Re Reality Truck, 6/20/2002: You may want to stock up on some things called "Osage oranges," which are greenish, wrinkled things you can find along Hwy. 25.

Get several, place them strategically around your house, and they appear to discourage the presence of spiders. Dunno why.

D. Adkins

A cricket by any name


Just saw your "Waterloo?" today.

Give [an entomologist] a call and he'll get rid of 'em.

Had those pesky critters in my crawl space and, occasionally, they'd sneak into the house. Hated 'em, esp. with their hopping ability. I think he called them "cave crickets" or "camel crickets."

B. Tucker


While enjoying the entertaining anecdote dealing with the most recent battle "Woman v. Bug" or "WaterLoo?" I mentioned the insect in question to an entomogist friend of mine, because I've been getting on her for ages to start work on a mutant spider the size of the ones found in the old 50s horror flicks and if some mutant spider already existed she had better get cracking to get the patent first.

Sadly, she shot down my fantasies of a spider-crawling up the big blue building holding some wry and tormented damsel in it's pedipalps (those little front feet) while spinning a web which would give birth to a swarm of terrorizing baby spiders the size of a VW beatle (new or old.)

This is what she said: "It is probably not a spider/cricket mutant; as entertaining as it is. If it looks like a cricket with too many legs it is probably a House Centipede."

So that's the dilly-o!

G. Warburton


Editor's Note: We received a mailbag full of notes from readers who suffer from arachnaphobia -enough to consider it worthwhile to share the remedies and information listed above.

Letters Policy: Ace LOVES to publish our mail (250 words or less please); please include name and daytime phone. No photocopies. No bulk mail. First come, first served. We may edit for space and grammar; we will limit frequency; and, on popular issues, we may print one or two letters to represent a segment of public opinion. Private correspondence should be labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.”

Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507

Let us pray

There will be an interfaith prayer vigil for peace, Thursday, June 27 in Triangle Park in downtown Lexington, from 5:30 to 6 p.m. (feel free to stop by on your way home from work).

Guy's Ride

UK head football coach Guy Morriss will lead a motorcycle "tour" around the city this Saturday morning, June 29, in the second annual Guy's Ride to Win to benefit Special Olympics. Last year's ride raised more than $25,000. Registration is in UK's blue lot at Commonwealth Stadium at 9:30 a.m., and the ride will take off from there (around 11:45 a.m.). Bring your Harley, hog, chopper, Indian, or moped, and ride for a good cause.

Healthy livin'

The Lexington Farmers' Market offers its "Community Booth" to a host of groups promoting AIDS awareness on Saturday, June 29th,-rain or shine-on Vine Street.

Starting at 10 a.m., health professionals from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will join with representatives from AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL), Kentucky Minority AIDS Program of the Lincoln Foundation Inc., and Volunteers of America Kentucky to educate the public about HIV/AIDS and STDs.

No room for a pet? Adopt a Minefield.

Landmines, once used as a defensive weapon, are still maiming and terrorizing populations that are no longer at war. With more than an estimated 70 million active landmines, the United Nations Association has begun the laborious task of clearing minefields in certain countries. This Sunday, June 30, the Unitarian Universalist Church will host an Adopt-A-Minefield fundraiser. Call 255.7931 or 233.1448 for more info, and check out www.landmines.org for more info on the UN Association cause.

Bad News

A lack of hospitability for high-tech industry is one of the reasons cited in a Forbes-Milken Institute study that ranks Lexington 119th out of 200 metropolitan areas in which to do business and advance a career.

Wild speculative guesses about probable areas for concern include: unchecked suburban sprawl with no discernible growth plan; lack of appropriate infill downtown; the need for a stronger town-gown relationship between UK and downtown; the fact that Lexington is virtually inaccessible by air (or at least prohibitively expensive), and the list goes on.

Bad news if you're single too - you'll have to take a road trip to visit one of Forbes's top ten cities for single life. The closest are Raleigh-Durham (at number 4) and Atlanta (at number 10). Criteria included: nightlife, culture, professional and wage growth, number of singles, and cost-of-living.

Women who do too much

Know any exceptional women overachievers? (If you don't, you need to get out more.) Nominate them for the YWCA of Lexington Woman of Achievement Award. Women who work in traditional or non-traditional jobs and/or who are volunteers are eligible. The cost is $25 per nomination (which provides lunch for the nominees at the awards program, scheduled for July 31 at the Hyatt Regency), and all nominations must be received by July15. Forms are available at the YWCA Cross Keys Center (1060 Cross Keys Rd.). Info, call Ellen Parks at (859) 254-3786.

To submit an advocacy/activism activity or event for Quickies, email rkirkland@aceweekly.com, or editor@aceweekly.com.


A Modest Proposal
by Norman Solomon

Many Americans feel under siege from advertising that insults intelligence and helps to degrade the nation's cultural environment. While serving the interests of advertisers, the daily ad-mania makes us sick-sometimes quite literally. What can we do about it?

No easy solution is in sight. The ad craziness has gotten extreme in a context of greatly centralized economic power afflicting nearly the entire media landscape. "The bottom line is that fewer and fewer huge conglomerates are controlling virtually everything that the ordinary American sees, hears and reads," independent Rep. Bernie Sanders wrote recently in The Hill newspaper. With probably undue optimism, he added: "This is an issue that Congress can no longer ignore."

Such matters are way too important to be left up to politicians- or the hotshots in the executive suites of gargantuan media firms. What's at stake could hardly be more basic. For instance, Sanders noted: "Despite 41 million people with no health insurance and millions more underinsured, we spend far more per capita on health care than any other nation. Maybe the reason is that we are seeing no good programs on television, in between the prescription drug advertisements, discussing how we can provide quality health care for all at far lower per capita costs than we presently spend?"

Ads for various kinds of drugs now supply a very big income stream to networks-hardly an incentive to feature hardhitting journalistic scrutiny of those lucrative spots. Significantly, one of the few large broadcast outlets with tough reporting on the pharmaceutical industry is National Public Radio. While Morning Edition and All Things Considered are improperly reliant on corporate underwriting, at least they don't air commercials for the latest wonder drugs.

Upbeat advertisements for drugs are ubiquitous sources of selective claims that have many consumers clamoring for pharmaceuticals that could do them more harm than good. As the AARP Bulletin reported this year, "30 percent of Americans talk to their doctors about a specific drug they've seen advertised, and of these, 44 percent receive it, according to a recent study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation."

Many health-care providers succumb to heavily funded pitches that include lavish corporate promotional drives targeting medical professionals. As countless millions of Americans have learned the hard way, the latest medications can be pricey-and the side effects may not have been thoroughly studied.

But ad campaigns and other PR blitzes amount to prescriptions for humongous profits. As the invaluable newsletter The Washington Spectator observed in its June 15 edition, "The pharmaceutical companies are pill pushers that have been turning health care into wealth care-theirs."

Meanwhile, the ad industry is also engaged in unrelenting psychological warfare for everything from fast food to alcohol to cigarettes to thousands of over-packaged snacks containing scant nutrition and plenty of junk. A consumer-health coalition called the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity accuses the food biz of "manipulation."

The consequences can be dire. "The federal government estimates that a third of all cancer and heart disease and up to 80 percent of diabetes could be prevented if people ate less, ate better food, and exercised more," Reuters reports.

Such information should appear on the airwaves-in well-funded ads with high production values-just as frequently as plugs for the virtues of Big Macs and Whoppers. Likewise, a constant flow of objective scientific information about pharmaceutical products should supplement the serene commercials for over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

So, here's a modest proposal: Every commercial for food and drugs should be taxed-with the proceeds going to pay for "truth commission" ads from independent researchers-to keep the public informed about the latest scientific findings on the benefits and risks of such products.

That kind of arrangement would be entirely justified. After all, TV and radio broadcasters use airwaves that are supposed to belong to the public. And cable television operators have profited immensely from the protection of federal regulations placing severe limits on the power of municipalities to charge franchise fees for use of public rights-of-way.

Of course, any proposal to tax commercials would spark a fierce reaction from corporate powerhouses. If the idea gathered momentum on Capitol Hill, their tactics would include shelling out big bucks for an onslaught of commercials to promote opposition.

Countering ad hype with factual information. What a concept.