Category Archives: Uncategorized

“You’re Quite the Paper, Philadelphia Weekly!”

Dear Philadelphia Weekly,

I get it, okay? I understand. Truly, I do. Life is hard right now. Times are tough. Belts are a’tightenin.’ Forty years after you first began as a weekly publication, you find yourself in one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. You’re struggling to get by on a handful of writers – struggling to fill your pages with some meaningful content. It’s okay. Because I understand. I completely understand why you decided to include the “You’re Quite the Dish” feature in the Food section of the paper. A complete transcript of an imaginary, exclamation-point laden, oft-coy conversation with a personable dish? Brilliant. It accomplishes a multitude of recession-friendly goals. Continue reading

Gene Marks Takes On the Role of “A Poor Black Kid”

Every wonder what it’s really like to be a poor black kid? In an article titled “If I Were A Poor Black Kid,” Forbes contributor and Philadelphia entrepreneur Gene Marks gives it a few seconds of thought.  To save all of you busy people some time, I thought I’d share my own summary of his article. (FYI: Title stolen from my friend Joel.) Here, in short, is what Marks writes:

“If I Were A Poor Black Kid, I’d Use All the Advantages I Have from Not Being a Poor Black Kid”

Obama. Obama. Obama.

I’m not a poor black kid living in West Philadelphia. But if I were, I would study really hard and go to a good school! But I’m not a poor black kid. But if I were,  I would take advantage of each and every opportunity I could. But I’m not. But if I were a poor black kid, I would take advantage of every resource out there. But I’m not. But if I were…. But I’m not… But if I were… But I’m not.

Obama. Obama. Obama.

The end.

Okay. Maybe he says it a little differently. Or does he? You tell me.

2011 Philebrity Awards: Philadelphia City Paper vs. Philadelphia Weekly

There’s only one category that interests me in the 2011 Philebrity Awards: General Excellence in Writing for a City Publication. This year – two of my favorite writers – Philadelphia Weekly’s Tara Murtha and Philadelphia City Paper’s Daniel Denvir – received a nomination. As an avid reader of Murtha and Denvir in print, I was also delighted earlier this year to find both to be personable and informative on the Twitters. But who gets the vote? When I pondered the question on Twitter and jokingly suggested a jello wrestling match to help me decide the fight, Mr.  Denvir, who started writing for CP six months ago, kindly sent me the following:

I have exposed the weird and right-wing ways of “gun-toting, gay-bashing, tea-partying” state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, uncovered landlords treating low-income Section 8 tenants like crap, revealed that ousted schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman used the District’s communications office as a personal propaganda machine.

I have shown how poor black and Latina mothers can have their children taken away because they smoke pot, and how horribly bad sex ed in Philly public schools is. I wrote about how one South Philly drug trafficker from an infamous mob family serving life without parole became a civil rights fighter against the drug war.

I have criticized local media outlets when they fell short, including the Inquirer’s baseless and extensive campaign to arm school cops and the Daily News‘ regurgitation of a bizarre conspiracy theory that loads of anarchists were being bused in from other cities to Occupy Philly. And I have used my new “Hostile Witness” column to take District Attorney Seth Williams to task for failing to ensure that people convicted of crimes are really guilty.

I have written about Philly for national publications like Salon, The Guardian and The Atlantic where we, the nation’s fifth largest city, almost never get any attention.

Thanks for your support. Vote here:


Daniel Denvir

So there you have it, kids. Head over to Philebrity and  vote away.

Notes from the Vogue India September 2011 Issue

As a longtime Vogue reader and a former fashion-obsessed contributor to MTV Desi (Fashion Faceoff RIP), I’ve been itching to get my fingers on a print edition of Vogue India.  Over Thanksgiving, when I visited Maharani Music in Houston, one of the few places I’ve found that actually carries legit copies of Bollywood movies and music, I was delighted to procure a copy of the Vogue India September 2011 issue for sale.  On the plane back, I finally opened up the magazine.  And, as is my custom, I took a few notes so I could refer back later. Here, for your enjoyment, are those notes. Continue reading


From my friend Anita:

It’s that time of year again! Most of you know that I’m involved with
SEWAA (Service and Education for Women Against Abuse).
SEWAA, in collaboration with NetIP Phildelphia, is having our
annual fundraising event:

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011
This is a walk for Peace in Protest of Domestic Violence.

Registration starts at 8:30 am. Event Begins at 10am.

It will be held at FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Park, We will be meeting in front of the boat house, across from the Swedish Museum.

Please join us in commemorating the International Day of Non
Violence, National Domestic Violence Month, and Gandhi Jayanthi (Gandhi’s Birthday) by participating in a 5k walk to help raise funds to provide better supports and services for South Asian women and their families who are victims of domestic violence.

To register to walk in this event is $25 per person. You can register the day of the event. But if you register early or contact me before the event you will get a FREE T-SHIRT! Ask your family members, friends, and co-workers to sponsor your walk. Sponsors can donate any amount they wish. Please bring your donations with you on the day of the event.  A PRIZE will go to the walker who raises the most money.

For pledge forms or any questions please email Anita Prabhakaran at

The Philadelphia Inquirer Covers Indian Americans: Gets it 100% Right

Photo Credit: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Dear Editor Wischnowski,

I am writing today to thank you and the rest of The Philadelphia Inquirer team for your wonderful front-page coverage of the South Asian American community in the Sunday, July 3rd edition. The article titled “Indian population booming in Philadelphia area” certainly constitutes one of the finest pieces of research-driven feature-writing I have seen in quite some time. As one of the 477,586 Sunday readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer, I am thrilled to see that the third-oldest, eleventh-largest daily newspaper  the United States continues to maintain its reputation as the Pulitzer Prize winning publication of its yore.  With the advent of joke publications, such as The Onion, arriving in this town, it’s heartening to see some hard-hitting news in the Inquirer.

First and foremost, I would like to tip my hat to journalists Michael Matza and Joelle Farrell for their wonderful reporting. To echo the first quote in the article, “Stereotypes be damned.” Such breadth of interviewees! What segues! The software-developer. The dentist groom and the physician bride. The retired chemist. The civil engineer turned motel-owner. The managing partner. The real estate agent.  And lest we grow too comfortable in our community’s affluence, the additional video on your website featuring the taxi driver. A moment of silence for this lone unskilled Indian American man who aspires to achieve the American dream. And a hat tip to you guys for featuring him! I bow to your benevolent reporting. Nick Kristof could learn something from you people. Continue reading

Talkadelphia Named Best New Podcast

In day and age, nobody  will ever listen to an hour-long podcast, right? Wrong.  In October of last year, Gino and myself set out to co-produce and co-host a weekly show called Talkadelphia. It operated on the premise that between the two of us – we could find enough interesting Philadelphians to keep the conversation going for a year. Almost 11 months later, we were stunned to be recognized as Best New Podcast by the Philly Geek Awards this past Friday, August 19. Continue reading

Vote for AJ Nanayakkara

Photo Credit: Psychology Today

There’s not always a lot to enjoy about the actual law school experience. The stress. The rivalry.  The workload. That one sardonic professor who enjoys the Socratic method a little too much. But all the irksome parts of law school go out the door once you’re the real world and you’re able to actually affect someone’s quality of life in a significant way. At least that was my experience.The work done at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled, where I intern, changes lives. In the nine months that I’ve worked there, I’ve seen firsthand how lawyers at LCD fight for one of the most vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. Last week we learned that one of our most ardent supporters, AJ Nanayakkara, a spinal cord injury advocate has been nominated for the Second Annual Anapol Advocate Award. If he wins, the Legal Clinic for the Disabled receives $5,000. Please take a second and vote for AJ.  Please also pass on to family and friends.  (Caveat: The website sometimes shows an error sign when you try to vote. Just refresh and it should go through.) Voting ends May 31. Thank you in advance for your vote.

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Pay the Writer

On Friday, April 1st, a series of tweets were exchanged between my friend, writer Jeff Deeney and the person behind Metro Philly’s Twitter account re: a dispute about fees owed Jeff for freelance work.  See this. And this. I was a little surprised to read this exchange coming from a corporate account. A lot of disgruntled individuals tweet at corporate accounts, celebrities and other public accounts. But most account managers are trained not to respond to deliberately provocative comments. So for a while, I mistakenly thought I had been duped by an April Fool’s joke.



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My 5 Favorite Talkadelphia Interviews

So back in October, I told you about a new project I was working on called Talkadelphia. The premise was simple: Instead of writing about them like I usually do, Gino and I would interview all of the interesting Philadelphians that we knew so that you could hear their stories firsthand. A lot of folks told me podcasting was a stupid idea given the deteriorating attention span of the average American in the Internet age. But I refuse to believe that nobody wants to hear first-hand from the folks we’ve covered. So shove it, haters.

Twenty plus episodes later, I’ve learned a few things. First of all, podcasting is a lot more work than the simple Q&As I usually write. Whereas an average profile would take me roughly 3-4 hours to compile (interview/transcribe/edit /write/re-write), one podcast episode can easily take twice that much time. So if you are planning to seriously commit to a podcast, kiss your social life away. Or just make your social life a part of your podcast, like we do. Continue reading