There are three things certain in life -- death, taxes, and newspaper quotes from "regular Joe" man-on-the-street Greg Packer. The 44-year-old water treatment plant worker from Long Island is a living legend in the news business for getting quoted, usually up in the Big Apple:

NEW YORK He's not just another face in the crowd at concerts, book signings, and sporting events. Somehow, over the course of 10 years, one man has managed to become the media's go-to guy, quoted more than 100 times in various publications, including several prominent newspapers. Greg Packer is the "man on the street."

Packer, 40, of Huntington, N.Y., arrives early to media events. His latest accomplishment: being 15th in line in Washington, D.C., to pay his respects to former President Ronald Reagan. "I'm the best person to come to — anywhere," says Packer. "I always give time, and I always have an answer."

And that was back in 2004 -- he's made the news a lot more since then: in 2007 he was the very first person in line for an iPhone. In fact, some editors have explicitly ordered their reporters to stop quoting Packer in their articles, since the idea is to quote ordinary people, not attention seekers:

In June 2003, the Associated Press circulated a memo instructing its reporters not to quote Packer in any more stories, saying the media had been over-relying on him.

You know who apparently didn't get the memo? Jen A. Miller of the New York Times, who covered today's massive parade for the Phillies down Broad Street. From her article.
The parade drew fans from beyond the region, too.

This may be the most exciting news of the week. When Greg Packer comes to your town, you've made the big-time! Philadelphia really is a world-class city.