Friday, May 31, 2002

Turns out I have several more days to finish my booklet, as the editor is on vacation right now. As I gain more freelance experience, I am finding that deadlines are frequently fuzzy, maybe because writers are infamous procrastinators? So give them a phony early deadline for motivation, and that way they will get busy about when it is due? Since I am a (still seems recent) parolee from the administrative world, and also spent so much of my life in graduate school - I will work myself around the clock to make a deadline. Anyway - it is nice to have a little extra time. Now, if I don't take advantage of that too much - I'll actually have the chance to plant some veggies and flowers, organize the treadmill space (again!) and fit in some creative writing, once the piece is submitted, and before my summer session class begins.

Off to the weekend house again. We are having a thunderstorm - it has been so hot and muggy - so the trip probably won't be really pleasant. I have a cemetery trustees meeting on Sunday. Next weekend, we are staying put. Laundry and yardwork build up on all those weekends away, and it is nice to visit with friends that live around here on occasion.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Big deadline looms! I am writing a booklet on college administration. It isn't coming easy, but it's coming. Luckily I work well under pressure! Also testing a recipe. (So I have to be mindful of the oven, which does nothing for concentrating on writing about education.) We are going to a friend's house for dinner to celebrate her dogs' birthdays and I am making the human's dessert. Whenever I have to make a sweet, I use the opportunity to test one of the recipes in my cookbook. So, this baking is kind of writing-related, and it is also one tiny piece of progress in avoiding a future spell of time pressure. Because if the book proposal gets accepted - I am going to have to get really busy on testing. That would be a good kind of busy, though. My summer course enrollment is over 40 at this point. I suspect I won't get much recipe testing (or writing) done during those 6 weeks.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Tuesday Too # 14

1.) What's the best thing you did over the holiday weekend?

The weekend was great, long, and tiring. It is not easy to choose the "best." It was spent at the other house. It is always good to go there for a change of pace and to get away from the daily grind. There is no television reception or mail delivery, I only get the newspaper on occasion, and although I do have a computer with dial-up Internet access there, I generally don't spend much time on it.

We arrived there very late on Thursday night, and got back here last night. We had a big yard sale with many of my family members, so this year there was no time or energy for a summer kick-off BBQ. It was a lot of work, but also great fun. We generated a little cash, got rid of loads of junk that was just collecting dust, had a lot of laughs, and met some nice people. Also important, in a very different way: we attended the Memorial Day parade. My father marches and shoots one of the salute rifles for the American Legion, and my nieces and nephew march with their goats for 4-H.

2.) Who would you want to spend the afternoon/evening with getting the answers to all your questions? What do you really want to know from this person/animal?

Well - I'm finding this to be a hard one for several reasons. I'm not sure about "all my questions." And the people who come to mind...famous individuals from history, etc. But, I think maybe someone close to me who has died - probably my grandmother, one of my dear aunts, or perhaps a friend, just for the chance to spend time with them again, visit a bit and finally, ask about what comes next.

3.) Why do you think "there must be more to life than having everything"?

What else is there besides everything? Or is this a simple material question? It's good to not struggle, but beyond a certain point who needs more? And even given a financial struggle, there are so many truly important things (including the love and health cliches) that cannot have a monetary value: knowledge, patience, peace...oh, and of course my beloved hounds...

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Tuesday Too #13

1.) Do you have a "little kid" adventure story? Consider the term "little kid" relative to your age.

Well - yes, I have many, but I also have minimal time at the about an adventure story I wrote when I was seven? It's called A Cat in a Boat and it is posted on my website.

2.) What issue would you like to see the Supreme Court of the United States grapple with, or perhaps there's a case you feel they should re-think? Why this particular issue or case?

I have a fondness for history and I tend to take the long view of things (I have a cherished memory of a professor saying in history class, "a decade does not an era make," in response to students getting worked up over some trend, election, legislative bill, conspiracy theory or other) so I guess I don't have a burning interest in, or worry about any particular case. I did notice some other posts on the sex offender issue, and I saw something about it on the news last night. I've thought a bit on the subject for years, starting when a law was proposed (or passed) -- in I think it was NJ -- bearing a victimized child's name. It's really easy to understand why registries to inform communities are appealing, and in all honesty, seem necessary and right. But when I soul-search the question it strikes me as kind of in opposition to the tenets of our system. It also makes me wonder if we have murder registries? Finally, if an offense is so likely to be serial then why are the offenders paroled in the first place? Is a registry the best way to deal with this difficult issue?

3.) What is the URL of the most weird site, or the URL of what you consider a dangerous site? If it's a dangerous site, why do you think it's dangerous.

I'll go with dangerous. I'm sure there are others much worse than the one I'm posting, but after my recent plagiarism episode this is what comes to mind (there are many others in this category): Evil House of Cheat.

4.) You wake-up on death row, and you realize it's not a dream. Even though there is copy of Death Row for Dummies on your bed, you decide to question the guard. What do you ask, and what advice does he/she give you?

I'm stumped by this one. Society would have to change a lot for me to imagine this as a possibility, and I'm not a science fiction writer.

Monday, May 20, 2002

My head is numb, my arm is numb, my back is killing me...but I got the grades for my students finished, and they are in. It was torture, because everyone was suspect, and no-one was suspect. I kept going back and forth, agonizing over each point, wondering, did this student cheat too? Well - something great about the academic calendar is that every semester is a new beginning, and so I am still optimistic about summer session.

I did manage to fit in a yard sale day, and that was a good way to take a break. Not so much because of sorting and hauling junk (although in a way that is liberating, too), but because it was clear, crisp and beautiful yesterday, and the weekend house is isolated in pristine surroundings. Chilly, but just what the doctor ordered. Oh, and dinner at my parents' house - with my mother's eggplant parmesan and my father's funny stories sure went a long way to righting what was wrong in my world. Bob, my husband, is on a low-carb diet, which is one of the alternative methods he's employing in an effort to manage the battle with rheumatoid arthritis. Since I do most of the cooking (not to be uppity, but I'm good at it, and although cleaning is not my cup of tea, I like to cook very much) I try to make things that we both can eat, because I know it's pretty hard to sit and watch someone slurp down a big bowl of spinach tortellini without deciding maybe having stiff joints isn't such a bad thing after all. Friday of Memorial Day yardsale weekend, my father is making alla olio, and since I've been having pasta withdrawal symptoms, I have been looking forward to that meal for weeks!

So - now it's back to my contract work (another deadline looms).

Sunday, May 19, 2002

I'm relieved to say the plagiarism case is over. All ten students attended a meeting in Judicial Affairs today, the day before graduation. The five former students were exonerated, and the five current ones received very serious disciplinary penalties from the university, the least of which was me failing them for the course. They are suspended, it's on their records, etc. It is a very, very sad outcome, but I believe it is better for them to learn this lesson now, at age 22, than at age 50 while working for Enron or Anderson. Sometimes learning involves something other than absorbing curriculum.

This brings me to something else that troubles me, wondering whether there was something about this group of students - their age, major, home, whatever - that produced the behavior. I spent some time working as an administrator for a grant in K-14 vocational education. It was not something I was very familiar with before taking the position, and I may even have had some biases about the quality of technical high schools and doubts about what went on there. Turns out, I witnessed some very exciting things; it was a very postive, motivated environment, a really good place for the students who chose to go there.

There is a philosophy, sometimes found in the vocational-technical arena, but also in standard academic environments and among the general public that the primary reason to become educated is for the market - meaning a job, work, career, money, and all sorts of practical reasons. A simple version of the human capital theory, which extends it beyond the individual to productivity. I'm not suggesting there is no debate; others believe that there should be education-for-educaton's sake or for the improvement of humanity, or the enlightenment of the mind (and body and soul), or to create (and assimilate) better citizens.

Anyway, I do remember when I was an undergrad that nearly everyone espoused the education-for-education's sake perspective. There was just the glimmer of the market view. The business major was just starting to expand at traditionally liberal arts schools.

Now I find that college students are fixated on career preparation and the job market. The vocational grant that I mentioned focused on having students learn about and choose careers by eleventh grade, then channeled them into high school preparation programs that closely articulated with associate degree programs, using applied learning techniques.

I guess I can see a mix of reasons for getting educated - believe me, after being indecisive about what my future would hold, searching, struggling, etc. I can certainly understand the attraction of getting career preparation so life can maybe be a little easier. But as a person who has devoted a good part of my life to education, as a student, administrator, instructor and researcher, I also see the benefits of appreciating the beauty. Could so much focus on "job" instead of "erudition" as the outcome of education be helping to make students think cheating is acceptable? Or is it something else in our culture? I would think I was just feeling super sensitive and that this was a rare instance - if there hadn't been so much press recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I have some other thoughts on this whole subject, which will have to keep. I think I may post a little to BlogSisters, which I have joined because I read about it at jfcates site and I think it is interesting. I am doing some exploring - but time is precious. I have material building up to write about...for the moment that will have to keep too. Too many other demands!

Needless to say, I did not finish grading all my remaining students work. It is a slow, unpleasant task, because I feel like my usual criteria are out the window. But I am taking tomorrow off - that is, "day off" means I am spending a day getting ready for the yardsale. This means loading the truck and making a round trip tomorrow (65 miles each way), because we are having it at the other house. We meant to go today, but it snowed here! It was kind of a major event for May. A big piece of the lilac bush snapped, which was so sad.

Friday, May 17, 2002

What a day. I found two more pairs of students engaged in the plagiarism fiasco. I took it to my department chair, and to the Judicial Affairs office. Both are very supportive, but I am just sick from this. And, although I have finished the cheating detection process (one bright spot is that I think I have proven to myself that this is the first semester it happened) I still have a stack of material to grade for the honest students, that should have been done already. Aiming for Monday, although this weekend was supposed to be dedicated to getting ready for next weekend's yardsale...
Tonight was the target for having all the evaluations completed in my class, because grades are due tomorrow. But today, I discovered that at least three students submitted term papers that are identical to ones that were handed in by former students during past semesters, so I have not finished all the evaluations, because I am now forced to be really, really careful in checking over every assignment so I can detect how widespread a plague this has become. I am upset, disillusioned, and disgusted. (And that's an understatement.) I have heard from four of the six students involved; the two who are currently in the class, both graduating seniors, are pleading for me to overlook this mistake because, they insist, they have never done such a thing before and they have high GPAs. The two from past semesters claim to not know the students from this semester. I have a lot of thinking to do, and I'll have to have some discussions with others at the university.

I've seen some recent articles in The Chronicle that I was saving, intending to use them as the subject of entries here, once the semester is over. They continued on the plagiarism theme that I write about occasionally. The articles suggested that up to a third of an undergraduate class may be buying term papers off the Internet. I guess submitting student papers to term paper cheating detection service could possibly be a violation of student copyright - because those services keep the papers and build their database for the future. And, they are expensive, so many colleges don't subscribe. I occasionally see pitches in some of the writing newsletters I receive, for people with masters and doctoral degrees to write term papers on academic subjects. They always make me uncomfortable, because I wonder - is this legit? Doesn't seem like it. I have almost considered protesting to the newsletter over running such ads. I didn't expect to have to deal with such an extreme and obvious case in my own class! And no service was necessary: I have all the papers from past classes to check against. The guilty parties are telling me they made a mistake; yeah, risking doing this in my class was a really big mistake...

This sort of behavior could make me give up teaching.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Tuesday Too # 12

1.) The "ideal" body image has changed over time. During the last 50 years, not only has the image changed; the image is in your face in a way it's never was before (i.e. television). I remember the skinny guy on the back of the comic books, watching forlornly as the muscle boy got the girl, who BTW was not skinny as she would be today (an advertisement for pumping iron). Is it important to you, or your partner that you resemble the current ideal image? Why or why not?

No, I find such obsessions irritating, although of course just being a member of society forces (or at least encourages) one to conform to some norms (shaving, showering, dressing, etc.) and the attention on "healthy living" that is everywhere also creates pressure to embrace a certain lifestyle (low fat, exercise, no smoking, etc.) even among those of us who shun silly, popular advertised images. But this question makes me remember about 15 years ago, when at work someone asked, "if you could be either smarter or prettier, which would you choose?" The office was on campus, and the staff was all 20-something women, mostly graduate students, as a group already bright and attractive. Everyone, and I mean everyone, said without hesitation: prettier. Why? Because all felt they were smart enough, and that becoming any smarter would be a barrier to dating, and maybe even to getting through life!

2.) The Boston Avon 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer (60 miles) starts on May 17th. My sister and her daughter are going on this trek across generations and gender; it can strike at any age, and while it is uncommon, men also can get breast cancer. Why is it important to give up your time unselfishly for others? Is there an issue or circumstance in your life/family that you would be willing to give up 3 days for? Is there an organization or community action that you are part of, or support that we should know about?

I don't know about three straight days - but history is very important to me, and so I volunteer at two museums; I was a tour guide, and now I am the gardener at Historic Cherry Hill, I am a docent at the Bishop Museum, and I serve on the boards of the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery and the Town of Olive Historical Society. I financially support many organizations; since I love animals, they are primarily those devoted to animal welfare (ie, Mohawk and Hudson Humane Society and the ASPCA), and to hunger, literacy, and historic preservation. I have done some short-term volunteer work for a few other non-profits on occasion.

3.) Are you the black sheep, or prodigal son/daughter of your family? How come?, and If not tell us who is and why?

My family is large, and very close. My immediate family lives in the same geographical area. I live about 65 miles away, and ever since I left my hometown in 1978 to attend college, I had a plan for when I would return, after my formal education was complete. It took a lot of years to get there; in 2000 I got a PhD. Being a small town, the job opportunities back home are not a perfect match for my skills or my husband's, and commuting is out of the question. But, we managed a somewhat revised version of my plan, in that we have a weekend house there, and this way I get to spend time with them, and participate in most family activities, while still maintaining a tie to the university, and to the conveniences of a weekday life nearer to a city. It has worked out perfectly. I guess in a way this is kind of like being the prodigal daughter, but everyone in my family has some special charms and thankfully, there are no outcasts.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Tired today, and facing a week of intensive student evaluation. The grades for my class are due on Friday. I try to finish up by Thursday night, so that students have a day to react before I actually get the list to the registrar. It is possible to change a grade after that, but I try to avoid extra paperwork. Up to five students per semester ask me to explain their grade - and occasionally I do make a mistake in my spreadsheet. But more often students who did very little in class and so failed or ended up with D- try to get a higher grade, and most often students who did well (B+ or A-) try to get A- or A, respectively.

The weekend was active. Lots of yardwork on Saturday, and a Mother's Day trip on Sunday to South Deerfield, MA where we met the in-laws, went to Yankee Candle and then out to dinner. On Saturday, as I was moving hosta, hosing off the resin furniture, weeding between the bricks of the walkway, and anticipating planting that 5 pound bag of green beans from Seeds of Change, I was thinking about bugs. Something I like about winter in the northeast is that in late Fall there's a frost - and bang, the bugs are gone!

Now, honey bees are always welcome. Also, I plant beneficial flowers near my vegetable garden to attract "good" predator insects that eat "bad" crop-detroying bugs, so I am not referring to being creeped out by bugs in general. What I mean is, I don't like the seasonal infestations of pests. I especially don't like the annual Spring scourge of ants that appears in the kitchen. Then, last July, pantry moths hatched out of a big bag of dog food and by October, forced me to throw away an entire pantry of food. As far as mosquitos go, don't get me started.

I won't use pesticides, an exterminator, or insect repellent. I have found some effective natural products for moth control in Gardens Alive. The ants I either ignore until they disappear, capture and release outside, or kill them manually the minute I see them - depending on my mood and philosophy that season. When I was a very little kid, on a visit to Florida, I got hung up in an anthill, and red ants swarmed on me and bit my legs. What an awful experience! The ants in my kitchen are not those red, tiny things but big, black ones.

I do confess to having a can of unscented Raid, which is reserved for the occasional wasp or yellow jacket that makes its way into the house. I am too scared and incompetent to capture and release or manually kill wasps, and I am terrified that one of the dogs will try to get them. Sophie was stung last summer, and as she is a very allergic dog, her reaction was frightening, and required an emergency call to the vet. Rudy likes to catch flies, so I'm afraid if it was in the house, he would try to get a wasp, too. I spray nothing else; not even spiders, even though in the 1980s I was deathly ill on Fourth of July holiday from being bitten by a brown recluse (fiddleback) spider (they are poisonous). But I know spiders are good bugs, and as long as they avoid me (and are not too awful looking), I do my best to avoid them.

Anyway, this year, we had a couple of weird days in April that were 95 degrees - about a million wasps hatched out. They had nests on the porch, in the awning, near many of the house windows. Although I have the wasp killer, I don't want to use it very much, so I thought, "why didn't I search for and knock down all the wasp nests I could find when it was cold outside?" An army of ants appeared at the same time. Then it dipped below freezing; it may even have snowed. The weather has returned to normal, and I don't notice the wasps. But I think the ants were impervious, because they are back.

Yesterday, after Yankee Candle, we stopped at a butterfly sanctuary called Magic Wings. There was a greenhouse-type room that you can go in, with exotic and beautiful plants, and butterflies of every description flying around. It was incredible. The place was packed. It struck me that if it was another type of insect - mosquitos or wasps or spiders or ants - how freaked out we all would be!

I received a very nice email, from John Kavanaugh, the man who manages the Port Authority's memorial website, reporting that my story about Sirius, the only dog to die in the World Trade Center (see my April 24 entry), has been posted on the website.

I have been doing a little surfing in the weblog world. I am intrigued not so much by any one particular journal but by the phenomenon itself. More on this subject in the future, but at the moment, after reading some of the weblogs of various people, I can envision the need for two journals: one an off-line bound volume, filled with scribblings about its online rival!

Friday, May 10, 2002

Lots of posting (and procrastinating) this week. This morning, even before having my cup of (microwaved) coffee (you should pause here to consider how disgusting that is, but I'm too (a) cheap and (b) lazy to not use up the leftovers from what my husband Bob brewed when he was getting ready for work -- at a very uncivilized hour), I had to clean up a lot of cat puke and dog sh--. I have two dogs and a cat -- they are the joys of my life -- but that task made the microwaved coffee with skim milk, no sugar afterwards seem gourmet. Edna and Sophie (the guilty parties) slept in, but faithful Rudy (more than likely the not guilty party), the group leader, monitored the clean-up. My sister once remarked over how good Rudy is, "all on his own," which is true, because I certainly never made a big effort in obedience.

Luckily, in the kitchen there is a big bouquet of lilacs. The 60 year old lilac bush in the yard is more beautiful than it has been in the 15 years I've lived here. You can almost drink the scent in the kitchen. I am kind of scent-sensitive, an allergy I've gradually developed over the past few years. I know lots of people think this disorder is faked or psychosomatic, and I may have too, before I developed the problem myself. I think Bob may suspect it's really an allergy to cleaning, though, because natural scents don't bother me, only chemical ones!

I received an email today, about something very upsetting. It originated from a Yahoo group called Nature Potpourri. It was based on an article in New Scientist about using genetic modification to kill off an invasive species. It is so horrible, in fact, that I offer the link without comment.

I figure if I sandwich that awful story between two marvels (lilacs and the news that follows) it can never become palatable but maybe it will be diluted a little: on Wednesday, my copy of the education resource book, Education: Reflecting Our Society? that I wrote arrived! It's not quite the equal of selling fiction or non-fiction of my own design (although it was more lucrative), but still - What a thrill!

Thursday, May 09, 2002

I just checked the status of my "rad," and it said "active." I almost had a heart attack! Yippee! It wasn't a scam. So I figure I'd better post something good. Today, I received the following Wooden Horse Publishing Alert. I'd like to just put a link to it, or copy an excerpt, but this Alert isn't appearing on their website yet and while you are encouraged to share this information, the entire newsletter must be included. So I'm sorry for the length, but here goes.

First, a very brief synopsis. Basically, it is encouraging support for the "Freelance Writers and Artists Protection Act of 2002" which is being sponsored in Congress by Rep. John Conyers, Jr (D-Michigan) and Chris Cannon (R-Utah). I wanted to get additional information, including a copy of the bill itself, so I visited the National Writers Union's site. Sure enough, there were links to all the background information I was seeking.

May 9, 2002

Meg Weaver, Editor,
Petra Lattmann, Contributing Editor
Copyright (c) 2001 Wooden Horse Publishing


Hi everybody,

You get an assignment from a magazine.

You tell other writers how much you got paid.

You've committed a crime.

I'm not kidding. It really *is* against American antitrust law for freelance writers to share information about pay.

That's why freelancers should support a bipartisan bill recently introduced in Congress by Rep. John Conyers, Jr (D-Michigan) and Chris Cannon (R-Utah) and named the "Freelance Writers and Artists Protection Act of
2002." It will grant freelance authors an exemption from anti-trust law.

The bill is a result of years of lobbying from the National Writers Union and the Graphic Artists Guild.

You can read the bill itself and Rep. Conyers' statement at the press conference introducing the bill on the NWU website at

Here are some excerpts from Rep. Conyers' statement:

"The advent of the Internet has created an entirely new market for the distribution of creative content, such as music, movies, news articles, and photographs. The desire for instant information has made it more important
than ever to get that work out to millions of people quickly and to have the rights to the distribution of articles and graphics cleared immediately."

"As we saw from last year's New York Times v. Tasini case, however, the creators of information - freelance writers, illustrators, cartoonists, graphic designers, and photographers - often have not shared in the benefits of this new market. In some cases, large media conglomerates often force creators to sign away the rights to their works through "take it or leave it" - or adhesion - contracts if they wish to have them published and distributed."

"Individual writers and artists don't stand a chance of negotiating favorable terms and fees when they must go up against media giants. And because many creators are not "employees" of the publishers, the antitrust
laws forbid them from bargaining as a unit or even sharing information about the pricing of their work. Each freelancer must, therefore, go it alone and negotiate individually with the publishers who control the media

"First, this legislation gives freelance writers and artists an antitrust exemption so they can present a united front against the big media companies who have been forcing them to sign non-negotiable contracts that surrender all their rights. In doing so, the bill makes it easier for freelancers to bargain fairly for their rights as a collective."

"In addition, because of the speed and nature of the publishing industry, these same freelance writers and artists often do not have time to have their works protected under the copyright laws before the publications they
go into are printed. As a result, the creators may not receive relief under the copyright laws if their works are stolen. The bill remedies this by automatically protecting the individual works when the publication
receives copyright protection."

"Finally, this bill addresses the problem of the theft of creative works that have not been released. There are creators who decide not to release an article, book, movie, or song, but others steal them and infringe on the
creators' rights. The criminal copyright law penalizes those who infringe works having a retail value of $1,000 or more, but works that have not been released are not protected because they have no retail value. They are,
however, valuable to their creators, and we need to close the loophole in the law that allows the theft of these unreleased or unpublished works. For that reason, the bill amends the law to say that the theft of unpublished works also can be a criminal offense."

If you like to make sure that this bill passes, take the time to either personally visit a member of Congress, write a letter and spread the word.

You can do the latter simply by forwarding this newsletter to writing friends and colleagues and posting it on writers' message boards and mailing lists. You have my permission if you send the newsletter in it entirety.


These are stories we have just posted or are working on:

WORTH has a new editor-in-chief.

The details are on the Home, Fast News, and Content Watch pages of the site

Just in:
THE NEW ENVIRONMENTALIST is a new magazine and website that takes a look at the environment, both at home and work. It features information about how to overhaul your lifestyle and make the environment better. It will include a large range of tips for reducing energy consumption and pollution and will update their readers on current environment challenges and accomplishments. The editors will try to inform about how to apply common
sense, simple technology, and good sense and science to help make our environment better, cleaner and save money. Pitch the editor/publisher, Ray Rasmussen, The New Environmentalist, 2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 510,
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762-3766, (916) 941-1133, fax: (425) 790-4423.

Great Lakes Publishing, the publishers of OHIO Magazine, are now producing the first issue of LONG WEEKENDS magazine. This new travel publication with a circulation of 250,000 in 8 states in and around the Great Lakes region, will concentrate on travel stories about destinations within a one-day drive. The stories will be about hotels, inns, B&Bs, and events in the area. CLEVELAND magazine, which is a typical up-scale city magazine features arts and entertainment, dining, travel, nightlife, homes in the area, and notable places and people. Suggestions for both publications go to the editor, Richard Osborne, who is reached at the magazine, 1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 730, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 771-2833.

PARENTS EXPECTING, the over one million controlled circulation quarterly published by G+J USA, changes course and will lower its circulation and frequency in an attempt to convert a portion of its circulation to paid
readers. Beginning with the spring issue, on newsstands April 16, the 7-year-old full-service pregnancy magazine slashes its circulation to 500,000, with 325,000 copies continuing to reach doctor's offices. For the first time, 175,000 copies will be on newsstands, and the frequency change will depend on how successful this new venture will be. Parents Expecting also had a makeover with better quality paper and a more consumer friendly editorial content. Kate Lawlor is the editor-in-chief, with Ronald Kelly managing editor. They are at 375 Lexington Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10017, (212) 499-2000.

Just so you know: We migrate all these facts into the Wooden Horse database if you need them later (



A subscription to the Wooden Horse Magazines Database - at a special price!

Tired of flowers, scarves or George Foreman grills? Want to really look forward to your Mother's Day gift?

Then give this to your loved ones and have them sign you up for 6 months for $79 or a full year for $119 of access to the magazine database writers must have to be successful today (or do it yourself!)

They, or you, don't have to drive to the mall and fight the crowds. Just click on the links below and get instant access to writer's guidelines, editorial calendars and full contact information for over 2,000 US and Canadian consumer and trade magazines.

*** And, if you have procrastinators in your family, these special subscription prices are available up to, and including, Mother's Day! ***

Here's how to order:

1) Online - just go to: for 1 year for 6 months

Just be sure to sign up on or before May 12, 2002.

2) Fax - Our 24-hour fax number is (831) 761-9085. From the purchaser, we need: Name, address, phone and e-mail (in case we have questions), credit card number and expiration date. And for the subscriber: Name, address,
e-mail, and a log-in and password (alphanumerics only, please.)

3) Mail - Our address is

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Be sure to have your letter postmarked on or before May 12, 2002.

From the purchaser, we need: Name, address, phone and e-mail (in case we have questions). You may pay by check or money order in U.S. funds to "Wooden Horse Publishing" or include your credit card number and expiration date. No COD. For the subscriber, we need: Name, address, e-mail, and a log-in and password (alphanumerics only, please.)

If you have any questions, e-mail Meg at or call her at (831) 728-0835.


BUDGET LIVING will get the Martha Stewart-treatment. The new magazine is scheduled for launch next September and the plans are to create a media empire per industry newsletter Folio: First Day with the "magazine, book, television, radio, syndicated newspaper columns and Internet properties, all focused on various components of the Budget Living theme." Targeted readers are being presented as "men and women in upper-income households who are in the midst of their peak earning and spending years" but who relish good bargains. The magazine itself will probably be on a budget, since founder Donald Welsh will be launching the 148-page, $3.95 per issue title with a modest $5 million...

CONSUMER REPORTS is recalling a glove compartment kit the magazine used as a subscription incentive. The kit contained a flashlight that can overheat and melt the case and a tire pressure gauge that gives inaccurate readings, which could lead people to improperly inflate their tires. Yes, the magazine will list the recall in their regular "recalls" section in the July issue...

ROLLING STONE has been gathering moss, but no longer. Newsstand sales down 10%, $15 million short in advertising revenue in 2001, and fellow music magazine BLENDER growing nicely. So, owner Jann Wenner fired its top editor, a long-time friend, and put Kirsten Dunst on the cover. Is he moving the music magazine into the general entertainment market?...

"Magazine advertising is looking like the second half of the year could be better," said newly minted AOL Time Warner (TIME, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, FIELD & STREAM) CEO Richard Parsons Monday at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association conference. But then he also admitted that the company had over-hyped the ad sales "synergy" between the various media divisions. The company just posted the largest loss ever for an American company...

Keep writing - and make sure Mother gets what she really wants,



Wooden Horse Publishing
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It's late at night, so I can't feel bad that I am procrastinating on other work - all I "should" be doing at the moment is sleeping! I've always done my best work when burning the midnight oil - just like my mother and my grandmother. My mother says, "it's the shank of the evening" when it is 10 p.m. But I have mostly forced myself to conform to the world's 9 to 5 schedule (and I've found in some places 8 to 4 is preferred), although I have a bad habit of being habitually late. Oh well! I can't change, or maybe I just don't feel like changing. I still try to keep up a "regular" schedule - except that I don't start my work day at 8 or 9, but the much more civilized 10-ish. So there.

Tonight I went to the YMCA to go swimming. We have a new one nearby, and it hasn't had time to get stinky yet. Among types of exercise, swimming ranks up there in being enjoyable - although my eyes are burning from the extreme amount of chlorine. And that much activity makes it harder for me to sleep. So I guess I can see what all the fanatics say about having more energy after exercise!

My class is coming to the end - it is finals week - and I am reminded of the reasons I like teaching. Several students comment to me about how they will never forget the class, or how much they learned. They thank me. Now, I know it is possible that some percentage is apple polishing - but I'm a person who likes to believe that a larger percentage is sincere. It makes it all worth it, every semester.

I am starting to get a little steamed...I read in one of the interviews on the home page that there are more than 500,000 users of Blogger - the numbers grow every day - so it seems reasonable to assume that at least a few others decided to invest in a micro-ad. As I wrote on Tuesday, I posted something in user-to-user about this, but have not received any comments from others, which considering those numbers, is strange. My order is still listed as "pending rad approval." My money was transferred on 5/2. That's an eternity in the online world! I have sent two emails asking about the status, and received no response. Now $10 isn't much, but I think it is a question of goodwill. Maybe the system isn't up and running yet or something, and that's fine. But I think some kind of communication is in order. Apart from the ad thing though, lately Blogger has been working fine - so much so, in fact, that I got the nerve to tinker a bit with the template. (More to come, although nothing major is in the works.)

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

I was reading some posts in the user-to-user discuss area of blogger (because I paypaled my ten bucks for the micro ad, but it is in "pending rad approval" never-never land, and I am wondering about others' experiences) and noticed "Tuesday Too." So, I thought, why not?

Tuesday Too # 11

1.) Over the last few months I've run across a few blogs (disappearing blogs) that state "I've stopped blogging because..." Why might you consider stopping your online journal? If nothing could stop you, and you're totally committed to blogging Why?

I have been keeping a journal online since March. I have kept a journal of some sort on and off for more than 25 years, since I was in high school. I spend a lot of time on the computer, and I believe journaling is great lubrication for a writer, as well as a helpful release for anyone. At the moment, I have no plans to stop. But sure, it's possible that I might stop - and start again - there are many gaps in my old bound, spiral-bound or typed and saved on 5.5" disk volumes. And in my experience, it would likely be suddenly, not after consideration. If I did stop, these two reasons come to mind:

1. Time. I work from home, and important deadlines take precedence.
2. The public nature of this method has both advantages and drawbacks. Sometimes I wonder about the internal censor.

I try to protect against those reasons by setting a goal of one post per week; generally, I can find the time for that. If I wind up with more entries than that, great (although usually that happens when I am procrastinating on something else, like now! Thanks, Tuesday Too.) And, I believe some level of "censor" is needed, even in the old bound volumes.

2.) You arrive at the gates of heaven, and the gatekeeper says, "there's been a mistake..." What mistake? or Who is mistaken about what?

Now, tell me again how you spell your last name? G-U-I-L... And is that J-E-N-A?

3.) There is a theory in Psychology about silencing the self. Current research looks at whether men and women differ in how much they silence themselves and at what time/stage in a relationship they do so. On Chad's site I once read a post. about how men's blogs differ from women's blogs. Do you think this is true and if so how do they differ?

The college instructor in me is saying, "Good question, but what is the citation for that psychology theory? And to which year(s) does "current" refer?"

Well, anyway - in his survey, Chad was a lot more "scientific" than I have been. I am new to keeping an online journal (for some reason I can't get my keyboard around the word "blog" yet) but from the very little I have seen, I'd guess they differ not just by gender, but by age, geography, occupation, purpose, whether group or solitary, etc....and also they have some striking similarities. Just like the people who write them.

Monday, May 06, 2002

I prefer to "edit" and republish posts I make on the same day rather than create a new one, but since the last several posts have stopped appearing in edit mode, I have no choice. Anyway, I was just reading an article about distance learning in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It details how many "popular" professors don't mind integrating technology into the classroom, but shun completely online courses.

I am now teaching my sixth online course, and I have no idea if I am "popular," but my class does close quickly, and every semester many students want to get in on overflow. My summer class is closed already and it doesn't start until the end of June. While I am sympathetic to the idea that the lack of face-to-face contact impacts learning in many ways, some of them negative, online delivery also has positive impacts. One obvious advantage is the flexibility in scheduling, catering to both larks and owls. Another is the self-directed nature of the experience. Finally, the discussion is enriched because it empowers timid, formerly silent students to participate. While it is true that not all of the posting is at a high enough level, the majority of students do make a serious effort.

Weekends are great but it's hard to get back into heavy duty work on Monday.

I went to a garden center on Saturday to get my mother a Mother's Day plant. Oh, it was wonderful. I walked around, admiring the hanging baskets, flats of annuals and patio tomatoes, intoxicated by the beauty. I love gardening. I'm never happier than outside on a clear, crisp, late Spring day, digging. I even like weeding! My seeds are here, this year one thing I bought was 5 pounds of green bean seed. No wimpy little packets here!

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Blogging seems to be working fine for the past few days; I am not automatically logged in, I can post, and the webpage view is fine, but in edit mode, the last couple posts don't appear! Strange. Anyway, I decided to invest $10 in a little ad on the Blogger home page. A big step - and probably one I wouldn't have taken if it wasn't so reasonably priced. I am not sure what, if anything, to expect.

One of the downsides of working at home is cropping up for me today; the house is pretty messy, and a woman from a floorcovering place is coming this evening to measure the kitchen for new linoleum. I'm not a person who freaks if things aren't immaculate, but I do have some pride. I also have several deadlines - not tomorrow or this week, but big ones, looming there, ominously promising future all-nighters in mid-May if I make the wrong decision now. A little pixie is sitting on my shoulder, saying "you better go downstairs and clean," and on the other shoulder, another little pixie says, "you better stay in this office and keep working." If I was back doing 9-5 in a flashcube, the cleaning would just have to keep...

...While I did someone else's work. So the writing (and teaching) would just have to keep, too.
So the upsides are worth it.