November 19, 2004 |
A group of Iraqi politicians came here this month to learn how to build a democratic state from the ashes of totalitarianism. The Czechs know a thing or two about this tricky business - all the better to provide the cautionary tales for those who must try to grow something so fragile as democracy in the violence and chaos of Iraq. Better even than going to learn in America, where democracy has been around a long time and where how it all began is found in history books. Sallama al-Khafaji, an independent member of the interim Iraqi National Assembly, was impressed with what she saw at polling sites as the citizens of the Czech Republic cast ballots in parliamentary voting.
October 10, 2004 |
Working side by side, Jared Cohen and Chris Kanetsky stretched beaded leather strings along a bright yellow ruler. "One foot, five inches," said Cohen, 16, an 11th grader at Council Rock South High School. "Write that down. " Kanetsky, 17, a 12th grader, added the measurement to the list, prompting an immediate thank you from Cohen. A half-dozen classmates crowded around two computers creating posters and labels. Another group designed a brochure. Still others, using wood sticks and glue, secured beads onto the ends of the strings.
October 1, 2004 |
Most of the people who belong to the Hobby Greenhouse Association's Delaware Valley Chapter don't own a greenhouse. "About a third of our 80 members have greenhouses," says Bernie Wiener of Havertown, who founded the local chapter. "The rest garden under lights or on windowsills, but they dream that someday they will have a greenhouse. "We are all indoor gardeners," he says, and that has become the focus of the chapter: to promote the growing of healthy plants indoors, whether in a terrarium or an estate-size greenhouse.
August 22, 2004 |
Joseph Volpe read a lot while stationed in Binh Dinh province during the Vietnam War. Camus, Sartre, Nietzsche . . . books that were a little on the dark side, he says, but oddly comforting. "They seemed to speak to the circumstances in which I found myself," Volpe, of Elkins Park, said last week. "There was a message of strength. It raised the possibility, even if it was an illusion, of being able to stand up to" uncertainty and terror. Volpe still ponders the philosophical questions raised by the war. Only now, he does it as a philosophy professor at La Salle University, where he teaches a course called Contesting Narratives: Versions of the Vietnam War. Using poetry, fiction, memoir and film, Volpe gets his students thinking about the nature of war, the trauma of combat, and whether such extreme human experience can be truly represented in the media, he said.
June 20, 2004 |
A brief trip to Cape May in 1994 sold Elsie Mueller on traveling with Elderhostel, the nation's first and largest educational and travel organization for older adults. Mueller, a widow living in Lansdowne, Delaware County, found that a six-day stay at the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel in Cape May cost far less than if she had made her own arrangements. Plus it included a number of cultural side trips. And pleasant company. "I was surprised to find that people on the trip enjoyed the same things I did, including museums and a bird sanctuary," the 76-year-old recounted.
June 16, 2004
Affordable field trips for students are available Thanks to Lini S. Kadaba for bringing to light the reality that many schools cannot afford field trips to local attractions and therefore take advantage of free trips to various stores ("Instead of zoo, it's off to Petco for field trips," May 25). Teachers do have options when it comes to accessible local outings for their students. Along with the many free offerings available in the Independence Park area, the National Liberty Museum offers free and low-cost tours for children and young adults.
May 27, 2004
In a world of a million childhood distractions - television, music, sports, instant messaging - school remains largely an "uncluttered environment," as marketers put it. Those marketers would love to change that. They're eager to bombard that huge, captive, impressionable audience with the seductions of consumerism. First came Channel One, with its ad-laden newscasts; then computer deals, exclusive soda contracts and naming rights for gyms. Now schools are selling out their field trips, too. Instead of rubber snakes from a zoo gift shop, this year's field trip souvenir may be a free Sports Authority lunch box or a rub-on Petco tattoo.
May 25, 2004 |
Rutgers University has a new course, but you have to be a professor to take it. Called Garden State 101, it is a five-day, 540-mile field-trip meant to immerse relatively new instructors in all things New Jersey - or as much as can be covered in that time. The traveling seminar hit the road yesterday, starting at university president Richard McCormick's home in Piscataway, N.J., and stopping in Trenton, Camden and Cherry Hill before heading to Vineland to spend the night. And you might be happy to know that on field trips, even professors get the fourth-grade treatment of a head count when they board the bus. "The goal here is to connect the university to the state, emulating a little bit of that Midwestern tradition where the 'U' is a more central institution in the state than Rutgers currently is in New Jersey," McCormick said.