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Sep 19th
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Area Opinions

Columns - Opinion

Remembering to Forget

Remembering to Forget

For the past year I’ve watched my grandmother succumb to dementia.  In truth she has full-blown Alzheimer's disease, but there’s no doubt in my mind she’d prefer the term dementia if she indeed knew what was eating her brain from the inside. She’s proper, after all, hailing from a generation that says “intestinal fortitude” instead of “guts.” Pushing well into 90 years on this good earth, my grandmother is ox-like from the neck down. Her brain, however, has lost all of its capacity to remember what happened five seconds ago.

Though it sounds cruel, I’m trying my best to forget how she is now, trying to forget how last Christmas, she asked me, “is your mummy still alive?” while my mother and I sat on either side of her. Thus, I’ve found I prefer to pull up the more pearly memories.

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Columns - Opinion

Why Giving Back Helps Keep You Healthy

Why Giving Back Helps Keep You Healthy

Most people are satisfied with their contributions to their community, but there may be a bigger reason those that volunteer do so with such fervor. Studies indicate people that volunteer in their communities experience longer lives, better relationships with their families and a stronger sense of social connection. Veritable nutrition ingestion for the soul.

The human soul (to quote C.S. Lewis “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body”) cannot be disputed; it’s only what happens in death that becomes discussion. Nonetheless, people require balance between body and soul in order to sustain and live happy lives. The human soul craves connections with other souls. Interacting and supporting another human is nourishment for the soul.

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Columns - Opinion

Could Boomers Still be the ‘Greatest Generation?’

Could Boomers Still be the ‘Greatest Generation?’

As the 1960s ended and the ’70s began, the baby boomers stood tall and arrogantly proclaimed that the previous generation had made a mess of things, and this generational bulge of humanity was going to set things right.

Now it’s 40 years later and what do we boomers have to say for ourselves? Look at the Wall Street bankers who almost brought down the entire world economy. Look at a broken political leadership in Washington (and in Sacramento). Look at Santa Cruz County with 12 percent unemployment, gridlocked traffic and not enough water.

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Columns - Opinion

It's About Time

It's About Time

The idea of time-travel has been beloved by sci-fi writers and readers for centuries. In last summer's retooled Star Trek movie, Mr. Spock literally meets himself coming and going on the continuum of time.

Time is one of the most potent of human concepts. Think of all the axioms we've devised to groom and shape the unruly thing into something we can grasp: it flies, it crawls, it marches on. It heals all wounds but waits for no man. It's on our side, it's on our hands, it's of the essence, but where does it go? But all the language we assign to time amounts to the same conclusion: it's progress is inexorable. And inevitable. It's not like we can hop off at any stop for a breathing spell, then catch the next available car. Wherever it may be headed, we ride this train to the end of the line.

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Columns - Opinion

Why Special Interests Trump the Public Good

Why Special Interests Trump the Public Good

It recently became clear to me that the wrong people are in charge of health-care reform. Who you need are people who aren’t worried about re-election and who don’t give a whit about special interests.

Don’t worry: this isn’t one of those angry-man screeds that are popping up around the country. It’s too easy to look around, see what isn’t working and then do a fist pump thing where you yell: “Throw the bums out.”

Because that hasn’t worked either. Take a look at California, where term limits have helped make an ungovernable state even worse.

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Columns - Opinion

The Succulent Taste of Slow Reading

The Succulent Taste of Slow Reading

Have you ever read something that made so much sense that you slap your hand immediately and directly to your forehead?

“Why didn’t I think of that?”

Such was my reaction to a column by a statistics expert no less, one Trevor Butterworth, who wrote a column last week in Forbes Magazine calling on the news media to adopt a kind of “slow food” philosophy as espoused by the likes of Alice Waters and her restaurant “Chez Panisse.”

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Columns - Opinion

An Irrational Decision to Buy Local

An Irrational Decision to Buy Local

We’re well into the Christmas shopping season (note to self: is it proper to refer to Christmas?) and it’s a key time for local merchants (answer to self: it is Christmas, dammit, so that’s what we should call it).

Every year since I’ve been in Santa Cruz, there’s been some self-imposed pressure to buy gifts in Santa Cruz – even if there might be slightly better prices or more selection elsewhere.

For years, there was a practical rationale for me – as an editor at the local daily, and I of course was interested in supporting our advertisers. It was a lot easier to interview someone for a story if they knew that I was a supporting member of the community. Plus, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

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Columns - Opinion

12 Memories of Christmas

12 Memories of Christmas

It was a damp, frigid, twilit afternoon in Wilmette, Illinois, where we were spending Thanksgiving with Art Boy's 91-year-old mom, Helen. Art Boy and I were out walking with his brother, David, when we ducked into the Wilmette Historical Society Museum to dodge a passing rainshower. The curator was about to close up for the evening, but he was thrilled to meet members of a family who'd lived in town for generations, fishing hopefully for any stray family artifacts that might be lying around.

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Columns - Opinion

Digging Deep into the Old Pockets

Digging Deep into the Old Pockets

Crooner Andy Williams used to preach to us all on television that December “is the most wonderful time of the year,” so here we are. Does it feel wonderful?

To me, it’s mostly just confusing. Because December is also the time of the year that most of us are asked to dig … and dig … and dig deeper into our wallets to share with those who need help.

And that’s what’s confusing. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to figure out what charities are worth giving to. The bigger problem, at least for me, is to decide which need is worth filling—hunger, homelessness, despondency. Then there are those less dramatic needs—the arts, culture, education.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.