Browsing All Posts published on »October, 2012«

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Icebound in Antarctica

October 31, 2012

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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 […]

Sexy Halloween Costumes for Children: No, No, No

October 30, 2012

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It’s just wrong.  I am aware of, and repulsed by, the increasing hypersexualization of women and even of underage girls in this country.  I don’t like the message it sends:  that women’s primary purpose in life, their role, their aspiration, is sex.  Looking good, putting out, appealing to men.  How hollow, limiting and limited.  How […]

Female Marines in the Infantry: First Two Didn’t Make It, But…

October 29, 2012

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Back in April, we discussed the USMC’s pilot program set up to test women in the infantry.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, mainly based on emotional arguments about chivalry and tradition, which Marine Corps Commandant James Amos is firmly ignoring in favor of establishing hard facts.  The only real issue that matters, […]

Education: A Miracle-Working Writing Revolution

October 26, 2012

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Once in a while, there is a nugget of really great news out there.  I am a big advocate of good education and have long mourned what I see as a decline in our educational system:  a long-running 25% high school dropout rate, young graduates who can’t even fill out a job application, a system […]

Rapists and Extremist Republicans: They Both De-Personify Women

October 25, 2012

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Here we go again.  I wasn’t planning to write about politics again so soon, but how can this be ignored?  This time it’s Indiana’s Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, saying that “Life is that gift from God.  I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Flying Low and Slow Over Sedona

October 24, 2012

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An Arizona landscape to take your breath away By Joan Larsen There are some places in our world that take our breath away in ways unexplainable – but we find their visual beauty forever lodged in our hearts.  And so it is with the town of Sedona, with its red rock canyons and sunsets so […]

Can Any Self-Respecting Woman Vote Republican? Yes, If She’s Ultraconservative

October 23, 2012

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Denny Friedenrich, writing on The Hill online, enumerates some recent examples demonstrating the reality of the GOP “War on Women.”   The cutting of funds to Planned Parenthood.  Republican lawmakers making idiotic remarks associating the Girl Scouts with Planned Parenthood.  Claiming that you can’t get pregnant from rape.  Claiming that abortions are never necessary to save […]

In Defense of Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong

October 22, 2012

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Lance Armstrong was a professional cyclist.  Then he got testicular cancer, which spread to his lungs, abdomen, and brain.  He lost the testicle.  He underwent brain surgery.  He endured chemo.  He was given a 40% chance of survival.  And then he went back to professional cycling, and won big.  He was an inspiration.  He used […]

Briana Baran, 1959 -2012: Some Souls Burn More Brightly

October 19, 2012

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Some souls just burn more brightly than others; they are more there than most.  Intense.  Briana Baran was one such soul.  I never met her, never heard her voice, never saw her picture.  I only knew her through an internet forum, where I would eagerly seek out her avatar.  But oh, how brightly she burned! […]

Health Care: “Patient” is a Dirty Word

October 18, 2012

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At age 89, congestive heart failure finally caught up to Dad.  We spent that last night with him in the hospital.  Then my brother went home to get the paperwork for the crematorium to pick up his body.  Dad had always been the consummate planner, and this was no exception. I didn’t want to leave […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: A Glimpse of Paradise

October 17, 2012

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By Joan Larsen It was a personal letter from the long-ago best-selling author James Michener – a letter I still hold dear – that said I must go to Bora Bora.  “The most beautiful island in the world”, he wrote, “and one that he wished he could go along to see once again”.  When I […]

TONIGHT: Politicians Tremble Before Candy Crowley! This Debate Might be Worth Watching!

October 16, 2012

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All I have to say is, You go, girl!  Apparently both the Democrats and the Republicans are flailing over Candy Crowley’s role in tonight’s town-hall style debate.  The candidates basically just want the moderator to oversee audience questions and enforce time limits on responses, and otherwise, be a good little sport, shut up and don’t […]

Dear Wendy’s, Where’s the Beef??

October 16, 2012

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Wendy’s, I hate to tell you this, but your “revamping” effort is focusing on all the wrong things. Wendy’s used to be one of my favorite fast-food places.  Those big, juicy, oddly square burgers individually assembled for each customer.  The thick fries, crispy outside and piping hot inside.  Those rich chocolate “Frosty” shakes.  I loved […]

Hard Choices that No One Makes Anymore: Giving Up Your Kids for the Kids’ Sake

October 15, 2012

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Cold weather is on the way, and homeless shelters are full in the Washington, DC area.  The Washington Post recently highlighted the plight of a young mother with a toddler and a 2-month-old infant; the family had been sleeping in one of the city’s Metro stations since before the baby’s birth, until a well-meaning citizen […]

Mike Firesmith on Bonnie Parker: Selling and Buying, Living and Dying

October 12, 2012

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There wasn’t anything such as pride and dignity cost extra back then. If you was a woman without a man you was something to be bought and paid for and it wasn’t a question of if you would be bought but only how much you could get. Some men came right out and asked how […]

Your Parent’s Name, and Yours, is Adderall

October 11, 2012

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There is just so much wrong here.  Check out Alan Schwartz’ NewYork Times article, “Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School.”  It’s not about college kids looking for an advantage. The upshot is this:  if you’ve been wondering whether there are a bunch of fake diagnoses of convenience among the nearly 10% of […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: Living Through the Rogue Wave

October 10, 2012

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By Joan Larsen Even a year later, the 2011 Japanese tsunami – that wave coming out of nowhere, heading ashore with such incredible speed, eating up the landscape and its people – will forever remain indelibly in our minds.  Videos – film played over and over – showed us the many people seemingly mesmerized by […]

Creative Writing: Descriptive Accuracy (Even in a Fantasy) is Very, Very Important

October 9, 2012

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I have tried several times now to start the novel Eragon by Christopher Paolini.  A friend loaned it to me, raving about how wonderful it is.  It’s the first in a successful series of books.  It’s been made into a movie with an all-star cast.  But somehow, reading it is laborious and distracting. Here’s my […]

Thoughts From Lulu: How Do We Buy More “Made in the USA”?

October 9, 2012

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Introducing Luanne Keifer, better known as Lulu!  Lulu hails from the American West, has traveled extensively, and now brings her inquiring mind to Forming the Thread, where she examines a variety of current topics leading in with How Do We…? By Luanne Keifer I often ask myself How Do I…?  It quickly changes to How […]

Are Role-Playing Gamers Unfit for Public Office?

October 8, 2012

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For some time now, politicians have been dogged by scandals and have had to explain to their voters why they are still fit for public office after, say, an affair, or some long-ago youthful drug use, or even the occasional horror like Chappaquiddick.  And somehow, they often manage to get into office despite these foibles […]

Mike Firesmith on Relationships: The Issue

October 5, 2012

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We lay in bed together and for a few seconds I was happy. But the woman next to me didn’t mold her body into mine and didn’t allow me to relax into hers. Candice wasn’t a virgin anymore, by a matter of seconds, and The Issue had been resolved.  She started calling her virginity “The […]

Bloated Bureaucracy, Reinvented Wheels, and Pure Crap: Fusion Centers as Traditional Political Response to Crisis

October 4, 2012

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So a bunch of thugs crash a few airplanes into some major buildings, killing several thousand people on 9/11.  Not to downplay the shock and horror of this, but really, we have over-reacted.  Especially considering that many, many more people than this die every year from drunk driving accidents, or plain old homicide among ourselves, […]

Joan Larsen Reflects on the Grand Days of London: An Interlude with Ingrid Bergman

October 3, 2012

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By Joan Larsen Another world, another time…  a time when we were young, eager to grab for the stars along the way, and then – then – an opportunity to go to London.  LONDON!  Well, London was like being given the world.  Two weeks in London was to be a glimpse of heaven and we […]

Stay Alert, Stay Alive – and Keep Your Kids Alive Too

October 2, 2012

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Last night at dinner, my friend and I were discussing the dangers of smartphones.  We have all seen the funny video of the woman forging obliviously ahead, head down, straight into the fountain.  Maybe you saw the one about the young woman who walked into a work zone and fell down an open manhole.  Or […]

Why Should the Rest of the World Have to Accommodate Muslim “Sensitivity”?

October 1, 2012

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We’ve all seen the violence erupting across the Middle East thanks to some loser’s stupid YouTube video insulting the Prophet Mohammed.  Screaming mobs, embassies attacked, dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries, fatwas calling for murder, English-language signs reading “behead all those who insult the Prophet.”  Here we go again:  We’re pissed off.  Our feelings are […]