Philadelphia Metropolis

October 2011 Archives

Election 2011: The Curious Case of Karen Brown

There was a point during my interview with Karen Brown, the Republican candidate for mayor, when the conversation turned from the mundane to the strange so quickly I had to stop -- to make sure I heard what I just heard. "Wait a minute," I asked her, as she munched on a sandwich and fries at Darling's Diner. "Are you telling me your car has been vandalized eight times? She nodded. (Comments)

There's No Place Like Home

By Kessa Baylor» A year and a half ago I awoke to a burning desire to leave the city of brotherly love. Being born and raised in Philadelphia meant that I under appreciated all of its glory. Every sight and sound became an irritating thorn in my flesh, urging me to flee. I didn't start thinking of moving until after the company I worked for downsized. I decided to use my new freedom to practice some organized spontaneity. I did a little online research for a place to live and a few job leads and I packed up my family and our dog and headed to South Carolina. I had enough savings to keep our heads above water for six months, which I thought was a nice head start. We settled in Rock Hill, about 20 miles from Charlotte, NC. The city was small but (Comments)

Privatizing the LCB

Although it generates tons of cash, the dirty little secret about the Pennsylvania Liquor Control system is that it does not produce much in the way of profits. Out of $1.5 billion in sales, the LCB ended with a net... (Comments)

Sexting and the Single Woman

by Robin Jesse Green» Apparently, I'm behind the times. I simply do not know how to play the dating game. I'm considered corny because I care. And unfortunately, my peers are not those of my age group. My mindset is closer to that of a single 45-year-old than a single 35-year-old Philadelphian, which stinks because I'm only 32. Things are looking bleak on the dating seen for me. I've been separated for more than a year and had been seeing someone from my past that I've never managed to get over. I'm not looking for a live-in partner, another husband or a replacement Daddy for my kids. I just want to enjoy life with him in it. Problem is, he wants to enjoy his life with me, and a bunch of others like me. (Comments)

Saving the Baby

Everything you need to know about the city's attitude towards business can be encapsulated in the name of the taxes and fees it applies to them: business privilege. It sends the message that doing business in Philadelphia is like being... (Comments)

Fifty Glorious Years

Arlene Ackerman's recent essay in the Inquirer reminds me of the old adage about what is news. When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog... In Ackerman's case what we had... (Comments)

Race and Roommates

By Nita Jalivay» When I was a grad student at Temple, I studied a story, one whose details never left me. In this story, a young black man, Oxford-educated, was living in London and was in need of a new dwelling to call home. He scoured the classifieds until he found a place, desirable for its location and his budget. The man called the owner, a kindly British lady, and after confirming the room's availability, scheduled a time to see it. Then reality struck. The young man, in all his Oxford brilliance, failed to consider one detail that has far-reaching implications and consequences. He forgot he was black. He was highly educated and cultured, and therefore didn't carry his race (that (Comments)

That Sinking Feeling

Why do I get a sinking feeling when looking at the numbers for the Philadelphia economy?  Nationally, economists are debating whether the recession is about to return. It looks like it already has landed in Philadelphia. All the major indices... (Comments)

Never a Dull Moment at the IRS

By Laurie Braxton» So this guy wrote a novel about working at an IRS service center, and I thought, crap, someone beat me to it. I once worked at the Philadelphia Service Center, a place rife with stories, and I figured this writer had a similar experience. It turns out the author wanted to write a novel about boredom, and thought writing about the drones at the IRS would be ideal. He apparently did tons of research, studying the tax code, taking accounting classes, etc., but the one thing he did not do was actually work at an IRS service center. If he had, he would have realized that his boredom novel would have to be set somewhere else. (Comments)

My Asian-American Life

By O.K. Pham» "I don't think of you as Vietnamese anymore-- just as my wife." My husband Shaun stated as he leaned back in his chair, after a thoughtful sip of his Saison. We were savoring a backyard lunch together on one of those perfect Saturday afternoons in late June. I stared at him across the table where a dwindling platter of steamed corn and grilled London broil sat.The kids had already run off after devouring their lunch, treating us to the luxury of an uninterrupted conversation. My gaze fell from my husband's red hair to his grayish blue eyes, before finding the smile that had been the prelude to our many dialogues. (Comments)

Sink or Swim

The Inquirer inadvertently served up a compare-and-contrast moment in the Friday paper by running two stories about contract settlements side by side on the front page. The first was about the musicians at the Philadelphia Orchestra approving a new contract. ... (Comments)

The New Age Begins

This much we know for sure.  Gov. Corbett favors vouchers, though he does not call them that in his new education plan.  He calls them "opportunity scholarships." And that's where the clarity ends the fog begins. The governor outlined the... (Comments)

Race Hatred 2.0

By Nita Jalivay.» Like many teachers, I enjoy using technology as a tool to boost my students' level of understanding and engagement in class. I admit I am not the most computer savvy instructor, but I navigate just fine through the myriad websites that offer teachers portals to other worlds, ones through which we voyage with our students. The internet has enabled my kids - many of whom have rarely had the opportunity to leave Philadelphia - to trek with me through the jungles of the Amazon; to hike the Australian outback; and to climb Table Mountain in South Africa. We have a beautiful time learning and exploring together, with YouTube documentaries serving as our global passports. The images beaming back at us from faraway, exotic locales reinforce the connectedness of our humanity to that of our fellow world citizens. Sometimes, though, I am loath to search my favorite sites for certain types of content-specific material. For instance, when I recently showed my summer school class some YouTube footage on American slavery (the film having been written, directed and produced by a black artist), at the bottom of this very intelligent story were the sickest, most racist comments that one could conjure up. Line after line, my students - all of (Comments)

Black Exodus: Part One

The number of middle class blacks in Philadelphia has declined significantly in the last 10 years, but the drop cannot be attributed solely to the bad economy. A large number of blacks have lost middle-class status because of layoffs and the turbulent job market. But, thousands of African Americans haven't fallen; they have fled. A new series of stories explores the phenomenon of black flight from the city to the suburbs. Part One provides explains what is up and why. We call the series Black Exodus. (Comments)

How I Lost 50 Lbs.

By Randy Robbins» I've lost a lot in 2011--my job, an alarming portion of my savings, and, at times, hope for my future. But one loss has balanced out many deprivations: I've lost 50 pounds. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision shedding so much weight, not after battling the bulge much of my adult life. I was in great shape when I graduated high school. Slender, toned, and "love handles" had yet to enter my vocabulary. It's easy to forget after 24 years -- and more than three times as many pounds -- how one's own body once looked. So, when a close friend e-mailed some recently uncovered photos of us taken on his family's boat in Manahawkin Bay the summer after high school, I gawked in amazement that my abdomen ever knew such geometric appeal. (Comments)

Black Exodus: Part Two

By Mike Mallowe» What makes African-Americans move to the suburbs? Reporter Mike Mallowe explores the whys and wherefores in interviews with two emigres from the city: one a black couple who moved to Havertown recently; the second a Baby Boomer whose parents were among the first blacks to move to Lansdowne. Our series Black Exodus continues... (Comments)

Hold the Applause

Talk about sending mixed signals. On one hand, the Philadelphia Archdiocese says it is getting tough on priestly sex abusers, with a zero-tolerance policy enforced by outsiders, many of whom are former prosecutors. On the other hand, when the new... (Comments)

Black Exodus: Part Three

By Meldon Jones The largest township in the country has seen enormous change in the last 10 years, the demographic equivalent of pressing down on the fast-forward button. "I remember when Upper Darby was mostly Irish Catholic, white Protestant, Jewish and... (Comments)

My Pizza, My Life

By S. Trinh» My boss is sad today. He's been chain smoking since I got here. K told me that he's gone through a couple packs already; I'm tempted to follow in his footsteps. It would be easy to take a pack of cigarettes and walk outside, not come back. But the phone rings, and I am pulled away from my daydreaming at the window, and I answer it. I talk, ask questions. The person on the line answers. It's a simple system, really, but it's the only part of my job that I don't quite like. I hang up, hit a few buttons on the computer, and go to the walk-in freezer. I work at a pizza joint. It's typical of me, a student in college, working to pay off whatever I can with what I can do. But the job here is more than just a way to pay bills and have some extra spending money, it's so much more. (Comments)

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