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RENO DISPATCH: DID THIS LEGENDARILY INERT CONGRESS REALLY JUST GET OFF THE FLOOR AND DO SOMETHING RIGHT FOR OUR TROOPS & VETERANS?

 

 

By Jamie Reno

Jan. 16, 2014  (San Diego) -- It’s been a pretty positive week in Washington for our troops and veterans. As you've probably heard, Congressional negotiators have shockingly agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending package that almost everyone says is a pretty good deal. Go figure! And one of the real positives of this whopping budget agreement is that it gives active-duty military a one percent pay raise. 

But wait, there's been even more surprising action from this historically do-nothing Congress.  Read more at the Reno Dispatch.

THE CAREGIVERS' JOURNEY: CONSIDER CAREFULLY BEFORE MOVING PARENTS IN WITH YOU

By Marsha Kay Seff

January 16, 2014 (San Diego)--When I was a caregiver to my parents, some people faulted me for placing my folks in a retirement community, rather than moving them in with me.  But I never felt guilty about my choice.

For our family, the arrangement was the best option.

COLUMN: POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: 2013 - THE YEAR OF CRASH AND BURN

 
By Mark Gabrish Conlan 
 
January 5, 2014 (San Diego) -- If nothing else, 2013 will go down in history as a year that showed up just how silly the whole notion of punditry is. People read columns like this in hopes that the people writing them have some special wisdom that will not only explain to them what’s happening in politics now but what’s likely to happen in the future. Often we’re as clueless as anyone else. As Doyle McManus recently admitted in the Los Angeles Times, at this time last year he was expecting President Obama to be able to take full advantage of his resounding re-election victory and the Republicans in Congress to moderate their opposition and maybe even work with him to get things done.

CHIEF'S CORNER: NO FLU FOR YOU!

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 5, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- The flu season is here and like a wildfire, it seems to be spreading rapidly.  Symptoms may include: A 100 oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever), a cough and/or sore throat,  runny or stuffy nose. headaches and/or body aches, chills. fatigue. nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children).

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: NEW YEAR'S EVE SAFETY

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 31, 2013 (San Diego) – New Years Eve is a special evening, however it’s no special pass to overdo it.  “These Safe and responsible tips should be practiced year round,” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

A HEARTFELT MESSAGE

 

Editor’s Note:  We send warm wishes for a speedy recovery to Leon Thompson, our “East County Eater.”  If you were at our holiday party, you'll recall Leon gleefully carving up the prime rib.  Tomorrow, Leon is undergoing triple bypass surgery, or as he calls it, “the trifecta.”   Undaunted, he asked us to post this message for our readers—including his witty review of hospital food, along with his New Year’s resolution for healthy dining—and a special request for our readers.

December 26, 2013 (La Mesa)--This is Leon Thompson, otherwise known as the East County Eater to readers of East County Magazine. Today I’m reporting from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.  My lifetime of savoring great foods, along with a family history of coronary artery disease, has finally caught up with me.  So I’ll be undergoing triple bypass surgery Friday morning—split down the middle like an oyster, with some fancy rerouting of my plumbing by the cardiac surgeon, and then I’ll be trussed up like a holiday turkey, with a few weeks to marinate before I’m back on the beat.

So by the time you hear this broadcast, hopefully I’ll have a healthy heart just in time for the New Year.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: GREED - FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD - IS CRUDE (THE WOLF OF WALL STREET)

 

By Brian Lafferty

December 25, 2013 (San Diego) – Marin Scorsese’s few forays into comedy thus far have been The King of Comedy (1983) and After Hours (1985).  Both are delightful dark comedies.  The former starred Robert De Niro as a delusional fan and stalker of a TV talk show host (Jerry Lewis).  The latter was written by then-Columbia University student Joseph Minion for his thesis.  It was a simple, yet uncommonly clever, a word processor’s (Griffin Dunne) crazy night.

Neither film, however, is as pitch black as The Wolf of Wall Street, not only the funniest film of the year, but the best period.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 23, 2013 (San Diego) -- It’s finally here!  Everything is out and up, presents are wrapped and time to eat and enjoy (if only it were that easy…) Here are some tips to keep your feasts safe during this Holiday season:

Go wash your hands!  Use hot soapy water to wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces (including cutting boards). Repeat this throughout your preparation to ensure you aren't spreading bacteria around. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: A SPOONFUL OF TREACLE (SAVING MR. BANKS)

 

By Brian Lafferty

December 20, 2013 (San Diego) – What in the world were screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith thinking as they wrote Saving Mr. Banks, a colossal misfire in tone?  And director John Lee Hanchock (The Blind Side), who thought the script was good enough to film?  The upbeat, sunshiny trailers constitute fraud as far as I’m concerned.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD TO NOWHERE (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS)

 

By Brian Lafferty

December 20, 2013 (San Diego) – The year is 1961, and the setting is Greenwich Village in New York City.  Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is an aspiring folk singer – and a darn good one – just trying to earn a living.  As gifted as he is, it’s too bad nobody wants to hire him.  The film takes place during one week in which he finds his career – and himself – going nowhere at every turn.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: WHAT'S THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT? SAFETY!

 

December 19, 2013 (San Diego) – We’re all kids at heart, but one of the first questions you should ask is, “What is the toy appropriate age?” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. It's essential to adhere to the age guidelines indicated on toy packaging, because even a toy for a 3-year-old could have parts too small for a 2-year-old to handle properly.

Are there any small, loose parts that your child can swallow? If you're not sure, consider the toilet paper tube test: anything that can pass through the tube is too small to be given to a child under 3 years old. Marbles, coins and balls are common culprits.

EARTHTALK®: CLEANING WATERWAYS

 

December 18, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: Is there a way to get local communities involved in cleaning up waterways, like rivers, lakes, streams and creeks?

-- Rebecca, via e-mail

Indeed, many of our local waterways have seen better days, thanks to decades of pollution. And cleaning them up and preventing further damage can be challenging, since much of the contamination has accumulated over time and results from what is known as “non-point source” pollution, which accounts for as much as 60 percent of the water pollution in the U.S.

THE CAREGIVERS' JOURNEY: WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, BAKE A LEMON PIE

 

By Marsha Kay Seff

December 18, 2013 (San Diego) – As an adult child of octogenarian parents, I wore a virtual millinery shop full of hats.  It often felt as if I needed more heads.  I know I needed more arms and legs – and much more time.

One of my most-frayed chapeaus was my thinking cap, for I was most certainly the daughter of invention.

A big part of my role as the designated caregiver was inventing gizmos that would make my parents' lives more manageable and comfortable.

BIRD TALK: MIGRATORY BIRDS

 

By Greg Dunne

December 17, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Our County has many migratory birds.  This week, I’m highlighting two of them: the Northern Shoveler Duck (although a few will stay year round) and a small song bird, the Townsend’s Warbler, a winter visitor.

The Northern Shoveler is primarily a winter visitor to the County, abundant this time of year at Santee Lakes, Lindo Lake and I’ve even spotted a few this year at Lake Murray. The Northern Shoveler is a medium sized duck with a very long bill that is wider at the tip than the base. It has a glossy dark green head similar to the Mallard Duck but the bill of the shoveler stands out from any other duck.  Shovelers use this bill to filter out food from the water.

EARTHTALK®: NAVY SONAR TESTING IN OCEANS IMPACTING MARINE MAMMALS

 

December 11, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: I understand the Navy is doing sonar testing and training in the oceans and that their activities will likely kill hundreds if not thousands of whales and other marine mammals. What can be done to stop this?

-- Jackie Bomgardner, Wilton, CT

Active sonar is a technology used on ships to aid in navigation, and the U.S. Navy tests and trains with it extensively in American territorial waters. The Navy also conducts missile and bomb testing in the same areas. But environmentalists and animal advocates contend that this is harming whales and other marine wildlife, and are calling on the Navy to curtail such training and testing exercises accordingly.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: INDOOR CHRISTMAS SAFETY

 

December 11, 2013 (San Diego) – “Now that the outdoor decorations are in place, let’s look at a few indoor safety tips,” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. 

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness.  When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators.  “Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water,” reminds Chief DiGiovanna. Do not block doorways. Use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.  Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.  Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.  Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. 

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: OUTDOOR CHRISTMAS SAFETY

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 11, 2013 (San Diego) – It’s the Holiday season, and many of us will begin hanging decorations. “This week, we’ll start from the outside and work our way in,” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. One of the most common causes of holiday-time house fires results from these bulbs being too close to gutters filled with dried out leaves. Make sure that the strings of lights you are using outside have built-in fuses on the lines. Check the actual plug. Make sure you are using lights designated for outdoor use only. Use Christmas lights and electric equipment that has been tested and verified by a reliable testing laboratory.

SAN DIEGO FILM CRITICS NOMINATE TOP FILMS FOR 2013

 

December 10, 2013 (San Diego) – It’s that time of the year, where critics groups from all around the world honor the year’s best movies.  The New York Film Critics Circle kicked off awards season last week by voting David O. Russell’s upcoming film, American Hustle, their pick for 2013’s top film. 

EARTHTALK®: POLLUTION INSIDE CARS

 

December 4, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: Can you discuss pollutants in car interior materials, and also pollution inside cars originating from gasoline and diesel exhausts outside the car?

-- Mervyn Kline, Philadelphia, PA

CALIFORNIA ART CLUB AND OLAF WIEGHORST MUSEUM HOST JURIED ART SHOW

 

November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – The works of some of San Diego County’s most talented and promising landscape artists will be on exhibit in a juried art show sponsored by the California Art Club (CAC) and hosted by the Olaf Wieghorst Museum. Landscapes of the West opened October 8 and runs through January 11, 2014, at the museum’s downtown El Cajon location at 131 Rea Avenue. El Cajon’s Olaf Wieghorst Museum is dedicated to preserving America’s western heritage. It houses the works of Olaf Wieghorst, an internationally recognized western artist whose paintings have been praised and acquired by royalty, presidents and celebrities. Born in Denmark, the self-taught artist immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in El Cajon. His restored ranch house is a local landmark and sits on museum property.

PEARL JAM ROCKS AT SDSU

 

November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Greg Dunne, best known to our readers as our “Bird Talk” columnist, sent us these photos and review comments on the Pearl Jam concert at San Diego State University.

“The show had everything. All the great songs to name a few: Even Flow, Black, Just Breathe, a Who song Baba O'Riley (We all know as Teenage Waste Land). A great rendition of Star-Spangled Banner by lead guitarist Mike McCready. Was it as good as the classic by Jimi Hendrix? Dare I say yes?” he wrote, adding that while “not as iconic as the great Jimi's rendition,” the concert was “a love fest between Pearl Jam and the fans. The audience knew just when to jump in and sing along with Eddie.”

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: DUELING AVENGERS (OLDBOY)

 

November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Justice is relative in Oldboy.  The latest film from director Spike Lee is complex in many areas.  Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) and Adrian Pryce (Sharlto Copley) would feel right at home in an Anthony Mann western; Joe is a good guy who is hard to root for while Adrian is a villain who is hard to root against.  Writer Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Thor), adapting from both the manga and the 2003 Park Chan-wook film starring Choi Min-sik (I Saw the Devil), puts together a maddeningly tantalizing script that protects its secrets to the last few minutes the same way Cerberus guards the gates of Hades.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: I'VE GOT A DEAL FOR YOU! BLACK FRIDAY SURVIVAL AND SAFETY

 

November 25, 2013 (San Diego) – Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, when holiday gift buying begins.  Sales offering big discounts lure customers into stores, often beginning in the early hours of the morning.  “Unfortunately, Black Friday (and most major shopping days) is a day when shoppers may become victims of crimes and injuries,” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE LYING GAME (THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE)

 

By Brian Lafferty

November 22, 2013 (San Diego) – A few months ago I watched for the first time the infamous episode of the 1950s quiz show Twenty-One in which contestant Charles Van Doren “defeated” Herb Stempel.  A few years later it was revealed that many of the prime time network quiz shows were rigged at the behest of the sponsors.  What millions of viewers thought was actual suspenseful game playing was really a series of scripted performances for the sake of “good television” and high ratings.  (If you watch that episode of Twenty-One, it’s so obvious Van Doren is acting, and doing a bad job of it.)

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: LET'S TALK TURKEY! THANKSGIVING SAFETY TIPS

 

November 21, 2013 (San Diego) – Thanksgiving signifies the beginning of the Holiday Season and many of us will be spending more time in the kitchen preparing for the Holidays over the next week according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. “Let’s start thinking safety as Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.  Thanksgiving is a fun, festive holiday, but it’s also very hectic says Chief DiGiovanna.  All the entertaining and distractions make it easy to forget about what’s cooking on the stovetop.”

EARTHTALK®: EARLY PUBERTY

 

November 21, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that American kids are going through puberty earlier today than in previous generations, and are there any environmental causes for this?   

-- Paul Chase, Troy, NY

Research indicates that indeed Americans girls and boys are going through puberty earlier than ever, though the reasons are unclear. Many believe our widespread exposure to synthetic chemicals is at least partly to blame, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why our bodies react in certain ways to various environmental stimuli.

ART EXHIBIT AT MISSION TRAILS NOW THROUGH DEC. 13

 

November 18, 2013 (San Diego) – The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) is pleased to present an exhibition featuring three award winning photographers: Debbie Beals, Darci Hook, and Janice Roudebush.

This photography exhibit, "Elements: Three Perspectives on Nature," will be on display in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center Art Gallery November 16 through December 13, 2013. The public is cordially invited to a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, November 24, 2013 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

THE ATTORNEY'S CORNER: TRANSFERRING PROPERTY IN SMALL ESTATES

 

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

By Stephen C. Ross, Esq.

November 17, 2013 (San Diego County) – The California Probate Code provides three summary procedures that may be used to avoid formal probate when transferring property in small estates. Summary procedures are most beneficial when the estate value is small, the number of successors to decedent’s assets is minimal, there will not be any adverse tax consequences, the decedent had few or no debts or liabilities and entitlement to the property is not disputed. Compared to formal probate administration, summary administration usually reduces the time and expense required to transfer property to the persons entitled to it. However, certain requirements must be met in order to use the summary procedures.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: A FINE SHADE (BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR)

 

By Brian Lafferty

November 14, 2013 (San Diego) – Every time a stream of adjectives flows into my mind when describing Blue Is the Warmest Color, “unique” invariably pops up.  That assessment, however, is wrong.  It’s unique only in the sense that the lovers are of the same sex.  Nobody would say so if the characters were a boy and a girl.  Adèle and Emma love each other, make love to each other, live with each other, and eventually break up with each other.  Just as a normal heterosexual couple would.  In that sense, and as a result of over a century of movie conditioning, it would be viewed as a “normal” relationship.

AMERICAN TRIVIA: FASCINATING CIVIL WAR FACTS

 

By Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh

November 13, 2013 (San Diego) – SDW/EG members Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh are the proud co-authors of American Trivia: What We All Should Know About U.S. History, Culture & Geography (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2012). Over a span of three years, Rich and Caroline will share with you their journey through American history.

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