Runways-cover October 7, 2015

Kim Davis and False Christianity

October 5, 2015



According to the teachings of Jesus, Kim Davis is an adulteress and hypocrite right now. Not just in her past. I’m not a Christian. I’m not trying to convert anybody, one way or the other. However, as a sometime scholar of the Bible (for actual grades!), I do think it bears mentioning that Kim Davis […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: Love is in the Air – Aloft in the Goodyear Blimp

September 30, 2015



By Joan Larsen   The latest news: the fabled Goodyear blimps are retiring after being in the skies for the lifetime of everyone reading this. With its fleet so near the end of its life-cycle, Goodyear and Zeppelin have again worked together in the next evolution of airship design. I have been to Akron and […]

Cartoon Review: The Oatmeal

September 28, 2015



Hello, all.  I had something deep and thoughtful in mind for today, and managed to get it sort of half-written, but… well, distractions.  Life intervenes, and all that.  So instead of my usual curmudgeonly rant, I will introduce you to The Oatmeal. Cartoonist Matthew Inman is the pen behind this hilarious, spot-on collection of comic […]

Joan Larsen Presents: The Unexpected Delights of a Painter and His Gifts

September 23, 2015



By Joan Larsen Out of the blue – truly out of the blue – a gift of a short film arrived in my mailbox. The accompanying card – from my dearest friend – read: This is for you. Sit down, put in the film — and prepare to be enthralled by this rather young English […]

Teen Pregnancy: The Old, Old Story

September 21, 2015


Scything-Peasant profile

It is the old, old story. Young love, flaring passions, secret, unprotected sex… an unintended pregnancy… and life-changing consequences.  Adolescence instantaneously ends, and two young people are flung, unprepared, into adulthood. Here is a glimpse backward at how things once were… A far cry from how they are today. Just some food for thought. A […]

Joan Larsen Presents: My Touching Encounters With Mountain Gorillas

September 16, 2015



By Joan Larsen I crouched low, my eyes already tearing with emotion, as this mother gorilla – so close to me – showed off her new baby to me. There was no fear but instead, intense pride – and love. Mother to mother, I thought – a universal feeling. I was not afraid. Instead, in […]

Financial Planning Has No Gender

September 14, 2015



It’s basic math, and the most important lesson is: start as young as possible. Lila’s credit union has just considerately sent her an invitation to a financial seminar for women. “Join [a lawyer, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, and Financial Advisor] for this complimentary, no-obligation educational seminar, tailored to women ages 35-60. We’ll discuss the […]

Joan Larsen Introduces Eileen Rockefeller: Letting Go

September 9, 2015



By Eileen Rockefeller So often, in the ups and downs of life, it seems to be our friends that are our “glue”, the people who hold us together, sharing our joys and our sorrows. We are grateful. Today I am absolutely delighted to introduce you to a woman who is all that to me, and […]

Bandshell (Maybe Forever?)

September 7, 2015



By Lauriate Roly One of my greatest pleasures is hearing a band playing in an outdoor bandshell.  From earliest childhood days that I can recall, listening to music being played in the open air is just about the most beautiful feeling there is for me. The music is raw.  No enhancing sound devices involved and […]

Joan Larsen Travel: Searching for the World’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls

September 2, 2015


Iguazu Falls

By Joan Larsen Over a lifetime of travel, I have always looked for those hidden wonders of nature – mostly so far off the beaten track that they are not known by most travelers.  Some of the most spectacular hidden treasures have been waterfalls that had to be flown into or hiked into in quite […]

The Paternoster Elevator: You’ll Never See This in the US

August 31, 2015



This recent article about Germany’s paternoster elevators brought back a lot of memories! It seems that the German government was pushing to shut down the few remaining paternosters as a safety hazard (and as you read on, you may agree with them!), but German citizens pushed back just as hard to save the quirky elevators, […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Get Lost in Iceland

August 26, 2015



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 […]

Donald Trump: Dangerous Rhetoric

August 24, 2015



Trump’s brand of intolerant, divisive rhetoric is mightily reminiscent of a certain historical figure. Four years ago, in 2011, Donald Trump was crashing around the Presidential campaign like an obscene bull with Mad Cow Disease.  This is what we wrote at the time (go to the link for the full text): Donald Trump has thrown […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Close Encounters of the Grizzly Kind

August 19, 2015



By Joan Larsen     August, 2015, Yellowstone National Park … and yet another hiker dead, killed and mostly eaten by a grizzly bear while hiking in the Park. The man, an experienced hiker, actually worked in the park and knew its dangers. Hiking alone especially is not recommended. All visitors are instructed to carry […]

Dorothy Stewart McElhaney: Best Obit EVER

August 17, 2015



A friend pointed out this obituary, which appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch last Tuesday. We have written previously that what matters in life is what you can pack into that little dash that appears between your birth date and your death date. Well, what a jam-packed dash this lady had, and what wit and humor! […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Bora Bora – A Glimpse of Paradise

August 12, 2015



By Joan Larsen By now, the world has heard the news of Jennifer Aniston’s and Justin Theroux’s posh wedding at their Bel Air, California mansion. But it was the lesser print that caught my eye: Jennifer and Justin, along with the largest wedding entourage I have seen, were spirited off to one of the most […]

Lucky Horses Revisited

August 10, 2015


I love my neighbor.  When we first moved here a few years back, she asked if I ride horses.  Well, I’ve done a little casual riding from time to time, but… let’s just say I have never owned a pair of jodhpurs.  Fortunately for me, my neighbor is not part of the hoity-toity, rarified horse […]

Joan Larsen Introduces Katrina Kenison: Solitude

August 5, 2015



It is with pure delight – and yes, more than a little excitement – that I introduce our guest author and writer today. Rarely do we find a woman who so wonderfully expresses in writing what we all think at times – the thoughts deep within that we never really fully articulate. Our guest today, […]

Bikes vs. Cars: A Local Hit-and-Run Brings Out the Uglies on Facebook

August 3, 2015



Bottom line: the primary responsibility in driving is to not hit anything, especially not human beings. This month, a man was riding his bicycle down a rural road in my area when he was hit from behind by a pickup truck. The driver had the good sense to stop and ask if the cyclist was […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Up, Up, and Away in My Beautiful Balloon!!

July 29, 2015



By Joan Larsen   Early morning. Imagine floating thousands of feet above the earth, looking up at a deep blue sky with just a sprinkle of white clouds, looking down at a sea of Midwestern cornfields in a sea of green. I was young. Very young … and going up in a hot air balloon […]

Lauriate Roly: A Back-Handed Compliment?

July 27, 2015


"Aurora and Tithonus" by Gregorio Lazzarini

By Lauriate Roly   My wonderful daughter Madeline does so many things for me. She and her wonderful husband Larry have lived with Frances and me since they were joined in happy matrimony, when they decided to come and live with us in our oversized house. They’ve always been so supportive in so many ways.  If […]

Joan Larsen Presents: To Melt the Heart – First Photos of the Most Loveable Brown Bears Ever Filmed

July 22, 2015


Photo: Igor Shpilenok

By Joan Larsen Dedicated to my long-time friends and fellow explorers, Arthur and Mary Clark.  Arthur is a retired Air Force general, an aviator, and a veteran of World War II.  He has traveled extensively, much of it in Alaska, Siberia and the Arctic.     May I introduce you to Maria, the very becomingly […]

“The Eagle Has Landed.” The 46th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

July 20, 2015



Lila remembers it, but was roundly unimpressed at the time. In my memory, the first moon landing is inextricably linked to my mother’s death. She died suddenly on 13 July 1969, while we were living abroad in South America. Three days later, on 16 July, the astronauts launched. I think I was aware of it; […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Don’t Look Down! In Photos — The World’s Scariest Hike

July 15, 2015



By Joan Larsen Its name – El Caminito del Rey (in English: The King’s Little Pathway) … makes it sounds like it would be a delight for a child. But, in fact, this walkway, built in 1905 and attached to the steep walls of El Chorro gorge in southern Spain’s Malaga province, became – much […]

Cultural Appropriation: I’m Drawing the Line… ALL the Way Back.

July 13, 2015



I have traveled the world, and there is a lot to love. If I want to wear, eat, own, use, or display anything that takes my fancy, from ANYWHERE… I will. You can stuff your “cultural appropriation” right where the sun don’t shine. A friend recently pushed my buttons on this topic by telling me […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Carmel-By-The-Sea – Simply Unforgettable

July 8, 2015



By Joan Larsen Wading in the Pacific Ocean – as the setting sun’s last rays lit up the skies before sunset – was magical.  The last surfer was way out, paddling his board toward shore in a lazy fashion.  Only the few of us on the beach saw the whale not that far behind  the […]

Posted in: Joan Larsen, Travel

Gay Marriage and Petty Bureaucrats: Power vs. Responsibility

July 6, 2015



One might think that the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide would signal an end to the matter of gay marriage. But no, now we have low-level judges and county clerks standing in the way, refusing to issue marriage licenses because they believe that their personal religious beliefs and their consciences trump the highest […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Summer Dream – The Hidden Getaway at the Lake House

July 1, 2015



By Joan Larsen I believe down deep we are all alike. Deep inside us, unbidden thoughts take over our quiet moments in the early darkness of winter. The two of us find ourselves talking – the kind of conversation that usually comes late in the evening when the lights are low. It is then we […]

Papal Paradox: Curb Global Warming, But Don’t Curb Population Growth?

June 29, 2015



Yea, verily, I say unto thee, the Apocalypse is upon us, and it ain’t the Apocalypse of John. It’s more like Genesis in high-speed reverse.   In his recent encyclical, the Pope says global warming is real, is a threat, and is partly caused by humans. I love him for that.  What I don’t love […]

Bristol Palin, Pregnant Again, Doesn’t Want Any Lectures. Good. Neither Do We.

June 26, 2015



If ever there were an argument that we should all butt out of each others’ reproductive business, this is it.   Time for a quick Friday rant: Bristol Palin is pregnant out of wedlock for the second time. “Bristol Palin announces second pregnancy, schadenfreude-tinged pile-on begins,” trumpets the Los Angeles Times. I’m not into the […]


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