Tales of Rock – Sly Stone

He became addicted to cocaine among other substances, and supposedly kept a violin case filled with drugs with him constantly.

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Sly and the Family Stone’s first four albums were the work of a man in total control of his talents and craft. By the time of his band’s fourth album, the monumental Stand!, Sly Stone was applying remarkable discipline to his work: writing, performing on, producing and arranging all songs.

But with the massive success of Stand! and the band’s subsequent appearance at Woodstock came a big change in Stone and, as a result, his band. He became addicted to cocaine among other substances, and supposedly kept a violin case filled with drugs with him constantly. Stone’s Bel Air mansion took on a cult-like atmosphere, with Stone dispensing drugs to his fellow band members and assorted hangers-on.

Some of the band’s next album, There’s A Riot Goin’ On, was recorded in a home studio here, with Stone recording much of his vocals lying down. He’d also allow groupies to sing over the album’s tapes as “auditions,” then once he’d had his way with these women, send them on their way and wipe the tape. This eventually diluted the fidelity of the actual recordings themselves, contributing to the album’s murky sound. Given all this chaos, it’s a testament to Stone’s talents that the resulting album is still one of the greatest ever made.

Stone made a half-dozen further albums of varying quality after this; by the end of the ’70s he’d started giving them sad titles like “Heard Ya Missed Me, Well I’m Back and Back On The Right Track” and the songs contained within were largely lame retreads of his earlier material. In the 1980s, Sly basically disappeared. He’d pop up for an occasional live performance, cameo on someone else’s album or arrest for cocaine possession, but beyond that was rarely seen.

In the mid-2000s there were hints of a comeback; he appeared with his old band and other musicians for a tribute to Sly and the Family Stone at the 2006 Grammy awards, but Stone left the stage before the performance was over. In 2011, reports surfaced that Stone was homeless and living in a van in L.A. He was quoted as saying, “I like my small camper. I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”

 

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Andrea – 2014 – S&M Girl

“Hi Lorelei. Daddy’s just going to take this fat, drunk bitch back to his room and tie her up. Then you’re going to hear a lot of slapping and squishing sounds. You’re also going to hear Daddy say a bunch of really foul sexually degrading things to this woman, so you better put your ear buds in and crank that shit up.”

One night a couple of years ago, I was out with a friend of mine. We were having drinks outside at Misconduct at 15th & Locust. He was telling me a story about this girl he met on Tinder. Pure hookup. She comes over to his apartment. Sadly, she doesn’t look like her Tinder pics. Which is not good. That’s like seeing a photo of a car you want to buy in the Auto Trader and when you get to the lot to check out the car, it’s an older model and a little banged up and maybe even a bit more car than you saw in the photos.

But he was drunk and up for the foul deed. He said she was a thick girl but he went to town on her anyway. Like my tinder profile says: “If you don’t look like your photos, you’re going to buy me drinks until you do.” So he said it was good sex except for one thing. He didn’t like that she wanted him to spit on her and hit her. There’s nothing wrong with what two consenting adults do with each other behind closed doors. Especially if everyone’s on board with what’s happening. But he didn’t like it. Just not his thing.

He told me that he wasn’t comfortable with that situation. He said at that point no matter what he was into or what he would do, he couldn’t do that again.  It just wasn’t him. (He didn’t spit on her or hit her at all) At that time, back in the beginning of 2014, I had just come off a break up and told him to send Andrea pics of me. Because I was up for whatever she wanted dished out. The key here is when it comes to dominance, be firm…not mean. There’s a big difference. I would discipline and correct her if necessary. And remember, the submissive party is ALWAYS in control. They have the safe word and hold the power to cancel the fantasy at anytime. That’s the rules of S&M play.

Well, nothing came of it. Until earlier this year when she connected to me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn of all places! Can you imagine with all of the dating websites out there, LinkedIn brings me the crazy S&M chick? So we chatted and did some texting. She wanted me to text her all of the things I was going to do to her, so I did. I have a pretty good imagination. She said she was getting really turned on and that we should meet.

I set it up that we should meet at the Ranstead Room. It’s just a good spot normally to hideout with somebody. I get there and I’m just chilling with a drink. She arrives shortly thereafter. My friend was right about her. In her Tinder pics she looks really hot, but in real life she is a lot bigger, and what was with that low tranny voice? Not good. I just wasn’t feeling it. I would have to drink a LOT of cocktails for Andrea to start to resemble her profile pics on Tinder. So I figured what the hell, I was already here and the drinks were flowing. She wasn’t that hot but at least I was someplace where nobody knew me.

Then the manager from the restaurant where my daughter works suddenly comes through the door and walks right up to me and says hello using my name.

Now I’m made. He can see who I’m with and now everybody there knows my name.

Andrea starts telling me about her life. She hates her job and wants to leave Philly. (Probably a good idea for us all.) She was seeing some crazy drug dealer loser guy. He’s suicidal, and does tons of coke. It’s bad, and she’s not much better.  I always thought if you did a bunch of cocaine you were skinny. Certainly not the case here.

After awhile we’re getting pretty tipsy. We went outside for a cigarette. She was on me like a northern pike hitting the bait. So I’m making out with her and people are walking by on Ranstead and she just pulls her boobs out. She’s losing her shit. She wants to take me back behind the building and give me a blowjob.

Yea. Great. I’ll just go stand behind my daughter’s manager’s Mercedes-Benz and you can give me oral. What if he walks outside and sees that shit? That’s not going to be good for me or anybody. Now, if this was Los Angeles and it was 1982, yea I’d be down for that, but not now. That’s gross. Sure, I’m flattered that she’s turned on enough from my words and the alcohol to want to blow me in a filthy alley, but no. Just no. I don’t roll like that.

She’s drunk. We go back inside and we’re in the vestibule and all sorts of things are happening with lips and fingers. If somebody comes through either door, we’re going to jail. So after that brief encounter, we go back inside. I kind of want to go home. In the right environment, some S&M play could be fun with her, but I’m just not getting a good vibe from her in this moment. She’s calling me daddy and all that shit. She says she loves older men, etc. I tell her I have an early sales meeting in the morning that I have to travel to so we should wrap it up. (A bold-faced lie)

She wants to go back to my place and have sex. Great idea. I can see it now. Me walking through the door to my apartment with Andrea and my daughter sitting on the sofa.

“Hi Lorelei. Daddy’s just going to take this fat, drunk bitch back to his room and tie her up. Then you’re going to hear a lot of slapping and squishing sounds. You’re also going to hear Daddy say a bunch of really foul sexually degrading things to this woman, so you better put your ear buds in and crank that shit up.”

No. Not happening. We pay the bill, and we walk over to 18th Street. I hail her a taxi and send her on her way. I was actually relieved when she was gone.

If somebody I met and was in a relationship wanted to experiment with some things, I’d be down with that, but Andrea just isn’t that person.

Update! She appeared at the salon tonight for a tan before she goes to L.A!

She’s leaving Philly for good!

 

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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Keila – 2013 to 2017 – Fleas, Ticks and a Series of Bad Decisions

I told Alice not to hire Keila. I just didn’t feel that she had the discipline, experience, skill set and focus to do the job at Alice’s recruiting firm.

I’ve decided to stop writing about Alice and Keila. Alice is a dear friend, but we don’t do anything interesting enough to write about. Hopefully, this will be the last time I write about Keila.

I told Alice not to hire Keila. I just didn’t feel that she had the discipline, experience, skill set and focus to do the job at Alice’s recruiting firm. She lasted about two years there. Alice felt that she would be a good match, because she was a fearless networker and had no problem meeting new people.

But Keila has severe ADD. It’s really annoying to the rest of us who can calmly focus.

I’ve decided to cut her off, because of what she’s done to Alice. My loyalty is to Alice, and I don’t even really see Keila anymore.

Then I realized something. Some of the worst women I have ever met in this city all came through Keila. Birds of a feather flock together. Keila is like this big poodle that’s crawling with fleas and ticks. Because that’s what some these people are. Here’s the list:

Carol (See: Carol – 2014 to 2016 – There’s No Fun in Dysfunction) Crazy wacko who lives with her crazy mother and can’t keep a man or a job. Mess!

Harper (See: Harper – 2014 to 2015 – Plane Crash) Just a straight up lying, fraud and a whore who uses people. Awful!

Bibi (See: Bibi – 2015 – Matinee Madness) Rude, alcoholic loser who can’t keep a job or stay out of rehab.

Brooke (See: Brooke – 2015 to Present – Legs for Days) Okay this one came through Keila but I like her. She doesn’t see Keila anymore.

And many more whack job people along the way.

I’ve cut off all of these people (Except Brooke) and what I’ve needed to do all along was to cut off the head of this two legged dragon. So that’s what I’ve done. I’m done with Keila. She has these networking events and all of these desperate women and nutjobs go to thesee events. She always introduces them as “her new frends” but they’re not her friends. They’re normally desperate souls that attach themselves to her temporarily but after she gets what she wants from them she’s on to the next shiny object that’s her current distraction.

So after what Keila pulled on my friend Alice, I’m done with this one.

There’s some other people I need to slowly faze out as well. There not as godawful as Harper and Carol, but it’s time to start thinning the heard.

Live and learn baby. Step over the detritus in your life and move on.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Sid Vicious Charged With Murder

It was concluded that Vicious’ knife, which had gone missing along with Spungen’s money, was the murder weapon.

In the annals of rock musicians fucking up, few entries are more extreme than stabbing your girlfriend to death and claiming not to remember doing it later. In October 1978, bassist Sid Vicious—deep into heroin addiction; his band Sex Pistols having broken up earlier that year—woke up in his room at the Hotel Chelsea in New York to find his girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Philly girl) dead in the bathroom with a wound in her abdomen. It was concluded that Vicious’ knife, which had gone missing along with Spungen’s money, was the murder weapon.

Vicious was charged with murder and gave conflicting accounts of what had happened; he said he hadn’t stabbed Spungen, then that he couldn’t remember anything and then that they were fighting and she fell on the knife. He was arrested and charged with murder but not kept in custody and attempted suicide later that month. In December 1978 he got in a fight at a rock show and was arrested and jailed; bailed out in February 1979. The following day, he died of an overdose of heroin at a dinner party. He was cremated and his mother surreptitiously spread his remains over Spungen’s grave.

 

 

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Sun Stories: Seasonal Affective Disorder and Tanning Salons

“The problem is primarily caused by the lack of sunlight. It has been scientifically proven that sunlight favors increase in serotonin levels and favors vitamin D accumulation. Besides having anti-osteoporotic, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, antipsoriatic, antioxidant properties, vitamin D is also a mood-modulator.”

UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That’s why people who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being.

Now that we’re heading into winter, we’ve had a few people come into the salon saying they want to hop in a sunbed to help combat SAD. People suffering from seasonal affective disorder report feeling better after a visit at the tanning salon for a tanning bed session.

With the arrival of the cold season, besides cold-driven nuisance, some people experience drawbacks regarding the general state, lack of energy and depression of unknown origin. It was scientifically ascertained that the lack of light favors the production of melatonin by the pineal gland, a hormone inducing sleep. That’s why, during the cold seasons when days are shorter and the sunlight is scarce, we often feel sleepy or drowsy. Also, even during spring and summer, if the tendency is to keep most of the time indoors at home or at the office, the effect may be similar, though not as severe.

Well, if drowsiness were the only impact generated by season changes, things would be easier to solve (with a little coffee maybe!). The problem is that melatonin secretion is synchronized with the production of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is involved in several physiological processes such as temperature, blood-pressure regulation and in neuropsychological functions such as appetite, memory and mood. The two do not work together at the same time. When melatonin is secreted, serotonin production is inhibited. Lack of serotonin causes disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and reflects its effects on mood also, triggering depression in some persons.

Melatonin is active at night and serotonin is active in the daytime. Also, there is the age factor that contributes to the balance of the two chemicals: the secretion of melatonin decreases with age. There has been established that the link between serotonin and melatonin along with their dependence on the body clock may explain the depression experienced by the people suffering from the disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD. Depression, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, stress, headaches are some of the symptoms that may appear when we suffer from SAD.

The problem is primarily caused by the lack of sunlight. It has been scientifically proven that sunlight favors increase in serotonin levels and favors vitamin D accumulation. Besides having anti-osteoporotic, immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, antipsoriatic, antioxidant properties, vitamin D is also a mood-modulator.

UV rays exposure favors vitamin D synthesis in the skin. That’s why people who go to tanning salons have noticed mood improvement and keep the habit in order to maintain the state of well-being.

Light therapy represents a way to treat SAD. Light operates on the body in two ways: through skin impact or by entering your eyes. Only UV light has effects on the skin, while the light that has effects by entering your eyes needs not be UV, it just has to be bright. Its energizing effect comes from the fact that it stimulates the production of serotonin. The simplest way to get enough bright light is to spend an hour a day or more outdoors, where the light levels range from 1,000 to 50,000 lux or more, compared to room lighting, which is about 50-200 lux.

If your schedule or the weather does not permit it, an alternative is to purchase a light therapy device. For optimum effects, the light source either has to be very bright – 5,000 lux or more – or it has to be in a particular spectrum – around 460 nanometers, which is in the blue range. According to new research, blue range light will provide benefits even if at a dimmer level. Most companies producing light bulbs make full spectrum lights that may successfully replace sunlight.

Yet, there are side effects that bright artificial light may induce, namely it may interfere with sleep (especially when exposure is made in the evening hours) or even trigger in some people a mania – condition called bipolar disorder (known as manic depression).

The safest remains the natural outdoor light, on condition that UV protection is used.

 

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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Annabelle – Epilogue

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

It was about 6 months later until I saw her again. I was working for a local publication, and my boss asked if I’d check on their booth at an event in University City. It was on a Saturday in the spring of 2015. They would normally have a booth set up at some sponsored events, and they’d have a couple of interns man it.

Since I was new no one would recognize me there, so I could see that the magazines were displayed and the swag was out, and that the interns were doing their jobs.

I met with my friend Carla for a few drinks that evening at The Continental bar in midtown. Now that I think about it, I had spent the day with Kylie, (See: Kylie – Broken Wing) and had to ditch her to go meet up with my good friend Carla.

We had a couple of drinks and wound up chatting with a couple of gals we would meet up with later. After about an hour we hopped in an UBER and headed out to University City. We got there and when you live in Rittenhouse in center city, going out to University City is like going to a different planet.

I was expecting a straight up festival, with beer and food, but all that was out there was a bunch of families, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cart and a big stage set up. Oh, and our little booth off to the side.

Carla and I were clearly disappointed. We thought we’d be chugging free drinks and stuffing our heads with chow. We go over to the booth and check it out. I chat with the interns and everything seems to be in order.

The show starts and it’s some sort of musical number.

“Carla. I need to get out of here now.”

“This thing sucks. I agree. But it seems like something’s bothering you.”

“See that girl right there? The one on the left in the show.”

“Yea.”

“That’s Annabelle. My ex-girlfriend.”

“Oh the girl who was standing over there before, staring at you since the minute you got here?”

“She was?”

“I didn’t even see her. How did you…?

“Women can sense these things.”

“Let’s go.”

The next time was  a month or so later when I went to a beer garden that was my account at the publication. They invited me down to their place of business for some free drinks. I can’t pass that up.

So I get there and have a few drinks at the bar, and who the hell comes out to entertain everybody?

Yep. Same musical troupe, and there’s Annabelle. I watched the show a little bit, but it was so awful, I had to get out of there. Their stuff is so silly it’s absurd. I think the only reason the troupe exists is so the lead guy can run around in public in a fucking dress.

It was killing me to see her and I needed closure. I texted her and said I wanted to meet up and chat. We set it up and I met her at a bar in Northern Liberties. (Which I hate)

I had one before she arrived. She gets there and we go to a table and sit down. She orders a drink and said her stomach has been bothering her. She says it’s from all of the junk food she’s been eating down at the beer garden where her troupe has been performing all month. I think she’s full of shit. She always pulls health issues or headaches to get out of stuff.

I begin to recount all of the stuff she did after she broke up with me, and how much it hurt me, and how adults don’t do that to each other. I told her how much that hurt me for months, having her rip open the sutures that were trying to heal in my wounded heart.

She said she was sorry she hurt me, but really didn’t show any real emotion. I believe simply because she isn’t capable of it. When you don’t know who you are, where you’re going, or what you want in life, how can you possibly know what anyone else around you is feeling? Annabelle only sees what she wants. She hasn’t a clue that her selfish actions can really hurt a person that is close with her.

She told me that she had moved, and was going to buy some shitty house but her parents told her they didn’t want her living in that neighborhood, so they bought her a nice house in a better part of town. I suppose since they’re rich and she’s the only one of their kids that’s a financial failure, they felt they had to step in. So she lives on the first floor, she has taken in a roommate who lives on the 2nd floor and uses the basement for her photography stuff.

She has the roommate because she obviously can’t afford the mortgage. Who has roommates in their thirties?

“I don’t really have to work that hard anymore or make a lot of money. Because I don’t have the bills I used to have.”

(Yea, because your parents bought you a fucking house.)

She left after the one drink and I walked her outside and she got on her bike.

“You’ll have to see my house.” she said as she rode off.

No thanks, I thought to myself.

Well, so much for closure.

Her apology was hollow.

About a year later this woman I know who works in the arts hit me up at the publication I worked for at the time. Trixie wanted some love from our magazine to promote a little art performance she had written. I asked her if there was any budget to advertise and of course she said no. These “artists” never have two shillings to rub together.

So I talk to my editor and since we support the arts, she said she’d be happy to write a little piece about it and put it in our events calendar.

I called Trixie and told her that the piece would run for the two weeks before the event. So it would be in our magazine twice. She was very happy and thanked me for the free support/advertising.

So on opening night of the show I decided to check out what I had promoted for the last two weeks. I like Trixie and I decided to take my good friend, Carly (See: Carly – 2013 to Present – The Mad Baker)

Carly always comes through for me in the clutch. She’s one of my favorite people in Philadelphia.

We plowed some vodka before the show in case it sucked. We hop in an UBER and head down to the show. We get there. It’s some little installation in South Philly. We go in and there are only maybe between and 20 or 30 people there. We grab a pair of wines (Box wine!) and head into the show.

It starts with some woman doing some sort of weird slow dance on the floor. I don’t get it. Then they have us all head upstairs for the 2nd part of the “performance.”

I have the sudden realization that it is a two woman show starring Trixie and of all the fucking people on the Earth… Annabelle.

I’m an artist. I’ve been an artist my whole life. Started drawing as a child. Art major in school. Won art shows, and drew comics. I have sold my art work and even had it stolen. So my shit must have been good. I taught myself how to play guitar. I started out as a singer in the choir and then a lead singer in my first band. Then guitarist in my 2nd and 3rd bands. Philly, Jersey and LA. I’m a writer and a huge film guy. I love all kinds of music from Sinatra to Slayer and everything in between. I love the ballet, the orchestra, the arts in general. So I have a pretty good idea what is good art and what is absolute shit.

What I witnessed that evening may as well have fallen out of a dog’s ass and hit the pavement in a steaming pile of awfulness.

It didn’t make sense. It was poorly written. Horribly acted. Trixie has a great ass though. That’s all I can say. She looked hot. Annabelle was like a scientist in the beginning and then changed into a bird of some kind. It made no sense at all. Annabelle literally wrapped in saran wrap with feathers covering her sort of non nipples and hippie bush. It was a revolting mess.

I’m grateful that I had the lovely opportunity of plying myself with alcohol before the “show.” (more like, abortion)

After that massacre, Annabelle came right up to us and I told her it was really good. It was either that or just simply throw up on her in disgust.

I introduced her to Carly and I’m sure she thought Carly was my main squeeze. Oh, by the way, Carly looked amazing. Black Versace cocktail dress, black sheer hose and black pumps. She looked smoking hot.

Annabelle told us she was going to have to get out of the polyurethane feather nightmare that she was wearing and would chat some more. We told her great job and we’d be downstairs sipping free boxed wine.

We went downstairs and grabbed more wine and went outside to smoke.

“What do we do?”

It was starting to rain.

“We get the fuck out of here. Trixie ambushed you and got free advertising for her shitty show that no one went to see. We’re going.”

I hit the UBER app and we were back in Rittenhouse in 15 minutes.

This is an entirely different epilogue that Michelle’s (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) This is all I have to wrap up the tattered mess that was my short nine month relationship with Annabelle.

In hindsight, should I have ever gotten involved with Annabelle? No. She was too young, and too naive about herself or even the world. It was an absolute mismatch. I once made a list when it was over of all of the thing I liked and didn’t like about Annabelle.

On the GOOD list there were only 3 things. Youth, sex, and nice to be with when we were together just doing things. (ie: dates, museums, dinners, etc.)

Just think. Two of the 3 things she almost had no control over.

The BAD list had over 15 things that I didn’t like about her on it. That my friend, is a strong indicator that it was an absolute mismatch and maybe she was just with me due to her distant daddy issues and I was a novelty to her. A new toy. The latest shiny thing that had attracted her attention like a squirrel.

I remember she told me she once slept walked and went into the bathroom and cut her bangs off. When I met her that second time at that shitty bar where she worked I thought her hair looked a little weird. She had to go to a hairdresser to try to fix that mess. I think it may have something to do with stress.

One time she slept walked and got scissors and cut up a dress that she was supposed to wear to some event for her sister. This chick has real issues or maybe even a real mental disorder. When I look at my relationship with her now, I can’t even believe I stuck around as long as I did. I should have cut her loose way earlier than when it ended. I should have seen the crazy. But you know, I did. I just put up with it because I loved her.

I didn’t love her. That just sounds nice. That’s why people put up with shit. No. People put up with shit because their minds are clouded with society’s norms. If you can take a step back, (Most men can’t. Actually most people can’t) you’d see that you’re in a relationship with someone who is absolutely not right for you. I know some idiots that are doing this right now!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter. But you can think about your mistakes with people. You can talk to your friends and family about your mistakes, but when you take the time to actually WRITE them down, you see the truth. The truth “that your own rod licks you the hardest.”

My mother used to say that, and it’s so true. Think of all the fucked up shit that has happened to you in your life. The bad stuff. You did that. You were probably the architect of that madness. You made that. You at least helped. You brought that nightmare into your life.

It’s okay. I’m not here to hurt anybody. I just want you to think. “Doing the same thing over and over and thinking you’re going to get a different result is madness.”

I’ve done that. We all have. I have to evolve up and out from this relationship. I will. I will never get mixed up aith a girl like Annabelle ever again. I’d rather die alone than go through something like that with such a mixed up emotionally bankrupt, lost soul like Annabelle.

You gotta cut your losses and go.

Everybody’s different and we all go through our own shit in our own way. You can tell your friend that he should leave his cheating wife who hasn’t fucked him in two years but he has to exit that burning building in his own way. All the while wasting years of living he should be enjoying and not going to fucking meetings and therapists.

Drop the clutch and GO!

It’s like telling someone they should get in better shape.

You try to change your own mind and body.

That shit’s hard. How are you going to change another person?

You can’t. They have to do it their own way in their own time.

Anyway. No more artists or failed actresses. I just can’t.

Annabelle was texting after the show and thanking me profusely for my support. Sadly, she seemed so scared and unsure of herself. I guess now that I was standing outside the gates of Annabelle Asylum, I had a different perspective. I could see clearly she was just another lost soul of the arts community here in our fair city

I had some great dinners and some decent sex with her so there’s that. But I would erase it all if I could have the opportunity to never have met Annabelle. But I’m wrong in my thinking. I had to meet her. I had to experience this so I could learn more about myself. I’m still on the journey to find real and genuine love in this city.

But now based on these experiences I’ve had I now have a clearer idea of what that should look like. I have learned much.

And for that I am grateful and I continue to evolve and grow as a man.

That show was the last time I ever saw Annabelle.

But last year on my birthday, she messaged me on Facebook.

“Happy Birthday, Charles, I hope your life is going well.”

I waited a day and thanked her and wished her a happy birthday too. (Hers is July and mine is August 9, both Leos)

 

That was the last I ever spoke to her. I’ve never seen or heard from her again. (Thank goodness!)

 

Will I ever find a girl who is a good match for me in this city that will stick around?

 

My heart is always open, and we’ll have to see what happens. Thanks to you all of my readers. We’ll get there together!

 

 

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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Miscellaneous Stories: 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?”

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.

 

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