15-leopard October 30, 2014
Fred-Ginger-crop October 29, 2014

The Benefits of Cutting Back on Dining Out

October 31, 2014



Lila and Hubby recently took advantage of a long-languishing gift card for dinner and a movie. We figured we’d better use it up before it expired or we lost it or something. We intentionally chose a weekday on the theory that the theater and the restaurant might be less crowded. We were right about the […]

So You’ve Never Heard of Steampunk?

October 27, 2014



So there was Lila, invited to a Halloween party at the last minute, and not a thing to wear. What to do, what to do… Aha! For Christmas a few years ago, some wonderfully strange friends had given Lila Ebola and Plague. No, no, not the actual diseases; these were somewhat cute, plush, giant microbe […]

Halloween is One Week Away. Children’s Costumes to Avoid

October 24, 2014



In case you missed this last year, here is Lila’s common-sense public service announcement about costumes for your daughters:   If your little girl is wearing this stuff, she’s a pedophile’s dream.  If your teen is wearing it, she’s jailbait.  That’s all there is to it, so pick something else. Halloween is a week away, […]

Jeanne Henriques: An Extraordinary Travel Moment… In Laos

October 22, 2014



A most special treat this week for all of us . . . and the warmest of introductions to our guest blogger, Jeanne Henriques – someone I call a dear friend from afar, writer and photographer extraordinaire. Jeanne not only writes like a dream, but leads and writes about the most extraordinary life I have […]

Drunk Sex: When Will Women Be Seen As Responsible Decision-Makers in Sexual Matters?

October 20, 2014



The “No means no” slogan of the past couple of decades hasn’t really helped much where sexual misconduct on campus is concerned. Enter a new slogan, “Yes means yes.” It sounds good in theory – affirmative consent all around before any activity is initiated – but it fails to resolve the single biggest problem in […]

Nurse Amber Vinson and the CDC: If These are Medical Professionals, We Are Doomed

October 17, 2014



Is it just me, or does anyone else out there have the déjà-vu sensation that we are watching a bad horror movie unfold? Twelve Monkeys, or Z Nation, or Contagion, perhaps? At any rate, we are trapped in that sort of horror movie where the characters all do patently stupid things just to move the […]

Joan Larsen’s Book Reviews: An Inside Look – Remarkable Women of Our Time

October 15, 2014



By Joan Larsen   For those of us who are “middle-aged” or a tiny bit above, reading books is in our blood. Some of us have libraries of books we cannot part with. You can count me as one of them. I am counting on heaven as being a library in fact . . . […]

It’s Past Time to Get Off the Fossil Fuels: You Can’t Drink Oil

October 13, 2014


Here’s how Lila knows we are doomed as a species: there’s hardly any water left in California, and we’re letting Big Oil ruin it by fracking. News flash: you can’t eat dollars or drink oil. Lila’s undergraduate degree is in Geology. Decades ago, we predicted that economically accessible oil supplies would run out by the […]

Death With Dignity: Why Should Religion Be Allowed to Butt In?

October 10, 2014



I would not tell anyone else that he or she should choose death with dignity. My question is: Who has the right to tell me that I don’t deserve this choice? That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain? Why should anyone have the right to […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: A Glimpse of the Ultimate Honeymoon Hideway – Villa 11, North Island, The Seychelles

October 8, 2014



By Joan Larsen     Picture this: turquoise waters, glittering sands, and the most exclusive hidden villa in our world — on an island that is about as isolated as you can get. And – after a 3-day wedding in Venice that often eclipsed the world news, viewers were sprinkled with a series of carefully […]

Farewell to Jerrie Mock, First Woman to Fly Solo Around the Globe

October 6, 2014



She was the record-setting aviatrix you probably haven’t heard of.   Last weekend, the New York Times ran a full-length obituary article for one Mrs. Jerrie Mock, who passed away last week at the age of 88. I’d like to say that the remarkable Jerri Mock was famous for being the first female pilot to […]

Ebola Doubling Every 20 Days: Quit Placating the Public and Take it Seriously

October 3, 2014



I don’t worry about known Ebola patients coming to the US under controlled conditions. I worry about unknown incubators traveling here and then becoming ill among the general population. It’s already happened.   So the news came this week that a man flew from Ebola-stricken Liberia to visit relatives in Dallas, TX, and now he […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: My Glorious Love Affair in Zermatt

October 1, 2014


By Joan Larsen An unusual love story – the kind you hope for, dream of – has to have had “beginnings”. My mother’s dreams for her only daughter were not wealth and fame. She was a romantic, believing – showing – that when you had love, combined with a romantic life, that life could be […]

Is There Really Such a Thing as the Evil Twin?

September 29, 2014



Lila has known several sets of twins over the years. Last weekend, I had occasion to renew the acquaintance of a set I have known for several decades now. Nothing has changed: one twin is kindhearted and thoughtful, and the other is… well… kind of a jerk. How could twins be so different from each […]

Another Lila-Pause

September 26, 2014



All, alas, I must take another break today for meetings with realtors and photographers and brokers, oh my!   Or maybe just the photographers, who will hopefully capture all the charm of Lila’s old home, which now eagerly awaits a new occupant!   The past week or so has been a whirlwind of painting and […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Pure Fall Enchantment – Utah’s Red Rock Country

September 24, 2014



By Joan Larsen   Have you ever turned a single bend in a road, finding yourself so stunned by a scene of such beauty that you have felt a rush to your heart . . . or felt tears rolling down your cheeks? The threaded road with its unexpected curves and pull-offs – pull-offs where […]

Time to Make Scientific Education Standards a Priority… Starting with Us

September 22, 2014



Our huge, inter-connected population and the globalization of economies means that today, intelligence without education is outright harmful.   The human mind looks for patterns, and in the absence of education or scientific thought processes, the mind will see patterns and meanings that just aren’t there. Conversely, without education, the mind grasps little of what […]

Hostage Rescue Operations: Not So Simple

September 19, 2014


Some of the US wreckage left behind at "Desert One" in Iran, 1980.

Obama’s detractors would have us all think that one need only snap one’s fingers and tell the military to just go rescue the hostages, and it’ll be done. In reality, hostage rescues are notoriously difficult and dangerous, and often get the hostages killed.   I haven’t seen this complaint from any credible news organization, but […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Deep In Australia’s Jungles – Learning to Love a Frilled Dragon

September 17, 2014



By Joan Larsen Still young and very adventurous on our first month-long journey to Australia – travelling on unpaved dusty roads to be one of the first to discover the wild places of the country’s Top End – had been dreamed about for years. It was a bit more rugged than we had been told […]

Bridge the Divide Between Young and Old: Write a Book For Your Family

September 15, 2014



It never fails that at family reunions, the “old folks” are sitting around reminiscing about grade school and about people that the younger folks have never even heard of, much less met, and maybe the time that old Fred turned the school bus over in that ditch down by Carl’s place. The young think it’s […]

The Ray Rice Assault Case: Can A Man Be Separated From His Actions?

September 12, 2014



Just like in the Steubenville rape case, a hometown leaps to the defense of their native son who has committed an egregious offense. I don’t approve, but I do sort of understand where the NFL is coming from on the Ray Rice case. There’s a lot of money in professional sports, and if your athletes […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: California Dreaming – The Allure of La Jolla

September 10, 2014



By Joan Larsen   Fall is definitely in the air . . . and, if you are like me, you wait out the packed highways of summer travel, knowing that a far less crowded season awaits– with all the hidden delights that California seems to pull out of its sleeve for the visitor “in the […]

In Defense of Dictators… and Stability

September 8, 2014



The US has a history of embracing a lot of not-so-benevolent dictators.  We also are swiftly establishing a history of promoting “regime change” with visions of democracy dancing in our heads, but what emerges instead is all too often a dangerous brand of Islamic extremism.   Back in the 1970s and at the height of […]

Safety Tip From Lila’s Dad: Drive Like You Know Where You Are… Even When You Don’t

September 5, 2014



Lila has had the misfortune to live in one of the nation’s worst-rated cities when it comes to traffic. The traffic gurus define this as congestion and length of commutes. I would like to add to that: the sheer density of clueless drivers, who seem completely incompetent to maintain a steady speed or even to […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Cavorting With Hippos in Botswana

September 3, 2014



By Joan Larsen By the time our very small plane had landed on a remote airstrip in the African country of Botswana, I felt I had researched every bird and animal we even had a sliver of a chance of seeing. However, it always seemed that the zoo hippos, heads peeking out of water, had […]

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No, We Are NOT All Getting Taller or Growing Bigger Feet

September 1, 2014


Hey manufacturers: remember that there are plenty of us still around who haven’t grown much in the last several decades. Lila is a mere five feet tall with size 5 feet, a situation that has not changed since… oh, probably about age 13 or so. So when headlines trumpet that we are getting taller, or […]

Moving Hiatus! Meanwhile, Back to… If You Are Pro-Life, Then You Are Anti-IVF

August 29, 2014



All, one more look back at a Lila-Encore!  Lila and Hubby are still unpacking and unboxing, and the new house is finally starting to look more like a house and less like a hurricane-mauled refugee camp.  Lila’s computer is up and running so I will soon be back to blogging! Meanwhile, here’s a look back […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Get Lost in Iceland

August 27, 2014



By Joan Larsen So close yet so remote. So magnificent that it beats out all comers on our planet. Until now, it has been my own secret hideaway on this earth – Iceland, the magnificent. For years, Iceland has drawn me back again and again like a magnet.   And once you too have received the […]

Moving Hiatus! Meanwhile, Back to… Afghanistan, 13 Years On: Why I Want a Draft

August 25, 2014



All, the big week is here!  Lila and Hubby are busy packing, boxing, driving, unpacking, unboxing, and hopefully not killing each other in the process.  At the end of it all we should… I hope… have our new dream home all set up and running smoothly.  As Lila’s computer is somewhere in between here and […]


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