A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.

Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, January 05, 2007


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Hello loyal Spoon readers and welcome to the first post of 2007! I hope everyone managed to have a happy holiday season and a great new year and are getting off on the right foot in 2007. This year also marks the final push of eight years of hell with George “Dubya” Bush as our bumbling President. It feels good to get the Spoon up and running again after a short vacation, I hope you’re all as excited to read it as I was to write it. With that said, let’s get right to the Truth! Dig in, it’s Spoon time!
I recently had the pleasure of attending opening night of “Rocky Balboa” in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Rocky seems to bring out the best in all of us, the little guy with a heart of gold who never met a challenge he wasn’t up for. Even when he didn’t win the decision in the ring, he always managed to win the moral victory and a few more fans. If you are a Philadelphia native, or have adopted Philadelphia as your home, Rocky will always hold a special place in your heart. If it doesn’t, you have probably taken a few too many shots to the head yourself. Rocky is the only true champion of Philadelphia. In a city that hasn’t won a major sports title in 24 years, we’ll take what we can get. Those visiting Philly flock to the Rocky statue in droves. Whether it be at its original location at the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (fondly referred to as “the Rocky steps,”) at its second home outside of the Philadelphia Spectrum (former home of the Flyers and 76ers and site of a few epic Rocky fights) or at its new home at the bottom of the Rocky steps, it continues to be a major draw to tourists. Whenever I have visitors from out of town, it is a major priority to visit the statue--more important than seeing Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, or the Declaration of Independence. It’s been decades since Rocky defeated the likes of Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Draggo, and Tommy Gunn. Philadelphia thought that it had seen the last of Rocky. We were wrong. When I first heard the rumors of Rocky 6, I wasn’t sure what to think. I was told that Rocky was returning as a coach for his son (as he had for Tommy Gunn in Rocky 5). When I found out he’d be fighting again, all I could think of was all of the awful pictures I had seen of Sly Stallone in recent years and the toll the years (and plastic surgery) had taken on him. How would this effect the Rocky character? I was in the Irish Pub on Walnut Street last February when they came in to film scenes for the movie. It was exciting to be there amongst the fans and movie crew. The buzz was building. A few months ago I saw the first preview for the movie. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so excited. She would learn. The theatre was filled on opening night and you could feel electricity in the air. The lights dimmed, and the previews played. Then, the Rocky theme began to play. Chills went down my spine. The theatre erupted into cheers. I heard the man behind me turn to his wife and say, (with the utmost seriousness) “Honey, are you getting teary eyed? I am.” I myself felt a little teary eyed, but managed to hold them back. Throughout the movie the theatre overflowed with cheers. Philly’s favorite son had returned for one final fight. When the movie came to an end, it received a standing ovation. I always found it odd when the occasional person clapped at the end of a movie. Who were they cheering for, the guy running the projector? On this night, opening night of the final Rocky in my hometown of Philadelphia, the ovation seemed fitting. I stood, along side my Philly brothers and sisters, and I cheered. This was my wife’s first Rocky experience but it was about the best I could have hoped for. It would be like going to the Superbowl for your first football game. She was hooked. My mother-in-law gave me the DVD of the original Rocky for Christmas in Canada. We watched it on the flight home. I couldn’t stop singing the Rocky theme on the flight. At least we were heading to Philly which probably made it seem a little less odd to those seated around me. When we arrived back home, I discovered that my cable company had all five Rocky’s available in HD (to watch for free). We spent New Year’s weekend watching Rocky 2 through Rocky 5. It was beautiful. My wife now loves Rocky. Along with her new found love of the Philadelphia Eagles, I think she’s finally been infected by the true spirit of Philadelphia. We are a city of champions without a championship. We are the underdogs who get overlooked or counted out, but keep on fighting. Rocky embodies everything we are. Part of me wishes he could keep on fighting forever. The rest of me knows he can’t. I’m not sure if Philadelphia will ever have another icon like Rocky, but then again, do we really need one? One day the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, or 76ers will win the title, and Philly will finally have the street-cred it deserves. In the meantime, we will continue to take our emotional beatings and keep coming back. We will keep believing, we will keep fighting, and we will never give up. Yo, Philly, we did it!
I’ve had quite a string of luck leading up to the New Year and continuing into 2007. The wife and I bought tickets in late November to a black-tie gala in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center on New Year’s Eve. The event (for which 1800 tickets were available) quickly sold out. Two tickets had cost us $200 (total) and I soon found many listings on Craigslist for people who wanted tickets. Some were offering $400 for a pair. We decided it would be best to sell the tickets, get our $200 back, and have $200 to spend on another NYE event. I made arrangements to sell them and later that same day won a raffle for two more tickets to the same event. In the end, we got to go to the event for free, and made a $200 profit. There’s nothing like ringing in the New Year in your tux, with your beautiful wife dressed to the nines, drinking free drinks, and watching midnight fire-works. It was an amazing night. The week before, I had signed up to do a paid focus group. I was supposed to show up, give my opinions for three hours, and then be paid $250 in cash. When I showed up to do the focus group (the night before leaving for Christmas in Canada) I was told that it had been overbooked. My name was randomly selected and I was paid the $250 and sent home. On Christmas day, my Philadelphia Eagles easily defeated T.O. and the Dallas Cowgirls and the following week went on to clinch the division before they had even played their final game. When the Eagles were 5-6 and being counted out, I said we could still make the playoffs. I was right. Three separate times this week I have gone to purchase an item in a store (all in different stores) and had the item ring up for much less than the price listed. The last two items I purchased on Ebay arrived quickly and actually contained not only the items I had paid for, but other items as well. I bought two Flyers vs. Maple Leafs tickets and the envelope also contained a Flyers ticket for another game. I also bought a rookie card for a basketball player and not only got that card, but a limited edition of another card for which only 1000 cards were made. I’m on a hot streak! Come on lucky #7, poppa needs a new pair of shoes!
*I walked past a Starbucks today and there was a sign on the front door that read: “Breastfeeding welcome here”. Is anyone really offended by breast feeding? If it weren’t for breast feeding, humans wouldn’t be here. Our ancestors all would have died off. Baby formula hasn't existed forever. It's a recent thing. Should we start telling people they can't ride bikes now that cars have been invented? Babies need to eat when they are hungry. Yes, sometimes they get hungry in public. There’s a reason breasts produce nutrient-rich milk. It’s to feed babies. I don’t think there should be any need for a sign that says: “Breastfeeding welcome here”. I think instead they should have a sign that says: “If you can’t handle breastfeeding, go get coffee elsewhere”. Who knows, that woman breastfeeding her baby in the corner might even be willing to share a little with you if the carafe of half-and-half is empty. The point is, if the mother is comfortable enough to take her breast out in public in order to feed her child, then the rest of us should be okay with it too. It's nature. To think anything less is what's truly unnatural. *Did anyone else think the hanging of Saddam Hussein flew under the radar? Didn’t Dubya and his goons claim that we were invading Iraq to remove Saddam from power and keep him from using his alleged WMD’s? Then, the guy gets executed and it gets next to no press coverage. Something just doesn’t sit right with me. I’m not saying the guy shouldn’t have been executed, but the fact that the hanging seemed to be so rushed and the fact that it got so little press makes me a little suspicious.
*Why is that doctors and lawyers insist on their job title being included in their name? “Excuse me, Mr. Smith, your table is ready” “Actually, it’s DOCTOR Smith!” It’s the same with lawyers (using Esquire). It is one thing if I’m in my doctor’s office, then I have no problem calling him doctor because it’s a work setting. Why do doctors and lawyers think that they are so special that they should be referred to by their job titles at all time? I don’t ask to be called Journalist Miller. Mr. Miller is just fine. If we’re not going to address everyone by their job title, I don’t think we should make concessions for medical and legal professionals.
*There’s a video game out (Left Behind: Eternal Forces) based on Christian novels where the player must convert heathens in order to allow them to get into heaven. The series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is based on their interpretation of the Bible's Book of Revelation and takes place after the Rapture, when Jesus has taken his people to heaven and left nonbelievers behind to face the Antichrist. If the heathens can’t be converted, the player can use weapons to gun them down and kill them (which causes a slight energy level drop in the player’s character). No worries though folks, the player can always regain energy by praying. The game is being carried by Wal-Mart (the same company who often refuses to carry other items that are far less offensive to non-Christians). This makes me sick.
*The Pentagon is calling for more troops (about 9,000 I believe) to be sent to Iraq. Does the whole, “End the war by escalating it” theory seem ass-backwards to anyone else? We’re supposed to be finding a way out of Iraq and the best they have to offer is that we send more troops to speed up the process. We could probably send another million troops to Iraq and we still couldn’t win over there. We need to bring our troops home, not send more to die. Think about it.
*Pat Robertson is at it again. In his annual attempt to make predictions for the coming year (based on his alleged conversations with god) he claimed that there will be a catastrophic attack (killing millions) somewhere on the planet in the later part of 2007. He didn’t say it would be in the U.S., but wouldn’t rule it out. He also said god didn’t tell him it would be a nuclear attack, but something along those lines. Wow, you really narrowed it down for us Pat. Next time you speak with god, do you think you could get a little more specific information? Sometime this year, somewhere on earth, with some kind of weapon, people will be killed. Aside from the fact that he is totally full of it, shouldn’t the Department of Homeland Security arrest him for making terrorist threats? If he has direct knowledge (from god no less) of upcoming terrorist attacks and is holding out, shouldn’t he be on a one-way flight to Gitmo? It just goes to show that crazy right-wing Christians can still get a way with a hell of a lot more than the rest of us. Either that, or Pat Robertson doesn’t really talk to god. Who knows, if god really speaks to Pat Robertson and George Bush, maybe we shouldn’t care what he has to say anyway. Next time you have some useful info for America god, give me a buzz instead of these clowns. You can even call collect.
*Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will use a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson during his ceremonial swearing-in Thursday to make the point that "religious differences are nothing to be afraid of." I think he’s right on one account. He should be able to swear in on the bible, Koran, torah, or anything else he sees fit to swear in on. However, religious differences are clearly something to be afraid of. Why do you think we’re at war with Iraq? Why were we attacked on 9/11? Why are Iraqis killing each other? Why was Ireland torn apart by fighting? What is the cause of almost every major war and the biggest “justification” for killing that man has ever known? Religion. Some moronic critics have argued that only a Bible should be used for the swearing-in. Last month, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) warned that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected and follow Ellison's lead. Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college. Why is a bible used at all? What happened to separation of church and state? And why should it matter if Muslims follow Ellison’s lead? Have we outlawed Muslims running for public office and no one bothered to tell me? For a country that is supposed to be founded on religious tolerance, we have a hell of a lot to learn.
*Nancy Pelosi was sworn in today as the first ever female leader of the House. I think this is a big step for women in politics and should not be overlooked. Could a female President soon follow?
You know what? Screw the academy. I’d like to thank YOU, my readers for continuing to read (and share) the Spoon, Full of Truth. It’s really great to get all the feedback from everyone and I urge you to use the comment feature (a small button at the end of each post) to comment on the Truth of the day. Maybe you loved something, maybe you hated something, or maybe you just have to put in your two cents. Whatever you have to say, this is your chance to be heard. Once again, I would also like to send a special thank you to my uncle Michael Miller for finally awarding me with the "WORLD'S GREATEST GRILLED CHEESE MAKER" trophy that I have deserved for so long. I take my title very seriously and will display my trophy for all to see. Check back soon to get more Truth, straight from the Spoon. Spoon, Full of Truth: The alternative to getting forked.


Anonymous PF said...

Welcome back Spoon and a happy 2007. Great post today! I'm not from Philly myself but after reading that post, I might have to go see Rocky Balboa. You keep writing, I'll keep reading.

January 05, 2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger RBZ said...

Happy new year, playa! Keep it rollin'...

January 05, 2007 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back spoon. I have missed you

January 05, 2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous The Nance said...

A woman born and bred in Philly, I always thought Rocky was over-rated and superficial. You've changed my mind. I once wrote in college a paper on the meaning of work. We all read Studs Terkle's book (called "Work" I think) and then were told to define for ourselves the meaning of working. I concluded that one's commitment to work is what gives it its meaning. Think about it. If you are not committed to what you do and just go through the motions to receive a pay check, your work will seem meaningless (other than the means to put food on the table which does have some value if starving is the alternative). So Spoon, your commitment to Rocky and Philly made me realize that we as Philadelphians will find meaning in our city if we are committed to its traditions and embrace them fully with all our heart and soul. Thanks for the reminder. I will now forward your blog to 3 friends. Happy New Year to all you other committed Spoon readers

January 05, 2007 3:20 PM  

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