September 7, 2009 |
Ronn Shaffer is not an authority on the history of labor, and he's never belonged to a union. But the 71-year-old semiretired businessman does know a thing or two about the landmark 1806 trial, Commonwealth v. George Pullis, et al., in which a band of brazen shoemakers who organized to demand higher wages were convicted of criminal conspiracy. He also has a great story about the time he wrote a letter to Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley in the 1970s and how he learned the power of treating union workers with respect.
June 5, 2008 |
Each summer, the Chester County Town Tours and Village Walks offer residents and visitors an intimate look at places that are often seen but dimly by motorists driving through. From June 12 to Aug. 21, strollers will be treated to free tours of 10 sites on Thursday evenings. Now in its 14th year, the tour attracts around 2,500 people to county hamlets and historical sites. Most of the tours are led by knowledgeable locals like Bill and Florence Supplee of Marshallton, who've lived there for more than 50 years, and Pat Gaines, head of the Uwchlan Township Historical Commission, who will lead a Lionville walk.
March 21, 2008
In Stephanie Cohen's garden, you'll find all sorts of plants, not just perennials and not just flowers. She's turned a small part of her half-acre in Collegeville into a meadow with a grass strip down the middle, so she can walk through it with her granddaughters. There are native grasses, asters, baptisias and several kinds of rudbeckias (black-eyed Susans). "I did it on the small side. I wanted to show people who want a natural habitat that they don't need a lot of ground. " Cohen grows certain herbs because they're pretty: A variegated basil called 'Pesto perpetuo'; African blue basil, which has a big blue spike like veronica or salvia and smells like cloves; and the aromatic southernwood, or Southern wormwood, which has feathery, gray-green leaves.
December 7, 2007 |
Move over, Christmas stockings. These lights will knock your socks off. Some homeowners believe that displaying three singing Homer Simpsons beats just one single singing chipmunk, and that supercalifragilisticexpialidocious lights rule. So one evening, take the kids to visit neighborhoods with sparkling stars to spare. You could start in South Philadelphia, where traditions are often born. On the hidden 1700 block of South Smedley Street, the holiday lights are so bright, you could read a newspaper inside your car at midnight.
October 15, 2007 |
At twilight, a team of investigators gathered up cameras and recording equipment and headed to work amid the carved obelisks, mausoleums and brooding statues of Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery. They stopped at the headstone of Maurice Fagan, a Civil War veteran and lawyer who fatally shot himself on his gravesite in 1899. They visited the headstone of Mary Peterson, whose heart was interred with her first husband - and whose body was buried with her second. And they paused at an impressive sculpture of a reclining lion over the graves of two Civil War generals - father and son - Francis and Robert Patterson.
April 19, 2007 |
Finally, a Philadelphia First absolutely, positively not launched by Ben Franklin! Allow me to introduce Andy Kahan and Sara Goddard, impresarios (we did not say divas) of the "First Annual" Philadelphia Book Festival, coming to your Central Library on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A cast of hundreds! A hoped-for crowd of 50,000! Special effects not seen since Cecil B. DeMille! (Lots of tents with exhibitors on 19th, 20th and Vine Streets, though no parting of Route 676.)
March 23, 2006 |
We all know her. Her long, dark hair. Her big, red bonnet. It's the famous Sun Maid raisin girl. For 90 years, she's been sitting quietly in our lunch boxes and in our pantries, alongside the Quaker Oats man, the Peter Pan peanut butter boy, Uncle Ben, and Tony the Tiger. Pretty. Silent. SM has smiled kindly at us, even when we've heartlessly traded her off for a more decadent Little Debbie in the school cafeteria. A real class act. But now, for the first time in her very long life, the beauty on the box has been granted a Pilates body, an aerobics instructor's voice, and a 30-second television spot to launch her new career as a company spokescharacter.
January 20, 2006 |
Miss America has moved to Vegas, but Boardwalk Hall still plays host to a different sort of beauty: the rumbling three-quarter midgets and powerful dirt cars of the 2006 Atlantic City Indoor Race. For the fourth consecutive year, the noise and smoke of revving engines will fill the historic hall, where nearly 100 cars are expected to compete in go-cart-style races tonight and Saturday. Once a wintertime staple in Atlantic City, the races were an annual tradition at what was then called Convention Hall from 1965 to 1981.
July 3, 2005 |
First-time visitors to Ireland usually get caught up in its well-established tourist attractions like kissing the Blarney stone and buying Waterford crystal where it's made - and nothing wrong with that. But for the well-read traveler who wants to see beyond leprechauns and shamrocks, there's a fascinating Irish literary tradition that my family and I tapped into on a happy day in Dublin last year. In the space of a half-mile walk through the heart of the city, we came across literary associations that touched every aspect of the Irish character - from its clerical underpinnings more than a thousand years ago; through the centuries-long struggle for political independence, generally referred to as "the Troubles"; right up to the concerns of the present day in 2004's centennial celebrations of Ireland's national theater.
June 10, 2005 |
I'm willing to bet you've said it in the last week. Perhaps even this morning. I know I have. And together we'll say it again next week, telling others - and ourselves - the same sad excuse: "There's just not enough time. " The refrain seems to be life's answer to everything from why we haven't started that exercise program to why we lost touch with a friend to why we can't possibly accomplish that dream goal. There's just not enough time. Like me, though, you've probably discovered a bit more time in your life in the last few weeks.