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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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Best friend must fit the profile
By Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Times Staff Writer
Published February 21, 2008
Dong-Phoung Nguyen covers New Tampa for the Times.
WANTED: BEST FRIEND
Married, professional, working mom of two preschoolers and two teenage stepdaughters, fun, enthusiastic, busy, lives in a cookie-cutter house in New Tampa, drives a minivan and loves to cook, searching for a new best friend.
I am seeking a married, professional, working mom of two preschoolers and two teenage stepsons. You drive an SUV and love to repaint your kitchen over and over again.
As my new best friend, you will:
- Split the bill at lunch, but never calculate it down to the penny.
- Delight in $15 pedicures.
- Give me a great recipe for cabbage salad that I will bring to every potluck.
- Wait patiently while I toss all the junk off my passenger seat so we can go out to lunch.
- Not get mad after you get into the seat wearing black slacks and sit in crushed bits of broken blush.
- Confide in me about your unexpected positive pregnancy test.
- Support me while I try for a year to get pregnant.
- Fetch me ice chips and never leave my side during my 12-hour labor.
- Drive to my house the moment I call you crying, lay out all the plastic accessories for my breast pump, and show me how to assemble and use it.
- Decide that you do not want to know the gender of your second baby, but after your sonogram, run with me to the VCR and play the image over and over again. You will be convinced that it's a girl.
- Make things easy for me during your own childbirth by laboring for just an hour, followed by oh, about 5 minutes of pushing welcome, Sophia Marie.
- Take time off from work to welcome my second son into the world.
- Never criticize me for being a co-sleeper even though you're from the cry-it-out camp.
- Wear the same kind of Fossil watch I wear because we both had to have one during our day o' shopping.
- Draw in a fake mole near your left eyebrow because you've done it everyday since you were 15.
- Never apologize for your messy laundry room because you know mine is just as bad and we're both busy.
- Tell me "Oh, who cares?" when I bring your daughter's birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper because that's all I had.
- Call me, just as I call you, whenever we are having gross days. We hate the outfits we are wearing. We feel fat. Why did we buy them in the first place? We will vow never to make another clothing purchase again just because it was cheap.
- Come over to my house and see dirty dishes piled up in the sink and just start washing.
- Bring the most delicious ham to my house for Easter.
- Spend the night whenever a hurricane threatens your neighborhood.
- Never leave a single party at my house without having swept my floors.
- Give me hand towels because the few I had were dirty the last time you were over.
- Agree with me whenever my husband doesn't.
- Say "Good grief" when I freak out because my 2-year-old is acting up in class and I want to transfer him to a new school.
- Wipe away my tears with your words when I call you at nine weeks pregnant from my OB's office to tell you they can't find the baby's heartbeat.
- Show up at my door, although you live an hour away, and take our four kids out for the evening so I can recover from surgery.
- Never, ever call me to say your husband got a job in St. Louis and you are going to move away, because that would break my heart and we would spend an hour on the phone together, crying.
Encounters is dedicated to small but meaningful stories. Sometimes they will play out far from the tumult of the daily news; sometimes they may be part of the news. To comment or suggest an idea for a story, contact editor Mike Wilson at email@example.com or (727) 892-2924.