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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, October 28, 2005

That's Happening Here?
5 Stories Fast
Commuters advised to plan for a Monday SEPTA strike. The city will make 2,200 more parking spaces available. Using trains, carpools, even bikes suggested. More. ... Financially, July's Elton John concert fell far short of organizers' hopes. Records show they would have lost money, if not for the city and a nonprofit forgiving huge loans. More. ... Inquirer writer Fawn Vrazo tells of taking Herceptin, a "revolutionary" breast cancer drug. It reduces recurrence rates, but she worries about side-effects and whether she started taking it too late. More. ... A little-known Philly company devises flavors, from the familiar to the exotic. "Does the thought of apple chervil gelato, peppermint hummus, and a cup of hot vanilla set your mouth watering?" asks a business story about the creations of David Michael & Co., which boasts $50 million to $100 million in yearly sales. ... A suburban church's Tiffany stained-glass windows, worth $1 million, could go on an exhibition tour. They were packed in crates, forgotten for years, inside a Chester County barn, until a message came from above: You gotta get this leaky roof fixed. More.

A gas pump resembles a holdup weapon.

Talk About It ...
A Handful of Hot Topics
1. Exxon Mobil siphoned record profits from record gas prices. Story. Gonna send them your congratulations?
2. T.O.'s solution for Eagles: Throw to him more. And give the ball more to Brian Westbrook. Read story. Is this insight or greed?
3. Bush is not really one of us, conservatives say. Read op-ed piece. You agree?
4. New flick "Shopgirl" has Steve Martin, 60, and Claire Danes, 26, in what Stephen Rea calls "a quiet, glistening love story -- or not-quite-love story." Read review. Because of this age chasm, you not-quite interested?
5. Frank Fitzpatrick quips Phils should ask NASCAR vet Darrell Waltrip to be GM because the organization "is used to going round and round in meaningless circles." Read more facetious choices in "Morning Bytes" column. Phils' GM search making you laugh?

Blame Halloween for Overlooked Suicide?
According to the Associated Press, passersby in Frederica. Del., thought a woman's body hanging by a rope from a tree was actually a Halloween decoration. Instead the result of an apparent suicide, her lifeless form was suspended 15 feet above the ground across from homes on a moderately busy street. People noticed the body at breakfast time Wednesday but dismissed it as a holiday prank, state police said. Authorities weren't alerted for several hours.

Let's not send any recruiters there for the Department of Homeland Security. (Folks there aren't exactly swift at spotting suspicious activity.)

Think you would have driven by, too?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Talk About It ...
Philly Guy's More Interesting Than Martha
Here's how a reality show should advertise for contestants: "Wanted: Brash, conniving backstabber, eager to misbehave for camera time." Well, Martha Stewart's Apprentice has one, and should we be surprised he's a Philly guy? Tall, dark and loathsome, Jim Bozzini, 36, grins into the lens each week, and brags about fooling other contestants and bending them to his diabolical will.

Last night, after an aside about being "invincible," he got to be project leader, and went to a bar with his team, putting his feet on the table and talking about beer bongs, Cuervos, getting drunk and having sex. Somehow his team still won.

Last week, says NBC's Web site, he almost got kicked off for profanely pitching salad dressing in a store, saying it was good for foot massages. But he's also shown a tender side, beaming on an earlier show, when finding out his wife had given birth to another daughter.

Frankly, the show's not great. Stopped watching after two weeks, because fussy tasks about flowers and weddings make me queasy. But at least this guy has a pulse. Which isn't always evident with ever-professional Martha.

Bozzini went to Temple's Tyler School of Art, has a marketing business in the city, lives in Gilbertsville, and names Texas Chainsaw Massacre as one of his favorite movies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Talk About It, Talk About It ...
Case of Legislative Malpractice?
Partly it's the hefty amount: almost $11,000 on average. And partly it's the beneficiaries: Doctors, who you'd hope can make a decent living. Something sure seems out of whack when a state's solution to staggering malpractice premiums is to fork over bushels of bucks. How can a kind of welfare for the wealthy be an acceptable solution? Yet this is New Jersey's way to deter neurosurgeons, obstetricians and radiologists from leaving or quitting. Read article.

Has to be a better way. Limit lawsuits? Regulate insurers? Weed out the worst doctors? Create some kind of opt-in "I won't sue for too much" system tied to lower health care premiums? Just let market forces rule?

What do you think? Post your comments here. (Click "other" instead of "blogger" so you won't be asked for a password.) Or speak your mind by calling 215-854-2388, so your words can be heard here later.

That's Happening Here?
5 Stories Fast
Legislators grouse about Groucho the parrot. Some feathers were ruffled when, as a nod to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pa. Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll introduced the bird, who did a medly of "Camptown Races," "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" and "Alouette." More on the flap. ... No Halloween for N.J. sex offenders. New edict says they have to stay in and can't welcome trick-or-treaters. More. ... A Darwin descendant is covering the intelligent design trial in Harrisburg. Great-great-grandson Matthew Chapman, a Hollywood screenwriter, is writing for Harper's magazine. "I'm appalled by the lack of respect for the evidence," he said. "Darwin spent 23 years compiling evidence." More. ... Starting Jan. 3, rocker David Lee Roth (right) will replace Howard Stern mornings on WYSP-FM and in other cities. Slated for middays: Paul Barsky, Vinnie the Crumb and Kim Douglas. More. ... Condo conversions in the city boosting hotel occupancy rates and prices by cutting the supply of rooms. More.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

That's Happening Here?
5 Stories Fast
The next Federal Reserve chairman is likely to be a man with Princeton area roots. Yesterday, President Bush announced his nominee: the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, Ben Bernanke, who was a Princeton professor and a school board member. More. ... So far, a Philly-based FBI unit has helped recover $150 million in stolen art and historic documents. The list of successes includes a Rembrandt self-portrait worth $30 million, an original Bill of Rights, and $50 million worth of paintings stolen from Spain, and five Norman Rockwells. More. ... A grant will expand how many city detectives check out stolen-gun reports. Only one detective does so now. The problem is that the claims are too often bogus: The weapon was knowingly passed on to a criminal. More. ... With natural gas prices so high, the time has come for landfill gas. At least in Chester County. Its Solid Waste Authority has started producing and piping the stuff. More. ... In Queen Village, putting out your trash gets you treated like a bad neighbor. That is, if you put it out too early. Fabric Row merchants are upset about getting ticketed for putting their refuse out before 8 p.m. Officials say the crackdown's citywide. More.

Talk About It, Talk About It ...
A Symbol of Courage & Progress
Many Americans, of course, are still victimized by prejudice. The country can do better, much better. But the death of Rosa Parks, who died yesterday at 92, is also a reminder of how much worse things were. Only 50 years ago, her refusal to relinquish a seat on a bus to a white person became a historic act of defiance, helping trigger the civil rights movement in the South. Read story.

How satisfied are you with the country today? Post a comment here. Or call 215-854-2388 and leave a message for others to listen to later.

Have You Seen a More Ridiculous Ad?
I'm cool with seeing cars climb mesas or go on safari. But did you see the commercial where an SUV drives out of the sea? Fine. Let's totally forsake reality. Let's get in the old guzzler, fly into space, ride on Saturn's rings, and soak up some rays on the surface of the sun. Oh, first gotta pick up some hot Venusian babes with coolers of beer. What ad makes you roll your eyes?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Breaking News
Girl Bitten by Copperhead Is Fine
A 14-year-old student at St. Pius X High School is no danger of losing her arm, Early Word just learned. The Rev. Joseph Bongard, the principal, called to say the girl was actually released to her parents on Saturday morning. Unaware of this fact, TV, radio and newspaper reports today expressed concern about her condition. The girl, whose identity is not being released, was bitten Friday by a venomous copperhead brought to school by another student. The school and Lower Pottsgrove police are still investigating, so it's premature to talk of any actions that might be taken, Bongard said. He's hopeful she'll be back in school in the next day or two. Read more about the incident.

Talk About It, Talk About It ...
What Were Best Eagles Comebacks Ever?
Sunday's lucky-bounce victory was one of the biggest jeers-to-cheers turnarounds in Philly football history. It ranks right up there with:
(1) Fourth & 26. On Jan. 11, 2004, with just 1 minute 12 seconds left, Freddie Mitchell (right) stopped a Donovan McNabb bullet to keep a drive alive and let David Akers kick a game-tying field goal, setting up overtime. This ought to be No. 1, since it came in a 20-17 playoff win over Green Bay.
(2) The Miracle of the Meadowlands. On Nov. 19, 1978, all Giants QB Joe Pisarcik had to do was kneel to win the game. But a handoff came loose, and Herman Edwards, who now coaches the Jets at the Meadowlands, scampered for an unforgettable victory.
(3) Cunningham's comeback over the Redskins. On Sept. 17, 1989, the Eagles, once trailing by by 20 points, still faced a 9-point deficit with 3 minutes 6 seconds left. Two TD tosses later by Randall Cunningham, the Eagles had won, 42-37.
(4) Brian Westbrook's punt return. Another Giants game. Just over a minute left. Oct. 19, 2003. The Birds back takes a punt 84 yards for a 14-10 victory.

What other games belong on this list?

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