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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
    As if losing a child weren't enough, a mother in South Carolina has had an added burden loaded on her shoulder this month. She now has to pay to have the blood of her son cleaned off the street where he was killed by a drunk driver. It's the sort of bill that makes you wonder who wrote it: man or machine. Loretta Robinson said she was having a hard enough time coming to terms with the loss of her eldest child, Justin Walker, when the bill came in. Written to him -- the deceased -- it demanded $50 for the municipality that had to send someone out to rid the street of evidence of the horrific tragedy. Talk about victimizing the victim!

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I have a rule with my daughter. I don't ask her to do anything that I wouldn't do myself. And folks, I'm going to go out on a limb right now and guess that no one reading this here blog would voluntarily eat moose poop. Am I right? Alrighty then, you'll probably share in my combined outrage and horror that an adult chaperoning a middle school trip somehow thought it was a good idea to convince teens that a pile of poo was "chocolate-covered almonds" so they'd take a bite. Needless to say, the "prank" didn't go over so well with the kids' parents.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    The way I see it, summer is the season of childhood. We moms have our day in May. Dads have one in June. And kids get three months to just revel in being kids. But I woke up this morning on the second weekday of my kid's summer vacation to news that makes me sort of wish I could put a pack on her back and send her off to the next grade already. In just one news cycle, we have three horrific stories of kids killed while just being kids. Talk about a sad reminder that summer dangers are just as prevalent as summer fun.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    When I saw that two lesbian teenagers had been found in a Portland, Texas park, both shot in the head, my stomach sank and my brain went immediately to an empty field in Laramie, Wyoming 14 years ago. Yes, I thought of Matthew Shepard. How could I not? Like Shepard, Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, and Mary Christine Chapa, 18, were young. Homosexual. Brutalized. Left to die. And yet, as the Internet jumps to the conclusion that the fatal shooting of Olgin and the serious injuries sustained by Chapa are the result of a hate crime, I can't help wondering if we're missing the real story.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    It's only fitting that a 67-year-old military veteran graduated from high school on the same stage as his grandson in the same week that Disney's Brave is dominating the box office. The movie asks kids and parents to set aside their pride to get ahead in life. That's exactly what Russell Leigh did. At 67, the US Navy veteran could have said he didn't need a high school diploma. After all, he managed to serve our country as a nuclear power electrician aboard submarines without one. And yet, the New York State resident took the higher road.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I'm not one of those moms who believes there's a "best" way to give birth. As long as the baby is here and healthy, who cares if she came into the world in a pool in your living room or with the help of a doctor and some drugs. But ladies, I think we can all come together and agree that the mother who gave birth inside an MRI machine so someone could catch the baby in action is one hardcore mama! In case you have never been inside one of the machines that's given us the first-ever movie of a child being born with a view from the INSIDE of its mother (which we have for you after the jump!), let me just paint this picture for you. They're loud. They're tiny. And while the magnets do their work, the technicians tend to yell at you to "keep still" a lot.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Let's face it. Any time you have a group of kindergarteners together singing songs with their sweet little voices, it's bound to be an ovary flipper. But the teacher who decided his kindergarten class should dance around to Madonna's "Vogue" during their graduation ceremony wins the prize for most likely to make you awww this week. I'll admit I was a little confused at first. Madonna? For 5-year-olds? I'm sure there are parents out there who wouldn't even let their kids watch the original "Vogue" video (ahem, remember the nipple scandal? Wait, am I showing my age here?). But the way these kids make your heart melt is a nice little reminder that kids can put a whole new -- and clean! -- spin on something that's been around for-evah! Check them out:

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Now that everybody has read their way through the entire Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (What? Not you? Congrats on being one of about five adults in America in that state), all anyone seems to want to talk about is the Fifty Shades movie. But let's set aside the debate over who is going to star for a moment (cough, Taylor Kitsch for Christian Grey, pretty please, pretty please!). Can we talk script? Whoever gets the unenviable task for trying to turn E.L. James' naughty novels into a screenplay has a lot of fans to satisfy. And they won't succeed unless they actually figure out what it is people like about these bestsellers. Getting your head around all the various reasons is hard to quantify, so how about a start? How about the must have lines from Fifty Shades?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    When you hear a teenage girl was forced to wear a coat over her "indecent" dress through an entire dance, you're expecting booty baring action and OMG, can't miss it cleavage, right? So what if I told you that Promise Hammond's dress was tight but otherwise the kind of outfit I'd be proud to send my daughter to a dance in? Oh, and then there's this: when her mom tried to challenge the principal on the supposed dress code violation, he had her arrested for "trespassing"? Can you say somebody has let the power go to his head big time? And folks, if there's any one place where a power hungry person should not get the top job, a school building is right at the top of my list.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    MTV's reality show Teen Mom has had its critics because Amber Portwood and the other young mothers are constantly on the cover of the tabloids. But the fourth episode of the final season proved just how much those tabloid stories play on your mind as you watch the girls' struggles onscreen. The further we get into season four, the harder it is getting to ignore all that we already know about these girls. Take Tyler and Catelynn. The couple who gave baby Carly up for adoption may be trying to grow up, get married, and make their daughter proud of them, but watching them stuck trying to set boundaries with Tyler's father, Butch the felon, even as he joked at their expense, was infuriating. It seems the higher these kids rise, the farther they have to fall ... and the more certain people in their lives are willing to jeopardize their success.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    As if we really needed another reason to loathe the TSA, a grieving grandson has got a doozy for us. John Gross says the TSA agent pawing through his belongings at the Orlando International Airport actually spilled some of his late grandfather's ashes. Oh, yeah, and then she laughed about it as he tried to collect bits of his beloved relative from the floor. That's the part that fills me with horror today. As each allegation of awful conduct in an airport comes out, it's fairly easy to separate the agent from the agency. Often these are simply employees doing a job. The real menace has been the TSA itself, the agency whose asinine rules these people are charged with carrying out. Usually.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    If you hate those "it takes a village to raise a child" kind of stories, you might not want to read this one. Wait! Come back! You're probably the person who really needs to read about the 9-month-old baby whose stroller was swept off a New York City subway platform. A stranger saved the little boy just before a train would have run him over. You may not believe that moms can do it all by themselves. I'm glad there are guys like good Samaritan Delroy Simmonds who will jump into action when life gives us more than we can handle.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Ever since we made the firm decision that our daughter would be an only child, I've been hearing the criticisms. She's going to be spoiled! You're screwing up her whole life! Start saving for therapy now! I could write another post defending my choice to be one and done. But I'm not going to. Folks, I am waving the white flag. You are right! My only child is already showing signs of being all kinds of screwed up. Behold the evidence!

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I want to be happy for the people of California. After disappointing us with the disgusting Prop 8 ban on marriage equality, it seems the Golden State is finally coming around. A ban on forcing LGBT kids to go through gay conversion therapy (sometimes called ex-gay therapy) just passed the State Senate. Torturing kids with backward religious-based ideas parading as medical treatment may finally be a thing of the past. Or not. Isn't there a little thing called, ahem, freedom of religion in the United States? Hold your applause, folks. We may have a problem.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I've heard some pretty cool godparent traditions over the years. Buying the first pair of shoes. Buying the christening gown. Taking the kid to the water park so Mom can work (what, only my kid's godmother is doing that tomorrow?). And now a new one: one godmother saved up 500,000 pennies to give her goddaughter one amazing graduation gift. For 15 years, ever since Kyla Gilbert was 3 years old, Faith Hammock has been picking up pennies and stowing them away to help pay a chunk of her goddaughter's college tuition. Just think about that for a minute.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I just read a detailed list of the content of child abuse videos that cops in Connecticut are saying a mother sent via text message to her baby daughter's biological father. I'm shaking. The allegations are so cruel and twisted, I can only think of one reason they would have happened. Kellie Park was trying to get caught. She allegedly sent 50-some text messages to Erick Vece, and eight videos showing her physically and verbally abusing her 10-month-old baby. If it's true, the act of texting could be the best thing that could have happened to her daughter. Not the abuse. Of COURSE not the abuse.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I'm not sure what I was expecting to see when I tuned in to watch Ann Curry say goodbye to Today show viewers after her "firing" from the co-anchor seat. I guess I expected more of a goodbye? But this long-time Curry fan will take it! Turns out Curry is not fired so much as demoted. Her new job will keep her with NBC News to do "the work that most of us got into journalism to do." Ahem, folks, in case you didn't realize it before, this proves it.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    The days of paranoid parents locking away the laptops so their kids can't get on the Internet finally seem to be coming to an end. A new era has dawned! Welcome to the age of stalking your kids on the Internet! It's official ... The New York Times even says so. Oh come on, it's not perfect. But let me be the first one to congratulate these big brother parents. They've finally accepted reality. And they're trying to come to grips with it.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    "How I gave birth" stories are kind of like "big fish" tales. With each retelling, you get more hardcore. First time around, you gave birth drug-free. Second time? Drug-free with one arm tied behind your back. And so on. But did you give birth in absolute silence at home? This one mom from Jerusalem kept quiet during the whole OMG, ouch labor and delivery process. And then, the woman who happens to practice the Jewish faith also managed to sit, quiet and patient, with her newborn still attached to her via the umbilical cord, until sundown! She didn't even get to coo over that sweet little pumpkin!

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    There are some rites of passage that are pleasurable for parents. The first smile! The first steps! And then there is the very first time you discover your child has gotten hold of a pair of scissors and given something -- or worse, someone -- a haircut. As a fellow traveler on the road who was once informed by a certain person under 4 feet tall that "Dora did it" (yes, that Dora), you have my leave to go scream into a pillow when it happens. OR, you could try this. A father named Jeff Cohen, a very brave soul indeed, decided to ask his 5-year-old exactly WHY she gave her little sister a haircut. The result, as they say, is priceless. Take a listen:

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