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AMERICAN TRIVIA: LADY LIBERTY

By Richard Lederer

September 17, 2012 (San Diego) – The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States commemorating the alliance between the two nations during the Revolutionary War. The statue arrived in the United States aboard the French freighter Isere as 350 individual pieces packed in 214 crates. Lady Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924, and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: TERRORISTS' VETO II - HERE WE GO AGAIN

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

September 21, 2012 (San Diego)--I probably could have gone through my life blissfully unaware of the existence of a scrap of film called Innocence of Muslims — a.k.a. Innocence of Bin Laden, a.k.a. Desert Warriors — if the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. Embassy staff members hadn’t been killed in an attack allegedly inspired by a YouTube trailer for this movie. It’s a film almost no one has seen — and that includes the attackers in Libya and the mobs who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Egypt — but that hasn’t stopped either the protesters against the film or the mystery people who made it, who appear to be  members of the Copts, an Egyptian Christian sect who lost their protector when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was driven from power and now fear both official discrimination and private retribution.

IS THERE ANY OBJECTIVE JOURNALISM ANYMORE?

By Jamie Reno

Several years ago I wrote a story about my two best friends - one a Christian conservative Republican ex-Marine, the other an agnostic liberal Democrat college professor. In the piece I described how much I admired both of them but always seemed to find myself in the middle. 

Well, they're still my best friends... and I'm still in the middle. My liberal friend still thinks I'm too conservative, and my conservative friend still thinks I'm too liberal. 

See more:

BECOMING GREEN: GETTING STARTED WITH COMPOSTING AND CLEANUP

By Jackie Hanson

September 12, 2012 (Lakeside)--Hi, I’m Jackie! I’m retired, but I keep busy tending a sizable property (that I try to coax into various gardens with mixed results) and caring for many animals (chickens, ducks, goats, horses, cats, and a dog).  I’m also an artist and aspiring interior decorator, and I have so many plans and ideas that I can only hope to live long enough to bring them to fruition!

I’ve decided to write a column to share with anyone who’s interested in getting better at living less wastefully.  I’m calling it “Becoming Green” because although I try to be a good steward of the earth, I am far from fully achieving that goal.  In fact, I’m probably a lot like you, trying to do my bit to recycle and waste less water, but fighting an uphill battle, with bad habits that are hard to break and a busy life that distracts me from doing more.

EARTHTALK®: ECO-FRIENDLY AND NON-TOXIC CAT LITTERS

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

September 11, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: Which are the most eco-friendly and non-toxic (to people, cats and sanitation systems) cat litters? ­                                                                       -- Sam Barnes, Macon, GA

It makes sense that environmentally enlightened cat owners would want cat litter made from natural products that will not potentially compromise their health or that of their beloved pets. Many mass market cat litters contain significant amounts of silica dust which has been linked to upper respiratory issues in cats and even humans. Likewise, the chemical fragrances in many cat litters can also be toxic to cats.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: WORLD OF WONDER (SAMSARA)

 

By Brian Lafferty

September 7, 2012 (San Diego) – There are two people who have had the biggest influence on me as a critic.  The first is Duncan Shepherd, who authored film criticism for the San Diego Reader from its inception in 1972 until he retired in November 2010.  I didn't really know Duncan that well as a person.  I saw him at pretty much every screening, but I was too shy to approach him.  He was the type of critic who preferred to keep to himself, who expressed himself best in writing rather than with the spoken word.  I didn't read his criticism until I started writing for East County Magazine, but I immediately noted his frequent, adept commentary on cinematography.  If you wonder why in every review I write these days I talk about image, this is part of the reason.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: FLASH FLOOD SAFETY TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna, East County Magazine’s “In-House Fire Chief”

September 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – We continue in our summer “monsoon season” which can quickly and unexpectedly bring flash floods. More people lose their LIVES in floods than in any other weather-related event. 80% of flood deaths occur in vehicles, and most happen when drivers make a single, fatal mistake - trying to navigate through floodwaters.

EDUCATION TOUR: BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS

Education News and Notes

By Anat Tour

September 4, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Staying up, sleeping in! Driving your kids to play dates, going to the beach, day camps, sleep away camps, Disneyland, Sea World, Ah…all that fun and now it’s back to school. In this month’s column, read about the top 10 tips for going back to school.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: RALPH REED'S - AND THE REPUBLICANS' - RESURRECTION

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

September 4, 2012 (San Diego) – Guess which major Republican political leader recently made the following statement in Tampa, Florida, the home of this year’s GOP convention: “There was one candidate who stood in front of Greek columns and vowed to heal the planet and cause the oceans to recede.” If you guessed Mitt Romney, you’re half-right — he did rip off that line in his big speech accepting the Republican nomination for President on August 30 — but the line was actually delivered four days earlier on April 26, the day before the convention was supposed to start, by Ralph Reed.

PURPLE MOUNTAIN SAGE: STORM OVER HEAD

 
By Sharon Courmousis, Sacred Rocks Reserve
 
September 1,2012 (Boulevard)--Do you remember your last storm? Those who live in the mountains get to experience the power of nature up close, sometimes too close. As clouds build from the vast openness of the sky, turn ever darker, the lightening begins touching the earth randomly. Thunder pounds us with larger and deeper sounds than any other thing in nature. Clouds darken the sky as I await the storm. The smell of rain is in the air. Birds flap and flutter and prepare to run for cover. The dusty leaves of sage and Manzanita seem to open wider as if inviting a cool drink, sensing the coming rain.

EARTHTALK®: SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE OPTIONS

 
E - The Environmental Magazine
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
 
September 1, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: Are there certain brands or retail stores where sustainable furniture options can be had? And what should I look for when shopping for greener furniture?  -- W. Cary, Trenton, NJ

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: "LEGITIMATE RAPE"

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

August 30, 2012 (San Diego) – Just when you thought the political season couldn’t possibly get any weirder, Missouri Congressmember Todd Akin — the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate against Democrat Claire McCaskill — told a sympathetic local TV interviewer that he didn’t think the federal government needed to pay for abortions for victims of rape or incest because he didn’t think victims of rape or incest could get pregnant. “From what I understand from doctors, that’s extremely rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: FAST FOOD DAMNATION (COMPLIANCE)

By Brian Lafferty

 

August 31, 2012 (San Diego) – Compliance made me feel uncomfortable and unclean, but that’s exactly how it wanted me to feel. My chest kept pounding and it wouldn’t relent. A part of me wanted to look away, but I couldn’t avert my eyes. It was a grueling experience emotionally, and when the film wrapped up, it took a few days for me to shake it off. Chills coarse through my body as I write this, and my stomach feels weird.

 

Those are just several reasons why Compliance is one of the best films of the year.

 

FROM THE CHIEFS CORNER: WHAT TO DO BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE

August 27, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--With the recent Earthquakes and the anticipation of more aftershocks it’s a good time to review what to do before, during and after an earthquake says East County Magazine’s in-house Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

EARTHTALK®: CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE

E - The Environmental Magazine 
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss 
 
August 28, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: I read that CO2 in our atmosphere is now more than 300 parts per million. Doesn’t this mean that we’re too late to avoid the worst impacts of climate change?                                                                                                                          -- Karl Bren, Richmond, VA

HOME VIDEO HERALD: TONIGHT YOU'RE MINE (DVD)

By Brian Lafferty

 

August 29, 2012 (San Diego) – The first half of 2012 saw the release of not one but two films by British director David Mackenzie, although the second one never played in San Diego. The first was Perfect Sense, released in February. Although small in scope, it was quite a cinematic trip, a melancholia-saturated tale of two people who fall in love, a love tested when the whole world loses their five senses one by one. Perfect Sense was in some ways pretentious, it was heavily restrained in every respect (mood, acting, writing, etc.), and it was dead serious in tone. It's the type of movie that you either mock or you buy into and relish; I did the latter.

 

EARTHTALK® HOW EFFICIENT IS RADIANT HEATING?

 

E - The Environmental Magazine
Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
 
August 30, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: How energy efficient (and comfortable) is underfloor heating, sometimes known as radiant heating? -- Marcy Dell, Boston, MA

Underfloor radiant heating involves under laying the floor with a hot element or tubing that transfers heat into the room via infrared radiation and convection, obviating the need for forced or blowing air.

 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: IN DARKNESS (BLU-RAY)

By Brian Lafferty

 

August 29, 2012 (San Diego) – A harrowing sequence of events transpire during the first thirty minutes of In Darkness, atrocities that I could describe but I won’t. That’s because as shocking as they are, there is only one shot, seen later, that remains entrenched in my mind.

EARTHTALK®: REDUCING OUR LIGHT FOOTPRINT

 
E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

 
August 25, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: Has anyone calculated the energy wasted at night by unnecessary lighting in and around buildings? What can we do to reduce our light footprint?      -- Bill Rehkamp, via e-mail 
 

HOME VIDEO HERALD: THE RAID: REDEMPTION (BLU-RAY)

By Brian Lafferty

 

August 29, 2012 (San Diego) -- Watching The Raid: Redemption is like watching someone assemble a house of cards: one mishap and the structure crumbles. I'll start with the tone, a major balancing act for first-time director Gareth Evans. He militantly adheres to a serious tone. A few times the film comes dangerously close to slipping into the Realm of the Not So Serious, but through sheer will, Evans maintains the desired disposition. The same extends to the action scenes, the backbone of The Raid, and among the best executed I've seen since I became a film critic: not a single shred, inch, or drop of laziness. Otherwise, it would be close to worthless, no better than the offensively manufactured video game drivel that Hollywood is so content to pump out to American audiences.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY NEWS YOU CAN USE

 
By Jeannette Nunes
Social Security District Manager
 
Make social security online services ‘par for the course’
 
August 25, 2012 (El Cajon) -- For many retirees (and near retirees), there is nothing that they look forward to as much as a day on the golf course. The game recently has been made more pleasurable by the use of computers and GPS technology.  A hand-held electronic unit acts just like a personal caddie, providing quick and accurate yardage information — and much more. It saves time … as well as mental and physical effort.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: DON'T RUN OVER THE MESSENGER (PREMIUM RUSH)

By Brian Lafferty

August 24, 2012 (San Diego) – This week I’ve seen three signs that summer is almost over in San Diego: the weather is getting cooler, kids are back in school, and Hollywood - having exhausted all their major moneymaking, audience-pleasing blockbusters and comic book movies – are now releasing simpleminded films like Premium Rush apparently because there's nothing left until awards season.

FRONT AND CENTER: DONORS BEWARE

By Rick Rogers, Host of Front & Center: Military Talk Radio

August 23, 2012 (San Diego)--Charities rattling their cups for veterans and troop programs in Southern California have grown to epic numbers in recent years.

I bet San Diego County charities have grown tenfold since 2008.

At least I think they have.

Fact is, I don’t know. I don’t know how many there are or what they all do, let alone what happens to all the money they collect.

Unfortunately no one else knows either.

DREAM DOGS: LOOKING FOR FOREVER HOMES

 
August 23, 2012 (Blossom Valley) -- Eight month-old, 69 lb. Olde English Bulldoggie. He is great with all dogs, people and children. He loves to run and play, but also knows the value of a good nap. He is crate-trained, and sleeps quietly through the night. We have lots of pictures on our Facebook page showing the fun our dogs have both during training; as well as playing with the other dogs.

PURPLE MOUNTAIN SAGE: HOW A CHILD IS LIKE A TREE

 
By Sharon Courmousis, Sacred Rocks Reserve
 
August 23, 2012 (Boulevard)--I have a tree at Sacred Rocks, planted 5 years ago, a Purple Robe Locus. The tree specialist explained to me about watering, and nutrients, and pruning. Because I am away a lot, I have to trust people to do those things for good tree health. Last fall the wind whipped a large branch off, nearly cutting the tree in half. I thought we would lose the tree. But no! It survived.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: VICIOUS CIRCLE (360)

By Brian Lafferty

 

August 24, 2012 (San Diego) -- "A wise man once said, 'If you see a fork in the road, take it,'" says young Anna (Gabriela Marcinkova) as 360 opens with her sister (Lucia Siposova) being photographed for a prostitution website. It set me in the mood for a clever and intriguing film. I was in for disappointment. You know your film is in trouble when quoting Yogi Berra is its only meaningful element.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: ORGANIZED LABOR'S LAST-DITCH STAND

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

August 22, 2012 (San Diego) – Whoever you think won last June’s elections, there can be no doubt that organized labor was one of the biggest losers.

In San Diego, voters overwhelmingly approved the pension “reform” initiative sponsored by City Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio that abolishes guaranteed-benefit pensions completely for newly hired city employees, freezes all city workers’ pay for five years (on top of five years they’ve already gone without a raise) and pushes workers into a 401(k)-style program that will actually cost the city more to administer than the current pension system.

SOCIAL SECURITY NEWS YOU CAN USE

 
Social security and women
 
By Jeannette Nunes
Social Security District Manager
 
August 18, 2012 (El Cajon) -- August 26 is known as Women’s Equality Day.  On that date in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was signed, giving women the right to vote.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTORISTS

 
From Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna East County Magazine’s “In-House Fire Chief” 
 
August 18, 2012  (San Diego) -- School is starting to begin for many of our districts. It’s important to use extra caution while driving as excited students will be walking, bicycling, driving, riding buses so excited and may not be paying attention while traveling to school and back home. Here are some safety reminders:

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: NOLAN CALLS IT A "KNIGHT"

By Brian Lafferty

 

Catching up on a few I missed.

 

August 16, 2012 (San Diego) – This review of The Dark Knight Rises is one of the toughest I’ve ever written during my tenure at East County Magazine. I spent what seemed like hours trying to figure out how to start writing about one of the year’s most anticipated films. After many false starts, I realized I needed to just get to it.

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