Archive: August, 2011
One day after more reports of absent-minded gamblers abandoning their children in hot cars outside Parx Casino comes word from Harrisburg that one-armed bandits had their best month EVER since casinos came to the state in 2006.
The economy is supposedly still in the tank, but Pennsylvanians scraped up a discretionary $218,300,465 in July alone to dump into slot machines at the 10 casinos that light up the Keystone State? That's $4 million more than the previous record set only a few months ago in March.
So confused. Should have taken more math and psychology classes in college. Reading and rereading the press release from the Gaming Control Board. Can you explain it? I'm all ears. (My eyes are too busy searching for coins in the couch cushions at my house.)
Like many others, I'm grieving the passing of friend and New York Times bestselling author Leslie Esdaile Banks, who died of a rare form of cancer today at 51.
I can't help but feel a cruel irony. After all, I first met Leslie when I wrote about her "winning" the privilege of introducing President Obama at Arcadia University back in March of 2010, in the midst of the health-care debate.
See, Leslie had fired off an email to the president, a respectful rant about how her health insurance premium had spiked from $301 to $659 a month and from $167 to $249 for daughter Helena. If she wanted to keep her $301 premium, well, her deductible would skyrocket from $500 to $5,000.
You know sometimes stories in the paper make you so angry your eyes start to cross? That's how I felt reading Allison Steele and Mike Newall's piece this morning about the Nutter administration preparing a response to the latest outrage of teen wilding in Center City, which claimed five new victims Friday.
And it's a good thing my eyes crossed because the photo from our centerpiece started drifting over to the middle of the attack story.
Vineland, NJ bakers are feeling burned.
Mayor Robert Romano has asked Hoboken, NJ’s Buddy Valastro -- aka the “Cake Boss” on TLC -- to bake something special for Vineland’s 150th birthday celebration this weekend.
“A slap in the face” is how the Facebook page of Sweet Life Bakery, on East Landis Avenue in the heart of Vineland, described the culinary outsourcing.
Really? After all the coverage last year, after criminal cases and cautionary tales and giant signs, parents are still gambling with their children's lives and leaving them in the car in the parking lot of Parx Casino?
What kind of hold does this casino have on otherwise level-headed adults? How could a $10 slots coupon or free cooking set be worth the possibility of killing your kids or losing them to child protective services?
Clearly, Parx's security upgrades haven't been enough of a deterrent. At this point, the casino needs to station guards at each entrance directing anyone driving in with a child to turn around and go home.
The news that the Inquirer building has been sold to Bart Blatstein, that Midas of metrosexual properties, has caused some consternation in these quarters. Will we be forced to pack up decades of dusty newspapers and moldy coffee cups, or will newspaper people become the anchor tenants in a lively mix of retail, residential and retrograde?
I, myself, would prefer to stay put and I welcome the arrival of teacup Chihuahuas and pork pie hats. I can see throwing a glass dome over the newsroom, so young moderns can observe us, but not disturb the work that goes on, barely noticeable throughout the day but then impressively self-important as deadline approaches and dinner calls.
Would it be exciting in this day and age for people to come by and watch the making of the news? I know I always wondered what people behind familiar bylines looked and talked like, but I was a bit of a geek, and this was before we were required to be Facebook friends with people we'd be afraid to have a drink with.
Still wading through emotional response to Sunday's appreciation of Frank Bender, the world's best-known forensic sculptor and a true Philadelphia treasure. Bender, 70, died last week in his home/studio on South Street. He had been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2009 and outlived his prognosticators by more than a year.
Frank devoted his life to art -- prior to solving crimes with his shockingly lifelike busts of the anonymous dead, he worked as a painter and commercial photographer. Many readers wonder whether the city might honor him in some way visuallyv.
No pressure to Jane Golden and her visionary crew at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, but a Frank Bender mural would probably do the trick. But what? Where?
Taking a break from its exhaustive coverage of “Ardmore’s Top Botox Docs” and ultimate granite countertops, Philadelphia magazine has turned its glamour-seeking gaze on something -- make that, someone -- in South Jersey.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford, has been anointed “Politician Who’s Ahead of the Curve” in the magazine’s annual Best of Philly (BOP) issue.
The proclamation, nestled between BOP’s selections of the most totally fabulous “Outdoor-Furniture Refinisher” and “Holistic Facial,” credits Sweeney with “pushing for shared municipal services for a decade, long before this became a buzz phrase in state funding circles.”