Philadelphia Metropolis

November 2012 Archives

Mascara & Me

By Robin Lentz Worgan» As I got dressed to attend my first boy/girl dance in seventh grade, my mother came in and offered to put some of her mascara on me. I had never worn makeup before. It seemed decadent and mature so I said yes. My mother handed me an eyelash curler and told me to hold it for 20 seconds. After I did this, she pumped the mascara brush in and out, squinted at my face and said, "Now look up." I looked up, but while she tried to apply the mascara my eyes watered and I kept looking down. After several attempts she eventually succeeded in applying the mascara and drove me to the dance. Inevitably, each time after this when my mom made me up she got mascara on my face because I could not stop moving and my eyes constantly watered. "Oh for God's sake Bird, hold still!" And finally one time she got so fed up she said, "That is it! You have to do your own eyes." But I never did. (Comments)

My Chinatown

By Mabel Lee» The first time I'd been back to Philly Chinatown in a year was on a Saturday a few weeks ago to have tea with a friend. In the car, with my father bumping slowly down 10th Street to avoid sudden street-crossers, I peer out the open window and take in the familiar sights: Chinese grandmothers aggressively doing their weekend shopping, the tofu woman selling an unsettling combination of bras, panties, and Asian sweets, the backside of my mother as she happily disappears into a pastry store to buy discounted buns. My parents, my sister, and I used to live in an apartment in Chinatown up until I was five and we moved into a house in the Northeast. But even after that, I continued going to Holy Redeemer School at the corner of 10th and Vine Streets (Comments)

Leadership in Action

If you respect the law and love sausages, you should see Lincoln, the new movie from Steven Spielberg, now playing in theaters everywhere, as the ads say. As I told friends, it is the best movie I have ever seen... (Comments)

We Are Shocked!

Like Casablanca's Capt. Renault, I am shocked, shocked to learn about reports of ticket-fixing at Traffic Court outlined in today's (Nov. 21) Inquirer. Reporter Craig McCoy got ahold of an investigation report ordered up by the state Supreme Court that... (Comments)

My Mother-In-Law's God

By O.K. Pham» At a recent get together, my friend Kate related to me the details of her fractured relationship with her in-laws. The troubles have escalated over the years; most stemming from the mother-in-law casually sidestepping the boundaries Kate and her husband have set. The examples she cited revealed a woman desperate to assert some influence on her grown son's life and the upbringing of her grandchildren. I listened and sympathized, at times fully appreciating my friend's intense frustration. But the mother-in-law had been more meddlesome than malicious, and Kate's grievances in some instances were admittedly trivial. With three young kids, Kate and her husband occasionally rely on babysitting help from myself and both of their families. But ever since the last altercation-- the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back-- Kate and her husband had cut all communication with his parents. Their youngest son will soon have his first birthday party, (Comments)

The Secret Life of Clothing Bins

By Christopher Malo» How many people give a second thought after they drop off a bag of old clothes to those sturdy metal clothing bins that dot the American landscape today. What happens to that donated clothing? Where does it end up? Reporter Christopher Malo went looking for an answers to those y simple questions and returned with a surprising, even bizarre, story. He tells it in The Secret Life of Clothing Bins... (Comments)

Sundays and Stained Glass

By Carrie Hagen » My two brothers and I always visited Philadelphia on Sunday mornings when we were kids. Our father served as an itinerant pastor to supplement his counseling income, and often he took us with him to whatever small church had a need and an empty pulpit. We never knew exactly where we were going as we piled into our beige Dodge minivan -- just that we were leaving Levittown. I remember fragments of our trips to certain neighborhoods -- Tacony, Kensington, Frankford, Torresdale. I was always a little afraid to get out of the van. The churches weren't always in rough neighborhoods, but to a suburban kid, blocks of row homes on littered streets felt ominous. "Behave," my Dad would say, glancing in the rearview mirror as he parked. We knew that if we were (Comments)

The 99 Percent Speak

By now, we are all familiar with the Republican view of elections.  When they win the election it was fair, when the Democrats win it was because of fraud. For a recent example, consider the remarks made by state House... (Comments)

Finding My Space

By Jennifer Logue» I just moved to Philadelphia a few days ago after spending the better part of my 20s living in New York City. I was sick of the constant grind, being reduced to trivial, brainless office work 10 hours a day to spend only three conscious hours doing the things I really loved -- music and writing. While I had become fond of life on the island of Manhattan, after nine 9 years, it was time for a change. So I decided to move to Philadelphia, for my sanity, for more straight guys, and most importantly for space. Space, my friends, is a hot commodity that you are very fortunate to have here in Philadelphia, whether you realize it or not. Take my new apartment on Spruce Street as an example. For the cost of my cramped, poorly-lit bedroom in the East Village, I now have an entire apartment-- all to myself. For the first time in my adult life, I don't have to contend with a constant parade of roommates who are either complete slobs, clinically insane, have substance abuse problems, or all of the above. Now when I walk into my apartment, there's no need to turn on the light in the middle of the day because I have windows. Seems pretty standard, but trust me, it is a beautiful thing. (Comments)

Fitting In

By Natasha Kingston» "Are you sure you want to look at houses in that area?" Mark asked, one eyebrow raised. "I'm not sure that you would...fit in there." James and I looked at one another uncertainly. I am sure Mark, our real estate agent, thought we were reconsidering the area, but the truth was that we were reconsidering hiring him. "We won't know until we see it," I said finally. "I don't want to rule anything out this soon; it's a five-hour drive from Connecticut, so we should see as many houses as possible while here in Philly." "Fair enough," Mark agreed reluctantly. He climbed into his car, and James and I got back into ours. We had no sooner shut the door when James blurted out, "What the hell was that? Was he saying what I thought he was saying?" "Yeah. I'm pretty sure he was," I replied heavily. "Whatever, we're here now; we just have to make the best of it." As we left Center City and started to head up to Germantown Avenue, James started to shift uneasily in (Comments)

Growing Old On My Terms

By Margaret Guthrie» One of the things that happens when you pass 75 -- and I am not talking about speed limits here -- is that you realize you could drop dead at any time. Dropping dead at any moment becomes much more real than it was at 30 or at 50 or even in your sixties and early 70s. As Dustin Hoffman once said, "The end is definitely in sight." As you pass through life, you might give occasional thought to your removal from the planet, to your participation in the recycling of all physical substance but it doesn't occupy the forefront of your thoughts. The trick, when you're officially "elderly," is to not let it occupy the forefront now. (Comments)

Obama Wins Pennsylvania

Was Pennsylvania ever really in play in the final days of the campaign?It was not.  The final results had Barack Obama winning the state by about 300,000 votes -- way below his 2008 total -- but still a comfortable margin. Looking in... (Comments)

Spooked by Hurricane Sandy

By Marianne Ruane» With Halloween in the air, I had ghosts on the brain. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I found myself thinking about my great-Aunt Mary, my grandfather's sister and a pivotal character in our family lore. Mary never married and had always lived in my grandparents' house. My Aunt Sally is still bitter that she grew up sleeping in the bed with her - a hardship intensified by my great aunt's habit of chewing raw garlic before bed. When Mary's job was eliminated by machinery in the 1950s, she became depressed and took off one night in a strong snowstorm. She was found frozen to death a few days later in some woods, sitting under a tree with an umbrella over her head. My Aunt Sal, who was in another town then and didn't know Mary had left, swore that she had woken during the night to the sound of Aunt Mary calling her name over the din of the howling wind. (Comments)

Pennsylvania in Play?

Pennsylvania is about to have its 15 minutes in the national spotlight in the presidential campaign. In the weekend before the Nov. 6 election, the Romney campaign has turned its attention to the state.  The candidate will be in Bucks County... (Comments)

The Jewel of Jewelers' Row

By Z. P. Heller» It's my wife's first ultrasound appointment. Our first child, my earliest brush with fatherhood. I get off the 21 bus and hurry toward Pennsylvania Hospital's Maternity Building in the rain, with more thoughts hurtling through my mind than there are people on Eighth Street. Will we get a due date? How much will we be able to see? Will we hear a heartbeat? What if there are multiple heartbeats? Not looking where I'm going, I slip along the slick brick of Jewelers' Row, Philly's one-block movie set of a diamond district. I'm bombarded by fiercely welcoming storefront signs: "Where Philly Gets Engaged!" and "Where Elegance and Affordability Merge" and "I hate Steven Singer!" They trigger a memory of the last time I was here with Dad, nearly 15 years ago. (Comments)

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