Archives – September, 2006
This isn’t a review of the sporadically funny show on F/X. Has anyone seen it?
Saturday was a sunny day in Philadelphia. I’d been doing a lot of writing on Philly lately, and I felt like I needed a spark, and I could think of nothing sparky-er than a day in Philly with Dolores.
We met up around noon, and went to Jon’s at 3rd and South for lunch. You gotta love a place that makes a quality Reuben. The decor is based around Larry Fine from the Three Stooges, legend has it that he was actually born on that site, though there is no Historical Marker.
Throughout the beautiful afternoon as we were perused the little shops on South Street, we kept noticing these girls dressed in pink frilly dresses, but with goth hair, makeup and those platform lace-up boots. Was this a new goth style? I took to calling them the Goldilocks Goths, and I would have been impressed, non-conformists actually not conforming, but there were three of them, so that idea was shot to hell.
We ended up at Fat Tuesday’s for beers and a few shots, time to add some spice to the afternoon. I tried to get Dolores to win some beads, but we hadn’t done that many shots, though she did have one alarming idea. She announced she was going to get her bellybutton pierced. I was very encouraging, thinking it would make an interesting story.
But, before any piercing was to be done we needed to feed the parking meter, so we headed the four blocks back to Headhouse Square.
Right in Headhouse Square we found a new place called Kildare’s, a good place for an afternoon drink. It was very comfortable, had a big oak bar, and there was even an old drunken guy mumbling at the end of the bar. Most importantly they had Guinness on tap, and it was Brilliant!
Our shot of the day was something called a Washington Apple, I think it was Crown Royal and Apple Schnapps. It was sweet and a little sour, and had a serious kick, we had many. We asked the bartender and a waitress where we could find a good belly piercer, there were plenty places all around, but since they were both fairly well pierced and tattooed, we thought they might have an in.
We hit the street, stopped to drop a few more quarters in the meter, and headed to South 4th Street the home of several body modification shops. We were buzzed but not drunk as we entered No Ka Oi Tiki Tattoo and Body Piercing. We picked this particular place because it looked clean and there were a lot of people inside (the other shops were empty). Our piercer was friendly and professional, not to mention extremely modified and just a little scary. You have to be a bit leery of someone who sticks needles into people for fun and profit.
Unfortunately for me, though fortunately for the pierced among us, no one is allowed in the room while the procedure takes place. I was hoping to photograph the event for posterity, and also to tease and annoy Dolores as he jammed the giant needle in her belly button.
I was impressed, Dolores was one tough cookie! She didn’t scream or yell at all! I’m sure I would have fainted and caused a scene, but I don’t think there’s much of a chance I’ll ever be getting belly pierced.
To celebrate her newly perforated torsoÂ we hit Manny Brown’s a great little dive-ey bar around 5th and South, but we didn’t stay long. The piercing gave Dolores a burst of energy; I hope she doesn’t turn into one of those addicted to piercing people.
Later we browsed a few of these new Porno-Chic shops that seem to be popping up all over South Street. There have always been edgy shops going back to places like Zipperhead, where leather bondage-type apparel had been available for years, but it was more of a tourist thing, a place for teenage skater-boys to look and giggle like Beavis & Butthead.
Now the concept has gone mainstream, we went into several places, and any porn stigma was obviously gone. There were no old men in trench-coats here, only perky teens paying cash as not to alarm complacent parentals.
Next it was to the Wasabi House for a healthful sushi dinner, and then to Bridget Foy’s for drinks (yeah more drinks). Bridget Foy’s was excellent; I put it on my “dinner next time” list.
Overall it was a very good dining and drinking day, oh piercing too, and by the time I got home on Sunday, just before the Eagles game, my head was full of fresh ideas, time to get to work
September 10, 2006
Last Sunday morning I found myself alone at a railroad siding waiting to hop the train into Philly. I was a good ten minutes early, so I sat near the tracks, leaned back and closed my eyes.
When I was a kid Peter O’Malley and I would make day long explorations to the frontier of our world. We would ride our bikes back behind the Tingley Rubber factory, the hilarity of the name lost on our twelve year old experience, for us this was the height of reckless adventure, though actually, we were only a few miles from home.
Cutting a swath a few hundred feet wide through the woods were high tension wires that seemed to go on forever, maybe even as far as Route 1, I don’t think we ever went far enough to find out, we usually stopped near some train tracks.
We’d sit at the road-less crossroads looking up and down the tracks and weâ€™d argue as to where the tracks led. Peter, always a bit more grounded in reality than I, would say, “Up there (North) is Iselin and down there (South) is Trenton.â€ Me, on the other hand, would conjure up names like Tuxedo, New York or Bel-Aire, Maryland, claiming I knew better since my Grandfather worked these rails â€œbefore the War.â€ I probably didnâ€™t know what â€œbefore the Warâ€ really meant, and maybe not evenÂ sure what war I was even referring to.
It might have beenÂ my enduring fascination withÂ maps. As a kid Iâ€™d lay out a map on the living room floor and look for distant magical destinations, like Nashua, New Hampshire, or Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (I only had a Northeast US map). Then Iâ€™d figure a route, calculate mileage, and read aboutÂ the places of interest on the back of the map, or Iâ€™d look them up in theÂ Funk & WagnallsÂ kept in the hallwayÂ bookcase.
Sometimes weâ€™d put pennies on the track, urban legend had it that the train would stretch and flatten them into oval copper discs. Try as we might, the train never showed up, or if it did,Â it was so long we lacked the patience to wait for the caboose, so we never found out if the stories were true.
Shaken back to the present by a distant ambulance siren, I reached into my pocket to search for pennies; I had six.
Looking all around like an unpracticed criminal, I carefully placed the six pennies end to end in the center of theÂ rail, making sure to alternate between heads and tails.Â Moments later the train came into view, and for some reason I stepped away from the pennies as if to disassociate myself with them.
Late that afternoon I made my way back from Philly, and Iâ€™d forgotten all about the pennies until the conductor shouted, â€œCrestmont Next Stop!â€
I stepped from the train and nonchalantly walked away from theÂ platform, just in case the railroad police put out an All Points Bulletin: Be on the lookout for a stealthy criminal penny layer, chances likely perpetrator will return to the crime scene.
I waited tillÂ the train was out of sight, and when the coast was clearÂ I turned around to search for my pennies in the rail bed. They werenâ€™t where I left them, but about eight to ten feet away I saw something shiny, and one by one I found all six flattened copper oval discs, almost featureless with faint penny markings.
I felt like a little kid again, and all the way home I turned the coins every which way with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.
All this week Iâ€™ve carried the former coins in my pocket and I discovered I wasnâ€™t the only one who thought they were cool. Every guy I showed them to was impressed; it wasÂ a universal male reaction. Older guys, younger guys, black guys, white guys, Spanish guys, skinny guys, fat guys, even Phil, a drunk guy; everyone got it! They would ask to hold one and look at it in wonder as I told my story.Â
I also showed them to several women, they didn’t get it. They justÂ looked at me with a blank expressions and asked,Â â€œWhy the hell would you do that?â€
I guess women are just more complicated.Â
September 8, 2006
I apologize to my friends who comeÂ to this space looking for new and spunky renditions of my strange life and travels. I promise more of the same, but latelyÂ I’ve been otherwise focused. For the past coupla months I’ve been getting serious aboutÂ being published, ink on paper, clippings for my writing resume.
It’s an interesting world to break into, but I’m gaining momentum. My queries and submissions are beginning to rate rejection letters which are a big step up from being completely ignored. My first thought was to post these rejections here so all my friends could heap scorn uponst my detractors, but on second glance I thought it wouldn’t make the best business sense.Â
Of course, I will post links to my successes here, and I expect everyone reading this to subscribe to any and all publications with the good sense to print my work.
Thanks for your patience, Springtime in Negril Part 3, 4 and maybe 5 will be posted soon…
September 4, 2006