Browsing All Posts published on »July, 2013«

Joan Larsen’s Secret Wonders: The Joy of Having Older Friends

July 31, 2013

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By Joan Larsen     Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art. –          Eleanor Roosevelt   I am often known for my good taste in people.  And so, for years, the friends I hold the most dear are the beautiful older people that are presently living the […]

Calling All Shakespeare Fans!

July 30, 2013

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Brooke McEldowney is at it again!  Get in on his artistic vision of Romeo and Juliet! You might recall that back in November, we reviewed Brooke McEldowney’s highly original and not-generally-for-kids comic strip, Pibgorn.  Lila is an unabashed fan; while the story arcs can move slowly, the artwork is a delight to the eye, and […]

Combat Global Warming: How About Fake Ice Floes at the North Pole?

July 29, 2013

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Lila’s cockamamie idea:  so crazy it just might work. This summer, just like every summer for the past decade, the North Pole has a lake on it, as Eric Levenson reports for The Atlantic.   Check out the photos accompanying the article; scary stuff.  Not only that, but the extent of sea ice that makes up […]

Hiking: 48 Hours in Pisgah National Forest, NC

July 26, 2013

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A national treasure famous for its many waterfalls, clear streams, and forests replete with rhododendron and mountain laurel. Lila enjoyed a little jaunt with some cousins down to the far western reaches of North Carolina this week, and spent some time hiking the trails in Pisgah National Forest. Sometimes one needs a break to refresh […]

Market Day

July 25, 2013

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By Lauriate Roly Probably No Big Deal In NYC – But Amazing In Belleville. There were two things I wanted at the farmer’s market to-day, so I got up early to go there before the torrid zone heat set in again. I quickly found what I wanted: corn on the cob, and a watermelon. The […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Climbing New Heights: Finding Sydney

July 24, 2013

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By Joan Larsen   How often do we get an opportunity to climb to the top of a bridge in the first place?  Now, how often do you get to climb a bridge that is the national icon of one of the larger countries in our world?  A bit afraid of heights?  So am I.  […]

Are Americans Too Stupid for Diesel Cars?

July 23, 2013

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Lila is the happy owner of a Volkswagen diesel car.  Last year, I received a letter from Volkswagen; it was basically a reminder to only put diesel fuel in the vehicle (duh!) and included some helpful neon-yellow warning stickers to plaster around near your fuel cap.  I was vaguely miffed at the insinuation that I […]

Justin Bieber Apologizes to the Wrong Person

July 22, 2013

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You know, after writing about Justin Bieber’s behavior “slipping,” I told myself I wasn’t going to write about him anymore, or at least, not anytime soon.  But I can’t let this one slide.  In case you haven’t heard, the latest Bieber misbehavior to hit the media is a months-old incident in which he and his […]

Reading Comprehension: When Journalists Fall For a Bad Joke

July 19, 2013

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Doesn’t anyone hear an “internal voice” when they read anymore? Following the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco, an embarrassing journalistic gaffe occurred when KTVU-TV aired some offensive prank names, mistakenly believing them to be the names of the pilots and crew involved in the crash. Somehow – inconceivably to me – this mistake got […]

Juror B-37: Blessedly Anonymous, and Please Stay That Way

July 18, 2013

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By now we have all heard of Juror B-37, one of the six jurors in the Trayvon Martin Case.  She had planned to cash in by writing a book on her experience of the trial, but that plan has been canned, and I can see why.  My advice for, and wish for, Juror B-37:  stay […]

Joan Larsen’s Shelf List: the “Can’t Put Down” Books of Summer

July 17, 2013

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By Joan Larsen My home actually has a small library, and still – still – I find that books begin to pile up by spring, begging to be taken along to be read at will – night or day – at the Lake House.  My time then is totally my own, the books I believed […]

The Black Experience, as Seen By a White Person

July 16, 2013

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I grew up overseas, in places where white people were a minority.  Sure, I saw people of color employed as maids or gardeners, but I also saw them employed as heads of state, city mayors, shop owners, teachers, my doctor.  Frankly, I didn’t think much about color until we settled down in the US.  Only […]

Don’t Blame the Jury: How the Law Sometimes Fails

July 15, 2013

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Many observers have lamented the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case, and I agree with them that there has been a miscarriage of justice.  But laws are painstakingly, maddeningly, cripplingly specific, and I suspect that is what the jury went up against. In my Army days, I served a couple of times as an “Article […]

DC Council Kills the Goose

July 12, 2013

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Or, How the DC Council is Shooting its Poorest Residents in the Foot.  Hey, what do they care?  It’s not their foot. If you have not heard the story of The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs, here is the Cliffs Notes version:  Once upon a time, there was a dumbass who owned a wonderful […]

The Folly of GMOs is Becoming (More) Apparent

July 11, 2013

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Man-made evolution in the form of GMOs is driving natural evolution… and Nature is winning. Tom Philpott of Mother Jones is one of my favorite food journalists.  Not a “foodie” like we find on the Food Network; I mean he talks about food security, Big Agriculture, food-related laws, and global food production.  His latest, “Monsanto […]

Joan Larsen’s Summer Dream: A Hidden Getaway at the Lake House

July 10, 2013

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By Joan Larsen   We each have our own dreams, our own feelings on the perfect place for the change of scene so long overdue.  The really old days of summer were different – cool, lazy, driving on hidden byways, finding our own private corner at a beach so tantalizing that we wanted to stake […]

Not the First Female Anything

July 9, 2013

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I was perusing a particularly exasperating article about sexual assault in the military, and as is my habit, I looked up the author to see her background.  She, like me, is a military veteran.  Jammed in among her credentials are a couple of phrases:  “one of the first female officers to graduate from…” and “the […]

When the Low is This Low, the Relationship Isn’t Worth It

July 8, 2013

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A man who throttles his wife in public during an argument can hardly claim he is not an abuser. Well, being rich and famous is no guarantee of domestic bliss.  The “Domestic Goddess,” celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, has just been served with divorce papers by her soon-to-be ex, art collector Charles Saatchi.  Elizabeth Sanderson’s article […]

Education, Civic Duty, and Freedom

July 5, 2013

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Continuing with the occasion of Independence Day, I ran across a thought-provoking article by Robert Pondiscio:  “Do Our Children Know How to Be Citizens?”   It seems especially relevant, connecting some rather disturbing dots between our dumbed-down education system, our views of its purpose, and the erosion of some of our most basic freedoms in the […]

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

July 4, 2013

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Happy Fourth, all!  Today marks the 237th 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: The Gift of Nina

July 3, 2013

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By Joan Larsen   My most special friend died yesterday afternoon.  She was walking down the stairs in her home, but suddenly said she would have to sit down on the stair where she was.  She did. . . and, in an instant, she was gone. She left us bereft beyond reason.  She also left […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Bora Bora – A Glimpse of Paradise

July 3, 2013

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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 […]

The Problems With Saying Obesity Is a Disease

July 2, 2013

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Is it or isn’t it?  The American Medical Association and the general public are both sharply divided, but the hotly contested AMA decision to call obesity a “disease” will have far-reaching and as yet unforeseen consequences. As of yesterday, Medpage Today was running an informal survey asking “Is obesity a disease?”  Of 1729 votes when […]

More Misguided Food Fascism

July 1, 2013

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If policymakers were serious about tackling childhood obesity, they would fund our schools appropriately and get rid of the snack machines entirely. Here we go:  the USDA has for the first time issued restrictions on what sorts of snacks schools can sell,  according to Mary Claire Jalonick and Connie Cass for the Associated Press.  Vending […]