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Sunday, October 30, 2005

10th week in a row! A new record!

While Rosa Parks lies in honor at the U.S. Capitol -- a fitting tribute for a true American hero -- three Tattoo writers weigh in on the civil rights legend in our new issue, available online now and in Monday's Bristol Press.
In addition to Zach Brokenrope's piece, which we initially published online last week, we also have two columns by Detroit teens who provide a little hometown pride in their pieces. One of them, Tara Brooke Stacey, just a few weeks ago sat in the very seat on the very bus where Rosa Parks made history half a century ago.
There's also a news story from Oscar Ramirez in San Salvador about English-speaking teachers who come to El Salvador to teach and discover a developing nation that surprises them in many ways.
Stefan Koski weighs in with a senior journal about the dearth of sleep for busy students. He wrote it at 3:30 a.m.
And, finally, the talented Justin Skaradosky delivers yet another clever cartoon.
It's a pretty solid issue to break the record with. Don't miss it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tattoo writer Eric Simmons rides out Hurricane Wilma in Port St. Lucie, Florida

The scene in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Monday, Oct. 24.

Veteran Tattoo writer Eric Simmons, who left Connecticut for the Florida sunshine, found himself all too close to Hurricane Wilma the other day. But did he cower in a back room? No way. He headed out, camera in hand, and got the story.

Check it out at

Friday, October 28, 2005

Most viewed Tattoo pages in October

What are people actually reading in The Tattoo? We have a pretty good idea.
Though we're not sure the numbers we see are wholly accurate, we have pretty good reason to think these were the pages on our web site that attracted the most readers since October 1, in order:

1. The Tattoo's home page
2. Hurricane Journal home page
3. Teen Suicide home page
4. The Tattoo's blog
5. Issues page
6. Going home
7. Picking the perfect prank
8. Children of the corn
9. The Tattoo's Awards page
10. April 18, 2005 issue
11. OUCH! The agony of navel ring removal
12. At 14, she worked in a Bristol clock factory

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rosa Parks: An appreciation of a civil rights pioneer

October 27, 2005
-- Opinion --
How Rosa Parks changed the world
By Zach Brokenrope

I remember hearing Rosa Parks’ name for the first time when I was in third grade.
It was black history month and Mrs. Deines raised an old black and white picture in front of the class.
“Does anyone know who this is?” she asked in her nasally voice.
We all leaned forward in our desks to examine the picture. The woman was African American and not that old, her head was turned slightly, and she was staring out a white window.
I had never seen the woman before, and I guess no one else did since nobody raised a hand.
“This is Rosa Parks,” Mrs. Deines said, “and she helped change the world.”
I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way I can remember exact words from a conversation that took place when I was 9. But I do, and it’s because ever since then, I’ve wanted to change the world, too.

For the entire column, check out this link:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tattoo alum Joe Killian on the radio

Radio standards keep slipping, thanks in part to the Internet.
Now they're putting our own Joe on some kind of "goradio" podcast thing that we'll probably have to master one of these days to keep The Tattoo up to date. But for now, go check out Joe's blog and click on the link there to hear him gab about talking with Buddy Guy for a news story. (To hear Joe, start listening at about the 14 minute mark; he's only on for about six minutes or so. As a side bonus, you'll hear a bit of Buddy Guy's music, which is terrific.)
Here's the link to the relevant entry on Joe's blog: Talking about writing

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Tattoo matches record pace... and then some

The new issue we put out today marks the ninth straight week that we've had a Tattoo issue out there for the world to read. We haven't done that since 1998. But what makes this year even more special is that we've also had six special editions -- printing much of Samantha Perez's amazing Hurricane Journal -- during the same period. Even I don't know how we're keeping up this pace.

This week's issue, by the way, has our second news feature about an veteran of Bristol's clockmaking industry. This time, Zach Brokenrope interviewed a fellow who designed a clock in the 1960s that aimed at helping women who wanted to use the rhythm method for birth control. The clock didn't sell too well -- the company went under -- but it is an interesting tale. We're doing these stories in conjunction with the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, a place that always knows what time it is.

We've also got a personal story from Edrees Kakar, an Afghan refugee in Pakistan, about what Ramadan is all about. For the billion plus people who are Muslim, it's old news, though we hope still interesting. But for the rest of the world, it's a valuable reminder of what Islam really is in an era where crazies are trying to hijack the faith.

Molly Horan has a nice column about the back-to-the-past way she and a few friends spent their school's homecoming night.

And, as usual, there's a stellar cartoon from the talented Justin Skaradosky.

Don't miss the whole thing at

Sunday, October 23, 2005

When Alex Briner ran away

Here's the latest from Zach Brokenrope, one of our terrific young writers:

-- Journal --
When Alex Briner ran away
By Zach Brokenrope

Nothing ever happens in Aurora, Nebraska. So when Alex Briner ran away, it was big news.
“I heard he ran away in the middle of the night, stole his old man’s car.”
“No way dude, he hitchhiked to GI and took a bus.”
“I hear he’s one of those Wal-Mart kids; you know, the ones with their pictures in the entrance.”
Gossip flew, and by the end of the first week the agreed upon story was that Alex had stolen an airplane and flown to some South American county where it’s legal to smoke pot.
But somehow, as things often do, the true story of Alex Briner was lost in the fantasy. Those of us who knew him knew that he had hated Aurora; and those of us who knew him well had known he had always planned to leave. He just finally got the guts to do it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Find out what Tattoo writers actually wrote

Ever have an itch to see what one of our many talented teens has done for The Tattoo over the years?
There's an easy way to find out.
The Tattoo's web site has a "Writer's Index" that lists all of the people who have contributed to the paper's 133 issues and links all of their work.
So if you want to read everything that Zach Brokenrope or Kaishi Lee or Jenny Jenkins or anybody has done, look it up!
Here's the link:

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Tattoo travels the world

Teague Neal, Tattoo writer, in Japan, writing something, maybe....

In The Tattoo's latest issue, which is available now, teen writers take readers from ritzy Newport, Rhode Island to temples of Japan, with a stop at Bridgeport's P.T. Barnum Museum for good measure. Take a look at their work at October 17, 2005 issue of The Tattoo.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Buddy Guy, blues great, chats it up with Tattoo alum Joe Killian, ace reporter

Check out Joe's story in the Greensboro News and Record at Buddy Guy: 'The blues is everywhere.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A new laptop for Sammy

In all my years as a journalist, I've never seen readers rally to do something nice for a writer before. But now I have.
When we put out a call for readers to help Katrina evacuee Samantha Perez replace an aging laptop that was threatening to make it almost impossible for her to keep writing, the response was amazing. Dozens of people contributed and within a week or so we had the money to buy a very nice Dell laptop with a great warranty for our hurricane journalist.
It should be in her hands this week.
We're only a little envious here at Tattoo Central that we're making do with less!
I have to say, though, that I'm encouraged by what I've seen as people reach out to help Sammy. It's the way the world should work, but so often doesn't.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Another new Tattoo page? How is that possible?

We can't explain, really, but there it is: Volume 12, No. 13, continuing our breakneck pace this year.
The latest issue featured a Q&A session with writer Marty Beckerman, a review of a Beckerman book (which got a thumbs-down), a news story about Stefan Koski's volume on high school life, an excerpt from the Koski book and a piece on who, if anyone, can be truly called the voice of Generation Y.
There's also another terrific little cartoon by Justin Skaradosky.
So there you go, one more wonderful issue of the world's best teen journalism.
One more little thing: If you haven't already read them, go now and read Samantha Perez's amazing "Hurricane Journal" and disaster stories by Oscar Ramirez in storm-ravaged El Salvador and Edrees Kakar in earthquake-socked Pakistan. We're everywhere, it seems ... and growing.
Check it all out at

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tattoo writer rides out massive earthquake

For hours after hearing about a monster quake Saturday that rocked northern Pakistan, we worried about Tattoo writer Edrees Kakar, an Afghan student who lives in Peshawar. Emails to him went unanswered and phone calls would not go through.
But late Saturday, Connecticut time, we finally reached him.
Talking to Edrees on the phone, Jackie offered comfort -- and helped him tell the story. Though he was far enough from the epicenter to have missed the devastation, he was plenty close enough to feel fear ... and sorrow.
Read his story, as told to Jackie on the copy desk in Connecticut, here:

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hailing El Salvador

Tattoo writer Oscar Ramirez, our entire Central American bureau, took note of the odd weather in San Salvador recently, including ice falling from the sky.
Here's the story:
El Salvador survives triple threat

Joe Killian writes about comic books

Hey everybody, take a look at the latest feature by Tattoo alum Joe Killian:

John Hitchcock: Southern Socrates of Superheroes

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Top 10 hot spots for pulling in Tatto readers today:

1o. Senigallia, Italy
9. Lancaster, California
8. Koutoumou, Greece
7. Houston, Texas
6. Cleveland, Australia
5. Burlington, Newfoundland
4. Birmingham, England
3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
2. Athens, Greece
1. Indianapolis, Indiana

Yes, we have yet another issue out!

Incredible as it seems to us at Tattoo Central, we have ANOTHER Tattoo issue coming out Monday. We're churning these things out at a stunning pace.
This time around, we've got a news story by Katie Jordan about a 100-year-old Bristol, Conn. woman who spent her teen years working at a clock factory. It's the first of a new series of oral history stories The Tattoo is doing in cooperation with the American Clock and Watch Museum to record the tales of former clock company workers.
Julia Cocca got a nice picture of the woman last week to run with the story.
There's also an interesting account by Marese Heffernan of going to Irish College this summer. It's a popular, three-week crash course on Gaelic language and culture that sounds appealing despite the potatoes at every meal.
Zach Brokenrope weighs in with another Sophomore Chronicle that explains, sort of, why he dyed his hair blue.
And, finally, Justin Skaradosky has another terrific little cartoon in his "A look at..." tradition that is fast becoming a Tattoo trademark.
Now don't read this stupid blog anymore. Read the damn stories!

Samantha Perez goes home.... briefly.

A new entry in the Hurricane Journal kept by 17-year-old Samantha Perez is now online on The Tattoo's web site at
If you haven't read this powerful series, start at the beginning. You'll keep reading until the end.
In her latest piece, Sammy tells about her family's one-day return to their storm-ravaged home in St. Bernard Parish, a town just outside of New Orleans.

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