A Tamagawa Taiko and Dance Troupe member describes what it's like to dance with the troupe at the Sakura Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. (Awaiting a translation...) Watch video here
A student who attends a Christian high school describes himself as "pro-life" and ponders how he would regulate abortion.
I had off because I didn’t have a midterm test at school. I came in to work, 10:30 and after I’ll go sit down somewhere and study for the exam. WHAT’S THE EXAM ON? History, U. S. History. AND THIS IS AT..? Philmont Christian. AND WHAT ERA OF U.S. HISTORY DO YOU HAVE TO KNOW TODAY? It actually goes from the creation of the Constitution to modern day so we learn about cases and amendments, that stuff. DO YOU TALK ABOUT ROE V. WADE IN AMERICAN HISTORY CLASS? Yeah that’s one of the cases. WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT DECISION? Which one is that, again? THE ROE V WADE RIGHT TO ABORTION DECISION? I’m definitely pro-life. I’m against abortion. A small percent of circumstances like rape and stuff like that obviously is really tough, a tough call but I think that even if someone isn’t born, the life is still important. HOW DO YOU BELIEVE THAT SHOULD BE REGULATED? It’s tough to say. I’m not sure, yeah, I’m not sure. Brett Steiger of Abington, Cedars Café, Forbidden Drive and Northwestern Avenue. Watch video here.
I’ve been retired now for about twelve years. And ever since I’ve been retired I’ve wanted to do something. I’m not a lay home watch soap opera kind of girl. I ran into a place called non-profit technology resources down near Spring Garden and Stan introduced me to recycling. And what I do is the donations that have come into the YWCA where I started and Malt Computer Volunteer Group, with the donations that come in, they were just sitting around. So I decided to tinker with and fix them.
As of the past four years we’re a Microsoft authorized refurbisher. We’re licensed by Microsoft to refurbish computers and install licensed products. Because we’re an authorized refurbisher, that means I’m obligated to wipe any and all hard drives. So I can assure people if they want to donate it or someone comes in and says I want to donate and I want my data, I’ll open the computer up and pull the hard drive out and hand it to them. Because when I re-image it, it has to be wiped. I have other hard drives.
You used to be able to put computers out on the sidewalk. Now you can’t do that. Also industries can’t dispose of their computer equipment the way they used to. So they donate it. They say you come get it. No you drop it off because I know they’re saving money (plus they’re getting a tax deduction} because they don’t have to pay for disposal.
My concern is since I’m a grandmom my concern is with schoolchildren, middle school through high school and college students. When I get donations of laptops, the college students are first on the list AT REDUCED PRICE? At minimal price. Especially a high school student who comes in and they’re honor roll. They get a whole PC for twenty bucks. AND HOW DO THEY FIND OUT ABOUT YOU? Usually word of mouth. Everybody knows “Miss Wynnie, the computer lady.” Wynne Hill, Summit Presbyterian Church, Mount Airy.
“’Nobody dies at the end of this book. Try not to let this fact mislead you. As far as my Mother is concerned, it is important to distinguish between what death actually is and what it isn’t. There’s a body and there’s a soul. One dies, the other doesn’t, ever. And then there’s how I feel about it, which is complicated.’”
“My name is Susan Morse and I have written a book called, “The Habit” which is the story of my Mother who at age 85 in the middle of a health crisis which I was shepherding her through the medical system, became an Orthodox Christian nun. And it’s the story of our relationship…
She was on a quest. She was spiritually hungry her whole life. In the 1940s during the wartime she met my father and married him just as many people did -married a man who was about to go off to war. It was a relationship that was never really a true, passionate romance and there was a lot of trouble there. But they stuck it out. They raised four children together and end up actually quite content with each other by the end.
After the kids moved, out she started experimenting with lots of different religions and kept changing, Episcopalian to Roman Catholic to a different kind of Roman Catholic back to Episcopalian, all these different things. And she’s an artist and at one point she began taking these workshops painting Byzantine icons. And that is something you have to pray when you’re doing it, the workshops tell you. The whole system is really, really strict technique. And she discovered that her icons which she was feeling very satisfied with the process of doing those, were not legitimate in the Orthodox Church because she was not an Orthodox Christian.
My Mother really believes in- if you believe in something you really have to throw your whole self into it. So for her to be a Christian is not enough. She needed to go all the way.
She says now she dreamt about being a nun from when she was a little girl. She was 85 when she became a nun and she was frail. There was no question of her taking on a job. For the frail and elderly ones – she became, literally, she’s called a ‘house nun’, which means she stays in her house, and she prays. And that’s what she does!”
Susan Morse, reading from the preface to her newly published book, “The Habit.” Morse will be reading from her book on Wednesday, January 25th in the Bombay Room at the Chestnut Hill Hotel and on January 26th at Headhouse Books in Society Hill. Both events are from 7:00 to 8:30.
Eudene Yardehope loves her New York Police Deparment family on the traffic enforcement scooter patrol and her dual homes of America and Barbados. Watch video here.
Audrey Bookspan of Wyndmoor is a longtime local dance teacher and performer. She once performed with the the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has been the percussionist with Jim Harris and Saint Mad since July 2010. They perform every first Friday at Crossroads Coffee House in Roxborough. Here she taps to "Nice and Easy Does It Every Time." Watch video here
Fox 29 TV camerawoman gets sent out every day to different places to shoot the weather and people out and about for the station's morning show. She may be sent to the Jersey shore but won't have a chance to jump in the water. Or she may be sent to the scene of breaking news, like the guy who was barricaded in Marcus Hook. Watch video here.
Yertle's almost eight and a half. She's a green winged macaw. She's been with us since she's been 3 months old. And she is able to say, "I love you", "banana", "How are you?", "Take me out", "Help me!" WHAT DOES SHE UNDERSTAND? Everything. She does not like her harness. She puts up a fight to get in her harness but we have to because she'll fly away. So she fights until we get it on and then she's happy to come out. Right, Yertle? DOES SHE GET A CHANCE TO FLY EVER? Oh, she flies around the room in the house. She's pretty good at it. Normally most people keep the wings clipped. We let her fly in the room because it's good exercise for them. And she gives good kisses. C'mon, give me a kiss. WHERE IS SHE NATIVE TO? Florida. You can't bring birds in from Costa Rica or any other place anymore. SHE WAS BORN AND BRED IN FLORIDA? Yes, she came up as a kind of a blob to a bird store in New Jersey and when we saw her she was three months old. Her feet weren't strong enough to hold on to a perch yet so she slept laying down on the bottom of the cage. She was so cute sleeping on the bottom of the cage, that's why Sari (Sari's her real owner) fell in love with her. Say hello to the nice man. Yurtle: "Hello." Well that was a good start. She also says "Hi" And when the phone rings she says, "Hello! Hello!" In Mount Airy, Ruth Hoxsie with Yertle Ann Yentele, a green winged macaw, who earned the name "Yentele" because she'll repeat anything she hears. Watch video here.
On a recent Saturday, Linley Kirkwood, community outreach coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County and a Chestnut Hill resident, led a “Love in Action Tour” for prospective volunteers in North Hills. (Upper Dublin, Montgomery County, PA)
Habitat, which builds and rehabilitates homes around the world in partnership with the families who need them, also has active affiliates in Philadelphia and other neighboring counties.
This tour started in the home of a vacationing wheel-chair bound homeowner whose house was the first ADA-certified project for the Montgomery chapter. After an introduction and the showing of a short, moving video about the work Habitat does, Kirkwood dispelled some common myths about Habitat: former President Jimmy Carter did not found Habitat but he was an early and, still is, ardent supporter. Habitat does not give away houses; homeowners make a down payment, contribute sweat equity and pay a mortgage made reasonable by the contribution of labor, land and material.
Despite being one of the wealthiest areas in Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, the local housing authority, according to Habitat, figures there are more than 5700 substandard homes. Leaking roofs, faulty plumbing or electricity, and pest infestation plague the inhabitants. Habitat estimates that about one third of county residents pay dearly for housing - nearly one third of their income.
Kirkwood related examples of how the padlocks on the doors of bedrooms inside houses or apartment buildings that appeared to meet standards belied the fact that each room was home to a whole migrant worker family.
Several participants at the orientation already had Habitat experience. Kapil Kulakkunnath, a young electrical engineer, worked on a project in Brazil last July. A retired gentleman was just days back from volunteer work in Portugal, his third international venture.
Kirkwood showed a short work safety video then led the group outdoors to see the handsome-looking homes farther up the street built by Habitat through the efforts of faith groups. The tour ended at a “hole in the ground” from where a building foundation was emerging. For a week in May, 54 women who want to learn construction skills will descend, but not all at once, for a motivational and high energy “Women Build” program to put up the framing.
From the enthusiasm of the tour participants, it seems likely that in the weeks to follow some of us may well be found lending a hand converting what began as a hole in the ground into a new home for a family in need.