January 5, 2015 |
SAN FRANCISCO - I am sitting in a friend's home high in the hills of nearby Tiburon, Calif., thinking how very fortunate I am to be here. From the wall of windows in the rear of the house, I see the garden sloping up to the top of Mount Tiburon. Turning my attention to the windows lining the front rooms, I am met with a fog so dense that not a thing is visible. At times like these, there is such a quiet, mysterious quality to the fog that it is easy to imagine that nothing else exists in the world.
October 29, 2014 |
AFTER LIVING since 1968 in the Logan house owned by her mother and her stepfather, and raising her children there, Deborah Sharper nearly lost it in a sheriff's sale last year because of a tangled title. Her mother died shortly before her stepfather in 1998, so even though Sharper lived in the house and paid the bills, the only legal heir was her stepfather's natural daughter, who had a house of her own. "I was scared to death because I've lived here since I was 13," said Sharper, 60, whose name has never been on the title.
October 20, 2014 |
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. - Unknown That comment, often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, sums up quite a few responses when an elected school board is suggested for Philadelphia. That's understandable. One need spend only a few minutes thinking about the boss-driven, corruption-generating political system that democracy has produced in this city to decide it doesn't need any more of that. But such pessimism suggests that Philadelphians are incapable of what people in other cities and towns across America are doing, which is finding a way to maneuver through their own political cesspools to provide for the education of their children.
October 20, 2014 |
I lifted my backpack to my knees, shuffling everything inside it until I found my headphones and sketch pad. I needed these objects to distract me from hearing the man in front of me, belting out the Portuguese song playing on his iPod. Along with the other bewildered passengers at my sides, I couldn't resist releasing a giggle and smiling in the direction of my feet. I could catch a glimpse of the singing man through his reflection in the window. He appeared to be energized, and he sang with his eyes tightly shut.
September 19, 2014 |
Take 100 Philadelphians drawn from every age group, ethnicity, and neighborhood, put them on a theater stage, and have them share stories about their lives. Sheer madness? Pure cacophony? Try a piece of cutting-edge theater. And a fascinating one at that. Called 100% Philadelphia , the FringeArts production will stage three performances, Friday through Sunday, at Temple Performing Arts Center. And yes, each will be an evening of storytelling, show-and-tells, and audience Q&As featuring 100 ordinary Philadelphians ranging in age from 2 months to 81 years.
September 8, 2014 |
Pennsylvania law is clear: Defendants must be jailed for at least two months if caught driving after their license has been suspended for a DUI conviction. But that's not what happens most of the time in Philadelphia. While city police issue about 800 tickets for driving on so-called DUI-suspended licenses every year, fewer than one in five sticks. The rest of the defendants have their cases dismissed or they simply flee, court records show, taking advantage of years of Traffic Court disarray.
July 15, 2014 |
DONNY SMITH, president of the Mayfair Civic Association, wants to split the sprawling 15th Police District into two districts, with a guaranteed number of officers patrolling each neighborhood. Right now, Smith said, the quieter neighborhoods like his suffer quality-of-life crimes, such as theft when cops are busy responding to the 15th's high-crime areas. "We're a blue-collar neighborhood," Smith said. "People are at work all day. They don't want to come home to find their house was broken into because there aren't enough police patrolling the streets here.
July 10, 2014 |
THE CITY yesterday opened six BenePhilly Centers to assist low-income Philadelphians who are eligible for benefits but are not receiving them. Increasing benefits access is a major goal of Shared Prosperity, an anti-poverty plan that Mayor Nutter unveiled last year. He tasked Eva Gladstein, executive director of the Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, with creating and implementing the plan. The centers, Gladstein said, will help people "get benefits that can help alleviate some of the worst effects of poverty.
July 9, 2014 |
IN 1900, William McKinley was president. American soldiers were battling rebels in the Philippines. Orville and Wilbur Wright were tinkering with a contraption that was supposed to fly through the air, and Henry Ford was tinkering with the Model T, to be introduced in eight years and revolutionize American travel. And Anna Lois Berrian was born. Rural Georgia, her birthplace, was farm country, cotton and tobacco, and a place where black people knew their place, or paid dearly for not knowing it. In fact, it was the lynching of a young black man that was the main impetus for Anna's move to Philadelphia at age 22. Anna, who became Anna Henderson after marrying railroad worker Rembert Louis Henderson in 1925, became a much-honored and highly revered resident of West Philadelphia.
June 2, 2014 |
It's hard to imagine blue-collar Philadelphia sports fans, as impatient, boisterous and passionate as they can be, paying to watch people walk in circles for days on end. But for a brief period in the 1880s and early 1890s, when spectating options were as sparse as clean-shaven faces, our athletic-loving ancestors apparently found these marathons of monotony compelling. Competitive walking - or pedestrianism, as it then was called - briefly was the equal of baseball, horse racing, and rowing, particularly in large eastern cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.