Browsing All Posts published on »August, 2013«

Lucky Horses

August 30, 2013


I love my neighbor.  When we first moved here a few years back, she asked if I ride horses.  Well, I’ve done a little casual riding from time to time, but… let’s just say I have never owned a pair of jodhpurs.  Fortunately for me, my neighbor is not part of the hoity-toity, rarified horse […]

Syria: Why Are Chemical Weapons More Horrible than Conventional Ones?

August 29, 2013


There are valid reasons for and against US involvement in Syria, but I don’t think the use of chemical weapons should be one of them. Frida Ghitis, writing for CNN, lists some reasons in favor of US intervention in Syria.  Personally, I’m against it, I think intervention risks broadening the war, I don’t think any […]

Joan Larsen’s Time of Pure Joy: Saving a Baby’s Life

August 28, 2013


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 […]

10 Reasons Not to Get Cosmetic Breast Implants

August 27, 2013


Or at least, read the information at these links if you’re thinking about it… and then decide if they are really worth it. –  Many of the changes to your breast following implantation may be cosmetically undesirable and irreversible.  This can be exacerbated by breast changes due to pregnancy, age, or weight gain/loss. –  The […]

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s Controversial Portrait

August 26, 2013


Powerful men are not portrayed as sexy beefcake.  Why should a powerful woman (or any woman who wants to be powerful) allow herself to be photographically portrayed as “sexy”… or maybe that question should be, “Why not?” At, Peggy Drexler and Pepper Schwartz have written ambivalent but diverging opinion pieces on Yahoo CEO Marissa […]

Children of Adultery: Not Your Proudest Parental Moment

August 23, 2013


Simon Cowell and Kim Kardashian have something in common, and it’s not pretty. A-dul-ter-ate, v.t. [<L. adulteratus, pp of adulterare, to falsify <adulter, an adulterer <ad-, to, + alter, other, another], to make inferior, impure, not genuine, etc., by adding a poor or improper substance.  adj., 1. Guilty of adultery; adulterous.  2.  Illegitimate through adultery.  […]

Stay Out of My Driveway!

August 22, 2013


Maybe it’s some kind of equivalent to the crotchety old man yelling, “Hey, you kids!  Keep off my lawn!”  You have seen the signs as you drive around:  Keep Out.  No Trespassing.  Private Property.  Then there are the hand-lettered signs in spray paint, on plywood:  No Turning Around in Driveway!!!  and similar sentiments.  “Geez, touchy, […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: High Adventure in a Very Thin Country

August 21, 2013


by Joan Larsen   On a map of South America, the country of Chile looks like a gnarled finger – or perhaps a shoestring – rippling down the Pacific side of the continent for 2600 miles.  A window seat is a “must” on this country’s world-class airline, LanChile.  But even if you are not so […]

The Molas of Panama

August 20, 2013


There she was, walking ahead of me.  The unmistakable mola design on her shirt sang out.  “Did you get that in Panama?” I asked.  “Yes!” she said, pleased and surprised.  But I had known.  It could not have come from anywhere else. Panama holds a place in my heart.  I was there as a kid […]

The Hunt for Immortality: Just Stop

August 19, 2013


Achieving actual, biological immortality – or even just a relatively modest increase in average human lifespans – would be an unmitigated disaster. Once again in the news, we see stories of scientists studying the genetic makeup of strangely afflicted children who never seem to age.  Not only do they appear not to age, they never […]

Sexual Assault: Don’t Let Fear Curtail Your Life Experience

August 16, 2013


Soraya Chemaly’s article at Salon, “Five Ways That ‘Staying Safe’ Costs Women,” explains how “trying to avoid sexual assault costs women money, time, and energy.” Right up front, she gives the statistic: 75% of rapists are known to their victims, but women are trained from an early age to “do things in groups… so that […]

Would the Joan Rubin School be an Educational Disaster?

August 15, 2013


Last week, Notes to Ponder shared this experience in the Comments here: “I was plucked out of the mainstream school system in 1970, placed in an alternative school where we were encouraged to learn whatever struck our fancy.  An education experiment that gave IQ tests to all grade 3 students in the district, culling the […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Jewels of Western Canada

August 14, 2013


The walking is easy in Banff’s Johnston Canyon. By Joan Larsen   The black mother bear, strolling along the Bow River Parkway in the Canadian Rockies in early morning, obviously knew she “owned” this beautiful wooded territory.  Unafraid of two adventurers driving her way — whose hearts leaped with joy at the sighting – she […]

Dr. Eric Topol’s Vision: Your Phone as a Portable, Individual, Digital Medical Device

August 13, 2013


Sometimes, the best innovators, the ones who make the biggest leaps in progress, are not those who make an original invention, but rather, those who fully grasp what can be done with that invention in their own fields of expertise.  Cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol is one such innovator, with sweeping and yet completely achievable ideas […]

A Woman as “Doctor Who”: Why Not?

August 12, 2013


Lila is not a Doctor Who fan, having never watched a full episode of the science fiction show, but Diana Reese’s article in the Washington Post caught my attention:  “The Tardis: No Girls Allowed as the Doctor.”   Apparently, in the long history of the show (it began in 1966), there have been eleven male actors […]

Disembodied Meat: Really, WHY?

August 9, 2013


After some thought about it, I’m on the “con” side of lab-grown “cultured beef.”  At least for now. On Monday, there was a public taste-test of a $330,000, lab-grown, cultured beef burger.   By all accounts, it did not seem to be revolting, but it was also… lacking.  A little crunchy, a little bland, “almost” like […]

Happy Eid al-Fitr 1434

August 8, 2013


Today, 8 August, is the day that U.S. Muslims celebrate the Feast of Breaking the Fast, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan this year. Eid mubarak!  Today begins a three-day holiday of prayer, charity, feasting, visiting, and gift-giving as Muslims celebrate the end of the difficult month of Ramadan, which requires abstaining from […]

Joan Larsen on The Good Life: the Secret Ingredient

August 7, 2013


By Joan Larsen     Let us rather run the risk of wearing out rather than rusting out. -Theodore Roosevelt   Few people still alive remember World War II as more than just a horrific war at a certain time in history.  But to those who served in that war, the terrible memories of those […]

IT’S or ITS? An Easy Way to Remember

August 6, 2013


I’ll never blast a blogger or a fan fiction writer for a few grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, but the basic mistakes creeping into professional publications are reaching worrisome levels.  People who are paid to write or edit owe to their employers – and their audience – to do so correctly. There are plenty of […]

Off to College? Choose Your Major Wisely

August 5, 2013


Okay, kids, it’s back to school time, and some of you are heading off to college.  Soon you will be faced with the decision of what to study.  Before you go prancing forth with some naive notion of “following your dreams,” be sure of some things: 1)  There are actually jobs to be had in […]

Garden Tip: Make Your Own Deer Repellent

August 2, 2013


Lila is the first to admit that she knows little about gardening, but we live in one of the very few quasi-rural areas of Northern Virginia, and that means that we share our little patch of woods with all the wildlife that has been crowded out of everywhere else.  We have it all:  raccoons, foxes, […]

Retailers: Enough With the Pink!

August 1, 2013


… and guess what?  Non-average-sized people want more choices, too. It was time.  Some of Lila’s favorite shirts have reached that point of decline where, well, you really don’t want to go out in public looking like that.  This is what happens to favorites:  they wear out.  Having dutifully retired a handful of these favorites […]