Philadelphia Metropolis

August 2012 Archives

My Grandmother's Tears

By C.J. Valenti» My Grandmother is the archetypal Old Italian Lady. Standing no taller than five-three, with beautifully trimmed hair and exquisite-looking jewelry, she is the portrait of a successful woman. "Come on-a, Grandmom-a," she says, herding us into her sleek black van. "Let'sa go." We pile in, my brother and sister in the back, while I ride shotgun. My brother didn't have any opposition to this but, my sister Talia consistently questioned my right to the front seat. I tell her off with a complicated reason, always unrelated to the fact that I just got there first. "Because God said so," I lie, buckling in. Lapping up Talia's puzzled face, I snicker and adjust my chair. I turn on the radio and start to flip through. My Grandmother starts to drive and the channels are as erratic as her driving. Classical. Metal. Hip-hop. Nothing we'll agree on. Time for Q-102 or something. Some bee-boppy song starts to play, and my Grandmother starts to cry. (Comments)

A Matter of Concert Etiquette

By Brooke Hoffman» For generations of concertgoers one of the most memorable images has been the sea of lighters. This Zippo starlight could take even the biggest fan's eyes off the main act. It was like a memorial for the last time you hear the chorus, like you would never here that song again. Of course, you'd just go out to the parking lot after the show and play it all over again--on your car stereo and in your mind. That's right, in your mind. Singers and bands are these famous enigmas that help us run that extra mile, remind us of our first romance, or those random experiences that make us who we are. I don't know if Bruce Springsteen played "Thunder Road" or "Jungleland" (they have the same piano melody), but I do remember my dad shoving me up against the stage close enough to touch The Boss. I also remember him threatening some other dude not to block my 12-year-old view. Concerts come back to me in fragments. They are memories. So why is everybody fucking it up by recording the whole damn show on his or her cell phone? (Comments)

Winning Pennsylvania

Two weeks ago in this location, I wrote that Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate effectively ended his chances of winning Pennsylvania. The reason: Ryan is a base candidate - who will thrill and delight conservative... (Comments)

Cheating, Inc.

Many years ago, I was a member of a team of reporters investigating the Philadelphia School District.  We worked for nearly a year on the series, which was called The Shame of the Schools, published in the Inquirer in 1981.... (Comments)

The Sadness of Supermarkets at Night

By Lauren McKinney» Every week, we three kids would pile in the 1968 Ford Country Squire station wagon. Depending on where our military family lived, we'd drive to the Army Commissary, Penn Fruit, A & P, Acme, or Piggly Wiggly. My mom would load up the cart with frozen vegetables, boxes of cereal, cartons of milk, a couple of TV dinners, meat in styrofoam packages, instant coffee, Tang, jars of peaches, a few pale tomatoes, and heads of iceberg lettuce. At the checkout, she'd fuss with her Green Stamps and checkbook. The bagger would hustle our four or five bags out to the wagon and cram them in the back. We always seemed to get the same food no matter what season it was. That's pretty much the only place we shopped because back then, supermarkets were where the food was, period. (Comments)

A Day in the Life: The Trash Men

What's it like to be a trash man? It has to one of the worst jobs, especially in the summer, when the street swelter in the heat. To find out, we asked reporter Ada Kulesza to shadow a crew of city sanitation workers as they made their daily rounds. She returned with a fascinating tale about the job, the city, and our empire of trash. (Comments)

My Brief Career in Local TV

By Scott Baldwin» By Scott Baldwin The internship. It an educational rite of passage that is supposed to help launch a college student into the real world. For me, though, it was a cruel awakening to the fact that I had just wasted the last several years of my schooling. I came to the realization that I had made the wrong choice in majors. My major was Communications. Looking to jumpstart my career in the broadcasting field I was hired to do an internship at WPVI-Channel 6 in Philadelphia. As an intern, I went back and forth between Philly and their sister station in Trenton but spent a majority of time in Trenton. It was June and I had arrived on my first day with voracious enthusiasm, telling myself I would make a great first impression. Upon stepping foot into the station I was quickly whisked away with the videographer into the news van and assist in the field with my first story. The story: the murder of a toddler. (Comments)

Stick A Fork in Them

With his selection of Paul Ryan as his runningmate, Mitt Romney's chances of winning Pennsylvania have gone from slim to none. The problem with Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, is that he is a base candidate, not a reach... (Comments)

My Need to Breed

By Shannon Frost Greenstein» I am 30 years old. Existentially, that's mind-blowing to me, because I was just 18 yesterday, I swear. Now, I am faced with a problem that is causing me increasing levels of stress as time passes. The problem is that I want to have a baby. The problem is that I'm getting older, relentlessly, and that raises a whole host of problems in achieving my goal. The problem is that, lacking the means to conjure an immediate embryo out of thin air, I'm not precisely sure how to proceed. All of the sudden, like a switch, evolutionary instincts have taken over, and I now have the urge to pass on (Comments)

Sheer Fantasy

Normal 0 0 1 897 4307 68 20 6281 11.1539 0 0 0 I wouldn't recommend the artibitrator's report on the Philadelphia firefighters contract as light reading, but it has its moments of unintended humor. One of them comes... (Comments)

My Philadelphia: East Passyunk

Mid squat, in the basement bathroom at the Pub on East Passyunk, I overhear a statuesque hipster girl in a granny frock and oversized black rimmed glasses (that albeit aren't prescription) say, "I'm so glad we moved here, this nabe is like, so much more choice than Brooklyn ever was." I giggle and wipe as I look up at the homage to Patrick Swayze above the toilet that's been marred with drunken bathroom poetry and band stickers. Climbing the dungeon-esque steps back to my beer I think about my own migration from Brooklyn to Philly. Love and all of its possibilities were the only things capable of loosening the grip New York City had on my heart. (Comments)

The ABC's of Handwashing

By Roz Warren» The four-year-old I baby sit for is convinced that if he doesn't sing "the ABC song" all the way through when he washes his hands, the hand-washing is entirely futile. "Washing without singing will not remove the germs," he tells me. He also believes that germs will remain on your hands if you get the lyrics wrong. "And you have to sing the song out loud," he says. Singing to yourself won't do any good. Apparently, the germs have to hear you singing. (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Rhawnhurst

S. Trinh is a native of Philadelphia who brings a distinct voice -- and a distinct point of view -- to writing about her life and times. We asked Trinh, a student at Temple University, to write and reflect on Rhawnhurst, the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood where she was born and raised. Read on for her quirky but affectionate view of her life there so far (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Fishtown

Herb Shallcross is a fourth generation Fishtowner who has witnessed the changes that have taken place in this tightly-knit neighborhood over the last 20 years - from working class enclave to one of the hippest parts of town. He profiles Fishtown - old and new - in this installment of our My Philadelphia series. (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Coming Home

My Philadelphia, our occasional series on the city's many and diverse neighborhoods, returns for a second year with personal essays by some of our regular writers. Kinaya Ade' leads with way with a reminiscence about her childhood in South Philadelphia - and her return to the city of her birth after years of living in other locales. (Comments)

Short-Circuiting Voter ID

Normal 0 0 1 860 3613 60 17 6021 11.1539 0 0 0 There is a surprisingly easy way to avoid all the rigmarole of getting a valid photo ID in order to vote in the November 6 Election.... (Comments)

The Great Aunt's Club

By Susan Toland» On Saturday, March 3, 2012, at 10:03 a.m., Grace Marianne Lauber came into the world, unwittingly making me a great-aunt for the eighth time. Several days later, we were properly introduced through the marvel of SKYPE. I was curious to meet her. Since we were not privy to her sex before she was borr, we referred to her as Baby Lauber. Now, there she was, on the screen; a new little person, complete with a gender and a name. Her parents and grandparents clustered around Gracie like planets orbiting the sun. Seeing them together, I felt the same mixture of relief, joy, curiosity, optimism and love I've experienced with every baby that has come into the family. (Comments)

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