Iceland-cover August 26, 2015

Donald Trump: Dangerous Rhetoric

August 24, 2015

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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"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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Bristol-Palin

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 […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Lost in Another World – Exploring Australia’s Top End

June 24, 2015

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By Joan Larsen We were young and adventurous when this wilderness beckoned us.  Crocodile Dundee walked in our footsteps sometime later… but we paved the way.  For the most part, the roads in the Top End were not paved.  The largest national park in Australia lies there, a “must-be-seen” wilderness called Kakadu… a journey to […]

Ten More Turns: The Little Gold Watch

June 22, 2015

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By Lauriate Roly She probably played with this lovely watch many times.  Trying to set the time or trying to wind it so it would keep running, or watching to see that it is wound enough to keep running until to-morrow. How many times a day should it be wound, and how many turns of […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Mountains of the Imagination – Adventures in the Grand Tetons

June 17, 2015

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By Joan Larsen We call them “second honeymoons” – and they are.  But there are just a handful of  special places in the United States that will draw us back time after time.  We have never been disappointed.  An authentic Swiss chalet in the mountains of Wyoming, aptly named The Alpenhof Lodge, has been our […]

Rachel Dolezal Can’t Be Black, Because Dave Chappelle Can’t Be White

June 16, 2015

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Rachel-Dolezel

I’m no fan of the “one drop of black blood makes you black” philosophy, nor does one drop of white blood make you white. Dolezal is correct that race is more complicated than that. But she has not one single drop, not a smidgen, not an atom of black heritage. I have been watching in […]

Posted in: Interests, Nation, Politics, Race

When Is Fortunetelling “Bilking?” Or, Why is it Legal at All?

June 15, 2015

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Bart-Magic8Ball

Answer: It’s always bilking. It is only a matter of degree. As Michael Wilson reports in the New York Times, a man consulted a Times Square psychic for help in winning the affections of his lady love. Over the course of the next 20 months, “she bled him dry;” he had handed over $713,975. And […]

Posted in: Crime, Interests, Justice

Joan Larsen Encore: Sailing to the Top of the World

June 10, 2015

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By Joan Larsen There are very few untouched wildernesses remaining in our world today.  Even as a quite young child, my dream was to explore the most remote islands I could find on our globe.  The High Canadian Arctic – until lately – remained isolated islands, mostly inaccessible with their nearly year-round ice.  It was […]

Enough “Trigger Warnings” and “Safe Spaces.” Grow Up, or Step Aside.

June 8, 2015

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We are supposed to be ready for full adulthood upon graduation from high school. Instead, our best universities now act like nurseries for weak-minded, simpering crybabies. We are doomed. There is a dangerous – yes, dangerous – and growing tendency to insulate college students from the least bit of stress, controversy, mental discomfort, or any […]

Joan Larsen: Finding Help to Leap the Chasm Between High School and Life

June 3, 2015

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By Joan Larsen As we watch our own children and grandchildren heading into those final years in high school, more often than not we see kids who are ‘betwixt and between’, still too young and unsure of which of the many roads that spread out ahead of them to lay claim to.  Remembering back to our […]

How to Boost Clothing Sales: Block Cell Signals in the Fitting Rooms

June 1, 2015

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How much revenue is lost to the Selfish Selfie? The other day, I enjoyed a rare stroke of good fortune in the jeans department: my size, the elusive 6P, was in stock! Still, jeans are something you really need to try on before buying, so I grabbed a pair and headed to the fitting rooms. […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Life Stories – Love Letters from a Scammer

May 27, 2015

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By Joan Larsen   A true story, a cautionary story for all women is about to unfold.  My beautiful young friend in her 40s was about to experience the downside of life in a way that many of us discover in that decade.  Caring for dying parents, one after the other, drains you and often […]

Christian Fundamentalists Treat Females Just as Badly as Muslim Fundamentalists

May 25, 2015

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bible

Odd that Westerners fear the patriarchal extremism of Islamic Sharia law, but tolerate or even praise the exact same principles when they are espoused by Christian extremists like the Duggar clan. How very strange. There has been much flailing recently over revelations of Josh Duggar’s molestation of girls – some of them his own sisters […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Finding New Zealand’s Mt. Cook

May 20, 2015

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By Joan Larsen   Can you imagine a country where the only roadblocks you encounter are beautiful sheep blocking the road?  Welcome then to New Zealand — with its two islands holding 3 million wonderful people . . . and 60 million sheep – a proud welcoming committee, actually posing for what looks to be […]

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