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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Paris Jackson was kind of a mystery before her famous father died, hidden away in what seemed to outsiders like a bizarre life with dad Michael Jackson and her brothers. And now, with a new career in movies about to kick off, the 14-year-old has put the world on notice. She doesn't want to be known as Michael Jackson's daughter. But make no mistake, that's not meant as a slam against the King of Pop. Let this be a lesson for parents of teenagers everywhere ...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    If the name Jhessye Shockley rings a bell, it's probably because you were hearing it a lot last fall. The 5-year-old Arizona girl disappeared from her home on October 11, 2011, and she's still missing. But here's something that could finally give us answers in her case: her mom, Jerice Hunter, has been arrested. Or maybe I should say "arrested again." Hunter has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse. Although they haven't found Jhessye, prosecutors allege she's dead and that her mom is to blame. If it's true, this could be the best chance of finding out what happened to her.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    It's been a rousing few weeks for America, hasn't it? Between the speeches from the RNC and the DNC, we're all caught up in election fever. No matter what side of the aisle you're on, that's a good thing! It shows we care about our future! And what better sign of the future do we have than our babies! I couldn't help watching all these rousing speeches from some pretty incredible American women and wondering: are moms and dads out there watching and thinking, "I could name my baby girl after her"? If you weren't, you should have been! These women are a sign of how far our nation has come from the day when ladies couldn't even vote, forget actually running for office! And there's a host of fabulous baby girl names we can think of from both the Democrats and the Republicans:

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham hasn't exactly had it easy when it comes to men, what with that dramatic on-air explosion of her relationship with ex-boyfriend Daniel Alvarez and the tragic early death of high school boyfriend Derek Underwood.  But now that things are over with boyfriend John Parra, we're getting to see a very different Farrah. This is a Farrah who likes to take things slow. The way the reality star explains the breakup with the On Air With Ryan Seacrest staffer sounds, dare we say it, grown up? The girl who was already talking wedding rings after just a few weeks of dating is gone ... and so is Parra.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Sometimes in life, the right answer is the obvious one staring you right in the face. You could apply this to anything, I'm sure, but the mother of identical quadruplets decided to apply it to her kids. She sat all four boys down and shaved numbers in their hair so their teacher could tell them apart on the first day of school. You have to give her an A-Plus for creativity, right? I feel for the parents of multiples, I really do ... because I have known enough multiples over the years who liked to screw with adults (which may or may not be one of the reasons I secretly wish I was a twin!). Actually, come to think of it, all kids like to screw with adults, don't they?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Unwed parents don't exactly have it easy in our society. Every time they turn around there's another judgmental snob telling them they're failing their kids because they're not married. But let's talk about the parents who ran off to get married this week ... allegedly leaving their three toddlers home alone. Can you imagine what was going through their heads there? Did Dad turn to Mom and say "Gee, honey, I just can't stand living in sin for one more minute ... let's run off and get hitched"? And no one thought to call a babysitter?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    In news that's so wrong it's right, an alleged rapist sat in an Ohio courtroom on Friday with a giant bandage over one side of his face from getting shot. Any idea who pulled the trigger? That's right, a rape victim fought back against her attacker, took the gun he held against her head, and shot him right in the face! Considering the horror she had to endure, I say good for her. And good for her for going for the face especially. I know people might think it would be better to shoot a little lower considering what Duane Portman Sr. is accused of doing, but a gunshot wound to the face does something better.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Why do you clean your house? Go ahead, think about it. It's to keep your family healthy and safe, right? Well, it should be, anyway. But a horrifying new report on household cleaners that are loaded with toxic chemicals is sending us all back to the drawing board to develop a new cleaning routine today. That is, those of us who don't want to make our families SICKER when we clean the house. The Environmental Working Group, the same non-profit watchdog that helps us keep an eye on the toxins in our fruits and veggies, took a look at the labels of the 2,000-some cleaners we use in our bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms every week. More than half contained chemicals known to harm the lungs, and nearly a quarter had chemicals that cause asthma in otherwise healthy adults. But the fact that they found scary stuff isn't surprising ... it's where they found it that really creeped me out.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Remember the old joke about the kid whose parents had to tie a t-bone steak around his neck so the dog would play with him? Suddenly it doesn't seem so funny. Because I just found out there are parents who actually pay big money for sorority prep training classes so their college-bound kids will be ready for rush week. And I do mean big money -- a two-week training course can set you back $8,000 (or you can opt for a "cheap" $50 one-shot session). It's like these parents are telling their kids, "Sorry, we don't actually believe you have a charming personality. We're going to pay for you to take classes so someone will like you!"

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    In many ways, Michelle Obama seems like the kind of mom we all want to be. Strict but reasonable. Kind. Loving. Fun. But when a list of her rules for daughters Sasha and Malia cropped up online, there was a big red flag. The First Lady requires her girls to participate in two sports. One they can choose. The other she gets to pick.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I have to admit I'm saddened by the run-up to September 11th this year. Just a year ago we were caught up in the hoopla over the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Today is like the polar opposite. It's as if this was just another fall week. There's a quiet we in America haven't had about this day in, well, 11 years. One decade and one year after September 11, 2001, we may not have forgotten the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the plane that went down in that Pennsylvania field. We can't forget. And yet, the quiet is unsettling, isn't it? I have been wondering if it's because we don't know what to say. So I looked around for the quotes about September 11th that say it for us.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    New moms have another new trend on their hands, and let me just say I'm glad I haven't come across this one yet. It seems moms are becoming so obsessed with turning the birth of their babies into a "share" worthy of Facebook and YouTube that they're actually bringing professional videographers into the delivery room. And then, of course, they're uploading the whole big birthing scene to their social media accounts. I am currently praying to all that is good and holy in this world that none of my friends do this. Or at least let it be a day when I forget to check my Facebook account m'kay?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    "So what is it you eat?" I get this question a lot. Usually it's from well-meaning people, folks who know I'm a vegetarian and want to make sure they have something I will enjoy at their next get-together. Of course, there are others. They're the people who are confused as to how we veggie types can possibly survive without meat. In all, after 15 years as a vegetarian (I just passed my "anniversary" last month), I've realized something: we vegetarians confuse the heck out of most meat eaters. And so I offer you all a simple guide in what NOT to feed a vegetarian who comes to your house:

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I'll say this for Pat Robertson. We don't hear much from the 82-year-old televangelist these days, but when we do, it's more or less guaranteed to tip the idiot scales (you do remember him blaming the September 11th attacks on the gays, right?). His latest bit of backward thinking hits on two hot topics sure to leave you shaking your head: Muslims and a man's right to beat his wife. See, Robertson was on The 700 Club fielding a marital dilemma question from a man named Michael who said he didn't feel his wife "respected him" as "head of the house." Naturally Robertson was feeling this man's pain.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Remember the mom who took the mommy wars to the cover of TIME Magazine back in May with that photo of her toddler son breastfeeding while standing on a chair? Jamie Lynne Grumet is baaaaack! This time we get to see her breastfeeding her 4-year-old on the cover of an actual parenting magazine (but at least she let him lie down and get comfy). As if we really needed another shot of her breastfeeding? Paired with another tagline clearly intended to rile women up: "Mom Enough to Speak Out for Attachment Parenting" (it's a take-off of TIME's incendiary "Are You Mom Enough" coverline), the photo on the cover of Pathways to Family Wellness is actually rather sweet. Mom Grumet lays with her husband wrapped around her, their youngest son at her breast, their oldest son peeking in from behind dad. If only this were the only shot of her we'd ever seen.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Are you getting tired of all the casting rumors about the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey? Join the club. Niall Leonard is already a member. The husband of Fifty Shades author E.L. James, Leonard was supposed to be on Today to talk about his new young adult novel. Instead he ended up being grilled about Ryan Gosling and the rest of the potential cast. Ahem ... awkward! So, what did "Mr. Fifty Shades of Grey" have to say about RyGos? Considering he was the one who supposedly let slip that we were going to get see our favorite The Notebook star in Christian Grey's battered jeans, you might be surprised.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Moms! Dads! Do you feel a little guilty about the song in your heart and the dance in your step during back-to-school season? Then you need to watch the video of a mom who was caught quite literally doing a happy dance in the middle of the street as she saw her kids off for their first day of school. Massachusetts mom Tracy Moutafis has been dancing in the streets -- literally -- for the past four years. And after watching her get down to Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" while her kids ran as fast as they could to get their little hineys on the bus, she's my new hero.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    When it comes to setting rules for kids, the more specific you are, the better chance you have of getting them followed. It's a lesson I've learned the hard way as a mom. And it's a lesson more school administrators should take to heart ... schools like the one that made 15-year-old Shannon Close sit in an isolation room all day for dyeing her hair red. Shannon's mom is spitting mad right now, and I don't blame her. Her daughter's school has a policy about hair, but all it says is "hair color and style must be appropriate for school." Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    A big story out of Florida is putting a rather chilling twist on the unemployment crisis. Erinn Alberts actually had a job with Digital Domain ... or at least, she thought she did. That is until she and her husband sold their furniture, packed their kids in the car, and drove all the way from their home in New Hampshire to Florida, where she was greeted with the news that the company behind Titanic and The Transformers was filing for bankruptcy. The job Erinn had been promised was cut in the process, along with about 280 positions at Digital Domain's offices in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Now she's out of a job, 30 hours from home, and she and her husband have to try to figure out how to feed their three kids.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    The premiere of season 4 of Glee is so close I can almost taste the slushie. Is that cherry? Blueberry? What? Where was I? Oh, right, ready to dive into the spoilers for Thursday's premiere. They left us with one heckuva cliffhanger back in the spring, what with Rachel headed to New York and Finn to the military, and we've heard some pretty crazy things already about what Ryan Murphy and the crew have cooked up for Glee season 4. Kate Hudson as nasty NYADA hag, Sue Sylvester having a baby, and the return of Unique are givens. But what else is going to happen? Spoiler alert; we got 'em! So raise your finger in the shape of an L on your forehead and dive in Gleeks!

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