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Fran Moreland Johns's Blog

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Jun.13.2013
After Nancy Drew, I quit with detective stories. Sank into a long life of straight nonfiction reading (and writing) in the terribly erroneous belief that this was what one should do. But then a wise person remarked, "Oh, well, of course fact is in history, biography etc... but TRUTH is in fiction...
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Oct.27.2012
It’s been one hundred years – minus just a couple of months – since the people of San Francisco got permission from Congress to build a dam on the Tuolomne River in Yosemite National Park, thereby creating a giant reservoir which has been delivering pristine water to millions of Californians...
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Sep.04.2012
Is it possible ever to die in cyberspace? I was recently urged by Facebook to do something obtuse because my friend Josephine (pseudonymed for very good reason here) is doing it and knows I will love it. Hmm. There’s just one small problem: Josephine has been dead for well over a year. You’d...
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Jul.12.2012
“My dearly beloved Helen,” the letters would begin, or, “Beloved over all else – ” with a grand flourish. They would usually end with a few sentences in Portugese, the language of their romance, and then something like “I count the hours until once again with you – ” or “With all the adoration of...
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Jul.01.2012
Fresh off a fine, if exhausting, conference in Chicago, I find myself somewhere over Nebraska with 623 miles yet to go and – finally – time to write a Red Room blog. But way too much to blog about. This was a first-ever national event for Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit I’ve worked for and...
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May.25.2012
If I were on trial, I’d want someone like me – having worked hard to be open-minded throughout my entire good-citizenship career – for one of my jurors. But not for the jury to which I was just summoned. The prosecution may have wanted me; the defense would’ve had me outa there in a heartbeat....
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Mar.29.2012
Will we book lovers have to redefine ourselves? “Word-group people”? “Narrative lovers”? Somehow work our way around using the B-word because Facebook’s got  trademark rights? BOOK has always seemed such a friendly, useful word. But, as Jon Brodkin points out on Wired, the revised user...
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Mar.17.2012
It's as if somebody dropped a bomb on the London Library. The idea of the Encyclopedia Britannica not being up there on its physical shelf, radiating Truth and Authority, offering the final word on any research topic, erudite argument or dinner table conversation? It's too much to bear. But the...
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Feb.28.2012
Imagine the unimaginable: some nuclear-armed country (or scary terrorist group) drops a bomb on a perceived enemy. A few million people die, instantaneously or soon. Nuclear winter follows, a period of noontime darkness lasting for decades in which no crops can grow -- and a few billion people...
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Jan.28.2012
Recently the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle featured a story by Erin Allday headlined "Women found to report far more pain than men." This is news? I could have written the whole thing without a Stanford study. But here it is. The study theorizes that it could be hormonal (we're...
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Jan.09.2012
Barely into the new year, there's a lot of new talk. New hope for the Dems thanks to slightly optimistic employment data, and for Obama thanks to his new recess appointments ploy and new zingers at Repubs. New hope for a different non-Mitt Romney candidate almost every day in the primary race....
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Dec.23.2011
Possibly so. When my daughter Pam was in high school, her best friend Julie cared for a four-year-old girl who was totally deaf. They communicated through signing, drawing and playing games. Christmas came, and Rachel, the four-year-old, begged to go see Santa. Obligingly, Pam and Julie got her...
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Dec.15.2011
Walter Isaacson spoke recently at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco about his new biography of Steve Jobs. It is a thoroughly researched account of an unusual man, some say 'genius.' No offense to Mr. Isaacson or Mr. Jobs, but I'm going to pass on reading the book. This has nothing to do with...
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Dec.12.2011
Every December (once the kids are grown) the question arises: To deck the halls or not, and how ferociously? Buy a tree? Dig out the boxes of lights and baubles from the depths of their annual hidings? And in particular, how far to go with outdoor décor? Six billion dollars. That’s a lot of dollars...
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Nov.11.2011
I may be the only person on two continents who, until late last month, didn't know beans about Amanda Knox. I did know she was some kid with a pretty face who got in deep trouble in Italy, but that was about it. Amanda didn't show up on PBS NewsHour or the pages of the New York Times -- well, maybe...
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