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What Is Early Word?
The Philadelphia Inquirer's experimental online "morning show", which began in Sept. 2005, went on hiatus in the summer of 2006, after a gradual shift to putting more of its content directly on

About the Host
Peter Mucha, husband and father of two, grew up in Cherry Hill and is a lifelong Philly sports fan. He's been writing and editing for The Inquirer for 18 years. His motto (at least for today): "If I'm not brief, give me grief."

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The Inquirer's ever-evolving way to start your day. Email. Phone: 215-854-2388.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Talk About It, Talk About It ...
Yikes, Mice With Plague!
Yes, it's another sign the world's nearing the end. A North Jersey bioterrorism lab lost track of three mice (three blind mice?) a few weeks ago. Workers thought they might have escaped. (See how they run?) Omijupiter! They could easily have hitchhiked to Philadelphia by now! Relax. On three counts. First, the FBI investigated and concluded the mice were probably eaten by other lab animals. Whew. That's a relief. As long as those plague-infested-mouse-infested ferrets or pythons or sharks or whatever such contaminated predators they have there don't escape. Second: Plague's tough to catch. Fleas would have to bite the mice and then bite people. "The odds of that occurring are ridiculous," an official said. Third: What are the chances a mouse would chose a long trip down the turnpike when it could head for Broadway or Great Adventure? See properly serious news story.

As Good As Britney's Baby
The pop star named her new son Sean. But enough about them. Since all babies are special, yesterday "Early Word" put out an invite: Let us post your baby's picture instead.

We showed one cutie yesterday. Here are 3 more (from left): Philly's Sabrina Paxton, born May 2; Philly's James Patrick Baker, b. May 10; Drexel Hill's Brendan Grose, b. May 1, '04. Email yours.

Did Katrina damage
'Survivor' too?

After 9/11, films about terrorism got pulled from the schedule. (Can't imagine the new arms-dealer spoof Lord of War running then.) Last night, the new Survivor began, and while it was nice to see Philly's own Stephenie LaGrossa (left) make a surprise reappearance on the show, you can't help feeling that the idea of surviving seems a whole lot more serious after the Gulf Coast disaster. Next week brings Tim Burton's highly hyped Corpse Bride. The animated flick, with Johnny Depp's voice, looks amusingly morbid, but is a Halloween mindset appealing when media images of neglected bodies still float in the mind? What do you think?

Come again?
Last night, I heard a TV news guy call Ophelia "unpredictable." Say what? The tropical storm/hurricane has barely moved for a week. It'll keep ruining vacations in the Outer Banks today, then pick up a little speed tomorrow as it heads northeast out to sea, forecasters say.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Talk About It, Talk About It ...
Phils Need a Nickname
The '50 team was the Whiz Kids. The'93 squad was dubbed the Wheeze Kids. Take my poll offering a few choices for this team. Like, the Quiz Kids, because this season is a test. And the Cheez Whiz Kids, because they might melt in the heat of the wild-card race. But they won yet again last night. Pictured: Ramon Martinez getting congratulated after his grand slam. Story.

Kid Wouldn't Skip School
for Hollywood Premiere of Her Movie?
An 8-year-old Haddonfielder named Tomorrow Baldwin-Montgomery plays Samuel L. Jackson's daughter in the new big-screen comedy The Man. She could have flown to Hollywood for the premiere, "but she refused to miss the first day of third grade at Tatem Elementary," writes Michael Klein in his Inqlings column. That's her, at left, arriving with pals for their own premiere at Loews Cherry Hill last weekend. Ask about her, or Big Daddy Graham's health scare, or other people Mike has written about, when he hosts a Live Chat at noon. Click here to go to the chat room.

Also chatting today: sport writer Jeff McLane at 11, and fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 2. She has a story in today's Inquirer and online only you'll find her blog and a package of Fashion Week photos.

Does Britney's Baby Deserve Fame
More Than Yours? Send Us Pics!
The Mouseketeer-turned-megastar turned Mom last night, giving birth to a baby boy. Word is he'll be named Preston -- different but not "look at me" creative like Apple or Moon Unit. Still, what's he done to deserve more fame than local newbies? Nothing! So we want baby pictures. Have a digital image of a baby just born in your family? Email it to Early Word, along with name, date of birth, parents' names, and town. We'll post some. More on Britney in Newsmakers.

Here's our first: Meet Ileana Patricia Kline, born Dec. 9 to Andrea Delrio-Kline and Craig Kline of Philadelphia

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Talk About It, Talk About It ...
Special Report: Years of Church Silence About Clergy Abuse
An Inquirer investigation looks back at how the Philadelphia Archdiocese dealt with allegations of sexual abuse by priests. Reporters found that in at least four instances, "church leaders quietly reassigned accused child abusers, who went on to victimize again -- a pattern repeated in parishes all over the country. ... The years of silence gave a free rein to the predators, leaving almost all untouchable by police or civil courts." The archdiocese has since cracked down on abuse, but a grand jury may soon issue an "exhaustive report on the scandal." Read the article, and a related story about an ex-nun turned convicted sex offender.

Milking Taxpayers
Is Like Milking Cows?

Legislators deserve their recent big pay hikes. After all, "the people who are milking cows in Lancaster County are making $50,000 to $55,000 a year." Such thinking by Philadelphia Rebublican John Perzel has triggered angry -- and humorous -- responses from workers, farmers and others. "In ag, you can't afford to pay that kind of money," countered one official. House Speaker Perzel makes $145,553 a year. Read the story. Weigh in by clicking "comments."

Maximum Heartbreak Theory of Philly Sports
Of course, the Phils are winning again. The Fates decree it. As callous as Dr. House (love that Fox show), they declare: Keep hope alive as long as possible -- then crush it. Examples are too familiar here in Phutilyville. Eagles finally get to the Super Bowl and lose at the very end. Flyers make a run in '04 and lose by a whisker to the eventual champs. Smarty Jones loses the Triple Crown in the stretch. St. Joe's fails near the buzzer. Bet you can name another dozen examples. (Mitch Williams! 1964!) Watch. The Phils will make a run ... and just fall short. Then we'll play wudda-cudda-shudda and say things like, "What if Jimmy Rollins hadn't missed first base?" Ah, it wasn't his fault. It's destiny's? Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Calling all Tuesday morning quarterbacks
You could say Atlanta just outplayed the Eagles last night. Or pick a reason the Birds came up short. Jeremiah Trotter got ejected in pregame warmups. Still, the defense only gave up 14 points. So look at the offense. Donovan McNabb was erratic, likely impaired after a helmet hit in the sternum caused him to walk off the field in pain (pictured at left). David Akers missed field goals. And the running game was weak. So what's your assessment? Did the Eagles need more talent to make up for the losses of players like Todd Pinkston, Derek Burgess, Corey Simon and Chad Lewis? The Inquirer's Phil Sheridan thinks training camp turmoil played a role. Read his column. At 11 a.m., visit our chat room and talk with Sports Editor Jim Jenks about the game and more. Also, to see a selection of great photos from last night's game, view Part 1 or Part 2.

Nothing Desperate About These Women
Prison-hardened? Embittered by tacky ankle bracelets and house arrest? Not Martha Stewart, who has rebounded with a new smiley image, tossing off quips between expressions of caring during her new daytime TV show. (Noon, WCAU-TV/Ch. 10.) You buyin' it? You care? Read Beth Gillin's colorful story. It also quotes Stewart's first guest, Marcia Cross, saying her Desperate Housewives character was based on the diva of domesticity/insider trader.

Fuelish Idea?
Sure, the U.S. has to get off its gasoline addiction. But is sticker shock part of the solution? While pumping gas columnist John Grogan got an idea. The government should sock it to buyers of gas guzzlers: "A behemoth rated at 14 m.p.h. would pay a stiff $8,000 fee, maybe more," he writes. Read his column. Was he sniffing fumes? Or are you fuming, too, about our energy future?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Who's worried about the Eagles?
Fans' worst fears weren't realized. Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook are playing, even though Corey Simon was bid farewell. So the Birds should be fine, right? We'll find out tonight in a tough test against the Falcons in Atlanta. What do you think? At 9 this morning, one of our new Live Chats featured sports writer Marc Narducci. Read the transcript.

Want a machine
to know your size?

One major hassle of shopping is finding clothes that fit. One reason: Sizes vary so much. A Horsham firm's solution? Booths are use software to scan your bod and tell you what your size is in various brands. Read Wendy Tanaka's report, and tell us if you like the idea. For another take on fashion, visit Elizabeth Wellington's blog about the New York shows.

Fishy Poll
Pa. State Sen. Vince Fumo may have looked like an angel at a July event, but an Inquirer editorial has questions for you about his activities. Example: "A nonprofit backed by Fumo ... was reimbursed $215,161 last year by Fumo's political action committee for at least two polls. By law, a nonprofit cannot engage in political activity. Does this reimbursement smell very fishy, somewhat fishy, mildly fishy, or does it just smell like Philadelphia?"

Great Guides
Besides the Eagles football guide, Sunday's Inquirer had a whole handy section devoted to previewing the area's fall entertainment. Inquirer critics point to 118 promising possibilities. Although you might to snag a copy, you can also check it out online.

Go to: Early Word = Philadelphia Inquirer = = Lighter Side

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