March 3, 2016
By Jake Blumgart The works of Umberto Eco have an unnerving bulk. When choosing the next novel to add to the queue, his tome-like books may dissuade the average reader from plucking them off the shelf. My copy of The Name of the Rose is 536 pages long and, in hardback, could be employed to great effect as a murder weapon. That's not the sole source of intimidation. There is also the Byzantine plot, which features in-depth considerations of 14th-century heresies and the works of Aristotle.
October 17, 2015 |
If you've wandered along North Broad Street lately, you may be scratching your head at the phalanx of stainless steel columns that have suddenly appeared in the center, marching single-file from Callowhill Street to the North Philadelphia station. Are they modernist WiFi antennas? Props for pole dancers? Or maybe just a vulgar gesture aimed at Center City? The answer is: none of the above. Folks, those 55-foot-tall poles are supposed to be art, of the iconic variety. This misguided project, which has cost the public $14 million, is the combined work of City Hall and Avenue of the Arts , the nonprofit established during the Rendell era to clean up and market Broad Street.
July 1, 2015 |
PAT GILLICK seldom loses his cool, but yesterday he looked as if he was about to go medieval. Being perceived as a backward old man running a laughingstock ballclub pokes Gillick right in the gizzard. The perception of the Phillies' analytics department is thus: Tucked away in a dungeon deep below Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies employ a half-dozen shaven-pated monks who spend their days and nights bent over parchment, tallow candles providing a dim, sputtering light, by which they dutifully transcribe outdated statistical information.
December 12, 2014 |
THE PHILLIES might want to recall their 2015 calendars. You would think they would only include players they expected to be on the roster next season. But lo and behold, there - big as life - is Jimmy Rollins on the June page. Makes one wonder whether any of the other players featured in the calendar are safe. They include Ryan Howard (January), Cole Hamels (March), Chase Utley (April) and Cliff Lee (May). And, should Marlon Byrd be concerned that he's nowhere to be found?
November 6, 2014 |
So-called dark-money groups spent 27 percent more on this year's elections than they did in 2010, thanks to reckless Supreme Court decisions and regulatory failures allowing unlimited, undisclosed political contributions. The groups hide donors behind the tax code, disguising themselves as "social welfare" organizations. In fact, they are an increasingly powerful and poisonous political force. Analysts say they are just beginning to flex their muscles in preparation for the main event: the 2016 presidential election.
October 7, 2014
FRIENDS CENTRAL'S Al Vernacchio is the cool sex-ed teacher you should have had in high school but probably didn't. Nothing's off-limits. Internet pornography and how it distorts perceptions of real-life sex. The perils of sexting. Alternative lifestyles. All this and more are common discussion topics in Vernacchio's popular class on sexuality and society. In his classroom, there's an old shoe box where students can leave anonymous questions about sex. No matter how far-fetched the inquiry, Vernacchio tackles them all, either during his lectures or on his blog.
April 1, 2013 |
If Andrew Bynum never puts on a 76ers uniform, make no mistake about it, this will go down as one of the worst deals in the history of the NBA, a transaction that will have a ripple effect perhaps for years to come. When the Sixers traded for Bynum after a two-series run in the playoffs, no one expected that this team wouldn't be better adding the 7-footer. Fifty wins should have been a given. That kind of success would have let new and untested general manager Tony DiLeo off the hook and allowed him an easier transition into his position.
February 4, 2013 |
NEW ORLEANS - The Super Bowl was halted for 34 minutes because of a power outage Sunday, plunging parts of the Superdome into darkness and temporarily silencing the TV announcers in the biggest game of the year. The Baltimore Ravens were leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6 when most of the lights in the 73,000-seat building went out with 13:22 left in the third quarter. Auxiliary power kept the playing field from going totally dark, but escalators stopped working and the concourses were only illuminated by small banks of lights tied in to emergency service.
December 14, 2012 |
The Dark Ages: From 1992 to 1997. Or from when Charles Barkley left to when Pat Croce and Larry Brown arrived. BEFORE CHARLES Barkley decided it was time to get out of Dodge and forced a trade to the Phoenix Suns, the decline already had begun. It was obvious Barkley realized that owner Harold Katz was surrounding him with less-than-mediocre talent, expecting Barkley to turn the pumpkins into a gold carriage. Maybe it began with the trade of Mike Gminski, a Barkley pal, to the Charlotte Hornets for Armon Gilliam.
December 16, 2011 |
Muslims really thought they were doing the world a favor by pulling Europe and its mostly illiterate Christians out of the Dark Ages. But just because they foisted algebra, trigonometry, optics, astronomical charts, the classics, Arabic numerals, advanced surgical techniques, perspective in art, the lute, and artichokes on the world - while the Christian kings of Europe were smothering free inquiry - we're not about to give them any credit a thousand...