September 21, 2014 |
A few weeks ago, I presented a question from a mother who was looking for an explanation for the smell of tobacco emanating from not just one window air conditioner in her son's bedroom, but from a replacement unit as well. Apparently enough of us have smoked behind our parents' backs over the years that 45 readers offered that as the only explanation for the smell of smoke in the son's bedroom. Jim Zimak, who teaches Philadelphia students about heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning as an instructor at the Thomas A. Edison High School/John C. Fareira Skills Center, was helpful and not judgmental.
September 7, 2014 |
Art is imitating life here. As I write this, I'm waiting for our utility to replace a 1924 steel gas line that was found to be leaking. So the gas is off for a couple of hours, and a three-man crew is digging up the street in front of my house to fix the problem, thanks to a detection unit that roams our street once a year, as required by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. What happens between visits? Detection is up to you, and the utilities have made it easier.
August 1, 2014
IF YOU MOVED to Philadelphia during the last, say, 20 years, you speak a different language than the rest of us who are natives and have been here a while. I include myself in the latter group because, sure, I was 6 weeks old when my parents moved back north from Baltimore, but 42 days does not devotion make. We wax poetic (or "paoh-edd-ig") about East River Drive. We remember that the other side with the great view of Boathouse Row used to be called West River Drive, proving for posterity that Quakers are much better at educating folk than surprising them.
July 27, 2014 |
Q uestion: Over the last month, after running the air conditioner in my son's room, we noticed that it smelled like an ashtray. There is no hidden source, like a collection of cigarette butts in his room, so the logical thing was to clean the current air conditioner and see if it still smelled. Long story short, we ran an ionizer in his room when he was at overnight camp and bought a new air conditioner. After running the new air conditioner for two nights, the smell is back.
July 20, 2014 |
Food can be one of those unexpected flash points of late life. Grandma may say she's never hungry or that the only things that taste good are salty foods such as French fries. Grandpa may lose control over his sweet tooth, living on Tastykakes and ice cream. The rest of the family worries that poor nutrition will make their elders' already tenuous health even worse and hasten death. So, in frustration and fear, they chide or tempt loved ones to change their habits. Often, they learn what stubborn means.
April 20, 2014 |
Sometimes, it takes one angry accountant to get things done. Doctors have been aware of anosmia - the inability to smell - "as far as I know, forever," says Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in West Philadelphia. But they've never been able to do much about it. Monell scientists are working to change that. In February, they began a campaign to find a treatment for anosmia. And the campaign was spurred, in large part, by a letter Beauchamp received from one fed-up, anosmic accountant about a year ago. "He had lost his sense of smell.
April 5, 2014 |
For eight hours a day, Angel Perez sits in front of a screen as a troubleshooting computer technician. His free hours are spent juggling friends and family, leaving him little time to relax. "I'm doing 25 things at work and 125 things in my personal life," said Perez, 38, of North Philadelphia. "There are all the stresses we all have. " But every April, Perez finds peace under the blooming cherry trees in Fairmount Park during the annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. Perez, who began volunteering at the event about five years ago, said he can feel the tensions of work and everyday living melt away when he joins others in celebrating these signs of new life.
March 7, 2014 |
"I can teach all of freshman chemistry in 45 minutes without leaving anything out - it's one of my great achievements," says Clark Smith. Anyone who knows Smith knows he isn't bragging - not exactly. A noted winemaker, scientist, inventor, consultant, college professor, and author of the recent book Postmodern Winemaking (University of California Press), Smith, 62, is one of the most dynamic, erudite, and outspoken people I've ever met in the wine industry, not to mention a know-it-all.
February 14, 2014 |
FOR ANY FAN in any town who believes his basketball team should lose on purpose, take note: This is what tanking smells like. It is the putrid humiliation of trailing by 56 points to a Clippers team that is talented, yes, but had lost three of its previous five games and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last season. Clippers dunkmeister Blake Griffin was laughing on the bench 3 minutes into the second quarter . . . his team ahead by 37 points. It is the rank feeling of being dominated to the point that you trail by 49 to a Warriors team that is talented, yes, but had lost two of its last three and lost in the second round of the playoffs.
November 30, 2013 |
Lorraine Grochowski-Kiefer's herbal education began at age 2 or 3, literally at the feet of her two grandmothers. Babci was Polish; she grew dill and parsley for her pickles and cabbage. Mom-Mom was Italian; she favored parsley and basil for her lasagna and meatballs. And like the herbs that flourished in their large kitchen gardens, the Grochowskis and Kiefers lived intertwined lives in rural Franklinville, back when the tiny pocket of Gloucester County seemed like one seamless farm.