Walk It Off
"The Bell Curve" [News, April 10, 2008] was wrong in claiming my first column appeared in Leviticus, the most complex book in the Bible. My first assignment was for Exodus.
I have been around awhile (which is better than the alternative, as you will discover someday). I have been around SO long:
I have a company-paid pension. (Good luck with yours.)
There's Social Security money for me. (Good luck with yours.)
I gave Keith Richards guitar lessons.
I tutored John McCain at Annapolis.
I gave Johannes Gutenberg that crazy "moveable type" idea.
I remember when Bruce Schimmel was poor.
I know that Jim Nicholson worked at the Daily News, not the Inquirer, something "youthful" Mary Patel (and your too-young copy editor) got wrong last week.
I even remember when the Bell Curve was funny.
(Actually, it still is.)
Despite my advanced years, I challenge the author(s) to meet me at the 12th Street Gym for a marathon treadmill session. You've talked the talk. Can you walk the walk?
Columnist, Philadelphia Daily News
Brian Howard responds: Stu, though I am sworn to secrecy regarding the author(s) of the joke you mention — the Bell Curve is composed weekly by an anonymous roundtable committee who have all signed a blood oath — I have been authorized to accept your challenge on its behalf. Consider this walk-off on.
On the issue of retailers from out of state shipping wine into Pennsylvania [Food, "Over the Border Wine," David Snyder, April, 3, 2008], Sen. Jim Ferlo's bill adequately addresses underage access and tax collection. Rep. Paul Costa's bill just perpetuates the quasi-prohibitionist bureaucracy known as the Liquor Control Board which, in the 21st century, should have its very existence challenged.
Also, if the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (holy jeez, what a name) really were interested in hunting down retailers, all they would have to do is set up a bogus order and wait for the shipment to arrive.
So while the legislature takes another three years mulling this over or getting paid off, do what you have to do. Or just wait until you visit your cousin here in Joisey and stock up. Joe Canal and Roger Wilco will both be glad to see you.
Atlantic City, N.J.
Based on J.F. Pirro's excellent cover story ["Ruh-Roh?" April 10, 2008], and other recent local animal news, it can be safely said that Philadelphia sadly fails Gandhi's barometer for humanity: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
I was happy to read PSPCA's Howard Nelson's frank statement in Pirro's piece: "Cruelty is an epidemic in Philadelphia."
Every night on the TV news here, there is another obscene, disgusting animal abuse story, and each one seems to get worse. The puppy mill business? It will never go away. Why? Because eradicating it will allegedly hurt Philly's almighty economy. Just like the poor horses forced to pull the idiot tourists around in circles nonstop all day. Of course we can't stop it. Again, it would hurt the economy. As long as we live in a capitalist society, the economy will be put ahead of everything else, including the environment and other living creatures.
It's been proven that people who like animals are more empathetic toward other people — that children who have close relationships with their pets develop stronger bonds with people as adults. Perhaps if Philadelphia cared — genuinely cared — about its animal population, we wouldn't have read about those recent horrific SEPTA attacks and murders. At last someone has had the balls to tell it like it is!