February 4, 2015
HAVE YOU EVER bought anything just because of a Super Bowl commercial? (Me neither.) Someone must. Advertisers pay more than $4 million for a 30-second spot and feel they're getting their money's worth if it gets people talking - even if they're bad-mouthing it. "If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody," said Alice Roosevelt Longworth, "come sit next to me. " No one sits to bad mouth any more. They tweet and Facebook. In Sunday's Downer Bowl - with commercials about domestic abuse, bullying and death - viewers were not on the side of Nationwide.
December 4, 2014 |
PEOPLE battling drug and alcohol addiction in Philadelphia are watching Hollywood movies in outpatient group therapy - on your dime. The tab can exceed $50 a person for each movie, paid by Medicaid. Clients said that some of the movies they saw - like "Caddyshack" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" - had nothing to do with recovery. The films that did depict addiction, including "The Basketball Diaries," starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a heroin addict, and "28 Days," with Sandra Bullock in the throes of alcoholism, made them crave the very substance they are trying to kick, they said.
November 16, 2014 |
Around lunchtime on a warm day last week, a gray van pulled to the side of a wooded road in Browns Mills and honked three times. The silent woods seemed empty. Then, a figure in a hooded black sweatshirt peered out from the autumn foliage. To the right, a man in a canvas jacket seemed to rise out of the ground. His quizzical scowl softened when he saw the van, and he turned and shouted something behind him. In moments, shabbily dressed men in groups of two and three were filing up a narrow path barely visible from the road.
October 27, 2014 |
Since football, or more precisely football-viewing, is overwhelmingly the favorite pastime of 21st-century Americans, it's no surprise that it too has become a polarizing subject. Those who love the sport subscribe to a heroic narrative: It's a colorful, compelling, athletic spectacle, one whose participants embody the virtues of teamwork, strength, and dedication. Others see football as a militaristic farce. Its coaches are egomaniacal martinets. Its players are incurious lemmings.
September 8, 2014 |
WHEN SCHOOL bells ring on Monday, one organization is hoping to see thousands of children walking to school with backpacks on their shoulders and fathers by their sides. The House of Umoja, a nonprofit working for education and against violence in Philadelphia, is organizing the Million Father March for its seventh year. The march - a national effort started in Chicago in 2004 - works to redefine parental roles in their children's education by having fathers walk their sons and daughters to school.
September 7, 2014 |
Roger Goodell may soon be the commissioner of two leagues - the NFL and the NSL. We all know, of course, what NFL stands for. It's the almighty National Football League, the revenue ruler of all professional sports. The NSL? That stands for the National Suspension League. According to ESPN.com, a total of 30 players will be serving suspensions during the first week of the season, and that does not include six suspended free agents. That number is up from 21 players a year ago, and we're still waiting for the first player to stand up and say: "Yeah, I did it. I'm a cheater and a liar, and I've shamed my team and my league.
July 13, 2014 |
Jane Austen's beauty Jane Austen did not look like a runway model. No Heidi Klum- ia n legs or Marilyn Monroe -esque bust adorned the author of Emma . No heavenly, Ingrid Bergman- ian visage. According to a new wax figure unveiled this week at the Jane Austen Centre in the British city of Bath, Ms. Austen looked rather average. This is the closest "anyone has come to the real Jane Austen for 200 years," a Centre rep says, according to People. The wax effigy was created thanks to detailed studies conducted by FBI forensic artist Melissa Dring , who says she's not a big fan of the only other image of the author that has survived, an 1810 sketch made by Austen's sis Cassandra . "[It]
June 22, 2014 |
Six months into the Affordable Care Act, local mental-health and substance-abuse professionals have yet to see an uptick in clients using their new benefits. The seeming lack of interest has been disappointing for caregivers, but is not completely unexpected. "It's very early," said Patricia Kleven, director of outpatient mental health services at the Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment. "I don't know what it will look like in six months or a year. But at the moment, not so much.
January 22, 2014 |
With same-sex marriage on the rise nationwide and celebrities coming out all over the place, one might suppose that young gay men's lives have become "easy, breezy, and free," says Jerome T. Pipes. This seems particularly true when compared with my own youthful emergence from the closet, back in the day when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. But what if a young gay man coming out in 2014 is African American or Latino and lives in Camden? Out come the stereotypes - particularly, but not exclusively, among outsiders.
December 20, 2013 |
DO ME A FAVOR: After you finish this column, spend the day keeping track of how many homeless people you see. Look at the man huddled in the corner in the concourse between Suburban Station and City Hall. Look at the frail young man rocking back and forth on the cold pavement outside the Dunkin' Donuts on Market Street. Look at the woman with a toddler holding out a paper cup for spare change on Walnut. And then ask yourself: How is it that we, a civilized society with great minds and deep pockets, still have people living and dying on the streets?