Texting lanes and hoagie king ... for real?

Posted: April 08, 2012

Some people warn not to believe everything you read.

Although we urge our readers to ardently trust everything in this column, the adage holds especially true at this time of year.

After all, did Mayor Nutter really create a dedicated sidewalk lane for texting while walking?

Did Gov. Rendell truly purchase Pat's King of Steaks for $4 million?

Did a group of wealthy politicos actually buy The Inquirer and the Daily News?

The answer is yes to only one of these questions. If you have a hard time picking out the correct one, it's probably because each seems slightly far-fetched while maintaining a ring of probability.

Nutter, of course, pioneered and has at times been derided for growing the city's network of bike lanes. Why should a texting lane seem an unreasonable stretch? (And there are, in fact, new lanes and signs in front of the Municipal Services Building, depicting a silhouetted man staring down at his phone.)

As for the Rendell-Pat's rumor, is it hard to believe that a man who once had a Wawa hoagie named for him - and who has long demonstrated his affinity for Philadelphia food - would enjoy owning the legendary cheesesteak shop?

Well, April Fool's.

The "E-lanes" in front of the MSB were something of a high-minded prank the Nutter administration pulled, with an accompanying and quite funny video. Produced pro bono, the skit is well-worth checking out on YouTube.

The Rendell story was concocted by the fine folks at PoliticsPa, who quoted an imaginary source as saying Rendell "spent years growing into their top customer. . . . Then, he went on a diet and nearly drove the place into bankruptcy. If you ask me, it was a maneuver to bring down the price."

Lots of people undoubtedly were fooled by the two fake stories, including those of us in the newsroom who tracked down the source of the Rendell rumor last week.

Because, at 400 N. Broad, we know anything is possible.   - Troy Graham

The mayor sits this one out

Mayor Nutter has not been shy about rapping in public, but he demurred from doing so Tuesday at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Wise move. The speaker at Wharton was the Grammy-winning rapper Ludacris, who filled in students on his charitable activities.

Of course, Ludacris has written some lyrics that are unprintable here, but Luke Butler, special assistant to Nutter, said the mayor was grateful that the rapper had taken the time to "talk to a group of young students about giving back to their community. . . ."

Why no rapping from a mayor sometimes known as Mix Master Mike?

"The mayor has got some game, but I don't think he quite rises to Ludacris' level," Butler said. - Miriam Hill

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