Stories by Michelle Holcenberg

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Posted on: Jul 27, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Most of us are sick of dot-com tycoons who've come into a ton of cash faster than you can say, "I'd like a new Porsche Boxster." But according to a new breed of "Sudden Wealth" therapists, the nouveau riche have just as many problems as anyone else.

Posted on: May 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

It almost sounds like the punchline of a particularly nerdy Silicon Valley joke: Startupfailures.com, which launched on May 8, is a start up Web site for failed start ups. And maybe it would be a joke, if it wasn't serving such a rapidly expanding market.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

It's getting a little easier to know who not to trust these days, thanks to the Web site The Smoking Gun (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/). The site, which posts documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, helps public figures come clean about some facts they don't necessarily want you to know about, while at the same time offering a sort of pop-culture inspired civics class demonstrating the type of information that can be dug up if you know where to look. For example, their publication of some of Timothy Leary's FBI files detail how the 60s revolutionary, known for the line "turn on, tune in, drop out," actually copped out and snitched to the FBI in 1974.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

A billboard campaign targeted at changing the public's perception of breast cancer has ignited a firestorm of controversy in the San Francisco Bay Area. The billboards feature topless models striking come-hither poses -- but with a twist. In place of voluptuous breasts the models sport striking mastectomy scars. Should the ads be banned in public spaces?

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Have you ever really thought about what grape juice is? ItÕs unfermented wine, right? And yet, we give it to children without any concern that they might confuse the non-alcoholic beverage with the alcoholic one that looks so similar. It may sound silly, but how different is it really than the industrial hemp and marijuana debate raging across the country? Despite the obvious distinctions between marijuana and hemp, the U.S. government appears to remain confused on the issue. While logic would dictate that the DEA put an end to the war on hemp, that hasn't been enough to sway them in the past, so hemp supporters are relying on more serious actions to turn the tides. The federal government may soon have no choice but to lift the ban.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The slick, high-tech mediums launching us into the new millenium have brought with them some old, legal albatrosses, not the least of which is the issue of copyright infringement. Tasini v. New York Times takes a first step toward establishing online copyright laws.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"When the manager at my local grocery store stopped me on my way out, I thought he was conducting some sort of customer-satisfaction survey. But it turned out to be a bust -- for bin grifting. Yes, I had committed the white-collar crime of the grocery world: eating items from the bulk food containers without paying for them. And yes, I learned my lesson quick. Nothing like a little public humiliation for some quick behavior change."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Rallies took place at Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops around the country last Tuesday to protest a possible corporate takeover of the Vermont-based ice cream maker. Activists are worried that if it succumbs to the highest bidder, Ben & Jerry's will be forced to sacrifice its progressive principles for maximumn profits.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

While the rush process is often nerve-wracking and intimidating for those not yet in a house -- who must turn on the charm and do their best to impress in three-to-five minute substanceless conversations -- it's at least as bad "on the other side," as being in a house is referred to. Rush epitomizes the worst of what's said about sorority life -- superficial decision-making, bitchiness, name-calling, and sometimes coming close to knock-down-drag-outs with sisters who are supposed to be lifelong friends.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

For many people, Halloween provides a welcome opportunity to let their hair down. This often means tons of makeup, micro minis and hairy chests a go-go, as the holiday appears to have become amateur drag night for straight men everywhere. It's a sort of taboo-free night for busting out alter egos without the consequences such behavior might normally elicit. The preponderance of fair weather transvestites has made me think about what's behind this fetish for fake tits, dresses and lipstick, besides a lot of testosterone.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

When it came out in 1996, critics hailed "It's Elementary" as a brilliant documentary that vividly portrayed children's perceptions about homosexuality. Because it threw together the three issues of children, homosexuals and schools, conservatives went berserk, launching a full-scale crusade against the film. Almost three years later, PBS has dropped the film from its national satellite feed under pressure from the religious right. Will the documentary get the exposure it deserves? [EDITORS: Has your local PBS station dropped the film, too?]

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

In a landmark decision that has national implications, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state must offer gay couples the "benefits and protections that flow from marriage." The Vermont case has revitalized the same-sex marriage campaign, which is facing harsh opposition in many states.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Blame it on the media, VCRs at weddings, even the comb-over falling out of favor. Any way you look at it, balding (or hair loss, if you prefer) is getting a lot of exposure these days. One major cause is that after years of products heralded as hair-savers -- but in reality being little more than money wasters -- there are finally two treatments available that work, to some extent, in some people.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

In the wake of national attention to zero-tolerance policies -- school's disciplinary programs that assign swift, often harsh punishments -- new data shows that in many instances the suspension rates of African-American students are much higher than those of their white counterparts.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

For any woman who has ever debated whether or not a potential lover is "spongeworthy," the time may be nearing when she can lower her standards. New Jersey-based Allendale Pharmaceuticals recently announced that it will reintroduce the easy, discreet form of birth control this fall. Since the sponge was used by 6.4 million women between 1983 and 1995, the prospect of its reintroduction is being warmly received.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The ground is starting to shift on the issue of same-sex marriage, and the latest temblors are being felt in California. A bill opposing same-sex marriage, Proposition 22, is set to appear on the March 2000 ballot. While same-sex marriage is currently illegal in all 50 states, Proposition 22, also known as the Knight initiative, is the latest in a series of preemptive strikes that would make such unions null and void in California, should they be legalized elsewhere.

Posted on: Mar 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"After many mishaps, miscommunications and dating disasters, I have come to see e-mail less as a handy flirting tool and more as a high-speed way to put my foot in my mouth."

Posted on: Mar 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The male version of relationship insecurity is alive and well, proves John Cusack in his new film, "High Fidelity."

Posted on: Mar 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"On the journey to buy a wedding gift for a friend I went from single career woman to pathetic, unmarried loser. It seems silly that shopping for a single gift could lead me to question my self worth, but standing amongst the whistling tea kettles, grapefruit bowls and wine racks that's exactly what happened."