Browsing All Posts filed under »The Color of Lila«

Can We Just Get Back to Smiling Normally for Pictures?

June 12, 2017

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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 to “whores of the Internet,” or “duckfaces.”  It seems that this pose is widely mocked and reviled, but that hasn’t […]

Swim Season Safety: Know What A Drowning Person Really Looks Like

May 29, 2017

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More than half of Americans cannot swim adequately, and most of us can’t recognize a drowning person right in front of us. Ah, yes. The pools and beaches are open again. For the past couple of seasons around this time of year, I have vainly attempted to educate the public about the horrors of the […]

The Unsanitary Swim Diaper: Not in My Pool, Please!

May 22, 2017

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Time for Lila’s annual public safety and health announcement:  even the manufacturers don’t claim that “swim diapers” will contain a mess. Memorial Day is fast approaching, and that means the neighborhood pools will soon be opening for business.  As we wrote last year, the whole concept of a diapered child in a communal swimming area […]

Stay Out of My Driveway!

May 15, 2017

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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, […]

Dear H.B. Reese, What the Hell Happened to Your Peanut Butter Cups?

May 8, 2017

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Has anyone else out there noticed that Reese’s Cups – formerly one of the most perfect foods ever to grace the planet – have gone somewhat downhill over the past few years? Specifically, I have my doubts on just how much “peanut” is in these things lately. Peanut butter, in its purest form, is just […]

Vitas, the Man With the Five-Octave Voice

May 1, 2017

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His name is Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachyov, but you can call him Vitas.  He was born in Latvia, raised in Ukraine, sings in Russian, and is wildly popular in China.  When I say “wildly popular,” I mean, he draws crowds of fainting girls worthy of the Beatles’ heyday.  Here is a video of crowd reactions, shot […]

Happy New Year… Happy BUSY New Year!

January 2, 2017

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Well, 2016 was an incredibly busy year for Lila.  Starting last January, Lila got involved with about 40-60 hours per month of collaborating with management at a local nonprofit.  The work is by turns fun, frustrating, and interesting, and Lila learns something new with practically every new project she has worked on in the past […]

Merry Christmas, Amy Berman: Still Going Strong Six Years After Cancer Diagnosis

December 26, 2016

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Way back in May of 2012, I pointed my blog to Amy Berman’s story in Health Affairs.   She had been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in November of 2010.  As a registered nurse and a health foundation executive, she knew better than most what that meant.   Inflammatory breast cancer is incurable, and even with aggressive […]

Not Your Average Holiday Movie… “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale”

December 19, 2016

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In the mood for some Christmas entertainment that isn’t all gooey-saccharine-sweet?  How about a Christmas horror movie? If you don’t mind subtitles and can take it as the silly comedy-horror show that it is, check out the Finnish movie, Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale.  You don’t want this Santa coming down your chimney. There are […]

The Cat’s in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon: Slow Down, Parents

December 5, 2016

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Andrea Petersen recently wrote a Wall Street Journal article, “A Nanny Who’s Always On Vacation.”  Far from being on vacation, these specialized nannies make their livings by accompanying families on their vacations, to attend to the children while traveling and to give the parents their “adult time” sans kids. I’m not sure what I think […]

What Does Electronic Data Have in Common With the Burning of the Library at Alexandria?

November 28, 2016

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The ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt, was charged with collecting the knowledge of the whole world, such as it was in those days.  When Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library during the siege of Alexandria in 48 BC, tens of thousands of volumes went up with it… one of the bigger “oops” moments in history, […]

Keeping the Elderly Relevant

November 21, 2016

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Every holiday season, and in some other seasons too, we will make the traditional pilgrimages to our relatives’ homes, and within a couple of days, we are reminded of why we moved out in the first place.  You know what they say:  fish and house guests stink after three days. On this year’s Thanksgiving odyssey […]

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. […]

A Halloween Treat: Robbie Burns’ “Tam O’Shanter”

October 31, 2016

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Perhaps you are familiar with Cutty Sark Scotch Whiskey, with the ship on the label.  You may know that the liquor is named for the Cutty Sark, a clipper built in 1869 for the tea trade, and later used in the wool trade.  She was fast, holding the speed record from Australia to Britain for […]

So You’ve Never Heard of Steampunk?

October 24, 2016

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There was Lila, invited to a Halloween party at the last minute, and not a thing to wear. What to do, what to do… Aha! For Christmas a few years ago, some wonderfully strange friends had given Lila Ebola and Plague. No, no, not the actual diseases; these were somewhat cute, plush, giant microbe toys […]

Our Ex-Feral Cat: Happy to be a Pet

October 17, 2016

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Yesterday, 16 October, was National Feral Cat Day.  I would never have known this if not for some cat interactions around our own house some time ago. It all really started over 20 years ago now, when we rescued two kittens from a rather dismal shelter.  My husband called it “taking them off death row,” […]

In Honor of Columbus Day: That Yummy Columbian Exchange

October 10, 2016

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When I lived in Europe, I once had the chance to stay in one of the older homes in Zurich.  The keystone above the doorway was engraved with “1402.”  “Oh, was this house built in 1402?”  I asked, impressed with its age.  “No,” came the reply, “It was renovated in 1402.”  Wow!  As I lay […]

In Honor of Oktoberfest: Trachtenmoden!

October 3, 2016

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This weekend marks the final days of Oktoberfest 2016.  Who hasn’t heard of this annual German festival, with its beer and bratwurst, its oom-pah bands and fest tents, its dirndl-clad women and lederhosen-clad men performing traditional Bavarian dances? When we were in Germany, we never did go to the “big Oktoberfest” in Munich.  What many folks […]

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 […]

I Never Wanted to Be a Mommy

September 12, 2016

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I ran across this really excellent article by Jessica Valenti in The Atlantic:  “Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal.”  Thank you, thank you, thank you Ms. Valenti.  Everyone needs to read this.  It exposes the dirty, secret truth about parenting:  there are a lot of mothers out there who regret becoming parents, who didn’t know […]

All I Need to Know, I Learned From Comics: Baltimore Comic-Con This Weekend!

August 29, 2016

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This weekend, for anyone who can make it, is the Baltimore Comic-Con! Hubby and I were fortunate enough to attend the event a couple of years back.  It was apparently an enormous success and drew the largest crowds seen in… maybe the whole history of the event, at least up to that point.  The line, for […]

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 […]

10 Reasons Not to Get Cosmetic Breast Implants

August 15, 2016

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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 […]

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 […]

Food Pouches for Kids: Convenience, But At What Cost?

August 1, 2016

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Just this week, Hubby and Lila were at the grocery store and noted some intriguing ethnic meals packaged in pouches.  The idea is that you cut the pouch open, glop the contents over some rice or noodles, and microwave it.  We’re not much into convenience foods these days, but we are fans of spicy exotic […]

Commercial Food Production and Declining Food Values

July 25, 2016

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The latest:  in tomatoes, commercial breeders have selected varieties with a beautiful red skin to appeal to consumers.  Trouble is, the gene for that trait is linked to lower sugar production in the tomato, and thus, a lot less flavor.  You want great tomato flavor?  Buy the ugly varieties (I have noticed that the typically […]

The Gritmobile: My Dad’s Toyota SR-5 Turns to Treasure

July 18, 2016

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Keep something around long enough, and magic can happen. Way back in 1983, my sixty-something-year-old Dad casually announced that he would be trading in his somewhat plain gray sedan and getting, for the first and only time in his life, a pickup truck. “Whatever for?” I wondered. “I just like it. Something different,” said Dad. […]

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 […]

If You’re Uploaded to a Cyber-Existence, Are You Still You?

June 27, 2016

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Ever since seeing the transporter on the original Star Trek, I have wondered:  if your molecules are disassembled here and an exact copy of you is reconstructed somewhere else out of other molecules, are you really still you?  I have my doubts, enough that should teleportation ever become feasible, I don’t think I’d have the […]

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 […]

Travel: Whitewater Rafting on the Nolichucky River

June 13, 2016

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Some years ago, when my grandmother was in her 80s, she began checking things off her unwritten “bucket list.”  It all started innocently enough, with an ocean cruise, and we saw her off from the docks.  But months later, relatives sent a picture of her doing her first (and only) parachute jump.  And then it […]