Philadelphia Metropolis

January 2013 Archives

Life Between the Covers

By Marnie Quinlan» There is a placard in my local library which bears a quote by Jorge Luis Borges. It reads "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library". When I first strolled past these words on my way to Adult Non-Fiction, I had just moved to Philadelphia from the east coast of Australia and couldn't have felt more like a fish out of water. I'd made a decision to end my career as a lawyer and leave my family, my friends and the hometown in which I'd grown up to relocate to a country where I knew no one; to a new job, a new city and to surrender my life as I knew it to my first and only true love - my writing. Nothing was familiar. I didn't know the area, I was learning (and I use the tem loosely) how to drive on the right side of the road, my accent was a dead giveaway that I didn't belong, I hadn't made any friends, I hadn't written a thing since landing at JFK, I was (Comments)

Blaming The Man

It's hard to play the race card in Philadelphia these days. It's hard to blame The Man when you are the man. But it's also hard to break old habits.  Witness the news conference held this week by opponents of... (Comments)

Taming Pac-Man

You've heard of the carrot and the stick?  It appears Gov. Corbett will be trying a variation on that tactic when it comes to taming the cost of public pensions.  Call it the stick and the stick. Corbett made clear... (Comments)

Riding Their Bikes

By Lucien Crowder» There are two kinds of bicyclists in South Philadelphia. If you think I am over-generalizing, go to the corner of Ninth St. and Washington Ave. and try to find a third variety. You'll be standing there a long while. Let's call the first kind -- my kind --the South Philly Cyclists. Let's call the second kind the Passyunk Pedalers. These names aren't terribly descriptive, but what's the point to life if there's no alliteration? We South Philly Cyclists are new to the neighborhood. We are interlopers. We are the educated types, or the creative ones, or occasionally even both. We are young, or despite appearances we pretend to be. We are female as often as male, but uniformly white. By (Comments)

Unintended Consequences

There's an interesting back story to the visit of Gov. Corbett to Philadelphia last week to tout the state's expanded voucher program for non-public schools. Of course, they are not called vouchers, but scholarships, and the money does not come... (Comments)

Make 'Em Laugh, Make 'Em Laugh

By Rachel Semigran» I am single. I spent five years in college with nothing more than a few awkward drinks and "hook-ups" that got me nowhere. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons (excuses) for my chronic single-ness. It could have been my lack of enthusiasm for the Drexel crowd. Light-wash denim shorts and tube socks combined with greasy pony tailed hair just didn't do it for me. Or it could be that God has spited me and placed a giant neon sign above my head that says "Run away! She'll chop your balls off!" only visible to those I find myself even mildly attracted to. There is, however, one answer that holds up. One of my best guy friends once told me at a party, "Guys don't date you because you're too funny." At the time it seemed ludicrous, but it buzzed around in my head, like a pesky fly caught between two windowpanes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. (Comments)

Thank you, Mr. Penn

Although all 27 tons of him stands atop City Hall, William Penn isn't exactly a strong presence in the city he founded.  Compared to Benjamin Franklin, he's practically anonymous, so it's rare for someone to offer a modern tribute to... (Comments)

Learning to Sink

By Lewis Helfand» Modern man is strong. Modern man is athletic. Modern man is...actually none of these things, which is why he is always at the gym. I did my part to contribute to the American gym culture and began working out and running, morphing from a couch potato to one something more resembling a thick steak fry. But something was still missing. Modern man is also supposed to have no fear. Being completely ripped won't matter when gorgeous woman asks you to join her for a swim and you have to sputter in reply: "I don't swim. I'm afraid of the water." (Comments)

Council's Secret "WAM" Fund

By Ryan Briggs» Few taxpayers know about it, but each year their district Council members divvy up a $1.98 million slush fund buried deep within the Department of Parks and Recreation's $47.8 million budget. Referred to by one political aide as "Council's Walking Around Money," the Philadelphia Activities Fund, Inc. (or simply, "the Fund") is a grants program that essentially operates like a piggy bank for the city's political class, an easy pot of money for Council members to hand out cash to favored groups in their districts. Reporter Ryan Briggs reveals the details... (Comments)

Zumba! Zumba! Zumba?

By Kat Richter» I know from the moment that the curly haired brunette steps onto the elevator that this is a mistake. Why? Well, for starters her parachute pants come complete with bondage straps and these straps bear the official fluorescent green Zumba insignia. She's also wearing a Zumba t-shirt and even though I can't see her entire bra, I'm willing to bet that it too is a registered trademark of the "fitness party" program. Her t-shirt has been cut, fringed and tied back together with all the flair of a 13 year old at summer camp--and adolescent summer campers have quite a bit of flair. Nonetheless, as the elevator reaches the fourth floor and we step out into the lobby, I can tell she's a woman who takes her mid-week trip to the gym seriously. Any minute now she's going to be the one elbowing her way to the front of the class, trying to intimidate newbies like myself with her Zumba pride. She's probably the teacher's pet--maybe that's how she's acquired all of this Zumba paraphernalia? Maybe she's been voted "most enthusiastic" or "least likely to look like an idiot (Comments)

Learning to Compete

When I was a kid and complained about what was served for dinner, my father would always say: "It you don't like it, you can always go down the street." That always shut me up. This was in the 1950's... (Comments)

Saying No to a Bitter End

By Stacia Friedman» I grew up in a secular Jewish family in which death did not exist. We children were not allowed to go to funerals or cemeteries. We had no concept of Heaven, other than a once-a-year excursion to the Concord Hotel in the Catskills where we were allowed to stay up late and hear comedians tell obscene jokes with Yiddish punchlines. Even better, there was no Hell. At least not after my parents put my sister and me in separate bedrooms. So what happens when we die? "Nothing," said my father, the doctor. "It's like unplugging a TV." I accepted this with an air of superiority. When religious friends of all stripes spoke wistfully of dear, departed relatives being "in a better place," I rolled my eyes. (Comments)

The Four Faces of Tom

Anyone trying to figure out what Gov. Corbett was up to this week in filing a suit against the NCAA and the sanctions it imposed on Penn State should go to Netflix and rent the 1957 movie The Three Faces... (Comments)

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