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o om Zwire SEPTEMBER 1/2006


Los Angeles, CA


The Big Race

Gearing up for the 69th Soap Box Derby




DRAKAN The Last Game



Then comes the final third. It’s a nightmare and probably not the sort of nightmare first-time director Gil Kenan intended. The film explodes into the kind of “Please stop!”

Come back, “Cars.”

I was too harsh. Your adrenalized platitudes are nothing compared to the monstrosity that is “Monster House.” The picture is yet another entry in the if-you-animate-it-they-will come (“they” being parents and kids) summer sweepstakes. Not only are “Cars”“Over the Hedge” and “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” still hanging around, but the next few weeks bring “The Ant Bully” and “Barnyard.”

However, this isn’t even cuddly animals/cars/ bugs animation. Executive producer Robert Zemeckis has apparently decreed “Monster House” be made in the same creepy style as “The Polar Express” (which he directed), wherein the actors are so faithfully replicated you keep wondering why didn’t they just go with live action instead of this icky, offputting approach. At any rate, “Monster House” is essentially a teched-up haunted house story about a

decrepit wreck of a house squatting ominously on an otherwise sunny suburban street. Things (kites, tricycles) -- and eventually people -- disappear when they get too close. Which may -- or may not -- explain why the crumbling edifice is zealously guarded by a misanthropic geezer named Nebbercracker (voice by Steve Buscemi). Everybody in the neighborhood figures Nebbercracker is just a cantankerous old man and his house just a poster-child for tear-downs everywhere.

SOAPBOX Mary Convert


Bob Miller

Tom Swang

Jimmy Troy

FOR THE FIRST TIME! kids write the articles!

Fun, Fun and, more


Gina LaRose



Fashion Kids

Lindsay Lohan

Says drugs tore her family apart

Calendar • The Scoop • H4X • Kids talk • Sports • Art Scene



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Now It’s Our Turn!! Welcome to ZoomWire America’s first newspaper written for kids by kids. ZoomWire is a FREE monthly publication that is geared for ages 8 - 17. Over half of the articles will be submitted by kids all over the globe, to express how they feel about today’s politics, entertainment, sports and current events. ZoomWire will not only give kids a voice but it will allow them to read the thoughts of their peers all from over the world.




han Losays drugs

tore her family apart Plus: Bruce Willis clears the air about war views, pollution


By Jeannette Walls

indsay Lohan says she would never become a druggie — because she saw what it did to her father. The “Mean Girls” star admits to having smoked pot — she says she hated it — but says she has never tried cocaine. ““I’ve I’ve seen my father,” Lohan told the London Mirror. “I’ve seen how it messes with families and [bleeps] your life up. If I hadn’t witnessed that, I may have gone a different route. I don’t know. But I’ve seen how it tore my parents apart.” Her father, a former financier who created and sold a successful pasta business, was recently jailed for a variety of charges including assault and drunk driving. “He has never done anything for my family or for my career,” she said. “I don’t have any respect for someone who has treated my mother the way he has and by not being a responsible father.” Whatever Lohan may have gone through, her ego seems to have survived intact. “I feel I have a lot of talent, but I’m only now getting to do the kinds of projects where I can push myself and show what I can do,” she explained. “I’m pretty ambitious and I want to have a very interesting career.” Willis clears the air Bruce Willis has long been one of the few conservative voices coming from Hollywood, but some recent comments by the Die Hard actor make him sound a tad like a tree-hugging lefty. In a recent interview, the “Die Hard” star said he doesn’t support the war in Iraq and made impassioned comments about the environment. When a reporter for the Independent asked Willis about his support for the war, he interrupted: “No, I’m not [in favor of the war in Iraq], so let me stop you right there. I’m not pro-war but what I am is that I like to support the young men and women who are over there participating in the war.” He later launched into a lengthy tirade about the I’ve seen my father,” “toxic” air quality in Los Angeles. “I happen to live in Los Angeles and it is probably one of the most Lohan told the London toxic environments on Earth,” he said. “People live here and they know that the air is poisonous. Mirror. “I’ve seen how They know that children are affected by the air it messes with families in Los Angeles. They say that growing up in Los Angeles is the equivalent of smoking a pack and a and [bleeps] your life half of cigarettes throughout your entire childhood. It’s horrific when you can actually look at the up. If I hadn’t witnessed air and see it.” that, I may have gone The 52-year-old actor, who has three daughters with former wife Demi Moore, also said he’d a different route. I don’t like to have more children. “I don’t know if I’ll ever marry again, although know. But I’ve seen how I don’t rule it out,” said Willis, who has been linked it tore my parents apart.” with his “Perfect Stranger” co-star Tamara Feldman. “I’d like to have some more kids. I don’t know if that’s possible or not.” Notes from all over Secretly-taped Scientology recruiting videos keep appearing — and disappearing — on the Internet. “Within an hour of us looking into it, YouTube has taken the video down and they say it was property of the ‘L. Ron Hubbard Library,’ complained one vexed reporter. Hubbard is the founder of Scientology. . . .When Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban released their wedding photo to the press, they asked media outlets who used the photo to make a donation “in good faith” to a children’s hospital in Sydney, Australia. The photo has been picked up around the world, but the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation says it has received about six or eight donations, averaging $550 each. . . . . Paris Hilton has standards. The partying heiress, out promoting her new album, says she’d never date Hugh Grant. Hilton explained: “I like them young.”


Photos: Jannete Russell

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y l f e i br


‘Timberlake & Diaz Are Not Getting Married’

The Charlie’s Angels beauty, 33, fuelled speculation she is set to wed longterm boyfriend Timberlake, 25, after being snapped with a ring on her wedding finger earlier this month. But Timbaland, 35, has talked to his protege about his plans for the future and insists Timberlake is too focused on his new album and fledgling acting career to consider settling down. He says,“We talk about marriage but decided we want to focus on our careers a little more before we get settled.”

Durst To Wed Mystery Girl

Durst, who has previously been linked to Britney Spears revealed his impending nuptials in a post on his MySpace page. The 35-year-old simply announces he’s met “a wonderful girl named Krista”,but refuses to divulge more details about her. He confesses he’s proposed and “she said yes”. The pair met in Providence, Rhode Island, during shooting for Durst’s directorial debut The Education Of Charlie Banks, according to MTV.

Lavigne And Whibley Wait For Kids

Canadian rock couple Avril Lavigne and Deryck

Whibley have silenced expectations they’re planning a family following their romantic wedding on Saturday. The 21-year-old blonde wed the Sum 41 frontman, 26, in Montecito, California, after a two year courtship, but are in no rush to start a family. Lavigne tells TV show ET Canada,“Oh God no! Not for awhile. Eventually. Down the road.” Starting this fall, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — the twin actresses-turned merchandising moguls — will have some young celebrity company in store aisles. Eighteen-year-old actress and singer Hilary Duff and 13-year-old Dylan and Cole Sprouse — twin actors and heartthrobs for the prepubescent set — aim to mimic the success of the mary-kateandashley brand, with plans to bombard stores with a host of products from clothing to home decor. And experts say they expect there will be plenty of other young copycats hoping to turn their celebrity status into merchandising power among preteens and teens, as did the now 20-year-old Olsen twins, who parlayed their star power into a reportedly billion-dollar international brand, spanning cosmetics to clothing and rugs. “Success breeds competition,” said Marshal Cohen, chief analyst at NPD Group Inc., a market research firm in Port Washington, N.Y. The mary-kateandashley brand has been an eye opener, he said, and “everyone is going after what appears to be a successful formula.”

Michelle has stars in her eyes

MICHELLE Fraser is a paediatric social worker

Zowom ire originally from Peterhead, but for one night only she enjoyed A-list celebrity status at the premiere of the new Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock movie, The Lake House. Michelle (29), lives and works in London but was born in Peterhead and studied at Aberdeen University. She became a star for a night after entering the Richard & Judy Channel 4 competition with friends from work. Michelle first realised she had won the prize when she found Myleene Klass, one of Richard & Judy’s roving reporters, waiting for her on her doorstep. Michelle said:“I spent the day with Myleene with photographers following us about all day. She was laughing because I was hanging out of the car taking photos of the paparazzi, taking photos of us. She was so lovely and even wrote me a thank you card when it should have been me writing one to her.” Michelle enjoyed a whole day of VIP treatment including a visit to celebrity fashion designer Jacques Azagury, who was Princess Diana’s favourite designer, and a hair appointment with top hairdresser, Richard Ward.




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Beleaguered Schools Chief Quitting

The Big Race

Gearing up for the 69th Soap Box Derby By: Karen Fanning


he world’s top young racecar drivers will gather in Akron, Ohio, on Saturday, in hopes of coasting their way to victory at the 69th All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships. More than 500 boys and girls, ages 8 to 17, are expected to turn out for the world’s top amateur racing event. This year’s Soap Box Derby, a youth initiative of NASCAR, welcomes participants from 40 states and five countries. Drivers will race in three divisions: Stock, Super Stock, and Masters. While Stock cars are simply designed vehicles, the Super Stock class features larger, heavier models. The Masters division showcases the most sophisticated wheels on the track. Homemade Cars Each entrant constructs his or her own car from kits bought from the All-American Soap Box Derby. In most cases, a parent, sibling, or friend assists entrants. Although cars can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour, engines don’t fuel these cars. Instead, they are powered by gravity, gaining momentum as they glide down the race hill. According to Jimmie Johnson, winner of the 2006 Daytona 500, the building process teaches young competitors about the ins and outs of racing.

“By building their own cars, these kids are learning the basics of racing,” says Johnson. “I wouldn’t doubt that the next generation of NASCAR stars might start off in a Soap Box Derby car.” Indeed, past Derbies have featured several famous names in racing, including three-time NASCAR Cup champion Cale Yarborough. The event has also attracted a number of celebrities from the sports and entertainment worlds, such as Malcolm in the Middle’s Frankie Muniz and former NFL superstar Paul Hornung. A Racing Tradition Derby racing has come a long way since the first Soap Box Derby, which took place in the summer of 1934. Young racing hopefuls have gathered in Akron each year ever since (except during World War II). In recent years, the sport’s popularity has skyrocketed, especially among girls. Today, female drivers represent 45 percent of all competitors. Saturday’s finals mark the end of the 2006 Soap Box Derby season, which featured more than 450 races worldwide. The competition on Race Day will be tight, but only a lucky few conquer Derby Down’s 989-foot track. The top finishers in each division and age group will receive college scholarships.

Robots in Class

Over 600,000 children across the country require long-term hospital care each year. Many of them report having difficulty returning back to school after hospital stays. Thanks to technology, kids who are sick in the hospital no longer have to miss time in the classroom. A program called PEBBLES makes it possible for kids in hospitals to participate in classroom discussions—via robot. PEBBLES (Providing Education By Bringing Learning Environments to Students) supplies

robots to help hospitalized kids keep up with their schoolwork. For Achim Nurse, a bedridden 13-year-old at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, PEBBLES has made it possible for him to keep up with the rest of his class. When he first learned about the program, though, he wasn’t so sure it would work. “I was out of my mind saying,‘A robot?’” said Achim. “When I first saw it, it looked difficult.” However, after 30 minutes of working with the robot—”Mr. Spike”— Achim discovered that

he had gotten pretty good at operating it. “It’s like a video game,” he said. “But the only thing is you have to go to school.” The robots work in pairs—one in the hospital with the student, and the other in the classroom. The robot in the classroom gives the student in the hospital “telepresence,” allowing him to feel involved with the class through a kind of video conferencing. A live picture of the student is shown on a video screen in the classroom. Meanwhile, back in the hospital room, the student has a clear view of what is going on in the classroom.

In high-achieving Capistrano Unified, James A. Fleming says he doesn’t want accusations to distract. Accused by opponents of dirty tricks and mismanagement, the superintendent of the Capistrano Unified School District announced his resignation Wednesday, ending a 15-year tenure in which he oversaw academic gains and sharp growth in one of the state’s top districts. The impending departure of 63-year-old James A. Fleming, a well-regarded figure in state education circles, was met with tears by supporters and jubilation by opponents, reflecting the divisions that have racked the district. “It’s a bittersweet moment,” Fleming said in an interview.“I’ve been superintendent of this district longer than most superintendents are ever in a position, particularly [a district] of this size. I leave with my head high, proud of the achievements that I have been part of …. It has been a pleasure.”

Back-to-School Spending Is Expected to Increase 19% The average family probably will shell out more for new clothing, electronics and dormitory supplies for the coming school season than in 2005, even as higher energy prices have crimped spending in other areas, according to a retail survey released Tuesday. Soaring gas costs and uncooperative weather limited consumers’ trips to the mall in June, but parents will not hold back when it comes to their kids, said Scott Krugman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation, which commissioned the survey. Demand for electronics in particular will drive spending, which is expected to increase 19% compared with last year, according to the survey of about 9,000 consumers. That could be good news for one-stop shop retailers such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which have reported slowing sales growth. Big-box electronics companies, such as Best Buy Co. and Circuit City Stores Inc., could also benefit.

Caught in the Cross Fire

Tensions are high in the Middle East, as the conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah, a rebel group in Lebanon, enters its eighth day. Caught in the cross fire, many Americans in Lebanon are looking for a way to get out of the region. Government officials insist that help is on the way. “Those Americans who wish to leave will obviously go out,” said Nicholas R. Burns, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. There are approximately 25,000 American citizens in Lebanon. So far, about 350 people have been evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, a port city in Lebanon, to Cyprus, a neighboring island. In Cyprus, commercial aircraft will be available to provide transport home. According to State Department officials, it is expected that the U.S. will evacuate an estimated 7,000 Americans from Lebanon by Thursday. Transport will be provided by helicopters and chartered ships. Americans who wish to leave have been instructed to register with the American Embassy. The Attacks The conflict began last Wednesday, when Hezbollah militants abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed three others in a raid. (Both Israel and the U.S. consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization.) In response, Israel staged a series of attacks and began to target regions in Lebanon that are connected to Hezbollah. According to Israel Defense Forces, Hezbollah has fired approximately 750 rockets into Israel since the start of the conflict. Israeli officials are demanding the safe release of the Israeli soldiers, while Hezbollah demands that they be exchanged for Lebanese prisoners held in Israel. More than 300 people have been killed as a result of this conflict. The world watches to see whether a cease-fire can be reached.

Welcome Back, Discovery

The space shuttle Discovery safely returned to Earth on Monday, wrapping up a successful 13-day mission. The shuttle landed at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 9:14 a.m.—right on schedule. “Welcome back, Discovery,” said NASA astronaut Stephen N. Frick from Houston’s Mission Control to the six-member crew aboard the shuttle. Earlier Monday morning, nearby storm clouds threatened to postpone Discovery’s landing plans, but officials gave the go-ahead when conditions were considered safe. According to NASA officials, re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere is one of the most dangerous parts of a space mission. As the shuttle re-enters the atmosphere, a gas called “plasma” heats its surface, causing temperatures to shoot up to nearly 3000° F. This led to the 2003 Columbia disaster: A damaged left wing allowed heat to seep into the craft, causing it to disintegrate. Discovery began its descent high above the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, astronauts’ relatives, NASA staff, and onlookers gazed at the sky, listening closely for the sound that signals approaching shuttles. Sure enough, a double sonic boom filled the air as the shuttle made its final approach. “It was a great mission,” said Discovery shuttle commander Colonel Steven W. Lindsey.“A really great mission.”


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Chicken Little


Catching up with the cast of High School Musical If you’ve watched High School Musical every time it’s been on since it first aired in January on Disney Channel, here’s some good news: the movie is now on DVD! Released on May 23 with both original and sing-along versions, bonus features like Learn the Dance Moves and backstage footage and interviews with the cast. On the same day, a Special Edition soundtrack CD will be available with karaoke tracks so you can sing along. High School Musical clothing and stationery are headed for Limited Too stores, and a novel will be in bookstores soon. But the best news is that a sequel is in the works starring the original cast. It will begin on the last day of school and take place over the summer—and may involve Sharpay becoming interested in Troy! Cast members have been busy promoting High School Musical for the past five months but aren’t tired of talking about the biggest hit movie in Disney Channel history. We caught up with Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay Evans), Zac Efron (Troy Bolton), Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth), Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella Montez), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), and Monique Coleman (Taylor McKenzie) at a recent press conference.

New Bilingual Cartoon Spans Many Cultures

A pair of animated twins burst on the TV scene last fall. Maya & Miguel,, created by Scholastic Entertainment, is a hit series on PBS Kids Go! about two kids and their adventures. In each 30-minute episode, viewers can laugh and learn from the twins and the rest of the Santos family. The twins’ parents run a local pet store. The Santos family has a bilingual pet parrot named Paco, who speaks Spanish and English. And don’t forget Maya and Miguel’s grandma, cousins, friends, and more. Watch Maya & Miguel to have some fun and learn about Latino culture. Be sure to check out Scholastic’s Maya & Miguel NEW: Celebrate Mother’s Day Maya’s Way! Celebrate Mother’s Day , with Maya and Miguel. You’re sure to find fun, adventure, mischief and mayhem! Watch a special hour-long, Mother’s Day-themed, television event on Friday, May 12 on PBS Kids Go! Join in the fun! Share the fun, watch with your mom!

Harry Potter is Back!

The most popular fictional wizard in the world is back. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes out in theaters November 18. This time, Harry will finally come face to face with the evil Lord Voldemort. At the same time, he’s dealing with the usual teen troubles, like who to ask to the Hogwarts’ Yule Ball. With another Harry Potter adventure about to begin, Scholastic News Online was able to talk with stars from the movie! Click on their names to read what they told us.

2005-2006 Holiday Movie Guide Spend the Holidays at the Movies—Theatrical Releases & DVDs!

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Release date: November 4, 2005 Stars (Voices): Zack Braff, Joan Cusack Plot: The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Based on the classic fairy tale, this animated film takes it even further. Chicken Little mistakes a falling acorn that lands on his head for the sky falling and starts wholesale panic. Just as he is beginning to make amends, a real disaster happens and Chicken Little and his pals have to save the world. Buena Vista (G)

Bee Season

Release date: November 11, 2005 Stars: Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross Plot: Eleven-year-old Eliza Naumann finds herself a spelling bee champ. But as she competes to attend the National Spelling Bee, her family starts having problems. Fox Searchlight (PG-13)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Release date: November 18, 2005 Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint Plot: This film is based on the fourth book of the Harry Potter series. This time the Hogwarts three (Harry, Hermione, and Ron) attend the Quidditch World Cup right before they go back to school for their fourth year. Back at school, Harry finds out that he will represent Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament. Unfortunately Voldemort and his Death Eaters are gaining power and strength and Harry meets challenges he never imagined. Warner Bros. (PG-13)

Pride & Prejudice

Release date: November 18, 2005 Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Talulah Riley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Carey Mulligan, Simon Woods Plot: This film is based on the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice. Five sisters—Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia Bennet—deal with the traditions, gossip, and social prejudices of Georgian England when they meet two eligible and attractive young men. Focus Features (PG)

and they have to fix it, for the happy ending.” She’s working on two CDs: a Hannah Montana soundtrack and a solo album. Ashley’s sister, Jennifer Tisdale hopes that Sharpay and Ryan find love interests in the sequel. Miki Ishikawa (Yours, Mine and Ours) is hoping to see either a big breakup, or Gabriella and Sharpay becoming friends. Miki is now singing with The Truth Squad which will be releasing an album and traveling around the country on the Radio Disney tour this summer. American Idol finalist Ace Young will be recording an album after he finishes touring this summer with the Idol top ten. He was invited to the premiere by Zac and Ashley, whom he met at MTV’s TRL in New York. Ace hopes to do some acting, too. Also on hand were Christian Serratos (Cow Belles), who’ll guest in June on Hannah Montana; Flight 29 Down’s Lauren Storm, who’ll team with good friend Renee Olstead (Still Standing) in the scary movie The Inner Circle; and Kristy Frank, who’ll tour summer camps to promote her new CD. Like many, Kristy never gets tired of High School Musical. “It’s something that you can watch over and over again and never get bored!” SURF SCHOOL PREMIERE Lauren, Ashley, and Rob also attended the premiere of the comedy Surf School which opens in July. They all said they’ve surfed—with varying degrees of success. For Lauren,“it was pretty bad. I got water up my nose, I hit my head.” Still, she’s willing to try again. Ashley only surfed once, in Hawaii, but loved it. And Rob owns his own surfboard:“I surf but I’m better at body-boarding.” He plans to go to the beach this summer with Ned’s Declassified buddy Devon Werkheiser. Matthew Underwood said he’s a good surfer—he might get some in on a trip home to Florida before he starts filming Zoey 101’s next season. Corey Sevier didn’t have to learn to surf for the movie—he’d learned when he was in the series North Shore. Miko Hughes did have to learn, and then he taught pal Scout Taylor-Compton, who was on hand along with Lindsey Shaw and Carter Jenkins, now on screen in Keeping Up With the Steins. Carter’s series Surface was canceled, but he had a blast making it, especially learning how to work with invisible creatures.“I didnâ ™t have anything to react to so I had to do it all up here,” he tapped his head.

Yours, Mine and Ours

Release date: November 23, 2005 Stars: Drake Bell, Danielle Panabaker, Little JJ, Amber Tamblyn, George Lopez, Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo Plot: A remake of a classic 1968 comedy of the same name, which starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. This time Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo fall in love, marry, and join their two families—a total of 18 kids! Then the fun begins! Paramount (PG)


Tasty tidbits about your celebrity faves! HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL DVD PREMIERE The cast of High School Musical celebrated the movie’s DVD release with a Hollywood premiere, where actors and guests talked about the sequel, souvenirs and solo albums. Zac Efron who has Troy’s shoes, jerseys and sweat suits in his personal closet, hopes the second Musical will be original “and not copy the first one. I think we can take a different route and still have as much fun.” Ashley Tisdale, who kept Sharpay’s clothes but doesn’t wear them, wants to see Sharpay “get revenge” in the HSM sequel. She’s going to record an album, and so is Vanessa Hudgens.“Vanessa knows what she wants in the sequel:“Gabriella and Troy have to kiss!” Corbin Bleu didn’t attend because he was escorting the aunt of Flight 29 Down costar Allen Alvarado to her prom, but plenty of stars did. Among them was Rob Pinkston of Ned’s Declassified, who confided his sequel wish:“I want to see Corbin’s hair get bigger—if it’s possible!” Miley Cyrus, a huge HSM fan and friend of the cast, has her own plot idea.“I want to see some craziness that goes terribly wrong


It’s official—Kyle Massey is getting his own Disney Channel series, a spin-off of That’s So Raven called Cory in the House. In it, Cory and his dad Victor (Rondell Sheridan) will move to Washington D.C. when Victor gets a job as the President’s chef. It will premiere in November. Add another role to busy Josh Henderson’s list. He’ll follow the upcoming Bridge to Terabithia and Firehouse Dog with Journey 3-D, a new version of Jules Verne’s fantasy adventure Journey to the Center of the Earth. It looks like 7th Heaven isn’t over after all. The long-running series will back for an 11th season in September on the new CW network, along with such WB and UPN shows as Gilmore Girls, Smallville, and Everybody Hates Chris. Ready for summer movie season? There’s a lot to look forward to, starting with X-Men: The Last Stand on May 26; the animated Cars on June 9; Garfield’s A Tale of Two Kitties and the Jack Black comedy Nacho Libre on June 16; and Superman Returns on June 30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest opens July 7, followed by Monster House on July 21, the animated Barnyard on July 28, How to Eat Fried Worms on August 25, and Hilary and Haylie Duff in Material Girls on August 25. POP-Corn will be on vacation for the summer, but you can still catch up with your favorite stars— we’ll have special reports from time to time to fill you in until we come back in September!


Order of the Flame


t’s important to know three things. First, I am by nature a forgiving soul. Second, I am by nature an eager devotee of the female form. Third, I’m looking forward to the game that knocks Ms. Lara Croft down a peg or two and shows what would be possible with the action-adventure genre if developers would only put some care and effort into their designs. This open insight into my mind is important because, first, it lets me forgive many of Drakan’s flaws, bugs, and design limitations. It also makes following the impossibly narrow butt and extra-polygons-up-top form of lead character Rynn a welcome task. And it gives me a small amount of satisfaction that developers Surreal have surpassed both of the last two tomb raids, even though Drakan doesn’t accomplish much more than that. Third-person action-adventure games of the Tomb Raider ilk have so far followed a simple formula of third-person perspective, attempts at character development and plot, and detailed locations and puzzles. Drakan certainly fits the bill, with the emphasis on attempting character and plot development, rather than actually succeeding. The storyline - rescuing your brother from a great evil of yore - quickly falls by the wayside. By the time you reach the tragically impotent ending (which, after some 30-plus hours of adventuring, is a woeful and disappointing payoff ), your brother Delon’s existence has been forgotten. Throughout this, Rynn is sadly devoid of any character development. Nothing is learned of her past or where her skill with the swords, axes, bow, and mace came from. It seems she was a rather vapid, unquestioning gal before we meet her in the game - and fails to grow beyond that all the way to the bitter end. The puzzles are strictly average and very formulaic. There are so many levers that need pulling in this gameworld that it’s almost a relief to finally be searching for a key. Many of Drakan’s 11 levels are vast, but an excellent map function supplies a basic idea of where you’re supposed to be heading, with the objectives scrawled on and crossed out as they’re completed. The well-structured level design constantly points you in the right direction. Exploration is rewarded with caches of armor, weapons, or health potions in hidden coves. Many of these areas are littered with the skeletal remains of the previous owner, implying that they were too stupid to use their own potions. It’s not long before Drakan plays its ace in the hole - Arokh the dragon. Your partner through much of the game, Arokh is a huge red dragon used as a conduit to the history of the characters and items you need to recover. He’s also a very powerful weapon. He looks incredibly cool, moves amazingly well, use virtually the same control method as when you’re on the ground (surprisingly avoiding control issues as Arokh adds a third dimension to move-

ment) and has some bad-ass flame breath. The fireball is cunningly vital to some of the end-game sequences when you’re tempted to use the more powerful poison, ice, lightning, and exploding options picked up after defeating bosses. Dragon-to-dragon dogfighting is the game’s highlight in both single-player and multiplayer (see sidebar). After proving adept with a sword, slashing and sashaying all in the same move, it’s a delight to find Arokh and get to the real good bits. The beastly Wartoks that had caused problems when fighting on foot now flee like the polygonal scum they are from the mere sight of the mighty red dragon. When you’re confronted by another dragon, the enemy AI exhibits some very adroit maneuvering, which sadly can’t be said for the ground-based enemies. Any appearance of actions resembling AI are generally scripted moments that occasionally manage some comic flair - such as the ill-timing of the rock fall trap that takes the hapless Wartok with it, falling to a deepvalley death. Key moments are captured with game-engine cinematics, though the early ones have a pretty lame tendency to use camera angles that seem primarily designed to highlight Rynn’s ample cleavage. The engine does manage to convey some beautiful terrain effects, from cascading waterfalls to eerily lit lava-filled caverns (via the inevitable icy tundra-style level), but while Drakan excels graphically with some fantastic textures - the giants and dual-sword-wielding guardians being the highlights - its visuals are let down by these enemies’ overly square shapes. An adjustable fogging distance creates limited visibility to keep the frame rates acceptable at the cost of obscuring much of the wonderful vistas. In creating this fantasy world, the sound effects of weapon clatter and mood music are expertly used. While support for 3D audio is a luxury, the most benefit comes purely from a solid subwoofer to add resonating bass to the pounding explosions of dragon-to-dragon combat. With such excellent sound, it’s a shame that Rynn doesn’t have anything interesting to say for herself. It’s also a real shame that there are so many damn bugs running rampant. Clipping problems plague the engine, undermining the solid level design, and require liberal use of the quick-save feature to guard against falling through the scenery to a bitter death (which happened to me three times). Other crashes occurred when trying to change items in the inventory while invisible. By the end, the epic battles, intense puzzling, and terrific textures had me forgiving those deaths at the hands of bugs and scenery clipping. It’s a shame that the designers seemed more interested in working on Rynn’s physique than imbuing her with any personality, but that’s more than made up for by Arokh, who is, without a doubt, the showstopper. Drakan has its problems, but it’s still a worthier action-

Nintendo’s Virtual Console:

It has to be perfect


ot into a discussion with some online friends (yeah I still use IRC, so what!?) about emulation, specifically Nintendo’s upcoming Virtual Console. It got me ranting about the miserable state of emulation and desperately hoping that Nintendo does Virtual Console right. Most people are fine with emulation as-is. It’s free (though illegal) and grants access to nearly every classic game ever made. What’s not to like? Oh yeah, the rubbish experience of playing games through emulators. I hate it! I don’t like PC gaming. Nothing against the games on PC, but the experience of playing a game on a computer is just garbage to me. I hate hate hate the little things that distract from the game, like loading software, updating drivers, messing with configurations, etc., etc. When I game I want to hit the power switch and enjoy, no distractions. Pulling out to system menus and rummaging through drive folders isn’t something I want with my video games. Emulation as-is, whether on PC, Xbox or PSP, is just as bothersome as PC gaming. I loathe it, though I love the idea of being able to play classic games without having to track down hopefully-working classic hardware and hopefullyunchewed cartridges. I want emulation to provide viable, quality gaming. But with the current state of emulation, it’s just not there. Even though I’m playing console games it doesn’t feel like console gaming. The simplicity is lost.



Zowom ire





The Guardian | Saturday May 6 2006

Labour reshuffle

The Guardian 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER Telephone: 020-7278 2332

Kids Talk about:

Brothers Sisters

t date’

Smith are unmisd the Guardian: “I nd hours on the em previous loyal not this time'. And hen we of recent events — asked about n impact. The difbrothers and eakness of trust, a sisters, you s seen the governcult times. There is guys didn’t el let down. hold back! ar that we need to More than not just up to the 2,000 kids wrote in to tell us — ofere we go over the ten in great detail — about their translate our valwonderful brothers and sisters. ieve we cannot get OK, not everyone said they were f rebuilding while wonderful. But just about everyn the air. The prime an orderlyone transisaid that their brothers and ed to see the time-were great at least some of sisters ather thanthe later. I — even when they ate time ests of the country


all the best cereal, or talked like a

babyMr too much, or pulled their hair. or later meant, Ouch! Not nice! possible", rejecting Lots of kids even took the r Blair could wait onference in Mantime to write poems about their sisters and bros. Here are some of

aiting? Theour sooner favorites: re they are, the isThanks for letting me use the n be got out of the

stuff that wasn’t always mine. Thanks for laughs and the fun times, too. Sudoku Thanks for not hitting me with your shoe. Even when you wanted to. Today’s Sudoku • by Bailey, 11, about her Classic is on 17-year-old brother Zachpage 36 ary

My sister is Sally She’s silly and strange, But she’s my sister and we’re both the same. Sometimes we fight like all people do, But I know she loves me and I do her, too. — by Dean, 12, about his 15year-old sister, Sally Uh oh, Here comes Tamsin, And here comes a fight, A bubbling volcano, pushing out the walls, Destroying a lovely day, Smashing and bashing thoughts, I think I’m going to pop. And what does she say? “How was your day, Caitlin?” I am sooooooo astounded!!!! — by Caitlin, 10, about her 7-year-old sister Tamsin

up an awful lot? Just about Plot signals comes everyone mentioned the fighting. beginning of Blair’s end Do you see that fighting

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≤ continued from page 1 the PM’s judgement. That must have forced some hurried changes to the game plan. The result was grumbles all round. Several MPs wonder how sustainable it is for John Prescott to keep his title and salary as deputy prime minister without a department to run: “What will he actually do?" asked Kate Hoey. Why has Patricia Hewitt kept her job as health secretary? Why has the accident prone chief whip Hilary Armstrong retained a place in the cabinet? What sense does it make to have David Miliband toil away for a year rethinking local government and the cities, only to move him before his work is done to focus on the countryside? Far from bringing in fresh blood, Blair was forced to recirculate blood that’s been in the system a long, long time. No one embodies that better than John Reid, arch-Blairite henchman now elevated to the Home Office — his sixth cabinet post in five years. Reid gives good Newsnight, but rejuvenating he ain’t: he’s one of Labour’s most familiar figures. But the objections to this reshuffle went deeper than that. For nothing about it suggested a prime minister preparing the ground for the “orderly transition" which he himself necessitated nearly two years ago, when he announced that he would not seek a fourth term. More importantly nothing in this reshuffle signalled an eventual handover to Brown at all. On the contrary, the PM simply dug in, surrounding himself with Blairite ultras. The promotion of Reid, the retention of Tessa Jowell are part of it; but even more provocative was the appointment of Hazel Blears as party chairman. If Blair had a transition in mind, he would have picked a neutral for the job; or even someone allied to Brown, say Douglas Alexander, to smooth the way. He would also have brought on a new generation, giving them precious experience, ready to serve a new administration. Instead the PM selected a team to help him finish the job, rather than to prepare for the next phase of the Labour government.


A Boy With Quiet assassin A Birthmark Story who called time

er Philip would start knocking on her door before coming into her embryonic, but it will say a date has to be room. But she really appreciates ‘I have been very loyal to the guy’ set. how he comes to her ball games Former pensions secretary Andrew One of the organisers said: “We can get and cheers for her. Smith, left, who is close to Gordon 50 names together in half an hour, and And 12-year-old Nick said he Brown, has become the most none of them will be from the [leftwing] loves to that significant Labour figure callhis younger sister Lexy Campaign Group.” on the prime minister to go competitive. It makes her is really Another at the centre of events said: fun to play with, he said. Here’s his “Gordon [Brown] knows what is going on, poem: he is on the front foot. He desperately wants to avoid an open fight and thinks My sister’s name is Lexy Blair can still be persuaded, but he knows She can sometimes be a pain! that a letter might be published by the But she’s someone to play middle of the week.” with, when you can’t go in the rain. As the results in on so many Rebellious ost kidselection like to blend in pouredbecause We fight sometimes when we Thursday night, Labour MPs began to ask me backbenchers when it comes to the way people get mad, like bros and sisses will break ranks on air. Martin Salter and John Clockwise from they look. Friends might about it. And having do. Trickett were among the first. Nick Brown, top left, the choose wear the same Though I can always count the formerto parliamentary secretaryto togo theto the laser Hemsworth MP kind of followed. shoes or get surgery. They give Treasury, Thesimilar three are among Jon Trickett; on her, haircuts. But other aspects of a person’s me some medicine the key figures moving against Mr Blair. Martin Salter, MP In life, all the way through! version to of the letterEvan, likely to be appearance are Atougher change. sopubit doesn’t burn as for Reading West; Into the Future lished put well. out yesterday and the former 11, understands thiswas really Like a lotby Compass, much, but my face A lot of kids agreed with Nick the group organised by a agriculture of 6th graders, he likes “Star Wars” andNeal Lawson, gets swollen and about brothers and sisters sticking formidable party organiser and a man who for a couple ministersoccer. Nick But unlike most kids, he has a large bruised together through the years. In fact, used to work for Mr Brown but is by no Brown reddish birthmark on his cheek. Peopleof days. Then my 75% of kids said they expected to means in his pocket. Patrick notice this maroon and they haven’t face goes back to Wintour The mark letter read: “Labour is in a hole and still hang out with their brothers or Political editor always been nice about it. But Evan normal. way. The uncertainty gets worse with must stop digging. The renewal of the sisters even when they’re growndoesn’tthat complain. learned some imWhy do you have laser surgery? every month that passes. It reinforces partyHe’s and the government must start now. ups. Andrew thethe soft-spoken lack of for inThe change of direction party and the portant life lessons and turned themthe into Because it will Smith, close up blood and That’s a funny thing totrust. thinkThe cabinet reshuffle, and idiotic character in my games.” uncharismatic former work and pensions stance, raises the question ‘isathis an in- book country needs with demands clarity over lead- so that children’s he wrote his mom. vessels if I ever cut my face it won’t about. Today, you’re sharing the Those are really good things secretary, is not normally the type to be dication of how long he intends to go on?’is about ershipa—little otherwise thehas drift and demoralThe story bird that bleed really bad. The surgery also lightens back seat of the car, but one day for Caitlin to work on. It’s not cast as the assassin, even if he represents There is is an impatience out there on the isation will only benefit our enemies. — you guessed it — a noticeable birththe birthmark for some kids, though it you will be all growndoorstep up and drivthe rougher eastern end of Oxford. always easy, but if brothers and to know where we are.” “The world has moved on since 1997. mark. Here’s what Evan had to say about hasn’t lightened much forheme. But yesterday became the most seing the car! And maybe your kids Mr Smith continued: “You cannot put Now green issues, democratic renewal, sisters try hard, they might be able a kid who’s a little bitwork-life different: How do you dealinside withthepeople’s comrious figure parliamentary party problems like John wellbeing and balance are at the and your brother’s orthe sister’s kids down to issuesbeing to cut down on the fighting. Maybe What of birthmark do you haveNew ments? to call on Tony Blair to stand aside. Mr Prescott more than you can solve it by kind forefront of voters’ minds. times will be sitting together in theany back start with just one day and make Smith, who the cabinet for five andinwhat it? a new direction. A change of When people askwas meinwhat’s on my a reshuffle. Tonycaused demand seat. They’ll be cousins. Do you The problem also lies it “No Fight Day.” Oh, how happy years 2004, is extremely Blair. Many Labour voters looked me in a port leader is a necessary but insufficient step. I have wine stain. It’s blood face, I just say, “It’suntil a birthmark.” I just close to think they’ll fight too? Probably your mom and dad will be! And Brownwhat and has so far say. remained the eye and said as much.” A the newskin sense bereally Gordon vessels close to that of arepurpose wider cannot don’t care about people not as much as brothers sisters to say if his view even if it doesn’t last all day, agree publicly loyal to Mr Blair. Heorrefused wasusual. now I’m achieved atwhat the tail end of the thirdItterm, than not sure it’s caused doesn’t matter what other people think would. Oh no, when you are grown to have some rules about what’s Judging by the train of events yestercommon in the cabinet, and insisted he by then it will be too late. by. Mytomom asked the doctors and they about me, it’s important what dayonly his decision to speak outIisthink part of a up, you’ll be the parent toa leadership challenge OK and what’s not OK when you didhaving not want be “Paralysis and confusion at the top of don’t really whatare causes birthmarks about and I think I’m just a normal coordinated attempt to press the prime break up the fights! mounted against the prime minister. “I know the party the direct consequence of myself argue. For instance, hitting and either. Some people think it might person. minister to set out the timetable of his have been very loyal to the guy. I think the announcement by be Tony Blair that he But for now, you’re still a kid. hurting is never OK. by next week. Indeed Treasury hereditary. great-grandmother a Eighteen Is theredeparture anything good about having this needscan to be done in an orderly rather My would be standing had down. Life with brothers and sisters The Good News! sources did little to disguise their expecthan divisive way. I would expect that is months on the prime minister must tell port wine stain on her arm. But nobody a birthmark? be rough and tumble sometimes, Enough about fighting! Let’s tationdifferent that Mr Brown Mr Blair would what Tony Blair wants. Therefore cir- family the party exactly when he intends to stand elsefor in my has one. Some people Yep. You’re thanand everyone but there’s a lot of fun and good talk about the good stuff — like discuss the issue of “party renewal and cumstances to arise where there are chaldown within akisses. timescale that enables his say birthmarks are angel’s I think else. You’re unique. It’s been good for me times to be had too. The next time 60% of kids said they’re nice to the orderly transition” over the weekend. lenges is what we need to avoid." that’s true. successor to take on the task of rebuilding because it’sMr gotten mewell to make writehisa response book clear you want to complain about your of those preparing Blair may their siblings most of the time or The purpose the the party and reconnecting with both our What’s ittraditional been like for you, having a with my mom, and conference it’s helping lot of at a press onaMonday. brother or sister, consider this: letter is to give the prime minister a matter supporters, and those who all of the time. birthmark? people everywhere, so I think I was meant A two-hour meeting between the two of days to set out his departure date, or joined us for the first time in 1997.” We asked only-children (kids who And 71% said they consider men on Thursday only tangentially disI pretty a regular have a birthmark. else see a public letter calling him to go. much Thelive sources addedlife, that over theto weekdon’t have brothers or sisters) if their brother or sister a friend. Even cussed the response the local elections, for people asking me aboutwould it all be making What advice would youtogive other organisers currently end the trade unions they wished they hadThe a brother or claim the letterexcept Nicholas, 8, who said he’d like his and the impact of the planned reshuffle has many different forms, and is still their own statements. the time. It’s just annoying sometimes, kids (who don’t have birthmarks) when sister. What do you think they said? 10-year-old brother to be nicer to him. In fact, Nicholas likes his brother a lot. Just read his poem about him: Roses are red Violets are blue You’re funny and nice, and smart, too!!!!!!!!!!! Amaris, 9, wishes her younger broth-


Released terror suspect sealed home secretary’s fate

What he installed yesterday was a Final Days administration. The great irony is that the conventional sequence of such a day is for a disastrous poll result to be rescued by a sparkling reshuffle. Yet yesterday it was almost the other way around: it was the ministerial rejig, rather than the council elections, which drew attention to the fundamental weaknesses of the government. For on its own, Thursday night was not the disaster it might have been. Labour could have haemorrhaged 400 seats, rather than 250; its share of the vote could have fallen to less than a quarter, rather than 26%. In the event, Labour could claim to have held firm, not falling below its 2004 local performance, which was followed by a general election win. There were even some gains, Lambeth in London and extra seats in Manchester, Sheffield and Barnsley. But that was not the mood yesterday. For there was a winner on Thursday and his name is David Cameron. He took his party to the psychologically important 40% threshold for the first time since 1992. It’s not yet the national surge the Conservatives need: Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle remain stubbornly Tory-free zones. But gains in London and the south east, in Hammersmith and Croydon, are not to be sneezed at either. As one anxious Labour strategist put it yesterday: “Seats like those, remember, are the New Labour majority." The Labour party is beginning to see the possibility of defeat, on the distant horizon maybe, but, for the first time in a decade, visible. They are desperate to renew themselves before the voters decide they are clapped out and should be turfed out. They want Tony Blair to get that message — and, if he doesn’t listen, some of them are ready to make him.

The summons to Downing Street came on Thursday evening, as the last voters headed for the polls, and the Home Office was once again being besieged. A major terrorist suspect had been identified as a foreign prisoner, a gift for Charles Clarke’s opponents, who once again called for his head. They got it yesterday, but only after the home secretary and the prime minister had “talked through the night”, with Mr Blair apparently offering him a series of senior posts in the cabinet. Mr Clarke could have had John Reid’s job at defence — a straight swap. Or Margaret Beckett’s at environment. Tessa Jowell and Mr Reid pleaded with him to stay. But he turned them all down. For the Blairites it was an intensely sad night. “He is one of the New Labour family. There is great sadness about what has happened,” said one Downing Street source. The one job that Mr Clarke would have been prepared to accept — that of foreign secretary — he was never offered. It is believed that Mr Clarke, the most proEuropean member of the cabinet, had been hoping that he would be given the Foreign Office in the coming reshuffle.


When they fight, most kids say they yell at their siblings or call them mean names. Almost half said they hit each other. But some of the kids — about 20% — say they ask their mom or John McDonnell, 32 ≥them work out a solution to the problem. dad topage help Leader comment, page 34 ≥ Charles Clarke at his home yesterday

on battered PM

they meet a kid with a noticeable birthmark? How should they act? You should treat the person like you would treat anyone else and not ask about their birthmark. If you do ask, be polite and not obnoxious. Try and get to know the personYet first on Mr Brown’s Treasury. it isand clearthen a The words from Mr Smith are you way. can The askchancelthem about train of events is under takable in intent. He told the Guar their birthmark politely. Don’t just jump lor appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today have spent hours and hours programme calling for a renewal ofthat the might doorstep, many of them previo right in to saying something party, and a statement yesterday after-else’s Labour voters saying ‘not this tim be annoying and hurt someone noon from the left-of-centre group Com- it is not just because of recent e feelings. pass demanded that Mr Blair stand down. obviously they have an impact. What advice would you give other Then, perhaps the most damaging turn ference is there is a weakness of kids who have birthmarks (or other difof all: sources leaked the existence of an trust that in the past has seen the ferences) dealing with embryonicabout letter in circulation onpeople’s the ment through the difficult times. comments? Labour backbenches calling for Mr Blair to a feeling that people feel let down should focusthat ona loose stuffbut that’s “It is absolutely clear that we quit.You The letter suggests connected nexus of forces is gathering rebuild for the future, not just u important to you. Focus on yourtotalents press Mr Blair to accept he hasthat to put the birthnext election, but where we go o and show other people your “orderly train. Downing mark isn’ttransition" the mostin important thingnext 10 years, how we translate Street is quite aware of this push to re- ues to polices. And I believe we ca about you. You should be yourself. Don’t move him and some sources suggest that on with that process of rebuildin care other people think aboutthe you. whenwhat the prime minister became aware leadership issue is in the air. Th You should proud ofagainst yourself. of the forces just beingbe marshalled minister has promised an orderly You focusbyonbringing your good him,should he responded forwardqualities tion and I believe we need to see t his ministerial reshuffle. table for that sooner rather than like how smart you are, how kind you think that is in the interests of the are to other people, how athletic you as well as the party.” are, how creative you are, etc. Be who ‘You cannot put the Asked what sooner or later me you are and you’ll make good friends. Smith said “as soon as possible", r down to issues Ifproblem some people still aren’t nice, just the suggestion that Mr Blair cou don’t friends with them. You can’t bethe annual party conference likebe John Prescott. It also until friends with everybody. But you can still chester in October. lies in Tony Blair’ make a lot of good friends who have “What is gained by waiting? The Labour MPs know where they are Andrew Smith and like you for who similar interests sue of uncertainty can be got ou you are.

Fifty MPs ‘will sign letter demanding Blair names exit date

Brothers and sisters do a lot of it, that after a fight, they apologize to according to our survey. More than their brother or sister and go back half of kids said they fight with to being close. their siblings at least once a day, More good news is that lots with 38% saying they argue more of kids said they wanted to stop than once a day. Oh dear, that’s a yelling and fighting with their lot! siblings as much as they do. Alaina, The Complaint Department 9, wishes she could stop screaming From what kids reported, beand crying when she gets angry ing annoying or rude is often what with her older brother. Here, in her most gets on their nerves about poem, she describes how she’s their brothers or sisters. Other trying to get along better with him: complaints included: I’m not always mad. * being too competitive His jokes keep me from being * ignoring people sad. * getting too much attenSo from now on, I’ll always tion love him. * not respecting privacy Try not to bug him. (like barging into someone’s room And be the sweetest sister without knocking) you’ve ever seen. * having an “attitude” And Caitlin, who wrote the * being whiny poem about her “volcanic” sister When they fight, most kids Tamsin, said she needs to make say they yell at their siblings or call some changes, too. “I would like to them mean names. Almost half change the number of fights we said they hit each other. But some have a day to ZERO!” she said. “I of the kids — about 20% — sayCharles wouldClarke also like to change the way they ask their mom or dad to help I do not include her in some of my them work out a solution to the things, or make her the problem. That’s a lot better than loser hitting and hurting each other. And even more kids — almost 40% — say Alan Travis Home affairs editor

11 o om Z wire

That was until two weeks ago when he decided to make a clean breast of the fact that there were more than 1,000 foreign prisoners who had been released without being considered for deportation. As the evening wore on, Mr Clarke argued with the prime minister that he had staked his reputation on sorting out that problem and he firmly believed that he was getting to grips with it. But his hope that the promise of a major overhaul of the deportation rules would overshadow the news that the police had yet to catch up with 38 of the most serious released offenders were dashed by Wednesday morning’s headlines. The case of the terror suspect appears to have been too much for No 10. As one Home Office source said at the time: “We can’t close this story down. Clarke is at the mercy of events.” The issue was costing the party dear in the local elections. “There was genuine public anger about this issue that we could not ignore,” said one Downing Street source. “This came over very clearly on the doorstep. It was not the only factor but there was genuine public concern. That is why Charles Clarke was asked to move to another job. Charles chose not do so.” Mr Clarke said in his resignation statement: “The prime minister, as is his right and responsibility, has made the judgment that my continued occupation of the post of home secretary is likely to stand in the way of continued reform that remains necessary. Although I do not agree with that judgment, I entirely accept his right to make it." In the end what appears to have sealed his fate was the fact that Mr Blair’s hardwon reputation as “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’’ was being shredded on the doorsteps of middle England. Prime ministers do not like to lose home secretaries. Lady Thatcher went through six in 18 years. Mr Clarke was only the third in Mr Blair’s nine years. He took over from the scandal-mired David Blunkett after just 16 months — the shortest period in the job since his namesake, Ken Clarke, used it as a springboard to the job of chancellor. But like so many before him, the job of home secretary could prove a political graveyard for Charles Clarke.


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ome is the capital city of Italy. Building started in 753 B.C. and the Romans have a story to explain how this happened. Twin boys, Romulus and Remus, were taken from their mother and left by the river Tiber to starve. A mother wolf found the babies and looked after them until they were old enough to take care of themselves. Years later, Mars (the Roman God of war) told the boys to build a city where they had been found. The two boys built this city, but ended up at war with each other. Romulus won the battle and the city became known as Rome. Today, historians and archaeologists agree that people started living in Rome long before the time of Romulus and Remus, but many people still believe in their legend. HOW WAS ROME RULED At first, Rome was ruled by kings. They were sometimes very cruel and the last king, Tarquin the Proud, was overthrown. Rome then became a republic for the next four hundred years. This republic was ruled by a senate, and people called Senators were elected to do different jobs in the senate. However, not everyone was allowed to vote in these elections. Women and slaves were not allowed to vote and neither were poor people. Those Roman people who were not slaves were called ‘citizens’. In the 1st century B.C. the generals who controlled the army became very powerful. Rome was no longer just a city, it was the capital of an empire. The Romans ruled lands from France to North Africa. WHO WERE ROMAN EMPERORS? A Roman Emperor was the man who ruled over the Empire. At first, Rome was ruled by Generals but this caused problems. The Generals were always fighting over who would have the final say in running the Empire. Eventually the Generals were replaced by just one man - The Emperor. The first Emperor to come to power was Augustus in 27 B.C. He was a popular Emperor who brought peace after many years of fighting. Not all the Emperors were so good and wise, some were terrible! The Emperor had a troop of special soldiers to protect him. They were called the Praetorian Guard. However, some of the bad Emperors were so unpopular that their Praetorian Guards killed them!

Many buildings from the ancient city of Rome still survive even though they are in ruins. Visitors to Rome today can walk in the Forum, walk inside temples and even see Roman sewers and the underground burial tunnels called the catacombs. See how much you can discover about the ancient city of Rome. Write an ancient Roman guidebook to record what you find out. * What were the most famous buildings called? * What should a tourist have visited in Rome in about 300 A.D.? What did Roman Emperors look like? We have portraits of Emperors on coins as well as statues and paintings of some of them. Paint a portrait of an Emperor. Should he look happy or sad, serious or excited? Find out about the people who ruled the Roman Empire. Make a list of ‘good’ people and ‘bad’ people, and explain why they are on your list. E.g. Emperor Augustus was a good man because he restored peace to the Roman Empire and set up a fire fighting service for the people of Rome. * Do you think it was better to have an Emperor in charge or should the Romans have stuck with the Republic? * How could the Romans have made the Republic a fairer sort of government?

Special events

Homage to Rembrandt and Mozart: A birthday celebration: 7 p.m. July 13, Focus on the Masters Creative Center, 1141 E. Main St., Ventura. In honor of Rembrandt’s 400th birthday and Mozart’s 250th, Gerd Koch, a longtime art teacher and member of FOTM’s Board of Directors, will show slides of Rembrandt’s art and play recordings of Mozart’s music. The presentation will have a party atmosphere, with Koch costumed in a wig, tricorn hat and punchinello mask. Dutch beer and wine will be served. The event is a fundraiser for FOTM. $15. Space is limited; call for reservations. 6532501.

Ventura County Star


ACCOLADES GALLERY: noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment, 451 E. Main St., Ventura. Through Aug. 13: For the exhibit Hay Vida Adentro (There Is Life Within), Guillermo Figoli used discards from everyday life to create abstract cityscapes. 648-4080; artists’ union gallery: noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays and noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 330 S. California St., Ventura. Through July 16: Artists share some of their gloomiest creative expressions in the second annual June Gloom juried exhibit. 658-4726; http://www.venturaartistsunion. org. ARTZWORKS GALLERY: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays through Fridays, 3810 Channel Islands Blvd., Oxnard. Ongoing: Souls to Sails features original work by gallery owner David Schwartz. 984-2816; Bali Sea Boutique and Gallery: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 493 E. Main St., Ventura. Ongoing: Contemporary impressionist landscape oil paintings by local artist Robbie D. Sayers are on display. 652-0573. Buenaventura gallery: noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 700 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura. Through July 22: The Aquarium Gallery is an exhibit of John Sidman’s acrylic paintings. 648-1235; http:// CAFE ON A: 438 South A St., Oxnard. Through July 30: On display are oils, collages and mixed-media works by Michael Irrizary-Pagan that express social commentary and satire; and new abstract paintings by Oxnard artist Julian Vergera. 216-4530 or 216-4560. Cafe zack: Mondays through Saturdays, 1095 Thompson Blvd., Ventura. Through July 15: Hilda Kirkpatrick’s oil landscape paintings are on view. 643-9445. California oil museum: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, 1001 E. Main St., Santa Paula. Through July 23: The eighth annual Las Medallas de Oro Art Show features art from the past year by students at Santa Paula

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High School. $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 youths. 9330076; http://www.

CarnegiE art museum: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, Carnegie Art Museum, 424 South C St., Oxnard. Through Aug. 20: In Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change, a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, seven Chinese photographers convey China’s struggle toward evolution. Box Full of Happy is a collection of paintings by Sandra Low that playfully critique consumer society and power. Low will present an Artist’s Gallery Talk at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 4 and offer children’s art workshops from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 during Family Day. $3. 385-8157; http://www.vcnet. com/carnart. Conejo simi eye center: 351 Rolling Oaks Drive, Suite 102, Thousand Oaks. Through July 10: Barbara Welch’s mixed-media paintings featuring images of the Southwest and Native Americans are on display. 496-8417. DOWN HOME FURNISHINGS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays, 446 Main St., Ventura. Through Aug. 30: Madonna and Our Children features Leslie Marcus’ new abstract oil paintings featuring contemporary images of mother and child. 653-2600. FOX FINE JEWELRY: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays

sites in paintings, coloredpencil drawings and mixed-media works.

through Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 210 E. Main St., Ventura. Through July 17: California Impressions features oils by Steve Cook and watercolors by Robert Thornton. 652-1800. GARDENS OF THE WORLD: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, 2001 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Through Aug. 14: Manolo “Manny” Fernandez presents paintings and sculpture. 557-1135. Healing arts GALLERY: Main hallway, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, 215 W. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. Local physician Paul Finkel’s color photographs of people and sites in Thailand, India, Antarctica and the Galápagos Islands are on display. Finkel will donate $100 to the New West Symphony for each work sold. 497-5800. J’s Tapas: 204 E. Main St., Ventura. Through Sept. 30: Ventura Scenes features Gerardo Segismundo’s depictions of local

kwan fong gallery of art and culture: California Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks. Through July 29: Cosmetic Trans Fat features works by Grant Toland and Mark Tevis that explore the differences between artists and scientists, and between laboratories, art studios and museums. Toland, who graduated from CLU in May with a degree in art, will return in the fall to complete degrees in bioengineering and international studies. Tevis is entering his final semester as an art major at CLU. 493-3316.


M/H DESIGNS: 21 Easy St., Suite 107, Simi Valley. Contemporary landscapes and seascapes by Ventura artist Randel Rogers are on display. 584-2600. ART APPETIC: July 19-21, Billy Rose Art Gallery and Le Petit Cafe, Ventura Harbor, Ventura. Children ages 4 to 13 will create edible works of art with a French chef and explore fine art techniques with local artists. $75. 984-4564. ART START: The Ventura County Museum of History and Art is accepting applications for its summer children’s program, slated from 9 a.m. to noon July 17-21 for students entering sixth through eighth grades. Participants explore a different art medium each day, keep a personal sketchbook and meet with local artists. $75; includes snacks and all materials. Space is limited. For an application, visit the museum, 100 E. Main St., Ventura; call 6530323, ext. 14; or visit http:// Call to artists Ojai Center for the Arts: The application process is under way for artists interested in showing their work during the center’s 2007 season of exhibits. Artists should submit at least 10 photos, a written description of their work and a current biographical information sheet. Applications can be mailed to or submitted in person at the center, 113 S. Montgomery St., Ojai 93023. If mailing, include a pre-addressed, stamped envelope to return the materials.


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Banana Split in Space


ruit can’t grow in space, but scientists from Japan have discovered the next best thing. Using a telescope on Earth, they’ve spotted two large features that look like bright yellow, banana-shaped objects facing each other, deep in outer space. The bananas aren’t edible, and they certainly don’t have peels. Instead, they’re part of a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star. Inside the disk, clouds of dust and gas are forming into planets. Astronomers used to think that all protoplanetary disks are shaped basically like Frisbees. The new discovery adds to the growing realization that star-forming clouds can take on lots of different shapes. The disk surrounds a star called HD 142527, which lies 650 light-years from Earth. Astronomers studied the star and its disk using the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The disk has a radius equal to about six times the distance between the sun and Neptune. The astronomers also noted a gap separating an inner and outer portion of the disk. They suspect that a planet carved out this gap as it emerged from the disk some time in the distant past. he banana-shaped features stretch even farther out. These features were probably created by the pull of another star that passed by within the last thousand years, or perhaps by a large, outlying planet. The HD 142527 disk isn’t the first to defy the standard disk shape. A doughnut-shaped disk appears to surround a pair of stars that lie in the constellation Taurus. And a spiralshaped disk surrounds a star near the constellation Auriga. Maybe strawberries and apples will be next! ~E. Sohn




The bananas aren’t edible, and they certainly don’t have peels. Instead, they’re part of a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star. Inside the disk, clouds of dust and gas are forming into planets.


Sun Screen I

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When summer comes, I get sun crazy by Emily Sohn

like to eat on the patio and lie on the beach. I walk and bike everywhere. I even bring my work outside. Soaking up the sun feels so good—as long as I’m wearing sunscreen and a hat. When I was younger, I played in the sun without worry. Now that I’m 30, I realize how important it is to protect myself. That’s because the same ultraviolet (UV) rays that make us warm and tan also harm the cells in our skin. You can’t see the damage when you’re young, but its effects often show up decades later. After years of tanning, the skin gets wrinkled, leathery, and, worst of all, prone to skin cancer. The disease is directly linked to UV exposure, says Mandeep Kaur. She’s a dermatologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. As young people flock to beaches and tanning salons, skin cancer is becoming more common and appearing at younger ages, Kaur says. “We used to see only older and middle-aged people with skin cancer,” she says.“These days, we see people in their 20s or 30s.” Tanning dangers Kaur and her colleagues reviewed a large number of studies about skin cancer and UV light. The disease, they found, is the most rapidly growing cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Even so, doctors rarely warn their young patients about the dangers of tanning. What your doctor should tell you is that your skin is the largest organ in your body. It keeps your stomach and other organs from spilling out. And it keeps germs from getting in. Skin

allows you to feel pain, heat, cold, and other sensations. And through sweat, it rids your body of extra water and salt. Can you imagine life without it lthough our skin works hard to protect us, few people work to protect it. The sun’s UV rays are the biggest threat because they damage the genetic material DNA in the cells of your skin. Damaged, or mutated, cells are supposed to kill themselves, but sun-damaged skin cells eventually become


There are two categories of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma tumors develop in the outermost layer of skin. They usually appear on the head, neck, and other exposed areas. There are about 1 million new cases of nonmelanoma in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society.


cancerous and multiply out of control. They produce abnormal growths called tumors. The tricky thing is that this process can take 30 or more years to become evident. “It’s surprising how long it takes,” says Meenhard Herlyn, a tumor biologist at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.“Even



You’ve probably experienced the power of antibiotics. These amazing medicines kill the bacteria that give you strep throat and other infections. Usually, you start feeling better after a day or two of treatment. Antibiotics have become so widely used, however, that many bacteria have developed ways to survive treatment. And when antibiotics stop working, sick people end up getting sicker. Tens of thousands of people die each year as a result. Now, scientists at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, N.J., may have found a new weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Lab tests in mice show that a compound called platensimycin attacks—and kills—certain bacteria in a new way.


One minute, you’re breathing normally. The next minute, you’re coughing, wheezing, and gasping for air. Maybe the trouble started when you stroked a cat. Or maybe it happened when you raced for a soccer ball on a breezy spring day. If these situations sound familiar, you may be among the growing number of kids with a lung disorder called asthma. “It’s very common for kids to have this,” says Andy Liu, a childhood asthma-and-allergy researcher at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. And, he says, asthma is becoming more and more common. Between 1980 and 1996, the number of asthma cases doubled in the United States. Today, more than 20 million adults and about 9 million kids have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


if kids have big, blistering sunburns every summer, they’re fine while they’re kids.”

A cartoon character slips on a banana peel. On a TV show featuring home videos, people spin and tumble while trying to dance on a slippery floor. Your friend topples into a swimming pool while retrieving a beach ball. In such cases, falling can be laugh-out-loud funny. Much of the time, however, falling is far from amusing. If you’ve ever tripped over a curb or fallen off your bike, you know about the painful scrapes and bruises that can take days to heal. For your grandparents, the consequences of a fall can be far worse.

Doctors can easily remove most of these cancers if they catch them early. The second type of skin cancer is melanoma. It is less common than nonmelanoma cancer. There are only 60,000 new cases a year in this country. However, melanoma is far more likely to spread to other organs and become deadly. Melanoma affects the cells in your skin that produce pigment, or color, that makes you tan. These cells are most active when you’re young, so getting sunburns during childhood puts you at especially high risk. “If you have more than five blistering sunburns while you’re un-

There are two categories of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma tumors develop in the outermost layer of skin. They usually appear on the head, neck, and other exposed areas.

der 15,” Herlyn says,“it increases your risk for getting melanoma three- to fivefold.” All types of skin cancer occur most often in people who have red or blonde hair, freckles, or pale skin that burns easily. People with naturally dark skin

rarely get skin cancer. Skin cancer treatment usually involves surgery to remove damaged cells, but new approaches are in the works. The most promising leads come from studies of internal signals that cancer cells use to stay alive. “We’re slowly getting to know what makes melanoma cells tick,” Herlyn says. If researchers can block the important signals with drugs, the bad cells might die. Herlyn’s coworkers, for example, are working on a melanoma vaccine that would help a patient’s immune system recognize and attack skin cancer cells. Other scientists are creating lotions that could help cells repair themselves. Sunning safely The best way by far to fight skin cancer is to not get it in the first place. That doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all the time. You just have to learn how to be sun savvy. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, longsleeved shirts, and long pants whenever possible. Avoid direct sunlight when it’s at its strongest—between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Be careful near snow, sand, and water, which create strong reflections. And avoid tanning beds. These steps may seem extreme if you live in a place where tanned skin is considered attractive. But if you want a wrinklefree, cancerfree future, it may be time to think about the cost of “beauty” that doesn’t last. “If you want to be healthy,” Kaur says,“you have to have good skin.”


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y l f e i r b WNBA All-Star Game


Plays Through Amid Rumors of Indictment Slugger appears undaunted and won’t comment amid rampant speculation that an indictment is imminent on perjury and tax-evasion charges Bonds Plays Through Amid Rumors of Indictment Slugger appears undaunted and won’t comment amid rampant speculation that an indictment is imminent on perjury and tax-evasion charges


arry Bonds grinned and swayed, and if there was a drumbeat rising from a grand-jury room two miles from AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon, he probably wouldn’t have heard it over Bobby Brown wailing from his personal television set.

“My Prerogative,” the song was called. So Bonds stood on the eve of a possible federal indictment for perjury and tax evasion, seemingly undaunted by the investigation into his previous grand jury testimony in regard to steroid use or allegations he failed to pay taxes on memorabilia sales. The grand jury’s term is expected to expire today, bringing speculation of the potential for indictment. Federal prosecutors could ask to have the grand jury’s term

extended. Bonds’ best friend and former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, has been imprisoned since July 5 because he refused to testify, though his attorney told the Associated Press that Anderson would be released today. While one of his teammates observed, “I’m sure he’ll be happy when tomorrow’s over,” Bonds refused to take questions about the case or its burden upon him. Asked whether he was concerned he would be indicted, Bonds answered, “Is that why you guys are here? If you want to talk about baseball, we can. Otherwise, you need to go in that direction.” He pointed across the clubhouse, quiet despite a ninth-inning, come-from-behind win by the San Francisco Giants against the Milwaukee Brewers. When a similar question followed, Bonds turned to the team’s director of media relations, Blake Rhodes, and said, “All right, Blake. Let’s go.” Reporters were


he did not know whether there would be an indictment, but insisted Bonds would play through the coming days and, perhaps, seasons, regardless of the grand jury’s findings.

directed to leave Bonds’ area. Through Rhodes, Giants owner Peter Magowan and General Manager Brian Sabean declined to be interviewed. Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris, said he did not know whether there would be an indictment, but insisted Bonds would play through the coming days and, perhaps, seasons, regardless of the grand jury’s findings. Major League Baseball has not said whether it would attempt to suspend Bonds, should he be indicted. Commissioner Bud Selig, who four months ago ordered an investigation into players’ use of performance-enhancing drugs, said last week he would await the results of the federal investigation. “I hate the fact that Barry has to have the weight of the world on his shoulders and have these off-field distractions,” Borris said. “But there’s a lot to be learned and respected by someone who can conduct himself like

On Wednesday night, fans of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) gathered in New York City’s Madison Square Garden for one of the highlights of the season—the All-Star Game. The East defeated the West, 98-82, in a nationally televised match that marked the first-ever victory for the East in an All-Star game. “We knew the West was coming in with an undefeated record,” said Katie Douglas of the Connecticut Sun, named the game’s Most Valuable Player.“We wanted to show we could compete with them.” And that’s exactly what they did. Going into the second quarter, the West led the game, 28-27. By halftime, though, the East had jumped into the lead, 49-40. Late in the third quarter, the East was up by 25 points, and the West simply couldn’t keep up. “We didn’t shoot the ball well as a team,” said Lisa Leslie, of the West, who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks. “But the East played great.”

Go Skateboarding Day

Join In The Grind Heard Around The World! June 21 is Go Skateboarding Day— one fun-filled day to celebrate the creativity and spirit of skateboarding. On this day, skateboarders around the world will take a day to celebrate what we do best: SKATE! The International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) founded Go Skateboarding Day in 2004, as a day of events, promotion, and a chance to bring people together to share the needs and concerns of skateboarding. Part of the IASC’s mission is to represent the global skateboarding community. The organization also reaches out to skateboarding youth through numerous educational programs. On June 21, skateboarders everywhere will hold fundraisers, contests, protests, and demos. They’ll skate across cities, gather in skate parks, check out their local skate shops and unite the skateboarding community in “the grind heard around the world.” If you want to know what’s happening in your town, visit your local skate shop or park to join in the events—or start your own festivities!

Hannah’s Gold

Hannah Teter looks like a typical teenager, not someone you would expect to see in a luxurious hotel surrounded by marble pillars and gold chandeliers. But that’s exactly where she was, transformed from a small-town girl with big dreams to a gold-medal snowboarder getting the big-time “star” treatment. Ever since her incredible performance in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, Hannah has been showered with attention. She’s done countless interviews, appearing on shows like Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman. It’s a long way from Belmont, Vermont, with its population of 421 people. “I grew up in a teeny town and a small school, I was just this

hometown girl,” said Hannah, during a break at the World Congress of Sport, a major conference about the business of sports being held in New York City. Hannah stood out in a sea of suits at the Pierre Hotel, wearing huge yellow boots, ripped jeans with a chain on them, a purple coat, and a white knitted snowboarding hat. While


her life has definitely changed in the last few weeks, one thing remains the same—her positive attitude. “The funny thing is that I still feel like a down-to-earth snowboard girl . . . People ask me,‘So has your head gotten any bigger?’ [but] I don’t feel like it’s gotten any bigger. I still feel normal.”

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Hannah has learned through her success?

“I grew up in Vermont,” Hannah said. “I have that kind of background where life’s about snowboarding, but


it’s so much more than that. This is an opportunity to get out there and maybe make a change in the world.” And it looks like she is doing just that. The snowboarder is starting a maple syrup brand named “Hannah’s Gold,” and the profits will go to World Vision, an international charity that helps everyone from orphans in Asia to AIDS victims in Africa.


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ome kids can’t wait to get braces. Others are a little worried about what it will be like or how they will look. It can help to learn more about braces, which straighten your teeth and make your smile even better looking. Tooth Talk Lots of kids don’t have perfect teeth, so don’t worry if yours aren’t straight. Take a look at most of your classmates. Many of them probably don’t have straight teeth either. Sometimes teeth just don’t grow in evenly. Your teeth might be crooked, or your upper and lower jaws might not be the same size. If your upper jaw is bigger than your lower jaw, that’s called an overbite. If your lower jaw is bigger than your upper jaw, you have an underbite. Either way it’s called malocclusion (say: mah-luhkloo-zhun), a word that comes from Latin and means “bad bite.” Malocclusion is just a word that dentists use to describe the shape of your mouth. Your dentist might notice one of these problems during a regular visit and recommend that you see an orthodontist (say: or-thoh-dahn-tist). This person may also be called a braces specialist. He or she can determine whether you need braces. Types of Braces If your parents had braces, you may have seen pictures of them with their mouths full of metal. Today, braces are much less noticeable. Metal braces are still used, but you might be able to get clear braces or braces that are the same color as your teeth. There are even braces that are behind your teeth where no one can see them. The wires that are used in braces today are also smaller and better than they used to be, and they’re made of a space-age material that straightens your teeth faster and easier. The rubber bands that go along with braces come in funky colors now, too. So you could have black and orange ones for Halloween if you like.

How Braces Work Braces straighten teeth by putting steady pressure on your teeth and by staying in place for a certain amount of time. Most kids just need regular braces with wires and rubber bands doing their jobs to keep pressure on the teeth. The wires on your braces help to move your teeth, and the rubber bands help to correct the alignment (say: uh-lyne-munt), the way your teeth line up. If your teeth need a little extra help, you may have to wear head or neck gear with wires attached to your teeth. If you do have to wear headgear, don’t panic! You probably will only have to wear it at night or when you’re at home in the evening. Everyone has to wear braces for different lengths of time, but most people usually wear braces for about 2 years. You’ll want to take special care of your teeth after the braces come off. You may need to wear a retainer, which is a small, hard piece of plastic with metal wires or a thin piece of plastic shaped like a mouth guard. Retainers make sure your teeth don’t go wandering back to their original places. Your retainer will be specially molded to fit your newly straightened teeth. After you get your retainer, your orthodontist will tell you when you have to wear it and how long - you might have to wear your retainer all day and all night for 2 years, you might have to wear it at night for 6 months, or you might have to wear it every other night

for many years. It just depends on your teeth. Life With Braces Braces act like magnets for food, so you need to keep your teeth especially clean while you have them on. You’ll want to brush after meals and be extra careful to get out any food that gets stuck in your braces. Your orthodontist also may give you a special flosser you can use to floss in and around your braces. When your orthodontist changes your wires, ask if you can do a quick floss (it’ll be easier without the wires). You won’t have to go on any special diet when you have braces, but you’ll want to avoid some foods that are problems for braces. Stay away from popcorn, hard and sticky candy, and especially gum. Sugary sodas and juices can cause a problem, too, because the sugar stays on your teeth and may cause tooth decay. You can have these drinks, but be sure to brush afterward. Because braces put pressure on your teeth, you might feel uncomfortable once in a while, especially after the orthodontist makes adjustments. If you have pain, ask your mom or dad to give you a pain reliever. If you ever have a loose wire or bracket, or a wire that is poking you, you should see the orthodontist right away to get it taken care of. If your orthodontist can’t find a problem, he or she may give you some soft wax that you can stick on the bracket that’s bothering you. Then it won’t rub against your mouth. So braces can be inconvenient, but lots of kids have them and they are definitely worth the trouble. When will you know for sure? On the day your braces are removed and you can see your new and improved smile!

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