Columns

Recurring Columns

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

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.

Before an Earthquake

The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.

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

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 
 

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.

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.

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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