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Year of the Pig: If only politicians were more like them

Your average pig tries to live a pretty clean life, and would likely avoid the Beltway if at all possible; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Your average pig tries to live a pretty clean life, and would likely avoid the Beltway if at all possible; photo by Jason Velázquez.

My image of our leaders in Washington is of a herd of pigs wallowing in the muck. But that’s a disservice to pigs. I love pigs, and I really wish politicians were more like them.

I raised pigs for several years, beginning with Milda, a Yorkshire I had every intention of raising to 150 pounds and putting in the freezer. Like a pink puppy, Milda was soon following me around and visiting the other animals. She was a “Babe.” I decided, “Hey, I like pigs. I want more!” When Milda reached maturity, I trucked her off to a friend with a boar. The union resulted in a litter of fourteen. Of these, I kept five females, rounding out the herd to a half dozen. An extension that included a maternity wing was added to the barn, three roomy straw-filled pens for my girls. And Milda became the matriarch of hogdom.

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The (Very) Bearable Lightness of Being Over the Hill

Dating app, Bumper, pixelmanced by Jason Velázquez.
Theoretical dating app, Bumper, pixelmanced by Jason Velázquez.

In early January, French author and filmmaker Yann Moix took a bath into a cauldron of hot water by declaring in an interview with the French edition of Marie Claire that women over age 50 are “too, too old” to love, and thus are “invisible” to him. He based his argument on the highly scientific theory that a 25-year-old woman’s body is “extraordinary,” whereas a 50-year-old woman’s body is “not extraordinary at all.”

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The Green New Deal

Caring about our future and doing something about it are two different things. While both are noble enough pursuits, only one of them will yield fruit.  There has been a lot of talk in the news these days about something called the Green New Deal, and it encompasses both caring about our future and taking action to do something about it. The benefits, both economically and socially, could be countless, the undertaking enormous, and it will require that we inform ourselves, as citizens, the best we can in order for it to succeed.

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Turning Cabin Fever into Cabin Solace

Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art.
Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art; photo by Sheila Velazquez

A friend made the comment that “February is good for nothing.” I’ve never felt that way. I enjoy the peace and calm of the month to which “cabin fever” is so often attributed. Instead, I think of it as the month for cabin solace, the calm between frantic end-of-the-year activity and the longer days leading to spring. 

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To lead in word and deed

 Before we hear the president address our great nation tonight with his State of the Union speech, let’s review what it is that makes someone a good leader.

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A clear and present (actual) national emergency

I have no problem with the president declaring a national emergency, under The National Emergencies Act of 1976, when it is absolutely necessary to do so. We have ignored one particular dire threat to our country’s safety, security, and the well-being of our future for far too long.

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Girls are officially in Boy Scouts. Now what?

By Creighton Holub, guest columnist
cypressnewsreview.com

If you’ve lived under a rock for the past year or so, this might be breaking news to you, but starting today — Feb. 1, 2019 — the Boy Scouts of America have opened the final door to girls participating in the organization’s keystone program: The Boy Scouts.

With one minor change: The program for 11-to-17 year olds that is most famously known for the Eagle Scout Award also changed it’s name to “Scouts BSA” today.

Screeeeeeech!

Did you hear the sound of tires screeching on pavement? Just a few sentences in and I feel the need to explain this further.

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Tea and Sympathy

Bulk spices and teas make luxury highly affordable, particularly when you buy with friends; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Bulk spices and teas make luxury highly affordable, particularly when you buy with friends; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The sympathy is for those of us, including me, who can’t seem to shake whatever bug it is that has invaded our chests, heads and thinking. The tea is part of that sympathy, because a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon, and perhaps a warm muffin, is the next best thing to mom holding you on her lap, wrapped in a blanket, rocking back and forth in time to the lullaby she is humming.

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Welcome to Our World

Collage, "Paper Workers," by Sheila Velazquez.
Collage, "Paper Workers," by Sheila Velazquez.

Furloughed federal workers who are finding life tough because of the partial government shutdown are sacrificing and taking extreme measures to make ends meet and pay their bills. They are visiting pawn shops, asking for loan extensions, applying for SNAP (food stamps), using food pantries and visiting soup kitchens. They are taking any part-time temporary work they can find at whatever pay rate. They go to bed each night wondering how they will get through the next day, week, month. Sort of like a huge chunk of U.S. workers.

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Which Minorities Should YOU Be Persecuting In 2019?

Don't feel you have to limit your targets of discrimination just to the minorities listed — get creative! Depending on your location, many other outgroups may be available to harass or persecute!
Don't feel you have to limit your targets of discrimination just to the minorities listed — get creative! Depending on your location, many other outgroups may be available to harass or persecute!

Read Our Handy Guide To Find Out!

Satire by Corporate Christ, GUEST COLUMNIST

Are Lesbians moving into your community? Does the thought of Chinese children playing with your children frighten you? There are so many people to hate nowadays it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Read our handy article to make your own decision and you too can begin to make sense of your petty prejudices.

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For want of a nail…
Opportunity in America’s infrastructure

Massachusetts ranked 8th in a recent survey of the worst infrastructure in the U.S. by 247 Wall Street; photo, Interstate 495 over Merrimack River, Haverhill, courtesy Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Massachusetts ranked 8th in a recent survey of the worst infrastructure in the U.S. by 24/7 Wall Street; photo, Interstate 495 over Merrimack River; courtesy Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

How solid is a home that is sitting on a crumbling foundation? What other parts of this home are being stressed by having a weak infrastructure? Well, America IS our home and when we think about creating American jobs, we are literally standing on the solution. Keep Reading

Dem Bones

Since we stopped hunting and gathering and turned to markets for our food and ingredients, cost-conscious cooks have depended on affordable basics to provide hearty, healthy meals for their families. Many of these items are now being appropriated and glorified by “foodies” who have “discovered” them. The gentrification of traditional foods has enhanced the plates of the few at the cost of the many.

Nearly all ethnicities have roasted, then simmered, soup bones for a stock. Used to be that you could ask a butcher for some, and he would give you a big bag, cut into perfect lengths, for free. Traditional ingredients have enabled the cook to serve a wholesome and tasty meal of soup for less than $1 per person, including the chunks of warm bread for sopping it up. Think of all the cultures that rely on soup for satisfying nutrition. With pasta, with vegetables, with grains and curries, with garnishes like parsley or green onions.

Plain bones (no attached meat) are priced at about $2 a pound in the supermarket. And if you want someone else to do the simmering, a quart box of bone broth is about $5. Shanks and oxtails are a step up from bones, with more meat and flavor, but they have become unaffordable for the cook with a large family to feed. Another of my favorite bones, or collection of bones, is one of the dishes that has not been discovered—yet. Pig’s feet are part of the German heritage on one side of my family. I think it may take some doing before they are appropriated by anyone else. Keep Reading

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