cover-falling March 25, 2015

Natural Easter Egg Dyes!

March 30, 2015



For anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary, natural, and educational for this holiday weekend, consider experimenting with natural plant dyes for your Easter eggs!  Check out these websites and others for more ideas to put some extra fun and interest into your Easter activities. Here’s just one of many resources explaining […]

Tesla’s Autopilot: Don’t Lie. It’s Not for the Alert, It’s for the Distracted.

March 23, 2015



Nobody is going to watch like a hawk as their car does all the driving.   Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla would offer a self-driving electric car by this summer. According to him, a software update will allow drivers to cede control to the “autopilot” mode, at least on major highways. […]

Our Third Anniversary at Forming the Thread

March 20, 2015


Hello, all! Next week we are up to the third anniversary of Forming the Thread. I started out in 2012 with a rather ambitious (perhaps too ambitious) schedule of publishing something five days per week. Thank God for Joan Larsen, who soon stepped in to fill my Wednesdays; and to all the guests who have […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: A Floating World – Breathtaking Images of Antarctica’s Summer

March 18, 2015



By Joan Larsen The waves of the world’s Southern Ocean had turned into a rare mirror-like calm as our ship glided into Antarctic waters. The passengers, strangers still, were out on the decks or bridge, watching the first icebergs stand tall on the horizon – looking like city skyscrapers that had mysteriously lost their way. […]

Lila in the Land of the Giants

March 16, 2015



What if pickle jars came with lids that were 8″ in diameter? What if countertops were four feet high? What if chairs and toilets were three feet high? What if leaf-blower handles were as big around as mayonnaise jars, or steps were a standard 12″ high? Welcome to my world.   It has been noted […]

Some Grads are Unemployed Because They Can’t Be Bothered

March 13, 2015



Ah, spring approaches, and a young man’s fancy turns to… internships.  Alas, I’m losing patience with all the sad headlines about unemployed young college grads and their tough circumstances.  Here’s why. I am of an age that for a few years now, my old high school friends have been going through this with their own […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Africa’s Mighty Victoria Falls, One of the Seven Wonders

March 11, 2015



By Joan Larsen Sometime in your life, you should stay at a grand British colonial hotel befitting of the grand old days.  And sometime, too, you should see one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World,  the stunning Victoria Falls in southern Africa. Tranquil, shaded, with a chorus of frogs in the courtyards, with […]

So Dogs Have Bad Short-Term Memory? It’s Better Than Yours.

March 9, 2015



A Swedish study making the rounds in the news this week allegedly notes that many animals have “terrible short-term memories.” Guess what? It’s better than ours. Somehow, the media picked up a University of Stockholm study and concluded that animals are dolts who never remember much of anything. The public is deluged with such moronic […]

Lila’s Best Jacket for Cold, Wet Weather

March 6, 2015



Last year, we moved a bit farther south on the Eastern Seaboard, and this has brought us a bit of a change in the weather. Oh, we have had our snow and single-digit temperatures this winter, but that is not normal for the area. Usually, if it’s cold enough to snow, then it will be […]

Joan Larsen Presents: Tender Gifts From Birds – The Girl Who Gets Gifts From Crows

March 4, 2015



By Joan Larsen Many thanks to Katy Sewall for alerting us to this wonderful story! Gabriella – a 4-year-old child living in Seattle, Washington – was prone to dropping food – when she was getting out of the family car or just munching in her yard. So very typical of children that age. But, the […]

Plastic Surgery: The One Thing Men are Not Allowed to Ask For

March 2, 2015



They’ll let some guy have 100 operations to look like a Ken doll, but by God, don’t ask for a penis reduction, because that’s abnormal.   So The Daily Mail reports that a US teen has just had the world’s first penis reduction surgery. If you’re not real squeamish, or if you’re not a guy […]

Top 20 Film Performances of 2014

February 27, 2015



By Luther Elmo As promised on Monday, here are the top 20 performances in film for 2014. Like the films themselves, there was a very strong lot from which to select, but unsurprisingly, most of these were drawn from films that I highlighted previously (proving that in most cases, it’s the characters we respond to, […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: A Landscape of Superlatives – A First Look at Yosemite

February 25, 2015



by Joan Larsen Only a morning’s drive from San Francisco lies one of the world’s truly great wilderness areas – a place of plunging waterfalls, snow-capped lakes, stark stone cliffs of stunning beauty, and a natural cathedral of ancient Sequoia trees that are among the largest on Earth. Its name: Yosemite National Park, its beauty […]

The Top 20 Films of 2014

February 23, 2015



By Luther Elmo   Once a year at Oscar time, I compile my own list for the best films of the previous year. I used to just pick from within the group that had actually received Oscar nominations; however, it soon became apparent that the Academy did not necessarily reward nominations based solely on achievement […]

Posted in: Interests, Luther Elmo

Welcome to the Plutocracy: S**t Flows Downhill, and You are on the Bottom

February 20, 2015



Rude little rich boy Conrad Hilton is an overgrown spoiled brat, but he may have been on to something by referring to everyone on BA Flight 269 as “peasants.” Wake up and smell the plutocracy! Americans like to think we are all equal under the law, that we all have equal opportunities, that we all […]

Joan Larsen Presents: Winter Rescue – Luckiest Moose in the World

February 18, 2015


Photo: Uralhelicom

By Joan Larsen It is a frozen winter in the higher altitudes of our world. From the vantage point of a helicopter, flying over the frozen taiga of northern Russia, the three passengers only saw below what was ice and snow. But then – then – one man spotted an animal struggling – a large […]

Getting Pretty Tired of Extremist Violence in Europe

February 16, 2015



Don’t like the local culture? Peacefully use democratic mechanisms in place, or LEAVE. Your hurt feelings don’t justify murder and mayhem.   Decades ago, when I was in college, we had a European student in our class.   He didn’t seem to have much good to say about America; there was always some pointed observation criticizing […]


February 13, 2015



It’s a mouthful for sure, this fear of Friday the 13th.  And it can be serious business, at least for those so affected by it that it disrupts their lives, or for those who provide the treatments for this phobia, whether that is serious psychological counseling or more lighthearted programs designed to help people reason […]

A Valentine From Joan Larsen: Love Letters

February 11, 2015



By Joan Larsen Now, all but past the middle age of life, I still remain a total romantic.  I don’t expect to ever get past that phase.  .  . and I often wonder how many others feel the same way.  I feel a life without love is no life at all.  And, as the years […]

10-4, Driver: CB Radios Still Have Their Uses

February 9, 2015



Many years ago, when cell phones were still as big as your head and probably cost as much as your car, my husband and I were reassigned from one coast of the US to the other coast.  We decided to drive our two vehicles in our own mini-convoy, and bought two CB radios for this […]

Animal Altruism is Real, and So is Their Appreciation

February 6, 2015



Anyone who doubts that animals can have sympathetic, altruistic emotions need look no farther than these videos. In the news last month, I ran across a video from the Taipei Zoo, showing a tortoise very deliberately and methodically bumping an upside-down, stranded tortoise until the stranded one is back on his feet. Yay! Smiles and […]

Joan Larsen: Let’s Run Away – Three Beautiful Places to Get Lost

February 4, 2015



By Joan Larsen Let’s be honest here. It’s February – hearts and flowers time – and a reminder that the familiar theme –telling us that “love is in the air” –may well be bypassing us big time. Sure. . . if we are lucky, we have LOVE in our lives. But again, let’s be honest […]

And the Award for Stupidest Attempt at School Discipline Goes to… Gustine, Texas

February 2, 2015



Imagine how frustrating and infuriating it must be for a small-town elementary- school administrator to repeatedly find human poop on the gym floor. The horror! The horror! Something must be done! A culprit must be caught! …even at the expense of all decency and common sense. Lila’s solution would have been to just set up […]

Fun and Disaster with Foreign Languages

January 30, 2015



I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. “This book was expensive!” he said.  “I’m sorry,” I replied, “but we just don’t talk like that.” Language-translating machines like Google Translate or Babelfish are handy for small, simple things like finding a bathroom, but they are no replacement for a fluent, bilingual human being.   Just […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: On the Edge – Searching for Bears in Siberia

January 28, 2015



By Joan Larsen   These bears are seldom asked to pose for their pictures. I would guess that they have never seen humans before either. Still hidden from the world we know, the world’s largest population of brown bears roam freely – in a place called Kamchatka. There are still just a few places left […]

Classic Car Buffs, Beware Cuba’s Time-Capsule Vehicles

January 26, 2015



When diplomatic relations were restored between Havana and Washington, one of my first thoughts was that Havana would soon be a shopper’s paradise for fans of classic cars. Many of the same cars that were on the roads in 1959, when relations were severed, are still being driven today — an estimated 60,000 classic cars. […]

Crossing 4 of 9 Planetary Boundaries on the Way to Doom: It’s the People, Stupid

January 23, 2015



Perversely, our worshipful attitude toward human procreation and human life will end up killing billions and destroying humanity’s best accomplishments.   For climate-change naysayers and others with their heads in the sand: a study published last week indicates that the Earth has already crossed four of nine (44%) “planetary boundaries.” The Washington Post has an […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Defying Gravity – Nature’s Acrobats

January 21, 2015



By Joan Larsen   As my family climbed in the Canadian Rockies last year, clinging to what turned out to be sheer rock faces, finding ourselves in places where no one wanted to look down – all of us were “stunned” – and more – that we luckily had been so sure-footed and made it […]

Clash of Civilizations: Will Long-Term Peace Require Segregation?

January 19, 2015



Are conservative Islam and Western liberalism fundamentally incompatible? To understand what is really happening in Europe now, and where it is likely headed, I urge everyone to read two articles: Samuel Huntington’s 1993 article in Foreign Policy, “Clash of Civilizations?“, and Damon Linker’s current piece in The Week, “Can Islam Ever Make Peace With Liberalism?” […]

Consumer Electronics 2015: Beyond Distraction, Making Drivers Blind and Stupid

January 16, 2015



Last weekend, the Consumer Electronics Show rolled out more examples of jet-fighter-style heads-up displays (HUDs) for car windshields. Fittingly, perhaps, last weekend also saw a nearly 200-car pileup in both directions of I-94 in Michigan. HUDs are sexy, glitzy, futuristic, badass. Marketers compare the automotive versions to the displays jet fighter pilots have. Advocates claim […]


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