lukegilman.com : High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Life on a Mag Crew, Story Worthy of Dickens

Two days after graduating from high school last June, Jonathan Pope left his home in Miamisburg, Ohio, to join a traveling magazine sales crew, thinking he would get to “talk to people, party at night and see the country.”

Over the next six months, he and about 20 other crew members crossed 10 states, peddling subscriptions door to door, 10 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Sleeping three to a room in cheap motels, lowest seller on the floor, they survived some days on less than $10 in food money while their earnings were kept “on the books” for later payment.

By then, Mr. Pope said, he had seen several friends severely beaten by managers, he and several other crew members were regularly smoking methamphetamine with prostitutes living down the motel hallway, and there were warrants out for his arrest in five states for selling subscriptions without a permit.

“I knew I was either going to be dead, disappeared or I don’t know what,” Mr. Pope said.

After persuading his manager to let him leave, Mr. Pope was dropped off, without a ticket, $17 in his pocket, at a bus terminal near San Antonio, more than 1,000 miles from home.

NY Times’ Ian Urbina: For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews

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ESPN: Hoops of Nazareth

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ESPN has a great in-depth article on Hoops of Nazareth. It’s a great story, as much about the town as girls hoops. Worth the read.

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Most Interesting Fact I heard Today

“There are more Ethiopian doctors in Washington D.C. than in all of Ethiopia.”

From NPR: Hospital Gives Ethiopian Women a Chance at Care

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Malcolm Gladwell addresses racism and a short taxonomy of racial gaffs a la Richards, Gibson, Irvin et al.

New Yorker columnist and author Malcolm Gladwell weighs in on the recent outbursts of Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, and Michael Irvin on his blog in Defining a Racist. He brings up one of the most interesting aspects of Blink, empirical evidence that most of us are more racist than we think. He focused on a study conducted at Harvard using an Implicit Association Test.

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Gladwell, who is of mixed race himself, was shocked to discover that the IAT test revealed his automatic preference for European American compared to African American associations. His conclusion was that many if not most of us are make negative associations with African Americans despite our belief in equality of all races, despite our strongest intentions and convictions on race, in Gladwell’s case, inspite of his own racial makeup. The IAT is substantial evidence that our racial attitudes are much more firmly ingrained than we realize.

Take a Demo Implicit Association Test on Race on the Implicit Association Test Website.

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Houston Police clash with Fans @ Walters on Washington

One of the blogs I’m involved with is Houston Metroblogging, a community-based site that’s part of a wider metroblogging network. For the most part it’s fairly mundane check-out-this-new-coffee-shop kind of faire, but every once in a while there’s a brush with real journalism. Case in point -

The preceeding video was one of three posted in Houston Police Officer Involved in ‘Melee’ with Concertgoers. Compare with the airbrushed version from the Houston Chronicle. The video clips are a bit too Rashomon for me to pronounce a verdict one way or the other, but in the past this kind of incident would be swept under the rug as if it never existed. Now that it lives on through the internet it will be interesting to see if it gets any momentum behind it. Just as the internet fosters a long tail in commerce, I perceive there is a latent outrage element at work.

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Recent Journalism Worth a Read

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Chicken Lady on Motorcycle

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One chicken 700 yen, this picture, priceless.

From Kevin Kelly’s blog Street Use: “Bikes of Burden

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NY Times visits College Station

Not sure which is funnier, that the Grey Lady covered Aggieland in their travel escapes column or that they sent a travel writer Finn-Olaf Jones, better known for National Geographic articles and getting into fights on Everest.

NY Times: 36 Hours -College Station, Tex.

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A Crying Shame

From the Austin American-Statesman:
Bible thumpin’ to replace boot scootin’ at historic dance hall

I know it’s a church and all but you can’t swing the proverbial cat without hitting one here in Texas. The old dance halls are getting fewer and further in between.

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Daily News a Designer could love

World News has never looked so good. Activate

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