I’m out in the Philly suburbs right now, celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday. Like Goldy, I grew up in this area. It’s always interesting to come back and observe the numerous subtle differences that make this part of the country unique: the food, the accents, the Wawa’s. It’s like being in another country sometimes.
Our whole weekend was rearranged by the NFL playoffs. After the Giants beat the Cowboys last weekend and the Giants were scheduled to play the Packers for the NFC title at 6:30 on Sunday, we moved my mom’s birthday dinner from Sunday night to Saturday night (my dad and my brother-in-law are both huge Giants fans). My wife, a Seattle native, seemed amazed that we did that. Sports just matter a bit more in Philly. This is a city where the main newspaper’s sports section has its own letters to the editor section (see UPDATE). It’s not a place where this argument would work in order to move the pro basketball team to another city.
For the first game yesterday between the Patriots and Chargers, I went out to a bar in King of Prussia with an old high school buddy who I hadn’t seen in over two years. He’s been working in the mortgage industry for most of the last ten years. He’s had a front row seat for the unbelievable disaster that’s currently unfolding. He told me stories of people who went from having million-dollar salaries to being unemployed in less than a year, of a company that hired him that was clearly doing things that were illegal and was eventually indicted, and of an industry that used to be so lucrative, companies could afford to put him up in $500/night hotels and send him to the Grammy’s, but is now losing employees because people can make more as a cashier at Superfresh. Tomorrow night, he’s probably going to join me as I head out to Philly Drinking Liberally and shoot the shit about the “Big Shitpile” with Atrios.
For the late game, I went back to my sister’s place, expecting to see the Packers crush the Giants, but sadly seeing Tom Coughlin’s crew make it into the big game after Brett Favre’s miracle season ran out of gas. Now I have to brace for being the only person at the Super Bowl party rooting for the Patriots. Damn.
This morning saw some bad news. My dad got an email that his old co-worker’s son was the police officer killed in this SWAT drug raid in southeastern Virginia. He was a father of 3, killed by a 28-year-old man with no criminal record who shot through the door because he thought he was about to be robbed for the second time that week. As you might imagine, my dad isn’t quite sure what to make of my strong opinions on the drug war. Many people of his generation are so far entrenched in the mythology that has built up around the supposed dangers of drugs, that they don’t even question the methodology that has grown up over the years to fight it. While my parents saw raising a child out here in the sleepy suburbs of Montgomery County as a way to keep my sister and me from being caught up in the drug culture, it did no such thing. Drugs and corruption are everywhere, even here among the cul-de-sacs and strip malls. And the senseless tragedies that go along with it keep piling up.
UPDATE: In comments Piper says the Seattle Times also has a letters section in the sports page. Thanks for the correction.