Cover-balloons July 29, 2015

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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MoonLanding

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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Cover-ScaryHikes

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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cherokee_indian_dance

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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Cover-CarmelBeach

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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RainbowFlag

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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lakehouse

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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crowd

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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Cover

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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Pocket-watch2

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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Cover-lake

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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cover-walrus

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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scared

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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graduation

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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CellPhone

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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4-keyboard

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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home-alt

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 […]

I Do Not Want a Nurse With a “Stress Disability”

May 18, 2015

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Health

You want to talk lawsuits, honey? You are one big walking lawsuit waiting to happen for any hospital that hires you. In the news: nursing student Jennifer Burbella is suing her college because she has twice failed a class required to get her nursing degree. Did the professor fail to teach her the material? No… […]

Joan Larsen Encore: North Into the Never-Never

May 13, 2015

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3-Devils-Marbles

By Joan Larsen Flying by small plane, low over Australia’s Northern Territory, we are present- day Crocodile Dundees, wanting to be one of the first to go exploring a desert world that most travelers will never see. Our delightful, agreeable pilot seemed more than happy to chase down the only large inhabitants in the empty […]

A Wasted Organ Transplant: Why Patients’ Social History and Potential SHOULD Matter

May 11, 2015

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Health

If you were faced with 100 dying people, and could only save 79 of them, how would you choose? Back in 2012, 15-year-old Anthony Stokes was denied a lifesaving heart transplant. Doctors ruled him a bad candidate because of a “history of noncompliance,” meaning he was unlikely to follow doctors’ orders concerning medications and follow-up […]

Joan Larsen Presents: Birds Do It, Bees Do It… A First Look From Above at Nature’s Baby Boom

May 6, 2015

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home-storks

By Joan Larsen You do know how babies arrive, don’t you?   I looked at my mother with those innocent eyes as she told me about the stork flying over our rooftop with that little wrapped bundle swinging from its beak, delicately placing it on the chimney top for us to find. I seem to remember […]

Posted in: Interests, Joan Larsen, World

Baltimore Riots: “Mom of the Year” Wouldn’t Be, Under Other Circumstances

May 4, 2015

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Baltimore-Mom

It is not lost on me that under other circumstances, the famous Baltimore mom might be in jail for child abuse.   By now you have seen the headlines praising Maryland mom Toya Graham for her smackdown of her masked 16-year-old son who was among the rioters in Baltimore, throwing rocks at the police. “Baltimore […]

Joan Larsen Encore: To Big Sur With Love

April 29, 2015

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Cover

By Joan Larsen How could any one of us resist a world that is totally breathtaking?  Just a plane’s flight away to California – not that many hours from any of our homes – lies a piece of heaven on this earth called Big Sur.  A warning though:  once seen, once under its spell, and […]

God as Martyr: I Don’t Understand

April 27, 2015

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bible

Last week, I pondered the Pope’s words calling the childless “selfish.” That got me to thinking, and there are some things about Catholicism and Christianity I just can’t get my head around… despite having gone to a Catholic school in my youth. I am thinking of the Holy Trinity and of the concept that God […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: North America’s Ultimate Escape – The Uncharted Wonders of the Bugaboos of British Columbia

April 22, 2015

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Home-8-BC

By Joan Larsen My helicopter has landed. . . and with that first step into a world completely unknown to most humans, I could find no words that could express the feelings of beauty – beauty that seemed to stretch to the heavens no matter in which direction I looked. What was this feeling I […]

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