The Briddler – 2012 to Present

“What do you call a black man flying a plane?

“I don’t know.”

“A pilot! What are you, racist?”

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If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know I spend a lot of time outside in the nightlife scene of Philadelphia. If you’ve been here for any period of time you realize the homeless situation here.

You’ll see it in Philadelphia, just as you’ll see it in Detroit and Los Angeles and D.C. That omnipresence can make it easy to perceive homelessness as a thing that just exists — a problem cities have that they all treat the same way.

But the way the city of Philadelphia approaches homelessness is different than the way it’s approached in Detroit and Los Angeles and D.C. The root commonality in fighting homelessness across U.S. cities is that they all get funding from HUD. It’s the way those funds are deployed that differs from city to city.

Here’s a glimpse at homelessness in Philadelphia, and how it’s being approached.

First, let’s put things into perspective. Of 1.6 million people living in the city of Philadelphia, 400,000 were found to be living below the poverty line in 2015. Compare that to the city of Los Angeles where, out of 3.9 million people living in that city,  approximately 873,600 are living in poverty.

Yet in Los Angeles, 21,338 homeless individuals were counted as not having shelter earlier this month. Philadelphia’s 2016 Point in Time count registered 705 unsheltered homeless individuals inside the city, according to Office of Supportive Housing Director Liz Hersh.

As of 2014, OSH tallied 3,644 beds across emergency, transitional and permanent housing facilities. Still, there are concerns that that number just isn’t enough.

“We don’t have enough,” said Misty Sparks, director of entry-level programs at nonprofit Bethesda Project. “I don’t think anyone should ever have to sleep outside, but if every homeless individual wanted to come into shelter on a given night, we would not have enough beds.

“I’m a firm believer that we always have 700 to probably 1,500 homeless in and outside of the city. In the winter the homeless count is much lower. In the summer it’s much higher.”

The homeless do get turned away when facilities are full — even youth.

It’s pretty sad and I am looking into some things I can do around the city to help solve this situation. The best one can do is to volunteer to help at one of the local shelters or for the publication One Step Away published by Resources for Human Development.

One Step Away is a newspaper that is written by homeless people and former homeless and contributing journalists. I may even write a piece for them.

But out of all of the homeless people I encounter on a daily basis, there is this one guy who always seems to pop up whenever I step out of a bar for a smoke. He’s sweet and articulate, and always has a joke for me. He normally does two or three and always has new material. As I said before, I don’t give money to the homeless people on the street. It doesn’t solve the problem. I’ll give food however, because food can solve an immediate need.

But this slight black man is different. He’s not panhandling like the rest of them. He’s making me think and making me laugh. So it’s not begging, I see it more as “street performance.”

There’s a difference. He does his bits, makes me laugh, I hand him a couple of bucks and he always tells me about the special at MacDonald’s that he’s going to spend his loot on.

I don’t even know his name. I really should ask him. Right now I refer to him as the Briddler. (the Black Riddler)

I saw The Briddler last weekend around Square 1682. He rolls up and opens with:  “What do you call a black man flying a plane?

“I don’t know.”

“A pilot! What are you, racist?”

Oh, and then he always smiles and sings a little tune: “doo doo do doo doo.” After each punchline.

“How do you know if Will Smith has been walking through the snow?”

“I don’t know. How?”

“Fresh prints!”  “doo doo do doo doo.”

“What did one testicle say to the other testicle?”

“What?””

Ya know, just between you and me, that guy’s a dick.”

So that’s a couple of his bits. They’re cute and funny. But the other day he approached my buddy Church and I and did a different kind of riddle.

“What goes through water but doesn’t get wet?”

We both thought for a minute but couldn’t come up with an answer between the two of us.

“Light.” doo doo do doo doo.

“Good one, dude.”

“What lies on water but doesn’t get wet?”

This time I had an answer. “Oil. Because that creates and emulsion.”

“Or a shadow… doo doo do doo doo.”

“You’re killing me today with the science riddles, dude.”

“What did Cinderella say when she got to the ball?”

“No clue.”

(He just starts gagging)

*That’s a fellatio joke for those of you that are a bit behind.

The Briddler is not a panhandler. He’s a street performer.

Apparently the owners of the popular nightclub, Rumor paid a years rent for him in an apartment. That’s incredibly generous, and will keep a roof over his head for a while.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Phicklephilly – 1962 to Present – Burden in my Hand

“If you want to make a delicious omelet, you’re going to have to break some eggs.”

I’ve been working a lot lately. Frankly I’m feeling a little burned out. But I love to work and get my energy from those around me. I get bored if I’m not doing something productive with my days.

I enjoy my down time though. I love my alone time. My daughter Lorelei is in and out. Normally she’s working and hanging our with friends or spending time with her boyfriend. After work I like nothing more than to come home, sit in my chair, sip some wine and watch my shows on Netflix.

Last night I was just chilling and I look over at my phone and there’s a text on my Facebook messenger.

It’s from Annabelle! (See: Annabelle: 2013 to 2014)

I wrote her series last year. It’s been done and in the can for a long time. It was difficult to write. Writing about my other ex Michelle was a pleasure. (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) But I found that you can live something, you can think about it and talk about it with your friends and family, but until you write it out, you never really resolve your feelings.

Once I wrote about Annabelle, I finally forgave her and let her go.

I haven’t seen her in over 3 years, and the only contact she’s had with me was a happy birthday on Facebook messenger last year. I’m so over Facebook, Instagram and social media in general. I just use it to promote phicklephilly now. I no longer care to show the world what I’m doing, nor do I care what anyone else is doing. The people in my life call me, text me and spend time with me. Real world stuff. Who gives a shit what you’re eating for dinner, or what vacation you’re on. I don’t give a shit about your kids. I don’t want to see your baby. That child who doesn’t even realize that his privacy as an individual citizen has been stolen by you so you can show off.

Get a life and go live it privately.

So I’m chilling at home last night watching my show, and I look over at my phone and there is the message. First of all Annabelle has my phone number she could have simply called me or texted me directly if she wanted to talk to me. But here I get a test on Facebook Messenger.

Apparently she’s been reading phicklephilly and realized that Annabelle is about her. First of all, please follow my blog properly Annabelle. I need followers! You can also “like” and comment if you want to.

Here’s what the text said: (I’ve corrected all of the grammatical errors)

“I hope that your hatred and your venom doesn’t completely fill your memory of me. There was a long time when things were good. Also don’t call my family white trash. The artists that you wrote about in your last account are some of the most successful culture makers in Philadelphia, and mark my words, spend more on one project than you make in a year. And God bless them for the difficult road they have taken. You sound like an asshole, and every time you call yourself a gentleman and make another generalization about women, you reveal your falseness.”

Bitter? Table for one?

I have no hatred or venom for anyone in this world. If there’s one person I should have it for it would be my ex-wife, not for the way she behaved in my life but for the way she treated and hurt my daughter. (I do like that Annabelle used the word “Venom”) I have nothing but good will towards Annabelle. She goes on to say that there was a long time when things were good in our relationship.

I have to disagree. Sorry for the spoiler, but we only dated for around 9 months. The first month or so was courtship and then she was my girlfriend for maybe 7 months after that. Much of the time she was absent even when we were in the same room together. The best parts of the relationship were few and far between for me. I was frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed most of the time. But I still felt love for Annabelle, but I’ve been over it for years. Rarely does she ever cross my mind anymore.

She doesn’t like that I referred to her family as white trash. I suppose that was a bit harsh. But stereotypes are earned by those that get them. You can have a bunch of money and still behave like a hillbilly.

The only way I know anything about her family is because she would never let me meet them. I wanted to but she said that I wasn’t ready to meet her family. I remember her actually saying that she even didn’t like her family very much.

Of course that all changed when they kicked in a fortune for her to live in a newly constructed house.

In regard to these “culture makers” she’s referring to, I just don’t see it. Performing silly, poorly written performance pieces does nothing to contribute to the art culture here in Philly. The Walnut Street Theater, Ballet X, (Love!) The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Annenberg, and so many more. Who cares how long they spend on a project. Why spend a year of your life making trash? It’s just not any good. I’ve seen several of their shows and it’s just silly cabaret that feels forced and tragically outdated. I think they need God’s blessing for the foolish and wasteful path they’ve all chosen in their poverty-stricken lives. Just the grinding sadness of approaching middle age and never to have held down a real job or ever learned a prosperous vocation.

She says I sound like an asshole. I’ve gotten this before about the blog from these “raging feminist types.” Someone calling me an asshole or a misogynist either don’t know me or are too dumb to understand what they’re reading on my blog. 80% of my followers are women and they are the most loyal and outspoken on phicklephilly. I am proud to have a strong female following of bright, sharp women that can think for themselves and understand what’s real in the world and what’s truly important in their lives. I’ve recently added a female author to my blog. She owns every Saturday for the next year!

Annabelle also says that every time I call myself a gentleman and make generalizations about women I reveal my falseness. (Does anybody even use the word “falseness?” It sound like something she read somewhere.

Here’s the thing. If anybody should know what a gentleman I am, it should be Annabelle. All of the romantic gestures I showered her with, standing up from my chair when she left or entered a room, opening the door, pulling out her chair for her, putting on her coat for her, all the dinners I cooked for her, the surprises, the gifts, etc. Annabelle had never, EVER been treated as well as I treated her. She still communicates and is friends with a former lover that used to knock her around when he was angry. Who’s the asshole now? I’ve never raised my voice or my hand to a woman, EVER. I have 3 beautiful sisters and a daughter that know I am one of the last true gentlemen alive in the world. But how could Annabelle realize that even now? She had the best and she squandered it. My dear friend Robert refers to her as “The Selfish Loser.”

But, I like how Annabelle has crept out of the shadows to secretly read phicklephilly. I LOVE that my art has inspired her to attack me on social media. Because good art makes you feel something. Shitty art is dismissed and forgotten.

In closing, I really don’t want to hurt Annabelle. It’s just a bunch of words on a blog. I have to tell these stories. Writing her series really cleared up a lot of things for me, because as you’ll read in the coming chapters she really did a number on me. She didn’t willfully do it, she just isn’t mature enough to know how bad her behavior is and how it affects those around her. Adults just don’t do that to each other.

There are a few more chapters of Annabelle left and they’re pretty interesting. Thanks to everyone who supports phicklephilly and most of all to Annabelle for inspiring this bonus post!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Tales of Rock – Keith Moon Blew Stuff Up

“No toilet in a hotel or changing room was safe,”

When Keith Moon was 17 years-old he joined The Who and replaced drummer Doug Sandom. He immediately impacted the band’s sound and became known for his innovative drumming style. Along with Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle, Moon would help The Who become one of the most popular bands of the 1960s and 1970s. The group was known for explosive concerts and destructive behavior. The first such performance occurred in 1964 at the Railway Tavern in Harrow and Wealdstone, London, when Townshend accidentally broke the head of his guitar through the ceiling, so he continued to smash it on stage and the crowd loved it. More people came back the next night wanting the band to smash and break something.

Keith Moon had no problem fitting in with the lifestyle of a rock star. He had an erratic personality and gained the nickname “Moon the Loon.” In one famous performance Moon filled his clear acrylic drums with water and goldfish, and dressed like a cat. He was a jokester and Moon’s ability to make his bandmates laugh around the vocal microphone led to him being banished from the studio when albums were being recorded. In response, Moon would sneak into the studio and join in the singing. He can be heard on several tracks, including Bell Boy, Bucket T, and Barbara Ann. He is the high backing vocals on Pictures of Lily.

Keith Moon was known to demolish hotel rooms and was incredibly destructive. He would often throw furniture from high buildings and set objects on fire. However, his favorite hobby was blowing up toilets with explosives. The blasts would destroy the toilet and often times disrupt plumbing to the hotel. It has been estimated that Moon’s destruction of toilets and plumbing ran as high as UK£300,000 (US$500,000). Moon was banned from several hotel chains including all Holiday Inn, all Sheraton, all Hilton Hotels, and the Waldorf Astoria.

According to Tony Fletcher’s biography, Moon was quoted: “All that porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable.” Fletcher wrote: “no toilet in a hotel or changing room was safe,” until Moon had detonated his supply of explosives. In one case, hotel management asked Moon to turn down his cassette player. In response, he asked the manager up to his room and blew up the toilet right in front of him. Moon then turned the cassette player back up and said: “This is The Who.”

In 1967, Keith Moon allegedly drove a Cadillac or Lincoln Continental into a Holiday Inn pool. In 1973, The Who was performing at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and Moon passed out during the show. Townshend noticed that he was sleeping and asked the audience, “Can anyone play the drums? I mean somebody good.” An audience member named Scot Halpin stepped up and finished the concert for Moon.

Ringo Starr once told Keith Moon that his lifestyle would eventually kill him. Moon simply replied “Yeah, I know.” Keith Moon died on September 7, 1978 (age 32) after he ingested 32 tablets of clomethiazole (Heminevrin). The digestion of six pills was sufficient to cause his death. The other 26 were found undissolved in his stomach. This caused some to speculate that Moon’s death might have been on purpose. Officially it was ruled a drug overdose.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Tales of Rock – David Bowie Thinks Witches Are Stealing His Semen

In fall 1975, David Bowie went into the studio in Los Angeles and made Station To Station, one of the best albums of his career. It saw him transition from playing conventional if fantastic rock and roll to recording a series of genre-bending masterpieces that set a template for ’80s pop and whose influence is still being felt decades later. Pretty impressive, considering he was doing so much coke at the time he later couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

According to David Buckley, the author of the book “Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story,” Bowie’s diet at the time consisted of cocaine, peppers and milk, and he lived in “a state of psychic terror.” Interviews published in Playboy and Rolling Stone depicted Bowie surrounding himself with burning black candles and Egyptian artifacts and believing that bodies were floating past his window, witches were stealing his semen and that the Rolling Stones were sending him secret messages. He lived in fear of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, owing to his supposed practice of witchcraft. In Station To Station‘s title track, Bowie yelped, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine; I’m thinking that it must be love,” which was definitely the wrong diagnosis.

If Bowie wanted to clean up after this album, he made the wrong move by decamping to Berlin with Iggy Pop. Still, the trio of albums he recorded during this period—Low, Heroes and Lodger—honed his legacy. This trilogy along with Station To Station was cherry-picked to create a perfect soundtrack for Christiane F. We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a German film released in 1981 that captured the harrowing lives of teenage junkies in West Berlin.

Check it out. I saw it at a midnight showing in LA in 1982. It’s great!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Sarika – 2014 to Present – Back In The Widow’s Web

Surprise, surprise!

I left the salon after a meeting with Achilles about the fitness center. I wanted to hit Dan Dan, the Asian fusion restaurant and bar where my buddy, Chet works as bartender. I just wanted to unwind after a long day of work, and toss back a few chardonnays.

I was completely out of cigs, so I headed over to the nearest newsstand at 16th and Locust Street. I stood in line while a few people ahead of me were buying their lottery tickets. (Or as I call it, 401K for the poor) I realized I didn’t have enough cash so I got out of line and headed to the little store down on Spruce.

I get my smokes and I head back up 16th street. I get to the intersection at Locust street again, and who do I see crossing the street from me but Sarika! She’s smiling and waving.

I’m wondering how this is possible and it almost seems surreal. I know she looked up at me two weeks ago at Parc and then looked away. I just assumed she had read the blogs about her and she now hated me.

But here she is smiling and looking gorgeous as always. She apologizes for being all sweaty but she says she just came from a spin class at Flywheel across the street.

She still looks sexy as hell. Sweat beading on her forehead, her raven tresses askew and curling about her shoulders. I can see her nipples poking through her wet sports bra. I think this is how she would look after a session with me.

But I digress…

She’s lively and a bit out of breath. We catch up on what’s been happening in our lives. I talk about the fitness center and she goes on about how much she has had to travel lately for her job. She says she recently got a raise. She’s obviously killing it as an engineer/scientist. Brains and beauty.

I ask her if she’d like to join me at Dan Dan for a drink, but she said she’s too sweaty and gross to go anywhere. She just wants to go home.

She says she met a guy she likes. I think she said they met in Atlanta, but he lives in Florida. All of these long distance relationships. But when you think about it, in this day and age it’s not that bad. Sarika travels so much it’s nothing for her to hop on a plane and jet down to Florida for a few days. She can afford it and she’s accustomed to traveling.

I’m happy to hear that she’s doing well and not mad at me. I guess when she said she was reading my blog a few months ago she missed the stuff about her. Bullet dodged!

She says she has to go to Boston this weekend, but will be back next week. She’d like to meet up for a drink.

So I’m happy about this little twist. I’ll let sleeping dogs lie, and we’ll move forward from here.

Sarika is back!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Eliana – 2016 – Part 3 – One and Done

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I had been having some reservations about Eliana. I liked her, but there was something missing. She was nice, attractive, and a good person. But there was just something about her that I just wasn’t feeling. I sort of knew it just wasn’t going to go anywhere. This has happened before with Valerie and June.

Eliana had been sending me pictures of herself topless. It was enticing, but seemed cheap. I decided to be direct with her. We were texting and I told her the next time I saw her I wanted to make love to her. Just came out and told her. She agreed and we set it up. Sometimes you just know. I had nothing to lose if I never saw her again, so why not?

Eliana drove down to the city. It was a Tuesday. She parked her car in a lot, and I came out to meet her. It was nice day so we strolled through the park. I felt kind of shitty about what I was about to do. I was sexually attracted to her but didn’t really click with her personality.  I have found this true with many Asian women I’ve met. I’d probably do better with a good, loyal black woman. There’s just something about the personalities of the Asian women I’ve experienced in this city. There is a certain juvenile quality about them. You would think I would like that, but it kind of annoys me.

We got to my apartment and went inside. We both knew what we were there for so we got down to it.

The sex was good. Not great, because I wasn’t that into her. But she seemed to need it and enjoyed it. Normally I will only sleep with someone I like and care about. I had run this by my friend Johnny R., and explained the whole situation to him a few days before. He said, if you want to just do a “one and done,” then I should just do it. (See: Johnny R. – 2010 to Present – One Vice At A Time) I know he would, because he’s a hound, but it’s really not my thing. But for some reason I just felt the power of being able to do this. So I did.

I’m not proud of this, but we’re both adults and I know we both wanted to get it on. But I somehow think she may have wanted some sort of relationship, and I just didn’t want that. Can you imagine that? Me writing phicklephilly, and every other week you’d have to read about this Filipino chick that I was banging? You’d all be wondering how I was going to get out of this hole I was literally digging myself into.

So now that I have shamefully spent these rounds, and put another notch in my very worn bedpost, I need to begin the fazing out part of my relationship with Eliana. I’ve relieved her of her most precious possession, and I’m done. What will my female friends think of me when they read this? That I’m just a slob like so many other men?

It will begin slowly. The long periods between texts. The missed calls. The dates made, and then broken, because “something came up.” We’re not connected on any social media. So I won’t have to unfollow, then block her. Come to think of it, I don’t even know Eliana’s last name. I’ll just one day block her in my phone.

It’s shitty. Why don’t I just tell her I just wanted her for sex, and nothing more. Because I don’t like confrontation. It would hurt her and I would be responsible. I’d have to witness that transaction. I guess I’m a coward when it comes to things like this. Sadly in this digital age it’s easy for me to simply disappear.

I guess I’m just fickle. A fickle asshole.

 

Update: I recently saw that Eliana is back on Tinder. Her profile says she wants to meet a gentleman for lots of laughs.

Swiped left.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Tales of Rock – Badfinger

Badfinger should’ve been a huge success story, but instead became a cautionary tale for the myriad ways the music industry exploits and throws away so many talented but naive artists.

Possibly the most heartbreaking story in rock and roll happens to have happened to one of the best bands in its history.

Badfinger should’ve been a huge success story, but instead became a cautionary tale for the myriad ways the music industry exploits and throws away so many talented but naive artists. After supporting major outfits including The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and the Who, the band — then named the Iveys — was picked up by manager Bill Collins in 1966. It was a move that would help them reach early stardom and contribute heavily to their downfall. Ray Davies of the Kinks recorded three early demos, which Collins managed to get to Apple Records; Badfinger signed with Apple in 1968, making them the first band that wasn’t the Beatles on the label. After a lineup and name change to Badfinger, Paul McCartney penned their first hit, the timeless power pop classic “Come and Get It.” (Written for the soundtrack of The Magic Christian, a loopy, cameo-filled British comedy starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers that’s worth watching for the sheer absurdity of it all.) The song became an international hit. The band’s two primary songwriters, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, also wrote “Without You,” a standard since covered by more than 180 artists, including Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and, perhaps most famously, Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey.

George Harrison had them play on his 1970 album All Things Must Pass and featured them as part of his backing band at The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. The point is, Badfinger should’ve been rolling in dough, their names solidified among rock’s most important acts. But taking manager Collins’s advice, the band trusted their money to an American businessman named Stan Polley who absconded with their funds, leaving the band in contractual binds that made it virtually impossible to continue on their own.

Lead singer Ham — by all accounts, an incredibly sensitive, sweet man who believed to the very end in Polley’s honesty despite all indications otherwise — hanged himself shortly thereafter. (Polley, in a move that even most scumbags would be disgusted by, tried to cash in on Ham’s life insurance.) Inconsolable and unable to restart his own career in music, Tom Evans — who reportedly said numerous times over the ensuing years that he wanted to be “where [Pete] is” — also hanged himself eight years later. Badfinger finally got a sliver of the rediscovery they deserve when their 1972 song “Baby Blue” was used in the series finale of Breaking Bad. The nod helped the song’s Spotify streams jump an astounding 9,000 percent in the hours after the show ended, and to sell 5,000 copies of the single on iTunes in a single night.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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