January 31, 2007
Two Days In Ohio
Back in action first thing Thursday. Been driving in the fly-over.
January 29, 2007
Barbaro is gone. The Kentucky Derby winner was euthanized in his stall this morning, ending his fight to survive the catastrophic injury he suffered during the May 20 Preakness Stakes.
Devotion from his cyberfans lasts forever. On Tim Woolley's horseracing site, some comments reflect strangely deep sorrow:
I must admit that on hearing the sad news of Barbaro's passing, the only other times that I have felt so empty and so devastated was when President Kennedy was assassinated, and when the World Trade Center Twin Towers collapsed.
Philebrity breaks into regularly scheduled programming to link Bob Dylan's "All The Tired Horses."
"You Were a Good Horse," says The Phillyist. "May you rest in peace in that great stud farm in the sky."
Philadelphia Will Do wonders how long before the great horse's miracles are documented.
Author Jane Smiley writes in the Washington Post: A horse's hoof is wondrous structure -- the outside horn is lined with delicate membranes and blood vessels that feed and support the bones of the foot. The bones of the foot are analogous to a person's finger tips, since a horse's knee is analogous to a person's wrist -- the race horse carries a thousand pounds at thirty-five or forty miles per hour using a few slender bones supported by an apparatus of ligaments and tendons that have no analogues in human anatomy.
So what's this all about? If you have two minutes, watch this, which could be called, "And here comes Barbaro." One more time, the 132nd Running of the Roses, and his nearly seven-lengths romp. Some horse.
Bits & Parts
Guitar World picked the greatest solos of all time. City Rag found video of the top 20. (via Clicked.) Pretty lame version of "Layla," essential Hendrix, and Jimmy Page on "Heartbreaker" makes me wish for a Led Zeppelin reunion.
Get paid to read blogs, hear podcasts. A Washington Post piece on a media company that scours the Web to track what people are saying about their clients.
Quote Of The Day
-- Maria at Her Jazz, reacting to Jessica Pressler's piece in Sunday's New York Times about black fans of indie music.
UPDATE: The Huffington Post piles on and draws blood:
The subtext of the piece was essentially, "There are actually black people who like something other than rap music...My oh my, whatever will they think of next."
A Street Named Mumia
A petition went online back in September, and has been slowly attracting support - 421 signatures so far. The author is named Jeremy Syrop, and his web site is freemumia.com, where one can download posters that trumpet the cause:
"Now is the time for Harlem to name a street after Mumia," they read. "His life is in great danger and a "Mumia Street" could help create a momentum to prevent an execution and even win a new trial."
A second, identical petition at another online service has garnered 37 signatures.
But if online petitions ruled the day, no one would be living on Mumia Street any time soon.
A third petition is proving to be much more popular - that would be the anti-Mumia drive. It went up last week, and within 48 hours had nearly 700 signatures. By last count it had 5,155. Tony Allen wrote about it in his anti-Move blog:
Having profaned a street in a suburb of France the pro-Jamal zealots have now decided to repeat their "success" here in the United States by having a street in Harlem, New York City, named after the convicted cop-killer.
Pursuant to this goal, the Mumia devotees have started a petition and have even gone so far as to raise money for T.V. commercial spots as a means of bringing attention to their cause.
To name a street after a confirmed killer, cult apologist, and virulent anti-American fanatic like Jamal would be a vile testament to the power of propaganda and an ugly reminder that ignorance has again triumphed over common sense and human decency.
There's precedent for naming a street after a "living revolutionary," according to the posters created by the pro-Mumia group. A street outside Paris, in Saint Denis, has been renamed in Abu Jamal's honor. And Nelson Mandela and Joe Dohery of the Irish Republican Army have been so honored in New York City.
The petition reads like this:
We, the undersigned, support the campaign to rename a street in Harlem in honor of internationally renowned political prisoner and death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal:
-because of Mumia’s lifelong dedication to his people and to justice, and for never allowing himself to be silenced, even while on death row, and
-because of Mumia’s incredible accomplishments, including during the almost 25 years he has spent on death row: five published books and weekly brilliant commentaries exposing the lies that imperialist USA fosters, that are read and listened to by millions around the world, and
-because given the many honors he has received around the world – including honorary citizenship of Palermo, Venice, the Central District of Copenhagen, and Paris, and a street naming in Saint-Denis, and dozens of university, community, and literary awards, it is befitting that Harlem, too, honor our Brother, and
-because Mumia’s case is in its last stages in the court system and, while there is an opportunity for a new and fair trial, the State of Pennsylvania, the Fraternal Order of Police and their allies are opposing that tooth and nail and are demanding, instead, that Mumia be executed, and naming a street in honor of Mumia in Harlem would offer a serious challenge to railroading him to death.
Abu-Jamal was arrested for Faulkner's murder early on Dec. 9, 1981. The 25-year-old officer stopped a Volkswagen on Locust Street driven by Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook. There was a scuffle. Moments later, the policeman was shot in the back and then between the eyes. Abu-Jamal, 27 at the time, was found sitting on the curb, four feet from the body. He'd been shot in the chest. Ballistics testimony at the trial indicated that the bullets fired into officer Faulkner were "consistent" with having been fired from the .38-caliber Charter Arms revolver found at the scene. It was registered to Abu Jamal.
He was convicted and sentenced to death a year later by Common Pleas Court Judge Albert F. Sabo, who had presided over more death-penalty convictions than any other judge in America. During his long stay on death row, Abu-Jamal became a cause celebre. He wrote a book, "Live From Death Row." National Public Radio aired his commentaries, before canceling the deal. He attracted famous supporters world wide. Not everyone on the left believe he's the best poster child for the anti-death penalty cause. In 2001 his death sentence was overturned in federal court.
Bringing It To You, And Getting In Right
Speaking of back then ... a Channel 10 promo with the Stylistics from 1982.
January 26, 2007
Blogs From the 19th Century
It's been 146 years since a Prince of Wales last visited our fair city. The royal in question was the slight, pale, 18-year-old son of Queen Victoria and heir to the throne of England -- known as Albert Edward, and called Baron Renfrew. Decades later, he would become King Edward VII. (For a naughtier connection between Edward and Charles, kindly click this link; looks like he had thing with Camilla's great grandmother.)
The Oct. 11, 1860 report ran down the left rail of the Philadelphia Inquirer's front page with, in the style of the period, a many-decked headline that tipped busy readers to the main events (sort of an Express of its day):
BARON RENFREW IN PHILADELPHIA
VISIT TO A BOWLING SALOON
PRESENTATION OF AN ENGRAVING
TRIP TO GIRARD COLLEGE
THE PRINCE IN THE COUNTY PRISON
GALA DAY AT POINT BREEZE
THE GRAND OPERA
Etc. Etc. Etc.
What's amazing to this modern reader - other than the fact his hosts would show the future King of England to a bowling saloon - is just how much etcetera they packed into their news back then.
A reporter trailed the prince as he toured America's second-largest city to produce a timely, atmospheric, rambling, and oddly detailed narrative of gifts received, engravings examined, dwellings admired, horse chestnuts planted, and hail fellows, well met.
In short, it reads like a 19th Century event blog.
This moment is revisited near the bottom of the account, as the unnamed writer feels compelled to add more names and details and interrupt the narrative flow. (Remember that moving paragraphs required physical labor back then.)
Throughout, facts are gathered like a well-mannered mob.This, from some time spent at the Point Breeze race track:
There was a gentle breeze blowing, and the weather could not have been more desirable. A splendid band of music was upon the ground, and discoursed its strains of melody in the interim between the different heats.
The Prince whiled away the time in smoke a fragrant Havana and conversing with those around him. Among those within his immediate vicinity we noticed Mayor Henry, Hon. Wm. B. Reed, John Rice, Esq., Wm. D. Leis, and other citizens, besides the entire royal suite. The ladies who were represented to the number of about two thousand, seldom cast their glances in an opposite direction to the Prince. Some had opera glasses, which they used during most of the afternoon.
The first race came off at half-past two P.M., between the following horses: "Throgsneck," entered by C. S. LLoyd (F. Morris.). "Irona" five years old, sired by "Register," dam "Black Sal," by "Prince George," with 103 pounds and "Rosa Bonheur," three years old, weight 87 pounds. This was a handicap race of one mile. Entrance $100; forfeit $59; declaration $20. The "Bonheur" won the race - time, 1 minute 47 3/4 seconds.
There's even a classic display of Philadelphia attytood toward the end of the visit, although the reporting gets a little loose here.
"It appears that on the arrival of the Prince at the hotel, in consequence of some slight inadvertence, he was not recognized at the door, and was stopped by the person in attendance with the remark, "No intruders admitted" or something the same effect."
So, things haven't changed that much around here, give or take a few bowling saloons.
(Inquirer photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, www.hsp.org.)
January 25, 2007
Brady on Saidel
"Jon Saidel's my dearest friend in the world. He's going to be my driver, my confidant, my David L. Cohen, my pillow to cry on, my crutch to crutch on. Jon's my friend, I don't have many."
-- soon-to-be-mayoral candidate Bob Brady on former city controller Jonathan Saidel in the new Philadelphia Magazine.
The CIA's rocking the Facebook to get recruits.
Microsoft hires blogger to tweak details about the company on its Wikipedia page.
Fox subpoenas YouTube to find out which fan of 24 and The Simpsons posted a bunch of episodes online.
Washington is killing the Internet Radio star.
Googling blogs made easier.
The leading contenders in the "what to call Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson" game.
I personally like Carmallen.
(hat tip, Deadspin.)