This week, our cybermenu includes secrets for a youthful neck, women lobbying for health-insurance “labels,” a Philadelphian whose reinvention included a restaurant with its own honeybees and memories of the day the first women joined the writing team at TV’s Mod Squad.

  • Ever wondered how it worked in the great comedy teams  — Lucy and Ricky, Penn and Teller, Nichols and May? How about WVFC humorist duo, Roz Warren and Janet Golden? How did a history professor (Golden) used to academic publishing team up with Warren, the librarian and former attorney who has edited 20 humor collections? We can’t tell you much about the former, but now you can learn some of the answers about Roz and Janet here at The Writer. “After a childhood watching the characters on The Dick Van Dyke Show cracking each other up in the writers room, I’d always suspected writing with another person might be fun,” writes Warren. “You know how it feels when you — creatively speaking — hit a wall? The piece needs something, but you don’t know how to make it right. With a partner, there’s always a door in that wall.” Golden pipes up: “Even though we live in the same neighborhood, walk together, and play on the same trivia team, we rarely talk about writing. It all takes place by email. If the president ever hits that Internet kill switch, we’re doomed.” To learn more, including how they met, click over and read the rest of the puckishly titled “Will Work for Crab Cakes.”
  • “When was the last time you looked at a nutrition label? I’ll bet it was the last time you were in a grocery store,” writes Cindy Pearson at Raising Women’s Voices. “Thanks to health reform, we’ll soon have the equivalent of nutrition labels for health insurance plans.” WVFC has long appreciated efforts by Pearson’s group, such as a mid-2009 “Stakeholder Summit” on health reform at the White House. One result of all that feedback, says Pearson, is a uniform standard for plans hoping to join the new health-insurance exchanges. “Each plan will be required to disclose up-front what someone would have to pay out-of-pocket if they had one of three common conditions in the next year.  Guess which conditions the feds picked?  Diabetes, childbirth and breast cancer.  All common, all experienced by women, and all things we’re used to asking questions about. As someone who’s been caught by surprise by the amount I’ve had to pay out-of-pocket, I’m delighted at the prospect of getting information before I sign up for a plan, instead of after I’ve been to the nurse practitioner.” We are too. Let’s hope the requirements survive all the controversy to come.
  •  At Women on Business, Sylvia Lafair profiles Philadelphia restaurateur Lynn Rinaldi, who has helped revitalize the city’s once-declining Little Italy known as Passayunk Avenue. One day, after decades of training in culinary arts, Lafair writes, Rinaldi “proudly led her dad to a decrepit furniture store. He gasped. She sighed. And before her father knew what hit him he was helping his only daughter cement the basement. And when the renovations were finished; voila, ‘Paradiso’ a Zagat rated restaurant was baptized.” And in case this sounds too urban for you, she adds, “Always inventive, Lynne now has an organic garden covering the roof overlooking the city. And even more unique are the hives 120,000 bees call home. Fresh honey, what could be better?” Now that’s what we call reinvention.
  • Nora Ephron titled her book “I Hate My Neck” for a reason: we all worry, at least a little. A new slide show at Third Age, “Seven Strategies for a Younger-Looking Neck,” offers some helpful tips. It recommends sensible strategies such as “Avoid yo-yo dieting” and “watch your posture,” and also adds a little yoga: “raise your chin as far up as possible and count to ten. Then relax and repeat several times. This is also an effective stress reliever in the middle of the work day.” We might tape that one to the wall.
  • Women in Hollywood features a guest blog by veteran TV writer Rita Lakin, who got started in 1961 as a secretary at Universal and was soon writing for Dr. Kildare and Peyton Place. The excerpt from Lakin’s upcoming memoir speaks of the culture shock in the Mod Squad writers room when Lakin hired three new female writers. “Before anyone arrived for story sessions, the guys summoned me into a meeting. Here’s the dialog as I recall ,” Lakin writes. “Producer one: Before those women arrive, we need your advice. Murmurs of agreement. Me: About what? Prod Two: About the women. How do we treat them? Me: Treat them? What are you talking about? Prod three: Well, they’re women. They’re different. Me: And what am I, chopped liver? Prod one: You … you’re a writer…” Click over and howl at the rest — and maybe pre-order her book. Below, an example of some of what her new team wrought at Mod Squad.




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