Skool Daze 6.1

As part of a $41,000 ad campaign to encourage youngsters to stay in school, the Washington public schools recently festooned some 75 Metro buses with the less-than-inspiring slogan: "D.C. Public Schools Wants You!!! Go To Class--It' a Blast!!!" Yes, that's "it' a blast," not "it's." And, no, "wants" in the first sentence doesn't exactly agree, grammatically speaking, with "schools."

Furious about the mistakes, school superintendent Paul L. Vance complained to the Washington Post that the "inexcusable" error "reinforces the perception that we're less than competent." Vance told the Post that he "has stressed to his staff the importance of using spell check and having someone double-check syntax and subject-verb agreement." But somehow the errors, possibly introduced at the printer, weren't caught when the signs were sent back to be proofread and double-checked.

As the Post points out, this isn't the first time the D.C. schools have had this kind of trouble. "About a year ago, school officials passed out a program that misspelled 'tomorrow' on the cover--an error that a student pointed out to then-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman," the Post notes. "Around the same time, a school board member provided written testimony to the D.C. Council that referred to D.C. 'pubic' schools."

That's not gud. Not gud at all.

Latte Capitalism 4.4

The tech stock implosion has already drained the coffers of more than a few investors. Will it also destroy the Starbucks economy? A recent article in The Industry Standard asks if the "latte will go the way of the three-martini lunch?" Noting that no one took to fancy $4 coffee drinks quite "so thirstily as new economy workers, who made the latte part of the geek-chic package," Standard writer Lesley Anderson wonders if "now that the caffeine-fueled hi-jinks of the Internet economy have ebbed, consumers may cool to afternoon caramel macchiatos."

Though Starbucks and other gourmet coffee sellers haven't yet noticed a fall-off in sales, Anderson did manage to find a few former Starbuckers scattered about the virtual economy who've sworn off "$5 white-chocolate mochaccinos" for $1 cups of Dunkin' Donuts coffee. And they may be trend-setters. "As the cost of these drinks has gone up," Ted Lingle of the Specialty Coffee Association of America told the Standard, "the price elasticity will be much more noticeable if the economy wanes."

Mom's Tired, Honey 7.9

It's a story that uncannily echoes one of the subplots of National Lampoon's


Vacation--and more than one urban legend. But according to The Associated Press, a Colorado woman drove more than 1,000 miles with her dead mother propped up in the passenger seat of her car in an apparent attempt to save the money it would have cost to send her mother's body to her final resting place alongside her husband in a cemetery in Lane County, Oregon. The body, dressed in a clean set of pajamas, apparently survived the journey none the worse for wear. Even though such an act is technically illegal, AP reports that authorities have no intention of charging Janet Levine with any wrongdoing. "Sometimes the shock of the death of a loved one makes people think kind of crazy," the local medical examiner told the press.


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