If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Gay Porn Boxer And "Journalism"

When these stories first appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News a few weeks ago, I said I had to discuss them here. Well, I procrastinated again, so here we go now.

I laughed at the first one and cringed (and laughed) at the second. The first one reported a tale told by a one-time local boxer, Yusaf Mack, who said he was offered money via a Facebook message to do a porn scene in New York. Desperate for money, he accepted the offer and showed up at an address in the Bronx during the summer. He claimed there were naked women walking around. When the time came to start the scene, he said he needed a drink and someone gave him a shot of vodka and a pill. He claimed the next thing he could remember, he was on a train at 30th Street Station being awakened. He didn't remember getting on a train but did find $4,500.00 in a pocket.

Cut to October, when he says people were acting strangely around him, and finally someone told him about a clip online in which he was in a threesome with two men -- no women in sight. He denied it until he got a look at it. He said he had no memory of anything between the time he downed the shot and pill and when he woke up on the train. He aggressively said he was straight: "My whole life, I've been what they call a whoremonger. I love females...the only time I touch a man is when I'm in the ring fighting." He has ten kids and was engaged to a woman.

A week later, after the story went viral, the porn company denied drugging him and reports began to surface about there being possibly more than one scene with Mack and other men, he admitted he lied. He's gay, or bi, or something (his story changed a time or two just in the course of the followup interview), he admitted doing the scene because he was unemployed and need the money to help his ten kids and three grandkids. His fiancee reacted by leaving him. But hey, he got some assistance from one Anthony Cherry, who contacted Mack via Instagram and offered to represent him for free.

The article says Cherry is "a Los Angeles-based hairstylist/crisis public-relations manager" -- so hey, when he's done with Yusaf's PR he can work on the do!

Okay, it seemed fairly likely from the beginning that he wasn't telling the truth. That turned out to be the case. But what is more sad is the tone of the original article. The writer, Jenice Armstrong, seemed to go out of her way to help make the story seem plausible, using a gee-whiz tone that, I believe, belies her own experience as a writer. This portion, in particular, got to me:

But bizarre things can happen when you mix drugs, alcohol and illicit sex. I did some poking around online yesterday and someone pointed me in the direction of GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyrate), a/k/a Liquid Ecstasy or Georgia Home Boy, a colorless and tasteless so-called party drug that has been known to lower users' inhibitions and also leave them with severe memory loss.
Could someone have slipped it or something similar into Mack's drink? I asked an expert if it was at all possible for him to do something out of character sexually and then forget it.

Of course, the expert said it was certainly possible. But we knew that already, didn't we? How many stories have we heard in the media about date rape? About sexual assaults where drugs and alcohol were involved? How many stories have we heard about women at parties or in bars having their drinks "roofied" by men they met? How many articles has Armstrong herself written about such stories? Hell, just in the last year she's written about Bill Cosby's attacks on women, hasn't she?

Her website says she has over two decades of journalism experience! And here she says she had to go online after hearing Mack's tale to learn about GHB? Come on.

I don't know what her agenda was in writing the story, but she ended up getting burned. Of course, a good portion of what she writes about is celebrity fluff, stories about clothes and hairstyles, local and national celebs, women's issues, African-American culture, and of course, she basically curates the annual Daily News Sexy Singles promotion. (Go search for my posts about that, why don't you?)

Journalism is so loosely defined nowadays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cira Green

This just opened, and I went there and took pictures today since I didn't have to go into hell work. I wanted to post these right away so I just uploaded without cropping or any kind of editing. Maybe I'll put some edits on Instagram later. (Or maybe not. I have to go into hell work tomorrow and I'm having my latest brain surgery the next day...update: surgery actually happened a week later.) This includes a couple of skyline shots and one or two were taken through glass panels.

A park on top of a parking garage? What a time to be alive.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thanks, Bill Cosby

This is a mural that I found on North Broad Street, near Glenwood Ave., when I first started working for the state...

This is the same location now...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Philly Photo Day 2015

So, as I wasn't feeling up to snuff lately and had to work anyway, this is the only picture I took for this year's Philly Photo Day (edited most of it out to turn it into a panorama shot). And I didn't even submit it in time to be part of the exhibition. So here it is.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More Surgery. Yay! #cancerisabitch

I guess the title says it all, so...goodnight, everybody!

(Pauses, notices no one leaving)

I guess not. Oh, well. So after the six weeks of radiation and chemo pills ended, and I had to wait 6 to 8 weeks for the radiation effects to fade before having another MRI, and in between I screwed up the next round of chemo pills because I was supposed to take a dose a day for five days in a row but instead skipped a few days before taking a second dose, I finally got the followup MRI last week and visited my neurosurgeon today.

The MRI showed that there's a tumor that's started to grow in the same area where they removed it the last time. It isn't very large but it's large enough that it can be removed. The doctor said that the aggressive approach is to remove it now. Otherwise we can wait and monitor it with more scans while continuing with chemo. I'm going with the aggressive approach.

But part of me wonders, if it's going to keep growing back, possibly quickly, what would be the point of having surgery multiple times in a fairly short period of time?

So I'll be scheduled for surgery on or about the 30th. That would mean I can't attend the huge Temple-Notre Dame game on the 31st. And that last sentence, referring to a huge football game involving an unbeaten, nationally ranked Temple team, is about as surreal as my life right now.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sometimes I Love Dumb People

Presented without further comment...from me, at least...


The Onion article in question...plus a bonus!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Craigslist Follies! Or, How I Sold Some Papal Tickets

The Phillies gave this card out to
fans one night recently.
(If you're offended by foul language, you should be warned that towards the end of this post, there are a few nasty words.)

In case you haven't heard, perhaps because you've been visiting relatives on the moon, Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia this weekend for the World Meeting of Families. It's an event I have no interest in. It's been extremely overhyped, whether because of security plans or just because of things like the item you see on the left. And most of the news coverage is either fluff (mostly ignoring the Philadelphia archbishop's extremist anti-gay bigotry or support for child-molesting priests over their victims) or downright useless. There are three public events at which Francis is appearing: a speech on Independence Mall, a Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the "Festival of Families," featuring host Mark Walhberg and performances by Aretha Franklin, among others. After some confusion, it was announced that certain areas closest to the front would require tickets for admission. The tickets would be free, but they would be distributed online.

Although the demand for SEPTA's special weekend passes turned out to be nonexistent, the event tickets were snapped up in minutes. But with lots of clicking on the "refresh" button on my browser window I somehow managed to get four tickets each to the Papal Mass and the Festival of Families.

Having no real desire to be in the crowd for either event or go through security checkpoints, I decided to sell the tickets on Craigslist and see what I could get. Unlike most of the ads, I didn't request a specific price. I just said that people could make an offer and if I accepted, I'd send them my email address for PayPal and email the PDF documents when I received the payment. The first couple of days I got a couple of nibbles but no one followed through. I also had the post flagged for removal a few times by people who either took offense or just wanted to eliminate competition for their own tickets. Naturally, I just re-posted the ad each time.

Today, whoever was flagging them got more intense. At least three times my ad was deleted between overnight and mid-afternoon today. Then one of the people doing the flagging emailed a reply, perhaps by accident, because it seemed to be written to someone else.  He wrote: "Another scam. Will try to shut it down." I decided to reply, and I kind of didn't hold back: "NOT A SCAM, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?"

He replied with: "i can flag or we can meet to buy the tickets and then i can show you my badge and take it downtown. what will it be?" Yeah. Like he's a real cop or something. I wrote back: "Right. Who's scamming now?" (Interestingly, while in the middle of this my ad was still active and I was making a sale!)

He wrote again: "Stealing from religious pilgrims. Ask yourself if its worth it." I replied: "Not stealing at all. No one's forcing anyone to pay for them, you sanctimonious prick." He wrote back one more time, saying "You took those ticks from others for your own greed. You can't justify your actions." Instead of going back and forth, I flagged him. Each mail sent through Craigslist's relay system includes a link to "Please flag unwanted messages (spam, scam, other)" -- including mail that is "annoying/inappropriate/abusive." Boom.

First, ticks? Ewwwww. Second, there's no law against selling something you legitimately own. I didn't steal the tickets. I followed the process to get them. It's not my fault I was lucky for two out of three events. Third, as I said, I didn't demand a particular price. One woman said she was willing to pay $100 for two tickets ($50.00 each) to the Mass. I accepted (once she used the right email address in PayPal). The other buyer (the one going on during the email exchange) offered $100 for two Mass tickets and two Festival tickets (or $25.00 each) and I accepted his offer as well. And I'm not a bit sorry. I'm far from being in great financial shape, even before the medical bills from the last three months started rolling in, and even the fact that I go back to work for LIHEAP on Tuesday won't dramatically change that.

Hey, even though I'm not placing any more ads on Craigslist -- well, except one more, see below --there's still time to snap up the last two Festival tickets for Saturday night. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Sports Tees And Miscellaneous Caps, Part 5

Two more caps, then four t-shirts -- one from each team, in part for reasons explained below.

On the left is a Camden Riversharks hat I bought last week at a game for $5. They may not be in Camden next year. The cap on the right is pretty self-explanatory.

Also self-explanatory. Took me a while to find one for sale at a good price, though.

Because the NFL has returned, I resume my wearing of an Eagles shirt on game days (I've had this particular shirt for quite a few years). Didn't work out so well last night. That was a really pathetic performance in so many ways, in a game that was very winnable.

A giveaway that's become a regular thing, The home opener (barring unusual circumstances such as a world championship) is a 3:05 pm start on a weekday. After a day off (in case it rains on Opening Day) the next game is often designated "Opening Night" and a t-shirt is given out. Of course, they aren't commemorating pennants now...

One of the few 76ers items I own, bought from the clearance rack at Modells some time ago. Sadly, Moses Malone just passed away. What a rare feat: he was acquired to put the Sixers over the top and win a championship, and he did it in his first season. Even Pete Rose's first Phillies team, in 1979, missed the playoffs before winning it all in 1980. Rest in peace, Moses, and thank you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Some Recent Street Art Pics

These are pics I took recently on various wanderings around town...

The amazing Kid Hazo installed this, as you can probably guess. Unfortunately, by the time I got there the fake cameras were taken down.

Most of the stickers I spot are in places like Center City. This is actually on Frankford Avenue near Linden, not far from my house.

These next few, including the WRDSMTH works above, are in the vicinity of South Street. (A shame one of them ha been tagged). I was looking for another Kid Hazo work that was there, but once again I got there after it was already removed.

Above is a work from another of my favorites, Joe Boruchow. Sad that it's been tagged by graffiti.

This last one I found on my way to the Fringe Festival's Opera Philadelphia/Bearded Ladies collaboration, "Andy: A Popera."  (Highly recommended if you can get a ticket for any of the remaining shows, but I think it's pretty much sold out.) I don't remember exactly where this fence was but I think it's on Front Street, under the El, somewhere between Berks St. (where I got off the El) and Oxford Avenue (where I turned from Front St. to go to the venue for the show).

The Linc: Dawkins, Turbines

I've been slipping a bit lately on here, so in honor of the start of the Eagles' season, here's another post I'm moving here from the photo blog. In November 2012 I was at a Temple football game at Lincoln Financial Field (hey, Temple finally beat Penn State and they're 2-0 this year!), when I took these pictures. In 2012 the Eagles retired the number of Brian Dawkins...

...and, because I noticed them, I took a pic of the wind turbines atop the Linc...

The Eagles are big on generating their own energy and being environmentally friendly, and since the turbines went up, they've also added a lot of solar panels, many of them in the parking lots (serving as cover for cars as well as pulling in the sunlight).