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M any a Monopoly player has learned to fear the words "Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200." Even at play, we dread the no-man's land that is prison. Yet for some people, the real terror isn't prison itself -- it's getting out.

T his week's cover stories reveal that the worst part of a prison sentence isn't the terror of being there, it's the difficult return to reality once you've served your time. An editorial presents two perspectives: one, that of a writing teacher who visited a Tennessee prison over the course of several years; the other, that of a 15-year convict who has only barely been able to stay afloat financially, morally, and emotionally since his release. Both stories show that the adage "it's a jungle out there" has never been more true than when you're on parole.

S peaking of jungle behavior, the last few weeks have seen a furor over the alcohol-poisoning deaths of two Louisiana university students, allegedly as a result of fraternity hazing rituals. This article follows up on the story, asking whether stricter regulations for young people's access to "hooch" are in order. You heard me right: "hooch."

I n other pet phrases, here's a classic example of the NIMBY, or Not In My Back Yard, syndrome. A residential neighborhood has gone to war against a developer that wants to build low-cost (and low-grade) houses nearby. The neighbors worry that their property values, as well as their overall quality of life, will plummet. The developer claims it's providing good houses at a reasonable price. The battle is happening in Austin, but it could be anywhere -- your back yard, even. Beware!

A nd while you're at it, beware of those crrrrazy Montessori teachers -- whoops, I mean "guides." This story explains the philosophy of the well-known grade schools: how it focuses on letting children learn naturally, at their own rates. Such techniques have even caught on at private schools. But critics have serious complaints about Montessori's feel-good methodology.

M oving right along...here's a Weekly Wire first: an article from one of our member papers about one of our other member papers. Apparently somebody on the Nashville Scene's staff offered a gubernatorial candidate a joint, he smoked it, and another reporter mentioned the incident in a story. Was it entrapment? Was it a case of the pot-smoker calling the kettle black? Read here for answers, and check out this editorial about the legalization of marijuana while you're at it.

A lso this week: Captain Opinion says he'd rather massacre tweety birds than give up his right to eat steak; Jeff Smith says General Custer was a weenie who deserved to be massacred; and a writer fears that Web site self-rating systems may end up massacring freedom of speech. It's a veritable slaughter here at Weekly Wire, but I'll be damned if we're going to prison for it -- we've got a Get of Jail Free card.

Talk Back
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Volume I, Issue 17
September 29 - October 6, 1997

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It's Not Easy Being Free
A Paroled Prisoner's Struggle to Survive. [2]

Outsider on the Inside
Former prison writing teacher Steven Womack on prison life. [3]
Steven Womack

Man From Mars
Ex-con Woody Eargle on prison life. [4]
Woody Eargle

Drinking 101
Unenforceable drinking laws drive underage drinking off-campus -- and underground. [5]
Allen Johnson Jr.

Tales Out of School
The pros and cons of Montessori education. [6]
Roseana Auten

Who's the Boss?
Kaufman & Broad is yet another developer to learn that, in Austin, neighborhood activists are not to be taken lightly. [7]
Mike Clark-Madison

Where There's Smoke, There's Fog
Did he or didn't he? Cohen's alleged marijuana use raises a whole cloud of questions. [8]
Jackson Baker

High Time for a Decision
The recent controversy surrounding State Senator Steve Cohen's use of marijuana again raises questions about the contrary signals sent out by current drug policy. [9]

Kill the Birds
Puttin' the "Opinion" in Cap'n O! [10]
Cap'n O

Fool On The Hill
Thoughts on the massacre of the ultimate 19th-century white boy. [11]
Jeff Smith

Shut Your Mouth
Casting a watchful eye on the high-tech world. [12]
David O. Dabney

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [13]
Devin D. O'Leary

Mr. Smarty Pants
Our resident know-it-all unearths the latest trivia. [14]
R.U. Steinberg

Now What?
Can't get enough news? You're in luck -- more news is created every day. Our Now What? page offers a plethora of recommended links to help keep you living in the present. [15]

Build your own custom paper. To find out more about this feature, click here.

From The Vaults

Clash of the Titans
The night the Killer visted Graceland. [08-11-97]
Matt Hanks

Disney Whirl
What's all the fuss about Disney World? At least they keep things running smoothly. [07-02-97]
Walter Jowers

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