For teenagers, who have ready access to technology and are growing up in a culture that celebrates body flaunting, sexting is laughably easy, unremarkable and even compelling: the primary reason teenagers sext is to look cool and sexy to someone they find attractive. Indeed, the photos can confer cachet.
“Having a naked picture of your significant other on your cellphone is an advertisement that you’re sexually active to a degree that gives you status,” said Rick Peters, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for Thurston County, which includes Lacey. “It’s an electronic hickey.”
On this day in 1858, Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia patented the first pencil to have an attached eraser.
The eraser-tipped pencil is still something of an American phenomenon; most European pencils are still eraserless.
The humble pencil has a long and storied history, going back to the Roman stylus, which was sometimes made of lead, and why we still call the business end of the pencil the “lead,” even though it’s been made of nontoxic graphite since 1564.
Pencils were first mass-produced in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1662, and the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century really allowed the manufacture to flourish.
Before he became known for Walden and “Civil Disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau and his father were famous for manufacturing the hardest, blackest pencils in the United States. Edison was fond of short pencils that fit neatly into a vest pocket, readily accessible for the jotting down of ideas.
John Steinbeck loved the pencil and started every day with 24 freshly sharpened ones.
Our common pencils are hexagonal to keep them from rolling off the table, and they’re yellow because the best graphite came from China, and yellow is traditionally associated with Chinese royalty.
Beachgoers can build sand castles along one New Jersey beach without fear of prosecution.
Belmar has overturned an ordinance that required people to get written permission from the town council if they planned to construct something out of the sand. The ordinance was on the books even though…
(The Sportswriter, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land)
"I wanted to write this novel in the first person, and in the present tense. The novel gets to say we’re present tense here, and yet we can read the present over and over again. Which is quite a nice thing to do, we’d all be better off if we could not stop time but slow it down a little bit, and live the pleasant things more pleasantly and live the incautious things more cautiously."
Today is poet Billy Collins’ birthday. He turns 70 and perhaps his own poem (“Forgetfulness”) has even more meaning now…
The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones…
Did you know that the United States is the only country in the industrialized world that doesn’t guarantee paid time off for vacation, illness, or personal emergencies?
We leave it up to the employer, and the result is that one in four Americans does not enjoy the benefit of a single paid day off from their job. For those of us lucky enough to work for a company that provides paid vacation time, the average is only nine days a year, less than half of any country in Europe. In fact, the European Union requires that countries offer a minimum of four weeks paid leave in order to qualify for membership. And we’re co-conspirators with our employers…