Monday, March 28, 2005

thank god for

Unfortunately, it happens to all women at least once. I, however, have been on the receiving end of it an embarrassing number of times (in the past). This realization caused me at least 5 minutes of emotional distress.

A lot of men have no damn clue about kissing!

How they sometimes go decades with no inkling of this has me baffled. Yes, there is the male ego to contend with. No doubt, the best looking ones have been tolerated for the way their faces look when not attached to someone else's. Sure, sex appeal glosses over a multitude of sins.

But if you're like me- say yay- a good makeout session is one of the biggest turn ons. Perhaps in fairness to the hairier sex, I need to take a walk on the smelly side ;P

There's just not a lot of information available. And when women are too timid to... fix the problem... where else can you guys turn but the Internet for anonymous advice of all kinds?

I would like to nominate to the Don Juan Hall of Shame the guy at who wrote this:

When you first meet a girl, shake her hand... kiss it gently on the top. This automatically takes you out of the friend zone & it drives girls crazy when you do this to show that you're a gentleman. It works. This makes you more charming as well & chicks dig charming guys.

Even better, the aptly named Blinky (over in a flash?) had this profound tip to offer you males out there who are floundering.

What you do is when you talk with a girl / woman you know a bit already or have some rapport with, you deliberately lace your sentences with sexual suggestions...

I've noticed from doing this, though, it drives them wild. They get sexual frusration, lol...

The girl always picks up on the sexual part of it & gets really confused by you, whether you are doing it on purpose, or whether it's just her dirty mind & she is really horny.

- Will you bring me off a copy of that essay tomorrow so I can have a look at it? I will be thinking about it all night if I don't get it.

- Was really busy yesterday. Went out. I was thinking bout you loads.

- Do you want to go to bed? You look really tired. I'm really tired too, as it goes.

God bless the school system that graduated that don juan (emphasis on the lower case) at a third grade level. Again, in all fairness, morbid tales such as these are nothing new. Many women, without a doubt, could use their share of lessons tonguing a grapefruit (note that I am not one of them!)

Pure badness itself is nothing new. In ancient mythology, Zeus loved them & left them (longing for his strange half-man/ half-animal shape) at an astounding rate. Enough to turn the be-wigged Warren Beatty from his path to oblivion.

The Fonz was an icon 20 years ago, yet we all know the kid who grew up as Henry Winkler did NOT get all the girls. Henry? c'mon... Winkler?? that's even worse!

Most inexplicable to me is the love story of Bogey & Bacall. I know he's a legend, but he looked more like a troll than a leading man! If I gotta go golden oldies, give me a young Marlon Brando. But take a listen to Howard Hawks, who directed B&B in To Have & Have Not:

When two people are falling in love with each other, they're not tough to get along with, I can tell you that. Bogie was marvelous. I said "You've got to help" & of course after a few days he really began to get interested in the girl. That made him help more. [Bacall] had to keep practicing for six to eight months to keep that low voice. Now, it's perfectly natural. And the funny thing is that Bogie fell in love with the character she played, so she had to keep playing it the rest of her life.

*m&m wants to faint in film noir.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

philadelphia weekly feature garners education reporting award

Aina Hunter won second prize in the "Feature, News Feature or Issue Package" category of the Education Writers Association's 2004 awards. Her entry, "Speak No Evil: Don't Ask, Don't Tell," published in two parts on Sept. 22 and 29, tells the story of Edgar Friedrichs, who was convicted on four felony counts of child sexual abuse and indicted for the murder of one of his students.

what would you do?

"Leigh" has four kids. Despite this, she always has a smile on her face & something good to say about the state of the world...

Nick Yarris once wrote, I have no guise. It's been taken from me.

That's Leigh. When her middle son was removed from the home for molesting her daughter, she was torn between these two children. Wanting to redeem the one & to protect the other.

What do you do with a woman like that? She fits into none of the cardboard cutouts, none of the stereotypes we have about people & about life.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

a royal episode...

When I was eighteen, I met the most unbelievable guy. I was young enough & perhaps stupid enough to ... to think I'd stumbled into some fairy tale. fairy tale eddie was a little taller than this guy. otherwise, twins!

Once upon a time, the prince had a swimmer's body. When he wore the court jester's hat, he made me laugh like no one else. He was so cool & detached that I felt like I yearned for every little thing. And as we matched wits emotionally, I saw another person for the very first time. It was an aging process. See, the prince had his big white horse to think about & he had other girls in his... ahem, court.

Name was Eddie. He moved to Pennsylvania from Maine- had the kind of tragic life story, a really rotten family history, that evoked every mothering instinct in me. I wanted to hold him & kiss him & cry with him until the bad stuff went away.

One night, after watching Joseph Cotton & Orson Welles in The Third Man (my favorite movie) Eddie told me that he wouldn't be around that weekend. "I'm going skiing," he said. orson welles before. yum.

"Um, okay. Thanks for the heads up." I remember throwing a pillow at him as I realized I'd have to attend my niece's fifth birthday party alone.

"I'm going... with Shannon."

Shannon, your girlfriend from prep school? Shannon who lives in another time zone? That Shannon?


We'd only been together a little while. Never discussed seeing other people. Still, I'd assumed it was just he & I. Somehow, I consoled myself. She wasn't some new fling. I was the new tart. And somehow, that meant he felt no more settled with her than he did with me.

At the time, after the movie was put back away, after Eddie left, I cried on my best friend Jess's shoulder. Still, a bit later I realized that I had known about Shannon. He wasn't really hiding his relationship with her. I just hadn't wanted to see it.

There's a reason that fairy tales are not approved bedside reading for adults. Sure, they're all about hope & happy endings, gnomes, evil witches, & magic castles- but life doesn't always turn out that way! Asking why is harmful to a current mindset and a future marriage.

Look ahead. After the "I do's," roll down the aisle- year seven, let's say. You go to work. You come home. Boring dinner, dull conversation, kids screaming in the background. Suddenly, family/ home life has become the most mundane part of your day. At work, see, there's this guy. He's older. Brilliant. Worldly. (I could see myself going for that. The sort of role that Welles played in The Third Man.)welles after. just kidding.

There's conflict. Yes, you're married. But you're also young, and there's an excess of hormones that life hasn't choked out of you yet. The flirtation isn't hurting anyone. The mystery is so exciting, so thrilling. There's no kids, there's no mortgage payment. There's. Absolutely. No. Familiarity.

And that's it, isn't it? Mystery, sensuality- niiiice! There's also the kind that lies, that might have a microscopic friend along for the ride, that- at the very least- makes work a living hell!

A little mystery- a little distance. You have a hard time getting him to open up to you early in the dating process?? Thank God! There'll come a time, a few years down the road, when you know all his stories, all his sounds, all his moods.

All you'll have left then is role-playing ;P

*m&m want to show prince william where it's at.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

falling for fake news

By Scott M. Libin...

With tight budgets and ambitious amounts of air time to fill, some television news departments are turning to non-traditional content providers whose pitch is:

"We're from the government and we're here to help."

From Washington to Sacramento, federal and state agencies use video news releases (VNRs) to plant political messages in newscasts at no cost to the stations that carry them, and with no disclosure to viewers.

Some journalists express outrage at the notion of disguising public relations as legitimate news coverage, and of hiding from audiences the actual source of such material. But politicians don't deserve all the blame. If television stations were adequately staffed and their employees trained to understand the difference between journalism and PR, fake news wouldn't get on the air...
[read the rest after the jump]

Thursday, March 17, 2005

hooptedoodle, by elmore leonard

Allan Barnes for The New York Times
Elmore Leonard, whose new novel, "Tishomingo Blues," is due out next February, outside his home in Bloomfield Village, Mich., on Thursday.

Writers on Writing Archive

These are rules I've picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I'm writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.

1. Never open a book with weather.

If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a character's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck's "Sweet Thursday," but it's O.K. because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: "I like a lot of talk in a book and I don't like to have nobody tell me what the guy that's talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. . . . figure out what the guy's thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That's nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don't have to read it. I don't want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story."

3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated," and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" . . .

. . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances "full of rape and adverbs."

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."

This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use "suddenly" tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won't be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories "Close Range."

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

Which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" what do the "American and the girl with him" look like? "She had taken off her hat and put it on the table." That's the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.

Unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you're good at it, you don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

And finally:

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It's my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing. (Joseph Conrad said something about words getting in the way of what you want to say.)

If I write in scenes and always from the point of view of a particular character — the one whose view best brings the scene to life — I'm able to concentrate on the voices of the characters telling you who they are and how they feel about what they see and what's going on, and I'm nowhere in sight.

What Steinbeck did in "Sweet Thursday" was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. "Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts" is one, "Lousy Wednesday" another. The third chapter is titled "Hooptedoodle 1" and the 38th chapter "Hooptedoodle 2" as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck is saying: "Here's where you'll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won't get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want."

"Sweet Thursday" came out in 1954, when I was just beginning to be published, and I've never forgotten that prologue.

Did I read the hooptedoodle chapters? Every word

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

fuel-efficient life

My sophomore year, the Volvo & I drove an hour between school & work every day. I swear I paid just over a buck for a gallon of gas. Seems like a crazy dream now...

PRNewswire* reported today that the national average is already more than $2 a gallon. "Experts in the industry are currently forecasting that gas prices
will reach the $3.00 mark by summer."

Ah, here come those experts who spend every March/April pimping the same song and dance. Just in time to scare us for the summer rush. They must work for Southwest Airlines. How can it be cheaper to fly to "Bah-ston" than to drive there from Philly?

"Over the last five months we have seen a slow and steady decline in large
SUV consideration. Additionally, shoppers have been telling us that even
small increases in gas prices will lead them to consider more fuel efficient
models," said Rick Wainschel, Vice President, Marketing Research, Kelley Blue
Book. "We have never hit the $3.00 a gallon mark. If we hit that mark, it
could be an interesting sales season. We will continue track purchase
intentions and vehicle sales as fuel prices climb."

Some people give a damn about this nonsense. Others, like "Rick," buy brand new monster Suburbans on a whim. And they refuse to drive them ANYWHERE. As Rick says, he can literally see the gas gauge moving when the car is on. Heheh...

5 Gas Saving Tips From the Editors of Kelley Blue Book

1. ...deleted by blog owner. If you don't know this one, turn in your car keys & learn the name Schwinn...

2. 4 tanks of gasoline with an engine & valve cleaning additive like Techron or V-Power can clean your fuel injectors as well as most professional grade cleaners. Clean injectors will help your vehicle get better mileage.

3. Turn off or lower your air conditioning, but don't roll down your windows. Both create drag on your car, requiring more gas to keep up your speed. It takes about 5-8 horsepower to run the air conditioning. Using the recirculation feature is another option. Of course if it's more than 80 degrees outside, you may want to run the air intermittently.

4. Check your vehicle's air filter and tire pressure. A clogged or dirty air-filter can slow your vehicle down & use more gasoline. A clean filter will promote less gas waste. Under-inflated tires could also cause excessive drag, slowing the vehicle down & using more gas. This could become a safety hazard as well.

5. Accelerate normally from a fully stopped position & avoid flooring or stabbing the gas pedal. The flooring or stabbing action pushes more fuel to the engine than is needed to move forward.

In the market for a more fuel-efficient vehicle?

1 2005 Honda Insight 61 66
2 2005 Toyota Prius 60 51
3 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid 48 47
4 2005 Volkswagen Golf 38 46
2005 Volkswagen New Beetle TDI
2005 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
5 2005 Toyota Echo 35 42
6 2005 Toyota Corolla 32 38
7 Scion xA 31 38
8 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid 29 37
9 2005 Dodge Neon 29 36
10 2005 Hyundai Accent 29 33

SOURCE Kelley Blue Book
Web Site:

*My spellchecker wants me to note that I refused to change "PRNewswire" to "pornography."

Monday, March 14, 2005

shoes, shoes, shoes

As a little aside here- yay- down with sensible shoes! I held onto my Uggs for
Image hosted by
Image hosted by
Image hosted by
All available online through Zappos.
Hey, now that you've got your pointy shoes on, go kick a bully in the ass ;P

Sunday, March 13, 2005

men's health magazine ranks 101 'most depressed.' philly, pull out your hankies...

The April issue of Men's Health Magazine will name the city of brotherly love as the most depressed place in the USA. Keeping company with us at the bottom of the list are Detroit, St. Louis, St. Petersburg, & Tampa, according to a news release.

The rankings were based on antidepressant sales & suicide rates, among other facts from the CDC. Interestingly, this all comes on the heels of Michael Blanding's recent Boston Magazine article. In "Bad Medicine," Blanding described pharmaceutical companies' common practice of bribing doctors to prescribe their version of a medication over another.

Blanding pointed to the recent flap over Vioxx, noting the contributions of Dr. Jerry Avorn. Avorn studies the safety & cost-effectiveness of drugs, & authored Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs. He was one of the first to question Vioxx.

Here's the part where I buried the real lead... During the FDA approval process for Vioxx, Avorn & Dr. Dan Solomon did research on their own. They found that despite Vioxx's high cost, it was no better than aspirin or ibuprofen. Its benefit was to patients who experienced side effects with OTC pain relievers.

So what, you can just hear the drug companies whispering... There's such a thing as placebo effect. Yeah, right. Merck shelled out more money to market Vioxx than Anheuser-Busch to sell Budweiser, in the year 2000.

We've heard about doctors' tendencies to medicate society's every ill. And with the abundance of pharmaceutical companies in Philly, should we be shocked at our drug intake levels?

Blanding's article also pointed to AstraZeneca. An ongoing court case involves plantiffs in California and Massachusetts who claim the company swindled the American public by marketing a copycat of its own drug! AstraZeneca allegedly stopped making its heartburn medication Prilosec- "the purple pill"- just as the patent was running out (& the price was about to plummet). Instead, it began pushing the nearly identical medication Nexium- "the healing purple pill." AstraZeneca claims Nexium is more effective than Prilosec. In clinical studies, however, the necessary dosages were 2x as high.

Onto GSK... GlaxoSmithKline has U.S. headquarters in Philly. Recently, they've undergone a series of troubles. Quarter after quarter, Wall Street confidence levels have dropped. GSK just announced more job cuts last month and admitted they were under investigation by DOJ for 'nominal pricing arrangements' (defrauding Medicaid). More recently, federal regulators seized two of its drugs (antidepressant Paxil & diabetes med Avandamet) for what the FDA called "poor production standards."

Here a drug, there a drug, everywhere a (sub-par) drug The January 2005 issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Practice showcased two new studies that say patients' medication combinations vary widely, making it incredibly difficult to foresee interactions (of great comfort, no doubt, to the family of Villanova professor Mine Ener).

At the end of the day, it comes down to numbers. 20 million Americans suffer with depression. A Consumer Reports survey showed that in the past 10 years, patients taking pills as their main treatment for mental illness rose from 40 percent to nearly 70 percent. Some types of depression can be treated as chemical imbalances. Some types are "chronic" emotional conditions that could be helped by much touted 'talk therapies.' The problem is, insurance companies cover pills, not yada yada yada...

Cognitive talk therapy began in Philly, where founder Dr. Aaron Beck still practices. Cognitive-behavior therapy, a version of Beck's original work, focuses people on recognizing negative thought patterns that contribute to their moods.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2000 that showed patients undergoing cognitive-behavioral therapy while taking an antidepressant did better on a depression rating scale after 12 weeks of treatment than either the drug-only or psychotherapy-only groups. A companion study showed a lesser relapse rate.

*Men's Health, on newsstands March 15.

Thanks to Abby & Mark for this.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

mercury just gettin' all over the place

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that 9 states so far have created programs for the speedy removal of mercury from schools. Laboratory clean-outs and teacher education are the primary means of the programs. The EPA has encouraged all schools to get rid of mercury-containing equipment and compounds. The EPA also asked corportations to stop polluting, people to drive electric cars, and everyone to vote for President Tom Hanks (friend to the screech owl) in 2008. I have a saying. It goes, "My ass."

Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Nevada have all reported spills in recent years.

When spilled, mercury evaporates into airborne vapors which the body then absorbs through breathing. According to the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to lower levels over a longer period of time can affect hearing, memory, sight, sleep, and the ability to adequately enjoy Paris Hilton's antics. High levels can damage the lungs, brain, and kidneys. It is serious business.

Where do old thermostats go when they die?

It's thought that a lot of people just toss them in the trash -- mercury and all. Nonono!

The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) recently announced it has recovered 80,000+ thermostats containing more than 729 pounds of mercury in the past year. (Strangely, it also received 200 pounds of flying penguini.)

TRC cites the states with the largest mercury collections in the first half of 2004 (more recent per-state data was unavailable). In order of recovery: Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Washington, Iowa, Oregon and New Jersey.

These findings vindicate our area to some degree. Very often, the Northeastern U.S. lags behind less industrialized and less densely populated parts of the country, in all matters of pollution and environment.

This is an NPR piece about mercury in New England's animals, which suggests Midwestern power plants are our real problem.

This is an NPR piece about a high-school clean-up of an intentional mercury spill in D.C.

Monday, March 07, 2005

my name is m&m-- i'm a geek.

I've collected Nancy Drew mysteries since I was a little girl. All told, I probably have over three hundred. Several copies of each original hardcover by the pseudo-author Carolyn Keene-- Nancy drives her cool convertible.

Countless paperbacks (from the 80s and 90s) prop up tables and act as doorjambs at my place-- Nancy discusses STDs and fad diets with her friends. (Andy knows about collectors' obsessions. Can you say 'Louis, Louis'?)

I say all this because I just got the most wonderful gift. A mint condition Nancy Drew from the early 30s. The Ivory Charm.

Hm. I wonder how much I could get for it on ebay. I have had my eye on this digital camera.

Nancy would approve. In the newest paperback, she's dating a jet-setting fashion photographer addicted to methamphetamines... oh, god!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

moore on belize

San Pedro, Belize is soo tranquil that one feels safe from the very first second. Parliamentary in nature, the country has had its independence since the 80s. No one carries guns. Not the police, not civilians. Things just work themselves out.

A friend of mine visited there recently. Walking home from a bar one night at 2a.m., he saw his host's dog. A huge creature, Olympic had lived on the island his entire life. He owned it.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOlimp, as he came to be known around those parts, lumbered awkwardly down the street. When he saw a familiar face, the dog of course played polite host-- he walked him home, tail wagging.

Here's Placencia- further south. But great jungle tours.

good news for scorsese!

It's not that the Academy wants him to stop making movies. The problem is he doesn't have the new Hollywood A-list address for directors.


Yesterday, a friend returned from a business trip. He'd been down visiting some new property. Met Oliver Stone in San Pedro. Coppola has a huge place in the northern part of the country. Apparently, Spielberg followed the southern migration as well.

Friday, March 04, 2005

the difference between knowing the path and walking the path

I was watching The Matrix the other day.

A few years ago a brilliant teacher of mine, Tom Shields, talked about what a great movie it was. We watched a small clip in class, and I violently pinned down a yawn. Stupid, stupid escapism...

Now, on my third full viewing, I'm stuck on the line "There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." This maybe claptrap when taken out of context. Eh... good old fashioned Christian sounding sensibility.

But in the framework of the movie the point seems to be that our bodies and our minds are not always in sync, despite best efforts to reign in the offending impulses and synapses. Our bodies and our minds have access to a subterranean level of understanding- if we touch it, we might become emboldened as Neo did. But we might also shirk away in fear, denying reality as the Joe Piscopo-like mole does in this movie.

The disparity between the body and the mind. The chasm. The gulf between reality and make believe.

Where is Terri Schiavo today? Does she know now or did she know then what her family did to one another, supposedly on her behalf?

And what of my relative, who, over his wife's deathbed (as she lay on the brink) recently offered me her more expensive, newer car?

Could she hear that?? Wherever she was at that time, in that moment, would she have even cared?

*m&m has a theory that destiny is a tad bit perverted

in honor of tax season: money matters

The IRS reports the average refund is a couple of hundred dollars more this year. Nine percent increases across the board. The upswing is due to changes in the child tax credit, in part.

How to spend the refund?

MoneyCentral has ideas for your wallet. Increase your insurance deductible, put the dif in your savings acct. Lower insurance bills-- you'll still have money in your bank account to pay a higher deductible if you take a loss on something.

There's a number of other "tips" they offer that sound obvious to me. Pay down your credit card debt, make a house payment.

Please don't fall for these asinine Instant Tax Refunds...

They're loans. Some have interest rates of more than 100 percent. IRS E-file allows you a much faster refund, so there's no need for a high interest loan, even if you're in a big rush. Has anyone taken the bait on this? What was your experience?

In other areas...

The U.S. Senate is hammering out the details of Senator Ted Kennedy's bill that would raise federal minimum wage.

The Children's Defense Fund: Over 7.4 million workers today earn at or near the federal minimum wage. Of these, 5.3 million are adults (aged 20 or older) and 1.8 million are parents raising children under 18 years of age.

Contrary to a common perception, minimum wage jobs are not reserved for teens. In fact, most minimum wage workers are adults, and many are the key breadwinners in their families. Recent research shows that moderate increases in the minimum wage can help boost the earnings of many working poor families--including families leaving welfare for work--without resulting in a loss of job opportunities.

What about the cost threat to businesses, particularly the smaller ones?

With inflation, minimum wage buys less today than it did two decades ago.

States with a minimum wage higher than federal minimum. AFL-CIO has focused on state legislators of late, more than Congress, to get the wage laws passed.

Advocacy organizations for independent business groups are also fighting the state.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

writing notes

The other day, I ran into a girl from high-school. She sticks out in my memory because she once delivered a class speech on why redheads should rule the world. So check this out for the Pulitzer scoop on fire-haired Dowd and her cronies.

Acclaimed author/teacher Richard Wertime describes his writing process in my current article for the Vainquer online edition. (Publisher's blog).

While we're on a roll here...

Musican Bud Buckley gives his take on the creative process in his most recent blog posting.

Scanlon and Clark are Poynter's front men on the issue of writing good (well??)

A-list for journalism education (not just because they're lovin' on Mitch Albom 24/7).

RIP Long live the king!

for the bargain hunters among us

Handy with a coupon, no doubt

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


It looks as though Bob Casey Jr. will definitely run against Santorum next year. (Unattributed press release text onsite). Clearer confirmation expected when?

Check this out, too.

endangered species & douglas adams

Gareth Suddes has a new piece up at The Cheers e-zine. Read the whole thing.

death penalty

Wow. And yet, arguably (clearly) mentally disturbed individuals are on death row?

This site/page is currently being updated, but most of the information is still on point. This group is active within the region, so they've let their web presence slide. But keep an eye on them.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

sound of philadelphia

Gwen Shaffer-

"Though it's difficult to believe, Philadelphia has failed to capitalize on its remarkable role in shaping American soul music. But Gamble insists the timing is right to create a tourism strategy centered on an R&B theme. As the first step toward "branding" Philly as a music city, he has wooed the Rhythm & Blues Foundation here from its current home in New York City. The five-person staff will move in April." [MORE...]

They say you always return to your roots.

baby sign language

Life magazine's current cover story is anchored around the Mensa baby from the DeNiro movie Meet the Fockers.

I worked at a preschool for a time during college. These same hand motions were commonplace then. I may pick up the book on which these new theories are based. Which section would I find that in at Borders... fiction or humor?