- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Golden Gate grunge
"My family recently spent time vacationing in San Francisco. I couldn't help but notice the change in this aesthetically stunning city. San Francisco seemed, in many senses, dirty.
"Maybe it was the trash blowing through the streets. Maybe it was the ever-present graffiti in every part of town. Maybe it was the intimidation of the constant parade of homeless people. My heart hurt for the hordes that I saw in the gutters, street corners and alleys all over. Three were 'living' in our motel's parking lot in a 'good' part of town.
"San Francisco seemed dark. Maybe it was the billboard I saw on our way to the Marina for a picnic lunch. 'Save a life, shoot up with a friend,' it proclaimed, promoting an actual city initiative encouraging 'responsible' drug use.
"The final straw was when my 7-year-old son said, 'Mommy, where's the hotel Bible? It's not in the drawer.' He persisted, so I finally called the front desk. 'We had them removed,' the clerk abruptly replied. 'We have a socially diverse clientele, and don't want to offend them.' When I finally fled this unfriendly city by the bay, I felt just one emotion: relief."
Suzy Ryan, writing on "The dirt on San Fran," in the January/February issue of the American Enterprise

Post-industrial homes
"When the United States of America took form over two centuries ago, and for the nation's first 70 years, we were overwhelmingly an agricultural or farming people. About 90 percent of the population lived and worked on family-centered farms social life was defined by the rhythms of farm and village.
"The revolutionary changes called industrialization, urbanization and modernism swept through America between 1840 and 1940; in this case truly changing everything. To industrialize meant severing the workplace from the home; fathers, mothers and even children would now work in centralized factories.
"Home-schooled children numbered less than 20,000 in 1970; they now number nearly 2 million, a hundredfold increase in 30 years. Home education should be understood as a process of de-industrialization. These families are taking back a key task, a function, that had been passed to the 'factory model' over a century ago. The evidence suggests that these families are stronger as a result. For example, home-schooling families are larger; they have 70 percent more children, on average, than their public or private school counterparts."
Allan Carlson, writing on "The Radical Change in American Culture," in the December issue of the Family in America

Willie's way
"Even honky-tonk heroes and country legends have to watch what they put in their bodies these days.
"'I laid off of pot for about three months during the holidays to give my lungs a rest, and now I just try to do everything in moderation as much as I can,' [country singer Willie] Nelson said.
"Nelson has been open about his marijuana smoking.
"But moderation is Nelson's new motto. And that, he said, means diet, exercise and cutting his marijuana intake in half.
"Whenever he sees himself beefing up, Nelson said, he cuts out sugar for three weeks. 'When I'm on my strict diet, I stick to bacon and eggs and drop my potatoes,' he said.
"The Willie Nelson diet seems to be working. But the Willie way isn't for everyone, he said.
"'I think people should watch my life and do the opposite,' he said."
Jonathan Osborne, writing on "Bacon, eggs and less marijuana," Feb. 6 in the [Austin] American-Statesman

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