Fair play. Let’s congratulate the Bengals and the Rams for making it into the Super Bowl, hail Tom Brady for his years of service, cherish the weird laughs we got from Peyton Manning on Saturday Night Live and say many many prayers for the Eagles front office, Howie Roseman, and the rest of the team on the field so to make all the right choices for Fall 2022, and let’s move on.
Because there is no fucking way the Flyers are going to do dick, the way they’re going.
Of Sports and Sportscasters
Good on the Eagles, though, for throwing around some dough for the launch of the inaugural local high school Girls Flag Football League to the tune of a $100,000 equipment donation. That brings the Eagles’ total donations to $200,000 in funds and resources to support the participation of girls in youth sports throughout the area. Plus, the way things are going for Roseman, he’s going to want to use these high schoolers as a talent pool, sooner than later.
And since the Sixers probably aren’t going anywhere fast, we could throw the ball to its game-callers: One-time NBC Sports Philly on-air, play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff just got into the craft brew finals with Conshohocken Brewing Company. Their joint game is an IPA collab called Zooisms, a beer that pays tribute to Zumoff’s iconic catchphrases (think “Turning garbage into gold”), dressed up in 76er red and blue, and with an alcohol volume percentage of 5.2%. Dang, that’s definitely more potent than half the team. Getting James Harden this offseason could help up the Sixers’ boozy punch. Let’s make this happen.
One-time Philly sportscasters doing a new, anon, is a thing so far in 2022. While Zumoff is all about keeping the locals liquored up, Lesley Van Arsdall, former sports reporter for CBSPhilly, wrote a book with ex-Eagles player Brian Westbrook that’ll come out in June. It’s a kids book, The Mouse That Played Football, published by Temple University Press (see below, this is a part of an intricate chain) and has something to do, according to Van Arsdall’s socials, with the baller’s “true-life story of hard work and perseverance.” So. Seriously. What the fuck does that mean, that title? I’m not being dense here. Thinking of Westbrook as a mouse seems insulting to Brian, no? Enlighten me.
Comcast Bringing in the Coin
Netflix and Spotify’s downward spiraling stock numbers may be plummeting to the tune of billions of dollars lost, but guess who is on the upswing when it comes to media overlord-ing? Philly’s Comcast, whose Q4 earnings find that its NBCU revenue has upped 9.5% as its Peacock streamer service just topped 24 million monthly active accounts in the United States (trust me, that’ll drop when they see the Will Smith-produced Bel-Air reboot, post-game, on Super Bowl Sunday). Variety quoted that NBCUniversal’s revenue was “$9.3 billion, up 25.6% from the previous year’s Q4, and studio sales were up more than 36%,” and that though up, the only real loss is that of Peacock, as “for the full year, Peacock lost $1.7 billion on an adjusted basis.” Yikes.
Walgreen Winds Down
Pour out a forty-ouncer for the mega-Walgreens flagship store on Chestnut and Broad Street. The three-story flagship super-pharmacy, one of eight built in the chain, will close its 26,000-square-feet of salty snacks, power drinks, and antibiotics on February 28. Ask yourself: Why? No police presence downtown? No office worker presence downtown? Do they even sell the Combos that AREN’T the pepperoni pizza-filed ones? The answers are clear.
Campus Safety Check
Speaking of crime on Broad Street, North B’s Temple University is bringing on one-time Philly Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to improve campus safety services and heighten its security presence. You do know when he was running the streets between 2008 and 2016 that homicide rates dropped nearly 40% and violent crime decreased by over 30%? Hey, are we sure Danielle Outlaw can’t ask about that NYC gig again?
How often do I get a chance to say anything nice about my alma mater, Temple? Not a lot since Cosby. Take this: the Pita Chip, located on Temple U’s campus, is launching a limited-time, online-only menu item through February – a Syrian street food sammie, the Malik al-Batata – whose proceeds benefit the Nationalities Service Center to help aid Afghan refugees living in the U.S. Can one French fry-based sandwich change the world? Eat it and see. Order here: http://pitachipphilly.com.
War on Drugs and Kacey Musgraves
Kudos to Philly’s The War on Drugs for not only selling out New York City’s Madison Square Garden, surely their biggest gig, but doing so at the height of Omicron in a town steeped in Covid cases and maudlin mandates AND during a blizzard-y snowstorm and winter’s icy chill. I mean, they made similar magic at The Met Philadelphia, too, but the Garden, maaaaaaaaan. That’s a lot of Drug Heads.
And whoa when it comes to big live concert jams, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that when country pop diva Kacey Musgraves did her “Star-Crossed” thing at Wells Fargo Center, that the singer stopped by our favorite piano bar ever, Tavern On Camac, to hang out and sing a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” for an adoring crowd.
Masked Philadelphia: Jezabel Careaga
In Icepack’s way-too-long, way overly complex and continuing saga of asking mask-donning local celebrities what they’ve been up to, beyond the pale, during C-19 – from lock down to the current re-opening, present-day un-masking and re-masking, worrying about Delta variants, freaking out about Fauci’s call for a potential third round of vax shots mere five months after the last, new mask and vax card mandates, ignored or not ignored (I mean why did I wait in line at the Convention Center if you’re not asking to see my card?), the possibility of mix-and-matching vaccines which is weird, AND NOW, YEAH OF COURSE, the whole worldwide B.1.1.529 Omicron variant scare, so welcome to ROUND THREE, I reached out, this week, to Jezabel Careaga.
From Palpalá in the Argentinian province of Jujuy to Fitler Square and West Philly, Chef Careaga has been making things happen in a major way – for her North Argentina-based cuisine, for her lifestyle + furnishings designs sold through her Atelier, for her educational classes – ever since she got here in 2009 and opened Jezabel’s.
Busy busy life, right. Not too much time for fam and friends. Covid changed that for Chef Careaga, in little, but essential, ways.
“When Covid hit I went into working-all-the-time mode and my dad and brother happened to be in the city and we ended up quarantining for 4 months,” she said. “Even though I was working a lot during the day, I made time to set the table, cook dinner, and enjoy a meal together with them every day. On Sundays, I made pasta for lunch with my dad – that became a ritual – and in-between I learned to make time and enjoy a meal, something that I carry until today, and will do it always going forward.”
When it comes to masking and vaxxing, Careaga is in, and on it.
“I’m a minimalist when it comes to my outfit and accessories. When buying masks, I wasn’t different. For a while I was wearing the medical masks until I found my favorite set from Madewell, and throughout this whole time I made it with 3 sets of three,” Careaga said. “My jeans, shirts, and accessories are from Madewell because of their social mission and responsibility – this is my go-to store right on Walnut Street. I was always okay with wearing masks, and plan on wearing them after Covid when going into a plane, airport, or major transportation hubs. I was able to be vaccinated pretty early and I can’t recommend this enough: this is a public health issue.”
Along with looking forward to a time when Covid/Omicron disappears, and she can go into a restaurant, coffee bar, or hotel lobby sans mask (“I can’t wait to visit Vernick Coffee Bar, that was my place to meet”), Careaga is busy with her mash-up Chef in Residency Program menu alongside Jose Garces’ Volver on the Kimmel Cultural Campus (from now until March 13), working the designs at Atelier, and: “I’m turning 40!” she exclaimed.
“Right after I finish my residence at Volver, I have a few celebrations scheduled with friends and family and I couldn’t be happier with the people that I have in my life and all the things I accomplished.”