Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Philadelphia Impressions

July 18, 2010
Some places in this world myth becomes so intertwined with reality it is hard to separate the two. Philadelphia is one of those places to me.
"City of Brotherly Love"
Just where this notion came from is beyond me. Even Ben Franklin hated the new German immigrants whom he felt would poison his country with their alien ways. The racial tension in the Philadelphia is matched only by Detroit's, my home town. The most conspicuous sign of "Love", besides the newly weds of the wedding Mary and I attended, is the "Love" sculpture. Whether the sculpture is a sign of intentions or reality, I don't know.

George Washington Statue
This allegorical piece of metal would amaze even the "Father of our Country". Bison, elk, Indian maidens and warriors under his horse's hoofs? Why even George would have trouble lying about those.
Another Rocky Wantabe
The steps of the Philadelphia Art Institute are filled with people running up them and raising their arms in the air. There is even a statue of "Rocky Balboa" at the base of the stairs. Unknown by many, Sylvester Stallone only ran up seven steps, a double did the rest.
Samoa in Philadelphia
Somehow unknowingly ending up one night at the swanky black nightclub, The Octo, with a group of our decidedly suburban Edina book club members, I received a flyer about the "Pangea" festival, an event to foster diversity and harmony in the City of Brotherly Love. Much to my amazement, besides being one of the few to promote the diversity part, the program had a non-Samoan woman doing a Samoan dance with swords. I had never seen a dance like that before, let alone a woman doing it, but that's not the point. I am in favor of anything promoting anything that has to do with diversity and harmony, even if the audience thought Samoa is a city in California.

The Mutter Museum

Where else can the preserved specimen of the world's largest compacted human colon or hundreds of skulls and deformed bottled babies be a major tourist site, but in Philly? Call it Historic, call it macabre, I went. After all it is the Brotherly Love sort of thing to do.


If you don't know what it is, don't bother to try it, even at Philadelphia's "Historic" Reading Market. I do know what it is and I did try it. Now I have had scrapple that you can swallow before, but this stuff they sell to tourists, even the poor Dutch settlers wouldn't recognize.

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