two-women-hiking July 27, 2016

Commercial Food Production and Declining Food Values

July 25, 2016

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tomato

The latest:  in tomatoes, commercial breeders have selected varieties with a beautiful red skin to appeal to consumers.  Trouble is, the gene for that trait is linked to lower sugar production in the tomato, and thus, a lot less flavor.  You want great tomato flavor?  Buy the ugly varieties (I have noticed that the typically […]

Wayne Ranney Experiences Life on the Edge: Hiking Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail

July 20, 2016

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By Wayne Ranney   It is with delight – and a truly great sense of envy – that I want to introduce you to one of the great travel writers, author, and world traveler extraordinaire, Wayne Ranney.  We met – well, closer to home – as each of us can be found whitewater rafting the […]

The Gritmobile: My Dad’s Toyota SR-5 Turns to Treasure

July 18, 2016

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Keep something around long enough, and magic can happen. Way back in 1983, my sixty-something-year-old Dad casually announced that he would be trading in his somewhat plain gray sedan and getting, for the first and only time in his life, a pickup truck. “Whatever for?” I wondered. “I just like it. Something different,” said Dad. […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Alone in Australia’s Outback

July 13, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Mysterious.  Remote.  A faraway place of endless wonders.   Another world – all its own – lies in the direct center of Australia, just waiting to be explored.  Australians call it The Outback — but surprisingly few of them have visited.  Fewer still have explored it from its bottom to The Top End. We did. […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: Woolworth’s

July 11, 2016

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Woolworth_old

By Lauriate Roly I’ve been fortunate enough to have dined in some of the greatest restaurants. None sticks in my memory more than Woolworth’s. From where I worked to my night school classes was about two miles, and I would have to walk that distance, if I expected to use the money I had on […]

Joan Larsen’s Time of Pure Joy: Saving a Baby’s Life on California’s Pacific Coast Highway

July 6, 2016

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By Joan Larsen The very best . . . the most wondrous times of life come to us at the most unexpected moments.  The few that touch our hearts in that certain way stay with us forever.  For most of a lifetime of driving down to Carmel and Big Sur along the Pacific coast of […]

When in the Course of Human Events, It Becomes Necessary…

July 4, 2016

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Stars_and_Stripes

Happy Fourth, all!  Today marks the 240th  anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The Declaration really did not mark the start of the Revolutionary War; that had come more than a year earlier, in April 1775, with the “shot heard ’round the world” at the Battles of Lexington and Concord (Paul […]

Joan Larsen: Dipping Our Toes into Summer – the Dream that is Canada’s Vancouver Island

June 29, 2016

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Home-orcas

by Joan Larsen   “Let the world go away” became our song this spring .  .  .  I am sure we all understand the feeling this year.  When summer arrived, we wanted to be “lost” in an idyllic destination that would feel as far from civilization as it possibly could.  And yet, yet, it could […]

If You’re Uploaded to a Cyber-Existence, Are You Still You?

June 27, 2016

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technohead

Ever since seeing the transporter on the original Star Trek, I have wondered:  if your molecules are disassembled here and an exact copy of you is reconstructed somewhere else out of other molecules, are you really still you?  I have my doubts, enough that should teleportation ever become feasible, I don’t think I’d have the […]

Joan Larsen Presents: A Second Look at Tippi of Africa, the Child Who Lived With Wild Animals

June 22, 2016

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By Joan Larsen “Fascination” has to be the word so many of us have for that little French girl, born in Namibia (with photographers as parents), whose photos taken with African wild animals – who actually looked tame in her presence – were both beautiful and – yes –  mind-boggling !   Many new photos of  […]

Crime, The Selfie Generation, the Nanny State and Self-Defense

June 20, 2016

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If you are absolutely certain that you are about to die, do something.  Anything.  Put down your goddamn phone and fight.   What struck me most about the horrific mass shooting in Orlando was the extreme helplessness of everyone around the shooter.   I understand the mindset well:  no one wants to be first into the […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: Life and Near Death – On the Edge in Patagonia

June 15, 2016

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Home-Patagonia

By Joan Larsen Death.  If we are to be honest, passing that midway point in our years, the subject of dying, of death, drifts into our thoughts a bit more often than we might wish.  Before this time – well – we felt pretty invincible, didn’t we?  Many of us took chances — often more than a little bit […]

Travel: Whitewater Rafting on the Nolichucky River

June 13, 2016

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Some years ago, when my grandmother was in her 80s, she began checking things off her unwritten “bucket list.”  It all started innocently enough, with an ocean cruise, and we saw her off from the docks.  But months later, relatives sent a picture of her doing her first (and only) parachute jump.  And then it […]

Alice Friedemann in Earth’s Wildest Places, Part 2: Glorious Tebay Lakes in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias

June 8, 2016

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By Alice Freidemann Photos by Jeffery Kahn Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, America’s largest national park, had only come into being in 1980 – and since then, it has acted as a drawing card for those who are drawn to wild landscapes. The few people who have actually settled there continue to live […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: Hughie’s Story

June 6, 2016

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Lauriate Roly recalls a compelling story from an unlikely source. By Lauriate Roly Hughie was a hermit. He was about sixty years old at the time. He was completely uneducated, couldn’t read, nor write, and how he managed to survive was a mystery. He lived in a tumble-down shack, without walls and almost no roof. […]

Alice Friedemann Explores One of Earth’s Wildest Places on Foot: Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

June 1, 2016

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HOme

By Alice Friedemann If you want to find out what it was like to live in the Ice Age, you might want to head for Iceberg Lake in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.  It’s about a 7 hour drive east from Anchorage.  But you can also fly into that dot on the map that is remote […]

Posted in: Alice Friedemann, Travel

Before There Was an Official Memorial Day…

May 30, 2016

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jacksons_grave_1866

Before there was an official Memorial Day, people well knew how to mark it; few were untouched by the Civil War (or War Between the States, if you prefer).  A century and a half later… well. HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868 The 30th day of May, […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Sleeping Among the Trees – Vacationing in the World’s Exotic Treehouses

May 25, 2016

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Tree-home

by Joan Larsen It was years ago when we first stepped outside our comfort zone while mountain climbing at Jackson Hole, Wyoming – finding ourselves  following a very tempting sign that promised hidden lodging high among the treetops of a forest.  The stairs upward?  Many more than you would believe.  But the experience of sleeping […]

Alice Friedemann Goes South of the Border: Oaxaca, Part 2 – Day of the Dead and Other Adventures

May 24, 2016

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By Alice Friedemann Photos by Jeffery B. Kahn Alice Friedemann continues her travel adventures through the Mexican state of Oaxaca.  If you missed Part 1 last month, you can see it at The Magic of Oaxaca. San Francisco has a wild and colorful Day of the Dead parade and altars every year, but it can’t […]

The Unsanitary Swim Diaper: Not in My Pool, Please!

May 23, 2016

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Time for Lila’s annual public safety and health announcement:  even the manufacturers don’t claim that “swim diapers” will contain a mess. Memorial Day is fast approaching, and that means the neighborhood pools will soon be opening for business.  As we wrote last year, the whole concept of a diapered child in a communal swimming area […]

Joan Larsen’s Secret Wonders: The Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean – A True Corner of Paradise in Our World

May 18, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Marooned in the middle of the Indian Ocean lies an almost unknown archipelago of 115 islands – the Seychelles – that have a pristine, tropical beauty that made me feel that our small ship had drifted into a dream world. As a child, literature had called it “as close to the Garden […]

On Single Parenthood

May 16, 2016

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Adoption

It’s not progress. Some time ago, a favorite website ran a feature celebrating single mothers who have helped to change societal attitudes toward single parenting.  Certainly, there was a time when having children out of wedlock carried a definite stigma, divorce was frowned upon, and widows and widowers were objects of pity, and generally expected […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Icebound in Antarctica

May 11, 2016

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By Joan Larsen In the Ross Sea portion of Antarctica, the large American McMurdo base has been clothed in darkness for six months.  Those “wintering over” spent the time frozen in by the ice until the spring months.  Most of my many journeys to the frozen continent were on the Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov, the […]

Planespotting in an Electronic Age

May 9, 2016

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4-FlyingDocs-plane

People also laughed fifty years ago when they were told someone would fly over Berlin.  I remember the excitement in the year 1910 when Count Zeppelin first came to Berlin, and now the Berliners scarcely look up when something sails through the air.  Besides the giant airplanes and the planes for fighter pilots, there are […]

Joan Larsen’s Adventures Off America’s Beaten Tracks: On Foot in the Red Rock Country of Utah

May 4, 2016

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Cover-arch

By Joan Larsen   Reimagine a walk in the park… as we all know that the wonderful feeling we get when we “discover” the incredibly beautiful places in our world that just may take us a few steps off the beaten path — or the paved road.  In the Americas, I have kept the national […]

Transgender Bathroom Laws: Kind of Useless

May 2, 2016

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Which bathroom should a transgendered person use, and should the rest of us even care?  Would we even know?  If we don’t know, how can we know if a law is being broken, and how can we be traumatized? There are several variations on this, and Lila’s feelings range from “meh” to  “it’s complicated.” The […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Flying In – Celebrating Beatrix Potter’s 150th Anniversary in England’s Incomparable Lake District

April 27, 2016

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home-Windermere

By Joan Larsen   Is there anyone who has actually made it through childhood without falling in love with the tale of Peter Rabbit, the mischievous rabbit who almost gets put in a pie when he’s caught stealing vegetables from Mr. McGregor’s garden? Well, this year – 2016 – marks the year-long  anniversary of author […]

Dear Aggressively Hypersensitive Victims, Shaming Others Does Not Help Your Cause

April 25, 2016

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I’m tired of aggressively hypersensitive victims acting as if the whole world has to stop and change the way they live, laugh, and relate. Saturday Night Live is not exactly known as a bastion of gentle humor.  It is crass and stupid and cutting and spot-on and hilarious and fun.  So, it should not have surprised […]

Joan Larsen Introduces Katrina Kenison: Expectations

April 20, 2016

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It gives us so much pleasure to once again introduce the well-known author Katrina Kenison – who has set the bar so high with her latest book Magical Journey . . . in reflecting what others – well into their 50s as she is- are also experiencing.  We often keep these new thoughts to ourselves, wondering if we […]

Need a Place to Live in Idaho? Break In, Write Yourself a Lease, and The Homeowners Have to Accept It

April 18, 2016

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PinkLady

This comes under the “we are a nation of idiots” category. I’m getting pretty tired of lawyers and courts failing to uphold common sense just because we don’t have a detailed, specific, nitpicky written law for every imaginable, conceivable, remotely possible thing that could ever arise. Imagine this:  you are a homeowner.  You do one […]

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