News items of interest

From an Article on useless info at websites:

McGovern says that something like 70 per cent of most websites goes unread. Despite that, when putting content on the web, "rarely do we ask the question: is anybody interested in reading that?"

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My Turn: The Last Generation To Live on the Edge

By Robb Moretti


My parents are part of what has been labeled the Greatest generation. I hail from a great generation as well. That's because my peers and I, the oft-maligned baby boomers, came before seat belts, bike helmets and all things plastic protected children from the hazards of everyday life. We were the last Americans to grow up without a childproof safety net.

I KNOW THAT many of today's protective gadgets prevent kids from getting seriously injured. Looking back, I sometimes wonder how my friends and I survived childhood at all. But I believe that we experienced a kind of freedom that children who came after us have not.

I was born in November 1954 and whisked from the hospital during a violent California rainstorm, not in a car seat but in my mother's arms. Since our car didn't have seat belts, we drove commando. As a baby, I was tucked into my crib without a padded bumper guard or a machine that soothed me to sleep with amplified sounds of the ocean. Baby pictures show me smiling while I stuck my big head through the wooden bars. At night my mother swaddled me in warm pajamas-the non-flame-retardant kind.

Once I could walk, I was free to roam around the house under the watchful eye of my parents. Unfortunately, their diligence couldn't prevent every mishap. My mom still tells the story of how I learned not to play with electricity by sticking my toy into an open light socket.

When my parents needed peace and quiet, they didn't put me in front of the television to watch a "Baby Einstein" video; they plopped me in a chair to watch my mom do housework or cook.

My dad drove a monstrous Chrysler that had a rear window ledge large enough to provide a comfortable sleeping area during long drives. As va 5-year-old, I loved lying on that ledge, staring at the sky or the stars while we roared down the new California freeways. I was a projectile object waiting to happen! Riding in the front didn't improve my odds much: whenever the car came to an abrupt stop, my mother or father would fling an arm across my chest to keep me from going airborne.

During my grade-school years, my mother would often leave my younger sister and me in the car, keys in the ignition and doors unlocked, while she went shopping. When we got home I would run out to join my friends, with the only rule being to get home by dark. My parents weren't terrified if I was out of their sight. In fact, they enjoyed the silence.

Playing at the park was a high-risk adventure for my friends and me. The jungle gym was a heavy gray apparatus with metal bars, screws and hooks. On a hot day the metallic surface of the sliding board would burn our behinds. A great afternoon at the park usually meant coming home with blisters on our hands, a bump or two on the melon and the obligatory skinned knee.

I rode my red Schwinn Stingray without wearing a bike helmet; my Davy Crockett cap protected me from serious head injury. Although I did not have the benefit of a crossing guard at the blind intersection I had to traverse to get to school, I was sure the snapping sound made by the baseball cards stuck in my spokes alerted the oncoming traffic to my presence.

Every school day my mother packed my Jetsons lunchbox with a tuna-fish sandwich, which we found out later often contained high levels of mercury and a dolphin or two. Also stuffed in my lunchbox was a pint of whole chocolate milk and a package of Hostess Twinkies or cupcakes. Despite our high-fat, high-sugar diets, my friends and I were not out of shape. Maybe that was because we worked so hard in phys-ed class every day. Occasionally our teacher pushed us so far that some poor kid would throw up his lunch.

In the afternoons we all played in a school-sponsored baseball league. We didn't wear plastic batting helmets or cups, and we hit pitched balls instead of hitting off a plastic tee. Worst of all, we received trophies or medals only if our team won the championship.

Last February, Americans were captivated by the skeleton event at the 2002 Winter Olympics. But 35 years earlier, my junior-high friends and I had invented our own version of the sport. We'd roar down steep Bay Area streets on a flexible sled with wheels instead of runners. Like the Olympians, we held our chins just inches above the ground. You don't see kids today with two false front teeth nearly as often as you did in 1967.

We baby boomers may not have weathered the Depression or stormed the beaches at Normandy. But we were the last generation to live on the edge and, I believe, to have fun!

Teen's dying wish for Cameron Diaz blow job not granted

PHILADELPHIA, Monday: The parents of 15-year-old leukaemia patient Josh Morten, who last night passed away after a four year battle with the illness, said they were sorry not to have fulfilled his dying wish to get a blow job from Cameron Diaz.

The courageous teenager told his family two months ago that the one thing he'd really like before he died was to be sucked off by the successful Hollywood actress and former model.

"Josh never asked for much," his father confided. "He never complained about his illness, or made unrealistic demands. So when he requested fellatio from the star of Charlie's Angels and Thereís Something About Mary we thought, sure, thatís the least we can do for him."

But attempts to grant Josh his dying wish proved much more difficult than the family had initially thought. Formal requests inviting the star to perform oral sex on their dying son were repeatedly declined. "We wrote, we rang, we faxed," Mr Morten explained. "And every time it was the same answer: 'Sorry, Ms Diaz is currently unable to comply with your request.' I mean, how unsympathetic can you get? We're talking about a dying kid here! Would it kill her?"

Mr Morten even made a special trip to Los Angeles, to try to talk to the movie star personally outside the premiere of Gangs of New York. "The crowds were ten deep," he said, "and I'm there yelling out to her from the back: 'Will you go down on my son please!', but she didnít want to know."

With hopes diminishing by the day, Mr Morten placed similar standby requests with the agents representing Catherine Zeta Jones, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek, but in each case the stars refused to co-operate.

"Who do they think they are, these women!" railed Mr Morten. "They earn millions of dollars and swan about at fancy parties, but when they get a simple request to bring a smile to a young boy far less fortunate than them, they turn their back on you. What kind of world do we live in when a dying teenager can no longer get his cock sucked by a celebrity?"