Archive for the ‘Edutainment’ Category has an article about a recently published report that includes Philadelphia as a “divided city.”  The report is thin on original ideas, but thick with sound bites. This new report cites David Brooks and Charles Murray (talk about academic rigor – NOT!). Two conservatives whose arguments rarely stand up to intellectual scrutiny.  Oddly, the tone of this “report” is quite Brooksian…Social Science based on vague “research” and popular conservative cultural ideas. It also seems to favor urban models developed in the mid century. We think it should more accurately be titled, “Using GIS and US Census Data to Put a New Spin on the Age Old Class Divisions While Padding Your Curriculum Vitae.”

The use of “creative class” in this report (from a Toronto university) is a bit of a misnomer and disingenuous.  What about artists, writers, etc. who are the truly creative among us, vs. those in finance and law (not terribly “creative” pursuits).  True creatives often live in cheaper neighborhoods, so would be “outliers” in this report. The report’s “creative” class really just describes the rich. Maybe it’s just their data analysis that’s truly creative.

The report paints American cities with a very broad brush and makes inaccurate assumptions (e.g., about Center City). This locale hasn’t been “industrial” for quite some time, if ever. Though the researchers assume it was an industrialized part of the city and is now just a residential area filled by the “creative” class (i.e., yuppies). The maps in the report are also rather specious. The “pluralities” of a certain “class” identified in any given area may be just over 50%, but the tract is still given only one designation. This is how Manayunk is creative, but “Richmond” is not.  Yes, they don’t even have the neighborhood names listed correctly…

Creative mapmaking and Yuppiemandering

Creative mapmaking and Yuppiemandering

Society Hill vs Southwark is an old example of the divide that this report argues is some completely novel phenomenon. There have always been geographic and class divisions in America.  Population growth and universal college education have simply produced more people with better pedigrees to live in more desirable locales so they can push the poor out further. The situation is not new, but the numbers are.  This report will not be read by most, but it’s “findings” will be repeated and reported widely.  Maybe that was the point all along…

We should be looking for ways to Brook these divides...

We should be looking for ways to Brook these divides…


Whaddya want???  Over 3000 staff members are missing, too, and you’re worried about stuff!?!


After reading John Bolaris’ screed in today’s Metro and last week’s bizarre online postings of Charles Peruto, it’s not hard to understand why these two little guys are friends.  They’re prime examples of Philly’s quirky celebrity culture where vapid, preternaturally tanned egomaniacs are considered high status.  It’s all about them, no matter what the reality is.  It’s like they’re starring in their own urban bromance novel…


The New York Times Sunday Magazine had an interesting article about a privy excavation in the author’s back garden in Greenwich Village.  Greenwich Village is not unlike our own Queen Village — colonial neighborhoods of brick row houses, New Netherland to our New Sweden.  Both neighborhoods hold the subterranean remnants of generations of new Americans.  Privies are well known as repositories of historic rubbish (aka artifacts) and can reveal a good deal about our citizen ancestors.

Phound in Philly: bottle, marble, redware, blue & white ceramics, and oyster shells

Phound in Philly: bottle, marble, redware, blue & white ceramics, and oyster shells

There is one “artifact” that is ubiquitous in Queen Village — oyster shells.   They were a very popular street food back in the day, and any modern-day Philly gardener can confirm that.  They were sold as street food in Colonial times — sort of proto food trucks.


African Americans were often street vendors in Philly. This wheelbarrow full of oysters was one of the first food “trucks.” (I guess the shells were proto litter…)


This article was so lame it just screams to be made fun of.  It was so bad that it doesn’t even warrant a bad journalism award.  Unfortunately the piece seems to be getting taken seriously and pissing people off.  Is Robert Huber actually serious?  Where did he come from?  Geez, even the Amish in Reading Terminal Market treat their Black customers just like…well, CUSTOMERS.  And you couldn’t have more disparate existences than that of North Philly and a farm in Lancaster county…


I know we’re a day late and a dozen short, but yesterday’s numerologically significant occasion warrants even a belated celebration, especially at this most celebratory time of year.

It is said to be the last sequential date of the century (I guess if you don’t count 11/12/13 next year).  It’s the last REPETITIVE date is really what they mean.

Excited families welcomed new arrivals at 12:12!  Las Vegas saw a surge in weddings – some right at midnight (on the dot of 12)!

12 x 12 is the combined age of Paul McCartney plus Mick Jagger (plus a toddler) who performed in a special fundraising concert that night.

Dodeca is the ancient Greek word for 12, and people who freaked out over the date might be called dodecaphiliacs (okay, we made that up except for this lone blogger).

And for local interest, there is a special 12-ish thing to be found right here in Philly.  The garnets in Fairmount Park have a dodecahedral shape!  That shiny indigenous rock, the Wissahickon schist can be full of garnets.  You can find some pretty good sized ones in some rocks and if you look along the sandy stream bank you might just find a pile of little ones that have weathered out of the rock.  Voila!  An eggsquisite reminder of the first dozen days of 12/2012.


I wonder just how many individuals thought, “Yo, Philly statue!” when they saw today’s google doodle?  Okay, so maybe most of the inhabitants of our fair city thought that, but then we’re not such deep thinkers…

Turns out some other folks might have thought it was a tribute to THEM as well.  Like the University of Louisville.  Heck, even Detroit and Cleveland have one of these sculptures.

Well, google missed a golden opportunity to pay tribute to a REAL Philly sculpture a few years ago during Rocky’s 30th anniversary.  Chumps!

We’re making up for that omission now…

An article in today’s Inquirer about an exceptional individual who happens to be a blind para-athlete just further emphasizes how dumb our state government is.  Dumb as in idiotic.  They seem to think, mistakenly, that every single audio book has already been put online (“Huh? Whaddya mean there ain’t no app for that?”) so they can just trash existing valuable media from a local library.

Alice Lubrecht, the acting state librarian, can’t even be bothered to consider an alternative to the ill-conceived, money-wasting consolidation of Philadelphia’s historic library for the visually impaired.  And the Kafkaesque tale of the library’s potential demise is like going down the rabbit hole.

In a state that seems bent on destroying public education, it may be a little unrealistic to think they give a damn about reading.

Change in Harrisburg is long overdue…