Monday, February 28, 2005

Thomas Frank in Philly

I wanted to let everyone know that Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, will be speaking in Philly tomorrow night. He is giving a speech sponsored by the Bread and Roses Community Fund at the Friends House on 15th and Cherry Sts. Go here for all the info, and here to register (no RSVPs after tonight)!!!

Frank, editor of the political/cultural journal, The Baffler, is one of the leading political thinkers in this country, the rare progressive intellectual with a national audience, and a voice that everyone should hear. His book has stirred much interest and debate, challenging the accepted political landscape of today, where liberalism is speaking only to Northeastern liberals, class is a bad word, and Republicans are the party that represents the interest of the 'little guy'.

Pound for Pound will take its cues from Frank, and take a look at the Left and its future this week. Where do we go from here, at the beginning of a second term for Bush, when Republicans control the federal government, Social Security and the New Deal are under attack, and the culture war has gained steam again? What should the Left look like? What should its priorities be? What strategy will bring us back to power?

Obviously, these are big questions, which may never be adequately answered. But, I hope to get the conversation started, get my thoughts out there, and introduce some of the people already leading the way.

Ivy League Champs Again

I have to give props to my boys, as the Penn Quaker's men's basketball team won another Ivy League title over the weekend. That's number 23, for those counting. They clinched it with wins over Cornell and Columbia this past weekend, using dominant second halfs to seal the deal. That makes them the first team in the nation to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament, another sign of how dominant they were in the Ivies.

This one is sweet, as the team was picked to finish anywhere from second to fourth by the "experts", most seeing this as a rebuilding year. But, after a slow start, things took off before the Ivy League season started. The two guards, senior Tim Begley and sophmore Ibby Jaaber, lead the way, providing consistent offense, smothering defense and a steady hand for an inexperienced team. It is a shame that these two won't play together for a few more years, as I think that they would have ended up being mentioned in the same breath as Jordan-Langel (not Allen-Maloney, as no one will make it to that level in my opinion). Dick Jerardi makes the Michael Jordan comparison in his college basketball round-up, a weekly must-read for hoops fan who want to read the best.

Again, congragulations to Fran Dunphy and the team, as it must feel good to prove the naysayers wrong. Another banner in the Palestra, and a chance to play in the Big Dance in March. Keep it rolling, boys, as we will be there with you.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday Night Fever

Happy Birthday Theresa! It was actually Thursday, but tonight is the real celebration. Like fine wine, Theresa, like fine wine.

For those not lucky enough to know her, there is a nice event going down at Transit. Paperstreet is celebrating the opening of a new weekly there, called Block 26, and throwing a giant party to kick things off. The place will be packed with a who's who of Philly DJs, as Low Budget, Brendan Bring 'Em of Soul Travelers fame, Imri, Scott Melker and many others are spinning every type of music under the sun. The featured DJ is Tommie Sunshine, who brings that electro-punk ish that has been big for the last few years. I can't say that I know much about him, but I am going to give him a listen in spite of the name.

Check it out, as things are going until 8 AM for all my late-night peeps with 3 floors of happenings. I have high hopes, as this sounds like it might turn into one of the best weekly stops in Philly.

Friday, February 25, 2005

College Basketball Blog

I wanted to keep the basketball talk going just a little longer, as I cannot think of anything I would rather talk about in these snowy, cold days. While we will post some occasional thoughts on the game, I wanted to let everyone know about one of the best blogs out there dealing in only b-ball. It is Yoni Cohen's College Basketball Blog, which should be a daily stop for anyone interested in the greatest of games. It is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the sport, especially the college game, and it has turned into a virtual meeting place for fans. With the NCAA Tournament coming, this site should cover all your hoops needs.

This is going to be the first site I add to the blogroll over on the right, and I couldn't think of many others that deserve the honor more. Yoni is doing big things, writing College Basketball Blog with love and dedication, and I hope that one day this site will get to the same level. Check it out, and let us know what you think.

I am going to slowly add more and more sites to the Pound for Pound list, which will run the gamut from basketball to music to politics to anything else that catches my eye. I am considering doing a Pound for Pound Top 10 a la Ring Magazine, but may just stick to dividing my links list into interests and sections.

Check in frequently, as I will be dropping lots of goodness in the next few days, including a look at last Saturday's Hollertronix, a review of their most recent mix CD, a weekend events listing, some thoughts on Philly politics and some mp3 links to some great mixes and UK grime pirate radio broadcasts. Thanks to all who have checked this site out so far, and I hope to make it worth your while to make this a frequent stop.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Billy King, Take a Bow

No sooner do I finish up my glowing review of the Webber trade, when I get the news that Billy King has pulled off the impossible. He has gotten rid of Glenn Robinson, the poster child for excessive contracts (OK, a poster with him and Matt Geiger) in a deal with the New Orleans Hornets for Jamal Mashburn and Rodney Rogers.

Not too much to say about this one, other than Billy King has had an amazing day. He brought in one superstar, got rid of an overpaid, oft-injured, disgruntled one, and reinvigorated the team and fans of this city. Not a bad day. I have made two posts today, so I know how he feels. Drained, excited, nervous. Bloggers and NBA GMs are like two peas in a pod, or something like that.

While Jamal Mashburn is the big name coming here, Rodney Rogers is the one who will make this deal a big success. The Webber deal took some quality big men away, but getting Rogers fills any holes that were left. He has good range, is a big body, and will give good minutes night in and night out. He has struggled this season, especially from three, but I think that he will not have to shoulder much of a scoring load here. That, coupled with reuniting with Coach Jim O'Brien, should make this a good addition. Rodgers played well under O'Brien with the Celtics, as his game seems made more for the coach's uptempo style.

Mashburn appears to be on the verge of retirement because of his bad knees, and will not play for the Sixers. Therefore, his remaining two years would not hurt against the cap (correct me if I am wrong, please). Plus, let's not forget that Robinson was not going to contribute to the Sixers, so just getting rid of him was a positive.

I will leave you with this quote from Lebron James, in an article, talking about the Sixers after the trades, to sum it all up:

"They're going to probably win the Atlantic now," Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James said of the Sixers. The Webber trade is "going to make them one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference. I know Iverson is very happy about it. I'm going to call him and tell him he got an early Christmas present."

I cannot wait to see how well Iverson plays in the second half of the season, as he has had one of his best years ever to date. Now, he will be reinvigorated by the moves, he will have Webber drawing attention away from him, and he knows that the team has addressed his biggest concern. The game just got serious, y'all.

Holy S#@*

I had to comment on the Sixers trade that was completed last night, as I finally got a chance to see what went down. All I can say is "Wow!" Billy King has outdone himself with this deal, turning the 76ers into a legitimate contender in the East with the acquisition of Chris Webber. More impressively, he did it without selling the farm, as Corliss Williamson will be the only one missed. Kenny Thomas has been decent, but he clearly was not one of the coach's favorites. Brian Skinner has never caught on, and was really just a deep bench player, the guy who has move down a seat when one of the real players comes out for a rest.

I have never been a huge fan of Webber's, but I could never hate on the bol. He has put up 20 and 10 for a good decade plus (damn, has it been that long?), he is a serious threat in the post and from 15 feet, and he is one of the best passing big men in the game. He provides the Sixers with a talented big man to complement Allen Iverson, something that he has never had in his entire career.

I mean, even the Championship run in 2000, A.I. has always had to play the role of 50 Cent with the G-Unit. Some good role players around him, who can do their jobs well, but no one to share the spotlight, who can guarantee big sales or big numbers. Now, he has a fellow superstar, albeit an older, more fragile version. To continue the rap analogy, it's as if Snoop joined 50's label. You know you ain't gettin' another Doggystyle, but the man can still come up with "Drop It Like It's Hot" at anytime. In other words, he isn't in his prime, but he is still better than 99% of the jokers out there.

The big argument against Webber is his health and his contract. These are valid concerns, but I can't imagine someone arguing against taking the risk. Allen is 29 now, and his body has taken a pounding over the years. The three years left on Webber's contract should nicely coincide with Allen's peak. The $62 million left on Webber's deal could turn into a disaster, if he gets hurt. But, you have to take this risk, and see what happens. They gave up so little in return, especially none of their young talent, while adding a bonafide superstar in a weak Eastern Conference. Plus, keeping things as they were just guaranteed mediocrity, a .500 team that was hoping to be good in the future. What if they weren't? The trade has risk, but so does everything worth doing. (Did I really just say that?)

Best of all, it brings some serious excitement to the team, as people are talking now. I have already received two emails about the trade, from people who have not mentioned the 76ers all year. Good sign, as the building should be full and crazy again, I can stop hearing about the Eagles, and I won't have to discuss the Phillies at all. This is a basketball town, but sometimes we need reminding. It's just another reason to be excited about this city, as real big things are happening in the 2-1-5.

Most importantly, this woman will now be in Philadelphia frequently:

Tyra, if you need someone to show you Philly, y'know, restaurants, bars, stores, or even just someone for a little girl talk, look no further than Pound for Pound. In fact, send an email, and I can put together an e-vite for a Welcome to Philadelphia party. Tons of fun, so holla at your boi. What's Laetitia Casta's email?

For more, check out this column which thinks that this deal has given the Sixers a legitimate chance to win the title. Or read this column that sees Webber as the player Allen Iverson has been dying to have on his team. Oh, and watch tonight's game on TNT, as it could be the beginning of something special.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hump Day Fun

I normally don't do much in the middle of the week, so most of the listings I give out will be for weekend ish. But, two great events are going on Wednesday night in Philly, and I would be remiss if I did not give them a shout-out.

First, America's finest DJ, Low Budget, will be spinning at another Silk City gathering. This is guaranteed fun, as you just need to show up, drink some cheap beer (try the $3 PBR and shot of Jim Beam) and let Low B do the rest. Accompanying him tonight will be DJ Deep, who spins a mix of dancehall and bhangra (!!!). Imma try to make it down, but may have to stick to my weekly Low B Thursday night date at 700 Club. Oh, and best of all, the proceeds benefit the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, Sherri Honkala's group that has brought the ruckus in Philly for years, defending the rights of the poor and homeless in this city.

Down near South Street, Max Glazer is doing a CD release party for his new mix CD, Dancehall Classics, and the whole Federation crew will be spinning. For those that don't know, these guys have been dropping some of the hottest dancehall mix CDs and throwing some of the best parties the last few years, bringing the hottest Jamaican music to the States.

Finally, for those who want to stay in, might I suggest going here and seeing who Paris Hilton knows? I think that this story is kinda wack, as I could not imagine calling or writing these people. Why is it so cool to have her contact list? It was worth a look to see who I knew (very few, although I like that she misspelled Lior Cohen's name), but hearing this prank call to Samantha Ronson proves how many lames there are in this world. Best of all, Samantha totally turns it on dude, proving that Internet nerds should stick to the virtual world. Oh, and Samantha, holla at Pound for Pound as we got lots of love for you.

Have a good Wednesday, and check back soon as lots of posts are coming.

Brit Hume Must Resign

Following up on the Fox rant, I wanted to get this campaign to have Brit Hume fired out to my readers. I have been sickened by the current state of journalism, which has given up its role as the fourth estate. No longer to we have an active journalistic community that attempts to inform the citizens of the issues confronting them and expose those who are abusing their power. Instead, we get a media obsessed with celebrity, which cowtows to power in order to get the big scoop or better sources and equates debate with yelling and talking points.

Look at the last few years alone, and it would seem time for heads to roll and changes to be made throughout the profession. From Jayson Blair to the Iraq War lead-up and WMDs, from Armstrong Williams to the outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, by Robert Novack, it is hard to have any respect or trust in these publications and shows. I mean, Novack is still on TV! Judith Miller still has a job at the NY Times for g-dsakes!!!! I mean, what does it take to be fired? Treason and incompetence are clearly not enough.

Fox has always stood out in recent years, as it has so brazenly abandoned the tenet of objectivity that journalists used to strive for. It has become the mouthpiece for the Bush administration, the Republican party and the conservative movement, turning the news into a Republican commercial. By doing it under the guise of journalism, it

The background on the Brit Hume scandal is nicely detailed here at Media Matters, the essential site chronicling the lies and distortions of the conservative media. His quoting of FDR was a "premeditated, historical fraud", according to Keith Olbermann, intended to portray the former President as a fellow supporter of Social Security privatization. This is not acceptable, and demands punishment. Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass are pariahs because of their plagiarism and lies, and Brit Hume must be next.

We as citizens have to share in the blame, as we have allowed all of this to take place. We are the ones who obsess over Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton, making this sort of media profitable. We are the ones who have demanded so little from the media when it comes to telling us what is going on in our government, in giving us the information needed to make democratic decisions.

Now is the time to change all of this, and it starts with getting rid of Brit Hume, a small first step. It is time that we demanded real democracy in this country, a real press who tells truth to power and a real debate about where we are headed as a nation. It is time for the media to get its act together, as we don't want to be asking what went wrong 20 years from now when we see what a disaster went on behind our backs, as we watched "Desperate Housewives". Follow the link below and get involved any way you can.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Must See TV

It's time to get serious on here, as I am tired of dealing with the "real world" and "issues". I long for a world where talent is not important (cf. Dennis Miller), all the ugly and poor people get make-overs, and the most difficult test of one's character is living in a house with 6 strangers. So, turn on the laugh track, bring the studio audience in and let us enter the magical world of television.

I was recently informed that Arrested Development, the funniest show on network TV since Seinfeld called it quits, had stopped production and would be cancelled. Needless to say, I was devastated. I suddenly had a vision of Sundays at 8:30 spent reading, spending time with friends and family or trying out new restaurants.

I looked into the rumors, and can say that the show is not cancelled yet. Rather, Arrested Development will be moved out of the 8:30 Sunday night time slot, replaced by American Dad. Also, Fox has ordered less episodes for next season, meaning that they are beginning to hedge their investment in the show. You can read here the letter the network sent out, which expresses both support and the need for more viewers.

So, the show has survived for another year, and it is now do or die time. The show needs to get more viewers, as it has been stuck around 6 million since it debuted. I beg you to watch this show, as I know that everyone will love it. It is the best thing on network TV, and will be remembered as one of the funniest shows to ever air. Watch one episode, and I guarantee that you will fall in love with the show. You will end up buying the first season on DVD, telling your friends about it, even developing a secret crush on Jason Bateman (all hypothetical, not based on my own life).

But, before I end this, I must call out Fox, who are so afraid to commit to a show that does not feature midgets or fake bosses. What are you trying to do to me, Fox? It ain't bad enough that you are the main vehicle for right-wing lies and distortions? That you have forever tarnished the notion of journalism? That Brit Hume has been given a means to subsist? Now, you wanna cancel my jawn, the only thing on network TV that is worth watching. Well, I will bring the motherfuckin' ruckus. Shit will get real ugly for you people; do not want to test me. As Onyx used to scream, "Don't make me angry, you won't like me when I'm angry!"

And that's what this really comes down to, isn't it? I am being tested by G-d, much like Job (with a J) was tested. We are in the belly of the whale right now, people, and we must stay faithful. Stay strong, stay faithful and before you know it, we will be spit out by the whale, stronger than ever with great sitcoms to watch.

In other TV news, check out Race-O-Rama premeiring this week on VH-1 at 9 P.M. It is the work of the good people behind ego trip, the legendary hip-hop magazine of the 90s. If you do not own the two books that they put out, stop now and buy them. ego trip's Book of Rap Lists and Big Book of Racism are witty, obsessive, hilarious takes on hip-hop and our society, taking shots at everyone and showing love to the music that is so much a part of our lives (at least, my life). I imagine the TV show will be in a similar vein, and looking at the titles for the first three episodes (Blackaphobia, Dude, Where's My Ghetto Pass?, In Race We Lust) feelings will not be spared.

Oh, and check out Cheap Seats, in case anyone missed my previous post. I have to assume that you did, as I cannot imagine anyone would ignore my recommendations, would they?

Finally, go here and take this test to determine which O.C. character you are. Needless to say, I am Seth, which should come as little surprise to those who know me and the neurotic character of the racy dramedy. I mean, we both laughed at Summer's "Kavalier and Gay" joke, for chrissakes! Enjoy, and let us know which character you are.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pound for Pound hearts Rasheed

In the spirit of the last post, and as an ode to the Philly attitude, I have to shout out my bol Rasheed Wallace, who dropped some truth on the nation North Philly-style before his visit to the White House recently.

As reported by ESPN:

One player who wasn't as enthusiastic about the team's White House visit was Rasheed Wallace. Asked on Sunday what he would say to President Bush when they met, the Pistons forward told the Free Press: "I don't have [expletive] to say to him. I didn't vote for him. It's just something we have to do.

Another Philly kid just tellin' it like it is. So proud and so inspired. Sheed, do your thang, and know that Philly will always love you.

Before I could get this posted, I came across two nice items that look at the love between Philly and Rasheed. First, the Detroit Free Press looks at the love and admiration that the city has for one of our native sons, after the Pistons killed the Sixers on Monday night. Rasheed:

"I've said before that when we won the championship, I felt like Philly won because they give me so much love when I come home," Wallace said. "The people here have always supported me."

Rasheed was the only reason I rooted for the Pistons last year in the Finals, as I wanted to see him win. He has always represented Philly, and it was nice to see him vindicated after all of the criticism he has taken. [Now, if only he could win one with A.I. here in Philly, all would be right with the world.] There is something very special about the relationship between Philly and its athletes, one built on respect, knowledge and history. We know our basketball, and love it when one of our own succeeds and shows the world what Philly can produce. But, when you turn your back on us and the city, you are doomed for life. Ya know what I mean Kobe?

I came across this fansite devoted to Rasheed, which lists 100 reasons to love the man. Slightly disturbing, but you got to follow your passion, I guess. #52:

Yet, "I'm a city boy at heart, so I do miss it sometimes. Especially my boys. They're all at Villanova."

Great stuff. I think that Rasheed has become one of the leading spirits behind this blog, a "city boy at heart", a champion, one of the best, a Bush-hater and a proud representative of Philly. Oh, and I must say that it is so great to talk about a real sport with real athletes. I look forward to delving more deeply into basketball and its connection to this city, its history here, and the local legends who I have heard about since I was a kid.

Coup D'Etat?

I am in my apartment, trapped. My building has turned off the water, meaning that one cannot take a shower, flush the toilet or turn the faucet on. My hotmail account has been messed up for the better part of a week, and I am still unable to reply to messages. People, do you understand? This is how they got the czar, for godsakes!!! They have me isolated, unable to communicate with my comrades or maintain adequate hygiene. I can only surmise that this is the early stages of a coup d'etat against Pound for Pound.

As X so eloquently said, "That's the real question, isn't it -- "Why?" -- the "how" is just "scenery" for the suckers . . . Oswald, Ruby, Cuba, Mafia, it keeps people guessing like a parlor game, but it prevents them from asking the most important question -- Why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who has the power to cover it up?" [Dedicated to MM]

Okay, substituting Pound for Pound in for John F. Kennedy, who is plotting against me? My roomate, in retaliation for me not taking the garbage out more? Surburbanites, angry at me for declaring war on their world? Right-wingers, fearful of my growing legions who demand justice, democracy, labor, women's and human rights and well-funded mass transit? Mayor Street, tipped off about my coming post explaining why he is the worst mayor the city has ever had? Princeton alumni, upset that they went to such a shitty school? Wack musicians and writers, afraid of being called out? People who have seen me dance, afraid that I might do it again?

The powers are aligned against us, but we will overcome. The powers that be do not want you to read this blog, afraid of the death of the old 'Philadelphia', the coming urban revolution, dedicated to all those in the cities of the world, demanding justice, freedom and liberty. I know that things look bleak sometimes, but it is in the fight that we will regain our dignity and hope. They can cut off our water, shut down our email, attack the right of choice, the right to organize, but they cannot take away our beliefs, our hopes or our goals.

I will survive this coup, that is my word to you. They want me silenced, holding my urine, reeking of body odor, but I will perservere. They want all of us silenced, cynical and disengaged, but we must speak loud and work for changes. Please check back often, as I have a ton of posts coming up, on Philly, the NHL, the future of the Left, my Pound for Pound list of the best blogs and sites. Leave comments, let me know what you think of the blog, where you think that it should be going, what is on your mind. Let's do the damn thang, people, let's do the damn thang!

Immigration Office Referendum

More good news broke on Thursday, as the Inquirer reported that City Council voted to have the creation of a director of immigration affairs go up for referendum. While it would be nice to see the legislative body take a stand and make this happen, since they were more than willing to spend hundreds of millions on the Neighborhood Transformation Iniative and Safe Streets without our direct consent. But hey, in this city, this cowardly step still provides a huge opportunity for us.

Jim Kenney introduced a bill four years ago, but in the aftermath of September 11th, it was reported that there was little interest among Mayor Street and Council to get this done. Sadly, no one has followed up on the implicit racism/xenophobia that lay behind this inaction, so sad and typical of Street and his cronies. I will save this for a future post on Mayor Street.

This bill is a necessary and simple one, and the fact that we still don't have any head or department for immigration reflects how backwards and out-of-touch our city government is. Put simply, the referendum seeks to establish a city office to deal with all issues related to immigration and immigrants living in the city. As the article reads, "The bill calls for a citywide referendum in November on creating the position of director of immigrant affairs, whose job it would be to promote the interests of the city's immigrant community, provide services to new immigrants, educate the public on immigration policies, and develop a marketing plan to promote Philadelphia as a destination for immigrants."

It would help make the city more friendly and understandable to newcomers. This would help these fledgling communities take advantage of the government, and use it to improve and strengthen their neighborhoods. For me, one of the central aspects of cities is their openness, their role as a home for those who have lost their homes or are unwelcome elsewhere. It is this role that defines the world cities, of which we should be one.

Beyond the altruistic/intellectual reasons, it is a simple decision to help the city grow and stem the loss of population. As Kenney remarks in the article: The advantage of creating a new office for immigrant affairs in Philadelphia, Kenney said, "is that we would be working to attract people who are hungry to succeed and who are willing to work hard to do it. They would be coming in and working hard at the jobs they get, creating jobs by opening businesses, and buying houses and improving neighborhoods. We should be tapping into that." Kenney is exactly right, and he has come up with a simple and effective answer to this problem.

Immigrants have served as a source of growth in American cities for 2 centuries now, and they are eseential now in the face of suburban flight. All of the major cities in the United States that experienced population growth did so through immigration, as these newcomers offset those moving to the suburbs. Those greater numbers add to the tax base, boost a city's representative power at the state and federal level, and keep a city vital and dense. One need only look to our neighbors to the north for proof, as New York City and Boston enjoyed growth over the last decade solely through immigration.

Okay, there is so much more to say on this issue, as it is something that is close to my heart. This post and the referendum are a good start, but only that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Philly, R&B Capital

I opened the Daily News last Wednesday to some of the best news I've heard in awhile, a fantastic development for the city of Philadelphia. Kenny Gamble announced that the Rhythm and Blues Foundation is relocating from New York City to Philadelphia. Big deal, you say? Well, this move doesn't just mean three new jobs for the city, and an ineffectual art group will take up some office space.

The Rhythm and Blues Foundation run one of the major music industry nights, the Pioneer Award gala, which attracts all the major stars who go to the Grammys and Source Awards. Gamble hopes to move the award ceremony to Philly once the Foundation gets set up. This would bring the eyes of the industry to Philly on a yearly basis, allowing the city to show how much it has to offer in the way of amenities and attractions and whatnot. Also, it might force Philebrity to step their game up, as the A-List would be amongst us. How great would it be to have R. Kelly come to Philly, pick up an award and hang out around town? Okay, scratch that one. How about Outkast or Urrrrsher? They haven't peed on anyone, have they? Actually, don't tell me.

Even bigger would be the building of an R&B Hall of Fame right here in the city. We almost got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame years ago, but this one seems like a more natural fit. We are one of, if not the, home for so much that has happened in black music. From Chubby Checker and American Bandstand to Philly Soul to modern R&B and hip-hop, we have been an integral site for the shaping and development of the music. The Hall of Fame would be a great tourist attraction, a destination site, which would bring people in from around the world. The Hall of Fame would serve as a great lure to bring people to the city, where they would spend their money, walk around, get a feel for how much is going on here.

The initial plans have the building being built on Broad Street near South Street. Beyond the simple addition of an active, attractive site on a relatively dead corner, this will help extend the Avenue of the Arts, where the Kimmel Center and theaters and art schools are, towards the south. Suddenly, this area will have great value, which should provoke real development. G-d willing, the McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and vacant buildings will seem out-of-place and unacceptable. Development will start to make Broad Street the avenue it deserves to be, like a Park Avenue in NYC perhaps, street that is a destination.

Once the money is raised, and the building built, Kenny Gamble's biggest plan would begin to take shape. He sees all of this as a means to brand the city as a music hotbed and center. For all of the talent here, most of it has to move to NYC or LA or Atlanta to really go big. But why? Kenny Gamble seems to be the one asking this question the most, and he has not found any good answers. He envisions the foundation "as a keystone of an "entertainment economic development strategy" that will boost tourism for Philadelphia - much as the sports stadiums and Convention Center have done - by making the city the "international home of rhythm-and-blues music." Sounds good, and best of all, the infrastructure is there. We have the money, the real estate, the musical talent and scene, and this plan provides a nice focus.

Can't you see it now? A bustling Broad Street, bursting with people on a summer night, some heading to a play, others to hear the Orchestra, many checking out the Hall of Fame. Others are eating at restaurants in their outdoor seating areas, at the latest Stephen Starr or a trendy place like Nobu developed by some NYC restauranteur. Some are walking back from a nice Italian dinner in South Philly, people watching, checking out the tourists getting their first taste of the city and the locals getting used to their presence. Others are coming up Washington Avenue, having enjoyed an authentic Mexican or Vietnamese meal. Perhaps some are there simply to check out new boutiques and stores that have moved in, extending the Walnut Street ritz onto an even bigger thoroughfare. On the opposite end of Broad Street, the north side, one can see an entertainment district taking shape, focusing on clubs that feature R&B, hip-hop, blues and jazz music, places for North Philly to come and play. Other buildings are used as studios, bringing new Philly sounds to the world. Broad Street becomes a huge artery, busy with activity and traffic, bringing people and energy to the entire city. Philly begins to feel bigger and bigger, less divided by neighborhoods and streets. [Leave your ideas and dreams in the comments section, as I would love to hear what people envision and want for Broad Street.]

I am ecstatic at this news, and more importantly, the creative thinking, big ideas and optimism contained within it. Kenny Gamble is not afraid to imagine big things for Philly, and he backs up with his words with real action. This mentality seems to be taking root every day, as suddenly we aren't telling ourselves that it can't be done, but are doing things to make it happen. It is about time, and the development of this project is a great signpost to show this new mentality. Big things, Philadelphia, big things.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Be My Valentine?

I have made it through Valentine's Day, and, best of all, without once breaking down in tears to the guy driving the bus, or screaming at a cute couple walking down Spruce Street, or writing a letter to Natalie Portman in crayon explaining why we are perfect for each other.

Quite honestly, it was a shitty day. It rained non-stop, as Mother Nature decided to make that Travis song more understandable. Beyond that, there is nothing more pathetic than being one of the people at the gym on this night, as one gets to wallow in both loneliness and body dysmorphia. The radio only plays songs about love and happiness, the news focuses on great date places, and TV digs up its romantic episodes (even the Muslim women on 24 seemed kinda sweet when she talked about her support for the destruction of the U.S.)

Adding insult to injury I caught this news item yesterday. As you see, for every educated working guy, there are 1.25 educated women in the city. This is the fourth best town to be an educated guy. I mean, what the fuck? Am I leper? Am I that cold and distant (don't answer that one)? Am I going to the wrong places? Wearing the wrong things? Saying the wrong things? Do I need to buy you an expensive white leather jacket to replace the one your mother had, which someone spilled red wine on at a party you weren't supposed to throw, instead of buying the telescope with the money I earned mowing lawns? What is it?

I mean, homeboy has his own blog. What more do you ladies want? Unless, you're trying to tell me that a blog doesn't get you women? I mean, what could be more sexy than a guy sitting in his apartment writing pretentious posts about obscure things in order to feel smart and cool? What, looks, intelligence, money, sense of humor? I don't think so, either.

Seeing the glass as half-full, those numbers proves that the odds are in my favor. Eventually, that gap will wear down the women of Philadelphia, and, like a vulture, I will be there. After many nights of drinking, fruitless searches, bad dates, and E-A-G-L-E-S chants, the educated women of Philly will offer little resistance. You have been warned.

Seriously though, while it was not been the greatest day, it was not been the worst, either. I had a great weekend, spent with friends who I care about deeply, heard Low Budget spin the music I love, spent time reading and listening to the music that makes life worth living, and walked around the city that will always be my first love. Not too bad. I hope that everyone had a great Valentine's Day, and were able to spend some time with loved ones.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday Night Fun

Just wanted to hype up a few events in Philly tonight, which, as the kids say, should be off the hook.

First, the good folks at Philebrity, our version of Gawker, are throwing a party called Lover's Rock ("More fun than a 300 taquitos, a nitrous tank and a Lil’ Jon CD") in Old City at the Metro Lounge. I have never been there, but it sounds like a huge place with lots of cool spaces within, and hopefully the night will be able to avoid the cheese of Old City. This seems to be a Valentine's Day themed party, which should make it both awkward and desperate, the two best descriptions of my dating life. Most notably, Nick "Catchdubs" will be spinning, he of the essential blog and mixtape. Expect to hear lots of hip-hop, dancehall, 80's, basically anything that is good and induces ass-shaking. As the flier says, "If you like sex and partying and think love is funny, you’re going to adore LOVERS ROCK." Sounds just right.

Over at Silk City tonight, And Dim Sum are doing another installment of Cootie Shot, this time in honor of the holiday that shall not be named. I have been to previous versions, and this is a definite must-attend. What more can you ask for than Low Budget of Holletronix spinning, cheap PBR and High Life, and lots of girls with white belts and assymetrical haircuts? Keep thinking, as you ain't going to come up with anything. Having caught Low B last night at 700 Club, as I do every week, I can only say that one should come prepared to dance, recite lyrics at the top of your lungs and wake up the next morning smiling.

Also, I am intrigued by the event at Transit tonight called Got Love? It features only women spinning in the main room, and it features the sounds of Baby Anne from Orlando (whose new mix CD, entitled Mixtress is dropping), who will be dropping some breaks and Miami bass in her set. She is talented, gorgeous (for real) and will allows me to take my penchant for DJ crushes in a heterosexual direction.

I think that these are the best of the best, but there is lots of great stuff going on in the city, as always. Go out and have fun this weekend. If you see a guy with glasses, pointing incessantly at the DJ, talking about how unimportant Valentine's Day is while simultaneously crying, come on over and say hi, as it is more than likely me.

Ted Leo

I figured that I would throw a nice Joe Frazier left hook, and try to catch some people off-guard. I mostly listen to and talk about hip-hop and its related (dancehall, ghettotech, grime, Miami bass, etc.), but there are so many layers to Pound for Pound. Like an onion, but we won't leave you crying or give you bad breath.

Anyway, Ted Leo is an iconic figure in the American punk scene. He has been doing his DIY thing for close to 15 years with various bands, putting out raw, political music with its roots in punk, pop and rocksteady that has gained him a loyal following. His hard work and talent has him knocking on the door to the mainstream with his new band, the Pharmacists, evidenced by his performance on the Conan O'Brien show tonight, Friday February 11th. I know that this will leave alot of fans anxious and upset, fearing that they are going to lose their hero to the masses. But, remember, a boy can't eat good press and respect. Plus, the notion of lots of people hearing these songs from a committed leftist warms the heart. Don't be scared, punks and indie kids, as I doubt that Leo would ever forget where he came from and who got him there.

Go here to the Left off the Dial site and check out all they have to offer on Ted Leo. In fact, there is so much there that I won't bore you with too many facts.

Instead, I will tell you that I came to his music recently, through a recommendation by a good friend whose musical opinion I trust immensely. I was fortunate enough to attend his recent Philly show at the First Unitarian Church, thanks to R5 Productions. It was a good show, full of energy and quick, catchy songs. His recent CDs are even better, with a great sense of rhythm and songwriting for someone reared in the punk movement. The music reminds me of Billy Bragg, the British punk-pop genius. Both men wear their hearts on their sleeeves, singing of the struggles and joys of life, love and politics. This is beautiful and inspiring music, which is about all you can ask for, right?

Check him out on Conan tonight, buy his CDs, go to his web site. [For T.A.]

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Puck Frinceton

Not much I can add to this story by Mike Kern. It makes up for any losses that may have occurred over the last week. It also makes up for watching the team blow a 29-3 lead my sophmore year. The comeback that Penn put on in the last seven minutes was simply awesome, as this will be a legendary game in the storied history of Penn basketball, Philly hoops and the Palestra.

This choke could not have happened to a more deserving school and student body. I dedicate this win to Donny Rumsfeld ('54), Richard Perle ('67), James Baker ('52) and Bill Frist ('74), shining examples of a Princeton education. Y'all must be so proud of your team and your distinguished alumni. Is Suddenly Susan still on?

Oh, and fuck Ralph Nader ('55), just because.

Some final words from Eric Osmundson, who keyed the second half rally: "We were just trying to find something to change the pace of the game toward us," Osmundson said. "All you can do is try to stay focused. With this team, there is a never-quit attitude. We've been through a lot. But we've grown from it. We never hung our heads. We have confidence in each other. That does a lot for you.

"We just want to win all 14 [Ivy games] and get back to the [NCAA] Tournament. That's our goal."

The bol is dropping life knowledge there, kids, touching on some our recent themes like focus, never quitting, and solidarity. So focused, boys. Bring home another banner to the Palestra. Pound for Pound hears ya, as I am getting so focused now as well. Check back for much more good stuff dropping soon.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Boys Don't Cry

Okay, so, you are wondering how I have been able to see the glass as half full so quickly. What was your trick? Are you so dead inside that you are unable to have real, sustained emotions?

Okay, that last one is true, but not really a topic for the blog, and not the reason for my bright outlook post-Super Bowl. Two things combined to remind that this was no time to be upset, and that things could be alot worse.

First, I went to my IPod to listen to some music following the failed last drive that died at the Eagles' own goalline. I immediately went for those special selections reserved normally for breakups and other moments of a broken heart . From David Ruffin explaining to me "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" to Jeff Buckley talking about "The Last Goodbye", the sadness of the day began to sweep over me, bringing the agony of defeat and the tears of loss.

But, then, who was this singing to me? This man seemed to have a message for me, one that resonated: "It's too late/And now there's nothing I can do." Okay, yeah, that is totally the way I feel. It's over, we lost, and I feel so helpless. I guess that there is nothing left to do but cry, right? Oh, no, Robert Smith says. "So I try to laugh about it/Cover it all up with lies/I try to laugh about it/Hiding the tears in my eyes/'cause boys don't cry." He was right, and I felt embarrassed. I got to act like a man in this situation, and pull it together. Quite simply, if this man thinks you are a pussy, then you got problems. Big problems. As Paul Wall and Chamillionaire said, "Get your mind correct". So I did, and I put the Eagles' loss behind me and focused on the fact that I will be single on Valentine's Day and all the real things to be miserable about. Alright, so maybe the glass is a quarter full.

Secondly, I was able to watch this program on HBO later that night, when sleep wouldn't come. In it, a prostitute described being paid $500 to defecate on a plate and urinate into a champagne glass. The gentleman then preceded to eat and drink to his heart's content. While this image has prevented me from ever falling asleep again or having a daughter, I realized that the Eagles' loss was not the worst thing in the world. There is nothing easier or more American than making yourself feel better with the misfortunes of others.

So, that's how I did it. I must thank Robert Smith, the Cure, the hookers of Atlantic City and fetishists, as I could not have done it without them.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Next Year in Detroit

Okay, I feel the need to put some thoughts down about the Eagles and the Super Bowl, as I cannot pretend that the day never happened. I have tried, believe me, but images of the fourth quarter interception, those Patriots screen passes, the whole thing comes flooding back. Before I know it, I am crying and hiding under the bed.

I am sad, as I really believed in this team. I believed that they were the better team, destined to win it all this year. Some of it is self-pity, a feeling that I am never going to be a part of a championship celebration, standing on Broad Street, drunk on Hennessy, hugging and kissing random people. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, or something like that.

But, I also have sad feelings for the team, as they are the ones who put all of this together. I wanted this team to be the one, as they had so much character and characters. I feel for my bol Trott, who remade the team in his image, coming back from oblivion to be a Pro Bowler and the heart of the team. I feel for the vets like Dawk and Hugh who waited so long to get there, and laid the foundation for this team. I feel for Donovan, who had his worst game in ages (we still love you man), who has put up with so many idiotic, racist haters since he came in the league. They were players that we came to love, and they love us.

But, you know what, fuck all this. This was a great team, a great season and a great ride. No regrets, no tears. What makes this truly special is the fact that we can say next year at all. Is it hard to keep rooting for the same team year after year, when winning the big one does not happen? It is, but it also is a wonderful thing. There is something amazing about that ability to believe in something, to get up when you have been knocked down, to keep fighting. The tough times, the losses, the close-but-no cigar Super Bowls are painful, but just how sweet that will make it when we finally do it.

This is not over, as next year will be here before you know it. I want everyone to remember the good feeling over the last few weeks, strangers coming together for a greater purpose. I want the city to remember that ecstasy of getting over a hurdle that seemed insurmountable. I want us to do these things everyday, not just in response to our football team, as we tackle tax reform, mass transit, ethics, personal ish. This team has shown us the way, how perserverence, teamwork and courage can help you achieve great things. Let's get to work, and do big things. No time for feeling sad.

Next year in Detroit!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Win Together Now Walk Together Forever

The Super Bowl starts in less in 20 minutes, and there is not a whole lot left to say about the game, the Eagles or Jeremiah Trotter. I am going to simply refer you to the magnificent quote that Fred Shero left on the board before Game 4 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals:

Win together now and walk together forever.

One of the most perfect statements ever, one that doesn't need me to elaborate on. See you on Broad Street.

Never Scared.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Save Tonic

While this blog tends to be Philly and rap-centric, I do need to call attention to the plight of an important NYC club that specializes in avant-garde music. Tonic has been holding down the Lower East Side for the last 10 years, providing a venue for experimental music and all NYC artists to do their thing. It is a

However, I just received an email discussing the financial plight that the club has found itself in. I know that money is tight for everyone and there are so many worthy causes and places that deserve your money. However, it seems like everyone can spend a night checking out a show here, instead of hitting another crowded bar, and help keep a great NYC resource going. While the music comes from the fringes, I feel that everyone can find something to enjoy, from jazz to rock to electronics. For more info on the club's problems, their schedule and ways to help, go here.

Some of the great shows this month that I would recommend checking out are the fundraiser this Friday night, Matt Dariau's Ballin' the Jack this Saturday, Septeto Roberto Rodriguez on Tuesday the 8th, another fundraiser the following Friday, Ben Lee on the 24th and best of all, Tim Berne, Craig Taborn & Tom Rainey on March 7th. Lots of great stuff that you can't hear many places, and it's all for a good cause.

the Willis Reed of bloggers

I know that there might be some concern at the lack of posts here lately, but all is well. I have been having back spasms for the last few days, which I always thought was only an injury that pro athletes get. Unfortunately, it also hits the antithesis of talented, virile athletes, the blogger.

I do want to say that I have continued working on the blog, although I don't think that anyone realizes how courageous an act that is. This is some Willis Reed shit, some McNabb throwing TDs with a broken leg, Floyd Mayweather Jr. winning a fight with a broken hand. Sometimes, when I hit the space bar, a shooting pain surges in my lower back, and I don't know if I can keep going.

Listen, I know what makes all of these acts so amazing is the fact that they were done with little fanfare. We don't need to talk about our heroics, as we let our actions speak louder than words. I should be on the disabled list, going in the whirlpool, getting massages, reading the Times online edition. However, my unbelieveable pain tolerance and love for you, the reader, forces me to grit my teeth and just do it. A little love back would be nice, but know that I do this for the love of the game. Nothing more. The money, women, houses are nice, but they don't get me typing.

Anyway, I have a ton of posts coming shortly. They will run the gamut, as I like going with variety. Things to do, politics, Philly, music are all on tap, so check back often.