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Prohibited signs

One of my early jobs was stapling placards for “International Productions” in Richmond. There is wisdom in hiring juveniles to do the illegal work.

~
Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at
 billemory.com/blog.

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Back up: Manual transmission's causing pain

Dear Tom and Ray:       

I have painful, incapacitating sciatica on the left side, most likely from constantly engaging the extremely hard clutch in my 2000 Toyota Celica. Have you heard of this association? I'm wondering if the clutch can be adjusted so that it's looser. Or, if not, how should I go about finding an easier-to-clutch used car with manual transmission that is not a lemon or too costly to maintain?— Jill       

RAY: We're not doctors, Jill ... although my brother does make the other mechanics at the shop work in hospital johnnies every week as part of Casual Friday.      
TOM: That's just to give the customers some laughs. And because they find the open-back design to be cooler in the summer.       
RAY: You can't adjust the feel of the clutch, Jill. Assuming it's always been like this and didn't suddenly change, it is what it is. In fact, we've always found Toyota clutches particularly light and easy to shift.       
TOM: So forget about making an appointment with your mechanic. Instead, make an appointment with a good physical therapist. On top of that, we'd recommend several other things if we were your medical-automotive advisers:        
RAY: No. 1, get a car with an automatic transmission. If a clutch is causing you incapacitating pa...

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Past misdeeds: Can boyfriend's mom make it up?

Dear Carolyn:     

From what my daughter's boyfriend has told me of his childhood, his mom sounds cold, unloving, even borderline abusive. He's quick to reassure me that she's changed since then. But I can't unhear what I've heard.     

I know the default is to be cordial when I meet her and give her the benefit of the doubt, but how do I handle it if she puts him down in my presence?— Uncharted Territory

This is actually two questions. The first is how to handle what you've heard, and the second is how to handle what you witness.     

For the former I recommend, yes, the benefit of the doubt, but you can't half-heart it, or else you'll take the slightest of her transgressions as license to believe the worst.     

So try looking at yourself through this lens for a moment. Page through your memories of raising your daughter, and fix on a couple of your lowest moments. Times you yelled, times you acted selfishly, times you said something mean. Now imagine your daughter spinning these tales for a therapist. Yikes.     

You may know these were deeply regretted exceptions, typical and human and duly mended, but you also need to know that, if phrased just-so to someone who wasn't there and doesn't know you, these could paint a scary picture of you. Of anyone.&n...

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Suffrage's legacy: It's time for women to step up

By Kay Slaughter

Walking down a narrow alley through a sea of men, desks and typewriters, amid the clouds of cigarette smoke, I spot a small clutch of women to my left— in an area segregated from the sprawl of the city room of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Patriot-News.   

Fresh out of college, I report for my first day in the women’s department, meeting Carol and Judy, two colleagues my age, as well as four other women in their 40s.  The boss arrives, and I discover the women’s pages are headed by a man.

No women in the pool of reporters, on the copy desk, or in the editorial department.  In the early 1960s, I wasn’t surprised: that’s the way things were. I was glad to have a job and dug into my assignments.
 
That summer, I wrote a story on Women’s Suffrage Day about the women who had marched for the right to vote.  I thought then that the main obstacles to women’s equality were past: We women had the vote, were educated, and could find jobs.  What more could we want?

A few years later, I began to have questions. Married with two children under two, I’m reading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique between washing diapers and carting my kids to the playground. Despite my enjoyment of the babies, I miss work. 
 
In retrospect, my own mother had it tougher than I— her college career ended abruptly with the death of her father,...

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Library with a view: Crozet's new bibliothèque de luxe

Years in the works before ground was ever broken— and funding found— the new Crozet Library is set to open in a few weeks, and Jefferson Madison Regional Director John Halliday gave the Hook a sneak preview of the brick, stone, wood, and glass facility that's destined to be the town's community center.

One reason we can predict that: its size. At 23,000 square feet, it's one of the largest structures in Crozet, and with its conference rooms and multiple meeting rooms that can be reserved by the public for free, even the Hook may be scheduling a meeting there.

Critics are already questioning why a small town such as Crozet needs the 18,000-square-foot library space that occupies the main floor, especially after making do for decades with the current 1,728-square-foot train station. Halliday is ready for that one, and explains that Virginia has standards for libraries. "This one just meets the state's minimum standards for the population it serves," he says. "It seems huge, but it really isn't."

Inside the tiled two-story atrium, Halliday notes that the county got a good deal for the $5.8-million LEED structure by bidding it out during the recession. However, everything inside must be paid for from fundraising. So far, library lovers have donated over $900,000 to furnish, equip, and stock the shelves with books. Among the most generous supporters, the Dave Matthews Band's Bama Works, the Perry Foundation, and Friends of the Library...

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