February 4, 2014 |
Jeff Langum's beard is a natural wonder. Like a waterfall, it cascades from his face, a magnificent, meticulously groomed gush of curly salt-and-copper rivulets. So extraordinary is Langum's long, lush, and bushy creation - it recently won a world championship - that I simply must ask to touch it. "Go ahead," says the married father of two, who frequently, and graciously, grants such requests. Frequent as well are reactions like mine: I'm surprised by his majestic mane's almost delicate softness.
February 2, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA By Wednesday, more than 200 people had signed up to hear Iran's ambassador to the United Nations speak at Philadelphia's World Affairs Council. The event, scheduled for next week, had been billed as rare: Mohammad Khazaee, the most senior Iranian representative in the United States, generally does not speak outside the U.N. Then, on Thursday, the council abruptly canceled Khazaee's appearance. And on Friday, just days after President Obama preached diplomacy with Iran during his State of the Union address, the council put the blame for the cancellation on the State Department.
January 30, 2014 |
On a warm November afternoon in northern Uganda, Aida Marcial heard that the serial rapist she had been investigating had been spotted downtown, and drove there with local police. She video-recorded the arrest and his subsequent confession to 10 counts of sexual assault; enough evidence, she said, to put him away for a long time even by Uganda's less stringent judicial standards. In talking about the case, the first image Marcial dug up during an interview this month is of one of the victims, age 9, smiling at the camera with her thin arms wrapped around Marcial.
January 25, 2014 |
Gallop down to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on Saturday to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, as part of World Culture Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities will include performances by dance troupe MeiMei, an East vs. West Chinese music demonstration, the Pennsylvania Chinese Dance Club, the cappella group PennYo, and more. A drop-in calligraphy class will be offered from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and a language class from 12:30 to 2. Arts and crafts will be featured, including Year of the Horse crafts, painting, and paper cutting.
January 3, 2014
IF BEING wealthy were the same as pretending to be wealthy, then people who care about reality would have a little less to complain about. But pretending is a poor way for a society to negotiate its way through history. It makes for accumulating distortions that eventually undermine the society's ability to function, especially when the pretending is about money, which is society's operating system. The distortion that even simple people care about is that the gap between the rich and the poor is as plain, vast and grotesque as at any time in our history - except perhaps during slavery times in Dixieland, when many of the poor did not even own their existence.
December 31, 2013 |
ONE DAY, when Lillian Cosby was 15, she begged her mother not to send her to school that day. She had dreamt that she would be struck by a car on her way to school. It was such a clear premonition that she was sure it would happen. Her mother, of course, would hear none of it. She packed her daughter off as usual, and, sure enough, she was hit by a truck. She had to be hospitalized. "I was so mad at my mother I wouldn't go home for three days," she said in an interview with the Inquirer in 1985.
December 30, 2013 |
When it comes to foreign policy, 2013 was a great year for autocrats and radical Islamists. For democracies and would-be democrats, the last 12 months were pretty grim. Mercifully, there are no global wars on the horizon. But in 2013 we began to see more clearly the shape of a world in which America leads from behind. The view isn't pretty. China, Russia, and Iran rushed to fill the power vacuum, with intentions that challenge U.S. values and long-term interests. Al-Qaeda founded a new emirate in Syria; the hopes of Arab Spring democrats were crushed and the borders of the post-World War I Middle East began to crumble.
December 29, 2013
Parties are the problem I agree with a letter writer's comment (Tuesday) that the ever-growing polarization of Congress and the public may foreshadow the end of true compromise in American politics. But his notion that either Democrats or Republicans will ultimately prevail, and be free to zealously impose their will, sends chills up my spine. I believe the left and right each have valid ideas that could be dangerous if carried too far. True compromise (as opposed to settling "for now")
December 27, 2013 |
TODAY IS Boxing Day in Canada. For most of us, that means little in the United States. For our neighbors from the north, that means spending the holiday break with the annual tradition of watching the best and brightest hockey prospects under age 20 represent their countries. It is also an important week for the Flyers. Not only will the Flyers keep tabs on their four prospects skating in the World Junior Championships - making them one of the most well-represented NHL teams - but they also will scout talented players available in the upcoming 2014 and 2015 drafts.
December 24, 2013 |
FROM THE white sands of Fiji to the cliffs of the Swiss Alps, Aleta Hall was at home. Or maybe on a cruise ship to the Caribbean, chilling out on the deck and maybe dreaming of the treacherous slopes she loved to try. Aleta actually had her 15 minutes of fame in the mid-'90s when she appeared in a Verizon TV commercial, extolling the virtues of the service. "She did very well," said her sister Karen W. Eskridge. "She looked good. " Aleta C. Hall, longtime employee of the old Bell Telephone Co. (later taken over by Verizon)