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Season 8 of Dexter premiered Sunday, June 30th , and I’m sure many fans of the show tuned with in a mix of excitement and sadness.  Excitement because it started months earlier than usual.  Sadness because it is the beginning of the end.Photo: epguides.com


It seemed that Showtime wanted to mess with viewers just a little bit.  They took five minutes to show some key moments from previous seasons and some clips of those who have starred on the show.  And then just when you thought it would finally start, it took another six minutes to recap season 7.


When the episode titled “A Beautiful Day” FINALLY started at 9:11, we learned that it was six months after the events that occurred in the season 7 finale.  


Dexter and a much older Harrison are living a seemingly normal life and all seems good. 


For now…


Batista has come back and is now in LaGuerta’s role as lieutenant, and Deb has pretty much gone off the deep end.  She regrets killing LaGuerta so decides to pretty much disconnect herself from her old life- leaving the force to become a private investigator and also jumping into a reckless life of drugs, alcohol, and shady characters. Deb has barely kept in touch with anyone, especially Dexter, whom she hasn’t seen or talked to in weeks. Worried, Dexter finds her, sees what she’s become, and tries to bring her back—all to no avail.


Of course, there is a new murder to investigate.  The victim is shot, his head is cut open, and a piece of his brain has been removed.  An expert, Dr. Evelyn Vogel, is brought in to help with the investigation and speculates that the killer may actually be a serial killer who will continue with his gruesome kills.


But, it seems like Dr. Vogel might have an ulterior motive for offering her help.  Could she possibly know something about Dexter and the fact that he is actually the Bay Harbor Butcher?


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Dexter learns that Deb may be in trouble after Quinn tells him that she had called asking for help.  So he goes looking for her, with Harrison in tow, finds her at a seedy motel, and tries to warn her about El Sapo.  Instead, he ends up killing the dirtbag Briggs that she’s been holed up with and pushes her even farther away.  He also almost loses Harrison!


Deb ends up possibly on El Sapo’s radar, even though she thought she’d be safe, which cannot be good for her down the road.

The show ends with us learning that Vogel does, indeed, have an ulterior motive and that she does know about Dexter.  What could this end up meaning?? We’ll just have to check out the rest of the season to see.  And if the previews for the season are any indicator, it’s going to a good one!!


Valerie Schirmer is a freelance writer/editor who has written about a wide variety of topics for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She currently resides in South Jersey with her husband, daughter, and a crazy dachshund.

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Photo: epguides.com

When I first heard about last night’s Philadelphia 76ers draft, I was upset. Trading away a potential star and franchise player in Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for a one-dimensional player (Michael Carter-Williams) and a poor man's Anthony Davis (Nerlens Noel). Photo: USA TODAY Sports


The Sixers love getting big men when they’re washed up or coming off injuries (Elton Brand, Chris Webber and last years headache Andrew Bynum). Noel, who by the way is coming off a serious injury to his leg, couldn't reach the stardom of a player of Holiday's caliber even before his injury, but nonetheless is probably the potential good side of last night's draft.


In addition to grabbing the Pelicans’ sixth pick, the Sixers still had the 11th pick and selected Syracuse's  Carter-Williams, who is supposed to be Holiday's replacement. Carter-Williams is a good player, but isn’t close to Holiday's caliber. He’s mainly a pass first point guard who at the NBA level will not be able to break his man down or create to the level of that Holiday can.


But this is where it gets better. The 2014 NBA Draft will be a star-studded draft. Many say it will be close to the level of the 2003 draft, which featured LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The 2014 draft will most likely feature Andrew Wiggins (whom many compare to James), Jabari Parker, the Harrison Twins, Julius Randle, and even Philly's own Rasheed Jordan.


So with the Pelicans and the Sixers most likely not making the playoffs next year, we stand a good chance of having two shots at the first overall pick of next year’s draft lottery. But even if the Sixers don't get the first or second pick, they will most likely leave the draft having selected two really good players.


So yes Sixers fans, next year will be a waste, too. But the future looks as high as Nerlens Noel’s vertical leap.


Malik Charlton is a self-described  "Weird dude with no special talent, just a lot of goals and crazy ambitions!" Malik is a 2013 graduate from Community College of Philadelphia, a poet and sports writer who also writes for the blog "The Sports Leek!" at the website ru-crazy.com. You can find him on Instagram  and on Twitter @weirdo_leek.  



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Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, June 30th marks the beginning of the end…for Dexter, that is.  


Surely you know all about the popular Showtime series. That is, unless you don’t have the cable channel, haven’t checked your Facebook news feed on a Monday morning during the fall season in the last few years, or have been living under a rock.


The series follows the story of Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter expert/father/serial killer of serial killers.  It’s the kind of show that actually makes you root for the “bad guy” and hope that he never gets caught.Dexter Photo: Randy Tepper: Showtime


The last seven seasons have been full of twists and turns, amazing surprises, and an ever-changing storyline that has kept viewers hooked.  We’ve seen him murder his own long-lost, biological brother (the Ice Truck Killer), pretend to be someone he’s not to get into a serial killer’s inner circle, fall in love, lose that said love at the hands of a brutal murderer, become a father, go to and from work each day and try to cover up the fact that the guy they are looking for is actually him, and so much more.


If you’re gearing up for Season 8, which also happens to be the show’s final season, yet have missed some or all of Season 7, then you might want to read on.


So much went on during the season that it would take forever to get through it all, but here are some of the highlights:


Season 6 ended with Deb seeing Dexter kill Travis Marshall, so fans couldn’t wait for 7 to start to see her reaction.  Well, considering she was looking for Dexter to tell him she’s in love with him (her adopted brother!!) the sight definitely killed her buzz.  


Now that she knew his secret, she pulled away from him while trying to wrap her head around the revelation.  She also went to his apartment and found all of his paraphernalia, which made her decide that it would be her mission to keep him out of trouble and stop his dark extra-curricular activities.


Dexter spent a lot of the season trying to break free of Deb’s tight grasp, managing to start and keep up his relationship with Hanna McKay and also continue his, um, work.

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Speaking of Hanna—she tried to eliminate Deb, which didn’t work and just pissed off Dexter.  


He didn’t kill her, but she ended up in jail after it came to light that she had been a willing participant in murders that occurred years ago.


In the first episode, LaGuerta stumbled across quite a surprise at the Travis Marshall crime scene—a blood slide that made her think that the Bay Harbor Butcher was actually still out there and at work.  She spent the season trying to prove that the Butcher is still out there and may actually be Dexter.  


And what did all her efforts get her?  Killed—by Deb!!  A season finale shocker that no one saw coming!!


Quinn got himself in with the wrong crowd, Batista left the force to run his own restaurant, Masuka was still trying to get a date, and Dexter continued to speak to his dead father.


Season 8 will definitely be awesome. We’ll get to see how the relationship between Dexter and Deb pans out, if Hanna manages to come back and take care of her loose ends, if a new killer must be taken out, and so much more.  


But, the biggest question that will hopefully be answered is if Dexter will get caught or will manage to allude the law for good.


Don’t forget to tune in this Sunday at 9pm.    





Valerie Schirmer is a freelance writer/editor who has written about a wide variety of topics for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She currently resides in South Jersey with her husband, daughter, and a crazy dachshund.


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Dexter Photo: Randy Tepper: Showtime

I’ll admit it. Last year, I purchased a Sixers partial game plan with a friend of mine. Today, my friend received this email in regards to their upcoming season.

The Sixers have left the fans of this city in the dark in regards to every move associated with this franchise, but they don’t forget to send partial season ticket plan notices for their hopeless basketball team. Yes, technically they're a business and I get that, but man....


Philadelphia 76ers

Secure your 2013-14 Partial Plan Today!

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to see it in a web browser. 



Dear _______,

Now is the time to place your $100 deposit towards a 20 GAME or 10 GAME Partial Plan for the Sixers 2013-14 Season!

All Sixers Partial Plan Holders are guaranteed:

  • Same seat location for each game

  • Invitation to Special Events

  • Priority seating for Sixers NBA Playoffs

  • Ticket Exchange Program

  • Interest-Free Monthly Payment Plan


*All deposits are non-refundable




Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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This past Monday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered flags in the state to be lowered in honor of late Sopranos star James Gandolfini, who died suddenly last week of a heart attack at age 51.


Now I must admit, I was an avid Sopranos watcher. His show is still one of the most beloved of all time. GandolPhoto: pastemagazine.comfini is a Jersey native who graduated from Rutgers.  I get it.


But I don’t get why flags have to be lowered for him.


I said the same thing last year in regards to Whitney Houston’s passing last year. Now sure, Houston’s track record was way spottier than Gandolfini’s, but it has nothing to do with how these celebrities died.


What about police officers killed in the line of duty? What about all the soldiers who’ve lost their lives over the last ten years fighting a war that we still primarily don’t know the main reason why we were even fighting. What about public officials who are trying to make a difference in the community or beyond. That right should be truly reserved for them. Personally, I think this cheapens this honor. Stepping in front of a microphone or camera and memorizing lines doesn’t warrant such a prestigious honor.

And as great an entertainer as he was, chances are Gandolfini would agree.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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James Gandolfini photo: pastemagazine.com




Want to support the improvement of Philly public schools? The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, the city’s education newspaper, will hold its end-of-school-year celebration on Tuesday, June 11, from 4:30 to 7 pm at the University of the Arts. For details, call 215-951-0330 ext. 2144 or visit thenotebook-dot-org-slash-celebration (thenotebook.org/celebration) 


Philadelphia Public School Notebook’s end-of-school-year celebration will be held Tuesday, June 11, from 4:30 to 7 pm at the University of the Arts (Hamilton Hall) at 320 S. Broad Street. Proceeds from the event help the Notebook, a non-profit newspaper dedicated exclusively to improvement of the Philadelphia public schools, to continue turning the page for change. For details, call 215-951-0330 ext. 2144 or visit thenotebook-dot-org-slash-celebration (thenotebook.org/celebration)


 FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Paul Socolar or Shawn Phillips at 215-951-0330, ext. 2107 or at notebook@thenotebook.org


The Notebook, 3721 Midvale Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19129

www.thenotebook.org, (215) 951-0330, ext. 2160


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For the first time, people in the Philadelphia area wanting to get the inside scoop on how to succeed in the TV business can go to a camp and learn from people who are on the air right now!Fox 29's Sue Serio and husband Billy Vargus to launch Broadcasting Camp


The Serio-Vargus Broadcasting Camp will be taught by Fox 29 weather anchor Sue Serio, along with former Fox 29 sports anchor Bill Vargus.  


They have guest instructors lined up, too- including Fox 29 personalities Mike Jerrick and Kacie McDonnell.  Jerrick, of course, has done it all during his career, including co-hosting his own national show, "Mike and Juliet" on the Fox network.  


McDonnell, on the other hand, will just be celebrating her 23rd birthday the day of her appearance, but that should help her relate to many of the campers who are in college and wondering what it's like when you first start out in TV.  

 Kacie McDonnell photo: myfoxphilly.com

We’ll also have:


-Scott Graham, the voice of NFL Films and Papa John's commercials, to help explain the use of voice in radio, TV, and voiceover work;


-Kathy Gerrow, the Assistant News Director at NBC10 who has held just about every position imaginable in a TV station


-Actor Brian Anthony Williams, who was in the TV show "The Wire" and countless feature films, to help explain some acting principles to improve on-camera performance; and several others.


The camp runs for one week (July 29th to August 2nd) and will be held at Villanova University. On the final day, we will meet at a studio to record demos for all of the campers.  


The website for more info and to sign up is www.broadcastingcamp.com.


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Kacie McDonnell photo: myfoxphilly.com

As I sit typing this latest column, I look up at my reflection in the window and see my hair frizzing to oblivion. Yup, it’s official - we’ve just done a cannonball into another outrageously humid summer.   


Honestly, I love it. The trees are green and gorgeous, flowers are blooming and the industrial-strength weeds covering my yard are so lush that (when just mowed) my lawn looks worthy of a Masters Tournament (insert polite, muted golf clapping here…).


Best of all, now is the time you can put some fabulously frugal summertime moves into play that will save your household big money (and reduce big-time stress) in just a few months time.


(1) Start walking - No more excuses, it’s time to get moving. The weather is too gorgeous to enjoy it by looking out the windows.  It’s time to get out there for a well-deserved stroll.  Your health, wellness and stress levels will thank you for it.  If you’re working in an office, walk to your local eatery for lunch, or just put that mid-day break to good use with a healthy stretch - just get outdoors and get that oxygen pumping. Better yet, “forget” your cell phone at your desk and take some time just for yourself.  For those working at home, take a half-hour out with the kids and head to the nearest park.  If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll sleep like a rock that night.  

Bonus!Photo: ww.delightfulcuisine.com



(2) Start using the grill – If it’s heating up outside, it’s heating up doubly-fast in the kitchen.  Bake one batch of cookies for your kid’s class and suddenly your kitchen feels like it’s 20 feet from the surface of the sun.  If one of your summertime goals is to reduce your air conditioning bills, do as much cooking outdoors as you can.


Practice safe grilling (of course) and put your imagination to work on fun items you may never have thought to cook on your grill!  Philly2Philly readers have emailed me fabulous grilling tips (many gleaned from imaginative cooking techniques created during last year’s Hurricane Sandy power outage) that include boiling water for ice tea, boiling eggs, making toast, cookies and brownies, boiling noodles, scrambling eggs in a frying pan directly placed on the grill surface, etc. Basically, I realize now that anything short of a soufflé can be done with your outdoor grill.  Gotta love it.


(3) Start scouting out flea markets and garage sales – This tip is two-fold.  If you have things that you need in your home (clothes for growing kids, items for your house), start checking out your local garage sales and flea markets – they could have just what you need for a fraction of retail.  Same goes for Craigslist – ‘tis the season for organized people to get their houses cleaned out and their hundreds of unwanted items online and ready for you to grab for 95% off.  On the flip side, if you’re looking to create a bit of additional income this summer, give some thought to snagging a booth at your next local flea market or holding a garage sale of your own.  You empty the house of everything you’ve outgrown, someone else benefits from it – everyone’s a winner.


Here’s to another money-making, money-saving summertime!



Kristen Hagopian hosts “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show” Tuesdays at 11A on Philadelphia’s WFYL 1180AM.  Her next Brilliant Frugal Living Conference is October 22nd in West Chester, with $5 of every ticket sold being donated to the Chester County Food Bank to assist families in need.  Log onto www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com for more information!

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Photo: ww.delightfulcuisine.com

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