The unveiling of my Philadelphia Republican Party honors thesis Web site

I have been busy.

Because I didn’t have the grades to get into the honors school initially, in order to graduate with honors on May 22 – my day of commencement from Temple University – I have to complete an undergraduate thesis project.

I have been steadily working on my paper, due the first week of May, but, in addition to a public presentation and defense of my initial findings at a research forum held two weeks ago, I have nearly put all the final touches on the framework of a blog that chronicles my year-long research on Philadelphia’s Republican Party, the focus of my thesis.

Finally, a home for all of you dying to learn everything there was to know about partisan politics in Philadelphia.

The paper will eventually go up there too, all of my research and notes, as a means for giving the project a permanent, more visible home. For now, I am happy to have a place to organize all of my work, interviews and research.

Give it a look. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

Interview with former Philadelphia Mayor John Street

Early this morning I interviewed former Philadelphia Mayor John Street, now an adjunct professor of political science at Temple University. I was speaking to him for my honors thesis, which is focusing on the viability of the Republican Party in urban America, particularly Philadelphia.

I’ll post some of my notes later, but for now, check out this video of Street discussing some of the challenges his successor, Michael Nutter, will face.

You have been incorrectly honored

acceptingaward.jpgNo, I will not be inducted into the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society next month.

Really, I wouldn’t even mention it if it wasn’t hilarious.

I received an email requesting I confirm that I would attend a ceremony for a select group of Temple University students to be brought into a group of honor. Had I applied for XAE? Had I heard of XAE? Well, no.

The vanity of the young.

Still, the end of the year, even in a university setting, comes with a flurry of awards, honors, acceptances and, for me, lots of rejection. So, I didn’t think twice about calling to confirm that I would come. The woman with whom I spoke seemed confused, couldn’t find my name, but assumed she didn’t have an updated list. She wrote my name down, my guest’s name, and wished me well. The next day I got an email again requesting I confirm my coming. Well, this only made me certain I was the man they wanted. Then I got another of the same request: confirm your coming! Wow, they really wanted me. So I emailed that woman, eager to humbly confirm my coming to this fine honor. She quickly responded to the contrary.

Please accept my deepest apologies for the invitations to the XAE induction ceremony that have been repeatedly sent to you. Your email address is only one letter off from the intended recipient. We have corrected the error and you will not be bothered with confusing emails like these again.”

Continue reading You have been incorrectly honored

Hillary at Temple, Barack coming next

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Sen. Hillary Clinton was at Temple University today, and I was on hand, taking photographs for The Temple News, though I won’t have them posted until tomorrow morning. I will additionally post some video clips of the speech.

Next week, Barack Obama is coming to Temple.

As Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s importance increases with its primary coming April 22, we will see plenty of the two candidates in the Quaker City.

My final basketball game

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Tonight, the Temple men’s basketball team beat Big 5, A-10 and North Philadelphia rival La Salle 85-66 to claim sole ownership of second place for their conference tournament, set to start this week.

I didn’t go. I was holed up in my apartment doing work, but it sure made me think. I missed the last regular season college basketball game of my career as a student.

I did make it to last week’s senior week, when the Owls beat Duquesne 90-85, the last game at the Liacouras Center I would ever seen as a Temple student.

It was the first tangible effect of my graduation. Afterwards, a few of us, who had been the front row cheering section for the Owls since our freshman year in 2004, took a shot, depicted above, in front of the court. Our last time together, likely.

Continue reading My final basketball game

A blog for the Village of Arts and Humanities

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It is difficult for me to believe, sometimes, that it has been nearly 18 months since I first started working with the students at the Village of Arts and Humanities, a multimedia recreation center at 11th and Alder Streets in North Philadelphia’s Fairhill. It was last December when I first started working with high schoolers there on filming and video editing, coming into what was already a fairly established program.

Today, in working with the kids, I really got to thinking how we haven’t done enough to publicize their work, to let others see the short videos they’ve made.

So, in just a few short hours, ditching the outdated Web site of the nonprofit, together with a couple of the kids, we made a WordPress blog, outfitted with several of their videos uploaded on the class’s new Youtube account.

More to follow, but I’m awfully proud of the work and was surprised just how excited a few of them were to have their Myspace accounts linked. New media has teaching capabilities to be sure, but there are elements that seem to be needed.. like Myspace.

My Harrisburg Internship

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Well, I am taking another swing at this whole ‘getting a job’ upon graduating in May.

Today, I am submitting my name for an internship in capital city Harrisburg, Pa., with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association, associated with the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the group that awarded me, among others, a Keystone Press Award earlier this month Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

It is a 12-week program paying $500 a week. Interns spend two- or three-week rotations writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer (350,000 circulation) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (214,000 circulation) Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa., 109,000 circulation)) and The Patriot-News in Harrisburg.

So, I just packaged my resume, an academic transcript and five clips, including my recent-most byline on accountants serving abroad for the Philadelphia Business Journal, a story I wrote for the Inquirer on a portrait of Pope John Paul II in April 2006, and my well-received profile of a Temple alumnus who fought in World War II, and a story I wrote for the Inqy on accidentally acquiring hepatitis in March 2006. I also submitted the initial story I wrote on Temple University seeking a new dean for its Japan campus.

Wish me luck!

Shooting at my Philadelphia subway stop

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Sadly, yesterday a man was shot by two SEPTA officers at the Allegeny Ave. stop on the Broad Street Line, my stop.allegheny-subway-shooting-feb-21-2008-stretcher.jpgThis comes after reports of increases of SEPTA and city officers riding the subways, often derided as dangerous. I’ve never had a problem myself, but reports of teenage violence, particularly directed at younger riders, have been on the rise.The man was apparently smoking in the stop when the officers approached him. He tried to run and at least four shots were fired.I have video from CBS 3, but I haven’t been able to upload it on YouTube.(Photos by Greg Bezanis, a staff photographer of The Temple News) allegheny-subway-shooting-feb-21-2008-platform.jpg

My travel videos on AOL

I spent a semester living and studying in Tokyo, Japan last fall. While there, I  blogged, photographed and videotaped my experiences for the pilot season of an online-only show by NBC called JYA, Junior Year Abroad.

I just got word from the show’s producer that it has been posted on a new NBC  digital media Web site, Hulu.com.

Through it, major media companies can license the content.

As result, today AOL has done just that, posting my videos, in addition to those of the other cast members. See it here.Check out my most popular video, chronicling my scaling Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak, on my own, on a whim, unprepared.