Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Blood on the Ice

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Why still have hockey?

I was watching this game in a bottle bar on the West side yesterday. To call it “hockey” would be generous. What it was would be better defined as “ice boxing.”

Now, in a sense, both basketball and football can be considered bloodsports – in that there’s a lot of contact play and tempers flaring – but they’re also largely self-policing. You tend not to chop a player’s ankles because they’ll do the same to yours. You tend not to bean batters in baseball because they’ll knock out the first of yours who steps to the plate.

But hockey? Pah! It’s been allowed so long it’s part of the game! It’s funny counting the scars on the commentators, all of whom former players. Nobody was especially surprised about this particular game – apparently, Philly’s called the “Broad Street Bullies” and Pitts’ captain is known as “crybaby Crosby,” but, watching it, I was rather concerned that they wouldn’t have players left by the third period.

How the World Turns

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The NYTimes reported that the numbers are in and NYC is now experiencing a 16-year high in unemployment at 10.3%.

A 16-year high, eh? What was 16 years ago?

Oh, right: Clinton’s first year in office, dealing with the recession the elder Bush left him.

Funny how that works.

Good news, though: The state bailed out the city of Philadelphia – the libraries stay open.*

Just minutes ago, the Pennsylvania State senate passed bill 1828 by a vote of 32 to 17. For all of you who have been following the saga over the city’s budget crisis, this is indeed the legislation that was needed for the City of Philadelphia to avoid the “Doomsday” Plan C budget scenario, which would have resulted in the layoff of 3,000 city employees and forced the closing of all libraries.

Posted yesterday at 4:26pm. Truly 11th hour saviors.

*And to hammer the point home of the importance of literacy, this is the first comment: “Good luck to you and your library’s..”

Ouch.

There Are No Words

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Literally.

The Philadelphia Library System is closing.

All of it.

I don’t know if I could live in a place where that is allowed to happen. It’s one of the most disturbing civic and cultural losses I’ve heard in my lifetime.

The thing about the city is this: You could have nothing but four walls and a mattress, yet you still have access to the intellectual and cultural vigor of your surroundings, free of charge, just for being there. It’s a cornerstone of the elevation of the common man. It’s one of the pillars of true democracy; arguably the pillar of democracy, for nothing else matters so much to the health of a free nation than education.

This is a travesty. An utter travesty. And for what? A budget crunch! I’ll bet the highways are still getting funds…

My Country Tis of Thee

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Black children are turned away from a suburban swimming pool in North Philadelphia because they “would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.” Complexion, eh?

Also, to prove that Shitibank (after nickel and diming me to the tune of $46.50 this month in fees, fees, fees) still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of what to do with customers who aren’t hedge fund pirates, I got this in the mail:

As a Citibank customer, there’s an exciting new offer available to you. Now, when you open and fund a Citibank® Money Market Plus Account, you can get more for your money — starting with a $200 cash bonus.* It’s just our way of saying thank you for banking with us.

Getting started is easy:

1. Just open a Citibank Money Market Plus Account by 7/31/09, deposit $50,000 in new-to-bank funds and link it to your Citibank checking account.

2. Maintain a minimum of $50,000 in your Citibank Money Market Plus Account through 10/31/09.

3. Get a $200 cash bonus.

Yeah, I’m thinking… no.

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