My Great-Grandfather's hand. February 8, 2016

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Cavorting With Hippos in Africa

February 3, 2016

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5-hippos

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 […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Beware the Machine-Compiled Dictionary

February 1, 2016

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language

Yes, I am talking about YOU, Dictionary.com! Language is a tricky thing.  Some years ago, I stood in a bookstore alongside my Russian friend.  We spotted some pretty well-respected brand-name dictionaries of slang and idioms for the Russian language.  As a student of the language, I was immediately interested.  I pulled on off the shelf, […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Hawaii’s Paradise: The Island of Kauai

January 27, 2016

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Home-Kauai

By Joan Larsen   Make the world go away . . . and I know I reflect you, and probably most others – in feeling that LIFE – yes, life in big letters – has to be better than it had been lately. It has to. We are all drowning in the ever-changing news cycles […]

This Conservative Meme Got It All Wrong on Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities

January 25, 2016

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Adoption

Fact-based critical thinking is seriously wounded in this country. So… one of my rather conservative friends… a very religious and avidly pro-life individual… shared the below meme, from a Facebook page called “Right Wing News.” A quick scroll through the posts on that page pretty much confirm that it is rabidly uber-conservative, sometimes nonsensically so. […]

Joan Larsen Writes: Live Life to the Fullest – A Room of Our Own

January 20, 2016

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cover

By Joan Larsen So often, we do not have time to smell the roses, do we?  Sometimes, it feels as if we have just run a marathon  .  .  . and yet there is still more to do.  Perhaps I am prejudiced, but women are responsible for so many things in our world of today.  […]

Victim of Terrorism? Sue Your County and Get Rich!

January 18, 2016

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Lawsuit

A widow’s lawsuit seeking $58 million from San Bernardino County for her husband’s death in a terrorist attack is unreasonable, cynical, and greedy.   If one can believe the headlines, San Bernardino County has a lot to answer for. Correctional officers torturing prisoners. Improper strip searches of inmates. Sexual misconduct with prisoners. The sometimes fatal […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Journey to the Far North – Home to the Polar Bear

January 13, 2016

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Cover-Bears

By Joan Larsen   It was to be a journey to the far north – the lands far above Norway that are the stepping stones to the North Pole – an island group called Spitsbergen on our world’s far edges. There is only a tiny window in summer when the ice opens up enough to […]

Report Crimes to the Police, Not to Your College Administration

January 11, 2016

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rape-is-wrong

Remember the Rolling Stone article that detailed a horrific gang rape at University of Virginia, only to be quickly retracted when “Jackie’s” story didn’t add up? Even when it became clear that Jackie’s story was not true, advocates insisted that something bad had happened, that women simply don’t invent rape allegations from thin air, that […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Heartstopping! The World’s Most Extreme Runways

January 6, 2016

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Runways-cover

by Joan Larsen For absolutely all of us who have flown to our destinations before the “post-2000” era, there was little written about dangerous runways. Do you remember articles listing them? I don’t think so. If we had any worry in the long distant past, it might center on a plane crash in an unlikely […]

Delicious Irony of the Flight of the Affluenza Boy

January 4, 2016

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CouchMugShot

In a deliciously ironic twist, Affluenza Boy’s maneuvering to avoid justice has landed him in a “sanctuary” that is far worse and may even last longer than any punishment he would have received in the US. Two years ago, we expressed our outrage at the Ethan Couch case. You may remember it; a spoiled and […]

Joan Larsen Presents: 2016 – Reflections From the Mountain

December 30, 2015

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As 2015 comes to a close, and as we perch a bit precariously on the edge of this New Year –  we are still filled with hope  as we always have been. But with a world in turmoil as it is, stirring our minds — a small family holiday getaway has done the trick,  once again bringing us back to the beauty […]

Posted in: Interests, Joan Larsen

‘Tis the Season to Rip the Phone Off the Wall

December 28, 2015

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DoNotCall

Beware of the Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone, or Why There Should Be No Exemptions to the Do Not Call List. Now here we are in the Season of Giving. People’s hearts and wallets are open, so of course charities come a-calling. And this is where Lila gets really annoyed with the fact that the Do […]

Joan Larsen Presents: The Most Magical Holiday Season

December 23, 2015

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by Joan Larsen The years spent in our lovely decorated home waiting for Santa to make his magical, glorious appearance are long past.  The close-knit family of our childhoods seem to have scattered in all directions now. Changes in tradition never seem to be easy.  But after more thought, more talk than you might believe, […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: Crèche – Mom, From Central Casting

December 21, 2015

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creche

By Lauriate Roly The school I went to had a boy’s side and a girl’s side, “and never the twain shall meet.”  It was strictly forbidden for either side to mix with the other. Even in the big schoolyard we shared together, there was a heavy painted line that neither gender child would even think […]

Joan Larsen Presents: A True and Inspiring Holiday Tale to Remember – Sprinkling Stars on the Life of a Child

December 16, 2015

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cover

By Joan Larsen Sometimes, a single story can change our lives. Though this personal tale takes place in the Christmas season, it is one that – once heard – is remembered forever.   The glories of nature in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana would be hard to match.  But in that wilderness live families whose […]

“Free-Range Kid” Legislation: Pretty Sad That It Needed a Law

December 14, 2015

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KidsPlaying

A little bit of common sense may be returning to our schools. On 10 December, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which overhauls the disastrous “No Child Left Behind” law. Love it or not, the idea is to get the Federal Government mostly out of the education business and return control of curricula […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Ready, Set, Snow! – The Old World Charms of Quebec City

December 9, 2015

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By Joan Larsen We’re dreaming of a white Christmas. Streets banked with that glistening white stuff, beautifully highlighted by festive holiday decorations, quaint little markets for that one-of-a-kind gift shopping that will make you the most remembered Santa on earth. Quebec exudes Old World charm, yet it is enticingly close to home. You are going […]

Lucky Horses, Part Two: Mr. Crazy Pants

December 7, 2015

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Lila takes Mr. Crazy Pants out on the trail.  So far... so good.

Remember when we wrote about our neighbor’s three lucky horses a couple of years ago? Their luck continues… and that is perhaps Lila’s luck, now, too. The oldest two horses are now 32 and 28, respectively, and will probably never wear a saddle again. They have crossed that boundary into old age, but they continue […]

Joan Larsen, Out and About: Lighting Up the Holidays at the Biltmore Mansion

December 2, 2015

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Biltmore-home

by Joan Larsen To me, there is nothing like the feeling of a much loved family gathering filled with love – with so many hugs and so much joy – each and every Christmas. My spirits have lifted for the celebration. But I don’t want to spend the remaining days of the season stretched out […]

Wonderful Wool – and Other Old Things

November 30, 2015

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14-sheep

The holiday season is upon us!  May you stay safe in your forays into the shopping chaos. I’d like to make a suggestion for this year: buy old stuff. I started pondering this with the arrival of the cold weather last year. It happens that I have my parents’ wool blankets that they bought way […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Thanksgiving at the Lake House

November 25, 2015

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cover-thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving at the Lake House and the gathering of family is always equated to love overflowing and the feeling of closeness . . .   A warm welcome to our family Thanksgiving!!       The greatest fun is coming early and working together to make decorations for the house   As the children […]

The Obliteration of Thanksgiving, and Halloween is Next

November 23, 2015

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Pumpkins

As we head into Thanksgiving week… everyone take a deep breath. Fall and winter used to have a certain stately holiday pace to them: first came Halloween, with its witches and goblins, skeletons and black cats.  The venerable pumpkin and the reds, yellows and oranges of Autumn rolled smoothly into Thanksgiving.  There used to be […]

Joan Larsen Thinks Outside the Christmas Box: New Ways to Make the Holidays Last Year-Round

November 18, 2015

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Home-gifts

By Joan Larsen   All right. . . I am going to be honest with you this Christmas season. I have been an inveterate gift giver all my life, almost racing – as the days get close to the holidays – to fulfill the dreams of all my friends and family. I am sure you […]

Revisiting and Re-Living: the Beginning of the End of European Tolerance?

November 16, 2015

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FranceFlag

Extremism threatens everyone, but ordinary citizens who happen to be Muslim have the most to lose. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, we wrote the following piece.  Now, following the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, it seems more relevant than ever.  Extremist violence in Europe is escalating, and nowhere is this more […]

Joan Larsen Presents: There Was a War, A Great War, and Now it is Over

November 11, 2015

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wwi-armistice

By Joan Larsen From the collection War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence From American Wars, by Andrew Carroll, 2002:   Aboard the SS Regina   Dear Mother and Father, Now that it is all over, what is there to look back upon? The fifteen months in France have been like a book with strange chapters, a book […]

Why Child Care May Never Be Well Compensated

November 9, 2015

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angrychild

It’s because of the limited availability of parental dollars to pay for the service. Marketwatch published an interesting chart this week, showing how those who care for our nation’s children are compensated at a lower rate than bellhops, car cleaners, and even parking lot attendants. Why is this? Child-care workers are entrusted with our nation’s […]

Joan Larsen Presents: Favorite Bond Girls of All Time

November 4, 2015

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ShirleyEaton_Goldfinger

By Joan Larsen   The latest James Bond movie – SPECTRE – is about to hit the screens in the United States . . . a week after London’s world premiere. Yes, I think we have all noticed that most of the latest films don’t seem to draw crowds as they once did. But James […]

The Plastic Convenience Trash Nation

November 2, 2015

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Or maybe, the Plastic Convenience Trash Planet. The other day I discovered that there is such a thing as a pre-packaged alcoholic beverage called a “Twistee Shot” (there is also a similar “Twisted Shot.”) It’s a little two-chambered plastic shot glass with a foil lid. Peel and drink. How handy. Or crass and lazy, depending […]

Joan Larsen Presents James Bond: Shaken, Not Stirred – The Iconic Destinations of All the Bond Movies

October 28, 2015

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Craig-Bond-Cover

By Joan Larsen, adapted from Chris Leadbeater, “Around the World with Every James Bond Film,” Travel Section, The Telegraph, October 24, 2015. Spectre. The James Bond of old is back . . . achingly cool, tackling the action and the romantic scenes with an almost boyish relish that is – well, almost impossible to resist. […]

The Annual Halloween Parade of the Offended: Give It a Rest!

October 26, 2015

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Pumpkins

Dang, people, get a grip. If everyone who’s offended by some costume or other gets their way, there won’t be a Halloween at all anymore. Apparently, 1 November is not the Day of the Dead in the US, nor is it All Saints’ Day. No, it is the Day to Be Righteously Offended About Other […]

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