As part of what Mayor Michael Nutter has dubbed the "Plan C" budget, the Free Library of Philadelphia
(the Pennsylvania city's public library system), chartered in 1891, will close all its branches and cease all services
October 2, 2009, unless measures to raise sales tax and delay some pension payments
are approved by the State Legislature in Harrisburg. The closing could be a huge blow for a city whose most famous citizen, Benjamin Franklin, founded The Library Company of Philadelphia
, the United States' first successful lending library, there in 1731. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco
on Sep 11, 2009 -
Rev. George Whitefield, an 18th century preacher much admired by Benjamin Franklin, was an astonishing orator. According to a contemporary source, he "could make his audiences weep or tremble
merely by varying his pronunciation of the word Mesopotamia. Garrick once said, 'I would give a hundred guineas if I could only say 'O!' like Mr. Whitefield.'"
posted by lolichka
on May 18, 2009 -
Dr. John Rudoff
is a cardiologist in Oregon, but before he entered medical school, he was the staff photographer at The Main Point
, a coffeehouse in Bryn Mawr, PA associated with the early 1960s folk revival in the Philadelphia area. His photographs of the Philadelphia folk scene include unidentified local folkies
, but also touring folk singers such as Dave van Ronk
and John Hammond
. Eventually, Rudoff got a press pass to the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where he took photos of Mary Travers sharing a moment with Mimi and Dick Fariña
and Joan Baez with a pre-psychedelicized Chambers Brothers
, but the most amazing discovery of all are the photos of when Bob Dylan "went electric."
And now you can see Rudoff's whole collection
, thanks to the magic of Flickr.
posted by jonp72
on May 7, 2009 -
"This is the safest place these kids have," Mr. McMonigle explains. "No matter how crazy it gets here, no matter how bad the school is, it’s still better than what’s waiting for them out there when they leave. The irony is that after all the bitching and the moaning about how they don’t want to be here, at the end of the day you can’t get them to go home!" School of Hard Knocks
is a heartbreaking 7-part series of articles about kids with behavioral problems in a Philadelpha high school. [2
[via mefi projects
posted by dersins
on Jan 21, 2009 -
"On the clock striking twelve he appeared slightly agitated, but he soon recovered, walked twice or thrice along the coach house, stopped to bark, staggered, exclaimed 'Halloa old girl!' (his favorite expression) and died... The children seem rather glad of it. He bit their ankles, but that was play..."
So wrote Charles Dickens, describing the death of his pet raven "Grip," in a letter to a friend. Grip has an interesting legacy
. Having served as an eponymous character in Dickens' Barnaby Rudge [full text]
and subsequently inspiring Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven [full text]
, Grip has the distinction of being named a literary landmark
. His taxidermied body
is on display in the Rare Book Department at the Philadelphia Free Library.
posted by amyms
on Aug 13, 2008 -
Sadfilter: The death of Danieal Kelly. Danieal was a 14-year-old Philadelphia girl, born with cerebral palsy, who was denied care and neglected by her mother until her death of starvation, thirst and bedsores, shut away in her bedroom from her siblings. What had social services done to help her? Nothing -- until she died
, and a scramble to falsify documents began. Nine people have now been indicted
on various charges relating to her death and its investigation, including two case workers. The sight of one of her autopsy photos led the then mayor, John Street, to fire the acting commissioner of the DHS. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena
on Aug 2, 2008 -
"When we're running, you can't tell. When people look at us, they don't point and go, 'Yeah, he's homeless, she's not, she's educated.'" Mahlum
explained, "You look and say, 'Oh, look at the runners.' That's a positive association, because there's no separation." [more inside]
posted by stagewhisper
on Dec 21, 2007 -
Reagan at Neshoba.
Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog
which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok"
Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator.
By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB
, additional context here
]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy
codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake
, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes"
. [more inside]
posted by rzklkng
on Nov 13, 2007 -
(fahr'muh'deli'fi'kay'shun), n. 1. The process of turning all of Philadelphia's vacant and abandoned lots into urban farms. n. 2. An entry in the UrbanVoids
international design competition to redo Philadelphia's inner city.
posted by stbalbach
on Mar 7, 2006 -
May 13, 1985: Police drop bomb on occupied Philadelphia rowhouse.
On the morning of May 13, 1985, police commissioner Gregore Sambor spoke thusly through a bullhorn: "Attention MOVE, this is America!" A furious 90 minutes gun battle ensued, in which police fired an estimated 1,000 rounds. After a long stalemate, the decision was made to drop a bomb from a borrowed Pennsylvania State Police helicopter. The bomb did not dislodge the rooftop bunker as it was designed to do. instead, it started a fire that killed 11 people, including five children and destroyed 61 row homes leaving 250 people homeless.
posted by fixedgear
on May 12, 2005 -
reads like fiction (awesome, Hunter S. Thompson -esque fiction -- Part 1
) to outsiders, but that might just be because it's so fucking good. The lawyers commiserating in the comments, at least, think it's real.
The navigation is cumbersome -- if you're not careful, you'll come into a story in the middle. For your perusal, then, I've laid a few out:
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Part 1, 2
Part 1, 2, 3, 4
posted by Tlogmer
on Mar 30, 2005 -
Stuck Like Chuck
- A Philadelphia writer's sad, brief but captivating observations of another's seemingly constant return to self-destruction; in turn, unflinchingly relating his own struggle.
posted by AlexReynolds
on Feb 4, 2005 -
Forget the Super Bowl. In Philadelphia all eyes are on the Wing Bowl, where 20,000 (often) drunk (mostly) men filed into the Wachovia Center beginning shortly after dawn this morning, a workday, to ogle thong-clad Wingettes and cheer on the eaters. This year's winner: Sonya Thomas
, a 105 lb. woman, who knocked off 2-1 favorite and four-peat reigning champ El Wingador
by gobbling 167 buffalo wings in 34 minutes. The event is huge.
Miss Thomas is not.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders
on Jan 30, 2004 -
by Tim Whitaker, editor at Philadelphia Weekly
, who "kind of jests
" someone should order the main branch of the Free Library at 19th and Vine streets gutted, all the passé books written by the long since dead and decayed--books that nobody looks at anyway, thrown out, and replaced with computers.
This could be done over a long weekend, and the new Free Workstation Center of Philadelphia would open. Thousands of city residents who'd been priced out of the Information Revolution for well over a decade would rush to the free computers to experience the online rush that comes with access to the WWW.
He says Amazon's new service "search inside the book" is the first glimpse of a full-bore revolution in the way research will be conducted and books will be distributed in the future that spells the death of libraries.
He bounced this idea off of Steven Levy, a Philadelphia native who writes about technology for Newsweek, and he says "It's not that crazy, The future of libraries is a hot topic with librarians all over the country."
"Once the Web has become a full-service digital archive of the whole wide written word, it'll only be a quick innovation or two before we'll have the technology to order and bind books on our own home book-printing systems. Ebooks will finally become reality. Libraries will become mini-museums, where old books are kept under glass, relics of the pre-"inside the book" revolutionary age.
posted by Blake
on Nov 20, 2003 -
From the website: "Since its inception in 1984, the Mural Arts Program
has completed more murals than any other public art program in the nation - more than 2,300 indoor and outdoor murals
throughout Philadelphia." To find a specific Philly mural by artist or location, try this
posted by moonbird
on Aug 20, 2003 -