The IRA: America's Favorite Militant Group? Rebels and Terrorists: Two Different Breeds
Irish-American Identity and the IRA
"Ireland unfree shall never be at peace." -Pearse
I first noticed it at a Flogging Molly concert in Philadelphia: a young man wearing a tee shirt identifying himself as a sniper. I immediately understood the pro-IRA connection, and my reaction was a cross between amusement, arr... continue reading
The Camping Virgin: Finding Meaning without Plastic or Cash in 48 Hours
I remember when the movie Independence Day came out in theatres. It was a decent success—the plot was heroic enough. I watched Independence Day for what was probably the fifteenth time in 2002. I’d grown older, though my affinity for Bill Pullman (who portrayed President Whitmore in the movie) had only grown. However, ... continue reading
Sex DOES sell
At the beginning of December, 2008, I went camping in New Jersey for a live action role play (LARP) event. I went with my boyfriend and an entire group of friends, all coordinated in warm two-tone matching costumes.
I was a camping virgin. I’ve never been truly camping out in the woods with a tent and a fire, etc.,... continue reading
Cultural Practitioners: A Melting Pot Observation
Of course sex sells. Naturally a half-naked woman can sell anything.
We’re used to sex selling to men, presumably straight men. What about the multitudes of straight women out there?
During the 1950s, American companies realized the power of consumerism. If a woman was told she needed a fancy new product to make... continue reading
Obama’s Success: The Philadelphia Difference
Religion undoubtedly plays an important role in various religious and ethnic groups. In some instances, a group's religious beliefs are tied to instances of oppression and even ethnic cleansing. Therefore, it seems only natural that religion is a source of support and pride for individuals whose ethnic groups have surv... continue reading
Thirty Pounds and One Year Ago: My Weight Loss Experience
Whether Americans love Democratic nominee Barack Obama or simply want to see him fail, most of them are surprised at Obama's steady and continuous popularity in the party. Rallying behind a relatively young and idealistic candidate, the Democratic Party selected Senator Obama over rival Senator Hillary Clinton in a clo... continue reading
Does Caffeine Kill Christmas Cheer?
[extract2]The weight gain seemed sudden. As a woman of small stature, I found myself registering 163 pounds. I had a lot of excuses for the weight gain, many of which I still see as valid. I see these difficulties in many others, and I hope that my experience can help them.
At first, I had a great job and a new rela... continue reading
The Barista Experience: Life Behind the Bar
Working at a cafe during Christmas time conjures up images of endless lines, cold customers needing hot beverages, and the impossibly repetitive sound of Christmas music so redundant that one might wish death upon even Rudolph. Grabby, unattended kids make smudgy nose and finger prints on the pristine pastry case.
Ev... continue reading
Politics, Religion, and the American Café
My local café is cozy - there are comfy chairs and friendly people behind the counter. I know this because I work there. Within the bounds of barista-customer and barista-barista confidentiality, I'll describe what it's like to work at a café.
The regular customers know a lot about me and the other baristas at... continue reading
Coffee culture in America has taken a rather European turn in the past decade, due partly to the proliferation of independent cafés and Starbucks alike. The café provides a public yet personal neutral ground upon which two parties may meet to discuss topics that are either taboo in certain locations or typicall... continue reading