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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, March 03, 2006

Muti, in New York, Reflects on Career 

Carnegie Hall's a familiar place to Riccardo Muti because he conducted while leading the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1980 to 1992, he says in a New York Times profile today. The maestro, who'll conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in three concerts there this weekend, was reluctant to comment on his departure last year from La Scala in Milan, saying, "Maybe someday I will speak about it, but it's really complicated even for me to try to put together all the pieces that have created a situation that in the end has made me free but has also made many people sad. Nobody can really understand all the elements of the story. I think we need time." A return visit to Philadelphia is also on his 2006 schedule, with concerts at Verizon Hall Nov. 2-4 and Nov. 7.

To Do List 

New on stage: After a couple of nights of previews, Broadway dynasty Les Miserables opens tonight -- and reopens the long-dark Forrest Theatre. Read glowing review.
New on screen: 16 Blocks, Street Fight, Aquamarine, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Ballets Russes, Ultraviolet. Movies page.
Flower Show, concerts, other events: See Weekend section.
TV debut: Conviction, 10 p.m., NBC. Read review.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sports Update
NFL owners reverse course, extend free-agent deadline. Finding procrastination preferable to "Bloody Thursday," with teams hacking stars from their payrolls, the NFL now has all weekend to do a deal with the union or enforce a $95 million salary cap. The conventional wisdom is that, short-term, an impasse is best for the Eagles, who will have about $20 million in cap space after they jettison Terrell Owens. Of course, if the cap is raised, chances of a T.O. trade greatly improve, because more teams could afford to pick up his contract.
Swedish hockey team could have its gold medal rescinded?? Flyers' Forsberg would not be happy.
Philly-grown Rasheed Wallace is T-ed off. He even got a technical for protecting a ref, he says.
Phillies vs. Yankees exhibition, 1:15 p.m. Also today: Bell sees specialist, club re-signs Utley, Howard. Kalas not worried.
Flyers host N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m., Wachovia Center, CSN, WIP. Loss to N.J. last night. Niitymaki on Olympics.

Philly Gets Its First New $10 Bill This Morning
It was used by Federal Reserve official Milissa Tadeo (above) about 11 a.m. to buy a ticket at the National Constitution Center. Visitors got to see some of the new bills, and hear her and Secret Service members talks about the bill's new features to thwart counterfeiters. "No, no samples," said a spokeswoman for the Fed over the phone. "That's the most frequently asked question, by the way." Earlier today, the National Archives in Washington became the site where the first new sawbuck was put into circulation, at a gift shop ceremony. The Fed is distributing the bills to area banks, beginning today, and customers could start seeing them next week. New on the notes: shades of orange, yellow and red in the background ... the phrase "We the People" from the Constitution (why the archives and our center were selected) ... a Statue of Liberty torch ... a color-changing "10" in the front lower right corner ... a faint off-set image of Alexander Hamilton ... a security thread that reads "U-S-A Ten" when held to the light. Next up to be changed: the $100 bill. No changes in the works for 1's and 5's. And don't worry: Old 10's are still good. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Philadelphia Inquirer photo by Peter Tobia.

Fresh Worries for President Bush
U.S. diplomat killed in Pakistan. Bush planned to visit Pakistan on his Asian trip. More news from trip: Bush announces nuke pact with India. Meanwhile, here in U.S., political fallout has begun over new Katrina video showing Bush being warned.

Perfect 2400 on SATs!
"Good, now I don't have to take it again," says Alex Rosen of Lehigh County.

Legal Briefing
Killer nurse will be sentenced today. No apology, explanations expected.
Jury deliberates fate of animal activists.
How 2d-grader got cocaine still being investigated. Episode too familiar.
Cause of arrested Chesco man's death may be announced.

And the Oscars for Expletives Goes to ...
One best-picture nominee has 182 curse words, including 99 F-bombs. Funny, I guessed wrong ... and I saw this movie. See also: Blogging the Oscars.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What Kids Learn About in School These Days
Crack cocaine.
Even a kindergartner can to drive a school bus home.
Chewing gum will stick to a $1.5 million painting. (Here's a picture, pre-gum, of Helen Frankenthaler's The Bay.)

What Kids Also Learn in School These Days
Starting today, U.S. students 13 and under can enter UNICEF's holiday greeting card contest. This year's theme is "Holiday Happiness." For rules and forms, visit UNICEF/Pier 1 site. Pictured above are last year's 2 winners. Below is simply a fun, Dr. Seuss-inspired Action News van, created by Barkley Elementary students in Phoenixville. See story and video.

'You Be the GM'
More fan ideas for Eagles moves. Also read why Birds could benefit from breakdown in labor talks ... and why the Eagles better act fast.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jodie Foster to Address Skeptical Penn Grads
She's an Oscar winner and a Yale grad -- "an artist with a vision who has always used her art to explore weighty social themes," said Penn President Amy Gutmann. But the choice of Jodie Foster as commencement speaker has also provoked some second-guessing, according to an article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn's student newspaper. Senior class president Pierre Gooding expressed being "disappointed with the selection in terms of the excellence of past speakers and the magnitude of the 250th Commencement." "It would've been nice to have an alumni speak" for the occasion, Wharton senior Naomi Adaniya said. "She wouldn't be near the top 100 of the people I would have on my list," senior Samantha Berman also told the paper. Last year, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was also a controversial choice, because of the Iraq food-for-oil scandal. Other speakers: Bono, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, John McCain. A factor cited in the choice of Foster: her gender. The last female commencement speaker was National Endowment for the Arts chair Jane Alexander in 1995. (Hillary Clinton spoke in 1993.) Gutmann said she hopes Foster will inspire students. Certainly, she's been a success and a champion against abuse of women, but a cynic might wonder if she favors films that paint men as merciless monsters. Think The Accused, Silence of the Lambs, Panic Room, and her latest, Flightplan (pictured). Then again, that's true of a lot of Hollywood productions.

Computer Quiz: True or False?
Think you know your PC? See if you can guess which of these statements are right, which are wrong. Answers, more questions.
--If I spill a drink on my keyboard, it's totaled.
--If I stick a magnet near a floppy disk, it will erase the contents.
--I can't have spyware, because I ran an anti-spyware program and it erased several items.
--My laptop's batteries will become less effective if I keep recharging them before they're empty.
--I don't need to pay for tech support because my cousin's kid works with computers.
--I'm ready to give away my old computer after I've deleted all the files.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Billy Wagner Really Bitter
From what the ex-Phils reliever/alpaca farmer said in a Newark Star-Ledger interview, getting all those jazillion dollars hasn't made him happy. At least not when he looks back on pitching in Philly. Oh, and it's our fans' fault when one of our teams fails, he suggests.

But couldn't you have used a few minutes with the alpacas after listening to the fans in Philadelphia boo you?
Those people, it doesn't matter how successful you are. I don't get it. They boo you. They scream at you. Anybody who's going to boo you when you don't hit 100 miles per hour, what does that tell you? There are some fans who are fantastic, who were very supportive, and made you feel welcome there. But, for the most part, you had the guys who just came to the ballpark to yell at you. If you're having a bad season there, forget it. You can't get out of that funk. They won't allow you to. ...
How do you think you'll be received when you visit Citizens Bank Park this season?
Oh, I'm going to have a big, old bull's-eye on my back. ... You want to spend your three hours yelling at me? Go ahead. Then I'll go home and go to sleep. You'll get to tell your grandkids that you yelled at me for three hours. If you want to stand there and yell at me -- as long as you're not saying anything about my family -- you can call me whatever you want to call me. I don't care because I think it's hilarious.
Are Phillies fans as bad as it gets? They're easier on the visiting team. ...

And I Thought the Food Critic Had a Good Job
"Carnal Knowledge" reviews not-so-helpful how-to-do-it tapes. ("They didn't tell you how to go about building a home jail cell.")

'Da Vinci Code' Goes to Court Today
Thou shalt not steal ideas, say authors suing Dan Brown.

Childish Behavior Among Pa. Senate Candidates?
We kid. Excerpt: Casey to Santorum: "Nerdy bank, nerdy bank! I bet your mortgage wouldn't be so big if your bank didn't have softie grown-ups who treat you like a baby."

New Supreme Court Case Unites Left and Right?
It's a tax-break debate.

1 More Reason Not to Be a Convenience Store Clerk
Warm up what in the microwave?!

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