I’m not quite sure I can explain what just happened.
When Milton Street sang while draped over a coffin, it was clearly the zenith of civilization. It was, therefore, rather easy to write about it. (Plus, Jess Fuerst had video.)
The Tommy the Loan Shark press conference originally scheduled for yesterday was rescheduled for 1:00 today. Naturally, I went over, since I always like to keep up with the anthropomorphic mascot news. (Also, this blog needs a little diversity from Barbaro, Milton Street and Kerri-Lee Halkett.) But also there were a number of political reporters for major local media outlets, i.e. actual political reporters. Dave Davies! Bruce Gordon! KYW 1060! WHYY-FM! (To note: Josh Cornfield from Metro had a cover story about Tommy the Loan Shark (aka TLS) in the paper today.)
The political reporters knew what they were doing, though, since the presser ended up being the greatest press conference of all time (non-Milton Street/John Chaney division).
He said at a recent event, Tom Knox supporters wrapped up TLS in a Knox banner. Then he said he’s been followed by a gray van and that, last night, someone charged at him at his place — while he was outside smoking a cigar (like you do) — until he ran inside and threatened to call the police. The man ran away, he said. Nixon said one of the people he saw in the gray van had a Local 98 jacket on.
The press conference continued, and looked like to be heading toward its inevitable boring, but odd, conclusion. Nixon said he wasn’t involved with any candidate, and he wasn’t even sure who he was going to vote for.
Then, a ray of hope entered the picture. Frank Keel, ex-John Street spokesman, suddenly began speaking loudly about how Nixon actually worked for Brady. He said he knew this because the Brady camp offered him a million dollars to do pretty much essentially what Nixon is doing right now. Nixon’s defense, which is pretty believable actually, was this: “If you think this is a million dollar operation!” (When he heard Keel say “million dollars,” Tommy the Loan Shark actually jumped backwards.)
Suddenly, this was a Frank Keel press conference. Seriously, he had entirely taken over. He said TLS gets $500 in cash for every appearance — hey, hey, I’ll be Tommy the Loan Shark! — and that he was a member of the Pagan motorcycle gang. Keel said his offer came from the Brady camp on Feb. 9 at the Bellevue Starbucks. (That’s quite a memory!) Oh, and he also said Local 98 wasn’t involved in harassing Nixon.
Nixon and Keel began arguing; Nixon asked Keel to “back your thugs off”; Keel said, “You and your dead fish stink on ice!” and the namecalling continued.
The highlight of the event, though, was this: After Keel asked Tommy the Loan Shark to reveal himself, reporters put microphones in the shark mascot’s face.
Then a supporter of Queen Bass showed up and began screaming, “It’s not an election, it’s a selection!” and claiming Bass was thrown out of a debate organized by Project H.O.M.E. (Ha!) He then yelled at Josh Cornfield for a bit, who has his own recap of the event here.
Basically, the mayor’s race today has now included references to the following: An anthropomorphic shark, the Pagans, $500 under the table payments, thugs and a mysterious gray van following the shark mascot’s handler. I love Philadelphia.