Laotian Time Bombs: A war’s explosive environmental legacy (Sierra Magazine, Feb. 2011)

Our risk was nothing compared to the average Laotian farmer, wandering children, firewood gathering women, who know their next footstep can mean death, or for some worse, maiming, in a poor country where everyone must contribute.

Some facts: 270 million of these bombies were dropped on a country the size of Utah. Of the more than 50,000 people killed or maimed by the bombings, 20,000 have occurred after the end of the war. An average of one person a day is killed or maimed in Laos now, nearly 40 years later.

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Making a New Year’s Resolution? Don’t!

It’s good to have traditions for the New Year, but not all traditions are positive. One I have done without for many years is to make a New Year’s resolution. Here’s why:

You will break it. Sad to say, nearly all New Year’s resolutions are broken, probably within a few weeks to a couple of months of their making. Oh, the motivation is pure. Say, you really, really resolve to lose that ten pounds you gained over the holidays, not to mention the three to five pounds that crept up on you over the year, like they have each year since you passed twenty-five. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it happens to the purest among us. It’s just the natural aging process, our wealthy society, our holiday binging philosophy, and just plain human nature.

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Phillip Ashley: R324, Nazareth, Ky 40048 Important Person

In late 1995 we were riding our tandem, Zippy across remote Rio Grande, West Texas. We were 30 miles from any town, enjoying the warmth and sun, racing winter in New Mexico. A seventies era car passed us slowly, dented and rusted, and pulled over on the opposite shoulder a hundred yards ahead. Being alone, on our bicycle for about 11,000 since leaving our home in Washington State six months before, we naturally looked carefully at unusual cars and unusual behavior. As we neared the car, a man in his late 60’s emerged from the car and waved us down. He looked harmless, even cute, so we stopped and smiled as he approached with his antique camera, and took this picture.

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From Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address: Listen to Our Founding Father

This is a very old speech. A speech by one of our founding fathers. We hear a lot about these men in recent years. Few of the people evoke their greatness have ever read their writings, know their opinions. The short excerpt from Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural address is just a sample. Follow the link to read the entire address, and please, before you invoke these brave, intelligent men, read their words, don’t use them to divide us.

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