April 14, 2015 |
IT WAS COMING up on Christmas 2000 when David R. Boldt had his customary martini lunch with Santa Claus. Apart from trying and failing to twinkle the way Santa did during their conversations, David had news to impart. He was taking an early retirement after 28 years at the Inquirer as a writer and editor. "What do you hope people say about you?" Santa asked. "I'd like it if someone asked, 'Who was that masked man?' " "This triggered a moment of reverie," David wrote, "and when I turned back, I saw that Santa had quietly left, once again sticking me with the check.
March 18, 2015 |
WHEN CHILDREN of the Laverty family began to question the existence of Santa Claus, one thing they had no doubts about: There definitely was a "Mrs. Claus. " She was Mom and Grandmom - Teresa Laverty. And if there was a Mrs. Claus, there had to be a Santa Claus. Right? Christmas was one of Teresa's favorite holidays and she made the most of it. With six children and eight grandchildren, as well as in-laws, nieces and nephews, her gift list was rather extensive. It didn't matter.
March 17, 2015 |
With a host of new apartments and retail stores planned for the Market Street East area, the dumpy stretch between City Hall and Independence Mall may be on the verge of becoming Philadelphia's next great neighborhood. But there's still a huge question mark hanging over the future of the Gallery mall, that dull fortress where stores are shutting down to make way for a redesign whose details have yet to be revealed. The Gallery, after faltering for years, recently was listed among the nation's "dead " malls.
January 13, 2015
LESS THAN TWO WEEKS after Christmas, Santa Claus is back - this time wearing a Barack Obama mask, pulling the gift of "free tuition" out of his sack. The idea came out of leftfield, following his bold moves on illegal immigration, climate control with China and opening a door to Cuba. Santa Claus has gifts only for good children, and Santa Obama has a few strings on his proposal, called America's College Promise. Before we analyze the content, let's agree on two things: First, the tuition is "free" to students, but the bill will be paid by the government, meaning you. Second, since the money goes to the colleges, it motivates them to enroll as many students as possible and to keep them eligible as long as possible.
December 23, 2014
HERE WE ARE again, on the threshold of Christmas, when the wish is for peace and love. Tragically, one of the least peaceful and loving places on Earth is the Holy Land. Maybe the coming year will bring improvement, maybe not. Probably not. History does not create confidence in the future. While I look ahead to Thursday, I do not forget the (not-quite) co-equal celebration, the Jewish Festival of Lights, that we're in the middle of. It's not amazing, but American: The two holidays co-exist peacefully.
December 23, 2014 |
Jessica Frantes answered a knock at her door in a sparkly tulle skirt, a flower headband in her hair, and gazed up to see Santa Claus on the front steps. The 5-year-old's smile only widened when Santa - played by a Winslow Township police officer - led her to a sleigh filled with presents. It was a day of hugs and tears for family and friends of Jessica, who saw her mother killed just five months ago - and for the men and women who responded to the scene that day. Police say Jennifer Bongco, 42, was stabbed more than 50 times by her boyfriend, Kevin Ambrose, near her home on July 25. Ambrose then dropped Jessica off at home, authorities say, before dumping Bongco's body on the side of the road a few blocks away.
December 21, 2014 |
The question is a December evergreen: Are we going to have a White Christmas? The answer this year, is almost certainly no - the same answer as in most years. So why does the question keep popping up every Christmas season with the regularity of bad holiday music? Around here and for an overwhelming majority of the nation's population - not to mention Bethlehem, in the Holy Land - snow at Christmas is decidedly the exception. Only seven times in the last 56 years has an inch or more of snow been on the ground officially in Philly on Dec. 25, most emphatically in 1966, when a foot fell from a storm that continued into the early-morning hours.
December 15, 2014 |
Jalynn Cage, 7, walked into Toyland and rubbed her hands together slowly, in delicious anticipation - 1,000 toys to choose from! In a moment, her arms were full, with a stuffed animal - "the biggest I could find" - a magic kit, and an arts-and-crafts set. The third grader from Edward T. Steel Elementary School in Philadelphia could barely see over her haul as she waited to pose with Santa. Behind her was Jaden Cooper, 6, a first grader at Girard College school, with a new basketball.
March 6, 2014 |
ON THIS, the first day of Lent, it is fitting to suggest things that can be given up for the next 40 days (or more). And so, we humbly propose: * That the Sixers give up losing. The Sixers, 0-for-11 in February, have lost 15 straight. * That Detroit Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler gives up bad-mouthing his old team, the Texas Rangrs. "I hope they go 0-162," Kinsler told ESPN The Magazine. "I got friends, and I love my friends, but I hope they lose their ass. " * That Dennis Rodman gives up his U.S. citizenship.
December 24, 2013
One break at a time I hope City Council saw the front of The Inquirer's Local section the other day. The lead article noted that developer Carl Dranoff received a $3 million loan from the Delaware River Port Authority for a Camden project but has yet to repay anything ("Probe of DRPA widens," Dec. 18). Below the fold, we read of Dranoff claiming a Philadelphia tax break is essential to the development of a $210 million hotel and condominium project ("Dranoff calls tax break crucial," Dec. 18)