August 28, 1999 |
These days, Jeffrey D. Sams is feeling a bit like a poster child for the advancement of minority roles on television. However, there's more to him than just being the African-American on the once lily-white ABC drama "Wasteland. " "I am not a token," Sams said. "My talent goes beyond my skin color. " In July, "Wasteland," from producer/writer Kevin Williamson ("Dawson's Creek"), became a touchstone in the ongoing discussion over racial diversity on the four major networks' prime-time schedules.
January 4, 1986
The incompetence within the IRS is not limited to the service center and the Sperry merry-go-round. I resigned from the IRS under honorable circumstances after 11 1/2 years of faithful service. I elected to withdraw the contributions that I had made into the Civil Service retirement system, although I could have left them in the system and qualified for a reduced annuity at age 62. It was interesting that I had to seek out the information and there was no check-out procedure to assure that I was informed of my options.
December 26, 2008 |
If you've had your television on at any time since the last Ice Age, you know that something that's either rather wonderful or quite dire will happen to it come Feb. 17. The warnings have been running for months, and as the date nears, they have been picking up in number and urgency. By then, if you still use an antenna to haul in your TV signal, either you must have a converter box - and a couple of scenarios are mentioned as means to that end - or you will not be able to watch TV!
March 8, 1991 |
Anita Haynes' recent call brought it all back: Hard-working people living in deathtraps. Their American Dreams literally sinking. And, for some, the city saying - move. Now. Haynes had lived for nearly a decade on Wyoming Avenue, just shy of 10th Street, in a rambling old rowhouse that seemed to be the trademark of many of the Logan-area homes. But she was desperately looking for a new place to live. As a reporter then, covering the story, I could almost walk between the "cracks" in the foundation walls in her basement.
September 25, 1997 |
Television is pretty awful, everyone knows that. It's always been awful. It was 1961 when Newton Minnow, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in the Kennedy administration, famously called TV "a vast wasteland" and it's done nothing since but get worse. Yes, there are many worthy programs on cable TV - on Bravo, the Arts and Entertainment Network, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel. So what? Hardly anyone watches them. Television as a cultural force must be judged by the performance of the networks, the shows that the great majority of people watch.
October 7, 1999 |
Meet Dawnie. She just turned 26. "I'm profoundly lost as a human being. Human relationships baffle me, and I'm acutely self-aware to the point where I'm clueless and slightly suicidal. " That's OK, Dawnie. Anyone who hangs around with you for more than about 10 minutes will probably be slightly suicidal, too. So you can all share. Just don't expect a whole lot of company. Dawnie and her five former college pals, who are her current New York City pals, make up the landscape of Wasteland, the most aptly titled new show of the season, which premieres tonight at 9 on ABC. All six are trying to jump-start their pitiful lives.
June 12, 2003
WILLIAM PENN High was cited "among others" by a recent letter "pathetic" school. "I was thinking about how the school system cultivates ignorance and subservient people," James Simmons wrote. "If you aren't attending a public school where there are Asian- and European-Americans, then a significant education doesn't really exist," he concluded. I have taught at William Penn for 15 years. Yes, there are days when it seems hopelessly difficult to succeed in an inner-city school with so many social, economic and learning problems.
March 16, 1995 |
It is a neighborhood of closings - closed homes, closed businesses, closed lives. Few who come to the drug-riddled, West Philadelphia wasteland surrounding 59th and Callowhill streets stay very long. And those who can leave, do, like the empty buses that roll out of the SEPTA depot across the street every morning. So it seemed strange to find 52-year-old Gilbert Klein from Penn Valley - one of those places that people don't leave - trying to open a business where there have been only closings.
May 22, 1992
ISAIAH'S PROPHECY FOR PHILADELPHIA We are tempted in the city, when we see a homeless person on the streets, to say piously, "There but for the grace of God go I," and continue on our way. But it is much more true when we see such persons to say rather, "There go I. " I am involved in humankind. And so are we all. If there is homelessness in our society, it is we who have homelessness in our midst. We are all diminished. Recall Dr. Martin Luther King's words: "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny.
August 31, 1989 |
More often than not, pop lyrics are lame. For every Tracy Chapman, there are dozens of hacks spitting out endless variations on the joys of sex and rock and roll. Consequently, music fans looking for poetic lyrics typically must look far from the top of the charts. Two artists with new albums recognize the power of a well-turned phrase. James McMurtry's Too Long in the Wasteland (Columbia) features spare lyrics strung atop folk-rock arrangements. James Talley's Love Songs and the Blues (Bear Family Records)