Browsing All Posts filed under »Nation«

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: Love Letters from a Scammer

May 24, 2017

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By Joan Larsen   A true story, a cautionary story for all women is about to unfold.  My beautiful young friend in her 40s was about to experience the downside of life in a way that many of us discover in that decade.  Caring for dying parents, one after the other, drains you and often […]

Stop the Pussification of America

November 14, 2016

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Parents:  let your kids find their own way in childhood. Let them be disappointed.  Make them strong and confident by letting them do things, not by telling them they are special snowflakes.  The real threat to America is not Trump; it’s the past several decades of helicopter parenting that turns out 20-year-old spoiled, fearful children. […]

Language Barriers and Customer Service

September 26, 2016

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Would you expect to be able to move to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, and be hired for any kind of job where you have to interact with customers on any level?  This is an enduring mystery to me.  Not to mention, kind of frightening to contemplate.  I can get by […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: The Aftermath – Love Letters from a Scammer

September 21, 2016

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By Joan Larsen All of us deserve to have happy endings in life.  For my own “adopted” daughter, Diane — a mother with children just out of the nest — the door had been opened for her . . . a new chapter in life seemed to hold great promise. She was older now, more […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Walks on the Wild Side – Exploring America’s Zion National Park

August 24, 2016

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By Joan Larsen The summer of 2016 . . . and a day to remember forever.  Monsoon rains with high winds from Arizona had travelled northward, flooding all in that direction.  Waterfalls never seen before poured from the Grand Canyon’s rim, turning the Colorado River at its base a muddy red.  Seasoned rafters on the […]

Off to College? Choose Your Major Wisely

August 22, 2016

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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 […]

Distracted Driving: It Was Just an Accident, Right?

August 8, 2016

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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 […]

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

July 4, 2016

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Happy Fourth, all!  Today marks the 240th  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 […]

Crime, The Selfie Generation, the Nanny State and Self-Defense

June 20, 2016

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If you are absolutely certain that you are about to die, do something.  Anything.  Put down your goddamn phone and fight.   What struck me most about the horrific mass shooting in Orlando was the extreme helplessness of everyone around the shooter.   I understand the mindset well:  no one wants to be first into the […]

Before There Was an Official Memorial Day…

May 30, 2016

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Before there was an official Memorial Day, people well knew how to mark it; few were untouched by the Civil War (or War Between the States, if you prefer).  A century and a half later… well. HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868 The 30th day of May, […]

Transgender Bathroom Laws: Kind of Useless

May 2, 2016

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Which bathroom should a transgendered person use, and should the rest of us even care?  Would we even know?  If we don’t know, how can we know if a law is being broken, and how can we be traumatized? There are several variations on this, and Lila’s feelings range from “meh” to  “it’s complicated.” The […]

Dear Aggressively Hypersensitive Victims, Shaming Others Does Not Help Your Cause

April 25, 2016

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I’m tired of aggressively hypersensitive victims acting as if the whole world has to stop and change the way they live, laugh, and relate. Saturday Night Live is not exactly known as a bastion of gentle humor.  It is crass and stupid and cutting and spot-on and hilarious and fun.  So, it should not have surprised […]

Need a Place to Live in Idaho? Break In, Write Yourself a Lease, and The Homeowners Have to Accept It

April 18, 2016

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This comes under the “we are a nation of idiots” category. I’m getting pretty tired of lawyers and courts failing to uphold common sense just because we don’t have a detailed, specific, nitpicky written law for every imaginable, conceivable, remotely possible thing that could ever arise. Imagine this:  you are a homeowner.  You do one […]

Tax Time: Why So Complicated?

April 11, 2016

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Tax preparation shouldn’t be a choice between paying a “professional” or losing a couple of days of your life every April. Most people grouse about the high cost of taxes (and how the government spends the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars).  Another big gripe, though, is how complicated they are. “Just use some software,” was the helpful […]

Another Misleading Internet Meme

April 4, 2016

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I’m getting tired of seeing certain Internet memes like this one making the rounds.  Golly, life is so hard and unfair these days.  A 40-hour-a-week job just doesn’t support us anymore.  You know what?  Life IS unfair, but this is not why.  This is something you can actually fix, if you want to.  Yes, there was […]

Easter Pondering: I Don’t Understand God as Martyr

March 28, 2016

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I readily confess that I am agnostic in the true Greek sense of the word, “not knowing.”  Thus I shall remain, I suspect, because I just can’t get my head around many articles of faith.  This, despite a Catholic-school upbringing and scholarly study of the Bible. With Easter just past, my mind once again ponders […]

Stupid Tuesday and the Voter’s Quandary

March 7, 2016

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Hubby and Lila went to the polls on Super Tuesday.   It felt more like Stupid Tuesday. You know, during general elections, there is a scrum of activity that assaults your eyes and ears all the way up to the “no campaigning beyond this point” sign:   posters, campaign workers, pamphlets and last-second slogans urging you on […]

Joan Larsen on Getting Older… and Becoming the President of Our Country

February 29, 2016

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By Joan Larsen   You know . . . while we don’t like to admit it, I think we all – well, once we are 55 or so – think about age more than a little.  There is so much emphasis on youth now  (way too much if truth be told) and most of us […]

Can We Just Get Back to Smiling Normally for Pictures?

February 15, 2016

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Lila is swamped with a consulting project, believe it or not.  Meanwhile, enjoy this repeat rant from February of 2014! Is personal dignity in photographs mortally wounded?  First it was the weird fake gang-like hand signs (or signs that have crass sexual meanings); then it was the ridiculous kissy-face expression which has spawned numerous references […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Hawaii’s Paradise: The Island of Kauai

January 27, 2016

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By Joan Larsen   Make the world go away . . . and I know I reflect you, and probably most others – in feeling that LIFE – yes, life in big letters – has to be better than it had been lately. It has to. We are all drowning in the ever-changing news cycles […]

This Conservative Meme Got It All Wrong on Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities

January 25, 2016

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Fact-based critical thinking is seriously wounded in this country. So… one of my rather conservative friends… a very religious and avidly pro-life individual… shared the below meme, from a Facebook page called “Right Wing News.” A quick scroll through the posts on that page pretty much confirm that it is rabidly uber-conservative, sometimes nonsensically so. […]

Victim of Terrorism? Sue Your County and Get Rich!

January 18, 2016

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A widow’s lawsuit seeking $58 million from San Bernardino County for her husband’s death in a terrorist attack is unreasonable, cynical, and greedy.   If one can believe the headlines, San Bernardino County has a lot to answer for. Correctional officers torturing prisoners. Improper strip searches of inmates. Sexual misconduct with prisoners. The sometimes fatal […]

Report Crimes to the Police, Not to Your College Administration

January 11, 2016

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Remember the Rolling Stone article that detailed a horrific gang rape at University of Virginia, only to be quickly retracted when “Jackie’s” story didn’t add up? Even when it became clear that Jackie’s story was not true, advocates insisted that something bad had happened, that women simply don’t invent rape allegations from thin air, that […]

Delicious Irony of the Flight of the Affluenza Boy

January 4, 2016

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In a deliciously ironic twist, Affluenza Boy’s maneuvering to avoid justice has landed him in a “sanctuary” that is far worse and may even last longer than any punishment he would have received in the US. Two years ago, we expressed our outrage at the Ethan Couch case. You may remember it; a spoiled and […]

‘Tis the Season to Rip the Phone Off the Wall

December 28, 2015

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Beware of the Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone, or Why There Should Be No Exemptions to the Do Not Call List. Now here we are in the Season of Giving. People’s hearts and wallets are open, so of course charities come a-calling. And this is where Lila gets really annoyed with the fact that the Do […]

“Free-Range Kid” Legislation: Pretty Sad That It Needed a Law

December 14, 2015

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A little bit of common sense may be returning to our schools. On 10 December, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which overhauls the disastrous “No Child Left Behind” law. Love it or not, the idea is to get the Federal Government mostly out of the education business and return control of curricula […]

The Obliteration of Thanksgiving, and Halloween is Next

November 23, 2015

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As we head into Thanksgiving week… everyone take a deep breath. Fall and winter used to have a certain stately holiday pace to them: first came Halloween, with its witches and goblins, skeletons and black cats.  The venerable pumpkin and the reds, yellows and oranges of Autumn rolled smoothly into Thanksgiving.  There used to be […]

Joan Larsen Presents: There Was a War, A Great War, and Now it is Over

November 11, 2015

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By Joan Larsen From the collection War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence From American Wars, by Andrew Carroll, 2002:   Aboard the SS Regina   Dear Mother and Father, Now that it is all over, what is there to look back upon? The fifteen months in France have been like a book with strange chapters, a book […]

Why Child Care May Never Be Well Compensated

November 9, 2015

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It’s because of the limited availability of parental dollars to pay for the service. Marketwatch published an interesting chart this week, showing how those who care for our nation’s children are compensated at a lower rate than bellhops, car cleaners, and even parking lot attendants. Why is this? Child-care workers are entrusted with our nation’s […]

The Plastic Convenience Trash Nation

November 2, 2015

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Or maybe, the Plastic Convenience Trash Planet. The other day I discovered that there is such a thing as a pre-packaged alcoholic beverage called a “Twistee Shot” (there is also a similar “Twisted Shot.”) It’s a little two-chambered plastic shot glass with a foil lid. Peel and drink. How handy. Or crass and lazy, depending […]

The Annual Halloween Parade of the Offended: Give It a Rest!

October 26, 2015

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Dang, people, get a grip. If everyone who’s offended by some costume or other gets their way, there won’t be a Halloween at all anymore. Apparently, 1 November is not the Day of the Dead in the US, nor is it All Saints’ Day. No, it is the Day to Be Righteously Offended About Other […]