Silicon Valley

Decades ago, I’d show up weekly to clean the Philadelphia apartment of a California transplant. Daughter of a Hollywood executive, Jacqueline confessed she had to escape California because “California women are too beautiful.” To save her self esteem, she had to flee to Philadelphia. Ah, California as the perfect state with the most beautiful people! […]

White Living

Outside the Gallery, Philadelphia’s low-class shopping mall, Jimbo sits in a wheelchair and begs behind a large sign, “I AM A CANCER VICTIM. I CANNOT WORK. CAN YOU HELP ME?” Under a leather cowboy hat, his eyes are still alert, though a pinch of his lower lip has turned purple. A reader and thinker, Jimbo […]

Chester On The Edge

Traveling by train to Philadelphia, going North, you will pass by Chester, Pennsylvania, a city that has been in decline for more than half a century. Founded in 1682, the same year as Philadelphia, Chester was a major manufacturer of US Navy ships from the Civil War until World War II. It also made ammunitions […]

Postcard From The End Of America: Philadelphia

John is 46 but looks 20 years younger, with not a single white hair or whisker. His grungy style also suspends him in early adulthood. His mom was a registered nurse, then secretary at a garage. His dad sold car parts and drove a mail truck from Philly to Harrisburg in the evening. “I’m not […]

Postcard From The End Of America: Oakland

Other people’s lives come fluttering to us in the tiniest fragments, and these we gather, when we bother to, into an incoherent jumble of impressions we pass off as knowledge. Further, our ears, eyes and mind are all seriously defective and worn-down, making intelligence a dodgy proposition, at best. Our memory also crashes daily, if […]

Postcard From The End Of America

As every story is a meandering road, each road is also a story, or, more accurately, an infinity of stories. An abandoned trail that leads from nowhere to nowhere, with no wayfarers, only a rare roadrunner, snake or javelina, would still be an endless source of human-interest tales, or, more likely, tails. Haven’t you heard […]

Virtual Living: Selling Self-Love

Last week, the president warned a graduating class against a few gadgets and toys, iPods, iPads, Xboxes and PlayStations, where “information becomes a dis­traction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” but this could easily describe nearly all of our media, with Obama, like […]