Barbara Kantrowitz

Stories by Barbara Kantrowitz

  • The Road Ahead: A Boomer's Guide To Happiness

    The New Middle Age: The Baby Boom Has Always Made Its Own Rules, And Now It's Redefining Growing Old. From Work To Family To Money, Here's How Boomers Are Writing The Next Chapter.
  • Is This Too Raw For Kids?

    Just a few years ago, the center of 11-year-old Anthony Arroyave's sporting universe was baseball's Ken Griffey Jr. No longer. Now it's Triple H, Jeff Hardy and Scotty Too Hotty. Home runs are boring--he's "hooked" on the drama. When he's not watching matches on TV, Anthony's playing WrestleMania 2000 on his Nintendo or practicing the Power Bomb and other submission holds on pals at his south Florida elementary school. Although his mom disapproves, Anthony dreams of a career in the ring. He's even thought up his character: a "heel" named Ice Tray who wears silver tights, black boots, red hair and a black goatee.Scottie Too Hotty as a role model? Can this be good for kids? Not really, say psychologists who study the effects of TV violence on children. In fact, most advise keeping youngsters under 8 away from wrestling shows; they're too immature to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Studies have shown that kids who are exposed to on-screen carnage at an early age are more...
  • Watching For Warning Signs

    Seth Trickey was, by almost all accounts, a model student. On the honor roll at his middle school in Ft. Gibson, Okla., the 13-year-old attended church and had lots of friends--not the kind of kid who would open fire on his classmates. And yet, police say, that is exactly what Trickey did on the morning of Dec. 8: moments after arriving at school, he pulled his father's 9mm semiautomatic handgun out of his backpack, then shot and wounded five students.The attack highlights the tremendous difficulties school officials face in identifying students most likely to join the terrible fraternity that includes Kip Kinkel, Eric Harris and now, apparently, Seth Trickey. Kinkel, who killed his parents and two schoolmates in Springfield, Ore., and Harris, the purported instigator of the Columbine killings, both fit a common profile of troubled youths. They were alienated, angry and had a history of emotional problems. But so far at least, there's no outward indication that Trickey had anything...
  • Big Surf In A Little School

    On the third day of school in Stoddard, N.H., 8-year-old Justin Holland, meteorologist for the week, makes a prediction: "It's going to rain. Guaranteed. I saw it on the news." His teacher Maggie Sergeant isn't sure. "Why don't we check out the weather map on the computer?" And so, for the first time that morning, the Information Age struggles to make its way through the woods of rural New England and into the three-room James Faulkner Elementary School (just 48 students in kindergarten through fifth grade).Step One: while her students, 17 second and third graders, write in their journals, Sergeant sits down at one of the two computers in the corner of her classroom and tries to access the Web site of a local TV station, WMUR in Manchester. A minute or so later, she gets an error message ("Netscape is unable to locate..."). She tries again. Another minute passes; another error message. Sergeant sighs. She's pretty sure the culprit is the modem attached to the school's server in the...
  • The New Age Of Anxiety

    It is indeed an anxious season--nowhere more than in Littleton, Colo., where students return this week to Columbine High School. Some, like junior Lance Kirklin, whose face was shattered by a bullet in the massacre last spring, bear physical scars of the tragedy. Others carry wounds in their hearts. Parents in Littleton say they are determined to protect their children. "We're trying very hard to make it as normal as possible," insists the mother of junior Diana Cohen. But will things ever be "normal" again, in Littleton or anywhere else?Columbine--and Paducah and Granada Hills--sounded the alarm for parents around the country. Whether they live in the inner city or the most serene suburb, they now know that their kids are not immune from the threat of guns. "The places you used to think were safe have been violated by these random acts of violence," says Kathy Thomas, a mother of three from Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I certainly don't want my kids to live in fear." Parents worry about...
  • The Last Child Of Camelot

    Her parents were two of the most famous faces of the century, and her brother's heartbreaking grin made front pages around the globe. But Caroline Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg has always steered clear of the spotlight. As the world grieved last week for John F. Kennedy Jr., his sister continued to keep her distance from the crowds. On Thursday, she hid her tears behind dark glasses as his ashes vanished into the sea. She was equally guarded the next day, when she walked into church with her husband and children to celebrate his life.People who have known Caroline for years repeatedly use the same two words to describe her: dignity and grace. Those are qualities she will surely need as she assumes a sad new role she could never have anticipated: the lone survivor of what was once the First Family of Camelot. Friends say Caroline and John were exceptionally close, talking frequently on the phone. He was the best man at her wedding; she was the matron of honor when he wed Carolyn...
  • When Sophie Weds Edward

    The June 19 marriage of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones is not an official state occasion. It's barely a royal wedding as these things go. In Britain, there's none of the hype that accompanied other such pairings. Still, there's lots to say about this ceremony. You've got the bride, a 35-year-old publicist, and the groom, also 35, who was born with a ton of titles but prefers the ever-so-humble Mr. Windsor. Both families approve. His think this union could do wonders for the tarnished image of The Firm (that's how they refer to their family enterprise). We won't talk about those topless photos. It all begins at 5 p.m. The details: ...
  • The Picture Of Health

    It's all about choices and change. In the past decade, advances in medical science have given women opportunities our great-grandmothers never dreamed of. A baby girl born today can reasonably expect to be active and vigorous well into her 80s and beyond. Her sisters, her mother--and even her grandmother--can make informed decisions that enable them to take charge of their own good health. Their choices can be as simple as setting aside time for a brisk 30-minute walk several times a week and revamping their diet to include more fruits and vegetables. Or they can be as mind-boggling as the reproductive technology that now allows once infertile women to bear healthy babies and the genetic crystal ball that enables doctors to predict which women are at highest risk for breast cancer.And this is just the beginning. In the next few decades, scientists will undoubtedly make many breakthroughs that will have a profound effect on all of us. Research into women's health--once virtually...
  • Princess Of The World

    Why did we weep? diana was not a saint; in fact, she was a sinner, as she herself admitted in a remarkably candid 1995 television interview. ("I adored him," she said of her lover and riding instructor, James Hewitt.) She ...
  • Not Much Of An Honor

    PSYCHOLOGIST DANIEL Kirschenbaum enjoys an increasingly rare distinction in the halls of academe: he is a tenured professor. That privileged position, generally bestowed after years of teaching and research, usually guarantees lifetime employment. But Kirschenbaum has been locked out of his office at Northwestern University since 1992, when he lost his job running an eating-disorders clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He no longer gets a paycheck from Northwestern and has no university benefits. The only thing he has is tenure, a status that the university claims, in a case currently making its way through the courts, is an honorary distinction that has nothing to do with a paycheck. ...
  • Keeping Your Kids Safe

    THE WOODWARD TRIAL evokes working parents' worst fear: that the person looking after their kids is cruel or incompetent. While physical abuse is rare, experts estimate thattwo thirds of child-care arrangements are substandard. And bad care has long-term consequences. Recent brain research shows thatearly experiences have a profound effect on a youngster's emotional, social and intellectual development.Despite all the scary headlines about killer nannies,relatives--including fathers, siblings and grandparents-- watch more than 40 percent of preschoolers whose mothers work. Other parents pick from an array of options,depending on their finances, their location, their children's ages and the number of hours a day they need help. Here are some pros and cons of the most common situations:Child-care centers: Institutional care is increasingly popular; about 30 percent of preschoolers with working mothers are in some kind of organized child-care facility. Prices vary widely, depending on...
  • Diamonds Are Forever

    DIAMONDS ARE THE ESSENCE OF purity in Hindu myth and a girl's best friend on Broadway. That range of symbolism is one reason George Harlow, curator of gems and minerals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, thought these precious stones deserved a show of their own. In the summer of 1995, he began organizing an exhibit called "The Nature of Diamonds." When it opens on Saturday, the display will highlight just about every facet of the hardest natural substance known to man--from the science of its origins to its beauty as a priceless gem.Harlow calls diamonds "space capsules from deep earth." That's because each stone, whether it's the fraction of a carat in an engagement ring or the 108.93-carat Koh-i-Noor on display in the Tower of London, begins as pure carbon many miles below the surface. Heat and pressure transform it into a crystalline form. At some point, perhaps millions of years later, the crystals are thrust upward through the force of a volcano. Traces of...
  • Secrets Of The Ivy League

    THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR WHEN tens of thousands of the nation's top high-school seniors labor over applications to Ivy League and other elite colleges. They're doing their best to impress the admissions officers charged with the awesome task of selecting future leaders. But just who are these all-powerful gatekeepers?According to Michele Hernandez, author of ""A Is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges'' (266 pages. Warner Books. $24), they are not necessarily the best and the brightest themselves. Hernandez, who spent four years in Dartmouth's admissions office, says they tend either to be recent graduates of the school they're working for or ""lifers,'' people who pretty much fell into admissions work. In many cases, she says, the lifers went to far less prestigious schools. ""You will note the conspicuous absence of Rhodes scholars or well-known educators on admissions staffs,'' Hernandez writes. As a result, she says, they...
  • The Woman We Loved

    He was the most eligible bachelor in the world, the future King of England. She was, quite literally, the girl next door, a 20-year-old who had grown up on an estate in the shadow of the royal family's Sandringham retreat. When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned in to a brilliantly choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century. ...
  • A Murder At Harvard

    IT WAS A BRUTAL CRIME BY ANY Standard, but the setting--a Harvard dorm--made it especially shocking. On May 28, 1995, junior Sinedu Tadesse stabbed her roommate, Trang Ho, 45 times before hanging herself in the bathroom. Both students arrived at Harvard after difficult journeys that began thousands of miles away. Tadesse, an Ethiopian, grew up during a reign of terror; her father, an educator, spent two years in jail. Through hard work, she won a high-school scholarship and admission to Harvard. Ho was a Vietnamese immigrant who'd graduated at the top of her class at a Boston high school and entered Harvard on a full scholarship. ...
  • Cradles To Coffins

    LINDA CHU PREFERRED HER AC-commodations at the Century Apartments, a complex owned by the University of Southern California, to a regular dorm room because, she told the student newspaper last year, ""the residence halls are much more open-door ... you have to get to know people.'' But the privacy Chu valued so much may have been her undoing, police say, enabling the 20-year-old sophomore business major to carry a baby to term and deliver it secretly in her room. On May 7 a USC maintenance worker discovered the body of an infant girl in a Dumpster. After weeks of investigation, authorities say they traced the baby to Chu; they charge that Chu strangled her newborn, then pushed her into a trash chute. Last week Chu was arrested at her parents' home in Illinois; she's currently in a Chicago jail fighting extradition to California. ...
  • Those Cheatin' Hearts

    It's not just the military. Sex and adultery can roll any office--and raise questions about what the rules are. ...
  • A New Pet Rock For The Digital Generation

    SUMMER CAN'T COME TOO SOON FOR Steven Horvath. With school out, the 10-year-old Chicago youngster will finally have time to take care of his Tamagotchi. For weeks Steven has been defying his mother's orders and sneaking his palm-size techno-pet into his fourth-grade class. ""If you don't do something every four or five hours, it dies,'' explains Steven, who keeps the toy clipped to his jacket with a key chain. ""It kind of teaches you responsibility,'' he adds. His mother, Rosemarie Guadnolo, is dubious. ""It hasn't rubbed off that much,'' she says. ""He's still not taking care of the new cat.'' ...
  • Beating The Clock

    FAMILY-FRIENDLY EMPLOYERS AND changes in public policy can help ease the household-stress overload, but individual ingenuity is still the critical survival skill for two-career families in the 1990s. "There's no such thing as routine parenting anymore," says Bennett L. Leventhal, a child psychiatrist at the University of Chicago and the father of three young children. "We have to be very creative, very innovative and very flexible in order to account for the kids' busy schedules and our busy schedules." Here are some suggestions: ...
  • Readin', Writin', Rhythm

    TWO YEARS AGO CHARLES R. BUGG Elementary in Raleigh, N.C., was a school in trouble. Test scores were below the county average, and there was little parental involvement. But now the school sings-literally. In a science class, students grasp the vastness of space by listening to Gustav Holst's symphonic suite "The Planets." Third graders studying language arts create original poems with a writer-in-residence and learn how to choreograph a dance to go with their verses. In music class, pupils learn about fractions as they study whole, half and quarter notes. ...
  • A Bitter New Battle Over Partial-Birth Abortions

    EVEN BY THE HEATED STANDARDS OF the abortion debate, the arguments last year over partial-birth abortions were remarkably emotional. Right-to-life groups and their congressional allies portrayed these procedures as ghastly events: late-term fetuses being extracted from the womb and killed. Pro-choice groups battled back with real-life tales of pregnant women opting for those procedures only in the most extreme circumstances. Congress voted to ban the operations. President Clinton vetoed the bill. Both sides returned to their corners to fight again. ...
  • Off To A Good Start

    Science confirms what wise parents have long known: kids need lots of time and attention ...
  • Modem Moms

    SO THE 2-YEAR-OLD THROWS A zillion-decibel tantrum in the supermarket, the 4-year-old refuses to go to bed before midnight and the 6-year-old redecorates the living room in a peanut-butter-and-jelly motif. Beleaguered parents will (a) catch the next flight to Paris (sans enfants), (b) swallow a bottle of Valium or (c) peruse the World Wide Web looking for child-rearing advice. If you picked (c), you're thinking like a new-media mogul.This week Disney launches its redesigned multipart Family.com Web site, joining the growing list of parenting sites backed by such high-profile companies as Starwave, Time Warner and Procter & Gamble. Family-related sites are hot because they attract women--in the minority on the Internet but usually in charge of the household budget. Publishers with a steady female audience can find major advertisers willing to support the sites, which are still mostly free to users, says Diana Simeon, an analyst with Jupiter Communications, a new-media market...
  • Gay Families Come Out

    THERE WERE MOMENTS IN Claire's childhood that seemed to call for a little... ingenuity. Like when friends came over. How could she explain the presence of Dorothy, the woman who moved into her Chicago home after Claire's dad left? Sometimes Claire said Dorothy was the housekeeper; other times she was an ""aunt.'' In the living room, Claire would cover up the titles of books like ""Lesbian Love Stories.'' More than a decade later, Claire's mother, Lee, recalls silently watching her daughter at the bookcase. It was, she says, ""extremely painful to me.'' Even today, Lee and Claire--now 24 and recently married--want to be identified only by their middle names because they're worried about what their co-workers might think. ...
  • A Woman Of The World

    AT THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' dinner in 1993, Barbra Streisand was seated next to Pamela Harriman, the U.S. ambassador to France. Streisand asked Harriman the question surely on the minds of many women in the room: ""What's your secret?'' In Reflected Glory (559 pages. Simon & Schuster. $30), her new biography of Harriman, Sally Bedell Smith says Harriman laughed but did not answer. Fortunately for Streisand and other inquiring minds, this meticulously detailed book comes as close as anyone probably can to explaining the success of the woman Smith describes as the century's greatest courtesan. ...
  • The Jargon Jungle

    IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR WHEN DAZED and confused parents of school-age children try to find their way through the jargon jungle. Portfolio assessment, critical thinking, multiple learning styles, metacognitive skills, whole language--after a few classroom conferences, parents must begin to wonder whether some of these teachers ever speak standard English. Fortunately, two longtime guides through the pedagogical wilderness-- E. D. Hirsch Jr. and Theodore Sizer --have weighed in with new books that should help education consumers work past the muddle. ...
  • Standing Room Only

    IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A DAY FILLED with promise; instead, Jose Barahona was full of frustration as he waited with his daughter Elizabeth in the auditorium of PS 149 in Queens, N.Y. Dressed in a crisp yellow-and-white gingham dress, Elizabeth was eager to start first grade. But her classroom this year is one of four bright red trailers parked in the playground. It could have been worse; her school is one of New York City's most crowded, with 1,100 kids crammed into a space meant for 650. "Education is very important," says Barahona, a cabdriver who fled his native El Salvador more than a decade ago. "The school has to supply a better place to learn." ...
  • Tinkerer's Paradise

    A major problem with translating books into CD-ROM format it that some stories are best told in print; the electronic versions just look silly. Fortunately, that's not the case with the Dorling Kindersley version of David Macauley's popular "The Way Things Work." The disc, like the book, is an explanation of dozens of machines and inventions. On screen, many of the parts move when you click on them, and there are well-done hypertext links to related topics. In the unit on the personal computer, for example, you can link to microprocessors and smart cards, among other things, by clicking on a "see also" button. There's also a mini-encyclopedia of inventors, and animated explanations of scientific principles to go along with all the machines. In all of these features, the disc makes good use of the animation and sound possibilities available on CD-ROM. And, as with all Dorling Kindersley projects, the illustrations are first-rate--appealing to both children and adults.
  • Gifts For The Digitally Aware

    ARE THE HOLIDAYS GIVING you the urge to finally chart that family tree? Remap the vegetable garden? Send out some slick New Year's party invitations? Maybe even make your own stack of 150 Christmas cards? (Well, OK, you can skip the cards.) Whatever your creative impulse, Visio Home 3.0 can probably make the job more fun though not necessarily more sophisticated, given the coloringbook tone of some of the images. The program ($49) is Shapeware's newest expanded version of the company's original drag-and-drop drawing program for Windows. It provides templates for everything from home-remodeling designs to treasure maps, flashcards and football playbooks. Once you've chosen a template, add any of dozens of geometric patterns and cartoon images.If you weren't the one to get the artistic genes in your family, never fear: Visio Home does most of the drawing for you, and is intuitive and lively enough for a 10-year-old.
  • Find A Forgotten Friend

    IF THE IDEA OF TRACKING DOWN AN OLD COLLEGE roommate -or a microbrew in Topeka-intrigues you, ProPhone's CD-ROMs, containing the nation's more than 80 million white and yellow page listings, should thrill you. just enter the name or phone number of a person or business, and ProPhone's $199 Select Phone program delivers the listing. (The company also offers a $69 version without business listings or reverse searching capability.) Top competitors include PhoneDisc PowerFinder by Digital Directory Assistance, and 11 Million Businesses and 70 Million Households by American Business Information.
  • Browser Buys

    ANYONE WHO'S HAD THE luxury of full Internet access knows the World-Wide Web is great browsing territory. But for those who want to wander the Web and don't yet have access through a SLIP or PPP connection, there's now another way in: it's SlipKnot, a shareware browser ($29.95) that lets you do almost everything Netscape and NCSA Mosaic do-just at a slightly slower speed. (For information, send a blank e-mail message to slipknot@micromind .Corn). A top commercial browser for SLIP or PPP connection is Internet Chameleon (by NetManage, $199). Besides a slick browser, it includes a newsgroup reader, mail, FTP, Gopher and other Net utilities-and a quick way to sign up for full access.
  • Tech Wear

    IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE perfect gift for a computer jock who already has a top-of-the-line multimedia Pentium with all the trimmings, consider these techie ties. The circuitboard design from Ralph Marlin is $20; the hand-painted keyboards, $65, are available exclusively at Knot Shops in Chicago, St. Louis and Los Angeles. Another fave: Flying Toasters from Berkeley Systems. if he likes them, next year try matching boxer shorts.