Day: November 1, 2022

Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Just In Time for the Holidays – Chocolate, The Aztec Elixir

By Charles Oppman This may be the best―if not the most delicious―medical news since the Aztecs gave the world chocolate in the mid-16th century. (Well, actually the Spanish Conquistadors slaughtered the Aztecs and took their chocolate back to Europe.) Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate and cocoa has beneficial effects on the human cardiovascular system. The chemical behind this miracle are polyphenols, which are a type of plant-based antioxidants found in a variety of other foods such as blueberries, beans, cherries, red wine and grains. Can it be true that a food so delicious is good for us to boot? One of the more definitive studies was reported in the July, 2007 edition in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) where it was reported that dark chocolate actually reduced blood pressure among participants who suffered from stage 1 hypertension, the least severe level. One group was given polyphenol-rich dark chocolate and the other polyphenol-free white chocolate every day for 18 weeks. The group that ate dark chocolate group showed a significant reduction in blood pressure. Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in flavanols, plant-based antioxidants that may improve blood flow and keep vessels healthy. The study participants might have derived some of the same health benefits by munching on broccoli or apples, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. Consuming dark chocolate and cocoa offer other health benefits. Chocolate’s low glycemic index is not the only good news for people who must vigilantly watch their blood sugar. The antioxidants in dark chocolate and cocoa may aid the impaired circulation and unhealthy blood vessels that often precede the development of diabetes while also possibly improving cells’ sensitivity to insulin and glucose. Dark chocolate and cocoa contain essential minerals such as copper, magnesium, potassium and iron while…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes

By Bob Tagert As I write this on the last Thursday of October the temperature is 66 degrees and a bright sunny day. Days like this are perfect for grape harvest in Virginia’s wine industry and they should be pretty much done by the time the issue comes out. Read in Exploring VA Wines by Doug Fabbioli how this year’s harvest is turning out. In Grapevine, Matthew Fitzsimmons shares the results of the 2022 Loudoun Wine Awards. As the weather gets colder, your thoughts may turn toward the Caribbean. In Caribbean Connection, we learn that St. Maarten has removed testing and vaccination rules. Our Road Trip took us to the beautiful Swanendele Inn in Ridge, Maryland with a stop at the True Chesapeake Oyster Company. My new favorite bivalve is the Skinny Dipper. In Gallery Beat Lenny Campello gives a shout out to “Support your local Artists’’ Sunday on the 27th! In High Notes, Ron Powers Flashback article is about Devo. Miriam Kramer explores the “family” Bridgerton in Last Word. Let’s Get Crafty’s Tim Long takes you through religion on his way to a good bourbon and cigar and we checked into the hype of “Pizza by the Slice” in Dining Out at Old Town Alexandria’s newest slice hot spots – Handover By The Slice and Andy’s Pizza. Sarah Becker lets you know what you didn’t know about Thanksgiving in her History column while Open Space columnist Lori Welch Brown talks about “An Act of (Self) Gratitude”. If you don’t live in Old Town and/or shop at the Social Safeway on Royal Street or never played volley ball at the court on South Union Street, you probably aren’t familiar with the image on this month’s cover. This tunnel is only four blocks south of King Street and most folks who…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Support your local Artists’ Sunday!

By F. Lennox Campello Here’s your assignment for November: Support your local Artists’ Sunday! “But Lenster,” you ask, “what is this Artists’ Sunday?” Artists Sunday is an annual event that showcases the work of artists and artisans local to you! This year it takes place November 27, 2022. ✓ Artists Sunday is a day to support local artists in your community. ✓ Artists Sunday was created in 2020 to encourage people to shop with artists and buy art as gifts during the holidays. ✓ There’s perhaps nothing more personal than a gift of the arts. ✓ Give something special, unique, and handcrafted this holiday season and support local artists and the local economy. ✓ More than 500 communities across the United States have come together for the second year to champion local artists and promote the giving of the arts this holiday season. ✓ Communities from coast-to-coast, large and small, are celebrating Artists Sunday on Nov 27, 2022 by highlighting local artists, creators and makers and promoting the giving of artistic items and experiences for the holidays. ✓ Positioned during the year’s busiest holiday shopping weekend, Artist Sunday, falls between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. ✓ Artists Sunday unites artists and communities across the country, all promoting shopping with local artists. ✓ Artists Sunday, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov 27 this year), is the world’s largest art event, dedicated to supporting artists and recognizing the impact they have in enriching our lives, communities, and the economy. By supporting the work of these artists and artisans and creators we not only support and stimulate your local economy, which as most of us know is in dire need of stimulations, but as I’ve discovered over the years, it also offer all of us the opportunity to gift and/or collect…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Food For Thought!

By Ryan Unverzagt Welcome back faithful readers! I’ve decided to skip the regular “Exercise of the Month” in this issue of the OTC to focus a little more on food and nutrition. November can be a difficult month to control our eating habits with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us. We seem to let our eyes and stomach get the best of us and give into temptation. So what advice can I give you to stay on the fitness track this month? Put down the fork and back away from the table! Just kidding, but we could all use a little bit of will-power when it comes to eating. I think the biggest issue to address first is portion control. Eating the correct amount of food can save you a ton of calories. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s review how much a serving size actually is: 1 fruit serving = 1 small to medium fresh fruit, ½ cup canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, ¼ cup dried fruit 1 vegetable serving = ½ cup cooked veggies or vegetable juice, 1 cup raw veggies 1 starch serving (carbohydrate) = ½ cup cereal, grain, pasta, or starchy vegetable such as corn, potatoes, beans; 1 slice bread, ¾ to 1 ounce snack food 1 dairy serving = 1 cup milk, ¾ cup yogurt, 1 ounce cheese (about the size of 4 dice), ½ cup ice cream or pudding, 1 medium egg 1 meat serving = 3 ounces chicken, turkey, shellfish, beef 1 serving pumpkin pie = 1/8 pie and 1 serving fruit pie = 1/6 pie As you can see, it doesn’t take much to constitute a serving. If you truly took the serving sizes listed above, a normal Thanksgiving Day plate and glass would hardly be full. Therefore, choose to grab a…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Invest More Confidently in Volatile Markets

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce When financial markets fluctuate, perhaps in reaction to world events, inflation, or a change in interest rates, even the calmest investors can start to question their financial strategies. But volatile markets can present opportunities to review and reaffirm investment strategies, says Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “Financial markets are frequently volatile — that’s their nature,” she says. “Even so, during periods of uncertainty, investors may start to question their investment decisions. Having a plan in place can provide the guard rails to help steer through and beyond the volatility.” In addition to reaffirming and focusing on your plan, here are some strategies you can use to help weather economically turbulent times. Match your investments to your time horizon The simplest way to feel more comfortable about your investments is to align them with your financial calendar, no matter what happens in the financial world this month or year. For example, do you need some of your money fairly soon or want it close at hand in case of an emergency? If so, McMillion says you should consider investments such as cash holdings and short-term bonds that shouldn’t lose much, if any, value over the short term. On the other hand, if you won’t need some of your investment money until you retire multiple years in the future, equities or longer-term bonds are worth a closer look. Those investments carry more risks but also offer potentially better returns. Know what to expect from your investments Some investors lose confidence because they don’t fully understand how their investments work. In that case, McMillion says, some knowledge of typical asset behavior is a good thing. Consider reading up on different types of investments and asking questions of your financial…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

Traveling in Times of Heightened Currency Fluctuation

By Scott Dicken I travel quite frequently; primarily for work and less occasionally (unfortunately) for pleasure to both major currency countries (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY) and exotic currency locations across Africa, Asia and South America. As a result, I’m quite often, and increasingly, subject to the whims of exchange rate fluctuation. As the majority of my travel is for work it’s less of a problem; after all, I’m not ultimately footing the bill.  However, with the wild swings in currency we’ve seen recently this issue is becoming an increasing problem (and will likely continue to be so) for the average tourist. In-country local currency costs can be a significant portion of your trip cost; especially if big ticket items like hotels are to be paid in local currency when you arrive. So, what exactly are your options for trying to minimize the risks associated with currency fluctuation? In this post I’ll examine a few remedies I use. I’m no financial markets expert, but hopefully some practical laymen’s guidance that doesn’t involve a broker-level understanding of futures trading might be of some use on your next big (or small in the current foreign exchange markets) trip: It’s all about timing: So, you’ve booked a trip and you’re a few months out from departure (or a year if you’re one of those organized bargain hunters). OK, I said no futures trading complexities, but simple foresight would suggest that planning your currency purchase in advance is probably a decent idea. Look at historical trends against the currency you’re purchasing (take a look at or and if you see a good deal then pull the trigger and buy – especially at times like present when the dollar is so strong. If you’re really risk adverse, then you could buy in smaller batches…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Angling for the Ages

By Steve Chaconas Whether a top level pro bass tournament or five boat bragging rights get-togethers, finding a winning pattern is tough. In single day events, it’s all or nothing. Catch as many fish as you can and bring back 5 big ones. However, multiple day top level pro events are much more complicated. There are another two hundred boats chasing the same five fish. To further complicate the process, fishing almost always varies day to day. You must save fish for the next day and learn as much as possible every day. It doesn’t get easier. A recent Bassmaster Open event added more intrigue. Big name pros, some legends, and top regional and local anglers piled into Chesapeake Bay tributaries. These are the toughest events in pro bass fishing. It’s nearly impossible to find a sweet spot all to yourself. Instead, many anglers are fishing the same massive grass beds, trying to find needles in grass edges where the secret bait with the unique presentation will perform for two consecutive fishing days enabling an appearance in the top ten to compete for the $100,000 prize. Winning pro level bass tournaments is nearly a once in a lifetime experience. Winning continues to excite 30 year veteran NJ BassCat pro Pete Gluszek, who has 3 wins under his championship belt. Legend has it that his lead on the final day on the 2007 Hudson River tournament was so insurmountable he returned to the boat launch early and ordered a pre weigh-in pizza! When he saw the Upper Chesapeake Bay scheduled for mid-September, Pete looked to work for another trophy. He considers the Upper Bay his home waters and has been guiding there for three decades. The late summer conditions were very tough, which worked Gluszek’s favor to dial in a particular pattern….

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

We Salute Our Veterans – Past & Present!

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors,…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Fresh by Devo

By Ron Powers In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to start this month’s article by saying I’m very thankful for my family. This year has had its share of ups and downs but my family has been there through it all. I’m also thankful for musicians and the music they make. Speaking of music, this month’s Flashback article features a song that pop culture missed out on. Akron, Ohio new wave band Devo released “Fresh” in April of 2010 as the lead single for their ninth studio album, Something For Everybody. “Fresh” is easily on par with the band’s more widely recognized music. In fact, it’s arguably superior to much of the band’s earlier work. “Fresh” has a tight locked-in feel complete with balanced guitars, snappy drums, and plucked synth bass. The production has a blend of zipping fuzz, smoothness, and polish. The first three measures of “Fresh” feature the band striking their instruments in unison. The notes convey an ominous and powerful feeling culminating with the sound of a thunderstorm as the third note rings out. The crash symbols mix well with the sound of the rain and thunder as a gentle synth riser leads into the head-bobbing intro music. Every instrument contributes to the appeal of this song, from the bouncing bass line and charging drums to the cool and catchy guitar lead line. For the first verse, the instrumentation is reduced to mostly drums and bass with sparse lead guitar. We hear the lyrics, “Something in the air / Is telling me to go there / So I’ll follow my nose / Go wherever it goes”. Singer Mark Mothersbaugh adds plenty of space between each line of the verse creating a dip in energy and contrast for the coming pre-chorus. The words are delivered with an…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Spirit Park

By Lani Gering Patriotic Tribute to the American Flag National Harbor celebrated Flag Day on June 14th with the groundbreaking of a new attraction – Spirit Park – and it is set to open on Veteran’s Day. I wasn’t quite sure why they wanted to use some of the only “green space” we have in the heart of the Harbor as well as taking up a significant number of parking spaces but as it started coming together, I guess I get it. It will definitely add another dimension to the Harbor and it is inclusive of some very cool sculptures and the amphitheater style layout is very attractive. To better tell you what the park will entail, I garnered the following information from Bendure Communications: The park is 1.776 acres (in honor of Independence Day) and will feature a 50 by 80-foot custom-made flag that will go on a flag pole that is 177 feet 7 inches tall (first Flag Day was on June 14, 1777.) The flag will be one of the largest American flags flying in the country. It will be surrounded by 13 smaller flags (representing the original colonies.) Many elements of the park will pay homage to the flag’s signature features, as well as incorporate American themes throughout. Spirit Park is based on the development of a patriotic, historically accurate, educational and moving tribute to the flag. It will include multiple touch points of interest relating to the history of the flag and its iterations from creation through history to what it is today. The park includes an amphitheater with six rows of seating (representing the number of white stripes on the flag) and a 50-foot round stage representing the 50 states. Spirit Park will host everything from military concerts, history lectures, military events, private veteran…

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