Philadelphia Metropolis

March 2012 Archives

The Case of the Curious Icon

By Christopher H. Baum» It was just staring back at me, the small icon in the middle of my desktop on my work computer. I hadn't installed it on purpose, but there it was right in the middle of the screen. What's more, it didn't have a label associated with it. There was no way to tell what it was. I couldn't click on it. I tried automatically rearranging the other icons on my sparsely occupied Windows desktop. They all lined up neatly, except the stranger. It sat there, mocking me. I have more than 30 years experience with microcomputers. I sold Apple IIs from one of the first computer stores in the country; the now long-shuttered ByteShop Brentwood, near Hollywood. I have a hardware firewall on the router; firewall and antivirus software on each computer on the network. The house WiFi is encrypted and the routers are all password protected and have non-standard Internet addresses. On (Comments)

Freak Show

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I hear that an employee at philly.com played around with executives at the Inquirer/Daily News to avoid getting a pink slip during the recent round of layoffs. It's just a rumor and I don't... (Comments)

The Man Who Likes to Take Baths

By Andrew East» Go ahead. Mock me. I know you want to. After all, no real man would dare enjoy a hot soak at the end of a long day, would he? Not according to what my friends say about the topic anyway. These are among the more enlightened observations I've heard about my baths: "Do you use lilac-scented soap on your loofa?" "Glad to see you took the cucumbers off your eyes long enough to come hang out!" "You watch gay porn on your phone in there, don't you?" Okay, I made that last one up - but I know they were thinking it. See, I'm usually a very good sport about being ridiculed for my more sensitive character traits, but impugning my heterosexuality because I appreciate the therapeutic effects of hot (Comments)

City of Faith: New Directions

Faith in Philadelphia steadily hums under the hustle of city life, 330 years after the city was founded. We tend to forget Philadelphia's religious origins, but William Penn did intend this place to be a "Holy Experiment," the locus of a new faith called Quakerism, founded on what were then -- in some places still are -- such alien ideas as tolerance and freedom of religion. Even in its earliest days, the city was a refuge for religious groups scorned or persecuted elsewhere in the New World; Jews and Catholics, to name two. Even in these secular, materialistic times, faith still infuses city life, and not just in the mainstream churches and congregations. I went looking off the main paths for examples and it didn't take long to find them. The four documented here serve as examples of the myriad variety of religion in the city. (Comments)

City of Faith: Part Two

By Ada Kulesza» Our search for faith groups in Philadelphia takes us in two very different directions. The gathering Ecclesia seeks spiritual awakening through song and embraces a variety of faith traditions. Meanwhile, a little-known order of Catholic nuns works quietly from its convent in West Philadelphia, living a life of service and prayer. Reporter Ada Kulesza reports on both. (Comments)

Can Santorum Win Pennsylvania?

Here are two questions about Rick Santorum, one concrete, the other highly theoretical. The concrete one is: Can he win the Republican presidential primary in Pennsylvania on April 24? The answer is yes. Here is why. The Republicans who will... (Comments)

Erin Go Blah

By L.A. Finnegan » I'll begin with this admission: I am an Irish girl. Red hair, green eyes, freckles, unable to spend more than an hour or two in the sun, dragged many a weekend before I was out of diapers to bars named O'Something or Something's Pub to listen to my uncle play songs of the rebellion. Most of my family members have not visited the old country, nor do we feast upon cabbage or potatoes on most evenings, but we are proud to declare our heritage to all who might be willing to buy us a beer. I hope each and every day that the luck of the Irish falls upon me, and I can make a mean Irish potato, (the coconut and cinnamon treat, not the spuds my ancestors in Ireland solely feasted on). That said, however, I can, without reservation, declare that the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, at least in the city of Philadelphia, has become absurd. (Comments)

Erin Go Bragh

In the mid-1800's, an adult male in Ireland consumed an average of 14 pounds of potatoes a day. Each day. So, you can imagine the effect it would have on Irish men -- and women and children -- if the... (Comments)

In Defense of Men/Online Dating Division

By Andrew David East » I'd like to offer a defense of my embattled gender when it comes to internet dating and, as gently as possible, knock you ladies off your misinformed pedestal. First of all, yes, there are a large number of abnormal maniacs who congregate at online dating sites. When they're emailing you by the dozens and saying "uhhh, can I c yr boobs??!" over and over again, it's understandable you might lose sight of the fact that all men are not obnoxious clowns. The reality is that you are aged 25 or under, male or female, your screening system probably sucks. It doesn't matter whether you are meeting people on the internet, in a bar, or at a monster truck rally. Speaking as a 34-year-old man, I'm fairly certain that a 34-year-old woman wouldn't go out with a guy who casually mentions his penis in the first five minutes of conversation - no matter what medium that discussion took place in. (Comments)

Nighttime in Wissinoming

Is the Lower Northeast caught in a spiral of decline? Many residents think so. They believe neighborhoods such as Mayfair, Oxford Circle. Tacony and Wissinoming are on the endangered list. Reporting off of recent acts of vandalism in the area, Ryan Briggs examines the commonly held beliefs among Northeast residents and compares them to the facts. Read Part One of the two-part Cover Story on the future of the Northeast. (Comments)

My Internet Dating Experiment

By Kat Richter» The idea for my experiment came to me, as all great ideas do, over margaritas at Xochitl in Society Hill. "I have a week left until my 25th birthday," I lamented to my friend, a fellow graduate of the small liberal arts college I'd chosen despite its deplorable male-to-female ratio. I hadn't been on a date in over six months. My last boyfriend--my London boyfriend--was long gone and the City of Brotherly Love had failed to yield any worthwhile replacements. By Jane Austen standards, I was a spinster and even though I knew it was futile to measure my love life against a fictional assemblage of nineteenth-century balls and love letters, I couldn't ignore the fact that the majority of my girlfriends had gotten married and moved to the suburbs. (Comments)

Twilight in Mayfair

By Ryan W. Briggs It is an unseasonably warm night in February and the Mayfair Rec Center is besieged.  Not by unruly children in search of a pick-up game, but by news vans.  CBS, NBC10, Fox, the daily papers, all... (Comments)

Making Karl Happy

The genius of Karl Rove was that he understood the power of small numbers.  While other political strategists devised ways to move masses of voters, Rove concentrated on fractions -- small slices of voters to add to his base of... (Comments)

My Internet Date from Hell

By Jessica Stennis» You would think a red flag would be recognizable to mostly anyone who's ever been in a relationship, but where's the fun in that? Within the first few days of me being on the free online dating site I got a message from a user name "FunFitTall". Those are things I agree with, I think to myself, so I check out his profile. The first things I notice are the puppy in his picture and the tattoo on his thigh-sized arm, also known as a thigh-sep. Okay, this isn't too bad so far. Then I look over and notice he's 32. A five-year difference is about as far as I can stretch my brain and he is nine years older than me. I message him: Hey! You seem pretty interesting from your profile; however I think you're a little old for me. Sorry and thanks for the interest." (Comments)

My City of Trees

By Margaret Guthrie» I am unsure exactly when I fell in love with trees; I do know when I fell out of one, breaking my arm. I was six and don't remember much about it but evidence exists in a snapshot of a very gamine me with a very large plaster cast almost up to my armpit. (I am old so back then every fracture was encased in lots of plaster.) It did not even dent my love of trees or of climbing up into them. Age took care of the climbing part. The sidewalks in my neighborhood, East Mount Airy, tilt and heave like the deck of a ship in a storm because of the trees, or more precisely the roots of the trees. Big tall trees have big roots which heave up the sidewalk at ground (Comments)

By Margaret Guthrie» I am unsure exactly when I fell in love with trees; I do know when I fell out of one, breaking my arm. I was six and don't remember much about it but evidence exists in a snapshot of a very gamine me with a very large plaster cast almost up to my armpit. (I am old so back then every fracture was encased in lots of plaster.) It did not even dent my love of trees or of climbing up into them. Age took care of the climbing part. The sidewalks in my neighborhood, East Mount Airy, tilt and heave like the deck of a ship in a storm because of the trees, or more precisely the roots of the trees. Big tall trees have big roots which heave up the sidewalk at ground (Comments)

Quack, Quack

It looks like a tax hike.  It walks and talks like a tax hike.  It has been seen associating with other tax hikes.  But, it is not a tax hike.  It is a mechanism for "capturing" the rise in real... (Comments)

Teacher Rage

Charter schools are a fraud. The leadership at school district headquarters is clueless. Powerful interests are combining to ruin public education in this country. Teachers are being made scapegoats for the failure of urban schools. So say Philadelphia's public school... (Comments)

A Road Less Traveled

By Rachel Levy Lesser» I once heard that parents are only as happy as their least happy child. I imagine this was true for my own parents. I recall my mother once telling me that eighth grade had been her toughest year. It was for me too, and when I noted the coincidence she explained that it was my eighth-grade year she found to be so hard. She felt my pain as she watched me struggle to find my place at a new school. My parents sent me to this school because my brother went there, and so had my father. There really wasn't a choice. Despite my social despair at the new school, I found academic success, and this continued on into college, graduate school and my adult life. I followed a path that was very clearly laid out for me. There was no road that diverged in a wood, and if there were, I certainly would not be the one to take the one less traveled. (Comments)

A Catholic Conspiracy?

There's a theory circulating that the whole kerfuffle over the closing of Catholic schools in Philadelphia was orchestrated by the archdiocese as a way to shake the tree for more money. The theory goes that the Blue Ribbon Commission recommended... (Comments)

Site by MartinKelley.com