PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: It’s bad, bad Willie Brown, baddest man in the whole damn town. CP pins down the headstrong leader of cp_2009_11_19.jpgTransportation Workers Union Local 234, asks the tough questions and, impressively, gets some tough answers. Brown reveals a flair for the dramatic — regarding the contract situation, “It’s like sitting in your living room and you’re watching TV and you smell smoke coming from the kitchen but you do nothing about it. Then you hear stuff burning in the kitchen and you do nothing about it. Then the next thing you know the whole house is engulfed in flames.” — but mostly he comes off as driven, dedicated and no more corrupted by power than Mayor Nutter, Guv Rendell or any other Little Caesar. Neither Brown nor his questioners, Jeff Billman and Isaiah Thompson (hard-assed journos, both) blink. Dig this:

CITY PAPER: You yourself said you were “the most hated man in Philadelphia.” Surely you understand that there are perceptions out there that the union is like the mafia.

WILLIE BROWN: I don’t totally agree with that. When I walk into the store, even to this day, I see people, and they’re not telling me I was wrong. If you just drive around looking for people who say negative things, then that’s the image you’re going to get. … I was at the 7-Eleven with my grandson the other day, and there were people shaking my hand saying I did a good job.

All I can say is, read it. One way or another, this strike surely affected your life and livelihood for nearly a week. Even if you read no other media coverage during the strike, read this one. It’s nearly as dramatic as BradLidge (circa 2008, anyway) staring down a big slugger in extra innings.

cover111809_lg2_1.jpgPW: A Food and Drink Issue… without any food? A bold move. I figure that with August’s Must Eats, they must have exhausted the city’s gustatory pleasures. So, on with the booze, as the city’s finest barkeeps offer the 15 best cocktails around and their takes on absinthe (does it really make the heart grow fonder?). Even more startling insights come from Tim McGinnis’s compendium of surefire hangover cures and from Adam Erace’s discovery that your local bartender may not be as fond of you as you think:

Bartending, one of the great social professions, just has a way of making you hate people. Thanks to bartending, the groups I hate now include the elderly; recovering alcoholics; business travelers that make awkward small talk with each other; graduates of Penn State; NASCAR fans that want to watch the race when, say, the Phillies are playing in the World Series; airline employees and women still drinking cosmos and apple martinis. You are not Carrie Bradshaw, give it a rest.

Helpful hints: Don’t hang out after last call, don’t talk on your cellphone, don’t say “when you get a chance.” Damn. I know I’m guilty on at least one of those. Even with copious restaurant openings, it’s been a year that could drive you to drink, and as the year comes to a close, PW seems to suggest you should do just that. Cheers.


CP: Buy low, cell high. Words that bring a smile to my face: “capital-letter MEAT.” Musical journalism? Needs more nut grafs. SEPTA buses = white whales?

PW: An unlikely Kudos. SEPTA Strike 2: Excruciating Boogaloo. Not-so-good Godot. Cut paper and the Canine Fecal Death Act.

WINNER: The strike may have made you want to knock back a few. It might have even kept you from your favorite bar. But news trumps booze every time, and CP’s questioning of Willie Brown is top-notch.

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