Generally speaking, southern California has the reputation of being a pleasant place to live. Not this fall. Not when dozens of wildfires have erupted in the tinder-dry coastal desert brush. Even a very small cluster of sparks can be driven quickly a thousand yards by the howling Santa Ana winds, called “devil winds” by local firefighters. Over a half million people were evacuated from their homes in a wide swath from L.A. to San Diego.
What is shocking is the... Read More
Are germs good or bad for you?
Laughable question to my mother in 1960. Once we entered the house from anywhere else, we heard the command barked, “Wash your store hands.” “Wash your playground hands.” Anything we might have touched outside the house must have contaminated us. “Wash your school hands.”
All that hand-washing by millions of children must have worked. The relatively sanitary world in which we live has made cholera and dysentery rare. But in a recent Newsweek... Read More
One of the hottest trends in internet use has been the use of peer-to-peer networks (P2P for short). P2P networking means that through special software that you can download, you can swap files for free with anyone else who uses that sharing software. The computer traffic goes directly from one home computer to another.
Getting free songs from the internet is the hottest draw. The pioneer in large-scale use was the infamous Napster, which lost some key court battles and... Read More
Wanna catch live performances by the thrash metal bands Queens of the Stone Age, Cradle of Filth, or Type O Negative? The “Hallowicked” 2007 tour of Insane Clown Posse? Just head for Milwaukee’s The Rave nightclub for a week of what they call their “Hell-o-ween” shows.
OK, OK. Some of this is just posturing, just the music biz trying to make some money off teen rebellion. Bland bores. Shock sells. If your grandparents were smoking weed back in the ‘60s,... Read More
Well, the Topps Meat Co. is no more.
You probably never heard of it, but the New Jersey-based meat packer claimed to have been the nation’s largest producer of frozen burger patties. What brought the company down was the USDA’s contention that recent shipments of patties contained the harmful, potentially fatal, E. coli bacteria. E. coli comes from cattle intestines, and if the animals are improperly slaughtered, it can get into the meat.
The company issued a recall for 21.7... Read More
It’s been a rough year for Warren Jeffs. After a lengthy trial, the leader of a fringe Mormon polygamist sect in southern Utah was recently convicted of assisting in the rape of a 14-year-old girl by compelling her marriage to her 19-year-old cousin. Arranged, multiple, and forced marriages of underage girls were not uncommon in the “Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”
The Mormon Church from its beginnings advocated polygamy—founder Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives,... Read More
When I was in college I subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine for a couple of years. I enjoyed the magazine’s reviews of rock music, blistering critiques of American culture, and the birth of “gonzo” journalism.
Rolling Stone recently noted the passing of Dr. D. James Kennedy as “the most influential evangelical you’ve never heard of.” Perhaps the general readership of RS sleeps in on Sunday morning, but millions of other Americans knew him well from his weekly TV show, “The... Read More
Need a quick word-picture for somebody or some group that’s out-of-touch, antique, slightly weird, and definitely not with it? You can’t do better than “Amish.”
You can already picture the scene somewhere in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, can’t you? Men walking behind a horse-drawn plow with suspenders, broad-brimmed hats, always with a beard but never a mustache. Women with long skirts, aprons, bonnets, and not a button in sight. Kids in straw hats who know about farm chores but who have... Read More
Ah, ‘tis wedding season. And ‘tis sweet to see all the bridesmaids showing off their tattoos on their bare shoulders (and elsewhere).
I guess every generation must be granted its rebellious idiosyncrasies. Mine favored long hair, bell bottoms, lava lamps, and paisley. Well, the lava lamps are still with us, but today’s mark of generational identity would have to be tattoos. In my youth, only sailors, bikers, and circus people had tattoos. Today one-third of people age 25-29 have ink.... Read More
It used to be that the word “dogfight” almost always made people think of fighter planes locked in aerial combat. Thanks to Michael Vick, the word is now back to its basic meaning—setting up two angry dogs for a fight to the death. Ironically, the pilot’s portion of a plane is called the “cockpit,” another word derived from the bloody gambling-related “sport” of arranging for two roosters to claw each other to death.
Mr. Vick is currently experiencing considerable condemnation,... Read More