Life Style & Travel

Fear Of Flying: The Emotional Trauma

UNITED STATES—A considerable number of people died horrific deaths on July 6, 2013.  Six from gunshot wounds in Chicago, 15 in a devastating Canadian train derailment, and dozens were said to have been killed following rioting in Egypt near Tahrir Square. But the topic dominating the airwaves was the Asiana airline crash landing at the San Francisco airport, which upon...

Celebrity Dieting: Hitchcock (Final Part)

HOLLYWOOD—Let’s have a summing up on Alfred Hitchcock’s considerable dieting experience and expertise, graded by Sparky, my diet defender. Barks signify approval, and howls, derision. Howls Hitchcock trapped by the conventional iron-maiden concept of diet as deprivation—requiring discipline, willpower and starvation—relied on scales and calorie counting. Big no-no. The diet he described to Tom Snyder in the 70s—a small steak...

Good Neighbors Make Good Fences

Good old fashioned suburbia will never bee the same. Bigger modern homes on smaller modern parcels leave little space for gardening and trees. What is not shaded by the taller homes is shaded by the taller fences, which are ‘needed’ for privacy since the homes are closer together. Building codes in most municipalities limit the height of fences, but...

Celebrity Dieting: Hitchcock (Part 2)

  HOLLYWOOD—In 1953, Hitchcock’s weight dropped an impressive forty pounds, to 219, “partly because he wanted to look better for the publicity photos with his new star,” writes Donald Spoto the "The Dark Side of Genius.: His new star was a cool, regal blond named Grace Kelly. During the filming of “Rear Window,” another Grace Kelly vehicle, in late 1953, Hitchcock...

Eco-Tourism

UNITED STATES—Eco-tourism by the sea, overseas is a new phenomenon, especially forItaly.  The government has designated an archipelago of islands called Il Parco Nazionale dell’Archipelago de La Maddelena, or La Maddalena, as a National Park. The main island, Isola Maddalena is accessible by traggetto (a ferry that transports people and cars) from Olbia in Sardinia.  No reservations are necessary.  Traggetti...

Some Plants Can Go To Pot

UNITED STATES—Chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, azaleas, callas, kalanchoes and miniature roses can not really be as happy as they seem to be while in full bloom at the florist counter. Then there are all the seasonal blooming plants like Easter lilies and poinsettias. Wrapped in undraining mylar, often with ribbons and bows, they are actually quite humiliated.All are forced to bloom...

Hope For A Park, Requiem For A Poolhouse

HOLLYWOOD—One of my favorite signs in Los Angeles is a funny attempt at visualizing the forbidden message contained in the words, No Gambling. It’s posted in a West Hollywood Park and makes no sense at all unless you know that Old Russian men play dominoes on picnic tables under the shade trees and that (reputedly) a lot of rubles...

Sunny Is Not Always Dry

UNITED STATES—In a region of so much nice sunny weather and minimal rain, sogginess should not often be a problem. Getting enough water to plants that want it is the more obvious concern. However, even here in California, many gardens have areas that are, for one reason or another, a bit soggier than they should be. Finding plants that...

Helicopter Parenting Children In College

UNITED STATES—The stores are overflowing with shelves of books providing advice for everything related to college preparation, including tips for excelling in entrance examinations, crafting a winning application, and scheduling campus tours.  But a void in these books exists when it comes to the needs of the parents.  Too few resources provide guidance on how parents can best cope...

Retaining Walls Make Level Ground

UNITED STATES—Gardening on level ground is simply easier than gardening on a slope. Soil does not erode so much. Water does not flow away. Seeds stay where they are sown. Retaining walls are often used to level out sloped areas, or to add variations of elevation to areas that are already level. They can be made of redwood, brick, concrete...
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