Short Takes: News From All Over: November 4, 2004

Eminem’s Anti-Bush Video
Grammy Award winning rapper Eminem departed from his usual violence-and-misogyny shtick to evoke hip hop’s true roots: social activism. His new video ‘Mosh’ was designed as an angry appeal to African-Americans, women, soldiers, and his fans to vote Bush out of office. It failed to swing the election, but the video, directed Ian Inaba of the Guerrilla News Network, is visually stunning and as radical as anything you’ve ever seen on MTV. — Harry Sheff

Inventor Rejoices as TVs Go Dark
By Steven Bodzin, Wired
Annoyed by that new Eminem video the kids are watching? TV-Be-Gone is a key chain remote that can shut off any television. Inventor and 3ware founder Mitch Altman created the device for restaurants, airports, and other public places where TVs distract us from talking to each other. — Harry Sheff,1284,65392,00.html

Crack Babies Talk Back
By Mariah Blake, Columbia Journalism Review
The most galvanizing symbols of the 1980s crack ‘epidemic,’ and the media-fueled drug war that followed, were the so-called ‘crack babies.’ Born to careless mothers, supposedly doomed to a fate of mental retardation and social isolation, these children were whisked away to foster homes; even though the scientific study that initially caused all the furor simply recommended ‘further research.’ (In fact, a child born to a crack-cocaine addict is less at risk for birth defects than a baby whose mother drank heavily during pregnancy). The press published nearly 1,000 stories about crack between 1984 and 1987 and, as a result, many of these children were scorned and ostracized, raised to believe they would be forever ‘damaged.’ Now many are speaking out. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

Bad Air Days
By Grant Davis, Outside Away
Now that half the nation’s populace lives in cities with unhealthy levels of smog, even a walk in the park is anything but. According to Outside Away, people who regularly workout in polluted urban areas are at a higher risk of developing lung damage than the average city dweller. To avoid breathing in too much bad air, the author suggests working out before the smoggy morning commute, avoiding high traffic areas, exercising with the wind (it blows away pollutants), and exercising at slower pace, so you’re not gulping for breath. Of course, if worse comes to worse, you could always turn on the TV and get out the ol’ treadmill. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

The Egg Cream Racket
By Andrew Coe, Gastronomica
It’s one of those fixtures in America’s collective memory that, like the squeal of trolley wheels on a Brooklyn street or a romantic encounter under the docks at Coney Island, evokes visions of the good ol’ days: At the end of long, hard day an upstanding citizen could always find their way to a soda fountain and seek solace in an egg cream. But like all things nostalgic, the egg creams of yesteryear had neither eggs nor cream, but were made a mixture of milk, seltzer, and syrup. Oh sure, the well-heeled had their ‘creamed eggs’ — blended from raw egg, ice cream, and syrup — but working class Jews in early 20th century New York City couldn’t afford such luxuries, so someone thought up a substitute that, in time, became even more popular than the real thing. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

Dream Jobs
By Eric Messinger, Men’s Journal
Most of us, at one time or another, have met someone who lives life on their own terms: the floatplane pilot in the Florida Everglades; the hiking instructor in Colorado; or that person in a seemingly unimpressive line of work who always appears supremely, enviably content. They remind us that sometimes there are more important things to consider than money when choosing a profession. Men’s Journal has profiled a number of people who have followed their gut instead of their pocketbook: a sports fan who became a stadium-architect, an English major with a love of beer who started his own brewery; and a whole slew of outdoorsy types-cum-tour guides. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

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