Posted 5/26/16 at 3:26 PM | Karen Kramer
The car’s air conditioning kept me cool, but Grandma insisted we step outside in the glaring sun and relentless heat. Not one to argue, at least not audibly, I slid out and joined her on the hot sidewalk.
We stood without speaking, watching a solemn procession following a black hearse into the cemetery.
We’d come to town for farm supplies and this was a detour I hadn’t expected. But once Grandma saw the procession, she and every other person in proximity stopped what they were doing to “pay their respects”. This was a first for me.
Oh sure, I knew about the Vietnam war. Even at twelve I was aware that young men were traveling halfway across the world to fight communism. Although I had no clue what fighting communism meant.
But what it meant today was evident. In the glare of the mid-afternoon sun, a family gathered around an open grave.
We watched in silence as a group of men hoisted a flag-draped casket and slowly walked to the gravesite. I observed the grieving family, an older man was holding onto a woman who was sobbing openly. FULL POST
Posted 5/23/16 at 3:34 PM | Karen Kramer
Due to continued sluggish sales, executives at Victoria’s Secret, the premier sexy clothing retailer, will no longer carry clothing, shoes, and accessories in their stores.
Even those barely-there swim suits are on the chopping block. Perhaps the purveyor of skimpy attire is losing market share because women are realizing their bodies aren't for sale.
Perhaps a new generation of shoppers prefer to keep hidden what Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret has blatantly exposed.
Now the cleavage inspired VS intends to only sell lingerie—bras and undies which are typically off-limits to the eyes of the general public. One can hope this is a general trend towards more modesty on the part of shoppers, but it appears to be a more desperate move as Victoria's Secret hopes to remain fiscally solvent during this prolonged recession. Many American homes are tightening their belts and high-priced skimpy attire just isn't worth it.>
Posted 5/19/16 at 3:49 PM | Karen Kramer
I love beach walks; the salt air clears my mind. It’s also my go-to place when I’m thinking about those who are struggling. I have a friend whose journey is filled with anguish. Her future could get better, but she can’t seem to move forward. I can relate.
Some people get frozen in bitterness, others are weighed down with regrets. For me it was self-loathing. For her, it’s debilitating sadness.
For some, moving forward into the unknown seems worse than staying someplace unhealthy. But for things to get better, change has to happen, even when it’s hard and a bit scary.
They say that the things that break us can make us better people. But who wants to be broken?
Well, at the beach we can take a lesson from the crab.
As a crab grows it must periodically shed its hard shell. Keeping the old one isn’t an option. Shed it or die. FULL POST
Posted 5/18/16 at 11:39 AM | Karen Kramer
According to studies at the Academies of Science, genetically engineered crops are safe for both humans and animals. More than 900 studies were reviewed by a committee of fifty scientists and researchers.
They analyzed data stretching over twenty years of genetically modified crops. While genetically engineered (GE) crops were introduced to increase crop yields—it appeared that crops did not increase significantly.
In the Midwestern United States, GE crops did have lower pest populations, but it also increased herbicide-resistant weeds. It was also noted that GE crops did not affect monarch butterfly populations.
Genetically engineered crops artificially manipulate the genetic material of plants to help them be pest resistant and to withstand certain herbicides. This allows farmers to spray crops for weeds, while not harming the crops.
To determine whether GE foods were harmful to humans the committee compared disease reports from the US and Canada, where these foods have been eaten since the mid-1990s and in areas of the United Kingdom and western Europe, where they have not been widely consumed. FULL POST
Posted 5/12/16 at 12:35 PM | Karen Kramer
First off, I do support federal medical research to find cures for deadly and debilitating diseases.
But there’s a bunch of federally-funded scientific waste. Highlights of your tax dollars at work:
Did you know that birds given alcohol-laced grape juice slur their songs?
Americans forked over almost 2 million dollars to find out if we could outrun a dinosaur.
Why do people spill coffee when they walk? Researchers discovered that walking slower will “reduce the chance of spilling.” Duh.
Another half-million was spent studying whether or not Facebook is addictive.
Even with our separation of church and state, taxpayers gave $3.5 million to figure out why the face of Jesus appears on toast.
I bet you didn’t know that congressional female Democrats are less feminine than Republican congresswomen. Thankfully we only spent $50,000 on that National Science Foundation grant.
Speaking of Republicans and Democrats, almost a million dollars was spent figuring out which group is more disgusted by eating worms. FULL POST
Posted 5/10/16 at 4:27 PM | Karen Kramer
It’s all about money. But promises are cheap and sadly many of the Sanders sign-waving throngs haven’t even been taxpayers all that long.
We can blame it on youthful stupidity. But what’s Sanders' excuse for believing in fiscal nonsense?
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, has fully analyzed the costs of Bernie Sanders' economic plans and concludes those plans would add $18 trillion to the federal deficit.
There just aren’t enough American upper middle class and rich people to tax enough for all of Bernie’s free stuff.
His free health care (run by the government, so we KNOW it will work) costs $30 trillion. But the tax policy findings indicate that the huge increase in national debt will lead to higher interest rates, causing our borrowing costs for our debt to substantially increase. And since the government needs to borrow all the money to stay afloat, there wouldn’t be money leftover for new businesses to borrow—which would “retard” economic growth. As if we haven’t had enough slow down over the last eight years. FULL POST
Posted 5/5/16 at 10:45 AM | Karen Kramer
It has been said that our society cannot depend on what happens at the White House; our nation’s success depends on what happens in our house. Success at home has a lot to do with Mom.
A mom knows that the clock is unforgiving. It doesn’t make allowances for sick kids at 2 AM or for the boss expecting a report on his desk by 8:30 the same morning. That’s life.
On school days, moms can simultaneously make breakfast, pack lunches, find the youngest’s missing shoe, feed the dog, and help the oldest with the science experiment in the garage, all before backing out of the driveway with enough time to drop everyone off and get to work on time.
While driving through traffic to get home before soccer practice for one kid, and piano for the other, a mom constructs the evening meal in her head, knowing what’s in the cupboard and refrigerator. She commandeers pots and pans, feeds the crew, cleans up, and heads out with the kids for a couple more hours. Tomorrow brings different activities, same response. FULL POST
Posted 5/2/16 at 7:31 PM | Karen Kramer
One teacher can make all the difference. Take time to thank them this week.
By second grade she could see that most of the kids were smarter. She envied how they could whip through their assignments—getting them back with hardly any red ink marks. And they always seemed to have the right answers when called upon.
Report cards were always the worst. She’d carry them home and then overhear her parents whispering about her. Year after year—failing enough to feel inferior but never failing bad enough to be kept behind.
Now it was a new school year. The slate was clean. No failed efforts yet. She’d been assigned to Room 5, but the teacher hadn’t been announced yet. Rumor said he’d been hired at the last minute. No one knew who he was.
As the students filed into Room 5 the teacher looked like someone’s college-aged brother. He introduced himself and said he was just beginning his teaching career. He smiled and said that he’d be learning right along with them. She smiled back. FULL POST
Posted 4/28/16 at 4:06 PM | Karen Kramer
Mount Storm King in the Olympics is a quick but intense climb since it’s 1200 feet of elevation per mile. But the last 500 feet truly test your limits.
It was Christmas Day, and as a gift to myself, I wanted to hike to the top.
The Very Top.
Beyond the end-of-trail warning sign, ropes are securely (?) tied to outcroppings enabling the fearless to climb to the summit.
From there one can see the entire glacier-fed Lake Crescent and beyond to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the watery dividing line between the United States and Canada.
A bonus on this Christmas Day climb, was fresh snow on the rugged summit. So, Tommy, my son and official Storm King guide, and I laid fresh boot tracks through a couple feet of snow. FULL POST
Posted 4/27/16 at 5:25 PM | Karen Kramer
A clock, with hands rigidly aligned close to midnight, hangs on the wall in the office of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This is where an elite group of scientists and Nobel Laureates meet to analyze data and then determine how close we are to global nuclear armageddon.
Currently, it’s set to three minutes to midnight—or doomsday.
In our brave new American world, rogue nations threaten key US cities—like Seattle, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Manhattan. North Korea recently test-fired an intercontinental missile. They boast that they can put nukes on them.
We should assume North Korea can do this.
Then there is Iran with their recent launch of two intermediate-range ballistic missiles. On the missile boosters, the Iranians wrote in Hebrew, “Israel must be wiped out.” Touché. This is a flagrant disregard for UN resolutions.
In response, America could resurrect President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. He was mocked for his forward thinking—for his Star Wars-type anti-ballistic missile systems. FULL POST