Archive: April, 2006
A newly hired lecturer at City University of New York talks about the fibroid tumors that crowded her uterus because she could not afford the surgery, and her health care hadn't yet kicked in. A Cedar Rapids, Iowa, family talks about living with Noah, a boy born with Down Syndrome and autism, who has fought colds and viruses for all of his seven years.
Health, illness and a broken-down insurance system is the subject of Dragonfire's latest issue. Drexel's online magazine seeks to tell of a global problem in snapshots. Among the coverage, five interactive diaries tell stories of those who are sick or those caring for the sick. One of them is by the mother of Dragonfire editor Amy L. Webb.
In 2004 Bella Webb was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine cancer. The tumors were inoperable. The chemo could only contain. She had been prescient -- a decade before she'd elected to take out an insurance rider that covered the cost of her care. It even paid for wigs. "Without this policy, I don't know what my family would have done," her daughter writes.
Amazing. Among the thanks-but-we'll pass entreaties that have flooded our in-box lately - are we interested to know Bon Jovi is the first rock star with a No. 1 hit on the country charts? - was a practical email from our friends at Purdue University.
It suggests ways of saving gas.
Heather L. Cooper, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology, has a couple tips I've never considered. I called her and asked if she could explain some things r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and this is what I learned:
Ok, red meat time. Thought I'd post a bit of clever artwork from our friends on the Buffalo fans' user board.
Was happy to see Blinq became some sort of way station for Sabre-rattling over the past couple of days. But what was with those upstate trolls? 426 comments on a post-game post! There was some insightful analysis and some inventive spelling. Nice to hear that Pelle and Clubber Lang are still around and cared to write. Umberger and Eager, too.
Is that really a goat that Buffalo players wear on their jerseys?
Let your freak flag fly! Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to open "Freedom of Speech" tour at the Tweeter Center in Camden on July 6. First time in four years the foursome has hit the road together. I knew there was some reason I listened to this over the weekend.
NY-based Al Jazeera correspondent travels to Philadelphia on the trail of Benjamin Franklin and pronounces our city's Benergy to be "brilliant." Of course he was writing in the UK's Guardian, where that word showed up 12 other times Monday, including a description of a newspaper column, a soccer lob and Tony Blair.
New Jersey blogger disses Camden, but concedes never having been there. My Garden Statement, out of Brigantine, is working hard, but somebody lend her a Google map: "To be fair, I haven't exactly been to Camden. But I have driven through it on I-95, and I can tell you it looks like a real hellhole. Picture the slums of Bombay, only with more graffiti and fewer live chickens." I-95, hon, runs through our hellhole.
And here's why: Years after it was written, we're still too often ignoring her simple wisdom about how to make cities successful. If we had listened to Jane Jacobs, we wouldn't have I-95 blocking access to the Delaware waterfront, and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway would be filled with strolling pedestrians.
Here's a favorite passage of mine from that book: "Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets to grow without them. By old buildings I mean not museum-piece old buildings, not old buildings in an excellent state of rehabilitation -- although these make fine ingredients -- but also a good lot of plain, ordinary, low-value old buildings, including some rundown old buildings...."
The Sunday Inquirer scorched the earth to cover the blogs v newspapers debate, roping in Jeff Jarvis to posit how the era of newspaper may be over, Hugh Hewitt to argue how conservative blogs balance the liberal-dominated mainstream media, Richard Stengel to remind that to own a newspaper is to own a still-profitable public trust.
The Currents section's final word came from our newest op-ed columnist, Jonathan Last, who wrote a piece headlined, "Blog, humbug!: Good writing, news-gathering lose to speed and vehemence."
"Close-minded at a minimum," harumphed blogger Karl Martino by e-mail this morning, who underlined Last's words, "Being a good writer helps a blogger about as much as a good singing voice helps a broadcast
Body of same message, on the Flyers Fan Forum: "What's sad is that there is still time left."
It was only 4 to nothing when Omaha Flyer wrote that, shortly before the end of the first period. Sabres tucked one more in before the horn.
Psst. Wanna save money on gas? How about $2.83-a-gallon for regular? - that's the cheapest area price now on Philadelphia Gas Prices, a customer-generated site. The source is a Sunoco station on Old Lancaster Ave. in Merion, which compares nicely to, say, the Citgo station on Broad St. under I-76 in South Philly, which wanted $3.19-a-gallon early Sunday. At that rate, filling the Blinq van would take more than $51. At the Washington Monthly, blogger Kevin Drum does a little figuring and reports that if prices hold at $3 a gallon, the average American household would be spending about 10 percent of its after-tax yearly income on gas. 10 percent. That's assuming the average household income is $44,000 and gasoline consumption is 1,100 gallons a year. Income has been falling over five years. Gas prices have jumped 50 percent over the past year. One solution: Septa. But you shouldn't spend the quarters they give you back in change.
Which leads to a piece in The Economist on the rise of user-generated media. Or, Why Barry Diller Doesn't Get It.