Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Philadelphia Soul: Champions Forever

Rejoice, fellow Philadelphians, I say rejoice!

Rejoice not because the Arena Football League is pretty much dead.

I implore you to rejoice because this means the Philadelphia Soul will be AFL Champions.


Now I know you’re a little sad, but don’t be. Yeah, Saturday and Sundays in mid-July are going to be way different in the Proctor household. No more recapping the crushing blocks of Clifton Smith, those game winning drives by Tony Graziani, or those 50-yard touchdown receptions by Larry Brackins.

If it weren’t for the AFL, this picture may never have been taken. (That’s Soul owner Jon Bon Jovi with Colorado Crush..haha…owner John Elway)

Wait – who am I kidding? I love football and all and have been wishing for a legit summer league ever since the XFL was piledriven off of NBC. However, I honestly only tuned into the Arena league if reruns of “Law & Order” or an infomercial I’d already seen 15 times weren’t on.

Still, the Soul are (is?) Champions forever.

We should have a parade every year – if Nutter can afford it.

Suck on that, Grand Rapids Rampage fans.

– AP

Yo Bama!

Since Barack Obama is coming to town tomorrow and screwing up everyone’s morning commute…. (Well, I guess Sarah Palin is gonna be there too….maybe she’ll make me some moose chili?) I’ll share this chestnut with you all:

I saw a story the other day on Channel 10 or Channel 6 or some other news program that isn’t anchored by Hot Dawn. The story was about how much of a “hard time” comedians are having making jokes about President-Elect Obama.

I’ve watched late night television a lot less since the election because it’s a little irritating that it’s been pretty much a month since the election and there are still jokes being made about Sarah Palin and how old McCain is. I think it was Fox News who said the ratio was 7:1, Republican to Democrat, when it came to jokes on late night shows and SNL. I know about sore losers…but it seems like there’s a lot of sore winners out there, too.

Anyhow, the way this “news” story made it seem (and the way late night TV makes it seem, at least, to me) – political comedians and late night hosts are going to be “out of jobs” because Obama is just so popular and likeable (yes, the 59,417,826 – including myself – who didn’t vote for the guy just don’t seem to count!). “We’re so lucky there’s Joe Biden!” snarked Jay Leno in one of his monologues. There will be absolutely no way to make fun of the guy, right?

Are comedians completely out of material? Maybe they’re being cautious? After all – a lot of people have been in some deep water for criticizing Obama – like a radio show almost getting shut down. It’s also so hard to make fun of the guy because it’s easy to be mistaken as a racist by the spastic pointy-finger of the Left.

I decided it was time for some half-assed investigative journalism. I put out an ad for local comedians to reply to and chime in with their thoughts. I received some excellent responses that I’d like to share with all of you.


Book Jacket Of The Times

Larry Robin – owner, Robin’s Books and, for the last god-damned time NOTSanta Claus, kids

Robin’s Books, the last vanguard of independent bookstores, is closing its doors on January 31st, says the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The death notice appears in the front window of Robin’s Bookstore in Center City, sandwiched between Chopin – A Life and Our Dumb World.

Par for the course in the provocative world of proprietor Larry Robin.

His display philosophy has always been to mix the obscure with the best-seller, pairing “things you’re going to look at because you’re interested and things I think you should know about.”

In this case, the death notice is the thing he wants you to know about. Robin’s, started by his grandfather in 1936 and believed to be Philadelphia’s oldest independent book seller, is calling it quits at the end of January.

He can take the stomach-churning world of declining sales outpacing rising expenses, the unlevel playing field of single owner versus national chain, the predictions of further economic deterioration with no immediate end in sight no more.

Sales dipping as much as 15 percent in recent months, his salary not even $30,000, Robin said his beloved business had gone “from bad bearable to bad unbearable.”


Goodbye, Wanamaker’s Cafe

Today  was the last day for the cafe.  The first restaurant inside a department store was in the original Wanamaker’s Grand Depot.

I bought out all their wonderful scones (to freeze) and had their carrot cake for lunch. Wednesday, I had my last tea there, complete with tea sandwiches.  I will miss the cafe…


Presenting Myth Independence Day

Independence was declared on July 2nd not July 4th. The ‘Pennsylvania Evening Post’, on July second, 1776 printed: “This day the Continental Congress declared the United colonies Free and Independent States”

It was not untIl the 4th of July that everyone adopted the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia had a celebration with a parade on July 8.

John Adams writing a letter home on July third 1776 predicted, “The second of July will be the most memorable Epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival”

Regardless of the original dates, Philadelphia, for quite some time now, has been celebrating the ideas, the spirit, and history of our Declaration, in its week long ‘Welcome America Celebration’, in early July, sponsered by Sunoco.

Philadelphia is the place to be on the 4th of July. See you on the Parkway. Don’t myth it.

Decoration Day

Decoration Day the original day for Memorial day is this Monday, May 28. It allows us to take a moment and give a thought and perhaps a prayer for all those men and women who have given their life in the military service of our country.

Originally it was started when Southern women, during the civil war, went and put flowers and flags on the graves of the fallen soldiers. The idea caught on.

No matter the politics, these men and women answered a call to serve and believed that by doing so they were helping to improve the world. It does not get more idealistic nor courageous. We should all have the courage of our convictions with such fervor.

I ask you to take a moment between the hot dogs and beer, betwen the picnics, between the gift of a relaxing paid holiday and take a moment. Take a moment to say a prayer to whatever god you pray that we find better ways for the best and brighest to serve and thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Dirge for Two Veterens

By Walt Whitman

THE last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath,
On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,
Down a new-made double grave.

Lo, the moon ascending,
Up from the east the silvery round moon,
Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,
Immense and silent moon.

I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles,
All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,
As with voices and with tears.

I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring,
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
Strikes me through and through.

For the son is brought with the father,
(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell,
Two veterans son and father dropt together,
And the double grave awaits them.)

Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive,
And the daylight o’er the pavement quite has faded,
And the strong dead-march enwraps me.

In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d,
(‘Tis some mother’s large transparent face,
In heaven brighter growing.)

O strong dead-march you please me!
O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans passing to burial!
What I have I also give you.

The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.

220 years ago today…

It was on this day in 1787 that delegates first began to meet in Philadelphia to start writing a new Constitution for the country. They kept the deliberations a secret as they abandoned the previous Articles of Confederation in order to fundamentally change the way the new country would come together. It took them just over four months to finish redesigning the foundation of the United States of America. Not bad, if you ask me. Take a Look. is a site you want to vist often. It is so interesting you better be prepared to browse around for at least an hour. The site is actually a part of the Philadelphia Department of Records, Archive Division. It is filled with a million images and photographs of places throughout the city. Not just important places but streets, theater’s, bridges, places of everyday life.

These were accumulated over the years by city workers who were taking pictures of violations, improvements, street work, new construction, before and after shots, and some smart person made sure they were not tossed into the trash every ten years or so. This collection dates back to the 1860’s.

So there are some very cool pictures from when photography first became available and even some engravings and drawings from other sources. You can search on the site many different ways. I got some hits on a ‘movie’ search but many more when I searched ‘Theatre’. You can search by street, year, keyword.

Best part is you can purchase a copy of your favorite image for as little as $10., and it can all be done online. My only regret is I will be spending too much time on the site and possibly buying too many photos.

View of Campus, University of Pennsylvania

View of Campus, University of Penn

Another postcard from my great-grandmother’s postcard album. This one is dated January 1905 and is of the Houston Club at the University of Pennsylvania, now known as Houston Hall.

Boat Houses, Along East River Drive

Boat Houses, Along East River Drive

I took a drive out to New Town Square today to visit my 86 year old great-aunt. While I was there, she sent me to look around the storage area in her basement to see if there was anything I wanted. I came out with two very dusty old bags of snapshots and photo albums. I don’t think anyone has looked at these in over 25 years. The newest picture I found, at the very bottom of an ancient (although very sturdy) Acme bag was a poloroid of my mom and me when I was about three months old (I’ll be 28 in about a month).

The postcard above came from my great-grandmother’s postcard album. It was sent to her home in West Philadelphia from the Broad Street Station on May 27th, 1905.

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