Month: January 2017

Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Gallery Beat

By F. Lennox Campello   Bottom Line Up Front: A Congressman selects a painting from his district to hang in the U.S. Capitol building, and the painting depicts cops as animals. The painting, done by a student artist named David Pulphus, shows the protests and riots in Ferguson, Mo. after a police officer shot Michael Brown. It also shows a muscular Brown (I think, because of the graduation cap) as a Christ on the cross, and a feral slim black wolf (in Timberland boots?) encountering the obese police. As a work of art, the painting, done in a naïve style, leaves a lot to be desired, as a narrative work, it is powerful enough that it started a mini art war in Congress! The painting was chosen by or on behalf of Congressman Lacy Clay (D – Missouri), and was part of the well-known Congressional Art Competition. The Pulphus painting sometimes hangs, then gets removed, then gets re-hung, and then was finally kicked out, in a tunnel between the Capitol building and the Longworth House Office Building. Clay represents Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police after fighting with a cop who had stopped him. The real life cops (who are depicted as fat animals in the painting, one seems to be a horse, and one seems to be some kind of a wild pig, and curiously, all seem to be black or brown) were justifiably pissed off by the depiction, and complained vociferously about the piece, and where it was hanging. Andy Maybo, president of The Fraternal Order of Police District of Columbia Lodge #1 said, “This piece of art, which depicts officers as pigs, is both offensive and disgusting. During a time in our society when tensions are so high that someone can be…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

Do You Ever Feel Like You Can’t be Your True Self?

By Peggie Arvidson Do You Ever Feel Like You Can’t be Your True Self? I read hands and have been a professional palmist for more than 13 years. I also talk to animals, listen to messages from Nature, meditate and have a deeply personal practice with A Course in Miracles. These are not necessarily things that come up in mainstream conversation. While I’m a proponent of “being me” and encourage others to find their inner bliss and live it out loud, I also have a very stubborn Saturnian streak – that is about practicality, nuts and bolts and to an extent, fitting in which is at a polar opposition to my unbelievable need to live my eccentricities out loud. It’s hard to tell people that I read hands and never mind the struggle I have about how much is too much to share about the rest of my beliefs. My beliefs are all hard won, lots of soul searching, researching and practical testing have gone into my stances on everything from eating meat to working for the man to reincarnation. All of these are intrinsic to who I am and how I see myself, but they aren’t always easy to share. I’d rather blather on about some funny story or a tidbit of what happened on my last hike in the Canyon than tell you some of these deep-seated beliefs of mine. It seems I don’t care if you think I’m too talkative or even too bossy, but I do care what you think about my deepest beliefs. I guess I’m just afraid I won’t fit in. In that I’m not so different from everyone else in the world – we all just want to be loved and we are all desperately afraid that if someone knows the “real” person…

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Featured Post

February Pets of the Month

February 2017 Issue     Maisy (A069780): Meet the magnificent Maisy! This pretty little hound is bound to brighten your day in any kind of weather! If you’re looking for a friend to help you get through the winter, Maisy just might be the girl you are looking for! She does well with other dogs, but prefers a feline-free household. If you’d like to get to know more about this sweet girl or even maybe meet her for a little while, please stop by the shelter today!       Oberon (A067978): Oh, my! Oberon is STILL waiting to be adopted?! This dashing lad came to the AWLA as a stray last June and he’s been waiting patiently for his “purrrfect” family to come along. Because he came to us as a stray kitty, we don’t know anything about his life before the shelter. We do know that he is still learning manners and proper cat-human etiquette- he needs a patient owner who will show him the ropes. In addition to his extraordinary good looks and sultry gaze, Oberon is playful and affectionate. If you’re cat-savvy and searching for a new furball friend, come meet Oberon today!   Lilith (A069588): Little Lilith is at the AWLA just waiting for a friend to come and bring her a carrot- and maybe even give her a forever home too! Lilith came to us from a severe hoarding situation, so is still a little shy around people due to her lack of socialization in her previous environment. With a little TLC though, we know this sweet girl has the potential to be quite the companion! If you’ve got a little bit of patience and maybe want to add a new member to the family, Lilith would be ever so happy if you chose…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Goin’ for the Goal

Lori Welch Brown Goin’ for the Goal   Hi, my name is Lori and I’m an addict. I’m addicted to achieving, accomplishing and producing. I’m a “goalaholic”. My days are besieged by a relentless desire to do do do! Who wants to just ‘be’ when there’s all this stuff to be done and tasks to accomplish. I came out of the womb multi-tasking. It’s a symptom of controlfreakitis. “Hey, Mom. Great to meet you. Is the nursery ready? Got the bassinet in place? How about milk? Are you stocked up? What’s my education plan? Any goals for saving for the future?” What can I say? I’m a product of the self-improvement generation. Personally, I blame Oprah, as well as the creators of Photoshop and Pinterest. I yearn to live my best life while looking like a Kardashian and cooking like the Barefoot Contessa while posting about it so everyone can share in my domestic bliss and covet my lean thighs.   Compulsive goal setting is my dirty little secret. I can spend days locked away, isolated from the world plotting out my strategy for making myself a better person and, like Oprah, creating my best life with the help of some Sharpies, my favorite planner and some artfully inspired notebooks. If I’m really in the zone, there may be magazines, foam board and glue sticks involved. Voila—vision board! For a seasoned “goalaholic” like myself, that’s about as good or better than a week at the beach. Of course, it’s not all azure crayolas and the smell of Elmer’s wafting across my desk. When you’re constantly seeking to achieve, there are bound to be upsets. Mostly, it’s due to poor planning and/or dried up glue sticks which can really throw a wrench into a fun evening.   Like a lot of…

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Events, Pets, Places, & Things

King Street Cats Adoption Calendar for February 2017

King Street Cats Adoption Calendar for February 2017   For details please see our Website: Or contact us via email at:   King Street Cats 25 Dove Street Alexandria Every Saturday and Sunday from 1.30pm-4.30pm   Pro Feed Bradlee Shopping Center, 3690 King St. Alexandria Every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-4pm   Petco Unleashed 1101 S Joyce St Arlington Saturday, February 4 and Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19 from 1pm-4pm   The Dog Park 705 King Street Alexandria Saturday, February 11 from 1pm-4pm   Are you or someone you know free during weekday mornings? King Street Cats is looking for weekday morning caregivers and vet taxis to transport our cats to the vet. Please email: for details.   King Street Cats is looking for foster homes! You provide the spare room and TLC and we can provide food, litter and all vetting. Please email: for details.

Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Let’s get back to science!

By Doug Fabbioli   Let’s get back to science!   The great thing about science is that, to the best of our abilities, humans are able to research, replicate, analyze, study and conclude with relative accuracy, what happens to matter and why. Good scientists need to be able to defend their conclusions but also be transparent on how these conclusions came about. They also need to be open to the procedural critique that may help the scientist become more accurate in his or her conclusions. This almost sounds like a wine judging, except there are no points for artistic style. Remember that most winemakers are both scientists and artists.   As winemakers here in Virginia, we knew we wanted a bit more scientific research done in our industry to help us make better decisions in the vineyard or in the cellar. These decisions are critical to the quality of our wine as well as the cost to produce it. Virginia Tech has done a lot of work in this area over the years. Many wineries were doing their own experiments as well but often those trials and their findings may not leave the winery. The winemakers of the Monticello Wine Trail created a research exchange where the winery experiments were presented to other winemakers for their analysis, feedback and education. There is a coordinator who checks the protocol of each experiment for sound scientific practices as well as making sure each winery is doing different trials.   This year the Virginia Wine Board has approved and funded the Winemakers Research Exchange, which is the expanded version of the project done in Monticello. This effort brings together experiments done at wineries across the state of Virginia. The results will be documented and shared with other wineries and wine regions as requested….

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Romance and Sweat Mark the Season

by Jeff McCord February is the high season on the Virgin Island of St. John. Our beaches are full and the usually quiet island bustles with thousands of visitors and more special events and activities than islanders can take advantage of. Two February occasions embody St. John’s happy, healthful and busy high season: The romance of Valentine’s Day and the island’s growth as a wedding destination; the 8 Tough Miles race that begins and ends at sea level but reaches an elevation of 999 feet and attracts hundreds of marathoners each year. Virgin Island wedding festivities have long been simple and joyous. A couple of goats, a few demijohns of rum and cakes would be required for a wedding feast typically attended by 20 to 100 people. A traditional wedding cake is a Black Cake made of flour, brown sugar, butter and available fruits. The dried fruits are soaked in rum for two or more weeks and the cake is served with a hard rum sauce. Typical main courses could be curried goat or spicy chicken jerky served with fried plantains and other side dishes. Long-time British Virgin Island resident Andria Flax (in her memoir “The Way We Were”) recalled that people at the wedding feast who went back for seconds or thirds were called “raven” (short for ravenous). And, of course, “invited guests are treated best.” Cane rum and Mordecai wine (made from red and black berries and spices) “flowed freely,” she recalled. Romance continues to be “a perfect match” with the Virgin Islands says Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ (USVI) Commissioner of Tourism. “Greater accessibility to our islands, coupled with no need for a passport for U.S. citizens, makes this a key market for the Territory,” she says. Among the leading all inclusive VI resorts hosting weddings…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Alexandria February Calendar

Thousands will join in the revelry for the 285th anniversary of George Washington’s birth in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. The city celebrates the General’s birthday throughout the month of February with 16 festive events. 2017 Schedule of Events: PARADE George Washington Birthday Parade–February 20, 2017, 1-3 p.m. The nation’s largest George Washington Birthday parade marches a one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria. With nearly 3,500 participants, this community parade honors one of the Alexandria’s favorite sons. Grand Marshal: Retired Police Chief Earl Cook. Special guest: Olympic silver medal winner, boxer Shakur Stevenson. For information about participating units, parking, maps, route and status, go to or call 703-829-6640. In case of weather cancellation, the parade will be held on June 3, 2017. FREE MORE EVENTS Cherry Challenge–January 29-February 12, 2017 In honor of George Washington’s birthday, participating Alexandria restaurants will create unique, cherry-centric dishes in celebration of one of the most cherished legends surrounding our first president. This year features dishes from dozens of restaurants from every area of Alexandria—Old Town, Del Ray, the West End, and along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Patrons rate their favorite dishes, and winners are given special recognition at the George Washington Birthday Parade. A “Frequent Cherry Diner Award” will go to the customer who buys and rates the greatest number of Cherry Challenge entries. 18th Century Dance Classes–February 2nd, 9th and 16th 2017, 7:30-9:30 p.m. In preparation for George Washington’s Birthnight Ball on February 18, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Tickets: $12 per class or $30 for series. Winter Warmer Tea at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum–February 5, 2017, 3 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. seatings Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the tavern this winter! Choose from a variety of 18th-century desserts while you sip John…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Challenges of Fixed-income Investing

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce   Challenges of Fixed-income Investing   Your parents and grandparents may have known better about lots of things when you were younger. But you probably shouldn’t be following their example when it comes to managing your money in retirement.   “Most retirement income for [our] parents’ and grandparents’ generation came from Social Security and a defined-benefit pension plan,” says Drew Denning, Senior Vice President and Retirement Strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.   No longer. Defined-benefit pensions, which pay a fixed amount, are fading into history. Social Security is seeing minimal, if any, yearly increases. And interest rates have been at historic lows for years.   Prioritization as a beginning “Your expected returns in fixed income [investments] are lower than they have been in the past,” says Brian Rehling, Co-Head of Global Fixed Income Strategy and Managing Director at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. Therefore retirees, and those preparing to retire, may need to rethink their investment strategies.   Every investor is different, Rehling and Denning say, so every strategy will be different. Of the most important considerations — risk tolerance, the income needed in retirement, total assets, and long-term financial goals — the last one could be especially critical. Some retirees focus on maintaining a lifestyle. Others may want to leave a significant inheritance, make charitable contributions, or help children or grandchildren with college. Depending on your goals, it may be prudent to keep a slightly more aggressive strategy for a longer period of time to try to continue building wealth.   “I think investors need to have a diversified portfolio of equities, bonds, and cash, and the percentages are going to vary,” Denning says. “The No. 1 variable in how they’re going to invest is their risk tolerance.”   Risk and return usually are…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Urban Garden

By Jimmy Deaton   One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to make the garden even more pollinator friendly and for good reason. Just recently, the bumble bee was listed as an endangered species, becoming the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain federal protection. This breaks my heart because I have found bumble bees to be very social insects. Every year, Angie and I always have one that hangs out around the deck, and whenever we are outside he/she just loves to hover around us, probably chatting up a storm although we can’t tell. I’m sure it’s not the same one year after year, but it’s nice to see that they have the tendency to being friendly. So what do we do to protect them? And not just the bumble bee, but other bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects? The ones that pollinate the plants that provide us with food and hunt and destroy the bad insects that wreck unwanted havoc in the garden. Well….follow these simple steps to create a pollinator-friendly landscape around your home and/or workplace:   Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall. Help pollinators find and use them by planting in clumps, rather than single plants. Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. Do not forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats. Bats?!! Yes bats. They are great at keeping the mosquito population numbers down and also love flies in their diet as well. Remember that annual flowers usually bloom all summer long while a good part of perennials bloom for a short period of time. Something to take into consideration when planning on what to plant and where. Avoid modern…

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