Your appliances and electronics may have switched themselves last weekend, but tonight’s the night to fall back an hour and say goodbye to Daylight Savings Time for another year. You know what they say, when you change your clocks, it’s also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and flashlights.
Local graduate student and former Washington Post special correspondent, Bassam Sebti, revived his connection to that paper this weekend with an article reflecting on the risks he took working as an Iraqi reporter. Sebti says:
Each day that I worked for The Post involved attempts to prevent my own killing. No one in my neighborhood knew where I worked or what I really did for a living. I told everyone that I ran my own business, an Internet cafe, in a remote area of northern Baghdad. If people had known the truth, word might have reached bloodthirsty insurgents who wait for a chance to add another name to their death lists.
His article is a viscerally felt reminder of the ways in which we are insulated from the violence that is occurring in Iraq at this time. I feel lucky and mournful at the same time having read this article.
So, I’ve been out of town for a week, attending the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. It was all work – no time to see anything – but I heard one little tidbit about a Philadelphia that I would like to share. My return-to-the-airport cab driver, a native Jordanian, relayed the little fact that the capital city of that country, Amaan, was once called Philadelphia. For hundreds of years, in fact! The Greeks named that city, and, of course, William Penn then chose the name (meaning “Brotherly Love,” as we all know) for our Philadelphia.
Another interesting fact: the Native American name for this Philadelphia was Coaquannok, meaning “grove of tall pine trees.” (www.sacklunch.net) Where are those pine trees?
By the by, there are or were other Philadelphia’s (some spelled differently) in the world: New York, Tennessee, Mississippi, England, Germany, South Africa, Egypt, Turkey, Paraguay, Italy, and Brazil (wikipedia.com).
I hope you enjoyed this history/geography lesson!
Jena, Louisiana, a small town of approximately 3,000 residents, heavily saturated in racial tension has recently become the center of national controversy regarding six young black youth accused of attempted second degree murder.
Last year, black students at Jena High School asked their principal if it would be alright to sit under a big shady tree where white students congregated on a regular basis. The principal ok’d the request – though it’s unfortunate these students felt the need to ask to sit anywhere they were fully within their right to. On September 1, 2006, upon a return trip to the big oak tree, the students discovered three hangman’s nooses neatly arranged as a sick reminder that the black students better think twice about where they sit.
So my favorite place to be on Monday night isn’t in Philadelphia, but it’s so completely easy to get to from the city that I’m going to allow it.
The Pop Shop in Collingswood has tasty treats and yum yums for any age or eating style. They’ve got thirty varieties of grilled cheese, multitudes of shakes and malteds, and french fries galore. They’ve even got veggie burgers and veggie dogs and vegan ice cream!
But Monday nights are awesome because we (meaning my friends and I) team up for “Pop Quiz”, their bar-style trivia night. Of course it’s all in good fun, but winners get to take home gift certificates for the Pop Shop, and even if you don’t win, you’re still eating delicious food with friends. Isn’t that what life is all about?
The Pop Shop
729 Haddon Avenue
Collingswood, NJ 08108
Take the PATCO speedline to Collingswood and turn left at the PNC Bank, walk up Haddon Ave a couple blocks and it’s on the right.
You may have already heard that the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed tonight. So far it appears that 6 people have died and 38 more are injured. You might ask yourself why I’m writing about this on the Philadelphia metblog, but my answer is that the world is a small place. We all have people who are scattered far and wide, and if you’ve got loved ones in that area of the country and were looking for news of the tragedy, I just wanted to let you know that Metroblogging Twin Cities is doing their best to cover the event. They’ve got personal stories, photos, links and video ready to go.
Earlier today there was a steam pipe explosion in midtown Manhattan, not far from the Chrysler Building. It caused all types of infrastructure problems and subway shutdowns, but apparently it is under control now. So far there is one confirmed fatality (an apparent heart attack), and 12 injuries.
Last week I put up a post about my quest to find a good place in the area to go blueberry picking. I haven’t managed to go yet, but I got a lot of terrific feedback from people with some recommendations. Most were in the comments, which means that all you folks out there in reader land should be able to see them, but one person sent me an email with her recommendations, because she didn’t want to promote her own publication. But I say, promote away (if it has relevance to the post at hand)! She told me that the Metrokids magazine does a round-up of the area pick-you-own locations every year and sent me the links to their stories in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
So go forth and pick! If you go, feel free to tell us what you picked and how the experience was.
You always know that something big is going on in your state if CNN.com is covering it. At this moment, the vast majority of state-run offices, parks, licensing centers and museums are now closed. All staff who are employed to work in the jobs that keep those locations going have been given a day off without pay. I’m sure for most it is a very mixed blessing.
Above Average Jane has complied a nice round-up of some of the coverage about the shut down, as well as a wry comment that touches on how things really work around here, “Of course, some complicated gymnastics allowed the casinos to stay open — we must have our priorities.”
A fellow blogger from Philadelphia is in the World Series of Poker Tournament in Las Vegas this week. He won the seat in an online tornament from BoDog, an online poker site. They are paying the 10k buy-in for a seat and most expenses. His first game is on Monday at Noon, Vegas time. Send your good vibes his way.
If you would like to read about his adventure you can at PhillySpeak.com