Bird Watch at the Bourse!

Had an awesome time hosting an Eagles watch party in Ardmore for the opening game, so I thought we should do the same in Center City, this time at the Bourse. We’ll have lots of giveaways from Shibe Sports and some of the various vendors at the Bourse. We’ll have $5 bacon Bloody Marys, Beer-mosas, and craft beer from our friends at Grubhouse, and 50-cent boneless chicken wings and $3 Miller Lites from Freebyrd. We’ll be doing some trivia during commercial breaks, playing some QB challenge at halftime, and giving away scoops of ice cream at Scoop DeVille. Ask anyone who attended the Ardmore event: this is a WAY better way to watch football than you’re used to. Hope to see you there!

Facebook Invite.

Ultimate Music Quiz/Karaoke at the World Cafe Live

As I’ve been telling y’all, the combination of quizzo and karaoke is pretty incredible, and next Wednesday, you get YOUR chance to get up on the big stage and belt out some songs. I’ll be hosting the Ultimate Music Quiz at World Cafe Live, a wild musical romp through popular music of the last 60 years. From the British Invasion to Boy Bands, from Gangsta Rap to Glam Rock, from nu-metal to New Wave, we’re gonna cover it all.

The prize for the winners? Music, and lots of it: you’re going to get free tickets to all shows at the World Cafe Live through the end of the year. You heard me right…all the live music you can handle*.

Between rounds, instead of me just playing tunes, YOU are going to have an opportunity to hop up on the big stage and perform in front of a crowd. So figure out what your song is, and come out and sing it. We’ll have a prize for best musical performance.

And 20% of all ticket sales are going to an incredible program: Beyond the Bars, a program my podcast partner Reef is involved in. It’s a program that does music education and provides musical equipment for youth who are in prison.

So there you have it: an awesome night, an opportunity for you to perform, a huge first place prize, AND an opportunity to do some good for the community. Pretty kickass combination. Hope to see you there!

Here’s the Facebook event page.

*a few minor restrictions apply

A Few Remembrances of 9/11/2001

My buddy Nat and I, August of 2001.

Nothing particularly salient or exciting about my 9/11 experience, but for posterity’s sake, I thought I’d write a few words.

I had moved back to Virginia from Hawaii the previous November, determined to move to New York and write plays. I was young and dumb and had big dreams. But first I needed money and restaurant experience. So I stayed at my dad’s house in Nassawadox, took a gig as a substitute teacher, and waited tables at the Trawler. At the end of August, 2001, I went to New York to try to find an apartment and a job. I interviewed with someone who worked on the Sopranos. The job was 60 hours a week, consisted more or less of getting coffee for the stars of the show, and paid $26k a year. I looked at apartments in Brooklyn and Queens. The cheapest one was in Queens, and was essentially a hallway with a shared kitchen. It was $1500 a month…to move in, I needed first, last, security and “finders fee”, an astounding little real estate trick where you essentially gave away money for absolutely nothing. I didn’t have $6000. New York was not going to happen.

So I went back to Virginia, depressed and with no real prospects. My “New York or Bust” mentality had gone bust. A few days later, my sister and her then boyfriend came to visit from Hawaii, where she was still living.

It was a mutual friend of mine and my sisters, Katie, who woke me up that Tuesday morning with a phone call (on the landline of course, as at the time, none of us had cell phones).

“Have you seen that an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center?” she asked.

Still half asleep, I replied, “No. Let me get my sister.” I hollered downstairs for Errin. The TV at the house was not on. Nobody knew what was happening.

I remembered thinking that it was bizarre that a plane had veered so far off course as to hit downtown New York. Then I went downstairs, turned on the news, and sat there stunned, my anxiety and the TV news telling me that the world was ending.

Time has created a thick enough haze that the rest of the day only plays out almost as a series of photos. I remember writing down my feelings, something to remember my thoughts as I was feeling them in a notebook which has long since disappeared. We sometimes forget in retrospect, but at the time it was happening, we had NO CLUE exactly what it was that was unfolding. Was the entire country under attack? Were these 4 planes the start of hundreds of them falling from the sky? It truly, for a few hours at least, felt like the apocalypse.

Some friends and I went to the Exmore Diner for lunch. Of all the strange and absurd thoughts I had that day, for some reason I remember one of them being “Well if this is it, I want my last meal to be at the Diner.” Plus we just had to get away from the TV for an hour or two, try to process the madness without being absorbed by it.

I don’t remember much else. It’s incredible how 18 years can fracture the memories of even the most memorable days of our lives. But there are a few things I still recall: calling the blood bank to see if they were accepting donations that could help New York (they could always use blood, they said, but not for New York). My sister making a call to Hawaii, and was told that she no longer had a job and should not come back if she could help it…the economy was about to be crippled now that people were too scared to fly.

Her boyfriend at the time actually flew back to Hawaii on, I believe, Friday the 14th to retrieve their things. I had never heard of anything crazier than getting into airplane 3 days after watching those images on TV over and over and flying across the world, then the next day turning back around and flying back, a 12 hour flight including layover. He might have been the only person on the plane. I don’t think I flew anywhere for the next year at least.

The fear of another attack was crippling, both personally and for society as a whole. Remember the whole “Dirty Bomb” scare? The anthrax in the mail? We were shown that beneath our outwardly tough exteriors we were scared, vulnerable, and worried.

I was also not technologically savvy. I remember a few days after 9/11, seeing a picture of a man on the WTC rooftop, with a plane about to hit it, and thinking “My God, that’s awful.” It’s almost funny that now my mind would instantly realize the picture was a hoax, but at the time online hoaxes weren’t a usual thing.

I still have a journal I loosely kept in the late 90s, early 2000s, but never look at it. I decided to give it a look to see if there was anything that jogged any memories. Not really, just a corny, supposedly deep message the week after.

September 17th

One week ago I went to bed convinced I knew it all. Now I know nothing.

I moved to Philadelphia the next month, into a tiny apartment just off of 6th and South. By that point, things had returned to some semblance of normal, though they’d never quite be the same. Independence Hall now had awkward barriers surrounding it, as if a dedicated suicide bomber was going to be repelled by a 3 foot fence. But it was a lie we told ourselves to believe that something, ANYTHING was being done to prevent another attack on our institutions.

I left one more short journal entry about it.

October 12th

Things are extremely frightening right now. Anthrax in Florida and New York. Attacking Afghanistan regularly. There will be revenge and moving to Philly does make me nervous.

There was a sense of unity for those next several weeks, but it soon went away, as anything seen as not appropriately “patriotic” meant that “the terrorists had won”. It soon became apparent that the Iraqis, who had nothing to do with 9/11, were going to be blamed for it, and that protests by hundreds of thousands of people in the streets to try to stop the war were fruitless.

The War in Iraq both ended the sense of national unity and split the country in half, a fissure that subsequent politicians have manipulated until we’ve reached a point where if terrorists attacked again, we’d attack and blame each either other instead of them.

There was a chance to learn from 9/11 and to emerge a better nation. We blew it. We pay no more attention to our fire fighters and EMT crews than we did on 9/10/01, while we love our reality show celebs so much that we made one President. We responded to 9/11 by becoming more artificial, more sarcastic, and less sincere, with a shorter fuse and less patience with each other. It’s a sad postscript to the saddest day in American history, a day that we promised we’d never forget, but one in which each year we remember less and less, both through the haze of time and in our treatment of one another.

Quizzo Tonight at Comcast and O’Neals!

Alrighty folks, it’s time for the Fall Season, so get your crew out to quizzo tonight. I’ll be returning to Comcast at 5:30. Carl hosting at O’Neals at 8 pm. Hope to see ya tonight!

A Few Summer Highlights

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Hope everyone had a bitchin’ summer. As we return to reality, wanted to pass along a few things I enjoyed the hell out of this summer.

1. The Four Seasons Bar. Holy shit this spot is amazing. Pro tip: go on a Sunday.

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2. Free Meek on Amazon Prime. Fascinating look at an incoherent probation system that is built in many ways to destroy black males. The doc is a bit one sided (extremely pro-Meek), but terrific nonetheless. I remember thinking that the whole Free Meek thing was kind of bizarre when it was at its apex, but now it all makes sense.

3. The powdered, cream filled doughnuts at Corner Bakery in Onancock. Ok, ok, so you’ll have to drive 4 hours for this one, but it’s worth it. These are the best doughnuts I’ve ever had in my life. If you’re traveling down Route 13 at any point, do yourself a favor, drive about a mile off the highway, and hook it up.

04. I’ll Be Loving You Forever. Fun write up about a woman who grew up a huge NKOTB fan, and who went to see them in concert recently.

5. Taking a run to wherever Parks on Tap is, then grabbing a couple of beers. A great way to knock off some calories and then put them immediately back on. PoT “runs” through the end of September, so still a chance to attack your knees and then attack your liver.

6. Recording the Philly Blunt. We had a great summer lineup, from Ben Franklin to John Bolaris to total stranger Marissa who randomly walked in the podcast and proceeded to tell us one of the most amazing stories we’ve ever heard from her days as a webcam girl.

7. Roadside America. This one is particularly great if you have a 5 year old. Located in the incredibly named Shartlesville, PA, this massive miniature village and train set was initially built by Laurence Gieringer in 1935. The display includes waterfalls, mountains, and over 2000 feet of railroad track. Every half an hour, the lights go down, the little lights in the miniature houses come on, and God Bless America by Kate Smith plays. Everything in the display is handmade. It is truly awe inspiring work.

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8. The Wachapreague Carnival. Another one you’ll have to travel for, but it’s a great piece of small town Americana every year around the 4th of July.

0-89. Fireworks at the Ballpark. Would have liked to see the bats produce more fireworks this season, but the actual fireworks show they put on is terrific. Wife and I also saw Avett Brothers at the ballpark. We saw them last year at Red Rocks, and so this didn’t quite live up to that standard, but still a really cool experience. 

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10. Karaoke Quizzo. The latest quiz at the World Cafe Live was the most fun one I did this summer. It was for Hamilton, and we did karaoke between rounds….It was awesome. Next quiz is September 18th, and we’ll be doing karaoke again. More details coming soon.

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9-5: What a Way to Make a Quizzin!

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This week, you’re gonna leave work to come to a quizzo about…work? Yep, but this quiz will be way more fun than the daily grind. Hope to see ya this week!

TUESDAY

  • O’Neals 8 pm

WEDNESDAY

  • Locust Rendezvous 6:15 pm
  • Founding Fathers 8:30 pm

THURSDAY

  • Birra 8 pm
  • Bards 9:15 pm

Question of the Week

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Born in Lebanon, what poet wrote The Prophet?

International Week

Dunno about you, but America is getting kind of depressing and exhausting these days. So let’s take a trip outside the country this week. All questions this week take place in other countries. Schedule is as follows:

TUESDAY

  • O’Neals 8 pm

WEDNESDAY

  • Locust Rendezvous 6:15 pm
  • Founding Fathers 8:30 pm

THURSDAY

  • Birra 8 pm
  • Bards 9:15 pm

Quizzo Tonight!

I will be hosting the Hamilton quiz at the World Cafe Live tonight. There are still tickets available, gonna be a fun show. My first time hosting karaoke so almost certainly a trainwreck. But a fun trainwreck.

Also, yes, quizzo is on for the Comcast Center at 5:30. It will be hosted by Carl. He’ll also be back at O’Neals tonight at 8 pm. Hope to see ya tonight!

Hamilton Quizzo and Karaoke on Tuesday!

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Hey gang, gonna be hosting a Hamilton quizzo at World Cafe Live on Tuesday! And not only will I be asking questions about the musical (and the man) but YOU’LL have an opportunity to perform Hamilton songs. You can find more info on the event FB page, or you can purchase tickets here online ($10 apiece, with a portion of proceeds going to Art_Reach).

Thursday Night Quizzo

Action starts at Birra at 8 pm, where JGT himself will be hosting the quiz. On to Bards at 9:15, where John Kenney will run the show. Hope to see ya tonight!

Classic Film Project: Future Shock

I watched a 1972 documentary film last night called Future Shock. Based on a 1970 best seller of the same name by Alvin and Heidi Toffler, it was hosted by Orson Welles being his Orson Welles-iest. Puffing on a cigar, speaking with an air of gravitas, and emphasizing the final two words in the sentence: “And with all our sophistication, we are in fact the victims of our own technological strengths –- we are the victims of shock… a future shock.”

The film also has those absolutely terrible keys that are the hallmark of early 70s documentaries, and some rather comical zoom ins of random people’s faces, which it would then freeze on.

But the points the film made were rather important, and things that we don’t think about enough today. It talked about how radical the transience of our society was, how friends and houses were no longer permanent but way stations on our way to new friends and another house. It talked about the constant decision making we had to do every minute of the day, as we were bombarded with ads, products, and ideas, an attack on our brains that our forefathers didn’t really have to deal with.

Though done with plenty of 70s schmaltz, much of what Welles talked about rang just as true in today’s society as it did in 1972. In fact, in some ways we probably haven’t changed as much as we think we have. “Just as things and places flow through our lives at top speed, so do people. Long term commitments are not expected. Involvements are compressed in time. Young people embrace new values in an atmosphere of intimate intimacy.” Swipe left indeed.

In fact, in watching this, there are some reminders that 1972 wasn’t as long ago as we seem to think it is. There is a scene of a gay marriage, talk of the expansion of artificial organ implants, and discussion about the morality of invitro fertilization (which at that time had only been tried on mice). There were also robots that looked almost as lifelike as the ones we marvel over today, and plenty of talk about computers.

It’s only 42 minutes long, and despite the cheese factor, is well worth a watch. I’ll give it a C+, and a welcome invitation to discuss it at the bar with anyone who gives it a viewing.

Question of the Week

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What grandmom fashion icon has almost 4 million followers on instagram, and a bio that reads “Stealing your man since 1928”?

Clothes and Fashion Week

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New topic this week: Clothes and Fashion. From Versace to flip flops, we’ll cover it all. And it starts on Tuesday, with JGT making a guest star appearance, hosting at O’Neals at 8 pm.