009 IS (finally) over, and it's taken its toll. So let's look at some of the highs and lows.
In (by a wide margin): Chris Christie. Tough-talking big guy makes good. Out ($130 million later): Jon Corzine. Now he has plenty of time to search for the missing "h" in his name.
In: Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall. What a transformation! Out: The Zoo. It just ain't the same without the elephants.
In: Comcast Center. Proves architecture can inspire, inside and out. Out: Spectrum. Long overdue.
In: Old-fashioned small-town living. West Chester and Media. Out: Sprawling suburbia. Strip malls and auto dealerships.
In: Sliders. We can think we're eating less. Out: The Whopper. Though I still sneak one every now and then.
In: Jose Garces. Zesty is sexy. Out: Georges Perrier. Philly gourmands are fiendishly fickle.
In (at last): Roy Halladay. Couldn't happen soon enough. Out: Cole Hamels. Hey, even lovable nice guys sometimes slip.
So Out he's In again: Allen Iverson. Answer in progress.
In: Cherry Hill Mall. Nordstrom gives grande dame new panache. Out: Big box stores. Cavernous, fluorescent oppression.
In: Cupcakes and the roving Cupcake Truck. Out: All prepackaged pastry except Tastykake.
In: D.A. Seth Williams. Now comes the real test. Out: Lynne Abraham. But Philly will always the original Tough Cookie.
In: GPTMC. "Love" campaign resonates in challenging tourism market. Out: DRPA. Yeah, we know they help fund GPTMC. But they stumble far more than they succeed.
Still In: Starbucks. Surviving the crunch, with a few tweaks. Out: Starbucks Via instant coffee. Yup, it really is instant coffee.
In: Lambertville. Clean, cozy, sophisticated. Out: New Hope. Too much vroom, tackiness and weary '60s psychedelia.
In: Elf on a shelf. Cute, practical, fun. Out: 12 Days of Christmas. Terminally tedious.
In: Phillies fans. Best in the league and a fine match for a classy organization. Out: Eagles fans. Rude, crude and still no championship.
In: Redbox video. Fits our lifestyle. Out: Blockbuster. Hopelessly VHS.
In: Mann Center. Great comeback for beloved venue. Out: Susquehanna Bank Center. Deafening decibels, pathetic potheads and dopey drunks.
In: Collingswood. Could this be the region's new Main Street? Out: Manayunk. Natives prove to be their own worst enemies.
In: Glenn Beck. It all started in Philly. Out: Lou Dobbs. But a New Jersey Senate run may lie ahead.
In: Restaurant 1862 by Martin Hamann at the Union League. Out (of luck): Everyone who's not a member.
In: Piazza at Schmidt's. European sensibility enlivens gritty urban environment. Out: Pizza at Stella's. Overpriced designer pizzas? In Philly, hon? Holy pepperoni!
In: Ed Rendell. Does he really want his old job back? Out: Michael Nutter. Does he really want to keep his present job?
In: Laurel Hill Cemetery. Worth the visit for Harry the K and magnificent view. Out (briefly): Dad Vail. Schuylkill almost lost scullers.
In: Center City rentals. Times are tough. Out: Center City condos. Can you say "auction?"
In, with no outs: Wegman's, Temple football, staycations, Philly Chit Chat. Mitch Williams and Wawa. Out, with no ins: Vince Fumo. Or is he simply "on vacation"?
In 'n Out (and in 'n out, and in 'n out, and in 'n . . . ) Tiger Woods. The biggest surprise? Man uses wrong club.
Hangin' In: Daily News. And that's good news for all of us.
Daniel A. Cirucci is a lecturer in corporate communications at Penn State University. He blogs at dancirucci.blogspot.com.