Oh John Carroll

Category: philadelphia (page 1 of 2)

Joe Posnanski writes about the Phillies and their terrible general manager — a depressing, but on-point takedown.

My pal D-Mac tracks Rocky’s run in Rocky II for The Philly Post:

What’s always amused me about this scene is how absolutely little sense Rocky’s route makes: South Philly becomes North Philly becomes the Italian Market becomes North Philly again, and so on. Obviously, the montage isn’t meant to be taken seriously as an actual workout; it’s just a few scenes strung together so “Gonna Fly Now” can play and Rocky can finish at the top of the Art Museum steps.

But, I wondered, what if this roadwork were treated as one actual run? How far would Rocky go? Well, I decided to find out. I pieced together the routes Rocky could have traveled from scene to scene in this training montage and calculated distance. All distances were mapped out by using the USA Track and Field distance-measuring tool recommended to me by my friend and Philadelphia magazine managing editor Annie Monjar. She’s a better runner than I am, so I trust her. However, I’m not sure she could take Rocky in a footrace, at least Rocky II-era Rocky. Let’s see how far he went.

My pal D-Mac, writing for Philadelphia’s City Paper:

Those exhausted from talking sneakers slip off for smoke and 7-Eleven breaks. Others walk around the corner to an alley that’s functioning as the bathroom. I realize that I prefer camping out in Center City to camping out in the woods. It’s all downtime. It’s boring. But it’s also sort of a convention: 100-plus people in Center City overnight, rapping about sneakers for hours. Oddly, I’m enjoying it.

The Strange Decline of the Philly Accent →

Emily Badger for The Atlantic:

Sometime around the 1960s and ’70s, people in Philadelphia began slowly, subtly to change how they speak. The sound of their vowels started a gradual shift consciously imperceptible to the very people who were driving it. A’s evolved to bump into E’s. The sound of an O lost some of its singsong twang. After decades of speaking with what was in effect a southern dialect, Philadelphians were becoming – linguistically, that is – more northern.

Fascinating piece, and helps explain why my Linguistics professor and teaching assistants back in college loved hearing my accent and encouraged me to write about it.

Daniel Hoffman

I just learned of the passing of the poet Daniel Hoffman.  I never had the pleasure of studying with him, but I did have the pleasure of attending and photographing a Kelly Writers House Alumni event featuring him and several of his former students.  It was one of the best KWH events I got to attend during my time there.  If you’d like to listen, there’s a recording of it available here.

A Couple Of Boobs →

I was home over the weekend, and now back in Kansas.  And yet I’m already homesick.  Why?  Well, D-Mac summarizes this week’s perfectly Philly car chase.

Space Invader →

Melissa Frost welcomed an alleged Hurricane Sandy refugee into her home, and came to regret it.  Samantha Melamed tells the story for City Paper:

On Jan. 15, he got his day in court. Bachman showed up with a broken coffee maker, which he said Frost had destroyed. Frost brought Bachman’s December rent check, which she hadn’t cashed, helping her case. The coffee maker didn’t impress Municipal Court Judge Marvin Williams, who found in favor of Frost and ordered Bachman to pay Frost $1,300, the equivalent of his back rent. “I find you to be totally incredible,” the judge told Bachman. “I don’t believe a word you say — and, frankly, you’re frightening.”

What The New York Times Got Wrong →

My pal D-Mac read The New York Times piece about spending 36 hours in Philadelphia, and decided to offer a more realistic take of what that time might look like:

Still, the piece might make out-of-towners think a Philadelphian’s life is all trips to the Barnes and Philadelphia History Museums and an endless supply of donuts and fried chicken, shoveled into our mouths as quickly as possible. (Okay, that second part is kind of true.) The Times’ 36 Hours in Philadelphia is adequate. But here’s a (slightly fictionalized and compressed) 36 Hours in Real Philadelphia, another helpful public service from your ol’ friend Dan McQuade. Don’t worry, I am lame and mainstream enough that most of the places on this list could end up in the Times the next time it profiles Philadelphia in 2016.

The piece is educational for Philadelphians, too.  For instance: I had no idea that Oscar’s served food.  I hope that doesn’t make me an alcoholic.

Nothing Gold Can Stay →

My pal Bryan Armen Graham has an excellent overview of the Andy Reid era over at Sports Illustrated:

Yet Reid, who departs as the longest tenured professional coach since Connie Mack in a city where sports mean a little too much, leaves behind a legacy far more complex than Monday’s universally approved dismissal suggests. He’s the winningest coach in franchise history. He’s the losingest coach in franchise history. No one took the Eagles closer to the Super Bowl with greater frequency. No one was tripped up more often at (or near) the final hurdle. He was a genius and he was a dunce, often in the same barroom debate or sports-talk radio segment.

A great read, whether you’re an Eagles fan or not.

Filet Dot Com

Philly.com launched its new design overnight.  I’m a bit disappointed in how it turned out.  Based on the cleaner, minimal appearance, I initially thought they had gone the Boston Globe route, constructing an adaptable web site that shaped itself to whatever device was opening it.

Instead, Philly.com seems to have copied the look but none of the functionality.  And that’s a shame, because the Globe’s look only became satisfying when I saw how adaptable the site was.  A site that flexible needs a clean, minimal and easily scaled design.

In attempting to clean-up their site, Philly.com has managed to make it worse.  The page lacks very simple guidance — the artwork doesn’t illuminate any of the pieces in specific ways.  I certainly understand why Sandy coverage dominates the front page news, for example, but the clump of similar artwork renders their inclusion moot.  The images might as well not be there, as they’re not distinguishing their attached pieces from one another.

Similarly, the titles lack very basic identifiers.  When I wandered into the Sports section, I found myself looking for a Sixers game recap but opened up columns rather than reports.  I’m not sure who to blame here: the guys writing the headlines, or the designers eliminating columnist images or headline tags.

I’ve always been proud of Philadelphia’s two daily, competing newspapers, but Philly.com’s continued bungling has me wondering if the city’s competitive print news culture has forever doomed its web presence.

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