that was provided to the magazine by Philadelphia’s Office of Food Protection in response to our request for health code violations recorded by their inspectors in 2005 and in the beginning of 2006. After providing that report and after its publication on this website, the Office of Food Protection has informed the magazine that the report contained numerous errors, including reports of health code violations at restaurants that in fact had no such violations. The magazine has removed the report from the website and will endeavor to provide a corrected report when it is provided by the city.
They also sent the following statement to Eater:
There exists no allegation, in Philadelphia magazine or elsewhere, that there is any such problem at Starr restaurants and that any conclusions about any restaurants -- Starr's or others -- drawn from the city's inaccurate report would be wrong and irresponsible.
That sentence is a bit hard to follow, but we’re pretty sure the magazine just absolved itself of any wrongdoing. Which is cool, we guess.

In the end, we’re not going to deny that this was a bit entertaining. We simply posted what we saw to be notable in the health violation report. (We still have the PDF of the report, so we know we’re not crazy.)

Starr has to be kinda pissed at Philly Mag, but we’re sure he doesn’t hold any ill will towards us — after all, blogs never lie. No hard feelings, right Stephen?

Anyway, big ups to the good folks at Eater for helping get to the bottom of this.

Related:
Morimotogate: Who is Trying to Take Down Stephen Starr? [Eater]
Editor’s note on Philly Mag gives shout out to Eater and TheIlladelph. Not. [Philly Mag]
Earlier:
Stephen Starr has a dirty little secret

Monday, May 15, 2006

McNabb begins Eagles' disinformation campaign early

Apparently, Donovan is still hurting from when Hank Fraley “stabbed him in the back” by letting the media know that Donovan was playing his heart out at the end of the Super Bowl. Awww.

Flashback to February 2005:
"He fought to the end. He gave it his all," Fraley said on Comcast SportsNet in a show aired Monday night. "He could hardly call the plays -- that's how exhausted he was trying to give it his all. If you remember back when we played Jacksonville two years ago and he ended up puking, it was close to that scene. He exhausted everything he had."

"He didn't get a play call in one time," Fraley said. "He mumbled and (receiver) Freddie Mitchell yelled out the play we were trying to bring in. He was puking at the same time, trying to hold it in." [Inky]
Fraley was just trying to defend McNabb. But Donovan was livid with Fraley for telling the truth. Fraley accidentally disclosed what was going on in the huddle and shed some light on why the Eagles seemingly inexplicably did not utilize the hurry-up offense despite being down by 10 when they got the ball back with 5:40 to go in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
"I haven't talked to anyone. But I've seen Hank on TV a lot," [McNabb] said. "Obviously I'm upset about the whole deal." [HSB]
Donovan would much have much preferred Hank to keep that little detail to himself.

Fast forward to yesterday, at the Eagles mini-camp, where Donovan made it blatantly clear that he adamantly supports the Eagles’ policies/tactics of deception, hypocrisy and intimidation. (Much like the Bush Administration.)

Donny wore a new t-shirt to his press conference.
On the front it said, ''If You Can't Trust Your Family, Who Can You Trust?'' The words ''Family'' and ''Trust'' were in big white letters. And to drive the point home, McNabb twice repeated the phrase to reporters.
Cute, Donny.

On Sports Final on NBC10 Sunday night, Jevon Kearse called in and one of the questions he was asked was what kind of statement was Donovan trying to make by wearing that shirt.

“He’s trying to say that some things should be kept in house… that we need to keep things behind closed doors.”

Jevon’s answer did not sound like he was offering his opinion. His answer sounded like the whole team had been told exactly what Donovan’s shirt meant.

So it’s good to see that Donny and the Eagles are starting off the year fresh with brand new scare tactics to keep everyone in line and mute about anything of actual consequence. Like we wouldn’t want people to ever know that the Eagles starting quarterback has a history of panic/exhaustion attacks in late game situations, now would we?
"Donovan, he dry heaves a lot when he gets under certain situations. It's happened before. It's happened in the NFC Championship game. He was dry heaving and he couldn't get the words out in the play, so he gave me hand signals. ... I basically called the play and knew what the coaches were thinking in that situation.” [espen]

McNabb vomited on the field during a loss at Jacksonville a couple of years ago. Rather than making an easy joke about the poor host city, let's recall that there are stories about McNabb vomiting during Syracuse games - once at Oklahoma and once during a game-winning drive against Virginia Tech. [Inky]
Later, Stephen A. chimed in and again proved that he’s as astute a sports writer this city has ever seen:
“McNabb is a company man, a player who marches purely to Reid's tune. Someone who tows the company line, gets paid handsomely to do so, even when he's unwittingly exploited by Reid and Co. to keep the rest of the troops in line.” [Inky]
Donovan being a yes-man helps no one. Andy Reid showed us last year that he is not a smart enough coach to win games on his so-called superior play-calling. He needs a confident, competent quarterback to boot.

In order for Donovan to be that player, he needs to grow up and make a few decisions for himself, without looking over to Andy, desperately seeking his approval, after every single incompletion.

And it wouldn't hurt if he started by acknowedging and addressing his anxiety attacks, instead of foolishly trying to keep everything a secret.

Related:
McNabbs tries to pull the wool down [AMC]
McNabb is a yes-man [Inky]
Scrutinizing the longest three minutes and 52 seconds of your life [Inky]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Breaking: Contrary to popular belief, City Council has indeed heard of the Internet

More than 20 months after Mayor Street first announced plans to blanket the city with wireless internet, today City Council finally approved the project as currently proposed.
"Philadelphia is a city of many firsts and this is a first as well," said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.
Yeah. Right.

At this rate, we can expect Mogadishu to have WiFi before Philadelphia.

Related:
$100 says Chicago’s WiFi works before Philly’s [MSN]

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Breaking: Hamels gets the call

Well that certainly didn’t take long.

He’s to start Friday against the Reds in Cincinatti.

Related:
Cole Hamels is too sexy for his shirt [Inky]
Earlier:
Let the Cole Hamels watch begin

Exercises in stating the obvious: Center City waiters hate Penn students

Staying with the gastronomic theme this week, there’s a great article in today’s Philly Weekly.

Apparently, Penn students have a bit of a reputation. And it’s not so good. Who would have thought?

A few excerpts from the article, which is timed to coincide with commencement this weekend when Penn coeds will literally flood Center City restaurants, proud parents in tow (yay!):
Mention Penn students to a Philadelphia waiter and prepare to be served a steaming plate of outrage. Servers, it seems, don't care for waiting on Penn students…

[Servers] define the students' bad behavior as everything from snobby 19-year-olds talking down to servers twice their age to underage drinking and lousy tipping. Apparently a special circle of restaurant hell is reserved for Wharton students, who are at the top of servers' lists of icky folk.

"The Wharton students," says Alexis, a longtime waitress about town (all names were changed to avoid firings), "have even budgeted tips into their lives-exactly how much they have to tip to become a millionaire. They're the worst."

John, a waiter at a luxury Rittenhouse restaurant, sums up the list of grievances against Penn students: "They're thoughtless and condescending and have an attitude of entitlement that makes it unpleasant to interact with them..."
What? No way. Ok, maybe.

Well, you definitely have a point there about kids from Wharton. Actually, we completely agree with you about those Wharton shits.

But lumping all Penn students into to the same pretentious/narcissistic/condescending/cheap asshole stereotype with the Wharton brats? You’re telling us that’s not a bad rap? You’re right, it’s not. (Only for students though. Penn alums are totally legit.)

But at least the tables full of sorority girls at BYOs are hot.

Sometimes.

If you’re drunk.

Related:
Philly waiters agree: Penn kids rule! [PhillyWeekly]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Breaking: Stephen Starr has a dirty little secret

UPDATE: The original report that Philadelphia’s Office of Food Protection gave to Philadelphia Magazine was filled with mistakes. For more info, go here and here.

In the May issue of Philadelphia Magazine, Noel Weyrich complains about it being too hard to find publicly available, city-maintained information on the Internet. His concern is primarily crime data. But then there’s a sidebar piece about how hard it was for the mag to track down any info on health violations at city restaurants. When they finally got a copy of the city’s most recent report, they did what any decent publication would have done and immediately posted it online.

The problem is the report is 108 pages long. Luckily, we’ve gone through it so you don’t have to.

While there’s plenty of fun to be found within (Rittenhouse Wawa came out clean, just a lack of hot water — phew!) the real eye-opener is that of all the 200+ restaurants in Center City, the seeming majority of the popular restaurants that were cited for a health violation in the report happen to be owned by Stephen Starr.

Seriously, eight of his restaurants are in this thing. That's two thirds. The report spans 14 months, from January 2005 through February 2006. In that time, eight different Starr restaurants were cited — many on numerous occasions — while not many other notable restaurants are included at all?

It's a little disconcerting. There are so many great restaurants in Center City that aren't in the report once, how's it possible that eight out Starr's 12 were cited for multiple health code violations. (Sure Haru, Capital Grille and Devon made it, but they're all chains so no shock there.)

It's probably one of two answers: 1) The city’s health inspectors have a hard-on for Starr or 2) Starr never saw much benefit from maintaining sanitary kitchens before.

If it’s the latter, it might change soon.

Here are some highlights from the report:

First, Buddakan:
30-Jun-05
- Hot water at hand washing sink is not provided in unit.
Whatever.

On a trip to El Vez:
26-Jan-06
- Wiping cloths are used in an unapproved manner.
- Food is not protected from contamination.
- Refrigeration system does not maintain proper temperatures.
Not a stamp of approval, per se, but not the end of the world either.

Next up Jones:
27-Apr-05
- Mouse infestation is present----several fresh mouse droppings noted under basement step.
26-Oct-05
- Ant infestation is present.
That’s a bit worse.

Tangerine:
27-Jul-05
Mouse infestation is present. Mouse feces noted in chip aisle shelves
Not any better.

How about Continental? Inspectors made three trips there within one month:
3-Nov-05:
- Fly infestation is present.
- Mouse infestation is present. Droppings on shelves throughout.
21-Nov-05:
- Mouse infestation is present. Droppings present on numerous shelves.
2-Dec-05:
- Roach infestation is present. In the prep area and basement.
Yikes. At least they got rid of the mice. (We’re assuming this is from Continental; in the report, the SRO corporate offices are listed, which are right next door to Continental.)

Striped Bass is next:
5-Oct-05:
-Roach infestation is present: numerous roaches observed inside cabinets over and under kitchen utensil sink and crawling out from behind back splash of utensil sink and baseboard radiators up on to the wall and behind book case in hallway.
- Mouse infestation is present: numerous mouse droppings were observed on floor around floor fan in front room and on top of radiator covers in middle room. Both rooms on 2nd floor and both rooms are used for daycare.
Jeebus.

What about Washington Square? It only gets worse...
25-Oct-05
- Adulterated or unwholesome food is present -- Fresh mouse feces observed inside bulk rice container.
- Mouse infestation is present -- Fresh mouse feces observed in food product.
- Roach infestation is present -- Numerous live german roaches observed in food cabinets.
23-Dec-05
- Multi-use utensils are not properly cleaned and sanitized:- utensils were observed being washed with plain hot water then put into sanitizer. There wasn't any washing with detergent.
- Employee observed not following good hygienic personal practices:- food handling employee was observed scratching arms with finger nails. She did not wash her hands and put back on used single service gloves and returned to food prep activities
- Employee hand wash frequency is inadequate.
But the kicker is from the Iron Chef himself, Morimoto-san:
4-Apr-05:
- Mouse infestation is present----fresh and old mouse droppings till noted on floor perimeters in rear food storage and front counter areas under and behind equipment.
- Rat infestation is present----rat feces noted in basement area.
Rats huh? And not the inflatable kind? Yeah, that’s not so good. You’ll probably want to have that checked out.

Needless to say, we didn't see any other "renowned" restaurants in the report that had a problem with rats, unless you count the inimitable Wawa at 38th and Spruce.

So we’re thinking that Stephen might want to take a break from all the hoopla in NYC and pay a little more attention to his 12 restaurants here in Philadelphia.

After all, you shouldn’t shit where you eat.


***UPDATE, 5.16.06: Philadelphia's Office of Food Protection further proves the many virtues of bureaucracy, delivers report with several major mistakes to Philly Mag. More to come...

***UPDATE, 5.22.06: All your answers are here and here.

Related:
How would you like a nice heaping of rat feces with your fish roe? (Full Report, PDF) [PhillyMag] UPDATE: Report taken down, see editor's note (one scroll down)
New York’s making Starr more flamboyant: It's a mess. It's a madhouse. It's typical. [Inky]

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Scrapples: OMG, the USOC is coming. The fricking USOC!

- Philadelphia 2016 is having a rally Tuesday in Love Park to show the City’s support for a bid while USOC officials are in town for an exploratory meeting. Rally invite asks that inflatable rats be left at home. [CampusPhilly]
- Frank Bruni likes Stephen Starr’s Buddakan NYC one star better than Starr’s Morimoto NYC. [Times]
- Slutlana Svetlana Shusterman (of Temple Univ. and Real World: Key West) will bludgeon your face if you’re from Canada... with her boobs. [FHM]
- Daily Candy Philadelphia has found itself an editor. [Inky]
- Irresistible Ella is no substitute for the Hotties of Philly Local News 1.0. [Phila Will Do]
- The University City Science Center announces details of phase one of its expansion, which will eventually double its size and make sure no one other than nerds ever step foot on W. Market Street. [CPN]
- Finally, Chase Motherfucking Utley was today named the NL Player of the Week. Rock, Chase. Rock. [Phillies]

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Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?

Oh, where have you been, charming Billy?

It must be the win streak because we're just not used to Charlie Manual calling opposing players out. But that's what he did in his post-game interview after the Phils swept the Giants last night for their eighth win in a row.

"Bring on Billy Boy."

Wow, Charlie, sounds like someone is feeling a bit more confident these days.

In case you missed it, Billy Wagner had some choice words for his old team in an article in Sunday’s Inky.
Wagner said he got the feeling late in the season that his teammates, whom he described as overly sensitive about media coverage, were just waiting to see him fail.

Wagner said he became "everyone's least favorite Phillie in the clubhouse" after he called his teammates on the carpet for their spiritless play in an interview that appeared July 1 in The Inquirer.

In response to Wagner's critical comments, former teammate Kenny Lofton called a team meeting in the weight room. Wagner described the meeting as "24 against one," and added that Pat Burrell called him a "rat" during the meeting.
In addition to Manuel, a bunch of players chimed in after last night’s game about Wagner’s comments and this week’s series against Wagner and the first place Mets.

Rheal Cormier offered this gem:
"It's sad that it has to come out now before the series starts. I enjoyed playing with Billy. I didn't agree with a lot of what he said, but if he felt that way, he's got 43 million reasons to be happy in New York."
Looks like we might just have to head over to Ashburn Alley this week and hear what else Billy has to say. Or better yet, what some of our finest inebriated fans have to say to him. Should get extra interesting right around the eighth inning.

Oh, and yeah, the Phils won their eighth in a row in a game in which Bonds hit #713 and are now just four games back of the first place mets.

Related:
Charlie Manuel to no one in particular: Bring on Billy Boy [MLB.com]
Wagner to Inky: I’ve blown three saves already this season and I’ll blow three more before I leave town. No big deal. [Inky]

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Flashback: Can this be topped?

Cheering when a player suffers permanent spine damage.

It’s going to be hard to beat.



An aside: we’re surprised the Eagles ownership hasn’t been found criminally negligent for allowing players to play on that surface. The turf is/was obscene.

Related:
Expect your sign to be confiscated [700 Level]
Earlier:
Barry Bonds is coming to town

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Why don’t strip clubs have rules like this?

City Paper’s resident expert on all things erotic, Ashlea Halpern, reports on her recent visit to the new all-male revue at the newly opened UpStairs at Club Risque (1700 Columbus Blvd., above the Gentlemen’s club). One thing from the story grabbed our attention. Before the show started, the host instructed Ashlea and other female patrons of some house rules:
"Now ladies, before we get started, I need to go over some rules," bellowed host Larry E., of HBO's Real Sex 31 fame. "The rules are … there are no rules! You can grab it, touch it, lick it or suck it! Anything goes!"
Wait a minute now. We are rarely encouraged to grab, touch or lick titties at the strip club. In fact, doing so can can get our ass beat. (We could find our way around it, but it’s cost prohibitive.) So why can ladies go UpStairs and get to do to dudes what we can’t do the ladies downstairs? We’ll tell you why. Discrimination. We — males, collectively — are being discriminated against.

Not. Cool.

Related:
Shame-free, hands-on fun for ladies [CP]
Sausage fest in South Philly [DN, second item]

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Zagats confirms: Philadelphia City Council is the most amazingly inept political body ever

Tim Zagat, the founder of the famous restaurant guides bearing his name, wrote an editorial for the Philadelphia Business Journal, in which he basically calls Philadelphia provincial as fuck.
“Since my wife Nina and I started publishing Zagat Survey guides in 1979, we've found that … there are very few issues of taste about which people of all ages, genders and geographic regions can agree.

That's why it catches our attention when an issue garners the overwhelming support of the public. And it is clear from our surveys that the vast majority of Americans prefer their restaurants, bars and clubs to be smoke-free…

We recently surveyed more than 115,000 people for our 2006 America's Top Restaurants guide, and found that 89 percent of all Americans and 83 percent of Philadelphia respondents think smoking should be totally banned in restaurants…

Every time the issue comes up, opponents of smoke-free laws argue that these laws would devastate small businesses. The opposite is true. In three years as the chairman of NYC & Company, the official marketing, promotion and tourism arm of New York City, I watched New York transition into a smoke-free city and witnessed the positive impact the law had on our restaurants and nightlife.

Our 2004 survey found that 96 percent of New Yorkers were eating out as much -- or more -- after the law took effect. Moreover, studies showed that business receipts and employment increased for restaurants and bars, the number of liquor licenses increased and virtually all establishments were complying with the law.”
We were kind of hoping he’d wrap it up by calling people names, but, alas, he left that for us to do. Which is fine.

Related:
Zagat to Philly: I have no fucking idea how you stand these guys. Seriously. Have you ever been to a City Council hearing? They’re fucking absurd. Totally. Completely. Effing. Ridiculous. You’ll feel like you’re taking crazy pills. [PBJ]
It's not like this is fucking Berlin [Blinq]
Earlier:
Smoking bans hurt bars... NOT!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Breaking: Always Sunny continues to do wonders for city's image

In a Season Two episode of the FX sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, two of the main characters will visit a bleak North Philadelphia neighborhood and buy crack.
The cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia bought crack yesterday in a bombed-out North Philly neighborhood…

In the story line, Sweet Dee and Dennis discover they can qualify for larger unemployment benefits if they can prove they have a history of drug addiction and they've rehabilitated themselves.

The lunatic brother and sister come up with a plan to smoke some crack, so they'll have it in their bloodstreams and test positive for drugs. Then they'll quit.

Naturally, they can't quit, and three days later wake up totally wasted.
Now that’s a sitcom people. Wow. Making a visit to North Philly to buy some crack rock. We have to admit: we did not see that coming.

These kids have some balls.

(And by kids, we mean the creators, not the actors. We go to North Philly all the time — naturally — it's just ballsy to create an episode about it.)

Related:
Nothing says Philadelphia like buying crack [Inky]
Season 2 of Always Sunny, complete with crack, coming this June [FX]

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ah, sweet memories

This is a video still from the new movie Invincible starring Mark Wahlberg as Vince Papale, an Eagles fan from South Philadelphia who ended up making the team after an open tryout in the 1970s.

Look how they brought the Vet back from the dead.


It’s enough to make you choke up. Well, maybe not.

Greg Kinear was cast as Dick Vermeil, which we think means that Greg knows how to cry on cue. (We tease. We love you Dick.)

Anyway, check out the trailer. It’s a familiar underdog story, but it looks fairly decent. And timing its release for August and preseason football is just good business on Disney’s part.

Eagles fans are going to dig that.

Related:
Jade McCarthy wishes she got some of Invincible, Trailer [NBC10.com]
Disney: We made a movie almost exclusively for the fine people of South Philadelphia, so now we’re crossing our fingers it appeals to a few other neighborhoods [Disney.com]

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Barry Bonds is coming to town

Barry Bonds is closing in on Babe Ruth and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s just in time for his visit to Philadelphia. He’s only three homeruns away from tying Ruth’s total of 714 and he has three games this week before getting to Philly. We’re guessing that he’ll hit two and be right around 713 when he gets to town on Friday.

This should make for an interesting weekend.

Surely, the notorious Philadelphia fans are going to have something special for Mr. Bonds. The only question is how horrible the reception will be. We’re guessing pretty horrible.

A writer from California thinks it’s an incredibly appropriate ending:
"As the week plays out - two home games against San Diego, two on the road at Milwaukee and three to end the week at Philadelphia - the very real possibility exists that one of those home runs [714 or 715] will be struck in Philadelphia, and if that doesn't smack of a perfect ending, I don't know what does...

Who better, then, to offer the official word on Bonds' mark than the people who once booed Santa Claus?

Terrell Owens will get a warmer reception when he returns with the Cowboys in October than Bonds can expect should he hit his Ruthian shot in Philadelphia."
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say this guy’s right. In fact, we’re going to try to go to all the games this weekend because, frankly, we don’t want to miss the historic occasion in which Philadelphia fans set the bar even lower.

[Image via Deadspin]

Related:
Jesus Barry, you’re really sad [therecord.net]
Phillies: Please buy tickets, our attendance is, like, really bad [Phillies.com]

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Breaking: Alycia Lane attempts to bed a prince; unhappy with results

Last week, Michael Klein told us that Alycia got to fly to Monaco to do a fluff piece on the 50th anniversary of Princess Grace’s wedding (the wedding dress is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Today, we learn of juicier details concerning the trip.

From Page Six:
FOXY Philadelphia TV reporter Alycia Lane gives her stories the personal touch. The Long Island native, who works for CBS affiliate WKYW, jetted to Monaco to interview Prince Albert on the 50th anniversary of Princess Grace's wedding and got invited to a private party at the palace. In photos seen by Page Six, the newlywed journo is seen head to head with Albert, her arms cozily wrapped around the royal. In another, they're holding hands and dancing.
Uh oh. Is Page Six saying that this type of behavior is unprofessional? Because we just don’t see that. Sleeping with royals is totally professional. Especially if it increases your chances for the all-important follow-up story.

And we’ve stated this before but it's worth repeating: Alycia’s work is clearly of the highest journalistic standards.

Related:
Alycia Lane gropes Prince Albert in public [Page Six]
Earlier:
Hotties of Philly Local News, 1.0

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