Here is a selection of postings from our Metro columnists' blog, Blinq (www.philly.som/blinq).
Presuming Saturday kicks off the End of Times, we're going to need some tunes.
The earth will cleave, the righteous dead will rise (along with 200 million Christians who have lived right), and the rest of us will talk among ourselves as we're picked off like superheated teens in a one-star movie.
You might want to fire up a little musical accompaniment:
"Scythian Empires," by Andrew Bird, starts the soundtrack, a soothing narrator announcing, "Five-day forecast brings black tall rains and hellfire."
"End in Flames," Strand of Oaks. Must be a dream, this fine Wilkes-Barre-born band sings. "She's kissing men in her room. ... This is what it feels like. To see the world end in flames."
"Mad World," Gary Jules. The dreams darken further, "no tomorrow, no tomorrow." And no tears for fears. But he finds it kind of funny.
"Sign o' the Times," Prince. Nothing funny here. AIDS, killer hurricanes, mamas killing babies they can't afford to feed. Time. Time.
"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," R.E.M. Starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane. . . . It's an obvious choice, but sometimes clichés speak the truth.
"Rockin' in the Free World," Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Starting to get ugly. "People shufflin' their feet. People sleepin' in their shoes. But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead." Mom's shooting up. Tanks in the streets.
"The Sound of Music," Joy Division. The sound of the apocalypse. Native drums growing insistent, a howling in the woods, jagged guitars riding the nerves.
"Welcome to the Jungle," Guns N' Roses. We've done it now. The world gives the mic to Axel Rose. "Welcome to the jungle. It gets worse here everyday. Ya learn ta live like an animal in the jungle where we play."
Some real toe-tappers. Play them loud. While you can.
- Daniel Rubin
(For more musical suggestions, see Dan Rubin's column at www.philly.com/blinq.)
Back to the future
in downtown Camden
The Parkade Building, which was supposed to help save downtown Camden in 1955, is being torn down to help revive downtown Camden in 2011.
Although it never lived up to expectations, the massive Parkade - which looked rather like an ocean liner from some angles - was innovative for its time, a true mixed-use complex of offices, retail space, and parking. The latter was the Parkade's raison d'être; in the early 1950s, Lit Bros. refused to build a new department store on the east side of City Hall unless the city agreed to provide more parking nearby.
Eager to embrace every faddish and foolish notion of urban renewal, Camden already had paved over a park on the west side of City Hall. I've seen a vintage news clipping and photo of the parking lot's "grand opening"; a bunch of guys in fedoras, posing with a meter amid stentorian pontifications about "Another Giant Step Forward for the Great City of Camden."
So a few years later, the city engaged a developer to build the Parkade on top of the parking lot where once had been a beautiful public garden. The city got the department store, which lasted 17 years, but also got two block-long behemoths that have endured for decades on either side of City Hall.
The solemn but subtly exuberant Art Deco building - a near-twin of the Louisiana state Capitol - is emerging from nearly 60 years of visual imprisonment as the Parkade, at last, falls.
And the site of that disastrous downtown Camden project of a half-century ago will become a park again.
Urban "renewal" indeed.
- Kevin Riordan
James Frey returns
to scene of the crime
James Frey, the writer/liar whose made-up memoir, A Million Little Pieces, inspired Oprah Winfrey to give him a public spanking in 2006, is back in the hot seat.
I caught a piece of the first installment of his two-day (!) appearance during this next-to-the-last week of Oprah's long goodbye, which threatens to rival the "farewell" tour of the Judds.
Like that singing mother-daughter act, Frey, too, refuses to go away.
He still cranks out books, but at least some of them are properly labeled as fiction - unlike Pieces, in which the author portrayed himself as a warts-and-all truthteller who vanquished addiction all by his bad-boy self.
I remember being stunned by that book, particularly the scene of the author undergoing a Marathon Man dental procedure without benefit of anesthesia. No wonder all Frey had to do at rehab was play cards with other tough guys while laughing at their fellow patients, those mere mortals struggling to get well. That recovery stuff - the hard work, the sacrifice, the willingness - was way too silly/sissy for our he-man superhero.
People familiar with addiction know that honesty is the oxygen of recovery, and that any triumphs over this disease are collective, not individual. Making amends (not just in words, but in deeds) is a huge part of the process as well.
Watching Oprah on Monday, I was reminded that Ms. Winfrey truly is an extraordinary figure in our popular culture. Yes, girlfriend is grandiose, but she's also for real. And she really deserves respect for her willingness to revisit her own misjudgments, as well as her anger and its aftermath.
She is making amends, in a way - as only our one-and-only Oprah can do.
As for Frey? I don't believe a word.
- Kevin Riordan