Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Big Day!

Today's the day!! What day! Every day! Actually it's three days: the last ever 700 Club Show, the last day that Annie's Deli is located thirty seconds from my apartment, and the trade deadline in major league baseball. It's a blogger's dream!

So, as you know, the last of the over one-hundred shows hosted by Tom von Count and the crew at the 700 Social Club is tonight. It's located at 700 N. Harrison and should not be missed! Like, a billion bands are playing, and I myself am playing three big sets, one with Tit Patrol, one with the Wastoids, and one with the fuckin' Headies! Other notable acts include Sexon Horse and New Castle's own Tragic Johnson, Count von Count, and the rest! Rock and roll starts at six, be there or be four-cornered! By the way, you should open a new all-ages free club and ask us to play!

Annie's spectacular "New York Style" deli, located at 500 Greenhill Ave for the last twenty years (less than two blocks from where I live), will be moving as of today. Unfortunately, they were unable to continue to afford their lease, as raised by landlords Greggo and Ferraro, "legitimate businessmen" from Delaware. Now, I am normally pro-mafia... it does what the government won't! But this time... Annie's is a family operation... Annie herself works the counter and chats you up while her husband is main-man sandwich king of Wilmington. Perhaps best of all, Annie's mom makes fresh homemade desserts daily, her apple pie will ruin you. The rent increase is unfair but legal, forcing Annie to look for new diggs. Luckily for us, she found 'em! New location, across from the fire department in Elsmere. Elsmere is very lucky to get such a stable and long-lived business, not to mention the wonderful menu and skill applied. It really is the best Reuben in Delaware, and other hilarious and delicious dishes include the "Gay Liveration," chopped liver, corned beef, Swiss, lettuce & tomato, mustard & mayo on rye, and the "Ike and Tine Tuna," tuna, bacon, cream cheese & tomato, served hot on an onion roll. All my best to Annie and the family, I'll be in Elsmere when you open!

Finally, (I feel like my main man, Keith Olberman... remember him and Dan Patrick back in the day?) major league baseball's much hyped trade deadline is today, so any team who wants a new player available for post season play must make the deal by this afternoon! Complete coverage is on ESPN starting at 1:00 pm. Notable trades this season (so far) include Pudge Rodrigez going from his long time home in Detroit to be the new backstop for the New York Yankees, replacing the injured Jorge Posada. The Tigers in exchange get Kyle Farnsworth, a valuable righty to add to the Detroit bullpen. Adding to their already stellar line-up, the L.A. Angels landed big-batted first baseman Mark Texiera from the Braves for mid-level star Casey Kotchman and double-A right hander Stephen Marek. The Angels, with the best record in baseball and a line-up that boasts Tori Hunter, Vlad Guererro, Garrett Anderson, should have little trouble winning the entire A.L., unless the Tampa Bay Rays get in their way. Also, briefly, The Dodgers added third baseman Casey Blake from Cleavland, the Yankees also picked up star outfielder Xavier Nady from Pittsburgh, and the rest of this year's trades are already settled in with their new teams.

But who cares, right? Who will the Phillies get? Well, probably not Manny Ramirez, who appears close to going to the hated Miami Marlins in a three-team trade that would send Florida's Jeremy Hermida to Pittsburgh and the Pirates' star outfielder Jason Bay to Boston. That should be interesting. Also notable, my favorite rookie card Ken Griffey Jr. may take his 608 home runs to Chicago, the White Sox that is, to sure up their first place in the A.L. Central line-up. So, the Phils need pitching... relief pitching, having already traded for super-bum Joe Blanton. Hot on the radar is Atlanta's only good relief pitcher, Will Ohman, with Kansas City's Ron Mahay, Pittsburgh's John Grabow, San Francisco's Jack Taschner and Toronto's Jesse Carlson or Brian Tallet also being mentioned. Well, anything's okay with me as long as "Sugar" Shane Victorino is a Phillie when I go to bed tonight.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Words of Clarence Wright - Director of Wilmington's Future

Clarence Wright is the director of the Wilmington Main Street Project. A minister and a civil-minded activist, Mr. Wright was courteous enough to answer several questions I had for him on the current downtown Wilmington development and his life in general. I can not offer enough thanks for what Mr. Wright has done and is doing for our city, and for taking time out of his very busy schedule to speak with me.

After graduating from Temple you stayed in Philly and worked as a program manager for housing and economic development. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to there? What important lesson(s) did you learn in the larger metropolis that will serve you here in Wilmington?

I think I did, I still go up to West Oak Lane and look with pride at what it’s become. When I started up there it was a residential neighborhood and that was pretty much it, now it is a destination vibrant with restaurants and entertainment. I really pushed hard for an 18 hour destination community and that is exactly what it has turned into. I guess the lesson that I learned from West Oak Lane is that it can be done, and downtown Wilmington has a lot more to build on than West Oak Lane did when I started up there.

What drew you to the field of community development?

Going to school in North Philly I witnessed first hand the need for urban reinvestment, and once the seed was planted I had to be involved. The community development sector does development the right way from the grass roots level and at the same time holistically attacks all of the root causes of the problem. If you focus only on bricks and mortar the community will revert back to its state of dilapidation.

What drew you to Wilmington in particular?

I felt the position with Main Street Wilmington provided a valuable opportunity to make a citywide impact because of it’s location in the downtown. Wilmington also reminded me in size and demographics to my hometown of Syracuse, NY.

What are "Main Street Wilmington" and "Downtown Visions"? How have other "Main Street" projects fared?

Main Street Wilmington is a grassroots community driven program for community revitalization based on the four point approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The four points are Design, Promotions, Economic Restructuring and Organization. There are volunteer driven committees that support each one of these four points. Since its establishment 30 years ago there have been more than 1,200 Main Street Communities nationwide ranging from small towns to bustling urban corridors.

Our program here in Wilmington is made up as a partnership of key downtown stakeholders. Downtown Visions is one of our five key partners. They manage the downtown business improvement district and provide vital services such as cleaning, safety ambassadors and camera monitoring. Because the police in Wilmington focus more on the outer lying residential neighborhoods Downtown Visions plays a vital role in keeping downtown safe. We also partner with the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, the Downtown Business Association, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and City Council. We also work closely with business owners, corporations and developers as well as the growing downtown residential population.

What is your ideal vision for Market Street, physically, psychologically, emotionally etc... What will it look and feel like if your every idea could be completed?

My vision for Market Street is for it to be the entertainment and cultural capital of the state of Delaware, a place with successful businesses, high foot traffic and activity 18-24 hours a day. I believe the bones are already there to create this we just need to get the word out and continue to build momentum.

What is your "jurisdiction"? What area exactly does the project include?

The Main Street target area covers the same footprint as the Downtown Business Improvement District, which is 70 square blocks. The boundaries are roughly Martin Luther King Blvd. to the Brandywine River and Walnut Street to Tatnall plus Delaware Avenue to I-95. You can see the map on our website .

What steps have been taken, are being taken, will be taken in regards to the progress of the project?

We have set up our organizational infrastructure and we continue build our network of downtown stakeholders.

How much of Market was residential/commercial and in use prior to the development? How many newly available properties have been leased? What businesses can we look forward to moving in?

There will be literally dozens of new businesses in the next several years with a focus on unique retail and food service, although there will also be some national chains.

How is the project paid for?

Through a combination of funds from the city of Wilmington, the state office of economic development (DEDO), as well as other organizations and individual contributors.

Is there anything in the works for a local music venue, like the 4W5? Or other things to do after 5pm?

Yes we are working very closely with all of the existing arts organizations downtown and there are plans for a multi million dollar renovation to the former Queen Theater at 5th and Market to convert it into a top notch entertainment venue.

What are the district designations in regards to numbered streets, i.e. - LOMA, Ships Tavern, etc..?

There are no official boundaries for these "subdistricts" however LOMA is short for Lower Market (Roughly from MLK to 4th or 5th) this will focus on design (i.e. home furnishings, architecture, graphics…), Crosby Hill is the term being used for the upper part of Market (Roughly 5th to 10th) this will focus on entertainment and the arts. There is also a fashion district planned for 9th Street anchored by the former Bottle Caps building in the 200 block.

What is the reaction of the residents on and around Market Street? Have there been any objections? Are measures in order to assure that current residents receive their fair share/are not displaced now or in the future?

Working in the context of existing residents can often be a challenge, however it has not been with the Market Street development simply because there was really no one to displace. What is amazing about the downtown Wilmington developments is that it is in effect creating a new neighborhood. For so long downtown has been a place to come to work and then go home, but now with all of the new developments and housing units there is finally 24hour life downtown. None of the developments that I am aware of have displaced residents, however there is the potential to create literally thousands of new residents.

What kind of impact, in regards to social justice, could these developments have?

I believe that economic equality is the new preeminent social issue. The developments on Market Street have the potential to create hundreds of new jobs for surrounding community residents, as well as opportunities to open businesses. Many of the new job openings are being specifically targeted to residents of surrounding Wilmington Neighborhoods. The developments will also increase the tax base of the city as a whole which will mean better services for all of its residents, most notably minority communities (which are actually a majority in Wilmington!).

I read previously that Market Street was intended to be the "greenest" or most environmentally friendly major corridor in the Northeast. Does any of that hold true?

I don’t know enough to confirm that it will be the "greenest", but I do know of several projects which are going for high level LEED certifications, and contain features such as green roofs and energy efficient designs. It’s also worth noting that the majority of the Market and 9th Street projects are restorations and not new construction. This is significant because reusing existing buildings means that those building materials will be kept out of landfills.

Are there any initiatives for first time business owners to open up shop/studio in the area?

We are not specifically targeting first time business owners but we will work with and welcome anyone with a good idea and a sound business plan.

On your myspace you sum yourself up as "a pastor, musician, singer, song writer, poet, spoken word artist, community developer (and all around good guy)… …but I…AM…NOT…an entertainer!!!" What do you aim to accomplish with your art? Is it separate from your civic work, or does it go hand in hand?

Everything I do including my art and my profession are an extension of my ministry. Ministry is not just preaching (although I am an ordained minister). Ministry is literally "service", and you can not serve God without serving God’s people. Everything I do is to inspire, encourage and most importantly create a tangible positive change in the world. If I should happen to entertain in the process, so be it, but that is never the intention from the outset.

Where and when can we see you "perform"?

I do features at spoken word venues in the Philadelphia area. I would consider Wordsmith Alley on Wednesday nights in the 700 block of South Street to be my "Home Mic"

You are rather young for someone in such a position, which I find equally amazing and inspiring. Has your youth been an asset in your work? Has it any drawbacks?

I think overall my relatively young age is a benefit. I’m young enough to retain a bit of idealism to try things that many would consider impossible, but I’m experienced enough to not bite off more than I can chew.

What can I do, specifically, to help see the completion of Market Street through?

We have standing committees covering Promotions, Economic Restructuring, Design and Outreach, you or anyone else is welcome to get involved in any of those four areas.

How long are you planning on working in/for Wilmington? If you complete your every goal for this project, can other areas of the city look forward to your professional assistance? Or might you initiate another "Main Street" project in some other needy yet potential laden city?

I always leave possibilities open for the future. As of right now I am committed to improving downtown Wilmington in the best way possible. I definitely like Wilmington as a city and I can see myself putting down roots here, and I would definitely like to return in some capacity to do work in the neighborhoods in addition to the downtown. How it all plays out remains to be seen, the future will take care of itself I’m just along for the ride.

Is Market Street "open for business"? What can we expect in the very near future?

Market Street is most definitely open for business, along with the rest of downtown Wilmington. In the near future you can expect new businesses, new entertainment opportunities, new restaurants, a more attractive streetscape and stronger outreach to engage the surrounding communities in what’s happening downtown.

With my optimism, people often like to naysay and tell me things won't work. Have you had anyone telling you that this will not work? What do you say to haters?

I deal with naysayers on a daily basis, in fact that is a big part of my job. I deal with them by simply telling the story of what Wilmington could be, never over selling and always being realistic. Some will never be won over, and remain skeptical even after the end product is delivered, but I can never let doubters affect my mission.

Please check out and for more info.

Market Street Redux 2

Construction underway on the 400 Block of North Market, Wilmington.

Market Street Redux

Some refurbished facades on the 200 Block of North Market Street, Wilmington.

It's a Soda Pop Sting! or Justifying the Soda Pop Kids

I know it's hard, but you shouldn't read anybody else's record reviews, just mine. Because with anyone else, there is a great chance that they are wrong, but with my reviews, you get the added advantage of them always being right! FOR INSTANCE - I just read a so-called review of the Soda Pop Kids' Teen Bop Dream on the so-called or whatever, that, while un-flattering, simply painted a picture of the author's ignorance and poor taste. I recently used the Kids' as an example of what not to do, sure, but that was to educated and sensitive rock and roll fan readers, not the punk-less idiots over at said site. SO, now what happens, is I get to tell you why the Soda Pop Kids' as exemplified by Teen Bop Dream are one of the few bands you should be listening to who are currently making music.

First off, this is a crazy America that we live in today, where having balls is viewed as passe. Hence, most "alpha dogs" in the underground are marked as emaciated, dour, unfriendly, and lame. And their music reflects this. Bo Diddly and Handsome Dick are bores, unconsidered and completely other to everything that is popular... that is, on the street and on the tv, oddly enough. So, a lot of opinions and reviews of current music in this sweeping homogeneous mass consciousness that is misidentified as an underground come from this mindset, where it is uncool to be able to self-regulate your own mental disturbances, have a stiff upper lip and be able to take a fucking punch!

Now, I never wanna be a "man," like a grown-up cat that works the nine to five and does what he has to do to maintain the Status Quo, but I am however 500% man, all man and mean-meat, baby! And as such, so is my music, The Ramones! The New York Dolls! Now, any writer that would paint the New York Dolls in a overtly negative light, and rather flatly, I might add, by the transitive property, is not one whose taste matters to us. The dope types, "the song segues into bluesy glam rock of the Dolls variety, complete with rock’n’roll piano, mediocre solos, and Johansen-y off-key vocals. Not a great song." After criticizing the record as derivative of both the Dolls and the Exploding Hearts, which the author does admit are BIG shoes to fill, he ends with the real zinger, "the Soda Pop Kids just need a little less "Throwaway Style," and a lot more substance," in reference to the Hearts' tune. Well I can only imagine what this dude's idea of substance is... though he's obviously a big Crass fan. I will say that he was crisp and non-personal in his panning, a real pro. Anyway, throwaway style is just as throwaway as junk culture is junk.

The first song is called "Saturday Every Day" with is either inspired by or derivative of the Dictator's regal declaration, depending on if you like the tune or not (and if you've listened to the Dictators!). I do, starting with either little kids or the band's girlfriend's chanting of the title line. I believe that the Kid's are in that state of sincere consciousness, where they are doing everything for a reason, but they are doing it well. The song is mainly about how life sucks and is harsh but you can dance it up later on... now this is good stuff, but I have heard it done more inspirationally... and universally, as I do not yet buy what the Kids' idea of a good time might be. I think I might be able to have a better time, my way. As the song progresses, they verge a little to far into the conscious side and away from the sincerity. Maybe they just need to think about it a little less and be a little sloppier.

Hmm... now, I do agree with my fellow journalist that the record kicks it in with track number two, "I Fell In Love at The Arcade" in which they make all the right moves. The title does speak for itself, having a good time with a sexy lass amongst the pinball and Pac-Man references, blissfully rotting all our brains, the right way. Now, this is great, but really, Ms. Pac-Man is the preferred reference in any situation. These days in Delaware, the only Arcades are down at the Boardwalk in Rehobeth, but back in the day, the hot Arcades included "Aladdin's Castle" and the Concord Mall's own "Space Port," oh, and they used to allow smoking at the mall, kids! As a wee tyke I mastered such games as "Moon Patrol," "Pole Position," and "Bride of Pinbot." He sings, "Did I mention they got Burger Time? Well, it's Burger Time all the time!" And that is what I call substance! See, two VERY important things in rock and roll are cheeseburgers and soda pop. That is iconic, baby. Plus the piano playing is great and it's twelve bar blues with funny and true lyrics, and it's fast. It should be a top ten hit single.

They keep it going strong with "The Terrestrial Twist" about an alien who comes to Earth and teaches him and the human race how to boogie like a spaceman. He's just trying to get back to his baby when the outer-space dude abducts him, does some tests and decides that Earth Men are ready to know the moves, so he teaches the singer how to shake it down and sends him back down planet-side. He, of course does the responsible thing and teaches the Terrestrial Twist to the world, as best as he can remember, of course. This is a great fucking song and is derivative of nothing save for maybe Moral Crux's "Psychotic Neurotic" and by all means, derive away. Them same little kid/girls are back and singing back-up "yeah yeah, all right, twistin' to-nite." Actually, they're playing with and rearranging alot of early roots rock and roll tricks, but in such a way that it is just barely recognizable as such, it's skillfully rendered and well done, with the best lead guitar lines on the record, and it's about alium shimmee-shake. Yeah, perhaps most importantly, it deals with another iconic rock and roll scenario: aliens and space travel. Other such iconic scenarios include: the jungle, the wild west, down on the farm, city street back alleys, school, the soda shoppe, etc... Perhaps a good rock and roll technique for or even trademark of it's true believers is a healthy skepticism in the line between realities. Maybe it's a self-esteem issue, that maybe one would like oneself better if one were an ape-man, a space ace, back in high school, etc... But the rock and roller will tell you that he actually already is an ape-man, and he is.

The next song, "Well Well Well" starts out with the singer, by the psuedo-name of Jonny P. Jewels, (kinda like the Television song, or TV as I call them), whose voice is crazy. He has this controlled vocal crack and puts on like a dance hall emcee from the fifties, or maybe a game show host, or maybe how Batman's nemesis, the Joker, might sing, if he were in a rave-up white boy rhythm and blues band. While this beginning, where the singer just howls "well" a bunch of times, comes on closer to that conscious side I was talkin' 'bout, the Kids finally come out and say they don't care about criticisms on their character or their intentions with the chorus, "White Belts! Everything's so heart felt. Ain't got no time for acoustic recluse, when you just gotta, just gotta cut loose." White belts, in this day and age, a symbol of hipsterism, an accusation which I can only assume gets tossed at these guys a lot due to their look... pure Exploding Hearts, Gay-Wave mullet, eighties metal (NEVER GOOD), flashy striped suits. I think when people in bands do themselves up like that, they are thinking Johnny Thunders, but come on, no one should minstrel show Johnny up, ok. But right away they spit it out, that everything's so heartfelt, and you can tell it is. Hipsters do not play music like this. Also great about this track is the chant "1-2-3-4, close the door hit the floor!" where you can finally really make out backing vocals by Tony of the Riffs, who joined the band when they moved from Denver to Portland, power-pop capital of America.

"Another Cigarette Ends" is an almost-there ballad that has good lyrics and builds to a pretty good climax, and has a really nice talking breakdown in the middle. I think it fits in and works with the album, but as anybody'll tell ya, I prefer the fast stuff. Conversely, the next song, "Too Pretty," has an extended slow building intro which I love, primarily on a very glam sounding keyboard and vocals, painting a picture of a rock and roll kid falling in love at the malt shop with the honey pouring the beverines, having a "real cool time" with her after she gets off work, just like Iggy and the boys, and then it kicks in, explaining the whole sitch as "too pretty" not serious or lasting, but valid, important, and perhaps the shadow imprints itself on yer psyche to make you feel good later, even when you aren't. They ask us to "tell me what's wrong with just a little kiss?" Then a half note pause, a soda can opening and the singer giving a refreshing, "ahh!" Next up is "Six Gun Senorita" in which the Soda Pop Kids venture to the American Southwest to tell the story of this Femme Fatale... this is a pretty good number with flamenco feigns and staccato guitar hammering, but right now I am pretty turned off of all that Mexican shit. I love Mexican culture in general, and I love my Hispanic buddies, but that music is pure Lawrence Welk. For instance, my band recently played with this touring band called Polka Madre outta New Mexico, and the first number they played gave me high hopes, almost like a speed soul number. The band had full Mexican keyboards, clarinet and drums. The clarinet dude, who straight smelled like a fine crock pot fulla chili, in the first number, played his wind instrument like it was brass, blowing sax riffs over the speeding dynamic number. The drummer was the highlight throughout, playing matchstick and killing it, his Mexican Man-Boobs bouncing nicely. The guitarist and bassist were Spanish speaking Angloids. Anyway, after this first number, the band preceded to play nearly an hour of horrible, boring bar-mitzvah reject numbers. Clarinets suck. What's worse they kept threatening to leave if we (the audience) didn't dance, but even when we didn't dance they kept playing. Certain dorks in the scene (yes, there are dorks in Wilmington too) even chanted for an encore of this trash, extending the torture.

Oh, the story doesn't end there! The show was at the 700 Club, ran by the venerable Mr. Tom von Count, a true dude in anyone's eyes, and if you say different, come say it to me and we'll see what happens. After the show was over the Polka Madres were crashing at the Club, which in their eyes meant locking themselves in the only bathroom for over an hour of blowing coke and having gay butt sex. Well, people need to use the bathroom, and these freaks refused to open the door, so Tommy kicked it in to find the cocaine laden misanthropes sodomizin' all over the place. He chased 'em all out with his baseball bat, but needn't land any blows, unfortunately. I don't need to tell you that it had nothin' to do with the fact that it was two dudes, it had to do with the fact that it was two delusional, self-absorbed, inconsiderate dudes. Wilmington and the 700 Club don't give a fuck who has sex with who. Ironically, I had just read the Lester Bangs article entitled, "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies" in which he tacitly advises the reader to always be wary of Gypsies and their ways, because they deal in trickery, but you can't trick a Louisville Slugger, or a fine aluminum Easton. While being chased out, these people had the gall to inform Tom that he is too conservative and shouldn't have shows. Fucking coke-head logic. Cocaine is one of the tools of the White Man used to keep us down, and you do it yerself, great job Phil Collins... you are conservative, Tom is forward thinking and pragmatic. P.S. - being a fag these days has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but they are fags.

Ahh, just what I need after that, next comes the beautiful rock-a-billy cover of the String Kings' "Don't Roll Them Bloodshot Eyes at Me." You probably remember this one, about the trials and tribulations of dating a fucking drunk-ass bitch who also dates dudes who smack her around, and having absolutely no sympathy... terrific! Punknews.dork guy dissed out the sax player pretty hard, but fuck him! Any band that has piano and sax and tries that hard... it's actually against the grain. Rock and roll is not the forbidden music of the fifties, with parents disallowing it... it's forbidden to be that cool, people just spouting negative opinions about derivation and reproduction and people for some reason listen and it becomes a dogma. Open your eyes and mind and if you still want drop-F tuning and sludge and atonal slurm, then we can't help ya, see ya in hell. Best lines, "Your eyes look like a road map, and I'm scared to smell your breathe. Honey, you better shut those peepers, or your gonna bleed to death!"

The penultimate number is called "The Ballad of Ranch Hand Riviera," but don't worry, there is nary a flamenco beat anywhere... by the way, if your thinking flamenco, go Mambo, you'll thank me ("Private World"!) This number has a cowboy feel, and every good band should have a cowboy song, but this one just pales in comparison to the Potatomen, "Jimmy Was a Cowboy" which tells a clearer and better story about a cowboy who transported coke into America for the love of his Sweet Precious Jane, only to get busted by federalies and lose Jane to a drug-lord. See? That's what happens!

OKAY! Finally, the coup de gras of the record, the band, the year, maybe the decade. The final number is called "The Soda Pop Sting" and hits more real life ins and outs than any other song on the record, even "Terrestrial Twist." This song is about kids' whose schools have outlawed selling soda pop in the hallways and cafetoriums, and it works as a really good analogy for rock and roll. Imagine getting into school and the only thing that'll save your life is sweet, carbonated, caffeinated PEPSI FUCKING COLA, but they ain't there no mo' because idiot-asshole parents misidentified their fat-ass kid's obesity and poor health as the fault of scape goat soda drinking, and not the government's subsidizing of corn farmers to produce more and more and more corn and high-fructose corn syrup and their own lax parenting abilities. (Mexican music is trash, but their soda is PURE CANE!) "Well you can't take away my right to chose! When pleasures in jail you got nothing to lose." We are rock and roll, soda pop desperados! "GIMMEE GIMMEE BACK, ALL MY SODA BACK! GIMMEE GIMMEE BACK, OR WE'LL TAKE IT BACK!" The song is uber pop-punk with several different parts, all which rock, a real pop-epic, complete with mini-piano, and ends with the same high-pitched choir telling us that it's a "Soda Pop Sting," sounding like a mix of Screeching Weasel and Plow United, the Kids have at this point achieved being completely serious without taking themselves seriously.

What this song is really about... This is it: being misidentified and underestimated, that's what happens to us. Rock and roll is weirdly dangerous today. Not bad enough to throw you in jail, but they WILL give you a ticket, and you don't have the money to pay it. Even I'm not wide-eyed in the face of it... maybe I've seen too much behind the scenes action. I make my own rock and roll, of course, and am very proud of it and understand what I have done, but it's like the cheese sandwich you make yourself. It may be the best fucking cheese sandwich that's been made since 1998, or 1976, or 1952, but it just isn't the same as the one from the school lunch line. I'm a rock and roll fan. I want the Ramones, I want Plow United, I want something new...

The album (released on Full Breach Kicks Records, by the way) cover is line-less pastel and neon overlap of the boys posing at the soda counter with digitally added bubblegum bubbles and their dumb haircuts. The band name is in script and the album title in the fashion of a teenage girl mag like Tiger Beat. It is pretty and somewhat engaging, but I need some kind of edge, ya know? Well, I don't need the Soda Pop Kids to look as cool as me. They've already done enough. They are sentimental and smart and seem to be getting better all the time. I mean, c'mon, they're a punk rock band, just listen to 'em!! The songs are all very original, but come from a very good place... the only good place? Where the kids are gonna stay all hopped up, where we're very bad, but innocent, where you can come out the other side of a personality crisis better for it. My sympathies to those who have never been there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Eaton Outta Here!

Just in, Adam Eaton, 31 years old, 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA in 21 games (19 starts and two appearences out of the pen) for the Phillies this season has "accepted an optional assignment" to an undisclosed Phillies minor league team. An official move to fill his spot on the twenty-five man roster will be made before Tuesday's game vs. the Washington Nationals.

Manny Being Manny vs. Man or Machine?

So, word on the street is that the hated Boston Red Sox are looking to part ways with All-Star left fielder Manny Ramirez, one of the cornerstones of the potent BoSox line up. Apparently, Manny and manager Terry Francona, noted for his impotence while managing in Philly, have some beef, yet again. No surprise there, but the RUMOR has it that Manny may only accept a trade to Philadelphia, reuniting him with ol' Cleavland Indians hitting coach and manager, Uncle Charlie Manuel.

The hated New York Mets are of course after him as well, much in need of a left fielder with Moises Alou out for the year, possibly forever. But the Mets have been burned in the Manny-hunt in the past and aren't likely to go whole-hog. So, IF the trade talk isn't all balderdash, and IF something blockbuster could really be worked out, and IF Philly agreed to the 20 million in 2009 option AND the contract extension it's believed Manny will want, and IF this isn't just the perennial Manny dick-tease... then do we really want him?

Well, who would we have to give up and what would the line-up look like afterwards? Since the trade is based on Ramirez' personality and not any particular Boston team needs, would they be after prospects or some of our most beloved Phils? Well, with All-Star Kevin Youkilis at first base for the Sox, the Big Man, Ryan Howard should be safe in Philly. They got that puss Dustin Pedroia at second, so Chase Utley remains untradeable. J-Roll stays at short forever, and Boston's Mike Lowell outclasses the Phils three-way third base jam-up. Would they be after our outfield? Well, a Manny/Pat Burrell trade would be shockingly even, but why would Philly do it? Burrell has matured to a very important part of the team, more consistent than ANYONE else in the line-up with a .985 on base plus slugging percentage, second among major league outfielders while Manny's down at ninth with .932. Pat's offensive stats are regularly a little better than Manny's this year, and he has earned his place in Philadelphia.

Trading Pat for Manny would be crazy. BUT, what if we moved Burrell to right field, opening up left for Ramirez? Ditching Geoff Jenkins would be great. He's the biggest hole our line-up offers, with that barber-pole swing, but he's not exactly a throw-away player, costing too much. Any team scouting the Phillies wants either Shane Victorino or Jayson Werth, the two speedy outfielders have proven themselves to be clutch and won so many games for the Phils with their bats, gloves, and intangibles. Normally, I would say HELL NO to either player getting traded, but with the potential of Ramirez' bat... we might be able to part with Werth... if they take Eaton too! We don't wanna lose any more minor league pitching though... Joe Blanton cost us, among other things, number 2 prospect Josh Outman. I and most other Phils fans would much rather see our boys (i.e. Carlos Carrasco) get a shot at the majors than waste them on question marks like Blanton who is already in his late twenties.

On Eaton... yesterday's shitty two innings solidified what we already knew. Adam Eaton should not be a major league pitcher, let alone a Philadelphia Philly. Along with odd-man-out Rudy Seanez, Eaton will be moved before the July 31 trade deadline. Either demoted to the minors, but out and out released if a trade can't be found. J.A. Happ was pulled from his triple-A start after just two and two thirds innings yesterday, fueling speculation that he is either a chip in the possible Ramirez deal or just that Eaton is gone and we need the bullpen help.

So trade Jenkins/Werth and some pitchers for Ramirez and you get...

Jimmy Rollins SS
Chase Utley 2B
Manny Ramirez LF
Ryan Howard 1B
Pat Burrell RF
Shane Victorino CF
Pedro Feliz/Greg Dobbs 3B
Chris Coste/Carlos Ruiz C

Tell me that line-up isn't sick.

Rain Delay Theater

Here's a shot of the rains coming down over CBP during the one hour and fifty-seven minute rain delay yesterday. Original photo thanks to Reese "Dad" Robinson!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thank Freakin' God!

Your Philadelphia Phillies won a wild one this afternoon/evening to take the series from the Atlanta Braves, the first series they won since the All-Star Break. Oakland A import Joe Blanton handed in his second unimpressive start since coming to Philadelphia, allowing two runs on two hits in two innings with an Atlanta single-walk-single-double combo before the skies opened up and rained on his head.

After a nearly two hour rain delay, yesterday's winning pitcher Adam Eaton came in and returned to form, allowing three runs on back-to-back homers to Kelley Johnson and Omar Infante. Eaton would survive without a loss though, as Chris "Taters and Toast" Coste and "Sugar" Shane Victorino wopped two and three run dingers, respectively, in the bottom of the fourth. Pat "the Bat" Burrell added a solo shot in the fifth, his 26th of the season.

The floodgates really opened up for the Phils in the sixth. It started with a double by Carlos "Hamster Pie" Ruiz, followed by Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino singles, giving "the Sweet One" four R.B.I.'s for the day, which, as you know, is the name of the game. The Big Man, Ryan Howard, slaps yet another single, scoring J-Roll easily, and the Flyin' Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, barrelled over big ol' Brian McCann at catcher, knocking the ball lose and giving Howard his league-leading 94th ribby of the year. Jayson Werth contributed one more solo shot and MVP Jimmy Rollins, who scored three total runs today and had a stolen base, also put one out to round out the score at 12-5 by the end of the seventh.

The Bravos gave the Phils a run for their money in the eighth, hitting up odd-man-out in the bullpen Rudy Seanez for four runs and Ryan Madson for one more. Brad "Lights Out" Lidge did his thing with a walk and a strike out in the ninth, allowing no runs and recording his 24th save of the year.

Unfortunately, the hated New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals again today to hold their one game lead over the Phillies (56-49) in the National League East. The Florida Marlins lost to the Chicago Cubs to go two games back in the East, and Atlanta and the Washington Nationals remain non-factors.

The win was a good one. Taking series is how you stay at the top of the standings, and it is a minor miracle the Phils didn't fall further when they fell. Starting a winning streak, especially one featuring a multi hit game for the first four batters in the line-up and three for five with two runs scored and two R.B.I.'s out of the catching platoon, is a good way to stay very relevant. Philadelphia enjoys a day off tomorrow for the Phillies Phestival to raise awareness and money for ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. ( On Tuesday they'll head down to our nation's capitol to take on the humorous Nationals.

Phils/Braves Weekend Series

7/25/08 Braves 8, Phils 2

Oh, were there some games?... sike! I know all about 'em. In fact for the Phils disgusting Friday night bend-over, I had the best CBP seats of my life, eighteen rows back on the first base side, courtesy of Kristi "Frazer" Vitola, Attorney at Law. Well, what can I say... there were some really shitty calls, MLB umps may be trying to emulate the NFL's popularity by blowing calls all over the league. In this game specifically, first base ump Bob Davidson and second base ump Alfonso Marquez were particularly offensive. I was close enough to see the Braves cheat a double play out of us without tagging second, and then in the ninth, Gregor Blanco was out by a stride at first on the sac bunt, but "No-Eyes" Davidson at first some-fucking-how called him safe, allowing the inning to progress and allowing Brad "Lights Out" Lidge to throw the worst inning of his Phillies career. It's hard for me to blame Lidge though... I mean, he gets paid to be a closer, not late relief. Would Goose Gosssage have been able to do it? Prolly, but the fact remains, you wouldn't have brought in a starter in that sitch, why a closer? Crazy Uncle Charlie, I dunno how safe his job is, and neither do you. Irregardless, win or loss, I had a great time and was honestly beside myself just to watch my faltering, human heroes that close up, even if they failed. Plus, the ninth inning Chase Utley single broke his 0-15 and the Big Man, Ryan Howard promptly shot his 30th dinger of the year over the left field fence.

7/26/08 Phils 10, Braves 9

No time for love, Doctor Jones, we got another game early Saturday, and what a game! While Todd and I scrubbed 6,000 square feet of wall at the new Avon Grove elementary (after some foolish carpenter (well, some foolish something) misused a de-molding agent, we hand scrubbed it off, our arms are jelly) the Phils had a wild one! "Hollywood" Hamels had a rough fourth inning, to say the least. Allowing nine runs, four short of a Philly record, including two walks, two errors, one on Hamels and one on Utley, a double, and a homer to Mark "Adam Sandler" Texiera. Thank goodness the Fightins' showed up today, giving us the comeback we expect and deserve, well at least I expect and deserve it. Down 9-3 in the fifth, your Philadelphia Phillies came alive. The top of the line-up knocked four straight singles, followed by a Pat "the Bat" Burrell sac fly and singles by Jayson Werth and Chris Coste. Now, with the score 9-7 for the Braves, pinch-hittah extraordinaire Greg "the Natural" Dobbs stepped in and smiz-ashed his third, crucial jack of the year on a 1-2 pitch from reliever Blaine Boyer (gotta love hitting off a cat named Blaine!). The pinch hit was Dobbs' twentieth of the season, tying Doc Miller's 1913 Philly record. Greg is hitting .435 of the bench this season, and is exemplary of this team at their best. Nine more pinch hits this year would give Dobbsy the MLB record.
Amazingly, the win went to Adam Eaton, in his first appearance for the Phils out of the bull-pen after proving himself incapable of being a major league starting pitcher. Eaton and five other Phils relievers combined for five plus inning of shutout ball, including a beautiful Lidge rebound from the previous day, pitching a perfect ninth and getting his 23rd save of the season, and his 23rd consecutive save, , utterly shattering the previous record set by Billy "Biggest Asshole in Baseball" Wagner when he did his forgettable stint in Philadelphia a couple years back. The win felt damn good for us Phils, with the hated New York Mets losing to St. Louis, moving us back to one game out of first and within reach of the top spot today. We got one more vs. the Bravos, starting now, turn it on!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Digs - 1717 Delaware Avenue

Local hot-shit chef Dan Robinson has a new kitchen. Starting Tuesday, July 29, Dan will be cooking at 1717 Delaware Avenue, at the eponymous martini bar in Trolley Square. The menu features a broad array of modernist fare, with tapas like sauteed edamame, house-made hummus, and crab spring rolls. Light fare featuring wild boar sausage with a pickled cabbage slaw, white wine plumped golden raisins and sweet potato fries, everybody's favorite - fish tacos with a delicious pineapple-habanero sauce, and Dan's specialty - the Chef's Burger with bacon and cheddar. Finally, entrees such as a sesame-crusted tuna steak, served atop sesame noodle salad with wasabi crema and a soy glaze, or house-made whole wheat pasta with sauteed shrimp and scallops in a white wine lemon butter sauce. All meant to compliment the endless designer martinis offered and mixed to perfection by bartender Jen, not to mention the plethora of fine wines and beers. You can check out all the full menus online. (

And never fear - chef Dan and bartender extraordinaire Karl Dettbarn will reunite professionally every Sunday night in August at their home away from home - Dead Presidents Pub - 618 North Union Street in the West Side. ( Karl recently handed in his resignation at Iron Hill on the Riverfront, ending a near fourteen year relationship, as far as he can tell. Dan employs gonzo-southern soul style cooking at Dead Prez, where there are personal nightly specials and nothing is taboo! Come into DP for Sunday night baseball, HBO, Chicken Nixons, and two very good-looking boys. You know what yer gettin'!

Last but not least local punk rock legend Billy Frolic is in control of the bar at Chef Luigi Vitone's amazin' Pastabilities at 415 N. Lincoln Street in Little Italy. ( Not only is this, in my opinion, the best Italian food in Wilmington, but every Friday night features live music a la Billy and friends and a special shortened rock and roll menu. This is the most intimate of these three hip establishments, with nice low lighting and Frolic's bedroom eyes, an unforgettable experience!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Burger King Loaded Steakhouse Burger

At Burger King the other night, Nikki told me to get whatever I wanted, so I opted for the outrageously priced BK Loaded Steakhouse Burger... $7.49 for a "value" meal? Anyway, this burger is crazy... Angus half-pounder, always a plus, and covered with bacon, breaded fried onions, cheddar cheese, A-1 sauce, and some kinda "loaded baked potato mix", like mashers with sour cream and chives. The bun was drastically undersized, with the burger hangin' out a quarter inch on every side. Ahh... my emotions are conflicted, knowing that simplicity is key for a top-notch burg, but always appreciating the wild topping route as well.

In this case, more turns out to be less. At the old Wilbur Street Deli in Newark, they had all those kick-ass special sandwiches with everything, including fries, packed right in the roll. For example - meatballs, mozzarella sticks, marinara and more mozzarella, or chicken tenders, fries, Buffalo sauce, and blue cheese dressing, all on an eight inch roll. There's also one with chopped ground beef and a Gyro one, and I think Daffy Deli on Elkton Road might still do these same sandwiches - get them! But the mashed potato element on the BK offering queers the deal. It changes the whole landscape of the burger, the other flavors compromised. Sour cream and fries right on top would fix the problem, but they probably won't take that terrific step.

When it comes down to it, the potato topping is the key gimmick, differentiating this from the previous "Rodeo Burger." I appreciate the expansive thinking, but not the expensive price. With a bit of work, this interesting burger could be a good one.

RATING: 2 stars out of 5.

Pictured: Burger King's official press release photo, a shot of the same burger, but the dude ordered without cheese! What!?, and the BK's supreme Quad Laser Burger.

COUGH IT UP!! (We did.) Phils lose 3-1 to Mets.

Who needs first place anyway? Me, that's who. First off, it is common knowledge to all Phils fans that the New York Mets suck. So how do a team that sucks so bad take another series from us? Do we suck too? I know that I don't suck!

Crafty prima-donna Oliver Perez continued to baffle the Phillies, our big hitters coming up with zilch. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard went a combined 0-7, stranding five, and striking out an embarrasing six times. Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, and Chris Coste each slapped mute singles and Burrell added another outfield assist to his stats, all of which resulted in no runs for Philadelphia. The sole run came off a Jayson Werth dinger in the seventh to tie it, and "Kid Eternity" Jamie Moyer pitched another beautiful seven innings of two hit, one run ball. Unfortunately, is was all for naught when "Hot-Head" J.C. Romero came into the eigth inning, only to start off with a single to Robinson Cancel, in for pitcher of record and Philly-favorite Aaron Heilman. "Goat-Boy" Reyes sacrificed him over, Endy Chavez lined out, and David "Pussy" Wright was intentionally walked to set up a Romero - Carlos Delgado match-up. The results say that Uncle Charlie blew it, when the formally formidable Delgado slammed a double to left field, scoring both men on bass.

What happened next? Mets' closer Billy "Biggest Asshole in Baseball" Wagner came on, getting two quick outs before allowing a single to Chris Coste. Jimmy Rollins comes in to bat for Romero. Interestingly, Rollins was a late scratch from the line-up, much to the NY boo-birds dismay, and back up dude Eric Bruntlett took his place at short stop. Bruntlett was the only Phil to wear his hittin' shoes today, going 3-4 with two doubles, but the impotence of the meat of Philly's order left him there every time. Anyway, Rollins v. Wagner, north v. south, sorta, grooviness v. square, the good guys only a home run away from a tie when Wagner threw one 96 mph fastball that J-Roll grounded to third, forcing out Carlos "Hamster Pie" Ruiz, pinch-running for Coste, at second.

And the hated New York Mets take first place. This one hurt, for that reason and for giving Aaron Heilman (1-3) his first win of the season, and another save to the sickening Billy Wagner (26). Thank god the Philles (54-48) got the floundering Atlanta Braves (48-53) up next for three games back at CBP (I'll be there Friday night), while the Mets (55-47) host the considerable St. Louis Cardinals (57-46). Let's get it back boys.

Jose Reyes - NY Bum

Reyes Bum

Check out Goat-Boy Reyes' obnoxious celebration and Wheels chastise him.

What a view!

While the brass at development firm the Buccini-Polin Group hasn't deemed it necessary to get back to me in any way regarding their current controversy, their employees at the majestic 24 story River Tower couldn't have been more courteous or helpful. They allowed me to briefly explore the eye-catching structure, check out one of the ultra-modern condos, and best of all, snap some shots from the 17th floor balcony! Nothing could have prepared me for the view, it actually took my breath away. I suggest anyone who has it in 'em to weasel there way up there like I did and check it out!

104 A Street - Osborne's Auto

Mr. Osborne's shop, decked out with protest signs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday Night Development News

Growing up in Wilmington in the 1980's the Christina riverfront south of the city wasn't somewhere I was allowed to go. And for good reason: it was primarily old abandoned heavy industrial land. Brownfields, polluted and contaminated, and long since thriving factories and warehouses had become havens for the drug industry. The area had been ignored and written off for decades, and the notorious, very low-income neighborhood of Southbridge abuts the riverfront to the east and lies in the 100 year flood plane, which made it even less desirable.

The first step of the riverfront's turn around happened when the Peninsula Pilots baseball team was purchased and relocated to the west side of the riverfront as the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 1993. Legends Stadium was one of the first new structures built on the Christina in decades, and by the time it had been renamed Frawley Stadium in 1994, they had a new neighbor. Across the river on the south side, Ed Osbourne opened his auto service store and garage at 104 A Street. The Osbornes had reservations about opening the shop in such a high-crime area, and one that falls in the flood plane at that. But failure was not an option, and over the past fourteen years, Ed Osbourne has watched the riverfront development grow up around him and right up to his front door.

With no powers of annexation, Wilmington's best bets for keeping up with and excelling alongside the other eastern seaboard metropolises is to expand both upward and southward. High rise buildings provide ample housing and enhance a city's skyline. Wilmington, south of the Christina, is comprised of Southbridge to the east, currently the focus area for the South Wilmington Special Area Management Plan and recipiants of a HOPE VI grant for proposed revitalization, and to the west, running along the river, was primarily long unused land, but not entirely unused.

The west side of the river grew first, emanating out from Frawley Stadium. Over the next few years restaraunts, night clubs, museums, and ING's building filled the previously unused space. Most recently Juniper Bank built Christina Crescent, now the Barclay Building, and AAA moved their Mid-Atlantic headquarters to the area. The first structures to go up on the south side, built between 2004-2008, were the Residences at Christina Landing (twenty-two floor apartment building with retail at the base), the Town homes at Christina Landing (63 community designed townhouses), and the majestic River Tower (twenty-three floor condominiums.) These were all built by the Buccini-Polin Group, a real estate and developing company whose owners, decision makers, and namesakes are all native to Greenville and Centerville areas directly to the west and northwest of Wilmington. BPG made a big splash in Wilmington with their swift and impressive construction of the WSFS building at 500 Delaware Avenue in the city's business district. Next on the agenda for the Buccini-Polin Group is another complex of town homes on the west side of the river called Justison Landing, which are nearing completion, and the complete revitalization of Market Street, the main corridor between the business district and the riverfront. The idea being to convert Market Street into a mixed use retail/residential, or "live, work, and play" community. Nearest to the river, the Ships Tavern District stretches roughly from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, north to Fourth Street, and is named after the former inn on the site where revolutionary greats George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all stayed while in Wilmington. Lower Market, or LOMA as the development signs refer to it as, runs roughly from Third Street north to Fifth Street and is the proposed "design district," aimed at creative professionals such as architects, advertising agencies, fashion and graphic designers, and artists. Willington Square, Old Town Hall, and the Delaware Historic Society are Fifth to Sixth Streets and the Delaware College of Art and Design and its' Saville Apartment dormitories are Sixth to Seventh. Various fine dining establishments take you into the business district, with the fashion district stretching from Tatnall to King Streets along Ninth Street, a block south of the main concrete canyon in the business district. As of today, the two hundred block of Market is done; beautiful and ready for business, though not all occupied yet. When the project is complete, the core of the city should ideally radiate health and the surrounding streets should see improvement too, and outward and onward. While this is all going on, BPG also have their eyes turned southward.

The proposed South Walnut Street Renovation Plan would continue south of Christina Landing and require the use of sixty-two properties currently owned on the site. Most of them are long out of use, but the one that faces Christina Landing, twenty feet away across A Street, houses Osborne Auto Service, and has done so for the past fourteen years. When the land was near worthless, Osborne forged a successful livelihood and supported his family with his honest work. A real mom and pop ethic, it's a family business. "My son's worked for me for fifteen years, and I'm gonna give him the business one day," says Mr. Osborne of his son Ed Jr. Osborne is all for development and revitalization, he comments, "They could build a hundred floors on top of me if they let me have my garage on the ground floor, a place for people to bring their cars that's safe." The issue is one of fair trade. Ed's wife Cyndy Osborne has drafted a letter addressing the issue on the business' web site, in which she explains. "Larger businesses in the Wilmington riverfront area were purchased by the developer before the City proposed the plan to condemn the 62 smaller property owners. Why wasn't the free market system (an interested seller versus a willing buyer) employed for all involved?" Clearly Mrs. Osborne sees this as a classist issue, and a slippery slope at that, where anything imaginable can warrant taking property, if the denizens can't afford to legally object. An organization called the Institute for Justice has a site dedicated to helping people across the country with this situation (

The point of contention is Wilmington Mayor James Baker and the city's desire to enact eminent domain on all sixty-two properties in question. No formal offer has ever been made, according to Mr. Osborne, by either the city or the Buccini-Polin Group to purchase his crucial property. The first he heard, officially, was when he received a condemnation notice from the city. The city believes that it has the right to use eminent domain to condemn the property for "public use" as stated in the fifth amendment. Originally drafted to protect the right of cities and states to build railroads where they needed them, even over privately owned farmland, as it needs to be claimed for "public use." If land was taken for public use, then it must be fairly compensated for.

Wilmington citizens have a distaste for the use of eminent domain, as it was used in the 1950's in the name of "urban renewal" which razed seventy-two blocks in Wilmington's East Side, eradicating stable African-American neighborhoods and displacing hundreds of people and families with little attempt at relocation. Eminent domain was used a decade later to raze all the properties between Jackson and Adams Streets to build I-95. Though this massive roads project was an inevitability, it's placement through the middle of the city, and temporal proximity to the 1968 riots following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination and the subsequent occupation of Wilmington by the National Guard started a ripple effect that would cause both black and white Wilmington residents to relocate themselves, dropping city population by more than 40,000 by the 1970's. Whether or not the city government acted unscrupulously then or whether they were within their civil and moral rights is a question for social and economic historians.

Right now, Mr Osborne's claim is that the city is violating his fifth amendment rights in two ways: one, they are not offering him fair compensation. In 2004, when investors first attempted to purchase Osborne's property for a different development project, the "fair market value" was $225,000. Not nearly enough to start a new business in the current real estate market, nor nearly what the prospective value of the property might be. Second, the so-called "public use" this time would be private developers building the South Walnut Street Neighborhood. "Public use" is supposed to be a restraint against the misuse of eminent domain, but its' meaning has gotten blurred to the point of meaninglessness, able to be skewed to suit whatever purpose is needed at the time. Similar misuse of the term "public use" has been disputed and found in favor of the defendant in the landmark 2005 case of Kelo vs. the City of New London, in which the court determined that such development qualifies as public use. The decision was widely criticized, and recently a Senate Bill 245 was proposed in Delaware to give clearer and stricter restrictions to Wilmington's eminent domain powers, subsequently giving property owners like Osborne a fighting chance. It could also hamper desired development in other areas. Governor Ruth Anne Minner vetoed the bill, siding with what she saw as the developer's rights. On June 28, a motion to overturn the veto was voted on, and with the majority supporting the bill earlier in the month, it seemed it would pass. However, several members changed their opinion since that time and the motion failed to pass 11 to 9. A site dedicated to informing the public about the senators who changed their vote is called and it urges supporters to petition certain representatives and vote out others in the 2010 election.

The central issue is Osborne's claim that the condemnation is unconstitutional. "It comes down to whether people own their property or not," he claims. It is also about the interpretation of "public use" as "public purpose." However, as it stands right now in light of Kelo vs. City of New London, that argument is less effective. Still, eight states have since passed legislature that amends Kelo, making property rights stronger and restricting eminent domain influence of commercial developers. These cases are the models that Osborne and his supporters will point to when they try and overturn the veto again next year. In the meantime, they gain support from the community. When asked how the publicity has affected business, Ed Osborne said, "The economy is bad, so people have been more reluctant to buy new cars, so that's good for business, but today I got a new customer all the way from Newport. He thinks we're doing the right thing, wanted to show his support, and got his car fixed while he was here!" All in all, the Osbornes do not want to halt development, just their fair share for believing in property that no one else did for so long. As Mrs. Obsorne puts it, "we do not seek extraordinary compensation – only another location in or near the development area."

*As of press time, neither the city nor BPG had responded to my request for comment. Given a four-day window, city employee John Rago had promised me answers and has not supplied them. BPG had no interest, or apparently ability to comment. No one at their office who knew anything would speak to me. Both parties were contacted via phone and e-mail.*