Columns

Recurring Columns

MEDIA WATCH: OPPOSE PROPAGANDISTS AS MEDIA OWNERS; SIGN A PETITION ASKING THE L.A. TIMES NOT TO SELL TO THE KOCH BROTHERS

Sign petition:  http://act.couragecampaign.org/sign/latimeskoch/#1

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2013 (San Diego) – For weeks, rumors have abounded that the respected Los Angeles Times newspaper and its parent Tribune Company may sell to would-be buyers whose goal is not journalism, but propaganda. On March 17, U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester told MSNBC news that the billionaire Koch Brothers, major financial backers of the TEA Party, are interested in buying the Times empire, which includes the Chicago Tribune as well as the L.A. Times

BIRD TALK: BULLOCK’S ORIOLE

 

By Greg Dunne

March 16, 2013 (Lake Murray) -- Spring has sprung, warm weather is here and the wild Ramona Lilac is in bloom all over the hills in the East County. It is the time of year to keep a keen eye open for the Oriole. These birds winter in Mexico and then start to come north as the days get longer. In my experience, March and April have always been the best time to observe these beautiful, bright yellow-orange birds with sharp contrasting black on the back, throat and top of the head.

EARTHTALK®: FOOD SCARCITY

March 17, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What are the main drivers of food scarcity that lead to so much starvation around the world, and how can they be addressed?                          

-- Marjorie Millerton, Provo, UT

Food scarcity is a bigger problem than ever as human population numbers continue to swell, putting additional stress on already fragile food production and distribution systems. And it’s not just happening in far away places: A recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the number of U.S. homes “lacking food security” rose from 4.7 million to 6.7 million in just the last five years.

THE ATTORNEY'S CORNER: AVOIDING PROBATE, PLUS SUMMARY DISSOLUTION

“Your source for Trusts, Wills, Probate, Family Law & more”

By Stephen C. Ross, Esq.

March 16, 2013 (San Diego County) – Probate is a legal proceeding whereby the court ensures the decedent's assets are collected, creditors paid and the remaining assets distributed pursuant to the terms of the decedent's will. If the decedent died without a will (intestate), the estate assets will be distributed pursuant to the California law of intestate succession.

EARTHTALK®: ATTRACTING BEES AND BUTTERFLIES TO YOUR GARDEN

March 16, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: I’d like to have a garden that encourages bees and butterflies. What’s the best approach?                                                              

-- Robert Miller, Bakersfield, CA

Attracting bees and butterflies to a garden is a noble pursuit indeed, given that we all depend on these species and others (beetles, wasps, flies, hummingbirds, etc.) to pollinate the plants that provide us with so much of our food, shelter and other necessities of life. In fact, increased awareness of the essential role pollinators play in ecosystem maintenance—along with news about rapid declines in bee populations—have led to a proliferation of backyard “pollinator gardens” across the U.S. and beyond.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: HOOKED (LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE)

By Brian Lafferty

March 15, 2013 (San Diego) – There are hookers with hearts of gold.  In Like Someone in Love, Akiko (Rin Takanashi) is no such character.  She’s a hooker with a heavy heart.  She works in Tokyo and is engaged to the abusive, controlling, and emotionally abusive Noriaki (Ryo Kase).  Her boss asks her to visit an old widower friend of his, Watanabe (Tadashi Okuno).  The next 48 hours the two spend with each other are life-changing for everyone involved.

HOMEOWNER'S GURU: MORTGAGE MODIFICATION SCAMS

 

By E. Vernon Small

March 12, 2013 (San Diego) – If you are a struggling homeowner, you have undoubtedly been approached by companies that claim they will reduce your mortgage payments and/or your mortgage balance by negotiating a ‘loan modification’ with your current mortgage lender.  All of these companies claim to be reputable and licensed, and many even operate as attorneys.  They typically charge $1500 or more to handle this process, and most offer payment plans.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS COLUMN: THE PREGNANCY POLICE

 

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

March 11, 2013 ( San Diego)--The 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s constitutional right to safe and legal abortion, passed last January 15 with a lot of crowing — from the anti-choice side. Time magazine ran a cover story that announced that advocates for women’s right to reproductive choice won a big victory with Roe v. Wade — “and they’ve been losing ever since.” Over those 40 years, the Supreme Court has moved farther and farther Right and given states leeway to create more and more so-called “reasonable restrictions” on women’s right to choose. A continued campaign of terrorism — there’s no other word for it — against abortion providers has intimidated doctors, nurses and clinic staff and forced women who want abortions to get them in conditions which resemble maximum-security prisons.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN (OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL)

By Brian Lafferty

March 9, 2013 (San Diego) – When Sam Raimi is at the helm, look out!  His films bristle with energy.  Lots of it.  This trademark began with his first film, The Evil Dead.  Even though it was made on a shoestring budget, its brisk editing, overpowering scares, and elaborate make-up and gross-out special effects made it simultaneously freaky and exhausting. 

DREAM DOGS: LOOKING FOR A FOREVER HOME

 

March 8, 2013 (Blossom Valley)--This one-year-old, female 10 lb tiny Schnoodle (Schnauzer/ Poodle) loves to follow us around our large acreage. She bonds very closely and strives to stay with her family, and loves to play when she is not being cuddled. She shows us that she is friendly with all dogs, and people of all ages.  She is trustworthy if left outside alone, and will stay with our small pack of dogs.

If you are interested in this little princess please email me the life you can give to her including the amount of hours she will be alone while you are at work, and the family members she will have.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: PRESCRIPTION FOR PERSECUTION (BARBARA)

March 8, 2013 (San Diego) – Freedom of speech, protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, and freedom of travel are just a smattering of the many rights the United States affords to its people.  

One needn’t be overly familiar with 20th century world history to see how movies like Barbara serve as a reminder of how easy it is for Americans (admittedly myself included) to take for granted these freedoms.  From 1961 to about 1990, the Berlin Wall separated the free, democratic West Germany from the communist, police state East Germany.  East Germans faced police harassment, were spied and informed on to the government, and were for the most part forbidden from leaving the country. 

THE CAREGIVERS’ JOURNEY: A LONG AND WINDING PATH

 

By Marsha Kay Seff

March 1, 2013 (San Diego) -- Becoming your parents’ parent conjures up pictures of “tangled apron strings.”

As a child, the strings seemed well-defined.  You needed your parents and their role was to fulfill your needs.  Now, with your parents aging and leaning increasingly on you, the apron strings are tangled and wound tightly around you.

This role reversal isn’t easy for any of you.  Your parents, no doubt, are fighting furiously to cling to their dignity and independence.  At the same time, you’re pulled between the demands of your own family and the need to help your parents.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HEALTHY EATING

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

How do you keep firefighters and paramedics out of your home?

February 25, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- No joke here… You can start by taking care of yourself and eating right! That’s right says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna, your local firefighters and paramedics respond to thousands of medical related calls each year (approx 75% are medical related calls). This Friday is March 1st and March is National Nutrition Month!

BIRD TALK: THE CATUS WREN

 

By Greg Dunne

February 21, 2013 (Lake Jennings) --   Many birds call both California and Arizona their home.  Although our state bird, the California Quail, crosses over into other states, it does not cross over to our neighbor to the east in Arizona.  However, the Arizona state bird, the Cactus Wren also calls our East County its home.

The Cactus Wren can be found here occasionally in Southern California. This particular Cactus Wren I photographed at Lake Jennings. It was having a good time making itself known; its loud alarm call “tek-tek-tek-tek” as it gets louder and louder towards the end.  It seems to me that wrens can throw their voices. This would make sense because wrens will try to distract you from their nest by making themselves heard as they move farther and farther from the nest.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: NO MORE RECESS APPOINTMENTS

One More Way the Republican Minority Continues to Run the Country

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

February 22, 2013 (San Diego) -- Just four days after President Obama was sworn in for his second term, a Right-wing federal appeals judge gave the Republican Senate minority new powers to take over the country and shoot down whole government departments whose missions or policies displease them. Judge David Sentelle, one of the most powerful people you’ve never heard of, and two of his colleagues on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a sweeping ruling on January 25 that effectively ended the ability of a President to make so-called “recess appointments” to government departments that require Senate confirmation.

FROM THE CHIEF’S CORNER: PREVENT DRYER FIRES

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna       

February 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--Who would think that the danger exists in doing such a daily household chore such as laundry? Recent incidents across the country point to the dangers of dryer fires. In fact, on average, over 13,000 fires start in our laundry rooms in the United States each year, resulting in deaths and close to $10 million in property damage says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Nearly 4,000 of these fires arise from lint buildup and overheated motors that occur when people fail to clean their dryer vents. The following advice can help you prevent a disaster.

MEDIA WATCH: KNSJ HOSTS SCREENING SATURDAY OF DOCUMENTARY ON LOCAL MEDIA CONSOLIDATION IMPACTS

February 21, 2013 (San Diego) – KNSJ, the new radio station soon to begin broadcasting from East County,  announced last night that it has purchased a transmitter and now is raising funds to cover station operations. 

On Saturday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m.  a benefit film showing of the documentary Save KLSD: Media consolidation and local radio will be shown at the Joyce Beers Community Center  in Hillcrest. Organizers promise “film, food and fun.” A  panel discussion will follow.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: BALBOA PARK--THE GOOD GUYS WIN

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

February 19, 2013 (Revised February 20) -- Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs’ plan for an extensive remodel of the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park sailed easily through the San Diego City Council last summer — Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s was the only vote against it — but it hit a snag in San Diego Superior Court February 5.

That’s when Judge Timothy Taylor, ruling in the suit the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) filed against the city to stop the Jacobs plan, found that the city had basically ignored its own rules by insisting that the current configuration of the park, with much of its area used for large, free parking lots, was not a “reasonable beneficial use of the property” under city law.

THE ATTORNEY'S CORNER: WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR ESTATE PLAN

“Your source for Trusts, Wills, Probate, Family Law & more”

By Stephen C. Ross, Esq.

February 17, 2013 (San Diego County) – I often talk with people who believe estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, even people with few assets may benefit from proper estate planning.

You may be subject to formal probate proceedings if the gross real and personal property value of your estate exceeds $150,000 and you do not have a revocable trust. A properly prepared power of attorney for health care may avoid the need for a costly conservatorship proceeding if you subsequently lack capacity to make your own decisions. A power of attorney may avoid a conservatorship proceeding and ensure that a person you trust is ready to handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated.

THE CAREGIVER'S JOURNEY: A LONG AND WINDING PATH

Becoming your parents' parent conjures up pictures of "tangled apron strings."

By Marsha Kay Seff

February 17, 2013 (San Diego) -- As a child, the strings seemed well-defined.  You needed your parents and their role was to fulfill your needs.  Now, with your parents aging and leaning increasingly on you, the apron strings are tangled, wound tightly around you.

This role reversal isn’t easy for any of you.  Your parents, no doubt, are fighting furiously to cling to their dignity and independence.  And you’re pulled between the demands of your life and theirs.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: WHAT A TRIP! (JOHN DIES AT THE END)

By Brian Lafferty

February 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Sometimes moviegoing is a leap of faith.  One question I always dread answering is, “Do you recommend such-and-such film?”  I'm not in the business of recommendations.  Maybe I was in 2010, but my philosophy on film criticism has evolved and will continue to evolve.  My critical approach is to evaluate and write about the elements of the film, my personal reaction to it, and whether the film succeeds or doesn't.  I prefer to stimulate interest and discussion rather than tell you whether you will or won’t like a movie.  (Personally, I would find it presumptuous for someone who doesn’t know my tastes to tell me I’d like a film, so why would I do the same to you?)  I leave it up to you to decide if you should spend your money, but at least you'll be well informed and have an idea of what to expect. 

SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS AND NUMBERS

By Erika Lawrence

Social Security District Manager, El Cajon

February 19, 2013 (El Cajon)--Do you know where your Social Security card is located? Hopefully, it’s in a safe place, tucked away securely with your other important papers. It certainly should not be in your purse or wallet and should not be carried with you every day since it can be more valuable than cash to an identity thief.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES)

By Brian Lafferty

February 15, 2013 (San Diego) – The Twilight movies are easy targets for online hostility and teasing.  But at least those movies, as lifeless as they are to me (I gave up after the second one), respect their audience, especially their target young adult audience.  They don't insult anyone’s intelligence.  Beautiful Creatures, inspired by (or, rather, ripped off from) the Twilight series is offensive, rife with exaggerated phony accents, Southern stereotypes, hammy acting, and dialogue so awkward and bad that it confounds the actors who have to say these lines.  I’m surprised my neck didn’t get stiff from all the double takes.  Beautiful Creatures is downright insulting towards not just the general audience, but also particularly its target young adult audience and their intelligence, and the flagrancy of it is appalling.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: MCCLANE TAKES ON MOSCOW (A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD)

By Brian Lafferty

February 15, 2013 (San Diego) – In preparation for this film, I spent over six hours of my Saturday binging on the Die Hard sequels (I saw the first a couple of years ago).  The experience was like riding a train careening at speeds upwards of 200 miles an hour.  Following the massive adrenaline rush was an equally intense feeling of euphoria.  It took a few days to recover.

FINANCIAL WELLNESS CAN BE YOURS IN 2013

 

By Erika Lawrence

Social Security District Manager, El Cajon

February 9, 2013 (El Cajon)--January is Financial Wellness Month — a great time to think about your own financial future. It also happens to be at this time that many people make resolutions for the New Year. Why not combine the two and make your own financial wellness a resolution for 2013?

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE UNBEARABLE SADNESS OF BEING (SIDE EFFECTS)

By Brian Lafferty

February 8, 2013 (San Diego) – The press screening announcement for Side Effects read "Please note that due to the non-linear nature of this film, we will not let anyone into screenings of Side Effects if they arrive LATE.”  The impression I got was that Soderbergh's last theatrical release - his final project is a Liberace biopic that will air on HBO later this year - would be a mind-bender like Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky or Christopher Nolan's Memento.  I was wrong, but the publicity people were right to deny entry to latecomers.  (Even if they didn't, I can't grasp how any critic could feel comfortable reviewing any movie they're late for.  In many cases and for many reasons too irrelevant and lengthy to list, the first few minutes are a film’s most important.)

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SHORT, BUT SWEET (THE OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS OF 2013)

By Brian Lafferty

February 1, 2013 (San Diego) -- The annual presentation of the year's Oscar-nominated short films is back at the Ken Cinema (my review of the animated shorts can be found here).  What follows is a review of the five diverse and very personal live-action shorts vying for the coveted statuette. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: ANIMATION APPRECIATION (THE OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORT FILMS OF 2013)

By Brian Lafferty

February 1, 2013 (San Diego) -- Every year around this time, the Landmark Ken Cinema - the venerable go-to theater for niche movies - treats San Diego to its annual showing of the year's Oscar nominated short films.  This year boasts a mostly impressive slate of animated shorts (my review of the live action shorts can be read here). 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: BLOOD BAYOU (BULLET TO THE HEAD)

By Brian Lafferty

February 1, 2013 (San Diego) -- Bullet to the Head is the second film in three weeks - Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand being the other - to star one of my favorite action heroes from yesteryear.  The addition of long-absent action director Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs.) ups the nostalgia factor.  Bullet to the Head recalls those 80s and 90s action crime films that Hill and Stallone are known for while keeping up with the 2010s. 

RENO DISPATCH: HOW I SURVIVED MULTIPLE BLOOD CLOTS!

By Jamie Reno

January 31, 2013 (San Diego) – Last summer, as I was nearing the end of a grueling three-set tennis match in 90-degree heat, I felt a very sharp pain in my left side, below my heart, and then just collapsed on the court. It was easily the most painful thing I've ever experienced. I could barely move.

I wasn't sure if it was a heart attack, a ruptured spleen, a tumor, or what. All I knew is that it hurt like heck and that it was probably something serious. With the help of my tennis partner, I made it to the car and then to the hospital, where, after hours of blood tests and scans, the ER doctors finally discovered the problem: multiple blood clots in both lungs.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-i-survived-multiple-bloo...

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