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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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EBay listing a bid for moms everywhere
A witty eBay listing attracts worldwide attention.
By Kelley Benham, Times Staff Writer
Published August 28, 2007
Somewhere in Illinois a couple of weeks ago, an ordinary mom of six hit her limit.
For reasons that will become clear, she went to the computer and banged out an eBay listing for an opened pack of Pokemon cards. The listing turned into something more.
People found it. They e-mailed the link to more people. It became not about the cards but about the mom, about the universal experience of motherhood.
She received more than 10,000 e-mails. Her blog got nearly 100,000 hits on a single day last week.
She says she was contacted by book publishers, a movie producer and Nickelodeon. Moms everywhere wrote that she had caused them to laugh until they wet their pants.
Her pack of 44 Pokemon cards sold last week for $142.51.
When we talked to Dawn Meehan, she was trying to catch up on laundry and get the kids picked up from school.
"I'm real," she assured us. "I've got real kids, and if you wait a minute you'll hear them screaming."
She is 37, mom to Austin, 12, Savannah, 11, Jackson, 9, Lexington, 6, Clayton, 3, and Brooklyn, 1. Two of her younger kids were playing with light sabers. In the background, as if on cue, one of them screamed: MIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNE!
Here's the listing that caused such a ruckus:
Lot of pokemon cards that my kids tried to sneak by me
I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.
You haven't lived until you've gone grocery shopping with six kids. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they're having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. There comes a time, however, when you're peering into your fridge and thinking, 'Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,' that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them "The Lecture."
MOM: "We have to go to the grocery store."
KIDS: "Whine whine whine whine whine."
MOM: "Hey, I don't want to go either, but it's either that or we're eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight."
KIDS: "Whine whine whine whine whine."
MOM: "Here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again." . . .
Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. . . .
We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, "Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!" . . .
In the bakery, they're giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn't like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That's what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children's mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We'd rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor.) . . . Of course, there's no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand. . . .
Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.
As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. I'm amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say "influenza"?
Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, "Can we have candy?" . . .
As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don't even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, "Are they all yours?"
Frustrated, exhausted, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, "No. They're not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store. . . "
So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say "Energy." I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work. . . .
Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that's my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it's out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. . . . This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! :)
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