Browsing All Posts published on »September, 2013«

Is “Mountain Dew Mouth” Really Caused by Mountain Dew?

September 30, 2013


First, sodas were blamed for the obesity epidemic.  Now, they’re being blamed for “Mountain Dew Mouth.”  I don’t entirely buy it. Priscilla Harris, of the Appalachian College of Law, has been battling excessive soda consumption in Appalachia since at least 2009, when she wrote a legal brief blaming the region’s poor dental health on sodas, […]

Lawsuit Over Backup-Camera Mandate: No Substitute for Paying Attention

September 27, 2013


I do not accept the premise that “I backed my car over my kid, so now the government needs to mandate backup cameras on all new vehicles to make sure this never happens again.”  I am sorry for those families’ pain, but making sweeping laws that increase costs for everyone, based on the tragic accidents […]

Endlessly Interesting Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

September 26, 2013


Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Tucson, Arizona, has history.  Its opening ceremonies were conducted in 1924 by none other than Charles Lindbergh.  It has history for Lila, too:  its mission is “to deploy, employ and sustain expeditionary combat and combat support forces while enabling critical JFACC and HLS operations.”  In keeping with that mission, the […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Leaps of Faith – the Search for the World’s Southernmost Dentist

September 25, 2013


By Joan Larsen   If you were to ask me what I would consider the most traumatic experience I have had in a lifetime of travel, the number of flashbacks might fill a small book:  my Argentinean navy ship sinking in the ice-filled waters of Antarctica, the several far-too-close calls with grizzly bears in Alaska, […]

Miss America 2014 Holds a Mirror Up to Us, and It’s Not Pretty

September 24, 2013


Bigotry is always a symptom of ignorance.  Ignorance is always dangerous. Last week, for the first time in the history of the pageant, an American of Indian descent – Nina Davuluri – won the Miss America crown.  Indian, as in India, not Native American.  The reaction was ugly, and troubling in more ways than one.  […]

Mike Firesmith on Animal Welfare: The Tortured Dog

September 23, 2013


By Mike Firesmith Back in the 80’s my friend Eli stopped a man from beating a dog. Eli took the bat away from the man and from all accounts nearly killed him. Eli then took the dog and that dog died ten years later, still afraid of most people, but still loved to the end. […]

Why You Should Never, Ever Be Photographed Naked

September 20, 2013


Revenge porn.  It’s a growing problem for women in our increasingly digital society, and it can turn very nasty, even dangerous. Whether you are a teen girl, a married woman, or a divorcee just getting back into dating, please, please do yourself a favor and never, ever, ever let anyone photograph you naked or having […]

How the NSA Intentionally Weakened Our National Security

September 19, 2013


Maybe you are in the camp that reasons, “Hey, I’m not doing anything wrong, so it’s no big deal if the NSA tracks my information.”  Even if you don’t care about your privacy, it is a big deal, it does impact you personally, and here’s why. First:  Your financial institutions, your water company, electric company, […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Sailing to the Top of the World

September 18, 2013


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 […]

Distressed? Need Help? Better Hope the Police Don’t Show

September 17, 2013


You know,  I have friends who are police officers; I respect the work they do; I recognize that it is tough, dangerous, and gritty.  But I can’t ignore cases like these. Early Saturday morning, after suffering a serious car wreck in the wee hours of the morning near Charlotte, NC, a young, college-educated man – […]

Empower Indian Women by Ending Bride-Price

September 16, 2013


It’s hard to fight against a deeply ingrained cultural tradition, but it’s high time that the parents of Indian girls washed their hands of the long-held custom of dowry, or “bride-price.” As Carl Gierstorfer writes for CNN, India has some of the highest sex-ratio imbalances in the world, with only 8 girls to every 10 […]


September 13, 2013


It’s a mouthful for sure, this fear of Friday the 13th.  And it can be serious business, at least for those so affected by it that it disrupts their lives, or for those who provide the treatments for this phobia, whether that is serious psychological counseling or more lighthearted programs designed to help people reason […]

Aggressive Driving? How About Clueless Driving?

September 12, 2013


“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” ― George Carlin As Lila drives around the Washington, DC area – which is routinely listed as one of the nation’s worst, as far as traffic goes – she keeps her radio tuned […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Mountains of the Imagination – Adventures in the Grand Tetons

September 11, 2013


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 […]

A Little Temporary Security: Not Worth the Sacrifice

September 10, 2013


Michael Grunwald, writing in Time magazine, argues in favor of sacrificing his liberties in favor of a little temporary security.  Count me out. Tomorrow is the twelfth anniversary of 9/11.  We were in Germany at the time, and two things happened immediately:  1) There was a huge outpouring of support and expressions of sympathy from […]

All I Need to Know, I Learned From Comics

September 9, 2013


This past Saturday, Hubby and I attended the Baltimore Comic-Con.  It was apparently an enormous success and drew the largest crowds seen in… maybe the whole 14-year history of the event.  The line, for those of us who already had tickets, wrapped entirely around the outside of the building and it took nearly half an […]

Should Texting a Driver Make You Liable for His Accident?

September 6, 2013


I don’t think so, but a New Jersey appeals court has opened a Pandora’s Box of possible lawsuits against people who are nowhere near an accident scene – maybe even people and businesses who don’t even know you. As CNN reports, a New Jersey couple who were maimed in a horrific accident caused by a […]

Happy Rosh Hashana 5774

September 5, 2013


The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of Sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’” Shana tovah u’metukah to all my Jewish friends out there!  […]

Joan Larsen: The Chapters of Our Lives

September 4, 2013


A close friend — a bit younger than I — suggested that I might share my own private letter to her with a larger audience who, too, have been reflecting on the chapters of our lives.  We often need that wisdom within from one who is further along the road of life, she said.  The words […]

Diana Nyad: Portrait of Perseverance

September 3, 2013


At age 64, Diana Nyad became the first swimmer ever to conquer the Florida Strait*. Swimming 112 nautical miles from Cuba to Florida through jellyfish- and shark-infested waters.  Oh, come on.  You’ve tried this four times already and failed every time.  Storms, jellyfish stings, dehydration, exhaustion.  If you couldn’t do this on your first attempt […]

Syria: For Once, Congress is Asking the Right Questions

September 2, 2013


Maybe the 10-year Iraq War, too eagerly launched based on faulty intelligence, no clear national security threat, and no vision of an end state, is too fresh in American minds. On Saturday, President Obama asked Congress for approval to launch military operations against Syria.  He claims the authority to act on his own (and recent […]