Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pair of dirty underwear adjacent to trail has been guiding hikers, bikers for years

Wissahickon Valley Park, Philadelphia--The unusually warm late autumn afternoon was cooling off quickly as the sun had already began its decent in the post-daylight savings time sky. The long shadows an urgent reminder to pick up the pace as navigating these parts is difficult enough during daylight, not to mention the uncertainties of urban parks after dark.

Keeping an eye out for loose rock along the gently and sharp sloping trails of this valley requires a focus on the ground before you, which can allow the splendors, and, the not-so-splendid, of the park to sneak up on you. This happened to me over the weekend while hiking.

As I rounded a bend in the narrow, leaf-covered trail I quickly popped my head up for possible oncoming mountain bikers when I noticed a gray flag hanging from a low branch of a tree next to the trail. Some sort of marker or garbage I thought to myself as I approached the weathered piece of clothe.

It didn't take long to realize it was the latter. Wow! It was a pair of old, used men's underwear just dangling there, practically obstructing the walkway in the forest. I recoiled in disgust and felt chills up my back as I imagined what if I had made incidental contact with the beast.

This was truly unsanitary and as I searched for a stick on the ground to knock the briefs from its apparent longtime lodging, I had an idea: I could possibly send this item to someone as a practical joke with the upcoming holiday season just around the corner. Finally, a stick, and, to my relief, long enough that I did not have to come within 3 feet of the creature.

As I inched my way towards it and just before the stick was to make contact, a winded mountain biker, rounding the curve in the trail rather quickly, shouted with all the remaining wind he could muster.

"Nooooooo! Wait, no. Don't do it," screamed Dylan Rogers, a semi-pro mountain biker from Pottstown, PA, taking his weekly Saturday Wissahickon ride. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

I was stunned. Really. At a complete loss as to what the problem was with trying to beautify a park. Although, a part of me thought he saw the plastic bag on the ground and wondered what I was up too. "I'm just clearing this garbage from ..."

"Dude, it's not garbage. That's a trail marker that has been here for years, providing guidance and direction to bikers, hikers and joggers in this vast park. Dude, drop the stick."

The Wissahickon section of Fairmount Park is over 1400 acres of wooded landscape crisscrossed by, what feels like, an endless number of trails. Apparently, trail markings, in any form, are welcomed by frequent park visitors.

"When I see the skid marks hanging on the side of the trail, I know it's time to make my own skid marks on the trail by slowing down and applying the brake. The underwear tells me there's a steep hill ahead. Something I might forget during an intense ride."

Rogers eventually apologized for his overreaction to my removal of the "marking," but I found that others in the park also relied on the drawers as their North Star.

"When I see the underwear I know to to take the right trail up ahead if I want to end up at the Valley Green Inn, where I usually park," said hiker Becky Schmidt, her ragged fanny pack stocked with energy bars, water and a copy of Eat, Pray, Love. "There are some days I look back at my hike and think, 'God, I'd have died out there if it wasn't for that glorious, beautiful pair of dirty underwear.'"

"Two years ago," said Sam Gasteau, 34, of Chestnut Hill, "I was lost. I mean, completely lost. I wandered around for nearly 48 hours and then I came upon the underwear. I knew exactly where I was. I don't care how they got there and I don't really want to know, but that dirty pair of skivvies saved my life."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Southwest passenger claims luggage was covered in flies

Dallas, TX--Tyler Archer was the last one waiting. Then, he was the last one waiting by far. The architect from Boston had landed in New Hampshire's Manchester Airport after a week in Dallas for business. He glanced once more at his watch, or at least where it used to be, forgetting that the time piece was in the tardy checked baggage.

Then, with a loud thump, and just before making his way to the airline's customer service counter, the rolling luggage case came bursting down the chute of the baggage claim and halted against the stainless steel edge. What he witnessed instantly melted away the elation that the arrival of the leather bag had brought.

"I had been waiting almost 40 minutes at baggage, I was tired, I missed my wife and kids immensely and I just wanted to get home," said Archer. "The last thing I wanted was late luggage. But, the even more laster thing that I wanted was luggage that was covered in flies. That's why I fly Southwest ... to avoid this. This is unacceptable."

Archer claims that he grabbed the fly-covered bag off the belt, walked to Southwest Airlines' ticketing counter and said, "So, bags fly free, huh?" The ticketing agent responded, "That's correct sir. At Southwest, Bags Fly Free. It's our policy."

The agent was appalled when Archer showed her the bag and the staggering number of flies that were stuck to the sides, zippers, pockets and handles, some buzzing and hovering inches off the surface. She profusely apologized to the Beantown architect, who, along with his family, are headed anywhere Southwest flies for two weeks courtesy of the Texas-based airline.

"The cargo hold of a jetliner is filled with flies," said Dennis Toliver, a Southwest Airlines luggage technician. "We're not going to remove every single fly from a bag during every single flight. That's just a simple fact. When the marketing department consulted me about the 'Bags Fly Free' campaign, I said you guys are flippin' nuts. Yeah, I called the head marketing guy flippin' nuts. I'm a legend among the luggage guys now."

When Southwest launched their "Bags Fly Free" campaign in early 2009, competing airlines were floored by the announcement because of the shear number of insects that make their homes in the holds of most of the jetliners around the world--a fact that only a small percentage of the general public is aware of.

"It's not that the cargo luggage holds are unkempt," said Toliver. "It's just that the high altitudes combined with the unpressurized chambers are perfect breeding grounds for flies ... thousands of them. We do all we can to reduce that number and clean the luggage but it's a tough job. This is on top of getting the luggage to the cities that they are actually supposed to go."

Each airline around the world is required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to "de-fly" each piece of luggage once removed from an aircraft. Under this FAA requirement, not all flies must be removed, but, at the very least, 96% must be taken off. Most of the flies that do survive the "de-flying" process usually end up dropping off on the multitude of conveyor belts, and the resulting jarring and shifting, that make up the entire subsurface baggage claim system, which is why only on occasion do passengers see the actual flies.

"For Southwest to come out and guarantee that bags fly free was really astonishing," said United Airlines' grounds crew supervising manager at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Jim Lakefield. "I mean, that's huge. That is guts right there. I demand the best from my crew here in Chicago when it comes to fly removal, but even I know we can't get them all."

"Yeah, one day I check my phone and it had, like, 30 messages on it," said Wayne Dranoff, baggage handler manager for Continental Airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. "Colleagues from around the country were calling to tell me about Southwest's bold 'Bags Fly Free' slogan. I was like, 'hot damn, that's bold.'"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eagles' owner says recent trip to Netherlands 'in no way influenced' stadium's new sustainable design

South Philadelphia, PA--The Eagles are green. Yes, the team features green uniforms and green stadium seating, has green grass and makes an awful lot of green on Sundays. The Eagles are also green by aggressively recycling, planting trees to offset emissions from flying to distant road games and utilizing biodegradable cups at the stadium's concessions.

However, now the team is going "fully" green. Already one of the most environmentally conscience teams in the league, the franchise is installing 350 Dutch-style windmills at Lincoln Financial Field--in the stands, on the roof, on the concourses and, unbelievably, on the field--to meet the venue's insatiable energy needs.

"Yes, I was in the Netherlands for two weeks in July. Yes, I saw plenty of windmills while I was there. And yes, I thought they would look really cool in Lincoln Financial Field. But, in no way did those windmills influence my recent design to make the stadium self sustainable," said Eagles' owner Jeffrey Lurie, at the press conference announcing the team's intention to be removed from the city's power grid in the near future.

After installation, the roar of the crowd may be diminished but for a good cause.

"We'll only be losing 5,000 or so seats to accommodate the new windmills," said Lurie. "It's worth the loss in revenue to get clean, renewable wind energy."

In addition to losing capacity, several seating areas will prohibit fans from standing during the game as windmill blades will pass inches overhead from a seated spectator. Even tall hats, high hairdo's and raising one's arms will be banned in certain sections.

"All the specifics are not finalized, but we thought that in the hotter months of the season and preseason that the windmills could also act as a cooling device for fans," said Joe Banner, Eagles' president. "Oh, by the way, I've never been to the Netherlands."

The NFL is behind the Eagles 100%, so much so that the windmills placed on the playing fields, approval Lurie thought they would never receive, was passed unanimously by the league's board.

"We're under some pressure right now to promote a more sustainable league," said Roger Goodell, the NFL's commissioner. "Losing minimal field space is really not that big of an issue. I would not let that be a deal breaker. As long as player collisions with windmills don't cause concussions, then I don't care."

The team will also be installing 1100 solar panels on the site that will power the windmills on non-windy days. On cloudy, windy days, the windmills will power the solar panels.

One of the design's critics, architect Sara Stevenson, says,"If this plan goes through, you can kiss those sweet-ass sight lines good bye. Can you say, 'Ba-bye sightlines?"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

After latest ratings report, NBC to finally cancel 'Undercover Ross'

Hollywood, CA--In 2009, NBC became very nervous when CBS unveiled a reality show that placed corporate executives undercover as "regular"employees within their own company. The peacock network knew they had to come up with a high quality product to lure viewers away from the hit CBS show Undercover Boss, which is crammed full of laughs, tears, empathy, high fives, low fives and awkward hugs. Their answer? Undercover Ross.

The premise? Actor David Schwimmer plays his popular character Ross Gellar from the hugely popular sitcom Friends and, well ... goes undercover. It appears NBC is still trying to squeeze all it can from the show about post-college 20-somethings living in New York that ran from 1994 to 2004.

When Undercover Ross debuted at the end of September this year, there was such promise for the show that was to run opposite Undercover Boss. Network executives salivated over what they thought could eventually be part of the Thursday-night lineup--its Must See TV. The network, however, seeing the latest Cooper-Sinclair television ratings released on Monday, officially canceled the show on Friday. What went so radically wrong?

"The problem with Undercover Ross, was that everyone knows David or Ross, whatever you want to call him," said TV critic Dennis Valmer, who just celebrated his fifteenth year with TV Guide. "So, it was really hard for him to go undercover. And he had absolutely no affiliation with the companies he claimed to be working for. He couldn't say that he was really somebody's boss. It just didn't make a lot of sense."

Schwimmer, despite severe allergies to most prosthetic facial hair adhesives, sports a fake mustache or beard and pretends to be a new employee at a well-known large company. At the conclusion of every episode the star of the 1996 film Pallbearer (a hit in Manitoba, Canada) was to reveal himself by saying: "Hey, guys. My name isn't really Adam. And I'm actually not a coworker of yours, I'm Ross from Friends."

The unanticipated glitch in Undercover Ross was that in most episodes Schwimmer is almost always quickly identified by the unfooled employees before the end of the show. In fact, he is frequently called out within the first ten minutes. This forced NBC to air the first five shows all in the same hour-long premier.

"We actually approached David with the idea," said NBC executive Janice Levinson, attempting to correct reports that it was the other way around. "He was on board right away, but wanted to tweak the premise a bit. He wanted to call it Undercover Sauce and have it be a sort of cooking show that served terrible spaghetti sauce to unsuspecting restaurant customers. After careful consideration, we said no."

"Things have been a little slow recently and I thought this would be a great opportunity," said Schwimmer, who was preparing for a golf outing with the cast of Friends. "I think if I wore a wig or one of those giant fat suits and some major makeup ... things could have ended differently. I just didn't want to do any of that stuff."

In case you were curious, the final episode of Undercover Ross will air this Sunday at 3 a.m. NBC warns not to wear the 3-D glasses they handed out for the event as they are faulty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Report: Sign made McNabb very uncomfortable, wished Shanahan never repeatedly pointed it out

Eagles' fans thinking playoffs and that some pets are just more difficult than others

Washington, DC--The Eagles had a record-setting game in the nation's capital last night by putting up 59 points and watching their all-the-sudden prolific quarterback throw for 333 yards and four touchdowns, run for 80 yards and score two more touchdowns on the ground.

Eagles fans, some who pulled away from the team last year after a controversial addition to the team, were definitely tuned in last night, pumped about the future and soft about the QB's past.

"Listen, I haven't watched an Eagles' game since they signed Vick last year," said Fred Miller, 47, a fan from Lansdale, PA. "But, I think after last night, I realize that owning a pet can be quite the responsibility and that some dogs are more difficult than others."

"I felt like I really started sympathizing with Vick on the first play from scrimmage last night when he hit [DeSean] Jackson with that long pass for, like, 88 yards or something," said Doylestown's Hank Stevenson, 56, lightly petting his golden lab GreenFeathers that was laying on the customized dog mat positioned on top of a leather reclining chair. "At the end of the first quarter I said to myself, 'Hank, you really have been hard on Michael. Hank, you HAVE been hard on Michael.'"

"Yeah, I was boycotting," said Eagles diehard Sarah Farnsworth of Unionville, PA. "I own two beautiful golden retrievers, which I love to death, but they can be a handful. Like, for example, last night during the game one of them got up onto the couch. I had to say, 'Please, get down off the couch.' Twice! Pets are a lot to handle sometimes."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Philadelphia Sixems? Desperate for revenue, Eastern Mountain Sports to sponsor fledgling team

Philadelphia, PA--Until now, most of North America's major professional sports leagues have avoided placing direct advertising on players' jerseys. Instead, leagues like the NFL and NBA have opted for more game-interrupting television commercials than to "ruin the integrity of the game." This long run of pristine uniforms, however, is about to come to an abrupt end.

With thousands of empty seats in the Wells Fargo Center during each Sixers' home game and perennially looking up at all the teams in the Atlantic Division standings, the 76ers, with approval of the National Basketball Association, have accepted a large sum of money from Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), a New Hampshire-based outdoor apparel and recreation equipment retailer, to display the company's logo, and, at the same time, change the name of the team.

The club will officially change its name to the Philadelphia 76ems, or Sixems, tomorrow during a news conference.

"All that we're really doing is replacing the 'r' with an 'm'," said Debra Papadakis, the Sixems president of marketing. "It's pronounced just like it's spelled: Six-ems. Not Six-e-m-s, but Sixems. It's kind of catchy. Go Sixems!"

"Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do," said Sixems head coach, Doug Collins. "I will always bleed Sixems red, white and blue."

"I've been a huge Sixems fan my whole life," said Doug Glonovich, 57, from Marcus Hook, PA, sporting a new camping headlamp. "If this deal means that winning ways are just over the horizon, than I'm all for it. Let EMS light up the way."

The league has been concerned for years about the direction of this once storied franchise that hasn't captured a championship since 1983, but has had such greats as Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Bobby Jones, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson, to name a few, wear the red, white and blue (or, sadly, gold and black).

"The Sixems are a struggling franchise right now," said NBA Commissioner David Stern, donning a North Face Men's Nuptse Down Jacket inside a climate-controled conference room at the league's headquarters in New York. "In fact, this jacket has high loft goose down, which has a longer lifespan than most synthetic insulations. Not to mention, the miniripstop 50-denier nylon shell coupled with the double-layer taffeta on the shoulders for abrasion resistance."

The commissioner appeared truly concerned about the sad state of the club as his press conference continued. "This parka features a straighter yoke across the chest and a markedly improved, more flattering fit. It conveniently has a taffeta emergency hood and sports an internal zip stow pocket."

Emotions, surprisingly, started flowing from the league's headman as he paused for nearly a minute, gathering himself at the podium. "This jacket also has two hand pockets, velcro adjustable cuff tabs, hem cinch-cord and is zip-in compatible with many TNF shells. It thrives in cold weather conditions and is made with 700-fill goose down."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Indonesia's Frank Sumatra performs concert for Obamas, First Family cutting trip short

Jakarta, Indonesia--The international tour continued this week for the Obamas with a stop in this culturally rich nation of more than 230 million people. The President, who had a certain spring in his step, was returning to the land where he lived for four years as a child.

After an extravagant welcome by Indonesian government officials, celebrities and local students, President Obama and the First Lady were treated to an intimate concert in the capital of this nation that is made up of more than 10,000 islands. One of these welcoming celebrities, and the concert's main event, was the infinitely-popular Frank Sumatra, the country's lone Frank Sinatra impersonator.

"It was a ... lovely concert. I was told this was to be a traditional Indonesian concert," said Obama, appearing somewhat confused at what he had just witnessed. "I don't think it was. But I'm not sure. I've never really ever heard that rendition of "New York, New York." But, I guess I just did."

After the concert, Michelle Obama was asked by the intense media horde, which were not permitted inside the concert hall, if Sumatra performed his most popular song.

"Oh, yes. I think he did," said the First Lady, showing her warm, welcoming smile somewhat nervously, unsure how to answer the query. "He performed 'My Way' for his last song of the night. Let's just say ... he definitely did it his way. Yes, his way indeed."

"Frank Sumatra can't walk down a street in Indonesia," said Budi Chahaya, 45, a longtime fan of Sumatra's from the city of Bandung, who traveled to the capital to get a glimpse of the impersonator. "And I don't mean because of his hip. I heard he was coming to Jakarta and I had to come. He's rarely seen in public. Thank you Mr Obama for bringing Frank Sumatra out into the public. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Sumatra was born Pramana Setiawan in Penengahan on the island of Sumatra, which is just across the fifteen-mile strait that separates Sumatra from the island of Java. The singer has always been very secretive about his age, but some have speculated that he is approximately 82 years old. He rarely does interviews and lives in an undisclosed suburb of the enormous metropolis that is Jakarta.

As a young child, Pramana and his mother would take the ferry to Jakarta to the movie theaters and karaoke halls where the future singer would hear his first Sinatra song "My Way." The youngster was hooked.

In his 2004 autobiography His Way, Sumatra said he always dreamed of performing alongside Sinatra one day, but, sadly, it wasn't meant to be. In the Jakarta Times bestseller, Sumatra concludes the 467-page book with this line: "Looking back, I'd like to think I did it his way. Yeah ... his way."

The President announced immediately following the concert that his trip to Indonesia would unfortunately have to be cut short because of the erupting Mount Merapi volcano and the ash and magma that could possibly prevent a departure on the originally scheduled date.

"Sadly, we have to leave. Now!" said Obama at the post-concert news conference, forcing a smile and a half-hearted wave. "This volcano is getting bad, I think. There's a volcano that's erupting, right? Somewhere? Great, here comes Frank. Michelle, please get your coat we have to go. Can somebody get Michelle's coat. Is the car out front? Is it running?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reid denies any involvement in choosing, designing Jackson's new 'concussion-proof' helmet

Eagles' head coach Andy Reid was stone-faced in front of members of the media when he unveiled wide receiver DeSean Jackson's new "concussion-proof" helmet during a press conference yesterday at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia. Three weeks ago, Jackson took a devastating hit from Atlanta Falcons' cornerback Dunta Robinson that resulted in a severe concussion and an absence the following week from the Titans game.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that the coach had Ridell, the company that makes the majority of NFL helmets, join forces with Nabisco, the Texas-based snack food company, to specially design a new state-of-the-art protective head gear for the third-year star out of California.

"Listen guys," mumbled a pretzel-eating Reid, somewhat annoyingly after a sixth reporter asked if the coach was in any way involved in the helmet design or choice. "For the last time, I don't get in to all that stuff. That's something that our expert equipment guys take care of. I'm out of that decision process. I have lots of faith in them. I am, however, very worried about his health. I told DeSean that I want him to be protected as best he can from future Doritos, er, concussions. This is serious stuff. I also want him standing next to me on the sideline during all future games. He's not to be out of arms reach of me whenever he's on the sideline. If I walk onto the field to talk to a ref, he walks onto the field to talk to a ref. In fact, I don't know if he'll play another down this year. That's how serious this is. I'm just looking out for DeSean. Does that answer your question? Just enjoy the dip, man."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Airbus screening all calls with Australia, Singapore country code; Qantas gets clever, uses Canadian passenger's cell phone

Blagnac, France--Earlier today, Qantas, the Australian-based airline, grounded all A380 superjumbo-jets in its fleet, which are made by the French company Airbus, after one of the plane's engines burst into flames soon after takeoff and was forced to return and make an emergency landing back in Singapore.

After the incident, Qantas repeatedly attempted to contact Airbus, with no success, regarding the performance and overall safety of all active A380's, including other airlines around the world. The jumbo-jetliner, which features two full-sized racquetball courts on the upper floor, a 100-yard driving range on the bottom level and a small children's amusement park in the middle, experienced long delays during its production when it made its debut nearly two years ago.

"I kept calling and calling and there was no answer in France," said Lyle Murray, the longtime Qantas executive from his office in Sydney just before leaving for Singapore to check on crew and passengers. "It was like they were screening our calls. After we called, I had the Melbourne office call and they couldn't get through either. Then I had the Brisbane and Singapore office call. No answer or straight to voice mail. Something was fishy."

So frustrated was the airline that the pilot of flight QF32, the jetliner forced to land early, made an announcement over the Singapore airport's intercom asking to borrow a cell phone not registered in Australia or Singapore as "apparently Airbus is screening our calls." The veteran pilot had an idea.

"This lovely retired Canadian couple came forward and said that could use their phone but that we had to pay the international charges associated with the call ... and they wanted two free tickets anywhere Qantas flies. It was a little steep but I agreed," said senior Qantas pilot of QF32, Paul Owens. "When I called France with their phone, guess what? I got through right away. Once Airbus knew it was Qantas calling they tried to use the old 'you're breaking up' excuse, but I called their bluff. They quickly put me through to the top."

The French company panicked when the pilot so cleverly got through to its headquarters, but couldn't stall any longer.

"I was under strict orders to let all calls with the +61 and +65 country codes go right to voice mail or just not answer them," said a stale-baguette-waving Laurielle Juneau, head of the Airbus call center in Lyon, which was moved back from India a year and a half ago. "Then I get this call with Canada's country code, so I answered it ... thinking it was a customer with a general question. It was supposed to be Tom Hearn of Windsor, Ontario. Well played Qantas, well played indeed."

It was later reported that Airbus was refusing Qantas calls because there was only one day left of the warranty for all A380 jumbo-jetliners the airline had purchased. Airbus would neither confirm nor deny this report but said "they just needed more time to do some stuff."

As far as the onboard experience during the ordeal in the sky, one passenger praised the pilot's work at keeping the 433 aboard calm and collected.

"The fire was on the left wing and Captain Owens, smart as he is, just kept telling us to look out the right side of the jet," said Gail Thomas, 45, of Adelaide, South Australia, returning home from a business trip. "He kept saying, 'There's nothing to see to the left so just keep looking right and you can just make out the volcano on Java's north coast. I couldn't see any volcano or maybe he was just making it up. I mean, I didn't know until we landed that we lost an engine because I kept looking out the right side. Even the people on the left were looking out the right side. He said we had to return to Singapore because he thought he left the toaster oven on in the Captain's lounge. He's good.

Notes: There were no reported injuries, but many passengers appeared frustrated that there is no 'u' in Qantas. The airline had no comment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Toomey calls Sestak's 'Pat Poopey' ads 'outrageously childish and immature'

Harrisburg, PA--The race for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania had some fuel added to the fire when a last minute attack ad by Joe Sestak, the democratic nominee, aired across the state last night. The political advertisement, which lasted just over 20 seconds, shows only the above image of Pat Toomey, the republican nominee, while a monotone voice repeats over and over, "Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey, Pat Poopey. Pat Toomey? No, Pat Poopey. Paid for by Joe Sestak for U.S. Senate." This morning, Toomey was at a loss for words when reporters approached the U.S. House Representative, who was on his way to vote, about the ad. "I was shocked. I ... I, um ..." Toomey said, then gathered his thoughts. "Joe Sescrap is a real class act. I didn't know Joe Sescrap was so clever. I will say that Joe Sescrap's ads are outrageously childish and immature and highly offensive. Joe Sescrap you are a real winner. We'll see how today goes, Joe Sescrap. Joe Sescrap."

Spectrum statues to be relocated in front of planned mall Sunglass Hut

Above: A rendering of the new location of the Spectrum's statues at PhillyLive!'s future Sunglass Hut.

South Philadelphia--As preparation for the demolition of the Spectrum continues, workers removed the bronze statues around the outside of the hallowed arena on Friday with the help of cranes and straps. Among the works of art being relocated are the Kate Smith statue, Julius Erving statue and the "Score" statue--a tribute to Gary Dornhoefer's 1973 goal against the Minnesota North Stars. Yesterday, it was announced that a new location for the metal likenesses had been chosen. Philly Live! (pictured below), the new shopping and entertainment venue planned for the site, recently reached a lease agreement with Sunglass Hut, the world's largest sunglasses store which can be found in most malls and airports around the globe. "This economy is tough," said Ed Snider, Chairman of Comcast Spectacor, tears streaming from under his new black-framed sunglasses. "To bring tenants into Philly Live! we have to go the extra mile. As part of the contract, Sunglass Hut requested that the statues, which are all near and dear to my heart, be positioned in front of the new store once completed. Is this the ideal location? No, but we need to fill these commercial spaces." The eyewear company is foreseeing thousands of photos being taken by visiting fans of the statues with the store in the background, which, they hope, will act as free advertising.