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Archive for October, 2011

I have always loved Halloween. When I was a kid, I would dress up as anything I wanted to be, no matter how unrealistic.  This included everything from ballerinas to President of the United States. When my kids were growing up, we continued to live vicariously by hosting parties to bob for apples followed by neighborhood trick-or-treating in bright colored costumes with outstretched arms holding UNICEF milk cartons.

This annual celebration of ghosts and scary creatures is not religious, and is enjoyed by all families with children. Halloween provides a benign outlet for horror fantasies.

Less benign is the horror creeping into American families by conservative politics. (more…)

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I had to laugh last week when President Obama addressed South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak with his remarks in support of the new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between our countries:

“The FTA will open Korea’s lucrative services market and I’m very pleased that it will help level the playing field for American automakers. Just as Americans buy Hyundais and Kias, I hope South Koreans will buy more Fords, Chryslers and Chevys.”
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Bridge Day is the annual event at the New River Gorge in West Virginia when seasoned sky divers come from around the world to jump off the world’s 5th highest vehicular bridge. (This special breed is known as BASE jumpers). The promoters boast that this one day event is the “most extreme of extreme sports” when hundreds of jumpers free-fall about 400 feet before deploying small bright-colored parachutes which float them down another 476 feet to the New River rapids below. Over 100,000 people come from all over the country to peer over the rail of the 3,000 foot span to witness this high-adrenaline spectacle.
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My father, Dr. E. Karl Bastress

As we paid tribute to Steve Jobs who died this week at 56, I spent some time remembering my father who died at the age of 59. I have thought of my Dad many times over the past 23 years since his death, but more so these days as I have now reached the age he was when he died.

It is somewhat sobering to reach this particular milestone. I revered my Dad and the legacy he left behind. After growing up as an only child, he raised 4 children with my mother, and another 2 children with my step-mother. He imbued in each of us the value of education, hard work and being considerate of others.
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I am writing this as a pound of black beans is soaking in my new crock pot and a large batch of vegetable soup is simmering. Our green daughter, Caroline, has urged me to write this one month update to dispel any doubts folks may have of our commitment to this dramatic lifestyle change.

The last month has been full of surprises. But first, a confession. As a result of Hurricane Irene, we inherited a crab pot which washed up on our front yard. We have put this cubic chicken-wire cage to good use off our dock which has supplied us with about a dozen Chesapeake blue crabs each week. We have not given up seafood. (more…)

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