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Phillymag’s Groundbreaking Dec. Issue

112608rockysteaks.jpg If someone (the devil, I guess) were to come to me and ask me to come up with the most annoying magazine feature imaginable, I’d be able to reply immediately: Rocky and cheesesteaks, which has the added bonus of sounding really hacky and out of towner as well as being superbly annoying. Then the devil would be like, “You’re cold, man,” and I’d get a golden fiddle.

In an unrelated story, Philadelphia magazine’s December issue is a list of the top 100 moments in Philadelphia in the last 100 years.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Philadelphia magazine devotes its December issue to the 100 moments that have shaped Philadelphia over the last century. Included on the list are the filming of Rocky, the MOVE bombing, the Phillies 2008 World Series victory, and Frank Rizzo becoming police commissioner. But the mag says the single most important moment in Philly history since 1908 was the birth of the cheesesteak.

There are two things anyone who’s lived here more than six months never wants to hear about again: Rocky, and cheesesteaks. This feature is all that with the added bonus of Phillymag being the one who’s doing it.

Check out the top 10 slideshow, which features a No. 10 of “Dilworth & Clark, 1951″ (who could forget that moment!), the results of two baseball games at Nos. 6 and 7 and “the invention of the computer” at No. 4. I’m currently working on a feature about the top moments of the last 1000 years. I’m thinking “printing press invented” at No. 1 and “Mickey Morandini’s unassisted triple play” at No. 2.

Discussion Questions
1. Why is the Phillies’ 2008 World Championship more important than the Eagles’ back-to-back NFL titles in 1948-49? How about the Athletics’ 5 titles? Where should the Athletics’ 107-45 (!) season and subsequent loss in the World Series in 1931 rate?

2. Does the inclusion of the MOVE Bombing at number two make the top 10 less white, or does it actually somehow make it even whiter?

3. Throwing snowballs at Santa in 1968 is definitely on this list, since it’s right up there with Rocky and cheesesteaks in terms of annoyance. Where do you think it ranks?

4. It was pretty awesome when the Big 5 started playing a full round robin season again back in the late 90s. When Phillymag does another version of this list in another 100 years, where will Drexel joining the Big 5 (expected date: 2065) rank?

5. Cornbread tagging the elephant. Top 20, no?

Cook Calls For Man’s Execution During Football Broadcast

When a Philadelphia sports team has a nationally televised game, the broadcast always includes at least one camera shot of Pat’s and Geno’s. (This is either an FCC rule or sports producers are too lazy to come up with new ideas. Hmm, I think it might be the latter.)

CBS obliged during Sunday’s Eagles-Steelers tilt, and what did we see at Geno’s? That’s right: The famed official Daniel Faulkner shirt calling for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s execution. (For more fun, check out the whole selection of tacky gear available on the Daniel Faulkner Online Store. They even co-opted the “Never forget” slogan.)

I’m fairly certain this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this shirt on a football broadcast, at Geno’s. That shirt might even be the uniform. You do have to hand it to the cops (and, um, cheesesteak cooks). There aren’t too many people who are semi-regularly told they should die on national TV. I’m not sure if that bodes well for the Domelights/Geno’s/Michael Smerconish crowd, though: Nobody was all that successful in killing the other guy I can think of who got that kind of treatment (Osama Bin Laden).

Philly.com Continues Baiting Its Readers

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Philly.com’s current previous front is devoted to Karen Heller’s column on cheesesteaks. Heller’s column is mostly a recap of the recent hilarious Internet drama-style cheesesteak war in City Council, but veers off at the end into a discussion about why the cheesesteak is annoying. Heller proposes the city’s sandwich be a “roast pork Italian with aged provolone and broccoli rabe.” (Hmm. A bit wordy for my taste, though I do appreciate any sort of attack on cheesesteaks, the most overdone Philly thing besides Rocky.)

There isn’t any new Alycia Lane or Kidd Chris news, so Philly.com plastered this on the front page. And now there are over 100 comments. And they’re pretty typical of the website with the world’s stupidest readers; my favorite is, “Next person who tries to defend this woman will find me outside of their residence/place of business w/ a tire iron and a determination to ‘keep it real.’”

We’re coming up on even slower news days — both later this week and in the news-dry month of August. John Carroll and I came up with some future front-page topics for Philly.com, which you can read below. These are sure to attract a ton of comments.

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City Council Is Like The Internet

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Where can you find people who treat things like the closing of a cheesesteak shop with all the intensity one might find at the Battle of Guadalcanal? Right: The Internet. But you can also apparently find them in City Council.

Yesterday, At-Large City Councilman Bill Green wrote a hilariously serious letter to the Daily News titled “cheesesteak in society.” In the letter — about the booting of Rick’s Steaks from the Reading Terminal — he wrote that “people entrusted with preserving public assets apparently abusing their positions of authority to advantage their friends and associates.” He also noted that he went to grade school with Rick Olivieri.

Councilman Frank DiCicco wasn’t having any of it, firing off a letter (and CC:ing City Council and the mayor) telling Green: “I read with interest your letter in today’s Daily News and continue to marvel at your inexperiences, your political naivete and your inability to see an issue for what it truly is.” He also accuses Green of “merely attempting to grand stand and gain public notoriety.”

And then, at the end of the whole hilariously over-the-top letter, he writes this:

In closing, I have earned a reputation of being one of the most level-headed members of Council. I am proud of my ability to build consensus because I treat each member, whether freshman or veteran, with the respect he or she deserves. Unfortunately, with you, I have reached the end of my rope and would strongly suggest that you alter your tactics and tone.

You really need to read the whole letter. As you can see, it is certainly nice and level-headed.

Cheesesteak retort comes with some hot pepper [Daily News]
Photo by kaplanbr, Creative Commons license

Comedy Show On (No Way!) Cheesesteaks

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Hey, guess what? A comedy show came to Philadelphia for a week, and while it was here filmed a little bit about cheesesteaks. Yes, I”m pretty shocked as well, since nobody who ever comes to Philadelphia ever mentions cheesesteaks.

Stephen Colbert introduced the bit with a quip about how Hillary vs. Barack wasn’t the only battle Tuesday night. He then said Pat’s vs. Geno’s does a battle every day! Oh, man, how do these comedy news producers find this stuff? I didn’t know anybody knew about Pat’s and Geno’s!

Despite all that, it’s still pretty funny. Video after the jump.

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Why Is There No Barkley Statue?

I actually spotted this ad for the first time last night; it’s the new Dwayne Wade/Charles Barkley T-Mobile ad. While the series has produced some of the more entertaining on TV recently — they’re no Spy Hunter Pontiac ad, however — this one is so far the best.

And we totally need to build a statue of Sir Charles riding a horse, eating a cheesesteak. We can put it right in front of Pat’s. Or, hell, maybe Chink’s!

Fascist Presidential Candidate To Eat Xenophobic Cheesesteak

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Doin’ anything tonight? Well, now you are, because the Official Presidential Candidate of 9/11 is going to be eating at Geno’s tonight!

Presidential candidates usually stop at Pat’s and Geno’s, but now that Geno’s owner Joe Vento — a resident of New Jersey — has become the poster child for hating the Mexicans that moved in to South Philly, the creepy Republican candidates will all be stopping at Geno’s to let them know how they’re going to build 300 Guantanamo Bays and end all immigration and, in the case of Ron Paul, collapse the global economy. (Update: Ron Paul’s election would also blow up the Earth.)

Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani will be in South Philadelphia this evening. The former New York mayor is scheduled to be at Geno’s Steaks on South Ninth Street at 6:45 p.m. to visit with area residents.

Geno’s Steaks is owned by Joey Vento, who got national and international attention last year for posting a sign in the window declaring: “This is America. When ordering, speak English.” In his campaign, Giuliani has said that anyone seeking American citizenship should be required to read, write and speak English.

Guiliani will then imprison any residents who jaywalk after he makes fun of John Kerry for ordering a steak with Swiss on it like four years ago.

Giuliani to visit Geno’s Steaks tonight [Inquirer]

Something Is Rotten In The Market Of Reading Terminal

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Nowadays, the only real cheesesteak news is how Joey Vento of Geno’s has singlehandedly destroyed the immigration bill, saving America from the Mexican menace. But there’s a new cheesesteak controversy: Rick’s Steaks has been kicked out of Reading Terminal.

Rick’s owner Rick Oliveri, who managed to supplant Geno’s as one of the Ashburn Alley steak vendors in Citizens Bank Park this season, says he’s being kicked out because, as president of the merchants’ association, negotiated longer hours and a few other things. Oliveri doesn’t say who’s angry — management? other vendors? — but he does say something is up: “I think it’s retaliation. It’s a concern for merchants, and as president, to make sure merchants are getting the best bang for the dollar at the Reading Terminal Market.”

Tony Luke’s will be replacing Rick’s at Reading Terminal after Rick’s vacates by July 31. I think we all know who’s to blame: The Pennsylvania Dutch. They’re always up to no good!

Long-Time Reading Terminal Merchant Gets the Boot [KYW 1060]
Mind your language at Geno’s [BBC]

Leftovers: Citizen Tierney

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• Steve Volk reports in an online exclusive today that management at the Inquirer and Daily News (i.e. Brian Tierney) is threatening layoffs. (And the two papers might share photographers.) Hey, they were right! Brian Tierney is their kind of people! You know, since the previous bosses were always trying to find ways to cut costs, and this one is too. [PW]

• Let’s just go and say how totally awesome this is: Frank Gehry will be designing the Art Museum’s new underground addition. I guess the board didn’t like my “boxing ring from Rocky” proposal. [Inquirer]

• As you probably know, Pat’s is now suing Rick’s for stealing their name and history and crown or something. Geno’s is suing Tony Luke’s for not being American enough. And Steve’s Price of Steaks continues to skate by, unabated. [Daily News]

• The state actually did something competent, kids! The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board voted to curb mercury emissions from coal plants today, superceding lower federal levels. Hooray! [AP/Yahoo!]

With Cheesesteaks, Experience Matters

Do you know how to cook meat? Can you pronounce “Amoroso roll” in three syllables or less? Will you refuse service to Mexican immigrants? Do you have a Master’s from the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Institute? Do you have a reference from someone with the last name of Oliveri or Luke?

If so, do I have a job for you!

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Please bring a resume and a 500-word essay on your experience cooking cheesesteaks.