February 10, 2015 |
BY DAY, rhythm guitarist Mike Ellis and drummer Nikki Shannon, friends for 24 of their 48 years, rehab homes they've bought in Ellis' native West Philadelphia, then sell them and rehab some more. By night, they morph into Crown of Earth, playing wall-shaking anthems with bandmates Chris Graziola (lead guitar), Danny Knight (vocals) and Marky Z (bass), including "Born Again Warrior," their tribute to veterans that comes straight from their heavy-metal hearts. Ellis said that as a kid, he spent two weeks every summer with a great-uncle who'd survived the 1942 Bataan Death March and three years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp before being liberated on V-J Day in 1945.
October 2, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The ever-optimistic coach James Franklin offered something new last weekend, and it wasn't a positive adjective. In fact, it was a different tone entirely. "I promise you and guarantee you it will be fixed," Franklin said of Penn State's performance after an unexpected 23-point loss to Northwestern on Saturday. Franklin's previously unbeaten Nittany Lions appeared primed to enter their first bye week with a full head of steam. News of the sanctions being rescinded led to an increased buzz around a program that had its bowl ban lifted less than three weeks ago. The removed sanctions offered the potential for a return to an 85-scholarship roster as soon as next season.
July 18, 2014
I HATE "urban music," whether it's rap, hip-hop, gangsta or whatever else they're calling it these days. The brutal assault on my ears and my dignity (Beyonce, honey: Jay Z and your gynecologist should be the only ones gazing at . . . that) makes me wonder what Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston would think of the trashy mess. When I wrote something similar a few years ago, I got called a lot of things that would fit right in with an urban melody. I also, predictably, was labeled a racist because, as everyone knows, you cannot malign rap, etc., without also wanting to repeal the 13th Amendment.
July 3, 2014 |
I AM A baseball fan. I love all aspects of the game: the fact that it's your companion for the entire summer and hopefully well into the fall, the idea that every at-bat creates its own set of circumstances that can turn the tide of a game in a heartbeat, the fact that not every season can be a repeat of the Phillies' magical 2008 season, but that every season can be enjoyed for the ride it gives you. I cherish baseball. I have delighted in the opportunity to spend special time with my son every summer for the past 16 years as we travel to a new ballpark, just the two of us. We have journeyed to 14 different parks, and Cooperstown, N.Y. This year we're trekking to Atlanta.
May 2, 2014
GLOBAL climate change is a public-health emergency that can pollute our air and water, threaten our food supply and foster infectious disease. We already see increasing emergency-room visits, hospitalizations and deaths on a global scale. If we continue our current course in emitting greenhouse gases, the resulting burden of disease will increase. In Pennsylvania, we have hundreds of coal mines, nuclear and coal-fired power plants, and more than 7,000 natural-gas wells that extract methane - a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
April 8, 2014
P EGGY ZWERVER, 59, and husband Tom Baker, 57, of Germantown, own Earth Bread + Brewery, a sustainable restaurant and brewpub in Mount Airy, which they started in 2008. I spoke with Zwerver. Q: How'd you come up with the idea for the biz? A: We had a production brewery in Ocean, N.J. On the bottom of the production chain you see how much people make on a product you created. So after seven years we decided we wanted a [spot] where we'd want to hang out and Tom could brew anything and we'd be sustainable.
March 27, 2014 |
MY COLLEAGUE Stephanie Farr and I were a mess yesterday. Steph had just heard about the death of 3-year-old Brayden Chandler, whose story she told so beautifully last month. Terminally ill with kidney cancer, Brayden had taken a dream trip to Disney World with his family. When they returned, more than 150 police cars greeted them at the airport and escorted them home to Delaware County. There, hundreds more well-wishers cheered Brayden and his parents, Jackie Marinelli and Jason Chandler.
March 15, 2014 |
NEW YORK - It was obvious weeks or maybe months ago: There would be no sequel on Olney Avenue, no magic-carpet reprise. The Southwest Philly Floater was a singular blessed event. This year's La Salle Explorers right away proved mortal, and often as not, beatable. A year after pulling up a game short of the NCAA's Elite Eight, the Explorers failed to make the Atlantic 10's final eight, losing Thursday afternoon to St. Bonaventure, 82-72, and finishing 15-16. Local hoops history will always have room for the 2013 Explorers.
February 13, 2014 |
Call it cliche, but Valentine's Day remains the second-most popular holiday (behind Christmas Eve) to propose marriage. Now consider the thousands of askers readying themselves for Friday with rings purchased, roses ready, knees limber. All that's left to do is pop the question in a fairy-tale scenario that will be forever cherished by the askee. Or maybe not. Despite a wedding industry that puts immense pressure on men to devise death-defying feats of romance with just the right unique proposal, there have been and always will be people who manage the most unremarkable declaration of love - and live to tell the tale.
December 24, 2013 |
AS A GOOD PORTION of the world gears up for Christmas, "the war on free speech" got a bit of a present in Russia, of all places, when the last two imprisoned members of punk band Pussy Riot walked out of prison yesterday and then criticized the amnesty measure that released them as a publicity stunt. Like a noted American duck caller, they won't back down. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were granted amnesty last week in a move largely viewed as the Kremlin's attempt to soothe criticism of Russia's human-rights record before the Sochi Games in February.