Barbara Ruben's Blog

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Stories of the century

Imagine being born in a time when horses clip-clopped down city streets and fewer than 5 percent of American homes were lit using electricity. Theodore Roosevelt resided in the White House, and Harry Houdini astounded crowds with his feats. Just days after Lois Leyda was born on July 19, 1903, the Ford Motor Company sold its first Model A car. At the end of the year, the Wright Brothers made their first flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

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Is it so terribly strange to be 70?

Bob Dylan turned 70 yesterday. Fresh from playing concerts in China and Taiwan, he’ll jet on to Ireland, England, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Norway — and that’s just in June alone.

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Up in smoke?

The current cover story in our Baltimore issue focuses on the issue of legalizing medical marijuana in Maryland. When we reported the story, legislators in the General Assembly were grappling with whether Maryland should become the 16th state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize dispensing of marijuana for such serious medical conditions as cancer or glaucoma.

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Shingles belong on the roof

It seemed at first as if a small insect were flapping its wings under the skin of my forehead. Over the next two days, that odd, feathery, tingling sensation transformed into a torrent of pain that extended from my scalp into my brain. Yet there wasn’t a single outward sign of whatever was going on inside. Still, before I could even finish describing the trajectory of my symptoms, my doctor diagnosed me. Shingles.

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Breaking barriers

The ABC drama “Brothers & Sisters” revolves around a widow played by Sally Field and her five grown children, in whose lives she meddles incessantly. The series broke new ground last year when the 70-year-old character who plays Field’s brother was diagnosed with HIV. Saul, played by Ron Rifkin, is gay and came out of the closet only a few years back. In an episode last year, he gets a Facebook friend request from a partner from more than 20 years ago, discovering the man is an AIDS activist and has AIDS himself.

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Memory lane

Did you serve in World War II, Korea or Vietnam? How did you meet your spouse? Did you love to shop at Woodies in Washington or Hutzler’s in Baltimore? The Beacon’s website now has a new place to share your reminiscences. You can post your memories of days gone by in our new “I Remember When…” forum. Our first contributor, who is 92 years old, shared his memories of hitchhiking across the country in the 1930s and as a POW in World War II.

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Eye of the beholder

Do you color your hair to cover up the gray? Worry about your receding hairline? Have you ever considered getting a tattoo? Coincidentally, both the current Baltimore and Washington editions of the Beacon focus on people who are refining their image as they age — as well as those who are embracing their looks just the way they are. To see how some Baltimoreans are making some of these hairy decisions,  click here.

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Eat, drink and be merry

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled the tattered recipe for gingersnaps out of recipe box that had once belonged to my mother. Gingersnaps are a holiday treat we made each year growing up, and baking them every December continues as a tradition with my own daughter.

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Red but not read

Last year, the producers of the movie Red, currently in theaters, wrote to us asking permission to include a copy of the Beacon in a scene from the movie. I was thrilled. The Beacon was going Hollywood.

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Do you have a tattoo?

More than 20 percent of adults between the ages of 40 and 64 have one or more tattoos, according to a Harris poll. For an upcoming story, the Beacon is looking for people age 50 and older in the Washington area who've been inked. What prompted you to get your tattoo? Do you love it, or do you have any regrets?

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