Tag Archives: Philly

Mopey Musings on My Dead Father’s Birthday

My father would have been 76 today, except that he died two years and one day ago. Being from Philadelphia, silly as it is, I would have celebrated his 76th as an extra-special birthday.

Mourning and grief are reasonable. Mourning and grief are irrational. I make decisions to feel and behave a certain way, but I still find tears in my eyes during Johnny Cash songs in the car. We would sing along to a Greatest Hits cassette in the kitchen when I was a kid. Why didn’t I ever accept his invitations to go to Chi-Chi’s for karaoke?

The word “adrift” best sums up the feeling bubbling and darting behind my busy thoughts this week. “Mopey” and “self-reflective” sum up my recent state.

But I go on.

Dad and kids 1985My dad with my siblings and 5-year-old me, smiling on the right.
(Another family picture here.)

The Cheesesteak Diaries, Chapter 2: Elmwood Taco & Subs, Buffalo, NY

It’s been a while since I felt compelled to try getting a good cheesesteak in the Buffalo area, but after jonesing hard for a tasty sandwich this week, it was time to make another attempt. A coworker today suggested I try the sandwiches at Elmwood Taco & Subs, just a few minutes from my apartment, so I stopped by on the way home from work tonight.

What a mistake that was. Let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading

The Cheesesteak Diaries, Chapter 1: Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh, PA


Philly, yo!

Those of you who know me are probably aware that I grew up in Philadelphia and spent a few years working in a cheeseteak and hoagie shop (“The Original Steak and Hoagie II”, now closed). I take my cheesesteaks and hoagies seriously. Possibly too seriously.

As a field organizer I have the opportunity to do some traveling, and I’m often curious about what gets passed off as a cheesesteak in other cities. Inspired by a couple of epic wtf-this-is-not-a-cheesesteak experiences, I thought I’d start cataloguing some of these “Philly cheese steak subs,” or whatever it is they get called in different cities. Continue reading

“Sliding Board” v. “Slide”: Some Notes on the Mid-Atlantic Dialect

Sliding Board Exhibit BWhen I moved from Philadelphia to Buffalo a handful of years ago, I thought I was pretty prepared for the major dialect differences. Pronunciation-wise, I had steeled myself for the Western New York pronunciation of words like car and crab shack, and I knew I wouldn’t be understood if I asked for a glass of water the way I was used to. (Check out the fantastic Super Grip Lock commercials on YouTube for examples of the accent here.) They say garbage where I say trash, pop for my soda, and they’re generally clueless about hoagies—but at least they don’t say tennis shoes or youins. Continue reading