Browsing All Posts published on »August, 2012«

Mike Firesmith on the Modern Mind: The Zombie Channel

August 31, 2012


By Mike Firesmith I didn’t own a television from 1982 to 1994. I never much liked television, and the shows I couldn’t live without were incredibly outnumbered by those I suspected of causing brain damage. I suppose that with the advent of internet broadcasting I might be heading towards never watching another sitcom again for […]

If You Leave Your Dog For Dead on Top of a Mountain, Should You Get Her Back?

August 30, 2012


Before you read any farther, yes, the dog is fine.  That was my first concern so I thought I’d get it out of the way for you right up front.  But while this is one of those stories that warms the heart of an animal-lover, it also just makes you want to scream. Here’s the […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: The Good, the Bad, and the Grizzly

August 29, 2012


Less than a week ago in Alaska’s Denali National Park, a hiker, travelling alone, was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear.  Park officials stated that this was the first such fatality in 100 years.  All of those traveling to the Park are given “the lecture” by a park ranger before setting out, warning about […]

The Price of the Intangible: Lawsuits Should Only Compensate, Never Enrich

August 28, 2012


How does one put a price on a human life?  Or eyesight, or the use of one’s limbs, or the love of a pet?  How does one put a price on pain, or inconvenience, or distress? I don’t think you can. Some weeks ago, The Washington Post ran an article about the 2010 Massey coal […]

Distracted Driving: It Was Just an Accident, Right?

August 27, 2012


Why we need to shame distracted drivers Since time immemorial, people have gone out, gotten drunk, and staggered home on foot or let their horses find the way.  Once cars were invented, it didn’t seem to occur to anyone that the pattern should change at all… until Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in […]

Mike Firesmith on Writing: The Cutting Ceiling

August 24, 2012


By Mike Firesmith Suppose you were to sit down and copy this paragraph, word for word, sentence for sentence, with all the errors and ugliness in it intact. You might discover some eternal flaw in its structure while you were copying it especially if you were writing it out longhand. You might look at one […]

Free Speech in the USA: Essential, But Not Sufficient, for Democracy

August 23, 2012


What’s the difference between the US and Russia?  As the Pussy Riot trial and two-year jail sentence shows us, freedom of speech is one big thing.  While Pussy Riot gets locked up for a protest song in a cathedral, we are free to voice our opinions, to gather, to protest.  Well, you know, that’s a […]

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

August 22, 2012


By Joan Larsen It was not so long ago that the roads were still unpaved in what is called “The Outback”, deep in the center of Australia.  Accommodations then?  Only a single tiny motel-of-sorts that was pretty primitive .    .   . but the “up” side was that few people were seen here as there was […]

Dominican Republic: Right-to-Life Law Kills Pregnant Teen

August 21, 2012


Article 37 of the Constitution of the Dominican Republic (2009):  “The right to life is inviolable from conception until death.  In no instance can the death penalty be established, pronounced, or applied.” The 16-year-old daughter of Rosa Hernandez has died. The teen was diagnosed with leukemia, in need of an aggressive course of chemotherapy, and […]

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

August 20, 2012


Whew, I feel so much better knowing this.  Todd Akin, one of Missouri’s Republican representatives in Congress knows all about how rape affects a woman, and he told an interviewer on Sunday: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body […]

Jodie Foster: Kristen Stewart’s Business is None of Our Business

August 17, 2012


So now Jodie Foster has come out in support – sort of – of Kristen Stewart, in the wake of the publicity over her cheating on beau Robert Pattinson.  Stewart admittedy had a fling with her (married) Snow White and the Huntsman producer, Rupert  Sanders.  Foster – who starred with a then-11-year-old Stewart in Panic […]

Voter ID Laws: Constitutional? Fair?

August 16, 2012


Much has been written lately about the push to get new voter-ID requirements passed ahead of the 2012 election.  For example, Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law just withstood legal challenges as a court just upheld the law.   But in reality, voter ID laws have been gradually cropping up for some 15 years now, and thirty-three states have […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: The Circle of Love

August 15, 2012


By Joan Larsen Life comes down to a few great moments.  I think I can speak for all women when I say that the intensity, the immensity of those times that we, as women, have had together – has brought to each of us the laughter, the tears, the joy . .  those precious things […]

Vitas, the Man With the Five-Octave Voice

August 14, 2012


His name is Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachyov, but you can call him Vitas.  He was born in Latvia, raised in Ukraine, sings in Russian, and is wildly popular in China.  When I say “wildly popular,” I mean, he draws crowds of fainting girls worthy of the Beatles’ heyday.  Here is a video of crowd reactions, shot […]

Banks And Housing Woes: Houses are Perishable- They Need to Move.

August 13, 2012


As if it weren’t bad enough that poor lending practices drove a disastrous housing “bubble” that predictably popped, precipitating a credit crisis and doing a lot to tank our economy – the banks are still at it. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, there is a beautiful historic district downtown.  You would think that a foreclosed home in […]

Russia (Update): Pussy Riot Trial Concludes

August 10, 2012


Remember, we wrote about Russia’s all-girl punk band Pussy Riot way back in March, when they had just gotten arrested – three of them anyway – for performing an unauthorized “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.  The song was a political protest  in response to Patriarch Kirill’s public statements that people should […]

What’s Pubic Hair for, Anyway? Now We Know

August 9, 2012


The camaraderie one finds in some Army units is hard to describe, the result of weeks or even months on end hanging together under tough conditions.  We get close.  The conversations can get interesting.  Way back in the late 1980s, one such conversation went like this:   “I don’t get the hair pattern on people.”  After […]

Great Creative Medicine: Magnets Save Newborn From Big Surgery

August 8, 2012


We need this kind of innovative thinking more often!  Back in 2009, as John Bonifield writes for CNN, a baby boy was born with a hard membrane forming a potentially fatal intestinal blockage:  rectal atresia.  Without a way to pass stool, the baby would die.  A temporary colostomy was performed, but now the child faced […]

Social Security: Better Off Putting Your Money in a Cookie Jar

August 7, 2012


Well, Dad was right.  Way back when I was about nine, he had me sign my Social Security card, and explained what it was all about.  He also explained demographics:  there was some question, even some four decades ago, about whether the fund would survive the crush of the Boomers.   As a kid at the […]

Don’t Look Now, But the Nanny Government Just Grabbed Your Boob

August 6, 2012


Oh, for cripes’ sake.  It just wasn’t enough that NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg had to put his hands all over people’s dinner plates by banning trans-fats in the city, then contemplating a salt ban, eliminating whole milk from schools, and then following that up with a proposal to limit the size of sweet beverages.  No, the […]

Jackson, MS: Still Every Bit as Racist as Depicted in “The Help”?

August 3, 2012


Now, before you get all offended, no, I am not saying that everyone in the south is racist, or that any other place is a beacon of righteousness and light.  However, I am saying there is a very definite, and very influential, racist element still alive and kicking, and that it is pretty shameful that […]

India: World’s Largest Power Blackout is Not Really a Surprise

August 2, 2012


A few years ago, I traveled to India on business.  I have been to 38 foreign countries over the years, and I am not counting touch-and-go stops at airports; I mean, I have worked in, lived in, traveled in, and really seen 38 countries up close and personal.  Of all of those countries – and […]

Mitt Romney, Stay Home. Please.

August 1, 2012


No, no, not in your house.  I mean stay in the US.  Please. Mitt Romney’s three-country tour – to Great Britain, Israel, and Poland – produced embarrassment and consternation at every turn.  What the hell was this supposed to be about?  Was it meant to play up some kind of diplomatic acumen?  If that was […]