October 31, 2007
32 Reasons to Love the Eagles.
We mean the Eagles whose peasant-blouse-wearing drummer's 'fro is reason No. 6
October 29, 2007
Ailing Philly Bluesman's Pals Dig Deep
Friends and fans of ailing bluesman "Philadelphia" Jerry Ricks flocked to the Commodore Barry Club yesterday, feasted on a lineup that included Shemekia Copeland and David Bromberg and swapped stories of the guy who "did a lot more than teach music," as one organizer put it.
And raised more than $20,000 for his recovery.
The money is needed to pay for his medical expenses and rehab in Croatia, where he is recovering from brain surgery. Ricks started getting headaches in August, and has not left the hospital since being diagnosed with a non-malignant tumor. He doesn't have insurance, according to his partner of 17 years, Nancy Klein. Croatian musicians have put on their own benefit for the bluesman who moved to the Balkan country six months ago.
At Sunday's benefit here, about 325 patrons listened to an afternoon and evening of blues and folk. They snapped up autographed guitars, CDs, t-shirts and other memorabilia -- all donated so Ricks could benefit from their sales. Top money - $500 - went to a black and white portrait of Ricks, taken by Jef Jaisun, the Seattle photographer, at West Coast blues festival.
After writing a column about Ricks' health and financial woes last week, I got phone calls from all sorts of people who had learned guitar from him, or known him from the days of the Philadelphia folk revivial in the late '60s and early 70s, when he washed dishes, swept up, and jammed with the best at the Second Fret.
"Everybody has a Jerry story," says Doug Waltner, a old friend who more recently hosted home concerts by Ricks. "Everybody says, 'Oh what a pain in the ass. But so many - musicians - said, 'He saved my life' or" He really turned me around.' I understand it. it’s a really strange thing. I figured this out thru this (benefit). Jerry did a lot more than teach music. People learned a lot of things from him that had nothing to do with music. God I hope he pulls through this and does well."
October 25, 2007
We're Not So Ugly After All
We had found it beneath us to comment on the Travel & Leisure "survey" that voted Philadelphians to be the ugliest Americans -- as if our radiance can be divined by mere appearances. Clearly they've never stopped by The Trestle Inn.
Besides, Philadelphia Will Do already came up with a Mad Libs to lampoon the latest affrontery, and how can we beat that?
But when The Numbers Guy in the Wall Street Journal rode to our civic rescue today, I felt attention had to be paid.
Carl Bialik dug into the "methodology" of Travel & Leisure, concluding that the ranking -- we were last of 25 cities -- was "far from a scientific comparison of the bone structure and facial symmetry of urban dwellers."
Why? Let him enumerate the ways.
First, a pretty shallow sample, and we're talking statistically. Instead of doing the representative thing, T & L relied on clicks on its Web site. Duh. For two months, the mag polled it's readers. Nothing kept them from voting repeatedly. The voters were asked to rank 55 separate attributes for U.S. cities. Few hung with the survey long enough to rate all the cities. So a Santa Fe won it's rating through 428 votes, where NYC attracted 3,059 respondents.
A T & L spokeswoman told The Journal's numbers dude:
“We’re confident in our methodology.” She noted that completing the survey for any one city took seven to ten minutes, so it was unlikely many people stuffed the ballot boxes. “We didn’t do it to shame any city," she said. "We asked people to rate positive attributes.”
Philly’s attractiveness rating was 3.75, and every other city came in at 3.95 or higher, which suggested to the number's dude "that either urban Americans all have roots in Lake Wobegon, or they’re being graded on a curve."
They did say that our restaurants rocked.
The Journal mentioned that Philadelphia City Council was outraged by the survey.
A locally owned tab wrote:
"This is the city of Fabian and Frankie Avalon and Grace Kelly," said City Councilman Frank DiCicco. "Are they saying we've morphed into ugly people over the last few decades? Somebody's drinking something out there."
I see a Travel & Leisure ban to go with the trans-fat and indoor smoking.
October 16, 2007
Do It, Feel It!
Slate on the most disgusting commercial yet.
Oh, yes. Do click the video. It's a YouTube phenom. I;ve gotta tell my dad.
October 15, 2007
Snark of The Day
From the 'Couldn't have said it better myself' department, comes Simon Dumenco in Advertising Age:
Speaking of standards, thank you, U.S. News & World Report, for your "Rankings and Reviews" website, in beta (with a "Best Cars & Trucks" roundup) -- a spinoff of your various "America's Best" franchises. I can't speak for other Americans, but I know I have been dying for more arbitrary rankings of the best stuff in America as determined by America's third-best newsweekly.
October 07, 2007
The Great Jimmy Dugan
But on this Indian Summer morning, when we're nursing some wounds, and looking to winter sports, (not to mention fall ones) we leave it to the great Jimmy Dugan to show the way ...