Monday, October 22, 2007

Monsanto Westinghouse's New York Times/Los Angeles Times ReCap



After working hard for my money, the least I could do is to have some online fun. That's what motivates me to keep making money.

I mean supporting welfare parasites and fraudulent government programs like Social Security is not exactly motivational. I'd rather deal with more trustworthy organizations anyway.

Of course, governments will try to tell me how best to spend my money.
Thanks, but no thanks.

Most online games are far better than their mortar and brick counterparts.

Some actually allow you to win real money (rather than mere gold points) and bring home what you win. That's suitable for those who value their time and don't want to pointlessly spend hours and hours on meaningless game-play.

Me, for example, I like playing PPC arbitrage where I buy
traffic and sell it to affiliates. My brothers like stocks.

Some people like to play poker.

Take, for example. You'll get up to $2400 first deposit bonus, free software, and fair play. They offer Black Jack, Slots, and Roulettes.

Players from all countries are welcomed.
They have many clients from US, Canada, English, Italy.

It's like poker with your friends. But it's secret, anonymous, safe, and online.
So, you can win money from someone you don't know rather than your best friends.

Now, that's fun.

Bricks and mortar games cannot compete with this. They have to pay for the building, for employees, etc. Not to mention that you have to expensively fly to Vegas to play. There goes the players' edge. There goes the fun.

With online games, I can also more easily test my systems, and techniques.
I then get feedback of how good it is right there right now.

If the system failed, I just get experience and fix the system.
If the system works, I can be a billionaire. All, just a few clicks away.

One day, most of our activities will be online.

eBay Articles

How To make $9.95 Extra Income on Almost Every eBay Auction That Closes Successfully

Skip McGrath
Copyright © 2005

I used the word "Almost" in the title because this technique can work most of the time as long as you are selling one or two categories of items. You may have to use your imagination to come up with ideas, but if this works for you, it will generate a steady stream of income that will increase your profit on almost every auction you close successfully.

The concept has been around a long time and has been written about by several eBay gurus –but very few people take advantage of it.

The key to making this work is to be selling in a niche market. It won't work if you are selling different categories of products each week.

What is the technique?

Ok – What if you are selling bird feeders? The auction closes and you send an email to the customer with payment and shipping information. The last paragraph of the email says, "Would you be interested in my book, How To Attract Songbirds To Your Yard? You can read about it by Clicking Here." (The "clicking here" would be a hyperlink to your web page or eBay store where you display sales copy about the book)

The book is nothing more than a 15 to 25 page PDF file (e-book) of techniques to attract songbirds to your yard. If you don't know how to attract songbirds to you yard, just go to the library and read up on it. Now, don't plagiarize someone's copyrighted material, you just want to learn the techniques and then write about them in your own words and style.

If you really don't have any writing ability, hire a English-major college student to do this for you. You can get a simple project like this done for about $100. You only have to sell eleven books, to come out ahead.

You can also sell the books to people who view your auctions, but don't bid or win.

Every seller can create an About Me Page on eBay. This is the one place where eBay allows you to provide a link to a non-eBay web page. That web page could contain the sales copy for your e-book. In your ebay item description, simply place a paragraph that says: "Please visit my About Me Page to learn how to attract songbirds to your yard." (The words "About Me Page" would be the actual hyperlink a href= to your page.)

If you don't have a web site, you can also create an eBay store item that you use to sell your book. In fact, you can also sell your book via eBay auctions. In this example, you would create an auction describing the book and use eBay's list in two categories feature. The main category would be non-fiction books, and the second category would be birdhouses under the home and garden category.

It doesn't matter what kind of product you sell, there is always a market for information about that product or product category. Just use your imagination to think up a connection that would interest someone looking at your category of product. If you sell pet-related items you can write a book about dog training tricks or pet health.

If you sell designer clothing, you could write a guide to locating outlet malls that carry designer items and where each designer's factory outlet store is located.

If you are really stuck, visit the Government Printing Office web site at The government writes or pays professional authors to write books on virtually every subject. The good news is that thousands of the titles are copyright free. In other words because they were written with your tax dollars you can use them at will.

Good luck and good writing.

Visit Skip McGrath at his website to learn more about making money on eBay:

7 Things You Can Learn from Competing eBay Auctions
If you haven't discovered the benefits of legitimately "spying" on your competition, then it's time to start looking at your competitors’ auctions, starting today. Why? As the old gold-rush miners use to say, "thar's gold in them thar hills!"

How to Reduce eBay Buyer Complaints
Buyers are funny creatures, aren’t they? One minute they’re over the moon because they’ve got themselves a bargain, and the next they’re upset because their bargain seller doesn’t provide first-class customer service. There’s only really one way to reduce complaints: give these people what they want!

Negating Negative Feedback On eBay
Within minutes (perhaps seconds) of the auction's end, I was being awarded negative feedback. Not only did I not receive any chance to fulfill the order or to right any wrong that I may have committed, I also received an e-mail from the perpetrator threatening to have me suspended from eBay if I didn't meet certain demands.

Four Huge Mistakes Ebay Sellers Make
Over the last seven years, I’ve been making a great living buying and selling products on eBay and other online auction sites, and I’ve perfected a technique that pretty much guarantees anyone can start making a profit right away. That technique starts with avoiding mistakes like these -- mistakes I’ve seen people make every day for those same seven years.

Taming the eBay Search Engine
If you know what you’re doing, you can quickly find what you’re looking for on eBay – and the more you know about how buyers find you, the easier you’ll find it to be found. Here are a few golden searching rules.

When It Comes To eBay, Don't Follow The Herd
While it's true that selling products on eBay can be a quick, low cost way to launch an online business, following the herd by selling the "hot product" of the moment, is not a great idea. To the contrary, chances are you will be stomped in the ground by the herd and left lying in the dust with your unsold inventory in hand.

The Rules of Linking From Your eBay Auctions
Very few other issues will get eBay sellers arguing about the rules no more than the rules on linking to and from your eBay auctions. eBay has some very firm rules when it comes to liking and it would be wise of you to follow them to insure that your eBay auctions stay online and profitable.

Is Selling On eBay Just A Hobby Or A Real Business?
With so many people selling on eBay these days this is a question I get all the time. To many eBay sellers the thought of running an actual business is about as appealing as getting negative feedback, so they go out of their way to convince themselves that selling on eBay is really "just a hobby" and therefore, should not be susceptible to income tax laws.

Taxing Your eBay Profits
As a small business person-slash-advice columnist I dread the first quarter of the new year. Not because in my mind my own business fortunes start at zero again every January or because I have already dismissed every New Year’s resolution I made when the clock rang out the New Year. No, the reason I dread the first quarter of the new year is that my email box floods with questions about business taxes and the IRS, my two least favorite subjects on earth. It’s not that I am opposed to paying my fair share of business taxes. It’s that I consider the IRS to be a little like Beetlejuice, the movie demon who appeared only after his name was called three times in a row. My fear is if I write too many IRS columns their dark agents may appear on my doorstep, ready to drag me away to an uncertain fate.
We will be offering the Tom’s “Attic Collection” over the next month. This is a very special and unique collection found several weeks ago in the attic of a house outside of Hartford, Connecticut.

We were called in by a Estate Cleaner who was commissioned to clean out the house and get it ready for sale. This was no easy task considering the house was buried in collectibles from records to comics and toys. While in the massive attic, a bin of 200+ comics were found including Spiderman #1 to #18.

When we arrived on the scene, I was convinced there was more and we went back into the attic. After an entire day of work, more than 3,500 comics were pulled from the attic in various locations. The collection spans mostly 1955 to 1967 with some outliers and is both Marvel and DC as well as some Charleston and others.

Tom was somewhat of a young artist and being 7 to 10 years old during the earlier years, some books have his name and personal touch on them.
====================================================================== HEY, HER HEAD LOOKS A LOT LIKE...

I don't think we have to or even want to go there. Comic collectors know this notorious cover all too well. Hidden phallic implications are really secondary though--to some pretty amazing artwork stle by cover signing artists, EKGREN. One gets the sense that covers like this were "bar bet" works. ("Yeah, I bet you a Manhattan I can get this one past the editor and publisher!"--"You're on!"). Obviously STRANGE TERRORS #4 got past everybody and made the stands. In time it has joined the incredible double entendre BAKER cover for TEEN-AGE ROMANCES #9 in the memorable sly sexy cover Hall of Fame.

STRANGE TERRORS #4 has its great cover backed up by some pretty cool contents. Text that includes a strong JOE KUBERT story that utilizes some surprising coloring to tell a tale entitled "The Curse of Khan". Other chapters deal with a yarn spun about Indian spiritual rituals, and a well illustrated piece called "Murder By Myth". Nice but of course all those adventures are subordinate to the main purchase motivation for STRANGE TERRORS #4--EKGREN'S MONA LISA (so to speak).

Yeah. It's pretty obvious that the publishers were pulling out the stops to be bought. The comely trapeze lass is attractive and showing potential buyers her best assets. I've always been fascinated and amused by the "covers" that comics used for blatant peekaboo art. Beaches, beauty contests, chorus lines...and the circus were favorite venues that explained (or excused) the fleshy, leggy, and sometimes flagrantly erotic (see cover photo here) artwork that seemed to be an integral part of comics like TORMENTED #2.

TORMENTED #2 was the second and last issue of a very explicit and graphic horror title. As the cover promised (and the contents delivered) "shocking", "eerie" stories included a beheading title page splash, an EC swipe cryptic narrators, circus freaks and an EC style steal--the grisly "Face on the Floor". Overall this second issue of the renowned release defines the pre-code horror genre. All barrels were firing and no compromises were given in TORMENTED #2. It was the unrestricted method used by the publisher to grab some attention in the glutted horror market and (possibly) to compete with the constricted TV programs of the period. Plus if you were at the circus when the trapeze act was playing, you could see...

Oh. I think we know. A bathing suit is a little more appealing (and revealing) than some old frumpy dress. After all, the idea was to SELL the comic.

MYSTERY MEN #11 is one nice number from the splendid FOX FEATURES SYNDICATE run of 31 that spanned 1939-1942. This series is well described by Ron Goulart in his excellent COMIC BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA. Mr. Goulart says: "As the name implies, the magazine was chock full of mystery men--both masked crimefighters and superheroes. Published by the enterprising Victor Fox...MYSTERY MEN COMICS introduced FOX'S most successful character, the Blue Beetle. For good measure there were also the Green Mask, the fez wearing Zanziibar the magician, Rex Dexter of Mars (a creation of Dick Briefer) and the insidious Fu Manchu clone Chen Chang. ...All early material was produced by the Eisner-Iger shop... and they even added a bumbling teen age character months before ARCHIE...MORTIMER." It might have been Mortimer running after those cuties from Riverdale if the comic had survived past 39 releases.

MYSTERY MEN #11's wonderful cover is from JOE SIMON and the content includes some pretty cool stuff--like firewalking. My favorite MYSTERY MEN 11 piece is--by a light year (pun intended)--THE MOTH who uses his mothly powers to destroy the closets and cotton garments of the unlawful everywhere. (yuk yuk...)

FICTION HOUSE was a premeire comic book publisher. They employed a foolproof formula of combining well written, well drawn stories with lots of comely females. A simple plan that worked successfully for 20 years and for some of the most memorable titles in the history of comics. Nameplates like PLANET, JUMBO, FIGHT, RANGERS and JUNGLE had defined the publisher well and the popularity of their staple titles encouraged them to branch out. Drawing from their heroes and heroines, FICTION HOUSE introduced a bunch of new titles like KAANGA, LONGBOW, SHEENA and FIREHAIR. They also sourced their stories and published books like the two being offered here...INDIANS and GHOST. They also remembered what brought them to the dance and made sure that their new titles were dominated by quality artwork, writing and...babes.

GHOST #2 is one of a total run of eleven and is characterized (like most of the issues were) by a provocative cover. This sizzler shows a lovely femme who shows off her best features (which just happen to be a set long perfect legs and another set that's a superb compliment to those legs. The title had its roots in the stories from WINGS and JUMBO which were the spiritual flying adventures "Ghost Squadron" and the supernatural tales (made immortal by the incredible JACK KAMEN) called "Ghost Gallery". Though the stories were more prone to girlie art than credible accounts of apparitions, they were exceptionally imaginative and very readable.

INDIANS #3 is a nice entry into the comic market. Mind altering in that it overrode many of the "redskin" stereotypes from "cowboy and indian" comics and movies. Native Americans took center stage in INDIANS and in the nicely crafted 52 pages the braves were brave and even the maidens (like the winsome "Starlight' in #2 here) were courageous and a champion of the lawful and righteous. Nice WHITMAN cover, bondage panels and torn dresses confirm that it is truly a FICTION HOUSE product.

...Crime can't win. But you might not be able to tell who the victor is in pre-code Crime Comics like CRIME CAN'T WIN #11 offered here since titles like this championed the criminal and glorified crime. This number from expert crime comic publisher, MARVEL/ATLAS is no exception to that attitude with stories like

"D. O. A." which offered high jacking as a viable career option. "One Must Die" a tome that pleasantly observes and enjoys a vicious mob feud filled with gang violence and brutality. "The Hoods" which gave the reader insight into that element of the culture that shoots policemen through the eye. And "The Man Who Had To Die"--yes, he did if not only in order to provide some graphic violence for the pages.

CRIME CAN'T WIN #11 even though it's presentations are on the wrong side of accepted behavior is a well done comic. One only has to scan the cover come-ons to get the tone. Two beatings and two gundowns are heralded to entice the reader to purchase. Or if you find these things amusing--like I do--you can appreciate the billboard for EL ROPO cigars or ACME jewelers (where the finer coyotes shop).======================================================================

... is through these reprints. This collection of three books from Reprint maven BILL BLACK includes the following:


From PARAGON and published in WINTER, 1994 with (for then) a pricey $9.95 cover. The crisp b/w pages have a wild bondage torture cover with the interior stars pictured (THE HOOD, CATMAN, THE KITTEN, MISS VICTORY, ROCKETMAN, ROCKETGIRL and THE GREEN LAMA). The stories are well selected and remind us that these early adventures were not only exciting but pretty damned sexy too. FIRST EDITION of many to come -- a very popular reprint series.

2 -- SKY GAL #2

From AC Comics and published in 1994 with a $3.95 cover price. SKY GAL presents some of the best of MATT BAKER'S leggy flying waitress GINGER. It's MATT BAKER at the top of his GGA game with nude bathing panels and plenty of flesh. There's a full color updated adventure of the sweet dish disher, a full color, full page pin-up of SKY GAL by MATT BAKER and a total of four BAKER stories.


A marvelous collection of great artwork from (too many to list) GA stars but here's a few:

Frazetta, Kirby, Ditko, Eisner, Simon, Fine.

There are 70 pages of reference work chronicling the superpeople from the '40s. Too many to list but here's a few:

Phantom Lady, Captain Midnight, Crimebuster, Black Cat, Black Angel.

Here's a nice array of vintage comics for comic book fans. Six neat titles from the '40's and '50's.

1--SUZIE #81 (ARCHIE) --Some surprisingly good GGA in this ARCHIE spin off. She's kind of a cross between MY FRIEND IRMA and Riverdale Archie sweetheart, BETTY.

2--CRIME MUST PAY THE PENALTY #40 (ACE) --Pre-code crimer with good quality writing and art.

3--A DATE WITH JUDY #37 (DC) --She's pert. She's cute. She's DC's entry into the teen comic market. Bathing suit/beach motif.

4--CANDY #7 (QUALITY) --Quality teen comic and a nice early issue in the 60+ run. like most QUALITY COMICS CANDY #7 has excellent artwork and earnest if not somewhat edgy storytelling. And there are headlights and taillights
5 &6--LITTLE LULU #s 60 &73 (DELL) --These are always worthwhile. No comic maintained a more consistent high standard than the loveable moppet series of comics created by Marge and presented by the incomparable JOHN STANLEY.

Simon Templar, (aka The Saint) was a favorite of mystery fans. He was identified by a haloed stick figure--an insignia that achieved international recognition. Saint Detective magazines and magazine stories were ultra popular in their time and the detective's pulp exploits gave rise to an excellent twelve issue comic book (1947-52) run from estimable publisher, AVON.

Noted for their terrific covers that featured pretty distressed damsels and nicely crafted painted works for #'s 7,8 & 10-12, THE SAINT series was well received and has become a desirable collector's item. Given that, it still was rather intriguing that the damsels looked familiar on every issue, but Simon the Saint never seemed to be the same guy on any cover. THE SAINT #11--like the run--was composed of very well drawn stories that used a twelve panel page layout that--unlike many comics--allowed the stories to be fleshed out, detailed and complete. In THE SAINT #11, there are two fully packed escapades of the crimefighter--and they were fully packed in another sense of the phrase since Mr. Templar was always accompanied by or interacting with attractive ladies.
IF YOU READ THE FUNNIES...'ll love this massive two volume set of comic strips and comic characters. The subtitle accurately describes THE COMIC STRIP CENTURY. It says it "Celebrates 100 Years of An American Art Form". That's it. From THE YELLOW KID to THE FAR SIDE, this superb collection is a wonderful recreation of the funny paper folks we all grew up with. Yep. KRAZY KAT, ALLEY OOP, LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE, LI'L ABNER and a whole bunch of others are remembered here. And..they are printed on brilliant white high gloss stock and the color reproduction is crystal clear and rich.

Published by KITCHEN SINK in 1995, I'm pretty sure that it's out of print today. It's a must for collectors and funnies fans. Original cover price was a (for 1995) $79.95.
Gregory Rodriguez:
Pursuing too much happiness
The idea is ingrained in Americans, but it may be doing us harm.
October 22, 2007

Storm clouds on the horizon? Been feeling kind of blue? Then count your blessings. It turns out that there's such a thing as too much happiness.

A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that those lucky few who enjoy high levels of well-being -- and I assume that includes large swaths of the newspaper reading public -- can reach the point of diminishing returns. In other words, the people with the most positive attitudes toward their lives tend to enjoy the little things that happen to them on a daily basis less than those who have lower overall expectations of life. When you're happy, it seems, positive daily events lose their impact.

Does that mean the more content we are, the more we become, in the words of Pink Floyd, "comfortably numb?" Not exactly.

The study's authors found that general contentment -- defined broadly as having more good things happen to you then bad -- can give the inevitable negative events in your life more weight. That helps explain why studies find so few people report being "very happy," and why the very happy rarely remain that way for long. You see, if good things happen to you a lot, they consequently affect you less, and bad things, which you're frankly not used to, tend to affect you all the more. So, in order to keep being a very happy person, you'd have to constantly improve the ratio of positive to negative events in your life, and that's hard to do, particularly because you're also spending a lot of time and energy just getting over the negative events that irritate you so much.

So have we reached a plateau of well-being and happiness? Is it possible that everything in every way won't just keep getting better and better? Absolutely. Happiness surveys of Americans have been stagnant for decades. But that doesn't discourage the happiness industry, which makes big bucks promising to teach us how to live more pleasurable, fulfilled lives. Quite the contrary. From all accounts, the search for happiness is more intense than it has ever been. And that's creating brand new problems.

"We've invented a new type of unhappiness," says Darrin M. McMahon, a professor of history at Florida State University and the author of "Happiness: A History." "Now we have the unhappiness of not being happy."

It'd be easy to blame it all on consumerism. But it's not just that today's most successful consumer brands tell us relentlessly that their products will help us achieve happiness. It's that the very pursuit of it is part and parcel of our identity as Americans. Before the Enlightenment, happiness was understood to be the province of the virtuous few. But starting in the 17th century, men such as John Locke let the cat out of the bag and proclaimed that "the business of man is to be happy in the world." No one clung to that doctrine more fervently than Americans, whose forefathers even codified it in their nation's founding document. And this drive for happiness is, in part, what makes this country so extraordinary.

But once we reach the point of diminishing returns, won't our high expectations of happiness hurt us? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, the drive for happiness keeps us striving for fulfillment and for new ways to solve the world's problems. But on the other hand, according to the new study, it may also undermine our ability to respond to negative events. Remember Osama bin Laden's taunt: Americans have gone soft. I don't think he's right but, as the study suggests, we don't respond well to bad things that happen to us.

You can see it in our public policy as we overreact to tragedies and under-react to long-term threats on the horizon. High expectations for future happiness don't lead to good long-term planning for the inevitable tragedy. Our policymaking tends to be reactive rather than proactive. When bad things happen, the public gets hysterical, then angry; politicians exaggerate, cast blame and scramble for position; and hastily written laws and policies are enacted to put everyone at ease.

The fervent search for happiness may have gotten us where we are, but now that we've reached the point of diminishing returns, it's time to inject a healthy sense of tragedy into our worldview. Read Hawthorne and Melville -- they'll show you that it's just as strong in the American character as the pursuit of happiness. At the very least, a nod to the dark side will make us smarter. We won't be so surprised the next time tragedy strikes.
Top 7 things I HATE about....
Social Networks!

1. Something else that's been bothering me as of late are people with Multiple profiles.

Now I know a few people with more than one profile and I understand their reasonings behind them but I still think its wack as hell but that's just me. If you've created a sqeaky clean image for yourself but know good and well that it is not really who you are then why weren't you being yourself in the first place?? Why create another profile just so you can be yourself?? Be who you are fully and if folks don't accept it oh well. I ain't hatin, I'm just sayin..

2. Drama. Drama. Drama. I try and live a stress free life as much as possible and it amazes me how much drama can kick off on myspace!!!

I don't profess to know and really have no desire to know about all the drama that kicks off here on the Space but the stuff that I do know about is crazy!! You got folks making death threats, I'll get on a plane and come to your city just to kick your ass threats, I'm a punk bitch and I would never do this in person's endless. I'm just glad I'm not involved in any of it.

3. Don't you hate when you're trying to get to someone's page and they got soooo much shit on there that it takes 10 minutes to load!!

I just wanted to leave a comment to say hello and I gotta wait for all that shit to finish downloading just so I can do that. Clean your damn page up!! Do you really need all that crap on there?? I swear those pages make me wanna..

4. Now everyone has their own preferences for their page. My page is public mainly because I don't have anything to hide, I don't have haters(everyone loves me), and I really don't have anything too personal on there that I wouldnt want the general public to know. But something that pisses me off is when people who aren't even on my friends list go run and tell other people about the goings on on my page. I think I am going to have to make it friends only just for this fact. If you gone come by my page every day just to see what the fuck is going on why won't you just send me a friend request. I got something for ya tho don't worry.

5. Now I don't profess to be in the loop with all of the internet abbreviations. I'm basic. LOL. LMAO. WTF. TTYL. TTYS. Anything outside of that and I'm lost. I refuse to keep up with all of that crap especially when folks like to make up their own stuff. TSIAAHAGOMMFN!!! Oh just in case you didn't know what that means here's the translation: This Shit Is Annoying As Hell And Gets On My MuthaFuckin Nerves!!!

6. I've seen this around as well on peoples blogs.

The GUESTBOOK!! Now granted I've signed almost all of them but I did it under protest once EVERYBODY started to do it. For me it's just the copycat syndrome but whateva you won't see me with one!! Hopefully all them folks that sign the guestbook comment on the blogs as well!!

7. I'm so glad I've never had someone to do this shit on my blog because I will straight delete your shit(Try me if you want to!). I hate when I'm reading someone's blog and read this dumb shit

First Bitches!!!

Ummm last time I checked this shit wasn't a contest. I mean all it really shows is how much your ass is addicted to this shit where you get pleasure and gratification off of being the first person to read the blog. Oh wait you didn't read it?? You just clicked and went straight down there to say first bitches?? Wow. Okay then. Well let me know when you grow up ok??

1) Write a statement about someone that you've never said to them.
2) DO NOT indicate to anyone who these statements belong to.
3) Try not to repeat a statement.
4) Have fun, be serious, be nerdy or horny. Just do, something.

Okay...let's do it!

1. You keep running around with my name in your mouth, this will be the last thing you push up playa. Last and final warning.

2. Despite everything that has happened, I know that I can count on you during crunch time.

3. If I could, I would show you everyday what a beautiful woman you are, and I would try until my dying show you that love couldn't possibly be strong enough a word to describe the way I feel about you.

4. I smoke because I know you don't like it, and you leave me alone at the bar.

5. Just admit are not that fucking good!

6. Don't think for one moment.....I wouldn't.

7. You make me want to pistol whip you in front of your family, you disrespectful son of a bitch. Really you do.

8. Maybe you should explore other options.

9. You always made me proud. Best of luck to you.

10. Why don't you understand that you were a mistake I made? I was young and horny and so were you.

11. Don't ever try to insult my intelligence again. That is something you are mentally incapable of doing.

12. You're about 10 minutes away from a restraining order.

13. I just want you to sit right on my face, but please allow me to breathe.

14. Yeah....I'm the one that did that to your car. Too bad you don't have the spine to do something back.

15. I really wish you hadn't moved your face. If I had connected, that punch would have been vicious! Thanks for breaking my hand though.

16. Next time you wanna shock me....swallow it!

17. I hope you find someone that will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I'm sorry tha t man isn't me though.

18. If my bluntness offends you maybe you need to re-evaluate your lifestyle.

19. I know you are a homosexual. You're not fooling anyone but yourself. Be proud of who you are. Fuck what anyone else thinks.

20. You're not as gangsta as you think. Your girl told me about the broom.

21. I didn't sell you a dream. You just didn't believe me when I told you the first time. Now look at you.

22. I know you fucked her!

23. You have a really sexy mouth. Sometimes I wanna treat you like a porn star and just give it to you.

24. I hate to be the one to tell you but right before you kissed your girl, I nutted in her mouth. Like 2 minutes before you walked in.

25. Can I pull your hair and spank you?

26. I wish nothing but the worst for you, your children, your children's children, and everyone that comes after them.

27. I still can't believe you fucking did that! Awesome!!!!

28. I nutted on your face for a reason. Not just for laughs.

29. I don't think you really know how beautiful you are. I'll tell you right now, you are.

30. I'm sorry I've put you through all that shit. I love you more than anyone in this world and I hope you live forever.


Before I start this here blog, I just wanna say this had to have been the most amazing sporting event I have ever witnessed on live TV. His name is Jake Brown....and he's my fuckin' hero man!!!! For those that don't know this cat had the worst bail out., not only in X Games history.....but quite possibly in the history of the sport. It was so bad that Tony Hawk said, "That was the heaviest slam we've ever seen!"

That's right, the YouTubers across the globe have dubbed him Jake "Fall Down" Brown. This 32 year old Aussie fell from an estimated 50 feet to the flat portion of the "Big Air" ramp. The amazing thing is, he got up and walked away. Just to put it into perspective, go to the fifth floor of a building and jump out the window. Yeah! I really hope this guy is counting his blessings.
What's even crazier is he plans on coming back and attempting it again.
Here's the video footage. You'll see his shoes go flying off his feet! I'm no "Skateboard P" but I will tell you, there's something not right about falling 50+ feet and walking away.

OK, I got tagged by UnIqUeLy_BeAuTiFuL1

RULES:Each player starts with eight random facts/habits or embarrassing things about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I can't stand to see or hear people crying. I don't know what it is but it irritates me to no end. It's like when I hear it I'll hang up, or if i see it I'll walk away.

2. I have a terrible memory. It could be the years of marijuana, alcohol or the fact that some things just don't hold my attention. Either way it goes I have a bad memory.

3. I really hate repeating myself. I don't talk a lot in person so I've gotten pretty used to when I speak people listen. If you make me repeat myself I won't be happy.

4. I used to be a nationally ranked tennis player. I was ranked as high as 137 in the junior rankings of the USTA.

5. I should have 4 kids. I was a man-whore in my days. All the ladies actually told me they were going to do it instead of asking me how I felt.

6. I only sleep 2 hours a night. A lot of people don't know this, but I was on the USS Cole when it was attacked in 2000. I still have some pretty intense nightmares. I haven't been right since that day. I think that's why I don't express my emotions too often.

7. I still battle some depression issues. I've attempted suicide 6 times this year. I think it's because i'm so damn creative sometimes. Drives me crazy.

8. I HATE THE CHICAGO CUBS!!!! South side baby!!!! All day! I be out West though, and got love for my West siders in the city!

I'm not tagging anyone, so if you wanna do this knock yourself out.


I normally don't write anything on Monday's because quite frankly.....I hate Monday's. Today was no different. So I'll just talk about my upcoming trials (yeah the King has been summons to 2 states!) and tribulations. In a previous blog I wrote about my road rage. Now, nowing that I have quite the temper, I shouldn't keep a gun in my car. Last Friday while going home my temper came to an ultimate head when this stupid mutherfucker almost wiped the King out. I'm in the merging lane and this dude in one of those "Git'r Done" pickups, as I call them, swerves into the lane to prevent me from merging in front of him. Mind you's bumper to bumper! Anyway, I swerve over to avoid this assfuck and damn near take out this other cat in the other lane. So what does the guy who almost killed me do......he swerves back into the lane almost wrecking my Bentley again. I immegiately grab my gun and get right next to this dude. I'm screaming at him like "Hey you stupid fuck! Watch how the hell you fucking drive! You almost killed me!" He starts to reach for something. Since I'm already a space cadet in my own right I lift my gun straight up at this cat. I guess his wife or what have you noticed and starts screaming. I'm yelling a the dude like you better not be reaching for nuthin cause I promise you I was about to make it rain lead through that car. They pull off on the shoulder and I calm down just a tad until

State Trooper on my ass!!! So of course I do the wise thing and pull over, I unchamber the round and eject the magazine and put the gun in the glove box and the magazine in the center arm rest. Of course cop comes out guns a blazing.....and I calmy sit in the car. She instructs me to step out but with traffic now flowing I told her I'm not trying to get hit and I would rather climb out the passenger side. She saw that I was cooperating with her so she let's me get out on the safer side. The cop was this cute little sister that didn't look big enough to even be a cop. She said there was a report that I had a gun in my car and I told her that I did own a weapon and that I had my concealment license on me. I tlod her where each of the guns where in the car and she gets them. I usually have at least 2 with me. So she asks me to explain to her why she pulled me over. I tell her the whole get down and to my utter shock, she said she was gonna just give me a reckless driving ticket because I felt threatened and was protecting myself, and I had all the paperwork on my guns. I felt like the luckiest man on Earth right then. I'll tell you what guns are in the house now!


On to the question of the day. Since it's Hump Day....what is the craziest thing you have done before, during or after sex? Or something that happened to you? My experience.....well let me tell you, gave me a serious boost in my ego. Not like I really needed it, but hey. It was in 2001, I was a serious man-whore then. I was at this club in Newport News, VA - Infiniti's - and that spot was like you gonna get you a guaranteed jump. Just being honest. I had some red contacts in looking like some demon.......and I come across this shorty who was like, "I'm going home with you tonight!" So of course I get her back to the hotel that night. Turned out that she stayed the whole weekend. All we was doing was fuckin. I mean we was doin some wild shit. We go to my boy room, and she was like, "I need my medicine." So I'm like bet. Mind you there's like 14 or 15 people in this room besides us. I turn to look and there 4 other people fuckin on the bed we sittin on, 6 other people on the floor gettin it in, and there's a threesome going on on the other bed.....ALL GIRLS!!! So we start doing our thing. Tell me why this chick faint! I mean she literally stood up when we was done and fainted! When she came around....she said she had never been fucked like that before and doubts it would ever happen again. I had to smoke a fat blunt on that one. Anyway, that's my story....what's yours?
Meet Your Neighbors, but Just Not in Person By BOB TEDESCHI
A new company,, is putting a local spin on social networking, creating password-protected Web sites for apartment buildings and housing developments.
How Many Site Hits? Depends Who’s Counting By LOUISE STORY
Even though online advertising is growing fast, that growth is being stunted, industry executives say, because nobody can get the basic visitor counts straight.
Sublime Decay
Published: December 22, 2002

One day a few months back, a close-cropped, sweet-natured, looming hulk of a young man named Bill Morrison tentatively poked his head into my office and mentioned that a mutual friend had suggested that I just might find his predicament of passing interest. He was a filmmaker, he explained, and had recently completed several years of intensive work on a project that had gone on to find favor in Europe, at Sundance and even at the Museum of Modern Art. But suddenly it was beginning to seem as if the project had played itself out; it was proving impossible to secure distribution for his film, and he was stymied as to what to do next. Could that possibly be all there was going to be to it? Years of passionate, solitary work, a few well-received screenings and then nothing -- oblivion? He handed me a video and asked, if I ever had a spare moment, that I take a look at it; whereupon, passing me his card, he politely took his leave.

A few nights later I popped Morrison's video into my VCR and within a few further minutes I found myself completely absorbed, transfixed, a pillow of air lodged in my stilled, open mouth.

Now, I'm no particular authority on film, but I do know one -- Errol Morris, the director of such highly acclaimed documentary features as ''The Thin Blue Line,'' ''Fast, Cheap and Out of Control'' and ''Mr. Death.'' A short time later, when I happened to be visiting him, I popped the video into his VCR and proceeded to observe as Morrison's film once again began casting its spell. Errol sat drop-jawed: at one point, about halfway through, he stammered, ''This may be the greatest movie ever made.''

''Made,'' of course, being the operative word. And not exactly by Bill Morrison, either. For, as it turned out, Morrison hadn't shot a single frame in the whole thing. Rather, his film, ''Decasia,'' was fashioned entirely out of snippets of severely distressed and heart-rendingly decomposed nitrate film stock: decades-old footage, taken from archives all around the country -- and at the last possible moment. The images in the film (which still has not found a distributor but will start airing on the Sundance Channel this week) are just the sort of thing you hear about all the time from crusading preservationists like Martin Scorsese. Their desperate struggle to rescue our nation's rapidly self-immolating film heritage is a worthy goal, to be sure -- but who knew the stuff was so beautiful? Who knew that decay itself -- artfully marshaled, braided, scored and sustained -- could provoke such transports of sublime reverie amid such pangs of wistful sorrow?

A dervish, whirling. A massive bank of film projectors relentlessly unspooling their reels into long canals of developing fluid. A volcanic crater, belching smoke -- a craggy shore, the waves breaking. An indecipherable welter of rotted, coursing shapes, and presently, through the pox-veil, a geisha gingerly approaching a screen. A butterfly pinioned against the coruscating surface. A mottled, pullulating mass: the frenzy of moths at twilight. Semen. Cells dividing.

And then later: a procession of camels making their slow way across a desert horizon. Nuns leading their young wards through a mission colonnade. A man rescued from drowning. A grown woman being dunked into a river for baptism. A crouching Central Asian man, spinning wool. A hand-driven Ferris wheel, somewhere in India. And a merry-go-round. A Luna Park rocket car exploding out of disintegrating chaos. A hag pointing a threatening finger at an appalled judge, and then turning back to us, metamorphosing into sheerest monstrosity. Lovers, melting into embraces that are themselves melting and coming undone. A baby emerging from a womb and then cradled in a tub of water (developing fluid?). A mine collapse; a shack gone up in flames. A young boxer, gamely jabbing at boiling nothingness. A lonely old man ambling through a mission plaza.

The empty sky, dappled with corrosive specks from which gradually emerge sputtering aircraft, droning on, circling and presently releasing further specks -- sperm? No, parachutists, who slowly float down to earth. The projectors unspooling. The dervish, whirling.

From the earliest days of cinema, Thomas Edison, George Eastman and their fellow trailblazers zeroed in on celluloid, the world's first synthetic plastic, which is produced by treating cellulose nitrate -- cotton combined with a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid -- with camphor and alcohol. It was the ideal flexible, spoolable and transparent base upon which to slather their various arcane photographic emulsions. The nitric cellulose medium, however, suffered from two serious drawbacks. For starters, it was highly explosive -- a close cousin of nitroglycerine -- and even once its explosive potential had been tamed, the material remained extremely flammable. It burned far more fiercely (in fact, 20 times faster) than wood: 20 tons (the equivalent of 8,000 reels of 1,000 feet each) can easily burn itself to pure ash in just three minutes. And these sorts of disasters happen on a fairly regular basis. In 1937, for example, a massive nitrate explosion and fire in Little Ferry, N.J., consumed almost all of the silent films ever produced by the Fox Film Corporation. Similar calamities, in 1977 and 1978, at the National Archives film depository in Suitland, Md., took out the preponderance of the Universal newsreel legacy.

But for all their momentary drama, such catastrophes pale in comparison to the slower-motion conflagration afflicting virtually all nitrate film stock (and nitrate film stock was the medium for most filmmaking until the 1950's). Because it is chemically unstable, cellulose nitrate film stock begins decomposing the moment it is manufactured, a process that accelerates with the passage of time. (Vast expanses of our nation's film stock has been wrested from nature, and nature wants that film stock back.) The silver image -- the singularly rich and deep and luminous image that is the glory of nitrate projection -- undergoes a brownish discoloration; the emulsion becomes sticky, exuding a brown frothing foam (known to conservators, quaintly, as honey) and provoking a pungent odor (''the smell of dirty laundry,'' as one conservator delicately parsed the matter for me). Soon the plastic depolymerizes and the entire film reel begins to congeal (moving from a ''doughnut'' into its final ''hockey puck'' phase), after which the brittle mass disintegrates further into an acrid, reddish powder, which is extremely combustible (and has been known to spontaneously ignite at ambient temperatures as low as 105 degrees).

All of this is inevitable -- it cannot be avoided (although as conservators now realize, the processes of decomposition can be significantly forestalled if the archives are maintained at low temperatures and low humidity). Sooner or later -- and generally speaking, far sooner than we would like -- all nitrate films crumble into dust.

It's not a pretty picture -- and one that in fact has already been estimated to have cost the nation's archives more than half of the 21,000 feature films produced before 1950. The great and marvelously sexy 20's film icon Colleen Moore, for example, was fated to outlive most of her films -- and such seminal performances as Greta Garbo's in ''Divine Woman'' and Theda Bara's in ''Cleopatra'' have been relegated to powder, smoke and rumor. They are presumed to exist no more.

And yet -- and this was to be Bill Morrison's key discovery -- for all the sorry ugliness of the situation, the actual pictures that this relentless disintegration was producing could be more than just pretty. Sometimes, indeed, they were ravishingly, achingly beautiful.

Bill Morrison was born in 1965 into a middle-class household -- his father a lawyer, his mother a schoolteacher -- in the Hyde Park-Kenwood area, the integrated neighborhood girdling the University of Chicago and itself surrounded by severely impoverished, deeply segregated ghettos. The youngest of four and the only boy, he was doted upon, though he was somewhat isolated and self-contained. He was particularly fond of his grandfather, who rode the rails and explored the West as a youth, occasionally boxing for money. ''I had an entirely blessed upbringing,'' Morrison says, ''such that the seemingly dour nature of much of the art it subsequently engendered is all but inexplicable to me. People who've seen my work usually expect to meet someone in his 60's, all nostalgic for the 19th century and obsessed with death and decay; when they do meet me, they're surprised to find me quite a bit younger, of fairly good humor and not overly concerned with death at all.''

With death, maybe not -- but certainly with decay. From his earliest days, Morrison reports, he reveled in the splendors of the urban detritus all about him, enchanted by vistas others found ugly or mundane. He loped about, lollygagging, lost in thought.

Fast-forward through college at Cooper Union, where he majored in both painting and film animation, and after that a productive collaboration with New York's avant-garde Ridge Theater, where he became the resident short-film backdrop creator, in which capacity he began haunting musty film archives all around the country in search of raw footage. Then, about three years ago, Morrison attended the first annual Orphan Film Symposium in Columbia, S.C., a gathering of similarly obsessed aficionados of antiquarian film. Columbia, as it turned out, is home to a veritable trove of decomposing Fox Movietone newsreels, and it was here that Morrison first began thinking about film decay itself as a possible subject and, more than that, as the raw material for a future project.

As it happened, just around that time, a composer named Michael Gordon (a founding member of the Bang on a Can collective, with which Morrison had already had occasion to work on several Ridge Theater productions) was preparing to work on a major orchestral piece for the Basel Sinfonietta to be premiered as part of European Music Month in the fall of 2001. Gordon was in some ways Morrison's acoustic twin, entranced by traces of decay and decomposition in music itself. He was fascinated by the slightly-out-of-tune and yet more so by the more-out-of-tune-yet, and likewise by rhythmic distortions and distress. ''I am attracted by something really pretty that's at the same time really ugly,'' he recently said to me, ''so that you hear the pretty and you hear the ugly. In my own work I aim for an effect of sweet and sour -- to be able to evoke the sweetness through the sour. I like things a little dirty, I like to take something really beautiful and to mess it up a bit.''

Gordon approached the Ridge Theater, and soon after, he and Morrison embarked on a cinematic-symphonic collaboration, invoking the model of ''Fantasia,'' only this time, keying to themes of decay and dilapidation. Morrison already had many images to work with from his time in the Fox archive in Columbia. ''I managed to dig up the nuns with their wards at their Arizona mission that very first day, along with that footage of a boxer'' (shades of his beloved grandfather). ''The boxer footage in particular was unbelievably evocative: the guy -- according to the reel's label, his name was Ritchie -- had clearly been jabbing at a punching bag, only for some reason the chemical content of the bag imagery had deteriorated far in advance of the rest of the frame, so that it looked for all the world as if Ritchie were engaged in a desperate struggle with the roiling abyss itself.''

He kept returning to Columbia, and after digging through the archives for more than 100 hours, he managed to excavate footage (including the camel caravan, the Indian Ferris wheel, the Central Asian wool-spinner, the planes and the parachutists and an uncanny sequence of a high diver hoisting herself up a silhouetted ladder that itself looks like a strip of film) that would come to comprise 36 minutes, a good half of the eventual completed film.

He also ventured out to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside Dayton, Ohio, where the Library of Congress houses its phenomenal (and phenomenally volatile) nitrate-film collections. Here Morrison tracked down the silent melodrama footage of the judge and the harridan, the waves breaking on the shore and the solitary man traipsing across the mission plaza (further shades of his grandfather). ''It was a bit of a challenge,'' Morrison concedes. ''After all, I was looking for the stuff most archivists tend to hide.'' But he gradually got the archivists to warm to his daffy quest. ''Many visitors are amazed at the sorts of decay you come upon around here,'' Kenneth Weissman, the head of the Library of Congress's Dayton operation, subsequently told me with a sardonic drawl. ''But few seem to enjoy it as much as Bill.''

In addition, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, an avid collector of much of Morrison's work at the Ridge Theater, granted him unprecedented access to their film vaults.

''I wasn't just looking for instances of decayed film,'' Morrison recalls of his two-year excavation. ''Rather, I was seeking out instances of decay set against a narrative backdrop, for example, of valiant struggle, or thwarted love, or birth, or submersion, or rescue, or one of the other themes I was trying to interweave. And never complete decay: I was always seeking out instances where the image was still putting up a struggle, fighting off the inexorability of its demise but not yet having succumbed. And things could get very frustrating. Sometimes I'd come upon instances of spectacular decay but the underlying image was of no particular interest. Worse was when there was a great evocative image but no decay.''

And now fast-forward again, past further years of dusty, musty labor to the revelatory intertwining of Morrison's images to synthesized approximations of Gordon's score; and then onto a triumphant premiere of their combined piece in Basel in 2001; and further weeks in the editing room as Morrison honed his procession of images to Gordon's now, at long last, orchestrally recorded score; and past Sundance and onto the New York premiere of the completed film on the very last day of screenings at the Modern's vaunted Titus 1 auditorium last spring before it was closed for renovation, where it was shown along with an exquisitely well preserved silver print of ''Casablanca.''

After one of those screenings, an audience member contacted Morrison by e-mail (at ''Congratulations! You have created the first post-postmodern film.'' Morrison rolled his eyes as he told me the story.

And yet, in a strange way, the guy was onto something. Because for all its antique sources and resonances, ''Decasia'' is a film absolutely of the moment. In fact, it couldn't have been made a minute sooner: it took precisely this long for time to exert its magnificently inspired ravages upon the source material. This is what this stuff looks like today -- and now here it is, preserved for all eternity.

''Oh, yeah?'' Morrison shot back, smiling, when I tried this notion out on him. ''Just wait a few years.''

The Cult of Gocco

Published: October 21, 2007

More from Rob Walker at his blog,

Several years ago, Shu-Ju Wang began teaching classes in Portland, Ore., to people — mostly older women and serious crafter types — interested in learning how to use a screen-printing system called Gocco. Print Gocco devices were once popular in Japan, but their chief function as a tool for making greeting cards was long ago usurped by the home computer, and this bit of passed-by technology was obscure and hard to find in the United States. But interest in Wang’s classes has remained strong, and in fact she says that her students have lately included more younger women and, in the most recent round, even guys. Turns out that Print Gocco is both better known and somehow cooler than it has ever been here. And this is almost certainly because in late 2005, the Riso Kagaku Corporation, now an international and largely digital business, announced that Gocco was dead.

It was this surprise announcement that inspired Jill Bliss to start a Web site called Save Gocco, which became a centerpiece of a product-fandom community (or at least a cult). Bliss, who used a Gocco machine she bought on eBay in her handmade stationery business, Blissen, says she threw together the site “on a whim.” She handed out some press packets at the Bazaar Bizarre craft fair in Los Angeles, and soon became ground zero of Gocco-withdrawal angst. The site ultimately collected more than a thousand names of enthusiasts, in a show of strength that the signers hoped might inspire some entity to start making the product again. It also carried news of Gocco art shows that started to pop up, and it listed retail resources. Wang says interest in the process among artists and crafters was already gaining momentum when word got out that the device was going to disappear. “Then there was just this urgency,” she recalls, “to find a Gocco.”

As this suggests, the save-Gocco effort was led by artists who used it, or wanted to. Certainly artists have been attracted to arcane or toylike tools before, but previous examples — like the Diana camera from the ’60s or Pixelvision camcorders from the ’80s — appealed in part because the results looked markedly different. In this case, Gocco is simply a convenient alternative to messier and more complicated traditional screen printing. By combining the image-exposure step and the printing step in one relatively compact unit, the Gocco process is remarkably fast and takes up little space.

But the hubbub helped raise the profile of Gocco not just among people who make things by hand but also among people who like to buy such things. In fact, design-product blogs like Poppytalk and Design*Sponge regularly promote Gocco-ed stuff. This is interesting, given that Bliss and Wang agree that it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between a Gocco print and a regular screen print. For artists, that’s the whole point (same results, easier process), but for buyers, it means the Gocco attraction is a little abstract. Possibly they like the idea of a more intimate relationship between artist and creation as a result of the hands-on Gocco process. Possibly they like the idea of saving an endangered tool. Possibly they have simply seen the word mentioned and assume that what’s unusual is good. In the past, Bliss never bothered to identify her Gocco-made work. “But I think now there’s a certain cachet to buying a Gocco-made print,” she says.

The combined interest of makers and shoppers has had results. Earlier this year, the online retailer Paper Source — which sold Goccos for years before the drought — managed to obtain some batches by working with retail contacts in Japan. These promptly sold out. Next month, Paper Source expects to get one more shipment (most of it spoken for) and, maybe, some word about Gocco’s fate — which is much less certain than it was when Riso made that announcement back in 2005.

David Murphy, vice president for marketing for Riso’s subsidiary in North and South America, says the company’s decision to stop making the devices was simply a practical strategic matter: its sales were essentially a rounding error to a multinational with revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars. But the company has taken notice of the Save Gocco constituency: it still manufactures Gocco screens, inks and other supplies and is now at least considering how the device might live on. “The market uproar has caused us to re-evaluate the product,” Murphy says cautiously. “It’s not dead, and it’s not alive. It’s in something of a contemplation stage.” The Save Gocco crowd hasn’t won yet, then, but it has certainly made a comatose technology seem healthier than it has been in years.


Finding Historical Loops, and Opening Them
Published: March 5, 2006

For nearly 25 years, Lawrence Weschler has been collecting what he calls convergences, tearing out images from magazines, advertising and newspapers that recall works of art or nature or even science.

What differentiates his juxtapositions from the “A Looks Like B” school of cultural criticism (see Birth, Separated at), is that rather than close a loop, in his new book, “Everything That Rises” (McSweeney’s), a collection of dozens of these pairings, Mr. Weschler seeks to open it. “The convergence is like the rhyme,” he said recently in his art and ephemera-crammed office in the New York Institute for the Humanities, which he directs. “But then you’ve got to write the poem about it. The thing that makes it sing is the cascading of possible meanings.”

He first saw the photograph, above right, of firefighters at ground zero in a gallery show of Joel Meyerowitz’s work. It might not have put the average viewer in mind of a Civil War-era image, but nearly imperceptible cues — the placement of the flag, the position of the photographer — reminded Mr. Wechsler of a Civil War image, below, from 1861 of Union Army engineers (the photographer is unknown). Two photos speaking across generations. A rhyme — and a convergence — were born.

Directions: They Don't Even Stand to the Right (March 5, 2006)
The Conversation: Go Ahead, Turn That Thing On (March 5, 2006)
Playing Politics With The Remote Control (March 5, 2006)
Directions: The Professor and the Chanteuse (March 5, 2006)
Directions: The Few, the Proud, the Ensemble (March 5, 2006)
Directions: The 60th Brick in His Wall (March 5, 2006)


Uptown Girl
Published: February 1, 2004

IT seems significant that on one of my first outings to the South Bronx, I couldn't find my way back home. I lived in Chelsea then, and I was still new to New York. I worked days as an editor at Seventeen magazine and did my freelance reporting at night. The Village Voice had assigned me a piece on drug dealers' girlfriends. I borrowed a friend's clunking car to take some of the girls clubbing. Entering a pool hall on the Grand Concourse, I had my first experience of being frisked. It was after 4 A.M. when I dropped off the last girl. The rain dumped down.

Back then, in the early 90's, the South Bronx still seemed to me like the iconic ghetto it was purported to be; that night, as I drove up and down its desolate boulevards, the shapes of the ordinary world disappeared. All I saw beyond the fogging windshield was threat. No hint of the pace of well-lit, clipped Manhattan. Rain slashed the signs of unfamiliar streets. Elevated subway tracks loomed overhead. At a gas station, I anxiously left the car to ask directions, but my questions got drowned out by the pleas of the Indian attendant, barricaded in behind his bars, urgently waving me, please, away.

My own fear increased with the resulting chill. Eventually, I was flying by the Whitestone Cinema, headed east. Blessedly, I spotted the ''New England Thruway'' sign, a friendly highway green.

Originally, I come from Leominster, in northern Massachusetts. Absurdly, I seriously considered driving the four hours home. In a panic, one reverts to what one knows. At least from Leominster, I knew my way back to New York. What I wouldn't realize for another decade was that the homecoming would ultimately occur the other way around: the pull of the Bronx, and the connection to the family I found there, not the fear of it, would carry me home to my blood family.

Only now, a year after its publication, is the full meaning of the title of my first book, ''Random Family,'' revealing itself to me. The book documents more than a decade in the life of one extended family from the South Bronx. Had I been asked midway through the reporting what the title meant, I might have answered, ''The families my subjects inherited and those they chose'' or ''The family that teenagers create among their friends.''

But from where I stand now, I'd say that a sense of belonging can also spring from a geographical affinity, the comfort we feel in places both known and discovered or, in some cases, the places that are within us even before we arrive, their streets coursing through our personal histories.

MY strongest early memories of my father involve him driving away. Off he'd go, in the orange pumpkin, our nickname for the rust-colored American Ambassador supplied by the union when he left a chemical factory job and turned to organizing full time. My father drove to faraway destinations -- Pittsburgh, Akron, Detroit -- and returned with exotic tales infused with the urgency of the mundane world, compelling stories about regular people struggling to make ends meet.

Once we spent a family holiday at a roadside Ramada Inn in Delaware. While my mother sunned by the pool, I trailed Edie, an elderly maid whose gentle presence made my father's hotel room a home. Edie let me refill the vending machine with miniature toothbrushes, their silver tubes of toothpaste as slim and shiny as smelts. She let me push her tidy hallway cart. In the sweet-smelling laundry closet, which doubled as her office, we counted her tips.

As I was growing up, my mother liked to tell me that every woman needs an education and a car. (The education was something no one could ever take away from you, while a car could take you away from anywhere you suddenly didn't want to be.) After high school, I was always driving away -- for college, for graduate school, on assignment, back to my apartment in New York.

Like my father's, my visits home were brief; I was using my education the way I was supposed to, to escape the working class that my ambitious mother had found herself trapped in. She devoted her life to making my escape possible, struggling to balance her love without letting me feel entirely at home. But if I wanted to succeed -- whatever that meant -- I couldn't stop moving. Irrationally, I worried that if I ever slowed down, or slipped up, I'd somehow end up on my father's old slot on the assembly line.

When I started my reporting in the Bronx, however, suddenly I was like my father with his union: I knew that this was the work I wanted to do. I felt a sense of purpose, energized and fully alive. The work drew on my deepest self, yet, unlike the elite worlds to which my education exposed me, didn't require that I bury my working-class alliances.

In fact, those initial nights of reporting -- listening to music and watching the girls dress up to go dancing, hanging out in front of bodegas and in courtyards and on stoops, driving around as they shouted out of the car to the windows of the boys they liked -- took me back to an earlier time. It was a lot like my teenage years with my hometown friends, aimless and open-ended, not about the things we didn't have, or some distant future, but about the vitality and wonder of the life that was already ours, and within our reach.

It turns out I wasn't the first of my relatives to do time in the Bronx. Not long after I began serious work on my book, I called my mother from the pay phone of a cafe in the Italian neighborhood of Belmont. ''I don't know why,'' I told her, ''I feel so at home here.'' I supposed it was the familiarity of the Italians on Arthur Avenue. My mother neglected to mention that her parents had lived there for a decade before moving to Leominster, where, not long after, my grandfather died. It would be years before an uncle, in an emotional moment after a family funeral, confessed that the greatest love story in my family's history had taken place in that neighborhood - perhaps the site of the loss of promise the most painful to bear.

My mother's father rented a room as a boarder from my grandmother's older sister, who had come from a neighboring village in Italy. He saw my grandmother's photograph, and they started corresponding; he dictated his letters because he didn't know how to write. Eventually, he helped pay her passage; her younger brother, Orazio, escorted her. There was a swoon after the first kiss in Central Park, another legendary kiss in the stairwell of the sister's house.

Six months later, on Oct. 8, 1905, the Rev. Thomas T. Lynch officiated at the marriage at St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church in Washington Heights. My grandmother liked to tell my mother how she looked like a princess that day, dressed in white, perched atop a carriage driven by six white horses that delivered her to the church. She was adorned in jewelry, including a gold chain that my grandfather had given her and a bracelet, etched with a delicate scroll. Over her heart, she pinned a bird with four tiny pearls, two on each wing, and a ruby balanced on its beak.

It was a hopeful beginning, but things got harder quickly. As my grandmother began having children, nine in all, my grandfather took whatever work he could find -- lighting lamps, maintenance, delivering coal. For a time, he was a superintendent in a building in Belmont, just two blocks away from Thorpe house, the homeless shelter on Crotona Avenue where, 90 years later, I would be spending my weekends and nights.

By then, I'd met Lolli, the young woman who would become one of my primary subjects (and who is identified as Coco in my book). In the restroom at Seventeen, I'd slip out of my black blazer and miniskirt at the end of my work day and put on a T-shirt and jeans. We happily explored her Bronx streets, pointing out our favorites among the trays of gold medallions and door-knocker earrings in the jewelry shops on Fordham Road; admiring the dusty baby shower cakes decorated with miniature pacifiers in the window of the cuchifrito-bakery on Burnside Avenue; watching the bright fake fish that paddled spastic laps in a plastic aquarium at the dollar store.

On Mount Hope Place, where her first love had lived before he went to prison, Lolli showed me the graffiti heart she'd etched into the wall of a stairwell where they used to kiss. One Sunday morning, on Tremont Avenue, we waved to a young bride and groom gleefully shouting from the sun roof of a white stretch limousine.

I gradually realized, however, that Lolli had never ventured the few blocks from her Puerto Rican neighborhood to the Italian section. So one afternoon, when her 3-year-old daughter was hungry, I suggested lunch on Arthur Avenue. I was slowly becoming a familiar face on the street; the bakery clerk nodded hello, and the butcher at the Arthur Avenue Market tutored me about what to look for in a proper cut of beef.

Lolli was uncharacteristically reluctant as we stepped into a coffee shop where I'd been a few times. Helping her daughter climb onto a stool, she stood behind her, pressing her pregnant belly against the little girl's back so she wouldn't topple off. We waited while the waitress chatted with a customer at the far end of the counter. I asked for menus. It was 11 A.M. The short order cook was flipping eggs on the grill. From the opposite end of the room, without looking in our direction, the waitress said, ''Kitchen's closed.''

IN the meantime, I had moved to SoHo. I didn't find it an easy fit. On weekends, when it teemed with shoppers buying things I could never afford, I'd linger around the corner of Something Special, Lenny Cecere's small store on Macdougal, just to hear the banter of Italian men. On the rare days I didn't go to the Bronx, I'd head out to Coney Island, to stroll on the boardwalk among the old Russians, or to Bensonhurst, to eat panelle at Joe's of Avenue U. My apartment was rent-stabilized, so I couldn't think of leaving permanently, but it was more like a hotel than a home.

The parts of the Bronx that I was getting to know didn't require the same stretching. Uptown, on the sidewalk, in the Laundromat, at the Western Union office, my movements came naturally. What became taxing were the transitions.

I remember the day I realized that I had to leave my Midtown job. I'd spent a spate of nights out reporting in the Soundview projects, where the elevator doors rattled and ached, and that tired morning I was struck by the silence of my ascent at Seventeen. The bell for my floor gently sounded, and I stepped noiselessly off the elevator onto the red carpet that led to my office. I no longer knew what I was doing there.

Whenever I was downtown, which was less and less, I felt that life was elsewhere. Uptown, I was learning to surrender to the slower rhythms of my subjects' days. Ordinary acts absorbed me utterly. Even the most mundane things -- children playing, a trip to the grocery store, watching an old dog sleeping -- gave me a sense of discovery. After all, I was supposed to spend hours hanging out, observing. I started to crave the street. On the best days, I was keenly aware of the sensory environment but unaware of myself. I knew I was in precisely the right place, at the right time. Doing my work meant remaining still.

Like that of a child shuttling between divorced parents, my behavior changed with my surroundings: at a welfare office in the Bronx, I could be endlessly patient, numbed. Yet if I had to wait in line at the Gourmet Garage, I became irritable. Increasingly at ease in the places most white New Yorkers thought of as impossibly dangerous, I'd tense up at book parties and gallery openings. I preferred to brave the stairwell in a housing project than walk into a roof-top party. A college friend, now a psychologist, declared me counter-phobic. Possibly true, but what good do labels do?

But the greatest threat to my reporting wasn't the danger, which was erratic and unusual, but the frustrations and despair, which were relentless, pervading every task of daily life. In the Bronx, survival regularly felt impossible, escape unimaginable. Even hope became a risk.

Back in SoHo, I slept, a lot. I'm generally an early morning person, but I came to love the bed. I'd sleep a solid 12 hours after a prison visit, a whole day after a weekend in Lolli's mother's courtyard. One afternoon, one of the girls from the Bronx called to wake me; I used to be prompt, calling up to their windows, waking them. Now, I was late, I answered the telephone cranky. ''You sound like my mother,'' she said critically.

Poverty is a climate. Within a few years, I had adapted to its weather's unpredictability: I stopped believing that institutions functioned in any reliable or useful fashion. I would be surprised, delighted, when anything went smoothly. I developed a sense of humor. I stopped wearing black, started wearing fuchsia. I became an optimist, and a fatalist. I cared more about my sex appeal. My downtown friends commented that I'd become more defensive, suspicious and sarcastic. My uptown friends told me I needed to gain weight and relax.

Surely some of this was a result of my immersion in my subjects' world, my experience of their profound economic and physical vulnerability. I wish I'd been strong enough to move to the Bronx and live in the spaces that, for 24 hours a day, filled my head.

MY own family's crisis took me back to Leominster; my father was found to have cancer. During the 18 months that I cared for my him, my city life receded; my hometown roots were renewed. Over the phone, my downtown friends expressed their worries about me: I needed to rest, I needed to eat, I needed to get back to New York. My Bronx friends told me to stay strong, to fight the terror, to try to make my father laugh, to fill the house with children. They'd shown me what my Italian ancestors had buried in their stoic formality. When it's not possible to protect the people you love and make things better, you grab onto the good moments when you can.

A Bronx friend, who had survived a spinal injury, coached my father through a similar trauma and gave me indispensable caretaking advice. Another friend, who worked as a home health aide, prepared me for what to expect as my father moved closer to death. Lolli and her children came to visit. (''You mad skinny,'' said her 9-year-old, taking in my father. ''That's for sure,'' my father said.) As I watched Lolli holding my father's bony hand, I felt the reconnection of something broken running through my life. When my father passed, Lolli's mother told me to take care of my own. ''Your mother's the only one you've got,'' she said.

Not so long ago, I returned to New York and reintroduced myself to my apartment and my neighborhood. I walked to the Angelika, became a morning regular at Once Upon a Tart, swam laps at a nearby pool. Photographs got framed, dinners cooked, walls painted. I moved into my place, then I got restless again. Nights, I reported a story about a rapper and drug dealer who lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant. I was back at work. Absorbed, I watched him get his weekly trim among the men debating politics at his barbershop. Sitting in the passenger seat of his S.U.V., flying down the low Brooklyn streets, windows open, his music blasting, looking out at the new neighborhood, I felt life pouring over me.

To be where I am is to accept where I came from, to be both a visitor and an escapee. Maybe always-leaving is my closest kinship, but I've learned to claim the life I live here, wherever that may be. The open invitation is what I cherish most about my work in this city -- the righteousness of my ignorance, the job of getting lost again and again.

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is the author of ''Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx,'' which will be published in paperback this month by Scribner.
Buyers Pounce as Homes Go on the Block By JOHN LELAND
For some investors, the misery of subprime loans, exploding adjustable rate mortgages and slumping sales mean one thing: opportunity.
"It's a symptom of the foreclosure crisis. And it's a cause for concern that through this auction, areas that are already hit by the foreclosure crisis will now be hit by investors who are buying up properties to rent them out, which makes neighborhoods less stable than owner-occupied housing."
JIM DAVNIE, a Minnesota state representative, at an auction of foreclosed properties in Minnesota.

Clashing visions of 'Paradise' By Richard Fausset
The fantastical work of the Rev. Howard Finster, a folk artist who's been called the 'Andy Warhol of the South,' is at the heart of cultural tug of war in rural Georgia.

Traveling, only the connection is remote By Marjorie Miller
In an era of cellphones and the Internet, few areas of the world qualify as secluded, as long as a BlackBerry can get a signal.

Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web By KATIE HAFNER
Several major libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft, instead signing on with a nonprofit effort.


Perry aims to go over well abroad
Writer-actor-director wants to shatter the stereotype that African American-themed films don't click overseas.
By Lorenza Muñoz, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 22, 2007

Tyler Perry debunked the Hollywood myth that movies and television shows about family, relationships and God were too narrow and folksy to resonate with a large audience.

His latest film, "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" has pulled in nearly $40 million in only two weeks and outdid such films as George Clooney's "Michael Clayton" in its opening weekend.

But can Perry take on the rest of the world? The Atlanta-based writer-actor-director wants to build an international following, shattering a Hollywood stereotype that African American-themed movies have little currency abroad.

He's taking a page from the global success stories of such stars as Will Smith and Denzel Washington and the gospel-inspired play "Mama I Want to Sing!" which has toured the world for more than a decade.

Niall Ferguson:
One strike, Iran could be out
October 22, 2007

Of all the columns I've written for this newspaper over the last couple of years, none has elicited a more heated response than the one published in January 2006 about the Great War of 2007. Indeed, it still gets quoted back at me more than a year and a half later.

The column was written in the style of a future historian looking back on a war that I imagined breaking out this year. My point was that if a major war were to break out in 2007, future historians would not have far to look to find its origins.

My imaginary war began in the Middle East and lasted four years. With the benefit of hindsight, the historian of the future would be able to list its causes as (a) competition for the region's abundant reserves of fossil fuels, (b) demographic pressures arising from the region's high birthrates, (c) the growth of radical Islamism and (d) the determination of Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

My nightmare scenario involved a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel in August. You may have noticed that this didn't happen. However, the point of the column was not to make a prophecy. No one has the power to predict the future because (as I frequently remind my history students) there is no such thing as the future, singular -- only futures, plural.

My aim in writing the column was not to soothsay but to alert readers to the seriousness of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program -- and to persuade them that the United States should do something to stop it. True, after all that has gone wrong in Iraq, Americans are scarcely eager for another preventive war to stop another rogue regime from owning yet more weapons of mass destruction that don't currently exist. It's easy to imagine the international uproar that would ensue in the event of U.S. air strikes. It's also easy to imagine the havoc that might be wreaked by Iranian-sponsored terrorists in Iraq by way of retaliation. So it's very tempting to hope for a purely diplomatic solution.

Yet the reality is that the chances of such an outcome are dwindling fast, precisely because other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are ruling out the use of force -- and without the threat of force, diplomacy seldom works. Six days ago, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin went to Iran for an amicable meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Putin says he sees "no evidence" that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. On his return to Moscow, he explicitly repudiated what he called "a policy of threats, various sanctions or power politics."

The new British prime minister, Gordon Brown, also seems less likely to support American preemption than his predecessor was in the case of Iraq. That leaves China, which remains an enigma on the Iranian question, and France, whose hawkish new president finds himself distracted by the worst kind of domestic crisis: a divorce.

By contrast, Washington's most reliable ally in the Middle East, Israel, recently demonstrated the ease with which a modern air force can destroy a suspected nuclear facility. Not only was last month's attack on a site in northeastern Syria carried out without Israeli losses, there was no retaliation on the part of Damascus. Memo from Ehud Olmert to George W. Bush: You can do this, and do it with impunity.

The big question of 2007 therefore remains: Will he do it?

With every passing day, the president attracts less media coverage, while the contenders to succeed him attract more. Yet Bush made news last week with his observation at a White House news conference that "if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them [the Iranians] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." That would seem to suggest that he is ready to use military force against Iran if he sees the alternative as mere appeasement. One eminent expert on nuclear warfare told me last week that he still puts the probability of air strikes on Iran as high as 30%.

In domestic politics, it's always a good idea to follow the money. When it comes to grand strategy, however, you need to follow the navy -- to be precise, the aircraft carriers that would be the launching platforms for any major air offensive against Iran's nuclear facilities. To do this, you don't need to be very skilled at espionage. The U.S. Navy makes the information freely available at in the "Around the Navy" column published each week in the Navy Times.

The U.S. has 11 active aircraft carriers. Of these, the Kitty Hawk is in port in Japan. The Nimitz and Reagan are in San Diego. The Washington is in Norfolk, Va. The Lincoln and Stennis are in Washington state. And the Eisenhower, Vinson, Roosevelt and Truman are undergoing various sorts of refitting and maintenance checks in the vicinity of "WestLant" (Navy-speak for the western Atlantic). Only one -- the Enterprise -- is in the Persian Gulf.

At present, then, talk of World War III seems to be mere saber-rattling, not serious strategy. U.S. aircraft carriers can move fast, it's true. The Lincoln's top speed is in excess of 30 knots (30 nautical miles per hour). And it, along with the Truman, Eisenhower and Nimitz, are said to be "surge ready." But take a look at the map. It's a very long way from San Diego to the Strait of Hormuz. Even from Norfolk, it takes 17.5 days for an aircraft carrier group to reach Bahrain. If you were Ahmadinejad, how worried would you be?

As for me, I am jumping ship. This is my last weekly column on these pages. But remember when the Great Gulf War does finally come: You read about it here first.

A Once and Future Nation
Published: October 22, 2007

QALAT, Afghanistan - Once upon a time there was a country, more a space than a nation, landlocked, mountainous, impoverished and windblown.

There resided many peoples, including Pashtuns and Tajiks and Uzbeks and Turkmen, and a new tribe called the Americans.

They had come, the Americans, after 30 years of bloodshed, to bring peace to this land called Afghanistan. But what did they know — what could they know — of life behind burkas, or on the other side of mud walls, or inside minds made mad by war?

Past goat herds and yellowing almond trees, the helmeted Americans drove armored Humvees. Beside lurching stacks of battered tires children gathered in villages and, unlike those in another broken land called Iraq, they smiled and waved.

The Americans talked about empowering Afghans. Sometimes they took to Blackhawk choppers and swooped along the dun-colored river beds and sent goats scurrying for cover.

The 26,000 U.S. troops meant well. They wielded billions of dollars. They calculated “metrics” of progress. They had learned, to their cost, how this faraway place — invaded and used and at last abandoned to pile rubble upon rubble — could nurture danger.

Not only was it once home to the American-financed Islamists who humbled the Soviet empire. It also housed their jihadist offspring, who, like sorcerers’ apprentices, turned on a distracted sponsor and brought the dust of two fallen towers to Manhattan.

To help forge a better Afghanistan — or merely an Afghanistan — the Americans involved their NATO friends. An alliance forged to defend the West against the Soviets was transformed into an agent of democratic change in southwest Asia.

How strange! The enemy now was Taliban Islamofascists rather than Kremlin totalitarians. On a hillside in south-eastern Afghanistan rose “Camp Dracula,” a garrison of 700 Romanian soldiers on this NATO mission.

It would take a great fabulist to make up such stories. Yet they wrote themselves after reports that the cold war’s conclusion marked the end of history proved greatly exaggerated.

And so, one recent morning, Lt. Col. James Bramble, a reservist from El Paso, Tex., with a job there as a pharmaceuticals executive, found himself visiting the Romanian forces and then going to the nearby village of Morad Khan Kalay.

Nations are built one village at a time. Or so Colonel Bramble has come to believe. He is a thoughtful man, commanding a NATO provincial reconstruction team, one of 25 across the country, at a base in Qalat, between Kandahar and Kabul. His team is supposed to deliver the development and good governance that will marginalize the Taliban.

That’s the theory. The practice looks like this. Seven armored U.S. Humvees form a “perimeter” on the edge of the village and newly trained members of the Afghan police — the “Afghan face” on this mission — are dispatched to bring out village elders.

Looking apprehensive, the Afghans appear swathed in robes and headgear whose bold colors mock dreary U.S. Army camouflage. Staff Sgt. Marco Villalta, of San Mateo, Calif., steps forward: “We would like to ask you some questions about your village.”

The following is elicited: There are 300 families using 25 wells. Their irrigation ditches get washed away in winter. A small bridge keeps collapsing. They send their children to a school in nearby Shajoy, but it’s often closed because of Taliban threats to teachers.

Sergeant Villalta takes notes. “We’ll share this information with the governor and make sure that something is done.”

“No! No!,” says Sardar Mohammed. “We don’t trust the governor. If he gets food, he gives it to 10 families. He puts money in his pocket. We trust you more than him. Bring aid directly to us.”

Bramble’s view is that the governor is as good as officials get around here. The U.S. officer, like his country and NATO, is caught in the hall of mirrors of contested nation-building. The exchange at the village has traversed cultures, civilizations and centuries. For Western soldiers trained to kill, and now in the business of hoisting an Islamic country from nothing as fighting continues, that’s challenging.

Still, Bramble thinks this first contact will lead to others and perhaps he can arrange for the bridge to be bolstered soon. Another community will be brought around in “the good war” against death-to-the-West Islamists.

This process will be very slow. The West’s stomach for investing blood and treasure here for another decade is unclear. But I see no alternative if Afghanistan is to move from its destructive gyre and the global threat that brings.

The children’s smiles suggest hope still flickers. To lose Afghanistan by way of smile-free Iraq — and do so on the border of a turbulent nuclear-armed Pakistan — would be a terrible betrayal and an unacceptable risk.

That, alas, is no fairy tale.
A Two-Cigarette Society

Published: October 22, 2007

WHEN it comes to the health of our children, two cigarettes may be better than one. Young smokers who begin their habit with nicotine-laden cigarettes need a cigarette that will not leave them to later fight the ravages of addiction.

Experts tell us that teenagers often begin smoking to copy their peers and others whom they see smoking. As adults, however, they continue smoking largely because of the addictive qualities of nicotine. (Ninety percent of smokers regret having begun smoking and most make efforts to stop.) This means that in the absence of addictive levels of nicotine in their cigarettes, most young smokers would ultimately quit.

A two-cigarette strategy would prohibit young smokers from buying addictive cigarettes. The tobacco industry is capable of producing cigarettes that are virtually free of nicotine, and regulators could develop clear standards for non-addictive cigarettes. (Disclosure: My law firm represents tobacco companies, but I have recused myself from that work.)

The age to purchase addictive cigarettes might be set at 21. Better yet, sales of addictive cigarettes could be restricted to individuals born 19 or more years before the two-cigarette strategy was put into effect. Under this approach, 18-year-olds who start smoking non-addictive cigarettes would be prohibited from switching to addictive cigarettes even after they turned 21. In addition, a higher federal excise tax on addictive cigarettes than on non-addictive cigarettes would create a financial incentive for smokers of all ages, including scofflaw adolescents, to select non-addictive cigarettes.

Granted, a two-cigarette policy would not be a panacea. It would not end smoking, it would not give us safer cigarettes, and it would not undo the addiction that grips the current generation of smokers.

The Institute of Medicine, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences, has called for a gradual reduction of the nicotine content in all cigarettes to non-addictive levels (an approach I proposed 13 years ago when I worked at the Food and Drug Administration). But it would take decades to eliminate addictive cigarettes from the market. While a worthy strategy for eliminating addiction many years from now, a gradual approach would still permit the addiction of the next generation of smokers.

Decades of addiction will mean disease and death for millions of our children. If we can prevent addiction at the outset, we shouldn’t waste another day.

David G. Adams, a lawyer, was the director of the policy staff at the Food and Drug Administration from 1992 to 1994.


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