Archive: May, 2005
Awaited word eagerly. Then the names started trickling out, those signed on to play the free Live 8 show on the Ben Franklin Parkway July 2 ... Will Smith. Jay-Z. P. Diddy. Bon Jovi. Dave Matthews. Stevie Wonder. Maroon 5.
Is Fabian still alive?
It's going on in at five cities at once, in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and here, all benefitting famine relief in Africa. It'll be called Live 8, as in G8. Sir Bob Geldof, then just the head Boomtown Rat who organized the original Live Aid 20 years ago at London's Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia's JFK Stadium, is again putting things together.
Good news for Philadelphia officials: Two out of 10 city residents actually trust you to "do the right thing" more often than not. The bad news: the other 8 assume you'll do the wrong thing. This slap down comes from an IssuesPA/Pew poll released today by the Pennsylvania Economy League.
Some numbers: Nearly six in ten Philadelphians said they trusted government only some of the time. Another two said they could never trust the local government. Statewide, the trust rate was more than twice as high as in the city. In Philadelphia's suburbs (PA side) even higher: nearly half (47 percent) said they trusted their government almost always or most of the time.
The non-profits doing the polling concluded the recent high-profile corruption trials had something to do with Philly's official untrustworthiness. Ya think?
I don't know why it took an online story in the Washington Post this afternoon to confirm this for me, but it did.
You've got until just after 4:30 p.m. today if you're going to be picking up the ultimate Philly knick-knack: the Rocky statue.
Your very own, limited-edition version of the triumphant boxer -- the very icon that stood arms-raised on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps before people with different sensibilities had it trucked off to the Spectrum -- is up for auction on eBay. Bidding starts at $1 million for the 10-foot-tall fighter. The beauty part: it's tax deductible.
Would look great in the living room. Impressive on the front steps. Strange in the bedroom.
Things we read while grilling:
Paris Hilton is engaged to Paris Latsis, 27, a sun-dappled Greek shipping heir. Our toast: that the couple that highlights together twilights together.
Speaking of which: The federal deficit skyrockets. Iraq keeps costing. Energy remains a headache. Time for a celebrity tax. Writing in the Weekly Standard, P.J. O'Rourke says the Republicans have an easy way out: tap the $318 billion news and entertainment industry. Given the modest talent of current celebrities and the immodest example they set for impressionable youth, we'll call it a "Value Subtracted Tax," or, better, a "Family Value Subtracted Tax." And it will be calculated on the celebrity's net worth. ... Actually the resource upon which the media and entertainment industry depends is not fame but its toxic run-off, celebrity. America has vast proven reserves. I bought the May 23 issue of a magazine devoted to vulgar public notice. Its contents suggest that Sartre was ever so slightly misquoted on the nature of perdition: Hell is People. What have I ever done to deserve being exposed to Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, wearing four designer outfits? This was in a photo spread titled "Dogs Are Children Too!" Also featured was Tori Spelling's pug dressed as Little Orphan Annie and a quote from Oprah Winfrey about her cocker spaniel, Sophie: "I have a daughter."
Long weekend here, and Blinq turns the controls over to you, with a theme: other people's obnoxious cellphone conversations. Comment on what intrusion has annoyed you most. The guy at the next table, ruining your lunch because he's chewing out his secretary? Or in the next stall? Dime them out, folks. The lady who ruined a Maine climb for me by crowing, "You'll never guess where I am" into her phone at a spectacular clearing? It's get-even time. Looking for short and tart, with a little set-up and dialogue. Go for it.
Back in Louisville, that Oz with bourbon, we looked at our friends across the Ohio River as being a little backward, which is why a reporter friend named Hunt Helm maintained a folder captioned: Hoosiers on Parade. It was filled with examples of Indiana men getting into bowling accidents, or bludgeoning loved ones with bowling balls, and my favorite was about a Hoosier hunter shot in the foot by a rabbit. Yup, the rabbit was dead and sacked, and it somehow got its foot jammed into the trigger of the hunter's rifle. So I have always loved bizarre accident stories. Met my wife over a piece I did on a guy who hatcheted his mother-in-law after mistaking her for a large raccoon, but that is another posting.
We have a classic entry folks, from across the sea. It has a Star Wars theme. Seems a bloke and his young lady friend were filming a mock duel with light sabers in Herfordshire. Only they had poured some sort of fuel into the two glass tubes and ignited them. Exploded. Would be funnier if they were not in critical condition.
The news that Philadelphia is being celebrated for its approach to helping the homeless shows how much a reputation can change. Seventeen years ago my first assignment for the paper was covering a meeting of Oxford Circle residents who were boiling over a bureaucratic error that was to turn over a vacant property to the city's Housing With Dignity program. "The city's problem, not our problem," one neighbor screamed. It would encourage homelessness, said another.
Human rottweilers, I remember thinking. I would quickly learn how big a problem homelessness was proving for the city. When I'd work downtown, the 10-minute walk from my car to the office would cost me $5 typically. Having just moved from Kentucky I was an easy mark, and I had never seen so many people looking for handouts. I talked to all of them, trying to sort out who was going to use the money to get high and who was looking to buy food. I hardened up pretty fast.
The city was overwhelmed by its own Goode intentions. In 1985 Mayor W. Wilson Goode had agreed in a court suit to provide "adequate and appropriate shelter" to the city's homeless. Soon, that meant serving 5,500 people a night. The city could not even keep track of how many people it gave food, clothing and shelter to -- the demand was so overwhelming.