This year, three of us thought we'd honor Father's Day by telling our favorite stories about our dads, each of whom has passed away.
When I was growing up in West Virginia, my family’s idea of a vacation was the once a year trip to Stamford, Connecticut to visit my mother’s mother, brothers and sister. Period. And for years after that, my brothers and I traveled more than my parents ever did.
If I remember things rightly, they had only ever flown once before when my husband and I convinced them to visit us for two weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Oh, the excitement: Although the flight wasn’t until noon, my father — a man who smoked six packs a day and paced constantly — insisted my mother and he leave town by 6 a.m. to reach Dulles International airport by 7:30 a.m.Read more...
Summer Reading, Summer Healing. For anyone who lost themselves in books as an alternative to an unhappy reality, it’s no surprise that books are good for mental health. Today there is actually a term for it: bibliotherapy. So that book you read on the beach this summer will be working a particular kind of magic to make you a better, more emotionally healthy person. As reported by Cerwiden Dovey in the June 9th issue of The New Yorker, recent scientific research on the neurology and psychology of reading shows that reading fiction exercises our empathic brains. A 2011 study in Annual Review of Psychology used an analysis of brain scans to show that when reading about the experience of others, the brain “displays stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves.” That’s the same area of the brain we draw on when trying to guess what someone else is feeling. Keith Oatley, a Canadian writer and cognitive psychologist, studies how "literary art can improve social abilities, how it can move us emotionally, and can prompt changes of selfhood.” To learn more check out “The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies” by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin.
Apple and Eve. Earlier this month, Apple threw its annual developer party in San Francisco. While the more than 5,000 developers in the audience are still mostly male, for the first time ever the company had two women -- vp of worldwide online stores Jennifer Bailey and vp Susan Prescott -- on stage presenting to the crowd. Then during a subsequent presentation, Apple's senior vp for software threw out the news that HealthKit will include a “reproductive health” tracker. For those of us who draw a blank when our doctors ask “When did you start your last period?” this new app will be a real boon. As one story about the news put it: "Apple just discovered women." Finally!
Woman needed for the $10 bill. Must be dead. The U.S. Department of Treasury said this week that it's looking for a woman honoree to grace the $10 bill. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who has the honor today, will continue to be featured on the redesigned tenner somehow. The U.S. is looking for a woman who “was a champion for our inclusive democracy.” The only criteria is that she must be dead. The new $10 bill will appear in 2020, which is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment -- the law that gave women the right to vote. The US will pick the honoree by the end of the year and is inviting the public to tweet our choices using the hashtag #TheNew10. The news that the US will finally recognize a woman on its currency comes after a campaign by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who had proposed legislation to put a woman on the $20. “While it might not be the $20 bill, make no mistake: This is a historic announcement,” Ms. Shaheen said in a statement to the New York Times. (There are already many jokes out there about how it seems fitting that women asked for $20 and only got $10 instead.) By the way, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, "heroine of the Underground Railroad," was the leading contender to grace the $20.
Photo of Harriet Tubman courtesy of Library of Congress