Day: October 1, 2017

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Exploring Winchester

By Bob Tagert Winchester, Virginia and the George Washington Hotel With the season changing to fall, we thought it a great time to take a drive to the mountains of the Blue Ridge and the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Our destination was Winchester, Virginia and the beautifully restored George Washington Hotel, a Wyndham Grand Hotel. The drive from Alexandria is also a beautiful journey this time year as you pass through small towns, rolling hills and Virginia wineries along Route 50, where travelers from the ports of Alexandria and Georgetown followed it to Winchester at the lower end of the Shenandoah Valley for trade. As with any new and growing area, the history of the Shenandoah has been steeped in conflict, turmoil and growth, from the Shawnee and Iroquois Six Nations, the arrival of European settlers, the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Today this history still lives in Winchester, and waits to be discovered. Winchester is the county seat of Frederick County. The rolling hills and rich farmland makes for absolutely beautiful country, particularly this time of year. If you plan to make the trip I would recommend spending at least one night and there is nowhere better located than the George Washington Hotel. Situated in the heart of downtown Winchester, it is close to many historical landmarks as well as Old Town Winchester’s two-block pedestrian mall. The first of its kind in Virginia. The pedestrian mall features many unique restaurants as well as a variety of shops, boutiques and specialty stores. For a fall adventure, most of the cafes and restaurants have outdoor seating along the open- air mall. One of our favorites was Lloyd’s Tropical Island Coffee and Café. With Lloyd “Everything be Irie, Mon.” This easy going Jamaican transplant is a blast….

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Cyberbullying By Ashley Schultz Now that school is in full swing; it is more likely that the chance that kids will either be the victim of cyber bullying or be the bully. This issue needs to be heavily addressed. Let us look at some statistics about cyberbullying and see how scary this epidemic actually is. • According to Reportlinker, 71% of young generations say they are concerned about cyberbullying. • A 2016 report from the Cyberbullying Research Center indicates the 33.8% of students between 12 and 17 were victims of cyberbullying in their lifetime. 11.5% of students between 12 and 17 indicated that they had engaged in cyberbullying in their lifetime. • Girls (40.6%) are much more likely to be victims of cyberbullying than boys (28.8%). Girls also dominated social media, while boys tend to be more on video game platforms. • A study by McAfee, found that 87% of teens have observed cyberbullying. • 25% of those who have been cyberbullied, have had an experience face-to-face confrontation with their bully. • 13% have had concern about having to go to school the next day after an attack. • 90% of social media-using teens who have witnessed online bullying have also witnessed others joining; 21% say they have joined in the harassment. • Only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying even though 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying. • Over One million children were harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook during the past year. What can you do as a parent to help prevent your child being bullied online? Keep your computer in a busy area of your house. Set up email and chat accounts with your kids, make sure you know their screen names and passwords. This will allow you…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

A Decade in Books

A Decade in Books Miriam R. Kramer This month is my tenth anniversary of writing this column. In 2007, I began penning reviews here while working part-time as an employee of Old Town’s Olsson’s Books & Records, which once reigned on South Union Street in the former warehouse where the restaurant Virtue Feed & Grain now holds court. I continued writing after it shut its doors, thriving with the Old Town Crier as it has grown and expanded while remaining a local cultural institution. I remain proud of it and what we offer to our community of long-time locals and people passing through. The surrounding D.C.–area literary landscape has changed significantly in the past decade. My beloved Olsson’s disappeared. Many of my former colleagues and I still miss it greatly for its unique literary and musical culture. Big box stores like Borders folded, leaving a Barnes & Noble here and there, although it also closed it doors in many local locations. The Books-a-Million chain has also disappeared from both Old Town and the District of Columbia. Our area has luckily retained other treasured independent institutions such as Kramerbooks & Afterwords, which is expanding its footprint by taking over neighboring space in Dupont Circle. In addition, the powerhouse Politics & Prose has expanded its scope under the ownership of Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, offering classes and its own printing press while continuing its unparalleled calendar of author readings and book signings. The biggest change in this past ten years has been the advent of the e-reader along with smartphones and tablets. The Amazon Kindle has dominated that market from its incipience in July 2007. My own reading habits have changed as a result. I read both hard copies and books on my Kindle, which offers some distinct advantages in allowing…

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Pets, Places, & Things

100 – Day Stay Cats

Bob is one big, bold boy in search of a new best buddy. Bob is partially blind, but he doesn’t let that slow him down! He gets around great and needs no special care. During a stay with a foster family, he used his litter box like a pro and took to the apartment in no time at all. Bob is the first kitty you’ll spot when you enter the cat room at the AWLA, and even if he doesn’t see you come in, this friendly boy will meow a welcome. Thanks to a generous donor, Bob’s adoptions fees have been waived. Mya is the independent lady of the AWLA: a fun, spunky and vocal feline favorite of staff and volunteers. Mya recently took a break from the shelter to spend some time with a foster family, who reported that she settled in well at their home and loved waking at dawn with her foster mom. If you’re an early riser seeking a morning coffee companion, consider this kitty. McMuffin was found as a stray outside a fast food restaurant and brought to the AWLA by an Old Town citizen. This senior gent recently enjoyed a stay with a foster family where he received love, attention and all the toys you can shake a feather stick at. He made friends with the family cats, but he is also happy to watch the world go by the window. McMuffin get a lot of attention for his unique look – a curled ear and freckled nose – and he’s hoping his endearing appearance will help him find his new family. Thanks to a generous donor, McMuffin’s adoptions fees have been waived.

Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

All Psychics Are Not Created Equal

By Peggie Arvidson All Psychics Are Not Created Equal Many people believe that all psychics or readers are pretty much interchangeable. They think that they should all be able to talk to your pets, connect with your dearly departed as well as give you the details about your future. Not to mention they believe that all can read hands, tarot and use other psychic tools interchangeably. Not so. Each has their own “specialty” and while some combine various skills and tools, others stick to their area of expertise. In case you’re looking for a psychic or other reader, here are some rules of the road to help you before you go to your session. 1. Psychics can’t read for someone who isn’t there. It’s not ethical to read for a person who is not present and who hasn’t given their express permission to be read. If you’re going to a psychic to find out what someone else’s motivations are, just check that idea now. Instead, focus on your motivations and y our role in whatever situation you find yourself in and ask about that. 2. If you want someone to use a specific tool for your reading, ask before booking if the person uses that tool! If you want someone to use Tarot, say so, just don’t presume that they use cards for your reading. It will save you and them time and energy if you know ahead of time what you’re getting! 3. Be specific. When you go to a reader and don’t tell him what you want to cover during your session you’re likely to walk out feeling frustrated. Not because the reader doesn’t give you useful information but because YOU come in full of energy and messages. While most readers are going to listen to their guidance…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Halloween Highlights Animal Superstitions!

Halloween Highlights Animal Superstitions! By Cindy McGovern Other than pumpkins, one of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween is the black cat with arched back and luminescent eyes. How did this arise, and what other superstitions are associated with our animal brethren? Black Cats: A Familiar Superstition In Greek mythology, a woman named Galenthia, or Galen, was turned into a cat and became a priestess at the temple of Hecate. During the 12th and 13th centuries, witches in Europe were often found with their “familiars,” usually black cats, and were said to turn themselves into cats. The reputation of black cats in the United States seems to have started with the Pilgrims, who were Puritans and distrusted anything associated with witches and sorcery, including black cats. During the witch-burning era of the 17th century, witches’ cats were put into baskets and burned alongside their humans. Some cultures, though, believe black cats bring good luck. This is traced to the Egyptian goddess Bast (or Bastet), the cat goddess. Egyptians believed they could gain favor from Bastet by keeping black cats. Sailors believed having a black cat aboard ship brought good luck, and the wives of sailors used to keep black cats to ensure their husbands’ safe return. In Britain today, a bride and groom who encounter a black cat on their wedding day are ensured a happy marriage. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has conducted studies to determine if black cats are less likely to be adopted than other cats because of superstitions. While the research does show significant number of black cats in shelters, it also reports a high number of black cat adoptions, leading some researchers to conclude that there may just be a lot of black cats. Some rescues, such as King Street…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

Pets of the Month Bette We’re not sure about Bette Davis eyes, but our beautiful Bette could certainly inspire a few songs! This sweet-natured gal is a good listener – how could she not be with such amazing ears? – and she’s happy to plant a few snuffly kisses on those she loves. If you’re seeking your lyrical muse, this sweetie is your lady love! **Thanks to a generous donor, my adoption fees have been paid!** Pohaku Meet our Pohaku! His foster reports that this senior kitty may not be interested in playing, but he doesn’t act like an old man. He is a calm presence in the household and a great buddy when you are working from home. He’d be happy to spend an afternoon watching the world outside his window and then join you on the couch when you come home after a long day. He’s so relaxed, he doesn’t even need a full “meow” – he’s happy enough to just say “mehhhhhh.” If you are looking for a mellow man to relax with, Pohaku is your perfect match! Little Buddy the Guinea Pig Little Buddy is looking for a new best friend and he hopes it will be you! This adorable guy can be a little shy initially, but warms up nicely with some patience and a few extra treats. If you are looking for a sidekick with an irresistible mug, Little Buddy is for you!

History, History Column

George Washington Masonic National Memorial

by Sarah Becker ©2017 George Washington Masonic National Memorial What do George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette; Benjamin Franklin and Amadeus Mozart; W.E.B. Du Bois, Winston Churchill and Harry S. Truman have in common? All are Freemasons. Washington became a Freemason in 1752 at age 20 in Fredericksburg; then Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 in 1788. “Brother Washington was, in Masonic terms, a ‘living stone” who became the cornerstone of American civilization.” “Being persuaded that a just application of principles, on which the Masonic fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving brother,” President Washington told Rhode Island’s King David’s Lodge in 1790. Stone masons, during the Middle-Ages and after, were among the most ethically correct of the local tradesmen. Freemasonry is the world’s oldest fraternal order, a brotherhood that combines talent, intellect and virtue. By 1733 the colonies had established at least three Masonic lodges: in Boston, Savannah, and Philadelphia. The order’s ceremonies, as novelist Dan Brown has noted, are shrouded in secrecy. Freemasonry is not a religion; it is a non-denominational order that borrows from religion. It is coincident with the Age of Enlightenment, a fraternity that emphasizes “personal study; the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual.” Freemasons worship as they choose. “It has been suggested that [George Washington] learned as a Mason to believe in a ruling Providence rather than an orthodox Christian deity,” biographer John R. Alden wrote. Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 meets regularly in George Washington Masonic National Memorial. A National Historic Landmark, the Memorial is located at King and Callahan Streets, atop a high hill. Charles Callahan chose the Alexandria site in 1908;…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Fall Into Virginia Wine Month

By Nancy Bauer Fall into Virginia Wine Month This easy day-trip is packed with Blue Ridge wine and dine originals October: the month we savor most. Weekends are reserved for long, meandering rides along Skyline Drive. We leaf peep and pumpkin pick. We inhale deeply, sip instead of gulp. We downshift. Meanwhile, winemakers run around like their hair’s on fire. It’s crush time in the Valley. Try this day trip out to the Blue Ridge, where you’ll discover wine country’s Ponderosa, sip some local spirits, eat like a king in Front Royal, and then dip into the Valley for some of the up-and-coming Shenandoah region’s most polished wines. Start here: Desert Rose Winery Your cowboy boots will fit right in at this Western-themed winery, where Cabs and Chards are poured around a horseshoe bar. Listen to the owner’s travel tales, then kick back on the shady front porch. Tasting: $5-$10. Desert Rose Winery, 13726 Hume Rd., Hume; (540) 635-3200, Next Stop: Rappahannock Cellars Sample a line-up of classic European varietals, rounded out with a rich, Oloroso Sherry-style wine that’s aged in the sun, called Solera. Then head to the new, on-site distillery, which crafts grape-based vodka and gin, along with brandy. Wine Tasting: $10. Rappahannock Cellars, 14437 Hume Rd, Huntly; (540) 635-9398, Lunch Stop: Blue Wing Frog Lunch is in downtown Front Royal, where you’ll order at the counter in this everything-from-scratch kitchen. The menu changes daily, depending on what’s fresh, and even the ketchup and mustard are made in house. Try the Shrimp Po’boy – choose either ¼ or ½ pound of shrimp – or a Grown Up Peanut Butter sandwich, which comes topped with nuts, seeds, fruit and honey vanilla yogurt for dipping. Blue Wing Frog, 219 Chester Street, Front Royal; 540-622-6175; Last Stop: Glen…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Stripping with either hand

By Steve Chaconas Stripping with either hand What does a bass fishing guide do on his summer vacation? Takes a trip to Lynchburg, Virginia for an annual fly-fishing challenge. For the past 4 years Orvis fly rods are dusted off and loaded up for the three-hour drive. For the past 3 years, my buddy Alan Friedlander and I fished the Upper James River. This year, the Staunton River, connecting Smith Mountain Lake with Kerr Lake, was our destination for two days of 10-mile floats. Our guide Capt. Matt Miles launched his drift boat and put us in position to make casts toward rocky-bottomed water only about 2 feet deep. On the right side of the river, Capt. Matt asked that I make backhand casts to avoid hooking him, as I was a left-handed caster. Oh no! Having a touch of elbow tendinitis, this wasn’t going to happen. On the other hand, most left-handers are quite good at going right. Not many concessions were made for leftys growing up. Right handed scissors, spiral notebook coils dug into hands, and ink pen smudges were dragged across the page. Forget about finding a catcher’s mitt for a southpaw. If there was a way to cast with the opposite hand, it was time to be a switch caster. On this adventure, two significant equipment changes were made. Conventional bass fishing allows matching line with different rods for specific lures and techniques. With fly-fishing the rod, for the most part, stays the same while line and leader change determined by the size and type of bait being cast. While still relying on GAMMA Frog Hair for leader, the fly line itself was changed. During last year’s outing, Capt. Matt noted my reel was spooled with trout line, designed for lighter flies. Fly-fishing is not only…

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