INTRODUCING: Inconspicuous Consumption

EDITOR’S NOTE: Inconspicuous Consumption is a new weekly Phawker feature by mystery columnist ALLAN SMITHEE. According to Wikipedia, “Alan Smithee is a pseudonym used between 1968 and 1999 by Hollywood film directors who wanted to be dissociated from a film for which they no longer wanted credit. It was used when the director could prove to the satisfaction of a panel of members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers that the film had been wrested from his or her creative control. The director was also required to keep the reason for the disavowal a secret.” As such, we not only can’t tell you who Allan Smithee is (you WOULD be shocked) but we can’t even tell you why we can’t tell you. When we asked him for an ABOUT THE AUTHOR bio he sent this: “Allan Smithee is an artist who is chronically unemployed. He likes to make lists in his spare time. (end)” Think of him as a mystery muncher with his ear to the street, combing the city’s B-list bars and backstreet bodegas for snack bargains, affordable 40s and a decent pack of wooden match sticks.

BY ALLAN SMITHEEphiladelphia_free_library.jpg
Thursday, July 19, 2007

Budget: $20.00

2:55 – 3:25 p.m.

Just hanging out at the Free Library of Philadelphia (Central Branch located at 1901 Vine St. between 19th/20th) and talking with Jonathan Valania

3:25 – 3:35 p.m.

pedestrian travel time/pick up copy of City Papercp-taubenberger.jpg

3:35 – 3:55 p.m.

McCrossen’s Tavern (529 N. 20th St./Spring Garden)

*purchase/drink a pint of Yuengling lager

A half-way decent place. Sort of a low-lighted (natural light) with lots of wood kinda of place. Two flat screens at both ends of the bar usually showing a sporting event. Both are currently showing the British Golf Open. Usually try to go during happy hour or on a Saturday/Sunday when beer prices are a buck less. Food is good. In the past, in addition to various burgers, have ordered the Hummus Platter (sun-dried tomato hummus served with flat bread). Yeah, this dish is hard to screw up but it’s reasonably priced and a nice size portion. Also, barkeeps are *always* friendly and keep the bar *extremely* clean, a positive.

NOTE: After paying for the pint with a twenty, one of the dollar bills given back to me (change) had thegeorge_washington_dollar.jpg address on it written with ink. tried to enter the bill on their data base (Friday, July 20th @ 12:35 p.m.) but left that bill as a tip. According to the site, in order to track the bill, it must be in your possession at the time of data entry.

ALSO: For you connoisseurs out there, the matches given away at McCrossen’s are made of wood and are in a box. Since this is Philadelphia, smoking is only permitted/allowed outside the establishment.

3:55 – 4 p.m.

pedestrian travel time/cigarette break

4 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.

Rosie’s Cold Beer & Hoagie Deli (20th/Brandywine)

*purchase 16 oz. can of Colt 45 Malt Liquor (brown bagged)

NOTE: at this deli a four pack of Colt 45 costs $4.99 (total)

Also, there are numerous red-checkered tables with seats for eating in the back. Have never purchased soup/sandwiches there.

4:05 – 4:20 p.m.

pedestrian travel time/cigarette break/brown-bagged beer consumption on the gorollingpapers.jpg

4:20 – 5 p.m.

Computer Lab (Project H.O.M.E. – 1523 Fairmount Ave.)

5 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.

pedestrian travel

5:10 – 5:15 p.m.

Rite-Aid (20th/Fairmount Ave.)

*purchase pack of Top Cigarette Tobacco (roll your own)

maybe of interest: Top is less expensive than Bugler tobacco and the taste is better. (Top tobacco though is not as good as Drum Tobacco which cost about twice as much.)

5:15 – 5:25 p.m.

pedestrian travel time/cigarette break

5:25 p.m.

Sunoco/A-Plus Mart (Fairmount Ave between 23rd/24th St.)

*purchase Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper (7/19)

5:25 – 5:40 p.m.

pedestrian travel time/cigarette breakbbq-porkrinds.jpg

5:40 p.m.

McKenna’s Irish Pub (24th/Brown)

*order/pay for pint of Yeungling lager

drink half of pint

5:50 – 6 p.m.

leave pub, cross street and go to corner deli (name unknown)

*purchase bag of bbq pork rinds (net wt. 0.5 oz) and bag of honey-roasted peanuts (net wt. 2 oz.)yuengling.jpg

6 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

finish pint of lager

6:10 p.m.

*order/pay for 2nd pint of lager

start drinking pint/reading newspaper/eating bag of pork rinds

6:30 p.m.

smoke cigarette (outside)

6:40 – 6:55 p.m.

finish 2nd pint of lager

6:55 p.m.

*order/pay for 3rd pint of lagerpeanuts.JPG

start drinking final pint of lager/finish newspaper/eat bag of peanuts

7:30 p.m.

finish pint of lager/leave pub

Note: McKenna’s Irish Pub has two television screens. Most times Matlock is playing or one of the afternoon talk shows. Jeopardy is also one the regulars’ favorites. Mckennas has a kitchen, located past the billiards table but it is currently closed. Hence the snack trip across the street. There is also a long, narrow space that could probably seat 10 or so two/three table tops. According to the staff, the kitchen is a fully furnished professional kitchen. I asked the barkeep, though not the owner, how much they would rent out the space/kitchen for small “bistro” and seving food in the bar.

Answer: $900 per month. I *really* think the barkeep very much underestimated how much the rent would cost… but if true somebody is going to make a killing!

Also pints at McKenna’s run $2 all the time. That’s the cheapest pints I’ve found in Philadelphia except for that small bar where the owners live upstairs. More on that place if I ever find it again.

8:25 p.m. *purchased a 24 oz. cup of Mocha Coffee at Wawa and gave coinage to a panhandler

Budget expenses:

$3.25 – pint of lager
$1 tip
$2.00 – 16 oz. can of Colt 45 Malt Liquorwawa_cup.jpg
$1.79 – pkg of roll your own tobacco
$0.50 – newspaper
$2.00 – pint of lager
$1 tip
$0.25 – bag of bbq pork rinds
$0.50 – bag of peanuts
$2.00 – pint of lager
$0.50 tip
$2.00 – pint of lager
$1.00 tip
$1.49 – 24 oz. cup of coffee
$0.20 – panhandler donation

total cost: $19.48

remaining balance: $0.52

[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

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