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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: November, 2008

POSTED: Friday, November 28, 2008, 5:00 AM
How can something so clever have such a god-awful name?

Well, it's Black Friday. Specialty retailers will employ whatever marketing gimmicks they can to get us to buy their holiday junk with our holiday dollars,

But I don't think I've ever seen a gimmick as  tasteless as what the stone-hearts at the New York First Company, have come up with.

Their product is clever enough: a blue-and-white, leather change purse ingeniously designed to look like a crumpled, takeout coffee cup.

POSTED: Thursday, November 27, 2008, 6:00 AM
Then-Mayor-elect Michael Nutter, at last year's Thanksgiving Parade, with Yours Truly.

This time last year, I was prancing down Market St., dressed as a clown, happily taking part with my family in the city's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I can't march this year  - I'm still hobbled by the foot surgery that laid me up for six weeks.  (This thanksgiving, what I'm most thankful for is my medical insurance...). 

But I thought I'd share this photo of Yours Truly from last year's march, where I encountered Michael Nutter, who'd just won the mayoral election by a landslide.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 11:40 AM
A family photo of Antonio Quinton Clarke, whose body was found a year ago today.

And now, for Marie Clarke, allow me to reprint here the column I wrote this time last year about her son, Antonio Quintin Clarke - known as "Q" to family and friends.

Q was a nice kid, a truly good kid, who was murdered on Nov. 26, 2007 in a manner so gruesome, it's hard to imagine the kind of monsters who could savage a body the way they did his.

Marie Clarke recently contacted me because, a year later, police still have no suspects or motives in Q's murder. She doesn't want anyone to forget that she and her daughters are still missing their beloved Q, still desperate to know why he was taken from them, still frantic for someone to come forward and share what they know with the police.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 9:13 AM
"Fifty cents, Uncle Ebenezer? That's a lot of halfpennies!" (Halbert images)

 
Last week, I blogged about reader Kevin Towey's complaint that Philly cabs still tacked a 50-cent gas surcharge onto each cab fare, despite the fact that gas prices have plunged in the last few months.

Well, Christmas has come early for you, Kevin, because that surcharge is being lifted. Not sure if my blog post had anything to do with it (ahem ... modest cough ...) but the 50-cent fee will be a goner as of 12:01am this coming Monday, Dec. 1st.

Here's what I wrote in today's Daily News. Read it, then repeat after me, in your most precious-sounding Tiny Tim, grateful-for-Christmas voice, "God bless, every one!"

POSTED: Friday, November 21, 2008, 7:04 PM
kids research school projects on computers and get homework help from library aides. It's also a refuge for some seniors who live nearby. (At the Point Breeze library, on Federal Street near 23rd,)

My column today about the importance of saving our city's libraries evoked passionate response from readers about what makes a place a real community.

I want to give a special shout-out to neighborhood and schools activist Helen Gym, who forwarded to me a truly beautiful piece of writing by activist Debbie Wei, who is working feverishly to keep casinos from opening at the Gallery - a move that would critically impact the life of Chinatown and its residents.

Wei's essay has nothing to do with libraries, but everything to do with community. So her words speak eloquently to my column's point that closing eleven libraries will be the equivalent of stilling the heart of the communities they serve.

POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008, 1:08 PM
PhillyGasPrices.com chart shows gas under $3.50 since the end of September.

The plus side to our dismal economy is that gas prices are plunging as quickly as they once skyrocketed.

So here's my question:  When will the Philadelphia Parking Authority get rid of that 50-cent gas surcharge it placed on Philly taxi fares in early June?

Cab riders hated the surcharge back then, obviously, but not many begrudged it. Hey, when gas prices soar to $4.14 per gallon, the way they did in July, everyone knows they have to share the pain.

POSTED: Monday, November 17, 2008, 3:51 PM
Liza, beloved pup of Vince Fumo's neighbor, NickPappas. ( (Steven M. Falk)


So maybe Liza was more of a bitch than her owner let on to me?

Liza, for those who didn't catch my column about her last week, is the mixed-beagle owned by Nick Pappas, next-door neighbor to Vince Fumo.

During the indicted state senator's still-unfolding trial, prosecution witness Christian Marrone, Fumo's estranged son-in-law, told how Liza's incessant barking drove Fumo so batty, Marrone and others were continually ordered to find ways to resolve the yap-fest. The cops were  summoned, L&I was brought in, the SPCA got involved, all at the behest of Fumo's lackeys.

POSTED: Friday, November 14, 2008, 1:51 PM
Vicki Bellofiore took this and other photos of Vince and Nancy Clark, to restore their faith in wedding photographers.

When Vicki Bellofiore read my column about Vince and Nancy Clark being royally screwed by their wedding photographer, her great big heart dropped to her stomach.

"I wanted to restore their faith in my profession," says Vicki, who’s been shooting weddings and other big events for almost a decade.

About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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