January 5, 2016 |
IN THE DOCUMENTARY about the making of "Star Wars," the venerable Walter Cronkite lauded the first movie for lifting the United States out of our "depression of the '70s," the mood induced by the trauma of Vietnam and the skullduggery of Watergate. We were ready to believe in heroes again, and to affirm an intergalactic morality tale wrapped in dazzling special effects. Since we knew not our preternatural need for "Star Wars," it hit us with the force of The Force. We can't reasonably expect J.J. Abrams to deliver the same kind of experience that George Lucas did back then, nailing the zeitgeist with a product we couldn't ask for because we didn't know we needed it. We have asked and asked; finally, he's delivered an engaging flick.
January 4, 2016 |
After the grim foreign-policy news from the Mideast in 2015, can we hope for anything better in the new year? That would be a relief, after a year in which ISIS thrived amid the Mideast chaos and civil wars that flooded Europe with one million refugees, half of them from Syria. So is there any reason to expect things to improve in 2016? After all, in December the world's major powers agreed on a framework plan for ending the Syrian civil war, right? And the Iraqi army (retrained, yet again, by U.S. officers)
December 29, 2015 |
Visitors to PoliticalFest during the Democratic National Convention this summer will be able to indulge in a political museum and fair of sorts fashioned after such professional sports festivals as FanFest and JamFest. People will be able to sit at a news anchor's desk and read from a teleprompter, see videos of old campaign commercials and a mini replica of the White House. And there will, of course, be plenty of T-shirts and political souvenirs for sale. PoliticalFest will be the one large convention event open to the public.
December 28, 2015 |
Hope vanished in Philadelphia on Saturday night when DeMarco Murray fumbled a pitch from Sam Bradford and watched the Washington Redskins return the turnover for a touchdown. It was a cruel and fitting way for the Eagles to accept playoff elimination. Two key pieces of Chip Kelly's offseason overhaul took part in a play that permanently swung momentum in a 38-24 loss to the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. The loss ended any chance the Eagles had to make the postseason.
December 28, 2015
Orlando R. Barone is a writer in Doylestown Santa came on Christmas Eve. Or did he? There are definite holes in the Santa story. Enna, my 5-year-old granddaughter, recently happened on one. "What is Mrs. Claus' name?" she asked me shortly before Christmas. "Mrs. Claus," I said reasonably. Didn't fly. "But what's her name? Like my mommy's name is Tanya. " I've heard about Mrs. Claus my whole life. I've seen drawings of her. I know she pulls Santa's boots off after a long night of toy delivering.
December 28, 2015
The Prize Who's in Charge of America's Schools? By Dale Russakoff Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 237 pages. $27 Reviewed by Barbara Hall Throughout the 1960s, Newark, N.J., was a city in trouble. Nowhere was that more apparent than in the city's 70 struggling schools. Dale Russakoff, author of The Pr ize, an excellent chronicle, identifies a "cycle of neglect and corruption" over decades that made a terrible situation worse. In 2010 then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker, N.J. Gov. Christie, and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, joined in what became known as "the nighttime ride.
December 26, 2015 |
The 76ers hope Ish Smith will once again be a difference-maker, someone to get Nerlens Noel going again. It's no secret that the Sixers point guards have mostly struggled this season. As a result, so has the team's 6-foot-11, 223-pound power forward/center. But Noel was playing at rookie of the year level after the Sixers acquired Smith off waivers in February. So there's some optimism that Noel can once again elevate his game after the team reacquired Smith in exchange for two future second-round picks from the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
December 24, 2015 |
Last Christmas, Ruben Rivera slept in the backseat of his father's pickup truck in Kensington with nothing to keep him warm but the heroin in his pocket. If his father had found him tucked away in his truck in the Christmastime cold, Ruben does not think he would have invited him inside. That goodwill had long ago disappeared. Ruben doesn't blame him. By last Christmas, Ruben, 55, had been living on the streets of Philadelphia for eight years. He had been living on heroin for much longer.
December 21, 2015 |
WHAT AN EAGLES season this has been! We started with such high hopes, but, to use a horse racing analogy, they almost fell to their knees coming out of the gate. They somehow recovered to reach the halfway point at 4-4. Then, rather than cruising through the weakest three-game stretch on their schedule - against the subpar Dolphins, Buccaneers and Lions - and emerging at 7-4 and well on their way to a division title, disaster struck thrice and the Eagles' bandwagon emptied faster than Odell Beckham Jr. streaking for a touchdown.
December 18, 2015 |
WITH TYSON Fury's surprising dethronement of long-reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Nov. 28, the big-boy division that often has been described as the engine that drives professional boxing is suddenly like a train whose cars have been uncoupled and switched onto any number of different tracks with destinations of . . . well, who knows where? One of those runaway locomotives rumbles through Verona, N.Y., on Saturday night, where North Philadelphia's Bryant "By-By" Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs)