Thanksgiving Day performers so fake

So the 6ABC-TV Thanksgiving Day commercial is thumping in the background while I do stuff. But hey! How do these announcers muster up such enthusiasm – hour after hour – to pitch these products? Oh, you say it’s in their contracts? I get it. The pain on the one guy’s face is bleeding through his fake smile. He looks like he’s straining for a bowel movement.

How about some of the bands and all of the theater advertisements, er, I mean production numbers, are prerecorded!

And wait, every so often during this giant rolling commercial, they break for a commercial! Now that is chutzpah beyond the pale. I’m gagging!

“Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees, please!” – Joni Mitchell

Give me the mistakes! Give me the missed notes. Give me the forgotten lines and stage fright. Give me a real show, but leave my kids, er, I mean grandkids, some sense of reality, some sense of real value! When everything they’re fed is phony, what have they to aspire to?

I took my kids to this parade for years and years. My friends and I would coffee the Thanksgiving eve hangover against a wall while the kids captured space on the curb. I don’t remember any pumped-in soundtracks ever. The singers sang. The bands played. The headache ached. The pickpockets picked.

How embarrassed must these “performers” be to lip-syncing en masse to feigned admiration from the stands. It’s like the Russians used to say of their government, “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”

What will these kids talk about at dinner this afternoon, how well they held their horn against their lips and pretended to play? “Great job, little Johnny! You really looked like your heart was in it!” But of course, it wasn’t.

What a sham, er, I mean “shame.”

Raymond Culver

Fox Chase

Keep ears open when you jog

It was a quiet, cold and pretty Thanksgiving morning as I drove westbound on Chestnut Hill Avenue to take my dog for a walk in the Wissahickon. The light was green as I approached Germantown Avenue, so I continued. But just as I was just about to enter the intersection a jogger appeared from my left and it seemed all but certain I was going to hit and seriously injure or kill her.

She literally “ran the red light!” At the last possible second she stopped, I scooted by and stopped my car in the middle of Germantown Avenue. I got out of my car and the nice young woman took her earphones out of her ears. I shouted, “I almost killed you!” She shouted, “I am sorry, I was daydreaming.”

Being a jogger for 40 years I can say it certainly was a great morning for a run (and for daydreaming). But both at the same time with vehicular traffic and earphones? I am so appreciative that there was no harm – the thought of having to live with causing a serious injury or death for the rest of my life shakes me beyond belief.

The message is obvious – keep your eyes and ears open for safety’s sake (and don’t take anything for granted as you drive). We concluded our interaction with sincere wishes for a good Thanksgiving. I only wish I had the name and phone number of the jogger – I owe her a beer or the beverage of her choice!!! I am still giving thanks for my good luck.

Michael Beer


One more thought on library meetings

After reading Librarian Brunton’s letter in Nov 27, Local, it seemed further information might be helpful.

First, I have never known the Chestnut Hill Branch to compromise its standards regarding the use of public meeting space. In fact, it was Chestnut Hill Librarian Margaret Brunton who first told me about library policy regarding use of public space.

The Chestnut Hill Branch did not host any insurance event previously described.

Two Medicare Advantage events advertised by postcard were scheduled at two other Northwest branches. The cards talked only about the perks of subscribing to a Medicare Advantage plan and sure looked like advertisements to me.

Friends in the Northeast and Center City described receiving postcards for events at their local library. It seems likely that those events were planned to sell a product as one was canceled when a librarian informed the insurance company that the program had to be educational and could not be focused on a single product.

Libraries may be the most trusted institution in our modern democratic society. Librarians protect our privacy, help level the playing field for those seeking information and provide places to assemble. Those of us who care about such things need to make sure that for-profit corporations don’t encroach on library space.

Joan M. Martini

Chestnut Hill

You will not get this anywhere else

I read this week’s article on Steve Garvey of the Buzzcocks [“From heights of fame to one more face in the crowd”] and sent it to my son-a former punk rocker of little fame and fortune. I knew my way around the Ramones and the Clash then. Good for the original writing and local talent on this, as well as another shocking-but-welcome surprise last March on your superior piece on Keith Forsyth.

Keith and I were co-defendants in the Camden 28 – way before your time – but clearly the media action overshadowed any other except maybe the Pentagon Papers.

Saw him briefly at a memorial service this summer, since most of us are dead, nearly dead, or wishing we were dead.

So, thanks for you that two of the most surprising pieces of unexpected history lessons made from home-grown (not Holmgren, Paul) local talent.

Martha Haley

Haddon Township, NJ

Great local performances

Thank you for publicizing the play “Table Manners,” written by Alan Ackbourn and directed by Noelle Nettl in last week’s edition. A friend and I went to see the matinée this past Sunday and spent a pleasant afternoon laughing and enjoying the spectacular comedy just minutes from our homes.

While I knew Erdenheim resident Claire Golden Drake (who played the lead female character of Annie) was an actor, I had never seen her perform. What a performance she delivered, along with Chestnut Hill resident Thomas Keels, who made his Allens Lane debut.

What a treasure we have in this fine institution. I plan to get back there this weekend to support its Holiday Art and Ceramic Sale that includes works by visually-impaired and blind artists. What a lovely and unique holiday gift and way of giving back to the center and these talented local performers.

Barb Sherf

Flourtown, PA

Thanks to Rep. Cherelle Parker

We are students attending Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration High School, and we will all be registered voters by the end of this school year. As we are residents of the 200th District in Philadelphia, our state representative is Cherelle Parker.

Recently, we have taken a special interest in the function of our state governments and the roles we play in it. We wish to draw attention to and highlight the commendable work and accomplishments of Representative Parker especially on the issues most important to us and the other residents of our district.

Representative Parker’s decisions regarding education directly impacts public school students like us, and her efforts in that area are greatly appreciated. Our school is underfunded, and even though it is a top magnet school, we often don’t get sufficient resources to meet all our needs. However, Representative Parker’s push for more financial support for the school district greatly aids this problem.

The hotly debated liquor and cigarette taxes will help bring in money that our schools badly need. Also with her introduction of legislation to establish a Bipartisan Select Committee on School Safety, she has found yet another way to support the institution of education in our city. This examination of school safety, is one of many important factors that go into the improvement of our educational system.

Additionally, we would like to commend her on her efforts toward raising the minimum wage. Some of us, as well as many of our peers, work minimum wage jobs, and it means a lot personally. With an increase in wages, those teenagers working to contribute to their family’s income will not be forced to choose between taking on extra work, or dropping out – instead they will be able to continue with their education.

An increase in the minimum wage would be welcomed by part-time workers, but it is most important to the hundreds of thousands of full-time single parents unable to support their family with only $15,000 a year. Her solidarity with the constituents in her district who have expressed the need for a raise in minimum wage is evident, as she voted in 2006 to increase wages to $7.15 an hour, and recently supported an increase to $10.10 an hour.

We hope that when the Wolf administration begins in January, Representative Parker will fight to ensure he keeps all of his promises. As she has similar stances on minimum wage, we have confidence that she will continue to support and quickly push a minimum wage increase into law.

Representative Parker’s hard work and service to our community sometimes goes unacknowledged. We hope that here we have conveyed that we truly value all the work she’s put into making this city, and specifically our northwest corner, a better place.

Maya Bracy, Emma Flickinger, Melina Nolas, Julian Jefferson

Wyatt Saint Clair Students at Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration High School