This July 4th, Americans will spend more on beer, wine than fireworks

Americans will spend $1.6 billion on Fourth of July beer and wine, surpassing the amount they are expected to spend on fireworks, according to a new report from WalletHub.

And AAA found that a record 48.9 million Americans plan to travel over the holiday, a 4.1 percent increase from last year.

“This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel,” Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, said in a news release.
For those living in Philadelphia or spending their holiday in the city, Visit Philadelphia compiled an Independence Day guide describing the annual Wawa Welcome America festival, which includes the Party on the Parkway, free or pay-as-you-wish entrance to 22 museums and attractions, and a birthday party at the Independence Visitor Center with Betsy Ross.
AAA warned travelers of delays near major cities, and the mix of commuters and holiday travelers on Wednesday was expected to make it the worst day for traffic. Delays nationwide are expected to increase about 9 percent, but around major cities, commutes could take up to four times as long.
“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX Inc., a Washington-based transportation analytics company.
The Fourth of July celebrations include an expected $1 billion being spent on fireworks, $6.8 billion on food, and $5.4 million worth of imported American flags, according to the WalletHub report. And 150 million hot dogs are eaten each year.
Although more Americans (61 percent) plan to have a cookout than celebrate with fireworks (40 percent), Philadelphia city leaders still encourage residents to leave the fireworks to those trained to set them off.
Last year, five people died from fireworks-related injuries nationwide, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“While it can be tempting to get in on the action on July Fourth and other holidays, we always encourage Philadelphians to leave fireworks to the experts,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Most Americans do celebrate the nation’s Independence Day, but the National Retail Federation found in a separate report that total spending on food items is down about 5.5 percent from a high of $7.15 billion in 2017.
Still, Americans seem to be getting into the patriotic spirit. Two-thirds of Northeast Americans own an American flag and say they have themed-apparel, according to the report from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Americans seem to be spending more on Independence Day in the Northeast, too. The retailers group found that this region will spend an average of $78.40 on food, anywhere from about $7 to $12 more per person than the Midwest, West, and South.

 

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Prova – Boycott

I wasn’t going to run this, but fuck you, Prova.

Boycott

[ˈboiˌkät]

VERB

1.withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.

synonyms: spurn · snub · shun · avoid · abstain from · wash one’s hands of

NOUN

1.a punitive ban that forbids relations with certain groups, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods.

synonyms: ban · veto · embargo · prohibition · sanction · restriction · avoidance

 

Anytime I end up covering a Saturday for Summer at the salon I usually walk around the corner to see Prova at the bar where she works.

I specifically go there to see her. We’ve both been working a lot and busy with our lives. I haven’t hung out with her in a few months. The last time we were actually out together was at the Angel’s Envy event at the Red Owl in the Hotel Monaco.

I sit at the end of the bar and chat with her and the other bartender, Lizzie. I order a glass of chardonnay with a side of ice. I ask them if I can run over to Dunkin’ Donuts and get them coffee and donuts. They leap at that opportunity and I tell them I’m going out for a smoke and then I’ll go to the store.

Later I come back with exactly what they wanted. Two medium coffees, cream and sugar. A blueberry and a chocolate frosted for Prova, and a frosted for Lizzie.

The girls are happy and Lizzie even high fives me to give thanks to the bounty I have provided.

I’m there for a couple of hours and in that time I’m talking to Prova. She tells me she’s leaving her other job at the rooftop lounge. She hasn’t told them she’s leaving yet but she’s looking. I remember I was there the week before and she had mentioned that. With the success I’ve had getting her this job, and the other one down at the beer garden two years ago, I put the word out.

I even asked my buddy Zack over at City Tap House if they needed bartenders. He said he’d let me know by the end of the week.

Prova tells me she has more days off than ever this upcoming week. I ask her if she’d like to meet me at Square 1682 on Monday for Happy Hour. She smiles and thinks that would be a wonderful idea. I’m looking forward to seeing her outside of this bar again and having a few drinks and chatting uninterrupted for a bit.

I make a mental note but also put it in the calendar. I won’t forget because Prova is my friend, but I do it anyway. I put everything in my calendar. I’m from the business world. (and so is she before she decided to bail on her finance job and work as a bartender in the service industry) You’ve got to stay organized. That way once it’s in there and I can think about other things.

I get my bill and I’m a little perplexed. It’s $27 for 3 glasses of wine. Hmm…

I pay it, and tip accordingly and leave.

“See you Monday, Prova!”

That Monday I’m at Cavanaugh’s doing my thing. You know my thing right? I go there every Monday. I get treated like royalty by Karina. A girl I barely know. My cheese steak that I don’t even have to order, because Karina knows exactly how I want it, and makes that happen. And how I want my soft drink to come out with the food, not before. It’s half off on Mondays, so a cheese steak, fries and endless cokes is $5. Then at 3pm she brings me a Bulliet Manhattan and another one around 4pm. My entire bill is $15.  I go large on her tip because of how well I’m treated. I pay cash because cash is king. THAT’S Hospitality. I can drink at home.

I come out to be served, and served I am at Cavanaugh’s Rittenhouse.

Around 12:30pm I text Prova to confirm a time for tonight.

“What time do you want to meet at Square 1682?”

“Hey sorry totally forgot about today. Can’t meet. Taking care of some work related stuff. can we meet tomorrow?”

“Nope. I’ll be working.”

“Oh, ok I’m sorry. (sad-faced emoji)”

“It’s okay Prova.”

 

But it’s not okay, dear readers.

First of all, I got her that job at that bar. Sure, I know, anybody can get you a job but you’re the one who has to keep it. I get that. But I hooked that shit up for her. I’m a regular there. I know the owner. He’s the Uncle of my partner at the salon, for goodness sakes.

I bring you coffee and donuts because I care about you and like making you happy. You in turn charge me $9 for every glass of wine I had that day. Are you that desperate for tips, Prova? No industry discount, not a “This one’s on us.”

Nothing.

I know every bartender in the city has a certain number of drinks they can give away for free.

But you know what the worst part of this story is?

I made a plan with Prova to meet up and have some social time with her. I value her and my time. I only surround myself with good people now. It’s been a great relief to cut all of the detritus from my life. I care about Prova and like her very much.

She didn’t even have the decency to cancel with me on Monday. She could have even lied if she just didn’t feel like going out that night. I wouldn’t have cared. If I hadn’t reached out she would have just went on with whatever the fuck she did that day and never given me a thought.

But the fact that she ‘totally forgot’ about our meeting hurt my feelings. I remembered I was meeting with her that night. I didn’t have to put it in my calendar, but I did because she’s important to me. I really care about her and our friendship. I remember what kind of coffee she likes and the exact kind of donuts she likes. I remember all of that. I remembered to give her a free tanning session last year. I remembered that she needed to find a job and I found her not one, but two jobs in the same week.

But less than 48 hours after making a plan with me. Charles. You simply forgot. Work related stuff? What the fuck does that even mean?

You can tell I’m angry, disappointed, and most of all hurt. Prova, you simply forgot about me. I don’t mean shit to you. I don’t like the way that makes me feel when you smite me.

It’s rude and I won’t tolerate it. So, I’m going to stop going to the bar where you work. I’m also not going to recommend the place to anyone. I’m not going to text you or make any effort to contact you in any way.

I’m also putting a curse on you.

The curse is that when you reach the age of 35, you’re working behind the bar of some tavern. You have no man in your life who loves you or is courting you for marriage. And you still have to live with a roommate to make ends meet.

Oh wait… That one’s already been taken.

The only way to break the curse is to realize I am no longer in your life before this post publishes. You’ll reach out to me and apologize to me for your infraction. I, of course will forgive you because I truly care for you and always forgive. Everything will go back to exactly how it was before you fucked it up by carelessly discarding a valuable person in your life.

I wonder if you’ll ever wake up and realize that you can’t do that to people who care about you. I’m a person. With a heart. You hurt me Prova. I’m sad. Fix it before this comes out and we’re good. If not?

We’re already done.

I conveyed this story to my buddy Jake and he said to simply let go of the infraction.

 

So I decided to take the high road and let it go. Why should  idrink the poison hoping someone else dies? It’s a waste of valuable energy.

 

UPDATE: I went into the bar she works in bearing coffee and donuts. She was very grateful and said it was just what she needed. I forgive her, but realize we really have nothing in common now that she’s fallen into the black hole of bar hospitality and nightlife at 35 years old.

 

UPDATE: 6/18/18 I set up a lunch with Prova and she was 30 minutes late. I held a special table at one of my favorite lunch spots. When she arrived, she ignored my reservation, and wanted to sit at the bar so she could she could see her friend, the bartender who she knew. This was a recently fired employee from a place where Provo currently works. The friend jokes how Prova puked on her carpet. Nice job. I’m sure your family is so proud of their daughter who is now working in a tap room and pushing 40.

 

Let me describe the scene. I’m waiting at my reserved table for Prova. She’s 30 minutes late. The music at Misconduct is too loud for the lunch crowd but the staff is too dumb to realize that. Prova rolls in and makes a bee line for the bar to see her friend.

She forces me to relinquish my reserved table and sit with her at the bar, because it is no longer about our meeting, but her hanging with her bartender friend.

We eat, and Prova plows wine and shots before her shift at Bar 1518 and I realize that someone I liked has fallen into the black hole.

I have no use for Prova anymore.

I watch as she and her bartender friend do shots in the middle of the day and realize I have no more use for Prova.

She’s a lost soul. and everything I’ve documented in this post stands true.

Good luck, Prova.

You called me for help. I helped you. I liked you. You squandered our friendship.

You’re a morally bankrupt person.

Here’s your theme.

 

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Sun Stories – Lily – Nice To Meet You? – Chapter 1

Oh, lovely Lily.  You came into the salon to tan. We have to be careful with you. We can’t just throw you into a 12 minute sun bed and over expose you. You’re unique and special. We need to be gentle with you.

Who are you lovely Lily? We’ll tan you for whatever reason you need to but you seem illusive and reserved.

I’m so happy I met you. I told you I write a blog and want to tell your story. I look forward to crushing wine or beer and cigarettes at McGlincheys with you.

I believe you could become a series in this blog. Your story is so unique I feel everyday I want to meet you for a drink.

I have no interest in exploiting you Lily. I just want to tell your story.

 

We were supposed to meet the week before, but she got really stressed out at work because her job is really demanding. She broke out in hives on her face and didn’t want to be seen in public. 

I get that. 

 

I wrote the above words about two months ago and I just confirmed with Lily that we are meeting for drinks tonight. I’ll finally get to know this enigmatic beauty. Technically it’s a Sun Story because I met her at the salon, but I’m getting to know her outside at a bar so I’m going to leave it as is.

I know she works in the medical field. But I feel like she’s into something else as well. So hopefully I’ll find out tonight.

I purposely didn’t order any food in for dinner tonight because I knew I’d be dining with Lily in a couple of hours. So I’m hungry.

I’m at the salon and I get a text from Lily an hour and a half before we’re supposed to meet that says the following:

“Would you be interested in a different restaurant? I actually just had Dan Dan on Sunday.”

I immediately text my buddy Roman over at Square 1682. “Are you at Square?”

“Damn right.”

I text Lily back. “Meet me at Square 1682.”

“Perfect.”

I’m happy about this change of venue. I didn’t really feel like going to Dan Dan anyway. Now I can see my favorite bartender in the city.

I get to Square at 8:15. Got to be punctual. Maybe she’s already there.

Roman is happy to see me and shakes my hand. He places a fresh glass of Chardonnay in front of me with a side of ice.

My man.

All good. I’m here early and looking forward to getting to know more about lovely Lily when she arrives. I’ll probably go with the burger and I may be able to crush it because I haven’t eaten since 2pm today.

“I liked the piece you did about McGlinchey’s in your blog. It was spot on.” (See: Why Philly Icon Bar McGlinchey’s May Never Be The Same) 

“Thank you, Roman!” I’m happy that he reads and subscribes to my blog. A busy beverage manager, bartender, husband and dad has time to check out my work.

I’m sipping my Chard and chilling at the bar. It’s a quiet night despite it being Restaurant Week here in Philly.

Restaurant Week happens twice a year I think. The spots that participate in it offer a few menu items for reduced rices. Three course meals for $35 each. That’s deadly for Philly.  You just can’t get that in this city at that price anywhere.

At 8:30 I text Lily that I’m at the bar.

I’m sipping and chatting with Roman and happy to be at my favorite bar in the city but only because of my favorite bartender. I don’t go out much anymore and it’s a treat to be here. I’m completely in my element here. The bar is elegant, dimly lit, and it almost feels like it’s date night here tonight. There are several couples coming and going at the bar.

I look to the end of the bar and hot latina server, Carla waves. I throw her the heart sign and she grabs it and presses it to her heart and smiles.

Ella is running around and waves as she cruises by me.

I’m home. I love this bar.

I haven’t heard back from Lily. I text her at 8:45: “Are you okay?”

I go out for a smoke. The cig tastes cool in the 30 degree night. I’m sure I’ll get a text from her cursing her UBER driver. It happens. My dear friend Alice is always classically late. I’m not worried. (See: Alice – The Cute Recruiter)

I go back in and Roman and I are chatting. I tell him I’m meeting a girl here tonight to interview her for the blog.

“Give her until 9pm. The half hour rule. Anything could have happened in this city.”

“I’ll call her at 9.”

“Good plan.”

I’m on my second glass of Chard and feeling fine. If nothing else, I’m in my favorite bar with my number one bartender. I’m only a few blocks from my house and it’s not freezing out.

I step away from the bar and go into the lobby of the hotel. I call Lily. It rings and rings and then her voicemail comes up. I leave a message:

“Hey Lily. Hope you’re okay. I’m at Square. Just checking to see if you’re alright. Call me back or text me.”

I go back to the bar. I know she said in a previous text that she would have to leave around 9:45 from our meeting. It is now 9:10. I tell Roman I want to close out.

I haven’t been stood up since the 90’s.

I’m not angry. There has to be a reason. This is a responsible woman with a real job.

I pay the bill and walk home.

I enter my apartment and am very happy to see my daughter Lorelei. (See: Lorelei – 1996 to Present – Father’s Day) She looks adorable. She has a new platinum pixie haircut. She looks like Tinkerbell.

I love that kid!

She’s watching The Dukes of Hazard on my flat screen on Netflix. The remake with Jessica Simpson. She says she’s never seen it. She liked Jessica when she was a kid. I was more than happy to buy her the poster for her room back in the day.

Image result for jessica simpson dukes of hazzard

 

The only reason for me to watch that retched film would be to see her with those slamin’ legs. The only way I could view that movie would be with the sound turned down and listening to Nine Inch Nails playing the song: “Closer.”

But I digress…

I’m in my room, sipping chardonnay and smoking a cig. I start writing this piece. The great thing about writing about your life is, even if it goes badly. You still get a story out of it.

Blog needs content. Feed the beast. Good or bad you still get a story out of it.

 

Wait! I just got a text from Lily!

 

What the hell happened? Tune in tomorrow!

 

 

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Andrea – 2014 – S&M Girl

“Hi Lorelei. Daddy’s just going to take this fat, drunk bitch back to his room and tie her up. Then you’re going to hear a lot of slapping and squishing sounds. You’re also going to hear Daddy say a bunch of really foul sexually degrading things to this woman, so you better put your ear buds in and crank that shit up.”

One night a couple of years ago, I was out with a friend of mine. We were having drinks outside at Misconduct at 15th & Locust. He was telling me a story about this girl he met on Tinder. Pure hookup. She comes over to his apartment. Sadly, she doesn’t look like her Tinder pics. Which is not good. That’s like seeing a photo of a car you want to buy in the Auto Trader and when you get to the lot to check out the car, it’s an older model and a little banged up and maybe even a bit more car than you saw in the photos.

But he was drunk and up for the foul deed. He said she was a thick girl but he went to town on her anyway. Like my tinder profile says: “If you don’t look like your photos, you’re going to buy me drinks until you do.” So he said it was good sex except for one thing. He didn’t like that she wanted him to spit on her and hit her. There’s nothing wrong with what two consenting adults do with each other behind closed doors. Especially if everyone’s on board with what’s happening. But he didn’t like it. Just not his thing.

He told me that he wasn’t comfortable with that situation. He said at that point no matter what he was into or what he would do, he couldn’t do that again.  It just wasn’t him. (He didn’t spit on her or hit her at all) At that time, back in the beginning of 2014, I had just come off a break up and told him to send Andrea pics of me. Because I was up for whatever she wanted dished out. The key here is when it comes to dominance, be firm…not mean. There’s a big difference. I would discipline and correct her if necessary. And remember, the submissive party is ALWAYS in control. They have the safe word and hold the power to cancel the fantasy at anytime. That’s the rules of S&M play.

Well, nothing came of it. Until earlier this year when she connected to me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn of all places! Can you imagine with all of the dating websites out there, LinkedIn brings me the crazy S&M chick? So we chatted and did some texting. She wanted me to text her all of the things I was going to do to her, so I did. I have a pretty good imagination. She said she was getting really turned on and that we should meet.

I set it up that we should meet at the Ranstead Room. It’s just a good spot normally to hideout with somebody. I get there and I’m just chilling with a drink. She arrives shortly thereafter. My friend was right about her. In her Tinder pics she looks really hot, but in real life she is a lot bigger, and what was with that low tranny voice? Not good. I just wasn’t feeling it. I would have to drink a LOT of cocktails for Andrea to start to resemble her profile pics on Tinder. So I figured what the hell, I was already here and the drinks were flowing. She wasn’t that hot but at least I was someplace where nobody knew me.

Then the manager from the restaurant where my daughter works suddenly comes through the door and walks right up to me and says hello using my name.

Now I’m made. He can see who I’m with and now everybody there knows my name.

Andrea starts telling me about her life. She hates her job and wants to leave Philly. (Probably a good idea for us all.) She was seeing some crazy drug dealer loser guy. He’s suicidal, and does tons of coke. It’s bad, and she’s not much better.  I always thought if you did a bunch of cocaine you were skinny. Certainly not the case here.

After awhile we’re getting pretty tipsy. We went outside for a cigarette. She was on me like a northern pike hitting the bait. So I’m making out with her and people are walking by on Ranstead and she just pulls her boobs out. She’s losing her shit. She wants to take me back behind the building and give me a blowjob.

Yea. Great. I’ll just go stand behind my daughter’s manager’s Mercedes-Benz and you can give me oral. What if he walks outside and sees that shit? That’s not going to be good for me or anybody. Now, if this was Los Angeles and it was 1982, yea I’d be down for that, but not now. That’s gross. Sure, I’m flattered that she’s turned on enough from my words and the alcohol to want to blow me in a filthy alley, but no. Just no. I don’t roll like that.

She’s drunk. We go back inside and we’re in the vestibule and all sorts of things are happening with lips and fingers. If somebody comes through either door, we’re going to jail. So after that brief encounter, we go back inside. I kind of want to go home. In the right environment, some S&M play could be fun with her, but I’m just not getting a good vibe from her in this moment. She’s calling me daddy and all that shit. She says she loves older men, etc. I tell her I have an early sales meeting in the morning that I have to travel to so we should wrap it up. (A bold-faced lie)

She wants to go back to my place and have sex. Great idea. I can see it now. Me walking through the door to my apartment with Andrea and my daughter sitting on the sofa.

“Hi Lorelei. Daddy’s just going to take this fat, drunk bitch back to his room and tie her up. Then you’re going to hear a lot of slapping and squishing sounds. You’re also going to hear Daddy say a bunch of really foul sexually degrading things to this woman, so you better put your ear buds in and crank that shit up.”

No. Not happening. We pay the bill, and we walk over to 18th Street. I hail her a taxi and send her on her way. I was actually relieved when she was gone.

If somebody I met and was in a relationship wanted to experiment with some things, I’d be down with that, but Andrea just isn’t that person.

Update! She appeared at the salon tonight for a tan before she goes to L.A!

She’s leaving Philly for good!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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